Sunday, March 12, 2017

13 mos!!! Plus some...

Oops!  I know, I'm a slacker mother....He's going to be 14 mos in less than a week and I'm just posting 13's been a little hectic for me to say the least.

My toddler is the cutest toddler on the block.  Both of us have spent most of the month congested, but we've managed to stay out of the doc's office. And mostly he's had a pretty good attitude about it.  Occasionally he needs some extra snuggles at night, or maybe I think he needs extra snuggles at night, but we live by the motto he's only little once. 

The amount of things he learns so quickly is just amazing.  He pushes his V-tech cars along a track, he works buttons on things with purpose, he says more words appropriately, he identifies a couple of body parts on himself and other people. He puts my stethoscope in his ears, he is starting to call objects by name...It's amazing what his little baby brain can do. 

He's running now. He still can barely walk in a straight line, but he didn't let not being able to stand still hold him back from walking so why let walking hold you back from running? The sound of pitter-pattering feet with an extra swish of diaper is truly one of my favorite things.  I have a happy child.  I have a full of life, wonder, curious, and happy little boy.  He is the apple of my eye, for sure!

Emma Grace is starting to warm up to the idea.  She now associates paying attention to Matt as something she deserves a reward for doing.  She licked his hand the other day, and then immediately came over to me full of pride at the goodwill she exemplified and fully expected to be showered with the praise and treats she deserved.  She's ridiculous, but we love her.  She cleans up well after Matt eats, too. 

The cats are trying to train him into the realization that he is a lesser being.  He does not deserve the space he takes up in our house according to Gaius and Lucifer who can often be found on/in/on top of all of his things.  Gaius also baits Matt into petting him just so he can scratch him by trying to look all cute and lying on his back.  The boy has to learn...I did, sort of.

Matt has his grandparents wrapped around his fingers.  They absolutely spoil the crap out of the kid on both sides.  They are the best (or worst).  I love it.  He's such a goober, so far he doesn't know how good he has it, but if he ever gets in trouble, all he'll have to do is call 1-800-GRANDPA and someone will sweep into his rescue and convince us that we were entirely wrong.  I love getting to share sweet Matt with his grandparents.  For as much as we hurt throughout our battle with infertility, our parents had to hurt for us, and for the potential loss of becoming grandparents to our children we couldn't have.  It's probably not something many people pay attention to, especially when dealing with their own infertility, but it does lead to some very real and valid feelings for the would-be grandparents.  

Peace, Love, & Gagas
Mary Katherine & Matt

Matt Facts!
Height 30ish inches
Weight 20ish lbs
Teeth:  5...still, just 2 on top and 3 on the bottom...
Clothing Size:  9-12 mos. But we're finally starting to out grow some of the 9 month stuff for length. Not so much the waist...
Favorite comfort item:  I'm actually gonna say it's me...He doesn't need me a lot, but when he's sick or crashed from running in/off of something.
Favorite Food: Bananas!  He'll eat anything you're eating, but he loves to cram 1/3 of a banana in his the point he can't even chew it. Actually, he's in the chipmunk phase where he believes all the food needs to be in his cheeks or he might starve to least for the 3 minutes he's interested in eating.
Favorite Toy:  His "My First Superman" Book.  Not that it's really a toy, but he's very adamant about having it read to him. Who knew how painful cardboard books to the eyeball could be?
Nemesis of the Month:  Baby Gates - he hates them.  He hangs on them like a San Quentin inmate hanging out in the yard. 
Skills:  Running, hugging, stuffing huge chunks of food in his mouth, climbing, giggling, finding noses and belly buttons.
Words:  Baw for ball, Daw for dog, awf for off, ahn for on, Da-da-dee for Daddy. Mahma for Mama. In addition to his old faves like bye-bye.
Favorite thing he does: Wraps arms around my neck...always and forever will be my favorite thing.
Future Career:  Competitive hot dog eater.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1 YEAR!!!!

So a couple of weeks ago, the miracle turned ONE!!!

A whole year has gone by already!!! I've not been sad, heartbroken, devastated, or loathing life for an entire year.  (I may have loathed graduate school every once and a bit, but that shouldn't count.)

It has been an absolutely glorious year.  It has been a tremendous year.  It has been the year of all years for BJ and me.  And this little dude...

How could anyone be sad when they get to have this in their life?  I mean you can tell from this picture, he's enjoying life with us at least a little bit.  Gosh, we love this kid!!!

I am just so thrilled to be the parent of a one year-old.  Maybe it's because I'm hopeful we will unfreeze some more of his kind one day, but I'm just so excited watching him master each new skill and cross each milestone.  He just soaks up so much stuff right now!!!

When he's not being totally adorkable, he's being totally sweet. He loves his people, and so far, everyone is his people.  He's still not too worried about the whole stranger anxiety thing, and seems like a pretty content little boy.  I'm totally biased, I realize, but he's rather charming for one.  Ladies, look out, here comes Matt-man!

He's become a much more proficient walker and prefers walking to crawling at this point, but hasn't figured out how to stand up w/out something to pull up on.  But once he does get up, he's off to the races. Just this week he's even trying to run a little bit...or maybe he's falling, it's hard to tell sometimes. He still has a pretty good inebriated penguin thing going on, but mostly because he's getting a little cocky.  Looking around, holding stuff, clapping for know, more important things than looking where he's going or minding where his center of gravity actually is.  

He loves to open and close cabinets, as well as turn a light on and off.  These are incredibly fun games!  He is trying to communicate with us more, but I have no clue what he's talking about most of the time, so I just guess.  My mother swears he says all sorts of words, but I'm just hearing 'ah'.  

For example...
Exhibit A.
Mom- "Look, he's saying 'dog'!".  Matt- "ah". Mom-"That's right, dog! You're so smart!"

Exhibit B
Mom- "Can you say off, Matt?"  Matt- "ah".  Mom- "Yes! That's so smart! You're just so smart!"

Exhibit C
Mom- "Matt, say OK." Matt- "Ah-uh-ah". Mom- "That's it. That's so good! You're just the smartest grandbaby."
So, anyway.  He's learning some words, but we're getting into a grunting and pointing phase.  Perhaps it's because I fail to understand his chatter so he has to speak down to me and use caveman talk. And so it begins... 

Peace, Love, and What a Journey It has Been!

Mary Katherine and Matt

Matt Facts

Height:  29"
Weight: 18 lbs 2 oz
Clothing size: 9 mos
Cuteness Factor:  11/10
Favorite Toy:  Fascinated with his train as it is self-propelled. And he's figured out buttons, so anything with a button is very interesting for a few minutes, at least. 
Favorite Food:  Birthday cake!!! He does seem to have a sweet tooth, but overall, is not that into any one food.  
Favorite Comfort Item:  Himself...he's not got any one thing that soothes him.
Nemesis of the moment:  Popcorn popper thing...I'm not sure what it did, but it has completely offended Matt, and makes him very angry...and I laugh, probably causing him to need years of therapy *sigh*
Skills: Oning-and-Offing a lamp, drunk walking, drinking milk out of a cup, throwing balls, laughing at himself, getting off of a bed w/out plunging head first or with assistance, hiding objects (like remotes) and re-enacting prohibition (you know...breaking liquor bottles).
Words:  Not many new ones (in my opinion). He seems pretty satisfied grunting to communicate his needs.  
Favorite thing he does:  Walks to me smiling and wraps his arms around my neck.  And my heart melts every.single.time. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy 11 mos...

Yes, I'm so incredibly late with this post, but I don't regret it.  I spent most of 2 weeks w/out using technology and it was glorious!!!

Matt sleeping on Uncle Chris.
Matthew, my little man is shedding the last of his infanthood quickly.  He turns 1 in a week!!!! But his 12th month has been full of fun. He's gone from shuffling with encouragement between two parents to walking 50% of the time.  It's adorable.  Well, he looks inebriated... He has his arms over his head half of the time and gets stuck on one foot until he can get his center of gravity under control...I'm loving every single second of it!!!

He's still a totally cute little goober.  His communication skills are just exploding.  I have full conversations with him, I just don't know what language he's speaking to me in.  He just babbles away, changes his inflection and tone, nods his head enthusiastically and looks at me like I'm an idiot if I don't respond.  So much for boys not talking.  He's up to about 6 words...Mama, Dada, Meow, Muh-muh, Pa-pa, and his all-time favorite- Uh-OH.  Uh-oh means mischief is about to be made, by the way, not that a mistake happened.  This is probably a good thing because at least he tells on himself, but I'm not sure I like where the smirk and gleam in his eye as he intentionally 'uh-uh-uh-ohs' is going.

Our Christmas was great.  We got to spend some time with both sides of the family.  Matt was mostly underwhelmed, but was a good sport.  I thought he'd be more into the tearing of paper, and boxes, but mostly he just wanted to play with his old toys.  He'll get it one day...

He did get his first ear infection, but handled it like a champ, really. He's been sick every month and for every major holiday since September.  He seems to handle it pretty well, but has a hard time at night.  I will say he's an excellent sport at taking medicine.

I honestly can't believe he's not a baby.  I wanted a baby for sooo long! I had one, and now I don't! He's got some shimmers of two-ness coming through.  He started having tantrums in which he lays down and beats his head on the floor.  You know...that's my reaction when there is a wall where I want there to be a door, too.  But really? Where do they even learn that? BJ and I are full of character flaws, but neither one of us lays down and beats our head on the floor when we are angry or frustrated...and honestly, it's so hard to not laugh...I'm the worst mother...

Mommy's little monster!!
11 month Matt Stats

Weight: 17 lbs 8oz
Height:  2 foot something
Teeth:  5!!! I'm not sure what pattern they are coming in, but we have some.  We're also pretty sure we need to start saving for braces, immediately...
Favorite Toy:  Sit to Stand Walker
Favorite Food:  Macaroni & Cheese...the only thing I've seen him eat where he actually cared if it got in his mouth!
Favorite Comfort Item: Himself!
Word of the Month: Uh-oh!
Favorite Activity:  Growling...which I'm pretty sure he learned from my parent's golden doodle...Thanks, Marvin...
Least Favorite Activity:  Putting on clothes and having diaper changed.  This is a huge waste of time according to Matt.  Nobody needs that...
New Tricks:  Drunk walking, taking arms out of sleeves (which is no big deal in a t-shirt, but when you're in a onesie, it can be problematic), taking shoes and socks off,  mimicking elevator dings and random electronic equipment chirps.
Future Career: Sound-effects artist who lives in our basement well into his 40s. 

Peace, Love & Grrrrr!

Mary Katherine & Matt

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 Months of Thanks

For the first time in 5 years, it is so easy to give thanks.  I've said it many times, but the holidays just grow weary as each year ticks away when you are dealing with infertility.  It's a road that gets lonelier and lonelier the longer you stay on it because less of your friends can relate as they turn their focus on their 1, 2, 3... children.

Holidays are about family, and I've always been blessed with wonderful in-laws and out-laws (my side).  But even with wonderful families, it's just been that elephant in the room.  A sulky, sad, and embittered elephant at that.  And it's never been about not appreciating what I had, because I have always tried. But when the one thing you want, that comes so easily and naturally for the majority of people totally eludes you, it's hard to swallow the bitterness and focus on your blessings. The hole in your heart is just too raw.

Last year, I was preoccupied with being pregnant, and it was blissful.  I was so very blessed and fortunate to have such an easy pregnancy after the mighty struggle it took to get there.  Now I'm just so incredibly thankful.

It's easy to say I'm thankful for Matthew, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I am thankful for the perspective that infertility gave me, both in life and as a parent.  I'm thankful for the ability to let the small stuff go, and just enjoy the miracle of Matt. 

I am thankful for my better half who fulfills me, completes me, cheers me and is just the best teammate to have as we tackle this parenting thing.

I am thankful for my parents and in-laws who supported us in every way imaginable as BJ and I continued on despite what seemed impossible.

I am thankful for my best friend and her ear as she has been with me through all of the thick and thin of my life and continues to be a constant source of knowledge and comfort.

I am thankful for the Fertility Center and every single person at that clinic.  When we were at our rock bottom, they were there with their hands out-stretched.

I am thankful for the honor of being James Matthew's mother.  It is such a privilege that I do not take lightly.  I love you, Matt-moo, more than words can ever express.  It is truly an honor to be the person you reach towards and say "Mama" (even if you call other women "mama" 😉). I hope after your teenage years, when you kinda start liking us again, that you'll be glad we got you, too.

In the midst of what has so far been a pretty awful week, it doesn't take much looking back to realize how truly blessed I am.

So tomorrow I look forward to Matt being the star of the show.  I've waited a long time to have a baby shoving mashed potatoes in his face. Hopefully his stomach will be over whatever has it so upset today, and he'll get to gum all the tasty foods.

Peace, Love, and Happy Food Hangovers!

Mary Katherine & Matt

Matt Facts:

Weight: 17lbs 2oz
Height: 2'4.5ish
Teeth: 0, but I believe we'll have at least 1 at our next update...
Favorite Comfort item:  Dada or Mama...he's really not too attached to any one thing just yet.
Favorite food:  Dog kibble, sweet potatoes, carrot cake and whatever he can feed himself.
Favorite toy:  His V-tech Sit-to-Stand Walker...unfortunately ours seems to have a short that makes it go off every 15 seconds whether he's near it or not.  Thank goodness for off-switches.
New skills:  Clapping, waving hi and bye,  cruisin-for-a-bruisin, stair-climbing, sticking the entire end of electronic devices in his mouth, and catching every bug that comes his way (yeah for breastfed babies...oh, wait), standing and stepping unassisted but with rapid failures, and falling.
Words:  Mama, Dada, Bah-bah (Bye-bye with a drawal), Hi, Lala and nanana (you know...just conversation filler)
Future Career:  Mechanical engineer.  He's all about wheels and gears and things that spin.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

9 Months...OR When the Miracle Eats Dog Kibble little ball of energy is 9 months old!!! He's been outside as long as he was on the inside (literally, since he was 3 weeks early plus had a bonus week on the outside in a petri dish...).   What a crazy 18 months it has been.

Matt is just funny.  His personality is really beginning to come out, and I think we scored in that department.  He's pensive and introspective.  He studies new things carefully.  Yet he loves to have fun and enjoys being silly.  He's not a pleaser.  He does things on his own time after much thought and consideration.  He seems to be a little introverted, which I totally get. He's also pretty chatty with us, but less so in public. In fact our babysitter asked me if he was talking yet, and I was floored, because he's not usually quiet for very long.  I asked him to tell her "Bye-Bye" and he immediately said bye-bye. She was just as shocked as I was when she asked me if he was talking yet...*sigh*  This does not bode well for school, I fear.

He FINALLY clapped yesterday for the first time.  We actually took a rare and ever elusive nap and he woke up before me because I found him lying on his back studying each of his hands.  They were approximately a body width apart and had assumed an appropriate pre-"pat-a-cake" position.  He carefully brought his hands together and pulled them apart, then tried a little faster and got a little sound. I'm so very proud.  He refuses to clap for BJ, however...

His other skills include finding toys hidden under a blanket. Chasing kitties and golden retrievers. French kissing golden doodles. Speed crawling, waving bye-bye and feeding himself are also much more precise than they were during his 8th month.  Precise but not always accurate...

I make most of Matt's baby food because it kinda skeeves me out to eat 3 year old bananas. So anyway, I'm happily buzzing around the kitchen steaming this and blending that into some concoction for my toothless miracle when I hear his palms happily slap across the kitchen in a speed crawl.  He loves to splash in Emma's water bowl, so I make my way over there and try to distract him with a toy before returning to blending.  I don't hear anything for a while, so I glance back to Emma's bowls to see my little miracle baby eating dog food while I'm making homemade, hippie-approved baby food because Gerber is poison...So anyway...Gerber's probably fine...

We've also enjoyed eliciting those baby belly laughs.  Matt is not a free laugher....

It actually takes work. And things he found funny a couple of days may barely muster a smirk today. So when we do find something that evokes those throw his head back baby giggles, IT.IS.AMAZING!  It's definitely one of those 'we could have missed this' moments.

The pain of infertility is erosive to your soul, yet having a child after going through infertility is truly inconceivable. After over 5 years, I had no idea I could not hurt this much, or be this happy, or have so much to look forward to in life.  So when Matt giggles, the heavens open up and my heart fills with a joy I had no idea could exist.  And then I become overwhelmed with the thought of 'Wow, we could have missed this.' It is entirely possible that all of this could have eluded us, and my heart fills again.

So when people say Matt was worth the wait, they honestly have no idea.  He's not just worth it, he exceeds all of that pain with a sense of peace.  A peace that soothes my soul, and helps me look back with a sense of understanding.  He's an answer to so many prayers, hopes, desires. He's simply a miracle.  I couldn't appreciate this as much as I do without having gone through such an arduous journey, and I would never want to have a child without that level of appreciation.

And that same miracle...well, he eats dog food sometimes, too. :)

Matt Facts:

Height:  2' 3 1/4" for 13th percentile
Weight:  16 lbs, 13 oz... 8th percentile
Teeth: 0
Fave Food:  Cheerios are amazing...and Lucifer the kitty likes them, too!
Fave Toy:  Wheels...or anything that spins: squeaky frog toy
Fave Word: Bah-Bah-Bah (Bye); dew-dew-dew (No translation), La-la (Yadda-yadda); din-din-din (no translation);
Fave Activity:  Playing in a water table, AKA Emma's elevated water bowl; readjusting the wine fridge settings; Petting the kitties; playing in his tunnel.
Favorite Comfort Item: Mama & Dada...Wubba Nubs be out (Matt's parenting credits to us)
Future Career:  Wine connoisseur. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I'm a $&^t Mom

I'm a ****ty mother, and I'm perfectly okay with it.  I own it, even.

My friend, who also struggled to conceive, and I were having a conversation about how we spent so much time and energy and studying on how to conceive, what should be happening to our bodies, what shouldn't....and then we finally became pregnant and we poured through every possible scenario, read every article, and second guessed everything we knew even as experienced women's health nurses...

So when we finally gave birth to our children, and they lived through the squishy not doing much stage we were completely burned out.  Well, I'm burned out...and over it.  I've done everything in my power to get Matt some point the whole thriving thing is going to have to be on him...cuz I just want to enjoy him.

This, for me has translated into having no clue what my baby is supposed to be doing when.  Hell if I know what milestones Matt is supposed to be achieving.  I'm not even sure if what he's doing sometimes is considered a skill.  Like is downward dog position a milestone?  It's not that I don't care...but honestly, I don't really care that much. I have thought about purchasing What to Expect the First Year, but then I don't buy it because....meh....  Matt is healthy, thriving, doing new things occasionally, and HAPPY. So he doesn't clap yet, but he gets excited and bounces up down and smiles when we clap at him and thinks he's just great.  That seems more important. But dammit, why can't he clap?

He really wants to eat, but he has no teeth, but he also hates thicker purees...but he screams at me when I eat and paws at the food within his reach, so he gets a little chunk.  Allergies be damned.  He even had she crab soup when we went to the beach a few weeks ago and he loved it...and he lived. So shellfish, dairy, and alcohol all in one shot...Mom of the year, right here!!!!  Most of the food we give him ends up in Emma's stomach, so it's win-win-win.  Matt scores "real people" food, Emma score's "real people food", and Mom and Dad score on the clean-up. #parentingtrifecta

I'll think Matt is developing fine, even maybe a little ahead, but then I get a questionnaire from our pediatrician that asks things like "Does Matt follow commands?"  Well, um, I don't know what kind of life other people lead, but I don't have very high expectations as far as my almost 9 month old performing tasks at my request. I just don't live that life.  Matt is precious, but I'd hardly call him reliable, so I don't plan my day thinking "What could I have Matt do?"  Along those lines, I've not asked him to do a lot.  I mean he has about a 50% chance of coming when I call his name...But seriously, 9 month olds are supposed to follow commands? Really?

Another of these "tasks" was "Will Matt play nursery games like Pat-a-cake or So-Big or Peek-a-boo at your prompting, but without you gesturing?" All I can picture is Matt staring at a blank wall playing peek-a-boo and thinking how creepy that would be.  I mean I'd be worried about him if he did...isn't that how Poltergeist started? Also, have you ever gone up to another human or even a dog and said "High Five" w/out extending your hand.  So why would Matt just spontaneously play Pat-a-cake?  Apparently Matt is woefully behind in communication skills, and it's my fault.  I've not asked him to fetch, clean his room, make dinner, plus I didn't even know So Big was a "nursery game", but then again, I am a shit mom...

I am kinda getting worried about Matt not being able to clap.  Or "pat-a-cake" as they call clapping in babyland.  It's super frustrating. We're in intense clapping training, but the closest we've gotten is waving both hands in a parallel fashion, thus never making contact with each other.  I'm not asking for perfection here, but honestly I'm starting to worry about his corpus callosum...

I say I'm not asking for perfection, but I really want Matt to get a perfect score on this questionnaire...It's a direct measure of my parenting skills.  And apparently anything less than perfection to me is basically shit, hence the clapping training camp.  But as my best friend, Matt's godmother, kindly reminded me...does Matt really need to be able to clap to be a Wal-Mart greeter?

No, no he does I guess even if he doesn't make a perfect score...he'll at least still have opportunities thanks to Sam Walton.  #Mericuh

Peace, Love and Wal-Mart Greetings from Matt,

Mary Katherine

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Belated Birthday Post

For 5 and a half years, this was my life.  More than the hurtful comments, the unhelpful suggestions, the pregnancy announcements from people who either weren't trying or tried for 2 seconds, the pregnancy announcements from same-age peers for their 2nd and 3rd babies, nothing can touch the feeling of failing your husband.

Even when male factor infertility is the issue, you as the woman cannot carry that baby.  You cannot bear your spouse's child.  It leaves you feeling empty, sad, and worthless. You are barren. It feels as sad and lonely as that word sounds.  It feels like failing, even when your husband doesn't see it that way.  You feel like you are failing at being a woman.

I would pretend to not notice BJ playing with our friend's kids while at the same time taking in every moment. Letting it sear itself into my soul.  I would tell myself this was why we needed to keep trying because he was just so wonderful with children.  So patient, kind, appropriately fun at whatever age he was thrown and just plain good.  He is the kind of guy you would meet for 5 minutes and not hesitate to leave your kid playing with him at the party while you went and fetched some food or something to drink.  It's just so easy for him.

Unlike me, I just felt so awkward.  I had no baby experience. When I held other people's babies I felt like I was being stared at, or worse, pitied.

Fast forward to this miracle:

I'll be honest, as amazing as BJ was with other people's children, I had no idea how it would translate into fatherhood.  He by far has exceeded all expectations, and he's got it harder than a lot of working dad's.  He works all day, and then comes home to be a single father when I work night shift.  When I work day shift he has to single dad it again, and get Matt ready himself, drops him off, and pick the kid up to be single dad for a few more hours until I get home.

And that's just what he has to do...  He continues to astonish me with just what a wonderful father he's become. His attention to Matt, his ability to soothe him leaves me jealous at times.  I love listening to BJ read to Matt. I love the baby giggles BJ generates.  He goes above and beyond for this kiddo.  He doesn't just love Matthew, he cherishes him.  And Matt's eyes light up when he comes home, and it melts my heart every.single.time.

BJ, Happy Birthday.  This kid loves you to the moon and back, and so does your wife.  I didn't think it would be possible to love you any more than I already did, but I do.  You are an outstanding father and a better husband than I deserve.  I hope your birthday was as happy as Matt is to see you.

Peace, Love, and Baby Daddies,

Mary Katherine.