Dear Peyton – A Year Has Gone By

Dear Peyton,

It’s been a long time since I have written a letter to you and I think I will do that now. Mommy is still in awe of you. I am still trying to wrap my head around the little baby that has suddenly grown into a toddler. It still brings me to tears when I see you playing with your toys in the middle of the living room floor and it still brightens my day when you laugh out loud.

It’s such an exciting time for our family right now. Just in terms of the things you are doing. We just celebrated your first birthday, and what a first birthday it was! You are walking like a little pro now, though I really wish you would learn how to watch where you are walking. It may have saved a few chin and forehead bruises if you wouldn’t just trample everything in your path. I hope you are learning that your toy box is bigger than you, and you can’t just walk into it and expect it to move.

Mommy is really concerned about making the transition from formula to real milk. I know you like real milk, but we always said we wouldn’t put you to bed with a drink. We have been doing that up until this little conversation. I’m really afraid if we take that bottle away, your sleep routine will fly out the window. I sure hope I don’t have to sit through another round of crying it out.

While we are on the subject of crying it out, I want you to know that I felt super guilty about that, but I don’t regret it. I want you to know that I am certain you will have no long lasting negative effects because you cried it out as a baby. I also want to thank you for taking it easy on my heart and only having to cry it out for a few days before you got the hang of that sleep thing. If you could, please give Mommy’s heart a break if we have to do it again. You have been so great at that.

Since I am bringing up things you can consider giving your moms a break on; let’s work on not throwing our food on the floor. You see that your moms eat with fork and spoon, and though you still eat with your fingers, it would really help me out, if you could leave the food on your high chair tray. I know you think the cats are hungry, I promise they are not. Look at Kane, he’s twice the size of a normal cat! He really doesn’t need your help, sweetie. Besides, if you throw your food on the floor, Mommy has to spend time away from playing with you to clean it up.

I love sitting in the floor and rolling the ball around. I look forward to taking you to Gymboree, which is why I get so frustrated when you won’t take a nap and we can’t go! I absolutely can’t wait until I get off work and I can come home to sing and dance to the Giggle Bellies with you. I know I am not home with you as often as I would like, and it hurts my heart most days.

However, just remember, that I will spend as much time as I can with you and in the next few months, with summer coming, we will make special trips to the park a regular thing on the weekends. I can’t wait until we can go out for ice cream when you can spoon feed yourself!

After this first year has now flown by, I am beginning to realize that I have a daughter. An actual daughter. I have always known, logically, that I have a daughter. Now, I can let that sink in emotionally. I have a daughter and I will be able to raise you in ways I never was. I can spend time with you in ways that I didn’t have.

I have to apologize now, you will have the childhood I didn’t have growing up. I hope you will find it in your heart to be patient with me. To let me live through you. We will do things I didn’t do, we will experience things I didn’t experience. I will make sure you have plenty of moments in your life that you can look back and say, “I was a happy kid.” that’s all I ever want for you. To be a happy kid.

Love,

Mommy

Ten Things You Learn In the First Year Of Motherhood

1. First and foremost, you will understand why some people might want to shake a baby. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have looked into those angelic eyes in the first three months of her life and wanted to shake the piss out of her. Did I? Well, absolutely not. But I sure felt like it. I won’t soon forget the 4 month sleep regression period, where it was the worse. The kid was sleeping great and then BOOM four months rolls around and she’s got to be rocked and patted and I’m running on fumes. Do psychotic people shake babies, yes? Am I psychotic? Not yet, but I have been on the edge of that line before.

2. Breastfeeding is HARD WORK. It didn’t work for me. From the latch to the public feedings, my breasts were too big for the baby’s head and I felt like I was suffocating her constantly. Instead of nursing, I pumped. I f’ing hated pumping. Not because it was uncomfortable, I might have gone longer if it hadn’t been for work. Legally, they have to give you a quiet, private room to pump. However, it’s really hard to do that in a work setting and I would be home engorged and uncomfortable. If you are a working mommy, plan ahead for the breastfeeding plans.

3. Some people don’t cut it out as a stay at home mom. I’m one of those people. I can’t be the stay at home mom. I just can’t do it. I go stir crazy and need me-time more than our baby would really allow. I love my kid, I do. But working is where I need to be. I am bored at home and there is only so many pictures I can take of her or so much Facebook time I can have in a day.

4. Babies are like little goats in human form. They WILL eat anything, stick ANYTHING in their mouths and will devour just about anything. Especially when teething. Speaking of teething, I know it’s exciting to see those little buds of white pop through the gums. Step back slowly. Back away and DON’T stick your finger in there! You stuck your finger in there, too, didn’t you? Yea, baby teeth suck.

5. Sleep training is my favorite phrase. I know there are people out there that don’t like the phrase. Hell, I don’t really like the verbiage of the phrase, but the sentiment is the same. Train that kid to sleep. Seriously. I resisted the idea of crying it out, I didn’t want to do it. In fact, my partner had to sit on me the first night. However, when I saw it working, I am all for suggesting it when someone asks. Punky is on a sleep clock like nobody’s business. She’s up at the same time, she naps at the same time, she sleeps at the same time. And she’s so trained, she initiates each thing on her own and knows when it will happen.

6. Don’t feed the kid chili. Ok, look. I am pretty sure I know this was a bad idea. However, I wasn’t really thinking about it. The pediatrician said at 8 months old, Punky could eat anything we are eating, just break it up in little pieces. Ok! So, we are having chili. I give her chili. If you have not seen soupy poop, you haven’t fed your kid chili. Good for you! I now know what soupy poop looks like and I would prefer to never know again.

7. On that same note, don’t put your kid to bed without pants. Seriously. Though, especially put pants on the kid on a night where chili was involved. Why you ask? They are just going to get their pants yucked up, you say. Yes, they will poop through their diaper and through their pants. It’s nothing compared to taking the diaper off and flinging it around the play pen. I only hear the horror stories second hand on that one. My partner got to deal with the aftermath of my feeding the child chili and then not putting her to bed with pants on. See # 3 – I’m a working mommy for a reason!

8. All the good cartoon characters talk to you. No, I don’t mean they are talking and have dialogue  I mean, they talk to you. So that you can answer and have a conversation. Don’t be surprised when you talk back or tap your toes to that song you have heard a billion and one times. It’s going to happen. Smile and nod and just let it go. There are worst things in life than telling Steve where the damn clue is.

9. There must be some sort of magic cleaning solution in baby wipes. Who needs soap and water? Who needs cleaning products? I wipe everything down with baby wipes. The kids hands? Sure. The kitchen table, you betcha! Anything that needs a good wipe down gets a baby wipe and elbow grease. So far, the only thing to defeat the baby wipe is my daughter’s cowlick. That hair is indestructible and incredibly impossible to tame!

10. The best sound in the world is my daughter’s laugh. In the last year, that is what I have learned the most. I will say, her tiny voice when she says small words comes in second place. I will do anything to make this kid giggle and laugh. Right now, that means she gets to jump on me, poke me in the eye, chase me around the living room on newly minted toddler walking toes. It doesn’t matter, at the end of a hard day, or at the end of a whirlwind roller coaster of a first year, motherhood boils down to that one thing.

The laugh.