Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Defining Success

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty. 

To find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” -Stanley/Emerson/Wiggam (?)

Source Link

I was trying to find a source for the above quote, but it looks like there is debate over the original write of this paragraph. See Quote Investigator for more information.

This might be one of the most powerful quotations I have ever come across about success. It's not only about success, however, it's about life in general, and it's a pity I can't pin it to any one person's ingenuity.

Read it again, read it a third time, fourth and fifth...

I am not a quotations person. I never remember what anyone says when it comes to "famous quotes." I mix metaphors, mix quotes, and I just don't keep any of that straight. I will, however, be attempting to memorize the above and keep it etched in my memory forever (somehow, or not, but I will try).


Because success is a concept that we all struggle with at some point in our lives, and we try to define success in so many different ways.

Or, if you're like me, you try to define how what you have done has failed (or you're a failure because xyz happened). I failed as a mother because this, I failed as a manager because that, I failed as a wife...sister...daughter because god-knows-what-else.

More often than not, I focus on the negative, and I forget all that makes my life of almost-thirty-five-years so incredibly successful as defined above...

1. I appreciate beauty - in children, in nature, in women, in men. In family, in my work, in my every day life.

2. I have won the affection of my beautiful child - every smile, every cuddle, every "mwah" is a reward for that success.

3. I find the best in others - in everyone I meet, this is my one goal. Makes me naive at times because I trust in others too much, but that's only because I'm looking for the best in them at all times.

4. I have sung with exaltation - who hasn't?

5. I have endured the betrayal of false friends - in my naivete while trusting others.

I can laugh more, I can do more to ensure that at least one life breathes easier because of me, I can continue to try to earn the respect of intelligent persons, and simply breathe easy.

How successful are you?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015, A Year of Growth

Dallas Arboretum, Summer 2015

Can every year be a whirlwind year? That's what I find myself thinking these days - every year goes by faster and faster as I age.

2015, however, has been a landmark year. First full calendar year as a mother, lots of ups and downs as is natural for such a year, some heartbreaking losses in the family, and many, many opportunities for growth.

It's appropriate, therefore, to take a few minutes in the first week of 2016, to reflect and analyze how the year went, what I learned, what went well, what didn't go so well, and everything in between. The reason I usually like to take some time to reflect is not to live in the past, but be able to move forward knowing that, hopefully, tomorrow will make me a better person than I was yesterday. Reflection is part of growing your identity, knowing who you are, and learning to accept who you are.

I have now been a mother for more than a year. If you've read my posts over the past year, you'll know that being a mom, and doing all the things that moms do, is what now defines me, and I absolutely love that. Being a mom is a tough job, and even though it gets progressively easier through the first year, you don't really know what you're getting into until it actually happens, no matter how much you read about it or people tell you about it. There are many similarities to the things that all newborns do (yes, they all cry, poop, babble), but your emotions, actions, lessons and maternal instincts are unique to you and your child. I didn't know I could love anyone as much as I love Little I, and the best thing is that I can show her all the love I want without even thinking twice (Do I kiss her every three seconds? You bet!). She is the center of our lives, and as time progresses, and she is learning to communicate better and better, things are becoming more fun. Every milestone in 2015 has been better than the other, and you'll find those outlined throughout the posts on this blog in 2015. It just seemed kind of impossible back in August 2014 that I would enjoy motherhood as much as I do now, given all the stresses and uncertainties of taking care of someone who needs you so completely to even survive.

While I've always been a bit of a worrier, becoming a mom has taken worrying to another level. This is perhaps the most negative realization of 2015 for me, and hence, I'm actively working on worrying less. It's hard work not to worry, when every little scrape and bump on your precious little child breaks your heart. We'll see what happens in the next year.

Going back to work was another tough part of 2015. I almost didn't go back in the first place, but I'm incredibly glad I did. I am able to make much better decisions now in the workplace than I could before I got pregnant - I'm not sure what that's due to, other than perhaps a level of maturity around what's really important in life. Don't get me wrong - work has been unbearably stressful at times this year; so much so that I've wanted to just not go back. At the same time, it has also been very rewarding to work through the tough and busy times and finish the year well enough to take a week off to do nothing but spend time with my family. Family is truly a blessing, and Little I is absolutely the best thing about our lives right now. And that's saying something since our life isn't so bad otherwise. :)

Fitness has been a challenge this year. I haven't exercised consistently, have gained weight (does that happen every year?), and I've felt much further from fit than I would like pretty much all of 2015. I'd have to actually look through my 2015 blog posts to see if I've talked much about being healthy at all. Time management has been a real challenge this year when it comes to finding the time to work out, eat healthy (this can be a time issue, believe it or not), while doing all the other things I had to do. I definitely did not prioritize health and fitness in 2015, and that's kind of a shame. I am hoping that things will be different in 2016 (is that another thing that happens every year?).

I have learned once again the value of family this year, and especially the value of having family around you. It's so nice to my one and only dear sister be close by as Little I grows up. She loves her aunt and uncle, and they can't live without her either. It's also nice to have my own aunt and her children around for myself. My parents and R's parents are a part of Little I's life due to the fabulous technology of Skype and Google Hangouts. They can't get enough of our little girl, albeit virtually. I so wish her grandparents were physically closer so she could see them all the time, but that's not the world we live in. Losing my grandfather this year was a big loss, and I so want Little I to have some good times and make memories with her grandparents.  I also continue to work through all the challenges that arise in a marriage once you have a child, along with the joys that you share as a couple. Marriage is a continuous work-in-progress, and so it should be. You're not meant to be with someone who doesn't challenge your ways and help you become a better version of you every day. Some days are not so easy for them either. But you live, laugh, cry and love together to be better.

In 2015, I read several more books than I read in 2014, and I'm hoping 2016 will be an even more enlightening year!

Maybe the more things change, the more they remain the same. Maybe I won't lose weight anymore. Maybe I won't change my eating habits as much as I would like. Maybe I won't be less of a worrier. Maybe I will only read as many books or less than in 2015. It won't really make 2016 bad, unless somehow I become a worse person than I was in 2015. I think as we all mature with age, we become more loving, more forgiving, more kind and perhaps more human. Here's to an awesome 2016!! :D

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Baby Communication

I'm taking a page from Stationary Waves' recent post and being a better person right now. I'm unhappy about waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep yet again, without having a wakeful baby to blame. So I'm choosing to channel my energy into documenting all the fun things my beautiful little baby is doing these days when it comes to communicating.

We generally think babies can't communicate because they don't have words. But their sheer genius is that the gift of crying to get their needs across from the moment they're born, in the simple attempt to survive. If you're a parent, you learned the hungry cry, the dirty diaper cry, the pick me up cry fairly early on.

However, the fun begins when the communication starts to become more mature, with a few words here and there. Little I has become pretty good at baby sign language and it's super fun because it's also a learning opportunity for R & I. I have already learned to sign more than a hundred words and am working on signing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"...haha.

Source: http://babysignandplay.com/wp-content/uploads/babysigns31.gif

While her first word was "Dad," and she can now clearly say "Mom" and a few other easy words, she can actually communicate by using sign language to say she wants to eat, wants milk, wants apples, and even tries to explain to Dad how she saw Christmas lights in the neighborhood, including stars, and "wow" (her actual word) they were amazing.

Before we had Little I, I had told R that it would be awesome if our baby could sign. I started signing for milk and all done early on, but admittedly gave up because of no reciprocation. I was apparently expecting returns too early because she started asking for milk and signing all done soon after she turned 10 months. They also learn sign language at her daycare, and I think that was a major reinforcement.

Over the past couple of months, it's as though her brain has made a ton more connections and she can immediately respond to new signs by trying to mimic them. I don't know all the signs they have been learning at school, but I believe this weekend we taught her rain, lion, star and rabbit. She is also doing some signs I don't recognize, which I'm guessing she is learning at school, and R & I try to figure them out

In addition, she has learned to point out various characters in her books which is so much fun for me. The interaction goes like this:

Me: "Where's the lion?" [while on a certain page in a book]
Little I: *points at the lion, does a half giggle and half nose puff thing* [because she is so proud of herself]

Here's the best part. She actually sees stars in places where I won't even notice and starts signing for star. Then I have to look around and actually find the stars for her to be satisfied. Given that it's the holiday season, there are stars everywhere and she sees them before any of us. Her favorite sign, though, is bubbles, and anything that looks like a bubble is vigorously signed at for acknowledgement, including polka dots on my clothes. She also loves signing cat so Dad will show her cat pictures while she eats dinner. Dogs at the park get a special, super-excited laugh, but she prefers to say "dog" more than sign the word.

There's a lot of giving back already; her hugs and kisses only get more and more rewarding for us. All the hard work of parenting over the first year seems totally worth it already, and we wouldn't change anything about our little girl. We had so much fun over the extended Thanksgiving weekend that it was difficult for both parents to go back to work today, and for Little I to go to school.

We are excited for words and more love and giggles to come!   

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Rollercoaster First Year

Wendy, the owl
For 2 months now, I have been trying to write about how my year went as a new mom. The fact that 2 months have passed by is testament to how I have had no time to do much other than be a mom...haha. If you've seen my previous birthday-related post, you know that Little I turned one in August and we had a little party to celebrate her birthday, but I hardly mentioned much about mom's year in that post.

After Year 1 of being a mom, I now believe the following...

...listen to your Mom. She knows a few things about being a parent.

       Of course, I didn't want to listen to her. She doesn't know how to parent today...she became a first-time mom over 30 years ago...right? Wrong! Many things my mom and my mother-in-law told me over the first few weeks stood true for me. And I can't thank my mom enough for all her help the first few weeks after Little I was born. While hormones were crazy and things were stressful, I appreciated everything that she did to cook, clean, and allow me to recover, while still taking care of Little I when I just needed to sleep for a little. Thanks, Ammu, you're the best!!  Although, I am not sure I still buy it that I will forget the pain of childbirth...hmmm...how bad did I say the pain was on that Wong-Baker Faces Pain Scale when I was in labor...? Hmmm.

...worry less; if your baby is still smiling (or crying)after a little (or big) tumble, they're okay.
        You'll never stop worrying completely, but you can worry a little less. I think over the past year, I've become less of a worrier. It's natural to worry - after all, you're now responsible for a human being's life like never before. Like really responsible. You can't just forget to feed them like you sometimes forget to feed yourself; you have to remember to always support their head in the first few months; you have to do everything for them. So when they are hurt or sick, it breaks your heart and you worry for their well-being. But I've learned through this year that babies are incredibly resilient.

...it's hard to let go.  

         As Little I has slowly gained more and more independence over the past year, from simple things like being able to hold her head up on her own, to taking her first few independent steps, I have found it exciting and sad at the same time. Even in just a year, she is more independent than she was when I gave birth to her, and so she should be. It's hard for a mom to let go, and now I know why my parents still think of me as a kid (as infuriating as that is sometimes).

...dads want to and can do more. 

        Really, it's true. You may be critical of their timing and their process, but they do want to help. I am guilty of asking for help, but not liking the help I received simply because R didn't do it my way. Yes, I admit, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to dumb little things and have given him undue grief about an improperly (?) put on diaper, too much crying from baby during bedtime, or simply not doing enough around the house. But he tries when he can, and volunteered to take on dinner-making duties, which saved me so much stress that I am eternally grateful for that gesture. Doesn't mean I won't complain about things not being my way sometimes, but I really have no excuse to always be in a bad mood. R is also taking on many a bedtime responsibility when all mom wants to do is collapse from exhaustion some nights.

...daycare isn't so bad after all.

           I almost didn't go back to work this year because, after nearly 6 months of being the primary caregiver to my darling little girl, I didn't know if anyone else could take as good care of her; I didn't know if I could live without having her by me every minute.  I felt guilty about leaving her with someone who wasn't her mom. Here's another way dad helped: we talked and talked and talked about what the right decision was for me. Would I regret staying home after a few years? Would I resent my daughter and my husband if I stayed home when my work life had been going so well prior to maternity leave? Would it be best for Little I if I stayed home? These are not easy questions to answer and they take time, thoughtfulness and much deliberation. Now, more than 8 months into life as a working mom, I am thankful for my husband's sound reasoning and support. Little I was always a smart little cookie, but having gone to daycare, I think she is learning so much more than I could have taught her at home by myself in her first year. I see her blossom every day and it's such an incredible joy. What time we spend together, I want to make sure is quality time, and I know I can still be the best mom I can be for Little I even if I'm not a stay-at-home mom.  I have also learned through my own experience and interactions with other new moms, that the decisions we've made along the way have thus far worked out for us.  There's an unbelievable satisfaction in knowing that you made the right decision, at least for now.

...this too shall pass. 

         Some days, this is the learning that gets me through the day. Remember the things I wasn't supposed to talk about? Well, all the spitting up passed slowly after the 5 month mark, almost all of it was done with by 7 months or so. Now, the occasional throwing up only happens when Little I is sick. It's still no fun to clean up vomit, but hey, this too shall pass.

 ...this is love like you've never known before. 

         Clearly, this list is not in ranked order because this is my foremost takeaway from this past year. I don't know if this love ever starts to lessen (I should ask my parents...haha), but I know over the past year it has grown exponentially. If I had opted not to have a child for some reason, I would never have known this incredible, overwhelming, heart-runneth-over, inspiring kind of love, and I'm so glad I do. I can't hug her enough or kiss her enough to let her know how much I love her. And the greatest gift is the hug and kiss back!

...fitness can be a state of mind. 

          I'm struggling more with fitness than I ever have before (and I think I've struggled with it all my life), and I can't really blame it on the baby. I want to blame it on work and the sedentary nature of life these days, but I think it really is all in my head. I have talked myself into a situation where I feel like I can't control my diet because things get so stressful, I don't have enough time to work out, I have too many other priorities and on and on and on. I don't have a solution to this problem of my state of mind, but hopefully some day I will find a permanent solution. Until then, we keep chugging along and trying when possible to lead a healthy life. 

...sleep isn't a sure thing. 

         Who knew sleep would be something relative? I went from functioning well enough while waking up every 2 hours to barely functioning with 5 hours of sleep. Little I has gone through phases of sleeping through the night, to regularly waking up once, to regularly waking up twice, and then sleeping through the night again. She has also gone from being relatively independent when falling asleep, to needing mom to rock her, to just wanting to play and play and play until she was too exhausted to fall asleep and just wanted to cry. I never really know anymore. We have a routine, we follow it, but each night there's something new. I'm sure this will continue for a while longer, so I'm not taking anything sleep-related to the bank.

Well, that's all folks! Hope you have a good night's sleep tonight and, if you're also a first-time mom, I hope your baby and you both have a relatively restful night. :D

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Lives and New Friendships for Life

I consider myself lucky to have met several of the ladies you see above shortly before our babies were born, and the remaining soon after. This picture was taken when Little I was about 6 months old.

Prenatal yoga brought us together, and the lives of our children will hopefully keep us together. Many of my close friends and family from Bangladesh have also had babies over the past year, but none of them live in Texas, so this group has become as good as family. We shared our aches, pains and pregnancy stories in yoga class before the little ones arrived in this world. Since their arrivals, we have shared our new-mom angst and stress, as well as the joys and celebrations of Year 1 milestones.

Just among the 7 of us, we have so many different ways of doing things, and yet, each of us are raising bright and happy little babies.  Some of us chose to breastfeed, others didn't; some babies slept well from the start, others not so much; some started crawling at 10 months, while others were walking; some got teeth at 6 months, while others don't have any even a year later! I value our diversity of thought and parenting styles so very much. We learn from each other every day and are able to do the best for our children, because we are the best parents for our respective child.

What we do have in common is that all of us are working, first-time moms. It has been equally hard for all of us to have our little ones go to daycare at the various stages over the past year, and many of us have second guessed our decisions to go back (if you read my blog, you know I'm in this latter group). We have all come out of the other end of our tunnel and at this point are very happy with our decisions as we see our babies grow and blossom.

We've shared tips about homemade food, little baby shoes, diaper creams, eczema treatments, expressed breast milk (supply, pumping, storage, transportation, you name it!), sleep schedules, poop details, and everything that you go through in the first year as new parents! So much changes in this first year, and it's amazing to have partaken this journey with such lovely ladies. I am so very thankful to have them in my life and the babies in Little I's life!

We perhaps haven't seen each other as much as I would have liked, but we've always known that each of us were around if we needed one another. When I think back to our first postpartum lunch, I laugh at how stressed out I was about the whole newborn-in-heavy-carseat and driving-alone-with-baby-in-the-backseat fiasco. And even that awkwardness was shared by one of these ladies and I didn't feel so alone. Parenting is hard, and being a new mom is super hard because you don't know if you're doing the right thing half the time. To have someone else feel the exact same way as you just makes things a tiny bit less hard, and you thank your lucky stars you aren't really alone.

It's been fun taking over restaurants with our babies and car seats, and just sitting around talking for hours about our cute little bundles of joy. We are now a core group of new mom friends, who have stayed in touch, shared many experiences over the past year, and I hope to remain friends for life, as we go through the lives of our one and almost one-year-olds! If I say so myself, this group of babies is the cutest I have ever seen and I love them all to bits. :-)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Very Special Year

It's almost 4am and I can't sleep. I'm not so worried about not being able to function tomorrow because, hey, routinely waking up once or more in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is part of a mom's life in the first year of their babies' lives.

My little girl just turned 1! Sleeplessness, as mentioned above and by almost every new parent, is the hottest topic of the first year (along with poop, runny noses, breathing difficulties, food allergies, etc.), but there's so much more that happened over this year that I can't cover in this post.

Little I was born a shining light in our lives and shines brighter every single day that we know her. I marvel at how far we've come, and how far she has come. Some of what I write today might be a repeat of what I've written before, as I've documented each month (or two) of the past year. Until you have a baby, you take every movement you make for granted. It's almost a miracle that babies are born healthy, as abnormalities in cell development can happen at any moment during the nine months of pregnancy. But all the accomplishments and milestones that happen throughout the first year are more than will ever happen again, when it comes to being a basic, functional human being. We learn throughout our lives, but we don't always have to relearn how to lift our heads, vocalize, turn, crawl, walk...

When I was pregnant, I told my husband that I didn't want to have a big birthday party for our kid ever, and that if I wanted to, he should vehemently tell me not to. Well, as the year went, and as Little I more and more independent, we both thought there was reason to celebrate. So we had a party for her after all. All her little baby friends came and Little I and the babies had a blast!

Who are we celebrating?

A little girl who...

...has gone from hating tummy time to now trying to walk - neck strength is clearly no longer a problem.

...has the cutest little giggle.

...drops her toys on the ground intentionally and says "oh-oh."

...loves threads, and is working on mastering that pincer grasp.

...who gets excited about her water cup, but doesn't actually enjoy drinking water.

...loves to eat (just like Mom!), and whose favorite food currently is cucumber.

...loves to have a good time. She partied so hard yesterday that she fell asleep in a guest's arms before everyone left.

...gives Mom the sweetest hugs, and won't let Dad go to work on her birthday.

...says "Yay!" and "Good Job" with only hand gestures and claps that her parents are ga-ga about.

...can't wait for her bedtime stories. 

...loves chewing on everything under the sun.

...is very concerned when other babies (or even adults) are upset around her.

...is the apple of her grandparents' eyes. Her aunt, Pichki, also can't get enough of her.

...can't get enough of her early morning weekend walks with Mom and Dad. She also can't get enough of the after-walk pancakes.

...adores her favorite owl named Olivia.

...has a ton of personality.

A little girl we call nut. A little girl who is ONE whole year old. A little girl we can't help but love and love and love and love...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Leap Frog Through Months 10 and 11

Little Missouri Fall, Arkansas

Oh boo, I missed writing a 10-month update on the blog. And I was being so good, too, until about the end of Month 9, and then it all just went off a cliff.

My ability to keep up went off a cliff, that is.

Work got hectic, life got busy, Little I got moving and here we are, past the 11th month of life for our little darling.

We have a crawler!! :) She is actually more into assisted walking at the moment, and it's amazing how quickly she went from just barely being able to crawl, to super fast crawling, to now wanting to try standing and funny walking. These changes happen in the blink of an eye, it seems, and the little uncoordinated baby that Little I was only 11 months ago is a pleasant, but distant memory.

And the jokes. She has to be the funniest baby ever! She plays jokes on Dad and Mom, loves a good chuckle, and her current favorite games include the following:

1. Peek-a-Boo
2. Stick your tongue out
3. Blinking
4. Clapping
5. Hi-Fives

In that order, too, I think.  The teachers at school say she is entertaining, in addition to being the loudest baby in class. This last part is surprising because both R & I are more quiet by nature, but we like to have a good time, and are probably more boisterous around Little I than we are with adults. She demands that we play and have fun all the time, and we oblige.

In her 11th month, Little I went on her first ever road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas to celebrate 4th of July as well as Mom & Dads's 5th wedding anniversary! Mom, per usual fashion, was worried about the long drive, but it was a shorter drive than other trips we discussed for the fourth of July holiday, and it seemed like a good compromise. It was actually a perfect distance/time, and Little I had a grand old time looking at the views, playing with me in the backseat, reading, babbling, and taking sporadic naps (same with Mom...hehe...do as baby does, etc.) Arkansas was very surprisingly beautiful, and we had a fun yet relaxing trip.

We've had some sleep issues since all the crawling and climbing started. Little I wants to spend her time playing and practicing her new mobility skills rather than sleep. I'm also working on (read, struggling with) having her not suck her thumb to sleep as I think it's causing some of her health issues. There were a few weeks of sleeplessness due to a bad ear infection as well resulting in my train of thought with regard to the thumb sucking. It's slow going, taking a lot of patience, and also sometimes heart wrenching (Remember I said Little I can be loud when excited? Well, it applies to her being upset as well!). I do think she is starting to get the hang of it.

Little I definitely says Mama/Amma now, but mostly when she is sleepy or upset. She knows Dad very well and gets super excited when he comes home from work. Mom is still getting lots of big smiles, and now extra cuddles when Little I is picked up from school. Bringing her home is the best part of my day, every day. I look forward to weekends more than ever before because we get to spend quality time as a family. Saturday morning walks and breakfast out has become a family thing for about 6 months now, and we all seem to enjoy it more and more every weekend. Little I absolutely loves the outdoors! She also loves water and this month has transitioned (finally) from the infant tub to the big tub and had a ball the first day forward.

She attended her first pool party and the first birthday of a friend in June! So much fun! If only Mom was savvy enough about kids' birthday parties to have known it was a pool party...Dad had to bring Little I's swimsuit from home so she could partake in the fun.

There are some words starting to be associated with things such as tree and light. Unfortunately, both words sound the same...haha.

That's already a lot and I know I've forgotten many details. This, however, is where we shall say goodnight, and hope to share some more with you after her first birthday at least!

R carrying Little I up some treacherous slick steps

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

9 Months of Life on Earth

Little I spent most of her 9th month on earth having fun with her grandparents on her mom's side. Hurray for grandparents! Now that they have gone back to Bangladesh, it is back to much less time for myself, but Little I was totally spoiled this month! There's nothing like grandparents, thanks, Ammu-Abbu!

This month has also been spent trying very hard to crawl. We've gone from going backwards, to creeping, to pivoting, to being able to rock on her knees, back to going backwards. She continues to just roll all over the floor to get to where she wants.

Lots of family visits this month, including meeting with one Aunt and cousin on dad's side! Their trip allowed Little I to learn some fun new games, visit the zoo for the first time in her life. She loved the snakes (!!) and reptiles, but I think mostly appreciated the long nap in the stroller. :)

She can now do a few things on command like clapping, doing a "touchdown" sign (YAY!!), and is just overall a happy baby who, just like her mother, and true to the name of this blog, loves to eat. So far, she has only rejected chicken...we might have a vegetarian on our hands.:)

We definitely are aware of how happy our little baby is, and how much she loves being outdoors, but I heard this month that the daycare teachers have a hard time getting her to smile. This isn't too much of a surprise, as we have a serious baby in general, who would rather observe than engage, but it still was a bit sad to hear that for me because it resulted in some more negative feelings about having Little I go to daycare. At least I know she is super happy to see me at the end of each day and I am privy to the best smile in the world!

MaMa is still a scarce commodity, much to the disappointment of mom.

Her nightly sleep has been very much punctuated by waking up at least once, if not more. I want to go back to the time she was sleeping for 10 hours at a time! But only want to go back with regard to sleep...everything else is much more fun now than every day before.

For mom, this month has been challenging, and fitness-wise, we have taken a few mammoth steps back since February when I went back to work. I did get a Fitbit for Mother's Day (thanks, hubby dearest!) so I'm hoping it will motivate me to get moving again. Here's hoping. 

There's so much a baby can teach you, and I never knew that this would be the case even though I've always believed that you can learn from every experience. Babies are super resilient, and while they look to you for queues, they easily get over upsetting situations (this could be because of their short memories), are amazing at comprehending feelings (Little I is very attuned to my physical and emotional state and definitely understands when I'm sick or upset), and are just naturally curious. It is wonderful to see how much they try to learn, and how quickly they learn things. What's even more amazing is how much you and I, as adults, take for granted. We forget so quickly that many of our simple actions, like using our index finger and thumb to pick up things, or the ability to walk, came from a series of (baby)step-by-(baby)step building blocks. As I watch Little I, I learn how much focus and energy it takes to learn how to roll from you tummy to back, or to learn how to prepare to crawl. The high-achiever instinct in me wants her to be crawling and talking already, but I have to catch myself and remind myself that she is building those foundational blocks that will allow her to one day do those things that we can only be thankful to have the ability to do as adults. While I learned in pregnancy how much of a miracle a healthy newborn is, as mother to a nine-month old, I learn how lucky we are to have the physical ability to do so many things we never give a thought to in a single day.

I didn't necessarily want to end on a serious note, but so be it. Short post, and quite late, but hey, it's up. Goodnight, world!

Monday, April 20, 2015

8 Whole Months of Cute!

When I tell people at work that Little I is 8 months old, they seem surprised that the time went by so quickly. Can you imagine my surprise then when this is likely the 8 months in my life that I remember every moment of most vividly? Discount for a minute the fact that it is the most recent 8 months of my life, and so it only makes sense that I have a great recollection of said days...

My point is: I can't believe Little I is more than 8 months old already! She is still tiny, especially compared to many other babies I see who are her age (or sometimes younger), but she has accomplished so much in her (baby) life! At the risk of repeating myself, I must say that every little skill learned, every new game understood and played, and every new expression is a cause for joy and pride not only for R & I as parents, but also for Little I as she masters her new accomplishments.

Ms. Master Roller has decided that because crawling isn't happening yet (she has been trying and trying and grunting and trying), she would rather just roll around until she gets to her toy (or Mom) that's out of reach. When we try to "play-walk," her natural state is to try to jump, or hurry up put her feet on the ground but quickly raise them up. It's hard to explain this one, but think of it as a baby's version of a cat running on a treadmill - without a treadmill. I can already see why kids prefer running.

She learned to play ball with Mom & Dad this month! She passes the ball back and forth with us, and enjoys the game a ton! This is a big achievement, and we're having just as much fun playing with her at this game as she is.

A walk with Dad at the Dallas Arboretum

Little I has had an appreciation for the outdoors from when she was less than 2 months old, when I started going out for walks at the park postpartum. She has always been an observant, somewhat serious, child, and always curious so parks and gardens just have a lot to offer such an active little observer. She loves being outside, and went on her first picnic this month.

She seems to recognize people a lot more - even "virtual" people. My parents just came to visit, and Little I seemingly had no trouble recognize her Skype family. Nana and Nanu can't get enough of their first grandbaby!

Finally, we heard Ma Ma! The Ma sounds are now present, but less often than Ba Ba or Da Da. I think it's only a sound still, and not a name for me, like Dad for R. 

I'm seeing more of my stubborn personality in her already. She's only 8 months! She throws mini tantrums when it's too late getting to bed, or too long for me to dress her after her nightly bath. Everything needs to be right now!

She is more social than I am, though. She seems to enjoy being at daycare with all the other babies, or in large family gatherings. She does have a bit of stranger anxiety at this point, and will frown at people, but she is more interested in looking at what they are upto than being afraid of them.

Little I sat in her first restaurant high chair just last week, a week past her 8-month birthday!!

That's all I seem to be able to recall right now. So much for that vivid memory...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Cute 7-Month-Old Bunny

Because I can't seem to meet the monthly updates on the dot, some updates may blend into the next month. However, we're within a week of Little I turning 7 whole months, and my updates will likely be close enough.

One of Little I's baby books
Little I's favorite activity can now be officially labelled as reading. This makes me so, so happy! :D I love to read, and she really enjoys reading. She actually has started turning the pages now, and it's the cutest thing. It's like she waits until she can turn the page, but really just want to turns the page the whole time. Her caregivers at the daycare center have commented on how much she seems to enjoy reading.

She learned how to kiss Mom & Dad this month! Well, they are kind of kisses, as they started off as my face being a teether, but over the past week or so, they've turned into little kisses of affection that are different from how they started. It's super duper cute and she gets so happy to be able to do it.

If I had been a mother back home in Bangladesh, I may not have realized how important a routine is for babies. While trying to establish Little I's bedtime routine has been a bit of trial and error, we have been consistent with a few things, and I think it has really helped her look forward to bedtime. She hardly cries anymore when she is put down on her bed to sleep for the night, and now she understands enough to know what comes after what, and anticipates things. I don't know if she will remember having a routine, but I know that she appreciates having one, even at this wee age.

I thought we'd be introducing more formula into her diet, but I'm still pumping enough a day to provide for her meals the next day at daycare. So we will continue for as long as I can handle it. She does have a little formula with her solids.

Speaking of solid foods, Little I has now had pears, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, bananas and cereal in her repertoire. She absolutely loves peas. Just seems to enjoy eating her solids a lot, which is hopefully great news for mom, but we'll see.

Little I is now sitting without support like a boss! She loves to play sitting up, and while everything still goes into her mouth, she seems to be able to distinguish the things among her toys that actually give her teething gums some relief. She loves Mom and Dad to be around when she plays and has lots of smiles for both of us. She is also making slightly more advanced attempts to creep...not sure when the crawling will actually happen, but there's progress toward it. 

I mentioned how her favorite activity was reading, but she does have a few favorite games that R & I play with her. Her favorite with dad at the moment is the sit up/stand up/jump in the air game. Oh the giggles that one gets! And with mom it's a game where her little stuffed puppy toy (Hillary-Willary) gives her kisses or mom gives her kisses in rapid succession...we call it the she-loves-it game.

A few health updates. Little I had her first cold with fever that required anti-biotics, and just last week had worst eczema flare up to date. It breaks a mother's heart to see her child ill or suffering in any way. Yes, I cried with her as she cried from the itchiness of her eczema, or when she struggled with her coughs. I have also had some surgery recently, so taking care of a nasty eczema flare up while not being 100% fit myself has been a challenge. Thank goodness for all the help that R has been able to provide during these trying few days. Unbeknownst to him, he has now likely become a permanent part of Little I's bathing, moisturizing and bedtime routine! Thankfully, my baby girl is showing good signs of healing and this too shall pass.

There are so many individual mommy posts I want to write: breastfeeding, eczema care, emotional development of an infant, changing moms, favorite toys and lots lots more! I just don't seem to have the time for those yet, and I don't know when it will come. At this point, the importance is on writing down how Little I is going through her first year, and hopefully I am succeeding a little bit!


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