Friday, November 2, 2012

Yes, my child just RAHH'd at you.

Well I know I haven't written a blog post in 6+ months. Or I should say I haven't posted one. I have about eight in the draft box but never seem to finish them. So here is a quick overview of the past few months..

Vedder started daycare around 10 months old and I got a full time teaching job at a preschool in July and love it but barely get to see Vedder so I overly make up for it by taking him to the zoo, park, museum, etc every weekend. His first birthday party went off great but then he got the stomach bug on his actual birthday so we never got to give him a cake and now he is 15 months going on 15 years old and I have no clue what I am doing.

This is exactly how my life feels right now - a long run-on sentence with no break. At the same time, while life seems to feel exhausting, I could not be happier! Vedder is growing into his own personality (oh, and what a personality it is!). I absolutely love being in my very own classroom. And my marriage seems to be in the best place it has ever been!!

But enough about all the happy things. Parenting is where I feel like I have absolutely no clue what I am doing. While Vedder's verbal and fine motor skills seem to be up to par ((due to my obsessive behavior to make sure he remains well educated even at 15 months)), it feels like sometimes I am dealing with a teenager! He has begun the temper tantrum phase where he will dramatically throw himself on the ground or strain to push tears out of his eyes if he doesn't get what he wants. As soon as the first tear falls he runs to me or my husband hugs our legs and throws his head back like it is the absolute end of the world. It truly is an Oscar winning performance. I have video taped a couple bouts and replayed them for him ((a tactic I have heard works with some children)) but initially thought maybe he wouldn't understand. When he watched the videos he laughs so hard at himself. That's when I realized we're screwed.

Along with the temper tantrum, there is hitting when he gets angry at us for taking something away ((or removing him from the kitchen after he successfully puts toys in the oven)). I sternly grab his hand and loudly say "No! We do NOT hit!" Surprisingly that stops that behavior in its tracks. But his newest this is.. well I don't really know what to call it.. growling, I guess. He makes this loud roar/yell at everyone. I mean everyone. When I come in smiling to take him out of the crib in the morning - RAHH! When the waiter wants to clear our table after we're done eating - RAHH! When the nice woman, man, cashier, grocer, person leans over and says "Hi little boy, how cute is he!" - RAHH! Everyone gets a RAHH! I smile, mortified and embarrassed, and say "Oh Vedder we don't yell like that at the nice people. We say hi!" ...RAHH!


It's funny because going through the new born phase a year ago, I always thought that was going to be the hardest part about becoming a parent. That phase where you lose your independence and 100% of your energy goes to now taking care of this child 24 hours a day. Then they begin to sit up, crawl, eat on their own, walk, run, fall, get hurt, become picky eaters, want to play with the gas stove or microwave their trains. Then you sit in the middle of the floor exhausted having been climbed all over, punched, bit, hit with a toy, and feel defeated. As you put your head down, covering your face with your hands and take a big breathe as not to scream at the top of your lungs, you begin to hear giggling. You uncover your face, looking up, seeing a very happy, healthy, smart, beautiful child who thinks all you are doing is getting ready for a new game of peek-a-boo. 

Damn it. I do love being a mom.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Detachment parenting

With all of this hoopla about attachment parenting going around, everyone seems to be an expert on how to raise kids. Well, everyone except me. I have no clue what I'm doing.

Before I became a mum I had it all figured out. "My son will NEVER sleep with us." "I will not put my child in front of the tv at such an early age." "I will only feed my child 100% natural, organic everything." Ha! I do feed him all natural, healthy food, but when an organic apple is $7 more than a "regular" apple, I'm going to be cheap. And when sitting him in the walker in front of Yo Gabba Gabba means I can actually pee without a little human trying to crawl on to my lap, then "listening and dancing to music is AWESOME!"

Even after Vedder was born, I still stuck by my guns in not letting him sleep with us.. for like the first few months. Going against every doctors' order, I began to nap with my little man. Then when teething started, so did the co-sleeping. I guess I could have used the excuse that I was trying to bond with my child and let him know that mama and daddy are going to be here throughout all the pain he's going through. But that really had very little to do with him sleeping with us. It was more like "Wait, if he sleeps with us, we'll sleep through the night ((for the most part)) and not have to get up 100 times and walk to his room to comfort him and feel like a normal human in the mornings again?? LETS DO IT!" It was, for the most part, a selfish decision. I'm not saying I totally regret it; I did sleep well for a while and the cuddle time was priceless. But now, ten months old, 26 lbs, and a linebacker in training, those cuddle sessions at night have turned into pulled hair, jabs to the ribs, and enormous headaches in the morning that resemble hangovers, without the joy of actually drinking. And Vedder, he wakes up happy and energetic as ever, not realizing ((or maybe realizing)) he was training for MMA in his sleep using Michael and I as punching bags.

So, let the sleep training begin!!

This started out as awful as you probably think. Friday night was Vedder's first night out of mum and dada's bed. Cold turkey. Which means, I slept on the floor in his room while he woke up every hour and cried in his crib until I brought him down to sleep with me on the floor at 4 am. Saturday night I went to bed at 8pm by myself. When I woke up Sunday morning and walked out to the living room, my only assumption, looking down at Vedder and my husband sleeping on the floor, was that Saturday night went alot like Friday night. And Sunday night? Yep. Same as Friday and Saturday.

So after a weekend of no sleep, I turned to the only reputable source that I knew would offer me the greatest advice. Facebook.
Status Update:
Last night Vedder slept on the living room floor with Michael. Tonight, he's sleeping on his bedroom floor with me. As soon as he is asleep we try to transfer him to his crib but he wakes up screaming. No more in mama and daddy's bed, but the floor with us is just as bad!! How do we get him sleeping in his own crib again?! ((yes, I know we should have done this months ago..and months ago he was sleeping fine in his crib. Then teething happened))
Sometimes I really miss the nights when my late night statuses would be drunken slurs of song lyrics and how I am making memories I will never remember with friends I'll never forget. 
Ugh. Parenthood. 

Then I waited. But not long. The advice came flooding in via comments, messages, emails and texts. General consensus: Cry It Out! The overwhelming empathy was reassuring. There were also multiple responses to my post encouraging co-sleeping, that it benefits the child and solidifies the parents bond, and I shouldn't feel guilty. I dont feel guilty that I'm sleeping with him. I know he'll eventually learn to sleep on his own. And, like I said before, my reasons for bedsharing were more selfish than maternal.

So we decided to do the "cry it out method" mixed with our own twist on the "happiest baby on the block" method. But since my maternal heart strings get plucked every time I hear Vedder cry, my husband took bedtime duty for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night. Monday night, we kept our pre-bed routine the same. Pjs. Bottle. Book. Then Michael took Vedder and I stayed away. From the other room I could hear some grunts of protest. My husband ended up rocking him to sleep with music playing, then put him in the crib. He woke up at 1:30 and 2:30, then slept until 6:30. Tuesday we decided no more rocking. We also altered his naps during the day ((45 min am nap & 2 hour pm nap)). I am thinking this was a major change that needed to be made as well. At night we kept the same pre-bed time routine as always. Then Michael swaddled him tight, like we do for naps, turned on the music, and turned off the lights. A few cries but after five minutes, Vedder was fast asleep. I think he may have woken up once or twice in the middle of the night and up for good at 7 am. Wednesday was Michael's last night of bedtime duty for the week. And boy did he go out with a bang!! Normal bedtime routine. Swaddle. Music. Out like a light!! Then not a peep until 7 am on Thursday. Since I had bedtime on Thursday night it went similarly, except I got a few whines, but sleep quickly after and thru the night.

Our one week of sleep training was a complete success!! Not only by the end of 7 days were we getting full nights of sleep, but so was Vedder. I think this had a MAJOR effect on his day at daycare too ((less tears, more playing)).

Now let's just keep our fingers crossed that these full nights last..

Monday, March 19, 2012

Race you to the park??

Most of my posts have been about the good mixed with the bad. I am finding it very therapeutic to write about the difficult things of becoming a parent. I very rarely ((if ever)) want to ask for help. And when I feel overwhelmed and write, getting responses from people about how they feel the same way makes this chaos feel a little more normal.

However this post is only about the good. Actually the GREAT!! This morning Vedder and I went to music class where we sang and wiggled wih about 20 other families. Clapping and singing away the case of the Mondays. And now I am sitting in the park writing this blog while Vedder takes a nap in his stroller. The sun is shining and it's 70 degrees out. By the way, it's March 19th. As soon as he decides to wake up he will have a bottle and then we will go play on the slide and swings. This is one of my most favorite parts of being a parent, being able to be a kid again.

Having a child gives you so many great excuses. Don't want to go out? "Oh no. We can't get a babysitter." ((which sometimes back fires when you do want to go out and really cannot get a babysitter)) Want to leave a family party early before all the usual family drama goes into effect? "Gotta get baby home to bed!!" But my favorite excuse that I use so often it is starting to create a problem: "Household chores? Cleaning? Laundry? Dishes? They can wait. Baby wants to go outside and play!!" I am a daycare teacher and more often then not find my energy skyrocketing on the walk home from work due to excitement about being able to roll around and play with Vedder. I get so excited, like a kid, when I see the forecast for the week and know that it is quite possible that the park and zoo could fill up very day in the week.

And while the dirty clothes may start to pile higher than my son when he's standing, it's ok because we'll be outside everyday this week so we won't have to see all the laundry.

Race you to the park??

Happy Spring, Everyone!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dinner for Two

In the few month before I was pregnant, I was the skinniest and healthiest I had been in my life, weighing 128lbs . Like always right?? Then this miracle comes along that you couldn't be happier about, but brings with it added hormones, pains, and weight. And extra 43 lbs to be exact. After I had my linebacker of a baby at 9lbs 4oz, I had lost 1/3 of the baby weight just in delivery. I was psyched! By the middle of September I had lost half the baby weight. I was taking zumba classes, going on daily walks with Vedder and on my way back to that fun, fit girl I was before the bun in the oven. Then the winter months rolled in. And like most women, I blamed my plateau-ing of weight loss to the holidays. But now it's March. And I'm gaining weight again!! Yes I've checked a million times, scared to death. And no I'm not pregnant again, thank the universe!! But what is it?? I'm just as active. Back to work part time, still going to daily walks, even using what little arm strength I do have to carry a stroller up and down subway stairs a few times a week.
Then it hit me. Even though I wasn't eating ice cream everyday anymore like I did my entire pregnancy ((Mr Softee chocolate soft serve with a cherry dip)), I was still eating for two. Everyday. And I don't have the excuse that I need more calories because of breastfeeding, since my son takes formula. I try to portion myself. And over all I eat healthy: whole grains, veggies and fruit, chicken, and very little red meat. But five minutes after a normally portioned meal I am starving and feel that I need to eat all over again!!
Many other moms I have talked to have sympathetically said "you only had Vedder seven months ago! Its taken me years to finally get the baby weight off." And while comforting to know that the struggle I'm experiencing is normal, it doesn't change the fact that I have three weddings this summer, two of which I am a bridesmaid in a short, flirty, summer dress.
So come on, Stomach, shrink back to the tiny size you were summer 2010!! ...oh wait, its not that easy.. ok maybe I should try something else then..

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A baby is not just a cute accessory.

It's comical how upsetting the news of Snooki's pregnancy made me. Not that I don't think she will be a fit mother. I don't know her personally, nor do I really care to watch Jersey Shore, but I'm sure like most reality tv shows its not as "real" as it may seem.
What made me most upset was how society today sees children as accessories. Again, not that Snooki herself is seeing her pregnancy in this way, however this is how media and society is viewing it. "Will she give up the Jersey Shore for good?" "No more wild nights at Karma for Snooks." "Snooki's giving up the drinks and having a little meatball of her own." Funny how every media outlet is talking about how sad it'll be for her to give up the Jersey Shore and partying. Well, maybe not so much as funny, but sad how that's the focal point society is going with on this story.
I also have a strong strong distaste for those teen mom shows. I have never watched one and never will. I think that teenage pregnancy is not something that our society should be praising and celebrating. While I know a few ladies who were teenagers when they had their babies and are excellent, supportive and amazing mothers, I also know most of them will say it was far from easy. And that they didn't have MTV knocking on their door when their little one arrived. Girls now a days are becoming younger and younger mothers. Yes children are fabulous. Yes the feeling of being a mother is the most rewarding, fulfilling thing in the world. Yes after I had my son my heart feels like it could burst with all of the love I feel everyday. But no, not everyday is easy. No, I do not have the same relationship with my husband I did before Vedder was born. No, my heart isn't the only thing that bursts. Sometimes it's my eyes full of tears because I feel so overwhelmed I can't speak and just cry. These are things young women don't think about before they get knocked up. With that said, I know a few precious little ones who came from "oopsies" who are probably among the most loved children in the world. But society today takes parenthood as the new fad. The thing to do. Everyone is getting pregnant. You should to! I'm sorry to break the news to you girls.. A baby is not a cute accessory.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Name Game

Last week I posted on my parenting facebook page, Little Lives ((, asking people to tell me about how they named their child. I gave a quick overview of how we wanted our son to have a musical name and added a list of names we were considering. Then I stated when he was born my husband turned to me and said "Vedder," after Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, and that was it. His name is Vedder Ron. Ron after my papa.

But so much more goes into naming a child than just saying "I like this name" or "Let's name him after this family member/musician/influential figure." While I was pregnant, when ever people asked if we had a name picked out I would always say, "We have a few, but we're waiting to see him to decide a definite." Which was true. But really I wanted to say, "I have no clue and I'm putting it off until he is born because I cannot decide what to name him because no matter what I pick he will be stuck with it for the rest of his life and I am not sure I can handle such a crazy responsibility!" Yes, that long run-on sentence was exactly what was going through my mind every time some one asked. And yes, I do know that the actual parenting and raising a child is a much bigger responsibility, but for some reason I was more understanding of that than I was of picking a name. I couldn't get over the fact that I was naming a HUMAN!

And public opinion did not help at all. When people would ask about names would we're contemplating, the looks we would get after we told them were, for the majority, puzzled. Michael and I had chosen names like Harrison, Lennon, Vedder, Hendrix, and Bohnam. All, of course, after very influential and amazing musical artists. We decided early on we wanted our child to have a different name. My husband, Michael, and I, Caitlin, have very common names. As individuals we do not find ourselves so "common." Music has been a big part of both of our lives and we wanted to incorporate that somehow in the name. Everyone had their opinion of course, which doesn't make the task of naming a human any easier! Many people thought our son's name should have been Michael, after my husband of course, and my father. Michael and I nipped that one in the bud real quick. We both new we wanted him to come into this world his own person. So chosing a last name from someone influential seemed to be fun, different, and unique.

While we had a list of names, we also had our own favorites. Michael loved Vedder from the beginning, and mine was Hendrix. Cobain was another choice we had, being my husband's musical idol, but then comes the explaining to the child how his name came about and who we named him after. Vedder is a very distinct name. It is actually not even Eddie Vedder's real last name. It is his mother's maiden name that he took on. Eddie as a musician and philanthropist is something I can proudly say I support. Standing up for human rights, against odds and voicing his opinion very publicly, but also peacefully, is very much like myself. His screaming Rock'n'Roll heart, well that is my husband. So in the end naming him something different was more a part of us than we originally thought.

...And his middle name, Ron, after my papa... Well that is a whole other blog post in itself. Let's just say if Vedder even has half the heart and spirit my papa did, he will one day change this world as we know it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Me became we, then became he.

While I did dedicate this blog to writing about the good and the bad that comes with parenthood, I don't think I realized just how hard it would be. To write I mean. I have kind of settled with the reality of how hard actual parenthood is. I have many saved drafts of posts that I just cannot seem to finalize. And the one below I think has taken the most time, and is still a difficult learning challenge we are living with daily as parents now.

Me became we, then became he. 

The past six months have been, for lack of a better metaphor, a rollercoaster. From the highs of seeing our infant grow into this babbling amazing personality-filled baby, to the lows of post-partum and hormonal change, it has all been an experience. However, no one told us that we would lose

Since the day Vedder was born my heart has never felt so full!! At the same time, I have never felt such heartache. Michael and I found that we were no longer husband and wife. We were Mama and Daddy. Our conversations about life were only about Vedder. Even though they were great conversations about how we cannot imagine life without him, they were only about him. Then there were the fights. I am a Leo. I am stubborn and loud and always right. I think fighting in a relationship is just as important as loving. Both very passionate emotions and with enough balance are essential to a passionate relationship. However, after a baby the fighting definitely out weighs the loving. I resented my husband for being able to leave every morning to go to work while I was on maternity leave. He got an hour to himself on the way to work and an hour on the way home to listen to his ipod, read the newspaper, or just be alone. I was never so happy to hear his keys in the door so I could take ten minutes to shower. The sleepless nights, the heartache of not being able to breastfeed, and the pain of a healing c-section were all so hard to deal with. Then I would look at this absolutely beautiful life we made and feel so guilty for all the bad feelings. Then again I would look at Michael and blame him, regardless if he deserved it, for me feeling so emotionally messed up!!

Then one afternoon while the baby cried and changing, feeding, and rocking didn't work, and Michael got aggravated and I yelled, we finally realized it. "Now I know why people get divorced," Michael said. Now reading this you may be thinking Oh no!! That's so sad. However, that isn't what I thought at all. I thought, "yes, you're right!" Don't jump to any conclusions. We are NOT getting divorced. Not even close!! If anything this revelation we had actual cleared things up and put us on the path back to husband and wife. It was then that we realized we had lost our way and needed to make changes as parents and spouses to avoid the "D" word.

Now as Vedder nears seven months, we are not completely back to normal. Nor do we think we ever will be. We have changed as individuals and as a couple since our little chunk came into our lives last summer. We have accepted that change and are now embracing it. Getting back to the new us is an everyday effort. The challenge of starting a family, raising a child, and keeping a marriage is huge but totally worth it. Moments like right now. Me curled up on the couch typing my blog with Michael and Vedder playing on the floor in front of me. All of us are smiling and life feels full.

Me plus He and Baby makes Three. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

look back on the first six months

Today my baby boy is six months old. SIX MONTHS OLD!! A few days ago my husband and I sat and watched videos from when Vedder was first born. While our 20lb linebacker-in-training slept in the other room, Michael and I couldn't begin to remember how he looked coming into our lives only a half year ago. So much has changed in our lives in those few months.

This blog post is more for me, to reflect on where the HELL the time has gone and how my little Lang went from a dream come true in my tummy to a little man sitting up on his own with two teeth!!

JULY 31, 2011
Michael and I packed a bag and took the N train to the 6 train to Mount Sinai Manhattan. I was admitted at 10 p.m. and in a last stitch effort to have a natural pregnancy I blasted music on my lullabelly and danced around the hospital halls.

AUGUST 1, 2011
I was induced around 1 a.m. Long story short, after being in labor for 18 hours, the doctors informed me the baby was stuck and I would be brought into the OR for surgery. At 7:48 p.m. Vedder Ron Lang was born and our lives changed forever.
AUGUST 5, 2011
After being in the hospital for a little over four days, it was time for Michael and I to head home plus one.

And while I was more than thrilled to finally get my Little Lang home to see everything we have prepared for him over the past few months, NO ONE could have prepared me for what it was going to be like. Looking back now on those first few days home alone ((Michael had to head back to work right after I got out of the hospital)) it all seems like such a blur with a lot of "WTF" mixed in.

AUGUST 8, 2011
Vedder's First Pediatric Appointment ((also known as Mama & Daddy's first chance to ask the doctor "What the hell are we doing??")) Of course, Vedder was 100% healthy and growing in the 95 percentile. Way to go little man!!

Vedder turns 1 month!!

Like I said, that first month was a blur, filled with friends and family visiting, the overwhelming reality of overnight feedings equaling never sleeping again, and his first full smiles melting all other aggravations away. At his first month check-up, Vedder weighed 11 lbs 8 oz, and once again growing healthy and strong. By this point I was breastfeeding less and less. Vedder never really latched so I was pumping which became such an emotional and physical struggle. So with every ounce of my being, I had to unwillingly make a decision to stop supplementing and feed him strictly formula. To this day, this decision is still hard for me to deal with.

We went on our first road trip as a family!!

Michael and I have done the 4 1/2 hour drive between NYC and Plymouth, MA many times, probably combined over 30 times back and forth in the past 4 years. However, with a baby it is a TOTALLY different story. The drive was the same. Vedder slept through the whole thing. One thing we did not account for was what a 5 hour nap will do to a baby. We arrived in Plymouth around midnight and when he awoke to have a bottle at that time, he was ready to party!! It ended up taking us 3 days to get him back on schedule. Our stay was only 5 days. By the time we got back to NYC, I think it took all three of us two weeks to get back to normal. ((Thankfully our second road trip went a LOT smoother.))

While in Massachusetts, we had play dates with new friends, met a lot of family, saw the ocean for the first time, and went apple picking.

OCTOBER 4, 2011
Vedder's 2 month appointment!! Our chunk weighed in at 14lbs 1oz!! Around this time he also began teething. Drool, drool, everywhere!!

OCTOBER 18, 2011

After almost three months off, I headed back to work. Because of it being financially cheaper, I have only gone back to work part time. This was a very bittersweet moment. As much as I loved being home with my little one all day, I am not the type of person that can just be a stay-at-home mom. I give those women A LOT of credit! My ADHD wouldn't allow me to be a productive stay-at-home. I found that I was able to appreciate my time home with Michael and Vedder much more when I was away for the day. With that said, I actually RUN home to see them everyday. It's such a great feeling. 

OCTOBER 29-31, 2011
OUR FIRST HALLOWEEN!! I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. How can you not love dressing up  with the reward of candy!! For the past few years, of course, I have taken the more "adult" route with a skanky costume and a blurry night with friends ((even 2010, when just two weeks later we found out that a little Lang was baking in my oven)). For Vedder's first Halloween costume we couldn't decide for weeks. Pumpkin? Every baby is a pumpkin. Monkey? Cute, but still common. Then I saw it. The cutest costume and so fitting since I call him my little toots. A skunk! All together we had two great weekends filled with holiday festivals, parties, and of course walking around with trick or treaters! A fabulous first Halloween!!

November 12, 2011

We got our first set of family photos done at Sculpture Park in Queens. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and a very interesting experience trying to get a 2 1/2 month old to sit still for pictures. I am guessing that it will probably just get even more difficult as he gets older. However, we got some amazing candid photos of our little chunk.

NOVEMBER 24-28, 2011

Because Daddy works every Thanksgiving, Vedder and I decided to take a mama & baby trip to Plymouth to see my family for the holiday weekend. It was the first time traveling alone with a baby and I am thrilled to say it went FANTASTIC! We took Amtrak from Penn Station to South Station, Boston. The ride was amazing and the people working on the train were so unbelievably helpful! We had a blast!

This trip was much more relaxing than the last to Massachusetts. I was able to enjoy the beautiful New England fall weather and walk along the waterfront a few times, showing Vedder where mama grew up.

DECEMBER 5, 2011
Miracle on 34th Street. We took Vedder to meet Santa and he loved him!! While there were many children screaming and crying around us, Vedder kept starting at the dancing and singing bears and blinking lights. When it came time to actually head in to meet him, I had prepared myself for a breakdown. Instead we got all smiles and such a rewarding experience. 

DECEMBER 22, 2011
Vedder cuts his first tooth!! Let the fussiness and sleepless nights begin!!

DECEMBER 24-29, 2011
Christmas celebration all around. From Queens to Manhattan to Massachusetts, it was a full few days of celebrating Vedder's first Christmas with family and friends. And while the presents were plentiful, I think Vedder enjoyed the food the most. Christmas Eve was the start to solids and so many fantastic photo-ops!!

DECEMBER 30, 2011
Not-so-Little Lang's 5th month appointment was successful weighing in at 18lbs 10oz!!

JANUARY 1, 2012

JANUARY 12, 2012
More sleepless nights and tears equal the welcoming of tooth #2!!

FEBRUARY 1, 2012
My little baby boy is not so little anymore. This 20lb Chunka is rolling around and becoming the new boss of our apartment. He has a new play area, sleeps in his own room now, and loves playing hide-and-seek. His once little coos are now loud belly laughs and happy screeches. 

Mama and Daddy are beyond in love with our amazing boy and so excited for the next six months!!