Dear Lucy – One Year

I’m late on this letter because I didn’t know how to start it, or what to say. Even now, tears are stinging my eyes just thinking about you at one year old.

You are incredible. You’ve developed this great sense of humor, and you laugh when Dad and I are funny, or if you do something you think is funny. That’s right, you laugh at your own jokes.

You are very adept at telling us what you want – you point, reach and say ‘dat’. When I get you up in the morning, you always want to snuggle at least one stuffed animal. I’ve never seen a baby who loves her stuffed animals the way you do. Often, you need three or four in your arms, clutched to you. It’s sweet, and it melts my heart.

I’m so proud of what a good eater you’ve become! You LOVE chicken. In fact, you’ll eat pretty much any meat we put in front of you, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. Clementines are still you’re favorite fruit (Dad calls you his little cutie) and you love mangoes. Recently you decided you’d give bananas another shot, but only if you get to hold it.

And just like Dad, you love Italian food. (Just like me, you like your back rubbed and you love soft things.) You still sing and dance all the time – even the sound of whisking an egg is a good enough beat for you to dance to.

I wish I could write down all the sweet little things you do, just in case I forget them. Like the way you pull out your binky the second you see a bottle in the morning. Or the way you quack at ducks. How you pat my arm in the morning when I pick you up. Or when you’re shy and hide your face in my shoulder, then turn to give a little smile. You wave hi and bye bye (you say it, too), and you push our face away when you don’t want kisses.

Your sweet kisses! Lately they’ve become open mouthed, even for the dogs. You also gives hugs, now. I love it. Sometimes, especially lately, you just want Mom. It’s the best feeling in the world to see you reach for me, and lay your head down on my shoulder. It hurts in the best way, because I know you’ll grow up so fast.

You’re so curious. You want to understand how things work, what’s under here, what’s in that pocket. You like the hide things under blankets, pillows, the couch, anything. And then the surprise when you find it again!

In general, you love to be surprised. If you’re cranky in your high chair waiting for a meal, I will do the elevator trick behind the counter, then pop up. It never fails to make you smile and laugh.

But there are things you’re not so fond of…pants, for example. Having your diaper changed. When we don’t let you go face first down the stairs or off the couch. When I don’t let you play with the dog toys. Getting into your carseat (you seem fine once you’re buckled in). Having your face and hands wiped when you’re messy.

I could gush over every little thing you do. You are incredibly, and we are overwhelmed by how lucky we are to be your parents.

Dear Lucy – Month Eleven

I can’t believe you’re almost a year old. Even though we still call you Honey Badger, it is clear you do care quite a bit about Dad and I. You’ve become so attached, sometimes you get upset if I leave the room just for a moment. I won’t lie – I love it.

At your most recent pediatrician appointment, we were asked if you show us what you want. At the time, you weren’t, but you definitely show us what you DON’T want. You continue to be opinionated, just like mom.

Your favorite foods are yogurt, strawberries, and clementines. You love feeding yourself, but sometimes you just don’t feel like it and still want to be spoon fed. You’re adventurous with your tastes – I think people are surprised to find you’ll eat salmon, chicken, black beans, zucchini, almost anything. Dad is still somewhat heartbroken at your banana aversion, but maybe you’ll get over it.

You love to dance, play ‘where’s Lucy?’ (where you pop out from behind furniture, or under blankets), and walk along the furniture. You’re standing on your own now, but haven’t taken any steps yet. Soon, I think. Doors still hold your interest. You close the door to your room, swing it back and forth, and now you’ve discovered cabinets.

Your vocabulary hasn’t expanded much yet – dance, dogs, duck and recently, Jack. You also say ‘look’ but I don’t think you know what it means. In the morning when I get you from your crib, you love to snuggle a toy and give it kisses, and recently you’ve started petting things, as well.

Your hair has gotten thick! It’s still white blonde, and so soft. Your eyes are still blue, I think they’ll stay that way.

You love to play with your cousins, and they sure love you, too. Delilah and Boston are particularly smitten, and it’s adorable. They love to hand you toys and get you to say ‘dog’.

I’m so blown away by you. Dad and I both are. You are sweet and funny, determined, and so, so beautiful. We love every day with you, Lucybear.

Dear Lucy – Month Two

Dear Lucy,
As I write this you are currently swinging to the sounds of a babbling brook, which is the only thing that seems to soothe you today. So all the advice about letting babies nap in a swing is thrown out the window because you NEED to get a nap.

At two months old, your personality is really coming through. Stretching remains your absolute favorite thing, and interrupting your post-nap stretching routine leads to some pretty serious brow furrowing. Your favorite place? The changing pad. Don’t know what it is about that spot, but you love it.

This week we bought you a play mat with a kick piano, and even though hearing those same four tunes is driving me a bit mad, I can’t resist letting you play on it because it makes you so happy. The past couple weeks you’ve really been discovering the world around you, and it feels like you’re becoming a tiny person now.

Every day when Dad gets home you guys have a little dance party in your crib (you’re very into Odesza right now), and it just about breaks my heart every time. You smile freely and often, and those smiles really light up this house. Usually you smile when you first wake up, or when we make funny noises for you. Or right before you spit up… You are also pretty chatty – Dad and I must sound really weird repeating your noises back to you, but we do it anyway.

Lately you seem to get frustrated that you aren’t more independent and mobile, you seem to want to walk and crawl and be off on your own, but I will keep you close for a while longer.

Last night Dad and I talked about traveling the world with you and showing you things none of us have seen. It’s hard not to look forward to when you’re older, but I know I will miss these early days, even though they have been hard. It’s very strange to be with someone all day who is changing so quickly, when as an adult I feel as though I never change.

I can’t wait to see what the next months brings – fingers crossed for more sleep.

Love, Mom

Dear Lucy – Month One

Dear Sweet Lucy,
Today, you are one month old. And it’s been a hard, strange, wonderful month.

I knew I would love you, but I was not prepared for the tightening in my chest when I look at you, or the heartbreak when you clutch my finger. Loving you is overwhelming and difficult, and also comes so easily.

You love a good stretch, and will often spend 5 minutes groaning and stretching when you wake up or finish nursing. Speaking of waking up, you seem to fight it sometimes and whine (“Five more minutes, Mom”). You also make the greatest faces, and I’ve been trying to get photos of them all before you outgrow them. Your sweet, gassy smile is my favorite, and I can’t wait until you smile at us because you mean it.

For the first week we brought you home, you made this adorable snorting sound when you were hungry. Sadly you stopped and I already miss it.

You grunt in your sleep, and you can’t decide whether you love or hate to be swaddled. The dogs still don’t know what to do with you: Ridley just wants to play, and Midas is quietly cautious. You love the swing and the bouncer – but only for 30 minutes, max. You only weigh 7.5 pounds, but I’m so proud of your weight gain since we left the hospital.

Sleeping is still unpredictable – some days you nap well and sleep well at night, others you won’t go down all day and fuss after every night feeding. In short, you’re a newborn baby.

I can’t believe it’s already been one month with you. Time seems to be flying by and while I’m excited for you to continue to grow and develop, I also wish I could hold on to each day with you and keep you just as you are. I’ve spent hours trying to memorize your tiny hands and feet, and I’m gripped with fear that I’ll forget the details of these early days with you.

You’re the best thing we’ve ever done, baby girl.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 37

I’m a day late on this, having hit 38 weeks this morning, but that’s OK.

Exciting news! My OB told me that Baby Girl is very low and could come any day!

Or…it could be weeks.

So, the news isn’t really that exciting, honestly.

I’ve been feeling pretty good. 90% of the time I’m fine, the other 10% I’m begging Chris for a time machine so we can fast forward to when baby is here and I’m not pregnant anymore.

My hands are still swollen, and it’s worst at night. Sometimes I can barely close my hand enough to turn a doorknob, and they often go numb. It’s uncomfortable, but at least there is an end in sight.

Last weekend we completed a massive shopping trip at Babies R Us to get ‘everything else’ – although I’m sure there are things we’ve forgotten, or will need more of, or didn’t realize we needed. The nursery is almost finished and it’s mostly down to hanging decor on the walls.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty ready for baby to be here. I know it will be incredibly hard, but at this point I feel like I have done everything I can to prepare and we’ll just have to wing it on the rest.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 36

Oops! Missed Week 35.

This week my sisters in law and friends threw a gorgeous baby shower for Baby Girl – lots of yummy food and an adorable onesie making station. In general I feel pretty uncomfortable at parties thrown for me, but it was fun to celebrate with everyone and it made me realize how close we are to the end.

I finally bought a book about raising a baby, and I’ll have to do some cramming over the next few weeks. To be honest – I don’t know how to change a diaper, or bathe a baby, or anything, really. I am very much counting on instinct to kick in, but I’ll also be studying up.

Physically, I’m starting to be uncomfortable more often than not. The days are still relatively easy, but by the end of the day my back hurts and I feel stretched and exhausted. I’ve also been getting charlie horses in the middle of the night, and my hands are so swollen that it hurts to bend my fingers most of the time. Describing it makes it sound worse than it actually is. Most of the time, I feel totally normal. But there are times (right now, for instance) that my back is killing me and I just want to sleep through the next few weeks.

The nursery is really coming together, and Chris and I are planning on wrapping up everything this weekend. We have a list of what else we still need (mainly diapers and onesies) that we’ll take care of and hopefully just be able to relax for a little while before the baby comes.

Even though I don’t want to be pregnant an extra month, now that we are so close to being done it would be really nice to have an extra month of just Chris and I, before our life is turned upside down.

I haven’t developed any additional stretch marks (at least that I can see) other than the few that showed up a few weeks ago. Belly button is still an innie, feet and hands are pretty swollen though. My eyes have also been puffy – I think I’m just swollen in general. So, things are going well and I’m really just counting down.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 34

I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve had as bad a sweet tooth as I have right now. I made sure we didn’t order any Girl Scout cookies because I do not have the self control to stop myself from eating a box of Samoas in a day.

We finally made some progress on the nursery: the crib is painted and assembled, and I made the pom pom trim curtains and bought a curtain rod. There is still a lot left to do, but now that the painting is done we can move forward. I’m a terrible decorator, and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on the nursery, but I do want it to be a nice space for Baby Girl (and me, because I’m sure I’ll spend quite a bit of time in there).

My baby shower isn’t until next weekend, so I’ll be 36 weeks by then…the weekends after that I anticipate will be spent filling in the nursery and baby supplies. And probably obsessively cleaning the house and making lists, because that seems to be how I’m coping with the stress these days.

Physically, things are pretty much the same. Many nights it’s hard to breathe, and I’ve started getting some intermittent sharp pains and more heartburn. With just five(ish) weeks left I’m definitely feeling like I’m ready to be done being pregnant.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 33

Wisdom from my OB this week: “Pregnancy is a great time to get a new mattress.”

A good night’s sleep is a distant memory, and I guess my OB could tell at this week’s appointment. I keep telling myself that it’ll just make the transition to having a newborn easier, but I can’t help but be sad thinking that my days of sleeping through the night are over, potentially forever.

I’ve been much hungrier lately, but my attempts at eating are thwarted by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any room for food. I try to eat small snacks and calorie dense foods, but balancing that with eating healthy is difficult since fruits and vegetables typically need to be eaten in larger volumes to get an equivalent amount of calories. So I just do the best that I can, and continue to count down until the end of March.

I put an appointment on my work day calendar at 8am that says how many days I have left of work, and it’s actually really comforting to see them tick down – even if I am not at all prepared for maternity leave or being a mom.

The nursery is currently covered in plastic sheeting while Chris sands and repaints the crib. He calls it a murder room, which is horrifying, but I have to admit it’s not too dissimilar from a few scenes in American Psycho. Once that’s done we’ll be able to assemble the crib and really get started on prepping everything for baby. I’ve been putting off stocking up on baby things because 1. I haven’t had my baby shower yet and 2. I didn’t want everything piled up in common areas, since I find clutter stressful right now.

No swollen feet yet, but my hands are definitely puffy enough that I can’t wear my wedding ring anymore. My face and body look very different to me, but Chris says I look the same (apart from the belly, obviously). I still haven’t weighed myself so I’m not sure how much I’ve gained, but I am starting to feel it in my arms and legs which is a bummer.

My skin has cleared up dramatically thanks to a new skincare routine – maybe I’ll document that in a separate post. My hair is also back to normal, no more oil slick by the end of the day!

 

Baby Bradshaw – Week 32

Has it really been 9 weeks since I last did a weekly post?

I stopped writing these because they started feeling redundant…I was still pregnant, week after week, getting more and more tired and uncomfortable. New symptoms weren’t developing in the same way as they were in the beginning, and pregnancy really started to feel like a waiting game more than anything else.

In the beginning, I fluctuated between excitement about being pregnant, and being distracted by how sick I felt. My mind was completely consumed with the pregnancy, and it felt like my body was changing rapidly. Around mid-November, I started to feel bored with pregnancy. I was about halfway through my 40 weeks and I was staring down the barrel of another 4.5 months. It seemed like forever.

The strange thing is, even though it didn’t seem like I was experiencing new symptoms, the last nine weeks is when my body visibly changed drastically. I went from just looking like I put on a little weight, to being obviously pregnant–and dealing with all the comments that come with that.

Now that I’m about 7 weeks out from Baby Girl’s arrival – I find myself totally focused on the baby again. I’m constantly making lists, reading reviews and articles about babies, and probably talking about it nonstop. I don’t really sleep anymore, and I’m uncomfortable 75% of the time. Sometimes I’m so tired of being pregnant I have to hold back tears. But overall, I’m OK. I am not living in pain, and I’ve been keeping the anxiety in check.

This week I made an effort to buy real groceries and cook some meals, and I have to say it feels really good to be excited about cooking again. For months, food didn’t interest me. Every night would be a battle of Chris trying to convince me to eat dinner and me not wanting anything and insisting we just go to bed instead. Orange Jello is still the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I wish everyone could experience joy akin to what I feel eating orange Jello while pregnant. It is a revelation.

 

Baby Bradshaw – Week 23

March 25 seems incredibly far away. I thought the second trimester was supposed to be this magical time where you don’t feel sick anymore, and you have energy it’s this wonderful rest before the discomfort of the third trimester. But that has not been the case.

Sleeping: Nearly impossible. I wake up several times a night to pee, and then I’m wide awake. It’s hard to get into a position that is comfortable, and I often wake up on my back. 

Eating: I don’t really have an appetite, and I don’t have cravings, either. So if I don’t remind myself to eat then I’ll go too long and feel nauseous and horrible. The only thing I love right now is Jello, especially the orange flavor.