Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Iyla's 1st Halloween, we dug into the family costume chest for a little dress up.

Flapper girl:

Witch (every good witch needs a devil's tail coming out the side of her head, no?):

Teletubby (as an aside: this is Iyla's new favorite face when she sees herself in the phone camera!):

And 70's disco groovy gal:

Today we've also played in a pile of fake leaves:

Created some art with new dry erase crayons (which later would be partially eaten, leading to an epic meltdown when I removed the obviously delicious crayon piece from Iyla's mouth):

Her booty in cloth diapers cracks me up

Played at the park in absolutely gorgeous weather:

That face again!

Discovered that the Bumbo chair was a perfect place to practice ballet moves:

And had a musical jam session. This little lady now 'sings' on cue! So far we think she has her Papa's voice: : )

Tonight we head out in Iyla's actual costume (a bumblebee!) for some fun people watching on Austin's 6th street.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

And So It Begins Again

Two days, two pregnancy announcements. One from folks who were just starting to try and got pregnant on their 2nd cycle, the other from folks who were giving it a 'half assed try' (their words) for the 1st time this month and BAM. Pregnant. Both with their 2nd child.

The first announcements where I feel an old familiar pang of envy well up inside me.

Admittedly, the edge of this envy is duller than the edge pre-Iyla. Whereas before we had a baby pregnancy news would slice me deep like the sharpest of knives, this news feels, well... more like a butter knife. It doesn't cut quite as deep, but the weight of its pressure is still absolutely there, slowly sawing back and forth on my heart.

Truth be told BC and I 'haven't been preventing' pretty much since Iyla arrived. And by 'haven't been preventing' I mean I've been doing monthly OPK (ovulation predictor kits) and we've been maximizing (AHEM) being together during that time. So I guess 'haven't been preventing' is a nice euphemism for TRYING. Even though I've had 7-8 postpartum cycles,  I've only had two where ovulation was confirmed. And there are definitely no BAM! pregnancies to report over here.

The fact remains that it took us 3 years to get pregnant with Iyla. What seemed like a gazillion IUIs, Clomid pills, and 2 injectables cycles couldn't even help. And? I am about to turn 38. BC is 43. These things do not an easy-to-get-pregnant couple make.

I honestly DO feel right now that if Iyla were to be our one and only, I'd be OK with that. Because obviously she is the most beautiful, perfect, brilliant child ever born. I mean- this girl can stick out her tongue on cue. I know! Genius.

That being said, if we were to get pregnant I would be OVERJOYED. And terrified. Overjoyed because let's face it- it would be a miracle! Terrified because of what I perceive are common 1st time mom fears.... being able to love another little one as much as Iyla, and worry that we'd be taking something away from her, attention wise.

I'm not beyond thinking if we aren't pregnant by the time Iyla is 3 that we might want to pick up the whole fertility invention route again, even though today I say I'd be OK with an only child. At the end of the day I'd love for Iyla to get to experience bossing around having a sibling. And yes, there is a little cavern in my heart that does want to experience pregnancy & birth & all the wonder that comes with it again.

Part of me feels like it is super selfish to be feeling pregnancy envy again, now that I have a child. Honestly there is no one more surprised at its arrival than me! I think the root of the envy is witnessing those folks who decide "let's get pregnant!" and then get pregnant quickly and easily. It's the ongoing plight of the infertile....feeling the weight of just how unfair it is how the cards get stacked... and to whom the pregnancies come easily.

So does this envy means that deep down I am not OK with just having one child? Or, is it an envy that will never really go away... a wound from my infertility journey that will constantly ache?

I guess time will tell. In the meanwhile, I am going to keep showering our current one and only with ridiculous amounts of love & attention. She deserves nothing less!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adventures in Elimination Communication

As many of you know, we started the Elimination Communication (EC) technique with Iyla when she was just shy of 2 months old. I had been noticing that every time I took off her diaper to change her, she would poo or pee, and it was making a big mess. So I started sitting her on her little baby potty, and lo and behold- she started going on it!

Baby Iyla on the potty

Iyla is now approaching her 1st birthday, and using the potty on pretty much a daily basis (though not exclusively).  I will say it is extremely rare for her to do a #2 in her diaper- in the past month we've had maybe 3-4 dirty diapers to clean, and the rest have gone into the baby potty. Iyla is pretty good about holding it if I act quickly when I see her straining and say to her "hold on- let's go sit on the potty!'

*As an aside, we've recently transitioned back to cloth diapers after about a 4 month hiatus! I have been sitting on a stash of bumGenius 4.0's that always seemed too large for Iyla. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out the stash intending to sell them, then had a change of heart and gave them another go. They now fit perfectly (still on the very smallest setting!) and are proving to be an excellent money savings, given our tight budget.*

My biggest curiosity with the whole EC experience has been if and when Iyla might start communicating to us that she had to go, vs her just going because we sat her on the potty or saw her starting to strain.

And yesterday? I think we had our first clear communication, that of course I MISSED and realized after the fact.

We'd had 2 days in a row where Iyla was resisting initially sitting on her potty post nap, even though her diaper was dry and I knew she had to go. I decided to take her stuffed bunny and model sitting on the potty with it. She thought this hilarious, and the modeling appears to have worked too well and backfired. Two days in a row while bunny was 'peeing' on the potty and I held a watching, captive, naked Iyla- she started to pee while standing. All over me, herself, and the floor. Modeling FAIL! I think bunny now needs her own potty for these EC demonstrations.

Then yesterday- after the peeing on the floor incident- Iyla was all diapered up again and playing in her room. She crawled directly over to her potty and looked at me. She started lifting it up as I watched, and I assumed she was just exploring & playing with it. Then she started to strain. Before I had time to whip off her diaper and sit her down she'd already gone. I dare say that little one was trying to clearly communicate to me she had to go! If that is the case, consider my mind blown.

Which leads me to think we need a new, clear sign for having to go potty. The little potty itself won't always be with us for her to crawl to, and the actual sign for potty is a bit difficult and strongly resembles the sign for "all done," which Iyla knows and uses often. Iyla has already invented her own signs for a couple of other things ('panting' for dog and pretending to 'bounce' for ball)- so I figure I can 'invent' a new sign for potty. I am thinking patting her belly would be effective- it is easy, clear, and unlike any of her other signs. I'm going to get BC and our nanny on board too, such that we do this sign while saying "potty" when we go as well as when Iyla goes.

Big girl on her potty

It will be interesting to see if it 'takes' and she learns to tell us when it is time! Stay tuned.....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Missing ME

I had a blue day yesterday. It was one of those days as a mostly SAHM where each moment seemed to bleed eternally into the next, monotonous & exhausting.

I've been feeling a mourning for and missing of the ME I used to be, pre-baby. The ME who had a steady salary and could treat myself to massages, new clothes, & fancy vacations without a second thought. The ME who met friends out on evenings for happy hours and spent mornings at the local coffee shop negotiating contracts before heading out to a noon pilates class.

The new me has come to realize what an introvert I am. A surprising revelation, given my outgoing personality and tendency to assume leadership positions. But my quota for emotional connections gets filled & exhausted quickly. Historically I've always had a boyfriend and one good girlfriend- I've never been someone who can manage and maintain many close friendships at a time. And now that Iyla is here? She emotionally fills the girlfriend role. Meaning at the end of the day I am usually completely out of steam and need to retreat into quiet alone time- devoid of noise, conversation, expectation. Because of this my few friendships have definitely taken a backseat- I take full ownership of that. And most days I am OK with that. Yet on days like yesterday when the blue seeps in, I miss those friendships and my pre-baby social life.

My savings is also now officially gone and we are on financial lock down. I'm having to carefully cut out extraneous expenses like visits to my beloved coffee shop and our monthly massage membership. My toes haven't been painted in months and my eyebrows are a bit unruly. Expenses that- in their little freedoms and extravagances- went a long way toward helping me feel a semblance of my old life.

I sometimes miss the rush of practicing full time real estate, especially when the blues seep in. That moment where the perfect house hits the market and I win it for my clients in a multiple offer situation. The seller client with an awesome house in an awesome neighborhood calling out of nowhere- already ready to trust and work with me. The fine dance of balancing 3-6 contracts at a time, managing timelines, expectations, personalities & having to creatively problem solve. I could dance the dance with the best of them, and was pretty darn good at it.

Yet the truth of the business and a HUGE reason I chose to cut way back is that the stresses during a contract to close period cannot be fully anticipated, and when s*** hits the fan, you have to be ready to act immediately. There is often little control over the timing of things. When that perfect house hits the market you have to GET THERE. When an offer comes in on a listing, you have to PRESENT IT ASAP. Those things do not jive well with my being present as a Mama. I feel strongly that I want Iyla Grace to grow up knowing that I am fully there when I am with her; not preoccupied with stressful negotiations or endless to-do lists.

Hence my choice to cut back on work and be a mostly SAHM was made. And most days? I genuinely love it. There is a gentle ease and pure joy in spending time with this beautiful, bright, loving little girl... watching her grow & blossom. My migraines have lessened, and I can feel in every ounce of my body a different, refreshing sense of relaxation & contentedness.

Just looking into the sweet little face below makes every.single.sacrifice worthwhile 100x over. My precious miracle baby whom I dreamed of having and mothering my entire life. Our darling Iyla Grace, who has taught the new me so much about unconditional love, compassion, & patience. I am a better person for having her, and can't imagine my life any other way.

My heart, my sunshine

I'm quite certain that the reconciliation dance between the old ME- the ME with the healthy bank account and active social life- and the new me -who has to watch every penny spent and now retreats to bed at 8:30- will continue for a long time to come. The philosopher Heraclitus once said, "The only thing that is constant is change." I have to trust that the more I presently embrace this fact, the happier we all will be.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tiny Dancer

There was a ballerina on the loose yesterday! Iyla just LOVES wearing her tutu- she could seriously wear that thing She especially loves seeing herself in the mirror all dressed up.

Here are some excerpts from a day in the life of a tiny dancer:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

I took Iyla to a local pumpkin patch over the weekend, so I could have a photo shoot she could have fun playing with all of the pumpkins.

She was SO not into smiling for the camera. Totally distracted by the grass, pumpkins, and other fellow pumpkin patchers:

'Hi everyone!'

This was the extent of looks I got from her- serious stink eye!

'Really Mama?'

And then..... THEN I remembered one of my picture party tricks. A sure thing these days.  I started singing 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider:"

'Oh! I know this one!'

'And I LOVE this one!'

'I can do all the motions!'

The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout....

Down came the rain and washed the spider out...

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain....

And the Itsy Bitsy Spider....

Went up the spout again!

And... we're done

I had one other picture party trick up my sleeve. I turned the camera around so Iyla could see herself in it, and viola- INSTANT SMILES! This kid seriously loves to look at herself:

'Oooo- I'm adorable!'

She was again displeased when I tried to steal the spotlight and get in a couple of photos with her:

'Eh- not as adorable with you in it, Mama.'

All in all the pumpkin patch was a success. We came away with 3 pumpkins, 6 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and a gazillion photos. And how adorable is Iyla's little orange pumpkin booty below? I figure the day will come soon enough when she is picky about what she wants to wear, and until that day I am going to enjoy every.single.second of getting to dress her up- especially for important holidays like Pumpkin Patch Day. ; )

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Week in Pictures

Here's what we've been up to this week:

Playing on the porch and climbing in and out the front door:

Watching the rainy day weather:

Keeping an eye on the outdoor kitties (there are 2 kitties that we regularly feed off of our back porch, and two days ago 2 little kittens started coming with them! LOVE):

Playing dress up:

Having snacks on the ground (a novelty that was surprisingly delightful to Iyla):

Playing in a 'to be garbage' pile one day, then getting swallowed by it the next:

Making huge messes exploring in the kitchen:

Pulling out our cold weather clothes when the fall front came through:

Watching cartoons while practicing cruising:

Peeking in mirrors and reaching up high:

Following Sam everywhere:

Exploring Papa's library:

Taking friends for wagon rides:

Stealing Mama's camera and taking selfies:

Playing with pumpkins & friends:

Practicing dance moves:

And finally, a lovely date night with BC to see Book of Mormon and have dinner:

Happy Weekend, everyone!