Infant Days: The Epilogue

It was just over two years ago (!!) that we told the world M was going to be a little girl. A few months later that little girl entered the world and completely rocked mine to its core. It was T O U G H and I feel like I was very open and honest and blunt about our struggles with parenthood.

Sometimes I wonder if M will ever find those posts and IG pictures and FB updates, and think I felt regretful. It wasn’t always glamorous and I very rarely painted it as such. And while I hope that was/is helpful to new moms, I sometimes wonder what M will think.

So I thought I’d write a epilogue to the infant days. My 19-month-old is full bore toddler now so we’re in a completely different chapter. (Maybe even book?)

I think every parent has a favorite age. Some will say each stage was their favorite and then the next one happened and it was even better. Kudos to those moms and dads. That is not what I (or K) would tell you.

I loved the newborn snuggles but I struggled during the newborn phase. Even after we cleared the fog, it was hard to find my groove. But then M started rolling. And sitting up. And eating some soft foods.

Then she started smiling and babbling. Pointing and shaking her head. Reaching and rejecting. By the time she was 13 months she could pick out her favorite foods, point to what she wanted, and walk across the room.

And we hit our stride.

I’m sure there are many parents who do not love toddlerhood. Eighteen months is a challenging age. Some parents love newborn age, some like school age (this will be K’s favorite I bet). I am a toddler-lover through and through. M is so much dang fun.

I love that she can communicate- even when I don’t know what she’s saying. Sometimes she’s crying because there’s a thread on her pants- but you know what? I know why she’s crying and that’s such a relief. She’s feisty and inquisitive. She loves doing everything herself… but wants mom or dad close by. She follows the dogs around and expects them to follow her. She can point to and name her body parts. She loves to figure out how something works. She likes to help with everything. She tells us when she’s ready for bed (even if she’s not sold on it when it’s actually time to sleep). She’s down for any adventure. She really is such a fun kid and such a fun age.

SO… for all the struggles and tears and complaining I did 1 year ago, let me just share what a good time we’re having right now. Sure, it’s not always easy. We have tantrums and breakdowns. But dang, it’s rewarding with M. She’s one of my favorite people to hang out with.

I might be singing another tune when we potty train… or transition from crib to bed… or start thinking about preschool. But for now? I am one happy human with my sassy little toddler.

*For those that struggle with toddlerhood, it will change. I would never paint a rosier picture than it really is, but I wanted to share that motherhood isn’t miserable forever and ever with no moments of joy.

12 Months (!!) of Madelyn

This is the last of the designated M posts. I’m not planning to do more quarterly updates and this will round out the birthday-related topics. I’ll likely give an 18 month update mid-2021.

On Saturday we had a zoom party for my baby. It was lame, but it was safe, so I’ll take it. She also recognized people on the video so I think she enjoyed herself.

Nicknames: Maddie, Mads, Moo, Maddie Lou, Poodle, Snoots

Stats: Chunky monk is 23 lbs. and over 31.5 in. long. Clothing-wise she’s slowed down a bit and we’re still hanging out in 18 months outfits. (Thank Jesus.) She’s above the 99th percentile in height, though. WOOF.

Likes: Her dad, her dogs, and her stuffed animals. She loves music and dancing, likes to watch the dogs run around inside and out, and loves having her toes eaten. Lol

Dislikes: Shots (duh), being wiped off after a meal, Mom leaving the room, and having dog toys taken away from her. She hates being restrained, too. She also refuses to leave socks/shoes on.

Sleeping: M has always been a great sleeper. We were struggling with bedtime AND staying down for the night for a few weeks, but she’s back to normal now. I think it was the 1 year sleep regression. UGH.
We’re still doing 2 naps/day and I will hold on to them both as long as possible!

Eating: Our little poodle loves her noodles. She is a carb queen. She also loves avocados, eggs, meatballs, fish, and turkey. But pasta is the way to her heart.

Development: I don’t have time to list all the new things this girl can do. She does everything in her own time but once she’s got it, she’s got it. She stands, walks along furniture, walks with help, walks with her walker… but no independent walking yet.
M is a MONKEY. She climbs on everything- stairs, couches, toys, humans, dogs… lol. She knows how to get up and how to use tools to get up, and she knows how to go down (“feet first!” we say over and over).
She knows 4 or 5 body parts, yes and no, how to wave and clap and point and she tries to blow kisses, she signals “all done” when she’s finished a meal, she cuddles her stuffed animals, and she has mastered the colorful rings toy.
She makes a million sounds, says mama dada and da (dog), and will repeat back sounds and syllables of words you say to her. She knows who people and animals are- and can tell our dogs apart by name.

Personality: I hate COVID. Moo is so much fun to hang out with and take places. I hate that we can’t go anywhere with her. She has a happy disposition and she’s way more clever than me. She’s starting to find certain things funny and she’s starting to find some things scary. I love that we’re seeing her imagination develop. Unless she’s super tired or in pain, she’s a happy happy girl .

Travel: Sigh.
We have done some longer drives lately. We popped down to Cabela’s in Tridelphia, WV a few weeks ago and Maddie did great!
We took her to the reverse Christmas parade our town had and she loved driving through the float displays, waving at everyone.

Mom’s Summary: It was weird to see my baby turn one. I remember everything about the day she entered this world- and it doesn’t seem that long ago. M brings joy to everyone she meets and that’s especially true for me. I’m so proud of all the things she’s learned this year and I LOVE that despite all the isolation, she’s a happy friendly adventurous little girl.

M is starting to get a feisty, head strong, clever personality. I’m looking forward to shaping her into a kind little kid 🖤 I struggled a lot with the helpless newborn stage. I am much much more cut out for the communicative and temperamental toddler stage. I know that’s weird to prefer (and maybe I’ll take it back), but I love her budding personality- even the more difficult side, lol.

I now have a T O D D L E R and I am not ok. 😭

All professional photos courtesy of Jackie Beachy Photography.

Baby Talk: Introduction

I want Life as Louise to reflect my day to day life, but right now that’s primarily work or M, and I don’t want LaL to become a full-fledged baby blog. So today I’m rolling out Baby Talk.

Once a month or so I’m going to put on the mom blogger hat & write about something baby for this series. At 12 weeks a mom I’m not an expert, but we’ve found some things that really work for us & I want to share. I don’t plan to focus on M in this series, but on life as a mom.

A small sampling of topics I’ll cover include ppd, formula feeding, M’s nursery reveal (finally), items that have saved our life these first few weeks, & more.

Nothing groundbreaking, just my little contribution to the mom world. We’ll see where this goes in the future.

Introducing Madelyn Louise

HI! I am alive and also a (human) mom now. My, how quickly things change. This won’t ever be a mommy blog, but there are baby related things I want to record and write down so my next few post might be mom-heavy. But also some book posts. (LOL because I have any time to read… #dillusional)

Most longtime readers know that my husband’s name is Kyle, but I typically shorten it to K when I blog because a) ease and b) semi-privacy. That said, Maddie is getting shortened to M once this post is done and over with.

I want to share about her birth and about our first few days at home. I want to talk about the pressures of motherhood (which have thus far only existed in my own head- the family and friends we surround ourselves with are incredible and supportive). I want to talk about how our family looks now and about all the wonderful people who have helped us these past two weeks…. and I will. But today I’m introducing our newest little love to my blog family and giving you a quick update on the rest of us.

going home outfit

Madelyn arrived on Dec. 4th at 8:36pm weighing 8 pounds 2.3 ounces. I am well aware things with a baby can change daily, but as I write this she is darn near perfect… She loves to sleep & eat. She doesn’t mind being laid down or held by “strangers” (to her). Nights are still a little rough. She’s cool with noise or silence, light or darkness, pacifier or no pacifier. She’s completely unphased by dog barking. We are counting our blessings for her temperament during this stage. (We imagine karma has something good cooked up for those toddler years- lol.)

The dogs are perfect. The initial meet-and-greet was Enzo gently sniffing M and Bristol barking/growling at her 😂 Bristol is a husky mix who does husky-talk & based on her physical cues, it was not an aggressive growl- she just wanted the new human to play with her.

first meeting with fur sibs

Since that first meeting, Enzo is loving but indifferent to M. (He still love his mama and his sleep most of all.) Bristol is glued to her freaking side. She keeps her eye on M all day long and checks out every visitor who holds the baby. She checks on her throughout the day and usually lays near me while I feed her. Maddie has essential become Bristol’s baby.

*(We’re not irresponsible- we never leave the dogs and baby alone together.)

Moving on…

Kyle is the best human in the world. The dad life looks so good on him but the husband life is even better. He’s been so supportive, patient, attentive, loving, focused… with both Maddie & myself. I handle most nighttime duties and I change most diapers, but he is willing to do whatever I ask and is wonderful at entertaining, cuddling, comforting, and loving on baby. And spoiling the pups, too.

I love this picture

After the hospital I was hit HARD with emotions. They started on the car ride home. I spent 5 days in a complete fog. I cried off and on daily, felt awful about the present and the future, and moved through the current hour dreading the next. Baby blues/PPD/hormones at its finest. Finally on day 5 Kyle and I made some big decisions regarding life and the fog lifted. We’re still keeping an eye on my mental healthy, but those were some dense, dark woods and I am grateful to be out of them. Again, thank God for Kyle slogging through those days with me. He is a workaholic and he put everything on the back burner to make sure I was ok and Maddie was doing alright. Obviously that’s the job of a husband and partner and I’m not surprised by his attentiveness, but I know not all partners can/would do that.

running on 2 hours of broken sleep in this one… lol

I’m going to dive into that fog more in another post- I promise. This is already longer than I intended. Haha.

We’re doing well. We’re starting to kind of slip into a routine. Every day Maddie gives us something new- whether it’s a schedule shift or gas smile or physical development. I will say more about her, my postpartum experience, and our life soon (for those interested).

Before I go, a HUGE THANK YOU to my blog friends for the well wishes, gifts, advice, and friendship. Your love has been overwhelming- esp in those first few days. I have utilized some blog friends as resources for parenting and I really, really appreciate the time and energy they’ve given me. This community is incredible and I’m so grateful for all of you ♥ You all helped carry me through those first few days.

 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday. My mom hates the internet & social media, so I’ll keep this brief.

Lisa's Bday

Energetic. (She’s a first grade teacher- I’m tired just thinking about keeping up with +20 kids.)

Loving.

International. (She’s lived in & traveled to so many places!)

Selfless.

Educational.

.

Loyal.

Ornery.

Understanding. (She doesn’t take angry words & actions personally.)

Inclusive.

Suspicious. (Planning her surprise birthday treat was almost impossible.)

Entertaining.

On Saturday K and I met up with Fred & Christina and my mom & dad to played Key Quest at a local laser tag warehouse. We had 45 minutes to solve the puzzle and escape the “serial killer’s cellar.” Yeah, we totally died. Between the six of us we had 4 college degrees, an engineer, a teacher, three business owners, a writer, and puzzle game aficionado (my mom). I still can’t believe we lost. I was SO mad. I hate losing.

Afterward we had a delicious dinner at Bonefish Grill and then ice cream cake back at my parents’ house. Fred & Christina put off their trip home to Columbus until Sunday morning & Kyle postponed his business travels that night, too. We’d presented my mom with her birthday gift on Easter (a piano!) but I think she was happiest about us being together for an evening.

My grandma & mom on her 9th birthday
My grandma & my mom on her 9th birthday

We wouldn’t be who, or what, we are today without my mom. Happy Birthday, Mom ❤︎

audielou.com_signature