Alban will be two at the end of the month. These are some of my favorite things about him right now.
- The way he is equally obsessed by blueberries and o’s.
- He has the most adorable roar when you ask him what sound a lion or tiger makes.
- How he systematically lines up his toy cars and trucks.
- When he wants to build “more tower.”
- How he covers his eyes when you play peek-a-boo with him. But you’re doing the peeking.
- How much he loves books.
- His determination and perseverance.
- His climbing skills.
- Watching his thought process as he figures something out.
- They way he observes new situations with reserve, but not fear.
- His laugh.
- His obvious joy at seeing his grandparents.
- His curiosity about animals.
- The way he hugs with his arms, but mostly his head.
- His sense of humor.
- Hearing him count.
- The fact that, to temper all the “no no no” I hear, he now has a very winning “oh yeah!”
April was hard, people. We started using a budget. To be more precise, we started using You Need A Budget (YNAB). It’s not that we didn’t have a system before, but it was incomplete. It was passive and reactive. We tracked everything in some financial software, and used a spreadsheet to forecast and plan bill payments. But our expenses were never really examined until after they occurred (if at all), at which point you cannot do anything about them. And many time purchases were made based on the bank balance, not what we could actually afford after all our obligations had been met.
And here’s the really dirty secret: we acquired so much credit card debt after starting the business from scratch that I started to tune it out as a method of self-preservation. I became immune to the expanding negative balances because I had to in order to keep the business open. My husband says that to be an entrepreneur you have to be a die-hard optimist. You have to believe you will succeed. And so I did. We also operated on the idea that we would eventually earn our way out of debt, not knowing when, or if, that would ever happen. The debt weighed on me. I had to spend many days each month figuring out what to pay, when. It is like a puzzle, which is all very thrilling when it works out and I can pay everyone on time, including ourselves, but harrowing when I can’t make the numbers work.
As someone who grew up thinking that carrying a credit card balance was a terrible thing, I had a lot of guilt about doing just that. And resentment that we needed to. I had amazing credit for many years because of my good spending habits. Although I believed that the debt was temporary, and 100% worth it in order to have the business and the life we want, it still felt shameful every time I truly faced it. So I avoided the confrontation as much as possible.
It was Alban’s half birthday yesterday! It is both hard to believe that he has been here only six months, and that it has already been six months. He is getting to be great fun. He can now sit up pretty well on his own, though he is still placed on a pallet of safety for those unexpected launches and wobbly topples. He smiles a lot, and has started to laugh. His dexterity and hand-eye coordination are improving. He can reach for a toy and pick it up with purpose. He can pick up a toy and put it directly in his mouth. He has a favorite song, and he starts to smile as soon as he hears the first phrase. He continues to vocalize.
We have been cloth diapering Alban from day one, and it is going well. Because we don’t have a washer in our apartment, and there is no way in hell I was going to launder diapers at the laundromat every three days, we decided to use a diaper service. Diaperkind serves Manhattan, and they have been wonderful. They pick up our dirties once a week, leaving clean ones in their place. It’s like magic. We never have to do laundry, and they even bring them right up to our door. The overall cost is higher than home laundering and conventional disposables, but lower than other diapering options when you account for the fact that cloth diapered babies tend to potty train faster than babies in disposables. (*fingers crossed*) I think even if we move to an apartment with laundry, we will probably still keep the service. Because, magic, people! Plus, using the service also leaves the smallest eco-footprint because they use commercial, high-efficiency machines and can wash several sets of diapers at once. Economy of scale and all that, plus plant-derived detergent and super-hot water for pH balance and sanitization.
Along about four months, the most amazing thing happened. Alban got hungry, and I fed him. Voila. No fuss. No big production. No pillows. No pain. No tears. Just a happy baby and a happy momma.
It was a few days later when I realized what had happened. We had finally achieved an easy breastfeeding relationship, something I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen, and about which I had copious amounts of anxiety for months, practically from the point I found out I was pregnant. One month later, I was able to donate 72 oz. of frozen milk to a brand new family who had gotten off to a rocky start with dehydration. If ever there was something to be grateful for, this is it.
In recent years, there has been more and more of a push to breastfeed. “Breast is best,” as they say. And it is, but although we are a nation of breeders, we are not exactly a nation of breastfeeding supporters. There are plenty of places where you’d be hard pressed to find a nursing mom in public, and there is a reason that the “attachment parenting” cover of Time stirred up so much controversy. For many of us, seeing a baby, much less a toddler, eating “the way nature intended” is downright weird.
Even five-plus months in, it’s still a little weird for me. This little person gets ALL his calories and nutrition from milk I make. How is that possible? How does a human subsist, nay, thrive, on only milk? And he is enormous! (OK, that’s an exaggeration. He’s still on the growth chart, but he’s closing in on the 90th percentile.) Read more…
Alban is three months old! He weighs 14 lb., 14 oz. and he is 24.25″ tall. It has been a pretty exciting month. Some days it seems like he has completely changed overnight. Other days it feels like he may never learn to do anything on his own.
In some ways, I feel that Alban’s birth story is the most boring story in the world because I had such a “textbook” labor. Truly, I progressed through every stage in the right order, and everything took an average amount of time to happen. However, the more birth stories I hear, the more I realize that even “textbook” cases are filled with little moments that make them special, and aspects that deviate from whatever “plan” may have been in place. And since this is the first birth I’ve witnessed first hand, and it happened to be the birth of my own child, it is obviously special to me. So here it is as I recall it 11 weeks and three days after the fact. Read more…