On My Two-Month Old and Work

A quick update while my little one is napping. He just turned two months old on Thursday and just had his two-month checkup yesterday. He has grown 2.5 inches and has gained about 5 pounds since birth. He’s been wearing his 3-month sized clothing for a couple of weeks now, and I get kind of sad whenever I have to add things to this pile of clothes he cannot fit anymore. Although, on the more light-hearted side, yesterday he ended up smacking his pediatrician yesterday while he was trying to examine his ear. Poor guy. I got a pretty good laugh about it at least. Aside from that, everything is in order and his development is right on schedule. He’s full of energy, and is surprisingly really strong. Maybe all babies are stronger than I originally thought? Since he’s been a couple weeks old he likes to try and stand up. Actually, he does end up standing up– I always have my hands under his armpits so I just hold him up. Sometimes he straightens his legs and ends up nearly jumping out of my hands. Oh this kid of mine..

Niko now smiles a lot, and he still cries a lot from his colic, but the smiling makes me feel better at least! He likes it when people talk to him and he tries to babble back, it’s so precious. He’s starting to stare at colorful things (like my book collection) and really fixates on ceiling lights for some reason.

I cannot believe how much he’s grown and changed since the first day I met him! It’s fascinating to see things through a baby’s eyes because everything is so new to them. I swell up with pride when he learns something new, but then there’s that part of me that gets a little sad because he’s growing up so fast. I’ll be a hot mess once he starts getting older, he’s only two months old for crying out loud!

This two month mark also means I should start looking for employment now, because who knows how long that’ll take. I really do enjoy my time with Niko, but I really need something to do. Taking care of him is something to do, but I don’t think I’m cut out to be a SAHM. I went to grad school for a reason, and I have certain goals in mind for myself. Granted, this whole living in Charlotte, NC threw me for a loop. It’s not exactly an “international” city so I’m going back to the drawing board as far as ideal work situations goes. What I had originally wanted to do isn’t available in this city, and I think I’d move later on but for now I really need to get my feet on the ground. I’ve been looking at jobs for a while but there seems to be jobs that are either along the lines of either “administrative assistant” or “director/manager” and little in between. I really don’t want to low-ball myself into a job that’s unfulfilling and that I’m overqualified for, yet at the same time I have little experience in the field I’ve studied. Over educated and under qualified. So I’m in an interesting conundrum, which I feel will lead to something interesting. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Wish me luck!

On Forgiving Myself

I don’t think motherhood has really changed the kind of person that I am. I still feel like myself, my real real self. I just have a little guy that looks kinda like me that is with me at all times and depends on me for everything. Aside from that, I am the same person. I really expected some kind of a transformation, and perhaps over time the changes will be obvious, but I feel no different from before I found out I was pregnant. Although, I do find that I am quicker to make better choices than lollygag and put things off, because time is really limited now.

I can say though that since becoming a parent, it has really made me stop and magnify the things in my life that I don’t really like about myself and want to change. Even though my son is really young, I know for a fact kids pick up the tiniest things. I can not help but think about the things I do that I don’t ever want any child of mine doing. I can’t help but think about the kind of person I want my son to be. You want your kids to be instilled with good virtues and not pick up nasty habits. One of the things about myself that I need to work on is forgiving. Forgiving others as well as myself.

I especially need to learn to forgive myself. I beat myself up a lot about things. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a perfectionist, because I never do anything perfectly– perhaps the better way to word it is, I hate being wrong. Anyone that knows me well is probably nodding their head at that sentence. People don’t understand how much it bothers me to be wrong about anything or someone. As I’ve gotten older, I’m better at this– especially with my close friends. I’ll forsake being right because I don’t like arguing with my friends. While forgiving myself has gotten slightly easier, I know I still have a lot of work to do with that.

Ever since my son was born, I’ve beaten myself up every single day about his “father”–and I’m using that term really loosely here. I can see why some single parents can have such hatred for their child’s other parent, because I have never felt such hatred and disgust for another person before this. And I really hate myself for it.

I’m one of those people that believe who you surround yourself with is a reflection of you. And I just can’t believe I ever let someone in my life that doesn’t do anything for their child and thinks parenting is a choice. I can’t believe one day I have to explain this to my son. I have no words for this. I know this scenario isn’t a new one or anything, but it’s just one of those things you think will never happen to you until it happens. And I’m having a hard time with it because while this whole situation disgusts me and is appalling, when I think about it– I’m not really surprised. Just because you expect someone to do the right thing, doesn’t mean they will.

The thing I’m having a hard time with is, in the very beginning, I knew I should have just not pursued this relationship. I just knew I shouldn’t’ve done it. I made so many excuses, ignored the red flags that I knew were there from the very first date. While I know it isn’t all my fault, I can’t help but tell myself that I knew this would happen over and over again.

I must say, I love my son, and I don’t regret him. That’s not what I’m mad about. I just wish things were different for my son, because one day he’ll ask about this period in his life and I don’t have a logical answer. I know there’s nothing I can do but forgive myself and move on, and I want to– but it’s like I’m staring in a tunnel and the light is so distant. I don’t want my son to see me this way. I don’t ever want to see my son beat himself up the way I do.

So I’m going to work on it. I don’t intend to be mad about this or at myself for forever, but I sure wish I was much better at forgiving myself right now, because I can see that this is going to be a very long road ahead of me.

On The Mommy Hook – Giveaway

One of the recent challenges I’ve had with being a new mom is trying to maneuver a trip to the store with a newborn. After much trial and error I think I’ve gotten it down to a manageable level. One of the products that has helped me is The Mommy Hook.

The Mommy Hook is a must have accessory for any parent. It makes carrying your purses, groceries, diaper bags, even sports equipment simple by just hooking it onto the back of your stroller or shopping cart. I have two hooks, so I like using it to carry a hand basket at the store. I can’t put anything extremely heavy in the hand basket otherwise it’ll tip over the stroller, but I haven’t ran across that yet!

Also, if you’re the kind of person* who would rather use every ounce of strength you have taking all the bags of groceries out of your car in one trip than go back to your car and make a second trip for those last two bags, then The Mommy Hook is also really helpful with that. I just hook my bags onto it, and the foam nonslip grip makes it so much easier than having a ton of bag handles practically cutting off the circulation in my hands. On the days when I require more things than a hand basket can carry, these are super helpful. This would have really helped me while I was in London and I needed a place to store my many stretch/workout bands. Seriously.

Lucky for you, I am giving away 2 Mommy Hooks! The giveaway will run from now until Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. This is open to US residents only.

To enter here use the widget below:

Lyka Boss Mommy Hook Giveaway

The winner will be announced here and be contacted via email address. They have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will forward the information over to The Mommy Hook who will send the prize directly to the address given by the winner.

*Let’s be honest, that’s most of us– am I right?

This is not a sponsored post, I just received The Mommy Hook in exchange for a review. The words expressed here are my own opinion.

On Hot Tea and a Baby

PhotoGrid_1422924920060 I’ve never blogged from my phone before. This is a first for me. It’s only 8PM here in Charlotte and it feels like midnight for me. Today, I made a cup of tea– perhaps because I was feeling nostalgic for London because I’m typically an avid coffee drinker. I did not get to drink said tea while it was hot because Niko needed my attention right as it had finish brewing. No hot tea for this mama. Things like this happen often now. It really makes me appreciate the tiny moments in a day without interruptions. I’m not here to complain though, because aside from my first time blogging via cell phone another first happened today and I didn’t want to forget it. Niko smiled at me, voluntarily and not as a reflex, for the first time. I poked his little nose and my little baby boy smiled back at me. I wish I could have gotten a photo, but the image is stuck in my head. Good enough. This photo is unrelated to today, but it’s my favorite photo I have of him so far.

These tiny things really do make it worth, even if I didn’t get my hot tea, that smile was worth everything. Hot beverages are overrated anyway, it’s a good thing I prefer iced coffee.

On a completely unrelated note, my first contributor blog post was posted today at The Nudge Blog. It’s about something I absolutely love doing– traveling! Go take a peek, and I hope it inspires you. Also don’t forget this Thursday I have the next installment to My Year in London series up on the blog.

On Niko

So my little pumpkin, Niko Malakai, made his world debut on Friday, 26 December 2014 at exactly midnight– he was 20.5 inches and 7 pounds and 8 ounces.  Someone was pretty hell bent on not being born on Christmas, but hey at least he came exactly on time. I’m glad he listened to those pep talks I had with him. For a while I kept trying to tell him not to come before Christmas Eve but don’t come in 2015. Perfect timing. I mean, how many babies come on their actual due date and at midnight? I mean.. he’s basically a unicorn. I can easily find out exactly how old he is, down to the minute at least.

I actually started labor on Christmas Eve a few hours after a routine doctor’s appointment. I was napping (duh) in the afternoon and kept feeling dull aches from my lower stomach, and I really thought nothing of it because that’s not unusual after my appointments, but I kept getting them at regular intervals. I pretty much spent my Christmas Eve timing my contractions which were already less than 10 minutes apart when I started watching the clock. It was awful and felt like someone was constantly kicking my in my lower back. So fast forward to Christmas morning where I got admitted to the hospital for the first time at around 6AM, and dismissed a few hours later until my contractions started getting closer to 5 minutes apart and lasting much longer. Went back home, popped an Ambien that the doctor gave me, tried to nap it off– all the while being trippy on Ambien. Never again. It was like hallucinating while being half sleepy and on top of having to get up to use the rest room constantly and it did not make my pain from my contractions magically disappear. Finally after getting my contractions down to about 3-4 minutes apart, I went back to the hospital that afternoon and got admitted. A few more hours of having to painfully get through my contractions, all while attempting not to curse too much in front of my mother, and I finally got my epidural. Things were bliss after that, minus the fact that I kept shivering uncontrollably but that seemed like a small price to pay for that sweet relief. Y’all, I could not feel a thing from my lower back down, and it was great. I think they made me start pushing at around 11, because it seemed to take about an hour or less to get Niko out. Couldn’t feel it, but I’m sure I would have died, literally, if I had to felt that every single thing. Props to you if you had a completely drug free birth, you have my utmost respect, lady.

Exactly at midnight Niko made his debut, face up (which is unusual) and they handed him to me.. slime and everything. That was surprising.  I don’t even recall ever really holding a tiny baby for a long period of time in my life, maybe once I did for a couple of minutes.  But to hold one that fresh– that was something else!  For a second, I completely forgot about all that pain from the previous two days.  It was worth it to hold my little pumpkin for the first time.  Granted, I will definitely be saving this past Christmas in my arsenal for when he gets older.

It’s so funny because a few weeks prior a friend of mine asked me what I was going to be doing for Christmas, and my answer was that I’d be having a baby.  Funny how I was exactly right to not plan for anything.  Although he wasn’t born on Christmas, I now have a reason to celebrate two days in a row!

I’ll skip the next two days I spent in the hospital on like 2 hours of sleep because someone was cluster feeding and had to have milk every hour…….. No one tells you that.  No one.  We finally went home Sunday afternoon.  You see my mom’s hand trying to hold his head up in this photo?  She was being a total helicopter mom.  JUST LET ME LIVE, MOTHER.  Just kidding.  I really do have a new appreciation for her as a mom and as a person.  She’s been my person throughout this whole pregnancy and delivery, and I really don’t even know what I’d do without her. Plus I look at my son, and I get it now.  That thing that moms talk about.  I get it.

I’ve been home with my little guy for a week, and we’ve had our ups and downs, sleepless nights, late mornings sleeping in, sore boobs, lots of crying (on both parties).. but it’s been an experience!  I’ve learned quite a lot, about him and myself.  He’s a funny little guy.  He has a million facial expressions, just like me.  My favorite is this cheeky smile he has, it makes him look like he’s up to something, one day I’ll try to capture it.  He does most of his sleeping during daylight hours and like in the womb, he loves to party all night.  He has really good focus for a newborn, this surprised both my mother and I actually.  He peed on me a lot sooner than I thought he would– it happened the very first time I changed his diaper and he actually was not crying about it, he was very silent for the first time…… I should have known better.  He likes falling sleeping on me but will wake up shortly after I put him down in his bassinet or crib, and honestly I secretly don’t mind because I’m so used to him being close to me anyway– and I love it.

I now spend my free time (his sleep time) deciding whether I want to eat, sleep, or clean something.  I spend entirely too much time just staring at him, like a true mamarazzi, especially when he’s asleep.  That is where most of my time is spent while he’s asleep unfortunately.  I just feel like I’ll miss something or just blink and he’ll be grown up or something.  He’s already a week old for crying out loud!  Life has been interesting to say the least, but my monster appetite has disappeared, thank God.  There have been moments where I would think it was so much later than it actually was, and I don’t even know what the day is?  Oh well.

I still don’t think it hit me yet, but I have my moments when other people mention it to me.  While I was at the hospital, the nurse said to me, “mom, do you want anything?” and I thought she was talking to my mom.  But she wasn’t.  And that was my first moment, the first of many.

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On The Pregnancy Struggle

So I’m allegedly having a baby sometime soon, my EDD is 26 December and so far everything is going smoothly. Although I’m at that point where I just can’t move anymore. This baby is so low in me and his presence has never been more real than while I’m attempting to walk like a normal person right now.

To tell you the truth, I am one of those people where nothing really phases me whatsoever until right before it happens. I get it, I’m pregnant, there’s actually a person sharing a body with me at the moment, I get it– but then again it’s still a concept for me, not so much a tangible thing. Almost every day, without fail, I’ll say to myself “Oh yea, you’re pregnant!” I’m still trying to wrap my head around this, even at 39 weeks (minus one day) pregnant. I probably won’t have that shit just got real moment until I actually see this little guy.

Now that I am in the final stretch before the “big moment”, I spend a lot of time reflecting on certain times. My mommy friends have been pretty invaluable to me in terms of giving me the heads up on things, and I’d like to attempt to do the same for any of my friends who have not experienced this yet.. so without further ado–

That pregnancy glow is real. I know you know by now (at least I’m assuming you do) that it’s really just sweat, but I bet you didn’t know even though it’s winter that you might still find yourself sweating like it’s summer. This works out in my favor for me because my jackets do not even fit right now, so long sleeves and a light unbuttoned jacket works great for me. I still have to occasionally use the AC in my car though. Even in the middle of the night, I will wake up sweating and my hair will start to curl from the sweat. It makes me want to shower several times a day. I feel like have been a human heater for months now! I’m glad I’m having a winter baby, because I cannot imagine myself surviving a third trimester in any temperature that is remotely warm.

Using your ab muscles becomes nonexistent after a certain point. Your body goes through many changes, this is one of those that is a big deal for me but is not something people really mention. Around the sixth month of pregnancy I realized that I should probably make a conscious decision to use my arms to get up instead of using my abs because those times I did not were soooo painful. Hello, there’s a baby there! A couple of times recently in my sleepy haze I would forget to use my arms to get out of bed and I would and instantly regret it. Let me tell you, there is going to be a lot of getting up in the middle of the night so drill this into your head and get those arms working!

Pregnancy hunger. Anyone that knows me knows I love food. Like, aside from sleeping.. food is my love. All my favorite things usually involve me eating, because this big girl loves to eat. Let me tell you though, pregnancy hunger is completely different for me. Now, I am sure you have heard of the term hangry, which definitely applies to me because I do get visibly pissed when I am hungry. However, my hangry level increased exponentially the more my pregnancy progressed. It is so unreal. Not only do I get instantly pissed when I am hungry, BUT I get hungry SO OFTEN and if I don’t find something to snack on immediately– this kid will not stop kicking me. Oh, and it doesn’t matter if I’m asleep. That is what makes it different, and also the fact that I get full pretty easily. So having to eat often, but in not humongous quantities at once.. that is a lot for me to keep up with. There was a point where I’d wake up once or twice a night just to take my bathroom break and if I even tried to go to sleep without eating– non stop kicking. He’s obviously his mother’s child, but I did not realize that I would get to the point where eating became a chore. I imagine this is not going to wane because I plan on breastfeeding, but at least I won’t have someone kicking me from the inside to remind me to eat some more, right? Right. Anyway, this is just a heads up for anyone that already had a monster appetite. If you thought you could not possibly eat more.. you can. You can and you will.

Your friends will get you so much baby stuff, you might as well wait a little bit before grabbing baby things, especially cute things in newborn sizes. Before I knew it I had so my tiny items of clothing, I kind of wish I waited or at least got bigger sizes. My son will essentially be naked after six months, I think. It will be summer anyway, so I don’t think it will matter too much.. But I digress. It is also funny what your guy friends gravitate towards getting you on your gift resigistry in comparison to your girl friends. My guy friends got me the most practical stuff ever, y’all– sans anything that had to do with breastfeeding, of course. I did notice that reoccurring pattern and I found it kind of humorous. It came in handy though because towards the end I realize I had so much cute stuff, but still had a ton of “boring” stuff to get. So keep that in mind!

I think though, out of everything, the one thing about pregnancy that I never really thought about before is that I after I got over the initial shock, I started imagining this life for this other person. It is interesting when you have these strong feelings about the kind of life you want for you child, because it is a reflection of what you find important. I just want this baby to be happy and healthy. And really smart. I secretly hope he is really good at science, because I wasn’t. In fact, I’ve never taken a chemistry class and opted for physics instead. I really hope that doesn’t bite me in the butt one day if he ever asks me to help with his science homework. Ugh.

Well, I have eight days left until my due date. I think he will be here before then though.. if I were to guess. I think I’ll sleep until then or something because I can’t move anymore really.

On Pregnancy

So I am officially back to my country, permanently! I came back with a Master of Art’s degree in International Politics and Human Rights and a baby that will (should) be born next month. Surprise! Coming back from London, and expecting to be a single mother was not in my plans, but life does not care about your plans. Which is fine, adaptability is something I like to think I have acquired after all these years anyway. The last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions, and I do not know if this it is the hormones talking or what– although I like to throw that excuse out there when I can, because no one will question me anymore. Perks. Between wrapping up my master’s program, finishing my dissertation, a transatlantic move to North Carolina, and adjusting to life in a new place.. it has been a lot. It has also been a learning experience!

I can remember the day I found out I was pregnant so vividly, it was on the 27th of April. I remember looking at those two lines and thinking, “Oh. My. God.” I remember really wanting lots of fruit juice that previous week, not being able to get up for my final weeks of lectures because I was too exhausted, and falling asleep in the library because I could not stay awake whatsoever (in the middle of the day). I remember calling my mother within hours of finding out, and before I could even say the news, I could not stop crying out of shame and feeling so mortified. She was very happy about the news, by the way. I on the other hand, I was complete a wreck. I had essays due, a dissertation proposal to write, and at the time a boyfriend I barely knew. It was not the time. Not that there ever really is a right time, but this definitely erred more on the worst possible timing side of things.

Fast forward to now, two trimesters, a master’s degree, a new country, and a breakup later– I’m here and my baby (it’s a boy) is still here. By the grace of God that baby is still here. I say that because during the first trimester I really worried about miscarrying just because I was not expecting this and you never know what could happen, and the second and third trimester was just full of stress from my situations. It was unbelievably stressful. I really wanted to be fully happy about this baby, and I was happy to a certain extent, but the situations surrounding this pregnancy put such a dark cloud over me for a while. Now I am at a place where most days are better than others, I am still settling into my new place in Charlotte, NC, and I know I made the right choice by coming back to the US. I had previously planned to stay in London due to the work opportunities within my studies, but God had other plans for now and I’m really OK with that.

I could say a lot of other things about this pregnancy, but I what I will say for now is that outside of my normal first-time mommy fears, I am pretty anxious now to see this little man that’s been kicking me all throughout the late night hours. Aside from only being slightly uncomfortable, this pregnancy has been really easy so far. I was really surprised. I will hold my breath though because this labor part that is coming up next month might be a different story.. hopefully I will get some sort of a nursery up by then. Oops.

Well the good news is now I have a ton of free time to write since I am currently unemployed, and a lot of material saved up from the past year! So, I shall see you sooner than later. Until next time..