Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Birthday Party and Trip to the "Owie Place"

Colton might not remember his first birthday party, but I've got 136 pictures to prove that it actually took place! I didn't want to miss a moment because hey, you only turn 1 once.

It's a good thing that we had it indoors, since it was so miserably hot outside. I made a ton of chicken marsala the day before to serve, and we also had penne pasta, bread, salad, cheese & crackers, and chips. There was so much food leftover, but I'm glad we had more than enough for everybody. Colton was kind of overwhelmed with all of the people that we had over. I tried unsuccessfully three times to get him down for his morning nap, but he knew sometihng was going on and didn't want to sleep with the chance he might miss anything. I thought he was going to be super cranky during the party, but he did okay.

When it was time for presents, Colton wasn't really into them at first. He kept crawling away to play with something else, and I had to keep bringing him back! Eventually he started tearing the wrapping paper with us, but he was still much more enthralled with the cards, envelopes, and tissue paper. He got lots of fun & educational toys, along with books, clothes, and a push toy that converts to a ride on. My mom and stepdad bought him a toy chest, which will be great to store all of his old and new toys.

Colton wasn't quite sure what to make of the slice of cake we put in front of him, but soon his hands and mouth were covered in blue icing! I took the plate away after a while so he wouldn't go into sugar shock, and Gregg put him right in the tub to clean him up. Shortly after everybody left, Colton fell asleep and slept from 5:30 that night until 6:30 the next morning.

Here are some pictures of his big day!

Opening presents

Digging into his cake!

After being hosed down in the bath tub.

Monday night, we took Colton for his one year check-up. He went from the 75th percentile in height and weight to the 50th, probably because he's so much more active now. Last time he weighed 21 lbs. 12 oz. and this time he was 22 lbs. 8 oz. He also only went from 29 inches and a quarter to 29 inches and a half. Colton had to get a few more shots, and he screamed his head off during them. I didn't know whether I felt worse for him, or the nurse! We have to take him somewhere else to get his anemia and lead tests done. I am not looking forward to that at all. He goes back in November for his 15 month check-up.

Of course yesterday, he gets a runny nose which he probably brought home from the pediatrician's and hardly napped. He was really clingy all day, too. Not even ten minutes after I put him in the crib last night, he woke up crying and wouldn't go back down. Gregg brought him into bed with us hoping he'd fall asleep, but all Colton wanted to do was play. So after a while, he just put him back in the crib and Colton cried off and on for close to the next hour. He's never done this before. I wanted to go in there and comfort him, but I knew if I did neither one of us would get any sleep. With all that fuss he put up, Colton ended up sleeping until 8 this morning. I was actually able to grab a shower before 10am today! What a paradox: Colton gets showered with presents and cake one day, and poked and prodded and stuck by complete strangers the next. Poor little guy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Colton!!!

What a difference a year makes!

August 14, 2008

August 14, 2009

I know I sound like a broken record, but I really cannot believe my baby is already a year old. How is that possible?? It seems like just yesterday that he was born. During this time last year, I was being prepped for my C-section and getting really nervous about the surgery. I would get to meet Colton for the first time only half an hour later. When I finally got to hold him in recovery, I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I know everybody says that about their child, but I didn't expect to feel like I was looking at the most amazing and precious being God ever made. I couldn't believe that Gregg and I had created such a beautiful little boy together.

I'm getting misty eyed thinking about the fact that he's no longer a baby anymore, but now a toddler. The tears start welling up also when I think about how proud I am of how much he's grown and developed in these past 365 days. This morning I made him his own omelet with cheddar cheese and he had whole milk in his sippy like a big boy! He is almost 100% on cow's milk at this point, and I'm about to get rid of the only bottle he has during the day. He had no problems with the transition from formula to the moo juice and I am so glad we can stop paying for expensive formula now!!

In addition to whole milk, Colton's also tried toast, blueberries, yogurt, whole wheat crackers, scrambled eggs, and yes even peanut butter this month. He hasn't had any adverse reactions to the PB, and he seems to really enjoy it. It's hard to believe that only a few short months ago, he was eating pureed baby food and now he is eating meals at the table with us.

Besides crawling really fast, Colton started to pull himself up to kneel and stand holding onto furniture. He's also taken a few steps, but he's not ready to try walking on his own yet! He learned how to get back down once he's standing and can reach for and grab a toy that's on the floor with one hand while he holds onto the couch with the other. Colton loves to crawl from room to room looking for me and enjoys being chased. He shrieks excitedly when he knows I'm coming after him!

I am amazed how much he's transformed in just the last few weeks with his physical and intellectual development. He's definitely got a mind of his own and he's starting to test limits. He understands the word "no", even if he doesn't always obey. Usually after I tell him no, he will stop just short of the object he's not supposed to have and stare at it and goes to touch it, then stops himself like he's trying to have self-control. You can almost see the internal dialogue he's having with himself: "I really want to play with/chew on/bang this object, but mom said not to and I really want to please her, but it's just too tempting!" There are many times when he looks to see if we're watching him, and when he knows he doesn't have our full attention he will go for whatever we've told him he couldn't have. Then he wails when we take it away or remove him from something.

Diaper changes have turned into a full-on battle. Colton has much more important things to do now than be changed, like throw all of his toys & books all over the floor, chew on dog toys, explore the contents of our closet, etc. He also fights me hard when I'm trying to get him dressed in the mornings. He always attempts to turn over on the changing table and crawl away, or sit up and start playing with the diaper rash cream, his nail clippers, and the bottle of vitamin drops. It is so frustrating that sometimes I want to say, "Fine, stay in your stinky diaper!!"

It is a full time job just to keep up with him and chase him around the house. I've found him in the bathroom going through the garbage, trying to stick his hands in the toilet, and throwing magazines around. In the kitchen, he loves to go for Tess's food & water bowls and play with the garbage and recycling cans. I kinda miss the days when he was NOT crawling.

Colton is putting a lot of syllables together to try and form words. It's still just a bunch of gibberish right now, but it's so cute. Sometimes it sounds like he's talking in Swedish! He did say "doggie" a few times, where he actually said it straight to the dog so I consider that his first official word. It's so much more rewarding to read him stories now because he recognizes pictures and gets excited when I turn the flaps in his Peek-a-boo books. He loves when I make different animal sounds to go with the book, and makes the cutest sound when he sees a dog, cat, or baby on a page.

I'm really excited about his birthday party this Sunday. After all the hemming and hawing, we decided to just have it here at our place. It'll be pretty low key, mostly just family. I'm going to make a few dishes and put them in aluminum pans so people can serve themselves. We'll also have some snacks, and of course cake! Then Colton goes for his 12 month doctor's visit on Monday night, and I'm curious to see how much taller and bigger he's gotten. He definitely feels heavier than he did at his last appointment, but I know now is when his growth supposedly slows way down.

I am so blessed to have had this little boy in my life over this past year, to have witnessed all his milestones, put him to bed every night, rocked him to sleep, given him big kisses on his soft pudgy cheeks, hear him laugh, and watch him grow from a tiny baby into a toddler. It feels like he has always been with us, and I just can't imagine my life without him. I love him a thousand times more than the day he was born, if that's even possible. I'm looking forward to what's to come in his second year. Time to change that ticker...

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Year Later

It's so hard to believe that my baby is going to be 1 on Friday. During this week a year ago, we were making all the last minute preparations for his arrival. I had my final doctor's appointment to check up on how the baby was doing and go over everything involved with having the C-section. The day before Colton's birth, Gregg and I enjoyed a nice lunch out at Fuddrucker's and talked about how it was our last full day together as just a "twosome". In the middle of lunch, I received a call from the hospital telling us when to arrive, and we phoned our families to let them know when they could show up.

This past year has been the most challenging, frustrating, and rewarding of my life so far. I had to learn so much about taking care of a baby. I didn't know anything about diapering, bottle feeding, swaddling, burping, etc. I got a crash course in mothering pretty quickly and nothing's been the same since.

I had to overcome all the internal voices telling me that I wasn't going to be a good mother. I was so discouraged when breastfeeding didn't go according to plan. Colton had difficulty latching on and he would always seem to fall asleep in the middle of a feeding. He slept so much in the hospital and when we first brought him home that I actually thought there was something wrong with him! (It turns out I just have a really good sleeper. Even now he takes two naps during the day and sleeps for 11 hours overnight.) At the time, breastfeeding was like a complicated mathematical problem and I didn't have the strength emotionally, physically, or mentally to figure it out. So I decided to try the pump, but it was really painful. I had the stupid thing on the highest setting and I still got very little milk. Before the first week was over, I just resigned myself to the fact that Colton would be exclusively formula fed. It was the best decision I could have made for his health and my sanity, but it sure didn't feel that way at the time.

Right after he was born, I was an emotional wreck. I don't know if it was the dramatic shift in hormones paired with the monumental life change I had just encountered and all the painkillers I was on, but I'd be sobbing hysterically one minute and laughing uncontrollably the next. I didn't know how and if I would ever make it through that first week home from the hospital. Eventually I started learning how to do things and bonding with my baby, who once seemed like such a foreign creature. Colton started sleeping through the night, and before I knew it he was outgrowing his newborn clothes and I stopped stumbling around like a zombie. Then before long, he was interacting with us by smiling & laughing and it was time for him to try baby food.

I kept watching and worrying about his development, though he was progressing just as he should. I was concerned that he was too chubby, he couldn't stand tummy time, he wasn't reaching for toys, and on and on. The anxiety that I had about doing something wrong or messing up my child somehow was overwhelming. So I read everything I could on what to expect the first year, took some good pointers and tossed out the rest. I learned to read my own baby's cues and stopped fretting about every little thing.

This past year has felt like a marathon, and on Friday I will cross the "finish line" only to begin running another race with new obstacles and challenges as Colton enters toddlerhood. I'll have to learn how to discipline, provide well-balanced nutritious meals, and (oh joy) potty train. Colton has certainly come a long way since his days as a teeny, helpless newborn. He can completely feed himself now. He's standing on his own and imitating words. He is mobile enough to get to where he wants to go. He is asserting his will and independence more & more all the time. As I look back at how much he's grown physically and developmentally, I am so proud of all the things he can do. I am thrilled with the little boy he is becoming. I'm truly blessed to be his mother and look forward to celebrating his first birthday at the end of this week!