Thursday, December 19, 2013

A rant on my baby's needs

I'm typing this with one hand while my baby drifts off to sleep in my arms. We are snuggled close, rocking in the rocking chair. These are my favorite moments. My baby is peaceful in my arms. He can hear my heart beat. We keep each other warm. He knows he is safe. I wouldn't trade the time I spend rocking my baby for anything. 

But there is a bit of controversy. You see, Wilson is a high needs baby. (Please go google Dr. Sears and the high needs baby. It describes Wilson to a t). He needs to be held about 75% of his waking hours and 100% during his napping hours. So I hold him sometimes 12 hours a day. Not most days, but some. If he is in a bad mood or especially clingy, I hold him. It's the only thing that will calm him. It's the only way he naps. We rock and rock and rock. It's what makes him happy. 

It's been suggested by just about everyone (my husband included) that I have spoiled wilson. That if I would just put him down, he would get used to it. That I can't hold him forever. That he only cries because he knows that he will be held. 

And it makes me so dang mad. No one knows my baby like I do. I know everyone means well, but they don't know my baby. They don't know the type of parent I want to be. They don't know our bond. 

Wilson wants to be held because it comforts him. He is an infant, so he doesn't have ulterior motives. He only knows that he needs to be held. He needs support and comfort. I can give him those things. Yes, that means I have to sacrifice by being stuck in a rocking chair hours at a time, but I'm ok with that. I'm lucky that I get to stay home with Wilson. I am capable of meeting his every need, so why shouldn't I? 

I don't believe in letting him cry. I think he is far too little to deny his needs. He doesn't know why he needs to be held, but he does know he needs his mom right now. He needs me. He doesn't understand that it's not a life or death situation. To him and his infant brain,it is. For whatever reason, he needs to be held like he needs his bottle. It's that important to him. 

So I hold him. And I will continue to hold him as long as he needs me to. One day, he won't need me to hold him. He will go off on his own. But he will be confident that his mom will always be there to hold him, if he needs it. Whether he is 2 or 22 or 52, I will always be there to hold and comfort my baby. As much as he needs, for as long as he needs. 

This got a little ranty so,sorry for that. I am not being critical of anyone. I know everyone is trying to help and I'm grateful to have everyone's opinions. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The best day ever

My wedding day and Wilson's birthday are not the best day of my life. Shocking, right? They are the second and third best days of my life, respectively. My wedding narrowly beats out Wilson's birth because there was champagne an no needles. 

No, the best day of my life was the day we found out Wilson was a boy.

 And it wasn't the best day because he
 was a boy. I actually thought I really wanted a girl. But the moment the ultrasound lady said the words "it's a boy", my world felt complete. 

I was having a boy. A healthy baby boy. In that moment, I felt more happiness and joy than I ever thought possible. I was elated and so full of love.

I probably would have felt exactly the same if Wilson had been a girl. It was just knowing that was amazing. There aren't many big surprises in life as an adult, but finding out the sex of my child was like Christmas morning times ten. 

I was so anxious and nervous until I just couldn't stand it. One moment I was a ball of nerves, and the moment we found out, the greatest feelings of love and happiness washed over me. It felt perfect. 

I don't think I quit smiling that whole day after we found out. The thought of my baby boy overwhelmed my mind. He was perfect and our family was perfect. I don't really believe that things are meant to be, but if anything in this world was meant to happen, this baby boy was meant to be in our family. I can't imagine anything different. I just feels so right. 

So that was the day that everything came together. The day that I knew that I was going to have a son. The day that gave me the biggest, best high I could ever feel. It was truly the best day ever. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A day in the life

I wanted to write down what a normal day looks like for our family at this stage. It's my intention to do one of these posts every few months to compare and look for growth. I'm sure one day I will look back on this and think about the "good old days". 

Monday December 16, 2013

6:45- I hear Wilson waking up. He slept through the whole night and wakes up happy. I nudge Caleb to go make the baby a bottle and change his diaper. 

7:00 - I get Wilson from his crib and we settle into the rocking chair. Caleb gets ready for work and Wilson slowly takes his 6 ounce bottle. 

8:00 - Wilson sits in his play chair on the kitchen table while I eat breakfast. Caleb leaves for work. 

8:30 - Wilson plays in his chair with toys while I do a few dishes or other chores. 

9:00 - Wilson gets sleepy so I make him a 1 ounce bottle and he drinks himself to sleep. I rock him while he naps. 

11:30 - Wilson wakes up. Poops. We change his diaper and put his day clothes on. 

12:00 - Caleb comes home for lunch. He and I eat and he plays with the baby some. Changes his diaper before he leaves. 

1:00 - Wilson takes another 6 ounce bottle. 

1:30 - Wilson plays with his kick and play gym in his crib while I get dressed, put on make up and brush my hair.

2:00 - Wilson falls asleep for his afternoon nap. 

3:30 - I wake Wilson up so we can go on a walk outside. I change his diaper. We put on his jacket and grab a blanket. 

4:15 - We get back from our walk. Tummy time/play time on the floor until Caleb gets home. 

5:00 - Calev gets home and takes the baby. I start making dinner. Wilson takes another 4 ounce bottle and a quick cat nap. Clean diaper for Wilson. 

6:30 - Dinner time for Caleb and me. Wilson sits in his play seat and our laps as we eat. 

7:00 - We clean up a bit and play with Wilson. Just have family time. 

7:45 - Wilson takes a bath. Gets lotion, a clean diaper, and his pajamas on. 

8:20 - We turn the lights down and make Wilson a 6 ounce bottle. I feed him and rock him while Caleb and I watch some TV. 

9:00 - Wilson falls asleep. Caleb goes to bed. 

9:30 - I put Wilson in his crib for the night. 

9:45 - I go to bed. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A quiet thought

It's 9:23 and my child is still asleep. And I'm up. Not sure how that happened, but I'm enjoying my quiet moment this morning. Quiet moments, that don't involve a 3 month old attached to me, are  few and far between these days. 

Caleb and I have been under a lot of stress these past few months. When we found out I was pregnant, we were both full time students without much of a plan. We were anxious. We were worried. But everything has worked out beautifully for us. Caleb has an amazing job that he loves and he is a semester away from his master's degree. And somehow, the cards fell in a way that allowed me to stay home with Wilson, at least for a little while. I feel like we are living the dream most days. 

But there are still worries and stress. We don't ever seem to have quite enough money or time or energy. We could chose to be consumed by that stress. To keep it on our minds day and night. 

But we choose not to. We choose happiness. We choose love. We choose peace. 

Because, in the end, we will work it all out. We always have. Enough will be provided for us. 

My child has woken up and is gleefully banging his arms on the rails of his crib. Not sure why he thinks that is fun, but he does. I'm going to go get my happy baby. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Food and family

Let me start by saying that I am definitely not a food blogger or even a good cook. Like not even close. But since I've become a stay at home mom, I've started to have the desire to cook real, homemade food for my family. Right now I'm just cooking for me and my husband, but before too long, Wilson will be eating, too. I've realized that it's important for me to start the habit of preparing meals now, so Wilson will always expect a family dinner. 

I think family meal time is one of the most important aspects of creating a supportive, open, and communicative family unit. Dinner time is a time for everyone to share about their day, relax, and just enjoy the food and the company. Family dinner will always be a priority in our home. Even now, we put Wilson in his bumbo, high chair, or in our laps as we all sit at the table and eat. As he gets older, I want him to look forward to our family time each night. 

Since I'm not employed outside the home right now, I take most of the responsibility in preparing dinner. 6 months ago, I could make hamburger helper and boxed macaroni and cheese and that's about it. But after reading lots of food blogs and watching hours of The Food Network, I built up a working knowledge of basic recipes and skills. And now, I think I'm pretty decent in the kitchen. My husband (almost) always likes the things I make and is always appreciative to have a hot, homemade meal. It makes me happy to make a dinner for us both to enjoy together. It really warms my heart to think of our family dinners in the coming years. 

So if you're a newbie cook like me, let me let you in on my biggest secret. Go immediately to The Pioneer Woman's website and just scroll through her recipes. Seriously, go do it. All of her food is so familiar and accessible to the average home cook. There arent any fancy ingredients, no difficult techniques, just pure and simple good food. There are step by step instructions and, the best part, pictures of what every step looks like.  She is seriously my hero. She has made me a decent cook. I will forever love her. (And if anyone wants to buy me a Christmas gift, I would die over her cook book.) 

Here are just a few things I've made in the past couple of months. Almost all of them are thanks to the Pioneer Woman. They have all been hits so far. 

Chicken tetrazzini 

Spicy sausage pasta


Asian stir fried beef and peppers

O and our new house has a gas stove. I love it buy have yet to figure out its "quirks". Someone come teach me how to use a gas stove? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Wilson's Christmas List

Since Wilson is still so little, I didn't want to go overboard with his Christmas this year. That's not to say I didn't buy him more than I should have, because I definitely did, but it's mostly little things this year. Caleb and I actually have a rule about gifts for our children. "One thing you want, one thing you need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read". I read that somewhere a long time ago but it sounds like a policy we would like to stick to with our kids. 

Clearly, as the photo above shows, I did not stick to that so much this year. But again, Wilson is so small he has no clue what's going on. So I think I'm allowed a pass on the rule this year, or at least I hope my husband thinks so. 

Wilson's big gift from mom and dad was his play seat. And I'm not going to lie, I gave it to him the day we got it and it is a life saver. He loves sitting in it. I think I might wrap it up Christmas Eve and let him open it Christmas morning just so we will have the pictures. 

The rest of his things are from Santa and are just small toys and books. I am realizing I tend to be attracted to more "old school" toys and books. I'm sure there are lots of great newer toys, but does a 3 month old really need a toy with 4665 lights and sounds? I think not. 

So there is baby Wilson's first Christmas list. With all of his grandparent, great grandparents, and aunt and uncles, I'm pretty sure he is going to rack up this year. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I Write

This will probably be an overly emotional and scatter brained post. But it's something I really want to write down. It's not easy to talk about, but it's important to me. So please, bear with me. 

Writing here on this blog has become really important to me since Wilson has been born. I don't really care too much about who reads it or if I have a "popular" blog. Because I'm not writing this for anyone except myself and my son. 

I'm writing because I want my son to have a record of me. What I thought, felt, how I loved him, my struggles and my happiness. I want my son to have a picture of who I am as his mother and as a person. Because I know first hand how priceless and important that is. 

Hopefully, I will be able to tell Wilson all of the stories of when he was little. Hopefully when he is grown and has children of his own, He can call me and I can give him advice. Hopefully, I can tell him how much I love him every single day. 

But I know from the loss of my own mother, that I may not always be here. I probably will have a long, happy life with my son, but it is far from guaranteed. So I write from that fear. I write because it is my absolute greatest fear that I will leave my son with no record of myself as a woman, wife, and mother.  

My mother died when I was 6. As a 6 year old, I barely recognized that my mom was anything else except my mother. She took care of me, played with me, taught me. I wasn't capable of understanding her many other roles. Hell, I barely understood her role as a mother. She just was there. I didn't know or appreciate the things she did for me. 

And it sucks when you're 6 and your mom dies. But as a 6 year old, you don't really understand what that means. The worst part of losing your mom at 6 is that the grief gets worse as time passes, nt better. As I got older, I started to understand more and more of what I lost. As a young teen, I realized I lost my biggest female role model. As a teenager, I realized I lost a friend and confidant. When I got married, I realized I lost what marriage looked like for my parents. When I became an adult, I realized I lost a complex, unique, and flawed person. I know now my mother was so many things. She was a friend, a daughter, a wife, a journalist, and my mother. And I don't know her.  I have no way of knowing who my mother was. 

And that is what makes me most sad.  That she was this dynamic person that I know little to nothing about. I don't know what her favorite color was, or if she was a feminist, or even what made her happy. I just don't know. And there is this huge void in myself because I don't know. I don't know the woman who I came from. I don't know where I came from. 

So I want to make sure my son never feels that void. That if something does happen to me, he has a picture of me here. He has my words. He has in writing just how much I love him. I would do anything to have that from my mother. 

I guess it's a little morbid to have a blog just in case I die. But it's a reality I know. And if I can spare my son any heartbreak or sadness in the future, then I am going to. So this blog is for you, Wilson. So you can know me as your mother, your dad's wife, and as a person. 

Santa or not?

Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas. The big red guy with the beard. I'm not sure what to do about Santa. 

Before we had Wilson, Caleb and I kind of thought we wouldn't teach our children to believe in Santa. We never talked about it in great detail but we figured why tell our kid something as ridiculous as a dude in a sleigh with magic reindeer travels the world in one night and gives kids toys? I mean, come on, that's such a silly notion. I actually hope Wilson is smart enough to realize just how silly it is and realize there is no way for that to be real. But as smart as Wilson surely will be, I doubt that will happen for a few years. So I have to decide.

Now that Wilson is here, not telling him about Santa is proving to be harder than I imagined. First, Santa is everywhere! You can't listen to Christmas music or watch tv without a mention of Santa at least every commercial break. And Wilson has grandparents and great grandparents that automatically think Wilson will believe in Santa. Even though he is way too young to know what's going on, I cringe every time someone tells him to be good so Santa will come visit him. No. Just no. Santa is not a tool for manipulation. That just seems to wrong to me. To create this big lie and then use it to manipulate your kids behavior. I know, my kid doesn't "misbehave" yet so I can't really judge, but in theory I very much disagree with lying and manipulating. I don't want to don that to Wilson. 

On the other hand, Christmas makes my heart so happy. It really is a magical time of year, and it's even more so with a child. Wilson and I have been listening to Christmas music all day, everyday and I cry at least 3 times a day. The whole season is about love, hope, warmth, and family. My little son has made me realize more than ever how important those things can be. Christmas is about tradition and memory making. I cannot wait for Wilson to experience Christmas. And Santa definitely feels like an important part of the Christmas tradition. 

I want to take Wilson to get his picture taken with Santa. I want him to leave out cookies and milk. I want him to write letter to Santa. I want him to look out his window Christmas Eve night and try to find Rudolph's red nose. I have happy memories of my childhood doing these things and I want Wilson to have those happy memories.  

So yes it is silly. And yes I am technically lying to my son. But when he is little, I want him to experience the wonder and magic of Christmas. He has his whole life to figure out the lies in the world. When he is little, I think he deserves to believe in something a little magical. 

I still have at least two Christmases until Wilson will really "get" what Santa is, so I reserve the right to change my mind. But definitely this year, I will tell him about Santa and the magic of Christmas. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wilson - 3 months

My little man is three months old today! I can't believe my baby is already 1/4 of a year old. Watching him grow is the best, but I already miss his infancy. Here is what he has been up to this month. 

- He is 25 1/2 inches long and I'm guessing he is around 16 pounds. We don't have a scale or a doctors appointment this month, but I'm willing to bet he has doubled his birthweight already. Little dude is heavy! 

- Wilson will sometimes sleep through the night, but he usually wakes up once between 3-5 for a bottle. Bed time is around 10:30 and he usually wakes up around 7:30-8:30. 

-We transitioned him to his crib in his room a few weeks ago. It took a few nights for him to get situated, but he does fine now. He rolls all over the crib in his sleep. 

- Speaking of rolling, he rolled from his tummy to his back yesterday. I don't think it was intentional, but he made it. 

- Naps are still great as long as he is being held. He takes a morning nap and a afternoon nap that are 2-3 hours. He still just dozes in the evenings. 

- Last month I was worried about his progress with tummy time, but he has been doing great this month. He holds his head and shoulders up with no problems. We do it most nights for 15-20 minutes. 

- Wilson eats a 4 ounce bottle when he wakes up in the morning, one around 12-1, and another around 4-5. I make his last bottle of the day 6 ounces, but he rarely eats it all. He takes it around 9. When he wakes in the middle of the night, he gets whatever is left of his last bottle. His eating has really slacked off, which is slightly concerning. Hopefully it's just a slow growing phase. 

- Wilson rarely cries unless he is hungry or sleepy. Usually it's just when he is sleepy. He has started fighting going to sleep, so he always fusses. He certainly didn't get his sleep habits from me or Caleb. We both love our sleep. 

- He is in size 2 diapers comfortably. He wears a mixture of some 3 months (which are really getting too small), 3/6 months, 6 months and even a few 6/9 months. The 6 month stuff definitely fits him best. 

- Likes: strolling in the big boy part of his stroller, taking his clothes off, playing on the big bed, baths, his kick and play gym 

- Dislikes: loud noises, bed/nap time, being ignored, not being able to sit up and see what's going on

Wilson had such a great month. He met so many new people at Thanksgiving and did great with our move into our new house. I'm so proud of every little achievement and I'm so honored to be Wilson's mom. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's in a name?

Wilson Alva Clark Boettcher. That's my son's full name. Yes, it's a mouthful. Yes, it sounds like a 70 year old man. Yes, the two middle names are a bit much. Yes, he will probably hate Alva and never use it. 

But I absolutely adore his name. Every time I see it written or I tell someone his whole name, I get the biggest smile. His name is jam packed with meaning for Caleb and me. I can't wait to tell Wilson all about the special people he was named after. And since he is an extra special boy, he deserves an extra special name. 

Caleb and I had actually had another boy name in mind that we decided on a long time ago, before we even considered actually having a kid. Our boy was going to be James Paul Clark. That name has tons of meaning too, and if we have another boy, that will probably be his name (except change Clark to Rufus). So when we found out we were pregnant, I didn't even really think of boy names, I was happy with what we already decided. But one night, on our way home, I asked Caleb if he could name the baby anything he wanted, what would he choose? And Caleb said he would name him after a great scientist, like Edward Wilson. And in that moment, something clicked in my head. Wilson. I had never thought of that name until that moment, but as soon as I thought it, I knew that was going to be his name. I actually had to convince Caleb to give up our other name, that Wilson was beyond perfect for our son. And after a few days, he came around. And just like that, our baby had a first name. Inspired by a great writer and scientist. I can only hope that Wilson will be curious about his name sake and pick up some of his books one day. And then maybe Wilson will become a great scientist in his own right. 

We both loved the name Clark for years and never doubted that would be our son's middle name. It is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My gran is such a special person to both Caleb and me. She is so gracious, kind, warm and loving. She has faced a lot of adversity in her life, but she still remains happy and loving. I hope Wilson sees these qualities in her and creates them in himself. 

Alva was decided on literally about a week before Wilson was born. Caleb always liked the idea of giving our kids three names (a first name and two middle names). I wasn't so sure about it until my last few weeks of pregnancy when I got terribly bored and needed something to do. So I thought up a list of potential extra names. August was our first choice because We liked the flow of W.A.C. Boettcher but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted the name to be significant,not just something random. And as September rolled in and it became apparent we would have a September baby instead of August, I thought of my maternal grandfather, who's birthday was in September. He passed away when I was 10 but I feel like I owe a lot to him. He had a huge hand in shaping the person I would become. He was very smart and really Instilled a love for learning in me as a child. I have many fond memories of him reading to me and playing imaginative games with me. I really hope I can be a great teacher like that for Wilson. So Alva it was. 

We didn't tell anyone about Wilson's extra name until after it was on the birth certificate. I don't think anyone would have criticized it, but I didn't want anyone's opinion on the matter. I knew that it was my son's name. There is no way he could be anyone else. 

Two kind of funny things happened with Wilson's name that I didn't plan for, but are happy accidents. First, I have always wanted to honor my mom (who died when I was little) in some way with my children. Unfortunately, her name and it's variants are not my style at all so I knew I wouldn't name my kids after her. But, in a way I did because I named Wilson after both of her parents. It's special to think that the memories of my maternal grandparents and my mother are all tied together into Wilson's name. Which really, isn't that what a baby is anyway? He is The sum of all of our families mashed together into one new person.

Also, my Grandaddy didn't go by Alva. He was Bud to his friends and family. Somehow and completely unintentionally , I got into the habit of calling Wilson "Bud" or "Little Bud". I didn't even make that connection back to his name sake until my gran pointed it out. It's so sweet and I'm so glad my baby boy has such a big, meaningful name. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


While we were visiting everyone for Thanksgiving and passing Wilson around from grandma to grandma, I realized how well I know my baby. And how well he knows me. While Wilson does ok when others hold him, he really would prefer me. Especially if he is upset. No one else seems to hold his bottle right or comfort him the way he likes. My grandmother suggested that I have already "spoiled" my baby but I don't think I have. He is just used to me. He spends all of his time with me. So of course he wants me. I'm what he knows best. 

And I want him right back. It is so hard for me to let others attempt to comfort him. I know they love him and want to help, but in my mind, I can't help but to want to scoop him up and give him what I know he wants. I know his hungry cry from his bored cry. I know when the hands go in his mouth, he is usually tired, not hungry. If one more person tries to put a pacifier (that he doesn't like) in his mouth I might lose it. But I have to remind myself that they are trying to help, that they are doing what worked for them. I have to remind myself that they don't know Wilson, but they are trying to get to know him. I need to let them try. 

It's amazing how in tune I am to my baby's needs. He can't really communicate what he wants but I still know. Before I became a mom, I never realized I could know so much about such a little person. He is only 3 months old, but I'm learning his personality. It's almost instinctual the ways we know each other. I realize now they no one knows my baby like I do, and that feels pretty special. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I might write a bit about what I'm most thankful for and recap our holiday week. The holiday itself, with the pilgrims and Indians, is a bit flawed. I don't support or celebrate foreign invaders wiping out whole native populations, which is what really happened, but I think of Thanksgiving a bit less literally. For me, it's more about everyone stopping their busy lives for just one day to collectively reflect on and appreciate the things we have. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. My happy, healthy, growing son is at the top of my list. In just a few days Wilson will be 3 months old.  He is such a joy for me, Caleb and everyone who meets him. 

His first Thanksgiving was a huge success. He met so many new friends and family members. I even let him try a bite of mashed potatos but he wasn't so sure. I think he will stick to bottles for now. 

I'm also incredibly thankful for my husband. He does so much for me and our family. He found us a great house and worked hard this weekend to get us moved in. He is always willing to help me out with Wilson and reminds me I'm an awesome mom when I need it most. We are each other's support through good and bad. I am so grateful for our marriage. 

We could not have had a happy Thanksgiving without visiting with our families. There is always an abundance of love whenever we all get together. It was great to introduce baby Wilson to his extended family as well as give him some quality time with his grandparents and aunt/uncles. It makes my heart so happy to see how much my baby is loved. 

It was a busy but so happy holiday. It makes me so excited for the Christmas season. I knew my life would be better with Wilson but I never would have imagined just how special the holiday season would be.