Saturday, June 14, 2014

11 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You turned 11 months old on Wednesday!  Look how much you've grown:

I can't believe we only have one month until you're a year old!  Time has flown by, and I'd do just about anything to slow it down. But every day you learn something new, and this is a really fun age!

You continue to be one of the most curious babies I've ever seen.  You are constantly watching everything, and you don't seem to miss a thing.  This makes it hard for us to stay a step ahead of you!  When we go out to eat, you love to sit in a high chair and people-watch.  I tell you it's rude to stare, but that doesn't stop you at all!

The craziest thing is that you still don't crawl.  You have mastered the "Scarlett scoot" and you get around so fast that way, I just don't think you'll ever crawl like a normal baby.  In fact, you are starting to pull yourself up on things, and can toddle around pretty well if someone holds your hands, so I think you'll go straight to walking.  In any case, you are totally mobile, and just not interested at all in crawling on your hands and knees.

I say this every month, but you constantly make us laugh.  You dance around, make silly faces, silly noises, and just love to make everyone smile with you.  You love to sing!  I've been singing The Raindrops Song to you a lot, and as soon as I get to the part that says, "standing outside with my mouth open wide" you start yelling "ah! ah! ah!"  Sometimes you just randomly yell it when you want me to sing the song.  It is adorable!  I've started singing Happy Birthday to you sometimes too, and I pretend to blow out a candle when I'm done.  I want you to be ready to blow out your candle on your first birthday!  And you already have the hang of it.  As soon as you hear me the first line of the song, your whole face scrunches up in a huge smile, and you break into adorable giggles. 

You are so friendly, too!  When we go shopping, you love to smile and wave as we pass people.  It takes me forever to get my grocery shopping done, because almost everybody stops me so they can look at you, tell me how cute you are, and talk to you for a few moments.  You LOVE the attention!

You've gotten 2 new teeth this month.  These were the hardest ones yet.  There was a whole week where you woke up just about every half hour, every night.  Mommy and Daddy almost lost our minds!  But then all of a sudden, the first one poked through, and ever since then, I haven't had to get up with you once in the night.  (Knock on wood!)  

Your favorite toys right now are your Peter Rabbit stuffed animal, your Elmo stuffed animal at Nana's house, empty water bottles, your little bouncy ball (you love to roll it back and forth), spatulas, and Nana's chip clips.  Yep, that's right.  You love to play with her chip clips.  It's funny the things you get attached to!

You also love your blanket and pacifier.  When you're starting to get tired, I put your blanket across myself, and you just bury your face in me.  We always say, "snuggle!"  when you do this, and I think you think your blanket is actually called your "snuggle" now, which I think is pretty cute!

You've gotten even cuter this month, if that's even possible.  You love to blow kisses, do the motions to "Pat-a-cake," do "so big!", dance, give high fives, wave (you wave with your whole arm now, and it's so cute), give hugs (which are just you touching your head to things.  We also say "noggin" to you, and touch our heads together.  I think Aunt Di started that!)  Like I learn new things ever day!

You're such a sweet little girl, but very sassy, too.  When we picked the name Scarlett, it sounded like a very feminine name, but also strong and not too prissy.  I think it fits you perfectly, because that's exactly how your personality is.  You are so sweet, but you are strong too.  We hope you never change, and that you go through life as a strong woman who stands up and advocates for herself, but who also has so much sweetness, femininity, and love for others.

This is what you looked like this month:

 I can't believe that your birthday party is being planned, and your invitations are all ready to be sent out.  Time has gone too fast.  But I am so excited for your future!  It's definitely bittersweet to see you growing and changing every day!

We love you so much!!
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Survive as a Working Mom

I have begun several posts recently detailing fun things we've been up to, like my first Mother's Day, Scarlett's dedication, Luke's birthday, and a recent day trip to visit with my sister.  But life has been crazy, and I haven't had time to complete any of them.  I hope to soon, because these are special memories I don't want to forget!  But tonight something completely different is on my mind.

I recently started my medical externship.  It is my final externship before I graduate in August.  I've been placed in a facility that's part rehab center and part skilled nursing facility.  I know I want to work in the schools, so spending my summer in what is basically a nursing home felt a little like a waste of time at first, to be honest.  Not only that, but since I went and had a baby in the middle of grad school and became an "off-sequence" student, I have to complete my medical externship in 8 weeks instead of 15.  This means that I am at my extern site 5 days and somewhere between 40 and 50 hours a week.  Factor in 2 classes I'm taking during said externship, and a 40 minute drive one way, and that leaves very little time for my family.  On week nights I have between 2-4 hours with Scarlett.

To say I've been depressed would be an understatement.  I hold on to Scarlett every morning and just bawl before I have to leave.  I hate it more than I can tell you, and for the last 2 weeks I've been wondering why God is making me go through this because I don't feel like I can handle it.  I waited so long to become a mom, and I didn't think I'd have to basically let someone else raise my child once I finally had one.  Luke tells me that's melodramatic, but it's how I feel.

Today I was at my externship site and needed to return something to a patient's room.  I walked in and the patient was just moaning and visibly upset.  I reached out to her and she grabbed me and pulled me close.  She was holding my hand and pulling me to her as if she were clinging to me for life.  I just sat there and hugged her for a good long while, and then I rubbed her shoulders for a moment, and pulled her blankets up tightly around her so she'd be warm and comfortable.  I told her that my supervisor and I would check on her throughout the day and make sure she was okay.  After all of that, she visibly calmed down and stopped panicking.  She had just needed someone to hug her and comfort her.  And in that moment, my attitude changed.  I believe God was telling me that he has placed me at this site for a purpose.

Scarlett is so lucky to have many relatives who can watch her each day.  Honestly, leaving her each morning is a billion times harder on me than it is her.  She probably doesn't even notice I'm gone during the day.  Unlike Scarlett, those patients don't always have someone to love on them and advocate for them 100% of the time.  So if I can't be with Scarlett all the time this summer, I'm going to put all of my energy into loving and helping those patients.  I am so lucky to have a supervisor who does just that every single day, and she's been a great example for me. 

I was watching "The Little Couple" the other day.  (I love that show...I think Bill and Jen are such a wonderful couple!)  If you don't watch the show, Jen is a neonatologist who works in a NICU at one of the largest children's hospitals in the country.  Obviously she has a very wonderful, rewarding job, but she has to work crazy hours sometimes.  She and her husband have adopted two children in the past couple of years, and I imagine it is very hard for her to be away from them.  But she said something in a recent episode that hit home for me: it's not about quantity of time; it's about quality of time.  This is such a true statement, and my mom even alluded to this when I was confiding in her the other day and telling her how hard of a time I'm having.  She talked about how I'd probably take my time with Scarlett for granted if I were a stay-at-home mom and got to be with her 24/7.  But since I'm only able to see her for a few hours a day (for this short period of 8 weeks, anyway)  every minute is probably filled with quality time.  I think this is totally true, because during my few hours with her, you better believe my total attention is on her.  I don't do homework, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc until she's tucked into bed at night.  those few hours in the evening are our special time together.  I like to think that I spend the same amount of quality time with her as I would if I were a stay-at-home mom, even though the quantity of time is much lower.

So in a nutshell, if you are going through the same type of situation as me, I have two words of advice: 1. If you can't pour all your love into your child each day since you are not physically with them, pour all your love into those you were sent to serve or work with at your job each day.  God placed you where you are for a reason.  And 2. Don't dwell on the quantity of time you are missing out on.  Think instead about all the quality time you have together. 

I know these next 6.5 weeks are going to be hard.  But with this attitude, I can cope a little better, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more along the way, too.  I fully intend to seek a job as a school speech therapist, where I will have holidays, nights, and summers off to spend with my family.  Once my kids are school-aged, it will be the absolute perfect set up.  But until that time, I might as well make the most of the situation I'm in instead of dwelling in depression like I have been.