Thursday, March 28, 2013

Race travel with a baby

A half Ironman should not be a big deal. I have done more than a dozen of them, and one May I did two, with a Saturday/Sunday Memphis in May double thrown in the middle.

I think it is the packing this time around. I haven't done a race lasting over an hour and a half in, um, almost 3 years? There's all that stuff involved. Then there's the baby stuff. How can such a little guy need so much? Plus the weather is going to be on the cooler side, which involves more clothing. Wetsuits, tire pumps, breast pumps, strollers, baby books, toys, sunscreen, and on and on. I'm lucky to have a personal bike packer this time around, and the actual travel should be relatively short with our direct flight (woohoo!) into San Diego.

My mind is jumping around from remembering where Hunter's birth certificate is to how scary a kelp-filled harbor swim will be. Should I go with the neoprene swim cap or not? And remind me again what 65% humidity feels like; does it make 60F feel colder or warmer?

And just like that, we are here. For a few more lucky months (can you hear my sarcasm?), Jeremy is active duty, so we get to stay in a Camp Pendleton resort with the ocean literally yards from our doorstep. Ok, so the beach is really wide, so it's like 400 yards, but a direct and unobstructed line.

The water is cold, the wind is strong, and sand hurts when it blows in your eyes, but Hunter's first wade into the ocean brought a big smile to that curly headed little baby.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

12 months in pictures

I'm still learning photoshop, but here's a rough draft of a few monthly baby pictures :) Like a friend said, he really fluffed up between one and two months, then he grew and grew, now he's a toddler!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One year

Some stats about little baby Hunter at one year:

31.5 inches tall, >90th percentile
1/2 mommy's height!
24lbs 4 oz
1 haircut
8 teeth
18 month size
2 parents who adore him :)

A perfect day for Hunter at one year would be something like this:

~Get up, go straight downstairs to find kitties.
~Throw balls at kitties, try to get them to play.
~Have a snack of mama milk and blueberries and strawberries.
~Dig in dirt and gravel, have Mommy rake yard, stay outside most of day.
~Sweep, mop, and swiffer the kitchen floor. Or have Mommy do it while holding Hunter.
~Read all books, pointing out any kitties, rabbits, or puppies. Find stuffed rabbit to compare, then real kitties to throw toys at with.
~Go to library or bookstore to check out the new titles.
~Dance to some music.
~Throw golf balls on the roof with Daddy. 
~Pull everything out of drawers, cabinets, spice rack. Spill bottle of cumin all over kitchen.
~Open every tube and bottle cap in the house, even "babyproof" ones, empty contents of all spray bottles onto Daddy's shirt...

...all while naked

Mommy, I think you accidentally got spinach in the icing.

 How can anyone concentrate on spinachy cake when there are BALLOONS everywhere!

 Is this my baby? He's so big and red-headed!

 He's such a sweetie

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Don't Get Complacent!

My college cross country coach would frequently yell these words at us during races, usually around a mile and a half into the 5k. I can picture him on the side of the Vandy course as we rounded a tree. Despite how we made fun of that phrase, it is actually a good reminder. How often in races do you find your mind wandering to that post race beer or massage while your pace gradually slows to something more comfortable?

When we get complacent in sports, are we satisfied with where we are with our fitness, are our current PRs good enough, and do we have no new goals? Or are we just comfortable with where we are and what we are doing, not ready to push harder? In other aspects of life we may find that we know enough, are good enough at our jobs and have a routine down that doesn't need changing. Complacency isn't always a bad thing, but in some areas, a little more ambition could help.

Hunter has ambition aplenty. He is not satisfied with what he knows of this world. There is so much more out there to learn and experience. There are so many objects to throw and games to play, places to explore and books to read. I'm trying to be more like little Hunter.

In the last few years I have been in a deep rut with my running, cycling and swimming abilities, but I never gave up the desire to be better and go faster. Now that my racing ambition is back, I need to remember coach's phrase in the heat of competition. It is easy to just get through the race, coasting along, but I would not be living up to my abilities.

As far as my life outside of sports goes, I've had a major career change this past year. Despite having pursued over 3 years of post-graduate education, with a degree to show for it, I feel so lucky that I am able to stay at home with Hunter and switch my career to being a mommy. So far this has been the most challenging job yet. I have to continually strive to be better; it is truly what I have been training for my whole life. Luckily there is some on-the-job training in mommyhood. Dr Sears says Hunter is making me into the mommy he needs, as long as I listen to him!

I know I make mistakes, and I am always trying harder. But I don't try to do better based on other people's convictions, just my own. I know I do things -- cosleeping, nursing my almost 1-yr old -- that other moms are targeted and attacked for, making them question their parenting and even feel embarrassed for their choices. The funny thing is, I cannot imagine feeling like I'm the one doing something wrong there. I've done the research. Sometimes I just know I am right.This is my baby; I know him best.

Still, while so much of parenting is subjective and based on each individual baby, I feel that some "methods" are just wrong. Letting a baby "cry it out" for any amount of time alone is damaging to their little developing brains, and there is plenty of research to back this.* Here is where some of my formal education comes through. In developmental psychology you learn about attachment theory and its extreme importance. You also study learned helplessness, which is a more appropriate term for the so-called "self soothing" that occurs after babies are left to cry. How sad is it that so many well meaning parents are led to believe that this is actually a good, Christian "child training" method? Trust your gut and learn from your guilt. I am so sad thinking of all the little babies out there so scared, alone, and crying for some personal comfort that is being denied. And no, their needs are not met if they are left alone crying. They NEED to be picked up and comforted.

I totally know I'm not doing everything right, and that's why I'm not getting complacent. I'm trying to learn from baby Hunter and other moms who think like I do. It's nice to know where I can find them, besides my family, of course (and Jenny says it much better). It seems I follow a lot of what Dr. Sears coined "attachment parenting." It's funny how you can go with your instinct and then find what you're doing is a "thing." Like how we started feeding Hunter solid chunks of food from our plates instead of purées? Yeah that's called Baby-Led Weaning, with weaning in this case meaning starting solids, not stopping breastfeeding. Who knew?

As I continue to be literally in touch with my little one almost 24 hours a day, go on to breastfeed a toddler, share my bed with him, and answer to all his cries and needs, not ever worrying that I will "spoil" him, I will surely be kept on my toes, never letting complacency stop me from being the best I can. Sometimes a little out of my comfort zone, it will be just like in triathlons, where getting a little uncomfortable is the way to break through and be better than you ever imagined.

*this is far from a research paper, because ain't nobody got time for that, but I have a few links to good articles that reference actual studies.

Crying It Out
Evolutionary Parenting: Educating the Experts. About Crying, Needs, Touch, Self Soothing, and Schedules
Damaging tiny brains with crying it out
Cosleeping FAQs by James McKenna