Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

14 Months!

Here we are again - at the end of the month and time for another monthly Annie update.  The changes are fast and furious as our little girl grows.  So these are just kind of the highlights, as a really comprehensive post would be a long time in the writing and would probably lose your attention anyway.  But here are the big ones (or at least the most entertaining and sweetest ones)...

Oh this girl.  She's almost too ;precious  for this mama to handle.

She learned the fine art of "taking it easy" from her daddy.
Vocabulary - Not only has Annie added a couple of words to her vocabulary this month, but she has demonstrated how much she understands of what we say to her.  We can ask her to take something into her bedroom and put it back where it belongs and she will do it (I will refrain from making a joke here about how she learned this from her mommy and not her daddy...sorry David!).  If you ask her to pick out a book and bring it to you, she will.  And if you ask her where Mommy or Daddy or Jackson (the dog) are, she will point to the right person (or animal, as the case may be).  She knows Grandma and shouts "Papa!" at the phone when we talk to David's parents.  She has added the word "Up!" to her repetoire and, in a display of profound cuteness, has named her little monkey/blanket combo that she sleeps with.  He is "Bobo."  She named him herself with no help from us - and she calls him by name when she wants to hold him.  Sweetest.  Thing.  Ever.

Kisses - Annie has been blowing kisses for a while now and has, on occassion, attempted to give us kisses.  But now she is much more regular with the kiss giving.  And they are funny, open-mouthed, come at you with a funny look on her face, kind of kisses.  The best kind out there, if you ask me.

Riding a bicycle with Daddy at West Sixth
Running - Annie's walking skills have grown and improved to the point where she is practically running through the house.  And she rarely tolerates being carried when we are in public - especially when I drop her off at school in the mornings.  She now wants to run down the hallway to her classroom and then, in the afternoons, run back down it (and down another hallway, and up some stairs, and basically in any direction other than the exit) before going home.  I am sometimes in the basement at home doing laundry or retrieving something and I hear her upstairs running around, little feet doing that age-old pitter patter while her daddy chases after her.
Wearing a dress that was her mama's.  Vintage, indeed.
Play - I know I've mentioned several times that Annie is a very active child.  She is not, and has not ever been, a sit in your lap contentedly while looking around kind of kid.  And the older she gets, the more playful she gets...and the more adventurous.  Last weekend, Annie discovered the joys of the slide.  And she simply could not get enough of it.  If you aren't on Facebook or somehow missed this video, I'm including it now for your viewing pleasure.  Her gleeful squeal at the top and unhesitant request to go down it again clearly indicate we have a thrill seeker on our hands.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


A while ago, I wrote a post in which I wondered how exactly it was that Annie was going to learn to talk.  I wondered what our responsibility was, as parents, to educate her about language and how she was going to go from basically just looking at us to full-fledged communication with us.  Well, I wonder no more…

Is anyone else astounded by how much toddlers pick up on without our knowledge of them doing it?  Are David and I the only parents who talk at night about all the ways Annie showed us during the day that she understands far more than we give her credit for?  Because those talks happen more and more often now around the Noble homestead.
My favorites.  And this is Annie's "oh" face.
Once upon a time, I wondered if I needed to go through Annie’s word/picture flashcards or her “100 First Words” books with her more regularly than I had been.  I wondered if it was my job to sit with her with the sole goal of language development in mind, going over pictures and letters.  Boy, did I underestimate her ability to figure that stuff out on her own.

While Annie still doesn’t say very much (maybe 5 or 6 words total) – she prefers a sharp “Uh!” and pointing to communicate her wants and needs at this point in the game – she understands, well, more than I even know.  Just as an example…last night, she grabbed a hairbrush from the bathroom while David was getting her ready for bed and started brushing her hair with it.  Beyond that, when David instructed her to “go show Mommy your hairbrush,” she looked at him as if to say, “Hey!  That’s a good idea.” And then ran into the kitchen where I was, to…you guessed it, show me her hairbrush.  We never showed her a picture of a hairbrush, never explained to her how to use it, never went through the process of explaining how one goes about showing anybody anything, and David didn’t tell her where she could find me in the house.  She just knew all of that on her own.  From watching us.  From hearing us talk to her and to each other.  From being a part of our household. 
This look says, "Seriously, Mom?  You think I don't notice the barrette you stuck in my hair?"
And this wasn’t an isolated incident.  She does stuff like that all the time.  This morning, as I was getting her out of her car seat at school, I asked her if she wanted to go inside and see her teacher, Ms. Kim, and her friends, the other babies.  I no sooner got the question out of my mouth than she sat forward in her seat, ready to be picked up, smiled brightly, and said something that sounded an awful lot to this mama’s ears like “Yeah!”  I am convinced she knew exactly what I said, and got further evidence of her understanding when she insisted on walking all the way down the school hallway by herself and, once she entered her classroom, ran straight to Ms. Kim, arms open, for a hug.  Baby girl understood my question in the car and was excited to do exactly what I had suggested.
A little croquet action with her sweet friend Stella.  And yes, they do match.

I don’t say all this to say my child is a genius – although clearly she is… J - I am just realizing how much a child, any child, gathers from observation and repetition.  It’s really something to see…and the tiniest bit sobering to think about.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A simple truth

I’m not sure why I feel compelled to write this today, but I do.  Maybe it’s divine intervention.  Maybe there is someone out there who will stumble upon this blog and need to read it.  Maybe you are that reader.  Maybe you are a new mom, with a baby a few weeks old.  Maybe you are pregnant and you are anxious (and terrified) to meet your little one.  Or maybe this is just about me writing a truth that a lot of people don’t – or at least a lot of the people I talked to before Annie was born.  Ready for it?

Okay, here’s the thing.  Being a new mom is HARD.  Being any mom is hard – whether your child is 4 days old or 4 years old or 40 years old, there are challenges and concerns and feelings that you just deal with because you have to.  That’s not to say it isn’t wonderful.  But it ain’t easy.  Particularly, in my opinion, in the first few months.

Some of you may be thinking, “Um, yeah.  That’s not such ground-breaking news.”  But for me, it was.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep as much.  I knew life would change.  But I didn’t understand the magnitude of what we were doing by having a child.  No one told me.  Seriously.  Or at least I didn't listen.  And now I know why – because the pros of parenthood far outweigh the cons.  The rewards make the challenges manageable.  The feeling I get when Annie stands in front of me, arms raised, smile on her face, saying, “Up!” make the memories of her screaming herself red all over when she was newborn a little harder to recall.  But make no mistake – that did happen.  And it was hard for me. 

And (this is the real reason I’m writing this right here) I was really hard on myself about it.  I fully expected to seamlessly slip into motherhood.  To handle midnight crying and breastfeeding issues and the constant fear of something happening to my precious, tiny, helpless daughter with ease.  And when I cried when she cried, when I made the difficult choice to give up our attempts at nursing in favor of sanity-saving pumping and then, sooner than I had hoped, formula feeding, and woke up with a start in the night because she hadn’t, I beat myself up over it.  I relished the time my mom spent in our home in those first weeks, helping me care for Annie, doing our laundry, fixing our meals.  But I felt guilty for not being able to pull it together and do it all myself.  (Thank you Mom, you were a life saver.  Truly.)  David tried numerous times to get me to go out with friends or go have a cup of coffee by myself, but I wouldn’t do it.  I felt like I shouldn’t do it – I shouldn’t leave her.  I held myself to a standard of motherhood that was not only unrealistic, but was unhealthy too. 

I sporadically kept a journal during the first several weeks of Annie’s life, and I recently went back and read some of the entries.  In several of them, I basically chastised myself for not enjoying every moment.  Because that’s what people tell you to do, you know.  Every moment.  But you know what?  Some moments are not to be enjoyed.  It’s just not possible.  And yes, I do sometimes miss how it felt when Annie was small enough to curl up on my chest and sleep, her little curled up fist resting on my collarbone.  But I don’t miss the anxiety I felt over whether or not I would mess up her sleep habits by allowing her to sleep that way – on me instead of in a crib.  I was just such a bundle of nerves...and I felt like I was the only woman on Earth who had ever reacted that way to suddenly having a tiny person to be responsible for.

Well, I’m here to tell you new moms and soon-to-be-new moms that if you are like me (and I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of us are), you are not alone.  If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad – it’s okay.  You aren’t the only one who is struggling, or has struggled.  If you feel isolated and alone – it’s okay.  You aren’t alone.  Read that again.  You aren’t alone.  If you feel like you are the only woman who is or will someday be called “Mommy” who isn’t able to find joy in every single moment of your child’s existence, who Googles “postpartum depression” more times than you would like to admit to make sure you aren’t showing the signs, who allows the thought to cross your mind, “What have I done?” – you aren’t.
Our Mr. T. in training.
But rest assured, all those people who say it only gets better?  Yeah, they are right.  And now, although we have gone from the challenges of a helpless newborn to the challenges of a toddler embracing independence and testing boundaries, it is really so much more fun.    And I have more confidence now, so I don’t constantly worry that I am screwing her up somehow.  And she responds to that confidence.  And, call me silly, but I think it inspires confidence in her. 
Water table fun.

Even as I have been typing this – this confession, of sorts – I have worried that maybe I am wrong and I am actually the only one who has ever felt like this.  But I don’t think I am.  I think it is normal and natural and real to feel like early motherhood is something less than rainbows and flowers and sunshine.  But it really is worth it.  The labor and the recovery (which I truly have forgotten all about…at least the uncomfortable parts – seeing Annie’s face for the first time is something I will remember forever), the first weeks at home, the 2 am feedings, the inability to find time to take a shower, the guilt I felt for going to Target alone.  It’s all worth it.  Trust me.

Because before you know it, you'll have someone doing this kind of thing in your house...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Keeping Time

Every once in a while it occurs to me to look back at pictures from one year ago and just marvel at how much Annie has grown and changed.  I don't do this quite as much as I used to (who has time with a toddler to chase around the house?), but it always amazes me when I look back at how much has changed over the last year.  With all the pictures I've seen on Facebook the last couple of days of my friends' children going to their first day of Kindergarten or First Grade or middle school (eek!) or (gulp) high school (double eek!), I have been inspired yet again to look back at where we were a year ago.  Because I know I will be a picture poster myself before I know it.  And I know there will come a point when I don't do this any more...I mean, I seriously doubt my mom thinks, "Oh, I wonder what Sarah was doing this time last year." and pulls out a picture.  But for now, looking back serves as a constant reminder of how fast time moves, how quickly my little girl is changing, how impossible it is to stop time from moving at such a frenzied pace, and how much I should treasure the now...because it will be "this time last year" before I know it.

So in the spirit of looking back, here are a couple of pictures of our sweet girl back in early August 2011...

August 8, 2011 - Napping on Mommy.

August 10, 2011 - Celebrating her 6 week birthday with a fist pump.

I remember telling myself in those moments when I felt the weight of Annie on my chest, sleeping so peacefully, albeit relatively briefly, that I needed to pack up that feeling and put it in a special part of my brain because there would be a time when I would wish I could have it back.  Well, that time has definitely come.  But what I didn't think about back then was how many other great feelings I would pack away daily for a future time.  The feeling of Annie's hand in mine as she walks down the sidewalk, choosing her steps carefully but increasingly confidently.  The feeling of her body leaned back against me after she crawls into my lap and settles in.  The feeling of her little arms wrapped around my shoulders when I pick her up and ask her to "give Mommy a hug."  My mental storage room gets a new box of good feelings almost every day.

So while I catch myself getting nostalgic for the days of August 2011 (funny how you forget the hard parts after a while), I spend much more time reminding myself to relish the moments of August 2012 and this little sassy pants that tiny baby has become...

Blocks are immensely popular in the Noble house right now.

It's harder and harder to get a clear picture these days, because she is always on the go.
I know this is sort of a recurring theme on this blog - this whole Annie-is-growing-up-and-I-can't-believe-it thing.  And some of you may be wondering what exactly I thought would happen as she got older.  But it's not that I didn't know she would grow up...it's that I didn't know it would happen before I could turn around twice.