So, as I mentioned, Arrow turned one. As our family doctor said when I brought him to his one year check-up, “That was a fast year!”
So I know I did a terrible job about blogging about his little guy this past year. But you know where I made up for it? INSTAGRAM. I got my first smart phone a few months before he was born, and although I don’t care for touch screens or being connected to the web at all hours – I DO LIKE THE INSTAGRAM. (And the Pinterest app. That is very nice!) Instagram is my baby book. In fact, since I never kept a baby book for the others (sorry, guys!), Arrow is the first child I’ve had that I will be able to tell him when he first ate rice cereal or went to the fair or banged on a pot with a spoon. So if I fail to answer some questions you may have about Mr. Arrow in this blog post, hop on over to Instagram, #arrowgram.
Here are some things I thought I would record about his first year before I completely forget it all:
Homeschooling with a Baby
As I’ve mentioned once or seventeen times, I had a lot of anxiety about homeschooling with a baby in the house.
I was assured by a sweet friend, “Homeschooling with a baby is easy. Homeschooling with a toddler is hard!”
And now that I’m getting closer to that age with Arrow, I wholeheartedly agree: last year was easy! He was such a chill baby as long as he was being held, and I was able to hold him…A LOT! Arrow used the Rock ‘N’ Play until he was 6 months old, and I was able to pull that sucker right into the school room. If I wasn’t holding him for his nap, which I probably was, he could nap right there!
I taught (I am using the word teach very loosely!) the preschool class during our little art co-op, and Arrow was right there, in the stroller or sometimes even worn. I brought him to the kids’ classrooms with me during Classical Conversations…I think the only time I left him in the nursery is when I took the class pictures! He was really an easy, peasy little side kick all year, and for that I am so grateful!
If Arrow’s birth story was any kind of foreshadowing to anything in his life, it’s this: THE CHILD TAKES HIS TIME. He didn’t roll over until the day before he turned 6 months old. He didn’t sleep in an actual crib until he was 6 months old. We started him on baby food at 6 months, but until recently he had a very sensitive gag reflex to anything that wasn’t a puree. He didn’t cut a single tooth until a week before his first birthday. He didn’t start really crawling until a week ago, and even now, it’s not really a crawl; he scoots around on his bottom with an occasional army crawl if he REALLY wants something.
And since I have four children? I am SO THANKFUL that he has taken his time. There are times I have looked at him and said, “I should be worried about you…but I’m just thankful!”
Selfishly thankful that he’s not super mobile yet, but also thankful that I can savor his babyhood as long as possible. It will be gone in a twinkling.
(And don’t worry, he doesn’t have any big developmental delays!)
The Hippie Stuff
Arrow is still “full-time” breastfed. I went for 13 months with Izzy and 15 months with Egan. I like the idea of getting closer to Arrow’s 2nd birthday, but since we have reached that big 12 month goal (Can I get a What? What?), I am happy with whatever “extended” nursing we can fit in. He has never tasted formula and he didn’t have the scary weight loss issue like Egan did. We haven’t (knock on wood) had issues with mastitis or thrush like I’ve had in the past. I’m thankful to have made it this far and for the ship to have sailed so smoothly this time around!
(I was tempted to say something here about how the longer I breastfeed, the less I wear the cover in public. Unless I’m in close quarters with a man I’m not related to, I’ve found that the use of the cover is drawing attention to something that otherwise would not be noticed. But that is controversial, and I don’t post about the controversial unless it’s of the upmost importance.)
The funny thing about cloth diapering is when you first start to do it, you do a lot of research on it and everything is all cloth diapers, all the time. But once you get into the groove of it, it just becomes a part of your life and you don’t feel the need to, you know, blog about it anymore.
The great thing about using cloth with Arrow is all the diapers we have were actually purchased for Egan. That’s right, the only cloth related purchases we have made since Arrow was born has been the detergent. Since I feel like we got our money’s worth and then some out of the diapers with Egan, every time I put a cloth on Arrow, it’s just bonus money we are saving!
Having said that, I also don’t let myself feel guilty for the times I use disposables. I didn’t even get the cloth out until he was about 6 weeks old. (Remember, he was a week early, and it really threw off my groove!) Between travelling, getting behind on laundry, and weeks that I just need a mental break from something, he probably averages being in disposables 2 (or 3!) days a week. And I have a peace about that.
The way I see it, when we weren’t doing cloth, we averaged a case and a half of diapers every month. If I can only buy a case of diapers every other month, then that’s a success!
I have totally failed in the crunchy category here. Josh and I decided that I would NOT attempt to make baby food this time around. (I made the majority of Egan’s baby food.) But then we started buying it, and I was reminded of the prices, and started second guessing my decision.
Enter, the Coupon Fairy. A sweet lady in our art co-op started showing up on my doorstep with nice, organic baby food. She said it helped her out to buy the baby food because then she would get a gift card to buy her other groceries with, and she was just so glad to have someone to give it to.
I really have no idea. But I am so happy to help!!
Here’s the thing about baby wearing.
Or I should say, here’s the thing about baby wearing in Florida.
But I do still love it when it’s practical! I’m not one of those that has multiple slings/wraps/carriers to match with my outfits. I still have the Sleepy Wrap and I LOVE how it distributes his weight. Camp was the week of his birthday and, as it was not stroller friendly, we traipsed all over that place with the good ol’ Sleepy Wrap. (IT WAS HOT. But his weight was distributed!)
I did borrow a ring sling for a season. I do like how much easier it is to throw on and go, but all of the weight was concentrated on one side of the body, and I couldn’t get it to be comfortable. I did recently use a coupon to purchase a fitted sling, seeing how this kid will probably be carried for another 6 months or so. I like how lightweight and easy it is, but I’m still skeptical to how comfortable it will be!
Having said all this, I also don’t let myself feel guilty about using the stroller. We have a great, lightweight stroller, and I can honestly open it up and get it situated faster than I can the wrap. There are just some places where the stroller works better. IT’S HOT.
I saved the best for last! Our first 3 kids have such different personalities, we were VERY curious to see what would happen with the 4th. (Especially since Egan has the typical last child personality, but he’s now not the last child!)
He is just the absolutely sweetest little guy. He was so serious at first, I think he was 4 months old before I could catch his smile on camera. He sucks his two middle fingers to self-soothe (no paci for him!) and even though he’s much more on-the-go than he used to be, he still has the best snuggles.
When he wasn’t crying, he was quiet for a long time (we kept him with us in church until he was 10 months old because he was quiet and it was easier not to disrupt his nursing schedule!) But now he is a talk-er to rival any of his siblings! Of course it’s not English yet, but the guy certainly has something to say.
Speaking of siblings, he ADORES his! I can honestly say his first intelligible words were their names! (Egan first…that’s the one he hears us yell the most! But “A-ya” is not far behind!) It has been really sweet to see the bond between Ava and Arrow. This is the first younger sibling that she has been old enough to really help with, and the relationship is just so different than what I’ve seen in the past.
And I suppose that’s that! Instinctual Mama Love (yes, I just made that up,) is amazing. It’s hard to understand that a little person can live inside of your body…and then when he comes out of your body, he will take a little piece of your heart with him…and he will keep it, his whole life, and there’s nothing that that Mama can do but love him fiercely, because that’s what happens when someone has a piece of your heart.
It’s hard to understand that this can happen once. But what’s even more incredible is that it can happen over, and over, and over again.
Well, I can testify that it can happen at least four times.
Because that has been my experience.
And, I believe, God created Instinctual Mama Love to show us how He feels about us.
The story behind the pictures: I didn’t have a formal one year portrait session for Arrow, because I was going to keep things “simple.” So Steffi snagged a couple shots of him during our anniversary pictures – credit for the first two shots go to her. Then I took the kids down to the lighthouse while The Aunts were staying with us, and Stacey helped me get a few more shots of him in outfit #2. Then we went back to the lighthouse and I took some more shots of him in outfit #1. It was very “simple”!