Sunday, September 15, 2013

Z Update Months 4 and 5!

She loves her activity gym!
Zooey is 5 months old in just a few short days! She's been with us for almost half a year! She's such a cutie, and becoming more fun and interactive every day. Here are some of the things she's been up to lately:

She loves to talk. She coos and cackles and screeches. You can tell she really enjoys many of the sounds she is making even though someone who doesn't know her well might think she's uncomfortable- she's just trying out her newfound focal range which includes screaming! We call her Zooey "creaky door" Nelson Lilly and "pterodactyl baby" because that's how she sounds! ("Archeopterix!")

Z with my triathlon medal!
Z started daycare in late August. I was initially quite nervous about the whole thing, wondering if we were doing the right thing by sending her to daycare instead of hiring a nanny. I am so, so grateful my Mom was able to stay with her until she turned 4 months- any sooner and I think daycare might have been too much for such a little one- but after two weeks there, I feel totally fine about it. She is the youngest one in the room (and only one of 2 girls in a room with 8 kids!) but I don't think that's a problem. She watches the big kids and the teachers all seem to adore her. She even enjoys tummy time (sometimes.....for a couple minutes at a time....that's an improvement). The daycare is very communicative, telling me in person how her day was and what developments they are seeing as well as via email and an interactive website where they upload photos and even video. For the price of a year of an elite private school, I suppose I should expect that, but honestly I'm pleasantly surprised!

Even when the toy is by her hands, her feet must
get in on the action!
Other Zooey antics include grabbing her feet, trying to help guide the bottle with both hands, and still loving the heck out of her activity gym. She loves Mr Monkey and Mr Crinkles most of all but will smile at anything with a face- animate or inanimate. She is quite the kicker- if given the option between playing with a toy with her hands or feet she'll choose feet most of the time.

Mom excited about golfing with Dad
and Z excited about going to "school!"
Sleep is less of a battle than it used to be. Daytime naps are still a struggle at home (though they tell us they are fine at daycare), and one out of every 3 days is a nighttime struggle (much better than every single day!). Z will get herself to sleep if we put her in the crib drowsy but awake about half the time. Most people have stopped asking if she "sleeps through the night" and I have stopped even thinking about it because the answer is a resounding no, and I really don't expect that to change anytime soon (though she pulled off 8.5 hours last night! Woo-hoo!). She (usually) gets up twice to eat. She basically sleeps through the feeds and goes right back down to sleep. Even if she smiles and interacts during the diaper change part she still goes right back to sleep. She's small, she's still nursing, I think she just needs to eat. I expect this to last as long as I'm nursing. The cost of nursing is high but the benefit to health is higher so I press on. When she wakes up three times in a night (which she did twice this week), I really question how long I can carry on (when your baseline is incredibly bad barely functional fatigue, any night worse than baseline is DEVASTATING!). Oh well.

Tummy time is less of a battle as well. She actually enjoys it for the first minute or so and does a great job of holding her head up.  She rolled over from stomach to back once a few weeks ago and then TWICE in a row last weekend. She then (accidentally, I think) rolled from back to stomach in the crib! Making progress. Such a cutie!

Who loves tummy time?

Zooey is very attentive, she pays close attention to anything (or anyone) around her and can easily amuse herself with simple toys (or just looking around the room) for 20-40 minutes at a time. When she gets bored, she'll do well with a simple change of environment or toy. Here is she is watching Adam across the room:

This seems okay....I'm not sure.
Other firsts in the past two months include first (and second!) swim in a pool, first ride in a swing and first trip out of the state- to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this week. She takes in new experiences very well, pays close attention to her surroundings, but rarely gets upset. Z has a great temperament, only fusses when tired. Not really even when she's hungry, so we just pay attention and feed her when it seems right. She's such a good kid. I think we'll keep her:)

I'll end with a comparison: Zooey post bath at one week and today, at 21 weeks. What a cutie:)

One week old

5 months old!

Stay tuned for more Zooey antics in month 6!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I didn't run.....

...on Tuesday, September 12th. Or September 13th. And I don't plan to run today.

The last day that I didn't run* at least 1 mile was December 28th, 2010. Since then, my husband and I have been "streaking"- running at least 1 mile a day^, every day, no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. That's 989 days in a row of running at least 1 mile a day. During that time I've completed 7 marathons, 2 half marathons, and 3 triathlons. I carried Zooey for 36 weeks and 5 days and delivered her via c-section. I learned how to swim (hence the triathlons!) and lifted weights. I ran in the snow and rain and 90% humidity after the sun set and well before the sun rose. I ran in the middle of the day and went back to work without showering (oops!). I ran in my Danskos between dinner and drinks in the dead of a Chicago winter with my winter coat on (again, without showering). I ran in at least 12 states (likely more that I can't remember).

(^though my crazy- crazy impressive- husband is running three miles a day in 2013!)

My streak ended as unceremoniously as it began. It started because in December 2010 Adam announced that he was going to run one mile a day in 2011. I thought that sounded like a great idea, and was something I had contemplated doing myself in the past so I decided to join him (I'll admit it, there was some component of me not wanting to be outdone in the fitness arena as well:)). It went so well the first year that neither of us saw any reason to stop. Granted, there were days when it was hard. Certainly, days of illness, travel days, days when running clearly cut directly into sleep time were hard days. Days after the first few marathons were hard, though I do think aided in recovery and by the last few marathons the 1 mile run was no big deal. Some days early pregnancy (nausea) and mid pregnancy (need to pee!) were hard. And my pace definitely slowed late pregnancy. Of course, there were days when the couch called. MANY days when the couch called. But, in all honestly, sitting on a couch for the 10 minutes it takes to run a mile wouldn't result in any meaningful relaxation or rest. I almost always felt better after running whether better meant an improved mood, that last burst of energy to get through the day or just the peace of mind that I continued to prioritize my physical and mental health through exercise. Most days I ran more than a mile (or biked, or swam, etc). But the days I ran only a mile were completely worth it.

Streaking helped prioritize exercise for Adam and I both pre- and post-baby in a way that a non-daily regular exercise routine never would. Let's face it: despite incredible support and help from our family in the past few months (with a special shout out to my mom who moved in with us for 8 weeks!), we are spread very, very thin. And we are people who were already spread very thin. In fact the reason my streak ended is probably in part because I am simply not treating my body the way it needs to be treated- aside from one random night in August I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row in, well, FIVE MONTHS. And I usually only get 6 hours a night. And I'm a person who needs my 9-10 hours. I'm barely functioning. Adam, I think, is better physically, but mentally stressed from a very hectic job. Bottom line= we have every excuse in the book to forgo exercise "temporarily" or "until things calm down" or "until she sleeps through the night". But because of the streak there has been no question that we need to prioritize and organize such that we each get our runs in. Which has leaked over into making sure I get my other work-outs in as well. From the day after Z's birth, running (*well, walking actually for the first month immediately after she was born), daily has been my 'me' time or sometimes my 'Adam and me' time or even 'family time', but time where I definitely am prioritizing my health and my sanity, which, by the way I think is an excellent example to set for young Zooey.

As I said, my streak ended as unceremoniously as it started. I didn't run on Wednesday because I was too sick to get out of bed. Unfortunately we were on our first vacation as a family of three in Lake Geneva, not the best time or place to get sick. But I was too nauseated and too lightheaded to even walk further than the bathroom. It really wasn't an option, and I didn't even consider running. Same with yesterday. Today I could pull it off, but I'm not going to.

My streak taught me a lot. I'm very strong. I'm very motivated. I'm a bit crazy. I don't mind if other people realize I'm a bit crazy. I am now a faster runner.  My streak strengthened my body. My streak strengthened my marriage. My streak carried me through a pretty easy pregnancy and postpartum recovery that resulted in a wonderful healthy baby girl despite her being a few weeks early.

Will I streak again? Probably. Life can be overwhelming and I'm sure will only be more so in the coming months as I continue the job hunt and then start my practice as an oncologist. Adam, Zooey, and I have a lot of transitions in the coming year and transitions- even when good- can be stressful. I can easily see how exercise might get edged out if (Adam and) I don't continue to fiercely guard our work out time. But I don't know when I will start again. It might be tomorrow. It might be next year. We'll see how I feel. But I know my first streak was great. 989 runs, not all of them great individually, but definitely a great first streak!