Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering is hard

People told me that once I had a baby I wouldn't be able to remember/imagine life without him. I had a problem with that because mathematically, it just didn't make sense.

He's cute and all, but not a Men in Black style mind eraser.

Even if I counted the time I was pregnant as "with" him, which I don't, I had 30.5 years under my belt as a non parent. Somehow, it turned out to be kind of true though. I mean, I can obviously remember my life just fine, but it does seem like a million years ago that I was pregnant and we were a family of two, not just LAST MONTH. In fact, there are a whole bunch of things that I feel like I actually can't really remember or just seem ridiculous (I just have stuff I want to say so I'm pretending it has a theme).

I can barely remember:

1. Weird pregnancy anxiety things

I guess it's not that weird but when I was pregnant I kept thinking "I love sleep SO MUCH how am I going to deal with a crying baby waking me up all the time?". And it would be incredibly annoying having a stranger constantly interrupting your sleep, which is what I imagined, because he was a stranger at that time. But once the baby is born, he's not a stranger anymore, and it's not some random baby needing my attention at 3am, it's a member of my family that I'm happy/desperate to help. I'm not saying I won't be excited when way down the line I get a full night of sleep. I might not even be saying anything that makes sense. But past pregnant me would have been relieved to read that yes, of course it's exhausting, but not terrible getting up with your own precious tiny baby. Now when he's older, that might be a whole different story, but we're still solidly in the time where it's completely expected so that's how I feel at this moment. I was also scared that I wouldn't bond with Dalton and I think I've documented here that that has been far from true.

2. Doing things two handed

Kind of a lie because I am typing two handed now, but I've learned to let go of the expectation that it's a given and I've learned to do so much one handed. I can brush my teeth with just my non dominant hand now.

3. Being full

When Dalton was in my belly I sometimes felt Thanksgiving dinner level full on half a sandwich. Now that he's on the outside and I am actually "eating for two", being full is a thing of the past. I just pack snacks anywhere I go and accept that the best I can hope for is "less hungry".

4. Laying on my belly

The whole thing is still very tender to the touch and I steer clear. Someday, I will experience that joy again.

5. Kicks in my belly

I legitimately forgot what these feel like immediately! I just made my friend let me feel her baby's butt through her belly to try to bring it back. Is this normal? It's so sad!

6. Wearing different outfits

A nursing tank top, yoga pants and my Charm City Run Christmas gift, a Brooks jacket that I was smart enough to get in a size up in case I finally ever got pregnant has been my daily uniform. I could theoretically wear other shirts but then nursing gets more complicated. When he was first born I could wear dresses and that opened up my wardrobe quite a bit. Now it's too cold out unless I get all fancy with tights. But then I have to wear real shoes and not my Northface flip flops that I have literally worn every single day since the school year began with the exception of the day I went into labor when I was getting observed by a billion people. Maybe I'm fooling myself because I don't want to face wearing pants in a larger size but I did try on one pair of pants that zip and button (fat pants, clearly) and it was very uncomfortable. Girls say they have nothing to wear and it's an exaggeration usually, but this time, nope.

7. Being active

I've actually kind of gotten to the point where I miss running. The problem is I feel confident that how I remember it and how it will actually be are not one and the same. Not the same at all. The thought that I ever once ran 26.2 or more miles at once is mind boggling. I can't imagine running one now.
From the days when I ran ten mile races like it was NBD.

A picture with ALL THE SPORTS seemed fitting here

8. Contractions

I most certainly do remember these but the memory is starting to slightly fade and become less vivid, which will only continue as proven by the fact that multiple child families exist. I still shudder at the thought but it's not quite at the Theon Greyjoy/Reek level of horror that it was.
Cute baby palate cleanser needed after remembering those awful scenes from season 3.

That time it was cold out and I thought maybe he was big enough for his adorable little baby peacoat.

9. Not waking up in a panic like when you miss your alarm and you wake up ten minutes after you were supposed to leave

The first week home one of us woke up and frantically searched the bed for the baby at least ten times per night, certain we'd fallen asleep with him and lost him in the bedsheets. Knock on wood, this never actually happened, every time he was safely sleeping in his own bed next to us. I hear this is quite common, though. We both still wake up with a start no matter what because IS THE BABY OK ANYTHING COULD HAVE HAPPENED WHILE ASLEEP. Now that he is occasionally starting to have some longer stretches of sleep, it's even more frightening. The first time we woke him up to eat and good lord was that a mistake. The next time I just stared at him and googled "four week old asleep ___ hours" and finally posted it in the mommy FB group and of course even at 3:30am I got immediate answers and the unanimous response was "go back to sleep yourself".

I feel obligated to note due to annoying internet mommy bragging that this is not me saying "look at my one month old sleeping through the night bitches!" or anything of the sort. I don't even know what qualifies as "night" right now, his whole life is just a series of eating and sleeping. This is just referring to times he slept a bit longer than other times and my crazy paranoid new mom reaction. It's not just me though. The other day Eric came out of the shower while I had Dalton in the bouncer "watching" me cook dinner in the kitchen. He came racing into the kitchen demanding "WHERE IS HE" and I was like "um look down". His initial reaction was apparently not only thinking that I lost the baby, but that my next move was "well, dinner sure ain't gonna cook itself".
What did you think you would never forget but now find you can barely remember?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An unexpected marriage booster

I'm not exactly someone one might refer to as "socially adept".

Please help me, I don't know how to act when doing things with people.

Not because I'm a jerk or I act like Sheldon Cooper or anything, just because I struggle with awkwardness and the more new people I'm around, the more uncomfortable and awkward I get. Which is why for the past few years I've exclusively turned to the internet when I want to add to my social circle. But I did the unthinkable and didn't scare away real life people, and reaped the rewards after the new mothers group last week.

 I ONLY have him programmed in that way in case of emergency (and it has worked in the past).

We went out for the pregnancy forbidden food, sushi.

We rolled in swinging our three babies in their car seats, taking over the largest table in the restaurant as all the business people enjoying their lunch looked up in horror. The kids were really good though! I even nursed Dalton in my lap while still eating sushi (not with chopsticks, I'm too white for that). We've come a long way since the days when it would require all four hands from both his parents for him to eat successfully.

The week's excitement did not end there.

Um, how did this happen?
I was reading something last weekend that referenced October 23 (Dalton's one month birthday) as part of the upcoming week, and I was positive that there was some mistake, either I was reading it wrong (a common problem these days) or the writer was incorrect. I pulled out the calendar and everything. But it was correct, and somehow October passed in a wonderful blur and it's been a month since he arrived. My previous childless self reading this would have rolled my eyes and been like "um, it's a month, he's not off to college, pull yourself together". But those days are done and now I get why moms cry when packing up the outgrown clothes (he already doesn't fit in the outfit he wore home from the hospital!).

We celebrated a month of Dalton successfully surviving inept new parents by going to the happiest place on earth.

Baby's first Wegmans trip
I'm pretty sure he loved it, he slept in the Ergo the whole time but I know he felt happy, because it's impossible not to at Wegmans. It's important to honor his heritage as a half - Rochesterian baby.

Some other stuff happened. We went on a 2-ish mile stroller walk the past three days in a row!

My friend convinced me to get Snapchat - still not convinced it's not just for drunken nudie pic sharing.
None of these walks ended with me in immense pain or with signs that I might hemorrhage and die. I even pushed the stroller for about a third of the time.

Even better, Friday's walk was back to the pumpkin farm.

Everyone knows photo ops like this are the real reason people have babies.
Do not climb the pumpkins.... but it's ok to dress like one and have someone put you on there against your will.
Sometimes mommy brain pities you and throws you a bone. I can't remember what my husband said to me 45 seconds ago, but somehow it occurred to me that I never spent a generous gift card that my dad got me for my 27th birthday. I'm 31. And 4 months. Anyway, I used it for a much needed new bed set.


I even took the Boppy and burp cloths off for this picture to show the full effect.
It's so pretty and comfy and fluffy and I love it. I don't care if I'm not getting a solid 8 hours for a while, I'm enjoying whatever I do get even more now.

I watched a video of a C-section (a real one, not the one in Breaking Dawn). If you've been following this blog, and especially if you know me in real life, this should be shocking. Eric and I went to donate blood when we had been dating like a month. I got denied because I coughed, and I peaced out of there and let my friend stay with him because I hate needles/blood/anything medical so much.

The back story is, at the new mothers group, I brought up my frustration at being a month postpartum, and being able to do significantly less than I could at 9 months pregnant. I thought I was good at the whole "not comparing myself to others" thing. Then I realized that I was only good at not comparing myself to randoms on the internet, because we all know the world is full of crazy. I was comparing myself to friends though, because obviously they are people I respect and know are intelligent and not crazy. And they could all do more than walk across the street 4 weeks out.

The nurse who runs the group (who also taught childbirth class) told me that people who get the same surgery for other reasons are generally not working, driving, or doing anything but resting for 6-8 weeks. Women who get C-sections have the same incision and general procedure, but they are immediately caring for an infant (duh), which is essentially the opposite of resting. She also pointed out I might be extra sore since the doctor was most likely much rougher on the retractors and my organs since mine had to be carried out so fast (so hopefully if I end up having a scheduled one for the next kid recovery will be easier!). And, obviously, everyone is different so my body really doesn't give a crap what my friend or enemy or anyone else was doing after delivery, it will recover whenever it damn well feels like it.

The nurse he referenced the video we saw in class of a c section, and when I told Eric the story he was like "you saw that! You were sitting right next to me looking at the screen!". Yeah, well, I also bounced on the birthing ball and stared lovingly into your eyes while we practiced breathing through pretend contractions but that didn't turn out to be reality either. Clearly I had my eyes closed during the video.

But now it can't scare me anymore because my anxiety stems from when I perseverate on something until it becomes worse and worse in my mind (I'm looking at you, returning to work) but this already happened. The video was disgusting but also interesting. I want to watch another one, actually, because that one was for premature twins, and I want to see one similar to mine. It's actually kind of frightening how many videos of surgery are on YouTube.

A huge benefit in Eric's mind to the possibility of a planned c-section in the future is that he won't have to comfort me and can just enjoy watching the whole procedure. Him seeing my organs has really improved our marriage and brought us closer, which is an advantage I hear just isn't there for vaginal deliveries.

Are you fascinated or horrified by modern medicine? (Horrified in an "ew gross" way, not like let's bring it back to just biting a bullet while we saw your leg off like that scene in Gone with the Wind that I fast forward through every single time.)



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Moms -this is what you need

I sincerely apologize. My kid is four weeks old today (time seriously PLEASE STOP) which makes me about 3 weeks late on my post about all the parenting things you need to be a successful parent like me.

OMG why do my feet sneak in to every picture I'm so sorry. Also Kari made him that sweet baby drool scarf!

Except I'm not planning on recommending baby stuff. When you're pregnant and looking for advice it can be extremely stressful because all your mom friends are willing to help, which is wonderful, but they all recommend different stuff. Probably because they all have different babies. So until someone invents a device to ask your unborn fetus which swaddler or bottle or bed he will prefer once he is a member of the outside world, it's a crapshoot. Sure, people can let you know which items have features that are helpful to parents, but unless it's an item that's exclusively for adult use, like a wipes dispenser or monitor, it doesn't matter how parent friendly it is if your baby hates it.

My baby is four weeks old. I know nothing, like Jon Snow. With that disclaimer, here we go - what new moms need.

1. Ice

With nutso hormonal hot flashes and, if you're breastfeeding, unquenchable thirst, you'll need to drink approximately 95 large glasses of ice water daily.
Because you clearly didn't know what a glass of water looks like.

Every time you reach for your water it will be empty because you just chugged it and then immediately forgot what just happened (this applies to everything, not just drinking). If you were smart enough to get a fridge with an ice dispenser, this won't be an issue, but if, like me, you don't live this life of luxury and have to fill up ice trays like a pauper, you have to stay on top of things. People say being pregnant in the summer is bad, but personally I would much rather spend the hot months pregnant than breastfeeding postpartum.

2. Some sort of sweet bread or muffins for breakfast

Having friends bring you dinner or freezing meals while pregnant is fantastic and quite helpful. But I find sometimes making breakfast is harder than making dinner. For dinner, at least you have several chances throughout the day to make something (although it still might not happen). You'll almost certainly wake up starving after sleeping all night (ha, just kidding), and it's unlikely you'll have time to make something. Bake some banana bread (or healthy whole wheat bran muffins or something if that's your thing), pre-slice it, and then you can grab a slice, eat it one handed, and it doesn't get cold or soggy if it takes you an hour and a half to eat it. The giant box of granola bars from Costco accomplish the same thing, but I'm not in the camp of "now that I'm a mother I don't even care how food tastes I only care about my child". Nope, food should still taste good. Sorry I'm not sorry.

My mom sent me more chocolate chip pumpkin cream cheese bread. She's the absolute best.
3. Friends on the same wild ride as you

It's invaluable to have friends with older babies/kids who can guide you. I also highly recommend finding someone else knocked up due around the same time as you, within a few weeks ideally. It's perfect if a pregnancy pact with existing friends works out, but if not, use the internet. While I do make most of my friends on the internet these days, I was due two weeks before a good friend I've had since before the internet even existed, unless you count the days when you used AOL to ask A/S/L until your mom needed the phone and you had to log off. Its disturbing to me that there are potentially people reading this that don't have a clue what the previous sentence means.

A baby in a hooded towel always cheers me up.

Anyway, pregnancy and it turns out, babies are different practically day to day and you really need someone to commiserate with at each point along the way. No one understands how pregnancy makes you crazy like another prego, and you need that person to talk you down when you are ready to kill your husband because he made you dinner and used the wrong kind of corn (true life over here). That's not even getting in to all the weird stuff post partum and trying to figure out your baby. Bonus points for friends with babies of the same sex as yours, because diaper changes are unique for each sex.

She also gave me the Halo swaddler, which for us is a lifesaver.

4. A kindle and good books

I got so into the last book I read that I would find myself still reading at 3am after putting Dalton back to sleep. Theoretically you could just read archaic paper books but those generally require light and two hands, which are two things that are off the table for middle of the night feedings. I just started rereading Mockingjay to prepare for the big day next month!

5. The ability to throw your expectations out the window

When I was pregnant, I imagined Dalton adorably snoozing in the Rock and Play next to us sleeping in our bed. I would easily grab him and feed him and then put him back, gaze adoringly at him, then drift off myself. Well, that's not exactly how things have played out. I read in a mom Facebook group to do whatever gets everyone the most sleep, and we are following that advice.

After the honeymoon first week, when he was exhausted from being born, he wanted nothing to do with the Rock and Play.
Week 1 and then never again.

In fact, he didn't want to sleep anywhere but on one of us, so we took shifts throughout the night and day for the second week or so (and still do now as needed).

I wish I could nap like this guy, but I'm broken and can't nap.

It also turns out that babies, this one at least, have two sleep modes - frighteningly silent and still, or loud as hell, grunting and groaning like a full grown adult. When I can resist the urge to constantly poke him while he's in deep sleep to make sure he's breathing, I can sleep myself. But the grunting and groaning keeps me wide awake. Right now Dalton and Eric sleep in the living room at night (Eric can sleep through anything and anywhere, although he surprisingly wakes up when he hears crying like 85% of the time) and I sleep in the bedroom with the door open so I can hear actual cries, but not every little tiny sneeze. It's not what you see in the movies but it's working for us at this moment, and we'll switch it up as need be. We can hang out when we're awake.

Napping in the swing.
My wonderful friend passed this Mamaroo and I'm afraid to say anything about it for fear of jinxing but let's just say he doesn't hate it so far.
6. A really cute, sweet, loveable baby

Because otherwise all this work would probably suck, but I wouldn't know.
Another amazing friend made him this hat. I have some good people in my life.

This is really unrelated but I've gotten some really good advice here. C-section moms: I have random numb parts of my belly, is this forever or will it go away?

Any other advice - motherhood or in general?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's clear things up - I'm pro complaining

It's time to clear something up. Two things really, but they are kind of related. Here are two rumors my blog has started (based on both Facebook and real life comments that I've received).

1. I have my act together as a new mom.
2. I'm against complaining.

When this is your view, what's there to complain about?

I promise you, neither of those is remotely true. But I absolutely see how I'm giving off that mistaken impression (although I would guess yesterday's post did some good work to disprove statement #1).

Let's take a deeper look. We'll start with #1.

I don't have my act together. Trust me. I do have something that makes me luckier than literally every other new mother I have ever met. My husband has six weeks of paternity leave and has been home with me full time. I could go on and on for days about how wonderful this is and how grateful I am and how it's a crime that every father doesn't get more leave. I'll just say that obviously I'm able to stay significantly more sane with only 50% of the parenting duties, not to mention having another adult around who is not filled with crazy postpartum hormones to talk me down if need be.

Or I could just stare at baby feet in socks that look like sneakers.

Second, this is a blog. My internet persona is different than my real life one. I decided in that time I can barely remember, before I had Dalton, that I was going to focus on the positive if I wrote any mommy posts (and then it turned out all my posts are currently mommy posts.) There are more than enough posts, articles, tweets, etc. on the internet to convince someone that parenthood is the worst mistake a person can make, or at least it feels that way when you're pregnant and terrified. My blog didn't need to be one more.

It will be a happy place of bright colors and cute babies!

On to #2.

I'm not anti complaining. I see that Facebook thing that's like "Go 24 hours without complaining and your life will turn around and be full of free money and calorie free chocolate!". I doubt I could last even an hour. Complaining is actually a good thing (or maybe we should call it venting), in my humble opinion, because it lets you get your frustrations out in a healthy way that doesn't result in you getting fired or divorced or some other disastrous consequence. Having other mothers to commiserate with is essential.

I just think complaining about your family (and that includes your baby, even though he or she is too young to understand) falls into the vast, underrated category of "things to tell your real life confidants and not your random Instagram followers". I can text my mom or sister or BFF and let out my frustrations about the baby being up half the night, and they are well aware that doesn't in any way affect the intense, unconditional love I have for him. Tweet the same thing out to a few hundred followers, however, and they might not necessarily be so sure. Plus, who knows what will happen to this series of tubes we call "the internet", but I hate the idea of Dalton eventually finding a giant collection of my complaints that make it seem like I hated caring for him (which couldn't be further from the truth). I'm not claiming to know much about young children, but in a decade of teaching, I have learned that kids figure out technology way before you might expect.

He'll be proficient with an iPhone 6 in a week or so.
I'm not saying I'll never post anything that's not sunshine and rainbows. But posting complaints about life with a baby should follow the same rule as posting selfies. If you post an occasional one, that's fine. But if you look at your Instagram profile and find your own face staring back at you over and over, you've gone too far. It's not a good look.


I don't want it to sound like I've been posting disingenuous happy posts. I've 100% meant everything I've said. The takeaway here is that when I'm sitting down deciding "what do I want to write about today?", I'm aiming to mostly go for the part about how I just can't stop kissing those plump chubby cheeks rather than the low number of hours of sleep we got last night. That's boring anyway. I think at this point even the most childless bachelor knows that babies make you tired.

In the comments of this post, it's a safe place to complain about anything you want.




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Life before and after baby - a then and now comparison

I say a lot of things sarcastically, but this is not one of them. This weekend was one I'd been fantasizing about for a long, long time.

Not because I finally had a cider donut. But it was awesome.

Why do all my pictures have random feet in them?
 Not because I finally had a poorly photographed glass of wine. But I did.
Because this.

I can't even stand it.
I could barely even wait for the pee to dry on the test before I got my nephew on FaceTime to tell him he was going to have a cousin. He wasn't even one and a half at the time, so he wasn't terribly impressed, but his mom was excited enough for both of them.

I could go on and on and on about all the love and cuteness from their visit, but this is a public blog and that sounds better suited for my personal memoirs. So instead, I'll do a little comparison of life with and without a baby: now and then.

Obviously, caring for a newborn means my day to day life has been turned upside down. But I'm on maternity leave and literally doing nothing but caring for Dalton. I feel like it's not real life yet since I'm not balancing it with other responsibilities.

This weekend I actually saw people and did things, and started to get just the teeniest tiniest inkling of how life as a mom is a bit different from before.

Then: When my sister and I visited each other, we'd engage in competitions. Let's just say flipping cups was involved.

Now: My sister and I engaged in competitions. To see who could complete the fastest diaper change (she won).

Her teammate was much more cooperative.
 Then: On Saturday nights, we would get dressed, grab our purses and go out.

Now: Well, first we had to provide a toddler lunch. Then naptime. Then the baby needed to eat. Then we needed to make sure we had the sippy cup, spare diapers, coats, pacifier, burp cloth, blanket, try to catch the toddler before he ran down the stairs in impatience because it was taking forever to get the baby in his car seat (because his parents are still learning). Once we finally got to our destination, the pumpkin farm, around 5pm (which was only a mile away, BTW, but we needed two cars), we had to get everybody out of their car seats and get the baby in to the Ergo. Parents of two or more kids - you deserve a medal if you go literally anywhere. ANYWHERE.

But we all made it.
Then: Eric and I sometimes went places like restaurants or bars on Saturday nights.

Now: We went on a hayride.

And I looked really tired.
Then: Eric liked to do activities meant for children.
Now: Some things don't change.

"My child is too young to enjoy this? DON'T CARE."
Then: Dance parties

Now: Dance parties (ignore my voice I was trying to FaceTime my mom in and having technical difficulties).

Dalton and I also went to my good friend Conor's baby shower this weekend - her little boy will be here next month! I can't wait for us to meet him! (ETA - I just realized I totally changed the writing style for this part but oh well I'm not redoing it now blogging isn't graded.)

Mimosa in a baby bottle - how cute is that?
As a 31 year old woman, this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to attending showers. But going with your baby is a horse of a different color.

Then: RSVP to the shower.
Now: RSVP to the shower via unnecessarily long email explaining that I don't know if I'm coming because I just had a baby and I want to go but I'm scared about taking him out so I'll do a trial run and get back to you. A week later get an email back saying I sent the email to the wrong person because typing on very little sleep is hard, apparently.

Then: Light breakfast before the shower to save room for all the deliciousness sure to come.
Now: Light breakfast before the shower because Dalton eating and actually showering myself take precedence and I run out of time.

Then: Get dressed in a cute, weather and event appropriate outfit.
Now: Frantically go through my closet trying to find something that
A. easily allows me to whip the girls out
B. doesn't have a zipper or buttons (because get real)
C. hides the belly
D. For an extra challenge it's about 20 degrees colder than every other day so far. Although that's not necessarily a factor because of crazy hormonal hot flashes (see above pumpkin farm picture where everyone but me is in jackets and pants and I'm in short sleeves and a thin skirt).

Settle for just A and B and decide to hold the baby over my midsection.

Then: Get in the car and drive to the shower. Either rock out or listen to a book on tape.
Now:  Check the weather obsessively to decide what Dalton should wear and layer him up. Gather everything Dalton's ever owned (see above re: pumpkin farm preparation), plus the gift. Put him in his car seat. Carefully arrange his blanket to block the sun from his eyes. Start driving Dalton starts screaming. Decide I'm the worst mother ever and that I'm not going. Pull over to 711. Give him his pacifier. He's fine. Continue to the shower with radio on so low I can't even tell what song is on and turn it off every minute to make sure I can still hear him sucking and therefore breathing.

Then: Get a gift off the registry. Any gift, she choose them, who cares, baby stuff is boring.
Now: Forget to get a gift. Realize the shower is in two days. Look at the registry while breastfeeding and get sucked in to trying to figure out what baby item will get me more sleep. Order a diaper genie and some other stuff for in store pickup and frantically try to put credit card information in one handed like 6 times before I get it right. Race to Babies R Us in between feedings and realize the diaper genie is giant and I'll never be able to get it and the baby anywhere and why didn't I just choose something like a freaking crib sheet?

Then: Arrive at shower, greet mom to be, chat with friends.
Now: Arrive at shower hauling the baby in the car seat and the diaper bag, tell people no one can touch the baby, tell a reliable friend to watch him and DON'T LET PEOPLE TOUCH HIM IT'S FLU SEASON FOR THE LOVE OF GOD while I make a second trip out to the car to get the damn diaper genie that's ten feet tall. Finally attempt adult conversation but it's really more like this scene from when Carrie first visits Miranda and newborn Brady on Sex and the City (NSFW!).

Then: Stuff my face with delicious food and booze.
Now: Feed Dalton, ask friend who has now been relieved of baby guard duties to get me something to eat as she refills her drink. When she asks what, tell her anything I can eat one handed, then have her hold the plate as I cram a mini sandwich down my throat before it's time for a diaper change.

She saved me.
Then: I could take or leave holding a baby. I do not feel in any way qualified to care for a baby.
Now: The shower's host who I've never met, (my friend's aunt) offers to hold Dalton so I can eat. I politely (hopefully) decline because I'd rather starve. To death, if necessary. She insists. I tell myself that many, many other people are capable of caring for babies. This is evidenced by the world being full of functioning, healthy adults. I acquiesce and hand him over and she goes in the other room (because still - flu season) and gulp down some food that I don't even taste and drink that little bit of mimosa pictured while my heart is pounding and I feel sick. Dalton is fine and loves it and is well cared for and doesn't even know he's not with me.

Then: Put my gift with the others and suffer through a million "oh so cute!" onesies and weird crap that I don't care about and finally watch as the mom to be opens my gift.
Now: Alternate between panicking because I can't see Dalton and watching raptly to see what other baby products I don't know about that I might need to fill up all the empty space we have (sarcasm, every inch has baby items). Get confused when she gets to the end and hasn't opened mine. Try to figure out if I brought it to the wrong room, or in my reduced mental state, maybe even the wrong house. Get up and look for it and my friends tell me it was opened while I was changing a diaper. Mystery solved.

Tell me a story about something you were needlessly paranoid about to make me feel better, please and thanks.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


While I was incredibly proud of myself for taking the baby on a twenty minute walk all alone, I was thinking about how my definition of an "accomplishment" has drastically changed. I tried to think of what I would formerly consider an accomplishment, and it took me about half the walk. So we can cross "thinking" and "remembering" off the list for sure. I guess things like race PRs, good grades, doing well at work, things like that.

Nowadays, it's a horse of a different color. Babies really are all consuming. While we were trying to figure out what to watch on TV the other night, we realized that neither one of us knew what day of the week it was, but we did both know when Dalton last ate, peed, pooped, and how long he had been asleep. You really have to think for two people, even if one is tiny, so brain-space wise, something's gotta give.

However, in terms of my new definition, this week is essentially equivalent to a Nobel prize. Just take a look.

1. I wore the baby. Sounds easy, but I had to watch a YouTube video on how to use the Ergo. Twice. And to further complicate things, the baby in the video wasn't crying or squirming or really doing anything at all. Come to think of it, it didn't even seem like a real baby, it was more like an Olsen twin from season 1 of Full House.

The positioning gave him unlimited access to his hands, which is a big deal in his world. He loved life.
2. I wore the baby a second time, and left the house WITHOUT ANOTHER ADULT (which inspired this post, as mentioned above). There was a false start, when I realized I couldn't hear him over the traffic and couldn't feel his breathing with the wind, but after going back inside and verifying that he was breathing, we did enjoy a successful nap/walk.

3. We rounded out the week three for three, and I took Dalton on a car trip, again just the two of us. It was terrifying, but I had to remind myself that he actually had been with me every time I'd been in the car since we rang in the year 2014. He was probably even safer in a car seat and not near an air bag. Still frightening though.

I hadn't driven in over 3 weeks, so it was a real adjustment.

We went to a new mother's group hosted by the hospital.

This was actually the day before on a playdate with Carolyn and Nathan, but if I had asked to take pictures of a stranger and her baby for my blog then I would never make new friends and that's hard enough for me as it is.

He was a champ, so we kept it rolling and went to the farmer's market and Trader Joes, and I wore him (and he slept) the whole time. I kept waiting for someone to stop me and be like "hey! Give me that baby! Having a baby is for real adults. You can't just be walking around in public, wearing that baby, thinking you're a mom."

I don't know if I have a bit of hipster in me or if it's just more stuff white people like or what, but I just love this farmer's market. It's only open Thursday afternoons, so I can usually only go in the summer, and all summer I fantasized about how Dalton and I would go together on my maternity leave, and I was so excited to finally be living the fantasy. Dream big.

4. My incision hates me so much less. I showered and it didn't hurt. Furthermore, I moved  past my fear of my guts spilling out and didn't even sleep with my ab binder last night. (Apparently ab binders are a thing to shrink your belly, but that's not what this is, mine is from the hospital and designed to cover my incision and help me heal from surgery.) Last week, I was in constant pain while the binder was in the wash. This week, I washed it and didn't even feel the desire to put it back on. I'm not sure this is technically an accomplishment, but it's my body putting itself back together, so I'm counting it. I didn't even have to eat any organic kale for it to happen.

~Imagine a gross incision picture here~

5. I pumped and Dalton had a bottle. Pumping was scary for reasons that are better also left to the imagination.

The only possibly appropriate picture.
That's actually his fourth bottle. Just saying.
I know a baby doing something one week is far from a guarantee that they are solid on that skill, but this really went a long way towards reassuring me that I won't have to choose between quitting my job and selling an organ to make ends meet or starving my child. Not that I was worried or anything.

 6. I gave this kid a bath. All by myself. The neighbors didn't even call social services. So, so much screaming.

7. I walked to the store, bought ingredients, and cooked dinner for us. That's the first time since Dalton was born that I cooked anything but banana bread or lactation cookies. I made pesto chicken stuffed peppers, which I highly recommend by the way.

8. I made a date for a night out. I'm going to see Mockingjay the weekend it comes out (the end of November). It doesn't really count since Dalton will be with Eric, but it will still be the longest I'll be away from him and that's scary, which I realize sounds crazy if you don't have kids (it did to me).

9. I'm still devoted to promoting whooty awareness, but now I'm also working on disproving the idea that boys clothes are less cute than girls. Check this guy out.

A little froggy! It has a tongue sticking out that you can't see.

Another thing I used to think sounded crazy was "he/she is growing so fast!" at weeks old. It's not crazy.
Work it.
Let's all brag and share accomplishments and hug and post gold stars!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Parenthood - the unexpected (but no poop stories)

So while I do mainly mock and ridicule blog and social media posts, one that I kind of like is what people find is unexpected about life as a parent. So here's some stuff.

1. I'm a billion degrees

Before I was pregnant, I was the freak show shivering in a sweatshirt in August. Being pregnant pretty much caught me up to the temperature of those around me. Today, I went to the grocery store in a tank top and shorts and was totally comfortable. As I looked around in the checkout line, I realized everyone else was in pants, long sleeves, and occasionally jackets. So that's different.

2. I thought I did strength training while pregnant to prepare to constantly carry my baby

I was wrong. What I really needed those bicep curls for was to arm wrestle my baby. I thought the Twilight series was just a guilty pleasure, but it turns out they were right about newborns having superior strength. The other thing about newborns that I've learned is that they fight their own survival. This kid will yank his food source out of his mouth and start sucking his fist instead, and no amount of explanation from us will convince him that no nutrition is available that way. You would think it would be easy for me, as an adult, to just take his fist away, but no. It is not easy.

Looks innocent, but he's secretly a bodybuilder.
3. Babies don't read

Specifically, the baby books and the baby item product reviews. Kara was nice enough to pass down her Rock and Play. It's the Rolls Royce of baby beds. In fact, if you google ways to help a two week old sleep, like 95% of the responses say to buy a Rock and Play. Try it. Dalton isn't so convinced, and really prefers to sleep on one of us. I can't really blame him though, his father is renowned for his hugs.

They are both pretty awesome.

4. The night is dark and filled with (even worse) terrors

I went into pregnancy with a crippling fear of needles, and I got out of it with five tries to put an IV in and a needle in my spine and I didn't completely succumb to panic. I was patting myself on the back for becoming slightly less phobic due to all those blood draws in the past nine months. Well, the joke was on me, because it turns out that things can get much worse than dealing with a fear of needles getting stuck into you. After pregnancy, people want to stick needles into your baby.

I haven't even really dealt with it yet. He got his post-birth tests/blood draws when I was cracked out on morphine and didn't even know what was happening. Then he got his follow up PKU test last week, and I left and hid in the bathroom and ran the water so I couldn't hear anything (Eric stayed). I might do the same for the one month vaccines. I realize this is a prime opportunity for people to say "just wait until ___", and I realize I will have to deal with it someday, but today is not that day.

5. I don't need to know lullabies

One of the weird ass things I got nervous about towards the end of pregnancy was not knowing any songs to sing Dalton to sleep. It turns out babies don't care, and you can sing Katy Perry instead of Rock a Bye baby, and it works just fine.

6. I don't always hate physical contact

I'm renowned for hating hugs, and generally touching of any kind. Two people sent me this article. But I often have to force myself to stop hugging and cuddling this guy. I never want to not be snuggling with him.

He's just so squishy and kissable.
7. Not all infants are boring.

They're all so cute. But let's face it - as great as it is to hold other people's kids, they don't do much. Especially at this age. Adorable, but not interesting. Unless it's your own kid. Then every yawn, sneeze, and blink is fascinating. Really. I have actually watched a video of him hiccupping when I missed him while he was sleeping. This one isn't technically that unexpected, because I'm the same way with my nephew. I'm including it though because it was something that concerned me before I became an aunt.

8. Mommy brain is worse than pregnancy brain

This is also something people warned me about, but I'm including it anyway because if you actually listen to everything people warn you about while pregnant you'll definitely lose your mind. I'm also including it because the actual #8 came to me while I was working on this post, and I grabbed my phone to record it in the notes section with the rest of the items on the list. Literally by the time I unlocked the phone I had lost the thought, and I swear I do not just throw the word "literally" around unless I mean it.

9. I became a caricature of a mom. It happened before I expected.

I got really brave today and we went for our first outing (a walk down our street) just the two of us, mother and son. I got the diaper changed, put Dalton in a fresh, cute outfit, and brought the baby carrier out and started to put it on, announcing "ok, we're all ready to go on our walk!". Yeah, one of us wasn't ready. One of us was in a spit up stained nursing tank, pajama shorts, and had hair sticking up like a cartoon character who just stuck a finger in an outlet. Full disclosure - I put on a headband and pants, but the spit up tank remained.

I had another one about poop but there's enough of that on the internet, and I wouldn't want someone blogging about my bathroom habits, so maybe I should give my kid the same consideration.

Unrelated - if you are interested in reading and reviewing my aunt's book (I posted about it yesterday), or really, if you don't know if you are interested, you can read the first chapter on her blog. It's a fantastic dystopian novel.

What was unexpected about a major life change for you?