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The Mommy Wars

2 Oct

This is what’s wrong with being a mom today. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. Even strangers.

The poor (ha!) Duke & Duchess of Cambridge were torn a new one by BabyCenter and its crazy-mom harpies here about their car seat usage for the little prince (George, after my dad, I assume). Because all moms are so great that they know how to use a car seat perfectly the first time they use it, one day after pushing a kid out, looking perfectly put together. Give me a break. We’ve all done “dangerous” stuff with our kids. I have to admit, I did notice the baby looked like he was a little loosey goosey in that seat, but SINCE I WASN’T IN THE CAR, I have no idea if he was driven away that way or not. (I also noticed that his blanket looked like an aden +anais, which Emilia has and loves. Or, rather, I love. So maybe they’ll get married and she’ll be Queen!)

And you know what? Even if he was driven away that way, I don’t care. He’s not my kid. I’m sure someone showed Will and Kate how to use a car seat, or will show them now. I’m sure they’re not idiots and have every intention of keeping their child safe (especially, as the commenting harpies noted, Diana died in a CAR CRASH!).

But I’m adopting my new mentality here: Not my monkeys, not my zoo. As long as what you do with your kid isn’t affecting my kid, I’m good with it. I’ve got my own screaming little monkey to worry about, I don’t need to worry about other people’s monkeys. (I’m trying to adopt this theory at work too, where sometimes I think I am literally working with monkeys, but that’s another issue).

Which leads me to my other rant in the mommy world: mommy bloggers. First of all, why do we need to “mommy” everything? “Mommy friends,” “Mommy runners,” “Working Mommies.” Can’t I just be all those things and a Mommy too? Separately? Because as far as I know, I’m Mommy to one girl (and a fur baby – gag) – not to the rest of the world.

Back to Mommy B … er, bloggers that happen to be Mommies and love to blog about being a mom. I think they fall into two categories: Those who think they are awesome, and therefore imply you’re not good enough, and those who want you know that its okay that you’re not good enough (because you need a stranger to tell you that). The first ones will show you their homemade Valentines and pictures of how they wore their newborn (while nursing!) into their toddler’s classroom to deliver them, along with organic, peanut-free, vegan treats for all the kids who had signed permission slips to eat them. The second will tell you that the Elf on the Shelf will turn your child into a spoiled, entitled brat who will grow up to have daddy issues, but that’s all okay, as long as you teach her the 59 things all girls need to learn before they turn 3.

I started this post a while ago, and originally wondered – why do you have to be one or the other – can’t you use the Ergo for things you need both hands for (i.e. wine tasting and double fisting beer) but not live with a child attached to your body 24/7? Can’t you rock your kid to sleep when she’s having a bad night, but not have to let her sleep in your bed till she’s 18? Can’t you have a big first birthday party and then invite the family over for pizza and beer the next few years? Can’t you make the baby food that’s easy to make and buy the rest? (if you’re wondering, blueberries and apples are big pains to puree) Is my kid really scarred by eating chicken nuggets at 10 months and almost being baby-napped by a dementia patient in a nursing home? (The last one is most likely “yes”).

Since when do we have to commit to a “method” of parenting? When did it become all or nothing? Why can’t we just do what we want with our kids, change it as we go along, and suffer the consequences if we started a bad habit we can’t correct? I mean, that’s how I picture it rolling in my zoo, at least. And my monkey seems happy so far.

When I went back and read what I had written, I realized that committing to one way or another wasn’t really the issue – the issue is what everyone else thinks.  And I read this tonight and realized she summed it up better than I could.  The “Mommy Wars” work both ways.  You may automatically think someone who does something differently than you do is implying you should be doing it that way too.  But I think more often than not, they’re just doing what makes their family, and their monkeys, happy.  So go pick your monkey up from the day orphanage you leave her at (even when you have the day off!) and do what makes your family happy – whether it involves mason jar crafts or the McDonalds drive thru for the 5th night that week.

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So, I’ve been hanging on this post for a while, debating if I should post it, if it sounded right or just came across as ranty and bitter.  And then this popped up about five times on my Facebook feed yesterday, and I almost lost my shit, because the last thing I need is someone feeling sorry for me for keeping my baby fed and happy and healthy with formula (which really isn’t that hard to make).  Ugh, just ugh.  Okay, back to not caring about what people think.  I guess its easier said than done.

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More Retrospection

12 Dec

I have two weeks of maternity leave left. At this point, I’m technically on vacation.

As much as I dislike working (not necessarily my job, just working), I’m not good at home. I’m lazy yet bored. I feel isolated and some days desperate to talk to someone besides an infant and a puppy. Thankfully (?) people insist on talking to me about the baby all the time. As an aside: she’s dressed completely in pink, why would you think she’s a boy???

Here’s my big, ugly confession: I have named all of the baby’s toys.  They all have personalities too.  My world was rocked when I learned that Betty the Butterfly was really Freddie the Firefly.  Mortimer the Moose is a wannabe Brit, Tommy the Turtle may be gay.  I named a dog “Baxter 2” today.  I need to talk to grown ups!!!

If I knew I was staying home for more than 14 weeks, I think I would have had to get on a schedule. And I’d definitely have to get some stay at home mom friends, maybe even join a group or two. Being alone gets old fast. I’ve tried to make plans every day, and the days I don’t get out drive me crazy. I shop a lot but don’t necessarily buy anything.

I wouldn’t have listened to the people who told me I’d spoil the baby by holding her too much. I know that you can’t spoil a brand new baby. And I did (do) hold her a lot, but now that I won’t be with her all day, I wish I had held her more.  My favorite times are when she wakes up too early, eats and falls asleep on me.  Then I fall asleep, and Baxter joins us on the bed, and I wake up to Willie Geist on the Today show, and all is right with the world.

I learned I really do hate to clean. Faced with the option of cleaning or wandering stores aimlessly, I always choose wandering.

I learned (really, always knew), that left to my own devices, I will not exercise. I need to be told what to do and just do it. I can come up with 25 reasons not to jump on the treadmill or go for a walk. But if there’s a DVD with a man telling me to jump, I’ll do it.  Even if that man speaks about himself in the third person (Shaun T gets tired during Insanity!)

I learned that dressing a boy may have been easier.

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I would have stayed off Pinterest – it just made me feel guilty.  I thought I’d do all this stuff when I had the time.  Now I have the time, but I still don’t want to be all crafty.  And, really, I don’t want my Elf on the Shelf to make a mess.  I have a dog for that.

Most importantly, I learned that no matter how tired I was/am/will be always, how ready I am to go back to work, how many nights I thought “What the hell have I gotten myself in to”, the fact my pants still don’t fit and possibly never will, the possibility that Molly the Monkey thinks I’m certifiable, all the “am I a good enough mom” worries I have at 3am when I’m wondering if the baby is okay…this makes it all worth it


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Hindsight: Mom’s Best Friend

11 Nov

I said all sorts of stuff about how I’d raise my hypothetical child before I had her.  I tried to include the words “I’d like to…” or “I plan on trying…” rather than “I will definitely…” so that I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot when made to eat my words.  Now that we’re two months in, here’s where I’ve netted out:

I blew it all in the hospital.  I had a very detailed birth plan.  It was: “Get drugs.  Have baby.  Have goop wiped off baby before holding.”  When I checked into Labor & Delivery, the nurse asked if I wanted the baby cleaned up before I held her.  I said no.  I don’t even know why I said no, the word just came out of my mouth.  (We never got to that point, but I think I would have been okay either way).

My hospital “strongly encouraged” rooming in.  I “strongly encouraged” sleeping, so I swore I’d send the baby to the nursery.  After I had her, it was late, my parents (who were stalking me in the waiting room while I was in surgery) visited, and no one really asked if I wanted her to go the nursery.  Plus, I was traumatized by her birth and didn’t want she or J to leave my side.  The next night, I figured I’d have to nurse her every two hours, so she could stay.  I didn’t count on the fact she wouldn’t go back to sleep immediately after eating, so by my last night I was an exhausted, sobbing mess, and  it was “strongly encouraged” that I send her to the nursery.  I also swore there was no reason for J to spend nights with me in the hospital, but after realizing how hard it was to get out of bed every ten minutes to care for a screaming newborn, he only spent one of the four nights at home.

Once Emilia came home, it just continued.

 

What I said: I want to nurse for at least 6 months (or until baby had teeth), and would build up a stock of pumped milk to send her to day care with when I went back to work.

What I did: I nursed for 7 weeks and never pumped enough to give her a pumped bottle more than once a day, if I was lucky.  It was hard, and I had to stop for my own sanity as much as for Emilia’s health and happiness.  Overall, I’m okay with the decision, but sometimes I think – I should have tried harder.  Then I look at the baby who never screams unless its been 3 hours since her last bottle, sleeps for 6 hour stretches at night, and gained 2 pounds in a month, and I think – Nah, its okay!

 

What I said: I’ll wear her in the Ergo all the time and get stuff done.

What I did: I do like the Ergo, but she’s too little to use it without the infant insert, which is an extra step.  And it makes both of us hot, sweaty messes.  She likes it, though.  I wear her when she gets fussy and I don’t feel like holding her, I wore her at the wine tasting last week, and when I raked yesterday (that didn’t last long).  I do see myself using it more when she’s a little less squishy and easier to get her in and out of it.

 

What I said: We’ll take her everywhere with us!

What I did: She does go wherever we go, within reason.  She’s been out to eat multiple times, and usually sleeps, but does sometimes get fussy.  She doesn’t scream though, we pick her up or feed her ASAP.  I try to take her out every day – for a walk, to the store, out to lunch, the vineyard (she may have a drinking problem).  I realize she’s at the stage where she’s highly portable, and this freedom could change at any minute!  We also do things without her, we left her with my parents at two weeks old, and I’ve left her with J many times.

 

What I said: I’ll be back to running in no time, and in my regular clothes by the time I go back to work.

What I did: Gained too much weight while pregnant, and still working on it.  I didn’t count on the C Section, and while I did start walking a few weeks after having the baby, I didn’t start running until after my 6 week check up.  Its going slowly (as is the weight loss) but I’m running my first race this weekend.  I’m only hoping to run more than I walk, and make it to the free beer before it runs out.

 

What I said: I’m going to cloth diaper.

What I did: The diapers I bought (FuzziBunz, BumGenius, and Flip) are one size fits all, 8-35 pounds.  I knew I wanted to give getting used to a baby a month or two before I added in extra laundry. And then I needed laundry detergent, and I needed to actually figure out how to use them.  But I started the other day, and so far, so good.  I haven’t attempted overnights yet, or out and about, so I’d say she’s in them 50% of the time.  But they’re easy to use, just one extra load of laundry every 3 days or so, and they’re really not that much extra work.  She can’t use them at day care, so I’m not going to recognize a ton of cost savings, but I really wanted to try them and I’m glad we’re doing it, even if its not as much as I’d like.

 

What I said: I’ll never sleep with the baby.

What I did: 95% of the time, she’s in her crib.  But when its 6am and she’s screaming in her crib but not in my arms, and I’m tired, she’s napping with me.  It makes me nervous, but its comfy, and we do it as safely as possible.  I’m currently holding strong on the “no family bed” thing, but reserve the right to change my mind to get a good night’s sleep.

 

What I said: I’ll get all sorts of stuff done on maternity leave!

What I did: I do get stuff done, but not as quite as much as I thought.  Its not really the baby’s fault, its more because I’m lazy.  If I don’t get up and moving, I find myself farting around on Facebook waiting for Ellen to start (what?  Emilia likes to dance too).  I do have dinner planned or cooked every night, I do keep up with house things, and I did finally assemble the Ikea dresser for the spare room.  Grocery shopping is tough with the baby, but as long as I don’t put too many canned goods in her car seat we’re good.  As a side note, its only a matter of time before I get arrested for shoplifting because something has fallen in between her car seat and the carriage and I forget to pay for it.

 

So, I’m eating a lot of my words, but I think that’s ok.  And this little one doesn’t seem to mind.

August

23 Aug

The Olympics are over, and I’m still sad.  Summer tv sucks.  The Olympics should have inspired me to exercise and look forward to getting back into running.  Instead, they inspired me to want to move to London, become royalty, and date someone from One Direction.

We may be naming the baby Pandelela, after Malaysian diver, Pandelela Rinong.  We thought she was so cute, and, really, what’s a better name than Panda?

 

Speaking of Panda, here are some pictures of her finished nursery.  I made the sign myself, after seeing it on Pinterest and finding it for sale on Etsy for $125.  It’s a piece of wood and some paint, and I can barely draw a straight line, so I was pretty proud of my mad crafty skillz.

We got a new camera.  Baxter doesn’t feel the fish-eye feature is flattering enough.

 

We’re ready for the baby!  Just need to evacuate the sock monkey and we’re good to go!

Summer will “officially” be over next weekend, and I’m ready for the Fall.  Bring on the pumpkin beer, football, and chili!

Hopefully my next post will include some baby pictures.  If it doesn’t, there’s bound to be a lot of complaining in there.  You’ve been forewarned.

Updates!

8 Jul

I guess its been a month since I last blogged.  Ooops.  Where has the time gone?

I spend a lot of time in our air conditioned bedroom, AKA the cold cave, watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.  I felt guilty at first, but now I kind of don’t care.  However, we’re now seriously considering the name Evelyn Ted Mosby for the baby, which is not a good sign.

Baxter spent a day at doggie day care and came home exhausted.  Then he didn’t perk up, and kept licking his paws, so we took him to the vet, who told us he’s allergic to grass and pollen.  Awesome.  He’s on prednisone, which means he drinks like a fish and pees a lot.  He’s learned how to pee on the rug from inside his crate, which is just a great talent to have.  He can do that, but he can’t remember we moved his crate downstairs a month ago.  Weirdo.

J & I have been enjoying the summer (when I’m not locked in the cold cave) by going to the beach, Block Island, any cookout we’re invited to (especially ones with a pool) and coming up with ways to tire out Baxter.  I haven’t spent much time in my hammock, because I’m not sure I can get out of it on my own, and I’m afraid to try.

My mom, besties & aunts threw me a great baby shower.  It was on a Friday night and involved nachos, what more could you want?  We got to see lots of people we don’t get to see often enough, and got tons of great gifts.  I’ve been washing clothes and organizing things all week, a little at a time, in between writing thank you notes.  The nursery is almost complete, it just needs a few little details and we’ll be good to go.  Now, we just wait out the next seven weeks and five days (but who’s counting?)

I’m looking forward to more cookouts, OAR in August, and lots of lobster & ice cream.  Hopefully I’ll remember to blog about them!

Randomness: iPhone Photo Style

7 Jun

Signs in downtown Burlington.  We joked that if we had brought Baxter, all the stores that had “Dogs Welcome” signs posted would have to change them to “All Dogs Except Baxter Welcome”

Self portrait in Burlington

Helping paint the baby’s room.  Kicked out for licking the walls shortly after.

I painted this!  Really!  At the Paint Bar.  So much fun.

My boys.  Behaving for once.

Indulge Me

29 May

I really think I’ve been a good pregnant person so far.  I mean, I have my moments, but I’m typically an emotional wreck on a good day, so can you really blame me?  As cliché as it sounds, I really am blessed to be pregnant, and I promised myself I wouldn’t complain.  But I need to.  Just this once, I swear (please don’t hold me to this).

Its hot.  And its May.  I don’t do heat well.  I’m a sweater.  A big, gross, nasty sweater.  And my house gets hot.  It was 85 degrees in here at 5:45pm.  Did I mention that its May?  We have window ACs, but, aside for the bedroom, they don’t really do much good in a raised ranch.  At least I can be cool when I sleep.  But getting out of the shower into the heat and being and staying sweaty all day?  Kill me now.

The heat thing is something I dread every year, pregnant or not.  I just know that the bigger I get, the worse it will be.  And as I get bigger, it will get hotter.  I tricked myself into thinking this would all be okay.  I was incorrect.

The worst part is, I just can’t handle it.  I don’t know if I’m truly more emotional, or if I think its just okay to sob because I’m pregnant.  Case in point: Sunday morning, I get up, make coffee, do a few dishes.  J got up and started making us breakfast, so I started chopping some veggies to grill later.  I put them in a bag to marinate with oil & vinegar & spices, sealed the bag, and turned it upside down to distribute the seasonings.  And it opened.  All over the fridge, in a drawer, in the 7th circle of hell space between the stove and the fridge, in between my toes, on one of the only pairs of PJ pants I can squeeze my butt into, etc.  And I had a complete, sobbing meltdown.  This continued through Baxter trying to eat my toiletry kit from my gym bag (hey!  I went last week!) and me not being able to get him under the bed because my stomach was in the way, and through me fixing the screen door for the umpteenth time while Baxter peed on the floor.  At 10am (this was already a long morning), J put the air conditioner in the bedroom and put me to bed to cool down, literally and figuratively.

I may not make it through the next 13-1/2 weeks.  If I have to tell the dog to stop eating the couch one more time, or pretend to be so excited about a kibble ball again, I may send him back to the side of the road he came from.  Getting dressed is becoming more of an ordeal (and really, why sell spaghetti strap maternity dresses if you’re not going to sell strapless maternity bras?  Also, why did I have to get all size small race tee shirts?  Why didn’t my ego allow me to grab a large now and then?  And why are J’s tee shirts just as small?)  I’m becoming more and more tired as the days go on, and all I want to do is lay in bed and watch How I Met Your Mother re-runs.  And yes, I know this will all get worse.  People tell me this constantly.  Thank you, by the way, that really helps my emotional well-being.

OK, I’m done.