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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Today I’m I’m guest blogging at Sippy Cup Chronicles. I wanted to start by thanking Jenny for asking me to guest blog! I had nearly forgotten I had a blog of my own and that I enjoy writing. I had been so busy joining the walking dead becoming a mom that I just haven’t had the time and/or brain power to keep up with it. So thank you so much, Jenny, for giving me that spark to write again. And also thanks to Jenny for being kind about deadlines – it took me a while to get this post together.

My first and only child, Joey, is now 6 months, but it is only recently that I feel like a mom. At first, I just felt insane, tired, and like I lived in an alternate universe. I was just trying to survive on little sleep and figure out what on earth this cute little baby wanted…

Read the rest of my guest post and see cute Joey pics by clicking here!

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Back before September 2012, when I was more rotund and breathing for two, I had a tendency to compare my pregnancy experience with that of a dog’s.

“I hope all goes well during delivery and we can have immediate skin-to-skin contact, you know, like the way dogs lick the goo off their pups after they are born. Or is that horses?”

“I feel like it is unnatural to only have one baby. Dogs know how to do it — tons of immediate siblings.”

Patrick would nod at these comments. He knows who he married and at this point he is more unflappable than ever. My mom was sweet about it. She kindly reminded me that I wasn’t a dog and empathized with the fact that I didn’t have personal experience to draw from. After my human baby was born, it continued:

“Why is breastfeeding so difficult for us? Puppies don’t have latch problems! Mom dogs don’t have supply issues, do they?”

“If we were dogs, the baby would be up and about by now. It’s been 2 months, for crying out loud, and she can’t even wobble-walk around! Human babies need to take a lesson or two from puppies.”

Patrick continued to nod. But at some point my mom pleaded, “Will you please stop comparing my granddaughter to a dog? She is a human!” Her voice was high-pitched and sort of desperate, so I stopped making these inane comparisons…aloud.

Well, joke is on you, mom! Your granddaughter is a puppy and I have proof!! (Sidetrack: If puppies that are loved as much as human babies are called “fur babies,” then what are babies who are loved as much as puppies called? Skin puppies? Gross.)

Proof That My Daughter Is a Puppy

Exhibit A: Chews On Slippers

Who needs toys?

“Meh eatz this.”

My little pup can be surrounded by toys, but will  traverse the wide expanse (4 feet) of the big blue mat to get to our slippers.

Exhibit B: She Eats Her Vomit

"Meh lurves dessert."

“Meh lurves dessert.”

Yes, that there is her vomit. And yes, I took a picture before removing her from the situation and cleaning up the mess…the rest of the mess…that she didn’t already lap up…because I took a picture first…then went on an app to make a collage of the vomit pics…to share with you…you are welcome.

Exhibit C: She Hates When Her Humans Dress Her In Costume

"This is so lame."

“Meh hat ewe.”

Read that face: disgust, embarrassment, menacing promise of retaliation, despair.

Exhibit D: Moves Around On All Fours

"Meh canz move."

“Huh? Meh notz a baby?”

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I love being a mom!! It is usually a joy, sometimes frustrating, and it gives me even more opportunities to pronounce preferences/opinions with conviction, only to be proven wrong.

Pacifiers, the little plugs I swore “I’d never,” are in full rotation here. We even have a pacifier with a dragon toy on the end! And I love it. I love watching my little girl manipulate the toy and sometimes, with a lot of effort and a bit of luck, she can put the pacifier back in her own mouth. This was also the first toy she grabbed, so I’m obsessed with it!

Dragon wrestling

Dragon kiss!

Co-sleeping? Um, do I look like a hippie? I must, because we did. This week we are transitioning to sleeping in the crib in her room. So far, the “transition” has resulted in the baby sleeping in the crib just fine while I try to fall asleep without my little girl beside me. This is a pic of the baby “adjusting” (not shown – a hippie mom tossing and turning):

Look at that crib-hater

Sleeping dragon

But of all the “That won’t happen to us!” squawking I did, I NEVER thought I’d be wrong on this. I wrote a snarky post last year (read Judging Books By Their Covers here) about all of the white babies on the covers of baby books. On behalf of our future brown baby, we were offended by the implication that all babies are white. I wrote sarcastically:

So if I am to judge books by their covers (admittedly, at a seriously picked-over out-of-business sale), it looks like my baby will be white…

Well, guess what? She is! I’m going to print this out so I can eat my words.

Yes, sir, that’s my baby!

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Our baby is five weeks old!! Do you recall my post outlining my stubborn refusal to buy certain mommy/baby “necessities?” Well, I thought it would be fun to share with you what “I’d never” items have made it into our household already…

Baby Monitor: So far, we haven’t had the need for one. Little Joey has a set of strong lungs on her and she is never too far away from one or both of us.

Breast Pump and Bottles: Honestly, I bought a manual pump and bottles right after I published that post. Good thing I did. We had latch issues at first. We met with a lactation consultant who discouraged bottle use but suggested I pump and use a syringe to encourage latch. Thanks to the consultant’s guidance we were syringe and pump free within 2.5 days. Recently I have been using the pump again to have some bottles on hand to bring to appointments or have on an occasion that I want a beer in the evening.  

Infant Car Seat: It has not been a problem to take baby from our convertible car seat to baby carrier during outings. Joey is not bothered moving from one to the other. We do not regret foregoing the infant seat.

Happy in her convertible car seat…Content with her paci

Two Car Seats: So far, the station wagon has been working for us as the designated child transport vehicle. This may change later on, but I suspect a second seat for our second car will be a distant future need.

Multiple Strollers: We have barely used our City Mini. For now, we’re all loving the baby sling and Baby Bjorn for our fall walks, but we can’t wait to break out the stroller next spring.

Additional baby items I thought I’d never see in my house, but are here and in use:

Pacifier

Disposable diapers

And for fun, parenting behaviors I thought weren’t for me, but turns out they are:

Co-sleeping

Toys in my living room 

Stepping over a baby gym to get to the couch, using a paci when we go for a walk, pumping in the afternoon to have a glass of wine with dinner… These changes of directions keep this tired family happy. And as they say, a happy family is…a happy family!

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil

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Hi everybody! How have you been?

These past few weekends, Gilly and I have been taking classes on childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding. These are all very important classes to take. If you miss one, you won’t know how to deliver your baby, you won’t know what all those blankets you just received are for, and your baby will never know the importance of squirrels.

Placenta, baby, and pelvis, minus stovepipe.

I may have my facts a little bit jumbled. Bear with me, they’ve been throwing a lot of information at us.

Did you know that…a baby makes its journey through a 90-degree elbow stovepipe? At least, that’s what the display model seemed to indicate.

Did you know that…swaddling a newborn is easy? First, you need a swaddling blanket and a newborn. Second, you need to fill out a job application at your local Qdoba, Chipotle, or favorite Mexican restaurant of choice. Step three, ask to be placed on the burrito line. Step four, go home, substitute the tortilla and fillings for your swaddle blanket and baby, and you’re all set! NOTE: Do not follow step five, which might involve you accidentally eating your spicy little baby burrito.

Did you know that…girls are made of sugar, spice, and everything nice? You just need to go easy on the “honey boo boo.”

Did you know that…a father plays an important role in breastfeeding? According to our lactation consultant, a man’s job is to be the FUN one. And, evidently, “fun” constitutes one very important skill: We must be expert squirrel spotters. (I believe, if I got this straight, I am also *required* to say, “Lookit! A squirrel!” if my baby is to have her full measure of fun.)

Men find breastfeeding more comfortable in side-lying position

Did you know that…our lives will never be the same again?

Finally, we learned our most invaluable lesson of all: We’re ready to be parents.

Now, c’mon, baby, let’s get this show on the road. I’ve got some squirrels to show you.

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I previously admitted that I am majorly afraid of hoarding. I always say, when in doubt, donate and let someone else get all hoard-y with it. So dealing with the reality of all the stuff babies come with has been a bit tough for me.

Lulu guards my diaper stash

I have already set up a fully-equipped baby room with necessities and niceties: crib; changing table stocked with cloth diapers, wipes, and swaddling blankets; bookshelf already full of fantastic books; futon for feedings and mommy-naps; bouncy chair with mobile attachment; and a space-themed baby “gym” including a space-monkey toy hanging from it (how cool is that?). Stocked up!

However, there are items my friends SWEAR by, that I refuse to buy. I am stubborn and I accept that about myself. I hope you can too. I do realize that I may very well buy these items later, but I’d rather it be an organic, need-based purchase, not a registry frenzy/naive new parent sort of thing.

Essential Items I Stubbornly Refuse To Purchase Now (And Forever?)

Baby Monitor: I have crazy good ears. I have mentioned that here. I will hear that baby crying down the hall. My experience is that babies are not shy about crying, so I’m certain I’ll hear her when I’m downstairs too. I am also slightly neurotic — it is the American woman way. So hearing any movements on that monitor will drive me bananas and send me running to the baby’s room. Not doing it. Ever. Stubborn.

Breast pump: What if I can’t do it? That’s $250 wasted! Then what do I do with it afterward? We may be a one-and-done family. My hospital rents them, so I may look into that option if the need arises.

Bottles: I know, know. I’ve done lost my ever-lovin’ mind!  But here’s the thing: If my breast milk already comes with two easily-accessible, temp-controlled feeding devices, shouldn’t I just use those? I’m going to give it a go with the handy milk sacks I already have and wait and see. That is $ saved and time saved — from pumping, fetching, washing, heating, sorting between nipple types and flow options, etc. We’ll see how long this lasts.

An Infant Car Seat: The convertible car seat I bought accommodates a baby between 5-70 pounds. However, many folks buy an infant seat (5-25/30 pounds) first and then move baby to the convertible seat. Experienced parents insist that the infant seat, which doubles as a bulky bassinet-type carrier and fits onto different stroller systems, is better than sliced bread. I hear you, experienced parents. I even believe you!! But I would rather jostle my baby when getting in and out of the car, and wear her when I go out, just to avoid getting the infant car seat. Stubborn.

Two Car Seats: Can a couple survive with just one? The overwhelming majority say, “No way, you weird hippies!” This may be true (not the hippie part), but our friends all bought two seats or two bases before baby arrived. Sure, you are going to use something you already have. I would like to see if we can be a two-car but one car-seat family. So interested to see how this plays out!

A Second or Third Stroller: One kid, one stroller. We got a lightweight but sturdy and maneuverable collapsible stroller. And it is black!  No thank you, bulky, multi-colored, heavy travel system. No thank you, teeny umbrella stroller, I’ll pass on you too. Many flexible parents purchase additional strollers as their children grow and their needs change. Makes sense, but I just plan to be stubborn about this too.

In sum, I’m stubborn.  If you see a woman in line at Target with a screaming infant attached to her chest, purchasing 20 bottles, a baby monitor, and an infant car seat… that isn’t me. I’m stubborn.

Space monkeys can be stubborn too

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A friend of the blog and soon-to-be eccentric Swiss baroness recently said to me: “I was a much better mother before I had children.”

This made me think, because I am a really, really awesome dad now that I don’t have children. I’m a playful, loving, fun, and wise father for these future offspring. But is that because I don’t, well, actually have them yet?

Granted, I do actually have 7 nieces and nephews, and I am an awesome *actual* uncle to them. But it’s a lot different being an uncle than a father. (For one thing, there are no givebacks.) They all turned out great, but I may have to acknowledge that their actual parents had something to do with that.

But what will I be like when I’m tired, or trying to juggle home, work, and parenting responsibilities? Sometimes I worry – okay, worry is my natural state of existence, so most of the time I worry – that I will struggle to find the balance. And I do wonder if my friend is right, and it will all be uphill from here.

So, let me ask you, readers of the blog, what are your secrets? How does one find the energy, the patience, and the perseverance to be a good parent – actual or imagined?

Will I wield a Jello Pudding Pop or Red Light Saber?

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