Every year, I make the same stupid New Year's resolutions. It's always to be more organized and, depending on the year, it's also to lose 10 lbs. I shudder to think how many pounds I'll need to lose next year, but I'm trying not to think of it as I shove leftover Christmas candy in my mouth. This year, since I am due in March and have no idea what to expect, I thought I'd make resolutions for my kids.
Captain Destructo Ah, Captain Destructo. Given her nickname for her uncanny ability to destroy the most sturdy objects, she is as curious as she is overactive. Here are some resolutions for her. 1. Stop eating non-food items. For the love of all that's holy, when does this phase end? I've been trying to introduce Play Doh for about the last 6 months straight, and everytime I do, she picks up a big hunk and swallows it before I can grab it (interestingly, the label of Play Doh only says "contains wheat" so I don't feel too horrible about her eating it). The non food items she has eaten lately include (but are not limited to) crayons, dirt, a leaf, the top of a marker, and a corner of a book. Everytime I think she's done with eating crayons I find one in her diaper. Which brings me to my next point....
2. Use the potty I have purchased 2 potties, 2 potty books, an Elmo potty video, and an Elmo who goes to the bathroom on a tiny potty. I am sick of talking about pee pee and poo poo. We had a good few months where she went once a day on the potty, but since then it's been her saying she wants to sit on the potty, me removing her clothes and then chasing her around the house bottomless until she inevitably pees on the carpet. It's awesome. I would like to only have one at a time in diapers, but I can feel that dream slipping away.
3.Not kill your new baby sibling I've seen the way Captain Destructo plays with the baby dolls in the childcare at the gym. Think Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Coupled with her overzealous rocking of our baby swing and her oh-so-gentle "hugs" for her daddy and I, I think New Baby's in for a rough ride around his/her sister.
New Baby New Baby is due in March and I am becoming increasingly terrified about his/her arrival by the minute. I love babies...you know, once they can smile and sleep for more than 30 seconds at a time. Plus Captain Destructo was a really good baby so I feel like there's no way I can get that lucky twice, so I'm convinced this one will be really colicky and fussy. But I digress. Here are New Baby's resolutions.
1. Sleep. A lot. So I've heard of these alleged newborns who sleep for like 6 hours at a stretch, but I always likened them to the Loch Ness Monster or a Chupacabra. Fun story, but not real. But a friend who I trust said her baby did it, so I'm hoping New Baby is an awesome sleeper. I remember the early days with Captain D. when I "slept" on the couch in 15 minute increments and dreamed about my bed. Not psyched for that again.
2. To not have colic I'm not going to lie. I'm completely terrified of having an insanely active toddler and a colicky newborn. I know many moms deal with far worse and I should be grateful enough if the baby's healthy (and I will be), but still. Please, New Baby, have an awesome digestive system.
I really am excited for 2011. Watching Captain Destructo turn into a little girl and feeling the baby growing inside of me have made for a wonderful 2010 and I can't wait to see what next year holds.
Note: I do realize Black Friday was over a month ago, but I kept forgetting to write this. Whaddaryagonnado.
This year, I decided I would go Black Friday shopping for the very first time. Not for the extra special deals, not for the first dibs at hot new stuff, but simply to go shopping ALL BY MYSELF without having to get a babysitter.
I learned something important about Black Friday shoppers.
You're all freaking nuts.
When I pulled into the Target parking lot at 5AM to the most jam packed lot I had ever seen, I convinced myself that it wouldn't be that bad. Surely not all of those cars could be going to Target, right? There was an Office Max next door....maybe everyone was after shredders and printers. I lumbered out of the car and waddled to the door, where I discovered that I was gravely wrong. There were roughly 8.3 million people crammed into the store. Most were wandering around the front of the store looking for a cart (or a buggy, for those of you native Southerners). I realized it was a mistake to bypass the shopping carts in the parking lot in hopes of getting inside faster. After milling around trying to get a cart for awhile, I snagged one from some unsuspecting lady and was on my way.
Now, what to get? I knew The Hubby would want some DVDs for his stocking so I headed to the electronics section. Let's try to squeeze my huge belly and empty cart down the first aisle....nope, too many people there. How about here...wow, even more people here. Last aisle...OK, I'll go to Best Buy later. Forget electronics. On to the toy section for Captain Destructo.
20 minutes later, after maneuvering around people searching like vultures for discounted TVs, chairs and washcloths (washcloths, really people? They're like $2 at Wal-Mart. Is it worth waking up at 4:00 for washcloths?), I made it to the toy section, where I quickly found an open aisle and parked my cart. This is probably a Black Friday faux pas, but I was so tired I didn't care. It took me about 30 seconds to grab the junk, I mean toys, I had scoped out earlier and I headed for the checkout.
I pushed my cart up to a group of people in the middle of the store. I looked around them to discover that they were the end of the line. Super. I rested on my cart and started checking Facebook on my phone while waiting (surprisingly, not a lot of people on Facebook at 5AM). A few minutes later, I started feeling a little....iffy. It occured to me that I hadn't eaten anything before leaving the house. Apparently Pregnant Me finds this to be a very, very big deal. I started feeling dizzy and really hot. Great, I thought. Now I am going to pass out in Target and won't even get to buy all this crap I woke up to get. There was nowhere to sit, so I kind of squatted near the floor for a few minutes until I felt better. When I stood up, I immediately felt sick again, so I had to repeat the squatting/move forward about 1/4 and inch for the next HOUR until I reached the checkout. The women behind me asked if I was okay, and I told them to drag me to the checkout if I passed out and put my stuff on the belt. I was completely serious.
Finally I was able to pay for my stuff and stumble out of the store. My reward? A $10 Target gift card.
I've read about a million of these kind of stories, and I'm happy to report that so far, no one has asked me how much weight I've gained (do people really ask that? Who does that?), if I'm sure I'm not having twins, or whether or not I'm going to breastfeed. However, I have accrued quite a few little gems over the past few weeks that I'd like to share. Public service announcement: don't say anything of the following either:
1. "We think there's something wrong with your placenta, so you should be extra vigilant about the baby's movements." Not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but I'm a little paranoid during pregnancy. So much so that my husband volunteered to give himself a vasectomy today so he didn't have to hear me worry anymore. So when my doctor said the above statement, I. Freaked. Out. Today, I didn't feel movements for a few hours, so, in hysterical tears, called my OB and went for a non-stress test. Not sure how "non-stressful" the test was, as I had my almost 2 year old with me and had to keep jumping up to keep her from eating the ultrasound gel. By the way? Baby moved a million times as soon as I got to the doctor's office. Good times.
2. "Yucky." (pointing to a zit on my chin) Well, darling, Mommy is covered in pimples at the moments because her hormones apparently hate being pregnant and so make her as unattractive as possible, so as to prevent Daddy from ever putting her in this predicament again. Do me a solid and don't point out my stretch marks or cankles. Since you are (a) one and (b) adorable, I will cut you some slack. However.....
3. "Honey, did you remember to pack your Proactiv?"
...when asked by your father is less cute. Yes, dear, I did. However, you may be disappointed to learn that not only did it not clear up my acne, but it didn't give me boobs like the spokespeople either (thanks, Katy Perry).
4. I got this comment today in response to this post: I don't know what you're talking about. I have a child, he's two and a half, and I look the same as I did before I had him! Actually, a little better because my breasts are bigger. They look great against my petite frame. My stomache is still tight as ever, no stretch marks, everything is the same! And I take care of myself well. I look good :)
Everything doesn't go to crap after motherhood. Don't use that as an excuse. I know tons of beautiful mothers of multiple children that look astounding. You let yourself go.
Wow. (insert slow, sarcastic clapping) I've composed a reply many, many times in my head, but instead I will just applaud you, random stranger who posts nasty comments, for being such an awesome role model and benchmark for us lazy, no-good moms whose breasts are smaller and thighs are bigger. I hope one day we too can acquire your rockin' bod. And hopefully your manners and sense of humility as well. Thank you for your insight and inspiration.
5. "You shouldn't do those jumping jacks unless you want your baby to come sliding out/ Don't have your baby in spin class" While I appreciate the concern of my fellow gym goers, rest assured that I have no intention of giving birth in the gym in any class. Also, contrary to what you may have heard, jumping jacks do not cause your baby to come sliding out. Though I wish they did...I'd be jumping jacking up a storm in about 11 weeks.
As my belly gets fatter, my patience seems to get thinner. I wish it was the other way around.
We just got back from a 10 day jaunt to see family on the East Coast. Other than being absolutely freezing cold, we had a great time and I have the following people to thank.
THANK YOU flight attendant on our 3 hour flight who handed us a pair of headphones while Captain Destructo was watching a DVD and informing us that she was too loud ("it's late and people are trying to sleep."). Really, buddy?! First of all, I'm sitting next to her and can't even hear it. Secondly, I can't get her to keep a cookie in her mouth while Elmo is on. You think she'll keep headphones in her ears? Good luck with that one. Also, I missed the "silent flight after 7:30" rule when I bought my ticket. Interesting. Lastly, you think the ridiculously quiet Elmo movie is disruptive? Turn it off and see what happens. I think you'll love her new "fire alarm" wail.
THANK YOU to the couple in front of us who chose to (a) make out the entire flight, and (b) recline their seats allllll the way back. When I got on the plane, I thought, "what's missing here? I wish a had a random stranger's head in my lap on top of the giant belly and overactive toddler." Although, sir, your wife/girlfriend/escort's bouffant hairdo was super fun to keep Captain Destructo from putting her hands in. So thanks for that also.
THANK YOU to my unborn child, for somehow communicating with your big sister and deciding to do the cha-cha-slide on my lungs everytime she jumped on me. It made for some totally awesome panic attacks when I couldn't breathe and had to practically throw her to your daddy.
THANK YOU to the manufacturers of Pampers who choose to put "lasts up to 12 hours" on the box. You should really say "lasts until it's time to get on the plane and then leaks all over your child's pants and your shirt." Also consider adding "and then your child will poop right before takeoff, force you to attempt to change her in an airplane bathroom which somehow results in getting poo on her clean pants." I enjoyed to Sophie's Choice moment when I got to decide which bodily function I allowed her to travel in for 6 hours. (I went with #1 in case you wondered.)
Finally, THANK YOU to my husband for real for being awesome and letting Captain Destructo (a) sleep on you, (b) jump on your belly and (c) watch 3 hours of Elmo on your lap. XOXO
It seems like every year, I get less excited about what I will get for Christmas and more excited to see how Captain Destructo reacts to her new toys. But if Babies R Us came out with the following products, I would be whipping out the Advent calendar and counting down the days like a 5 year old. Here's what I would like for Christmas, Santa.
1. A see-through uterus OK, I know this sounds gross, but every pregnancy (all 2 of them) I go through a complete, paranoid spaz-fest when I haven't felt the baby move and am convinced that something horrible happened. This year I even spent all Thanksgiving morning laying on my left side and jabbing at my belly to wake him/her up (all is fine). A see-through uterus would let me see that everything is fine and baby is just sleeping, or facing backwards or whatever. Side note: at Virginia Tech they have cows with see-through stomachs. So I feel that the technology is not too far from the see-through uterus. Just saying.
2. A wet nurse Because really? I kind of hate breastfeeding. However, if I don't nurse this one as long as I did M, and this one turns out to be less cute/smart/generally awesome, I will be convinced that it was because of breastfeeding. And with a wet nurse I could spend those chaotic first nights nursing a glass of wine instead of a baby.
3. Anti-colic device I have no actual experience with colic, besides allegedly having it myself, but it scares the bejeezus out of me. Since Captain Destructo didn't have it, I feel that my chances of this baby or a future baby having it are increased. If an anti-colic device existed (I'm picturing some sort of magic pill, not a shock collar or anything awful), my fears would be lessened.
4. A personal trainer/free gym membership/magic baby fat loser pill As much as I loved showing off Captain Destructo after she was born, I didn't so much love wearing maternity pants until she was 3 months old, having more than one chin, and hearing "you look so good for someone who just had a baby." Because really that means "wow, you look awful for a normal person."
5. Live in pediatrician Sometimes I think one of the hardest parts of being a mother is deciding if your kid is really sick or not. Once I was convinced Captain Destructo just had a little cough. 6 weeks later the doctor determined it was bronchitis caused by RSV. Whoops. I have also been convinced that she is so fussy she obviously has some sort of ear infection, brought her to the disgustingly germy doctor's office where she was probed and prodded, and found out she was fine. $15 in copays and 1 week later, she got sick from being in the office. Whoops again. Live in pediatrician would determine whether she actually was sick, and then spare me from exposing her to even more germs in the office.
So, Santa, I've been what some consider good this year. If you could squeeze a few of these in your bag, my kid and I would be much obliged.
When I was pregnant with Captain Destructo, I used to envision all the fun things I would do with my kids. I would be Ideal Mom, taking her to various activities that stimulate her physically and intellectually. Since she has become a toddler, I have quickly generated this list of Things That Aren't As Much Fun As I Thought They Would Be.
1. The Playground Oh, the playground. I remember going to the playground as a kid. My mom would pack us a picnic lunch, which we would quietly (and while sitting down) eat and then spend hours playing nicely and appropriately on the equipment. What I didn't remember is that I must have been either (a) over the age of 2, or (b) heavily medicated, because the reality of the playground with a toddler is much different. Molly has a blast at the playground. Her favorite game is screaming "no, share!" at the kids who are on the swings, and then swinging on them for approximately 10 seconds when they are free. Sometimes she also likes climbing up the inappropriate-for-a-one-year-old ladder and getting stuck. This game is extra fun for me, as I am 6 1/2 months pregnant and the size of a small hippo. I get to attempt to shimmy up the adjacent ladder and bail her out, all the while hoping that the "ages 5-12" notice is more of a guideline than a rule.
2. Storytime at the library I had high hopes for storytime. For the first 8 months or so, storytime was great. Captain Destructo would look adorable and stare at the other babies while I got the chance to see other grown ups and pick up some books. Now that she can walk, talk, and refuse to sit still when not in front of the TV, storytime involves her singing one song, then yelling "ball! ball!" for the next 15 minutes while I chase her around the room and try to get her to sit. Last time we went another mom told me she was "really something!" It'll be a while before we're back.
3. The Pool The pool is one of those places that is really fun for the first 2 minutes. Captain Destructo splashes in the baby pool while I sit and try to forget the fact that the baby pool is really a large potty. But, inevitably, splashing turns into spotting something really exciting, like a leaf, outside the pool, and I spend the rest of the time running around on the scalding hot pool deck trying to lure her back in.
4. Reading Books I'm a former teacher and current bookworm, so I fully get the importance of reading books. We do enjoy our reading time, but you know the drill. "More book?" really means "read me this same book over and over, and you had better count each of the ducks on each page and make the quacking sounds or you'll rue the day." You know what's more fun than reading the same book about Elmo? Watching a movie about Elmo. Just saying.
Oh, single moms, I don't know how you do it. And when I say that, I don't mean it as a cute euphemism. I really mean that I have absolutely no clue how you manage.
I have been doing the single mom thing for the last 3 weeks while the hubby is away on business, and I am roughly 10 seconds from losing my mind. I am at the point where I get seriously upset when Captain Destructo goes to bed at night and I have no one to talk to. When my phone rings and I actually get to talk to a human whose vocabulary is not limited to Sesame Street characters and the word "mine," I am so giddy I can hardly stand it. However, I have discovered several things about myself:
1. I am scared of the dark. When I go to bed, I first go to my bedroom and turn the lights on. Then I walk from the living room to the bedroom, turning all the lights off in a row so I never have to be completely in the dark. I also set our alarm system at 6:00. Not sure if this is sadder because I am that scared at 6:00, or that I'm that sure no one will come over after then.
2. I am really quite boring. I get so excited for my husband to call every night and then all I tell him are the cute things Captain did all day.
3. Apparently I spend too much time at the grocery store, because when Captain Destructo talks to her Daddy and he asks her what she did that day, she says "buy food." Every day.
4. Being pregnant has turned me into an emotional basket case, exacerbated by being alone. I have cried for the last 4 days over that following: the baby didn't kick for an hour, I'm afraid no one is coming for Thanksgiving, I couldn't find my favorite sunglasses, and Captain Destructo doesn't love me anymore. Yeah, it's awful.
Being a stay at home mom can be lonely and isolating sometimes, but without a husband coming home to look forward to, it becomes infinitely more isolating. So hats off to you, single moms. You deserve a day at the spa with a gallon of margaritas on the side.
So last night was Captain Destructo's first Halloween...or at least the first Halloween that I let her stay awake for. I spent 30 minutes convincing her to put on her Abby Cadabby costume (complete with wig, tutu. wings, and wand) and the next 30 convincing her not to take it off so I could take her picture ("Tutu off? Tutu off?" for seriously about 10 minutes straight). We then went to exactly 3 houses, where Captain tried to empty the entire contents of our neighbor's candy bowl, before coming home and handing out candy to mostly high schoolers before retiring. But it was a pretty fun night. Here are some of my observations about Halloween.
1. As previously mentioned, mostly teenagers. Most of who looked old enough to drive down to CVS and buy a bag of candy themselves. Weird.
1b. Several of these teenagers were not in costume. One of them (a high school baseball player), when asked what his costume was, said "uhhhh...a baseball player?" To which my husband said "lame." The boy replied "I don't see your costume dude." I replied that we were not asking for free candy. But I still gave him a Butterfinger because I didn't want him to egg my house.
1c. One teenage girl was on her cell phone. She lifted up the mouthpiece, said "trick or treat," and then continued her conversation. Again I gave her candy.
2. I get that kids want to wear scary costumes. I just don't entirely get why parents think it's ok. I mean, a witch or a ghost is ok, but the scary Saw puppet thing? Really parents? So your kid has seen Saw, a movie which caused me to lose sleep for seriously about a week, or you think Saw is so cool you put your elementary schooler in the outfit?
3. Ditto for the girls in costumes that are really just hoes. Slutty Dorothy, slutty cheerleader, even slutty princess came a calling. Again, if your daughter wants to put on thigh highs and a bustier that's one thing, but what makes you think that's a good idea?
4. Kudos to the mom following her son, holding up the costume that he refused to wear so we could see it. That's my kind of mom.
5. I don't know how I feel about the mom who asked if we were the Girl Scout cookie family. At first I said no, but then she said "but you bought a whole bunch of cookies last year, right?" Oops. Now I wonder what an appropriate amount of cookies for a 2.5 person household is (but I sense it's less than 8 boxes).
5. All in all? I was super psyched for this Halloween and ended up feeling a little let down....sort of like after my first mother's day (does this sound awful? You know what I mean). Maybe next year we'll keep the costume on for more than 3 minutes.
Several random confessions from the past few weeks.
1. Today I caught myself singing "You Spin My Head Right 'Round" by Flo Rida. To my one year old. Oops.
2. I also had "True Life: My Breasts are Too Small" on while Captain Destructo was in the room.
3. On a related note, I've come to the conclusion that I hate breastfeeding and don't want to do it again. However....
4. I'm so scared of what my boobs will look like after this one's born that I am committed to do it for a full year.
5. I've been staring at the clock, waiting for bedtime, for about 5 hours straight now.
6. Only I kinda miss Captain Destructo when she goes to bed.
7. I go through entire days where I wonder why I thought I wanted 2 kids.
8. I am the laziest potty training mother ever. I sometimes forget that I'm supposed to be asking her if she needs to go potty and before I know it, 4 hours have passed with no trips to the potty.
9. Captain Destructo doesn't know her colors. She can count to five, name animals out the wazoo but acts like I'm asking her to speak German if I ask her which egg is blue. Maybe this should be her confession. Can one year olds be color blind?
10. My husband is gone all week and I was so lonely today I caught myself narrating out loud as I cooked dinner.
Feel free to add your confessions below. I know you've got 'em.
I've noticed lately that there are a lot of anti-kid movements going on around the country. First, there was this article about 60% of the public wanting a family-only section on airplanes. Then, there was this story about a restaurant in North Carolina posting a sign that they have a no screaming kids policy. Both stories prompted hoards of offended parents to protest. I think the anti-kid movement has 2 causes: (1) parents thinking their kids can do no wrong, and (2) non-parents becoming more self-centered. Let me explain.
When Captain Destructo was born, the hubby and I made a conscious effort not to become fuddy-duddies who sat around at home just because we had kids (says the lady in stained shorts watching Food Network alone on a weekend night). We took her to our normal restaurants,camping trips, vacations, even a Major League baseball game (yeah....don't take a 5 month old to a Major League baseball game. Epic parenting fail.). We've endured our share of annoyed looks and stares from people as we brought our 5-day old into a sushi restaurant and our 17 month old onto a first class cabin for a 6 hour flight (more on this later). But here's the thing-when she gets fussy and inconsolable, WE LEAVE. One of us will walk with her outside while the other one quickly pays the bill, we leave in the 4th inning of a baseball game, or whatever. We realize that no one thinks our kid is cute enough to not care that she is screaming hysterically. I know that everyone goes through that moment when their kid starts whining when we think we can calm them down and continue with our good time. But when they cross the line into full-blown tantrum, it's time to get the heck out of dodge. You're not having a good time anymore, and neither is anyone around you-just cut your losses and hit the road. Secondly, some parents need to realize that their kid is not so supremely well-behaved that they can bring them into completely un-kid-friendly places. I love kids as much as the next guy, but I get so mad when people bring their toddlers into PG-13 or R-rated movies. You know who doesn't want to see a movie in a theater? Your toddler. You know who doesn't think your kid's so cute we don't care she's throwing a fit on our night out? Everyone else in the theater.
The other cause, I think, of the anti-kid phenomena is the selfish un-parents. We get it, ok? We know you are supremely superior to us, sitting quietly on an airplane, drinking cocktails and reading your magazine in peace. But we can do without the looks of death as we lug our kids, car seats, diaper bag, and the Elmo that fell out of the diaper bag down the aisle. We acknowledge that you don't enjoy hearing our kids scream on an airplane. Look at us. Do we look like we enjoy it either? Do you not see the looks of terror in our eyes as soon as the low-level whining starts, knowing it will escalate into a full-blown, 5-alarm tantrum and we are powerless to stop it? I acknowledge that crying kids are annoying, but I would venture to say that people who talk at ridiculously loud volumes on their cell phones, try to shove bags 6 times too big into the overhead bin, and/or people who bring tuna fish sandwiches onto airplanes are just as bad.
I personally love the idea of a family section on airplanes. I would care much less that Captain Destructo was crying, and other families might enjoy the Elmo DVDs we play nonstop more than the last seatmate I had. We've flown with Captain many times since she was a baby, the first at 3 months old (no, we are not independently wealthy. Frequent flier miles are the perk of having a husband who travels 30 weeks a year). Airplanes are not baby-friendly anyway, what with the lack of places to change a diaper-because you know your kid will poop as soon as the plane takes off-and the anti-nursing vibe. Flying as she has gotten older has become easier and harder. Easier because she can now be distracted by the aforementioned Elmo DVDs; harder because sitting in a seat for more than 30 seconds is much less appealing than it used to be.
Oh, my gosh. I just realized that this time next year I'll have a newborn AND a toddler on the plane. Plus 2 carseats and a double stroller. I need a bag to breathe in.
Oh, first trimester. How do I love thee, let me count the ways...
(Before I count, I do know that 4 months ago all I did was complain about how I couldn't get pregnant and now I'm complaining about pregnancy. Whatever.)
1. The pregnancy glow that books swore would make me look more beautiful then ever? Yeah, not so much. Unless "glow" means "acne worse than a 12 year olds."
2. The constant nausea that unfortunately was accompanied by an insatiable hunger. So, despite feeling gross, I was still able to eat more bread than a carbo-loading marathoner.
3. The bone-aching tiredness, which seemed much easier to deal with in my last pregnancy. Perhaps because the result of the last pregnancy doesn't seem to care how tired I am.
4. The seemingly indeterminable length of the first trimester in general. Am I done at 12 weeks? 13? 14? No one knows for sure. I am waiting to say "hooray! I'm in the second trimester!" and it seems like I have to keep moving that date back by a week.
5. The belly that has already appeared. While in general I am a huge fan of the baby bump, I do not enjoy the "is she pregnant or is she eating too much bread?" looks I am getting (both, actually). Although thanks to the lady at church who informed me I am getting a "little pooch." I feel even more beautiful.
6. The weird in between stage I am in at the gym. Do I keep up my normal routine? Do I cut back and risk the "wow, she's gotten lazy" looks from my fellow gym-goers? If I run/do jumping jacks/do a sit up will I smush the baby?
7. The ridiculous super sense of smell. A lovely thing to have when you are cleaning a toddler cloth diaper in the toilet, watching your husband eat tuna fish sandwiches, and walking by a Starbucks. Also the grocery store has become the grossest place ever.
I am 14 weeks and 2 days, so I'm officially calling myself in the second trimester. First trimester, don't let the door hit ya on the way out.
Disclaimer: This post guaranteed to lower your opinion of me. Other disclaimer: Lady parts mentioned. Consider yourself warned.
Well, I've got about 28 weeks to decide this, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the birth of baby #2 and what I want to do.
This is ridiculous, but I've always had a fear of giving birth vaginally. I understand that God made our bodies to do that, and blah blah, but something about it scares the bejeezus out of me. I don't know if it's the actual birth or the episiotomies/tearing. In my childbirth class, the instructor showed us forceps, a vacuum extractor, and the scissors used for cutting you-know-where, and then explained a C-section. A C-section sounded much much better to me. Major abdominal surgery, maybe, but I wouldn't have stitches in my hoo-ha.
When I was 40 weeks pregnant with Captain Destructo, the OB explained to me that I wasn't dialated at all, but she could induce me the next week if I wanted. And I, who often ranted about how ridiculous it was that doctors induce for no reason, said "sure!" I'm sure there are women who are so strong in their beliefs that they are able to turn down an induction when they are 10 months pregnant, huge and in pain, but I'm not one of them. I knew taking pitocin was increasing my risk of other interventions but I decided I didn't care and wanted to get the baby out by whatever means necessary. It ended up that after 30 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, I needed a C-section after all, something that I was a little relieved about. Especially due to the fact that, about an hour into the pushing, the nurse looked at me and said "ooh, you're going to need a pretty big episiotomy!"
So that leaves me where I am today. Due with #2, I can decide whether to try for a VBAC or schedule a C-section. I am harboring some guilt about being induced with Captain Destructo still-I never got to go into labor on my own and was in the hospital for an insanely long amount of time. Something about scheduling another C-section, admitting I don't even want to try to give birth vaginally this time, makes me feel like less of a woman. But deep down, I really enjoyed the C-section experience (besides the actual surgery). It was quick, I recovered really fast, and scheduling would mean my mom could come down on time and not leave me alone with 2 kids. So I'm torn (though, thank goodness, not literally).
My sweet friend gave me a Bradley method book when I was pregnant with #1. I read it, only laughing at the pictures of 1970's hoo-has a few times, and at the time thought it was something I could do. So looking back I feel a little bit disappointed in myself that I wasn't strong enough to follow through.
Unless you've lived in a cave, you know breastfeeding is best. Your OB tells you, the pediatrician tells you, commercials say it, even cans of formula say it. So I'm not sure why moms feel the need to remind each other of this continually.
This all started when supermodel Gisele Bundchen said in an interview that breastfeeding should be a "worldwide law" and she doesn't know why mothers would feed their babies "chemical food." You can read more here. I have several big problems with this. First of all, as suggested by a far smarter friend, even if a "worldwide law" existed (which I don't think it does), shouldn't one be made about ending human trafficking or child slavery? Secondly, unless you pick food from your own orchard and butcher your own free-range, grass fed meat, your kid will eat "chemical food" at some point so let's get over that.
Another thing that gets me is I know lots of moms who didn't breastfeed for a full year (including me!). None of us stopped because we were lazy or unaware that breastmilk is best. We all tried hard to make it work and for whatever reason (low supply, tongue tie, lactose intolerance, whatever) it just didn't. Everyone I know feels guilty about stopping, so sitting on your lactationally superior high horse and reminding us what bad moms we are just makes us feel worse.
Finally, we need to remember that breastfeeding/formula is a small snippet in your child's life. Lifelong nutrition habits are far more important. What's the point in breastfeeding for 2 years if you turn around and feed your child hot dogs and mac and cheese for the next 10 years?
We as moms need to stop judging one another's choices (oh....forget what I said about hot dogs and mac and cheese then). Gisele, deflate your perfectly groomed head a little bit and start using your celebrity for good.
The other night I was channel surfing and came across a show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." Many things about that show baffle me, not the least of which there have been enough women to not know they were pregnant to make a show. Secondly, which part was confusing to you? The lack of a period for 9 months? The fact that you gained a ton of weight without trying? Or, I don't know, how about the human being moving inside of your abdomen? Today, I am about 7 weeks pregnant and was certain that I was knocked up about 3 weeks ago, before the plus sign even appeared on the test. Here is how I knew.
-the fact that my non-existent, deflated water balloon boobs were becoming re-inflated.
-the unprompted, hysterical sobbing during episodes of Glee (Quinn had the baby! Rachel's mom adopted her! So gut-wrenching.)
-waking up on my parents' couch at 8:30 PM, having fallen asleep 30 minutes earlier.
-suddenly gagging at the smell of coffee and when changing my daughter's diaper (ok, that one's not that much of a stretch).
-the fact that my skin looks like a "before" picture in a Proactiv commercial.
I love being pregnant and know what a blessing it is, so none of this is a complaint. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm pretty sure I will never say "I didn't know I was pregnant!"
So at long last, after months of charting my temperature, examining cervical fluid like it was a Magic Eye poster and a little help from Clomid, I am happy to announce that baby #2 is on the way! I am only a few weeks along and probably breaking protocol by announcing so early, but I have a big mouth and can't keep it shut any longer. Getting pregnant this time around is so different than it was with #1 I couldn't help but write about it. Case in point:
With #1, I burst into hysterical sobs upon reading the positive test, then proceeded to take 5 more tests just to see them turn pink. With #2, I took a test, started running around after #1 and forgot that I had taken a test. When I saw it was positive, I immediately started feeling guilty that I would be taking attention away from Captain Destructo.
With #1, I indulged my pregnancy fatigue and napped, in my bed, often several times a day. With #2, I turn on Sesame Street just so I can actually sit still for 30 minutes.
With #1, I obsessed over pregnancy calendars and could tell you exactly how far along I was at any given point (3 weeks, 4 days, and 5 hours pregnant). With #2, I have actually forgotten that I was pregnant for long periods of time.
With #1, I played the pregnancy card big time and refused to do anything dirty or difficult. With #2, I am doing all the same things I did pre-pregnancy. I am even still washing dirty cloth diapers in the toilet without gagging.
I am totally thrilled to be pregnant again, that is when I'm not feeling guilty about taking attention away from Captain Destructo. I look forward to spending the rest of my life trying to make it up to her.
So when Captain Destructo was born, intellectually I knew that someday she would get hurt. Simply considering this fact boggled my mind and caused my post-partum eyes to fill with tears (or maybe that was from the drugs). Sure enough, 2 weeks later I went to get her from her crib and discovered one of her beautiful blue eyes was sealed shut with weird eye goop, later determined to be pink eye. Fast forward 16 months, we have weathered our share of stomach bugs, RSV, bronchitis, teething, and 2 cases of viral pharyngitis. All of this was small potatoes for the trauma that we endured over the weekend.
I put Captain Destructo to bed early and began my usual nighttime routine of mainlining chocolate popsicles while watching The Office. Captain began screaming bloody murder, like "something's wrong", not like "I dropped my Grover." I sprinted into the room to discover her laying face down on the floor screaming hysterically(note-she sleeps in a crib normally. Not on the floor). Repeating "it's Ok, it's Ok" (and still holding half of a popsicle) I checked her over and figured she was probably ok. Scrape on the chin but otherwise fine. I put her down to try and figure out how to jerry-rig the crib to keep her from scaling it again when she started screaming again. Trying to crawl was causing her pain, which my Spider Sense determined warranting a trip to the ER. Many songs, snacks, tears, and one blown up latex glove puppet later, it was discovered that she had fractured her wrist.
Now my gorgeous girl is wearing a freakishly large splint, to be replaced by a cast at a later date. And I, who let her fall, have been asked roughly 1.7 million times by strangers what happened to her arm, you horrible mother? (Funniest story...a little girl said "but when will her arm grow back?") She is suffering through Texas heat by playing in the sprinkler with a grocery bag around her arm, but she is still smiling and running like a crazy fool. Which can only lead to more falls, I'm sure.
In my late night (if you consider 9:00 late) internet browsing, I stumbled across this article on USA Today.com. If you don't have time to read because you are not sticking your kid in front of Elmo like I currently am, essentially it's about moms judging other moms and the author questions why this is so. I've touched upon this before and I was glad to read the article and see that I'm not the only one who experiences this.
I think when Captain Destructo was born I expected a bit of judgmentalism from the older generation. My grandmother, for instance, has a habit of providing winter wear for my daughter on a regular basis, despite the fact that we live in San Antonio where it's maybe been below freezing once in the 4 years I've lived here. When I went to visit her on the East Coast, she brought a blanket when she met me at a restaurant "in case I forgot how cold it gets here." (side note: I love my grandmother and apologize for throwing her under the bus for the sake of humor). When Captain Destructo was a few days old, I took her to Target in a sling (thank goodness the recall hadn't happened yet; who knows what other comments I would have gotten). An older lady came over, I thought to admire the baby, but actually to tell me how many illnesses she sees at the hospital where she works and how I really shouldn't have the baby out in public (my husband said "really? There are sick people at the hospital?").
It was surprising to me that I felt I was being judged by my peers. I called a friend when Captain Destructo was a few weeks old to whine over how insanely tired I was and how my baby would only sleep in my arms or her car seat, confessing that I had let her sleep in her car seat in the house. "(Gasp) You're not supposed to do that!" she said in shock. "Why not?!" My insecure, sleep-deprived self said. "I don't know. You're just not," she replied. Helpful. Thanks.
I wonder how much of what I perceived was actually judgment and how much was projection. I felt like I was a bad mom so thought others must feel the same. After feeling insanely guilty about not breastfeeding a full year, I talked with a friend going through the same thing and realized that supplementing is actually pretty common. So if I hadn't reacted so defensively when questioned about it, perhaps someone would have sympathized with me and I wouldn't have felt like such a loser.
I'm off to rescue my peanut butter covered daughter who is done with Elmo and is eating a Kleenex. Don't judge me.
For the first year of Captain Destructo's life, she was an angel. If she crawled somewhere I didn't want her to, I simply turned her around and she would crawl away with nary a sound. Then, she turned one.
Now I know she's only one. I know all of you with two and three year olds are saying "oh, just you wait!" I know, okay? But oh, my, gosh. The switch from baby to toddler happened so fast and so completely that I'm still a little bit in shock.
Captain Destructo started walking the week before her birthday. I clapped and videotaped her first steps and was genuinely excited. For about 6 seconds. Then she toddled past my open arms and into the kitchen, and I realized my life was over. We had done our best to babyproof the house but she quickly proved that it wasn't enough.
Whoever designed my house has clearly never had kids or hates all moms, because the switch for the garbage disposal is on the side of the island about 2 feet off the ground, perfect Captain reaching distance. The first time she flipped the switch, I was across the room and heard the sound. "Captain Destructo, no ma'am," I said as I moved her to another room. 10 seconds later, I heard the disposal again. "Captain, NO." I said, and again moved her. You can imagine the rest.....the garbage disposal switching on about 15 more times and me saying no more forcefully each time. This scene happens nearly every day. I've tried taping over the switch (she pulls it off), clapping while saying no (she laughs), and even popping her on the hand (she looks at me, smacks her own hand while saying "no no no"). So basically I am at a complete loss. Now she will walk to the switch, look at me, turn it on and immediately hold her hand out to me, as if to say, "go ahead and punish me, it's worth it."
In my desperation I read the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. Happiest Baby on the Block saved me during her infancy so I had high hopes for this one. The book likens toddlers to cavemen (which I totally get) and encourages you to growl at them to get them to understand no. Umm...ok. Willing to try anything at this point, I growled....and she growled back. The next suggestion is starting time outs at age one. I admit I have yet to try this as it confuses me so much. I was a teacher and a master of time outs for gradeschoolers. But I can't get her to stay in one place for more than 10 seconds, even when bribed with toys and snacks. How do you get an active 15 month old to sit in time out? Really. Not rhetorical.
So that leaves me where I am today. I am trying various mean voices/loud sounds while saying no to try and keep my daughter from grinding my fingers in the garbage disposal. Can't wait for her to turn 2.
This post is completely self indulgent and has nothing to do with being a mom, other than it happened to me. I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming next week.
My history with running is a torrid one. As a chubby kid with rheumatoid arthritis, it's fair to say that the only running I did was chasing the ice cream truck. Once when I was a teenager I was watching my younger siblings while my parents went for a walk (and I sat on the couch. Hence the aforementioned chub). My brother, who is severely allergic to bees, picked that time to walk into a bees' nest and ran to the house screaming, covered in bees. I threw him in the pool and attempted to run the 1/2 mile to find my parents and let them know that their youngest child was in grave danger. When I finally reached them, I was soaked in sweat and breathing so hard all I could do was gasp for air, point to the house and attempt to squeak out the word "bees." He turned out fine, in case you wondered. A bottle of Benadryl does a body good.
After I graduated high school, I learned that the most efficient way (for me) to shed baby fat was running, so I ran for 20 minutes a day on the treadmill. I hated it. I spent the drive to the gym thinking about how much it was going to suck and the entire 20 minutes staring at the countdown on the screen until it mercifully reached 0. I heard of friends who ran marathons and half marathons and laughed, putting them into the same category as friends who did yoga and were vegetarians-great for them, but that would never be me. I would have rather stuck pins in my eyes than willingly run for 4+ hours.
When my daughter was six months old and I still had 20 extra pounds hanging around, a few friends told me they planned on running a half marathon that was about 4 months away. Needing an extra incentive to lose the weight, I signed up. 4 months of training turned out to be really not that bad. There were times I even considered it to be fun. I got to leave the baby with Daddy for a few hours on Saturday mornings and run with friends. Then I got to eat an exorbitant amount of food and not feel guilty. Win-win. When race day arrived, I joined 30,000 other people and ran 13.1 miles. There were times that it sucked, but it was fun and I didn't die. Better still, I finished with a somewhat respectable time (2:07) for a novice runner, which lit a fire in me to continue training.
I kept up my mileage and 2 weeks ago heard about a half marathon in Dallas that looked like a lot of fun-totally laid back, 90% women, and only 1600 participants, so with my sweet hubby's blessing I signed up. I thought I for sure could break 2 hours and might even be able to break 1:50, so I planned on finding the 1:50 pace guy (dude with a balloon that would run the race in exactly 1:50...perfect for dummies like me who can't pace themselves) and sticking to him like glue. I got to the start of the race and discovered that there was no 1:50 pace guy, so I put myself in the front and just started running...quickly. I felt like a million bucks. I felt so good that I found myself on the tail of the 1:40 pace guy, introduced myself and told him I would just stick with him for awhile if that was OK. This seemed like a great plan, as I was thinking at this point that I was Paula Radcliffe and finding untapped talent. Suddenly, at the 7 mile mark, I got tired. Tired like a bus hit me and had dragged me around for about 7 miles. I started asking spectators if they would carry me for a few miles (they laughed....not sure why they thought I was joking). I was getting passed by a bunch of skinny childless girls in sports bras and tall Kenyan looking men. For 6.1 miles I plodded along, cursing myself for starting out so fast and deciding to run in the first place. I should have stuck to board games and Jeopardy...I was good at both of those. Finally, I heard the announcer's voice over the loudspeaker and realized I was almost there. I found a tiny bit of energy left, kicked it in and finished in 1:42. 1:42!! Some (non-Kenyan) people consider that fast! When the day was over, I ended up 20th overall and 2nd in my division (Moms of Toddlers....so maybe the skinny girls passing me were not childless).
Today I feel like death....knees hurting and I could use about 12 hours of straight sleep. I'm hanging up the running sneakers for awhile, as it appears that my reproductive system doesn't like running as much as I do and Captain Destructo needs a little sibling at some point (to save from bee stings). But the moral of the story, Mommies, is (voice of Bela Karoli) You Can Do IT! Don't be scared to try something you think might be too hard. You might surprise yourself.
P.S. I hope this doesn't sound like bragging. I've never ever won anything athletic in my life so I hope this is what is considered an appropriate level of pride.
Warning: this blog has the potential to offend. I apologize in advance. Please feel free to start your own blog criticizing my child's name.
People, when did we all lose our minds and decide to name our kids bizarro things? My theory is that the Jennifers and Jessicas of the '80s grew up and decided that we wanted our kids not to be known as "The Blonde Jennifer" or "Kristin with an I" like some of us were throughout elementary school, so we thought of totally unusual things to name our kids. Yesterday I was picking up Captain Destructo from the gym and the woman in front of me said "come here, Meadow, it's time to go." Meadow?! Really?! The woman (who's name is the same as my little chicken, an awesome name if I do say so myself) managed to say this without laughing so I had to give her props for that.
Now I understand giving your kids names that are unusual. The name that we have chosen for a boy is unusual (and I won't say it b/c I don't want the criticism...it's the only name we can agree on. And I've tried about a thousand). But at least it's an actual name. Picking a random noun and making your child go by it for the rest of their lives is no fun. And can we also agree to not invent weird spellings to make a name seem more unusual than it actually is? People always ask me how to spell Captain's name, which is very traditional and common. Let's pretend her name is Mary. Is there any other way? Like with a silent Q at the beginning?
I was a teacher in the ghetto before being a mom so I've seen my fair share of weird names. One year I taught Treshawn, Dashawn, Tanisha, and Keneisha in the same class. My favorite weird name story is a student named Nautica (pronounced Nau-tee-kah, you know, like it's spelled) who had a baby brother named Dalast. Because her mother said it was da last baby she would have. True story.
I, like most people, grew up mortified by my mother's fashion sense (sorry, Mom. I have to add a disclaimer that my mom is gorgeous and a very good dresser now). Between the standard Mom hairdo and the high waisted jeans with tapered legs, she looked pretty much like every other 1980's mom-a hot mess. The other day at the grocery store I looked down and realized that I was wearing Mom jeans and my daughter had pulled my shirt down so that my bra was hanging out. I didn't have time to straighten my hair so it was in a frizzy ponytail. Where did I go wrong?
The style of moms in pop culture over the years has greatly changed. I grew up watching Full House (no Mom....poor kids), Growing Pains and Home Improvement. The moms on the latter two sported short curly 'dos that formed a triangle shape and regularly rocked the mom jeans. The message was that moms had so many other people to care about and so much else to do that personal style was on the bottom on the list. Over time, TV moms have become the Desperate Housewives variety, who are so ridiculously skinny and well-dressed that eating disorders in women later in life are at an all-time high. "Real-life" celebrity moms include people like stupid Heidi Klum, who pops out a kid and then walks down a Victoria's Secret runway two weeks later. Although I suppose if I had a full time nanny, chef, and personal trainer I could be back in shape that fast too (and breast implants and a tummy tuck).
There needs to be a balance in there somewhere. To me, the best mommmy style icons are the women I see out running pushing double strollers who can effortlessly hand out Cheerios while pushing their toddlers and running. I also envy the moms like a friend of mine who has two kids, a deployed hubby, a house on the market, and still not only (a) matches, (b) does her hair and makeup, but (c) looks super cute all the time.
As for me? My kid is 15 months and I still have not found a new pair of jeans that fits right and I can't quite figure out what is appropriate to wear to playgroup and the grocery store to look stylish but not too much so. So look the other way when you see me out. And tell me if my bra is hanging out.
It's a muggy Saturday here in San Antonio. I ran 10 miles this morning, took the fam to the Strawberry Festival and am enjoying a quick Facebook perusal while Sesame Street is on. All in all, it's been a perfect day. It's funny to think about how my definition of a perfect day has changed since becoming a mama.
A day in my life circa 2008:
I woke up at exactly 5:47, whereupon I would hit the snooze button, dream for 9 more minutes and stumble to the coffee maker. I drank my cup of coffee while showering, putting on makeup and doing my hair. I drove to work (listening to the radio station of my choosing), where I taught for 6 hours and headed home. After getting home I would hop on the elliptical and work out while watching 30 Minute Meals. My husband and I would enjoy dinner that did not include peanut butter or Cheerios and I would watch a few hours of my favorite reality show programming before hitting the sack.
A day in my life circa 2010:
I wake up to the sounds of Captain Destructo babbling in her crib, at which point I try to put her back to sleep through mental telepathy. When this inevitably fails, I stumble to her room and attempt to change her diaper while she is writhing like an epileptic and signing milk as if she hasn't had anything to drink for weeks. After breakfast, I take a shower while singing "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" and yelling, "stay out of there! Don't put that in your mouth!" Around mid-morning I am desperate to see big people so we run errands of some sort. If it is Wednesday, we go to playgroup, where I am so glad to talk to adults I yammer for about about 90 minutes straight. We generally head home and Captain falls asleep in the car. I put her in the crib and inform her that the nap in the car does not count and she should still sleep for her full 2 hours. After she wakes up and has lunch, she plays/destroys things while I follow behind her saying "no" over and over again and keeping her from eating crayons/dirt/dead bugs/Cheerios from breakfast. At 4:00 I let her watch Sesame Street. I have decided that one episode a day is OK (and who am I kidding, she watches The View with me most days) and I have also decided that Sesame Street is hilarious. After dinner, bath, a warped speed reading of Goodnight Moon, prayers, and bed, I attempt to clean up the wreckage of the day and crash in front of the tube until I fall asleep on the couch and drag myself to bed.
It's truly an awesome life. Have to go, don't want to miss Elmo's World.
When I was pregnant, we didn't find out the sex of the baby. I really, really wanted a girl though. I would pray for a healthy baby...with a vagina (I'm sorry if that word offends you. If so, pretend I said "bajinko"). I swore we were having a boy though. I called Captain Destructo "he" when referring to her in utero (as in "his head is banging against my crotch") and even painted the nursery blue and green. I was THRILLED when the doctor announced "it's a girl!" And I adore having a little girl. It's so fun to relate to her toys-she has a Strawberry Shortcake that I remember having too-and to dress her up in cute little dresses and bows (which she pulls out and tries to eat, but the point still stands). But, oftentimes I think about how hard it is to be a female teenager, and even school age girl. Because if Captain is anything like almost all of the women I know, she will struggle with her self esteem and body image in a way that her brothers never will.
When Captain Destructo was about 6 months old, I ran into a former coworker at Target. My daughter is chunky and I think it's totally adorable. The coworker said "she's so chunky! Does she ever stop eating?!" No, she sits in front of the TV eating Cheetos all day. How about SHE'S A BABY!!! All she eats is breastmilk (OK, and formula) but would she have asked that if Captain Destructo was a boy? Would it have just been cute then?
It's no secret that I have struggled with body image and disordered eating my whole life. I am pretty upfront about my eating disorders, mostly because I am narcissistic and like to talk about myself. I've been as low as 90 pounds and as high as 185 (well, that was 9 1/2 months pregnant, but still). My earliest memory connected to my weight is being in first grade and being too heavy to ride the seesaw with the little skinny girls in my class. When I was 10, I did the whole "look in the mirror and point out your flaws so other people will compliment you" routine, but even then it was obvious that I was a lot bigger than the other girls my age. I started dating after high school when I had healthily lost a lot of weight and felt good about myself. From then I sought to lose "just 5 more pounds" until I got so skinny that I fell asleep at 7:30 every night and really didn't care about anything except working out and not eating. I'm recovered now, but still wouldn't consider myself "normal" about food and exercising. Just yesterday I asked my husband what normal people eat for lunch. (Now that you know this, you know why I get all weird if you ask me to have a big lunch in the middle of the week or my body fat percentage.)
This would be all just one person's sob story if I was alone, but I'm willing to bet that you all can relate. This is why having a girl terrifies me. Because our society teaches her that big men are strong and big women are lazy. Because she will watch normal sized celebrities be criticized for their weight, make a big fuss and shout "I'm normal! I don't have to lose weight for anyone!" and then lose a bunch of weight anyway. Because when she is in elementary school, she will hear kids call each other fat and she will begin to contemplate how fat or thin she is in relation.
So I pray for her. I pray that God will bless her with the self esteem I never had and that she will love on others in a way that makes them forget their worries about their bodies. Moms, I pray for us, that we will watch what we say and do in front of our daughters. When we look in the mirror and pinch our waists in disgust, little eyes are watching. I know I've caught myself doing this in front of Captain Destructo (a point that will surely come up in her future therapy sessions).
And I pray for sons. (Just kidding....don't get me started on boys...that's for a future post)
I've always been what you might call an anti-hippie. Soggy (as opposed to crunchy) if you will. When I was in college, I had some friends who were hippies, but really we were only friends because it made me feel cooler. Secretly I would wonder who told them dreads and Birkenstocks were a good look, while I went back to my dorm to drive my car to Wal-Mart, where I purchased aeresol hairspray and voted Republican. I by no means consider myself crunchy now-the kid is fully vaccinated and got her fair share of formula, but since M was born I have done the following:
1. I've been told by several different people to squirt breastmilk in her eye when she got pinkeye. I would have done it, but I was so worried about the quantity of my breastmilk that I honestly didn't have the ounce to spare. How this remedy came to be I don't understand...who tried that for the first time???
2. I switched to cloth diapers. This switch, while done partly for cost-effectiveness, partly for environmental benefits, and mostly because cloth diapers are so damn cute, involves me swirling poopy diapers in a toilet bowl, spending Saturday nights stuffing inserts into pockets, and scrubbing diapers with a toothbrush and some Dawn. That's right.
3.I have begun conversations with the phrase "OH MY GOSH, guess what I found in Captain Destructo's diaper!" Don't know if this makes me a hippie or just weird.
4. Captain Destructo's first finger food was a brand called Happy Baby, and the food in question was called organic spinach puffs. Along those lines, I spent $4 yesterday on a product called "Organic Brown Rice Bars Coated in Vanilla Yogurt."
5. I spent a whole afternoon pureeing and freezing fruits and vegetables for her. And it was the greatest afternoon.
6. Today I googled "composting." Because I actually might start doing it. I also said this "Honey, can we get a clothesline for the backyard?" And meant it.
7. I only use cleaning products with "green" in the title and when they run out I use vinegar.
These are all clues that, during my C-section (which I loved...see, I'm not that crunchy) my OB took out the normal part of my brain. So if you smell patchouli and baby poop, look out for me.
Two of my friends had babies this past week, and I've been reminiscing about my hospital experience. Take a trip with me down my drug-clouded memory lane.
I dragged my poor husband with me to childbirth class, where a ridiculously peppy nurse spent 3 weeks lying through her teeth to a room full of hugely pregnant, uncomfortable women and our poor partners. We all suffered through videos of 1970's crotches and contorted ourselves into weird pushing positions, while our partners (mostly husbands, one mom, and my poor friend Hil on the night the hubby couldn't come) rubbed our backs as we pretended to "he-he-hoo" through non-existent contractions. The nurse relayed to us how easy childbirth could be as long as we could bounce on our birthing balls and pace the hallways. It would be a breeze since we were prepared.
When I was in the recovery room, the childbirth class was on their tour of the hospital and stopped at the room next to mine. We said hi to the teacher as she led her poor unassuming victims by and I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming "everything she tells you is a LIE!" Here's what I would say if I taught that class.
1. When you enter the hospital, you will be strapped down with about 15 different cords. I had wires coming from nearly every body part, including my hoo-ha at one point when Captain Destructo's heartbeat kept dropping. Thus, it is difficult to do things such as "pace the hallways," "bounce on a birthing ball," or "pee."
2. You will have absolutely no dignity and not care one bit. As one friend said, the UT marching band could have paraded through my room and played their fight song while staring at my crotch and I wouldn't have cared.
3. This applies double for when you are trying to breastfeed. Frankly, I'm still amazed that the human race has survived as long as we have if we were required to survive on breastmilk. I took off my shirt in front of many people, including my father and one of my pastors. If a bum on the street could have helped me figure out how to breastfeed I would have gladly let him grab my boob.
4. You will revert to childlike status, relying on other people to change your clothes when you barf on yourself (and you will), help you in and out of bed, and change your "dressing" (read: sanitary pads the size of China). You will beg for a popsicle, like you did in kindergarten. Along these childlike lines, you will be required to show people when you use the bathroom what resembles a large training potty.
It wasn't all bad. I did get room service, a free diaper bag and a pretty cute kid out of the stay. I still miss the nursery where someone else would watch the baby for a night (though I felt too guilty to leave her there, stupid me) as well as the sweet sleeping pills at my beck and call. Can't wait to do it again, as the stories afterwards are worth the pain.
I was at story time at the public library a few days ago, and the Library Lady asked the kids what sound a kitty makes. I laughed to myself, as the room was filled with babies who were either drooling, pulling their mother's hair, or both (like my kid) when an adorable, crystal clear baby voice sang out "meow!" We all laughed, but not in a "your kid's so cute" kind of way. It was an "oh my gosh, someone else's kid can do something that mine can't, clearly my child has a learning disability/horrible side effect from all her vaccines" kind of way. The voice belonged to Sally (name changed to protect the innocent), a small, bald 18 month old who could walk, talk in complete sentences, and make the rest of us moms of ordinary babies very uncomfortable.
Why is it that mothers are insanely competitive? It's bad enough during pregnancy. I remember shopping for maternity clothes and seeing other pregnant women, and quickly assessing how I looked compared to them. Although, to my credit, I was convinced that I looked much better than I actually did, so I usually came out on top. (That's what she said.) If the other shopper was smaller than me, I decided that clearly she was not as far along as I was or that her baby was surely much smaller (imagine my surprise when Captain Destructo came out at 7 pounds, and not 35 1/2 as I thought based on the amount of weight I had gained). When the babies are born, the competition takes on a whole new dimension. We try to pretend that we don't care that our kids are not as advanced as others. I know I said "it's no big deal, she'll develop at her own pace" multiple times to people when trying to explain why Captain Destructo wasn't rolling over at 6 months, when in actually at home I was googling "average time to roll over in infants" and forcing the poor child to spend all her time on her tummy. People tried to calm my fears by saying super helpful things like "it takes bigger babies longer to roll over." So now she's fat and slow? Thanks.
The other thing mothers do is attempt to justify why other kids can do things that ours can't. I know I am guilty of this. When I first heard Sally reciting soliloquies at story time, I leaned over and said to her mother "Sally's a great talker! Does she have older brothers and sisters?" "She has a 12 year old sister," her mother explained. "Does M?" "No, she's our first," I replied, while thinking "ah-ha! That 12 year old sister must spend all her time teaching Sally to talk."
I wonder if babies go through this. Are we born with an innate desire to be the best? Does Captain Destructo walk around thinking "hey, that other baby can make the noise for the cow and I can't. I must prove my superiority." Or, "is it me or is her butt much smaller that mine in that diaper?" (This is my fault-we cloth diaper and her booty is huge in her diapers.) For her sake I hope not. I guess all I can do is continue to build her self-esteem by teaching her new cute tricks on a regular basis and showing off as much as possible.
I remember being sick as a kid. My mom instinctively knew what to do, whether it was a cool washcloth for a fever, 7up and crackers for a stomachache, or popsicles for a sore throat. I would lay on the couch watching movies with a trashcan next to me and a sleeve of Saltines on the coffee table, and I always felt better the next day. Captain Destructo has been sick for what seems like 13 months straight, and more often than not, I have no idea what the heck to do.
For the most part, I have mastered the art of dealing with a cold. Humidifier, tissues, check. That's about all you can do for a baby with a cold and really all I feel I am capable of. What brings panic into my very soul is the stomach bug. I remember the first time Captain Destructo threw up-not just baby spit up, but real vomit. She was about 6 months old and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I called Ask A Nurse in a panic as my husband held her (she threw up in his face-that's a real man for you ladies) and they told me what I suspected: you can't do anything but let it pass. It was a horrible experience, and she had another bug a few weeks later. I turn into a panicked freak at the sight of vomit, scrubbing everything with Lysol and wondering if every twinge I feel is a virus. Honestly just thinking about it now makes me sweaty and nervous. So you can imagine my horror on Friday when I heard Captain Destructo gagging on the baby monitor. She never yakked, but I assumed it was a stomach bug, and because I am so vomit-phobic I waited the standard 2 hours to see if she would barf before I gave her Pedialyte and then only toast and crackers. So 2 days later when she was still not herself, I took her to the doctor to discover she had a sore, red throat. And don't you want scratchy crackers and toast when you have a sore throat? Poor baby.
I've grown a lot as a mom this year. I have used a rectal thermometer without passing out. I'm hoping that by the time she enters kindergarten I will be able to watch her barf without closing my eyes, plugging my ears, and then calling my mother in a panic to ask what to do.
I think it's normal for every mom of a one year old to look back and reflect over the year that's passed. For me, I've been looking at my walking, talking little girl and realizing that she's not a baby anymore! I'm afraid I've also been bitten by the baby bug. This may sound exciting, but let me take you on a little trip back in time and introduce you to Trying to Conceive Me.
Trying to Conceive Me is completely insane. I scheduled my ovulation times into my husband's Blackberry (Bing! You're about to get lucky!). I could tell you my basal body temperature and the state of my cervical mucus at any given time, and if you asked me the date I answered in days past ovulation. Add to that the Clomid/Provera hormone cocktail I was prescribed to get things going, and you get one hot mess.
I am trying to keep her under wraps, but Trying to Conceive Me is fighting her way back. I've started to get jealous of pregnant women again, the first sign that she is emerging. I heard yesterday that Pregnant Man is knocked up again, and I yelled at the TV "are you freaking kidding me? A man can get pregnant three times and I'm not?!"
Of course, I am trying to remind Trying to Conceive Me of the reasons it's good to be non-pregnant. One being, I turn into a giant moose when I'm pregnant. Seriously, it's surprising that Captain Destructo didn't come out shaped like a loaf of bread because I probably ate one everyday for 9 months. You think I'm joking? Here is pregnant me above. And that was like, 23 weeks. There are no pictures beyond that because my camera doesn't zoom out that far. There's also the constant worry about the baby, the need to pee every 20 seconds, and, well, you know. The production of an actual newborn. And while babies and children are wonderful, having a newborn is kind of a thankless job. They pretty much eat (nonstop), sleep (in 10 minute intervals), and perform bodily functions on your clothes, without so much as a smile. Trying to Conceive Me would like to add that newborns grow into babies you love more than your life, which makes the newborn phase seem worthwhile, but it's still a long 3 months.
I love kids. I was a teacher before Captain Destructo and in my spare time I babysat and volunteered in the nursery. It was a great day when I made a baby laugh at the grocery store or played with someone's kid. And then I had kids of my own.
It's not that I don't like other people's kids anymore. I do. They're all well and good, but I like them (a) far less than my kid, and (b) far less than I did before she was born. (I hope I'm not offending anyone. Your kids are great, really. You know what I mean, right?)
I came to this realization while at playgrounds with Captain Destructo. Except for the past few days, the weather here has been very un-Texas like, forcing us to find somewhere to go before I lose my mind. One week we went to the germ factory known as the indoor playground at the mall. There were 2 little girls playing nicely until Captain Destructo toddled in, and they proceeded to stick to her like glue, following her around, even going so far as to touch her face with their grubby little hands. Now, 2 years ago I would have thought this was adorable, but now all I can think is, for God's sake, take your germy selves away from my daughter. Of course, their parents were talking on cell phones and ignoring them, so I (politely of course) told them Captain Destructo could play by herself.
The next week, at a different, more crowded, playground, Captain Destructo got her hair pulled by another toddler. It was so sad I almost cried-she was all excited and crawled up to her new friend, and New Friend grabbed 2 handfuls of her cute little hair and yanked until her mom pried her terrorist hands off. Now whenever we see this little girl I pick Captain Destructo up and move her. I'm sure this is just the beginning of assault by other kids-at this time most of M's wounds are self-inflicted-and the thought of other kids hurting her seriously breaks my heart. Heck, even the thought of other kids taking her toys makes me sad.
On a completely unrelated note, is anyone else sick of the Winter Olympics? I wish they would just get rid of them altogether. Seriously, did you just preempt The Office for curling? You like watching curling? Come watch me sweep my floors. It's actually more interesting as I am doing it at warp speed to keep Captain Destructo from eating the dirt pile.
Today's just been one of those days. I've heard parents joke about giving their kids "back." Does anyone know where "back" is? It's probably a good thing no one knows because Captain Destructo would have been heading there this morning. As she has been most of the winter, Captain was sick this week. She's got that disgusting snotty nose/cough thing where she's not that bad but I feel guilty bringing her to playgroup, so we're quarantined. Tuesday she was a hot mess, whining all day long and nothing I did was right. I was running through my arsenal of Things to Make the Baby Stop Crying. Food? Nope. Water? Nope. Mommy singing Phredd songs? Nope. We finally resorted to watching 3 back to back episodes of Elmo's World, which she still whined through, but Elmo's "guess what Elmo's thinking about today? Ya-da-da-da!" was loud enough to drown her out. She had been better Wednesday and Thursday, but was super fussy last night, which I attributed to her being tired. Unfortunately she woke up this morning still fussing. I seriously almost cried when I looked at the clock, hoping it was naptime, and it was only 7:30 AM. She ended up falling asleep about an hour ago, and I'm kind of scared for her to wake up. Thank goodness for naps though because I was about 5 seconds away from locking myself in my closet and crying hysterically. Hope your children are happier than mine today!
So I've accepted that my daughter is bald. She was born with some dark hair, but it all fell out (I don't know when though, I didn't notice baby hairs in her bed or anything, but I also didn't notice my 40 extra pounds, so I'm not a great judge). By six months she was a total cue ball, but now, at one, she's got a little hair. No ponytails by any means but I can't see her scalp anymore. I was so excited to have a little girl and I dress her in pink/purple/other girly color all the time, so it infuriates me to no end when people call her a boy. Here is one conversation I had with an old guy at a car lot:
Old Guy: Hi handsome! What's your name> Me: Very girly name. Old Guy: (looks briefly confused, then embarassed) Oh, I thought for sure she was a boy. I guess I should have noticed the pink. Me: (smiles uncomfortably)
and another conversation with an old lady at Wal Mart:
Old Lady: Hi big boy! What are you eating there? (Captain Destructo is covered in graham cracker shmutz) How old is he? Me: She just turned one. Old Lady: Oh, I thought she was a boy! She is in pink though (as I walk away, to check out lady) I thought for sure that was a boy!
I even sucked it up and put her in big, obnoxious bows, which did help in curbing the "what a cute little boy" statements. Now she's older and has learned that she doesn't have to wear big, obnoxious bows if she doesn't want to, so she pulls them down and lets them hang around her neck like a bowtie. I feel that a bowtie would only exacerbate the problem so she is bow-less. I could pierce her ears, but don't get my started on the ridiculousness of baby ear piercing (if you are offended by this, I'm sorry, but it's my blog. You can start your own on the virtues of baby ear piercing). Even if I didn't think it was totally tacky, I cry every time she gets her shots so I don't think I could deal with inflicting unnecessary pain. And that's just one more thing I'd have to worry about keeping clean-I've got enough to worry about, like whether or not anyone is going to notice the rugburn on her cheek (I thought rugburn on the face only happened in college!).
Moral of the story: if you don't know the gender, just say "what a cute baby." And, for goodness sake, if the baby is in pink IT'S A GIRL.
...it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere (author unknown).
I have always been the queen of worry. Before Captain Destructo, I worried that I would never get a job, never get married, die a lonely old woman with dozens of cats, etc., etc. When we decided to start trying to get pregnant (and what a boat load of fun that was! I took so many ovulation/pregnancy tests I should have just peed on a hundred dollar bill), after a few months of trying I was convinced that I was barren and was googling adoption and IVF options.
Obviously, I did eventually get pregnant, which intensified the worrying about a million percent, especially in the first trimester. I was uber excited, so I told people I was pregnant as soon as the stick dried, then immediately realized that if something were to go wrong I'd have to tell everyone I knew. At my 8 week doctor's appointment my OB tried and failed to hear the heartbeat (and, having read about 6 months ahead in What to Expect While You're Expecting, I knew this was normal, however I hoped I would have a baby with a superhuman heart), I FREAKED out so badly that she scheduled an ultrasound (as a side note, a baby at 8 weeks gestation looks roughly like a tadpole with no legs, or a jellybean. I was like "should I act like I am emotionally touched by seeing this weird bloblike creature in my abdomen? Will the songrapher think I am heartless and call CPS pre-emptively?"). Thank God Captain Destructo was an active baby (fetus I guess). Whenever I didn't feel her move for a few hours (or seconds) I would jab around in my belly until I felt a body part, then press on that body part until it moved.
Since Captain Destructo has been born, I haven't worried so much about if she was dead or sleeping, mostly since she never slept long enough for me to have to wonder. But the littlest things freak me out-like just today I heard you're not supposed to put baby girls in a bubble bath because of the UTI risk. So I've been worrying about her poor hoo-ha all day long. And surely the child is destined for a life of ADD, since I recently heard that having the TV on "for background noise" as I did for oh, the first 3 months straight of her life, is just as bad as having your kid watch it (but she'll be a very worldly, well-dressed dummy as we mostly watched What Not to Wear). And every time we go to storytime at the library I feel like the other moms are more interactive with their kids than I am (I catch myself just sitting listening to the book), so hopefully those kids won't be in her kindergarten class. They'll be all into multiplication while Captain Destructo can't count past 5 because Mommy would only count with her during the commercials.
Come back and check on me in a few years because I'm sure I'll be writing about how worried I am about her making friends and having a prom date, and if anyone will make fun of her cankles in high school (hopefully she'll outgrow them). I think I'm going to go take a Mylanta.
Congratulations at being ridiculously skinny! Really, I'm thrilled for you. I just want to let you know that we can all tell you are ridiculously skinny just by seeing you in your short shorts and skimpy tank top. Therefore, it is not necessary to remove said tank top in the middle of aerobics class and complete the class in your sports bra. However, thank you for standing front and center so that the rest of us could see your abs. I did appreciate how last week, instead of removing your tank top completely, you folded it halfway up. That way you maintained your dignity while still allowing us to see your abs. I will assume you are not a mother, since you are (a) ridiculously skinny, and (b) not wearing t-shirts with old breastmilk stains and holey gym shorts like the rest of us. So thank you for still taking the aerobics classes at 10 AM with all of the moms, and reminding us what we could look like if not for our saggy boobs, stretched out belly buttons, and stretch marks. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow, as I assume that's where your scantily clad self will be. I'll be the one in the back with the mismatched socks and shorts that are rolled up sixteen times because I wore them when I was pregnant and stretched the elastic past it's maximum.
I'm not sure why it is, but pregnant women are public property. If I had a nickel for every time someone rubbed my belly, I could buy the Buddha statue that people were mistaking me for. Along with the rubbing comes the incessant questions. Will you be breastfeeding? Will you be having an epidural or going natural? Have you taken childbirth classes? What's your due date? (A personal favorite of mine....because inevitably they say "Oh January 19th! That's my mom/cousin/neighbor/dog's birthday!" As if I am supposed to be super excited that my kid will share a birthday with some random person's relative/neighbor/pet.)
I think the questions in and of themselves would be fine if not for the opinions that came along with them, because with the opinions come the Mommy guilt, which comes before you're even a Mommy. Random person (hereafter referred to as RP): Oh, you'll be having an epidural? You know that increases your risk for a C-section. Hugely pregnant me (or HPM): Oh, well I actually wouldn't mind a C-section. RP: A C-section?! You know you'll never have a flat stomach again (I especially enjoyed this coming from a single, childless person).
Once Captain Destructo was born, the opinions just kept coming, which I actually think was worse because I was so insecure about my parenting abilities. I had huge supply issues with my milk, so much so that we almost had to take Captain to the ER for dehydration when she was a week old. Instead of stopping breastfeeding, we just supplemented with formula, and combo-fed until she was 8 months old. I considered this a huge feat as it was about 7 1/2 months longer than I thought I would last. I was INCREDIBLY insecure about this. I would try to bottle-feed her in secret, especially when she was really young. When she got older, I would make sure people only saw one or the other-the boob or the bottle, so they wouldn't think I was weird. Obviously, this is not a long-term solution, and I was busted at a party when she was about 3 months old. A random friend of a friend approached me and said "Can I ask you something? Are you breastfeeding AND giving her formula?" I wish I would have said, "No, actually this is whiskey. It helps her sleep. Is that not what you did with your babies?" But actually I stuttered something about my supply and we left the party early because I was so upset (I'm a little sensitive, OK?)
Fast forward 9 months: my daughter likes to throw food on the floor from her high chair. Obviously this is not acceptable, and it's not like she'll be doing it when she's 13, but she's 1 and I feel like I have to pick my battles so I just ignore her and sweep after every meal. Same goes for restaurants, I always clean up when we're leaving, but if I picked up every bit of food after she ate I'd spend the meal under the table, and I swore I wouldn't do that again (that's a joke. A JOKE!). Last week we were at Macaroni Grill, and a waitress came by (same waitress who had been cooing over Captain Destructo the whole meal), inspected the hot mess that was the floor and said "do you always let her throw food on the floor?" Cool me would have said what I was thinking, which was, "Well, no, usually I let her play with firecrackers and knives to distract her. You don't have any here do you?" But of course I just looked at her and said "yes, actually" and again we left.
My point in all of this rambling: I don't walk down the street and tell people what I think of their outfits (only in my head). So keep your stupid opinions to yourselves. I'm just going to ignore them anyway.
It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I became a mommy. I've been a lifeguard, a coach, a teacher, a wife, but mommy has been the most trying, but most rewarding of all my job titles. But enough with the schmaltz, here's a list of what I've learned...and what no one wants to tell you about having a baby.
1. It's best to never utter the phrase "I'll never..." or "my child will never..." while pregnant or not yet a parent. In fact, "I never" is only to be used in a drinking game. For instance, "my child will never watch TV before they're 5" or "my child will never drink formula" were both used, quite regularly, by myself. Looking back now, it's a wonder M's first words weren't "Oprah" or "Enfamil." Additionally, it's best not to look at a screaming child in a grocery story and think of how your child would never do that. God hears you, laughs, and then gives you a child who does the same thing as you desperately search for a pacifier/graham cracker/animal tranquilizer in your diaper bag.
2. While you are pregnant, people tell you many lies, such as "breastfeeding makes you lose the baby weight" and "babies sleep for 20 hours a day." If anyone told you the truth, which is "breastfeeding may burn calories, but since you are still eating like a water buffalo and are too tired to get off the couch it won't matter" and "babies sleep for 10 minute spurts at really inconvenient times, like when you are trying to stuff your painful, engorged boob in their mouth or when you are taking them for professional pictures," you would probably throw your pregnant self off a bridge.
3. Your body changes in unbelievable, unpredictable ways. I had acne and dandruff right after Captain Destructo was born. It was super hot. Also, I was excited about pregnant boobs, but no one told me the flip side-when you stop breastfeeding they look like deflated water balloons.
4. Regular human principles do not apply to babies. Just because you sleep more on nights when you skip a nap or stay up late does not mean they will. In fact, they will sleep less, wake up earlier and be grouchy for the next few days. Also, it is possible for a baby to down a 6 oz bottle (of breastmilk of course, I would never, ever give my baby formula!), throw it up frat-boy style, and be hungry immediately after.
I'm sure I have so much more to learn, but the first year really has been incredible. God has blessed me with a husband who loves and takes great care of me, and a beautiful, healthy daughter, who has a bruise on her forehead, a cut on her lip where she tried to shove a piece of glass in her mouth, and who ate half a crayon in the bathtub. Eat your heart out, June Cleaver.