Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I confess...

BG is is 2 months, 3 weeks and 2 days old.

I truly love my neighborhood and do not want to leave it just yet. With the layoff and his desire to not reenter the workforce, he says we should sell and move. Not only does this upset me but it leaves me with the burden of a longer commute to work when I’d much rather be with my child. This I am afraid is leading to a little resentment but I keep quiet as it doesn’t change the fact that my husband wants what he wants.

I enjoy my time with my daughter, even when I’m tired and exhausted. Sure, I’d love to be able to pee by myself or even take a shower or bath that doesn’t require me to multi-task shampooing, shaving and scrubbing but every moment I have with her, even if it’s rocking her to sleep is a blessing. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be a mother. This is one gift I truly want to savor and appreciate.

I knew my husband and I would be at each other’s throats during the first few weeks as new parents but I didn’t know it would be as bad as it was. Some fellow moms told me it was even worse for them. In the long run, I’ve learned a lot from the experience. I learned a lot about my husband but I learned even more about myself. Some of it was good and some of it scares me as I know that it may lead to a different path than I’d imagine my life to be but I awoke to some aspects of my personality and my husband’s personality that I had been blinded by love to see.

As a mother I can emphatically state there is no equality and nor should one strive for equality as a man will never be an equal to a woman. A woman is stronger, more powerful and more intelligent than any man. A man could never go through what a woman goes through physically, mentally and emotionally as she transforms into a mother and then later into a mother/provider/protector/wife/family leader/nurturer. There are many men out there that are wonderful providers/fathers/protectors/etc but even they cannot equal the power and strength of a woman.

I first thought mother would be one of the many titles that I wore as a badge of honor but I now realize mother is my identity. Mother is what I am and what I define myself as first and foremost. Right now, all other titles are meaningless to me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The slow conversion to motherhood. It's not just a job, it's an identity.

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott

BG is 2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old.

Tip of the Day: Baby socks are the cutest things. They are so tiny and they come in all assortments. For easy laundering, put a small plastic bin next to your baby’s hamper and put them in a mesh underwear bag to wash. Baby toe jam isn’t quite as fun but can keep you occupied while breastfeeding.

My husband says that BG is not taking to the bottle during her late night feeding and is waking up twice nightly instead of once a night. I think it’s how he’s feeding her. If BG is like me, she’s not going to pass on delicious eats and cuddles so this morning since I woke up to the baby monitor chatter, I changed BG’s diaper and fed her.

It’s too early to tell but I don’t think she balked at the bottle at all. She woke me with a low cry. I went to the room and told her I’d be right there and went to the bathroom. I know she is too young to understand the meanings of my words but while I was in the bathroom, she stopped crying. I thought my husband woke up and was soothing her. When I went back to the door, it was quiet. I was about to walk away when I heard tiny sucking sounds. BG was soothing herself with her fist. I beamed with pride but knew that she would be hungry as the last time she ate was before she went to bed at 8pm so I went to heat up a bottle of EBM.

I came back to hear her low cry again. I changed her diaper without any fussing. She kept her eyes closed as I quietly changed her diaper and spoke to her in a quiet voice. I grabbed the bottle and a bib and we went to the chair and a half and sat down. It seemed as if both of us knew to get down to business. There is no time to chit chat in the wee morning. I gave her the bottle and she quietly drank 2.5 ounces rather quickly. I didn’t put her on the Boppy or prop her up with any pillows. I used my arms and my legs to let her feel the closeness of her parent in the darkness of the room.

As she began to slow down and become drowsy with sleep again, I swaddled her and then offered her the rest of the bottle (0.5 ounces). She didn’t seem to want it so we just sat together on the chair and a half, me with my left leg up to help prop her on an incline. I have a theory that after her late night bottle feed, it’s a good idea to keep her semi-upright to aid in reflux prevention. I hold her close to me and keep her upright for ten minutes or so.

BG had a diaper change, a bottle, a swaddle and some cuddling and went back to bed within 30 minutes with minimal crying. It could be a fluke but I’m going to pat myself on the back and say BG and I were able to communicate needs and we together satisfied them.

Now, I’m sitting here pumping away hoping to get a few hours of shut-eye before my little alarm clock wakes up at 7am. She’s fairly consistent with her 7am morning breakfast request. Isn’t it amazing how babies learn and develop a circadian rhythm?

All this talk about bottle or no bottle has me thinking about my husband and BG and wondering, how will DH do when it’s just the two of them? Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great dad but there are just some things that I believe he will easily pass back to me to handle. I believe at least for this lady and her knight, it is a guy thing. For example, I believe the bottle issue DH has with BG is a mixture of several things: him not waking up to attend to her before she goes into full on red alert ‘I’m frustrated’ mode, him groggily fumbling for diapers, bibs and blankets, a little impatience, a little cranky tiredness and , most importantly how he holds her when he feeds her. Because she’s not getting what she needs, her sleep is not as sound and thus she wakes up more frequently which frustrates DH who wakes up PG to give BG the breast.

For the first two, I try to wake him up and I prepare everything so it’s easily accessible at night. I have little control over the next two and as for the last item, I’ve told him my concerns about propping her on the Boppy instead of using it as support but he thinks I’m being overly cautious and ridiculous.

One, a baby needs to feel secure and safe. She feels the safest, hopefully, in the arms of loved ones. Especially in the darkness of the night, after being rudely awoken, wouldn’t you want to be held a bit? Secondly, studies have shown that children who are fed a bottle while lying horizontally have higher incidences of ear infections so it is advisable to raise their head and upper body during feedings. Third, yes the bottle nipple is not like the breast but the action of cradling close to the body and with her body pressed against the feeder will help her understand this is food.

Then there is DH's theory that it's always about food. Sometimes, she isn't hungry. If I fed her at 12 and it's 1 and she's crying and she's not going through a growth spurt, I am fairly certain that giving her a breast or a bottle isn't the answer. If her diaper is clean, he thinks otherwise. There are other items on the checklist, most importantly together time. Sometimes, I believe she just needs to be held or be stimulated. She's at a time when she's exploring and learning. She may not be able to hold her attention for too long but she is processing whatever she can and needs to be exposed to 'new' things and 'routine' things. I think if you offer her food all the time, 1. she's not happy because she's not getting what she desires and 2. she's going to associate food as a soothing item which will lead to trouble down the line.

It’s hard to suggest or discuss these theories again to my husband without him taking them as a comments on his parenting skills. He was offended the last time I offered similar advice. I’m trying to find a different approach but in the recent past, I’ve found that it may be best to keep quiet until he asks me. I may have to wait until he asks me again or has another frustrating night.

I don’t know what’s more frustrating for me, watching my husband frustrated or watching my husband work his way up to frustration. When my husband is frustrated, I know I have to keep quiet and just deal with the clean up and aftermath. When he’s working himself up, it’s like watching a kettle boil. I know if I do small things here and there, it may help him simmer down but if I get too close to the flame or try too hard to reach for the dial, I either burn myself or add fuel to the fire. Therefore the only thing I can do is sit back and get out of his way and wait to clean up the aftermath.

With the night time feeding, that means trying to tune out the cries and letting him work through it. That’s not as easy as DH thinks it is for me. “You didn’t wake up at all. You were out cold.” Actually, I woke up long before you woke up to her cries but knew that your frustration levels would kick in leading me to have to get up earlier to soothe a husband and child who had a bit of a trying night. If I don’t take this opportunity to get an extra hour of sleep and if I don’t allow you two to work out communication, I’m going to end up one very tired mom. So I lie in bed trying to tune out the crying and the frustrated words coming from the baby monitor. I try to bite my tongue and not offer suggestions or an extra hand. All of this not for my own vanity but for preservation of self and familial relationships. Oh man am I becoming a mom. Next thing I know I'll be saying, "I told you so but you needed to figure it out for yourself."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You make your fist look so appetizing, BG.

BG is 2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old.

I had no idea that I would need drool bibs this early and in massive quantities. For weeks now, BG is drooling to the point where we change her kimono tops on average 5 times a day. We slap on a bib but since she’s recently discovered her hands, her hands get tangled under the bib. Since I don’t want her to be unencumbered to learn, especially at home, I remove the bib and then wind up changing her top every few hours.

I registered for a 12 pack of bibs but we’re going through them so fast that we went to Babies R’ Us and picked up a few more drool bibs. Someone needs to invent bibs without that noisy Velcro that startles my poor child from her sleep. I do like that some bibs have the closures on the side.

I cleaned out BG’s dressers and have begun to wash her 3-6 month clothing and pack away, donate or exchange her 0-3 month clothes. It’s a shame as many of the pieces were never worn. On a sweet note, she wore her first pair of pants on Tuesday. It’s one thing to see your baby in onesies or footies. It’s another story when you see her in pants. I know this sounds ridiculous but if you are a parent, you’ll understand. She looked grown up. It was so cute.

DH wanted to know why I would put pants on her. I told him that it’s cold and I didn’t want her legs to get chilly. He seemed to think it would just lead to a harder diaper change and took them off. Mom put them back on after awhile.

With the autumn air mingling, I realized that I could either keep dressing her in footies or wash some of her pants and get them ready. When I attempted to button up one of her 0-3 footies and found her legs couldn’t straighten within the footies, I knew I needed to clean her dresser drawer and prepare her ‘big girl’s clothes.

Honestly, not only do I feel wasteful because of all the clothes she never got to wear, I also feel a bit na├»ve. I know most folks say to not purchase too many clothes but how much is too much? Plus, how do you explain to folks that although larger sizes for gifts is much appreciated, the seasons should also be considered. I have beautiful outfits for BG for 6-9 months but they are summer outfits which won’t work in New York during January, February and March.

I feel like I could have used the money more wisely towards baby gear but that’s a crapshoot as well. To tell the truth, purchases for baby are always a gamble. Clothing may be outgrown quickly and toys and gear may not appeal to the baby. How do you balance that? I mean, I’ve been lucky so far and only had to buy two different bottles and 3 different nipples but some parents need to buy the entire product line and try them out to find the one their child prefers.

You feel satisfied that you found one the child likes but you’ve got tons of one time trial items. If having a baby doesn’t increase your carbon footprint, I don’t know what else does.

My laundry has increase. My garbage has tripled. We weighed the diaper dekor garbage once and it came to 10 lbs, 10 lbs of dirty diapers and wipes! Yikes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Possible stalkers and 7 women in a circle breast exposed

BG is 2 months, 2 weeks and 3 days old.

Would you find it strange that an old acquaintance search and contact you? I mean it’s been 25 years, why the heck would that person search for you purposefully and does anyone have that kind of time? I'm sure if I had that kind of time, I wouldn't be researching people I haven't seen in decades. Are you trying to find something you lost in the past that isn't in your current situation? Are you compensating or trying to compensate for something you feel is currently lacking?

I just find it completely odd and a little invasive. Am I a jaded New Yorker?

I won’t go into detail, but this whole invasion of privacy and blast from the past puts my New York trust no one antenna up 90 degrees.

BG and I went to our first La Leche meeting today. We had fun. It was mainly 7 women getting together to talk about where to find the best local restaurants and supermarkets while breastfeeding. The funny thing is, if I mentioned to a man that 7 women got together and breastfed their children, I’m sure the only thing a man would hear would be 7 women and breasts. I’m sure a man’s idea of a La Leche meeting is totally different than an actual meeting and could make for a good comedy sketch.

Afterwards, BG and I walked home with some other moms. My mother came over at 1:30 and we had lunch and chatted until about 3:30. She asked a lot of questions about today’s toys and clothing and why I inspect and am picky about hand me downs from strangers (her friend’s children). I explained to her that just like how cribs have a certain shelf life (she tried to give me my old crib from the 70’s), toys and clothes also have a shelf life, especially with the whole BPA, made in china, lead pain deal and chemical burns from tagless labels.

She was taken aback. I told her I’m not militant about it as I survived the 70’s ‘safety’ regulations just fine but some things I am extra precautious with. She seemed to understand especially after we discussed the whole tainted milk and tainted formula in China that was seen on the news recently.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

BG hit the double digits!

BG is 2 months, 2 weeks old.

Could you imagine when you poop it sounded like it does when an infant poops? Holy moly, my BG just let out the loudest, wettest sounding poop. It was so loud, it startled both of us. She pulled off my breast just long enough to catch her breathe and then resumed her meal. I on the other hand laughed for about 5 minutes. Could you imagine if our poop startled us?

Anyway, today BG is 10 weeks old. As DH and I said to her this afternoon on our way home from a walk around the neighborhood, we went through a small list of accomplishments for BG:

She lifts her head up for long periods of time, especially when she’s on Dad’s shoulders.
She is more alert.
She tracks items.
She coos.
She drinks 4 ounces of breastmilk on average during every meal.
She can sit quietly in her bouncer, swing or activity mat for 10-15 minutes playing or staring and learning.
She holds onto her giraffe.
She discovered her hands and enjoys sucking on them.
She just started learning to put her hands together in a prayer position. It’s very cute looking.
She sleeps on her back.
She smiles.

I’m so proud of her.

Now if I can get an in with a celebrity, maybe I can make this m career

BG is 2 months, 2 weeks old.

I’m placing the cart before the horse but here is BG’s baptism invitation. DH still needs to finalize the paperwork at the church but I figured if I don’t finalize complete the invites this weekend, I won’t get them out. They are late as it is.

The invitation includes a handmade pink decade rope rosary attached to the top left hand corner of the invite. I made them while pumping. It helped pass the time and it filled my Mothra needs. Plus during those times when my emotions get the best of me, meditating on the rosary helps me keep my chin up. Breastfeeding is truly emotional.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What a new mom does in the wee hours of the morning...

BG is 2 months, 1 week and 6 days old.

It's 3:30 in the morning.

I've just finished your 1am feeding and diaper change. Usually your dad handles your early morning feedings but today I caught you before you woke yourself up crying. I figured if we can get you your eats and diaper change before you were fussing about it, you'd have a better night's sleep.

I'm now pumping. The rhythmic sound of air compressing in and out of the pump are interrupted periodically with the sounds of your dad snoring emanating from the baby monitor.

While pumping, I continued to work on your baptism invitation and thank you tchotcke. In between, I enjoyed a humorous moment watching the video below.

Your mom would love to do a load of laundry to prepare the 3-6 months clothes you will probably begin wearing shortly. Unfortunately, the laundry must be done in the laundry room in the basement. We live in a building that is a pre-war building. The pipes are so old, they cannot handle a washing machine in every apartment.

On one hand, it saves on space but on the other, I do miss the convenience of having a washing machine in our home. Currently, your mom is wearing her nightgown and is too tired to fumble for a robe to go downstairs in. Plus, there is the added inconvenience of having to watch the time to go back downstairs to put the wash in the dryer and then subsequently return to fold it and bring it back up.

Your mom rarely complains about it as it's a little inconvenience for the benefits of living in an apartment where a superintendent, handyman, porters and security staff attend to the upkeep of our home.

Going back to what a mom does at 3 in the morning while pumping, essentially this mom makes lists. The list comprise of things she'd like to do and needs to do. Right now, my list in a nutshell consists of: write a blog entry, do laundry, finalize photo and layout for baptism invitation, send your dad's leather keychain out for repair, figure out what your halloween costume should be, eat, check and respond to email, make list for household shopping and empty and fill dishwasher. There are more items but I'll just stick with the basics.

Your mom can either start or complete most of these items before she goes back to bed. The one that is irking her at this moment is the laundry as she can't do this without staying up for a long period of time. Oh well, I guess I'll try to do it when you wake up at 7am for your first breakfast.

Childbirth Song by Helen Austin

You've bags under your eyes
You've got boobs to your knees
Your hand's full of poo and your bra's full of cheese
Your stomach is bloated your clothes do not fit
He still wants sex while you feel like shit
He begs for this favour not long after labour
It's like eating a meal after you've just been sick

And the boys at the office tell him I should give him what he wants
To this I say that they're a bunch of lalalalalalala

You bastard you cocked up it's you got me knocked up
Just cos you want me to have bigger tits
You're pleading, you're pining
Oh please stop your whining
You're not getting sex 'til the kid's 26

You say you want another child, another pregnancy
When you can poo a watermelon I'll agree

I could have been someone if you just hadn't come (along)
If I hadn't been so drunk and I'd said maybe
We'd be going out and stuff, now there's foreceps up my chuff
Pulling the head of a screaming 10lb baby

And the mums on Hornby Island* say keep breast feeding 'til they're four
If I do I won't have nipples anymore

And all the doctors told me that I'd need a stitch or ten
I say sew me up so I can't do this again.

*an island nearby with a reputation for being very wholesome!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"You don't need a key, so follow me. There are no locks on story box . On Story Box. On Story Box."

Sometimes BG falls asleep on the breast and I just let her nap instead of putting her in her crib. Sometimes she’s sleeping so lightly that if I move her she wakes up so if it’s a quick nap, I’ll just let her sleep next to me and I check my mail or do some work on her baptism invites and favors.

What I find incredibly adorable is how she uses her hand to touch or hold my breast. If I move it, she slides it back. Sometimes she uses her arm for privacy. Sometimes she just uses it to touch me. It’s such a nice feeling of her wanting to connect with me. She is too young to hold my hand, reach out and touch me or hug me but when she’s breastfeeding and she looks up at me and places her hand on my skin, I feel like she’s bonding with me.

Speaking of hugging, BG has been holding her head up for longer periods of time now. When she’s on my shoulders she’ll sometimes prop herself up using her arms and lifts her head and looks around. I still need to put my hand behind her neck for support but she’s lifting her head up herself and for a few seconds, she can look around and put her head back on my shoulder.

With her arms crossed on my shoulders and her ability to lift her head and shift it to a side before placing it back down on my shoulder, I feel like I’m getting a tiny hug from her. It feels so good.

She’s also cooing and babbling more. Every morning, after we change her diaper, her clothes and wash her face, ears and nose, we say good morning to the sun, trees, sky and sometimes cloud from the kitchen window and then she has quiet time on her activity mat while I make breakfast.

As I’m eating breakfast, sometimes I leave her alone to discover her toys, sometimes I sit close enough so she can see me and converse. When she finds me, she’ll smile, coo and then babble. I love it. It’s as if we have a morning conversation.

After breakfast, BG and I do some morning stretches and then we sing the ‘Hello song’ from The Magic Garden. She seems to like this song as she smiles a big toothless grin and whenever I say hello, she responds with ‘ooooh’ sounds. DH likes to sing the ‘shake hands’ verse.

Carole and Paula were such a big part of our lives as a children. I still remember many of the songs and characters. The Story Box, Sherlock the Squirrel and the Chuckle Patch are engrained in my mind. According to their website they tour and I wouldn’t be surprised if DH, BG and I attend one in a few years. I’m thinking of purchasing the CD and DVD when it comes out this fall.

No wonder everything old is new again. As parents you pull out happy memories and relive them with your child. Now, if I can only find a Holly Hobbie costume for Halloween.

Oh, fyi, The Electric Company is coming back. The scouting agent was at our church last week looking for space for their cast. They are shooting around our neighborhood this week.

Lastly, BG, if you are reading this, yes your mom used to have very long straight hair like Carole and Paula. It was the style back then. Lord knows what the style is at the time you are reading this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Groove me.

2 Months, 1 Week and 2 Days

BG is slowly getting better. Last night I held her while DH suctioned out the longest piece of booger I have ever seen in my life. BG was so fussy and crying without a typical reason (diaper, eats, cuddling, sleepy). Ok, she was sleepy but her nose was so congested, she couldn’t get into a state of relaxation. Within a minute after DH extracted the booger from beyond, she stopped crying and allowed me to lull her to sleep.

This morning, her nose seems less congested. She still has a way to go but it’s much better than it was two days ago when she woke up with a crusty nose.

Mom is feeling better as well, although she has a little sore throat. DH has been making sure I drink plenty of fluids like OJ and Grape Juice.

Today BG took an extended 4.5 hour nap in the morning. I took the time to pack away my maternity clothes and pull some clothes out of my storage boxes. I asked my hubby to pick up some of my clothes from storage a few weeks ago but I hadn’t the chance nor the energy to unpack them and pack away my maternity clothes.

I knew it was time. I’m not completely back to my old self but 1) my maternity clothes are just too big, 2) the weather is changing and I need to swap out my clothes anyway 3) I was getting tired of wearing the same clothes, 4) I’m sure my husband would appreciate me wearing something else besides panel pants and tent like dresses and 5) I need to get back to me.

Back to me is getting back to knowing my body. Throughout my pregnancy, I loved watching my body change. I knew it was changing for a reason and it was a beautiful reason. I was proud of my body and flaunted it. After the delivery & post partum complication, I felt like my body was not my own. While my hormones poured out and my sleep decreased, I felt like a walking zombie. When I showered or changed clothes, I just grabbed the first clean item in my closet or dresser.

As I slowly regained my sanity (or succumbed to my insanity), I stopped feeling like a zombie but still haven’t felt like myself. My breasts feel hard/soft/numb/tender and as far as I am concerned property of my daughter. My arms, shoulders and hips are resting places for my daughter. It has become so commonplace, I naturally rock or sway if I’m carrying anything. The other day I caught myself swaying as I was carrying a bag of rice in the elevator. I have a freaky dark line on my stomach (linea nigra) which is supposed to fade away around 4-6 months post partum. My hands are dry from the numerous hand washings . My feet and hands could use a pedicure and manicure, respectively, but if I had 2 hours to spare, they most definitely would not be spent at a salon or even spent at home painting my nails.

On a good note, I haven’t had to shave my legs still. On a not so good news, I think the bumps on parts of my legs are due to ingrown hairs. The fenugreek I’m taking for my milk production increases my internal temperature and causes me to sweat more. On a good note, fenugreek makes me smell like maple syrup. On a not so good note, fenugreek makes me smell like a maple syrup and curry.

I know I’m not painting a great picture right now but that’s what’s making me feel not like me.

I figured the first step to getting back to me is packing away the maternity clothes and pulling out some of my pre-maternity clothes. I didn’t pull out everything as breastfeeding requires easy access to my breasts and clothes that can take possible milk leakage. Also, I’m still not completely at my pre-pregnancy body. I think my hips are wider and my tummy has not bounced back. Plus, with my limited time, I don’t want to spend my precious time doing my laundry so I’m limiting the clothing options I have.

I cleaned my closet during BG’s extended sleep and when she woke up, I brought over some of my clothes to let her touch the different textures. She also helped me pick out shoes to donate. In the end, I pulled out mainly button down shirts, spaghetti strap camisoles and cardigans. I think that’s probably going to be my staple outfit for a bit. I have a handful of nursing tops but to save money, I hope to be able to wear a few spaghetti straps underneath regular tops.

It’s a small step but I am hoping it will help me get my groove back.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Get out, boogie oogie oogie


2 Months, 1 Week and 1 Day

Today is my husband’s birthday. He started his birthday with an unexpected surprise, a sick wife. Yes, folks, that weariness and headache I woke up with yesterday turned into a full blown fever with chills and sweats last night.

While my mom was here I trudged through it thinking I was just tired and worried my mom and husband would butt heads again. When they left and I started pumping, I noticed my headache had gotten worse and I was getting the chills. I took two acetaminophen and lay on the couch. Within an hour I was covering myself in blankets shivering. I dislike that part of a fever, where you know you are actually burning up and need to remove the blankets but you feel so chilled to the bone, you put on every sweater you have on.

Eventually, my brain won and I removed the blankets. The second thing I hate about a fever is the headache. It’s the type of headache that intensifies when you close your eyes. I think it intensifies because then you start to worry and think about everything you need or wanted to do but can’t. For me, I worried about my baby. If I’m sick, what am I going to do? My DH has a gig this week. I know I should still breastfeed but what precautions should I take for everything else? Should I pump just in case I am too ill? Will my illness affect my milk output? Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday, what am I going to cook? Should I cook? Should I sequester myself so BG doesn’t get what I get? Will the immunities she gets from my milk help prevent her getting what I’m getting? How’s BG’s nasal congestion? I hope it clears up soon. What’s a mom to do when she gets really sick? It’s not like I can lock myself in my room now.

DH took care of BG all night and periodically checked up on me. He gave me orange juice and let me sleep whenever I could. At some point I finally passed out and woke up hours later with the sweats. I took it as a sign that my body was fighting whatever was in my system. I drank the rest of my OJ, pumped and then tried to go to bed again. If my body could fight this through the night, I was going to let it.

Now, it’s 8:45am and so far, I feel much better. I’m taking it easy and have decided not to go out to meet the new moms. 1. I don’t want to give them or their kids anything I may have had or still have. 2. I don’t want to overexert myself until I know I’m back to tip top shape.

As for the dinner last night, it was pleasant. BG slept for 45 minutes in her crib, sans Boppy! My brother predicts BG has our sleep gene. She fell asleep on his massive chest and snored for 30 minutes. When BG is on my brother, she looks so tiny. It’s very adorable.

I put on her red kimono for the festivities much to the delight of my mom. BG was passed around like a hot potato. She was tired as it was past her usual nap time but she only fussed for a bit.

My stepdad is really uncomfortable around crying babies and naked babies. As soon as she cries, he walks away. It doesn’t matter if he’s carrying her or someone else is holding her. When I giving her a diaper change, everyone huddles around as if they’ve never seen a naked baby before. My stepdad asks people stop taking photos. It’s very cute.

Going back to today, every day BG amazes me. She’s still congested but sometimes she’s ok with us cleaning her nose, sometimes she’s not. Twice, I distracted her and cleaned it with a warm soft paper towel and she seemed ok with it. I sang to her, ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ and it distracted her long enough to clear out a long strand. I’m actually amazed yet thankful that the boogies are long strands. It helps with the cleanup process.

The boogies aren’t what amaze me. What amazes me is how every day; I can see her learning and growing. She’s slowly sleeping on her back in an empty crib more and more. Her jerky movements are becoming more controlled. She smiles more. She interacts more as if she’s trying to express herself to me. She likes quiet time where she sits in her swing, bouncer or activity mat and looks around and just now, I caught her staring at her hand in puzzlement.

The Big Picture

Click to enlarge

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My baby has boogie but no fever

2 Months and 1 Week

BG woke up with congestion in her nose yesterday. She had this giant booger in one of her nostrils. I pulled it out with my finger as it kept popping in and out like a groundhog. She didn’t have a fever and only seemed fussy so I didn’t think we needed to call the doctor. I just felt horrible all day. I mean, it’s one thing when an adult has the sniffles. You grab a carton of OJ, make some chicken soup and grab a box of Kleenex. Babies can’t do that. They can’t even blow their nose. They sound like hedgehogs snorting and they look like glazed donuts.

To make matters worse, we just got her to sleep in her crib without that darn Boppy but with all the congestion, she can’t breathe comfortable when sleeping perpendicular so we’ve put her back on it so that she can sleep a little better.

Her Dad used the bulb doodad to suck out some congestion which brought some relief for awhile. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay at home. We had a birthday party to attend, BG’s Aunt. Thankfully these things are small affairs and there aren’t any kids other than her Aunt. If it was bigger, I’d stay home but BG’s Aunt made it a point to say that it was 13th birthday and she really wanted the family to be there.

So at the crack of dawn, we packed BG in her PJ’s in the car seat and headed to Staten Island. I had been dreaming all night that the ride would be brutal as BG dislikes car rides or anything that involves her car seat. With the congestion, I was guaranteed it.

I tried an experiment. I put her Swaddleme in the car seat and swaddled her. Unfortunately the Swaddleme is a size S and we can barely Velcro that without the harness but I figured it’s better than nothing.

She cried a lot but I think the swaddle helped a little. I also clasped her Whoozit onto the head rest in front of her and she stared at that quietly for a good 20 minutes. 20 minutes of peace is better than nothing.
She was quiet the entire time at the party even when her Aunt was screaming. She’s 13 and has never been around a baby so baby etiquette is slowly being taught. She kept wanting to hold her but she doesn’t have the dexterity yet to do so confidently so we kept putting her on her lap on the couch while one of us propped BG’s head up.

On the way home, I had to drop DH off and drive us home by ourselves. These rides aren’t fun as without someone sitting in the back seat for her to see, BG just cries. By the time I got home and found parking, BG looked like a red glazed donut and I looked like a zombie. is it that I have to turn into a zombie just to tune out her cries? I feel horrible but it’s like I need to revert to an emotionless being to survive the car ride home.

Today my mom has her scheduled ‘New Moon’ party. If I could, I’d cancel it but my mom has her heart set on it. I woke up with a mild headache and a general feeling of lethargy. I’m guessing all that worrying about BG’s nasal congestion probably led me to have a restless night’s sleep.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

48 Hours in the Life of a New Mom and Newborn

2 Months and 6 Days Old

Because 24 hours just isn't enough. Can you feel the excitement? Jack Bauer has nothing on me. lol

In an odd set of circumstances, your Mom and Dad were both on duty during the day. Mom took this opportunity to do some chores.

5:15-10am Dad is on duty. Mom takes this chance to sleep.
9-9:30am Dad covers usual 7am-9am feeding. Mom pumps and stores breast milk. After last night, mom appreciates the break.
9:30-10am Mom eats breakfast and washes her face. Mom plans to do some household shopping while Dad spends some time with BG. Mom makes a list, clears the dishes and puts dirty dishes in the dishwasher while eating her breakfast.
10am-10:30 BG wakes up and Dad feeds you second breakfast. Mom notices you eat less from the bottle. Dad and Mom plot out the day while Dad feeds and plays with you.
10:30-11:20am Playtime with BG on the activity mat, a diaper change and then some quiet time on the swing.
11:15-11:20am Mom does power pump to help alleviate severe engorgement while she’s at the store.
11:30am-2pm Mom runs out to do household shopping and birthday shopping for Dad and your Aunt. Mom finds a cool birthday card from you to your Aunt which is a hard feat when you guys are both just kids.
2-3pm Mom returns home, does the Frogger move from the car to the apartment with all the goodies she bought. Dad is feeding you. While I was away, Dad gave you a bath and a massage and videotaped you smiling and lounging in your crib. Mom does some household chores while dad feeds you and gets you ready for your nap.
3:15-3:30pm Mom pumps and stores milk for your feedings with Dad. Dad puts you in your crib for your nap.
3:30-4:15pm Mom takes a shower then prepares lunch for her and Dad. Mom eats lunch. Construction in the apartment above wakes you up, rudely. Dad soothes you and gets you back to nap mode. Dad eats lunch while Mom runs to do a load of laundry.
4:15-4:45pm Mom and Dad nap.
4:45-6pm Mom finishes with the load of laundry, folds it and puts it away. Mom makes a quick dinner and eats.
6-7pm Mom wakes up Dad. Dad eats dinner, showers and heads out. Mom cleans her pump parts and bottles, sets up changing table and clears dirty laundry strewn around the bedroom and living room from the day’s festivities with Dad. She also reads some more of Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and realizes that if you prefer to nap in the late afternoon/early evening and then go to sleep in the late night, I shouldn’t fight it. After all, it may very well change as you grow. She decides to stop trying to make you sleep earlier, for now.
7-8pm BG, you wake up. Mom changes your diaper, swaddles you and sets the table at Chez Mommy for you.
8-8:15pm Mom burps you and soothes you to sleep and places you in your crib.
8:15-10pm BG wakes up for a diaper change. After the change, she is alert and awake. Mom tells you a story, Toes, Ears and Nose, and some Dylan time (tracking games). After another diaper change, this time a dirty, BG starts cooing and smiling. I’m guessing you wanted to hang out with mom for a bit. Mom puts on some slow music and we waltz and slow dance for a bit. As mom puts you down so she can go to the bathroom, she notices you’ve gone again. 3 diapers in 2 hours! Mom is impressed.
10-11:30pm Mom swaddles you and opens the bar at Club Mom for some late night drinking.
11:30pm-3:30am BG naps in her crib.

12-2am Mom takes a nap.
2-3:30am Mom pumps, cleans pump parts and stores milk. She finishes packing dishwasher and starts the load.
3:30-6:30am Dad is on call. Mom goes to bed.
6:30-7am BG wakes up and Mom feeds you and changes your diaper.
7-7:30am BG naps in her crib.
7:30-7:45am BG you are getting bigger and regular sized blankets aren’t cutting it as you unswaddle yourself and wake yourself up.
7:45-8:30am pump store clean. Mom makes and eats breakfast, clears dishwasher and loads dirty dishes.
8:30-9am BF has second breakfast
9-10am Activity mat play while mom brushes her teeth, washes her face and gets dressed for our walk in the park.
10am-12pm Mom & BG meet up with the Mom’s group for a walk.
12-12:30pm Dad changes your diaper twice and dresses you with at home clothes.
12:30-1:30pm lunch time for BG while mom eats a sandwich with her free hand.
1:45-2:30pm BG is overtired. Dad soothes her to sleep on his shoulder. Dad doesn’t understand how someone has a harder time going to sleep if they are overtired. Mom tells him to swaddle you and soothe you and within minutes you are sleeping. Mom is learning, BG.
2:30-3:15pm BG eats at Chez Mommy while Mom tries to patiently watch your Dad figure something out. Your mom has a bit more patience with learning and playing around with new things; your Dad, not so much.
3:15-4:15pm BG naps in bassinet
4:15-4:45pm BG wakes up for a diaper change & eats
5-5:30pm Mom makes and eats dinner
5:30-6pm BG has a nap on mom’s shoulder
6-7pm BG has dinner at Chez Mommy
7-8pm BG sleeps in mommy’s arm then the sling. Mom tried to get you to sleep in your crib but you kept waking up as soon as she put down on the mattress. Mom changes from a receiving blanket swaddle to a SwaddleMe.
8-8:30pm BG sleeps in bassinet
8:30-9:45pm Z-girl barks and wakes up BG. Mom changes your diaper and feeds you.
9:45-10:15pm BG sleeps in bassinet while Mom works on BG’s baptism invitation and tchotckes.
10:15-12:30am BG wakes up for 2 diaper changes, wet and dirty. Mom also feeds BG and tries to get her to sleep mode but she stays wide awake while Mom can barely keep her eyes open.

12:30am Dad comes to relieve mom. Mom sleepily packs diaper bag and wraps a gift for BG's Aunt as tomorrow is her birthday party. Your Aunt turns 13 tomorrow! Mom dreads the 1.5 hour trip in the car as she is afraid you may cry the whole way. She reads up on how to swaddle you using the SwaddleMe in the carseat.
1-5am Dad takes over for exhausted mom. Mom can barely keep her eyes open. She needs to shower but passes out in bedroom.
5am Mom wakes up and pumps.

From size 1 to size 2s
They are still a bit big bug mom doesn’t want to buy another size 1 box for what she believes is a couple more weeks.

Transitioning from 0-3 to 3-6
BG has already grown out of her size 0-3 socks. Her size 3 kimonos she wears around the house used to be knee length. Now they are about hip length. I can’t believe my baby is growing so quickly. I am so proud.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Moms must have arms and thighs of steel

2 Month and 4 Days Old

Last night’s Schedule
6:30pm feeding
7pm bedtime routine (story, sing, dance/rock, crib)
7:15-8pm soothing in crib (as per books, didn’t pick her up)
8-8:15p crying while mom had a 'sanity' time out
8:15-9pm diaper change and feeding
9-10pm held in arms while sitting
10-10:45pm held in sling while standing
10:45-11pm BG finally falling asleep. held in sling while sitting
11-11:45pm Mom getting sleepy. Tried to 'sit sleep' but BG wasn’t having that. Every time Mom sits, BG wakes up. Mom decides to check emails as BG is not ready to let mom sleep, even sit sleeping.
11:45pm-3am Mom sleeps with you on a sling lying on top of her chest.
3:15-4am Mom awakens to a soaking wet shirt as she missed her midnight pumping/feeding session and you are applying lots of weight on her engorged breasts. Her breast pads are completely soaked and her shirt can be wrung out. Mom’s breasts are killing her, her shirt and breast pads are soaked and she has to use the bathroom. You are in deep sleep as you have completely sprawled out of the sling with your arms and legs extended. She gently maneuvers out of the sling and places you next to her on the couch so she can pump to alleviate the pressure on her breasts. She pumps her breast, stores milk, disassembles parts and places it in the ‘to be cleaned’ bucket, goes the rest room and changes shirts. While she is up she also restocks the changing table, diaper bag and travel light bag with diapers. We’re moving towards size 2’s. Mom hopes you will sleep until 7 or 8ish. This short-lived.
4:15-4:45am You wake up. I change your diaper and feed you.
5:15- Your Dad takes over

Maybe she’s too young to train a sleep schedule. Some moms in my group say they do what feels right and just go with the flow. Few said they were adamant about scheduling sleep. What I think is appropriate is a going to bed routine but then it’s BG’s cues that determine the night. Most of the times she sleeps from 9pm-3am then 4-8am. Since Sunday, she has been fussy at bedtime. We’ve been trying to get her in her bedtime routine (swaddle, story, song, sway) around 7. We add a bath and massage to the routine at least 2-3 times a week. Unfortunately, these last few days she fusses within 10 minutes of us putting her in her crib.

We’re not sure if this is related to us trying to move her back to back sleeping, moving her back to the crib from the bassinet (she slept in the crib for the first three weeks until it became easier to feed her and pump when she was in her bassinet), trying to get her to get ready for bed earlier than her natural rhythm of 9pm, her increased desire to be held or cuddled or a change in caregiver at night. I have taken over night duties and instead of bottle, she’s been receiving breast all day.

I read that babies will change sleep schedules around 8 weeks, I hope this isn’t her new pattern. Mom cannot keep holding you and pacing around the apartment. I am considering journaling a day in the life of so I can see if there are patterns to her sleeping that have changed that I have not noticed. Maybe she’s getting more sleep during the day and I’m not realizing it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

BG likes disco dancing with Dad

2 Months and 2 Days

Today, my husband and I took BG to a Music Together demo class. Personally, I think she’s too young, even though they state the classes are for birth to 5 year olds but it was free, it was in the neighborhood, it got us out of the house, it allowed her to stare at other babies, her favorite pastime right after eating and sleeping, and it got hubby to taste what it probably will be like when we sign her up for play dates and what not.

My husband at first was reluctant as he was the only male in the class but then I reminded him that as a hands on dad he’d need to get used to it. I think he had fun and participated mainly for me. Gosh, this man loves me.

BG stared at the other babies and the actions going on with intrigue. At one point, there was a scarf dance where we play with a scarf and dance to the music and allow it to pass through our kid’s face and hands and feet. In typical style my husband whispers, “So help me if my kid gets a rash from this thing.” I know my husband says I’m paranoid but he also has his anxieties surrounding our daughter and the big, big world.

When we got home my husband was playing with BG and I heard him say, “We do better dances and sing better songs at home, don’t we? We don’t need to pay $300 for some lady to let us play with her messy toys.” “We can’t lock her indoors, honey. It’s important to let her socialize. It may not be Music Together but there will be other groups.” He was quiet. Honestly, I think my hubby is just like me and wants to protect from the big world. What is it about a man being a father that is so gosh darn attractive?

Next week, I plan to check out the play group at a local church. It’s a non-denominational group that I heard about from a local mom. I think it’s a grassroots group so my husband will be happy to hear it’s not $300.

I know that most of these get togethers, mom groups, dad groups and play groups at this very young age are mainly for the adults. I think it is important to get out of the house, especially when you are a new parent. You can become insulated and if you aren’t careful you can let the anxieties of parenthood get the best of you.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My daughter. 4 older boys. And it begins.

2 Months Old

First Bus Ride
We took our first MTA bus ride yesterday. I’m not a complete germ-a-phobe. I believe that I survived fine as a youngster on hose water rinsing out cuts and old fashioned soap and water; BG will be fine too. Still since she is only 8 weeks old and may potentially have a reaction to her vaccinations, I didn’t want to take any chances so I put her in a full footie onesie.

Around the house, she hangs out with me in her diaper and a simple white kimono top. When we go out to crowds, I cover her a bit more.

We took our first bus ride to…

BG’s first kid’s birthday part
It was my friend’s son’s 1st birthday. Most importantly, it was my friend’s 1 year milestone for breastfeeding. I am so proud of her. She’s my inspiration as my goal is also 1 year and she had similar anxieties and problems with breastfeeding.

BG was the youngest baby there and she was also the only girl baby. She watched quietly and intently as the boys waddled around knocking things down, stacking things up, pushing things and what not. She patiently allowed strangers to pass her around like a hot potato. She even did her usual afternoon nap while in my arms in the midst of the chaos that comes from having 4 1-year old boys waddling around.

On the mommy front, I breastfed her twice during the party and changed her diaper 3 times. I met some neighbors who all offered great new parent tips. One in particular gave me tips on baby sign language. I know my husband thinks it is odd but as soon as baby can wave goodbye, I’d like to start with just a handful of words. I learned basic sign language in high school and don’t think it’s odd nor do I think it will stunt any language development.

My friend set up her house so that the living room with the air conditioner was the kid and parent zone. The area was gated, strewn with toys and board books. The dining room was set up with food and became the adults without kids or adult time conversation.

While we were at my friend’s house the tropical storm hanna hit our area. Sheets of rain poured down. This led to an extended stay. I planned to stay for 2 hours but I wound up leaving 5 hours later. BG and I made it alone outdoors for nearly 6 hours!

I knew the mini-naps in my arms weren’t enough for my daughter even though she’s been only taking 2-3 30-minute naps during a typical afternoon. I figured she’d have a nice long stretch at night but I didn’t expect what we received.

BG had fallen asleep in the Bjorn as we said our goodbyes and another friend offered to drive us home. She was still zonked from her first party so I took the opportunity to do some quick errands. I kept her in her Bjorn and was able to unpack and repacked the diaper bag, make a sandwich and eat it, check my voicemails and emails and set up her bath.

Since we were out and mingling with a group of kids and adults for the first time, I thought to be safe, a quick bath would be a good idea. Plus it would make for an even better night’s rest for her.

I removed her from the Bjorn, undressed her and nearly removed her diaper before she woke up. It was the cutest thing. Can someone tell me why babies look so darn cute when they wake up and adults look like their face has been flattened?

I placed her in the bath and she gave me the biggest grin I’ve seen yet. After her bath, we had a quiet massage, read a nighttime story, swaddled and had dinner. She fell asleep an hour after my husband came home.

By this time, I was starving but too exhausted to cook something. I took a shower and came back and found my husband conked out in the living room. I cuddled up next to him and fell asleep. I woke up at 1 to pump and check on her. I gave my husband a freshly expressed bottle and asked him to wake me up when she woke up so I can pump again.

I woke up at 7:45am. My breasts were throbbing.
“Honey, why didn’t you wake me?”
“She didn’t wake up for a late night feeding. I guess after your 1am feeding, she was zonked.”
“I didn’t feed her at 1. The last time I fed her was 8pm.”
“Wait. Are you telling me she slept through the night?”

We had to sit there and double check but our daughter was so tuckered out she slept through the night, a full 11 hours of sleep.

My husband and I hugged each other. We almost cried. lol.

Then my husband really cried when he saw the mess in her diaper and swaddle.

By 8am, she was up for her first breakfast. I fed her and dressed her for church. Last week, she was named, “youngest server” by some parishioners for her assistance with the collection. Her dad had her in the Bjorn as he completed his ushering duties. Today, since DH was on lector duties, she spent the time with me singing our hearts out. During mass, she didn’t fuss at all. She fell asleep during the homily, no insult intended, Father Emmanuel. She even slept through the organ but I’m fairly confident it’s a soothing sound for her as she heard it so often while in the womb. She was only startled during the bells during the communion rite. She shook, sighed and then went back to sleep. The couple behind me chuckled. I guess we all express ourselves in our own ways.

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Parent. New Relationships. New Dynamics.

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott

1 Month, 4 Weeks and 1 Day old

At Birth: 7 lbs 14 oz
2 Month: 11 lbs 2 oz

At Birth: 19.5 inches
2 Months: 23.5 inches

BG had her 2 month check up today. She had her first round of vaccinations and took it like the strong little girl I knew she would. I was more nervous about how I would take it and asked my husband to accompany us. I know it’s my security blanket but I truly appreciate him attending these doctor’s appointments with us. First, it makes the trip easier with an extra set of hands. Secondly, I feel like he is participating in her well being and health. Thirdly, if I have to go back to work, then he needs to start establishing the relationship with her health care providers as soon as possible.

The doctor gave her .6 mL of infant Tylenol before her shots and I had planned to put her on the breast as soon as the third vaccination was given. She was given an oral vaccination and two shots. DH rubbed her head and kept his face close to hers the entire time. As soon as it was over, he scooped her up in his arms and placed her on his shoulder. She immediately stopped crying. She was such a big girl. I thought she’d be wailing forever. He carried her on his shoulder to the car and she quietly whimpered until we got to the post office. While DH went inside, I stayed in the car and breastfed her for 15 minutes.

We also hit a milestone today, during the car ride; she didn’t just cry or suck on my finger. With the help of her toy giraffe, I was able to entertain her so that she wasn’t crying the entire way home. She seems to like it when I have conversations with her toys. So as my husband drove us home and hit traffic, I was in the backseat having a conversation with giraffe as BG watched on.

“Hello, BG’s mommy. How are you?”
“I’m doing well, Giraffe. How are you?”
“Good, thank you. I notice that BG could use some cheering up. Do you think she would like it if I did a dance for her?”
“I don’t know. BG, would you like to see Giraffe dance for you? I think BG would like to see you dance giraffe. Thank you for offering.”

Giraffe then proceeds to dance and move from side to side allowing BG to practice her tracking. We also play the ‘same/different’ game. “Giraffe, I see you have a very long neck. Does BG have a long neck?”

BG seems to enjoy mirroring. In other words, she likes it when her stuffed animals perform an action on me and on her. Giraffe kisses me on the cheek and then kisses her on the cheek. She giggles (sort of) when I do this with her stuffed animals.

I can only imagine what my husband thinks of the conversations in the backseat. After awhile, you can only do so much with an 8 week old who is facing backwards and is strapped in a car seat she dislikes.

For the rest of the day, BG didn’t seem too out of sorts. I gave her the breast the rest of the day but towards the end I felt as if my breasts were spent and running low. As usual, she had a brief nap in the late afternoon but woke up with an ‘I’m uncomfortable’ cry that was unlike her ‘I have a wet diapee’ cry. DH changed her diaper but she was still crying afterwards. We tried putting her on the boob but she just continued to wail so DH gave her .6 ml of Tylenol as per the pediatrician’s recommendation. She swallowed the medication and then I placed her on the boob.

She took to the boob but as I was adjusting the Boppy she let out a shriek again. I immediately stood up and she went back onto the breast. I figured out that the injection site on her thighs must have been the culprit for her discomfort as my elbow and arms would press against it to keep her body aligned around my body during the feeding. For the rest of the feeding, I stood up and held her from the underside to avoid pressure on the thigh area and she seemed much better.

I’m not sure if the vaccinations had anything to do with it but she didn’t go to bed at her usual 7-8pm time. She was wide awake and disliked being anywhere but our shoulders. You could tell she was sleepy because she kept rubbing her eyes but she just didn’t want to be anywhere but our shoulders. After a bottle, two diaper changes and two episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, she finally fell asleep and we were able to place her in her bassinet.

DH wanted us to begin transitioning back to her crib as we have been placing her in her bassinet to sleep for the last few weeks but between the vaccinations and the unusually long time it took to help get her to sleep, we kept with the bassinet.

It’s not that she doesn’t like sleeping in her crib but more of a convenience issue for me. Since I have been trying to breastfeed more often, it’s easier to have her close to me in the bassinet rather than run back and forth to the crib. Plus to save money as air conditioning is a requirement these days, we’ve been hanging out in the same room.
Oh, yesterday my mother came over to visit. She brought some eats, as usual but this time I invited her to come along for our daily walk. I sent DH to do errands as usual to avoid the tension that ensues when you place my opinionated mom with my opinionated husband together. My husband dislikes the comments and criticisms my mother makes around our daughter. In my mother’s defense, she doesn’t know she’s doing it. In my husband’s defense, I agree with him. Sometimes my mom can be a bit biting with them and as with most parent child relationships; a parent’s words can truly affect a child.

My mom, I believe, is aware of this and has thus begun to speak entirely in Chinese to our daughter. Of course I am too chicken to say anything but after yesterday, I think I’m going to begin stepping up. My mom doesn’t mean anything malicious but when she constantly says to my daughter and the people around her that she’s hot tempered and takes after her dad that can and will affect her attitude. As my husband once said, “She’s a few weeks old! How can she be anything but in need of comfort and affection? She’s come into a big world and it is scary even for an adult! Let her develop her own personality without influence.”

Since she dislikes her stroller and car seat, I usually walk her with her in a sling or the Bjorn. However as my mother wanted desperately to ‘bond’ and take photos of her, I put her in the stroller and told her and her husband we have a limited time before she’d begin crying. Obviously this flew past them and they had to learn the hard way what I meant.

“Mom, are you ready? Do you have everything you need? As soon as I put her in her stroller we need to jet on out. She will cry and as soon as she starts, that’s it.”
“Yes, I am.”

As I began to strap her in my mother then decides she needs to go to the bathroom, find her camera, find her phone and borrow a hat. My stepfather also decides this is the time to be conservative and turn everything off in my house. Finally I said, “We need to leave now!”

Of course, by the time we got out to the street, she began crying and it continued. Normally, I jog and weave her through the block to the park to soothe her but my mom isn’t physically able to do so. To appease my mom a bit I allowed her to suggest and implement certain things but we wound up shortening our trip as my mom’s husband looked fairly uncomfortable and my mother’s ‘suggestions’ became a bit too much for me.
“Change her diaper. It’s probably wet.”
“Mom, I just changed it and we haven’t made it half a block yet.”

“She hates the sun. She should stay inside. You are going to make her dark.”
“Mom, a child should not be closed up inside and while the weather is nice, a walk in the park fully clothed is what the doctor prescribed.”
“Well, you know better than I do.”

“You spoil her. She needs to be held often.”
“Mom, she’s a baby. She needs to be comforted and be assured that her parents are there for her.”
“Well, you know better than I do.”

“She looks for you too much. She needs to learn you won’t always be there. Even when others are around, she searches for you.”
“Mom, she’s 7 weeks old. I am her mom. I am her food source. She feels comforted with me. I’m not even going to go into how you want me to teach her mother won’t be there for her.”
“Well, you know better than I do.”

“She’s genuinely crying and not faking it. You can tell by the tears now streaming instead of trickling.”

That’s when I had enough. If DH was there he would have went off. I can hear him now, “How can a 7 week old fake crying? She’s a newborn and she’s in need of something and best way she can communicate to us right now is crying.”

I alluded to the fact that when the time comes when we ask her to come over to watch our daughter for a while, my husband will be the one who will guide her with our desires for her care and she seemed to be taken aback. “Mom, there will be things and ways we’d like followed in the care of our daughter.” “I don’t know if you know this but your husband and I have some tension.” “Mom, a blind man can see that. You know my husband loves you and cares for you but you need to realize that you both are highly opinionated and both of you want to have the last word. In the case of our daughter and our marriage, yes, my husband and I have the last word.”

I’m going to have to continue to tread lightly with this tension but I also need to assert myself as this is my child. I am a parent. I will make decisions that I will probably want to change later in life but this is my life and my child and we are doing what we think is best for our child. I hope my mother realizes this.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dad. Mom. Husband. Wife.

1 Month and 4 Weeks Old

I love my husband but he gets in my craw every now and then.

1. We have an electric kettle. I love it as it boils water super quick and in a jam, I can boil an egg in it. I keep it fairly clean and boil water in it everyday so the water isn't stagnant. If I make an egg in it, I clean it out thoroughly and rarely do I let it boil til the egg cracks. If my hands are tied and I can't clean the kettle right away, i dump the water and leave it by the sink for cleaning so no one mistakes it as clean.

My husband does not do this and 80% of the time his eggs crack and leave a mess inside the kettle. He will fish out the egg and leave the dirty kettle and water on the base.

Now I use this kettle to boil water to sterilize nipples and what not for the baby. Twice I have nearly used the dirty water to make food or sterilize baby stuff!

He always says sorry and he'll take care of it but he always forgets. The same goes for doing the dishes or putting them in the dishwasher or taking them out of the dishwasher.

2. Preparation is not his forte. So I set everything up for him. when it's bath time for baby, I clean and prep the kitchen sink and counter. I set up the bath water and check temperatures. I prep the towels and contingency towels. At night right before his late night baby shift (midnight-7am), I prep the changing station. I put out the expensive 'pee indicator' diapers for him. I make sure there are enough wipes, burp clothes, bibs, swaddles and onesies easily accessible to him.

yesterday morning I woke up to find, strewn throughout the room, 2 used burp clothes, 3 used swaddles, 2 used onesies in the hamper and a partridge in a pear tree. Nearly all the diapers I left out (8) are used and a dirty disposable changing mat is crammed into the container that holds the nose suction doodad.

I don't want to know what happens during her late night feeding.

This leads me to my last rant about my lovely but often multi-tasking disabled husband.

3. If you are going to take the late night shift which accounts for 5-6 hours most nights, please do not wake me up unless I ask you to wake me up to pump. That's not taking the late night shift. Yes, I generally wake up before you do when I hear her and yes, I often wake up around her late night wake up to pump but that doesn't mean that I'm there to get you the boppy, hold her so you can pee, brush your teeth, walk the dogs, etc. I understand these things need to be done. I do most of these things the rest of the 19 hours of the day with her and most of the time with one hand.

And just because I'm up pumping doesn't mean that I'm there to cater to you. Most nights, I pump, store milk, clean parts and do the dishes that you claimed you would do with the purchase of the dishwasher.

How is it I can hold my baby with one hand or breastfeed and still be able to get myself a glass of water, make a sandwich, find the remote, know where the burpcloth and/or swaddle is and go to the bathroom and as soon as my husband has our daughter for a feeding or care time I need to wait on him? No fail, within 5 minutes of caring for her I hear, "Honey, can you get me {fill in the blank}?"

When you are doing your thing around the house during the day, do I constantly bother you to get me something or do I not do my best to leave you be lest you tell me that can't get anything done?

And if you give me the baby to hold so he can pee/brush teeth/warm EBM/etc, don't be surprised if when you return she's already on my breast. Many nights, she hedgehogs her way towards it instinctively.

With that said, I still love you and I truly appreciate your help and watching you care for our daughter brings a smile to my heart, even when you dangle her upside down or some other crazy scare mommy move you make with her.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Entertaining, Educating & Occupying

1 Month, 3 Weeks and 6 Days

I had my post operative check up today. The biopsy came back negative, thank you Jesus.

I also met with a neighborhood mom’s group today for the first time. I was deathly afraid BG would cry the whole time but she was great. She was quiet up until the last 10 minutes as I was walking home. Then again, I stretched out the time between feedings so I understood why she was fussy.

It was wonderful to meet with women who are in the same boat, sort of, and share anxieties, humorous anecdotes and neighborhood gossip. I know this sounds stereotypical and a little sad but once you become a mom your world and world views change. You love your friends who are single or who are without children but there are some things that only parents can understand. I now understand why there are some things moms don’t share with expecting moms. It’s partly because you don’t have the time to share everything but it’s also because prior to having a kid, you wouldn’t believe the advice or stories.

One mom in the group said she swore up and down that her apartment would not be inundated with baby gear. She quickly learned otherwise. It made me think of the silly things I thought before I became a mom. One thing that quickly snapped into my head was how I thought that I could catch up on my scrapbooking during my maternity leave. Even when friends with babies told me that they would be eating every 3 hours, I naively thought, ‘Great. I’ll feed her, change her diaper and put her to bed. That should give me plenty of time before her next feeding to work on a page. I mean what am I going to do with all that in between time. I need to occupy myself.’ I just cracked myself up typing that. Moms, feel free to laugh at my innocence.

It felt great to get together with women who understood if I had to stop after 30 minutes to feed my kid or change her diaper. There is also an understanding that time is relative to baby so there is a 20 minute courtesy. If we say we’ll meet at 9, we all wait until 9:20 because we’ve all had the poopie explosions or last minute munchies. When I schedule things with folks who don’t have newborns or who had them ages ago, they don’t understand the time it relative to baby mentality and I feel rushed or pressured. Plus there is that “she has to eat again?” issue. Yes, we may go out together but don’t be surprised if after an hour, she needs to eat again or we need to stop every 30 minutes to do a poop/pee check.

I wonder if my husband’s Dad’s group is as helpful to his psyche.

So while I was out at the doctor’s and my pilgrimage to Buy Buy Baby and Trader Joe’s, DH had some daughter daddy time. I left him with 3 full 4 ounce bottles and an emergency 3 ounce stash which I gave him as a buffer. I figured I’d be back after 3-4 hours and if she kept to her every 2 hour routine, she’d be fine with eats.

I fed her at 12 noon, pumped and kissed my two kids (ha) and went to the doctor’s. Of course, the doctor had me waiting for 45 minutes bottomless in the exam room. By the time I was finished with my appointment I had spent 3 hours at the doctor’s. I beelined to TJ’s and BBB, grabbed the essentials and drove home hoping to avoid the rush hour traffic.

When I got home, DH had nearly finished giving her the 3rd bottle. BG practically polished off 3 4-ounce bottles in 5 hours! I don’t know if that’s normal as I’ve been giving her the breast for awhile now but it made me think of my time with BG. Yes, I feed as needed. I am not scheduling her but there are times when I know she’s not hungry and she’s just needs stimulation. For example, if she ate a healthy meal 20 minutes ago and she fusses, she’s not hungry. I check her diaper and if she shows signs of sleepiness, I swaddle and soothe her. If not, I entertain her by singing with her, practicing her vocals, doing exercises with her or play with one of the many toys she has. By doing this, I can usual satisfy her and she doesn’t get shoved a boob 20 minutes after a full meal.

With DH, a bottle seems to be the resort to after a diaper check. Another mom told me her husband does the same. I suppose since I’m the ‘cow’, I try to ascertain other means of entertainment other than the nipple.

I’ll end today’s train of thought with this humorous but unanimous rant from the moms: Why is it a mom can hold a baby and go to the bathroom/brush her teeth/get a drink/eat a sandwich/get a burpcloth/{insert action} and when a dad holds a baby mom is asked by the dad to get a drink/make a sandwich/get a burpcloth/{insert action}. I swore I was the only woman that rolled her eyes whenever my husband asked me for ‘help’. The one request that really gets to me is the 3am-baby-is-crying-wake-up-mom-so-dad-can-pee request. What do you think I’m going to do after you wake me up to hold my crying child? Yes, I’m going to stick her onto my boob. She’s hungry. I’m not going to just sit there in the dark with a wailing child. Besides, babies have a homing device. It’s pitch black and yet she can find my breast without opening her eyes.

The Next Obama...

If my kid stood up in front of 18,000 adults and orated like this kid, I'd be in tears.