Thursday, January 31, 2013


We had quite the adventure grocery shopping tonight. While in Trader Joe's someone's phone rang, but it seemed close enough for it to have been Aaron's phone. So I'm all, "Hey, is that your phone?" because he convinced me to wear my hearing aid to the store when I was going to leave the house with only my glasses on because wearing both is uncomfortable and I deemed eyesight more important to shopping than hearing but he disagreed.

And he's like, "I left my phone in the car." As he was going to go fetch his phone from the car he realized he could not find the key to our vehicle. As a dude he has a million pockets and it so happens the car key isn't in any of them. At first I think he is messing with me, because he loves doing that, but as I realize he's being for real the anxiety of a fast-approaching dinner time for baby surfaces. He retraces our steps, looking, while I wheel around the produce section to keep Jude entertained.

Trader Joe's is a chilly place though, so after several minutes of this Jude's too cold to stay in his carrier. He's making a sound like he might be deflating and if his bottom lip stuck out any further I'd be rolling over it with the cart. I have no choice but to park the cart and take him out for warm cuddles. Not that I mind. I see Aaron appear again and he signs across the store to me that he found the keys. I give him a big thumbs up!

Then he comes over and says, "It's not what you think. I did find them, but they're in the car." Oh no. Oh no-oh no. Jude is already fussy because it's nippy in the store, it's only going to get worse once he starts getting hungry and sleepy. Not that a fussy baby is anything new to most people who spend any time at all out in public, but I like to tend the baby before he's reached that point. Something I can't do properly in a cold, crowded grocery store.

Luckily I had brought my phone, even though I was tempted to leave it at home, so Aaron's able to call AAA. They arrive by the time we're done shopping. Even got the parking space right next to us. We have no idea how long this is going to take though, so I leave Aaron with the cart and carry Jude into the nearby pet store where it is warmer. After ten or so minutes, Aaron enters to let me know all is well and we're back in our car.

Unfortunately we still had one more stop to go, so poor Jude was exhausted and quite hungry as we waited for the pharmacy to refill my vitamins. A few tours around the brightly colored cosmetics seemed to distract him well enough though. He passed right out on the car ride home and got dinner as soon as he awoke. All's well that ends well.

Thank goodness for AAA and roadside assistance!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ten Pounds

10 lb. of pure love.
I just have to say, I adore being a mother.

It is absolutely worth the self sacrifice. Every smile, every cuddle, every giggle, and that sweet face more than make up for the sleep deprivation, fussy days, lack of time for yourself, and surprise diapers.

Watching his personality develop, helping him learn... The love I have for this little person is overwhelming. I cannot wait to share more of the world with him.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


It's okay to wash the baby with the laundry
if I use Dreft and the gentle cycle, right?
I love motherhood and being a mommy. It's hard work, easily the hardest work I've ever done, and I spent a summer flipping hundreds of queen size mattresses daily (physically demanding) and several years running my own business (mentally demanding). However it is also absolutely the most rewarding.

The first few weeks of his life were the roughest I've ever survived. I was weak from a difficult delivery, trying to breastfeed a baby born with an appetite when my milk hadn't yet come in, and we were under the impression that a baby HAD to sleep in a bassinet. Of course the one place the baby would not sleep was his bassinet. I got no sleep and essentially spent every waking moment nursing.

It wasn't until I just started sleeping in bed with him nestled beside me that I got any sleep at all, but I felt guilty about doing this. Wouldn't my baby spontaneously combust or something if he didn't sleep swaddled on his back in the bassinet?! No, actually. After a lot of research, this became our norm and life was much happier for both of us because of it.

After month 2, all was well. Jude developed his own schedule, slept through the night, and left me with plenty of time to at least accomplish sitting tasks (writing, chatting, gaming, art, etc.) on my own, with him in my lap (nursing, talking to me, or napping). He required very little in this stage of life, kind of like he was still in the womb. I'd read or sing to him and that was really the extent of entertainment required. Tummy Time was practiced out of necessity rather than interest.

By comparison now, Jude is a fairly needy baby, quickly approaching 4 months. He wants to be amused, stimulated, interacted with. As well he should. So long as his needs are met, he's happy. Though he dislikes everything for at least 5 fussy unsure minutes before enjoying it. He hates to be put down, especially in a reclined position, so I'm often hauling him around from the moment we get up (7am latest) until the moment he goes to bed (about 7-8pm), entertaining him in various ways. Great exercise, considering his weight and unwieldiness. My back hates it though.

While I expected raising a child would require my full attention, I did not account for all the carrying. He doesn't seem to much enjoy the Baby Bjorn style carrier either, meaning my hands are never free.

I do not believe in cry-it-out, for many reasons. First of which being the research done on its long term effects. Second being it's ineffectiveness, many babies just cry until passing out, sometimes upwards of 45 minutes -- that isn't healthy. Sure, some babies will cry for 5-10 minutes then find something interesting to distract them and be fine. This is okay. Sometimes you need to get something done and baby just needs to deal with it. If after a few minutes baby is still screaming, it's probably better to go scoop them up rather than let them drive your neighbors batty and pass out thinking you were eaten by dingos.

"There is evidence that leaving babies to cry alone can increase their emotional stress level. Researchers measured saliva cortisol levels in infants during a sleep training program in which the infants were left to cry themselves to sleep over a three-day period. The infants’ cortisol levels were elevated when they were left to cry alone, indicating a state of high emotional stress. However, the cortisol levels remained high even on the third day, after the infants had stopped crying. This implies that, even though the sleep training program appeared to "work" and the infants fell asleep without crying, their stress levels were still high. Another study found that even brief separations between mothers and their 9-month-old infants can result in elevated infant cortisol levels, indicating emotional stress."

I get moments to myself, sort of, while he eats, and count myself lucky if he falls asleep on me while nursing because he has never been much of a daytime sleeper -- not even as a newborn. At most he will sleep for an hour total each day. Not consecutively. He usually sleeps fantastically at night though, for at least 8 hours. So there's that.

Basically, it leaves me with a lot of entertaining to do. So I'm seeking ideas. I know eventually he'll be more interested in things and willing to play on his own but until then, I need ideas so my brain doesn't turn to mush.

We do a lot of walking, talking, singing, and playing with various objects. Though most toys seem to be 6+ months... I try to get him to spend at least 30 minutes a day on his playmat with me, practicing at grabbing, holding, and pulling. There's Tummy Time, for as long as he'll tolerate it, but he started rolling himself over at 5 weeks so he gets bored of that really fast. I've made it a habit after diaper changes to take him into the restroom to talk to himself in the mirror and watch himself stomp around on the counter top (supported by me of course). Every now and then he'll watch a bit of TV in my lap, but it's typically less than 5 minutes before he'd rather be doing something else (don't blame him, but it's nice when I get to sit down). In the mornings he'll tolerate his swing for about 10-15 minutes but really has no interest in it for the rest of the day unless he's fallen asleep and I can sneak him into it without rousing him. We also go to fetch the mail together in the early afternoon. Every other day or so he gets a bath, which he enjoys more now than he used to, but has yet to play in the tub.

Sometimes he'll do all of these things, sometimes he'll only want to do some of them, and occasionally none of them -- which leaves me basically pacing around the house with him in my arms for nine hours straight. Which is just... it makes me tired thinking about it.

Any suggestions? Diversity is good, even if he doesn't care yet, it's nice for me!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Day Everything Went Wrong

Here's another installment in my genuine motherhood line of blogs. Today? Not especially great.

Dinner last night was delayed so I didn't go to bed until after 11:00PM. Jude decided we had to wake up at 2:00AM. He has yet to so much as take a nap, meaning I have not so much as taken a nap. That's 15 hours and counting after less than 3 hours of sleep. Holding him the entire time because he'll have it no other way.

Shortly after 2:00AM I spend an hour standing with him in the bathroom with the fan on hoping the white noise will put him to sleep again, to no avail.

I go into the living room and spend half an hour standing and rocking him near his swing with the white noise turned on. He finally doses off so I put him down all nestled and warm... where he proceeds to sneeze and wake himself up.

I pick him back up and start from scratch. Same method. An hour later, standing all the while, he's out. I put him down, he pees. Awake again!

I go change him then we try laying down together. Nope. So I try rocking some more and when he seems destined for sleep I put him down. He protests. I try walking away for a few minutes, because sometimes that works. Sometimes Mommy is just too distracting so close by. Not this time! I give up and we watch Netflix forever.

At 8:00AM, as I am eating breakfast with Jude in my lap playing with a toy, he explodes into poop. It gets everywhere. I don't even know how. It's on me, it's on him, it's on the furniture, it's on the carpet, it's on our clothing, and the boppy. Front, back, top bottom, you name it -- there is poop. I need to clean all of this up before it ruins the house and bathe the baby, and Aaron is asleep.

This isn't even a picture from this incident.
This just happens so frequently I have another pic of it.
Anyone who knows Aaron is aware he sleeps like the gd dead. It goes without saying my attempts to rouse him are ineffective. So I clean the baby up with wipes best I can, wrap him up naked in a towel (in case he's not finished), plop him on the changing pad on the floor, and leave him there crying while I tend this shit. No pun intended.

Then the cats are hungry, yelling at me and getting underfoot. Making matters even worse. At two points they almost wind up in poop, exacerbating the problem. Thankfully at like the halfway mark Aaron emerges to tend Jude. I say thankfully because honestly the baby's crying causes me physical discomfort and I'm at the point where I might die or something. He's dressed him, unknowing the need for a bath, so I decide to just postpone it. Aaron also feeds the cats.

He then goes back to bed but Jude isn't done being awake yet. So I have to stay up. I spend an hour and a half nursing and rocking Jude to sleep. Then right as I put him down some asshole neighborhood kid starts throwing his basketball at the staircase. Why? I DON'T KNOW. He does it at least once a week, for no reason whatsoever. Bouncing a basketball at a staircase cannot possibly be entertaining. Go find a fucking court, you little teenage douche bag. The obnoxiously loud sound this produces immediately wakes Jude up. All my hard work for nothing now. I almost go out on the balcony to scream at the kid but realize as I am about to open the door that I am not wearing a shirt. Fuuuuu.

It's well after noon before I get to finish my oatmeal. Cold and dry. Time passes with more cuddling and standing and walking and rocking all without payoff. Jude is so sleepy but unwilling to sleep that he doesn't even want to talk or play anymore. He just wants to nurse, complain about nursing, complain about being awake, dose off, wake up to complain about dosing off, then nurse some more. All while rocking and only while standing.

My neck, back, and legs are killing me by 3:00PM. As they should, I've been standing with 10 pounds of little human in my arms for more than 12 hours straight.

Aaron gets up and we have lunch. Then he baths Jude while I go to throw baby clothes into the wash, only to realize after loading the machine that it's broken. Meaning I have to remove everything and load it all into another machine. All the while trying to hurry so that I can get back to He Who Does Not Sleep. Since the washers are lined up side-by-side, this means I only bang my funnybone like two thousand times.

And did I mention that I am still sick? Ugh. I hope he falls asleep soon. I am so far beyond exhausted. I love my life and all but really, when the crap hits the fan does it have to be by the gallon? Days like this certainly serve their purpose -- to make sure I never take good days for granted, but in the words of Dean Winchester, c'mon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tips For Nursing Mothers

One thing I have discovered as a new breast feeding mother is the outrageous cost of "nursing" gear. You know, those few must-have items that make nursing a little easier for all involved -- especially in public. In store shopping is the worst, with few items ever being offered for anything under $30. Even online I have been hard pressed to find anything at a reasonable price, typically nothing under $25, plus shipping. Aside from the convenience of at-home delivery, at that point you may as well shop in store since the price differences are negligible.

You are paying a higher price because you are buying a specialty item.

I own a single nursing shirt, a single nursing bra, and a couple of nursing sleep bras (the cheapest item you'll find). These four items ran me around $80. That's unacceptable. I have better things to spend money on now, notably this human being that I created out of pizza and halva (oh, those zany cravings). As I sat there staring in wonder at the $45 cost of a nursing cover, so I don't have to flash passer-bys, I realized something.

There is virtually no difference between an official nursing cover and a poncho.

So out of curiosity I looked up the cost of a simple poncho. Do you know what I discovered? That I could buy a poncho for less than $15. Are you kidding me? I bought a poncho on the gd spot. It works fabulously. Here are a few other things I discovered that will save you money:

  • For around the house comfort wear that will spare getting milk everywhere whilst letting your ladies breathe and allowing quick access for meal time -- buy tank tops a size too large with a built in shelf bra. The shelf bra will hold nursing pads in place gently and the straps can be slipped out of, and the tank top pulled down to feed baby.
  • Regular sports bras and bandinis are just as useful and cozy to sleep in as official nursing sleep bras. Again, buy a size up to make room for nursing pads and facilitate ease of access (folding up or down to feed baby).
  • Any shirt that buttons or zips up makes a perfect nursing shirt. I don't think I need to explain this one.
  • Fitted tank tops look nice and are also good for nursing. Slipping your arm through a strap frees up a breast for baby fairly easy. They are also super cheap.
  • Bras with a little padding (in case your nursing pad fails you) and front closure are fantastic nursing bras when you're going out. You can unfasten them with one hand on the fly and can usually re-close them just as simply.
  • You could also wear a tube top beneath a T-shirt and then just lift the T-shirt to feed baby, showing minimal skin. This is especially nice on chilly days.
  • And, of course, ponchos!
I hope these options work for you as well as they have worked for me. Everything listed here can be bought in stored for as little as $10 and online for as little as $5, sparing way more money for you and your family to invest elsewhere.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Months!

Sleep is For The Birds

Sleep Deprivation Unit 1
For something like this, it is imperative you have a back-up unit lest you, you know, accidentally get a night of restful sleep. Which you definitely would not want ever.

This morning at 5:00AM Sleep Deprivation Unit 1 goes off after having filled its Waste Receptacle with fecal matter. It is very important I go deal with this straight away, at 5:00AM, or the world just may abruptly end. Making the Mayans tardy but correct (does 'better late than never' apply to this?)

Just as I settle back into bed comfortably, Sleep Deprivation Unit 1 goes off again at 6:00AM because it has filled its Waste Receptacle with urine. It is against the User Agreement that it fill its Waste Receptacle with both simultaneously, or I just might get too much sleep. So I get up to tend to this as well.

Sleep Deprivation Unit 2
At 7:00AM Sleep Deprivation Unit 1 has expended its uses, falling into a short cycle of contentment during which it recharges. At this time is where having a back up unit comes in handy! Sleep Deprivation Unit 2 goes off by knocking over a vase in the closet, dumping water and tulips everywhere. Why was there a vase in the closet? Because incidentally it had been placed there to be hidden from Sleep Deprivation 2 but someone left the door open. Ahem.

There I am, in my pajamas picking flowers up off of the closet floor and taking petals out of dresser drawers. Then I'm in the kitchen, trying to salvage what I can because, I enjoy fresh flowers and tulips are my favorite -- the fiance had brought them to me so sweetly for no reason whatsoever other than he loves me to the Moon and back. All of this takes about forty-five minutes and then...

I make a futile effort to sleep again but between Sleep Deprivation 1 reactivating and Aaron deciding he needs ALL of the blankets, I decided it was just time to gtfo of bed. Sleep Deprivation Unit high-five!