Saturday, October 13, 2018

#1 vs. #2: It's a Tie! I Promise!

You know that Luvs commercial where they show the mother dousing everyone with hand sanitizer before they come near the baby for the first kid, then show her handing baby #2 over to a dirty mechanic? Everyone told me that would happen with a second child. And a third child? Forget it! Literally. A third child would just be forgotten all the time! I can kind of relate to that now. Kind of...

Don't get me wrong. I still want to douse everyone in hand sanitizer before they come near my baby, but as a second time mom, I'm definitely slacking in some areas. The baby books, for example. Baby #1 had a pregnancy journal (with monthly belly photos), first year calendar (with detailed accounts of each doctors visit), first year photo album, custom made month milestone signs for cute pictures (designed and drawn by me), and a billion other cute and crafty, straight out of Pinterest little memorabilia of her first year on this beautiful Earth. I had all intentions of being equally detailed in my documentation of my second baby's first 12 months, but as it turns out, ain't nobody got time for that!

Sorry, kiddo. Mommy did her best. She does have a pregnancy journal, but I was too sick to pose for belly photos. I was not feeling so cute this time around. And she does have a first year calendar. It's just not as detailed (thank goodness it comes with pre-printed stickers!) and I'm already a bit behind.

I just can't keep up with it all! But that doesn't mean I don't love her as much as my first born. Before she came, I thought it was impossible to love anyone else as much as I love my first born. I was genuinely worried that I wouldn't have enough love for another child, or that having a second child would somehow take some love away from the first. You know, like in Boss Baby. But I'm finding, just like every mother of 2+ that I know told me, this could not be farther from the truth.

Somehow, in the midst of all that pregnancy stuff, your heart really does grow bigger, stronger and deeper. Baby #2 had her first round of immunizations yesterday. I thought I would be calm and cool this time around, knowing what to expect. The nurse would give the shots, baby would cry, I'd scoop her up and save the day with a little nursing session and we'd be on our way! Oh no... As soon as I saw her eyes well up, mine did too. I cried right along with her. And I was just as angry at the nurse this time as I was the first time. My perfect tiny baby, who knows nothing but hugs, kisses, milk and naps just experienced real pain for the first time and you did this to her! You bitch!

Don't worry, I didn't go all psycho on the nurse. This was all going on in my head. But seriously, it pained me so deeply to see her that way. I never ever want her to feel pain. And if she has to, I want to absorb it all from her. This, of course, goes for both of my girls.

I know they will have no memory of their first immunizations, but I hope that somehow in that moment, I was able to show them that mommy will always be right there to comfort them. Both of them. I promise that even though I felt miserable during my second pregnancy, I went to bed every night thanking God for the chance to bear another child. I promise that even though baby #2's calendar might be missing a few notes, I cherish every moment just as much. I promise that there is more than enough love to share. And I promise that I will never EVER let a dirty mechanic hold either of them.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Time is of the Essence

I'm home during the week now that I'm on maternity leave and it's amazing how time just doesn't exist. I never know what day it is, what time it is, or even what month it is! And it's fucking awesome! Because it doesn't matter! This is my time to feed, burp, change diapers, snuggle, snuggle, snuggle, and snuggle. I'm just mom now. All my other hats can wait.

For how long, you ask? I don't know. I have no concept of time right now, remember? Seriously! Don't ask me what time it is. I have no idea. At least not in the numerical sense.  These days my time is measured by daytime television. If you want to make plans to meet up with me for brunch, don't be surprised if I respond with "I should be able to leave the house by the fourth hour" (shout out to KLG and Hoda!). It's not uncommon for me to mutter to myself, "Oh shit. Dr. Phil is on and I haven't even finished a load of laundry!"

Settle down. I'm not a total couch potato. But a good part of my day is spent breastfeeding on the couch, staring at my beautiful baby, with HGTV playing in the background.

Oh, HGTV. You bring me comfort and anxiety all at once.  Watching professionals upgrade a dated kitchen is so satisfying. But as I'm nestled in the coziest corner of my couch, feeding my baby or just letting her sleep on my chest, I can't help but look around the room and take mental note of all the projects I would like to see done in my own home. Like now. Because time doesn't exist to me.

Hmmm, I think I can probably paint this room in about 2 Fixer Uppers and a Property Brothers episode...

My husband is no longer phased when he comes home from work, asks me how my day was and I say something along the lines of "Great! See that wall over there? Is that load bearing? Let's knock it down. And paint this room. It would really make this room feel more open. I found a great deal on a new sectional too. What do you think about this side table I found on an online garage sale? I'm sure I can sand and repaint it if the color doesn't work. Right?"

And he so patiently says "Sure. Let me just get dinner started first."

That's why I love him! He just gets me.

Oh, wow. Look at the time! It's almost Love It or List It. Time for lunch!

P.S. The new sectional is being delivered on Thursday!!! 😁

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Say It, Old Man. I Dare You.

I knew full well that pregnancy, the second time around, would alter my body in unimaginable (and maybe irreversible) ways. I knew I would gain weight, as I did the first time. And I knew it would be harder this time around to lose it. And I was totally fine with all of it, if it meant my baby girl, who we dreamed about for so long, would arrive safe and sound. And thankfully, she was.

I accept the physical transformation that lies ahead of me after giving birth, but unfortunately, our society does not. And that's really quite sad. The following is a true story. A brief encounter with a total stranger that affected me so deeply.

One week after baby #2 was born, I was feeling pretty good. I was adjusting to the recovery after my c-section and I was itching to get out of the house.  One week doesn't seem like enough time to recover from a c-section, right? Well, it's not! But for the last 3 months or so of my pregnancy, I  had been off my feet, unable to do a lot of the mundane physical activities we all take for granted (you know, like picking up the remote you just dropped on the floor). A quick trip to the grocery store was exciting to me. So I packed up the little sweet pea in her carseat (even though I wasn't supposed to lift anything heavier than her) and off we went.

I only needed 3 things. Easy peasy. Well, not so much... The walk from my car to the store front was slow and painful, and gathering my 3 items, which of course had to be located in all opposite corners of the store, took way longer than expected! Luckily I had the stroller to brace myself against!

I finally grabbed the last item and was heading for the check out when a sweet looking old man approached me and peered into the stroller. I forgot all about my pain and was excited to show off my beautiful baby.  But as I waited for his compliment, things got awkward... He didn't say anything for a solid 30 seconds! Instead, he looked down at the baby, then up at me, and back down to the baby. I smiled, waiting for him to say something like "oh she looks just like mama!" But no. He didn't say that. Instead he continued to say nothing as I noticed his eyes weren't gazing at my face, but down toward my stomach!

When he finally spoke, he said "How old is the baby?"

"1 week," I replied.

I kid you not, he did a quadruple take from the baby to my belly and started to open his mouth again.

"Is she borrowed or is it your baby?" He responded.

What the fuck kind of question is that?!

With a fake smile, I mustered all the politeness I possibly could and said "No, she's mine."

The man genuinely looked confused as he guestured to my stomach and started "and you're...?"

'Go ahead and say it, old man. I dare you!' I thought in my head as both anger and shame started to build simultaneously up inside me. But before he could finish his stupid sentence I interrupted him and said quite frankly "I had her one week ago." and pushed the stroller away from him down the aisle before I had a chance to punch him in the face (clean up on aisle 2!).  I made my way to the check out, and into my car as fast as I could where I cried the whole ride home.

The man must have been about 80 years old, but seriously? How would that even make sense for me to have a baby and one week later be pregnant enough to be showing that much? I know I shouldn't have been bothered by that one stupid old man, but I was! I was angry at his rudeness and ashamed of my body. My post partom belly wasn't even a thought in my head until that moment. I was aware that I walked out of the hospital still looking like I was 7 or 8 months pregnant, but I  was more concerned about my surgical recovery and taking care of my 2 girls. I knew my body was going to be something I would have to work really hard at later on, but LATER ON! It's only been one freaking week!

Leave it to our society to expect a new mom to spring right back into shape as soon as she steps out of the hospital. We can't all be Kate Middleton for God's sake!

I am very much looking forward to working out again and getting my body at least close to what it was before, but for now I'm enjoying every snuggle with my girls while I'm home with them on maternity leave. The treadmill will still be in the basement waiting for me when I'm ready. Until then, this will be my mantra:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When Opportunity Knocks

So, as I mentioned earlier, this pregnancy was not an easy one. In fact, looking back now, I feel like I've missed the better part of the past year because I was either in the bathroom getting sick, held up in my bedroom to avoid all the kitchen smells, or asleep on the couch. I was exhausted, hungry (but couldn't keep anything down for the first 3 months), large, and in pain all over. Did I mention large? By large, I mean enormous. People would ask me all the time if I was carrying twins! Hell, even I had the ultrasound techs check twice to see if there were extra babies hiding in there! Anyways, I was uncomfortable and missed out on a lot.

Luckily I have an amazing husband who was extremely patient and a 4 year old daughter who was surprisingly understanding of my inability to interact with her like I normally do.  But I soon realized that it wasn't so much an 'understanding' as it was 'recognizing an opportunity'.  An opportunity that I handed right to her.

Let's go back to the sleeping on the couch part...

Once the school year had ended, I was very pregnant and home alone with our 4 year old 2 days a week when she didn't go to daycare. On those 2 days I did my best to keep her busy and play with her before exhaustion kicked in and Mama needed a rest. Most days we were able to do some kind of Pinterest-y project together like baking or painting or melting broken crayon pieces to make new rainbow crayons.

But some days, when simply doing a search on Pinterest seemed way too ambitious, that craft involved something more along the lines of a large cardboard box, some markers, crayons and stickers. All the stickers. No, we didn't build a cool cardboard fort. I parked that thing in front of the TV, helped her get in, and told her to go to town and jazz it up! Yup, I put her in a box. In front of the TV. A cardboard box, markers and cartoons on Netflix. That's how we got through most of my third trimester. She played in a box while mommy took a short rest.

Before you judge me, this box kept her busy for hours. She loved it! And she made some pretty good drawings in it too! We actually kept in in the living room for a few weeks.

Ok, now is the part where you can judge me.

One time, I'll admit, I actually fell asleep on the couch while she played in that box. I know, I know... How could I leave my 4 year old unattended? I would always tell her "if mommy falls asleep, you need to stay in this room. You can continue coloring and watching your show on Netflix." She's my little rule follower and knows how to work the remote (go ahead, another opportunity to judge), so I was pretty certain she would stick to those parameters.  Except that one time when she didn't... On that particular day she ventured off to the playroom and decorated her "classrroom" with sticker charts on the wall... With glue.

Don't worry. I "fixed" it.

And so, I added more coffee to my daily routine.

Oh, but the real opportunities for her came while I was awake!

4 yo: "Mommy can I have a snack?"

Me: "What do you want?"

4 yo: "Pirate Booty"

Me: " If you can reach it, it's yours."

4 yo: "But it's way high in the cabinet!" [commence whining voice]

Me: "Get a chair from the kitchen table. Push it over to the pantry, climb on up and grab a bag of Pirate Booty."

4 yo: "Really?"

Me: "Yup."

That's right. I instructed her on how to get the out-of-reach snacks all by herself.  Hey, at that point in my pregnancy, getting from the living room to the kitchen was exhausting. I needed her to help out wherever she could!

When my husband came home that day he walked into the kitchen and said "Uh, why is there a chair in the middle of the kitchen?"

4 yo: "Mommy told me I could get Pirate Booty all by myself!"

Hubby: "Oh, really?" (looks at me with disbelief). "Do you realize what you just started?"

Me: "I do now..."

She hit the jackpot that day and it's all thanks to me. Well, actually, thanks to her little sister! Come to think of it, I actually gave them a head start on bonding... Which will inevitably come back to bite me in the ass later on when they team up to seek more "opportunities".  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Baby Farts Part 2!

Welcome back, readers! It's been a long time since I wrote on the Blog! 4 years to be exact. I started this blog to share amusing stories of what it was like to be a first time mom with a newborn.  Well, I'm no longer a first time mom because we just welcomed our second daughter into the world just 2 weeks ago! And let me tell you, being a "second time" mom is just as amusing. My pregnancy this time around was anything but amusing. It was difficult, uncomfortable, scary at times, and seemed to go on FOREVER. But now that Princess #2 is finally here, safe and sound, I decided to bring back the blog as a way to focus on and remember the moments that made me smile.

Let me start with a moment that happened pretty early on in the pregnancy, just after we shared the news with our, then 3 year old. She had been asking for a baby brother or sister for a while now and was beyond excited to finally learn the her wish was coming true. She was pretty quick to come up with a list of things she was going to help with and things that were definitely off the table.

One day, while driving in the car with me, she said "Mom, I can't wait for the baby to come! I'm going to give her her first bottle in the hospital!" I started to explain to her that the baby would not be eating from a bottle right away because I was going to breastfeed her. Realizing we hadn't had this conversation before, I knew this was going to be an interesting one, and that I was not really prepared for it...

Before I could get into what "breastfeeding" means she became instantly pissed at me and screamed "NO! I'M GOING TO BREASTFEED HER, NOT YOU! I ALREADY KNOW HOW AND I DON'T NEED ANY HELP!"

How dare I take away her first duty as Big Sister!

"Ok, ok." I said backing down. This was not the time or the place for this talk. We will revisit this topic another day.

As the baby's due date got closer and closer, and our, now 4 year old, daughter was getting more and more excited about being a big sister and a helper, I knew I had to go back to explaining what breastfeeding was.

The topic came up again at dinner one night. Ok, I thought, here goes nothing:

Me: "Sweetie, when babies are first born, they don't always take a bottle. Some mom's will breastfeed. That means they get milk from their mommy's body."
4 yo: "How?"
Me: "Mommies can make milk in their breasts."
4 yo: "What are breasts?"
Me' "Boobs."
4 yo: "Oh boobs!"

[Wait for it...]

4 yo: "Wait, what?? The baby is going to eat your boobs?"
Me: "No! She will just drink from them. And when she's big enough for a bottle, you can be the first one to give it to her."

Phew! Ok, that wasn't so bad! Oh but I forgot to mention the part when Daddy decided to chime in...

Dad: "Did you know animals breastfeed also? That's how they feed their babies too!"

Ok, good connection, hun! Something she can relate to. She loves animals!

[wait for it...]

Dad: "Did you know that Mika [our dog] has like 6 boobs?"
4 yo: "What??"

Well, about 5 minutes later, 6 boobs turned into 17 in her little toddler brain and now every time  we have a guest over she makes sure to introduce them to the dog:

"This is Mika! She has 17 boobs!"

Ok, well at least we got the breastfeeding explanation done... I think. We may be revisiting this topic in a later post. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

7/1/15 The Evolution of Parenting

A few weeks ago a neighbor gave our daughter a bag of baby doll toys that her children have outgrown. Her kids are 17 now so the toys were pretty old, but in good shape.  In fact I recognize them from my own childhood. There's the baby sippy cup, the pretend wipe container (the one that looks like a Clorox wipe container), the pacifiers, and of course the medicine syringe because every baby should be comfortable around those. She doesn't know what any of them are, but she does recognize the bottles, so that's what she plays with the most.  And for some odd reason that's what makes me cringe. Not the white bottle. That obviously has milk in it. I cringe when she goes for the orange one. The one with OJ. The tooth-rotting fructose bottle.

We play pretend all the time. We pretend to fly in airplanes, row in boats, dance on "stage", and build castles with blocks (and then immediately destroy them). But I just can't suspend my disbelief when she goes to give her stuffed baby a plastic bottle of orange juice. "Oh honey, I think baby wants milk. You don't want her teeth to rot out of head before they even come in now, do you?" As if Xavier Roberts will come and take the baby away and back to the cabbage patch.

It's silly, I know.  It makes me think of how much parenting has evolved. You can no longer hold your baby on your lap while driving, use blankets in the crib, lay your baby on its back because it will get a  flat head, no wait... side is safer, no back is best! It's also no longer acceptable to smoke while pregnant, even though the old expecting books told our parents that smoking will give you a smaller baby (I mean, who wants to squeeze out a 12 pounder, right?). Good god, how did any of us survive?

I wonder what will change when my little girl is grown up and has a baby of her own. What kinds of irresponsible things that I've done as a mom will she point out and criticize and, hopefully, laugh at? Only time will tell. Holy shit, this is stressing me out. I think I'll go back to stacking blocks with her and knocking them over. So simple, yet so satisfying. And as far as I know, there aren't too many rules to that game that I can fuck up. Just one: what goes up, MUST COME DOWN!

8/1/14 Baby Fat

It's been almost 6 months since giving birth to my daughter and, not to toot my own horn, but lately everyone has been telling me how great I look and that I've lost some weight. I never know how to respond to that. It's true, I have lost a bunch of weight since the birth of our daughter, but that's because I gained a TON while I was pregnant! Close to 40 pounds, if you really want to know. And I am down to my last 10 to get back to my pre-baby size. I'm flattered by the compliments, but sometimes they seem a bit back-handed. You look great... compared to what you looked like 6 months ago! I know, it's just something you're supposed to say to a new mom and I shouldn't read too much into it. And please don't think I'm fishing for more compliments here.

Truth be told, I feel pretty damn good about myself (most days)! I still have a bit of tummy fat I could live without, stretch marks that will forever be a reminder to keep the bikini a thing of my past, and a little extra wave in my wave, if you know what I mean. But I can fit into my skinny jeans again without too much of a struggle, so I consider that a win! Even my fingers have slimmed down! I can finally wear my wedding rings again without fear of needing an amputation to get them off!

I'm no weight loss expert, but here are some tips for other new moms to consider:

1. Breastfeed- I guess it's true that breastfeeding helps with losing the pregnancy weight. I thought it was total bullshit, but I lost the first 20lbs without even trying. The nurses at the hospital also told me that if you pee before you breastfeed, the weight comes off even faster. This might have been a sneaky nurse's trick to make sure I didn't hold it in because going to the bathroom was such a fucking process right after giving birth, I actually had to plan it in my schedule. Trick or no trick, it doesn't hurt to try... Well, sometimes it hurt, but that's another blog topic all together.

2. Eat for one- you're not eating for two anymore, so KNOCK IT OFF! Actually, you never were eating for two.  You only need like 200 extra calories per day when your pregnant. That's like a handful of crackers and some cheese. So all those extra helpings of pizza and ice cream are not to be blamed on a hungry fetus. I'm totally guilty of this too and take full responsibility for my gluttonous behavior. I can't even promise that I won't commit this crime again should I get pregnant with baby #2...

3. Take a baby out to eat- if you have trouble sticking to tip #2, take a baby out to eat for every meal. Seriously. It doesn't even have to be yours! Any baby will do! (No kidnapping, please). It doesn't matter where I am or how hungry I feel, when my baby is with me, it's an instant diet. Those little suckers come fully programmed to detect your meal times and instantly put a stop to over eating, or eating in general. My baby, for instance, has Waiter Radar. Whenever we go out to eat, her alarm goes off just as the waiter brings my food to the table. Sometimes I get to eat an entire piece of bread before she sounds her alarm, but most of the time I end up having to feed or change her, or just entertain her while my food sits on the plate getting cold. By the time she's settled, my room temperature Eggplant Parmesan with cold, stiff mozzarella cheese on top is just not appetizing anymore. Don't have time or money to go out to eat for every meal? No worries. This diet works at home too. I can't tell you how many days go by when my husband gets home from work and asks me what I had for lunch and I can't remember. That's because I didn't have lunch at all. I know these aren't the healthiest choices, but they aren't really choices. They are just consequences of being around a very small, very needy human being 24/7.

4. Babies make great dumb bells- No, I did not just call my child a dumb bell. I said she makes a great dumb bell. She does! The one part of my body that I'm most proud of right now and not afraid to bare in public are my arms. I'm constantly walking around with an extra 16 lbs in my arms, usually while performing some kind of task around the house. I also squeeze in some work on my triceps just by playing with my daughter by lifting her up and down, or do crunches while we play airplane with her on my shins. She's a built-in home gym!