Monday, May 6, 2013

I have become one of them

Mr. Man turned one last month. He has grown and changed so much over the past 12 months, and I have grown and changed along with him. My values shifted instantaneously without conscious effort. I have learned more about life and myself from my now 22 pound ball of curiosity than I had ever thought possible. So much of what I thought I would and wouldn't do as a mom flew out the window once the baby arrived. Is it all rainbows and unicorns...certainly not. Do we still struggle with sleep and naps...yes indeed. However, along this nap-devoid, messy adventure, I've made some simple but meaningful realizations.
I never understood why parents have no time for house cleaning, eyebrow waxing, showering (when he was a breast-feeding infant), or magazine reading...I get it now.
I never understood the satisfaction of reading a 15-word book 12 times in 6 minutes...I get it now.
I never understood the joy of watching a bright-eyed tot bang on pots and pans...I get it now.
I never understood why mothers had Cheerios spilling out from every bag and jeans/jacket/stroller pocket available....I get it now. In fact, I have become one of them---a card carrying member of the Cheerios toting mom's club.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oktoberfest preparations

Every year, Hubby's best buddies from college host their "traditional" events celebrating important holidays like New Year's Day and March Madness. Hubby has been promising that we would hold Oktoberfest in honor of our time in Germany as soon as we were settled in Frederick. Well, I wouldn't exactly call us "settled," but with an infant, is anything ever really settled...I think not. So, today begins the last minute scramble for cleaning and house preparations. Tomorrow is food prep and decorating. The good thing about working full time and having a baby is that I don't have time to obsess over this party like I normally would. Cheers to seeing good friends from all stages of our lives tomorrow to celebrate another all imporant holiday--Oktoberfest.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why didn't anyone tell me...

I have a 5 month old baby (pausing while I re-read that sentence, absorbing the enormity of it). The past months since my baby's birth have been the most challenging months of my life. We are both crying less and smiling more now, but it has been a rough road. There have been many moments that I have been upset with my parent friends for not telling me details that would have helped me know what to expect. If I had known some of these things, I might not have felt so isolated/inadequate while I was going through them. So, as part catharsis and part message/head's up to my friends who will become parents, here are the things that I wish my friends had told me:

1. Having a newborn will likely be one of the most challenging experience of your life.

2. You will spend hours taking childbirth classes, reading books, talking to friends, and scouring websites preparing for what happens during the actual birth of your baby. NEWSFLASH: Your body and the professionals who have gone to school for 20+ years and delivered a bajillion babies DO know what to do. Spend time reading what happens AFTER the baby is how to instill good sleeping habits, how to breastfeed, how to use your stroller, how to use your breast pump, etc.

3. Your baby may not nap for two hours at a time like other babies do. In fact, your baby may only catnap for 30-40 minutes every nap...every day. And, he may fight against those short naps, too. This will allow you to get nothing done around the house. Don't even try.

4. There will be no time to shower, drink tea, eat real food, or pee.

5. Let people help you. This is not time to compete for the martyr of the month competition. If your mother wants to stay with you for a week...let her. If your neighbor wants to make you food...order up!

6. Your baby will cry for long periods of time. He won't be hungry, tired, cold, hot, wet, poopy, etc. He will just cry. You will feel helpless because you won't know how to help the little guy. You will figure it out, but it will be a process of trial and error.

7. Your baby will poop again as soon as you change his diaper.

8. Poop will gross you out at first. Within a matter of days, you won't bat an eyelash at it.

9. Breastfeeding may be "natural" but neither you nor your baby will likely know what to do. It may take a really long time to get the hang of it. Find a good lactation consultant; they are worth their weight in gold.  (The first three that I contacted bailed on me.)

10. People will offer ALL KINDS of unsolicited advice regarding baby-rearing in general and breastfeeding in particular. They will tell you that your baby is not getting enough to eat, that you won't be able to breastfeed, that your baby will have nipple confusion, etc. Listen to no one. Trust yourself.

11. Your milk ducts can get clogged. This causes the baby to get very upset which makes breastfeeding difficult. Hot showers, massaging until you are bruised, and cabbage leaves worked for me. And still work. It continues to happen. Five months later.

12. You will be tired all of the time. You will fall asleep while nursing. You will get through it.

13. You will feel anxious the first time...okay the first 20 times...that you are alone with your baby.

14.You will feel love for your baby like nothing you've ever known or imagined.

Good luck, my would-be parent friends!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Amnesia, please.

Do women who have children acquire post-delivery amnesia? I think that they must. At 38 weeks, 6 days (yes, I am counting), I cannot imagine wanting to be pregnant again. I haven't had a horror-story daily violent vomitting (just lots of dry heaving coupled with constant nausea for the first 20-some weeks), no high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia, no required bedrest (just sciatica pain so severe that I am limited to the bed or couch for most of the past two weeks), but still! I'm guessing that the sight of one's own child being brought into this world or the birthing process itself casts an invisibility cloak over all of those negatives...if not, it seems that the world would be filled with only chlidren!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Having a boy...making a skirt

I began to create a baby registry...ugh. In doing so, I realized that I liked NONE of the crib bedding options. They were either very gender-specific (pink, flowered, cupcakes OR blue, baseballs and trucks) or just plain ugly. So, I spent some time (okay, a lot of time) researching other options. Once I decided to make my own crib skirt (thanks to for the instructions and reassurance that despite my woeful lack of sewing ability, I could, indeed, create a cribskirt), I spend some time (okay, a lot of time) researching for the right material.,, all had adorable fabrics and colors, but the choices were a bit overwhelming for my already indecisive proclivities. So, Hubby and I decided to take a little break from the house during the last 60 degree weekend. We ventured to Old Town Alexandria and found a cute little home store in which a well-dressed, well-spoken, well-groomed man directed us to the holy grail...the perfect fabric.

The only problem...$35 per yard plus shipping. So, conservatively, I would spend over $150 on fabric for the skirt and valences IF (and that is a big if), I didn't make any mistakes requiring recutting. This thrifty girl left empty-handed.

Baby D wasn't letting me sleep that night, and hubby was still up working on one of his gazillion projects, so my iphone and I surfed the net and found a similar pattern for $16 per yard...10 more minutes of kicking (Baby D, not me), and I found the same fabric for $10 per yard plus free shipping at SOLD! The fabric arrived last week, and this morning, I tackled the crib skirt. The skilled decorista (yes, I just created that word) at said it took her 40 minutes to make her no-sew crib skirt. Me...four hours minus a lunch break and a visit to the tea shop. Nonetheless, I was truly in my glory. There is definitely something to this nesting thing. Here is the final product.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a...

BOY! We found out the sex of the baby during my 20 week ultrasound last week, and let me tell you that we were both shocked. When the little penis appeared on the ultrasound tech's screen, we both did a double-take. Hubby had wanted a girl...friends and random others told me that the signs (terrible morning sickness, weight gain in my chest, etc.) indicated a girl was on the way. So, I was convinced they were probably right. Even though Hubby had wanted a girl, he said that he adjusted to the idea of having a boy rather quickly. Me...not so much. All that I could think about on the extra long, Thanksgiving-eve drive to my parents' house was, "What am I going to do with a boy?" I am a girl (obviously), so I have a little insight into what to do with one of those, but my niece is a girl (again, obviously) and I have two sisters and I wasn't around boys while I was growing up. So again..."What am I going to do with a boy?" reverberated through my thoughts. My family, who, with the exception of my dad who has been surrounded by sisters, daughters, and female pets all of his life, wanted a girl. Needless to say, they were beyond shocked when we told them. I think they were disappointed. But alas, the important part was that our boy has a healthy heart, bowels, lungs, spine, brain, and extremities. Whew...a sigh of relief.

After a lovely Thanksgiving Day filled with turkey and other gluten-free goodies (everyone LOVED my gluten-free stuffing), we lurched into an awkward day-after-Thanksgiving ritual. The ritual of purchasing an ornament on the day after from local crafters isn't the awkward part, but interacting with my sis and mom (between whom the the tension was thicker than GaGa's eyelashes) definitely was. I was honestly a bit relieved that we had to leave early to welcome our new renters (another story for another time).

So, after one more breakdown last night, my uber-supportive Hubby (who also made me gluten free cc cookies and sang to me for my b-day last night) made me sit down and start looking at boy nursery ideas. He knows that I need something tangible to reduce my anxiety. The result was, as predicted, a relaxing reduction in anxiety, and I found lots of cool, non-blue, non-teddy bear, non-baseball bat themed rooms for CHEAP posted by women who want to have children without literally buying in to the consumerism and commercialism that comes with that dangerous four-lettered word: BABY. Here are some of my favorite designs

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baby Donahue

So, the other really big news...I'm pregnant!