Friday, February 29, 2008

When overacheivers become parents

One word oh ye of little humor: Sarcasm.
When I do something, I become obsessed. Not only do I buy the thing, use the thing and join online clubs about the thing, I try to get everyone I know and some people I don't to do the thing as well. It doesn't matter whether it is a new TV show I am watching, book I am reading or pair of jeans that make my ass look great (this hasn't happened yet, but when it does...) . Not only do I have to find out everything about it as it consumes my entire world, I feel that it is my mission in life to get everyone I know on the same band wagon. For example, or as they say in Guatamala, Por Ejemplo: I love a lipstick, everyone must buy and use the lipstick religiously regardless of whether they too are albino.

The same holds true for my parenting style. When I lost, I mean quit, I mean got laid off from my job and became a stay at home mom, the idea of parenting became my life's work. I was going to perfect the job and every time a mom just happened to have an epi pen for another mom's child at the park while her allergy free child played on the jungle gym, it would be known as "pulling an Alyssa". As most of you already know from observing casually from the sidelines, I am probably the best parent that ever lived. This is due mostly to me having the most smartest and handsomest baby that ever lived but I digress...back to me. Being the best parent, surprisingly, didn't come naturally to me (killer of all things green and living). I had to work at it, though not too hard, having a baby doesn't mean never having to say you didn't shower.

When I was pregnant, I was bound and determined to learn everything I possibly could about being a mom. The books alone set us back so far the only way we are going to be able to afford college is if he gets a dance scholarship (what? football is dangerous!) Luckily, thanks to a thing called the internet, I slowly but surely became an expert on the basics, sleep, crying, pooping that sort of thing. But it wasn't enough of a challenge. I needed more. So I added exclusive breast feeding to the mix. I could feel the tension to be the best rising, it felt like a hug from Jesus.

Then I thought, everyone breastfeeds, what can I do to set myself apart from the "regulars"? Several ideas crossed my mind. Sewing? Nah, needs a machine. Knitting? Tried it but I am slow and I have enough friends who do it well to keep me in blankets for years. No, I thought, what can I disguise my ulterior motives of supreme mommy-dom with cheapness, greenness...hmmm.... Then it hit me. CLOTH DIAPERING. Just the ticket I needed to put my name down in the all time best mommy hall of fame. Ahhhh, the panic I missed so much from being removed from, ahem, no longer in the workplace was setting back in.

Now, since I have mastered these, my new goal is to get all of my friends on the same road to greatness. I want them to join me in my struggle to be the best, resulting in stress, guilt and panic that they aren't the best and perfect parent I obviously am. I am no longer a stay at home mom. I have moved to management!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The others


Okay, so it is starting to get creepy. Everyone that I meet asks me about my other kids. It worried me the first time it happened. At the hospital the nurses kept asking me when my other kids were coming to meet their baby brother. I just stared blankly at them until they realized their mistake. So many nurses asked about my invisible kids that I started getting concerned that they had mixed up some files and the baby I was holding was someone else's. I expressed this concern to the nurse on duty and she laughed--somewhat nervously--and backed out of the room glancing at my file.

I figured this nonsense would stop when we got home but it hasn't! I have been asked by so many people how it could be true that I only have this one baby. Doctors, nurses, lab techs, people at church and even perfect strangers ask about my other children. I began to believe this was a comment on my waist size or a nice way of saying I looked ten years older than I am.

Finally, when a lady at church asked me how old my other kids were I had to ask:

Her: So, how old are your other kids?
Me: Everyone says that! He is my only one, why do you think I have more??
Her: You are so relaxed and comfortable with him.
Oliver: ZZZZZZZZZZZzzz
Me: Yea you should see me when he is awake!
Her: Well, you must be a nurse then.
Me: Honey, I'm not even a nice person!
Friend standing neaby: schnerfgurgle (the sound coffee makes going up one's nose)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Month in review

Oliver is a month old! Can anyone believe that my tiny baby boy is now 10 lbs and 3 ounces at last weigh in!? He is more than I could have wished for and I am already learning so much from him. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I would run down the life lessons I learned from my first month of being a mommy.

1. No matter what you see on Ally McBeal, babies don't dance naked. They scream naked, especially when water is involved.
2. Just because babies grunt does not mean they need to poop, burp or eat. Grunting is their idea of fun.
3. Holding babies will make them sore...unless their great-grandma is the one doing the holding.
4. Multi-tasking while nursing causes pain.
5. Sleeping through the night is a myth.
6. The best place to kiss a baby is their neck, do it often.
7. It is ok to feel sad when the umbilical cord falls off, it is the last part that attached the baby to you.
8. Never trust a gas smile, it is often followed by projectile vomit.
9. A concerned lick on the face by the family dog never hurt anyone.
10. Learn to love when the baby doesn't want to be put down. Soon he will pull away.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bad mommy


When you get pregnant people will tell you that eventually, everyone will give you a piece of advice and most of the time, you shouldn't listen. The unspoken exception, of course, is the piece of advice that person gives you. It is true though, the longer you are a parent the more you will be made to feel that you are a bad one. Below you will find the examples that perhaps your intuition is the best solution to Nosy Nellies.

Baby Wearing: Some people, who double as body builders I assure you, decide to carry around their kids in the car seat or to lug around a stroller everywhere they go. I decide to put my baby in a pouch and take him everywhere I go. This way, I have two hands and Oliver stays warm and secure. I was so proud! Then, I went to the "natural" parenting store down in South Austin. Where I was accosted by not one but two hippies who I HOPE worked there who informed me that I was doing it all wrong. The baby was sound asleep unaware that I was putting his very life in danger by not wearing my sling properly. Thankfully, this twit helped me to see the error in my ways, switched the sling around and my baby's existence was made better for it. Of course, he was ill informed because like the ingrate he is, Oliver started wailing as soon as the sling was "fixed". Thanks so much hippy lady! How about I don't tell you how to put deodorant on and you don't tell me the "right" way to wear what amounts to two yards of fabric.
Binkies (Pacifiers): As a rule, I am against them. I heard that they caused nipple confusion (whatever that means) and can cause the breastfeeding relationship to end early as they cover up the signs of true hunger. However, I kept hearing over and over that a binky habit is easier to break than that of thumb sucking. This is due of course to the law against removing your child's thumbs I guess, silly laws. So, we decided to try a pacifier. The first time, he spit it out the first couple of times but finally took it. Then, we had a horrible night where he kept spitting MY nipple out. A couple of days later we tried again and he took the binky with no issue and was so cute doing so. Later, at feeding time, he refused to latch again. I then realized, THIS is nipple confusion and no wonder people stop breastfeeding! The pacifier met our trashcan.

Breastfeeding: To be fair, most people are pretty supportive of this choice in this day and age. However, you still get some good ones from the older generation. It hurts (not if you do it right), it is inconvenient (yes, and formula runs freely in the streets), other people can't feed the baby (it is the one time I get to hold the baby around others) and finally, my favorite, formula is just as good (in no way is formula even CLOSE to being just as good as boobie juice, ask any doctor anywhere).

Cloth diapering: Boy did I ever hear it about this one. No one thought this would work and everyone laughed in my face when I told them my plans to cloth diaper my baby. Firstly, never tell me I can't do something. I will prove to you that I can just so I can laugh in your face. However, I tried the disposables for two weeks while I was getting used to being a mother. But, due to an under-exercised dog and an overactive baby bowel, we soon ran out of pampers. I refused to buy more and so we made the switch. Now, with 'sposies we had daily leaks. Because of this, I was doing laundry every day. With cloth, we have had only one leak in two weeks and that was due to me being a forgetful person and not changing him after a feeding, oops. I now do laundry (just diapers) every two or three days and I don't have to bundle up the baby, get him in a car seat and go to the grocery store every time I need more diapers. Everyone should use cloth, they are cuter, funner, cheaper and better for the earth. Mainly though, I do it for the cute covers!

Co-Sleeping:
After reading several books on both sides of the issue, I decided I would rather my child feel secure rather than pop out of my warm cozy womb and then be placed in a cold vacant room with nary a friendly face in sight. So when a friend mentioned that she fears she would crush the child, I was quick to come back with "It is really difficult to do so as you are very aware of your child being in the bed." To my shock, this friend had the gall to retort, "Oh, I guess all those people killed their babies on purpose then." Actually, those who do end up rolling over on the baby are usually drunk and forget that the baby is even there, not conscientious co-sleeping parents. Just for those of you wondering, the baby sleeps in his crib and cradles during naps, just not at night.

Okay, so there you have it. Every time I have tried it their way, I end up realizing why I decided to do it my way to begin with. I appreciate almost all of the advice I have received, but I must remember that I am the mommy, not them, and this child will be a reflection of the decisions I make. Ultimately, I will need to answer to the man my son will become and not those well wishers so I have to make sure that every choice I make will directly affect that future person. Do I really want those without such a stake in it making my decisions for me!?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First bathy wathy

As someone wise once said, "Rubber ducky, you're the one. You make bath time lots of fun." After two days of crying, (and yes, I will be posting a video of the baby actually crying as no one believes me that he does since he shuts up the second before someone walks through the door) we have found peace. Due to an eruption of vomit paralleling most small volcanoes (seriously, if there had been villagers, they all would have died miserably) resulting in matted smelly hair and crusty ears, we decided to give the baby his first jacuzzi or bath as the "regular" people say.

Now, as you will remember, he hates everything at this time of his delicate precious young life. Expensive swing: hates it. Beautiful hand me down cradle: Over it. Sling he used to cherish: royally pisses him off. But as soon as his soft booty settled into the warm water filled tub, joy, nay, rapture, crossed his baby monkey brow. He did not utter one cry nor shout of protest as water poured over his hair once marred by feta stink. He even let us wash his naughty bits without much problem.

I am so excited by this, I may start bathing him every night as he is now, dare I say, asleep. Oh joy of all joys...I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river...

video

Bellybutton


Here is what has been going on in my house for the past two days, day and night by the way. I will show you what it looked like from both my and Oliver's perspective.

Me: Please stop crying! Please?! Seriously? Again? You want to eat again. Sure, since I have nothing left to give! Can I get a granola bar first? No, okay, what about going to pee really quick...please? I will be fast!! Okay, fine you win.

Oliver: Foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfood.

First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone for my absence of blog in the past few days. You see, I have had a baby attached to my tit. I can not pee, eat, drink or get off the couch without Oliver raising holy heck about it. He has been eating every hour for two days now. I was hoping this would mean sleeping through the night, no such luck, it was every hour during the night as well. Given that I nursed him for 20 minutes each time, I got 40 minutes of sleep at a time. I had to get up at 6am this morning to fit in a shower, because my big important husband couldn't be bothered to stick around in the morning to allow me to bathe so I fit my hygene around him. All in all, I got around 4.5 hours of sleep or 280 minutes of sleep. This isn't counting the rocking, burping and waking up because the baby was groaning in his sleep.

I tried walking the block with him slung around me which was a good idea, except that I brought the dog. Sadly, we ran into some kids playing which scared the dog so much she pulled off the halter and went speeding down the street back home. I guess I should be thankful for the fact that she stayed on the sidewalk but at that point I was kinda hoping for a hit and run. My ever so helpful neighbor nicely suggested that my dog may have gotten off the leash. REALLY!? Thanks for the newsflash sherlock!! She just stood there and laughed as I trudged after my (dead) dog with my infant strapped onto my chest. I wonder how she would feel if she got a flaming bag of poo on her front step and then I stood across the street and said, "Hey, I think your welcome mat is on fire." and then when she stepped on it, "Hey, I think you have crap on your shoes." Heres your sign lady!

So desperate were we that we went to Target as soon as CT got home to buy a swing. He hates it. Not surprising, as he hates everything except boobs. I guess this is good practice for the teenage years (yuk yuk). In fact, I am torturing him at this very moment by forcing him to swing in the evil thing. Well, at least it was expensive.

Oh yea, and the crying infant that is sucking my soul out through my nipples? He lost his umbilical cord. That WOULD have been news if I wasn't so tired. He really does have the cutest bellybutton though!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Intervention


I see only one way this blog can go. Either it can be a source of enjoyment for everyone and possibly a way for me to eventually write for a living (if any of you know of a company needing a blog writer - hint hint) or it can be a source of shame and frustration. It can not be a source of enjoyment if it is pressure washed out of me. I realize many of you have Oliver withdrawals from going a day without hearing about his feeding, pooping, and sleeping dramas. I also realize trying to quit Oliver has been likened to quiting smoking or trying to just have one Lays potato chips. In fact, thanks to "Intervention" one of my favorite blog subscribers is now happily in a half way house trying to avoid the internet. However, as your dealer, I beg you to, as the gangstas say, back up off me! I can not be my usual witty, brilliant and dare I say drop dead gorgeous self with you addicts breathing down my neck!

In other news, has anyone noticed how badly my baby photographs? He looks like an old man in his best photos, at worst he looks like a wrinkled angry troll doll. He is beautiful in real life, and he makes the cutest noises and I have no doubt he will be famous, talented and brilliant, but honestly, he is sorta ugly on film. I can admit this for one reason, I too have Badphotoitis. You can curl my hair, put makeup on me, whatever, but once that camera is on me, I go from Hollywood to Hag in no time. I realize that no one likes being told that their babies are ugly, so think of how I feel telling myself that he is!

Operation cord watch, day 21. So far, the top part of the bellybutton is showing, I believe we might have an outie on our hand. However, the stump perseveres and it is all I can do to keep CT from pulling the thing off. I am sure it wouldn't REALLY hurt anything, but I can't help but thinking that if we pulled it off instead of waiting for it to fall off, the baby will either lose air and go flying around the room like a popped balloon, or when we pull all Oliver's insides would follow. I will keep you updated as to the status of the stump.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cloth Diaper Praise


And they said it couldn't be done! Oliver is a fuzzy-butt and loving it! We decided to not buy more disposable diapers and to try out the cloth ones instead. Once the initial difficulty of figuring out how to put a cloth diaper on a tiny squirming human was over, he seemed to enjoy the cottony goodness. I sort of just grabbed whichever cover I could find which just happened to be the girliest one (as seen in photo). Obviously he was completely humiliated that everyone at the Mercedes dealership had to see him like this. Later, he killed a man just for looking at him funny. Said he didn't like the man's face.

The greatest thing is that there have been NO leaks. We used them all night long and it was the first night we had no pee on the sheets!! Down with disposables I say!! Also, cloth is uber-cute and with the creation of a thing I like to call "velcro" cloth is totally easy. I just did a load of laundry and even though there were a few explosive poops last night, NO STAINS!! Take THAT corporate America, no more cartoons on my baby's cute hiney!

Now for the bad part about last night. I slept about 20 minutes give or take a few seconds. The baby is absolutely on an 18 hour day, and he thought that it was early evening instead of the middle of the night. I woke up to feed him at 3am, fell asleep shortly after and woke up at 5am to find him still. latched. on. Granted, he probably stopped eating, fell asleep and woke up to find my boob still out and said, hey an all night buffet, my kind of cruise and had at it again. Quite disconcerting though, I feel like I was kidnapped by space aliens and lost a few hours. I was glad to be able to sleep late today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This is why I cosleep...


(I did not write this. I found it on a website, but it really does explain quite well why we have decided to cosleep and not put the baby on a schedule.)

SLEEP TRAINING FROM A BABY'S PERSPECTIVE:

OK, here is my situation. My Mommy has had me for almost 7 months. The first few months were great - I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, day or night. Then something happened. Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep thru the night). At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I have talked to other babies, and it seems like it is pretty common after Mommies have had us for around 6 months.

Here is the thing: these Mommies do not really need to sleep. It is just a habit. Many of them have had
some 30 years to sleep--they just do not need it anymore. So, I am implementing a plan. I call it the Cry-baby Shuffle. It goes like this:

Night 1--cry every 3 hours until you are fed. I know, it is hard. It is hard to see your Mommy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it is for her own good.
Night 2--cry every 2 hours until you are fed.
Night 3 - every hour.

Most Mommies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some Mommies are more alert, and may resist the change longer. These Mommies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Do not give in. I cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY! If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just once, she will expect it every night. I KNOW IT IS HARD! However, she really does not need the sleep; she is just resisting the change. If you have an especially alert Mommy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mommy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it. Last night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and just go for it. BE CONSISTENT! I cried for any reason I could come up with:

My sleep sack tickled my foot.
I felt a wrinkle under the sheet.
My mobile made a shadow on the wall.
I burped, and it tasted like pears. I hadn't eaten pears since lunch, what is up with that?
The cat said "meow". I should know. My Mommy reminds me of this about 20 times a day.
Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room.

Too hot, too cold, just right--does not matter! Keep crying!
It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4 am. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30 am. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your Mommies' internal clocks.

P.S. Do not let those rubber things fool you; no matter how long you suck on them, no milk will come out. Trust me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Dog for sale


If you are one of my neighbors and just happened to look over your fence into my yard this afternoon, please, don't call the authorities. My dog did not, repeat, did not eat my baby. I know what you thought you saw. The nest of half eaten diapers, the burp cloths spread asunder and my dog prancing amongst the debris happily tossing a onesie up in the air and catching it joyously in her teeth. I assure you, no baby was caught in the crossfire and was safely with me when the massacre of baby items happened.

Okay, so some of it was my fault. In my struggle to juggle (poet and didn't know it) a diaper bag, a bill I needed to mail, a dress to return, and a baby without dropping one or more of these items I forgot to put the dog outside before I left the house. To tell you the truth, it was the last thing on my list of priorities. Little did I know that dogs too feel sibling rivalry. My theory as to why the dog passed up all the usual suspects; the box of chocolates on the table, the stack of newspaper on the counter and (her favorite) the drawer full of pot holders is this: she went for the things that smelled most like that new tiny person who takes all of our attention away from her. Unluckily for us, we just moved a changing table downstairs and loaded it with $50 or 12 hours worth of disposable diapers.

The saddest part about this whole thing is that I was so desperate for diapers, as we are down to a precious few, that I picked around the yard for any usable ones that might have been overlooked in my dog's murderous spree. I found two, I brushed them off and I plan on using them.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Oliver: Two weeks later


Ok, admit it. There are some of you out there who are completely surprised that I have been able to keep this baby alive for this long. No, I am not offended at all, in fact, I am one of those people. I am not one of those nurturers that can cause a plant to bloom with a wave of their hands. In fact, most plants die within minutes of darkening my doorway. That being said, it is somewhat of a miracle that the baby is not only surviving but thriving. I got a bit sad today because his newborn onesies his Grandmommy bought him a week ago no longer fit him. I forced it a bit to snap just because I wasn't ready for the 0-3 stage yet.

So many milestones to celebrate in the past two weeks! He came out (a must I assure you), he is nursing well and often, he poops all the time, he pees even more, he has had not one but two baths (one completely done by me!), he can pick his head up, he can turn over onto his side and he has started picking out colleges.

Next two weeks, who knows...when do they start talking!? All in all, this is much easier than was expected. I am getting enough sleep, I am not screaming in frustration and neither is he, I can count on one finger the number of times he has cried for no reason and that only lasted a few seconds. All in all, he is the best baby monkey a mom could ask for!

Tomorrow is a red letter day. CT and I are leaving the baby for the first time. We have a holiday party (don't ask) to go to for his work and wanted a date night. So, my mom is going to babysit. Now if I didn't look like a whale in everything I own...