Thursday, November 10, 2016

Looking Back: Early Journal Entries from a New Mom

Recently, a new mom friend sent me a text message asking a question about something from "the early days".  New Mom Friend is just coming out of Week One. I remember those days.

...or at least...I thought I did.  And then I tried to answer her question and was all:
Because guess what--I was totally sleep deprived during those days, not to mention dealing with crazy hormonal fluctuations and Baby Blues and Mom Guilt and the overwhelming information on the interwebs and trying to play doctor on myself every few hours (because giving birth is a major medical ordeal, folks, and you have stitches...DOWN THERE) while also learning to keep a tiny new human alive. I really don't remember much, except that people came to see us and brought us yummy food, I was watching Treme on Amazon Prime during overnight feedings, and I spent a lot of time on my couch. 

But pre-baby, someone suggested "get a journal, and write in it every day".  And I did.  And now, I can look back, and at least get a few chuckles.  So I decided to share a few of those moments from the first 2 months here, with you.  If you're an experienced mom, maybe these will trigger a few slap-happy early day memories for you.  And if you're a new mom, or a not-yet-a-mom, or a mom-to-be, or even a spouse, maybe some of it might help you someday. Maybe even today.  

Tues, 10/6/15 - Happy birthday *Baby J*!  born 6:43pm, 19.5" length, 7#5oz. Rough night-Baby had trouble maintaining body temp.  Nurses took him down to NICU 2x to be under the warmer. [Note: our hospital practices rooming-in to encourage/support breastfeeding; there is no well-baby nursery.]

Thurs, 10/8/15 - They sent us home. We know nothing.  Tough 1st night: baby is confused between days and nights.  Hubs & I take shifts sitting up thru the night with him.
Sat, 10/10/15 - Lesson #1: don't eat chili again. Baby bean farts are BAD.  Rough night- Grandma, Hubs & I all take turns staying up with the baby.

Sun 10/11/15 - Was able to hobble through Wal-Mart with my mom to buy a nightlight for the nursery and some newborn onesies while Hubs stayed home with the baby.  Had to lean on cart the whole time and was worn out by the time I got home.  Much better night--sleeping 2 hours at a time [Note: This is my favorite entry ever.  I look back at it every time Lil' Man has what we call a "rough night" now, which involves 2-3x wakings in one night.]

Mon 10/12/15 - Eating like a champ. Less fussy.  Tried pumping for the first time after his a.m. feeding; got <0.5 oz.  Depressing for 10 minutes of work.
Fri, 10/16/15 -ROUGH DAY.  Soaked thru 4 sheets, peed on himself 2x during changing, needed clothes changed 6 times.  Fussy most of the afternoon, not wanting to sleep or lay down. Learned how to wear the Boba wrap.  Dealing with some serious Baby Blues. Hubs watched the baby while I ran some errands--A BIG HELP.  My 1st time out of the house since Monday. Pumped at 8pm to see how much I was making: ~1oz.  Fed it to the baby in a bottle--not great with the bottle, needed burped 3x, and still hungry after. Sorry, I'm empty. Thankfully had some stockpiled in the fridge.

Sat, 10/17/15 - Pumped at 10am: ~1.5 oz, and again at 5pm - 1oz.  Mom was here, so Hubs & I were able to get out of the house TOGETHER ALONE while Mom watched the baby. Went to Walgreens to pick up photos and for a walk at the park. Sy fussy from 4:30-9pm, tried gas drops around 8:30p. Asleep by 10pm, slept in 3 hr chunks.
Tues, 10/20/15 - Baby is 2 WEEKS OLD!  Hubs' mom here in the afternoon.  Hubs & I able to go out for our 1st date night (dinner at Patrick's) since baby was born. Gone for about 1.5 hrs.

Thurs 10/22/15 - Baby only fussy during family photos-- go figure.  Cooked dinner for the 1st time since baby was born: Italian sausage & zucchini "pasta" with a caramel apple sauce over ice cream for dessert. Published birth story on blog.
Sat 10/24/15: Baby very fussy this morning. Mom in town for the day. Finally got baby down for a nap around 12:30p. NEED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Mom watched baby while Hubs & I went to Target.  Of course, baby slept entire time we were gone.

Mon 10/26/15: 1st day home alone without the Hubs.  Baby slept most of the day. Had trouble getting him to fall asleep after bedtime feeding--kept waking & crying every half hour until 1am.

Tues 10/27/15: 3 weeks old, pediatrician appt today.  Baby has a yeast infection on his FACE.  Had to get meds at Walgreens--baby screamed the entire time while waiting in the drive-thru because car wasn't moving, Cashier gave me grief because he didn't have his own insurance card yet. So. Tired.

Thurs 10/29/15: Baby wanted to be held ALL. DAY.  Hubs' mom visited again & stayed with the baby so we could get out.  Ate at Red Lobster. It was amazing. Pumped 2.5 oz...one of the girls is underperforming.
Sun 11/1/15: Mom & Dad came down so we could go to Amy's murder mystery party.  Gone for 4 hours; baby ate 2 bottles while we were gone. VERY FULL...nursed him when we got home, and then still pumped another 5oz.  OUCH.

Tues 11/3/15: Very fussy in evening--we are TIRED.  Hubs is awesome for mastering the bedtime swaddle. I love him a LOT. 

Thurs 11/5/15: 1st outing into public with baby--Taco Bell for free A.M. CrunchWraps. Baby doesn't nap well, was fussy from 3pm until bed at 9:30.  ROUGH NIGHT.

Sun 11/8/15: [Note: a little over 1 month old] Went to Life Group for the first time since baby was born.  Baby napped most of the day, then fussy all evening, and VERY fussy at bedtime.  Woke up at 10:30p, 11p, 11:30p, finally asleep at 11:45p.  Woke at 3:30a and 7:30a for feeding.
Wed 11/11/15:  Dreary, wet, windy day.   Stayed inside, but need to GET OUT.  Hubs stayed with baby while I ran to get coffee without the baby.  Took my time and found a geocache. Did not pump.

Wed 11/17/15: Smiles today! Don't care if they're just gas--I need them. Napped in swing until lunch.  Went to Wal-Mart, baby fell asleep in the car seat on the way home, then wouldn't nap in crib or anywhere else except while being held.  Had to use wrap to wear him from 2-6p when Hubs got home--including while making dinner. Didn't burn baby or self.
Fri 11/20/15:  Tried bathing in the baby bath tub again--still hates it. [Note: We had to give him sponge baths on his changing table for about the first 3 months of his life.] Baby slept 10pm-5am.  Checked to make sure he was still breathing around 3am.

Tues 11/24/15: Fussy in the evening. Tried putting him down to bed at 9pm--he fought sleep until midnight again. Woke to feed around 3:30am.

Thurs 11/26/15: Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my amazing husband, our miracle child, for a good job, a roof over our heads, family, no debt, and the exercise ball.
Sun 11/29/15: Head home from Mom & Dad's house at 5:30p.  Stop at Menard's at the Lake--baby very fussy while Hubs ran into store--apparently gassy and big poop. Earth's Best diapers are WORTHLESS.  Had to change him on the floor of a Taco Bell bathroom...nursed him while I was there, sitting on the floor, because why not.  He slept rest of the way home.  House was 47F when we got home because Hubs had turned off heat before we left.  Had to set up a space heater in nursery.

Wed 12/2/15: Found mold in my pump parts.  Cried.  Then cleaned and sanitized pump parts.

Thurs 12/7/15: 2 Month Dr's appt today. Got 3 shots and 1 oral vax + Tylenol. Slept on way home  then fussy every hour, fed every hour, with 1 hour naps between. Had a poo-splosion--tried to give a regular bath, but he hated it. Screamed when we took his Band-Aids off.  I went grocery shopping to get away for a bit.  Had two poopy (soupy) diapers overnight.  Woke at 4am to feed, had to rock 'til 5am to get him back to sleep. Love him anyway.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Adventures in Parenting: 13 Months

Another month, another post!

1. Halloween.  Last year, he was too little (3 weeks old) to grasp the concept.  This year...he still doesn't, but he was at least a willing participant.  (i.e, we let him grab the candy, but Mom & Dad are still the ones eating 99% of it.)
His favorite thing? A balloon they gave out at our church event.  
Blurry babies are happy babies.

2. Molars, yo.  Lil' Man hasn't really ever had a rough time with teething...until molars.  Molars are the devil.  They take FOR-EV-ER to come in, and trouble him the whole time. He's a drooly, fussy, fevery hot mess.

3. New Classes at Day Care.  A spot opened up in the Ones classroom when he was 1y2w, so we moved him up (even though he'll be moving to a totally different day care once we're able to finally move into our new house).  Here, he has to eat off plates, drink from a sippy cup (no bottles), sleep on a cot instead of a crib, and be surrounded by 7 other kids who already know how to walk and run circles around him.
So far, he's done amazingly well--he takes THREE HOUR naps.  On a cot. It's crazy.  He hasn't been doing as great with the sippy cups--he'll drink from them, but not finish it, so he's not getting a ton of fluids during the day, which has resulted in some [TMI] constipation issues.  

4. Still Not Walking.  And I'm okay with that.  He will develop at his own pace.  He's not going to college still crawling.    It's so hard to wait for the big milestones though.  Especially when you see other kids at the same age already THERE.  So here are some other milestones he's hit:

  • Initiating games of peekaboo with a blanket
  • Hamming it up for the camera
  • Throwing a ball to someone (and it actually getting really close to them)
  • Putting things into (and then taking them out of) containers
  • Dancing while holding on to the coffee table
  • Climbing onto the coffee table
  • Turning light switches on and off and knowing what they do (when he flips the switch, he immediately turns to look at the light)
  • Pointing at things and trying to verbalize (the dog and lights/ceiling fans are particular faves)
  • Pooping in the bathtub.


5. Talking.  Our son is a babbling fool--he loves to jabber.  But he still doesn't really use any "proper" words.  Again--not rushing him, I know he'll figure it out and one of these days he'll be following me around yelling "MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA" and I'll be wishing he COULDN'T talk.  But I know that as a responsible parent, one of my jobs is to talk with my son as much as possible so that he learns new words and how to converse, etc.

Do you know how hard it is to be an introverted parent of a toddler?  It's actually really hard for me to force myself to talk to my son.  I just want to sit here and feed you and make faces at you and take pictures of you. I don't want to prattle on about "Would you like some blueberries?  Here, have some chicken.  How about some applesauce?  Do you like your blueberries?  Would you like some milk?  Mama bought it at the store just for you!  Do you see Rocky?  Yeah, he's eating the blueberry you just threw on the floor!  He's a good little helper dog.  Where's Daddy?  Where's Mama?  Do you want some more milk?  What do you see outside?  Do you see the tree?  There goes a car!  There's a bird in the yard!  Did you finish your chicken?  Do you want some more? Are you all done? Where's Rocky?  Can you show me? Can you point at Rocky? Is Rocky a dog? Did you eat all of your blueberries?  Yay, good job! Can Mama wipe your face? Then you can get down and go play!"  It's really...really...really hard.  But I do it. [Sometimes.] Because I love my kid.  I just have to be very, very conscious of it and FORCE myself to talk.


6. Hot Dogs.  He loves them.  This is a new discovery, since we rarely have hot dogs in our house.  And I'm a little disappointed in myself in regards to just HOW MANY hot dogs he's eaten in the last two weeks.  But it's protein, it's easy, we had a bunch of them leftover from a campfire gathering, and he devours them.   I foresee many more hot dogs in our future.
Blueberries cancel out hot dogs, right?

7. Frickin' Vaccines.  It's part of life, I get it.  And I get it if a vaccine makes a kid cranky and out of sorts for a few days right after the shots. I'm mentally prepared to be extra comforting and love on my poor little one for a couple days.  But to the people who developed the MMR (measles, mumps, & rubella) vaccine...WTH?  If you haven't been through it, here's the rundown--they get sickly symptoms two weeks AFTER the shot.  Just long enough for you both to forget that he got vaccines, so all of a sudden your teething kiddo has a fever and feels poopy and run-down and wakes up 6 times a night, and you can't figure out what's wrong, until somewhere around 1am when you're half-asleep and you hallucinate remembering your pediatrician telling you "yeah, if he starts feeling bad about two weeks after the shot, that's probably what it is."  Thanks. I mean, I'm glad he's not going to get measles and all...but still.  I can't remember something my doctor told me two weeks ago. Send me an email reminder.

SOAPBOX:  I don't have a lot of anti-vax friends, but I still have *enough*.  Look--I respect your decision, whatever your reasoning, to not vaccinate your kid(s), even though I don't agree with you.  Please have the grace to do the same.  I made my choice because the people who developed those vaccines dedicated their adulthood, 8+ years of their education, plus however many years of residency and research, to the selfless mission of saving the lives of children and adults, and I would feel pretty arrogant to say, "no, I know more than you do, so I'm opting out."  Because I don't.  They went to school for it, I didn't.  I'd be pretty annoyed if a random person came in off the street and decided to try their hand at MY job.

And the argument of "well, my kid never got vaccinated and they've never been sick" doesn't fly...
a) your kid, who's only ever been exposed to your OTHER kids, hasn't yet gotten measles, mumps, or chicken pox?    Congrats, you've proved that herd immunity works in the small scale.  Try sending them to day care for a week.  
b) Vaccinations aren't going to keep my son from getting sick.  He's still going to come home sick from time to time, because there's no vaccine for the cold, bronchitis, giardia, hand-foot-mouth disease, ear infections, etc. That's part of life, and building his immune system. Vaccinations are going to keep my kid from getting something that could KILL him. (Or in the case of chicken pox, at least prevent the both of us from being completely miserable for 2 weeks--seeing as how his father & I would have to take turns staying home from work with him while he's out of day care.)

8.  At some point, your child may lick a toilet bowl plunger before you have a chance to stop him.  Just...Fair warning.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Super Nerdy Baby Shower!

My friend J is due to have a baby in November, so I hosted a baby shower for her at our house earlier this month.  J is a chemistry professor, and I'm a geologist, and we're both giant nerds, with a bunch of nerdy friends.  J is going to be having a beautiful baby girl, but since neither of us are girly-girls, I wanted to avoid the pink-plosion and keep things more fun and less gender-specific. And thus, the Super-Nerdy-Baby-Shower was born.
Mini Reese's "pies", Nerds in test tubes, "Sucrose" Candy, and a print of this book that doesn't exist but totally should, which went home with the mom-to-be.

I wanted to encompass a wide array of nerdy themes, because we are all-inclusive nerds.  It doesn't matter your particular brand of nerd--you are welcome here.  Star Wars, Trekkies, scientists, comic book hoarders, book lovers, and gamers unite!  ...but in a relatively laid-back, low-maintenance kind of way, because I'm still in the process of moving, and planning my own son's birthday party, on top of work and all that jazz.  Life is crazy, yo.  So let's have a fun gathering and play some fun games and eat some fun food that's got a nerdy spin to it.  

DECORATIONS:
I bought a large blank banner to create a high chair decoration for Lil' Man's birthday party, and saved the rest of it for this party.  After much ponderance of the periodic table of elements, I was able to spell a word that was *mostly* composed of periodic elements (alphabetic order cheat sheet if you need it).
New element #110: Gr ..."Growinapersonium"?


Then I borrowed a few labels from my office to give the house a touch of a "laboratory" feel.


In the event my boss reads this post--yes, I returned all of the labels unharmed for use on actual projects.

FOOD:
I probably had the most fun with this element.  There were so many great ideas out there, it was really hard to whittle things down. But ultimately, I went with a lot of pre-made foods, because I knew I was going to be limited on time.  Then I added fun nerdy themes to those food trays.


Cake truffles from AmyCakes in a nod to Star Trek.


Technically, it was a 5 Leia dip, but whatevs.  Also, pita chips for "KRUNCH!", DNA pasta helixes, and Element #111: Ch (cheese).


Lemon Oreo "Coins" and Super Star suckers.  Templates for the cubes here.
The "POP" station, and some "PUNCH" (ginger ale, orange juice, Orange Crush, and pomegranate juice). Free printables for comic book word bubbles here


Since J is of Jewish heritage, I also decided to make hamentashen cookies.  Not inherently "nerdy", but I thought it would be cool to throw some culture up in this party, too. I was a little nervous about making this recipe, since it's not my heritage, but the mom-to-be told me they turned out great, so apparently this Gentile can cook some decent cookies (with the help of a recipe provided by the mom-to-be).  (Note: recipe at the bottom of this post.)

GAMES:
I've been to a lot of baby showers in my day.  And I've played a lot of baby shower games.  Most of which were either: 
a) gross ("Guess This Melted Candy Bar in a Diaper" or "Taste this Baby Food", for example), 
b) involved way too much physical activity ("Chug this Beverage from a Baby Bottle", "Lick This Ice Cube & Yell 'My Water Broke'", "Toilet Paper Diaper Race", etc.), or 
c) were potentially insulting to the mom-to-be (i.e. the "Guess Mom's Waist Circumference" game, which seems totally inappropriate in ANY situation, let alone around an uncomfortable, hormonal woman).  

We'll have none of that, thank you very much. Rather, how about a skill that might actually *help* the mom-to-be, and that other moms at a baby shower might have some experience with?  Like...say...
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: BABY EDITION!
I'll say right now: I totally stole this idea of Pinterest.  But come on--Price Is Right has a good ol' nostalgic feel--who hasn't stayed home sick from school and yelled "ONE DOLLAR!!!" at their TV screen?  The mom-to-be and all the other attendees get to try to assign the prices to each baby-related item.  The guest who gets the most right wins a door prize, and the mom-to-be gets...A NEW CAR!!!  Okay, no.  But she does get to keep ALL of the items on the table.  So there's that!


And of course, because J is one of my friends from our old Wednesday night trivia team (TheBomb.com), a round of baby-related trivia seems appropriate.

I also appropriated baby photos from each of the guests who attended ahead of time, and put together a "guess who's who" game.
Here's a hint---this one is me.

If you're interested in throwing a similar party, I got all of my fonts from FontSpace.com (In Particular: Star Jedi, Montalban, Trek Arrowcaps, Chemistry, BPMolecules, and Super Plumber Brothers.)

Now...I promised you a recipe, didn't I?

(makes about 2 dozen)

Ingredients:
2/3 cup margarine (or light butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp orange juice (no pulp)
1.25 cups white flour
1.25 cups wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
jam for filling (I used raspberry jam since it was the mom-to-be's favorite, but you could do just about anything)

Directions:
Combine the butter and sugar, then add the egg & orange juice and mix well.  Mix in the baking powder & cinnamon.  Now start adding in the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating between the white and wheat. 

Refrigerate for about an hour, or up to overnight.  When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350F.  Then roll out on a well floured surface and cut into 3-4 inch circles (I used a small glass).  Place the circles on a greased or silpat-ted cookie sheet.  

Place a small dollop (about a teaspoon) of jam in the middle, and then fold into a triangle, using a "pinwheel" type pattern (think of folding a box so that the flaps keep the top shut rather than having to tape it), so that one end of the flap is on top of the previous, but the other end of the flap is tucked under the next flap.  Then pinch the corners a bit so there's a good seal.  This will help keep the cookies from opening up while baking so the filling doesn't leak out.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, so that the cookies are nice & golden, but before the filling bubbles out.