Monday, February 15, 2016

Adventures in Parenting: 4 Months In

It's that time again!  Lil' Man is one month older, and we are one month wiser.  It's amazing how much you can learn in a month.
Hi!  I've more than doubled my birth weight, I can roll onto my side, and roll from belly to back. I love to smile, but giggles are reserved for about once every other day.

1. 4 month shots suck slightly less than 2 month shots:  During his 2 month appointment, Lil' Man was miserable, because at that time, he hated being naked, he hated being cold, he hated...pretty much everything, possibly including us.  His sleep schedule and mood were completely haphazard for about a week afterward.  

This go-round, Baby J was a happy camper through his whole appointment (right up until the shots), babbling and flirting with the nurses and the doctor, looking around the room, drinking in his surroundings.  Which is FAR less stressful for everybody. The shots themselves, of course, were horrible, but he got a little bit of Tylenol afterward, and then took a 2 hour nap.  When he woke, he was still under the spell of the Tylenol, so he was actually in a pretty cheerful mood.  AND THEN the Tylenol wore off, and he was sobbing for an hour an a half until we just went ahead and put him to bed early.  I was prepared for a total sleep regression, waking every couple hours like with the last shots...but no.  He woke once at 3am to feed, then again briefly at 4:30a (but conked out after we turned his mobile on), and then again briefly at 6:00am (again--conked out after we turned on his mobile...that thing is MAGICAL).  He was slightly moody the next morning, then slept a bunch at the sitter's, and had a minor* poo-splosion that evening...the next night he woke up once to eat at 3am, and was back to his normal happy charming self.

(* I say minor, but that shizz made it all the way up to his shoulders.  Good thing it was right before bath time.)

2. An inverted penis is possibly one of the weirdest things you can see.   And don't leave it that way.  But maybe let your husband fix it, since he's more used to dealing with male bits.  I seriously thought for a moment that we had permanently broken our child. 

3. Just accept that bath time is going to continue to slightly suck until he can sit up on his own.  To be fair, he's calmed down from the "HOLY EFF YOU GUYS ARE TRYING TO KILL ME" screams that we got when he was a newborn.  Now we get a few wails on the way into and out of the baby tub, but then the rest of the bath is mostly just a suspicious glare.  It helps that we found a giant washcloth that covers most of his body so he stays nice and warm.  He's also mildly curious about the rubber duck that we put in there with him, but I think he mostly suspects the duck has some ulterior motives.

4. Date Nights:  The Hubs & I used to have date night every Friday.  We are doing our best to maintain this tradition.  A couple Fridays we've been able to get a sitter, but mostly we've just started accepting that our kid is completely portable and generally well behaved, and...well...he's probably not always going to be that way. So we just go ahead and go out to eat on Friday nights, kid in tow.  For the most part he sits calmly in his infant carrier and sometimes conks off to sleep if we can rock him.  If he gets a little fussy, we get him out and let him sit on our laps, and he's totally chill.

Granted, we can't take him to movies, or most bars, or our local bowling alley (since it still allows smoking) so Date Nights are slightly different, but we can roll with it.  We can still go out to eat, and then maybe we go home, have a beer, and play games with a fake fire on the TV.  
When the weather warms up, we will have infinitely more options, like going for a walk or playing putt-putt.

5.  We have discovered SnapChat.  This entertains me more than him at this point, but whatevs.

6. Pumping at Work:  If you're using a shared space for pumping, make sure you reserve it.  As I've mentioned before, my "pumping station" is a nice private bathroom that is unfortunately attached to one of our conference rooms.  The other day I was in there, pumping away, minding my own bid-ness, when I suddenly heard voices outside in the conference room.  Turns out our office manager was interviewing someone!  They heard the noise from the pump, and knocked on the door. If it had just been coworkers, I would have said "I'm pumping, I'll be done in a minute!"  But since I didn't know the interviewee, I instead just said "Sorry, I'll be out in a bit..." (in retrospect, this makes it seem like I was pooping FOR-EV-ER and making some really weird noises doing it.)  It took me about 5 more minutes to get the milk bagged up and my pump parts cleaned off, at which point I had to come out and sheepishly slink out of the room.  

We had a good laugh about it afterward--they said my pump sounded like a dog barking and were REALLY confused.  But now, my pumping times are on the Outlook Calendar for that conference room, and they made me a handy-dandy sign to hang up while I'm in there.  I have some pretty cool coworkers.

7. Post-It Notes are your new BFF.  They help combat the effects of Mommy Brain.
Like leaving your pumped milk in the work fridge.

8.  Showers are No Longer a Refuge.  At least, not during the work week.  Sure, I can still take a leisurely shower on the weekends, but now that I'm back at work full time, my time with my kiddo is limited.  So I feel bad taking a long shower after work when I could be playing with my little man in the 2-3 hours we have between day care and bedtime.  And mornings...well...I've never been a morning person.  Getting little man ready for his day as well as getting him to day care has already added an hour to my morning routine.  So dragging my butt out of bed even EARLIER to shower?  Meh.  I'll do it, but by the time I hit snooze once or twice, I've got to kick it into high gear to get everything else done & out the door in time.  Not to mention--my bathroom is right next to Baby J's nursery, so chances are he's waking up as I'm lathering up.  So work-week showers are back to being all business.

9. Don't Be Afraid to Try the Whole "Put Him Down Drowsy" thing.  Baby J has been nursing himself to sleep since Day 1.  Our bedtime routine is still pretty short: he gets a fresh diaper and PJs, goes into his sleep sack, lights go off, and then he nurses while I watch TV on my iPad.  After about 15 minutes or so, he conks out.  I turn on his white noise, then I rock him for about 10-15 minutes while saying my evening prayer over him (I've found this is the easiest way to keep myself occupied during the rocking, and it gives me some quiet time to stare at my baby as he sleep-smiles), and then I lay him in the crib and pray he stays asleep.

But lately, since we stopped swaddling him, I've noticed he gets restless for a while after laying him down...but he always seems to conk back out after about 5 minutes or so.  SOoooo... the other night I was rocking him for about 5 minutes, and he wasn't quite asleep, and I went ahead and laid him down.  He fussed right away, but I gave him a kiss and put my hand on his chest for a bit, then left the nursery.  I could hear him fussing (not crying) for a while, but then he started sucking his thumb, and his fusses turned to slight coos...and after 5 minutes, he was asleep, and stayed that way until 3:30am.  So I guess I need to give him some credit--the boy likes to sleep.

10. He Can Survive A Night Away From Home.  The Hubs' sister volunteered to babysit overnight a few weeks ago. I was a little apprehensive, since it meant me dropping him off at daycare at 7:30am, and then his dad picking him up from day care that afternoon (while I was at work) and driving to meet my sis-in-law (since she lives a couple hours away), and then us meeting them at a halfway point the next day for lunch--meaning I wouldn't see him at all for over 24 hours.  He also doesn't always sleep really well away from home (I mean, who does though?) so I was afraid he would keep them up all night. I was also afraid he wouldn't take a bottle and just be miserable the whole time.

BUT--he did great.  He ate like a champ, and while he did wake up more than usual, he was still in a good mood and napped for them too.  Me? I was doing better after she sent me a few photos of him playing with his cousins.

11.  Advice & Social Media:  You know how there's that saying "it's better to give than to receive"?  Well, change it to "it's easier to give than to receive" and you've got Mom Advice.  Other moms and medical professionals love to give advice about baby-raising.  Which can be really useful when you're a new mom--you TOTALLY need a network of experienced moms to be there for you, as a community of shoulders to weep on, to laugh with, and as a resource.  But USE IN MODERATION.  Because it's also really easy to get overwhelmed. Truth is: every baby is different, and every mom is different, and there is no one "right" way or time to do anything. Which mainly means "if you have a question, ask a few trusted advisors and then make a decision from that", rather than posting your question on social media.  Because it's really easy for people to get a little off track from the original question on social media, aaaaaand it leaves you vulnerable for potential judgeyness.  

And here's the frustrating part:  For the person whose making the comment/offering the advice, they've made it and they're done.  They move on.  Whereas you will be awake at 4am, desperately trying to fall back asleep after feeding your child, but your brain is trying to process both the GOOD advice and the judgey comments, sweeping back and forth between anger and confusion and REALLY wanting to sleep (and also kind of wondering what's going to happen next on the TV show you're watching during feedings).  

But the people who made those comments are not.  They are sleeping peacefully in their bed, not thinking about the advice anymore.  You're the only one who ends up suffering and sleep deprived.  Because unlike ducks, stuff does not "roll right off us" humans (unless we are coated in oil, which is an entirely different problem).  We ponder. We stew.  We wish we had never asked what we thought was a relatively simple question. We briefly consider never talking about our child on social media ever again, until we also realize that as moms, that is LITERALLY impossible.

So we just delete the post and move on, and try to learn to be more like a duck.  Previous Adventures:
Birth Story
3 Weeks
Month 1
6 Weeks
Month 2
Month 3
Mom Guilt Edition
Working Mom Edition
Things That Suck
Traveling For The Holidays
Living In The Moment

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thirsty Thursday: Hilltop Fizz (Missouri Spirits)

Ho-HO!  You thought I'd forgotten about Thirsty Thursday, hadn't you?  HADN'T YOU???  No, believe me...I've been thinking about Thirsty Thursdays for the last YEAR.  But since I'm still nursing and we have a tiny human at home, we haven't really been getting out much.  Which is a big bummer when your have hobbies like "beer" and "blogging about booze".

However, the other night we had a sitter for Baby J so we went out on the town!  First we hit up Springfield Brewing Company with some co-workers and had a couple seasonal beers (Wee Howler, Quencher in the Rye, and Tsarry Night) and some appetizers.
Then we walked around the corner to Missouri Spirits, which opened while I was preggo and I've had on my radar ever since.  They're Springfield's "first and only spirit house", with homegrown & distilled bourbon whiskey, vodka, and corn whiskey, which get served up in a wide variety of delicious-sounding craft cocktails.  After much deliberation, I settled on the Hilltop Fizz, made with their corn whiskey, housemade basil limoncello, and rosemary soda.
Lemon, basil, rosemary. I was in heaven.  The only way it could be better is if it was twice as big.

They also have rotating taps of Missouri craft brews, so we sampled Urban Chestnut's Erlkonig and Bushelhead, along with 2nd Shift Brewing's El Gato Grande.

Missouri Spirits has a small food menu as well, so we nommed on some pulled pork sliders, which were cute but decidedly a little "meh"--the sauce was excellent but the bread was hard on the bottom, which made them tough to eat without crumbling.

After that we still had a little time left, so we headed over to 417 Tap House, another spot that opened while I still had a bun in the oven.  They've got a huge selection of taps, but their schtick is the self-serve taps.  I was most interested in the table-mounted taps.  Seems like these would be super-convenient if you're the ones sitting at the table...but if you want to try one of those beers and the table is already occupied, seems like it would be a bit awkward.
For the record, I wasn't drinking either of these, and instead opted for a pint of "Not Your Father's Root Beer", which seemed an appropriate dessert.