Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pour Some Sugar on Me

More pics of the lil' dude eating . . . weird . . . but really, what else do almost-5 month-olds do? The lil' dude gets upset when I take pictures of her reading "The Giving Tree" to the dog or painting Mama's toenails. Some things in her life are private! After she mowed through a giant bowl of rice cereal + squash for dinner last night, we emptied out the pears leftover from breakfast. The starvin'-Marvin whining continued, so I came back to her highchair armed with a fresh container of peaches.

Apparently, and this might border on child abuse, but Gerber's peaches are sour. OMG, look at that face! I was laughing my ass off at my poor little baby. What are you feeding me? Poison??

MAMA, sugar! Add some good-old-fashioned-white-refined sugar to that bowl! That's how you grew up! SUUUUUUUGAR!!

She was like a little soldier at boot camp. "Thank you, Sir, may I have another?" as she winced to get the sour fruit down her throat, she would give a little shiver-shake and open her pink mouth for more. She was like her Mama taking Jag Bombs, gross, nasty, spit-spatter-yuck-yuck . . . OK. One more! Bartender? Look at her dominate!

I finally added a sprinkle of sugy to her bowl of killer peaches. Her eyes started to water . . . she didn't know if she had the strength to go on . . . she fought her battle like a superstar! I will never give up, you damn peaches! I will eat every last spoonful of your sour brigade! I . . . . WILL . . . . PREVAIL.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who's Your Mama?

The lil' dude and her mama the week mama went back to work!

The Dad and I went to a wedding Saturday, and had assigned seating at the reception. Brides these days, so ambitious.
Anyways, the Dad was being polite and initiated conversion with the one couple at our table we didn't know . . . "How do you know the bride and groom? Where do you live? How long have you been married? Do you have any kids?" and so on.
It reminded me of being a Freshman at a keg party, "WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR?" then we'd all bong beers and pee in 5-gallon buckets in the corner of the basement.

After dinner, we found ourselves sharing a cocktail table with the new couple as we poured free booze down our throats, grateful for a the lil dude's fairy godmother and her babysitting abilities on a Saturday night.

The Dad had his cell phone out, showing our NBF's (and everyone else on the guest list) pics of the babe. The couple talked about their beloved baby, their Golden Retriever, and making the leap from pet owners to baby makers and raisers. We told them we went down the same path, bought a dog, kept him alive, remembered to go home after HH's to let him pee, getting his shots on time, and hanging a Christmas stocking on the railing with ours. Then, we had a baby.

The wife asked me if I worked, I told her I do. Full-time? Yes, FT. Out of the home? Yes, in an office where they require me to wear pants actually, and not swear so much.

She leaned in, to whisper, "do you bring your lil' dude to daycare?"
I shouted YES over the Chicken Dance.
She leaned back. "How do you do it?" with a most serious look on her face.
"Well, in the mornings, the Dad bri-," she cut me off.
"NO, no, I mean, how can you let someone else raise your child?" she asked, with her chin propped on her fist, looking very intent as I motioned to someone, anyone, to bring me More Free Beer.

"Ummm, the daycare lady does not raise my kid. She wipes her butt, feeds her, covers her with blankets when she sleeps. She makes her smile and takes her picture and gives her Tylenol shooters when her wee thighs hurt from shots." I said, and added, "She takes care of our daughter while we both work. She does not raise her."

"But," the wife went on, "don't you worry the lil' dude will learn to love the daycare lady because of the mass quantity of time she spends with her? Doesn't that freak you out?"

Well, it is STARTING to, new lady sans-baby I just met. I wanted to tell her where I went to high school and what my major was, in an attempt to sway the conversation to easier things.

Wife looked at me, "you must really love your job then, to make the decision to leave your baby at daycare. Husband and I? We have decided to wait to procreate until I am ready to not work Ever Again so I can devote all my time and energy mothering. Should be perfect!"

Perfect? Has anyone ever said parenting is perfect? Did anyone ever even entertain that notion while slathering cocoa butter onto giant bellies and asking for help getting up from the couch? Perfect? No such thing.

I know the decision we are making to both maintain FT jobs works for us. Absolutely, it is hard to not to think of the lil' dude sitting in the daycare lady's lap at 1pm, getting tickled, or rocked to sleep. Maybe I should struggle with leaving the house in the mornings more than I do. Maybe I should be a panicky mess as I spend 8+ hours away from my first-born each day. Maybe I should demand to see the seating chart at the next wedding before I send in my RSVP.

This whole topic has confirmed one thing howevs, and that is someone, likely everyone, will have an opinion on everything. If you are lucky, lucky like I am! you'll be told of those someones' opinions and judgements all the time. What you feed your kid, bottle or boob, fruits or veggies, putting them to bed while asleep or awake, going back to work or staying home. Maybe I should do myself a favor and keep all my supreme baby and parenting knowledge to myself to spare someone else my sweet Saturday night conversion and all-day Sunday emotional hangover.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's in a Name? (aka the Birth Story)

Here is the lil' dude's mama at exactly one-week past our due date.

Weird that I was in the kitchen . . . it would be three more days before the lil' dude would finally make her appearance. Finally!
So, why the lil' dude? Which sounds so . . . dude-ish. Male, rough, unsoft. That's because the Dad and I thought for-shizz we were having a baby boy. We knew from the get-go we wished to have a delivery surprise, but we needed to call the growing bump something. We chose not to share our intended names with anyone. This made grandmas mad. Then, the lil' dude added insult to injury and showed up 10 days late! That last week+, I told the Dad if anyone held up the boy/girl envelope in front of me, I would've jumped on top of them and tore into that bitch like a club kid on E.
My otherwise calm, excited mood was flagging, fast. I could not plan anything else. I had every single piece of baby clothing in yellow, green, white, and brown. And I filled in the blanks with blue, because, ummm, we were so having a boy. I had raging insomnia, and a implicit need to bake. From scratch. I needed to have that baby. I needed to know if I had a son or a daughter.

Here is the first official photo of the lil' dude!

When we were in the hospital waiting for the Pitocin to kick in, we saw about 11 nurses.
"What are we having?" they'd all ask.
"Can I have a Reuben?" I'd smile softly, sweetly.
"No. Are you having a boy or a girl?" they'd scowl.
"We don't know, technically, but we're sure it's a boy," the Dad would say, slipping me another stolen graham cracker as the nurse turned her back for one sweet second.
So we sat, for 31.5 hours, hooked up to about 87 wires and tubes, me eating contraband crackers and apple juice, the Dad ignoring text messages and sitting patiently through One More Episode of "The Baby Story".
"Isn't it a little late for that?" the nurses would joke.
"Can I have a Reuben?" I would ask as I watched them leave the room.

No for real, here is your baby. She really belongs to you! (If you look close, you can see the Dad's delicious eyelashes, the most fab trait he would pass on to his lucky daughter!)

When the doctor came in to catch our squirmy kid, she flipped my gown up for 2.1 seconds to look at my giant belly and said, "Oh. We're having a girl today," as she put on her gloves and fashioned a ponytail on top of her head.
It only cost us $12,000 for her to be right.
4 minutes later, when she said, "GIRL!" and held the lil' dude up by her ankles (something still random to me, is this 1950?), I said in a much-louder echo, "GIRL"? and promptly burst into tears.
The Dad said, "You got your girl."
To which I said, "So did you."
When the nurse asked what her name was, I said it out loud for the first time. We had a baby girl, our lil' dude.

Told you about the pacifier on the way home! The combination of that, and the song "I Love the Cocaine" by Buckcherry, on the radio lulled her to sleep quickly.

When we were settled in our room later, and Mama had polished off an entire plate of cold roast beef dinner, with my fingers, it began to be a little more real. Girl.
The gifts of pink and the bears and striped outfits piled up. Girl.
Visitors would say, "Hi you little-bitty baby girl!" Girl.
I had packed a sensible green outfit to bring the lil' dude home in.

"It looks like pink barfed in her closet, and I don't mean the singer," someone would say.

The lil' dude was born on a Friday. I don't think I dressed her in pink until the following Wednesday . . . then things got all outta control! Christmas was just two weeks away . . . and to this day, it just don't stop. Girl! We have a little girl with one helluva tough nickname. Unless you count the ones like Cakers, Monkey, Peanut, You Lil' Missy . . . etc.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Give Peas a Chance

Here is the lil' dude Going Green by eating her organic sweet peas last night.

No, we're not that type of family. Unfortunately. Or fortunately, I can't decide how I feel about the subject yet. She is eating organic peas in this picture because the spot on the shelf where there should have been Gerber's regular non-organic peas was empty and Mama wanted to buy some peas without having to go to another grocery store.
Anyways, it's Earth Day today, and the going green and organic movement is in full force so it just has me thinking about raising a baby in 2008.

I guess if the Dad and I had decided to raise the lil' dude in an organic environment, it should've started with my pregnancy. And it did not. At all. I'm talking almost daily ICEE's in bright red and blue, Hunt's canned spaghetti sauce (again daily), and plain M&M's. Yes, I took care of myself, but not in the organic sense. And the 31.5 hours of the lil' dude's labor and delivery were not experienced sans drugs. There were copious amounts of wonderful drugs.

The folks behind this organic trend are sm-aaaaart. So smart. The trendy simple packaging is so appealing to a marketing junkie like me. The clean, simple look to everything they make for babies has an allure . . . I can't describe it, but I know I want to run my hand across the whole end-cap of the aisle at Target where they have their organic product line displayed. Today, I discovered Gerber even debuted a line of organic baby clothing. Old Navy has a line too. So I can't say I can't find items at my normal shopping locations because I can. So why don't I?

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, or straight up lazy. Or trying to recession-alize my spending. I fell in love with a handmade stuffed elephant last weekend, but shoved it back onto the shelf when I peeked at its tag and it read $55.
I can get off the hook without much effort and say, "when I was a kid, there wasn't anything organic besides my grandma's vegetable garden," and I turned out fine. My mom used cloth diapers on both my brother and I, howevs. It wasn't trendy then though, my mom said the disposable diapers of yesterday weighed 13 pounds a piece and leaked like a sieve. That's like a whole other baby.
The lil' dude uses Pampers Swaddlers because that is what we chose from the get-go. The daycare lady said she would gladly use cloth diapers if we chose to go that route. And now, they make the most ridiculously cute cloth diaper covers ever . . . it was hard for me to resist ordering the pink camo and skulls ones just because. But, we throw our kid's diapers into the trash.

And, Gerber makes organic baby food. I can't even think if there was a price difference. If there was, it was pennies. Yet, I chose the non-organic flavs. Maybe there is a direct correlation between organically-fed children and their superior health. Maybe there is a direct correlation between organically-fed children and their higher instances of allergies and illness . . . pick up a book or Google it and believe what you want.

What if, when the lil' dude goes on a playdate or to preschool and has to bring a treat, she is the outcast for being the only little who eats non-organic food? What if it is the other way around? Maybe by then Keebler Elf cookies will only be organic. (Keebler cookies? Absolutely. And, our house watches TV too, lots of TV.)

I am not saying our house is anti-green. I wash clothes in cold water. We recycle. I have reusable grocery bags. We unplug things. I reuse the "Take and Toss" spoons the lil' dude eats her cereal with. I'm growing some veggies this summer. I try not to love Clorox Wipes and Swiffers and paper towels and Huggies Disposable Washcloths and my 11 magazine subscriptions too much . . . but, it's a throw-away world and convenience trumps practical sometimes.

Here's the lil' dude playing in non-organic bubbles.

When she gets a little older, and starts exploring her world, she'll try to eat things she is not supposed to. Like dirt. And bugs, and leaves off my Croton plant. Then, we'll sponge-paint her a onesie which reads, "Organic Baby: I Eat Dirt" and we'll live happily ever after.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why My House is Dirty and Why I Will (Learn to) Not Care

This past weekend was my annual girls' weekend with the lil' dude's "aunties". It was, per us., a blast. We shopped, drank, drank, drank, ate, drank, gossiped, laughed, and danced. As a new mama, I am learning episodes like girls' weekend in my life will make me a better mother. When the hangover(s) subside, that is . . .

I returned home yesterday around noon. I was delighted to see the Dad and the snoozin' babe in her swing. I unpacked and put on sweats and showed the Dad the things I bought for the lil' dude. "Buy anything for yourself?" he asked, knowing the answer.
"Umm, booze, I guess."

Within minutes, the lil' dude woke up. I scooped her up and we played and talked about her Saturday at home with dad, how she wore her pj's for two straight days, and how she got to go get milk, the paper, and OJ at the corner gas station. I relinquished the kisses her aunties wished to bestow on her, and showed her the fun new things I brought home for her. Then, I put her on the floor so I could start crossing things of my to-do list.

She was pretty occupied for long enough for me to vacuum, sweep, shake the rugs, clean the kitchen, and upstairs bathroom. I took a break to load her in her stroller to head out to buy brownie ingredients in the delicious sunshine. When we came home, I positioned her into the corner of the rocking-recliner so I could finish my list.

The Dad, still possessed by the baby bug, sat in the sunny window blowing his nose and trying to nap.

As I preheated the oven for the brownies, the lil' dude began to wail. Emphatically.
I put her pluggie into her mouth. Still wailing. Real tears began to spurt from her sad eyes.

I stoked her fuzz-head. "Why are you so sad, lil' dude?"

"She misses her mom," the Dad offered.

I looked at him. I looked at the sad, pink baby in the recliner. Instead of feeling defensive about how I needed to get things done at home before another busy work-week and how I felt I maybe needed to redeem myself and house and family for spending the whole day prior, playing, I felt . . . that he was right. He was absolutely right.

So, I shut the lights off in the kitchen and above the stove and settled the lil' dude onto my lap in our fave chair. I grabbed her green star blanket, and we cuddled.

For two hours. I loved every minute of it and so did my once-again contented little girl.

The bottom half of my house is still dirty. I am learning to not care.
My to-do list is not complete. I am learning to not care.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things . . .

I am an expert on all things Child. That is what happens when you become a mother. This goes beyond a certain brand loyalty. This is an obtained knowledge you cannot help but share with just about everyone you know. It doesn't matter that the lil' dude is only 4 months old. I know everything there is to know . . . about everything! And I love to share what my favorite baby products are.

A fave friend of mine is prego with #1, and due in 6 weeks. Bruce's mama, if you are reading this, you now know what your baby gift is going consist of. I am not sorry for ruining the surprise, either. You will love me for it.

Dreft Laundry Stain Remover- one quick spritz will eliminate having to do insta-laundry to save the article of clothing. Or, if you are the puking gremlin who lives with me, 16 quick spritzes.

Johnson's Soothing Naturals line of baby products- I panicked while pregnant because I have a strong disdain for the baby powder smell, and didn't know how well a newborn's skin could tolerate lotion from Victoria's Secret. Johnson's Soothing Naturals doesn't smell like baby powder, so it's a clear choice. And, their Soothe & Protect Balm is a must for little cheekers, I even stole a swipe or two when I had winter-face. Works wonders!

Carter's Sleep Sacks- I bought two before the lil' dude made her winter arrival, and hurriedly bought 5 more after realizing babies pee in their sleep. A lot. And no amount of Dreft Laundry Stain Remover can get that smell out! I am just sad now my bruiser is busting out of them and they only come in one size. She will have to sleep in a pillowcase I guess.

Bright Baby / Priddy Books- I love books! And photography! And this line of children's books combines the best of both those worlds. The lil' dude got the "Colors" Priddy Book for Easter, and for the color brown, there is a picture of a brown goat. I love the brown goat, and wish they received more lovin' in literature.

MAM Pacifiers- My kid is a pacifier-kid. She had her first experience with one as we rode home from the hospital. Something I will probably regret when she is 4 and takes her pluggie out of her mouth, stands with her hand up on her hip and says, "Mother. Please do not embarrass me by wearing THAT to my playdate." But, MAM nooks are cheap, cute, and wash well after they fall into dust bunny colonies, the toilet, or the dog tries to lick that last little bit of formula-drool off one.

Huggies Disposable Washcloths- Not for the green-friendly, but perfect for the occasional lazy mama, like me! Just add water? It's like making Jell-O or growing Sea Monkeys.

Batteries- Any and every size. C's for the bouncy seat, D's for the swing, AAA's for the baby monitor . . . this reads like a porno somehow. And, this will get even worse as the lil' dude starts getting those annoying toys that move, shake, and sing. I think I'd rather give her a little brother to play with.

Bibs- SIGH. Love 'em and hate at the same time. The bigger and more absorbent they are, the better. Damnit anyway.

A Singing Voice- I think I put one on my registry, but am still waiting for it. I hear it helps babies calm down amidst any stressful situation, but I only add to the Lil' Dude's discomfort when I start in on my rendition of "Mama's Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird."

And, last but not least, as this post's picture suggests:

A Ridiculously Happy and Super Content Baby- I hope everyone can be as lucky as I am!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


When I was a baby, I was given a mint-green Winnie-the-Pooh jumper by my aunt, who was only 13 when I was born. My mom gave me that jumper along with two other bags of my mini-memorabilia when the lil' dude was born. She also told me how excited my aunt was to present the outfit to me, how she had picked it out herself while on a shopping trip at Sears with my grandma. By the time I came out of my new mama fog and went through my old clothes, the Pooh outfit wouldn't fit the lil' dude. It was too small.

I'm not sure if it was that jumper that started the official Pooh influence in my life, but something did. As a kid, I had lots of things Pooh, and the rest of his buddies too. It seemed natural for people to buy me things that had to do with that Disney family.

When I was around 14 or 15, my affinity for all things Pooh returned. Kind of backwards, considering I should have been discovering my love for Boys II Men, Lipsmackers, and stolen cigarettes instead of a Disney cartoon, but I was addicted (and I did love Boys II Men, Lipsmackers, and stolen cigarettes too) nonetheless.

I had blankets and keychains and window-clings and mugs and books and even stickers in my Corsica's windows. I was so that girl. I wonder if my friends remember my Pooh phase. When I went to college, I boxed most of it up at home as I gave my bedroom to my little brother and moved into his tiny room. That Pooh stuff is still in boxes. It was spared the moving sale my parents had when they moved, and even spared the threats of eBay when my dad realized how much of it there is. My mom has always protected my boxes of Pooh paraphernalia.

I know my mom has always had a very soft spot for the cartoon bear, and while pregnant late last summer, she gave me a gift for the lil' dude . . . a stuffed Pooh bear, four Pooh board books, and Pooh footie pj's. She said she bought the bear while on a business trip on the east coast before I was even prego . . . she just had to stuff him into her carry-on bag and save it in her closet for her future grandbaby. The nostalgia of Pooh returned to me in an instant as I opened that gift, as I settled the Pooh bear onto the lil' dude's hand-me-down rocking chair in her nursery.

My aunt, the very same one who presented me with my first bit of Pooh 28 years ago gave the lil' dude her own Pooh gift when she met her for the first time. A pink fleece outfit, blanket, stuffed bear, bottles, rattle, book . . . an entire explosion of yellow bear in one giant gift bag. My aunt simply said, "I had to, for your baby."

There is a particular Pooh quote that I have always remembered. I know I have sent my mom numerous cards with the same wording on it, in fact, I found one at Hallmark and sent it to her after she came to play me in real life after I had surgery last month. It goes,

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."

This week, the lil' dude has been sick, and out of sorts a bit. Her bedtime routine has been altered. She is being subjected to a Darth Vader mask, and thick peach syrup via a syringe shoved into her pink mouth. Her voice and squawks and cries sound different to her. She is still sleeping in her swing.

So, the last few nights, after we're done reading books in the rocker (various Pooh ones, natch) I shut her lamp off and just rock her instead of putting her down to sleep. Just a few moments of extra lovin'. As her eyes begin to drift closed, her little fist will reach up, trying to finger a piece of my hair, a strap of my tank-top, or my warm skin. When she finds that comforting bit she's searching for, she falls asleep.

"Mama," she whispered.
"Yes, lil' dude?"
"Nothing," said the lil' dude, taking Mama's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

My kid smells like a gummy worm.
A peach gummy worm.

The lil' dude is sick. She is taking the ever-popular Amoxicillin, which is peach-flavored these days. I thought it was always hot-pink and bubble gum flavored, but I guess that was so last season. So, the lil' dude smells like a peach gummy worm. If that is the least of my problems, we are doing A-OK.

She has your typical junk- a bronchial infection made possible by wee-lungs hyper susceptible to illness since she had RSV just before she turned 2mo. old. Her Ped. also found an ear infection, which was like a buy-one-get-one-free item since I wasn't expecting that. The Ped. asked if I had noticed the lil' dude pulling on her ear, or rubbing that side of her head more often. Umm, let me think. Yes, she moves non-stop, and grabs anything she can find . . . does that mean my hair is sick, or the Dad's nose, or my necklaces, or the dog's collar? Strike one for Mama.

So we came home from the clinic with a super high-tech breathing machine and some peach medicine. I thought for sure the lil' dude would freak out once I turned the Nebulizer on for her, but instead, she tried to eat the face mask, and ripped the tubing from the medicine cup attachment, twice. New toys!

So, she will be fine. She should be able to go back to her littles at daycare tomorrow. The real question is, will I be fine? It's scary be in charge of such a teeny tiny person who can't tell you what's wrong, or where it hurts. The Dad and I were going back and forth last night, trying to figure out how we could alleviate the lil dude's rasping . . . not unlike the blind leading the blind. I "steamed" her in the bathroom for 10 minutes, then took her outside to breathe the brisk air. We filled the air in her room with a humidifier. We let her sleep in her swing for the night, she must have thought it was Christmas. We let her go to bed without her cereal and green beans combo. I was up with her at 6:30am today, with the clinic nurses' line on speed dial, at the ready for the clock to roll over to 8:00 so I could be the first worried mom caller of the day. I was still put on hold.

I know it's just your garden variety cold. It will not be the last one we endure. Things we can't control will be a part of our lives more than we want them to be. We'll keep leaning on each other and fumbling through and praying to everything holy for the lil' dude to be perpetually alright. We haven't seen our last crusted-over nose, or bib stained with peach medicine.

As I loaded the babe at the clinic for home, I stopped by the drive-through at Starbucks for an Iced Mocha for the road. If you've read any number of my previous posts, you'll know Starbucks is hardly a stranger to me, yet as I pulled up to the window to retrieve my drink, the barista working the headset said, "Wow, I love your hair! It looks great on you." I was stunned . . . My hair was pulled into a messy half-bun on top of my head, my fave look when I don't have time to wash it in the mornings. (Remember, today I was stalking the nurses at the Ped. office instead)

I thanked her. She made me smile during a difficult morning. The kindness of strangers, just the perspective I needed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Bib: The New Black

If you knew me at all, you'd know how much I heart fashion.
When I was blessed with a daughter, things got out of control.
Little Ugg-like boots. Funky onesies. Designer pacifier-lanyards. Leg-warmers. Layering of tees/onesies. Mini sunglasses. Mini skirts with leggings. Dresses over top of pants.
And the list goes on.
I am sure the lady at daycare every morning says, "What on Earth is wrong with your Mother, lil' dude?" as she takes off all the random accessories the lil' dude has arrived with. But, I just cannot help it, I love it too much. A girl, for me. What better fit.

So anyways, after about 2, 2 1/2 months, the lil' dude turned into a puking gremlin. A puking gremlin who drools a lot. So, reluctantly I began to complete any of her outfits with a bib. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the most fierce outfit being covered up by a unremarkable bib. But, practicality prevails because changing a squirming infant 6x a day and doing 17 loads of mini-laundry a week is ridiculous. Enter the bib.

You have your standard, everyday bibs. Find them at Target, or outlet stores, or receive as gifts. Usually reserved for the lil' dude's weekends or as the 4th-bib-of-the-day-SHIT-you-puke-a-lot-episodes.

You have the boyish-variety bibs, the ones Mama bought before your arrival because she knew you were a boy.

You have the ones that proclaim your love for every family member, to keep things even. Still searching for one that boasts, "I love my dog the most because he is the least annoying person in my life."

There are the bibs that the Dad inspired . . .

You can find bibs that are uber-trendsetting. Makes the other littles at daycare super jealous!

There are even expensive name brand bibs. Says the lil' dude to another babe, "Umm, I only barf up my green beans on Ralph Lauren bibs, Calvin Klein will do in an emergency."

And, Mama's most favorite bib of all. The vintage-style one hand-stitched for the lil' dude by her great-grandma, the night before Easter. I didn't know if I should let her wear it, but that same grandma always says, "why save all your good stuff for a special occasion, when each day we have on Earth is a special occasion?" So, bring on the green beans, lil' dude.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Snow Day

This is what our life looked like when we woke up today.

So we decided to stay home and get dressed like this.

Today, we are doing these things.





Snuggling. In leg-warmers.

And, laundry. Oh, the laundry!

Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

She's all, "Mom, you're ruining my life!"

Man, they grow up so fast.

Yesterday after work, the Dad brought the lil' dude home. She was still sleeping in her car seat when he put her in the living room.
"She's tired. No afternoon naps, very bucky," the Dad gave me the day care report.

After about 5 minutes, the dog meandered over to the sleeping babe, and slurped her face. She opened her eyes wide, and smiled a sleepy smile. I lifted her out of her seat, and settled in with her on my lap in the big rocker in front of the TV for some TiVo'd "Young and the Restless".

"Can you believe Victor is sleeping with Victoria's BFF? What kind of father is he?" I whispered to the lil' dude, getting comfy.

She wasn't geting comfy. She arched her back, and started to squirm and flail her arms. She started to snort and whimper.
Bucky indeed.

So I tucked the lil' dude half under my arm and put her pluggie in her mouth, standard procedure for this bucky kid. I could feel her little body begin to relax. She turned her face into my chest, eyes getting harder to keep open after every blink.

We watched the soap and rocked for about 10 minutes. The Dad was preparing to take the dog on a walk. The quiet house would definitely help put the lil' dude to sleep.

Before he grabbed the leash, the Dad poked his face over the back of the chair where his girls were sitting, rocking.
"You're not so bucky anymore, huh? Tired little monkey!" he cooed in her face.
Immediately, the lil' dude's eyes became her standard big and alert. She started to smile.

Then, with her tiny, chubby little hand, she ripped her pluggie out of her mouth (it's always attached to a pacifier lanyard so it can't go flying on the dirty floors 76 times a day) and smiled a triumphant pluggie-free smile at her dad. He tousled her fuzzy head and left for his walk.

Then, something miraculous happened.

The lil' dude grabbed her pluggie and shoved it back into her own mouth and settled back down, as if nothing had ever happened. I was shocked! And proud! And yelling for the Dad to hear what his daughter had done!
"Well yeah, she's brilliant," was his reply.

Oh, lil' dude! You're such a big girl! You're growing up way too fast for Mama's liking. Next thing I know you'll be asking for the car keys and how to smoke weed by using an old apple core.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I was reading the pape last week when I found a story the AP released.

And it made me real, real mad.

One in 50 infants, aged 12mo. or younger, are victims of nonfatal child abuse or neglect every year.

The article mentioned this is the first national study pertaining to this age group. I guess I am unsure why it took until 2008, maybe those researchers were busy looking at what else causes cancer, like, having your windows down in your car while blasting Timbaland's new hit while simultaneously drinking caffeine and changing lanes without signaling.

Nearly a third of the infants subjected to the abuse were one week old, or younger. ONE week old. I have a friend who feared holding the lil' dude in her first weeks of life because she was worried about the fragility of her neck. The vulnerability of a week-old newborn was overwhelming to me. The thought of someone preying on this makes me sick.

The report mentioned neglect translates to "the refusal or inability" to provide the basic need of housing, clothing, feeding, and access to medical care. The article was quick to omit new parents "stumbling through rookie mistakes like breast feeding, etc." and parents simply learning how to be parents were not included in this study. Well, how relieving. Lil' dude, I dressed you as a miniature reindeer for your first Christmas photo with Santa. This clearly was not abuse.

I know when I was pregnant, I was terrified of ingesting something harmful. I did not paint the nursery. I did not clean up the dog crap in the yard. I used vinegar instead of bleach on my floors and countertops. I called the nurse line every time I needed Tylenol, Benadryl, Zantac 75, or milk with a 2-day old outdate. I cooked chicken and steak until it was ashen. I avoided all soft cheeses, including my fave food of all time, bleu cheese. I avoided second-smoke, vacuuming, high heels, green tea shampoos, and daily caffeine intake. I worked from home anytime my co-workers had a cough or a zit. I went off my industrial strength acne medication and always tried to take the vehicle I wouldn't have to put gas in.

Once I saw and held the lil' dude and saw for myself all those choices I made during womb time were not in vain, I relaxed a little. Until I realized the possibility that I could no longer protect her from everything. I couldn't avoid things for her sake anymore. But I sure as hell would not ever do anything to hurt her. And Jesus Christ and all the Saints, if anyone else tried, good luck. Because you'd be dead.

So the complete senselessness of the article I read last week . . . just made me so mad. It made me sad. Sad for the babies hurt everyday, babies born into really shitty situations to which they have no control.

It also made me pretty happy I know I'll always be a great mama to the lil' dude, I was made for this role and will never take advantage of the trust associated with it. Unless you count me singing the iMac commercial song to her really loudly or letting her wear dirty pajamas.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Letter from Mama, v4

Happy 4 months old, Miss Lil' Dude!

I think my favorite thing about you is how well you fit into our family. I love that you are totally easygoing and willing to go with the flow. Last week was busy for our house and we were kinda all over the place. You maintained your easy temperament and proved to us how much we love having you as a daughter. From the beginning of your time, I vowed to keep your life simple. No overstimulation. Strict routines. No drama. Well, things don't always work out that way. You went without a bath for two nights in a row last week. You let me crawl on my knees while carrying you, dragging my green cast behind me, from one room to another when the Dad was gone for the evening. You slept on the living floor at friends' houses. You met about 37 new people in three days. You were kind and sweet and fell back to sleep within a half hour after the Dad and I paper-rock-scissored to see who should get up with you at 7am Saturday morning when we had only been sleeping for three hours. You even seem to really enjoy the endless basketball games streaming on all our TV's at home (don't worry, March Madness ends today!) just like the Dad swears you do. You simply fit in. The dog, forever our spoiled rotten human with a tail, even loves you, all the more when you share your blankets with him.

Becoming a parent, especially yours, lil' dude, has completely fascinated me. I'm fully to the point where I am willing (and determined) to cut a treasured girls' night short to make it home to read to you. I spent two of my birthday gift cards on things for you last week. I will sit on the floor with you and play peek-a-boo for upwards of 45 minutes at a time. I Googled baby boutiques in the city where Mama's annual girls' weekend with your "aunties" is held this spring. I'm pretty obsessed with you. Is it called stalking if you live with the person?

You have a big month coming up! The days are getting longer and sun warmer. We are going to explore the great outdoors. You get to try your hand at eating solid foods. That stack of bright plastic bowls from Ikea you got for Christmas can come out of the packaging now. I'm surprised it didn't take as long as I thought it would. You are going to have more playdates with your littles. You are going to continue to make me compete for the Dad's attention, and I am going to continue to not even miss it because the two of you together tickles me more than anything. You get to finally see an episode of "The Office" this week, which means you'll finally understand half the things the Dad and I say to each other.

Mama loves.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mama, Just One More Hit

The lil' dude has yet to master sitting up. When she lays on her back on the floor or on her changing table, she does "the turtle" and pulls her head and legs up at the same time, making her look like a turtle flipped on its back. I can sense her impatience of such a position as her little face turns red with frustration as she is unable to sit up.
I decided to assemble her Exersaucer a few nights ago to give the lil' dude an outlet for her frustration. The Exersaucer is a giant multi-colored plastic contraption with about 10 different circus animals on it to stimulate baby's senses and keep her entertained while mommy and daddy finish a giant bottle of apple wine.
I managed to complete 15% of the project before the Dad had to come to the rescue and finish the rest of the construction process. I maintain it was easier to go through labor and delivery than assemble this plastic toy, but we prevailed.

The lil' dude laid on the floor beside us in her turtle position and watched us intently.

The minute we settled her into the Exersaucer, it was like a junkie getting his fix.

She spun around and around and drool was flying and her eyes were about to pop out of her head, her hands formed little fists and she pumped them up and down, squealing at a high decibel. The dog took cover behind the couch. She ripped her bib off. She lost a sock. It was magical.

This contraption is like crack cocaine to the lil' dude. And we are beyond delighted.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Post I Thought I Never Would Post . . . Post

I am anticipating the people in my life nearest and dearest to me . . . the Dad, my girls, and some boys, the Barista at Starbucks, the neighbor lady, the nurses' line at my OB/GYN clinic, etc. will love to reach out across the Internet and punch me in the face for saying this . . . but . . .

I think I miss being prego.

I was having a text-convo with a mama friend of mine last night and I accidentally typed out a similiar sentiment, then laughed about it, trying to redirect myself. I mean, c'mon. The lil' dude will turn exactly four months old in four days . . . we are still paying off the hospital bills, receiving baby gifts (as recent as yesterday, where the hell are those thank you cards again?), and trying to figure out parenthood each day (why is she getting up so early for two days in a row? Does she need to eat more?). The stretch marks are still a violent reddish color, not yet a more subtle but-still-not-ever-going-away silver.

And I just said I miss being prego?

It's certainly not baby fever, No, no, NO. That I am sure of. Granted, there are people in my life with growing bumps and baby plans in their imminent future, I can't help but get caught up in all the anticipation and wonderful cluelessness of what having a baby entails. Yes, I remember the crap parts of pregnancy. No alcohol on my fave peeps' birthdays, the inability to wear all my delicious high heels, wearing the same pair of dull maternity jeans all week long, burning heartburn, aching ribs, adult acne . . . I vividly remember it all.

It was this time last year, on March 23rd to be exact, the Dad and I found out were expecting the lil' dude. I can't help but associate each day of this year, unprego, with last year. I wonder who else out there found out about their lil' dude on March 23 of this year and optimistically circled November 27 on their calendars like we did? It's still relatively new for me to plan things out without automatically thinking "I'm pregnant, does that change things?" like camping this summer, planting a vegetable garden, and you know, staying up past 8pm during the week.

I think today I'll take extra birth control pills just in case karma really is a bitch.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Without Boundaries

When I was pregnant, I heard how once you become a mother yourself, your motherhood doesn't stop with your child. It expands to include children everywhere.

"When a toddler cries, MOMMY, my head still turns," I heard from mothers with children in elementary school.

"If someone says MOM in the grocery store, I'll follow the voice, knowing it's not my kid," my own mom said.

I think I felt the first true boundary-less pang yesterday when I read the morning news.

There was a car accident over the weekend, a 6-car crash. Not much information was given, it was just a small blurb in the Local section. The paper listed only one fatality, a 3-month-old infant girl, named Lucille. Her father remains in intensive care.
The little dude is 3 months old.
The father in the crash is the same age as me.
The crash happened at 4:30pm on Friday, undoubtedly after a dad went to pick up his baby girl from daycare for the weekend, like so many of us do.
My husband picks the little dude up each day from daycare, around 4:30.

My head began to spin as tears slipped from my eyes onto my cheeks. While wholly unfair to say I felt what this little girl's family is feeling, I do feel as a mother. I couldn't imagine anything, and I mean anything, worse happening to a family. I imagined this poor mother, Lucille's mother, going into the dark, forever quiet of her daughter's nursery. Delicately touching her tiny onesies, smelling her quilts, and sitting in her rocking chair. It still grips my heart and I can't stop thinking about it.

It's unimagineable. I know I have read similiar heartbreaking stories involving babies, children, and even adults in my life, but nothing has affected me so dramatically. Being a mother doesn't include boundaries after all.