Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Was Once A Perfect Mother ...

... Before I had a child. Before ever becoming pregnant or having a child, I knew everything there was to know about parenting?

-Schedule? You mean you book your life around your kid's day?
-Pick them up when they are crying? Girl, they need to toughen up, let them cry.
-Formula? Why aren't your breast feeding? It isn't hard.
-Throwing a tantrum in public? I'd take that kid right out of there and ...
-Stay home? You need to get out more.
-Watching TV, psh, my kid will never know what TV or a phone is until they are 18.
-She hits you? Hit her back!
-Stay home? I am going to take my kid any and everywhere (and she will never, ever cry!)

Yea, so then I became a mom and all of the sudden, little mom know it all knew nothing about parenting! Imagine that ... like most things, you never quite know what you are getting into until you are in it. While the above statements may not have all come out of my mouth, I probably thought most of them at one point or another.

I know that I judged other mothers who chose not to breast feed because it was too hard. And then I found myself almost making a similar choice. I couldn't believe that anyone would put their kid in front of a TV and walk away. My kid watches "Dora the Explorer" now and I get to eat breakfast.

My point it, I was judgey. I judged most mothers who have gone before me. And then I became one and waved my white flag! To all those who I have judged or thought these salacious thoughts, please accept my humble apology. I am now a part of your elite group of moms who have all been there and done that.

Frankly, the only place I enjoy taking my daughter is Babies R Us. I mean, if she throws a fit there, who can judge if we are in a baby store?? But a screaming fit while two friends are trying to catch up over coffee? I feel guilty and bad for ruining their quiet and relaxing morning.

As I adjust an navigate my way through daily life with an infant, I am challenged each and every day to do my best and be my best and to not judge, compare or condemn anyone else. Because there I am, with the iPhone trying to calm my crazy kid.

Friday, February 22, 2013

On Motherhood, the Good Stuff

Yesterday I posted my honest account of motherhood. I have to be honest, there is no other way to be. And Frankly, no one talks about the crappy parts of being a parent. It's like it is taboo or something to ever ask yourself why you ventured down the path of parenthood or it is awful to post about how tired you are, how you were about to loses your mind because you couldn't calm your fussy baby.

Trust me, as a parent, there has been nothing worse than a crying baby that couldn't be calmed. When Smushie looks at me and cries that screaming cry, I want to stab myself in the eye so I can feel pain with her. I want to take away her pain and make her feel better, but we are parents. Not super heros.

So before I get to the good stuff, Smushie has been having a "week." It started last Saturday with some runny stools and redness 'round those lady parts. I started with the diaper cream and frequent changing. She had her 4-month checkup on Monday, so I figured we could get through the weekend. The good part about not being the first person to ever have a child is that you have plenty of resources to call. I asked my sister what to do about the diaper rash, she mentioned letting her area dry out as much as possible.

Wait, you want me to let a kid with diarrhea go diaper less?!? Are you for real? Yes, she was. So I laid down her jungle gym, an extra jungle gym mat, and towel, two or three changing pads and a diaper before letting her go commando. This ought to be interesting. I could hear the grunts and spritzes coming, but she was happy as a clam. And she pooped and peed all over her stuff, when she did, I just peeled away one layer and let her go for about two hours. Happy baby.

We did this off and on all weekend. And then we went to the doctor. He said that she can have diarrhea for up to two weeks, but if we were worried to bring her in to test the stool. No fever accompanied the poops, so I figured we were OK. Fast forward to today, day care just called and she is spitting up phlegm, still pooping her brains out so they suggested we take her to the doctor. Motherhood.

What's good about this? well, nothing ... when her area is irritated, she screams. As would I. I can scratch if I have an itch, I can wipe myself and deal with it if there is irritation, but poor Smushie can't. And it is heartbreaking. Again, I want to wipe my own a$$ with sandpaper just so I can show sympathy and feel her pain. But I won't because well, that is stupid. And painful.

Today we are heading back to the doctor to see if there is anything else they can do for our little Smushie. Keep your fingers crossed and send us good thoughts.

Onto the good, well let me show you ... there are more moments, but consider this a show and tell.
Silly hair and smiley mornings

Poking fun at her cry faces. 

Getting a big smile

Bath time and relaxing like Hef

A shopping buddy
Firsts ... like Valentine's Day

Forcing your wises on your kid. Please, just wear these!

Her first ever music class

Music class and cute outfits

Dinner dates who don't have manners. Harlow, get your foot off of the table

Nothing in particular
Smiles, pretty girls and dressing up
Gummy smiles
 A playmate
Wondering what they are thinking/doing and having embarrassing photos for the future
The two people you love the most loving each other

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Motherhood, part 1

I am now in my fourth month of motherhood ... but along the way, I wrote some thoughts about it. Enjoy ... 

There is nothing, no class, no book, no niece, nephew or cousin that can prepare you for your own child. Or at least I think that way. Prior to having my own baby, I had changed only a handful of diapers.

I don't have younger cousins and my niece was only 3 1/2 when Harlow was born and she lives 2,500 miles away from me. I truly did no understand what motherhood and parenting would be like.

The first four weeks were awful. I am convinced the books only tell you the good stuff (I really didn't even read any books) and none of your friends will tell you the honest truth. The bleeding, the crying, the gas (yours and the baby's!), the frustration when the baby cries and cries and cries and nothing you are doing is working. The internal war you have when you know that the only way to get your little one to sleep longer than one hour is to let them sleep with you, on you, in your bed, whatever it takes to get them to sleep.

That sinking feeling you have when you previously judged other mothers before having children of your own. "You didn't breastfeed because it was 'too hard?' Psh! It is the best thing for your kid. That is selfish." "A schedule?! What happens when you want to go somewhere and do something? You are now a slave to your child." "Why is that kid crying in the middle of Target?" "Why did that mom bring a baby shopping at DSW AND in a stroller, she is taking up the whole aisle." It goes on and one. Every day I am sorry for all of the ways I've judged mothers who've gone before me ....

Truth is, you have to do what you need to do to get by. For the first few days, the hubs and I would both get up with Harlow during the night. And we would both be zombies by late morning and neither one of us were prepared to parent that day. Hubs would help by getting her calm while I clipped on My Brest Friend, whipped out the nipple shield (more on that on another post!) and he would then position her for me. We had code words for the positions: football or cross. I would feed, hand her over and he would burp her while I unclipped myself and returned to sleep. A true partnership indeed. Until we realized that while it is fun to get up and be with her and watch her, we weren't doing her any good if we were both zombies that day.
It was about 10 days until I had to finally change a diaper, the hubs was that good about doing everything that he can to help make motherhood a bit easier on me. After 14 days, he went back to work and I had my parents here to help.

On the first day that he went back to work, my mom and I took Harlow to Target and she proceeded to throw a fit. A screaming fit. We had the stroller and an additional cart and instead of staying in the infant section (what I like to call a safe place in any store), I walked her to the front of the store and to the bathroom to see if she needed a new diaper. I changed my first diaper in public, by myself. And then I figured she was hungry, so I help her and nursed her in a Target bathroom while standing up and using a nip shield. Never. Again. She still screamed, but I was determined to get my shopping done. Even while people walked past me, "Awe ... she's a young one." YES I KNOW. She is young and I am an idiot for taking a 2 1/12 week old out in public and not leaving when she starts screaming. Eventually Magic Mima (meeee-mah) got her to calm down while I finished shopping. Once I got what I needed (my 2-foot-long kid needed pants, what can I say?!), we hustled out of there and all the way home.

There were some nights that we just couldn't figure out what the heck to do with this baby. She would scream that purple-face, stop-breathing cry that made you die on the inside. There was nothing worse than a baby trying to tell you something is wrong but you can't figure out what it is that is wrong. We were all for the putting her down somewhere safe, shutting the door and taking a break. I will never forget when the hubs put her down and said, "I need to get out." And he got out of the house. A part of me feared he'd never come back. We questioned ourselves plenty of times, What did we do? Was having a baby the right thing to do? Can we do this? When does it get better?

We took to "the Google" and would search on how to calm a baby, colic, how to get a baby to sleep, how to jump out a window. Just kidding on that one.

Shortly after the hubs went back to work, Harlow took on a witching hour. From 8-11 p.m., she would cry nonstop. Or nonstop until she stopped. And then started again as soon as I put her down. This kiddo did, and still doesn't, like to sleep unless she is snuggled tightly.

Everyone told us it does get better ... and it did. Right after my parents left. It was almost like our daughter knew that we were two clueless parents about to lose our freakin' marbles if she didn't help us help her. And on the night they left, she slept for five hours.

It does get easier. Every day we learn something new. We tried a new technique. And we counted up the days until "it got better." And it did get easier. Looking back now, I see why people have more children. You do forget how awful it is and take pride in how great it is. Motherhood is everything they say it will be: amazing, awesome, incredible, awful, challenging, scary and more.

It did get better and I will share the good stories, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

For many, many years, I've been a boycotter of Valentine's Day. It wasn't because I was single either. Once I met my husband, I still wasn't into it. Every day he tells me that he loves me, so why should he have to go out and buy something to show me? But many people enjoy the holiday and I respect that.

On this day, I never wear red or pink or anything that relates to the holiday either. Frankly, neither is a good color for me. But this year, today, is a little bit different. I thought of Smushie (oh, that is Harlow's new nickname!) and her future classroom exchanges of Valentine cards. I thought of how I would buy those old school Valentine cards and purposely try to find the one that secretly said "I love you, marry me" and would give that one to the cutest boy in my class. Even though they all really said "You're special/sweet/super," in my mind one of them was professing my 9-year-old heart's desire to my crush. I thought about how she will one day use a glue stick, some construction paper, elbow macaroni and glitter to make us a craft.

And my heart swelled.

Valentine's Day is actually fun today because of my daughter. She brought this home from daycare yesterday:
She's a crafty one, isn't she.

We had a fun photo shoot a week ago:

This crazy kid even has me wearing pink today

Happy Valentine's Day to all! <3