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Choose your own adventure

I’m a make the plan, execute the plan kind of person. This has been a source of stress for me since I had a baby. I’m constantly faced with choices with unknown outcomes. Feed the baby or put her down for a nap? Swaddle her or don’t? Change the diaper now or later? Go to the grocery store or stay home? Either choice can end in screaming and tears (not all mine) and once I’ve chosen I can’t go back. At first, making the “wrong” choice (the one ending in tears) made me feel horribly inadequate. I couldn’t get past feeling like I’d failed and that I should have been able to make the correct choice. Eventually I’ve come to realize that there’s no right choice. Either can end badly or well, and I’m just doing the best I can with what I know now.

My friend Heather from yoga and play group wrote this hysterical account of an afternoon with her son Charley and she’s letting me share it with you. Enjoy!

Choose your own parenting adventure.

Your husband calls and asks you to see if he left his wallet at the house. He did and he has no money for lunch. Do you:
A: Tell him to go hungry and have a low-key day at home with the baby (skip to end)
B: Think it would be nice to have a nice lunch with your dear husband and meet him for lunch (continue on)

You start the 15 mile drive to his work in the rain. The baby is happy in the car until you get on Mopac and starts to scream bloody f’n murder. Do you:
A: Turn around and go home (skip to end)
B: Turn up the classical radio station hoping it will calm the baby (continue on)

The baby is still screaming, but you’ve gone to far on Mopac now, so you continue on, at this point the baby has been screaming for 25 minutes. You arrive at your dear husband’s work and nurse the babe in car. The baby is happy and husband meets you out front. Do you:
A: Tell husband that babe is fussy and head home (skip to end).
B: Think we made it this far, let’s do lunch! (continue)

Husband drives so you can sit in back with the smiley baby. You get a mile from work and the baby starts to scream all holy hell. You and husband decide to:
A: Turn around and go home (skip to end)
B: Continue to lunch

You eat lunch and the babe is super great at the restaurant. You drive husband back to work and the baby is screaming like he’s on fire. After husband heads into work you nurse him and change him in the parking lot. He falls asleep and you carefully set him in his car seat. Yay, sleeping baby! You head in the direction of home. You are about to pass the exit to your house Do you:
A: Head home (skip to end)
B: Decide to take the chance to drop off a couple items at a consignment sale about 5 miles south of your house.

About 2 miles from the sale, the baby starts crying like he’s laying on a bed of nails. Do you:
A: Head home (skip to end)
B: Figure you’re so close and crank up the classical music

The babe is freaking the F out and you miss the turn, you decide to pull over and nurse him. The baby is happy but you’re now past the deadline to drop stuff off. Do you:
A: Head home (skip to end)
B: Hope the folks will take pity on you and take your stuff after the deadline, you continue on to the consignment sale

You pull into the consignment sale as your child is screaming in the back seat. The folks do not take pity on you and your screaming baby and are surprised that there would be any problems to get there on time with a screaming baby.
A: You decide to head home
B: You want to punch the woman in the face, but restrain yourself and head home

The baby screams like he’s been abandoned in a crack house, as you pull into the driveway he stops crying and smiles.

You cuddle up with the baby and HGTV and spend the day snuggling with this cutie pie.

Guess what my adventure today was…

6/9 Playgroup at Heather's

Charley Chillin'

Bath time fun!

This is a totally mundane post that exists only to show off the cutest baby bath pictures in the history of the world.

Lillian loves her baths. Even if she’s having a screaming fit, she’ll chill out in the bath. David and I generally work together, though we both have solo bath skills if necessary. Generally David will get her undressed for the bath while I go find a night onesie for her. Then we give her vitamin D drops, per our pediatrician’s instructions. It seems breast milk doesn’t convey it so nursed babies get supplements.

Daddy preparing Lillian for bath time.

Then it’s into the bathtub in her little whale tub where she gets doused in warm water by Daddy, shampooed, washed, and rinsed by me. She doesn’t do the happy smile time thing in the bath, she just gets this quiet, blissed out look that’s hard to describe. It doesn’t matter if she gets water in her face, she just kind of hangs out and chills.

I dry her hair a bit in the tub first, and then we transfer her to her towel on the floor to be dried off and burritoed up.

Then a little snuggle time, a diaper with some ointment for overnight, and a light onesie and it’s off to bed. Theoretically. Bedtime involves swaddling, rocking, possibly nursing, rinse repeat. It usually works. But the bath is a nightly ritual which we all enjoy.

Changes are afoot

You may notice a bunch of posts you haven’t seen before if you scroll backwards. This is because I decided to import my pregnancy/baby blog into this one. It’s a little more, shall we say, frank (TMI) than I’ve been in this blog at least in places. But I think it represents a big chunk of my life and I’m more interested in being honest than pretty. Plus, you get baby pictures – lots of them! Anyway, feel free to skip over the parts that annoy, and I hope you enjoy the new content. It should be integrated with the old content, dating back about a year.

Surprise!

Lillian on Mother's Day

Don't play innocent with me, kid.

My first Mother’s Day started off with a bang! At 4 am cleaning poopsplosion off the nursery walls. Yes, motherhood is full of serene, peaceful fulfillment and joy. Well, it is, in between screaming, pooping, nursing till you fall over, and hormone surges that turn you into a psycho.

So I’m helping David change the baby during her 4am feeding (that’s bottle time) and he lifts her legs up to get a wipe under her butt and kaplow! Green poop everywhere. We laughed our asses off. David claims I shrieked loudly but I have no such recollection. I think he’s making it up.

We’re still dealing with the gastric issues. Our baby is cute, funny, happy, and sleeps like a champ. But she definitely can’t process either dairy, soy or both. Last weekend we went to dinner at Odd Duck Trailer – it’s gourmet locally sourced tapas place – and ate some great food. Unfortunately, something either contained dairy, soy or both and we started the whole poop thing over on Monday, and we still don’t know what the mystery ingredient(s) is/are.

On Sunday we went to the in-laws’ for Mother’s Day bbq from Rudy’s. Which I could eat none of since they marinate it in milk and rub it with soy oil. Joy. So I got to nurse in the other room while everyone was eating, and then eat some pork loin I brought and overcooked the crap out of. It wasn’t my best day ever. But David got me a nice card and we’re getting the Bob stroller next week. It’s the ultimate running/walking stroller and it makes mama very happy.

In other news, Lillian sleeps like a champ now. We started a ritual a few weeks ago – eat-bath-eat-sleep by 8:00, and we do as much sensory deprivation as possible in the bedroom so she doesn’t get overstimulated. This kid likes to look at stuff, wiggle, pump her legs, coo, and generally spazz out. But after the cuteness comes the babypocalypse. Harbingers include:

  1. Pumping of the legs and giggling
  2. Hiccups
  3. Wide adorable eyes

One minute it’s all cuteness fun and the next it’s screaming and misery. The trick is to get her on the boob or into the bath or bed or something soothing before she gets so wound up she can’t calm down. We’re doing a lot better at it. David is also really good about letting her self-soothe when she can, I tend to overdo the rocking and shushing. Between the two of us she’s getting better naps and better sleep at night (and so are we praise be the Jesus).

Lillian was eleven weeks old this past Thursday. It’s hard to believe she’s coming up on three months. Her personality gets more developed every day, and she’s much more vocal than she was. She’s got a whole new vocabulary of coos and squeaks, and has great head control and legs. She’s going to be unstoppable when she figures out how to roll, which looks to be very soon.

I'm hungry.

Lillian and DaddyYes, I’ve been a slacker. Being a new mom is not conducive to well, anything except nursing, changing diapers, and trying to sleep. In addition, we’ve been dealing with some digestive issues with Lillian that have necessitated me cutting out dairy and soy. Do you know how hard it is to avoid all dairy and soy? Really freaking hard. Pretty much eating out and any prepared food at all – anything that comes frozen or bottled – is out. I now have to read ingredient lists obsessively, call restaurants in advance and ask about what they cook with, and mostly just cook all my own food. And while this is probably way healthier than the plethora of junk food we enjoyed during Lillian’s first six weeks, it is very time consuming. I’m kind of over it. It’s been three weeks so far and there’s no end in sight. Some of Lillian’s more distressing symptoms are gone (specs of blood in the diaper, discomfort) but some remain (lots and lots of green poop. you asked).

Have you ever heard of soy lethicin? Neither had I until this happened. It’s in EVERYTHING. And so is soy oil. Crisco, margarine, and vegetable oil are all made from soy. It turns out soy is way harder to avoid than dairy.

On the plus side, we’ve re-upped our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – weekly organic vegetables) subscription and have started shopping at the farmer’s market on the weekend. I’ve also become a huge fan of Jamie Oliver’s Food Nation. He’s right – there are way too many ingredients in most of the food we get at the store. Everything at the farmer’s market is made locally and doesn’t have ingredients you don’t recognize. It’s nice. We’re subsisting mainly on rice, vegetables, and meat. And that’s not a bad thing really. Because bacon is meat. Bacon is my new cheese.

Meanwhile, the baby is doing great. Her skin looks great, she’s sleeping great. She’s cute as a button. Well, cuter because who ever said buttons were cute? But she’s dang cute. She’s 10 weeks old, is hopefully approaching 10 lbs, and is 10x more fun than she was a few weeks ago. Lots of smiling, happy shrieking, scooting, and general trouble-making. And mama is having a hard time not buying her cute new clothes every day.

Lillian and Daddy

Hanging out with Daddy

Playgroup

Rocking the Bjorn

Two months!

Modeling the latest in Carter's Coture

Swinging, playing, and YOGA

Playgroup!

From the top left: Isabell, Charley, Lillian, and Cara

The last week has seen several general improvements. David has discovered (thanks for the tip, Tiffany) that sticking the baby in the car seat and swinging her back and forth conks her out, and we’ve both gotten more sleep for it. We also switched up the schedule, again. Now I go to sleep at 9 or 10 (David’s natural bed time) and he stays up for her middle of the night feeding (my natural bed time) if he can’t get her to sleep till then. Sounds crazy, but it’s working. We’re both getting 5-8 hours of sleep a night now. Well, I am when I don’t have stupid insomnia, but the last couple of nights have been pretty good. Also, good friends Gen and Chris lent us a swing, and that has been epic for letting me do fun things like eat breakfast and lunch and move laundry to the dryer. So nice!

I went to my first postnatal yoga class on Tuesday. It was trippy. You can nurse, change, burp the baby in the room. Anything goes. The decibel level rises and falls with the general contentedness of the babies and chattiness of the moms. Much of the class involves exercises with the babies, singing songs, and playing with the babies. It’s certainly nothing like a normal yoga class, but holy crap was it good to do yoga again. And to do poses I hadn’t done in almost a year! So very nice. I can’t wait to do more.

David and I had a date last Sunday. We dropped Lillian off at the grandparents and went out for brunch at Frank. It was surreal to be walking around downtown with no baby. A strange flashback to what our lives were like before. We planned on being out for at least 4 hours, Lillian was supplied with at least enough milk for one feeding and some change, but I started going through withdrawal after about 2 hours and wimped out. Seriously, I got all tired and sweaty. I swear my hormones are out to get me.

Anyway, she did fine and we got to have a nice meal. We’ve got a coupon for Hudson’s on the Bend that we want to use too, so there’s another date to plan.

Speaking of dates, I hosted my first play date today with Heather & Charley, Susan & Isabelle, and Tiffany & Cara.  It was awesome! We all bitched and nursed and ate and nursed and bitched and changed diapers and nursed. We’ve all had our babies in the last seven weeks, and there are two other mamas from yoga who we hope will join in the fun soon. Heather and Susan were in my prenatal yoga classes – we were some of the die hard students, and Tiffany and I have belly danced together for a couple of years, and got pregnant within a week of each other. It’s so incredibly nice to have other moms to hang with who are going through the same kinds of stuff as me. And they’re all very cool ladies to boot. I took pictures!

Playgroup!

Getting the party started

Playgroup!

Cara models the latest in hats by Susan

Playgroup!

Cara expresses her feelings about Lillian's outfit

Playgroup!

Charley and his harem

Easter, Sleep Deprivation, and Car Seats

Lillian at Easter

Easter Madness!

Lillian is six weeks old tomorrow. This is a good thing. Supposedly, the sleep patterns are starting to get better. Oh please God. If she catches a cold, she won’t have to be tested for meningitis. Woo! I can start taking her to yoga yay! I may even risk the grocery store!

Except we’ve been having a little trouble in the car. Not every time, but recently she’s been freaking out in the car. Like totally unhinged, beet red, screaming, sweating, drooling. So horrible to watch/hear. I’ve ended up pulled over by the side of the road in the back seat holding her and crying. David got to witness it the last time and he was pretty wigged out too. I know she’s okay (intellectually) but holy Jesus, what do you do when your kid is so freaking miserable and you can’t do anything about it? I feel like I want to pull a Brittany Spears and drive around with her in my lap. Not really, but you know? She can’t hear or see me when she’s freaking out and it suuuuuuuucks. Ah, parenthood.

Our other lack of fun is some bad, bad sleep deprivation. She seems to have her days/nights reversed, and the more awake she is, the more upset she gets about gas and such. So there has been much screaming, and very little sleep. David usually takes pity on me around 11 or 12 and takes over, despite his own serious lack of sleep, but it’s been stressful for us both. She’s a total sweetheart during the day. Eats, hangs out, sleeps, poops. And then at night all hell breaks loose.

Okay, everyone has advice and it all sucks. I just talked to the nurse at the pediatrician and he had totally contradictory advice from other experts. Keep her awake during the day (except I read that just makes her more overstimulated and crotchety), feed her Pedialite for her last feeding so she doesn’t get too full (what?), and give her gripe water and mylicon. I might try that one. And all of this is based on his experience with his very large two week old, which would have nothing in common with my small six week old. Yeesh.

Seriously, I have no idea what will work. I started cluster feeding in the evenings in the beginning on the advice of another friend, and I think that’s actually contributing to the problem, since she may be over full. She’s eating more, more spaced apart during the rest of the day which seems easier on her tummy.

Anyways. Easter! We went to the Quimby’s and Lillian got to meet some more of her cousins, and get cuddled by lots of people. She screamed all the way there and back, but was nice and mellow during the event itself. She looked very cute in her little dress as well.

Lillian at Easter

Lillian at Easter

Lillian at Easter

One Month Old

One month old!

Yikes!

Miss Lillian turned one month old yesterday. Here she is post-bath in her party outfit. Yesterday’s bath was her first official tub bath, supervised by Grandma, and it involved no screaming! Imagine the possibilities.

Lillian changes a little every day. She’s starting to make “aaahh” noises, a precursor to cooing, or so I’m told. She’s awake and alert for more of the day (and unfortunately more of the night). Her tiny digestive system is ramping up which means more diapers, more discomfort, and less sleep for us. I’m told this peaks around five or six weeks, so fingers crossed.

There are many things I’m looking forward to. Six weeks means it’s safer to take her out in public. I can take hot baths. Yoga! Ohmygod yoga. Can’t wait for yoga.

Twelve weeks is another good milestone. Hopefully by then she’ll be able to hold her head up consistently and I can use my carriers more often. She practices a lot now, and can hold it up for a while, so I’m guessing she’ll be ahead of the curve on that one.

Things I’m not enjoying:

Pumping. Lord, I hate pumping. Yuck.

Lack of exercise. If we miss our evening walk, things get ugly. I miss yoga and belly dance and I want to run and do sit ups until I collapse. Argh. I’ve lost a lot of weight very quickly, but my abs are just all kinds of smooshy. Not unexpected, but frustrating that I can’t work on them yet.

Sleep deprivation. This is a given, and I’m still having a very hard time sleeping when the baby sleeps. Like now, for instance. It’s slowly getting better, but nobody mentioned that I’d be hard-wired to the baby and every time she moves or makes a sound I wake up. Argh.

And now for the cute pictures:

One month old!

Panda Butt!

One month old!

So dang cute!

One month old!

Frazzled new mom and baby

It's all about the boobs.

Howdy folks,

So now that I’ve gotten the really ugly bits out of the way, what is life like with a newborn? Er, totally unrecognizable from life before. And that’s not really a bad thing, it’s just a massive, sudden, permanent change. My previous existence looks a little shallow, and I wonder how I’ll integrate the new with the old (like my career and business and stuff) in the long term.

Right now it’s really all about getting through the next feeding and trying to get enough sleep that I don’t melt down too much. While nursing is going well from the perspective of supply and demand, I’m not enjoying it much. I’m really sore on one side, and it’s just kind of uncomfortable all around. Pumping is really yuck, though I got this holster thing that means I can go hands-free which is an improvement. It makes it go a lot faster and easier. I do wonder if I’m going to be able to stick with all of this for the six months I’d planned. I guess it’s up to me and to my milk supply. When we were briefly supplementing with formula Lillian was not a big fan, she always ate up the pumped milk way faster. So I guess I’m ambivalent for my sake, but not hers. She clearly enjoys the boob. I don’t always enjoy providing it, but I’m going to suck it up (har) for as long as I can.

And since we’re dropping a pretty penny on boob supplies (pump rental, nursing bras, storage bags, etc) I feel obligated to stick with it. Here are a couple things that have made the life of the boob a little better:

Bravado Nursing Tanks
These puppies are GENIUS. So comfortable and supportive. I’m totally going to be living in mine this summer. Get fitted at a local supplier and then buy online for cheap if you can find them.

Bravado Seamless Nursing Bra
I bought two. Sooooo comfortabuls.

Polysporin
Medela Hydrogel Pads
Help for soreness.

The Cutness

Miss Lillian is really frickin’ cute. I’m just saying. She has this whole repertoire of facial expressions that keep me endlessly amused. Most of them happen in relationship to the boob. The boob is her main squeeze. I don’t know if she cares much for me or anyone else, but she is really into the boob. Here is a partial list of facial expressions:

  • Tiny Rosebud Face (possibly the cutest)
  • Fleeting Smile (this happens when she’s dreaming and involves dimples)
  • Junior Mafioso
  • Tiny Godfather (I swear she looks like Marlon Brando when she does this)
  • Mild consternation (she inherited brow furrowing from me it seems)
  • Air Conductor (She waves her harms around and looks as if she’s enjoying classical music with a glass of fine wine. I think it’s actually to do with gas.)
  • Excellent, Smithers
  • Creepy Animatronic Doll (This is actually what happens when she’s in REM sleep. Her eyes are partially open and rolling around and it’s like she’s speed nursing.)

I’d have more of these documented if they didn’t all involve pictures of my boobs, which I plan not to share. Here’s a few that I’ve captured:

2 weeks old, post bath Kevin Bacon hair

Excellent, Smithers

2 weeks old, post bath Kevin Bacon hair

Junior Mafioso

I’ll add more as they become available. I never remember to take pictures any more. Sigh.