Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Buy this, not that!

So I was in Babies R Us the other day and saw several moms-to-be shopping.   Since I am extremely nosey, I peeked in their cart to see what they were purchasing and smiled.  I remember those times.   Excited to get everything on your list.  Every single useless item the money hungry stores make you think you need but you will never, ever use.  In fact, you will see this junk sitting in drawers, the closet, on tables and get sick to your stomach thinking of the money wasted.   You will end up throwing it in the attic, hardly used because no one will respond to your freaking Craig's List ad to get rid of it.   You just want someone to give you something for it to try and recoup some funds.  Anything you can get for it, no matter how small, seems better than knowing you wasted your money.   But no.  You won't even be able to give it away for free at times.   You might even have a yard sale and feel insulted when people offer you 50 cents for a never used item.   But you will take it just to get rid of it.  Yes.  I remember shopping when pregnant.

I wanted to tap these ladies on the shoulders and scream "put that back!"  But A) they would have probably thought I was a nutcase and B) no one did that to me.  I think maybe it is a right of passage to regret some of your newborn purchases.

However, in an effort to stop some of the madness, I have decided to create a list.  And you know how I love lists!  I am going to tell you five things I regretted buying and five things I would recommend to any new mom.  I have more, but five seems to be a good start.

Before I begin my regrets list, please remember this is just my opinion.  As the disclaimer at the bottom of this page states, I am not a professional childcare expert.  Just a professional whiner and rambler about my opinions.    Also, if you gave me anything on this list, I am sorry.   I was new.

Burp Cloths.   Babies R Us' must have checklist says that you should request upward of 12 of this. What the what? I call bullshit now. Back then? I thought they were the professionals.  Now I recognize they bamboozled a confused mom-to-be.   Why were these a waste?  I already mentioned in another post that my baby rarely spit-up on while burping.   Heck, he rarely burped while over my shoulder.  When he did spit up, it was always at the most inopportune time and the cloths were across the room.   They are now dust rags.  

Washcloths.  OK. Maybe I am unhygienic. Maybe I am lazy. Maybe my baby is covered in bacteria as we speak. But I use a washcloth more than once. I hang it over the rail to dry and use it at least twice. I also do laundry one a week. So the 10-12 washcloths they recommend? Overkill. Let's just say they too make wonderful dust rags. And honestly, I think my personal washcloths would have done just as good.  

Swaddle Blankets.   I sucked at swaddling babies.   They show you in the hospital.  They make it look easy.  They make me feel stupid.  My baby looked like a pile of laundry when I was done.   It was frustrating.  And trust me, you are already stressed, tired and hormonal the first month.  You don't want to be frustrated swaddling your baby on top if it.  Once again - dust rags.  Hmmmm...with so many rags, why is my house so freaking dusty?  Anyhow, see my recommended list for my solution to my swaddling problem.  

Cute Newborn Clothes.   If I could do it over again, the only newborn clothes I would buy are $3 Walmart special onsies.  I would not spend any extra money just because something was cute.  I definitely wouldn't buy any complete outfits.   I was too tired to go anywhere the first month or so.  Even if I had the energy, my little guy was on such a tight two hour schedule it was too much of a pain in the ass to go.   Even if I did go, no one cared if he was in a onsie or a matching baby Gap outfit.   They grow so fast, anything other than cheap onsies is a waste of money.  Also, their diapers leak and they spit up all the time.   You will be changing them several times a day and that is when $3 really becomes a value.  You don't want to be spending half your money and half your life dressing them in three piece outfits.  As Sweet Brown says:  Ain't nobody got time for that!

I know, I know. They are too cute. So tiny. So soft. Especially the socks. But you need to get a hold of yourself! 

Baby Toys.  You have plenty of time to buy your child toys.  Save your money when he actually can (and is willing) to play with them.   Buy a couple of toys under 6 months and that is it.  Hell, at that age they will be fascinated by a sock.   And if you look around, most of the toys are all the same.   They just have different manufacturers.  And the different manufacturers make duplicate items and just give them different names.  Cha-Ching!! Before you can blink, your kid will be asking for the latest video game console or $100 Transformer.  But now?  Give him a wooden spoon and a tennis ball.  He will be ecstatic.

Here are the things I would recommend to new mommies.  Again, just my opinion.

The Halo Swaddle.   This was a life saver for me.  In 10 seconds he was snug as a bug in a rug.  He loved his little sack.   And he knew when he went in it, it was time for bed.  I honestly think it helped us with sleep training.   Within a few months, he decided he hated being swaddled with his arms out.  This allowed him to feel swaddled but keep his hands free. 

Once he got a little bigger we bought the sleep sack.   It is like a baby snuggie!  This was great because he was still at a stage where they said blankets would still kill him.   This kept him warm.  Not to mention that Little L refuses to sleep in one position at night and even if I wanted to keep a blanket on him, it is impossible.   I will admit, I was sad when he started pulling himself up and we decided it was best to stop using it.


A Swing.  We started off with a bouncer but it didn't do the trick after the first month.   I almost mentioned the bouncer in the regrets section.  But I suppose it came in handy from time to time when I needed to take him room to room.   But the swing.  The glorious swing.  When I was tired and he wouldn't go to sleep without the rocking motion, the swing was my life saver.  I would put him in that and lay beside him on the couch.  We would both get rest.   I highly recommend that you get one that plugs into the wall to save money on batteries and to ensure a stronger motor.  Here is the one we had and he loved it.

Diaper Pail.  Genie.  Whatever.   I noticed on many blogs, people said this is a waste.  I don't think so.  I liked being able to wait until there were a 100 diapers in there before changing it.  It also does seem to keep the smell down, in my opinion.   Now that he is getting bigger, and so are his poops, it doesn't hold as much and I have noticed a slight smell when I open it.  But since my little one likes to get into everything now, I think it is more secure than just a trashcan and more convenient to keep in the room.   Some do not think the refills are worth the money, but they often go on sale and I can go a whole week before changing it.  Then again, my child is in daycare during the day so I don't change as many diapers as some mommies.


Bottle Warmer.    Pass on a sterilizer, but get the warmer.   It is so much more convenient than boiling water, safer than the microwave and unless you are OK using warm tap water; there is nothing more quick and simple.

Baby Video Monitor.   I will be honest.  I keep the sound off.  Baby monitors will magnify every little sound.   I am a light sleeper.  If he rolls over, you can hear it.  I don't need that.  I just need something that I look at to determine if I should be worried about the crying or if he is just looking for his pacifier.   It also takes some of the stress off of the whole "cry it out" method.  You can see for yourself that his head isn't popping off.   There are so many to pick from.  I personally feel the cheapest one with a decent picture will do.

Do you have any regrets?  And recommendations?

Mommy Melt Down

It has been a while since I have posted anything.   Things have been a little hectic and honestly, I think I am on the verge of a melt down.   A full blown hysterical crying into a bottle of wine while watching Lifetime movies type of melt down.

The baby has been sick for about three weeks now.   The first week was a temperature of 102 that would not go away.   I took him to the doctor after a few days only to be told his ears and chest were fine and he was just fighting a bad cold.   She sent me home to wait it out.   It took four days.  Four very long days.

The next week he came home from daycare vomiting.   I knew there was a stomach virus going around so I just gave him some TLC and lots of water.   What did I get for my efforts?  The stomach virus.  I was knocked on my ass for over 24 hours.   Baby L, however, was still not able to hold anything down other than formula several days later.  So, I trekked back to the doctor only to be told he was fine and just needed some extra time for his stomach to settle.  She sent me home to wait it out.  It took three more days to get through the night without puke.  Three very long days.

This past week, his nose has been running like a faucet, which led to a cough and low grade fever.   Knowing what happened on my last two visits, I decided not to run to the doctor right away.   During this time Baby L also had his first birthday and we started him on whole milk.    He seemed to take to the milk the first day, not so much the second, third or fourth.   We had restless nights.  Bouts of fussiness.  More coughing.  More fevers.  He was hardly eating.  His poop looked weird.   I struggled with it all.   Was he hungry since he was not on formula anymore?  Was he getting an ear infection from all the drainage?  Was the milk causing stomach problems? 

Finally after four days of aggravation, I took him to the doctor only to be told he was fine.   She said the odds of him being lactose intolerant were low but he might need more time to get used to whole milk.  She said he doesn't really need to drink much milk and was not starving.  He is probably just not feeling well or teething and thus not eating or sleeping well.   She sent me home to wait it out.   Do you see a trend here?

Easy for her to tell me to wait it out.  I bet she gets more than 4 hours of sleep a night.   I wanted to take her stethoscope and wrap it around her neck until she prescribed me a pill that would give me my happy, easy baby back!    I didn't want to hear what she was telling me.  I got all the same advice from my Facebook family - for free.   I wanted sleep damn it!  I wanted a moment of peace.

Later that night we had the worse melt down to date.   At midnight of course. The type of screams that had me checking his body for insect bites.  I mean, he was making sounds only someone in horrible pain could make.   So now I think the little man might be getting his molars.  His big ass, painful, slow cutting first molars.

It explains a lot of his behavior.   But it could also be the cold.   Or the milk.  So, I have been running around experimenting with teething tablets, Motrin, Tylenol, milk to formula ratios, offering 15 different foods until he finally eats SOMETHING so I can rule out hunger.

Just when I didn't think things could get worse, the cat rushes by me leaving skid marks on the carpet, with a small piece of curly ribbon hanging out his butt.    The cat ate the birthday balloon ribbon.   So there I found myself in the bathroom, trying to wrangle a hissing, screaming cat to the ground with a towel.  After 10 minutes, I got the ribbon out.   All 12 inches of it.    I sat on the bathroom floor and wondered, what could be next?


How about the traffic on the way back from dropping my mother-in-law off at the airport was horrendous and it was past the baby's dinner time.   Or he screamed in the car the entire time until I was forced to get off an exit and stop into a fast food joint to feed him and me.   Or the fact that there are no nice areas off the highway and all the homeless people were hanging out at the fast food establishment.  Or that two of them surrounded my car asking for money as I tried to leave and scared me to death.  Or that we still had to stop at Walmart on the way home to pick up a small can of formula to continue our milk ratio experiment only to discover Walmart ran out of the formula we use.   The only formula that Baby L likes.

Yeah.  That is what could be next.

And the hubby?  Well, he has been out of town working for most of this.

And thus, I am on the brink of a breakdown.   So pray for me.  Or send wine.   Actually send wine.  I prefer the wine.  And cake.  Send cake.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mommy Competition

The other night I was out running errands with the little man and decided to stop into a restaurant by the house for dinner.    For the record, I never eat alone in a restaurant.  Even when I am traveling for work, I will pick dinner up and take it back to the hotel room.  I just can't do it.   I feel out of place.  Lonely.  Pathetic.   But I figured taking my son with me was not technically eating alone so I forged ahead.

That is when I met little Ms. "my 8 month baby is smarter than your 1 year old".  OK.  That really wasn't her name, but I that is all I heard every time she opened her mouth.  She was the hostess and decided to chat me up as she showed me to my table.   She apparently just had a baby 8 months ago and was anxious to know all about Little L, giving her a chance to brag about her child and make me feel like I was raising Forest Gump.

Her: Awww how old is he?
Me:  He will be one next week.
Her:  Does he say any words yet?
Me:  No, I don't think he says any real words.
Her:  Think?  You don't know?

Yeah.  At this point, I should have known how the conversion was going to proceed.

Me:  Well he seems to say dada and mama a lot.  But he says it when pointing at the cat, TV, microwave, Micky Mouse.  So, I don't really think he is saying anything purposeful.
Her:  Oh really?  My 8 month old baby calls me mama and knows how to say kitty and bottle.  

Oh really?   That is nice.  Does he also know how to say "Go away"?

Her:  So, does he walk yet?
Me:  No.  Not yet.
Her:  Well, my 8 month old is already walking.

Who the f*** asked you?  All I recall asking for is a table for two.

Me:  Wow.  That is really early.  The earliest I have heard is 9 months.  
Her:  Well, he knows how to walk if I assist him.   He can stand up holding onto something.  It is called assisted walking.

I know what it is called bitch.   And that is not really walking.

Me:  I see.  Yeah.  Little L can do that too.
Her:  So does he eat table food?  Do you want to order him something from the kid's menu?
Me:  No.   He is really picky.  I will let him try some of what I get, otherwise I have some snacks in his bag.
Her:   My baby loves anything I give him from the table.   He doesn't want baby food anymore.

Yeah?  Looking at size of you, he probably feels like he has to eat anything he can get his hands on before you eat it first.

Me: That is convenient.  Thanks for showing us our seats.

Now leave!

Her:  Should I bring him some crayons to color with.

Seriously?  He is not even one yet.  He will eat them.  Let me guess, your baby is a damn Picasso.  He draws zoo animals on napkins that sell for $100 a pop. 

Me:  No.

Silence until she finally walked away.

Seriously?  What is wrong with people?  What type of person strikes up a conversation with a complete stranger and tries to make them feel like their child is going to ride the short bus to school?  

I know that every child is different and they all advance at their own pace.  Did you know that Einstein didn't even talk until he was three?  Well I do and it still doesn't make me feel better when morons like this talk to me.

Motherhood is hard.   Women should be helping other women.  We should be encouraging other women as mothers.   We should not be in competition.  We should not be trying to out do each other.  It is not a game.

The next time I see that wench, it will be very hard not to say "Oh yeah?! Well my baby can beat the crap out of your baby!"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mommy Milestones

There are so many articles and discussions about baby milestones.   Has the baby rolled over? Slept through night?  Eating Solids? Got a tooth?  Crawled?  Walked? Talked? Learned Mandarin Chinese? OK.  I made that last one up.

We talk so much about the baby learning and growing.  We never talk about the parents.   We never talk about at what point (if ever) we have ah-ha moments.  Learning achievements.   I started thinking, are there Mommy Milestones?  And if so, shouldn't they be celebrated as well?

If there are, I think I may have had one tonight.

Tonight I gave up.   I was exhausted.  Overwhelmed.  I am just getting over the stomach flu and have been taking care of a baby that seems to have been sick for two weeks straight.   The house is a disaster.  Work is stressful.  Family and friends will be in town in a week for his birthday party.  A party that I have not even really planned yet.   Hell, we haven't even bought Little L a gift.   The kitchen granite countertop was installed wrong and we have only half the back splash up.   The sprinklers are leaking and causing $150 water bills.   My Kereig coffee pods are getting low.   We have hardly any food in the house.  Did I mention I am low on coffee?   The litter box needs cleaning.  The diaper bag needs restocking.   My baby memory book is way behind.  The grout in the shower needs to be re-done.   I have no clean underwear.   I haven't had a pedicure in almost 60 days.   All the bottles needed to be washed.  I was hungry.

And I was running after a warp speed crawler trying to keep him from hurting himself.

I was stressed.

That is when I had my "milestone moment".  Maybe it isn't a milestone.  Maybe it is just being a bad parent.  Maybe it is something you already knew and think I am slow.  But I realized if I spent my entire life running after my child trying to make sure he didn't bump his head or mess something up, he would never learn and I would never get my life back.

I want my life back.  Not my life before my son.  I couldn't imagine a life without him now.  But I want a life.  A life where I can wash my underwear while drinking an vast assortment of coffees in an organized house.   

So I stopped.

I stopped chasing him around the house.  I stopped saying no every 30 seconds.

I looked around the house carefully.  I closed all the doors to all the other rooms.  I made sure all the outlets were covered.  I made sure nothing deadly was within reach.  I sat him on the floor and told him, "Good luck in the jungle kid.  Try not to kill yourself".   

Before you call child services, he was within eyesight the entire is a small house.

And you know what?  He didn't kill himself.   In fact, he did good.   Turns out that my little man really doesn't want to get into too much trouble without me there to witness it.   What is the fun in that?   He checked in with me often just make sure I still cared.  He finally got bored of chasing the cat and pushing his highchair around the house and just sat quietly on the floor waiting for me to sit next to him.

And you know what?  I didn't die.  I didn't freak out.  I actually got stuff done.  I had a milestone. 

My husband, on the other hand, will probably have a heart attack reading this.

And I'm pretty sure the cat doesn't think the night went as well as I do.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My To Do List

I decided to create a to do list this week.   I got tired of walking past things and think "oh yeah, I wanted to do that".  Remember my memory issues?  So, I decided to make a list.   Let me preface this with the fact I am a type A personality.   I like lists.   I like to cross things off lists.  It makes me feel accomplished and productive.   There is probably something wrong with the fact that I get such joy out of a crossed off list.

The problem is, I can't get anything crossed of this list.   And it is driving me nuts.   It is stressing me out.  Seriously!  I think I was less stressed knowing I had so much to do before I actually wrote it down.   I feel now that I have written it down, I have committed to it.   It is sort of like my DVR.  I had to stop recording so many shows.   I would get too busy to watch them and they would build up.   I was not worried about running out of room, I was worried that I had all these shows ready to be watched and I couldn't.   There they were.  Sitting there.  Calling my name.  I committed to recording them and I didn't have time to watch them.  And that stressed me out.  I told you.  I have something seriously wrong with me. 

That is how I feel about my list.   The list isn't even things that HAVE to get done.   They are things I would like to get done around the house.   Ironically, they are things that I feel would bring less stress to my life if completed.   But the list just sits there....staring at me.  A reminder of what is not getting done and thus adding more stress to my life.

Sigh...I have issues.   I should add "buy more wine" to the list.

The aforementioned list.   Blurred out because I don't want you to know exactly how big a mess my life is.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Open Letter to Daycare Parents

The daycare my son goes to is a lot like many other daycares or schools.  It has a drop-off/pick up lane by the front door.   Actually, my daycare has three lanes.  You would think this would make things go three times more smoothly.   But no.  It just gives the ass clown parents out there three chances to f*** it up.
Too often, I find myself backing up and trying to maneuver around cars that never seem to move.  There is nothing worse than being sandwiched between two cars and having to sit there waiting for one of the attachment parent types to finally come out so I can get my life back.
The daycare states in the monthly newsletter that these lanes should only be used to quickly drop off or pick up children. When making an extended visit, parents should use the parking spaces in the parking lot. It is quite obvious that the newsletter goes unread or ignored.  
That is why I would love to create an instructional handout and provide them to all the parents.   However, I am 99.9% sure they would not let me hand it out.  If they did, it would go a little something like this:

Dear Parents,
Some of you don't seem to understand express lane etiquette or simply lack respect for your fellow parents.   Therefore, let me spell it out for you.
The Child Drop-off and Pick-up Rules
  1. The drop-off and pick-up lanes are only to be used if you can get in and out of the building within 5 minutes.  If you feel you cannot meet this maximum time requirement, park your car in a parking spot.
  2. If you plan to go in with your child in the morning and sit down at the table to share a scone and a latte, park your car in a parking spot.  If I see you with breakfast for two, and your car is in front of me, I reserve the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
  3. If you have other children with you that do not go to the daycare, they must be able to get in and out of the car themselves quickly and buckle their seat belt.   If you have to help the rest of your clan in and out of their seats, consider leaving them in the car while you go in to get your other child.  If you feel you must bring them inside or they will steal the car, kill each other or find your secret stash of vodka - park your car in a parking spot.  
  4. If you have a 20 minute dissertation for the staff on how to take care of your child because little Timmy might break into hysterics if someone gives him non-organic yogurt or he doesn't get his lovey at 10:05am exactly - park your car in a parking spot.    Otherwise, I reserve to the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
  5. If you have separation anxiety over leaving your child and need to stand there watching him chase other kids, laughing and playing with toys; all while convincing yourself that he is just being brave and is really dying inside - park your car in a parking spot.   Otherwise, I reserve to the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
  6. If you have a million questions about what you owe, why the teacher reprimanded your perfect child or if you just want to chat with the front desk about the weather - park your car in a parking spot.   If I overhear your conversation and feel it is frivolous or taking too long, I reserve the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
  7. If the car in front of me leaves while I am in the building, park behind me.   If you squeeze in front of me just to get by the door and block me in, you will be considered a douche bag and I reserve the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
  8. If I am behind another car, and there are other lanes free, don't park behind me and sandwich me in.   If I come out and I can't pull forward to leave, I reserve the right to put my car in reverse and ram your car out of the way.
  9. If you have a tractor trailer, a RV or a bus - park it in the street.  What the hell are you doing anyway picking up a kid in a trailer, RV or bus?  That's suspicious and ghetto.  I reserve the right to call child protection services.
  10. There may be extenuating circumstances when you go in expecting to be out in 5 minutes, but you aren't.  Your little one may throw a sudden tantrum, you may find out something happened during the day that needs to be addressed or the staff is finishing up a bottle or changing his diaper.   This is understandable.  But it is not my problem.   If it happens to you regularly (and I will remember your car) start parking your car in the parking lot or I reserve the right to ram your car out of the way when I am ready to leave.
Thank you for your adherence and understanding.

The Hostile Mom Parked Behind You For 15 Minutes With Wine In My Sippy Cup

If you are reading this and thinking why don't I just park my car in the parking lot and avoid all my frustration, you can go suck it.   My husband says that to me all the time.   That is not the point!   Why should I have to walk farther when I can get in and out in 5 minutes or less?  I should not be inconvenienced because some people are self absorbed, lazy jerkoffs.  I mean if that is the case, let's just take money from hard working people and give it to the unmotivated.   Let's take personal rights away from law abiding citizens because mentally unstable people or criminals do something wrong.  I mean, really?

I need a refill....

Monday, March 4, 2013

How the F*** did I get here?

The other night at 2am, I was on the floor of my child's bedroom trying to fish three pacifiers from underneath his crib without waking him up.    More precisely, I was on my belly with a yard stick in my right hand trying to knock them towards my other hand without hitting anything or setting one of his toys off.   But then little "L" started to move and he let out a tired snort.    He sleepily opened his eyes and I found myself eyeball to eyeball with him for at least 2 seconds.   That is when I quickly dropped all the way to the floor, held my breath, started to pray he would fall back to sleep and thought to myself:

It is 2am.  How the F*** did I get here?  A couple years ago, the only thing I would be doing at 2am would be dreaming of Ryan Reynolds or ordering another shot at the bar.   Now, I am wasting 10 minutes of much needed sleep trying to replace these damn "binkies" in an effort to get at last an extra hour of sleep in the morning.  Sigh...

That was a rhetorical question.  I know how I got there.   I woke up in the middle of the night and glanced at the baby monitor.   That's when I noticed the little man had done a 360 in his crib and I gasped.  Not one pacifier could be seen on the screen.  Not one!  The manic thoughts went through my head:

Maybe he is laying on them?
Not my luck!
Maybe he won't notice there isn't one in the crib?
Hell, yes he will notice - at 5am probably!
When he notices, he will start screaming at the top of his lungs!
Once that happens we will both be wide awake - at 5am!
Maybe this time will be different?
Maybe he won't care?
Who am I kidding? He will care!  He always cares!
Sigh...I better get up and find the damn things.

I then walked across the house, into his room and slithered onto the floor.   That is how I got there -  on the carpet, with a yard stick, holding my breath, wishing I was ordering a shot at a bar with Ryan Reynolds instead.

I only did this to myself.   Before I had the baby, I swore my child would not be hooked on a pacifier.   That was one of the many, many lies told myself; but I will save that list for another post.

And in case you are wondering? I woke up at 8am to find my sweet bundle of joy quietly laying in his crib, sucking his binkie until mommy woke up - never the wiser.