Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm kind of like snoopy without the aviator glasses...and near muteness

In addition to life's usual expectations of me...I'm now house and dog sitting...douse sitting...hoog sitting... doghouse sitting! Like Snoopy, except that if I were really on top of a house, I'd be screaming my head off (envision Peanuts cartoon version of me - nose straight in the air, mouth gaping...)

As with anything else at this stage of my life - my daughter and I come as a package deal. That means we're pack 'n' playing it up at a friend's with her sweet, but slightly nuts dog. He's a good boy, and in the evenings he's a total love bug who just wants to cuddle ... and kiss the inside of my daughter's mouth (*gag*). They get along well - so much so that they'll swap toys without me knowing it.


Well, they've already frenched so what more damage could be done??

Don't answer that.

So one of the duties as hoog sitter is that I need to walk the dog - AM and PM - not just for the poo/pee activities but to wear his little butt out. By little, I mean 40 pounds of boxer/pit mix muscle. He's little in stature alone - his personality/love/attitude/strength are all larger than life.

...and he's allegedly trained to walk on a leash without pulling.

I'm sure he's just trying to test his boundaries. I've walked him before, and he's done well with not pulling - once we get the lines drawn in the sand. The difference now is that I've either got the baby in a stroller (which is difficult to push one-handed on rolling hills) or she's in my external frame baby backpack (which I LOVE!). Either way, my abrupt "get the hell back here" countertug just isn't the same. So, the majority of the walk is at a foot-slapping, shoulder-separating pace.

I've relinquished control, and I know that's not good.

Sorry to my friend whose dog is now officially untrained. She'll be gone for another two days of damage. Hopefully, I can get out without baby in tow and get him back on track. (Even when I'm not pushing the stroller, he's distracted by it's presence if someone else (ie my husband) is pushing it beside us). So much for the lovely family walk...

Having to get out and walk the dog also means peeling my lazy ass off the couch. This is a positive for me. Exercise (which I can never spell correctly out of the shoot) makes you feel good - releases endorphins - increases energy... not quite true. I'm tired and I now have the Hulk's trapezius muscles (who needs a neck anyway??), and I definitely could use a better endorphin rush.

Maybe we'll go rock climbing the next time I take him out... Here, boy! Come on! You can do it!! *whistle whistle*

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Imaginary ghost appendages that still feel and move and crawl away and get into kitchen chemicals

Although one of my pre-momma "nevers" was that I would NEVER let my baby sleep in my bed. HA! It's cute really to think of my reasoning. Anyway...

I've kept my boundaries, but there have been very specific instances where having her sleep in bed with me just has been the best option - even if by "best" I mean a quick fix to shut her up so we can both get a few winks before the next day begins.

The problem is not that she becomes accustomed to the contact. Mostly when she sleeps in my bed, it's with a pillow between us to do my best at (A) not rolling over on her and (B) not using me as a human security blanket. I still have my hand on her - even if it's just on the sole of her foot - something to detect movement. The potential for escape. The danger of falling.

I'm a light sleeper by nature. And a lighter sleeper when she's in my bed. I can hardly close my eyes - even at the peak of exhaustion. I just watch my sweet angel sleeping. Fighting the urge to kiss her face and hands and feet and chubby thighs and dimpled elbows and pseudo-sucking lips and sweet little chin. It kills me. My heart races with love. I convince myself to leave her the hell alone. I close my eyes. Again. And again. And sleep.

I wake when she moves. I move when she wakes. She has the same gravitational pull toward me. Pulling hair, poking eyes. Exploring and loving with touch...and sometimes jaggy nails.

When we were on vacation, she slept in the portacrib when she'd initially go down, but end up nursing off and on all night. It was a terrible habit for me to pull her into bed with me. Sneer, glare, shake your head. I know it was bad. I knew at the time. I had no way to close the door and let her cry it out. We were on vacation for god's sake. Rules get broken on vacation.

That week of her sleeping in bed with me seems to have ruined me more than ruined her. In the wee hours of the morning, I will wake in my bed with a start.

In the foggy mist between sleep and wake - you know, where Peter Pan lives - I pat the bed beside me on the other side of the pillow I'm spooning. SHIT where is she? I pat frantically in the dark. The whole bed. I find the dog, my husband, and 4 trillion pillows. NO BABY. Where is she? Oh no. Did she roll off the bed? Did she get up and crawl away and get into the kitchen cabinets? WHY CAN'T I HEAR HER???

"Well, dumbass" I finally concede to myself, "she's still in her crib where she's safely been all night."

I've gone so far as to ask my husband who had gotten up ass-crack early to head to work - "Have you seen the baby?" Like she might have stopped by for a visit or they'd passed on the road yesterday.

She's seriously like an amputated appendage when she's not with me. A part of me is missing. Yes, I bitch because she's SO dependent on me (take a bottle once in a while for christ's sake!) but I truly miss her during the night, during naps, when her dad's keeping an eye on her.

Eight months ago, I would never have believed anyone who would have told me I'd be up in the middle of the night writing such a thing.

I so love being a Momma. Every bit of it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Back before I had a human kid - I had fur kids. Well, to be honest, I still have my fur kids - but no in the same capacity. When I'd call home, my parents would as how the dogs were doing. The animals were featured on Christmas cards and in family portraits. Hell, more than half of my facebook pictures were pet-related. Now, I find myself thinking of things like "(ugh....) you need to be fed today, too??" and "I'm not crouching down to fill your little water bowl again. It's not my fault that you're scared of the big self-filling water bowl. If you're thirsty you'll drink out of the kiddy pool." I no longer spend long intimate moments trying to get the perfect dog shot (without psycho reflective dog eyes) or even spend much time "talking" one on one with either of them.

My priorities have obviously shifted.

I'm busy, and most of the time if I have time to socialize the baby is on, beside, beneath, around, under, above, or any other The dogs want their Momma and no baby time, and unless they grab it while I'm falling asleep in bed it just doesn't happen all that often. Most of the attention from me is of the clenched teeth variety when they bark at nothingness and could potentially wake the baby.

I feel bad about that, but the hubs makes sure that they aren't completely neglected.

When we moved to this house, the big yard plopped in the middle of a wooded lot was a dream come true for my eldest dog who'd lived in small apartments, on cables and cords for years. We decided to purchase an electric fence to contain her.

For those who don't know, you can get electric fences now that don't require burying a cable. You just plug the receiver in and it creates a bubble at an adjustable radius depending on where you want the dog to be able to go. When the dog leaves that bubble, the collar gives a warning beep (which is all either of my dogs need anymore) and then if they remain outside the bubble, they get a shock to the neck.

The old dog learned quickly, and the new dog has only known the shock boundary -- so we're very happy with the system. It's kept both dogs happily contained - so much so that resident deer and rabbits wander freely just outside the line (think Bugs Bunny cartoon on the torment level).

The one problem we've had with this system is that during a thunderstorm, if the power goes out, sometimes the collars register that the dogs are outside the bubble. Sometimes, they just get beeped. Other times they get zapped. This sucks. BIGTIME. The old dog has always been a freak during storms, and now that the younger one was recently inducted into the got-the-shit-shocked-outta-me-for-no-reason club she shakes uncontrollably at the first rumble of thunder.

We've had one thunderstorm after another throughout the Midwest these past few weeks. I've taken the batteries out of both collars to ensure that no superfluous shocking occurs, but I usually end up flanked by both panting, shaking, drooling, 80lb dogs during a storm. This is ok, when the baby is sleeping - but I've found myself on more than one occasion in the last week with the baby and one huge dog in my lap - IN MY RECLINER - and the other whining to climb up.

No longer are they asking for my attention - but demanding it.

I'm hoping that when the storms subside, the younger dog will forget her fears and return to her normal oblivious self. In the meantime, I need to find some sedative for the dogs (and/or myself) or we aren't going to survive this stormy season!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I are food - most of the time.

My little one now consistently says MaMa. Clear as day - and not the rambling mamamamadadadadamamama... as before. It makes my heart palpitate each time. At this point in the game, she gets what she wants as a reward for calling to me.

Going on four days of her beckoning call, I'd become quiet comfortable with the idea that the MaMa's weren't a happy accident and that she was asking for me - Momma - the person.


Last night, she was standing beside her father who was eating dip a bowl with chips.

"MAMA...MAMA...MAMA" my precious angel exclaimed - looking him straight in the eye.

My heart sank. He laughed.

"MAMA...MAMA..." She reaches her tiny little fingers into the bowl for a nib.

"I think she means food when she says 'MaMa'!"

Shit. So close.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tiny triumphs

I did a poor job of pre-birth literary research. I got a hold of the obligatory What to Expect When You’re Expecting, perused a couple of mommy websites and called it good. I was more interested in what the baby was doing now, and what piece of fruit best compared to her size than reading parenting books.

I’m glad.

I’m fairly sure that no parenting book describes the Standard Operating Procedure for a pit stop with just a mom and baby. Not an “I’m gonna stretch my legs in this here rest stop parking lot, let’s get the stroller out and read interpretive signs posted along this little woodchip trail” stop. But an “oh, shit, I waited until she woke up on her own I think I’m going to piss myself” stop. Stroller is not an option.

Early, early on – when the peanut was tiny, I simply risked bladder infection to even stopping at a gas station. Yes, I had the bucket seat. I could carry the seat in, and I could put in on the floor of ten thousand germs, and I could bring the seat back home and forget about germ infestation and place said germ encrusted car seat in my home. Or, I could damage my kidneys. Sorry kidneys, you lose.

Now, the little one is older and more resilient – and practically 273 pounds when carried in her bucket seat. That is no longer an option. Also, I’m driving further with her – this weekend was a 3.5 hour drive on the longest leg. Peeing is inevitable. Since I was attending a wedding, peeing in the seat wasn’t an option and Depends are too expensive and an additional stop on the trip.
Yes, I am proud when I get her to go to sleep after a rough night. I am proud when I work her out of a funk without losing my cool. But I’ve never been more proud of momma ingenuity than I was after I accomplished my first pee while holding the baby and successfully hovering without touching gross nastiness in public bathroom. Ample amounts of Purel were still used…you know…just in case.

Sometimes, you simply have to do what you have to. You can’t leave the baby in the car, can’t ask a stranger to holder…and MOST DEFINITELY cannot set her on the floor *commence heebeegeebee dance.* And there was simply no time to fumblefuck with the stroller buried under travel junk in my trunk.

Anywho it was a proud moment in my world. And I thought I’d share.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Over the shoulder boulder holders

First off, I'd like to state that not everyone nurses. This day and age, the decision to bottle feed versus breastfeed is based mainly on personal preference, ability, and interest. A bottle feeding momma is just as offended by being told that they are selfish as a breastfeeding momma is offended by being told that what she is doing is gross. Cut the shit folks, just like every other aspect of parenting - the decision for bottle/breastfeeding is dependent on factors that are only the business of that family. Pass judgment somewhere else.

That said, I nurse my baby. I plan to not do it until she's 15, so no worries there either. I am fortunate in that I've had a relatively easy go of the nursing business. The large knockers are making up for the fact that I've never been able to take 4 running steps without the cartoonish sounds of a tympani playing in my head. Of course pregnancy and early nursing only made them porn-star huge. Am I complaining? No. They were self-supported for the most part back then. My issue is 8 months down the nursing road, I'm still well endowed - it's just a matter of where that endowment rests relative to my sternum.

Nursing bras come in a few varieties.

(1) The tank bra - a spaghetti strapesque shirt with a shelf bra. For some - probably those who have always been able to comfortably wear a shelf bra, they work. Not for me. Da dadada!!! UNIBOOB! (and that just gets messy on hot summer days)

(2) The soft cup bra - aww soft and comfy. No support. After a month or two of variable boob size, the fabric gives out resulting in a boob thong from the support structure of the bra while the booby flaps sag down. I might as well be swinging free.

(3) The sleep bra - holds the girls in place so you don't roll over on them (seriously...ouch), but the second you stand up - boobs meet waist.

(4) The underwire bra - a HUGE no-no in all breastfeeding references (could potentially block milk ducts and cause infection). Tend to come with huge grandma straps. The support is better, but unless you're wearing a turtleneck, the straps will end up showing at some point when a baby is perched on your hip. This has been my option of choice in recent months. Note that I'm very aware of swelling that could indicate the first signs of mastitis.

No nursing bras that I have found address the THO problem that arises with breastfeeding mommas. Part of me doesn't care - I can't feel it, and it no longer means that I'm cold. Would a little padding or more solid cup kill anyone?

I'm positive that I'm not the only person who is nursing that would also like to not experience the nickels-in-sock feeling day in and day out.

It doesn't help that many department stores no longer carry maternity bras in their stores. I understand that the variety of sizes/colors/support mechanisms would take up space, but I feel like a social outcast when I'm told that I need to go to the website - when I'm standing in their store!

While not for all - for me, nursing has been a good experience overall. I would just like to preserve some semblance of boobiage for post-nursing me. I don't look forward to having to roll these babies up to put them in place at a later date.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm a [Fill in the blank]-aholic: Introduction to the self-diagnosed addict within

I'm a sugar-holic, choco-holic, shop-aholic, food-aholic, email-aholic, caffeine-aholic, facebook-aholic, etc etc etc-aholic. Endorphins are my friends. I'd be a work-aholic if I wasn't already so busy with other aholicisms. Of course, I had my hay day with alcohol consumption, but never was addicted to that - the hangovers were too much of a bitch. After a very terrible breakup my sophomore year of college, I tried to start smoking. I literally couldn't do it right - leave it to the 3.5 GPA student to fail at becoming addicted to smoking. Tough break, eh? I'm too paranoid when I'm clear-headed to become addicted to other substances.

What do all of my vices have in common? My ass. Sugar and chocolate make it big. Which makes me depressed - so I shop. Then I realize that I'm like Kim Kardashian and her shop-aholicness except that I'm not a rail and not rich. More depression. More eating. So I take up my time by checking my email and facebook pages 100 times a day. Since no one could possibly send enough email and comments to keep me satiated...I eat while I'm doing that too. Bigger ass. I get heavy and tired. So I drink caffeine to stay awake while continuing the cycle.

Enough with the self-loathing section of this entry. I don't hate myself. I sabotage myself with boxes of donuts (seriously Entenmann's is the devil - the sweet, seductive, can't turn myself away, drool at the thought of it devil), but I don't hate myself. I just know what I like - and find no real reason to starve myself of those things. I can justify each thing I do - sometimes with long, convoluted stories. It's a creative outlet, really.

"It's all about moderation." Whatever. The word moderation was invented by someone who was not impulsive. Yes, I can pour a single serving of candy/coffee/whatever into a bowl and then carry that bowl to the other room to eat it. It makes me burn a few more calories to go refill the bowl until the bag/pot/whatever is gone. I get an idea or taste or need in my head and I can't get past it until I satisfy that need. It may take several days and failed distractions, but I get the necessary fix.

This is why I didn't do a lot of experimenting with drugs. Not because it's illegal, but because I'd be the toothless chick in the cardboard box on the corner in no time. No thanks. I'm much more comfortable sleeping on my pillow-top mattress and the owner of too many purses and love handles. Thank you!

I went on vacation for a week - where I had no access to the internet. I missed it only for a short while, and then I was fine. It was like the proverbial weight had been lifted from my shoulders! Not only that, but because I was a guest in another's house, I couldn't (well shouldn't) ransack the cupboards for sweets. I didn't crave them either! I had so much control that I only bought a sweatshirt (which was necessary because of the cold, I swear, it was cold, and the sweatshirt was pretty, and on sale, and matched my shoes, so so necessary) and no other souvenirs! I came home with enough cash (yes, cash!) in my wallet to stock the fridge when we returned home!

Well, it all went to hell today. I finished off the two bags of candy (gummy bears and peach rings - if you must know) that I purchased and nibbled in the airport on the way home from vacation. I drank Mountain Dew like it was going out of style. *tzzz* I checked facebook every 3 minutes when I started work (at 6am - when no one in their right mind was online). OH and I bought a FREAKING LAPTOP.

Sweetbabyjesus the old me was just hiding here in my office chair all along.

I think I feel my ass getting bigger.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eating my words - before someone feeds them to me

Before I was a Momma, I knew how to raise a child. I'd always do this, never do that. You know. All of you did it at one time or another pre-mommahood. Never sugar, always baths, never McD's fries, always consistent, never ... always ... never... never...never. Well, as Fievel so eloquently sang "never say never whatever you do." Amen, little man, amen. Oh by the way, and "always" is just a "never" statement in disguise...

Now, for those who don't know me personally I'm not a kid person. SO not a kid person. All of my cousins are within 5 years of myself, so I wasn't exposed to babies past the age of 7. It just didn't happen. I babysat one girl as a teen - and I really think she ruined me for kid relationships. I didn't know how to talk to kids, relate to them - and even play with them ---do you make them stick to the rules or just slide down ladders and up chutes to their hearts' content? I didn't even know I wanted to have kids of my own until I was 25 years old. I just never could see myself in that role. My ovaries never ached for children until that point. My biological clock ticked by silently.

That said...

I do have a few little munchkins in my life that I love that I did not birth. Seven to be precise. These little ones still throw me for a loop every know and then, but the love of a step-mom/aunt/pseudo-aunt gives them a little more leeway than random stranger grocery store screaming monsters.

I was judgy (Ok AM judgy). Especially when it came to parenting. The biggest pet peeve of selfish, pain-inflicting parents was when they take children on planes. Why in the hell do you need to take a child on a plane E-V-E-R?? Yes, I've had several 2 hour plus plane rides with the blood curdling cries from the seat in front of me - or worse accompanied by the seat kicking behind. Moments like that made my ovaries shrivel into tiny little raisins as my maternal instincts were circumvented by near rage. I vowed to not take my child on a plane until he/she was fully capable of all the basic doggie commands - sit/stay/come/play dead/leave it/heal/go lay down. Not a moment sooner would I subject a plane-full of traveling people to my child's cries.

Swirly dream sequence closes - Cleaver segue into last week - Fade to black.

So there I husband, 10 year old stepson, and 8 month old daughter in tow. Boarding our first plane as a trader to all non-parents in the world. I had lost sleep over thinking about this exact moment. I had envisioned my child's head spinning Exorcist style and being pummeled by pissed passengers when we landed. To my surprise and to the disappointment of those needing to unleash a good pummeling on a stranger - she slept the whole plane ride. She was a sport when we made the mad dash from one end of the "A" terminal in Denver to the other (why does that always happen to me?). We boarded our second flight of the day...and she slept again! WOOHOO! The trip back was much the same - minus the fact that she napped during the SCHEDULED flight time when we were laying over in Denver and had a delay due to a jet fuel leak on our plane and then a TORNADO WARNING! (FML) Anyway, she still was a champ and flew home asleep. Of course, her schedule is all goofed up now, but she did beautifully.

I know of at least 10 people on the flights who rolled their eyes as I boarded the plane with a bright-eyed baby. They were all former mes who refused to tolerate the smallest of even happy baby noises on a plane. To them, I say "screw off."

Giving birth does not force me to be home-bound until my children can read the safety card on the plane. Yes, I was lucky. There is no doubt about that.

Motherhood is about adapting to the situation at hand. Even if it means going against one of the mortal sins you swore off before you were a momma. Seriously, you don't know shit about being a mother until you are one - and then you realize you still don't know shit about it. 90% of the experience is flying by the seat of your pants.

I love my life - and I adore my daughter and stepson more than words can say. They both were well behaved through our travels this week, and I'm very proud of them. And, I pat myself on the back for going against what I swore I'd never do and joined the ranks of past parents who feel that experiences for the little ones are just as important as for the big ones. We had a good time - and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Suck on that eye-rolling skeptics!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Move over Tommy Edison and let the mother's mother of invention take a crack at it.

I hold this truth to be self-evident - I clearly don't have enough hands.

These are just a few of the "damn, I wish I had one of those" moments that I've had in recent days. Share these ideas at will - unless you're going to make money off of them - then I want a cut - like pay off the student loans for the education I'm no longer using and start a college fund for the little one - type cut.

Baby shower seat:
I need to shower. Fantastic concept, right? There just aren't enough minutes of momma-up/baby-sleep time in a day. Of course, when she is asleep, I have other things that need to get done around here - blogging, checking Facebook six zillion times, email account checks, blog comments (ha!), Yahoo! news and trending links, dishes, cleaning, laundry, oh and a little think called WORK that I'm supposed to be doing. Shower get's shafted most days until late evening. Which makes me feel grubby all day - longing for a shower. Then she wakes up. Then I really want a shower! I have accomplished the baby-on-hip shower now several times. I cannot plan to leave the house after said shower because I normally end up shampooing one side of my head and then conditioning the other side. Forget shaving, too. I can at least rinse the fuzz off that way. I need a seat that I can plop the baby in - where she won't get inundated with mom backsplash. It could be Bumbo-y foam that suction cups to the wall. But then again I never get the saliva to surface area ratio right. My razor saver doesn't even stay on - let alone something that would hold 20lbs of precious cargo. Ok, scratch the suction cup idea. I need something to do with the kid that keeps her at arm length AND HAPPY without letting her crawl behind the toilet...eww eww eww.

Head brace:
At least once a day, I need a very mobile, squirmy, shifty baby to be ABSOLUTELY still so that I can do something 100% against her will. From snot sucking to face crust removing to tooth/gum inspecting to medicine administering I need something that will hold her head still so that I can do what I have to do using at least one free hand. Yes, I know knees work for this, too - but I always envision the flower head of a dandelion popping off when I'm doing the knee thing. It freaks me out. We need soft, yet firm. Maybe even have it come with an ocean scene poster that you can stick to the ceiling like at the ob office. Ahh, seagulls and waves make me forget you're prepping the ice-cold duckbilled clamps.

Spiky plate:
Think velcro on steroids. I need a no-slip plate where the no-slip surface is both in contact with the counter and in contact with my food. So that the counter doesn't inadvertently come in contact with my food. Have you buttered bread with one hand? No. Why? Because it cannot be done. You must use the forearm, hip, side, microwave, mouth or something to prop the spreadee to apply the appropriate pressure of the spreader. Cutting food is a pain in the ass, too. I need a plate with tiny fingers - spikes if you will - that will hold food items in place and provide the resistance needed to get the job done. Items that are not dishwasher or microwave safe need not apply.

One wet wipe dispenser:
Yes one. One and only one. Not none where you dig your hand into the raccoon trap of a hole, grab the wipe that has fallen in and scratch the hell out of your hand. Not the one that you have to close the door on the corner of the wipe to have it ready for next time - and then return to a dry wipe! Oh no. Not me. Other wipes are too overlapped, so when you pull out one, you end up with the clown string of 15 wipes and have to do the shake it dance to get one or two while the other hand cramps while holding the squirming, shit-covered kid still. It seems so simple. Kleenex perfected the technique years go. Come on wipes - get with the program!

That's all I have right now. I'm spent, and tired. I'd go to lay down for a nap, but that sound always wakes the little one up.

Maybe I should work.

Or watch Days of Our Lives.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby Proofing

Ok, my little one is mobile now, so I suppose it is about time to pick the glass shards up off the floor and remove the bowling balls that are dangerously teetering on the edge of tables.

I thought that was what baby proofing was all about. Find the greatest dangers (baby, please stop chewing on the air conditioner cord) and remove, hide, or barricade them. This is not quite the whole story.

So for those mommas out there that have not yet had to baby proof the house, here are some the basic steps to follow.

Step 1: Go for the obvious.
Think like you did before you were a parent. What would you have totally judged people as unworthy parents for having allowed happen to their child? (no, baby, licking the shotgun is a bad idea) Ensure that those judgments will not be made of you. When it comes down to it, it's really about what other people think, right??

Step 2: Think like a baby.
Look for bright colors, shiny objects, blinky lights, and things that dangle that attract the baby's attention. Remove or conceal said objects.

Step 3: Review.
Really get down and examine every corner. Spend hours and hours evaluating your home for dangers. Rubber bands, plastic price tag thingies, twist ties, all of it. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum - all corners, edges, and seams. Leave NOTHING that would have passed as carpet toe-jam before. Get out the microscope!!

Step 4: Place baby on the floor.

Step 5: Turn your back for 5 seconds.

Step 6: Remove baby from the absolute most dangerous situation you could have never imagined.

Brace yourself for a crazy ride.

*Another comment about turning your back for 5 seconds. Be careful when turning back around. The child has likely decided to use the back of your swivel desk chair as their standing support. They get really pissed when you turn to check on them and knock them over! Experience is speaking here people!!