My Kid Stole My Cool

Sleeping in Pee: The Joys of Being a New Mom

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Babies, anyone?  Engagements, weddings, babies – they seem to happen in seasons.  And if ever there was a baby season, it is now.  I know of at least 20 (probably more) women that have recently had babies or are due in the next few months.  As I’ve been a mom for almost three whole years and now have TWO children, I’m obviously an expert on all things motherhood.  But that didn’t stop me from absolutely panicking right after James was born.  There he was, this tiny baby, entirely dependent on me.  And there I was, struggling to get him to nurse, exhausted (and he was only a few hours old!) and convinced that I would not be able to do this newborn stage again – the sleepless nights, the non-stop nursing, the unexplainable crying.  Nope, couldn’t do it.

That moment passed, thankfully, but I think it’s a pretty common feeling among the mommy set.  In case anyone needed a reminder, being a new mom is hard.  And scary. So I want to share a few things I’ve learned with these new moms and moms-to-be, whether they’re having their first child or third.

1)   Step away from The Google.  Seriously.  Everything you read will convince you that you’re failing as a mother or your child is dying.  Probably neither is true.  Admittedly, I need to heed my own advice here.  I recently convinced myself that my daughter was dry drowning and that my newborn son would be developmentally stunted from lack of sleep.  Get this – dry drowning is extremely rare, though the interwebs would lead you to believe otherwise.  My daughter was fine.  As for my son? Maybe he will be stunted due to lack of sleep. But I don’t need Google reminding me of that.  Neither do you.  So back away.

2)   You may only wash your hair about once a week.  Accept this and move on.

3)   Same goes for shaving your legs.  Not a problem if your baby is born in November.  But if you have a spring or summer baby, invest in maxi dresses.

4)   Scratch that. Maxi skirts. Invest in maxi skirts. Dresses can be hard to nurse in.

5)   Speaking of nursing, everything you own will be covered in breastmilk.  But it’s okay, because did you know that breastmilk has magical powers? No, really.  If you accidentally spray your baby in the eye with a stream of milk (and you will), don’t fret. You’ll probably have just gifted him with x-ray vision or something, that’s how awesome breastmilk is.

6)   More on nursing.  You know all those annoying Facebook quizzes that you secretly want to take but are kind of embarrassed about it? Well. They are a very entertaining way to keep yourself awake during those middle-of-the-night feedings   Who was your early 90s teen crush? Leonardo DiCaprio! (Duh.)  Who were you in a past life? Egyptian royalty! (Seems appropriate.) What movie is based on your life? Clueless! (Ha.)   How bitchy are you? 27% (Only 27%? I must have taken that one on a good day.)  The list goes on…

7)   Sleeping in pee is not the worst thing in the world.  (I’m talking about baby’s pee, not your own. If you’re sleeping in your own pee I’ll try not to judge, but that’s kind of gross.)  If your baby pees on the bed and it’s 3AM and you are so damn tired your eyeballs hurt, don’t worry about changing the sheets right then.  Baby pee is basically water.  Just roll over to the other side of the bed and leave it till the morning.  Or leave it till the next laundry day, who cares?  The infant stage is never going to be the most hygienic time in your life as a mom. Go with it.

8)   There will always be a mom crazier than you.  If you feel guilty or self-conscious about calling your pediatrician every time your baby sneezes or emailing him pictures of your infant’s poop – don’t.  There is bound to be another mom more paranoid than you who is tying up the doctor’s phone line even more frequently than you are.  Take comfort in that.  I do!

9)   You will probably cry in public. It’ll be totally embarrassing but also totally uncontrollable (you know, hormones and extreme exhaustion and all that good stuff), so just let it happen.  My *first* public meltdown occurred when I was trying to get James enrolled in our insurance. To make a long story short, I drove around for hours trying to find the correct location to do this (it had to be in-person, and the address given to me by multiple sources didn’t exist). When I finally found the place, the man working there told me he couldn’t help me and to come back at 6AM the next morning.  James was less than 3 weeks old, I was running on around 3 hours of sleep, and this guy expected me to show up to this place (an hour away from my home) at 6AM the next morning? Was he on crack? I lost it. Began blubbering like a baby in front of all the other customers because WHY IS THIS MAN BEING SO MEAN TO ME? CAN’T HE SEE I HAVE A NEWBORN AND AM TOTALLY SLEEP-DEPRIVED AND MY HUSBAND IS DEPLOYED AND WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE ME??? Oh, and WHY IS THIS FREAKING ENROLLMENT PROCESS SO DAMN DIFFICULT – IT IS 2014 PEOPLE, USE THE INTERNET! When you have your public meltdown, remember mine and don’t feel so bad.

10)  It’s okay to be bitter toward other moms whose babies never cry and sleep through the night at two weeks. You’re not a bad person.  You’ll be friends with them again once your baby takes pity on you and lets you rest. In the meantime seek out moms whose babies are also little hellions so you have someone to share in your misery. Solidarity, sisters!

11) If you have two children, they will never, ever nap at the same time.  This is truth.

It's a good thing he's cute!

It’s a good thing he’s cute!

 

Any tidbits you’d like to add? Comment below!

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My Sweet Baby James

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

My Sweet Baby James 0

Labor. People say you forget about the pain of labor, or else you wouldn’t ever have more than one child. BS. I certainly didn’t forget.  Maybe I didn’t remember the exact type of pain, but I sure remembered that it hurt. A lot. And not just during labor, but after. For some reason, none of the books or blogs or classes I read or took during my first pregnancy mentioned anything about postpartum recovery. Perhaps they reasoned ignorance is bliss.  Expectant mothers: You’re in for a surprise! But I won’t ruin it for you… Anyway, armed with the knowledge of just how much pain was coming my way, I started to freak out a bit.  Especially because I know many women who are really into natural childbirth, and therefore I felt like I should be really into natural childbirth. Hey – I’m just as badass as they are! If they can do childbirth without pain medication, so can I!  But the prospect was still scary. As I approached my due date, my doctor insisted I would deliver early.*  She was wrong, but at the time her predictions forced me to face reality. Labor was coming. Pain was coming. So I psyched myself up.  I’m active! I’m strong! I do yoga and know how to breathe! I can do this! (Plus, I have no choice.)  I even got kind of zen about the whole thing. Childbirth has nothing on me! And then labor actually happened.  If you read my last blog post, you know that I spent the 36 hours before labor running around Orange County visiting various doctors, and went into labor late Thursday night. It was a restless two days, followed by a restless night of contractions.  Point is, when I did go into labor I was tired.  And a little stressed out.  All of a sudden I wasn’t so badass. At first, I just kept moving through the contractions.   Hey, this isn’t so bad! I thought to myself.  I can totally handle this.  And then the contractions started coming faster.  Like, a lot faster. Wait, hold up. I...

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The Full-Term Fall

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

The Full-Term Fall 1

Hello! I’m back! (For today at least.) Why the blogging hiatus? I had a baby.  And get this – newborns are tiring.  My newborn pretty much eats all the time, and when he’s not eating, I have a toddler that I need to pay attention to so she remembers that I love her, too.  Anyway, here’s the cutie at 5 days old:     And of course, with his adoring sister:   Now, I know a lot of pregnant women right now.  Seriously, a lot.  This blog post is for them.  I want to offer my personal experience as a guide for what not to do when you’re pregnant. Particularly at the very end of your pregnancy.  Say, the day before your due date.  Pretend you are due on a Thursday.  This guide begins Wednesday morning.  Read and learn and watch your step. 1)  Wednesday morning:  Roll your ankle and fall – hard – on your butt while you’re carrying your 34-lb toddler. 2)   Wednesday afternoon: Go to the hospital for an ultrasound and fetal monitoring.  (Note: Besides a throbbing ankle, I felt totally fine. I wasn’t even going to call my doctor and tell her about the fall, but then I got scared she would scold me the next day at my 40-week check up for not calling.  Just be aware, if you are super pregnant and you fall down, they will always make you go to the hospital for testing.) 3)   Three hours later (yup, 3 hours for me!) you will be released from the hospital.  Everything is fine.  (But hey, in that 3 hours you might get to grab a nap! Upside!) 4)   Thursday morning (the due date): Go to one of your doctor’s office locations for MORE testing. Just in case.  Everything is still fine. 5)   Thursday afternoon: Go to your doctor’s second office location for your 40-week check up. Pretend not to be bitter when the doctor says pleasantly, “I’m surprised to see you here!” This doctor will, after all, have been predicting your early delivery for the past five weeks.  LIAR! I mean…...

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Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To

Posted on May 8, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To 4

Spring break season is over. As Elisabeth is not yet school-aged, I don’t think in terms of break schedules.  So when Damon visited last March and we decided to take Elisabeth to Disneyland, we didn’t consider that half the state of California (and the entire U.S.) would be on spring break and visiting Disneyland with us. While we lived in Japan, Damon routinely brought up the idea of visiting Tokyo Disney.  I routinely shot down that idea.  It was too crowded, too expensive, and Elisabeth was too young to enjoy or remember it.  I am a cold, heartless woman, I know. But things were different now.*  Despite my efforts at shielding Elisabeth from the more annoying of Disney characters, she is enamored of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She’s old enough to have fun on rides.  Though she would not remember the trip, she’d enjoy it in the moment.  Plus, this was going to be our last time together as a family of three.  Why not do something special?  Disneyland is magical! It’s the Happiest Place on Earth! What could be more special than that? Well, unless you think “special” entails pushing your way through hoards of tourists and waiting in endless lines while trying to keep your impatient child (or children) entertained, DON’T go to Disneyland during spring break.  Just don’t. Because this is what your visit will be like: -Take 30 minutes to find parking. -Wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to the park, or walk the 20 minutes to the entrance. -Wait another 30 minutes in line for exorbitantly priced tickets. (Note to military spouses – Disneyland does not offer military discounts for single day passes. You have to waste three days of your life there if you want a discount.) -Decide to take your daughter out of line and let her run around the courtyard that separates Disneyland and California Adventure. Marvel at her excitement at recognizing the characters that decorate the flagpoles.  “Hot dog!” she will squeal with glee, because for some inexplicable reason she will think Goofy’s name is “Hot Dog.”  Wonder why you...

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Frozen is Crushing My Soul

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Confession: I don’t get the hype around Frozen. *Winces at instant backlash from Frozenphiles everywhere* I’ve only seen the movie once.  I don’t own the DVD, I have not bought Elisabeth an Elsa costume (not that I could find one if I wanted to), and I have not made a cutesy YouTube video of me lip-synching to the soundtrack.  I am clearly a failure as a parent. But don’t hate me just yet.  Hear me out: Damon visited a few weeks ago.  We decided to take Elisabeth to her first movie.  (Frozen, in case that wasn’t obvious.)  I was hesitant at first – she seemed a little young to sit through a full-length movie.  Plus any Disney animated film would surely feature some traumatic incident LIKE PARENTS DYING or something.* But since the whole world was in love with this movie, and I knew plenty of parents who had taken their toddlers to see it without incident, I decided to go for it.  Also, I had seen some Adele Dazeem perform a song from the film at the Oscars, and the music seemed pretty good.  That was enough for me. Now, I hadn’t seen a Disney animated movie since maybe… The Lion King?  Which came out in 1994, by the way.  (I Googled it, I know.)  So yeah, that’s 20 years without Disney in my life.  I didn’t know what to expect.  (Except catchy songs and traumatic deaths, obvi.) The movie started and Elisabeth was immediately enthralled.  But also kind of terrified, I think.  It was insanely loud.  Why are the theaters trying to deafen our children?  Elisabeth sat on my lap, clutching my shirt, the entire movie.  At one point she had tears streaming down her face.  I was shocked at the emotional maturity of my daughter! Who knew a two-year could connect so intensely with an on-screen character? Could feel such empathy and emotion? Or maybe she just hadn’t blinked for an hour.  I can’t be sure. I whisked her out of the theater.  “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” I inquired.  She seemed eager to get back...

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Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came: 1)   Potty Train 2)   Transition to Toddler Bed 3)   Wean from Pacifier Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation. And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!* As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning. Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW. I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her...

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