Archive for September, 2011

Forgive Me

Readers, I have sinned. Here is a list of all the terrible things I did today:

1. Let the baby sleep until 7:30 a.m. In my bed. While I slept too.

2. Drank yesterday’s coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

3. Took baby to breakfast at Panera (which, unexplicably, is called “St. Louis Bread Company” here). Enjoyed the quiet while he slept. Chugged my coffee so I could fill up before I left. Out of negligence, spilled coffee on baby. Later, let baby dry and smell like coffee instead of changing his onesie.

3. Bought those processed puff things for baby just because he loves them.

4. Sent 47 text messages.

5. Let baby chew on receipts just because he loves them.

6. Indulged in 15 minutes of googling “early pregnancy symptoms” even though three previous pregnancies and all my previous googling have taught me exactly what they are.  And even though I am clearly not pregnant.

7. Ate two (!) squares of Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chocolate. Should have eaten two more. Salivating now.

8. Eating two more (!) squares of chocolate.

9. Attempted to make salmon for husband’s dinner, choosing to ignore that every other piece of fish I have ever cooked for him has been tough and overcooked.

10. Overcooked salmon.

11. Abandoned dirty dishes, husband, and baby after dinner

12. to take 27 minute shower

13. while drinking a beautiful concoction of kahlua, vanilla vodka, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

14. And then drank one more.

15. Didn’t let myself feel guilty for any of this.


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How Not To Do It

Regarding cloth diapering, more specifically, regarding your well-intentioned husband’s eagerness to help with cloth diapering; and regarding sheet changing, especially at night after aforementioned husband helps with cloth diapering:

1. Either fully train husband in cloth diaper procedures, especially: absorbancy of inserts vs. doublers, the need for extra absorbancy at night; or always double-check his application of cloth diapers to baby.

How-not-to-do-it example: Your loving husband takes over bedtime duties while you walk around the neighborhood at dusk chatting with an old middle school friend. Upon arriving home, you find your son sleeping peacefully. You smile at your husband and decide not to look closer to see what he is wearing on his bum (your son, not your husband). Your failure to check your son’s bum results in waking up to a screaming, soaking wet baby. Your husband has put a newborn insert on top of a pocket diaper. This is the equivalent of putting two rough paper towels into a pair of waterproof pants. Not only does the paper towel not hold any of the liquid that a baby’s bladder releases, it feels extra terrible against his skin when it gets wet. This is how not to do it.

2. Install baby sheets and waterproof pad in this order: baby sheet, big waterproof pad, extra baby sheet. Failure to do so will result in you or your loving husband wrestling to change a wet sheet in the middle of the night, which sounds less challenging than it really is, considering how tightly fitted crib sheets are designed. Installing two sheets with a waterproof pad inbetween will allow you to simply removed the soiled sheet and pad without even removing the mattress from the crib.

How-not-to-do-it example:  Use only one waterproof pad and one fitted sheet on your baby’s crib.  When he wakes up to a soiled crib sheet and your husband stumbles in to see what he can do to help, give him the task of changing the linens.  Direct him to the drawer where you’ve put the crib sheets, watch as he pulls the mattress out of the crib.  Watch as he flops the mattress around, trying to get the tight, wet (this is a G rated post, despite the diction) sheet off the firm, not-throbbing mattress.   Watch as he throws the mattress on the floor as he tries to get the seemingly tiny new sheet onto the mattress.  Finally, watch as he shoves the mattress back into the crib.  This is how not to do it.

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What Stays With You

After two tough pregnancies and only one live birth, you are not a good friend to pregnant ladies.  A good friend, four weeks more pregnant than you’ve ever been, tells you that she’s worried because her baby isn’t kicking as much as usual.  Your whole body gets tense, and you see your own delivery and your own NICU experience played out with different faces and a bigger baby. 

You are certain that something is wrong with her pregnancy, and you are sure that the baby will come out today.  This is not what a pregnant woman needs to hear, so you say something only slightly less alarming. 

“How soon can you see your midwife?” you ask.  She is worked up, but not nearly as anxious as you are, and she calms you down, insisting that she and her baby will be alright. 

Later, once you can think of your friend without imagining rushing out to buy preemie clothes (over which, embarrassingly, you run your fingers in stores, imagining how big they seemed so recently), you are overcome with a strong emotion:  guilt.  There is a piece of you, you realize, who wanted her child to be born today.  Though you would not wish upon her the complications of an early birth, you wanted company.

Here is the loneliest time when you are the mother of a former preemie:

It is the middle of the night, or anytime, and your son has been sleeping.  He has been quiet, just like every other nap he’s taken since he got released from the Newborn Intensive Care Prison two or four or six months ago.  You listen, and what you hear has you panic-stricken:  silence.

You rush into your son’s room, and you check the color of his face.  It is blue, from his nightlight, but you see the same blue that it was when that nurse left him off the oxygen too long.  You can’t yell out to a doctor, who will rush over, like she did.  You put your hand on him fast, not gently, and when he fusses at your touch, you smile.  You do not think, I woke the baby. You think, My baby is still alive.  And you stand over him, watching and feeling his breaths, to make sure. 

Maybe all moms do this.  Maybe your friend will do it, too, when she gives birth to a healthy, giant baby girl many weeks from now.  But you don’t know, and you let the guilt and the terror and the relief wash over you.


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A Whole New World

So I just found out that my neighbor, the one on the side of the house with all the windows, is an interior designer who works from home.


Now someone besides my nine month old knows that I blast “Disney’s Greatest” and sing along all day.

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How To Make Your Kid Wear a Hat; Or, A Lesson in Natural Consequences

The cornerstone of my parenting philosophy:  if your child does something that, with no intervention on your part, gets him an irritating but safe result, let it happen.

Another cornerstone of my parenting philosophy (after all, aren’t there at least three corners in any given shape, circles aside):  children learn expectations from their parents’ behavior. 

Example:  The sun is bright at the rugby tournament.  Michael and I head to the mall to get into some cool, dry air.  While at the mall, I find a baseball cap that fits his tiny head.  I have been looking for this hat for a very long time.  The hat is purchased.

As we leave the mall, I remove the hat’s tags and place the hat on Michael’s head.  He does not like it, but the sun is still bright.  When he lifts the hat, he grimaces at the bright sun.  I rearrange the hat.  We repeat three times on the way to the car.

Now, four days later, Michael wears his hat when we go outside.  He even, it seems, looks forward to the hat’s sun-banishing abilities.  I do not fight with Michael to keep his hat on; the sun does it for me.

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