Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby Bomb

A couple months ago a friend of mine, whom I have not seen in a few years and whose biological clock is ticking like mad, was trying to get the real scoop on parenthood from me and Chris. She asked me if having a baby really does change your life as much as everyone says it does. I suppose she was hoping I would debunk the myth of the life-altering, bubble-bursting, dream-shattering baby. The baby that shows up, disrupts your sleep and your sex life, causes a third of your conversations to revolve around poop, and guarantees that you will never see a movie in a theater again.

I could have lied. I could have sugar coated it. But, I had to come clean with a resounding “Yes!”. Yes, a baby will knock your life upside down. Yes, everything you’ve heard is true. And yes, it will all be worth it because you will love that baby more than blah, blah, blah. I mean, you know the drill. It doesn’t matter what I tell her anyway because, as I now know, no words of wisdom can prepare you for what is in store for you as a new parent. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop people from trying.

But, it got me thinking about what has changed for me. And, I decided that the biggest change has been in my friendships. I never thought I’d be that mother who smugly proclaims, “I pretty much just hang out with my friends with kids these days”. And, I’m not. I try to make time for Charlotte-free activities whenever I can…ish. But, it’s true that since Charlotte was born I have become a lot closer to a couple of my mommy friends, and there has been a noticeable divide between me and my single and/or child-free friends.

Oh, how that last statement made me feel dirty! Add it to the long list of things I never thought I would do or say once I became a parent. And the worst part is that I can vividly remember what it was like to be on the other side of the stroller. I remember wanting nothing more than to catch up with a friend on the phone and feeling frustrated by the screaming children in the background and the constant interruptions as my friend scolded or comforted her kids, depending on the situation. I remember commiserating with a fellow childless buddy about how annoying it is when people use their kids as an excuse not to do anything. I remember swearing that I would be the kind of mom who would not let a baby slow me down, that I would be more than happy to dump the kids off at Grandma’s so I could run off to Vegas, the club, wherever.

I hated the accusation that people without kids just “didn’t get it”. I found it condescending and insulting. And it is. So, I’m not going to say that. All I can say is that I have learned to eat my words. I didn’t know that being away from my daughter would make me feel physically ill at first. And that even when it started to get easier, I could never completely be at ease until we were reunited, which means I would rarely agree to anything that took me away from her for more than a few hours. So much for Vegas!

I didn’t realize how much I would change as a person. My priorities, the things I worry about, the ways I chose to spend my time, all changed. And it stands to reason that it would be easy fun, fulfilling even, to surround myself with people who could relate to my experiences. People who wouldn’t judge me for letting my newborn take all her naps on my shoulder because they remembered what it was like to not want to let go. People who would find my stories about teething interesting and could give me advice about diaper rashes. I love my friends with kids. They reassure me, inspire confidence, listen to my banal stories about Charlotte, and go out of their way to be there for me and my daughter.

But, my friends without kids do all these things, too, sometimes even more so. So, the challenge is to not get hung up on the times when they are mad at me for not coming out or making fun of me for being overprotective, and try to remember what it was like to be in their shoes. I don’t want to alienate people who care about me because they don’t have kids, just like I would hate for my friends to give up on me because I have one.

So, I have set up certain ground rules for myself. I try not to talk exclusively about Charlotte in conversations (This is a good rule no matter who I am talking to). I try not to give people a play by play of what she is doing when I am talking on the phone, no matter how scintillating it seems to me. I NEVER put her on the phone. Seriously, please don’t put your infant or toddler on the phone with someone, unless it’s a grandparent or unless you are specifically requested to do so. PLEASE. I will always consider an offer to go out and will make a sincere effort to make time for my friends, even if it isn’t always easy to leave the baby behind.

I’m not perfect, and I may slip up and do something obnoxious. But, I will try to be a good friend. In return, I hope my friends will cut me some slack if we have to hang out at my house with the baby sometimes instead of going to a movie, or if I tell one too many “Charlotte did the cutest thing!” stories.

Luckily, I am privileged to have some of the most amazing people in my life. I think we’ll make it work.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


When Charlotte was born, Chris and I had just celebrated our tenth anniversary as a couple. Naturally, in that time, we had experienced our fair share of sexual peaks and pitfalls. First came the exhilarating and necessarily clandestine stolen moments of two people living in the respective homes of their parents. We had to be creative, which was frustrating, but also exciting. We had sex in his car, in my car, up against his car parked in front of my mother’s house (Sorry, Mom. Too soon?). This was that “have to have you right now no matter how likely it is that we’ll get caught by our parents, a cop, or some stray cats” stage in our relationship, and it was awesome!

By the time we were engaged we had been living together for a year or so. I had sunk into a mild depression, and it was not uncommon for Chris to come home to find me still in my pajamas at 5 P.M., unshowered, and drinking milk from the carton. Needless to say this was not the highlight of our sexual career. Nor was the infertility sex, laden as it was with fertility monitors, calendars, basal body temperature thermometers, and everyone’s favorite aphrodisiac: despair.

So, it was a nice surprise when, after my second failed in-vitro cycle, and we had decided to stop trying for a baby while we regrouped, our sex life became rejuvenated. It was like being teenagers again, only this time we were drunk! Suddenly, we were going at it in the back of the car again. We spent our fourth wedding anniversary at a bikini bar, slipping dollar bills into g-strings. Together! As a team! Sex was fun again. And just as it was getting really good, when car rides home involved foreplay, when we rarely made it as far as the bedroom, when every shower turned into a quickie, I was pregnant.

We were elated, of course, but while we were celebrating the news that we were finally going to have everything we always wanted, we also quietly mourned our renewed lust. Nausea, fatigue, and paranoia entered the scene, and nine months later I could count on my fingers the number of precariously positioned, gently maneuvered, brief rolls in the hay we had managed. And once the baby was born? Forget it.

About two months into parenthood, when I wasn’t feeling completely overwhelmed and wasn’t as convinced as I had been in the past that Charlotte would surely stop breathing unless I was looking at her, I decided it was time to get back in the saddle, as it were. We needed to be a couple again, not just a baby squad. I may have had spit up in my hair and poop on my shirt, but I was still a woman, damnit!

So, one day I splashed on his favorite scent, a thong, and put the baby down for a nap. But not in that order. That would be creepy. I walked up to Chris, pressed my body against his, and whispered into his ear, “I’m not wearing maternity underwear”. At which point, he took me in his arms, looked deep into my eyes, and breathed back, “Don’t say maternity”.

We’ll probably never be quite where we were a year and a half ago, but it’s all worth it. And it just keeps getting better and better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little Disasters (and Triumphs, Too!)

Today was filled with little disasters. It wasn't a bad day, exactly. It was the day Charlotte stood up in her playpen for the first time and got really, really excited. It was the day she and I went to Starbucks, just the two of us, shared a chair and giggled while we snacked. So, no, I would definitely not call it a bad day. Which is not to say I don't have those. Yes, I love my daughter. Yes, I am beyond grateful to have her in my life. But, no, that does not mean I am not allowed to have truly awful days where absolutely everything appears to be wrong.

Today was just one of those days where a million things went wrong, but enough went right to enable me to have a sense of humor about it all. It started early this morning. I've had trouble with insomnia since I was eleven, so it is not uncommon for me to find myself staring at the ceiling at 5 A.M. until I finally get up to eat a banana or piece of toast, go on the internet, and eventually panic about how long I've been up and how little sleep I will actually get before it's time to get up for the day. And so it happened that I totally lost my cool when Charlotte decided to get up and start her day just moments after I had fallen asleep after three hours or so of being, well, awake. I muttered some epithet under my breath, or maybe not so under my breath, as it turns out, because Chris asked me what was wrong. After enduring my diatribe, Chris, who had possibly clocked in about three hours of slumber at this point and was finding it hard to dredge up any sympathy for his whiny wife, said "Oh", and rolled away from me. Ah, how he would soon come to regret that "Oh"! We argued later in the day about sleep, compassion, and the scientific matter of how much energy it takes to utter "Oh", as opposed to "I'm sorry, honey". It was a very scholarly argument, complete with charts and graphs, but ultimately we agreed we were both tired and stressed by the ridiculous hours he's been working, and we put the matter to rest.

Our next little disaster came in the form of two babies positively screaming for my attention while I sort of stood around looking dumbfounded. See, I watched my friend's nearly fourteen-month-old baby, Leilani, this morning. I do it all the time, and she's always really great for me, heeding my "Don't touch!" commands and maintaining a pleasant countenance. Well, today, she was a little out of sorts. She was extremely tired, but responded to each of my attempts to put her down for a nap with a tearful "No!" and outstretched arms that you'd have to be blind or positively heartless to resist. The agony of it all, being forced to nap in addition to my daughter tugging on her clothes, finally took its toll and she lost it. She cried and cried. I picked her up and rocked her, trying to console her and possibly lull her to sleep. At this point Charlotte is upset that I am holding another baby instead of her and begins to cry and tug on my pants. So, here I am. Alone, trying to let Chris get the sleep he so desperately needs, while two babies scream in stereo. I tried to appease Charlotte with a snack and tend to Leilani, but Chris had woken up, and mercifully helped me with Charlotte while I got L down for an HOUR AND A HALF nap. And then Charlotte went down for an HOUR nap. Triumph!

The high of this triumph didn't last long, however. Earlier this evening, Charlotte and I were rolling around on the floor, laughing and exchanging kisses on our cheeks. Well, and my nose. All of a sudden, I notice something on my sleeve. It sort of smells like prunes, so I figure maybe she's spit up a little of her lunch. Then I notice an even bigger spot on my other sleeve. I take note of the fact that it's a little too thick to be spit-up. Yeah, it's poop. It's poop that filled her diaper, came cascading over the top, spilling onto the floor, her clothes, MY clothes, and all over her back. It was so ridiculous (and disgusting) that I had to laugh. This made my deliriously tired daughter laugh. And so we both laughed a little too hard about the fact that I was wiping an obscene amount of crap, which seemed to be multiplying in volume, off her every limb and off every surface in a ten-mile radius.

And finally there was bath time. I was very excited because it was Charlotte's first bath in the big tub. After a few daredevil attempts at standing up in the infant tub which rests in our kitchen sink and after the subsequent nightmarish visions of her plummeting to the floor, I procured a non-slip Tinkerbell mat, a rubber ducky spout cover, and some stacking/pouring cups for the bathtub. She was excited, and this would have gone well had it not been for the fact that our bathroom is not only really small and old, but also completely ill-suited for bathing children. The tub and the vanity are so close together, I'd have to be cartoonishly rolled flat by a steamroller to fit there. So, as I vowed to rip out the shower doors and replace them with a curtain, I pulled off my pants and got in the tub with her to finish her bath. The awkward angle was not ideal for thwarting her standing and grabbing maneuvers, but we made do. The plus side to this scenario was looking at the aftermath of this disastrous bath time adventure. Seeing the all the toys and baby bath paraphernalia taking over my tub made me sublimely happy.

So, there it is. A day in my life. The highs and lows. Baby giggles, baby kisses, and rolling around in baby poop. And now I need to get my achey back in bed so I can get up and do it all over again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

It's Friday night, and I just put the baby to bed. It's early, and I'll be up for at least a couple hours. What could be a better time to write? Well, unfortunately, it isn't as ideal as you would think, and I'm not really writing a new post so much as I am offering a string of excuses as to why I can't write a new post.

First of all, even though at the moment, Charlotte is currently slumbering peacefully in her crib, she will most certainly be up soon. See, she has a cold, and her runny, stuffy nose wakes her up every so often. Besides, she usually wakes up a few times before I go to bed, not fully relaxed until I relent and pull her into bed with me. It's a problem, and it may become a bigger problem when she's a toddler and won't get out of our bed, but right now we're just rolling with it. I was so worried about getting her on a schedule and needing to know whether or not she was going to continue nursing, etc. that I realized I was missing out on making the most of this first year, the only year she gets to be a baby. So, I am cherishing our snuggle time in bed and taking my cues from her as far as nursing, which she suddenly wants to do all the time. And maybe that will change, and if it does, oh well. But, I'm not going to worry about it.

The other reason I don't have time to write a proper post is that I have homework. I'm in the last few weeks of my grad class, and I have a presentation to prepare, and a quiz to study for. I should be doing that right now.

Between all the madness of the last month involving my grandpa, Chris's insane work schedule, and visiting my grandma in Santa Monica while she recovered from surgery, finding time to write has been very difficult. Chris bought me a laptop for my birthday so I could get out of the house to write, and not once since I got it have we been able to make that happen. And now the holidays are approaching, and I need to get the house ready for Thanksgiving.

I suppose in the time it took me to ramble on about why I'm too busy too write, I could have at least attempted to broach one of the topics I've been meaning to write about in a meaningful way. So, this is just to say that I am here, and I am working on some new stuff, but it will be slow-going for a few more weeks until the quarter ends at school and Chris's workload slows down.

Thanks to those of you who give a damn whether or not I write anything. It's a great feeling knowing you're out there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I Suck at Being a Mother and a Human Being

I’m just checking in to let everyone know how awful I am at this whole motherhood thing. I try, I really do. I try to be patient. I try to be careful. But, something in my brain is not clicking, and the events of these last twenty four hours read like the Britney Spears’ Guide to Parenting.

I actually have to go back a bit further to get us started. See, a couple months ago, I put Charlotte down for a nap on our bed. It’s a bad habit Chris and I have gotten into. She sleeps with us so many hours each night that she is just more comfortable there than in her crib. So, in moments of desperation, I would let her nap there just to make sure she got some sleep. On this particular day, she wasn’t quite asleep and she was fussing. I was trying to ignore her, hoping she’d fall back asleep. I was in the kitchen doing some dishes when the whiny crying turned to blood-curdling screaming in an instant. I ran into the bedroom to discover what I had feared, no knew, had happened as soon as I heard her screams. She had, of course, fallen off the bed. We have a California King bed, and she rolled all the way from the middle, to the edge, rolled over the pillow barrier, and onto the floor. She was fine, luckily. Just scared. But, needless to say, I still felt like the worst mother ever.

Everyone reassured me that not only was I not the worst mother ever, but that I was not alone. I was regaled with countless tales of babes toppling off couches and mattresses, and none were worse for the wear. When I told the story to my mother-in-law, after I vowed to never let this happen again, she nonchalantly assured me that it would not be the last time Charlotte would end up cascading off a bed: “You think you’ve learned, but you really haven’t”.

And right she was. Last night, I let the baby sleep on the couch when she started screaming each time I started carrying her half-comatose body down the hallway. It was like she knew I was going to take her back there and LEAVE her. So, she slept on the sofa where she could hear the hum of the television and the soft clicking of the keys on my laptop. I sat on the floor where I could see her. I reasoned that if she started to roll, I could catch her. But, instead I watched her fall to the floor while I scrambled to reach her. Again, she was fine, but the “what-ifs” involving coffee tables and broken limbs flooded my head.

So, I’m already a lousy mother, but WAIT! It gets worse. It really does. Don’t believe me? Try this on for size: I left Charlotte alone in the house. All alone. It was about 6:30 this morning. The hurricane-like winds were blowing the trash can against the house, causing a banging that was causing Charlotte to stir in her sleep. I know this, because she was in bed with me. So, I went outside to move it, and locked myself out of the house. So, to recap: Charlotte is in my bed, Chris is at a hotel for work, and I am OUTSIDE. As I’m taking stock of the situation I realize several things. First of all, I acknowledge that I am a disgrace of a mother. If there were mandatory IQ tests to determine whether or not one should be able to have children, well, let’s just say I’d be twenty pounds lighter and sleeping off a hangover, instead of standing outside my house, contemplating breaking a window. The next thing I realize is that Charlotte is on the bed, surely about to roll to her imminent doom. And finally, I remember that my brother-in-law lives a block away and has a key to my house.

Cut to me doing a combination of running and limping, clutching my chest as I make my way across the short distance. At this point I’m realizing I shouldn’t have been skipping the gym these past few weeks. Okay, years. Luckily, he was awake, as were my two youngest nieces, who, pajama clad and with massive bedheads, regarded me with confusion as I tearfully (and breathlessly) explained my situation. He calmly reassured me that she would be fine and drove me home. Before he had even pulled his key out of the door, I was down the hall and, with relief, observed her peacefully sleeping on my bed.

After telling Chris about the debacle over the phone, he heard Charlotte crying in the background. He said, “What’s wrong with her? Is she being taken away by Social Services?”


But seriously, I don’t know what sudden defect in my brain has caused me to let her fall off raised surfaces, or leave her alone in the house, or bump her head on the concrete slab in the parking lot of the hotel today when we came to join Chris. All I know is I will probably do something just as dumb or worse, fairly soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crazy on You

Once again, it's been too long since I updated. In the past ten days or so, I learned my grandfather was sick, drove the four-hour trip to see him three times in one week, cried, reminisced, got drunk on margaritas and belted karaoke with my beautiful, baby sister, said goodbye to my grandpa for the last time, and drove my sister to the airport shuttle before heading over to see my grandma in the nursing home, then driving an hour home. On top of all that, Chris has been working nonstop all week, so Charlotte and I have been on our own most of the week, missing him. Basically, what I'm saying is that I have good excuses as to why I haven't written. And to say that isn't exactly true. When I've been able to squeeze in a few moments to myself, I've sat down to write. And nothing comes out the way I want it to, so I delete it. It's silly. But, I feel guilty for not blogging because I made a commitment to myself to do it more regularly, and I put so much pressure on myself that I am frustrated by the drivel that comes out when I'm too busy/distracted/upset to properly clear my head of these thoughts. It's just a blog, Megan.

One of my more annoying qualities is my huge guilt complex. If I'm relaxed, happy, or just having a good time, I can't shake the feeling that I am doing something wrong. Obviously, not being able to enjoy myself ever is a huge bummer for me, but it can also range from obnoxious to downright infuriating to the people in my life. Just ask my husband how he likes to constantly reassure me that I am not a bad mother or wife just because I left them to go to the movies with a friend. Or ask him how super fun it is when I overextend myself because I "felt bad" for too many people on the same day. But, I wager what he likes best is when I ask him if he's mad at me every time I'm drunk.

What was the point of all this? Oh, right. Guilt. So, I tend to feel guilty about being a stay-at-home mom whose husband is also home most of the day. I get help with the baby. I don't have to go grocery shopping alone. He makes me breakfast. And we get to go on little coffee and lunch dates at least once a week. So, I feel guilty for not having a full-time job like he does or for letting him help out as much as he does. I can't even enjoy a perfectly good situation, because our life doesn't fit into my perception of what is "normal".

Because the truth is, I may have my lazy days, but generally speaking, I do a lot around here. And I am on my own every evening, Charlotte's fussiest, and for one hellish month, most colicky, time. So no matter how idyllic my day has been, my evening is sure to be full of laundry, dinner, bath time, cleaning, etc. all squeezed in between Charlotte's whining, fussing, and separation anxiety nonsense. And the drawback to our arrangement is that while everyone else is returning to their family or welcoming their spouse home, I am just starting my day. And I get really lonely.

So, I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do.

And the pressure. Oh, the pressure I put on myself to prove my own worth. Thursday is a perfect example. Chris was working the day shift and thought he'd be home in the evening to spend time with us. I was really excited because he's been so busy at work, we've hardly been able to talk on the phone, and also because he misses Charlotte so much. I wanted to make it special. So, after spending three hours in the car to visit my grandma (and sneak some Chardonnay up to the roof of her nursing home), I returned home, went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner, cleaned the house, and started prepping the food. This was all very difficult thanks to Charlotte's insistence that I be in the same room as her, and preferably holding her at all times. I had to get creative in order to get anything done, by putting her in front of the mirror in the office so she could laugh at herself and talk to her reflection while I dusted, or by mashing some banana for her to play with in her high chair while I chopped onions and garlic in the kitchen. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. The kind of tired where your whole body aches, and I've pretty much felt that way since then. So, you can imagine how disappointed I was when Chris informed me he probably wouldn't be home for dinner after all. I KNOW, RIGHT?

I felt disappointment like I haven't known since I was a kid and my mom wouldn't stop and get me a soda at the gas station. You know that completely unfounded disappointment that is based more on hormones and fatigue than actual logic and reason? I cried the day I was denied that soda, and thirteen years later I cried because Chris was going to be late. Again.

I cried a lot this past week. Monday night I held Charlotte in my arms after five unsuccessful attempts at putting her to bed, and I cried out of frustration, disappointment, and mostly from a deep sense of melancholy brought on by remembering my grandparents and knowing the years of ice cream sundaes and Yahtzee were behind us forever.

Sitting here now, I'm amazed at how hard I've been on myself this week. Looking in the mirror, I see someone who is feeling the loss of her grandfather, someone who is exhausted and sore, someone whose eyes are dry and raw. Someone who yelled at herself all week like an angry football coach to keep going, push harder, do more. I need to be kinder to this person. And, I am making progress. Last night my friend, Sarah, took me to a Heart concert at the Greek. Before the show we stuffed ourselves full of pasta, wine, and tiramisu. We stood up and danced and sang along...Ooooh, Barracuda! And not once did I let myself feel guilty for being out, having a good time while Chris stayed at home with the baby. He was happy to be spending some overdue quality time with her, and I was taking some much-needed time to myself.

Thanks, Sarah, for rescuing me last night. It means the world to me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ready or Not

In theory, the benefit to actively seeking out a pregnancy for so long as opposed to being surprised by one, is that you can try to prepare for all the ways in which your life is going to change. It’s not like you’re snorting coke in the bathroom of a club one day and scouring Babycenter.com for info on the different colors and textures of baby poop the next. Well, hopefully not, anyway.

In the three years it took for us to get pregnant with Charlotte we did a lot of preparing. Shortly after we started “trying”, convinced as we were that we would immediately conceive, we began to prepare ourselves for life with a baby. We’d eye the couples loading cumbersome infant seats and diaper bags into their cars and giddily exchange “That could be us soon!” glances with one another. Over the next few years we would prepare ourselves for many other lifestyles. We tried to gear up for more years of infertility, wondering if we had what it took to make the long haul. We had a successful IVF and began again to get ready for life as parents. Then we had a miscarriage, ran out of fertility funds, and began to prepare for a life without children.

And so it was that just like most people on this planet, we were completely smacked-upside-the-head-shocked by the extra blue line on my pregnancy test. I was nursing a slight hangover from too many martinis at Cinespia the night before. I was annoyed that morning because I wanted nothing more than to sleep off the Bombay buzz, but I was lured out of bed every twenty minutes or so by my stupid bladder. It wasn’t until later that afternoon, while discussing a possible weekend in Laughlin with a friend that my morning pee marathon raised any kind of red flag. I remembered that early in pregnancy, hormones can be a catalyst for frequent urination. Then again, anyone who knows me, knows I have a bladder the size of a walnut, so I reasoned it was probably nothing out of the ordinary. But I had that feeling. You know the one. The one that nags you all day in a whiny, high-pitched voice until you finally throw up your hands and say, “Fine!”

So, I decided to take a test. We were having friends over that evening, and we had been at Chris’s work all day. I dropped Chris off so he could hastily tidy the house, and I ran to the store for beer and a pregnancy test. You can imagine the look on the cashier’s face.

What followed was a moment I never could have prepared for. I felt doubt. Doubt, which caused me to reread the instructions to my pregnancy test, as if three years of practice wasn’t enough. I felt, of course, extreme happiness, giddiness even. I felt fear. Fear that it wasn’t real, or that it wouldn’t last. And, perhaps most surprisingly, I felt a twinge of disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to drink the beer I had procured earlier in the evening.

The pregnancy was more or less what I expected: crippling exhaustion, mild nausea, too many pounds, and not enough alcohol. Oh, and a ripe batch of hormones that caused me to get a soccer mom haircut after years of growing my hair long. It was a mostly uneventful pregnancy; tedious, but smooth. Labor and delivery, too, were about what I expected. Water broke, went to hospital, had epidural, had baby. The whole thing took eight hours. But the second Charlotte entered this world, and every moment since, I began an amazing and difficult journey, and the experiences and feelings I’ve encountered along the way have all come as a complete surprise.

Intellectually, I knew there would be little sleep. But I couldn’t have fathomed the sheer delirium of those first few weeks or the general sluggishness I would still feel six months later after nights of sharing my bed with a restless bed hog of a baby. I knew there would be boredom, but I didn’t know I would spend hours and hours on my couch, breastfeeding and watching bad television. I knew I would feel emotional, but I didn’t anticipate the staggering highs and soul-crushing lows I would come to know or the frustration and anger I would feel at myself, my husband, even my poor, defenseless daughter.

You know what’s coming next. Because it’s what all mothers say after complaining about their children. And I say this because it’s true and because I would mean it even if I wasn’t obligated to say it…I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure, I’d make her sleep more, cry less. If it were up to me, she would be more cuddly instead of flying out of my arms to get to her dad, the dog, the floor full of toys. I would like more energy, more time, a cleaner house. And I guess while I’m at it, I’d take a gym fortified body and more money, as well.

This whole experience caught me totally off guard. And there are countless surprises in store for me, for us. There are fresh frustrations ahead, but there are also countless joyful moments. Moments that make me feel like I’m living in a cheesy movie, like the time I found myself singing and dancing around the house with my husband and daughter, or the time I realized I had taught Charlotte to clap. I’m ready for it all. Well, as ready as I can be, anyway.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream


Once again it has been much longer than I ever intended since I last wrote. If only this were the only element of my life being neglected! But, as I type, I can feel the dust from the computer desk accumulating on the palms of my hands and my kitchen floor is so filthy, I won’t walk on it in my bare feet. And I will walk ANYWHERE in my bare feet.

The reason for all this neglect and abandon is simple: no sleep. Oh, I know. You’ve heard it all before. We people with kids think we have the market cornered when it comes to sleep deprivation. The truth is, many of you out there (and by you, I mean all 7 of my readers) might not be getting any sleep either. And it might have absolutely nothing to do with a restless, clingy baby. Maybe you are worried about an assignment or presentation, or maybe you share a street with one of those annoying yappy dogs that won’t shut up all night. And if that’s the case, I’m not going to try to make you feel bad for me. At least I have something cute to look at when I’m up at 3 A.M.

Then again, not getting enough sleep sucks, no matter how chubby and lavender-scented the reason. My bleary eyes ache, I'm forgetful, and have gained about five pounds due to the sugar fixes I need to get me through my day. The funny thing is, we thought we had it made for a couple months there. When Charlotte was about two-months-old, she started sleeping through the night. I’m talking down at nine, up at seven. It was glorious. And we knew how good we had it. We appreciated it and silently congratulated ourselves when we heard tales of our friends’ sleepless babes. Ah, those were the days!

This lasted for a couple months. She even slept all night in her playpen while we were on vacation in San Francisco. It was when we returned from our trip that the trouble began. We figured since she was outgrowing the bassinet, and she’d already adapted so well to sleeping in a new place, that this would be the perfect time to move her to the crib. So, we nervously and tearfully (okay, the latter was just me) put her in her room, switched on the monitor, closed the door, and hoped for the best.

Predictably, she woke a few times. It was new. She also always seemed to have this psychic ability to sense when I was in the room with her, and she always slept better when I was, so this came as no surprise. But, since then? Since then, not a night has gone by that she hasn’t ended up in our bed. I realize that we make the choice to submit to her whims, it’s just that rocking her back to sleep every twenty minutes was starting to make us just a teensy bit INSANE. Though, also maddening is the fact that we have to deal with her pounding her fists on the bed when she gets restless, spitting her binky out and demanding it be put back, and rotating until her feet are right around one of our heads. Oh, and she likes to scratch her nails against the mattress and sometimes babble her baby nonsense at a perfectly obscene hour of the morning. And who can forget the super fun game wherein she turns to her side to slap Chris in the face a couple times, before flipping back over to give me a few good whacks? And so it is that one or both of us can usually be found pinning her arms to the bed with one arm and holding the binky with the other. But at least we don’t have to get out of bed!

And every time I mention this problem to anyone, the answer is always the same: “You’re going to have to let her cry it out”. And then I’m bombarded with stories of sleepless, scream-filled nights, sometimes one, sometimes two or three, sometimes more than a week. But then? After the screaming? Invariably, after all the screaming the kid was sleeping through the night. I recently watched a Momversation video on this very matter. I never realized it was such a heated topic. I just figured you either had the fortitude to listen to your kid cry for an unspecified amount of time, or you didn’t. But apparently, there are people out there who think you are torturing your baby by not rushing to scoop her up at the first sign of a whimper. And there are also people out there who feel that you are spoiling your child by running to their aid.

I honestly don’t have strong feelings on the matter. I agree with Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com (she’s in the video) who says that parents should just do what’s best for their family. Every time someone told me of their “cry it out” success story, I would mention it to Chris, and every time, he shot the suggestion down with a , “But, she’s just a baaaaby”. I was pretty sure I didn’t have the stomach for it, anyway, but I was getting desperate. But, when I really started to think about the realities of letting her cry, I realized it wasn’t something I was willing to do.

If Charlotte cried for ten minutes, then fell asleep or merely whined before knocking back out, I could see this working. But she cries so hard she has to catch her breath. She turns bright red. She makes the most blood-curdling and heart-wrenching sounds, and I just don’t think I can let her do that for any significant period of time. But mostly, Chris and I agree that we just aren’t ready to send her that message. The message being that we won’t be there to rescue her when she needs us. Even if it’s true that she doesn’t actually “need” us and is just being a brat. Eventually, she will have to learn that. And say what you will about us. Call us wimps or overindulgent parents. I just know that even though it’s annoying as hell, I need to be there when she cries. Even if it means not sleeping or having a social life for now.

I’m sure to many people this means we are creating a clingy, co-dependant monster, who will be in our bed till she’s in kindergarten. And they might be right.

Oh, God. They might be right…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad Baby!

For Charlotte’s first Halloween, my mom is going to turn her into a devil. Growing up, my mom always made costumes for my sister and me, and she graciously offered to do the same for Charlotte. Why a devil? Well, it’s a pretty typical costume for kids. In fact, my little sister was one for her second Halloween (She was, like, weeks old for her first Halloween). There is a rather famous picture in our family of Allison all bedeviled, with a mouth full of candy, looking at me like, “Dude! Why didn’t you tell me how awesome this is? We get to do this EVERY year?"

But honestly, we didn’t randomly pick a standard baby costume for our daughter. We picked a devil because it is so appropriate. Oh, relax. I don’t actually think my daughter is the anti-Christ or a spawn of Satan. Although

All I’m saying is we picked the costume because our child is such a pain in the ass. If you’re offended by my choice of words, you have not met my daughter. To know Charlotte is to adore her, but it is also to wonder aloud why she’s SO BAD. In some ways she is very much like her mother. I, too, am a pain in the ass. Just ask my husband. I’m restless, impatient, don’t sleep well, and I’m spoiled. Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte, and, oh yes, Charlotte. We are willful creatures who usually end up getting our way with Chris. She does it with tears, and I do it with…well, let’s just say I keep him happy. I would pity my husband, but he actually seems rather satisfied with submitting to the batting eyelashes of his wife and daughter.

Like many first-time parents, Chris and I spent Charlotte’s first day on this planet marveling at what a good, quiet baby she was. She slept most of the day, and when she was awake, she just stared deep into our eyes. We thought we had it made. Of course, that lasted all of twelve hours. Soon she began screaming every time we changed her diaper, screaming whenever she wasn’t attached to my cracked and bleeding nipples, and screaming because, well, screaming is fun, right?

After a few days in the hospital, we decided to take her home despite all the screaming. Over the next couple of months we were treated to even more screaming: in the car, when anyone besides Chris or me held her, and of course every night at six until midnight during her colicky phase. Soon, she and I would come to blows over breastfeeding, but I’ve already covered that here. So, I will only say this: I have read about a breastfeeding mother and her child as being referred to as a “nursing couple”. Well, if Charlotte and I are a couple, we’re the Odd Couple. We’re Sid and Nancy. We’re star-crossed.

I think part of the reason Charlotte is so difficult is because, in some ways, she’s so independent. At six months she would rather drink from a cup than be cuddled and fed a bottle. She has decided that she will eat her vegetables and rice cereal, but only if she can hold the spoon. She is also eager to move and has been scooting across the floor since she was three-months old. If you pull her to a sitting position, she’ll do you one better and pull herself to a standing one. Now that she is a bit older and can do so many more things on her own, she is a much happier baby. In fact, most of the time now, she is more likely to be found smiling, laughing, or growling like a monster than screaming, which has been nothing short of my miraculous rescue from the brink of insanity.

In a way, I am proud of her independence. I beam when she grabs her sippy cup and clumsily tilts it to her face. I am happy to clean up the extra mess she makes while eating because I want to encourage the autonomy she shows by feeding herself, quite handily, I might add. But, like everything else, my feelings on this are complicated. When I look into the future, I see a bright, capable girl. One who takes initiative and conquers obstacles. I want this for my child, but I also want her to need me. I suppose this is the Achilles heel of all mothers. Our job is to create self-reliant and functional adults. So, we should delight in anything our children can do without our help. It means we’re doing something right. But, so much of our identity is wrapped up in being caregivers for our children. Who are we if we aren’t boo-boo fixers, arms to sleep in, a source of nourishment or comfort?

Obviously, I am getting ahead of myself. Charlotte is a baby, and needs me for almost everything. In fact, with her current refusal of the bottle, I can scarcely leave her for a couple of hours without her screaming bloody murder. There’s also her need to be close to us at all times. She would have me hold her in my arms the entire time she sleeps if she could. Instead she settles for sleeping in bed with us. It’s the only way she’ll sleep through the night, and even though ultimately I’d like her to sleep in her own bed, I am happy to be her teddy bear for the moment. And I adore watching her smile when she wakes up and sees she’s not alone. I’m just trying to prepare myself for the inevitable heartache of watching her learn to do more and more things without my help and eventually flat out refusing my assistance or even presence. But, I guess the best thing to do is to enjoy every minute of her neediness now, while still encouraging her independence. Which reminds me, it’s time to go hand her a spoon and watch her shove some squash into her mouth. Or her eye. She doesn’t care. As long as she’s doing it herself.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Throwing Stones at Glass Houses...or Something

Well, it's been longer than I had intended since my last post. I vowed to update at least three times a week, and I'm already slacking. I have my reasons. Let's just say all that optimism that was oozing from my breastfeeding post has since disappeared, and we will be starting Project Wean presently. I'll talk about that next time. Right now I simply can't discuss my breasts any more than I already have these last few days.

Instead I would like to discuss something that has been weighing on my mind lately, and that, my friends, is being judgmental. It's a dirty word, sure, but one that I will freely admit describes me and, I think, if we're all honest, all of us.

I'm thinking specifically about the way we judge parents, and maybe especially mothers. We all know better, don't we? We know that that child is far too old to still be sporting that "binky". We know that the woman peeling her screaming toddler off the floor is a lousy mother. We know which babies are dressed too warmly, which ones are freezing, and which ones need a hat. We know who should be breastfeeding and who's been breastfeeding too long or not long enough. We know when it's time for mommies to go back to work and when they're abandoning their children by doing so.

We're just so damn smart, aren't we?

I'm guilty. In fact, I may just be the biggest offender I know. It didn't matter that I didn't have kids. I knew exactly what everyone around me was doing wrong, and I knew exactly how I would do it differently. It wasn't until I had Charlotte that I realized what you intend to do, isn't necessarily what you end up doing. I recently polled some mothers I know, asking them to tell me what they, as parents, have found themselves doing even though they swore they never would. Some said they didn't think they would be as paranoid about germs and other kids as they turned out to be. Some (including myself) thought they'd never let their kids sleep in bed with them. And, others never thought they would tell their kids to "shut up" or utter the dreaded "Because I said so". And I wonder how many of us criticized other people for doing what we ultimately would end up doing?

So, why do we do it? Well, I'm no psychologist, but I'm willing to venture a couple guesses. Firstly, and maybe most obviously, we do it because we're insecure. I might not have lost my baby weight, but at least I don't let my kids watch so much television. I may not keep my house clean enough, but at least I'm not that woman spanking her kid in Target. And so on. We might not be the best parents, but at least we're not those parents. And, hell, we don't even have to be parents to fall victim to this. Personally, I think I was so hard on the moms I encountered pre-baby because I wanted to be one so badly.

Another reason we play the judgmental game is that, well, not all judgement is bad. Face it. In this world, there is right and there's wrong. When we see a child being emotionally or physically abused, we judge. And hopefully, we also take action. Even on a less severe note, when we see kids being ignored, abundantly indulged and spoiled, or undisciplined, we notice. And we judge.

And finally, though not many of us would be willing to admit this, we judge because it's fun. Come on, who doesn't get a little thrill rehashing the parental crimes of Britney Spears or the Gosselins? We live in a tabloid society, where you may be fat, but not as fat as Kirstie Alley. I might be a bitch, but not like Lindsay Lohan. We thrive on the failures of others; it's entertaining as hell. Is this healthy? Probably not. Are we going to stop reading about the drug problems, affairs, weight gains, and the like while waiting in the checkout line? Of course not.

But, that doesn't mean we can't try to be a little more open-minded. A very pretty and youthful friend once told me that whenever she is out with her one-year old daughter she invariably gets an incredulous, "You're her mother?". They assume that she's a high school student and therefore far too young to be a mother. Now, she says she thinks twice before shaking her head at the teenage moms in the mall. Partially because they may not be as young as they seem. And also because, even if they are, she knows what it's like to get those dirty looks. And it doesn't feel good.

The fact is, we don't really know anything about the people we see. We really don't know how we would behave if we were in their situation. And we have to accept that even though there is right and wrong in this world, telling the difference is a tricky business sometimes. So, I'm suggesting that we watch the amount of vitriol we spew when we see or hear about something we don't like. This doesn't mean that I won't roll my eyes when I see someone buying a candy bar to suppress a tantrum. It just means that I'll roll my eyes, then admit that maybe that will be me someday. Because I'm having a horrible day and have a migraine and still have to pick up the dog from the vet and make a science project and my kid is screaming and everyone is looking and FINE. HERE. Have the damn candy bar. You know? It's not the right thing to do, but maybe I slipped. It happens.

I admittedly won't totally kick this most toxic of habits, but then again, maybe a little judgement helps keep up in check. Maybe seeing others do "bad" things reminds us not to do those same things. Maybe speaking your mind when you see something you don't agree with will help someone see the light. Or maybe we should just all keep our mouths shut. You be the judge. Ha!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pondering Prunes and Other Matters

So, a funny thing happened to me yesterday. See, we started Charlotte on solid foods this month. We’ve been doing the rice cereal for a few weeks now, and yesterday we added a fruit. We hemmed and hawed for a while about what to choose for the big premiere, and after a cautionary blessing from my friend, Alexis, (whose advice I sought on the matter) we chose prunes. Cautionary, in case you were wondering, because of the effect it might have on the princess’s bowel movements. So, of course, Charlotte had a delightful smear of prune-mush painted across her grinning face, requisite photos were snapped, and clothing was soiled. Chris and I enjoyed the moment as much as any team of parents would.

But, that’s not the event to which I am referring. It’s what happened after the moment had passed that struck me. Chris had taken the baby to her room for a wardrobe change, and I retired to the laundry room to spray some OxiClean on her bib and pajamas. And while I was doing this, I became irrationally and passionately HAPPY. I’m not exaggerating. I stopped for a moment to take in what I was doing, and I just felt so grateful and overjoyed that I had a bib to spot-treat, that I cried a little. Just a little.

Most of you will know where I’m going with this. As a former infertility patient who waited three years to have a child before finally giving birth to my daughter, I often find myself appreciating the smallest tokens of motherhood, tokens that maybe some people might never notice, and possibly not appreciate, either.

Of course, three years is a drop in the bucket to couples who have spent closer to a decade trying to conceive, to anyone who has attempted to raise the inconceivable amount of money needed for adoption or fertility treatments, to those who endure the scrutiny of their lives and homes at the hands of case workers and adoption agents, and especially to those same-sex couples who do all this AND contend with unfair discrimination, to boot. We were lucky that our insurance paid for all our treatments. We were even luckier that when they didn’t work, we were able to conceive naturally. But, those three years were the hardest of my life. Of our lives. I will never forget the pain of watching the parade of strollers pass by me in the mall, the effort it took to plaster on a smile at countless baby showers, the strength I had to muster to offer a simple congratulations to a friend, and the guilt I felt at not meaning it.

It was a painful chapter in my life, but it is a story for another time. This is a happier story. This is the story of how much I appreciate every moment of the amazing gift I was given. This is not to say that I think I, or anyone else in my position, loves or appreciates their child any more than someone who took one look at those cheerful, pink lines and thought, “Oh, SHIT!” I have seen parenthood shape and transform people. I know that it is, in some cases, the greatest thing that you never knew you wanted. And once you have it, you appreciate the hell out of it. I just think when you have to wait a while for it you gain a little perspective. And then you cry while doing laundry, apparently. I know. I’m very wise.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t have truly awful days. Today was a truly awful day. Hell, last week was a truly awful week. I’ve been sick, and I can’t deny that I miss the days when I could call everything off, drown myself in Nyquil, and sleep until I felt better. Would I trade places with someone who can? Hell no! But, sure, it can be hard when all you want to do is sleep, recuperate, and wallow, and you have to wake up SEVERAL times throughout the night to rock, burp, or nurse your baby, beautiful blessing that she is. It can really suck when she won’t nap all day, refuse to nurse, then throw a tantrum because she’s sleepy and hungry. It totally blows when you can’t get the rest you need, but you have to get out of bed and suck it up. I feel sorry for myself sometimes. I cry out of frustration and even anger.

But then I look around my house. I look at the boppy, the burp cloths, the binkys she won’t take no matter how hard I try, the playpen full of toys. I go to her room and notice the half-read book I had to set down because she started screaming while I tried to read it to her. I see the indentation she left in her crib during her five-minute nap, and I think, “Hell YES! I am a Mommy! Finally!” I take it all in, the good and the bad, and I marvel that, at long last, I have everything I wanted.

Maybe this is something that every parent goes through, no matter how easily they became pregnant. We can never really know how we would feel if things had been different for us. All I know is that I may complain. I might have those days where I daydream about running away and drinking myself unconscious on a Mexican beach. I may even need to take a night off once in a while (like that’s even possible). But, I’ll bounce back. And then you might find me weeping for joy over prune stains, skipping a bag of diapers to the dumpster, or maybe dancing a little jig all covered in spit-up. Because I will never take for granted how grateful I am to be Charlotte’s mommy.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

When Boobs Stop Being Sexy

Here’s a fun topic: breastfeeding. Have I lost you already? I promise you, I’m going somewhere with this. Maybe.


The thing is, ever since I had Charlotte, breastfeeding has practically taken over my life. The first few weeks I obsessed about my “supply” and “nipple confusion”. Have you ever talked to a lactation consultant? Picked up a copy of La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding? It’s terrifying. Giving a baby a pacifier will cause nipple confusion, causing the baby to forget how to nurse, thus sabotaging breastfeeding. If you’re gonna pop one of those in your kid’s mouth, might as well follow it up with a bottle of formula because you have ruined your chances of breastfeeding. RUINED IT! And speaking of bottles of formula, don’t let the nurses give your baby any of that stuff in the hospital because this will ensure that your milk never comes in, or at least that your supply will never be enough to feed your growing baby. RUINED.

I was so smug while I was preparing to breastfeed. I had taken a class, read a book. I was educated. No pacifiers for my daughter, nor would she be sucking down any of that supply-reducing elixir they call formula. It would be easy. Yeah, until it’s 2 A.M. and the baby screams every time she’s taken off my boob and my nipples are cracked and bleeding, and the nurse is like “Do you want me to give her a pacifier?”, and I’m like “Nooooooo, it will RUIN breastfeeding”, and my husband is like “Give her a pacifier you neurotic woman before we all lose our minds”…then it isn’t so easy not to give her a pacifier. So I did. But, at least I turned down the formula! Until my baby was so jaundiced they weren’t going to let me take her home, and her billirubin levels were off the chart, and the doctor hands me a bottle of formula and is like, “Give this to her or you’re leaving the hospital without her”. Then it isn’t so easy to not give her formula. So I did. Well, actually my husband did while I wept uncontrollably, not wanting to watch. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think formula is poison or anything; it’s just that I had always wanted to breastfeed my babies, and, like I said, I was worried this was the beginning of the end.

Luckily, the formula worked its magic; she pooped out all the billirubin, and we were able to take her home. And, in fact, we gave her small amounts of formula the first week or so while we waited for my milk to come in. It always made me a little nervous, but we only gave her an ounce or so after she had already nursed, and pretty soon, she was being exclusively breastfed. I had heard that beginning to breastfeed was hard, and it was. There were nights when Chris would come home to find me nursing Charlotte and crying. I cried because it hurt when I couldn’t get her to latch on properly. I cried because I felt I wasn’t making enough to satisfy her. I cried because I was afraid she wasn’t pooping enough, wasn’t gaining enough weight. But mostly I cried because I was TIRED.

It did get easier. But, I am still surprised by how much my life is influenced by it. Going too long without nursing her can cause painful engorgement, which is why I have found myself using a breast pump in the parking lot of the Greek theatre before a concert, in the car while my husband drove us to San Francisco, in the family room of a mall, and at the houses of friends. It puts ridiculous restraints on my diet, as everything I enjoy seems to make her gassy or keeps her awake. I have endured the pumping, the breast infection and plugged ducts, the leaky boobs, the sacrifice of that second glass of wine, and the endless nighttime feedings. But, the past month has been particularly difficult.

When I feed Charlotte in public, I use a nursing cover. I don’t do it because of the way society shames the breastfeeding woman; I use it because it’s how I feel comfortable. Well, Charlotte HATES it. She doesn’t want to be covered by a pink drape; she wants to look around, see what’s going on! So, she screams. She screams and pushes herself away from me. In fact, even when I don’t use the cover, like when I feed her in my car, she is more interested in viewing her surroundings than in staring at my chest while she eats. It’s become a huge problem because we go out every single day. And it’s humiliating when people are already staring at you for having the audacity to nurse in a coffee shop, and then the baby screams like you are trying to kill her rather than nourish her. Add to this the fact that she started screaming in the car because I can’t get her to eat enough before we leave for our destination, and I had pretty much had it.

My reaction to all this nonsense can be summed up in two words: I quit.

I quit. I quit. I quit.

I considered weaning. I just thought, “Hey, I’ve given you my body for long enough. Maybe it’s time I got it back to myself”. But, because I wasn’t prepared to do that until she was six months, and because ONE time she took a bottle of expressed milk while sitting on my lap in a restaurant, I thought we could try bottles while we’re out, and that would be a good segue into her taking bottles exclusively. And since I wouldn’t always have expressed breast milk handy, she would get the occasional bottle of formula. Of course, this is not a decision to be made lightly, so I agonized, I talked to my friends, I obsessed, I talked to my husband, I agonized some more. Everyone was incredibly supportive.

Well, it turned out all this agonizing was for nothing, because she causes just as big a scene drinking from a bottle as she does nursing. It’s nice to be fully clothed when she is causing said scene, but it still sucks. She’s just never really taken to the bottle; something I knew about her, but in my naiveté thought she would magically get better at it in order to accommodate my plan. Turns out there is no easy solution to this problem. If there had been, I might have been well on my way to weaning. Then again, maybe not. Because even in the midst of all my breastfeeding angst, every time I started going over the logistics of weaning in my head, I would want to cry. It was really frustrating, but I had somehow really come to enjoy the bonding experience of breastfeeding, something I never thought I would understand.

At the moment, I am happy with my decision to keep nursing my daughter. I may have to cut some outings short, or cancel them all together. I may have to endure the embarrassment of wrestling her onto my boob in our local Starbucks. I may go clinically insane from a prolonged exposure to her constant latch-breaking and whining. But, someday I will have my body back. And I’ll also have the memories of an experience we both enjoyed…sometimes.

Oh. And the day she’s totally weaned? I’m getting TRASHED. Tequila shots, anyone?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

An Introduction

Here I am. Yet another blogger in the vast web expanses of mommies, political debaters, budding artists, and anyone else out there who needs to get his or her thoughts and experiences out of their heads, and onto the screen. Why should anyone care about me? I don’t know that they will. But, I just had a baby about four months ago, at which point my need to share my experiences with anyone who is willing to listen grew exponentially. I have never had such an intense desire to tell stories, share my insecurities, and maybe even get a little reassurance or validation or…something, as when I started being a mother to my daughter.

Before you induce vomiting, let me assure you that I will not be merely gushing about the wonder of her first laugh, or how my filled-to-the-brim-with-love heart burst when she grabbed my finger. Nor will my blog read as a clichéd sitcom script wherein, I, the protagonist stumble around with messy hair, in sweats, and with spit-up on my shirt, grasping for a new diaper after the baby noisily filled the last one with perfect comic timing.

Okay, so there will be SOME of that.

But, mostly, I would like to be straight with you, whoever “you” are. Maybe you are just my mom, maybe someday you will be a few strangers, maybe it doesn’t matter. I’d like to tell you how getting started breastfeeding almost made me lose my mind. Or how sometimes I am impatient to put the baby to bed so I can have my husband mix me a cocktail. I’d like to tell you about how we rushed into invasive expensive fertility treatments, only to get pregnant having drunken sex in our car which we had pulled off to the side of the road. And maybe about how I take my baby’s temperature for no reason and panic about the fan in her room catching fire.

I won’t be pretending to be perfect, nor will I pretend to be the stereotypical “bad mother”. I’m just someone who is doing her best to be a good mom, and I will make mistakes along the way, which I think is all part of the fun. Hopefully, someday this blog will reach people who will read about my experiences, and in turn, share theirs with me.