Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why my child will never get into Harvard


Picture in your head the sound of an unripe melon hitting the floor after being dropped 3 1/2 feet and you still won't be close to the sickening sound of Julia's head hitting the floor after falling off of my bed. The very same bed that the hubby put her on while we were putting together some clothes to bring to the drycleaner. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of pink and Aaron diving across the bed. Like a bad movie he yelled "Nnnnnoooooooooooo" like in slow motion - and then there was the thud. Actually, it was more like THUD. I'm sure I will never forget that sound for the rest of my life. She's fine, thank God. She cried immediately after falling so she didn't lose consciousness, and she has a bump on her forehead and a bruise but she's happy and smiley now. I'm not. I woke up on at least 6 different occasions last night with bad dreams.

I think Aaron feels worse about it today than Julia does. Especially since I warned him to watch her closely because she moves so quickly these days. But, as he told me later, he "only turned his back for a second".

Its a learning experience, he said.


No, a learning experience is having her roll off of the couch (yeah, that one was my fault). The couch is only about a foot and a half high, two feet tops. The bed is ridiculously high. Like waist high. Like I needed a step stool to get into it after I came home from the hospital after delivering her high. And the floor is hard wood, not carpeted. And she's MY BABY! I've never been so scared in all my life.

I forgive him, of course I do. It was a mistake and he's learned from it. But I'll never let him forget it. Every time she comes home with a bad grade, or a low score on her SAT, or some moron of a boyfriend I'll remind my hubby that its his fault because he turned his back for a second. Until then, we'll just nickname her "Lumpy". See - I can laugh about it now.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Oh no, I mean - yay!

My blog was added to - Holy Crap. That means people might actually read this. I mean people besides the hubby who checks in on it from time to time (how's that for passive-aggressive couplehood?). Up until now I wrote this for myself thinking maybe someone occasionally would stumble upon my blog or maybe I would share it with a friend or two. I don't know what made me send the link to The Mom Salon, vanity maybe. Possibly my inner voyeur. Actually, I think it was the wine.

If you, dear reader, decide to take a few minutes to read this I hope you enjoy what I've written. Remember please that I'm not a writer. I use this medium to organize my cluttered mind, with hope that I can chronicle this new life I have embarked upon as a Mom. This is not an easy thing for me to do, since the jumble in my head gets in the way sometimes. I know what I write here is not new or different and I'm not the first new Mom to think or do these things. But this is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. And if you don't enjoy it, too damn bad. Because I write this for myself. So nah, nah.

Packing it away

I want to preface this post with this statement... As of this point I STILL don't want a second child. I'm not ruling anything out (as I've mentioned before) I just can't imagine doing it again. But I'm going to miss baby clothes. Oh my God how I love baby clothes. I love folding little t-shirts and washing little baby jeans. I love dressing my baby girl in fashionable clothes purchased for her by her fabulous aunts. I'm drawn to Gymboree and Baby Gap as I breeze by Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. I look like a schlub but my child is dressed to the nines.

This all hit me yesterday as I was packing up Julia's 3-6 month clothes to make room for all her 6-12 month clothes she got for Christmas. I'm sure most Mom's feel this way especially after putting away outfits that were worn once or not at all. Some still had the tags still on them! That killed me. If my Mom were still alive I'd get a lecture on how I should have had Julia wear them at least once. There's a story in my family about an Easter Sunday when I was 1 and my Mom made me wear a purple faux fur Easter outfit even though it was an unseasonable 75 degrees and I was screaming from the discomfort. But, dammit, that outfit was bought for me by my Grandmother and it was expensive and I was wearing it whether I liked it or not. So there.

Anyway, I put the clothes away thinking I'll keep them for my sister if she ever has a little girl. Or for friends with new babies, hand-me-downs are always welcome. You just never know what those clothes could be used for.

But my little Buhbba is getting bigger, she's growing up. Now she's crawling soon she'll be walking and after that she'll be leaving for college. That's what it feels like - Right? I know I was just packing away baby clothes but it felt like I was closing a chapter of my life. The only good thing about Julia growing up... More trips to Baby Gap!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What did you do for Christmas?

Okay so I wasn't totally truthful about why I was so stressed about the child being sick. The reason was we were about to embark on our first trip to Florida for Christmas and a sick infant on a plane was more than I thought I could bear. She got a little bit better before we left and, I have to say, she did remarkably well on the plane ride down. I'm not sure how the guy next to me felt about having a woman nursing her baby, ever so discreetly, under an airplane blanket - but, hey, I'll never see him again. And despite the lack of a napping schedule, Julia was a very happy baby for the 4 days we were in Florida. Disaster averted. Phew.

Julia met her cousin Charlie for the first time on this trip and oh how she loved him. She loves her cousin Sam too, but he's 6 and Charlie is 2 and much closer in age and most of the time willing to play with her. Aaron's sister and her family live in Minnesota so we don't see them much, maybe twice a year if we're lucky, so it was great to be with them. And the fact that she's a doctor and gives wonderful advice if asked doesn't hurt either. Its times like this vacation that I really wish they lived closer. I'm so used to having all my family live within driving distance that its hard to have such wonderful people (the boys included) live so far away. It would be wonderful if Julia could have her cousins nearby to grow up with.

Speaking of children growing up with other children, the subject of a second child was narrowly diverted during this trip mainly because I kept my big trap shut and didn't jump head first into the conversation. It was brought up and I let it die. Please give me my pat on the back now.

We stayed at the home of my mother-in-law's friend, Bert, and his partner Marvin. I couldn't accurately describe either of them, so I'm not even going to try. I will say that I enjoyed meeting them (finally!) and the hubby and I were very grateful for their hospitality. It can't be easy to open your home to four adults and a baby (Aaron's sister and brother-in-law and the boys stayed at a hotel). We swam in their pool and ate their food and woke them up much earlier than I'm sure they were used to getting up. They were extremely gracious and fabulous, and I'm not just saying that because Bert contributed to Julia's college fund. Thank you Uncle Bert.

Even though I missed my family I can honestly say that we had a wonderful time and I'm almost sorry that I was so doom and gloom about the whole idea. Almost, because Julia was screaming on the plane ride home and I was soo happy when the whole ordeal was over. It was hard leaving 75 degrees and sunny for 35 degrees and cloudy, but its always good to be home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Take a deep breath

I knew it was coming, it was inevitable. Julia has her first bad cold. Ugh. It started yesterday with a slight cough, and then she got worse about 1am this morning with more coughing and sniffling. She was really restless, but she put herself right back to sleep and didn't wake up until 6:30am (that's my girl!) Today, though, its full blown coughing, sneezing, goopy nose (love those snot bubbles) and a fever. I know that 1 cold in 8 months of life isn't bad. It's got to be the breastfeeding, because I'm certainly not following after her wiping her down with anti-bacterial wipes or Lysol-ing every surface of my house on a regular basis. I'm just not that kind of mom. But (and the hubby will attest to this) I am a stress-bag. And I am stressing a bit over this cold.

But in my defense I feel I have good reason. First, this is her first cold and her first real fever (102.8! Ack!) and I'm not sure I'm doing everything correctly. I've given her Tylenol and put her in a cool bath and now she's (restlessly) sleeping. Tomorrow we'll go see the doctor. But, hey, I'm a new mom and we all feel like we're failures from time to time. Right? Second, Christmas is coming. Trips to see the relatives, festivities that will wear her and me out, etcetera, etcetera. Third, and this is the topper, I think my dog Lana just had a seizure. Here I am all by myself (the hubby is at a x-mas party) with a sick child and a dog who's having a seizure. Great.

Julia comes first but Fisher and Lana were my first babies. They are very important to me and I worry about their well-being. Tonight I had to hope that my dog got better on her own because I obviously couldn't leave the baby and there's no such thing as doggie ambulances in my neck of the woods. Luckily she did, she's curled up on the couch next to me as I write this and tomorrow I'll call the vet to have her examined (we'll schedule that around a trip to the doctor's office and preparing for Christmas because I apparently have more than 24 hours in my day). But for a minute, that felt like an HOUR, I had good reason to stress out. And stress out I did. Now I'm drinking a glass of wine, de-stressing with my dog asleep next to me, the baby asleep upstairs, and waiting for the hubby to come home. And he will PAY if he dares to call me a stress-bag.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The times they are a-changin'

The other day I finally broke down and purchased an iPod. When I took it out of the box I held it in my hands and just looked at it for a while. Then I caressed the white plastic, played with the menu options, and (once I had finally figured out how to get the software working correctly - don't ask, that's another story entirely) downloaded a few songs. The convenience is astonishing. Whenever I hear a song on the radio that I like I can download it to my new iPod instead of buying the whole album, saving myself about $14. Its like the good old days of cassette singles only cheaper and better quality. But I'm torn. Am I sacrificing the total music experience for the ease of a small piece of technology?

I grew up with albums - that's vinyl for those of you born after 1984, not cassettes. First it was my parent's records... Pink Floyd, Cream, The Beatles, and my favorite Big Brother and the Holding Company "Cheap Thrills". Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of listening to those albums for hours. When I couldn't convince my Mom or Dad to put a record on for me I would stare at the album covers, particularly Big Brother's famous "Cheap Thrills" album cover designed by R. Crumb. When I was old enough to have my own albums and record player I had moved into my musical theater phase - Grease, Annie, Sound of Music. The first albums I bought with my own money when I was a pre-teen - and I'm almost embarrassed to admit this - were Men at Work and Bonnie Tyler. I can't believe that my Mom didn't throw them out the window after hearing "Who Can it be Now" or "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for the 200th time! Soon after cassettes became all the rage (great for taping songs off the radio - our own early version of Napster) and then it was CDs, but I never gave up on vinyl entirely.

A few years ago the hubby bought me a record player. You know, one of those players that looks like an old-fashioned record player but isn't. I was really excited because now I could take all those albums out of storage and listen to them again. I hadn't gotten around to replacing them with CDs so it felt like I was visiting some old friends. The first one I grabbed was, you guessed it, "Cheap Thrills". The artwork was still spectacular and the distinct smell of plastic and cardboard was still there. Then I put it on the player, cued up the needle... and the quality sucked. It didn't just suck, it S-U-C-K-E-D. It was scratchy and the sound was horrible. Soon after I went out and bought the CD. And soon after I finish writing this, it will be in my iPod.

I'm sad because I feel like my daughter will be missing out on some of the things that used to make music special. Gone are the days of album art, at least in the mass media. When was the last time you really looked at a CD cover? I'm still going to hold on to my records and, when she's old enough to understand, I'll pull them out of storage and show her what Mama used to listen to when she was a little girl. And then we'll listen to their music on our iPods, because records sound really bad in comparison!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Why didn't anyone tell me?

When you're pregnant for the first time you're warned about, oh, 50% of what's in store for you during and after childbirth. I completely understand now that some things I had to experience for myself. There was just no way for anyone to accurately put into words some of the things my body and my psyche was going to go through. Sure, other mothers can tell you that you'll be sleep deprived. But no one can prepare you for the sheer mental and physical exhaustion you will go through when caring for a newborn. Especially when you are breastfeeding (That's a pearl of wisdom from one new mother to any potential mothers out there that they don't put in the books. You won't sleep... EVER. Or at least until your baby learns that you're not a walking, talking pacifier).

The closest source of true mommy wisdom were from this book and this book. And, even though it was mentioned in the second book I feel it is my duty to drive the point home about one particularly disturbing part of postpartum. Are you ready? Okay, here goes nothing.... That thick and lovely hair you got while carrying your little bundle of joy during pregnancy will fall out IN CLUMPS about 3 to 4 months after you deliver. Big, nasty, clumps. You will have gobs of hair all over your house, in the sink, in the shower, in you BABY'S MOUTH. You will only have to look at a hair brush and out will pop 15 more strands. I shed more than my cats and dogs combined. Its disgusting.

The shedding lasted about 3 months and I didn't have very thick hair to begin with. And I did notice my hair getting thinner and thinner, as I rushed to the mirror after a particularly large clump came out I was convinced I would have a bald patch on top of my skull. But it wasn't too bad until it started growing back. Now I look like a Chia Pet. The top of my forehead is covered in one inch baby hairs that stick straight up and there's no amount of hairspray that will make them stay down. Try as I might with my spray, my brush and my hairdryer the little suckers won't lie flat.

So if you're in the mall or the grocery store with your baby bump and your thick pregnancy hair and you spot a woman with bags under her eyes, Cheerios stuck to her sweatshirt, and what looks like a hair cut that went horribly wrong please give her a smile. Because that woman could be you one day.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm not worthy

The hubby, the child and I just arrived home from attending a festive holiday shindig at a friend's home. The house was decorated beautifully, and there was good food and drink for all. It was a wonderful party. Oh, and did I mention she invited 183 people?

I'll give you a moment, dear reader, to let this sink in.

183 people. Can you get your mind around that?

I'll give you another minute.

Did I mention she was a new mother to a 6 month old?

Need another second?

Oh my God... They invited 183 people!! And 128 ACCEPTED the invitation!! That means its possible that 128 friends, relatives, neighbors, kids and babes-in-arms were in their home in a 6 hour time period. 128 PEOPLE IN THEIR HOME!!! I'm lucky if in a 24 hour period I can vacuum my house, load the dishwasher, shower and do my hair, and get the child out of her pajamas and dressed in suitable clothing. Besides, I don't think I even know 183 people, never mind like them enough to invite them to my home. I bow at her feet.

I'm such a slacker. I think I'll take a nap.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm a terrible, selfish person and I'm going to Hell

I'm sure you know the drill, dear reader. When you're single you get asked "When are you going to find a boy/girlfriend?". When you're finally in a committed relationship you get "When are you getting married?". And when you're finally married, when the ink isn't even dry on your marriage license yet, you inevitably hear "When are you having children?". The hubby and I made it very clear that we would be married for at least a year before we even got pregnant. And when we did we got the usual questions - boy or girl, name of the baby, epidural or natural, are you ever going to stop puking and put on some weight, blah, blah, blah.

When the child arrived I thought we were done with the prying questions about our life for a while. I thought I would be the one asking questions. "How do I get this demon child to sleep!" was one that came up a lot. "How far can a crying newborn fly when thrown from an open window?" was one that I often asked but, strangely, I never got an answer. I was not prepared for how soon after the birth of our blessed offspring that we would hear "So, when are you having another one?" Another one? Let me put a band-aid on my cracked and bleeding nipples then I'll grab the hubby and we'll start making another one. Why not two or three.

Actually, it was not so much a question as an assumption. Whenever I was having a particularly hard time with Julia I would always hear that the next time, with the NEXT ONE it would be easier. I don't remember signing up for a second one just yet, if ever! Right now I enjoy having one and I've made it perfectly clear on several thousand occasions to my husband that a second one was not on my priority list. And, to his credit, he is okay with having one child. Though, I never rule anything out - I've learned the hard way to never say never - but, honestly, right now I don't want a second one. I know this makes me a horrible person... How could I possibly leave my dear, beloved baby an only child!! Well, I'll tell ya.

For starters - Growing up my sister and I had a ridiculously close relationship, especially for two girls who were four years apart. Adults wept when they saw us together, particularly when they compared us to their own spawn. We're still extremely close, she is undoubtedly my best friend. She was at the birth of my daughter. She held my right leg while the husband was holding the left. Well, typically, lightning doesn't strike twice. I don't think I could deal with having two kids who did not have the same fantastic relationship that my sister and I share. I realize that I could have kids who love each other, that probably won't maim, or at least cause long term physical damage to each other. But there are other reasons too. I like my life the way it is. I like having some time with my hubby. I like the idea of taking vacations as a family, or paying for college without having to sell more than one organ. And I hate feeling pressured to have another baby. I was that kid that if you tried to force me to say the sky was blue, I would say it was red.

My family is less than thrilled with my decision. Even my sister-in-law, my dear, sweet, ridiculously smart, DOCTOR, sister-in-law thinks that if we only have one baby then Julia will grow up to be spoiled. Talk about unfair. I love my sister-in-law, don't get me wrong, but I expected more from her. For now I guess I'll just smile and nod whenever anyone suggests that the next baby will be a piece of cake compared to the first. It will be 'cause I'm not having one and you can't make me. So nnnaaahh.