Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stop Grousing!

Today is my grandfather's birthday. Even though he is "retired" in Florida, he plays a few sets of tennis a day and has more work as a CPA than he probably had before he moved to Florida.

My grandparents had my dad when they were both in their late teens; I can not even imagine being 17 and having a newborn. Granted, we all make stuff up as we go along, but only now do I think that I have the life skills to effectively fake being a mom. Regardless, my dad and my uncle both turned out okay (yes, they both have long hair and my uncle spent many years following the Grateful Dead - but all things considered they are in the range of 'normal'. Nyah, nyah).

But seriously, think about all the rules we had to follow while pregnant - no smoking, no drinking, limited OTC drugs and caffeine, iron pills, prenatal vitamins, the monitoring and well-mom and baby visits - all of these are relatively recent guidelines. And consider all of the modern conveniences, e.g., disposable diapers and ready-made formula; these weren't available back in the day. Further, even though I am sure my grandfather was an exception, the role of the dad has evolved considerably over the last half century. Even if you think your husband could be more helpful now, anything he does is a giant leap forward compared to the help and support wives received in the 50s. Not only were they responsible for 100% of the child care and housework, dinner was supposed to be on the table at a certain time and you couldn't even rely on ready-made dinners or the microwave. I guess we should count our lucky stars...

Anyway, happy birthday, Poppy! Enjoy the day and thanks for faking it so well.

Earlier this month, after wishing my grandmother a happy birthday via the blog and talking about her excellent baking abilities, she (for some reason) felt guilty and sent me a package of rugelach. Poppy doesn't bake. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Getting Schooled

In February 2006, the Hoos and I felt pretty silly looking at day facilities for our unborn, gender unknown, child. We wanted to have something lined up so that I would have the option of returning to work once "Bump" was born. After making dozens of phone calls and finding out that some facilities wouldn't have opening for several YEARS (apparently there are limited day care options for newborns), we finally toured three facilities. These centers couldn't promise us anything for our timing (September 2006), but they seemed to think we would have a good chance of getting in off of the waiting list. We thought it was crazy that we had to put ourselves on a waiting list. I can say I was relieved when I got a call during my maternity leave that our first choice would have an opening.

Back then, we were looking for day care that we felt comfortable with and would take good care of our baby's basic needs (e.g., feeding, changing, sleeping). Now, more than a year later, we are starting to consider re-evaluating our options as LP's needs are changing and our expectations for day care are evolving. LP feeds herself, is on the brink of walking, and is communicating more every day. We want to be sure that her day care center provides her with the educational stimuli, learning opportunities, and developmental challenges that she needs. This is not to say they may not have this where she is, but there are more day care options for one-year-olds, giving us a larger pool to draw from, and more of a basis for comparison.

I am not one of those moms that wants to push my daughter from day one to get into an Ivy. However, I don't think that annually evaluating the place where LP spends three full days a week makes me obsessive. I would like to instead think that it makes me a concerned mom that wants the best for my little rump roast. I not only want her to be safe and clean and well-fed, I want her to get the mental (and physical) challenge out of her "day job" that I expect out of mine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Sound of My Own Voice

Now that I have a child, I find that I can talk (seemingly) to myself in public and sing quite loudly while driving and no one looks at me funny. They all assume I am talking to LP. In fact, every once in a while people have complimented me for talking to her and have reminded me how important it is to talk to my child as much as possible.

So far this has not caused any uncomfortable situations, but I am sure I have come close since I occasionally use this technique for some passive aggressive messaging. For instance, there was a house in our neighborhood that had Christmas decorations up in April. I don't mean just turned-off lights, I mean several flags hanging from the side of the house with Santa on them, a menagerie of plastic figurines and a wreath on the door. So, to "justify" this to LP during our walk I made up a story about how they must be waiting for a loved one who is a soldier to return from the war to celebrate Christmas. Hey, maybe it was true.

The unabashed singing might even be worse. One of my favorite tapes when I was growing up was this Cabbage Patch Kids "rock opera". There was nothing rock or opera about it, but it was a story told through song and I loved it. I made my entire family listen to it on lots of car trips (if you are brave and know my mother, ask her to sing a few bars of "Otis Lee" to you). In fact, I wore the tape out. As a gift a few years ago, the Hoos found it on CD online and ordered it for me. I admit, I listened to it before LP arrived; but now I can listen to it and sing along (it is amazing how I still know all the words 20 years later) all the time! I am not sure if LP even likes it yet, but she will!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Year One in Review: The Highlight

Just having LP in our lives has been the most wonderful experience. She has grown and changed so much over the last year, it is hard to believe she is the same baby that only would quiet down at night when daddy would do crunches while holding her.

Shortly after arriving:
Her first push-up:
Today, her first trip to the zoo. How far we have come!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Year in Review: The Impact

To say that having a child changes you forever is like saying Morocco in September is a little warm. Since LP's arrival my world has been twisted, turned and stretched in so many different ways it might be hard to make a dent in the list with one blog posting, but, of course, I will give it a shot.
  1. My Body. Now that I am done nursing, I have my body back. Well, actually, I have a body back. It isn't the same body that I had to begin with. However, all is not so bad with this new body. The "skin pouch" (you know, the belly skin with the stretch marks that no longer have elasticity) is almost overshadowed by the fact that I am in better shape than I was before I got pregnant. For instance, my legs are more muscular from frequently doing squats while holding a nice-size (20 lb-ish) weight.
  2. My Sleep. LP is a good sleeper. I am really lucky that she has been sleeping through the night for quite some time. And now if she wakes up early she will entertain herself for a while. Even so, I have learned that sometimes sleep is optional. If I was in college right now, I might not be able to be at the bars at 11 when they are just getting started, but I would be hard-core ready to party at 3 or 4 if need be. Too bad I can no longer hold my liquor, not having had more than a few sips of alcohol since a few months prior to my pregnancy.
  3. My Perspective. One of the best things about a new life is the fresh perspective of the mundane. Things that I didn't notice before or that didn't garner my attention are now sources of endless fascination. Watching LP play in the grass or nearly jump out of her skin in excitement at the sight of a doggie has really reopened my eyes to how every moment can hold something spectacular.
  4. My Time. It sure takes a whole lot longer to do things nowadays than it did pre-LP. This advice column from earlier this week really helps to explain how every errand becomes an ordeal. 24 hours is no longer enough time to accomplish much. But in reality, if all I accomplish is having a good time with my baby girl, that is enough to sustain me for quite some time.
  5. My Marriage. The Hoos and I will be married five years this August; before that we were together for seven years. And yet, the past year has really had a positively transformative impact on our relationship. I think our love and respect for one another grows deeper every day. There is nothing quite like seeing the two people you love most in the world light up in each other's presence. Our daughter is beautiful and healthy and amazing, reinforcing to me that I found the right guy to settle down with.
  6. My priorities. Family has always been important to me. And I have always been quite ambitious. It is interesting how these two things are not only often in conflict, but how they also drive one another. For instance, as I consider my career, I realize that I am comfortable in my current job; it might not always challenge me but I have earned flexibility and security. On the other hand, do I want my daughter growing up thinking that skating by is the right approach to life and you should be content with what you have instead of constantly striving to reach your full potential?
At the end of the day, the impact LP has had on my life can be summed up by the fact that I go to bed every night with a smile because the last thing I see before turning in is her little rump up in the air as she nuzzles into the meatloaf position. It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Year One in Review: The Bad

No, motherhood is not all good. But the good stuff far outweighs the bad. However, there are definitely a few things that I wish someone had warned me about.
  • Explosive Poop. Lots of people talk about how little boys pee when you take off their diaper. I can't confirm this, but what I can pass on is that newborns poop when you change their diaper. Newborn poop is very liquidy and akin to mustard in color and staining capabilities. For the first few weeks I can pretty much guarantee you will get squirted at least once. And somehow your little bugger will have the timing down so that in the split second between removing the old diaper and getting the new diaper into place, they will let it fly. Lap pads are very handy for protecting your changing pad cover. They are less expensive and easier to clean. Trust me.
  • Nursing Hurts. I had no idea that the first six weeks of nursing were so painful. I knew that lots of women and babies find it difficult to get the latch right and give up, but I am guessing that lots of people give up because of the pain. You definitely feel the first latch right down to your toes until your girls get used to the sensation. It doesn't help that your nipples get dry and crusty from constantly being wet. The baby doesn't care, she just wants to eat. I recommend enforcing a "don't talk to me when the baby is trying to latch" rule so that you don't bite your husband's head off.
  • Time is Limited. The whole "nap when the baby naps" thing is such a crock. Your baby might sleep for 15 minutes or two hours - you have no idea. So, if you decide to do something else for 15 minutes - like say, pee or eat for the first time all day (never mind that it is 2pm) - you may have lost your chance to nap. And since you are never sure if the baby will stay sleeping, you don't really want to fall asleep because waking up after a 5 minute nap just leaves you with a headache. Me, when my option was sleep or eat, I chose to eat.
  • Daytime Television Sucks. For the first six weeks or so of your baby's life, you are supposed to keep the little muffin out of the sun (especially between 10 and 2) and away from crowds. I took this guidance from my pediatrician very seriously. You can choose to do whatever you want. For me, this meant I was pretty much in the house alone with LP for long periods of time. I don't watch soap operas and there is only so much Dr. Phil, Oprah, Ellen, Rachael Ray, Martha, Regis and Kelly, etc. that one can take. Invest in television show DVDs so you can watch one half hour or hour long episode at a time. I recommend Dead Like Me.

In retrospect these are all minor inconveniences that don't even come close to overshadowing the wonderful and wacky nature of motherhood. And actually, other than the excruciating latch pain, you can probably laugh your way through most of these (thanks to the delirium).

An Aside

I got my fabulous new momAgenda in the mail last night. First, I have to say that Amy at MommyTrack'd does a great job with packaging. The agenda runs from August 2007 through December 2008, so I am eagerly awaiting the Fall to see if it will organize my life. Of course, I have already started completing the removable address book and filling in birthday's etc. which will definitely have a positive impact on my memory (and lack thereof).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Year One In Review: The Goods

In honor of LP's first birthday, which falls on Memorial Day this year, I wanted to pass on some pearls of wisdom each day leading up to the anniversary of her arrival. Today's post will be about all of the goods one must acquire as a parent. These items are top of mind because tonight we will not have access to our kitchen. Any other year this would have had minimal impact on our lives - the Hoos and I would simply have gone out to dinner. But with a little one to care for we had to remove a million things from the kitchen (i.e., bottles, high chair, bibs), prepare a freezer pack with milk, and pack two days worth of school meals for LP. Babies=stuff.

Strollers: When we registered for a stroller, my grandparents (who generously purchased the stroller for us) complained that we were cheaping out. But we love our Graco MetroLite. At the beginning, LP looked so small in it, now she sits up like a big girl, exploring features she never noticed before (like the clear panel "skylight" that she looks up at me through). Combined with the Kiddopotamus sun shade, we have had many pleasant family walks. Below are the Hoos and LP using the stroller for the first time.

Car Seats: We started out with the Graco SafeSeat which served us really well until we determined that baby girl had outgrown it. It was great, because we only needed one car seat and two bases (the Hoos drops LP off at day care and I do pick up). Now the car seat looks so small, especially when you consider that it originally had two removal head protector rolls that fit around LP's noggin. We have now moved on to the Graco ComfortSport Convertible car seat. Yes, we looked at the fancy-schmancy Britax, but it didn't look too different and considering we had to buy one for each car, the expense (one cost more than two of the Graco!) did not justify any minor upgrades.

Breast Pump: Medela PumpInStyle, hands down. If you need more details, read about my horrific experience attempting to use something else.

Etc.: I can't say enough about the awesome Bumkin bibs; they dry quickly, are virtually impossible to stain and are worth the extra cost. The bouncy seat and exercise mat are necessary, the mobile is not (or at least it wasn't for us). A CD or two of kids music (we love our Raffi) will really help when you are too tired to think and make up silly songs during the first few months.

This is just the beginning of my sharing my wisdom, aren't you excited?! Well, hopefully this will at least help someone out there.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Always an Adventure

Finally, after living in our home for almost two years and complaining bitterly about the linoleum in the kitchen, we are getting tile installed. It only took four months and multiple visits to multiple tile stores to select and purchase tile. Today was the first day of the three day installation process.

LP and I were, as usual, scheduled to be home today. We figured it would work out well since the "tile guys" might have questions. Shortly after their arrival we discover that actually, LP shouldn't be in the house since the linoleum is not only ugly, it has some sort of asbestos in the adhesive. That means the kid and I shouldn't be hanging around the house. What is a working mom to do? Well, other working moms probably are brighter than I am, because I took LP to the office. I figured I could show her off and feed her there and kill a few hours, plus have her nap on the drive (25-miles) to and fro.

After the successful trip to the office (successful in terms of probably making the housekeeping staff hate me and wonder how they heck cooked peas got ground into the carpet), we returned home. I made sure the return trip took plenty of time and even ate a drive-trough lunch in the car to prolong LP's nap.

Still wary of being in the house (even though the tiles guys had long since left), we went for a nice long walk. The walk was longer than usual because LP kept throwing stuff out of the stroller and I was too preoccupied to notice. Usually I notice she dropped something when I run it over with the stroller or my foot, but she had gotten smarter. Now she drops stuff out to the side, meaning I don't notice it until I look down at her and notice something is missing. Like her hat. We covered the same ground several times searching down overboard items.

The day wasn't a total wash because LP has started giving kisses. Granted, they are open-mouthed and drooly, but they are given freely when I ask for them (well, when she is in the mood). Now we just have to see if she gives them to others (e.g., the Hoos)...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Feeling Hot, Hot, NOT

This weekend was supposed to be a catch-up weekend. The weather wasn't predicted to be great, the house needed a good cleaning, and there were some things we needed that we hadn't had a chance to purchase yet. The best laid plans...

Saturday we decided to drive down to Long Island and visit my parents. It is typically an hour and a half or so drive and my parents love to see LP. We time the trip to coincide with baby girl's nap time so when we get there she is awake, refreshed, and we are all ready for lunch. In addition, my parents live close to a babies r us (we don't) and we wanted to buy an umbrella stroller for our planned vacations.

Sometime between leaving our home in Norwalk and arriving at my parent's house, disaster struck. Not that we knew it. After arriving, LP is quickly whisked away by grandma to play. We all sit down and start chatting when my dad looks at me and says, "What is that in your eye?" Me: "I dunno, what?" The Hoos takes one look at me and has a minor freak out, "OMG, Aim, what is that?" I go look in the mirror and wouldn't you know it, the entire top half of my right eyeball looks bloody. Not bloodshot, bloody. Lovely.

We spend the next half hour trying to find an ophthalmologist near Bohemia that is open on a Saturday. I am feeling fine, but I would rather have a professional confirm that I am fine. I am awarded an appointment for 2:30 and we go out to lunch. The doctor confirms that I must have burst some blood vessels in my eye, it is only something a kin to a bruise in my eye and it shouldn't impact my vision (I can still even wear my contacts) and it will probably get worse before it gets better. Lucky me, just in time for LP's first birthday celebration. Good thing it was going to be a low-key party anyway.

So how exactly did I get this subconjunctival hemorrhage? The best I can determine, it happened when I turned around to check on LP snoozing in the back seat. She still faces backwards, so this requires a bit of maneuvering when wearing a seat belt. I must have strained too much and popped a few vessels. Another undocumented danger of a car seat...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Found Me How?

Life is remarkably calm in our house. LP continues to amaze and develop and the Hoos and I are constantly trying to catch up. So, instead of talking about me, I am going to talk about you.

I have this handy-dandy little thing called "RiteTracker" in the bottom right corner of my blog. That counter tells me all sorts of anonymous information about how many people access this blog. As a non-technical techy, I find this data really interesting - especially the part that tracks the key words that people type into search engines to find my site. Some examples:
  • "Hot moms" (why, thank you!)
  • "breast care when weening baby off nursing"
  • "infant's face gets puffy after eating"
  • "edible paint finish for crib"
  • "mother gets hives while breast feeding"
  • "integrating whole milk babies"
  • "my body is a wonderland"
  • "Les zombies et les loup-garous"
While I can understand how some of these might link to specific entries on my site, I think it is really funny that after seeing what I assume is a long list of results, people would still choose to click on the link to my blog. Not that I don't like visitors - Please, come often! Read all about my life! - but boy, do I hope that I am not the only source of information on some of these topics.

Another interesting fact is that all of my readers are not related to me! And some of you don't even know me personally. (If you want to visit someone that does know me personally, visit Lori MacBlogger, a woman I went to sleep-away camp with who has a much more exciting life than I do). In fact, while 86% of you check me out from within the U.S., visitors show up from other countries all the time. And, even if you count my virtual friend Karen, a Canadian, in with the American folks, 10% of you come from other places - Spain, the UK, France, Cyprus, Sweden, Thailand to name a few. So, either moms have the same issues and challenges no matter where they are in the world, or people blindly click on any link that pops up in a random Web search.

Tell me, how did you find me and do you ever plan on coming back?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, G.G.

Today is my grandmother's birthday. Aside from being an avid reader of this blog, she is a fabulous cook and wonderful grandmother. When I was in college, I would get the best care packages from her - the homemade rugelach didn't last long. Every once in a while a package from grandma and grandpa will arrive from Florida, but nowadays they are more likely tchotckes and kisses for LP.

So, in honor of my grandmother (LP's great-grandma, or G.G.), here is a new photo of my little princess, reaching out and giving everyone a hug.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Free to Me!

Once again, I would like to revisit the concept of free stuff. I have always loved free stuff, and I love it even more now that I am a mom since it is guilt free "spending" on me. Even better, Moms are seen by marketers as a hot commodity in the marketplace, so they give you free stuff "just" for being a mom.

Some examples:
Vocalpoint: This is a site, created by Procter and Gamble, that solicits mom opinions on a wide variety of things. Even if you don't give your opinion, they send you coupons for free stuff in order to entice you to buy things you normally wouldn't. So far I have gotten free Kashi Cereal and free Special K20, which is some sort of protein drink. I haven't been able to actually locate this product to buy it, but I am carrying around the coupon. In addition, as part of their program, they sent me some free Olay products for Mother's Day.

Harris Poll: I continue to do the online Harris Poll surveys. This weekend was a really annoying one where I had to go on every night and tell them if and how I used paper towels. I should get lots of points for this one, which is the equivalent of a free CD.

Mommy Track'd: If you recall, I got my free mug through a RoleMommy contest a few months ago. Today, I won a free momAgenda from Mommy Track'd, another "mom resource" Web site. The hope is that this agenda will perform miracles and help me keep chaos at bay. I will report back and let you know if I achieve success.

I blame my Dad for my obsession with getting something for nothing. He has been responding to "Janet Hall" of the Home Testing Institute for as long as I can remember. He is also now a "secret shopper" where he goes into various businesses and restaurants and completes surveys on how he was treated. He typically gets to expense his purchases and small amounts of cash for his troubles. Hey - it keeps him off the streets....And sometimes he gives me some of his free stuff - even better.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm in Trouble

My daughter is not even a year old and already she is smarter than me. I tried to give her milk in a cup with her lunch; after a few sips, she looked at me and pointed over to the disassembled bottles sitting on the counter next to her high chair.

"Duh, mom, milk comes from a bottle, not a sippy."

Ever obedient, I poured the milk into a bottle and she drained the whole thing.

From Wife to Mother

I love Mother's Day Weekend.

Saturday, the Hoos took LP to "run some errands" (e.g., buy mommy a Mother's Day present) and told me to go and do whatever I want. Typically, this means I will also run errands and do things around the house that have to get done. But not this weekend! I actually made a conscious decision to do stuff for me!

This included a manicure and a pedicure (finally using the gift certificate LP got me for my birthday in September) and shoe shopping! I even resisted the urge to look in the baby section of the stores I visited.

Sunday was also all about me. I brought LP into bed with us around 8 and she snuggled and kissed me and slurbed all over my belly. The Hoos and LP gave me fantastic cards and a new watch. I also got a Barnes and Noble gift card, which I expect to be the gift that keeps on giving. I requested this so I could buy some books to read on our vacation this summer and it is assumed that I will also have time to read this books with the Hoos watching LP.

I know, this sounds totally selfish, but honestly, I think most moms do need a special day or weekend set aside when they can focus on themselves and not feel guilty about it. For some reason we always put ourselves second or third. I propose one Mother's Day a month!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mini-Mr. Magoo

Remember Mr. Magoo? The legally blind, perpetually naive cartoon character that always remained oblivious to how narrowly he avoided danger? This perfectly captures LP.

She woke up this morning with a whole new sense of purpose - give mommy a heart attack. She has been up since around 7 and has already tried to:

  1. Stand up on the changing table, using the wall as her support

  2. Climb out of the basket in the grocery store

  3. Use the bouncy seat as an amusement park ride, climbing up to it and sitting on her knees and bouncing up and down before attempting to climb off it over the back

I am also noticing that she is pulling herself up a hack of a lot more. Basically she is only using crawling as a means to get from one item to pull up on to another. This includes both stable, solid surfaces and fragile, movable ones. She will definitely be walking soon. And even if not that soon, definitely before I am ready.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Appreciate This!

Apparently this week is "Staff Appreciation Week" at LP's day care. I only know this because yesterday when I went to pick her up I noticed photocopied signs pasted up in the hallways. What this means, or how it came about - I have no idea. My vague sense is that I am supposed to somehow show appreciation to LP's teachers. Without much notice or forethought, I am at a loss.

Shame on me, I should have know something was up. Last week, my niece called me and asked me if I could come to her school tomorrow for "Special Person Appreciation Day." Again, I have never heard of something like this, but I figured she was asking because she wanted her little cousin to come in for some sort of show and tell. But I digress...

Day care professionals for the most part are underpaid. Yes, we pay lots and lots of money for LP to go to school, but those dollars do not trickle down to the people that actually care for my child three days a week. These folks get paid by the hour, do not get paid vacation, and get bodily fluids splashed on to them at least several times a week. They deserve to be appreciated, but I am not quite sure how best to do this. Ideally, the school would set aside some funds to buy them lunch or breakfast or something a few days during this week, but since there are signs posted in the building, I am guessing they expect parents to somehow contribute.

As of right now, I have put together personalized cards for each teacher thanking them for taking such good care of my baby girl. A cop out, I know. Considering I have only an hour and a half between when I leave the office and have to pick up LP and lately it has taken me half of that to get to her, I don't have much time to come up something inventive. There is a drive-through Dunkin Donuts on my route, that is about it. Other than DD gift cards, I am scratching my head trying to figure out what I can get them.

Ideas from the peanut gallery?

No News is Good News

As we creep up on LP's first birthday, things are settling down.
  • Last night LP took a bottle and no nursing before bed for the first time. This may be my last post that even mentions the word 'nursing'!
  • New "Water Babies" sunscreen stick was applied to LP yesterday and no adverse affects.
  • I created and sent out invites for LP's birthday party (even though it is more of a BBQ with family and not a party, I wanted to document the celebration).
  • The three of us ate dinner together - at the same time - for the first time in forever last night. This wasn't so much about the Hoos getting home early (he didn't really) but more about LP holding out to eat dinner a little later. It certainly made it easier for me to eat!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Not Mother's Day

The "first half" (e.g., the part where I was at work) of my day yesterday went along swimmingly. As soon as I left the office, things started to go down hill.

First, there was a lot of traffic. There was no reason for the volume of vehicles on the road, but it took me 45 minutes to get to LP's Day Care instead of the typical 30 minutes.

Then, I get into LP's classroom and she has her back to me, but she swings around as soon as she hears my voice and I immediately ask, "why are you upset, baby?" since her eyes are red and swollen. I am told "oh, she just had a reaction, we just came in from the outside." What the heck does that mean? "Just a reaction"! She is smiling, but she looks awful! As I walk closer, I think I can identify the culprit - baby girl reeks of sunscreen. They must really slather that stuff on her. I am betting she rubbed some - or a lot- into her eyes. In fact, I wash her face about four times and she still smells like sunscreen, although her face does clear up and return to normal shortly. I am guessing this is the same reaction LP had a few weeks ago that they blamed on the milk. No more sunscreen on LP's face, please! And the Hawaiian Tropic will be going in the garbage.

As I am trying to gauge my daughter's feelings about her puffy face, I look at her daily report sheet and it appears LP only had two bottles. When I ask I am told, "oh yeah, we are heating the other one up now." Keep in mind, LP gets her snack bottle around 3 or 4, and it is 5:45 (since I am late due to traffic). LP had a solid snack at 3:15, but no bottle. Ummm....hello?! She feeds herself the bottle. It isn't that much more effort for the teacher and yet now her schedule is all screwed up. Since she is starving, not taking her eyes off the bottle, I give it to her to drink while we drive home.

Since the weather was so nice, my original plan was to get home and take LP for a walk. Well, now my kid looks very upset due to the red-face and swollen eyes, so ixnay on the walkay (like my pig Latin?). Instead, I figure I might as well give her dinner. However, she isn't much interested and after indulging me by eating some sweet potato chunks, she spits out anything else I try to encourage her to eat. Sometime during my machinations to get her to swallow some food, she notices the potted plant perched on top of the hutch in our dining room. She reaches out, tugs on a leaf and the entire pot - soil and all, comes hurtling down on us.

I am able to catch the pot, so nothing breaks, except my spirit. I give up on the dinner and attempt to vacuum up the potting soil, except LP freaks out anytime I turn on the vacuum.

The good news is, things can only get better from here. Right?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What A Difference 45 Minutes Makes

Forty-five minutes may not sound like much, but it can make all the difference to a mom.

Consider all that you can accomplish if your child takes a 45 minute nap. (Of course, it is impossible to predict how long an actual nap will be...but that is a chat for another day.) Also, keep in mind, the more experience you have as a mom the more you can accomplish or - perhaps more importantly - the less you can choose to accomplish.
  1. Put up a load of laundry
  2. Prepare and eat your lunch while reading the paper, or your email, or watching mindless TV
  3. Prepare child's lunch
  4. Move laundry to dryer
  5. Empty or load or put up the dishwasher
  6. General straightening up of the house
Now that I have stopped pumping at the office, which was approximately three fifteen minute sessions in the lactation room, I am hyper-efficient. I feel like I have vast amounts of free time on my hands. Of course, the trade magazines that I used to collect to read while pumping are piling up on my desk, but the work doesn't last long in my inbox!

On a related note, last night after her bath, I gave LP a warmed bottle of milk. It didn't put her to sleep, but it seriously decreased the amount of time she nursed. Which, by the way, also didn't put her to sleep. When the Hoos did bring her up to her crib she quickly rolled over, smiled up at him and assumed the meatloaf position. This weaning thing may be much easier than I anticipated. LP has spoiled me, boy am I screwed when it is time for baby #2!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Vacation: The Joy, the Fear

Everyone loves a vacation. Heck, everyone needs a vacation. But for the first time I am looking upon an upcoming vacation with more trepidation than usual. Even more than my honeymoon to Canada in December. Cold enough to freeze your inner ear, but not cold enough for lakes to freeze and offer outdoor activities.

This summer we are preparing for our first vacations with LP. She was around last summer, but not in any state to take on vacation. Or maybe it was a good time to take her on vacation since she wasn't mobile and you didn't have to entertain her much. Regardless, it would not have been a good time for the Hoos and me to go on vacation.

The first planned vacation is a camping trip with my brother-in-law and his family at the end of June. They have three kids (four, eight and 10), and we fully expect them to laugh at us as we fumble our way through sleeping in a tent and coordinating life with a one-year-old in the great outdoors. We already know that LP loves being outside, so much so that she wants to consume it. I mean this literally - she loves to eat dirt and the like. Camping should be a whole new adventure when you consider the accessibility of all sorts of non-edible but enticing things.

Now that we have the camp site reserved we are mentally filling u pthe trunk and the back seat of the car. And still we will forget things. And still we will have a great time (she types optimistically).

Friday, May 4, 2007

An Update

So far, the weaning process has been quite successful. I reduced my visits to the office lactation room from three times a day to once a day, and only for a few minutes. And even though the one time I went was before noon, I really could have pushed it to later in the day, but I was trying to manage my risk for leakage.

Since LP has been getting whole milk bottles at day care, I increased the number of ounces I provided per bottle, and I haven't really had to nurse her after her dinner. In fact, I try to avoid it because she is napping less at school, so if I nurse her when she is done with her dinner at 7 she tends to fall asleep after two minutes and sleep for a half hour. The Hoos and I determined that it is better to keep her awake at this time and put her to bed a little earlier.

At this point that means I am only really nursing LP before bed. I can see how they say this is the hardest feeding to eliminate. It is definitely a calming experience for LP and I am not sure how we will be able to get her to sleep without this part of her routine. I am not worrying too much about that now since I am not planning on phasing this out just yet.

I have not really experienced any engorgement issues and I am feeling good. Tomorrow will be the true test. My parents are coming up to CT from Long Island to spend half of the day baby-sitting LP so the Hoos and I can get out and shop and visit with some friends. I do not plan on pumping or nursing until the evening (if I can help it). And I definitely plan on enjoying myself.

While nursing LP exclusively for the first year of her life has definitely been rewarding and worthwhile, I am ready for a little more freedom. It is constraining to always be thinking about the next time LP has to eat and if I need to pump to ensure she has a bottle and is there enough frozen milk in the freezer in case my production decreases. I plan on nursing again when the time comes for baby number two, but for now I am looking forward to fitting back into my old bras and throwing away - or maybe burning - my nursing bras.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Out of Focus

Once again I find myself at a fork in the road (note to self: get LP a copy of The Muppet Movie). I am not really deciding which path to take, but rather in which direction I want to stretch myself. Do I want to push myself to reach higher on the professional side of my life, or do I want to instead spread my wings in my not-work life? How do I want to expend my excess (ha ha) energy?

This is all quite metaphorical, I know, so I will give you an example of some of the questions running through my head:
  • Should I look for new and interesting opportunities at my current job (if they exist)?
  • Should I look for a new job?
  • Should I try to get involved in activities with LP (e.g., swimming at Y, playgroups at the synagogue)?
  • Should I take another class toward my MBA?
The thing is, I am quite sure that I can't do it all. I am only one person after all, and there is still grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, and a host of other things that need to get done. I need to focus my efforts but I am having a hard time deciding which endeavors to pursue.

I really like the comfort of inertia. Although, I am not used to being the passive hitchhiker that lets life lead me to my next adventure. In reality, as a parent to a growing infant/toddler I need to plan certain things - particularly when it comes to taking care of myself. But even finding the time and the interest to plan seems to be an effort. I gave myself a big pat on the back for making a haircut appointment a week in advance. Now I just have to remember to show up next Wednesday for my much needed trim.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Food, Glorious Food

Figuring out what to feed LP is a constant challenge. She is a great eater and I am very lucky and I want to take advantage of the fact that there are very few foods that she turns away from (scrambled eggs).; although, she does have her favorites (sweet potato chunks, avocados). I recognize that her palette is only limited by me. And while I definitely don't want to introduce her to convenient or junk foods, I do want to expand her repertoire without making myself crazy.

Unfortunately, it isn't really feasible for LP to eat dinner at the same time as the Hoos and me. We just eat dinner too late for the little munchkin. Not that she doesn't end up sitting at the table with us and end up eating more of my dinner than I do, but ideally she will get the bulk of her dinner before the Hoos even gets home.

She usually ends up eating the leftovers from our previous night's dinner. For example, last night LP had leftover turkey meatloaf, half of a baked sweet potato cut into finger sized chunks and some corn. The Hoos and I had corn on the cob Monday night and I figured I could just cut the kernels off and give them to LP to round out her meal. Here is what ended up happening:Doesn't every 11 month old with four teeth eat corn on the cob?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Flashback: May 1st a Century (or So) Ago

In 2001, the Hoos and I spent May 1 in Paris. Most of the city was closed down, apparently it is a holiday, but I distinctly remember walking around some parks and spending some time at a fountain watching a mama duck and her line of ducklings practice swimming and begging tourists for crumbs. Ah, how times have changed...

This first day of May:
  • This morning there was no traipsing through Paris with my gorgeous young boyfriend, pan au chocolat in hand; rather, I walked through the parking lot at my office, breast pump over one shoulder, laptop over the other. (The Hoos is still quite attractive and young, though).
  • At the end of the day, instead of being greeted by various staff at the glorious George V with a "Bonsoir, mademoiselle!" I receive a distinctive "hehehe" giggle when I open the door to LP's classroom.
  • Instead of dinner on the Seine, complete with a cheese plate and heavenly baguettes, the meal will be prepared by one of the finest chefs in Norwalk (that would be me) and consumed with a view of whatever is showing on the Discovery Channel.
  • The best part - in 2007, I am the mama duck.