Babies

What We Mean When We Say Enjoy Every Second

If one were ever inclined to purposefully turn a barely sane mother-on-the-verge into a tornado of rage, they must only utter the words, “Enjoy every second.”

This message is treasured by experienced mothers as if it were a cure-all salve made from unicorn tears. When delivered, it often comes with a knowing smile, and gentle pat on the arm. “Enjoy every second, dear,” says the Grandma at Target while your kid is standing in the checkout isle, pants around their ankles, screaming because you won’t buy them a bottle of rainbow vodka, and the Richard Simmons workout DVD they are white-knuckle clutching in their angry little fist.

Having someone tell me to enjoy every second used to make me want to Hulk-out. It is literally impossible to enjoy every second, and on that merit alone, it’s a dumb thing to say. So much of parenting is tedious and tiring and frustrating and NOT enjoyable in any way shape or form, and anyone who puts that kind of unrealistic pressure on me is obviously clinically insane, and is instantly discredited.

Or at least, that’s how I used to feel.

And then I had a second kid.

Holy time warp, Batman.

Getting my daughter from birth to two and a half, when her brother was born, felt like an eternity. Actually it felt like five or six eternities, because every step was foreign. Every move was questioned, every decision scruitinized. Every cry she let out (and there were a whole metric shit ton of them), was agonized over because I never knew how to handle them, nor could I ever pin point the cause of them.

Having someone casually suggest I enjoy ANY second of that made me want to throat punch them.

But since the birth of her brother, it’s all I can do to NOT focus on these fleeting seconds.

Since his birth almost 10 months ago, not only has he nearly turned into a toddler, but my daughter is now a little girl. Her body is long and lean, and capable of carrying her own things. Her brain is quick and sharp, constantly suprising me with how much she knows. There is not one ounce of baby left in her, and only the teeniest bit of toddler lingering in her graceful movements and wild laughter.

Seeing this makes me acutely aware of how quickly these 10 months have gone. It makes it easier to sit and stare, while my son naps in my lap, trying to etch every lash, every wrinkle, every puff of tiny baby breath into my brain, because I know in another blink of an eye, he will be a boy.

Knowing this, and watching it all happen with lightening speed, I now understand why strangers tell you to enjoy every second.

Parenting is hard, and parenting tiny humans, especially in the beginning, is dock-a-spaceship-on-a-satellite hard (that’s probably a thing, right?). Even if your focus isn’t on “perfection” merely surviving early parenthood is hard enough. Babies, it turns out, are assholes a lot of the time! Spouses can be super freaking annoying about alllllll kinds of things when you’re learning how to parent together. Parents and in laws can cross every boundary you can think of (well, maybe not every one), and make you want to rip out whatever hair hasn’t already fallen out. Work! Pets! That rabbit turd of a man Trump!

All of this is normal (except Trump), and all of this is hard. But all of this serves as a distraction from the magic that is seeing your baby turn into a human in just a few short months.

Of course if the old woman in the checkout line could corner you for 15 minutes, and your half-naked toddler would stop screaming about the Richard Simmons workout DVD so that you could actually hear her quiet wisdom, she’d tell you all of this. But she only has one second of your attention, which is why she condenses it down to three words.

Enjoy every second. Because damn, does it go by fast.

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10 Thoughts of A Mom Trapped Under A Sleeping Baby

Oh, you sweet little snoodle, you woke up! That wasn’t a long enough nap, I’ll hold you and you can go back to sleep.

Look at your sweet little sleeping face. Your puffy little lips, your dark eyelashes. OOOH I could just SMUSH you! I could smush you with kisses. One tiny little kiss on your tiny little lips won’t… GEESH! It was a tiny kiss, it’s not like I bit you. Easy now, easy, just go back to sleep.IMG_4427

Holy crap, you have a lot of earwax. Like, a ton of it. How have I never noticed this before? How embarrassing! I’m just going to gently wipe it… NEVER MIND! Okay, okay, shush shush, I won’t touch you again. Just go back to sleep.

Oh little poodle pie, such sweet little breaths. In and out, in and out. I can almost smell your baby breath. But I can’t. And now I want to. Maybe if I just lift you a tiny bit… OKAY, okay, okay, I won’t move. Just go back to sleep.

My tiny baby, your hard little head nestled into my elbow. Your head is sweaty. My elbow is sweaty. That can’t be comfortable for you. You are probably going to get sweat in your eye. Let me just adjust my arm… ALRIIIIIIIIIIGHT, I won’t. Just quit squirming and go back to sleep.

Oh my love of loves, look at your little fat feet. Tiny toes, with even tinier nails… tiny nails that are jagged and horrible. You look like a baby Ogre. A cute baby Ogre, but still, I should cut those. I wonder if they are sharp? I’m just going to feel… HEY NOW! I’m just looking! I barely even touched them. Close your eyes, just go to sleep.

Sweet baby, your little body is so round. It’s so round and so heavy for 13 pounds. Like, maybe you’re actually 33 pounds, because I’m starting to lose feeling in my arm. Scratch that, my arm is numb, and is limply hanging from the left side of my body. I can’t feel my hand, and I’m starting to panic. Let me just scoot…. SIMMER DOWN NOW, I’m just scooting. A girl has needs, like oxygenated blood flow to her non-dominate, but equally as important, limb! Now try to relax, and go to sleep.

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Little turkey, with your downy baby hair, like a head covered in tiny black feathers. You look like a bird. Like a turkey. Like a baby turkey, except bigger, like a turkey that is socially acceptable to eat. Oh man, I’m hungry. I want Thanksgiving to be here again. I could eat a whole turkey. Maybe I could just slide you into your bed, and make a turkey sandwich to hold me over. I’m just going to slowly… OH FOR THE LOVE, okay, I get it. I can’t move. I won’t move. You just go back to sleep.
Oh you wee little monster, you are so warm. It’s funny that we are the same species, because you feel at least 10 degrees hotter than me. Especially on my stomach, which, now that I’m thinking about it, feels weirdly hot. And wet. Because you peed on me. You peed in your sleep, and now we are both covered in urine. Fantastic. Let me just tuck this rag between… GIVE ME A BREAK, WILL YA?! You peed on me! Okay, alright, okay, shush shush, it’s okay, you just close your eyes.

My snuggly little muffin maker. Sitting here with you makes me so tired. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and catch a few zzz’s myself. Yes, I’m so drowsy. This feels good. It’s so dark, and quiet, yes, sleep. I will… And now you’re awake. Naturally


image credits: Simmer meme, sleeping baby belongs to HMDHM, nightmare 

(Don’t) Give Me All The Drugs: Part 2.0

For those of you who have been following me for a while (hi, mom), you may know that I wrote about the birth of my first kid. If you didn’t read that post, let me sum it up for you: I went into labor and 41 hours, a bunch of drugs, and a few pushes later, our daughter arrived.

In 41 hours, someone could fly from LA to Nairobi, a whopping 9,653 miles. It’s a stupidly long time to be miserable.

But it wasn’t all bad, because drugs. Never having been a doer of drugs, my experiences with them were next to zero, so little did I know what magical effects they can have until 30 hours into my ordeal, when I got my first dose of morphine, and then an epidural. I ate the most delicious pudding I’ve ever had, took a nap, and woke up and had a baby. It was nothing short of amazing.

This positive drug experience gave me a sense of confidence about the birth of Baby 2.0, because I knew what the drugs were like, and I wasn’t afraid to use them.

Fast-forward to a Saturday morning in February.

The night before I had felt a little funny, but woke up on Saturday still pregnant. It was mid-way through my pre-natal yoga class -somewhere between Warrior pose and the push-ups- that I started to notice I was having regular contractions. I finished my class, drove home, and called the grandparents to let them know they needed to come pick up our daughter.

In the hour between establishing I was in labor, to when they arrived to pick her up, my contractions went from once every 15 minutes, to once every 6 minutes. Things were going fast, and as soon as they got to the house, we raced out the door to the hospital.

Driving through the hilly city, when we finally got close enough to see the valley where our hospital was located, we were greeted by an arching rainbow that appeared to end on the roof of our destination. It seemed like an omen that things would be okay, and for the most part, they were.

I labored for a while without anything, but then out of nowhere was blindsided by an anxiety attack. I went from breathing through my contractions, to screaming for someone to cut my sports bra off because suddenly I couldn’t breathe. My mind raced, my body shook, and I felt the room closing in on me. I felt completely out of control, and totally lost my confidence. Tears streamed down my face as I begged for something to make it all stop.

After receiving a dose of Fentanyl, I was able to labor a little longer until another round of anxiety hit, and we decided to proceed with the epidural. With my first epidural, I received it, and pretty much immediately fell asleep. With my second, I laid in bed and panicked.

Anxiety absolutely overcame me, and I found myself unable to do anything but worry. The epidural had taken to one side more than the other, making me feel off-balance. More bothersome, I continued to feel as though I couldn’t breathe, but found wearing the oxygen mask to be unbearable because of an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia.

For hours I laid in bed, trying to gather my thoughts as my mind raced. With each visit from the midwife, I became more and more depressed because the baby had turned, and my labor had stalled. I felt incredibly hopeless and helpless, and stupid for being so naive about the downsides to the drugs that had served me so well my first time around.

Things took a turn for the better when my nurse, after listening to me complain about not being able to breathe for hours, finally discovered that my epidural was creeping up, and at that point, was just below (or at) my diaphragm. After it was turned down, things progressed quickly, and the little man made his first appearance shortly after.

I’m sharing this story for two reasons.

First, to reiterate an important point: Every birth is different. From the duration, to the way your body reacts to the drugs, and everything in between, labors can vary wildly. I knew this, in theory, but didn’t grasp the idea fully until laying in bed feeling betrayed by my friend, Drugs. I’m not trying to scare people away from doing them. Given the opportunity, I would probably opt for them again. But this time, I would be mentally prepared to know that my experience with them could be very different.

Second, anxiety during and immediately following labor is pretty common. Since bringing Baby 2.0 home, it’s reared its ugly head a handful of times but thankfully as time goes on (and sleep improves), I’m finding the intensity of the attacks to be lesser and lesser. I mention this only because prior to my own experience, I didn’t know how common something like this is, and as always, just want other people out there to know they aren’t alone, and urge them to tell their doctor if they feel something isn’t right.

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World, meet Baby 2.0

 

The Ten Stages of Accepting Your Post-Baby Body

Having a baby is hard. Getting rid of the evidence (the baby weight, not the baby) is even harder. Two months into it, and I’ve officially arrived at the 10th stage. Hit me up if you want to raid the clearance racks at Old Navy for some seasonal muumuus.

Stage 1: I’m Hot Shit

You’ve just had the baby, and depending on how long your labor was, gone from bloated whale to (relatively) svelte mermaid over the course of a few hours. You’re only a few days into your postpartum journey, but you are digging your new NOT pregnant body, and riding the hormonal high (or swimming through sleep deprivation induced delusions) of how skinny you are…comparatively.

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This is my ‘I’m hot shit’ face.

Stage 2: I’m A Walking Talking Milk Machine Who Will Be In Skinny Jeans In No Time

Weight is pouring off of you. You’re a couple of weeks in, and you feel like every day you lose five pounds. You’re eating more than you’ve ever eaten, but you need it because you’re feeding a baby every 2 hours around the clock.

Stage 3: Sayonara, Maternity Jeans, Hello Pre-Pregnancy…Wait, What The Fuck?

Weight loss is slower, but you’re pretty sure your pre-pregnancy pants will fit. Until you try them on, that is. Then it becomes painfully obvious (literally painful, if you try to button anything) you still have quite a ways to go before your can rock your pre-preggo pantalones once again. But no matter, you just had the baby a few weeks ago. You laugh at yourself for being so silly as you slide back into your maternity jeans, relishing the comfort of the nylon expandable waist, while you finish the box of girl scout cookies.

Stage 4: Your 6 Week Post-natal Check-Up, AKA The First Time You Get Weighed And Fall Into A Deep Depression

You’re feeling good. You can’t wait to get to the doctor’s office and jump on that scale just so your nurse can say, “Damn, girl! You look amazing! I can’t believe you are back to your pre-pregnancy weight, minus five pounds.” But instead you’re blindsided with the news that you have only lost eight pounds, seven of which are accounted for by the baby. This explains why your clothes don’t fit, but is confusing because isn’t the weight supposed to be melting off? When does that start? Should you be wearing more clothes so you are hotter so the weight melts off? What do people actually mean when they say the weight will melt right off? Like, off your body? Not just melt down your torso into your thighs, right?

Stage 5: Damn You Baby Weight, I Will Squeeze You Into Submission

The weight isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, so you decide you will break its will to stay by hurting it. You pack up your maternity clothes, scornfully glaring at their elastic waists, and squeeze your body into your pre-pregnancy clothes. It doesn’t feel good, and if you’re being honest, it doesn’t look that good, but fuck it. Muffin top (or mountain top if you’re like me) be damned, you’re doing this thing.

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At least my muffin top makes me smell like a bakery.

Stage 6: OH MY GOD I CAN’T WEAR CLOTHES ANYMORE

This can happen anywhere from 3 minutes after stage 5 concludes, to anytime you are under pressure, hot, annoyed, moving, breathing or otherwise being alive. Clothes will be removed with haste, but the impressions stamped into your soft flesh from the seams, buttons and zippers will remain as a reminder that your clothes don’t fit. You will lounge around in your skivvies, pondering your options, and dreading doing anything that will require you to get re-dressed.

Stage 7: Two words: Yoga. Pants.

Bless whoever invented yoga pants, for no matter how much you thought you’d never be yoga pants mom, here you are. And you know what? It feels so good.

Stage 8: Sayonara, Yoga Pants, Hello Pre-Pregnancy…Wait, WHAT THE FUCK?!

It’s been months. You had a salad for dinner last night. You’ve been working out, sort of. But more than all of these things, you’ve been sustaining a growing human with food your own body is producing FOR MONTHS, and your goddamn clothes still don’t fit. You hate your clothes, and seriously contemplate burning them in the alley next to the old mattress that someone spray painted a giant green weiner on.

Stage 9: Deep Muffin-Top Induced Depression

You are tired of wearing yoga pants. Your jeans make you feel like your legs are being eaten by anacondas. Your husband may or may not find you standing in front of your closet, tears in your eyes, as you do your own sad version of the Truffle Shuffle while trying to remove the super saucy tank top that is suffocating your mid-section. All seems lost. You face plant hard into rock bottom.

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GET…THIS…OFF…OF…ME!

Stage 10: Time To Buy New Clothes

You wake up one day realizing this weight took 10 months to get on, and will maybe even take 10 months (or more) to come off. Angels sing as you come to terms with your new size, and subsequently cancel your appointment with the banker to take out a second mortgage to pay for lipo. You don your yoga pants, just once more, and proudly go pick up a few things in a size you’d never thought you’d wear. But damn, you look good. And more importantly, you, and your muffin top, are comfortable and happy.

Dear Brain: Thanks, But You’re Not The Boss Of Us

Dear Brain,

Ovaries here! You will be happy to know we received your cease and desist notice. We must say, it felt good to be acknowledged by you, even if at times you came off a little snippy about our contributions, as well as notably edgy with your comparisons. Flesh raisins? Has it ever occurred to you, with your oblong shape and abundance of crevices and folds, that you look like a large gray testicle? Moving on.

After much thought we felt it only fair for us to share our side of the story, before we retreat into the abyss of the lower abdomen, and silently watch as our supply of genetic gold is quite literally flushed down the toilet.

First of all, let us ask you a question. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Being ovaries, we are biased to believe it was the egg, which leads us to think perhaps you have taken on the role of master of this ship without merit. Now, this isn’t to say you aren’t important or without talents. We applaud you and your fine ability to quote every line from Ace Ventura, Twister and Jurassic Park, though we are unsure if all the time you spent -or spend- watching these movies couldn’t have been spent on better subjects. Like math, or say, following a basic recipe.

But onto more serious matters.

Your strong feelings about not reproducing further are both hasty and ill-timed. It comes as no surprise you and the body felt that way while nearly 10 months pregnant. Being pregnant sucks! But banning babies while pregnant seems a bit like a conflict of interest, no?

Look, we are going to be honest with you: The Nose is a liar. Sure, sure, it claimed it wouldn’t participate in any baby sniffing, but we know we aren’t alone in noticing how at every opportunity The Nose is breathing in the sweet sweet smell of baby breath. The Ears report that each time this happens, something charming, yet inherently stupid, flies out of The Mouth about how the baby smells like cupcakes, sunshine, and love. We both know once Baby 2.0 no longer smells like a combination of deserts, weather, and emotions, The Nose will lead The Body on a wild goose chase to find other babies to sniff, turning The Body into some kind of out of control baby-huffing human Bloodhound. We feel it is pertinent to point out this might actually get the body arrested, which would affect all of us.

The Nose isn’t the only problem. The Hands and Arms have both made it clear that nothing makes them happier than holding both of the offspring, though enjoyment is particularly high with the newborn. Cradling little Baby 2.0, feeling the warmth of his tiny squishy body, while The Fingers trace the cowlick on his tiny perfect head – this is hard, nay, impossible to beat. The Eyes, as if you haven’t noticed, can barely look away from his big brown peepers, and have been quoted daily stating “Eye can’t even HANDLE how tiny he is!” And The Heart? Exploding. With. Love. It’s equal parts admirable and scary, as there are only so many heart palpitations someone should have before contacting a cardiologist.

But you’re not alone in your quest for a Baby-Free future. The Bellybutton is absolutely devastated about her new look. We’ve tried to raise her spirits by telling her she doesn’t really look like the butthole of the neighborhood feral cat, but then again, we’ve never been good at lying. Similarly, The Uterus is on your side, and wants absolutely nothing to do with housing another child ever again. But she’s always had a flare for the dramatic, so we don’t feel her vote should be counted until we can be certain she’s not making a decision based off emotions.

We know receiving this letter will upset you, but before you direct The Mouth to start stress-eating dry cereal while you wait on hold to find out if insurance will cover an oophorectomy, hear this: We don’t want another baby either. At least not right now, and maybe never. But if you could stop being such a dick about enforcing your will, at least while we all come to terms with this *probably* being our last baby, that would great.

In the words of your good pal, Ace Ventura, we will sign off this letter with a mighty Alllllrighty then! We hope we are on the same page.

Best,

The Ovaries

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Now who’s ovary acting?


This post has been written in response to a post I wrote a few months ago, from my brain to my ovaries, requiring them to go into retirement. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already! You can find it here.

 

Greeting Cards For People Who Aren’t Baby People

Babies. Small, helpless, squishy, probably pooping. Upon laying eyes on a newborn, some people absolutely melt. They look past the weird shaped head, the peeling skin, the explosive farts and the projectile milk puke, and turn into puddles of love, cooing and baby-talking the afternoon away. But others? Well others don’t see past it, which I totally get, because let’s be honest, babies are weird.

Regardless of your reaction, upon learning of the arrival of yet another member of the human race, friends and family are often tasked with selecting the perfect card to congratulate the mother and father on successfully spawning. The isles of your local drug store are filled with flowery designs, in perfect pink and baby blue, bubbling with joyful wishes and sappy sentiments. This is all well and good if A) You like babies, or B) Have recently had a lobotomy.

But we all know this is bullshit.

There is nothing glamorous about new babies, or new parents. This isn’t to say there aren’t lovely things about your new life, but these lovely things are only lovely to the people who you share genes with. Never has this been more apparent than over the last two weeks when welcoming visitors into my dirty house, while wearing dirty pajamas, with dirty hair and leaky boobs.

In order to ease the burden of selecting a card that truly represents what you’d like to say, I have taken the liberty of creating a series of cards I feel would more accurately sum up the sentiments of our recent visitors.

1.boobs leaking

2.eye circles

3.showers

4.stork

5.boobs

6.spawning

7.cup


 

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Days Like This

Oh sweet baby Jesus. I forgot how hard this is.

Anyone who has had a baby will be quick to tell you how hard it is in the beginning, but much like the pains of labor fade (and they do, trust me, you DO NOT remember how shitty that part is), you don’t actually remember how hard it is until you’re in the thick of it.

But I’m here now, and I’m going to tell you, it is hard.

Your body hurts in ways you didn’t even know it could. Your brain is absolute mush. You are more tired than you’ve ever been. And on top of it, you are basically trying to solve a human Rubik’s cube with a very loud alarm that tells you over and over you are doing it wrong.

Even if you’ve already done this before, it’s all new again. Everything is different. Things that worked for your other babies doesn’t work. Or you’ve just forgotten (damn you Moby for making me relearn how to do fabric origami with a 15 foot piece of cloth on no sleep!). Or maybe some things are even easier. But regardless, everything is different.

Well everything except one thing: This is hard.

But here’s the thing. Some days the hard will be too much, or at least it will feel like too much. Some days the tears will outnumber the smiles. Some days all you will do is sit in dirty pajamas and nurse, shush and rock your way from sunrise to sunset, while your messy house, greasy hair, and smelly breath taunt you.

Other days, though, you will get up and get out and feel alive again.

Now there’s no balance to these days, and it may feel like the scales are heavily tipped in the wrong direction. But eventually it will even out, and even further down the line, the scales will tip the other way.

So from one mama in the trenches to any one else out there, sitting in dirty pajamas dreaming of a shower, a cinnamon roll, and about 97 hours of consecutive sleep, I am here to remind you that we will get through this part, too.

And in the mean time, I will be available for Twitter chat or Facebook messenger tonight, and every night for the foreseeable future from the hours of 10:30pm to 1am, when I hand our newest Rubik’s cube over to his daddy with strict instructions to not wake me unless the house is on fire.

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