The Headband-as-Belt Scenario

I had to catalog this moment, and fast.

Tonight, we were invited to my Grandma’s for a cocktail party (which has happened every Thursday night among their group of friends for as long as I can remember). So, Elle wore a pretty-pretty dress and Jon and I got dressed up a little bit, too.

Elle and her dress were the hit of the party (pics later) and then I had a meeting of a new group I’m a part of that I wanted to get to. I dropped Jon and Elle off at home and Jon was going to put Elle in jammies and I’d be back in an hour.

I got home and Jon was finishing up giving Elle a bottle downstairs…I changed through some loads of laundry, put some clothes away, changed into comfies of my own and by that time, Elle was through with her cat nap and ready to hang out with her Mumma (me).

Jon had her in a funnier-than-hell t-shirt that I got (the Daddy-proof onesie…the one we have is black with white writing). And then she was in a sleep sack-looking contraption in a light green that I knew was in the drawer but hadn’t ever put her in.

So, I decide to put her in something that looks warmer, because for some reason, Jon doesn’t have her arms in the light green thing. Turns out, the light green thing doesn’t have arms to it. Ok, weird. I opt for a Carter’s fleece sleep sack thing with sleeves (and a monkey princess on it).

Cute, warm, functional.

I go to take the light green Gold Bug swaddler off her…(here’s a picture of the thing for reference- right, now the no-arms thing makes more sense, doesn’t it?)…

So, I go to take the thing off her…and realize that her arms aren’t ‘in’ because there are no arm holes. So, I try to put the hood thing over her head. Waaaaaayyyy too big for her head and it’s practically over her face.

Ok, nice.

But the best is yet to come.

I go to un-swaddle this bizarre contraption and lo-and-behold, Jon has fashioned a belt out of a pink hairband around Elle’s waist to hold the GoldBug closed. Evidently he missed the velcro or, if he didn’t, decided it wasn’t going to stay put as-is.  I – quite literally – laughed out loud at the sight of it all.

The “Daddy-proof” onesie…which, it was. But paired with the Gold Bug and the headband/belt around her waist, it was just too much.

I wanted to be pissed about the fact that one of her headbands was stretched out, but whatever the cost of that belly-laugh I had, all by myself with Elle, on the floor of her bedroom…the cost of that headband-as-belt was totally worth it.

I hope I’ve related this story well enough that you laughed out loud…because it was too funny not to share.

…and to all a good night.

L

 

Dear Elle: You’re Two Months Old

Dear Elle,

Today, you are two months old and let me begin by admitting that I did NOT bake you a cake.

Sorry.

I’ve been able to spend the last two months with you and find more of myself than I knew existed. I feel more like myself as your Mom than I knew I could (for all the sense that makes). I guess, I found myself…or you found me…either way, I’m so very fulfilled with all the things going in our lives these days.

You love to fall asleep with someone holding you…and we’ve spoiled you a little bit. I’m okay with that. I keep saying that we like you spoiled, so long as you’re not rotten. And I’ll stick by that. There’s a fine line there, and I intend to toe that line and may live to regret it, but you’re just too much fun and too cool not to spoil you!

You have discovered your very own HANDS in the last week or so and you are absolutely fascinated by them. I wonder about what the commentary would be if you could share it. I figure it rocks your world that you have determined those hands are attached to YOU!

You are a snacky eater and a cat-napper. You seem to always sleep with your eyes cracked a little bit, not wanting to miss a thing. You fool your Dad and I into thinking your asleep, and then suddenly, you’re bright-eyed and ready to play.

Speaking of playing, you love your little activity mat and the things that twirl above your head. The mobile on your crib is another favorite.  Mostly, you like to lay on the changing pad on your dresser and stare up at the Picasso Peace Dove. I call him your PeaceLove Dove and he’s one of your favorite things.

You are also very much enjoying all the Christmas decoration up around the house. Your Dad does a fabulous job of making sure you get your fill of seeing them every day.

And speaking of your Dad, he’s great. He’s so much more in love with you than I would have ever thought possible. He thinks you’re cool. He is the one that trims your nails…he’s never shied away from a diaper and he seems so content with you. Fills me up, seeing that.

The threat of my return to work has me contemplating what that will be like for us and makes me pretty sad. I have to say, I wish I didn’t have to. I wish there were a way to give you all the things that spoil you without having to have a job…just get the paycheck.

However, it turns out that millions of people have applied for that job, so I’m pretty far down on the waiting list.

Anyway, this letter is about you and your two month birthday.

You have friends – Drew and Nolan who you see most often, but you went to Gina’s (Grandma Wendy’s friend Karen’s daughter) baby shower with me and Grandma and her girlfriends last weekend. You’ve got your Florida friends and school friends who you’ll meet (too) soon. And we have big plans through the rest of the holidays where you’ll see more and more family. You’re the center of everything.

You are an amazingly good baby. You cry if you have a wet diaper or a little burp in your belly, but that’s it. You get a little fussy when you’re hungry, but you’re a snacky eater (like I said)…which is SO MUCH like your Dad (See, I’m more of a binge and regret it kind of eater). You like car rides and seem to really enjoy your car seat. You LOVE LOVE LOVE music — all kinds. I think all of that is because I spent so many thousands of miles driving in the car, listening to all sorts of music. That’s my theory at least. I’m sticking with it for now, unless you can tell me otherwise.

We’ve struggled with what to buy you for Christmas – you need absolutely nothing and you don’t seem to want for anything either. You’ve been spoiled already by all the people that love you. So, I’m giving you an empty box and I hope it’s a tradition I can continue.

I’ll explain it more in a different letter, but know that it’s something that’s important to me, that you know how important it is to be thankful and grateful and gracious and be spoiled, but not rotten. To feel fulfilled but do good with that feeling.

You are loved so over-the-top big that I can’t put it into words.

When you smile and laugh, it makes me smile and laugh…and overflow with little, salty tears at the bottoms of my eyes.

I knew that having you here, in our lives, that it would be awesome. I just didn’t know how that wouldn’t even begin to describe it.

I love you so much.

Love,

Mumma

Driving Away

Yesterday I paid the registration at day care and, as I was driving away, I got a little misty-eyed. And I didn’t have the baby with me, didn’t leave her at ‘school’ and don’t have to face that down until January 9.

But I still cried a few tears.

And then, there I was tonight, putting Elle in bed (her bed, by the way, which is where she is currently resting peacefully. I’m listening on the monitor. Sometimes, she doesn’t go down this easy, but it was a big day for her at Aunt Jill’s house!).

Anyway, tonight I put her to bed and was sitting on the floor next to her bed, staring at her through the slats in her crib (yup, I do that some nights) and it hit me (once again) how amazing she is, and how I know all her favorite things and how she likes to be held to fall asleep.

And I know that that doesn’t end just because she’s going to school three days a week…but, well…wait. Do I know that?

So, I cried again staring through the slats in the crib.

And I’m doing it again now.

What. The. Hell.

I’m struggling with – I need to be a strong, feminine, smart role model for my daughter so that she, too, will be all those things and more. And yet, how can I be that role model and IMPART the importance of that to her, when she’s with OTHER PEOPLE all day long?!

When I got to Aunt Jill’s today to pick Elle up, she was crabby. As I drove home, I realized that I saw her in the morning, got her ready to go, headed out the door, dropped her off, and then did what I had planned for the day. I picked her up in the afternoon, and headed home.

On the drive, it struck me that when we got home, she would be ready for a bath and a bottle and bed. And I realized that my life will soon be a string of days like that, when I see my baby girl for all of an hour or two each day before she sleeps again.

So, I relished bath time and dragged it out awhile longer. I took a longer time drying her off and rubbing some smell-good into her feet.

And then, I held her and fed her and rocked her good night.

So now, I have time for me. But I don’t want it right now, not when I missed a whole DAY of her little life.

In some ways, having the time off at the holidays has been great. It has allowed me to do all the things that I want to do and get ready for the holidays without the stress of having to worry about work…but yet, I feel like we’re overwhelmed with holiday plans (which I made, keep in mind, before I had this epiphany hit me in the last two days) and as a result I’m sacrificing my one-on-one time with my girl.

So, tomorrow, it’s all day.

And I’m already in my head thinking about all the ways I can spend Saturday with her without the distractions of other ‘stuff’.

This is what having a Baby Brain (hence, the blog title) does to a woman. Driving away on a random Tuesday afternoon in tears, the mere thought of getting left behind by the details of my daughter’s life choking me.

My Body (After Baby) Image Issues

I have never felt as bad about my body as I do this month. It’s the holiday season — the time for taking pictures to catalog life — and I am body-after-baby blues’ing.

I don’t know why it’s hit me so hard, not like I didn’t know it was coming.

There’s this tire around my mid-section.

I used to have a waist, which exists only in my mind, in the mirror after I exit the shower, which is when I concentrate on the part of my body that I think could be skinny(ish) — my waist — and not is next-door neighbor…my upper thighs, my abdominal section.

Again, I knew this was coming.

It’s just shocking how there’s truly not much you can do to prevent it.

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One example of trying to hide the body I don't feel good about under clothes, somehow. I feel like the "What Not To Wear" folks would have good advice for me at this point.

Maybe the early-on breastfeeding helped to prevent this feeling at first, or maybe I was just so overwhelmed with motherhood that I didn’t notice how bad my body was. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m medically cleared (whew) to resume sexual activity with my man.Which means, at some point in the future, Jon’s going to see me fully naked again, with a body-after-baby and knowing what happens when a man and a woman, you know. Have sex. You know, pushing a seven pound, five ounce human out of your girl bits…? Yeah…so feeling good about my body or as a sexual being are, well, out the window. 

And of course, Jon knows the right thing to say.

Of course.

When I comment “I’ve never felt so bad about my body as I do these days” his reply is a simple shrug of the shoulders and popping another Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza with extra cheese – that I purchased at the grocery store for him – into the oven. You’re welcome. Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to avoid the carbs while you eat that delectable french bread pizza slice.

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I mean, doesn't my chin connect directly to earlobes...or is it just me? Taken tonight before heading to the Rotary Christmas dinner. Maybe I need a new hair do.

And why do I suddenly have absolutely NO self control? Like, I can stay up late (as I am tonight) to ensure I post to my blog (which is important to me) and to pack Elle’s bag for her mini-vacation to Aunt Jill’s for the day tomorrow, but I can’t seem to avoid a sweet treat or a second helping of Zehnder’s noodles.

My butt is filling out a pair of pants like never before, my ankles are thicker than I recall them being able to get. They were skinnier than this at my fattest day pregnant. And yet, my body feels beyond my control. Is it a membership to the YMCA 12 miles away that does it, that pushes me over the edge  back toward regular sizes? Is it the MAAC down the road? Is it working out on my own?? Or is it a slow death into the aisles of Lane Bryant, feeling awful trying on pants at Old Navy AND Ann Taylor?

I was thinking that an October baby was the way to go…the only problem with that is that two weeks shy of returning to work (and the clothes wardrobe that goes with it) I have to battle 18 Christmas parties, cocktails that I haven’t been able to indulge in in over nine months, and catching up with people and meeting new people as I’ve joined all these community organizations during my maternity leave.

So – what to do?

Try harder?

Yes.

To not eat, to exercise more. to eat less, to not eat a sweet treat, to not  drink pop, to limit the amount of coffee I’m drinking each day, to try out those Green Shakes people keep raving about on stupid Facebook. Yes.

All of it.

I’m going to do all of it.

Tomorrow.

Daycare Dilemma

…let me begin by retracting the title of this post.

It’s not so much a dilemma. I’m really, really comfortable with the daycare we found. It’s owned by friends from high school and lots of people I know send their kids there.

With that said, as my time to return to work draws closer, I find myself wondering how I’ll feel driving away, even if I’m working at home. I look forward to working, to mental stimulation, to challenges beyond trying to keep the toilets clean and the garbage emptied (which have become my hell in my stay-at-home world lately). I’d be lying if I said that I don’t relish the thought of being able to stay home and spend my days with Elle and see what comes.

Unfortunately, there is not a paycheck that I can deposit at PNC that comes with that job. Soooo, back to work it is, in just another 3 1/2 weeks (ugh, gut punch).

However, as I find myself caring for Elle day to day, I wonder how it is that the 1-to-4 (one caregiver to four infants) ratio can work. I mean, I don’t know how you can give the proper attention to a baby when you are caring for three others at the same time. I am certain that mothers of multiples struggle with this too. But, I’m NOT one of those, so I’m really struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, I think daycare is a great invention. I think the socialization skills she’ll learn, the other children and families we’ll meet, will be invaluable both to her and to us. I think the relationships you build with your caregivers when you are small are terribly important. But, how will it be enough for ME (I know, it’s not really about ME, but…I want it to be enough for ME to feel comfortable with).

I struggle, too, with the fact that my job carries with it a significant amount of travel. I chose to move back to Michigan of my own accord, but I couldn’t possibly have a child on my own in Chicago, because I would never have any overnight care for her, so I couldn’t travel at all. That was my trade off. Well, that and my happiness and sanity, that I didn’t WANT to be living in Chicagoland.

Anyway, I was going to try really, really hard to find a job that was more my-life-friendly while I was on maternity leave. And I did, for a minute. And I had a few (totally crap) interviews. So, I don’t have a new job, I don’t know what my job will look like heading back into it. But, I don’t really have an alternative. I’ve created a lifestyle for myself that requires my paycheck to survive, so I closed the stay-at-home-mom door on myself.

That was dumb.

I THINK my employer and job may be flexible enough to allow me to maintain my sanity as Elle’s Mom while also giving to my job and employer what it needs…but who knows.

I just keep trying SO SO hard not to dwell on the pit in my stomach, in the dread that fills me at the thought of being away from Elle overnight for WORK…of missing something cool…of having to hear about what she did today OVER THE PHONE! Uck. Not cool.

So, anyway, my dread is getting the best of me right now. I want to cherish the next three weeks, the holidays and the time I do have left with my baby girl, Jon and our little idyllic solitude that we’ve fallen into the last few weeks.

I seriously think the U.S. has to find a way to be more like Europe in allowing mothers the time to spend with and raise their children…but that would require a healthcare system that wasn’t completely defunct and expensive.

I digress…but…I’m just pissed I have to go back to work and be away from my girl strictly for the paycheck.

Ugh.

I’m BAAaaaaacckk!

Ok, the computer took a big hit from some stupid “Security Defender” malware/spyware/virus thing and I’ve been without a legitimate computer for a week. That week has been an adventure in trying to get this computer back…but here I am, finally.

In the week I was gone, Elle turned eight weeks old (last Friday), the one year anniversary of my Grandpa Carpenter’s death arrived (yesterday) and Elle had her pictures taken with Santa (today), among other things.

I wish I had been better using the iPad to keep up, but I wasn’t. Now that I have my computer back, I’m hoping I’m baaaccck too and will do my best to keep up to date here, if for no other reason than I like being able to look back at what was going on in my life…

I’ve missed my little blogging world, it’s good to be back!

Does This Baby Poop Make My Cashmere Look Dirty?

Ok, really?

I felt like I was in a movie tonight.

Jon and I ordered pizza and salad and headed to Jon’s brother’s house to have dinner and drinks with him and Jen, his longtime girlfriend.

All in all, a pretty uneventful night. I drank some red wine, the rest drank beer, Elle had bottles. We were all pretty content.

Prior to heading to Rick & Jen’s, I had stopped at my Mom’s for a brief minute for some advice on handling a situation. While there, I changed Elle’s diaper and noticed evidence of a (for lack of a better term) ‘shart’ in her diaper. For those not in the know, this is a fart that has a little bit of poop that comes along with it…take the profanity term for poop, cross that with fart, and you’ve got ‘shart’.

Normally, Elle poops in blow out fashion every third day or so. And it’s always a fussiness production when it happens.

So why I didn’t see it coming when the shart presented itself, I’m just not sure.

Anyway, we were at Rick and Jen’s and Elle was being, well, a seven-week old baby girl. She was happy at times and fussy at times, but nothing extraordinary.

That is, until Jon handed her to me after sniffing at her bottom and saying “I think it’s more than a toot”.

So, I lay her on the blanket in the middle of the floor. I take off her pants. I undo the tabs on the Pampers diaper featuring Cookie Monster. And the explosion overwhelms me and I immediately press the diaper back closed.

Turns out, I wasn’t quick enough. It got on her inner thigh and on her belly. Great, now I’ll have to use more wipes.

Sweet.

I go to brush my hair back behind my ear and drag my hand across my shoulder – inadvertently.

And my finger drags a little slower than it ought to.

“NOOOOO!” I shriek.

I feel like I’m Katherine Heigl in that movie “Life as We Know It” when she walks down the stairs with poop on her face, only in this episode, I KNOW there is baby poop on my hand and, now, potentially in my hair.

Relief, my hair is safe.

What is perhaps worse…my purple cashmere sweater, the only cashmere that I own, that I happened to have worn tonight because it seemed like a warm thing to do…my purple cashmere sweater is now sporting a large poop streak across the left shoulder.

And the baby is crying and laughing, interchangably. Jon is sitting and watching over my shoulder, and Rick is commentating on how he’s really ok with the fact that he’s never changed a diaper.

It takes all my strength to NOT cry a little bit, but at least my blog post title began to form in my head, I suppose.

Elle is wonderful, she’s seven weeks old today. She laughs and coos and talks and even says her name in the most sing-songey way ever. When she’s happy, both fists ball up and end up tucked under her chin. Her neck is so, so strong and she loves to see what’s going on. She’s a cuddler, and would much rather sleep next to Mom and Dad than sleep all alone. She hates having a wet diaper. She loves things that twirl above her head, shadow and light, and being bounced around the house. And she love, love, loves her bouncy chair. Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed with the fact that she’s MINE that I feel my eyes overflowing. I’m so excited and optimistic about all the things that will come her way in life. I’m so glad to be parenting through this crazy whirlwind with Jon, and I’m so glad that of all the girls in the whole universe, we got her.

But tonight, my Google search field contains “removing feces stains from cashmere” so I’d say my life is a little less luxurious than it used to be.

Though, I suppose, I’m living my less-luxurious life in cashmere…even if it is covered in baby poo.