I Bought Bras

So, I haven’t had the energy to write much lately – with Jon out of town six out of seven days of the week (and when he’s home, it’s just a weird day for whatever reason) – I’m solo’ing this whole thing and it’s really different to do it on your own. Not like I don’t have a ton of help between my parents and Jon’s parents – but it’s still different (though it’s been five weeks now, so it’s starting to become the norm).

Anyway — I’ve been working in the yard and the pond a lot in advance of golf season beginning in earnest in May. I’ve made great progress, so I’m feeling pretty good about it all, actually.

And, I’ve been trying really, really hard to get my weight under control and my body back within comfortable (to me) boundaries. Which means I’ve been eating less, exerting myself more (some real exercise, some just working in the yard but never both ;). I have found myself often wearing yoga pants or workout pants and sweatshirts — which is my comfort mode for sure — but I also have been trying to get back to wearing – you know – real clothes, too.

So, this brings me to the title of this particular post – I bought bras.

I bought NICE bras that fit right. Crazy, right? It only took me six months to get back to a bra that fits me and does something for my otherwise flimsy post- preggo boobies.

I went to Soma in the outlets near me and walked in and when a sales clerk looked at me I just said “I need help.” and she measured me, and got all the bras and tanks to try on with them, and I just tried on bras until we found the size that fits me right…which, for the record, here’s my bra history…

I was a 36C. As cataloged here, I bought – at one point during pregnancy – a 40DD. Yes, I did. It may have been overkill, but probably not. And now, I measure at a 38D. I landed right in the middle.

But, over the last six months, bra shopping and the required expenditure just didn’t make the top of the list. I would go to Target, look at a bra, go ‘ah, looks about right’ and come home, try it on, feel a bit uncomfortable or feel like my boobs were still a bit saggier than I’d like, but figure it was more difficult to take the bra back than to just deal with it.

Until last week.

I reached my breaking point, or the point at which I’m ready to claim back my body and execute control over it. Perhaps this is why my fitness/wellness crusade is going so well for the moment. Because I have taken back control and ownership of myself in meaningful ways – you know, like having a bra that fits.

Anyway, if anyone happens upon this post and you’re pregnant or you’ve just delivered…don’t wait six months to get back into a properly-fitting bra — it feels so, so good and I guess by controling my chest, I have been able to focus on the rest of my life a little more clearly!!

We Stayed Home

Last Wednesday (I know, I know — better late than never, though) I was to have been in Indianapolis. However, a Fireman’s Convention meant that I couldn’t find a hotel, which meant I couldn’t head out of town. So – I opted to take Wednesday off work at the last minute.

And — it. was. awesome.

Elle and I woke up at about 6:30 a.m., had some breakfast, hung out a bit, jumped, played toys. I checked some work email and did some work-related stuff and then just threw in the towel because I was having SO MUCH fun with my girl.

Took a gratuitous photo of the two of us because very few of them exist. This was the beginning of one of the best days I’ve had with her, ever. (I mean, of course every day is awesome-er than the next, of course…er…).

 

A little video for effect, if you’re in the mood (I can’t figure out how to do video embedding and I don’t feel like figuring it out tonight…so…there you go).

I don’t even know what all we did – we played toys, we had lunch with Andrea and Drew, we went for a long walk, we took lots of cuddly, warm quiet naps.

 

Drew fell asleep on our long walk -- with his head against the stroller. Tired boy.

All I know is that it was so super cool to spend a WHOLE DAY (not a weekend day, those are different. I don’t know why, but they just are.) with my girl. I mean, honestly, the last time that I felt like I spent all day with her – got the best parts of her throughout the day and had her on my schedule/her schedule/the right/best schedule – was when I was on maternity leave and I’ve been back to work now for nearly four months. Longer than I was on maternity leave. And it was so, so cool to have a day with no doctor’s appointments, no reason to get in the car. Simply spending time with my girl. I made a mental note to try to do that every so often because it felt SO good.

In other news…

I continue to work on the backyard. It’s coming together. Yesterday, Jon and I and Elle went for breakfast at our favorite local yocal spot (Elle slept the whole time!) and on the way back drove through his old neighborhood area. We saw a man grinding a tree stump, so we stopped and asked him when/how much to do the stump in our yard.

He said he’d be over in an hour and a half! Craziness!

So, while that was going on, I was re-working the rock border, hauling red lava rocks (seriously WHO thinks those are a good option? who?) out of the gardens and moving the wood chips into the one hosta garden bed adjacent to the patio.

Today, I managed to put down fertilizer and grass seed in the area that used to be the walkway. We’ll see if I can grow grass!

I also got the patio put back together, re-drained the pond (good news is, it holds water!) so I could work on it this week, and started trying to clean up the hoses, etc.

Jon was home Sunday from the nuclear plant where he’s working out of town six days a week and he got to spend quality time with our girl, and I got to get some serious yardening done.

Still have a Japanese Maple that needs to be cut back in a bad way – it’s impeding my view to the golf course from the upstairs living room – my Dad’s advice was ‘stand up’. Have several other trees that need trimming, have a host of red rocks and orange brick that need to be hauled away and I need to manage to remember to ask someone to water my grass seed while I’m out of town the next two days.

Seriously – yardening is a LOT of work. I’m tired of it just typing it.

But it’ll be so worth it when it’s all said and done.

Anywho – just wanted to remember how great it was, that one day, to stay home with NOTHING to do, and spend it with my girl.

To all a good night…

L

 

Hemangioma

I have avoided writing about the hemangioma here, because it was a sensitive topic (not for the reasons you’re thinking) for awhile, so I just left it alone.

However, I want to write about my experience now, in the event some other Mom or Dad is interested in how to go about/what to expect if their child were to have a hemangioma – especially in a noticeable place like your child’s forehead.

Here’s the synopsis:

Elle was born with this mark on her head. It looked like it would be a ‘stork bite’ or ‘strawberry mark’ or ‘angel kiss’. Whatever, a mark she had from birth.

It continued to grow over the first three months of her life. Shortly after she was three months old, even though our pediatrician said ‘oh, it’s fine, she’s perfect’ (which, by the by, is why we no longer visit that pediatrician’s office) it continued to grow and was pushing on her eye and making her look – quite bluntly – on her way to becoming a cyclops with only one eye open.

Whatever.

But, then I began second guessing myself. My friend Kathleen’s daughter also had hemangioma and Kathleen had been gently nudging me to see the specialist that she and her husband had FINALLY managed to get to after a similar ‘don’t worry, she’s fine’ approach from multiple pediatrician’s.

Ultimately, the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was when I asked my Uncle, Craig, for his opinion. He’s an interventional radiologist in Salt Lake and I wasn’t entirely sure if he’d have any advice. But, as I knew he would, he asked a friend of his who’s the head of pediatric dermatology at the University of Utah.

“Get on propranalol, if it’s anywhere near the eye, no reason not to,”

“What about side effects?” I inquired, as our pediatrician (the one we don’t go to anymore) had referenced.

“There really aren’t any,” I’m told. “Cardiologists prescribe this like it’s water – there are very few side effects.” (I have minced words here, so don’t take this as medical advice).

So, I make an appointment with Dr. Shwayder at Henry Ford in Detroit. It’s an hours drive, but he’s the guy when it comes to this. The best. You look at his resume — undergrad at Harvard, residency in pediatrics at University of Michigan. Yup – I’m good with his education.

Anyway, we go for our first appointment and this specialist – who is the best, I wish all doctors were like this – reviewed Elle’s hemangioma, pulled up the New England Journal of Medicine on the computer in the evaluation room and showed us the research on using propranalol, and the effects on the child in the study who they had photos of – it was amazing.

He then ripped off a piece of paper and said “Here’s the plan.” which I loved.

#1: Don’t Panic.

#2: Send Elle to a pediatric eye specialist to ensure the hemangioma is not growing into her orbit/onto her eye ball.

IF so, then schedule an MRI to evaluate.

#3: Begin propranalol at half dosage = 0.5 mL per dose, three doses per day.

This photo was taken just five days prior to our initial visit with Dr. Shwayder:

It’s crazy to me to look back just three months ago at how much the look of her face was being affected by the hemangioma.It had also begun necrosing – breaking down – in the middle, which is what that purple spot in the center is.

We went to the pediatric eye doctor – good news, it was not growing into her orbit or affecting the growth of her eye in any way. They dilated her eyes and everything, and it was all good. Relief!

We begin the propranalol, and here’s what it looked like one month later:

Her eye was opening back up and the hemangioma itself was not nearly so angry-looking with all its blue veins running into itself, all the blood flowing directly to that area.

By five months (just one month ago) here’s another look:

Still quite red and with slight swelling (you can still see to the left of it, how it’s raised a little), her eye was even less affected and the swelling was nearly gone.

By six months, here’s a look:

No longer red and angry, this photo was taken after our third appointment with Dr. Shwayder. He increased the dosage from 0.5 mL to 1.0 mL three times per day and said that the progress (regression?) of the hemangioma was ahead of schedule.

All excellent news.

In short, we’re well on our way to the thing being very nearly gone. Increasing the dosage to 3/4 of a full dose over the 1/2  of a full dose has made an incredible difference.

If you happen to have stumbled on this post because your baby has a hemangioma somewhere — insist on a PEDIATRIC dermatologist (not the botox doctor) and get on the medicine if it makes sense for your child. For us, it means that Elle – who older toddlers already point to her eye and say “Boo Boo” – won’t have to contest the way she looks at school. We won’t have to wait for the birthmark on her face to go away on its own terms — by the time she’s one, there will probably be very little left of the mark itself.

I’ve struggled a bit, certainly, with giving in to some type of peer pressure/societal pressure to have a ‘pretty’ child or so that my child isn’t ‘different’. I want her to embrace all the ways that she is the same as AND different than people…but I wasn’t willing to let her eyesight be affected, let the way that people treated her as an infant be different. Already, I wonder if she’ll be proud of the fact that she had this as a baby — like a badge of honor — or if she’ll wish I hadn’t taken so many pictures of her with it (and then posted them incessantly on facebook).

I don’t know – those are my struggles to bear and I do that because the alternative is doing nothing — and if she had any other sort of condition, I’d be seeing a specialist about that, so I’m ok with our approach on this one.

People will make comments – just last weekend a guy said “wow, your baby really fell and hit her head, huh?” and I just said ‘no, it’s a birthmark’. You learn how truly insensitive some folks are — or how comfortable within their own skin they are to be able to state the obvious rather than just stare.

I’m most glad that we are allowing Elle’s personality to be the center of her existence — and it’s a delightful one at that — instead of constantly battling the ‘what’s that thing on her head?’ line of questioning.

Anyway — there’s our little hemangioma story. Heman. Gioma. Came to stay with Elle for awhile and now he’s on his way out. I encourage anyone struggling with seeking treatment to do it — totally, totally worth finding a great specialist and the best treatment.

 

 

Ahhhhh…That Feels Good

With a sleeping baby (hello “Sleep Pillow” iPhone app – white noise is the answer, at least for tonight) before 7:30 p.m. – in jammies, in her own bed – I opted to make myself a tasty dinner.

I’ve been really REALLY trying to watch what I eat – not just watch it flow past my lips and onto my thighs, but making smarter choices before that taste hits my lips. And, so far, I’ve been doing pretty darn good. The scale shows me down about 4-5 pounds depending on the time of day, so I feel pretty solid about that, too.

I made myself whole grain linguine (and just one portion, not my usual 18 1/2 for me and my thighs and mid-section) with shrimp scampi (got conned into that one on a Saturday sample-day at Sam’s Club), a Caesar salad with a few grilled chicken strips and some Italian dressing. And oh, there it is, in the shadow, in front of the books on the coffee table, a big glass of Red Wine.

I lit a candle.

I turned on the TV to PBS, to Antiques Roadshow. (helllooo guilty pleasure-normally I fall asleep to the first five minutes of it on the iPad in bed).

I sipped my wine, I twirled pasta on my fork.

I enjoyed that all the toys were put away, that there was a candle burning, that the dishwasher was running, that my baby was sleeping – SLEEPING! – and I was enjoying a relatively healthy meal in a NORMAL manner.

I even laid on the couch and for a split second thought ‘this must have been what I felt like BEFORE I had a baby’.

And, whatever you might think of me…

It.

Was.

Awesome.

I felt like I was firing on all cylinders today.

I spent some time thinking long and hard about a new approach to swim class. And, I found it in our trusty stroller.

I simply loaded up our swim bag, the stroller and Elle (ok, wrapped in a Snuggie, because I forgot a blanket – I lied about firing on all cylinders – maybe like 5 of 6 or something.

Anyway, Elle, the stroller, the swim bag and the Snuggie and I make our way into the Y.

I ask if there’s an elevator that goes to the women’s locker room (there’s got to be one, right) and the directions resemble something akin to pointing west and saying ‘GOLD!’. So, yeah, didn’t find the elevator and didn’t want to waste time, so I just picked up the stroller (yea for lightweight Baby Jogger strollers!) and walked down the two flights of stairs to the women’s locker room.

Not kidding.

And I wasn’t even winded. (Not exercising and watching what I eat have me in great shape ALREADY!).

I chose to bring the stroller, because I was honestly kind of grossed out about the floor of the locker room last week. So, I figured that I could load up warm fluffy towels in the stroller, I could load the stroller up with a bottle, a binky and my own flip flops and camera, and I would have a nice little carryall.

She's in there, I swear. Just hanging out with the towels and her toes.

See, not kidding - that burgundy thing is a Snuggie. And when I keep saying 'swim bag' I really mean, the 99 cent TJ Maxx shopping bags - but they work.

Elle ROCKED swim class this week – despite that turd of a teacher being back.

I actually kind of want to punch the kid in the face, but I’m not very violent, so I won’t.

He began our interlude today with, “Well, we’ll see if she likes the water any better this time,”

And my cool response was, “Do NOT fire water at her face this time and we should be ok.”

Sheepishly, he replied, “Yeah, that wasn’t a very good idea.”

I feel like he may be trainable some day in that he can recognize his foul behavior.

Ok, I know I’m just being a bitch now, but seriously, mr-junior-in-high-school you’ve never even INTRODUCED yourself and you can NOT remember the words to songs that you are singing THREE nights a week. I can’t handle you, but I want my daughter to love the water, so I put up with you.

It is a great character flaw of mine that I believe that myself or my brother can most certainly teach small babies how to swim better than, well, at least this guy. I have a tendency to believe that, in general, I can do a lot of things better than others — I recognize this as a flaw, so at least there’s that.But this kid, this kid is just – complacent and dweeby and doesn’t think he is – he thinks he’s the SHIT because he teaches Baby Swim at the YMCA. (Ok, rant, over.)

Anyway, swim class was a raging success. We got there and into the pool AT 5:02 p.m., and we swam and opted out of the final five minutes of ‘free swim’ and instead we made a beeline for the locker room, Elle in her stroller under a pile of warm towels.

While she chilled out and had a bottle (which I expertly propped beneath a duck robe), I quickly changed into dry clothes and hoped that she wouldn’t melt down before I could get myself put back together.

Success!

Wasn't kidding about the bottle propping. Heck, we're still on the pool deck in this photo, making a run for it.

Got her dried off and clothed, etc., and headed for the car. Fed her the rest of the bottle in the car and then headed toward home.

Managed to get in some FaceTime (yeah, new iPhone) with Jon and got a tour of the place he’s staying over in South Haven. FaceTime is so cool – I know, I’m late to the party.

I got the bottles washed, the kitchen cleaned, even fed Elle some extra cereal to try to help her sleep (that’s my Dad’s idea and I’m entertaining all ideas that end in more sleep for the mom). I gave her a bath, picked up then made myself a dinner that wasn’t totally frozen to begin with.

Anyway – firing on 5 of 6 cylinders, while I wrote this diatribe (is that even the right word?!) Elle woke up again. I gave myself  four – now three – more minutes to have this post done and up and getting myself into bed.

But man, tonight felt good – and so did that glass of wine!

 

Dear Elle: You’re Six Months Old

Dear Elle,

You’re six months old. And I’m kind of emotional about it. I mean, if you’re ALREADY six months old, I can already imagine what it’s going to be like waking up when you’re 16 and trying to figure out how you grew that big so quickly.

So, some general information about you at six months: you’re 16 1/2 pounds. You wear size 2 diapers – but we’re testing out size 3’s. You still kind of fit into 3-6 month clothes, but we’re transitioning into 9 month clothes. Crazy. You wore a pair of pants to school this week that I bought for you last year on the day AFTER we found out you were a girl. That was almost a whole year ago. And you FIT into them. You’re a real girl and you wear pants that I picked out for you a YEAR ago. Isn’t that just nuts?

I’m going to ask one thing of you in this letter. Please sleep. Please, please, please. Sleeping is not coming easy to you (or me) and your Dad is working 3 hours away, so I’m solo most nights and it’s just NOT easy when you have to work and be functional most days. So, please, sleep.

We continue to see your specialist, Dr. Shwayder (I’ll write more about him later) for the hemangioma on your forehead. He said that it’s ahead of schedule in how it’s going away, which is great news. Sounds like you’ll be fully off the medication you take three times a day within the next 2-6 months. Super exciting!

You still very much enjoy ‘school’ and your teachers there (except they keep calling you Ellie, and you are MOST DEFINITELY an Elle).

You like playing toys, a lot. You are very good at rattle shaking, pounding on the drum that you got for Easter from your Grandma Wendy, and jump-jump-jumping in your jumper. You LOVE jumping.Whenever you hear the word ‘jump’ you jump. It’s pretty cool to watch the word association you have and how proud of yourself you are for jumping when you hear the word. You are SMART, girly.

You are SO SO SO strong. I mean, so strong. Your legs are super duper strong (probably from all the jumping). You have begun pulling your legs up underneath you and scooching backwards on accident. You are excellent at sitting up (thought not as excellent as I think, sometimes…you fall over and bump your head, too. That’s when I say ‘oh, I meant to do that’ and you seem to be just fine – no crying for this girl!). You will be crawling in no time, I’m certain of it.

Guiltily, your Dad and I often let you sleep with us (because it’s about the only way you manage to sleep for any extended period of time) but last weekend, when the three of us woke up and you were laying in bed and we laid there for 30 minutes just playing and cuddling and talking, it was like something that people WANT to have in their lives, but it just HAPPENS in ours. It’s like we are all meant to go together. I like it. I loved it. I love those moments. Those moments laying in bed in the morning, those are among my favorites. Because they’re EASY, so easy. They’re natural.

Well, anyway, I just want you to know how great you are. Seriously. Coolest girl in the world. I’m so excited to see what you’ll be in another month and what we’ll be up to. You make everyone better, you bring our family closer and you are so LUCKY AND FORTUNATE to be loved so well and wholly be so many people.

I love you, girly. My whole body overflows with how much I love you – it’s even coming out my eyes as I finish this letter.

You fill me up.

Love,

Mom

 

Today We Went Swimming

Today was Elle’s first swim class!

I definitely over-prepared myself for how great it was going to be. I think I thought I’d meet other Mom’s and we’d commiserate in the locker room or something. That didn’t happen.

I did, however, learn a few things.

1. Do NOT expect to capture the photographic moment of baby’s first swim lessons when you are the lone parent with your child. There is no physical way to have your camera, photograph your baby, not drown your camera and not lose the grip on your child. So, two locker room photos it was.

2. That old wives tale about not eating 30 minutes before swimming. Let that one fly out the window. I picked Elle up from school and we headed to the YMCA for baby swimming class and I wanted to be sure we were early because I didn’t know what to expect. I SHOULD have fed Elle so she wouldn’t get cranky. Lesson, learned.

3. Wearing my bathing suit TO the gym was the best plan I made in the entire day. This made it much easier to get both of us ready for the pool.

4. You’re going to HAVE to put the baby down SOMEWHERE. I’m not a germaphobe by ANY stretch, but putting your baby on the floor of the gym seems a BIT risky to me (athlete’s foot on your chest, anyone?). So, I was glad I had Elle’s car seat blanket with me to throw on the floor so I could get changed.

5. Pool time for a baby who likes the pool can be capped at 30 minutes. At least this baby, on her first time. We got in the pool a little early because I was there early. So at 15 minutes til class was to start, I was in the pool and Elle and I were watching the lap swimmers, she was floating and kicking and splashing and generally loving the experience. That idyll did not last, however.

6. Bring two towels per person. You get SO wet and those Lil Swimmers diapers get SO WET that they just pour water onto your blanket.

7. It’s cold outside of the water, so plan accordingly. I’m not sure how to combat that the locker room temperature was so darn cold and how to have Elle not have a fit as a result…but I’ll figure it out. I did make sure to get both of us under the warm shower when we got into the locker room, which helped, but then we were just more wet.

8. If you are looking for the camaraderie of other parents, signing up for the Saturday class is probably the better idea. I figured that we’d have not QUITE as many kiddos in this class, but there was ONE other little boy. Not as fun with only one other little boy who’s two years older than your baby.

9. Find a teacher who is not a ‘sorry I’m five minutes late’ junior in high school who decides to take a bath toy and squirt your infant in the face with it mid-meltdown.

When said instructor said “I can’t tell – I don’t think she likes the water,” my (I thought very tempered response) was “How about let’s not squirt water in her face and see how we do,”.

10. Singing songs in swimming class wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for baby swim class. Again, I think I oversold myself on baby swimming class. It’s not like I thought she’d learn the breaststroke or something, but I thought we’d, you know, talk about kicking or splashing. We did not. The junior-in-high-school instructor, who wanted to tell me how we’d really want to shower/bathe after class because he and all his clothes smell like chlorine from HIS time in the pool (really, duh?…ok, no, thanks for the advice…ummm??).

When we started with a quiet rendition of ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and me and the other kid’s grandma were the only ones singing and I don’t remember the WORDS to Wheels on the Bus, it’s not starting off on a great foot.I wanted to shake this young man and yell ‘TAKE CHARGE!’ but I didn’t.

You know how the song says “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town,”? Well, I kept wanting to sing (loudly, because now the instructor is not singing nor is he helping to keep either of the kiddos in his class from melting down) “…all day long,” at the end. So I kept saying that, then I got tripped up heading into the next verse, so I was always a beat off.

Come on – Elle and I have Rihanna dance parties at our house. I should TOTALLY have this Wheels on the Bus crap down pat.

Ok, so I’m abandoning the numbering at this point.

We swam for about 35 minutes before Elle began melting down. Turns out she was cold, wet and hungry. NOT a good combination for ANYONE I know, especially a 6 month old (yes, my baby will be SIX MONTHS OLD on Saturday!). So, I get out of the pool and head to the locker room to get a binky, maybe, and see if I should just call it a day. But no, I have 10 minutes left, I don’t want to bail early (lest the high school junior instructor think I’m an uncommitted swim Mom…).(By the way, he informs me as I get back into the pool that ‘the last five minutes are free swim…so…I guess we’ll just do that now’ – um, dude, that’s what we’ve BEEN doing this whole time).

So, we head back out to the pool – which is when genius decided to take a squirt toy and, just as I’ve got her loving the water again (want to end on a high note!!) squirts her in the face. Ok, you know, I’ve practiced water on the face with her, we’ve eased into it…start with some dribbles, then gently squirt, then maybe, if she’s enjoying it, take it another step further. Not just a straight shot a la SuperSoaker style. NO. Not a fan.

Oh yeah, I forgot we had to sing the Hokey Pokey too. And he wanted us to put our ears in the water. What? No. I’ve got an infant on the verge of teething and you want me to run pool water in her ears? Nope. Not doing that either. I just ended up singing and swimming all over the pool on my own with her because she liked it and was chill that way.

Elle LOVED swimming – she just didn’t really like swim CLASS. So, we’ll try again next week.

In the meantime, here’s our inaugural bathing suit picture!

Mommy Confession #1

It’s supposed to be that a mother loves motherhood above all things and her child more than that, even.

And I do.

I find being Elle’s Mom completes me in a way I didn’t expect that it would.

However, I have a confession.

Last night, we were across the street at Rick & Jen’s (Jon’s brother and his gf) having dinner, grilling out and having a bonfire. It was awesome. Perfect laid back Saturday night in which I drank far too much wine. Which could be a confession in itself.

But, here’s the real one.

The fire was beginning to flame, Elle had awoke from what I thought was down-for-the-night sleep and Jon’s Mom and Dad, who’d come over, were taking turns hanging out with her outside, wrapped in a few layers of blankies.

It was getting very dark and very cold.

It was time for Elle to sleep.

My wine glass had about 3 sips left in it.There was more wine to be drunk and the fire was really starting to flame.

Elle becomes extremely irritable and I take her inside to rock her/feed her/soothe her/lay her down, etc. And as I lay there on the living room floor where Elle was dozing off to sleep, I wondered how long I’d been in there. Wondered if anyone missed me at the fire.

So I confess, I wanted to be doing cool shit, like hanging out by the fire, not laying on the floor of Rick & Jen’s living room, hoping against hope that Elle would fall asleep and stay asleep.

I realized in those moments, alone in the quiet of their house, that a mother’s job is to sleep a little less in order to get to do both the ‘cool shit’ and the required Mom stuff. I thought back to growing up, my younger cousins, my aunts disappeared inside the cottage for stretches at a time, and then reappearing to continue sitting by the fire/around the counter/around the table.

Sometimes, you have to hit pause on the cool things you’re doing as a Mom and do the Mom things that aren’t as cool. Because that’s what we sign up for when we take on this whole Motherhood challenge.

I confessed this last night around the fire and I said that people should talk about it being ok to feel this way sometimes, because it IS ok to feel that way sometimes. Jon’s Dad (who I love, btw) said he thought it was ok to feel that way but not to say it out loud. Which convinced me that I was writing it here – because some days, mom friends reading this, there are interludes where you may want to be, you know, sleeping instead of rocking your baby, reading a book instead of making a bottle, enjoying a glass of wine instead of changing a diaper. And that is OK. It is normal. It is healthy. And there’s no need to not do the cool shit — you just have to fit it in around the Mom stuff some times.

The guilt that comes with motherhood is absolutely unparalleled to anything else of which I’m aware. Doesn’t mean that I don’t love being Elle’s Mom and that I don’t love motherhood itself — it simply means that I’m searching for balance and finding it is hard. 🙂

 

 

 

 

On Having a Baby with a Fever…

Well, this week was super exciting.

HA.

I had to be out of town Tuesday and Wednesday for work, so Elle was staying at my parents overnight Tuesday.

She’s been on the teething bender, drooling CONSTANTLY and on a 5-6 bib per day habit. But, no teeth. Not even feeling bumps along the top of her gums. You can SEE the teeth, but you can’t actually feel them. So – a long road to go still.

Wednesday on my way home, I called my Mom to see how things were going. She says “Elle’s got a little bit of a fever, I was thinking of giving her some Tylenol.”

“What’s her temp?” I ask.

“101.7” my mother responds.

“Yeah, give her some Tylenol,” I respond.

“Ok, I mean, it’s not that high, but it’s not good,” my Mom says.

Super – thanks. I’m three physical hours from home and those are your parting words.

I get home and Elle is feeling a bit better, but still out of sorts. Tired and sleeping a lot.

The next day, it’s more of the same. Her temp keeps going up, reaching 102.7 at one point. YIKES.

I’m in between doctors (seriously, I know) because I left our former doctor and made an appointment with the new one. However, when I called to get her in to the new one, he’s out on vacation this week. Of course – Murphy’s Law. So, I have to go to the doctor who I don’t totally trust. I get an appointment in the next 45 minutes. I’m scared. 102.7 is HIGH. I’m freaking out. What if she’s never the same after this, what if this fever takes the life out of her and she’s not my smiley, happy girl after this? Because she was an absolute CRANKY PANTS. She’s never been like that before. It was disconcerting to say the least.

So, we head to the doctor’s office where – turns out – my unfavorite doctor is not in this week, so it’s the nurse practitioner we’ll be seeing. Never had met her before and if SHE were the doctor, I’d still be a patient of this practice. Great bedside manner, etc.

However, because there was really no CAUSE of Elle’s fever, the NP wanted a urine sample to rule out a UTI. In the meantime, I’ve also told her that Elle hasn’t pooped in two days. She gives me a sheet on making kids poop – water, prune juice, Karo syrup, etc.

Anyway…Do you know how they take a urine sample of an infant?

Me neither.

No clue.

So, the nurse’s assistant comes in to put a ‘U-Bag’ on Elle. It’s got an opening with stickiness around it, and this big bag to collect urine. Ok. So, I lay a diaper beneath her, play with her, and wait for her to pee.

She pees, but the bag isn’t on properly, so it trickles out and on to the diaper.

Fail.

As I’m yelling for the nurse for help to collect the urine, I see that Elle is straining. Yup, all I’ve got is a pee soaked diaper laid out beneath her bum, and here comes that two-day-brewing poo.

I’m proud that I didn’t totally panic in this scenario. I simply closed the diaper and let her go.

Clean her up, put another diaper on, wait for the nurse to come collect the two drops that made their way into the bag.

In the next five seconds, on the new, clean diaper, a mess of green-ness descends from Elle’s bum. Sorry – gross, I know – but it was just gross to see, too.

Now, we may have contaminated the pee that we did get. Sweet.

There was a slight amount of positive-ness (not a medical person here) for UTI, but not enough to be sure. So, the NP asks for another try. A different nurse comes in and puts the U-Bag on, in a slightly different position.

We wait. I’d just pumped Elle full of a four ounce bottle and coax two more ounces of water into her. And she peed it all out already.

And like magic, Elle feels better (I know if I’d had a BM like that, I’d feel like a million bucks afterward too). She’s happy and jumpy, etc.

So, we get sent home with pee bags of our own. I’m instructed to try to collect a urine sample, once I get it to put it in the fridge, and then bring it back to their office the following day.

In the mean time, I have a cranky-ass infant on my hands and I’m supposed to collect urine?

Ha.

Good joke.

I ignore the urine collection task the rest of the day/night. I’m not going to fight that battle right now.

So, we sleep and cuddle and she eats and sleeps some more. Her temperature is now holding steady at 100.4 degrees or so.

The following morning, we wake up and I decide – ok, I’ll get some urine.

I attach the U-Bag the best way I can. I put a diaper on Elle.

I wait.

I’m thinking I’ve got it. That even though I don’t want to drive a urine sample down to the doctor’s office, that I wish they’d just call in a scrip and let us let this thing run its course. Thinking that I can’t believe that I’ve allowed this charade to go on for 24 hours. However, in the event it IS a UTI, I of course want my baby to get the proper medicine. So, I am going to collect urine. In the U-Bag. And refrigerate it until I can get it to the dr’s office.

And then, I smell it.

Shit.

Literally.

I know it’s going to be a mess. I open the diaper and it’s full of poop (no more constipation, at least). The U-Bag is covered in it, there’s no way to remove the dumb bag without hurting Elle OR getting my hands messy. I opt for messy hands.

And I call off the urine collection game.

I call the doctor’s office and explain – as nicely as I can – that I will NOT be collecting urine. That they can call in a prescription, or not call one in, whatever. I’m done with this game. (In my mind, I figure if they don’t give me a scrip and she’s not feeling better Monday, I’ll go to the new doctor and get a better answer).

The NP calls me back and discusses with me how Elle’s acting, how she’s feeling, what my thoughts are (awesome, I like this lady!) and she says that just to be sure, she’s going to call in the prescription. She also tells me that the rule of thumb if there were to be any more green-liquid-poo is 2 ounces of Pedialyte for every watery BM.

Good to know.

Now, call in that prescription.

Underlying all of this — Elle is teething. It’s teething that’s causing all of this. I know it. It’s my gut instinct. But, I don’t want to take the chance if my gut is wrong (it’s not) but I just don’t want to take the chance.

So, anyway, that’s too much about poo, and pee, for one day. But that was my week this week.

Jon’s home now. Which is a huge relief. Having another person to share the burden of stress makes a HUGE difference to me. You don’t have to worry about being the lone worrier — you know you’ve got a fellow worrier with you, too. Which is nice.

Anyway — there’s a post for posterity’s sake and nothing more. My first go round with a feverish baby and I’ve come out older and wiser and a bit more poo-covered than I was before.

I Was Supposed to be Skinny By Now

Let me start with a disclaimer…I feel better about my body right now than I did, say, three months ago.

I don’t feel great about the shape that I exist within, but I don’t abhor it either. I don’t particularly like looking at myself in the mirror before the shower, but I can swallow that bitter pill most of the time.

I’m working on it, I really am. Or, at least I’m talking about working on it. And thinking about trying. And some days, really trying. I went for a walk with Elle tonight when we got home from school. It was nice to be in the sun, to be with her, to be getting a little exercise. I didn’t go far, I didn’t go long, but I did go. And that’s half the battle. And I spent yesterday making my muscles sore, too. So I feel like I’m getting there…slowly – too slowly sometimes – and steadily.And the day before that, two hours digging and working in the pond. I work up a sweat, so that’s something.

But, here’s what happened today…I signed us up for Parent/Tot swim classes. And therefore, I was supposed to be skinn(ier) by now.

I’ve been super looking forward to it, truly. In my head, I don’t think I connected until TODAY that I, too, would have to be in a bathing suit. That requires – ahem – maintenance of areas. It also requires a bathing suit in which I won’t feel absolutely awful (that’s an oxymoron, for sure). It requires being comfortable and confident in my own skin. I’m going to watch a ton of Dove commercials before I go to the Y next Monday afternoon. Maybe that’ll help.

I’ve been preparing Elle for swimming class diligently. I’ve been splashing water on her face, letting the spray from the spout hit her and force her to get water in her eyes. I pour water over her head to rinse her hair. Tonight, I even filled the tub up a bit more than normal and held her and let her float, so she wouldn’t be totally scared of not touching bottom in the pool. I mean, I’m REALLY TRYING to make sure she LOVES the water and swimming.

However, I was not so diligent in my own preparations.

Gut punch (and reverberations because that gut-area is NOT taut…).

So, yeah, I was supposed to be skinny by now.

But I’m not.

So – what’s that Dove line? Love the skin you’re in? Yup, that’s what I’m going to do. Create a love-fest around myself to love the skin I’m in.

WISH. ME. LUCK.

The %&$!# Back Yard

So, we moved into this house just over a year ago. I wasn’t sentimental about that anniversary coming and going for some reason. Should I have been?

Either way, we’ve done a LOT of projects around here. I’m always excited about each of them…and then they take longer and cost more than originally anticipated OR they just plain require a shit-ton of manual labor/elbow grease.

So goes the story of the backyard. Not that the front yard is any better, but the back yard is…well…on display for golfers all summer long. It’s where our family room walks out to and I like spending time outside, especially in summer, with a cocktail and friends and family.

I wanted the back yard to get some attention too.

I have no good before shots, really. Here are a few…

This is what the backyard used to look like - from the golf course angle. The scrub bushes to the right and left of the stairs, the red landscaping rock EVERYWHERE and the steps that were in need of attention. Plus a teeny tiny patio.

So, the above shows you what it looked like. What you might not get from this angle is how the awful red landscaping rock goes WAAAAAY into the patio area, meaning that the patio is pretty tiny. Our patio table barely fit with people around it. It was awkward, to say the least.

Here’s a good shot from above that shows you how what should have been usable patio space was overwhelmed by that crappy red rock. For the record, if you’re ever thinking of using it – DON’T. It’s the WORST. It doesn’t stay in the beds where you put it, it blows all over the yard, it crushes in the lawn mower or when you step on it, and yet somehow, when dead leaves and sticks fall in it, you can’t get those out of it. It’s straight-up awful stuff.

So this photo, you can see, is taken from the patio area toward the driveway. Some overgrown bushes (which look nice strictly because they’re green, I assure you).

Here’s what that area looks like from the deck above. A nice blue stone walkway from the driveway over with that obnoxious red landscaping rock (can you tell I abhor it?!) and some more randomly-placed bushes. Oh, yeah, all surrounded by a nice border of red brick. What? Why? Random.

Here’s another shot of that walkway…(FYI – this was at the gender-reveal part we hosted back in June!).

Ignore me in this photo – but notice the random red wood behind me? Some of those posts are used to hold up the deck above. But the other ones with the lattice work – a four foot opening onto the teeny tiny patio. And, you can see the expanse of red rock, blue stone and red brick mess between where I sit and the driveway.

These photos were captured in September and are taken from the golf course. In the top photo, you can see on the right side of the frame, the pond which is the bane of my existence right now. It is on the left in the bottom photo. It has gone untended for approximately 10 years. There are beautiful iris and lillies in the pond – but there is about 2 feet of mud and sludge and it is completely overrun with cattails. So, I’m also in the process of cleaning out the pond down to its liner and ridding it of EVERYTHING. Jon’s Mom, Karen, came over yesterday to help me and it was great to have an extra set of hands. She’s got great ponds at her house, so she knows what she’s doing. She even rescued some of the good stuff from the pond and is going to pot them and see what happens. If it were me all alone, it’d all be trash-bound.

The other exciting thing you’ll notice at the right edge of the house is a pitiful excuse for a tree. It was already leaning when we moved in. The area below it washes out when we get heavy rain because it’s a main thoroughfare (I don’t know terms like this…) for the drainage from the neighbors across the street. Then it got hit by lightning or something and lost another limb over 4th of July last year. It’s a hideous looking tree from every angle but our bedroom…so it’s coming down. (Not to mention it’s SUPER messy). Another item on the list.

What’s most exciting, though, is the progress that’s been made already. My Dad and Jon and Trevor and my Uncle Bill (and even Frank, Andrea’s husband, one night) re-did the patio. It was an almost-fight for Jon and I, but I think we’re both glad it’s done (and done early) now.

Here are some photos of Jon and my Dad working on the patio.

So, if you use your imagination, you might be able to understand that ALL THE RED ROCK IS GONE (buried a quick and painless death beneath what you’re now viewing). The patio stone was salvaged from the walkway pictured above, from the steps that were already there, and from some other areas, too. It was all torn up and re-laid in large part by these two guys! How much do they rock?! It was my Dad’s vision, and I’m so glad that it came to life already.

Sorry to bore with such an uneventful post tonight, but I wanted to capture the things we’re doing behind the scenes. Oh yeah, and put into posterity’s vault the fact that I will NOT be able to lift my arms above my head tomorrow. This afternoon while Jon and Elle were napping, I buried the remaining red rock, tore out four HUGE bushes, began leveling out the topsoil and got attacked my an army of gnats the entire time.

So, I will post some updates as the summer goes on, but here’s our starting point. I can’t wait to post pictures of the finished products AND of us enjoying it with Elle, our families and our friends all summer long!