Friday, October 31, 2014

To sleep train or not sleep train: why the f*ck is this even a question?

From the moment our parents found out that we were having a baby, Mark and I heard (from both sides, repeatedly) about how little sleep we were going get. Mark and I were apparently both colicky babies and terrible sleepers, and our parents were perhaps just a hair's breadth shy of outright gleeful that we were about to get our comeuppance.

Fast forward a year, and Mark and I are the proud, happy, well-rested parents of a four-month-old who sleeps remarkably well. As in, insists on going to bed between 6:30 and 7:00pm and doesn't wake up again until between 6 and 7am. For good measure, see below.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Like an otter to water

A month or so ago, I posted about something called the Otteroo, a floatation device for babies that looks vaguely like torture but a lot of people swear is super fun!

Without consulting a pediatrician or any other parent who had actually used one of these devices, we purchased one and gleefully unwrapped it when it arrived a few days later. Naturally, once we had it there was no chance we were going to wait to try it, so out come the Otteroo, off came the baby's clothes, and into the tub the pair went.

Chestnut Wars: Squirrels vs. Old Asian Ladies

I wish I had a picture of this to accompany this post, but alas, every time I see this happen it's because I'm on a run and don't have a phone or a camera with me to capture it. Unless you live in Queen Anne in Seattle and have seen it for yourself, you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mark has a delicate sense of smell

Last night, as I was nursing/rocking the baby before bed...

Me: Mark, honey, can you get me my water bottle? I think it's in my gym bag. 

Mark: Sure, one sec.

Me: Thanks!

(rummaging from the next room) 

Mark: uggghhhhhhhh

Me: What just happened?! (assuming water had just been spilled everywhere)

Mark: I opened your damn gym bag and got bowled over by the smell. 

Me: What do you want from me? I'm a sweaty person.

He knew this when he married me. I have no sympathy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Boobs on a plane

Last week at work, I was having a conversation with a couple of colleagues who travel a lot. When I say a lot, I mean they were both in agreement that "17 Charlie" is the optimal seat on 737s, and apparently seats in the last row on "intercontinental birds" have leg rests because they're designed for flight crew use, making them optimal for passengers when not otherwise occupied by a backup flight crew. Who knew?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A new perspective on pumping

Day 4 of pumping at the office. On the recommendation of another mommy friend, I have been using a pump bra so that I can be hands free and productive whilst I'm being milked like a common dairy cow. In case you're unfamiliar with a pump bra, here's what it looks like, sans the rest of the pumping accoutrement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Black Plate, Chapter 2: UPS Signature Required

For the full run down on the black plate, visit The Black Plate, Chapter 1.

Per Chapter 1, the last time the black plate changed hands, Sarah and Peter actually arranged to have it served to us during brunch with our rug rats. It was a bold stroke on their part. Like hell were Mark and I going to be outdone.

Naturally, in our frenzied hubris aimed at one-upping our dear friends, there were a few things that we didn't think through as carefully as we probably should have. Such as what "signature required" actually means to UPS, versus what we thought it meant. This caused us a good deal more pain than we expected. The end result, however? Totally worth it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A mother's first day back at work

Before you have a child, everyone with children tells you that you will never truly grasp your own capacity to love another human being until you become a parent. While I think I understood this in the abstract, looking back, I really did not come anywhere close to comprehending the magnitude and intensity of the love I would feel for a child until I had my daughter Avery.

My sister-in-law once described a parent's love for a child as having your heart walk around outside your body for the rest of your life. This is more accurate than I could have imagined. Loving a child means walking around constantly terrified and simultaneously fearless. The fear of losing your child is so great that you would, without hesitation, face down any obstacle, overcome any phobia, sacrifice limb/life/dignity/sanity, do anything to protect that child. All other terrors become obsolete in the face of just one.

When you become a working parent, you are forced to confront for the first time the only thing as terrifying as losing your child: the fact that, at some point, you really have no control. You do the best you can, you would do anything, but the reality is that this giant chunk of your heart is a separate, autonomous person with whom you cannot spend every waking second for the rest of your natural life. Even if you don't go back to work when your baby is still a baby, some day, she will go off to pre-school or kindergarten. She'll have her first sleepover. She'll have her first boyfriend. She'll go off to college or on travels around the world. She'll get married (or not), and have babies of her own (or not). At some point, all you can do is watch and trust that you've done all you can.

This is why I'm back at work. I won't lie, I cried this morning at 5:30am when I left for the gym and the office, leaving Avery in her father's capable hands. I'm sure there will be lots more tears in the days and weeks to come. There will be moments and firsts and milestones that I miss because I'm at the office, and this breaks my heart. There will be times when I desperately want to be home with my baby girl and not at work. But at the end of the day, my daughter, this giant chunk of my heart, is her own person who will have her own identity and her own life. And for me, that means that I need to preserve something of mine that is separate and distinct from being her mom.

Because while I am now a mom, I'm a lot of other things. I'm Mark's wife. I'm Bonnie and Brian's daughter, and Jenna's sister, and Madelyne and Liam's aunt. I’m a friend to many. I'm a communications manager at a technology company. I'm a food lover. I'm an exercise fiend. I’m a football fan. And I want to show my daughter that she, too, can be so many things, and still be a mom who loves and adores her child. These things don’t have to be mutually exclusive if you don't want them to be.

Maybe Avery will grow up and decide that parenthood is not for her. Maybe she’ll grow up and decide that her life’s calling is to be someone’s mother. Perhaps, like me, she’ll find a way to be a woman who has both a career and a family. Most importantly, I want her to grow up knowing that she can make these choices for herself, because she is her own person, and not just my daughter.

Here's to surviving day one, and learning to enjoy all the days to come.

Reminding myself that I don't want an HOA

For those that did not grow up in the suburban jungle known as the "planned community" you may have no clue about HOAs. Let me enlighten you. "HOA" stands for "Home Owners Association." The notion of an HOA isn't a bad one: set up policies about what you can and can't do with your house and yard to make sure that no one does anything wildly tacky, and then enforce those policies. In theory, great. In practice, well, dictatorship.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Good Vibrations, Breastfeeding Edition

You don't realize just how much your boobs have personalities until you have a baby. I certainly didn't. Within a few weeks of popping out the kiddo, however, it became abundantly clear that Hefty Lefty was a take-no-shit kinda gal who was happy to do what was necessary to ensure her comfort (namely, leaking excessively). Mighty Righty, on the other hand, has proven to be one stubborn mofo. What she produces, she holds, often to her detriment.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That time when I almost killed my husband during a Seahawks game

Tonight, after Avery's bath, Mark marched back to our basement to, apparently, continue watching the Seahawks game. The DVR'd Seahawks game. That I was also watching. Per usual, I was tasked with nursing/rocking her to sleep.

After a less than awesome nap day, I was faced with a seriously fussy budget, so I was less than thrilled when shouting from the basement resulted in Avery thrusting herself backward off the nipple to howl in protest/commiseration.

If you are under the impression that my first thought was, "he's disturbing the baby," you would be wrong. My first thought was "he's watching the DVR'd game without me. Bastard!"

Only then did I get pissed about the whole baby thing. 

The mama is cranky.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Importance of Running with the Herd

There's a great Q&A with essayist Eula Biss on Gawker today about her new book, On Immunity: An Inoculation, about the vaccine controversy. I haven't read the book, but after reading the Q&A, I intend to. Her arguments are calm, reasoned, respectful. I appreciate that.

As a parent, you cannot escape the vaccine controversy. It appears on nearly every news show, every blog, every parent group. I have friends and family that vehemently disagree on this issue. But when you're the parent of an infant, the question of vaccination is not only staring you in the face, it becomes two-fold. (1) Do I vaccinate? and (2) Do I need to worry about where I take my child until she is fully vaccinated?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The baby giveth freedom. The baby fighteth like hell to take it away.

At four weeks old, darling baby Avery took a bottle for the first time. Said bottle was administered by her loving father. In true tank fashion, she chugged down nearly four ounces. By all accounts, it was a success.

Avery, post-first bottle. A placid little angel.

The ability to pump milk and have my child eat that pumped milk from a bottle represented freedom. I was now free to leave Avery for longer than 30 minutes at a time. I could work out. I could have a girls night. Let's be honest. What it really meant is that I could work out. Can I get a hallelujah? Hell yes.