Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Do You Mean It's Only 5:15? It's Dark!

I know it happens every year, but somehow this year's falling-back seems...different. Like, suckier. Like, I really really notice it, especially since we've started a backyard project and all the sudden there's this rapidly setting sun that I'm racing against as I frantically try to dig holes and spread bat shit (guano fertilizer!) on my new plants. Ivy has been kind enough to sit in her pink bouncy chair (NOTE TO ADVICE-SEEKING MOMS-TO-BE: BOUNCY CHAIRS ARE TOTALLY CRUCIAL. More on that later) and watch me garden, and I get all excited thinking about her joining me in a few years...And by that point, I might actually know what the hell I'm doing.

I'll post pictures of this project soon. I'll also write more advice. And post some videos of Ivy ROLLING and ALMOST SITTING UP and probably some of her ENJOYING HER FIRST THANKSGIVING!

But it's 10:23pm and you know what? I'm gonna get in bed. Because I can. And because I want to. And because it's Tuesday, and there's no good TV on.

Also: I got my IUD today. IUD! Can't say it was a pleasurable procedure, especially when the Dr. dropped one of the instruments and had to page a nurse to bring her a new, sterile one, which did not happen immediately, which meant that I laid on the table all dilated and speculum-ed for way longer than one would want, but luckily I had my Crackberry, which meant I could play Word Mole, the crackiest game of them all. The nurse finally found the replacement sterile thing, and shazam, I'm 99.9% not gonna make another baby for a while. Phew.

But what was I saying about Daylight Savings time? And how it's all dark all early now? And how by 6pm it seems sooooooo late? I dunno. Whatever. It happens. Good night!

Ivy Cat Cracks Up!

Ivy has been cracking up a lot lately—she's been giggling/laughing for a while, but now she's into full-on breathless guffawing. It's amazing. Mostly she likes when we jump up and down and make asses of ourselves. Get her every time.

This is definitely one of my favorite developments thus far...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Piecemeal Mama Advice, Con't

Every time I think about which gems of advice to dole out when I have a moment to sit down and write I get overwhelmed and my brain swirls with random tidbits of information that I feel I must convey. And I think I should organize these thoughts and apply some kind of structure or system to the doling, but then I realize that scattershot blogging and advice-giving serves as an accurate representation of How My Mind Works Now. Like:

—You'll be amazed by how much your boobs leak. Everyone is different, yes, and I have friends who squirted and soaked, and friends who never really made much of a mess. But be prepared, cuz you never know. My milk just 'regulated' a few weeks ago, and up until then I was wearing breast pads at all times (except for the many times when I forgot them, due to mom brain, and went to Home Depot and had to rush out with my arms crossed across my chest). You can either use disposable breast pads or reusable ones that you wash (those links are for just some of the many options out there). I definitely preferred using the washable ones, for environmental and comfort reasons, but for the first month or so the disposables were the only ones that actually worked. I soaked right through the hippie cotton ones. Eventually I would use the washable ones in the day and the disposables at night (you have sleep with some sort of bra or tank-top-bra thing on. The pads can still shift around, though, and I just got used to wet spots on the bed...) But seriously: I did not get the importance of breast pads until my milk came in and I was like HOLY SHIT THERE IS MILK SHOOTING OUT OF MY BOOBS AND SOAKING ALL MY CLOTHES! So: ADVICE! Buy breast pads! Have 'em at the ready! Put 'em in your purse, your diaper bag, your car. Leaving the house and realizing that you've forgotten to stick them in your bra really freaking sucks. Toilet paper stuffed in your bra does not hold a candle to the breast pad. Trust me.

—One of the things that's been incredibly challenging for me is remembering shit and keeping straight all the little things I need to do, buy, get, order, etc. Granted, I am not a terribly organized person (despite my Virgoness) but other mamas have concurred that Mom Brain is no joke. It put my pregnesia to shame. I do believe that it's some deep biological shit intended to keep up totally focused on the survival and growth of our babies. And that's great, but you need to leave the cave and get shit done after a while. I can't tell you how many times I've remembered things while in the shower or in the car, only to them get home/get out of the shower, pick up the baby, change her diapers, change her clothes, nurse her, answer the phone...and the thing I remembered just disappears. It drove me crazy for a while. If you already have a good system for organizing your to-dos in place, then right on, stick with it. I definitely did not have this, and now I just use the to-do app on my Blackberry, and I do it RIGHT when I think of the thing. I tried writing things down in a notebook, but I would inevitably misplace the notebook; I always have my phone with or near, so that's worked for me.

—I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a) an engaged, active, supportive, patient partner b) a supportive community of friends and family c) a community of other new mamas (and papas). I feel so lucky to have all three, and know that, for various reasons, it's not always possible to have all three. I didn't have any pregnant friends when I got pregnant, but through mutual friends, my midwife, a few new mom groups, a bunch of emails and a lot of gregarious chutzpah, I now have a pretty extensive crew of new mamas and babies to hang out with. The key is really to find people with whom you'd be friends even if there were no babies involved—it's really great to be able to talk about diapers and breastfeeding as well as non-baby related things. At this stage, it's mostly about us, as our babies are too young to really interact, but it's so great to be able to spend time with people who know what you're going through, and who can offer advice and perspective. And it's so exciting to think of our babies growing and developing together.

There's much more to be said about the family and friends and the supportive awesome partner, but my brain is ready to move on now. And my shoulder hurts. And I'm hungry.

And in case you're wondering where Ivy is...she's with her Auntie Aubrey, aka her babysitter, and today is Thursday, aka Kate's Day, when I am baby-free and can write, go visit Kim in SF , buy Buzz's flea medicine, and, in general, have some delicious time to myself. What was I saying about the importance of supportive family? Yes. Exactly. Thanks Aubs!

A Few Recent Pics

Ivy met Jesus in Salt Lake City
And she was a total angel at cousin Adrienne's wedding
And she a precious perfect pumpkin on the flight out there

And she wore a ridiculously over-sized bee costume (courtesy of cousin Madeline) and hung out with a ladybug (Ginger Crash), Bruce Lee (Nikko), and a pirate (Io)

Another Note on the Name of this Blog

Awhile back, when I re-entered/restarted/revived this blog, I write an explanation-of-sorts re: the title. And I thought I'd revisit that explanation, as it seems time to do so, and it also functions as a kind of advice-to-new-parents. Because parenting, thus far, is certainly one big experiment. It is something we have never, ever done in our lives. Certainly, we've done things that vaguely resemble parenting in some way—having pets, babysitting, taking care of younger siblings, watching movies with parents in them, thinking about parenting, etc—but nothing, not all the how-to books/websites/blogs/advice in the world can prepare you for this singular and mind-blowing experience. Every day is new, every moment is new, every tiny development and concern and shift and change and milestone is a first. And like my preferred method of making soup, I sometimes use a recipe for guidance or inspiration (the advice, the how-to books), and I have a general (yet ever-changing) arsenal of reliable ingredients (patting, shhhhing, bouncing, singing, the stuffed fox, the yoga ball, this weird tube that's like a hippie rain stick for babies that she totally loves) but I'm adding news things, and I'm always kind of making it up.

And getting it right is very, very satisfying. And when you kind of mess up, or your once-reliable ingredient no longer suits the soup, you learn very quickly, and you figure it out (ok, we're NOT into bouncing right now), and you improvise (don't like the fox right now? Awesome, no problem—look, a sock! Let's play with a SOCK!!!).

And, if I may stretch this poor, abused metaphor out any further: Each day of experimenting with this new role and this new creature is—like a cozy, yummy, love-infused soup—super delicious.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Piecemeal Mama Advice

I've got this plan to write a big 'ol post filled with all the wisdom and secret tricks and product recommendations that have made their way into my brain over the past 4+ months. And oh, I've thought a lot about what to write. But oh, I never manage to do it.

Case in point: I am now typing this one-handed because I am nursing. And it's not even my good hand.

So rather than one big long crafted post, I'll try to offer my thoughts in the tiny bursts that this baby allows.

Thought #1: Once you have a baby, it becomes really hard to get anything done. It WILL all get done (mostly) but it will take a long time. I could elaborate, but I can't right now. Let's just say it took me over 10 minutes just to write this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ch ch ch changes

Hello, 4 month old baby! You are freaking cute, among other things. You're also incredibly smiley, and quite talkative, especially in the mornings, when you release an endless stream of chatter and gurgles and coos and mmmmppprrrggrshsssss. Yesterday you rolled over for the first time, though I didn't actually see it. You were on your activity mat, eating your toes (your current favorite activity) and rolling onto your side. Then I went into my bedroom and a few moments later I heard you fussing. I emerged to find you on your stomach, fairly confused as to how you got there and unsure as to what to do. You'll figure it out soon enough. Yay!

Other developments I'm noticing: your head control is excellent, and your legs are wicked strong. You seem to be trying to sit up—when you're propped up against pillows, you strain to bring your head forward. You're still too floppy and unbalanced to do it on your own, but you seem to be trying. Also, you notice the dog now! And the cat. You watch them and smile and laugh. Speaking of smiling and laughing, you crack up every time you see your Grandpa Doug. Something about his face and his shiny head I guess...

You also seem to be noticing food, and the act of eating that goes along with it. It'll be awhile before you take part, but it's cool to see you raptly watching as the food goes to the mouth.

Aaaaand you're also totally making a sound that sounds like "mama." Just sayin'.