Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Inevitable Truth

We were once a grown-ass couple. We were independent. We drank, a lot. We dined out, a lot. We spent our money at expensive boutiques. We travelled, a lot. But most of all, we slept in ‘til whatever goddamn time we felt necessary. Then we had a baby…

Nowadays I wake up at 5:30 am, everyday, seven days a week…apparently motherhood has made me a neurotic psycho that can’t seem to sleep past 6:00am. Also, if I wake up at this time I guarantee myself a calm start to the day. I make my baby’s bottle, feed the dog, walk the dog, and make coffee all before my little one starts to squirm. I know it might sound ridiculous, but it’s heavenly. Should I decide to sleep in, my mornings turn into a scene from I Know What You did Last Summer, sans the blood. Just a lot of screaming and frantic running around…
But, regardless of whether I wake up at 5:30 am or 7:00 am…things like this seem to happen to me, a lot:
-     You schedule weekly mommy lunches to which you’re, for the most part, surprisingly on time for. This requires a tremendous amount of preparation. But, on more than one occasion you will find yourself stuck in traffic for 1 ½ hours with your baby screaming her/his head off. You will be rendered helpless, and will give in to the urge to cry your eyes out along with your child. I’m sure other drivers will find this quite interesting as you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But you will be mortified and scarred for life.
-      Upon reaching your destination, your child will decide to FINALLY go #2 after days of withholding from the act. Hence/thus/therefore you will have a fecal explosion to deal with in a public bathroom. Other women will give you dirty looks as you rip clothes off your sodden child…Oh, not to mention that this will happen on the ONE day you forget to pack a proper replacement outfit, so your child will then be parading around in public looking like a hot mess. Embarrassing.
-     Should you NOT know this by now, all babies think it’s best to go pee and poo at an accelerated rate the moment you take them out of the house. So, on any give day you will go through at least three outfits on a 2-hour outing. For example, first she will pee the equivalent of her weight to the point where the diaper will begin to leak (cue change of clothes #1). Then she will poop (cue change #2). Then she will decide to spit up like a fountain; by the time change #3 comes around you’ll be scavenging for random separates scattered in your diaper bag, which will result in your child looking like a homeless baby with hand-me-downs on…cue rushing back home. 
-      Here’s one thing I can’t get over: that awkward moment when you find yourself face-to-face with a breastfeeding mom in a Nordstrom’s bathroom. She will be eagerly feeding her mischievous 8-month old, flashing him (and you) her boob while going “Aqui esta la leche bebe” (“Here’s your milk baby”). SHOOT ME NOW!
-  Your baby will pee all over your duvet cover, and you won’t care, at all…’cause honestly, I’m not washing that shit. FEBREEZE!
-     You will start a blog when your baby is a peaceful newborn, thinking that you will have the time to devote to this new hobby, only to realize that the little buggers will start to sleep less and whine more as they get older. You will begin to devote an immense amount of time to entertaining an infant, which entails: singing totally made-up songs (‘cause unless there’s another child in the house, you truly don’t have a clue about lullaby lyrics) and aimlessly pacing up and down your townhouse with baby in tow. Should a peeping Tom peek into your house he’ll think you’ve taken up cabaret classes as you’ll also start using “Jazz hands” and exaggerated facial expressions both of which your baby finds hilarious (I like to think I’m giving my face mad exercise and will therefore never wrinkle!) All of these things will leave little time for you to eat and shower, much less sit down and write a full blog post.
-     You will realize that there’s no such thing as acquiring new hobbies…you’ll settle for getting through the day alive.
-  Your new bedtime is 10 pm sharp. You’ll invite friends over for dinner at 6pm and practically kick them out at 9:45pm. If they complain, they’re still single and don’t have an f-ing clue.
-   On the rare occasion that you decide to stop drinking for a month to shed some of the baby weight and then proceed to drink yourself senseless on your birthday, you will realize that a hangover is a parent's worst enemy. You will ask the Powers that Be to open the Earth and swallow you whole as you lay on the floor, curled up in fetal position, next to your baby's tummy time mat. You will never ever want to drink again, ever, until you remember the bottle of bubbly sitting in the fridge. Mimosas anyone? 
There are many more things I could list, but they’ll have to wait…’cause the baby is up and I’ve got a version of All That Jazz I’ve been dying to try out on her. Wish me luck…*cue jazz hands*

Nothing like my bottle and my mommy's
tone-deaf singing... 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mommy FYI

Things Every New Mom Needs to Come to Terms With:
  • There is something about having an infant in the house that requires a mom to consume copious amounts of coffee…tarry-looking strong black coffee.
  • Activities such as eating, showering and getting dressed will become Olympic sports, all done in record times and under extreme conditions.
  •  Forget about dieting…just forget it.
  • The first time your infant pukes you are certain their death is imminent, followed closely thereafter by your own miserable demise.
  • At some point during the day (every day) you will be covered in vomit, spit-up, drool, pee and poo, and/or a combination of all. You may in fact end up so drenched in bodily fluids you will have to do a full change of clothes, down to your underwear. Yes, this is true.
  •  You now call piss and shit “pee” and “poo”.
  •  Makeup…what the hell is makeup?
  • You will learn to carry on a full conversation while your child cries in the background.
  •  In fact, crying is the new musac (elevator music).
  • You will begin to empathize with parents that act unfazed when their child cries in public. While it is incredibly difficult to hear your child weep, you will develop an uncanny ability to differentiate their wails. You will also come to understand that unless they are hungry, are in need of diaper change, or are in pain; they are indeed fine. So you will let them cry and consider their howling an exercise in proper lung development. I am implementing this as I type…
  • Say goodbye to a full night’s sleep. Even once your baby starts sleeping through the night you will find yourself waking up every couple of hours to make sure she is still breathing. This obsessive compulsive tendency manifests itself in several ways:
    • Placing your finger beneath your baby’s nostrils to make sure air is indeed still flowing in and out of her body
    •  Slightly tapping her face to see if she squirms
    • Staring incessantly at the baby monitor for the reassuring rise and fall of your baby’s chest.
  • You will receive texts from your mommy friend about her baby’s poopy patterns, worse of all, you will answer said texts with genuine excitement and/or concern…yes, it’s come to that.
  • If your child, like mine, so happens to make the most absurd sounds when going #2 you will decided to record said event, even though you are fully aware of the emotional scarring that might ensue…but it’s just so cute! You will then send this video to the above mentioned mommy friend.
  • You will feel like poppin’ bottles the first time your baby rolls over onto his/her back while laying face down…then you’ll remember you’re a mommy and the only bottles you’ll be poppin’ are filled with milk…it is what it is.
  •  The most enlightening conversations you now engage in consist not of words, but of “goos” and “gaas”, and all sorts of other primal sounds you never imagined your adult-self making. However, the moment you first participate in this exchange with your little one you’ll realize there’s nothing more fulfilling in this world.  
What's a lil' poop when I get to spend my days with this face! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One of those days...

Prior to becoming a mommy, I never quite understood why (a) mommies always look so tired and (b) they utter the phrase “It’s been one of those mornings,” with such exasperation and dread. Well, here’s why…

A few days ago I woke up on a glorious morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after my FIRST full night’s sleep. I should mention that Matilda is now sleeping in her crib and actually sleeps through the night. What’s more is that I am now able to, miraculously, sleep through the night as well. As opposed to the first few nights I put her in her crib when I would wake up every 15 minutes to stare at the baby monitor to make sure she was still alive. Unconvinced that the video monitor was proof enough, I would get out of bed to go make sure she was still breathing, in person. I’m happy to report those nights are over. But back to my lovely morning…

Picture an altered version of this peaceful scene...

I woke up to the sound of Tilly fussing and squirming, my cue to go make her bottle and my first pot of coffee.  As I made my way to her crib I had a strange feeling of calmness. I couldn’t believe how well the night and morning were panning out. If this is how my life with a baby was going to be, then I was one happy mommy. Then it hit me, a faint smell coming from what appeared to be a pool of chocolate underneath my baby, only it obviously wasn’t chocolate. Matilda lay peacefully snoozing while I frantically picked her up and began to assess the situation; how the hell does on go about dealing with such a disaster? Should I change her or change the bed? Do I leave the mess and feed her before she starts hollering? Or wait…should I just cut her clothes off so as to minimize both her and my exposure to the fecal mess? Better yet, I need to bathe her, ‘cause there certainly was poop in places poop should not be. As I pondered this mess I could hear my dog pacing back and forth, this was a little unusual seeing as she more often than not doesn’t bother to get up for the first morning feeding. She’s a bulldog after all and very much values her beauty sleep. Then, suddenly, she stopped pacing and that’s when I heard her PUKE all over the bathroom. Seriously? Pardon my French, but “Fuck my life!!!!”

I now stood holding my baby out like a dirty rag, staring at a shit-covered crib and fully aware of the puke-filled bathroom that awaited me. I ran to the bathroom to (a) stop my dog from eating her own vomit (dogs do this, gross but true) and (b) rinse my child off under the faucet (you learn to do such things after a while), then I proceeded to pry the remainder of the sodden-clothes off of my baby, change her, make a bottle, feed the dog and the baby, rock the baby and change the crib sheets. I’m still not quite sure in what order or how I did all this…all I remember is that at some point my husband stumbled out of bed and heroically asked if I needed his help. Thank you, f-ing Super Dad to the rescue! Is it me, or do husbands perfectly time waking up to exactly a minute AFTER you’re done doing all of the above?  Granted my husband is a huge help, but let’s just say he’s not a morning person…so any assistance he may offer has to wait ‘til after he’s had his coffee…and well, shitty babies and puking dogs aren’t the most patient of creatures.

The most amazing thing about this story is that when I shared it with my friend on our mommy-date she didn’t flinch nor seem surprised by any of it. In fact, she kind of one-upped me…

On a beautiful Saturday morning, my lovely, seasoned mommy-of-two friend decided to take a stroll in the park. She headed off with her babies and a lightweight purse, no diaper bag in sight. A couple hours later she found herself covered in baby doo-doo. It literally dripped off her shirt and pants all the way down to her toes. Turns out her little man was a wee-bit constipated, and let’s face it, nothing like a long walk to get those bowels going. All that nature and fresh air were enough to kick his intestinal tract into gear. Lucky for her, parks tend to be filled with other better equip mommies with lots of wipes and diapers. Let me just say that whoever invented the diaper needs to take a cue from the inventor of the tampon. We mommies must demand that they come out with an array of diapers: the ultra-thin, regular, heavy and super-heavy should all exist in diaper-land. Also, another thing I may point out is that a mommy should NEVER leave the house without a fully loaded diaper bag, packed with everything including a change of clothes for Mama Bear. Tisk tisk! By doing so one would avoid having to change in the backseat of your maid’s car. I can’t imagine that trying to put on a faja/spanx in such a confined space would be very easy…and yes, I just ousted all us new-mommies…we wear ‘em, yes we do.

Lessons to be learned: get comfortable with poop, you will be seeing lots of it. I for one am sure this won’t be the last time I address the subject matter. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Strollers, and Car Seats, and Swings...OH MY!

I have always been one of those cynical bastards that mercilessly criticized parents and their over-the-top strollers. I would laugh and snicker as the poor souls stood by their cars tugging and pushing at the contraption every which way. I remember driving by a house in the neighborhood I used to live only to witness a couple yelling at each other as they pointed at an empty stroller; they were obviously not arguing over the absent baby, so I’m led to believe they were arguing over how to put the damned thing away. Why not buy something that is simple to operate? Little did I know…

Looks can be deceiving...
Daddy, Tills & the stroller.

It was August 14, 2012; Tilly had her second pediatrician appointment at 10:50 am, and this mama had been up since 5:00 am running through the endless motions of getting myself and the baby ready to leave the house. We were ready to hit the road by 9:45 am. I was in the clear! I strapped Tilly into her car seat, removed it from the stroller base in which it was nestled and carried her over to the car. I was beamingly proud of myself. The car was packed with half the contents of the house, the stroller was in the trunk and even my mom was ready to go.  We were sure to make it on time, call me Super Mom. When I went to put the car seat in the base in a final victorious gesture it wouldn’t click into place. How strange, I thought. I tried again, and then again...nothing.

Fast forward twenty minutes and I’m sweating my post-partum ass off, cursing the idiots responsible for manufacturing all Peg-Perego products. What had began as a triumphant morning quickly turned into an epic fail. My mother and I wrestled with the wretched contrivance trying to get it to fit into place. I cursed the day I had decided to ignore the countless words of advice that suggested I get comfortable using my car seat before embarking on day trips with my child. I should add that all the while my baby was bobbing up and down in the thing, sound asleep. After thirty unsuccessful minutes of car seat warfare, I frantically called my husband. The conversation unfolded, a bit like this:

Hubs: Hi mi amor…
Me: I’m f-ing late. It’s so f-ing hot I can’t breathe. I can’t f-ing believe this damn thing doesn’t work. We broke it.
(Translation:  I was not only frustrated with our faulty baby carrier, but also with the fact that we live in a townhouse with no garage, so this most unpleasant of endeavors had to be endured under the scorching Miami sun. This summer has been absurdly hot, and my pregnancy and post-baby weight seemed only to aggravate the record-high temperatures. I wanted to rip the very clothes off my body.)
Hubs: What are you talking about?
Me: The car seat isn’t working and I’m late. cue tears (all respectable first time baby meltdowns involve an uncontrollable on-surge of tears)
Hubs: What do you mean?
Me: What do you mean, what do I mean? It isn’t working, I’m super late and it’s so hot and I can’t deal with this, and I’m going to die. (all baby breakdowns also involve a proclamation of death)
Hubs: Baby, I can’t help you if you don’t explain things to me, I’m on my way. Caro bawling in the background, baby still sleeping in car seat, mother watching in disbelief

This is what it had come down to. A sweaty, overweight mommy bawling her eyes out while the car seat sat lopsided on its base, meanwhile my husband proceeded to leave a job site in Fort Lauderdale, a good forty minutes away to come decipher what was going. Yes, I married a saint. Amidst my tears I decided to go find the car seat manual, when suddenly I had a moment of clarity…why was the car seat lopsided? Upon further speculation, I realized I had left the stroller adapters attached to it. I ran back outside, removed the stroller adapters and CLICK! With the car seat finally in place we were ready to go, 40 minutes late. My husband did not appreciate the call that followed letting him know everything was ok…

I guess the moral of the story is that while most strollers, car seats, and other infant transportation devices seem like they are pretty self-explanatory and easy to use, the f-ing things are in actuality a nightmare. They are meant to be so idiot proof that they are in fact incredibly complicated. I consider myself an intelligent and competent adult and yet I find myself rendered completely helpless when staring down a stroller, car seat…and let me not get started on the baby swing. Unless you know exactly which button to push, lever to pull, or strap to clip you will NEVER decipher how to efficiently use these objects. I will also add that I’m not the only one this has happened to. On our way back from the park one day my husband (the engineer for god’s sake!) spent an hour outside trying to remove the bassinet from the stroller base. It wasn’t until I realized he hadn’t come inside that I went back out, pulled a lever and relieved him of his misery.  

A word to the wise: don’t throw away instruction manuals you WILL need them! 

Still asleep after all the fuss...
My baby girl on our way to the pedi.