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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Sleep for the Weary

Now back to the original purpose of this blog…

My intention is to create a space where I can share my experiences as a first-time mom. I have found that there’s nothing quite like the advice that you receive from those women around you that are going through the same challenges. Your mother is no doubt the best source of moral support and love during this time, but let’s face it, it’s been quite a while since she’s had a newborn day-in and day-out…and to add insult to injury…YOUR newborn is HER grandchild. There is nothing on this Earth that will stop the woman from spoiling that baby rotten…With that in mind, I present you with my take on the first few weeks of mommyhood:

My child spent the first 10 days of her life in the NICU for reasons far too intricate for me to go into. Thankfully she is healthy and thriving. When we were finally able to bring her home, she came to us with a feeding and sleeping schedule already established.  I thought I’d hit the jackpot, as she would eat approximately 3 – 4 ounces of formula and then sleep for 4 hours or so…I will pause here to address the ever-taboo subject of breastfeeding: I will merely say this; breastfeed if your body and your baby allow you to, otherwise, give your child formula. It’s not the end of the world. And f*ck you TIME magazine, just ‘cause my child won’t be clinging to my boob ‘til the age of 3 doesn’t mean I’m not “mom enough”. Ok, now that that’s out the way…I’ll revert to the subject at hand by saying that I was wrong, boy, was I ever wrong. Matilda’s so-called schedule lasted about a day. There’s something about bringing your baby home that triggers an “I’m going to do whatever the hell I want with these people that are gawking at me all day” reaction in them. This, in turn, incites an “I’m going to hover over my child while she sleeps and panic at any sign of waking up” response in parents that renders the whole situation moot. Needless to say, our baby’s sleeping schedule is not what we’d like it to be. She fights sleep in the midday and early afternoon, and if I can’t get her to do one long, good nap during the day she gets so cranky and inconsolable by the evening that it throws her off for the rest of the night. Which means neither baby nor mommy get any sleep, and we spend the next 3 days trying to get back on track. So here are some of the many tactics we’ve resorted to in trying to get her to go to sleep… 

3:00 a.m

Things that work, but I wouldn’t recommend:

  • Transforming your pack-n-play into a rocking crib by standing over your baby as she sleeps and swaying the entire apparatus back n’ forth. Sure, this will lull your baby to sleep in no time, but I’m pretty certain I’ve reduced the lifespan of the brand spanking new porta-crib by at least half. This particular method is so successful we have considered putting wheels on the very large and very heavy all-wood crib in the nursery; as we have already tried to rock it back n’ forth to no avail.
  • Paci-warfare: the act of purchasing a large array of pacifiers and proceeding to sequentially stick one of each brand into your baby’s mouth while she is hollering at the top of her lungs until you come across the one brand she takes to and quiets down. Once you have rendered all other pacis useless, you proceed to send your husband out to the nearest pharmacy or baby store to deplete them of all the victor brand of pacis. You must assure that you will never be without said paci for the rest of your life.
  • As soon as your baby starts to cry you take her into her your arms and rock her back to sleep, or gently tap her on her chest, or caress her until she is peacefully snoozing. If you have a rocking chair, this can become a dangerous habit. It is undeniably one of the best sensations in the world to have your baby sprawled across your chest while you rock away, until you’re doing this at 2am and you’re so groggy from lack of sleep you don’t even know what your name is.  I have implemented this method twice already while writing this blog post.
  • I kid you not:

Yes, that is Mariachi music blasting. No, we’re not Mexican. The neighbors probably think we’ve lost our minds…or are habitual tequila drinkers.

And I know we’re not alone. I know of someone who would stick their newborn in their car, get on the freeway and drive around in circles until he fell asleep. I have another friend that would have to put the baby in his stroller and parade around the streets of South Beach. And yet another that put her twins on the washing machine in their bouncy chairs and stood by ‘til they were out cold. I by no means condone this kind of behavior, nor do I think that parents should become slaves to their baby’s sleep patterns, but I do empathize with all of you out there trying to get a good night’s rest. So, I have purchased a book that emphasizes the importance of creating good sleeping habits for your baby. The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers by Gina Ford is meant to be replete with guidelines on how to make sure your baby sleeps soundly. I will be putting such suggestions into practice over the next week…stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More Observations of a Stubborn Preggo

The things you will inevitably feel/go through during those nine long months...

Observations of a Stubborn Preggo: Part Deux

  • Am I a bad mother for refusing to completely lose my identity? I’d much rather look at motherhood as one of the many roles of my multi-faceted self…
  • It’s inevitable, you will become the biggest sap on the face of the Earth…shit like a PUBLIX Mother’s Day commercial (for God’s sake!) will make you weep like a widow. Don't believe me? See the following:
  • Even worse…you will lose the ability to read adult literature without being consumed by a roaring sense of guilt. I desperately wanted to read “50 Shades of Grey,” but felt the adult content might penetrate my womb and corrupt my child…I didn’t want her ho-ing it up from birth…
  • BEWARE of cashiers at Publix and/or any other establishment that collects funds from people at the register…Apparently being pregnant is the equivalent of having a big red “CHARITY” sign pinned to your forehead. No, I do not wish to donate my money to orphans, homeless people, cripples, or premature babies. But then again, how do you say no when they stare at your belly while uttering the words as if in slow-motion “…ture ba…bies”?!?!?
  • There will come a point in which your husband’s pajamas are worth more than any designer garment you may own or long to own…comfort, my friend, is key!
  • I don’t care what some insane b*tches out there will tell you…Pregnant sex is not sexy! There are no uncharted depths of pleasure to be discovered or secret intimacies to be tapped into. Truth is – you’re fat, you’re slow, and all of a sudden positions that once seemed so simple and effortlessly pleasurable, now feel like you’re attempting some death-defying act straight out of the newest Cirque du Soleil traveling show. Quite frankly, the only reason you don’t altogether quit sex cold turkey is ‘cause, c’mon, a girl’s got needs…
  • You will want to clean everything in sight. Three times.
  • Everything pink and blue and fluffy is now cute. Just deal with it.
  • Other women…let me rephrase that…other mothers will habitually lie to you about the changes your body will go through during pregnancy. Take, for example, the transformation of your breasts. It is common knowledge that one’s breast will become larger during these nine months. We are told this, and are often told “they’ll go back to normal once the baby is born…” However, no one tells you that your nipples will turn into satellite dishes and your once beautiful rosy-hued areolas will look like they’ve been charred to a crisp. Yes, this is disturbing…but you b*tches need to know what you’re getting yourselves into.
  • I won’t even get started on what happens south of the border during pregnancy…go research…
  • “Nesting” (the instinctive urge pregnant mammals exhibit prior to giving birth) is not a myth. In a mere 72-hours I had more than a handful of manic anxiety attacks over the baby room. The need to feel prepared somehow clouded all logic and adult reasoning I may have previously possessed. I literally kicked my husband out of his home office/baby-room-to-be and went on a savage diaper-buying rampage. Note: purchasing diapers is an effective coping mechanism for the nesting rage. The knowledge that my child had dozens of pee & poo receptacles was incredibly reassuring. It made me feel as if, maybe, I wouldn’t suck at this motherhood thing after all.
  • Childbirth classes are overrated. I attended one, and decided to let nature run its course. Seriously? My grandmother had six children and I highly doubt she EVER studied the teachings of Dr. Lamaze, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Spock or any other f*cker who decided to come up with some long, drawn-out explanation of the dos and don’ts of giving birth. My approach – as long as the baby came out intact, my job was complete. If I had to punch and insult a few people along the way…c’est la vie.
  • Deciding what to eat will at times bring on an onslaught of tears so uncontrollable that you’ll render yourself completely helpless. Think of it this way…life can be quite overwhelming when you’re starving (even though you ate three hours prior) and have to choose between a gloriously succulent burger, delectably spicy Thai food, or a cheesy gooey Mexican feast. I mean, it’s not like you can drink your calories anymore, now you actually have to chew them…this is serious business people!
  • I complained A LOT…but I have to say that pregnancy was BY FAR the most badass thing I’ve ever done, hands down.
July 22, 2012...a walk in the park a day before
Matilda was born...

And then the real fun starts...

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Backstory & Preggo Entry #1

The Backstory & Preggo Entry #1:

Now let's backtrack a bit, as I realize that my first post wasn't quite the introductory post it should have been...

As I previously stated, I was never much of a girly girl. I never had white-picket-fence dreams and housewife ambitions. Nevertheless, when I met "that guy" I found myself joyfully contemplating such a life. Just over a year into our marriage, after a night of drunken Thanksgiving festivities I found myself peeing on a stick while my hubby puked the contents of his intestines in the other bathroom. Not a minute had passed when I yelled "OMG" or "Holy Sh*t" or something along those the way, can one curse on a bTlog? Anyways, the pee stick had declared it's verdict without hesitation. A bold "YES" stared back at me while I, in a groggy hungover haze, glared blankly back at it. Honestly, all I could think of was that my drinking days were over, sucks for me. Once that thought registered, I started digesting the reality of the situation...We were going to be parents. Granted, I knew very little on the matter. We had discussed it, and had decided we were ready for it, but let's face it, you're never quite ready. All I knew about pregnancy was the stuff they show you on TV or the movies...along with the occasional episode of TLC's "A Baby Story". Other than that, I was oblivious...thinking back on it now, I thank The Powers That Be that I was...'cause let me tell you, pregnancy is not just about cravings and a growing belly...

The Hubs & I doing pre-baby grown-up things 
like Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

Which leads me to my point: The next three posts will give you a glimpse into my life as pregnant skeptic. They are what I like to call "Observations of a Stubborn Preggo"...

The moment of truth...My first "belly pic"
14 weeks pregnant w/ Matilda Sofia

Observations of a Stubborn Preggo: Part 1
Originally written on April 27, 2012.

  • Morning sickness is unlike any other sickness on the face of the earth…no matter what your husband says, the world’s worst hangover IS NOT an acceptable comparison…so he can stick it.
  • When hunger strikes…you’ve never been as hungry…therefore, it is completely acceptable to cry, tremble, or pretend like you’re about to faint until food is brought to you.
  • Just because this is your first baby doesn’t mean that other mothers have the right to tell you how to raise your unborn child or that you don’t know anything about being a mother…you are after all carrying a baby inside of you…that’s merit enough!
  • Your mom is your hero, and you will drop kick anyone who argues with that, period.
  • If a pregnant woman says, “I want my mommy.” Take the woman to her mother…
  • It is 100% UNACCEPTABLE to tell a pregnant woman how large she is…If one chooses to do so, one should specify that the BELLY is large…otherwise, prepare for the verbal wrath that will ensue from said pregnant woman…such revenge IS and ALWAYS WILL BE acceptable.
  • Pregnancy is a free ticket to say whatever the hell you want to others…
  • If you thought you gained weight easily prior to being pregnant, wait ‘til you are pregnant.
  • With that said, prepare yourself to cling onto your doctor or nurse in a crying fit every time you are weighed. There are tissues waiting for me by the examination bed at every check-up appointment I go to…tengo fama de Magdalena.
  • Most people will treat you like a cripple. I have beef with several of the baggers at Publix who insist on carrying a single bag of celery to the car for me. I know they are being courteous…but we’re in Miami, courtesy went out the window ages ago…at first, I was certain everyone was out to mug me!
  • When you actually do need to sit down ‘cause your feet look like Barney’s…just place one hand on your lower back and rub your belly like a genie lamp with the other…Magically, people will offer up their seats, stools, and/or knees for you to sit on…a thing of beauty!
  • You will never love your husband more than you do now…on the other hand, you will never hate him more either.
  • You and your husband are the only ones that can distinguish the blurry blurb of a baby that is your first sonogram pic…everyone else will think it looks like a deformed kidney bean. But to you, it is the cutest kidney bean on the face of the earth.
  • Weekly belly pics are probably boring for your friends and family…but they are a momentous occasion for you and your husband…
  • There is NOTHING that compares to feeling your baby move. The term “Tears of Joy” takes on a whole new meaning while pregnant…*cue sappy music*
  • Lastly, just when you thought you were coming into your own in this world…this little being inside of you changes EVERYTHING. Life takes a complete 180 and all of sudden, everything you once thought precious and valuable is put into question…At the end of the day, all that matters is you, your hubby and the lil’ one on the way! And in my case, I have to throw my furry sidekick in the mix too…

Big Mama G

The bean that changed it all...Tilly at 11 weeks.
Yes, we thought she already looked like a baby.

Observations of a Sleepless Mommy

Observations of a Sleepless Mommy:

Avoiding creating bad sleeping habits for a baby is like trying to avoid weight gain while going to a bakery everyday...Let's face it, as a first time mommy you will think that every whine, wimper and odd noise your child makes is a sure sign of death...Therefore, you will rush to your baby's side to sway, rock and sooth him/her back into what you believe to be a "blissful sleep"...
I write this as I sit in my baby's nursery rocking away in her bright purple glider, completely aware of the wrongdoing that I'm committing; so much so that, on the recommendation of a friend, I actually purchased The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies & Toddlers by Gina Ford and infact took a break from my reading it to go pick up my screaming 6 wk old from her crib and proceed to the rocker...
It was at this very moment that I decided to write this and follow it up by starting a blog...because there are bound to be other helpless and clueless mommies out there that, despite all the info and advice readily available to us, just don't have the heart to sit thru a concerto in B Minor courtesy of your baby's cries.

With that said, here goes nothing...

Let's start at the beginning...I met my husband when I was 20 years old...fresh out of college and ready to conquer the world. I was uninterested in a relationship, having just broken up with a psycho stalker boyfriend and convinced that within a year I'd be roaming the streets of NYC with hopes of making it in the Contemporary art world...He, my husband, was a 34 year old Jack-of-all-trades. Engineer, real estate investor, and night club owner amongst other things. If you are wondering, the latter of his professions brought us together...But enough of that, the point of this is to stress the fact that when we met we were both equally aware of the fact that we were neither interested in a serious relationship, much less children. I have never been one to gawk over little humans. On the contrary, most made me severely uncomfortable and socially awkward to be around...Fast forward five years and I find myself sitting in a fluffy purple chair with my baby fast asleep on my chest. Meanwhile, my husband is passed out in our bed trying to make up for last night's all-nighter...and no, tequila was not involved, unfortunately...
Needless to say...we were wrong about what we wanted. Now we, thankfully, find ourselves learning how to become parents and we wouldn't trade this for the world...

Meet Matilda Sofia, born on July 23, 2012 at 12:44pm.