Tag Archives: parenting humor

How To Make A Baby: The First Year

It’s been almost a year since I pushed a human being out of my body. This past week I have been literally aching to have another baby. I’m telling myself this sudden desire for baby number two is a result of this important birth anniversary. Biology is an incredible thing. (I think I hear my mom cheering.)

I’m not going to give you the play by play of how our baby, or any baby for that matter, was made. Sorry. Or maybe, you’re welcome. But what does it take to “make a baby” a success?

I have read a lot of parenting articles, blogs, and books and some have been helpful and some have been not helpful, and the conclusion I’ve drawn is that nobody really knows. Therefore I feel as qualified as anyone else to offer you my personal conclusions about parenting, one year in.

“Good Mom” Does Not Equal DIY

Every day my son gets a sheet from the daycare chronicling his day. Without really talking about it, my husband and I have been saving them. That is, until a few weeks ago, when the sheets had accumulated on every surface of our house and in the cracks of the seats in our cars, in purses, bags, drawers, and the diaper bag. I asked my husband if it was important to him if we kept them. He was surprised, saying he had only been saving them for me.

Then my husband said, “Huh, I guess I just imagined you were more of a scrapbook kind of person than you actually are.”

I threw them away. All of them.

In a perfect world I would scrapbook everything from my son’s first footprints to the sheets he brings home from daycare. In a perfect world, I would have remembered to take the photo each month with my son in his cute onesie stating his age (I did three of the first six months, and then realized around month six, when all the pictures looked exactly the same, the purpose of the stuffed animal sitting next to my friends’ monthly baby picture updates: size perspective. I’m a quick study. By the time I’d made this discovery my son had had a diaper explosion, ruining his six month onesie, and ending the project.) In a perfect world this isn’t what my son’s first photo album would look like:

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Let it be known it took me five minutes to dig this box out of the closet for this photo. That’s how low this is on my priority list.

In anticipation of my son’s first birthday my coworker and I sat during our lunch break and browsed Pinterest photos for ideas of first birthday themes. I got so excited looking over the ideas and planning out foods. I settled on a dog theme, complete with puppy chow snacks. An hour later a different coworker asked me what my son’s first birthday party theme would be. In a moment of clarity I said, “Rachel’s House”.

We’re ordering the party food from Costco. Funny thing? I have no regrets about how I’ve been spending my time. And my son still seems pretty happy whenever I enter the room. Though I suppose there’s still plenty of time for him to hold the lack of photo albums against me.

“Sleep Training Sucks Balls”

I apologize for the language. Allow me to explain. I recently got back in touch with an old friend from High School. Via text she told me she’s been reading my blog and then said, “Are you still sleep training? Sucks balls!!!” I laughed for a full five minutes.

It isn’t just that we have tried every sleep configuration possible, including: holding him through the night, co-sleeping, him sleeping next to our bed, us sleeping next to his bed, sleeping in the play pen next to the bed, moving the crib into our room, moving the crib into his room. We’ve tried sleeping in the swing, sleeping in the bouncer, sleeping on the floor, with and without blankets, pacifiers, comfort objects, mobiles, and sound machines.

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The bigger challenge is the fear. The fear that even though he’s slept the last three nights, we’re one bout of sickness away from starting over. From the dreaded beginning. Or the fear that he, and we, will never sleep again. Ever.

By the way, for all of you itching to tell me it gets better, I know, I know. Wanna know what’s even more helpful than telling me it gets better? Offering to take an overnight shift to watch him.

Finally, a parenting law: the moment a baby falls asleep one of the following will happen: a doorbell ring, a dog bark, a phone buzz, firecrackers, battery operated toys coming to life with creepy songs and flashing lights, car alarms, kitchen alarms, or fire alarm. If none of the above happen, you will trip and stub your toe on the way out of the sleeping baby’s room. If you break your toe without making a noise, you win. This is Truth with a capital T.

Do What Works Until It Doesn’t. Repeat.

Sometimes it works to leave dishes piled on the kitchen counters and onto the floor. Sometimes it doesn’t. Then we wash them. Sometimes it works to feed our son organic food. Sometimes it doesn’t. And we give him regular generic brand apple sauce. Sometimes it works to drown your postpartum sorrows in endless slices of cinnamon swirl bread with butter. Sometimes it doesn’t. And you buy bigger clothes and eat less carbs.

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All random examples of course.

I felt some guilt over the fact that for awhile the only thing that calmed my son down while riding in the car was listening to Eminem and Rihanna sing the song “Monster”. Did I listen to too much top 40 radio while pregnant? Likely. Is it worth listening to “Monster” forty times in a row to avoid a long car ride with a screaming baby?

You’ll have to decide that for yourself.

Tell the Truth 

I cried for four hours every day the week after my son was born. The crying slowed down a little each week until I only cried every other day, once a week, and finally only when watching heartwarming videos. (OK, Always sanitary napkin commercials. Their marketing campaigns have been impressive lately.)

I recently realized I drove home with my son’s carseat not snapped into the carseat base, as the carseat base had a sock, a highlighter, and a metal fork in it.

When my son was three months old I put too much weigh on the handle of his stroller and he fell out of the stroller and scratched his eyelid. Arguably one of the worst moments of my life.

We switched to using brown sheets because that was easier than changing them as often as our son threw up on them.

I know, gross.

But also, a relief. This past year some of my favorite moments have been when I have told one of these stories to someone and they’ve respond with, “Oh, let me tell you…” and then matched or topped my story with one of their own.

There aren’t a lot of answers, but there sure are a lot of stories.

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One year. I can’t believe it’s already been one year. But my almost standing, almost walking, almost talking son is proof that indeed, life continues, ready or not. It may be awhile before baby number two (sorry Mom) but in the meantime, I am the proudest mama of my little one year old.

Thank you for the lessons, my sweet boy. Happy Birthday.

261755_10150290602379874_2436766_nRachel

I’m Pretty Much Nailing This Parenting Thing

There was bird poop on my porch steps this morning and I was elated. Because where there is bird poop, there is a bird who is chirping the message that spring, spring, spring is almost here (in weather, I mean, I am aware of how the equinox works).

Therefore, in celebration of the fact that it is spring, complete with showers, and the fact that our staff bathroom had toilet paper in it today (it’s the little things people), I am writing an uplifting piece about the milestones I (and my husband) have reached as a parent in the first seven and a half months of my son’s life.

Let me preface this by saying that I went into this whole parenting thing already sort of an expert. I teach, after all, and therefore know a thing or two about kids. So these milestones go above and beyond those basic achievements.

Now it’s time to report back on how well we have excelled as parents. Here goes:

The Disposable Diaper Achievement:

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At one month into parenting, we turned the corner on cloth diapering. Maybe it was the fact that our son’s diapers caused his rear end to be twelve times the side of his head and pushed him into baby clothes six months ahead of his age. Maybe it was too difficult to remember to put out the diapers for pick-up on Saturday mornings. Maybe it was too hard to hand-wash the wool diaper covers. Or maybe it was the fact that our son peed a lot. And insisted on being changed after every urination. Whatever it was, cloth diapers had to go.

While using cloth diapers it was not unusual for me to change my son’s diaper, put him down for a nap, and have to change his diaper again before he had fallen asleep. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m not sure if it was me or my husband who got the brilliant idea to switch to disposable diapers at nights so that we could sleep in longer than 15 minute increments, but I think we both knew that once we made that concession, we were well on our way to becoming a cloth-diaper-free house. And so it was that within two months we earned ourselves the Disposable Diaper Achievement.

Responsible Screen Time Award:

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We don’t own a TV at our house, a fact that saves a lot of time when Comcast tries to offer us their latest amazing deal. But we do own a computer and a Netflix subscription. Let’s be honest, that’s at least as good as a TV, and makes the opening statement of not owning a TV immediately less impressive.

My husband read a book that told us to limit screen time for children before the age of two. A worthy challenge. For the first few months of our son’s life we were careful to always point all computer or phone screens away from his face. Amateurs.

Anyway, the author of this book has clearly never been stuck in Chicago’s rush hour traffic with a screaming child, having already sung all verses of every song you’ve ever heard, exhausting all possible items of interest pulled from every bag and purse in the car. If the author had been in this situation, they too would have earned the Responsible Screen Time Award, an award that goes out to any parent who, in a moment of panic or fatigue, is able to use technology to soothe or distract their child.

If you need any assistance with earning this award, might I suggest a free download of the app “Magic Fingers”. You’re welcome. (I also endorse youtube videos.)

The Best Intentions Organic Homemade Baby Food Honorable Mention:

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At his four month appointment, the pediatrician told us we could start feeding our son rice cereal. My husband and I gave one another knowing glances. It was really a shame to see our pediatrician so behind in the baby food conversation. Doesn’t he know that rice cereal causes diabetes, is probably full of arsenic, and will make our child obese?

When he asked us directly, we smugly answered that we were making our own baby food. What we meant was that we have a food processor and intentions of peeling, pureeing, and storing our own homemade (organic) baby food. We hadn’t actually MADE it. (Our pediatrician gave us a sympathetic smile and said, “God bless you guys. But seriously, Gerber baby food is good, too.”)

Several days after the appointment I happened to be at Babies R Us, and there happened to be a sale on organic baby food. I picked up a box of twelve little jars. After all, we needed more storage containers for our homemade food.

It’s been three months since then and to date we have boiled and mashed one sweet potato. It wasn’t an organic sweet potato because Costco doesn’t carry organic sweet potatoes. Our son didn’t seem to mind. And that is how we managed to put ourselves on the list of parents who have earned The Best Intentions Organic Homemade Baby Food Honorable Mention.

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There have been a few other important milestones so far including, but not limited to, “Allowing Your Child to Sleep in His Swing Until the Swing Stops Swinging” Award, and the “Supplement With Formula Because Pumping More Than Once A Day At Work Is A Pain In The You Know What” Award. And let me not forget our newly achieved “Using Food To Stop Your Child From Screaming At Target” Award.

I am sure we have many, many more milestones to hit before we’re done. (Perhaps some will be shared by all the veteran parents in the comments section below.)

As my mother-in-law says, “Parents have to do what works.” (She gave very similar sex advice to us when we got married, but I digress.)

In any case, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished so far. It makes me pretty excited. Almost (but not quite) as excited as seeing bird poop on my back porch.