The miracle of Thanksgiving

Chris, Max, and I went to my parents’  house in Longview, TX, for Thanksgiving. It’s roughly a four and a half hour drive from our house in Austin, but it can easily balloon to five and a half or even six when traveling with a baby. Max is still eating every three hours, but luckily, we are able to give him bottles on the road. We usually manage to make the  trip with only one stop for a feeding.

However, there was an unscheduled stop in Jacksonville, TX. Max had been fussy in the car, due to boredom and the sun getting in his eyes at times, despite my best efforts to shield them. I finally got him to sleep just as we got to Jacksonville, after many hummed renditions of Brahms’ “Lullaby”.

I was just about to tell Chris how Max had fallen asleep with one of his legs in the air when I noticed something protruding from his diaper. You see, lately, Max has started pooing only once a week. (We have told our doctor and it’s nothing to worry about.) While it is nice to have so few poopy diapers, there is usually a copious amount once the poop does land. Of course, he waited for his weekly poop until we were on the road in East Texas. Add to this the fact that we were not expecting another weekly poop, because he had just had one on Monday.

So, I took a closer look at the substance protruding from the diaper. It was getting dark out, but the light from the IPhone revealed that there was poo oozing from the diaper. Due to the fact that he had fallen asleep with his leg in the air, it had not soiled his outfit or the carrier. Also, I would not have seen it otherwise and I couldn’t smell it for some reason.

Horrified, I stage-whispered to my husband, “Hey, Chris, there’s poop coming out of his diaper!” Due to the semi-calm whispering tone of my voice, my husband at first was unsure about the urgency of the situation. We were soon in the parking lot of the post office, grossing out unsuspecting folks dropping off their holiday mail.

The only reason I can think of that my son would fall asleep in such an unprecedented position, thereby allowing us to save his outfit, his carrier, and our sanity on that long, cold drive is The Miracle of Thanksgiving. So, all ye citizens of Jacksonville, TX, take heart. When you smell that weird odor still lingering around the post office, you are actually getting a whiff of true holiday magic.

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New mom fears/difficulties conquered this week

1. Taking my son’s temperature rectally.

2. Putting a new crib sheet on his mattress.

3. Taking him to the grocery store by myself. No crying or dirty diapers! However, two separate Good Samaritans (one of them a new-ish mom herself) did help me get his carrier in and out of the grocery cart. Thanks!

It is really weird …

to go to the movies and find yourself sympathizing with the parents in the film.

Lucky little boy

I am so, so grateful that my son has a wonderful father who will be there for him his whole life. My father left when I was 13 and was never really around after that. In fact, he was never really around before he left. He was usually on business trips and when he was home, he was either asleep or locked in the bathroom. Or we wished he was asleep or locked in the bathroom.

Due to those experiences, one of my goals in life was to make sure my children had a father they could depend on. I know children can do fine without a father. My mother is one of the best women on earth, maybe THE best, and I marvel more and more everyday (especially since I’ve had my own child) at the bravery and sheer guts she displayed in striking out on her own and taking care of us. Luckily, she was only on her own a few years before my stepdad showed up, but she sacrificed a great deal for us before and after her remarriage and I will be forever grateful. Due to that example, I knew children could be great with a single parent and I might have gone that route if I had had to wait much longer for my husband.

Fortunately, my Prince Charming came along and now I have my beautiful baby boy. I finally have everything I really wanted (except possibly more kids, but we’ll wait a couple of years at least before we do anything about that). My baby boy has a terrific daddy AND he gets to have my mom for a grandmother. And those two are not the only wonderful family members he has. I think my son is set. (No pun intended.)

Baby mine

I’ve decided I don’t appreciate this biological hooey where the baby looks like the dad the first few months, so that the father can be sure the baby’s his. Not only is it insulting to the mother, but it’s also just plain not fair. I carried my son for forty-one and a half weeks and spent 12 hours giving birth to him. (Drug-free, thankyouverymuch.) I’ve been breast-feeding him round-the-clock for almost two months now. Also, he has all of my facial features. My eyes, my nose, my mouth, even my forehead. Yet, he looks like my husband! Only one person has said he looks like me! I know it shouldn’t matter, but come on. I’ve already put a year of my life in to this kid. He’s half mine. By rights, it should be more, considering all of the extra effort I put in. 😉 He’s already got my husband’s last name! Where’s the MOM’S evidence that the baby is hers?? Believe it or not, we need some reassurance on that point, too.

Free to breast-feed

My son and I finally made it to our first postnatal yoga class today. I didn’t actually end up doing much yoga because my son, like most almost-two-month-olds, needs to eat every three hours. Also, he takes about 40 minutes to  nurse. I admit, this has kept me from attending the class before, because I didn’t want to spend most of it nursing instead of doing yoga. However, the writing is on the wall. I’m not going to be able to do anything unless I am willing to feed him during some part of it. So I went, but I took a bottle of breast milk with me, since he usually bottle-feeds quicker than he nurses.

My son has taken a bottle from me several times and he usually gets at least one a day from my husband, so that I can have a break. However, he wouldn’t take it today. So, since several other women were nursing their babies, I decided to go ahead and nurse him.

At first, I felt self-conscious nursing without a cover in public. However, I soon became completely comfortable with it. In fact, I felt liberated. Before I had a child, I was fine with women breast-feeding in public, although I assumed it would be best for them to cover themselves up, to avoid catching flack from people. I thought it must be easy to just toss a cover over yourself and the baby. I was wrong. I have a nursing cover. It is very difficult to get the child in and out of the cover without exposing yourself somehow anyway. You either have to flash people or place the child under there and then fumble with your clothes, blind and one-handed. Also, it is sweltering under there (I can only imagine what it feels like for my son.) and trying to get him latched back on  five thousand times while I can’t see him makes me want to pull my hair out.

Everyone says “breast is best.” They want all of the moms to breast-feed because it is better for the babies, but most people would prefer you stay trapped in the house for three months doing it. I’m sorry, but that is just not realistic. If people are going to get judgmental about a mom not breast-feeding, then they shouldn’t be judgmental about a mom doing it in public. A mom still has to have a life while breast-feeding, especially if she has other kids and/or a job. Plus, it’s better for both mom and baby if they aren’t trapped in the house 24/7. For the first time today, I didn’t feel limited by breast-feeding. I didn’t feel trapped. I actually felt like I was breast-feeding and living at the same time. I didn’t feel like I had to drop everything to feed my child. I didn’t have to stop my life. I was sharing my life with him.

Honestly, I think most moms probably aren’t self-conscious about nursing without a cover. At least, like me, they would find out they weren’t once they tried it. I think it is other people’s attitudes that make a mom self-conscious, rather than her own feelings. It’s not what the mom or baby is doing, but other people’s thoughts about breasts that are the problem. The fact is, I had to look really closely at the moms in class today to tell if they were nursing, even without covers. They were very discreet about it. They weren’t flashing their breasts around or letting them hang out when a child wasn’t latched to them. The fact is, our society is prudish and many think of breasts purely as sexual objects. Come on, people. It’s breast-feeding, not flashing your boobs to get Mardi Gras beads. And yet, some of the same people who probably pay money for those Girls Gone Wild DVDs, give nursing mothers dirty looks in public.

Slow and not so steady

I never thought it would be possible for me to take longer to leave the house than I did before my son was born. I was wrong. Before, I took too long because I would oversleep or meander around, giving in to my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and checking everything over and over. Now I get up two or three hours early, rush around madly, and am STILL sometimes late or miss whatever event I am trying to attend entirely.

Diaper-changing on the road

Picture, if you will, a Brookshire Bros. grocery store in Buffalo, TX. A young couple are in the parking lot attempting to change their newborn’s diaper. Actually, the mom was driving, so she is in the front changing the diaper while the child lies in the front passenger seat. Almost everything that can go wrong does.

First – The child in question keeps pushing off the back of the seat with his feet. Consequently, his head is already hanging off of the seat before his mother even has his diaper off.

Second – The mother mentions that her open can of Diet Coke is in danger of being sprayed if the cloth diaper covering her son’s penis does not effectively block the spray if he pees. Due to extreme sleep deprivation, she does not notice her husband reaching right in front of her and removing the can.

Third – Her elbow strikes something on the console between the seats while she is trying to wipe her wriggling son’s butt and keep the makeshift “pee-pee teepee” in place. At first, she thinks it is the bottle of formula her husband was feeding her son moments before. However, she soon discovers it is her can of Diet Coke, which is now upside down between the well and the passenger seat, covering the floorboard with Diet Coke.

Fourth – Wife yells at husband “Why in the world did you put that there???” Husband proceeds to calmly tell wife not to yell at him as Diet Coke continues to leak on the floorboard.

Fifth – One of the parents (Can’t remember which one.) finally collects their scattered wits long enough to grab the Diet Coke can. Mother tells father to stop telling her to quit yelling at him and help her clean up the Diet Coke on the changing pad before son puts his foot in it.

Six – Mother explains to father that she wasn’t trying to yell, just exclaiming in wonderment over the fact that he thought it was a good idea to put the Diet Coke can there. He’s usually smarter than that. That’s what sleep deprivation will do to you, kiddies.

Seven – Father helps clean up the Diet Coke, goes to grocery store gas station to get paper towels.

Eight – Son spits up as soon as father leaves. Mother is still holding him on front seat. Burp cloth is in backseat.

Nine – Mother makes do with a wipe until father returns, retrieves burp cloth, and finishes the job. Afterwards, mother realizes she no longer knows which cloth diaper is “pee-pee teepee” and which is burp cloth.

Ten – Son is returned to backseat unscathed. Parents have a good laugh at themselves. Son laughs at parents from car seat. Parents drive out of the parking lot after that stunning display of mental acuity and coordination.

Although it doesn’t sound like it from that story, our first trip as a family went very well this weekend! Our son barely fussed in the car. He is the most amazing baby ever.

Day in the life of a mommy

7:30 a.m. Wonderful husband bottle-feeds son, so I can get some extra sleep after my horrendous Saturday night.

7:35 a.m. Realize that my Mommy radar won’t let me sleep when the baby is awake and in the immediate vicinity.

7:45 a.m.-ish Go back to sleep with baby after he has been duly fed and burped.

11:30 a.m. Awaken next to squirming baby. Rush in to bathroom to test milk on Milkscreen to make sure glass of wine consumed 12 hours ago is safely out of bloodstream.

11:32 a.m. Rush now-screaming baby in to be changed after Milkscreen’s thumbs-up.

11:35 a.m. Am now feeding baby, who falls asleep after one side. Right boob, which has not been feed or pumped off of in over 12 hours starts to pulse  ominously.

Noon: Place smiling, giggling, but totally uninterested in eating and relieving Mommy’s discomfort baby in swing. Silently curse the Fates for making me have to put him in the swing when he’s happy, yet deal with him when he’s screaming his bloody head off. Realize will have to pump while having breakfast.

12:05 p.m.: Find pumping equipment still dirty in sink and vitamin container empty. Breakfast moving farther away.

12:30 p.m.: Finally start making breakfast after cleaning pump, filling cats’ water bowls and disseminating Fancy Feast and about a thousand cat treats. Hear Nature calling just as toast pops up.

12: 40 p.m.: Finish spreading soupy butter on room temperature toast.

12:45 p.m. Realize all of my nursing and baby paraphernalia still need to be moved from bedroom to living room in case the baby wakes up hungry or cat plops itself on my lap, rendering me unable to move.

1:20 p.m. Finally sit down to breakfast. Baby starts to stir. Start wondering whether to pump or wait.

1:30 p.m. Baby asleep. Must pump before boob explodes and obliterates Tokyo with typhoon of breast milk.

1:40 p.m. Crisis averted. Tokyo safe.

2:20 p.m. Baby awake. Finished all of breakfast except yogurt. Place yogurt on mantel to protect from cats. Change and nurse baby.

3 p.m. Tummy time.

3:30 p.m. Try to place baby in bouncy seat, so can pick out husband’s birthday present. Baby suddenly hates bouncy seat.

4 p.m. Discover all birthday ideas are not available until after birthday.

4:30 p.m. Baby asleep in swing. Rush to finally dress and brush teeth and hair.

4:45 p.m. Eat lunch.

5:20 p.m. Change and nurse baby.

5:45 p.m. Attack poor, unsuspecting husband for being late and calling while my phone was in the back and I couldn’t answer it (due to nursing).

6 p.m. Make up with husband after we catch each other smiling at Friends.

7 p.m. Eat dinner from Baby Greens, watch season premiere of 90210.

8 p.m. Nurse baby, watch series premiere of Melrose Place. Already looking forward to next week. Good sign.

8:45 p.m. Discover yogurt still on mantel.

10 p.m. Shower.

11 p.m. Nurse baby.

12:30 Blog, eat ice cream, go to bed. Start all over again tomorrow.

Semi-awkward parenting moment

I had forgotten that little boys can, well, seem “excited,” even when they are very young. I worked in a daycare once and changed other little boys’ diapers, so I did know this, but somehow, I never considered it in connection with my own son. However, I was confronted with it a couple of days ago. It didn’t shock me that much. I was just like, “Oh, yeah. I forgot that could happen,” and I went on changing the diaper. However, I was shocked a moment later when it suddenly seemed like his “excitement” had become way too prominent for a one-month-old. Turns out his mom sticks her pinky out when changing diapers instead of when drinking tea.

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