September 27, 2011

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one"

I don't know to whom exactly I should credit that quote, but it is TRUTH.

Sleep has suddenly become elusive in this household (except for Denny; since he brings home the bacon I let him sleep). I am exhausted to the max. I'm talking, like, uber-zombie exhausted. Like, I-want-to-feast-on-brains zombie. Boo, hiss, it sucks. It's just a phase, but OH MY GOD I JUST WANT TO SLEEEEP.

Peyton was a great sleeper. Everyone always says the lack of sleep is the hardest part of having a newborn, but I heartily disagreed. She only woke once a night from the get-go, and that was totally tolerable for me. By two months, she was getting anywhere from five to six hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. 

Her pediatrician told me at her two-month well visit that five or six hours a night for a breastfed baby was great. Awesome! There is nothing like being validated and praised (in my mind it was praise for having an awesome baby that sleeps) by your child's pediatrician. I walked out of there thinking, 'I AM SO GOOD AT THIS MOMMY BUSINESS. I AM DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT. I COULD SCHOOL ALL OF YOU ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR BABY SLEEEEP!'

Now all I want is to be schooled myself, because I foresee an epic conundrum.

But first! My view from the baby monitor, at 4:46 this morning:

(Yes, Peyton sleeps on her belly. And with a blanket. 
No lectures here, plz&thx)

A series of wiggles, followed by some sort of howling coming from the monitor and her room. SHE WILL NOT SLEEP FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS AT A TIME. Is it a growth spurt? Is it the dreaded four-month wakeful period? Is it...both (pleaaaase dear God NO!)? WHAT THE EFF IS GOING ON?

So, here is the aforementioned condundrum. It is multi-faceted. Here we go:

Alright, she's waking up every two hours. I know I have to deal with it, so I get up (duh). do I get her back to sleep? If she's waking up every one and a half to two hours (ALL NIGHT LONG), then is she really that hungry? If it's a growth spurt, then probably. Whatever, I feed her. No big deal.

But...what if she's not hungry? I attempt to pat her little bottom and shush her until I'm winded from all the shushing, but she is wiiiide awake. On all fours, looking around, and babbling at her Sleep Sheep or cryyying away. In my opinion, she is way too young to cry it out, so that's not an option here (don't tell me otherwise, because I will rip your head off).

I am so jealous of moms that can pop a binkie/paci/whatever the hell you call it into a baby's mouth and it's instant calm and wonderfulness (I'm looking at you, HEATHER). I have Tupperware containers full of different brands of pacifier that the diva has rejected, one by one. I refuse to throw them out because I'm convinced that one day the angels will sing and the sun will shine down on me and she will take them. All of them. Behold:

Oho, there's more where this came from.

Anyway. Patting and shushing don't work, and binkies/pacis/whatever don't work, so I nurse her, hungry or not. Big freaking deal, right? For now I guess not.

But there will come a day when she's five years old and won't sleep and it'll just be weird to nurse once she can ask for it.


Am I setting myself up for failure here? Will I honestly have to nurse her every single night, at every single wake-up, since it's now a crutch for both of us? I think she's still too young to grasp a habit like that, but I don't want to wait much longer. It'll happen, sooner or later, and then I'll be royally screwed.

Am I destined to be one of those crazy moms that nurse their kids until they're five? Ugh, please no.

And on top of that, on the glorious day she finally accepts a bottle from me (oh sweet day, I am waiting for you), HOW THE EFF WILL I GET HER TO SLEEP THEN? I tried this whole "putting her down drowsy" ordeal, but no dice. She will only sleep if she is out cold--I am talking dead weight, sack of potatoes (cutest potatoes EVER) asleep. What is the one way I know of that will get her to sleep, every time? Nursing. Bah.

Babies thrive on routine, I guess that's common sense, sure. I am finding that baths before bed seem to help with the situation. Every time I give her a bath, she sleeps for eight hours straight. Nightime routine is snuggle, bath, lotion and baby massage, snuggle, nurse, sleep. Sleep for eight wonderous hours. Minor problem here: I can only bathe her every three nights (thanks, ECZEMA). Now we only sleep really well every third night. WTF.

Sup, mommadukes. I'm never sleeping AGAIN.
I also never sit correctly in my Bumbo seat. Stupid thing.

Big milestones have a lot to do with sleep regression, but we are coming up on the motherload of milestones (solids, grasping, crawling, etc., etc., etc.). So my question is this:

When am I going to sleep again?

On another note, we've had two of my freezer meals and both were DELISH. Loving it so far.

On another another note, I gave Peyton some super watered down rice cereal tonight and she TOOK IT. FROM. A. SPOON. I suck at life, though, and I didn't take any pictures. Pardon me while I go sob uncontrollably because my baby is getting so big and I'm failing to chronicle every single beautiful second.

September 23, 2011

Things I wish people told me

As every expecting mother or a mother of an infant will tell you, once you spill the beans that you are expecting/have a young child, others immediately become baby-having experts. Unsolicited advice falls upon you like a hammer and there is NOTHING you can do about it:
  • "To induce labor, try castor oil/spicy food/sex/walking/standing on your head/breakdancing/squats/eat eggplant/etc., etc., etc. By the way, NONE of those things worked for me.
  • "Give your baby cereal right away and they will sleep through the night!" (actually, research proves that there is no correlation between babies that are given cereal earlier and sleeping through the night, SO THERE. The established recommendation for introducing solids is 4-6 months so THAT'S WHAT I'M DOING AND KNOCK IT OFF WITH THE CEREAL NONSENSE.) ...Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?
  • "You can't tell how much the baby is getting to eat while you're nursing. If you gave her a bottle you'd know." Every time I heard this one I thought my head would explode.
  • "Just let her cry it out. She's manipulating you and just wants to be held." Um, no. Just no. I HAAAAATE this advice.
  • "That baby looks cold. Put some socks on those feet." SHUT UP. IT'S JULY.
  • "Letting your baby stand on her feet too soon will cause her to go bowlegged." (pshhh.)
  • The list goes on and on.
Don't get me wrong, I will take unsolicited advice from people who are well-meaning and provide FACTS. Don't give me old wives tales. Don't give me "well it worked for my kid so it should DEFINITELY work for yours." Let's not forget: I have the diva baby. What worked for your kid and 1,000 other kids will probably make my kid's head spin off. Figuratively speaking.

Instead, these are the things I wish people told me:
  • If you are lucky enough to induce labor on your own, you are just lucky. And that's it. In all likelihood, your body just went into labor on its own and you had nothing to do with it.
  • There are no medals for going "med-free." I, personally, had a hard time with this one because I wound up on narcotics, anesthetics, all kinds of fun stuff and wanted so desperately to have as little medical intervention as possible.
  • Breasfeeding doesn't come naturally to everyone and not every baby "nurses like a champ. (gah!)" The recommended one year of nursing is a long shot for a lot of mothers.
  • If your baby sleeps better on his or her tummy, let them sleep there. But be vigilant. SIDS is a serious risk.
  • Sleeping when the baby sleeps is IMPOSSIBLE. I will never give this advice to anyone. There will always be something better to do. Just get used to being a zombie creature.
  • No stain remover, laundry detergent, or gift from God will remove certain poop stains (gross, I know, but there will be poop on her clothes. And most likely on you). Put those soiled clothes out in the sun after a good wash and 99% of the time those stains will disappear. Okay, maybe the sun does count as a gift from God.
  • That nursery you spent all that time and money on? If your baby isn't sleeping in there from the get-go you won't spend any significant time in there for WEEKS.
  • It is okay to go out once in a while and have someone you trust watch the baby. It will save your sanity, and in the end a happy mommy is a happy baby.
There are plenty more, but princess just woke up from her nap and is demanding my presence.

So to my mommy friends out there...what kind of unsolicited advice did you get? What kind of advice would you give an expecting/new mom, since you've been "in the trenches?"

September 16, 2011

Brittany 1, Kitchen 0

I win.

It took two days, a total of 12 hours of blood, sweat, but no tears. I might have dirtied every pot, pan, spatula, spoon, and fork we own. Diva baby might have flipped her little baby lid 18 times, but I did it.

There are now enough frozen meals in my freezer for every weekday for the next four weeks.


I would have kept going, but I ran out of room in the freezer. I learned the hard way this morning about cramming too much crap into your freezer. Have you ever had two pounds of frozen chicken and soup fall onto your bare foot from three and half feet up? It really effing hurts.

Now that I have my first victory at freezer cooking under my belt, I feel much more confident that I can pull it off in less time next month. Maybe even in ONE DAY.

One important lesson learned and retained for next time: it's all about logistics. Chop, measure, label, and store as many ingredients as you can beforehand so you know what's going into what dish and how much is supposed to go in. I chopped a lot of my veggies, measured them, and threw them in labeled bags the night before, but measuring out my dry pasta and sauces would have been super beneficial, too.

I wish I had taken pictures of all this. I am just so damn proud of myself.

Seriously, $250.00 in groceries (and not all of it for these dinners!) made enough food for us to eat Monday through Friday, for four weeks.  FOUR WEEKS. I can hardly wrap my brain around it. I say screw the weekends; most of the time we eat out, order take-out, or have dinner with friends and family on Saturdays and Sundays anyway.

This means I only have to go grocery shopping once a month. I used to go twice a month and spend at least $200 each time. That's at least $400 a month. This is monumental for me.

If anyone is interested, I highly suggest you check out Once a Month Mom. It's my new go-to site. This blog provides you with recipes, shopping lists, and a conversion spreadsheet to tweak your recipes to fit how many people you'll be cooking for (I'm swooning just writing this). Whole foods recipes, vegetarian recipes, it even has recipes for homemade baby food, which I am so stoked to try out since I'll be starting Peyton on solids soon enough (MY BABY IS SO OLLLLD SHE'LL BE WALKING SOOOOON). Seriously, LOVE.

Princess Peyton decided that she was up for the day at 6:00 AM and would not nap and just wanted to eat and be fussypants (Three-month growth spurt? When do these things stop happening? When she's 27?) all day long, so this mama is tired. I cannot wait to faceplant on my bed.

September 15, 2011

The three-month "switch"

Peyton is three months old today.

Three months.

I won't lie. I have been blessed with a high-maintenance baby. People say every baby is different, has his or her own personality. My baby is full of personality. She is the boss lady. I affectionately refer to her as the "diva baby" because she knows what she wants, when she wants it.

Diapers can't be even a tiny bit dirty or wet or all hell breaks loose. Car seat? Stroller? Bouncy seat? Foooorget about it. People are STUNNED when I tell them Peyton screams and cries bloody murder in the car and doesn't fall asleep immediately like Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C did. Binkies, pacis, whatever you call them? Nope, not welcome here. How DARE I think I can sit down while I'm holding her. Think again, mom; you better be moving if you're holding me, and by "moving" I mean walking around the house at a brisk pace since I can't get around by myself. We also don't like to be held like a baby. Now that she has stellar neck control, she needs to be sitting up on your lap AT ALL TIMES. If you tilt her back even slightly she will wiggle and struggle and fuss until you make her upright again. You know, so she can eavesdrop on your conversation. If a sock falls off her teeny little foot, you will hear about it, damnit, because the boss hates one cold foot and one toasty foot (I don't blame her on this one).

We all know baby socks are a joke anyway, but that's another story.

Denny makes me laugh because he can't fathom how she could still cry if she's fed, changed, clean, burped, etc., etc., etc. But she still cries.

I think we're heading in the right direction with the non-dairy issue; her skin has already cleared up considerably and she is much happier during and after feedings. But still, she cries. Denny is baffled by all this. I try to explain that babies cry, it's what they do. Our baby just happens to do it a lot.

I just say she's high maintenance. There is nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of grown women who are high maintenance. I know she won't be this way forever.

I've been hearing it since she was born: "Oh, just wait until she's three months. She'll be like a whole new baby."

Well, she's three months today.

For the first time since she was born, I took her food shopping with me today. I figured I had to get over the irrational fear that she would have a public meltdown, and today was the day. I knew the car seat was totally out of the question since she thinks it's a torture device meant for tiny people (Straps! Clips! Buckle! NOOOOOO!), so I strapped her into her little Chicco carrier and off we went (do you see a trend here? I love that damn carrier). It was glorious. It took me three hours, but only because I had to dodge all the sweet old ladies.

I didn't expect a magical switch to flip on to "24/7 happy baby" at 7:36 this evening. I'm just fine with the way she is now. The smiles and happy gurgles I get from her are worth a million dollars. Some days they're rare, and that's why they're so precious.

Do I want a whole new baby? No thank you. If she does calm her little baby self down in the next few weeks, great. If not...who cares? I'll deal just fine, like I have for the last three months (Denny would agree to disagree, though).

She is so loved, no matter what.

Am I jealous of other moms who have happy babies that rarely fuss and never make a peep?


Because I got this:

Happy 1/4 birthday, you beautiful thing.

Tomorrow I am continuing my transformation into super-homemaker and making my first attempt at freezer meals. The thought of doing all my cooking for a month in one day is so appealing, but we all know I'm a terror in the kitchen. So in order to keep myself from going into shock at the sheer undertaking of such a feat, I'm spreading out my cooking over two days instead.

I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes. If you don't hear from me in 48 hours, check the cabinet under the kitchen sink. You might find me in the fetal position there.

PS: Did anyone see that show, Up All Night, on NBC tonight? Not that impressed. Christina Applegate, YOU CAN DO BETTER!

September 13, 2011

Screw you, dairy.

I'm cutting out all dairy from my diet because the baby has a milk allergy. Initially I thought it would be awesome, because I would have a legitimate excuse not to drink milk, consume cheese, and pass on the ice cream without looking like a lunatic. 


I get that a lot.

I never enjoyed dairy like everyone else. Milk makes me gag, I think cheese is foul, and I'm really not a huge fan of ice cream. I am a freak of nature.

I thought a transition to a dairy-free lifestyle would be a walk in the park.

Sooo easy!

I never eat that crap anyway!

Not even 24 hours in I encountered the following:
  • My homemade spinach dip (sour cream)
  • Macaroni and cheese (even though there's cheese, I still love it. I'm picky about where is cheese is introduced in a meal and it doesn't help that I eat like a five year old)
  • And the worst offender: I baked a banana cake with cream cheese frosting
Cue the sad faces.

When you think about it, milk and dairy are EVERYWHERE. Lurking around every corner in almost every food dish. Such a bummer. Such a slimy bastard ingredient.

Get out of here, dairy, no one wants you anymore!

The worst part is the fact that I made these things myself, like I was setting myself up for failure. I'm realizing that this is going to take time and a lot of attention to what makes up my meals from this point forward.

The easy way out would just be to quit nursing and rely solely on the soy formula the baby is currently on. But now that I have the chance to be home with her, why wouldn't I make the push to nurse her at least until the six-month mark? I know the suggested timespan is a year, but I figure six months is a healthy goal.

Long story short: I'm doing it for her, and dairy be damned because I will weed it out of EVERYTHING.

On another note, my foray into ultimate domesticity is going swimmingly. The house has never been so clean.

Now, who wants a sandwich?


PS: Can you tell my kid is a ginger?

September 11, 2011

Always remember, never forget

On the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on our country, I find myself completely drawn into all this media coverage, moreso than I have in years past.

Maybe because it's been 10 years when it seems like just yesterday the attacks occurred.

But I think mostly, it's because I remember where I was, what I was doing, how I felt when those things happened that are really coming to the forefront with the anniversary of these sad events.

I look at my daughter and I am glad she wasn't around to witness the collective sigh of grief from our nation in the days following the tragedy. I'm glad she was spared from experiencing such evil. I know she'll learn about it in school one day, and she will probably ask me about it. I'll tell her an evil man hated our country, our way of life, what we stand for and wanted to ruin it, to break our spirits.

I'll tell her we finally got him; he was killed the day of her baby shower, but I'll also explain that to revel in the death of another is by no means healthy catharsis. If anything, it shows that we should be proud to be a part of a country that keeps its promise to find those that commit such heinous crimes. No matter how long it takes.

No matter the political, economic, or social climate we are currently facing in 2010, we should all be proud to be a part of such a country. A country that keeps its promises and stays united in the face of great adversity.

So when my daughter asks, that's what I'll tell her.

God bless America

September 9, 2011

Adventures in Stay at Home Mom-ness

Being a stay at home mom is so radically different than being on maternity leave. I'm a week in and I have definitely learned the difference, but I am loving every second of it.

Maternity leave: spending all day cuddling with your baby and leaving those dirty dishes and piles of laundry unattended because, hey, you have to go back to work in 6-8 weeks and you have to get all this baby bonding in while you can. Dust bunnies the size of chihuahuas are the norm. Couches are lined with burp cloths and receiving blankets. The baby is clean and well-dressed, but what's that? I haven't brushed my hair in two days? That's okay, BECAUSE I NEED ALL THE TIME I CAN GET WITH MY SWEET PRECIOUS BABY BEFORE I HAVE TO LEAVE HER SO THE DAMN BRUSH CAN WAIT, wahhh.  Aww, the baby is fussy, so I can't possibly get to the vacuum because my baby NEEDS ME. Etc.

Stay at home mom: you mean now there's no excuse for not running the dishwasher? And keeping the house relatively presentable? Hmm, I just now noticed I am completely out of clean clothes.  I guess it's time to reacquaint myself with el washing machine. And maybe with the shower. Don't want that spit-up smell to sink in or anything. Eau de baby barf is not cute (it really wasn't cute during maternity leave, either). The baby won't stop crying and acts like it's the end of the world if I put her down, but I need to create ideal living conditions in this house and I can't very well do that if she's freaking out.

If anyone knows me, then you'll know I was the anti-domestic prior to having a baby.  Cleaning only had to be done because living in grossness is unacceptable and I burned toast on a regular basis. I hated the vacuum. I openly boasted that children were not for me and I would hire "help" one day.

Funny how things work out, huh? 

Peyton decided that she was up for the day at 7:30 this morning.  This makes for a very long day, because I am blessed with the baby that doesn't nap. I mean, never, ever, ever naps. Peyton's definition of a nap is closing her eyes on my shoulder for five minutes and then snapping her little eyes open the second I put her in the crib, all "WTF, j/k, mom." She is the best sleep-faker ever. She only naps well if I lay down with her. The dilemma, at first: if I'm napping with the diva baby, how will I ever get things done? I have EXPECTATIONS I have to live up to now! Clean home! Dinner made! Laundry done!

Today I took advantage of the early start and put the munckin in her carrier and strapped that bad boy to my chest.  I managed to get my own and her laundry finished, the kitchen mopped, and the living room swept. I even (gasp) dusted. Then I got bored, so I baked a cake. Everything was done before 10:00 AM, leaving plenty of time for baby cuddling.

As for the whole cooking thing, I'm about to make the leap into cooking once a month and preparing freezer meals. I'm sure I'll be sharing my experiences with that.

Ultimately, my house is clean, I baked (!!!), Peyton is dressed and fed, but I slightly resemble a homeless person. I'm totally cool with that, though. Baby steps, you know?

I am the goddess of domesticity, nice to meet you.

Naps are for PUNKS, mom.

September 7, 2011


I have the most awful time with putting only one space after a period.

The end.

Ruminations on Unemployment

I've recently had the (mis...? nahhh)fortune of becoming unemployed; fault--my own. I am strangely at peace with this abrupt change to my life. Tomorrow will mark my first full week of being a stay at home mom, and I couldn't be happier with it. 

My previous occupation was not at all where I expected to be after graduation. I have a Bachelors degree in Political Science (social sciences are the equivalent of occupational death, I know this now). Law school was not my cup of tea, so out into the workforce I went, resume handy.

My biggest problem? I had the disadvantage of graduating in 2008. Helloooo, recession, nice to meet you!

I took a job because it was a job. Never in a million years did I believe I would still be there, three years later. Talk about a nasty case of disillusionment. Accompanying disillusionment comes its good friend, apathy. Apathy blows. I don't appreciate you, apathy.

Then I had Peyton. That sense of apathy regarding work was replaced with a sense of total and utter dread. How was I supposed to leave my baby for eight hours a day, five days a week, an hour away from home, and be okay with it? The weeks leading up to the end of my maternity leave were filled with such anxiety it almost made me physically ill.

I understand people have to work; I'll openly admit that I am one of those people. I think my problem isn't working in general, it was where I was working. I have resumes out everywhere, and I am praying I can get unemployment insurance for at least a few months. But the old gig just wasn't for me. It would have ultimately destroyed me.

Am I worried? Yes. Do I know everything happens for a reason? Yes. This knowledge is what keeps me sane.

Sometimes I grapple with the fact that I took such a hefty investment in my education to have it wasted by not working. But then I remind myself that it isn't "wasted". I will find work eventually, something that I want to do that fits me and my interests, but my new job is to be responsible for the health and happiness of my little girl. I can instill in her some of the things I've learned with that fancy degree. I want her to think critically for herself. I want her to look at the world objectively and make her own decisions about how she wants to be a part of it.

But if she comes to me one day talking about partisan politics and the flaws of a two-party system, I'll have to rescind that statement.

Up next: Adventures of Stay at Home Mom-ness and the realism of the fabled "trophy wife".

September 6, 2011

Better late than never, that's what they say.


I signed up for this account in March of 2011, when I was six months pregnant and full of blogger ambition. 

I thought I'd use this space as a way to chronicle my pregnancy, my daughter's birth, and the happily ever after. I did get my happily ever after (and it RULES, by the way), but not without some bumps in the road first.

I will not say that my pregnancy was sunshine and daisies. By the time I was full-term, I had already been hospitalized five times. FIVE. Each time forecasting induction and the early arrival of my little girl, only to be sent home babyless and still very, uncomfortably pregnant. By the third visit, it was pretty much guaranteed I would leave the hospital in tears. If my baby was coming early, then I wanted her, damnit.

But finally, I had my outside baby. A failed induction and a c-section. Not according to my plan. I am somewhat resentful of my birth experience, but am nevertheless overwhelmed with happiness by the end result. A stressful means to a blissful end. 

My beautiful daughter is my world. She was so worth the nine months, numerous hospital visits, and general panic. When I look at her, I am still struck by awe and disbelief that she is mine. I created her. I guess Daddy helped, but she got to hang out with me for nine months first, so I win. She looks nothing like me and is all her Daddy, but I don't care. She is me and I am her. Is that cliche? Probably.

Peyton is now 12 weeks old. She smiles, laughs, "talks", and rolls over when she feels like it. I'm getting ready to pack up her 0-3 month clothes when it was just yesterday she was in newborn sizes.

This blog was supposed to have started months ago, but better late than never.