Bringing Home Baby

Baby!

Baby!

So after eons of waiting, my best friend finally brought home her baby last week.  And after a crazy nightmare adoption story that happened just shy of Thanksgiving, this Christmas surprise came as a fast, but very welcome, surprise present.

Yes, my friends, with just about 3 days’ notice, my BFF and her husband had to get ready to bring home baby.  My other BFF and I both got slightly joyous, but panicky calls from deep within a Babies R Us, where we assured her, yes, everyone freaks out in Babies R Us, and no you don’t need half the shit in there, but you do however want ALL THE THINGS.

Since we 3 are separated by a few hundred miles give or take, we all couldn’t quite jump in the car to come say hello to Baby C.  Plus, it was 10 days until Christmas, and for the thousandth year in a row I’d run out of sick/vaca time, plus everyone in my house was sick in various forms, so needless to say, the trip has been postponed until January, when BAM! vaca time resets and the bugs will be eradicated from my home and family (hopefully).

I can assure you we are anxiously awaiting the time to jump in the car and come smell all the baby goodness.  And to help.  Yes, to help.  Because let’s face it, no new parent wants you to hold their baby, they want you to cook, clean and organize, and maybe just maybe, let you take a slight snooze.

So, since I am this close to coming, but not quite there yet, I wanted to send a few words of wisdom along to my friend via the interwebs.  This means she can roll her eyes in the privacy of her own home and I can get a few reminiscent chuckles out of the rest of you 10s of readers.

1st – Stare at your baby.  Stare away.  Watch him sleep, watch him look at you or the shiny lights, or the ghost over your shoulder (you know they can see them).  They are fascinating.  You know what’s not fascinating?  What won’t grow up and leave you for another person who is waaay smarter/funnier/prettier than you?  Your dishes.   Those babies will be there until the day you decide to eat dinner strapped into your wheelchair.  Your baby, however, will grow.  Will grow so fast it will make your head spin.  Watch him. Eat his toes.  Smell his head.  Nuzzle his neck.  Because it goes fast.

2nd.  This leads me to my next point.  Sleep.  Ha!  Sleep.  She said sleep.  Whatever.  This is the one thing that seems like it will never be normal again.  This phase too will go by, but not quite as fast as the first part I described.  In fact, 3 hours straight of uninterrupted sleep is a FREAKIN MIRACLE at this stage of the game.  Not only are you waking to cries and feedings and poopings, but you have convinced yourself that if you don’t watch him every second, he will forget to breathe.  This fear is pounded into you everywhere you turn as a new mom, and a valid one, but let’s face it, you’ve done all you can to keep him safe.  Your unblinking worried stare won’t keep him alive.  But maybe your mother’s or your husband’s stare can take over for a few hours so you can get a few moments of sanity back.  Back to dreamland, where Vin Diesel rescues you and changes his own pants.  Just for a bit.

3rd.  Your baby won’t remember shit in this stage in the game.  Yes, snuggling and kangaroo time are imperative, but let’s be honest.  If you accidentally pinch him while putting him into his car seat, he won’t need therapy later.  If you have no idea what you’re doing during bathtime, he won’t remember your bumbling attempt.  He won’t know you didn’t have the most current Baby Einstein (do they still do that?) collection or that you watched the Daily Show while feeding him.  He won’t remember a thing.  Ease up on yourself a little.

4th.  Take help when offered.  Seriously.  Be the bitch here.  People come into your house, hand them a Swiffer.  Don’t just stand there, vacuum!  You come without a dish to freeze?  Go make me dinner!  Yes, be thrilled they are here to share in your joy, but for the love take full advantage of the slave labor.  Because, all these people, mothers included, will go away very very soon.  And if you don’t have 6 months of stockpiled frozen dishes, you’ll starve.

5th.  You don’t have to have it figured out by the end of Month 1.  Set your bar lower.  Lower.  No, lower.  Keeping you and baby alive is a good goal.  Occasionally look at your husband to make sure he’s breathing, but other than that, he’s on his own.  I was a bit behind the curve.  It took me a whole freakin year to feel semi-normal again.  This was because my bar was set too high, and my baby boy was in a holy terror of colicky, you took me out too early, state of hysteria.  I wish I’d stepped back and breathed a bit more back then.  And just loved him.  Well when he was good, and then invested in a good set of earplugs the other 23 hours of the day.

Ok, that’s a good start.  Congrats my friend.   After a very long time, I am so excited to welcome you to the club with open arms. This is the best unpaid job you’ll ever have.  Laugh often.  Cry when you need to.  And call us anytime.  I promise not to one up you with my own tails of woe.  I will listen…and probably make inappropriate jokes, but hey that’s why you keep me around right?

Love,

Jen

Friends Who've All Gotten a Full Nights Sleep.  (Old photo)

Friends Who’ve All Gotten a Full Nights Sleep. (Old photo)

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Reasons My Son’s Not Eating

Some of us are blessed.  Their kids are adventurous.  They will eat all types of foods.  All types of textures.  For some lucky parents, this food can even touch other food. 

Nope.

                     Nope.

We are not blessed in this way.  This is our burden.  Our 8 year old son is a total pain in the ass when it comes to food.  Unless of course, it’s ice cream, then he’s good, but anything else, there are a set of rules that change almost daily.

Therefore, we give you:  THE REASONS OUR SON IS NOT EATING:

1. The pizza has sat out for longer than 5 minutes.

2. The macaroni and cheese is NOT Kraft. Homemade?  Big macaroni noodles?  No go.  Kraft M&C must also not sit on the stove longer than 5 minutes.

3. The noodles are too wide.

4. The noodles are a different color.

5. The noodles are mixed with something.  Anything, even broccoli, which he actually likes.

6. The carrots are mixed with peas.

7. The pizza has bubbles on it.

8. The bread has nuts in it.

9. There’s parsley on it.

10. The grilled cheese has a tiny brown “burn” spot.  (Not really, just browner at that place than he’d like)

11. The jello has fruit in it.

12. It has gravy on it.  Clearly, not my kid.

13. It has any sauce or seasoning on it.

14. It’s breaded with something other than nugget.

15. It touched the ranch.  Which he’s using to dip, but it touched before he’s dipped it.

16. Too much cinnamon on the applesauce.

17.  The carrots have crinkles.

18. It’s leftovers. Of anything. Pizza included.

19. It’s hot dogs. Of any sort.

20. It’s tacos.  Food touching all over the place. And lettuce, don’t forget lettuce. Ick.

21. It’s not the right meatball.

22. The noodles are too wide.

23. The potatoes are mashed.

These are just off the top of my head.  And there are rules on top of that. And if you do find something he likes that is remotely healthy, for the love of God, don’t over serve it.  No more than once every other week.

Now, on the list of Go foods are a few foolproof items, none of which are healthy.

Rolls

PB&J

Ice cream

Candy

Dessert, anything natch.

Every time.

Every time.

And that’s about it.

One might read this and think, “Hell, if that were my kid, I’d make him eat what I give him.”  You, my dear, DO NOT have this kid, because I can guarantee you no parent of a fellow picky eater follows this rule.  We get firm and we choose these food battles fairly often, and sometimes, we do the worst, meanest, most horrible thing a parent can do:  we withhold dessert. For the most part, we desperately try to put something on the table they might just eat a few bites of, but our hopes are dangerously low on the best of days.  We scour the internet, church and family cookbooks, and foolishly click on all the articles about “picky eaters,” but we are always disappointed, because I don’t know anyone whose picky eater will eat “Baked Polenta Fries,” cause mine sure as hell won’t.

Not gonna work bud.

Not gonna work bud.

But we keep on the fighting the good fight.  We pin the hell out of Pinterest.  But, most days, it’s PB&J or nuggets, with the hope that one day, one day soon, they’ll look up and say, “How about Mexican/Italian/Indian food?”

Until then, stay strong picky parents!

Cause he's cute, that's why.

Cause he’s cute, that’s why.

Things Have Been Said

A snippet of things I have said tonight…

“I cannot dance like a royal princess if you don’t turn Macklemore back on.”

“Stop eating the butter.”

“Let me get this straight, your head hurts because your thumb hurts?”

“NO!  I am not wiping your butt until I finish dinner!”

“NO!  I am not plunging the toilet until I finish dinner!”

Aaand face palm!!

Face Palm

 

Sundays

I love my kids.  I love my husband.  With all my heart.  HOWEVER, at this moment, I want them to all GO AWAY.

First, I just Febrezed my husband’s shorts and the couch he was polluting with his ass.  While he was laying on said couch in said shorts.   I say, I am getting the odor at its source.  He complains it’s cold.  Whiner.

Second, my 6YO’s meds are off.  We are in the process of finding the right dosage level, and I am supposed to be patient while we are doing this.  Patience is not one of my strong suits.   I am pretty sure the pharmacist at Rite Aid is a sick sadist and gave us placebo sugar pills instead of ADHD medication, because this kid is off the charts lately.  He hasn’t held still or stopped making noise since he woke up this morning.  It’s like the Energizer Bunny on steroids.  As a disclaimer, I have been anti-medicating kids since Day 1 and fought for YEARS to put him on a controlled substance for his ADHD and sensory issues.  We went everywhere, tried everything, and tested tested tested.  The only saving grace has been this medicine.  At first, it was like a miracle.  He was still my boy, personality, appetite and energy intact, it was just less insane.  I am not calling him crazy, but sometimes his mind would go so fast and his body would totally spaz, it was hard to watch him get lost in his own body.  This medicine seemed to help him keep up with himself.  But now, whether he has grown a tolerance for it or because he is growing like a weed, it has started to lose its effectiveness.  He’s become the scapegoat in school again – the one all the other kids blame when things go bad.  95% of the time, he is actually the culprit, but the other 5% of the time, he gets blamed because it’s easy to believe he was the instigator.

The thing I love about my boy is he’s a lover.  He wants to entertain, to be loved, to make people laugh.  Gosh, not sure where he’d get that from eh?  He’s just a bit more boisterous than I ever was.  With his meds off again, we seem to be back to square one and seem to have lost all the momentum we have gained.  The inner struggle Mark and I go through is endless.  Is he truly not in control of himself or is this a 6YO testing his boundaries?  Do we punish?  Do we seek other treatment?  Do we blame the disorder or make him take responsiblity for his own actions?  We try to maintain a balance of being responsible for his own actions and treating his behavioral problems.

Like I said, my patience level is not at its peak at the moment.  At this point, at 7:30 on a Sunday night,  I am all for pumping him full of Valium just so I can think clearly for two seconds without having to answer why the lights blur when he squints his eyes, how to find home on Google maps, all while dodging Nerf darts that him, his dad and sister are currently battling each other with.  But that’s wrong, I know this.

Next, my daughter is in a stage that has geniusly been termed the Fucking Fours.  Ahh, the age of 4.  Still adorable, getting smarter by the second, but yet still incapable of finding her hat and coat, which is always in the same place – on the floor where she left it.   The most dramatic person I’ve ever met.  Today, I put my arms on her shoulders and gently (seriously) moved her aside as I walked by her in the hallway.  She proceeded to execute the most dramatic fake fall I have ever seen.  Academy Awards (ahem Oscars, sorry rebranded, forgot) have been won for less acting.  As she looks dramatically over her fallen shoulder up from the ground at me, she exclaims MOM!  Why did you push me?  SOB!  Good Lord child.

I should write a book just on the insane stuff that comes out of her mouth.  I am truly terrified and can honestly not look her preschool teachers in the eye for fear of what she has told them about her homelife.   Today, she told my husband to quit being a pain in the ass, which to be fair, he is, but I wish she wouldn’t pick up everything I yell at him in the car.  I thought you were watching that movie??  I didn’t spend 30K on a car so you could LISTEN to our front seat conversations!   Next car, a limo with a dividing window, or maybe a police squad car, which would at least prevent the projectiles from coming my way, but wouldn’t quite mute the sound, unless we got that plastic divider thing you see in some COPS episodes.  OK, I am giving this waaay too much thought.  Then, she also tells us we have to kiss her like we’re married, which is her tilting her head to one side and shaking her head back and forth, so as to get continuous movement while kissing.  Nice huh?  What kind of princess porn am I letting her watch?  Where is she getting this stuff?

Also, her most favorite daily accomplishment?  The one she yells to me with unabashed pride at the end of school, in restaurants or at Grandma’s house?  MOM!  I didn’t poop my pants today!  G!  That is so exciting!  I am glad I have set the bar so high for my youngest!!!  I don’t need her to start reading, know her colors, I just need her not to poop in her pants.  Mensa here we come.

And finally, my traveling husband.  We are a month into this new job and five days before my period, therefore,  I am ready for him to go back to where he’s working.  I let him drive this morning and since I am sorely out of practice with being a passenger, I could not help the backseat driving that comes ripping from my mouth.  But to be fair to ME, he does pull too far forward in a driveway and does appear to be hanging out in the street, he DID almost hit that guy in the Costco parking lot because he was so concerned with saving my bottle of wine rolling around in the backseat, and he really didn’t see that car coming from his right (which, I was closer to, therefore, was simply helping him out).  This resulted in an angry chinese fire drill in a very busy Costco parking lot, when he REFUSED to drive with me any longer and told me I am driving.  Really Mark?  Aren’t we overreacting just a tad?  Now I know where G gets her dramatic side from.  Yeesh.

Then he takes us to dinner at Olive Garden.  OK OK, I admit I have super simple taste, but I LOVE me some Olive Garden.  He then FORCES me to get dessert.  Bastard.  Problem is, he wants to share.  JENNY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!!!    We get the chocolate cake, which has four layers of awesomeness, and where does he start?   The back!  The best freakin part!  He’s totally cheating!  He is stealing the essence of the dessert while I am dutifully starting at the tip and working my way up to the delicious finale.  GOD!

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Needless to say, I need a break.  But, it’s Sunday, I have papers to sign, lunches to pack, a husband who needs to catch a 6 AM flight, and a week to prepare for Easter, so no rest for the weary.  Although, I guess I could watch just one episode of Parks And Recreation before I start right?

Bath Night

Sunday nights are bath night.  As I sit and let my daughter play with Ariel and her pal, hotter sexier Barbie mermaid, I brace myself for the upcoming fight.  The fight to wash her hair.  The shampooing she says she never needs even though her bangs have syrup in them and the top of her part has glue on it as a result of scratching her head during “craft time.”  I use this term loosely, as craft time is usually just cutting magazines into itty bitty pieces and gluing them on “paper.”  And by “paper,” I mean the back of the kitchen chair.

G - An oldie but goodie.

G – Before hair washing was an issue.

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Will – One of my most favorite photos of him.

I let her play a bit, give her a 2 minute warning and then I get down to business.  That’s when the screaming and shrieking begin.  Like I am trying to drown her on purpose.  MOM!  DON’T GET IT IN MY EARS.  OWWW!  YOU GOT WATER IN MY EYES!  Me, being the classic abuser, blame the victim.  Quit thrashing around like a cat stuck in a plastic bag then!!  The girl has more evasive maneuvers than the Air Force.   I feel like I am water-boarding my child every time I try to clean her up a little.  Dick Cheney would be proud.  She gets so hysterical and screechy, it’s a wonder the neighbors don’t call to make sure I’m not ripping her limbs off.

Sometimes I wonder what a Child Protective Service Agency would think if they heard only snippets of my child rearing skills.  Like what if Will told his teacher the conversation we had a few months ago.  It was during a particularly rough patch with Molluscum, a viral skin condition that gave him tiny itchy bumps that look like little zits all over his body.  After some advice from a mom who’d been there, we tried a homeopathic treatment called ZymaDerm, which is simply a topical you put on the bumps twice a day.  (Worked like a charm by the way, and for the bargain price of $26 for a teeny tiny bottle! And no, I don’t know which all natural ingredients are in it.  I choose to believe it was manufactured solely from fairy dust and angel kisses.)  Well my boy was a bit skittish about this topical, which to him looked like pure acid meant to burn them off instead of slowly and not painfully shrink them to nothing.  So, in order to ease his fears the first few times around, I would blow gently on the area where I applied the stuff.  You know, to neutralize the flesh-eating acid I was putting on him.  Now, some of these bumps were near (not on) his groin area, so yes, I blew there too.  Can you see where this is going?  One night, as we were beginning our ritual, he says to me very nonchalantly, “Mommy, I like when you blow on my pee pee. It tickles.”    “Uh….OK, thanks, I think?  Saaaay, how about you NOT say that to anyone else please?”  What the freak?  How do you explain to a kid why another adult would not want to know this particular comfort technique his awesome mom is using?  You don’t.  You just pray they never say a word and if they do, hope to God his teacher would call ME before calling Child Services.

Likewise, the problem my sister is facing at the moment with her 9 month old son.  Apparently, some doctors prefer to not circumcise boys the way they used to.   Some prefer to leave a bit more scarf to the kerchief if you know what I’m saying.  She was a bit worried that something was wrong down there, and being raised around 99% females, we are bit uneducated in this area.  Sure, we’ve seen ‘em, but not enough by any means to qualify either of us as experts.  And personally, I’ve never seen one with its hoodie still up.  I missed that when Will was born, being they did it before I got feeling back in my legs, which is a long story about lazy doctors and an epidural being left in for 24 hours after he came out.  Not a fun first birth experience, but a story for another day, and six years later, I’m still not sure how I’d make that story funny.

Anyways, how does one go about finding out what normal looks like?  Google?  How do you Google normal baby penises without alerting the authorities there’s a pervert in our midst?  What would you search to get scientific results instead of horrible images you could never erase from your brain?  Circumcision mistakes?  Nope.  Healthy baby penises (or is it peni?)?  I don’t think so.  Baby girth?  Who knows, no matter what you search, it’s not going to be pretty, and what if someone checks your hard drive down the road?  We’ve all seen SVU, it happens.  Lord help me if they check mine at work, because I swear I was looking for Dick’s Sporting Goods, nothing else.  I just didn’t realize you had to type in the actual full name of the store.

I just worry constantly about being misunderstood.  Adults think crazy things, and they should, there are some crazy horrible people out there.  It’s just that I’m not one of them.  Most of the time.  I’ll admit that first nice spring day when I open all the windows I completely forget I have to keep my yelling to a minimum.  Who knows what the neighbors think when they hear me yell, “Will wipe your own butt!!  I’m trying to get the nail polish off your sister’s lips!!!” 

Please don’t rat me out.  Most of this I can explain.  It just won’t be much fun and will still make me look like an inept parent.  A loving, nurturing, but utterly inept, parent.

 

Night of Horror

I was going to post last night, but I had to Xanax up at the kids’ Halloween Hop at school last night and it knocked me out cold. So, sorry. Maybe tonight.

For someone like me, last night’s shindig was truly a house of horrors. Big crowd, full of kids hopped up on sugar, put into costume,  coupled with at least two parents or family per kid, plus teachers and staff, all equal the sort of mass confusion that terrifies me to my core.

So there I am in the center of a dark gym, being spun around by whirling costumed dancing/running children, trying desperately to keep at least my daughter in eyesight, trying to inconspiciously unscrew the lid of my Xanax still hidden inside my purse, secretly pull out the tiny pill that will help me from not running into the janitor’s closet and locking myself in, ever so slyly placing said pill into my mouth, all while trying to spit swallow it and praying to God it doesn’t get caught in my throat and I choke and die in front of a bunch of kids dancing to I’m Sexy and I Know It. (Except it’s more like serrrrelaiy and I know it, because they blurb out that offensive part, but alas leaving in the fact that he has “passion in his pants and he ain’t afraid to show it,” thank you DJ for keeping my kids safe from the word sexy).

Anyways, still recovering from that traumatic incident. Problem is, the kids (including Mark) loved it, so I will be forced to return next year, but next year I will come pre-Xanaxed and a maybe a bit tipsy. Is that so wrong? It’s called coping mechanisms people.

A Little Piece of Me

I wrote this last May.  A fairly lonely time in my life.  My husband had been traveling for just over 2 years with no end in sight.  We had yet to find a diagnosis for Will’s idiosyncracies and impulsiveness.  All our efforts were not quite solving his problems and I was terrified of what his first year in school would bring.  So – at a pretty wrenching moment, I wrote this.

May 22, 2012

I don’t why I thought I was strong enough to be a mother.  All my life I have hidden from pain.  Pain of being judged, criticized, ignored, laughed at and so on.  I sometimes feel so sensitive (or paranoid) of other people’s reactions to me that I find it mostly exhausting to be around anyone but those that I trust the most.  So as I grow into myself and enter by far the most healthy self-esteem period of my life, somewhat comfortable with who I am, I think it’s a brilliant idea to procreate.   To take my very thin-skinned introverted self and make children that I love and would protect with my life, children who have to once again go through their own childhoods, adolescence, young adulthood and so on.  To learn the hard lessons, to be a bit different or less than perfect, to struggle, to come to terms with who they are, and be near people who don’t understand just how wonderful they are.

After years and years of building a pretty thick shell around myself from negative unhealthy people, I push myself into it all over again with my kids.  I feel their pain and their terror of entering this world.  Not that they are aware of it, but I am acutely aware of how tough life is going to be for them.

I have a son, who’s brilliant, smart and hilarious already at 5, but so sensitive to everything around him, he finds it hard to function.  It’s hard to sit and see all the other kids and know yours is different, albeit in a beautiful, wonderful way that you completely understand, but one that will cause him hardship, pain and struggle.

I have a daughter, who is strong-willed, beautiful and fearless.  How long do I have that before society gets to her to tell her she’s not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough to be worth anything?  How long before I hear the fat comments, how long before my opinionated loud daughter becomes quiet and doubting?  Afraid that if she is too strong, she will be labeled a bitch? Or if she‘s too smart, she will be labeled a snob or a nerd?   How long before she dumbs herself down for a guy or a group of girls to fit in?

I just don’t understand why I would do this to myself.  To have something so precious to me live outside of me, where I can’t protect it completely and fully?  How do I begin to regain control of my life, my emotions, my feelings and protect them once again?  I can’t and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever felt.

God I pray for strength and courage to be that opinionated, bitchy, smart woman I want my daughter to be. I pray she enters the grown up world confident, smart and funny – unafraid to be herself and to pursue what she loves and who she loves.   I pray she never doubts herself or lets herself be judged by her appearance.   I pray to raise my son to control his impulses and take his beautiful awesomeness and become the next rocket scientist or Nobel Prize winner and be able to look back at all those who will label him a bad kid, an uncontrollable kid, a wild one and laugh at how they doubted him.  I pray that I see the path you are laying out for me, my children and my husband and I take the road that terrifies me, but ends up the best path I could have chosen.   I just pray that your plan actually makes sense and is in the best interest of those that I love the most and have the least control over – my kids.