Category Archives: Parenthood

Noah vs. the pizza slice

Hint: Noah wins.

Balancing act

I had the day off work Monday, and Noah’s daycare was open, so I had a nice chunk of time to myself, a rarity these days.

I took advantage of the time to spend about an hour browsing baby clothes and Target and working on a freelance assignment. I had the luxury of sitting and chatting with my interview subject for two hours over coffee.

As I was driving home around lunchtime, I started thinking about how rare it is for me to have (mostly) guilt-free time to myself.

Oh, mommy guilt.

Don’t get me wrong. Bobby does a great job of making sure I can take a break when I need one, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling bad about leaving the baby with him. Or not wanting to spend every free waking moment with Noah.

And honestly I could have kept him out of daycare on Monday, but it was an easy choice for me to send him. I can’t get as much done when I have him with me, and leaving him with Bobby wasn’t an option because Bobby had to work.

So what I was thinking as I was driving toward home was that maybe I should start taking a day or a half-day off work occasionally, just for me. The idea seems so extravagant.

My average weekday goes something like this: Get up, shower, get Noah up and dressed (alongside Bobby), feed myself and Noah, stuff diapers, pack him in the car. Drop him at daycare, go to work, eat lunch at my office (parking is a pain on campus while classes are in session). Pick Noah up from daycare, come home, cook dinner or part of dinner, play with Noah, Skype with Bobby’s parents, feed Noah, help get him ready for bed. Once Noah’s in bed (usually no later than 7:30), I typically spend some time catching up on writing for my blog and freelance and also housework and bills. By the time all this is done, I’m pretty much ready to just spend some time with Bobby or veg in front of the laptop. It’s pretty rare for me to go out and do anything on weeknights.

The weekends are a bit different since I don’t have to work, but they are often the time to catch up on all the stuff I’ve let slide during the week. And while Noah has become a bit more independent, he still requires (and, at times, demands) a lot of attention. The weekend just never seems quite long enough to get everything done.

There are so many things I want to do, and now that there’s a baby in the picture, it has gotten a lot harder to make time for those things. But I know it’s important that I continue to work at it.

Other moms, how do you manage to balance everything? Do you ever just take time off for yourself?

If you like it, put a ring on it. But what to do when you hate it?

I’ve been seeing updates about this whole Jay-Z/Beyonce baby business, and I seriously feel sick.

Apparently the music stars rented out a floor on the hospital where Beyonce had her scheduled c-section and felt the need to enact such extreme security measures that families with babies in the hospital’s NICU unit were not allowed to see their children.

As a former NICU mom, I have a hard time even describing how this makes me feel. Infuriated. Anxious all over again. A little lightheaded.

More than anything I feel such heartbreak for families who are already dealing with an incredibly stressful situation having to deal with this shit. Because that’s what it is. Shit.

I think back to when Noah was in the NICU, and we had to wait at a door to be buzzed in just to see him. We weren’t allowed to pick him up at first. I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed him. And then, when I finally was, we walked in to find a nurse we had never even seen before giving him a bottle before his designated feeding time.

We had hardly any control whatsoever over our relationship with our son that first week.

NICU makes you feel like the baby doesn’t even belong to you; it belongs to the hospital. The hospital makes the rules for when you see it, when you can’t see it, when you are allowed to touch it, when you are allowed to feed it. So for someone to be able to place even more of those rules on parents simply for their own comfort is so incredibly unfair.

I don’t care how much money you have or who you are. It’s indecent to allow someone on your payroll to behave that way. And it’s absolutely wrong for the hospital to allow this type of behavior at all just for the sake of money.

First birthday extravaganza!! Or not.

This kid will be a year old in less than three months.

I can hardly believe that I am actually having to start thinking about my child’s first birthday party.

This can’t be right, can it? Time can’t possibly have passed this quickly.

Le sigh.

I’m sort of debating what we will do for his birthday. He won’t remember it, obviously, but we are definitely going to do something. Bobby and I initially talked about have a party here and one back home, then it was just going to be one party back home at a centrally located park.

But really, is that even necessary? Now I’m thinking maybe we’ll just have a little get-together for immediate family — Bobby’s parents, my mom, our brothers and sisters, and Noah’s cousins.

Honestly, I think if we just give the kid cake and let him crawl (or maybe walk, by that point)  around and be the center of attention, he’ll be happy. He really doesn’t even need any more new toys, and it’ll be much easier on us to organize something small.

But I think I’m sort of feeling the pressure to perform as a mom. I see other moms who are doing these really amazing themed parties for their babies, and it makes me want to do that, too. If I take a second to think about it, I realize that most of these moms are in a situation where there is either an older sibling, family members close to their child’s age or several friends who have kids close in age.

It’s hard to cast aside that desire to compete, to make sure my child has the best I can give him. And that’s just kind of silly. Noah will be just as happy with a small family gathering as he would a huge party. I will be able to focus on him rather than decorations or party favors or ensuring 30 other people are happy.

I think my decision is made.

If you are the parent of a young child, have you gone this route? How did it go?

SOC Sunday: Undistracted free time? What’s that?

#SOCsunday This is my first time doing Stream of Consciousness Sunday in a while, and this is a great prompt from Fadra. Of course, it mostly prompted me to ramble, but I was distracted, see?

Today’s prompt: When you sit down to write a post, do you get dedicated, devoted time? Are you surrounded by distractions, mental or physical?

When I first read Fadra’s prompt for today, my immediate reaction was, “Ha. Hahahahaha. Oh, that’s funny.”

I really don’t get a lot of undistracted writing time, but when I do I like to crank out several blog posts at once. I think that’s probably how a lot of moms do it.

A good example of what my writing time usually looks like: As I sit here now, I have a cup of coffee on my right and a babbling baby on my left. He is saying, “Ma ma. Na na nu nu. ah ah ah ah.” And he’s throwing every toy I hand him into the floor. Pleasant. And incredibly distracting.

I also write a lot of posts during my lunch hour at work. That’s a little less distracting, but there’s always the potential for being interrupted since I’m still working away in my office. It’s a little easier though.

There are those rare nights where I set aside time after Noah’s asleep (usually on nights when Bobby has gone out to do something), and I feel like I probably get the most writing done on those occasions. Of course, I’m also easily distracted without extra help from baby or hubby, so I often turn to the internet, television or a book (Harry Potter, of late …so worth the re-read) to put off writing.

And there’s likely the crux of the issue. I would get a lot more done if I wasn’t a procrastinator and a bit lazy. I like to waste time doing mindless stuff. Part of it might be because I write as a profession, so I spend a lot of my work time writing. But the bigger part really is just that I fill my time at home — my free time, mind you, not time with Noah and Bobby — with sort of pointless stuff a lot of the time.

Well, now I need to figure out what to do about it. I guess it’s good that I’ve put it out there, but I kind of feel like I’ve put it out there before and nothing’s changed. So hopefully I will be able to start making some small changes. Eh, who knows?

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post at All Things Fadra.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Noah at 9 months

The kiddo looks less and less like a baby and more and more like a little boy, and it makes this mommy sad.

But he’s getting more and more fun, too. He loves crawling around and exploring. He LOVES the walker his Granny got him for Christmas. And the child loves to eat.

He now has at least five teeth that have come through his gums. He may have more, but it’s next to impossible to tell because he hates having his mouth messed with. We made it through our first major sickness over Christmas and New Year’s — he had bronchiolitis and a double ear infection, but he was still just as sweet and happy as he could be.

Anyway, here’s a cute video of him trying out his walker for the first time!

And then there was that night he used the toilet for the first time …

Ever since Noah had the diaper-rash-from-hell-that-refused-to-go-away, Bobby and I have been in the practice of giving him a little “naked time,” most nights. Basically he crawls around without a diaper on for a few minutes, and we laugh at home funny he looks pulling up on various pieces of furniture while bare-bottomed.

But this. This had never happened.

I was waiting for Bobby to run Noah’s bath and decided to go ahead and take off his clothes and diaper. I set him on the floor and turned back toward the changing table for a moment, I guess to gather up his dirty clothes from the day to toss into the laundry hamper.

And then I heard the tell-tale grunting.

“No. No, no, no. Oh, shit.” I looked at him. I looked desperately back at the changing table. I looked at him.

And I did the only thing that came to mind that could possibly keep us from getting poop all over the rug in his nursery. I picked him up, ran to the bathroom and held him over the toilet.

Not particularly graceful, but it was effective.

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Who needs toys anyway?!

(His Granny swore he wouldn’t be able to get the clip off that half-full chip bag. We see how that turned out. It was hilarious!)

The Noah update

A common occurrence: Noah is reaching for my phone.

I was trying to think of blog topics for this week and realized it’s actually been quite a while since I posted an update just about Noah.

Honestly, the kid is amazing. He’s closing in on 8 months old, and he is sweet, adorable and, most importantly, happy.

Developmentally, he seems to be right on track. He’s crawling (mostly an army crawl but occasionally on hands and knees) and pulling up on things. We’ve already had to lower his crib once and are about to have to lower it all the way. He makes lots of sounds, both consonants and vowels, and loves to jabber.

He has started recognizing his own name, and he plays little games. One of his favorite things to do is smack his lips. We smack ours back, and he smacks again. Sometimes Bobby or I can initiate this game. He also loves to do what I call the “Indian noise” (yes, I know that’s probably not a good thing to call it, but I can’t think of anything else); he makes a noise while one of us pats his mouth with our hand.

Art from Noah's day care

As far as size, he hasn’t been measured since his six-month well baby visit to Dr. B, but he’s definitely still growing. He’s started to slim down some since he started crawling more, but he also seems to be getting taller. We are going to need to buy a new car seat for him soon!

He’s getting more and more hair, and he now has two teeth. He really enjoys eating solids, and his favorites are probably still carrots and green beans. Lately I’ve tried making some purees for him, and they’ve gotten mixed reviews from Noah. The best seems to be the banana-yogurt mixture, but he hates pureed carrots that I make. I’ve tried adding a little butter and salt, and that seems to help.

We’ve also been giving Noah more table foods since he shows a lot of interest and LOVES sitting at the table with us while we eat. We had Thanksgiving dinner with friends on Sunday, and Noah got to try butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, green beans and a few tiny bites of turkey. He ate it up. I’d say the mashed potatoes and turkey were his favorites.

Foot turkey!

Noah also really seems to be thriving in his day care. He loves being around all the other kids, and he (thankfully) hasn’t hit a clingy stage where he doesn’t want us to leave him there. I really hope we won’t have to deal with that at all! I think being around the other kids (and being one of the younger kids in his class) actually helps him developmentally, too.

So that’s sort of where Noah is right now. He’s really at a fun age and a lot of fun to be around. I won’t be surprised if he’s walking within the next two months. It’s so weird how fast time is going and how fast he’s growing, so Bobby and I are trying to soak it all in and enjoy every moment!

SOC Sunday: The joy of being a mom

#SOCsunday

OK, you’ll have to forgive me if this week’s SOC Sunday post is borderline nonsensical. Noah got us up around 6:30 this morning, and we’ve been going nonstop since. It’s been a great day, though, and now that my post is done, I’m headed to bed!

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I put some thought into what I wanted to write about tonight, and honestly I’m so tired that I sat here for probably longer than I’ll write trying to come up with something.

I think what I want to talk about is what being a mom is like. It’s so hard to explain to someone who has never been here, and even for those of us who have, I guess it’s probably different for everyone.

I guess the biggest thing that I’ve found is that there’s so much more room for love in my heart than I ever realized. And it’s a different kind of love than I’ve ever experienced … or at least a different kind than I’ve ever given. I never really expected to look kindly on someone who basically spit up on me, puked on me, made me change poopie diapers and cried every time he got hungry, but the kid is so darn cute.

And mostly he’s mine. I carried him for nine months. And he looks at me and smiles that sweet smile as if to say that he knows I’m his, too, and it melts my heart. I’m seriously tearing up now just thinking about it. I’m his people, and he’s my people, and we both know it, even if he is just 7.5 months old.

Bobby and I constantly discuss how we are so incredibly fortunate, and it’s really true. He’s a good kid. And I’m learning how to be a good mom. It’s taking a lot of trial and error — particularly when it comes to making food the child will actually eat. Sometimes I get frustrated (like today when he insisted on smearing the carrot-yogurt-banana mixture I made him all over his face and high chair).

But despite the frustrations that come with being a mom, I love him more than I ever thought possible, and I’m so happy to have him.

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post at All Things Fadra.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.