Monday, October 22, 2012

Preparing for Childbirth, in the 21st Century

To start off with, let me make this perfectly clear. I am NOT going to take a video of myself in labor, and post it for the world to see on YouTube. The world does NOT want to see that kind of crazy, trust me. THAT kind of crazy is reserved for the people I really love and really want to scar for life (i.e, my husband).

Nor am I going to Skype with you between contractions. At least, I probably won’t Skype with you between contractions. If my husband gets sick of my squatting and groaning and leaning on him, all the while singing “Fergalicious,” and decides he needs to lock himself in the bathroom for half an hour, I may search you out on Skype. And you’d better be there to sing along with me.

I HAVE already created a Pandora radio station specifically for the baby’s birth. I actually found out from the tour of our birth center that they will even play my music of choice during a c-section, if it comes down to that. Of course, when I heard this, all I could envision was my operating doctors breaking out into a flash mob at a most inconvenient time, and Howie Mandel frolicking into the operating room, grabbing my little newborn baby and swinging him enthusiastically in the air.

Anyway, my Pandora station is pretty mellow, so I am kind of hoping that in labor, I will be responsive to calming, soothing music. If not – if I really need to hear “Get Your Freak On” as I bear down and push, I’ve got an alternative station in the works. 

I have also loaded my kindle up with lots of stupid games that I can play in an effort to distract myself as my cervix “blooms” and my uterus contracts. What’s that you say?  I should use my kindle to download stimulating and thought provoking books, or meditations to help me through the labor? I suppose I SHOULD do that, too. As soon as I am done with this game of solitaire…

I will not be blogging from the hospital. I WILL probably be taking notes for future blog posts, a la “ten crafts you can create using hospital-grade mashed potatoes.”

I probably WON’T update my Pinterest boards while I’m in labor. But if I can somehow figure out how to make a lacey paper lamp shade out of my hospital gown, well… let’s just say you’ll know.

Sure, sometimes I think it might be best to just NOT bring any of this nonsense into the labor room with me, so I can concentrate completely on just being in the zone, you know? That I should strip myself of all the “noise” and just tune in to my primal self, and the magnificent moment of bringing life into this world…

But then that thought gets interrupted by a great song playing on my Pandora station.



Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Conversations NOT to Have Around a Pregnant Woman

Maybe I’m just being sensitive.

Scratch that. I am DEFINITELY being sensitive.

But it seems that lately I have noticed how inappropriate certain conversations are when they are being held in the company of a very pregnant woman (ahem, ahem). Of course, I can’t exactly tell people to STOP talking about the things they ENJOY talking about. But perhaps I can suggest to the general public that, when you are standing around a woman with a ginormous prego bump who is desperately clenching her belly while a five pound creature does jumping jacks in her uterus, it would be best to veer away from specific subjects.

So.. ta da!… here is my list of TEN conversations you should NOT have around a very pregnant woman:

·         Conversations about how much your abs are killing you from the intense workout you did yesterday.

·         Conversations about that amazing, child-free, month-long vacation on a faraway island you and your significant other are planning.

·         Conversations about skinny jeans.

·         Conversations about your unbelievable, very frequent, sex life.

·         Conversations about perfect bladder control.

·         Conversations about how you enjoy turning the presidential debates into drinking games.

·         Conversations about how much your paper cut has been bothering you for the last two days.

·         Conversations about how hot you will look in your sexy Big Bird Halloween costume.

·         Conversations about what a horrible winter we are going to have, and how likely we are to get transportation-halting snowstorms that will prevent easy travel to hospitals.

·         Conversations about the deliciousness of sushi and unpasteurized cheese.

Of course, there are many non-taboo subjects that are perfectly fine for conversation around an enormously pregnant woman. Here is just a sampling of “green light” topics:

·         Conversations about how fun it is to babysit for newborns.

·         Conversations about how going to the movies/going out to dinner/going to the theater is incredibly overrated.

·         Conversations about how LESS sleep is actually better for us than MORE sleep.

·         Conversations about how wonderful NOT dieting is.

Hope you find my list incredibly helpful. Feel free to chime in with your suggestions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

For My Beautiful Emmy, on Your Second Birthday:

Oh, Em. I can’t believe you are already turning two years old. It really does seem like just a few days ago, Dada and I were bringing you home from the hospital, all bundled up and looking like a very teeny tiny confused pilot, tucked inside your car seat.

Your birth changed our lives in the most unbelievable ways. Sure, Dada and I haven’t exactly gotten LOTS of sleep the past two years, and maybe our family dinners aren’t always the most relaxing meals, but these are small sacrifices, and totally worth the trade-in for the enormous joy you have brought to our family.

I imagine that some years from now, you might be curious as to  what kind of a child you were as a two year old, so I am going to try my best to tell you a little bit about the beautiful girl you have become.

First of all, you absolutely adore music. You love singing. You love dancing. When you wake up in the morning, you want to watch videos of your favorite songs, like “Rain Rain Go Away” and “I’m a Little Teapot”. You often ask us to join you in dancing around the living room along with you and Elmo. You want to listen to “On top of Spaghetti” eight times on our ride to and from daycare.  I love watching you through the rearview mirror, mouthing the words and bopping your head to the music. Music is in your blood, it is part of who you are.

You have an incredible vocabulary for a two year old. Dada and I are constantly amazed by the words that come out of your mouth, and your ability to communicate your thoughts, your needs, and your feelings with us. It really is astounding. We don’t know how you’ve developed your language skills so quickly, since we never really “pushed” words on you, but you make us very proud, with your little voice and big words.

You are very curious. Your most often repeated sentence is “What happened??” You also say the word “again!!” an awful lot.

You have a few fears, which is to be expected. You don’t seem to like monsters much, or the little holes in between the tiles just above the bathtub. You don’t like going into a dark room by yourself. But you have no fear of doggies or other animals. When we’ve visited farms, you have enthusiastically tried to feed and make friends with the goats, the cows, and the chickens. And even when, just recently, a little baby piggy bit your finger when you were trying to feed him, you were upset, but after a short break you went right back to petting the piggy.

You love “big girl” bath time, where you can pretend to swim around in the water with all of your bath time friends. You love splashing the water so that mama and dada (and the bathroom floor) get wet. And you love lining up your rubber duckies on the edge of the bathtub, so they can all sing “happy birthday” together.

You hate having your feet covered when you are sleeping. I try to bundle you up at night, to make sure you stay nice and warm, but within minutes of covering you with a blanket, you squirm your little feet out from under the blanket. I remember doing the same thing when I was a little girl.

At school, it seems you like to hang out by your teachers, observing your classmates as they play with their toys. We are not sure if you are just shy around other kids, or slightly overwhelmed… but your teachers love you and are happy to stay by your side, which seems to make you happy.

At Baba’s house, you like to create beautiful works of art using magic markers and stickers. You like putting the stickers on the paper, then drawing over the stickers, and then drawing lines between the stickers, making them “friends”.

And my favorite thing of all… when you are falling asleep at night, after I have sung you lullabies, you ask to hold my hand while I sit in the rocker right next to your bed. And after a while of squirming, and many sips of water, and whispered conversations between you and your tiger puppet, you fall asleep, with your fingers wrapped around mine.

I love you with all my heart, Emmy. I am such a proud mama, and can’t thank you enough for being such a wonderful daughter.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sleep? Who Needs It?... And What Day is it Again??

Pregnancy is not kind on the sleep cycle. Neither is a two year old child. So the combination of being pregnant and having a toddler has translated into my averaging about 4.5 hours of sleep a night, as of late.  I’ve heard lots of conventional wisdom about establishing an evening routine as a family, so that everyone can get some much needed rest.


We have tried, I swear.

For your amusement, here’s a glimpse at our evening rituals and sleep schedule (if you can even call it that):

6:30 pm – feed “la familia.” C and I have tried to make a habit of eating dinner as a family, at the dining room table. Up until recently, we were all eating dinner around our little family room coffee table (a ritual that bled over from our pre-parenthood days), which meant that Em would be up and down, up and down, climbing on the table, and trying to play “catch” with us using various toy-like objects while we ate. C and I would be stuffing bites of food in our mouths while simultaneously feeding Emmy AND entertaining her with hand puppet shows, sticker projects, and circle games. Needless to say, it wasn’t very pleasant.

Not that what we have going nowadays is any better. While dinnertime starts out LOOKING like it may actually be a civilized meal, it quickly (and I mean within seconds) descends into chaos, with Emmy reaching her little legs out from under her high chair, kicking our dining room table, screaming “I ALL DONE! I wanna go POTTY! I wanna BIG GIRL BATH! I wanna ALL DONE! I wanna DUCKIES!”

Peaceful, it is not.

7:00 pm – Potty time! Yes, we know that Emmy is using the potty as an excuse to get down from her highchair (conniving little bugger), but we cannot run the risk (and subsequent guilt complex) of her pooping in her diaper at the dinner table when the potty is located just a few steps away. So we take her to the potty, read her twelve books, and sing “where is thumbkin?” ninety seven times while she poops.

7:15 pm - Give Em a “big girl bath”. I have heard from multiple sources that a bath is one way of establishing a night time routine for a baby/toddler. Em LOVES her bath. I kind of love the bath too, because it keeps our daughter in a relatively confined space for as long as it takes her fingers to turn into little raisins. C and I switch off on who is on bath patrol, while the other one washes the dinner dishes and sneaks shots of hard alcohol (kidding, folks. I’ve had like one beer in the past 7 months. I have, however, often DAYDREAMED about sneaking shots of hard alcohol while doing the dishes).

7:30 pm – Get Em into her pajamas, convincing her that she looks like a princess despite the fact that she is wearing flannel bottoms that are more suitable for an 83 year old man.

7:40 pm – Tell Emmy it is too late to go on her bouncy bounce (trampoline) outside. Tell Emmy it is too late to take out the blocks and build towers. Tell Emmy it is too late to eat a cupcake. Tell Emmy it is too late to start rearranging all of the furniture in our house (all this is done while trying to convince Emmy to eat the dinner she deserted earlier in the evening).

7:50 pm – Watch Emmy’s favorite Youtube music videos. Yes. Our daughter loves Youtube. Try not to judge. She is an avid fan of Mr. Mike, who sings “the itsy bitsy spider” and “baby bumblebee” and THIS video which seems to feature Hitler as a finger puppet (no, I did NOT search for “Hitler finger puppet” in order to find this gem). I spend most of my this time trying to figure out if Mr. Mike is Italian or Jewish.

8:10 pm – Brush Emmy’s teeth (thank god, this is the one simple night ritual we have actually established. Emmy seems to not mind having her teeth brushed, and sometimes actually seems to enjoy it).

8:15 pm – I get Emmy into bed, and sing her three lullabyes while she tries to sneak her hand down my shirt to grab my booby (yes, still, after almost two years, my boobies are a great source of comfort to Emmy… and I am still trying to wean her from her boob-grabbing ways).

8:45 pm – Wonder if my daughter will EVER go to sleep. She has spent the last half hour tossing and turning, talking to her Mickey Mouse dolls, and asking for 18 sips of water. Put my head down on her bed, close my eyes, and doze off for thirteen minutes…

8:58 pm – Wake up to the baby (inside) kicking me in the ribs. Realize Emmy is asleep, and try to sneak out of the room as quietly as possible.  Find husband asleep on the couch (or alternatively, playing a video game in which he is supposed to create beautiful pieces of pottery. I’m not even kidding).

9:00 pm – With thirteen minutes of sleep under my belt, I don’t feel sleepy anymore. Also, with the  baby inside me having decided that NOW is the right time to practice his routine for So You Think You Can Dance, the prospect of peaceful sleep seems highly unlikely. So I live vicariously through my unpregnant friends on Facebook, and through the crazy ladies on Real Housewives of New York City.

11:00 pm – Baby finally calms down. Restless leg syndrome begins.

11:45 pm – After shaking my legs for 45 minutes, and getting up to pee three times, I am finally able to fall asleep. 

1:30 am – Emmy wakes up and cries for mama. I wake up and stumble over to her bed, put her back to sleep. Then I fall asleep on the floor next to her bed, with my head on her mattress.

2:00 am – Emmy wakes up and cries for mama. I take her into bed with me, and we both sleep very soundly for 2.75 hours. Woo hoo!

4:50 am – Emmy wakes up and asks immediately for her Mickey Mouse dolls. I get her Mickey Mouse dolls. Emmy asks for water. I get her water. Emmy asks for a muffin.  I tell her it is still nighttime, and too early for a muffin. Emmy cries. I FEEL like crying, but concentrate on getting her to lie down next to me for at least 30 more minutes. Tactics of coercion include: snuggling, singing, and putting Blues Clues on the t.v.

5:45 am – Emmy’s desire for a muffin turns into desperation. There is no denying her a muffin. “Give me muffin or give me death!” she cries. She MUST have a muffin. And the day must begin.

So all this, my dear friends,  is just a way of explaining why, when you see me in public, and I don’t seem to know my name, and I have a toothbrush sticking out of my hair, and I can’t seem to find my car even though it is right in front of my face, there is a reason.