My co-workers surprised me with some new decorations for my desk . . .
. . . and apparently no one remembered to water my plant.
I spent the day cleaning out my inbox (only 1400 emails, no big deal) and checking out the "Mothers' Room" in my building, where I will be spending 30 minutes, three times a day, every day until baby can pack himself a sandwich for lunch.
Today was Baby's first day at day care (which we're also calling "school"). I made sure everyone knew his name . . .
Of course I didn't sleep last night. And baby and I weren't so much in sync, because he slept soundly for the whole first half of the night, - even when I moved him from the Pack n Play to the bed - while I tossed and turned. Then I finally fell asleep and he fussed for the rest of the night.
The morning went well, thanks to my pre-packing (including setting out my breakfast . . . I told you, stress=planning!). I'm sure I would have forgotten something important, like the baby.
And now time for the inevitable Mollie's Law (sort of like Murphy's Law) moment: the teachers didn't know he was starting today!!! The directors forgot to tell them. Uhg. Luckily, this sort of thing happens to me ALL the time (it was oddly similar to registration day at my grad school when no one was there and the receptionist was my adviser for the day), so I wasn't upset or surprised. The teacher was really good about it, and since I was able to name both administrators I spoke with, AND hand her a big check, she seemed to decide I was
telling the truth.
We had left the house early so I could feed him there and meet the teahers, do the paperwork, etc. Problem is he fell asleep on the way there. Normally, the touchy little thing he is, he'd wake up when we stopped or went inside -- not today!! He was fast asleep when I left, even with the other kids poking at him. Now, because he was asleep, I missed his 9am-ish feeding, and the had to find somewhere to pump sooner than I had anticipated. I was planning to run some errands and then go to my appointment, but today I took a detour into Bloomingdale's 59th street, because I heard a rumor that there was a nice place to nurse/pump, thanks to this handy little list.
I took myself to lunch, and while there I called the day care to confirm that I would pick him up at 2:00. "Great," she said. "And, um, by the way . . . is there something, um, special you do to get him to go to sleep?" Oy. When I arrived he was asleep, but just barely, and I got the impression that he had been difficult. "You rock him to sleep, don't you?" the teacher said to me. Well, yeah, it works. Tough. He's only 11 weeks old, I'm not willing to let him scream it out just yet.
I got him home and he hasn't stopped nursing since, and I don't blame him.
- the front passenger seat of Megan's car, while we were driving.
- the back row of the movie theatre during X-Men: First Class. (I do not recommend this, actually, if you're not used to doing it in the dark. I had to do one side at a time since I couldn't see to get them both lined up right, and the non-pumping side leaked ALL over me but I didn't notice at first since it was too dark!!)
- the sitting area outside the ladies' room on the 2nd floor of Bloomingdale's 59th st
Baby starts daycare tomorrow. I'm so ambivalent about it. On the one side, I finally get a break; it will be someone else's job to bounce him all day long, I can get things done without worrying about him crying, and I can eat lunch with two hands. On the other side however, he just seems too little! I'm the only one who has been with him all the time, so I feel like I'm the only one who can possibly take care of him.
So in the face of all this anxiety, I plan. Right now his clothes and everything he'll need at daycare is laid out on the bed in his room.
I'll pack up the stroller and make up all the bottles tonight, so everything will be ready to go. I'm sure that means that I'll be sitting around tomorrow morning waiting to leave, or pacing around the apartment, or falling asleep in my rocking chair. oops.
Also, I am trying to organize every other aspect of my life down to the tiniest point, cause that's what I do when I'm stressed. I made a VERY detailed meal plan for the week and went to the store this afternoon. I know it's important to eat well while nursing, and since I will have three scheduled breaks during the day to pump, what a fine time to have two small snacks and a lunch?! So after we got back from the store, where I bought lots of fruit and veggies, I put those fruits and veggies into 10 little tupperware containers, 2 for each day.
Then I made two dinners, cause that's what Sundays will be for now -- making Sunday AND Monday's dinner! (My thought is that if we've already got Monday's dinner (or any dinner that is easily reheatable) in the fridge, one day will be made with the crock pot, Thursday is leftovers, Friday is takeout, then there's only ONE dinner that we actually have to MAKE on the day we need to eat it! And we'll start out with easy things like spaghetti.)
I figure the more I get done today, the fewer things that are likely to keep me awake tonight . . . and I have enough things that will keep me awake tonight.
A few months before I got pregnant, my dear friend Emily approached me with a serious concern: she was worried I was going to completely lose my sense of humor. She had a friend who used to quite enjoy things like dead-baby jokes and making fun of people who take raising their children WAY too seriously. But then they had a baby, and all of a sudden, those things were not funny anymore. Problem is, they did not inform Emily that their personalities had so drastically changed -- they just got mad at her. Not cool, Emily's friend. Not cool.
So to ensure that this wouldn't happy to me, we wrote up a small contract of things that I find funny now.
I, Mollie Hartford-Chamberland, do solemnly swear on my hoard of yarn, that I will continue to find hilarious (or at least keep an open mind about) innocuous and semi-offensive jokes involving:
Baby diseases (like a cold, not cancer)
Comparing babies to puppies
Comparing babies to plants
Comparing babies to assorted zoo animals
Comparing babies to inanimate objects including, but not limited to, balloon animals, footballs, et. al.
Fat babies with their adorable sausage legs
Embarrassing pregnancy symptoms
Embarrassing post-pregnancy symptoms
Wetting your pants due to baby
Getting puked/vomited on by baby
Getting pooped on by baby
Watching people almost fall down with, almost drop, or almost injure their baby or themselves is funny as long as baby isn’t hurt. And it isn’t you.
The dead baby/dead puppy joke
Background checks on babysitters
Using a vibrator as a soothing device (not a sex device, pervert!) to put baby to sleep a la “Sex and the City”
Inappropriate things written on onesies
Baby clothes, in general
Complaining about other people “mothering” you
Hating strangers touching your belly
Extra fingers and toes
Babies with mustaches or miscellaneous extra facial hair (Hitler mustaches made of food, whether intentionally or unintentionally, always funny)
Bristol Palin jokes – all
No anatomical talk at work
Not allowed to say “I hate being pregnant”
Depictions of babies doing age-inappropriate actions (smoking, playing with matches, dressing skankily, etc.)
Treating one’s children like parcels or groceries
Mocking fictional orphans (mocking real orphans just makes you a bad person)
Even if I do not laugh at said humor, due to the surge of humor-crushing hormones and potentially serious life-experience that comes with bearing and having a child, I will zestfully support forms of this humor, though the hormones may leech the humor right out of my brain and make me think this isn’t funny at all.
Should I be mortally offended by any of the above, an arbiter will decide whether I hold the right to be offended. If judged that said joke was, indeed, hilarious, I will tell the most offensive joke I can think of as punishment.
Since then, we've also added a few verbal addenda such as videos should not be more than :90 seconds long (preferably :45 seconds) without a really good payoff at the end (first smile or baby actually eats the mushed banana). I'm allowed a "gramma version" of the video, which can be as long as I want, since grammas live for that sort of thing. There was also going to be a limit to the number of photos I can upload in a day, but I'm not sure it was officially declared. Therefore I just pick the best ones to upload to Facebook, and send all of them to Flickr.
I'm happy to say that I don't think I've violated the contract. I only said "this sucks" about being pregnant twice, and I never said I hated it. (I believe this made it possible to live with myself after vomiting on the way to work EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Vomiting in a flower pot in Times Square and a garbage can at Carnegie Hall HAD to be funny, or else it would just be sad.) I compare my baby to my dog all the time. And when Emily posts obviously offensive things to my Facebook (like little babies made of marzipan), I choose not to look at it. That's allowed.
I swear, how did people have babies before smart phones?
1) Dr. appointments
There are so many!!! Regular appointments, plus extra ones for tests like ultrasounds, if your practitioner doesn't do them in the office. How does one manage? (ok, I guess normal people of my mother's generation used a fancy thing called a calendar and a pen, but the pen doesn't buzz in your pocket to remind you that you have an appointment, nor does it buzz in DAD's pocket to remind him that he's supposed to be there too).
2) Gestational progress
How did our parents live without the day-by-day "this is what your fetus looks like" app (or in my case the weekly email that we would read in bed on Saturday mornings . . . awww). Did they just take it for granted that their baby had fingernails and was drinking his own urine!? Shocking!
All the pregnancy books include a "what to bring to the hospital" checklist, which lists "a watch with a second hand" for timing contractions. First, I haven't owned a functioning watch since 2007 (Chris has this thing about taking my watch/phone while we're on vacation . . . he took it on our honeymoon and I guess I just never put it back on!). Second, why would need one when you have the Contraction App?! (I'll be honest about this one-- this is where the iPhone failed a little. iPhone owners know how long it takes to "boot up" a sleeping phone, and what a battery drain things like continuous timers can be, so we went with the app for dad's blackberry.) You should have seen him whip that thing out of his fancy holster every time I moaned.
4) Birth Announcements
I begrudgingly sent out "real" announcements to friends and family a few weeks after the birth, but only because I had a Groupon code that saved me 60%. However I still argue that they were redundant to anyone with Facebook. Hours after his birth, the news broke all over the interwebs (but not before the official calls to the parents and texts to the siblings, thank you very much). One mobile upload was enough to crash the Facebook server (or at least strain my phone's vibrator) and force me to turn off my phone for the first time
5) Feeding and Pooping
One thing that surprised me in the first days of baby's life was my complete inability to do simple things, like feed myself and know what day it is. Then add lack of sleep to my already shoddy pregnancy brain, and I also lost the ability to count or remember that last time I did anything -- even important things like feed my baby. Cue the Similac Baby Journal app! (I've got to hand it to Similac -- they somehow got my name and address and sent me two big cans of formula, which I promptly discarded. But they also included a bunch of pamphlets about breastfeeding (odd, I know), and a brochure about their new app! And it looked so good, and it was free!) It's amazing! First there is a breastfeeding tracker, which has a stopwatch timer (since in the middle of the night, it's hard to remember when you started), and it calculates the average duration and estimated next feeding time, and reminds you which side fed from last time. Then it has a diaper trackers, where you can indicate the number (i.e. "number 1" or "number 2", and the color of the poop (yes, it's important). It adds them up and you can quickly see how many diapers you've changed in the last 24 hours. There is also a sleep tracker and a bottle feeding tracker, neither of which I used, but they're probably pretty helpful.
One major critique: the breastfeeding tracker uses a image of a mother's chest, where you can indicate which side you're feeding on.
Problem is, it's an image from the front, like you're looking straight at the boobs. When you're feeding your baby, you're looking at your boobs from above. So when you're looking at the phone image, and it shows "left" on the right side, you have to reverse it in your mind when you look down. Now I know we all took the SATs and are supposed to be able to invert things in our minds, and we all went to Kindergarten and should know our left from our right, but again, in the middle of the night, those things go out the window.
6) Something to do . . .
So newborns don't do a whole lot. They're really not that interesting, beyond the whole, you know, being the example of creation and life and all that. I've spent the bulk of that last 2 months in various places under my baby -- in my rocking chair, in my bed, really wherever I happen to be, just UNDER my baby. He doesn't like to be put down, so until I got the hang of living with him in the sling, I spent most of his napping time rocking in the chair. And because he's a baby, he spends most of his time eating, so again, a lot of time spent in the rocking chair. Here's where my iPhone got the most use (to the point where I usually have to plug it in for a recharge part way through the day). I read my blogs, check facebook, and even read some free ebooks in the middle of the night. Daddy even found some comfort in the iPhone when it was his turn in the chair . . . one day I turned it on to find the full version of Angry Birds had been downloaded, and I don't pay for apps.
Baby starts daycare next week, and I go back to work a few days after that. I expect to use my super awesome smart phone a lot more . . . I'll need photos of my boy while I pump at work, pop-up calendar alerts to remind me to take the chicken out of the freezer, and of course the phone to obsessively call the day care asking if my baby is still alive. Should be fun.
(Also, I'm contemplating purchasing a membership to Plan to Eat, a supposedly amazing online program that features drag and drop meal planning, recipe storage, and grocery list apps. But, as I said, I don't pay for apps . . . I'm still deciding.)
Baby was surprisingly content this morning so I left him snuggling with Daddy (don't worry, co-sleeping opponents, Dad was awake so those pillows were no hazard). I went to go order breakfast from the local diner (breakfast burritos and coffee smoothies) and came back only when baby got fussy.
Dad and Baby spent the rest of the day hanging out, watching the Red Sox, and napping. Mommy used her two free hands to clean the entire apartment -- everyone was happy at the end of the day!
If today were a movie, it would be called "Mommy's Day Out" (subtitle, "Getting Out of the House before she Goes Out of Her Mind").
Part 1: Meet some Mommies. I recently joined the Queens and Long Island Working Moms Meetup group. They post meetups at the park, playgroups, and fun stuff to do in Queens (did you know there is a farm with a petting zoo AND a hedge maze?!). One woman hosts a stroller walking meetup on Saturday mornings, and they walk around the park (3 or 4 miles), with and without their babies. It was canceled last week, and this weekend it was downsized to "hanging out in Barnes and Noble" because there were only three of us. I hadn't spent time in the kids' section of a book store in a long time, and I spent time making mental lists of all my favorites.
I also found the most "meta" kids' book ever: "We are in a book". It is about an elephant and a pig that discover they are in a book and being read RIGHT NOW!!! It's fantastic.
It was nice to hang out with some other moms, even though they spent most of their time chasing their own kids (mine stayed pretty quiet, for once). They reminisced about having little babies, and it was nice to hear them say "I know its hard, but it gets better. . . . well, SOME things get better. Some things get harder, like -- SYDNEY, STOP KICKING HER! THAT'S IT! PUT THE BOOK BACK, WE'RE LEAVING." :) It was refreshingly honest.
Part 2: SHOPPING!!!
I go back to work in just over a week, and I needed to find some clothes that 1) fit and 2) are not covered with spit-up. I may have gone overboard . . .
I ended up with:
4 nursing tank-tops (these can replace the frumpy nursing bras and act as layering camisoles. Win win.
2 pair of jeans (I hope the Gap prices are worth it, cause in the dressing room they actually fit my very flat butt and very wide hips, not to mention the bit of extra skin I have in front now)
1 super cute dress from Target
2 super cute skirts from Target
4 T-shirts from Old Navy
2 cardigans from Old Navy
1 impulse top from Gap, with this amazing basket-weave strap thing going on in the back. I found it on the discard rack in the dressing room. SCORE!
In other news, the Queen Center Mall has a nursing room. I sent Stephanie to Fossil and I pumped. They even had a rocking chair. Quite pleasant.
We ended the day at Dallas BBQ, and Chris met us there with the baby. Baby loved all the lights and sounds, and I loved me some Texas-sized drinks!
The fact that my baby is crying is a sign that my baby is tired and doesn't like CVS, not that I am having trouble with the self-checkout. When I am having trouble with the self-checkout, I say things like 'What the hell is wrong with this god damn self-checkout.' I do not require you to take my groceries out of my hand and attempt to swipe my card from me just because my baby is crying and making YOU uncomfortable.
Thanks and leave me alone,
Mollie and her crying baby, who fell asleep the minute we exited CVS, if that tells you anything about your store.
Uncle Josh (a for-real uncle this time) and Tia Wendy, who live in Los Angeles, were on a whirl-wind trip to the east coast to visit friends, family, and all the new babies in the world. They stopped by on their way out (lucky we live in the same borough as two major airports).
Technically, he's right on track based on the growth charts from where he started at birth, but I like to call him Fatty, so I will take a nearly 4-pound gain as proof of his Fatty-ness.
He also had his first round of immunizations. He did very well, and we both only cried a little. The doctor did them so fast, he did three shots within a few seconds, and I totally missed the last one. Baby was calm within a few minutes, and we even went for coffee afterwards. (I had cleared the rest of my day just in case he (or I) was a basket-case or had a bad reaction to the shots.) He was asleep within a few blocks of leaving the office, and we're going to spend the day snuggling and watching my "stories" (Sex and the City on the DVR and Grey's Anatomy on Netflix Instant Watch).
In other news, baby can "roll over" from stomach to back, though I'm not sure how deliberate it is, as it looks more like accidentally tipping over.
Dad gets home around 6 and has either "screaming baby time" or "happy baby time", depending on whether he gets home at 6:01 or 6:05. He holds/rocks/bounces/plays with baby while Mom prepares dinner, and the mom and dad either eat in shifts, or if baby is asleep we can eat together. Around 8:00-8:30, Dad gives baby a bottle and Mom double-pumps. Then Dad burps baby, hopefully has some happy time, and bounces baby to sleep. Here comes the tricky part: we put baby down to "nap" in the pack n' play, and he'll either 1) sleep for 20 minutes and then scream for an hour, or 2) sleep until the middle of the night feeding.
A few nights ago, he was still asleep when it was time for us to go to bed, so we left him in the pack n' play and went to bed with the door open, sure that I would hear him crying and wake up. And I did hear him crying . . . unfortunately rather than waking up, I simply integrated the cry into the dream I was having. Oops.
Last night, he again was still asleep when it was time to go to bed, and since we're in the middle of a heat wave, we have to shut the bedroom door and keep the A/C on. So we set up the baby monitor in the living room and went to bed.
And I was a wreck.
The simple act of shutting the door felt like I had left my baby in the basement, or out in the yard, or on a Subway headed to Brooklyn. I was immediately convinced that he had pulled him swaddle blanket over his face and was, at that moment, choking to death. And of course the baby monitor would not pick up choking, because in order to choke, you have no air to make noise! So after a few minutes of panic and irrational mothering, I went to check on him. I am such a cliche. I seriously was creeping around in the dark, hovering over his bed, checking to make sure he was breathing. But honestly, it made me feel better, and I was able to go to sleep.
When he woke up around 2:30am, I was actually glad to get up and feed him. I had MISSED him!
Today we brought baby by the PCTV studios to see everyone from Geeks with Issues. Mom sat with the other mommies, and was very comforted as they reminisced about how, at least once in the first few months of their children's lives, they had called their husbands SCREAMING that he had to COME HOME NOW, because they were burnt out and the baby wouldn't stop crying! . . . that sounded familiar.
We left dad to do the show, and Gramma drove with us up to Otis to visit "Gramma Terry", another honorary grandmother. Her dogs were so interested in the baby, they wouldn't stop sniffing!
I LOVE his face here!
It's nice to find someone who is not afraid of crying babies. At one point, baby switched into screaming mode, and she said, "No wonder you're tired!" It's nice to hear some validation for my plight.
That night, Megan came over to watch game two of the Stanley cup final. Go Bruins!
Today we drove out to Lakeville, MA to see mommy's grandmother, Rowan's great-grandmother, "Nana".
Nana is 91 years old; she has 9 grandchildren, and now 13 great-grandchildren. She remembers everyone's birthday and anniversary, and the names of all your childhood friends and boyfriends/girlfriends.
I'm sure Rowan will hear for the rest of his life how mom and dad showed up carrying him in a sling and how they order diapers off the Internet - now that's progress!
And on today's installment of Wilderness at Gramma and Grampy's . . .
It's mom and dad's anniversary! 4 years ago today we were saying our "I do"s; today we're saying our "OH POO!!!"s! (BTW, whoever said that breastmilk poops smell sweet must have been the same sick freak who likes the smell of his own farts.) To celebrate, we went out to dinner and left the baby home with Gramma!
We went to the Rainbow in Pittsfield for our annual steak dinner. We don't have a grill and can't really afford good steak at NYC prices, so once a year we splurge and go out for a fancy steak dinner (except last year, when we were in the middle of buying our apartment and living on Top Raman, and went to Georgio's Country Grill for pasta instead). This year was great! Filet Mignon with brown sauce, baked potato, and grilled zuccini and squash. Appetizer was fresh fried mozzarella, and for dessert we split a Boston Cream Pie and an apple-cranberry cobbler. Yum! We told the waitress that it was our anniversary AND the first date night away from the baby, so she should take her time!
After dinner we "went driving" like we used to do when we were dating. We ended up at the Stockbridge Bowl overlook, a classic make-out spot! We enjoyed the silence and the stars until another car arrived. They were probably there to ACTUALLY make-out, and I was missing my baby by this point, so we headed home.
We found baby sleeping in Gramma's arms. Grampy had given the bottle, with Gipper standing watch. Apparently when baby had started to cry during a burping, Gipper jumped up on the couch and started pawing at Grampy, with sort of a "the baby is crying!! You're not doing it right!!" concern.
And today's adventure in the wilderness that is Gramma and Grampy's house . . . Bear Cubs!
Mommy is not so good about writing things in a baby book, but as a child, loved reading the one Gramma had kept for her. A digital baby book can be updated with photos and videos without actually printing anything, and can be shared with everyone . . . even Gramma!
Rowan, Mommy, Daddy, and Gipper the pug live in Queens, New York. Daddy is an engineer and loves Notre Dame football and the Red Sox. Mommy works for Nickelodeon and loves to knit (when she has two hands free). Gipper the pug is taking her job as "nana" very seriously and likes to look after and sniff the baby. So far, baby Rowan loves to eat and poop and cry.