Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Smart phones

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!

3) Labor
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
in months.

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.)

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