What I have learned about being a Mom thus far

I’ve been raising one kid who is now 14.  Her situation, from day one, is unlike any other.  Our situation can’t be compared to raising Cora or compared to someone else in her classroom.  It is our own and different, I’ve accepted that.  I can tell you, starting all over from the beginning with this little one, I still don’t know shit. But I feel like I can look back and tell you a few things I’ve learned.

Sometimes my mama gut is dead on but 75% of the time it isn’t.  I don’t think mine works right.  I swear maybe the baby has an ear infection and I drag her to the doctors for them to tell me she is fine.  I’ve heard the Mom stories were their mama gut just saved their child’s life…meanwhile mine is over there licking the window and I have zero clue why.

I can’t buy baby crap online.  I’m certainly a walk in the store and stare at the packaging type of person.  I mean, I can manage buying diapers on Amazon and her pajamas, that I know we love, but that is about it.  Plus, then I start reading reviews and clicking on more options and then I’m more confused than ever.

Speaking of being confused, I have learned researching can make you crawl in a hole.  I was good about not Googling much when I was pregnant and just going with the flow.  I’ve tried to do that since she has been born but there are just some things you have to go to the internet for.  When should they start eating jar food/solid food, when do most drop to one nap a day, how to get rid of night bottles, how to get your child to fucking sleep through the night already, etc.  And you know what, it doesn’t matter what the internet says.  None of it.  Don’t even go to Barnes & Noble for the book.  Your kid will do that shit when they are ready.  Sure, the internet can give you ideas that you can try but your kid will sleep when they damn well please and eat real food when they want to, not when you are jumping around like a damn monkey making airplane noises.

Be prepared for anything.  There is a reason Mom’s have endless shit in their purses.  It is because they have been there.  Inevitably you will walk into a nice restaurant, on time for your reservation, with your 6 month old in an adorable dress, who will then choose that moment to have a monster, blow out, shit, in the car seat.  At least it isn’t in your arms.  You calmly resign to the bathroom and start where you can, with loads of wipes, while your family is being seated and your Husband orders you large alcoholic drinks. But it is okay because you packed the bag with a back-up cute dress, plastic bag for the poop dress, loads of wipes and an extra swaddle blanket to lay in the now disgusting car seat.  You walk to your seat with swagger because you just managed that shit (literally) and just pray that there isn’t a second blow-out…because you aren’t prepared for that.

I have learned people are going to judge you and you have to not care.  When your baby is climbing out of the shopping cart at Target, while you are checking out, and that bitch lady behind you is wondering why you can’t watch your child better, you ignore it. Because she doesn’t get that seatbelt doesn’t mean crap on that shopping cart and you have stopped short of actually purchasing duct tape to get her ass to stay put while you try to dig through clearance.

I have learned that when you ask others for parenting advice or their way of doing something with their child, listen.  Ask questions if need be. Then take that info and use it if you need to or don’t.  Realize that every family has different needs, lifestyles and goals.  What worked for their family may not work for yours.  Just because they love that car seat, you may not.

I have also come to realize I’m incredibly uncomfortable with my pediatrician saying Cora is developmentally ahead.  She has said this from the time she was born and I looked around at the other babies, lying there, shitting themselves, wondering how the hell my kid is different.  I see it now but don’t fully get it when every kid develops differently.  What difference does it make?  If she is so ahead of the game why did it take her 14 months to figure out that most people like to sleep through the night?  I mentioned to her pediatrician that Cora has gone after the dogs butthole to well, plug it with her own damn finger.  How smart can she be?  Smart enough to plug it on the first try, was her answer to me.  Gross. I’ll put that on her preschool application then.

Sippy cups.  I have never struggled buying something for my child more than a sippy cup.  Should be simple.  I heard horror stories of bottles but we didn’t have that problem.  Liked the first one we gave her.  But there I stand in front of sippy cups of varying degrees.  There are about 1800 stages for each type of cups and then there are sub types and age types and then I’m left looking for a life vest.  We have a cupboard full of ones she has tried and discarded.  Only one type she will use for milk, one sippy for water and one kind with a straw.  The rest are collecting dust and my lost patience.  And if we have another kid, that kid will surely want the exact opposite.

I give up on finding a mommy group.  I don’t want to be in one.  I have friends. Some with kids, some with none.  Making new friends as adults is tough enough.  It is made tougher when you are worried about your kid licking their kid or vice versa. Then you have to ask if their kid has had their rabies shot and then you fall in a rabbit hole of political talk.  Hell, I don’t even like some of my friends’ kids so lets just cut our losses and move on.

What are some of the best things you have learned as a parent?

 

Halloween in the books

We can officially say we have another Halloween stuffed in the books! It was a whirlwind of a week celebrating because that is how we celebrate things, a full week at a time.  Plus, it is the best way to end my favorite month and we got to do so with unseasonably warm weather in the 80’s.  Score!

We have an annual costume party every year, adults only.  Full of boos, food and baseball on the TV.  This year was a Peter Pan theme which stems from the theme of Cora’s nursery.  Hubby was Captain Hook, I was Peter Pan, Cora was Tinkerbell, Fenway was the crocodile and my sister was a mermaid from the lagoon.  We pretty much nailed it if I do say so myself.  Now don’t go thinking I made those myself.  Nope, not that crafty.  But I can order online with the best of them!

I let Tinkerbell spend one day in her costume running around outside because it was 80 in the Midwest.  Bare feet, wand waving, dog chasing, fairy wings flapping and a big, fat, pumpkin bucket in the other hand.  I could not get enough of it.  She eventually plopped down in her favorite spot, in the mulch, and started digging.  Moments I just ate up.

Another day we took her to the city, downtown, to trick-or-treat amongst the businesses. This is where she managed to sneak her first sucker.  Once she figured out what was under the wrapper it was game on.  It was honestly a bit of a flop but we got out, walked around and made the best of it.

The next day she kept up with us during our party.  Happily turning in circles, in the middle of the living room, till she fell down.  She lasted until 9pm and crashed while we kept going till we were all having costume malfunctions.

Then came the actual day of Halloween. The Husband didn’t have time to change into his costume and my sister could barely mange hers during our party so she opted for a simplified back-up of the devil. We loaded up the truck, with a game plan and headed out.  Obviously, going after the treats at this age is more for the adults than for the wee one.  I get it.  For us, it was fun to get her out and see her reaction.  We took her to places that did a couple of different things such as the fire stations, nursing homes and a few churches.  There was so much going on at each that we killed time, took pictures, ran into friends and didn’t have to get in and out of the car seat a million times.  She chased dogs, stared at costumes, screamed at strangers and climbed fire trucks.  Again, I ate up every moment.  We finished up our night at a bar to grab beers and grub.  Our costumes, tattered and stained, were happily tossed to the side when we got home.

This is what Halloween is now.  These memories.  What you make of it with your family, in your little town, on an extra warm October night.  Nothing spooky, just a lot of candy to over eat, more pictures than what may be necessary, a lot of laughter, and the comfort that we get to do it all over again next year.

 

 

 

This is 11 months

Let the mimicking begin! I love this phase.  Cora is becoming more and more interactive by the day.  She repeats words and actions so we really have to watch our pirate mouths around her now.  She has her words she actually knows and then she has her own words for things such as Fenway.  I don’t know how she says it, but we know when she is yelling her own version of the word.  She will stand at the back door and yell for her to come in or come up the steps.  They are just the best of buds.

When she turned 11 months we started getting rid of bottles.  You can read about that here.

She is obsessed with wipes. If I turn my back she will find a wipe container or pull them out of her diaper bag.  She will then go around the house scrubbing everything from the floor to the counters.  I guess that is a good habit for her to pick up.  She also loves to have her own wipe when we change her diaper and she likes to wipe her own business.

She loves cars.  When she was about 9 months old she started making car noises, running her cars all over people and things.  Now it is full blown.  She especially loves to fill up her dump truck and push her important things around in it.  Sippy in back, binky in the cab. Apparently all the kids at day care are also into cars so they sit in a circle and push them back and forth to one another.  Also, it kinda helps daddy drives all these big trucks too!

Every day we go over where our belly button, nose, eyes and mouth are at.  Then one day as I was going over them she stayed one step ahead and pointed them all out to me.  It was a yea, I got this mom, we don’t have to keep talking about it moment.  Now when you ask her where a nose is, you should be prepared, she will aggressively point out your nose.

She has also spent some time perfecting her tantrum as well. I don’t particularly love this phase and I know it will only get worse.  Unfortunately I know she is mimicking the daycare provider’s daughter, who is two, and who has quite the attitude.  Sigh.  This includes throwing herself backwards or forwards onto the floor. Good times.  Picking up bad habits from her friends already.

This month we also had our first code brown situation in the bath tub.  My sister was giving her a bath when we heard the screams for help.  Apparently a side lift happened, she looked right at her aunt and then…floaters.  She was quickly whisked away, dumped in my arms, while the husband was left to Clorox.  Auntie has yet to give another bath.

We have finally moved her into 12 month clothing and I think she has almost hit 19 lbs.  We will find out at her 1 year appointment.  As I finish writing this we are just two days away from her 1st birthday.  These past few weeks have been full of remembering just where we were at last year at this time.  The waiting, the preparation, the bouncing on that damn exercise ball.  And more waiting….amazing how quickly a year flies by versus those 9 months of pregnancy.

 

Building an immunity

One of the pros to putting Cora in daycare was for her to build her immune system up.  To literally have my kid pick up a few colds and other germs so that her little body could learn to fight these things off.  We have manage the flu bug, HFM disease and a few colds.  Nothing we couldn’t get through and I feel like she has been sick less than what I anticipated.

What I didn’t anticipate was how sick the Hubs and I would be.  Seriously.  Apparently we are also building our immune systems back up.  I used to work in daycare.  I used to have the immune system of a steel box.  I haven’t had a flu shot in 10+ years and never had the flu during the time.  The only thing I managed to contact was a sinus infection due to my allergies.

But then I went and put my baby in daycare. I have never been so sick.  Apparently wine doesn’t kill all germs?  Flu, colds, and now bronchitis.  To be fair, the flu would have happened with or without that stupid flu shot, as it was July when it hit our house.  The Hubs and I are sick more often than the baby which means she drags home the germs, licks us and then we are dying the next day.

So, so gross.

No one warned me of this.

Just to be clear, I’m on my third week of bronchitis and have made two trips to the doctor while begging for all the drugs. I have spent no less than $200 on this sort of fun.

So back to the pros of daycare.  The baby builds an immune system and so do Mom and Dad. #blessed #eyeroll

This is 10 months

(I forgot to write about 9 months, but it did happen!)

Here we are in the middle of 10 months having just celebrated a nice Labor day weekend.  I spent the past two years, at this time, being pregnant, so it was an odd feeling to look back on.

We entered the 10th month while on our trip to New York.  The actual day may have been spent going to a couple of wineries and a wedding because we are good parents like that. I’m certain she learned a few things about wine for her 21st birthday.  On this trip we also learned that sharing a hotel rom with her is zero fun.  Because when someone should be asleep and you suddenly hear Mamma? Dada? …. Ruins all the fun.

We are slowly getting better at the eating thing.  She is loving jars of veges 90% of the time.  She actually prefers fruit in the real form and not in a jar.  Some days she prefers none of it and will just have puffs.  I pick my fights is what I’m saying.

We are still at 3-4oz of a bottle of formula at a time, except the middle of the night she takes a 6oz.  While she has been using a sippy cup for months now, with water, we have started giving her the formula in it now.  I’m working on weeding out the day time bottles and then we will work on those nighttime bottles.  I would love to be done with bottles by her birthday but I’m realistic and will just say that I would like to be done with daytime bottles by then.

Speaking of nighttime, she still gets up once a night around 1am.  Okay, sometimes twice.  In the past few weeks she has been in a weird habit of getting up around 10:30pm for a cuddle.  It’s like she knows we are heading to bed and needs to make herself known. Can she just please sleep through the night now?

This past weekend we were at my parents home and hanging out in the living room with everyone.  My brother said Wouldn’t it be funny if she just took off walking? My sister then puts Cora between her and I and off she goes.  Right there, she took her first few steps.  We hollered for my Mom and Husband to come in and watch.  Thankfully Cora obliged and did it again and again.  Then went back to crawling like nothing happened.  So we will be working on that.

Other things to note:

  • We are finally down to just two naps a day.  Morning and afternoon.
  • I think she may have finally hit 18lbs and is still in 9 month clothing.
  • Still only has the two bottom teeth.
  • Finally clapped.
  • Says mamma, dada, ball, hi, bye.  Since she loves to repeat words I’m pretty sure she also said shit the other day.
  • Still is super attached and has stranger danger like crazy.
  • She is really into climbing everything.  She moves her toys around to climb on them to climb up on the window ledges, couch, ottoman, or whatever sounds good.  Lord, we will have a broken something by the time she is 2 at this rate.

I hate to admit this but we are slowly moving into Fall.  Over the weekend we picked the first apples from my mother’s apple tree.  In the evenings the air held that crispness that tells you the seasons are changing.  I’m still holding a death grip to these last warm days of summer.  (Which technically, per the calendar, it is.) What is even more strange is that at this time last year, I was willing the calendar to move out of summer for the first time, in well, ever.  I was willing my due date to get here.  I was willing October.  I was willing the end of pregnancy.  Now, I can say, I am asking it to slow down even more than normal.  Now it is the end of summer and closing in on her first birthday.  A birthday we I have started planning for. (I have no self control on Etsy)

I’m holding tight to this last bit of her first year.  I’ve indulged in it all.  I have no regrets.  But as they say, the time flies.

Baby Proofing

If I could sum up baby proofing in a nut shell I would say it is not for us.  There are aisles of locks, magnets, fasteners and other things, in every store, to keep your child from falling, bruising, climbing, and the works.  Essentially you can try to turn your home into a safe bubble for your child to live in.  But once again, it really isn’t for us.

I recently had someone tell me they didn’t even bother unpacking most of their stuff when they moved into their new home.  They just assumed the baby would get into it all so why bother.  I’ve had some say they are just lazy at home and would rather not worry about their kid getting into anything.  I guess we take a different approach.  I would rather my baby learn what is hers and what is not.  What is a “pretty” and what is a toy.  What is a “no-no” and what is not.  Sure, it is a bitch teaching her these things but I don’t want my home to be void of shit for the next couple of years just so she can have the run of it.  Plus, she doesn’t pay the mortgage, I do and I want my nice crap on the shelves.

Also, I want to go to another persons home, with my child, and not be mortified by her throwing their pretty items around because she has never seen such things.  Basically because people have had their kids do that at my home.  The parents go around “baby-proofing” like they are completely appalled I would own a picture frame.

We did a few of the basics.  When we built our home, we put in safe outlets, so we don’t need the covers.   There is a gate at the top of the stairs that goes to the basement.  We put cabinet locks for the under the sink cabinet with all of the poisonous stuff.  And just the other day I had it with her pulling out the drawer under the stove and smashing her fingers so I put a lock on it. Otherwise, I have candles and pictures frames out, dog food bowls at her level, and lighters within her reach.  Okay, I’m kidding on the last one there.  And the candles aren’t lit, just for the record.  There have been a lot of no’s and a lot of redirecting but she is getting the hang of it.  Sure we may have to add a few safety things here and there (like the stove lock) as times goes on but I refuse to turn my house into a bubble.

Sometimes she opens the cabinets and pulls out bowls and Ziploc bags.  Sometimes she bounces her head off the tile floor in a tantrum. And gasp, we have objects with sharp corners.  But all that shit exists out in public, or at friends homes, or hotel rooms.  I can’t put my kid in a bubble wherever we go.

Maybe there are parents reading this saying Oh, just you wait. Maybe one day I will be running the aisles of Babies R Us and purchasing every safety device possible.  For now, I think she is learning.

How far do you go in the baby proofing world?

Baby Proofing

 

First Flight-10 months old

This past weekend we attempted yet another first in Cora’s life.  Her first airplane ride.  I can honestly say I had more anxiety for the 5 hour drive we took back in July versus this plane ride.  Mainly because of her hatred for the car seat.  We were heading to Rochester, NY for a wedding and it required two flights because we live in the middle of no where.

I prepared by reading up on blogs and any other helpful article but it is pretty much all the same.  Bottle/binky for take off and landing.  New toys for distraction.  Snacks.  Plan around naps.  Cross your fingers.  It turns out you can read whatever but your kid will do whatever they want.

We flew out of our tiny airport where a security line doesn’t exist.  We have all the TSA in the world to help put things on the scanner belt and wait patiently on us.  I did wear Cora in her Ergo through security while the Husband had her infant car seat/stroller combo that conveniently held her diaper bag and our extra backpack.  All we had to pull out were her bottles of formula for them to inspect and that was about it.  Shoes back on, formula back in the bag, and we were off on the other side.  Wasn’t that bad.

I will say, since we were gate checking our stroller and car seat we purchased these bags from Babies R Us.  They saved our car seat and stroller from getting completely disgusting while on the plane but folded happily back up into themselves when not in use.  I think they are totally worth it.  And yes, I found taking her own car seat easier than renting one from the car rental place.  I may change my mind as she goes to a different car seat.

For the most part, my kiddo wasn’t bothered by take off or landing.  In fact, she wasn’t bothered by much of anything.  She behaved, played, enjoyed her new toys, licked the window, waved at fellow passengers, and was quite happy at having Mom and Dad’s full attention.

Our largest problem came when she was over tired.  She isn’t good about falling asleep because she might miss something.  So I won’t lie, there were meltdowns before she would give in and fall asleep.  Meltdowns that maybe lasted 15 minutes tops.  Twice a flight attendant gave me free wine once she was asleep in my arms.  Amen.  Out of all four flights total we received zero dirty looks.  Some gave a silent thumbs up once she fell asleep but that was about it.

Also, remember, those flight attendants are there to help.  They don’t want you to have a crazy baby either. They let the Husband stand in the back for a few minutes to get Cora to sleep without so much distraction.  I tell ya, they have a job I couldn’t do. But also keep in mind, they are not there to cater to your child.  They have first class to cater to.

I have to say, I was actually shocked by how nice people were in general.  On our very first flight a Mom sat right next to us and eased any worry I had.  She was on her very first flight without her now 2 year old daughter and now stuck with my kid.  She was headed for a girls weekend and we chatted the whole way.  She has flown a lot with her little one and gave me all of her advice.  I could have hugged her.  No one glared.  No one rolled their eyes at the baby on the flight.  In fact most people said, “Hey, I was a baby once.  I bet I cried a few times!” And lastly, the best comment people can make when you get off the flight “She did great!”

Exhale.

I won’t say it was easy.  Delays suck.  Lack of sleep sucks.  Travel makes for a long day no matter what. All the germs suck.  Tight cramped places, even with a happy baby, suck.  Wine served on planes sucks but I won’t complain because free wine when desperately needed should never be complained about.  The main thing is, we survived, we learned a few things and we had a great time.

A few great things to pass along:

  • Even though it was warm out, we dressed her in pants and socks because reality is, a crawler needs to stretch their legs and that place happens to be on the nasty airport floor.  Bring an extra outfit and socks for baby.
  • If your child is a binky baby, remember plenty of extras.
  • I cannot say this enough- baby wipes and hand sanitizer.  We went through so many wipes. Because baby hands and airport floor.
  • You have to swallow your fear and just know that All. The. Germs. will happen.  All of them.  You can’t stop it.
  • Bathe your child immediately once you hit the hotel.
  • Be polite to your flight attendant and those around you. Do not let your baby hit their seat or grab their hair.
  • Think ahead about your own clothing choice, especially if wearing your baby most of the time.  Flip flops were a must to make security easier.
  • Keep your shit organized.  No one wants to stand in line behind your while you dig around for your ticket.
  • We purchased this Fisher-Price backpack diaper bag and have been using it when we go places more often than my shoulder diaper bag.  Makes life easier in an airport and I love the pockets and storage.  It does have a cooler on the side for two 4 oz bottles.
  • We also used one of these cooler bags.  Comes with an ice pack that is allowed, by TSA,  to cool formula.  It only holds three 4 oz bottles but worked.
  • My husband also brought an extra backpack that held the new fun toys.  All not loud and not bulky but new to baby.  We also had an extra shirt for each of us because you never know when poop or puke can happen.  From the baby, not my Husband.  To add to that, have a plastic sack stored somewhere in case of those accidents.
  • Baby food and extra spoons.  I accidentally threw away a baby spoon instead of a wipe.  Ooops!
  • Don’t over pack.  You have to haul all that shit around.  Our two backpacks were easy for us to place below the seats in front of us and we gate checked the stroller and car seat.  My Ergo, when not in use, was also easy to shove into a backpack as those weren’t overly full. I didn’t carry my purse, just wallet.  We obviously checked our main luggage.
  • Tag team with your spouse. Give one another breaks.
  • Stop for wine/beer/food on your layover and don’t bitch about the price.  One glass tastes so good and is so worth it.
  • Check to see what your airline rules are for infants. I can say Delta was a bit more relaxed than United when it came to wearing her, standing in the back, etc.

Lastly, go with the flow.  It is hard to do with our Type A personalities but we didn’t set the bar too high so we didn’t feel like we were failing.  There were so many times we were shocked at how well she did.  This kid always surprises us! Just don’t ask how she slept in the hotel. That is an entirely other blog post.