Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Responsible parenting

I know I'm a good parent. Kate is happy, loved, thriving and better dressed than I am. But there are also times I feel about as far away from adulthood as you possibly can get. This is normally when I'm giggling about some fart joke or the fact that someone used the word "moist" which for some reason feels like a dirty word. And if you can't use the word moist in a conversation without giggling, what the hell business do you have raising a child?

But then I think about how Ben and I are head over heels in love with our daughter, how we will do anything and everything to make sure she is safe, confident, happy and well taken care of, and I know that everything is going to be okay. That of course Ben and I will be good parents, that while we may not have known it before she was born, our lives were empty without her.

Besides, if you pose your four month old child in a cut out of a pelican with a tattoo and hat that says "Dirty Dicks" on it, and seriously consider using that photo as the family Christmas card, how can that NOT be good parenting?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Some people have it all together. I admit, I am not one of them. Pre-baby there were a ton of things I would put in my "required for living" category, like a daily shower, pedicures, clean underwear, a glass of wine with dinner, and so on. Now the ONLY thing in my "required for living" category is a cup of coffee every morning.

However, on some days you get lucky and productivity reigns. Today was that day for me. Kate was in a fantastic "I don't need to be held 24/7" type of mood, so while she played on her play mat, I raced around the house in frenzy doing all the things I put off this weekend. I folded about three loads of laundry that were piled up on our washer/dryer, did two more loads of laundry, fed the dogs, took out the trash, did the dishes, started dinner in the crock pot, wrote four emails and had TWO cups of coffee. By the time Kate was ready for a snack and a cuddle, I felt exhilarated, powerful and boastful, all "hahaha, I CAN be a super mom and do it all. Lookout world, here I come!!"

Then I noticed that I wasn't wearing any pants.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bait and switch

Last night, we tried giving Kate formula for the first time in her life. It reminded me of another experience I had several years ago with my dog Jackson.

When Ben and I were still just a hot young couple in love (not the current semi-hot late 20s couple in love with a mortgage and a baby) we often took walks in our neighborhood with my dog Jackson. He always knew that likely the walk would end in his favorite park, where we would throw the tennis ball for him until our arms got tired. Because, he never EVER tired of chasing the tennis ball.

So one Saturday morning, after my annual pumpkin carving party (I've mentioned how I totally geek out for Halloween haven't I? If not, you now know my dirty little secret) Ben and I took Jack to the park. Being the responsible early 20s version of my current self, I a) was hungover and b)couldn't find a tennis ball, so instead of actually MAKING AN EFFORT and going to buy one, Ben and I grabbed a small mini-pumpkin about the size and heft of a ball. Genius right?

As soon as we got to the park, Ben let that pumpkin fly. Jack caught up with it just as it was hitting the ground and when he pounced and closed his mouth around the foreign pumpkin instead of the familiar tennis ball, he reacted like he had been soaked with a hose and then attached to a car battery. In one fluid OH SHIT moment, all four paws left the ground as he leaped straight into the air like he had pogo sticks for legs. The look on his face was priceless. I laughed my ass off.

It was a classic case of bait and switch. And it just shocked the hell out of Jack.

Last night, Kate experienced our bait and switch tactics, and she was none to pleased. Finally at rest with the idea of supplementing with formula, we decided to try her first bottle before she went to bed. Ben bathed her, read her a book, got her all snuggly in her footy pajamas and settled down in the rocker where I normally nurse her. When I handed Ben the bottle she looked a little nonplussed that she wasn't getting the boob, but since she is a greedy little thing she lunged for the nipple and began boisterously sucking away.

You could see in her face the exact moment she got a mouthful of formula. If she had the required muscle control she would have leaped straight of Ben's lap, grabbed the bottle and possibly bitch slapped him for putting that CRAP in her MOUTH.

I guess you could say it didn't go well.

She jerked with shock when she first tasted the formula instead of the milk she expected. Her eyes widened, her mouth opened, she spit out everything she could and began crying. I had to leave the room. This continued for maybe three minutes while I sat on the sofa in the living room in the fetal position and rocked myself. When I couldn't stand it any more, I went into the nursery, scooped Kate of a miserable Ben's lap and popped her on the boob. She began to eat furiously, making grunting, snuffling noises and if she could have talked I swear it would have sounded something like, "Oh, hm, yeah, oh yeah, um, this is good, snarf, this is really good, this is what I wanted, what is that other crap, keep that other crap away from me, bullshit I say, oh, God, yum, yes, this is the ticket, hmmmmmmmm, miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilk."

So I'm a formula failure. In my defense, Kate had a rough day with her shots and wasn't feeling great, so I decided that it wasn't the time to insist on formula. She needed both food AND comfort and I knew I could give them to her. I plan on trying again today though. Jackson ended up playing a nice long game of catch with the pumpkin once he recovered from the shock of it all, and I have high hopes for Kate too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bragging rights

I try to stay away from gushing about Kate in my posts. Not just because it could get boring and repetitive for you, but because all the things that I would gush about seem awfully small to an outsider (She smiles all the time! She sings and coos! No shit, she is a baby!!). But every once in awhile, I think gushing is a good thing, and today seems like the day. Because today, our little Kate turns four months old, and all the small things she is and does on a daily basis is what adds up to be the greatest blessing I've been given in this life.

So here goes a list of just a few of the things I love about my Kate.
  1. Kate is a flirt. Men, women, children, it doesn't matter who, Kate loves attention. Whenever faced with an admirer, Kate has her coy little act down pat. She will stare at someone for a few seconds, then grin really big and turn and bury her head in the chest of the person holding her. Then she will look back to make sure she still has an audience, and give another big gummy grin, then again bury her head. She'll keep this up until said admirer gets tired of staring at her adorable little face (doesn't happen often) or she needs a nap or milk break.

  2. Kate smiles with reckless abandon. There is no holding back with my baby, and when she smiles, her whole face lights up with joy. Her nose scrunches and she truly grins with her eyes.

  3. Kate sleeps like her mommy. As soon as Kate figured out how to roll from her back to her front, she decided sleeping on her side was the way to be. She rolls over almost onto her stomach, so that her top leg is crossed over and kind of pulled up near her chest, like a little mini-me. I also love when she is just out to the world, that slack-jawed deep and peaceful slumber which adults rarely experience unless drunk or on sleep meds. At those times, the world could be exploding around her (or okay, a more likely scenario is that the doorbell rings and the dogs go crazy) and she doesn't even flinch.

  4. Kate is a wiggle worm. A tiny bundle of raw energy, Kate is constantly rolling over, looking around, pulling at toys, shaking her rattles, kicking her legs and stuffing whatever she can reach into her mouth.

  5. Kate is an (evil) genius. Not only does she constantly outwit Ben and I, but she does this thing with her hands where she rubs them together and twists her fingers like she is in the process of creating a nefarious (but brilliant) scheme to rule the world, or at least the Edelbrock household. It is pretty adorable when she is falling asleep while planning her next move for world domination.

  6. Kate is a talker. She is constantly chatting to herself, her panda, her hands or feet, me, the mirror, a wall, the dogs, or insert inanimate object of your choice here.

  7. Kate is handsy. There is nothing I love more than watching her explore her world by touching, grabbing and scratching everything around her. I love picking her up and having her wrap her hand in my hair, my shirt, my necklace, and I love how she falls asleep while eating with her hand on me for comfort.

The list of things I love could go on and on. Obviously, she isn't curing cancer or solving quadratic equations. But what she is doing is growing and learning and changing and I couldn't be more proud.

As for the official baby stats, today Kate weighs 11 lbs 15 oz and is 24.5 inches long.

Kate and Panda at 1 month

Kate and Panda now (4 months)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A is for attitude

My daughter is a sweet and cuddly love-bunny. Until she puts on her sunglasses. Then she is a grade A bad-ass.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mommy lesson #7

Don't compare yourself to other mommies. Especially the ones you meet in the nursing room at Nordstroms. Especially not the one who has her FIVE WEEK OLD in tow, is wearing a (gasp!) dress, has her hair done AND makeup on, and is at least two sizes smaller than you.

But you can compare your babies. And your baby is WAAAAAY cuter.

Suck it Nordstrom mommy.

A moment of gratitude

Thank you to everyone who commented or emailed me about my breastfeeding post. I felt like a frustrated, ungrateful wretch writing it, but found it to be a blessing in disguise. Your thoughts and comments about motherhood and doing what is right for each family really opened my eyes and took a large load of guilt off my shoulders. I feel lighter already. As an update, at Kate's four month appointment I will be speaking to the doctor about supplementing with formula while continuing to breast feed as much as possible and hopefully I can strike a balance that creates World Peace, or at least harmony and happiness in my household.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An important milestone

One of the milestones I'm going to mark for Kate is when she actually gets her whole fist in her mouth, because God knows she tries on a daily basis. This photo was taken right after Dexter licked her hand, and if I thought THAT would be any kind of deterrant to her, I was sorely mistaken. I would be worried about germs, etc., but I'm pretty sure he already gave her face a tongue bath yesterday while I was taking a shower. What can you do?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A cow by any other name

Mothers scare me.


Other mothers are intimidating. Maybe its because they all seem so together and I just keep fumbling along, doing the best I can and hoping my ineptitude isn't going to turn Kate into something awful, like a career criminal, exotic "dancer" or Jehovah's Witness.

The truth is, other mothers have such strong opinions about things. It usually reflects their choices and how they raise their children, and they often take it personally if you decline to try their methods or choose another path for your offspring. Often times I get a comment or lecture if I throw out some off hand comment, like when I mentioned that one time I let Kate watch Family Guy while I cooked dinner and I was reminded babies shouldn't watch TV. Well, no shit. But the chicken ain't gonna grill itself.

One of the many topics that get mothers all hot and bothered is breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. I'm breastfeeding. I honestly think I'm doing it because I was guilted into it by all the books and other mothers that said, in very specific terms, that my baby would be a total loser if I didn't nurse her (not those exact words, but you get the picture). Ridiculous, right? I was formula fed and damn if I'm didn't grow up to be a pretty okay adult. I rarely get sick, am not obese and fingers crossed, am not a loser.

So while I started nursing out of guilt, I actually ended up liking it. It is extremely rewarding each time your baby is weighed and you know that YOU DID THAT for her, that you are giving her something that no one else can.

Yet that is exactly why it is so difficult. No one else can do it for you. You have to plan and pump in advance for any kind of event, be it a few glasses of wine or an afternoon of mommy time (sans baby). Last week, while on vacation, I found myself constantly alone with Kate, nursing her while family frolicked at the beach. I got frustrated with my husband, accusing him of sticking me with the baby all the time when really, what could he do?

In September, Ben and I are going on a 4 day vacation again, this time without Katertot. I'm terrified. Not just to leave my precious baby (whom I have a hard time spending a few hours away from) but how I'm going to be able to provide for her while I'm away. When we go, Kate will be approximately 6 months old and eating around 40 oz. of milk a day. I have exactly 3 oz. of milk stored up in the freezer, and if this week continues on the same path, I'll be using that up this weekend so I can have a much needed drink or two.

My mom mentioned supplementing with formula. I was horrified. And really, I don't know why. If I had gone back to work, I would have definitely switched to formula, no questions, no concerns. But there is something about the fact that I am staying home that makes me feel like I should continue nursing. I guess I kind of feel like it is my job. For that reason alone, I feel guilty about wanting to give Kate formula..

But frankly, I'm tired. I'm tired of being the only person who can get Kate to go down at night because I feed her last. I'm tired of being the only person who can get up for midnight feedings, and I'm tired that I can't have a girls night out without planning far in advance. I'm even a little tired of not being able to finish a blog post.

So you will have to excuse me, I need to go feed my daughter.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A beach of a week

Yesterday I returned from a week-long vacation with my husband, his family and my parents. We spent the week in our own slice of heaven at a beautiful beach-front house on Cape Hatteras. Our days were filled with blessed little more than lazing about, eating, drinking and generally enjoying something we have precious little of these days... time with loved ones.

While the entire trip was special, what meant the most to me was the time that our family got to spend with Kate, learning about her own little personality and (hopefully) falling more in love with her, like Ben and I do, each day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hoping for a Christmas miracle

Babies have/need/create more crap than you would have previously believed possible.

You may assume that because an infant is small, they would create a smaller amount of disturbance and mess than a typical adult, mainly due to the size ratio. You would be wrong. Everything a baby does, they do it big.

This has just been reinforced as I try to pack Kate up for our vacation that begins tomorrow. When Ben and I went to China, we traveled for TWO WEEKS in a foreign country with just our carry-ons. We are now traveling for one week and are having to check TWO BAGS. That is in addition to our carry-ons. The length of vacation has been cut in half, the travel needs have multiplied by about 200.

I feel as if I'm in one of those bad comedy movies. I can just picture it, cut to a scene of me trying to get my suitcase closed, sitting on it and using pliers to finally heave it shut. Then, once we arrive to the airport hilarity ensues as our tightly packed baggage springs open and diapers, blankets, onsies, toys and at least one nursing bra rain over our fellow travelers.

If I can make it through tomorrow with my sanity (and without my bra landing on some poor TSA agent's shoulder) I truly believe it may be a Christmas miracle. Just a few months early.

And scene.