Friday, November 26, 2010

I'd be thankful for some sleep.

Just put the kid down for maybe the fifth time of the evening.  If fighting sleep were boxing, Henry would be Evander Holyfield.  And the holiday threw him off.  At least we have two more days to recover.

This is generally my favorite time of year.  I love cold weather, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my birthday is coming up in less than a week.  I'm not too big on birthdays anymore (particularly after my twenty eighth, when I had a run-in with tequila, flashed my party guests, and gave myself a black eye) but in the past few years I've been reminded that getting older is a privilege and not everyone gets to.  Plus on my birthday this year I will be 31, but the kiddo will be six months exactly.  Ben asked me what I wanted for my birthday last year, and I said "A baby."  Careful what you wish for, because I spent my 30th three months pregnant and nauseous.  Worth it, though.

This holiday season has been pretty difficult for both Ben and I.  Lots of family drama, and it's mainly the kind you can't do a damn thing about.  We went and saw my family this year, and my parents were just stressed.  We still had fun-if you can go to a gathering involving my immediate and extended family and not hurt yourself laughing, you have remarkable restraint.  Even funerals tend to turn jovial.  But we are big and loud and can be overwhelming.  Of course, the baby is always the hit of the party, and Henry soaked up the attention.  He did pretty well, but he got tired and didn't want to go to sleep, which led to a meltdown.  What was funny was my family's reaction-everyone surrounded us like something was really wrong.

I mean, my siblings were freaking out, my mom was calling the nurse practitioner who lives across the street, and my dad was offering to drive to Wal-Mart (I'm not even sure what for).  Henry was getting more and more agitated, and Ben and I were looking at them like they'd lost their minds.  Finally I had to say "Look, everyone quiet down.  HE IS A BABY.  He is tired." and take him out of there to get him settled down.   But I think the screaming fit did temporarily cure a few cases of "I want a baby" that some people (I'm looking at YOU, older sister) were having.  Yeah, it's all fun and games when they're laughing, but as I've said, Henry goes from perfectly fine to really, really pissed with no in-between.  If I believed in astrology I'd blame his dual personality on him being a Gemini.

So we crashed out.  The bonus of having a kid is that it has dramatically upgraded our sleeping arrangements.  We actually got a bedroom, instead of the busted, ancient fold-out couch that I'm pretty sure both of my brothers lost their virginity on.  Later I found out that Dad wanted to drive to Wal-Mart at ten at night to get Henry a stroller because my mom thought he needed a walk.  Never mind that it was thirty degrees out and he would have been asleep by the time Dad got back.  Mom's the type that gets stressed about one thing and then just starts inventing trouble.  I had to explain to her that the kid is almost six months old and we've managed to get this far.  As she was walking upstairs I said "Go to sleep, don't make up trouble, Henry's asleep."  She turned back to me and said "Is he on his back????"  I just rolled my eyes and said "No, Mom, we let him sleep on his stomach with a blanket over his head."  I mean, come on.  I did read some books and I do know the basics.

But in the end I know that Henry (and I) are lucky to have a family that loves us.  Not everyone's so lucky, and my mom came from such a crappy background that I'm amazed she is anything close to a functional adult.  To give you an idea of what she grew up with, my grandmother (her mom) was admiring my son and said "I just don't understand how you two made such a beautiful baby."

And she wonders why we want her to go into a home.....Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's a boy! Also, we're going to need new sheets.

I have been amazed recently at how popular home birthing is/is becoming in Richmond.  I have friends, neighbors and coworkers who have all done it, attempted it, or are attempting it.

**Disclaimer-this blog is about how I see home birthing from my perspective, as an option for me.  I don't care how anyone else births their baby, I haven't done extensive research, I am not going to try to convince you to do it or not do it, and since my kid is already out, I don't really have a horse in this race.  These are just observations on my part and I'm not going to debate the issues surrounding home birthing because I'm not an expert on it.  I'm not an expert on anything, except maybe Simpsons trivia.**

Moving on.

After spending four days in the hospital after the birth of my kid, I can see the appeal in a home birth.  The whole time I was in labor,  (before I got my epidural) I was stuck in an uncomfortable bed, and every time I had to pee (which was often) I had to get a nurse to come in and unhook me from ten different monitors, drag myself and my IV bag in there, go, attempt to clean up the mess, and get them to hook me back up, only to have to go again ten minutes later.  I hated being stuck in a strange place for so long, and can see liking being at home, being able to go outside for walks, being able to watch a movie....

But on the other hand, the hospital had the drugs.  And as valiantly as I tried to have a natural birth, after twelve hours of labor, I had had enough.  Earlier they had given me Stadol, but that was a really unpleasant experience for me.  Stadol made me feel like when you're out with friends, and you decide taking multiple shots is a GREAT idea, until it hits you that you are WAY too drunk, and there's nothing you can do about it.  That's exactly how I felt on that stuff-I had the spins, was nauseous, and kept trying to bargain my way into feeling normal (who I was bargaining with is debatable, Ben was asleep and the nurses were MIA until I paged them for one of my billion bathroom trips).

So after twelve hours of back labor and wishing for death, I finally decided I could not take it anymore, I turned to Ben.  Now, he was asleep, and to say Ben sleeps solid is like saying that Elton John is just a little bit gay.  Nothing wakes him up-even piercing baby screams, it turns out.  So I didn't know if I'd be able to get him up, I was actually looking for something to throw at him.  I gritted my teeth and said "Ben."  Must have been something about my tone, but he shot off that couch like someone had stabbed him, and I continued "Go get someone.  And get them to give me something.  NOW."  And off he went.

And it turned out that there was no way that kid was taking the basement exit anyway, and I ended up having a C-section, so I was grateful for the hospital and all the help and all the morphine.  Earlier in my pregnancy when I had pitched the idea of home birth to Ben, he'd had one thing to say "No way."  He was concerned about me and the baby, but I think he was also afraid that I was going to poop on our bed and he was going to have to clean it up.

But my neighbor had a home birth, and really, it seemed to not faze her at all.  Another friend tried one, but had to go to the hospital because the baby was breech, where she pushed for over two hours before surgery was necessary.  Of course, she also competes in Iron Man triathlons, so she's either batsh*t crazy or a complete badass (if you met her, you'd know it was the latter).  Having your baby and then being home around your own stuff and your own shower and your own food sounds ok to me.

Plus then you can limit the number of people who have access to you-I don't even want to think about how many people saw my private parts.  I went from being a fairly modest person to thinking that maybe I should just strip for a living, because hell, everyone had seen it anyway, so I may as well make some money off of it.  The first time I met the nurse who was with me all day the day Henry was actually born, the doctor had just gotten me set up for an exam, so when the nurse (and an observing student, it turns out) walked into the room, the first thing they saw was the place where all life originates, splayed out in what I'm sure was a truly flattering way.

I just said "Hi, I'm Megan, the person attached to this vagina."  And she laughed and said "I already like you."  She was great, and that made me wish she could have stayed with me the whole time.  With a midwife or a doula, you get that-the full-time company and attention of someone who knows what's going on and knows what they're doing.  Ben was a trooper, but he was just as lost and possibly more scared than me.  So maybe if there's a next time I'll take some of the pressure off him, and he won't eye me the whole time like the kid's going to pop out Alien-style.  We'll see.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I know kids tend to embarrass you when they're young, and then the tables get turned when they're older, and they're humiliated by you.  Henry seems to time loud farts and projectile vomiting so that he does both in public places with an attentive crowd.  Now, when he farts really loud, he looks at me, very surprised, and says "OH!"  I'm sure we're not far from the point when he's announcing that he pooped his pants or commenting on strangers loudly.

I don't know how much luck he's going to have making me blush, though.  I'm the kind of person who is constantly in embarrassing situations.  I always say or do the wrong thing, miss the obvious joke, have the fly undone, the tampon hanging out of my's at the point where I don't really get bothered by it.  Here's an example.

A few years ago I was having a sharp stabbing pain in my right side, so I go to the doctor.  I had to go to one of those urgent care places, where there's just one main room, where all the doctors and nurses hang out, and smaller patient rooms with curtains and windows.  The doctor does an exam, and given my history, is concerned that I have an ovarian cyst, so they want to do a pelvic exam.  The nurse tells me to take my pants off and cover up with a sheet (ladies, you know the drill).  So she hands me the sheet, then leaves and closes the curtain.

I drop trou, and fold my pants and underwear and put them in the chair.  Here I have a dilemma.  It was about one pm, so my socks and shoes had been on for a while.  I was really worried that my feet would smell, and, if you're familiar with a pelvic, your feet are basically up by the doctor's ears, so no way are they missing it.  As I stand there in a dress shirt, black socks, and nothing else, I decide to attempt to lift my foot closer to my face to see if it's that bad.

At that moment, the nurse bustles in, clearly trying not to laugh.  She says "Let me just close this" and I turn.

Then I realize that while she closed the curtain to the DOOR, the one to the glass window is not closed, and all of the doctors, nurses, and patients standing in the main room can clearly see me, ass to the window, smelling my own foot.

I mean, what do you even do at that point?  I just got through the exam, went back to work, found one of my friends, and said "I have to tell you this or I'll never get over it."

I've found the sooner you share the story, and the more people laugh at it, the sooner you get over it.  If you never share it, it just hides in the back of your brain and picks the perfect moment to pop out and make you do that "AUUUGGGHHH" cringe you do when you remember a time when you've made an ass out of yourself (or in my case, shown one).

So with that in mind, I have to relate a story that just happened.  I was on my way to class, in the business school.  I realized as I was walking down the hall that my shoe was untied, so I step to the side to tie it.  There's a guy sitting on the floor next to me.  As I kneel down, the weight of my bookbag and the crouching position results in...well, there's no way to make this sound dainty.  I farted.   Pretty much right in this guy's face.  Loudly.

As I look up, I realize that although there are literally hundreds of people in the building, and I"m not even on the same floor as my classroom, the guy I have just basically farted on happens to be the guy who sits next to me in class.  He wouldn't even look at me through a three hour long accounting class, so I couldn't even make a joke about it.

So bring it, kid.  I'm not saying I'm embarrassment-proof, but I wonder if the brief few years where you talk about your penis in public and tell people you know where babies come from is going to equal out the lifetime you have to deal with me.

Monday, November 15, 2010


About to face plant onto the desk while I'm typing, because while my friends with babies are starting to get a full night's sleep, my little guy is teething and has a fever and is generally miserable.  He was up every hour and half last night, and we seriously began to inspect him for signs of vampirism.  As the evening wore on I progressed from feeding and cuddling him, to walking him around the house, to singing to him, to promising him a car, my PIN number, power of attorney, and directions to Vegas if he'd just let me sleep a few consecutive hours.

No dice.  But I know he was at least as unhappy as me, he was just whiny and fidgety, and that's not like him.  Henry generally has two moods-really happy, or really, really pissed, and he snaps between the two with little to no warning.  Ben and I couldn't keep him happy this morning while we were trying to get ready, and he wanted no part of his car seat.

Of course, since he likes to make me look bad and get attention, as soon as we walked into day care he was all smiles.  I was telling his teacher that he was crabby, and he just looked at me and laughed.  Some days it's really hard to leave him at day care-other days it is not.

I'm lucky in that department, though, because he's at a great place, and they all really seem to adore him.  It's like he's a rock star when we walk down the hall there-teachers come out of all the classrooms to say hi to him, and tell me "Oh, I can't wait til he's in MY class!" and he just grins and bats his eyes and is adorable.  Never mind that ten minutes before that he was grabbing the rail of his changing table, screaming, and shaking it so hard the whole thing was moving.  When Henry's in public, he's going to put on a show.  He gets that from his dad.

But he's home now, and after about an hour of mood swinging and alternately yelling at and attempting to eat his stuffed sheep, he's crashed out.  It's only six thirty, but I'm tempted to join him.  Chances are we'll be up at three.  And suffice to say, I've lost my twentysomething years' ability to function on four hours of sleep.  To be honest, I wasn't a charmer when I tried to do it then.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hey, we made it through a dinner!

Even though Henry is close to six months old, we've never taken him to a restaurant.  There are a few reasons for that-diapers eat into our "going out" money a bit, plus Ben really enjoys to cook, so we didn't go out that much in the first place.  But we also were afraid of being "that" couple-you know, the one with the screaming baby that is ruining the entire place's meal and they seem oblivious.  We've both waited tables and seen this to different degrees, from the parent that immediately gets up and takes the kid outside, to the parents who let their kids trash the place because "we have a right to go out, too."

I actually had polar opposites one night at a diner that I worked at for years.  One table was three young, upper middle class moms with multiple kids and designer everything, and one was a....well, you'd probably say redneck lady with her mother, and her three young kids.  While the three moms chatted over wine and let their kids run freely around, getting in the waitstaff's way and dumping stuff on the floor, the three other kids sat quietly as their mom and grandmother smoked and chatted.  At one point the youngest kid from the quiet table leaned out to get a better look at what was causing that ruckus.  Mom took a drag off her cigarette, pointed at him and said "Don't. Even. Think about it."  He sat back down and finished his meal while the other kids threw food and the three moms got hate daggers from everyone in the room.  Not that they cared, because as far as they were concerned their kids had a right to do whatever they wanted.

Ok, first of all, going out to dinner is not a right to anyone.  And even if it is, you don't have the right to wreck other people's nights.  It's also extremely dangerous to let small kids run around people carrying hot food on heavy plates.  I know people may not agree with me, but all three of my siblings and I had this ingrained in us from a very early age-we're going out to dinner, it is a treat, and the minute you act up, your ass is headed outside.  There were no second chances, and my parents were perfectly willing to carry out any threat they put out there, even if it meant their dinner was wrecked, too.  This wasn't a problem when it was just my sister and me, because we loved getting dressed up and going out and people giving us compliments on our behavior.  Then Cody showed up, and my dad spent every meal out til he was about five sitting on the curb outside with a screaming kid.  I don't know what it was about public eateries, but man, that kid would just flip out.  And since we didn't know how Henry would react to being stuck in one place, and having new people around, we just didn't go out.  There's also a hangup now with size-he doesn't fit in his carrying car seat (and won't stay in it anyway, if he knows there's action going on around him) but he can't hold himself up enough to be in a high chair.  So we either have to hold him or stash him under a seat like a purse (this is a joke. Don't call CPS).

But we realized at some point we'd be out and need to grab something to eat, so we stopped for Mexican today.  Henry seemed to dig it, he was looking around and smiling at people.  Still don't think we're up to taking him out to dinner.  Partly because I don't know how much we'd enjoy it, because we'd be anticipating a yell or a massive crap or a surprise projectile vomit (he really likes pulling that one in the grocery store checkout line, generally as some old lady is cooing over how cute he is).  But we at least know that if we need to stop and grab a bite, we can.  And if it's a bad day....well, I guess we'll be sitting on the curb.  Wave if you see us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day

This is an important day to me, though it can be hard to express why sometimes.  I wish we were not a nation at war.  I think about moms in other countries, just trying to live their lives with no agenda, and to raise their kids just like we are here, and I think about those moms living with the knowledge that their kids could be hurt or worse at any moment.  I don't know how that is-we live in a pretty safe environment (well, except for sudden rolling and cut-rate toys I buy).  I know that even if Ben and I went broke, our kid would have a roof over his head and enough food to eat, and that's not something that all moms know.  And, while this strays from the whole humor thing, the fact that children starve in this day and age is inexcusable.

Veteran's Day also has a special meaning to me because my little brother is one.  Cody was a soldier as soon as he knew how to be anything.  He couldn't have been older than four or five when he started asking for MREs from the army surplus store for birthday presents, and camping out in the backyard.  Coming from a pretty liberal family, he had to feel out of place a lot.  He went to VMI, and enlisted.  And in 2007 ( I think, man, these years went by fast) he got sent to Iraq.

Having a family member overseas is...well, not to be crude, but it just fucking sucks.  You spend every day wondering if they're safe, and if there's a news report about soldiers getting killed, your heart doesn't beat until you get an email from them telling you that they're ok.  Because you don't know, that could be them.  Even when you find out it's not, you think about that family that's getting a knock on their door.

This has been a tumultuous few years for our country, and it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and the headlines, which lately, have been all about politics.  It's easy to forget that we have troops giving their lives every single day.  Think about sending a package to a soldier overseas-I did it for family members and a few friends, and it is about the best feeling ever.  Also, support services for our troops once they come home.  I don't give a damn about costs or higher taxes for this-we owe these men and women a debt.

I try to do some advocacy for legislation the Wounded Warrior program works on, so please, contact your congressperson and ask them to support

This is a bill generated to increase services offered to veterans with traumatic brain injuries.

Send a letter, send an email, send a package full of discount halloween candy to someone through

Don't let these men and women be an afterthought.

I know, not so much hilarity.  If you want, I'll try to post a picture of Cody being tased at his last Army training.  Trust me, we're all on the edge of our seats waiting for that.  As my dad commented, (I'm paraphrasing, but this is cloe) "I love him, but I wouldn't mind pulling the trigger."

For you moms and dads who stay home and take care of your families while your partners are overseas-you are heroes, too, and I am amazed by what you do.

Thriftiness FAIL

So I was so happy about finding Henry a Jumparoo, and he just loves the thing-until today, when several of the straps broke and he fell through it.  I was in the kitchen and noticed the lack of bouncing, and both dogs were running around it, obviously freaking out-thankfully he didn't fall all the way through.  But he was definitely squished in there.

When Ben looked at it he saw that the straps were really worn-of course, something we should have looked at when we brought the damn thing home, but also something the store should have checked.  So I'm going to rescind my "used toy" opinions-well, edit it anyway, to say that if you're going to count on something to support your kid's weight, you want to go ahead and spend the money to buy a new one.  We learned the hard way.  Of course, after this,  I plan to never buy Henry toys ever again, and also to never put him down.

Ben started talking about all the near-death experiences he had as a child in an attempt (I think) to make me feel better.  Surprisingly, the realization that I have the rest of my life to have moments like these does not improve my state of mind....

Oh well.  We've got a three day weekend coming up, going to see a new baby tomorrow.  Hopefully we can make it through the weekend without major incident.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ah, the arguing

I had to wait to write a more detailed post on fighting with your partner til I wasn't fighting with mine.  Writing in the heat of the moment tends to make people either reveal too much, or oversimplify (why do we fight?  because he's an asshole, that's why).  But I know that's not true- I married a good man who loves his wife and kid, but we do have our moments.

I think a big part of that is that Ben and I are both really independent people, which can be really good-we don't need to constantly be around each other, we both have our own lives, jealousy has never really been an issue between us- but it also can be bad.  Neither one of us likes to admit that we're wrong, or that we could have handled something better.  Hell, most of our fights are over stupid stuff and never have any resolution, they just kind of fizzle out over a few days.  I realize this probably isn't healthy but hey, it's working so far.

I think at first I was afraid to be away from the baby, and had a much easier time adapting to taking care of him.  Let's face it-for women, life changes completely as soon as you find out you're pregnant, so you have more time to adjust to it.  Sometimes I think dads don't have a really good grasp on what's going on.  Ben likes to think that things will work themselves out.  He almost gave me a stroke during our wedding planning, because he kept insisting that things would fall into place on their own, and I kept insisting that no, a party involving over a hundred people traveling from hundreds of miles away did not "just happen".

So the baby came and I think he was pretty intimidated by it.  Ben's a fix-it guy, which is a big part of the reason why I married him.  Anything that breaks on a car or a house is no problem.  But babies are another story-they don't respond to any sort of rational process, and what worked yesterday probably won't work today.

I remember the first time I left him alone with Henry.  It was Father's Day, and Henry was about three weeks old.  I ran out to get some dinner for Ben, and stopped to pick him up some beer.  I was pulling onto our road when my phone started to ring.  I saw it was him and didn't answer, because I was almost there.  I pulled into the driveway and see Ben standing on the porch.  As I get out of the car, I hear the baby crying, and Ben looks at me and says "Aren't you going to come inside???"

Being a smartass, I responded "No, it's 95 degrees out, I thought I'd spend the night in the yard."

Not helpful.

So I get inside and he runs through the list of things he's tried, and the baby is still crying, and Ben is looking at me like there's a mark of the beast on the kid somewhere and it's my fault, so I asked if he'd fed him.  Nope.  I told him that was always the go-to with a newborn-if they're crying, it's not like they're upset about world events.

But between his frustration and my sarcasm, sometimes we run into problems.  It's getting better as Henry gets a bit older, and I think will improve more once the kid can talk and tell us what he wants.  So keep in mind that everybody's new at this at one point, and the kid's had ten months to get used to Mom, and vice versa, before they even come out.  Don't take it too personally, dads.

Not that the arguing stops, unless you're one of those irritating couples that calls each other "babe" and are constantly falling all over each other years after you met.  But quite frankly, I think a couple who never argues is headed for a major blowout.  That's where stories like "And then he left the toothpaste cap off, so I stabbed him with a pitchfork" originate.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Didn't even have to use my AK

Today was a good day.  Didn't sleep much with Henry, but wasn't expecting it after a day of shots (vaccination shots, not me drinking liquor shots, I would have gotten PLENTY of sleep then).  Got up, got a haircut, which is something I really hate to do-anything that requires that I sit still while someone I don't really know messes with part of me just drives me nuts.  But it is kind of important that I look professional at work, so the hair's got to stay slightly under control.  Even left it longer because, as Ben helpfully pointed out, "Just because you're a mom doesn't mean you need to cut your hair off and look like a lesbian."   I rolled my eyes when he said that but have to admit that short hair makes me look like I teach gym for a living.

Then went by Kids Grow, a great second-hand store near my house.  I was looking for a jumper.  They've got one at Henry's day care, and he loves the thing.  So much so that he tries to bounce in things that are not bounceable, like other toys and on my lap.  Since I don't want to have to explain all the bruises on my upper thighs to my gynecologist at my next exam, off to the store I went.  Found one for $25, and you have never seen such a happy kid.  I told Ben it cost $20 (I just wasn't paying that close attention to the cost) and he found the receipt and pointed out that it was $25.  I told him if I'd known how much Henry would like it, I'd have happily given then a kidney for it.  He agreed.  We don't argue about money too much, I guess that's kind of the silver lining to not having any.

Then I headed out for a run, and it's just a perfect fall day, and I felt pretty good.  I was crunching through the leaves and thinking of my happy baby and husband back home, and feeling really lucky.  Of course, the odds were good that I wasn't going to come home to a happy baby and husband, but rather a screaming kid who had somehow managed to shit out the neckhole of his shirt and a husband who looked like he'd just made it on the last chopper out of Saigon (I've seen some things, man) but I like to be optimistic.

And I did come home to a happily bouncing baby, watching his dad play guitar.  I know Jumparoos sell for a lot new, but I highly recommend stalking your local second-hand stores for one.  That thing is worth its weight in gold.  The exersaucer is great, but after about ten minutes he's had enough and starts yelling at the stuffed sun rattle on there.  I'm worried if we let him take out his anger on the sun too much, he's going to turn out goth, and there's some things I just can't handle in a teenager.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shots and other excitement....

Big Henry had a checkup today, still in the 99th percentile for weight, height, and head size (I told the doctor the head size wasn't really surprising.  People in my family can't find hats that fit).  While we were in the lobby he decided to puke down the side of me, a nurse was nice enough to help wipe the two of us off with kleenex (that's how you know you have a good pediatrician's office, by the way).  Big boy had two shots and only cried for a bit-I still want to bawl when I see them stick the needle in him.

But earlier, when I went to pick him up from daycare, he was in one of the "extra" onesies we give them, which means he had some sort of bodily fluid explosion and the outfit we dropped him off in was unwearable.  (We have a don't ask/don't tell policy about these incidences). It's gotten pretty cold here, so I called Ben and told him we were going to run by the house and pick up some pants and a shirt so he wouldn't freeze.  I pull up to the house and Ben comes out, hands me an outfit, and kisses Henry, and we hit the road to the doctor.

Here is why I don't let Ben pick his clothes out often.  When I looked closer, I realized he'd given me a red corduroy button down dress shirt and a pair of black fleece sweatpants. WTF.  I used to think I wouldn't care what my kid wore, because God knows I don't pay attention to my own appearance and have been known to wander out in public looking homeless, but I do have some objections to my son going out of the house looking like a hobo or a mental patient.  But we had no choice, so we went formal on top, casual on the bottom.  And Ben thinks I'm being ridiculous and too critical...

Afterwards we had a lovely visit with some friends who had a baby about eight weeks after we had Henry-it was really nice to talk to another mom.  My childless friends are invaluable-they remind me that there's a word outside of me and my kid and that most people really don't want to hear about every little cute thing that he does, but you need other moms, too.  Not just for baby stuff, but for life stuff-they understand the transformation you've gone through.  I was bitching about Ben a bit, and my friend said we'd need some girl time-her husband was home.  I certainly don't want any of my friends to be unhappy or argue with their spouses, but it was almost a relief to hear that they'd had some of the same arguments we had.

Because face it, having a kid is a test on your marriage or relationship.  Your focus changes and your life changes and I think sometimes partners expect everything to go back to normal, but you don't feel like the old you.  Not just in a physical way (although spending nine months looking progressively more like a walrus and then having a small human being torn out of me certainly didn't make me want to head to Victoria's Secret and throw down in the bedroom) but your mindset.  I imagine dads feel really, really bewildered.

My tendency is to joke and minimize things, but you know, I really don't want to trivialize this because I didn't read a book that dealt with it adequately.  This time can be really hard for even the most solid of partners.  It can be depressing, and isolating, and make you feel like you're not sure that your partner wants to stick things out with you.  You might differ on your ways of handling issues, or avoid conflict altogether by not talking.  But you're not alone-I have yet to talk to a couple with children who didn't go through this on one level or another.  I think a lot of people are ashamed to talk about it because you think the world expects you to be so happy because you have a beautiful baby, and you are.  As I told a friend of mine who said something about babies causing marital troubles, it's nothing about the baby, he's great.  It's us.  I think it can be just easier to blame it on the thing that caused the change, if that makes sense.

Not to make anyone think that things are just falling apart, because they aren't.  But part of this blog is humor and part is honesty, and if you're a new mom alone with a baby then you already feel set apart, and even little arguments can start to drag you down.  Trust me, you're not alone.  You're not just figuring out a baby, you're figuring out a new part of yourself.

Now if I find any answers, I'll let you know.  Actually, I won't, I'll write a book and go on Oprah and buy my own freaking island because I'm pretty sure I'd hit paydirt.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I'm pretty lucky in that I popped out a kid right before a lot of my friends did the same, so I kind of have a built in support group (not to mention my next-door neighbor, Mary, who came over the first day we brought Henry home and managed to talk me through some breast feeding panic).  My cousin Jen and I were talking today about sickness-her baby has her first cold, and Jen, being a Type A person (don't be mad if you're reading this, you know it's true) panicked a bit.  But it's easy to do.  Fear and paranoia take on a whole new meaning when you have a sick infant, especially when you start reading about kids getting sick and dying in other places.  You go from "I'm sure he's fine" to "OH MY GOD I'M BEING A SLACK MOTHER AND HE'S PROBABLY GOT BIRD FLU" in a very short time, and probably cycle through that a few times before your spouse hands you a drink and tells you to calm the fuck down.  It's probably nothing major, so call your dr's office and let them talk you through it.  They're used to it.  If they blow you off and you're still concerned, take your kid to an urgent care center, and later, find a new doctor.  It is completely natural for a new mom to be concerned.  I mean, don't be a shrieking unreasonable harpy to your kid's pediatrician, but follow your instincts.

Here's the only place where I'll give overt parenting advice.  Listen to your pediatrician and vaccinate your children.  There is no link between vaccinations and autism, but there certainly is a link between not vaccinating your children and outcrops of diseases that were nearly eradicated.  No matter what Jenny McCarthy says, vaccinating your child is a good idea.  The chick was a Playmate, for God's sake.   Look to her when you want....I don't know, a basis for your boob job, but listen to your doctor when it comes to taking care of your kid.

So Jen and I were talking back and forth, and I realized even the most laid-back mom panics to see her kid sick.  When Henry got his stomach flu, I was getting ready to take him running, and Ben and I were arguing about something (side note-for more on post-and pre-baby arguing, see later blogs, tentatively titled "You don't do a goddamn thing around here" and " we haven't had sex since a Republican was in the White House").  I rolled Henry out in his stroller, and turned to say something smartass to Ben, and when I turned back, the kid just hurled.  I mean, this was not spitting up.  He coated himself.  I burst into tears and immediately wanted to take him to the hospital.

But I came to my senses, called his pediatrician's office, and got talked down.  He turned out to be fine after a few more puking incidences and a really long nap.  Ben and I were completely leveled by the same flu about 24 hours later.

It sucks.  Especially when you're a new mom and your kid is small.  Call your mom, call your friends with babies, it's ok, they've been there.  What's great about the group of moms I know is that even if they're not all local, I have their support all the time.  And they have mine.