Mini goals. Swear.
Of the multiple hats I hope this blog will wear, I’d like to throw on another one in the spirit of Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack.
So it turns out being an adult is expensive. It is also really complicated. Guys. No one told me to expect this stuff. As a millennial, I feel personally victimized by your inability to make life easier. Even my iPhone doesn’t have the answers for me. Are you telling me I have to figure life out by myself? I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.
In the last year I’ve had to try to learn how to be a mom, how to be a partner in parenthood, how to buy a house…and honestly there are at least like 2 times per 60 minute period when I think to myself the following words:
Trying to think of any witty way to sum up this last week feels impossible. I’ve seen it all on social media – people describing the five stages of grief, feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, disappointment, anger, loss – and in my own way I guess I’ve felt all of those things.
All day after the election results, Jack was very very fussy. I chocked it up to post-election misery (dude, I feel you) but every once in a while I’d remember that he doesn’t speak English nor is he yet capable of grasping the weight of the election results (or the concept of an election generally) but I couldn’t figure out what his problem was.
And then, I nursed him. Just like I do every night before dinner.
Rest in peace, boobs.
Guys. The kid sprouted four teeth at once. Four. On the top. To accompany the existing two on the bottom.
NO WONDER HE WAS SO FUSSY. He had new teeth! Four of them, in case you forgot already. All at once!
I’d half joked with myself the night before, as I rocked my inconsolable baby in the dark of his bedroom, that he was beside himself with woe for the way the results had come in. He’d worn his Hillary onesie to vote with me in the primary and with his dad the day before in the general. He’d been awake with us for each of the three presidential debates. Maybe by osmosis (or my breastmilk?) he had truly developed an appreciation for the gravity of this election. The first woman president. The most qualified and capable presidential candidate in anyone’s lifetime. She was going to win no matter what, but especially since she was running against a toxic, hateful clown with the political knowledge and leadership skills of a back zit. And then she didn’t.
This outcome of this election was, there is truly no fair way to fully describe how it felt, but it was devastating. Profoundly disappointing. Heartbreaking. It brings fear to the hearts and souls of people and their families all over the world. These statements aren’t exaggerations by any stretch. Since the results came in, over 400 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment have been reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just by running his campaign the way he did, Donald Trump normalized sexual harassment, xenophobia and racism before he was even elected. By electing him as President of the United States, people in our country effectively signed on to his way of thinking and treating people.
After his results came in, I felt let down by so many people. Let down by him because of his lifetime full of hateful and unfair business practices, his complete lack of respect for women as human beings, his plans to register Muslims coming into the country (a la Japanese internment camps) and, honestly, it would be impossible to name everyone he has attacked. I’ll leave that to the New York Times.
But I truly felt like a stranger in my own country. Every single person who voted for him 100% was saying that his hateful way of living life and leading the people through racist, sexist and xenophobic dialogue wasn’t a deal breaker. This was ok with them.
Even putting together this post is exhausting. I can only barely stand to listen to the news anymore because it is constantly dominated with the most recent transition flub or science denier being named to his cabinet.
But in Jack’s world, unbearable diaper change boredom and new tooth aches and pains were the worst of it. I felt like I’d been given a good dose of perspective – I can’t spend another second of time or ounce of energy feeling sad and scared about the future. First and foremost, even though I’m a woman I don’t in any way have it as bad as most other people who will be negatively affected by his administration and their actions. But more importantly (to me, anyway), I need to start setting an example for this little face full of new teeth. He needs to know that our new pr(nope sorry can’t do it still) is not an example of how to act under any circumstances.
I need to set an example for him. I need to keep him safe and help lead him down the right path. And I need help doing that – his dad, our families and all of our friends will play a role. His neighbors and future schoolmates and teachers will play their roles. We all need to work harder starting right now to combat any efforts to roll the country back into the stoneage, and to spread love and light instead of strength. Wish me (and my boobs) luck in this new tomorrow.
There is so much GARBAGE advice out on the internet about what you need to pack. But listen: I get it. That stuff is 99% written by someone who falls into one of two categories:
I read that I was supposed to bring everything from thank you goodie bags for the nurses to olive oil for perennial massage. Even ELI was lead to believe that he needed to pack a super carefully curated new-dad hospital bag.
Guys. It is all bologna. But my baby is asleep right now so I’m not about to pretend I’m going to squander an opportunity to write about myself.
A few things to start:
First, I absolutely love the bag I used. The Catalina by Lo & Sons.
There aren’t many ways to feel hip, calm and collected when you’re in def con waddle, so having a simple, chic and well-made bag made a huge difference.
Things I did not need in the hospital:
Things I’m glad we had:
Overall, what you REALLY need is your ID to get you into the hospital. And yourself. And ideally a support person but hey mama you got this far on your own now there are a bunch of kick ass nurses to help you the rest of the way, makeup and sudoku be damned.
This little baby is nearly SEVEN months old – so in what should be a surprise to no one who has ever had a little baby in their life I’ve had no time to record any thoughts on early parenthood.
Here I sit, waiting (impatiently) to have my sweet little baby. No, not little baby…big baby. This kid measured in the 90th percentile for his cranial and 95th percentile for his abdominal…a big fat brainiac.
It is a Sunday, a beautiful Sunday not unlike the day I found out I was pregnant. I was due last Thursday the 7th, but am told it is totally normal for first babies to be late. Be that as it may, this waiting is bananas! If you thought you might feel emotional when you find out you’re pregnant, it doesn’t compare a bit to the rollercoaster you’re on while waiting to go into labor!
Eli and I were talking a few nights ago about these conflicting emotions and I think we made an important observation. We were discussing how excited we are for the baby to be born, to hold him and smell him and listen to him. We hear from every set of parents new and old that it is the best thing in the whole world, meeting your child for the first time. We trust that we will experience that sudden burst of love and joy and change. But at the same time, we both also had this ever so small but very present feeling of sadness, almost of mourning.
I brought it up first, that I felt guilty acknowledging this sad feeling because I should be so happy and feel so lucky – up until now both I and the baby have been healthy and normal through the whole pregnancy. Sadness shouldn’t have a place in my heart right now. I have nothing to mourn – no wild young and carefree life of partying and freedom that I’m being forced to bid farewell to. But yet I still felt true sadness, if ever so slightly.
But then Eli said, “I feel that way too, and I don’t think we should feel guilty at all.” Having your first baby is such a solid marker of the start to a new life. Of course elements of your pre-baby life continue on, you’re the same person, you’re with the same person, you live in the same house and have the same job and friends. But the nature of your life is irreversibly different in the biggest possible ways. That degree of change rocks your world and unhinges some of the strongest parts of your soul. That’s a lot to deal with. It is a feeling for YOURSELF, Eli said. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a moment away from thinking about your baby so that you can feel something for yourself.
What an important reminder that self care truly IS caring for your family as well. You can’t be your best self for your family if you aren’t looking out for your physical and emotional well being. So the next night I tossed a bath bomb into the tub, slathered on some shower smoothie, put coconut oil in my hair and binged a few early Pam and Jim episodes of The Office. Daddio took me on a nice long walk this morning, and here I sit reaching around my giant abdomen to write down some thoughts during my last few days before birth while this sweet baby rolls around inside of me.
I’ll miss these quiet moments, but will cherish the memory forever. Sitting in our living room with sunlight streaming in, listening to cars drive by while my baby stretches and rolls around inside me. I’ll miss the little hiccups, I’ll miss his heel digging into my side and then him snatching them away when I push against him with my hand. I’ll miss resting my hands on my belly and talking to him about what his life will be like, how much his daddy loves him already, how many people are excited for him.
Most of all, his mama is very very excited to meet him.
Wow so, I totally intended to keep track of my entire pregnancy but then here I find myself at the beginning of the final trimester having missed the chance to write about the most wonderful moments of pregnancy so far! I guess the second trimester was too big a party for me to sit down and put words to keyboard.
But let me tell ya that is starting to change now that I’m transforming from a speed bump into more of a freeway center divide. Lord, pregnancy is not nearly as magical and organized as some people make it out to be – they’re all totally glossing over the mid sneeze pee squirts and laughing accompanied by perfectly timed farts and wild hunger rages. I for one find all of those things perfectly charming but could see them being difficult to glitterfy for the interwebz readers.
Keeping those thoughts in mind, I wanted to quickly plug two sources of child rearing brilliance that I’ve found myself thinking about nonstop from when I wake to when I fall into pregnant mouth breather slumber – Bringing up Bebe and Science of Mom.
I loved this book. It was the first parenting book I read after finding out I was expecting. I’d started to read a combo of pregnancy horror stories and perfect pinterest mommy blogs and, coupled with a few choices memories of nasty children I’d run into in the past, I was starting to accept that I may just be doomed to birth a monster. This book changed all that.
Pamela is, first of all, hilarious. The book reads like you’re talking to one of your best girlfriends – someone who you trust, who is honest, funny and well meaning. She shares common sense lessons she learned while bringing up her daughter and twin boys while she and her husband lived abroad in Paris. She covers everything from tricks to help your baby sleep through the night to the benefits of daycare and cooking with your child. The best part is, while you’d read the concept and think “oh God here’s another hoitsy toitsy ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ piece of nonsense” you start reading it and she repeatedly addresses that fear! And puts it out of your mind! She’s a quirky American girl just like you, trying to make it in a world of toned arms French high-heeled preggos! I bought one for my own mother so she’d be on board for when our baby is born.
I’m only about halfway through this one and truly can’t stop thinking about it, day and night. The biggest benefit (aside from the infinite wisdom Dr. Callahan shares throughout the book) is that her approach is as gentle and non-judgey as you could ever want. Her whole point is that while you should do what feels right for your baby, you should also be able to consider cold hard facts based on real, trustworthy scientific research – so here’s how you can tell what research is trustworthy and why.
She covers everything from whether to get the vitamin K shot (Eli: “Is that like what’s in Special K cereal?”) to why babies have trouble sleeping through the night early on to breastfeeding and lots more. You know when you go for your doctor appointment at the OB’s office and they ask if you have any questions and you think “UH YES WHAT THE HECK I’VE NEVER HAD A BABY BEFORE OF COURSE I DO BUT HOW COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK OTHER THAN HOW DO YOU BIRTH THE CHILD AND KEEP IT ALIVE FOREVER?” Well once you read this book, you can feel so much more ready and at ease with material to chat to your doctor about. Everyone can be on the same page, and you don’t need to feel like your doctor is internally rolling her/his eyes at you when you ask about whether you can sit in an essential oil filled bathtub while a medicine woman whispers Enya songs into your ear amidst the candle light during child birth.
The best thing I’ve been told through this whole experience, which was only reinforced by reading these two books, is that every pregnancy is different, and every parent is different. As long as you prioritize the safety and happiness of your baby using advice from your DOCTOR and your mom (as long as your mom isn’t wacko), then you’re doing it right. Or…as right as any of us know how to do it.