Everyone always says that the summer is a great time to have a baby. Whelp I call bullshit on that one. It's really nice for me because I'm a teacher so I was able to parlay my maternity leave into summer vacation so by the time I go back to work Arya will be close to 4 months old.
It's friggen hot outside man. Babies require a lot of protection from the heat. You need to sunblock them, nurse more often, remember to keep yourself hydrated. It's a lot of packing and lugging around bags and strollers and car seats. Plus you don't want to go out when it's the hottest between like 12 noon and 3 pm. Andplusalso, Isabella is not in school during summer meaning she gets to drive me bonkers all day every day.
We have a great big backyard with an awesome pool which has been a lifesaver, except that Arya only naps for about 45 minutes (witch!) so that's not a lot of time to take Isabella in. Arya had been in the pool a bunch of times but she tops out at about 20 minutes. I'm super lucky that Andy has a ton of time off and my mom comes over to help all the time, but she's getting older and she doesn't really play with Isabella a lot. She never takes her outside. My mom really just kind of likes to sit. And I get it...she's older, she's raised her kids, but I won't tell you that it doesn't make me nervous that she's so sedentary.
When Isabella was born she was really take charge and made me feel at ease, despite never offering me help for what was clearly depression, she had a ton of energy. Sine then she's battled, and beat, colon cancer, and also hit her 60th birthday. You can see that she's older now. She doesn't play. She doesn't like to go in the pool or go outside. She likes to sit in her chair, watch TV, and play candy crush. Isabella is always asking her to play when I'm nursing the baby and my mom always says the same thing, "Oh right after this cup of tea". She never offers to give the baby a bottle so I can play with her. Not that I love to play, but I'll do it. She never goes walking. She doesn't eat healthy. I'm watching her fade in front of me. Also, you can't talk to her about it because she just kind of brushes it off and makes excuse after excuse.
Any way, that kind of turned into a vent about my mom instead of a rant about how you can't do much with a baby during a heat wave.
The challenge is keeping Isabella's needy, whiney little butt occupied while I'm nursing or rocking her sister to sleep for those super popular cat naps she's fond of taking. I don't want her watching TV or playing on the phone all day. I've been trying to take her out in the backyard a lot, out for frozen yogurt, I've had tons of play dates, and if my mom is up to watching Arya, we've taken her to the beach and to Sesame Place, but the summer isn't over yet and I'm running out of ideas!
What are your ideas/tips/tricks/advice for surviving summer with a pre-schooler and a newborn? Help!
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Everyone always says that the summer is a great time to have a baby. Whelp I call bullshit on that one. It's really nice for me because I'm a teacher so I was able to parlay my maternity leave into summer vacation so by the time I go back to work Arya will be close to 4 months old.
Monday, July 29, 2013
I've been struggling on and off with my body image post baby. Things are still squishy and flabby and loose. Sometimes I'll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I almost want to cry at what I see. Practically none of my pre pregnancy clothes fit me and it's getting more and more difficult.
But I haven't had that "ah-ha" moment yet where I can make getting thinner a top priority.
The winter before I got pregnant I had an "ah ha" fitness moment and things just fell into place. I began eating healthier (I always eat fairly healthy, I just have a fierce sweet tooth) and I hit the gym hard core and made running a part of my life. I lost 12 pounds and seriously toned up. I still had my problem areas, soft belly and curvy hips, but I really liked the way I looked and the clothes that I could fit into.
I have yet to have that moment.
I have other things that I'm focused on right now. Adjusting to having a new baby in the house. Catching up on the sleep that is being deprived me. Focusing on my writing. Squeezing in time for myself or to see my friends.
Exercising, eating healthy, and fitness are all super important to me and I know I'll get back there, but right now it's not a super top priority for me, even though it should be.
Maybe I'm a little bit over indulgent and even lazy at times, but I just had a baby! That's something I need to remind myself when I'm mentally bashing my body. I will get back to where I was, even better, but it will probably be a slow journey until I have that "ah-ha" moment and that will have to be good enough for now.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I hate swaddling. Hate it. I know it's supposed to help babies sleep and it does. It really helped Isabella and it's really helping Arya. But I hate it.
Arya won't sleep more than 30 minutes or so unswaddled because of that damn Moro reflex that causes her arms to jerk and she slaps herself in the face. Not cool.
It became such a sleep crutch for Isabella that it took two nights of her up quite often to break her of it. I was hoping to avoid that this go round but Arya's having none of it.
But I feel bad because the poor girl fights her swaddle at first. Then she'll settle. And it's working. She'll mostly sleep through the night or wake up once around 4 to eat and then go back down. Naps are another story.
I get agita thinking about when we have to break her of it, because eventually we will have to break her of it. We use the Swaddle Me blankets and I know we probably have about another month or so before we tackle the weaning process of the swaddle. We're going to the shore next month so I'm thinking that once we get back we'll start getting rid of it. I'll be happy knowing I never have to swaddle another baby again because I have an illogical hatred for it.
How long did you swaddle for? How did you wean? Cold turkey or one arm out?
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Come over to Parent Society to see some articles I've written over there.
7 Worst Things About Being a Mom- because it's not always the glamorous life you'd think it would be.
Tips to Surviving the Internet- it can be a scary place out there.
5 Unexpected Benefits of Breastfeeding - besides being good for baby there are some other great reasons to try it out
5 Things Mom Should Not Feel Guilty About- Let that mommy guilt go.
Posted by Melissa G. at 7:17 AM
Thursday, July 18, 2013
If you're anything like me you loved watching Carrie Bradshaw and her ladies flit around Manhattan in their designer duds and $500 shoes. I watched religiously every week pining over the glittering and glamorous life that they had while I shuffled through the same town in a knockoff Gucci purse and slightly faded yoga pants.
Here is why Sex and The City probably ruined your life.
1. It made you think that super fun things were happening all the time. Seriously, those gals were out at five star restaurants on a Tuesday night and at an art gallery opening on Wednesday, they'd go out to lunch on a Thursday and the weekends were just packed with shopping, eating, and drinking. Did these ladies ever just sit around and watch television? or play on their smart phone? or pummice their calluses? It made me crave excitement.
2. It made you hate your clothes. Oh man I would watch that show and drool over the outfits. Then I would look in my closet and promptly vomit over the Forever 21 shirts that hung there. Then I would look at their red bottoms and Manolos and I'd dry heave over my $1 Old Nave flip flops. Some people, like my sister, can put together fabulous outfits out of cheap stuff. I'm not one of those people. I was meant to be rich so that I could have a stylist and a shopper completely outfit me from head to toe...you know like Kim Kardashian.
3. It made you feel like a pauper. Summering in the Hamptons, going to the most posh clubs, spending a week in Dubai. Oh the good life. Sometimes I go to Atlantic City. Sometimes.
4. It made you hate your friends. I love my friends, but we don't spend nearly as much time together as Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. They do lunch. They go shopping. They have brunch together every week. They talk on the phone. They coax and cajole each other through major life hurdles and minor stresses. The spend nearly every waking moment in close contact with each other. If I see my girls twice between Memorial Day and Labor Day I'm super stoked. If I can shoot out an "I Miss You" text during a 3 am nursing session I feel like the best friend a girl could ever have.
5. It made you hate your husband/boyfriend/lesbian life partner. Because who could compete with Big? Who?
So even all these years later. Sex and the City is still ruining my life.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
These are the truths of my new reality.
If you come to my house I will be a mediocre host at best. I can definitely offer you water, maybe coffee, but if you're expecting a meal you either need to bring it or help prepare it. Also, my house will be covered with crayons, fruit loops, and half done laundry.
I am pretty much tired all the time.
Coffee is the one thing I look forward to most of all in the morning. It's my #1 reason for getting out of bed. My children are a distant second, maybe even third depending on what's for breakfast.
We may not have a variety of food in the house, but there's always wine.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living the same day over and over again a la Groundhog Day.
I love when there's company over. Makes me feel better just to have another adult in the house.
I absolutely cannot relax if there is clutter. I'd prefer the house to be really deep clean, but that's not gonna happen so I'll settle for table tops and counters that are clear.
I am very jealous of people who get to sit around all day and relax and watch TV and do whatever they want. I don't get to sit for half a second without one kid wanting to nurse and the other one wanting to play.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
So we're about 2 months into this nursing thing and I have to say that there are things about it that I love and there are things about it that I really just can't stand. I also have to admit that at least once a day I completely feel like giving it up.
I love that it's free. It's saving us a pretty decent amount of money that we don't have to buy formula, I don't remember how much we spent on it when Isabella was little, but I know it was a pretty decent amount if you didn't have coupons or sales. This extra cash is coming in handy because, I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but a lightening hit a tree in our backyard and it cost us $2,500 to remove that tree and the two surrounding it...ah the money pit.
I love that it's convenient. No fussing with measuring, pouring, sterilizing, or cleaning bottles. There's no heating up milk in the middle of the night, I just pick up my shirt and I'm good to go. I never have to worry about packing enough bottles and if we're out and about and want to make an extra stop it's no big deal because I have the food supply with me.
I love that I'm the only one that can fulfill this need. I was never Isabella's favorite. I'm still not. I think I might just become Arya's favorite because I'm the milk machine...or maybe not, we'll have to see.
I love that no matter what the issue, she can always sooth when I nurse her.
I love that it's the best for her health and has some benefits for me too.
I hate it for most of the same reasons that I love it.
I hate that I'm the only one who can do it. Doesn't matter if I want to sleep in an extra hour or that I'm tired in the middle of the night. Doesn't matter if Andy is ready and willing to take a feeding. I have to feed her. I know that I could give her a bottle, but it seems like such a fuss and then I'd have to pump anyway which I hate.
My nipples get so sore and raw from her incessant cluster feeding. She uses me as a pacifier which is annoying as well. I tried to give her a paci and she just screams and looks insulted. I'm worried how she'll soothe herself when I'm at work.
I shared my body with her for 9 months. I didn't drink, fretted over the amount of caffeine I was imbibing, slowed down my exercising. Now that I've had her I'm anxious to have my body back but I still have to worry about teetotaling, coffee, spicy food, and everything else that I eat. I just want to be able to eat and drink whatever I want whenever I want.
So for all the reasons that I hate it, I still, mostly, really enjoy it. My main goal is to get to 6 months and then if we're going well at that point I'll try to make it to 9 and then maybe to a year. When I say to myself that I'm going to do it for a year it seems daunting, so I stick with my mini-goals. I just try to remember that it's just one snapshot of her life and it won't last forever.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Weight: 12 lbs
Height: 21 inches
Sleeping Habits: It seems one miss Arya Hope has "woken up". She takes about 4 naps a day and they are only lasting 45 minutes on the dot. You could set your watch by that kid. On occasion I can get her back to sleep for another hour or so, but rarely. She is rocked to sleep, then swaddled, and she naps in her rock and play. She usually naps pretty easily and she's only up 1-2 hours between naps. Every night she gets a bath, massage, nurse, and then off to bed. Ah, if only it were that easy. Sometimes she drifts sweetly off to sleep and other times (most times) she fights her bedtime like a bear. It can take sometimes an hour to two hours to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. It's so frustrating and bedtime is probably the worst time of my day even though it is much anticipated. She goes to sleep between 7:30-8:30 wakes up once to eat around 4 and then goes back to sleep from 4:30 to 6 or 7. Twice this month she's gotten up more than once at night, but usually she'll either sleep straight through or only get up once so I'm definitely not complaining since Isabella was up 3 times a night every night for months.
Eating Habits: We are still exclusively breast feeding. She eats a lot, sometimes it's annoying how frequently she eats, but I feed on demand. I'm learning her cries so I know that sometimes she wants to nurse for hunger and other times for comfort. She won't take a paci so I'm it. Once in a while she'll take a bottle of expressed breast milk, about 3-4 ounces. She cluster feeds at night like crazy.
Milestones: Slept through the night! She's done it a handful of times this month. Can't wait until it's a consistent thing.
Best Thing This Month: She's smiling and cooing up a storm. She's usually so serious and grouchy looking so when she smiles her whole face lights up.
Challenges This Month: Getting her to go to bed at night. I hate bedtime battles and it is so beyond frustrating to get her to sleep and have her wake up, nurse her, swaddle her, reswaddle her, walk with her, rock her, leave her be. It pushes me to my breaking point.
Looking Forward To: Getting rid of that damned swaddle because I hate it.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
If there is one thing I hate more than anything, and I mean anything, it's clutter. I like things organized and neat and I absolutely love to get rid of stuff. But when I think about all the junk I've just thrown out over the years, I can't help but think that I've been throwing dollars down the trash chute. I mean one man's trash is another man's treasures and if it's one thing I have in excess it's DVD's, games, and CD's. Selling DVD's online, along with all of your other stuff can not only create a lot of space in your home, but it can also bring in some cash money.
Music Magpie is a wonderful website where you can sell your old DVD's, CDs, and games for cash. I mean, do you really have time to watch all those old movies on DVD, especially since the invention of Netflix and other video streaming? And when was the last time you listened to a CD? CDs are pretty much going the way of A-tracks. Why not kill two birds with one stone...get rid of the clutter and make some extra money.
The website is really easy to use, just write in the barcode and viola. They even have a free app to make it easier to just scan those barcodes right in. The shipping is completely free. The service is completely free. No auctions. No bids. Just cash for unwanted electronics that you don't even use anyway.
Think of all the extra space you can create for your busy family by getting rid of as much unused DVDs, CDs, and games. Now if there was only a service where I could get rid of all of the unused toys laying around over here since Isabella doesn't play with a single blessed one of them.
Posted by Melissa G. at 6:14 AM
I love my girls to bits but Lord help me if they aren't very high maintenance, one maybe more than the other.
Isabella is way too much like me for her own good, or more accurately, for my own good. I know for sure I can be annoying. This is what my 4 year old is currently doing that is driving me bananas.
- She rubs her feet all over me. She knows that this gets under my skin so she thinks it's hilarious to do it all the time. When I read with her on bed, when we watch TV together on the couch, even in the pool. I hate it.
- She thinks that my coffee table is her stage, chair, and bed. She sits, lays, and climbs all over it leaving smudgy fingerprint and footprints all over it. I'm sure one day I'll look back and miss those fingerprints, but it's not this day.
- She loves chicken then she hates chicken. She loves pizza then she hates pizza. She'll only eat the carrot if it doesn't have any white dry spots on it. She hates chicken nuggets (who hates chicken nuggets?!). I can't keep up with what she likes and doesn't like from day to day. If her preferences would just stay static I could keep up.
- She does. not. stop. talking. From the moment she opens her eyes to the moment she closes them that girl is talking. I swear she has a word limit that she has to hit each day. "Mommy can we watch this?" "Mommy why is she doing that?" "Mommy why is the door like that?" "Mommy, where is my princess dress?" "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" all day long. I love that we can have a conversation, but man by the end of the day my ears are bleeding.
- She's a pill to get to sleep. She fights her naps and sleep like a champ. It can take over an hour to get her to sleep at night, luckily she'll sleep for 7-8 hours straight, eat and then go back to sleep for another 2-3 hours, but she really makes you work for that sleep. Naps are a different story. It can take 5 minutes to put her down for a nap or 45 minutes. You could get a 30 minute nap or a 3 hour nap. Inconsistent little bugger!
- She doesn't like the car seat. She's coming around to the swing and bouncy seat. Baby gym is hit or miss. Sometimes she likes the moby wrap. She's tough to read.
- She poops a lot.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Most people mean well when they give you parenting advice. I know that I've asked for it, sometimes begged for it from my friends and on this blog and usually most people will share their advice and what worked for them...however some advice is just down right sucky.
Sleep when the baby sleeps- Sometimes Arya's naps are 30 minutes and sometimes they're an hour. I would just lie in bed terrified of when she would wake up. Nothing is worse than falling into a deep sleep just to be woken up a few minutes later. The only time I'd take this advice is if I didn't have to take care of her or feed her when she woke up. And most of the time I'm just running a mental to-do list. I'm also fairly sure Isabella isn't letting me take a nap anytime soon.
Enjoy every moment- There are a lot of moments with my children that I enjoy...like when Arya breaks the latch while nursing to smile at me or when Isabella she tells me she loves me out of no where, but there are a ton of moments that I don't enjoy. For example, when I'm pacing the floor at 4 am for an hour and my eyes are so tired that they burn into my skull. I could live without those moments. Or when I'm cleaning up a blowout diaper that has poop up to the baby's shoulders...I can pass on those moments too. When I'm at Target and Isabella is screaming because she thinks the purple lingerie is a dress and she wants it. Not every moment is enjoyable and I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to want things to go slow, so we can savor each second. I think it's ok to wish some moments away.
Hold them, they'll only be little once- This advice is great for maybe the first month or so and then it starts getting pretty old. I can love on my baby when she's in her swing and I can read to her when she's in her bouncy, I can also eat something and do laundry as well. Holding her is great up until a point....usually the point where my back starts hurting and my arms ache. Then it's totally cool to put them down and clean up the poop from the nursery wall.
Feed them on a schedule- The most annoying thing people say to me is "Is she eating again?" "Didn't she just eat?" Breastmilk is more easily digested than formula, so where a formula fed baby may eat every 4 hours a breast fed baby may need to eat every 2 hours. During cluster feeds it's practically non-stop nursing. Do you eat on a strict schedule or do you snack? Same thing with babies, maybe they want a quick drink or a long meal, I'm not going to let my baby cry or go hungry to adhere to some parent directed feeding schedule. And you can bet your ass I'm not waking her up in the middle of the night. That's just nuts (unless there's a medical/weight issue, then it's totally not nuts)
What are some pearls of wisdom that haven't panned out for you?
Friday, July 5, 2013
Date night has evolved for Andy and I from a long night out on the town: dinner, a Broadway show, dancing and drinks when it was just the two of us to a much more low key, low scale, cheaper, and more local type of date.
After Isabella was born we were able to have date nights pretty frequently because it's pretty easy to dump one kid on my mom, but now that there's two and my mom is a bit older and doesn't have the energy she used to and considering the fact that both of my children are pretty high maintenance we were pretty sure we'd never leave the house again just the two of us.
But things are evening out over here, although we do have our variety of high and low days, so we decided to go for it.
I put Arya to sleep so I could nurse right before we left, and bedtime for Isabella is a cinch. So Andy and I went out for dinner and a movie. We actually sat down and ate dinner together at a normal pace without demanding little children needing us. We were planning on going out to a movie but decided to hit a bar instead. We figured we're entitled to a few drinks and I had plenty of bags of milk in the freezer for Arya's 3 am feeding.
It felt so good to get out and not have to worry about the kids or the house or money and just talk and get a little drunk and a little silly.
Hopefully we'll get the chance to go out again soon.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
This post will not be well written. It will not be focused. It will not be upbeat or positive. This will be a post where I dump out every negative thought or feeling I have however trite or narcissistic or ridiculous they may be. I need to write this post and I hope by the end of it I have the courage to hit "publish".
I am afraid. I am afraid a lot. I'm scared to leave the house to take some time to myself because I fear that if I'm away from my home, my children, that things will fall apart if I'm not there to hold them together. Which is puzzling because most of the time I think I'm doing a pretty crappy job being a mom, especially lately. There's a huge Barnes and Nobles near me and everyday I say that I want to go and browse, maybe grab a cup of coffee, by myself just a quick little visit to get some time where there isn't a small child on my person. Every day Andy tells me to go...that he can handle the girls and everyday I make an excuse not to go. I don't know why. It's like I'm holding myself back with fear of nothing. I get anxious when I'm away from my kids and it's not like I'm talking about taking a trip to Vegas, it's a trip to a book store that's about 5 minutes away from my house. It's not like me.
I'm afraid when Andy is at work and I'm alone with the girls. I'm afraid that I am going to fall apart, that I won't be able to meet the demands of both of them. Arya's needs have to be met first, her needs are primal and time consuming. It takes me about 30 minutes to nurse her and close to 20 minutes to rock her to sleep. Unfortunately, when I'm doing that Isabella is watching television, playing on the computer or the iPhone. That makes me feel guilty as hell because even after the baby is asleep, sometimes I'll put on a movie for her or let her keep playing just so I can have some time to myself. She went from hardly no screen time, to hours of it per day. I try and make sure that we're still getting outside to play or do a craft and Andy's been great at making sure he takes her places and we go swimming almost every afternoon during Arya's big nap, but I definitely rely way too much on television and electronics and I know it.
I feel isolated a lot of the time, even if there are people surrounding me. I feel the loneliness. I feel the absence real connections and friendships. I feel the burden of taking care of two kids and a house and I'm not even back to work yet. I feel really drained sometimes.
I feel guilty that I hardly ever read books to Arya or that I don't give her as much skin-to-skin as I'd like or that giving her tummy time is something that I barely remember to squeeze in at the end of the day.
Sometimes Isabella is just really so annoying, and I know you're not supposed to say that about your kids but she really can be so obnoxious. I find myself getting very short with her and she can easily see my frustration, which makes me feel rotten because she's (mostly) such a good kid. Andy's really hard on her and expects so much from her that I try to be her soft spot, but I can feel myself getting easily frayed at the seams and it's not fair to her because she's just a kid and she doesn't deserve the mother I've been the past month.
I'm so scared that I'm not strong enough to be a great mother to these two little girls. I'm scared that I'm doing it all wrong. I'm just scared.
I'm not sad though, I'm honestly pretty happy, this has just been an emotional time for me.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
I cannot believe that Isabella is four years old! She has grown up to be such a smart, beautiful, and sassy little girl who is much too much like me. This year we decided that we would have the party at our house instead of out because we actually had the space since buying the money pit.
It's summer...it's hot...we decided to throw a mermaid pool party for Isabella.
The food table was decorated with a fishing net, star fish, and seashells that I found at Michael's Craft Store. I used a blue table cloth and table skirt from Party Fair with green crepe paper seaweed.
We just sort of threw the kids outside to play hopscotch, play with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, the play set, and the pool of course...we even bought a bouncy house that was a big hit. And the pirate pinata from Birthday in a Box.
Monday, July 1, 2013
I love my family very much and I couldn't feel more complete in that regard. I love Andy and I love the girls and I love the dynamic of being a family of four. But there is something inside of me that is calling out for something else and I don't know what it is.
It's like part of me is on fire, burning for something different, something more to quench it. I'm not sure what it is.
Sometimes I think it's writing...if I could sit down and write a book, even if it never gets published, even if no one ever reads it but me, maybe that would fulfill the empty space.
Other times I think maybe I need to spend time cultivating my friendships that I've let languish...maybe that space would quit burning if I could fill it with good girlfriends, good wine, and laughter.
Still other times I wonder if that hole is looking for something all it's own. If it's the part of me that just belongs to me and no one else. It's not for my husband, not for my mom, not for my job, not even for my kids. Maybe it's the one place that is just mine and it's feeling neglected, abandoned.
I don't know what it is, but I know that I get this rising feeling of something just...missing...from time to time and I know I need to figure out what it is because it's not going away.