Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Would You Do?

You are already running late and while stuffing gently putting your toddler daughter's shoes on, you smell it. You know, you rather suspect your charming and well-behaved offspring has made a poopy. You are taking her to a caregiver and have packed more than enough extra diapers for the day. What do you do?

  1. You immediately change her diaper. It isn't hygienic for her to have poop on her bottom for longer than a second.
  2. You swear under your breath (and pretend later, when she repeats that word cheerfully to your significant other that you have no idea where she could have learned it), then change the diaper.
  3. You leave everything exactly as it is. It's only a 3 minute drive after all, it isn't that bad. Pampers are really absorbent, right? There's rash cream in the bag. You can pretend when you get to the caregiver that the sweet little dear did it in the car and act all hurried, so they'll get the hint and change the diaper for you.
  4. You would never ever be one of those parents who is always late because of the pressures of toddler-wrangling. You also wouldn't find yourself questioning if you had brushed your teeth while in the car on the way there.
So I know what I did (I'll give you hint, it wasn't #4). I also know which thoughts passed through my head in the interim.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Conversations from MommyLand: Episode 3, The Wiggles

Upon seeing the following video, DH and I had a conversation. (Trust me, it is only a minute long. It might be the Wiggles, but go with me.)

DH: Since when is there a new Wiggle?

Me: Huh? [I should probably mention that this took place prior to 9 am and before I had any tea]

DH: There is an extra guy up there.

I look.

Me: Honey, that's Al Roker. The guy who has been the weather man on the Today show for the past 15 years. The Wiggles have been the same 4 guys since before they were old enough to be slightly creepy.

DH: Huh. How was I supposed to know that?

Then I remembered, I have the whole suburban future-soccer mom thing going on, and so I watch the Today show, unlike DH who is at work when it is on.

I also remembered that although my life very rarely looks like a Katherine Heigl movie, in this case, just a little... in the movie Life as We Know It, something along the lines of "You will want to find out where the Wiggles live and shoot them in the face." Okay, not quite, but I do want to give Captain Feathersword a wedgie, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Traveling Mama

So. We all survived the trip. The Bug had a fantastic time with her grandparents (who she generally calls 'Ampa and Gamma), only stayed up overly late one night, and was just generally pretty happy. I got to attend sessions, reconnect with old friends, and make some new friends. Pretty freakin' awesome.

Some things I learned:

1. Going away for 4 nights did not diminish the Bug's desire to nurse at bedtime. The first bedtime after we were reunited, she attempted to pull down my shirt.

2. I wasn't really disappointed by #1. If she was 4, I might feel differently, but she's not yet 2, and you know what, it is a nice, cuddly time with her.

3. Other people's small children out and about still annoy me. A friend said it shouldn't, as I am no sometimes the person with the pain-in-the-arse small child and therefore I should be more sympathetic, but here's the thing: when I'm out with my pain-in-the-arse small child, I do stuff to help calm her down if she gets upset and I attempt to provide for her entertainment. I overheard several instances of parents failing to make a serious effort to calm their yelling children. Helpful hint: if your tiny baby is screaming her fool head off in the stroller, item #1 one how to calm her down is to PICK HER UP, particularly if jiggling the stroller hasn't really helped or done anything but annoy the crap out of her. I understand not everyone is a hippy, granola, baby wearing ,nursing in public, attachment parent, but I think maybe we all can agree that babies need to be held and that it is actually kind of pleasant. (Please understand that I have a little empathy for being around a baby who cries a lot. I lived through colic and reflux and a really bad 4 month sleep regression. But, when necessary, DH and I took turns holding her and eating and working to keep her happy and our fellow diners also happy.)

4. The very best part of the whole time away from her was that I got to go to bed at night and sleep until I woke up on my own or at the time I had preselected on my alarm clock. No one else's sleep schedule or issues had anything to do with my own sleep.

5. The second best part of the whole time was that I got to knit almost as much as I wanted to. I didn't manage to visit a yarn shop, but I did finish a sock and a coffee cup cozy.

6. I missed the Bug like crazy. I figured I would, and I was right. But you know what? I was able to not feel guilty for most of the trip.

So. I'll travel again without her. I won't like it, but travel like this is part of my job, and I'll keep at it. I actually feel refreshed as a mom and more determined to make sure that one of my goals in parenting is to make sure the people around me don't hate my kid and me by extension.

(By the way, I do think there is a distinction between kids being kids in public, which I find tolerable and kids falling apart and making life unpleasant for everyone. There is a future post on this in the works, but I'll start by saying that children under 1 cannot be spoiled and cannot manipulate, and that you have to know your kid and know what they can take before deciding to take them somewhere. There's a reason I'm seldom out with the Bug after 7pm. She just can't take it.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mom Knowledge

As the owner of an unreliable brain, as I like to call it, I write things down all the time so I don't forget them. If I don't, I forget far too much, and the results can be comic or they can be semi-disastrous. On top of that, I have the added burden, it turns out, of being a Motherless Mother, which, according to Hope Edelmann, makes me even more likely to take 1,000 steps just in case something happens to me. (Although I actually didn't loose my mom until I was 27 years old, so I should probably try to let these fears go at least until the Bug is potty trained.)

So. In a few days, the Bug will be staying with her grandparents without me. I'll be in a whole different country. I'm a little freaked out by this. I know she'll have a great time and I will have a super productive time at the conference, and my dad and step-mom are going to have a super time with the Bug, but I'm still a little freaked out. I'm going to be in a WHOLE DIFFERENT COUNTRY.

In addition to making sure I have everything I need to take the Bug on a plane without DH, I've created a document called "stuff to know about the Bug" that I'm going to print out and give to my folks. They will almost certainly tell me I'm being silly, and maybe they'll have a point. It is chock-full of practical details like how to get in touch with her pediatrician,  her dosages of a couple different fever reducers, and her bedtime routine, all tidily in one place.

But there is this whole other set of knowledge I'm not sure I can write down or that I'll even remember. It is one thing to say that she takes 1.2 mL of infant tylenol, but what about her preference for emptying laundry baskets, or carrying her stuffed monkey around her neck? What about how she most of the time likes to sleep with her head touching something silky or something soft? What about all of the spots where she is ticklish or the fact that she'll mostly be still to have her nails trimmed during Dirt Girl World, but not during Thomas the Tank Engine? This is the short version of the list. In fact, I'm willing to bet that I don't know the whole list myself.

I guess all of this is what I'll call Mom Knowledge. The 1,000 little things that I know as her mom that no one else knows. I've been the one most intimately with her on a day-to-day basis, and so I know her quirks, I know her likes, I know her dislikes. These are things that other people just don't know, and I'm not even aware of them, I just respond to them, deal with them, live with them. These aren't the sort of things that I learn in an e-mail from BabyCenter. It's just stuff I know, stuff I do, stuff I've stored in muscle memory, where cognition can't mess with it.

I'll bet she'll be more fine than I will. She's younger, and far more adaptable than me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Stuff Didn't Used to Happen To Me

Two weeks in a row, the Bug and I have made it to church. This is a miracle. The Great Whomever has blessed us, and it has worked out.

Last Sunday, in the middle of one of my favourite services of the year, Music Sunday, where rather than a sermon or normal, church-y activities, some sort of musical event happens,and is always quite good. In this case, it was the performance of a cantata composed by a friend of mine. I played in the orchestra when it premiered, and so it has sentimental and artistic value. I was enjoying it, the Bug was enjoying it, when, out of the blue, I felt warm and wet on my lap, and not in the elimination communication sense, but instead in the "oh, crap, I just got peed on sense," and yep, for the first time in ages outside of overnight, the Bug overflowed her diaper. Right onto my skirt.

In my old life, even when I worked for doctors, I never, ever, got peed on. Just sayin'.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Bookshelf: Baby Care and Infant Happiness

I've been recommending books to various people in my life lately, so I thought I would share the things I read, mostly the things that are useful to me in my mom life, but also books that are relevant to my other roles in this world, too. So this is the first in a series about my bookshelf.

The Baby Book, by Attachment Parenting gurus William and Martha Sears (co-authored by two of their children, one of whom is the pediatrician from The Doctors.) that has been my most useful guide through this mothering experience. It was a gift from a friend, and when I got it, it was a bit like I had just been given my reading material for a college course, as it weights in at a slim 769 pages. However, once I got over its heft and let go of my compulsive need to read books cover-to-cover in short order, this book has proved very useful. It is basically a travel-guide for children ages 0 to 2 years, and has sections on breastfeeding, discipline, and potty training. While it lacks the month-by-month guidelines found in What to Expect the First Year, it also lacks the "OHMYGOD IF YOU DON'T DO THIS EXACTLY, YOUR BABY WILL SUFFER A TERRIBLE AWFUL DEATH OR AT LEAST SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES THAT YOU WILL FEEL PROFOUNDLY GUILTY OVER" tone that the What to Expect books have. It also has dosage charts for common infant and toddler medications, which has saved me from making yet another call to the pediatrician on the weekend because the Bug has a wee bit of temperature.

Harvey Karp, MD's The Happiest Baby on the Block very seriously saved my sanity when the Bug was tiny and colicky. It's ideas may seem a bit obvious-- swaddling, swinging or rocking, white noise, sucking, and so on, but I'm the sort of person who needs to read stuff from an "expert" to really get it. (Probably the scholar in me. DH just needs to find it on the internet, and he's good.) I have just recently gotten over my disappointment that these things have stopped working.

I have 2 books that live on my bookshelf regarding baby sleep, and one will probably be a surprise for those familiar with the various positions on baby sleep. I'm too much of a liberal arts professor to just accept as gospel one idea or another, so I took a little from one and a little from another and finally sorted out the Bug's sleep a little.

The first book, particularly as it is suggested reading in The Baby Book, won't come as a surprise. It is Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution.
Most authors on baby sleep pretty much say that either you have to let the poor dear cry-it-out or you have to live with multiple wake ups and/or sleep with the poor dear. If I got nothing more out of Pantley's book, it is that it is okay not to be satisfied with either path.

Speaking of all-or-nothing approaches, my second baby sleep book is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD. I disagree with Weissbluth's preferred solution for infant sleep problems, which is to let the child cry it out after identifying the correct time for bedtime and naptime. What I did find useful is that the book is packed with information on the science of infant and child sleep, and by applying some of those ideas about when and why the Bug should sleep to the how from Pantley's book, we've been able to mostly assemble a sleep strategy that works for our family.