Monday, July 30, 2012


Santa Claus?  Fun.  Easter Bunny?  A little weird but the eggs were cool.  The tooth fairy?  Terrifying.  The thought of this little fairy wanting to collect teeth is just creepy to me. I remember being afraid to go to sleep when I lost my teeth. I’ve actually laughed out loud seeing a few things on pinterest about mother’s decorating dollar bills with glitter and websites where you can insert a picture of the tooth fairy into your child’s room.  Out of curiosity I looked up the origins of the tooth fairy.  Apparently, parents around the world have been rewarding their children with money or a small gift for the loss of their baby teeth since the era of the Vikings (according to the wildy accurate Wikipedia).  Now that I’m a mother and he has teeth, I have a theory on this.

Here’s the truth about teething.  It’s ugly.  It’s slobbery.  It’s painful.  It’s miserable.  Our little fella has been working on teeth for about a month now.  We tried teething rings, ice cube in a washrag, massaging his gums, and frozen celery (this was the best).  They all worked to a degree but he was just plain pitiful hitting his mouth with his fists, crying through the night, and then slobbering.  Good Lord the slobbering!  I really thought he would get dehydrated because he was just a gross little drooly mess.   He got his first tooth on July 5th (a little over 5 months old) and then we got the 2nd tooth a few weeks ago (just barely 6 months old). 

Between constantly checking his temperature, giving him Tylenol, and seeing him chomp on anything that can fit into his mouth, we’ve earned these teeth damn it!!!  The thought of them falling out kind of pisses me off.  Not after all that we’ve been through!  Of course parents invented the tooth fairy to mark the loss of these little weird bones in our mouth that made the whole tribe miserable for months at a time.  I’m going to make a big deal about the tooth fairy.  Teddy is going to be real confused when no one else's tooth fairy brings $5 and their parents don't spend the day at the spa to celebrate the loss of a tooth.

Chew.  Cry.  Chew harder.  Scream.  Chew again.

Drool.  I had just changed him and couldn't find a clean bib.

Sucking in his bottom lip because those are the teeth he has.  Still drooling.

Seriously drooly.

Once his ears started hurting he just wanted you to hold his head.

Cute pic after his first tooth popped through.

This took about 45 minutes to get this pic this morning and you still can't even see the 2nd tooth.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Marriage After Baby

This past weekend was our 5 year anniversary.  What?  How did that happen?  On one hand it feels like it was yesterday and on the other it feels like an eternity ago.   The first few months of marriage wasn’t pretty.

It took us about a year to work the kinks out of living together.  We were both well into our 20’s and headstrong and once the fun of marriage wore off we were stuck with some obvious problems. Somehow in the 6 years prior to our marriage we both managed to miss several key facts:
·         He never screws the lids back on bottles when he opens them (ranch, hot sauce, bbq sauce, orange juice, you name it).  He just places the top on it, but doesn’t screw it shut.
·         Actually, he never fully shuts anything.  If he opens it, he will shut it, but not fully.  Everything will be open about an inch. (Kitchen cabinets, the silverware drawer, the dresser drawers…closed, kind of )
·         He doesn’t understand laundry baskets.  He throws his dirty clothes on top of the nice wicker basket without opening the lid. 
·         The toothpaste he actually does put the top back on; however, he tightens it so much you need a torque wrench to get that bad boy off.
·          I love to re-organize and play with furniture arrangements at least twice a year.
·         I’d always watch Sport Center on gameday with him, but he didn’t realize that I wouldn’t enjoy watching it ALL DAY once it started repeating.
·         My closet is organized by season and color.
·         I wash towels separately.
·         I am not willing to share my really expensive shampoo.
·         Speaking of shower…hair in the drain might be his biggest pet peeve.
You see what I mean.  We talked, we laughed, we compromised, we yelled, we threw things, we tried harder, we learned to live with each other.  The next few years we settled into a great pattern and I can honestly say we had a wonderful marriage.  Please do not think that we don’t fight.  Good Lord, do we fight but at the end of the day we were happy…at least we thought we were until Tilmon Edward came home.
Some of these items aren’t that big of a deal anymore.  For example, TJ actually really loves how organized the closet is.  Some things we’ve agreed to disagree on… Whenever I walk into the kitchen and see the pantry door half open, I sigh REALLY loudly, shut it a little louder than I need to, and lean into the living room to smile at TJ.  Just for fun, sometimes I will mention changing where the couch is just to see the look of panic in his face.

Now if you take said happy marriage, add hormonal wife, sleepless nights, added pressure of a one income family, no family nearby, and a new baby…what do you get?  Apocalypse Now.  Woo Wee.  Having kids puts your marriage under a microscope.  Any cracks you had are now amplified.  Something that would have normally just irritated each other sent us (okay maybe just me) into a rage blackout. 
When TJ promises me we’ll spend a day at the lake, but he ends up working all day what do I do?

A)     Calmly explain to him that it hurt my feelings and I really missed him and just wanted some quality time together.

B)      Even though I am wide awake for the night wakeups, I wake TJ up from a sound sleep to go check on the baby.

C)      Make plans for something that I know he’ll love and miss just out of spite.

D)     All of the above.

No brainer.  ‘D’ All of the above.  Why?  Because I’m exhausted and not thinking clearly, and if I’m miserable then by golly he needs to understand. 

All husbands out there…be very patient with your wife.  It’s okay that she is a smidge crazier than normal.  I promise once you start getting sleep things will go back to the way there were before.  I promise.  Our house is no longer the powder keg that it once was, but be warned:  There aren’t many new mom’s (at least the really honest ones) that haven’t mentioned how much they fought with their spouses in the first few months of the baby’s life.  Granted, I’m a little harder to handle than most people out there, so my baseline crazy is a little higher than most, but still…we returned to normal.  If there’s hope for me, I guarantee there’s hope for you.

I took all of these pictures today.  Not one of these was staged. See...clothes on top of the empty laundry basket. 

Pantry doors...closed...kind of.

He didn't even bother putting the top on the Sprite.

He did help create this little guy so he's forgiven.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Top 5 Baby Sleep Advice

(Warning:  I got on my high horse for this one, so if I offend you I am sorry.)

Running the numbers.  It would probably scare you if you knew how much numbers controlled my life.  Most (if not all) of my accomplishments have revolved around numbers.  In school, it was grades and sports scores.  At work, it was financial statements, quarter deadlines, annual audits, raises, and bonuses.  So how does that fit in with motherhood?  I became obsessed with getting my kid to ‘sleep through the night.’  For several reasons this became the bane of my existence. 

1.   I require more sleep than most .  My brother-in-law used to refer to me as ‘yellow dog.’  You know…the labrador from the movie Funny Farm, who’s tail caught on fire, but he was too lazy to notice.
2.   This is the number one question that all mothers ask each other.  Hands down.
3.   This is the one quantitative aspect of motherhood, so of course the accountant pounced on it. 
I have now read every single ‘parenting’ and ‘get your baby to sleep’ book that has ever been published.  I have also drafted a letter to each one of them to describe the flaws in their theories and tell them to go to hell as politely as possible ( I have yet to mail one though).  The problem with every website, blog, or book is a little throw away statement that they end with.  It’s something to the effect of, “Remember, every baby is different.”  They give you advice that they claim is the gospel according to Perfect Parents R Us, but then end it with a “remember that all babies are different so it may take a significantly longer time for your baby.”  I have wanted to scream at the end of a book that just proclaimed they had the sure fire way to ensure your baby sleeps through the night at 3 months, but then ends the book with “Be patient.  If your child takes a few extra months to hit these goals that is perfectly normal.”  My response to that is, obviously your book should be titled “The Sure Fire Method to Get Your Child to Sleep Through the Night at Somewhere Between 3 Months and 2 Years.”

Also, all of the books LOVE to throw out statistics to you.  I get very sceptical when people start spouting statistics.  I understand numbers and know how easy it is to manipulate them in your favor (for Christ sake, it’s what I do for a living).  If someone tells me that 50% of babies are sleeping through the night at 6 months then I want to know:

1.       How do you define ‘sleeping through the night?’

2.       How big was the sample size?

3.       What were the variables considered in the sample?  Gender, acid reflux, weight, feeding schedules, etc…

You see what I mean?  I have wasted many a nap time hunting down the elusive answer to “how much should he be sleeping?” After my significant research here are Ellen’s Top 5 Things to remember when it comes to sleeping babies.

5.   Sleeping Through the Night is a rolling definition.  By this I mean that it changes based on the age of the child.  At 8 weeks, Teddy was sleeping solid from 7 pm – 3 am, would get fed once, and then sleep four more hours until 7am for another feeding.  When we asked the pediatrician when Teddy would sleep through the night he kind of cocked his head to the side and said, “He already is.”  Sleeping through the night up until 3 months is defined as 5 hours (see Mayo Clinic – Sleeping through the night).  What?!?!  In what crazy world do we consider that a good night sleep???? I immediately disregarded the term ‘sleeping through the night.’

4.   Beware the asterisk.  Here are just some of things that can throw a wrench into your sleep training that books/blogs/bragging mama’s like to omit: 4 month sleep regressions, growth spurts at 3, 6, and 9 months, cluster feeding,  teething, acid reflux, etc.  Feel free to google any of these items.  If I weren’t exhausted, it would be laughable.  Almost all of these things say that it could take several weeks (meaning nearly a month) for your child to go back to his normal sleeping schedule when dealing with one of these issues.  For example, my son who was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks (I’m rolling my eyes but you can’t see me), but then he went through a 3 month growth spurt.  What does that mean?  He’s starving to death and wants to cluster feed – eating every 2 hours-ish.  He went back to normal schedule after a week or so, but then we went into the four month sleep regression, followed by the development of acid reflux, on the heels of teething…you get the picture.  I’d like to send out a big F*!K you to the ‘Sleeping Through the Night’ myth maker. 

3.    Beware the advice givers.  If one more person tells me that Teddy would sleep through the night if I put rice cereal in his bottle, fed him more, held him more, held him less, I swear to God I’m going to head butt them.  It’s not like I’m walking into the nursery at 3 am banging pots and pans.  I actually want him to sleep.  Most mothers (at least this one) are dealing with information overload, lack of sleep, and a generation gap.  Some tried and true methods of 30 years ago are still golden and some things were ridiculous.  Odds are if you are giving advice, the new mom has already heard it at least 10 times.  Unless she asks for help…zip it.  (I understand this is nearly impossible but we should all at least try.)  

2.   Beware correlations.  I think a lot of people forget about this.  All of the advice givers have your best interests at heart.  They remember what it’s like and just want to help you, but baby amnesia is a real thing and you have a way to block out traumatic events (meaning pregnancy and the first year of the baby).  For example, a lot of people swore up and down that once I start baby food that Teddy’s acid reflux would go away.  They just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t shoving sweet peas down my 4 month old's throat.  The doc had given us a list of several things to watch for and when Teddy started doing those, he said it would be fine to start introducing food.  He also said that somewhere between the  5 – 8 month milestones, most babies grow out of their acid reflux (if they developed it later like Teddy did).  Well, guess what folks?  These two events occurred at the same time.  I’m sure that the solid foods helped weigh down his only liquid diet around the time that the flappy thingy in his throat developed the strength to stay shut.  Do I think that baby food cured him? No.  He also sleeps on an incline, has gone through 5 different types of medicine, and a crazy amount of other acid reflux “solutions.”  I don’t know which one of these items actually was the winner, but I could easily see myself 3 years from now remembering that his flux went away around the time he started eating. 

1.   Tell the truth to your friends.  When one of my friends asks if he sleeps through the night.  I just tell them what he did the night before, and say it changes week to week so don’t judge your baby by him.  But when a stranger brazenly flaunts that their child was an angel and slept through the night at an early age, what do I do?  I put on my bitchiest, slightly annoyed, superior face and say, “Me too!  Aren’t we lucky.”    

Picture me doing a back flip and sticking the landing as I dismount from my soapbox

(My husband refers to himself as the Photoshop Wizard)