Monday, March 30, 2015

Growing out my pixie cut

Yes, it's about hair but if you stay to the end there's a baby.

I cut my hair into a pixie for the first time in March 2012. My hair was long and stringy and I needed a change. The before and after are pretty telling to me. I think I just look happier in the after picture. I was happier! My hair didn't suck as much anymore!

I grew it out for our wedding. I don't remember that growing out process being all that painful. Yes, there were some low points:
This was supposed to be a photo of the teeny Sriracha bottle in Belgium. Turned out the real subjects are my ratty hair and poor posture. 

But for the most part I just dealt with it. It was nice and long(ish) by the wedding.
The female mantis prepares for her prey by unlatching her jaw... (but really I think this is the point in Nick's vows when I realized we'd written similar things. Twue wuv)

And a pretty pic, just because.

After the wedding, I even had enough to put in a wee tiny ponytail. How cute!

Then I chopped it off again and decided I'd just have a pixie cut for the rest of my life. It was so much easier and I thought it was pretty flattering.

I stayed strong with that for about a year. The funny thing about hair is, it grows. A lot. And pregnancy makes it suddenly thick. I thought I'd take advantage of my suddenly luscious locks and grow my hair out again. Because I'm a masochist. And since I was taking weekly belly photos, I got a nice week by week diary of my hair.
Go on...



Why does growing hair out suck so much more this time? I have gotten 3 official haircuts in the past 4 or 5 months. All she's done is trim my neck hair so my mullet doesn't adopt its final form. Nick has also touched up my hair a couple times to help even out the back. Somehow, even with this maintenance, I am SO IRRITATED by my hair. Every day, it irks me.

Yes, that's my nursing bra. Hawt. But OMG, sleeping baby cheeks.

Cheesing to show off my mad Moby skills and mad hair in my face.

Daily, I resist the urge to chop it all off again and just go back to the pixie. Especially since post-partum hair loss is due to start any week now (and I hear it's brutal). But I figure this is a test of wills. Will I give in before my hair gets to a manageable length? We shall see. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yes, but...

Normal disclaimer: first time mom, parent of one 6 week old. No idea what I'm talking about. Don't judge me.
Just kidding. Love my kid to pieces. Other children? Meh.

As I've been getting out in the world (work happy hour! Family visits! Mom's meet ups!) I keep getting the same question. The normal, polite question, "How's it going for you?"

And I answer the normal, polite answer, "Fine, thanks! He's such a joy!"

That satisfies about a third of the people. Those people are my favorites. 
Please stop making me talk to you.

The other people.... they have follow up questions. Maybe they can see that I applied my makeup one-handed, and that only one armpit has deodorant (stand on my right. You're welcome). Maybe they see the way I nervously bounce and/or sway even when I'm not holding D.

The other. other people are the nostalgic parents of older children. They are often men (stereotyping here) who have forgotten, or never knew, how hard small babies are. They only see how lovingly I gaze at my little boy's perfect face.

Follow up question 1: Oh but aren't you SO TIRED? Isn't it hard not sleeping? Don't you miss {insert thing that yes, I do miss}?

Follow up question 2: Isn't parenthood the BEST!? He's so tiny, he must just be an angel! Does he nap a lot? That must be so nice!
I need new House of Cards episodes, continuously.

I struggle to answer both these types of questions. I mean, yeah, he's an angel. But yes, I'm tired. But I chose to have a child, so I'm not complaining. But is complaining a little ok? 

From my extensive time on the internet, I've noticed so many mom stereotypes. Moms are harried, subsist on wine and coffee (an otherwise great blog posted about exactly this. Gag). We're all crossing our fingers for well-behaved kids and looking forward to that next pedicure/girls' night/vacation. The other option is being the beatific Downy-commercial type. Fresh-faced and bright eyed, full of vigor. Our children are all smiles. They make primary color messes that can be cleaned up with just a single paper towel... if it's the right brand!

Can't I be both? The snarky, tired mom and the one that's madly in love with my kid and slightly has her shit together? Spending the day with D is stressful, but it's an honor. I get to raise this tiny person and shape his mind. I get to have him nap on me. I wake up next to his sweet, tiny face in the morning (and throughout the night). That's freaking amazing. But... I am tired. I desperately need to shave my armpits, paint my toenails, and deep clean the kitchen, but those things fall to the bottom of the priority list when my baby needs to be snuggled. 

I guess I just have trouble interacting with people (I could end the sentence there!) who are convinced that it's all one way or the other. Either kids are little scoundrels or they're blessings. Motherhood is either a slog or a miracle. No. It is both. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crunchy parenting

I had a homebirth. We co-sleep. I babywear. We cloth diaper. Are we creating a tiny, high maintenance, co-dependent monster? That's what some parenting advice would tell you. 
I adore this little monster.

I didn't read any parenting books while I was pregnant. I read up on baby care in my pregnancy books, but not nearly as much as I should have. As far as actual parenting? Nope. This is weird because I read EVERYTHING about pregnancy. I wanted tons of information about how the little guy was developing and how my body was changing. I read up on childbirth in general and homebirth in particular. I thought about parenting a little but mostly just... figured we'd figure it out.

Maybe this is why a lot of the "crunchy" things we're doing now don't feel crunchy to me. Co-sleeping feels completely natural. Cloth diapering makes a ton of financial sense (I will post more about this later, but I spent a grand total of $150 on diapers for this little guy. They'll last him at least until 6 months, if not much longer. Winning.) Breastfeeding on demand and not trying to get him on a sleep schedule feels like the right thing to do at this point. Babywearing is convenient and comfortable.

I know when we're trying to discipline D and dealing with more complex issues, parenting books will come in handy, but for now we're doing this pretty much instinctively. If his cheek growth is any indication, we are doing alright. This doesn't mean I haven't anxiously Googled a million issues (there are many, many photo galleries of newborn poop.) but for once I'm trying to relax and enjoy these times instead of overthinking things. He's tiny. He needs snuggles, singing, and food. I can provide those things. 

Yesterday I woke him from a nap because I couldn't resist eating up his delicious cheeks. This kid's going to be so embarrassed by me. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Learning patience

I basically know nothing about parenting, but since I have kept a tiny human alive for a month now, I feel like I have a teeny bit of insight about the newborn stage, at least. The biggest thing so far is that everything just takes longer. Want to leave the house? Plan two hours ahead. That gives us time to get in a feeding for D, change my clothes, eat, get Kiwi situated, pack the diaper bag, and change D's clothes. Usually by the end of all those things, it's time to feed D again, change his diaper, load him in the car seat (pleasestayasleep) and go. Two hours. Seriously.

This time has to be allotted when we are changing locations too. So when I went out breakfast with some local moms and wanted to go back home, I had to allot 40 minutes or so to feed, change, and get him settled enough to make the 20 minute drive home.

I've learned that trying to rush this process just results in tears for both of us. Taking the time to get him happy and settled is worth it because otherwise I'll have an unhappy baby when I'm on the road. No bueno. It also encourages me to sit back and enjoy his snuggles instead of rushing to the next thing, which I should be doing anyway (because if you haven't been on any mothering sites/forums lately, "embracing every moment" is a thing, even if that moment is peeing on the public restroom changing table when you're 15 minutes late for a pediatrician appointment.)

For someone who is very much a control freak and would get twitchy when I realized I hadn't accounted for the 1.5 minutes it takes to feed the dog in my carefully calculated daily timeline, these unpredictable parts of parenthood have been hard, but I'm learning. Whatever surface/garment/couch pillow can be peed on, will be peed on. Best to just embrace it, chuckle, and mental note to bring 2 extra outfits for next time. 

Bonus: cute baby picture.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One month post-partum

TMI warning!

I had a really easy birth. I had a really easy pregnancy. I pretty much thought I'd be back to my old self right after delivery. I didn't gain much weight (about 27 lb.), didn't get any stretch marks (yes, I'm bragging. Hate away), and thought that with my easy delivery things would get back to normal.

Silly, silly me.

I really did feel amazing after birth, considering what I'd just done. I was perky and ready to take on the world, one boob at a time. And the first few days, I barely glanced at my weight or my body except to marvel at how a 7 lb baby helped me lose almost 15 lb. immediately. Thanks, baby! Clothes were purely functional- pajama pants or yoga pants, sports bra, and some sort of top covering. As long as it was clean(ish) and easy to breastfeed in, I wore it.

Then my milk came in. Then people started expecting me to leave the house. Then I had to face what my new body was (is) really like.

My boobs? They're out of control. The stretch marks that I didn't get on my belly showed up on my chest instead. My breasts always feel like they're on display, either because they really are (gotta feed the kid) or because they're just OUT THERE, embracing the world with their pale hugeness. Maybe next pregnancy I'll actually go outside once or twice all my extra skin isn't quite as blindingly white. I'll definitely take that into consideration when we start thinking about kid 2. In 20 years.

My belly is... still a thing. My ab muscles themselves are doing pretty well. I was diligent about doing little ab exercises the first week after having D, but then Nick went back to work and I lost the ability and the desire to do anything that used energy that's better used sitting on the couch. I had extra belly skin from losing weight a few years ago, hence the minimal stretch marks, but that belly does not just go back to normal.

This is the first meme I created! Look, D, you can still do new things even when you're old like Mommy! One does not simply go back to pre-pregnancy weight. #truth

I can't wear real pants yet. I try. Every day actually, it's a weird masochistic ritual for me. I like being able to check "cried" off my to-do list. I am able to wear ONE pair of pants from my old life. They're not cute and manage to simultaneously be too big and too small at the same time.

And, not to get too graphic, but your uterus doesn't just have the kid and then close up shop. There's bleeding. FOR MONTHS (2-8 weeks. I'm one of the lucky >>2 week people. Yay). For someone who hadn't had a real period in a decade, this is super unpleasant. 

Here's where I put a big old asterisk beside all the preceding bitching. I am trying to embracing some of these changes.These huge knockers? They're helping my kid grow big and strong (and they're AWESOME when they're not annoying). This belly? D is currently laying on it and sleeping, nestled in its squishiness. The extra weight? Yeah, that could really go, but if it's allowing my body the resources to produce quality nutrition for my child, then by all means, stick around. Do I wish I looked like pre-pregnancy me? Hell yes. But would I trade that for being able to provide the best food for D? Nope. Not one bit. And, I physically feel great. Since day 2, I've really felt like a more haggard version of myself. That is awesome. 

Asterisk 2- I'm an overachiever and have been gaining weight after the initial baby-related decrease. A survey of other ladies said that's normal. I would be ok with my weight stabilizing instead of increasing, because after pre-preg and pregnancy weight gain, seeing the scale continue to go up is cruel. What's that? You're not supposed to have spoonfuls of Nutella after every meal if you want to maintain your weight? 
Lucille Bluth just gets me. And Jessica Walter is flawless. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We've known you for one month!

Baby D, we did it! We made it a month!

The past couple weeks have had some lows (awful diaper rash that made you super fussy) and the highest highs- you can turn your little head side to side on your tummy in response to our voices (started this at about 2.5 weeks!). We're a little partial, but that pretty much makes you the most amazing baby in the whole wide world.

Kiwi gets in on tummy time as well. It's adorable.

Nick was on nights for a lot of this month, and that sucked and we missed him. It meant that I was pretty much your only entertainment. We sang a lot of "If you're happy and you know it..." [acceptable actions: kiss the baby, clap your hands, lift baby in the air, tickle the belly] and, oddly, America the Beautiful and Billy Joel. I can't explain why my brain comes up with these songs. You're still pretty skeptical of the whole singing thing anyway. 

You eat like a champ but are sometimes a little... overenthusiastic so a lactation consultant came to visit us. She said you have reflux, I have oversupply, and those two things don't play well together. That explains a lot! You have a love/hate relationship with eating because it hurts. It makes me so sad to hear your cries of discomfort and hopefully some of the tips she gave us will help out. You also might have a cow's milk allergy, according to your pediatrician, so I'm cutting out dairy to see if it soothes your tummy. 

You are transitioning out of your newborn clothes and into the 0-3 month stuff. They make you look like a little hobo though, they're too big in the shoulders and body but your long legs fill them out. Your little face is chubbing up adorably. You were 9 lb, 6 oz. at the pediatrician today! Wow! Seeing you grow bigger and stronger is so, so rewarding and bittersweet. You're already a different baby than you were one month ago!

You like: eating, being held upright, bouncing on the exercise ball, tummy time (for a little while)

You dislike: having your feet touched, laying flat on your back, being in your carseat

We can't wait to see your sweet smile for real (your fake/gas smiles are amazing!) and see your little personality develop. We are so happy to be your parents, Little Man.

Pardon me while I squish your face all the time.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Nothing to see here...

I'm still getting the hang of mobile posting (helpful when I feel inspired to write during late night nursing sessions!) so if you randomly see a double post or a half-finished post, that's why.

Here's a baby pic to apologize!

Baby planking. He's all about that core strength. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I feel like I never got to say goodbye to pregnancy. I was so ready to go to 41+ weeks, I never gave a thought to giving birth early. I didn't get to have any "this is my last time doing X while pregnant." I left work suddenly, I exercised and ate like normal. No final pre-baby date, dinner out, movie night. No final wearing of my favorite maternity clothes.

The night before D day. All upper arms and belly.

I know if I'd carried D another 2 (or 3 or 4...) weeks, I'd have gotten progressively more tired of pregnancy, but as it stands I am left with only really positive feelings. I loved being pregnant. I loved eating more. I loved the thought that what I was eating was helping my tiny baby grow into a less-tiny baby. I loved the responsibility of growing that little life and being the sole caretaker of my little man. I loved feeling his little movements and feeling like I knew him intimately, my constant companion, without ever seeing his face.

I did not love swollen ankles and heartburn. I did not love growing out of my shoes or feeling sluggish walking up the stairs. But would I do it all again? Absolutely. I know I had a textbook easy pregnancy and I am very fortunate, but I helped make it easy by taking good care of myself. It wasn't always easy to make (mostly) decent food choices and exercise most days, but I am so glad I did it. 

I ALMOST wish I had those extra days or weeks of pregnancy to cherish those final hours when it was just me and D alone, but having him on the outside to snuggle with is just the best feeling. But next time, if I could make it all the way to 40 weeks, that would be ok too. 

Monday, March 2, 2015


It's been pretty quiet around here. Turns out, caring for a baby is hard work! I'd heard from everyone that around the 2 or 3 week mark you start to hit your stride. That might be true- I feel way more capable of actually caring for D and getting through the day and night- but waking up every 2 or 3 hours to take care of another person... wow. It's tough.

Still, I no longer feel like a zombie, and am actually pretty proud of some of the things I've been able to accomplish (disclaimer: my mom totally just came and washed my floors and cleaned my bathrooms so I am well aware I'm not breaking records for productivity over here). D sleeps like a rock in the Moby wrap (Nick even wore him for a little while! Everyone can appreciate the hands-freeness!) which is wonderful.
I am so creepy.

Sorry, husband, this picture is on the intertubes forever. 

I put him on when he's well-fed and have 2 -3 hours of "me time." I walk on the treadmill (still too cold outside), cook, fold laundry... the list of things that need 2 hands is endless!

Things that can be done with one hand:
- cutting cheese (actual cheese cutting. Not a gas joke)
- eating yogurt
- sorting laundry
- vacuuming
- brushing teeth

Things that cannot be done with one hand:
- grating cheese (why did I buy the huge block of cheese instead of pre-shredded? C'mon, past Laurel)
- peeling an orange
- Screwing together a baby play gym thing... actually anything involving tools probably shouldn't be done while holding a baby
- folding laundry
- scrubbing things
- flossing (I have tried...)

I also attended a babywearing meeting and borrowed an awesome ring sling. This thing holds D like a vise (in a good way!). Since this kid isn't happy if he's not being held, this sling will be my best friend for a while.

I am not complaining one bit, our little guy is awesome! I'll forgo grated cheese and folded laundry if it means I get to snuggle him all day.