Six months!

So first off, these past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at work. They’ve been the type of weeks where I’ve only managed to scratch of an item or two from my to-do list, while simultaneously adding three or four more items. They’ve been the type of weeks when I’ve been insanely busy each day, yet at the end of the week I can’t really pinpoint appreciable progress on my current tasks. In other words, screw these past couple of weeks.

On a much higher note, the dumpling officially turned six months old this past Tuesday! He had his six month check-up and the pediatrician was satisfied by his growth and progress. He weighs 14.5lbs (5th percentile!) and measures 26.75in (56th percentile – holy cats!!!). He doesn’t roll except when he’s in his crib, but he’s sitting almost perfectly unassisted. He doesn’t have much interest in toys, which was starting to alarm me because he doesn’t really grab for things. He has though, in just the last couple of weeks, started to really analyze what he’s holding. He still doesn’t reach for things much, but he’ll take it from you if you give it to him. He loves fabric though (and paper it seems – the paper liner on the pediatrician’s scale, for instance, he had to bring that with us back to the examination room). He’s officially tried sweet potatoes, peas, squash, egg, and avocado. Although, the egg and avocado, I’m fairly certain he didn’t actually swallow either of those.

It’s amazing watching him grow. His hair is coming in. His little legs are getting longer and hammier. He’s long and lean and adorable.


If I may though, can I relate to you the night of hilarity that occurred at my house this past week? Yes? Oh thanks.

So Luffy had to travel for business Wednesday and Thursday. No biggie. I was preparing the dumpling’s bath when I heard what every homeowner dreads – three chirps from a smoke detector. Le crap. I carried the peanut with me as I tried to track down the chirping unit. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chirping, the unit was ominously silent and I STILL hadn’t found the culprit. Well, I thought, might as well get the dumpling off to bed first. The only good thing in this scenario was that I had happened to be standing directly under the unit in the dumpling’s room as the last set of chirps went off, so I knew it wasn’t his.

So I continued with bedtime and got the dumpling off to bed, his bottles washed, his milk made, my pump parts cleaned, all without another peep from the detector. I naively hoped that it was a fluke and that it wouldn’t sound again. I knew it wasn’t a low battery signal and none of the other units had gone off, so it wasn’t an alarm state. All of the units showed steady green lights, so no issues to note there (also no help in determining which of the units was chirping). Around 10:30, I was about to head to bed when the chirping started again. Le double crap. I hurried around the house, but still couldn’t determine which unit it was because the thing still only chirped three times. When the house was silent again, I sat back to think about what to do. I figured three rounds of chirps every two hours or so wasn’t bad – I might even be able to sleep through it and it didn’t seem to bother the dumpling. I headed to bed with the hope that it would be a smooth night.

HAHAHA – I foresee much fail.

I got ready for bed and climbed in, settling down into my pillow right as the chirps started going off again. I ran through the house to figure out which one it was – again with no luck. I finally decided that maybe it was the hallway one and went to get a new battery and a chair.

Now let’s pause here. I knew, KNEW, that it wasn’t the typical battery dead chirp, but I, for some reason, did not consider that information. That’s basically all I know how to do with smoke detectors. Hear chirping – change battery. These are all of the things I know. Secondly, I should have just pulled them down to disable them (ours have A/C power as well as the battery back-up). I was worried that if I did that, it would set them all off with some sort of malfunction alarm as they sensed a fallen brother (not too crazy, ours are interconnected).

But I didn’t do any of that. At 11pm, I drug a chair into the hallway and replaced the battery in the hallway unit and then somehow managed to set off a test phase which meant that all of the units in our house suddenly blared their alarms. I prayed to ALL OF THE GODS AND LANDS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY that the dumpling would sleep through the racket. And he did! Praise be! I climbed off the chair, ready to head to bed when – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. (F&*%)

So at 11:15, I drug the ladder in from the garage and climbed atop it to change the battery in the office unit (again, see above and all of the things I know regarding smoke detectors). The damn thing kept chirping, even with the new battery. So at 11:30, I frantically looked up the manual to try to figure out what the freaking beeping meant and how to shut it the hell up. (My language was getting worse through this ordeal, so glad the dumpling wasn’t awake to witness it.) I discovered that this specific beeping pattern meant the unit was malfunctioning – FANTASTIC – and decided to disable it for the evening. So at midnight, I climbed up the ladder again and pulled the entire thing down. Since I still wasn’t 100% sure that the office unit was at fault and the thought of getting out of bed AGAIN for chirping AGAIN made me want to murder someone, I decided to pull down a couple of others for good measure.

So at 12:30 in the morning, I finally settled into my bed, completely on edge, waiting for more chirping. Which didn’t happen. Whew. But then my night fell apart farther as an unholy trinity of leaky diaper and gas and uncomfortableness got the dumpling up at 1:30 and kept him up until 4. Fun times. At least I didn’t have to call the fire department again. So win?

Voyeur

A week and a half ago, the dumpling woke me up at 6:30 in the morning, howling. He usually wakes up happy in the morning, so this was odd. When I went in to get him, I immediately noticed he’d made a 180 degree turn, with his head on the opposite side of the crib from where I’d laid him down. As I squinted down at him in the darkness, I suddenly realized I was also looking at the back of his head. Great.

He was clearly less than pleased to find himself on his belly, with no way to get back to his back. For the record, this was the first time he’d EVER rolled back to tummy (or even tummy to back, for that matter – first roll ever). He’s always stopped at his side when laying on his back and he’s never, ever attempted rolling out of the tummy position.

Alas, it was time to purchase a video monitor.

Back when I was pregnant (or even shortly after birth), as I scrolled through the recommendations for monitors, I couldn’t fathom getting a video monitor. Why do I need to watch my baby all the time? Ugh. So many crazy, helicopter parents out there that NEED to watch their child 24/7. All I could think about was the casual stories from moms on my birth board who carried their video monitor around the house and couldn’t do anything during nap time except watch the baby sleep – checking again and again to see if they were breathing and wondering if they were too hot or cold and was that a cough?! RELAX – is what I wanted to tell them. When I bought a monitor at two months (when we moved the dumpling into his room), I purchased a fairly inexpensive unit with sound capabilities only. I liked it a lot and figured we’d be all set.

As is (always?) the case with parenting, I’m eating my words now. As the dumpling becomes more mobile, I realized that I wanted the ability to check on him without disturbing him. Plus, when he wakes up in the morning, he’s usually so quiet that we’re often left wondering exactly how long he’s been awake in there. So, back to the monitor recommendations I went, hunting for a well-reviewed video monitor.

(Side note – I really like Baby Gear Lab for this sort of stuff. We bought our high chair based on their recommendations and I LOVE it. The monitor has been a great buy as well. Plus I just really like reading through their reviews on everything from strollers to diapers (both cloth and disposable) to breast pumps. Very entertaining, if you’re me and easily entertained.)

I hemmed and hawed for a while weighing the pros and cons of each, as is my nature. I finally settled on the iBaby Monitor, even though the Amazon reviews weren’t as stellar as Baby Gear Lab’s. It came in last week and I LOVE it. It doesn’t have a dedicated receiver; you use an app on your phone or iPad. I chose to use our iPad because I had read that it can be a resource hog (for obvious reasons). I love being able to bring up the app to make sure he gets to sleep. When he’s fussing, we’re able to tell if his eyes are open (he’s probably actually annoyed and we should go in) or closed (he’s basically just talking to himself, let him be). When I wake up in the morning, I bring the app up to make sure he’s still asleep and check on  him periodically until he wakes up. (He’s seriously super quiet in the mornings and it’s very hard to tell over the sound monitor alone that he’s awake.) It was a godsend over the weekend when the dumpling suddenly decided to add his newly acquired screeching skillz to his protest cries and the sounds we heard over the monitor seemed unearthly yet the video feed revealed him to be mostly calm.

I did pause though, our first night using it. A slightly creepy feeling washed over me as I watched my son drift off to sleep. I felt like a voyeur, peering in on a private moment. I turned the app off as soon as he was asleep and I kept it off through the night, only bringing it up to check on him when he stirred. I wondered if every parent felt that way, peeking at their children through video monitors. I definitely like having it and can see myself using it for years to come (especially when the dumpling’s transitioned into a toddler bed – oh lordy), but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those parents glued to the monitor. The kid needs some space, you know?

The Things No One Tells You Before You Have Your First Baby

To be perfectly fair, I might not have listened anyway.

Looking back, there’s a lot that goes on after having your first child that I was completely unprepared for. I had no idea and, as I sat back and watched it unfold, I wondered why no one told me. In the interest of fairness to expecting parents though, I feel compelled to jot down a few things that no one tells you:

[Quick disclaimer though – this post may make it seem like I have it all figured out, check we’re all good on that, but I don’t…. I’m still learning. But that’s part of the fun of parenting right? Just when you think you have them all figured out, they go and throw you a curve ball.]

About the baby:

  • Newborns are really hard. Seriously. Have you ever had something that needed you for everything? Literally everything? It’s exhausting and monotonous and the worst part is, you can’t really prepare yourself for it. Yeah, sure, I knew a newborn would need to eat all the time and would wake up to eat around the clock. But it’s one thing to know that and quite another to do that.
  • The evenings will most likely be the worst part of your day. Pre-baby, evenings were about relaxing or taking care of a small chore or two. You could ease out of the stress of the day and wind down until bedtime, when you would slip between your sheets and head off to dreamland for seven hours or so. With a newborn though, there’s no “easing out of the stress of the day” because your day isn’t over and it will never be “over” in the way that it used to be. Evening is just a time to gear up towards night and the crap shoot of newborn sleep. The feeling of dread that washed over me around 6:30 or 7pm every evening took a long time to fade.
  • If you’re anything like me, having a newborn will feel a lot like pregnancy – always wishing you (now your baby) was just a little further along. When the dumpling was just days old, I remember telling Luffy that I was looking forward to him being past the newborn phase and on to more exciting things like sitting and crawling.
  • Your baby might not be very cute (cue gasp!). Why is it that newborns look alarmingly similar to old men? Is it the grumpy appearance or the lack of hair? Perhaps the wrinkles? Not sure. All I can tell you is that when I look back at early pictures of the dumpling, he doesn’t look like himself to me. He looks like a newborn.
  • You know that phrase I love you but I don’t really like you right now? That might be very applicable to your relationship with you newborn. Oh sure, I loved the dumpling, but there were times (numerous times) when I didn’t really like him all that much. That’s what happens when something takes-takes-takes but never gives.

Honestly, the realest piece of advice I have, that no one seems to mention, is that you just might not like having a newborn. And that’s ok. Apparently, it’s common parent knowledge that every age and stage comes with things you like and things you don’t. There will be ages you adore and stages that you can’t wait for them to outgrow. And that’s ok. Not liking the newborn stage does not mean that you’re a terrible parent and doomed to a horrible relationship with your child – which is how it feels when you’re looking down at a screaming six-week-old at 3 in the morning. Like I said, newborns are hard. You’re sleep deprived, you’re adjusting to a radically different life, you’re recovering from child-birth, you feel social pressure from a million different places, all while being needed around the clock. There are women (and men!) out there who do like the newborn stage, but you don’t have to be one of them. And that’s ok.

About your body:

So we’ve all heard that you won’t sleep. And that it could feel like your vagina’s going to fall out the bottom. And that you will still look six-months pregnant for a while. And that you could bleed for what feels like forever. But there are other things…

  • Your hormones will plummet a few days after birth and you will not feel like yourself AT ALL. I don’t consider myself a hormonal person. I never really had mood swings, either during my periods or during pregnancy. The only mood swings I really experienced were during my fertility treatment days. So when I heard about a hormone crash, I didn’t really think it applied to me… Whooo boy, was I wrong. I found myself anxious, so very very anxious. Just the sound of the baby crying would send me into a doom spiral. I could hardly sleep because I was worried that the baby would cry and then the baby would cry and I’d be like I KNEW IT. It was bad. The dumpling felt like a ticking time bomb to me, always counting down. Just know that it evens out and, eventually, it will go away completely.
  • All that hormonal craziness I mentioned above, it can take a long time to go away and you will blame lots things on it for a while. My hair is still (five months post-partum) shedding at an alarming rate and every weird thing that my body does I’m like I dunno, maybe it’s the hormones??? 
  • You haven’t had to worry about birth control for a very long time and you will suddenly be quite concerned with birth control. How effective is it? What’s the failure rate? What’s the real, non-laboratory-setting failure rate? What do you MEAN there’s still a 0.5% chance of conception??? All of these become very important questions. Even if you struggled with infertility because wouldn’t that just be my luck.
  • Your stomach will feel weird. Beyond the saggier skin that needs some time to shrink back, your stomach will feel oddly sensitive and yet not sensitive. My theory on this is that while you were pregnant, the nerve endings got farther apart right? Because your belly expanded but you didn’t get any new nerve endings. The expansion happened relatively slowly so you got used to the sensory input from the belly. And now it (the belly) is gone. So the skin shrinks back and the nerve endings get closer together again except this change happens more abruptly (and without all of the other aches and pains of pregnancy to distract you). I’m not really sure. All I know is that when I touch my stomach, it still feels supremely odd.

The last piece about this, which sort of wraps up everything: I wasn’t prepared for how needed I would become. (This is partly due to my choices, as I chose to breastfeed for as long as possible, so this particular item might not be the same for others.) When I was pregnant, Luffy and I talked about how we would do this together. Parenting is a team sport – and it is! – it’s just not really an equal 50/50 split. At least not in the beginning. When you’re the only one who can feed the baby (and that baby eats every 2-3 hours, around the clock), there’s a lot resting on your shoulders. Some women thrive on this (probably the same ones who really like the newborn phase). It was certainly a shock to me. Before the dumpling arrived, I’d say I was needed. I like to take care of Luffy and Jas – make sure they are attended to. But I could always tell Luffy to fend for himself if I didn’t feel like cooking that day and, let’s be honest, Jas is a cat so she doesn’t need much. When it comes to a newborn though, there’s no shirking your responsibilities for a day. No sick days. No procrastinating. No oh, I’ll do that later. Even now, there’s still so much resting on me. We nurse twice a night typically. I  pump four times a day, for at least twenty minutes each time. I’m still struggling with this needed-ness, if we’re being honest.


So all of these things that don’t get mentioned, is it to keep up the illusion that parenting a newborn is wonderful? Perhaps. Could it be that, while most things felt so looming and insurmountable at the time, they pass relatively quickly? Possible.

I think though, it’s because all of the trials and tribulations quickly become worth it. The round-the-clock nursing won’t feel so terrible when your baby starts pausing to smile up at you before continuing to nurse. The first time he laughs. The first time she rolls and looks at you with surprise. The look of awe or disgust she gives you when she tries a new food. The adorable quirks he picks up along the way (the dumpling learned – from someone or somewhere???? – how to blow bubbles it’s apparently called a lip trill and it’s so freaking adorable).

It sounds trite, I know it does, especially when you’re knee-deep in newborn territory, but it’s true. It will be worth it, but it may just not be Day One. And that’s ok.

It’s been too long

Sorry folks, but it’s March 31, which means year end 2016 reports are due out today…. which means my life has been hectic and busy, even without the five-month-old peanut.

Momentous occasion though! We gave the dumpling his first taste of solid food this past weekend. It was a sweet potato puree. I honestly can’t say what he thought of it because … well, he did this thing where he’d lean towards the spoon, get some off, furl his eyebrows like ewe, smack his lips some, and then start the whole process over. So. Not really sure what that means. He kept taking bites! And furling his eyebrows? And sort of eating! Yay? Luffy’s parents are over the moon that he’s started eating solids and are chomping at the bit to make food for him this weekend. Luckily, they’ve decided to start with an egg dish which is infant friendly, although I’ll be taking some sweet potatoes along in case the dumpling has no interest in the egg. At least then we can all laugh at his perplexing reaction.

But yeah, this week has been a little crazy. And busy. I feel like I’m running in a million directions, but not really accomplishing anything. Hopefully I’ll get better at this working mom and wife business soon.

Boring Mama

I am the definition of boring right now.

It’s all work and life and taking care of the dumpling.

Here are the “exciting” things that have happened in the past week:


Luffy and I ordered a bunch of Disney movies. We’re starting to build our collection for the Dumpling. …. Who are we kidding? They’re totally for us.

The Dumpling finally fits into his cloth diapers. I bought a few (and had a few gifted to us) before he arrived with the intention of using them as soon as possible. Our diapers said we could start using them at eight pounds, so I thought we’d be using them pretty quickly. And then the dumpling got here and was a peanut. Even when he finally hit eight pounds, he was so long and skinny that the diapers still didn’t fit quite right. Now that he’s (probably) over 13 pounds, I think he’s got enough chunk to wear them. I’m still not 100% pleased with the fit and will probably look into other varieties, but for now they’re working as daytime diapers.

Speaking of momentous occasions, the Dumpling’s high chair is coming today! Our pediatrician gave us the green light to start solids at four months, but I waited a bit. Now that he’s almost five months, I think he’s ready to start. I made some sweet potatoes last weekend so I think we’ll let him play with that this weekend! I can’t believe he’s already old enough for solid food.

In more Dumpling news, he’s sitting better and better each day. It’s kind of a frustrating milestone though because he still needs support/supervision to sit and yet, now that he’s experienced sitting, he’s not really happy laying on the floor anymore. So basically he can’t just be *put down* right now. But still… happy times.

Also…. this has not happened again. What gives child?! I would say #seriousbabyisserious, but he’s not really all that serious. He has all these big hammy grins and he’s working on a few screechy sounds, along with all of his ahhhhs and hoos, and yet no laugh. It’s getting to the point now where I’ve thought about googling baby laughed once and not again problem????? and yet I don’t want to open that can of worms, so I haven’t.


And that’s about it. See? I’m totally boring now.

PS – Jas would like to remind everyone that she is still here and as beautiful as ever. Thank you very much. Signed – demoted first baby

Post-baby Body

I’ve avoided writing much about this because the post-partum journey is just that… a journey. I’m still in the middle of mine, but here’s the progress I’ve made so far.

The good – 

I’ve lost most of the pregnancy weight by now. It came off slower than I had hoped (I was still about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight a couple of months after I gave birth), but I’m getting there. I’m now to the point where I’m reluctant to lose more weight for fear that it will effect my (tenuous) milk supply.

I can rest my fears – I my feet did not change sizes. Yay! My rib cage seems the same, as do my hips. My breasts are about the same size too, oddly enough.

My appetite seems to have returned to normal. I was worried that all the eating I was doing while pregnant would continue, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, for a while after I gave birth I had absolutely no appetite. To the point that I was honestly a little concerned about it (especially as I watched breastfeeders comment about how HUNGRY they were), but that passed as well.

I do not have diastasis recti – whew! My abdominal muscles actually seem to have held up incredibly well to the strain of pregnancy. I think it’s because I continued to work out while pregnant. Speaking of work outs, I’ve been teaching my classes since mid-January. I was looking forward to returning and it went more smoothly than I had hoped (you’d be amazed how quickly the stamina to teach a one hour class disappears!). Right now, I’m just teaching twice a week. I miss teaching my three classes (I feel like it’s a much better pace for the week), but I don’t want to take the time. I miss the dumpling on days when I teach and it means a lot of work for Luffy. Perhaps when the dumpling is a little older, I’ll get back to my three-a-week schedule.

On the TMI front, my sex drive has returned. It took a nose dive there for a long time. I was so tired and sore and unsexy that I couldn’t imagine getting naked in front of Luffy, let alone getting in between the sheets. Over the past few weeks though, it’s slowly coming back. Now my main problem is that I usually get the urge at the most inopportune times. The dumpling’s bedtime. Check. At the playground. Check. On my commute into work. Check. My timing’s not so great.

All in all, I’m really starting to feel like myself again.

The bad – 

I was warned about the post-partum hair loss but, MY LANDS, I am losing a lot of hair. About two weeks ago, I finally went and chopped it off. I hadn’t cut it since probably May of last year. I couldn’t stand it anymore and cut off a good six or seven inches. (Does anyone else do this? I’m fine with my hair until, quite suddenly, I’m not and then I need it cut like TODAY. Or perhaps YESTERDAY. Just cut it NOW.) The style suits my lifestyle much better now as I no longer need to pull it up to nurse or pump. Plus it actually almost looks great when I let it air dry. I call that a win.

Also on the TMI front…. and I can’t believe I’m telling you this…. I legitimately have BO now. Like. Serious BO. Teenage-boy BO. Teenage-boy-after-football-workouts BO. Research tells me that it’s hormone related (see, just like the teenage boys) and that it should subside when my hormones are back to normal. I am still waiting on that. To be fair, it has gotten a bit better. At a month post-partum, my pits were rank even after a serious scrubbing in the shower – that’s how bad it was. At 4.5 months post-partum, I just need a shower every day. Ahhhh hormones.

Last piece of not so great things, the skin around my scar is oddly numb and overly-sensitive at the same time. Does that even make sense? If I bump it or Luffy touches it, I’ll say it hurts because that’s the best description I have, but it’s not really pain. It’s more just uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. I’m also told that this is normal. So yay?

The ugly – 

In all my worries for my post-partum self, I never considered my scar. Even if I had, my worries probably would have looked something like this: How would my scar look? Would it be easily hidden? Would I be able to love my scar, to wear it bravely? One thing that I definitely didn’t consider, wouldn’t have even known to consider, was a dimple. You see, my incision has a dimple on the right side, like that side got pulled a bit tighter or something. It was extremely obvious right after birth and I hoped that it would diminish over time. It has not. The left side looks perfect, smooth and even. The right side looks horrendous as it accentuates the flabby stomach with an abrupt indention. I still hope that it smooths out over time. Maybe once I can lose more weight? Right now, I’d be happy with even a little smoothing out. I’m trying to come to terms with it because, despite my hope, I really don’t think it’s going away. At least high-waisted swim suits are in style right now, that should cover it for the summer anyway. Luffy reminds me that this scar, this incision, marks the spot our child was born. It’s visible proof of the incredible feat my body accomplished. My body doesn’t need to be perfect after the amazing thing it’s done. Still though. I can’t help but wish that it looked a bit better. More even. Smoother. Symmetrical.

Some day. One day. I’ll get there.

Baby’s First Laugh

SQUEEEEE!!!!

The dumpling laughed for the first time on Saturday!!

I knew he had to be close. He’s been doing this thing where he’ll tilt his chin up and open his mouth into a wide, hammy grin. Each diaper change, I’d been taking the opportunity to tickle him and blow raspberries on his tummy. It finally worked on Saturday.

I squealed to Luffy, who was taking a nap, poor thing. But he laughed! Such a beautiful little sound.

I managed to get him to laugh one more time that evening (which I captured on video and have managed to share with everyone – seriously, it’s coming to a theater near you), but he hasn’t laughed since. Serious baby is serious.

And that’s about all the news I have. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a video to watch.