Passing Judgement

I have a secret to tell you…. You know those food pouches that are all the craze now? The little ones for infants and toddlers?

Well, I used to proclaim them the next fast food-esque convenience item and swore I would never give one to my kid(s). It’s not that I judged parents for using them, although I sort of kind of did. For me, it was more about wanting my kids to eat actual veggies – eat the whole pea rather than pea puree. I wouldn’t mask my child’s veggies under a blanket of sweet fruits. By God, they would know they were eating broccoli and they would enjoy it! They wouldn’t need it drenched in apple “concentrate” which is probably just a nice way of saying sugar.

Even after having a child, I still stuck to this ideal. I deemed pouches on the same level as purees, but with an added heaping of parental laziness. While not fully on-board with Baby Led Weaning for some safety reasons, I did hope that we’d pass through purees pretty quickly and move on to “real” food. And we did!

But now…. now I see the flaw in my reasoning and the brilliance behind pouches. You see, my child has graduated to “real” food and enjoys everything from avocado to chicken. Although he ate pureed veggies exceedingly well (his daycare teachers always commented that they’d never seen a more enthusiastic child over green beans), he’s gotten to the point where he wants to feed himself. He does not want your spoon – NO. He’ll take the spoon from you! Even gets it to his mouth most of the time. It doesn’t have any food on it by that point, but hey, baby steps.

And so I gave him actual veggies like I always said I would – peas and green beans and carrots steamed to within an inch of their lives so that he’d be able to gum them to death. And he ate them! Well, I mean, like four or five before getting bored. Close enough. So I sent them to daycare in place of his purees. And he did not eat them. Wouldn’t even touch them. Fail.

I went back to the grocery store in search of I’m not even sure what. Magical veggies. Veggies with the consistency of watermelon or grapes. Veggies that I would be able to throw in his daycare lunch bag because I already spend a half hour each morning prepping the rest of his food. Actually, I started in the applesauce aisle because the dumpling had been having a few – ahem – digestive issues that could be helped with applesauce. Except last time we tried his beloved applesauce, via spoon, he didn’t want it. And there, next to the cups of syrupy fruit and jars of applesauce, were pouches of applesauce. I even found one (several!) that met my no-sugar-added criterion. Hey! Belle’s brain went, maybe if he can feed it to himself, he’ll actually eat it. 

…..

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when the brilliance of pouches hit me. It’s not parental laziness and definitely not about convenience (although the fact that they are easy and convenient are decisive pros), it’s about getting your child to actually eat some, any, veggies. The dumpling will happily eat 4 ounces of pureed garden veggies (which, by Gerber’s count contains 92 peas, 2/3 of a carrot, and 3/4 of a spinach leaf). If I sit him down in his high chair to eat, he might eat ten peas. Maybe? On a good day? If the stars align?

So where do I turn when he refuses the spoon because baby principles but won’t eat the same amount by hand? Pouches, my friend. Pouches.

I know! I know! Experienced parents are rolling their eyes at my naivety. I’d missed the whole piece of the puzzle that he would simply eat more vegetables via puree than he would whole. He’s got a short attention span and better things to do, apparently. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop giving him whole veggies to practice with. It just means that I can use the pouches on occasion to make sure he’s getting all the vitamins and fiber his little body needs. And yeah, I’m still a stickler for veggies. Even with the container purees, I only purchased vegetable or vegetable heavy varieties. I still compared fiber and sugar content and scanned the ingredient lists. But I’m happy to have found a solution for now.

Ducks as been-there-done-that parents pelt me with half-eaten pouches.

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Yes, I am a capable adult…

Why do you ask?


When I work from home, my agenda for the day typically includes several home-related tasks or errands. A trip to Target at lunch. Running a load of laundry. You get the idea. All of these things take place in the time I would ordinarily spend dicking around on the internet in the office, (I am just so productive at home!) Anyway, today’s to-do list included getting my car washed. We’re leaving my car at the house for my mom to use this weekend (for car seat reasons) and it was beyond time to get it thoroughly cleaned out.

So off I went!

In the wonderful tradition of me, I managed to play out a mini-drama while I was at it.

I pulled into the local car wash chain and surveyed the options, having my first dilemma of the day. You see, I am a pansy when it comes to car related things (again linking to this because it explains everything) and while I knew that the interior of my car really, really needed a thorough cleaning, having it cleaned would also mean dealing with such terrifying tasks as choosing a slot to pull into and interacting with the attendant. In my car! About my car! And exiting my car!! GASP!! So I pulled into the longest line, thinking that would give me plenty of time to mentally debate whether I had the guts to get a full cleaning or not.

To my horror, the occupants of the cars ahead of me either (a) had their shit together enough to know exactly what they wanted or (b) did not have as much anxiety about this purchase as I did. Regardless of which option it was, the line dwindled quickly until it was my turn far too soon and I blurted out the first option – the full cleaning – and pulled away. Whew. Crisis averted. I congratulated myself on navigating that minefield and girded my loins for the real battle: getting my interior cleaned out.

Now, I know – I KNOW – it’s not that big of deal. You find an empty spot, pull into it, hop out, and the rest is taken care of. The problem is that I constantly worry about the unspoken-ness of it all. There are rules, rules which are not stated, and what if I break those rules? What if I’m not supposed to use this spot? What if the attendant that is here isn’t actually the one for my wash? Do I tell someone my car’s here to be cleaned? Do I just wait off to the side? Do I wait inside? Do I take my keys with me?  Plus, being in my vehicle just adds a extra layer of visibility that I’m not up for.

Anyway – geez Belle, is there a point to this story? – I hopped out of my car and staked claim to a nearby bench, firing up the latest game on my phone and that was about when I remembered that I didn’t have any cash on me. Zero cash. No back-up five or random one hanging about. I went through all of the pockets and folds of my wallet – naddah. I did have a solitary gold coin in my car, but that’s it. I lamented to Luffy via text that I was the world’s worst human before realizing that I was sitting right next door to a giant gas station. CASH BACK!! I could get CASH BACK if I bought something.

I hesitated for a minute, paralyzed by fear over leaving my car unattended (what if they got done and I wasn’t there?????) and then literally took off running for the gas station. Grabbing a soda from their fridge, I headed to the front.

“Do you still provide cash back if I pay with a debit card?” I asked the cashier.

“No, but there’s an ATM outside if you’d like,” she helpfully replied and then asked me if I’d still like the soda.

“Sure,” I quipped and explained that I was trying to get cash for a tip for the car wash next door.

I hit up the ATM on my way out, almost blowing the entire transaction because the very first option was to withdraw $200. Which, holy smokes, why is that the very first option? Do people routinely pull $200 in cash out of the gas station ATM’s? Why was the option for a measly $20 way down at the very bottom, behind all sorts of other ridiculous options like $400 or $300? So many questions, but it didn’t matter because I had my cash! I had my twenty dollar bill! I had my tip! ….. Oh, right. My tip. I most certainly did not want to leave $20 as a tip and the gas station wouldn’t break my fresh bill for me.

Whomp whomp.

I walked back to the car wash with my ice cold soda and my crisp twenty and lamented to Luffy – again! more! – that I didn’t have tipping cash. After all that!

It’s times like these where I really sometimes wonder why Luffy puts up with me. And can I claim that I am an intelligent human being when I am routinely befuddled by the most simple of problems? Is overthinking issues an actual problem? Because I think I have it.

Why don’t you buy a pack of gum? Luffy asked me, when I told him the gas station wouldn’t break my twenty because I wasn’t buying anything because I had already bought something. Oh yeah, that would have been a good idea,  said my brain.

Since I was already back on my bench, I yet again debated the decision to abandon my car and head back to the gas station, but I did. I couldn’t let this situation get the best of me, not when I had come so far. So back I went, to get into an even longer line this time, to buy gum. To break my twenty. That I got here just moments ago.

The cashier gave me a confused look when I got to the front but it dawned on her pretty quickly what I was doing.

“My problem solving skills aren’t always the sharpest,” I joked, as I waited for my change.

But! I managed to leave with a five that was more suited for a tip and I got back to the car wash before the attendant was done with my car so I got to avoid those particular disaster scenarios playing out in my head. She finished a couple of minutes after I got back and I was very relieved to be able to hand her my hard-earned tipping cash in exchange for my immaculately cleaned car.

All in all, procuring cash for a tip last minute is an excellent way to pass the time while you wait for your car to be cleaned. 10/10 would recommend.

And for this week’s round of oversharing

DISCLAIMER: It’s been a minute since I lasted veered off into TMI area with you guys and I’m nostalgic for it. Also I’m freaking out. Just a bit. So indulge me please.

So yesterday, I hinted at it:
…especially as my supply has seriously tanked in the past couple of days (is it my period? night weaning? am I pregnant? WHO KNOWS!

(Also relevant reading.) After my period came back, I had another fairly predictable cycle. Woohoo! Obvious ovulation signs, predictable menstruation, a touch long (37 days), but a lot better than most of my previous, un-medicated cycles. Go reproductive system! I thought I was back on track. I’d read, a very long time ago, that having a child can sort of reset your system and that having navigated infertility the first go-round didn’t always mean you would need to for any future children. I kept that hope alive. Last cycle looked pretty good. And then this cycle came.

It’s currently CD47. I haven’t had any strong signs of ovulation at any point. Who knows when my period will arrive. These weeks have felt very similar to this time, when my body kept trying to ovulate but was never successful. So. Probably going to need Clomid to conceive baby number two, no biggie. I went on Amazon and ordered an economy size pack of the cheap pregnancy tests because, as I have said many times, my biggest fear in living with anovulation and infertility is that I will be that woman who gives birth in a bathroom at the movies because I didn’t know I was pregnant. So, yup, back to my old ways of testing every couple of weeks just to make sure. I dusted my hands, mentally, and went about my business.

Then, this week started with lower back cramps. Exactly like a period. Yay! I thought, my period is coming!* Monday evening, though, came and went without the arrival of the crimson wave. Hmm. Tuesday morning dawned and brought with it even more intense backaches and very, very, very light spotting. Hmmmmmmmm. I saw neither hide nor hair of Aunt Flo that day but I was STARVING. All day. I ate. The entire day. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. And also oh shit. Wednesday dawned with just a slight backache but also brought faint, pink (ewe, sorry) spotting. Once again though, by day’s end, Shark Week had not begun.

Now, it’s today, and I still have not started my period and I still have light cramps and twinges. I am freaking out a bit. Good thing my pregnancy tests were delivered today and await me after work. It’a probably just a hormone thing, but I know peeing on a stick will ease my mind.

*The mark of one who has dealt with infertility. Only us weirdos are ever excited by our periods.

Clutter

So. What do you do with all of the baby stuff when the baby outgrows said stuff?

Because seriously, my house feels like it’s overflowing with newborn/young infant stuff that the dumpling isn’t using anymore.

I’ve already put away his cosleeper (which he never used), his rock ‘n’ play (which we used as a laundry hamper for a while after he transitioned out), his swing, and the car seat base from my car (Luffy is still using his for a while, but we have the convertible seat installed in my car already). I’m eyeing the bouncer and bassinet that are in our room right now. Oh and the frame stroller. Oh and the nursing pillows. And then the infant bucket seat and Luffy’s base. All things I have to find a place for.

It’s fun, in a way, to see all of the things that the dumpling has no use for now. So many of them were a lifesaver when he was a newborn. The rock ‘n’ play was the only way he’d sleep for more than 50 minutes at 3 weeks old. Once he came around to the swing (around 8 weeks old maybe?), it was the best place to ensure a nice long nap. Even as he got older, the swing helped him through his overtired energy at the end of daycare days to get a final nap in. We only stopped using it when he became too distracted by the movement to snooze.

Of course, with plans for a second child at some point, I’ve merely packed all of this stuff away. In closets, under beds, you name it and it likely has a baby-related item stored in it. I’m running out of room. As a person who dislikes clutter, I’m already looking forward to the moment when I can donate it all.

It’s probably just begun, hasn’t it? All you parents of older children are probably out there shaking your heads at me. Bouncers give way to exersaucers which are taken over by walkers and then activity tables and then toys and legos. When does it end?!

Casual Slight

A casual conversation can sometimes reveal so much.

On Monday, I was chatting with the instructor who teaches after me. Having a fairly new baby means that most people start conversations out by asking how he is. So we chatted about how he’s doing and what all he’s learning. She asked me how motherhood was and I truthfully answered that it was great but a lot more than I was prepared for. It’s one thing to know about all of the care that goes into a baby and quite another to actually care for a baby, I told her.

She chuckled at that point and said that her husband was pushing for a baby and she kept trying to put him off, she wasn’t ready yet. Then she made the assumption that I stay at home and I corrected her, saying that I still work full time.

“Oh, where’s he at during the day then? Babysitter?” she asked, setting her music up.

“No, he’s at daycare -” and she interrupted me with, “yeah, I could never do that. That’s why I keep telling my husband no babies!”

And she returned to setting her music and mic up for class. I don’t want to say I walked away stunned or anything, I have more backbone than that, but the conversation stuck with me. What exactly did she mean? Did she think that daycare isn’t adequate? She assumed that I stayed home; did she think less of working mothers? Was this a casual slight against those of us who choose (or are forced by circumstances) to continue working after having babies? Perhaps it came from a dislike of daycare rather than a judgement against working mothers. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. I’d like to think it was simply a tone-deaf statement on her part. She likely just didn’t realize what she was implying with her casual dismissal of my parenting choice.

The real takeaway from this is the lesson to ignore what others have to say and to just do what’s best for you and your family. Daycare literally saves my sanity. While I’d love to hang out with my little dumpling all day – in theory – I really don’t think I’d be as happy as I am now. I’m good at my job, really good. I appreciate being able to use my skills again, to find solutions to problems and to receive acknowledgement of a job well done. Parenting is such a guessing game; Luffy and I are just trying to do our best. I know, with certainty, that if I stayed home with the dumpling I would take each missed nap or all-afternoon meltdown as a personal failure on my part. I can see myself feeling inadequate as a mother and caretaker if my only job was to care for the dumpling and he spent most of the day in tears. Which is completely unfair to myself, considering that he’s a tiny human who is allowed to have bad days and what not. Worse, I can absolutely see myself lashing out at Luffy if he offered a solution to a problem, like he always does because he’s a fixer, because WHAT? DO YOU THINK I’M NOT CAPABLE AT MY JOB? MUST YOU MICROMANAGE ME? Shudder. Definitely not a place I want to go.

So yes, daycare saves my sanity. The time I spend with my little boy is time for us to snuggle and play and help him figure out this whole crawling business. The time I spend at work is time for me to both hone my skills and also focus on myself first (it’s always nice when I can have my lunch whenever I please!). Daycare gives me a break from the monotony and sheer drudgery of caring for an infant. And I really appreciate that.

So cheers to doing what’s best for you! Now if we could only work on keeping our noses out of other people’s decisions, we could tackle world peace next and everyone knows that would solve ALL the problems.

Life thoughts while pumping

I’m currently sitting in the only conference room in my office without windows (actually, it’s the only space in my office without windows period). I’m on my second pump of the day and thought it might be fun to present a few thoughts I have while pumping. It’s like Belle Live!, only post-pregnancy.

I will never get over how weird it is to take my shirt off at work. 

[Puts on hands-free pumping bra and fires up the trusty Medela…]

I mean, my shirt AND bra are off. At work! So weird. 

My boobs are technically covered at least, should someone stumble in. Mostly covered. 

I like when I remember to wear a pumping friendly outfit – a tank and cardigan – that way I get the most coverage even with my boobs out. 

Ugh. I can hear my (male) coworkers talking outside of my room. That makes being shirtless even weirder. 

(Shirtless at work!)

I wonder if they can hear my pump. 

[Tries not to think about coworkers anymore lest this whole situation feel even more awkward.]

At least I can play on my phone in here. Pumping pre-smart-phone days must have been super boring. 

I bet that’s how men feel about going to the bathroom pre-smart-phone days. Why must they always be in there for like half an hour?

[Checks latest game]

All right, got my tasks done – feed ALL the farm animals!!

Ugh, I need to pee. I always forget to pee before I take my shirt off. And it’s not like I’m going to put my shirt back on just to pee. 

Honestly, that’s the worst part about this pumping business – taking my shirt off a hundred times a day. Or, you know, like three times, but it feels like a hundred times. 

And forget about wearing a dress! Like I’m gonna sit in this room naked. I would freeze. Plus, can you even imagine how weird it would be???

(Naked at work!)

[Massaging breasts which is really just fancy talk for moving the flanges around]

I always like when the milk spurts with enough force to hear as it hits the back of the flange. Much better than the slow dribble. 

My boobs are really uneven. I hope they even up after I stop nursing. 

Speaking of, what am I going to do with myself when I stop pumping?! I’m going to have so much free time!!

I could take up a hobby!

And quit timing my meals!

And quit timing my caffeine consumption!

Plus! No more taking my damn shirt off a million times a day!!

Ahhhh, a girl can dream. Only four more months. 

Or I could always switch to formula. 

But then I’d miss nursing on the weekends. Plus nursing’s just so easy. 

I will not say free, cause my time is worth a lot. (So there, imaginary argumentative naysayer!)

I mean, I’m hooked up to this pump three times a day for 25+ minutes a session, five days a week. That’s a lot of time!

Ok, but seriously, how much longer for this session??

[Checks timer]

Argh! At least another five minutes. 

I seriously envy the ladies who can pump in like 15 minutes. 

Or the ladies who can just pump once for every bottle. 

Or the ones who still meet the demands of their babies!

Seriously, I spend so much time hooked up to the pump and I STILL don’t collect enough. 

Must. Stop. These. Thoughts. 

[Pulls up baby photos. Again.]

My baby sure is cute. 

Ugh. Coworkers outside of my room again. Just chatting it up. 

I should join in on their conversation one day. Just like yell through the wall. That would be hilarious. 

I wouldn’t even have to yell because I can obviously hear them just fine and they’re not yelling.

On second thought, nevermind. I mean, what if this led them to realize they could talk with me through the wall and then they started asking my questions while pumping???

Cause that would be even more awkward than sitting here shirtless. 

[Checks timer. Again.]

25 minutes!! Oh thank you!!

And fin.

Thoughts on a Friday

I’ve been battling a tension headache all week. It comes and goes and it’s only on my right side. It stretches from my temple, down across my ear and into my neck and shoulder. It’s made this week a little colored in fatigue and aches.

think it’s related to how I carry the dumpling. Or really, how I do everything else while I carry him. I’m right-handed, so I carry him with my left and do everything with my right. I’m guessing that I compensate for his weight or something with my right side.

ANYWAY – this is all truly fascinating talk, but I can’t help it. It’s flaring up again and makes it hard to focus.


Anyone else out there feel the need to purge their house of clutter right now? Spring Summer cleaning anyone? No? Just me then? Ok.

Figures. I spent all winter cooped up with a newborn and then all spring trying to figure out how to juggle work/baby/fitness/life/etc. I was a little busy, is what I’m saying. Now, though, it feels like I find a new, random project to tackle every day.

For instance, there’s a storage box full of old T-shirts of mine. Once upon a time, I deemed these shirts memorabilia worthy and refused to donate them. Ten years though does a lot to what I’d label as memorable now. So I want to go through it again – pare down what I’m keeping and donate the rest. Get rid of the storage box (which is in the office, by the way) and find a different place to store the rest. Now ask me how long that storage box has been sitting in my office? A couple of years maybe? A long time, is my point and I’ve never felt inclined to even open it and now, suddenly, it must be sorted!

So yeah, I’ve got that going on right now.


Did I ever tell you guys that we put a deposit down on a Tesla Model 3? Like two years ago? Because we did. I’m still not quite sure how I convinced Luffy to go for it. (Actually, that was a lie, it was the tax deductions. That’s how I got him to agree, that adorable nerd. He’s mine ladies, back off.)

Anyway, my gearhead of a coworker has been all excited this week because they are finally moving the first units into production. He wanted to know if I’d heard about my place in line yet. What about options? Timeline? Delivery date? ANYTHING WOMAN, give me some tidbit of info.

Alas, I couldn’t do anything for him; he’s more informed than I am. I’ve been deleting most emails from Tesla (most of them are trying to sell me on their much more expensive models and I laugh because, oh boy Tesla, you clearly overestimate my bank account). I was happy to hear that they’ve started production though. Perhaps I’ll get my car late this year or early next. Which is sort of amazing, given Late 2017 seemed ages away when we originally put down the deposit.


I officially ran out of time, sorry guys. It’s time to pick my dumpling up! Have a good weekend!