Tuesday

Infant consumerism

After shipping the little one off to daycare this morning, I decided to use my day off to tackle the clutter that has accumulated in our home since CeCe was born. As I tiptoe around tummy-time mats, stacking rings, bouncy chairs and power cords I have to ask- how can someone without their own credit card acquire so much crap?

I know the answer lies in our amazing friends and family who want to shower our girl with goodies. We are still getting gifts in the mail every day and 95 percent of them are pink fuzzy blankets. I have no idea what all the other children in Kentucky are being swaddled in, because my daughter seems to have all the blankets ever made.

We took an overnight trip to my parents house this past weekend, and even though we were gone just over 24 hours, our luggage said otherwise. My father was right- traveling with children resembles the invasion of Normandy.

Matt and I shared a duffle bag. CeCe had two of her own. She needed at least three onesies per day, new outfits, back up outfits, back up outfits for the back up outfits and five thousand diapers minimum.

Even just at home, the girl's closet rivals what I imagine Paris Hilton's must look like. Stuffed from wall to wall with pink and sparkles peeking out. Just about one-billionth of the price and my child never leaves home in a skirt without underwear.

We are incredibly blessed to have people who want to buy for our daughter. But there comes a point when I have to put a moratorium on presents. This includes, but is not limited to: pink dresses, teething toys, stuffed bunny rabbits, fuzzy blankets and giant hair bows.

I hoped that when Christmas came and went, people would calm down with the baby shopping. But it seems we are meant to celebrate every week with a new round of gifts. "January is National Soup Month, so I bought this adorable onesie with a Campbell's can on it!"

I sincerely do appreciate the thought, but I must send out a plea to all those who are tempted to buy for their loved one's babies on a frequent basis.

Limit the goochy-goo, oh how cute, isn't this adorable presents to holidays that are actually celebrated and birthdays. This means no outfits that can't be worn every day (like clothes that require special cleaning or anything with smocking) and toys that light up, make noise and don't have an off switch. (Tripping over one of those on your way to a midnight feeding is the most obnoxious disruption in the history of time.)

If you have the itch to bust out that plastic at the baby store, buy plain white undershirts, because it is impossible to have enough of them. Or a new package of the kid's favorite pacifier, because chances are we have lost at least two of them by now. Get practical and a new mom will be forever grateful. I would dance across a land mine of unopened rattles and hurdle the stack of our 14 copies of "Goodnight Moon" to give you a hug for presents like those.

Thursday

A little romance

After six weeks of allowing diapers and spit up to dominate our lives, Matt and I decided it was time to shift our attention for a few hours and get out of the house. The time for date night had arrived, and last week we left CeCe in the care of friends two separate times. As you can see, I somehow survived to type another day.

As you know, CeCe is in daycare, so a baby-sitter shouldn't bother me so much, right? Wrong. When the baby is in daycare, I am at work. A baby-sitter means I would be out of the house enjoying myself. What kind of parent does that? I was quickly convinced that a sane parent does that.

Our first trip out was a quick meal, just about an hour in an effort to ease me into the whole baby-sitting deal. One of my best friend's was the responsible party and I figured if not her, then who would I ever be comfortable leaving my child with?

When I walked back in the door and saw that my baby was not screaming, bleeding, crying or calling out "Maaaaa-maaaaa!", I felt that I could handle a little more time away.

Saturday night was a major event. Two of our friends, who happen to be sisters, came over to watch the baby. One of them is pregnant, the other is very pregnant. They wanted the practice. I was happy to lend my daughter for the purposes of mommy-training. She is a fine specimen of a baby.

Matt took me to a movie, the first I had been to since I was in my second trimester. It was a different experience since I didn't have to pee every thirty seconds this time around. Although that might have been because instead of the $12.00 large soda I opted for the $11.75 medium-sized.

At the insistence of our sitters, we even went to dinner after the movie. Whoa now- I know. Movie AND dinner? What had I done right this week to deserve such a treat? The answer was I had pushed a child through my birth canal six weeks ago and wanted a reason to shower the baby spit out of my hair for once.

Although my attempts to limit the talk about the baby ultimately failed, I have to say it was nice to just sit with Matt and have both hands free to hold his. 99.9 percent of our time is spent as parents. And while I know that license doesn't expire just because we are at a restaurant instead of in the nursery, getting out of baby-mode and getting back to the basics of us was more than nice. It's necessary.

Tuesday

The Day Care Depression

Any woman who claims she isn't much for tears has never had to leave her child at day care.

Walking away from that building without experiencing the tiniest bit of emotional trauma is only possible for someone with a heart of stone.

It's only my second day of leaving CeCe in the care of others. I've managed to tone down the hysterics from a Britney Spears-esque nervous breakdown complete with head shaving and window smashing. Now I'm in more of a melancholy daze where I desperately miss my crying, screaming, pooping, needy baby. Who would have thought?

I don't return to work until tomorrow, but I decided to go ahead and take the baby to day care now to ease into the transition. Not for her. For me. I'm having to wean myself off time with my daughter.

I made it almost five hours before bringing CeCe home. Of course I'm counting the time I spent in the infant room with my hands gripped around her crib rails watching her sleep and hovering in the corner by the door before finally slipping out. I'd say my first attempt at leaving her was successful. You know, compared to Custer's Last Stand or the survival of the eight-track tape.

My reluctance to leave isn't to say I doubt the ability of the child care workers. It's more of a fear of what I might miss. What if she is crying and they can't pick her up right away? They don't know the exact rhythm of my special bouncing back pat that calms her down! What if she climbs out of her crib at six weeks old and begins walking and I miss it? What if her first words aren't Ma-Ma but *insert day care teacher's name here*?

Never try to tell a mourning mother how unreasonable this is. Because we don't want to hear “Your child is perfectly fine without you.” Stop and consider each word of that sentence. “They are fine” … ok, good, we like our children to be in a generally fair condition … “without you”. That's where the sting comes. Without me. Meaning, I'm not needed.

I thought this part of parenthood didn't come around until my child was a teenager. The not-feeling-needed part. Now is when our babies are supposed to be clingy, annoyingly reliant on us for everything. And while this can get frustrating, the minute that feeling subsides you begin to realize how much you actually appreciate that. The needing is part of what connects us, makes us act on our love for the helpless creatures that are babies and reinforces how much we care.

At this moment, I'm only an hour into my day without my baby attached to my hip. And while it's nice to type without risking projectile spit-up landing on my computer screen, I can't wait to hear that wailing later tonight when CeCe is hungry again. I'll be ready to jump up and fill that need.