Bumped and Bruised

Hey folks,
My new column for Lexington family Magazine is out, where I give my loud-mouthed opinion about over-protecting our kids. Check it out :)

I hope to update tomorrow with how baby's first weekend away went. I did not die of dehydration from the crying, so that is a plus.


Bye Bye, Baby

In approximately five hours I will be on my way to drop my baby girl off with her grandparents for her first ever weekend trip without me. And I'm kind of freaking out.

CeCe is 9 months old, fully weaned off the boob, and Matt and I decided it was time for a romantic weekend where we stay home and sleep. I do not require an exotic location with drinks and little umbrellas. I don't even need a hotel room to have a vacation. We are having a stay-cation.

My excitement to have this time as a couple is paired with the terrifying, paralyzing fear of not seeing my baby for two whole nights.
This fear is kind of silly, because it's not like I'm leaving her in the hands of a terrorist cell. I'm leaving her with the two adults (besides me and Matt) who I trust most in the world with a baby- I mean, they raised me and I have all my original limbs.

So two nights without diapers, without screaming, without biting my finger while I try to rub Orajel on her gums (have fun with that one, Mom and Dad.) That is also two nights without baby snuggles, goofy smiles, and high-pitched giggles.

My heart keeps flip-flopping between extremes, but I know it will be good for all involved to have this little non-trip. I think. Maybe. I'll let you know on Sunday.


Depression Among "Supermoms"

This morning I sat down to eat my breakfast and began mapping out my day. Matt bought me a giant dry erase board that has been very helpful with my planning, and within 48 hours it was already pretty packed. Today I plan to: jog 3 miles, write a blog post (check), work on two different freelance projects and one personal project, do the laundry, clean up the kitchen, take a bag to Goodwill and get dinner ready for Matt so I can go to a new class tonight at 7:30.

Pretty normal day for a working mom.

As I was plotting out the next 12 hours, I heard Ann Curry in the background noise telling me that working moms are more likely to be depressed. You have my attention, Today Show.

Here is the link to the article from Today Moms. What I gathered from the show segment was how "Supermoms" are more likely to suffer from depression because the "I can do it all" attitude doesn't usually coincide with reality.

This is the study the article referenced. I can say the guilt of having my daughter in daycare does sting sometimes, but I don't expect perfection when stitching together my home and work life. Any thoughts, Supermoms? Is it overwhelming to try to have it all, or have you found some ways to handle the combination of work and family?


Happy 3/4 Birthday!

CeCe is 9 months old today. Do not clap, do not cheer, do not say "awe!" and most importantly, DO NOT comment on what a bi- .... bi-..., crap, I have to say it. What a big girl she is.

She is huge. She is beast. She stands, crawls, tries to walk and fails miserably, screams, jabbers, and has an actual personality. Remember when she was just a big blob who couldn't squirm away when you cuddled her? I kind of miss that. 

My baby has been living outside my womb for nine months, and it sure went by a heck of a lot faster than the nine months she was planted inside my uterus. Where was this time-flying-by thing when I was 50 pounds heavier and 1,000 pounds crankier?

Since I guess I have no choice but to let my baby grow up, I made a little slideshow to celebrate CeCe's first nine months of life. Like when someone is given a lifetime achievement award or is on Oprah, and they have a photo montage. Just imagine the theme from Greatest American Hero playing in the background.



Just wanted to say thanks to The Baby Habit for caring enough to interview this crazy mama about the blog. If anyone would like to read, here it is!


Chef MaMa.

Yesterday I spent four hours in my kitchen, used 7 different fruits and vegetables, two pans, four knives, three pots, a cutting board and a food processor, and ended up with a giant pile of mush. Don't worry- that was the intention.

I've been feeding CeCe store-bought baby food for a while, but even I am sick of the same boring flavors on rotation. Sweet potato, peas, squash ... applesauce, bananas, pears ... repeat next week.

Ce doesn't complain, but if she could talk I imagine she would say something like, "Hey Mom, can't a baby get some pureed variety in this house?"

Here is what is on the menu for the CeCe-Bear in the coming weeks:

-Acorn Squash. I had never cooked a food that looked like a lumpy green bowling ball before, but it actually turned out very tasty, in my opinion. I sliced it open and dug out all the seeds in the center, put the halves skin side up in a pan with about an inch of water and baked for 40 minutes on 350 degrees.
Make sure you cut the skin off before you puree.

-Eggplant. I love eggplant, but I didn't take into account the seeds. That is not a diaper I want to change.
I quartered and baked the eggplant for 30 minutes at 375 degrees to soften it up. I couldn't quite get all the seeds out, but I used the lower, less-seedy half of each slice to make little sticks to use as a finger food. I removed the skin on this as well, since I realized how bitter it is after I tested it out. It would have been funny to see the look on the baby's face if she tasted it though.

- Asparagus. Boil til tender, puree, voila! Smelly baby urine was never so easy to accomplish.

- Carrots. I steamed carrots slices in the microwave in a covered glass bowl with a little water for about 8 minutes on high. I used the skinnier part to make finger foods and the wide chunks for pureeing.

- Avocado. Best recipe ever: Cut open. Scoop out guts. Smash.

I also wanted to expose Ce to corn and potatos, but since they are not as nutritous as other veggies I used these two to make "garden medleys." Carrots and corn blend well together, as did the squash and potatos.

If anyone has a recipe or cooking tip I would love to hear it! My latest dilemma is that Ce despises all the store-bought pureed meat (and I don't blame her.) I'm fine with raising a vegetarian baby, but at least want her to know that turkey doesn't always have the texture of lumpy Elmer's glue.


Home Alone

Last Tuesday morning the house was full of tears, screaming, crying that involved gasping for breath and a good deal of whimpering. And the baby wasn't here.

For the majority of CeCe's life, I have walked a beautiful line of part-time working mom, part-time stay-at-home mom. I went into an office three days a week and stayed home with the baby the rest of the time. It was a great combination. Until my freelance gigs began picking up, the laundry was being stacked on top of more laundry and CeCe's naps became shorter and less frequent. The tight rope I had been walking suddenly felt like it was covered in vaseline.

Last week we decided to put the babe into daycare full time. And by "we decided," I mean Matt had been telling me I needed to do it for months, and I would say, "I CAN DO EVERYTHING MYSELF! I'M A FREAKING MOM!" as I had the baby on my hip, dinner burning on the stove and a laptop about to die before I saved my latest draft.

I thought the transition would be easy since I was already used to part-timing it. But when it came time last Tuesday for what would have been Ce's first nap-time wake up, I realized there was no smiling baby waiting for me in her crib. No chubby legs standing against the rail, chubby hands ready to play with some stacking cups and an obnoxiously loud Baby Einstein toy.

Guilt is a major part of motherhood. Of the emotions I feel daily when I see my daughter, guilt ranks right after love, adoration, and fear. 

But why? My daughter loves her daycare facility. The assistant director called me one day to ask if she could take my child home with her. Matt has expressed a legitimate fear that one of the teachers will abduct CeCe, because they love her so much. So why should I feel guilty about leaving her in this environment?

I miss her so much each day. Wouldn't you miss this face:

But I also had to realize that when she was at home with me, I was constantly saying "Sit still for one minute honey, mommy needs to wash the dishes," or "We can play for twenty minutes, but then I have to work, sweetie." 

At daycare, she is surrounded by other kids and adults with plenty of attention for her. And when I get all my work done during the day, that is more time in the evenings to devote entirely to the princess.

I thought I had the best of both worlds. Stay at home moms have a lot on their plates, and working moms deal with some severe depression. 

Tell me readers, how did you handle the guilt or any other feelings about childcare? 

Last Call

The lights are coming on, the jukebox has been turned off. This bar is closed, and much to my daughter's dismay.

Thanks to CeCe's adorable little fangs and her discovery that biting is funny, I've decided it is time to stop breastfeeding. And much like our introduction to breastfeeding, I was unprepared for all that came with the finale.

Instead of feeling like concrete was solidifying in my boobs, this time is was hot coals resting inside of them. Raising my arm above my head made my skin feel like it was going to tear, and I was only cutting out one feeding a day.

I started reading my breastfeeding books and looking around online to find some tips about how to handle the pain and discomfort of weaning. And the only tip I found was telling me not to wean.

I think certain breastfeeding advocacy organizations have an admirable mission in providing aid and encouragement to women who wish to breastfeed. But I resent being made to feel like if I can't nurse until my child is a toddler, then I am failing her in some way.

When a child can walk up and say "Hello Mommy, I'd like some milk from your breast now please," it is too much for me.

Letting your child decide when he wants to stop nursing is called "natural weaning." So what I am doing is unnatural, I guess.

Stopping breastfeeding can leave a mother consumed by guilt. Should I keep going? Am I pushing away my own baby? Am I being selfish? A majority of websites I found answered those questions with a resounding "Yes." What I was reading essentially told me I just wasn't trying hard enough.

Telling a women she must nurse until her child is at least two years old can be incredibly intimidating. Mothers need to know that breastfeeding isn't an all-or-nothing deal. I made it 8 1/2 months with CeCe on the boob. Some moms I know only made it a few weeks. And we all should be applauded for our efforts.

Breastfeeding simply doesn't work for some women and their babies. And some of us have our reasons for stopping, whether it is a difficult work schedule, a dwindling supply, or like me, a vampire baby with daggers for teeth. 

Pumping would be a nice alternative, for those who have the time and resources. I was never able to produce as much milk with a pump than with my real live baby. And the soreness and time commitment still takes a toll on a mommy.

So to all the Mamas who left the breastfeeding party early (like me), let's stop the guilt! Stick an ice pack in your sports bra, take some Motrin and cuddle your baby while you feed them a bottle. Take it slow, but don't despair. You did the best you could for as long as you could, and I bet your baby appreciates it.


Check it out!

If anyone would like to read my new column in the August issue of Lexington Family Magazine, here it is!

Please let me know if anyone has a topic they would like to read more about. My specialties include ranting, raving, and how other kids parents can be more annoying than your own screaming baby.

And now for a completely unrelated picture of CeCe:

Sometimes I dress her like this just to see what her daddy will say.


Up and At 'Em

My life is over.

CeCe is no longer almost crawling. Now she is full-blown, 0-60 in 30 seconds, get from the living room to the bathroom in the blink of mommy's eye, crawling.

And that wasn't enough. No, my over-achiever daughter decided that within days of crawling, she wanted to stand up too. Scuffling around on the floor was already boring. Now any surface within reach of her chubby little T-Rex arms becomes a tool for her to pull her body into a standing position.

The first time I caught her standing in her crib, she seemed terrified. See for yourself:

I could see the words above her head. "I don't know how to get DOWN."

But she got over that fear quickly. Now this is what I wake up to every morning:

I just hope she respects my request to not start walking anytime soon, but she rarely listens to me when I ask her to stop growing so fast.