Sleep regressions and other terribly-two-ish things

I’ve heard of the terrible twos, but up until a few weeks ago, I kept thinking, Not MY sweet little, angelic boy!  That was, until he was jumping up and down, stomping his feet, screaming, pounding on the door and “raging out” as I like to call it.

Why?  Because I told him he couldn’t have anymore of his favorite Honeysuckle Honeydew EOS chapstick.  After he’d already negotiated, with his little pointer finger, barely formed words and an affirming head nod,

“One more, mama.  One more. ” 

“No more chapstick, we’ve already had some,” I say calmly as we’re trying to leave the house to gymnastics class.  I literally hold my breath in anticipation of the rage that is about to explode from this otherwise utterly sweet little boy.  All over chapstick.

 <Cue meltdown>

Like a yoga mantra, I have to remind myself…Calmly offer an explanation.  Share affirming words.  Acknowledge his feelings.  Empathize with him.  Be there if he wants a hug.  Keep him safe from his own frustrations.  Let him express himself.  Move on after it’s over. 

I totally understand that in his ever-growing world, seemingly small things (to me) are a big deal to him.  He’s learning so much about the world around him, his place in his, his ability to interact with that world…to flex his control in that world…to negotiate in that world.  I mean, he loves those little chapsticks – he can open the top all by himself, he can put it on all by himself and he can put the top back on all by himself.

What more could a two-year old want than to be in total control?

A nap, you say?  Temper-tantrums are usually a result of being down-right-tired, right?  So, just make sure he gets his nap and we can hope to avoid some of these meltdowns.

Nope.  That would make too much sense and be too easy.  We are going on day 12 of no nap.  

And not the I’m-going-to-sit-in-my-crib-and-just-talk-to-myself kind of no nap.  No, this is the begin-SCREAMING-the-second-mom-puts-me-in-my-crib-and-rage-until-she-gets-me kind of no nap. Another lovely by-product of the terrible twos.  It started with some Christmas-cooties that we all passed around during the lovely two weeks my hubby was home.  After that, he hasn’t taken a nap except for when he falls asleep at the boob (twice)…or when he actually fell asleep in the car on Saturday for 45 minutes…which he NEVER does.  [I know, what kid doesn’t fall asleep in the car?  The kid whose mother was a freak about being home for nap time so he pretty much only knows how to nap in his crib.  Great most of the time.  Except for when he’s not napping in his crib and won’t nap anywhere else.  Sigh.]

BUT.  All hope is not lost.  I am NOT giving up on his nap time.  That is the MOST sacred of times for me and he is most CERTAINLY still in need of rest during the day.

So, what to do?  Call in the experts, of course!  My trusty network of amazing mamas.

I tossed the scenario out to the Boobie Group and another mommy group I’m a part of and I’ve gotten some great suggestions:

  • Keep at it and stay strong and consistent – their little ones did this at age two and sooner than later they were back to their nap!
  • Try moving nap time a bit earlier or later to see if he’s more ready for a nap then.
  • Give him some really great exercise before nap time, like a good game of tag!
  • Try putting some toys or books in his crib to help him quietly play for an hour and “rest.”

A Boobie Group mommy also posted an article from http://www.babysleepsite.com called “Toddler Sleep and 5 Things You Need to Know” that I found helpful, and most of all, affirming.  We’ve all been through sleep regressions before, and lived to see the other side of them.  Though, in the midst of them it’s easy to think that your baby will never sleep again.  At age two it is possible he’s done taking naps, but I haven’t given up hope yet.  He still seems pretty tired and if nothing else we’ll work out some quiet time for little W and for Mommy.

So here’s the game plan.

Yesterday I tried his nap earlier, and went into his room in increments to try and soothe him.  That did NOT work and actually only made him more angry.  So, today I think I’m going to try a little bit of a later nap and make sure he’s gotten some really good physical exercise in during the morning!  I’m thinking of putting up his mobile again, too, and letting him play with that during his nap – it has a swirling light, soothing sounds, etc. and I think could be a calming “toy” he could play with.

I’ll keep you posted.

Yours hopefully,

MomME

 

 

 

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#tbt Christmas morning

My quest to be a more diligent blogger (and capture all of life’s fleeting moments) is feeling more like a study of inertia – a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged.  W finally fell asleep for nap #2 of the day (something he’s been fighting for weeks) and I couldn’t get to the couch fast enough to have some much anticipated “mommy time.”

And then you ruined it.

Ok, so not you, per say, but the fact that I’d committed (in writing, just two days ago) to writing a post a week.  To keeping my focus not on literary perfection, but capturing the hilarious imperfections of life with a toddler.  Ugh, sometimes I get really irritated with myself when I move forward on something with such public gusto only to look back and think, Ugh, why did I say I’d do that?  I’m so annoying!  But the little voice in my head that hates to fail was louder than the volume on the TV (which isn’t hard when it’s nap time and I pretty much have to have the subtitles on to understand ANYTHING that’s happening.  But I digress…)

So.  Here we are again.  Post #2 of the week.  That’s the rate at which I’m going to need to crank ’em out and catch up on what’s happened without missing out on posting about what’s happening now.  So, I thought, why not make Thursday’s weekly post a dedicated #tbt post to catch up on missed happenings during my 3 month hiatus.  I’ll pair it with an Instagram picture.  For some reason, that makes this seem easier.  I guess I’m just a sucker for a good filter.

Let’s try and start where I left off – Christmas!

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My husband and I were SO excited for W’s first Christmas…and slightly overwhelmed with the number of parties and dinners and gatherings that we were schleping him around to.  New parents know there is nothing as terrifying as interrupting a baby’s nap.  Welp.  We had to get over that fast because celebrations were in full swing.  There were presents to open.  Faces to be stuffed with food.  But, as with most things, W took the holiday season in stride and (yet again) proved that most of the time we’re silly to worry.  He adjusted perfectly and loved all of the Christmas lights and decorations…and food!

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What we were most excited for, though, was Christmas morning.  We wondered if W was too young to understand the concept of presents or new toys, and if the wonder of Christmas morning would be lost on him.  We’d resolved to only buy W a few new toys and had asked grandparents and relatives to do the same.  But, the presents that we did buy, were laid out underneath the tree and unwrapped in hopes that their flashy colors and new-ness would catch his eye.

As soon as we heard him wake up, my husband got the video camera set up in the living room.  We all snuggled in our bed while I nursed W (our morning tradition) and it was finally time for the big reveal.  I carried W down the stairs in his new pajama’s (with an adorable firetruck on the front).  The house was still dark, but the Christmas tree lights glowed and his new toys sat sparkly, shiny and new below it.  My husband and I exchanged quick and anticipatory glances…did W understand that these were new toys?  That this morning was special?

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Yes!  He looked under the tree and pointed.  Then he looked at my husband.  And back at me.  As if to ask, “Are these really for me?  Are these new toys I can play with?”  And without further ado he got right to work pushing his alphabet train around and chasing this little bug that vibrates around and rolls balls around.

It was priceless.  As is pretty much everything he does.

We played for about an hour before starting the long day that is Christmas.  First, breakfast with my husband’s family and then a 2hour drive to my grandparents house for dinner with my mom’s family.  W screamed the whole way home that night and we were ALL ready for bed by day’s end.  But, it was still an awesome day.  I’ll never forget coming around the corner and seeing the look on his face when he caught sight of his new toys…those are the moments.

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And speaking of moments.  My solo moments are up.  The little guy is awake.  Funny thing, though, about Christmas morning and all…it pretty much feels like Christmas morning EVERY morning (and afternoon) when I go into his nursery to find him squealing and giggling with excitement and outstretched arms.

Yours truly,

MomME

Did you think I un-friended you?

My lack of presence in your newsfeed is not because I “unfriended” you, as one of my friends asked me.  However, since I probably have exactly three minutes to write this post before baby toddler W wakes up from his nap (yes, he turned 1 a little over a month ago [sob]) I’ll get right to the point.  On the 1-year anniversary of my entry into the blogosphere, after a 3 month hiatus, I have a request of you…I need your help.  Holding me accountable, that is.

Joy.  But, seriously, there’s far less commitment than you might imagine.  Read on.

If you’re anything like me, you likely know it’s easy to fail at goals you don’t tell anyone else about.  That’s because I pretty much thrive on being held accountable by someone…or to someone.  Someone other than myself, that is.  My fear of failure, or my desire to make others happy, is actually my greatest motivator.  (I’d like to think I do most things for my own betterment, but when I’m honest with myself, that’s just not the case.  I’m working on it, but that’s for another post.)

That’s where you come in, inter-webs and follower friends.  A place to cement my intentions and goals.  A place where I can’t take back what you’ve written.  A place to hold me accountable.

Without further ado…my resolutions are:

  1. Be more present (the former educator in me cringes at the vagueness of this resolution, and how challenging it will be to measure this…but)
  2. Write one blog post a week
  3. Read one book a month
  4. Get selfishly active 3x a week (that doesn’t mean lifting W, or taking him on a walk…that means exercise just for mommy!)

They’re not uber complicated or crazy.  Simple.  Realistic, I think.  My first step to making any of these happen?  Just write a fucking post already!  However short or poorly written this is, it’s intended to help me break the ice.  Otherwise, I just keep thinking to myself, Ugh, well I can’t write about Z without writing about X and Y first!  So, there are going to be many posts to come, highlighting all the fun and crazy things that have happened since my last post in early December (W’s first Christmas, learning to walk, I started working part-time, more drama related to his lip-tie, his first birthday, learning sign-language, our first family vacation to Disney, my creation of a cleaning chart…).

But, today, I’ll have to be satisfied with at least stating my intentions.

So, at the risk of letting myself down looking like a failure in front of others (a Type A person’s WORST NIGHTMARE), I’m now compelled to follow through on these things.  Because you’re waiting for updates on them, right?  ;0

Yours accountably,

MomME

And with a wave it hit me…

On three separate occasions this week I’ve been reduced to tears and about to explode with love and pride over the magic that is growing, birthing, nurturing and witnessing the journey of this tiny human.  I’ve been overcome with the magic that is motherhood.  Either that, or I’m pregnant again…I have been craving Thai food and crafting…

Welp, let’s hope not quite yet…

But, I digress.  That’s not to say I don’t think W’s amazing all the time, obviously.  But, I think the crisp fall air has jerked me out of a humid summer haze and made me inhale deeply…made me aware and present in these moments.  It’s been reminding me to emotionally and mentally catalogue these far too fleeting firsts.

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One of these moments was when W waved for the first time.  The realization that your child understands what is happening in the world around them and then communicating with the world around them is…just…cray.  It’s crazy!  Theoretically I know that he already communicates in his own way when he’s tired, hungry or unhappy and theoretically I know he is very intuitive and gets what’s going on.  But, when he waved “goodbye” to Nana as she left after her usual afternoon visit, with a forlorn look and all, the magnitude of his sheer human-ness just hit me.  He’s growing up so quickly.  He’s so smart.  He gets what’s going on and he’s engaging with the world around him in a learned way.

IMG_1556Another was during our morning nursing session.  This is, quite possibly, my favorite time of the day.  It’s been a long (and amazing and hard-worked-for) 12 hours since I’ve seen my precious little W, and when I hear him chirping over the monitor (usually around 7am) I go in and find him sitting up, happily playing with his lovie in his crib.  The excitement in his eyes when he sees I’m there is (swoon) priceless.  But my favorite part is still yet to come…we head back to our bedroom and sleepily snuggle under the covers while he nurses.  Some mornings we fall asleep again and take our first nap all intertwined.  Other mornings he fills up and is ready to play…so he babbles on and on, stares at our ceiling fan and giggles while we play peekaboo.  This was when it hit me again.  I was peering down at him…babbling and smiling up at me, playing with my hand…and again I was overcome with awe at what a little human being he is – and that we created him.  That we were nurturing him to become this incredibly happy and joyous boy.  Ugh, I love our morning time together.  My second favorite moment of the day?  When we get out of bed and I make cup of coffee.  Ahhhh…perfection.

IMG_3193The third awe-inspiring moment was yesterday at the park.  It wasn’t awesome for any special reason – W didn’t have a “first” moment or anything.  It was amazing because it was just so simple and mundane.  It was a gorgeous fall day. The sky was blue, the grass was green and the wind was blowing in our faces.  Our Frenchie, Rex, was with us.  W was so content looking at the fountains, watching the birds flit around and chewing on his whisk.  Oh, the simple things.  I just felt downright lucky to be alive.  Lucky to be there with little W.  It was just an awesome day and I got to thinking I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way than with him.

Sigh.  And with that, our little love-bug is just shy of 8 months and he’s phenomenal.  Sleeping through the night, finally taking a bottle, eating some solid foods, sitting up on his own, crawling, pulling himself up on his knees, waving goodbye and mastering the b, d and m sounds…soon it will be talking and walking, oh my!

For now, though, I’m just enjoying the present.

Yours presently,

MomME

G is for gratitude

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Though the title is sarcastically crooned to the tune of the annoying alphabet CD that W loves (if you’ve been in my car you probably still have nightmares thinking about it), I really mean it – “G” is for gratitude.  That is, the immense gratitude I have for the phenomenal women in my life.  Ya, there are a lot of sacred bonds in life…but when I’m running low on sleep and and I can’t sing another round of the ABC’s, nothing is more important than the bond I have with the women on this journey with me.  From my own mum, to my boobie group mamas, my neighborhood ladies and my girls…you ladies are the shit.  Srsly.

Though we may not see each other every day – nap-time routines seem to trump coffee dates these days.  And we might not talk on the phone – who has time for that now that W is starting to crawl?  Frankly, we might only know each other through Facebook – but I think that counts these days, right? Despite all that, we might as well be life-long friends.  Because the bond forged through a shared experience so traumatic and funny and gross and awesomely beautiful makes us part of the oldest club around.  Motherhood.

So…

To the woman who gave birth to me and who still drives an hour a day, every day, to spend time with us.  To the women who walked through every inch of Babies ‘R Us with me and told me what I really neededwho hand-delivered homemade dinners for three weeks after W was born…who have heard every minute detail of my birth story and seen my boobs more than they can count…who laugh with me when I get pooped on and still sit next to me at lunch…who fiercely defend my right to parent in a way that’s best for me even if it’s different from theirs…who offer kind words of support…who acknowledge when things are plain old shitty…who have taught me about compassion, humor and acceptance…who just listen.  To the women who just are: thank you.

Knowing they’ve you’ve got my back – that you’re standing alongside me as we face the challenges that come with each and every next step – that’s enough to remind me of the strength, beauty and sheer awesomeness I posses as a mother.  You remind me I’m doing a good job at this whole “life-sustaining” business.  And while you’re here, let me take the opportunity to tell you that YOU’RE doing a great job, too.  

Gratefully yours,

momME

image from http://legendofanomad.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gratitude.png

Pooparazzi

Why is it that when we become parents, it’s suddenly OK to start taking (and sending) pictures of poop?  Sure, it’s your child’s poop, but come on, it’s still poop!

Nonetheless, I’ve become oddly obsessed (and strangely proud) of W’s poops, especially since he’s started solids.  So much so, I feel the need to snap a pic and send to my hubby while he’s at work.  As if that’s really what he wants to see on his lunch break.  But, now that I’m a SAHM, validation of my productivity and stellar work are no longer in the form of praise from my boss…or recognition on a team call…or leading conversion rates in a data report.  Input and output have a WHOLE new meaning now…and I look for validation of my life-sustaining skills in a size 3 diaper.

Since no one’s here to see it, though, and it quickly makes its way into the trash, I guess I feel the need to document it and prove its existence.  As poor W is laying on his changing table, cute little butt exposed and vulnerable, I sometimes wonder, Is this what Kim Kardashian feels like?  People snapping any shot they can get, the worse the better?  Well, whatever, W doesn’t seem to mind.  In fact, he loves the iPhone.  So, onward with documenting the nasty.

Just call me the pooparazzi.  Validation of my new career now comes in so MANY different shapes…sizes…textures.  Yum.  Here’s a few I’m especially proud of:

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The “Play dough” poop – this was the second poop in a post-constipation trilogy.  It was pretty malleable… (The first was the “I haven’t pooped in 5 days pellet.”  It literally rattled around in his diaper.  Poor little guy).

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The “liquid lava” poop.  An explosion of poop.  Enough said.

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The “sweet potato soft serve” poop.  I was lucky enough to be changing him when he decided to squeeze this one out onto a wipe.

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The “Mommy, you didn’t pack an extra pair of pants for YOU?” poop.  Luckily this happened at my nursing group, though we were on our way to Whole Foods.  The lady behind me in line at the quesadilla counter thought it was REALLY funny.  Yeah.

NOTE:  Honorable mention goes to several others whose existence wasn’t captured –  the frothy “avocado” poop, the “I haven’t pooped in 5 days” pellet and the “fully intact green bean” poop.

Yours poo-ly,

MomMe

Chew on that, mom

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Lots of things are complicated when it comes to a new baby, but I didn’t think feeding W was one of them.  Until, like most things lately, I did a little research.

When the topic of starting solid food came up I didn’t think twice – we would spoon feed W yummy purees.  Being on the healthy side, I’d actually MAKE the purees here at home.  Take that, store-bought-purees, I thought.  I’m going to feed my baby the best.

Sigh.  Yet again, my new-mom-naivete slapped me in face. There is new research.  There are new schools of thought.  More decisions.  More explaining those decisions.  And that’s when I learned about BLW (another annoying mommy-blog-o-nym short for baby lead weaning…or baby lead solids).

The concept makes sense, I’ll admit that.  Baby learns to eat just like we eat.  Give them normal food in a sort of soft stage and let them feed themselves.  It puts the wheel (or the carrot stick) right in baby’s hand.  They decide if they’re hungry.  They decide if they’re not.  Research shows that babies who eat in this way are less picky because they’re introduced to more foods and textures.  Research shows that babies who eat this way have less allergies because they’re introduced to more foods.  Research shows that babies who eat this way choke less because they learn how much they can or can’t put in their mouths…and they actually learn to chew before they learn to swallow (with purees, they learn to swallow first…so when they begin to need to chew they’re tempted to swallow first).

Choking.  That’s where I’m stuck, folks.  I can NOT get passed the fact that gagging is a normal part of this learning phase with BLW!  I have an active imagination as it is.  I go into worst-case-scenario-mode in a matter of seconds.  To make things worse, this isn’t something totally imagined (like when I’m driving over a bridge and I start to think how I’d get W and the dog out of a sinking car if the bridge collapsed…).  This is actually happening, and the line between gagging (there is noise associated with this) and choking (silent) is so very fine.  I.Can’t.Deal.

Bottom line, I have to wait for the hubby to get home because I can’t do the BLW by myself.  If anything ever went wrong I couldn’t live with myself.  As I’m typing this, I’m thinking, Wow, this sounds so serious…like you’re talking about letting your kid play with knives while you’re home alone.  Nope, just talking about eating some avocado.

When did eating go from my FAVORITE pastime to something that now scares the living daylights out of me?  Where’s the fun in that?  I certainly don’t want my anxiety to scare W into thinking that eating is scary.

We’re going to keep trying.  Little by little.  Wedge of food after wedge of food.  Some nights I might have to call it quits after a serious gag/choke.  Some nights I might survive a few.  But, if it means he’s less likely to choke when he’s older…I guess I’ll *try* to stick with it.

Updates to follow.

Anxiously yours,

MomMe

Breastfeeding in Public – yay or nay?

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I whipped them out in front of the Apple store.  Yup.  That’s right.  I bared my breasts in the middle of the mall.  And I liked it.  And so did the elderly woman sitting next to me.  She actually applauded me.

This was the second time I’d whipped them out in public and BIP’d (insert obnoxious use of mommy blog-o-nym…means breastfeeding in public).  My little love bug got hungry while we were at Whole Foods having a delicious lunch with some visiting friends and my husband.  But does BIP really count at Whole Foods?  I’m not sure it does.  Just like it doesn’t really count when I’m at my mommy group or my breastfeeding group.  Granted, I was in the MOST high traffic area – the tables at the end of the check-out line, closest to the exit, where EVERYONE leaving the store had to walk by.  But, I just think the clientel at Whole Foods is far more accepting of things like breastfeeding – I mean, they’re spending about five times more for everything just to make sure it’s organic!  What is more organic than breastfeeding?  So, anyways, that experience definitely gave me the gusto to whip them out at the Mall…

I share this, though, not to recount my weekend activities.  But, I’ve come to find out that breastfeeding in public is a really controversial topic.  Before having a child I would have never thought twice about this!  Being the feminist I am, I’m really fascinated (ok, pissed off) with people’s thoughts as to why women should cover up or go home to breastfeed their babies.  But let’s be honest, I’m really just hell-bent on doing it to prove that I can.  Yup.  If you tell me I shouldn’t do something just because I’m a woman, I’m going to make darn sure I do it just to show you I can.  But really, folks, weren’t you hanging off your mother’s boob at some point, too?  A little hypocritical, no?  I mean, a kid’s gotta eat when a kid’s gotta eat.

It’s not my problem that you can’t walk by and realize there’s nothing more natural than a baby breastfeeding…that breasts aren’t a sexual organ…that there’s nothing unsanitary about FEEDING my child at the mall (umm, there’s a whole food court full of kids eating – do you walk by and give them the evil eye?).  It’s not my problem that you’ve been programmed to think of women, and women’s breasts, in a hyper-sexualized way.  Or maybe it is my problem.  Maybe that’s why I’m determined to BIP.  So that we can begin to normalize breastfeeding.  I mean, if I didn’t BIP, I’d be at home ALL day – that’s how much my little milk-monster eats!

But before I start sounding all self-righteous, I’ll be honest – I’VE been socialized to feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding…and as much as, ideologically, I believe in our right to BIP, it’s been a bit nerve-wracking and it probably will be for a while.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t do it…I’m determined to BIP whenever my little love bug wants to eat!

So, what do you mamas think?  Bare it anywhere or barely acceptable?

Yours truly,

MomME

Image from http://www.raisingthefawn.com

Top 10 mommy “blog-o-nyms”…and how to decode them!

Who knew I would have needed a third degree just to decipher the acronyms that pepper the world of mommy blogs? I wasn’t prepared for this…a trend I’m starting to notice…

I’m no stranger to acronyms. I can pick them up and throw them down with the best of them. I mean, I’m on maternity leave from one of the top non-profits in the country where we practically speak in acronyms. When people join staff we give them a million-pager as part of their on-boarding process. But, where was that one-pager for new moms? Where was the chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” that told me I’d first need to master a new language before I could extract any shred of information from any one of the thousands of blogs? I’m your typical Type-A, over-achiever and I HATE feeling out of the loop – especially when it’s something I could have prepared for. I mean, if I’d known about these crazy acronyms, I might have made some flash cards. I probably would have color coded them. I definitely would have quizzed myself in the weeks leading up to my due date. Yeah, that’s just the kind of student I am. And yeah, there are that many acronyms that this kind of measure would have been an appropriate action step.

So, ladies, let me share a few of my favorite mommy blog-o-nyms so that YOU don’t have to experience the same outsider-ness that I did when I turned to the web to answer some of my most burning, post-baby questions. Selfishly, too, I’ll probably be obnoxious and use some of these in my future posts and that would be unfair to not provide you the code beforehand! Be sure to read these, and more at the link below, before venturing into the world of mommy blogs:

1. LO = little one
2. DH/DF/DP = dear husband, dear fiance, dear partner
3. BIP/NIP = breast feeding/nursing in public
4. EBF = exclusively breast feeding
5. FF = formula feeding
6. FTM = first time mom
7. SAHM = stay at home mom
8. WOH = work out of home
9. BM = breast milk (but be CAREFUL!! can also mean bowel movement…)
10. EBM = expressed breast milk

Yours truly,
MomME

You can find even more here: http://www.babycenter.com/community-help-abbreviations

Red lipstick in labor

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My birth plan included red lipstick and fake eyelashes.  I’d even Googled “red lipstick in labor” to see if anyone else was feeling as bold as I was.  Not much luck.  I got a post telling me to wear waterproof mascara – not what I was looking for.    Call me shallow.  Call me narcissistic.  But I called it living out my inner feminist and I was hoping to find another momma who’d shared my gusto.  I mean, at what point in a woman’s life is she more in touch with her inner warrior-goddess than when she’s giving birth?   I wanted to look as radiant, glowing and ferocious on the outside as I felt on the inside.  I was even resolved to do it without meds, something many of my mommy friends raised their eyebrows at.  I mean, my mom did it without meds so I should, surely, be able to do the same right?

When I mentioned my vision of labor – red lips, glam lashes and no meds – I opened up the door to a flurry of strange looks, raised eyebrows and I’m sure many an internal dialogue that friends didn’t verbalize.  These two tenants in my plan seemed to be polar opposites to other folks, but honestly, it wasn’t their labor.  They hadn’t carried this little bundle of joy for nine months.  They weren’t going to try to squeeze something the size of an orange out of something the size of their nostril (proportionately speaking).  So, thanks for the thoughts, y’all, but this is my baby, my vagina, my birth plan and my way 🙂  I was sticking to my guns.  I was going to rock some red lipstick in labor and do it the old-fashioned way…

As much as I champion women who want to rock red lipstick in labor, I’m also a staunch believe that women have the right to change their minds.  And change them again.  Thus, scrawled across the top of my birth plan, in big bold letters, was “This is the plan until I say it isn’t.”  As all of you reading this who have been in labor before know, this is especially true during childbirth.  Labor isn’t really something you can plan.  Let’s be honest, the term “birth plan” is really an oxymoron.  Now, it should be known that I wasn’t THAT naive to think labor would happen exactly according to my plan.  I mean, I’d been to classes, read my Ina May Gaskin book and was totally at peace with the fact that our little love-bug would make his entrance into the world however he saw fit and there wasn’t anything I could do to change that.

I had a flexible mindset regarding labor.  The kicker here, though, was that in my mind “labor” (the intense, screaming, otherworldly experience) occurred at the hospital.  In my mind, we’d lounge about at home in between contractions until they got to 3-4 minutes apart for an hour.  In my mind, and written in my birth plan, I’d have time to take a shower, blow-dry my cute bob, put on my mascara, fake eye lashes and throw on a coat of my favorite MAC Lipglass.

Well, my water broke at 7am on Sunday, February 3rd – a day after my due date.  But, contractions didn’t start right away.  I was thinking, this is what I’d planned – let the lounging and prepping commence.  When I felt my first contraction, I decided it was time to head upstairs and take a shower so I’d be ready when it was time to go in a few hours.  By the time I reached the bathroom, I realized that things were happening a bit faster than anticipated.  Go figure.  I could barely get dressed – the contractions were so intense and left me with no time to recover before the next one hit.  As I stood over my vanity, barely able to put on my Bare Minerals, I was beginning to think that applying my fake lashes might result in me gluing my eyes shut it I attempted them in my current state.  So, I grit my teeth and put on my Bare Minerals until the next contraction hit.  Then I’d walk to the closet, bend over the window seat in pain, and when it was over head back to the vanity to apply the next step in my make-up routine.  If there wasn’t time or physical ability to wear my fake lashes and red lipstick, I was at least going to put on some blush and mascara 🙂  Though it was a bit of a hack-job application, I left the house feeling like the warrior-goddess I was.  I was also feeling pain like I’d never known, but I was a warrior-goddess nonetheless.  To make a short story shorter, we arrived at the hospital in active labor.  I changed my mind – because I had the right to – and requested an epidural.  However, by the time they got it all ready I was 10cm dilated and ready to push.  Back to the original plan it was.  I closed my eyes and imagined my inner warrior-goddess rocking red lips, and pushed.  Several pushes later our little guy was in my arms.

While, in the end, I didn’t rock my red lips and lashes…I don’t look back and think it was silly of me to want that.  For the most part, my “plan” to rock my inner and external warrior-goddess happened in some way, shape or form.  In fact, next baby I might just wake up every day in the days leading up to my due date, and put on my lashes and lips just to make sure I don’t miss the chance again.  I share this not to start a trend of women laboring with red lipstick (though that would be amazing), but because it’s symbolic of my greater beliefs.  Symbolic of our strength as women.  Our beauty – whatever that means to you.  Our agency.  Symbolic of a woman’s right to make choices that are right for HER, and HER alone, at that moment.  Knowing that she might make a different choice in the same situation in the future that doesn’t mean that one choice was right and the other wrong.  So, don’t let anyone talk you out of wearing your proverbial red lipstick.  Whatever your “red lipstick” is, rock it proudly, ladies, and reserve the right to change your mind.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Yours truly,

MomME

photo courtesy of Pinterest here http://pinterest.com/pin/259519997247135810/

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