Sunday, May 23, 2010


When you gleefully spread the word that you're expecting a bundle of joy (squeal!), people come out of the woodwork to tell you all about the trials and tribulations of the process - from pregnancy to early parentood. What seems like every conversation starts off with "When I was pregnant..." or "[insert kid's name] did this and that" ("this and that" being the most brilliant, funny, or nightmarish thing ever, of course), and is followed by cure-alls, fix-its, and other various ways to cope. Let's just say the advice was not in short supply. Not only that, but it was totally helpful. Like with everything else in life, once you go through the process yourself, you not only connect your experience with all that advice (ah, now I get what she meant by "pain like you've never experienced before"), but you also build your own stories and come up with personal words of wisdom. After all, you're now an old pro. But, you're also left scratching your head at some tidbits that apparently missed the advice train. Here are some of those things, in no specific order, that you wished They would've mentioned:

1. Despite heroic efforts, sometimes you're just not going to know what in the hell your baby wants. And that's OK because eventually you'll figure it out (but be prepared to not look graceful in the process).

2. Parenthood is not always full of blissful goo-goo and ga-ga moments. Sure, They warn you about the sleep deprivation, but there are moments when you want to tear your hair out from what seems like nothing (which is actually the cumulative stress of the life-changing transition you've just been thrust into).

3. Formula smells disgusting.

4. It's not the middle-of-the night feedings that are the roughest, it's the one that takes place 45 minutes before your alarm clock goes off that makes you want to pound your fists into the mattress.

5. Lanugo, the downy fine hair that keeps your baby warm in utero, is frightening when you see it in person. The ear hair alone can rival that of any 80-year-old grandfather. Quick, make that wax appointment at the spa for two! (just kidding, don't call Child and Family Services on me).

6. Babies develop acne and, just like with teenagers, it's not cute.

7. Despite their convenience (those suckers snap into everything!), car seats are bulky, awkward, and more difficult to schlep around than what those fabulous moms in 4-inch heels make it seem.

8. Your beautiful bundle of joy will molt. Not only that, you will find yourself itching to slather her with any lotion you can get your hands on (a newfound no-no).

9. We definitely all know about and expect the sleep deprivation, but what They don't warn you about is that you do asinine things as a result of this extreme fatigue - like, oh, say walking into a Thai restaurant to pick up a pizza you ordered from the Italian place nearby (and, instead of realizing you're in the wrong place, you wonder why the Italian place has Asian decor).

10. If you weren't already, you will become One with the clock. However, that's only for timing the feedings. Otherwise, you will be late for everything despite giving yourself 5 hours to get ready.

11. Along those lines, spontaneity is totally out the window.

12. Babies have ironic timing. Example: Leaning down to your beautiful bundle to teasingly say, "You're smelly" only to have her respond with two farts in your palm and a sly little grin (that's our girl!)

13. The clothes may be tiny, but laundry loads double. And, although you're prepared for multiple onesie changes, what They don't tell you is that you go through that many outfit changes yourself because, unfortunately, the baby doesn't just spit up on herself.

14. On the spit up note...pristine, adorable baby clothes acquire tan splotches after only one wear. Worse yet, that tan crap doesn't seem to wash out. Booooo hissss.

15. The baby monitor doesn't just capture the baby's noises. You can be heard over that blasted thing, too.

So, these are just a few tidbits I wish someone would've told me. I'm sure there will be plenty more to come, and you can bet they'll show up in the blog....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Success! Thanks to Hubby having to work a double shift today (meaning that he had to rise and shine at 4AM), Leila slept in her crib last night! Now, before you get too excited (OK, maybe it's just her own mother relishing in this), it was only a 3-hour success. But I'll take it! After Leila's 2AM feeding, she was noisy enough that we went into the nursery to allow Hubby a couple of hours to sleep. Oh, this was going to be a challenge. You should know, Hubby and I have had a hard time putting Leila to bed in the crib. Call it anxiety or call it wanting to stay in our comfort zone - after all, she calms so quickly in her little comfy lambie swing - we (aka Hubby) immediately "rescues" her from the big bad crib after about, oh, 60 seconds. And if the rescue isn't so swift, Daddy is planted at cribside, hovering over the edge of crib watching Leila's every move with the baby monitor held directly up to his ear like a cell phone.

So, back to last night...out of pure fatigue, I put her in the crib without reservation and flopped my tired self into the big girl bed at cribside. I laid there anxiously waiting to see what was about to transpire. Although I was thrilled she didn't start testing the strength of those little lungs, I wasn't in the clear yet. Of course, she was totally fine - just making the sounds babies do when they're settling into sleep. But, let me give you an idea of what was running through my mind...What was *that* noise? Is that normal? I should check on her. No, I cannot check on her - she's fine. Did she just spit up? I should check on her. No, I cannot check on her - she's fine. Was that a pre-meltdown noise? I should check on her. No, I cannot check on her - she's fine. Crap, Hubby has rubbed off on me! I, with my training in child development, am supposed to be the voice of reason. Here I am, laying wide awake (albeit with my eyes closed, as if I'm fooling anyone into thinking that I'm sleeping) worrying about every breath, sound, sneeze, name it. But, as we say in psychology, it's all about the "reframe." So, instead of focusing on having become the ball of nerves I gently tease Hubby about, I'm choosing to enjoy the fact that we made it over a big hurdle last night!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


For those who know me, most (OK fine, all) would say that I'm not the most domestic creature. Quite the opposite actually. If I could pay someone to go around the house and pick up all my half-empty cans filled with flat coke, I totally would (takers, anyone??). So, as you can imagine, this motherhood gig is quite the challenge for my domestic incompetence. I thought I was doing good - staying on top of cleaning bottles, doing dishes, doing loads of laundry, wiping the kitchen countertops get the drift. But it's crazy just how much one 8lb little being can produce in a day...forget that, in an HOUR! After I've wiped the kitchen countertops clean, what seems like 2 minutes later, residue from powdered formula crops up all over the place (can someone explain how it got down in the stove??) and, now, wet rings from newly washed bottles have seemingly reproduced like those creepy camelback crickets in the basement. Talk about leaving a girl feeling deflated! Worse yet, by the end of the day, despite feeling like my day couldn't have been busier, it looks like I've done absolutely nothing except make sure the dent in the sofa stays exactly in the shape of my butt! This raises the question that's been wracking my brain for the past couple of weeks now: how the heck is the condo going to survive once I go back to work? And who would've thought that this would be the primary concern of an undomestic goddess? On that note, some countertops are calling my name....

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Naming your soon-to-be bundle of joy is a big deal. Not only will your child carry this with them for life, but it is the first thing that truly connects you to them before their big arrival in a way that is far more real than looking at an ambiguous picture (which, quite frankly, resembles a big-headed Seuss character). But once a name is chosen, GAME ON! This little fuzzy black-and-white Who all of a sudden becomes a real little person - YOUR real little person. For me, once we decided on a name, I started fantasizing about what she would look like. Whose features would she have? Would she have big blue eyes like her daddy? Long legs? Would she make sarcastic zingers like her mommy? Or, Heaven forbid, would she like the History Channel?!

For me, the name game was a difficult one. Once we found out we were having a girl, hubby knew pretty quickly that he wanted to name our bundle Leila (pronounced "Leela") - my grandmother's name. Leila is a pretty, feminine name that you don't hear that often, but not as obscure as a cuckoo fad name (Apple, anyone?). In fact, the name brings up many positive attributes for me. However, after losing my grandmother in 2008, the name became loaded. As beautiful as it is, it felt wrong to call anyone else by her name. When I hear "Leila," I picture a petite, white-haired grandmother with wide, sparkling blue eyes and a grin that made you wonder just what secret she was hanging on to. But, I remained torn. Even though it was strange and uncomfortable to call someone else Leila, my grandmother was so special that I also loved the idea of making our little baby girl her namesake. Ultimately, we decided to go for it. We feel confident that Baby Leila can carry the name well and make her great-grandmother proud.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So, the title says it all. Well almost. It's all about the punctuation, people. Right about now I'm feeling the period, the question mark, and the exclamation point. I'M A MOTHER. The period makes the most simple and pure statement of the recent change in roles in my life. I'm a wife, daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend, and - yes - now a mother. I'M A MOTHER? The question mark captures my disbelief in this change in roles and the fact that I am now responsible for the well-being of a little human being, despite still feeling like a kid myself at times. Almost 3 weeks have passed since we welcomed Baby Leila into our lives, but it still does not feel real. When people ask how we're adjusting, with humor I respond that I have moments when I expect her parents to show up at our door ready to take her back home. Although I joke, it's true. But those are just moments - which, quite honestly, are fueled by the grueling feeding schedule and the seemingly never ending sleep deprivation. The many other moments are captured by the exclamation point...I'M A MOTHER! It's such an exciting transition, albeit overwhelming. Two days after Leila's birth, Josh and I were sitting on the couch snuggling with our little monkey and out of nowhere, the realization hit us - we're a family. That's right, we shot straight from partnership into family, all within a blink of an eye. One minute we're two people facing an abstract transition, while the next we're staring at our beautiful (and I mean beautiful!) baby girl.

I've wondered if this mix of emotion is normal. When I have my question mark moments, I feel guilty. You hear about so many women embracing what seems like the bliss of mommyhood, and here I am wondering what in the hell I've gotten myself into. But all it takes is a little grin, soft coo, or a tight grasp of my finger to turn my question mark moment into one with an exclamation point.