Five on Friday: My Baby Faves

When I was pregnant, I spent countless hours asking my friends what I needed for the baby and scouring Lucie’s List and Amazon for reviews on cribs, strollers, jumperoos, baby bathtubs, the works! I’ve learned mostly through trial and error what works for us and what doesn’t, but I thought I’d share some of my personal “must haves” for a first time mom.

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Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat. This thing is amazing. We started using it when Baby E turned three months, so that she wouldn’t have to constantly be on her back or tummy. She did ok with Tummy Time, but she really enjoyed being able to sit and play. I was able to put her in her “froggy chair” and wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, put the laundry away, etc. Of course as soon as I bought this one, they came out with one that has a tray so you can put other toys on it. Even so, this chair is a definite winner for us!

 

81cnwlz4uwl-_sx522_Boon Grass Drying Rack. I wasn’t planning on bottle-feeding, but it is what it is. I bought bottles before baby arrived as a backup, and it’s a good thing I did. On Amazon Prime Day last summer, I saw the Boon Grass Drying Rack available and I realized that if I did end up using bottles, I was going to need somewhere convenient to dry them. This thing is wonderful. It sits right next to our dish drainer on the counter, but it allows me to keep all of her bottle parts (thanks, Dr. Brown) together. Just lift the grass out, dump the excess water and wipe it all down.

 

41oemawsmklNoseFrida. I know, I know. It’s disgusting to even think of sucking snot out of your baby’s nose with your mouth. BUT, trust me, when your precious little peanut is having trouble breathing and the stupid bulb aspirator you got from the hospital just isn’t cutting it, you’ll try anything. One of my best friends bought me one and it is probably the single best baby gift anyone has given me. I’ll give one to every expecting mom from now on because it is THAT awesome. The boogers don’t come anywhere close to your mouth, by the way. There is no way possible that you could ever accidentally suck down some of your baby’s snot.

81e045uv26l-_sy679_Ergobaby Four Position Carrier. I know it’s expensive. I held out on buying one for that very reason. However, I’ve tried a K*tan, a Boba, an Infantino Unison, and the Ergo, and the Ergo far surpasses all of the others. The K*tan was frustrating because although it’s easy to put on, it’s not adjustable. The Boba is adjustable since you have to wrap it yourself, but I didn’t feel like it was secure enough once Baby E weighed over about 10 pounds. Plus, it was hard for me to get the fabric stretched quite right once I had to let her little legs dangle out. The Infantino Unison is pretty awesome since it’s a soft structured carrier – just put it on over your head, pop baby in, buckle, and go. Easy peasy, it’s adjustable, and it’s small enough to throw in the diaper bag. This was my favorite for a little while, but as Baby E got bigger, I couldn’t get the fabric to stay spread from knee-to-knee – I had to adjust it every few minutes. And although it says you can carry baby forward-facing, it’s not ergonomic for baby as their legs just dangle straight down – no hip support. The Ergo is pricey, it’s a little harder to put on (I can’t reach the between-the-shoulder-blades clasp by myself), but WOW is it comfy. It feels incredibly secure, Baby E seems comfy, and there’s no questioning whether baby is in it correctly.

41szcbn2t5lBaby Einstein Take Along Tunes. This was another gift, and it has been a lifesaver. Anything with lights and music is GREAT, but I like that this is small and easy for Baby E to hold by herself. She can press the button easily enough, and the lights keep her entertained when she’s starting to have a meltdown. I’ve been using it with her ever since she was a newborn, but now she’s finally old enough to play with it independently and she loves it. It follows us from room to room and she chews on it and has a great time.

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Unintentional Hiatus

So, I just realized that I haven’t posted since mid-December. Haha, oops. Every night when I lie down in bed, I go over in my mind all the things I want to write about and I keep telling myself I will start again tomorrow.

My absence has not been for lack of material, I assure you of that. New motherhood leaves no shortage of good blog material! I’m just so TIRED all the time, despite the fact that Baby E sleeps for 12 hours every night. The 24/7 responsibility for another person is just exhausting no matter how much rest you’re getting.

I’ve also been dealing with some PPD/PPA issues since October, and I fully intend to write about them once I get my thoughts in order. While I was ashamed at first, I know now that I have nothing to feel bad about. I believe that it’s important for me to share my experience so that other moms may read about it and realize they’re not alone or crazy or bad mothers. I am happy to report that I’m doing much better now thanks to medication and opening up to my friends and family.

Otherwise, my days are full of snuggles and smiles and dirty diapers. Baby E has started solids and is working on crawling. She has also mastered the fine art of screeching like a howler monkey, and she enjoys sharing this talent with the world at the most inopportune times, such as during Mass. She has moved into her crib and we have a convertible car seat sitting in the office just waiting to be installed. She loves to roll around and put everything in her mouth. She also drools like a faucet, so I spend a large chunk of time washing the 30+ bibs we have every couple of days.

She is growing up much too quickly, as babies tend to do. I’m doing my best to enjoy every second with her and to savor all of the sloppy kisses and nighttime hand-holding because I know that it will all be over before I know it.

Adventures with Santa

One of the things I most looked forward to while pregnant was Christmas and all of the traditions I planned on continuing from when I was little, as well as new traditions I wanted to implement for Baby E. I absolutely insisted to hubby that we had to take her for pictures with Santa.

I bought her a fancy Christmas dress and tights. I researched which mall had the best Santa. We got her dressed, packed her up, and headed out only to find massive lines that looked hours long. We tried three separate times on different days at different times and still no luck. I found out that some malls let you make a reservation to minimize the wait time, but you have to prepay for a package and it’s nonrefundable. One thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a mother is that infants are unpredictable and paying for anything in advance is a bad idea.

We decided to give it one last chance at a different mall near hubby’s job. I planned to meet him there in the afternoon. If it didn’t work out, then I would go on my own with the baby first thing on a weekday morning.

She woke up from her nap. I fed her. I asked her to please not poop until we got home. She smiled, which I took as agreement. I ended up having to buy her the same dress in a bigger size because she outgrew the other one in the short time we had it. I dressed her, putting a cloth diaper in between her disposable and her dress, just in case she had a poopsplosion in the car.

Everything was fine as we were driving. I could hear her in the back seat playing with her kitty. All of a sudden it got eerily quiet and for a brief second I thought I was fortunate enough that she had nodded off again. My excitement was short-lived, however, when I heard the first tell-tale grunt of a pooping baby. Not long after those brief strains did I hear the explosion of poop and I knew immediately that her outfit was ruined. And to add insult to injury we were stopped in traffic and the car was slowly filling with the stink of dirty diaper.

When we got to the mall, I had to take her out of her car seat and assess the damage in the car. I ended up having to strip her naked in the Macy’s parking lot and essentially bathe her with baby wipes. She had poop all the way up her back, on her legs, on her stomach, everywhere. Her white tights were ruined. The cloth diaper took the brunt of the damage, but her pretty dress was a close second. Luckily I had brought a backup dress with me, although it wasn’t nearly as festive.

Clean and dressed, we made our way to Santa and hubby. Luckily there were only about 5 families in line ahead of us. We waited about 15 minutes and then I had to hand her over to a stranger – what a bizarre feeling. I stood behind the photographer and called her name and waved and tried to get her to smile. Hubby tried the same on the other side. No luck. She refused to smile, but she didn’t cry either, so I’m calling it a win.

On Being a Motherless Mother

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Today marks five years since my mom passed away. Like every single day, I miss her terribly and wish she were here. This year is especially difficult because I am a mother now as well and feel like I am missing out because she isn’t here to experience it with me.

The night before my mom died, I remember thinking a few different things. The first thing that crossed my mind was, How are we ever going to celebrate the holidays again? Thanksgiving is next week. The next thing I thought was, I am never going to have children if it means that she won’t be able to meet them. I swore to myself that there was no way I would ever want to have a baby because my child would never know their nana, and she would never meet her grandchild. I felt this way for a long time, but then my best friend, Christina, gave me some amazing advice that made me change my outlook on the situation.

During my pregnancy, I mostly ignored the fact that my mom wasn’t around. This was especially hard because pretty much every baby book and website tells you to turn to your mom, sister, or aunt when the baby arrives. Also, doctors constantly ask about your mother’s pregnancy and labor, so I was continually having to tell people that she had died several years prior. This always led to looks of sympathy and apologies on their part and lots of awkwardness on my part. I turned to my dad for answers to my questions about my mom’s pregnancy – Did she have a lot of morning sickness? How long did she work? Were there any complications? How long was her labor? Did she have an epidural? What was her recovery like?

Then Baby E was born and the second I looked into her eyes my heart swelled with more love than I have ever known in my whole life. And I finally understood my mother. I realized in that moment that all the times she asked about my day she wasn’t trying to be nosy, she asked because she cared. When she wanted a hug she wasn’t being weird and pushy, she just loved me so much. When she sacrificed things so that I could have something, she did it willingly and without regret.

I miss her now more than ever because I finally understand her. When I sit in the dark with Baby E, rocking her to sleep and holding her little hand, I sometimes cry because I can’t tell my mom how much I appreciate her and everything she did for me. We sit in the chair in the nursery underneath a photo of my great nana, my nana, my mom, and me. I love that photo more than anything because it inspires me to always be as strong and kind and loving as the women who came before me.