Welcome to the wonderful world of “What to do”

Ok. So a few things to start:

1) I love numbered points; they bring order to a world of chaos

2) Seriously, I may be writing TOO MANY blogs this week but I have so much to say

3) This may be funny so feel free to laugh

“But I don’t know what to doooooooooo” I whined to my husband.

A little background: I am due back at work after a year off maternity leave in mid-July when my baby turns one. I don’t know if I should go back to work (with no hope of promotion anytime soon), find a different job close to home, waitress, open a home daycare, tutor on the side, give up altogether and just go on welfare… those are not all serious options but you get my drift. I don’t know what to do in mid-July. It will cost lots of money for daycare, gas and parking to go back to my current job which has sweet benefits and excellent perks but I am now a mother and thinking first of my baby who is growing up way TOO FAST and she needs me and I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (I am now whining to you, the reader).

So just a little more background to those of you who don’t know me… I am the kind of person who sits there in the McDonalds drive-thru (is that how you spell ‘thru’? Looks odd) anyway, and I hum and haw over what I want EVERY SINGLE TIME, even though I order the same thing EVERYTIME! I know what you’re thinking- “She eats at McDonalds? Who does that?” and I reply “Have you ever noticed how people sneak McDonald’s into their lives now? It’s like they would rather admit to being alcoholics before admitting that they indulged in a Big Mac and fries?” Has our society really become so extremely health conscious that the Golden Arch became a symbol of obesity and mockery? Really? I know what you’re thinking- again. What does that have to with a background about me?

I will tell you… yes I do.

I am a really creative thinker who tries to keep up with everyone else but my focus shifts slightly every few seconds. It is hard to think about the same thing for a long period of time because I get really tired or distracted. There is so much to think about and so little time. So I try to go for equity and think about everything a little bit at a time. That way other things don’t get jealous that I didn’t think about them. See? I told you that I will tell and now I did.

On to more about moi. I am just so sad because my baby is getting so big. Every morning I wake up and come to her crib she seems to expand. Overnight. I am not kidding. Dead serious. I’m scared to blink or sleep for that matter (I’m not really sleeping- see previous post about the mummy). Anyway, I don’t know when she does it. She is growing behind my back. I look away to clean up the trail of soggy cookie she left behind as she attempted to crawl/scootch/back surf and then I look back and she’s an inch taller (I am exaggerating a little but you understand). I need her to just slow down. I am obviously not wishing her to stop growing altogether, just take it down a notch, or two or ten! The older she gets, the older I get and soon she will be taller than me.

More background: I am only 4’10”; she is already half my height. Not really a great achievement for her. I am one inch above a legal little person – just so you have context for that last comment I made.

Back to my weirdly ADD blog post of tonight. I didn’t want to write a super long blog because let’s face it, people have lives and so on and so forth. So I will leave you with a new comical segment called ‘Have you ever noticed…”

Have you ever noticed?

…that babies only try and grab the things they are not supposed to touch despite the fact that their toys are all around them they still reach for the remote control halfway across the ottoman

…that people seem to smile and wave at me in the car after being behind me and thinking that I was waving and playing with them in the rear-view mirror but I was really playing my with my baby

…that half the freakin’ handicapped doors in plazas, restaurants, gyms, malls and arenas DO NOT WORK

…that you can name, if asked, everything your baby ate in the past 72 hours but you have no idea what you had for lunch

…that older moms who take your baby in social gatherings apparently know less than you about taking care of your baby because their kids are old and they must have forgotten so you remind them that she wants to stand/sit/sleep/eat/burp/play even though they already knew that but they are too polite to tell you

…that a glass of wine after the baby is asleep is just not enjoyable because there is a big chance you will have to rise from slumber to attend to your little bundle of misery at 4 am

…that showering daily really takes a back seat compared to making sure the baby’s bag is packed for the next eventful day, cleaning up toys or even bumming in front of the TV

…that you are just itching for your baby to be that perfect age where they can enjoy more things than tummy raspberries and laughing at farting noises you make with your lips

…that we can’t wait for our baby to be mobile then when they start moving we are always wishing for the old days where we can just leave them on the couch and return to find them there a few minutes later

…that someone would invent baby earplugs so they can remain asleep in loud restaurants or at the grandparent’s house when the grandfather clock strikes 12

…that you only start noticing the amount of people with strollers at the mall when you have a baby yourself

…that you smile knowingly and have an intense urge to provide advice and words of encouragement for moms whose babies are younger than yours

Join the insanity…ehem, I mean fun… what are some things YOU can add?? (Threw you for a loop, this blog just got INTERACTIVE! Oh Yeah)

I am waiting for you to join in…

 

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The MUMMY returns…

 

 

That’s how I feel when I don’t get sleep…like a mommy mummy. My daughter is waking up now every night at around 4:00 am. This explains my urgent need and desire to pen yet another blog. Let me know if I am coming at you too hard and too fast with these blogs. I can always slow down the releases to make sure you are reading all of them… in sequence. Your call.

Back to the mummy issue. Wow. There are some things I have realized in the past week or so that I didn’t realize before:

1) It sucks when the baby sleeps through the night for months and months and then decides to suddenly start waking up in the most ungodly hours. It really unbalances your clock and screws with your homeostasis (grade 6 Science- oh yeah) It also feels like a slight betrayal every time- “Grrrrr child, how can you lead me on this way?”

2) When my baby wakes at 4:00 am, it is never slow or subtle. It is loud and violent. As if she is well aware that it is a horrible time to be awake and she not only acknowledges it, she too isn’t happy about it.

3) I hate teething more than fish.

4) I never knew how cold you can get when you leave the warm covers to pick up the baby and stand there rocking back and forth. Then you creep back slowly into your bed and it is astoundingly cold. You have to start the warming process all over- I hate that!

5) My husband can sleep through it.

6) I am constantly finding myself saying “shhhssshhhhssshhh” but I end up making more noise than her and realize that my shushing is what is keeping awake.

7) I am always torn as to whether she needs a bottle to go back to bed but then I worry that she will have to burp, fart and poop and then we will have to change the diaper then she will wake up fully and will want to play- oh gosh, I am reading myself write this and I am realizing how selfish I sound but hey it is true. That is my thought process.

8) How soon is too soon to decide that Tempra or a shot of Whiskey is in order?

9) After she’s asleep, I can still hear her crying in my head as I try to go back to bed.

10) There are 26 more teeth to come (go ahead, stab me now with a blunt object because that is exactly what this painful process is like)

In all seriousness now, and yes the previous part was also serious but this is more serious than the previous serious part-

How can I describe a mother’s pain when her baby is in pain? It’s like a broken rib, every time she cried, it hurt to breathe. I hated holding her little, feverish, aching body in my arms as I try to calm her down with my embrace. In the strongest and most soothing voice I can manage, I try to reassure her that the pain is temporary and that it will desist soon. I hum, rock and bounce as feverishly as her heated forehead. I administer medicine and pray with my eyes closed and head placed gently atop hers. I place her in my arms, stomach to stomach and cover us with a blanket so she can hear my heartbeat and be sure that we beat as one. I remember the days she was a newborn and how she fit in the nook between my shoulder and my neck. I look to see her tiny baby feet extended all the way down and almost touching my thighs when she lies on my belly. I pray that the combination of steady rocking, humming and medicine are working together to give her comfort and relief. My tears mix with hers because ultimately, I have never known what it meant when my mother said “When your baby hurts, you hurt” until now. She shivers and I feel it in my core. She gnaws on my shoulder and I feel the blinding pain of the tooth impaling my gums, she whimpers and I feel the twists in my gut as surely as my own pain. I convulse with the fever and feel the heat in my jaw. I shake with the pain and just wish it away over and over and over again. How do people do this repeatedly? How can other moms deal with a sickly baby or one with a special need? I can’t even stand the thought of her teething!

I have never appreciated my own mom until this moment. I never understood the blind and desperate things that mothers do for their children. I under-estimated and lightly mistook the intensity of feelings that are part of just “being” a mom. So I want to take a moment to thank my mother. Who held me when I was in pain and wept when I whimpered. I want to recognize every good mom out there who experiences their baby’s pain and still manages to keep it together. I want to make a special note of recognition to the moms with babies how have special needs and physical differences. I salute your resolve, your patience, your unwavering faith, your unconditional love and your courage. I can’t imagine what it’s like but I am sure glad God created you to take care of those babies in your care. You are heroes and champions. You are the greatest and most accomplished of God’s creations.

I respect all moms who have borne and raised multiple children, single moms and those who have fostered, adopted and inherited children from others.

No matter how you came to be, YOU ARE A MOMMY… and for that I thank and appreciate you.

Smartignani

p.s: Dads, you’re cool too.

I am no ‘Martha Stewart’ but I sure know how to RANT!

This blog will be about an issue I am experiencing right now (as if every other blog isn’t- right?)

I know that there are moms out there that are baking/boiling/steaching (see previous post for definition) baby-bulleting and pureeing every food out there for their baby- nice and fresh. I also know that this is definitely healthy and recommended but don’t judge me for what I am about to say but before I say it- moms who do the above, good on you- keep it up!

As for the rest of us who prefer to purchase ready-made, delicious meals in small, cute, recyclable jars that say ‘organic’ on them, why are we so ashamed? Why must I feel so guilty when another person asks, “Oh, what is she eating?” Why must I feel the same twinge of guilt I felt when I had to confess to every stranger that I couldn’t breast-feed? Why must we hide our jars and place the food in containers so people think we were the ones who cooked the vegetables with pork loin and apple cinnamon (as if I would ever dream of THAT combination anyway!) Why must I hide the fact that my baby is eating baby food as if I’m secretly forcing her into indulging in some form of drug or unhealthy past-time?

I am done hiding and I am definitely done caring. Yes- I buy my baby’s food because I suck at cooking to begin with. Never really enjoyed it nor will I ever. I cook out of necessity and only because I adore my husband and his extremely fit waist line. I also cook because I get hungry but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t and that is the honest truth!

I don’t know how some mothers do it? Really? My husband works from home which means he can actually look after our daughter for some stretches of time while I go to the washroom, or shower or put make up on but some moms actually do all of that with their husband AT work. I also don’t know how some moms have time for Yoga (hence the attached photo), manicures, pedicures, hairdos, shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, napping, exercising, walking, visiting, appointments, reading AND spending time with their significant other. How?? Is there is a secret? Should I clone myself? Because I believe something truly has got to give…

I don’t think that any one human being can manage all of that and still maintain a healthy lifestyle or even time with the baby. I have seen moms say they spend time with their baby while they cook or clean but I say- NO. That does not count. Spending time with the baby means concentrating your total energy, attention and focus on the baby; spending time laughing, playing, singing, tickling. 100% devotion to looking at your baby and letting them know that you are their centre and that they are your core. Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on- here it is…

I studied Early Childhood Education eons ago and I also took developmental psychology in university and one thing really stuck with me regarding baby-rearing skills and that one thing is the attachment theory. If you haven’t heard of it, look it up because I told you so and because it might change your views on why your baby acts the way they do. The most famous theorist is John Bowlby and you can read more about this theory HERE. In short, attachment theories theorize that theoretically, babies form four main types of attachments depending on the relationship they have with their caregiver(s): secure, ambivalent, avoidant and disorganized. Obviously, everyone should aim for the first one because it frankly sounds the best. Truth is, your interaction with your baby (nurture) is key to enhancing, expanding, improving, organizing and nurturing their inherent genetic conceptions, perceptions and outlooks of the world (nature). So in reality, if your child is clingy or very scared of social situations, then it is partially of their fear that you will not be around. Now remember to take everything I write and everything everyone says with a grain of salt because as per my previous post, EVERY BABY IS UNIQUE so this may not apply to you. Some babies are just naturally clingy because they love cuddling, not because they have a bad form of attachment. Please don’t misread my post because I am not judging- I am just discussing.

Please, no death threats to my e-mail address, you will scare the children! =)

Back to what I was ranting about, I don’t have time. I don’t know how to lose weight, cook healthy meals for my baby and husband, look pretty with cuticle grooming and follicle tweezing while maintaining a healthy, one-on-one time with my little bundle of joy who is so not joyful when I have to put her in the high-chair or jumper to do dishes. If there is a secret, please share? I think I need help. I also need to lose 25 pounds, if you know how to do that as well, please share.

There IS good news. I have made peace with the pouch. The one that hangs over my pre-existing lady parts. It is the remaining, stretchy skin as a result of the pregnancy that refuses to even decrease a little despite the hundreds of crunches I have done. Celebrity moms must have trainers, chefs, nutritionists and surgeons because I sure as heck would have no excuse if I had a team of people working towards eliminating the jut in the gut.

All in all, I think I am doing an ok job with things. I am learning as I go and I would have it no other way. I have lost 35 pounds from my obscene just-before-delivery weight and I am continuing to work out after my little angel surrenders to slumber. I am also learning new recipes to prepare for my little hungry monkey when she’s older (I’m practicing on my hubby who is too kind and will eat anything I make- I love you hunny!) I am also, and this is my proudest achievement, spending at least two hours a day with my little baby girl singing, dancing, playing, tickling, talking, counting, alphabetting, spoiling, hugging, kissing, snuffling and booty scootching!

What’s the point of maternity leave if you are going to spend it doing anything else?

Until next time,

Smartignani

 

Fact or Bias?

I am really confused. Is my baby cute or do people just say that because she is a baby? I know that I’m biased and that this bias propels me into thinking that no one and I    mean NOT A SINGLE LIVING SOUL is cuter than my daughter. But I am also quite aware of the fact that this stems from the depth of my soul which connects to the body that once conceived, bore and delivered this baby. I do believe that God instills an inherent switch in our hearts that flicks on and builds as the child grows older and we attempt to remember how cute they used to be before they turned 14 and sour and is that a piercing????

Ok. I am freaking out a little. Every book I read (including Chicken Soup for the New Mom’s Soul- good read by the way- highly recommend it) advises moms to “live in the moment”. Really? I can’t help it if I tried. My husband yells down, “Hun, are we ready to go?” and I reply “Yes, in a moment”. Night before church he asks “Have you packed her bag?” and my response “I will, in a moment”. I don’t seem to place the exact moment things actually get done or where the sum of the moments in the past 9 months went but I know this- I blinked and she grew. She is outgrowing her baby clothes and the sleepers are precariously close to resembling real clothes. She is that ‘freaky doll size’, the one in horror movies with the kid whispering a hummed tune “la la, la la, they’re coming”. I am not saying she isn’t cute still but she is a little too big to be adorable. She is the right size though, to be perfect, in my eyes (and that isn’t bias talking, it’s a fact!)

On to more important topics that undoubtedly still involve my daughter and every minute thing she does because let’s face it; this is why I write these blogs. She is my material. God has a plan for everyone. Me, He decided to give me a spirited, loud, effervescent, dynamic daughter so I can write about her and let every other mom out there know that their child is/not unique. But they are, I joke…I only joke.Please no death threats to my e-mail address.

Wait a minute, I remembered why I decided to write this blog now…

Why are mothers (me included) so afraid of their baby being delayed? I had one mother tell me that her daughter isn’t crawling at 10 months… so what?? Some go straight to running, I’m told. Also, some moms actually bee lined to me at Church to complain about the generic (and I would like to emphasize the word ‘GENERIC“) milestones that their baby has not yet accomplished. Really? Our benchmark for our unique creatures that are made up of the DNA of two unique people and created by the Creator who creates each person differently needs standards and milestones?

Here is my milestone- what if we were measured by the same metrics… can you imagine?

“Hey hunny, I read in this book that since I didn’t cook for you tonight, that would imply that I didn’t care for you which would result in you storming out of the house and sleeping at a motel near a casino where you will gamble away our daughter’s inheritance then return sheepishly tomorrow to confess all and I will forgive you as a good wife should then that would explain why our daughter has a brother…”

Really?

Our lives, personalities, attributes, dependencies, passions, tendencies and characteristics are unique which is why I started with the word “Our”. I am who I am and you are who you are. Why do we slot our baby into a small cubed benchmark and expect them to behave/react/develop the same way as so and so or even 99% of the population?

Deep inside, I am glad that my daughter is 9 months and hasn’t crawled yet because every time I see a flustered and out of breath mom chasing down her baby in Church, I sigh with relief and NO ANTICIPATION whatsoever. I feel no need to be jealous of the ragged, frustrated and often tense mom who is forcefully carrying her fighting baby (because they can crawl now, thank you very much) out of a specified setting to discipline/feed/drink/soothe/put to sleep. I am quite grateful that I can plunk my daughter down in the centre of her playroom only to return and find her either laying down on her back or tummy, or in the exact same position I left her in- except she scootched a little to the right (I don’t know why she prefers the right always but hey, that’s her). I am also excited to see her developing in other ways unique to her. Even though thousands of babies worldwide are probably doing what she is doing right now as we speak, it is still our first time seeing HER doing THAT and that is awe inspiring and amazing. I love the fact that she now sticks a “m” in front of her “aaaahhhhs” which sounds suspiciously close to “mama”. I also love the way her face contorts every time we present her with a new food. I know that every baby rocks or creeps before they crawl but there is something especially heartwarming about seeing her fall flat on her face from a seated position, cry for a few seconds then continue to drag herself backward on her belly. I also find it beautiful when she has moments of clarity and looks at me like she’s seen me for the first time and her eyes radiate her genuine love, trust and undying admiration. I worked with infants in a daycare and saw all those things before, but never have I seen anyone quite as good at any of them like my baby. I am sure you feel the same about your baby and that is God’s gift to parents. So here is the fact (or bias)- no matter who or whose baby is out there, there is only one that matters in the parents eyes, your own. Treat them with the same respect you would treat your soul, your mind and your unique personality. Do not expect your baby to fit in a small box and acquiesce to some preordained principal or developmental “milestone”.

God created your baby to be perfect- for you. So they fit perfectly in your heart. Don’t worry if they don’t walk for a while (consult the doctor after the 48th month if crawling persists) or if they don’t talk right away (again, consult doctor after the child’s 3rd birthday) but in the end… they will do what they need to do when they feel the need to do it. Relish every moment and live in the moment like those books advise. There is only one present and it is truly a gift.

I love looking at her and telling her “I love you” and sometimes I sprinkle a few words of selfish commands like “Please don’t grow up, just stay the same” and even though I know that this can’t happen, I do know that I will continue to whisper in her ear what I whisper all the time “God made you perfect, so you should just be you”.

I have made a profound discovery this morning when I woke up a little sleepy still and walked into my baby’s room- she has no expectations of me, no milestones I need to overcome to prove to her I’m normal, the least I can do is to reciprocate that respect and unconditional love”. I also discovered that she was horribly wet and that we needed to change the whole outfit (yes, including the undershirt onesy and all).

So in the end, I ask you for one favour… when you look at other babies, don’t compare them to your precious angel because soon enough they will be doing what every other baby is doing but when your baby does it, it will be the best thing YOU’VE ever witnessed… and that my friends, is a fact!

Have a great night and I look forward to your comments.

S.Martignani

 

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