Friday, April 27, 2007

Forget About the Labor Pains, It's All About the Boobs and "Me-Time"

So today, as participants in this great online Baby Shower for Christina, Liz and Tammie, I’ve been assigned to give my full blown, best-ever, rockin’ good parenting ass-vice. Considering that the day before I gave birth to my first son 5 ½ years ago, I was hell bent on him never touching a drop of formula, getting anywhere near a pacifier, playing with nothing but hemp-weaved stuffed animals and wearing organic cotton onesies, I say this to the first-timer, Tammie: never say never. My biggest, earth shattering, hit me over the head, moment of parenting came soon after my first baby was born and he wanted to eat. After my rocky boobs were about to explode in a sorry-ass effort to try and breastfeed, I stared long and hard at the six pack of ready–made formula that landed on our doorstep unsolicited just days before in the mail. Somehow, the marketing experts at Procter and Gamble knew that soon after the baby was home I would cave, after a bumbling attempt to get my newborn baby to latch onto a crusty, bleeding nipple to no avail. Damn those marketers. And I continued to damn them as my hungry baby sucked every last drop from the tiny glass bottle of formula, and promptly drifted off to dreamland….finally. Damn those boobs. Damn those marketers. Wasn’t it all part of their master plan? (muhahahahaha).

But alas, I discovered what I called the best invention since sliced bread (or at least automatic windows): the breast pump! And so I duly pumped away and relieved my achy boobs every 3 hours. Thinking I had outsmarted those marketers at P&G, I felt satisfied in knowing that I at least was giving him my breast milk, if not in the traditional way. And this naïve, unsuspecting attitude when on for, I’d say, oh, about…..2 weeks. Until a funny thing happened. The baby needed more to eat. And more. And more. Lest these boobs became insufficient vendors to a growing baby. And we all know what comes next in this story. Back to the formula. And the whole breastfeeding towel was thrown in when he was about 2 ½ months old, as he was sucking gleefully on his pacifier, sleeping soundly in his mass-produced carter's pajamas, clutching his furry, mass-produced stuff animal.

So Tammie, my ass-vice is this: get your ass to a La Leche League meeting pronto if you have the slightest bit of problems breastfeeding. At least those tree hugging ladies can give you some options, and at the very least, if you still end up throwing in the towel, you can say you at least tried. No offense to the tree hugging ladies of La Leche, I love them. Because after my “trial run” with my first, I was a breastfeeding pro with my second after a few La Leche meetings, a hell of a lot of self-confidence, and no more guilt crap. After ridding myself of all that anxiety with my 2nd, I successfully breastfed him, in addition to pumping milk at work, for over 8 months.

As for Christina and Liz, since this is both of your second babies, and girls, unless your ultrasounds are wrong and your babies are suddenly born with a penis, I’m not quite sure what to say on the technical art of raising your 2nd baby, since I’m the mother of 2 boys. But, there are the logistics that go along with it, that whether you give birth to a girl, a boy or a puppy, that will surely be challenging. To be more exact, if your find yourself currently saying, “I have no time for anything,” you will quickly find out that these are the “good old days” and you will wonder what the heck you did with all your free time. As I’m sure you said that to yourself when your first was born, I hate to break it to you, but there will no longer be time that belongs to you anymore AT ALL. In fact, I’m fairly certain you will even not have anytime to think. I’m convinced I have lost several thousand brain cells since the birth of my 2nd child.

And in your undying quest for information, I give you answers to the most popular inquiry:
Does the 2nd kid get the shaft? Yes. See below.

Does my 2nd child have a baby book? Yes, but if anyone were to read it, they would think he just learned to roll over.

Do I know the exact date he got his first tooth? No, in fact, I’m not even sure which month.

Do I know when he spoke his first word? Are you kidding?

When did he first learn to crawl? Can't tell ya. In fact, he doesn't.

When did he first learn to walk? He doesn't. Which is all part of the major-league grand shaft of the 2nd because you just can't dedicate enough time to your 2nd that he/she needs. Which is why he is being put in physical therapy, as per doctors orders.

So what is the ass-vice in all this? Well, I’ve found having more than one child has been a juggling act, and actually each kid gets the shaft in some way. Both of my kids are struggling in their own ways and it seems there is never a hiatus. But, as scripted as it sounds, I couldn’t imagine life without my youngest son. Having a 2nd child was the best decision my husband and I ever made. It completed us.

This has been a long and exhausting post, I know, but get me going on motherhood and I have lots of things to say. Maybe I should start a blog.

Good luck, Ladies! You’re in my thoughts! Congratulations on this wonderful journey!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A New Baby Is Born

Yesterday was a final step in this whole process toward Andrew’s recovery: his catheter was removed. And while he was screaming bloody murder as me, Dave and the nurse, held him down so the doctor could remove it, he was visibly relieved when it came out. And by the time we returned home, we were parents to a brand new kid. His face literally brightened as his coloring improved, and he was exuberantly laughing with his brother for the rest of the day. Back to his old self. His transformation was so amazing and contrary, it makes you wonder if he was in constant pain for the last 10 days. I mean, obviously he had to have been uncomfortable, but I guess my mind didn’t allow me to think that he could be in constant pain. But all seems better with his mood, and the doctor gave him a clean bill of health. We return 2 months later for an additional follow up, and we can only hope that everything that has been repaired stays intact.

The only thing lately that has been bothersome for him and for us, is that he has been difficult in getting to bed at night for the last 3 nights. And up early in the morning. And restless in the middle of the night. I haven’t had much sleep over the last 10 days and now I’m getting even less. Dave thinks he’s “wired” on all this medication he’s been on. Since he feels comfortable now that the catheter is out, we’re not giving him anymore Tylenol or Motrin tonight. We’ve had to let him cry it out for the past 3 nights and it’s a practice that we’ve never really subscribed to. But it seemed like nothing was working. And even that’s not working 100% because after we get him to sleep, he’s either up 20 minutes later crying again, or up in the middle of the night. Either way, he ends up back in bed with me and Dave moves to the couch.

So between all that, our first house purchase, and a change at work, I’m feeling totally “spent”. I haven't written about this change at work purposefully because I’d like to keep my job, but suffice it to say that I am transferring jobs within the same company, just to a different group. I was approached by my manager about a month ago. The change is expected to take place within the next 2 weeks. It’s exciting, but I am sad about leaving my current job, as I have great colleagues, a fantastic manager, and have hardly had time to get my feet wet since I've only been in my current role since last October. It's indicative of the corporate world, and I get that, but there’s a lot of changes happening at once right now that life is on overdrive right now. The good news is that I have a job, and that there are good people in this company looking out for me. It will be a good move for me. It’s just the timing is bad.

But thank goodness for kids to lighten up the mood. After all this complaining, I’ll leave this post on a lighter note with a question posed to me by CJ while we were at a fancy restaurant for Easter brunch:

A Greek Orthodox priest entered the restaurant, in full dress, and CJ seemed taken aback by his sudden presence by staring at him as he walked across the room to meet his acquaintances at an accompanying table. Having never seen a person of the clergy outside of Church, he says to me, rather loudly if I might add, “Mama, what’s that ‘Godperson’ doing here?”

That’s what I get for skipping Easter service.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Report from Crankyville

Not much new to report on Andrew. He is still pretty touch and go. I’m not getting much sleep this week, so blogging has been a challenge. He still seems to be quite uncomfortable off and on, and tosses and turns at night. We finally were greeted by a poopy diaper on Tuesday, thank God, as the poor little guy was quite miserable. Although he is still a little gassy and generally just not himself. One consequence to all this is that it has forced him to crawl. He was never a crawler and always “scooted” around on his tush. Since the operation, he immediately adapted to crawling and now rarely scoots. Which supports my theory about the walking, in that I think he will just one day walk when he’s good and ready, because obviously the ability to crawl has been in him all along, and he just didn’t exercise it. He’s a funny one. Definitely different than his people pleasing older brother. So that’s his update. It’s a daily thing that seems to change.

As for CJ, he wiped at the park today while riding his scooter, and is now nursing a skinned knee on the couch. He is anxiously awaiting my arrival home from work.

We’re also working on finalizing the details on the house. We had the inspection on Wednesday and the only outstanding issue is evidence of a leak in the ceiling of the hall closet, that is most likely originating from the master shower. As newbies to this whole house buying process, Dave and I are carefully planning our course of action. We think we’ve opted to request a remedy for this issue, or at least we’re going to ask the sellers to meet us halfway on the repair costs. I’m suspicious on the fact that the owner claims to have “forgotten” about it thus the reason for its mysterious exclusion on the property disclosure, because the seller’s agent claims that the seller states it has never been an issue in the 7 years he has lived there. Do I believe that? Um………….No. Although there is absolutely no way to prove whether he’s lying or not.

As for me, I was planning on going to a girl’s night out with all the local bloggers tonight. For selfish reasons, I really want to go. I have had to turn down the invitation since January due to myriad of issues that seem to keep coming up, and well, just for the fact that I want to get out and have some time to myself. But for motherhood reasons, I’m staying home. I’m generally cranky about it thanks to sleep deprivation, a menstrual cycle, and general feelings of being smothered. I want to crawl inside a bottle of wine right now and not come out until I’m good and drunk. Hopefully the ladies will have a toast on me while I get drunk on my couch watching Talk Soup after the kids (hopefully!) go to sleep.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Andrew's Update

Sorry for the delay in posting a follow up to last Wednesday’s news about Andrew, but it’s been a whirlwind since last Thursday. From the doctor’s standpoint, the surgery was success. Andrew dealt with being separated from us in the hospital better than I expected, as I handed him over to the nurse who then took him back to the operating room. My eyes swelled with tears, but he didn’t even look back. Which was probably good.

After what seemed like an eternity, about 2.5 hours, were all reunited. Andrew looked all puffy and his voice was scratchy. He was extremely irritable and sleepy. After about 45 minutes in the recovery room, we all left for home, where he dozed on and off in my room for the rest of the day. It was very surreal to see him so sleepy and lethargic, as you usually cannot get him to sit still. He enjoyed a full day of Noggin, with Moose A. Moose and Zee.

The next day was OK, but then Saturday posed an unexpected set of issues: the removal of the bandage. Guys, you might want to skip this section of the post. Most get squeamish when we elaborate. Additionally, anyone else that has issues reading about poop and blood might as well skip this post, too.

As we unraveled the bandage, his skin was red, swollen, bruised, and bleeding. He obviously was screaming, and it took some time to console him. It was soon bedtime, and he took a bottle and feel asleep. But then he woke several times that night extremely uncomfortable and screaming. He likes to lay on his side and he couldn’t since he couldn't fold his one leg over the other since it rubbed against his penis, and he was very gassy. Which surprised me since he hardly had anything to eat over the past 2 days. So after a sleepless Saturday night, his constipation didn’t seem to get any better. He was able to get a little out the following day, but this poor kid is getting red in the face trying to get this bowel movement out and nothing. So last night was another cranky night. It took me a long time to get him asleep and then he was up at midnight, 4am, then 5am, but then finally fell asleep again in my arms by about 6am. But of course, it was about time for me to get up for work anyway, so I’ve pretty much been up off and on since about 4 am. And still no real poop.

So I was talking to a friend at work about this and she mentioned that codeine will constipate you. He has been prescribed Tylenol with codeine as a pain medication in addition to the antibiotic. I thought it was the antibiotic, but I’m beginning to agree that it’s the codeine. So as per the doctor, we’re switching to plain Tylenol. And prune juice. Hopefully that will work. It was the last thing I expected to encounter in all this. He seems less agitated with the actual surgical site and more agitated about being constipated.

So that’s the update. And in all this sleeplessness, and worry, and anxiety, we found out on Saturday that we got the house we put the bid on! We went with this one:
So much going on right now, with 2 completely different emotions about each. Before all this, I recently lost 5 pounds, in a recent attempt to start shedding the baby weight I have yet to lose. Just when my pants were starting to feel a little looser, I ate a big chicken sandwich and large French fries from McDonald’s today. I was starving. And stressed. Oh well, so much for the diet. But I don’t feel too guilty.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The picture at left is one of my favorite pictures of my baby, Andrew. My little bugger. My sweetykins. My babycakes. It was taken last summer, when he was still a rolly polly 7 month old. Currently, he is 15 months old. And much leaner and much more active and talkative.

When I first learned I was pregnant with Andrew it was hard to believe I was capable of loving another human being as much as I love my first born, CJ. As I’ve written before, my relationship with CJ is still different, but during a recent conversation with my mother on the topic, she explained to me that there is no lesser love you have for your second, it’s just you’ve had a longer relationship with your first, so it feels different. And perhaps that is true. Because when we’re alone, and I can devote all my attention to him, my heart melts with joy and love that once before I never knew could happen before he was born. I’m an old pro with him, and he has not had to suffer through the bumblings of early motherhood that CJ has since weathered so well. You know, your first is always your “practice baby”, right? I think that’s what I might have meant when I said in my other post about my relationship with CJ as being so much more “raw”. Things have been swifter with Andrew, and that has nothing to do with the level of relationship, but with the fact that I actually knew what I was doing and life is much easier now than it was 5 years ago for me and my husband.

Andrew seems much less the people pleaser type than CJ, too. In fact, he is still not walking, and when you hold him up to make him try, he looks up and laughs at you as if to say, “You want me to do what? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” Physically there is nothing wrong with his legs, which has been confirmed by his pediatrician. And he never crawled either. He “scoots” around on his tush. He moves around quite fast, and it amazes me that he has developed this alternative method of movement, since I had never seen a baby do that before. My baby’s a genius, you know.

(Hehe. Just kidding….sort of.)

So this post is about Andrew today, my happy go lucky, doing-it-my-way, daredevil-type that we lovingly refer to as Bam-Bam, because tomorrow he will have to endure something that as parents, you never want to see your kid go through. I’ve hesitated blogging about this because it’s not like I need the whole world to be privy to the personal information of my boys, but he was born with a hypospadia at birth and tomorrow is the surgery to correct it. He does not have the severe form of the condition, although it must be corrected, as it is more than just a cosmetic issue. It’s a 2 hour procedure that will take place at the hospital. When he was born, I went through the standard grieving period during which time I scoured my brain for all possible reasons he could have been born this way, and what did I do to him while he was in utero, etc.? After being assured by his doctor that this is not as traumatic as it could be, we went on with our lives and began to wait until the time when his little body would be ready to handle the surgery, as well as the recovery period. And so tomorrow, at 15 months, his little body is ready, whether he knows it or not. I decided to blog about this because I do not know anyone in my offline world that has any experience with this. Does anyone in the blogosphere care to share any experiences relating to this condition that you know of either indirectly or directly?

There could be worse things wrong with your child, I’m aware of that. I’ve always been thankful to have given birth to 2 healthy boys. It’s just dawned on me today that this day is now upon us, after which we’ve done an excellent job these past several weeks of forgetting about the day growing near during all this house hunting. And when Andrew was first born, we knew any impending surgery was far into the future. And so the future is now. I don’t know what to expect during the recovery period other than what the Doctor has prepared us for. Wish him luck.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Acts of Contrition

Dear Bloggers,

It’s been almost a week since my last post and in that time, I have cleaned my house, played putt-putt with my son and rode go-karts, put a bid on a house and got refused, continued house hunting, went to a park, opened a bank account for my son, got my winter coat back out of the closet, drank lots of wine, cheated on my diet, did not attend mass on Easter Sunday, and didn’t read one blog...

To say I am suffering with penitence would not be an accurate statement. I feel a little bad for not blogging. Bad, like as if I’ve just lied to a nun. So will you ever forgive me?

Sometimes there are days when I just don’t have a thing to say. Some days I have so much to say I don’t know how to keep it concise. All I know is, all last week, there was too much to do in my “real” life that I could hardly find time to turn the computer on. It was more about actually spending time with my kids, rather than writing about them. Wow, what a concept.

Now it’s my turn to catch up with all of you. Of course, the blog world goes on without me. But before I took a hiatus, I had managed to nominate someone for a Perfect Post, as well as conduct an interview. Go check it out, because there’s some good posts. Heather's responses are great, and Christina's post is so neatly packed up into perfection, I thought it was the best she's ever wrote.

And there’s news to share on my house hunting saga. We put a bid in on the house that I blogged about and loved, but our counter offer was refused. We put a low-ball bid in because of the amount of work that needs to be done, then she countered back, then we countered, but then she refused. What kills me is that the difference between our counter offers was only $6,100.00. This house has been on the market for over 160 days. The owner’s realtor explained to us that it’s been hard for the seller to come to terms with the fact that she is going to lose money on the house, so she wants to hold out for a better offer. Pffft. Whatever. But you mark my words. That house will continue to sit on the market for many more weeks and probably end up selling for the exact price we just offered. I plan to keep my eye on it.

So, in the wake of that disappointment, we have decided to change our strategy a little, which, might turn out for the better. We’ve seen about 25 houses that are greater than 60 years old because I really love the charm of an old house. What I’ve come to recently realize, is that you get about 500 square feet less space for the same price in the these character homes than you do for a cookie cutter home. A few months ago I would sooner die than move into a subdivision, with its bland windows, vinyl siding, plastic shudders and plywood doors. But now, the fact that it’s just come to my attention that I can get a 4 bedroom house with 2 ½ baths with 1778 square foot of living space, as opposed to 3 bedrooms and 1 bath with 1,200 square feet that needs work, I’m starting to lower my standards for “charm”. Hence, we’ve been introduced to this house:

Don’t ask me why the owners chose to photograph their house with a used car lot in their driveway, but this house is double the living space we are in right now and in a great school district. So what’s the catch right? There’s always a catch with these homes. Every single home has had a major con. Mostly it’s the “Clampetts” next door, one time there was a right of way easement on a property, sometimes there’s water in the basement, a leak in the roof, a horrible animal stench, a 2nd rate school district, more rehab than we can handle…. Well you get the picture. We’re in a tough price range. So the catch with this one is…… there are train tracks about 100 feet away. But! Before you say, “resale nightmare”, hear me out. There’s a fancy shmancy neighborhood in the next town that just built $400,000 homes right next to the same train line. And people are buying them. So who’s to say some middle class chick like myself can’t be too good to buy a home near the tracks, too right? There are 2 lines that run through Columbus, and this one has about 4 trains a day. Of course, my son, CJ, who is obsessed with trains and wants to be a train engineer, has picked this house as his favorite. Of course, he won’t be needing to resell this house when he moves out and goes college.

So tonight we are seeing a couple more houses in the same neighborhood that are not on the tracks that are the same price. This is a very good school district and a nice neighborhood. And whether we buy the house on the tracks or not, we will be totally stretching our budget to get any one of these 25 houses we have been looking at. I’m a little stressed about the reality of sending a check off for almost double what I pay in rent right now. We can do it, but there will be no vacations, and no new clothes for a while, and not much of an entertainment budget, and certainly no dinners at restaurants. Is this too crazy? Problem is, I don’t see what my choices are to scale back to. Scaling back means settling on a neighborhood that I’m not familiar with or a less desirable school district, or a bigger condo. Tonight we’re going to see this house:

It’s on a cul-de-sac. A plus. I like the look of the house and pictures of the interior look good. But, after 25 houses, I’ve learned that pictures lie. They flat out lie. So we’ll see. Could this finally be the one? Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mom's Day Out

This week I've hung up the hat of working mom and are taking a much needed vacation from work. However, as all parents know, since we don't have a planned trip to Hawaii or something cool like that, did I really think I was getting a vacation by staying home all week?
It's OK, because I've been able to spend some more time with the kids. Especially CJ. Who, ever since we had Andrew last year, has had to reluctantly share all his time with us, after having it all to himself for over 4 years. Having another child has added a great amount of stress as well as a tremendous amount of joy from a parenting perspective, but I can't help but think about how the adjustment has affected CJ. It bothers my husband very little, who was 18 months apart from both of his sisters, both older and younger. So sharing for him as always been a reality. For me, though, I was the baby girl of the family, the "accident", as I was 10 and 8 years younger than my 2 older brothers. So I never had to share. But CJ has seemed to have adjusted appropriately and is now wearing the hat of an older brother well. Most of his tantrums occurred early on last year, and as for his feelings now, I would have to say that they run very deep for his little brother.
I think about CJ often because he is my firstborn. I don't say that to insinuate that I favor him over Andrew, but I think your relationship with your firstborn is very different than with your subsequent children. It's a little more raw. It's visceral because you sweated the early days of parenting with this child. They don't know that, but you do, and those memories are planted very deep into our brains. They don't go away.
Additionally, for our family at least, there seems to be a stronger connection between Dave and Andrew. Even though Dave was home with CJ as a baby, too, CJ usually favored me. Or, to put it more accurately, my best friend says that CJ has me wrapped around his finger. Either way, Andrew is much more attached to Dave than CJ ever was, which became very evident the other night when he was having trouble getting to sleep and he cried when I picked him up as he was pointing to Dave. Dave held him and he stopped crying and was back to sleep within 5 minutes. You give a kid life and then your boob for 9 months and this is the thanks you get?
Anyway, in the spirit of our relationship, CJ and I had a "Mom's Day" yesterday as he calls it. He's off school this week for Spring Break. It was a beautiful Spring day, and we took advantage of it by playing putt-putt and riding go-karts. Then off to Burger King for a quick lunch and more playtime on the indoor playground. We had a blast. CJ hasn't stopped talking about golf since.
CJ is an extremely loquacious and curious little boy. There is a constant stream of questions and observations coming out of his mouth as is demonstrated by some of the chatter that went on yesterday in the car:
"When was the sun born?"
Before the planet earth.
"What would happen if you 100 babies?"
I would implode. Or be mistaken for a rabbit.
"What happened to the dinosaurs?"
They died.
"When can I ride my bike?"
Soon, honey.
"Am I gonna be able to ride my bike today?"
Yes, honey, as soon as Mama makes a pit stop at Kohl's. (Hey, it's my day off, too, right?)