We’re Going Streaking!

It wasn’t always this way, but the Monkey LOVES bath time.

When we first brought him home, we used the standard infant bath tub. We’d line the kitchen counter with towels, use warm water, and try to make it soothing for him.

It never worked: He didn’t like the reclined angle. After a few weeks, his legs got too long and his feet went from being immersed underwater to dangling over the sides of the tub. He’d struggle to sit up, sloshing water all over the counter, floor, and us. Overall, he hated it and we ended up rushing through bath time like nobody’s business.

I knew he was ready for a bigger tub, but the thought of putting him in the regular tub seemed ridiculous. He was so small. The tub was so big. It would take a ton of water just to fill it with a couple of inches, and then wouldn’t he get cold? Not to mention the obvious, the tub is freaking HARD. The Monkey was only barely sitting up on his own at the time and would often topple sideways if gravity got a hold of his little head.

So I went online and bought an inflatable tub. BEST $17 I ever spent. The sides are cushioned, as is the bottom. It fits perfectly inside our big tub. It takes much less water to fill. The only problem? Blowing it up. We don’t have an air compressor. The Hubbs was actually a little annoyed that I bought it. He thought it was frivolous. As such, he refused to help blow it up.

So I waited until the weekend when my little brother came up for a visit. Between the two of us, it took about 30 minutes to blow up that tub. With our mouths and lungs. There were three chambers: The floor, and the two sides. Our cheeks were stretched out like baboons for hours. After that, we vowed to disturb the tub as little as possible to keep all the air in. So far, its worked. There’s a drain at the bottom, but we don’t bother to pull on it and possibly uncork the sides. We just flip the tub upside down when we’re done and let it dry that way. It works just fine.
But the Monkey … he LOVES that tub. And the bath process. Because once he got a little freedom and some bath toys thrown in there — we have problems getting him out. Also — the kid loves being nekkid. Its hilarious. And every time he hears the word “bath” he gets all excited — pumping his arms and kicking his legs. He’ll lift his arms up to be carried.

“Excuse me, but I need to order a nekkid baby,” I’ll say to the Hubbs, watching as the Monkey flails around in his high chair, desperate to be picked up. He’ll laugh hysterically when the Hubbs scoops him up and carries him toward the nursery, babbling the whole way. He gets impatient when he hears the bath water roaring into the tub — I can hear his cries from the bathroom.

And then? Giggling. Happy giggling as the Hubbs enters the bathroom doorway and that tub comes into sight. The arms and legs pump wildly, and he lunges for my outstretched arms.

Its bath time people.

And after bath time? He doesn’t want to get out of the tub. And then? He doesn’t want to get dressed. So we have a new ritual. Probably a dangerous ritual. Most likely a hilarious ritual once he’s running on his own.

I let him streak. Sort of.

I wrap him up in towels after his bath, keeping him warm. And then he looks into my eyes and smiles. A full-on smile with teeth, which makes his eyes crinkle like mine. Its my cue.

“Nekkid baby!” I holler as we high-step it out of the bathroom and jog/bounce/run around the entire house, his giggles filling each room. He’s still giggling when I lay him on the changing table, and massage lotion over his arms, legs, torso, and face. He sighs, closes his eyes, and smiles when I massage his head to dry his hair with the towel. He protests loudly when I put his pjs on and wipe his nose. He holds still while I brush his hair.

Then we’re off again, in an exaggerated sneak this time: We hunt for DaDa, who hears us coming the second we step out of the nursery — the Monkey’s giggles give us away. But he feigns surprise anyway when we jump into a doorway and yell “boo!” (OK, I yell “boo” while the Monkey just laughs harder.)
Then its time for snuggles and kisses goodnight.

With a routine like that, who wouldn’t like bath time?

I Hate Being Sick

Sorry I’ve been MIA this week. The whole teething/not sleeping debacle turned into a monster cold. I’m only now dragging my still-sick carcass back into the fray.

But as I lay nearly comotose on the couch this week, I had a thought: Either I’m getting old, or its taking me longer to recover. I’ll be 30 on Sunday … its not THAT old. But I actually called out sick for two days to try and recover. At most, it used to take me one day before.

And then the fuzziness in my brain momentarily cleared: This is the first cold I’ve had since the Monkey was born.

So what’s the big deal, right? Well … lets look at my cold strategies:

Pre-Monkey:

  1. Sleep all day;
  2. Sleep all night;
  3. Have the Hubbs cater to my every whim;
  4. Take long, steamy showers;
  5. Eat lots of won ton soup; and
  6. Tons of vitamins, OTC drugs to help with symptoms.

Post-Monkey:

  1. Sleep during the day after waking up at 6 a.m. to get the Monkey fed, dressed, and dropped off at day care. Oh hell, might as well eat breakfast and have some tea now that I’m up. And now I can’t sleep. Great;
  2. Eat lots of won ton soup, drink lots of tea;
  3. Take my prenatal vitamin, and to help with the cold, take one Vitamin C pill and 3 advils, since they’re the only things listed in the “OK to use while breastfeeding” sheet I have. (The other is Robitussin, but I’m not coughing.);
  4. Afternoon nap;
  5. Pick the Monkey up from day care, play with him, make and feed him dinner. Put frozen dinner in oven for me and Hubbs. Give Monkey a bath. Put him to bed around 7:30/8 p.m.;
  6. Make lunches for everyone for the next day;
  7. More tea;
  8. Quick shower; and
  9. Go to bed early, but wake up at 11 p.m., 2 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. to feed/soothe the Monkey.

No wonder I’m still sick.

Hatred, Thy Name Is Teething

I’m starting to hate teething. I loathe it. I detest it. I wish it would cease and desist. I realize its necessary for sharp, hard objects to push and break through the Monkey’s tender gums, but the misery they induce is just, well … miserable.

I suppose I would dislike it less if teething merely meant the Monkey was irritable. I could handle a little cranky. A little whiney? Not so bad. Nothing some teething tablets, iced binkies, and cold chew rings can’t help.

No, what truly pushes teething into the realm of torture is what it does to the Monkey’s nose: He’s barely been able to breathe for the past two days. He’s sneezing and producing a steady stream of snot and boogers. And he HATES having his nose cleaned. You practically have to hog-tie the kid to the changing pad just to get clear of his hands and feet.

Yes, I said feet. The kid’s got a spine like Gumby and I’ve gotten face fulls of toes the past three nights.

I wish I could say cleaning his nose makes a huge difference. That it makes his nose normal again so he can go crawl around and get into more mischief. But it isn’t true: It helps a little bit, but the kid’s so stuffed up he can barely nurse. And when he does nurse, it sounds like he’s coming up for air after free diving: He guzzles as much as he can before gasping for air, taking in a few lungfuls, before plunging back down for more. Yesterday, when his nose was at his worst, I made him a bottle of formula instead. He didn’t want it until nursing became too tough — then he gulped down 3 oz before finally falling asleep.

The nights are always the worst: Around 1 a.m., he’s jolted awake — unable to breathe through his nose again. I hurry him into the bathroom, put the shower on scalding, and rock him near the open door, letting the steam and mist wash over us. When the warm mist has loosened things up for him, I clean his nose with saline solution and Q-Tips. Then we plunge back into the steam.

You don’t want to see our water bill.

When he’s breathing easier, we return to his room, where a cool-mist, ultrasonic humidifier runs all night. (It DOES help.) We snuggle in our glider, I give him his binkie or I’ll nurse him for a few minutes, since it seems to help clear his nose sometimes. Then I’ll try to put him back in his crib. When his nose is bad, I’ll only try the crib once — or not at all.

We usually end up spending the night in our rocker/recliner, the Monkey reclined in the crook of my arm or against my chest, almost upright, his hands laying on my arm that I wrap around him for safety. I don’t sleep until I can tell he’s not struggling anymore. Then I lean back, pull a comforter over us, and try to sleep.

I usually wake up stiff, and in the same position I fell asleep in. If its a weekend, I’ll hold still until the Monkey wakes up, dozing until he does. If its a work day, I’ll carry him to the changing table and start getting him dressed for the day. Once dressed, he clings to my sweater with both hands, his head resting on my shoulder.

It’s nature’s trick: The cuteness, cuddliness, and snuggles warm your heart and make it impossible to be annoyed with the lack of sleep. Its not his fault.

But I still blame the teeth.

10 Months

I’ve been a mother for 10 months today. Its hard to believe: My son is 10 months old.

He’s crawling. He’s walking (with some help from the furniture and walls). He’s babbling. He says “mama” and “dada”. The rest is a jumble. He points at things up high that he wants. He can crawl to everything else. He loves watching an episode of Sesame Street on weekend mornings, his little body will bounce up and down and he’ll flap his arms in excitement when the theme song comes on.

He’s cuddly and lovable. He’s focused and stubborn. He’s happy and full of laughter.

His presence has dictated more laundry, a focus on meal planning, more organization, and a distinct lack of sleep. He’s made of love and laughter. He fills our days and nights with happiness, craziness, and unabashed joy. Our house is overflowing with toys.

He’s made us realize how dusty our baseboards and floors were and necessitated a thorough cleaning of everything shorter than 3 feet. He’s shown us see the world through a baby’s eyes: Where everything is fresh and new and fascinating. Where everything is possible. Where all you need is a clean diaper, some food, and a lot of love.

He’s made us laugh at his antics. He’s made us forget what we were “giving up” before we had him. He’s made us better people.

He’s shown us the meaning of unconditional love.

Thank you, Monkey, for all the gifts you’ve given us, just by being you.

I love you forever,
Momma

Inspiration

A very talented friend has made me pause and think today.

She’s on a mission to be ridiculously optimistic and radically trusting this year. She’s challenging herself — and all of us who read her blog — to come along for the ride. (http://windshieldrosary.blogspot.com)

This weekend, her challenge for us is to be quiet. In essence, to shut up. And listen. To take things in. To detach ourselves from our electronic, plugged-in, nonstop world.

It made me think about my favorite quiet moments during my week:

My first is on the weekends. Early in the morning just after the Monkey wakes up (and the Hubbs is still asleep), we sit in our new rocker/recliner and snuggle. The Monkey will cuddle up next to me, his little head laying against my side as he rubs the sleep from his eyes, yawns, and sighs. We keep the lights off, preferring the sleepy darkness for about 20 minutes.

Then he’s awake, squirming away from me to play with his trucks and farmhouse, looking at me expectantly because this is when we watch Sesame Street together.

Christina’s post made me think about why I cherish this time so much. Its because this moment is fleeting. Some mornings, we sit for 20 minutes. Other times its 10 minutes. And someday, hopefully far in the future, he won’t want to sit and snuggle with me anymore. He’ll be too old or too cool for it. And it’ll break my heart. So I cherish it now. Because its fragile, yet one of the most soul-refreshing parts of my existence.

The other quiet moment I enjoy is after the Monkey goes to bed and after the Hubbs and I have done whatever we need to do for that night and settle on the couch together. We’ll watch a movie or a show and just be together for awhile. Its just so peaceful and restful.
_____________________________

My other inspiration this week comes from another friend, MOAM (http://www.zeromusings.com/). She’s quitting her job to follow her dream of writing a book. I’m truly awed, because she’s daring to be unemployed; daring to step out into the great unknown; daring herself to succeed.

She’s also running a 5k in two months, something that makes me cringe and reminds me of Fridays in high school when we’d have to run a little over a mile. To set that goal on top of her other ambitious goal is just so … brave? Ambitious? I can’t seem to find the words.

But most of all, I’m proud of her. I’m proud to know her, she with the iron-clad cajones and determination to make her dream a reality.

I’ve learned something from these strong, amazing friends of mine: If you need inspiration, look at yourself. At your family. At your friends. If you’re as blessed as I am, you’ll never need to look any further.

Who Doesn’t Like Pasta?!

I made the Monkey macaroni and cheese to try (with homemade sauce!!), and he won’t eat it. No, no — I take that back. He’ll allow me to spoon a shell into his mouth, then he’ll suck off the cheese sauce before spitting the pasta out.

Maybe its a texture thing? He’s still getting the hang of non-pureed foods.

The mind just boggles. If he’s like this when he’s older, the kid’s having cereal for dinner at least two times a week.

To Cover Or Not To Cover

I feel like I should have a parental disclaimer hanging over my head when I’m outside my house:

“Warning! This woman is LACTATING. At any time, she could pull up her shirt, unhook her bra, and start feeding a small child with her boobs. Parental discretion is advised.”

So, what do you do when you’re out and about and the kid wants to eat? In a perfect world, most establishments would be like the Macys in my area and have couches/comfy chairs in a sitting room adjacent to the women’s restroom. But the world isn’t perfect. If I have the ERGO and a sweater with me, the Monkey and I are set: We just stand near a deserted area, get everything set up, put on the sweater and hood, and continue with our business.

Places I have nursed the Monkey in the ERGO:
  • In line at a baseball game;
  • At a farmers market;
  • Marathon shopping at Target;
  • At a restaurant during lunch.

I also nurse in the car a lot. Preferably in a parking garage, since our backseat windows are tinted and the darkness provides another layer of modesty. Our local Target has seen a LOT of action.

But sometimes, its just not possible/convenient/whatever to remove myself from a situation to breastfeed. And here’s where modesty comes in: Do you cover up with an after-market product, a sweater, or just let it all hang out?

I don’t own one, but I LOVE the name of this company: Udder Covers. (https://www.uddercovers.com/) Its essentially a big apron without the strings at your hips. It also has some boning in the neck area so you can peep down at your nursing kid, which is important.

A long time ago, I did test runs with blankets (blanket + shoelaces) to see if the Monkey would be amenable to such a product: He spent 20 minutes yanking and flailing at the fabric that dared to touch his little head and impede his view. He had milk spraying all over his face, inside the blanket, and pooling into a big wet spot on my shirt. After all that, he found the end of the fabric, got hold of it, and opened the blanket up so his face was uncovered. I considered it an epic failure, kept my $32, and decided to go uncovered. (Hence the parental advisory.)

That doesn’t mean I’m all flagrant about it though. I TRY to be discreet — hence my fondness for parking garages and back seats. If I’m out of the car, I’ll usually lay a blanket along the shoulder and arm on the side that I’ll be breastfeeding from, it covers side-boob. If I’m wearing a V-neck shirt, I just pull that boob out and feed the boy. Otherwise, I’ll pull up my shirt on that one side. If the Hubbs is with us, he’ll throw a block — usually by sitting/standing in front of me or something like that.

I have to say though — I haven’t had any bad experiences. I think most people are understanding these days. I probably get more looks from people in restaurants because I give the boy a bottle of formula with his solid food.

But that’s a whole different topic.