Jul 12 2015

My Mommy Must-Haves, Part II: The Newborn Phase

My Mommy Must-Haves, Part II: The Newborn Phase

People will have you believe that you need a whole lot of GEAR to sustain that eight-pound being you just brought home from the hospital. And it was secretly a lot of fun to fill a multi-page baby registry with novelties and trinkets and doodads. When we owned our home in Michigan, we stocked the nursery with everything we thought she’d need until she was, like, five years old. But since we’re now renting a temporary house in California, there’s no pressure to paint and get all fancy for Baby Number Two. We don’t even know if we’ll still be here for his first birthday, so it seems pretty pointless to think beyond the first few months of babydom.

Unfortunately, “people” are semi-right. You kinda do need a lot of gear — just not nearly as much as we thought the first time around. So what do we ACTUALLY need to pull out of storage? What REALLY needs to be washed, cleaned, and prepared before we leave for the hospital? Again, not an expert — but feel free to listen in (and contribute) while I think through this list and try to get organized because OMG WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

I was able to narrow down my pregnancy comfort items to three, but had to expand my newborn must-haves to ten. The first five are obvious, but I think it’s a safe bet that most parents will need these: Continue reading

Jul 8 2015

My Mommy Must-Haves Part I: Pregnancy & a Hospital Packing List

My Mommy Must-Haves Part I: Pregnancy & a Hospital Packing List

Moving across the country forces you to reconsider what you actually need for Baby #2. If it’s not an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, we don’t want to unpack it, so we’ve had to take a good hard look at which items make the cut.

When I was pregnant with Peaches, we were fortunate enough to have a beautiful shower, and settled enough so that she came home to a painted, decorated nursery stocked with furniture and baby gear. I feel like we pretty much tried it all (except a wipes warmer, because everyone we talked to agreed: nah). This time around, as we sifted through all the boxes of stored infant belongings, we only pulled out the essentials.

A mama friend recently challenged me to narrow it down to my three top mommy must-haves in each category. Not the obvious stuff like prenatal vitamins, but the comfort-and-peace-of-mind stuff. For pregnancy, no problem; but for Part II (the newborn phase), I’ll have to list a few more than three. No getting around it.

PREGNANCY.
With P, I bought every book known to mankind, pounds of lotions and butters, and a huge yellow exercise ball to sit on. I spent way too much on a maternity wardrobe and ended up actually wearing about half of it (at least I didn’t have to buy anything for pregnancy #2!). I’m slowly learning that moderation is key. When I found out I was expecting this time, I knew there were only a couple items I would NEED to have on hand: Continue reading

Jul 3 2015

Yes, I Just Ordered Coffee

Yes, I Just Ordered Coffee

Yesterday morning, after another round of steam mopping and sanitizing, I thought I’d treat myself to a breakfast sandwich and cherry pastry at a well-known bakery-café. “And a medium coffee, please,” I said. The employee cheerfully handed me an empty to-go cup.

As I turned toward the coffee carafes, the patron behind me gaped at my belly. “Are you sure?” she asked with raised eyebrows. It was a woman about my age, holding a toddler by the hand.

“Oh, it’s just for a half-caff,” I reassured her, as if I owed this stranger some explanation. I slunk away and pulled the decaf lever, guilt slowly melting into irritation. My eyes were narrowed by the time I topped off my cup with regular light roast, just as I always do.

I was annoyed with her, yes, but I was also annoyed with myself, and with a society that treats pregnant women as if they are everybody’s business. If you have ever been with child, you could probably tell us countless tales about all the strangers who reached out to rub your stomach or offered (sometimes inappropriate) unsolicited advice. I once had a parent sit down at conferences and say, “Hi, my child loves your class. Are you planning to breastfeed?” Why, hello. Nice to meet you.

With Peaches, I read everything I could find about The Pregnancy Rules, and I did my best to follow everything to the letter — but all the contradictory research gradually rendered that impossible. This time around, I figured I should just stick to what my doctor recommends. I don’t smoke (never have), I don’t drink (um, REALLY miss it), and I don’t eat raw fish (really miss that, too). For the record, my OB has also mentioned that I prooobably shouldn’t be in a crouched position scrubbing floors, and that I’m supposed to be avoiding stress.

Whoops. I’m really trying to get better about that, Doc.

But there are some behaviors she thinks are just fine, even though I’m not sure that the general public — at least according to the Interweb and random women in a bakery — would approve. These are my pregnancy confessions. Continue reading

May 12 2015

The Opposite of Nesting

The Opposite of Nesting

If you’ve ever moved from anywhere to anywhere, you know that it is quite a disorienting endeavor. If you’ve ever moved at the beginning of your third trimester, you know that it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything your body is telling you to do. Every hormonal cell that exists in your system is like, “We must ARRANGE THINGS! Organize things! Sanitize things!” But at the end of today, my house looked like this. Continue reading

May 8 2015

Goodbye, Friends

Goodbye, Friends

The first time I took Peaches to the day care she loves, she was six months old and could barely sit up unassisted. As I left her there on a floor mat, wobbling between two cooing grandma types, I couldn’t even make it to my car before I burst into embarrassing sobs. The women at the front desk definitely cringed a little. Six months is way too young to leave a baby, I thought, hiding my eyes behind massive sunglasses, and for more than a little while I resented having to work.

But as Peaches grew, she learned things. Continue reading