One Hot Mess of a Play Date

By Kensley

The three of us had the rare opportunity to see each other two weekends in a row last month. The first was a crazy girls’ weekend getaway to Savannah and Hilton Head, the details of which will remain in Savannah and Hilton Head. Though we did get a couple of great shots together.

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The second was the following week in Austin when Lindsey was in town visiting family. This was the first time in a year that all of us (plus the kiddos) were under the same roof together. And what a memorable experience it was. So much so that we thought we’d share how we roll. On a play date.

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Lisa: I hosted, so I tidied and mopped the day before. Why bother when kids are coming over, you ask? Well, because they will inevitably eat off the floor, and this way the floor is at least somewhat sanitary. And if my house is clean, maybe people will forget about that hideous abandoned house at the entrance to my neighborhood. I now understand the value of a Homeowner’s Association.

Lindsey: Let’s just keep in mind the terror I felt going over to Lisa’s house knowing my kids basically destroy most things so fast I can’t keep up. Maybe destroy isn’t the right word because only one of Craig’s rare stalagmites got broken, but they definitely dump and run. I had nerves built up inside of me for months because the original plan was to dump my kids at 7:30AM and run like hell (wow, I wonder where they get it) and head to my cousin’s graduation ceremony. Do people with only one child get up that early on a Saturday? After further analysis of this very flawed plan I had come to the conclusion that getting up at 5AM in order to get ready and drop my babies off just wasn’t going to work. We got up at 3AM the day before to travel and the only sleep the kids got was in 15 minute increments between airport-restaurant-condo etc. So, I sheepishly cancelled on my cousin, let my kids sleep a good sleep, and headed over for a refreshed morning of play.

Lisa: That morning, I got out a scooping activity for the Little Dude, to keep him occupied while I started to get food prepped. Immediate fail! He dumped an entire bowl of dry lentils on the kitchen floor just moments before everyone started arriving. Of course!

Kensley: Murphy’s law.

Lindsey: Things are different at different people’s houses, and I just let my kids go when we walked in. Well, the first thing my oldest needed to do was pee. He usually waits until the last minute, dances while he unbuttons his pants, and hops up on the potty just in time. He usually says “phew” like he wasn’t really sure he was going to make it. Well, he didn’t. Have you ever seen one of these?
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Lindsey: Of course you have! Because you’re responsible parents who lock the toilet so your child can’t toss your phone into the drink. Well, lets just say…they work! They work so well in fact, even I couldn’t get into it. Thank goodness I wasn’t the one that had to go because, well… So, my adorable son in his adorable blue collared shirt with whales and cute as a button preppy striped shorts were soaked. The floor was soaked. His feet were soaked. The toilet, seat, and lock were soaked. Welcome to the world of me on a play date.

Lisa: This was C’s first actual play date at home, with kids his age, that aren’t family. But I wasn’t worried about it. He’s played with his cousins and his aunt & uncles (who are adopted and only a few years older) at our house before, and he loves all of his little buddies at school. Thank goodness he takes after my extrovert husband and not me. Right? Ha! Well, the little dude was NOT a fan of sharing toys that day. Or interacting with anyone. He whined. He pushed. He was kind of a brat. :-\ For the first half hour or so, all of the children ignored each other and played by themselves.

Lindsey: Yeah, pee pants played by himself until Craig was done cooking and then proceeded to swallow up all of his time sitting on the kitchen floor with Magformers (the most awesome toy ever!). Is it true that first borns usually play better with adults? I know I always did.

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How big boys play.

Lindsey: My youngest took a little horsey ride on Calvin’s back and proceeded to steal all food and toys from everyone. He may or may not have eaten at least two different snack cups he stole from other children, and definitely took a fork or two from Nina. Talk about sticking up for herself. Man, that girl knows what’s up and she held her own with the boys no problem! Kensley, you have nothing to worry about! Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because she takes no shit from nobody!

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The gears are turning as he plots her demise.

Lindsey: After my youngest stuffed his entire breakfast into his cup of milk and proceeded to spill it everywhere, we had an awesome cinnamon pancake breakfast (I may be a pancake convert after that), which neither of my kids ate. Instead, they inhaled spoonful after spoonful of the precious honey I carefully transported back from Atlanta to Wisconsin to Texas and insisted on using a  knife to cut the cheese. After brunch, we headed outside for what was sure to be the BEST part of the day.

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Aaaand I’ll help you with that.

Kensley: It got rather sunny that morning and when you get a break from Memorial weekend torrential rains that began the worst flooding in recent Central Texas history, you go outside for some water play. By the way, if you haven’t already, please donate to help the Central Texas flood victims!

Lisa: Suddenly, success! All the children gathered around the water table. All was harmonious and wonderful.

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Mmmm. Sponges.

Kensley: Without a thought to packing a swimsuit, I just let Nina go for it and decided to suffer the drenched consequences later. Eh, it’s just water, what can happen?

Lindsey: My oldest had the squirt gun. The dominant older boy in the group that day, he actually listened fascinatingly well, but the rule to not squirt anyone got the better of him. He got Nina a few times and much to my surprise, she loved it! Phew! She loved it so much so that naked time was next on the list. I was worried.

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The gears are turning as he plots her demise.

Kensley: Yeah, layer by soaked layer she asked me to help take off her dripping romper. I glanced at my friends as I helped peel off her top. Nervous laughter. Then she insisted on her shorts. “Um, she doesn’t normally do this.” (I think I’m that explanatory mom Lindsey can’t stand). Then she demanded her pull-ups! On the outside: “Well, that’s awkward.” On the inside: “FOR F%CK’S SAKE!”

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Skin care first. Nakedness second.

Kensley: Yes, my daughter was the only naked tot in the bunch for a long while. And not just naked. Exhibitionist naked. I’m talking prancing around naked as if being liberated was her cue to begin the ballet performance she was too stage frightened to do a month ago. She even inspired another to lose his own layers and together they ran around in pure bliss as I satisfyingly doused them with a hose.

Lindsey: Maybe I should continue to worry. Was that Ryter’s plan…to get her naked? What would the boys think of the lack of…? What would she think of the presence of…? Well, turns out it didn’t look like any of them noticed the slight differences. Again, Phew!

Kensley: Yes, it was all fun and games until. It was time. TO POOP. Cringe. We are in the midst of potty training and she doesn’t always get the signal to go early enough to find a bathroom. So when she used the magic words, “I go potty!” and I saw her getting ready for battle on the back porch, I found myself with a naked toddler H-AAAAAND a turtle-head. As we raced to the bathroom I heard screams behind me and instinctively knew. To catch. The inevitable.

Lindsey: That shit was hysterical.

Kensley: I was traumatized.

Lisa: Little C decided he was tired of all this [barbaric] socializing and went inside. He convinced Papa to put his favorite movie on (My Neighbor Totoro). His indignant eye roll said it all: “It’s my party, and I’ll go inside and ignore everyone if I want to.” Sigh. I guess he’s inherited some of my introversion after all! Hopefully this means he won’t be the one streaking when he gets to college.

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He was over being social. Get. Out.

Lindsey: After a couple of virgin mimosas for us…

Kensley: Correction: virgin mimosas for you. And you alone. Okay, and your kid.

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Never fails to crack me up.

Lindsey: …and after the stalagmite oopsie-daisy, we started to pack it up.  Broken things are usually the sign that I’ve taken it a few minutes too far.  To finish off the day, my kids, after almost an entire year of not having pacifiers, gravitated to Nina like flies on shit when her paci came out. Trying to keep my youngest away from her face was nearly impossible!

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The audacity of paci-stealing.

Lindsey: All in all, it was a great success.

Kensley: Except for the poop.

Lindsey: I’ve spent many a play date uptight waiting for my kid to hit someone for no reason so it was such a relief to see them both playing so nicely and listening so well! Again, one more time, Phew! And for the ride home? A treat from Lisa: homemade grapefruit white chocolate brown butter cookies…she only has one kid, people.

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Tuckered out.

Now that’s what I call a play date.

The Girl Who Cried ‘Poop!’

By Lisa

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I asked my mom to share one of her “hot mess” stories with us. It would appear that I’ve had a lifelong appreciation for poop humor…and I was obviously more fearless about shouting in public than I am now!

Enjoy!


I am a mother of two grown children. Motherhood brings so many rewarding experiences and mishaps.  I’d say some of my “mishaps” were just part of the messy, quite normal, day-to-day routine for a first time Mom. It’s been a while – I’ve probably blocked out most of my “hot mess” stories, but I’m confident I did pretty well as you can see them both now.

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Here’s one of our favorite embarrassing stories from Lisa’s childhood.

Children of a certain age – about 2 or 3 years old – take great pleasure in hearing their voice echo off the vaulted church ceiling during Mass. Our church was old, built before the time of special “cry rooms” for children.

On this particular day, little Lisa’s word of choice was “POOP!” Fortunately, our family’s unique dialect includes a number of Filipino words in place of English. So while mildly embarrassed by the shouting, we felt confident that nobody actually understood when little Lisa shouted “Taee! TAEEEE!!”

We finally got her to sit quietly, and the rest of the service was uneventful. Mass ended, and we felt like we had “gotten away with it”. Just then, a small group of nuns came up to us.

“Good morning! Filipina, ka ba? We heard your daughter!” They laughed. “What island are you from?” I told them I was from Cagayan de Oro, in Mindanao, and coincidentally several of the nuns were from the Lourdes College there.

Lisa with Mom and RVM Sisters

So that was the day we met the Filipino RVM Nuns that ran the Parochial School. They became lifelong friends to us. If Lisa hadn’t shouted “POOP!!” at the top of her lungs, we may not have met them!

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Who, ME??


Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!!

Laugh It Off

By Lisa

Coffee Cup

I get embarrassed easily. I get embarrassed when I catch myself muttering aloud when I’m home alone. I only dance when NO ONE is watching (or after 2.5 cocktails). I get uncomfortable when someone is standing in front of my favorite peanut butter in the grocery store. What to do? Hover behind them creepily? Come back later and hope they’re gone? Or horror of horrors, actually speak to them?

Luckily, now that I’m a mom, that self-consciousness has disappeared. Well, sort of. It’s still there. I just don’t have time to care about it now.

My first public Mom Mishap happened when my son was 5 months old. Just when I finally had my diaper bag situation in order (aka remembering to restock diapers/wipes, learning to keep a extra bottle/snack supply), I went out in public for a nice Saturday breakfast. In the 2 seconds after my husband left the table and I took my eyes off my amazing new baby, that baby reached out and dumped a full cup of ripping hot coffee on my lap. I was MORTIFIED…and completely unprepared for such disasters. I had 5 flimsy paper napkins, and wipes (not ideal for liquid spills). Coffee…everywhere…what…to…do…durrr…I think I went into shock.

I came to when another young mom approached me. “You look like you need some help!” She handed me a burp cloth and a fat stack of napkins. I sighed in relief. “Thank you so much!” Thank goodness for more experienced moms, I thought. It’s such a relief to know that I’ll get it together as he gets older.

Then I saw her tiny baby. It was younger than mine! She was a newbie too… just way more organized than I. Bummer. Maybe I’m just doomed to hot-messedness.

Last weekend, I was at the grocery store with my family. We had our usual Saturday breakfast, and I brought my coffee with me as we shopped. My son grabbed my coffee cup, but my slightly-more-experienced Mama Eagle Eye rescued the cup before disaster struck.

Or so I thought.

We headed toward the checkout lanes. I started to take a sip of my coffee, but nothing came out as I tilted it toward my mouth. By the time I realized that coffee was running down my hand, it was too late. The lid (which my son had expertly loosened just enough) popped off violently, soaking my entire front side in delicious, freshly roasted, organic/fair trade coffee.

Was I better prepared than I was 16 months ago? Not really. But was I mortified? Nope. It was hilarious!

But I did change my clothes when we got home.

Montessori Inspired Toileting

By Lisa

Child Sitting on Potty

We’ve been “potty training” for about 6 months now.  I’m using quotes because a) I don’t think we’ll be at 100% toilet use for a while and b) I don’t really like that term.  He’s a person learning an essential life skill, not a cat refusing to use the litter box.

No matter how you handle it, toilet learning is a hot mess.  Sometimes literally, like when your kid poops in the potty and immediately puts his hand in it.  Or when your kid gets up and runs down the hall with poop falling out as he runs.  Thank goodness for tile floors!

My toilet learning method is heavily influenced by Montessori Toilet Learning (examples here and here), and Homemade Mothering’s Potty Training Manifesto.  Sure, it’s not for everyone, and every child is different.  You know the drill.  This is what’s working for us, and hopefully this will be helpful for other mamas out there.

I gradually began changing the diapering routine when he was about a year old.  Why?  Because he HATED lying on the changing table.  Every diaper was a wrestling match!  So I changed him standing up in the bathroom.  Then I put a potty in the bathroom, and would have him sit there for a moment before putting a new diaper on him.

The real fun began when he started walking at 14 months.  He was already used to seeing and sitting on the potty on a regular basis, so I started taking him to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, regardless of whether I thought he had a dirty diaper or not.  It was definitely hit or miss for a long time, but it became a mostly successful routine. We would go as soon as he woke up, and before/after we did anything (eating, leaving the house, naps, etc.).  If he didn’t want to sit down, I just changed him and we’d move on.  Lately, if I suspect he does need to go I’ll bribe him into sitting with a chocolate chip, but I try to keep the whole thing pressure-free.

So where are we at 20 months?  He’s recently started wearing training pants at home, and he’s learning to pull pants up and down.  He usually pees in the potty, as long as i take him there frequently.  He knows to tell me if he has to poop, but by the time we get to the bathroom its often already…out.  If we do make it in time, I distract him with books and poorly-sung songs to keep him from getting up and running off mid-poop.

A quick Pinterest search for “potty training” returns tons of advice for fast potty training: “3 days or less!” “Potty trained in 1 week!” “Potty train in 24 hours!”.  Every time I come across pins like these, I start to feel anxious.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Should I be rolling up my rugs and letting him run around naked?

And then I come back to my real life, with my un-Pinteresty house and my not-yet-2 child who actually does use the potty fairly often despite my relative laziness in “potty training” him.  And I think we’re doing just fine.  Maybe the 3-day roll-up-the-rugs method would be better/faster, and I guess that’s still an option.  But for now, the slow and steady method is working for us.

How did you handle potty training?  Let us know in the comments!

A Goodnight Kiss

By Lisa
Reading a bedtime story

Imagine a night…with a stress free bedtime!

When I was pregnant, people couldn’t wait to tell me that I would “never sleep again”. But I want to tell all future mamas out there that this is NOT TRUE.

What IS true is that you will think about sleep a lot. If you’re getting enough. If your kid is getting enough. Why your kid isn’t sleeping. About bedtime. About how much time you have AFTER bedtime to clean and make lunches and eat ice cream with your husband before YOUR bedtime. About how you should be sleeping, but your brain is full of ideas & useless trivia. You should be sleeping, but you keep admiring your son in the monitor and the way he sleeps with his hand patting his cheek and his blanket balled up under him.

Until last week, I was having trouble getting my kid to go to sleep on his own. He would fall asleep in my arms, but not in his own bed. But everything about parenthood is a phase, isn’t it? Every time I start to think “What am I doing wrong?” or “Is it always going to be like this?”, everything snaps into place.

A little backstory: My little dude has been a great sleeper. Then three molars came in at once, and we are all awake for 2 weeks straight.  Every morning, I would huddle over his toddler table like a shell-shocked refugee, with a cup of coffee and a dirty bathrobe over my shoulders.

I finally caved and tried “Cry It Out” after 2 weeks of pacing the house all night with him and those molars. What made me change my mind? Well, I feel asleep. And sleepwalked into a wall. While I was holding him. We were both fine (just startled), but that was my wake-up call. It took a few days of tears (mine and his), but night wakings were finally over.

But CIO didn’t work at bedtime. That was my fault. The crying and 5-10-15 minute checks were cutting into my cleaning/laundry/prepping time. It was just faster to let him fall asleep in my arms. So, that’s how he got to be almost 20 months old and still not falling asleep in his bed.

Last week, something changed. Instead of clinging to me, he wanted to lay down in his crib. I rubbed his back, said goodnight, and walked out. Cue screaming and tears. I waited 5 minutes. I gave him a hug. More tears. I planned to check in after 10 minutes, but he was quiet and lying down in 5. What? It’s a Christmas miracle!!

Last night, I brought him to bed after his bedtime story. He laid down and hugged his “Toto” (Totoro). I rubbed his tiny shoulders.

“Goodnight sweetheart.”

It was dark, but I saw him sit up. Uh oh. Was he going to cry?

“Kiss, mama.”

He stood at the end of the crib for a goodnight kiss. Then he laid back down. As I left the room, I turned and blew a kiss. I couldn’t see him, but I didn’t need to.

“Mmmah! Mmmah!”

It was so adorable I almost picked him up and squeezed him. But I’m pretty sure if I had done that bedtime would have taken another 45 minutes (you know how it goes).

If you’re a mom, you know that feeling. When your heart swells up with love and awesome and cuteness and ahhh-this-is-the-best-child-ever.

Even if I “never sleep again”, that feeling is worth it.

Belly Rubs: A Horror Story

By Lisa
Hands on Belly

Dun-nun. Dun-nun.

 

How to begin this story? I was pregnant. I was at work. I was in the bathroom, as usual. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in the bathroom in the last two years.

I was washing my hands after peeing for the fiftieth time that morning. A coworker came into the bathroom. She was from a different department, so while I knew her name, I’d never actually spoken to her other than passing hellos in the hallway.

“Aww, what a cute belly!” She gushed.

“Haha…thanks.” What else is there to say?

And then it happened. She walked right up, reached right in (I’m still washing my hands) and RUBBED MY BELLY.

Internally, I was blowing my imaginary rape whistle and screaming my head off. In real life, I was awkwardly laughing and backing away. “Uh, heheh, okay…Thanks…Excuse me,” I mumble. My brain was in emergency shutdown mode. GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT.

Now, I don’t have a problem with belly touching. Close friends and family? Fine. Coworkers I actually know and talk to? Ok, just ask first. Strangers? No. Bad touch. Unknown coworkers touching my belly in the office bathroom, right after I’ve peed, while I’m trying to wash my hands? Utterly horrifying.

I get it. Pregnancy is neat. I loved feeling those little kicks and somersaults. One of my favorite prego memories is my son kicking my brother’s hand, and my brother going “Whoaaa!”. But please. PLEASE. Ask permission first. You wouldn’t want me to touch your belly, so it’s also not ok to touch my baby belly.

And for the love of God, not when I’m in the bathroom.

Happy Friday, and thanks for reading!

Mud, Coffee, Pee: A Typical Morning

By Lisa

Toddler Walking Outside

It’s a normal weekday morning.  We wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and he plays with his toys while I pack his school bag.

We start to leave the house for school.  He runs around the front yard shouting “Stick!” “Tree!” “Leaf!”.  After days of rain, the sun is finally shining.  It’s one of those perfect “I love being a Mom” moments.  I bask in the adorableness of it all as I carry our bags in one hand, my coffee in the other.

That’s when it all falls apart, naturally.

I open the van door and set the bags down.  I scoop up my son (coffee still in hand, what a pro!).  He immediately flips out, squirming and kicking and “No no no no!!”.  I set my coffee on the floor of the van and use both arms to wrangle this kid into his car seat.  He pulls my hair and kicks me in the chest with his muddy shoes.  Dammit!  Oh well.  I’ll come back home and change my shirt.  He’s in the seat.  Ahhh.  I get in the car.  Off we go.  I back out of the driveway.

Wait.  What is that noise?  Glug, glug, glug….

It’s Mommy’s turn to have a tantrum.  “No no no no!!!”  Back into the driveway.  Open the van door.  Coffee ALL OVER the floor.  ALL OVER the cloth diaper bag.  “Nooooooo!” 

Run back into the house.  Do I have a clean diaper bag?  Err, not exactly.  Crap.  I empty yesterday’s dirty diaper bag into the diaper pail.  It smells faintly of pee.  It’ll have to do.  It’s going to have dirty diapers in it later anyway, right?

Back to the car.  Ignore the coffee spill for now.  We’re running late.

We get to school.  He walks right in, neatly dressed and hair brushed.  Meanwhile, I look crazy, with my ponytail askew and mud smeared all over the front of my shirt.  And I’m carrying a day-old diaper bag, so I probably smell like pee.

I walk back to the car and burst out laughing.  And then I see another parent giving me the side-eye.  Oops.  Better go home and change my shirt.


 

Do you have a Hot Mess story to share with our readers?  If so, we want to hear about it!  Just shoot us an email (hello [at] hotmessmamas [dot] com), or send us a message on Facebook.

I’m a Unicorn. No, really.

By Lisa
Lisa and C

The best part of waking up, is having an awesome baby that almost didn’t exist.

You don’t know me. Well, maybe you do (our readership is still small, after all). But if not, all you know about me is that I’m the natural birthing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, make-all-our-food-from scratch CRAZY LADY.

Right? So annoying. A magical mama unicorn.

I have a surprise for you. I AM a unicorn. For reals. But not in the magical, irritating, glitter-farts way. I’m a unicorn in the rare birth defect, mandatory-IVF kind of way. So that’s something you can feel smug about when I’m annoying you with my crazy-mom-ness. I’ll never have a “whoops, I’m pregnant” moment. The one big surprise in my life has dictated that there will be no surprises ever in the baby making department.

When my husband and I started talking about kids 3 years ago, we were very casual about it. We don’t have to TRY, we just won’t PREVENT, we said. I come from a family full of overly fertile Filipino mamas (remember, my grandma had 12 kids), so I was nervous. OMG, I could pretty much be pregnant tomorrow just by thinking about it! Is this the right time? Am I ready to be pregnant TOMORROW? Holy sh*t!

After a few months of not being pregnant tomorrow, I was feeling paranoid. Everything I read said “try for a year before seeing a doctor”, but I had this dark feeling that something wasn’t right. Also…I’m impatient.

Let’s back up a bit. I had my right ovary removed when I was in high school because of a tumor. At the time, the doctor assured my mom that it wouldn’t affect my fertility at all. So I never thought about it again…well, not for 13 years anyway.

So 6 months into “not trying” I went to my annual checkup. Annnnd, I fibbed to my doctor! I told her we had been trying for almost a year. Hey, I just rounded up a little! She sent me to have an HSG test. Probably just scar tissue from the old surgery, she said.

If you’ve ever had an HSG, it sucks, it’s awkward, and you stare at the ceiling and try to pretend you’re somewhere else. And then, if you’re me, the nurse says something comforting like, “That’s strange.” And then you cry in the parking lot, and go back to work and stare blankly at your computer for the next 3 hours.

So my doctor sent me to a fertility specialist. That’s how you know that “not trying” is NOT going well. And to think, my grandmother told me not to hold hands with boys because I might get pregnant (gotta love Asian grandmas). Think of all the hand holding I missed out on!

The new doctor said, it’s probably just scar tissue blockage. We’ll just clear it out. Two weeks later, I woke up from my laparoscopy. My husband didn’t have to say it. I knew when I saw his face.

IVF. Despite what your insurance says, it’s not an elective.  No one chooses IVF.  But it was the only option. Why? Because I have a unicornuate uterus. WTF is that, you ask? It’s when you only have one half of your uterus. A random, super rare birth defect. Which wouldn’t even be a huge issue, except it was on the right. Where I don’t have an ovary anymore. Not connected to my left ovary in any way. Everything was functioning normally…but they might as well have been on different planets. They were never (ever, ever) getting together. And there were pregnancy risks. Possible breech presentation. Possible premature birth. Possible miscarriage. Wait, aren’t these things possible anyway?

So, we went for it. We went from “we don’t have to TRY” to “we need to do this NOW”. We spent the money (with some help from hopeful grandparents-to-be). I did the many, many, many injections. And in the words of Lucille Bluth, our future babies were “made in a cup, like soup”. The day before the embryo transfer, we watched Babies to get psyched for what we hoped was our impending pregnancy. I might get pregnant, I thought. Like, tomorrow. And I did.

We’re so, so lucky to have our son. He stayed in the right position for my entire pregnancy. He was born 2 days past my due date, even though the doctors warned that he would probably be early. And he was over 8 pounds, so he did just fine with the limited space he had.  I know it may not be that easy next time, but I hope it will be.  Because I’m a glass-half-full person. A stubbornly optimistic person.

It’s why I don’t look back on that time with anxiety.

It’s why I’ll be excited to do it again.

It’s what gets me through the daily hot messes of motherhood.

It’s what made me the natural-birthing, cloth-diapering nutcase that I am.

It’s why I wanted a natural birth, and why I was so stubborn about nursing.

Every pregnancy I’ll have (and there will be more) will be planned. Monitored. Managed. I want to do the rest of it my way.

On paper, I may sound like a magical mama unicorn. But in real life? I’m just a regular unicorn.  Regular farts and all.

Ralphie Wiggum Unicorn

 

It was Great!! Eventually.

By Lisa
Lisa and C post nursing

This looks lovely. This was also the hardest phase of all.

Breastfeeding is how I discovered the power of embarrassing your male coworkers. I had two different run-ins with male colleagues asking where I was going (the women’s changing/pumping room was a short walk from my desk, and I carried that hideous Medela backpack). The first time it happened–“Where are you going? You know we have a meeting at 10:30, right?” I stuttered, beet-faced, that I was going to the bathroom, to uh, well… It took the poor guy a few beats before his face matched mine and he practically ran away from me. It’s like telling your male geometry teacher you’re on your period. They will never bother you again!

Overall, I had a great experience with breastfeeding. I lost the baby weight quickly. My milk supply was fine–I wasn’t filling gallon jugs, but I always had extra stored. Night feedings were sweet and cozy, and we even went through a cosleeping phase. I worked in an office so pumping was easy & (mostly!) uneventful. We nursed until he self-weaned at 1 year–when he laughed and poked my boob instead of trying to nurse, I knew we were done.

It’s easy to assume that it’s all going smoothly for someone else, isn’t it? It sounds perfect, right? Well, I can tell you that it hurt in the beginning just like it does for every other mom. I got teary and frustrated when he only went 30-45 minutes between feeds. When I had to start pumping when he was in NICU, I spilled 4 oz of milk and started sobbing and blubbering “I can’t do this. I can’t do this!” Even when he did sleep through the night at 6 weeks, I was up and pumping at 3 to build up a stockpile (and keep my pajamas dry).

Then mastitis happened. Somehow my over-informed self took a breastfeeding class and read the BEST breastfeeding book and still managed to ignore any mention of mastitis. So it figures that it would happen to me. Basically it’s a plugged duct that turns into an abscess (yep, gross) if it gets infected. It had to be opened and drained. Three times. Two of those times with only a “numbing wipe” for the pain–which was completely ineffective. They probably put me under the third time because of all the screaming.

So perfect, right? Yeah, super perfect. Nursing and pumping around an open wound is certainly an ideal we should all strive for.

I suppose I could have given up then. But I’m stubborn, remember? I decided that if my grandmother could birth and nurse 12 kids in the absolute middle of nowhere with only a village midwife for support, then I could f%$king DO THIS. The birthing and nursing, that is. Probably not the 12 kids part.

So finally, after those difficult first 2 months, everything was great. I healed, his feedings spread out, and my milk production calmed the eff down.  I’m glad I stuck with it, because I loved it and it worked well for us. Sure, pumping isn’t fun or convenient. And the nursing clothes on the market are total crap (Don’t waste your money! I just wore non-nursing blouses that buttoned). But those little inconveniences don’t matter. This is such a short, short phase, no matter how long (or briefly) you’re able to nurse. I wouldn’t trade those sweet nursing moments for anything and I absolutely believe every mom deserves that experience.

Oh, and guess what? I did use formula occasionally. He had some when he was in NICU, and we used it here and there if I didn’t have enough stored milk ready. And he was fine. So if you can’t nurse, stop worrying. Your kid will move on to cheerios and goldfish soon enough.

Keep Calm & Feed Your Baby poster

Stitch Fix Review #1 and my Mama Style Rules

By Lisa

Stitch Fix Style Cards

This week, I’m here to talk about my first Stitch Fix, and to share some guidelines I’ve created for myself as I rebuild my wardrobe from scratch.  Since this was my first Fix, I didn’t really know how it would work out.  I loved getting a box of goodies (who doesn’t), and I LOVED not going to the mall.  But I was a little bummed that I didn’t like everything.

Here’s what I got:

  • 2 jersey knit tops–one with a cowl neckline, and one patterned dolman sleeve top
  • 1 patterned knit skirt
  • 1 burgundy “fit & flare” dress (Winner!)
  • 1 gold bracelet

 

The dress was adorable.  Everything else was just…meh.  But I had a realization:  In my Style Profile, I never mentioned that I don’t like knits!  Its something I don’t think about when I shop for myself, because I don’t LOOK for knits (unless they’re chunky sweaters, then I’m all over it).  So after returning my items, I updated my profile.

In the end, I liked and kept only one item.  I know, whomp whomp, right?  But I’m going to stick with it!  Here’s why:  It’s like meeting a new friend, and then asking her to go shopping for you.  My Stitch Fix stylist doesn’t know me yet!  Sure, she has a basic idea of my general style, but as she gets to know my likes/dislikes, each Fix will get better.  And if we become besties, I may never have to enter a shopping mall again. (Fingers crossed.)

In the meantime, I still need to rebuild my wardrobe.  I’ve been thinking a lot about style and function.  I want to get dressed without having to think too much about it.  I don’t want to “do” my hair.  But I still care about my appearance.  I’m not ready to embrace yoga pants (although let’s be real, I wear them all the time).

So here are my new Wardrobe Rebuild Rules:

  • Affordable:  most items must cost less than $100.  I would say “all”, but I’m willing to cross (slightly) into 3 digits for quality staple items like a handbag, a wool coat, or maybe a basic cashmere sweater.
  • Adaptable: can be dressed up or down, and suitable for at least 2/3 of these scenarios: Work, Play, or Night Out.
  • Reasonable: No skyscraper heels.  No skirts that threaten to flash panty.  I mean…was that ever ok?
  • Presentable: Even if I only have time to roll out of bed and throw something on, that should not be apparent to anyone else.  Why?  Because the day that I go to Target in rumpled clothes and no makeup, is inevitably the day I’ll run into someone I know.
  • Stylish:  As a seamstress, designer, and vintage enthusiast, I want my new wardrobe to still reflect my eclectic style.  Minimal Eclectic?  Let’s make that a thing.

 

I’ll receive my next Fix next month.  Until then, I’m checking out the Everlane Home Try-On (I’m in love with their affordable, quality basics), and I’m thinking about snagging one of these Strawberry blouses from PopBasic.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress!