Preparing For Baby: #1 versus #3

Jessie's photo shoot 002When a new baby enters the scene there is no shortage of preparation that must be done: the research, the planning, the buying of absolutely necessary tiny things. Well, that’s the theory, anyway. What I have found is that the level and extent of preparation for a new baby is directly (negatively) proportional to the number of children you already have under your care.

Right now we are awaiting baby #3’s imminent arrival, and the contrast between our “preparation” this time around versus when our first baby was born is stark. Here are a few of the standout differences:

Time spent preparing:
Baby #1: From the moment I saw our positive pregnancy test until his birth, I spent some time approximately every waking moment preparing or thinking about preparing for our first baby’s birth.

Baby #3: You may not even remember you’re pregnant until your water breaks. We’ve been so busy lately with work and school and travel and holidays that I nearly forgot WE’RE HAVING A BABY in a few weeks. I went so far as to make an actual entry into my Google calendar this week that said “nesting”. Better late than never.

Critical Research
Baby #1: I researched circumcision doctors.

Baby #3: I researched headbands.

Birth Classes
Baby #1: We went to not one, but THREE sets of birth classes when I was pregnant with baby #1. The first class was this kooky meditation-type class that had us personify our hormones that would be present during labor and delivery and paint pictures of our anticipated birth journey (true story). We made it through approximately 3/4 of one class before we were running for the hills. Birth class #2 was hosted by a hospital and provided lots of practical information like how to change a diaper and not kill your baby (in that order). Birth class #3 was a series of mini-lectures hosted by our midwives that outlined how to have a successful (most likely pain-free) all-natural birth.

Baby #3: Here’s the only lesson you need to learn before you have a baby: just go with it. In the throes of labor there will be no breathing technique or meditation that will save you from a 48-hour labor that won’t progress past 8 cm and a baby with a cord wrapped around his neck. Birth is crazy and awkward and painful and full of unanticipated surprises. Just go with it. It’s good preparation for the next stage that lies ahead: parenthood.

Required Reading
Baby #1: I could start my own traveling library with the number of books I read leading up to the birth of our first child: Books about what to expect and what to think and what to buy. Books, books, books.

Baby #3: I have an app on my phone that reminds me when I have an OB appointment. It’s called my calendar.

Pregnancy Diet
Baby #1: Eat a rainbow of vegetables every day. Avoid cold lunchmeat and soft cheeses. No caffeine. No refined sugar. Healthy fats in moderation. Remember to take your vitamins and midwife-prescribed supplements. Small meals spread out throughout the day to eliminate heartburn.

Baby #3: Pizza, cheeseburgers, and the entire bakery, please.

Rest
Baby #1: I would come home from work every day at about 4:30 and take a little nap before dinner. After dinner I’d relax for a couple of hours before going to bed at a reasonable hour. On the weekends I’d sleep in until I felt good and ready to start my day. After all, I needed to conserve my energy for the baby.

Baby #3: I remember sleep! I love sleep! I want sleep. Alas, I have two highly-energetic little boys who are solely under my care for 10-12 hours a day. They don’t nap, and they don’t approve of the notion of me napping either. Actually, they’d probably love it if I took a nap…then they could finally find out what happens when you run with scissors or color with Sharpie markers on the living room walls.

Setting Up The Nursery
Baby #1: Four months before his arrival, we had the nursery painted, decorated, and stocked with necessities. I hung sweet decals on the walls and crafted hand-made mobiles. It was gorgeous.

Baby #3: Technically, she has a room. It’s currently being used as a guest room/playroom/storage space for all the crap we can’t figure out a better place for. I think we have a Pac ‘n Play in one of our closets that I can set up next to my bed for the short-term. I’ll also buy a box of diapers and wipes the next time I go to Costco.

Medical Decisions
Baby #1: I planned an all-natural out-of-hospital birth with midwives. I wanted ZERO medical intervention. In the unlikely event that it became necessary for me to transfer to a hospital (shudder), I had a detailed birth plan ready to hand over to the insolent doctors who might try to pressure me into something drastic. Like pain medication.

Baby #3: Scheduled C-Section, baby! Not only am I willing to go to a hospital with an actual licensed doctor, but I am thrilled at the idea. I may even do my hair and paint my nails for the occasion.

Emotions
Baby #1: I couldn’t wait to be a mom. My heart swelled every time I thought about this new little person who I already loved but had never met.

Baby #3: I can’t wait to be a mom again. My heart swells every time I think about this new little person who I already love but have never met.

Four more weeks, darling. I’ll be ready!

 

 

Parenting Advice I Wish People Had Actually Given Me

Birth and Coming Home 532Here’s the thing: everyone knows more about parenting than I do. Actually, I think everyone knows more about parenting than anyone else knows about parenting. Which is why there’s so much parenting advice available on the market. It runs the gamut from old wives tales to bogus “facts” (mostly gleaned from internet mommy forums) that will go out the window with the rest of them when the next parenting fad comes into vogue.

The truth is, though, there’s not a lot of advice out there that can hold it’s ground in the real world. I mean, the nitty-gritty tantrum-throwing mess-making real world that includes life with actual children. There were lots of parenting truths that I wish someone would have told me when I started this whole mommy thing a few years ago. Truths like:

1. If you have to do something real quick, like fix your hair or make a phone call, and you think to yourself, “Ah, I’ll just leave the kids out here while I take care of that. I’ll only be 5 minutes. How much trouble could they get into in 5 minutes?”…well, just banish those thoughts from your sweet little head. Because the answer to “How much trouble could they get into…” is FAR MORE TROUBLE THAN YOUR 5 MINUTES OF PEACE ARE WORTH. For instance, they may take an entire tube of blue toothpaste and smear it all over your new couch. Or they may empty all of the drawers out of your kitchen cabinet, stack them in front of the snack closet, and climb up to your candy stash. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

2. You can use a whiteboard marker to remove permanent marker from a whiteboard, and you can use rubbing alcohol to remove whiteboard marker from your walls without removing the paint. Just tuck this one away for the time when your little Picasso goes a bit overboard–it’s already saved my buns on more than one occasion.

3. No matter how kid-friendly your cooking is, no matter how cleverly you work at disguising vegetables, no matter how much love and care you put into the food you prepare–90% of it will end up on the walls or the dog. Even if it’s organic.

4. After you bear children, you will leak out of seemingly every orifice in your body. And, no, it won’t stop after your initial 6-week “postpartum period” expires. Plan accordingly

5. Kids get sick. All the dang time, kids get sick. No matter how often you wash their grimy little hands, whether you are pro-vaccines or anti-vax, if you see a pediatrician or a shaman–it doesn’t matter: your kid will get sick. Just save yourself some grief: stock up on Emergen-C and perfect your recipe for chicken soup. Also, buy one of those disgusting-yet-gratifying baby nasal aspirators.

6. The stage you are in now IS the easy stage. Things don’t magically become simpler when your child gets older and moves on to the next stage. When they can feed themselves, it gets harder (and messier). When they transition out of diapers, it gets harder (and messier). When they LEAVE YOU and spend half a day at preschool, it gets harder (and your mascara gets messier). I can’t even think about what comes next, because I know how much harder and messier it will be. The takeaway: enjoy this moment while you have it.

7. If your child has a lovey (you know, that blanket or stuffed animal or pacifier that they CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT) run out to the store (seriously: RUN. Do not wait too long or your loveys may be out of stock or, worse yet, DISCONTINUED) and buy duplicate loveys. Like, 10 or 20 duplicates might be enough. Stash them in your car, the grandparents’ houses, under your bed, in your earthquake emergency kit, your underwear drawer–whatever. Just get a ton of those things and make sure you never ever EVER lose the only lovey your child has. Just don’t.

8. Forget saving up for your kids’ college funds. Start saving up for preschool as soon as you feel your biological clock start ticking. I mean, seriously, $$fj$$kl;ajdks$$…

9. At some point, you WILL touch poop with your bare hand. When the inevitable happens: be brave, finish what has to be finished, then disinfect All The Stuff like it’s going out of business.

10. Don’t listen to other people. Listen up, now, this is important: You know your child better than anyone else in the whole world. You know them better than that doctor, better than the other moms at playgroup, better than the well-meaning granny at the grocery store, better than the mommy bloggers (but do keep reading, I’m almost done here). You are THE expert in your child. So if something feels right to you, or doesn’t feel right for you– or if something works for you, or doesn’t work for you–then do what your gut and intuition and keen knowledge tell you to do. YOU know your child better than anyone else, and that counts for a lot.

Power on, parents, power on.

XxX Allison

My 100th Post: 100 Reasons I Love Being A Mom

Jacob week 1 - 0459 Today I am posting my 100th entry to this little blog of mine. Over the course of my last 99 entries I’ve written about many subjects, but the overarching theme has definitely been “mommy life”. I’ve written about hot topics such as what it takes to be a mom, how to prepare yourself for parenthood (Good luck with that one!),  how I attempt to get things done with my kids around (Again, best of luck), how we discipline, how we travel with our kids, what I feed my kids, and the ridiculous things that I do as a mom.  Lots of…mom stuff. So, for my 100th post I thought it would be appropriate to write about my favorite mom-topic: how much I love being a mom. I could probably share with you a million reasons why motherhood is the best “job” in the world, but I’ll practice a bit of self control and stick to 100 (100th post, remember?).  And now, here are the top 100 reasons why I love being a mom:

  1. Snuggles
  2. Hearing my baby say “Mama!” all day long
  3. Getting to see God answer my prayers for my children
  4. Ugga Muggas
  5. Seeing that first ultrasound pictures of the life growing inside me
  6. Parenting with my husband
  7. Having my family be my full-time “job”
  8. Waking up to children’s voices instead of a buzzing alarm (I just wish those sweet little voices would learn how to sleep past 7 AM…)
  9. Going to children’s museums and kiddie playgrounds
  10. Teaching them new things
  11. Seeing the light in their eyes when they learn something new and have that “Aha!” moment
  12. Growing in the virtue of “patience”
  13. Singing lullabies
  14. Tiny naked bottoms running to the bathtub
  15. Bubble baths
  16. The smell of a baby
  17. Kissing boo-boos
  18. Watching my older son teach his little brother (mostly it’s just him teaching the baby how to get into mischief, but I’m sure it will come in handy some day)
  19. My new-found appreciation for all things “balls” (if you know David, you know exactly what I mean)
  20. Hearing a small voice say, “I love you”, and knowing that he really means it
  21. Watching first steps (and first everythings!)
  22. Having an excuse to eat chicken nuggets and Mac ‘n Cheese
  23. Witnessing innocence
  24. Playing!
  25. Watching my children grow and change
  26. Hearing David say the phrase, “So, I was thinking today we could…”. He sounds just like his Mommy.
  27. Splashing in mud puddles
  28. Nursing my baby until he falls asleep in my arms
  29. Re-watching classic movies like “The Lion King” and “Cars”
  30. Exploring new places with my kids
  31. Stroking feathery-soft baby hair
  32. Learning in a whole new way how to trust God each day
  33. Celebrating holidays through the eyes of a child–it’s magical
  34. The hilarious things they say
  35. Wrestling (even though Daddy definitely has me beat in this area!)
  36. Seeing bits of me and my husband in our children
  37. Kissing their sweet, soft, pudgy little cheeks
  38. Teaching my kids God’s Word
  39. Comforting my kids when they are upset
  40. Painting with our fingers
  41. Baby laughs–there’s no problem in this world that a baby laugh can’t cure
  42. Reading with my children
  43. Oggling their teeny-tiny clothes
  44. Being the one they run to when they are scared
  45. Priority boarding on airplanes
  46. Helping them
  47. Praying with them
  48. Sharing in their joys and sorrows
  49. Learning from them
  50. My son’s excitement to see me when I pick him up from school
  51. Trying new things
  52. Wiping away crocodile tears
  53. Listening to David talking to and playing with other children
  54. Seeing how excited they get over the little things in life
  55. Knowing that I helped create something AMAZING
  56. Sharing in my kids’ curiosity
  57. Nourishing and sustaining another life with my own body
  58. Being appreciated
  59. Watching David DEVOUR his broccoli and turn up his nose at a cookie (he may not be my child after all…)
  60. Feeling Acting younger than I am
  61. All the cute baby gear
  62. Planning their birthday parties
  63. Because my kids rock!
  64. Helping to shape a young life that will influence the world long after I’m gone
  65. Doing the mundane…but having it feel purposeful
  66. Watching my kids sleep
  67. Lazing around together in our jammies
  68. Watching David dance and sing
  69. Mimi and Gigi
  70. Taking the boys swimming
  71. Buying bunch after bunch after bunch of bananas
  72. Doling out M&M’s for potty successes (and always sneaking a few for myself…)
  73. Having picnics together
  74. Baby kisses (they feel more like baby licks, but I know that he means them lovingly)
  75. Blowing raspberries on their tummies and watching them squirm
  76. Swinging on the swings and sliding on the slides with them
  77. Watching them spend hours on a “meaningless” task like putting balls in a basket or throwing rocks into water
  78. Playing Peek-a-boo and Pat-a-cake
  79. Encouraging them
  80. Witnessing David’s unique sense of style (which usually includes 3 layers of basketball t-shirts and nothing else)
  81. Brushing their teeth and seeing new teeth appear in their mouths seemingly every day
  82. Being humbled by my children
  83. Tickling my baby during diaper changes
  84. Bedtime. ‘Nuf said.
  85. Counting tiny fingers and tiny toes
  86. Holding their hands
  87. Seeing David’s “cheese face” when we’re taking his photo
  88. Unconditional love
  89. Watching Jacob crawl at lightning speed when he sees something he wants across the room
  90. Challenging them and being challenged by them
  91. Sharing in their dreams
  92. Hearing my baby clap when he’s excited
  93. Helping them see their potential
  94. Cuddling when they don’t feel well
  95. Meeting new friends with my kids
  96. Watching David DOMINATE at Angry Birds
  97. Experiencing old things from a new perspective
  98. Finding toys in random places to remind me that my children have been here
  99. Laughing uncontrollably when David rolls down a hill and then (dizzily) tries to run back up to the top
  100. Loving them. I just love loving them.

So there you have it, 100 reasons I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. Thank you for letting me be your mommy, boys! IMG_3644