Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I swore I’d be different.

When I found out I was pregnant with L.E., I immediately did what most parents-to-be do: I categorically made a mental list of all of the things my child would or wouldn’t do because I’m going to be such an awesome and progressive parent. In honor of that list, and as a tribute to a few of my friends who are about to embark on their own parenthood journey, I bring you my What I Swore list:

What I Swore

I swore I would curb my pregnancy cravings and only gain the minimum amount of weight.
Gained 60 lbs.

I swore I would have a natural birth with no interventions unless medically necessary.
Scheduled c-section.

I swore she would breastfeed with little effort on my part.
Trouble breastfeeding.

I swore she would sleep through the night right away.
Sleep has been hard-fought.

I swore our television would remain OFF while she’s in the room.
Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba may actually teach her things that I can’t.

I swore she'd be so happy that she would never cry or throw tantrums.
The terrible twos may have started early.

I swore a binky would not be used. Once I caved, I swore a binky would only be used at night.
Binky addicts need a support group.

I swore she wouldn't eat sand.
I swore she would occasionally fall asleep on the floor of our living room, surrounded by all of her toys with a soft smile on her face.
 I should be so lucky to have her arbitrarily fall asleep.

I swore she wouldn’t be a picky eater because her parents love food so much.
One day she ate nothing but puffies and M&Ms.

I swore she would never eat French fries.
She's eaten French fries plenty.

I swore one of her first words would be Porter.
Her first word was uh-oh, followed by baby; she says dug for Porter; she can say Melmo but not Mommy

I swore she would love stuffed animals, especially Frank the Frog.
She’s indifferent to Frank the Frog. 

I swore I would quit buying stuffed animals when I realized she rarely plays with them.
She got two at the Portland Zoo this past weekend.

I swore that her nose would rarely be a river of snot because of how diligently I would wipe it.
Her nose is a constant river of snot and there aren’t enough boogie wipes in the world for her.

I swore she would love hats and hair bows.
 She hates hats and hair bows. 

I swore I wouldn’t give her any processed food.
She loves Kraft mac & cheese.

I swore we would do Mommy & Me classes regularly and swimming lessons from 6 months on.
Who knew those classes can cost $100 a month or more? 

I swore she would only drink filtered or bottled water.
 I’ve caught her drinking out of the dog’s bowl. 

I swore I wouldn't tell stories about her poop.
One day, she ate nothing but blueberries for a day and her poop was blue.

I swore I wouldn't dress her in onesies that have ironic, poop-based sayings on them.
She has a onesie that says, "I'm going green. (in my diaper.)" 

I swore I wouldn't exploit her for the sake of my own gain.
By reading this blog, you are helping with my exploitation and you should call up your editor friend at Random House or Penguin and tell them I need a book deal. 

I swore I would lose the baby weight before her first birthday.
My fatitude has been well-documented on this blog. 

I swore being a working mom would be easy like it is on TV.
It's like having TWO full-time jobs; stay-at-home moms just have one. 

I swore hearing her laugh would be the greatest sound ever.
One promise kept is better than none.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Couch to 5K

My Week Two look of despair matches Homer's

So I started running.
I haven't done any solid running in well over a decade. (Unless you count running from the cops but I am still maintaining my innocence.) Even then I would get bored after a week. This time is different. I set a realistic goal in my head and decided to just go for it. I need to lose weight and want to feel better about myself. I've tried other workouts like Pilates and the Dailey Method. But I never saw results fast enough and most of the instructors I've had were bitchy. I need nice, sweet motivation...not steely-eyed glares because I'm not doing something correctly.
So running. Yeah. It's cheap, as in free, and there are nifty apps you can use to guide you along. That's how I found the Couch-to-5K app. You can sync your own playlist in the app and there's a nice, sensitive-sounding man telling you when to run and walk. I think I'll call him Gregory. He sounds like a Gregory. Not Greg...Gregory.
I began this challenge with Reno's Race for the Cure 5K in mind. It's October 2nd. I don't know if I'll make it because the program is eight weeks and I'm on week two. But I really feel like it's important for that particular race be my first ever. My mom is a 10-year breast cancer survivor and I think she'd be really proud of me for running in her honor.
So I started a week ago. The first day was awesome. It's run/walk intervals the first few weeks and I handled the first week superbly. I love how I felt a bit sore the next day and realized all of the muscles I've neglected for the last couple of decades. I was sleeping better and feeling really positive and happy.
Week two hasn't been as easy.
I knew week two was doomed from the start when L.E. woke up screaming at 5:00 am on run day. I usually go at 6:00 am so I lost an hour of precious sleep. I had no choice but to run during my lunch hour. Luckily for my co-workers, I'm one of those people who sweats excessively when I exercise. It was hot, about 90 degrees and for whatever reason, I decided to forego stretching. Usually I keep a positive mantra going when I run but yesterday my mantra was "make it stop. make it stop." I felt pain in every part of my legs and back, even in this weird part down where my butt meets my thigh. I was gasping for air, instead of doing the long slow breaths you're supposed to do. I'm positive the landscapers on Lakeside were laughing at me, especially when I tripped over nothing on the sidewalk. I'm just happy I finished even if I wanted to throw Gregory into Virginia Lake at one point.
The aftermath was even worse. I had extra-wobbly legs the rest of the day. And I couldn't stop sweating. I wasn't smelly; just wet. And BRIGHT RED. Fortunately, I work with people who are less-than-observant so nobody noticed the beads of sweat or excessive panting. I woke up this morning feeling like I need to hack up a lung and my voice sounds as though I'm a Vegas lounge singer. That's what an off-and-on smoking habit will get you once you start working it out of your system.
I want to say my motivation is L.E. and wanting to be able to keep up with her and live a long and healthy life for her. But this is me we're talking about. My motivation is my too-tight, $200 Joe's jeans that have been languishing in my drawer since pre-pregnancy. (Yes I know they have them at Marshall's now but that's beside the point!) They survived the Big Purge and I'm determined to fit into them again. Or at least wear them without the disgusting muffin top  my stomach spilling over the sides. Also, T said if I keep this up for a month, I can get a jogging stroller so L.E. can tag along for the ride.
The biggest challenge will be if I keep up the program while I'm in Portland this weekend. I look forward to running at a lower elevation but not so much in the humidity. L.E.'s godparents are placing bets on whether or not I actually run while I'm there. I have always prided myself on being the biggest exercise-killer out there by convincing my friends they should skip the gym and go eat bar food with me. (What has happened to me?!) There could be some justifiable payback on their parts.
Oh, and going along with this running thing...I've cut carbs dramatically. Again, who am I and what has happened to the REAL Hip-Baby Mama??

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Non-Ticketed Lap Child

Traveling is stressful. Traveling with a 16-month-old adds a whole new layer. Make that several new layers. But let me back up.
L.E. has been across the country and back twice in her short little life. When she was barely two months old, we packed her up and took her to Pittsburgh to meet her grandpa G and help him recover from major surgery. She also got to meet my Pap, which made the trip all the more worthwhile. She was an absolute dream to travel with. She slept most of the time on the plane and when she was awake, she was smiley and happy. The flight attendant gave her a special certificate to commemorate her first flight. 
The next trip was last Thanksgiving when we visited her godparents in Portland. She was great then, too. We had to pass her back and forth a bit more often but she was easily distracted with the Sky Mall magazine. (Who knew something like this existed?) 
In April, we went to visit my parents on the east coast and once again she traveled very well. Even with a too-short layover that barely allowed for a diaper change, she was quiet and content to sit with us.
It's been getting increasingly more challenging, however. This past weekend, a dear friend of ours got married in Denver. Some weddings you can afford to miss; this was not one of them. J.D. had finally met his perfect match and we couldn't be more thrilled. I'd contemplated asking my lovely babysitter if she'd be up for an overnight watch but knew J.D. would want to meet L.E. We figured since she'd been so good to travel with before, she'll continue to do so. And she did, the first flight which was thankfully non-stop. She still loves the Sky Mall, especially the pages with dogs on them. She was pretty great the entire trip, except for bedtime but with her that's to be expected. (My kid loves zoos. If there's a zoo where ever we visit, we have to go. She loves animals so much!)
It was the flight home that could have ruined the entire trip. The first half of the 2-hour flight was smooth. We'd downloaded some Sesame Street episodes on which she contentedly zoned out. But then turbulence struck, both literally and metaphorically. L.E. reached the point where she just didn't want to be on the plane anymore. She started kicking the seat in front of her. I've been on the other end of that many times in my traveling life so I didn't feel too badly about it. But when the screaming started, I genuinely felt awful for our fellow passengers. NOTHING could get her to stop. Not water, food, magazines, books, Sesame Street (even the little furry red bastard couldn't save us!), a plastic cup, bag of pita snacks, playing with the tray table, looking out the window... NOTHING.
The plane ride was bumpy but I ignored the "Fasten Seat Belt" signs and took her to the bathroom for a diaper change hoping the change of scenery would do the trick. She didn't stop crying. It was as bad as when she was a new baby and we'd hit that 5:00 "unhappy hour." So I did what anyone would have done in my situation. I lost it. Do you know how hard it is to change a diaper on a plane when you yourself are sobbing hysterically? I felt like hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the flight but the attendants didn't seem too thrilled with us being up and about. We got back to our seats and the screaming became more of a whimper. But L.E. was still at full volume. (Ba-dum ching! I'll be here all week, folks.) Fortunately, we were close to landing. I could tell this not by the overhead announcements; those were drowned out long ago. I could see the majestic view of Pyramid Lake as we flew overhead. It was the most beautiful site I'd ever seen. It meant soon we would be HOME.
L.E. calmed down right as we landed. She fell asleep in the car and T successfully made the transition from car seat to bed. I collapsed on the couch.
So here I present to you my tips for traveling with a toddler:

1. Stay home. Let people come to you. Yeah, who am I kidding?
2. Understand that anytime your child is out of their element, they're going to make sure you know that they don't like it. Do what you can to make them comfortable. Favorite toys, books, blankets, binkies, etc should all be readily available.
3. A porta-crib or hotel rented crib is not a real crib. Kids know this. They will not sleep in them without putting up a fight. No matter how tired-out you try to make them, they still will not go to sleep in them. L.E. went to the zoo, 2 restaurants and a wedding in one day and still refused to sleep in the hotel crib. Just suck it up and put them in bed with you. It's easier to deal with a foot in the face than incessant crying. Even creepier is when the crib is next to your side of the bed and they just stare at you through the slats. She. Stared. For. Hours. I think she stole my soul.
4. Look extra-pathetic. Not one person said anything bad to us on the plane. I think because they could tell I was upset enough. Or they were really sympathetic. The lady sitting next to us said, "It's OK; she's so cute!"
5. Have a sense of humor and low expectations. Your trip is not going to be perfect. It's extra hard if you're not visiting family and staying in a hotel. You don't have the help like if you were going to see the grandparents. If you know going in that you won't have any relaxation time, you won't be disappointed.
6. Have a drink on the plane. Even sober living can't stand up to an airplane toddler tantrum. You get to chug your drink just like you were in college! Sometimes you just need to take the edge off.

So Mom and Dad, if you're reading this...I'm sorry to say we won't be making it home for Christmas this year. Unless you're willing to come out ahead of time and take L.E. back with you.

Wanna hear the worst part about this? We're traveling again next week, to Portland. Only it's just me and L.E. ALONE. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Info from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Sitting like a big girl!
I'm posting some new info in case anyone needs a refresher in DDH, since that's why I started this blog. I'm happy to report L.E. is still doing great! Her next ortho appointment is in one month. Hopefully her hips are doing their job and we won't need further interventions.
To those expecting parents out there, please please please make sure your pediatrician checks for DDH immediately upon birth! I can't stress enough the importance of early detection. We were very lucky and fortunate to have a doctor who checks for it.

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)

Hip Joint anatomy
The hip is a "ball-and-socket" joint that is held together by ligaments.
The ball is called the "femoral [fem-er-uhl] head" which is the top of the femur or thigh bone.
The socket is called the "acetabulum" [as-i-tab-yuh-luhm] and is a part of the pelvis.
The femoral head fits into the acetabulum creating the hip joint. This joint is normally held tightly in place by the surrounding ligaments and joint capsule.

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip or DDH is generally the preferred term for babies with hip dysplasia since this condition can develop after birth. DDH is a medical term for general instability, or looseness, of the hip joint. 

Please visit International Hip Dysplasia Institute for more info.