Mom Life

Pinterest is making me feel like a terrible mom

It’s no secret that I love the internet.  Google is my BFF. Siri and I fight sometimes (she pronounces my last name as Con-FIN-o, not Con-FEEN-o.  Like she should really have a feature where you pronounce something for her and she learns it. It’s not rocket science.), and I don’t currently have Alexa running my house, but I do love me some internet.

Used by permission. Thanks boss!

Except Pinterest.  Screw Pinterest.

I’ll admit, I’ve never truly understood the appeal of Pinterest.  To me, it’s vaguely like the idea of Tumblr (which is NOT a real blog.  This is a blog. It has writing AND stolen pictures. Not just reposted pictures.  Just reposting pictures without the writing does NOT make you a blogger!). You just post other people’s stuff to save it for later.  That’s never done much for me.

pinterest electronic hoarding

Granted, it was helpful when planning my wedding–only because after I had a nightmare dress experience at the first store my mother and I went to, my mother looked at my Pinterest, saw that I’d pinned the same dress three separate times, and called around for a store that carried it.  She found one, we went in, I tried it on, we bought it, the end. (I also watch zero reality tv*, so I had no desire to cry and be like, “Oh my god, I’m saying yes to the dress!” Gag.)

wedding dress stress

*I fully intend to hate watch the hell out of the Jersey Shore reboot.  

So why do I hate Pinterest after it found me my wedding dress?

Easy.  It’s the Disney movie of motherhood.  Yes, I love Disney movies. But realistic expectations of men are not their forte.  Like if a dude comes up to you and starts dancing with you without your consent and tells you he met you in a dream so he already knows you in real life, that’s creepy AF.  I’m sorry, but no one is battling Ursala when he doesn’t even know your real name. Nope. And don’t even get me started on all of those princes kissing unconscious princesses.  But in a Disney movie? Oh my god, it’s so ROMANTIC! No, I’m not being sarcastic there. I don’t care how date rapey Prince Phillip is on paper, in Sleeping Beauty he’s awesome!

singing fixes everything

And that’s how Pinterest is.  You look at all these motherhood posts and you’re like “Wow, motherhood is SO dreamy.”  I’m almost a year in. Motherhood is not dreamy. It’s far from dreamy. In fact, what’s a dream?  Who sleeps anymore? What?


Pinterest is fine when you’re setting up your nursery (you know, pre-baby.  When you have time to do cutesy stuff). But once that little guy or gal is born?  Especially if you’re working full time, who has time for all of that?

pinterest busy

Which brings me to the real problem with Pinterest (only took me 450 words to get there… oops): I am a surprisingly low maintenance mom.  I know, I know, no one who knows me would ever put the word “LOW” in front of maintenance when describing me as a person. But as a mom, I’m pretty laid back.

good mother alive

But Jacob is turning one in another week and a half.  Which means I have to plan a birthday party.

And all of these Pinterest moms are making me want to tear my hair out.


The original plan was to invite close family and a couple of friends who have kids (because why would friends WITHOUT kids want to go to a one year old’s birthday party?  I certainly didn’t pre-kids!), get a couple balloons and a cake from Costco, make a small smash cake for Jacob and call it a day. No fuss, no muss, no problem.


Apparently that’s not an acceptable solution for anyone involved.  Costco cakes, which incidentally, were good enough for my high school and college graduation parties, as well as my engagement party, my father’s 60th birthday party, etc, are apparently not good enough for Jacob’s first birthday because everyone I told that plan to said, “You’re really not going to make the cake yourself?”

Some background: I am an AWESOME baker.  It’s probably the only reason I have friends at school as I am also snarky beyond belief.  And in my younger and more vulnerable years, I used to decorate cakes. My grandma used to make all of our birthday cakes as kids and I eventually started “helping,” then ACTUALLY helping, then started making my own.

Cake ecard

The last time I cared enough to do that was 15 years ago though.  So I turned to Pinterest. And somehow, in the last 15 years, cake decorating went from “cut a monkey head shape out of a sheet cake” to spending eight hours sculpting the perfect cake and using fondant at home.  I’m not doing that. A) Fondant is gross, as I learned from wedding cake testing and B) WHAT MOM HAS TIME FOR ALL THAT?

decorating cake

The problem is, now that I’ve seen all of these fantastical Pinterest creations, I feel like my cute little monkey cake plan will be pathetic and everyone will think I’m a bad mom. And my old cake decorating books from the 90s were no help at all because THIS was what passed for a monkey cake back then.


That’d be a bigger fail than those “1” penis cookies that made the rounds a few years ago.  (Side note, we went to a friend’s daughter’s first birthday party about a month ago. And the hubby pulls me aside, points in the corner and whispers, “Why do they have a dick balloon?”  I looked and it was supposed to be a pink “1,” but it would have fit in beautifully at a bachelorette party… we may not be emotionally mature enough to be parents after this many years of teaching high school!)


So I’m compromising.  I ordered a monkey-shaped cake pan.  I’ll decorate that, make a banana-shaped smash cake for Jacob, and call it a day.  

My sanity is more important than looking like a perfect Pinterest mom.  

motherhood sanity    

Programming note: I’ll be in California for spring break next week, so I probably won’t have a new post for you until the week after that.  See you then!

Mom Life

Baby’s first flight will be 5 1/2 hours long. This should be interesting

My brother and his wife had a baby in December.  But because they live in LA and we’re in DC, I have yet to meet my only nephew.  This tragedy is finally going to be remedied in a week and a half.

Which brings me to today’s post: flying with an infant.

crying baby

Jacob will be one week shy of a year when we make the trip.  And I don’t do things by halves, so instead of trying a nice, two-hour flight to Florida, we’re diving right in and doing five-and-a-half hours for our first trip.

We’re also teachers, so we’re poor and therefore are bringing him as a “lap infant.”  Pray for us.

pray for mojo.gif

I feel like the lap infant plan would have been easy a couple of months ago. But right now, all Jacob wants is to crawl, stand, and cruise.  So five-and-a-half hours of holding a squirming baby who wants to do anything BUT sit on a lap is going to be an experience. (Maybe you shouldn’t pray for us, maybe you should pray for whoever has to sit next to us…)

screaming infant

So as the research queen, here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

  1. Bring your own car seat.  In my Googling, I’ve seen all kinds of horror stories about people reserving a car seat from the rental car company, only to find that they were out of them that day.  Or the car seat in question was covered in puke. Or was rusty. Or broken. Or any number of other unsafe factors that meant people had to then leave one spouse at the rental car place while the other drove to the nearest Buy Buy Baby or Target to buy a new car seat.  Nope. That bulky Britax is coming with us!car seat
  2. Airlines will actually let you use your car seat on the plane without buying a seat if your flight isn’t full.  And with just under two weeks to go, our flights aren’t full (I’m sure I just jinxed myself…keep your fingers crossed for me).  So we’re planning to haul our car seat through the airport. Yes, that sounds like the biggest pain in the ass ever, but we bought a wheelie cart thing that it attaches to and you can apparently safely put the baby in the seat and use that as a makeshift stroller, so we can check the stroller before security at least. car seat stroller
  3. It’s actually cheaper to Amazon Prime a Pack N Play to my brother before we go than it is to bring our own.  While airlines let you check a stroller and a car seat for free, the Pack N Play would run us $25 each way and they’re $47 on Amazon right now, without having to shlep it through the airport.  No brainer there. if-my-wife-was-a-transformer-her-name-would-be-amazon-prime-c6296
  4. Get an Airbnb with a kitchen and washer/dryer instead of staying at a hotel.  The closest, non-shady hotel to my brother was $180 a night. We found an Airbnb for $124 and is walking distance to restaurants, shops and the beach.  While I’ve never stayed in an Airbnb before (and think it’s a little creepy when it’s someone’s regular house), I’ve got to say, the washer and dryer are crucial when traveling with a little one.  What do you do if there’s a poop disaster otherwise? babies poop on your pants
  5. Everyone I know drugs their kids on the regular.  Every single parent that I talked to who has flown with a one year old has told me to give him Benadryl.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Which I guess makes sense. My parents were slipping me Benadryls to travel as late as three years ago when my mom and I flew to LA for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower.  But in my case, it wasn’t because I’m squirmy, it’s because I get more motion sick than anyone else on the planet. And if I’m sleeping, I’m not puking. baby benadryl
  6. TEST THE BENADRYL THING FIRST.  Oh my god, apparently on like 25 percent of kids, it doesn’t knock them out, it makes them insane.  And the last thing I need for five-and-a-half hours on a plane is a raging Hulk baby climbing all over everyone and everything on the plane.  (Hulk baby mad! Hulk baby crawl!) Urban legend? Maybe. But not worth the risk. Plus, testing the Benadryl beforehand gives mommy time to pack. tantrum

To be honest though, I’m not sure how I feel about the Benadryl thing.  Like I’m sure it’s fine. Dr. Adam says it can’t hurt. His pediatrician gave us the green light (although she also warned us to test it before we go to avoid Baby Hulk). And my parents did it to me for YEARS and I’m (mostly) normal.  But the box says not to give it to children under two. And I spend so much time and energy making sure that nothing non-organic touches my child’s lips, am I really going to dope him up for ease on a flight?

kid eats dirt

Yes.  Yes, I am.  But I’ll still feel mom guilt about it.  

And HOPEFULLY if he conks out for most of the flight, he’ll stay up a little later once we get there and adjust better to the time change.

Who am I kidding?  He’s waking us up at 4am every morning when we’re in LA and I know it.


With that said, I’m actually really excited for this trip–and not just because I get to squeeze my adorable little nephew finally!  We’re planning to take Jacob to Disneyland, which yes, he’ll be too young to remember, but I still want to see his face when he sees real-life Mickey and Winnie-the-Pooh.


Wish me luck!  And to all of you parents who have done a long flight with a little one before, what am I missing?  What advice do you have?

Mom Life

The only thing better than Dr. Google? Having a doctor for a brother

I hate going to the doctor.

You wouldn’t think I’d feel that way considering how many doctors I have in my family, but I think that my hesitancy to go to a doctor actually stems from that.  My mother’s brother was our go-to phone call as kids when something was wrong, and he can be kind of a jerk. I remember asking him about a rash I had one time (it turns out I’m allergic to sunshine.  Seriously. If I spend more than three days on the beach, I get bumps on my fingers and a rash on my legs. Dr. Google, however, told me the correct combination of vitamins to help me stay in the sun longer.) and he said amputation was the only answer.

rash blowtorch

As a teacher, it drives me up a wall when people who have never done my job try to tell me how to do my job.  So I’m fully aware that my tendency to self-diagnose via Google is the single most annoying thing on the planet to doctors.  I decided a few weeks ago that Rosie, my oldest dog, had a mast cell tumor based on Dr. Google, rushed her to the vet, crying hysterically, only to be told that it was a “waxy comedone,” aka, a “schnauzer bump.”  (To be fair, my vet is awesome and DID agree that the bump seemed suspicious until she did a fine needle aspiration and looked at the cells under a microscope. That or she thinks I’m completely psychotic and was humoring me.  There’s a distinct possibility that that was the case.)

crazy someecards

And the fact that I correctly diagnosed Jacob’s torticollis using the internet when our pediatrician thought he was fine both makes me extra convinced that I’m good at using Dr. Google and makes me extra annoying to doctors.  So I always feel like a doctor is not going to understand how good I am at Googling and not believe me when I tell them what the problem is. Yes, I could just describe my symptoms and let them figure it out, but my doctor is NOT House, MD.  And I don’t feel like getting poked and prodded when I already know what medicine I need.

dr google

But now I have my own personal family doctor because my brother is one.  When I was younger, the idea of my brother as a doctor terrified me. Partially because he’s my kid brother, but partially because he went out to observe at my other doctor uncle’s hospital when he was sixteen, saw a surgery, then claimed he could take my gallbladder out through my belly button and chased me through my parents’ house with an X-acto knife trying to prove it.  My parents thought this was cute. I did not.


With that said, my brother has become my knight in shining armor since having a baby of my own because I can run my Dr. Google ideas by him to determine if a visit to the pediatrician is necessary or not.  This works well because A) no matter how much I annoy him, he’s my brother and he can’t get away from me, and B) I know he loves his nephew to pieces and therefore is giving me the best possible advice. (Although when I called him about a lump in my hand, only 30% convinced I had hand cancer, he told me it was a ganglion cyst and to slam a book on my hand as hard as I could to get rid of it. I’m not sure he loves me as much as he loves Jacob*.)

google hypochondriac

*BUT when I had an adverse reaction to the motion sickness patch while in Greece two summers ago and my vision got too blurry to even use my phone to Google what was wrong with me, he took my call at 4am his time, told me what was happening, why I was having the reaction, and what to do for it. So in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, he’s a pretty awesome brother/doctor.

Meaning that when Jacob was taking less of his bottle than usual last week, then threw up, that felt too dire for Google and I called my brother.

children vomit.png

“Sounds like a stomach bug,” he told me.  “Rest and Pedialyte and keep an eye on how much he’s peeing.”

When that answer didn’t satisfy me, he asked, “What are you afraid of here?”

“That he’s sick,” I said.

sick wants dad


“That’s all.”

He sighed.  “Babies get sick.  It sucks for a few days, then they get better.  He’ll be fine.”

“Can he throw up in his sleep and choke on it and die?”


No,” he said.  “Babies are good at being sick.  He’s fine, you’re fine, have a glass of wine and chill.”

See why this is better than Google or going to the doctor?  Jacob’s pediatrician is nice and all, but she’s not going to prescribe a glass of wine when I’m freaking out.

doctor wine

Of course, I called him back the next day to tell him his diagnosis was wrong because Jacob hadn’t thrown up again, but was still refusing his bottle and fussy and I thought he was teething.  And Dr. Google told me that teething can sometimes make a baby throw up even though pediatricians always say it’s a stomach bug.

“Okay, then he’s teething,” he said. I could hear him rolling his eyes through the phone.  

google doctor

Then, a day later, when Jacob was still refusing his bottle, we went to the pediatrician, who told us it was either a virus, teething, or constipation.  Which was a pretty broad spectrum of issues, but at least she ruled out an ear infection, strep, and a bowel obstruction (none of which I thought he had).  

That afternoon, Jacob woke up from his nap with an insanely runny nose and we had our answer.  I still think he’s teething too, but based on the sore throat that I woke up with the next morning (yes, he sneezed on my face again.  Thanks, kid.), I felt confident that I had solved the medical mystery of why Jacob wasn’t taking his bottle.

Sick kid humor

With a little help from my brother and Dr. Google.  Thanks guys!


Non Mom Life

This teacher wants gun control, not more guns in schools

I’m going to step outside of the mom box this week for a serious post.

As everyone knows, I’m also a teacher.  And this past week was rough if you work in a school.

I’ll preface all of what I’m about to say with this: I feel safe in my school.  I feel safe with my students. In fact, I’m confident that if there were a threat and one of my students knew about it, they would tell me because my students trust me.  (That’s one of the things about running the newspaper–I teach the kids for three to four years, so I become their school mom.  They tell me EVERYTHING.)  And I don’t have a single student whom I have those kind of concerns about–granted, I teach electives this year, so my kids all chose to be in my class, but I have a great group of kids.

With all of that said, I know that this kind of violence can happen anywhere in today’s world and that no one is safe anymore.  And while that was always scary as a teacher, it became even scarier now that I’m a mother, both because I want to be safe to see my son grow up, but also because I’m going to have to send him out into this world.

I try not to get into Facebook fights with the right wing, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and this was one of those weeks.  Because no matter what anyone says, guns are the problem.  I know some of you reading this may argue about your rights and self defense and hunting and yada yada yada, but the reality is that no civilian NEEDS a semi-automatic weapon. Weapons weren’t what they are today when the founding fathers wrote the law–not to mention that they also wrote laws saying women couldn’t vote and slavery was legal.  There are times when laws need to be modified.

I’m aware that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind with this and that anyone who is vehemently pro-guns has already stopped reading to leave me a nasty comment.  

But one of the biggest arguments I’m seeing right now is that arming teachers would prevent this kind of tragedy.

Just yesterday, Trump said, referring to Aaron Feis, whose name he appeared to have forgotten: “If the coach had a firearm in his locker, when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect — but if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run. He would have shot, and that would have been the end of it.”

As a teacher, let me break down why that won’t work.

Problem #1: I refuse to carry a gun, let alone shoot someone.  The day that I’m told that a requirement of teaching English is being willing to kill someone is the day I leave the profession. End of story. And I’m not alone in that.  Just because people who own guns are willing to use them does NOT mean that teachers have to be willing to kill someone to do their job.  You’re going to find yourself with a serious teaching shortage the second you expect us to also be security and a private police force.

Problem #2: Say I had a gun in school–I’m 5’6 and a size small.  While I’m sure I’d be plenty intimidating with my big, bad gun to elementary and maybe middle school students, I’m still 5’6.  Most of my male, high school students are bigger than me.  Some pretty significantly so.  If they wanted to take a gun away from me, whether in trying to be funny or in all seriousness, short of shooting them, I don’t have a way to stop that.  Am I supposed to shoot a kid if he or she is joking around and goes for my gun?  Because I have at least one student (whom I’ve taught for four years and adore), who is a huge clown and would take it just to show he could, even though he’d never hurt a fly. Should I kill him?

Problem #3: While putting more guns in schools may protect you from grizzlies, as Betsey DeVos so eloquently said, it raises the likelihood of a student being shot accidentally.  And even in the event of a mass shooter, you’d have to be a hell of a shot to take out someone who’s firing an AR-15 at you with a handgun.  You can train people with guns all you want, but the reality is that a shootout in the halls doesn’t end well for anyone.

But even people who understand that arming teachers isn’t the solution aren’t always seeing that the only thing that can stop mass shootings is gun control.

The Barracuda Defense System barricade is making the rounds on the internet right now and being touted as a way to prevent fatal school shootings.  However, this would neither have prevented the situation in Florida, nor would it make a difference in most schools.  

First of all, the shooter in Florida pulled the fire alarm, so many of the students and teachers whom he hit were in the halls, not locked in classrooms.  

Second, once the code red was announced, the classroom doors were locked.  That wasn’t the issue–the issue was that almost all classroom doors everywhere have windows.  Those windows are important because they allow people walking by, on normal instructional days, to see what’s going on in a classroom.  They prevent illegal activities behind closed doors.  They make schools safer–except when someone has a gun.  The Parkland shooter, by all accounts, did not enter any classrooms.  He fired at students in the hall and then fired through classroom windows.  So while that device could be useful if classroom doors no longer had windows, it’s useless otherwise.

Northeast Security Solutions has a great post on the other safety hazards of these, if you’d like to read more.

The one and only thing that will prevent further mass shootings is gun control.  Plain and simple.

I want to see my son grow up.  I want to see my students grow up and have children of their own.  And I think that’s worth revisiting the regulations on guns.

Mom Life

I’m not like a regular dog mom, I’m a cool dog mom

A long time ago in a condo not that far away, I became a mommy.

No, I don’t mean Jacob–we bought our house before we had him.  I mean Rosie.

Okay, technically, Rosie is a schnauzer, not my biological child. But she’s still my baby. And she DOES look more like my dad than my actual human baby does, so I think that counts.

The schnauzer resemblance is strong in my family

I know there are a lot of people (including my mother–just remember mom, you’re still Rosie’s favorite person, even though you forget all about her the second you see Jacob. She loves her grandma unconditionally) who get irrationally irritated when I say my dogs are my babies, but there’s a logic behind this argument.


My parents met in college and got married at 24.  They had me five years later.  

At 24, I was a hot mess. To be fair though, most of my generation was similarly messy, and of those people I know who got married around 24 years old, almost none of them are still together now.  And oh my god, if I had married my college boyfriend–let’s not even go there.  I’m gagging just thinking about it.


So by the time I got to the age where my parents’ generation was having babies, I was not exactly ready to have a baby.  But I WAS ready to love a tiny creature unconditionally, and the first time I saw Rosie, I knew it was her.  

Baby Rosie!

I think that’s the reason so many girls in their 20s get dogs.  They’re not ready to settle down and have a baby yet, but those maternal instincts are starting to kick in.

favorite family member dog

And I have to say, in a lot of ways, having a dog is GREAT training for having a baby.


Well, I’m glad you asked that!*

*I’m aware you didn’t ask that.  But you’re here now, so let’s just pretend you did.

#1 I already have baby gates.  Yes, that’s the stage we’re at right now, and yes, I forgot that I had them until we started cleaning out our basement because we’re getting it finished to create a playroom, but that just saved me about $60. Thanks past Sara and my un-potty-trained dogs!


#2 I am now fully prepared to clean up poop, vomit, pee, and any other bodily fluid that can come out of a baby or small animal.  In fact, dogs are grosser than babies when it comes to bodily emissions because I have yet to see Jacob eat something, throw it up, eat it again, then poop it out and try to eat it again.  So when Jacob was a newborn and turned to face me then spit up Exorcist-style down the side of my head, I wasn’t even that grossed out.  

And an added bonus? The dogs aren’t picky about whose puke they eat, so when Jacob pukes on the floor, I don’t even need to clean!

dog eats poop

#3 I am totally used to being woken up in the middle of the night.  My dogs, as much as I adore them, are not so good at letting me sleep.  They’re both bed hogs (Hubby argues they shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in our bed, but Rosie has been sharing my bed longer than he has, so that one is non-negotiable), and it’s truly amazing how much space two small dogs can take up in a king-sized bed.  It’s like they ate the Alice in Wonderland growth drug before they get in bed at night and turn from miniature schnauzers into sprawled out woolly mammoths.  


But between Rosie, who jumps down in the middle of the night (when I toss and turn too much, it offends her), then barks repeatedly to announce that she would like a formal invitation to rejoin us on the bed, and Sandy, who perceives every imaginary noise outside as an imminent threat to our immediate safety that must be dealt with in the loudest possible manner (although you can literally walk into our house and get all the way upstairs before she notices you most days), I was used to waking up multiple times in the night long before Jacob was born.

bark in the middle of the night

#4 I understand non-verbal communications.  I am now fluent in schnauzer, which, at least in our house, is freakily similar to baby.  Jacob may be spending too much time around the dogs because he definitely copies their growling from when they play tug-of-war with a toy and happily yells along with them when they bark at the mailman.

But I can differentiate between a bark that means Milo, the dog from across the street, is peeing on our lawn or a bark that means the deer are in our backyard again.  I can tell when they’re barking because their water bowl is empty or because Sandy is misbehaving and Rosie is telling on her (it happens).  And I can tell when the squirrel that torments Sandy by coming right up to the window and shaking his tail at her is back at it.  

Which means that interpreting different baby cries isn’t that hard.  Especially since he seems to be speaking schnauzer instead of English.  Oops.


#5 I can say no.  Dogs beg all the time, meaning that I’m going to be a pro when Jacob is a toddler and wants something that he can’t have.*

*I’m lying.  I never say no to the dogs.  I’m the worst.  I share all of my food with them.  I’m why they’re fat.  My vet totally judges me and the husband wants to kill me when we’re eating chicken and they start demanding their share, which they know I’ll give them.  Jacob will tell me he wants a pony next year and I’ll be like, “Okay honey, here you go!”

spoiled dog

#6 I know how to put someone else’s needs first.  Okay this one is true.  Whether it was learning to leap out of bed in the middle of the night when one of the dogs started puking or accidentally breaking an iPhone screen when another dog went after Rosie, becoming a dog mommy first helped me learn the kind of selfless behavior that you need to care for a tiny human.  And while I’m sure that mommy instinct kicks in just as strongly even if you’ve never felt anything like that before, I’m glad I got years to practice before Jacob came along.


And Jacob gets the benefit of growing up with two older sisters who love him even when he doesn’t fling handfuls of Cheerios onto the floor for them.

Everyone wins.

Mom Life

How does a baby say ‘I love you’? By sneezing on your face

Jacob has a cold.  Which, according to the laws of mommydom, means that I also have a cold because the first indication that we had that he wasn’t feeling great was when he sneezed.  On my face.

sick mom

At ten months old (and CRAWLING!  YAY!!!!!!!), this is our second cold, and this one is milder than the first.  No fever, just stuffy with a very runny nose. No biggie and he can still go to daycare.  (Although I feel seriously guilty sending him to daycare, both because I know he doesn’t feel great and because wiping snot is disgusting when it’s my OWN kid. I can’t imagine having to do that to someone else’s kid!  Gross!)

sick child daycare

When he got his first cold, we panicked.  Jacob had a slight fever, so I sent hubby to CVS for infant Tylenol.  He returned 20 minutes later having spent $70 buying EVERYTHING in the baby care section.  He’s not allowed to go to CVS anymore.

Actual picture of what $70 buys you at CVS

We took turns taking the day off of school to stay home with him and rushed him to the pediatrician twice, only to be told both times that it was a cold, that babies get colds, and that he’d be fine.  (They DID give us antibiotics for his ears the second time we went, although they said they weren’t infected, they just looked like they COULD get infected as the cold continued.  Insane first-time parents like us are probably why everyone is developing antibiotic immunities these days.  Honestly, they ought to just give parents pink, bubblegum-flavored sugar water to give babies and tell us it’s medicine so we can feel like we’re doing something to help.)


So this time, in the absence of a fever, we didn’t worry.*

*Okay we worried.  But I sent frantic texts to my brother, who is a doctor, instead of rushing Jacob to the pediatrician.  Because instead of giving me antibiotics, he tells me I’m an idiot and to stop it, which actually probably does more good than the antibiotics.

And by now, we’re old pros.  We have an arsenal of infant Tylenol and Motrin (in case he develops a fever), a good baby thermometer, nasal mist, and a battery-powered aspirator (Sorry Nose Frida fans, that thing is gross.  That little blue piece of sponge that they call a filter is NOT enough to convince me that baby snot is not going into my mouth.  It’s disgusting.  Plus, when I’m sick too, I can’t generate enough suction for it to actually do anything other than freak Jacob out that I’m trying to suck his brains out of his nose.)

nose frida

The biggest problem when he’s sick (other than my hypochondriac fear that it’s actually RSV, will turn into pneumonia and require hospitalization) is how to keep him hydrated.

I’m prone to horrible post-nasal drip and know that drinking when I’m sick sucks.  But I do it, because I know I need to to feel better.  While I don’t know yet if Jacob has inherited my sinus problems (and I’m praying he doesn’t!), I do know that he doesn’t feel like taking his bottle and we have not yet mastered this sippy cup situation.  And I can tell him that he needs it to feel better until I’m blue in the face, but I might as well be telling the schnauzers to stop barking at the mail lady for all the good it does.  (She’s their worst enemy.  She attacks our house EVERY DAY and we do nothing to stop it.  They are outraged and do their very best to let her know that they’ll murder her if given half the chance.  Except for the days when she actually comes to the door, because then she gives them treats and they love her.  Seriously, all you’d need to do to rob our house is feed our dogs.)

dog mailman

He normally takes five six-ounce bottles a day and we’re working on trying to add in some water as well on days when he doesn’t finish those.  But when he’s sick, it’s a struggle to get three ounces in him.  And a quick Google search told me that a baby can dehydrate quickly when sick.  (I also found a result that said babies don’t want to eat as much when sick and are fine as long as they’re producing 3-4 wet diapers a day.  But we’ll ignore that because dehydration sounds scarier.  I also sent my brother a video of him playing and my brother told me he’s fine and that I’m an idiot.  We’ll ignore that too.)  

google dispute facts

So Jacob needs fluids.

I know the current advice is to only offer formula or breastmilk from a bottle and water should come only from a sippy cup, but despite our daily efforts, Jacob thinks the sippy cup is a teething toy.  He also enjoys grabbing it by the handles and flinging it off of his high chair onto the poor dogs, who hang out there hoping for Cheerios.  But drinking from it?  That’s a no go.

sippy cup

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  And our parents’ generation gave us water and juice in a bottle and all of us eventually learned how to drink from cups.  So Pedialyte in a bottle it is for now.  We had some success with that, and then I used an oral syringe to get a little more in him, which he actually liked.  I guess it’s pretty hard to drink from a bottle when you can’t breathe through your nose.  Poor little guy.  But on the plus side, with me pushing fluids like a psycho, at least he’s pooping well!

Am I being ridiculous?  Absolutely.  And I’m fully aware that when eventual baby #2 gets sick, I’ll probably be like, eh, suck it up, you’re fine.  But I guess there’s a reason that first-time parents have a reputation for being nuts.  

first child third child

Mom Life

Time to babyproof. Too bad MC Escher designed our house!

Jacob is finally almost crawling!

I know that sounds like a dubious milestone to parents whose children are already crawling because everyone we talk to is like, “NO!  Savor this time before they’re mobile! Crawling ruins lives!”  And while I know that we’re going to face a whole new host of challenges once he’s actually crawling (especially because the dogs track disgusting yard debris everywhere that Jacob will be crawling), I cannot wait to start this next stage.

crawling baby

Partially because we’re on the late end of the milestone, which is normal with a big baby, and chubadub over here counts as a big baby, coming in in the 87th percentile for weight.  (He’s tall too.  I shouldn’t call him chubadub.)   But mostly I’m so excited because we’ve felt so behind in milestones with the torticollis, so finally getting there and (just barely) within the average time frame feels like a huge victory.


Of course, it will also come with its challenges.  Namely, figuring out how to babyproof my house.

Houses tend to fall into one of three categories when it comes to stairs: ranch (no stairs), colonial (one staircase), or split-level (two half staircases).


Obviously, a ranch-style house is ideal for babyproofing, because it requires zero baby gates, but you also run the risk of your child not knowing how to go up and down stairs when he or she starts school. (My husband grew up in a ranch-style house.  He still seems to have difficulty navigating stairs, especially when his mouth is full.  I grew up in a colonial-style house, so I can walk up and down stairs backwards, forwards, and Exorcist-style, all while eating spaghetti.)  A colonial is the next best because it requires only two baby gates, and baby will eventually learn to walk down stairs. A split level is less than ideal because you’ll need four baby gates, which does tend to get annoying and expensive.

exorcist steps

Then there’s our house.  

I get that the ’70s, when it was built, were a feel good, groovy time.  Yes, there was disco, but the ’70s gave us Born to Run and Star Wars.  What’s not to love about the ’70s?


Our house. That’s what.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love our house.  It definitely needed updating, much of which we’ve done and are still doing.  We replaced the rickety wrought-iron banisters.  We painted over the hideous brown brick wall.  We put in recessed lighting and are even in the process of finishing our super scary basement.  (Seriously, it’s the basement from the first season of American Horror Story right now.  Don’t go down there.)  Our house is lovely.  And until we got close to Jacob crawling, we had no problems at all, other than the haunted basement.

scary basement

So what’s the problem now?

It’s a colonial.  We should be able to get two baby gates and call it a day.  But apparently I live in the house that MC Escher built and I basically need baby gates on the ceiling.


Here’s the issue: we have a sunken living room and family room (they’re connected), each with its own staircase consisting of four steps each. Not terrible, but considering my grandma almost wiped out on them the other day after 90 years of successful stair walking, I think it’s safe to say that we need to gate those off for the baby.  So that’s four baby gates.  We have a normal staircase too, so that’s two more gates.  And then, because the first two bedrooms are over the sunken rooms and the other bedrooms are over the non-sunken kitchen and dining room, we have ANOTHER set of four steps upstairs.  Which means to babyproof our house, we’re going to need EIGHT baby gates.

didn't fall down

As daunting as that is, it gets worse. Three of those landings are opposite banisters, so we can’t use pressure mounted gates there, and one of the sets of four stairs is open and doesn’t have a wall at all, so we need to find a baby gate that wraps around to connect to other walls (because I don’t trust a freestanding baby gate.  I feel like he’s going to pull up to stand on that and it’s going to smush him like a bug.  The cutest little smushed bug in the world.  But still a smushed bug).


And then there are the dogs.  

The dogs are also my babies.  Don’t @ me. They just are.  (Have I been spending too much time with my students?  For the slang-challenged out there, or anyone who doesn’t have a teenager, that means don’t call me out about that because I stand by what I said.  I think the etymology is from the Twitter.)

in your 30s

The strict dog trainers out there are cringing, but our dogs have free reign of the house.  They never liked being crated as puppies, so despite not being perfectly behaved, we let them roam free.  

But, if you needed proof that the dogs are my babies, both of them seem to have inherited my anxiety.  Rosie has pretty bad separation anxiety.  She does NOT handle being away from me well at all.  She manages for the school day and all, but shutting her in a room completely freaks her out.  We’re pretty sure she’s going to claw through our bedroom door one of these days when we’re getting work done in the house and have to shut her in there for her own safety.  


Sandy has social anxiety (she is my spirit animal) and new people freak her out.  She’s on meds for it and is much better these days (except when she sees my brother.  She freaking hates my brother.  We have no idea why, as every other dog, cat, horse, llama, bald eagle and iguana on the planet loves him.  He’s like the male Snow White. But Sandy hates his guts.), but she feeds off of Rosie’s anxiety and gets very upset when they’re shut in a room together.

Which means the baby gates are going to be particularly traumatic if we’re shutting them in an area or out of an area.  

In other words, all of our baby gates have to have doors that can stay open for the dogs when we’re not using them for the baby because I will cry if I think my other babies are unhappy.


I’m not even going to tell you how much money I just spent on gates.  You don’t want to know.  To be honest, I don’t want to know either.  But at least all three of my babies will be safe and happy.

Now I just have to get rid of my old death trap Ikea dresser and plug up nine billion electrical sockets.  Isn’t babyproofing FUN?