Mom Life

Walking, ER visits, and liquid dinners: the mommy milestones

Hey guys!  We’re going to completely ignore the time jump here and pretend I’ve been blogging regularly all along, okay?

Awesome.

img_0358

So we had some great milestones and one crappy milestone in the last couple of weeks.

I’ll start with the good.  

Jacob is 18 months old!  How did THAT happen? He’s walking, he’s running, he’s climbing, he’s dancing, he’s destroying entire cities, the works.  And even more exciting, he graduated from physical therapy!

I could lie and say that working on my book (I have a new agent and I adore her–she’s had fantastic insight and I DID work my butt off over the summer on it to transform the manuscript into something I’m truly proud of) was why I stopped blogging, but the real reason was Jacob wasn’t walking yet.  And that felt like a huge red flag that I just didn’t want to put out there on top of all of our other gross motor issues.

He started walking at 15.5 months, which technically isn’t even late; anything before 18 months is considered normal. But social media is absolutely soul crushing when you feel like your child isn’t achieving a milestone and everyone you’ve ever known is posting videos of their babies, who are months younger than your babies, walking, running marathons, and speedskating in the Olympics at 11 months old.

pretend on social media

I did a lot of soul searching while I worried if Jacob would ever walk.  On a rational level, I knew he would because you don’t see people crawling down the aisle at the supermarket.  But I realized what an insensitive jerk I had frequently been to other new parents. I honestly never meant to be (except to Karen* from fifth grade. I still hate you Karen.), but because I walked at nine months, I assumed that any baby who didn’t walk that early was behind.  

*Karen is not her real name. But I can’t print her real name because then she’ll know how much I hate her.

img_0360

So as we crawled further and further past Jacob’s first birthday without any independent footsteps, I mentally kicked myself for asking my hair stylist (I adore her–she’s no Karen!) if her nine-month-old twins were walking yet.  It doesn’t seem like it would be a loaded question–until you have a kid, at which point it feels judgmental and like it’s pointing out a flaw.  Sorry, Christy, I’m a monster.

constant mom advice

Our physical therapist also pointed out that Jacob’s feet were overpronating and therefore still not normal, so it felt like there would never be an end to our days of physical therapy.  That was really hard, and I started making Hubby take Jacob to his appointments largely because I couldn’t handle the emotional toll of being told the next thing that was going to be an issue.

But then, one day, as we tried to coax him to take a couple of steps between us, Jacob did it!  Those couple of steps spread to across the room by the end of the day. And soon enough, he was walking everywhere.  And now? God help you if you try to pick him up when he wants to be walking (as he made clear when I took him to TJ Maxx and let him get down from the cart to walk around.  When it was time to leave, I definitely looked like I was abducting him as I carried him out of the store, screaming bloody murder and thrashing like a dying fish.

toddler meltdown

So hearing that he was finally caught up on all of his motor skills felt like the untying of a heavy stone around my neck.  Or like a really drastic haircut (seriously, I have a LOT of hair. It’s heavy. There’s a reason I love my stylist!) when your head feels lighter and all of that neck tension just melts away.

Of course, we’ve also had less happy milestones like our first SUPER FUN emergency room visit because Jacob banged his forehead on the ONLY table in our entire house that wasn’t covered in protective foam.  We literally had ten inches of unprotected furniture in the house and that one span of table edge acted as a siren, luring Jacob’s perfect, unblemished forehead to crash upon it.

I was peeing at the time (ah the life of a mother, when the bathroom feels like a refreshing break) and heard Hubby screaming for me at the top of his lungs.

bathroom break

When I scream like that, it means there’s a spider. But Hubby is the spider-killer, so I didn’t know what to expect.  I did NOT expect to see the two of them looking like the pig-blood scene in Carrie, but thankfully Jacob did not begin using his blood-soaked powers to destroy the entire town.

screaming

I surprised myself by staying calm, throwing snacks in my bag (it was close to dinner time), grabbing shoes for Jacob and myself, and hustling us all off to the closest emergency room, only 83 percent sure that the ER was going to call Child Protective Services on us for allowing this to happen to our child.

img_0362

After some frantic texting to my brother (the ER doctor), my best friend (the ER mom veteran), and my parents (the jackasses who made jokes when my poor baby was bleeding from the head–not you mom, you were fine. It was dad!), we opted to let the ER doctor glue his wound closed instead of calling for a plastic surgeon.  It was pretty superficial with very clean lines and, worst case scenario, he could be Harry Potter for Halloween.

harry potter

The ER staff couldn’t have been sweeter. Not only did they NOT report us to CPS, they reassured us that this happens to their own children as well, and the doctor and nurse sang to Jacob as they glued his forehead (he was screaming because they had to swaddle him in a papoose to keep him still. Neither Jacob nor I enjoyed that part of the experience as I huddled in the corner weeping as soon as I no longer had to be the responsible adult), and we were back home an hour and a half after the incident.

Where I put the baby to bed, then poured myself a GIGANTIC glass of wine and called it dinner.  But when I texted a friend a picture of my dinner, he replied with a picture of his own liquid dinner.  He has four kids.  So apparently it doesn’t get easier and there’s a reason that the Olney Safeway has such a large wine selection.

img_0363

Cheers to all of you other parents! We kept our kids alive to ram their heads into a table another day! 

motherhood wine

Mom Life

The baby is supposed to eat what I eat–what food group is coffee in?

At Jacob’s one year doctor’s appointment, his pediatrician told us we can throw out all of the pureed baby food and give Jacob table food exclusively.

“He should eat what you eat,” she said, smiling.

Crap.

baby food.jpg

I can’t admit to the pediatrician that I survive on the super healthy mom diet of coffee, a protein bar (breakfast), more coffee, a handful of almonds (snack), coffee, a salad or a yogurt (lunch), some random junk food scavenged from the English office or stolen from another teacher’s candy drawer (I’m the worst.  I’ll literally walk in while he’s teaching, take candy out of his drawer, laugh at the kids when they ask for some, and walk back out) when I’m starving sixth period that I then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about, Diet Coke (not every day–but when we’re going through a sleep regression, I’m allowed to do whatever I need to in order to survive), a handful of crackers (snack), and then chicken and veggies (dinner).  

love food don't want to be fat

In fact, looking over my daily diet, I’m shocked that I don’t have scurvy.  When did I last eat a piece of fruit? I didn’t even eat a purple donut, so Homer Simpson’s logic that purple is a fruit doesn’t apply.  

purple is a fruit

That is NOT a balanced diet for a baby toddler (he’s not quite a toddler yet.  I can’t call him that. But he IS a baby toddler).

So as I see it, I’ve got two options.  I can either adopt a balanced diet for myself and then feed him bite-sized pieces of what I eat, or I can keep doing what I’m doing and feed HIM a balanced diet.

snack-tide-me-over-until-next-meal-snacks-ZF8

In a perfect world, I’d go with option A, but I’m working full time, tired, and trying to keep weight off without having time to exercise.  Judge me if you will, but until the scurvy sets in, I’m sticking with what works.

(Actually, I put low sugar craisins in my salad for today.  That counts as fruit right? If purple is a fruit, red is definitely a fruit!)

scurvy

So I need to figure out what to feed Jacob.  His favorite foods so far: grilled cheese, french toast, veggie straws (which, despite clever marketing, are not healthy.  They’re slightly less unhealthy potato chips. They’re basically Baked Lays, but yummy), and freeze-dried yogurt drops.

6fb5a07ae93dbecd8d7ea0e3e87ef6f0--food-networktrisha-baby

He’ll eat almost anything if it’s pureed–the only things he won’t touch with a ten-foot pole are beets (tried a baby food mix that had beets in it and he gagged on it, spit it right out, then looked at me distrustfully and wouldn’t let me feel him again until I made him grilled cheese two meals in a row.  I can’t blame him. Beets are pretty gross) and mangoes.

Whole foods, however, are providing slightly more challenging.  Both because he’s not always a fan of textures (he’ll put something in his mouth, decide he’s not into it, and pull it right back out) and because he’s discovered he has a favorite game. I’m calling it “Hungry, Hungry Doggies.”

i-tell-people-that-my-babys-first-food-was-rice-cereal-but-im-pretty-sure-it-was-dog-hair--baf9b

Both schnauzers began camping out under his high chair shortly after we began using it.  At first, they laid next to it, hoping for thrown Cheerios. Then Jacob started dropping toys and sippy cups on their heads, so now they take shelter under him.  But when he throws food, two dog heads pop out and scrabble for it, like it’s a marble in the board game. And he laughs hysterically.

the-original-hunger-games

Meaning that his food has become their food.  (Of course, he’s also gone after their food now.  I’ve pulled three pieces of dog food out of his mouth before he could swallow them so far.  Mangoes he won’t touch, but kibble? Delicious.)

i want what the dog's eating

In other words, it has now become a challenge to get healthy food in him because the only four dishes that he won’t throw to the dogs are grilled cheese, french toast, veggie straws, and freeze-dried yogurt drops.

So I went to the experts: my mom friends. “Help meeeeee,” I begged.  “How do I get Jacob to eat healthy foods?”

you-know-youre-a-new-parent-when-you-spend-days-researching-what-the-best-products-for-your-baby-are-f9108

And I got a plethora of things to try, most of which Jacob summarily rejected because all babies are different and Jacob is smart enough to know that if he throws enough green beans to the dogs, I’ll eventually cave and make him something yummy.  

One of my mom friends also tagged me in some Instagram posts from moms who do “kid food-spiration.”  (Yes, that’s a thing. The internet has officially gone too far and I think society has been destroyed.)  And I was like, oh cool, I’ll follow these pages and get great ideas about what to feed Jacob.

instagram food

But the more I’m seeing, the more convinced I am that these moms all live in Brooklyn and appear on HGTV shows with multi-million dollar budgets without any discernible source of income. Because no, I’m not making vegan quinoa, tofu and avocado “deconstructed tacos” with gluten-free, homemade bean chips and chickpea and sunflower butter cookies for dessert, all packed in an eco-friendly, BPA free, recycled lunch tin with compartments specifically for their non-GMO, locally sourced, organic pomegranate seeds.  

85ef1ff92d9e3d66110943a1f799328d--homestead-someecards

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Dude, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin swirl bread every day from K-12 for lunch and turned out fine.  Granted, I didn’t grow up to have the healthiest eating habits, and I’m hearing that peanut butter is banned from most elementary schools now because of food allergies so that probably won’t be an option for Jacob, but still.  I never brought anything green for lunch and I’m pretty sure no one ever called social services on my mom.

if-my-kid-cant-bring-peanut-butter-to-school-yours-shouldnt-be-able-to-bring-preventable-diseases-d2efd

With that said, Jacob seems to be a fan of broccoli.  I found “broccoli tots” at the grocery store, which he loves (like tater tots, but broccoli instead of potato).  We’re still using some of the food packets to supplement his fruit and veggie intake on days when the dogs get a feast.  And considering his doctor mentioned that we can give him chicken nuggets (he hasn’t had that particularly delicacy yet), I think we’re doing okay, despite the lack of organic, locally sourced kale and quinoa.

the-feeling-when-your-child-eats-something-other-than-chicken-nuggets-b1d1d

Of course, now that I’ve admitted to my terrible eating habits, I’m making myself feel guilty about the example that I’m setting and am thinking I should start bringing an apple to school to avoid the sixth period candy run.  It’s probably a good idea to model healthy eating habits.

wish this was pie

And to avoid scurvy.  I don’t even know exactly what that is, but if it’s a disease that pirates got, I’m thinking it’s not pretty.  

 

 

Mom Life

Jacob is a year old already–here’s what I’ve learned this year

I must have blinked sometime recently (blinking counts as sleep when you’re a parent, right?) because, suddenly, my little baby is a year old.

one year old

How did THAT happen?  

I swear I was pregnant like last week and he was born yesterday, wasn’t he?

My best friend (and mommy guru, oracle of all things motherhood) told me when I felt like I was drowning in the early days of maternity leave that, when you have kids, “the days are long, but the years are short.” Boy, is that accurate!

baby destroys your life

So what have I learned this year?

I’m not going to list everything because I’d be writing that list until he was two, then need to start the list of things I learned in that year.  But there are some big ones worth mentioning.

One of the first things I learned: I don’t know that I could be a stay-at-home mom.  Maybe when kids are a little older, but those first couple months when the hubby went back to work before summer started were ROUGH.  Don’t get me wrong: being a working mom is ridiculously hard.  I miss Jacob all day and wish I were with him, but if I were home with him all day every day with no breaks, I think I’d go insane and start writing “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” on the walls.

stay at home mom crazy

With that said, I have TERRIBLE SAHM FOMO (Stay-at-home mom fear of missing out).  I 100 percent WISH I had the means to be a stay at home mom and I’m DESPERATELY looking forward to my summer home with him. DESPERATELY. I absolutely NEVER want to go back to work when it’s time. But I also recognize that having some adult time is good for me.  (Granted, I’m not sure teaching in a high school counts as “adult time,” but I’ll take what I can get.)

work full time mom

However, I also could never afford to be a stay-at-home mom either.  So maybe some of this is my brain tricking me so I don’t spend all day crying.  But in one sense I’m a better mom to Jacob when I’m absolutely dying to see him at the end of the work day.  (Like literally.  When they spring a meeting on me at the end of the day, I will cut someone to get home to my baby!)

i-d-rather-sit-in-this-faculty-meeting-than-read-the-same-info-in-an-email-said-no-teacher-ever-d0050

I could, however, be a stay-at-home dog mom quite happily. But I’d be able to go to the gym, go shopping, shower, pee with the door closed, etc with just dogs.  Despite what I thought prior to having a child, babies are a different ballgame altogether.

stay at home dog mom

I learned to try to sweat the small stuff less. I know that everything feels catastrophic in the moment, but the reality is, we’ll get through whatever it is.  Whether it’s the baby not gaining enough weight or a flat head or physical therapy or whatever pain in the ass is coming next. Is it going to suck at the time?  Yes. But we’ll figure it out and come through on the other side.

no-no-i-can-handle-it-throw-it-to-me-im-a-working-mom-i-will-get-it-done-and-hopefully-without-harming-someone-21f21

I learned that I can’t be perfect.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up and stop trying, but it’s okay if people see the flaws. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to hide all of my imperfections from everyone, but that stupid helmet taught me that I can’t do that anymore because I’m no longer just me.  I’m a mom. So there are going to be times when I get to school with scrambled egg in my hair (happened yesterday) or spit-up on my shirt (thank god we’re past that phase!) or other general less than perfectisms. And that’s okay.  And if anyone judges me for that, they’ll understand when they have kids. Or not. Who cares?

perfect nails

The cool thing is that I DO care a little less about that now.  I laughed about the hair eggs and asked if the kid who pointed them out was hungry.  And on a serious note, I have to admit that the responses that I got when I posted about Jacob’s helmet helped me realize that, despite what you see on social media, no one’s life is perfect. Everyone has all kinds of crap, most more serious than mine, that they’re dealing with. They’re not all broadcasting theirs in a blog, but I’m not broadcasting ALL of mine either. (Yes, dear reader, I keep secrets from you.  #sorrynotsorry.)

i-hope-to-raise-my-kids-to-be-as-great-as-i-say-they-are-on-social-media-IaM-share-image-1492627717

I’ve learned that being a mom is one of the hardest things in the world.  I was NOT sympathetic enough to my friends with kids before Jacob was born.  Like oh my god, this is HARD. I’m feeling a lot of delayed-reaction guilt that I made my best friend drop everything and come to the Jersey shore for my bachelorette party when she had a four month old and an almost three year old at home.  She fell asleep pumping at the kitchen table after we went out one night. Now that I’ve been there and get it, I can’t believe she loves me enough to have dropped everything for me that weekend and I can’t believe I was a big enough jerk to ask her to. I also have NO idea how people do this with two or more kids.  How does that even work? I’m exhausted just THINKING about a second baby!

one baby multiples

I’ve learned that planning doesn’t work.  I’m a big planner. And prior to pregnancy, those plans were beautifully executed because I was good at planning.  Babies, however, are plan kryptonite. Breakfast yesterday? I planned to be on time for work with food-free hair, but I was late with hair eggs instead.  If I plan to go somewhere, I can virtually guarantee that Jacob will poop right when I’m about to leave, or refuse to eat, or find some new way to prevent that from happening.  But I keep making those plans, beating on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the hands of a plan-destroying baby (toddler? I guess he’s not TECHNICALLY a baby anymore.  BRB crying forever).

perfect mom

I’ve learned nothing is THAT gross.  Okay, maybe that’s not technically true, as lots of things are REALLY FREAKING GROSS when you have a baby.  But you deal with it. My mother loves to tell the story (no really, she LOVES to tell this story. Like in front of my friends, boss, cashier at TJ Maxx, you name it) of the time she took me to the grocery store in a primitive 1980s baby carrier and I pooped down her shirt and she didn’t even notice until she went to put me back in the car.  As Forrest Gump and the shirts say, it happens. And you clean it up and you deal with it. And if you make fake gagging noises when you’re cleaning something super gross, Jacob will laugh hysterically. (My brother and sister-in-law were horrified when we were trying to get Jacob to smile for a picture with his new cousin and we started gagging at him.  It worked though!)

gooey-mothers-baby-niceleodeon-moms-ecards-someecards

I’ve learned that I need to find time for myself.  There are three main components to keeping Sara happy and sane.  Reading, writing, and exercise. All three of which are INSANELY difficult to find time to do when you’re a new mom.  The exercise part was fine when it was warm out because I would take long walks with Jacob, but once it got cold out, that got much harder.  I can’t work out at night because I’ll never sleep if I do it that close to bedtime (I’m the world’s worst insomniac). Mornings are out because I already have to get up an hour earlier this year than I did pre-baby to get him ready and I’m not yet getting enough sleep at night to get up at 4am to work out.  So I am HEAVILY (no pun intended when I’m not exercising) anticipating the return of warm weather.

wearing-workout-clothes-all-day-does-count-as-exercise-right-4dbb4

Reading wasn’t that hard to reinstate because I just added in 20 minutes at bedtime.  I love my Kindle because it tells me how long it’ll take me to read the chapter that I’m on, but it gets hard when I’m reading something that I love because I’m always like, well, I could read ONE more chapter.  And then suddenly it’s midnight and I want to die. But that’s only happened a couple of times so far because the desire to sleep still wins out most nights.

i-was-thinking-about-cleaning-and-starting-the-laundry-and-doing-the-dishes-but-then-i-found-this-book-to-read-instead-11ab7

Writing has been a challenge, but that’s why I started this blog.  I also just signed with a new agent for my new book and she seems awesome, so I need to start revisions ASAP.  That’s going to be tricky because I don’t work well in short chunks of time. I work best when I have a couple of solid weeks of time to sit down and focus.  But it’s important enough to me that I’ll find a way.

mom blog

And finally, I’ve learned that motherhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  I love Jacob more than I ever thought possible and I’ve learned that THAT makes all of the rest of it worth it.   

mom worth it

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.

img_0520
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?

make-sure-you-sleep-when-baby-sleeps-great-advice-should-3376246

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.

all-these-moms-are-on-pinterest-making-their-own-soap-and-reindeer-shaped-treats-and-im-all-like-i-took-a-shower-today-and-kept-the-kids-alive-4f873

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.

baby-first-birthday-no-friends-party-excited-baby-ecards-someecards

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.

img_0313

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!)

yes-i-am-that-mom-who-will-text-her-children-inappropriate-and-often-offensive-jokes--2854e

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.

funny-parenting-ecards-someecards-fb

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.

disney

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.

surgery.png

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

“And?”

“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?”

vomit-catch

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.