My Brave Little Unicorn + Sean’s Birthday Weekend

Happy Monday, folks!

Hope everyone had a fun, sugar-filled Halloween last week! We got literally zero trick-or-treaters that night so that means that I SURE DID bahahahaha. My candy bowl literally overfloweth and I ain’t mad about it, guys.

As I mentioned before, Penny’s two-month pediatrician appointment was also on Halloween, so my I took my gorgeous little balloonicorn (yes, in costume, of course!) to the doctor’s office. She clocked in at 23-and-a-quarter inches and 13 pounds, 2.8 ounces — 83rd percentile for length and 88th percentile for weight! Unsurprising, given how many delicious little baby rolls she has going on, but it’s always fun to hear where she falls on the charts especially since she was an early bird at 37 weeks.

The two-month appointment also meant ::DUN DUN DUNNNN:: getting her vaccinations! Thankfully, my brave baby did amazingly with her shots! They gave her one oral vaccine which must have tasted pretty good because she seemed to like it, haha, and then one shot in each thigh, and she only cried for like 15 seconds afterwards (and it took me just slightly longer to stop crying myself.)

The aftermath of getting her shots outside of her immediate reaction was all right, but not great. She was mainly just very sleepy the rest of the day, but didn’t have any kind of adverse reaction or anything. However, the next day she did develop a very low fever (didn’t seem to bother her too much, but naturally I was wigging, lol), and after that first day, SOMEBUNNY has been having a LOT of trouble sleeping ever since.

She’s fighting naps like whoa right now, and only wants to nap for like a single sleep cycle (30 – 45 minutes), and then at night she won’t go down without being nursed to sleep.

We’re also back at 2 – 2.5 hour stretches of sleep at night… and just when she was starting to seem like she getting into a real groove of 3.5 – 4 hours between wakings, too! Womp womp. I’m just going to keep being optimistic that we will quickly be able to get back to where we were. I don’t even care about her sleeping through the night or anything, I just want that one four hour stretch back each night. I tell ya, that extra hour, hour and a half makes a ridonkulous amount of difference in my attitude, energy level, and the amount of coffee required to function, haha.

Anyway, despite the difficulties that nighttime has been bringing with her sleep setbacks and whatnot, the rest of last week and the weekend was super fun! We stayed very busy with lots of fun meetups with family and friends, and also happily celebrated Sean’s birthday.

We got to hang out with my friend Lara and her pups (she’s expecting Penny’s future BFF early next year!), and also had lunch with my coworkers, getting Penny used to the delicious smell of Korean BBQ — it IS the food of one-quarter of her people, after all! I’m really loving being on maternity leave, of course, but didn’t realize how much I missed my coworkers and talking about work stuff until we got together! Definitely have been missing my workfam. Maybe the transition to going back to work in December won’t be as sad as I was initially thinking, hehe.

On Friday, we met up for lunch with the glowing & gorgeous Anne, who is 37 weeks preggo herself and ready to welcome her baby girl super soon! Always so much fun to get together with her — especially now that we’re both in this whole kid-producing season of life! We commiserated over how uncomfortable these final weeks are, talked about how fun it will be when our girls are old enough to actually play together, and how weird it is to think that when I was at the same point in my pregnancy that she is currently, Penny was already here!

I was also able to hand off several packs of size 1 Honest Co. diapers to both Anne and Lara, since Penny definitely can’t use them anymore with that baby wagon she’s draggin’. I swear, I didn’t even buy that many diapers, I just couldn’t have predicted how rapidly she was going to grow between month 1 and month 2 (nor how much junk she’d be carrying in her trunk, hahahaha.) I’m all paranoid about buying too many diapers in larger sizes now too, bleh. I’ve actually always planned on incorporating cloth diapering into my routine (especially when at home — my sister has cloth diapered all three of her kids very successfully), but I wanted to make it through the excess size 1 disposables we had first, so I gotta be extra careful about not going overboard with the disposables now.

Butttttt my problem is that Honest Co. just released these adorable seasonal prints, including one with arctic foxes on them — I mean helloooooo! — and a friend also turned me onto Parasol brand diapers and how they’re eco-conscious, bleach/chlorine-free, and have adorable prints just like Honest Co, but are much softer. So obviously I had to pick a pack of those to try as well (and true story, they are SUPER soft!)

Basically I am just every single baby brand’s dream consumer because I’m 100% a sucker for anything pretty or cute or trendy or that will occupy her attention for more than 45 seconds… heh.

 
ANYWAY! Friday was also Sean’s birthday, so we spent the whole week celebrating my baby daddy in style! All three of us went out for a casual dinner Friday night, and then we ventured down to his parents’ place on Saturday for a birthday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Fox!

 
And finally, on Sunday my parents babysat Penny so that Sean & I could have a baby-free evening together, just the two of us.

We went out to dinner and saw Thor: Ragnarok, which was AWESOME. Two thumbs way, way up — it was outrageously funny and Thor’s near hair gave me all kind of feelings. We had a great time and miraculously managed to talk about stuff other than Penny, but we still missed our little nugget, of course!

Anyway, that catches us on up to today! This week has lots more social fun, including more get-togethers with friends, meeting up with a couple of mommas that I met on a local new mom Facebook Group, and my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party — Penny’s first party invitation! And who knows, if the stars align and the universe is looking favorably upon us, perhaps this week might also include getting a modicum more sleep? Hey, a girl can dream!

Penny’s First Halloween

So Halloween had kind of been losing its luster for me over the past few years. In my early twenties, I got SO JAZZED for Halloween: throwing parties, coordinating group costumes, doing the whole shebang. But, y’know, time passes and we all get old and lazy and my Halloweens of late have been a lot more about eating all the candy that I definitely, 100% got for the trick-or-treaters and not for eating in my pajamas with some kind of animal-ear headband on (only like, six kids ever come to our house, lol.)

But I won’t lie, Halloween with a baby — even one still firmly ensconced in the useless-lump-of-a-human category, like Penny — is like 1000x more fun!

Even though the only plans we have for today are lunch with a friend and going for our two-month pediatrician’s appointment (which means SHOTS! 🙁 🙁 🙁 ) everything is made just a smidgen better because Penny can be in costume, lol.

We took her unicorn costume for a test spin last week when we went to Spooky Tots at Fairfax Corner, where I got to coo and aww over all the adorable toddlers trick or treating in their costumes, while other parents appropriately cooed and awwed over Penny (something I never could have known prior to, y’know, having one, is just how much random stranger in the world flippin’ love babies, man!)

 
And because one costume is simply not ever enough, I also picked up the most amazing Bubble Tea outfit from BuzzBearStudio on Etsy — is she not the most delicious? 😀

Happy Halloween, friends!

Penny: Two Months Old

Happy two months to our gorgeous, happy baby girl!

Penny continues to grow in leaps and bounds, and we fall even more in love with her with each passing day. She’s still got her baby blues and strawberry blonde hair (WHOSE BABY IS THIS?!), and has been seriously packing on the pounds. I’ve been weighing her pretty regularly at home (with the Hatch Baby Grow Changing Pad and Scale), and she’s already 13 pounds!!

 
Which means she’s basically busting out of her Size 1 diapers (Turns out I got way too many packs – how was I supposed to know she’d be such an adorable little chunker?!), and most of her 0-3 month clothing is on its last legs. I’m incredibly happy that she’s been growing so well and is so healthy, of course, but part of me is hoping she slows down juuuuust a little bit. If she keeps this up, she’s not going to fit any of the holiday outfits I inherited from my sister by the time the holidays actually, y’know, roll around! Although, then again, that just means an excuse to buy her more clothing so… you know what? I’m actually okay with it either way. 😉

Loves: her pacifier, ceiling fans, baths, car rides, and being held so she’s sitting up.

Hates: When her paci falls out of her mouth, being tired, being put down pretty much anytime she’s awake, lol. (Thank goodness for caving and getting that swing, I tell ya.)

Can: smile, laugh (it’s the best sound ever!), coo, grunt (an impressive amount, hold her head up for much longer periods of time (she loves looking around!)

In other amazing developments, our little ginger whasian baby is now sleeping in 3 – 4 hour stretches most nights, instead of 2 – 3! She’s even gone back to sleep once or twice after waking up — even if just for an hour more. But hey, it’s an extra hour, so I’ll take it!

We’re still all over the place schedule-wise, though I’m trying to get better about establishing more of a bedtime routine and putting her to bed earlier (pretty sure she thinks that “nighttime” is midnight to noon right now, oops.)

Getting her to go down at the beginning of the night is hardest — she seems like she falls asleep pretty quickly at first with her paci, but then she’ll wake up anytime it falls out of her mouth, leading to us having to hold it or keep popping it back in for like an hour each night. -_- Anybody have any tips on how to get her to keep that dang thing in??

This past week had a few more firsts to check off the list: I experienced the wonderfulness that is having your baby pee all over themselves while out (we were at the car dealership getting some maintenance done and a tire replaced), and so I got to bust out her emergency outfit for the first time. Man, I usually employ the two diaper changing method, where you put a new diaper underneath before you take the old one off, but I guess I’ve been getting lazy about it and I CERTAINLY PAID THE PRICE. Never again…

A much more enjoyable first from last week was getting my first postpartum mani/pedi, massage, and MUCH NEEDED eyebrow wax. Ohhhhh man, those few hours of “me time” really did wonders for both my physical and mental state. It was kind of spontaneous, actually — I had a massage booked for later in the evening, but Sean told me I should go ahead and take some extra time if there was anything else I wanted to do, and that, right there, is why I married him. <3

Something that I definitely never would have had to thinking about before was making sure I tossed my manual pump (the Medela Harmony) into my purse so that I could pump a little bit right before my massage, as otherwise it probably would have been very painful to lay face-down on the massage table. I then received a very nice surprise when I found out that Massage Envy has these special pads that they can put on your massage table that basically has cutouts for your boobs, lol. It made things sooo much more comfortable — a total must for nursing moms!

Anyway, we have Penny’s two-month doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I’m eager to see what the pediatrician has to say about her growth (they were already impressed with her weight gain last time, hahahaha), and I’m decidedly NOT eager for her to get her two-month shots. Sigh, not even the fact that her appointment is on Halloween and I get to bring her to the doctor in costume will make up for how sad we’re all going to be while she’s getting poked. 🙁

Wish us luck!

Eating My Words: Learnings from a First Time Mom

Penny is eight weeks old as of yesterday, if you can believe it! Enter incredibly cliche but incredibly true statement about how quickly time is flying. IT REALLY IS OKAY?!

I think it would just about be the understatement of the century to say that becoming a mother changes you. I know you’ve probably heard and read it a thousand times, but that doesn’t make it any less true: motherhood changes damn near everything about you. I knew this. I mean, I knew that going through the experience of pushing a watermelon through a bagel-sized hole would probably have some kind of effect on me. And I kinda guessed that suddenly being responsible for an entire human life might cause some shifts in my perspective.

So I was prepared for the whole thing where my heart grew three times a la The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and was ready for the profound understanding and incredible love and appreciation for my own mother that would come with becoming a mom myself. But I wasn’t prepared for how becoming a parent to Penny would make me so easily change my mind with regard to things I said and judgements I made during my pregnancy. That I would renege on certain elements of what I thought was my parenting philosophy. That I would find myself doing things completely opposite to how I had “planned” to do them.

Basically, I just didn’t know anything about having a kid, until I actually had a kid.

I mean, while I was pregnant, I really didn’t worry too much about the whole post-birth part of the equation. After all, I was in great shape going into this whole parenting thing, y’know? I mean, I’d been around my nieces since they were both a week old, I’d raised two dogs from puppyhood, I’d read the parenting books and the mommy blogs and educated myself on infant safety and sleep training and baby-led weaning. I had this in the bag!

HAAAAAAAAA.

Yeah. Penelope entered our world, and never before have I eaten so much humble pie so quickly. Consider this my official apology for all the times I was judgmental about basically anything having to do with parenting, in any way, during my pregnancy, Because as I have oh-so-quickly learned, when it comes to trying to keep my tiny human fed, rested, and, well, alive, there is pretty much nothing I won’t do.

Here are some of the things that I thought before, y’know, giving birth:

  • I’ll never co-sleep/bed-share.
  • I can’t imagine possibly loving anything more than I love my dogs.
  • We don’t need a swing, and we definitely don’t have room for one.
  • Soothie pacifiers are ugly! I’m never using them.
  • I’m not going to be one of those parents who doesn’t want to leave her kid with a babysitter.
  • My baby’s going to sleep through the night early, it’s just about getting them on a schedule, right?
  • Breastfeeding squicks me out, so I just don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.

And the reality now that I’m a parent:

  • Co-sleeping: I fracking LOVE sleeping with Penny. Prior to having her, I really just didn’t understand how obsessed I’d be with her, and how much comfort I would get from having her close by. Not to mention how comforting it is for her to have me — well, my boobs, at least — close by, too!

I would have her next to me in bed all the flippin’ time, nestled up to those pillows she has for cheeks every night, IF I wasn’t so petrified that Sean or I would accidentally smoosh her, or suffocate her with a pillow, or smother her with my boobs. Also, we have a queen-sized bed and are king-sized people, so having her in bed with us, even in her DockATot, doesn’t really work too well. Le sigh.

  • Dogs: You guys KNOW how obsessed I am with my dogs. I’ve had Harry since I was 15 years old, and Daxter may be turning 7 (!) in January but is totally still my baby. I used to talk all the time about how I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I love my dogs, even once I have kids. But the truth of the matter is that while I 1000% still love Harry & Daxter, I just can’t help it: I love Penny more. Honestly, it’s hard for me to even admit that, really, because I used to be super judgey about people who said this very same thing, but I’m not going to lie to you guys.

  • Swing: We still don’t really have room for one, especially not the huge honkin’ Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n’ Swing that I tried out at my sister’s house and OF COURSE worked like a charm for Penny. She took like a three hour nap in it!

But I tell you, anything — ANYTHING — that will buy you even thirty extra minutes of peace, quiet, or sleep is 100000% worth getting when it comes to this whole baby gig. So guess who had placed an order for one of these bad boys before she even stepped on the airplane to come home? THIS GAL.

 

  • Soothies: I still think these particular pacifiers are ugly as sin, and when you look into the little hole in the middle it makes your child look like a guppy, but of course Penny loves them and thus so, too, do I. At least they’re cheap, lol.

  • Babysitters: Um, it took a LOT of mental and emotional effort just to be willing to leave Penny with my own parents for the amount of time it took to go to see a movie. Who the hell knows when or if I’m going to be okay with the idea of leaving her with anyone else! Turns out I am VERY ATTACHED TO MY BABY. Who knew.

  • Sleeping through the night: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLLLOLLOLOLL ::laughing crying emoji::

  • Breastfeeding: I’ve been breastfeeding Penny since she was born (with Sean giving her the occasional bottle of pumped milk) and chuckle when I think back to my comments about breastfeeding icking me out. From the first moment, it really has felt like the most natural thing in the world to me!


My views on feeding your baby in general have actually not changed since becoming a parent. I believed then, as I believe now, that a fed baby is the most important thing. So whether you exclusively breastfeed, exclusively pump, supplement with formula, exclusively formula feed (or whatever combination above you choose!), the “right way” is whatever works for you and your family.

That said, I didn’t realize how much I had internalized the whole “breast is best” sentiment that seems to run rampant through the comments section on Facebook and on mommy bloggers’ Instagram pages.It was this pressure to breastfeed that made me feel like it wasn’t an option not to at least try to do it… for which I begrudgingly admit I am now mildly glad, since I do enjoy nursing Penny. But it also made me develop a resistance to the idea of using formula. I was extremely upset at the idea of having to supplement with formula when we were dealing with her jaundice issues, and was determined to be able to provide pumped milk for the additional feeding we had to do as part of her treatment.

I recognize that I have gotten lucky in the breastfeeding department, but I still I think I caused myself a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety over not wanting to use formula — and for no reason! Formula is perfectly healthy for babies, is incredibly convenient, and can be a literal lifesaver for many parents.

I have since given Penny formula a few times (like I said in my last post, having a little bottle of the ready-made stuff while traveling ended up being a really good idea) but still felt a twinge of guilt doing so. And WHY? I’m still working this one out.

Anyway, this list is really just a small sample of the learnings I’ve had since becoming a mom, and I’m sure that the list will only continue to grow and grow. But hey, that’s a big part of this whole parenthood thing, I’m told — learning on the fly, rolling with the punches, and just continually trying to do our best.

Penny Takes Flight: Flying with an Infant

Hi there, folks! Penny and I just got back from Atlanta after great visit with my sister, her hubs, and their littles!

 
 
I gotta say, nothing really puts the struggles of mothering one baby into perspective like visiting a household with a baby PLUS a four-year-old AND two-year-old. My sister = #supermom for REAL.

Mia and Kira were soooo sweet with Penny, and I loved getting to see my new nephew Alex again — he’s already changed so much since he was up here with Jenny last month! He’s just three and a half weeks older than Penny, so it’s really cool getting to see a little glimpse into her developmental future.

 
I had a wonderful time visiting, as I always do (if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you probably know that my sister and I visit each other A LOT), but this trip obviously was a smidgen more stressful this time due to it being the first time I was traveling with, y’know, my new baby. Sean had to work as he sadly used up most of his PTO when Penny was born, so I was also flying solo (pun intended).

But I’m happy to report that we successfully survived both the flight there and back! We flew Southwest from DCA to ATL, and the process was pretty painless all the way through. Getting Penelope on my itinerary was super easy, I just called Southwest a couple days before our flight and they added her to my ticket as a lap infant.

Then, at the airport I just had to go to the ticket counter where they issued her a Boarding Verification Document — kind of like her very own boarding pass, hehe.

Everything from there on out was business as normal! Those of you who have flown Southwest before know that there are no assigned seats, just a boarding group order (A, B, or C) that’s determined when you check-in for your flight. I didn’t want to worry about having to check in exactly 24 hours before my flight, so I paid for Early Bird checkin (guarantees you an A group spot). In retrospect, however, I realize that I’m now able to do family boarding (in between A & B groups) so I won’t have to worry about checking in on time again for like the next 6 years! Gahahaha.

We sat in the window and lucked out with an empty middle seat on both flights (funny how holding up your baby makes people less inclined to sit with you, hahahaha. Penny did ooookay on the flight down to Atlanta — she didn’t fall asleep until a little after halfway through the flight and was a smidgen fussy, so I tried to nurse her on the plane but got really flustered (I still haven’t really mastered nursing in public and planes make for especially tight quarters.) But once she fell asleep she was out for the count (huzzah!), and fortunately even when she was fussing, her little cries were drowned out by the plane noise. The people seated behind us said they didn’t even realize there was a baby in front of them when we landed, hehe.

On the flight back home, she slept pretty much the entire time which was awesome. All in all, two successful flights — one slightly more successful than the other, hehe.

And now that I’ve gone through the process of traveling with an infant, I definitely feel way more confident about doing it more in the future. Sean and I are going to Texas to see his family for Thanksgiving, and even though the flight will be twice as long, it’s going to be twice as easy because just having an extra set of hands is going to be sooooooo helpful. The hardest part about flying with Penny by myself really wasn’t the actual flight, it was more getting through the airport and security and whatnot. It was kind of a challenge juggling her while breaking down the stroller + carseat at security and then again on the gangplank (to gate check them.)

I did bring my Baby K’Tan carrier and found it super helpful. It’s kind of like the cheater’s version of a baby sling/wrap — it’s made of two loops and you can kind of wear it like an infinity scarf when you’re not using it, making it incredibly convenient to travel with! I was able to pop her into it while waiting in line on the gangplank, which freed up my hands to deal with the stroller and carseat once I got to the plane door. Also if you don’t already have a backpack style diaper bag, I highly recommend getting one (I have the Ju-Ju-Be BFF, a gift from my amazing friend Jackie), as just having your hands free as much as possible is what you wanna go for if you’re traveling alone.

My other rather obvious tip is that you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of extra time at the airport. Depending on which airports you’re flying in/out of, you might be able to use the stroller lane to get through security more quickly (ATL offers this), but time still goes by crazy fast when you’re taking your baby in and out of her carseat, changing diapers, and waiting for the big stall to open up in the bathroom — not to mention if you’ve got to feed baby before takeoff!

 

Some of my other travel tips include:

  • Bring extra pacifiers — In a hilarious turn of events that would probably only happen to me, I dropped two of her pacifiers on the airplane floor in the span of like 3 minutes. Airplane floor + baby’s mouth = not gonna happen so I was really glad that I had so many extras.

  • Bring one or two little bottles of ready-made formula for emergencies. As mentioned, I nursed her on the flight there and nursed her in the airport before flying home, but snagged a couple 2oz bottles of ready-to-go formula just in case things had gotten hairy while on the plane. I ended up using one when she got hangry as we were waiting for Sean to pick us up from the airport.
  • Wear something with pockets – I can’t tell you how many times my phone slid off of my legs when I shifted Penny on my lap. Luckily I had very understanding people sitting in the aisle seat that kept picking it up for me, but just one flipping pocket would have made a world of difference, hahaha.
  • Get a PopSocket for your phone. Not only will it make your phone easier to hold (thus lessening the likelihood of dropping said phone on your child NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT) but you’ll be able to take all the unabashed sleeping-baby-plane-selfies your heart desires.
  • Bring a portable phone charger as well, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll put your diaper bag juuuuuust far enough under the seat that you’re unable to reach it once baby falls asleep, and all you’ll have within reach is your phone. So your only entertainment options during the flight are to browse social media thanks to Southwest’s $8 wifi, or stare at the back of the seat in front of you.

So yeah, I’d say that Penny’s jetsetting life is off to a good start! If you have any questions about my experience traveling with a baby, lay ’em on me — I’m sure I left tons out, heh. And until next time…!