The Bad Kind of First

Weeeeellps, yesterday turned out to be quite the emotional roller coaster of a day. It started out pretty great, with a decent night’s sleep from my little lovebug (a 4 hour stretch, followed by 2.5 hours, and then 3 hours after that) and then her being in a fab mood in the morning.

Around 11 I met back up with a couple of my #momsquad friends to catch the Crybaby Matinee — a special baby-friendly showing that the Angelika movie theatre hosts once a week. This week’s flick was A Bad Mom’s Christmas, and I figured that it was a pretty appropriate movie to take in with fellow mommas.

  • The movie itself was okay — it was pretty funny, I always love anything that Kristen Bell touches, plus it had some delightful surprise shirtlessness from This Is Us‘s Justin Hartley, hehe, but the film wasn’t anything earth-shattering. That said, it was a really fun experience getting to sit in the theatre with tons of other mamas and their littles, and not have to worry about if your baby cries or makes noise or gets hungry or anything. They keep some of the lights dimmed in the theatre so you can more easily check on and tend to your little one as well.

Of course, Penny just slept through the entire thing, but it was very nice to know that it wouldn’t have been a big deal if she had ended up fussing, hehe.

Sadly, the great start to my day was quickly overshadowed by what happened afterward. As I mentioned yesterday, my mom has been under the weather, so after the movie, Penny and I headed to my parents’ house to see her. Very unfortunately, while en route, my car got rear-ended. Just two-and-a-half months old, and already Penny’s experienced her first car accident. Not exactly the kind of thing I think I’ll be commemorating kn her baby book. 🙁

I was just driving along normally, heading towards an intersection with a (green) light, and there was a car sitting at the cross street sticking part of its nose out (to turn right, I assume). So the car in front of me slowed slightly, and I followed suit, but I guess the car behind me wasn’t paying attention or whatever, and didn’t notice that we were slowing down, and so he slammed right into the back of my car.

Thankfully, Penny is 100% okay (the accident didn’t even wake her up), but I was (I think, understandably) very emotional about it and am still very worried about her long term wellbeing. My car is still drivable — the accident popped my bumper out and left some scrapes.

I felt okay in the immediate aftermath, but as soon as I got to my parents’ house, my neck and shoulders started feeling stiff/sore. I called to see if I could get in to see my regular doctor, but he didn’t have any openings, so after we made sure Penny was okay, my parents watched her while I went to the ER to get checked out. They discharged me with a neck strain diagnosis and instructions to take ibuprofen and ice my neck and shoulders. Unfortunately I’m still in pain so I’m definitely going to follow up with my doctor, see a chiropractor, and some of you guys have suggested acupuncture so I’ll be looking into that, too.

I was also prescribed a muscle relaxer, but it’s not breastfeeding safe so it’s really just to be used if nothing else is working and I can’t sleep due to the pain (I would have to pump & dump my breastmilk). So far I’m not planning on taking it unless I have to, but alas, the doctor did also warn me that it will get worse before it gets better. We’ll see how today goes. And alas, the bad thing right now is that I’ve discovered I feel the pain and soreness most acutely while breastfeeding, since I use my neck and shoulder muscles a lot to wrangle both Penny and my boobs into position. Good thing she only needs to nurse like 7 – 9 times a day. -_-

Anyway, you can understand why the whole experience put quite the damper on what had started as a pretty great day — not to mention it ate up the rest of my day time-wise, as going to the hospital involved a lot of waiting around and took a really long time. And now I get to deal with all the super fun, not at all irritating insurance stuff, which is now all the more challenging when you’re wrangling a baby as well — it just makes the stuff like taking your car in to be evaluated, scheduling meetings with the adjuster, and scheduling appointments or whatever difficult. Ugh, I so took for granted how easy it was to run errands back when I was babyless, lol.

But! I shouldn’t complain too loudly because, as I said, things could’ve been way worse in many different ways, and most importantly, Penny is safe, happy, and healthy. I am going to inquire if insurance will cover the cost of a new carseat though, now that this one has been involved in an accident.

 
Here’s hoping today ends up being a much less eventful, far more emotionally stable day, yeah?

Busy, Busy, Happy, Happy

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Winter has come to Northern Virginia. Despite the fact that it was 75-degrees and sunny a week ago, the past few days and have felt like they’re of Winterfell-level proportions. Lows of 29 and 30 – brrrrr! The upside?

 
I’ve been able to make use of these stinkin’ cute fleece bodysuits that make Penny look extra-strength adorable.

 
We’ve certainly been keeping busy since last we checked in with you guys! Lots of time spent with family (that’s Uncle Ben hanging out with Penny in the photo above) and friends, old & new, plus Penny went to her first party and had a grand old time!

So, Wednesday night I finally got fed up with what was going on with my roots, and tried to re-dye my hair under the VERY MISTAKEN ASSUMPTION that Penny had gone down for the night and I had at least, like, 90 minutes before she woke up again. Well, I was unsurprisingly very wrong, and with Sean already asleep and me not wanting to disturb him (he has to get up very early for work), I had to pull my very best Tim Gunn and make it work.

 
Sooooo yeah, this resulted in a nice bleachy nursing session and lots of prayers that all of my hair wouldn’t fall out from bleaching too long, lol. Thankfully, I managed to get her to go back down pretty much right away after she was done, and thus escaped with hair unscathed and repurplefied!

And so I was able to look presentably vibrant (and very easy to spot) for my #momsquad coffee date the next morning! Now that Penelope and I are nice and comfy with each other, I’ve been really eager to meet other mamas in the area with similarly-aged kiddos. So being the totally level-headed and not-in-any-way-overzealous person that I am, I joined like, four different new mom Facebook groups and also downloaded the Peanut app (which is literally Tinder for moms, lol). I’ve been fortunate to connect with some lovely ladies and their even lovelier bebes!

It’s so nice to have other ladies with whom to get together and commiserate over developmental milestones, spit up, blowouts, and sleepless nights, hehe. Most of my friends’ babies are at least 8 – 10 months older than Penny, and right now the age difference of even a few months makes a huge difference in the whole parenthood experience. So while by this time next year, Penny and my friends’ babes all might be able to play together, it’s especially wonderful to have found some new mama friends with birthdays close to Penny’s — since they’re going through literally the exact same things as us. 🙂

On Friday, I met up with my friend Vicky for coffee in the morning. Mayhaps you are starting to see a pattern here: COFFEE. IS. LIFE. I’ve always enjoyed coffee, but was never really a habitual drinker. Didn’t need my daily cup of joe to get through the morning or anything like that. But now? HAAAAA! You should see the amount of stars I’ve racked up on my Starbucks rewards account. Lorelai Gilmore would be so proud.

And after yet another successful coffee date, Sean’s mom came by for a visit! Not only did she bring a delicious spread for lunch (homemade chicken pot pies!), but she also watched Penny for a stretch while I took a glorious and much-needed nap. Fri-yay indeed!

Which brings us to Saturday! We were invited to my coworker’s daughter’s first birthday party and were super excited to have Penny experience her first party! Naturally, she slept terribly the night before (go figure), so we got a pretty late start to the day. When I eventually had to jump in the shower, I asked Sean to get Penny dressed and returned to this bit of fashion-forwardness:

Bahahahahahaha. He gets major points for matching, but she is 100% missing the actual dress that’s supposed to go under the cardigan and over the bloomers. ::laughing crying emoji::

  
Much better. 😉

The party was so much fun! There were sooooo many kiddos and babies there, and it was really fun for Sean and me to see what our future holds, hehe. My fab coworker Kimberly did an amazing job with the theme, decor, and food (there was a Chipotle bar!!), and gave me serious goals for next August when we’ll be going through the same thing, hehe. Oh man, I’m getting emotional just thinking about that. I know that sounds ridiculous since it’s so far away, but I mean, I already can’t believe Penny will be 11 weeks on Wednesday! ::sniff::

 
Kimberly also arranged to have a Tunes 4 Tots session at the party, so Penny also got to experience her first music class! I can’t wait ’til she is, y’know, able to like, sit up and clap her hands and actually do stuff. But even though she was literally just sitting up in my lap watching it all unfold, I like to think she was having a grand ol’ time, hehe.

Later that night, Penny and I met up with one of my oldest friends, Megan. We’ve been friends since meeting in Taiwan in 2001, where we both attended high school! 16 years of friendship and counting…! Not that that makes me feel old or anything, heh.

After dinner, I dropped by my parents’ house, as another one of my uncles was visiting and wanted to meet Penny (she is far more popular that I could ever be!). This turned out to be a great thing, because while I was also supposed to see my parents again the next day, my mom came down with something so it didn’t work out.

They had originally offered to babysit for Sean and me while we went to a show, but since that didn’t happen we ended up having a nice lazy Sunday at home. TBH, it was really nice. I love having a reason to get out of the house (and I still did end up taking Penny on an errand run… and to get more coffee, hehe), but all the social engagements, coupled with the fact that Penny’s sleep has continued to be very unpredictable, did leave me feeling pretty drained.

So Sean, Penny, the dogs, and I all got to enjoy being home together — cooking (Sean), playing (Penny and the dogs), napping (everyone but me ::laugh/cry::), and taking care of stuff around the house (meeeeeee, heh.)

 
Which catches us back up to today! We’ve got lots of additional plans for fun this week, including our first Crybaby Matinee, more mommy dates, and a trip this weekend — whew! I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to get another one of the (many) parenthood posts I would like to write up this week, but guff, finding time to blog really is a challenge these days. I don’t know how actual mommy bloggers do it!

‘Til next time!

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.