Thursday, August 21, 2014

Get Some Sleep

That was then...
this is now.
How much more rested do I look???
Let's talk about how different this whole Motherhood thing is the second time around, shall we?  Oh my goodness it is so much easier, people.  Yes, it's exhausting, and I completely admit that there have been days and nights during which I've found myself sobbing uncontrollably, but for the most part this parenting-of-a-newborn encore has gone relatively smoothly.

I've heard from quite a few of you that my hospital bag tips have been helpful, so I thought I would share five things I wish I'd known the first time around.  Here's my disclaimer: the only thing I'm a doctor of is comedy, so this by no means constitutes medical advice, it's simply a few things that have worked for me with my babes.  Be sure and talk with your pediatrician before beginning any new routine with your little one.  

1. Momma don't f*ck around with newborn size diapers.  Newborn diapers are teeny tiny, which means they don't hold very much pee.  You know what's guaranteed to wake up a baby?  Peeing through her diaper.  Hey, I don't blame the kid - I wouldn't want to sleep in a soaking wet onesie either.  Skip the small diapers and stock up on some size three overnight diapers right away.  Your infant will look completely ridiculous wearing a diaper that reaches up to her armpits, but that doesn't matter if it buys you a few more hours of precious, life-giving sleep.

2. Do not, I repeat DO NOT change your baby's diaper every time she wakes up in the middle of the night.  If you change her diaper the only thing you are doing is waking her up more, and the last thing you want is a baby who is ready to party.  The more awake your kid gets, the longer it will take to get her to go back to sleep once she's been fed, and being awake for more than an hour in the middle of the friggin' night is pure torture.  Throw that kid in a night diaper, slather on a sh*tload of diaper cream and wait to change her diaper until she wakes up at a reasonable morning hour.

3. You do not have to hold your baby every single second of every single day.  I am pretty sure that I only put the Muffin Man down four times during the first three months of his life.  Seriously - I even held him while I was in the bathroom going pee.  Do yourself a favor: invest in a bouncy chair and use it.  Your child will be fine.  You will not damage him by expecting him to entertain himself for a few minutes of every day.  Plus you're starting to smell and could really use a shower.

4. Give your baby a bottle.  Yeah, yeah, we all know that breast is best, but sometimes Mommy's boobies need a rest.  As soon as your baby latches well, pump some milk (or use formula if you prefer) and let your spouse/Mother/Mother-in-Law/nanny/any stranger willing to hold your child feed that kid.  The longer you wait to introduce a bottle, the less of a chance that your kid will take one, so start ASAP.  Trust me, the last thing you want is to spend the next six months of your life being unable to leave your child for longer than an hour and a half because she refuses to take a bottle.  And forget about taking any sort of vacation without your baby - if he doesn't drink from a bottle you're tethered to that kid for at least a year without a break.  I love my kids, but for the sake of my own sanity I need to be able to spend time without one of them attached to my boob.

5. The "dream feed" is your friend.  Learn about it, start it early, and use it.  This is the key to getting your kid to sleep longer.  The more milk (or formula) you shovel into that kid at bedtime, the longer he or she will snooze.  I've personally found that bottle feeding is the most effective with this technique, as it's difficult to get a sleeping child to nurse, but however you choose to roll, feed your kid as much as possible before you go to sleep.  As your kid gets older this technique will become more effective, but I have a six week old who is sleeping for 6-7 hours at a stretch, so believe me, it works.

If all else fails just remember that the first six weeks are the hardest.  It does get easier and your kid will eventually sleep through the night.  Until then, I suggest you avail yourself of caffeine in any form.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mommy and Me Reject, Part Deux

No one wants to sit with us at snack time.  
I have a problem.  Apparently, I have some sort of special talent for getting involved in Mommy and Me programs where people hate me.  If you're a longtime reader of the site you know that I've already "been there, done that" with the original VIP Mommy and Me, but I guess I didn't learn my lesson that first time around because I am once again at the tail end of yet another class where I am the odd woman out.

In my defense, I signed up for this class because it takes place at one of the preschools we were considering for the Muffin Man.  This is a very well-respected school.  It also happens to be within walking distance of our house, which I'm always a fan of, as I have these fantasies of being able to stroll Noah to and from school every day like I live in some sort of small, Norman Rockwell-esque town instead of in the land of cement and broken dreams which constitutes my reality.  Anywho, according to the word on the neighborhood street, it's vital to sign up for the Mommy and Me in order to even be considered for one of the valuable preschool spots at this institute of lower learning.  Hey, I'm willing to try anything once (except for some of those positions in the Karma Sutra that no human should be able to do) so I signed Noah up, sent in my check, and looked forward to pleasant afternoons spent bonding with other parents over snack time Goldfish crackers and endless rounds of Row, row, row your boat.  Well.  This is the worst mommy and me class ever.  Really.  I didn't think they could get crappier than the original VIP class, but low and behold it is entirely possible to pay a ridiculous sum of money for your child to attend a class once a week that is terrible.  The other parents aren't friendly, the activities are ridiculous, and Noah wants nothing to do with any of this.  They do, however, serve Goldfish crackers at snack time which is the only thing this group has going for it, since I refuse to buy that crap for consumption at home.

Okay, so the class sucks, fine. I was willing to give it one more try just to ensure that my son received a decent shot at one of the 3 available spaces in the class of 2031, but here's the kicker: I WASN'T INVITED BACK.  Seriously.  I wasn't even given the option to sign up for the next session (I asked and was firmly told "no").  Yes, you read that right.  I was rejected from possibly the worst Mommy and Me class in the entire city of Los Angeles.  Honestly, all I can do is laugh.  I assume their intention was to make me feel bad about myself, but I'm going to remind you here, friends, that I AM 36 YEARS OLD; not 26 or 16 or even six, when one is more apt to put up with just this kind of bullsh*t.  Mama is old and tired and she just don't play that anymore.   I guess I've finally had enough therapy that I no longer spend my life attempting to join clubs that don't want me as a member.  On the plus side, I'll be happy to spend that $250 preschool application fee on something more practical, like all the toilet paper I plan to throw into their trees on Halloween right after I get wasted, pee in the school's bushes, and yell "screw you!" from my car window while blaring The Doors.  Hey, I've matured, but not that much.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Perky No More

Let's talk about breasts, shall we?  Not in a sexual way, mind you, but in a "this is how I feed my kid" way.  That's right, it's that special time of year known as World Breastfeeding Week, which means it is time, once again, for me to talk about my boobs.
Breasts are a big deal.  Especially in Los Angeles, where quite a few men don't even know what a real boob feels like (seriously.  I actually had a guy say this to me once.)  I used to have an amazing rack: firm, perky, and, best of all, real.  I wore strapless dresses and cute tank tops that didn't require bras, and teensy-tiny string bikinis.  And then I had a baby who I breastfed for nine months.  Do you know what happens to your breasts when you've used them solely as an all-you-can-eat buffet for almost a year?  Nothing good, my friends.  My perfect, perky beautiful boobies were completely deflated.  Thankfully I'm not married to a man who needs directions to find my clitoris, but if he someday goes blind he can just follow my southward pointing nipples and we'll be good to go.  Shortly before my son's first birthday I found myself standing in front of my closet crying over all of the clothes that I could no longer wear without looking like I belonged in one of those "shoppers of Walmart" memes.   

When I (accidentally) got pregnant with the Little Miss, I was excited for my short term reprieve from the saggy boob club.  I couldn't wait to get my gorgeous pregnancy boobs back!  Sure, a tube top on a pregnant lady may not be the most acceptable fashion statement, but dammit if I wasn't determined to enjoy my last hurrah with non-lactating firm breasts.  So I waited and waited and expected my porn star boobs to make an encore performance... but they never did.  When I asked my OB about it he told me that breastfeeding for that length of time causes major tissue damage and that even my raging pregnancy hormones couldn't counteract the sagging boob brigade, but that I should be happy I provided my son with the health benefits of breast milk for such an extended length of time.  Thanks, buddy, I'll be sure and remind myself of that the next time I'm trying to find a shirt that makes pancake boobs look sexy.

Sure, I mourn for the boobs of yore, but the truth is that I'm grateful that I've been able to nurse both of my children.  The quiet moments during the day when it's just me and my nursing daughter force me to slow down and simply "be".  I miss the morning feedings I used to have with Noah because it was our special time to cuddle.  He's too busy running and jumping and being a growing little boy now to want to cuddle with me for very long, and in the blink of an eye Rose will be the same way.  I may not have those gorgeous breasts of my youth any longer, but I have two beautiful kids who I love even more than I loved wearing strapless dresses.  I guess it's kind of inappropriate to wear tube tops after the age of 35 anyway. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Married... with Children

Today is our eigth wedding anniversary. It's amazing that we remembered it considering we're both so exhausted we can barely remember our own names.  We were laughing this morning about how different our lives are now that we have children, so I thought it would be funny to compare and contrast the us of then, versus the us of now.

1.  "Sleeping in" means the kids don't wake us up until after 8am. Back in the good ol' days when we got married we didn't get up before 9:30 or 10am unless we had a flight to catch, and sometimes we didn't even bother going to sleep if departure time happened to be extra early.

2. We wanted things like fine china, crystal bowls, and kitchen appliances because we hosted parties and cooked gourmet meals. These days the only thing we want is full time childcare, and I can't remember the last time we cooked anything, let alone something gourmet. The nice toaster oven we received as a wedding gift really comes in handy for warming up frozen chicken nuggets, however.

3. We listened to NPR and discussed things like politics, art openings and food culture.  The only radio station we've listened to lately happens to be the toddler station on Pandora, the closest we've gotten to an art opening is running around the lawn of the La Brea Tar Pits, and unless the restaurants are kid-friendly chances are we haven't been there OR heard about it. 

4. I owned sexy lingerie and I wore it, often. Tonight I'll be sporting a super hot combo of disposable underwear, a nursing bra, and an elastic corset thing to  help shrink my post-baby tummy.  That outfit, combined with the all-too-recent view the Hubby got of my lady parts being stretched out, doesn't exactly make for a steamy evening. 

5. We had time, lots and lots of time. To get dressed up, to read the New York Times, to watch movies and make artisanal cocktails and hang out with friends.  Tonight I will be lucky if I get to shower before we leave for dinner, I have no idea if the Times still prints a paper edition since it's been so long since I read it, and if I can't pour my cocktail from the bottle straight into my glass I don't have time to make it. 

Life is different, yes, and sometimes I miss our old carefree, well rested days, but this new life - the new us - is wonderful. We have two children whose smiles and laughter can make even the shittiest days better, and that's priceless. Though I certainly wouldn't pass up a few nights in a hotel without my kids.  Heck, I might even pack some underwear that's not disposable. 

Happy anniversary, Chris!  I love you. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No Pain, No Gain, Part Deux

The Little Lady is one month old today!  The good news is that I have survived the first month of life with both a newborn and a toddler.  The bad news is that it's only been a month, despite the fact that it feels as though it's been three years.  Oh my God, I had completely and totally forgotten just how s-l-o-w-l-y the first few weeks (months?) of life with a newborn pass.  How can the Little Lady only be four weeks old when I feel as though she's been keeping me awake FOREVER?!  I just keep reminding myself that the sleepless nights are only temporary and it will get better and that I can survive another five months of exhaustion, but even I'm starting to not believe my own BS.

I'm a bit of a walking zombie, but I figured a month is quite long enough for all six of my loyal readers to be without the daily musings of Mama Lane, and it's high time that I share the details of the Little Lady's entrance downstage vagina.  So here's the dealio: I honestly had a really amazing birth experience.  Don't get me wrong, it hurt like a motherf*cker, and my lady parts still sting every time I pee, but overall it went better than I could've expected.  I had a natural, unmedicated birth for the second time, and I couldn't be happier.  Sure, I spent most of my labor crying and saying "I can't do this" but in the end it was so worth it; mostly because I can't wait to guilt trip my kids by telling them that I gave birth without pain medication.  That's seriously like the best thing to hold over their heads EVER.

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