Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The next big thing.

My baby is over four months old and she has not rolled over yet.

For a sane person, this wouldn't be a problem. According to What to Expect: The First Year, my baby "will probably be able to" roll over by five months old. So she still has plenty of time to figure it out, and even then, it's not all that big of a deal.




She's seemed on the cusp of rolling over for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I'll see her teetering on one side of her stomach like she's about to do it. I hold my breath. She's going to do it! She's going to--! ...Nope, she just righted herself again.

I'm not sure she even realizes that rolling over is a thing she should be trying to do. I'm positive that if she gave it half a try, she would be able to do it without a problem.

(She's very strong. She's like a baby Hulk. Except cute.)

But she hasn't tried. Instead she just whines for me to pick her up, because that's the only way she knows how to get out of tummy time. (Yeah, we're still working on that. But tummy time is no longer a non-stop scream fest, so we're making progress.)

I've tried doing it for her, just to give her a taste of the thrill ride that's in store for her. After I flip her over, she looks at me with this expression of disbelief, like, "Whoa. What just happened? Why does everything look so different all of a sudden?" I'm not sure she enjoys the experience, so I guess I can't be too surprised that she doesn't want to attempt to recreate it.

I'm trying to be totally chill with the idea that she might not roll over until she's two years old, but it kind of gives me heart palpitations to think about. Rolling over feels like the first big accomplishment. I mean, there's smiling and reaching for things and holding up her head, but those are so loosely defined that it's hard to know exactly when she started doing them. But you can't help but know when the baby's rolled over. It's a little hard to miss.

Plus, it signals a start of mobility. Today, rolling over! Tomorrow, crawling! And walking! And running! And playing soccer! And winning the World Cup!

Well, that escalated quickly.

And it all started with rolling over!

...Yeah, I have problems.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Going to the doctor.

I have a love/hate relationship with visiting the pediatrician.

On one hand, it can be pretty exciting. I can't wait for my baby to be measured and weighed and see how she falls on the charts. Plus there's my big list of not-particularly-urgent questions I can't wait to ply my doctor with.

But once we get there, I remember that going to the doctor isn't much of a picnic.

I try to time it just right so that the baby will be happy, alert, and fed, but my efforts are always in vain. First of all, my baby's naptime habits change too often for me to know two months in advance what her typical days are going to look like the day of the doctor's appointment. And even if I do manage to time things just right so that the baby is cheerful when we get there, the doctor always takes his sweet time actually getting into the room, and meanwhile I'm trying to entertain a nude, cold baby (why is it always so cold in there?).

And then there's the shots.

By the time that's all over, my long list of questions that's been building for two months seems to disappear into thin air.

Yeah, I know. I should write my questions down. But I always think, "I'll feel silly whipping out an actual list. I know for sure I'll remember them."

I really overestimate my memory. Mommy brain is real, people.

My doctor gives me lots of helpful advice, which I always neglect to write down because I'm "positive" I'll remember it.

Just like I was so sure I would remember my list of questions.

See above, Mommy brain.

And then for the next few days, my little girl is not herself at all from the pain of her vaccines. So the fun continues for the rest of the week.

The good news is that I have two more months to forget all about this stuff and get excited to go to the doctor again.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What I can't wait for.

I am so unnaturally excited to start my baby on solid food.

My family and friends are sick of hearing me talk about it. I just really, really can't wait.

My baby is just barely four months old now and I've already bought spoons, bowls, and rice cereal. The second my doctor okays her to start solid food, I'm going to come home and start the Great Solid Food Crusade.

(If my doctor tells me to wait until she's six months old, I think I'm going to cry.)

I'm not sure why I'm so enthusiastic about this. We've already established that I don't really care for breastfeeding, so I guess I see it as one more step toward weaning.

("Wean" is a weird, gross word and it gives me the willies. Does anyone else feel that way? It's kind of like those people who hate the word "moist." Except those people are weirdos.)

(I'm not a weirdo.)

(In case you were wondering.)

But I mean, it's not like I don't live in reality. I know that it will be a few months before solid food actually replaces any breast milk, and I still have eight months before I'm planning on even thinking about stopping breastfeeding altogether. (245 days...only 245 days...)

Yet still I go around shouting hallelujahs in everyone's faces because The Day Approacheth.

I think it comes down to another fact that we've already established, that I don't have enough to obsess over. I want something new to add to my day. Clearly, it is not enough for me that my daughter is 100% sleep-trained, that she finally tolerates tummy time, and that my life is practically crying-free. (In other words, it's not enough for me that I'm the luckiest mother that exists.) I need a new challenge. I need to start pureeing my own baby food and trying to coax carrots into my baby's mouth. I just need to, gosh-darn-it. 

It's possible that staying home with an infant all day can make a person crazy. But what else is new?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The thing all moms obsess over.

It's our children's development, that's what.

From the day my daughter was born, I worried about her size. "Is she growing fast enough? Do I need to feed her more?" I questioned as I gazed at my skinny newborn.

As she got older, it wasn't enough just to obsess over her size. Now it's all about "achievements." One of my favorite little pastimes is opening up What to Expect: The First Year and comparing my baby's development with the descriptions of what she "should be able to do," "will probably be able to do," "may possibly be able to do," and "may even be able to do" at her age.

Of course, it's not enough for her to just meet What to Expect's list of what she "should be able to do." Psh. Any ol' baby could do that stuff. She'd better hit most of the "will probably be able to do's" as well. It's pretty exciting if she hits some of the "may possibly be able to do's"...but I really hope she gets at least one of the "may even be able to do's". Then I can feel smug about my naturally brilliant child.

Why do I care so much? My daughter isn't old enough to care about how she measures up to the rest of the pack. She doesn't even realize there is a pack. She probably only understands the universe of Mom and Dad, and all other people just look like space aliens. Why should she care that baby Jaxxon down the street is already rolling over at two months? (Well, at least her name doesn't have two X's in it.)

Obviously, it's my own inadequacies I'm concerned about here.

A spiritually-in-tune Emily would stay out of this whole baby-comparing game. She would just say serenely, "All babies grow and develop at their own rates. My child will catch up in her own due time. As long as I'm paying a little attention to make sure she's healthy and I follow my doctor's recommendations, I don't have anything to worry about."

Psh. What does spiritually-in-tune Emily know? She can go jump off a cliff.

It's a lot easier to listen to crazy-paranoid Emily, who says things like, "If my baby isn't measuring up to all the other babies, I must be a bad mother! I'm not encouraging her development enough! I'm not giving her enough attention! I'm going to retard her progress and lower her IQ and she's going to be flipping burgers all her life!"

Yeah. Crazy-paranoid Emily totally knows where it's at.

(I wonder if there's a happy-medium Emily that exists somewhere.)

The really insane part is that I convince myself that all of this matters. As if grown adults ever brag to each other about how old they were when they started rolling over. Developing quickly as a baby is not a sign of success in this world. I'm sure there are plenty of adult geniuses who developed "slowly" according to What to Expect, and nobody gives a rat's heinie.

Clearly, I don't have enough things to obsess about. Maybe I should start watching soap operas.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The truth about breastfeeding.

The truth about breastfeeding is that it kind of sucks.

When you're pregnant, it feels like all the forces of nature and the government are trying to convince you to breastfeed. Every way you turn, someone is informing you that breastfeeding strengthens your child's immune system, prevents constipation, raises IQ, and ensures that your child will graduate from an Ivy League university.

(The unspoken, frightening alternative, of course, is that your child will get all the diseases, drop out of high school, and never be able to poop. That's where formula will get you.)

They also make ridiculous promises about how breastfeeding will release all kinds of feel-good endorphins in your body and make you feel like a mother-goddess who is magically bonded to your baby.

Give me a break.

I thought I would love breastfeeding. But I don't. In fact, after four months of my child's life, I have only just begun to not mind it so much. I think I could never do it again and be perfectly happy.

It kind of makes me feel like a cow. And there's that skeezy feeling when the milk lets down. Plus, it prevents me from going places. I'm not interested in breastfeeding in public. (I don't care at all that other people do. But I'm not going to join the revolution.)

I'm lucky that my baby is perfectly happy with the bottle. I still pump for nearly all her bottles, since, you know, I don't want her to flunk out of high school. (This might be a good time to say that my husband was fed entirely on formula as a baby and he has no allergies, he rarely gets sick, and he graduated from high school.) In the past week or so, actually, my child has developed a strange problem with breastfeeding, so I've been pumping exclusively.

And I have to say... I really don't mind it.

Despite all the supposed allergies, diseases, constipation, and low IQs, I totally get why people use formula.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


If there was one thing I never expected to be interested by, it was poop.

Sure, I’ve wanted kids my whole life, but I never quite realized that having a baby meant becoming preoccupied with poop.

I mean, I knew there would be poop involved. But I pictured it like this: Open diaper, hold breath to avoid smell, quickly slip in a new diaper, tape up the old and get in the trash bin as soon as I possibly could. I would endure for the love of my bundle of joy.

But actually, it’s more like this:

Open diaper. I wonder how poopy this diaper is going to be...
Do a quick overview of contents. Yep, that’s a lot of poo, all right.
Assess color. Is it just me, or is it more green than usual? That’s really green, right? Is it because of something I ate, or is she sick?
Assess texture. Is it usually that sticky? What are those weird lumps?
Hold diaper up to the light. Is it really that green?
Realize that baby is peeing and try to cover her with a new diaper before it gets everywhere. Fail. Thank goodness she’s a girl.
Remove changing table cover and put it in the laundry. Again.
Wipe baby and put on a new diaper. If she doesn't pee again, that is.
Inspect old diaper contents carefully one more time before throwing it out. I wonder if What to Expect: The First Year has a good explanation for this weird green color…
Run to check What to Expect for the 45th time this month.

Yep. I’m fascinated by baby poo.

That’s my life now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leaving my baby.

All over the world, new mothers are wringing their hands anxiously over what is apparently the hardest part of being a parent: leaving one's baby for the first time.

Honesty moment:

I don't care about leaving my baby.

...Okay, uh, let me clarify: when I leave her with a trusted family member for a few hours, I am perfectly comfortable. I don't worry. I don't think about her constantly. I don't call the babysitter every half hour and then start calling hospitals if she doesn't pick up on the first ring.

But every other mother keeps telling me how hard it is to leave the baby for the first time. Apparently, there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth involved. "Isn't it just so tough to leave her? You just can't stop thinking about her, right?" they probe me when I mention that I left her with her dad for two hours.

"Nope, I don't love my baby enough for that," I say.


Instead, I nod and smile with all my pearly whites like I'm Miss America.

But it's a lie.

If I'm being perfectly honest, a few baby-free hours are kind of the best gift a person could give me.

I mean, I love hanging out with my best little pal all day, but I spend a lot of time with her. A. Lot. Of. Time. 

Am I such a criminal to want to spend, like, two percent of my time away from her? Two little measly percents?

(Yeah, I know, "percents" is not a real word. Whatever.)

But apparently, that is unacceptable. All moms have to be worry warts, or we're bad mothers. Gone are the days when mothers could chuck their kids outside on a sunny afternoon so they could have an hour or two to themselves. Now even leaving the baby in the watchful care of her grandmother is supposed to have me biting my nails. I mean, really?

(For the record, I don't think fathers get asked very often if they freak out about leaving their babies. Apparently people assume that men don't get as emotional and weepy as we women. But that's a whole different discussion...)

Now, don't get me wrong. I do worry about my daughter, in general. I probably worry about her a lot more than I should. She's adorable and perfect and I love her to death, of course--but having an evening away from her feels like my opportunity to not worry and think about something else for once.

What about you--if you're a parent, do you worry about leaving your child(ren) with a babysitter? If you don't, do you admit it?