Archive for the ‘Ugh’ Category


Yesterday, after weeks of scooching around with one leg in front, rocking on his hands and knees but going back to sitting up, and generally not being all that motivated, the baby started crawling. With a vengeance, if that’s possible.

As with the clapping, he busted out this new skill while I was in the kitchen, paying just enough attention to make sure he wasn’t going to bash his head on the floor. A favored toy had rolled away, and nothing else was within easy reach. He sat there for a moment, looking from toy to toy. He looked at me. I said “Hi,” I think.

Then he took off on all fours, both legs behind him, cruised over to what he wanted, and sat down Iike it was no big deal. I cheered.

Today, of course, he is everywhere, going after everything. The heating vent, the door to the deck, that lovely but very pointy table in the photo above. When he went down for his first nap, I moved things and mopped and began mentally bracing myself for the beginning of a new era in which our primary goal is to keep him safe. While letting him explore. And only using the pack-n-play to contain him when it’s really necessary.

At times like this, when I feel fear and doubt taking over, I like to think of my friends who have triplets. And my cousin who has twins. Surely, if they made it through this, so will we.

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If anything is going to stand in the way of me being the best parent I can be, it’s that I’m a Virgo. Granted, there are advantages to this sign: Attention to detail, very logical, excellent at creating order from chaos, yadda-yadda. But the flip side of liking order and a certain level of cleanliness in the kitchen means I live in fear of teaching the baby to feed himself. Embarrassing, but true.

I’ve been letting him play with the spoon, and putting bits of food on it to reward him for getting the right end in his mouth. And I sit there cringing every single time, damp rag clutched in one hand, the other hand poised to shield my face from flying sweet potato. Imagine the state I’ll be in once I let him really go at it.

It’s kind of sad, actually. This should be a fun time, a happy time. But how to achieve that?

Maybe I should drape the kitchen in old sheets for a few months. Or hire a professional cleaning crew after he gets really good at it. Or just redo the kitchen.

Ah. See? Virgos really are logical!

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Please Help if You Can


This hopeful little flower appeared on a neighbor’s confused azalea bush in late September. It seems a fitting visual for a post about recovery from The Worst Storm Ever.

Not to be all, “I’m more plugged in to humanity now because I gave birth,” but all I can think about this morning is all the babies that might be suffering. And their moms. Once the baby gets up I’ll be distracted, but right now, I’m glued to live feeds about all the awfulness.

And now, my plea: Please donate what you can to the Red Cross to assist in Sandy relief and recovery efforts. If you’re super-lazy like me, you can text “redcross” to 90999 to donate via your cell bill.


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Skin Deep


Like many women, I enjoyed the best complexion of my life during my pregnancy. My clear, glowing skin was used by a coworker to (correctly) predict the sex of my baby. I didn’t give my skin care regime any thought, because it was working just fine.

Two weeks after delivery, I did a double-take after a glance at my reflection. My once plump and dewy cheeks were drawn and dry. For the first time in my life, I thought I looked old. I may have cried (I can’t remember — sleep deprivation). I couldn’t believe nobody had warned me about this. If I ever write a book about having a baby, this experience will be in there.

I knew my skin would change after the baby came. I just had no clue it would happen so fast. But whatever, I picked up a richer face cream and moved on.

Seven months later, I have what I can only describe as a schizoid complexion. It’s so dry it’s flaky. I’m breaking out like I did in high school, only, wait, it’s worse. Those were pimples, and these are almost like boils. And some parts are just itchy. I know this is largely hormonal, but it’s still astonishing and frustrating.

So I’m attacking the situation by treating the symptoms. I used Neutrogena soap for over a decade, but I ditched it for Cetaphil. My lotion and night cream are made for sensitive skin (that’s always been the case). I’m on the hunt for an affordable foundation that covers well without irritating my skin or looking cakey (I’d go natural, but the last time I tried that, someone thought I had cancer). So far, Cover Girl Nature Luxe seems to be the winner there. And I’m going after breakouts with a spot treatment.

It seems to be working, but if anyone has tips or advice on this front, please let me know. I’d really love to benefit from someone else’s experience on this one.

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Mama Needs a Treat

This morning, we took the baby in for his booster flu shot. (For the record, I am totally down with immunizations. It's just the immediate reaction of shock and pain I'm not okay with.)

If you're a parent, you know how it goes. You place your precious child on the table, flat on their back. You expose the baby's tender thigh, the nurse swabs the injection site with alcohol, lets it dry a bit, and then asks you to hold the baby's hands. (That part really threw me the first time — I hadn't thought about the need to restrain my child still as the nurse jabbed him with massive needles.)

And then, inevitably, the needle goes in. The baby's eyes widen. There are perhaps two seconds of total silence before the color rises into his cheeks and the screaming begins. Usually, there are multiple shots. So the crying just comes in waves and you feel like the world's biggest jerk until you get the all-clear from the nurse and you pick him up and desperately start babbling all the soothing sounds you can think of.

By the way, I'm using “him” because my baby is a boy.

There are two keys to making the experience something like bearable.

One: Figure out what will get the baby to stop crying. I tried nursing him once. Not interested. Sang to him, which he usually loves. No effect whatsoever. And then his dad jangled a jingle toy about three inches in front of his face. Bingo!

Two: Make sure you have a nice treat for yourself at home. And this is why I had a nice piece of cake at about 10 a.m.


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