Monthly Archives: March 2016

Checking In and Stuff

When I think about how things were going at this time last week (cluster feeding and living in the glider with a baby who only wanted to be on top of me), everything is just so much calmer.

  • Critter had his two month appointment.  He is now 24.75″ long (98th percentile!) and 13 pounds 14 oz (85th percentile!).  Or as our pediatrician informed us, he is the size of a four month old.  If you want to know where my baby weight has gone, that is where.
  • My weight has settled approximately 8.5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight for a total weight loss of 32.5 pounds.  This is fine.  This is great!  I have a body that is healthy, can feed my baby, and can run.  There is nothing else that I need.  Really.  Also, I really don’t think the last pounds will go anywhere until he weans.  Or I stop eating like a teenager.  My spider sense is telling me if I ate one less dessert and one more serving of vegetables, it probably would not be a terrible idea.  YOLO.
    • I managed my first successful naptime run.  I tried to run during naptime twice last week and it was a disaster because Critter busted up my run at 7 minutes and 20 minutes.  Yesterday, I got a full 30 minute workout in.  Miracle!
  • We have a night screaming problem, you guys.  At some point between 5:30-6 PM, a switch flips in our little guy and he howls inconsolably for approximately two hours.  It’s a colic cry except he doesn’t demonstrate any of the other signs of colic.  When posed to the pediatrician (along with the hypotheses of reflux and overtiredness) she felt he was getting enough sleep and that he didn’t show signs of reflux (which I agree with).  Basically we’re supposed to ride it out, so pray for us people.  If it’s developmental, then it should resolve itself in the next 4-8 weeks!  LOL OMG.
  • Sleep.  How is that going?
    • He’s starting to consolidate his night sleep. Hallelujah!  This has made every single day easier because Marcus and I are getting more better blocks of sleep at night.
    • When he wakes up at night, I feed him, change his diaper, rock him for five minutes and return him to his crib and he self-directs back to sleep.  I am SO thankful for this.
    • He is taking some decent morning naps and generally does not fight taking them.
    • Sleep after 12:00 PM is a nightmare.  He doesn’t like it.  I feel like we’ve been running around a lot in the afternoon lately (taproom/Easter/mom group) and he has napped in the car or catnapped on me, but clearly that is not enough napping.  So, we’re going to hunker down at home for the next few afternoons to see what sort of afternoon naps we can accomplish and then start to schedule our lives around those.
  • This week Nina and I went to the Yoga Mat Sanctuary in St. Paul.  This group was less wisdom from the den mother and more sisterhood which was enjoyable.  I almost laughed out loud when at the beginning of the class the den mother said, I hate to interrupt the talking that is going on because it is really beautiful.  At the same time, half of the cachet of the group is that it has this ridiculous Earth mother feel and I still don’t really identify as that type of person.  Even though I am exclusively breastfeeding, and cloth diapering, and own a piece of fabric to wear my baby in, and many different salves that have been certified as organic by the Oregon Tilth.  Who am I?
  • I went out for dinner for the first time without Critter or Marcus on Wednesday and even though I failed at changing out of my yoga pants or putting on a bra or putting on makeup (I made it out the door, okay?) it was really nice to get out.
  • This week’s pestilence was the death of our microwave.  We now have…a new microwave.  Target store pick-up is amazing.  I have not set foot in a Target store since before Critter was born.  I have however spent plenty of money ordering things from Target that I then have Marcus (or in this most recent instance, my mother) pick-up from guest services.
  • ITV did a documentary on Queen Elizabeth that aired…last week?  It is called The Queen at 90.   M found the link to the full length of the program on YouTube and tweeted it out.  It is here.  Obviously for those members of the group who are able to commit large swaths of the day to television, it is worth the watch. Or you know, if you are a Queen Elizabeth fan.

Stuff Other People Wish They Would Have Known

At some point in the last year, Madelyn informed me that motherhood changes you because you are now connected to all mothers.  You are all sharing in the same struggle.  I didn’t truly understand what she was saying at the time but of course, now I do.

I was honestly so blown away by what everyone else wished they had known when I wrote my first post about the stuff I wished I had known.  Because I wished I had known that stuff too.  Sisters, you are not alone.  Keep carrying each other.  And enjoy some more wisdom from our tribe.

  • People always frame the period of time after you had a baby to getting “back to normal”, whether it be life or your routine or your body shape, etc. Well, I don’t want life to be “back to normal” and that’s not even something that’s attainable. I have a tiny person that was added to my family and I am creating a new “normal”. I put a lot of stress on myself to get back to normal, and I wish I would have been able to re-frame that for myself sooner. (Madelyn)
  • You won’t break your baby! They are resilient! (Madelyn)
  • Sleep brings more sleep, but it’s also not the hill to die on. They’ll damn well sleep when they want and stay awake when they want. (Madelyn)
  • Babies cry. And sometimes you can’t fix it. This is not a reflection of your worth and skill as a mother. (Nina)
  • A single smile at the end of a long, fussy day will make you immeasurably grateful. (Nina)
  • That my new mom group would be my lifesaver and help me realize that what I was going through was normal. (Christine)
  • How to limit visitors during those first few weeks in order to get the sleep I needed. (Christine)
  • How important the “get out of the house once a day” rule would be for my mental health. (Christine)
  • You might not have an immediate connection with your baby and that’s okay… You will eventually. (Christine)
  • While I was pining for him to gain more independence from me, that I would mourn the days of him being so dependent. (Kirsten)
  • How much my identity would change. (Claire)
  • I hadn’t internalized that I would always be “on,” even when I’m off. I mean, I am a mom 100% of the time. Not 95% less a Friday night I want to go out. The consistency of the responsibly hit hard. (Kari)
  • When fighting diaper rash, use a blow dryer to make sure the bum is dry! (Barb)

Two Months.

Today, Critter is two months old.

What On Earth.

In so many ways, things have gotten easier, and at the same time I thought we would have our shit together by now and we totally don’t.  I’ve tried to be really honest on The Blog about what the first two months of motherhood have been like.  It has been the experiment of a lifetime.

Katie and I were having another playdate on Thursday with Critter and Baby G (Critter ate and shared his bouncer with Baby G.  Baby G slept.  Very Intense.) and we talked about how the last eight weeks haven’t just been about learning how to take care of our babies, they have been about trying to figure out how to become parents.

In short, we have been breaking ourselves in, like a new baseball mitt or any other number of investment-grade leather goods that you would like to draw such a comparison to. It has been a process.

On Thursday, I stepped back from this 50-odd day ordeal of inspecting each tree in the forest one-by-one and the enormity of what we have all been through over the past eight weeks hit me.  My car got a flat tire, my car battery died, Marcus’ car got rear ended, his car’s transmission tried to darken death’s door but was saved by a second opinion, we learned we need to purchase a new furnace in the next few weeks because it actually is crapping out on us (it is 30+ years old), I got an ocular migraine and was subsequently sent to the ER, got mastitis, and I had two moles removed and biopsied.

Oh, and Billy moved to Dallas for a new job and my parents bought a house and are moving back to Plymouth on the 16th of April.

Did I mention that I birthed a baby during that time and we have been raising him through all of this?

Our lives are a full-on circus!

But let me tell you this.

For the first 18 years of my life, no lie, my grandparents one after another fought ultimately terminal illnesses and were in hospice for periods of time ranging from days to months. My parents were primary caregivers so my brother and I spent a lot of time in hospitals and nursing homes and the like. The summer/fall of my freshman year of high school I attended eight funerals in five months. I literally had a long black velvet dress with cap sleeves for the occasion.

I am pretty sure I stopped wearing velvet after that.

All of this is to say that if no one is in hospice or dying, I generally find that things are going Great with a capital “G.” That life is a walk in the park!  It could always be worse, and it could certainly always be harder because truly we have already survived The Most Awful Things.

We have been so blessed with a healthy, happy Critter.  His smiles light up the room, his shrieks of disdain bring down the house.  His tiny frowns are soul-destroying (also how does he even know how to frown since he can’t see anything yet?!).  His pride in being able to lift his legs up and down at the same time palpable.  Our village is large.  Their love for him (and us) is heart-filling.  Every single day is a joyful, exhausting, and mind-numbing spin cycle.  I now know that next month, we won’t have it “together” but things will continue to get easier and different-hard at the same time and all of it will be just fine.

Friday Food Round-Up!

There is something beautifully ironic about the fact that this week we cooked more at home than we ever have in one week with or without a baby.  This is also why it is 100% important that you master all life skills you need before you have a baby because there is legit no time to deal with that on the other side.

Saturday – Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages, Coleslaw, Tater Tots

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I think at one point I had dreams of making a nicer potato side dish but Saturday was a long day and Marcus wanted tots and frankly I had no arguments against tots because who would?

Sunday – Frijoles a la Charra from The Homesick Texan with Rice, Soft-Fried Eggs, and Avocado

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This recipe always feels like more work in concept than it actually is in practice.  Maybe because sometimes I have to use the immersion blender?  Maybe because I haven’t made it nearly a hundred times like our favorite Black Beans recipe?  I will confess that I made the beans on Sunday morning so we could reheat them for dinner, but I know the more we make these, the faster they will come together.

Monday – Sriracha Caesar Salad from Cravings

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Someday, I will make our favorite taco salad from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook again or our favorite fried chicken cutlet salad from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook again but right now, this is the exact maximum amount of effort I can put into salad making. It helps that the dressing is superbly delicious.  Thanks, mayonnaise!

Wednesday – Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight! with Rice and Steamed Broccoli

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I think we made this once a really long time ago and then I forgot about it.  Channa masala it is not, but it was a nice change-up from the Chicken In A Pot that we have been actioning for the better part of the last month.

Thursday – Naan Pizza, Salad

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This is me, phoning it in.  I can’t even remember the last time we had naan pizza, but hey!  It’s a meal that we made ourselves.

Miscellaneous – Earth Cookies

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I told you.  I can’t stop making these.

 

53 Days and Counting

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Holy cow, y’all.  In four weeks I am going back to work.  I am looking forward to it, but I am also trying to figure out how on Earth we will possibly feel like we have our act together by the time I go back!

  • My biopsy results came back. The mole on my arm was benign. The mole on my stomach was atypical and usually they would let it be since it was removed with clear margins. But because there appears to be some pigment regrowth, I’ll be having it re-removed more fully on 5/5.  Anyway, Not Cancer. Hallelujah.
  • OMG Critter is still growing.  His two month appointment is next week so I will be VERY interested to learn what his stats are but on Wednesday morning, I noticed that his feet had finally made it to the bottom of his footie pjs.  Considering these are the six month size, I am terrified for the day when we have to make the call that he is moving up to the nine month stuff.  I really think that best case scenario we have a month left.
  • Date night last week was just incredibly excellent. We really needed it.  We talked about Critter only 30% of the time and the only reason we checked-in is because we were going to be home late.  Bless my in-laws.
  • In the past week I have dumped coffee on no less than two white tank tops within an hour of putting them on.  There has to be a better way.
  • As Faux Fuchsia says, the action is in the comments section. There were so many great comments on Stuff I Wish I Had Known both here and on Facebook that I might write a follow-up post with a list of stuff everyone else wishes they had known.
  • I’ve decided Cluster Feeding is like a bad Hangover Sunday from college without all of the Taco Bell. But with all of the bad tv.  Can you tell what we have been doing for the past few days?
  • Tomorrow I am FINALLY getting my massage and it is going to be 90 glorious minutes of relaxation.  This will be the third massage I have had in my life and it will be WONDERFUL.

Stuff I Wish I Had Known

When I found out I was pregnant with Critter last May, one of the first thoughts that flashed through my mind was the fact that from that day forward, I would be worrying about this child for the rest of my life.

I was right about that part.

But still, this is 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant Kat.

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She has no idea what is about to happen.  Even though she thinks that she does.

This is Kat with a baby who is a week old.  At 1:37 AM.

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She is laughing at Past Kat.

I wish I would have known…

…That I could be surrounded by people and would still be completely alone.  I would not have made it through the past seven weeks if I had not been very literally carried by my husband, our families, and my girlfriends.  However, when you’re breastfeeding a baby (and especially if you are doing that and NOT pumping for any period of time), you’re very literally it and no one can help you.  Not during the day, not during the night, not when you’re alone at home, not when there are five people in your house.

…How big our village is.  I thought I knew who would be “there” for us once Critter was here but I have been floored by the amount of support and love we have received from our friends.  Blessed doesn’t even begin to cover it.  We’ll be paying this forward for the rest of our lives.

…That breastfeeding would destroy my back.  This was not covered in any of the literature that I received from my clinic.  As far as I can tell, it is not in any of the mother-ing books I was given.  It was not spoken to me in the hospital and even though it is in one of the handouts from the Mom Group that I quit, even then they did not cover it until the second half of the class.  Also not covered in the literature: the fact that your baby will be clawing at your chest with their free hand while you feed them and your chest will be covered in tiny baby-scratches.

…How fast our days would go by.  I feel like a lot of people complain about how long the days are when babies are small and exhaustion is stalking your every step.  Considering we can burn an entire hour with two bad diaper changes and part of a feeding, it does not take a lot to move through the day, especially on the days where Critter only wants to sleep with our tummies touching or if we have to leave the house even once.

…How tired I would be.  I mean, I knew, but I couldn’t really know.  Especially not how there would be no greater feeling of despair than knowing that the baby was napping and that I was too awake-tired to nap also.

…How much I would need my husband.  He works a 9-10 hour day and then comes home and does all of the hard work right next to me and takes care of our son because (1) he’s also a parent but (2) because he knows it gives me a chance to sleep.

…That my mother would parent me more after my child was born than she has since I graduated from college.

…That I would shower every day and The Ponytail Of Defeat would make it look like I had not showered.

…How central coffee would be to my life each morning.

…That I would be just as excited to see Critter when he wakes up as he is to see me.  Even when it is 1:30 AM.

I also asked Marcus what he wished he would have known.  He said…

…I wish I could have practiced holding and passing babies.

…Baby rash remedies.

Practical, yet wise.

Mama friends, what do you wish you would have known?

Get Your Skin Checked: An Annual PSA

For those members of the group who missed This Post, about a year and a half ago, I started going to the dermatologist.

I went to the dermatologist again today.  During my appointment last June, my doctor informed me that pregnancy hormones can do crazy things to your moles and so at 37 weeks, I scheduled a post-partum skin check.

Today, I got two moles removed which was just as awesome as the first time around.  They have been sent to pathology and I’ll get the results back in a week or two.  If you’re feeling like a prayer warrior, I’d love your prayers that they are benign.

I also got instructed to return in three months for another check because I am officially on The Watch.  I guess it’s a good thing I like my dermatologist.  And that we’ve already hit our deductible for the year.  Dermatology = The Most Expensive Hobby.

All of this is to say that if you have never gotten a skin check before you should do that.  It is an important adult thing to do.  For most of the group it should take 20 minutes of your day and maybe you won’t see that doctor again for years.  Melanoma is the number one cancer among women ages 27-29.  As for the rest of you who are not 27-29 year old women, I don’t know where it ranks, but I do know that if it is something they catch early the removal of the mole may be the extent of your treatment.

Once you’ve gotten that skin check?  Wear sunscreen.  Buy a swim shirt and be a cool cat at the lake this summer like me, my mom and Katie *.  For the love of God, if you are one of those people who still go to tanning beds, OMG IT IS LIKE SMOKING CIGARETTES STOP IT.  And get that skin check.

XO