"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Like Riding a Bicycle

I'm beginning to think that raising a baby is much like learning to ride a bicycle. First, you start with that cute little "little tikes" plasticy trike as a wee child. You think you're so cool as you figure out how to lean back and go. But then, you out grow it. You're thrown onto a bigger trike. Something without the back support. Hmm...balance. That's fun. Oh, but wait, your legs are getting too long, so now you need a small bike with training wheels. Wow...the ground looks further away. And then. The training wheels come off. And all hell breaks loose.

Well, maybe not that bad.

But through the evolution, you are sure to encounter a lot of falling down, bumps, scrapes, bruises, laughs and tears along the way.

Having a baby is like that. Just when you think you've got things figured out, you wake up one morning (often at 2am) and discover that the gameplan has changed, and you aren't running the show. Your tidy little routine has been thrown out the window. There's a new Sheriff in town. And she drools. A lot.

This last week was a tough one. We started out with Abbey's four month vaccinations. For two days in a row, she ran a fever, was cranky, sleepy, lacked appetite and just didn't feel good. Poor kiddo. My heart just ached for her. I wanted to spend my entire days snuggling with her to give her some sort of comfort. But slowly, she came out of it and by Thursday she seemed about 80% back to herself. But a few sleepless nights - Friday night in particular - proved otherwise. She finally went to sleep at 9pm after an hour of trying to get her down, only to wake up again at 11:30pm, 2:30am, 3:30am, 4am and finally up for good at 5:30 am. Needless to say, Mommy and Daddy were zombies on Saturday. It was the first time I just wanted to cash in the chips, grab a flight to the nearest all-inclusive resort, and drink myself into oblivion in hopes to just get a damn break.

But somehow, we made it through. We dusted ourselves off, got back up and tried to ride some more. And what I'm learning is that every time we face an obstacle whether it be a pothole in the road, a night of no sleep, or a terribly cranky baby (who will. not. stop. crying!) we become a bit more skilled. We pedal a little faster. Maybe even pop a wheelie if we're feeling crazy. And in the end, the ride is totally worth it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Four Month Stats

Yesterday was Abbey's four-month well check. Here's the update on her latest stats:

Weight = 13 pounds, 9.9 oz - 51st percentile (she's almost doubled her birth weight!)
Height = 25 3/4 inches long - 94th percentile (one tall baby!)
Head = 16 1/4 inches diameter - 61st percentile (big brain)

So, she is tall, smart and skinny.

Vaccinations were next, and they're never ever fun. Last night we had a sad, sleepy, uncomfortable baby on our hands who slept restlessly through the night.  Things weren't much improved today. She spiked a 100+ degree temperature mid-morning, and dished out several meltdowns over what we do not know. I raced home from the office to be with her after being at my desk for a little over an hour and fifteen minutes. So glad I commuted that 45 minutes in today.  I was glad to come home and love on her, though. Abbey is definitely the daughter of two musicians. The only comfort she'd find today was in a song or baby Tylenol.

We got the green light to try solid foods. She swallowed maybe five spoonfuls of baby cereal this evening, making funny faces between each bite. She's not quite sold. We'll try again in a couple of days.

And that's the scoop. She's down for the night now, and Mommy is ready for an adult beverage to take the edge off the day.

Oh, barkeep???

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Four Months

Dear Abbey,

You are four months old today. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday we were meeting each other for the first time in the hospital. In other ways, it feels like I've known you my whole life.

You're laughing now. Full on belly laughs. Your eyes light up. Your whole face lights up. You are so close to rolling over. You can sit up with some help, and hold your head up on your own. You're sleeping ten hours a night. Mommy and Daddy are now getting a solid 7.5-8. Happy times.

This morning, you were snuggling up with your puppy, Dante. The three of us curled up in a chair together. You gave him a little pat. He gave you a little kiss.

With each of your milestones my heart aches a little. Both with pride and joy, and also a little sentimental sadness. So many firsts - and you keep growing. I'm afraid any second you'll be a teenager stomping up the stairs, slamming the door, and proclaiming how cruel your mother is. Not the sweet babe who falls asleep, cooing in my arms as I sing, "Here Comes the Sun" for the millionth time. Sometimes, while you are sleeping, I just look at you and try to imagine the person you're going to grow into. You're just four months old, and you make your Mommy so proud.

I love you, Abbey.


Friday, March 11, 2011

What Child is This?

There's a secret saying between parents that we have recently become privy to that illicits immediate sympathy and understanding that only a parent could know.

Four words. And they say so much about your emotional and mental state. They explain why your eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep and your nerves are completely fried. They define why your previously easy-going, happy baby is suddenly the child of Satan.

"We think she's teething."

And that pretty much sums up this week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Yesterday, I celebrated my 32nd birthday.

Having experienced childbirth, I have a whole new perspective on birthdays. My thoughts often drifted to my own Mom yesterday. I realize that a birthday of a child is also a special day for a mother. The day Abigail was born, I felt like I had also been re-born in a sense. Reinvented, I guess is a better way to explain it. It's a rite of passage. You are forever changed. The change, for me, was immediate. And I knew I wanted to be a better person. To do better. To refocus. To improve. Not just for myself, but for my daughter and my family.

So, that's what I plan to do.

You know, returning from maternity leave for me has been a bit of a cruel slap in the face. I treasured my time off with Abbey. And it's not that I long to be a stay at home Mom, although, some days I definitely feel that pang. It's more that maternity leave is this lovely time to check out for a while and bond with your child and just live your life without work and other distractions. We were in this safe little bubble together. Now, it's back to reality.

But it's also not.

Because everything has changed. It's strange because it feels like I've crossed over to another side of things. I really don't know how to articulate it. But I've come back into the fold, and it feels like nothing has changed since I left - except me. And I'm frustrated that the world hasn't changed with me. Ants marching.

A year ago today, I learned that I was pregnant with Abbey. The person I was then versus the person I am now feels almost like night and day. I've grown. I have! I have the stretch marks to prove it! And I don't want to stop.

So, in honor of my birthday, new beginnings, and continued growth, I am planning to spend the next year investing in myself. Improving myself in honor of my daughter. Because she has definitely made me a better person. And I believe that in order to be the mother she needs me to be, I need to take care of myself and continue to challenge myself. I will honor my body by trying to eat a bit healthier, and taking better care of it. I will honor my mind by feeding it with the intellectual curiosities that my education left out. I will honor my spirit and energy by trying to take a little time each day to just check in with myself. And I will indulge myself in what really matters and try to let go of all the other shit that just gets in the way.

Or at least I'm gonna try.

Because every birthday is one closer to your last - and I'm done fucking around.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Super Nanny

A lot of people are interested in our nanny situation. I keep getting a lot of questions and comments online and off, so I wanted to give ya'll some more deets.

We did not use a nanny service. I think that if you're a super busy person who doesn't have a lot of time to sift through resumes and sit through interviews and call references and perform a background check, then you should maybe look into a nanny service that does that for you. I don't really trust many companies, so I felt better doing the search myself and scrutinizing applicants in person.

Whatever floats your boat.

That being said, there were two websites that I found to be extremely helpful in our search for a childcare provider: www.care.com and www.sittercity.com.  I perused profiles on both sites, and ultimately we decided to use care.com to begin our search. It's sort of like a dating site for care providers. They have profiles and pictures. Some have references. Some have completed background checks on there. It's great. You can search by zip code, or see who has newly created a profile. We posted a job and had applicants come to us. I think that's the easier way to go. But I did have to sift through a total of 75 applicants. A lot of them were pretty easy to toss to the side. Ultimately, I had three interviews - loved two - hired one - and so far, so good.

But there's more.

The hubs and I strive to be ethical people, so we wanted to make sure that this wasn't an under the table, tax-evasiony type of situation. Unfortunately, that means shelling out more dough. Yes, my friends. The nanny tax. When you bring in a household employee, you need to set your household up like an employer. That means paying taxes, unemployment, social security...fun, fun, fun. It's a lot to figure out - a bit too accountanty for us. And we're friends with an accountant. But one thing my husband is really good at, is finding excellent people that we can hire to sort this kind of shit out for us. And that's what we did.

The fine folks over at Breedlove & Associates will essentially set up your tax information, prepare your payroll, and give you all the tools you need to pay your nanny legally, satisfying dear old Uncle Sam. They also provide some legal advice. And their quarterly rates for this peace of mind - not too bad at all. At least in our humble opinion.

There's still more, though.

Before you let your nanny step foot in your house, you need a contract. A good solid contract. With lots of details. If you have a concern, then spell it out in the contract. For example, I wrote into ours that the nanny shall never text or talk on a cell phone while driving our child. Never. Grounds for termination - right there. And it gives me a lot of peace of mind. You should also have a lawyer review your contract. Fortunately, for us, we have a friend who is an attorney who also has a nanny, and he reviewed ours for us. Thank goodness for smart friends! If you aren't so connected, it's probably worth it to cough up some money to make sure you have a contract that protects you, your home, and most importantly, your child.

I know - it sounds like a lot of work. It wasn't bad at all, though. And I'll tell you this - it was the right decision for us. Every family is different of course, and you'll have to figure out what the best fit is for you, your family, and your little one. There were definitely moments when I didn't think we'd figure it out and almost threw in the towel. I'm so glad we didn't. It's such a reassuring feeling to walk through the door after work and hear my baby laughing in my own home and know that she's happy, safe, and well cared for.  Priceless.

<Note: Yes, I am a marketer, but no, no one paid me to say any of this. Yet.>