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Another weekend goes BOOM.

But not in a bad way. I just mean that the weekend is gone, over, done, and it was pretty nice. Friday, I did the usual: Work, including a little overtime, then took Vincent to Jim’s dad’s and step-mom’s for dinner, then came back home and crashed while Jim ran his game.  Was going to do overtime on Saturday, but when I was having dinner with Jim’s dad and step-mom, his dad mentioned coming over on Saturday morning to finish the roof with Jim. That meant I had to watch Vincent.

I still managed to sneak in an hour of overtime while Vincent was napping. Better than nothing. I wished I could have gotten more in, but having an almost 100% completed roof is well worth it.

While Jim and Calvin were working on the roof on Saturday, Jim’s mom called. She decided, spur of the moment, that she wanted to go to some church thing and that she wanted to take Vincent. And I thought, hey, why not? Jim’s always wanting more time alone with me, and maybe I could get some cleaning done. So she came, took him, and I did no cleaning and mostly worked on a hat for Vincent and argued with Jim about stupid stuff that I don’t even remember anymore.

In my defense, aside from the usual hormonal stuff, no sleep because of a baby waking up all night, along with some overtime (although nothing near what I used to pull), I’m still having that awful back/side pain.

Speaking of, I went to the doctor on Wednesday about said pain. She said the area I was pointing to seemed to indicate kidney problems. Did tests; no kidney or pancreatic problems.

CAT scan tomorrow night. Fun, fun. I really hope they find out what the issue is. It’s making work very hard, overtime even harder, and we really need me to be doing much more overtime than I’ve been feeling up to doing.

Anyway, despite the vote eventually coming down that whatever I have isn’t kidney stones, the doctor visit had an impact. I woke up Thursday morning, just before my alarm went off, stared into the darkness over me, listening my husband and son breathing, and I only had one thought:

I’m going on a diet.

I don’t know. This might not even be weight related, but it seems like it’s probably not helping. It seems like my body has been falling apart since I had Vincent, and I’m just sick of it. It didn’t help to find out at the doctor’s office that I’m the same weight that I was when I was 20 weeks pregnant. Sadly, I had originally gotten below my pre-pregnancy weight after Vincent–pretty quickly, in fact–but obviously, I’ve gained it back.

Also, it dawned on me the other day that I eat like I’m still 20, and I’m closer to 40 these days. I don’t care that I’m not young anymore, but I don’t like feeling old–especially since I now have a little boy who is getting more and more mobile everyday.

Besides, we can’t afford for me to not take care of myself. If something happens to me, what happens to Jim and Vincent?

So, I’m on day 4 of just kind of watching how many calories I take in. Yesterday was my “cheat day,” but honestly, I didn’t go that much over calories. I’m doing pretty well. It would be nice if I had a scale to confirm that I’m heading in the right direction, but until I feel up to more overtime, scales are just one more luxury…

Sigh. It’s really sad that that’s a luxury.

Whatever. Ending this. I had a nice weekend with my family. Oh, and I got a cute, cute, CUTE picture out of it:

Vincent's first costume!

Vincent’s first costume!

 

I love this kid.

Oh, picture of cute baby reminds me of the news I hinted at a couple posts back. Jim’s sister is pregnant, so Vincent’s going to get a baby cousin. YAY. I’m excited. I love being an aunt almost as much as I love being a mom. :)

Go.

I’ll try to be brief. I finally got some much-needed “me time,” and I don’t want to spend too much of it on the computer.

Not even a week after her son’s death, my niece Nicole had to bury her mother as well. They put up a site to help out with money. I saw it, bookmarked it, and thought, I will on the next check. Between sending money to my mom for her birthday and sending my sister a little extra money (neither her nor her husband were getting paid during the government shutdown), I was broke.

But I just did all the bills and we’re getting barely getting by again. Jim and his dad finally put a roof up to keep it from leaking and we need to buy the gutters for that (“stat,” Jim says), and we’re hoping to scrape a little bit of money to give Vincent a pumpkin, but even that is looking a little iffy. I feel awful. My niece needs help, and I can’t give it.

What’s worse is that we’ve had overtime, but I haven’t been doing much of it. Why? Mostly because I’m having some major back/side pains. I’ve had them for a couple of weeks now. One day, I actually punched out and took a long lunch to put on some Icy Hot, a heading pad, take a pain med–I still have some left from my dental visits a couple of weeks ago–and I took a nap, all because after 5 hours of sitting in a not-so-comfortable chair, I was ready to cry with the back pain. So overtime is really hard. I’ve scheduled an appointment with a doctor, although over the weekend, I discovered that doing a bit of yoga in the morning makes the pain much more tolerable.

So I did some yoga this morning and was able to stand it much better than I have been. I even got an hour of overtime in and may do another hour tonight, once Jim gets home. My goal is to start doing it every morning and get much more overtime in on the next check–and more money out to family members who need it.

Wow, I didn’t realize how tired I was until there was no husband or baby to demand my attention. All I want to do right now is take a nap. Of course, I was up at 4:30 this morning after waking up to nurse Vincent three times during the night. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m tired.

Speaking of Vincent…on Friday, Jim sent me a text to let me know that he was “for real” crawling. He’s been scooting around for a while now, but he managed to get a few “steps” in while on his hands and knees before he toppled over. I’m not entirely surprised. I noted that when he was supposed to be napping, he was frequently rolling over and trying to get onto his hands and knees instead. I knew it was probably going to be happening soon.

And the other cool thing that he did the other day: He looked at me, smiled, waved, and said, “Hiiiiiiii!” I was THRILLED. Of course, we couldn’t get him to repeat it. Stubborn kid.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got in me. I’m beat. I’m off to watch How I Met Your Mother and eat nacho cheese Bugles. Don’t be hatin’.

Tentative.

Okay, for real, I’m posting this time. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to post, started a post, have Vincent wake up from his nap, leave, get pulled in by other things, and then several days go by and I realize I still haven’t posted a damn thing.

Stuff’s happening. Vincent’s 6 month birthday came and went. He’s 7 months now.

His new thing, as in just the last few days, is that he’s starting to skip his last nap, which is usually anywhere from 4ish-6 ish. He gets cranky, but he can’t sleep. Apparently, it’s normal.

Sleep, in general, is a pain. Just last night, he woke up at least every two hours. Once, it was an hour an a half. Apparently, that’s normal right now, too, because of the new separation anxiety they’re developing (and he totally is) as well as all the developmental milestones going on.

(In fact, he reached one today. While he can sit quite a while if you sit him up, he hasn’t shown any interest in getting himself into a sitting position on his own. Today, Jim said that he put him in the bouncer, and Vincent popped right up into a sitting position!)

He started solids just a few days shy of his 6 month birthday. It started great. He opened his mouth to everything. Now he clamps his mouth shut to everything. Except water. That kid really likes water, but not just any water–iced water with lemon. (He’s got his Grandpa Stearns to thank for that one, heh.)

Several weeks ago, I was invited to a appreciation luncheon at the office for hitting my 5 year anniversary. It’s official: I’ve worked here longer than any place I’ve ever worked. Before, my longest job was at a hospital in central Illinois, years and year ago, where I was there for almost but not quite five years. The difference between there and here is that I knew I was going to leave there–I was only there while my ex-husband was going to college–whereas here, I’m seriously thinking this could be the place where I retire.

Mostly, I like my job, but because of all the changes with insurance now (hello, Obamacare!), my job’s about to really suck. We’re going to have to help on the phones and it looks like some of our flex time may be in jeopardy. I’m just hoping it’s all temporary for just until the initial wave of high call volumes go down.

Oh, and while I was at that appreciation luncheon, I got a text from Jim that when he stopped at the gas station the night before, apparently his debit card information had been stolen when he swiped his card at the pump. The bank actually told him that’s where the theft took place, and they said if it was nearby a motel, the thieves often are inside the motel doing it all remotely with a laptop. (True in our case. This gas station is right next to a motel.) Jim tried to let the manager of the gas station know–politely, he wasn’t mad or anything, it wasn’t the gas station’s fault–and the manager refuses to believe him. He swears that this “can’t happen” at their gas station.

Well, buddy. It did.  You’re a moron. So heads up to anyone else swiping their card at a gas station pump. Especially the corner of Reed Station Rd and 13 in Carbondale because the manager refuses to acknowledge that they’re susceptible to this kind of theft.

Anyway, no harm, no foul. Jim got everything taken care of immediately and all the charges were reversed.

Well, that’s all for now. I can’t really think of any more news. Well, I can, but I’m not allowed to tell just yet. :) Shhhhh.

This thing called life.

Nowadays, it’s harder to decide what to do with my free time. This morning, while Vincent is sleeping, I choose to do this.

We’ve been busy over here. Where to start?

A couple weeks ago, I finally got out of the house. I went out to dinner at Don Sol with the rest of the Six Pack (some girls I work and have become good friends with) and we all had a great time. Of course, they wanted to know all about Vincent, and I got to hear some interesting stories. Example? Well, here you go:

One woman’s husband took his motorcycle to an auto shop to have it worked on. He ended up getting a call from the cops. One of the employees had swapped out the plates on it from another vehicle.  Then he took out the bike, got drunk, and was pulled over by the cops. Because the motorcycle was involved in a DUI, it was impounded. One of the other workers at the auto shop called the husband, asking very curious questions, because he was trying to get the motorcycle out without having to tell the husband what had happened. Needless to say, it didn’t work. The police weren’t giving up the motorcycle to the auto shop employees–it has to be the owner who gets the car.

Prior to this, she had also found out the employees were taking the motorcycle home and driving it to work while they were “fixing” it. What really got my friend was that her husband still paid for everything, which, by the way, wasn’t cheap. My friend kept saying, “Let me get this right: You PAID them to steal your bike?” There was a lot of laughing at this story, but seriously, I would have been furious.

What else?

Oh. In the last entry, I mentioned the zoo, which was a ton of fun. Jim was good and did not delay in getting the photos developed. But let me tell you, I don’t know if memory makes the heart grow fonder or we’ve just seriously gotten spoiled with digital cameras, but disposable cameras just aren’t what they used to be. The pictures came out pretty awful. They look faded and dated, not pictures that were just taken a few weeks ago.

Jim took this one and put it on a mug that says “We’re bananas for Mommy” for my birthday (I just edited the colors a bit just now because the picture is so faded-looking):

Jim and Vincent looking warily at the neighbor on the other side of the glass.

Jim and Vincent looking warily at the neighbor on the other side of the glass.

I love that mug.

Speaking of my birthday, Jim went out of his way to make it awesome this year. Not only did he do the mug thing (which he explained to me is “tacky,” but whatever, I totally wanted one and he knew it), he also took another picture of us from the zoo and put it in a nice frame. That’s for my work office upstairs. However, because we have duplicates, we also have another one downstairs in our living room. It’s our first picture of all three of us together, believe it or not!

Then, he bought me something that specifically addressed a “dilemma” I had in my current music set-up in my office. See, in my office, I listen to the radio all day on this cheap, $5 CD clock radio. I like listening to the radio in the morning–it’s a good way to catch the news–but by afternoon, I’m sick of hearing Bruno Mars for the millionth time. Sadly, I don’t have a way to hook up my MP3 player to it. One day, I tried a couple of my CDs just to have some variety. Turns out my cheapo clock radio now “skips” them. I tried the CDs in my computer and they play fine, so it’s not the CDs.

Then the more annoying problem about my set-up: I pump every few hours at work. When I have to make a phone call, it’s not uncommon for me to be “attached” by the pump, which is plugged into a wall outlet by me. I end up having to stretch as far as I can across the room to turn off the radio without detaching myself from the pump or spilling anything every time I have a call to make. It’s SO annoying.

So, when Jim asked what I wanted, I said that I wanted a new stereo. It didn’t have to have huge speakers or anything like that; I don’t even listen to music very loudly. But I wanted something where I could listen to the radio, play a CD when I got bored of it, and plug my MP3 player into it, so I could listen to that as well. The kicker? It had to have remote control. Absolutely. I was sick of having to stretch cords across the room to turn off the radio.

Well, guess what I got for my birthday? Yup. A mini-stereo that does all that. I’m STOKED. I had a great time muting the radio every time I had to make a phone call on Friday.

Jim also had been working on painting a stand thing for me to put the picture on, but the painter’s tape ripped off some of the paint, so he has to redo it. Still, I’m looking forward to having that in my office as well.

What else? Oh. Yeah.

There’s been a lot of stuff going on with Jim’s family. Hm, when I say it like that, it sounds like drama. That’s not what I mean. I mean just that I’ve been taking Vincent to see Jim’s dad and step-mom every Friday night while Jim and his friends do their game.  Also, Jim’s sister Wendy was sweet enough to offer to babysit Vincent the evening of my birthday. (We were going to have Indian food, but the place is currently closed for renovations, so once again, I found myself at Don Sol–like I’m complaining! Then we came home and watched Breaking Bad.) Then Jim’s brother Rob came down on Friday afternoon for the family reunion that happens every year. Oh, and I took Vincent to see Jim’s mom Saturday afternoon as well. Yup, there’s been a LOT of family stuff this weekend.

Sadly, we didn’t stay at the reunion very long. Jim has gotten to where he really hates large gatherings. Also, Vincent seemed miserable. He wasn’t fussing at all; he just seemed very serious. We think it was because it was so hot out because almost as soon as Vincent got into air conditioning, he was all smiles again.

However, we did not leave before Vincent got to have his first experience on the swings!

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It looks like Vincent just had a blast on the swing, but to be honest, he looked kind of nervous at first. I think Jim was pushing him just a bit too hard because once I stepped in and pushed him very softly, that’s when we started getting the laughing.

Other firsts for Vincent this weekend: On Friday, he drank from his Grandpa’s “tea mug.” It was actually full of lemon water and had a lid attached. But Jim’s dad got a huge kick out of how much Vincent was slurping away.

To be very honest, this technically wasn’t Vincent’s first sip of water. A few days before that, Vincent kept grabbing for my own glass of water and making slurping noises. I realized that Vincent’s been “telling” me for a while that he’s ready for this step, so I gave him a tiny sip of my water. Very tiny. Tiny enough that I almost don’t really count it.

Vincent really went to town on Jim’s dad’s water, though. And the way Vincent has been checking out food lately, I’m also thinking he’s ready to have solids introduced to him. Weird to think that he’s old enough for that. But before I can try it, I actually need to buy something for him to try first.

On the Vincent front, I’ve been trying hard to get Vincent out of the swing habit. Jim doesn’t seem to be with me on this. I don’t mind the swing for sometimes, but it’s been getting to me that Vincent is pretty much ALWAYS put in the swing to sleep. Usually, I’m the one that moves him into his co-sleeper. Jim will just leave him.

I thought it would be hard, but it hasn’t been. Turns out that I don’t think it’s Vincent that’s in the swing habit as much as it’s Jim that’s in the swing habit. For the past few nights, I’ve been putting Vincent to bed for all naps and bed time. Never have I used the swing. Now, I’m using some techniques that are probably frowned upon–nursing and cuddling–but at this point, I just want the swing removed. But I’d like to point out that I am putting Vincent to bed drowsy-but-awake for the most part, and last night, I put him to bed completely awake, and guess what? He got himself to sleep, no problem.

So it’s been good. And when Vincent wakes up briefly fussing in the night, I can pretty much just bounce him a little or do a little cuddling, and he’s back to sleep within minutes.

Jim on the other hand…as soon as Vincent starts a little fussing, he gets up, plops Vincent back in the swing, and goes right back to sleep.

Sigh. What makes all this difficult is that it doesn’t matter what I do. Jim’s the one who watches Vincent during the day.

Okay, other things, non-Vincent things…as I mentioned previously, Jim and I have been watching Breaking Bad, recommended highly by my friend/co-worker Ryan. Ryan IMed me at work the other day and asked if I watched it. We share a lot of other shows in common–namely Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead–so I think he was surprised that I had never seen it before. When I learned that the protagonist starts off as a good guy that gets into shady things for initially very understandable reasons, I went out and bought the first season. It sounded too much Jim’s cup of tea to pass up. He loves super intelligent, sneaky characters. I suspect it’s because he’s a bit that way himself, heh.

Anyway, it’s a good show. I couldn’t believe how fast we burned through the first season. I might pick up the second season with the next check–if there’s any overtime on it, anyway.

We’ve also been watching Face Off (as always) and, more recently, Heroes of Cosplay. Wow, cosplay has really come into its own. Way back in the day, I used to go to an anime convention every year. We all loved cosplays, but there was definitely a stigma attached to it: Everyone liked to see it, but people tended to make fun of cosplayers as well.

Now, apparently, it’s popular enough to have its own show. Cool.

Anyway, this has been sparking some excitement in Jim, it seems. Jim already likes dressing up and costumes. You know, all the things I don’t. I enjoy conventions, but Jim has never approached me to find out if I’d cosplay with him in one because I’m pretty sure he knows the answer to that. But now, he’s eying Vincent as a potential cosplay partner in the future. After all, if Vincent is anything like Jim–or, heck, if he’s like most KIDS–he’ll probably like costumes. And let’s face it, kid cosplayers are freaking adorable.

Of course, that’s IF Vincent wants to do it, and IF we have the money for any conventions in the future. Although I’m predicting that my car will FINALLY be paid off sometime in March, so I think a lot of things are going to start panning out then. I am SO excited about that. It seems like after years of living on such a tight budget, we may in six months or so, actually be able to this thing called LIFE.

And I hear it’s a lot of fun.

Life is awesome.

Seriously, life is great.

Nothing big or anything happened. Just everything is awesome. My husband is awesome, although, admittedly, I still sometimes get hormonal and hate his guts, even if he does nothing to deserve it. I’ve heard this is normal, but for real, WHEN does that part of post-postpartum crap go away?

My son is so, so excellent. We get a lot of comments about how happy he is. He gets fussy when he’s hungry or tired (but he never wants to sleep now, haha!), but other than that, he’s pretty much a happy, laughing, cooing baby.

A couple days ago, Jim and I realized that we’ve been cooped up for too long and seriously needed a break. Because we’re always watching our money, we NEVER go out. Well, we decided that we really needed to go out. So I took today off (not unscheduled, though–I scheduled it on Monday and got it) and today, we gathered Vincent and all his stuff up and went to the St. Louis Zoo.

It was hot. It was crowded. It was fun.

And it was our first real family outing!

Unfortunately, we forgot our digital camera, so we had to fork over money for a disposable, but we were not missing out on taking pictures of Vincent’s first trip to the zoo. Granted, I think we got more out of the trip than he did, but even Vincent seemed like he was having a good time. He loved seeing all the people around us.

The more I see his reaction to other people, the more I’m convinced that I have a little extrovert on my hands. Jim has mentioned that a couple of times when he has taken Vincent out, he’ll start getting fidgety and fussy in his stroller. Inevitably, some woman will show up because she’ll want to ooo and aaah over the baby. Jim says that every single time some stranger shows up to look at Vincent, he lights up and starts smiling. He loves attention.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s just like his father, heh.

Anyway. We’ll need to get those pictures developed soon. I hope we don’t take too long about it. Hell, we still have a disposable camera somewhere with pictures from our honeymoon.

Guess I should get to bed now. We’re actually getting a little bit more overtime at work, and I was approved for 3 1/2 hours for both tomorrow and Thursday. Add that I plan on working 12 hours on Saturday, that means I’ll have 19 hours overtime for the week! Good thing I took today off, eh? ;)

We survived the first 3 months!

Note: I started this when Vincent turned 3 months. He’s now closing in at 5, but everything is still pretty damn fresh in my memory!

I thought I’d put together a little guide about the first 3 months by someone who has just gotten out of the first 3 months for any pregnant, first-time moms out there. I know: You’re already getting bombarded with advice from other moms. But most of those other moms had their babies a while ago, am I right? Even if their kids are still little, things change SO much, so fast in Baby World, and the first few months are probably blurring together to them in their minds anyway. So, if I were about to have another newborn, here’s what I’d want to remember.

(Key points in bold in case you’re super tired or busy and don’t have time to read everything. :D)

1. Just because sleep is the Holy Grail of parenthood, it does not have to be as unattainable. Jim and I discovered the hard way that baby sleep experts are experts for a reason. We, like many parents, decided the experts didn’t know what they were talking about. Swaddling wasn’t for our kid. Our kid must not like swaddling because he cried and fussed when we did it, so we took it off. Only later, when Vincent was having a particularly hard time sleeping, I decided to try it again. I ignored his fussing, swaddled him snugly, plopped him in bed, put in a pacifier and turned on the fan, and he quieted right down! After doing it several days in a row, he would actually start smiling as soon as he was swaddled. Sadly, he started rolling all over the place, so we stopped. But now I’m sad because of ALL THAT TIME I lost not swaddling. So remember: Swaddle, swing, pacifier, and white noise.

  • If you suck at swaddling like I do (I think that’s why we had problems at first), the Halo Sleepsack is awesome. Even though Vincent sleeps with his arms out now, he often won’t sleep unless he has it on. He loves it.
  • If you’re worried about using a pacifier, take solace in that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pacifier use for sleeping as it’s associated with a significant decrease of SIDS when babies are put down with one for sleep. I know there are fears of potential issues with teeth and nipple confusion, but from what I’ve read, there’s no risk for dental problems with normal pacifier use during the first few years, and in my book, SIDS risk (which is my New Mom Fear) trumps worries over nipple confusion. If my baby suddenly decided he preferred nipples of the rubbery persuasion, I’d pump breast milk and give it in bottles. Inconvenient, yes, but I’ll take that over SIDS, thanks.
  • Swings are a must have. I was lucky enough to have a lot of baby experience going into this whole parenting thing, so I knew I wanted a swing. Jim was skeptical, but now I hear him telling other people, For the love of God, get your ass a swing! Yes, I was worried about SIDS via asphyxiation but was reassured when our pediatrician said that “while not as safe as a flat bed…if you keep any blankets away from his face, you should be fine.” Also, the threat is lessened if you get a reclining swing.THEN I used to worry about Vincent developing flat spots or spending too much time in the swing until I learned that Dr. Harvey Karp recommends a swing to put younger babies to sleep. I felt better after learning that. I recommend reading this blogger if you’re interested in swings and sleep. (Incidentally, Vincent does not have any flat spots, and he’s in his swing a LOT. But he also spends a lot of awake time on his tummy, so I think that has a lot to do with it.)
  • White noise helps a LOT. I seriously recommend playing this. We play this for Vincent in the living room (his swing and the computer are both out here), and often, he’s out within minutes. I sent this link to my friend Meagan, who used it on her newborn who was being fussy and wouldn’t sleep. Soon after, I got a text from her declaring me a “fucking lifesaver,” lol. When Jim and I move Vincent into our bedroom, where Vincent’s co-sleeper is, we use our huge, noisy fan for white noise. (Which, of course, has the added benefit to being linked to a lower SIDS rate. Didn’t I mention SIDS is my new-mom fear? Heh.)

Other important things we learned about baby sleep: start getting the baby ready to be put down for sleep as soon as he/she shows “sleepy cues.” Don’t fall into the trap of thinking He hasn’t been up that long! Just a little longer… Jim and I have found out the hard way that overtiredness is NOT a myth! It’s much easier to get Vincent to sleep when he’s just starting to yawn as opposed to waiting longer.

Also, we’ve found that while light didn’t bother Vincent when he was only a couple weeks old, he had a much harder time with it once he got older. One of the girls in my birth group on Baby Center suggested that it seems to correlate with their eyes getting better, which not only seemed to be the case for us, it makes complete sense. Once babies can see better, they’re more easily distracted and can become too stimulated to sleep. So even though Vincent’s swing is in the living room, as soon it’s time for him to go down for a nap, the lights and TV get turned off. Sleep is usually much easier after that.

(Yes, our set-up isn’t that great, but right now, we don’t have room in our bedroom for the swing. Or, at least, not to have it near an outlet. Half the outlets on our main floor don’t work. So I’ve done a lot of reading by flashlight and we’ve both been watching much less TV than we used to. Sucks, but my guess is that your situation is better than ours!)

Recommended: This site is wonderful if you’re like me and get paranoid about your baby’s sleep. :)

2. Breastfeeding only sucks at first.

Well, that’s been my experience, anyway. And trust me, I had a lot of things setting me up to fail, with my blood loss leading to my milk coming in late and then my milk not having enough calories. Eventually, it all came together, but I’m not even talking about that. I’m talking about how, once my milk finally did come in, breastfeeding HURT. Like hell. I remember getting to the point of near tears, and I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I was tempted to just pump and give it in bottles, but I stuck with it, made sure we were positioned correctly, and within a couple of weeks, it was cake. Way easier than making a bottle.

Now, I don’t even have to do much. I plop Vincent down on the Boppy and he’s like one of those dolphins at Sea World, practically jumping up to get his meal.

One thing I see a lot in my baby groups is that many women–women who DIDN’T have complications–say that they “don’t produce enough milk,” give up, and go to formula entirely. Why? There’s some skepticism on if these women are really not making enough milk, but let’s say for the sake of argument that they aren’t. Why not just breastfeed first, then give formula? That’s what the hospital had me do, that’s what our pediatrician had me do, and everything worked out well: Vincent got the benefits of breast milk but the formula made sure he got the calories until my breast milk regulated itself. Also, it saves money because you won’t use nearly as much formula as you would have if you were formula feeding exclusively.

If your baby is one where nipple confusion is an issue–thankfully, it hasn’t been an issue for Vincent at all, he goes back and forth every day–then I’d personally pump and bottle feed. Inconvenient, sure, but the benefits of breast milk are way too important to give up on.

3. Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed, keep some formula on hand

You never know when you’re going to eat something that bugs your baby. Vincent went through a spell where when I’d try to breastfeed him, he’d end up crying and arching his back. If you’ve read anything about baby cues, this can be (and was) a sign of pain. Turns out soda was the culprit. I didn’t think that it could be at first–the hospital gave me 7-up the week I was in the hospital and Vincent was fine–but lo and behold, as soon as I got soda out of my diet, Vincent never had another episode.

My point? You never know when something like that is going to happen. You can’t just let your kid starve until you get the offending food out of your diet–or until you figure out what it IS. Best to have formula on hand. I would also say it’s best to give the baby formula every once in a while just so they’re used to the taste, in case this scenario ever DOES happen.

Incidentally, it seems like things like this can come and go. When I have soda now, it doesn’t seem to bother Vincent at all.

Also, I would never wish this experience on anyone. Seeing your baby in pain from just trying to EAT is  awful.

4. Start tummy time as soon as possible

We hated it. We pushed it off for a while. Then our pediatrician said that we needed to be doing it up to 4 times up to 15 minutes a day.

First of all, I’m going to tell you right now that, at first, there was no way we were going to get that much tummy time in. Newborns sleep a LOT. Especially those first couple of months. Pretty much as soon as Vincent was done eating, he was back to sleep. There was no way we were getting a total hour’s worth of tummy time in.

Still, if I could rewind time, I would have put him down even just for a minute right away. Because by the time we did start doing it, Vincent REALLY hated it. He still gets annoyed on his tummy (even though he’s the one who’s rolling over onto it all the time!), but he’s much better than he used to be. I wish I had started Tummy Time Hell earlier and gotten the “getting used to it” part over with sooner.

5. Get a carrier–and get the baby used to it when he/she is a newborn.

When I finally gave into the pressure to create a baby registry (AND YOU SHOULD–people are going to buy you stuff whether you like it or not, so you might as well make it easier on everyone), I did little research on which carrier to get. I chose the Moby wrap mostly because I had heard that it was very comfortable and I liked the way it looked. I blew off the reports that it had a huge learning curve. Hey, Jim and I are smart people. We can figure out a big piece of cloth.

Sigh. Oh, past Spring, you silly girl.

Okay, in my defense, I did figure out the Moby quickly. When you’ve seen a few videos, it’s not that hard. It’s not the actual putting on part. It’s the getting it the right “tension” so it’s not too loose or too tight–it’s the feeling comfortable with it part. It’s the this fabric is so long that it’s annoying part.

I remember putting Vincent in it the first time. I tried the newborn hug hold, but I quickly realized there were a couple of problems. I am a short woman–barely 5 feet tall. This means I have a short torso. And I had a long newborn. Honestly, I don’t think any amount of expertise was gonna make that work.

I did it that one time and that one time only. I was done. The Moby wasn’t for us, I decided.

Then Vincent got a little bigger. Thankfully, he started holding his head up well pretty much from birth. But once we really were sure we didn’t need to hold his head, I decided to try the regular hug hold because then I could leave his legs out. I tried. He cried. We repeated it over and over. He hated it. I hated it. Again, I decided it wasn’t for us.

But because I really, really wanted it to work, I kept trying–and finally, it clicked. I was doing the same movements, but I’d finally grown comfortable with it, and so did Vincent. And then we discovered something. Vincent liked the Moby wrap. I liked the Moby Wrap. Jim, who initially hated the wrap at first as well, started liking it himself.

Unfortunately, by the time we figured all of this out, Vincent was starting to get too heavy for it. Yes, Moby says that you can carry toddlers in it, but I’m telling you now, Vincent will be in tightly and then start to sag. From what I’ve read, other parents say the same thing: Somewhere around 15 pounds, the Moby isn’t the best thing anymore.

So, if I were doing this all over again, I’d get myself and the baby used to the carrier from the get-go. The first several times may be hard, though. Be prepared for frustration. Holy crap, is it worth it in the end.

Also, if you’re only going to have one carrier (which I recommend having more than one), DO NOT PICK SOMETHING LIKE THE MOBY. Sure, I love it now. But it does take a while to get used to. Meanwhile, Vincent has lots of other relatives who love him, want to hold him, and, on occasion, babysit him (THEY ask to babysit him more than we ask them to, believe it or not!), and it would be nice if they could use a carrier, too. But they don’t have access to the Moby, so they don’t have that time to learn to put it on. I wish I had a regular, easy-to-use carrier just so I–and others–could have been wearing Vincent while I was still getting used to the Moby.

That being said, I do love our Moby wrap now. I will use it for the next baby–if there is one. But if you’re about to have your first and you have your heart set on the Moby Wrap, please, please, for the love of god, if you can, PRACTICE BEFORE THE BABY COMES. It’s even better if you have a friend with a baby to practice on because using a stuffed animal is SO not the same thing. If you’re comfortable with it before the baby comes, you’ll get more use out of it.

Also, I would suggest making it yourself or buying a used Moby. Really, at the end of the day, it’s just a long piece of fabric. Put that money you would have paid for the Moby toward an easier-to-use carrier. (I have my eye on the Ergo. :))

With all this being said, strollers are still great too. I’ve noticed several baby-wearers kind of sneer at women who use strollers, clucking at how those “poor babies” are stuck in strollers. I’ve got news for you: Vincent liked his stroller way before he liked the Moby wrap. Also, I’ve never gotten him to sleep in the Moby wrap. He almost always falls asleep in the stroller. AND…it’s easy for your and your partner to switch off who has the baby than if one of you is carrying the baby in a carrier.

Okay, I’m done. For now. I have lots of opinions on lots of things, but 5 is a good number to leave this off at. Also, this is just getting kind of long! lol.

Touching base.

Hello, Internet world!

We are not dead over here. Just very busy. And TIRED. Getting anything done takes so much more effort now, but I can honestly say that I don’t think Jim and I have ever been happier. Or more TIRED.

Normally, I’m at work right now, but this morning I’m keeping an eye on Vincent, since he hasn’t been sleeping very well the last few days. More specifically, he sleeps well pretty much only in the swing, which is out in the living room due to lack of working electrical outlets in this stupid house. Eventually, we’re going to need to wean him from the swinging habit, but that day is not today.

Anyway. How are you? The 4th of July came and went. I was all excited at first, thinking, sweet! This is Vincent’s first 4th! I started making plans. I worried about getting something for mosquitoes that would be safe for Vincent (West Nile is now in southern Illinois, and I seem to keep getting bitten, oh joy) and I had already looked up places to go see fireworks, but Jim said we shouldn’t take Vincent to see fireworks because he was afraid the noise would scare him. I doubted it. I run the vacuum by him and it barely fazes him. He just frowns and looks puzzled by it. But Jim pointed out that if Vincent did get scared by the fireworks, we’d be surrounded by a bunch of people, making a quick getaway that much more difficult.

I saw the logic in it, so we didn’t go see fireworks. We stayed indoors and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes with Matt instead. (I offered to watch the baby so Jim and Matt could go see fireworks, but neither was interested.) But while I didn’t see a single firework, I heard the neighbors blasting them all over the place and…

…Vincent slept through it! Go figure. The funny thing is that we’ll probably take him next year, and my experience with kids has been that he WILL be the age where fireworks scare him!

Hm. What else? I’m trying to hammer this out as fast as I can because this is the only TIME I have.

Speaking of hammering out blog posts, I’ve been working one about the first three months of having a newborn. I started it when Vincent was 3 months. He’s 4 months today. lol.

What else? Oh, Jim’s getting MUCH better about updating his blog. If you’re reading it at all, you’ll know that he’s become obsessed with this Kickstarter, Raging Heroes. I have to admit, the minis are very cool. The best I’ve ever seen, in fact. But I’m sick of hearing about it. HOWEVER. Jim wrote a short piece of fiction for it (“I just wrote fan fic–I feel dirty,” he said, lol) and people are actually requesting that the minis come with his story included! I don’t know if that will happen or even how all that works; I just think it’s cool that people are requesting his work be included with their purchase.

Let’s see…other things, other things…Um. Money sucks right now. But that’s nothing new. Or unexpected. I knew money would be tight for a while after I had Vincent, but I did prepare. I had savings, our tax refund, and gain sharing. That’s what’s got us through everything. However, the maternity leave ended up being longer than I had expected, so I had more time off work than I thought I would. And, of course, nobody expects complications, so now I’m getting bills for more than I thought I would. (Luckily, pretty much everything is covered by our insurance. However, there’s still that way high deductible I have to pay off.) And then I didn’t anticipate needing to have my gall bladder removed. (Incidentally, they told Jim that it was VERY infected. Good thing I had it done.) And THEN…I had a hard time getting back to work.

That’s a story…a HORROR story. While I have some time this morning, I don’t have much THAT much time to write about it, and besides, it just makes me annoyed. Long story short: My surgery was June 6th. I had FMLA approved until the 20th. My doctor was okay with me going back as early as the 10th, but because Occupational Health kept rejecting my doctor’s work release because they didn’t like the wording on it, I wasn’t able to go back until the 13th. I was freaking out because I already took much time off work. It may have been approved and everything, but I couldn’t afford to take off more time.

You’d think with as much FMLA abuse as there is, they’d give the person who was actually trying to go back to work early a break. Nope.

And so, last month, I played Russian Roulette with the bills for the FIRST TIME in my entire life. You know, the old Who’s Not Getting Paid This Month game. One of the doctors lost. Since they didn’t put a due date on their bill, I figured it could wait.

Thankfully, we did get a bit of overtime a couple weekends ago. One Saturday. This is one of those times where I’m so glad to be a telecommuter now. If I was still in the office, I’d be stuck only being able to do overtime during Saturday office hours, which are 6 AM to 1 PM. Telecommuters, however, can work as long as the system is available, which is 6 AM to 6 PM. So guess who worked 12 hours overtime?

We have another one coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ll be exhausted, but we need it. Especially since we still need to come up with money to fix the roof. Sigh.

Okay, I just depressed myself. I guess I might as well go to work. Ha!

Jim’s first Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to Jim! He not only is a wonderful husband, he’s proven to be a wonderful father to Vincent. I have to admit that while I had suspected he would be a good father, he has FAR exceeded my expectations. I can’t believe how amazing he is with our son. You can tell how much Vincent adores him; he lights up pretty much anytime Jim’s around. Vincent is a very lucky little boy, and I’m grateful that this man is the father of my son!

Jim and Vincent, taken when Vincent was only 1 week old.

Jim and Vincent, taken when Vincent was only 1 week old.

We love you, Jim!

Upcoming.

This will be a short post. Right now, Vincent’s sleeping, and I want to get some reading done while he’s napping.

Yes, reading.  NOT cleaning. If you recall, I had my gallbladder surgery on Thursday. I’m doing okay, but one of the problems with the pain medication working so well is that it’s very easy for me to overdo it. Then when the medication wears off, I hurt. So, yes, although it’s hard for me to settle down and ask my husband for help (if you know me at all, you know this is VERY hard for me), I’m doing it because I figure the sooner I get better, the sooner things can get back to normal.

Admittedly, I’m mostly doing what I usually do, just more slowly and with as little bending and twisting as possible. Oh, and no picking up anything over 20 pounds. (Luckily, Vincent is nowhere near 20 pounds. At least, I don’t think he is.) I’m even getting everything together to go back to work tomorrow, even though I was approved for FMLA until June 20th.

But I don’t have the money to stay out that long.

Anyway. The operation went well. I was kind of looking forward to eating something fatty just to see what my body would do. Well, I was also a little worried, too. And guess what? I had Domino’s pizza the other day–lots of it, I was hungry, heh–and no problems!

Besides posting here to say my surgery went well, I also wanted to mention that yesterday, Vincent turned 3 months old. My little guy is no longer a newborn! So I was thinking of writing up something about what I learned and would recommend to any expecting parents for the first three months. Hey, everyone else gets to be opinionated; why can’t I?