The illness conundrum…

As much as we don’t want to be the parents that take our kids to the doctor every time they have a runny nose (aka: all the time), we also don’t want to assume our suddenly sicky-poo kiddo is A-OK if they really aren’t. Hence starts the Illness Conundrum. When do you break down and take your little one to the Doc?

Step 1: Kid wakes up with a temperature. Runny nose, maybe a slight cough. You break out the Children’s Tylenol and cross your fingers it will be a 24-hour-type-thing.

Step 2: Fever and runny nose continue for the next few days, but no other symptoms. You dread heading into the doctor for them to tell you it’s just a virus…so you decide to wait it out another couple days.

Step 3: 4 or 5 days go by and your little one still has the symptoms of a “common cold”, but then again it has been 4 or 5 days with a slight temperature and you’re starting to wonder if pumping them full of Tylenol is doing much to help.

Step 4: Spend hours on the computer on WebMD or Google terrifying yourself with the worst case scenario. Find one account of a runny noise leading to paralysis and start seriously judging your parenting decisions.

Step 5: Call the doctor first thing in the morning to set up an appointment. Even though the nurse on the phone tells you that there is a cold going around and pushing fluids and fever reducers is probably the only thing you can do to treat the symptoms and keep them comfortable.

Step 6: Take time off work to go to the Doc. Spend 30 minutes in the waiting room, then another 30 in the tiny exam room waiting for the Doc to actually see you. Try to keep your child occupied in said tiny room, which is also 40 degrees and has nothing but ripped books and medical equipment as entertainment.

Step 7: Somewhere between calling the Doc to make the appointment and arriving at the Doctor’s office, your previously feverish kiddo has suddenly rallied. They are acting perfectly normal and now has so much energy you wonder if they have a secret stash of espresso in their room.

Step 8: Doc attempts to do an exam, whilst your child screams and kicks away the stethoscope or anything else the Doc tries to use on them. You attempt to secure your kids arms and legs so the Doc can see into their mouth and ears, only to lead to louder screaming. And you’re pretty sure you’ve now scarred your kid for life about ever going to the Doctor.

Step 9: Doc finally gets a good enough look at all the pieces and parts and, surprise surprise, decides that your kid has a virus.  And guess what? There’s a whole lotta nothing you can do about it. “Let it run its course”, “Keep them comfortable with Tylenol for the fever”, and “if any other symptoms present, bring them back in.”

Step 10: Pay your $30 copay and cross your fingers that this trip to the Doctor has scared the “sick” out of your kiddo…only to arrive home where you discover your little munchkin’s fever has miraculously reappeared as if upon returning home The Sickness has reattached itself to its host child.

Finally you resolve to leave the computer off, continue pushing fluids and increase the cuddles. Maybe you can use pure snuggle power to force The Sickness away.

Breastfeeding 101 – How it really works

When I was preggers with J, I took the class Breastfeeding 101; where they teach you how to breastfeed using a stuffed boob and a plastic baby doll.  (Like somehow that actually relates.)  They also show you lots of pictures of other women with their little one perfectly suckled onto their full bosom. This class makes it look so easy.  What they don’t show you is the cracked and bleeding nipples, the bloody pink milk, and the sheer number of random strangers who will be privy to your used-to-be-private parts. Needless to say the class didn’t do much other than show us a bunch of pictures of boobies and babies.  It doesn’t matter how many times you practice the correct latch with that plastic baby or stuffed boob – it ain’t gonna translate.  So, here’s some things that breastfeeding class should teach you instead:

Lesson #1: Full Exposure
With the number of random boobies you will see in a breastfeeding class, it should be your first hint at how many total strangers will see, grab, and massage your boobs the moment that your little one makes their appearance from your other previously private area.  Especially if this is your first baby, get used to the idea that you will have nurses, lactation consultants, doctors, your husband, and probably even your mother “helping” you to get that baby latched correctly.  And by helping, I mean invading your personal boob bubble.  Don’t worry, you will be so focused on your new little miracle that you won’t even notice how many people have now seen your ta ta’s.

Lesson #2: Full Time Job
I hope you didn’t plan on leaving the house, showering, or ever leaving the couch for the first few weeks.  While it’s really awesome to spend all that time with your new little snuggle bunny, you will soon learn that breastfeeding is a full-time job in itself.  Those little piggies want to be fed (what seems like) constantly.  Yes, they sleep and poop too, but I swear the “eat” part of the equation accounts for at least 75% of their daily routine.

Lesson #3: Get Out
Once you get past the first few weeks, you’ll eventually fall into more of a routine.  You’ll hopefully have the latch part down, and you won’t feel like your nipples are about to fall off anymore.  Now it’s time to finally venture out of the house.  Since you haven’t left your couch for the last 14 days, you’ll be desperate to see the outside world.  But seeing as how you’ve gotten used to your routine of feeding your little one in the comfort of your own home, now you’ll face the whole new challenge of learning to feed in public places.  Consider this, one of the best things about breastfeeding is that it’s mobile…

Lesson #4: Let down your guard
The first few months of breastfeeding in public you’ll insist on using one of those cover-up’s specially designed for this very thing.  Let me just say, as soon as your little one learns to grab with those 10 tiny perfect fingers, say goodbye to your beloved cover.  Sorry to break it to you, but no baby wants to be hidden behind a sheet when the world is happening on the other side.  And while you’ll fight (without much success) to keep your boobs hidden under this protective shield of fabric, in the end you might win a battle or two, but your baby will win the war.

Lesson #5: Quick Latch
Once you’ve accepted the inevitable – that your child refuses to be covered for their required regular boob-fix – you will slowly let go of the comfort of your cover. Instead you’ll figure out how to unleash your boob and get your kiddo latched in 3 seconds flat, thus avoiding a prolonged boob exposure to the gawking eyes of any man or judging woman within a 50 foot radius.  This comes down to practice makes perfect.

Lesson #6: The Gawker or Judge
You’ll discover that while your child’s head actually blocks the majority of the exposed boob, any onlooker who really wants to get a peek will do their darndest, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.  Cover or no cover, if there is boob present, you’ll have someone trying to sneak a peek.  There’s also the random onlooker who decides it is their business to judge you for daring to feed your child in a public space *gasp*. Give both of these types a sweet smile as if they don’t bother you in the least and let your little one take their sweet time finishing their meal.

Lesson #7: That’s Right
It is your right to breastfeed – anywhere, anytime.  Do it proudly, Mama’s.

Lesson #8: Multi-tasking
After a few months you will have the latch down to an art and you’ll be ready to take on the world.  OK, maybe not the world, but you will become semi ambidextrous as you’ll have to learn to type, write, stir, or use the remote with whichever hand is free at the moment. Baby may be eating, but life and productivity must go on…

Lesson #9: Not all it’s cracked up to be
At times you’ll feel like your entire day is consumed with feeding or pumping.  All the privacy and mystery of your boobs and nipples has gone out the window.  Your nipples have doubled in size, and while your boobs have also grown, they will eventually shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size (sorry men).

Lesson #10: Savor the Moment
Like all things little and lovely, time passes too quickly and your little one will be done breastfeeding before you know it.  You’ll blink an eye and suddenly those days are long past.  So as cliché as it is, savor the moments when your sweet baby is nuzzled up against your chest. There will come a time when you miss it terribly, if even only for a moment.

10 Things that change after your first kid

Your entire life changes when you have your first, but there’s also a lot that changes between each of your kiddos.  Here’s a few…

1. You take less pictures.  Especially of yourself, but in general your second baby doesn’t have nearly the millions of pics that you took of your first.  The second time around you don’t take a picture every time #2 does something new, or cute, or exciting…because, well, you’ve kinda already been there, done that.

2. You probably let your first sleep in the bassinet next to your bed for months.  And by months I mean like 6 or 8…or maybe even more.  Terrified that you wouldn’t be able to reach over and touch them at any point during the night, you probably jinxed your little one’s sleep habits since they had to learn to sleep through the inevitable snoring of 2 more people.  But #2 got kicked to their own room to sleep ever-so-peacfully in their own bed after only a few weeks.

3. You don’t remember the milestones.  Sad, but true.  While it’s still very cool when your second reaches those special milestones, you just don’t remember them the same as with your first.

4. Less 1-on-1 time.  You’ll have to make a special effort to spend time with just one kiddo or the other now.  Quality Mommy and baby time significantly decreases since now you’ll split all your time and attention between two.

5. You don’t sweat the small stuff.  With your first you worried constantly about what they ate, where they were, how they spent their time.  No TV, a balance of fruits and veggies, and don’t you dare let them put that rock in their mouth!  But with #2 you’ve finally resolved that as long as they are happy, healthy and safe, all the rest doesn’t matter so much.

6. Any former phobias about snot, poop, blood go out the window.  If you used to get queasy at the sight of puss, kiss those days goodbye! You’ll start wiping boogers with your bare hands and don’t blink an eye when you end up with poo all over, well, everything.

7. Let them cry.  While you may still not use the Cry It Out method entirely, you are a lot more willing to let both of your kids cry for a while before you decide if it’s absolutely necessary to pick them up.  Visible blood aside…

8. Back to the food thing. You used to worry if you kid wouldn’t eat anything except for fruit snacks.  OMG they aren’t getting a full rounded meal because they refuse to eat anything I put on their plate!  Well, you finally figure out that as long as that kid is eating something, anything, that they will eventually eat other things too.  So if for an entire week all they will eat is Goldfish and juice…so be it!  They’ll eat veggies another day to make up for it.

9. Get rid of the extra baby crap.  Remember when you registered for everything in the “suggested registry list” at Babies R Us – aka: the entire store?  Yeah, well by baby #2 you’ve weeded out all the extra crap that you never did use and finally your house is only 1/2 full of baby gear.

10. You’ll constantly compare your kids.  Not to other kids so much, but to each other.  Baby #1 did this when they were this age, but Baby #2 is doing this sooner or later than that.  Eventually it’ll all blur together though, and trying to remember who got teeth first and who’s first word was “yeah” will become harder to differentiate.

Twice the kids may equal twice the work, but you’ll quickly figure out how to get them both fed, washed, out the door and loaded in the car each morning and fed, washed, and into bed each night as if it were your second nature.

All About the Poo

From the moment that peed on stick gives you the A-OK that you’re expecting a little bundle, the next 3-5 years will be wonderous, wonderful, and full of every kind of talk about Poo that you could possibly imagine. So, if you’re not the type to openly discuss the bowel movements of not only yourself but your little ones, here’s what you can expect.

Pregnancy: you find yourself spending copious amounts of time on the toilet, praying to the porcelain god that he’ll get this demon poo out of your body.  Constipation suddenly consumes your life, as you tend to spend increasingly more time thinking about how you need to poo or want to poo but can’t poo. Then when you finally do manage to squeeze a little out, in what you can only imagine is a taste of what labor will be like, you are so joyous that you tell everyone (family, friends, co-workers, grocery clerks) about your victory like you’ve just won the olympic gold in pooping.

Labor: yes, you will poop during labor.  If you’ve somehow missed that memo before this point in time, you will find yourself shitting yourself in a room full of people you have never met.  Just cross your fingers that your hubby can get that image out of his head. At least you can take comfort in knowing that everyone does it.

Post baby: O.M.G. Even if you have been warned about the first post-baby poo, you don’t know what to expect.  Believe me.  It’s the worst thing. And if you had the pleasure of having an episiotomy, then the thought of pushing will make you want to die.  Good news is that once you get over the first hump you should be home free.  But in the meantime, make those laxatives your friend.  Just don’t over do it or you’ll pay the consequences for days even after you win the first battle.

Infant poo:  Turn all focus to the poo your little one will secrete from now until you don’t have to wipe their tush anymore.  You’ll track every poo for the first few days. You will find yourself in awe and disgust over the colors, textures, and timeliness of your little ones pooing.  That black tar-like poo of the first few days will morph into bright mustard yellow which will last until you start solids.  P.S. That bright yellow crap will stain everything.  Make sure you pre-soak or get used to throwing clothes away after 1 use.

Baby poo:  Bring on the stink.  Once you start feeding your little one solids that wonderfully odorless, yet incredibly frequent discharge suddenly transforms into something that will stink up your house for the forseeable future.  I don’t care how many Diaper Genies you have, get used to the smell of poopy diapers.  Also, your little one will have the largest, stinkiest, messiest poo at the most inopportune times.  Guaranteed.

Toddler poo:  Potty training.  Oy.  I find this is the thing I am dreading the most.  Even though it will result in a more independent kiddo, and far less poo stink in my house.  Still doesn’t keep you from having to wipe their butt for another few months at least.  I hear that wiping adequately is a skill that takes far more time than the ‘learning to use the potty’ part.  Also, this is where you start having to give them a prize every time they use the potty.  Something a little strange about rewarding a poo with 2 M&M’s instead of only 1 for pee in the potty. But at least you’ll always have chocolate in the house to ease your pain.

If you’re lucky, potty training will be the end of the road.  A poo covered road.  But if you’re not, then you could find yourself wiping little tushies and cleaning up stinky messes for many more years to come. Cheers!