New Green House

We took possession of our new house at the end of October but because we wanted to replace the flooring prior to moving in we continued to live in the old house until the Monday after Christmas. Yep, we waited until after the baby was born and after opening a bunch of Christmas presents. Part of packing up the house included taking down a Christmas tree. It’s like we enjoy causing ourselves more work and pain.

I worried a lot about Sophia and the transition to a new house. Kurt and I talked about what we would do if she had a hard time sleeping in her new room. He suggested letting her sleep with us, but I didn’t want to start on that slippery slope. We never really came to a solid consensus. I guess it’s a good thing there was no need.

We brought Sophia with us every time we went to the new house to do things like tear up the old carpet and clean the bathrooms of the house that stood vacant for about a year. We kept a few toys for her at the new house and she quickly became comfortable enough there that Kurt and I could be upstairs working while she played downstairs. We told her often that this would be our new house and showed her which room would be hers. At first we planned on hers being the smaller of the two kid’s rooms so that a spare bed could be set up in the nursery. When Kurt showed her the small room she looked in the other room and said, “No, this one,” pointing at the larger one. We revised our plans since even the smallest room could easily accommodate a crib and queen sized bed. We planned that the big room would be hers in two years anyway. The first-born always gets the bigger room.

On Sunday December 26th we had a couple friends come over and help us pack the entire house up before the movers came on Monday morning. We explained to her that we would be taking all of our things, everything, to the new house. Sophia was fine with all the packing until was bedtime and she saw that someone had snuck in and packed her stuff while she played in the living room. You could see the shock on her face. The part that really upset her was that her bed was taken apart and she had to sleep on her mattress on the floor. “No take apart! Fix it bed,” she cried.

The movers showed up bright and early and Little Miss Meltdown didn’t want to get dressed. I knew seeing strangers take our stuff and put it in a vehicle that wasn’t ours would be tough for Sophia so we packed up the kids as quickly as possible and I sat in the new house with them for the few hours it took the guys to load. It went fast and I think once Sophia saw our things arrive and placed in the new house she relaxed. Kurt put her bed together first. The first night went without a hitch.

I still use the same grocery store that I did while living at the old house and a couple weeks ago I went shopping with Sophia. On the way home I took a route that lead us right past the entrance of the old neighborhood and from the back seat I heard, “No old house! New Green House!”

New Green House

Visiting hours at the mental hospital

Brainy baby is plotting against me. I think she’s determined to drive me crazy. She doesn’t talk, but I’m sure she can read and her preferred material seems to be my blog. Crafty baby must have read my post about being clingy because for the past two days has done a total 180.

Tuesday was only different in that I had the TV on in the morning while I got ready for swimming and fed Sophia. I saw the fanfare and listened to the commentary leading up to the event and then Sophia and I left for her swim class. I didn’t get to watch the inauguration as it happened, but that’s ok. I know that even though Chief Justice John Roberts, who should know the constitution backwards, forewords, and upside-down, royally screwed up the presidential oath, Barack Hussein Obama is our rightful president. I can’t say the same for the two terms of the previous presidential squatter. But I digress.

Sophia and I went swimming as usual. She did a lot more kicking than normal and wore herself out. She fell asleep on our way from swimming to Target to pick up some different new sippy cups. Yep, I finally gave up trying to get her to use the AVENT sippy cups and sent those away to a second hand store. I took sleepy head out of her car seat and sat her in the cart sideways all reclined. I though she was still asleep under all her hair but I guess she was just slowly waking up. Either way it was a pleasant Target trip. I bought two Playtex Sipster Spill-Proof cups and one Playtex Coolster Tumbler. She’s not old enough for the Coolster yet, but I can see it being useful in the future.

Towards the end of the shopping trip she became her more normal self, and by that I don’t mean that I needed to carry her like a football as she screamed up and down the isles. A normal trip consists of her pushing the cart herself while holding my purse at her insistence. Please don’t send her any “born to shop” t-shirts. I will burn them. I’m not joking.

I don’t mind her pushing the cart at all. I hang onto the handle to direct and she happily pushes it all over the place. The part that I do mind is that I can’t find a break leaver on the child. I wind up passing the item I’m looking for, rounding the corner, and passing it a second time this time catching the price. If I like the price, we make a third pass where I snatch the item and stealthily lob it into the cart. It’s a good thing I go in knowing what I want because if I had to comparison shop this way I think I’d go quite mad. It literally makes the trip last three times longer than it needs to be, but it wears the child out and that makes me happy. It all boils down to me and my happiness. I’m a selfish bastard.

The ten-minute catnap in the car was enough to throw the whole nap routine off so we ate lunch, read books, and practiced the alphabet and numbers. She finally went down at three and didn’t wake up until Kurt got home. Use of the new tippy cup went well except that she doesn’t tilt her head enough to finish it all. And as usual, there was some crying and lamenting by the child while she was baby-gated out of the kitchen so I could cook. After diner, I sat on the chair in front of the TV and watched Kurtie play with Sophia. She started getting fussing and crying about something and reached out for me, so Kurt lifted her towards my lap. I glared at him, “why, so she stops crying?” OHMYGOD it’s not *just* me! He bowed his head, “oh, you’re right.”

Sophia hasn’t been fussy since, seriously! On Wednesday I went grocery shopping, which by the way does not entail letting the child push the cart. Grocery shopping involves letting the child hold limes, apples, or other fruit or vegetable or canned food that she cannot destroy. It’s our system and it works. Don’t fuck with the system.

After shopping and checking the mail we head home where I put her and as much as I can carry in one trip into the house. “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” I grab the other bags from the car. I return expecting a red face and crocodile tears. Nope, she was just fine. Later I corralled her upstairs while I made trip trips three million trips up and down doing laundry. Not a problem. She was also fine in the evening while I cooked, a first in I don’t know how long.

Thursday was a day of many advances and much cuteness. I made oatmeal for breakfast before swimming and blew on it to cool it off for Sophia. I looked up to see that she was copying me and blowing as well. I sent a spoonful in her direction, “blow” I told her, and she did before taking a bite.

After breakfast I put her in her jacket and told her to wait while I went to start the car so it could warm up. I came back to perfectly content child.

In the swimming locker room, she waved hello to the kids and parents that we see most often, as opposed to the ones that seem to only show up on the first and last sessions. She also let the swim instructor hold her for a moment without making any contorted, “Where’s my mommy” faces. He only ever holds the kids for a second then passes them back to their parent. This time it was like she knew that. On the way out, she waved good-bye to her latest crush, a two and a half year-old boy with huge blueberry eyes.

At dinner I gave her a little of everything we were having including some guacamole, which she ate by taking little pinches and sucking it off her fingers. She waved to get my attention. I asked her what she wanted and she did the sign for more, correctly.

After dinner I went up to our room to read while Kurt played on my computer and Sophia entertained herself by arraigning some board books that come in their own case. She actually entertained herself even though I was within her view but not on the floor with her. Amazing!

Have you ever had a problem with something like a computer and everyone tries everything known to fix the problem but nothing works. Then one day you decide to see if it works and it does. People ask, “What did you do?” I just did what I tried before, but this time it worked. I don’t get it, and thinking about it is going to cause me to need the number of an insane asylum. It’s all part of her master plan isn’t it?

Worn jeans, Stride Rite shoes and Nuby cup

All signs point to Sophia growing up. Yesterday along with my bra shopping pleasure, I also bought Sophia her first pair of shoes with a more protective rubber sole. Up until this point her only shoes have been her leather bottom Robeez which will now serve as indoor shoes so she doesn’t slip on our hardwood floors. I bought her a pair of Stride Rite shoes designed for early walkers with a very flexible sole. I was going to get her a regular pair of not so bendy shoes that were actually on sale but she started crying and walking around like a tiptoeing Frankenstein. Doctors say that it’s best to let kids walk around barefoot, which Robeez essentially does, until they get better balance. But it makes getting her into real shoes a multi step process. The girl versions of these early walker shoes look like a case of Pepto-Bismol exploded in the store so I bought a pair of white and blue “boy’s shoes”.

stride rite eaglet

When we got home from shopping, I noticed that Sophia’s big girl Old Navy jeans were torn. I swear I didn’t tie her up and drag her behind the car. Seriously, though, how the hell does a pair of toddler’s pants get torn like this? I noticed that all the light areas of her pants are where the fabric is actually getting thinner. It sucks cause these were one of my favorite pairs of big girl pants. The really cool part about these pants were inside the waist band there is a stretchy band with button holes that when pulled with cinch up the pants thereby allowing me to skip a pant size and put my one year old in one and a half year old clothes. I guess thin fabric is there way of getting back at cheap parents. They must engineer their fabric to only last as long as it would take the average toddler to outgrow them, so don’t buy a size ahead with the eternal, “She’ll grow into them” cheap mommy logic. Clothing stores are onto us with our cinched up waistline and rolled cuffed toddlers.

Old Navy torn toddler pantsOld Navy toddler pants frontOld Navy ingenious waistline cinch belt

The last sign of Sophia’s constant maturing is her switch to a pseudo sippy cup. I was being stubborn and only offering Sophia the AVENT sippy cups that I had already bought. I didn’t want to have to buy a thousand different sippy in order to get her to switch, but in Target I saw the Nuby No Spill 10 oz Gripper Cup with Soft Silicone Spout. The spout is shaped like a sippy cup spout but it’s soft and is made from the same silicone as a bottle nipple. It’s the happy undecided cup. It works when the baby clams down on the spout thereby opening two slits that let the fluids flow and closes again with a lack of pressure. If you shake it upside-down as if you’re mixing formula droplets will escape and if you have a mischievous toddler *glaring at Sophia* that likes to hold the cup upside-down while squeezing the spout fluids will flow. So if you still have pristine carpet or furniture that you cherish avoid adding staining juices to this cup. Other than that it’s spill proof and Sophia took to it as if there were no difference between it and her bottle. I couldn’t find it on Target’s online store but it was about $4.50 for two Gripper cups at our local store and they can also be found on Amazon.

nuby gripper sippy cup

Bra shopping, I’m such a guy

Since I’ve reduced the number of times I breastfeed Sophia to two, my mommy jugs have shrunk and I’ve been needing new bras for about four or five months now. Yep, I hate shopping that badly. I’ve been putting up with the straps on both sides falling down to my elbows anytime I relax my shoulders which lowers the whole bra just above my belly button. It’s annoying and I’m finally tired of putting up with it. I liked the fun of gignormous naughty pillows, but thankfully, I no longer have much to support.

The last time I went bra shopping was when my milk came in to the tune of needing a 38D. Holy CRAP I was huge! That was a year and three months ago. It’s time I put the lunch lady bra with the 42 cast iron hooks away, in the trash. When I went shopping for the nursing bra I learned that no one frickin’ sells them. It doesn’t matter if department stores sell maternity clothes and bras they simply don’t sell nursing bras. I had to go to the Motherhood store to get some support in that area. I don’t remember how much I spent and it doesn’t matter. In my opinion when you go from mosquito bite booblets to Inga the wet-nurse you want the full on wide shoulder strap, triple hooked, under wire mega bra. If they came in self-washing I would have bought those too. For the first four months I wore those damn things twenty-four seven because I needed something to keep the pads in place so that I didn’t have to change the sheets on my bed every morning, and if that’s too much information, you really need to grow up.

I don’t remember if any of the nursing bras were padded, but if they are any, I wouldn’t recommend them. You’ll be adding your own pads to them, so nipple-concealing bras are not necessary at that point. If you’re pregnant for the first time and you’re going to nurse your baby don’t buy a nursing bra until AFTER your milk comes in. Unlike that one boyfriend in your past, there will be no question it is IN and it’ll make your boobs bigger. Once you’re milk is in and while trying on bras it’s a good idea to keep in mind that you’ll need a little extra room for the pad. And that is the extent of my maternity bra buying assvice, so on with the story…

I’m so glad that’s nearly over and to be back to my normal size 34 slightly swollen mosquito bite cup. During today’s shopping excursion I learned that many department stores aren’t carrying any bras or at least no worthy selection of them. I went to JC Penny, NOTHING, and it’s not that every bra was sold out. There wasn’t a bra or panty section in the store at all. In the past I always purchased my bras at Sears. I went to two different Sears’ stores today. One of them didn’t have any bras as in no bra section of the store and the other only carried granny panty type bras. Now, I’m not looking for anything special. I don’t like the lacy frilly things with stripes, polka dots, or cutesy little hearts. I just want something to hold the jiggly bits still, but I don’t want anything that reminds me of a straight jacket either. I get flashbacks of the padded room I was kept in back in Nam.

Last night I was looking for bras online and knew that Old Navy had some, so I went there. Nothing but pre-teen and few stringy ‘A’ cups, what the fuck kind of selection is that?! I asked a clerk if that was all they had. Yep, that’s it. I complained that it seems like no one sells bras anymore. She looked at me as if maybe I had just gone though a sex change. I must be so out of touch. I’m a guy without a penis, the first male to give birth.

I walked though the mall and there it was, the store that twenty years ago people used to pass by and snicker at because it was nothing but fancy panties and naughty lingerie, Victoria’s Secret. That must be where all us women folk shop these days. There was even a guy there shopping with his eight year old son for mom. I went in because the sign outside said buy one, get one 50% off. I’ve never shopped there before because I know their stuff is outrageously expensive. With their sale, I figured I would be able to spend my normal full price amount. My normal is between fifteen and thirty dollars each, and even that seems extreme for a piece of string. I’m cheap as hell. The clerk, are they still called clerks? Anyway, she asked me what I was looking for. I told her I just wanted something simple. She asked if I wanted *insert a whole list of options I can’t even remember and didn’t understand*. I cringed as I said, “I don’t know, I just want a bra without an under wire” I had no idea what category my plain bra would fall under. “Oh well we only have three of those.” She took me to a changing room and handed me the three options in my size. Of course, the most expensive one felt the best to me. It actually felt AWESOME. I don’t know if it was forty-five dollars awesome, but I bought two since the second was half price. After picking my nude color no-frills lace-less bra the lady told me that if I wanted matching underwear they were on a table across the room. Really? With the nude color bra if I bought matching panties I would look like a frickin’ Barbie doll with no anatomy at all, just a couple little mounds in the front. Ok, maybe I won’t make it as Barbie, how about Skipper?

With the kind of comfort this bra gives I can now understand why other women spend more on the boob cover garment than I have done in the past, but ladies I have to tell you, men really don’t give a shit if your polka dot panties match your polka dot bra. As a matter a fact they would rather you not wear either at all, so don’t get mad when they don’t notice your newest $85 nipple-concealer. Save it for when he’s so wrapped up in his computer games that he doesn’t even notice you’re naked.

Ergo Baby Wearing

There are tons of sites about baby wearing and a bazillion slings, wraps, and carriers. Though I bought a jogger type of stroller for all day outings, I knew that I wanted to carry my baby for shorter outings like trips to the grocery store, so I bought a Karma Baby Carrier Sling online while I was pregnant. I did use it, but over all that before baby purchase was a mistake. It didn’t fit us well and I wound up using it only on our few restaurant outings. I had her in my lap while I ate and the sling simply kept her from rolling off. It was wholly uncomfortable to walk around with her in the sling because I wound up walking as if I was pregnant again. My sling wasn’t adjustable at all because all the slings with tie, wrap, hoop ring adjustments looked like one needed to be a Navy Seal knot tying expert to use and I suck ass at knot tying.

My baby shower doubled as Kurt’s birthday party and he received a Snuglie baby carrier made by Evenflo. It didn’t fit him at all. I found it comfortable for short periods, but it was difficult for me to get Sophia in and out of it. Sophia didn’t like it especially when I tried facing her out, but I used it for my grocery trips until she was big enough to sit in a grocery cart on her own with a cover. It wasn’t comfortable at all when she was old enough to sit on her own, so I stopped using it.  By the way the Snuglie looks and functions very much like the BABYBJÖRN, but costs A LOT less. I’m just sayin’.

At that point I stared using an simple umbrella stroller for quick shopping needs at places without shopping carts, but then I found the Ergo baby carrier. Something about it made me think, “This is the one”, but because the other two products didn’t work out, I wanted to try this one on in person. I went to their site and found a retailer near me. It turned out that the place I chose was also a chiropractor’s office. Talk about a great endorsement. They let me try on the Ergo and helped me fit it right. I was sold. It’s an awesome carrier and well worth the price.

Infants cannot be carried front facing with the Ergo, but Sophia never liked that anyway. She prefers to face me and know that I’m right there. An infant insert can be purchased for use with newborns which sort of turns the Ergo into a sort of sling. Older babies can be worn on the hip or on the back, which makes the Ergo last into toddler hood. I LOVE my Ergo! It’s so comfortable and for me it’s so much easier than a stroller that I use it for all day outings. It’s awesome. Did I mention that I love it? ;-)

Warning to the partners of pregnant women

A very good friend of mine is ten weeks pregnant with her first, so here is where I get to tell her all the things I found useful during my pregnancy and she can choose to ignore me.

First, a few words to the husband, boyfriend, significant other, partner, insignificant other because they generally have a very short attention span. You poor bastard. I don’t feel sorry for you because the woman in your life is going to eat you out of house and home, nor because she’s going to gain weight beyond recognition, nor because she’s the one that will get ALL of the attention from EVERYONE for the next nine months and then it will all shift to the pink (or brown or grey or in our case orange) squishy thing that the two of you (with the possible aid of donor(s) and or doctors) created and bestowed or more likely thrust upon the world. Nope, I feel sorry for you because your woman is going to go completely nuts and take you with her. Some women become hormonal through the entire pregnancy and might act like a completely different person (read BITCHY AS HELL). Others just have random moments of rage or insanity, highly emotional times or a fun combination of all of the above.

I think I only had handful of these lapses of sanity, but then again my point of view may have been a bit askew. The first that I remember happened after I watched a cooking show. They grilled up some baby eggplant and zucchini after marinating them and I wanted to try it. Kurt and I went grocery shopping and everything was great until I passed by the eggplant isle. It should be here. Where is the eggplant? I went around the little veggie island about three times. Kurt escorted me away saying that we could make something else for a side dish. I left with him, but did not find that a suitable solution. I went back to search for the eggplant. Round and round I went about another three times as if it would magically appear before my eyes after a number of revolutions. Still no eggplant. Kurt tried to drag me away a second time, but I wouldn’t go. I want eggplant! “It’s not here,” he told me, “we’ll have to find something else.” I whined about wanting eggplant. Seriously, I started whining and almost threw a tantrum. Kurt looked at me just then realizing that *this* was a pregnancy thing and because it was the first trimester he was SCARED! He had this look like, “OHMYGOD is it going to be like this for NINE MONTHS?!?!” Kurt took me aside and asked if this is what I wanted to teach my daughter. He was talking to me like a child but trying to reason with me as if I was still sane, the idiot. Yes, I could read his reaction and after each childish thing I did, I knew what I did, but I just could help wanting what I wanted RIGHT NOW.

Another misadventure takes us to my second trimester. The characters involve volatile Erica and her very close friend that was wishing to either be invisible or in a dark hole somewhere. We thought it would be fund to go shopping for maternity clothes for me. It wasn’t. It had nothing to do with me not being my usual size but also not able to fill maternity pants. It had to do with all maternity tops being “V” necks. Even on a hormonally stable day I don’t like “V” necks, but on this day I really despised them. And I couldn’t find any other choices. Oh my poor friend. I’m so sorry. I didn’t make a scene with any sales people but I was being very vocal in general about the lack of selection for maternity tops. If there is ever a next time that I’m pregnant, I’m just going to stick with huge baggy T-shirts.

This friend also stood by me as I wailed about getting pregnant at the end of my relationship. Yeah I know, very dramatic. Kurt was avoiding some questions that I wanted answered – I can’t remember what they were, but he was avoiding them like the plague. Pregnant hormonal Erica jumped off the deep end on this one. I seriously felt like Kurt and I were over and cried a lot thinking that Sophia would never know her parents as a happy couple. I imagined having to drop her off at her dad’s house for the week as an infant.

So guys (non-pregnant partners), when you find out your beloved is pregnant invest in some squeeze stress balls, a dart board (for the love of life don’t you dare use her picture as the target), and nine months of weekly therapy sessions.

Helpful baby things

Sophia turned one month old yesterday, so I thought I’d list the things I’ve found to be the most helpful so far. The following are on my list of must haves…

  1. Lansinoh – Nursing Cream – As a breastfeeding mom this is my absolute number one must have! Yeah my nipples are still a bit sore, but they aren’t cracked and bleeding. I’ve heard it’s also good for diaper rash.
  2. Medela: Contact Nipple Shield 24mm (Standard) – I absolutely needed this the first four or five days while Sophia and I tried to figure out how the breastfeeding stuff works. I tried to only use it for the first couple minutes during each feeding and then only if she started to get really frustrated to finally not needing it at all. This isn’t something that needs to be put on a baby registry though. I got mine at the hospital.
  3. Boppy Pillow with Miracle Middle – This is great and I needed it to prop Sophia up to breastfeed at first. Now I don’t need it but it is nice to give the arms a rest. I also use it to prop up Sophia in a sitting position.
  4. Halo Sleep Sack – Since blankets aren’t supposed to be in cribs this is the new nighttime baby blanket.
  5. Quilted Multi-Use Pads from Babies ‘R’ Us – I use these as changing pads.
  6. “Gerber” Five Pack Flannel Receiving Blanket – Everyone told me, “you can’t have too many of these.” They aren’t kidding and I’m going to repeat the same. You just can’t have too many of these!
  7. Burp Cloths – In addition to a cover for the Boppy pillow I also place one of these burp cloths on top of the pillow to catch all of Sophia’s messy milk wastefulness. I also use these for burping the baby – Amazingly burp clothes are useful in that way. :P

The following are very nice to have but not absolutely mandatory…

  1. Baby Trend Regular Size Diaper Champ
  2. Safety 1st Comfy Bath Center
  3. Tote Bag and Diaper Pail Liner from Swaddlebees – I use this as a laundry bag. When it gets full of spit rags and clothes soiled from diaper explosions then I toss bag and all into the wash.