Quick Takes

Here’s some up-to-date on the baby and our daily lives, if you’re into that sort of thing:

1. My house smells like urine. I smell like urine, my baby smells like urine, her bedroom smells like urine. I’m even smelling phantom urine when the baby and her diapers are nowhere near me. I think it’s time to strip her cloth diapers — by which I mean, completely and thoroughly clean them multiple times in extremely hot water so there’s no more weird smell. And that’s gotta be the cause for the weird smell, right? Because otherwise we’re just the Urine Family that smells like Urine and lives in the Urine House and I don’t think I can deal with that.

So, I’ma be stripping some diapers today. It has to be done periodically when you’re cloth-diapering, I guess. And I’m just gonna go ahead and assume you’re supposed to do it way more often than once every seven months, as per the record in the Wisniewski household.

And speaking of cloth, my enthusiasm for this method of diapering has waned considerably since solids entered the picture. Solid poop is vile and my next kid I’m going to just exclusively breastfeed until he turns three and he can be toilet trained. Even if he gets anemia. Worth it. Solid-food poop is too gross. And every single time I change a diaper, with no exaggeration, I send up a silent, thankful prayer to the baby Jesus that I’m not in the first trimester. Last pregnancy, I puked when I tasted the fishy omega-3 acid in my prenatal vitamins. I cannot imagine what I’d do if there was dookie spraying all over my hands. I’d puke enough to cover the world and never stop.

Imma still keep cloth-diapering, because it’s still cheaper than buying disposables every three days.

Good idea.

2. We’ve stopped nursing at night, for the most part. Last week she was getting up once every hour, I kid you not. Sometimes to eat. Sometimes to just yell at me from her crib. Sometimes because she just wanted to be up. I almost lost my damn mind.

So I beat her severely and went back to bed. Just kidding. But seriously, that’s what people hear when I tell them what we really did, which was to let her cry it out for one night in a separate room. I don’t know what the eff everyone’s deal is, but when I tell people we let her cry it out they’re like BUT SCIENCE SAYS NOT TO!!! Dude, Science can come to my house and get up with her six times a night for no reason and then entertain her all day. I refuse to believe that letting her cry for fifteen minutes is going to obliterate her trust in me, like the folks on Peaceful Parenting or Mothering.com would have you believe. Nothing against Attachment Parenting, but if I have to read one more article about how babies in “other cultures” don’t cry because they’re carried all day/co-slept/exclusively breast-fed/whatever, I’m going to ‘splode (the implication, of course, is that mothers who don’t do these things are harming their babies, either through willful neglect or through their ignorance). First off, that’s racist as shit. African babies cry. Babies in every culture cry because that’s what babies do. To say that non-western mothers have some innate, intuitive wisdom that western mothers don’t have because of their jobs and dirty, dirty technology — well, that’s just racism. It’s classism. It’s third-world-fetishism. And I don’t play that.

Second, the “science” that these websites are presenting are a little self-serving. I’m sure if you let your baby scream for hours every single night for eight months or something, that would be harmful, and there are some studies about maybe not letting babies cry to that extent, or for needlessly prolonged periods of time. But the folks on Peaceful Parenting (for instance) cherry-pick these scientific findings and tout them as the reason why any good mother would never, ever let her baby cry, even for a minute. EVER! Attending to your child’s every whim is the gentle choice. The peaceful choice. The natural choice. Oh, and here’s some random study I found to validate my prejudice.

Hippy logic.

Guess what, y’all. I’m not an African Mama and I let my baby cry. And by the way, baby is presently jumping around in her bouncer and giggling at herself. I guess she didn’t get the memo that she’s supposed to be traumatized and withdrawn. She must not have read the SCIENCE.

(And by the way — did you know that circumcising your baby will turn him into a murderer? It’s true, you guys! Because SCIENCE!)

4. June won’t wear a bib anymore when I try to feed her solids. This may seem unimportant, but it’s not: Whenever I put one on her, she rips it off and tosses it to the side, and WILL NOT EAT until it’s off her body and out of her line of vision. Um, what? I try to put it back on several times before actually trying to feed her, and then I give up and pretend we don’t even need a bib, because I’m not sure how to deal with this at all. Clothespins? Super-glue?

This has made me realize how little I know about discipline and how to enforce it. I’m not saying one should discipline a seven-month-old for not wearing a bib, but when she turns two and keeps taking off her pants, I’m going to be at a total loss for what to do.

I don’t remember being disciplined very much as a kid. Not because my parents didn’t discipline me, but because I’m not sure I knew that willfull defiance was even an option. I have a vivid memory of being in first grade and hearing my teacher tell us “You always have a choice.” I put my hand up and was like, “UM, TEACHER? What if someone puts a gun to your head and is like, you DON’T have a choice?” She said, “You still have a choice.” And then I think my head exploded. That was a totally novel concept. So then I went home and told my mom I had a CHOICE whether or not to clean my room, and she was like LOL FOREVER. “You don’t have a choice,” my mom said. “Go clean your room.” And I said “okay” and cleaned it.

Basically I’m going to be pretty effed when June starts testing me.

This is probably how I’ll respond

5. I’m really fat. Last night I watched my baby’s baptism video and all I could think about was how fat I looked, how chubby my face was, how bloated my stomach seemed. I am still fifteen pounds heavier than I was pre-baby, and it definitely shows. It doesn’t help that I love candy and sugary things and I seriously WROTE THE DATE ON MY CALENDAR for when I get to go pick up my Girl Scout Cookies. The baby made me fat, but I’m keeping myself that way.

Me, every night. IT’S HEALTHY CUZ CALCIUM YOU GUYS!

Ever since having a baby I’ve vacillated between desperately wanting to lose weight and being like fuck it, give me another cookie. Last night my husband had the AUDACITY to comment on the number of cookies I was eating (the entire box) and I SNAPPED the cookie tin shut and was like, “I guess I’m just TOO FAT to eat these cookies, then! You think I’m fat?! You want me to moo for you, like a cow?! MOO! MOO!”

I DO WHAT I WANT

But seriously, I want to lose 15 pounds. Apparently I lack something called “follow through,” whatever that is.

I’ll look it up later.

Have a great weekend!

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What happened to my sweet DERP

I hate when bloggers apologize for not writing in a while. So I’m not going to. I have a baby. We do things, and I don’t write. The end. Right now, for instance, June and I are both watching Natalie Portman dance the shit out of Black Swan. It’s probably damaging to her psyche, but whatever.

Lately we’ve totally regressed on Tummy Time. Chalk it up to one of my many First Time Parenting Mistakes. For those of you who don’t have kids, Tummy Time is when you flip them on their stomachs during their awake-time and let them play on the floor. We used to be vigilant about Tummy Time – at least 20 minutes, every day for months, so that she’d learn to lift up her head and roll over — and it worked! At around four months, June rolled over from her back to her tummy. Great!, I thought. Mission accomplished. No more Tummy Time. Um, actually, as it turns out, you’re supposed to keep doing it.

this is the prescription the doctor wrote me

Derp.

So we backslid. I had no idea I was supposed to keep doing this Tummy Time until I went to the pediatrician and she asked how it was going. I was like, “Oh, is that still a thing?” and she looked at me like I was retarded. Seroiusly. For something that was invented like, ten years ago, people sure act weird when they find out you have no clue how it’s supposed to work.

Anyway. Now Tummy time is completely futile. In Black Swan terms, she’s the Nina of Tummy Time. She’s a dud. I’m her crazy mother in the audience who’s like WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SWEET GIRL???

Just roll over on your god damn tummy already.

Now we’re trying to double up on Tummy Time, which just means she lays there and struggles while I flip picture books frantically in front of her face while shrieking GOOD JOB!! TUMMY TIME IS SO FUN!! SO FUN!!

We also backslid on her Vitamin E drops. Seriously, someone just adopt this baby away from me because you’d think by now I’d have some of this shit figured out. On her very first checkup at four days postpartum, the doctor gave me this vial of Vitamin E drops, since I was exclusively breastfeeding and therefore wouldn’t give her sufficient Vitamin E. Or something. I kind of slacked on them and then the minute she started eating solid foods I shoved it in the diaper bag and forgot about it — two months ago. Last weekend at her well-baby checkup the doctor was like, “You’re still giving her vitamin E drops, right?” Ummmmm…

My first instinct was to lie, so that’s what I did. Husband, who was also at the pediatrician’s office with me, didn’t have that instinct. So he was all, Oh yeah, we haven’t really been doing it. RARRRRGHHH!! Cover = blown. So now the doctor knows I’m an idiot who’s accidentally malnourishing my baby (is that a verb?). If I get a call from CPS in the next couple weeks, that’s probably why.

Derp moments.

June is barely six months old, so my parenting mistakes have only just begun. But right now I’d like to share a few “derp” moments. Because we’re all learning. And sometimes shit gets real. And maybe my stupid mistakes won’t make you feel so bad about your stupid mistakes. So here we go.

First is something that I can’t believe I used to do. Yes, I already have one of those. I’ve been a parent for SIX MONTHS and already I’m “looking back” on myself and saying wow, I can’t believe I did that! I was really naive … a few months ago.

So back when I was a super-duper new parent (five months ago) I held out on buying a swing, which is a first-time parent mistake if I’ve ever heard one. Swings can get pretty expensive and I wasn’t even sure if our baby would like swings, so instead of getting something cool like this or this, I went with the obvious alternative:

The cold, hard ground.

I just put her down on the floor. Just right on the floor, where people walk and step on shit. Mommy has to go to the bathroom and I don’t know where to put you, so … here’s a nice, wooden floor. And then she’d cry and I’d be like I DONT GET IT. You mean babies don’t like lying on hard-ass floors where they can be stepped on? They’d rather be on a nice, pillowy apparatus that lulls them to sleep? Finally, one of us wised up and went to Target and got a baby swing.

She actually didn’t like the swing at first. But we kept sticking her in there when she got cranky, and soon she realized that, oh yeah, swings are better than the cold, hard ground where mommy used to put me, and she’d go to sleep.

Derp.

DON’T STEP ON THE BABY PLEASE DERRRP

My second Derp Moment is something I said I’d never do and then immediately did it when I became a parent: Co-sleeping.

Before I became a parent, I thought co-sleeping was the dumbest shit in the world.

“Let’s go bang in the car.”

You know that scene in Away We Go, where Burt and Verona visit LN Fisher’s house and they find out LN, her husband, and their kids “practice family bed”? And Verona is like, “What happens when you guys want to be alone? Do you go out to the car?” And LN gets all self-righteous and goes, “No, Verona. We don’t go out to the car.” I’m totally Verona in that scene. Pre-baby, when I’d hear that a couple slept with their kids, I’d be like, “Um…so when do you have sex? Never?” I still don’t know, but I’m too afraid to ask. What if you’re banging and you bang so hard the baby falls off the bed and you don’t notice? How do you even explain that to the doctor?

And it’s spelled “Ellen,” dumb ass.

Lou and I are a prime example of how almost everything you think you are going to do before you become parents becomes irrelevant. We were adamantly against co-sleeping. No way that hippie bullshit was happening in our bed, thankyouverymuch. Unbelieveably, we were schooled on the FIRST NIGHT June came home from the hospital. Our baby would not sleep. She was a champ in the hospital — we’d change her, she’d eat, Lou would swaddle her back up and she’d be out for at least a few hours. It was great. But for some reason the minute we came home she refused to sleep, even when she was swaddled. She would fall asleep in our arms, but the minute we’d try to put her back in the basinette, she’d wake up and start howling. Um, what?

My husband weathered this patiently at first. He just kept swaddling her and rocking her and burping her. After a while, however, his eyes glazed over and the rocking became more frantic. He told me to scoot over and wedged her in the bed between us. June snuggled in and quieted down.

I was shocked. “What about–?”
“DONT CARE,” he said, and turned back over and fell asleep.

She was only three days old, and already we were practicing “family bed.”

What I’ve learned is not necessarily that co-sleeping is awesome or that any family should or should not practice it (we still don’t have babies in our bed, and we like it that way). What I’ve learned is that you’re an idiot if you think (like I did) you’re going to “make” a newborn do anything. Bitch, that newborn owns you. Before I had a kid I was like, Well, if they want to sleep in our bed, I just won’t let them. A THOUSAND LOLS.

The baby is the boss. And she has you in an iron grip.*

THE parenting lesson that I’ve learned so far? You’ll do anything for sleep. Yes, you will. You’ll have a lot of nice little ideas about parenting and what you’d like to do with your kids, and maybe you’ll do some of those things once you become a parent, and maybe you won’t. But if those parenting fantasies get in the way of a good night’s sleep, I guarantee you they’ll all go flying out the window.

So, these are my derp moments, summed up for your judgment. Please feel free to share some derp moments of your own. And yes, you have some. Maybe not as derpy as mine, but everyone has one or two. And if you don’t have kids yet, you too will have some derp moments eventually.

Especially if it gets you more sleep.

*worst photoshop ever

What’s new in Baby World

Since I last updated, things are a-happening in baby world (like you care):

1. June had her first Christmas.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he lives in a van down by the river.

I won’t lie, we took her to the mall for a Santa photo-op fully expecting she’d be one of those screaming babies on Santa’s lap and we’d have a hilarious picture to put in our Christmas cards this year. She’s extremely sensitive around anyone who isn’t Lou or me (she just now is letting Grandma hold her without instantly screaming), so I thought for sure that sitting on a sketchy, jaundiced mall-Santa would freak her out. It didn’t. But whatever, we got a photo for our Christmas card! (And my husband drew our Christmas cards himself, so that made them extra amazing).

Our small family (Lou, June and I) is Catholic, so we celebrate Christmas with an emphasis on Jesus Christ, not presents. At least, that’s the goal. It’s pretty easy to keep Christmas presents minimal when your baby is six months old and would rather play with the Huggies wipes container than anything else. Regardless, we set a small ($50) limit for gifts and got her this annoying talking soccer ball and a Playskool Purse. I was sort of torn on getting her the purse, actually. I was like, what am I teaching her about gender, by buying this purse? What am I teaching her about what it means to be a female? Why not buy her pretend-books, or a pretend-science kit? And the inclusion of the mirror is troublesome — am I sending her the right message about character over personal appearance? Why am I buying it for my daughter if I wouldn’t buy it for my hypothetical son? But then I saw that it had a tiny set of car keys and a little crinkly dollar, so I got it because that’s hilarious.

   Not only does this reinforce gender roles, but that lipstick looks like a dog wiener.

We also got her a big Sock Monkey, so that my husband and I could live vicariously through her. I always loved the look of a Sock Monkey and I wanted one for myself, but I never had one as a kid for some reason or another. So we bought one for the baby, and she gnaws on it so I consider it a successful purchase. But can someone explain to me what the hell is up with this?:

In case you can’t tell from the picture, that’s Sock Monkey’s big red anus. All sock monkeys have these things, and I never even noticed it until it was time to wrap him up and suddenly his angry red butthole was staring me in the face. So, I’m going to have fun explaining that when she’s 3 or 4. How come everyone is up in arms about the Bebe Gloton breastfeeding doll, but nobody seems to care about Sock Monkey’s enormous hemorrhoid?

June also attended her first Christmas party, which inevitably lead to #2:

2. Baby’s first cold virus.
June caught a cold at the Christmas party from one (or all) of her cousins, and then like the little rhesus monkey in Outbreak, proceeded to spread it to her father and I by sticking her hands directly in our mouths when we weren’t paying attention to her.

3. June is learning.
June and I have a new game to play, courtesy of my husband who hung out with her on Saturday morning so I could sleep in. It’s called “The Owl Flies and it’s Hilarious.” True to its name, we have a tiny stuffed owl that came with our baby swing, and I make it fly around June’s head and she cackles. She never really cares about the owl unless Lou or I make it fly, and then it’s hysterical. This is probably what happens when you’re too poor to buy your baby a lot of things.

Right now she’s at the age where she’s interacting more, laughing more, reaching, exploring, and is generally interested in an array of things, not just Nursing and My Boob and Milk and More Milk. In addition to the owl game, we’re playing:

Bumpy or Smooth?
Water is Wet
Puppies are Furry
Hats Go on Heads
This Button Makes A Sound
Where’s Mommy? Oh, Behind This Blanket.
This is What Happens When We Don’t Nap
If You Bite, Nursing is Over.

She’s also sticking her feet in her mouth, laughing whenever her daddy does anything, putting her crinkly dollar up to her ear to hear how it sounds, and leaning forward to give kisses when I pucker up my lips. She’s terribly advanced.

(I should probably also add that I am not a natural teacher, I have no idea what I’m doing or if I’m really teaching her anything, and that if she exceeds or meets any kind of developmental standards at all, it has nothing to do with me. Any tips or developmentally-appropriate game suggestions are always welcome. I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, folks.)

4. June is waving. It’s like this only way less awesome.

5. June is no longer sleeping through the night.
This one hurts. She was so good at this, for a while. So good, in fact, I started to get cocky when I mentioned it to my pediatrician, like it was some kind of magical power I had that enabled her to sleep through the night, rather than her increasingly-shorter REM cycles and recent foray into solid foods. Last time we were at the doctor I was like, She’s so good, she sleeps ALL through the night. I get SO MUCH SLEEP, I don’t even know what to do with myself. She sleeps a full twelve hours, sometimes. Aren’t I great? 

“I know, I couldn’t have done it without her.”

I thought I was pretty awesome for awhile, and then God was like, hey bitch, have some HUMBLE PIE. Now, she wakes at midnight and five and occasionally in-between those hours for a feeding, and I’ve started taking naps in the middle of the day again.

It tastes pretty bitter at 3 a.m.

Also, my baby of whom I was once so proud, my baby who was once lifting her chest off of the floor during tummy time, has inexplicably regressed. Now she wants nothing to do with tummy time, or with basic motor skills, or with moving any part of her body at all while she’s on the floor, in fact. When I lay her down on her stomach she lifts her head for a minute or two, looks around, and then lays her head on the floor, cheek-down, and moans like that lady in the Life Alert commercial until I sit her back up.

Tummy Time in the Wisniewski household.

And you know the messed up part about this? I feel guilty. Like her being totally lazy as hell is somehow reflective on me as a parent and now she’s going to become like this feral child who won’t know how to walk until she’s twelve and some dog scientist will have to teach her. I seriously feel that in my gut.

So essentially, I’m the most narcissistic mother in the world. Everything my baby does or doesn’t do I attribute to my own success or failure, except for her utter adorableness, which I attribute totally to her father. I don’t know if every mom does this, or if it’s just me, but it’s probably not healthy either way.  I need to knock that shit off like now.

And anyway, tummy time hasn’t been a total bust. She laid on me during Christmas, and she’s starting to like laying on me more and more lately. Don’t ask me why. It’s nothing I’m doing. Probably.

I like to think of it as one of my Christmas presents.