Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wow, I feel like Hugh Heffner's ex-girlfriend?!?!?!

In all sincerity, my body never looked like Kendra Wilkenson's or Kendra Basket's for that matter. Yea, she had a bangin body before the baby, while pregnant and very soon after the baby. Meanwhile, before I was pregnant I looked like a linebacker (or a wide receiver on my best day) and post baby I look like I could strap the baby to my back, tie a cart around my waist and trudge through the bogs delivering beer. (PS that horse has nicer legs than I do.)

When I watch TV, I don't try to go for that educational stuff. You wont catch me watching the history channel or an enlightening, I want escape. Naturally, I love Kendra. I loved watching Kendra on her pre baby season, I loved watching her pregnancy and I loved watching the post baby episode I caught on rerun a couple nights ago.

I identified with Kendra's feelings when she was trying to get dressed to go on a date with her husband and didn't feel pretty. I know how sad and fat she felt. Even though when I look at her, I cant see 2 pounds she needed to lose, I know how she felt. If she saw me she would roll me out the door...but I still feel *not look* the same way she did. It sucks hating how you look. I have not lost the weight yet. I actually may coast on this baby weight excuse for the next 3-4 years.

I think Elle likes me anyway.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It is called parenting...

Sometimes when I go out at night people ask me who is taking care of Elle. When I tell them, "Mr. Bishop" they give me a half smile and tell me how nice it is that he babysits.


Mr. Bishop is Elle's dad. Her other parent. We share responsibility for her. Granted, I make many of the day to day decisions about the house and child because I am home and it is my full time job. However, when he is home, he makes decisions and parents. If I am going out (big night to Target or *whoot whoot* my aunt's house for a rousing game of scrabble) I don't prepare him a bottle or make a daddy doo doo list. I walk out the door with two kisses planted firmly on his and Elle's foreheads.

A note about being a parent. Stand your ground, even as a daddy. For all the mommy's reading this...stand your husband's ground for him in public also. We have been doing this parenting gig for about four months and we are really getting the hang of it. I have to very much respect what my husband wants to do with our daughter. For example, while at a recent social gathering he asked someone holding Elle to hold her a different way. I fully support that for two reasons.

ONE: I want us to be a united front in all public settings. We are a team and we act like a team. If I have a beef with him, I will wait until we get in private to discuss how we want to do it differently next time. (Read, I will yell at him later, but will not undermine his parenting authority, which leads me to point two.) TWO: HE IS HER PARENT, what he says goes. If my husband is not comfortable with what someone is doing with our child it is not only his right to is his responsibility.

Mr. Bishop doesn't babysit.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lord Wont You Buy me a Mercedes Benz....

Elle has a raspy little voice. She sounds a lot like Janis Joplin and I don't even let her drink SoCo cousin's daughter makes all these really cute cooing noises. Elle says, heyyyy, yeah, daahhhahhh, nahhhhh, raoahhrhharha, grrrrrr, hiiiiiihhhh. You get the point. All raspy, all tough. This morning when I had to change her diaper after the early feeding she was like, "Come on come on come on and take it!" I hurried up out of fear and respect for the artist.

Which brings me to my next point. Maybe it is the world we live in, the neighborhood I live in or my former profession but people seem to like to think about what kind of fancy car Elle is going to drive in 17 years (if Mr. Bishop ever lets her out of the house). A couple people alluded to new technologies for keys and safety and general luxury features. About 4 minutes into the first conversation about what kind of fancy sporty thing she would be driving, I pulled out two sets of car keys from my pocket and said..."I can tell you to the trim level what she will be driving." My first car was eight years older than I was...her first car will be a newer model than that but will still leave her begging for a Mercedes Benz.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mama has OCD

I am obsessed with vitamins. I still take a prenatal and am super crazy that our pediatrician keeps saying Elle does not need a separate vitamin. I love our pediatrician and the entire office of doctors, but I just want her to give my kid a vitamin supplement... For people who have been reading this for a while, YES I AM STILL HARPING ON THIS.

If you have the time an inclination, tell me if your kids got vitamins from the pediatrician! This way I can further obsess over it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What a nice shaped head you have...

Elle has a very nice shaped head. While I would love to credit genetics and superior parenting, I have to credit my pediatrician. She told me to face her different directions every night in her bassinet and crib. This works well because Elle always ends up facing the center of the room with the weight of her baby melon head on one side...if I keep flipping her every night she doesn't get flat on either side.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shots: weird bump.

Elle has weird bumps on both her legs where the vaccines went in. Is that normal? They don't hurt her when I touch them.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Elle got 2 shots today...another DTAP and Polio. She cried. The nurses told her, "it is ok, don't cry". I told her, "Cry it out baby, it hurts! You have been stabbed! Twice!" Then I gave her tons of kisses and we all calmed down.

well visit.

Again we are going for a well visit for Elle...and again I have my list of crazy first time mom questions....I will post the answers for you when I get home!!! (If she is not screaming from being stabbed in the legs by Debbie Downer. *The nurse that gives her shots is named Debbie, I told Debbie that she needs to do something nice for my kid on the days she is not giving shots because otherwise Elle will definitely call her Debbie Downer.)

I love my pediatrician because she doesn't laugh at my questions!!! Answers below in bold!

  1. How long should I keep swaddling Elle? I tried to not swaddle her two nights ago and she woke up screaming with cold hands. However, I don't want her to be a freak that can't sleep unless she is mummified when she is 16. Keep swaddling until she tells you she doesn't like it. If she tries to break out of the swaddle, it is time to stop.
  2. Please check her bald spot in the back of her head, make sure it is not flat or weird. Does swaddling have anything to do with that? Her head is not flat, she just rubs some of the hair off while she is sleeping. It is ok.
  3. She still hates tummy time, but seems to hate it less these days if I let her watch tv while she is on her tummy. She does not roll over any more, but holds her head high. Is that ok? Will tv make her dumb? Did the tv make her too lazy to roll over? TV is fine at her age, it is just lights and colors and looking at it to stretch up for tummy time is ok. She will roll over when she wants, don't worry about that. She is strong and healthy. PS: she rolled over right in front of the doctor today and made me a big liar. Thanks Elle...Thanks a bunch! Negligent mother alert!!! This woman doesn't even know what her kid is doing!
  4. When can she get spoiled? Is she too young to spoil? Is she too young to fake cry? When should I start letting her self soothe? When it is day time, I can let her fuss a little and just call in from the other room to see if reminding her that I am here will help. At night, it is still up to me how long to let her fuss. Give it a minute or so and then I can go check on her.
  5. Until what age should I sterilize her bottles and stuff? Do what makes me as a mom comfortable...if it is not too much of a burden to keep sterilizing, then just do it.
  6. Make sure her toes are still normal. Still normal and growing fine.
  7. Check her birthmark to make sure it isn't something scary. Should I put sunblock on her when we go for a walk? If Elle is out for a prolonged period try a little sun block on her exposed parts (watch for a rash). The good news is the sun is not too strong yet and *I asked for clarification on prolonged period* an hour in the morning is not too long for no sunblock. When the sun gets strong in the summer, then she will be a good age for sunblock (6 months or so) and it will be more necessary.
  8. Every month I ask, does she need a multivitamin? Still ok on the vitamin front, don't need it as long as I am taking a prenatal.
  9. Do I have to brush her gums? A nice wipe down with a clean washcloth is fine, don't really need to brush until she actually gets teeth.
  10. What about solid food? 4 months is the earliest they start solid food...because she is healthy and growing well on "her curve" we don't need solid food yet. *Follow up question, What am I supposed to do with the 3 lbs of sweet potatoes I boiled for her?
  11. She is cranky and her teeth hurt, I give her Tylenol almost every day because she seems in so much pain from her gums (hands in mouth, drooling, really cranky). How much is too much? *I don't want my kid to have a Tylenol dependency! Once a day is fine, every 4 hours every day is not fine...Make sure she is comfortable but don't use it so much you may be masking other symptoms. Make her comfortable.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Somebody learned how to fake cry today...

Elle has learned that when she screams she gets picked up. Awesome. Now how do I teach her not to do it? I think we are close to a cusp age for spoiling...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On a lighter note

I love talking to women who want kids and who have questions they have never asked before. It is really fun to remember what I was like when I was trying to get pregnant or even before that. There is an innocence to wanting kids and not having are some of the best questions I have heard recently:

How does the mucus plug get up there? Do you put it in or does the doctor?
Well, technically, the pregnant woman's body 'makes it'. No one actually puts it up there. It is a barrier that a pregnant woman's body puts at the entrance of the cervix to protect the baby. Not too glamorous or exciting, but another example of how the body just does what it is supposed to do to grow a baby. You don't have to get this installed at your first prenatal appointment. As a side note, some women don't notice when they lose it, some women do.

How do you get her to eat?
She eats when she is hungry for the first few weeks. I don't know how it works exactly but I think she gets hungry like an adult would and cries. Then I offer her food. If that doesn't make her stop trying I change her diaper. If that doesn't work, I see if her hands or feet are cold. If they are warm I walk around with her and pat her back to see if it is gas. No dice on the gas? I check for teeth coming in. Sometimes she just fusses. Somehow I just know if she is fussing, the cry sounds different then if she really wants something. I try to play it by ear. Call it adaptive management.

Do you feel like a weirdo changing diapers?
No, it is your kid. You have to get her little bits clean otherwise she will get an infection or diaper rash. I am doing my job as a parent.

When can you start 'doing it' again?
When your doctor says! For the first six weeks after, nothing can go up tampons, no fellas, no nothing. After that, if you want to do it (between feedings and changings and general anxiety about being responsible for a life) your doctor will give you the medical all clear.

Anyone else have questions? Stuff you got asked or wished you had asked?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Self loathing

I am a self loather. Since I was 15 I have always had a paying job out side the house. A way to quantify my worth in the world. Today, I am unemployed by no choice of my own. It is a major adjustment. This is the profound post I was going to write yesterday. It is hard to be home and know how much I was once worth. I know what mothers who work outside the home say about mothers who work inside the home full time. I know how mothers who work outside the home come home and do more work.

As I am searching for a new job, these are the financial realities I have to deal with. This is how I assign worth to my role in the home.

Child care
Where I live, unlicensed care in the home of a neighbor or friend is about $7 an hour. Hours are a little tough to juggle and if you are late the penalties are very stiff (think about $50 per late pickup). These are after tax dollars. The child care I LOVED was only open from 7 to 5. Because my husband and I have office jobs and travel for work, we were going to have to really change our careers to make this situation work for us.

In home care in my home would be about $10 an hour. Again this is unlicensed care and after tax dollars. This was the most likely scenerio for us. We both used to work outside the home extended hours and could not have guaranteed a child care provider we would pick up by 5 pm. Also, we were very worried about dragging Elle out of the house 5 days a week at 6:45 am.

Outside care at a licensed facility is tuition based, usually a maximum of 11 hours a day Monday through Friday for about 320 a week. The first $10,000 of this annually can be deducted from your taxes.

Since I provide unlicensed in home care, I could charge up to $10 an hour. I will go with friend prices here and give myself $8 an hour. My husband works 10 hours a day 11 days out of every 14. That is $880 every two weeks pre tax. Or about $1,760 a month. Now factor in taxes to secure child care for those hours and my pre tax income needs to be $2,933 a month for us both to work the hours we did before we had Elle.

Not bad.

Elle currently does not eat solid foods. Because we tightened our spending when she was born, I continue to exclusively breast feed (it is working ok for both of us and is practically free). "Regular formula" at our Target, CVS or BRU runs about $23 a can. Assuming at least 5 cans (the big ones) a month in after tax dollars I save $115, or approximately $191 in pre tax dollars a month. Not bad. I am saving us some bucks.

A weekly good clean here is about $100 a week (after taxes). Given the hours we both worked, this would be a necessity if we ever wanted to hold our daughter. $400 a month post tax or $666 pre tax. Granted, these women clean the house WAY better than I do, but they don't do dishes or cook or do laundry (don't even get me started on dry cleaning expenses) maybe shave that down a bit!!!

Lawn Service
Yes, everyone has them where we live and they make about $75 a week for basic care. Yikes. $300 post tax or $500 pre tax. Now if Mr. Bishop would only buy me a chain saw!!! I keep asking and he keeps saying no. Something about a little incident a few years ago with a paring knife and some carnations. At least we knew an EMT who came over without charging us for Emergency Room fees!!

With all of these little things that my husband doesn't have to think about, I feel a little better about myself. I still feel like my life changed so much when Elle was born and his did not have to change at all. I am jealous when he goes out to dinner for work or talks in complex syllables all day. I am excited to find a new job and keep looking, but until then, I need to remember that I am not worthless.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This was going to be a profound post

Today was going to be a discussion of the economic value of motherhood. It was to be a profound and enlightened topic. Look for said discussion later this week.

Instead, I was puked on. Big time. Massive puke. Down the cleavage...all over nursing camisole and nice pants. All over Elle...head to toe.

I trotted up stairs baby in arms to clean her up first. Every time I tried to wipe her off or remove a piece of puke covered clothing (both socks included) I dripped vomit back onto her. I modified my original plan to (a) clean baby, (b) clean mommy and (c) clean chair and floor at vomit site. The new plan was to get me clean first. I threw a towel on the bathroom floor over her bath tub and laid her there with a few toys to play (no water, just a baby containment device for safety and ease of cleaning). Then I jumped in the shower...mostly dressed. Stripped in the shower, washed my hair (also puked) fast and wrapped my gross clothing in a big towel. I stripped Elle in her tub, wrapped her clothes in the same puke towel she was laying on and gave her a bath. Got her dressed. Got her smiling. Cleaned the chair and floor. Now I can go on to proving my worth for the rest of the day.

I big fat pukey hug out there to all the moms (*and dads and grandparents and aunties and uncles and caretakers) who have been puked on and lived to tell about it...with a smiling baby in tow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

baby routine

Elle likes routines. She dislikes when her routines are interrupted, especially her night time routine.

We had a massive wind and rain storm last night which caused Elle and I to sleep on the first floor. She did not love that. My great 7 hour sleeper woke up a lot to complain. A lot. That combined with daylight savings time really threw a wrench in her schedule. If she could dial a phone she would be complaining to all her friends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For new moms only...

You have been sufficiently warned, don't read this section unless you want personal details.

I got my period today...first in about a year. How MISERABLE!!! This is the worst! My hormones are raging and I am bleeding profusely.

Friday, March 12, 2010

La Leche

I went to a La Leche meeting in my neighborhood this week. I have to admit, my first motivation was a free mommy and me type environment. My second motivation (I write about it often) is total terror that I am doing something wrong.

The women there were so nice! The leader called herself a "La Leche Grandmother". She was welcoming and warm. She suggested I take a book from the library, I will review it once I have read a little more. I didn't have a whole lot of specific questions, so I listened to the concerns and comments of other moms. I loved it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cleaning up after baby

Of the many things I agonize up is one of the worst these days. Elle has become a real kid, making messes and putting everything in her mouth. For example, she spit up on her exersaucer today. I wiped it up...but then what? I am scared to put chemicals on it because she chews on it (and everything else). I want to kill the grody germs without poisoning her or releasing some toxic chemical from the plastic surface.

Also, how do you clean new toys? Elle is definitely ready to play with these blocks, but I want to make sure they are clean first because they are appetizer sized!

Laundry still baffles me...I can't even think about that today!

So far I have written to the following companies asking for baby clean up advice. I hope to post reviews for you soon!

Seventh Generation
Simple Green

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bad Mommy---Put me down!!!!!!!

Last night was a very very fussy night getting ready for bed and I totally missed Elle's signals for what she wanted. I was like the blind leading the screaming. I started to get her ready for bed at her usual time, 10:00. She started screaming. I tried to feed her at 10:05 like we do every night and she would not stop screaming. I tried Hylands across her gums and she stopped for long enough to give me a dirty look and purse her lips. I tried feeding her. No luck. Then I laid her down in her crib and swaddled her without dinner and she fell right asleep. She woke up about 20 minutes early today hungry, but slept all night without a peep. She was tired...very tired. I knew she was tired but I was sure she wanted to eat also, or burp...Bad mommy...

Monday, March 8, 2010

16 and Pregnant

I have to admit, I watch 16 and Pregnant. I watch it because it makes me feel like a better mom. (and I watch the reunion episodes because I have a little crush on Dr. Drew) But is that right? This article made me feel really bad just now like I am contributing to the exploitation of underage mothers.

I feel like I waited a long time to have a baby because I was scared of the responsibility and enormous pressure that comes with it. I was not ready to have a baby at 26 much less 16. I admire anyone who can make it work and I admire parents who support and take care of their daughters who are raising children. I think a lot of the young women on that show need to take a deep breath and be grateful that they have a place to was only after many years of supporting myself that I felt ready to support another human. Terrifying. Oh yeah, don' t even get me started on the massive drama in every episode...I love watching it but could not live it!

Teething is no fun

We are in full teething mode... again, not that I think she is going to cut a tooth tomorrow...but Elle has all the symptoms. She is very cranky and the only thing that calms her down is the Hylands on her gums or a shot of Tylenol. Elle has turned into my little cling-on and furrows her brow in pain. I feel so bad for her.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Interesting article about C Sections

I have to say, I really liked my OB (and all the OBs in the practice) because throughout my pregnancy and labor they told me that I could deliver vaginally without a problem and were very supportive of my requests to hold off on the epidural (until I screamed demanding it!).

NY Times Article about C Sections

I read a lot about C Sections before I had Elle and I was not scared if it was something I needed, but I am not a big fan of voluntary abdominal surgery...especially not for someone to make a golf game.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All in good time

It felt like the day I brought Elle home everyone was telling me I needed to get out of the house. I understood their logic, but I was not ready. When I was ready to duck out for an hour my mom and my grandmother stayed with Elle. At the beginning though, I just did not want to be out --even when I was. It was hard because she ate every 2 hours (or 1 and a half) and I just wasn't ready. Really, I had all the 'symptoms' of a first time mom.

By the time I was ready to leave her for the night, my aunt was very excited to baby sit. Because I was ready, I did not worry at all. I walked out of the house knowing she was in good hands and ready to have a nice evening with my husband.

The moral of this short and lame story is, do what you gotta do when you are ready. It was not worth it for me to force myself out and about if I was going to spend the whole time worrying about Elle. I would not have been pleasant company!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Diaper review...

We got a free pack Fisher Price Diapers for buying something at Babies R Us. I have tried a lot of diapers: Pampers, Huggies, Stop and Shop store brand and now Fisher Price.

Elle is just on the cusp between 1-2 size pampers and being a full 2 in all the brands.

I was excited to try the Fisher Price diapers because there are a lot of coupons out there and they seem inexpensive. For the good news first, they are great with pee. No leaks.

For the bad news: Poop goes right up the back of the diaper and out the top as if a special channel was built to direct it straight to the back of Elle's neck. Gross. The first time this happened, I thought I had misapplied the diaper. The second time I thought it was a particularly large or violent poop. The third time I had no one to blame but the diaper.

Because I am not one to waste diapers (cheap isn't even a strong enough word for me), I now fold over the back of the diaper facing in towards her little butt and tighten the sides extra tight. This will work for now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Elle and her best friends

Elle has discovered our dogs...more importantly, she has discovered their waggy tails.

When Elle came home the dogs were fascinated. In particular, my licky dog Mickey was totally enamored with her. I allowed him to lick her feet and legs, but discouraged him from touching her head or hands. Sometimes he sneaks a top of the head kiss when I am not paying close enough attention. Elle loves to grab his little nub tail. Mickey loves the attention.

Mama dog Dina is very empathetic. The last two days Elle has been very fussy. She is uncomfortable and unhappy. When she cries Dina cries also, a low and pained wail. When I am rocking Elle to console her, Dina is nearby and wont leave my side. I tried to tell Dina that this is not really helping. She did not listen.

I never leave the dogs alone with Elle. I don't think that any of them are responsible enough to play alone. I hope that Elle grows up loving them and learning to treat them with respect...and I hope the dogs love her too!

Cranky kid

I have been remiss in posting...Elle is very cranky the last few days. Hopefully she will be back to herself soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

DVD Raffle! Tell your friends

Hello All, I want to do this drawing by the end of March...31 sweet days from today, so tell everyone you know to sign up so I can draw winners!

Kai-Lan’s Carnival

This DVD has 4 Kai-Lan episodes. I liked it for the bright and simple animation and sweet resolutions to every problem. The episodes talk about emotions and problem solving in an easy to understand kids format. Patience and compromising were two of the important lessons I learned from this DVD. Now if I could only put that patience and desire to compromise into action in my real life!

Rugrats: Tales from the Crib

Three Jacks & A Beanstalk

I personally like anything that riffs the old fairy tales! This is a great “family movie night” movie. I can’t wait until Elle has enough teeth to eat popcorn. Rugrats are great promoters of imagination and have an endearing quality.

*** Nickelodeon just sent 3 more DVDs!!!

  • Go Diego Go! Lion Cub Rescue (4 episodes)
  • Dora the Explorer: Let’s Explore! Dora’s Greatest Adventures (8 episodes)
  • Olivia Takes Ballet (4 episodes)

Here is how this works.

As soon as I have 120 public followers (I cant see the private followers to include them in a drawing), I will draw profile names out of a hat and post the 5 winners on the blog. (Those odds are 1 in 24 to be a winner, better then Lotto!) The first name picked and posted will get to pick her/his DVD first and the second name will get to pick his/her DVD and so on. Winners can send me their mailing addresses through my Facebook profile or at my email address. (Don’t post your mailing address on the blog for all to see!) Then I will go down to USPS and grab a flat rate envelope and mail you your DVD! I promise I won’t sell your name to any crazy marketing lists. I signed up for Similac coupons and now I get so much darn junk mail I feel like an eco-terrorist. I promise I won’t even keep your mailing address.

If this works, I will start hitting up other fun kids gear places and see if we can make everyone a winner!