Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There is a God

You say a lot of things when you're pregnant that you realize are utterly asinine once you are dealing with a real live bundle of baby parts.

Among my many lofty, uninformed "how to raise a perfect child" proclamations was: My child will NEVER use a pacifier.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

You see what I'm getting at here.

My will to not use a pacifier dissolved less than 24 hours of birthing The Bean. At some point in those first 24 hours I was given a screaming child and, no matter what I did, the noise wouldn't stop. After trying all the tricks I knew and desperate for sleep, I freely admit I sent The Bean to the hospital nursery so I could take a nap and regroup.

Imagine my surprise when they rolled a completely docile child into my room two hours later for a feeding. Said child was peacefully staring at the world around her because there was a pacifier stuffed into her face making all the noise stop.

Yes please. I'll take ten.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Yesterday wasn't my day. The Bean has been a hellion lately--very likely a direct result of taking her to four different states in as many weeks. Naturally, on our first day back to the house I had roughly 403 errands to run.

Over the course of these excursions, the unthinkable happened. WE. LOST. THE. BINKY.

All the parents out there understand the gravity of this situation. All you non-parents, imagine you just lost the $100K payment you're supposed to make to a mob boss in twenty minutes.

No, that metaphor is not too extreme.

Oh sure, we have other binkys. But not THE binky. And I don't know how, but you can be damn sure she knows the difference.

Not having the time to retrace all our steps, I decide to roll my dice with the back up binky.

Our day did not go well.

Every time The Bean got fussy, I would pop the back up pacifier into her mouth. She would glare at me, giving me the "you and I both know this isn't the right binky, but I'll suck on it. Just know that I know."

This worked until 4:30.

4:30 is a fun time in our house these days. It's DEFCON A MILLION meltdown time. At 4:30 the screaming starts and there is no solution. It continues until 8 when I thank God for making screaming so exhausting for infants and she passes out for the night.

On this particular day, I ran through all the activities that turn The Bean's face-melting screams into mere spine-breaking cries. I was on the last known possible solution of changing her diaper when I looked out the window (which happens to have a clear view of the driveway).

There in the driveway, like a desert mirage taunting desperately tired and broken people, was THE binky.

I promise you, the binky was not there when we got home. I looked. This was clearly the work of a kind God who felt for me. Who saw that if the screams were to proceed another minute longer I would have shot myself in the face and left Bear to raise The Bean.

I never ran so fast in my life. Within 5 seconds, the binky had been retrieved, washed and plugged into The Bean's wailing mouth.

The next 40 seconds of silence was priceless. Literally. There's no telling how much I would've paid for those quiet seconds.

Oh sure, the wailing started right up again after those 40 seconds, but I felt like I had the upper hand now because at least we had the RIGHT binky.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Most Important Parenting Skill EVER

There is one skill I have found indispensable in my role as a parent. I know it's indispensable because I do not have this skill. If I did, it would be indispensable.

The Most Important Parenting Skill EVER: Putting a sleeping baby down into a sleeping container other than your arms. And having them STAY ASLEEP.

The books, baby newsletters and righteous mothers I'd like to kick in the head will tell you to put your baby into their crib while they are drowsy so they learn how to go to sleep on their own.

For the four people who can make that work; bully for you. The rest of us know this idea is crap.

My child has no interest in learning to get to sleep on her own. In fact, everything she does suggests this particular idea might be the stupidest thing she's ever heard.

Our sleep routine looks something like this:

After playing, nursing or washing the floors, The Bean is ready for some shut eye. You can tell because her eyes roll back into her head and she does a spot on Linda Blair impression.

As she's falling asleep in my arms, I'll get up to move toward her crib.

Tactical error number one.

Through a combination of poor quad/glute muscles and an overeagerness to do something productive, I stand up too quickly. The Bean pops awake convinced she is being catapulted to the moon. Which apparently is not conducive to sleeping and definitely pisses her off since this results in her glaring at me for at least three minutes.

To make up for my mishap, I walk around the house rocking The Bean back to slumber land. Except I've now given away my moves. She knows it's about to be nap/bed time and the end result is her in a crib without mama. So every 10 seconds she opens one of her eyes to make sure I'm still there and haven't snuck out to the bar for nachos and beer.

Somehow she's also managed to wrap her fingers around a body part or piece of clothing as a secondary line of defense should she actually fall asleep. She knows full well I am completely incapable of undoing her death grip without waking her.

But still, I try.

The actual "putting child into crib" phase is reminiscent of the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones is trying to swap out the idol head with a bag of sand.

You need to be exactly perfect or you will end up with another hour of baby entertaining duty.

Naturally, I stumble right out of the gate.

Usually I am unable to successfully detach the child from my body. A foot is stuck in my shirt (I don't know why either), the death grip on my finger was never loosened or she sensed she was more than an inch from my body. Whatever the reason, within three seconds she is wide awake and ready to party like a rockstar.

The only thing to do at this point is try to rock The Bean back to sleep without drawing her back into my body. Dead weight arm lifts with a baby. Yippee...

Eventually this works and we are ready to progress with Operation Baby Drop.

Around this time in the process, I begin to crack under the pressure. I am so close, yet so far away from a half hour of freedom.

No matter what speed I use to lower The Bean into her crib, she clearly feels like she's in free fall. For safety reasons (I guess she thinks she is one of those flying squirrels), she assumes the startled starfish position.

If, by some stroke of luck, I make it all the way to getting The Bean in the crib, I invariably get my arms stuck underneath the child.

Sometimes I just stay there because I have yet to disentangle myself from her without the outcome being The Bean staring straight into my eyes wondering "Hey, is it time to be up again? OK!"

Operation Baby Drop takes roughly 1 hour and 38 minutes from start to finish.

Average Bean nap time? 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lessons in Breastfeeding

Do not eat 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes over the course of three days.

Your child will scream at you for 10 hours straight.

Thank god for previously pumped frozen breast milk. And wine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dogs and Babies

In part 2 of my practical How-To series, I have provided a detailed account of how to take your baby and dogs for a walk at the same time without having to blow your brains out by the end of the excursion.

43% of our family is comprised of canine members.

Since I haven't properly introduced everyone here on the blog yet, let me take a few minutes to do so.

I'll get the bad news over with first.


Don't be fooled by her pathetic, forlorn 1,000-yard stare. This dog is the bane of our existence. Mainly because her natural state looks something more like this:

Why yes, that is a giant turd hanging out of her mouth; thank you for asking.

This turd burglar needs constant monitoring else you will find her with her head in the cat box or scavenging for delicacies outside. Hers, other dogs', she's not picky.

Apart from eating so much shit that she has put on about 10 pounds in the last week, she also tries to steal the other dogs' food while her bowl is full, freaks out to the point of major destruction on our house during thunderstorms (yes, we've tried everything...she is just a crazy old dog that will not be comforted by drugs, weird thunderstorm blankets or being hit in the head repeatedly with a brick), is a bottomless pit of need and is a general butt hole--so at least she has that going for her.

But like that weird uncle you have, she's family and we're stuck with her until the bitter end. She's about 14 years old and will outlive everyone in the family just to spite us all. She is that hateful.

Let's move on.


Baxter is the golden child who can do no wrong. Look, we know parents aren't supposed to have favorites, but it's hard not to when you have a Baxter in your midst.

Baxter is the king of cuddles. If cuddling was an Olympic sport he would be the undisputed gold medal champion.

Baxter is a live and let live kind of guy whose reasons for existence include playing ball, swimming in lakes and did I mention the cuddling?

Finally to round out the dog troop, we have Bear:

Bear is a mama's boy.

Bear's main contribution to this family is barking.

Everyone asks how the dogs have handled having The Bean added to our family. For the most part, the dogs have been wildly unimpressed with The Bean's arrival.

Ginger continues to eat poop with wild abandon. We must throw all of the poopy diapers into a lidded garbage can and get it out of the house as quickly as possible lest we add another flavor to her culinary poop tour.

Baxter has always been a sensitive guy. He was the hardest hit by The Bean's arrival since we cannot shower him with love and affection 24 hours a day like he was accustomed to receiving. The arrival of The Bean has turned him into a petulant teenager because he's not getting all the attention.

And Bear still barks.

We attempted a group outing one day while I was in the throes of a guilt-ridden hormonal meltdown. The dogs hadn't been on a proper walk since The Bean had come home and their antsy following me from room to room was driving me up the wall.

In an effort to not kill everyone in the house, I packed us up. Three dogs on leashes, one Bean in a stroller and me in my sneakers.

We made it three feet from the front door.

In that time, I had hit each of the dogs twice with the stroller. The leashes were wrapped around the wheels of the stroller making it impossible to move forward. And I was stuck between the leashes and the stroller.

How To Walk Three Dogs with a Stroller

Step 1: Leave all nasty shit-eaters at home.

How To Walk Two Dogs with a Stroller

Step 1: Place a leash in each hand and position one dog on each side of the stroller. (see Exhibit A)

Step 2: Take one step and be unable to progress further. (See Exhibit B)

Step 3: Untangle leashes, self and stroller and reposition as explained in Step 1.

Step 4: Take four steps and crash stroller into black dog at least 4 times.

Step 5: Be assertive and refuse to stop walking just because black dog cannot figure out how to get out of the way of the stroller. Dogs are smart; he will learn to stay on one side of the stroller and not directly in front of it.

Step 6: Walk 100 feet with assertive attitude explained in Step 5. Hit black dog with stroller 100 more times.

Step 7: Retrace steps back to front door.

Step 8: Hit black dog with stroller 110 more times.

Step 9: Leave black dog at home.

How To Walk One Dog with a Stroller

Step 1: Put mama's boy on a leash and position next to the stroller. (See Exhibit A.2)

Step 2: Walk 100 feet towards park; hit white dog with stroller 100 times.

Step 3: Shorten leash to 3 inches long, making it impossible for brain dead dogs to walk in front of the stroller while it is being pushed. (See Exhibit B.2)

Step 4: Walk 100 feet and nearly trip in disbelief that you managed to walk 100 feet without hitting a dog.

Step 5: Stop to chat with people who can't resist a new baby being walked in the park.

Step 6: Pry enormous white dog who vigilantly protects his family off of terrified person.

Step 7: Speed walk through park and avoid coming into contact with any further humans.

Step 8: Arrive home, vow never to walk the dogs again and take a nap.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Didn't Win, But I Didn't Lose...But Then I Lost

Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck...

I love that people try to help. Really, I do. But there's the old adage about "no good deed..."

In preparation for our trip to Texas, I was a breast-pumping fool. I'm not sure what I thought, but I was pretty convinced having roughly 405 bottles of milk on hand, just in case, would solve any and all road trip issues.

On our drive out to Texas, a trip we did in two days, I used approximately zero of these bottles.

No worries. You can save and store breast milk and having a stockpile means that if there is a day where I ever discover five minutes for myself, I might actually be able to enjoy a glass of wine or two.

Texas is where Michael's family lives and many of the D-Zo clan came out of the woodwork to meet The Bean. And because The Bean is the cutest thing ever (see Exhibit A, entitled "Bean and Nana"), people were more than happy to hold her, change her, feed her, steal her, what-have-you.

Which means one thing for Mama.


On our first night there, the impossible was going to happen. I was going to have a full night's sleep. People (namely Michael and his mom) were going to take shifts with The Bean so I would be able to sleep from 9 PM to 6 AM...something that has not happened since well before The Bean was on this side of the womb.

I don't mind feeding The Bean every 2-4 hours, but if people are willing to take on the graveyard jump at that shit.

This was going to be better than Christmas and Free Ice Cream Scoop Day, combined!

At 2 AM I awoke in a pool of drool deep enough to drown a very short chicken [editor's note: it's 3 AM, cut me some slack]. It was clear I had not moved a muscle since my head hit the pillow at 9.

So why the hell was I awake now?

That pool of drool? Turns out it wasn't drool at all. I was leaking. You know, from my boobs.

I knew I would be missing a few feedings because we had bottles and willing folks to feed The Bean. My boobs never got the memo and continued the milk factory production at full steam ahead levels.

And like an overfilled water balloon, I popped.

So there I was at 2 AM...pumping...because, naturally, The Bean was fast asleep having enjoyed a bottle not 20 minutes earlier.

Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck, Whirrr Suck...

I Didn't Win.

However in the interest of full disclosure, I was able to pump in 15 minutes and get right back to bed and sleep until 6 AM as planned.

So I Didn't Lose.

I awoke so well rested. There was nothing I couldn't accomplish that day if I wanted to rustle up any give a damn (I didn't).

I profusely thanked Michael and his mom for letting me sleep. I saw the world as a shiny, happy place of love and possibilities. Glitter was shooting out of my ass and I didn't have one murderous thought all day long.

That afternoon we began our trip back home and pulled into New Orleans for the night.

Everything was business as usual and after dinner we settled in for the night.

When The Bean awoke for her first night feeding at midnight I wanted to shove daggers into my eyes and die.


My body was in full-fledged revolt mode. It had tasted freedom and normalcy and a brief encounter with non-exhaustion...and it was willing to shank a puppy to get it back.

But I don't have a wet nurse. Or a dry nurse. Or even a clever, dexterous dog who can feed The Bean bottles while I sleep the night away. So I pulled out the boob and we quickly fell back into our routine of feedings every 2-4 hours.

My night of sleep ended up being a tease and threw off my schedule enough to make the next few days hell as I readjusted to my life of "sleep while you can, milk bitch."

So I Lost.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Adventures in Parenting

In a moment of enormous bravery or stupidity, we decided to take a road trip to Texas over the last few days. Hence my prolonged absence.

The Bean did fabulously until the moment she didn't.

But 4 different places in 4 days and being bombarded with the weirdos we like to call family (I promise I mean that in the best way) is enough to make anyone have a major meltdown.

Luckily I come equipped with built in meltdown diffusers (read: boobs) and crisis was averted.

I promise to get some more posts up shortly. Right after we disrupt The Bean with her first flight to New York to meet the weirdos from my side of the family.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Day in Paradise

This is the post where Michael and I solidify our position as "Worst Parents Ever" and I get nasty hate mail--mainly from my family--about how evil we are.

But I assure you, we love The Bean with all our hearts and find her beyond adorable. I threaten to eat her at least 5 times a day because of the cuteness.

We just can't help our unfailing objectivity and disturbingly warped senses of humor.

Michael has a new nickname for The Bean.


As in:

Let me help you understand why:

Check out that hairline. You have to admit, there's a resemblance.

Before you go persecuting Michael, wait.

I've been staring at the following photo of Michael and The Bean trying to figure out who she reminds me of.

I figured it out.

I'm going to hell.

Puttin' on the Ritz has been in my head a lot lately.