Babies are difficult. Not because they mean to be or they enjoy stressing out their parents, but because as little mini-humans their means of communicating with us is very limited. The only way they know to show how they’re feeling? Crying. Or a giggle or smile if you’re lucky.
I’ve been fortunate that I have a generally happy, easy-going little guy. He’s never really been a crier. Sure if he’s hungry, tired, or has a dirty diaper, there will be fussiness. Or if he’s in pain (shots, or if he bumps his head). But for the most part, my little guy sort of goes with the flow.
This is NOT the experience for everyone, I know. And you can usually spot these poor parents who have suffered through colicky, easy-to-cry, difficult-to-soothe, “high maintenance” babies when you’re out with your own little one. Typically I run into these tired, overwhelmed, “glad that’s over” parents when I’m out at the store with my son.
The typical reaction I get when we’re out shopping is “oh how cute/what a good boy/he’s so sweet!” From the mama’s whose little ones are two and three I hear “enjoy these days, they grow up so fast!” From the parents of middle and high-schoolers I hear “I remember when you were that little.” From the proud grandparents it’s usually “what a happy fella, he looks a little younger/older than my grandson/granddaughter.”
But from the parents whose children were perhaps not as easy, not as calm, not as chill as my dear son, the tune is so very much different…
“You’re brave for bringing him out alone.”
“He doesn’t cry much? JUST WAIT”
“I wish my son/daughter was this well behaved when he/she was this little.”
“Wait until he’s older, he’ll be tearing up everything in your house. That’s what little boys do, they destroy things.” (my personal favorite to date)
These poor parents probably had a rough experience with their little ones, and unfortunately it’s colored the way they interact with other babies and parents they come in contact with. It’s always a bit sad when I run into one of these Mamas whose baby-days were so difficult. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a baby that won’t stop screaming, doesn’t ever sleep, spits up all the time, and generally turns entire worlds upside down in the hardest of ways.
At first I would be annoyed when I would get these negative-toned comments towards my son and our future. I mean really, way to be a Debbie Downer and rain on my Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! To tell me it’s just going to get worse/harder from this point forward feels like they’re tearing down my experience to feel better about their own. Why steal the joy/happiness from one new mom because your experience wasn’t that great?
It really used to bother me, these doom and gloom Mamas walking around, spreading their message of misfortune to other parents out there.
Parenthood is hard. HARD. Regardless of the baby. But it’s so much more difficult when the baby has a tough time adjusting too. So instead of feeling irritated by these parents, my heart has just started to feel sympathy for them. Every new Mom & Dad wants to bask in the glow of their newborn baby, and I’m sure there’s nothing more difficult than wading through the long, dark midnight hours with a fussy, crying, unhappy infant when you haven’t showered or slept in four days. They remember those difficult days much more clearly than the few good days sprinkled within that first year of hardship.
This makes me sad for them, and I make sure to say a little prayer for each one of the frazzled, fizzed-out, frantic Mamas when I meet them. Because although it gets easier with time, it will always be hard to look back on those first few months and remember the difficult days and miss the sweet bonding memories of a cooing, giggling, smiling newborn.
We each have our own journeys in life, and certain stretches are easier for some than others. If you find yourself face to face with one of these worn down, wish-it-were-easier Mamas: smile, listen, and ask God to give their hearts some peace and their bodies (and babies) some much-needed rest. And be thankful for your own sweet one.
Even on the toughest days, they are such a blessing.
I love to cook. I really really do, unfortunately I am not the best cook. Oh sure, I try really hard but it’s never quite perfect. Once a month my work group has a cookoff where the winner of the last challenge gets to pick the theme. One time I came close to winning, but just that once. So coming upon this recipe was just awesome. Allison and I were talking over our favorite ingredients and then started to dream up a yummy recipe. And now you get to have it too. Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s super easy too.
What you need:
8 Portobello mushroom caps
2 packages of meatloaf mix (the one with beef, veal and pork)
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 Panko bread crumbs
2 tbl spoons Wildtree Rancher steak rub (sorry forgot the photo of this)
Brown the meat mixture, then add the rancher rub, Gorgonzola and Panko bread crumbs. Mix this through.
Stuff the uncooked mushroom cap with the meat mixture.
Then bake for 10-12 minutes at 350C (or until the mushroom is tender).
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have officially rejoined the work force after 13 weeks of maternity leave spent loving on and caring for my newborn son. It’s hard to believe he’s 3 months old and my leave is already over, and while dropping him off in the care of others for nearly 10 hours a day is SUPER difficult for me, it’s probably a good thing that I’ve reclaimed a little bit of my independence and am socializing with full-grown people again. Spending the majority of your day with a little person can do funny things to you.
A few days ago at work, I referred to myself as “Mama.” Thank goodness none of my coworkers heard it or I might have died of embarrassment. Of course I’m used to referring to myself as Mama when I’m interacting with my son, but it’s taken on a life of it’s own. I call myself Mama when talking to the cat, and occasionally when talking to myself. I used to have my own name… what was that again? And since when did I find it so normal to refer to myself in the third person?
Prior to my maternity leave, I was SO self-conscious to leave my house in anything but “real” clothes. It was a rare occasion to catch me in exercise clothes or yoga pants outside my house unless it was 8am and I was running to the gas station 2 minutes down the road for milk. Well considering the only clothes that actually fit me right now are made of 98% spandex (or so it seems), I am MUCH more likely to say “eh, they’ll be looking at the baby anyways” and run to Target, the grocery store, or even a doctor’s appointment in clothes that would likely get me a nomination for “What Not To Wear” on TLC. Walking counts as exercise, right? Even if it’s while pushing a cart through the aisles of Target?
Now that I am so used to having my little bitty nugget son in the car with me almost everywhere I go, I’ve turned into the quintessential “Baby On Board” driver. That’s not to say I have the placard hanging in my rear window (most definitely not), but I am hyper-vigilant about the laws of the road and safety while driving. More than once a trip I’ll catch myself uttering something along the lines of “crazy driver! What’s your hurry?? Maniac!” as a speeding car goes whizzing past me. Five miles an hour over the speed limit is my limit now, even in a state where there are no rules when it comes to driving in rush-hour traffic. Seriously, I’ve seen cars driving the wrong way on the shoulder of the highway if there is a traffic jam just so they can make it back to the previous exit, and motorcycles whizzing through stopped cars if there’s a long line at a red light. And I find myself thinking “kids these days…” Apparently I’m and 87 year old Floridian.
But that’s not even scratching the surface. I hardly recognize the songs on the radio, frequently miss references to pop culture trivia, and seriously, you should have seen my first attempt at driving after having the baby. Let’s just say it’s a good thing no one was coming in the opposite direction. It was APRIL the last time I spent any real amount of time out-and-about around adults besides family members. I’ve got a bit of re-acclimating to do
I miss my little man tremendously during the day while I’m at work, but I realize the value in spending time with adults as well now. Not to mention I can use the bathroom whenever I want without having to worry about my son crying in the next room. Plus if we’re going to put a rosy glow on the reality that is being a “working mom,” it’s that I have so much cuteness to look forward to on the weekend!
Hello world, it’s nice to be back!
Thirteen weeks of maternity leave is almost up, and as of Monday I’ll be going back to work FULL TIME. My heart is having a hard time thinking of leaving the most important thing in my life with someone else, although I know the people watching him are good people. I haven’t been away from my son for more than 3 hours at a time since he was born, and on Monday I’ll be dropping him off at day care at 7:30am and picking him up around 5:30pm. I’m not entirely sure how I am supposed to survive, but I know I will be stocking up on tissues to make it through the day and scrolling through my pictures of my little guy on my phone frequently.
Still, it’s amazing how far we’ve come in 13 weeks. When he was first born, having him leave my sight (even if it was with a doctor for only 30 minutes for a hearing test) had me crying hysterically. I remember telling my husband that I would never get anything done because leaving him sleeping in another room just felt like torture. The first time I left him with my mom so my husband and I could celebrate our anniversary felt like having my lungs ripped out. The first time leaving him with my in-laws I couldn’t hurry home fast enough just to see him. But I’ve gotten better. My mother-in-law has watched him several times, as has my sister-in-law, aunt-in-law, Mom, and even my best friend (for 20 minutes while I showered, but still). He can nap in his nursery while I’m downstairs cleaning and I don’t get that tightness in my chest anymore. And I can shower while he’s napping and not worry that an eagle will carry him off while I’m one room away (ok not a likely scenario, but crazy things go through your mind as a first time parent).
When he was first born I remember being afraid to hold him. He was so small, so fragile, so perfect. Everything was delicate, and I was afraid of hurting him when I changed his diapers, clothes, or even picked him up. Now I can hold him with one arm while balancing my own plate of food in another, and I know how he likes to be held and what holds will cause him to squirm and squeal until you shift him.
When he was first born, the sound of him crying (or squeaking as we called it since he never really cried) felt like a hot poker to the chest. What did he need? Was he hurt? Was something terribly wrong? But now when he cries, I KNOW why he’s crying. I know his hungry cry, his tired cry, his fussy/dirty diaper cry. And I can solve the problem. And even if he has to wait a minute or two while he’s crying because I’m in the middle of something (like pumping), it doesn’t stress me as much as it first did. I KNOW he’s fine and that I’m going to remedy the situation in just a minute or two. I can handle the crying.
It took me nearly 2 months before I felt comfortable taking him out and about. A trip to Target or Walmart or even to a drive-thru for lunch felt like an impossible feat. What if he started crying? What if I forgot to bring something? Now I feel completely comfortable taking him out and about whenever I need to. He’s a calm baby and he doesn’t scream in stores. In fact he likes Target and falls asleep almost every time we’re in the store! And if he fusses, I give him his Wubbanub paci and he’s a cool customer.
Yep we’ve come a long way since day 1. Not just in terms of how comfortable I am with him, but how much I absolutely, completely and totally love and adore this little guy. There have been times when I’m out shopping with him and the urge to grab him out of his carseat and snuggle him in the middle of the store hits me and I have to fight it off and wait until I get home (never wake a sleeping baby in a crowded store…) Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up even though he isn’t crying, and I miss his sweet face and cute baby noises. I’m obsessed. I sometimes get so overwhelmed with love for him that I tell my husband that it’s almost physically painful because I can’t hug and squeeze and cuddle him as tightly as I would like to (you know, because he’s still pretty itty bitty).
Yes, we’ve grown a lot together in the past 13 weeks, and I know Monday is just one more of those growth moments. But if you think of it, say a little prayer for me on Monday. It’s going to be a tough day. I foresee a fight between Mama and Daddy that night on who gets to hold the baby…