Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

4 weeks with a baby: KID #2 UPDATE

This post originally went live October 29, 2013, the day Audrey turned 4 weeks old. I feel like now that Trevor has achieved the same age (okay, he's actually 6 weeks now but I'm apparently lazier this time around in terms of publishing blog posts), I should update it with how things are different this time around. Everything I've written new is going to be in Times New Roman font, so ... y'know ... pay attention.


My baby is four weeks old today, so I think it's time to start eeeeeeeasing back into writing this blog. I'm going to ease my way in with today's post which shall not contain any Paint pictures. I'm sorry. I don't know where my computer mouse is, and I'm not about to try to draw anything with the touch pad ... so no pictures for you. But you'll be alright.
(haha remember when I used to draw a lot of pictures instead of just Googling shit and uploading photos of my children? I really am lazier now.)

After spending the last four weeks on maternity leave with baby Audrey, I have watched myself become a total Mom. Let me just share with you the things about parenthood that are apparently inevitable. It doesn't matter what kind of person you were before you had a kid; these things WILL happen to you because they happen to anyone.

Everything you do becomes a "we" activity

I pretty much never say "I" anymore. Anything that happens to either the baby or myself happens to "us". There is no getting around this.

Sometimes it makes sense, like if I were to say "we went to Safeway today." The baby and I did, in fact, go together to Safeway. It's not like she was here watching Dr. Oz while I hopped over there. She went with me.

And then there are the times when it makes no sense at all. Like if I say "we had a poop so big it almost escaped the diaper!", that has nothing to do with the baby. That was all me. Or if I say "we threw up all over the laundry room floor today!", that was Audrey and not me. But I still say "we" ... because ... I don't know. I just have to.

TREVOR UPDATE: This is still entirely true. WE have meltdowns. WE do big sharts. WE get poop in our outfit and have to change. WE just had to buy this Halloween onesie because COME ON, WAS I SUPPOSED TO NOT BUY THIS? I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO RESIST.

You will talk about yourself in the third person, referring to yourselves as "Mommy" and "Daddy" ... and this will begin to extend into areas of life that do not involve the baby at all

The baby is constantly listening to you talk and absorbing everything you say, even if it doesn't look like it. In order to win the race to have her first word be "mama" and not "dada," I constantly refer to myself as "Mommy" when talking to her. And Jesse, equally invested in the competition, always refers to himself as "Daddy." 

You start to get used to calling yourself that.

And next thing you know, the baby is in bed and I'm telling Jesse to "pour a beer for Mommy."

There isn't really any avoiding this either, unless you're willing to cede the first word battle to your spouse. Like an idiot.

TREVOR UPDATE: with two kids in the house, not only do we call ourselves "Mommy" and "Daddy," but we call each other these terms. I will often shout "Daddy" up the stairs if I need something from Jesse. 

My only hope is that we don't turn into those parents who continue to call each other "Mom" and "Dad" long after their children have moved out. Because that's weird.

You will become expert at timing the baby leg pistons when changing a diaper

Newborn babies flail a lot, because they don't have the motor skills to contain their limbs. Mostly it's the arms that flail -- hence the whole swaddling in a tight blanket thing -- but when it comes time to change a diaper, it's the legs that take a turn.

As soon as her bottom half comes out of her one-piece sleeper suit, her legs become little pistons, pumping up and down in a bizarre rhythm understood by no one. Sometimes the two legs pump together up and down; sometimes they alternate one and then the other; sometimes, one does 80% of the pumping while the other just steps up 20% of the time. I have discovered no pattern in this.

These little leg pistons are powerful. Like, POWERFUL. I am not really strong enough to fight the pistons -- at least not without feeling like I'm going to rip her little legs off -- so instead, changing the diaper becomes a game of timing. You have to tape up the new diaper in time with the pumping legs, waiting until each leg straightens out to quickly slap the tape onto the front of the dipe. 

And then putting her back into her clothes is even more challenging: you have to wait until the leg-piston bends up and quickly put her foot into the suit, and then as soon as the leg straightens, tuck the rest of her leg into it. And then repeat on the other leg when it does its pump. And then try to do up the snaps or zippers during those rare moments when both legs are straight out.

This is especially fun in the middle of the night.

And of course, as soon as the clothes are back on, the legs stop pumping. Because of course they do.

TREVOR UPDATE: I don't really notice this happening anymore. I mean obviously, it still happens, but it doesn't even register to me. Also, I have learned the important lesson of the snap front sleeping gown. I can just pull his bottom half out to change the diaper, no leg pistons to contend with. 

Added bonus: because of the snap front, I don't have to pull anything over his head. These things are the bomb.

You will not get grossed out by things that are objectively kind of gross

This one is old news. Everyone says this happens -- that whole "when it's your kid, it's different" thing in regards to pee, poop, and puke.

But I think it's not necessarily the fact that it's my kid. I mean, I don't exactly get a thrill out of cleaning up my OWN poop or puke, and I am me. Why would I be less disgusted by my child's bodily fluids than my own??

I think what really happens is that baby puke/poop just doesn't even register as gross. Like, if you spilled some soup on your kitchen counter, you wouldn't start projectile vomiting everywhere in disgust. You'd just clean it up.

The baby's poop affects me about the same way as soup on the counter might. It's just a mess that has to be cleaned up.

A mess that is green and curdy and stinks, and that you have to be really careful about with those little leg-pistons because if you're not, she'll dip her heels in it.


TREVOR UPDATE: I am so completely desensitized to poop but it isn't even a thing I think about anymore. Poop is love. Poop is life.

You will start calculating how much puke needs to be on something before it's considered too dirty to wear

It's easy to say "if my kid throws up on something, I will change it. Only clean clothes for us!"

But then you realize just exactly how frequently babies spit up. It is all the goddamned time.

If you really changed your clothes or her clothes every time she spit up on them, you would never get anything done. You'd just be spending all day and all night changing clothes and doing laundry.

So you start to get a little lazy with it. You start to debate yourself about how much puke really is too much. Like, if she throws up on my shirt, I will quickly wipe it off and maybe wet down the spot with some water. When it comes time to leave the house, if I can't see the outline of where she puked, then the shirt is considered clean.

And with her, it's really just a matter of percentages. Any puke that covers less than 5% of her body is not an outfit-changing event. If that first puke mostly dries but then a second puke occurs, that second puke is considered on its own -- not combined with the first puke. Two pukes can only be combined if they occur close enough together for them to be soaking wet at the same time.

We brought the baby over to my parents' house in a little Halloween sleeper suit that she had thrown up on no fewer than five times already.

We are awesome parents.

TREVOR UPDATE: he is not a spitter upper! We did it! We won! I mean, he does puke sometimes, but not anywhere near as frequently as Audrey did. Trevor will wear one outfit for an entire day. I never thought that I would be so lucky as to have this life. A life relatively free of puke. 

Also, Trevor is mostly breast-fed, which means that when he does puke it doesn't smell hideously disgusting the way formula pukes do. My life is beautiful.

You will take like a billion pictures

The funny thing about babies is that they really truly do look different almost by the day. They grow and change and learn new facial expressions and do new funny things, and it's almost impossible not to take pictures of all of them.

Our baby started out looking like an Eskimo. Then she started to fill out, and her distinctly Asian features got a little more Caucasian-looking. And then she started to get a chubby face from all the food we force down her little gullet. And then she got a bad case of baby acne.

Now she looks like a chubby teenager with bad hair, but on a 1/20th scale.

And of course she's still cute as all get-out. Because she's mine. :-)

... and my iPhone has at least 50 pictures of her. That's more than one per day of her life.

And don't even get me started on what my Facebook feed looks like. Sorry, friends. There are a lot of pictures of my baby.

TREVOR UPDATE: I have to remind myself to take pictures of Audrey too, instead of just taking 1.7 million pictures of Trevor every single day. Also, at this point, my camera roll has almost 1700 pictures taken since Audrey was born two years ago. So I guess you could say this one is still true.

So many pictures. My Facebook news feed has not improved.

For example, here is a series of photos of Trevor sleeping. Literally just sleeping, and yet I still cannot stop taking pictures:

Sorry for all the almost-boob. I don't know if I should be sorry that it's just almost-boob, or that it even rises to the level of almost-boob. I guess that depends on how closely related to me you are.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Presenting: pictures of my hilariously adorable baby

Good news, everyone! I have gotten over my aversion to using voice to text technology, so I can write more blog posts while Trevor wastes the day away on my boob.

Unfortunately, I'm still not feeling very funny yet, so I'm going to take the easy way out and just point out all of the ways that my baby looks ridiculous. Because trust me, he looks pretty ridiculous a lot of the time.

But damn if he ain't cute as hell!

Picture 1: 
Trevor has seen something very frightening and he may not recover from the shock

Picture 2: 
Trevor poses for his modeling head shots

Picture 3: 
Trevor looks like the grandpa from Pawn Stars

Picture 4: 
Trevor looks like Bruce Willis

Picture 5: 
Trevor had fun at the zoo

Picture 6: 
Trevor enjoys some light reading

Picture 7: 
Trevor takes a selfie for his LinkedIn profile pic

Picture 8: 
Does Trevor look more like Sir Patrick Stewart or Sir Ian McKellen? Either way, he looks like an old man

Picture 9: 
Trevor's mind is blown apart by a piano rattle

Picture 10: 
Trevor makes this face

So there you go. Old Man Baby strikes a pose.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Totally legit product reviews: Graco Ready2Grow Double Stroller

Part of preparing for the birth of our second child involved choosing a double stroller that Trevor's infant seat could snap into. We've been a Graco family since Audrey was a baby, so I stuck to looking at what Graco had to offer. And as far as double strollers ... there wasn't much. The Ready2Grow stroller was pretty much it.

Its main claim to fame is that it can do all these things. Most of which are useless.

This mobile monstrosity weighs in at 33 pounds empty and is roughly the size of a shopping cart. At Costco. But if I wanted a stroller that I could both strap Audrey into securely AND snap Trevor's car seat into easily, then there wasn't really much other choice. A minor advantage is that the Ready2Grow can accommodate two kids in like 12 different configurations and might be convenient as the two kids get bigger (except it probably won't, because I will ditch it for a much smaller side-by-side double umbrella stroller as soon as Trevor is old enough to sit up on his own).

But. I took this stroller out with both kids for the first time this past week, and MARY MOTHER OF GOD IT IS ENORMOUS. I decided to review it for you, mostly because I have a lot to say about it and I can only update my Facebook status so many times a day.

Here is how that experience worked out for us:

Audrey had some sort of itchy skin thing going on on her scalp, and the pediatrics clinic at the hospital had no appointments available so they sent us to Urgent Care instead. Fearing that we might get stuck with a long wait, I decided I needed to bring the Titanic stroller along instead of just letting Audrey walk while Trevor rode in the Graco Snugrider stroller frame (13.6 pounds empty). I went so far as to ask Jesse to put it into the back of my car before he left for work, because IT IS GIGANTIC AND WEIGHS 33 POUNDS. It's not that I can't lift 33 pounds of giant awkward; it's just that if I can make someone else do it for me, I'm going to.

Here she is folded up in the back of my SUV. It barely f***ing fits. I'm not actually certain that folding it up made it any smaller.

When we arrived at the clinic, I manhandled the beast out of the back of the car and opened it up, marveling again at its girth. I then strapped Audrey into the front seat and attached Trevor's infant seat to the back, facing towards me. We were ready to roll.

First impressions of the stroller: I could not see Audrey at all. I assumed she was still sitting up there in front because I hadn't noticed her flattened under the wheels.

Here's the view from the Captain's seat (by the way, I insist on being called "Captain" whilst piloting this monstrosity, in keeping with the whole "it is a yacht that travels on land" theme). As you can see, even when I step far to the side, I can only barely see Audrey's leg.

This thing handled like a Carnival cruise liner. I tried to drive it with one hand while I responded to a quick text on my phone, and almost ended up in the middle of the Interstate somehow. It is absolutely impossible to open doors while pushing this stroller, because its length exceeds my wingspan. I guess you could maybe manage if you went in front of the stroller and opened the door with one hand, and then pulled on your child's foot to move the stroller forward far enough to block the door from closing. And then you could climb over your children and get to the back of the stroller to push it the rest of the way through the door. 

Or you could pray for one of those wheelchair door open buttons, or just rely on the kindness of strangers. I stuck to the latter two options exclusively.

The storage bin underneath the stroller is massive, which makes sense since there is so much f***ing space for it. So there's that.

I tried to take another photo in the waiting room at Urgent Care, but I don't have a wide angle lens so I couldn't fit the whole thing in the frame.

A few days later, I announced that I was going to take Trevor for a walk since he was all worked up and needed some fresh air. Audrey heard me and said she wanted to come for a walk too, so ... out came the Titanic of strollers again.

This time, I got to experience some rough terrain with the stroller. I took it over some gravel, where it handled like a pogo stick on wheels. Audrey kept shouting "weeee!" while I watched the wheels worriedly. Thankfully none of them rattled off.

And then I had to navigate a slight bump about an inch high, but the stroller stopped dead when I hit it. So I tried ramming with more speed, but once again we stopped dead. I could not do my usual pop-a-wheelie trick with the Titanic so I had to drive through grass until the bump back up to the sidewalk was less than one inch high.

Also my foot kicks the brake on the back of the stroller roughly once every five steps.

In conclusion, here are the stroller's cons:
-- barely fits in my car folded up
-- 33 pounds of awkward when empty
-- can't see the kid in front
-- can't negotiate even minor bumps in the road
-- impossible to open doors
-- handles like an early 20th century steamliner
-- not good for people with a long stride

-- it fits both of my children

So yeah, I would totally recommend it to a friend. Because if you have a baby, a young toddler, and a Graco car seat, what the hell else are you gonna do? CARRY one of them, like some kind of peasant??


Audrey lost this binkie at some point on our walk, but I didn't notice because as I mentioned, I COULD NOT SEE HER.