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I started this blog as a way to cope with being a pregnant housewife whom had a miscarriage immediately preceding the progressing pregnancy that brought my lovely Poncho into the world. It was an outlet to manage the fear before and the fear/stress/lack of sleep after having him. And then I quit writing. As most mothers can do, I made excuses to not do it because it was for me. Then I was coaxed back into writing for a Las Vegas website (The Anti-Griswold), and it felt great. But I didn’t start writing again. Finally, I submitted to review some baby products and was chosen to participate as a “mommy blogger”, which generally means I need to provide content for the free things I will be sent. So, I needed to assess the state of where I would be generating content.

This blog is no longer accurate to share my experiences as a mom to just one child, as I am 7.5 months pregnant with a little girl. So, as my life changes, so must my blog. Had I possessed some foresight, I could probably have adjusted the name of this blog beyond the realm of just me and my boy. But I understand how precious pregnancies are and make no assumptions I would be granted the opportunity to have more children, especially after the miscarriage I suffered just before falling pregnant with baby girl. Hopefully my new blog Phases of the Mom will offer more insight to me as a mother of two, instead of my world with Poncho. To those of you whom have taken your valuable time to spend reading this, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I hope to offer as much interesting content on my new blog and will be grateful if you would give it a look now and then.

So, in the spirit of starting something new, I am going to finish what the boy left of his lunch and put him down for a nap. Perhaps I will attempt one too.

There is a biological pull, so fierce, it guides species of animal to return to a specific place, at a specific time, to breed. So famous are these pilgrimages, a classic comedy movie combined 2 of them into the “Salmon of Capistrano”. I believe i have found my breeding ground; a magical place that appears like a Mirage in the desert. I guess it is a mirage, and you can stay at the Mirage. But i prefer the Paris, as my son was conceived there. I speak of the glorious wonderland of Las Vegas.

3 moths before our trip to Vegas, I found out I was pregnant. I took the equivalent of what I believe Costco would sell for pregnancy tests and we had photographic proof of the white picket fence of positive tests i peed all over. I remember the day vividly; it was 30 years since my father graduated from USAFA, so I offered to meet him at his office with lunch so we could watch the USAFA Thunderbirds do their fly-over and subsequent air show. I told my father we had a doctor

My coffee is brewing, and while I debate the pros and cons of patenting a way of delivering it intravenously, I’m contemplating a menu for the day. But despite my best intentions, plans and caffeination, I also need to prepare for at least one mealtime power struggle. I’ve read all the websites, blogs and books that I have time for, and while the general consensus is “don’t let them see you get frustrated or make mealtime frustrating”, I can’t help but believe these morons have only had to feed their cat. My son is by no means a picky eater, but he has his days. And regardless of what justifications I use (teething, stuffy nose, lunar phase, barometric pressure, Red Sox loss/win), I’m re-learning how to eat while teaching my son.

Feeding a baby is an interesting study in development, patience and waterproof mascara. Before I had ever considered children (I should probably send a letter to my 18 year-old self with that wake-up call), I saw a device that could only be described as “green and pretty cool”. (My passive-aggressive 18-year-old self) I was talking about the Beaba (pronounced bee-AH-bah), a system for preparing baby food that would ultimately save us a great deal of money and time. It’s basic function is to steam fruit/veggies/meat, then purée them, all in one contained unit. Far less time and counter space consuming than pots, colander and a food processor. It was very important to me to make my son’s food, especially with the cost and taste of canned foods. A bag of carrots cost $0.75 and would make food for WEEKS when portioned into ice-cube trays and frozen. But the painful side to that double-edged sword was anything I made that my son refused felt like a direct attack on my culinary skills. I couldn’t blame him for rejecting some canned food (and could thus blame the manufacturer), but when the carrot purée I made was met with screaming and tears after 2 spoonfuls, that hurts.

To this point, my son refusing to eat has been the most painful new parenting experience. (More pain to follow, I’m certain.) It’s instinctive to eat, and as a parent you want your child to eat. I would try everything: giving him with a spoon to play with, adding herbs and spices, choo-choo/airplane/Millennium Falcon noises and even saying “look over there!”. As they do at this age, they learn fast and my attempts at coercion or deception were thwarted. (And I’m not good at Tie fighter noises.) It was hard enough some days to get him his 2 meals, but adding the lunchtime meal presented another challenge. When it was breakfast and dinner, I had support from my husband for 1/2 of mealtime. Adding lunch meant I was going solo on 2/3 of his meals and that I would have to learn to eat a decent lunch. Correction: feeding my son meant I had to re-learn how to eat. Before I was feeding him solids, I would shovel something into my face in between his feedings. But now, he’s not interested in eating unless I am. Any weight I lost from the pregnancy was being put back on to teach him how to eat. And while the French continue to write the books on how much better their kids are when it comes to eating, there is a fine-line between “you will eat what I put in front of your face” and unloading the pantry to find something he will eat so maybe we all get some sleep tonight.

So, now my son requires I eat at least 3 square meals a day, but that is no guarantee he will participate. Some days eating becomes a psychological battlefield, coming down to what is being perceived as his food and my food. If it is his food (meaning portioned on a plate and put near him), he isn’t terribly interested. Even if we are eating the same thing, if it in any way looks like it isn’t coming directly off either my or my husband’s plate, he isn’t interested.We used to feed him before we ate with the idea that we may get to enjoy a meal in peace. It worked for a week. He would eat less and less and it wasn’t until we were at  a family member’s home that we learned he wanted to eat socially and the same things we were. Well, that presents an interesting question: just because we eat it, would we be ok feeding it to our son? Let me make sure I understand: not only are you dictating when I eat, but now you dictate what I eat? It isn’t like we are consuming deep-fried chicken sandwiches, but we do have a proclivity for Vietnamese and Thai food. Now, I find myself thinking about MSG, and am also learning that Poncho is open to trying That green curry chicken. The sword gets more edges.

Unfortunately, preparing his food from fresh meats, fruits and veggies does not eliminate the chance for something to make him sick. I can understand why some parents choose to use canned baby food when there seems to be a recall on produce and meat once a week. And with the ill-defined and wrong perception of what organic truly means, the news of the existence of pink slime and the FDA allowing BPA to remain in products that come into contact with our children every day, it becomes easy to second guess every nutritional decision we make for our family. On some level, we have to trust the people who grow our fruits and vegetables, raise our meat and manufacture the products we give to our children are doing the best they can.

The carnage…avocado and hard-boiled egg everywhere. A few cereal puffs crushed into oblivion in the seat of the high-chair are all that is left of the battle of lunch. I think we were both uninterested and exhausted from last night. Despite his initial protest, I cleaned him up and put him down for his nap early. Even if he wasn’t ready for a nap, I was ready for him to take a nap. We may not have seen eye-to-eye on lunch, but I managed to get a few morsels in his mouth and today he didn’t push any of it out in protest. It’s a small victory for both of us. And as we are getting ever closer to him learning how to use utensils to (in theory) feed himself, I’m contemplating on how to incorporate black trash bag covered walls with my decor.

“Ba ba ba da da ga!” That is the sound of my alarm clock babbling away in his crib, letting me know he is awake and ready to get his day going. We talk about what he is playing with, what he is eating, where we are going, how mommy is not that thrilled about how the Red Sox look this year…and while I respond to his sounds with a “Yes?” or simply mimicking the sounds he’s making, the fact is I am doing the job of trying to teach him. My life as a stay-at-home-mom is what I wanted and we have made many sacrifices for something that was terribly important to both of us. What I’ve learned is many people consider being able to stay home a luxury, and for all intents and purposes, it is. With the state of our economy and job market, having a parent home might otherwise be the result of being laid off and not an ideal situation. I’ve also come across people who seem to think that I do little more than eat chocolates on my sofa all day, while my son is taken care of by the diaper fairy, meal elf and nap gnome. And with all this extra time, I am the PERFECT person to call and unload all their hatred for whatever in their life is pissing them off. And even when I call, somehow I become the one  being verbally lashed for the wrongdoings against them by the world. During the course of my day and the limited direct/indirect interaction, I find that I am not actually speaking “with” anyone. I have learned a few things from the 5-18 million weekly interactions that go this way: 1)despite being employed, people with a job are miserable 2)I must be a good listener or 3)I frequently make the mistake of answering my phone or asking “what’s wrong?”.

So, what is it I want? Ideally, to talk about my neuroses regarding sippy cups and pacifiers, the latest episode of Mad Men, how chicken breast bores the BEJESUS out of me or anything. I would even take someone sitting next to me on the sofa, giving me a reassuring nod while I spew craziness about why anyone would think baby cologne is necessary. And even if they weren’t actually listening to me, just hearing me, that would be enough. I know when I’m being heard because I get some kind of indication, a head turn or verbal cue, but that is vastly different from being listened to. At this point, I’d take either. Being the vat which people dump their emotional garbage not only sucks, but it isn’t what a mother needs. While spending a day cleaning up shit (figurative and very literal), doing laundry, running errands, cooking and doing this with the intention of offering a clean child and home to my husband when he arrives, the last thing I need is to add that kind of energy leaching negativity to my “routine” (ha. Ha ha. HAHAHA…routine, like I have a say in any of this.) I may not lead what most would consider an interesting life because I’m not working for a company, and most days it is not anything stellar. But my life isn’t filled with disdain or hate. In fact, I share similar experiences with the working world every day: confusion, frustration, anxiety, hope, happiness and sadness. I suppose I don’t understand why it feels like my experiences are somehow less interesting or valuable. When I want to chime in on the bitch-fest, it is usually met with disdain for how I get to stay home all day and that I couldn’t possibly understand. And before any suggestions are made about joining a parenting group or board, I’ve found that to be a whirling dervish of insane judgment and competition. But I am still looking.

So, I suppose I will continue to spew my lack-of-sleep induced insanity at those crazy enough to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. And while social networking offers a slight solution to my need for conversation, I will never believe social networking is an adequate replacement for actual conversation. (It is quite possibly the most efficient breeding ground for passive aggression and grammar rage.) While my intent for writing this started out as a means to get these frustrations out of my system, it might also be taken as a public service announcement to those with people in their lives who stay at home: start paying me to be your therapist or direct your hate towards the people at work who took a bite out of the last donut, because they earned it.

And Life Goes On

I learned something about myself over the past few days; I learned that done right, I can share my feelings and grow relationships. I learned that despite fearing the worst, that fear was based on the anticipation. I learned that intent matters, but so does inaction. And I am capable of much more than I thought I was. I stood my ground and rather than bottle everything up to explode hot, molten crazy on the unsuspecting, or try to validate the hurtful actions of others, I expressed myself in an very honest, earnest, healthy and open way. Despite being the easy way, I wasn’t mean or nasty to get a reaction. I was very deliberate about what I said and how I said it. Because I wanted a certain reaction. I said what I meant, and meant what I said. And when the call came to respond, it was brief, but honest. It wasn’t a reiteration of grievances; they weren’t beaten, killed, resuscitated only to be beaten some more. It wasn’t a line by line inventory of concerns or issues. It was a calm, adult conversation; no anger, contempt or sarcasm. And now life goes on. I put it all out there, so I can only have faith that my feelings are known and, more importantly, understood. Maybe I’m capable of more than I give myself credit. Despite all the pain and tears that happened, I learned so much. I will remember this feeling: the shaking nervousness, the fear, the pain and realizing that I can influence how I respond to the world, and how people respond to me. I think I grew up a little today. I found a silver lining, and allowed myself to see it.

Letter to Poncho-Mama Bear

I hate the New Year. The time between Christmas and my birthday is consistently frustrating and frequently painful. It isn’t about getting older. That I don’t mind. It is about how I hate it as an aspiring chef. How I get a pasta maker, or a rolling pin, or some fantastic new pancake mix, only to not use them because everyone is on some form of diet or resolution. I hate it because people indulge up until Christmas, and by the New Year they have a list of what they are giving up for the New Year, which makes them miserable…just in time for my birthday. It is how I hate trying to find a way to meet everyone’s resolution requirements for lunch. It is how people seem to be less merry and more stressed. And this year I hate it because my feelings were crushed.

Poncho, I love you more than you can possibly imagine. I have wept the nights you went to bed without an appetite because of a cold or teething. I have defended your nap time and lobbied for time spent with family. This year, I let someone hurting me get to me, and by default, you. I have, and always will, be an advocate for your well being. But I let something get past me. This year, lots of people came our for the holidays. Unfortunately, due to many circumstances and decisions, we did not get to see them. Chief among them was the decision for our family to spend time with other family and not include us. I am sorry you had to see me cry like that. I am sorry to bring that energy home. And I am eternally sorry that a decision like that was made. I have, and will continue, to do my best to protect you from people who want to hurt you. I just never imagined it would be people who we are related to. And when my birthday went wholly unnoticed, I tried to be strong. I tried to not let it affect me that my own family went out of town and were too “hectic” to offer a half-assed text wishing their own child a happy birthday. I wish I could be stronger for you. And that is why I wrote a letter. A letter telling these individuals that I simply cannot take this treatment anymore, because it is affecting you. What is most unfortunate is that it even needs to be said. I never thought this is how family treated one another. But it is time for me to be mama bear and protect myself to protect you. You are so amazing and my days need to be spent soaking up your smiles, giggles and watching you learn. Not negotiating my emotional well-being because of someone else’s lack of compassion or awareness. So, on this sleepless night, I swear to you that I am putting an end to this one way or another. You will not be a pawn. I will not use your presence to negotiate what I want, mostly because that is obscenely insane and what I want should not be too much to ask for. I love you, and I swear on my grave that I will NEVER do what was done to me these past few weeks. I want you to want to spend time with me and I want you to know I will make that a priority. I want to teach you independence and will never punish you by allocating my time to people who only use me for things they are too lazy to do for themself. I will not ever forget your birthday or give some half-assed, lame excuse that things were too “hectic” for me to make a call to wish you a happy birthday, because despite me being fully aware for the last 28 years that your birthday is the SAME DAY every year, I decided it was ok to go out of town and either forget or actively decide to not contact you. I will never make plans with family and not invite you, especially around the holidays and most especially when you have barely gotten to see that family. I will do my best to be aware of how my actions are vastly different from what I say and I will value the time we plan; specifically by not calling to cancel because someone called and needs something from me. If I am near where you live when you are on your own, I will make an excuse to come and see you…not the other way around. I will do my best, every day, to show my love thru actions and not empty words. I will always make you feel loved, even if it embarrasses you sometimes. I will come meet you for lunch, even if I don’t eat because I’m not feeling well. I will call you on even a somber day to let you know I love you. I will tell you stories and show you videos of when you were little. I will always try to be better and will do everything I can for you out of insane love.

We may not see some people for a while, and that may be because I expressed my feelings. Unfortunately, where feelings are involved, many of us fail to see eye-to-eye. Especially when feelings are hurt and the responsible party isn’t interested in signing their handiwork. It is not my intention to keep you from seeing them, seeing as they have pretty effective done that for themselves. I fear this make make it worse, if that is even possible. I can only hope this is a minor bump on the road. And I’ll do my best to make sure you are bear-hugged so the bump doesn’t wake you. I love you.

Hitting the Bottle

I consider myself lucky to have been able to nurse my son. It is something that many women can’t do, and while at times it was painful (physically and emotionally), it was very important to me. I never vilified formula, as it helped me several times thru some of the difficult times during my son’s first months; like when I had a horrible infection and ended up not only having 2 wisdom teeth pulled, but also having to get a root canal corrected. I could barely eat, which affected how I was able to feed my son. I would sit there feeding him, in excruciating pain and crying not from the throbbing, but the fact that I knew my days nursing him were numbered. Nursing was so convenient, cost-effective and most of all, a connection I had with Poncho. When he was hungry, he knew exactly where to go. But between dental problems and his loss of appetite during teething, my supply dwindled and is all but non-existent now. I wanted to go for 6 months, and I almost did. But my pride could never get in the way of his health. I’m still having a very hard time with it, but I know other people are excited to get to feed him too.

Formula is quite the invention. While it is convenient, it has the potential to be very messy, and expensive to boot. And there are so many “if than”s involved. If you make a bottle and he starts eating it, than he must finish it in an hour or throw it away. Ok…so now I get to play a guessing game seeing as how there is no dial or gauge telling me how far from empty my son’s tummy is. Oh, he’s a quart low? I tried first giving him 2 ounces at a time to gauge how much he’d eat. That didn’t go so well when I had neglected to prepare more in advance. In the time it took to make another 2 ounces, he’d lost interest and I started losing my mind. Like my previous post, I’ve tried everything from new bottles, formula…you name it. But I think things are finally getting into some type of system. Just in time for daylight savings time to destroy it.

With lil guy hitting the bottle, I tried to find the silver lining and protect my ego. Things like “I can wear my old bras again!” A minor victory until I put one of my old bras on to realize that if it was even slightly uncomfortable before, it was absolutely painful now. **DISCLAIMER: I’m about to talk about boobs** For the first time in 6 months, I had my boobs back. Crazy to think, but they were serving their biological purpose for the first time, and now my relationship with them has changed. I used to flock with the rest to Victoria’s Secret, investing in their “technology” to make them look a certain way. That seems so very arbitrary now. I’m hoping with time, we can learn to work together again.

Every time I feel down about not nursing, I hear this voice in the back of my head telling me to “cut the umbilical cord”. It’s hard to go from being the provider of nutrition to him eating from a bottle than I made from a can. Of course, at today’s doctor appointment I find out that he is, obviously, perfectly healthy and that I am doing a good job, despite having switched to formula. You could not have told me this for the past 2 weeks. After being given what I can only assume was a number either he or the nurse rolled on some dice, I was focused on him reaching that number in volume of formula. And we would get close, but rarely meet or exceed it. The equation goes a such: If he doesn’t eat what the doctor says he should be, then something is wrong and I am failing as a mother. Come to find out the number was way off and had I listened to myself (and husband, mother, father, guy at the Yankee Candle store…), I would know he was just fine. But I never had a number before. Just a “full” and “empty” feeling; my own biological timer telling me “ding!” time for baby to eat. I needed to quantify something that truthfully can’t be quantified.

I play out this whole thing in my head: first, he stops nursing and goes to the bottle. Soon he starts feeding himself. Then, dad has to teach him things and eventually, he won’t need my help anymore. But that is the goal of parenting, I suppose. Do my best to give him to tools to be independent and self-sufficient. That, and un-teach certain things he will most likely be taught. See: the aerodynamics of peas being launched from nasal cavities

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I thought taking the time to do so was selfish and in no way benefitted my son. And just like that, I completely discredited something I love to do and may actually make me a happier person and better mother. It wasn’t until I began listening to an audiobook by Chris Hardwick (better known as the Nerdist, also the tItle of his fantastic podcast) that I checked my ego and got my ass in gear. You don’t have to be a nerd to gain something from this book/audiobook. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And with that, I’m making an effort to write more, even if only a short blurb. I did start this blog for my son, so I owe that much to him.

Today has not been a good day…actually, it has been a rather difficult week. Teething can only be described as hell for those involved. My poor little man has been in what appears to be a considerable amount of discomfort, but that is only my best guess. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t deliver the manual that I thought would come with my son. I mean, he had 9 WHOLE MONTHS in there! Even a general outline of likes, dislikes, goals…I got nothing. Today was a culmination of all my fears, resulting in a near emotional breakdown.

Poncho started showing a lack of interest in eating, mostly from a bottle. As days have gone by, he was eating less and less formula and in an attempt to ensure he got something, I increased his solid food intake. Then he lost interest in that. I called his doctor to ask how much formula he would need and burst into tears when I learned he was not meeting that goal…some days wasn’t even close. I would make him a bottle, to have him barely eat it of wholly refuse it. He’s crying, so he must be hungry! It’s been 4 hours and he didn’t eat much earlier, so why won’t he eat now? He’s crying, so is he in pain, or hungry, or both? This is where a manual would come in handy. I’m reminds me of a commercial where a baby has these little lights that illuminate on their foreheads to indicate what they need, kind of like the dashboard of a car. I have yet to see this happen with Poncho. Instead, I’m doing my best to recognize cues to meet my son’s needs. Long story short, I’m trying anything I can think of, including new formula , new bottle and even a dropper. I’ve tried teething rings, teething tabs. numbing gel and finally Tylenol. It has been terribly difficult to feel like my son is some kind of experiment, where I try anything I can to make and keep him happy and healthy. The thing is, he IS happy and healthy. In fact, the weight I got at the doctor’s office suggests he’s just fine. So what’s my problem. The control freak in me is trying to meet the ideal told by his doctor for no other reason that because the doctor said so. I search the internet and books looking for information and contact friends and family to get their input. The consensus is that there is no consensus. I’m seeking information from places and people who don;t know him as well as I do, and they do the best they can. After talking to them, I realize that everything is most likely ok. And that my stress and anxiety is only exacerbating the situation. Of course all this realization and clarity comes after the fact. And the lack of sleep only makes it that much harder.

I haven’t given up on today. I know he is ok, if only uncomfortable sometimes. I know that I will probably be up with him tonight, which isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. And I know that for the most part, almost every thing that happens is just part of it. I’m learning that it is much easier for me (and subsequently anyone within a 10 mile radius) to go with the flow. The control freak in me is fighting this, BIG TIME. But every time that part of me shows up, I dig a helluva hole for myself and I can see that now.

So, no manual. I try to keep mental (and even physical) notes about things that I’ve noticed and that has and hasn’t worked. I’m learning to make that part of my personality work for me and not against me anymore. And I’m almost certain that every day I will not only learn something new about Poncho, but also about myself.

A Bath Tub By Any Other Name…

I never had to register for a bathtub. A friend had one that they wanted to get rid of, so I gladly have it a home. I got it several months before Poncho was born, but I never really looked ay what it was capable of; until I won a different tub in an online contest. That’s when I realized what a gift I had been given with the donated tub.

I thought the tub we had been given was little more than a tub. Fill with water & bubbles, then insert baby. It would serve the basic function of bathing Poncho, and it would do it well. Since we had a tub, I never researched newborn/infant tubs. I would now like to share with you the tubs I have & why I adore the one we were given over the one that we won.

First, I want to extol the virtues of the Disney® My Friend Pooh Bath Tub:

Disney® My Friend Pooh Bath Tub

First: it was FREE! I had entered into a contest from Disney Baby on Facebook and won a package, which included this tub and other bathtime goodies. Like many other baby items, free is a great quality. Other than that, it seems to have mostly aesthetic qualities. It is very cute, especially with the Pooh bear legs, but one you take the Pooh bear sling out, seeing the legs is kinda creepy. The other nice thing is that it is a deep tub, which makes it easy to keep baby submerged and warm when bathing. The sling doesn’t do much to keep the kiddo in one place and serves as more of a slide, so your back and arms get a workout while bathing. (Not necessarily a bad thing, but not great when you’re exhausted at night) Otherwise, it serves it’s very basic function as a bath. And when Poncho gets older and stronger (able to sit-up better under his own power), then we’ll probably use it more.

Now, here is the tub we received as a hand-me down, the First Years Infant Bath Tub:

The First Years Infant Bath Tub

While the tub doesn’t have the Winne the Pooh theme I had adopted, I did not care. Again, it was free. Someone no longer needed it, so I made a home for it. It looks fairly simple, but it wasn’t until recently I understood what it was capable of. For newborns, it has a sling that helps support their entire body. What this tub has that the other doesn’t is built-in chairs underneath:

There is a little bump in the bottom of the tub, which helps keep the baby’s butt from sliding into the water. Since we have removed the sling to bathe Poncho, we realized what other potential the tub has. It has 2 positions to bathe: reclining and sitting up; making this a very adaptable tub that we can grown with for quite some time. The padding is also nice to keep baby extra comfy during bath time. Like the Winnie the Pooh tub, there is a plug drain in the bottom, but we never use that. It’s just easier to tip it (sans baby) into the bathtub where we bathe him. But you will notice a groove on the underside so it can sit nicely (and more securely) on a counter-top sink for bath time. The Winne the Pooh tub would probably not sit as well or securely, and I’m not going to try.

Finally, and almost always most importantly, was price. Obviously, I got both for free, so I had to research pricing. When I sent to look online, I found the Winne the Pooh tub on sale for an average of $33, where the First Years Infant Tub averaged $20. I also found the First Years tub for sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond, which could mean even more savings since they frequently mail coupons.

So, there is more to a tub than I thought. The only other thing I would recommend with either (or any) infant tub, is the White Hot® Super Safety Bath Ducky. It has been invaluable in helping me make sure I get the water temperature just right. The indicator is straight forward and helps me make adjustment while filling, instead of trying to fix it after I’ve filled the tub. And now that I’ve gotten better at tubby-time routine, it has become a nice tub toy which he thoroughly enjoys kicking the living daylights out of.

The Perfect Storm

I should’ve known better. Had I not been blinded by the prospect of a summer BBQ, I would’ve seen the planets aligning. I feel like an ass. The only connection I have with Catholicism is the guilt I feel for everything that happened that day. And it all started 13 weeks ago.

My labor was very painful toward the end, despite the epidural. My son was born sunny-side up (face up) which caused excruciating back pain. It was during this time in delivery where I cracked a tooth. I had forgotten about it, until 11 weeks later…when a large chunk of the cracked tooth went missing. The exposed nerve was only slightly more painful than the sharp edge that drew blood from the inside of my cheek. That’s when I started eating less. I would slather my mouth with Orajel until the day I went to see a dentist. I was hoping the would take care of me that day, but no such luck. After being put on antibiotics, I waited another 7 days to have 2 wisdom teeth surgically removed. Not only was this painful, but it also limited what I could eat. And that got the snowball really rolling…

Poncho was coming up on turning 3 months old, which meant a growth spurt would come right along with it. It is a time notorious for lack of sleep & fussiness, only to be exacerbated by my pain, loss of sleep and lower caloric intake. All I could eat was pudding, yogurt, ice cream, eggs & applesauce. Not your ideal diet when nursing. Of course this meant body wasn’t making what he needed, let alone the extra needed during a growth spurt. Add lack of rest for both of us, and what you get is the meltdown poor little Poncho had.

Poncho woke up an unusual 3 times during the night, and stayed awake starting at 4:45 am. He was fussy, wasn’t eating or napping well, which was his way of telling me today was not a good day to be out. All I wanted was to enjoy a party with family, but I should’ve listened to my instincts. I remember telling my husband if he got fussy again, we were going home. We should’ve stayed home.

The 45 minute car ride up offered optimism. Poncho slept almost the whole way, while his Gammo watched. Maybe the nap would put him in better spirits. We got to the house & unloaded the plethora of things you bring when traveling with a baby. I immediately went to feed and change him. Then all hell broke loose. He didn’t want to eat and or have a dirty diaper, the first 2 things I look for when he’s fussy. I felt he was uncomfortable, but I thought maybe that was due to being in an unfamiliar place. The delightful hostess offered to take Poncho so my husband and I could eat. He was fine for about 3 seconds, and then began to scream in a way I don’t ever recall hearing him scream. The next hour or so is a blur of tears, frustration and eventual decision making on my part. Looking back, we shouldn’t have gone. And even if we did, we should have packed up right away and just left. Everyone wanted to help, which I learned can sometimes make things worse. I held him and tried to comfort him, only to have him snatched from my arms so people could try something. I just couldn’t see how this was making things better, but I tried to be respectful of their experience. But it just got worse. I had forgotten to pack something to help with an upset tummy (will never do that again) and he was doing laps with everyone (but me) to try and make him feel better. By the time it was suggested we ask to give him a bath in the person’s house, I spoke up. “I’m done. He’s done. We’re leaving. I want to leave NOW.” We got him dressed, and it took every ounce of self-control I had to not totally lose it. I hugged the hostess, apologized for taking her away from her party and guests, and went tot he car. I was silent the whole way home. I still couldn’t find my voice. I was choked up with guilt and self-doubt. But at least the little one was calmed down.

We got home, unloaded the car and I fed him. He was exhausted, just as I was. But I could tell he was feeling better. I gave him something to help his upset tummy and laid him on the floor to play on him gym. And then I cried. It was MY milk that upset his tummy, it was MY decision to ignore my better judgment and be selfish by going to a party, and it was MY fault for not using my voice to make heard what he needed. I felt like a failure. Today was supposed to be special and fun. We were going to go to a party and see family, then come home and celebrate him turning 3 months old. None of that happened, and it was my fault.

After getting a lavender bath and nursing, Poncho fell asleep. His tummy was better and he had even smiled a little. He was ok. Would he have had a meltdown had we not gone to the party; probably. It may not have been as bad, or I would’ve handled it better because I had everything I needed at hand. Despite everything, I learned a lot. My instincts are there for me to listen to, and I don’t have to justify it. But those instincts are useless without a voice. My son was doing what he could to let everyone know he was unhappy. All he can do is scream, so it’s my job as his mother to use my voice for him. It was a painful lesson, but now that I can look back on it (objectively), I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from that day…I also learned the kiddo has a set of lungs on him.

3 Months Old

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