This Mommy Runs on Caffeine

This Mommy Runs on Caffeine

October 31, 2009

Lessons of a Rookie Mommy

How long does it take to go from rookie mommy to rockstar mom? Perhaps that will happen when "the baby" turns 18- I’ll then finally have it all together? Lately there have been a few mishaps and oversights that remind me that I am certainly a newbie at this even when I think that I’m getting the hang of it! I’m amazed that she teaches me so much everyday and thankful that I didn’t have to pass a test to be a parent (The only reason that I scored half the points I did on my SAT was because I could spell my name right!) ….. from the second that they set her little body on my chest it has been a learning experience (hey, I fully admitted to the entire delivery room that I didn’t know what to do with her and they still let me bring her home! LOL). My biggest lesson learned is to enjoy and savor the moments and to have a sense of humor about it.

When she was barely six weeks old, we ventured out on one of our usual Saturday morning adventures. Jason asks as we’re heading out the door, “Do you have her diaper bag?” Me, “Yes, it’s in the car.” A few hours later, the baby awakes cute as a button but ravenous and we go to get the bottle ready… no diaper bag. Well, I thought it was still in the trunk but Jason had taken it out of the car. As our diaper bag (I wanted something that Jason wouldn’t be embarrassed to tote in public, and you know that I’m so not fond of pink.) looks more like a laptop bag than one for all the necessary gear for baby-on-the-go, he is very mindful of not leaving it in the car.  (If something were to happen, I'd love to see the look on the face of that unsavory type when they discover Pampers, a binky and a can of Enfamil!) Terrific. We’re at least 20 minutes from home with a hungry baby. Nothing makes you feel more like a loser mom than a crying baby in front of other more experience Moms.  At least I had tossed a bottle in my purse at the last minute. Luckily we were at a “Supermom” yardsale- yes, mommies who aren’t rookies anymore. No, they were actually a mom’s group (I search craigslist for yard sales with “baby” stuff) and my new friend Jodi had a few ‘on-the-go’ formula packs still around to give me. Thank goodness- it would have really sucked to have to buy a $22 can of formula with all of the ones that we had at home! Lesson learned: The bottle in the purse now also has the powder formula in it; and I double check for the diaper bag.  Another positive outcome from this- I’ve since joined that "SuperMoms" Mom’s group and they rock!

Speaking of diaper bags; even though I've remembered to double check for them to "go" with us, I just now got the hang of also double checking what goes in them.... ran out of wipes and realized it in the middle of a poo diaper change- wet scratchy brown craftpaper towels had to make doo, I mean do.  And a very recent diaper blow-out meant needing a change of clothes.  It was fun squeezing a 12-pound baby into a 8-pound newborn onesie.   The undersized white cotton over the beer (formula) gut... and terribly clashing socks- poor baby.  My very first time I got to embarrass her.  Lesson learned: You can never have too many diaper wipes stashed everywhere and it's important to check the "spare" clothes in the bag especially with a growing baby!

I’ve been able to get away with filing Kiera’s nails up until the past week- they are growing super fast (a sign of a healthy baby!). Well, cutting her nails are not up there on the list of favorite things to do with my baby. She was nice and sleepy through her left hand, and then I get to the middle finger or her right hand, and what happens- bad mommy cuts the poor little baby’s finger. Oh man- it was so traumatic- for me. She cried just a little bit (nothing like she does sometimes when she is so so hungry!) and that was about it, but I’m still mad at myself for doing it. So, she has three long nails… for two days…. When she woke up with a mean little scratch on her nose from one of the remaining talons, I had to bite the bullet and conquer my fear of baby nail clippers. Those little buggers are still sharp! If I had finger nails like that, I’d save hundreds of dollars every year on my mani/ pedis! Lesson learned: clipping baby nails should be left for when baby is fast asleep and when Mommy hasn’t been drinking. (Just kidding… well, the drinking part.)

Then there was the time that she had a melt-down in Aisle 13 at Wal-Mart when I was grocery shopping…. I don’t like carrying around the big ol’ (although cute) diaper bag. Fly on over to the baby section and buy some more pascies that we didn’t need. Wait, cancel that- have you tried to keep tabs on those little buggers lately? I’m sure at some point I’ll be happy that I bought those…. Oh, and now I can relate to other parents’ that are encountering a mid-store melt-down instead of rolling my eyes like I used to do pre-child. Lesson learned: If you don’t want to tote the big ol’ diaper bag, then ensure that your beloved Coach purse is complete now with an accessory pacifier, Avent bottle and wipes. If only I could invent a baby swing that folded up into a nice purse size!

Oh, and of course who could forget the time when I dropped her… just kidding! See, I guess worse things can happen! She’ll never remember the forgotten diaper bag, Mommy-inflicted middle finger cut or cryfest in the cereal aisle. (Oh honey, you just wait until Mommy says 'no' to the Froot Loops when you're four… we’re a SugarSmacks family afterall.) Lesson learned: I’ll never be ‘the perfect’ parent (helllooo Mommie Dearest)- hell, who is? Perfect or not, I will always strive to do my very best for little Kiera and to love her with my whole heart. I’ll always comfort you when you wake up from a bad dream (like last night- what? You drank my moo juice along with your Cakesters….oh nooo… I mean what else can a little baby dream about?); kiss your boo-boos to make them heal faster; give you advice that I’m sure you really won’t listen to; and I will always be there for you.  I will never judge you, abuse you, call you names or hurt you.  I'll love you with my whole heart and soul and someday I hope that she will think that I'm that rockstar mom- as good of a mom to that sweet little baby as mine is to me!

October 25, 2009

Life is Sweeter

Wow- what a difference a few weeks make! (Or maybe it’s the happy pills or finding new mom friends- LOL!) Life as a new mom is becoming more enjoyable and rewarding these days. I don’t feel like a complete alien anymore- not that being a new parent makes you feel inhuman, but the first few weeks are just so unfamiliar, challenging and demanding that you have no idea who you are, or which way is up or down. I’m feeling more ‘normal’ now and am really beginning to enjoy my daughter! We both have done some growing in the past few weeks….. Kiera is nine weeks old and she is already becoming such a little lady. Her beautiful blue eyes are filled with wonder and delight and so much promise; and when she smiles- yes- she is smiling constantly- they sparkle. She bats those baby blues at me and it just melts my heart, along with that toothless ear-to-ear grin that makes her eyes crinkle at the corners…. Makes me laugh every time!

She started to blossom and develop a little personality about two weeks ago- I think that she is going to be a big flirt and the class clown and she is not camera shy (which is a good thing considering that I am constantly waving a camera in her face!). Her waking periods are much longer (sometimes as much as five hours!) and she is starting to discover the world around her. She is fascinated by faces and especially her own reflection in the mirror- she will lay on her play mat so content for hours (at least until she gets hungry) and tell herself how cute she is! The other day she discovered her hand and stared at it for about 10 minutes and the decided to taste test it and suckled on it- yummy! And what a chatterbox she is- she is a talker- this, she gets from me! More about little Kiera according to Mommy’s observations so far:

Sleeping: When she falls asleep she does so grunting, squeaking and humming. I’ve nicknamed her my “little mouse” because of this. She also does this when she is just beginning to wake up and that is usually accompanied by at least one leg kicking and/or her arms flailing about. This also means that Mommy is lucky enough to wake up to this instead of crying- lucky me! Speaking of sleep, she is a great sleeper and is almost making it through the night perhaps only waking up once for a feeding between 3 and 4 a.m. Studies show that bottle-fed babies feel full longer therefore sleep a bit more. Her sleep schedule is fairly regular through the early afternoon.  She is pretty easy to put to bed although she does have a few episodes where she fights it (must think she is going to miss out on something fun) and we resort to rocking her or on a rare occassion, the vaccum!

Eating: Kiera likes the bottle. Not a candidate for a 12-step program anytime soon, but she loves her feedings- me too, it’s the one time in my life that I’m a real hero to her! Fortunately she hasn’t developed a digestive preference for a certain brand of formula and we can feed her my favorite and it’s called “any-one-that’s-on-sale-and-gives-us-valuable-coupons!” And believe me, as much as I like Similac (hint, hint nice formula company) I’m not picky right now either, especially since she is powering through a can in record time. Oh, she also doesn’t mind her bottles at room temp (warming them actually makes her gag and spit up more) so, lucky us! I do have to say that she takes after Daddy in the, um, burping, department. It’s amazing how such a powerful little sound comes out of that itty body! Solid.  We let her set her own schedule for feedings and have learned that she smacks her lips and sticks out her tongue as an early sign of hunger..... catching this before she cries has made for very pleasant meal times and a very happy baby!

Playing: She loves, loves, loves her Soothe & Glow Seahorse (this is one of the very first toys that we got for her- it was new in the box at a yard sale!) I think that the wave sounds and the glowing belly fascinates her, but whatever it is, continue on! Personally, it always makes me have to pee. The play mats also score high marks- one has a musical toy on it that she likes to talk to. It plays three types of sounds that aren’t terribly annoying (I’m learning fast that noisy stuff might go to the grandparent’s houses!)

I can’t wait to start to introduce more toys to her, it’s not like we are lacking in that department! Although her pediatrician recommended a new toy - Sophie the Giraffe- so now I am on a mad hunt for that! We also just found her a cool Baby Einstein talking caterpillar that lights up and will teach her very important stuff- for now though I think that Mommy is much more amused by it than baby.
One of her (ah hem, Mommy's) favorite activities is to play "Baby Fashion Model."  When she is sporting a particularly fashionable outfit, we have a little photo shoot.  She's a total ham... and trust me, she is a budding fashionista- a clothes-hound and that’s definitely a genetic transference from Mommy. Jason laughs and calls her my little dress-up doll but she is the one who really picks out the outfit. I hold some choices in front of her one at a time and she chooses by smiling- and she definitely has a preference one way or another! I am addicted to adding to her wardrobe but I have no problem hunting for baby clothes bargains at yard sales! My only problem is trying to claim “this old thing” for her outfits (I have a feeling that it might be hard for me to let most of these clothes find new homes once she outgrows them since “Kiera” has so many favorites!)

As you can see, we’ve begun to settle into a comfy and happy life! We are learning and growing more each day. And loving…. That, of course is without saying- every day I fall more in love with this child. Life is so much better sharing it with her.

October 19, 2009

Our First Family Outing!!!!!!!

We had our first BIG family excursion over Columbus Day weekend with a trip to Apple Hill. This is an annual event that Jason and I have enjoyed every October since we first got together over 10 years ago (we just celebrated our ten year anniversary!) and it was exciting to take Baby Kiera up there this year. Last year we had *wished* that 'next year maybe we'll be bringing along a Baby Waggoner!'  Even though she is just an itty bitty, it was so wonderful to share with her a part of Fall that I just totally love! Wonderful weather, picture perfect foliage and yummy apple donuts, apple pie, well, apple EVERYTHING! It was a BEAUTIFUL day- and unfortunately thousands of other people had the same exact idea that we did- to enjoy Apple Hill this particular Saturday.

On our way up the hill, we stopped at my office in Folsom to see Sher and had a nice visit. This got us to Apple Hill around noon and the traffic was already backed up at the first two exits. Neither Jason nor I are fond of large crowds so we were trying to think of an alternate plan (go to Tahoe) but the thought of apple donuts totally had us drooling! We accidentally discovered that the secret to avoiding the long line of cars is to go to the Camino exit- that’s closest to Rainbow Orchards anyways and they have the BEST apple donuts up there! My only regret for my visit here is that Jason, sparing caloric intake, only ordered six donuts….. “because we’ll eat them all…” yes, that was my plan…. to enjoy every single crumb (and if he's lucky, I'll share!) (Donuts and Coke are two lingering cravings from pregnancy!) A proper meal wouldn't be without having dessert before lunch- a yummy barbequed tri-tip sandwich and fresh apple cider…. And of course, we had to ruin the whole thing and actually get some healthy apples. *hee hee* I tried a new one this year- JonaGold- and it was crunchy and sweet-tart- yum! (Wait until you hear my recipe for Caramel Apple Dip to make them even better!) We shared our table with four people from Southern California who in turn shared a piece of apple pie with us- I think we definately got the better end of the deal!

We then went to Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch- took some great photos and stood in a really, really long and slow line for a caramel apple that was to die for…. It was so good. And then we were tired of the crowds (see?) and decided to still drive up to Tahoe to see the foliage and drive around the lake. The Aspen trees over Luther Pass on Hwy 89 hadn’t really begun changing yet but it was still a beautiful drive. We made a short pit stop in South Shore (yes, honey, with tag team baby duty, both of us can still gamble!  HA!) , and drove 89 over to Truckee and I-80 to avoid the Apple Hill traffic on the return. Jason had an ulterior motive too- he wanted to stop in Colfax for Pizza Factory pizza (me donuts, he pizza!).

Kiera was a complete angel the entire trip- she was awake for awhile but mostly enjoyed the views from behind closed eyes from the sling or her comfy car seat! She is a great traveling companion! It was a great day for the Waggoner fam and we are looking forward to sharing it with her again next year!

Oh… I almost forgot my recipe for the apple dip…. I commonly refer to this as apple “crack” as it is highly addictive.

8 oz.- cream cheese, softened (don’t even bother with low fat…..)
¼ c. brown sugar
½ tbsp of vanilla
½ bottle of Smucker’s Caramel topping
½ cup of finely chopped peanuts or toffee chips (Heath)

Add first four ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and cook for 3 minutes. Stir thoroughly and pour in peanuts or toffee, heat again for 1 minute. Serve warm with apple wedges, graham crackers or over ice cream!   Oh, hell, why bother- just use a big ol' wooden spoon....

Daddy & Baby Ki

   Family Picture Op!             

Aspens at Luther Pass


An infamous apple DONUT!

"Dad- you ate ALL the donuts? 
What is this "sharing" that you refer to?"

October 8, 2009

Dear Blog: There's a Reason You've Been Neglected

II haven't blogged for awhile; I haven't really had the inspiration, or the time. Life with a newborn is infinitely more time consuming- sometimes hard too- than I had ever imagined. I guess I really didn't think about it- it took some energy just to get through the pregnancy- I shuddered to think about how BabyW was actually going to come out or what to do after. So, here I am seven weeks past the birth day, and seven weeks un-pregnant. Your body just doesn't instantly "snap" back to normal. (Speaking of snap: bless my 19-y/o sisters' heart, she thought the vajay-jay just instantly snapped back to it's former size, er, shape.) The road to recovery has been a little bumpy- both physically and mentally. Personally, it *bleepin'* sucked; and I'm a bit p.o.'ed that no one every told me that the recovery was awful.... their stories stopped at labor and delivery. Albeit, every Mommy has a completely different experience (and I often stuck my fingers in my ears and sang, "la la la la" when they did try to tell me a birthing story)- mine was uncomplicated and pretty normal. And that is where uncomplicated ended.....

For the past few weeks, I haven't been my usual self... although that was suspect ever since we saw two pink lines.... hormones much? Prior to conceiving, I was pretty mellow and low-key; a social butterfly to say the least. I'd heard of the "baby blues" and wasn't surprised of my crying jags for the first few days thanks to raging preggo hormones. Problems sleeping (go figure- a newborn) and fatigue and minor anxiety are also pretty normal for as much as two weeks. Unfortunately, here it is over seven weeks later, and I am still having the same symptoms in addition to changes in appetite, no desire to participate in favorite activities (including Law & Order reruns or my beloved blog!) uncontrollable crying jags, overwhelming anxiety and feelings of inadequacy as a mother. I am part of the 25% of new moms that suffer from Postpartum Depression (PPD). And being so uncomfortable in my skin, and seeing Jason's concern, I decided to seek help. With that said, it's unfortunate that I am just a minority of those that have chosen to seek help for this (my counselor says that the rate of PPD is much higher, just differs in severity and cases reported). Mind you looking in the mirror and admitting that something was wrong has been very difficult- I've always been the strong one, the friend that people lean on during crises, and used to seeing the glass as half full. PPD has completely changed that and makes you feel like you are walking through life in a thick fog. But, I wanted to change that and to be able to really start enjoying my precious new daughter and what's left of my maternity leave.

I don't know if it started with the unexpectedly early, well, earlier than I thought (I always figured that she would arrive early, but not after only one day of maternity leave!) delivery; a labor that was uncharacteristically NOT like the one I had imagined; guilt over dismissing my poor mom from the hospital (we're past this...) or raging hormones; but I've felt off kilter since little Kiera arrived. And in all honesty: although I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, I did not love what I'd experienced so far of motherhood. And then I was feeling guilty for NOT loving motherhood; we've been trying for years for little Kiera and here she is..... what is wrong with me. I wanted to go back to work after week four because it was familiar and seemed much easier than my 'mom' job. I remember sitting in the bathroom (when Kiera is a bit fussy she calms down listening to the running water) with a crying baby in my lap, crying myself and thinking, "What am I doing? What did I get myself into?" And then I felt guilty. What the hell? Within the last year, six of my friends have had babies and they were great moms; they didn't have Postpartum Depression... why me? Why after sailing through 37 weeks, this? (The pregnancy or delivery isn't any indication of if someone is going to have PPD.)

After my six-week check-up with my OB, and a timely phone call from a friend who is a nurse in women's health whom both referred me to a Postpartum Support Group run by my health plan. It was comforting to listen to other women who were feeling very similar to me, including three moms' who had additional children. I didn't feel so alone or ashamed of my feelings and has also helped me to feel a bit more normal (I also shared my feelings with one of my friends and she admitted to having some PPD issues and not taking to motherhood instantly- but now she loves it and her beautiful daughter doesn't know any differently!)

I was prescribed Zoloft to begin breaking through the fog and taking the edge off of my anxiety, and my dear husband is very supportive. Whether it's just to call and say hi and tell me I'm doing a good job, or dragging me out of the house on what we call "Mommy Field Trips," to taking over when he gets home from work. Getting out is important- maybe just to Target or to get something to eat, but I'm out of the house. I'm going to be attending my first Moms' Group activity tomorrow night and am looking forward to that; having events to look forward to is an important part of the recovery process. I also look at my beautiful daughter- our little creation and miracle- and I feel better. It's not instantaneous though- I still have good days and bad days; fortunately the good have outnumbered the bad.

The other day when a Tweet (Twitter and Facebook are an endless source of entertainment for me during feedings!) led me to discover a very heart wrenching blog that made me have a revelation. In short, the family had a beautiful daughter that was born premature; fought to live and thrive and then suddenly died when she was around three. I felt so much empathy for that poor family; and appreciative that we have Kiera. I leaned over a picked up Kiera and hugged her tight and promised that I would work really hard to feel better. I'm not expecting an overnight miracle (she took nine plus months after all!) but just some progress and hopefully the bond between Kiera and I will grow even stronger!