Friday, June 29, 2007

*sniffle, sniffle*

Today is my last day of maternity leave; I reluctantly return to work on Monday. I really don’t know how I’m going to manage this.

It’s funny, I spent the first two weeks of leave trying not to cry because I felt overwhelmed and I wanted to get back to work and my normal life. I’ve spent the last two weeks of leave trying not to cry because I’m not ready to go back – I kind of want this to be my normal life now. Who knew seven weeks could go by so fast?

I know I’m being melodramatic, but I feel like Monday will be the beginning of me missing Kaylee’s childhood. Instead, I’ll be handing her off to strangers, who may be the first people to see her crawl, hear her first word and watch her take her first step. Despite my recent rant about people who criticize daycare, I can’t help hoping that some heretofore unknown wealthy relative will suddenly hand me enough money to pay off a few bills so I can afford to stay home.

Come on great great uncle Whoever, I could really use your help here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Um, the baby exploded"

Some of my friends never want to have kids. When asked why, they usually cite the gross aspects of parenthood. They don’t want to deal with the poop, the pee and all the other fluid-filled adventures. When people decide to become parents, they decide to accept these unpleasantries with the knowledge that their adorable progeny’s love and cuteness will more than make up for all the messes.

What new parents might not realize, though, is just how far a baby can fire his or her bodily fluids. For example, I didn’t know that a peeing baby girl could clear a changing table with her urine stream, earning the honor of becoming the first family member (including the dogs) to pee on our new carpet.

A few days ago, our happy family was gathered together on the couch, watching TV. I was holding the baby, trying to teach her how to stand up, in the hopes that she can make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the strongest baby ever. It was a happy moment. It ended quickly.

Suddenly, Kaylee exploded, spitting up all over my chest. This was the very first time in my life that I’ve experienced the feeling of vomit running slowly down the inside of my shirt. And let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the feeling of warm vomit pooling in your belly button.

Naturally, I immediately handed her off to Rob so I could clean myself up. We both assumed our volcano baby was finished erupting.

I was in our bedroom changing clothes when I heard Rob saying, “Oh God, oh God. What do I do?”

I looked up to see Rob coming down the hall, holding the baby out in front of him while she sprayed the carpet, the wall and generally everything else within a three-foot radius. It was amazing. I didn’t think she could have that much formula in her.

And behind Rob, our dog Kody followed with glee, cleaning the carpet with his tongue.

Which leads me, finally, to my point: All parents should own dogs, for cleaning purposes.

Teen preview

Kaylee’s generally pretty predictable: Sleep from about 10 p.m. to about 7 a.m., waking a couple of times for a meal. Hang around the house all day, playing a few games with Mommy and taking a couple of lengthy naps. Go to sleep again at about 10 p.m.

Every once in a while, though, she likes to mix things up a bit, experimenting with staying awake all day, just to see what the rest of us do when she’s usually napping.

This results in her being crabby and whiny all day long. I imagine this is what it’ll be like when she’s a teenager. Suddenly Mom can’t do anything right and she’d rather be out with her friends.

If Kaylee were able to talk, here’s how today’s conversations would have gone:

ME: Hey kiddo, do you want to play Superbaby?
KAYLEE: God, Mom, Superbaby is so two days ago.
ME: All right, how about Flying Baby?
KAYLEE: Flying Baby is just another name for Superbaby. I’m not stupid, you know.
ME: Well, are you hungry? Here’s a bottle.
KAYLEE: Hmm, I guess so. (Drinks for a minute.) No, I changed my mind. I think I’ll spit this on you instead.
ME: How about playing in your swing or your bouncy seat?
KAYLEE: All right. (Sits in the bouncy seat.) Hehe, that cow is funny. … MOM! GIVE ME BOTTLE! RIGHT NOW!
ME: Now, don’t get upset, but I think maybe it’s time for you to take a nap.
KAYLEE: (Screams hysterically for 10 minutes.)
ME: Hey, look, Dad’s home.
KAYLEE: Hi Daddy! (Promptly turns into a cheerful little angel.)

Author’s note: This was actually written yesterday, but I didn’t get around to posting it because I had to spend the rest of my evening trying to calm a fussy baby. I found it all very frustrating until this morning, when I leaned over my baby for the first time today and her whole face lit up with joy at seeing her Mommy. That solved everything, right away.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My little delinquent

I had an eye appointment today, and the subject of Kaylee came up during the eye exam. I mentioned that my mom was watching the baby, and apparently, the doctor misunderstood what I meant. I meant that she was watching the baby today. He thought I was saying that my mom would be watching the baby every day when I go back to work. He then launched into a bit of a rant about how terrible daycare centers are, and how he can’t believe there are parents out there who subject their children to such places. I quietly listened, and neglected to mention that Kaylee will be subjected to just such a place beginning in July.

People have strong opinions when it comes to daycare, I’ve found, and it’s surprising how often they’re willing to provide those opinions, even when they run the risk of offending you.

Before Kaylee was born, several women asked about my childcare plans and then got teary-eyed when I said she’d be in daycare. If there’s one way to make a mom feel awful about a decision she’s made, it’s openly mourning the fate of her unborn baby. Here’s a typical conversation:

WOMAN: So, do you plan to quit your job when the baby’s born?
ME: No, I’m going back to work after a few weeks.
WOMAN: Oh. Do you have family in town who can watch the baby?
ME: I have family in town, but they work, too. We’re putting her in daycare.
WOMAN (tears forming in her eyes): Oh no. Oh no. How sad… Don’t you just feel terrible? Wouldn’t you rather stay home with her?
ME: ... ... ... I have to go now.

It’s not that I don’t want to stay home with my baby – it’s just not an option financially. And although I understand that I run the risk of raising a little miscreant who bites people and says the F-word all the time because she learned bad habits at daycare, I also think that maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to raise a decent human being while both parents work.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, though. If, in 20 years, I find myself bailing Kaylee out of jail for the tenth time, I will gladly go back to my eye doctor so he can say, “I told you so.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Feed me feed me feed me FEED ME!

I’ve read that after a while, parents learn to discern their baby’s different types of crying. Depending on the sound she makes, a mom can tell if the baby’s hungry, sleepy, etc.

Apparently, there’s now a machine that can figure that stuff out for you. This device claims to identify exactly why a baby is crying in 20 seconds, using handy little smiley faces and frowny faces, all for $65. To me, this seems kind of silly. Ask me again in a few months, though.

So far, I’ve been able to identify approximately two of my baby’s noises. There’s “I’m bored.” And there’s “Oh my God, I’m starving to death. Please FEED ME. Are Mommy and Daddy EVER going to feed me???? I’M DYING HERE!!!! Help! Someone please help me!”

We’re still working on interpreting the rest.

The other children

In 2002, Rob and I fell under the spell of an adorable puppy gaze and came home from the mall with a 2-month-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi that we named Bella. A year later, we found ourselves with a second one, named Kody. We’ve spoiled them rotten ever since, and they’ve been like kids to us – kids that we could leave at home in kennels while we were at work, and who had an annoying habit of nibbling on the edges of the carpet.

Up until about May 14, the dogs really could do no wrong (other than the time they tore up the kitchen floor in our apartment). Sure, they barked a lot and occasionally had accidents on the floor, but they were our babies and we didn’t mind.

Since bringing Kaylee home, however, they’ve suddenly become capable of doing wrong. Lots and lots of wrong.

That habit of being constantly underfoot now means that I’m worried about tripping down the stairs while carrying the baby. Their need to alert me every time a car door slams three blocks away now carries with it the danger that they’ll wake Kaylee from her naps. Their desire to lounge on every piece of furniture in the house means I’m constantly picking dog hairs out of the baby’s mouth.


When I was about five months pregnant, my uncle told Rob and me that we’d probably exile the dogs to the backyard after the baby was born. I assured myself that wouldn’t happen, because our dogs held highly important positions in our household.

And now… well, now the dogs keep up their doggie duties, alerting me of visitors and keeping an eye on the household – from their stations in the backyard.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What a relief

I was flipping through a photo album today and came across the picture to the right, which I’d saved from a trip to Denver that Rob and I took about a week after we got married. We’d been lured by a photo booth that promised to show us what our future child would look like.

Apparently, we could expect an orange girl with a huge forehead and an ‘80s hairdo. Our poor child would never be able to find a hat that fits.

Instead, we got this:

Whew. We really dodged a bullet there.