Thursday, February 23, 2017

Maternity Left

Suddenly I only have a week and a half left of maternity leave.

I know I'm very lucky that I got to take ANY maternity leave and get paid for some of it, given the experiences of so many. However, (1) my leave sucks when I compare it to Niall's sisters' over in Ireland and (2) I'm still sad that it's almost over. I've wanted this baby FOR FUCKING EVER and it just seems unfair that I have send him to full time daycare before I'm ready.

I know HE will be just fine. He's little enough that he won't remember, plus he's getting to an age where he probably could do with more stimulation and interesting things. The daycare we're sending him to is local and really nice. On his first day they had a little welcome sign up for him and I do love seeing his little cubby with his name on it and all the cute little things they have there. So far he has been to four days over the last 2 weeks. I go back to work on March 8, so we are easing in. That's all good and fine [weep].

Now that it's mostly slipped away from me, I did not realize how much of maternity leave I would spend physically recovering from Baby Clover's birth. As someone who had never given birth before, I sort of thought that as long as I could avoid the major surgery option of baby removal, the recovery wouldn't be so bad. Ha. Ha ha.
After 43 hours of labor, with two nights of painful contractions that went away by dawn tacked on before that, my body was wrecked by the time Baby Clover made his debut. And I didn't realize it.
It felt SO GOOD to have the baby out and to be sitting up on the bed, holding my wee babe while Niall fed me my breakfast tray that I didn't so much notice the steady increase in pain and exhaustion until WHAM it hit me two days later. My whole body hurt. My arms and legs and back and business district. And I hadn't slept for a week before Clover was born, so I was already starting out sleep deprived.

I just hadn't realized how hard that would all be, even though everybody warns you how sleep deprived and exhausted you will be. It also didn't help that certain family members of mine have repeatedly told me that I have an easy baby. Oh, great! So it's me, then. I'm just a failure because I feel like this is hard.

I think I finally felt mostly physically back to normal after about three months. Clover is four months old now and seems to have started in on a sleep regression (?), but can it really be a sleep regression when his sleep has NEVER BEEN THIS SHITTY BEFORE? He has started waking up about every hour or so and I just want to cry. It's suckey but fine for NOW, but when I'm expected to function at work I don't honestly know how I'm going to do it. It's a good thing my job doesn't involve life or death situations! Oh, wait.

I suspect that he also might be teething because he is drooling all over the place and gnawing on everything.
He has also discovered his toes, which is just about the cutest thing ever.

And he babbles and laughs and holds his head up. He loves his bath and he hates his car seat to the point where he arches his back and scootches down to avoid being buckled. He's a tiny little PERSON with opinions and having him is everything I ever dreamed it could be and more. Going back to work full time is going to suuuuuuck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Baby gadgets

Deep breaths. Wait, no. That's a lie. I'm taking shallow, panicked breaths over here.

Shall we think about something other than the rapid dismantling of human rights that is happening before our eyes?

Clover is 3 months old (and change). I am happy to report that I no longer have scary late night thoughts about dropping him or him getting hurt. I still go extra slowly and carefully when I'm carrying him down stairs, but that's just good sense.
Also, today I realized that maybe the reason that I'm shedding SO MUCH HAIR is that I didn't shed any for many months and it's all coming out now. That's a thing, right?

How about some baby related items! It seems like every time I'm around my parents or sisters they make some comment about how there are so many more gadgetty things these days than there used to be. It's hard not to take this as "you have it so easy with all of your THINGS," but I don't think they mean it that way (and that's a topic for another day).

Anyhow, a few things I like (that you definitely don't NEED, eyeroll) for a baby are:

The Puj tub. It's a little squishy, foldy uppy insert that goes into your bathroom sink. I love it. My actual bathtub is a shower/tub combo with a glass door so that means that the door and the runner thingies for the door are in the way. Plus, why would I kneel in front of the bathtub when I can stand at my sink? I dread the day my baby gets too big to bathe in the sink. But when that day does come, the Puj tub stores nice and flat!

The Binxy baby shopping cart hammock. This thing is adorable. It's a little hammock that goes in your shopping cart. It's really nice when I am buying more things than can fit in the stroller and it is RIDICULOUSLY cute. People stop and exclaim how cute my baby is, which I definitely don't mind. I mean, look:

Oh, hey also, how about that bear suit? It's adorable and soft and it fits over Clover's clothes and is easier than a blankie to keep him warm. It seems to be on clearance at Target right now. I bought one in every size.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Last Good Day


I guess the actual last good day was November 7th, when I set out my "I'm With Her" tee shirt and went to bed full of hope and excitement. On November 8th, I stuck an H sticker on the back of my newborn baby's onesie and we went out for our first solo outing to drop off my ballot. And then everything fell apart. And since then it seems like things are getting worse and more outlandish. I'm not surprised by the news anymore. I continue to be horrified.

I wrote a letter to our CURRENT president, Barack Obama, a few days ago. I don't know if it will ever fall into his hands, but I'm glad I wrote it. I didn't mention Fuckface von Clownstick in it, but just tried to focus on thanking Obama, the man who campaigned for hope.

I hope we survive the next four years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

night owl, bookworm

Let's see, it's about 2:30PM and I've just gotten up. I mean, I've sort of been up and down all morning-- feeding the baby, changing his diaper, pumping. But right now is when I can call myself FULLY up.
Baby Clover was up nursing several times in the night. He sleeps in a little buzzy chair that's attached to the pack n play right next to my side of the bed, for easy access purposes. He wakes up, I'll nurse him, and put him back in the chair. But last night was one of those nights where he was nursing so much that I would just doze while holding him, which meant that the sleep I DID get was not exactly the most restful.
So then Niall got up verrrry early to catch a verrry early plane for a business trip. And Clover and I stayed in bed, because he is currently still at an age where his favorite things are: nursing, kicking, his hands, and being held. At about 11:30 it was time for his morning nap (I *think* I can say this now- Baby Clover usually takes a morning nap for a couple hours at around 11:30ish. Now that I've said that it'll probably change, right?) so I swaddled him up in a nice cozy blankie, gave him his soother, and snuggled him up on Niall's side of the bed. We both fell asleep and woke up a couple hours later. It was heavenly. And now we're up up. Clover is on his play mat, cooing at his toys and sucking on his hand.
Today is one of those days where I think we'll just be staying in our jammies all day. It's lashing rain (don't you love that expression- Irish people and their delightful sayings) and we've got nowhere we have to be.

Clover is 3 months old, which is apparently the time when I feel it makes sense to start reading to him. He has some delightful board books (such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Jamberry) that we've been enjoying. He definitely likes it, but I'm sure he just likes the fact that I'm talking to him. Yesterday I took my car in to be serviced and they gave me a ride to the nearby mall. There was an actual real life bookstore in that mall, so we hung out in the children's section for awhile. We bought Llama Llama Red Pajama and The Runaway Bunny. And today I went on Amazon and ordered Is your Mama a Llama? (Apparently we're going with a llama theme here), The Carrot Seed, The Happy Egg, and I am a Bunny. I went on there to buy the Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Just Born to Lead book, which led me to The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. board book and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters by Barack Obama (those should arrive on the 20th, so I suppose I'll read the book about Hillary Clinton and then Obama's book and then have a good long cry).
I'm planning to buy some more classics like Ferdinand the Bull and Where the Wild Things Are. And I also want to somehow get my hands on that tiny book Juniper by Robert Kraus, which seems to be out of print. It was apparently previously in this Bunny's Nutshell Library collection, but I associate it with other tiny books like Chicken Soup with Rice. And I just figured out why- apparently THAT was part of another Nutshell Library collection, which I have now added to cart. A HA! Any other book recommendations?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pregnancy purchases

While I was pregnant, I looked up various lists and asked for advice about what essential things I would need while pregnant/after giving birth. There are a few items that stand out to me as the VERY BEST ones, so I thought I'd write them down.

1. Body Pillow- In July I was about 6 months pregnant and starting to feel rather large and unwieldily. It was at that point, in fact, that I got my first "You're about the pop!" comment. Haaaa. No, sir. I have 3 months of this left. Anyhow, in July Niall asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a body pillow. He got me this one, which I LOVE. It's like a very long, very nice regular pillow (not one of those funky shaped specifically-for-pregnancy pillows). It's memory foam with some sort of cooling technology built in which was nice for always-boiling pregnant Jules (a stark contrast from always-freezing non-pregnant Jules). I really REALLY liked this body pillow. I would wrap my arms and legs around it and I found that it provided a good amount of frontal support, which I needed more than backal support. I don't like to cuddle with a person in bed, but BY GOD I will spoon the hell out of this pillow all night long and make it breakfast in the morning.

2. Shower Chair- This was a late in the game purchase. Or, end of the game purchase. Last day of the... game... purchase, if you will. That is to say, we bought the shower chair the day I ended up going to the hospital (not the day Clover was BORN (thanks to my excessively long labor), but the last day I was home before I came home with a baby). So I was very VERY uncomfortable at that point. Anytime somebody asked me how I was feeling I always said "big and tired." I was so big and so tired. SO BIG AND TIRED. Everything at that point in pregnancy was uncomfortable and exhausting. I couldn't get comfortable lying down or sitting. I couldn't enjoy eating because everything gave me reflux. I couldn't enjoy a bath because I was too big for the tub to immerse the majority of my body in water, plus there was all the HOISTING in and out I had to do. The only things I really enjoyed were milkshakes and going to the gym. And, to be clear, by "going to the gym" I mean spending 15 mins on the cross trainer and then sitting in the hot tub. As a bonus I got to visually offend everyone around me by being an enormous angry pregnant woman in a bikini. I did get some sick pleasure out of the horrified glances I got for daring to be that pregnant and out in public. So I guess there were three things I enjoyed- milkshakes, going the gym, and scowling at everyone around me. Where was I? Right, the shower chair! I was so big and tired that taking a shower was exhausting, so I decided that I wanted a shower chair. There are fancier and nicer ones out there, but I got the regular old utility one. And it's GREAT. It's sturdy and it fits in my standard sized bathtub/shower combo. I liked it the one time I used it whilst I was pregnant, and it was ALSO good for those several weeks after giving birth when sitting down to shower was a good idea. And now it is very helpful for shaving my legs.

3. Slippers- Another item I requested for my birthday was a nice pair of slippers. Specifically, these (in purple). I actually saved those nice slippers for home use. I brought an old pair to the hospital and wore them while I walked the halls during my seemingly endless labor. They were hot pink with stars on them and actually attracted a lot of attention, so that was kind of fun. If I ever find myself in the position of planning for a hospitalization again, I will probably buy some cheapie, flamboyant slippers for this exact purpose. The pink starred ones ended up um. There was some blood dripped on them so I threw them out instead of bringing them home.

4. Momwasher- Speaking of things that have to do with blood and general grossness after having a baby, let's talk about the Momwasher! It was one of my impulse Amazon purchases that I spent gift card money on. Listen, I know it's not that much different from the squirt bottle thing they give you in the hospital, but I found the Momwasher's angle to be appreciably nicer. And when we're talking about raw, painful sensitive bits I think we can agree that even small improvements can make a significant difference.

5. Exercise Bike- WAIT! Hear me out. My husband is someone who wants to work out just about every day and I love him in spite of this. Shortly after Clover was born, Niall came up with the idea that maybe we should buy an exercise bike to have at home so that he could get his work out in while not simultaneously abandoning me with our newborn. We ended up getting this one. It folds up and stores easily in the closet. And sometimes Niall rides it while holding Clover, which is just about the cutest thing. One of these days I'll probably use it too, but riding a bicycle is literally the last thing I wanted to do after having a baby.

6. Recliner- Now this is more my speed. I decided that I wanted to get a nice, comfortable recliner for nursing the baby and probably sleeping in whilst he was very wee. I came up with a whole list of reasons and went to present them to Niall. "I think we should get a recliner," I started. "GREAT!" He said, evidently not needing to hear my very well thought out list of reasons. And that was that. We bought a recliner and it's everything I dreamed it could be.

7. Yoga ball- Or exercise ball or birth ball or whatever you call it. This was given to me by my friend D and it made a nice addition to our assortment of places for Jules to sit while pregnant. Due to the aforementioned big and tiredness, trying a variety positions/activities was a necessity. The ball D got me has sand or something inside of it which prevents it from rolling the hell away when you go to sit down on it. The closest thing I can find on Amazon is this. We still have the ball in our living room even though I'm not pregnant anymore. We like to use it for sitting or bouncing the baby or just generally cluttering up the floorspace.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


2017 is here. And that's good. Because I feel like 2016 was a series of various sized nightmares. With the exception of the birth of my darling baby boy, 2016 can pretty much die in a fire. I'm sure I'm exaggerating. I heard there was some good news about tigers and probably other stuff also, but the election and its aftermath have pretty much broken my spirit/heart/etc. As the results rolled in, I held my three week old baby and sobbed onto his tiny, fuzzy head. "Mama's sorry" I whispered over and over. Sorry for what? Not worrying enough? Not doing enough? Bringing him into THIS world instead of a better one? Yeah, all of that. Fuck. What is 2017 and all its trappings going to bring? I'm terrified.


I'm still mad at Google for taking away the Reader. I feel like it had a big effect on blogging, in terms of me reading them and writing in mine. And probably other people's too, I imagine. I wrote a sentence about my blogging community, but I hated that phrase so much I had to delete it. Anyhow, Niall asked me what my New Year's resolution was and I said I'd like to get back into blogging. Which, now I feel like I've set myself up for failure but whatever.


Our other resolution is to reconfigure our living room. We have a lot of open shelving storage and lately have been looking around the room and realizing that this little pip squeak is going to be mobile in a few months and... yikes. We don't have a huge amount of space, nor can we afford to move into a larger place, so we're going to have to get creative. Part of the problem is that we use our kitchen table as a desk, so we need to somehow get both functions out of the space. We went to Ikea yesterday and bought a smaller dining set. And we ordered a rolly stand thing for the computer. Once we get those things sorted, we'll be moving the couch where the table currently is so it blocks the big bookshelves. And we need a better filing system. Better, I mean, than "put the mail and important papers in a pile and set it aside until some internal alarm goes off and then panic and find the thing."


Is Hawaiian Punch equally bad as soda (Coke, specifically) or slightly less bad? I know it's bad, but HOW bad?


Today is rainy and I'm extra tired for some reason and Niall is at work, so I'm sleeping when the baby sleeps. He just conked out so excuse me, the couch is calling.