Friday, November 11, 2011

What the Little Prince has taught me today...


SORRY, Ma! The house is never going to be as neat as you remember. Not for quite a while. Might as well get used to it!


One of his milder messes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What The Little Prince has taught me today...

DURING my diaper change, for your own benefit and to preserve your sanity, keep dirty diaper FAR away from my grasp!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Farewell, Sleep!



ANYONE who knows me is aware that I have always cherished sleep time. Certainly, I have NEVER been a morning person, especially since in my career in media entailed working afternoon shifts, so there was never much need to rise early. Definitely never before 8 a.m. Alas, my wonderful relationship with sleep has become a casualty of motherhood!

Every person who has gone through it before you tries to prepare you for the sleepless nights and general reduction in quality sleep time that comes with becoming parents. However, as much as you think you are prepared, it is never like you think it will be. At least in my case...it has been positively BRUTAL!

For me, it all started the day the Prince was born. They tell you to get as much sleep as you can while you're in the hospital, but for me, that wasn't exactly an option because at our hospital, healthy babies stay in the rooms with their mothers instead of in a common nursery area so that the bonding process can begin immediately. Add to that the nurses checking in on us every couple of hours and time for sleep diminishes considerably.

Then when we got home from the hospital with our tiny bundle, we were on our own. For the first two months or so, the Prince would need to be fed every three to four hours, which meant 4 a.m. feedings and diaper changes, then rocking him a bit before he lulled off to sleep. Most times I'd be on my own. Hubby's all-important and singular role most times would be to elbow me in the ribs to let me know the Prince was awake. Many days in the first few months I'd feel like an absolute zombie! Battered and terribly sleep-deprived. I still have no idea how I was able to function during that time. I'm not much of a coffee drinker and couldn't really use that as a solution anyway since I was nursing.




Mercifully, as the Prince got a bit older and started sleeping for longer periods, and eventually through the night at three months old (insert happy dance here!), I began to get my bearings again. Still, my relationship with my beloved sleep has never been the same. You see, he, at least for now, appears to be a morning person. He wakes up at 7 a.m. most mornings. He'll play in his crib for a while, but of course, being a foodie like his parents are, soon enough he starts up the "What's for breakfast?" cry and once that happens, all bets are off! There was a time when I had no idea what 7:30 a.m. looked like. Now, we are bosom buddies! And as for the prospect of a mid-morning or afternoon nap, as Tony Soprano and his crew would say, fuhgeddaboudit! Because as is often the case, when the kiddies are napping, we parents attempt to use that time to get things done. Because, of course, there's always something that needs doing. And of course, this all is assuming we can get them to nap in the first place!

Boy, do I miss my beloved sleep. But at the same time, I must say, I am so grateful that the Prince is sleeping through the night. I am well aware that there are some babies his age and older that do not. And the strangely amazing thing is that even when I'm so tired that I feel like I'm moving in slow motion, a hug or a cuddle with the Prince provides me with just the energy boost I need to keep going. And that sweet smile of his is like an instant vitamin. Those moments make getting less sleep than I've been used to totally worth it!


Not a care in the world!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't sweat the small stuff

THEY say patience is a virtue. Not for me! Exercising any sort of patience has always been extremely torturous for me. Standing in line for too long has always made me feel like my head was about to explode! And you know those people who stand in front of you in line at the coffee shop or the restaurant and wait till they get to the cashier to look at the menu? ARRRGGGHHH!!! Torturous, I tell you!

I'm here to testify today, however, that the best possible cure for impatience is becoming a parent. Why? Because you have no choice! I remember those days when I could just get ready and get out of the house in a short period of time. Now, going out takes careful planning and preparation. Packing the Prince's bag of necessities; getting him fed and dressed; allowing time for naps (because a cranky, tired tot is no fun whatsoever when you're out and about) and last-minute diaper mishaps. Then there have been times when he was a little younger when I've rocked and rocked and rocked him to sleep. He's out cold, so I ease myself up off the chair and ever so geeeeently place him in his bed, only to have his bright eyes fly open less than a minute later and his ear-piercing hollering follow. What can I do, but start the process all over again. But it's all good. 

Parenthood is also a cure for obsessive neatness. Admittedly, I have never been a compulsive neat freak, however, I do consider myself averagely neat and like to see things in their place. So, of course, it has been quite a shock to my system to have toys, books, dvds, newspapers--and anything else my son happens to get his hands on during the course of the day--strewn about whatever room he's been cavorting in. I used to go about each room every night after his bedtime, putting things back in place. Now, I do it once every couple of days. And I'm not nearly as appalled as I used to be. It comes with the territory. 

My new train of thought is this: So the laundry doesn't get done as regularly as before. Big deal! It'll get done in plenty of time. The Prince makes a mess while trying to feed himself. Sure, I'm cringing, but hey, it's part of his growth and development process. So I let him do his thing and resign myself to having quite the clean up job afterwards. Thank heavens for the steam mop and Lysol wipes! So what if I get drenched while giving him his bath? At least the kid loves bath time. Let's hope that remains true. So what if I've been hit by projectile pee more times than I can count. Hey, it builds character!

One of our less messy mealtime events. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The best advice

OF course, the advice flows quickly and furiously during pregnancy. Some of it makes you want to pull your hair out, but sometimes you actually receive some really useful and valuable tips.

One of the gems I received from a good many people was "Sleep when baby sleeps". Alas, I admit, I have rarely followed this and I've paid for it. But the thing is, there is always something that needs doing, and nap time or bed time on many occasions affords me the perfect opportunity to maybe do some laundry, clean something, or heck, have a real meal! Sitting down!!

Another useful piece of advice I received was to sign up on as many baby or parent-oriented websites as possible for great parenting resources. I've signed up on sites like www.similac.com/strongmoms, gerber.com and pampers.com, among others, and get helpful advice from pregnancy to preschool via email newsletters in addition to coupon savings and even great freebies (because we all know, babies ain't cheap!).

Then there was this: "Whatever you do, DO NOT allow your baby to sleep in your bed and your room for too long. You'll never get him out!" I definitely took that one seriously! The day the Prince turned three months old, we moved him from the co-sleeper in our room to the crib in his own room; he's been happy there ever since...and so have we! (thanks, Jami!)

But the truly most wonderful bit of advice I've received has been to take as many photographs and as much video of baby as possible. That, as far as I'm concerned, is golden! I now know first hand how incredibly quickly babies change and grow. So it's very wise to chronicle their progress so that you can look back and marvel. What I would add is that it's very important to date the photos and videos, because it's easy to forget just when they were taken when you have scores and scores of photos.


Looking back on cute photos like this one
really makes me smile. 


Personally, I'm not a fan of the date stamp on photographs. I've tried it and find that nothing ruins a perfectly good photograph more than an obnoxious date stamp along the side! But thank heavens digital cameras have a feature where you can set the date and time and once it's correctly set, that information is available when you click "properties" on an image on your computer. The date and time also appear on the backs of printed photos.

Another good idea is to have camera(s), videocam(s) phone(s) at easy reach. Perhaps one in a different part of the house, because you just never know when you'll get that perfect candid shot. Those little tykes are so unpredictable!


I LOVE baby feet! So naturally, I had to take scores of 'footsie' pics. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swaddling "Houdini"

THE books, the parenting blogs, the magazines, the pediatricians. They all recommend swaddling infants. Baby Talk magazine notes that 82 percent of parents swaddle their babies. The idea is that wrapping them up nice and tight in receiving blankets or those handy little adjustable wraps will make the babies feel like they're back in the warmth of Mommy's womb and helps to calm them. However, The Little Prince didn't receive that memo. If there was ever a baby that HATED being swaddled, it was him!

From the day he was born and he was swaddled up after his initial examination, my hubby asked the nurses to give him swaddling lessons. "Go slow, please! I need to get this." he implored, and the ever so patient nurses happily obliged. Some nurses had slightly varied versions of the swaddle wrap technique, but the premise was the same. We were told that the "burrito roll" was one of the most secure and effective swaddling methods, so we decided to go with that technique. Two days later when we were discharged from the hospital, we (especially hubby) were fairly confident that we'd be able make The Little Prince nice and comfy. Little did we realize that we were dealing with a baby with magical powers!


Playing possum. He freed himself a half hour later.


Mind you, for the couple of days we were in the hospital, The Little Prince really seemed to like being swaddled in blankets. We now believe he was just so exhausted from the trip into the world that he couldn't be bothered with the attempt to get out. Because when we tried to swaddle him it home it was almost always a royal rumble, I tell you! Who knew a 5lb 7oz baby could be so strong? This boy squirmed, wriggled, tossed and turned so much! A tiny newborn against two adults and he was beating us silly! He liked sucking on his thumb so we'd try to accommodate him by leaving one hand out so he'd have access. But that just made his escape that much quicker. Not that it ultimately mattered. Some nights we'd get lucky and we'd have him wrapped nice and tight and he'd seem to resign himself. So we thought! Turns out was resting up to free himself about a half hour later. Many a time he'd have us sweating from the effort like it was the middle of summer even though it was almost Christmas! Many nights we were so desperate for guidance, convinced that we had forgotten everything the nurses taught us, we resorted to YouTube. Picture it: Hubby's battling it out with the squirming, hollering Prince while we're both poring over videos, hitting the pause button after every step. Hilarious! And pathetic!

It didn't take us long to conclude that we had lost this battle. The boy didn't want to be swaddled and that was that! He was the boss! Swaddling was OUT!


This was the ONLY time he stayed swaddled longer than an hour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Less is more...

THIS should definitely apply when reacting to news of a pregnancy. I had been warned about silly, insensitive comments by friends who had endured them while expecting, and of course, I was not to be spared. Here are some of the doozies!


The Little Prince


  • "Well, it's about time!" (This was the most common remark. I guess some people feel that late 30s is a bit late to get started. My Ob/Gyn would beg to differ, thank goodness)
  • "This is going to kill your career!" (I mean, seriously??)
  • "I didn't think you could get pregnant!" (I didn't know you had a personal relationship with my uterus!)
  • "You haven't even been married six months and you're already knocked up?" (Sometimes you just have to laugh off stupid)
  • "You're eight months along? And you're so small? I hope the baby is healthy!" (Aye yie yie!)
  • And the Grand Prize Winner..."Thank God you finally got pregnant. I was afraid you would wait too long and risk having a down's syndrome baby." (No words!)
  • Honorable Mention..."Say goodbye to your freedom." (I guess I know how she feels about her kid) 
Common sense should dictate that when someone shares their happy news with you, if you can't say anything nice or sensible, simply offer congratulations and keep it moving. But alas, it is obvious that common sense isn't as common as we think. Makes me remember a sign that used to hang at my Dad's restaurant when I was a child. "Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear." Wise words!!

Here, at last!

GREETINGS! The concept for this little blog of mine began dancing around in my head not long after discovering I was pregnant. As a soon-to-be new mother, with not a lot of recent hands-on experience around children, I found myself in dire need of information. So I’d spend those moments when I didn’t feel…well…BLEH…reading everything from parenting blogs and magazines, to the oh, so wonderful What To Expect When You’re Expecting. So, when my son Liam (aka, "The Little Prince") was born last December, I felt armed with a wealth of resources and reasonably equipped to cope. BOY, was I WRONG!!




Now, I know many of you seasoned parents will laugh out loud at me on that one. Don’t worry, I’m laughing too! The fact is, no matter how much you think you know, becoming a parent throws you for a loop and the best way to learn is on the job. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been wanting to share my experiences as a new mother for some time, but adjusting to life in a new country, with a new husband and a new baby has been quite the odyssey. Anyway, better late than never. I’m here and ready to share! Thank you for taking the time to visit my little space.

Let me reiterate that purpose of this blog is solely to share my experiences with you. Feel free to share yours as well if you'd like. I'll even post links to articles I think are relevant to topics discussed. But I do not purport myself to be an expert. So, if you happen to read something that is contrary to what you may know or have done, don’t shoot me…please!