Mom’s broken, baby’s a Gryffindor.

A short list of times I’ve felt broken in the past three days:

  • Looking online at baby clothes, I cry
  • Hearing a snippet of Mr. Rogers on NPR fund drive,¬† I cry
  • Watching Pharrell perform “Happy” on the Oscars, I cry
  • Being out with friends, seeing a missed call from the babysitter, trying not to cry because I’d like to at least give the impression that I am a functioning adult
  • Watching the little bean nap, I cry
  • Thinking about watching her nap as I type this list….you get the point.

I’ve been trying to figure out these emotional surges and intensities. This child makes me so happy, why am I always trying not to cry? Why is it so hard to bear? I think I figured out the answer and it’s way simpler than I could have imagined. Love. Duh.

Being this girl’s mother is like being hit by a monster truck of love, and it’s nonstop. It’s terrifying. How can one little person be in charge of so much emotion? But she is. As she’s growing up, her personality is really starting to shine and I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT. Yesterday she walked through Barnes and Noble with me, holding a pink gardening shovel and pretending to dig holes in the carpet. When she sees her Dinosaur book, she roars. She had more fun wielding a straw as a magic wand during breakfast yesterday than I thought was humanly possible.

accio first pancake

Totes a Gryffindor.

My heart hurts. OUCH ALL THE TIME.

And that’s just the happy. There’s also the teething, tears, and head bumps that send her screaming. We’re feeling all of it together.

I’m over-empathetic by nature, and seeing the world through her eyes is a wild, wild ride for this mom. So, I feel kind of broken because the way I “work” is no more. The old systems have been made obsolete, and I’m living in little bean’s world.

When I got that missed call the other night I was at a loud bowling ally with a bunch of people. One of my friends asked if I was OK and I just responded, “Yeah. Motherhood has broken me.” It sounded dour, but this is what I meant. It’s broken, for sure, but in a good way.

ACCIO NAPS!

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A mummy master list of must-have STUFF

One of my dearest friends is pregnant. Actually, two of my dearest friends are pregnant, but for one of them it’s the first time. Yesterday she asked me if there was anything that I would suggest she get. I could not get the words out of my mouth fast enough.

It occurred to me that this is useful stuff, stuff I know I’m going to forget over the next few years. So, here is a list of the unexpected things I’ve found most important over the past few months.

(It starts with some frank nursing talk and then branches into more standard baby-gear things)

Breastfeeding:

Stretchy tanktops, like the kind from Old Navy. Lots of people wear nursing tops and love them, but I was too sensitive for that kind of constraint for the first 3 months or so. The stretchy tank tops are a good alternate.

Bobby pins or headband. If your hair falls in your face while you’re wrestling with the baby at 3am it might just be the thing that makes you scream cry.

Coconut oil for healing and soothing. Also, the Lansinoh is good too! (http://www.lansinoh.com/)

*A tip from a friend – she took a super soft old t-shirt and made breast pads out of them.*

Some kind of pillow(s). Boppies must work for a lot of people, but didn’t for me. I just liked the flat/hard pillow to lay the baby on. Figure out what works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment! If one kind of thing doesn’t feel right – don’t force yourself to keep using it.

A huge plastic cup with a straw that won’t spill if you’re trying to one-hand it. Mums get super thirsty when nursing, it’s like immediate and severe. You’ll want water next to you!

Electric pump to make bottles so you can be away from the babydoll for more than 2 hours if need be. Also, a manual pump so your boobs don’t explode if you are away from the babe for more than 2 hours. Just find a public restroom and go for it.
I love the Tommy Tippee bottles (http://www.tommeetippee.us/) They are slow flow so that it’s not such a huge shock the first time the baby has a bottle instead of you. I think there are a lot of good bottles, but I love these.

An understanding that this will be physically exhausting at first but it will get better. Also, an understanding that you need so many more calories than you used to. So, ice cream, mac and cheese, bring it on.

I have been bad at this, but take your vitamins.

Other baby stuff:

The woombie (http://www.woombie.com/) is something I’d get for the next time. It’s a swaddle that just zips up. No loud velcro, no wrestling with manual swaddling in the middle of the night. Sounds pretty good!

The Rock n’ Play – our babe loves sleeping in this simple rocker.
(http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/51903)

Pack n’ Play¬† w/ Bassinet and changing table. It’s got everything you need for a baby station in the house.
(http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3225353)

A wrap. We use the Moby Wrap. Yes, it’s a carrier, but I’ve got the most value out of it when she was very small and needed to be close. Sometimes when she was very upset, it was the only thing that would calm her down. I think it reminds them of being in the womb.
(http://www.mobywrap.com/mw/Home.htm)

A big exercise ball. This is another good way to soothe the angry babe. Just hold tight, support the neck and bounce bounce bounce.

Yoga pants, many. These are for you, not the baby. Although, that would be adorable.

Play mat with lots of colors for tummy time.
(http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2266983)

Burp cloths/Swaddling blankets/Any kind of blankets: I thought “oh god, too many blankets! But guess what, we’ve used ALL of them. Aiden and Anais is the best. Super soft, kind of expensive, but worth it.
Car seat stuff:
They have little pads that cover the strap that is by baby’s neck. I just found these like, two weeks ago and I wish I did sooner.
(http://www.amazon.com/JJ-Cole-Collections-Strap-Graphite/dp/B0013IGZIE)

The RoSK is SUPER USEFUL. Really warm and waterproof. I love it. Also, it can go over the Moby.
(http://www.rainorshinekids.com/)

The Pad-a-lilly that helps you not break your arm when you carry it around.
(http://www.padalily.com/)

A good mirror so you can see baby while you’re driving.
(http://www.amazon.com/Jeep-Back-Seat-Mirror-Black/dp/B004V2AGIE/ref=zg_bs_2237472011_6)

Clothes: People will buy you clothes. You’ll probably be ok. But it’s good to have both newborn and 0-3 sizes on hand for the first few days/weeks. Who knows how big or teeny baby will be?

Camera! Take pictures and pictures. I’m already super nostalgic for when she was little. And she’s still little.

Other stuff, like the baby bath, baby wash, wash cloths (i love Circo), dipes, wipes, the whole shebang — there’ll be a thousand things you figure out you need. But these things were keys for me.

Maybe most importantly, patience, with yourself , dad, and baby. Willingness to ask for help. Tons of love. You’ll figure out how strong you are and WHOA, you are strong.

And OMG look what you get!!

emmie super smile

Waiting for a girl.

It’s going to happen – she is going to arrive. My doctor is good, though, about not ringing any alarms. At my appointment yesterday she just said, “You know, if you feel a gush of water, or if you’re having time-able pain in your abdomen that comes five minutes apart, go ahead and give us a call.”

So you mean, if my water breaks and I go into labor? I can read through your tricksy subtext, doctor.

I do, however, appreciate how breezy she is about the whole thing. Because, although it could happen soon, it could also just…not. First time moms often go past their due date (mine is February 8th) – so it’s extremely possible that we have a Valentine’s baby.*

So life becomes a series of internal movements, and of feelings. It becomes trying to just concentrate on things like baking chicken, organizing work tasks, entering writing contests, and figuring out which high chair we want to buy. The nesting instinct that so many of my peers have enjoyed has been merely an abstraction to me. Something you hear other people have but don’t really understand, like Restless Leg Syndrome or the desire to own reptiles as pets.

If you’ve met me in real life, you know I’m not much of anything, vertically speaking. I started to think about the girl inside and wonder if she has any of those genes that make my cousin Matt so tall. And if so, she’s probably so cramped in there that she’s already started resenting me. She’s probably already developed claustraphobia. THESE ARE THINGS I’M ACTUALLY THINKING ABOUT.

I guess it will just be more material for her stand-up set. Oh god, what if she becomes a comedian…

We’re so excited to meet the little lady who has been breakdancing inside of me for many months now. It’s a mixture of emotions, from elation, to anxiety, to utter disbelief that this is something I get to do. She will be a very lucky chick, having lots of amazing support people around her (including a grandmother who threw her a gorgeous shower despite having pnemonia. Yeah, you read that right. My mom is a warrior.)

Even if she does want to do stand up – we’ll all have her back. And I have some very funny friends I can introduce her to.

*On the topic of a Valentine’s baby. I’ve thought this through and although it would be super cute for the early years, little girl could end up getting a raw deal in the gift department once she has a significant other. A duel “Birthday/Vday dinner” every year would stink and I’d end up hating the guy. Man, I already hate that guy. Get a haircut, hippy.