Monthly Archives: December 2010

Counting My Christmas Blessings

It’s been a good long time since I had one of those overwhelmed-by-emotions new-mommy moments. Maybe my hormones have finally found some semblance of balance (it has been six months) or maybe I’ve been just too darn busy to entertain them for any longer than a nanosecond. But last night I sort of felt the need to invite them back in.

My husband was late getting home, so I was alone in getting baby ready for bed. I gave him a bath and put him in his super soft fleece pajamas before settling the two of us into the wooden rocking chair (yes, I’m old school) next to his crib. Normally, I would read to him as he nursed himself to sleep, but last night I decided to just listen to the Christmas music that was playing downstairs and rock.

Oh Boy, Oh Joy

At one point I looked down to find that baby had drifted off to sleep. I ran my hand across the top of his head, smoothing his hair back into place. I then took my fingertip and traced the outline of his eyebrow, the bridge of his nose, and finally the little curve at the back of his neck. I don’t know what it was about this last little detail, but it triggered a sort of double helix of emotion–sadness and joy, wrapped tight around each other.

See, baby is named after my brother, who we lost in 2000. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade already because I don’t miss him any less today than the day he died. In some ways I think I might miss him more because I know now all the things that he’s missed since he’s been gone. He officially died from complications following a liver transplant. However, the real underlying problem was that he had a very rare genetic immune disorder, a disease that has plagued my family genes for generations, passed uniquely from mother to son. For a long time, I feared that burying sons would be a family tradition.

But by the grace of god, it turns out that I am not a carrier of this awful  disease. So, as I sat there, looking at him by only the light of the lamp in the corner, the reality of this very simple thought really set in on me: I am not going to lose him.

He will never have to know the fear or the pain that my brother (and actually my uncle, too) knew. Or develop the courage, the tenacity, or even the wit to be able to deal with it all. He will not have to take it one day at a time, making the most out of every enjoyable moment.

This is not to say that he’s got a carte-blanche on life. But god willing, this will be the biggest, baddest bullet he’ll ever have to dodge. At the very least, it means that whatever happens as his life rolls out before him, this will not clip it short. And for all the new fears you develop the day you become a mommy, it’s such a giant relief to have at least one scientifically put to rest.

So, as I take stock of my baby just days before his first Christmas, I see so many blessings wrapped up in this happy, healthy (and hefty) little boy that I know it’ll take me a lifetime to count them all.


Filed under babies, daily life, emotions, family, hormones, infants, mommy care, moms, post-partum

Buggin’ Out

My husband and I reached a parenting milestone this week. We were both taken down in a big way by some nasty bug or another that no doubt came from a crumb cruncher. It’s like a game of Clue to try and figure out which crumb cruncher.

Was it the wee one in the nursery with the teething toy? With everything that he touches, drops on the floor, and puts in his mouth, it wouldn’t surprise me if he picked something up that way despite all my efforts to sanitize. But he really never exhibited any symptoms more severe than the sniffles and a little cough.

Was it the nanny in the kitchen with the warmed bottle? Possibly. She has had a bit of a runny nose and a cough. And then there’s the question of the nanny’s two kids, ages 2 and 7. I know she had to go pick up her 7-year-old from school the other day because he threw up. But I saw him later that day and he seemed perfectly fine, so maybe it was that his breakfast didn’t agree with him, as his mom suspected.

Or was it a neighborhood parent in the living room with a brunch plate? I hadn’t considered this option until my husband pointed out that we had gone to a meet-and-greet brunch last weekend for a neighborhood new parents group. There were a bunch of kids there, although at the time I wasn’t looking at them as pint-size petri dishes.

While Patient Zero remains unknown, the end result is not. I started feeling bad Sunday night, so I decided to go to bed early. I went upstairs, pumped, and as I came back downstairs to put the bottles in the fridge, I had to take an emergency detour to the bathroom. I think the last time I threw up like that was Colgate Spring Party Weekend ’98 after my roommate and I tried to drink 3 bottles for $10 Andre champagne out of a two-story funnel. (True story.)

Monday morning was just painful. I had spent the whole night alternating between my face feeling like it was on fire and my teeth chattering and had a wicked headache. Fortunately, the nanny was on duty, so I pretty much handed the baby off to her like a baton in a relay race and holed myself up in my room with my computer for the day.

Just as I was starting to feel better by the late afternoon, I get a call from my husband. He wasn’t feeling well. By the time he got home, it had gone from bad to worse.

If I thought I was sick then he might as well have been on his death bed. His symptoms were like mine times 10. So bad, in fact, that he woke up this morning and said, “I dreamed I had a disease.”

“Really?” I said. “What disease?”

“TTS,” he said.

“What’s that?” I said.

“Toilet to sink,” he said.

We’re both on the mend, thankfully. But the experience was definitely eye opening. I had no idea baby germs could take down–and with such wrath and fury–two healthy adults. I always sort of thought that the parents who worried about their kids getting sick from daycare or church school or wherever else kids interact were a little on the paranoid side of things. Or, if they were getting sick all the time, a little more immune deficient or susceptible somehow. After all, in the decade plus that my husband and I have known each other, neither one of us has been remotely close to as ill as we’ve been in the past two days. But down we went. For the first time but certainly not the last, I’m sure.

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Filed under babies, daddy care, daily life, family, health, hygiene, infants, mommy care, moms, newbie parents

Bootie Call

I don’t know what it is with my kid’s right foot and socks. No matter when, where, or what kind of sock I put on his right foot, within minutes (if not seconds) it’s off. Sometimes before I can even get the other sock on the other foot.

This is of course a worrisome trend now that it’s winter.

My mom bought baby some fun booties from Old Navy that I thought for sure would solve the problem. They’re not only cute, but warmer, longer, and heavier than a regular sock, so I figured they’d be harder to kick off. Just perfect for those chilly December days in D.C. when a snowsuit seems like overkill.

So, the other morning I was feeling particularly motivated, so I packed up baby in his stroller and headed off to the gym. Baby was looking super cute in his fuzzy winter coat, polar bear hat, fleece pants, and booties. For added comfort, I had tucked a blanket in tight around baby’s thunder thighs. Paranoid that he’d be cold or that we’d have a bootie casualty, I stopped at nearly every corner and re-tucked the blanket.  A block and a half from the gym, I stuck my hand under the blanket to be sure I felt two booties.

Well, I must have been imagining things because as I undressed baby at the gym, the pudgy piggies on his right foot were bare as could be.

Cinderella Man

I hate to admit that something as simple as a missing sock could ruffle my feathers, but I was seriously annoyed. Hadn’t I made a super human effort to make sure the sock specifically did not go missing? And what were the chances of me finding it again? And darn, they were really, really cute.

So, after my workout, I headed down the elevator to the Target to buy baby some more socks. I had already been there to stock up on socks earlier in the week, so I definitely was irritated to be spending more money on stuff I already bought. But the thought of baby’s little digits feeling a little nip on the stroller ride home made me decide to splurge on a few more pairs. Of course, within the course of my running in and out of the store, three people stopped me to tell me my baby was missing a bootie, leaving me feeling like an inadequate mother despite the fact that I was standing there with three pairs of socks in my hand.

But the problem was solved and we were rolling back home. On a whim I decided to retrace my steps. And in true fairy tale fashion, I saw this:

What are the chances?

I can’t tell you how irrationally psyched I was to have found the long lost bootie. I mean, it’s a sock, after all. But somehow I felt victorious, as if I had outsmarted the universe. It was out to get me–and steal my baby’s bootie, no less–but I had not only persevered but triumphed.

At least for the day.



Filed under babies, baby clothes, daily life, infants

My Life in Six Words Or Less

My step-mom used to keep a journal to help her deal with some of the issues she was going through as she battled ovarian cancer. After she died last year, my family got a chance to peek inside.

One of the things we found in the journal was that she used to play a game that she called, “My Life in Six Words or Less,” where she basically would jot down a little six-word phrase to describe how she was feeling about her life and the people in it at any given moment. Two stick out in my mind:

  • One dedicated to my dad: “Come closer, kiss longer, my love.”
  • Another to her grand-kids: “Will travel for hugs and kisses.”

There was something so sweet and simple in that little exercise that I think about it often and try to come up with my own phrases to describe my life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like my life is very deep at the moment. Here’s a recent one:

small baby + big mess = my life


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