Category Archives: grandparents

With a Little Help from Our Moms

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve loved becoming a mom and have counted my first year as one one of the happiest of my life. But as any mom can attest, it’s not always easy. But thank god mom’s also have moms; mine made my first year as a mom about more than just surviving it.

She was there from the very beginning with baby. She was ridding my closet of junk right up until the point where my contractions were so intense that I couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to go to the hospital. She sat with me all through baby’s birth and even cut his umbilical cord since dad wasn’t able to be there to do that himself. She stayed with me until it was clear baby and I could be on our own; we were going to be fine, but I remember never feeling so sad to say goodbye to her as when she left after baby was born.

Since then, she’s never stopped being the amazing support she was at the beginning. Even though we are far apart and she can’t physically help me when it would seem I need it most, she always finds a way to help make an impossible situation manageable. It’s easy when you’re feeling overwhelmed to forget to think yourself out of a spot, and I am grateful that she’s there to remind me of that.

For as much as I’ve appreciated my mom during this first year, I can say the same about my husband’s mom. Not only do I love how much she adores baby, but I would never have been able to keep up with some of my work if she didn’t think all her vacation days were well spent watching baby and taking care of our animals while I go to conferences.

And of course I count ourselves extremely lucky to still have both of my husband’s grandmothers in the picture to impart some of their wisdom on us as newbie parents.

So, I’m wishing all of them the happiest of Mothers Days today. Without them, this past year would have been immeasurably harder and a lot less fun. Thanks for being such great people to us. We love you beaucoup!

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Filed under babies, family, first year, grandparents, holidays, moms, newbie parents

Doing the Diaper Dip

One of the fun things we did with baby–at least for Mimi and me–during our trip to Chamonix was take baby to bébé nageurs swim class at the local aquatic center. Basically it was a Saturday morning free swim deal where parents (or grandparents) could take their babies and diapers would be welcome in the pool.

This wasn’t the first time baby had been swimming. He went three times last summer–twice in the River and once in the Lake–but it was definitely his first time in a pool. For as much as I thought he would be squealing nonstop in the water (he absolutely loves splashing in the tub, sink, or any other vessel of water), I’m not sure that he really loved it–despite the fact that the pool was heated for the comfort of the bébé nageurs.

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Part of the problem was definitely that he was tired; the jetlag was still kicking his dimpled butt. Part of it may have been that it was sensory overload. There were a ton of babies (and parents and grandparents), all moving in a gazillion directions; lots of shrieking toddlers jumping and splashing; tons of really brightly colored toys and mats floating all around; and even a big fountain shooting up from the middle of the pool.

But part of it also was me. Turns out there’s an art to baby swims.

I only learned that after one of the swim coaches (can they even be called that at this stage?) bee lined for my mom, baby, and me. At this point, I had taken baby out of this cool floatie thing–basically it was a thin mat cut in the shape of a fish with a hole in the middle where you stick the kid–and was just sort of holding him on my hip as I walked around the pool. Baby wasn’t unhappy, but he wasn’t splashing like a madman either. So, the swim coach came over and asked if I was familiar with le système de portage. The what?

I mean, I speak French, so I get what it means: a carrying or transportation system. But what was wrong with the way I was carrying my baby? That’s the way I carry him all the time.

But I listened as he explained in that very explicative French way that the proper way to have a nine-month-old baby in the pool was to put my hands under his bottom so that he was sitting in my palms, extend my arms out in front of me, and then begin to walk through the water. He then pointed out that I should pretty much make sure baby was submerged in the water pretty much up to his shoulders so he wouldn’t get cold.

Ok, so I was a little skeptical that there was a huge difference between what I was doing and what he was telling me to do, but I was polite and did as he recommended. Wow, what a difference. Baby went from just sort of being chill in the water–content but not excited–to really moving his arms and legs around, splashing and carrying on.

The guy went on to explain to me that when you hold babies on your hip in the water like you would do on land, they sort of go into a set position and don’t really have a lot of wiggle room. But by basically pushing them out in front of you–they don’t fall over, amazingly enough–they have the freedom to fully ambulate and interact with the water.

I’ll admit that I kind of felt stupid because I had sort of gone, “yeah, yeah, yeah,” to the swim coach and it turned out that he really knew what he was talking about. No wonder every baby in pool (except Aleksi) was just having the time of his or her little life. Their moms weren’t so ignorant as to the correct système de portage. But once I was clued in, everyone–baby included–had more fun.

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Filed under babies, baby travel, fitness, grandparents, swimming, Uncategorized

Grandstanding for Grandma

I just got back from my second solo flight with baby in as many weeks. We did pretty well, considering this last one was fraught with my typical travel drama. This round included arriving at the airport at 5:15am only to find out that someone–it’s still not clear to me whether it was Travelocity or Delta’s mistake–canceled the reservation on my ticket when I had to cancel my husband’s ticket. So glad I got up at 3:45am for that.

Baby held his cool through it all, minus a 15 minute scream fest on the tarmac in D.C. while the plane  was stuck in runway gridlock. I swear everyone was glaring at me as the minutes ticked by so unbearably slowly. I rocked him, I burped him, I tried to feed a bottle to him, I held him up to the window, I turned him on his tummy–I did everything I possibly could to get him to stop screaming. I finally had to whip out the boob, which is something that I never do in public–much less in front of a captive airplane audience–if I can possibly avoid it. Thankfully the larger woman in the seat next to me was able to scoot over to the aisle seat after the man sitting next to her bolted to the first available free seat one row over, so there was some discretion.

But even though we got to South Carolina a few hours later than expected, we got there without major incident. Grandma Linda and Great Grandma Pat were there to meet us, which was fantastic considering what a challenge it is to wheel a suitcase as you’re pushing a stroller and carrying what feels like the world’s largest diaper bag. Not to mention that I’ve pretty much worn the wheels off my Snap ‘n’ Go, so it actually takes some muscle power to maneuver it.

The weekend went by fast–too fast, as it would seem–but it was fun. We saw the family, did some shopping, had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner, and even stayed up until 1:30am having girl talk over a bottle of wine (okay, so it was two). But the best part for me was watching Ian’s mom just love on baby.

She’s been basically biting her tongue since the day we got married about having kids. She’s wanted nothing more in the past decade than to be a grandma. In fact, when we asked her what she wanted baby to call her, she didn’t even think about it. No need for a nickname that would sound young, energetic, even stylish. It was Grandma. End of discussion.

Of course, baby was at his very cutest the whole weekend so she would just go ga-ga over him, reveling in his every mood and movement. But I think the moment she loved the absolute most was most unexpected.

We were out Christmas shopping and randomly my mother-in-law says we have to go into PetSmart; they were having an adoption fair and she wanted to see the dogs. I should probably note that she (a) has a dog and (b) volunteers at a dog shelter, so she’s a dog lover through and through. I think she was also trying to tell us something about moving on from Joey.

There were probably 20 dogs there hoping to find a new owner, including eight Burmese Mountain-Beagle mix puppies that were oh-so adorable. So, there was a lot of barking. I was a little worried that the noise might scare baby; he generally gives a little jump when there are sudden noises like the doorbell or the phone ringing.

But not that day, not my kid. And fortunately, I happened to have my Flipcam hanging out in the bottom of my purse, along with some receipts, crumbs, and a random curtain tie back. (Don’t ask.) Baby heard the barking and just cracked up. Why? No idea. But it was funny enough that it kept us yelling out, “Ruff, ruff!” or “Grrr, grrr,” at every dull moment during the weekend. Check it out:

As I said, I was lucky enough to have my Flipcam on hand to catch this moment for posterity, or at least for the amusement of grandma. I highly recommend anyone who has kids should get this thing. It’s cheap, small, seriously simple to operate, and you won’t over do the whole video thing. It’s just perfect for any spur-of-the-moment grandstanding for grandma.


Filed under babies, daily life, emotions, family, grandparents, infants, newbie parents, travel