Random Monday Things

  • We took Charlotte to the zoo on Saturday. The first exhibit we visited was the elephants. She stared wide-eyed at a solitary elephant standing in the shade before proudly proclaiming, “Dog!” Every single animal we saw that day was a dog. I love this kid so freaking much.
  • I don’t know what came over her, but Charlotte slept for 7 straight hours last night for first time in about 6 months. My body didn’t even know what to do with 7 straight hours and it woke me up about 4 times, but still… 7 hours. Can we make this a thing? Pretty please? (I guarantee we’ll be back to 3-4 wake ups starting tonight, but I can dream.)
  • Weaning is… going. Since Charlotte’s birthday, I’ve decreased my dose of domperidone from 160 mg a day to 110 mg a day (10 mg per week), and I’ve cut down on pumping at work from 3x a day to once a day. Charlotte is becoming increasingly disinterested in bottles ever since I started mixing cow’s milk in with breast milk, and that’s fine by me. The day we went to the zoo, she nursed in the morning and at bedtime and that was it, but then on Sunday she wanted to nurse every 10 minutes. She’s keeping me on my toes.
  • All of a sudden, Charlotte dropped her second nap. It came out of nowhere. She was taking two good, solid naps religiously, and then one day about a week ago, she just stopped. Her morning nap suddenly turned into a 3-hour thing and all hope of an afternoon nap vanished. It took us until this weekend to realize that the afternoon nap is officially history, and now we’re scrambling to try to get her to take her nap later in the day so she doesn’t fall apart in the late afternoon. I have no idea what a target nap time should be at this point, but I guess we’ll find the sweet spot eventually.
  • If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering if there’s some correlation between a good night’s sleep and the dropped nap. Only time will tell.
  • I don’t get to wear Charlotte very often these days because a) it’s been scorching hot and we haven’t been going out much, b) I’m not with her all day, and c) she wants to walk everywhere now. Even so, all of a sudden when I pull out the Tula, she gets all excited and runs over to me with her arms out. It’s so damn cute. I can’t get enough of this kid.

A few weekend photos for good measure:

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Well That Escalated Quickly, aka In Which I Swear a Lot

This morning, I told Catch’s aunt that I need a bottle of vodka and a valium. Ha ha ha… except I’m serious, folks. I really am. Knock me the hell out and wake me up when a) my kid is done teething for a while and b) she can sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time.

This mama is tapped out.

I keep reading comments from moms whose kids eat whatever is put in front of them, and I just want to scream. On Sunday, I spent several hours in a hot summer kitchen making spinach banana muffins and quinoa/broccoli/cheesy mini muffin things, and you know what happens to them all? They get thrown to the (very enthusiastic) dogs or smashed in the hair that I wasn’t planning on washing that night.

At least my dogs appreciate my cooking.

And okay, my wife does too.

Why does it bother me so much that she won’t eat what I cook for her?! Why do I not just say fuck it and feed her the frozen pancakes and cheese tortellini that makes her so happy?

Speaking of kitchen-y things, my mom cleaned our kitchen when she was babysitting Charlotte last Monday. It was miraculous. Everything sparkled like an 80s dish soap commercial. I was DETERMINED to keep it looking beautiful. For the last week and a half, I have been diligent about wiping counters and clearing dishes. Unfortunately, our nanny has not caught on to this phenomenon and when I get home, the sink is full of dishes (EVEN THOUGH I HAVE BEEN EMPTYING THE DISHWASHER EVERY DAY JUST SO THAT DOESN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN) and the table/counter is covered in crumbs/coffee and I want to scream. Charlotte takes 2 hour naps… WHY CAN’T YOU JUST WIPE UP YOUR COFFEE WHILE THE KID SLEEPS?

GOD.

And you know what? Fuck Donald Trump. I am so sick of politics and election shit that I just want to SCREAM. WHY IS THIS COUNTRY SO GODDAMN STUPID?

Also, my dog won’t stop trying to eat herself and there must be something wrong with her and we’ve tried everything we can think of and she really probably needs to go to the vet except that we can’t find time to get to the stupid vet plus it’s going to cost part of the small fortune that we pay to the nanny who can’t put her water glass in the dishwasher.

Phew.

Now where the hell is my valium?

Thirteen Months

Yesterday morning, I spent a good fifteen minutes picking Charlotte up, holding her upside down and then flipping her upright and returning her to the floor. She laughed and laughed and kept demanding that I do it again… and again… and again. How could I say no? Nothing makes me happier than making this little girl smile. She laughs, I laugh with her, and in that moment it feels like we are invincible. Our life has never been so full of joy and silliness.

Walking has been the biggest development this month. She started really taking independent steps on her birthday and kept going until there was no stopping her. She is now a force to be reckoned with.

At thirteen months, curiosity is ruling the roost. Everything must be touched, tasted and explored. Walking is helping her with her explorations and she toddles from one mystery to the next without a hint of fear.

Meltdowns are happening more frequently these days—usually involving crocodile tears, flailing limbs, and stomping feet. The best way to snap her out of it? Elmo. Dog save us. The moment she hears that voice she snaps to attention, and in an instant, the worst is behind us.

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She has stopped waving hello and goodbye and replaced that gesture with blowing kisses. She blows kisses when she catches her first glimpse of her grandparents on Facetime, reaffirming her status as Master Manipulator. She knows precisely when to lay on the cute.

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Everything round is a ball. When she wakes up, you’re pretty much guaranteed that the first word out of her mouth is going to be ball. We spend a lot of time trying to encourage her to say anything other than ball. Some words that we’ve been successful with recently are dog, hi, bye, bottle, and bubbles. Yesterday, she said mama for the first time. When she’s hungry or sees food, she says yum yum. If you point to a dog or a ball in a book, she will correctly identify them.

The Cozy Coupe is pretty much the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you ask her if she wants to go for a ride in her car, she starts making car sounds (basically blowing raspberries.) She also makes car sounds when she sees the car puzzle piece in a wood puzzle she has. We take her for a ride around the block in her car daily, and she makes her little car sounds as she rides along holding the steering wheel. The night before her first birthday (and party), Catch and I sat on the driveway in the dark struggling through our total exhaustion to assemble that car. It was totally worth it. She LOVES her Cozy Coupe.

Food has been one of my biggest challenges with this kid. Everything is so hit-or-miss. I spend hours in the kitchen on the weekends trying to prep healthy breakfasts and lunches for her for the week, and about 75% of the time, my efforts are futile and she won’t touch it. Dinners are the same. She gets whatever we’re eating for dinner and we’re usually lucky if she’ll eat 3 bites. Last week I said screw it and bought her Trader Joe’s silver dollar pancakes and a package of spinach & cheese tortellini and she ate like she has never eaten before. It’s not like she’s living off of pop tarts, but I hate that she only wants to eat processed foods. I’m a good cook! What’s wrong with mama’s meals?! Sigh.

Sleep still eludes us. I’m up with her an average of 3-4 times a night. Let’s just not talk about it.

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Teething has been absolutely brutal this month. She has ten teeth right now, and I’m pretty sure #11 is going to show its face any day. I feel like she is ALWAYS teething, and if you consider that she got her first tooth at 5 months and has ten now at 13 months—well, that’s a lot of teeth and it basically means she is always teething. Blueberry popsicles help. (Next time, mom is going to make something less messy!) Ibuprofen helps too. Lately, we have a blueberry popsicle while we wait for the ibuprofen to kick in.

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Even in my sleep-deprived fogginess, I am hyper aware of how magical this age is. She is discovering her world and finding her voice. It’s so amazing to watch. I wish I could remember every second.

Unexpected

This morning, I decided to take some time to explore some new blogs. I haven’t done that in ages, and my feed has been exceptionally quiet.

The very first blog I came across involved newborn twins, and the feeling came out of nowhere—like I’d been punched in the stomach.

A lot of people mention pregnancy loss fairly regularly, and I know I’m not one of those people. Not because I don’t think about it—I just usually don’t have the words.

Catch and I have spent a lot of time this past year quietly debating whether we’ll have a second child, and I think we’re fairly settled in our decision not to. It’s been a really difficult subject for me. Partly because I want Charlotte to have a sibling so badly, and partly because for that brief period of time, she had a sibling. If we hadn’t lost that sweet little heartbeat, I wouldn’t have to think about this. There would be no difficult decision. It would just be.

Most days, I can’t imagine having two one year olds to contend with. I have felt that way throughout every stage of Charlotte’s life. But I also know that if we’d been allowed to keep both of our twins, we would have managed. It would have been hard—so hard—but we wouldn’t have known any other way.

Twin things still bother me. I have to be honest about that. I really struggle sometimes—like when I came across that blog post this morning. It feels like twin mamas are part of an exclusive club that I was kicked out of. I have unfollowed some perfectly lovely bloggers who have twins just because my heart can’t handle it. (There are also a select few of you whose twins don’t phase me in the least, and I can’t explain that one bit.) Still, I was surprised by my reaction this morning. I thought I had moved beyond that sort of emotional response.

I am so grateful that I got to keep my Charlotte. I’m lucky that I didn’t lose my entire pregnancy. I experienced a loss, but got to stay pregnant. It’s a bit surreal when I really think about it. Charlotte is my silver lining and she shines so bright, but I will always wonder what if. And why. And I will never forget the way I felt the day we heard those two beautiful heartbeats.

Ball!

Last night, Charlotte meticulously picked out the peas from her dinner, exclaiming, “Ball!” before eating each one.

This morning, I walked in to Charlotte’s room to lift her from her crib and was greeted enthusiastically with, “Ball! Ball! Ball!”

It was 3 o’clock in the morning last week when the sound of “Ball! Ball! Ball” chirped happily through the baby monitor.

It was 11:30 pm when I went in to nurse her on Sunday night and she drowsily proclaimed, “Ball! Ball! Ball!” with her eyes half-closed before latching and going back to sleep.

My kid is OBSESSED with balls.

We have tried other words. We thought for sure “dog” could maybe rival “ball.” After all, there are two dogs constantly running around our house, not to mention that she sleeps with two dogs (Wubbanubs) and has countless books that involve dogs. And sure, she’ll say dog. She’ll walk up to her bedroom window and spot Rolo sunning himself on the grass and yell, “Dog!” but then she’s right back to panicking over where her ball went. (For the record, our house is literally COVERED in balls. SO MANY BALLS. But she always wants the one ball that’s under the dresser/bar/entertainment center/couch.)

She has a few other words in her repertoire that are used as she desires. Hi, bye, apple, bottle, and yum are regulars… but they’re not ball. Nothing is ball.

Ball for President.

Everything round is a ball. Balloons, nectarines, the round crystal vase up on the shelf—they are all greeted, “Ball!”

The Olympics are on right now, and Charlotte will gladly let you know when one of the sports involves a ball. Beach volleyball is a strong favorite.

Does anyone else find it amusing that the daughter of two lesbians who lives in a house where the only male resident has been neutered is obsessed with balls?

Ball! from Molly on Vimeo.

Mondays

There’s so much I could say about Mondays. I thought I used to dread Mondays, but that was nothing compared to how it feels now that going to work on Monday means leaving my baby behind for the next 5 days. It just sucks.

Today though, we’re going to talk about my mother. Now that Catch is back at work, my mom is back to watching Charlotte on Mondays. Today was her first day back on the job, and my morning went something like this:

Charlotte sitting on the floor holding Catch’s dirty shoe

Me: Mom, grab that shoe—she’s going to put it in her mouth.

Mom: She’s fine. She’s just holding it.

Me: She’s going to put it in her mouth.

Mom: Let’s just give her a chance and see what she does.

Me: She’s going to put it in her mouth.

Charlotte puts the shoe in her mouth

Immediately following that:

Me: Make sure you keep the baby gate closed today. She cannot be in the kitchen.

Mom: It’ll be fine. I’ll watch her.

Me: No, mom. We don’t want her in the kitchen.

Mom: But I’ll watch her.

Me: In the two seconds it takes you to open the refrigerator, she will dump the dogs’ water bowl, pull all of the dish towels out of the drawer, slam her fingers in said drawer, and turn the knobs on the stove. Just trust me. She cannot be in the kitchen.

Mom: Ignores me

It’s going to be a long Monday, my friends. A really long Monday.

The Best Laid Plans

Last week, I made a meal plan for the rest of August. I found recipes, printed them out, stapled them all to my little calendar page and then started the grocery lists. I also made a list of items to make for the freezer, since my goal is for Mondays to be freezer nights—with the hope of making one thing a bit easier about Mondays.

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(Fridays are circled because they’re now officially “date” nights–we eat dinner together after Charlotte goes to bed. We’ve done it the last two weeks and it’s been fantastic. It keeps us from spending the evening in a heap on the couch staring at our phones.)

After a Costco run, a trip to the grocery store, and a solid day and a half in the kitchen, I managed to put the following in my freezer:

  • 3 batches of my grandma’s spaghetti sauce
  • 50 turkey kale meatballs (to eat with spaghetti squash) (Great recipe–have made these a number of times. I use kale instead of spinach because we grow it in our garden.)
  • 2.5 lbs of turkey taco meat
  • A crap ton of caramelized onions (to add to things randomly because they take too long to make on a weeknight)
  • 2.5 lbs of sloppy joe meat with veggies
  • 3 lbs of chicken burger patties that were supposed to have kale in them but I forgot to add the kale even though it was washed, chopped and sitting right there (This is another good recipe that I’ve made before – they have great flavor, freeze really well and they’re easy to cook up)
  • 8 chicken breasts in a soy/bbq marinade for chicken rice bowls
  • A mason jar of taco seasoning mix
  • A mason jar of sloppy joe seasoning mix – I don’t know what got into me with the sloppy joes, as it’s something we would normally make maybe once a year, but it seemed like an easy freezer dinner so I went with it.

It’s not the most glamorous list, nor is it the most glamorous meal plan, but I am damn proud of myself for doing all of that prep work. I know it’s going to pay off in the end.

Naturally, I have already screwed up and I accidentally cooked this Sunday’s dinner last Sunday because I failed to notice that I neglected to plan a meal for last Sunday. (Lemon asparagus chicken stir fry—it was good, but I added a bit of dry ginger, a smidge of brown sugar and quite a bit of extra teriyaki sauce and soy sauce because it seemed dry. I also added a bit of cornstarch slurry at the end so it would make a nice thick sauce. It made great leftovers for work lunches.)

Anyway, we’ll see how well I stick to this.

Here are some more of the recipes that are on this month’s meal plan in case anyone is interested.

One Pan Balsamic Chicken & Veggies (never made this one before)

One Pot Lazy Stuffed Peppers (never made this before, but I’ll probably use turkey instead of beef)

Oven Fried Chicken Strips (These are REALLY good. Not healthy at all, but really good.)

 

No sleep til… Brooklyn? November? What are we looking at here?

Last week after several days of high-ish fevers, Charlotte broke out in a rash. Diagnosis? Roseola.

At the same time, teething kicked into high gear. At her 12-month doctor appointment, the pediatrician informed us that Charlotte has “a lot” of teeth ready to come in and that we’re going to be in for a long couple of months. She was right.

Charlotte already has 9 teeth. In addition to those 9, she has a molar on top that’s partially cut through, and another one on the bottom that is just a mess of lumps under her gums. These teeth are making my poor baby girl absolutely miserable.

It was a long week. Sleep was elusive. Kiddo was grouchy. Moms were exhausted.

Then, when fevers made a reappearance over the weekend, we attributed them to teething. In hindsight, they were kind of high for teething, but that’s the thing about hindsight. Yesterday morning, we were back to full blown Roseola rash again. TWICE IN TWO WEEKS.

Between teething and Roseola, I’ve been up with her almost every hour all night for two weeks. Mama is tired. So tired. Mama is also struggling with some insomnia. I am bone tired, but I just lie there and struggle to fall asleep.

Now, throw my in-laws into the mix because they’ve been here for the last few days.

This morning, my MIL talked over me and repeatedly contradicted me as I was trying to give instructions to the nanny. (It’s her first day back—Catch is back to work now.) If my life were a sci fi novel, lasers would have shot from my eyeballs. Fortunately, that’s not the case and when I get home from work today they will be gone.

Side note: They are always so helpful. They drive me batshit crazy, but they spend their days doing chores and fixing things around our house—I know we are lucky to have them, I just wish they’d back off a smidge when it comes to Charlotte. Dote on her all you want, just leave the parenting to the actual parents and stop with the constant advice. If I have to hear my MIL start one more sentence with, “When you girls (Catch and sister) were babies…” I am going to totally lose my shit. This is not the 1980s. She got the chance to raise her children. Now it’s time for us to raise OUR daughter the way we see fit. AND NO SHE DOES NOT NEED AN OATMEAL BATH FOR HER ROSEOLA FOR THE TEN THOUSANDTH TIME THE RASH DOES NOT BOTHER HER IT’S JUST THERE.

Phew.

Obviously my patience is thin. Hell, my patience is probably just plain GONE. This was not the best timing for a visit. I am just miserably sleep-deprived and grumpy.

It hasn’t been all bad, though. Here are a few cute videos from the last week so we can end this on a higher note:

Watching Olympic volleyball:

Untitled from Molly on Vimeo.

I think it’s time to take her to Disneyland:

Untitled from Molly on Vimeo.

Goodbye Summer

Remember when Catch started her summer break and I was so disappointed that she could be home with Charlotte all day while I was at work? Well, summer is coming to a close and Catch goes back to work on Tuesday. And you know what? I’m disappointed again.

It’s been so wonderful having her home with Charlotte. They have lunch with me on occasion. Mornings are stress-free as I’m not trying to wrangle Charlotte by myself while also getting ready for the work day. She can do the grocery shopping on a weekday morning and I don’t have to worry if I’m too tired to go on Sunday. The pace of our lives has just been slower.

Now, it’s time to prepare for the rat race again.

Today, I made a meal plan for the ENTIRE month. I even printed out and stapled all of the relevant recipes to it. From here on out, Wednesdays are spaghetti night (Charlotte’s absolute favorite) and Mondays are freezer meal nights. (I also have a whole list of freezer meals all sorted out and I’m going to bust my butt this weekend to get the freezer stocked.) Fridays are going to be “date” nights—we open a bottle of wine and have dinner alone together after Charlotte goes to bed. Saturdays are “I’m not cooking dinner and you can’t make me” night.

I really hope this will make weeknights easier for us. We barely survived last year once I went back to work. Evenings were so rushed and miserable, and I feel like we were constantly at each others’ throats. I need to find a way to put as much of the evening on auto pilot as I possibly can so that we have a chance to enjoy our daughter a bit before her bedtime—and maybe even enjoy each other some, too. Working full-time outside the home while simultaneously keeping a kid and two dogs alive, maintaining a home, and making sure your marriage doesn’t fall apart is tough. At least it is for me.

Now I need to figure out how to better map out our finances because I’m not going to be working from home on Fridays anymore, which means we’re paying the nanny for 4 days instead of 3 starting next week. It’s going to hurt. Big time. Also, I suck at budgets. Big time.

Growth

The camera roll on my iPhone is totally out of control.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to remove photos from it since Charlotte was born. I want them all. All the time.

BUT, both my phone and iCloud are totally out of space, and I’m not about to pay for more iCloud space than I’m already paying for.

So this week, I started the overwhelming task of going through my photos one by one and deleting the ones that are repeats (am I the only one who takes 10 shots of one pose?), blurry, or things that I just don’t need to keep. I’ve been using my pump time to do this (an hour a day), so as of right now I’m 2.5 hours into this project. I started with the day Charlotte was born (July 26th) and I’ve made it all the way to… August 16th.

Yeah. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to taking pictures.

I mean, I’m grateful for the memories and all, but do I really need to remember every time Charlotte drooled? My brain says no, but my heart says yes. I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I’ve now logged several hours in front of Charlotte’s tiniest baby pictures and I feel like I’m being drowned by a wave of nostalgia. It’s actually physically painful to look at these pictures and know that my tiny baby will never be that tiny ever again.

Even worse are the feelings of regret. I look back to that time and I remember the battle with breastfeeding and all of the pressure I put on myself to make it work. It was a constant struggle—I was always worried about it. It made it so hard to just be in the moment with my newborn baby.

I want a do-over. I don’t want another baby, I just want to go back and re-live Charlotte’s first months. I want to hold my littlest love complete with all of the knowledge I have now. I want to let go of the anxiety and the worry and just be present in those weeks with her. I want to totally lose myself in her new baby smell and squeaky little coos.

I’d probably still make the decision to breastfeed, but at least I’d know how to make it work and I wouldn’t have to worry so damn much.

Today, Timehop showed me that one year ago (Charlotte was 5 days old) I was diagnosed with double mastitis and a raging UTI. (A UTI that it would take 3 different cycles of antibiotics to kick.)

I remember those days. I remember the tears and the frustration and the hormones. The bleeding and the pain. The desperation. The anxiety.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that that poor mess of a new mother was me. I’d give just about anything to be able to wrap that mama up in my arms and show her a glimpse of life right now. I wish she could have seen how it would all be okay. I wish she could have understood how second nature it would all become… how time would heal more than just the stitches and the infections.

The pictures show Charlotte growing before our very eyes, but it’s easy to forget how much we grow as mamas, too.