Month: July 2013

Five things

Earlier this month I came across this article in the Huffington Post titled 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents. It’s funny because it’s true but also because you can apply it to a myriad of other situations.

Firstly I haven’t made it a secret that I think raising a child is very much like having a dog. I am serious. In many ways babies are like puppies. In fact, if you were to take any of Cesar Milan’s dog training books and replace dog with baby you’d have a winning parenting book. I’m kidding. Mostly.

I don’t know if it’s because we have social media to connect us twenty-four seven but I really think that people try to one-up each other in every way. I see it all the time. Somebody posts a status about being sleep deprived and somebody will chime in and simultaneously hijack the thread by saying something asinine like “Oh yes same here, try going to school and working full time and raising triplets.” This invalidates the original post while also making it about themselves. It isn’t just annoying parents who are fighting for the brownie it’s every self-absorbed person who thinks the reason for being tired determines the validity of the somnolence. I don’t care if you’re sleep deprived because you were out late last night, worked late, or were kept up by a crying puppy. The result is the same: you’re tired.

When you have kids…” this was particularly spot on. People need to stop assuming everyone will have kids. It’s not something we must do. It’s something some of us choose to do and while some of us go through a lot to become parents there are others who decide to remain child free. I remember people making statements like that to me before I ever knew I wanted kids and it always bothered me. It’s rude to assume and insensitive to bring up a topic about which you know nothing about. Suppose I knew I was infertile and somebody said that to me. I would probably bristle and feel uncomfortable.

Lastly, the notion that life doesn’t have meaning until you have kids. Wow, that is something that really gets me going. I assume people who make such statements led very dull lives and to put that sort of importance on a child seems out of place. Before Diego my life was different but I loved my life. I loved my husband and I loved the life we had together. I loved getting together with friends to drink champagne and light napkins on fire. I had a full life and I never felt that anything was missing.

I suppose that is my very biased view. My life now is a little different. I care about new things in addition to what I cared about before. I am more mindful of where I place things and of the dangers it might pose for a child. I am more aware out of necessity not because I’m a special snowflake with super mommy powers.

Becoming a parent does in fact cause changes within us, it challenges us and it makes us think and consider things we hadn’t before. For some, it brings out the best and sadly in others the very worst. I find all of those who brag and constantly dispense their perfect parenting advice annoying. I don’t really care if your two week old can do a hand stand. In the end it doesn’t mean anything. That isn’t to say I don’t love seeing my friends’ babies develop. I really enjoy sharing but I don’t like snotty intent. Make sense?

Here are five things becoming a mother has taught me:

1. Any fool who has ever conceived a child believes themselves to be an expert. Except me, I happily admit to not knowing except what my child has taught me.

2. Vaccines are important and should not be optional except in very rare life threatening cases. Thank you Jenny McCarthy for your irresponsible half-cocked debunked ‘science’.

3. I love sleep. I knew this before but I’d now rather sleep than eat. Sadly I’m still fat.

4. My mother did all of this for me and more. She did it twice. My mother is crazy.

5. Staying at home is surprisingly easy and difficult at the same time. There are days when a day at the office sounds like a spa retreat.

I’d like to read other five things lists. They don’t have to be child related. Maybe some of you could submit some in an Ask? There’s an ‘Ask’ button somewhere…

Weekend in Clearwater

If you’ve read my Facebook posts then you already know we spent last weekend in Clearwater Beach for a wedding. It did rain off and on but we did manage to visit the beach a couple of times. We didn’t spend much time out in the sun but we did manage to snap a few pictures and dip our feet in the sandy shore. It was Diego’s first time stepping on sand and experiencing the ocean. He wasn’t a fan of the waves. They were quite strong and he quickly protested. 

The wedding was beautiful and Diego managed to be the best behaved baby there (there were two others that I saw). During the ceremony he was mostly silent but when he did babble he whispered. It was funny how he knew that he needed to be quiet. The hotel provided us with a highchair during the reception which was very nice. Overall the Hyatt Regency in Clearwater was amazing. The staff was wonderful throughout our stay. 

Diego fell asleep as soon as the loud music started playing and remained asleep until we stepped out and walked back to our room. I’m sure this is a form of Murphy’s Law. 

We are now done traveling for the time being. We have another wedding in November but until then I look forward to not packing and unpacking. It’s fun to go but all the planning and making sure we have everything we need is tiring. Call me lazy. 

First flight

I am back after a little bit of a blog hiatus. Things seem to be settling down around here sleep-wise. Diego is doing a lot better and I am finally breaking some bad habits that involve staying up until much too late. I am making progress and because Diego is sleeping better so am I. I hope to ease back into some much needed exercise and healthier eating. I have a lot of excuses for my backslide into pigging out and the acquisition of some much unwanted poundage but I will spare you all. I am back and that’s what’s important. 

July has turned out to be our busiest month yet. We started it off in Puerto Rico. I hadn’t been back home since our wedding in 2008. I was hesitant to travel with Diego but we decided that the best time for us to visit was June 30 – July 5. It turned out perfectly because I was able to spend my 29th birthday at home, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. 

Because this was our first trip that involved air travel I made sure to plan ahead by packing early and doing my research about traveling with a baby. I didn’t want our first time to leave a bad taste in our mouth and thus discourage us from trips in the future. We found the cheapest tickets on Jet Blue. I really like this airline and will choose it over Spirit any day. In fact, I will never fly Spirit ever again. Their fares seem lower but considering that they charge you for the air you breath once onboard I think that for the average flier who actually has luggage their extortionate additional fees wipe out any savings you may have enjoyed. 

Jet Blue allows for one free checked bag per ticketed passenger. This means we could have had two (since Diego was a lap infant and not a paying passenger all he was allowed was a diaper bag) but we only needed one suitcase along with our carryon. My husband had a backpack as well. We managed to travel pretty light as I didn’t have a carryon, just the diaper bag and that didn’t count towards what we were allowed to bring on board. 

Most airlines will gate-check your stroller and carseat. This allowed us to breeze through the terminal with minimal effort as Diego didn’t need to be carried. If you purchase a seat for your baby you can actually strap the carrier into the seat. As long as the carseat is FAA approved you’re good to go. I’ve also heard that some airlines will allow you to bring the carseat onboard even if you didn’t pay for an extra seat. This of course depends on there being seats available and flight attendant discretion.

On our flight out we were on an Embraer 190. This aircraft has two seats on either side of the aisle. This was perfect for us since it meant that there was no third person for Diego to bother. We gave him a bottle during take-off and he fell asleep. He woke up about an hour later and was in a really good mood. He didn’t make a peep other than a few giggles and babbles. 

Our flight back was pretty much the same except we were on an Airbus 320. This plane has a three by three configuration. We took the window and middle seat so that Deigo wouldn’t inadvertently smack a stranger or try to grab at their magazine or beverage. He once again slept for the first half of the flight. In summation, regarding flying I needn’t have worried. Diego was well behaved and seemed to enjoy observing lots of new things. 

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Diego loved getting attention from strangers while waiting for my husband to park the car. 

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Getting ready for take-off. While I did have powdered formula with me we decided these ready-made bottles would be a lot easier for us. We brought two with us on each flight and it was all we needed. I think they’re more sanitary than a bottle because once he’s done I just unscrew the nipple and throw it out. With his bottle I would have to rinse it after each use.

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Look how much room being short affords you!

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Our first unsuspecting victim was my aunt who had no idea we were coming. She was thrilled to meet Diego. 

My grandfather was equally surprised. I don’t think Diego is his first great grandchild but it’s the first one he’s ever met.

On the evening of our arrival we went to our favorite ice-cream shop in town. I had a scoop of coconut and a scoop of passion fruit. It was so good. When we got married my husband’s family ate here every night since it’s located below the hotel they stayed at. 

Diego’s make-shift bathtub.

My dad’s idea of a good time always involves physical activity and/or manual labor. Below are some pictures taken on my parents’ farm.

For my birthday my mom had a cake made by the same lady who made our wedding cake. It was delicious!

Diego had his second haircut during our trip.

We stopped at my grandfather’s office on our way to lunch one day.

On July 4th we spent the day at home with family. 

My cousins on our last night there.

This was taken a few hours before our flight. Diego liked looking at the birds. 

That is a short summary of our trip. It was the best birthday present. I am not usually one to care about birthdays and my husband and I are pretty low key but seeing my family after such a long time was amazing. I also did a lot of eating.Traveling with a baby seemed daunting but with the proper planning it can be as easy as traveling with a baby can be. Of course no two babies are the same, nor are two trips for that matter. We are fortunate that Diego has so far been agreeable to whatever trip we have taken him on. 

How to deodorize a baby

I have been working on a post about our Puerto Rico trip but this is funny and I figured I would share it first since my other post is taking me longer to work on. I am sharing this much to my husband’s chagrin but I think I’ve convinced him that it’s one of those harmless parenting gaffes worth sharing. 

It all started last week when my husband’s grandmother came to stay with us for a few days. One evening I made a spinach pesto sauce using raw spinach, fresh garlic, a little olive oil and parmesan cheese. It’s delicious over pasta and less expensive than the traditional basil and pine nut recipe. I had a lot of sauce left over so I used a cupcake pan to freeze it into portion sized pucks I could use later. Once frozen I transferred them into a zip top bag. 

Fast forward to Friday when we were set to head out to Clearwater for the weekend. I slept in for a little bit after Diego woke up so my husband was on duty. When I made my way downstairs I thought I smelled garlic but I didn’t dwell on it since it was impossible that my husband had cooked anything with it that early in the morning. Diego was in his bouncy seat playing while my husband flitted about in the kitchen. I made my way over to greet Diego when I noticed green stains on his shirt. I immediately knew something was not right. I hadn’t made him the peas and green beans I’d just bought. All I had in the freezer was some cantaloupe, oatmeal and banana. 

I asked my husband what he’d fed him knowing full well what his answer would be. 

“I fed him one of those green pucks you have in the freezer. They smelled kinda weird.”

“Weird!?” I shrieked. “That was spinach pesto sauce with lots of garlic. He stinks!”

My husband quickly became panicked and snatched Diego up. The garlic smell was secondary to the apparent runny mess already in his diaper. He rushed him upstairs for a bath. I trailed behind him inquiring as to how he could miss the strong garlic smell. His answer amused me. He thought they were green beans because they smelled so bad. Even more amusing is the fact that Diego seemed to enjoy the concoction. 

As he bathed him he worriedly asked me if the garlic would harm him. I reassured him that it would not and reminded him that Diego is not a dog. I was laughing at his expense but in reality his error is partly my fault. I normally label everything in the freezer but failed to do so this time. In addition I threw in the bag on the side of the freezer where I keep the food I make for Diego. I was definitely complicit in his error. 

On our way to Clearwater, Diego had another soiled diaper. It was a little runnier than usual which I attributed to the spinach pesto. His mouth and breath were foul and offensive. The poor guy was a little garlic clove. The smell got to me and by the end of our four hour drive I was a nauseated, dizzy mess. I think it may have been a combination of getting car sick and being in the back seat with a baby emitting toxic fumes. 

Once we were settled into our room and I had some fresh air I felt a lot better. That evening we bathed him again but his mouth was still very smelly. I considered wiping down his gums with a washcloth but I worried his tongue was in on the stench action. What finally tempered the odor was a jar of banana puree. I don’t know that bananas neutralize the sulphuric compounds that are responsible for the bad breath caused by garlic but I noticed a significant improvement. By the next morning Diego no longer smelled.

This incident has had us laughing all weekend. I think it’s our first official stupid mistake as parents. Many more to come I am sure. To sum up the sauce did not have any ill effects aside from looser stools and bad breath. I am now committed to making use of my Sharpie. 

Here is Garlic Boy as he happily and innocently stunk up the backseat, ha ha!