Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Miracle of Life

A friend recently asked me to describe the miracle that is having a baby. The funny thing is, of all the topics in the world I have millions of pretty words for, this isn't one of them.

I've always been somewhat of a cynic, though my perky exterior hides it. I'm not all that much into religion (except for the little prayer I say on a plane EVERY time before it takes off - so I guess some part of me does believe in God).

But I can honestly say giving birth to a child has betrayed every cynical feeling I have about a higher power. How can it be anything other than a miracle?

Think about it - in the very beginning, you feel nothing. Yet cells are rapidly dividing within your belly, creating life where there was none before. In two month's time, you have a being no bigger than a peanut.

But 40 weeks later, you have a living, breathing life that will eventually grow and think her own thoughts and love and probably question the very same higher power that made her.

And then there are the things that can go wrong. It breaks the heart to think of babies who are born with any number of illnesses, disabilities or even worse, don't make it at all. It's these type of occurences that make you question, again, that higher power's reasoning. They are babies, after all - innocent and helpless.

And yet, many of these babies show a strength and resilience unmatched in any adult. They thrive and grow despite the obstacles they face. It has to be innate survival - they haven't learned anything yet. So they power forward, unknowing of anything different. Maybe it's an extra quality God gives them to make up for everything else.

It was a miracle for us that our Katie was pretty unscathed during her birth with the exception of a small birthmark on her shoulder blade (and a bit of reflux that still rears its ugly head sometimes).

But for all intents and purposes, she's a healthy little monkey, and every day I thank God for that. It's funny how one event in your life can change 30 years of thinking in a snap.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Define productive

Productivity is a funny word. I used to think I knew what it meant. That is, until I chalked up a day of changing diapers, making bottles and blowing raspberries as productive.

I used to measure it by the amount of copy I turned out. As a writer, this is relatively easy. A buddy of mine at the newspaper used to make it a contest. We'd count how many stories we had written in a month. Whoever wrote the most got a beer from the other person. It was always him - mainly because he was the most prolific writer I'd ever met.

At the magazine, is was all about word count. I would come home, knowing I was productive that day.

But now, it's a little more subjective. It came up in a discussion the other day when I had the possibility of a quick gig that made a decent amount of cash. At this point, I'm not willing to turn down cash. But the more important part of it was I was being productive - I was contributing to the family. I felt like I just hadn't been contributing.

But, as my wonderful husband pointed out, I was already contributing immensely by staying home and taking care of our now 6-month-old baby. So, in a sense, I was being productive. Not only were we saving the money of day care, but we also knew exactly who was watching our baby during her first year - me!

With a baby in the mix, life is never easy, but it's always interesting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I can't make this stuff up

Honest to God, this is a real product. It's called the Babykeeper.

It's for hanging your precious child from the bathroom door while you pee. I'm not kidding. I suppose at least you could put the kid to work as a TP holder (do you really want your kid sucking on public toilet paper?).

Now this is a serious issue for parents. What do you do with your baby if he or she isn't old enough to stand? Many moms say hold them with one hand and do everything else with the other. I'm not sure if you've ever tried to unbutton/unzip your jeans, take off your coat, and do other, more basic, things with the use of only one hand, but I'd imagine it's pretty tough.

So, apparently this is the only thing that's been invented to circumvent this problem. Hang the baby. Seriously people? We're close to cures for cancer and Alzheimer's, and we can't figure out what to do with babies in the bathroom? Someone just isn't thinking hard enough.

Now, I did see a fairly good idea the other day in a restroom - a little baby seat with a harness that folds up into the wall so the kid can sit. The only problem? It was outside the stall. So the kid's hanging out while total strangers are walking in and out and you're in the stall with your pants down. Not ideal.

Oh, guess where I saw it. Babies 'R Us. Shouldn't the people who design these stores understand the needs of moms a little more?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Writer's Strike Must End!

George Clooney help - you're our only hope!

Seriously, this strike needs to end, and soon. I just checked the updated strike chart from TV Guide, and it's bad, people. Really bad. (Here's the link) The last two Chuck's are on tonight (Thursday) - apparently NBC's just blowing their wad while anybody is still tuning in to Thursday nights.

The rest of Thursday night is gone - Office: 0; Earl: 0; 30 Rock: 0; Scrubs: 5 (Thank God!) and ER: 0 (not that I've watched ER since George left).

The rest of the week isn't too much better. Ugly Betty appears to be done after this week (Noooo! I have to find out what happens to Wilhelmina's hostile womb!). The ONLY saving grace is that Lost will be back for eight, count 'em, eight episodes.

But think about that. If the strike doesn't end anytime soon, that gives us an eight-episode Fourth Season. Which is disasterous to the rest of the Lost series. Think about it, if they have to accelerate the action in the next seasons to make up for it, I'm seriously going to have to start taking aspirin to stave off the inevitable heart attack I'll have. I can't take any more suspense!

Please, for the safety of television viewers, end the strike and pay the writers the $5 more they're asking for. Honestly, does anyone feel sorry for the mega-rich media conglomerates on the other side of this fight? Just give 'em a 10-spot and call it a day.

The Radio Star And Other Random Thoughts

So I'm driving to the mall today, and the Buggles' 'Video Killed The Radio Star' came on the radio. I started to sing along (you're sad, I know, that you couldn't hear that brilliant piece of work from me).

Then I started thinking about it being the first video that MTV ever played. I mean, that's the only reason that song still exists, right? It's in the trivia annals forever for that. That got me to thinking about how MTV used to be the rebellious voice of teenagers, and how it was the anti-establishment almost 30 years ago. That's right, I said ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO.

It's no longer anti-establishment. It IS the establishment, if you look at the way music is made. Now You Tube, Napster and any other music/video-trading sites are the anti-establishment. But I thought harder (as I'm prone to do in the car with my little baby cake snoring in the back seat) - and I would challenge that MTV was never anti-establishment. It always had sponsors in the form of advertisers. You have to look no further than a couple choice Madonna videos to see how quickly MTV caved to advertisers.

And here all along I thought I was rebelling by watching MTV, switching it off slyly right before my parents walked in the door. That's what THEY wanted me to do. I wonder how my little Katie will rebel - what she'll watch or listen to. I can only hope it's nothing too offensive.

Anway, just some thoughts for a dreary Thursday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sleeping Vs. Bonding

At this stage of the game most of the issues revolve around sleep, I've found. Or, lackthereof for baby and mama.

My little bug was sleeping super well, which got me spoiled. Then, she devolved into cries at least three to four times a night. Mainly, she wants her binky - and I've become the personal assistant to insert said binky. That's despite the fact that the binky resides .5 millimeters away from her face, which is turned in the direction of said binky.

Anyway, the doc says we need to let her try to soothe herself back to sleep. That means letting her cry for five minutes, then going in and giving her the binky. The next time we give it seven minutes, the next time 10, etc.

So this got me thinking - what's the best for my little cupcake? Should she know that I'll always be there for her, even if it means putting the binky back in her mouth? I'm envisioning a call from college and jumping in the car here.

Or, is it better for her to learn to be independent at 6 months old so she can sleep well on her own? As a mother, I'm conflicted. Will this damage our bond? Will she learn a lesson I'm not so willing to teach - that she can't always rely on her parents?

Ugh. Common sense tells me she won't remember any of this (the first-time mom's one saving grace) and that if we only do this for a few minutes at a time it won't damage our bond beyond repair. But listening to my sweet little baby's cries during the night might damage mom beyond repair - we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ah, smell those holidays

Several people have commented on my absence from the blog recently. I hadn't realized it had been so long. It's funny, even when it comes to my personal journal, I tend to write when things are rough, not when they're going well. You'll find books of journals in our house about the worst times of my life, but rarely a good moment. It's just the way I am - I write to release what's inside; mainly so I can function the rest of the day. That's kind of a shame - I should start documenting the good stuff, too.

So I will begin here documenting the good stuff. It's not nearly as much fun to read about as the bad, though, I'll warn you! My little girl will be 5 months old on Dec. 21. We've graduated to Stage 2 nipples (good Lord will the thrills never end!) and she's downing 6-ounce bottles like there's no tomorrow. Needless to say she's closing in on 17 pounds and quite the chunky monkey.

But the best part is she's happy as all get out. She smiles all the time, and laughs occasionally when mom and dad do something funny. Generally, she laughs at things SHE thinks is funny, not what we think is funny. We could dance for 20 minutes for her and get nothin' - just a stoney stare. But if one of us hurts ourselves, or loses something - that's comedic gold right there.

Oh, and flying. She loves to fly around the room in mom or dads arms. That's sure to produce a smile or giggle. She's also learning how to sit up. I say learning because once she's up, if you let her go she'll face plant right into the carpet in front of her. She's very bendy like that. But with a little help, she's getting used to sitting up.

I can't say the sleep thing is getting better. She used to be a champion sleeper - nothing to complain about. Then apparently she hit four months and it's been all downhill from there. Even though we're getting up several times a night, she goes back to sleep pretty easily. So I guess I can't complain too much. Maybe we should look at it as more quality time spent with the little bugaboo, right?

Oops, someone woke up from their afternoon nap. Gotta go. Happy holidays everyone!!