Lost in Good Books

People who know me offline know that I am totally book crazy. I have always enjoyed reading, and can spend hours trying to pick out just the right book (ok, I usually end up getting a whole stack). I once had a part-time job in a bookstore, about which my Aunt Cindy remarked: “Isn’t that like an alcoholic working in a liquor store?” I actually hated the job, but only because I got stuck working in the cafe and nowhere near the actual books.

I don’t get to read as much lately (can’t imagine why), but when I do get time to sit down with good reading material I end up devouring it like Starvin’ Marvin at an Old Country Buffet. Most of my good finds lately come through my book club, which is one of those awesome ones where we drink lots of wine and read books that are in that sweet spot above trash (first rule of book club was no Twilight, and no 50 Shades of anything) but not have to get it on tge list just to say we read it snooty.

So this weekend while I wasn’t writing I was finishing up our latest selection – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I thought it was great, it was suspenseful but the final resolution didn’t go off into left field from the rest of the plot (which is a pet peeve of mine). And it was also really thought provoking. What would you do if you suddenly found out that your husband had done something terrible before you ever met him? Do you keep his secret or tell the person most affected by it? How do you handle raising children with someone you just found out is not who you thought?

The selection I did finish in time was Bossypants by Tina Fey. The book read just like everything else she does – smart, sassy, and funny. I adore her, and I want to be co-besties with her and Amy Poehler in the worst way. I mean, really, who wouldn’t? If you say no to that, I can only respond with “Bitch, I don’t know your life!”

So anyway, I’m in book hangover mode now…until I start our next selection anyway!

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Ready to Move

Every morning when I go into PJ’s room, he is in a different spot from where I put him to bed. He’s been spinning in circled since he was about a month old, and now he can push himself around with his knees.

Yesterday, he rolled over, spun around, grabbed his favorite toy and was having quite the conversation with the Peter Pan picture on his wall.

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Today, I got this series of pictures from his babysitter Ms Janice:

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He is so proud of himself! He’s laying on the floor next to me now, trying so hard to come get me – doing the rocking thing and pushing off with his hands, but ending up going backwards.

Something tells me that won’t last long!

5 Things Not To Say To A NICU Mom

One of the mom groups I belong to on Facebook is focused on providing information for breastfeeding mothers. I’ve learned a lot of good things there, but like any destination on the web, you find a mix of people who provide helpful, factual advice and people who, to be kind, don’t.

I’ve noticed quite a few questions on there lately from NICU moms who are doing their best to navigate that scary medical labyrinth with their tiny baby in the center. I try to answer where I think I can help, and I see other NICU veterans do the same. But it also seems like for each of us, there are three other well-meaning but misguided people who are pushing information that will likely end up frustrating the NICU mom if not outright setting her up for failure. And since I just so happen to have my own little platform here, I thought I would take a few minutes to put together a “5 Things Not To Say To a NICU Mom”:

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Is There Anything That Won’t Kill Your Baby?

I absolutely love being a mom (can you tell?) My little man has made my world a brighter, cheerier place, and I love him so much I could burst. The one thing I don’t love about being a mom? Other moms. Not my friends, because they are all awesome, but the Mommy Mafia. Is it just me, or are they everywhere?

Case in point – I saw a post the other day in a mommy group that usually has good pointers, about infant car seats and grocery carts. The original post claimed that “babies die every single day in grocery carts.” Immediately I think of those People of Walmart pictures of idiots who pile TV’s on top of their sleeping babies, but I am wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s moms like me who are “ignorant” and “too lazy to DO THE RESEARCH” (Mommy Mafia battle cry) and thought that because the car seat clips to the cart, that’s what you’re supposed to do. But no, we ignorant lazy non researching Moms just hate our babies and want them to die.

Now, another poster nicely explained that grocery carts aren’t balanced correctly to support the car seats and can sometimes get top heavy and tip over, and that doing this repeatedly can damage the clip so that it doesn’t work properly with the base if you would get in an accident. OK, that is reasonable and enough info for me not to do this anymore. And I was ignorant of these facts, because researching grocery carts’ potential to kill my baby wasn’t something that I ever thought about.

But was the tone of the original message really necessary? Am I a lazy mom because I choose to research how to make homemade baby food so I know what is going into his little tummy instead of looking for this kind of remote danger to freak out and call other moms names for not knowing what I know? I don’t think so.

I wish moms would stop treating parenting like it’s the Hunger Games with a single victor covered in the blood of the fallen tributes. Sharing information is great, and I’m glad I saw the second poster’s comments. But I’m so sick of having “Do the research!” thrown around about everything – even down to how to take your baby grocery shopping.

People say that phrase as if there is a definitive answer. If only you read exactly what I read, you would think what I think and do what I do. Never mind that we have completely different frames of reference, or that our babies have totally different personalities and motor skills. It’s only because I am lazy and ignorant that I do things differently than you do. Obviously.

Play nice, mommies. Our babies are watching.

It’s Possible to Be Too Subtle

I’ve been back to work for two months now, and overall it’s been great. I feel like I’m going in a good direction, career wise, and I love getting pictures of PJ and seeing what he’s doing throughout the day.

The one consistent issue I’ve been having is with pumping. Some days it’s really difficult to carve out enough time to sit still and do it. And other days, well, I’m reminded that it’s very possible to be too subtle! From my first day back, I printed up a sign that simply read “Please Do Not Disturb – Please use other door.” (My office sits in a weird spot that lots of people use as a shortcut).

Then I will lock my door and use that Medela hands free band (that looked terrifying in the store but has since become my favorite accessory) and do my desk work while I make PJ’s lunch for the next day. And it never fails, at least once a day, someone will knock right on that Do Not Disturb sign – or worse, ignore the sign and go straight to rattling the handle!

So I made a new sign today:

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Hopefully this does the trick – a bit more direct than I wanted to get, but still better than having to yell through the door that I really, really can’t come take a look at that right now (thump thump thump). And will save my office neighbor from having to announce that for me to people who seem to be getting ready to camp out!

For my other working, nursing moms – how do you handle this?

NaLoMyMiMo – Challenge Declined

November is awesome. It’s my birthday month and home to my favorite holiday – step off, Christmas, let the turkey have his day! I am looking forward to baking and apple cider and time with my family. I’ve also been challenged to observe the following:

– Lung Cancer Awareness Month
– National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
– A Post A Day For 30 Days
– 30 Days of Thankfulness
– Fit to Feast Fitness Challenge
– National Knit Sweater Month (NaKniSweMo)
– Photo A Day Challenge

And don’t forget this is prime Christmas crafting time. These all sound awesome! I want to write, and snap, and work out, and knit, and be thankful for our blessings and mindful of others’ struggles. And I probably will dabble in all of these in November.

But here’s the thing – if I try them all, it’ll be National Lose My Mind Month for sure. I will end up cowering in the corner, rocking back and forth mumbling “Craft! No, write! Wait, wait, take the camera and walk. Or I could write a post about how thankful I am, and knit between paragraphs.”

So best of luck to all you brave souls. I will raise a family toast in your honor – “To the Challengers!” “THE CHALLENGERS!”

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PJ’s Diary: First Halloween (Part Two)

Yesterday, I got to wear my fluffy lion suit again! Mommy said we were going Trick or Treating – oh boy!

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That’s my PopPop – he wanted to know if I was a Nittany Lion!

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My Nana snuggled me too, just like she does when Mommy goes to work!

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PopPop, that’s my lion hat! You so silly!

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Then we went to Uncle Kyle’s house and I roared just a tiny bit for him. Do you like my tail? It’s pretty cool. My Aunt Jenna was working, so I was a little sad to miss her.

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And after Uncle Kyle’s house, we went to see Grandmom and Grandpop and Uncle Michael!

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Rrraaawwwr Grandpop! Uh, Mommy? My fluffy lion suit is getting a little warm.

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Muuuuch better. Happy Halloween, my friends!