Fraternal Order of Hungry Babies, Local 524

Dear Madam,

Here at the Fraternal Order of Hungry Babies, Local 524, we take our duty to represent the interests of our members very seriously. As the Main Operations Manager (“Mom”) of the establishment located at xxxxxxxxxxxxx xx, we are writing to you today in order to inform you that an anonymous source…

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…ahem, anonymous source

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Has filed an open access complaint with us that requires your immediate attention. Our client alleges that certain discoveries brought to light by his recent acquisition of object permanence cognitive skills have alerted him to a series of grave injustices perpetrated against him, and by extension, the FOHB, over the past eight months. Specifically, he has realized that the two primary distribution centers responsible for saving his life from starvation on a regular basis, do not disappear between meals and are, in fact, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Denying access to them at any time, regardless of how recently they may have been in use, is a grievous injury against our client’s person and we present the following resolutions for your immediate implementation:

RESOLVED. The barbaric practice of “sleeping through the night” is hereby banned. Mom shall be available to feed our client regularly, regardless of the alleged status of the “clock.” We reject this linear notion of feeding time, and request a more wibbly wobbly approach to timely wimely hunger management.

RESOLVED. We will allow the continued presence of other foods, particularly those delicious carrots, with the understanding that you are not fooling anyone anymore by storing them in “cabinets” and “freezers.” We are onto you, and we are watching.

RESOLVED. While the Director of Activities & Diapers (“Dad”), has displayed an admirable tendency to assume that our client is hungry at all times, Mom has been known to try to deflect these indicators of imminent starvation with tactics such as providing toys or reading stories instead of immediately producing food for our client. While we remain big fans of Perfect Piggies, and can sympathize with our client’s excitement at being able to ride his very own motorcycle
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(note: add “motorcycle riding” to next committee meeting agenda), we must request that you immediately desist use of these tactics and solely respond to any type of noise our client makes with food, glorious food.

We thank you for your assistance in this matter. Our client’s complaint will remain on file, any further infractions on your part will be managed by a jury of our client’s peers – may God have mercy on your soul.

Yours respectfully,

Fraternal Order of Hungry Babies, Local 524

Members of Review Committee: Michael, Sammy, Rosabella, Landon, Lily, and our anonymous plaintiff. Who would really like a snack when you’re finished reading this.

 

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The Working Mom Guilt Pendulum

A week ago, I felt terrible because I had to call out of work after picking up some of PJ’s germs that kept me home the whole previous week taking care of him. Even though my company is very family friendly and my boss was nothing but kind and understanding about it, I still put myself on a massive guilt trip over the parts of my job I wasn’t getting done. So I coped by telling myself that I was being a good mom and in the big picture, that counts more, right?

Cue the pendulum swing…

Sunday night, PJ’s teeth were bothering him, and he woke me up early on Monday morning. Like, 4 am early. That was rough, but I figured I could deal. Until Monday night, when the “putting baby to bed” plan that started at 8:30 stretched on, and on, and on…until all of a sudden it’s 2 am and I’m collapsed in a puddle of tired on the nursery floor next to a baby that just won’t stop crying. And because his teeth hurt, every time I pick him up, I get bit.

At this point, I know that if I go past the 24 hour awake mark there is no way  I’m going to make it to work, and I can’t call out again because I have a big meeting with several people I won’t be able to reschedule easily if at all. So I went back to my room and was tired enough to pass out for a three hour nap and get up for work.

My husband can tell you, I paid for that nap all day long in feeling guilty – I was so sad that I couldn’t stick it out and cuddle the baby all night like he wanted and then be home to sleep during the day when he finally went down for a nap. And even with Paul telling me over and over that it was OK and PJ was fine,  I totally felt like one of those awful stock photos they use on the cover of every magazine article about working moms ever published. You know, the ones where a crying, neglected child wails while Mean Feminist Mommy takes a business call, types on a laptop, and is much more interested in her cup of coffee than her kid (although I can kind of sympathize with that last one if she’s as sleep deprived as I am).

Most days, I’m happy about being a working mom – I like my job, feel good about what I do, and who wouldn’t get an instant mood boost from coming home to this every day?

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But then, no matter how good I feel about what I’m doing, at some point I start to feel bad about what I’m not doing. There’s that pendulum, swing swing swing!

I feel much better today, not coincidentally because he slept last night. But I have a feeling this is just the first of many times where I’ll end up having to decide who needs me more, and then second, third, and fourth guess myself.

Tell me it gets easier, please! And yes, it’s ok to lie!

Your Money or Your Health

couponsYesterday, I stumbled on a marathon of Extreme Couponing – that’s the show where people rack up $700 or $800 bills in a grocery store, tie up a line and hold up one or several store managers to approve their transactions, and walk out paying as little as $4. And then they show these people triumphantly stacking their purchases at home where, I can only assume, they are preparing for their next reality show audition on Hoarders.

I love the idea of coupons, and my BFF Anne has a great system in place that stretches her family’s grocery budget a very long way. And when it makes more sense for the final price to buy more items than her family can use, she does the kind and sensible thing and donates the extra to a local food pantry. So there’s obviously a healthy way to go about the couponing thing, and I’m sure that I will be picking her brain on that a lot as our family grocery system evolves.

But for right now, I just can’t get my head around it. When I look at the total crap that these extremist people buy, I have to wonder if it’s even worth the $4 they’re paying? I can’t remember seeing a single piece of fruit or fresh vegetable in those carts. If your grocery budget is $10 a week (like some of these people said), but you aren’t actually walking out of the store with any food, what’s the point?

I do still buy processed food, but I’ve been working on cutting out some of them out and replacing them with homemade. You’ve seen my series about cooking freezer meals instead of buying packaged heat & eats. And right before the holidays I cut out store-bought bread and started baking my own at home. My next target is freezing homemade soup instead of buying canned. Once I stop having to remind myself to make something instead of buy it, I move on to the next thing. I feel especially committed to this now, as I’m making PJ’s baby food and I want him to grow up clearly knowing the difference between the flavor of fruit, and fruit-flavored.

I have to say that I feel much better when I’m able to stock my kitchen and freezer with fresh-made meals and snacks, but the problem is that this can be much more expensive. I really wish there were more coupons for ingredients rather than for packaged products. If I’m wrong about that, and anyone knows sites where I can find them, please let me know! The couple of times I’ve tried to sit down and comb through the coupons for things that we use, I’ve ended up with a whopping $2 or $3 in savings and it takes me at least an hour.

So where do you guys fall on the scale? Are you more about saving money with coupons, even if it isn’t on products you would prefer to buy? Or are you all fresh and/or organic all the time, even if it costs more?

7 Months A Mom, Finally A Parent

I hope if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve figured out how much I enjoy being a mom. Even when I wake up to screaming, it’s easy to get out of bed when I know I’ll see that goofy toothless grin as soon as the door opens. But ever since the NICU, I’ve had this niggling feeling that I might be a mom but I’m not really a parent because I missed out on a lot of those early rites of passage. I had nurses and doctors to let me sleep, and coach me on what his different signals meant, and show me exactly how to do the things that most new parents have to figure out on their own, at 2 am, on half an hour’s worth of sleep.

I’m over that now.

This past week has been awful, seeing my poor baby so sick. I would have traded places with him in a heartbeat, but that’s the one thing a mom can’t do. His official diagnosis is bronchiolitis brought on by RSV, and according to what the doctors’ said about the timeline of this, we should be past the worst of it, finally.

In getting through this last week, I’ve neglected my house, my job, my husband, and cancelled commitments I made to friends and family. I’ve stayed up late and woke up early just to listen to PJ breathe. I’ve held him down while he screamed bloody murder, and cleaned out his airways, and stood by and listened while the hospital staff did the same with a big loud machine that I’m sure scared him half to death. And when it was over I picked him up and kissed away his tears, and rocked him and nursed him until his little heart stopped racing. I don’t even want to think about how many surfaces in my house are sticky from the frozen fruits and juice I’ve been trying to coax him with to get a little more liquid into him. And the usual earworms I get from the radio have all been replaced with songs from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!

And somewhere in all of this, on one of the many, many calls to doctors and pharmacies, it’s stopped feeling weird to say “I’m calling about my son.” I’ve always had this urge to giggle when I’ve had to say that, like, “Really? I have a son? Nah, I have a PJ.” But I guess I really do have a son, and I guess I really am not just his mommy, but his mother.

It’s probably a coincidence, but doesn’t feel like it, that this week is when PJ first started stretching his arms out to let me know when he wants to be held. That was pretty heartbreaking when he was getting his treatments and I couldn’t pick him up, but the rest of the time it’s the best feeling to see him start reaching, and be rewarded with a huge smile and a big hug as soon as he’s in my arms. I wonder if he feels the difference too?

PJ’s Diary: Emergency Room

When I woke up this morning, I just wanted Mommy to feed me. But when I tried to yell and tell her, only the coughs came out. And when I breathed I went “Woooohoooo” like a whistle.

I thought it was pretty funny, but Mommy packed me right up in my car seat and we went out in the snow. I wanted to play in it again, but Mommy said “No way José! We are going to the doctor’s! ” It took a long time to get there since there was lots of snow, but we made it!

The emergency room wasn’t so bad. I had my toys to play with:
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And I made new friends!
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Sometimes new friends have to use a machine to suck the boogies out of your nose, did you know that? I didn’t know that and I didn’t like it one little bit when I found out! But then he gived me this fun thing to play with and we were cool again.
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After we went home, Mommy tried to give me the funny tube to breathe and I didn’t want it at all. I threw a great big fit, I’m good at those!

Mommy says she doesn’t want to go back to the emergency room for a long, long time, but I don’t see why not – they have fun things there and I feel sooooo much better when I leave!

Poor Sick Munchkin

I have always heard that it’s worse having a sick kid than being sick yourself. It’s totally true. After a week where I’ve spent more time in our doctor’s office than my own, I am so ready for my baby to feel better!

But even with the coughing and wheezing and fever, he’s still been the happiest baby – full of smiles and cuddles.

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I wish I could kiss it and make it all better. Poor little man!

PJ’s Diary: New Year’s resolutions…for Mom

Being sick is no fun. Ever since Friday I been coughing and coughing. My doctor says I have an infection in my lungs from all my slimy teething snot – yuuuucky! I’m supposed to gets lots of rest and fluids, so me and Mommy had lots of time to talk.
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While I been resting, Mommy telled me about New Year’s resolutions, and trying to do better in the new year. Well, Santa brought me and Mommy both new laptops, so I’m going to tell her a few things I think better change around here!

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#1 – No more green beans! They’re yucky and they make me poop funny colors. Next!

#2 – While we are talking about food, I think you should feed me more often. More snacks! More snacks! More snacks!

#3 – Install more milk dispensers. When I chomp Mommy anywhere, anytime, I expect milk. Only two working dispensers on all of Mommy? How rude!

#4 – Let’s talk about bedtime. Last night, you tried to put me to bed when there was a party going on. No fair!

#5 – More paper. Crinkly, soggy, colorful, lovely paper. Please stock up!

#6 – Table manners. There really should be more kissing allowed. Especially when I am covered in gunk or you are trying to chew.

#7 – No more shots! They give me the owies. But the cuddles afterwards are nice, we can keep those.

#8 – More playing! I don’t care if the dishes are messy, honest!

#9 – More toys that sing to me – I just love to dance.

#10 – Teach me lots and lots this year, I want to know all about crawling and walking, and talking, and siiiiiinnnnngggging!

I love you, Happy New Year!