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Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.

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I’ve been meaning to blog, but with the birth of my second child, I just haven’t felt up to it. Blogging was constantly on my mind, but it was hard for me to do it. Honestly, going back to writing is about as awkward, unsettling, and weird as having sex for the first time after giving birth (if you don’t know what I mean, read Erin Donovan’s “Dead Vagina Walking” to get caught up to speed). Plus, there was just so much to write about I honestly didn’t know where to start.

Since blogging about all that I had wanted to write about in the past year would take forever, so I’ve just made a timeline. Here’s a year of my life, condensed:

12/2013: I give birth to #2! After laboring at home and giving up because my beloved husband FELL ASLEEP while I was dancing to speed things up, we end up at the hospital, 6cm dilated and me yelling for an epidural because 1) holy oxytocin, back labor and 2) I was so desperate for sleep.

Eight hours later, my husband would help deliver a sunny side up, 7 pound 3 ounce baby girl. Unlike with my first baby, the moment they put Juliette into my arms, I was in love. Unlike with my first, I was not overwhelmed with the knowledge that I was now responsible, legally, morally and otherwise, for a tiny human being whose survival depended on me. Instead, I felt proud and confident. The past nine months had been terrible, both physically and emotionally, but after giving birth I felt amazing.

dancegome

Of course, no way could I ACTUALLY do this immediately after giving birth.

1/2014: On New Year’s Day, we go to Disneyland with my son and my brand new baby girl. Being in the hospital had been terribly tough on Tiny Boss, and I wanted to do something special for him. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a horrible idea and I end up with a sick, feverish infant and several sleepless nights. Those sleepless nights haven’t disappeared, by the way.

2/2014: I am pumping so I can save milk for Tinier Boss because FFS, she is going on the bottle as soon as we get her two month shots. I am NOT making the same mistake I did with her older brother (who never took a bottle and therefore I never got a break).

3/2014: I have way too much milk because she’s not on the bottle. I’m going to start donating milk. Or maybe I should sell it. I found a website that puts you in touch with parents who need milk. This person is willing to pay $2/ounce for fresh, unfrozen milk. I’m pumping 6-12 ounces a day. I am literally a cash cow! Wait, not a cow. Poor choice of words.

Later in 3/2014: I make $20 selling breast milk! After emailing the buyer, who promises to be discreet (ok?), we meet at Starbucks.

You’re K.C.?”

whaaa

Fine. Maybe he’s a dad? But a few hours after we meet up, K.C. texts me, “Your milk is delicious.”

ewBut maybe I shouldn’t judge because thanks to Google, I’ve learned that some cancer patients drink breast milk (it is full of nutrients and extremely easy to digest). Also, some bodybuilders do it too, although based solely on appearance, this guy wasn’t a bodybuilder . . . I speculate that I have sold 10 ounces of my breastmilk to an adult baby (thanks Wikipedia!).

4/2014: I am still disappointed that I can’t make money with my boobs.

sad

What happens to a dream deferred?

8/2014: We travel to Mexico with both kids by plane.

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

The kids do awesome and I am proud. On the return flight we are stuck in a holding pattern for almost two hours due to bad weather and no one under the age of three in my row has a meltdown. On the other hand, our surrounding passengers must have been coming back from a convention for assholes. I regret not being a Tom Clancy fan; otherwise I could yell out spoilers at the man sitting next to me pretending to read but he can’t due to the amount of eye rolling going on. Bless his heart, he can’t seem to stop alternating between rolling his eyes and huffing like he’s trying to get to the head of the Hometown Buffet line. dwight

Next time I board a plane with kids, I’m printing out required reading (including this and this) to pass out. How’s that for goody bags?

booobitch9/2014: My son is potty trained! I’m forever grateful for the 3 Day Potty Training method.

At first, this is awesome, but then the realization that my schedule is now ruled by his bladder (or worse) quickly sets in. I learn the importance of always knowing the location of a bathroom or a good bush wherever I go and accumulate bad juju for the number of times we have peed on the seat or elsewhere (shudder). I spend good money on a Kalencom portable potette that is used and accepted by every American toddler except for ours.

11/2014: Flu season has set in. You know what’s worse than being sick with one kid? You guessed it.

12/2014: Baby girl is one year old. I can’t believe a year went by.

And that’s what I’ve been up to since I last blogged.

IMG_9513Actually, it wasn’t that bad getting back into writing. Stay tuned for my next post, which will be about transitioning from one to two kids, and the number of new gray hairs that have coincidentally sprouted at the same time.

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Silver Linings, and Lessons From Poison Control

God bless the California Poison Control center, or in my case, the California Center for Reassuring Nervous Moms.

It’s been a rough week. What was supposed to be a restful week off from court (more on that later) turned into caring for a sick toddler, and then myself, after I found out I had thrush from breastfeeding.

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A week off? Silly me.

Tiny Boss came down with a fever a couple days ago. No other symptoms, so all I could do was bring the fever down, keep him comfortable and snuggle with him as much as he wanted.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, I contracted thrush, which means that not only does breastfeeding feel akin to sticking your nipples into a lamprey’s mouth (other mothers describe it as shards of glass in the breast), but Tiny Boss was also unable to comfortably breastfeed. So he’s been miserable. I’m telling myself there’s a silver lining. Perhaps he’ll finally wean?

Insert nipple here to find out what it feels like to breastfeed with thrush. Source: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/marquette/

Not breastfeeding friendly.
Source: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/marquette/

Last night, on day two of fever with no other symptoms other than some ear pulling, I decided to give Tiny Boss some of his leftover ear drops from his last ear infection. A couple hours later – coincidence or not – his fever was gone and he was back to his usual way of wearing me out – running around, grabbing stuff, spilling stuff, throwing stuff and just in general doing all sorts of stuff he’s not supposed to do.

Based on last night’s success, I elicit my husband’s help this morning in giving Tiny Boss another round of ear drops. Four drops, left ear only, easy enough, right?

WRONG.

In my defense, it was early, it was dark, and my contacts were sticking to my eyelids.

“IT’S SPILLING OUT OF HIS EARS!” My husband started yelling.

Apparently the drops were coming out of the dispenser but I just couldn’t see them, so I had been steadily squeezing a stream of antibiotics into his ear. How many drops did I give him?

“Like, maybe 10?”

“He’ll be fine,” I said, sounding much more confident than I felt.

That confidence quickly wore off, however, because Tiny Boss began to cry. Loudly. With tears and everything. What could be wrong? Did his ear hurt from the sudden, unexpected flood of liquid? Did some of it trickle down to his throat? DID I JUST POISON MY BABY?

The offending drops

The offending drops

I had no idea, so I did what every health practitioner hates (I only assume this because I hate it when my clients do their own legal research) – I turned to Google.

Unfortunately, “put too many ear drops” only turned up with two relevant hits.

The first one was from Yaboo! answers by some poor sap who used too many ear drops in one ear and now couldn’t hear. The second was a fact sheet from the New Zealand government for Cilodex, which sounds close enough to our prescribed brand of ear drops, Ciprodex.

For Cilodex, you’re supposed to rinse the ear(s) with warm water immediately and call a pharmacist or doctor “if you use too much (overdose).”

Wait, so you can overdose on ear drops? As far as the ear rinsing, I wasn’t even going to go there. It was too early to call the pharmacy, and I didn’t want to hear any lectures about not finishing the ear drops last time or using the drops this time without being prescribed.

The poison control center would be my best bet. 24 hours a day, staffed by MDs, RNs and pharmacists.

“My name is Steve. What can I help you with?”

“Um, I accidentally gave my son too many ear drops.”

“Sure. What’s your son’s name?”

“Raynor.”

“Full name please.”

And then he wanted my full name, and by this time I was pretty sure it was to call CPS or the cops if necessary, or at least to add me to the state roster of bad moms.

“How many drops is he supposed to have?”

“Four.”

“And how many did you give him?”

“Uh, maybe 10?”

“Oh boy.” Seriously. The man said that. But then he said these magical, beautiful words, words that were rang sweeter than Susan Boyle’s voice and brought more relief than Rolaids.

“He’ll be fine.”

Apparently you can’t really overdose on antibiotics, and since he didn’t ingest them, he probably won’t even get the stomachache, vomiting and diarrhea that is usually associated with taking too much of an antibiotic. Tiny Boss had used these ear drops many times before, so an allergic reaction wouldn’t be a concern, either.

Silver lining: I learned about antibiotics overdose and after today you’ll never find a more precise ear drop administrator this side of the Mississippi.

After that, everything indeed was fine, that is, until Tiny Boss managed to simultaneously spill a smoothie and tea on the coffee table and the dog ate my fried rice.

Silver lining? My coffee table hasn’t been looked this clean in months. Fried rice is unhealthy, anyways.

Shortly thereafter, I realized I did not have the day off and I did, in fact, have to go to court today.

To quote Liz Lemon: blerg.

Silver lining, anyone?

How Did We End Up Like This?

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1 out of 2 people say this is a great sleeping arrangement.

Let me break it down for you. We once had a reasonably nice bed. Sure, it was from Ikea, but it was a nice black-brown (the actual color name by Ikea) and didn’t squeak, creak, or fall apart (I know my standards for beds might be low).

Then we had a baby.

Then the baby turned into a toddler.

Now the mattress is on the ground. There’s just no other way we can keep him from plummeting to the floor while sleep-crawling.

All pillows are removed from the bed in case he rolls his face into one and suffocates in his sleep. Boppys are allowed, but unfortunately for Dad, he didn’t get his head on top of one before Tiny Boss decided to use his chest as partial lumbar support.

No/minimal blankets for the same reason. Tonight Tiny Boss obviously wants us to play a game of remove-the-stacked-pile-of-blankets-from-beneath-the-world’s-lightest-sleeper.

We have a full size mattress. Although it looks roomy in this picture, it is not. Note that Dad, who is by no means fat, but is also not quite svelte, has been smushed to the very far edge of the bed. Good thing Dad won’t have far to fall!

We have a pack and play mattress extending the top of the mattress by a generous 25.5 inches. Can you say luxury?

This video is one of the most amazing and terrifying videos I’ve watched as a parent.

It’s self-rescue and survival training skills that apparently allows a toddler (maybe one year old?) to fall into a pool but manage to kick himself up to the surface and turn over and float on his back.

Fantastic stuff and I hope I can enroll my kid in this program. But it was so scary to watch.

Before I was a parent, I didn’t know what fear was. Sure, I avoided large spiders. And I’ll admit that I have an irrational fear of electric shocks – from those buzzing things for a handshake prank to the shock knife we used in practicing knife defense in Krav Maga. I won’t even consider doing the Tough Mudder race because there’s a couple of obstacles that require mild electrocution.

e89d_hand_shock_prank

Only $5.99 at thinkgeek.com to scare the crap out of me!

But I never really knew fear until after my son was born. You see, I love him more than anything in the world. So of course, the thought of any harm falling upon him scares me more than anything. As a parent, you see the world in a whole new way. Things that were once benign n my pre-parent days  are no longer.

Sleep – SIDS

Bath – drowning possibility

Solid foods – choking hazard

Kitchen floor – source of exotic dried food scraps, dirt, and other germ-infested particles for toddler ingestion

Grocery shopping carts – salmonella covered handles

The good thing is that the older Tiny Boss gets, the less scary it becomes. When they’re infants, they’re so helpless and delicate. As a toddler, I swear his head and limbs are made of rubber, judging from the numerous falls, topples and bumps they’ve endured from the time he started crawling to now, where he has learned how to manuever himself  at a frightening rate upright like a drunk mini-me.

Someone told me once we are all born with just two emotions: fear and love. Tiny Boss has definitely taught me the meaning of both.

 

Motherhood surpasses even my love of Toblerone

I can tell just how long it’s been since I’ve blogged by the password I’m using to log onto WordPress. Sad. But, the best way to be a writer is to start writing, so here it goes.

Ear tubes! No, not ear tubs, as my iPhone likes to autocorrect my clumsy fingers, but tympanostomy or myringotomy tubes, tiny little cylinders that were placed into my infant son’s adorable little ears (seriously, one of my favorite parts of him are his perfect, shapely, elvish ears) to drain out fluids that accumulated from his cleft palate and became infected from a recent cold.

In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, and certainly nothing like his cleft lip repair that happened some four months ago. 

The best part of this whole experience was that we fasted through the night together and I realized this still-breastfeeding 10-month-old baby can get back to sleep without the boob, be up at 5:30 am for a car ride (one of his most hated things, by the way) in the rainy cold and then wait in a hospital for two hours before going into surgery.

The second best part is that we went to Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach instead of CHOC and at Miller Children’s, they let one parent accompany the kid into the operating room. That was amazing. Out of the three hospital Raynor’s had surgery at – CHOC, St. Joseph’s and now Miller’s, this was the only one that let us anywhere near the OR, much less in it.

I got to wear surgical scrubs, which was fun (hey, I get my fun where I can these days) and I held my son while they put him under. It was gas only so I just held him in my lap, facing out while they put the mask near his face. He kicked at the gas line, swiped at the mask (it smells funny) and wiggled. The anesthesiologist, who sees this all the time, was patient and just kept the gas mask close to his face. After what seemed like several minutes, he started falling asleep just breathing in the gas escaping from the open mask.

“Go ahead, and put him on the table.”

I tried, and to my surprise he was floppy – like I have never felt him this heavy or limp before. They helped me hold his head and the rest of his body up and onto the table. “He’s not even fully under,” they told me and I was astonished at how deeply asleep he must be then when they put the mask on. 

It actually, for a split second, made me want to be an anesthesiologist. That was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Raynor was fussy the remaining of the day as expected. Infant Tylenol calculations are difficult now, with the drops no longer being sold and no instructions on the box for children  under two, but we were told to try to avoid ibuprofen because it’s a blood thinner. 

Unfortunately, Raynor hates Tylenol, so each dosing became a huge theatrical performance, with me sticking the syringe in my mouth, then in Dad’s mouth, and finally in Raynor’s mouth, only to squeeze maybe a couple squirts in before letting him have apple juice, all the while making loud Mmmmm-ing sounds. The whole day crawled by; I have been sleep deprived from taking care of Raynor and also sick myself but Mommy Power kept me going. Seriously. I couldn’t even fall asleep for a nap for some reason.

Ah, the joys of parenthood. Yet I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the Toblerone in the world.

Day 29 / The Time Machine

It’s amazing how many excuses my brain will come up with to get out of writing. In the evening, when all the work is done for the day and I watch my 4-month-old Raynor snuggled up a few inches away from me, I suddenly get too tired to blog and instead the two of us fall asleep quietly into the night.

In the morning, my mind just doesn’t work quite right.

But now, I really have no excuse other than I’m hungry. But getting up to make food will surely wake the little hellspawn, so I better just keep writing.

I was trying to describe myself the other day and I figured I should just blog about it. One of the great things about journaling about yourself is you get to re-read it in a few years and laugh at how you were and how you’ve changed (so you think). Indeed, the blog is basically an online, intangible time capsule.

WANTED: somewhat insecure but smart 32-year-old stay-at-home lawyer and mother of one human child and two rescue dogs. Has more patience with kids and animals than with her own husband, unfortunately. Is often filled with doubt, easily irritated, and somewhat judgmental of her friends. Into all sorts of crunchy-granola stuff, like boycotting dolphin shows and learning the fine art of composting. A recovering people pleaser. Enjoys snowboarding and yes, walks on the beach.

If someone wrote a personal ad like that, I’d have to answer it because that pretty much sums me up.

Now I just have to wait 5-10 years so I can look back on this post, and laugh.

Never look a sleeping baby in the eye at 3 a.m. unless you want them to think it’s party time (and other cautionary tips for new moms)

Actually, this post should be better titled “Never look a sleeping baby in the eye at 3am … and don’t let your husband, either!”

But it is father’s day weekend, and I guess Vanilla gets a free pass. Raynor had been sleeping since 7pm, and out of exhaustion, I slept with him at some time before midnight (who knows when). When Vanilla slunk into bed at about 2:30am, somewhat sheepish and conciliatory as he’d been playing videogames until then, Raynor woke up.

I very carefully avoided eye contact and Vanilla and I chatted in muted whispers. I saw him sneaking sideway glances at Raynor who was stirring and making adorable little cooing noises for who knows what reason, since it’s now in the dead of the night and every North American mammal should be asleep.

I then made the mistake of saying, do you want to just talk to him? Because I could see it in Vanilla’s eyes; dad wanted to play with his son, fall asleep, and leave mom with the unpleasant task of rocking, walking, singing and begging the insomniac back into slumber.

The next morning, I confronted Vanilla about what transpired this early morning, and he said defensively, “Well, he looked at ME!”

Father’s day free pass in effect.

Other tips I would give new parents – and I’ve only been doing this 4 months, mind you:

– You cannot wear your infant out. When they’re tired, you better try putting them to sleep before they get “over-tired,” because once that happens, kiss your ass goodbye.

– Shower once daily if you’re breastfeeding. You don’t need to wash your hair, cuz no one cares about that anyways, but it’s nice to give the little barracuda fresh boobies!

– Your instincts > all other’s advice. Especially that of meddling mother in laws.

– Mother in laws may be witches, but as witches, this also means they are armed with a large repository of powerful spells, including the magic Soothe and Sleep spells. Just beware, your baby will conspire with MIL to make her think you’re crazy by being on his or her best baby behavior.

– Babies are little imps, with the ability to cast Cute +4 at any given time. This is their most powerful and debilitating incantation.

– Your life as a mother will never be the same again. Prior to giving birth, you may have had the naive (or idiotic notion) of popping the little chimpopo out, having you and your spouse’s parents babysit, and going along your merry way. This will not happen, because you will not let it happen. What you have is too precious and only you understand that.

– Your life as a father make carry some semblance of normalcy, but don’t worry. You’ll get what’s due when said offspring begins its hellish descent into adolescence. Your life will similarly spiral downward at this time.

– The Law of Baby Pee: if you have clean sheets, you will get baby pee on them.

– The Law of Baby Poop: the best time to poop, according to your baby, is right after you’ve just changed him or her.

– Always stand up for your baby, or you’ll live with mommy-guilt forever. If your baby is crying from being passed from auntie to auntie, take her back by all means! I still remember the time we were celebrating at my niece’s second birthday. It was unseasonably hot out and I felt I should take Raynor home after only about an hour but we stayed longer because a lot of the family hadn’t seen 3-month-old Raynor yet. By the time we got back to our car, he was so exhausted and hot he didn’t even cry the car ride home. The look on his face broke my heart.

– Parenthood is truly about the journey and not the destination. You might not realize this beforehand, but unlike pregnancy, there’s no end here.

– And lastly: A child is carried in the womb for nine months, and in the heart forever.