Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cheer

As Caitlyn's first Christmas came and went, I noticed something that I hadn't really thought about before. As a kid, Christmas was special. It was all magic and presents and sugarplums. And that's not to say that as an adult you don't have an appreciation for it, but I just now realized how bogged down I always let myself get in the stress of it all. I'm sure part of it is the fact that this was my first non-retail Christmas in a decade. That alone can ruin the holidays for anyone. But there was something else too. I was seeing it for the first time since I was a kid myself, through the eyes of a child.

I first noticed this year felt different a few weeks ago. I had come home from work and I had a little bit of shopping to do, so Caitlyn and I made our way over to Wal-Mart after I picked her up from my sister's house. Usually, I'm racing through the aisles, grabbing what I need and GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE. But I found myself strolling on that particular night. I found that I was picking up a toy and holding it up and seeing if it made Caitlyn giggle. I was in no rush to finish my shopping, I was enjoying it.

As I pushed the shopping cart out to my car after we finished up, I looked up to the sky and noticed it had started to snow. Not even that it had started snowing recently, but that I was seeing the very first flakes fall from the sky. At first I wasn't even sure it was snow, because I only saw one flake, but then there was another and another. By the time I loaded up the car it was full fledged flurrying for the first time that I had seen this year.

I remember stopping in the parking lot, looking up at the sky and the snow and looking down at my precious daughter and feeling like I just witnessed something magical. Just after I paused to look, a little boy and girl had gotten out of their car and I heard the little girl shout with pure joy in her voice "IT'S SNOWING!", and I could remember what it felt like to be a kid at Christmas. I could picture Caitlyn in a few years, excitedly waiting for the first snow of the season. It was fantastic.

Our actual holiday was exactly what I was hoping for. I had been a little concerned, because Rodolfo can be a little bit of a scrooge around the holidays, but when the day actually came, he had that moment of clarity when he realized this was his baby's first Christmas and he'd better not screw it up.

Christmas Eve was spent with his family, as it usually is. Both of our families had a bit of a baby boom this year, so Caitlyn wasn't the only child celebrating her first Christmas in either family. By the time all the guests arrived at Rodolfo's sister's house, the gifts were literally spilling out of her tiny living room. It was quite a sight.

Caitlyn hadn't been feeling great earlier that day and she fussed up a storm and refused to sleep as I wrapped the last of the presents and baked Christmas cookies. So I was at least a little disappointed when she conked out at 9:30pm because I was absolutely certain she was down for the night and would miss the festivities. When midnight rolled around, everyone kissed and hugged and toasted to Christmas. Rodolfo and I snuck away for a moment to kiss our baby girl and wish her a Merry Christmas despite her being in a deep sleep. We walked in the room where she was sleeping and a funny thing happened. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. It was perfect timing. It was as if she knew it was Christmas and she shouldn't miss it. It's especially funny because I had checked on her several times that night and not once did she even stir from her sleep. But it was officially Christmas day, and she woke up at just the right time to join the party, open her presents and bring me the perfect beginning to my Christmas.

Christmas day was spent with my family. When we arrived at my mother's house, it truly felt like Christmas to me. There were the stocking she used every year (with a new stocking for Caitlyn of course), the tree with all the ornaments me and my siblings made at school every year and the warmth and obvious joy that my mother gets from her grandchildren. And there were the presents. Oh so many presents. Her family room was covered, end to end, in toys. Caitlyn opened her presents and played with her toys. We ate cookies, relaxed and basked in the joy of a holiday that I haven't been able to truly appreciate in so long. It was all so very perfect.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


In a nutshell, Thanksgiving was a disappointment this year. That's not to say there weren't good moments, but it wasn't really what I had in mind for Caitlyn's first Thanksgiving. Every year, I go to my mom's, but this year my store pushed our mall to let us open and I had to work. The trade-off being that I could have Christmas Eve off. Caitlyn's first Christmas was definitely higher on the list so I agreed to be one of the two managers who had to work today.

It was a very quiet day. For some reason, my company thought there would be some crazy shopping bonanza but it really did go the other way and we were quiet the majority of the day, with just a few busy hours in the morning. The upside to that was when Rodolfo brought Caitlyn by during my lunch break. There were about 5 customers in the store at that point, so I ran around with Caitlyn, trying outfits on her, picking out the tiniest little fuzzy boots for her Christmas pictures and just generally spazzing out and making her giggle. Actually, it was pretty fun when I think about it.

Tomorrow is Black Friday and I have a 12 hour shift ahead of me. Not looking forward to that. But there is good news. This will be the only Thanksgiving Caitlyn will have without me. I got a new job. A grown-up job that isn't in retail and doesn't require me to miss every holiday and 90% of weekends with my daughter. I'm quite excited.

It was definitely awkward, quitting my retail job a month before Christmas. I had anxiety about it for an entire day before I finally told my boss. She was surprisingly understanding. I explained the part about my family life. Rodolfo and I have been working opposite schedules- literally opposite- we work for the same company and our bosses have been coordinating, to accommodate my sister and her new limitations with babysitting. I realized that I don't have a back-up plan if she decides she doesn't want to do it anymore again. And we have been really driving ourselves crazy trying to keep it all straight. So there's that.

The other part is about opportunities. During my yearly review, I was informed that because I don't have a bachelor's degree, I was no longer in line for any promotions. Ever. The company had decided that you need 4 years of schooling to do what I've been doing for a decade. They weren't taking anyone out of their positions or anything, but I wouldn't be considered for a promotion until I completed the remaning 2 and a half years of schooling I would need for a bachelors. Did I mention they told me this when I was fucking 8 MONTHS PREGNANT??? Yeah... pregnant and $10,000 in debt from fertility treatments. Sounds like an ideal time to go back to school! And ok...not to be bitchy or anything, but seriously, a bachelors to manage a clothing store? Are you fucking serious? It's not brain surgery. They didn't even specify "oh, a bachelors in business management". Nope, turns out any old bachelors will do. I could have a degree in Totally Irrelevant Bullshitology and I could get a promotion.

So I made a decision and I found something better. Something office-y and grown-up, where I have off nights and weekends and fucking Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6 Months


Today Caitlyn had her 6 month well baby visit and vaccinations. She was officially 6 months old on the 7th. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I can't picture my life before she was here but it seems so ridiculous that it's been half a year already. I've learned some stuff about myself since she's been born that surprised me. So here what I didn't expect:

1. I'm not really the nursery rhyme type. I sing Taio Cruz songs to Caitlyn and she loves it. And sometimes I start singing any song that pops into my head to her and I have to remind myself that the lyrics aren't really appropriate to sing to a child -If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one. It's especially funny when I use Caitlyn's name instead of the word bitch- that's how I justify singing Jay-Z songs to my infant.

2. I never thought I'd be the type to get competitive with other moms in a playground bitch sort of way but I totally am. I think my kid is better then everyone else's. Cuter and smarter too. And not just in the obligatory way. I truly believe that she is far more advanced then all the dumb babies around me (did I mention that she said mama at 5 months?). And you can't even get mad at me for it. Because you think your kid is better too.

3. I never thought I'd be so concerned about the color, texture and smell of another person's shit. If you are curious, we are currently at the "brown, sticky, elephant" stage- only recently upgraded from "green, chunky, sour".

4. I am, in fact, the type of person who can get sucked in to feeling guilty about wanting to stop breastfeeding. Before Caitlyn was born, I always thought that breastfeeding moms were a little too intense about being anti-formula and how I wouldn't have any qualms about changing Caitlyn over to formula if breastfeeding got to be too difficult. But that's just not the reality. I feel like a bad mom who is putting convenience over what is best for my child. I feel like I would be giving her artifical crap instead of something natural and healthy. I feel intensely protective of the fact that this should be my decision and I shouldn't feel pressured by anyone else to stop breastfeeding. I feel grateful to our pediatrician for telling me I gave Caitlyn a great start, but also a little sad that he was so quick to throw formula samples at me instead of encouraging me to keep giving her breastmilk. I feel so torn.

5. As a kid, I never understood why my mom saw pets as such an inconvenience. It's because they fucking are an inconvenience. I got shit to do, dog.

6. It was quite shocking to realize I married a baby retard. He's the most logical man I know, how is he so bad at this?

7. I can no longer watch the news or movies that have sad storylines involving children. Because I cry like a little bitch baby. Seriously, there was a story on the news tonight about a charity that is doing a coat drive and they were showing the people putting coats on little kids who were standing outside in the cold- apparently previously coatless- and I totally lost my shit.

And now for the things I have learned about Caitlyn:

1. Caitlyn thinks Rodolfo's stern voice is hilarious. Whenever he sounds annoyed about anything she watches him intently and cracks up. This is his punishment from God for being an asshole.

2. She'd rather stand, so please stop trying to sit her down.

3. She doesn't think the pets are an inconvenience, and she regards them with amusement, adoration and just a little too much grabbing of fistfuls of fur.

4. She is a black hole for socks.

5. She has figured out the best way to clear out her teething induced nasal congestion is to scrunch up her nose and snort. It is quite possibly the cutest and funniest thing I have ever seen.

6. She would REALLY love the opportunity to feed herself. Oh, wait, not really. Actually she just wants to knock the entire bowl of cereal out of my hand so the dog can have a treat.

7. She is Baby McGuyver. Today at the doctor's office, I was holding her while talking to the doctor and she was fiddling with my necklace. Then I heard something drop. I looked down and saw my necklace was open and what I had heard dropping was the heart pendant on it. I was sad because it's the necklace my mom gave me shortly after I lost Nicholas, and it has his name on it and a great deal of sentimental value and now it was broken. Or so I thought. When I actually looked at it, I saw that it was NOT broken. My 6 month old daughter unhooked it. How the fuck is that even possible? Apparently she had a paper clip, dental floss and a stick of gum in her diaper. Baby McGuyver!

8. She is just about the greatest thing ever. Seriously. Everyone who meets her thinks she's the most cheerful, hilarious baby they've ever seen. Refer to list 1, point 2.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is All Bad

I don't know what it is exactly, maybe stress. Work has been crazy, Rodolfo and I have been fighting all the time. So maybe that's why I've been feeling...weird. I lost my Nicholas over a year and a half ago, so most of the time it's not so fresh in my mind. I have moments regularly that I think of him, and I say goodnight to him before bed every day. But the pain has been less intense since Caitlyn has been born.

So I can't quite put my finger on why I keep reliving what happened on the day I found out we lost him and the following day when he was born. I don't think about it constantly or anything, and I can't say I feel depressed exactly, but then something will happen. I'll hear a song that reminds me of that time or I'll look at Caitlyn and think of him and it just hits me with an intensity that I haven't felt in a year.

I still find it shocking. I still can't even fathom that it really happened to me. I think about sitting in the ultrasound room in my old OB's office and hearing her tell me that my son died. I remember the details, I remember how I felt. I remember being so hysterical that I could barely breathe. I remember my doctor telling me that I needed to try to calm down for a few minutes so she could talk to me about what came next. I remember leaving the office that day and realizing that absolutely everyone who was there knew I lost my baby. It occurred to me then that I wasn't sobbing in privacy while my husband and I grieved the loss of our child. I was so loud and so inconsolable that every patient, nurse and receptionist knew that my baby had died.

I remember those days and I feel out of control. I feel like I'm falling apart and my family is falling apart. I feel like everything I love is going to be taken from me and I can't do anything to stop it. When I think of it like that, I really do think this has to do with my marriage. It seems we are at some sort of crossroads. We spent the last 3 years fighting so hard to make it to this point- the supposed "happily ever after" with our beautiful daughter. And now it seems that all we do is fight. We have no common goal to work towards anymore. I hate to think that infertility was the glue holding us together, but now that we are past it we seem to be falling apart.

We both knew long ago that we didn't have much in common. We have opposite personalities- I'm easygoing and fun and he's driven and intense. But I thought we were happy. I've always felt we balanced each other out, but now I'm not so sure. I don't know where we go from here. I just feel lost.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Lonely Grown-ups Club

Tonight is the second night since Caitlyn has been born that she is spending the night away from me. My sister (who is babysitting for Caitlyn again) was going to visit my mom today, and since I'm planning to go visit for Halloween tomorrow, my mom was happy to keep Caitlyn for the night.

It's very strange being away from her for any length of time. Usually just the length of my shifts at work seem like an eternity away... by the time I see her tomorrow, I will have been away from her for more than 24 straight hours. I get so lonely without her... she's just sunshine and puppies and rainbows for me. She's absolutely what I live for. And it's so weird not seeing her for a whole day.

I was happy at first... the last few weeks at work have been exhausting and I could really use a night to myself. But now that she's gone and I have all these hours to myself, all I can think about are all the stupid little tasks that need to get done. Things I have been putting off because I never seem to have the time.

I cleaned out the cabinets in my kitchen just a little while ago. It's something that's been bugging me for months so I was happy to finally get it done. After throwing out the expired stuff and the crap I'll never use again, I gotta tell you, it's looking pretty sparse in there. I have some baking stuff (I bake more than I actually cook), a couple of boxes of pasta and jars of tomato sauce, a bag of lentils and some white rice. Oh, and an entire shelf of seasoning. You know, to season the lentils and rice.

I was able to create a cabinet that's just for Caitlyn's stuff. Nadine got me these awesome little containers from Ikea that are the perfect size for portions of cereal or fruit, so they are in there. Along with that are the parts for the food processor (for making baby food), her bottles and bowls, cereal and snacks. It's all conveniently located in the most accessible cabinet so my annoying husband isn't always searching for things that are right in front of his face.

I always feel better when stuff is organized. Generally speaking, I'm what you might call an utter slob, but it's mostly because I can't clean things without going completely overboard. I end up with everything half done because I'm trying too hard to make it perfect and I don't have time to finish. That's the great thing about long-expired food though, no need to organize it!

The plan for the rest of the night was to possibly go to a movie, but now I'm damn tired and I don't know if I have the enthusiasm for it anymore. That's just sad, isn't it? Too tired to go to a movie.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

**As a disclaimer, I will say that there are pictures of my stillborn son at the end of this post. It may be uncomfortable for some to see. **

Today is October 15th. For those who don't know, it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This blog is fairly new, and I've talked mostly about my daughter and parenting, but what I haven't addressed are the struggles I faced on my road to becoming a mother. I won't go into detail (at least not today) about the actual fertility issues. I will simply say that getting pregnant was not easy for us. There were major issues and we were told IVF was our only option. We were excited, overwhelmed and cautious when we got pregnant through a frozen embryo transfer (FET) the cycle following our fresh cycle IVF.

When you need IVF to get pregnant, there is a certain level of anticipation that something might go wrong. The process itself is stressful enough, but what I'm talking about is after it's over and you have had success and you are pregnant. I did a ton of research before my IVF. I knew that I was forcing my body to do something that wasn't coming naturally. I knew that it could mean the pregnancy wouldn't stick.

I'm not a person who keeps things to myself. Even though I feared that I could lose the baby, I told my friends and family right away. Even my coworkers knew fairly early on- mostly because I couldn't stop puking.

You always hear about the first trimester being the time you should worry. I remember being 12 weeks pregnant and thinking "am I safe now that I hit 12 weeks, or do I have to wait till I'm officially PAST 12 weeks before I can stop worrying about a miscarriage?". I made it past 12 weeks and I felt a little relieved. My morning sickness was still pretty intense... I remember practically eating the entire contents of Nadine's pantry while baking Christmas cookies because I would puke if I didn't have a constant stream of food in my mouth. But I told myself it was all ok. I would throw up and think "this means my baby is growing". And he was.

I had my monthly doctor's appointments and everything was going well. I still had morning sickness pretty bad, even into my 5th month, and I was absolutely exhausted all the time. But, hey, that's pregnancy for you. I was so eager for my 20 week ultrasound. I was convinced from day 1 that I was having a baby girl and I managed to convince everyone else of the same. My mom came to our appointment that day and we all reacted with a bit of shock when the ultrasound tech showed us a picture and said "there's the penis!"... apparently "it's a boy" wasn't explicit enough for her. I had never pictured myself with a boy, but I quickly adjusted my view. We made our way to Babies R Us right from the doctor's office and bought my sweet boy, Nicholas, his very first outfit.

It's pretty ironic that this visit was the turning point for me as far as fearing that I wouldn't take a baby home. I finally felt confident that everything was going to be fine. I could see my life with my son clearly and it was wonderful. I never imagined that he would never wear that first outfit, or any of the others I bought for him from that day till the day of my 24 week check-up, a month later. I could never imagine that as I shopped for baby clothes and started a registry, my tiny, perfect son was dying inside of me.

It was March 19, 2009. I was in a good mood, because my morning sickness was FINALLY subsiding. I stepped on the scale at the doctor's office and was surprised to see I had lost 2lbs. "It's that fat baby boy eating all my food", I thought. As we waited for the doctor, I remember hoping my son had turned into an odd position...somewhere the doppler couldn't pick up his heartbeat so I could get an ultrasound again. Ultrasounds were always the most fun. When the doctor came in and actually couldn't find his heartbeat, I smiled a little to myself... he was listening to his Mommy already! It never occurred to me that he didn't have a heartbeat anymore. Not even for a second. I was just anxious to get my ultrasound and see my boy again.

I expected immediate recognition of the sound of Nicky's heartbeat. I expected "there it is!" from the ultrasound tech. What I got was silence. Several uncomfortable minutes of silence. Is everything ok?. Had they missed something? I just had an ultrasound last month! I feared that they found some sort of birth defect that they missed last time. The only thing she said to me was "I need to get the doctor" and she walked out of the room.

That's when I started to cry. Rodolfo told me not to worry, that everything would be fine. It wasn't. My doctor came in, briefly looked at the ultrasound and said to me "I'm sorry, Jaclyn, he just stopped growing". It took me a second to realize that she didn't just mean that he was too small. He had stopped growing because he died. I fucking lost it. I sobbed hysterically for the next 20 minutes or so. The doctor left the room to give me and my husband a few minutes alone. I called my mom and blubbered into the phone "HE DIED MOM, HE DIED". I was so hysterical that I had to say it half a dozen times before she could understand me.

At that point I was told I needed to make a decision about how I wanted to proceed. I could have labor induced. No, definitely not. I wasn't ready, I was terrified. I couldn't spend the next day in the maternity ward, laboring with my dead child. I couldn't. My only other option was a D&E. I said yes without really knowing what it was. I was then given medicine to dilate my cervix and told to be at the hospital the next morning for my surgery. My doctor offered her condolences. I asked if she had an idea as to why this happened. She said she could run some tests but that with a D&E there is only "tissue" and it can be hard to know for sure. That's when I realized that what they meant was that they would rip my baby apart and pull him out of me in pieces. It was absolutely horrific to think about.

I went home and was in shock for the rest of the day. I sat on my couch and didn't even cry. I just stared into space and didn't know what to do. It occurred to me that maybe I made the wrong choice, but for some reason I didn't feel like I could change it now. I thought maybe I could bring on labor and my son would be born before the D&E. So I walked. I took my dog and my husband and walked to the ice cream shop a mile from my house. As it turned out, that did put me into labor.

I was given painkillers and took some as my labor got progressively harder to handle. By midnight I was waking up every 5 minutes or so with contractions. By 2am I didn't know how much more I could take. I called my doctor and she told me I only had a few more hours till I had to be at the hospital and asked if I thought I could make it. So I stayed home till 6am, then made my way over. By that point I was having contractions every 2 minutes or so. I remember waiting in the lobby of the hospital for my husband to park the car and thinking that I didn't yet look pregnant enough for anyone to realize I was in labor. People probably just thought I was whiny and fat. By the time we made it up to the surgery floor, I was begging for painkillers and told them I needed a wheelchair because I simply couldn't walk anymore.

The operating rooms were running behind and my contractions came fast and hard. I begged for meds that never came. My nurse was warm and comforting and promised that she would get me something as soon as she spoke to my doctor. When they were finally ready to bring me in for my surgery, it was after 9 am. They told me to use the bathroom before they got started and I did. I was actually wheeled into the bathroom on a gurney because I was unable to walk and having nearly constant contractions.

After that they had me get into a wheelchair and told me they were bringing me to the operating room. As I stood up I could feel the sensation that something was coming out of me. The medication I was given to dilate my cervix was in the form of medicated sponges, so I assumed that was what I felt. Nonetheless I was concerned and started shouting "something is coming out!". My nurse rushed me to the operating room, where I stood to get onto the operating table, begging them to knock me out immediately. But then I saw the sponges on the floor. I turned to look at them and my water broke. It was brown. Meconium. Fetal distress. It made me wonder if he suffered at all. It made me so sad.

A moment later, I was looking at my son. He had fallen out of me and onto the operating room floor. The nurses and my doctor all yelled at me that I shouldn't look, but I wanted to see him. I told them to please bring me my child. I saw him for a moment. He had my husband's lips but he looked like me in every other way. Then my doctor told me they would still be doing a D&C, because it was very common for the placenta to stay attached at such an early stage of pregnancy. As they brought the gas mask to my face, I just remember saying "I want my husband to see him". She told me she would try...that wasn't good enough. I looked at the nurse right in front of me and told her firmly "I want my husband to see him". She said ok and then I was out.

I don't remember the surgery at all. I didn't even have the recognition of time passing. I woke up in another room with no idea how I got there. I woke up in a clean, dry gown (as I went under, I was wet with amniotic fluid and shivering cold) with no idea who saw me naked. It was a very strange sensation. Rodolfo was there waiting for me to wake up. A few minutes later, they brought us our son.

He was on a fluffy white surface- maybe a blanket, I'm not really sure. I remember how tiny he was- only 9 ounces I would later find out. He looked like a doll. He was mostly wrapped up, so I spent a few minutes looking at his perfect face, then I took his hand and compared it to mine. His entire hand was the size of the tip of my thumb. I was vaguely aware of someone taking a picture in the background. I held him for a few minutes, then kissed him goodbye 3 times on his forehead. That was the last time I ever saw my son.

When I look at his picture now, as I sometimes do, I'm shocked at how he looked... he was purple and covered in blood. That's not how I remember him at all. He was angelic, perfect. It was unfathomable to me at the time that he wasn't just sleeping or something. He looked exactly like I pictured he would. My nose and cheeks, my husband's lips. I always pictured him with hair, but he was too young to have any yet, so that's all I can say I was surprised by, that he was bald. I wish I had taken more time to look over his whole body... to see his tiny legs and feet and butt. To take more detailed pictures of him. The ones I have are blurry and at an odd angle. I wish I would have given him a bath and maybe put a little hat on him so I could have something concrete to hold onto and say "this belonged to my son". All I have now are 2 blurry pictures and the few outfits that were the first I chose for him. And pictures of the things I registered for that I imagined he would love and use for his entire babyhood. I have so little... I have to truly cherish those few reminders.

I've felt like a mother ever since that day, March 20, 2009. It's odd because outsiders don't see you that way. If my child had lived even one day outside of my body, if he had grabbed my finger or smiled at me even once.. if I had one picture of him when he was alive, it would be so different in the eyes of everyone else.

I guess I can say that, up to that day, I had been lucky in not ever losing someone who was very close to me. So I can't really compare the loss of my son to anything else, but I can say that with the overwhelming grief came a crushing sense of guilt and responsibility. I tried to remind myself that I wasn't to blame, and now I can see it with a little more perspective. But the truth is that it's hard to see it any other way. I was the one and only person charged with caring for him and ensuring he was safe. I was the one who noticed he was moving less and didn't want to seem like one of those paranoid pregnant ladies so I never called my doctor. I was the one who left him on the floor of the operating room instead of picking him up like I wish I would have. There are just so many regrets, so much lost.

Today I have Caitlyn and she is amazing. The fear that something will happen to her never leaves me, and was especially terrifying during my pregnancy. But at least now I can look at her and know she's ok. I think of Nicholas every day. Each night I ask him to watch over his baby sister. I don't feel overwhelmingly sad every day anymore, but it's the little things that hurt the most. As I watch Caitlyn grow, I'll sometimes picture a boy version of her and know that I'm missing my Nicky. I think of how she won't ever know her big brother. As Halloween approaches, I imagine them in coordinating costumes. The reality is that if Nicholas had been born when he was supposed to, I wouldn't have ever been pregnant with Caitlyn. But I can't think of it like that. When I imagine how our life would be different if our son had lived, I don't imagine a boy instead of a girl. I imagine them both, very close in age as would have been the case if I had gotten pregnant again right away, growing up together.

So on this day, I wanted to talk about the child I lost. The child who has just as big a piece of my heart as Caitlyn does. The child I only ever got to kiss goodbye. He's mine and I'm his. And I miss him every day. I wanted to recognize that lost piece of my life. As with any mother, I think he was perfect and beautiful and special. He liked Skittles and sleeping late. He was here, if only for a moment and I want people to know him.

Below I'm going to include his photo. I don't have any pictures of him alive, unfortunately, so please be prepared for what you will see if you choose to look at these pictures. I don't think it's weird but it may make some people uncomfortable to look at them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Maternal Instinct! ...Paternal Instinct?

We all know that mom's just KNOW. Whether you needed a shoulder to cry on or you were standing in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open for the millionth time even though she always yelled at you for it, somehow, our moms had that instinct. That we needed her, that we were in trouble, that we were lying. It never made sense to me as a kid. Now that I'm a mom myself, I can see everything involving Caitlyn with laser focus.

At first, it's the hormones. Your body knows what your baby needs from minute one. If you tried to actually think about everything your baby needs from you from the moment they are born, your head would probably explode because it seems so overwhelming at first. The first few weeks of Caitlyn's life, I was surprised by the way my body just took over. My boobs went to work, gradually making more milk as Caitlyn needed it. They would leak if she cried, if I held her or smelled her. My boobs knew what their job was.

Even my sleeping patterns changed. Caitlyn was never what I would call a fussy baby, and even her first night home from the hospital she slept 4 or 5 hours at a time. But my body wouldn't let me go into a deep sleep. I was exhausted. I should have been out cold. Normally, I'm a heavy sleeper, nothing wakes me. But from the minute Caitlyn came home, just the sound of her moving around even a little bit is enough to wake me up. That actually surprised me. I feared that she would scream for hours before it woke me up.

Like I said, the physical changes were automatic and immediate. But now I notice a different kind of instinct. Maybe not even instinct necessarily. I think part of it is a hyper-awareness of every little thing Caitlyn does and wants and needs. Or maybe that's exactly what instinct is. My point is that I know her and I can anticipate her needs and moods with surprising accuracy. If she's fussy I can look at her or listen to her cry and know exactly what she wants. I notice the nuances of her personality and the subtlest things seem ridiculously obvious to me. I can even do it over the phone. If my husband or sister calls me while I'm working and tells me that Caitlyn is fussy, I can have them tell me what she did in the last couple of hours and pick up on what's bothering her in a second.

This is not a special talent or anything. I'm pretty sure every mom has it. The thing that I find odd is that my husband has no sort of paternal instincts, it would seem. I mean, the instinct to keep her safe and to love her are there, of course. But nothing else seems easy to him. When she cries, he doesn't know why or what to do. He doesn't even have an idea. If a bottle or a diaper change doesn't fix the problem, he's at a loss. And even when those things do work, he's pretty much just blindly trying to find a fix. He can't look at her and hear her cry and say "oh, she's hungry", he doesn't notice that she shields her eyes from the light when she's tired. He doesn't recognize her annoyed cry when nobody is paying attention to her and all she wants is someone to play with. And when he can't figure it out, he gets frustrated and gives up. His logic is "she is fed and changed and she is still crying. I've done all I can and eventually she will stop if I just leave her alone for a while". He actually does the same thing to me when we are fighting. He thinks if he ignores the problem it will go away. After 5 years, you would think he would realize that chicks just don't operate that way. Ignoring us only pisses us off even more.

And there are other little things I notice too. She's about to be 5 months old. Every aspect of our existence for the last 5 months has revolved around filling the needs of this tiny human being. Her needs are pretty straightforward. The bottom line is to keep her comfortable. That means fed, clean, amused and not in any pain.

The other night I came home from work and he tells me she's been crying for the last hour. I pick her up and she is sweating. It was one of those nights before the temperature dropped back down, when the humidity was super high and we were waiting on a storm front. It was roughly 80 degrees in my house. Caitlyn was in a long sleeved sleeper with a onesie underneath. Isn't that just common sense? He has this idea in his head that she's running like 10 degrees cooler than an adult for some reason. Even when I stripped her down to her onesie, flipped on the air-conditioner and had her calm and comfy within 5 minutes, he argued with me that she was "too cold".

And he doesn't know what kind of wipes to get her. I sent him to the store the other day because we were running out. I'm not particularly picky about most things, but I've consistently used the same wipes for the last 4 and a half months because most wipes give her a rash. So he comes back and he's got the wrong ones. "She will be fine, just use these". And now she has a rash, of course. I guess I don't understand how he doesn't know. It's been 5 MONTHS!

I don't know where I was going with this exactly. I guess I just find it sort of strange, because mothering my child isn't something I had to think about ever. It just happens. Is it just him, or is this a guy thing? Tell me my husband isn't just an emotional retard.

Friday, October 1, 2010



Caitlyn and I have a pretty well established routine on days that I'm off or closing. We've basically been doing it since she was a month old, when Rodolfo's parents went back home. It goes like this: she will wake up around 8am or so, I'll feed her and we will play for an hour or two. After that she's ready for a nap. On those late days, we nap together. It's one of my favorite things. We cuddle up in my bed and sleep for an hour or so. It reminds me a little bit of when I was pregnant with her... we are all smooshed together and warm and cozy. I sleep SO good during my naps with Caitlyn. I hope she doesn't grow out of nap time with Mommy any time soon.

Today I didn't have to be in till 1:30pm, so Caitlyn and I took our regular nap together. I remember thinking as I was dozing off how her eating habits have changed. Since we started solids a few weeks ago, she is becoming less and less interested in drinking milk. She was drinking 5 or 6 ounces at a feeding, and now I'm lucky if I can get her to drink 3 or 4. I mean, it makes sense. Solid food is more filling, obviously. What always makes me worry is her first feeding though. When she gets up in the morning, I give her a bottle. She doesn't get solid food till after our nap. You would think after sleeping for 7 or 8 hours she would want to eat her entire bottle, but she just can't be bothered with it. My point isn't necessarily that I'm concerned. I'm all about letting her figure out what she needs (to the extent that a baby can do that, of course) and not trying to push her to do everything the way I imagine it should go. My point, really, is just that all this was going through my head as I was dozing off.

Caitlyn's food preferences must have leaked into my subconcious because I had a dream that we had gotten up from our nap and I was preparing her cereal. I was talking to her like I always do, and I asked her if she was ready for her breakfast. Then she said "breakfast"... actually, to be accurate, she said "breafest". At this point in the dream my mom was standing next to me and I turned to her and said "did she just say breakfast?". Then I kept telling Caitlyn to say it again, and she did a couple more times. Then it occurred to me that "breakfast" really shouldn't be her first word and I kept trying to get her to say Mama.

In real life, she's obviously not ready to start talking yet, but actually this isn't the first time I had a dream like this. And she never says Mama. I'm going to be super disappointed if her first word is anything other then her asking for me. My own mother is convinced that her first attempt at mimicking a sound is going to be her barking back at the dog. She's probably right too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I mentioned in one of my first posts that my sister and brother-in-law have been babysitting for me since I went back to work. My sister only works part time and my brother-in-law is a teacher, and her schedule is quite flexible so there is always someone home with their son and my daughter. Or there was.

I knew it was coming. Before Caitlyn was even born, I knew. A. (my sister) is the type to change her mind in the blink of an eye. When I was pregnant, she was babysitting for a friend of hers a couple of days a week and one day just decided she was done with it. The official story was that the friend's daughter was in day care most other days and was "always sick" and my sister didn't want her son getting sick all the time. When we made arrangements for her to watch Caitlyn, this was obviously a point of concern for me. I couldn't just have her decide one day that she didn't feel like doing it anymore. So we talked about it. She assured me that she would "never do that" to me. She emphasized that her friend was 1. not paying her, 2. already comfortable with the day care her daughter attended so she wasn't worried about sending her for an extra day or two and 3. that she was really just worried about her son's health... since my daughter wouldn't be in day care at all, we wouldn't have to worry about her bringing other kids germs around all the time. She never mentioned being overwhelmed or feeling like she couldn't handle more then one kid. Not even once.

There has been tension between us lately. I could feel her resentment the day last week that she sent me a bitchy text message about how she couldn't believe I'd forgotten Caitlyn's pacifier because she had things to do and couldn't " hold her all day". I found it especially odd because Caitlyn is almost always fine to play with a toy or just hang out. She's not high maintenance at all, so I couldn't figure out why my sister was OMG SO ANNOYED. I texted her back with obvious sarcasm "oh is she that much of a nightmare to watch? Just give her a toy or put her in the jumperoo" and "have you never forgotten anything". What I got back were 7 back to back messages about how I have NO IDEA how hard it is to watch 2 kids at once and how dare I even say such a thing to her! Oh and "yes, sometimes she IS A NIGHTMARE". Hmmm... are you sure you don't mean your own kid? I took the high road and kept that comment to myself...along with about 6 others, almost all of which included the word "cunt".

Then there was the comment she made to me when I picked Caitlyn up on Saturday. She made some bitchy reference to how I'm only paying her like $4 an hour. And yeah, that week it did come out to about that. But she seems to forget about the occasions where she only babysat one or two days and I paid her the same flat $100 for the week. In my opinion, it was a fair arrangement for both of us. There were weeks I made out better and weeks where she did. And hey, remember how I mentioned that she did it for her friend for FREE?

So it isn't even like she mentioned to me more then just the one time that she was feeling a little overwhelmed. But then today I get a text message that said "I need to talk to you and Rodolfo". And that's when I found out I no longer have a babysitter. We discussed, in detail, before Caitlyn was born that if she decided she didn't want to babysit anymore that she needed to give me a reasonable amount of time to make other arrangements. We haven't discussed that yet, but I really hope she understands that a week isn't reasonable time. She's selfish in that way... when she stopped babysitting for her friend she told her 2 or 3 days before she was supposed to babysit and thought that was plenty of time. Which is why we had the conversation about "reasonable time" in the first place. So I'm wondering how that conversation is going to go.

And ok, just to go to the bitter place, let's smack talk for a minute, shall we? This woman is the same person who wants "at least 2, but probably 3" children. This is the woman who knew at 18 that the only aspiration she ever had for herself was to be a mother. She didn't want a career, didn't bother to even finish high school. She just wanted a dude with a good job to take care of her while she stayed home and shot out babies. That's always been her plan. And, in fact, when her husband pushed her to have some sort of goal for herself, the best she could come up with was that she would L-O-V-E to open a daycare. She went so far as to look into how to get certified and what she would need to do to make it happen. And I know, a few minutes worth of research doesn't sound like anything, but damn, that's because you don't know my sister. For her, that's the closest she's ever come to a career.

So I guess I'm curious what she thinks the reality of any of these things would be. Does she expect it to be magically easier to care for more then one kid when they are both her own and she has to do it all the time? Umm, yeah, not really. Especially since she turns them into overscheduled whiners. And with the daycare thing, did she think she was going to just throw on "Finding Nemo" for half a dozen kids and rake in a bunch of cash without doing any real work?

My problem now is that I don't have a plan. Daycare isn't going to work for me. My schedule is too hours are too varied. Most daycares aren't open past 7pm and that's not even close to late enough for it to work. And even if it would, I really don't want to leave my kid at a daycare. Not to say I couldn't find a trustworthy person or place, but in a daycare setting, no matter how good a person is, one kid can't be the priority over all others. And I need to know that my kid is the priority. As far as finding a babysitter that will come to my home or whose home I can take Caitlyn to, well, in theory I would be more comfortable with that. Unfortunately, peace of mind ain't cheap, and a stranger isn't going to take $4 an hour to watch an infant. So right now... I just don't know where I'm at. I considered talking to my boss about working a 4 day week with 10 hour days as opposed to 5- 8 hour days but Rodolfo doesn't seem to think she would go for it (my boss is notoriously family unfriendly).

Just overall this whole situation makes me long for a major change in my career path. I've gotten stuck in this retail rut for 10 years now and I hate it. At 18 I wasn't focused enough to realize that I didn't have all the time in the world and that HEY- SCHOOL IS EXPENSIVE AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY IF I GO NOW BECAUSE MY FAMILY IS POOR! If only I could talk to my 18 year old self...smack her upside her head and tell her not to waste her life and intelligence recommending outfits to people I don't give a shit about and dealing with crazy people who like to shit in fitting rooms (true story). I know that wisdom comes with experience, and nobody is expected to have that wisdom at 18, but fuck, a drop of common sense would have been helpful. If I had a regular job, with regular hours and the money and opportunities I deserve, I surely wouldn't be in this situation right now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apples, Pumpkins and Pears


You may have noticed from my tendency to bitch a lot that I've been having sort of a rough time. Not a rough time in the serious "wow, I hope she doesn't take a butter knife to her veins" kind of way. More in the just the generally stressed and agitated way. It's been a bunch of little things, everyday annoyances and such for which I have had no outlet.

I knew I needed to get out of my house for something besides work, and Nadine is just about my favorite person in the world, so we made plans to go to a farm on my day off and do some apple picking. Thursday was a beautiful day for it too, it was warm but not hot, the kind of day where I could throw a t-shirt and a pair of leggings on Caitlyn and she would be perfect for the whole day. So that's where our adventure began.

The farm was awesome. We started out with a hay ride to the apple picking spot. Caitlyn LOVED it. She was fascinated by hay. She kept trying to pick it out of the bales. When she wasn't picking at the hay she was looking around at absolutely everything. She loved the fresh air, the scenery and the animals. Oh man, did she love those animals. After apple picking we went over to where there were some goats and she started squealing with delight. We have a dog and a cat at home, so there was a bit of recognition in her face when she saw the goats and I found that to be pretty adorable. She even pet one. She also really liked the bunnies. After the animals, we balanced her up against some pumpkins and threw her in a pot of flowers for some super cute fall photo ops, grabbed some donuts and cider and were on our way.

The plan after the farm was to go to Target to get a food processor and some supplies that I needed to make Caitlyn baby food with some of the apples. And we did. Nothing too exciting at Target, except when I accidentally stole a dog brush. It was after we left Target that things got interesting again.

Nadine got a call from her boyfriend while we were on the way to her house. His boss gave him some Yankee tickets and he wanted to know if we were up for going. It took us roughly 8 seconds to decide it was the best idea ever, so I called Rodolfo and dropped off Caitlyn, drained my boobs and made it to the stadium in record time. The traffic gods smiled on us that day. On any given trip into the city (for the non-tri-staters, that's New York City) you just never know what kind of traffic you might hit on the bridges. We didn't hit any. We actually met Mike (Nadine's boy toy) there because he works in Manhattan. He took the subway from his job and we beat him there by about 10 minutes, driving from NJ.

The game itself could have been better. The Yankees got killed, 10-3, but the experience was everything I've been needing. It was enjoyable, exciting, stress-free. Nadine and I tend to get extremely goofy around each other and we were extra spastic, I think mostly because we both needed to wind down so badly. We cheered (for the home team, obviously), heckled (Tampa Bay's shortstop, Bartlett- there was talk about his mom, his sister and pears), hated on the people sitting near us (Bowling Ball Tony, Frankie Foreskin and the girl with the bad haircut who spent half the game enthralled and the other half playing traffic games on her iphone), talked about nailing Derek Jeter.

It was the most fun I've had in a long time. That's not to say I don't enjoy my life now, I do. But there is no spontaneity when you have a baby. Everything about everything is planned down to the expectations for food and shit. I'm not complaining exactly, I know what I signed up for when I had a kid, but it was nice to just make fun plans on the fly and be able to actually follow through with them. It reminded me of when we were 20, with no responsibilities, blowing all our money on weekend boozefests. And really, don't we all need a fun throwback night every once in a while?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breastfeeding is Hard

Today has been one of those days where absolutely everything is pissing me off to a degree that makes me think there might be murder charges in my future. I realized that it's been over a year since I had a period. I mean, obviously I bled after Caitlyn was born, but it definitely wasn't what I would call a period really, and certainly not in the way where my hormones go all rage-y, and I've been breastfeeding since then so I haven't had an actual period yet. I really feel like I'm going to be getting it back soon (I stopped at McDonald's on the way home from work and seriously considered buying 2 hot fudge sundaes and eating one in the car before I got home so my husband didn't know I bought 2), and it's going to be gloriously bloody and tragic. My ovaries are like a hibernating bear and they are NOT happy about being woken up. What's bothering me the most right now is that everything about today simultaneously made me want to quit breastfeeding and keep doing it until Caitlyn is 2 years old to spite everyone who is making it difficult for me.

The back story on why I'm so touchy about this is pretty relevant to why I got so utterly pissed off today, so here it goes:

To begin with, I married an idiot who has been pushing me to quit since almost day 1. First it was the fact that Caitlyn "didn't like" to breastfeed. And by didn't like it, I mean she would cry when I tried to get her to latch because she was jaundiced in the hospital and they convinced me to give her a bottle as opposed to taking her out from under the lights to breastfeed her. She got used to the bottle and was impatient at my breast so she would cry. When I tried to transition her back to breastfeeding after we came home from the hospital, Rodolfo (the idiot) would yell at me every time I even attempted it because she would cry. Even though our pediatrician repeatedly told him this was totally normal and okay and that she would eventually adjust, he would insist that I was causing the baby to suffer and discourage me from putting her to my breast. And I was new to breastfeeding, and didn't have a ton of support so I was feeling discouraged and made the choice to pump exclusively.

I told Rodolfo that I wanted to see how the pumping went so we would rent a pump for the first month then look into buying. Well the first month passed, and I wanted to keep doing it, but he was adamant about the fact that we couldn't afford to buy a pump because I was still on maternity leave. Fine. But now every month since then I have gotten the same bullshit about how we can't afford to buy a pump and what a waste of money the rental is and how we should bring it back and change Caitlyn over to formula (because apparently I didn't get the memo about how formula is cheap now).

Now, in just the last month or so the newest reason I should stop breastfeeding is that Caitlyn should be fat. Not that she hasn't steadily gained weight. Not because our pediatrician is concerned. Caitlyn should be fat because babies are supposed to be fat and Caitlyn is not fat like most babies. And apparently fat babies drink formula. I'm sure he has researched this data very thoroughly.

Caitlyn is thriving. She has hit every milestone. Physically she is on the smaller side, but her growth curve is perfectly acceptable and our pediatrician tells us at every single visit what a great job we are doing and how happy he is with her progress. And as much as I know that my breast milk is all that she really needs, I'm not really hardcore about giving her exclusively breast milk for any specific period of time. She's hit the developmental milestones recommended for starting solids and our pediatrician thought she was ready at her 4 month check-up. We had tried giving her a little rice cereal a few weeks before that, mostly because her poops were super runny and I thought it might help, but she didn't like it and just wasn't ready. A few weeks have passed since those first attempts, so I gave it another try with oatmeal cereal and fruit early last week. She's been doing really well, and I have been giving her oatmeal cereal and a little fruit each day once or twice for a little over a week now. In the last few days I noticed she has been having some trouble pooping, but I just assumed she needed some time to adjust to the solids.

So this morning I was pumping right before Caitlyn was due to eat. Usually, I have a few prepared bottles in the fridge so she doesn't often get fresh milk right after I pump, but she's been eating more and I haven't been pumping as often so today I had to give her the freshly pumped milk. It was still in the bottle that I pump into and I was playing with her, so I handed the pump bottle over to Rodolfo and told him to put it into her regular bottle so I could feed her. He came back a minute later and I noticed he was swirling the milk around before he gave it to me. I told him it was fresh milk so it wasn't necessary for him to swirl it around. Then he told me that he was just mixing in the cereal. Ummm... what?

Apparently, for the last month, every time he has fed her, he has been mixing rice cereal into her bottles. He went so far as to make bigger holes in her nipples to make sure the thicker milk would come through. This bugs the shit out of me for several reasons. First, his reasoning is that my milk "isn't enough" and that she needed more food. And second, even if his dumb ass was doing this before I officially started giving her oatmeal, why the hell would he continue to do it now? She's getting oatmeal and fruit twice a day most days and she's been having trouble pooping, it didn't occur to him for even a second that maybe that's too much for her stomach? And third, who the fuck just starts arbitrarily adding things to their baby's diet without consulting the person who is primarily in charge of those types of decisions? Assholes, that's who.

So now let's move on to the jerks I work with. I'm getting incredibly annoyed with the fact that my pumping schedule seems to be such an inconvenience for everyone there. There are 2 offices I regularly use to pump. The first is the loss prevention office. Our LP agent was in the middle of something today when I needed his office and the other office was being used so I got an annoyed eye roll when I told him I didn't have anywhere else to pump. Whatever. It bugged me but he didn't actually say anything. He just looked annoyed and left. And I prefer to use his office because half the time when I use the other office, someone walks in and sees my tits. Not because I was careless and forgot to put the sign on the door that says "PUMPING-DO NOT ENTER"- that sign was up every single time, but because they are morons and apparently illiterate. So after my boss walked in on me for the third time last week, she suggested I starting using a fitting room (I work in a retail clothing store) to pump. There are a few issues I have with that. First, the fitting rooms are dusty, filthy and uncomfortable. I'd prefer that the milk I'm feeding my child isn't full of dust bunnies or spilled all over the place because there isn't a clean place in there to set down the bottles. Then there is the fact that there is only one accessible outlet in the fitting room and after the one occasion that I did use it, someone stole my extension cord and the cord on my pump isn't long enough to make it without it. I'm surely not going to bring in another one after the first got stolen. So logistics in the first issue. The second issue has to do with time.

I'm officially entitled to 2- 15 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch. When I first came back I was taking the 2-15s together and pumping, then pumping on my lunch hour. But it's become difficult for me to maintain that schedule for reasons related to my giant, engorged boobs. So I started breaking up the 15 minute breaks again. Our company has an official policy saying that employees will be given an opportunity to pump during their breaks, and extra time beyond breaks if it's needed. I used to pump for 20 minute intervals, but I'm pumping more often now, so I usually pump for 15 minutes, which means I need an extra 5 minutes or so to set up and break down my pump parts and transfer milk to the fridge.

I had just come back from my lunch and my boss pulls me aside and says she (yeah, shockingly another woman is being a bitch about my breastfeeding. It would be less annoying somehow if it was a guy) needs to talk to me about my breaks. Apparently, another manager had come to her to complain that I was "taking too long" on my 15 minute breaks. She told me that she knows I'm allowed to take the time but that I should tell them when I'm going to be more then 15 minutes. Which would be a reasonable request except that I HAVE TOLD THEM FROM DAY 1 THAT I NEED AT LEAST 20 MINUTES TO PUMP! Am I supposed to circle the entire store and inform every single manager that I need an extra 5 minutes on break every day, twice a day? What is she, retarded? I was super pissed and it showed. I told her flat out "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this. I know the policy and have read the policy and am in complete compliance with the policy and am doing absolutely nothing wrong. You should be talking to THEM. You should make them aware of the fact that our company's policy allows me for as much time as I need for breastfeeding". I don't think she was expecting that, because she immediately started backpedaling and offered to send out an email to the rest of the management team to make them aware of the policy. That's right, bitch.

It certainly gave me a little satisfaction to see her get so completely throw off guard because she was expecting me to just take her bullshit. I calmed down after that and was explaining to her that I stopped taking the breaks together because my baby is eating more so I need to pump more often to increase my milk supply. Then she started asking really stupid questions- "well, isn't there any other way to increase it?" In my head I'm thinking "even if there is, I'm going to go out of my way to choose the route that is most inconvenient to you". Then she started to tell me "oh, well can't she start solids soon".... OMG bitch this is so not the way you should be directing this conversation!!! It just made me think this is why so many women quit breastfeeding so soon after returning to work. It's practically frowned upon and it's just a shame that more women aren't as clear on the laws and their company's own policies so they have all the ammunition they need if and when a confrontation arises.

My baby and my boobs are my priority and I'm sick of everyone else's opinions on when and why I should stop breastfeeding. You know, except for you guys of course :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Today I found a tutorial on how to make your own tampons. I wasn't LOOKING for such a thing, but it was linked in a baby community I'm in. You might be asking yourself, "but why Jaclyn, would that be linked in a baby community?". The answer to your question is that you make your own tampons by shoving rolled up baby socks into your vag. Not kidding. This is the grossest hippie shit I've ever heard of.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bloggin' and Bitchin'


Not Ferberized
So this is my first blog post and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it. I'm going to talk about my life, and my life revolves around my daughter. Just in general I have my own way of doing things when it comes to parenting. I think it's funny and a little bit retarded when people read books about parenting and decide that's the kind of parent they want to be. I haven't done what I would call research in this particular area, so correct me if I'm wrong, but the two main things I hear about a lot are attachment parenting and the Ferber method. From my understanding they are pretty much opposites of each other. One says "be all up on your baby all the time" and the other says "leave that kid alone and let him figure it out on his own". Both of these ideas are stupid if you ask me. First, let's talk about a little thing called EVOLUTION. The reason we have survived for thousands of years is because it in ingrained in us, how to raise our children, how to keep them safe and hopefully have them grow into well-adjusted adults. Can't people just follow their instincts? And babies aren't dolls or dogs. We can't just bend them to our will. They are individuals. The very premise of having a child is to mix DNA with someone you love to create A WHOLE NEW PERSON. And people have opinions, preferences, things that piss them off. Caitlyn, for example, for every single day of her life, sleeps with her arms up over her head. It's just what is comfortable for her. Which brings me to what's really been annoying me: my sister and brother-in-law.

My brother-in-law read all the books. Therefore, he obviously knows everything there is to know about babies, right? RIGHT??? It started when I was pregnant. Their son is 7 months older than Caitlyn and he was a nightmare the first couple of months. He screamed constantly. And it was their fault. He has reflux, they
finally figured out after changing his formula 5 times in the first month of his life (on a side note, I'm not usually one to judge when someone doesn't breastfeed, but my sister wouldn't even TRY...she thought it was "gross"). All those changes caused him to be gassy, constipated, overtired and flat out douchey on an almost constant basis. Especially coupled with the fact that they aren't patient people and found the fastest nipples possible and practically poured formula down his throat (he would eat 6oz in 5 minutes. I wish I was kidding). So they had all these troubles, and truthfully, they still do. He's such a whiner. I love him and all, but they turned him into the baby who needs everything to be JUUUUST right or he won't eat, can't sleep, can't poop, screams endlessly. And they try to give me advice. First it was swaddling. T. (the brother-in-law) would tell me before Caitlyn was even born "you know Jaclyn, you should swaddle her a lot when she is born, babies need to be swaddled, it reminds them of being in the womb and it's the only way Shawn will sleep". Hmmm, really? Then why did you spend months bitching about how sleep deprived you were because Shawn never wanted to sleep? Of course, that's what I said in my head, what I said out loud was something like "well, every baby is different, but I will give it a try". Then I got "well, you know at first we thought Shawn hated it, but it turns out we were doing it wrong. Bring her over after she is born, I can show you the RIGHT way to swaddle". Eye roll.

His newest thing is that he keeps pushing me to let him "put Caitlyn on a schedule" for me (they babysit while I'm at work). Let me explain that I'm not a baby retard. I understand that they do need some sort of regularity in their lives. And she has that. But my husband and I work retail and our schedules change constantly. Some days I'm in at 7am and some days I don't go in till 3pm. It's virtually impossible to keep the exact same schedule every day. So we are flexible, and I think that's a GOOD thing. Imagine what my life would be like if Caitlyn was on a strict schedule and half the time I had to pick her up from her babysitter at 11pm and completely disturb her sleep. Then I'd have a cranky asshole too. So we are realistic about what is possible. Most nights she doesn't go to bed till 11 or midnight. But then she sleeps till 8 most mornings. On days when we need to get her up earlier we do, and then she will go back to sleep till 10 or so. And between 7am and
Clearly Exhausted from a lack of a cohesive schedule.
around 2pm, she takes 30-40 minute naps every 2 hours no matter if she's at home in her crib, resting in her swing or en route to my sister's house in her car seat. Once we hit the late afternoon, she tends to be awake more often. When she gets really tired she takes 15 minute cat naps then she's up again. I don't think that just because she doesn't eat and nap at the same time every day that I'm doing something wrong. Especially since my kid is awesome and sweet and smiles all the time.

Ok, so clearly this devolved into a full-blown rant. But now you know a few things about me, I hate schedules and I'm not fond of book learnin'. That's a start.