When I had my first baby almost a decade ago (which is weird because I would swear I was in college a decade ago but I’ve never been good with estimating time), I had a lot of questions. I only knew a few friends who had babies so I would call them up and ask them things like, “When your baby gets too big for the changing table, do they sell bigger changing tables?”
I mean, what kind of question is that? By the way, in case there is one other new mom wondering this and I’m guessing there can’t be anymore, the answer is no. They don’t sell bigger changing tables. Just make it work.
Another question I had as a new parent was – “What do I do with my hair?”
One of the most shocking things about becoming a mom is that all that free time you used to have to relax, watch old episodes of Saved by the Bell and organize your sock drawer into shades of the rainbow is gone. Just gone. If you have time to take a 3 minute shower and put on a shirt that’s not on backwards, then you are in good shape.
But styling hair can be an issue. You know, if you don’t want it to look like this…
(I’m not sure exactly what’s going on there.)
I have very thick, somewhat coarse hair that expands rapidly when exposed to humidity. I used to spend about a half hour on my hair. First the washing, then the blowdrying, then the flattening. So when I had a baby, all my “hair prep” time was gobbled up by “figure out what this baby wants.”
So I called my girlfriend Kerry and asked – “What do I do with my hair?”
And she said, “Just slick it back.”
And that’s exactly what I did…
This hair style takes about one minute and it has the added bonus that someone might mistake you for a ballerina. (Full disclaimer: no one has ever asked me if I’m a ballerina.)
Now because I have very dry hair, I can go a few days between washings, which leads me to post baby hairstyle #2…
See that little braid? It’s nod to Princess Leia without going over the top. And it’s very quick and easy.
Then you put on sunglasses, lipgloss and you are ready to go!
Of course, you aren’t going anywhere just yet because you still have to pack the diaper bag and your baby just pooped again and is he hungry? You can’t really tell. And oh my gosh, you would love to just shut your eyes for one minute. But he’s crying again. And maybe you’ll change him, then try feeding him and then you’re totally getting out for some fresh air. If you can remember how to open that stroller. Which you probably can’t.
See? The hair was the easy part.
1. When you go out as a couple to restaurants, the waiter smiles at your husband and says, “It’s so nice that you take your mother out for dinner.”
2. Your preschooler asks why your neck looks like an owl’s nest. This same child has never noticed that daddy has a neck resembling anything bird related.
3. Your spouse does not seem to acquire wrinkles no matter how stressed out you try to make him.
4. You look more like Michael Douglas. He looks more like Catherine Zeta-Jones.
5. You will drop money on face creams that blast wrinkles! And defy age! Your spouse hasn’t used face cream since — well, ever.
6. You’re constantly avoiding florescent lights and searching for dim lighting situations. He has never once thought about lighting except for that time you were both looking at different options for recessed lighting for your family room and he passed out from a combination of fatigue and boredom.
7. He has never taken a bad driver’s license photo. Even when he was hungover. After 4 days at Mardi Gras.
8. His grey hairs look like glistening highlights that magnify his handsomeness. Yours look like grey hairs.
9. At carnivals, they can never guess his age. He has a carny trophy shelf of stuffed animals to prove it. You no longer frequent carnivals.
10. A neighbor compliments you on being named Cougar of the Cul-de-sac despite the fact that your spouse is older than you.
mama bird notes:
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Is your baby overworked and exhausted? Maybe he or she needs a spa visit! Check out my piece on Lifetime Moms.
My mom was visiting this weekend. And that sweet woman got up every morning with my children so Rick and I could sleep in a bit. Now my mom has the most loving heart but sometimes loses a teensy bit of focus on what she’s doing which is why she is banned from making coffee in my home.
Before you peg me the cruelest daughter in South Florida, please note that she once spilled coffee on a very white rug. Plus on two other occasions, she spilled wet grinds through multiple drawers onto papers that could have been birth certificates and insurance documents but were probably just delivery menus. All of this resulted in some fierce clean up and an understanding that I would make the coffee.
And as a result, there was no major coffee spillage over her visit.
However, there were some poop droppings.
My mom distinctly remembers changing 1-year-old Cash’s diaper but somewhere between wrapping up the diaper and getting it into the garbage, a few poops fell out out. Nothing completely gross (of course my assessment of “not completely gross” is based on 9 years of parenting so you might actually think it’s completely disgusting). But really – just a little poop on the floor here and another there.
She claims they just popped out of the diaper and she missed it but I’m wondering if she was trying to send me a message… “If you don’t wake up and make me coffee when I am caring for your 5 children, then you will find worse things on your floor than some innocent little coffee grinds.”
Whichever the case, I think we can once again confirm that my mother is not a detail person. But she does have 4 graduate degrees, including a PhD, so no one can be good at everything.
My mom was in town for a baby naming ceremony for 1-year-old Cash and a family birthday party for my 4-year-old twins. We sang happy birthday 3 times. With 3 cakes. And Cash really seemed to like this thing we call sugar.
The weekend was a mix of joy and sadness because at the very same time Rick’s 92-year-old grandmother called Mom Mom Sybbie was in hospice care. And she died later that night.
Now I know that 92 years is a lot of years to be on the planet and Rick’s family is grateful for every one of them. But this was a very funny sassy lady and it’s hard to let go of that kind of sparkle.
Rick’s family got together for a casual memorial service and shared a lot of stories. Like how Mom Mom Sybbie would take all her grandchildren to 7-11 and everyone got to pick out two pieces of candy and all the kids figured out pretty quickly that you had to get candy that she didn’t like or else she’d eat it.
She was an avid card player who believed in few parenting rules and eating dessert first.
I remember one of my last visits with her, she said to Rick and me, “Come visit again when you have less time!”
When we came home from the memorial, my big girls stayed up making pie with my Aunt Terrell (AKA Auntie T) who is my son Cash’s Godmother and was visiting from out of town.
Now normally on a school night, I would hurry my girls off to bed but it suddenly seemed like making pie with your Aunt Terrell is a hell of a lot more important than an extra hour of sleep. I knew my girls would never remember being tired the next day but they might just remember the night Auntie T taught them how to make an apple pie.
So Dylan and Summer stayed up way too late but not late enough to actually eat any of it.
My mom and Auntie T flew out very early the next morning to head back North but Auntie T left a note…
“There is no shame in eating pie for breakfast! It’s like eating dessert first!!”
And she was right. So we all ate pie for breakfast. Mom Mom Sybbie would have been proud.
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This week my twins, Chase and Harlowe (AKA Charlowe) turned 4.
When they woke up, I heard them wishing each other happy birthday which was ridiculously cute.
As for me – I feel like I just survived some very long twins hazing ritual. I feel so blessed to have these wonderful children but the first few years kicked my ass. Seriously. For those of you with triplets and more, how are you getting through the day?!
With my twins, I’m now reaping the rewards of constant playmates. And even if Chase still comes out of his bedroom 14 times a night to ask me things like, “Do elephants have mouths?” I have survived.
So I would be very selfish if I didn’t share some of my twins knowledge so other moms can know that they too will get through the first few ultra fierce years.
– There will be a moment (after the initial birthing glow has worn off) when you will want to get into your car, drive to the airport and fly to Paris. You may even get on the highway and follow the airport signs. (All of a sudden you will say to yourself – I get where Marie Osmond was coming from.)
This is completely normal behavior. You are mostly doing this because you are in desperate need of sleep. DESPERATE. Don’t go to Paris. You will get sleep again. You will settle for a nap and a croissant for now.
– You can breastfeed two children at the same time. Football hold with a nursing pillow the size of Texas. You can also not breastfeed two children. Or a combination. Do whatever works for you and your twins. No guilt.
– There will be a lot of crying. From you. From the twins. From your husband whose keys you just accidentally dropped down a sewer drain because how are you supposed to pay attention to keys when you are trying to get two babies out of a car so you can get one very much needed latte.
Don’t feel bad that you’re crying. Gratitude + Being Completely Overwhelmed = More Tears Than When “Friday Night Lights” Went Off The Air.
– You will think you will never leave the house. You can. Take a walk. Put them both in a double stroller. Put one in a Bjorn and the other in a single stroller. Or take a drive. Put them both in their carseats and then don’t forget the stroller frame (just make sure you know how to open it). But leave the house.
– Pay anyone (other than the guy who just showed up to fix your cable because he has a busy day with a lot of appointments) to help you.
– No one is allowed to leave the house without a baby. Especially at night. My husband and I realized this when I went to the grocery store and left him home with two screaming newborns. I left the store half way through my deli order and bolted home. My pound of Virginia ham is probably still waiting for me.
It’s really difficult to console two crying babies. Going out grocery shopping? Out for a much needed glass of wine with a friend? Take a baby with you. It’s like your phone but doesn’t fit in your pocket. You always have it with you.
– If you don’t see any dirt and it smells okay enough - it’s still clean. Put those clothes right back in the drawer.
– Babies don’t need baths everyday. But by day 3, get those infants in the tub because no one wants to hold a stinky kid.
– Nothing can ever be fair enough. Harlowe once saw a photo of her in the front of the stroller and Chase in the back and wanted to know, “Mommy, the next time I am a baby, can I be in the back of the stroller?”
You are now in the business of creating the illusion of fairness. So of course I said – “Yes Harlowe, the next time you are a baby, you can absolutely sit in back!”
– Finally, if you need to know what to buy and borrow for twins, check out a piece I did for Cool Mom Picks awhile back.
– And just know that one day, they do really turn into this…
My beautiful child used a crayon and it actually made a line on this piece of paper. Well, she mostly drew all over the wall. But it’s clear from this scribble on the paper that she was beginning to draw a 3D majestic unicorn.
My child is making loads of artwork now. Each one is so precious. I’ve hung them along the walls in the playroom, in the living room and in the kitchen. I can’t get this stuff up fast enough! Every time I look at them, my heart swells with pride.
I’m beginning to look into art camps. I know my child is young but a talent this special must be nurtured and encouraged.
I’ve decided to forgo art camp due to the fact that buying a packet of construction paper, colored pencils and a pencil sharper is a lot cheaper. A true artiste doesn’t need specialized training. They just need the space and freedom to create.
But not paint. I’m against paint. Mostly because I like my furniture the color it already is.
Man, a lot of art comes home from preschool. Do these kids ever read a book? Or play with trucks? Or play outside?
Seriously, what do they expect me to do with all this stuff? I’ve got 6 portfolios crammed with art work. The kid is 4 years old. If it keeps up like this, I might have to rent a storage facility.
You know what, some of this art has to go. Maybe I’ll just toss a few into the recycle bin. I’m sure they will frame and hang it at the recycling center.
That did not make a dent. I’ve got to get rid of this stuff. I’ll wait until they go to bed and then I’m jamming 80% of it into the recycle bin. I’m sure Picasso’s mom threw out the bulk of his early work too.
I feel guilty. My child has created this work with all her passion, energy and creativity and I’m annoyed that I don’t have enough recycle bins. What kind of parent am I?
The kind of parent that needs more recycle bins.
I’m going to draw something with her in the morning just to prove my commitment to the arts.
Unless we get really busy with breakfast and watching TV and other stuff.
They are having an art show at school. Art! That my child created! Not at my house! This is brilliant.
Oh they want me to take it home.
I’ve decided to start using the artwork as gifts for the grandparents. And as wrapping paper. And as window shades. And as sheets for the guest room. Who’s the genius now?
I can’t wait to have guests sleep on that picture with the one purple line and then a different color line and the 3 stickers at the bottom and a blob of glitter glue in the top right corner. Nothing says comfort like glitter glue.