A day in the life

December 30th, 2007


Before I had a baby, my husband and loved to go out to eat. And at any given time we would have seen many of the movies in the theater. Well, times have changed. Those things have been replaced with diaper changes, feedings, bath time and playtime. I have no idea what movies are out, and it’s been a while since I even had two hours at home to watch a rental. Eating out is becoming less and less common too as Ella becomes more vocal and mobile. But, that’s OK. It’s somehow even better than our previous life … Here’s a typical day (Ella is about 7 months old as I write this)

4:45 a.m.: Ella wakes up crying. She’s easily comforted, but shoot, it’s so early! She yawns a few times, so I put her back in her crib. She goes back to sleep. Wish I could …
5:20 a.m.: I normally wake up around 5:15 and give myself until 5:30 to get ready. I don’t need much time. I shower and set out my clothes and Ella’s clothes the night before. Anything to minimize thinking at 5 in the morning.
5:30: Wake up Ella. She stretches, yawns and smiles. Next she goes in her highchair while I quickly feed the cats and get her breakfast ready — rice cereal with warm water mixed with a little banana baby food . She’s a little grumpy, so I move as fast as possible!
5:45: Nurse Ella and watch the news so I’m a little in the know before my 7:15 meeting.
6:05: Spend a few minutes playing with Ella before getting her dressed, grabbing my lunch (prepared the night before) and a cup of coffee. This morning I also place a pork roast, some potatoes I chopped the night before and some carrots in the crock pot — easy dinner tonight.
6:15: Head out the door — with construction on my route it takes about 40-45 minutes to take Ella to her sitter’s and get to work.
7:00: Arrive at work. Eat an english muffin and some grapes at my desk while I get organized for the day. Normally I would have a 7:15 meeting, but with the extra graphics I have to do for the weekend paper and helping with the daily newspaper I don’t have time. Start attacking to-do list, making sure to accomplish most tasks before 12:30.
11:00: Lunch at desk. Have developed bad habbit of trying to eat and work at the same time. Will need new keyboard soon.
12:30: Go nurse Ella at babysitters.
1:15 Back to work. Have less than three hours before leaving for the day. I can’t stay late like I used to because I need to pick up Ella at a certain time, so I’m constantly going over my to-do list to make sure I’m on track.
4:00: Leave work to pick up Ella. It’s Friday, so I’m anxious to be home for the weekend.
4:45: Arrive home. Take Ella up to see her daddy in his home office. We all visit and play. Then I take a few minutes to get into comfortable clothes and remove contacts.
5:00: Feed Ella dinner — rice cereal with warm water, a vegetable and a fruit.
5:20: Playtime.
5:45: My husband and I have our dinner. I’m so glad I put something in the crockpot this morning. It’s delicious and fairly healthy.
6:00: Nurse Ella.
6:30: Bathtime. Ella’s really starting to enjoy this. She puts her hands out as I pour a cup of water over them. And she giggles when I make her bath frog toy ribbit.
6:45: Put Ella’s warm pajamas on her. She doesn’t like getting dressed lately, so I try to be quick and have a toy to distract her. Next we read some books. She loves her Peekaboo Bedtime book right now. She understands to lift the tabs on each page and smiles when I yell peekaboo everytime.
7:00: I place her in her crib. At first she seems upset, but as soon as I hand down her blankie, she puts her thumb in her mouth, cuddles up with her blankie and looks so content. She’s ready for sleep.
7:30: I’m especially tired on Friday — it’s a hard day at work. So, I lay in bed watching some tv before going to slleep at 9:30. I am excited to get a good night’s sleep. I was blessed with a baby that likes to sleep in until about 7:30 on the weekends! That’sleeping in around here. Like I said … times have changed.

Feeding baby

October 29th, 2007


I never thought feeding a baby would be one of the hardest parts of having one. I thought it would be the lack of sleep or the constant attention my baby would command.
Really, the only element about feeding a baby I was worried about was breastfeeding. They teach classes on it. They have books dedicated to it. They warned me it’s not easy.
But my baby and I had no problem. In fact, she got along so well that she decided she wouldn’t drink from a bottle. We tried so many different kinds my cupboard looked like a bottle store. We also tried a few techniques, including me staying away for hours leaving only my husband to feed her. No luck. Only one very mad baby.
Oh well. We got over it. Luckily my babysitter is close to my work and I’m able to feed her a few times a day. Phew. I thought, that problem has worked itself out.
Now we’re on to solids. This will be easy, I thought.
But there are a lot of rules when it comes to feeding a baby solids. Give them cereal first, then oatmeal, then barley. Huh? Are we making beer?
And introduce each item individually for 3-5 days before beginning the next, my doctor says. That way if there’s an allergic reaction you’ll know what from. And do vegetables before fruits. Or they may not take the vegetables after having fruits.
But don’t start at all until your baby’s ready. My doctor said this most likely will be at 4 to 6 months. But according to my unscientific poll of the moms I know, this is the most commonly broken rule.
You see, babies can digest milk, especially breastmilk, very quickly, hence, many late night feedings. Give them a little rice cereal though to fill their tummy, and they’ll sleep like a … well, like a baby.
I found out this secret while talking to a momof a newborn at a Superbowl party last spring. I asked her the question everyone asks a woman who has had a baby in the last six months. “So, are you getting any sleep?” Her response caught me off guard. As if she was telling me she was hiding a body in her trunk, she leaned in and whispered, “I give him a little rice cereal at night.”
Rice cereal? I thought. What the heck is rice cereal? And why is this so top secret?
Well, I would find out later that doctors don’t recommend this for a few reasons, but many moms bend this rule. (Ask your doctor to find out more.)
But I waited until she was about 5 months old, and with a little excitement and a trepidation (after the bottle dilemma) I gave baby her first food — a little rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. She seemed excited. She grabbed for the spoon and quickly put it right in her mouth. But then out it came. She pushed it out of her mouth with her tongue. Bite afte bite, she’d push it out. With the food left in the bowl, on her face and bib, I was not sure she was consuming any of it. Oh boy, this is going to take a while.
Just weeks later though my baby had become a champion eater, wanting more the second she swallows every mouthful. And there’s been no food she’s turned down. Ironically, now I worry she’s eating too much. She’ can’t possibly have a big enough stomach for all that, I think. What if her tummy gets too stuffed?

Baby’s first three months full of transitions

August 30th, 2007

Wow. Time with a new baby sure flies. With feedings every two hours, 10-12 diaper changes per day, spit-ups, clothing changes, and hours spent just staring at our new baby, the early days went so fast.
I remember it felt like I didn’t have time to run even the quickest errand. And when I did I always had spit-up on my shirt and a shower was a distant memory. It seemed like so much work just to get the baby ready for a trip that there wasn’t time for me.
Ella’s just a little over three months old as I write this and she’s already changed a lot. And so have I.
She’s no longer the tiny, fragile baby we brought home from the hospital. She’s about 13 pounds. Good hugging size. And she’s loud. Her soft coos have become high-pitched squeals. And with the discovery of her hands a few weeks ago, she has really started to enjoy her toys and grabbing Mommy’s necklaces.
And as for me, I’m showering again, and I usually have a clean shirt on — at least when I leave the house. And we can even get out the door pretty quickly these days. Instead of a huge diaper bag, I just keep a few essentials in my purse at all times: diapers, wipes and a spare outfit.
I love that she’s at this adorable chubby, little, grabby baby stage, but the three month mark also was a turning point for me in another way — my return to work. I simultaneously dreaded it and looked forward to it at the same time.
Some moms have no problem making this decision — they know they want to stay at home or they know they want to continue with their career. And then there are the moms that really aren’t sure  — and I’m in that group.
Part of me wondered  how I could leave my baby with someone else while I’m at work all day. Wouldn’t she miss me? Wouldn’t I miss her? Would it feel like someone else is raising my child?
Like most people too, money would be an issue. We would need to live a lot differently. I’m still not sure if we could do it, but I know a lot of families who do it somehow. But then there would be no college savings, no 401k savings.  I don’t want to see my children saddled by huge college debt for much of their adult life. I also don’t want our children to have to worry about their parents’ retirement.
And what about my job? I love my job. It can be frustrating, but it’s challenging and creative. It’s what I went to college to do, and at this point in my career I finally have a lot of freedom in my job. And I would feel unloyal leaving after only a year of employment.
I thought about the possibilities all throughout my pregnancy and discussed it with several people. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was “whatever’s best for the mother is best for the child.” Meaning, if mom’s happy, baby’s going to be happy too. Or if mom’s miserable, that could be passed on too. I thought this made a lot of sense.
So as my pregnancy went along I kept that in mind.
I ended up having a friend of the family offer babysitting services. Someone I would feel really good about watching Ella. She’s so sweet, as are her own children. And she watches my two-year-old nephew. Ella would have daily interaction with other sweet kids, including her own cousin.
Next my bosses have been very flexible with my schedule and clearly have shown that they value parenting. So I’m able to spend a lot of quality time with Ella.
So there you have it. It’s not always perfect juggling work and raising a child, and I know it’s not right for everyone. But for us, for now, I think we’ve found what works best for us.

Shock and awe: What having a baby has taught us

June 29th, 2007

By Stephen Doucette

steve-and-ella.jpgWe had ample warning. For nine months, every parent we talked to gave us the “your life will never be the same” or “this baby will change everything” line. And the scary part was we knew it was true but didn’t know exactly what that change was going to be. We had some ideas — less sleep, less free time, more hassle trying to do anything out of the house — but there is so much more to the change than just what she does to you daily routine.
It quickly sank in that we are completely responsible for another life — and not just while she is a helpless baby needing us to feed, clothe and protect her. But forever — as an infant, as a toddler, as a kid, as a teen, and even as an adult. We will need to shelter, comfort, feed, finance, advise, protect, educate and mold her intellectually and morally. Wow, that’s a big commitment.
Here are a few other things we have learned in the first two months of parenthood:
• No one told us we would spend countless hours just staring at our child repeating “she is so cute.” It’s almost ridiculous how cute our baby is — then again we’re biased.
• Babies go through a lot of diapers, sometimes two or three in just a few minutes as we found out. Also diapers don’t always work, so we learned to keep a couple changes of clothes handy.
• While we knew getting out of the house would take a little longer, we didn’t realize what had been a quick errand in the past could turn so lengthy and complicated. If you have several errands to run it could take the whole weekend!
• Childbirth really is miraculous. I wasn’t real excited about my front row seat to the birth until the moment arrived and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
• After the baby shower, we thought it was crazy to have all this stuff — but now we know you really use all of it.
• It’s fascinating how much my wife and I spend talking about bodily functions, burp, farts, pees and poops are the height of conversation these days.
• Getting our membership into the parents’ club has opened up a whole new world of conversations on parenting — all parents have stories, tips and theories to share. Even many strangers we meet now have a meaningful thing in common with us — parenthood.
• We knew we would enjoy having a daughter, but the depth of love and joy she provides us with just a smile or a coo or a cute sleeping pose is amazing. Already we are stockpiling precious moments and we have only just begun this lifelong journey.

    About Us

    Me. Blogger. Formerly lived carefree life of eating out, staying out late, traveling and whatever else I wanted. Now mostly chase around two kids, cook, clean and work as graphic artist.

    Wonderful web guru husband who prepared this site for me. He's even trying to help to do dishes more around the house. Good man. I met him at a party in college in 1998 and he still hasn’t gone home.

    Unbelievably cute daughter who's been running the show at our house since March of 2007.

    Our newest, precious girl who just joined us in December of 2009.