November, 2011 Archive

Mom Bod

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

Princeton the dog is our first child, and even though he’s not human, I swear we are more related than I ever thought.

I now age like him. I had Madelyn at 28, but I am certain, just three months later, I am now 196. What is it with having a baby that ages women in dog years? Before I know it, I will be sticking my head in a bowl of water to hydrate myself and peeing on trees.

I’ve always been told that I look much younger than I am. I’ve often been mistaken for a high schooler, and when I was pregnant, I sometimes got looks from judgey old ladies who probably thought I was a regular on Teen Mom. I’ve never really minded looking young except for the times that customers or colleagues didn’t take me seriously because I lacked an older look.

Now, though, I don’t think those customers or colleagues would take me seriously because I look like Benjamin Button. A baby popped out of me and now I look like the subject of a Renaissance painting. And I have aged so much, people might actually mistake me for being as old as the Renaissance. Over night, I noticed lines in the corners of my eyes and the early signs of Bassett Houndism in the jowls. My Chanukah wish list is starting to rival an Oil of Olay catalog.

My energy has plummeted and I can’t even blame it on sleepless nights because Madelyn snoozes like a champ (wonder who she got that from…). I constantly feel lethargic and conk out around 10 p.m. which is so unlike me since I’ve always been a night owl. I thought that maybe I needed to do some physical activity to elicit energy, but I actually become more exhausted. Going on a walk makes me feel like I should actually use a walker. I thought about going for a swim, and despite the fact that it’s a freezing 60 degrees in Southern California right now, I don’t have a ruffled one-piece bathing suit and arm floaties — the official old lady swim costume.

Speaking of bathing suit: never again. No really, I will never wear one again. This post-partum body is a horror. Three-way mirrors are now my new sworn enemies. I thought I’d try a little shopping to get some new seasonal clothes and it’s almost funny how unfunny the shopping experience was. I could open up a bakery with the muffin top that now resides where my fairly trim middle used to live. Don’t get me wrong, I was never Scarlet O’Hara with that ridiculous waist (must be nice, Viv!), but the extra skin that used to house my baby is a little — how shall I say this? — in the way. To accommodate the extra bulk, I tried on a bigger size (I try not to get hung up on numbers), but then the pants are too long or the dress is baggy on top. My new official post-partum uniform consists of stretch pants and long shirts. I have become that person.

I really am going to start more regular exercise now that my wound is better and I have the go-ahead from Dr. Fiiiine, and I hope I can reverse the aging that occurred in dog years. I want to go back to feeling and looking youthful because if this keeps up, people will tell me what a sweet little granddaughter I have and I don’t want my image to go to the dogs.

  1. Cyndi Camp
    11/23/2011 9:03 AM

    You are not alone. Like your friend above I also didn’t go shopping for a year. It takes time… a long time to get the body back to it’s regular self again. I am still working, but have seen so many improvements. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many more improvements needed 🙂 . The tired thing… yeah, sorry to say drink more coffee.. my hubby and I are falling asleep on the couch around 9pm and still wake up feeling tired. It is all part of the job and by looking at all the happy pictures of your beautiful baby girl you have this job down pact!

  2. K
    11/22/2011 10:46 PM

    Ali! We ALL feel this way. I didn’t do any clothes shopping until I had to for work, when my dear little one was over a year old. And while I fit into most of my clothes, it’s only because the flab is really squishy and easy to rearrange.

    Don’t fret, it just takes time. You will get your old body back probably just in time for the next baby).

Madelyn Gets The Giggles!

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Music to my ears! I finally got Madelyn to giggle and I wasn’t even trying!

She’s been smiling for weeks and as much as I love her huge, gummy smile, they’ve been silent and I’ve been craving a belly laugh to complement them. This afternoon, I thought we’d take a little siesta together, but that was not part of Madelyn’s agenda. She was wide awake and did not succumb to her usual coma like she typically does after gulping a big bottle. So, what’s a mom to do with a baby and all of her energy? Play!

I propped her up on my thighs as I stayed in bed and made silly sounds. She smiled over and over and finally let me know I was hilarious by offering a giggle. And another giggle. And more giggles! My heart inflated like a big, red balloon! It was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and heard and I immediately tried to capture it on video, but the lighting in the room was too dark. So, I thought of the next best thing: audio! I’m so glad I thought to record her giggles because they are just too adorable; coos interspersed with gasps from deep down in her scrumptious belly!

Seinfeld… Crystal… Martin… some of my favorite people that slap grins on my face, but there’s nothing funnier or more entertaining than a 3-month old giggling. I’m Madelyn’s biggest fan and there’s nothing I won’t do to elicit more giggles from deep down to her toes (you’ll notice I sound like a lunatic. Oh well, it works!)!

Audio MP3

Mother Hen Dearest

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

Sure, I may look sweet and smiley on the outside, but under this 5-foot, 1-inch frilly, girly mom is the mother of all mother hens. I think all moms would have my back when I say that if my kid is in danger for a nanosecond, any offender will receive “the look.” I’ve always heard about mothers’ instincts, but obviously never fully comprehended what that feels like or where it comes from. I never understood how a baby would fly out of my body, and I would suddenly adopt a new set of Spidey senses over my daughter, but joke’s on me! Not only did I adopt these senses, they are constantly in the “on” position and ready to take action should my mother hen feathers be ruffled.

I’m not really referring to benign or accidental situations such as a sneeze that crosses my baby’s path (though, ya know, ew) or a mix-up of calling my daughter a boy (although that’s never happened. Have you seen how much pink she wears?). But I can come up with two situations in the past few days where my talons were on the ready.

Currently, I do not own a “Baby on Board” sign on my car, but even if I did, I don’t think it would change the ways of a-hole drivers. A-hole drivers are a-hole drivers. They are such a-holes, in fact, that they might blatantly mess with me if they see a BoB sign. However, what I would like to do is smother my car with bubble wrap. Look, car accidents suck. I’ve been in a couple (only one was my fault and it was a tap! I swear! And I was, like, 18). A car accident involving just silly old me is annoying and scary, but manageable. However, the idea of someone swerving into me or coming too fast behind me while my baby sleeps in the backseat of my car makes me so anxious and angry all at the same time. People of the world, look over your shoulder! Check to be sure the lanes are clear before making your left turn head-to-head with me! And for whatever-you-believe-in’s sake, stop texting while you’re driving. You want to mess up your life? Lame. You want to put my baby in danger? Oh, it’s on!  Madelyn has only been in the world for three months, and people have done stupid things in their dangerous machines on the road several times in our vicinity. We’ve nearly missed a handful of accidents and each time, the words that come out of my mouth are rancid and my heart beats so strongly, I swear I can hear it in my head. Whereas before, I would have been really annoyed, now I am literally scared for my daughter’s life. To protect her, I notice that I now drive much more defensively and follow the rules precisely. I wasn’t exactly a daredevil before, but now I am definitely a Pollyanna of the road.

Just the other day, some girl who was, surprise!, texting while driving, was about to be forced to make a left turn when she wanted to go straight. And by straight, I mean straight right into my lane next to her! She didn’t even look (I’m sure flirting with whoever she was texting right that very second was definitely more important and imminent), and before I knew it, the right side of her car was almost in my own lap. The sharp look I gave her while I slammed on my brakes and pounded my horn could have popped her tires, and she looked at me as if to say, “Oh, oopsie!” but my unforgiving mother hen instincts blurted out something along the lines of, “I have a farkaktah baby in my farkaktah car you mother-farkaktah [insert derogatory noun here]!” Oh, and replace farkaktah with another word that starts with the same letter. The unfortunate part is that between my horn, her tire screech, and the walls of our cars, she had no idea what I said or that a baby’s life was at stake.

I can drive defensively and do my best to protect my baby on the roads, but there’s another killer that enrages me even more (yes, it’s possible). This killer smells of cancer and I can only shelter Madelyn from it in most indoor places. However, a step outside and we’re at risk. As a kid, I was irritated and now as a mother, I am infuriated. Smokers, beware: I don’t care who you are, my loved ones and I are entitled to breathe clean, refreshing, and healthy air. Madelyn’s lungs are pure and perfect. Her nose has only smelled sweet things (well, except for those diapers. Whew!). Her throat has never burned or felt fiery. And as long as I bring her up correctly, she will never touch a cigarette (her parents never have). So it is beyond unfair when I have to walk through a mall parking lot to get to my car and along the path, get swarmed in a cloud of cancer smoke by inconsiderate smokers. I guess that’ll teach me to go to the mall and spend money, but just today, walking out of Neiman-Marcus (no, I wasn’t shopping there. It was the best parking side of the mall!), three women who had ladles of makeup on their faces and whose perfume was almost as offensively cancerous as their cigarette cloud just watched me push my baby in her stroller and continued puffing away, with no regard to the fact that an infant would be in their proximity. Don’t get me wrong; I walked at an arch, clearly out of my way to avoid them as best as I could, but cigarette smells go far, and short of going back inside the mall, there was no escaping this cruelty.

It’s no mystery today that smoking is dangerous. There’s no one under the age of 50 who can claim with big puppy dog eyes that they didn’t know cigarettes are death sentences. These women appeared to be under 35 and had no regard whatsoever that their choice was affecting the air that my baby and I breathe. If they have chosen to harm their own bodies, that is their own prerogative and future hospital bill. But to affect the air that enters my body and my daughter’s body is careless, rude, and insulting. The icy stare I gave these women as I quickly trotted by them could have put out the fire in their cigarettes, but they were too busy cackling and inhaling to notice.

Recently, I was at an outdoor restaurant and someone nearby was smoking. The smoke was hopscotching over to my table where Madelyn was calmly asleep in her stroller, and not only was the sharp cigarette smell ruining my appetite (and my meal was soooo good), but it was obviously infiltrating our air. I decided to take matters into my own hands and asked the man with the cigarette to move away from the restaurant and pollute the air that no one else was breathing. He was shocked that I asked him, but he also didn’t argue. Yes, I grew major balls and probably appeared to be too aggressive, but the days of making nice-nice are over. Before becoming a mother, I was annoyed with smokers and angrily put up with their selfish choice to smoke in public. But now that I have a child, my humility has disappeared and I will not hold back protecting her at any cost, even if I look like a crazy. Why? Because I am crazy. About Madelyn.

So, cluck-cluck, peep-peep, yes I am a mother hen. My little chickadee, like all little chickadees, deserves a long and healthy life, and I will not tolerate anyone or anything who compromises that. This life-long, chronic people pleaser has a new priority. Being likable and everyone’s favorite is no longer at the top of my list. Being the best mother I can be to Madelyn is number one and it’s the best job I’ve ever had.


Loosening The Straps

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

As Madelyn grows, there are some things that will be welcomed with open arms: a potty trained baby, spoken words of “I love you,” and reciprocated cuddles. I can’t wait for those milestones to happen and know I’ll be super excited when those stages begin.

However, this baby is growing too fast! This baby that we couldn’t wait to arrive is already almost 14 weeks old and is basically a mini giant in my lap. My first realization that she’s no longer a newborn occurred when I went to strap her in her car seat before going on a drive.

I went to fasten the buckle and I pulled and pulled, but the two ends barely touched. I looked over at Princeton. Lacking thumbs, did he manage to tighten the straps when I wasn’t looking? That sneaky dog! I thought maybe Bryan had played with the fastener and left it too tight. Perhaps the last time I took Madelyn out, I pulled the straps in the opposite direction to make it more snug. None of these scenarios made sense. But just for kicks, I tried her in her bouncer to see how she measured up there.

Sure enough, the straps were tight and the “male” and “female” ends of the buckle didn’t quite snap together.

And then it hit me. Madelyn was growing and it was time to loosen the straps.

Loosening the straps marks a milestone in her growth and development. She was such a teeny thing when we brought her home from the hospital, and although she grew right in front of our faces, we lost track of just how big she was getting. It’s hard to measure with your own eyes. It’s a subjective way to track. But buckles and straps don’t lie. They are factual in their measurements and don’t change over time like our Madelyn.

So while all the objects around her stay the same, Madelyn continues to grow, adding on inches and pounds to her fingers, her waist, her legs. Her cheeks continue to bust outward and her chin keeps on sweeping low. She is no longer a tight, compact package, and instead this baby is branching out to become a little person. And if that’s just the outside, I can’t even begin to comprehend how she’s growing on the inside!

I used to look at her when I held her and couldn’t believe she was once inside me. And now I look at her as I loosen her straps, and can’t believe how she was ever so small. Time has flown and I desperately try to hold onto each minute because I don’t want to miss a nanosecond of her growing up. She will never be the same person she was a minute ago and a minute before that. And if each minute is so wonderful, my brain hurts to imagine how the next minute can top it. But it always does.

Left: Madelyn at 4 days old. Right: Madelyn at ~9 weeks old

Despite the nature of this topic, I’m not actually thaaaat mushy of a writer, so I must end the post with this: If this was a movie, and my words were complemented by a montage of scenes depicting a mother and her child, the soundtrack would be Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and there’d be lots of slow motion.

Three Months!

And just like that, we are a quarter of the way through Madelyn’s first year. Holy, dirty diapers, the time has fah-lown by! And my, has she changed! November 9th marked Madelyn’s third month of pure deliciousness.

At three months old, Madelyn now…

  • holds up her head like there’s candy on the ceiling! Her neck control has always been good, but she is fully holding her head up now.
  • is eating about 5 ounces per bottle. And usually she needs a top off to seal the deal of fullness. She is a little piggy and we love feeding her.
  • costs us more money that we thought she would. Let me explain. She’s eating tons of formula (yay!) but it’s the most expensive formula on the market (boo!). Madelyn has a milk protein allergy (not a huge deal in the longrun, so no worries), and it requires her to be on the most sensitive formula available. It can only be special ordered through a mom-and-pop pharmacy and a 19.1 oz can costs — are you ready?? — $54! She goes through about two cans per week. Yeah. Ouch. Baby girl better get a scholarship to college!
  • has a beautiful, crystal clear tushie! Remember that awful diaper rash? She had it on her bum for about ten weeks! YES! Ten weeks! We tried everything! And nothing made it disappear. It was the most frustrating and heartbreaking sight to see. Finally, the pediatrician decided to try her on the super-expensive-but-super-important formula and by golly, it did the job! Because her tummy was working so hard to break down the old formula, it was overproducing acid to break down her food and then she’d have acidic poop and well, you know where the acid-poop sits. It was eroding at her skin! So sad. Within 48 hours of switching to the super-expensive-but-super-important formula, her rash went away, the skin healed, and now it’s the most beautiful bottom I’ve ever seen. Whew!
  • is sleeping better and better! Just before she turned three months, her long through-the-night stretches of sleep got a little wonky. I was panicking that she was not making progress and our once-awesome sleeper was waking up two to three times per night. Unfun. But we are reading a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, and we have learned that at three or so months, the baby becomes more aware and social of her surroundings and wants to participate instead of sleep. I can’t really blame her. So instead, we are making sleep a positive thing for her! And now she is back to sleeping nine to twelve hours per night! She goes to sleep around 6:30 p.m. and we start our day around 8:00 a.m. She has two hours of awake time before going down for a nap. She doesn’t fight her sleep now and is rarely overtired so she gets a good night’s rest. Happy baby, happy parents!
  • can hold objects! She isn’t necessarily reaching and grabbing yet, but if I put a toy in her hand, she’ll grip it strongly and fling it around. She used to have no interest at all in objects around her, but now she seems to be aware of colors and textures. It’s very cool to watch her explore.
  • can turn over! On the monitor, we watched her squirm around like a rolie polie all night, and by the time we woke up in the morning, Madelyn was on her tummy! It’s only happened once, but we no longer swaddle her just in case she turns over again. I was nervous about how she’d adjust to being freeeeee, but the unswaddled bebe seems to be just fine!
  • smiles ALL. THE. TIME. Somebody get a mop, because I am such a puddle! When she smiles her cute gummy smile and raises her eyebrows with delight, I seriously melt. It is probably the best thing my big brown eyes have ever seen and I spend my days doing the most ridiculous things trying to make her smile again and again.

Love our little Madelyn! Happy 3 months, babygirl!