The Escort

If you read the title of this post and assumed you’d be reading about a woman who ‘dates’ men for money, you’re sadly mistaken, my friend.  This is the Ford kind and I promise this story is better!  When I was little, my mom drove a gold-ish Ford Escort and good grief at the stories that came from it!  This thing was the biggest lemon ever made, not in the sense that it didn’t run properly -that wasn’t the problem- rather, it seemed to be a magnet for destruction.

It all began one afternoon in the dead of winter when I was playing in the living room.  I heard something crack and when I looked out the front window (which was a straight shot to our driveway), I saw a massive limb drop out of the tree in the front yard and onto my mom’s trunk.  I swear it was like something out of an insurance commercial!  My mom thought I was joking when I told her what happened, told me it wasn’t funny, and then promptly realized I was being serious when she saw the limb and her fresh dent.  It only went downhill from there.

Shortly after the tree limb incident, my mom had to stop by the store to pick up some things for a church potluck we were headed to, so my cousin, my brother, and I waited in the car.  Evidently, the lady  in the minivan a few parking spots down didn’t see us, because she rammed right into us when she backed up; then she pulled forward, backed up and hit us again.  She did this several times before she realized she was hitting a car full of screaming children and finally stopped.  Maybe it’s the flawed memory of an 8-year-old, but I remember the wheels coming off the ground on the side she hit every time she hit it, accompanied by our screams and flailing arms.  It went a little like this: *boom* “AHHH!” *pause* *boom* “AHHH!” so on and so forth, which was terrifying at the time but hilarious looking back on it now.

Evidently, the impact from the woman in the minivan wreaked havoc on the back windshield, because even after the damage from her backing into us several times had been repaired, it didn’t stop.  I was not present for this particular incident, but my mom was about to put my brother in his car seat when she opened and closed one of the doors, and the back glass absolutely shattered.  We were still finding glass shards in the back seat well after it had been repaired, and the repair only led to more problems.

The back glass had these little strips of tape looking stuff that attached to the glass and the body of the  car when my mom got it back from that repair.  I’m not sure that it really served any purpose, but when they peeled it off, the strips took the paint with it.  I wish I could say that was the end of the bad luck streak, but that is not the case.  After that, a woman that my mom worked with hit the front end of the car, and not long after that (or was it before?) my mom rear ended my dad’s truck on the way back from the lake one Memorial Day weekend.  On that specific occasion, I had been in my dad’s truck with him and my brother, who was maybe 4 at the time, was with her. She had told him not to get out of the car while they assessed the damage.  Did he listen? No.  Instead, he somehow managed to slam his thumb in the door.  He lost a thumb nail, my dad’s bumper crumbled like a pop can, but the Escort was still completely in tact, which is ironic since it was the only accident during which mom had actually been behind the wheel.  The cherry on top of the crap sundae was when the cassette player ate my mom’s favorite Beach Boys cassette.  No more Escort jam sessions to Help Me Rhonda. Then it was like something in her snapped and she just didn’t care anymore.

The escort had been her first brand new car, but as you can tell, it wasn’t really a pleasant experience.  So after everything I just mentioned, mom decided instead to have fun with it.  We raced people in sports cars at red lights and would usually win… not that they were aware we were racing, but still!  Every time the opportunity presented itself, we jumped railroad tracks and usually got a decent amount of air.  I mean, it didn’t really matter what we did, the Escort was just cursed.  She wasn’t even behind the wheel for the majority of the accidents!  If this car was a person, it would be Eugene from  Hey Arnold! and that’s putting it lightly.

I sometimes wonder what happened to that car and if the next owner had terrible luck with it too.

Ah, memories.

I Want My Life Back

Before I even begin this post, let’s just make this one thing clear: I love my daughter and I love being a mom, but sometimes I’ve had my fill of motherhood for the day and today was one of those days.

Sometimes, I’ve had all I can take of being elbow deep in crap-filled diapers.  Sometimes, I’ve had all I can take of wiping spit up off my left shoulder and the floor.  Sometimes, I can’t handle one more second of her incessant fussing and fighting at bedtime, the constant scratching, touching, & hair-pulling, or her never ending need to be fed or entertained.  Sometimes, I just want to be me again and it feels like that’s never going to happen, at least not for several years.

Today was one of those days where nothing truly terrible happened, but everything from the last several weeks  just kind of piled up and by 8 o’clock -which is generally when our bedtime fight begins- I just didn’t really want to be a mom anymore for the night.  She has been by my side, or propped up on my hip, since 6:30 this morning.  I had been looking forward to having some time with my husband tonight downtown because the city has been putting on some fall festivities.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, he worked on the bathroom that we’ve now been 2 years trying to get in working order (don’t worry, we have two) with my dad and by that time it was getting close to bedtime for Ellie, so we decided to make a run to Lowe’s for the last couple of things he’ll need to finish up and to grab a bite to eat.  That didn’t happen either.  Ellie threw a hellacious fit because she was hungry, so I nursed her and went to change her into weather appropriate clothes.  She screamed even louder, red face, sweat, tears, and all.  It was clear that I was not going anywhere and instead Phillip & I got into our nightly this-kid-is-driving-us-both-bat-shit-crazy-at-bed-time argument where I tell him for the umpteenth time that he’s lucky he gets to leave the house and I need a break.  Fun stuff.

He squealed out of the driveway to go to Lowe’s while I took my place on the couch to watch Netflix while I gave Ellie her bedtime bottle, not because he didn’t offer to take over wrestling her to sleep.  In fact, he offered to take her with him to Lowe’s (not happily, but it was an offer nonetheless) but I reminded him that it was 7:45 and taking her would only make her even more unbearably crabby.  I realized while feeding her that I now spend more time on that stupid couch with her and Netflix than I ever spend with my husband or long lost friends these days.  It’s to the point that the cushions on the couch are breaking down from all the time I spend confined on it, nursing or consoling her, and my nerves tonight are in similar shape.

She finished her bottle and I took her to her nursery to begin the routine: swaddle her as tightly as I can get her, turn out the light and turn on the sound machine, begin pacing the floor while simultaneously bouncing at the knees, rock her back and forth on my forearms, and pat her diapered butt until she appears to be completely knocked out, put her down.  Repeat in 30 minutes when she wakes up again for 4 or 5 hours. Except tonight, there was uncontrollable sobbing on my part and I couldn’t help but think:

I want my life back.

There is nothing spontaneous about my life anymore.  Everything is routine or revolves around her and her needs.  I am needed every second of every day because she is entirely dependent on me.  I work from home, which truly is a blessing, but it’s also incredibly difficult.  She has been refusing naps during the day, so not only is she in a terrible mood, I don’t have the opportunity to get a ton of work done and instead I find myself entering notes at 11PM when I should be taking time for myself.  Facebook has become an all out addiction because it’s my main interaction with the world outside our house. I miss my crafts, I miss not taking two weeks to write one blog post, hell, I even miss going to work.  I miss being me.

I miss when I had things to talk about other than whatever Ellie did that day.  The most time I ever get to myself now is when I have to go out of town to a meeting and I leave Ellie with a friend or family member, but even then it’s a challenge to find someone to keep her so I can work.  And that’s another thing!  What happened to all of the people who said, “Aww! I’ll babysit when she gets here!”?!  Huh?  WHERE Y’ALL AT? Thank God for the handful of people who made good on that promise.

I especially miss being able to spend time with my husband. If we continue our trend of having one night a month to ourselves (which usually beings at about 6PM and ends around 8 or 9 the next morning), I’ll get a whopping 12 nights with him where we get to be us again. 12. And we wonder why we’re both so on edge, except like I said before, he’s lucky enough to leave the house.

My entire life changed when I had her and most of the time this isn’t the case, but tonight, I miss my life before.  The one where I was only responsible for myself, well-rested, and shaving my legs wasn’t a freaking treat.  My child is not one of those babies who is entertained by staring at the ceiling fan.  She requires constant stimulation which almost always includes being held, and if I do manage to put her down, she instantly screams.  She hates her swing, her bouncy seat, and all of her rattles.  The only bright side is that I occasionally get a 20 minute break when she is busy kicking her $1 balloon I bought her.

Tonight, I can’t for the life of me remember what it feels like to want a house full of kids like I did before Ellie arrived.  She’s not a terrible baby, but she is a difficult baby and as sentimental as I am, tonight I can’t wait for her to be self-sufficient so I can at least pee without her on my lap, even if it means she’s still in the bathroom with me.  Tonight, I’m not looking for reassurance in things like, “This too shall pass,” or “It gets better!” or my favorite guilt-inducing, “You’ll miss these days!”  Instead, I just want to vent or have someone else say, “YES! This is me today!”

Either I’m the worst mother on the planet or there are others out there who refuse to take off their social media mask long enough to admit it.  What is this bull that society has made us believe as mothers that if we have even one thought about self-care (the real kind, not a 10 minute shower while the baby screams in the next room) that we’re somehow selfish?  It’s ridiculous!

So tonight, I’m done being a mom.  My husband is home and it won’t kill him to parent for more than an hour today.  This mama needs a break or she’s going to break.  Tonight, I’m going to have my life back… even if it’s only for the 30 minutes it takes him to run across town to get supper, ’cause it’s 10PM and I’ve managed to eat once today.  And in case you were wondering, yeah, Ellie’s back up even though she was sound asleep by 9.  *Sigh*

Cloth Diaper Q&A

Our sweet Ellie is nearly 3 months old, so I thought it was about time to do a follow up post on cloth diapers.  You can read the original post about cloth diapers here.

So, I’ll be honest, despite my hours and hours of research on the things, I was still a little nervous to actually implement the cloth diaper stash I assembled in preparation for her arrival.  To sum up this entire post, though, they’re not hard to use, they work even better than I ever expected, they fit her so well, and I am absolutely in love with our fluff!  You can pretty much stop reading now if that’s all you were after, but if you want more details, read on!

When did I start using them?
Ellie was a very large & in charge baby -she weighed 8lbs 15oz when she was born, so they fit her much earlier than I expected.  I believe she was around 2 or 3 weeks old when I put the first FST on her, and I chose that over her pocket diapers because I had more control over the fit.  The pockets would’ve been too bulky on her newborn frame, but the FSTs worked nicely.

What fold do I use for her FSTs?
I love the kite fold.  When she was first born, the mini kite fold was my go-to and it worked beautifully.  However, I wish I hadn’t folded every single FST into the mini kite fold because babies grow at the speed of light, and it was almost as if she outgrew that fold over night… then I had to refold them all.
Learn the fold here!

What brand of diapers do I prefer?
I own cloth diapers from Urban Baby Boutique as well as Alva (both pockets & covers) in addition to my FSTs and some prefolds I bought at a yard sale.  As far as the AIOs/pockets, I honestly can’t tell a difference in the performance.  The boutique diapers cost nearly double the price of the Alvas, and they work exactly the same. Prints are cute and all, but at the end of the day my kid is pooping in the things.  I will likely not be investing in any more pricey diapers when I can get the same performance out of a cheaper brand.
HOWEVER!  I will say, I have a friend who just started using cloth for her toddler and she has had a lot of issues with leakage.  Honestly, I think it depends on the build of the baby.  She loves Luvs disposables, my kids poops out the side of them nearly every time I put them on her.  It’s trial & error, so when building your stash, buy a couple of several different types and brands ’til you find what works for you.
Note: If you buy Alvas, don’t buy ’em on Amazon.  Go to their site and browse the US stock so that shipping doesn’t take as long -it’s cheaper! 

Do they leak?
I’ve never had a blow out experience with a cloth diaper.  Disposables, on the other hand…

Do I use cloth 24/7?
For the most part, yes.  I work from home so it’s not a big deal for me, but sometimes I have to leave her with friends & family for meetings, and I usually put the disposables from our showers in her diaper bag.  They’ve all used cloth once or twice with her and don’t seem to have any problems with it, but disposables are less of a hassle for the folks who are keeping my kid for $Free.99 so I don’t push it 🙂
Since I’m still working on building up a bigger stash, I don’t have a ton of extra inserts for her night time diapers, so we use disposables occasionally at night as well.

What’s my wash routine?
I have enough diapers that I don’t really have to wash for 3 days or so.  However, I run out of covers for my prefolds and FSTs, plus it’s a giant wet bag full of human waste, so I tend to wash every 2-3 days.  Ellie is exclusively breastfed, so I don’t rinse the diapers beforehand (this will change when she begins eating solids.)  I just remove the inserts from her pocket diapers while I’m changing her to make it easier when I wash them.  Typically, I have enough diaper laundry after 2 days that I don’t really have to add anything to the load so that it all agitates properly.  I do my machine’s shortest wash cycle with laundry detergent up to line 1, peel the laundry off the walls of my washer once the first cycle is finished, and then I do the longest cycle with a cup full of detergent.  I use All Free & Clear because it was bought for me, and since it’s a plant based detergent, I wash in hot water to make sure it’s doing the job.  I dry everything (including covers) in my dryer on low heat. Done!

Is it a lot of work/more work than I expected?
Not at all!  The most time consuming part is stuffing the pockets & folding the flour sack towels, but even that takes less time than a load of regular laundry.  Considering the money we save and the fact that Ellie doesn’t get diaper rash in her cloth, I think the tiny bit of extra laundry is worth it.  Using them is no different than a disposable, there are just snaps instead of velcro, and that’s just a personal preference.  (Velcro is still available on cloth diapers, but I prefer the snaps.)

What do I do for night time cloth diapering?
I always use one of the pocket diapers rather than a prefold because of the material that lines the pockets (she doesn’t feel wet as quickly).  I stuff the pocket with a charcoal bamboo insert in addition to a microfiber insert.  She sleeps for about 12 hours a night (please don’t throat punch me, other mommas!) so the inserts are pretty much at capacity by morning, but we’ve not had any leaks!  I imagine I’ll have to use two charcoal inserts once she gets older, though.  The only issue I have with cloth diapers at night time is the bulk.  This kid has a badonkadonk because of all the fluff at bedtime.  She’s a pretty sweaty baby, so we usually just swaddle her in her Swaddle Me with just a diaper, but if she wore PJs like a normal baby, we’d be in trouble.  I’m not sure that big ol’ fluffy butt would fit in any pajamas!

What about when you’re out with the baby?
We have a wet bag for our back pack and I pack pockets instead of the flour sack towels & covers because they’re faster on the go.  There’s really no difference in changing her.

Is there anything I don’t like about cloth?
They can sometimes fit a little awkwardly underneath her clothes.  If the onesie I put on her is a little snug to begin with, fastening it around the diaper tends to pull the neck down, and I have to put her in pants that are a size bigger than what she would normally wear.  It’s also difficult to tell when she’s wet since they don’t have the magical color changing line like her Huggies have, but I check her every 2 hours or so if she hasn’t pooped.  They can also take up more room in the diaper bag, but that’s about it!

Is there anything I wish I’d done differently?
Nope.  I have a decent sized stash for starting out so we’ve saved a TON of money (although we do have several packages of disposables from the baby showers we had) and they work so well!

Have more questions or want more info about something specific?  Comment below!  Cloth is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made and I’m kinda obsessed with it 🙂

The Racquetball Debacle of 2011

I come from a family of completely coordinated individuals with plenty of athletic ability.  My brother played basketball, skateboarded & rode/raced motorcycles, my dad rides anything with two wheels, and my mom played softball, basketball, AND she cheered.  I participated in cheer, dance, and gymnastics when I was little, but it’s as though God gave me a double dose of sarcasm in place of hand-eye coordination.  It’s important that you know that before I tell the rest of the story.

Just in case you need any anecdotal proof, any time we played volleyball in 6th grade PE, I nailed the same kid in the face with the ball every. single. time. I served.  I once tripped over my own foot on my way to first base during a game of mat ball the same year, hit the ground, and literally dragged myself across the floor. (I didn’t get tagged out though!)  In high school PE, the coach completely gave up on me and allowed some friends and me to play badminton while the rest of the class participated in the planned activity.  Despite all of this, my poor, poor mother still agreed to play racquetball with me when we had a membership at our local YMCA.

Let it be known that I mostly just hurt myself. Every other time we played racquetball, we were in the room that had the smaller door of the two available.  It kind of reminded me of something from Alice in Wonderland because it was smaller than usual and had a tiny window that provided privacy so that people lurking in the hall outside couldn’t see me flailing all over the room.  On this particular occasion, our usual room was already occupied and we were forced to play in the second room: the completely glass door.  The match was going no differently than usual -I whacked myself in the back of the leg with my racquet multiple times, tripped, etc.  Then I noticed that there were people in the hallway outside observing our game, and that simply wouldn’t do.

My mother had instructed me, warned, really, that I had to stay in front of her at all times in order to prevent further instances of me hitting her in the back of the head with the ball.  Needless to say, I had forgotten the rule and I was behind her getting ready to serve when I noticed the people in the hallway.  I stared them down, hoping they would leave as I served the ball while still staring at the strangers.  If they weren’t watching before, they definitely were at that point because I recognized the solid thud of the ball making contact with my mom.  I had served the ball without even looking where I was hitting it and somehow managed to hit my mom’s face.  When I whipped my head around to see what I’d done, she was standing there, head down with her hand covering what appeared to be her nose and she did not look happy.

I immediately began apologizing, “I’m SO sorry mom!  Here, you can punch me in the nose so that we’re even!  I’M SO SORRY!”

At that point, she looked up at me and jerked her index finger towards her face to indicate that I had not actually gotten her nose.  Instead, she pointed to a rainbow-shaped welt that connected her eyebrows, “You didn’t get my nose!  You hit me between the eyes!”

Interesting that the kid with no aim somehow managed to hit her own mother square between the eyes when she wasn’t even looking.  Mom didn’t appreciate the humor at that point, however, and she declared our game over at that exact moment.  She walked out of the Y with her hand covering her inflamed forehead and instructed me to sign us out.  In case you were wondering, it was sore for several days.

And no one has played racquetball with me since.

Memoir Mondays

Hello all my lovely readers!

So, just a quick update:
I’m going to be trying something new.  I know a lot of my posts have been pretty heavy lately, so every Monday, I’m going to lighten things up a bit with a short memoir.  One of my absolute favorite things to do is to reminisce, especially when it comes to the funny stuff.  My posts will become more regular (I’ve been aiming for at least once a week, now I’m going to shoot for Memoir Monday and then a lengthier, more substantial post later on in the week) and y’all will know when to look for them.  Get excited, ’cause I’ve got pleeenty of stories to tell!

Stay tuned!

-A

Are You Salty?

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” Matthew 5:13  

My husband asked me this question in a text a few days ago.  When I initially read it, I was tending to our screaming baby so I just kind of brushed it off, assuming he was referring to the slang version of the word ‘salty’ (which, according to Urban Dictionary, means pissed or upset, in case you were wondering) but he wasn’t.  Later, we were talking at home and he said, “You never answered the question.  Are you salty?”  which spawned one of those late night, we should be sleeping but the conversation is too good, talks.

I thought about the question after he had explained what he meant in his next text and I continued to ponder it up til that point.  Am I salty?  The short answer is I don’t feel salty.  The long version is what you’re going to get though, reader.

If you’re new here, know that it’s not my style to be anything but honest, sometimes to a fault.  If you’re looking for sugar coating, look elsewhere, hoss, ’cause you won’t be getting any of it on this blog.  My life right now is in an adjustment period.  I’m overwhelmed with working from home while doing my best to keep our kid alive (so far so good), completing the work for my weekly bible study, maintaining the house, and doing my very best to write in order to cling to the last remaining part of my life before Ellie.  It’s a lot.  Like… a LOT.  I’m doing my best, but I’ve become caught up in the day-to-day and right now, at this very moment, salty is the last adjective I’d use to describe myself.

For the last several Sundays, Ellie & I have stayed home because she was getting over a cold and I kept reading Facebook posts from our church family about a stomach bug they had.  The absolute last thing I wanted to deal with was a puking baby on top of her cold, vaccines & colic.  Prior to her arrival, I looked forward to Sundays as a time of renewal.  Now, it doesn’t matter if I’m there or not because when we do attend, I usually end up having to leave the sanctuary to nurse her or calm her down so she doesn’t disrupt everyone else.  The same thing applies to my discipleship group.  The ladies are wonderful and so helpful with her, but Mr. Cooper works swing shift, so more often than not, Ellie attends those meetings with me too.  She’s precious and all, but good grief she requires a ton of attention and she’s kind of a distraction for me and for all the others in my group.  I manage to squeeze in my bible study lessons at home when she’s sleeping and that  feels rushed.  But I’m still trying!

Even in my general life, I feel  reduced sodium at best.  For example, Mr. Cooper & I decided to go out this past weekend, and our pint-sized companion tagged along.  Everything went surprisingly well up until the end of the night when we went to eat.  I held her while I ate and that seemed to be working until, out of nowhere, bleck! Spit up covered her and my pants.  She needed a diaper change anyway, so to the bathroom we went despite me only being 3 bites into my pizza.  I don’t know who is installing those diaper changing stations (when restaurants and stores actually have them, anyway) but they are not doing a very good job!  This one felt like it was 2 inches off the floor, and Ellie was not having the wardrobe change.  Ten minutes and 4 knocks from the woman waiting outside later, she had a dry butt and clean clothes, so I loaded up the diaper bag and picked her up to head back outside to our patio seating.  As soon as I picked her up, bleck again!  She covered my shirt.  I apologized to the woman waiting outside the door for taking so long and walked back to the table, fussy baby, spit up covered clothes & all.  As soon as I returned, Phillip asks, “Are you ready to go?”

I hadn’t even gotten halfway through my meal.

That’s pretty much what every day is like for me right now, and don’t get me wrong, I love being Ellie’s momma, but it is draining both physically & mentally. I’ve prayed more in the last two months that she’s been alive than my entire life combined.  At times, I feel closer to God than I ever have, and other times, I feel nothing at all.  As much as I hate to sound like a cliche, truthfully, it’s not Him, it’s me. Nothing is done easily these days and even the simplest tasks like switching over laundry are now drawn out because I’m a mom and that’s how it works. I’m stretched kind of thin right now but I know that this season in my life will pass as quickly as it came.  More importantly, I know not to rely on feelings when it comes to my walk with Christ.

I’ve come to compare my relationship with Him to my relationship with my husband.  If I only stuck with Phillip on the days we were getting along and life was like a romance novel including those brand new relationship butterflies, we would’ve divorced ages ago.  Similarly, I can’t just commit to Christianity on the days that I feel like a brand new Christian.  I want to feel close to Him, I just don’t right now and that’s okay because I know that my feelings don’t change the fact that He has never left me.  He’s there in the valleys just the same as the peaks, and I believe it’s my attitude in these blah times that really help grow my relationship with God.

Just because I don’t feel a certain way doesn’t mean I stop working at it.  After all, raising a child is a 24/7, no breaks ever, service to the Lord and at the very least, I think there’s something to be said for obedience.  I’m focusing on being the wife & mother I’m intended to be, and anyone who says that homemaking isn’t a mission is dead wrong.  I’m still reading, I’m still praying, I’m still trying and I hope that it’s having some impact with someone out there. And anyway, I’ve been here before.  The pumped up feeling returns eventually, just like first date butterflies with my husband.  After all, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Clearly, this post is more of a reflection for me.  A self-check, if you will, but what about you?  Are you salty?

How I’m Surviving A Colicky Baby

If you’ve never had to deal with colic, get on your knees now & thank the Lord above.  Believe me, there are about 10000000 other things I’d rather endure than hours upon hours of a screaming-til-she’s-red-in-the-face-and-sweating baby who can’t seem to be helped.  We’re 9 weeks in now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about helping our sweet girl with her 24/7 belly ache and, in turn, how to make parenting more bearable.  Ready?  Write this down:

Buy wine and lots of it.

Just kidding.  Well… kind of.  It’s like the louder she screams, the tighter my shoulders become, and a glass of wine here and there definitely seems to make them feel a little less like concrete.

Anyway, here’s what actually helps:

  1. Invest in Dr. Brown’s bottles
    These bottles were praised long before our sweet Ellie was ever even considered.  If you’re not familiar with them, they have a vent system to reduce the amount of air baby takes in when he/she eats.  They’re kind of a pain to wash because of all of the pieces, but I would personally rather wash 5 trillion parts than listen to a screaming baby day in and day out.
    My cousin has a special needs preemie who had some intense bouts with reflux and, in turn, colic.  There were days that he was absolutely inconsolable for hours on end when I babysat him.  Eventually, they invested in these magical bottles and it was like the little dude did a complete 180.  We switched from the special bottles for breastfed babies to Dr. Brown’s when Ellie was about 3 weeks old because we’d endured about as many all day long fuss fests we could stand and it was a game changer!  I found an entire box of these at a yard sale in the spring and only paid $2 for them.  Why you ask?  They belonged to a friend of the woman who was hosting the yard sale.  The friend was supposed to help price & set up, but didn’t.  The woman hosting the sale was NOT happy with her friend and sold everything that belonged to her dirt cheap.  Her loss, my gain.  Buy some!  You probably won’t get 6 for $2, especially if you buy them new, but they’re worth it.
  2. Take that baby to the chiropractor
    This was recommended to me by a friend who uses natural remedies for everything and swore that taking Ellie to a chiropractor would help.  Guess what?  IT DID!  Prior to having her adjusted, she positively despised the car seat and if she was awake during the day, she was also screaming.  I was at my wits end and ready to leave her on someone’s doorstep, so I called them and they worked her in the same day. As it turns out, Ellie’s lower back was out of alignment, which explained her disdain for diaper changes & car seats.  She became much more tolerable to be around following our visits to Dr. Vincent.  Some people will argue that this was the placebo effect, but even those who weren’t stuck listening to her screaming 24/7 agreed that she seemed to be in a better mood.  That was putting it lightly.
  3. Buy some Mommy’s Bliss gripe water
    I didn’t have any idea what this stuff was until we had Ellie, but let me tell you, it works.  It was recommended by pretty much every parent that Mr. Cooper works with, so once he began talking about The Banshee (our loving nickname for Ellie) at work, they all insisted we invest in some.  According to What to Expect, gripe water is, “an over-the-counter liquid supplement of sodium bicarbonate and herbs (such as fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint, depending on the formula). In addition to soothing colic, it’s marketed as a remedy for teething pain, hiccups and flatulence, among other ailments.”
    We use Mommy’s Bliss because it uses a lot of natural ingredients (and I had a coupon for it) and we haven’t been disappointed by it!
  4. Have him/her checked for a tie
    From the beginning, Ellie struggled with latching during breastfeeding.  Often times, once she was finally on the breast, she had trouble staying on the breast. By the end of week 1, I had bleeding nipples, a screaming newborn, and I was about 30 seconds away from completely losing it.  As it turns out, Ellie has a posterior tongue tie which means she can extend her tongue out, but she is still restricted with moving the center of her tongue which is critical for eating, both on the boob & the bottle.  Signs of ties include excessive fussiness & excessive gas, milk runs out of the baby’s mouth, they tend to have reflux, etc.  Prior to formula being introduced, midwives & doctors would check for ties immediately after birth and clip it.  Following formula, however, the percentage of breastfeeding mommas plummeted and so the practice of clipping the ties died out too because it wasn’t as noticeable if momma wasn’t suffering with shredded nipples.  You’ll need to see an IBCLC or someone on this list to get an accurate diagnosis & revision.  There will probably be another post on this topic alone ’cause I could go on for days with this one!
  5. Swaddle that little munchkin into submission
    We refer to Ellie’s swaddle me as her baby straight jacket.  She originally didn’t seem to be fond of being swaddled, but there was one night that she fought her sleep from 10PM to 2AM, and when I say ‘fought’ I mean she was physically kicking & swinging her tiny arms to keep herself awake.  Once I finally realized what she was doing, I wrapped her up like a baby burrito, poked a paci in her mouth and rocked her while patting her butt (what is it with babies and butt patting, anyway?).  Ten minutes later, she was done, praise the Lord!  She manages to Houdini her way out of every swaddle attempt with her muslin swaddle blankets, so we have to use the swaddle me because of the velcro to keep her wrapped up tight.
  6. Sleep
    You know how everyone tells you, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”?  It’s easier said than done, but they’re right.  I was used to my routine, used to having a (mostly) clean house, and sleeping in my bed when I was good & ready for it.  Things change when you have a kid because they do not give a rip about your preferences.  I learned the hard way that you have to have different priorities when you have a little one.  Things still have to get done when you have a baby and you’re going to be the one doing it because those energy-siphoning little monsters aren’t going to pull their own weight for a good while.  My advice?  Pick what absolutely has to get done (i.e. food, doing enough laundry to have clothes to wear & a towel to dry off with, showering) and let everything else wait.  Will you be able to sleep every time the baby sleeps?  No.  But I was amazed at what even a little power nap did for my sanity.  And sometimes, it’s just not worth even moving the kid.  Sleep when you can, where  you can, even if it means spending all night in the same position on the couch.

 

If you read this post because you’re currently dealing with a baby who has colic, momma (or daddy) my prayers are with you!  The good news is colic typically peaks at 6 weeks & slowly tapers off until it’s gone (usually) by 12 weeks, but Lord have mercy, those feel like the longest weeks of all time. Hang in there, we’re on our way out and I can say that it really does get better!  (And the wine does help in the mean time 😉 )

Have suggestions of your own?  Comment below!

-A