Beginner's Luck

We survived Thanksgiving air travel without incident, except I think my brain short-circuited under all my self-imposed pressure to prepare properly. Decades spent following the rules ill-equip one to travel with a baby. The questions of whether pre-moistened wipes counted as a liquid and whether I could carry on more than three ounces of diaper cream paralyzed me.

We arrived at the airport two hours early, fully expecting lines out the door and surly security people. We found... nothing. No lines. Anywhere. I tersely declared the baby wipes, vitamin drops and diaper cream, ready to whip out my copy of the FAA regulations and argue my right to carry them on, but Homeland Security simply congratulated us on our beautiful daughter. The flights before and after ours were both delayed, but ours was scheduled to depart on time. Greg looked at me and whispered "It's almost comical how easy this is." Then we both looked outside and waited for the sky to fall. It didn't.

Pre-boarding meant that we witnessed our fellow passengers' faces fall as they walked by our seats and realized they were sharing the journey with a baby. But she was a champ. Happily oblivious to ear pressure and the gazillions of infectious diseases that cavorted through the recirculated air, Baby C slept the whole way. She slept the whole journey back, too. Greg and I, however, are still recovering.

Over the River and Through the Woods

Nothing like flying with your infant on the busiest travel day of the year to kick off a festive holiday season. Did I mention we're supposed to land in Chicago? Where they're expecting snow? If this is my last post, know that I'm probably detained in a Federal Aviation Administration holding cell on charges that New Mommy Lost It at the Airport.

I am trying to remember that checking luggage and consulting the federal regulations re: transporting breast milk and worrying about air pressure on infant ears are all good things. Because they are the flipside of the tiny toes and gummy smiles (even if they're just from gas) and double chin for which I am thankful beyond words.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sibling Rivalry

There's a displaced, disgruntled tabby cat who can't understand why the squalling, kitten-like addition to the household isn't walking by now. It's been here for nearly six weeks, for Pete's sake. Babies should be walking at this time. They should feed themselves. They oughtn't be so bald. And, most importantly, it's about time they get adopted . . .

Poor kitty. Baby C is here to stay. The upside is that the cat loves playing on the baby’s safari adventure mat. It comes with bird noises, which are big in the cat world. At least someone's enjoying tummy time around here.

A Dream, Deferred

New Mommy had a little cabin fever. My daily trip out to the mailbox lost its luster. So, I planned a quick trip to the bookstore and looked forward to it as eagerly as I used to anticipate a weekend sussing down the slopes. As ambitious as it seemed, I knew it was possible; I'd seen women with strollers in the Barnes & Noble. I laid out everything that would be needed: diaper bag, fleecy insert for the car seat, stroller, wallet, check, check, check, check. I timed it just right: after a good feeding and a quick diaper change. But. . .

Baby C did NOT want to go to the bookstore. Having informed me of that, she went on to tell the cat, the mailman, the neighbors and probably the entire city. Did you hear her? Because, apparently, she wanted to let you know, too. She was NOT going into her car seat and New Mommy couldn't make her.

I contemplated buckling the shrieking, trembling, red-faced vessel of discontent into her car seat anyway, but she gave the distinct impression that she planned to interrupt my browsing to make her feelings known to the entire bookstore as well.

Sigh. Maybe some other time. A new mommy can always dream, right?

Role Reversal

The New Parent market is more lucrative than even the wedding industry. When Greg and I got hitched, we resolutely withstood most of the Wedding Industry pressures and kept things fairly reasonable. But selling a chocolate fountain to an insecure bride is one thing, preying on new parents' worst fears quite another. Once word of your pregnancy leaks out (via the Babies R Us gift registry, I suspect), companies line up to peddle "necessities" to the clueless new parents.

These range from diaper-wipe-warming machines all the way to services that collect and store the blood cells from your child's umbilical cord. The cord blood can then, theoretically, be used to treat a host of diseases if, God forbid, treatment becomes necessary.

There are no wipe warmers at Baby C's house, but I did sign up for the cord blood banking. It's insurance I hope we never need. Little did I suspect, signing up for the service also meant signing up to be a member of the cord blood company's sales team. The company called, ostensibly to assure us that the collection and storage went okay, but really to shake us down for names of other potential customers.

"Do you know any other expecting parents who would be interested in providing life-saving measures for their baby?" Ummm.... when you put it that way.

Greg politely but futiley tried to get rid of Mr. Salesman, who was on speaker phone. Luckily, his mother was visiting and heard the conversation. She introduced herself as a science teacher. After ten minutes of questioning about the biology underlying cord blood technology, Mr. Salesman couldn't get off the phone fast enough. I don't think we'll be hearing from him again.

Survival Mode

Both sets of grandparents returned home. Greg's gone back to work. It's me and Baby C, mano-a-mano at last.

High on the list of my all-time personal achievements was surviving Monday. I left the house alone with Baby C for the first time, figured out her Snap-N-Go carseat and stroller, made it to my post-op doctor's visit, and made it home without forgetting anything that I know of. At least, the baby's still here.

All was well at the doctor's, except for the distressing news that the bulge around my middle was not going to miraculously disappear without diet and exercise. Right now, none of my pre-pregnancy pants fit and my maternity clothes are too summery. I'm in denial that I need to buy new, bigger pants and have been living in two pairs of jeans that my dear friend Marina let me borrow. (No one should attempt pregnancy or parenthood without a friend like her).

So, we're surviving, Baby C and me. We're watching lots of bad t.v. and flirting with fantasies of a trip to Starbucks in the stroller. All optional activities (housework, laundry, holiday planning, the occasional shower, and - oh yeah - this blog) have been curtailed, but now that the shock of our first days alone are wearing off, I hope to get back to them more frequently. Especially showering. I miss that.

Baby Love

If you observed Baby C around feeding time, you'd think we starved the kid. Food sends her into a frenzy. When she gets hungry, she starts sucking madly on her hands, on her blanket, on basically anything that hits her lips. The other night, Greg picked her up. Apparently, Baby C was feeling a bit peckish. She promptly started sucking on his neck. He pulled her off, but it was too late. The man has a hickey for the first time in years.

The Poo Posting

Me, pre-baby: "I'm not going to be one of Those Parents who talks incessantly about their darling infant's bodily functions, and I'm certainly not going to blog about baby poo."

My mom: "Children will make liars out of you every time."

Today, Jenny came over to meet Baby C.

Me, post-baby: "Hey, Jenny! C'mon in - can't meet you the door because I'm changing a diaper right now. You wouldn't believe it! It was projectile poop! She almost got both of us. It's an all hands on deck situation back here. Ya wanna see?!"

And thus began a two-hour visit during which Baby C's bodily functions were witnessed and discussed. I will spare you the gory details, but let's just say Jenny was impressed by their sheer number and velocity. As I'm sure you would be. If I were one of Those Parents who discussed and/or blogged about poo.

Moral: Grandma knows best.

Desperate Housewife

In the last, bulky weeks of pregnancy when tying my shoelaces seemed too difficult and scrubbing the shower nigh impossible (at least psychologically), I hired a cleaning service to come every other week.* Even though I can see my toes again, I haven't cancelled it. The cleaners came this morning, bright and early at 10:00, and I greeted them in my nightgown with unbrushed teeth. I'm hiding out with the baby in the office right now. Amazing how it's possible to feel slovenly even as one's house is being cleaned.

*Good thing, too, since that nesting cleaning urge never did kick in.

Trick or Treat

I was a much more productive poster as a prospective parent but, as a novice mommy, confess that I do find it difficult to jiggle the baby on my shoulder and type with one hand. This baby does seem to need a lot of jiggling. A lot of holding. A lot of nursing. A lot of diapers. Luckily, we have all of those things in abundance, even though it means placing everything else that constituted my life on hold.

Baby C's arrival in time for Halloween meant that Greg and I could prop her next to us on the sofa and shamelessly watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." When I was little, I used to watch it every year with bated breath, hoping against all hope that Linus would finally wise up and go trick or treating. But, unfailingly, he chose to spend the night in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and he always duped stupid Sally into staying with him. Nearly thirty years later, I found myself just as exasperated with the two of them as my six-year-old self used to be.

Baby C's arrival in time for Halloween also meant that we could, without irony, carve a pumpkin and decorate the front porch. Greg thought it also meant he could be Baby C's proxy and trick or treat on her behalf, but either his good sense or his complete lack of costume eventually changed his mind. Good grief!