Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back to My Old Self (Mostly)

Last October, with less than a month to go before Edith arrived, I wrote a post about the 8 things I couldn't wait to do post-pregnancy. And guess what? I can do them!

Here's a review of my wishes back then:

1. Wear pants that aren't stretchy.

The maternity jeans are stored away, and I was back in my pre-pregnancy pants some two weeks after Edith was born. But I still wear those yoga pants. So comfy!

2. Fasten my jackets.

I continue to wear the dark blue wool coat that I wore the last month of my pregnancy, but that's because it's too cold to wear my favorite jackets anyway. This blue jacket isn't a maternity coat in any case, although long before we had talked about having a baby Paul called it my pregnancy coat because of the way it's cut. That's the way it's supposed to be!

3. Sleep without a backache.

I fully appreciated the comfort of sleeping on my back once again after Edith was born. Funny thing is, I never really liked sleeping on my back before I got pregnant; I only realized how comfortable it could be after it was taken away from me! Either way, I still prefer sleeping in the fetal position.

4. Eat and drink what I want.

I ate so many cold cut turkey sandwiches in the month after Edith was born that I don't think I can look at them again for a while. And although I haven't yet had blue cheese, I have ordered a medium-well hamburger. Even though I'm breastfeeding, a bottle of beer or a glass of wine is fine to have; however, I've only had a sip of wine since November 21.

5. Order sushi.

Paul and I went to a sushi restaurant while his mom visited and could watch Edith while we were out. So by mid-December I had sampled sushi again, although I mainly stuck to the vegetarian rolls anyway.

6. Stop running into things.

If I run into things now, it's not my belly's fault. It's just because I'm a klutz.

7. Walk fast.

Now the only thing slowing me down is a stroller.

8. Breathe.

Who knew taking a deep breath could be so luxurious? Now I do.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Sister's Baby Shower

It seems like only yesterday that I had my own baby shower. And, in fact, it was less than five months ago. When my sister, Katie, hosted that one for me, she was in the throes of morning sickness. Now, with only four weeks or so to go until she has her own baby, it was her turn to be the guest of honor.

Selfishly, the shower was a great way for me to see my grandmothers and several of my aunts and cousins during my limited time in Ohio. But it was hardly a piece of cake (although I did have a delicious raspberry jelly-filled slice at the end). Finding the location, decorating, sending invitations, leading games -- there's a lot to do for even the simplest shower. And then there's the stress of making sure you're doing what the mother-to-be would like -- not just yourself!

Luckily I had assistance. Katie's sister-in-law sent invitations to that side of the family and brought half the food. My parents were invaluable as we gathered food and supplies. And my sister is certainly neither high-maintenance nor high-strung: a giant help.

Now the only thing to do -- for me, anyway -- is to wait for my new nephew to arrive!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Worst Trip from Ohio to New York

Edith's two-month birthday was the day we drove back to New York.
I took this photo when we were waiting for traffic to resume
after an accident in Pennsylvania.

Baby's first road trip went better than expected ... in one direction. We left Brooklyn for Columbus at 6:30 in the morning, and the 500 miles we normally cover in about 9 hours instead took 12. Not unexpected when you factor in feedings and diaper changes.

The drive from my parents' home in northwest Ohio to Brooklyn, however, was another story. It started out great. We left at 10 a.m., and she slept until about 3 p.m. More than half of the trip was done with only a brief stop for gas. The way things were going, we thought we'd be home by about 9 p.m.

Instead, it was midnight.

First of all, the snow went from non-existent to quite heavy as we drove further east, and we ran into some rather scary white-out conditions. But Paul drove through them like a champ, and we got only a little behind.

Until we saw a sign saying there was an accident ahead. We got off Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania and tried to take back roads, but the conditions were snowy and bad, and the sun was setting. We decided to get back on the highway, come what may. And what came was a 3-hour standstill.

Of course, Edith chose this time to be both hungry and poopy. But we made it through, and she slept again from about the middle of the standstill all the way until we got home. And I paid for her cooperation by feeding her almost nonstop when we got home for the next two hours.

Obviously I'm glad that we weren't the ones in the accident that caused the jam, but I have to say it was the cause of the worst trip from Ohio to New York we've had yet. I suppose I should be glad the trip took only 14 hours -- and that it wasn't punctuated more often by a screaming baby.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Edith's Baptism

Our recent weeklong trip to Ohio was spurred by two occasions: my sister's baby shower (more about that next week) and my daughter's baptism. The baptism was Saturday and the baby shower was Sunday. It was a busy weekend.

Luckily, I was looking forward to both. And the baptism was made even more special by the dress my daughter, Edith, was wearing. It was first worn by my mother on the occasion of her own baptism, followed by her sister. Then I, my younger sister and then my aunt's daughter all wore it for our respective baptisms. My cousin -- the last to wear it -- is now a high school junior, so it hasn't seen much use lately.

After not a little bit of searching, Mom found and dusted off the gown for Edith. She was as pretty as a picture in the dress, and her behavior during the mass was almost as pristine. The loudest wails were cried before the service started and not when the holy water was poured over her head!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Baby's First Road Trip

It's an exciting weekend: We'll be in Ohio tomorrow for the first time since Edith was born. But I'm also extremely nervous: We have a 500-mile drive to endure before we get there.

Normally I don't particularly mind the drive. I'm hoping that's the case tomorrow as well. But with a baby you never know. We'll see how long the normally 9-hour drive turns into when you factor in diaper changes, etc.

The four times she's ridden in a car have gone smoothly, but she hasn't been in her car seat enough for me to be confident that we're going to have a nice and quiet ride.

And I'm just talking about the drives to Ohio and back. I haven't even mentioned how nervous I am about the time we're actually spending there. I can count on my hands -- and maybe my toes -- the number of times Edith has left our apartment. I've never even changed her diaper outside of her nursery. Now we're going to be in a completely different environment.

But overnight outings have to start sometime. I know I'm certainly not planning on being cooped up until she's potty trained. So what better way to start than around your forgiving families?

On that note, winter break begins! New blog posts will start again on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My New Normal

I followed a very set schedule pre-Edith and pre-pregnancy. Now that Edith is seven weeks old, we have a routine that couldn't have changed more.

Here's the difference, then and now:


Then: Up at 8 a.m. Showered, and then ate breakfast while getting ready for work. Out the door at 8:40 -- 8:50 at the latest -- and stepped off the subway a few blocks from work shortly before 9:30.

Now: Up when Edith starts crying, generally between 8 and 9 a.m. Change diaper, then immediately feed her. Then I aim to get her to do a little tummy time on a quilt on the floor -- that generally allows me 5, 10 minutes tops to scarf down some cereal before she gets extremely annoyed with being on her belly.

When she's calm and sleepy, I'll strap her in the stroller, roll her near the bathroom and take a shower. Pandora is my friend here: some classical music and the lull of the shower will keep her asleep the whole time. Generally I can roll her back to the living room and she'll stay asleep for even a bit longer.


Then: Work, work, work until I took my lunch break, usually around 3 or 3:30 p.m. Left the office sometime between 6 and 7, arrived home about an hour later.

Now: Another feeding around noon, then Edith takes her longest single nap of the day -- usually at least 2 hours. I get a leisurely lunch while watching a bit of TV. After eating, I'll try to check off as much on my to-do list as possible (like writing a blog post!).

Of course I'll feed her several times throughout the afternoon; in between, we'll read books, do a little tummy time, play and sing, and she'll catnap. When Paul gets home -- the time varies -- he generally takes over baby duties for an hour or two.


Then: Even though I read on the subway to and from work, I'd usually read a bit more each night. Once every week or two I'd stop at the library after work. The rest of the evening would be filled with general errands and work around the house before supper, usually about 9 p.m., and TV.

Now: I read while she's feeding, so my book time is spread throughout the day. Once in a while I'll get out of the house by myself when Paul gets home, even if it's only for a few minutes and to do something he really could do on his way home -- like mailing some letters or buying a bunch of bananas at a bodega. Or I might be gone for an hour and walk to the library (although Edith and I have done this during the day, too).

If it's bath night for Edith, that'll usually happen around 7. One last feeding. We aim for her to be in bed around 8:30. If she disagrees, however, it will be later, of course. Supper after she sleeps, always.


Then: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, sometimes more.

Now: Usually between one and three wake-up calls per night. The times vary, but lately I'll almost always get at least one stretch of sleep that lasts more than three hours, and sometimes more than four. Could be worse.

Overall ...

Do things always go according to plan? Of course not. Am I doing things "right"? I have no idea.

Since Edith was born, I've learned the difference between a schedule and a routine. A schedule is more rigid, and you have a better idea of what will be done when. A routine is more about the order things are done in. We have a general routine now, but the list-maker in me can't wait until Edith is old enough for a schedule!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Surviving Winter in New York

If the song has it right and Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, then it's unfortunate that the two months following are just the opposite.

"The Least Wonderful Time of the Year" probably won't be a song anytime soon, but that's what January and February are in New York. I never particularly liked the dead of winter in Ohio either, but here it's even worse.

The pristine white flakes that rest on glistening fields in the Midwest quickly turn into a gray, mushy mess in New York.

Temperatures that dip into freezing in Ohio may make you run to your car a little faster, but in New York you have the same long walk to the subway no matter what the temperature. Only in the winter, you don't have the promise of heated car seats -- you only have the high probability of waiting on an equally freezing subway platform for a train to arrive.

Sure, New York has the same world-class museums and excellent restaurants all year round, but you still have to venture outside to get to them without the aid of a warm car. And many of the things that make New York so special -- like the large parks and the ability to walk to where ever you want to be -- are shelved til spring unless you want to risk frostbite.

And so we wait out winter inside, hoping the gray skies will turn to sunshine and fool us even for a moment that it's warmer outside than the thermometer proclaims. It never is. But a cozy blanket and the clank-clanking of the radiators confirm that at least you'll be warm on the couch. That -- and a warm pair of mittens when you must defy Mother Nature and take to the sidewalks -- will help this winter eventually pass like all others.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas and New Year's Eve in New York

In the nine years that Paul and I have been married, we've never had a Christmas that was just the two of us. That was by choice. We'd never felt the need to create our own traditions when we had so many already in place with our individual families. Christmas was always spent with one of our immediate families; usually, both.

But along comes Edith and, one month later, our first Christmas alone as a couple and as a family. We've all heard that Christmas is really for the kids, but with an infant that's not really the case. (Edith -- usually such a happy baby! -- cried pretty much the entire time we opened presents.) Most of what Paul and I did on Christmas really was for us.

The day started when Paul made sausage gravy and biscuits just like his family always does. It ended when Edith went to bed about 8:30 and Paul and I ate our special Christmas meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and apple pie while watching "It's a Wonderful Life."

Presents from Mommy and Daddy

We'd spent one previous New Year's Eve in New York. Watching the ball drop in person has never been a serious consideration for us, and the one time we were here instead of Ohio we spent at a bar or two. Not really an option this year.

We spent the day in. I read; Paul watched a movie. We switched the channel to see the ball drop a couple of minutes before midnight. I was feeding Edith as the countdown began, so we truly rang in the new year as a family of three.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Christmas Visit from Mom and Dad

My parents arrived in New York the day after Christmas with a suitcase full of gifts, but perhaps the best present they gave me was the gift of sleep.

Edith is usually a good sleeper at night, but on Saturday night -- the last night my parents were here -- she wasn't having any of it. She wasn't hungry, but she wouldn't go to sleep. Mom heard the fussing from the spare room and offered to rock Edith to sleep. They were in the recliner from about 4 to 8:30 a.m., and I got a glorious four and a half hours of sleep without worries.

That probably wasn't the highlight of their visit, but it was a nice bonus for me! Either way, having my parents visit during the same days that Paul and I would normally be staying with them almost made it feel like we were home for Christmas after all.

In addition to spending plenty of quality time with Edith, my parents did me two huge favors. The first was pretty conventional: they babysat Edith while Paul was at work and I had a doctor's appointment. The second was just as helpful: They got me out of the house.

Paul watched Edith on Friday night while I went to Manhattan (for the first time since her birth), both to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and to eat at Junior's with my parents. The next day, Paul and Edith stayed home again while Mom, Dad and I made a quick trip to Century 21.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2012

Mom and Dad brought plenty of clothes, toys and books for Edith, and, of course, Paul and I got some nice presents, too. But I'd take a few hours of sleep, a few hours out of the house and the visit from my parents themselves over and above them all.


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