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Co-Sleeping: Why the Experts may not Know Best

When I first found out that I was pregnant with my little man, who is a blessed 8 months old today (do babies appreciate blogging shout-outs?), I signed up for weekly emails that would tell me what to expect while I was expecting. Each week I was updated on Wyatt’s pre-natal size as the experts compared him to various types of produce. Why do they always compare to fruits and veggies? Never once did the writers liken my baby to a pork roast or loaf of pumpernickel. And while we’re on the topic, why are we comparing our babies to food in the first place? All it does is make the pregnant woman hungrier. And no one wants to get their already grumbly tummy all aroused at the thought of their growing child. It’s just weird.

Since giving birth, I have continued to receive my weekly emails. These post-birth newsletters contain helpful information on things such as developmental milestones and when to start baby on solids and how to detect infant acid reflux and so on. But this morning I found myself laughing out loud at the silliness that was delivered to me by these “experts” who, I can only assume, don’t actually have children. The topic was on that of co-sleeping: the pros and the cons. To be perfectly honest, I don’t give a rat’s patootie about the debate itself. From one half-demented, sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed mama to another, my stance is simply that of Pro-Sleep. However you manage to do that successfully is up to you. I will be the first one to start the slow-clap applause, shake your hand, and take you out for a nice meal because, Mama, you deserve it! I, on the other hand, am 8 months in and have still not found a way to get the beloved 4 hours of sleep a night that my body, mind, and husband are craving. I have tried co-sleeping, crib training, and everything in between but have yet to be embraced by the sweet arms of a REM cycle.

All this aside, I decided to give the article a quick once over. I was one sentence in before I gave in to the hysterical laughter that overtook me. Listed as the first downside to co-sleeping was this: “Infants are mood-killers for middle-of-the-night romps”. Huh? Middle-of-the-night-whats? Who in the… how in the world… are people actually romping in the middle of the night after they’ve had a child?! Does my email even know who I am? I am 32 years old, have 4 children, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got an ulcer in there somewhere. There are moments I couldn’t tell you the day of the week due to sheer exhaustion and now I’ve got a newsletter telling me that I should put my baby in his crib so that I can make whoopee? Is there ANY mother out there getting woken up after 47 minutes of sleep that says, Wow, I’d love to get me some sex right now, but darn this baby in my bed?

Can you imagine what would happen if this information got out to the men?! I mean, I’m already smacking away randy hands when my husband wakes up to use the bathroom at 4am. I can’t even imagine the battle I’d be in for if this news got out. I just can’t. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. I love him once a month, in the middle of the day, whether he needs it or not. But in the middle of the night? I’m sorry, but the experts better get their facts straight. Any man willing to wake a zombie-esque mama will probably be castrated (once she’s finished her nap, that is).

The article went on. Easy nursing versus smothering your baby in your sleep, cuddle time versus independence problems. Blah, blah, blah. My interest was quashed even quicker than my husband’s 4am advances. Stick to your produce-sized fetus talk, Experts, and let us mamas get some rest!

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The Sarcastic Welcome Wagon

            I never thought I’d say this, but….. I miss being pregnant. (GASP!) I know. I know! Those are the words I was pretty positive would never leave my lips, not in a million years. Now, I’m not saying that I long for the days of constant puking and horrible back pains – not a chance! But let’s just say that I didn't acknowledge the perks of pregnancy and give them their due at the time. But as I sit here in my grass-is-always-greener state of mind, I feel a tinge of nostalgia for the days of swollen feet and profuse sweating.

            This week, three evils have resurfaced in my life – evils that pregnancy had gloriously masked. And now, in the full light of post-natal day, I’m feeling rather deflated (and not just in my abdomen).

1)      Welcome Back, Nail Biting. Ugh! The habit is so disturbing I can’t even handle it. I don’t enjoy biting, I don’t like the way my nails look, and I can’t even handle thinking of the trillions of germs I’m ingesting each time I put a fingernail to my lips. And after 16 months of gorgeous, hard-as-rock nails, I’m back to square one. Me and my stubs are disappointed in my defeat. Pregnancy hormones did for my nails what nothing ever has – I had perfect color, shape, and thickness growing at rapid rates from my fingertips with nary a break, crack, or peal. But even though I’m still nursing my little man, the hormones had to eventually come to an end, bringing with it dull, flimsy, pealy nails. And what’s an ex-nail biter to do? Leave them there, all scratchy and sharp? My OCD wouldn't allow this. And so, with bitterness in my tone, I say Welcome Back, Nail Biting.

2)      Welcome Back, Period. In the past year-and-a-half, I’d forgotten just how horrible it is to bleed profusely and for no freaking reason at all. If this were a nosebleed, I’d already be at the hospital getting cauterized. Isn’t it bad enough that I’m still not able to fit into half of my old clothes? Isn’t it enough that I’m utterly exhausted and that I change more diapers in a day than I get hours of sleep? Nope. Apparently it wasn't enough. Because now I get to wear nipple pads AND crotch pads, along with my granny panties and my super huge nursing bra. I make Victoria’s Secret models weep. So, with sarcasm and utter hatred, I say Hello, Cramps. Hello, Tampons. Hello, Back Aches. Welcome Back, Period, you disgusting piece of crap.

3)      Welcome Back, Mood Swings. Perhaps this one goes along well with number 2, but it’s also a sign that my hormones have continued their decline from pregnancy and freshly-labored Mama to just a regular old crabby, menstruating machine. And unfortunately, these mood swings are running rampant! No one cries over a generic Christmas card. No one. Oh, wait…. I do! I cry over generic Christmas cards, staring at a pile of laundry, and each time I step on the scale. On the flip side of all this sobbing is the real problem. The rage. I never realized it before, but when I watch crime shows on television, I’ve now noticed that I’m one pick axe, roll of duct tape, and a trash bag away from finding myself on America’s Most Wanted. It’s crazy how quickly it creeps up! One minute I’m making dinner while quizzing spelling words, and the next minute I’m screaming my head off because my kids bought themselves gifts at Santa’s Workshop when they were told only to buy for their family. (The hundreds of dollars spent on presents currently sitting under the Christmas tree was obviously not enough for them.) I threw things, screamed things, grounded things, and threatened things. I was seconds away from bellowing to the entire world that there really is no Santa Claus! (Spoiler Alert?) And you know what followed this almighty tantrum? You guessed it. More tears. And alas, with bi-polar tendencies I holler a hearty Welcome Back, Mood Swings!

I can see now why women have more children. For a long time I didn't see it. I couldn't look past the terrible pregnancy symptoms and terrifying labor and delivery events long enough to realize that these women of multiple children are not crazy. No. They’re just putting off the Welcome Wagon a little bit longer. And to these women I tip my hat. 


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BYOB

     Why do babies wear clothes? Is it really just because us adults think that those little outfits are "sooo cute!", or is there really a purpose? Because I'm seriously considering taking all of Isaac's new clothes back in exchange for pairs of long socks and a baby Snuggy. This kid poops like it's what all the cool babies are doing and he's desperate to fit in... and as SOON as I change his diaper and get all the snaps done back up on the 45 layers he's required to wear, I hear the familiar gruntings of the second bowel movement begin. At that point, I'd be willing to buy stock in ugly Snuggies just to avoid the hassle of finding said snaps in the dead of night, working by the small glow of the baby monitor. Which brings me to my next point...
     The nurses lied. They should be punished. It's just not right to tell a brand new mother of an infant, "Oh, your baby sleeps through the night like a champ!" Two words, medical professionals of a hospital that shall remain nameless: You Suck. What they should've said? "Your child sleeps through the DAY like a champ... in fact, you'll probably think that he's in a coma, but at night, I'm sorry to tell you, he's going to be wide awake and ready to party." (All are welcome to join for tonight's party... Lord knows I'll be up. BYOB = Bring Your Own Bottle... or boob, depending on your feeding preferences). I brought up two bottles with me, figuring that we'd probably have two feedings in the night and then a couple of diaper changes. Well, I was sorely unprepared when Isaac wanted to eat FOUR times and then pooped continuously throughout the night. And it was also rather unfair that the little nugget refused to look alive at all during the day time, but then wanted to coo and explore and be all cutesy and fun at bedtime... those nurses told me to make nighttime feedings very businesslike... (suit and tie??) no monkeying around, no cooing, no baby-talk. Well, ya know what? That's just not fair, NOR is it possible! I couldn't refuse his cuteness at night anymore than I could wake the sack of logs up during the previous day!
     And so today, poor Cameron and Taylor have a very harried mother on their hands. I smell funny, look greasy, and the house is a disaster (because lets face it... when you drop something while you're holding a baby, it's just way easier to leave it on the floor than to try to pick it up!). So, for tonight, I will bring up FIVE bottles... four filled with Isaac's formula, and one HUGE one filled with espresso for Mommy. 

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