The Greatest Showman

It was 2:00am and My daughter was letting out these little screams, and kicking the crap out of me (the struggle of co-sleeping) and I was at my wits end. I had recently bought The Greatest Showman from the iTunes Store and figured if I was already up, I might as well put it in. My daughter loves music, so I was hoping it would soothe her and I could roll away from her and stretch out all the kinks she was causing.

I have to say, I am a fan of musicals. I have been since I was a little girl dancing around to The Sound of Music. When you think about it, most Disney movies are musicals, so any movies with music in them when I was a kid, was my thing.

The songs from The Greatest Showman are amazing, and I love them. My daughter loves it too.

A lot.

Like… a lot!

Let’s just say, from the time we have originally watched it, we have probably watched it 20 more times, that is not including the times we put the songs on YouTube for her during the day when she is extremely fussy.

The movie itself is good. I love the music, the storyline, although not entirely accurate to the actual character of P.T. Burnam portrayed by Hugh Jackman, I would much rather watch a musical with this more fictitious version of him than the man who bought a slave, worked her 10-12 hours a day and then when she died, charged people 50 cents to see her autopsy.

My daughter, at only 4 months has become completely enthralled with this musical. It is at the point where if you walk into my house at any given time of the day, you are bound to hear the music from the movie being played in one way or the other.

It’s both a blessing and a curse as my daughter has been overly miserable lately due to teething and this movie seems to keep her so preoccupied, she completely forgets about her discomfort so long as she can hear the songs being played. However, after my 12th or so viewing, the movie has somewhat lost its appeal.

After complaining to my mother, she reminded me of hours of watching a The Sound of Music, dancing through the halls singing the songs and making outfits from my bedding. Sure, I can vaguely recall doing this, but I was maybe 6 or 7. 4 months seems young to get into the musical game. I have tried explaining this to my daughter, but she wails until I abandon negotiations and put on The Greatest Showman.

It’s to the point now where if my daughter wakes in the middle of the night, my immediate response is to mumble-sing This Is Me while rubbing her stomach until she goes back to sleep.

It makes me smile, hysterically and a little bit like a madwoman, to think about all the things we as parents endure just to make our children happy.

Who Am I? My Brain Doesn’t Remember.

The last week and a half have been rough!

My daughter has been taking these tiny little catnaps during the day that last a maximum of 20 minutes and she will only stay asleep if she is on my lap or chest or arm. Not to mention she is absolutely miserable when she is awake.

This teething process is slow moving and torturous for the both of us. Smiles are few and far between, laughter is very tough and go, her cute giggles all too soon transforming into painful wails. Our tummy time is a negotiation zone, activities are constantly cut short and I am counting down the minutes until my mother-in-law comes to stay with us at the end of the month.

It really does take a village.

It may not seem like it does, and a lot of the things I do with my beautiful daughter, I do solo because of my husband’s busy work schedule, but I can feel myself slowly wearing away. The lack of sleep and constantly being on calls means that I am on auto-pilot most of the time.

And mama is ready to get off of autopilot. Mama is ready to sleep, like really sleep, mama is ready to go pee without screaming down the hall “Mama’s coming!”, or to get back to writing.

Guys, I can’t tell you how much I miss writing. For those of you who didn’t know this, before I had this parenting blog, I had a creative one, with all these short stories and poetry, and thoughts. Not to mention, I have several novels partially done that I would love to do anything with.

I feel like since I got pregnant, there are parts of my brain that just don’t work anymore. A big part of my brain that is completely shut down is the creative side. The one that made me have these vivid dreams that I had to write down when I woke up. The part of my brain that would turn any waking moment into a story, where I couldn’t find peace because there were always ideas bouncing around inside my head.

What I would give to get that part of my brain up and running again.

Hopefully when I am better rested, and my mother-in-law is here giving me a hand with all the day to day, I can blow the dust off and get back to functioning a little more like myself.

With all the changes going on to my daughter right now, I find it difficult to get her to want to do anything. Sitting up was high on the agenda of things I was hoping she would accomplish, but right now, all she wants to do it lie down, play with her feet, and babble to herself. Whenever I sit her up, propped up, hoping she will want to get moving, she slumps over and continues sucking on her hands, absolutely no effort being put in.

It is cute, and hilarious, and I think I am just going to sit back a little bit and let her do things at her own pace.

Right now, I know she is in pain, I know she is uncomfortable, and the last thing I want to do is stress her out. I was hoping that her sitting up on her own will make her a little more independent and she will be happier on her own, with her toys and her music. She constantly wants to be moved around, shifted, propped up.

I am just going to have to be okay with being at her every beck and call… as all parents are. For a little while longer. One day I will be looking back and wishing she still needed me this much.

What Day Is It?

As a new mom on maternity leave, I am learning that time is irrelevant. Days are merging, my days sometimes feel like mere hours of weeks, and my weeks feel like they consist of anywhere from 3 days to 10 days.

I felt like yesterday I was working 8 hours a days, heavily pregnant in the blistering sun while I chased a pair of 5 year olds around, bargaining with them, trying to bribe them into spending the heat wave indoors. Then I decided to blink and I was at home, waiting for my daughter to arrive.

The time between working and being a mom lasted forever. It was a month but it honestly felt like 3 or 4. Our summer here in Toronto was heat wave after heat wave. 8 months pregnant, getting clothes on to go out for a walk seemed like too much of a task so I spent the majority of my days indoors, telling myself I would do something but procrastinating the days way binge watching shows on Netflix.

“After this episode I am going to…” was how I started all my sentences in those days… I never kept those little promises I told myself then. Nothing ever came after that episode except maybe another episode… and another…. and another.

I was due on September 20th and my beautiful daughter was born on the 21st of September after an induction. There was no fear when I went into delivery, nothing but anxious anticipation and the constant praying that it would all be over so I could have my little girl in my arms.

The first month of being a mom was a complete blur. It was a war zone of feedings, changings and getting sleep whenever you could. I was sleepwalking through it all. There, but everything oddly seemed as though it could be a dream. I was never 100% sure it wasn’t.

Somehow, my daughter is over 4 months old now.

I woke up this morning and just stared at her. She looked massive beside me on the bed, as though she could easily be 9 months old and I had just slept through it all. I looked at her, and she looked at me and we just smiled at one another all the while thinking “Where has all this time gone? What day is it? What month?”

19 weeks and 4 days old.

Time, for a new mom on maternity leave is completely irrelevant.

You have nowhere to be, your baby doesn’t really have much of a schedule so you are just rolling with the punches. One day, she may sleep in until noon and you tell yourself you are going to get up early to get things done, but honestly, you sleep in too. Because you are exhausted. Parenting is exhausting.

You take sleep where you can get it, some days you don’t change your clothes and live in what you slept in or your underwear, you don’t even brush your teeth until after 2:00 in the afternoon. I have days where I don’t even remember to eat. I will look up a the clock and ask myself if I have eaten that day.

I think this lack of schedule is common for mommies who have their babies moving into winter. Walks are restricted due to the weather, most days are too wet, too cold, too muddy, or just too much of a task to go out. So you spend the days indoors doing the same things over and over again to keep your baby entertained.

So what do you do?

Go out!

Pick a day of the week, every week where you go out. Typically this day for me is Saturdays. Saturday’s I go to my mothers for dinner, but I typically spend the whole day there. It’s a good opportunity for me to hand my daughter around a full household, and I can usually catch a heavy nap which is so rare for me.

Get dressed!

It’s such a small thing, but when you wake up, get into a routine much like you had when you were going to work. Get up, get dressed, maybe put on a little makeup and run a comb through your hair.

Why?

Because it will make you more likely to head out for the day, even if just for small walks, or to run errands. When you are already ready, you’ll be asking yourself “Why not?” If the opportunity to go out comes up.

Stay connected.

In this day and age, it is so easy to go days, even weeks without actually speaking to someone. You have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat. All these things that make it so easy to make yourself feel as though you are talking with people, having these conversations and keeping yourself social.

Guys, I am sorry, but this is all an illusions and it really isn’t enough.

Reach out, text a friend, call someone. It will keep you from feeling lonely and it will also keep your friends at arms reach and open to meeting up with you on those days you feel like you just have to get out of the house and socialize for your sanity.

Do something for yourself.

This is a big one. In the beginning, I was using all my free time when my daughter was napping to do things around the house. I was cooking, or cleaning, or trying to catch up on sleep. It as this endless cycle of giving and I wasn’t getting anything for myself.

It’s okay to do something for yourself, in all honesty, it is better for everyone, including your baby if you do.

Go to the gym, take a long showers, or soak in a hot bath. Curl up and read a good book. Make something. Play some video games.

Find something that makes you happy and you want to do. Something you look forward to, and do it. New parents neglect so much, they neglect their mental health, they neglect their hygiene, they neglect their relationships, their friendships. We bargain away everything that is for ourselves and trade it for things for our babies.

Parents, we can’t do this all the time. We are burning the candles and both ends and before long, there will be nothing left. We can’t be good parents , hell, we can’t be good people when we are trying to do it with nothing left.

Guilt is such a big thing, and we have to stop listening to what other people are telling us we should be doing and just do what we need to do for us.

Society expects parents to work like they don’t have kids, and raise their kids like they don’t work.”

Living your life this way is enough to always make you feel like a failure and like complete crap. Well, the solution is simple. Just don’t do it. Don’t listen to those people, ignore those judgmental glares. Your happiness is the most important thing to your children because they will benefit from it more than they would anything else. You can love your child better when you are happy.

We are somewhere in February and I am trying my best to work on myself. I am trying to figure out what makes me happy and do that more. Honestly, I don’t even remember what makes me happy anymore.

In this world where the cost of everything is constantly climbing and what we earn climbs substantially slower that costs are rising, we fall into this routine of just doing what we have to so we can afford to be happy later. I think along the way, we all forget what actually makes us happy.

I’ve forgotten. My happiness had become as irrelevant as time some ways ago. I couldn’t tell you when even if I wanted to.

Parenting is anything but simple. We are stumbling around trying to do our best, and along the way, I think we forget that we are still people. Not just parents, but people.

I’m constantly flustered and my mind is complete mush, I can barely remember the date or where I need to be, so remembering I am a person with needs is impossible some days.

If you are like me, just know, you are not alone. Reach out, find someone who is in this situations and weather the storm together. You’ll be more likely to find your way out of it, if you aren’t going at it alone.

Getting To Know Our Bodies

When I was pregnant, my mind couldn’t stop going back to health class. It astounded me all the things they left out. It was like our bodies were these secrets meant to be kept, which unfortunately means that so many of us are completely left in the dark.

Perhaps it was my Catholic School’s policy of abstinence is the best and only true form of birth control, but if I am being honest, not too many of the teachers really pushed this, and they were more than willing to answer any questions that may have popped up about sex and everything that goes along with it. The curriculum left a lot in the shadows.

It wasn’t until I went on mommy blogs and forums that I realized that I wasn’t the only one. There were remarks like “Your first period after giving birth will be heavier because all that blood has been stored up.” As though there is a dam in there that has remained closed, all the blood you are supposed to be shedding pooling up behind it, waiting to be released. Other things like “I thought all women could breastfeed, regardless of whether they’ve had a baby.” And “I don’t understand why women can’t just hold in their periods until they have to go to the bathroom.” Really shines a light on how our education has failed us in letting us fully understand our bodies.

There is so much about myself that has me baffled, parts of my own reproductive system that I had no clue about and still wouldn’t know if I hadn’t gotten pregnant.

Even after giving birth, if I hadn’t had a nurse who told me everything and a sister who was also a nurse there would be a lot of questions floating around in my head with no answers.

So many different things impact what can be considered normal for us. Our birth control, our hormones from breastfeeding, all of these things will make a difference to what is normal and what will become our normal after we give birth and become parents.

A lot of women think that bleeding that happens after you give birth is a regular period, and that is why they are confused at how much more they may bleed compared to what was normal for them before. It is something specific to giving birth and it is called Lochia which is the shedding of everything inside your uterus that has been used to nurture and grow your baby. It is going to be heavier, but it isn’t a regular period and it doesn’t mean that your periods following will be heavier from then on.

Our bodies stretch and rip and break, but they heal and bounce back.

It opened my eyes to the kind of parent I want to be. I want to be open and honest with my daughter when the time comes. I want to be the kind of house where she can ask us about sex and her body and not feel shame or embarrassed. I want her to understand herself, inside and out. There are too many women and men out there who are embarrassed to go to the doctors when something is wrong with their reproductive organs. So many people afraid to ask questions.

Although I have never been a shy person, I never had that openness with my mother. We would joke when I got into my teens, but I couldn’t imagine asking her a second related question, or just about my body in general.

To this day, there are parts of my own vagina I wouldn’t be able to label if you asked me. I am 28 years old. It seems like I should know anything and everything about my body at this point. The fact that I don’t, is really sad and confusing.

We can push for our schools to teach our children, but there will always be parents uncomfortable. Parents who think that knowledge about sex goes hand in hand with participating in sex. Parents who will always be uncomfortable with their children learning to be free with their bodies.

That’s fine. Everyone has their own hang ups.

However, if you are not one of these people, and even if you are, I can’t stress the importance of teaching your children about their bodies. Teach them about the bodies of the opposite sex. Sure, your son may never have to have a baby or a child, but someone they love may one day, and knowing what they are going through knowing how their body shapes and changes in this time will better help them understand, and be stronger shoulders to lean on.

Our bodies are these amazing things, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. We should know all there is to know about them, things that some people think are icky shouldn’t seem that way, it should be the norm because we should be talking about them as though they aren’t taboo.

I am more confident in my body after having my daughter, after seeing all that it is capable of. My body is amazing, capable of amazing things. Sure, it’s scarred, it’s worn, it’s sore more often than not, I have cellulite, and there are parts of my skin that are more flabby than tone and tight, but it’s mine. And it’s given me the most amazing gift!

All of our insecurities are there because we are told they should be, because we see what the world thinks bodies should look like and we don’t fit the mould. Beauty standards aren’t standard beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes and I feel like knowing all we can about our bodies can help build confidence in our bodies and ourselves.

Get to know your body, so you can teach your children to know theirs.

Filling Up Your Baby’s Day

A lot of people who know I am the mommy of a 4 month old baby think I have all the time in the world during the day to accomplish things for myself. It’s so easy for people who aren’t parents or who haven’t been through it to look at the statistics for what is normal for a 4 month old baby and think “Wow, they are only away for around four or five hours a day, you must have so much time!”

The most important thing to remember is that those are just numbers, ever baby is different. While there are some babies that achieve all their milestones on schedule, stick to the “norm” with weight gain and sleep schedules. My daughter doesn’t sleep as much as I would like during the day.

She tends to be awake now between 3-4 hours in the morning, she takes a nap in the late afternoon/ early evening and will be up from around 5:00pm until 10:30pm where she will take a catnap and be up until 1:00am. What does this mean? It means her sleep schedule is all over the map and those naps take place at times that make it difficult for me to do things I need to get done.

It also means that for a bulk of the day, she is awake and not sleeping.

Having a 4 month old isn’t just naps and feedings. It’s a lot of interaction. Every minute she is awake, her senses crave constant attention. She wants to be in different positions constantly. Lying on her back, on her tummy, sitting while slouching, sitting upright, standing… each position lasting a maximum of 10 minutes before she gets bored and wants another.

When we are not switching up positions we are switching up toys and activities. Although her favourite stuffed chameleon Pascal is constantly nearby, she often wants new textures, new colours, new sounds. It’s a street fair of constant activities, despite the small amount of sleep you got the night before.

Right now, my daughter is obsessed with her new Bright Stars Minnie Mouse themed jumperoo. We got ours from Winners for $79.99 CAD.

She really moves that her bouncing or the spinning of one of the toys activates the music and lights on the Minnie Mouse ears.

It’s also an awesome place to put her so I can take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a coffee or eat something. I am definitely adding it to the list of products that have helped me parent so far.

Our days are filled with story books, activity mats, diaper changes, breastfeeding, walks, jumperoo time. Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of down time. Her naps are usually on my chest, which limits any time for me to do things in that nap window.

When she is awake we are constantly moving, constantly engaging and trying to get her moving independently, stimulating her mind to grow alongside with her body.

Having a 4 month old is not just letting your baby lie around a sleep. It’s time consuming!

There are so many little things to keep your baby moving, and if you’re like me and going into the winter with a small baby, you are probably going to want to load as up the winter weather will restrict how much time you get to spend outside!

The Wonderful World Of Teething

As a first time mom, there are a lot of things even a lifetime of being around children hadn’t prepared me for. It’s such a different experience, having to deal with a baby of your own for 24 hours straight. You start to really understand why people say being a parent is one of the hardest jobs of all, and it’s one you can’t quit when things aren’t going your way, or you’re not getting the pay and appreciation you deserve.

Every week is a different milestone, maybe even one you didn’t realize was passing by, as you care for these growing little beings.

Everything is developing, their minds are growing and expanding along with their little bodies and they are learning to deal with so many things for the first time. What I would give to have a single day where I could just hear what she was thinking. Maybe then I would understand why she likes to have full conversations with the Tiki masks on her bedroom wall, or what she things the handmade birdhouse is so hilarious.

Growth spurts happen more often than you would have thought. 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and on and on and on. Not to mention rashes, and teething, sleep regression.

Right now my daughter has her first rash. She is a tad fussier but I can’t say for sure if that is the culprit because she is also going through sleep regression and has been teething.

When I had first gotten pregnant, I had a plan in mind. My sister had breastfed my nephew until he was 2 years old. I didn’t think I would do it quite as long, but knew for sure that, if I was able, I wanted to breastfeed my daughter until she reached her first year. This was before I realized that their first teeth would sprout between 4-6 months. Here I was, naive and under the impression that babies would get their first teeth until being closer to that one year mark.

The thought of my little shark actually having teeth in her mouth while I breastfeed is terrifying. She already clamps her gums down as hard as she can on my nipples and refuses to let go as she slowly grinds her gums together. It’s torturous… and that is just with gums. Add teeth to the equation and my husband is bound to come home from work and find my huddled in the corner, rocking myself and I murmur like a madwoman, blood on my shirt.

Yes… it’s a scene from a horror movie. A scene I’m sure is not too far off from my reality.

The teething on its own is something I could handle. She is drooling enough to soak through half a dozen bibs, without the bibs she is soaking through shirts and when she is naked she is extremely slippery. She is fussy, but usually that fussiness makes her sleepy, which works out great for a tired mama getting about 4 hours of sleep a night.

Let’s add sleep regression to the mix, you know… just for fun.

This means that she is extremely fussy from her teething, and her healing rash, and she will not sleep. She just grunts and groans and moans and whines. My sleep has dropped down from that amazingly fulfilling 4 hours of sleep a night, to around 2 and I have to admit, I am more human than I would like to admit and right now I would say I am just as cranky as my daughter.

I would strongly suggest the teething mitt to any mommy that has a teething babe. There are over a dozen different brands that make these. I went into Babies R Us and looked for the one with the brightest colours. She already loves to put her hands in her mouth, but I find that when I am trying to find a product for her, the brighter the colours, the better.

We bought the itzy ritzy mitt for around $12 CAD.

I am someone who strongly believes babies and children shouldn’t be overly medicated. Which is why I refrain from using Advil and Tylenol’s and try and feed my daughter to sleep when she is uncomfortable. This is how my mother raised all five of us and for the most part, we all have amazing immune systems.

Because of that, most of the teething solutions for my daughter are toys she can pop in her mouth.

The other lifesaver these days is her nûby fish teether. The brush like area is perfect for massaging her aching gums.

I got this for around $5 CAD at WINNERS.

For anyone else going through the magical wonders of teething, hang in. Keep your baby busy, because that often distracts from their discomfort.

Got to go, I am being summoned by my own screeching bandicoot.

My Little Socialite

If you take the baby out of the house, you may take the fuss out of the baby.

For anyone who has been following my blog, Instagram, or Twitter, you will know that my daughter has been going through a bit of a fussy spell. She has been clingy, a magnet for all my attention not allowing me a single moment to myself without showing me just how well her pipes work. I am convinced this is why the Mother Nature came up with her sneaky plan to make babies so adorable, so we let them get away with robbing the life from us, and sometimes we even smile about it.

Here in Toronto, the weather hasn’t been so great. It’s cold, the air is frigid and that means that most public spaces are just breeding grounds for most viruses that are going around now. That means that I have been keeping my daughter in. We have just gotten over a spell of sickness in our house, and the misery going around our little family was unbearable at times. If I can prevent her from getting sick again, you can bet your butt, I will.

This past Monday, my best friend came over for a visit. She sat with my daughter while I rejoiced in having adult company. She and my daughter chatted away, almost all signs of her fussiness disappearing as she babbled along, no doubt recounting all of the nonsense I do to try and keep her happy.

Early Friday morning, I got a text message from my 8 year old nephew asking if he could come over and spend the night.

Having the memory of a goldfish lately, I don’t remember if I ever delved into the sleeping arrangements at our house. We have a two bedroom apartment. Before getting pregnant we had a spare room for my husbands family to come and stay in when they decided to come to town for visits. Now it is my daughters room.

My husband and I both agreed that we would keep the queen bed in there because our plan is to move our daughter from the crib, right to the queen bed with rails and skip out the toddler and twin sized beds. We had just bought the frame and mattress in there and if we do have visitors it would allow us to move in there with her and we would give up our room.

Since my husband returned to work, that spare room has been where I sleep with my baby girl since we are co-sleeping, which has worked amazingly for us because she sleeps through the night, coming over to my side of the bed when she wants to eat and then going right back to sleep. It’s made nights amazing.

Having my nephew come over for the night would mean we would have to give up our bed, and the past week, my daughters sleep schedule has been off. She has decided that 4am in the morning is the perfect time to wake up and have hour long conversations with an exhausted mommy.

I knew it would mean I wouldn’t get as much sleep if he came over, but pre-pregnancy my nephew spent at least two weekends a month at my house. We did everything together and I missed it. My pregnancy and my new baby had definitely impacted our relationship.

Sacrificing the sleep was the best thing I could have done. I bonded with my nephew, as did my husband who has always been close with him, and my daughter was over the moon. She loved having him there. Suddenly she had absolutely no use for me unless she was hungry or needed a change.

This week has been a social week for us.

We brought her to my husbands work for an event on Thursday night. I was worried about having her out during one of her napping windows but she was great. We had my nephew over Friday night, Saturday we spent the morning at home with my nephew and headed over to my moms late afternoon. We stayed there until late in the evening.

And she was radiantly happy.

I think as new parents it’s important to put our babies in different environments to see what they enjoy and to give them a chance to thrive, even at this age. She loves being out, she loves seeing people.

Moving into winter and the colder weather is kind of cramping our social style, but it has definitely opened my eyes to making more of an effort to spend our days indoor… but not at home.

Fussy, Fussy, Fussy

For any parents, there is a new F word that we cringe at.

Fussy.

My daughter has been going through a bit of a terrible phase. She seems to be fussy more often than not, and as any parent knows, a fussy baby can eat up your whole day. I spend my days pacing the apartment, rocking in the rocker, dancing like a monkey on the pier for change, all to keep her satisfied.

Before any other parents pop in and ask me if she has colic or gas or reflux or any of those other very important questions. No. She doesn’t.

Her fussiness is not nonstop crying, or being impossible to soothe. It is more like a diva throwing a tantrum, storming to her trailer and refusing to come out to film her scenes at the very end of a very hectic work day. She is calm and happy so long as I am interacting with her. In my arms, she is a happy baby, but I can’t live my whole life with her in my arms.

I feel like the whole becoming a parent journey is glamorized. No one was admitting how awful pregnancy was, no one was talking about how it felt more like a virus you couldn’t kick than the glow often advertised. No one mentioned the excruciating pain of pre-labour that broke you in a way that’s indescribable. They say they often can’t remember the pain of labour, because once they saw their baby, nothing else mattered.

I saw my baby and felt a love that made me feel so full, but once that epidural wore off, the pain and discomfort was there. Bathroom runs were terrifying and despite all the photos I saw of sleeping moms in the hospital, I couldn’t get a single wink of sleep no matter the weight of my exhaustion.

No one mentions how for the first month your baby is here, you are shell shocked. You are doing routine sitz baths, covered in breast milk, wearing pads you could use as a raft to escape a deserted island, exhausted, and if you’re breastfeeding, you are living off the couch.

Another thing not a lot of parents are admitting, is that not all babies are easy. Most of them are difficult in their own way… and being a new parent at times, can seem downright awful. Then, something happens that shines this bright light on your heart and reminds you why you wanted this… and then that moment is gone and you’re drowning again.

My daughter is sweet, she is adorable, and I love her more than I can put into words. However, she is a fussy baby. She likes around the clock attention, otherwise she is screaming.

And it’s okay to admit that.

Babies are different. Some are quiet, some are content, some are inconsolable, others are just fussy.

Fussy, fussy, fussy.

As parents, we should talk about this. We should be open to discussing that our babies are sometimes frustrating and despite our best efforts, fussy. It seems most parents will only admit to a fussy baby based on circumstance.

“He’s fussy because he’s sick.”

“She’s fussy because she’s tired.”

“He’s fussy because he’s hungry.”

Let me be the first to say my daughter is just plain fussy. Tummy full, in good health, well rested fussy.

And that’s okay.

Can’t You Just Hold My Baby While I Nap For Five Minutes?

My daughter is going through an extremely clingy phase.

So far, if I had wanted an hour or so to myself, I could put her in her swing or sit her down in her chair for a bit so I could do fun things like get in the shower, eat, tidy up a bit, wash my face, brush my teeth… you know, all the fun things you take for granted before a little mini-you comes into your life.

It all started in Christmas Day when I was really sick. She spent most of the day with daddy and then that night I noticed she was as close to me as she could get, which wasn’t easy, considering I was still under the weather. Since then, she acts as though a single moment apart will be the death of her.

I am wearing her around the house when I go to the bathroom, when I make food, when I eat, even when we are sitting around, she wants to be on top of me.

What this means is moments to myself have been rare, and mama is worn out.

Last night, she decided she didn’t want to sleep. I have to say, I am pretty lucky. Since my husband returned to work and has been working really hectic hours, I have moved into my daughter’s room and we have been co-sleeping. The queen bed in there gives me loads of room to feed her to sleep and roll away. It’s great. Sure, I miss my husband sometimes, but the sleep I get in there compared to when we were all in the same room is worth it.

When my daughter can’t sleep, she gets really chatty.

Above the bed are four vibrant Tiki masks carved from palm tree bark that we brought home with us when we went to Cuba. They are beautiful! My worry was that they may scare her when we first started sleeping in there, but it has been the opposite. She looks up at them and will talk to them for hours. Little coos, exercising her vowel sounds, laughing, grunting, every sound imaginable.

In one way it’s great, because it keeps her pretty occupied. On the other hand, I am such a light sleeper, always have been, and since having my daughter it’s even worse, if that’s even possible. So as exhausted as I am, I just lay there with my eyes closed, listening to her chat, chat, chat.

With her clinginess, her lack of sleep, and her nighttime monologues, this morning I am feeling worn out. Like… extremely worn out.

I was snapping 6am photos of her because when she gets overly fussy, she finds taking photos funny… kids, right?

Anyhow, this blog entry is more for all the moms out there who feel like it’s an endless cycle of spent energy and not getting any back. I am in the same boat as you, I feel your pain and your misery.

Don’t feel alone. There are thousands of new moms, veteran moms, single moms, new and old dads all feeling exactly like you are right now. Being tired doesn’t mean you are not a good parent. Being tired doesn’t mean you aren’t doing everything right,

It just means you’re a parent. Welcome to exhausting, this is your life now!

Surviving A Sick Baby

My daughter has been sick. She has been congested, has had thick mucus, and a runny nose, and it’s been affecting her sleep, her mood, and my sanity.

At 3 months, she is still so small. And congested babies are scary. They breathe almost solely through their mouths at that age, so having a stuffed nose is more than just a little frustrating for them. It impacts their sleep and their eating, two things that are so important at that age.

Last night, I barely slept a wink. I had my daughter nestled up beside me in bed. My arm under her head to prop her up while she slept and so I could monitor her breathing through the night. She didn’t have a fever, but she was sweating a lot, tossing and turning, and her little moan while she slept broke my heart.

Despite wiping at her face while she slept, her chin, cheeks, and under her nose were caked in dried saliva and mucus when we got up this morning.

Having a sick baby can be so hard to get through, especially if you are a first time mom.

The first thing I would recommend doing is adding a humidifier into the bedroom at night. Since sleeping is going to be difficult for your baby, the humidifier can help take some of the dryness out of the air, and can assist in loosening some of that built up muscles and phlegm while your baby sleeps.

A soothing baby balm can add some comfort before bedtime. Paediatricians have recommended against using a vapo-rub like Vick’s on baby’s because a study was done that showed the cooling effects of the menthol could cause a baby’s already thin airways to narrow, making it harder for your baby to breathe. That being said, there are other unmedicated balms that can be used in replacement. They are mor for comfort. Massaging any lotion on your baby’s chest and feet before bed can help relax them and soothe them to sleep, but the added scents of lavender, eucalyptus, aloe, and other ingredients add to the calming effects.

There is a baby version of Vick’s that is non medicated, and other brands if you wander down the baby aisle of the pharmacy or drugstore.

If you are breastfeeding, try and do it more often. Your antibodies will help baby fight off whatever sickness they are battling, the more they get, the better it is for them and hopefully, the faster they will recover.

Vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding you should be giving your baby his or her vitamin D drops daily. If your baby is formula fed, talk to your doctor about introducing these when baby is sick to help them along.

Warm baths. A warm bath can help loosen some of the build up in their nose and their chest. It’s important to keep the bathroom warm, and where ever your baby may be until he or she gets dressed. Also, try and keep their chest below the water. A cold chest may add to their congestion. I usually keep her bath cloth on her chest during her bath, making sure to re-wet it with warmer water every couple of minutes. These days, I climb into the tub with her that way I can fill the tub more, keep her more submerged, and use my own body heat to warm her in those moments she is not submerged in the water.

Keeping their nose clear. Whether you use the thing I have, which is that ball that you stick in their nose and squeeze to get rid of their build up, or something more sophisticated like the Nose Frida, it’s important to clean out their nose often. Imagine how many times you blow your nose when you have a cold, now imagine you aren’t able to blow it. That’s how your baby feels. Help them out, it will definitely help with their comfort level.

The other thing I do is keep my loved one bundled up. When you are sick you like to be in your PJs with a nice throw on your legs, maybe drinking a hot cup of tea. All of this things point to you wanting to be kept warm. Baby is no different. Put on a nice thick onesie, make sure their feet are covered in socks or slippers, and get them cozy with a nice blanket when they are lying down or even cuddled with you.

Don’t worry, this will pass.

If you are really worried, Baby gets a fever of over 38 degrees, gets over lethargic, or struggles to breathe without relief, bring your baby into the doctors or a hospital. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Remember to follow us on Instagram to get daily photos of my super cute daughter!

@pretending2parent