Thursday, March 28, 2013

Overheard in the Robinson household

Me: We are missing a nipple.
Pat: (starts laughing)
Me: Graham is five and a half months old. When are you going to stop laughing every time I say "nipple?"
                                                                                                                                                                 

Me: I don't feel like I'm seeing results from working out yet.
Pat: I do. When I saw you on the jumbotron, I thought you looked really skinny.
                                                                                                                                                                  

Pat: Have you seen my phone?
Me: Nope.
Pat: Can you call it?
(his phone starts ringing somewhere)
Pat: I hear it but I can't find it. Call it again.
(his phone starts ringing somewhere)
Pat: I found it. It was in Graham's nursery (where our son was already asleep for the night).
Me: Did it wake him up?
Pat: I don't think so.
                                                                                                                                                                 

Me: Do you know where Sophie is?
Pat: No...that scares me that Grady got her
Me: Can't find her anywhere. Have you seen her since this weekend? Maybe she's still in the car?
Pat: Perhaps. I haven't seen her for a while.
Me: I found her. She was in Graham's swing.
Pat: And she's not in a heap of bile in our yard. We all win.
*Sophie is not a living animal but rather a baby teething toy. No animals were hurt.
                                                                                                                                                                

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parenting status remains at rookie

Someone asked me recently how I'm adjusting to being a mom. The answer to that question is an easy one. I love every single second of it. It is hands down the best and most meaningful job I've ever had. Nothing in this world makes me happier.

From the moment I held Graham in my arms for the first time, I forgot about what life was like before he was here. Everything has more meaning now and I am overwhelmed every day by how much I love him and love being his mom.

That being said, five and a half months into this gig and I still have no idea what the heck I'm doing. If a "mom of the year" award really did exist, I do something on a daily basis to ensure that I would never receive that award.

HEADLINE: Inexperienced parents pinch son's leg in car seat, cause scene at wedding

People (namely my father-in-law and my husband) had been telling me for a while that they thought Graham's car seat was getting a little too snug. I knew that he is supposed to fit in the car seat until he weighs 30 pounds and he only weighs 15.

So basically I ignored them and continued to try and shove him in the car seat, justifying the fact that he cried every time you put him in there with the argument that some kids just don't like being in car seats. Seemed logical enough.

That is until two weeks ago when we were at a wedding trying to get Graham in his car seat before leaving. Between the tight car seat and his thick corduroy pants, we accidentally pinched his leg in the car seat buckle (and by "we," I do not mean me. Sorry, Pat). At that moment, while he was screaming in pain, I decided that maybe Graham really was too big for his car seat.

On the way home from the wedding, I did what any good parent would do: I googled it. As it turns out, there were several reasons to explain why Graham was no longer fitting in his car seat. First of all, I learned that once your child is no longer a newborn, you are supposed to take out the extra padding to make more room.

I also learned that once the straps start becoming snug, you are supposed to adjust them to make them longer.  Who knew? Definitely not me. So we did both of those things and miraculously, Graham started fitting in his car seat again and no longer screams when you put him in there. Lesson learned.

HEADLINE: Mom remembers opposite of what she is told, sets son back developmentally due to improper use of exercauser and jumperoo

Right around the time Graham was born, or maybe even before, I remember several people telling me how important it is to make sure only the tiptoes of baby's feet can touch the ground when using the exercauser or jumperoo. It is important for their development, they said.

Recently, when Graham reached the age when we could start using these toys, I had forgotten the reasons behind the importance of only a baby's tiptoes touching the ground when using them, but I remembered vividly people telling me to make sure of it.

So I did what any good parent would do: I googled it. And sure enough there was an article about the importance of making sure your baby couldn't touch their feet flat on the ground when using exercausers and jumperoos. I shared this information with Pat and we made sure to set them high enough that only his tiptoes could touch.

Last week, my father-in-law brought to Pat's attention that he thought we had the toys raised too high and that he thought Graham should be able to touch his feet flat to the ground. Pat defended me, sweet guy, by saying, "Emily read an article that their feet shouldn't touch flat." It didn't seem like Pat's dad agreed, but he didn't push the issue.

Well, just to prove that I was right, I decided to call my sister, one of the people who informed me of this issue, so she could remind me why it is so important. When I asked her, she practically yelled at me and told me that I had it backwards: It is important that their feet touch flat on the ground, not the other way around.

A few important lessons learned: 1. If you tell me something, I will remember the opposite of what you said. 2. you can find articles on google to support anything - right or wrong. 3. Pat will believe whatever I tell him - right or wrong.

But seriously, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information around this topic. And since I bought both toys used, I do not have the owner's manuals for either product.

HEADLINE: Mom forgets intended use of diaper bag, carries it around for show

Graham got baptized on Saturday in Mansfield. Shortly after we arrived to the church, it became clear that Graham had a poopy diaper. So I went to the diaper bag to grab a diaper, only to find that there were none. That's right. Not one diaper located in Graham's entire diaper bag.

It wasn't like I could even discreetly go and tell Pat that we had no diapers. We were all in a small room gathering before the baptism started so everybody there was aware of the poopy diaper and thus became aware of my lack of diapers in the diaper bag.

It was definitely one of my prouder moments as a mom. So my options were - have Graham wear one of his cousin Harper's diapers, who is ten months older and in diapers two sizes bigger, or leave him in the poopy diaper until we went back to my parents' house where the twenty diapers I had packed for the weekend were located.

Then I remembered that several months ago, when I was still feeling like my organized self, I had put a diaper changing kit in the door of my car, for emergencies such as this. Unfortunately, several months ago Graham was wearing size 1 diapers and is now in size 3, but it was a diaper nonetheless. Even though the diaper was too small, I still felt I had somewhat redeemed myself since I was able to show everyone that I did have a diaper.

Crisis averted and lesson learned (I hope). I wish I could say this was the first time I had been caught with an ill-equipped diaper bag but it's not. And I'm sure it won't be the last. But at least I remembered the diaper bag. That is an improvement over Graham's first doctor's appointment where I showed up with no diaper bag and no diapers and he ended up having two pees and one poop.

While I could go on and on with more examples of all the things I have and continue to screw up as Graham's mom, I won't bore you any longer.

Before Graham was born, everyone told me my "maternal instincts" would kick in and things would come naturally. I assumed this meant that when these instincts took over, I would just magically know what to do in every aspect of being a mom. Not so. 

The reality is, there are no owner's manuals or instructions that come with kids. If such a thing did exist, believe me, I would know because I read a lot. But everything you read emphasizes the fact that every baby is different and the best thing you can do is let your baby teach you all that you need to know.

So that's what I'm doing. And I'm learning a lot. Unfortunately, I'm learning at a glacial speed and many lessons I'm learning the hard way. But one thing is for sure: It may be the most difficult and confusing job I've ever had, and I might mess up, a lot, but I've never been happier.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alcohol is not my friend

It is 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. And not just any Saturday night: It is the Saturday night before St. Patrick's Day. So what am I doing to celebrate?

I am sitting in my basement, alone, listening to the ocean waves from Graham's nursery on the baby monitor, watching Hart of Dixie on Netflix and I just finished a glass of milk and some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

It seems the days of green beer might be a thing of the past for me. I did contemplate putting green food coloring in my glass of milk, though, but decided it would be too much work.

If you would have told me a year ago that this is what the future had in store for me on St. Patrick's Day, there is no way I would have believed you. Two years ago on St. Patrick's Day, I was sick and had to work and yet I still went out after work. Last year I was pregnant but still partook in the festivities (minus the beer, of course). Let's face it: I love a good party and any excuse to dress up and have fun.

But do not mistake this as a cry for pity. Far from it. There is no way that I have ever had a St. Patrick's Day in which I was happier than I am right now. I got to spend the day with my husband and our son (taking him swimming for the first time). And with the precious few hours I get with him during the week, I like to spend as much time with Graham on the weekends that I can.

No green beer and no St. Patrick's Day parade could ever make me feel as fulfilled and happy as spending my days with my sweet little man (and my big man, too).

Besides, if I were to partake in Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day festivities, I can assure you the outcome would not be pretty. It seems as though it might not be just green beer that is a thing of the past for me but rather alcohol in general.

I'm quite embarrassed to share this story, but since the basis of my blog has always been and probably always will be centered around making fun of myself, why should I stop now?

The story is about me drinking too much. I know what you're thinking - this is not something new and different. And you're right. Just another tale of Emily drinking more than she can handle and then getting sick and hungover.

So what makes this different than any of the other countless times this has happened to me in my life? Several factors. One difference, and something that makes this particular story much more embarrassing than it would have been a year ago: I am now a mom. I am responsible for taking care of another human being. A child's well being depends on me and yet, I am still behaving like a child myself.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not naive enough to believe that the act of giving birth alone magically turns women into responsible human beings and good mothers. All you have to do is watch the news to know that is not the case.

But I do think if there was a certain moment in your life when you should probably grow up and stop drinking like you're still in college, it would be when you become a parent (or perhaps when you graduate from college).

In my defense, though, it is not as if I ever think to myself before going out, "I'm going to get so drunk tonight." I never actually intend to get drunk. I always just intend to have a good time. And while I do not need alcohol to accomplish this goal, I happen to enjoy the way it tastes (going down, anyway. I actually despise the way it tastes when it's coming back up).

So all too often, I get caught up on the moment, the party, the evening, whatever it may be, and I do not stop drinking when I should. And I always pay for it the next day. But in the past, I've always been able to lay around on the couch the next day and "sleep it off" if you will.

Well let's just say, there are no "off days" when you become a parent. There isn't time to "sleep it off" which makes mom hangovers the absolute worst kind of hangover.

I have had two "mom hangovers" sine Graham was born which have taken place the only two times I have drank since he was born. Each of these instances have been brutal reminders that I am not 21 anymore and that I have become a serious lightweight since being pregnant and having a baby.

Seriously. It's quite unfair what happens to women. You go an entire year without drinking, watching your favorite seasonal beers come and go and desperately waiting for the moment when you can enjoy a drink or two (or three, four or five). Your mind seems to forget about the fact that you haven't drank in an entire year but your body does not. I assure you, your body does not.

The first incident was on Christmas night. I had a few glasses of wine and a mixed concoction that my step-mom made for me. I know it was some sort of pear drink and I know that she has a tendency to make them strong.

The night ended with me sitting on a saddle in their house, sending Pat a text message telling him that I was in the bathroom about to get sick but was written in cryptic code and made no sense and then crawling to bed. I am not sure how many times in my life I will continue making the mistake of getting drunk in front of my drug and alcohol counselor father, but apparently I haven't learned my lesson yet.

Needless to say, the next day was very rough.

The second incident was more recent and perhaps more severe. Pat and I decided to go on our first official date since Graham was born and celebrate Valentine's Day. So my SIL came over to watch Graham for us while we went out.

We started the evening by filing our taxes (we are very romantic these days). We then headed downtown for a nice dinner and an evening at the casino. In six hours, I had about four or four and a half drinks. More than I needed for sure, but nothing too crazy.

I fell asleep (or passed out) in the car on the way home and by the time we were in our driveway, I was throwing up in a pile of snow (completely wasting all of my delicious and expensive meal). Pat had to get our snow shovel to bury my puke. Classy.

The fun doesn't stop there. It took Grady about five seconds upon being let outside to find the puke pile. The next morning, all I could think about was how miserable I felt while all Grady could think about was the buried treasure in our yard. It was Filet Mignon, after all. A huge step up from his usual diet of bibs and burp cloths.

Every time we let him outside, he went straight to the pile and kept eating it and all of the snow around it. I was having a hard time stomaching it, literally. I already felt super nauseous and now I had to watch my dog eat my puke.

Pat headed to the grocery store while I stayed home and tended to my upset stomach, my pounding head, and, of course, our son. My hands were pretty full and the last thing I needed was to keep letting Grady in and out of the house and then having to wipe all the snow off of his paws before letting him back in. So I started ignoring his pleads and whines.

Grady was following me everywhere I went, whining at me to let him out. But I wasn't going to let him fool me. I knew he just wanted to eat more snow puke. When he went to the back door and peed, however, I realized too late that he did, in fact, really need to go outside. The entire time he had been following me around, he was peeing.

Turns out, when your dog spends an entire day eating snow, he will also spend the entire day peeing. So the rest of the afternoon I was on my hands and knees, with an upset stomach and a pounding head, cleaning up the maze of pee that was all over our house.

After feeling completely sick and miserable on top of feeling regret that I was wasting time I could have been spending with my son, I decided once and for all that alcohol is not my friend. From now on, I'm setting a two drink limit for myself.

Anyone want to take wagers on how long it takes before I am "re-learning" this lesson about my lack of tolerance for alcohol? Summer Shandy should be hitting the stores any time now...