Archive for the ‘ Preparing for baby ’ Category

The Lastest Pregnancy Trend: Ultrasound Parties

Friday, January 4th, 2013

We sat in the dimly lit room of the doctor’s office today as the ultrasonographer measured and prodded the growing baby in my belly.  Like previous ultrasounds, it was a moment marked by some anxiety, a lot of excitement, and a continual sense of awe. It was an intimate moment for our family of three, soon to be four. A tender and funny moment where every observation of our two-year-old filled the room; “Is she a doctor?” “Why don’t they have any snacks?” “What is sissy boo doing?” “I have to go pottttty!” “Can we listen to some music?” and the thoughtful concerns about the new baby surfaced from my husband as we admired the sleeping babe in my belly.

It was a memorable family moment, but I wouldn’t call it a party. For some expectant mothers though, an ultrasound has become a reason to party.

Writing about pregnancy has opened my eyes to the trends associated with the bump. We’ve talked baby shower etiquette for a second pregnancy, “dadchelor” parties, fetus key chains, and now there are ultrasound parties to add to the pregnancy vocabulary.

No, this isn’t necessarily a gender reveal party, although some use it for that, but it’s a straight up ultrasound where a lab technician comes to the home of those “cooking one up,” and use their gadgets and gizmos to show off all the parts of the growing little to an onlooking crowd.

According to an article by Today.com, these parties are a “trend [that] appear to be spreading. From California to Florida, services like Peek a View and Miracles Imaging help expectant parents turn a procedure into a party.”

The only aspect of a party I could really muster from the situation was my partially removed pantaloons. I mean, if I were that kind of party girl. No mom, I am not.

Trust me, I love seeing peeks of our baby. I understand wanting to share the excitement and joy of such an experience. I just think ultrasounds are more of an intimate moment. They are a moment solely about the health of the baby instead of tickets to a Saturday night show. The ultrasound party feels too much about entertainment.

Perhaps it’s the serial worrier in me, but I feel completely uncomfortable inviting others over for “drinks, snacks, [and] friendly banter” to have it suddenly, and quite possibly take a very serious tone. There are a myriad of complications detected during an ultrasound and I’d rather not receive that news in front of a crowd. Also, many abnormalities found during an ultrasound work themselves out and I’d hate to worry a crowd for no reason at all.

The article points out the reality of a party gone unexpectedly wrong: “What if the ultrasonographer started the ultrasound and there was no heartbeat?…Or what if the fetus had not developed a skull/head/brain? This happens more than most people realize. What do you do then?”

This budding trend mocks doctors and the FDA’s use of ultrasounds “to diagnose chromosomal disorders, malformations, and to aid in estimating fetal weight or the amount of amniotic fluid — not for entertainment value. Revealing gender has never been a reason to do an ultrasound.”

As “Grandpa Frank” from the article demonstrates, the sense of awe at an ultrasound doesn’t translate to everyone. His sentiments that “I don’t know why they keep showing that…you can only see so much of it,” reveal that the reveal of a baby in real-time isn’t equally thrilling for everyone.

As the mother of the little screen star, I could watch my baby girl flip, kick, and suck her thumb endlessly while in utero, but the moment loses the rarity and sweetness of glimpsing new life the minute interest wanes and party jokes and drinks become paramount to the unique moment.

Mostly, the ultrasound party trend feels like another way to turn pregnancy into an industry. To me, pregnancy should not be monetized. It’s not a spectacle, it’s a miracle. Just because today’s technology allows couples to share their joyous news in various ways, doesn’t mean everyone needs a front row seat. Especially when my derrière is partially exposed…

What say ye? A trend to follow or a trend to fail?

Image: Pregnant woman receiving ultrasound via Andrei Zveaghintev/Shutterstock.com

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“All the Toddlers Who are Independent Throw Your Hands Up at Me”

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

To-Do Before Baby B Numero Dos Arrives:

Pack hospital bag
Nap my face off
Move Harper out of the nursery
Channel Wendy Peffercorn and lotion and oil, oil and lotion the belly
Teach Harper the art of independence…

Um, maybe the last one isn’t exactly attainable in six weeks and truthfully, it’s probably a labor of parenting love but sometimes, I think I could kick it up a notch in the “fostering independence in our toddler” department.

Word on the street from more experienced mothers is that it’s easier to transition from one to two children if the first is relatively independent.

The thing is, she’s my first. I’m not exactly clear on when it’s realistic for her to do certain things on her own.

When I saw my friend’s 22-month-old change outfits seven times during the course of a morning play-date, my jaw fell to the floor. My daughter has never stripped a day in her life (a record I’d like to keep as a parent), but her playmate’s quick change ability made me think that the Harpinator is ready to master the art of changing her own clothes.

She’s coming into a fierce “I’ll do it myself” stage, which is helpful in fostering independence but as I stated, I’m not so sure what’s reasonable for someone of her miniature stature and age to do. I don’t mean to underestimate her, I’m just parenting from a place of “I’ve never done this before kid. Let’s just make it up as we go along. And yes, I’m still peeling your bananas, tszujing your hair, spooning a few mouthfuls of eggs into your open mouth, and squeezing the last morsels of GoGurt out of the tube for you because it never occurred to me not to. ”

Observing my friend’s daughter go to the bathroom was also a game changer. While helping Harper wash her hands, I saw this baby take herself to the bathroom, do her business, deposit it from her training toilet into the adult toilet, wash up, and continue on her way. What the miracle of miracles did I just witness?

Harper has never gone to the bathroom by herself. She’s always escorted by us, her loving but perhaps overly accommodating parentals. We help her with all the bathroom nitty gritty and then continue on our way.

This play-date turned revelation of independence really got me thinking.

I understand that the independence game with toddlers can be a tricky balance. Enter opinions, standoffs, and sometimes feeling like the ol’ house has turned into a nudest colony. But most days, I think I’d take a nudist colony instead of trying to wrestle a small cyclone into her clothes.

While I may be guilty of aiding and abetting a bit of first born child co-dependency, please don’t think this is my ultimate intention. I believe in independence in children. I just don’t really always know how to go about teaching it.

We do teach her to pick up after herself; she puts her clothes and shoes away, and she helps unload the dishwasher. She’s really a great little helper. We do chores together everyday. She’s earning her keep.

I guess I am looking to you oh wiser more experienced mothers, what are reasonable expectations for a 2.5 tiny human to do? What tasks would be most beneficial to have her master before the new baby arrives? Getting herself dressed? Solo bathroom trips? Mowing the lawn? Paying the bills?

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A Pregnancy In Review

Monday, December 31st, 2012

34 weeks/7 months

As the end of 2012 draws nigh, let’s review some of the beautiful, unexpected, and some expected highlights of the pregnancy thus far.

A little year, er, pregnancy in review if you will. While I’ll never be able to do it my media crush, Tom Brokaw worthy, let’s give it a stab. All the reputable media outlets do it. VH1 is reputable right?

Take that and rewind it back…a pregnancy review complete with hashtags I’m still trying to make happen. #ICan’tQuitYou

1st trimester

We discover we’re having a baby! We feel moony and elated. It is our hearts’ fondest desire.

Baby name discussions immediately get tabled because the husband and I are both stubborn oxes with very different opinions who tend to melodramatically ralph at the other party’s suggestions. #TillBabyNamesDoUsPart

We learn we’re having another little lady and I do a cartwheel of joy for the gift of sisters. And matching outfits. My husband sees the dollar signs of two weddings but tempers that worry momentarily with all the girl paraphernalia we’ll get to reuse. #GlassHalfFull

We tell our two-year-old daughter who in her very own toddler way promises to love and cherish the baby because she’s “not going to scare her.” #ShellSmotherHerBecauseSheLovesHer

We tell the beloveds in our lives that we’re expecting another baby who mostly, kind of, sort of, already guessed it. #LuckyGuess

I’m overwhelmingly grateful to become a mom again and for the people who taught me to cherish pregnancy and motherhood.

2nd Trimester

I, scratch that, WE welcome the return of my boobs. #PregnancyPerks

I school the peeps on things to avoid saying to a pregnant lady. #CheckYoSelfBeforeYouWreckYoSelf

I crowd source the question of having a second baby shower and people share strong opinions on the topic. #JurysStillOut

I get where cuddly, lazy, sleep-all-day, eat-all-day pandas are coming from and wish people thought my pregnant lady, panda-like shenanigans were just as cute. #PandasGotItMade

I confess I pee my pants regularly. My husband quits reading the blog. #IJoke

I embrace being the stereotypical hormonal pregnant lady we all know and love. #HotMess

3rd Trimester

I proudly teach my mom the phrase “grower not a shower” and it’s relevance to how different bellies show. #MomQuitsReadingTheBlog

We survive the worry of a health scare with the baby and feel overwhelmingly relieved for the miracle of a healthy baby.

We welcome the glorious holiday season and the clear trump card it is to wear maternity pants to every holiday party. #StretchyPantsForTheWin

Her Royal Highness, Princess Kate reveals she’s with child as well and I’m certain she totally copied me. #TrendSetter

I remember why the third trimester can be a bit tricky as the burgeoning belly makes its presence known and vow to channel Santa’s jolly ability to work a belly. #HollaForHemorrhoids

Currently…

This brings us to today, the cusp of January.  We’ve reached the stage where people give the belly the once over before saying hello and I could post over-share dilation updates on Facebook (I promise, I’ll spare you).

I’d upgrade my panda status to heffer status after visiting a dairy farm last week. I learned them cows go on community bed-rest at 7 months, which makes me feel as if cow society might be a bit more awesome than human society at the moment.

As the end approaches, long gone are the days when people be thinking my belly is small, and big and huge are starting to escape their lips. This is a good sign. I should be huge. Huge, hormonal, and happy is the third trimester in a nutshell.

We are a smidgen closer to baby name diplomacy and I’d like it in writing that I’m being very cooperative to avoid going over the “can’t compromise” cliff.

Harper knows that a baby is coming and regularly asks when “sissy boo” will be here. She no longer lists the contents of my lunch when asked what’s in my belly. She sweetly asked me to hug the pretend baby in her belly the other night and I melted.

Sure, the pregnancy is getting a bit uncomfortable. I want to say a swear every time I drop something and have to bend to pick it up. I’m constantly hungry like a wolf (not as the song suggests but lit’rally ravenous). I now pee every 3 minutes and expel gas every 8 minutes. At least I give a courtesy check to see who’s behind me before breaking wind? So thoughtful.

But as the year wraps up, I realize there are only 6 weeks left (Come again? 6 weeks!), and things are about to get really real and exciting in the pregnancy department.

She’s almost here. The very thought fills me with more excitement for the New Year than I can possibly put into words. It’s going to be a bit different, a bit messy as we transition into a new stage but mostly, I’m looking forward to it being a bit of everything I’ve ever wanted to grow and love my family more. I want to relish these last few weeks and the anticipation that fills my heart for the upcoming year with a new baby.

Image: Classy bathroom mirror photography at roughly 33 weeks

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You Don’t Need to Be Martha Stewart to Get Healthy with Your Littles

Friday, December 28th, 2012

This post is sponsored by Little Remedies — makers of children’s medication without artificial colors, artificial flavors, or alcohol. 

The time: 9:33 a.m.

The scene: My two-year-old daughter covered in frosting crusties, hands stained from food coloring, teeth unbrushed, bedhead rampant, meticulously eating every last miniscule sprinkle that escaped from her cookie onto her plate.

Cookies before 10 a.m. are not the norm for us, but it was a sugary exception, an unadulterated moment of indulgence while prepping for a holiday party. As I gazed upon her totally content, totally deplorable state of cleanliness I thought, she is happy. Her age and innocence doesn’t allow her to be encumbered by regret for the number of cookies she ate or taint the scene with thoughts of the gym later. She just devoured and enjoyed.

As a parent, I worry about the messages conveyed to my daughter regarding body image and fear the day she learns the word “fat.” In the spirit of raising healthy kids, I have banned the word “fat” from our home and choose to talk about nutrition in terms of healthy and unhealthy.

I realize as her parent, it is my job to guide her nutritional choices. I believe in teaching the importance of nutritional balance and above all, food is fun and enjoyable and even occasionally, indulgent.

We are simple folk. We do simple things to make healthy choices every day. We choose whole grains, fruits, veggies, and kid friendly health powerhouses like hummus and quinoa.

While I see inspiration for a hundred creative animal faces and adorable scenes I can recreate with food to make lunchtime more fun, I usually end up crying 4.7 tears at my inability to recreate a lion’s mane out of cheese. Martha Stewart, or even her lowly step-cousin twice removed I am not.

If I’m to lead by example though, crying over mutilated cheese isn’t the best one to set. Instead, I focus on a few simple things I can do to foster a healthy lifestyle:

Cook Together – We don’t fear the spices and always have milk on hand for when she accidentally gets into the red pepper flakes. My bad.  She excitedly talks about the day she’ll be a big girl and can use a knife to cut the veggies herself. Oh to be a big girl.

Grocery Shop Together – It may take us 20 minutes longer and sometimes a bucket-load of patience, but she likes to name all the foods we put in the cart and place them on the conveyor belt. She loves to bag the fruits and veggies as well. Sometimes this means we pick up a few extra green beans because her germafide toddler hands excitedly touched more than mom was planning on buying. I’ll take the enthusiasm though.

Exercise Together – We walk it out as often as we can but some days, exercise means a rhythm-less dance party where she tells me to “shake it little mama” because maybe she’s heard that a time or two from me.

Eat Together – Family mealtime is the best place to model healthy habits. Even though stubborn is most toddlers’ middle name, we ask her to try foods again and again. Reportedly it takes up to ten times for a child to determine a food preference. We gave tomatoes a good run with at least twenty tries, but it’s time to give up my pipe dream of the mother-daughter duo who eat tomatoes like apples. She’s taken a firm stance (read: spitting it out) on her deep and abiding hatred of the little red delicacy.

Get Your Veggies on Together – We put veggies in anything we can. Martha would be proud of my recent discovery to fill ice trays with pureed carrots, spinach, or kale to freeze and add to smoothies, soups, muffins, etc. A surprisingly easy thing to make and enthusiastically endorsed by this cook-less wonder.

These are just a few of the simple things we do every day to promote healthy habits.

Some days I am the mom who makes ice trays full of pureed veggies, but also, some days I am the mom who busts out the cookie making ingredients before Sesame Street is over. Again, we strive for balance. I choose to teach my daughter about being healthy in the grocery aisles of errand time and the counter tops of dinnertime.

I want to teach my daughter healthy habits, by my side, apron clad, snitching bites, in a gloriously messy kitchen (or not so glorious if you’re a smidge type-A like me).

It is not a habit of ours to make cookies every morning, but it is a habit to work as many natural and whole foods into our day as possible. Read: frozen veggie ice cubes. Can you tell I’m really proud of that small idea? Go on brush your shoulder off. Martha, look, maybe I’m not such a lost cause.

In the comments please share your favorite healthy options to make with your little. This mom is always looking for new ideas and ways to easily knock Martha’s socks off.

A big thanks again to Little Remedies for sponsoring this campaign!

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Forget the Mom Jeans, Let’s Talk Mom Hair

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

33 weeks/7 months

It’s a trend that’s stuck around longer than pogs, scrunchies, patterned pants, or Justin Bieber’s pre-pubescent innocence. It’s stood the test of time through each decade.

It’s the mom-cut.

Does the very word make visions of Kate Gosselin’s reserve mullet immediately dance in your head? McGruff and his crime fighting nephew Scruff need to take a bite out of the crime that is the mullet. Reverse or traditional.

The mom-cut, despite its negative connotation ain’t all a bad thing. It can go really right or really wrong in my book.

When I’m feeling particularly deep thoughts, my soul wrastles with the question: what is it about having a baby that makes many a mom shed her locks?

I’ve done it. My sister just did it. And my sister-in-law is about to do it. The shedding of motherly hair is a thing. I’ve found that many a mom dramatically cuts her locks within the first year of having a baby.

I’m neither pro nor con. Just an observer and a perpetrator, but I have a few theories about the phenomenon.

First, I vaguely remember people telling me my hair would fall out after having a baby.

I do not remember however, anyone telling me I’d feel like a Yeti shedding every inch of hair my head had managed to grow in the past twenty-seven years of life. If I washed, brushed, touched, moved, sneezed, or thought about my hair it fell out.

It drove me nuts crazy to regularly find strands of hair smooshed into my newly acquired nursing cleavage in all its leaking milk glory. It covered every inch of my bathroom floor and clogged up my drains.  The final straw was finding my hair in my daughter’s diaper. I do not want to know how it found its way there.

That postpartum hair is a force to be reckoned with. It’s everywhere. Basically, “hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husband, cause yo hair is attacking errbody out here.”

I said to my hair, “Enough hair. Off of my head!”

And so I chopped.

Other hair cutting theories include practicality. Short hair can be easier. New babies or more babies usually means less time for primpin’ and primin’ and off with the hairs moms go. I get that. I tried that.

Maybe moms do it to counterbalance the gallons of milk that are now the ol’ chest. Boobs and loads of hair can be too much business and weight for some ladies to handle.

Perhaps it’s slightly symbolic. Motherhood is an amazingly crazy life change, and an easy outward reflection of that inward change is a new do. It’s as if the new cut sings Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” to each passerby as it bounces weightlessly off of a mother’s shoulders.

It’s a tricky one, to cut that hair or not. I admit, I experienced a brief bout of choppage regret as my short haired dreams went a little more Hilary Clinton circa 1994 instead of a more modern-day Michelle Williams chic. (No disrespect to the former First Lady, she’s just 40 years my senior, not exactly my target hair age group).

Please let it be known that neither short hair or long hair is superior. I’ve been a short hair wearer most of my life. I’m even coming to terms with the fact that long hair and I may never be friends; but I have made my husband swear not to let me cut my hair after this pregnancy on an “I need a change!” hormonal whim.

I fully endorse the shorties, but I think making the decision in the light of day, not during the sleepless delirium of a midnight feeding where the hundredth fallen hair grazing my arm makes me bawl in hysterics is probably the best choice. For this postpartum go round, I’m thinking I’ll work the topknot, or don a beanie or sombrero. If nothing else I can claim the current beauty trend to forgo hair washing for a week.

After my hormonal choppage regret rage simmered down, my hair grew on me (see what I did there?).  I realized, it’s just hair. Grow it out again, lady. Leave it short. Do whatever makes you and your tendrils of hair happy. To thine own hair self be true.

As one who has lived to tell the tale of the mom-cut rite of passage, I’ve often wondered if other mothers have felt the same siren call of the scissors as they whisper promises of ease, change, and fulfillment in one cut. Did you do the do? The mom-do? Any regrets?

Image: My chopped locks and the edible cheeks of my 6-month old daughter

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