Saturday, December 18, 2010

I think I'm dating my OB-Gyn

So I'm on the way to my OB-Gyn appointment yesterday when I realized, it's kind of like I'm dating him.  Almost everything leading up to the appointment and, quite frankly, some of the things about the appointment are very similar to what would happen for a date.  

10 Ways a Trip to the OB-Gyn is like a Date:

 1.  The last time we saw each other, my Dr. asked me to see him again and we scheduled a "date."

 2.  A couple of days before the "date" I realized that since it's winter and my toes haven't been out, they desperately needed a pedicure.  After all, my toes will be in his face (TMI, I know) so they may as well be glossy and neat.

 3.  I had to be sure my legs were freshly shaved.  Not that he was going to be feeling up my legs, but again, they're kinda gonna be in his face, so the least I can do is make them hair-free. 

 4. Ahem, speaking of grooming...  yeah, had to take care of that too.

 5. I made sure to wear nice undies.  No, not the fancy "gonna get me some" kind, but not the laundry day kind either.  I know he won't even really look at them, but they may end up on a chair in his room and someone might see them.

 6.  I also wore a nice outfit.  Part of this is just because I'm a stay at home mom and will take any opportunity to wear pretty clothes.  But also, if my bottom half is going to be in all it's glory for him, the clothed half should look nice too.  

 7. I really hope he's going to be there on time.  I hate waiting around for a date. 

 8. I'm not exactly sure when/if my clothes are going to come off.

 9. We have some small talk and chat about our lives a little before things get nekkid.

 10. Things.get.nekkid

Now there are also countless ways a trip to the OB-Gyn is NOTHING like a date (at least not a date I'd ever like to go on).  One of the big ones this trip was that my wonderful husband and 16 month old were with me the whole time.  This led to some awesome hilarity that we recorded on hubby's Blackberry.  The mini-me has gotten big into "singing" and loves using toy microphones and/or a flashlight to sing into.  Well, as soon as we settled into the exam room, she zeroed in on the crotch lamp, determined it was a microphone and started singing her heart out into it!  She is awesome!

Mini-Me Microphone/ Ob-Gyn Exam Lamp

Friday, August 13, 2010

Doctor, Doctor

Every 3 months (as long as there's no illness in between) Sweet Pea has to go to the Pediatrician for a "well-check."  Following is a list of things I love about these visits and things I loathe about them.
Things I love:
1) Our Pediatrician.  We LOVE her!  I will invite this woman to S.P.'s wedding and I bet she'd come too.  I really feel like Dr. Love loves our child almost as much as we do.  She is very knowledgeable and was the first Dr. in the hospital who legitimately addressed Sweet Pea's deafness.  She also has a very thick South American accent so that whenever she walks into the room and calls S.P. Piece of Heaven (which she does every time :)  it comes out as "Peeth of Hayven."  She will sneak in the room just to check S.P.'s ears when we're just in for shots, even though she's not supposed to see us without charging for a visit.  Did I mention that I love her?  Because of her, I am willing to put up with all of the things I loathe about the visits and will not see any of the other Doctors in the practice unless there is an emergency. 

Now for the Things I loathe:
1) The waiting:  Being the Type-A Mommy that I am, I used to schedule her appointments with a precision that would be praised by NASA.  "Let's see, she naps at this time and eats at this time and needs to nurse at precisely _ o' clock, so let's say 10:45."  Well, apparently they take a note from car rental agencies (Seinfeld reference) and know how to make the appointment, but not necessarily how to keep the appointment.  It always seems that we have a short, sweet wait in the germiquarium (waiting room) and I breathe a sigh of relief when we are called back.  Such a tease!  All that happens here is that S.P. gets weighed and measured and forced to strip down to her diaper and wait for the Dr. to see her "in just a minute."  Now we wait.  A naked baby, a Dr.'s exam room, a diaper bag, and me.  More on this fun time in the next section.  Finally we get the blessed knock-knock (what am I going to do, say "Umm, we're not ready yet, come back later") and Dr. Love comes in to work her magic.  No matter what we have to discuss, this part of the visit takes maybe 10 minutes.  Then we wait some more for the nurse to come "in just a minute" to stab S.P. with needles.  Of course I'll stick around for that!  By this point Sweet Pea and I are both bored, tired, hungry and cranky which is exactly the frame of mind you want to be in for getting shots/seeing your baby get shots.  When we finally get them and get calmed down and dressed -finally - we get to schedule our next  visit.  Joy!  I have learned to plan for at least 2 hours and bring as much food, milk, and entertainment as my diaper bag will hold.

2) The nakedness:  OK, I understand that they don't want to weigh baby's clothes.  I will happily strip her down to her diaper to pop her on the scale.  But why, exactly, must she stay that way until the Doctor comes in?  Again, I understand that Dr. Love will want to see her in all of her chubby glory and check for bumps, bruises, tails and spare change that may have lodged in a fat roll.  Honestly though, it takes all of 10 seconds to remove a onesie.  Can I not pull it off as soon as soon as I hear the knock-knock?  I don't want to be shunned (or forced to wait even longer)  but I'm tempted to re-dress her next time just to see what kind of demerits I get.

3) The inability to put baby anywhere whilst waiting: So here we are naked (just baby, not me) and trapped in a windowless exam room with a chair, an exam table and some cabinets that most certainly do not contain fun things to play with.  I can set her on the exam table which is covered with delightfully rustle-y paper that becomes crumpled into a wad within 5 seconds.  Add to this the fact that baby loves to roll/crawl/walk/generally move around and this thing is at least 3 feet off the ground.  So the table is a no.  That leaves the floor?  Yeah, I'm going to let my "well-check" child crawl and walk around on the floor where a limitless number of germs, fluids and shoe gunk from total strangers lurk.  The only two realistic options are the stroller and my lap.  The stroller is OK for a few minutes until S.P. wants to get the wiggles out and explore this new room.  Ditto for my lap.  After a couple of board books and some diaper bag toys, she is bored with Mommy and wants to get down.  We usually end up rotating between the two and walking/dancing laps around the room naming things we see with our sign language. 

4) The germophobia:  I am usually of the "a little dirt never hurt anyone" school of thought now that baby is past the newborn stage of no immunity.  Dirt is one thing, germs that you know are there from all manor of sickness is an entirely different matter.  As soon as we walk in the door, I am launched into a state of germophobia which does not lift until we get home and take a bath.  I don't want Sweet Pea to touch anything - especially the communal toys and books which have been pawed over by all of the sick children in the waiting room.  Naturally then,  we bring books and toys from home.  But now her favorite game is the "Mommy Pick It Up and Give It Back Game" and all of her toys and books get dropped or thrown to the floor.  So now the game has new rules which include Mommy picking up the toy, wiping it with the nuclear wipes in the Dr.'s office and then blowing them dry so that S.P. doesn't ingest weapons of chemical destruction and THEN Giving It Back. 

Thank goodness Sweet Pea is a healthy baby and we only have to go through this once every 3 months.  And thank goodness I am a stay at home mom and don't have to add wasting a 1/2 day off work at the Doctor's office to the list!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Talking to strangers

I understand that having a cute baby, not to mention a cute baby with cute, pink, baby hearing aides draws more attention than I did, even on my most put-together looking days. But I have honestly had more interactions with complete strangers in the one year of Sweet Pea’s existence than I had in all of the 30 years B.C. combined.    I can sort all of these strangers into two general categories: those who renew my faith in humanity and those who renew my faith in the “don’t talk to strangers” rule. 

Let’s start with group #1.  These are the strangers who will hold open a door when they see me pushing the stroller.  Gone are the days of the feminist in me thinking “thanks, but due  to hours at the gym, years of weight training, yoga and pilates (not to mention these two hands I have) I am perfectly capable of opening a door.”  Now, I still can open a door, but not without turning the stroller backward, and trying to hold the door open long enough with my short girl arms so that it doesn’t bang shut on said stroller while I whirl it back around the other way.  Or using the handicapped presser thingy that takes so long to open the door I forget what I came for in the first place.  So, if you see a woman with a stroller, hold the door for her.  You’ll make her day.   These are also the strangers who will pull out a cart for me when they see me come in with one arm full of hearty Sweet Pea and the other full of eco-friendly reusable shopping bags.  Deaf child or no, cursing at the 5th cart I’ve tried to wrangle free is not the pinnacle of good parenting.  I also enjoy the strangers who offer a simple “isn’t she cute?”  or see me signing to her and ask how to say “you’re pretty” in sign language.  I remember, fondly, each of these strangers and their acts of random kindness.

But how can I ever forget those strangers in the second category and their acts of completely random strangeness?!  There are all of the people who, during the height of swine flu season mind you, would come up to S.P. snuggled in her cocoon of blanket and car-seat carrier and reach in and actually TOUCH her!  If you have never been a parent of a newborn this is a HUGE no-no!  They have no immunity yet and can’t take anything more powerful than baby Tylenol if they get sick.  For months, not even people in my own family were allowed to touch her without bathing in Germ-X first.   Thank goodness for baby wipes in the ever present diaper bag to swab S.P. down after stranger touchings until I could get her home for a proper bleaching.  Equally aggravating are the strangers who want to know everything about my baby and expect me to take notes on all of their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and pet rocks in the middle of the grocery store.  Again, if you have never had a baby, you may not be aware of baby schedules.  But babies (and more importantly their mommies) are usually on an eating, playing and sleeping schedule which, especially at first, leaves little extra time for Mommy to pee, much less hear all about how much Timmy weighed when he was born.  I even had one woman launch into a very in-depth conversation about how long and how much she breast fed both of her sons who are most likely going to end up in therapy or on Ru-Paul’s Drag Race Season #3.  This was a total stranger!  In the middle of the produce section!   I don’t  care if you are the president of the La Leche League, do not be this woman. 

I hope you all, like me, have filed these experiences away in that little part of your brain that you rely on in those “should I or shouldn’t I” moments of life.  And for Gerber’s sake, hold the door open for that poor woman with the stroller.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Storytime aka Free Therapy

If you are, or are planning on becoming a stay-at-home parent you must, MUST go to your local public library (or any in a 50 mile radius - it's worth the drive) to see if they have Storytime.  If they don't, ask the librarian and write your local congressman, if necessary, to demand that they start one immediately.  Your psyche will thank you.

When Sweet Pea was about two months old, I happened to be in the library one Tuesday morning and saw a large number of parents and wee ones leaving a previously unnoticed room off of the children's section.  The adults were smiling and chatting and the children were happy.  I wanted to be one of them.

So the very next week, I invited two of my fellow new-Mommy friends to come so that I wouldn't be the new kid and we went to Storytime.  There was singing, fingerplays (think Itsy, Bitsy Spider if you're not a parent yet), musical instrument playing, and naturally a couple of stories.  Of course, being deaf and still at the bump on a log age, Sweet Pea didn't get a whole lot out of it but I was hooked.  I got something to do for 30 minutes (50 if you include the getting ready to go time and travel time) and I got to see and talk to other adults.

For a little while, my friend with her Munchkin and I would call and e-mail each other to see if we wanted to go to Storytime.  Then, we found out that it was not just on Tuesdays, but Tuesdays AND Thursdays!  That's a whole hour a week of activity that requires no preparation on our part (minus the getting ready)!  Soon we were only calling if we WEREN'T going to Storytime.

We also discovered that there is a Pre-schooler Storytime 30 minutes after ours is over.  No, we haven't yet progressed to staying through both, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility in the future.  But we do commandeer the room for the 30 minutes between Storytimes and have our own little Mommies Club.  It started with just the two of us (and Sweet Pea and Munchkin of course)  but we are growing our membership and have made new friends whom we have welcomed into our club (read: group therapy).  Now, if you are mathematically inclined, you have figured out that this is now at least 2 hours!  a week we get to spend away from home, with other adults, and doing something way more fun for Sweet Pea than hunting the dollar bins at Targee`.

What started out as something I did for Sweet Pea's enrichment (which it still is) has turned out to be free therapy for me.  On occasion when S.P. was having a particularly whiny or grumpy day, I've thought: "That's it, we're not going to Storytime today (as if a something-month-old would get that)."  Then I realize I would only be punishing myself by missing out on therapy on a day where it is most definitely going to be needed.  Plus, maybe the Storytime will make her not so grumpy and/or whiny. 

I haven't made use of it yet, but I have knowledge of Storytimes at another library in the area and at Barnes and Noble on other days of the week.  We could, potentially, have Storytime 5 days a week!!!  I'm not that crazy yet, but maybe if there's ever a Baby #2.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There is no such thing as "baby-proof"

Back in the years B.C. (before child) the term "baby-proofing" your house meant putting those little outlet plugs in and putting those little latches on your cabinets.  Ta-dah, the house is baby-proof!   Having a crawling, and now walking, actual baby in said house has slapped me to the reality that there is no such thing as baby-proof.

First off, those little stinking outlet plugs are flipping hard to get out.  For adults.  You have to have fingernails to pry them off (so Dads are usually exempt from the job) but then you either painfully bend your nails back or snap them off in the process.  And the cabinet locks?  After opening cabinets with zero resistance for three decades, it takes an as yet undetermined amount of time to re-train your body that it must open the door only a crack and press a little lever first.  Maybe rats could learn faster, but the rats are probably well rested and have all the time in the world.  So, after ripping the locks out from repeated attempts to simply open the door, we now have locks on only the dangerous chemical housing doors.

So, as annoying as these two safety precautions are, they are definitely (hopefully) safe for the Sweet Pea, since Mommy and Daddy have a hard enough time with them.  That still leaves a whole lotta house.  Do you have anything, ANYthing on a table or desk?  The baby will dedicate her life to getting it and then trying to put it in her mouth.  I recommend installing 5 foot high shelves throughout the entire house where you can set things down.

And your computer, does it have a mouse?  Particularly one with the little red light on the bottom?  Baby magnet.  And every time baby picks it up and turns it upside down, you will be paralyzed with fear that the light will burn her retinas like those annoying laser pointer thingies. 

Trashcans on the floor in any room?  Neon sign flashing "Eat at Joes" as far as Sweet Pea is concerned.  Toilets?  Wet and Wild water park.  Toilet paper rolls?  At least 1 minute and 48 seconds of quilted magical fun (and at least 5 minutes of cursing, sloppy, re-rolling por moi).  Just yesterday, while trying to run the flat iron through my hair and make myself presentable before leaving the house, I performed the ultimate in bathroom baby-proofing.  Sweet pea refused, loudly, to be anywhere but in the room with me.  So, there I stood, trash can on the counter, toilet paper roll stand hiding in the bathtub, one foot clamped down on the toilet lid as baby tried her very best to pry it open, ironing my hair.  All for a trip to the store.

So, rather than baby-proof, expect your house to be baby-fied and decorative touch-proof for at least a few years (at least until they can reach the 5 foot high shelves).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Living the Dream

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed about becoming a stay-at-home Mommy. While I was working and pregnant, I couldn't wait to hand in my resignation, knowing that I would have 5-7 precious years to be at home, raising our children. Visions of a spotless home, delightfully decadent meals prepared from scratch, and not having to get dressed up/made up for work filled my head. Now I am "living the dream" and oh, what a dream it was!

Don't get me wrong, the Mommy part, I LOVE! Our daughter, almost a year old now, is beautiful, brilliant, and so much fun to be around. I could go on for days about how wonderful she is and how lucky I am to be her Mommy. It's the "stay-at-home" part that occasionally (read: frequently) makes me loopy.

Cleaning the house has gone from a weekend morning chore to a constant battle. Being at home all day means more dirt, more dishes, more bathroom use, more pet hair, more spills, and PLENTY more time to notice all of these things and be driven crazy by them.

And instead of delighting in the fact that I don't have to get ready for work every morning, I find myself staring longingly into my closet full of fun and pretty clothes and knowing that the Sweet Pea will not fully appreciate them. They are cute clothes and need to get out and see the world so I am the over-dressed Mommy at Storytime and the fashionista of Wal-Mart (not a difficult feat to accomplish there). Plus, it only took me about two months of walking past mirrors in our house to realize that make-up and "done" hair do not have to be reserved for others. They are just as much for me as for anyone else. Maybe June Cleaver had the right idea after all. Those A-line belted dresses and pearls were not her prison suit, they were her golden lasso and bullet-proof bracelets!

Chatting with neighbors and random people in stores was once something I rarely felt I had time for. Now, I crave conversation with anyone, ANYONE, so much that all of the cashiers know everything there is to know about our daughter and I know entirely too much about their personal lives.

I have made countless unnecessary trips (if sanity is unnecessary) to Targee`, the mall, and any store that has a clearance rack just to get out of the house. Don't worry, we also take plenty of walks, trips to the park, and of course Storytime. Storytime at the public library (can you hear the heavenly choir of angels?)! Sure the babies love it - musical enrichment, early literacy, blah, blah, blah, but it is the Mommies who get the most out of it. See future post dedicated entirely to Storytime.

So, after all of those years dreaming of being a stay-at-home Mommy I am now a staunch, but happy, stay-away-from-home Mommy. Gotta run, Targee` is calling!