Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Favorite Things

The hunky guy outside the toy store was definately checking me out.
He smiled, for crying out loud and--get this--lifted an eyebrow appreciatively.
I looked down at my Fourth Trimester self: Nasty black leggings, spit-up covered T-shirt, spare tire sizeable enough for people to wonder when I'm due.
Did I mention that I recently got a pin-head haircut that had the effect of making me look like the "before" picture in a Jenny Craig weight-loss advertisement?
Hot Guy sauntered over.
"Hello," he said in a throaty growl. "Tell me about your buggy. It's really something."
Girls, this is what happens when you're 35 years old and you live in the surburbs: Men pick you up for your stroller.
I must say, my buggy is something to be admired.
It is an aubergine Bugaboo Frog, as seen rambling down Rodeo Drive being pushed by celebrities. It sports a comfy, full-sized bassinet, rugged oversized rubber wheels that can traverse either sand or sidewalk and a souped-up suspension system the Princess and the Pea would admire.
My girlfriend Donna sold it to me used for $350. Lord knows she probably had to take out a home equity line to purchase it new.
I have been fantasizing about something similar since I was in Scandanavia five years ago and developed a bad case of Pram Envy. At the time, I was pushing a Graco Duo Glider, a horrible 70-pound lug that made the worst grocery cart like a Mazarati.
As it turns out, baby gear in general and the vendors who provide such stuff have come a long way since 2004 when my twins were born. Not only has Bugaboo brought the pram back to America, but I've been pleased as punch to find half a dozen new inventions and people who make toting/cuddling/entertaining Lovey much more convienent.
Consider, for instance, the Sleepy Wrap.
I had half a dozen slings for my twins that promised to do everything for me but pay for their college tuitions. Unfortunately, I have no sense of geometry and could never master the art of hanging said togas securely enough to ensure I wouldn't drop my children.
Somehow, the people who make the Sleepy Wrap took the challenge out and produced a stretchy piece of fabric and directions for using it that actually make sense. You can swaddle Junior in a number of positions and be reassured he won't end up falling through a trap door onto the black top. The positions deliver: Charlotte takes one look at her wrap and promptly passes out cold. Furthermore, the wrap works on all body types, even that of my strapping husband who is broader than a double door. It comes in several stirring colors, too, so you can add a little hootzpah to your Fourth Trimester black separates.
My next favorite item is the Brest Friend nursing pillow with terry cloth tarp.
Mind you, I was prejudiced against this find due to its ridicious pun-y name. Yet, after I trying it at the behest of my lactation consultants, I ran down to the closest Babies R Us and bought one.
The tall foam pillow boosts Teensy up to your boobs so that she can properly latch on. A seat belt wraps around Momma's waist so the pillow won't slide or sag, as others do. Moreover, the broad platform is so dense you can carry Baby from your rocker to her bed allowing you to transfer her easily without waking her.
The terry cloth slipcover is washable and includes a thoughtful pocket for stray pacifiers.
Once you've spent enough time with the Brest Friend, you'll want to get yourself some Soothies.
My gal pal Jeannette rushed me these breast pads in the maternity ward when she learned Charlotte was chomper.
Made of some type of miraculous space-age cooling gel, these little gems slip inside your nursing bra and heal the damage done by overzealous suckers. Better yet, they are reuseable and smell sort of herb-ly which cancels out the scent of fear you'll likely emit, especially if you're a first-time mom.
After you get your mammaries under control, you'll realize you are starving. And when the neighborhood casseroles run out, you might want to check out Subway.
I have long overlooked the fast-food giant (again, I have a problem with ridicuous advertising campagains, which in my opinion, includes the ever-cheesy Jared.) However, I shouldn't have been so snotty: It turns out the chain just started offering substantial breakfasts along with a variety of healthy luncheon sandwiches. My favorite condiment is the sweet onion sauce which adds an element of fancy to any cold cut. Believe me when I tell you you won't want to be cooking anytime soon and that Subway five times in three days is no sin.
After her lunch and yours, you might want choose to memorialize Cherub.
For a fresh take on baby pictures, I met with Toni Elmer of Urban Photo.
The Dallas-area photographer and mother of four is an endlessly patient baby whisperer and hugely creative. Her artwork has appeared in glossy magazines and celebrates the unique traits of your little one. For instance, she pointed out that Charlotte's cavemanlike black arm hair is dainty and sweet rather than cause to a visit to the estetician.
Moreover, Toni does home visits which means she can catch your child on her best behavior. In my case, she waited for nearly an hour as Charlotte enjoyed a meal atop the Brest Friend.
It turns out that Toni isn't the only one who will come to you.
A breastfeeding crisis at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night gave me cause to ring the women at the Nesting Place, a Southlake breastfeeding support center and boutique. For a $100 fee, a veteran lactation consultant hustled through traffic to diagnose Charlotte's case of tongue-tie. She gave me now-and-later strategies as well as written instructions so that I wouldn't have to rely on my sleep-deprived brain to recall them.
Once all that was taken care of, Charlotte could relax in her Fisher-Price Hoppy Bouncer. Of all the baby seats I've owned--and at one time I had one chair per room--this new option offers up the best angle for a remarkable $34. It supports Little Bit's floppy neck yet is reclined just enough so that she can nap comfortably. The seat also offers optional battery-powered, soothing vibrations and a removeable playtime bar with small toys to spy. While the froggie motiff might be too cutesie for those with modern sensibilties, note that you'll soon be too tired to care.
Now, if only the baby engineers would dream up a solution for eliminating the effects of sleep deprivation. That would be one product I'd definately buy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I crave sleep like an alcoholic craves booze.
I'll take it anywhere, anytime. Standing up. Sitting down. In the shower with water streaming down my face.
I came to last night around 7:30 p.m. under Elizabeth's pink coverlet. She was patting both my cheeks with her chubby hands.
"Mom! Mom!" she whispered, "Wake up! Wake up! You stopped singing!"
Apparently, I had been lying comatose for some time, having ceased my alphabet lullaby somewhere around "L-M-N-O."
Frankly, I'm surprised I made it past the letter "D."
To my chagrin, staying up all night with my eight-week-old baby is making my tired.
This is hard for me to admit because I was all huff and bluster prior to giving birth.
"Oh, how bad can it be," I yodeled to my girlfriends, "I had twins the first time around!"
It's true that with the twins I averaged about three hours of sleep per night for about six months. It was miserable. It was insane. It was, in fact, the paramount reason we waited five years to even consider having another child.
But with "only" one baby--a singelton in the nomenclature in the world of mothers of multiples--I figured it would be better.
And it is.
I'm getting four and a half hours of sleep each night.
While the pediatrician promises me Charlotte's nights will get longer, I know from past experience there's no real promise in that.
After all, I was just last year asking Elizabeth's preschool teacher how to get her to stop the night wakings.
"Once you have children, you'll never sleep well again."
That gem came from my godmother who, I clearly recall, was once so exhausted in the early 1980s that she spread out her mink coat on my grandmother's living room floor and commenced to snore her way through an otherwise roaring Christmas party.
"Oh," she said sometime around midnight, "I just needed a little nap."
Well, I need a little nap, too.
I don't even need the mink: Just let me lie down on the brick kitchen floor and drape a napkin over me and I'll be thankful.
Oh, no.
It that crying I hear?
I may not be able to sleep but at least I can dream, right?