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Winter Storm Pax

Oh the irony.  While Winter Storm Pax dumped massive snowflakes down from the clouds, human Pax had an endless stream of tears rolling down his face.  Why the indoor precipitation overload?  We’ve been trying to transition sweet baby Pax from napping exclusively in the Ergo carrier to his crib.  That’s right…I’ve spent the last 5 months wearing him for every…single…nap.  To be totally honest, I mostly loved it.  He would sleep for up to 2 hours in there, and it’s a pretty deep sleep, so I could make lunch walk to Salsaritas, tackle the daily Mt Everest laundry pile, walk the dog, even blow dry my hair and he wouldn’t wake up.  Sure, I dropped countless globs of guacamole in his hair and my back occasionally went numb, but it worked for us.  I felt like I got to snuggle him so much more, and felt very in sync with him.  All was well and boy was I mastering this mom thing!

Baby Pax in Winter Storm Pax

Baby Pax in Winter Storm Pax

And then the meconium hit the fan.  I had foot surgery to remove an area that could potentially develop into melanoma (thank you, high school me, for using the tanning bed you idiot).  My in-laws came in town to help out and celebrate the holidays as it was a week before Christmas.  After surgery I was supposed to stay off my feet for a few days and rest (HA).  My mother in law asked about his nap routine so that she could put him down while I was out of commission.  I started explaining the Ergo system (put him in the Ergo, stand in a dark closet, bounce up and down, make the shhhhh sound and hum a lullaby while attempting not to breathe) and the look on her face…I knew I was in trouble.  It wasn’t until this point that I had realized that this little system we had going would only work with me, and that what I was doing wasn’t “normal.”  I just assumed everyone did whatever they had to do to get their nuggets to sleep!

It’s so frustrating when you have no idea what you’re doing as a mom.  For the first 3 months everyone’s like “oh yeah just do whatever it takes to survive,” so when you find something that works, you keep doing it.  Baby will only nurse if the room is a cozy 74.5 degrees, you don’t speak or breathe and only wear 100% cotton shirts?  Ok!  Baby will only tolerate the bath if you sing Enya, light Diptyque candles and gently hand wash him with La Mer in a clockwise motion?  No problem!  Then the clock strikes 3 months and 1 day, and people’s attitudes suddenly change from “girl you’ve just got to survive” to “why don’t you have him trained yet.”  I was taking hits for everything…his frequency in nursing, his sleep locations (nap in Ergo, nighttime in Rock n Play beside our bed), his night wakings, his outfit choices (he must be hot!  oh look now he’s cold!), the dimple on his left cheek not being perfect enough (kidding).  Everyone’s intentions were good, but when you’re a completely clueless new mom every comment can feel like a jab.  But seriously, between the pressure from outsiders, strong suggestions from the pediatrician and severe lack of sleep, I started to lose it.  Our happy little system was gone.  Once you know something you’re doing isn’t normal, you start to question yourself every time and lose the little confidence you had built as a new parent.  I was stressed, angry that our system was ruined, embarrassed that I was doing something that others considered strange and frustrated that I felt like a failure in a sea of successful mommies.  I knew something had to be done.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’ve made significant progress on his earlier bedtime AND sleeping in the crib at night!!  But my little guy has been fighting like the Real Housewives of Atlanta to keep those Ergo naps.  I mean he has literally been beating me, clawing at me and screaming like a maniac to fight going down in his crib.  We’ve had a few successful moments here and there.  Half the time I end up caving and either putting him in his little Ergo cocoon or just holding him and snuggling.  During the snowstorm I gave up after letting him cry for a few minutes and snuggled him.  He wrapped his arms around my neck, sniffled a couple of times and then his tiny precious little body just relaxed and he fell asleep on my shoulder.  During a week of complete hell, it was absolute heaven.  We’ll get back to nap training later; sometimes you just have to ignore the haters and snuggle your sweet little babe.

Breaking the sleep law and snuggling with my nugget

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Catapulted into Babyland

I was not that girl who just knew she was destined to be a mom.  I figured I would have kids one day, but just couldn’t ever picture it.  When I tinkled on a stick and was slapped in the face with 2 pink lines on December 29th, 2012, I dropped the pregnancy test on the floor, ran out of the bathroom in a panic and screamed for my husband to “go in there.”  He literally thought he was being sent in to kill a giant spider (I have a massive bug phobia).  When he finally discovered the news, he just kept repeating “you’re pregnant.”  I think I may have shoved him and told him to stop using the “P” word.  It wasn’t that we weren’t happy about the news, we were just a little surprised.  I sat down on the couch shaking like a leaf, I looked across the room to the kitchen counter littered with empty wine bottles (hey, it was the holidays).  Clearly I was not expecting this (pun intended).  I had literally just quit my job and registered to go back to school full time for a degree in graphic design.  What is that saying about God laughing at you for having plans or something?

Anyways, after a very frightening and painful cramping/bleeding episode around 6 weeks, I spent the next few months feeling like I was going to die and certain I was pregnant with the vampire baby from Twilight.  I looked like a legitimate homeless person for the first 13 weeks.  Pregnancy glow?  Please.  I looked like someone would the morning after taking 10 consecutive shots of Captain Morgan and standing on the DJ booth rapping In Da Club until blacking out.  Pregnancy hormones were not kind to me.  As I wore a path in the carpet crawling nauseously from the bed to the toilet 24/7 I clutched every blurry ultrasound picture of my little vampire and wished it would be September so he could be out of my body.  What?  I’ve since wished there was a way to put him back in (ahhh the grass is always greener).  I finally started to look and feel better about halfway through the second trimester.  We took a bebemoon to the French Riviera which was beyond amazing.  I dutifully set up a registry, designed the perfect nursery and massively cleaned and organized the entire house (hello, nesting).  I spent countless hours agonizing over the perfect name for my little cherub.  Once I found out my nausea nugget was a boy I purchased every pair of boys colored skinny jeans from Baby Gap.  I rubbed almond oil all over my body to prevent stretch marks, went to mid morning ballet barre classes and sipped Starbucks toffee nut lattes on my patio while reading the most useless pregnancy books on the market.  Even as I type this I can’t believe that was ever my world…I took the train to Babyland on September 2nd 2013 and that is a one way journey my friends.

What I did not do was actually prepare to be a parent.  I realized this in the hospital after he was born and was instantly terrified to leave.  I had the most amazing nurse at night, and would beg her not to leave every time she came into the room.  I confessed to her that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and had not prepared for this in any way.  I actually asked my husband if we could find a way to hire her (umm not rich enough sister).  I think she could tell I was panicking, because she jotted down her cell number on a napkin before I was sent home packing with a prescription for Percocet, stretched out stomach and tiny, screaming little human.    I’m 5 months in and still struggling, but I have definitely learned a lot.  I haven’t slept longer than 3 hours at a time (except for a couple of very rare 5-6 hour stretches).  I wake up most mornings sitting up in the chair where I nursed my son to sleep.  I’ve read dozens of parenting and baby sleep books and probably purchased every baby gadget that is sold on Amazon or Buy Buy Baby.  My child has severe acid reflux, spits up nonstop and is intolerant to dairy and soy (meaning I can’t eat those since I’m exclusively breastfeeding).  He still isn’t sleeping through the night and naps are a nightmare.  All that being said…I love that little boy.  He might drive me insane, but he is absolutely perfect.  I’m still in awe that a little person came out of my body.  On the rare occasion I get a break, I find myself rushing through whatever I’m doing to get back to him.

As surprising as it was to find out I was the “P” word, I’m so glad it happened the way that it did.  I’ve watched dozens of friends struggle through trying to get pregnant for months and years, only to suffer disappointments and miscarriages.  We were so lucky to just have it happen so easily.  And I’m glad that we didn’t have a chance to think about it and plan, because there never would’ve been a “right time” for us.  There always would’ve been one more trip we want to take, or one more year of school, or time needed to start a business, etc.  Now we’re just going to have to work everything around our sweet little vomiting prince charming 🙂  He’s not an easy baby…but day by day he’s teaching me how to be a mommy!

Paxton29

Photo by Bryan Bazemore Photography