One mom's journey through first time motherhood.
A journal to her son, Tucker, inscribing his birth into this world, the lessons and tricks they learned along way, and what they are not telling you in the prenatal books and classes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Working at Work Mom (WAWM)

This week marked my return to work and both the furthest and the longest I've been away from Tucker. I had not heard back from that coveted work at home assignment I interviewed for and have been commuting to the city since Tuesday for a subjectively better position. As luck would have it the manager of the work at home assignment contacted me today to see if I was still available. Nice. My fate was already decided.

I shed some tears my first day back, a lot of tears the week before, but for the most part I've been a trooper. Tucker has been too. Tuesday was a struggle with some gas (Tucker, not me), not napping for the nanny, and the unforeseen stench from the granite installation that forced nanny and Tuck to his grandma's house. Wednesday was a bit better. By Thursday Tucker had three meals and three good naps on schedule! And now we are in search of a new nanny -- there is another post for you.

Brian set me up with a wireless card allowing me an extra hour a day of work (or writing ...) on the train ride. So, here I am traveling at 50 or so miles per hour and blogging. The nice thing about commuting from Naperville is that there is a zero-stop train straight from Chicago, cutting down on both the motion sickness and time away.

Not wanting to leave my baby, I can't say that I am all smiles. As you could imagine, it is a bit hard to smile at all. However, I said I was being a trooper about it and I am looking on the bright side. That being said, this the bright side:

  • Focused quality time with Tucker when I am home!
  • Forced personal time on the train for extra work, blogging, or surfing!
  • Requisite daily showers.
  • Minimized spit up coverage and outfit changes.
  • Helps promote Tucker onto a sleeping and eating schedule.
  • Great excuse to splurge on a daily (decaf) latte.
  • The Chai Tea latte at Rom (that I couldn't have while I was pregnant)
  • Seeing work buddies, most of whom have also had kids in the past year or two.
  • Get to use my Argo Tea frequent buyer cards.
  • Opportunity to see and appreciate the great city of Chicago!
  • A paycheck.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

naked at 3 months

We celebrated Tucker's 3 month birthday yesterday. By celebrate I mean we deviated from the "typical" day in which I go to work, come home, play, bathe Tuck, and let Brian put Tuck to bed. No, today was a special day.

The routine started out no different than normal (as normal as it gets the second day in). I woke up at 6:10 and performed my get ready routine followed by feeding, cuddling, and playing with Tucker and letting Brian change Tucker into his day clothes while I did the same. You have to understand that Tucker is irresistibly cute in the morning, one astonishingly happy baby. This morning was no exception, but with a twist. A half naked twist, with baby and dad both opting to go topless. Any mother would understand, and single women out there too, there is just something touching about a baby and his dad, add in the natural beauty of this skin to skin moment, and well, it is just breathtaking. It is a moment that commands you to stop, take notice, and record it in the (baby) books. And that is how we started Tucker's 3 month birthday. Topless Dad and Tuck and mom insisting on a birthday suit photo shoot.

Once clothed, we fastened the birthday boy into his car seat headed for the train station. As luck would have it this day the morning radio politely informed us that the 7:24 train, which I had heard rumbling through town while taking my last restroom break at home had mechanical problems resulting in not a single person from Naperville getting onto one of the busiest trains into the city. I knew what it meant, the already packed 7:44 train would be even busier, making it impossible to get a seat or even standing room. There would be no work and no blogging on that train, so what did we do? We skipped it. Yes, I said it, we SKIPPED IT. The split decision was made to abandon the plans of the catching the train we had all work so diligently to make. We diverted instead to the Starbucks for a much better plan: 1 grande latte + 1 tall decaf latte + 1 hot apple fritter and some chat time with Tucker. A nice family morning for Tucker's birthday.

Of course, I caught the 8:00 train and went to work, but this was a truly wonderful day regardless. One of those days you wish you would have if you weren't so busy living life. We stepped back and appreciated the roses a bit. Happy Birthday Tucker, we love you!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


One of the recent topics on resonated with the current conflicts of my life as a new mother. Here it comes. My descent into life as a working mother. Seven work days and counting ...

With the circumcision situation, umbilical cord malfunction, and two month vaccinations behind us, the thought and process of returning to work has elevated my stress level to say, well, a place I'd rather it not be. I should be enjoying my last week and a half of maternity leave, not stressing about its end. And so it goes ...

A deadening sensation sets in each time I think of not being Tucker's primary care giver during the day. I just gave life to this amazing young man and now I am abandoning him to the best, yet affordable, person we can find. My womb hurts.

If not me, who to subsequently raise my son?

I visited a daycare yesterday (I had to at least perform my due diligence of this somewhat affordable option). It made me want to cry. No, it made me want to weep.

There was this odor. Not just an odor of everything doused in spit up. But an old sweaty, mildew in the carpet odor. The kind of odor that makes you glad you are wearing shoes and won't let you put your poor kid down for a moment. It was THAT odor and I immediately wanted to leave.

Then I saw the cribs. Ten sad cribs. Ten sad, white, aluminum cribs. They looked like something in an insane asylum, only who puts babies in an insane asylum? Was this Baby Interrupted? At any moment was Angelina Jolie going to come running around the corner to scream at me? No, this was not the place for my child. Not this daycare.

I'm not completely against daycare. I'm sure there are some good, non-stinky, completely sane ones and I do love the idea of the structure and expertise they give your child. However, dropping an infant off in a strange place just with people you don't know does not sit well with me. Here comes that deadening feeling again...

Not that leaving my child at home with a stranger makes me feel any better. Here is where we are lucky. God bless my lucky stars on this one lucky. Brian works from home, providing a sense of relief, a security blanket of sorts allowing us to comfortably build a relationship with a nanny under Brian's supervision or backup, whichever it may be. Tucker doesn't need a June Cleaver or Mary Poppins as a nanny because he has someone even better there, his daddy.

And here is hoping for my own luck. I work as a consultant for a big company, so I periodically have to interview to find an assignment to apply my expertise to. I had an interview yesterday for a job assignment. If, cross my fingers, if I get this job assignment I'll be able to work from home as well, keeping a well tuned ear on Tucker, feeding him during the day instead of pumping in some unforeseen place, and always within range to snuggle him close if my separation anxiety insists.

Now cross your fingers that we can also afford the nanny.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the baby bidet, aka "the butt bath"

...and how to wash your baby's bum

My own mother will love this post. She has a general feeling that most of the baby handling tactics she employed as a mother are either outdated or atrocious. I'm here to tell her differently and soothe that slightly uncomfortable feeling she suppresses each time she Tucker sits. This particular tactic, which we like to call the "butt bath" (love the alliteration, or is that assonance?), was passed down from her own mother as well.

There comes a time in every mother's life where the inevitable sets in. Yes, I mean diaper rash. The red, swollen, puffy, rash that attacks the teeniest of the bums. Ointments help, but they only go so far. Conquering diaper rash begins with stopping the culprit...

We bring our delicate little babies home from the hospital and think diaper wipes (yes, butt wipes) are the key to a clean tushy. While they do help in the cleanliness arena and boy are they convenient, they one of several sure fire ways to all but give your babe "the rash" (in addition to just plain not changing your poor babies diaper or having a diaper that doesn't whisk away the soil well).

The baby bible, WhatToExpect, recommends using cotton balls and water. Yeah right, I thought, there was no way that water and a little cotton ball would sufficient clean off my baby's tushy (yes, I have high cleanliness standards). Surprisingly, I have become a cotton ball convert, yet there are times when no amount of cotton balls nor wipes are sufficient. I mean poo up the back or even worse, poo up the front. Gooey poo stuck in the baby fat folds and crevices where poo should not go. By the way, I'm not sure how this phenomenon happens, at times I think Tucker's pee and poo channels are switched. Nevertheless, this is when you must have a good enough heart to full on bath your baby and rinse the misfit poo away. Even better, or in a time crunch, give him the butt bath.

The pictures tell the story. Warm the water to the desired temperature and go. Initially, finding the correct hold may be tricky. Getting from the changing table to the sink without getting poopy on yourself or the changing table is key. The recommended approach is as follows:
  1. Undress the bottom half.
    (use a wipe or cloth to protect the changing table if necessary)
  2. Tuck the top half or onesie (if still clean) under the armpits.
  3. Carry your baby to the sink with two hands while holding up the shirt under under each armpit.
  4. As you approach the sink, roll the baby onto the inside of your forearm for support, such that you can hold the baby with one arm and use the other for washing.
  5. For added support, rest the arm holding the baby on the sink basin.
  6. Wash that baby bum!
You will need firm, precise one hand holding of the baby to master this technique. The butt bath works best if you can manipulate your kid directly under the water stream. Otherwise, some degree of water diversion and rubbing is in order. In a poo up the front situation or just to freshen up a bit, a front bath may be in order as well.

The result is a clean, happy baby, with zero wipe-detergent, cotton, pee or poo residue and you are on your way to preventing diaper rash or nipping in the, well, butt. Just make sure you have a good handle on your baby, the right water temperature, and a handy towel when attempting. Then just follow the sure fire techniques for air-drying (or hair-drying) you baby's bum.

As a baby testament, Tucker is all smiles after a good morning, or afternoon, poo and his subsequent butt bath. He enjoys the attention to detail on his bottom half, the closeness to mom, and that fresh out of the womb feeling. Butt bath time for Tucker is like a relaxing game, so relaxing that from time to time you will find him standing up during his front bath and casually relieving himself in the warm shower stream.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is why I became a mother and a photographer.

These pictures speak for themselves. The absolute glee and emotion that runs through Tucker as he watches his mobile is completely indescribable. Notice how he kicks his blanket off in all the excitement. This is exactly the reason why I wanted to become a photographer, to capture moments like these and instill their memories for a lifetime. I couldn't narrow down the pictures any better than I could attempt to explain his raw enthusiasm. See his wonderment for yourselves. Try not to smile :)

After fifteen or so ecstatic minutes in his crib eye chasing his mobile around, Tucker came and laid down with me in our bed. Together we stared up at Brian's and my mobile.