bits & pieces

I'm not an expert on any single subject, but I'm opinionated about several.

Yes, I’m Proud of That and No, I Don’t Like Your Book. March 22, 2011

Filed under: Parenting — nemecke @ 2:33 pm
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The other day I was really excited to start reading a book I had spotted called Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay and Other Things I Learned as a New Mom (already the title is way too long, I should have known). I feel like I’ve taken a pretty light-hearted approach to parenting so far and I thought this was going to be a fun, quick read that gave me additional fuel for my genuine “being a mom is super fun and happy-go-lucky” fire.  Turns out the author is actually burning a “motherhood is dark and dreary and a literal hell on Earth” fire. Who does she think she is? And why, oh why, are people reading this book? I’ve been racking my brain to find ways I can get all of my money back. Really if I even end up spending 1 penny on this I’ll be upset. For two and a half years at Barnes & Noble I found no issues with their 14 day return policy and slightly enjoyed turning people away when they tried returning something after their two weeks had passed. But now I’m the customer so…what kind of crappy, scheming, unfair return policy is 14 days?! I’m going to Borders. (Kidding. I’d never do that. Not when there’s Amazon and BookMooch). I could be reading the new Jodi Picoult book and instead I wasted my money on a book that shames every one of my mothering decisions. I took time to choose a pediatrician carefully, I didn’t put bumpers in the crib, I chose to breastfeed and I definitely look forward to new milestones. I’m proud of them.  But I’m a crazy, stupid, new mom according to this total waste of paper. Save the trees! This book is suppose to be funny. It’s just not funny. I’m not a book snob. I read lots of books and always feel the need to finish them but this book is stupid.

Ok. I’m not going to rant about that anymore. It’s not worth it. But sippy cups really could be for Chardonnay if you wanted them to be, damnit!

Before I started reading the anti-parenting book I kept on noticing how proud I’m feeling about the silliest things lately. I’ve always been a good eater but I’ve never actually felt proud of myself after polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (did you see they have a new kind with chocolate covered potato chips? Add to shopping list. . . ) but when B ate two cubes of baby food instead of one it was cause for celebration! When he moved from two to three I almost planned a party. My kid is eating THREE cubes of pureed peas for dinner plus baby oatmeal and breastmilk. He. Is. A. Champ.

When we decided to start giving him one bottle a day again to make sure he doesn’t have any issues with a bottle and to make sure our frozen milk supply doesn’t go bad it was really just another excuse for my heart to swell with pride. Six ounces at a time?! Unbelievable.

Successful tummy time, supporting himself up on his arms, unintentionally rolling from his front to his back, sitting up without a support, a good sneeze and a great burp. I am proud of it all! My own son is doing these things. How about that?! My son! I mean my God, what am I going to do when he’s the starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers I can barely contain myself when he figures out how to make Sophie squeak.

This is what parenting is all about. Enjoying all of the little moments because, right now, they are big moments. As parents we have every right to celebrate these little achievements and to be proud of them. We get to laugh at them and laugh at ourselves for bragging about bodily functions and growth chart percentages. If your goal is to document parenthood in a light-hearted and funny way then write about the silly things you do as a new parent in a way that makes other parents feel its okay, not in a way that makes new parents feel ashamed of their feelings.

I ate all my carrots!

I'm getting so strong!

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What a Shrimp! March 8, 2011

Filed under: In General,Parenting — nemecke @ 10:06 pm
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When I was little my twin sister, step-brother and I took swimming lessons at the YMCA. I don’t remember many of the details but for some reason I cannot forget the fact that my brother and I got moved up to the Minnow group and my twin-sister was stuck back with the Guppies.  I’m not sure if it’s a permanent memory because I’m saddened by it or because I find it hysterical.

Yeah. It’s hysterical.

Besides the fact that I think water safety is important and that I want to go swimming with Brayden this summer, I also don’t ever want him to be the Guppy kid when he’s at a pool party with a bunch of Minnows. So I signed him up for swimming lessons at our local Y.

Before his first lesson we put him in the water to see how he’d react (better to have a private fit than a public one). Turns out we may have a swimmer on our hands! Lord knows he’ll have built in flippers and an enormous wing span.

No tears and, along with some purple feet, we also got a few smiles!

I am, of course, a very proud mommy.

And, last but certainly not least – look at this face! Love, love, love.

Swimming lessons are now in full swing and Brayden is 1 of only 4 Shrimp. He is the youngest of the group but he holds his own! Again we have avoided tears because it seems that, as long as there is water and little, baby fingers to splash it with, all is well in the world. If he was graded on actual class activities he would clearly get an A for effort but would not score quite as highly in a skills test. But really, can your 6 month old sit on the side of the pool, twist his body so that his hands are supporting him on the wall and then propel himself into the water? Can he hang from the side of the wall and move from side to side? Can he sit on the wall holding a kick board and then jump into the water on my 1-2-3 count? The class description says “6 to 18 months” and apparently they actually meant “120 to 180 months.” Maybe he won’t be the next Michael Phelps but he sure as hell will be a Minnow.

 

Hey, they forgot to invent a word for this. September 26, 2010

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 9:55 pm
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It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, it’s been over 4 weeks in fact. In the past time would pass and I’d think of it in terms of a “few” weeks or a “couple” of days. But once a baby is introduced into your life you start counting time much more specifically – it has been exactly 4 weeks and 1 day since Brayden Thomas was born. Therefore, it has been over 4 weeks since I’ve exercised the blogging parts of my brain. It feels good to be back! (It also feels good to have a happy, peaceful, sleeping baby next to me).

So are you wondering what they forgot to invent a word for? I’ll tell you. There is no word in our current, English language dictionary that adequately describes what it feels like to have a baby. I don’t mean what it physically feels like (for me that word would be “hell”), I mean what it feels like emotionally. I really like jeans that fit well. I love ice cream. I really enjoy going for walks. I think shooting stars are amazing. So when I try to describe what I feel about Brayden it doesn’t seem right that I say I love him, that I really like him, that I really enjoy him, that I think he’s amazing. Shouldn’t there be a special word that is designated just for this? There should be something you’re not allowed to use for anything else. Like if someone actually tried using this word to describe how they felt about pizza everyone else in the room would go completely still and quiet and they’d stare at the culprit with their mouths wide open until it was so awkward she would just turn and leave and think about what she’d done all the way home.

So it might be best to either just make a word up or combine some of the best options we already have. Fabulous is a pretty good word. And so is incredible. So we could describe this feeling as fabible. I also like super and splendid. Maybe having Brayden makes me feel supdid. I actually really like supdid but maybe not for this particular situation. That may actually be better for pizza and ice cream.

The point is, I’m head-over-heels in love with my son and I wish I had more words to express that with. All everyone talks about before you have a baby is the complete lack of sleep you’ll get. First of all, that’s not the case for us at all ’cause we have the best son ever. But the other thing is, when I have to wake him up to eat at 4am (yes, I have to wake him up to eat) I love it. Yes, I would like to be sleeping but instead I get to pick up the cutest baby in the world and cuddle with him while he fills up his little belly. I get to hug him and kiss him and rock him to sleep and tell him I love him and there are no other distractions. My computer is shut down, the TV is off, my phone isn’t ringing. It’s just the 2 of us hanging out for 15 minutes before we both go back to bed and get ready for another day. But what’s the word that accurately describes that??

But lets talk about something on a bit more of a serious note because I think this is important and I wish I would have talked about this more before having a baby. People say the moment the doctors put your baby on your chest for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget. People say when you have your baby it’s unbelievable and you’re completely in love immediately. People say there’s nothing like it. You know what I say? People are lying.

When you’re 9 months pregnant you start dreaming about getting your own body back and finally not being pregnant. The hours and days after you have a baby you feel so much worse than when you were pregnant you’d give anything to have the huge belly and the swollen ankles back. The last thing I felt capable of doing was taking care of a little, 9lb human being. I hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, I hadn’t eaten in over 24, I was sitting on ice, I was bleeding – I was in pain. So no, I didn’t feel head-over-heels in love at first sight. I felt like I needed them to finally give me the dinner they’d been holding hostage for hours and I felt like I needed to sleep for a few days.

When I got home my postpartum hormones were so strong I could cry at any moment and was barely able to hold back the tears no matter how hard I tried. Now I was home and still exhausted, sore, sitting on ice, bleeding etc. but I didn’t have nurses teaching me how to take care of my son and giving me pain medication every 4 hours. I didn’t come home to the euphoria they show you on TLC’s A Baby Story. I came home to reality. No one talks about reality.

Please don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby from day 1 but I want other moms to be realistic about it. I want other moms to know it’s OK to still have feelings besides intense love for your baby. You’re still a woman who just went through a very courageous and tiring 9 months of pregnancy and hours of childbirth. The more I have started to share my feelings with other women the more I’ve started to learn that I’m not alone. But no one talks about it. I called my mom crying because I felt like a horrible person for feeling these things. I wanted my old life back. I wanted to go to bed when I wanted to go to bed. I wanted to sit and watch TV in peace and quiet. But it’s OK, it’s normal! It’s a huge life adjustment and women are allowed to take time to do that. Every day life with Brayden has become more and more normal and after just a few short days with him, my euphoria finally did set in. My moments I’ll never forget started happening every single day. Now I agree, there isn’t anything like this. Every day I fall more and more in love with him. But I didn’t feel all of this immediately and I’m not a bad mom because of it. I want other moms to be aware that they may feel the same thing and that it doesn’t make them a terrible person or a terrible mom. Being a parent takes a lot of patience and I think that is one thing you do start learning immediately. Be patient and your sense of normalcy will come and with it you’ll also get the head-over-heels in love feelings that they haven’t yet invented a word for.

 

Ready Or Not Here Comes Parenting! July 30, 2010

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 11:22 pm
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Simultaneously I am both shocked that parenthood is a mere 3 (maybe?) weeks away and relieved that this 9+ month process is coming to an end and we are finally allowed to move on to the next big adventure.  The adventure, also referred to as parenthood, is coming at us fast and furious and at this point we have no choice but to be ready. I’m wondering, is it even possible to really be ready? Scott always says, “if you wait until you’re completely ready you’ll never have kids.” He’s a wise man. I mean, how could you ever know with 100% certainty that you’re ready to be a parent. This is a big deal. A really big deal.

I am, without a doubt, ecstatic about the fact that we get to meet our baby boy in a few weeks but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. Nervous about the fact that Scott and I will be responsible for this little human, nervous about the fact that life as we know it is about to take a complete 180, nervous about the fact that everyone keeps on telling me that my next full night of sleep will be when I’m 40.

Emotionally I realize that I have absolutely no idea what I’m about to experience. Friends have told me the feeling you get when you hold your baby for the first time is indescribable and when they make eye contact with you it’s breath-taking. At this point I can only imagine what that actually feels like yet I know my imagination won’t even come close to reality. I remember a friend saying, “you think you love your husband – wait until you have a baby.”

And I really love my husband.  As excited as I am to be a mom, I am equally, or possibly even more, excited to witness Scott as a dad.  Simply put, he will be amazing. Since I’ve known him he has been a natural with kids (at least once they’re at an age when they do things besides sleep and eat). His behavior has given me glimpses into what I imagine he’ll be like with his own children and I’m so excited to watch that relationship play out. In our future I picture daddy building forts out of couch cushions and card board boxes, buying a baseball glove as soon as our little guy’s hand is big enough to hold it and practicing throwing a football before we’ve even mastered basic speech. I picture piggy back rides, airplane rides and wrestling sessions on our bed. I imagine our little guy balancing on dad’s lap while he checks his email, sitting next to him on the couch yelling “Go Packers!” and standing by him in the backyard with his little, plastic set of golf clubs while dad practices putting.  This little boy doesn’t know it quite yet, but he’s lucking out in the dad department.

The nursery is ready, the baby clothes are washed and put away, the stroller is assembled, the car seat is in the car.  As far as the “necessary” gear, we’re covered. So now we wait and we sleep because ready or not, here comes parenting!

 

In honor of Mother’s Day. . . May 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — nemecke @ 9:07 am
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I figure it’s a good time to discuss a mom related topic. Turns out I have a lot of mom’s in my life and, it also turns out that I’m going to be a mom in about three months. So this topic in particular, I may just be able to consider myself an actual expert on someday.

People often say that being a mom is the toughest job in the world and you won’t find me disagreeing. I feel the same about moms whether they stay at home or work full time, either way they work and they work hard. Yes there are some women who are very divided on the topic. Those that work full-time often look down upon those who stay home and vice versa but I say get over it ladies. We all do what we have to do and we don’t always necessarily get to choose our path. After all, “direction, not desire, determines destination.”

No matter what path of motherhood life has in store for you, it is my belief that you grab it by the horns and give it all you’ve got. You be the best mom that you can be in your situation and you simply allow other moms to do the same without judgement. I guess there are some people who may look back on their childhood and wish that their mom had been around more. My mom had an amazing, successful marketing career that she worked extremeley hard at and certainly excelled at. And when I look back at my childhood I have memories of jumping on her bed when she got home from work so we could have “tickle torture time,” which, although it may sound dangerous, was my mom tickeling us until we were in uncontrollable fits of laughter.

I remember home cooked meals every night and eating together at the kitchen table. I remember her teaching us how to cook those meals so that we could grow up and know how to cook for our own families someday.

I remember her sewing Halloween costumes for us every year and her cheering us on when we put on roller-skating routines in our garage or our basement.

I remember her taking a picture every year on the first day of school and I remember her making it out of work on time to watch our volleyball, basketball and softball games.

I remember going to Stein’s Garden and Gifts every year so she could pick out that season’s flowers and plants and her letting us each pick out one kind of flower that we got to plant in her garden.

I remember getting a special Christmas ornament every year that symbolized a milestone we had reached the previous year. And every year when we decorated our tree, we got to look back at all the special notes she had written to us for each specific ornament.

My list could go on and on and on, but the point is my mom had a great career and despite that and being a single parent for part of my childhood, she was still an absolutely amazing mom. When I look back on my childhood with her I don’t wish for anything different at all. In fact, when I look back at my childhood right now, what I wish and hope for is that I can be that kind of mother some day. Whether I be a stay-at-home mom or I work out of the house, I hope that I am able to find as much balance, to provide as much support, to give as much guidance and to be able to love as unconditionaly.

Today my mom is one of my best friends and what an accomplishment that must be as a mother. To guide your children through childhood, to weather the storm with them through the teenage years, to let them figure out their own path through college, to wait as they make their way through the early stages of adulthood and to do all of that so successfully that your relationship with them stands at it’s strongest point where you can truly be mother and child at the same time that you are best friends – simply because you have literally gone through everything together. The journey has deepend love, strengthened trust, earned respect and created an unbreakable relationship.

Today, and every day, I am truly grateful for my Mom and will be proud to ask her for her advice as I begin my own journey of motherhood.

 “Direction, not desire, determines destination.”

 

25 Weeks and Counting… May 4, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy — nemecke @ 5:48 pm
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Today I hit the 25 week pregnant mark. My belly should be 25 centimeters from the bottom of my pelvis to the top of my uterus (although it feels more like 25 feet) and, according to BabyCenter.com, my baby is about the size of two juice boxes stacked on top of each other. His little lungs are finally starting to develope and he can already recognize my voice . I think his first words will either be “Newport (our dog) No!” or “Scott (my husband), are you listening to me?”

 This being my first pregnancy, I’ve spent the past 6 months sorting through a vast array of emotions and have currently landed at “I’m terrified of labor so could I skip that part please?” And “Wow, I am so excited for us to get the chance to be parents and absolutely cannot wait to meet our baby boy and to begin this adventure.”

Although it seems as if my generation has hit baby making mode at full speed, I still find myself in awe that God has blessed my husband and me with the opportunity to have a child. When it happens to other people I find it wonderful and special and all of the happy emotions most other people feel. But when it happened to us it felt miraculous, astounding, completely amazing and absolutely terrifying. Miraculous because we are among the lucky ones who get to experience the creation of a child and terrifying because somehow we have to figure out how to be parents (good ones hopefully) by this coming August. There is a deadline for this kind of thing.

Somehow people all over the world figure out how to be great parents but, let’s be honest, there are a lot of people who have missed the boat. I don’t know how that happens, but I certainly want to make sure I’m on board when this baby arrives.

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