OMG, I’m Having a Girl!

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104821551 I am thrilled to announce that I’m pregnant again! After my heartbreaking miscarriage last summer, and a stressful first trimester of ultrasounds and genetic testing, we got a thumbs up from our doctor on Valentine’s Day. But in addition to the good news that our tests were normal so far (knock on wood!), the geneticist who called us delivered some shocking news:

You’re having a girl!

WHAT?

I was so caught off guard I screamed into the phone, Are you SURE?! I’m so surprised!! Nobody in our family ever has girls, the grandchildren are four boys between the ages of 5 and 18 months right now, I babbled.

My husband, who was sulking in the kitchen because we were out of coffee filters, stared across the room at me like I had lost my mind. Be quiet, he hissed. You’re going to wake up the entire building!

Mason was just confused. I imagine him thinking: Why is Curious George on pause? Why is mommy screaming into the phone like a crazy person? Will somebody please give me a juice box?

I’m sure the poor doctor was just dying to get off the phone with me. She wasn’t even my doctor; she was just the amazing geneticist that we had met with because I’m “advanced maternal age” at 36 and my ob-gyn had wanted us to go over our first trimester test results with her just in case we needed additional testing. And here she had to listen to me rant about how nobody in our family ever has girls.

Despite my shock, I am excited to have a girl, if a little nervous — I never imagined I would have a daughter. I have a three-year-old son. The baby I lost last summer was a boy. And this pregnancy seems just like my pregnancy with Mason…although I’m less sick.  So I had told everyone who had listened that I was positive I was carrying a boy. Also, Chris’ family is filled with boys. My sister-in-law was the first girl to be born in decades and decades.

A mother knows her body and her baby, right? Clearly not this time.

Were you surprised when you learned your baby’s gender?

 

 

 

 

Crazy Conversations With My Toddler

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meatI think 3 is my favorite age. Why? I love the stuff that Mason comes up with — it’s so random, so hysterical you just can’t make it up. (I also love the crazy outfits he puts together…he loves accessories and he’s not afraid to wear ‘em, from Christmas socks in January to a too-big baseball cap.) Here, a snapshot of some convos we’ve had recently. Feel free to share some gems from your tot in the comments section!

Me: Mason, is that pizza grease in your hair?

Mason: No, mommy. It’s pancakes.

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Me: Mason, no playing with Play-Doh until after your nap.

Mason: Why are you being bad with me, mommy?

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Me: Mason, it’s bedtime!

Mason: Are you kidding me?!

Me: Um, no. It’s bedtime. Now.

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Me: I missed you so much last night, Mason! (We were out and Mason was with a babysitter.)

Mason: I missed daddy.

 

4 More Ways Parenthood Has Changed My Focus

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HalloweenI was recently invited to be a guest blogger for What to Expect (how exciting is that?!), and I wrote about how motherhood had actually made me less of a worrier. When I was pregnant (and, to be honest, before I was ever pregnant) I stressed about everything, from my boss’ tone in her e-mails to the size of my baby bump. Now that I have a three-year-old, I simply don’t have the luxury of indulging my anxious tendencies.

Since this blog post went live I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from other moms, but one comment still has me thinking two weeks later:

“I think I’ve heard men say something similar to this. IE having a kid gives them perspective as to what they are working so hard for and to maximize their time. Very, very cool that you’ve had this experience too.”

I believe this What to Expect reader is talking more about work-life balance and the ways in which parenthood helps you prioritize your time  — which circles back to me realizing that I was wasting too much time worrying. Here are four more ways parenthood has changed my focus:

1. I quit trying to be a perfectionist and now I embrace good enough. I still always do my best — but sometimes as a busy mom I recognize that good enough is, well, good enough.

2. I don’t force things to work anymore. I put up with a miserable job for a year, and then I just decided to stop. I quit that job, became a freelancer, and it was the best possible decision I could have made.

3. Having it all isn’t important anymore. I’m completely content to have what we need, nothing more, nothing less.

4. Being the best isn’t necessary either. (See #1 and #3)

How has parenthood changed your focus?

 

Gisele Bundchen: Inspiring Mom or Obnoxious Bragger?

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giseleSupermodel Gisele Bundchen took the opportunity, once again, to prove what an amazing mom she is by showing off a photo on Instagram of herself breastfeeding her daughter Vivian while getting glam for a photo shoot.

“What would I do without this beauty squad after the 15 hours flying and only three hours of sleep #multitasking #gettingready,” she wrote as the caption. For all of her admirers who don’t speak English, she was even kind enough to translate the caption into Portuguese.

Is she the ultimate multi-tasking mom, or just a completely obnoxious bragger? Based on her past remarks about parenthood I’m saying obnoxious bragger. And it’s unfortunate because she’s in the position to be a positive role model (C’mon, Gisele, ALL moms struggle with something…give up the holier than thou attitude!)

As one mom noted on Bundchen’s Instagram account, in response to the photo:

“While it is an ideal image, I had an incredibly hard time breastfeeding both of my children. What I would give for an experience like this picture… Not the extra help, just the baby easily nursing in the midst of everything. I hope you know how lucky you are @giseleofficial. Maybe sometime you can share your experiences if they were ever difficult to give hope to those who have had a more difficult time. Breastfeeding isn’t just a choice, it’s a process.”

In honor of her latest show-offy move, here are a few of her previous “gems” on motherhood:

Natural childbirth doesn’t hurt! “It wasn’t painful, not even a little bit,” the supermodel also the Brazilian TV show Fantastico of giving birth to her children Benjamin and Vivian in her bathtub at home. “The second day, I was walking, I was washing dishes, I was making pancakes in the kitchen.”

There should be a law that all moms have to breastfeed.  “Some people here (in the U.S.) think they don’t have to breastfeed, and I think ‘Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?’” she told Harper’s Bazaar UK in 2010 after having her son, Benjamin. “I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” Nevermind those moms who can’t breastfeed — if Gisele can do, everyone must!

Her two-year-old son was the best-ever eater!  “When Benjamin eats broccoli, he thinks it’s dessert!” she told Vogue during an interview in 2011. (Just wait, next Halloween she’ll send out a press release declaring that her kids hate candy…)

A lot of women become “garbage disposals” when they’re pregnant, Bundchen told Vogue. She, on the the other hand, practiced kung fu until two weeks before her son’s birth and only gained 30 pounds. (Newsflash, Gisele, 30 pounds that, while pregnant with Benjamin, she did yoga and was practicing kung fu “up until two weeks” before giving birth.

 

7 Rude Things People Have Said in Response to My Miscarriage

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I’ve been really open about my miscarriage. I wrote a letter on this blog to the son I lost. I admitted on Momtastic.com that I’m jealous of pregnant women. And I have another article coming out shortly on another parenting site with tips for coping after a miscarriage, based on my own personal experience.

Why? I hoped that simply sharing my story would help other moms who had miscarried — and I hoped to hear from other moms who had been through it. Honestly, I desperately needed the support. I don’t regret my decision; the love and outreach I’ve received has been tremendous. And the truth is that I’ll keep sharing my story if it helps other people.

But here’s the thing:  I never imagined some of the awful things people would say to me once they found out I had miscarried.  I don’t think any of these people thought they were being malicious…I think they just didn’t think. Here’s a round-up of a few of the, er, gems I’ve heard — plus what I felt like saying in response but didn’t.

“Don’t be sad. You can try again!” Are you fucking kidding me?

“The next one will be the good one!” <Speechless>

“I can’t even relate to people who have trouble staying pregnant.” I can’t even relate to someone who would say that to a woman who just lost a baby.

“Maybe you were only meant to have one child.” Oh yeah? Maybe you weren’t meant to have any.

“You should probably just adopt.” You should probably just stop talking.

Does this mean you’re too old to have a healthy baby?” Stay out of my uterus.

It’s a blessing; your baby was probably really messed up. No, you’re the one who’s really messed up.

Got any shockers you heard after your miscarriage that you’d like to share?

 

Is Your Toddler Son Obsessed With You?

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We’ve having some serious Oedipal complex issues in our household.

A few weeks ago Mason was sitting on my lap (without pants on), sobbing with his face pressed against my shoulder, because he stubbed his toe while getting undressed for the shower. And then we had this weird convo:

Me: “It’s OK, boo boo,” rubbing his back and kissing his sore toe. “Come on, let’s finished getting you undressed so you can take your shower.”

Mason: Looking up at me, with a tear-streaked face, “Take your clothes off, mommy.”

Me: “What?! No!” Then, trying to sound less horrified, “Er, it’s time for Mason’s bath, not mommy’s.”

Whoaaaa.

He dropped the issue, and we got him in the shower and clean without any more talk of me getting undressed. Then, last week, this:

Mason: Screaming hysterically and yelling, “I need mommy to take a shower with me!”

Me: “Mason, daddy’s helping you take your shower tonight.”

Mason: “Then I need to sleep with mommy!”

He took his shower by himself and slept by himself.

Is anyone else experiencing these strange little moments? The pediatrician says it’s normal, but it’s still kind of weird, right?

 

My Amazing Dad Friend: The Photographer Behind Today’s Viral Zach Braff Photobomb

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If you’ve read Buzzfeed or HuffPo this morning (and, really, who hasn’t?) then you’ve already seen this viral photo captured by my friend Sascha Reinking, a Long Island City-based photographer. He was photographing a newlywed couple on vacation from Germany when Zach Braff photobombed them in the middle of Times Square. Sascha was so busy focusing on the couple that he didn’t notice the former “Scrubs’” star’s cameo until he was editing his work later that evening.

To confirm that his photobomber was really Zac Braff, Sascha Tweeted the image to Zac, with the note  “Sir, I think you photobombed my newlywed couple the other day in New York. :) Well played…” Zach Retweeted it, noting that it was his best photobomb ever…and now the photo is viral!  (More here…)

I’m so excited that Sascha is getting the recognition that he deserves. In addition to being incredibly talented, Sascha’s a great guy…a hardworking dad who’s building a business doing something that he loves. And you can tell how much he enjoys his craft — and cares for the people he’s photographing when you watch him work. We used to live in Long Island City and I’d see him out and about photographing families and they all looked like they were having so much fun. That spirit comes through in Sascha’s gorgeous photos!

 

How Do You Get Your Toddler to Sleep in His (or Her) Own Bed?

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Our big move finally happened on Halloween. Poor Chris was up working until 6 a.m. the next morning (no joke). Honestly, I don’t know how much longer we could have stayed there. We had grown out of it pretty much the minute Mason was born and it just took us a while to find a place in which we wanted to invest.

By the time we left our old apartment, a one-bedroom, Chris and I were literally sleeping on the couch. Every night we’d give Mason our bed and pull out the sofa in the living room for us to sleep on. I don’t believe in sharing a bed with Mason, as I wrote in a recent article for YourTango.com; I think the bed should be our sacred place, something that helps us keep our marriage strong..so that was really our only alternative.

Mason didn’t have his own bed in our old place because we planned to just transition him to his big boy bed in the new place. His toddler bed was all boxed up, we reasoned. It’d be so much easier to move the bed and assemble it in the new place versus assembling it, disassembling it and then assembling it again. Then the move got delayed due to our bathroom renovation and the poor kid insisted that 3 was too old to sleep in a crib. Of course he was right; after all, the big kid excuse is how I got him to give up his pacifier.

Now that we’ve moved and Mason finally has his own room (New Yorkers, you totally get why it took so long), Mason has been pretty happy to sleep in his own bed. I wish I had some genius trick to share. I honestly think he’s just so happy to have his own space, a big boy bed, and Lightening McQueen sheets that he actually wants to sleep there. Of course sometimes getting him down is a struggle; he tends to whine and call us back in a time or two.

But here’s the thing: I’m positive our luck is going to run out and in a few weeks, once all the excitement wears off, we’re going to be battling a toddler who wants to sleep with us. Any tips on how we can keep him excited about his new big boy bed?

 

Ditching the Pacifier for Good (We Finally Did It!)

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photoMason is one of those little kids who does things on his own time…like waiting to walk until he was 16 months old (after cruising for nearly a year). Giving up the pacifier was no different. In fact, it was a permanent fixture in his little mouth at bedtime until a few weeks ago, well after his third birthday on August 19.

And, yes, I’m positive that everyone who knew I let him get away with the pacifier for so long judged me for it…in my defense, he only had it when he slept, and only at home (never in school). But still, I know I dropped the ball on this one.

Last June was the first time we really tried to get rid of it. We tried the method that other moms swore was fail-proof: The Paci Fairy. We did the big song and dance where the Paci Fairy comes and takes Mason’s pacifiers and in return he gets a sparkly note and a new helmet for his scooter. But there was one fatal flaw: We did the PF jam at my mom’s house in Ohio, and Mason still had plenty of pacifiers tucked away in his bed back in NYC.  Which is probably why he was so nonchalant about losing his pacifier that weekend; he knew it was only temporary.

Where he was completely calm and collected about going to bed without his pacifier in Ohio, he was downright outraged at the thought of it back in New York. And of course I gave in immediately. I just wasn’t ready to go to war over a pacifier. I didn’t care that much. It made him happy, so what if he was 3 and still liked to sleep with it? So after a weekend of success in Ohio we were back to a pacifier at every naptime and bedtime as soon as we got back home.

And then, a few weeks ago, Mason started pooping in the potty (like, ALL the time, it wasn’t just a random accident once in a while). And seeing him pull THAT off made me realize how ridiculous it was that he was still completely dependent on that little piece of plastic when he went to sleep. So that night I put an end to it once and for all.

We were laying in bed cuddling, listening to the Bob Marley Rockabye CD, and I said: Mason, you’re really too old for this chewy thing. I mean, chewies are for babies and you’re a BIG BOY who poops in the potty. Hand mommy the chewy, please.

Mason hesitated for a minute but then he handed me the chewy. I shoved it in my pocket before he could get it back then put him in bed, positive that he’d be screaming for it as soon as I left the room. Instead he fell asleep.

The next night, our conversation at bedtime went like this:

Mason: I need my chewy, mommy. <huge grin>

Me: No you don’t. Chewies are for babies and you’re a big boy who poops in the potty! Mommy gave your chewies to all the babies in New York who don’t have them. That was so sweet of you to share like that!!

Mason: You’re welcome babies!

And that was that. He hasn’t had a pacifier since!

How did you get your child to give up his or her pacifier? Share your story in the comments section!

 

Mastering the Growth Curve (Weight Edition)

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1376317_10151942684932812_366979314_nHuge news, you guys: Mason has hit the fifth percentile on the growth chart for his weight!

Remember all the weigh-ins, not to mention the time our (now former) pediatrician called it “weird” that Mason ate well but didn’t pack on the pounds? And then all the food coated in olive oil? Turns out my long and lean little guy just needed some time to fill out.

Our entire ordeal (and its outcome) has taught me another important lesson in parenting: Listen to the experts (in this case, the pediatrician), but trust your gut. I followed the doctor’s advice two years ago, went in for the weigh-ins, and did the olive oil trial…even though I knew in my heart that Mason was built like a string bean because his parents were built the same way at that age. It would have been irresponsible not to rule out serious health issues. But once Mason proved to be completely healthy, I switched to a pediatrician that was less of an asshole intense about weight gain. I couldn’t handle the knot that I got in my stomach every time Mason needed to go to the doctor’s. And it all worked out.

Of course, there’s more to this story. I found out that we’re finally on the weight curve (Mason’s always been at the top of the charts for height) under less-than great circumstances. For the last month, he’s had four random Exorcist-like vomiting incidences. He’s completely fine, then he complains that his tummy hurts. I ask him if he has to throw up, he shakes his head no…and then he gets sick all over me. And then he’s completely fine again (while I’m panicked, grossed out, dripping in vomit).

The most recent incident was Tuesday night, so I took him to the doctor Wednesday morning. (Another joy of working for myself: being able to take my kid to the doc when he needs to go without having to deal with ‘tude from a boss.) His pediatrician wasn’t there, so we saw someone else from the practice. She’s sending us to a pediatric gastro next week, in hopes of learning whether it’s an allergy or reflux.

Wish us luck!

In the meantime, I’m celebrating our weight curve victory–and having faith that the doctor will have the answers we need next week.