There is no perfect

Now let’s be honest, ok? Truly honest right now. And no judging. Who has yelled at one or more of their children today? *raises hand* Who is at their wits end with the whining and the crying and the general hissy fits? *raises hand* Who would like nothing more than to sleep 8 hours uninterrupted?? *raises both hands*

I would never trade my children for anything. I would never wish to go back to the days before them. I wouldn’t trade the sleepless nights or the permanent eye twitch that has set in due to the incessant whining or the little tummy pouch that sits right above my double c-section scar. Because even though those things aren’t my favorite parts of being a mom, they are made worth it by the two little people who depend on me.

But just for #tbt sake (and that’s “Throw Back Thursday” for you not up with social media hashtag lingo) let’s look back upon a time before children. Let’s just reminisce what it was like before the whining and the crying. Just for a moment, shall we?

Before kids I could watch TV without rewinding it 47 times in a 10 minute span because no one was asking for their cup that is 3 feet from their small person. Before kids I could take a leisurely shower whenever I chose to instead of waiting for the 15-minute span when both kids are asleep. Before kids I could talk on the phone without sounding like I have some sort of personality disorder. I could try on clothes or go to the bathroom without someone opening the door. Before kids I didn’t have to repeat myself 15 times or worry about yelling at someone because I got too frustrated and hurting their delicate feelings. Then feeling like crap about it after. Before kids I didn’t worry everyday if I was doing it right. Or if I was messing them up. I didn’t feel time slipping by at a lightning speed rate. I also didn’t always seem to be covered in barf or baby poop.

But before kids I didn’t know such love. I didn’t get to see every day the wonder and excitement and genuine love in the eyes of someone I helped create. I didn’t know such gut-wrenching terror at the thought of losing them. Yes, I probably slept more, but I didn’t get to feel little hands on my face or have sweet hugs from little arms. Holidays are so much sweeter with children. My days are busier, my nights aren’t as filled with blissful sleep, but my heart is full. Children, for me, complete something in my life. I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people do not want to have children and that’s ok. Some desperately want them and can’t have them. My heart aches for them.

I sit here and feel so bad for yelling at Brother Bear earlier. I’m trying so hard to be patient but some days I just lose the ability to do so. Especially when he is trying my resolve at every turn. I need to respond with hugs instead of a raised voice. I need to remember he’s just a little boy who wants his mom’s attention and is still struggling with that attention being split. A little boy who might be tired or hungry or doesn’t understand why I’m asking him to stop talking or even really have the ability to do that. I hate the feeling I have after I have hurt his feelings by yelling. And I can’t take it back or even fix it. I can apologize and try not to yell the next time. I’m working on it but some days it’s hard. And I will fail again. I will yell again. And I will feel bad, again.

I suppose, like children, I am still a work in progress. As a mom I am still learning too. Just like my little ones I will have good days and bad days. I will struggle with my role just as they will. I will try my best to be patient and understanding and respond with grace. And sometimes, probably more often than I’d like, I will fail. But even with those struggles, even with the barf (and the poop) and the insane amount of laundry they create, I would never trade a day with my babies. I would love for more days. Longer days. Days I could have over again because they just went by too quickly. I will continue to try every day to be a better mother. To appreciate every second I have with them. To learn to apologize when I ‘m not sweet just as I expect Brother Bear to apologize when he’s not. And one day I hope to learn to forgive myself when I make mistakes just as I forgive my sweet ones when they make them.

For better or worse

There are days as a parent that sometimes you just wish everyone would shut up. “We don’t say ‘shut up’!” No whining, no crying, no asking for a drink 47 times when it’s directly in front of them, no tv playing “The Hot Dog Dance” in the background. No one saying “mommy” 112 times in the span of 13 minutes. It’s normal to feel this way, dear friends. Perfectly normal. Heck, if you told me you never had days like this I wouldn’t believe you, you magical parenting unicorn. It takes a lot to make sure small people are bathed, fed, clothed, and pottied (<—- pretty sure that’s not a word, but you get the gist). Whether you stay home all day, work outside the home, or a combo of the 2, some days you just feel fried. Some days I swear it feels like you’re going backwards instead of forwards. Not only did the house NOT get cleaned, it is, in fact, even messier than before. Or you realize that you haven’t bathed the baby in more days than are socially acceptable. Some days you might even contemplate selling all the small people to the gypsies, changing your name, and running off to Tahiti without a forwarding address. But you would never really do that. Right? RIGHT??

No, you wouldn’t. Wanna know why? Because after one of those days, your 2 year old comes up to you and hugs your leg while telling you “Mommy, uh cute.” Which, of course translates to “Mommy, you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met and I love you with all my heart and I’m sorry for being a tiny terror for the last 4 1/2 months. Oh, and you’re my favorite parent.” And you hug that little person back with all your might and know THIS is why you do what you do. This is why you wipe boogers with your fingers. YOUR FINGERS. It’s why you eat cold food that’s supposed to be hot and room temperature food that’s supposed to be cold. It’s why at any point in the day you probably have spit-up, food, or boogers on your person. It’s the reason you share your last cookie with your precious child just for said child to spit the cookie back into your hand.

Children are a mess. Children are a full-time job. A lifetime job. Even when they are grown they are still yours to worry over and love. So that day, or those days, or that week that you feel like you just don’t know how you will manage one more minute without losing your mind? Just know that’s normal. It’s expected. And it will pass. You’ll sit down to your cold, no longer medium-rare steak, after refilling a cup with pink juice instead of blue juice, changing a diaper, and then your shirt because you were barfed on, and smile because your baby girl just looked at you and cooed so sweetly. Then your toddler asks to come sit next to you to cuddle. Those moments make all the other moments fade away and not seem so loud or smelly or crazy. Then, just for a moment, you think “Hey, I could have another one!” Until the baby blows out a diaper and the toddler runs into the table and everyone is screaming. Then you’re back to Tahiti.

 

 

 

A princess and a pacifier.

Little Bitty (who did, in fact, get a name at the 11th hour in the hospital) turns 2 months old next week. WHAT?? I swear it was yesterday she was born. Wasn’t it?? I know from previous experience how fast time flies when you have little ones but I still can’t fathom that it’s been almost 2 months since I saw her pretty face the first time. I know you’re dying to hear her birth story. Who wouldn’t be? I’ll warn you though it’ll be pretty long and detailed (read: boring) like my last birth story so that I can read it later and remember all the little things that mean a lot to me. So feel free to skip it, skim it, or grab some popcorn and settle in!

So early in my pregnancy (read: the moment I found out I was pregnant) I decided I did NOT want a repeat C-Section (to be known as RCS in the future so I don’t have to type all that out) and that I would opt for a VBAC instead. For the uninformed, a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I basically yelled that at the Midwife I saw at my first OB appt. I was feeling a little militant I guess – as though she would fight me on it. She just wrote it at the top of my chart and went on with her questions. I had geared  myself up for a fight because so many practices and hospitals are against VBACs. In fact, my SIL had to have a home birth in order to get her VBAC which she was very adamant about. And, by the way, it went fantastically. Fast forward to April during my 32 week ultrasound when the tech informed us that Bitty was breech. *facepalm* So I had 4 weeks to come to terms with the fact that I might end up with a RCS anyway. But, luckily, by 36 weeks she had sweetly listened to her mommy and flipped head down. So back to a VBAC. At my 37 week appointment the doctor casually asked “Are you still wanting to VBAC?” I (again, militantly) said “YES.” He just said,  “Ok, just making sure you hadn’t changed your mind” and went on with his exam. Unfortunately, at my 38 week appt I was informed they wanted me to deliver the next week. Excuse me? Say what? Ayup. Apparently due to the previous abruption and the increased risk of abruption this time around AND the fact that they can happen all the way up through labor they wanted to be safer than sorry. I decided I didn’t like this idea and preferred to wait at least until my due date to see if I’d go into labor on my own. No such luck though. At 39 weeks we discussed the options of induction, a RCS, or going past due. All had risks and downsides. I researched as best I could but I could find no evidence or statistics of women with previous abruptions going past due. Apparently they all opt for RCS or early inductions. After several days of debating and another call in to the OB (who unhelpfully left it up to me after repeating all the risks of each option instead of telling me what to do) I decided on a RCS. Several factors went into this decision, and it took me another day or two to really feel comfortable with it, but I felt it was our best option. So Bitty girl’s birth date was set for May 28th at noon.

Of course nothing happened at noon, even though we were at the hospital at 8am that morning (NO clue why we had to be there so early), but at least they were only late by an hour. By that point I was starving and my mouth felt as dry as the Sahara. And the poison they gave me to help keep my stomach settled during surgery did NOT help the thirsty feeling. I’m pretty sure I was as excited about the prospect of getting to chew on ice as I was getting to meet my child. Just goes to show you what dehydration will do to you. The 2 full IV bags they gave me before the surgery only made me have to pee but did nothing for the blazing thirst. Or the sheer boredom of sitting in Triage for over 4 hours. Plus hospital nightgowns are neither fashionable or comfortable. Or modest. At 1 it was finally time and I padded down the hall clutching my gown closed behind me and feeling a little nervous as we got into the OR. [Sidenote: OR’s do NOT look like those on Grey’s Anatomy. Or probably any other medical show. They gave me a spinal block (which suprisingly didn’t hurt all that much) which was to wear off in “2-18″ hours. Ok, it may have been more like 2-6 but when you can’t feel your legs it all seems like an eternity. It was so weird. Probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever been through. It starts as a warm tingly feeling and then ends up feeling like your foot does when it starts to “wake up” after it’s fallen asleep and you’ve gotten past the painful pins and needles feeling. You can feel people pushing on you and moving you but you can’t feel pain or touch and you can’t move. Creepy and weird. And panicky if you actually try to move. Because your brain remembers how but nothing happens. Do. Not. Like.

I handled the actual surgery pretty well I suppose. I did a lot better once Hubster was in the room and could distract me from the whole “no legs and can’t breathe so I must be getting paralyzed” thing. It didn’t take nearly as long as I expected and literally within minutes of them starting I heard my sweet baby’s cry. This was after they pushed her out but literally pushing on my stomach. Which felt like they were pushing on my chest. Again, creepy and weird. Now you have to understand, even though I didn’t get to birth her like I wanted, this situation was totally different from G’s birth. So as soon as I heard that sweet cry I teared up. It was so emotional to hear her little voice and know she was healthy and right there in the room with me. I didn’t get to see G until the next day. I didn’t get to hold him until the next night. Here my baby girl was right there – perfectly normal sized and I was going to get to see her and hold her and nurse her and then take her home. Cool thing was Hubby got to walk over and see her as they were weighing her and doing her Apgar. They called out her weight (7lbs 10oz) and the doctor, previously having asked me what I thought she’d weigh, laughed and said I was close (I had said “close to 8lbs). Then they wrapped her up and brought her over to us. Hubby held her and put her near my face to snuggle and kiss. I could have asked for her to be put on my chest but I was shaking too badly and didn’t think it was a good idea. So I’ll probably never get to know what it feels like to have a sticky naked newborn on my chest or to actually give birth (no one get offended please but for me I have a hard time saying I gave birth because I don’t feel like I did) but I’m blessed with 2 beautiful healthy children. If for some reason we decide to have a third (which I doubt) then maybe I’ll find a doctor that will let me try a VBAC again. If not, then next time I’ll know what to expect and I hope to get to hold that baby right there in the OR.

But I digress. Back to no legged me. They moved me to my bed (which, by the way, was quite possibly from the 1970’s) by way of an inflatable air mattress thing and wheeled me to recovery… where I finally got some ice!! Whooo!! And yes, to hold my sweet girl. But seriously, I was SO DANG THIRSTY. Right away I got to hold my sweet Bitty on my chest and nurse her. It didn’t go great the first time because even though she was pretty excited about the prospect she didn’t quite latch properly and left a blood blister that made me want to scream for about a week and a half. After she nursed for a bit they took her to do her Vitamin K and eye drops. This is when I started to itch. It started out as just my nose. Then became my face and then started to spread down my body. As the spinal wore off (starting near my waist) the itching took over where the numbness had been. It was horrible. Apparently they add a 24 hour pain medication into the spinal to help with pain management once it wears off. I would have rather had the pain. Except for the part where they do the “massaging,” which is totally misleading because it feels more like they are stabbing you in the gut, in order to check certain things which I will not mention because you don’t want to know. And I don’t need to write it down to remember it because the pain was so bad it’s seared into my brain for all eternity.

Once my time in recovery was up we were wheeled up to my room. I say “we” because I had no intention of letting Bitty go so someone wheeled her empty bassinet (read: plastic box on wheels) to our room while I held her. I already mentioned I had 2 bags of fluid in Triage, plus I had another in the OR/recovery, then they hung ANOTHER bag when I got to my room. All in all I would have 5 bags of fluid. I was so swollen and puffy I looked terrible. Bitty, from the fluid I got plus being a CS baby, was also puffy and swollen. She lost 7oz overnight and I truly thing that was mostly fluid loss.

It was weird, and kind of surreal. I told Hubby it didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel like she was my baby. That first day was sort of hazy. And itchy. Really really itchy. That first afternoon was the most rough. I was so itchy I couldn’t concentrate on much. I worked with Bitty to get her to latch and nurse and I ate a LOT of ice chips. I was finally allowed some broth (which I downed like it was something gourmet) which really did nothing for the fact that I hadn’t eaten in like 18 hours or something. Plus my nazi nurse didn’t seem to think it was necessary for me to eat. Hubs ended up leaving the hospital at midnight to go get me a sub. Come to find out the fancy sub shop in the hospital was still open, but oh well. At least I didn’t have that nurse again.

The rest of our stay was pretty uneventful if you don’t count being woken up every 2 hours by random nurses, doctors, pediatricians, food bringers, and trash taker-outers. Seriously, they came to take out the trash at 5am one morning. It was ridiculous. At one point they did steal Bitty for over an hour and a half for a 15 minute test. We’re pretty sure they just forgot about her in the back of the nursery. Several people went and asked about her (we even went ourselves) and got blank stares. But she came back unscathed from her adventure, albeit much later than originally explained.

Going home was a totally different adventure than with G. We had basically moved into the hospital room so we had the little cart jammed full on the way down. I rode in a wheelchair with Bitty in her carseat on my lap. She rode perfectly, with bright open eyes, and just looked around all the way down. And did we go straight home? Nope. We went to Target. Oh yeah, and Popeye’s for lunch. What? We were hungry. Bitty slept in her carseat all covered and snuggly and no one tried to come breathe on her at any point. And the stop at Target was to fill my Motrin prescription. See? Totally necessary.

You may be wondering how G reacted to all this change. It was the first time I was away from him all night plus he gained a baby sister. The first day he didn’t seem all that interested in her. The next day he realized she wasn’t going away and was drinking his milk. So he decided that to compensate, he required his pacifier at all times. Previously he was only taking the pacifier at night and naps and now, well, it was apparently his life line. I let him have his paci crutch for 5 or 6 weeks and then decided it was time to get back to the regularly scheduled program. It took a few days of hissy fits but now he asks for it less and less. And he’s still nice to his sissy. But that’s another post.

Pregnancy is…

Being able to pee on command at any given time, day or night.

Having an insane craving for something then taking a bite and finding it revolting.

The constant feeling you are in a sci-fi movie and an alien is going to burst out of your stomach any moment.

Waddling.

Being willing to sell your left kidney to get a good night’s sleep.

An ugly belly button.

A perfect reason to wear yoga pants for every situation as maternity pants are made by the Devil. *Please note I did not say leggings.*

Thunder thighs.

A constantly runny nose.

Your belly being deemed fair game for perfect strangers touch.

An invitation for anyone to give you unsolicited advice about your body parts and birth choices.

Not glamorous.

Not being able to tie your shoes.

Forgetting every lesson you ever learned about modesty.

Being unable to watch the Hallmark or Lifetime channels without crying at some point.

Having only 9 months to decide on a name that a person will have their entire life and hopefully not hate.

Alternately wanting the being taking over your body OUT IMMEDIATELY and wanting to stay pregnant because you’re not ready yet.

Weird. And amazing. And completely worth that tiny precious person you receive at the end.

A Very Merry Mickey Birthday Party

So now that G will be turning 2 next week (where did the time go??) I thought it time to finally finish my post about his last party before we have another one.

Even though G turned a year old last February, we decided to wait until April to have his party. We had a few reasons for this, one of them being that we wanted him to be a little closer to his developmental year mark. Another was that February is a very busy birthday month for our friends and April was better for being outside.

When we moved into our new house we decided we should have a BBQ get together as a type of house warming after G was born and before I went back to work. Him coming early threw those plans off a bit as our pediatrician recommended we keep G away from other kids until he had all his vaccines and then to be careful after that. So we put it off, thinking we would do it in the fall. Well, that didn’t work out either so I decided that we would just have a big BBQ/Birthday Bash all in one.

So on to the party!

I had started planning G’s party months before… I’m a little overzealous like that. I went with the classic red, black, and yellow Mickey Mouse theme. Of course I left all the actual work until the last minute (I’m an artful procrastinator) but it came out great. The decorations and treats are best shown so here are a few pictures!

_MG_8759 watermark

_MG_8746 watermark

Pardon the flash mark on the poster. Didn’t have time to move the tripod around to get flash-less pictures of everything.

Close-up of the console table.

Close-up of the console table. Shutterfly book of G’s first year, a Mickey, a properly attired “G,” an 8×10 of his invitation photo, and a picture of him at a few weeks old.

G's smash cake - made by yours truly!

G’s smash cake – made by yours truly!

Mint chocolate dipped Oreo Mickeys. I’m drooling just thinking about them. They were delicious. We had a dark chocolate (non-minty) version too.

Mickey Cupcakes… thanks to Pinterest! I’m pretty sure no one ate them. They thought they were for show. That’s ok. They looked pretty and I sent the rest of them to work with Hubby where they were a big hit.

_MG_8800 watermark

Oreo truffles made by Sister. We also had chocolate dipped pretzels. They didn’t come out as pretty as we hoped but they were still tasty.

_MG_8751

_MG_8767

 

We had Mickey goody bags with all sorts of fun things in them like bubbles, a curly straw, stickers, some candy (of course), and a few other goodies. For the babies that came I had found some soft Mickey and Minnie blankie babies. They were so cute! I also made party hats even though most of the kids didn’t wear them. G was not interested in his much at all.

Case in point. He's trying to pull his hat off.

Case in point. He’s trying to pull his hat off.

I will leave you now with a few more pictures of the fun!

I joined in the theme with a Mickey shirt and my own Mickey ears.

I joined in the theme with a Mickey shirt and my own Mickey ears.

The Mickey head on the cake was made with an edible modeling "dough." It did not taste delicious but G tried it several times before he finally decided it wasn't tasty.

The Mickey head on the cake was made with an edible modeling “dough.” It did not taste delicious but G tried it several times before he finally decided it wasn’t tasty.

_MG_1449 watermark

Hopefully I’ll manage to get pictures up of G’s second party faster… but with Baby Sister coming I can’t promise anything so don’t get your hopes up.

To my non-parent friends: A word of warning.

Being a mom is the greatest thing I’ve done. It’s better than graduating college or getting my CKD or anything else I can think of. It’s a demanding job but infinitely rewarding. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Well, technically I am doing it all again soon but you know what I mean.

But the thing about being a parent is that you have to make sacrifices. Forever. Because once you have children they never really go away. Just ask my parents. All three of us left and then moved back in at one point or another. And because they love us, they didn’t laugh at us hysterically when we asked if our old rooms were still available.

But the first few years probably come with the most concessions and changes to your once child-free existence. So I’m giving you a list of things to cherish now, while you can.

1) Sleep
I know that might sound like a no brainer but I’m serious. Those all-nighters and late nights/early mornings because you went out and partied? You will wish you had slept. Because once you have kids you will be in a sleep deficit for years to come. And for us ladies it starts roughly 6 months before the baby even shows up in your house. Yippee. Now I’m not saying you’ll never get a good night’s sleep, I’m just saying your definition of a good night’s sleep will change.

2) Hot Food
What witchcraft these children use to deduce the exact second you’re about to sit down and eat anything I cannot fathom. I cannot tell you how many times G has woken up crying the literal second the microwave beeps or I set my plate down and pick up my fork. It’s uncanny. And even if you’re fast about going to get said crying child the original heat of your food will have dissipated and you’ll be stuck with eating lukewarm or rewarmed chicken or pasta. Fun times.

3) Not Sharing
Have a cookie? A chip? A piece of candy? Anything remotely delicious? Well, hope you have more than one. Because once they start eating, they want what you have. As long as it’s not broccoli. You can keep that. Oh, and if they have one of their own? Too bad, they still want yours too.

4) Nice Things
Now, I’ve been in houses where this is not true. Maybe they lock up their children. Or don’t let them into the living room. Or maybe they have children who don’t choose to use the couch as a chalkboard. But more than likely they just spend their time cleaning up after the small tornadoes that spend most of their waking hours making a hellacious mess. Most of the time I make the decision to limit my energy in that area as I know the next day will bring the same mess. So my house looks like a disaster zone 97% of the time. The other 3% is when company is coming over and I’ve jammed everything in a closet and swiped a dustrag across a few surfaces. If we ever move again, our new house WILL have a playroom. A room dedicated solely to the massive accumulation of junk that comes with children. If it’s a two-story, then it will require two. One for each level. Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

5) Constant Terror
Depending on your significant other’s profession you might suffer from this now, even before small people take over your life. But having children amplifies this worry and anxiety and may cause you to want to develop agoraphobia. Having children makes you worry about everything. Everything in the news freaks you out, because it WILL happen to you and your family! You worry about something happening to you, to your spouse, and worse, to your child. I worried before (I’m a professional worrier) but it was nothing compared to now.

6) Sitting for any length of time
Whatever knack children have for knowing when you are planning to sit down and eat is apparently the same one they employ to know the exact moment you become comfortable when sitting and relaxing. Then they will need a drink. Or a snack. Or want “up.” Or they will be getting into something they are not supposed to be getting into. When they are teeny tiny you can at least have them with you so the getting up is less frequent. But when they become walkers and talkers? Well, make sure you don’t expect to get comfortable for long.

 

Now, please understand, even if I have to get up 42 times in an hour to get a cup or help him get unstuck or keep him out of the trash or pantry or cabinets, it’s all worth it. Because his little face lights up when he climbs up on my lap. And hearing his sweet voice say “mommy” through the monitor as he calls for me melts my heart. And in the middle of the night, when I’m dead tired and really want to stay asleep, his little warm body melding to mine as I comfort his cries and he falls asleep in my arms… well, those moments are so precious and gone so quickly. He may be my son forever but he’ll only be my baby for a very short time. I can’t believe 2 years have passed since he showed up so unexpectedly. I can’t believe that he will grow more and more independent and won’t want to kiss and hug mommy anymore. He won’t care about having mommy reach back in the car and “hug” him in his seat. He won’t want “up” all the time and be so content to sit on my hip. So if I have to make dinner one handed or rewarm my dinner a few (dozen) times, then oh well. Because cold chicken is nothing compared to these days flying by so quickly. So while you should be prepared for the sacrifices and compromises you will have to make, understand that the reward for those sacrifices far outweighs a few sleepless nights and crayon on your couch.

These are some more of my favorite things.

So I wrote this out to a friend who is pregnant when she asked a question on the Facebooks about what to register for. It took me forever to write it all down so I decided to keep it here so I can find it later if anyone else ever wants a short novel regarding baby gear. Those without children will probably find this to be rather dull. Feel free to skip it. Those having children or planning to have children might also find this dull but possibly informative. So hey, here it is.

Bibs: I like Carters’ bibs. Target, Wal-mart, Babies R Us (BRU) all carry them. They are lined so they are waterproof (drooling, barfing, dribbled milk, etc) but the waterproof lining is inside so they don’t have that yucky crinkly feeling. Although, word of warning, I do not dry them because they shrink and get weird. I hang mine dry and they are in perfect condition (except for some random food stains – sweet potatoes are a butt to get out!).

Boppy/My Breast Friend/Mombo/Etc: If you plan to breastfeed (I’ve heard those who bottle feed like them too), one of these is a must. I have a Boppy and I love it. I’ve heard others like the MBF or the Mombo better. MBF actually buckles behind you so it doesn’t shift. You can get interchangeable covers with all of them but I know the Boppy makes a water-resistant “undercover.” That way if you get milk or spit up on it your actual pillow is protected. Now it’s resistant, not proof so if it gets wet you want to pull off the top cover and check the bottom one before it soaks through. The pillow also doubles as a place for tummy time and for the baby to sit/recline in.

Jammies: I like the gowns (I used them even with Baby G) and snap footie jammies. That way if you have to change the baby you can just unsnap the legs instead of unzipping all the way down. Now, some have two-way zippers which are awesome. In general, Carter’s brand tend to be longer and slimmer than Gerber and Circo (Target). The BRU brand footed jammies have bizarrely short legs so we never used those. Depending on how cold the house is, we generally used cotton jammies and a swaddle blanket when he was little. Now he is either in lighter weight jammies for warmer temps and fleece in the winter.

Crib Mattress protector. I use a 100% cotton mattress pad and then a waterproof liner on top of that. The waterproof mattress pad I had originally got ruined when I dried it on low. Wasn’t happy about that. With the waterproof liner in between the mattress pad and fitted sheet, the fitted top sheet and waterproof liner can be washed without having to strip the whole bed. The cotton mattress pad helps provide a little softness and protection and warmth. The inserts wash and dry just fine and you will want those through toddler-hood. They are also great for under your side of the bed for milk leaking, night sweats (I had horrible night sweats after my C-Section), and for even before birth in case of accidental peeing (yes, it happens) and water breaking, etc. Look here. They are 100% cotton and really nice.

Travel disposable diaper sacks: These are great for the diaper bag, in the car, in the house, etc. It’s nice to have if you are at someone’s house or out in public so you can put stinky diapers in them and toss them without having to worry about stinking up their house. Or heck, your house. We still use them almost 2 years later.

Diaper Cream: This is one of those things you want to try a sampling of. Desitin smells really strongly (to me) but it’s the only one that worked on Baby G. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was worthless for him but a lot of people really like it. A lot of it is trial and error.

Diapers: Again, a sampling works best here until you figure out what works best. I’m a fan of Pampers Swaddlers and I find I have the best results with them. I still buy them. I’m also a diaper snob. G can’t wear Target brand (he’s allergic) or Pampers Baby Dry. DO NOT GET PAMPERS BABY DRY. THEY ARE THE DEVIL. Ok, the may not be (or be of) the Devil , but they have been known to cause burns or terrible rashes due to a chemical that are in them. We used them once and G got a violent blistering diaper rash that took us ages to get over. You might say it’s not fair to blame the diapers but I’ve heard of too many stories of it happening so we will not be trying them again. Wal-mart brand diapers worked terribly for us. We used 2 and then took those puppies back. Never again. We are now using Luvs at night (he goes up a diaper size at night now) but during the day I’m stuck on my Pampers. We have used Huggies too but I just like the fit of the Pampers better. BUT, some babies fit better in other diapers. Hence, the sampling.

Wipes: I HATE Pampers wipes. I know, right? Huggies and Parent’s Choice (Wal-mart) are my favorites. The Pampers are really thin while the others are nice and thick. Thick wipes work a lot better than thin wimpy wipes. Haven’t tried many others.

Baby Tub: I have the cheapest Target tub that has the infant sling. Nothing fancy or anything. The sling is great though when they are very little. G used his tub forever (it has the infant sling, the recline, and the area to help them sit up). He actually probably used it for longer than needed but we tried the big tub at one point and he seemed a little overwhelmed. So back to the baby tub we went for a little longer. There are a zillion options out there for tubs. You can even get a baby whirlpool tub. I don’t have one of those for me so I figure my kids don’t need one either.

Hooded Towels: Love, Love, Love, hooded towels!! Everywhere sells them. They make little ones for babies and bigger ones for toddlers. We still use the bigger hooded towels. Love them. And we never used a robe. They are cute but not practical. You would have to dry the baby, change them into the robe (you don’t want to dry them in the robe because then it would be wet), and then change them into clothes. The only way a robe would be good is if you are going a long distance between bath and wherever you are dressing them. Then you could change from wet towel to robe and then to room to dress.

Washcloths: I am partial to 100% cotton. I like both the really thin ones and the thicker ones. We still use the little washcloths for G. Usually a thinner one for face and thicker for body (I find they hold more soap). When they are teeny the thinner ones work well for all their little crevices.

Swaddling blankets/pod/sacks: I LOVED the swaddling blankets I got. I have these. BRU and Target have the aden + anais brand that are similar. They are nice and big and lightweight which is great for layering. We also really liked the SwaddlePods and SwaddleMe wraps. They make swaddling pretty easy.

Car Seat Canopy: These are great for keeping sun off, people breath and fingers away, rain/weather protection, etc. Mine is a JJ Cole and actually velcros under the seat. Some just lay over and that’s fine. Mine also has a slit in the front so you can peek at the baby without having to pull it off completely. They make also make fleece ones for winter.

For Breastfeeding/Pumping: Nursing cover (find a large one. I had one that wasn’t quite wide enough and didn’t provide enough coverage). I know breastfeeding in public is legal and all but I’m not one of those who’s willing to have my boob hanging out. Also, if you’re going to pump, you want a hands-free bra. Find it here. It was a LIFESAVER.

Babywearing: The two best carriers I have found are the Moby and the Ergo. The Ergo requires a special insert for newborns but is great when they get older if you don’t want to bother with the insert. The Moby takes some time to get used to putting on but it’s VERY secure and comfortable. It looks daunting, but it’s awesome. I wore Baby G everywhere in the Moby when he was tiny and never had to support his head or anything else. Some of the carriers out there are not good for their hip development and they recommend you never wear them facing out (even when they get older) as their hips are not properly supported. The Ergo also does a nice back carry that is great for older kids.

Hats/mittens/socks: I found Carter’s hats to be wide and short. We were never really able to use them. The Gerber hats seem to be longer (taller?) and more slim and fit a lot better. The little mittens you find in the stores really don’t work all that well. They don’t stay on and seem to be pretty shallow. A lot of the Carter’s jammies and long-sleeved onesies have hand covers that work better. If you do have to cover their hands, baby socks work better than the mittens from what I found. As far as socks, I really like the Circo brand socks. That is mostly what G wears now. They are longer and thinner vs. some of the other brands that are short and fat. Again, this will depend on your baby but my family generally has long skinny footed kids so for us the Circo socks are awesome. The Carter’s ones again seemed short and wide. Which is weird because their clothes are long and skinny. Go figure.

Car Seat: you have the option of an infant seat or a convertible seat. The infant seats are portable and clip into some strollers or stroller bases. I do not suggest ever putting them on the top part of a buggy as they are not meant for this and can easily tip over. And possibly damage the mechanism that holds them into their base. I was guilty of it with Baby G but will not be doing this with the new one. Most of the time I wore him but when he was teeny tiny and we had to run someplace I’d leave him in his carrier with the canopy so he was completely covered and away from germies and prying eyes. A lot of infant seats are only rear-facing and usually go up to 25-35 pounds. Convertible seats go from rear to forward facing and have a much higher range of weight. But they are not very portable. We chose the infant seat and will get G a new booster/5-point harness seat when baby sister comes.

Strollers: Ugh. It took us forever to pick a stroller. A lot of brands make travel systems and the infant seat clips into the stroller. We picked a “jogger” style and I like it mostly but I wish it had a bigger basket on the bottom. I also wish it sat up a little closer to 90 degrees. It has a fantastic canopy and wheels nicely but the cargo room on the bottom stinks. Now we have that and an umbrella stroller and all depends on where we are going which one we use. There are crazy expensive brands (BOB, for one) and mid-line brands, and basics. Some strollers can be fitted with adapters to hold other brands’ carseats. There are also just bases that only hold the carseat part. Now we have to decide if we want a double stroller or not. It probably is a good idea eventually but for starters I will probably just wear baby sister while G rides in a cart/stroller. 

Cart/Highchair Cover: These are awesome. Mine covers the entire shopping cart seating part – handle, sides, etc, so that G can’t lick the handle (why do kids DO this??) or touch something gross on the sides, or sit in someone’s dried pee. Hey, it happens. Not to us yet but then again, we use a cart cover so we wouldn’t even know. I’m not a total germaphobe and sometimes we find ourselves without it but it just makes me more comfortable to have him in less contact with surfaces that are gross.

Other things to register for (or buy) are pacifiers (again with a sampling here as not all babies will take every kind and you’ll want several in each stage), a paci strap, a paci holder (keeps them clean in diaper bag, purse, etc). Bouncy seat (can be as fancy or as basic as you like) and swing (same here), high chair, pack and play (tons of options with these). Crib sheets, changing pad cover (want multiples of these). Teethers, rattles, soft toys to chew, toys that hang from the carseat, a mobile (if you desire), a monitor (zillions of choices – video, regular, two-way, etc). Sorry for all the sentence fragments. My mind works like that these days.

As far as registering for Diapers and wipes, clothes, toys, etc – people will buy them regardless. But I figure, if they’re going to buy it anyway I might as well register for things I actually want. It’s also suggested to not go crazy on newborn stuff. If big babies run in your family (like do in mine) you don’t want to get stuck with a ton of newborn clothes and diapers. Or you could be like me and literally have like one newborn outfit and one small box of newborn diapers and bring home a preemie. *facepalm* But, honestly, I would have rather had that than have been stuck with a ton of stuff I couldn’t use. Also, don’t wash everything ahead of time. Again, don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of washed clothes your tiny person won’t wear.

Are you asleep yet? Did you quit reading halfway down thinking it would never end? Heck, I didn’t even go in to baby furniture or toys (yes get a play mat and a Bumbo or equivalent). The only other suggestion I have is shop consignment stores and sales. I’ve gotten great deals (both my cart covers and my travel Boppy were bought secondhand) on clothes and other baby gear. In fact most of G’s shoes up to size 5 were bought from a local consignment store. I’ve gotten some great brand-name clothes and shoes for a small fraction of their original cost. And in great condition.

So that’s it. I’m done for now. I’d really like a nap.