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.

Baby Gear: Diapers and Wipes

So now that we are almost out of newborn-sized diapers, I thought I’d write a review of the diapers and wipes we’ve tried so far. This amounts to three brands: Pampers, Huggies, and Parent’s Choice (Wal-mart’s brand). These will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts with 5 being the ideal diaper/wipe and 1 being something I wouldn’t even give as a gag gift because they shouldn’t ever be regifted to anyone that might attempt to actually use them for their intended purpose. Commentary will follow ratings. We’re using hearts because my blog thing doesn’t offer stars. Oh, and you might not want to refrain from eating while you read this. Unless you can read about poop and eat without gagging at the same time.

Diapers (Newborn Size)

Pampers Swaddlers ♥♥♥♥♥
Pros: They fit very well – nice and slim, without getting bunchy in the front. They hold a LOT. Like all the way through the night, lot. Like 11-12 hour lot. Now, they stop resembling diapers at this point and kind of look like over filled water ballons but we only had 1 leg leak one night in these. Also they have that cute yellow to blue “wetness indicator.” Although I don’t normally need a stripe to tell me if the diaper is wet. Pretty much because his diapers are always wet. Oh, they also absorbed the poop mostly too. They have a weird weave material (see also in “Cons”) between the baby booty and the absorbent core. By the way, breastmilk baby poop, if you are unfamiliar, is pretty liquidy with a “seedy texture.” Basically it has little chunks and is the color of bright mustard. Hopefully you’re not eating a turkey sandwich right now.

Cons: The weave stuff holds the seedy parts of the poop onto his skin so it dries out some and is harder to get off. Also they are the most expensive of the diapers and it’s hard to find coupons for them.

Bottom Line (Get it??): These were by far my favorite of the three brands we tried. But due to the cons they cannot be the ideal diaper so they are docked half a heart. Sorry, Pampers. {Edit: I have since gifted Pampers back their other heart half. I don’t care about the cons. After revisiting other options, they’re my favorites by far.}

Huggies Snugglers ♥♥♥½
Pros: Stretchy bands at top and back that give a nice snug fit. They have a good umbilical cord cutout that would have been nice if he’d have been a little bigger when he was born. We had to fold the band down for awhile because he was so little even though he was in Preemie size. By the time he got big enough to unfold, his belly button was all tiny and cute and sorta half-outey and we didn’t need the cutout. Sorry… his belly buttion is totally cute though. These also have good absorbency and a wetness indicator. They do a good job absorbing the poop and don’t  seem to leave dried out spots on his booty as much as the Pampers. These were best when he was skinny as the stretchy spots, now that his belly is a little bigger, don’t lay very flat and end up with a boodgy (yes, that is a perfectly acceptable made-up word when it comes to diapers) spot in the front. This gets worse when wet.

Cons: The boodgy spot, of course. Also, even though these have an elastic-y back band to them, we still had a blowout on an overnight diapering. Plus, the tapes on the front are skinny and accentuate the “waist” effect on him. And now that he’s bigger he umbilibal cutout makes them a little short in front, resulting in a less than ideal fit.

Bottom Line: The Huggies are mid-priced and generally you can find coupons more readily for them but I prefer the fit and function of the Pampers.

Parent’s Choice
Pros: *Sigh* They were cheap. That’s really the only pro I can give you. They were thin? Sooo…. I could stash more in the diaper bag? Really, I can’t give you much more than that. And that’s a stretch.

Cons: They leaked. Poop, pee, didn’t matter. They absorbed to a point and then just quit and ran out the sides. Or the back. Other than the night leaking (after he’d been in a diaper ALL night) we hadn’t had any other leaking issues until we tried these. The poop just sat on top of the diaper and didn’t absorb in at all. The fit was also terrible. I had a hard time getting the tapes on the front right. Almost like there wasn’t enough to the top of the diaper. They are super thin and papery feeling. *shudders* I don’t like ’em. But I hate to just toss them since I know he won’t be in NB size much longer. So I just change him more often. Unless he poops a lot at one go and then we change clothes too. And forget about leaving him in them overnight. *more shuddering* He’d be swimming by morning. *gack* So we use the few Pampers we have left for nights and these during the day.

Bottom Line: I would never buy these again. If the husband hadn’t had tossed the receipt for them we would have taken them back as they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I am not 100% satisfied. But I’m receiptless so I’m stuck with them. And I’m cheap so I don’t want to throw them away. And giving them to someone would just be mean. {Edit: I lied. After a day of two leaky diapers, three onesies and two pairs of pants, I’m done with these things. I think we are going to attempt to take them back regardless of the receipt situation. And a friend of mine’s sister just gave us a bunch of leftover diapers from her baby… whew!} {Update: Wal-mart took them back, no problem.}

[Side note: Just in case you thing I’m a terrible Mommy for leaving my baby in the same diaper all night long, a suggestion was made to me by another NICU mom (that she got from a NICU nurse) to not change him during the night because it adds stimulation he doesn’t need and will hinder him from going back to sleep as fast. We were having trouble with him taking forever to fall back asleep during night-time wake ups. He might do better now but I’m not willing to risk it. No baby booty has been harmed by this experiment so we’ll just keep on keeping on.]

By the way, remember when they had separate diapers for girls and boys? And the absorbent areas were in different places? And the tabs were sticky instead of velcro-y? Weird.

Ok! Now it’s time for wipes. Conveniently we tried out wipes from the same brands.

Wipes

Pampers Sensitive ♥♥
Pros: Unscented and gentle. These are pretty large when unfolded so one will generally work if you can master the whole wipe and fold thing.

Cons: These are super thin and flimsy. They do the job, but I find them hard to work with because they are so thin. It would probably be easier for me to just use two wipes each time but dangit, I’m cheap. Although sometimes I have no choice.

Bottom Line: I don’t prefer these. I’m interested to try another type of Pampers wipe to see if maybe just the sensitive ones have this problem but I don’t see that the sensitive part does anything special for me except not add another something stinky to the process.

Huggies Natural Care ♥♥♥♥
Pros:  Medium-thick and decent sized. While they are thick they are still pliable and seem to do a good job of cleaning him up.

Cons: I don’t really have a bunch of cons for these except they aren’t as thick as the other wipes we’ve used and they are more expensive, even if they are not terribly expensive.

Bottom Line: These are good wipes and I definitely like them better than the Pampers ones.

Parent’s Choice Unscented ♥♥♥♥♥
Pros: These are really thick really heavy duty wipes. I was very pleasantly surprised when we used these. I got a small package at the shower and these have turned out to be my favorite wipes so far. They come in unscented as well as regular scent (why would I want scented wipes?), they can be bought in large boxes like the other brands, and they are cheaper. Wins all around.

Cons: I really don’t have any.

Bottom Line: We will probably return the other box of Pampers wipes we have and get these instead. Because the Huggies ones aren’t a bad second to these we will keep the ones we already have. Yay for finding a less expensive option!

So that’s it for my review on NB diapers and their brand’s wipes counterparts. Tune in next time after we broaden our horizons and try new things.

So THAT’S How They Do It!

As amateur photographers (read: people with fancy cameras who know enough to be dangerous) and broke ones at that, my Mom and I decided we would do our own baby photos. Newborn sessions are expensive and at this stage of the game with being out of work for an extended length of time I can’t afford much that’s not a necessity. Chocolate is a necessity by the way. I didn’t have any for over 7 months so I have a lot of catching up to do.

We bought some fabric for drapes/backgrounds and started with Easter pics. Since I couldn’t take Baby G to see the Easter Bunny (unwashed masses) I bought a bunny hat & diaper cover set off Etsy in order to make my very own EB. So stinkin’ cute! The first attempt went pretty well, working with the light we had. Which, this Spring, is not proving to be much light at all. The bunny hat, although “newborn” sized, was HUGE so we had to stragetically clothespin the backside of the hat so it didn’t look ridiculous. So, clothed in a diaper and diaper cover (complete with fluffy bunny tail) and a pinned-together bunny hat, we loaded Baby G into a wicker basket and proceeded to snap a bunch of pictures while continually trying to keep him from falling out. Lots of shushing and patting and tucking little feet back under resulted in a few good shots. Then we moved to another room and got a few more. He actually cooperated relatively well except for the few times he hooked his toes at the edge of the basket and tried to launch out. Squishy soggy newborn shoot this was not.

The next day (actually Easter) we took some more pictures of Baby G in his Easter outfit (which was so sweetly provided by my cousin). It was a little big as it was a newborn size so he looked a little saggy baggy in it but they still came out cute. Maybe not professional quality but still sweet just the same. We waited until the next day to get pictures with his Easter basket as the shoot had to be abandoned in order to wash his outfit which he managed to both barf and pee on. He tends to pee a lot when he’s getting his diaper changed. He also tends to pee  a lot while in the bathtub. And he waits until you uncover him to do it. Stinker. Anyway. We got several pictures of him with his basket and with his Easter toys. Again, they might not be exactly what we envisioned beforehand but I think we did well for what we had to work with (again with the crappy lighting outside).

My favorite photo session so far has been the naked booty session. The biggest thing with taking pictures of babies is expecting messes and their general noncooperation. You have to keep the room nice and warm so that they are super comfy and the photographer and any one else in the room is so hot they’d also like to run around naked. Which is much less acceptable when you’re an adult. So we just sweated through the process. We started trying to take pictures of him on a stack of towels but he wasn’t asleep enough and kept trying to launch himself off. Seeing  a trend here? He has really strong legs. So we scrapped that idea for the time being and decided to do pictures of him in my arms. I was wearing a black shirt, sitting in front of  a black drape. He had already peed a fountain all over the changing pad when I took his diaper off so I figured he was good for awhile. I should have adjusted my figures. He ended up peeing on me 3 or 4 times during the whole shoot. We ended up doing an entire load of dark laundry due to baby pee (and poop). We started with him in my arms but couldn’t get him to settle down enough to make it work. The peeing started then and he peed down my arm. Hilarity ensued. He seemed pretty content with it too. I guess if you’re a baby it doesn’t matter were (or who on) you pee. I laid him in my lap at one point (probably to wipe up pee) and we realized the way he was propped made his positioning perfect to get booty pictures. He’s still pretty small (around 6 1/2 lbs at this shoot) so he still has a tiny little butt. I wish we could have gotten pictures of his little booty when he was first born. It was the tiniest thing!! So we tried to get him to face the camera but he just wouldn’t cooperate so the pictures we ended up with are him facing away (which worked out great because he could suck on his paci that way). I would tuck his feet up, Mom would focus, then I’d move my hand away quickly and she’d snap the picture before he could shift his feet. Once during the process he stood up on all fours. The kid is not even born yet and he’s standing up on all fours. He also farted at one point, shooting poop across the room. Very glamorous. Lots more hilarity. Ok, so maybe not across the whole room but it went far enough that our cleverly placed waterproof pad on the floor didn’t cut it. *sigh* I think we laughed so hard we almost wet our own pants. We do that a lot. Not the pants wetting part… the laughing part.

In the end we got a few good shots and had quite a bit of fun. We are learning a lot as we go and each shoot we do a little better. There are lots more things we’d like to do but getting up before noon seems to be trouble for me lately and we haven’t had much natural light in the past few days either. But hopefully we’ll be able to get in a few more shots before he gets too big. Which he’s working on faster than I’d like.