About Good Times with Jess

I started blogging shortly after I got access to the internet in 2004. My blog and I have been very single, dating, traveling, bartending, very married and now we’re growing a baby! Main characters in my blog: Captain – my husband Mom – my mom The Blurry Blob – my fetus Quick timeline of my life if you’re still able to tear yourself away from my blog: Born 1982 in Worcester, MA: Jessica Hart Burday, 8 pounds, some number of ounces, very long. Destined to be 6 feet tall. Newborn to 18 years old: 50 Barbie dolls collected. Millions of ballet classes and cheerleading practices attended. Some friends made. 18 to 21 years old: College! Umass Amherst: Lifeguarded in Disney World, studied abroad in France and was an active member of a safe sex theater troupe. 22 to 23 years old: New York City! Court TV internship, bartending jobs in Harlem and Times Square. 23 to 24 years old: San Diego! Lived and worked in a hostel. Slept in a bunk bed in a room with 11 other people. For a year. 24 to 25 years old: Traveled around the World! Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, India, Nepal, France: worked on a private yacht for a minute, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Turkey, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Costa Rica. 26 years old: Lived with my mom in Worcester, MA. My furniture still lives there. 27 years old: Took off traveling again: Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana. Other countries visited: Israel, Greece, Portugal, Spain, England, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway. 28 to 31 years old: Finally ready to sign a lease! Moved to Davis Sq, Somerville, MA outside of Boston. Bartended at Temple Bar in Cambridge, MA, experimented with online dating and blogged a lot. Went skiing and met Captain. 32 years old: Got engaged! Moved to Fort Point in Boston. Experimented with an office job. Quit office job. 33 years old: Married my amazing husband Captain and got knocked up one week later in Greece. Rest of my life: Stay tuned.

Bummin around

I’m not worried about germs. I wash my hands, but that didn’t really take off until I was an adult.

If something drops on the floor/ground/wherever gravity takes it, I’ll still eat it or give it back to Baby Bop.

When she was a newborn, I was hyper vigilant, but then Baby Bop became obsessed with shoes. One day she had Captain’s work shoe in her mouth, he says,

“Nothing like chewing on the laces that were dragging around the mens’ urinal today.”

Gross. But the dog is licking his butt and licking her face, why should I be worried about shoes?

Now Baby Bop has a bad case of the runs. No big deal except her butt doesn’t agree. It’s super red and sore. So sore that she cries when I hold her on my hip. That’s breaking my heart.

The doctor suggests some diaper free time. This is great in theory. We did lots of diaper free time when Baby Bop was 4 months old and liked to lie in one place / couldn’t move if she wanted to. Now if I put my fitbit on Baby Bop, she’d clock the daily 10,000 steps before morning snack. The idea of doing that diaperless is perplexing.

We give it a go. Seeing Baby Bop’s butt bouncing around the house is super cute. She squats down to pick up a toy. First round of poop on the rug. We clean up and resume.

Then it’s a big puddle of pee in the kitchen. I dash for a towel, but Booker gets there first and laps it all up. Gross, but super helpful.

Then it’s another big slop of poop in the kitchen. This is all within 30 minutes. Before I know what’s happening, Booker eats it all. As long as he doesn’t throw up later, this is perfect.

I find another stray pile of poop and point it out to Booker. Special treat for doggies!

Baby Bop poops on one of her toys. Booker to the rescue. Captain looks like he’s going to faint. He tells Booker,

“You better not kiss me later.”

We start chatting about our anniversary and the weekend we met. I didn’t know there could be any new details we hadn’t talked about. Captain says,

“I remember I was drinking a water. I asked you if I could get you a drink and you said water would be good. I was going to go get you one, but you said you’d just drink mine.”

“I don’t remember this at all.”

“I thought, who is this woman who drinks other people’s drinks?”

“Never mind that I was hoping to make out with you.”

“You were?!”

“Are you kidding?”

Here we are. Wedded bliss. Watching our dog eat our daughter’s diarrhea.

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The things mattresses go through

Sleep is precious. To have it be interrupted by a bad mattress is unacceptable. Ten years ago I could sleep on any old, bunk-bed, hostel mattress in a room with many people. Why I’m snobby about my mattress now is a mystery.

As fast as I fell in love with Captain, I fell in love with his Tempurpedic queen mattress in one night. Many mornings Captain would leave for work and I’d stay with his mattress.

Then Baby Bop and I took it over. Then we moved and bought a king bed frame. Moving was crazy time and money was flying. I decided we should try the mattress in a box that’s ordered online and returned for free within a 100 days. We could save a lot of money and we wouldn’t have to go mattress shopping with Baby Bop.

The mattress came and I immediately preferred Baby Bop’s 4 inch floor mat. Within a month I went back to sleeping on our original queen bed now in our guest room. Why suffer? Captain wasn’t happy with the mattress either, but the convenience of being close to our shower and his work clothes won out.

We needed a new mattress. Still opposed to mattress shopping with Baby Bop. I ordered another one online with free returns and called to return the first one. They scheduled Salvation Army to pick it up.

The truck pulls up and the guy asks me,

“We’re here to pick up a mattress?”

“Yeah.”

“Is it new, still in its plastic?”

“No.”

“We can’t take used mattresses… because you know what happens on them.”

Oh yes I do. She’s 14 months old and wreaking havoc as we speak.

After a phone call he takes the mattress and we’re on to the next. It’s not good. At this point Baby Bop is sleeping in her crib, so I steal her twin-size floor mat and put it on my side of the bed. I may be 4 inches higher than Captain, but at least we’re sleeping together. When I want to snuggle, I just roll over and gravity does the rest.

We have to go mattress shopping. My mom stays with Baby Bop and we go for date night at Jordan’s. Our date features some wonderful mattresses and a very nice sales lady.

We are on our third mattress in 4 months and this one’s a keeper. We’ll see what happens on it.

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Tooka-tooka-tooka! You’ll have to ask Baby Bop about that

I’m excited for Baby Bop to start talking. I’m imagining conversations that will never happen:

“Mama, I’m all done eating, please take my plate away before I dump everything on the floor.”

Because if I’m not paying attention, Baby Bop does a massive sweeping swipe with both arms and clears her tray in seconds. Food doesn’t just fall on the floor, it goes flying across the kitchen in every direction.

This is when having a dog is useful. The problem is Booker is getting old. I have to walk around to every piece of food on the floor and point it out to him. It’s not enough to make me want to clean it up myself, but close.

Baby Bop has three words: “Mama, Dada and quack quack.” Mama and Dada seem very useful. Quack quack? Makes me wonder if all I’m doing every day is making animal noises.

It’s not a random sound. I say,

“Baby Bop, what does a duck say?” And she says,

“Whack, whack.” Which is close enough and maybe even closer than quack. I’ve never heard a duck say exactly “Quack.”

I’m a big fan of making the animal sound as life-like as possible. For a pig I do an actual snort. After 6 months of snorting, I realized Baby Bop isn’t going to learn that. Or when I do my realistic rooster impression. She can’t hope to master that for years. So for all these months of animal noises, I should’ve been doing what I’ve done for the duck, and just saying “quack,” or “oink” or “cock-a-doodle-do.”

Now when I’m in the shower I start singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” It makes me want to shoot myself. Nothing against Old McDonald. I’m sure his farm is very nice, even if it’s a bit noisy.

It’s bad enough to sing these songs with Baby Bop. I do NOT need to sing them by myself. Then I go to sleep and dream about pigs. Cute little muddy pigs trying to eat me. It was a borderline nightmare. Old McDonald, you need to keep your animals under control.

When Baby Bop is really happy, she likes to say “tooka-tooka-tooka.” It seems to have no meaning except now Captain and I say it all the time. And without Baby Bop. Captain tells me,

“I fixed that problem at work today.”

“Awesome!”

“Then I said ‘tooka-tooka-tooka.'”

Tooka-tooka-tooka.

So Baby Bop can quack. I wish she could moo. I like cows. And if you’ve ever wondered what your face looks like when you’re making an animal noise, here’s mine “mooing.”

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Counting bodiless bunny heads

Baby Bop’s security bunny is desperate for a bath. Captain is on the side of washing it. I’m on the side of never washing it ever again until she leaves for college.

Nine months ago I read everything sleep related I could get my hands on and implemented as many tactics as possible. A lovey or security object was one strategy.

Baby Bop liked all the bodiless, animal heads attached to small blankets. I picked a super snuggly bunny she received as a gift and every time I nursed her, I placed it between us. It wasn’t clear it was having any effect. Other tactics, like the mobile, made her scream like a lunatic. Bunny didn’t make her scream. So there was that.

Over the next few months I washed Bunny a few times, it didn’t seem to make any difference. Who needs Bunny if my boob is next to her face all night?

A month before we were going to move, Bunny started looking like she could use a wash again. I decided that I’d wait until we were settled in our new home.

It’s 3 months since we moved and Bunny looks and smells awful. I mention my dilemma to Captain. He asks,

“Are you worried about Bunny holding up in the washing machine?”

“Oh no, she’s been washed several times before and came out great.”

“Well then I don’t see any reason not to wash her.”

Ah. But it’s not about that. As a 35-year-old with a 34 1/2-year-old security blanket knows,  it’s about how it SMELLS. Blankety hasn’t been washed in over a year and Captain would say she smells terrible. I say she’s approaching optimum great smelliness. I’ll give her another year just to make sure.

And if you wonder if Baby Bop can tell the difference between Bunny and 2 other identical, sparkling-clean, back-up bunnies, she can. At $40 a pop, that’s an $80 investment in bunnies. Turns out I picked an overpriced one.

In the pitch black of night I hand Baby Bop a fresh back-up bunny. She smells it and tosses it to the floor. I hand her Bunny. She takes a big sniff and bursts into small giggles and sighs. She buries her face into the grayish-brown (once white), bodiless, bunny head and goes to sleep.

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Guess which one is Bunny!

 

Reading on the toilet, must be genetic

My feelings of shame and sadness for our country are overwhelming. It’s horrifying that the president is giving racism and white supremacy even more power. I used to have no negative feelings about tiki torches. Can’t say that anymore.

So that’s poopy.

The other thing that’s poopy are Baby Bop’s diapers. Gross. I know this is the foreseeable future, but still, gross. And it would be one thing if Baby Bop were cooperative. She’s not.

I understand. If someone were poking and prodding around my privates, I’d be like “what the heck?” And of course I’d try to get my hand down there too. But once there is poop on Baby Bop’s hand, there will be poop on the wall, all over her body and in her mouth. GROSS.

When I don’t let her do that, she screams, kicks and makes me wish I’d just let her have a mouthful of poop.

At our most recent pediatrician visit the doctor reminds me,

“You still need to be doing the q-tip with vaseline between her labia.”

Ok. I hear you, but at what point in the screaming, leg kicking, poop grabbing diapering event is that supposed to happen?

So far I’m sticking to my plan of old diaper off, new diaper on. Fastest to the finish wins. We’ll worry about the labia later.

During diaper changes I hand her any variety of items with the hope it’ll keep her hands occupied long enough for me to remove all the poop. Every item goes flying.

The other day I get a big whiff of poopies. I tell Baby Bop,

“Diappie time.”

I pick her up and she holds on tight to the board book she’s enjoying. I plunk her down on the changing table. As anyone who has ever read a hardcover book knows, it’s challenging to do it lying down. Baby Bop manages fine. She opens it to the page of a dog.

“Whoooaaaa.”

She turns to a different page. It’s a bear.

“Whooooaaa.”

She turns to another page. A penguin.

“Oooohhh.”

I’m finishing up and she’s still occupied with the book. I have no idea why I didn’t think to offer a book on the changing table sooner. Especially considering I’m the queen of reading in the bathroom.

I’m open to challengers, but I have always enjoyed spending an hour or more reading on the toilet. When I was a kid and supposed to be asleep, I thought I was fooling my parents. Now that I’m a parent, it’s easy to see that it takes more than that to fool them.

I still hole up in the bathroom for an exorbitant amount of time. I can’t really explain it. It’s not super comfortable. One or both legs often fall asleep. I just shake them out and keep reading.

After many more successful diaper changes while Baby Bop reads her books, I recount my discovery to Captain. He declares,

“Must be a case of nature over nurture.”

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I’ll take my cuddles well-rested

I like my job. Most of the time. For the first 11 months I thought I’d made a mistake.

Before Baby Bop was born I wanted to stay home with her. Then around the 5 month mark I was so exhausted, delirious, and not sure how to solve it, that I declared,

“Maybe I’d be better off working.”

I don’t know how that was going to get me more sleep, but I’d long lost touch with the rational part of my brain.

Several months into my sleep deprived fog, I tell my therapist,

“I thought I’d like this more.”

“How many times do you get woken up a night?”

“Three to four.”

“When’s the last time you had a full night’s sleep?”

“Before Baby Bop was born.”

“So that’s really hard.”

“Yeah.”

We chat some more. She asks,

“You love your husband right?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Do you want to spend 24/7 with him?”

“No way!”

“So then why would you want to spend 24/7 with Baby Bop?”

“You’re right. I don’t.”

I felt better having figured that out, but spending all night with Baby Bop wasn’t changing until we moved.

Now all of sudden with nighttime and naps, she’s sleeping 15 hours a day without me. And while I have to stay close enough to keep the video monitor in range, I’ve got a good 700 foot radius of freedom.

Not only does the 700 feet of space make me like my job, I like Baby Bop more. I just miss adult conversations. There’s only so many times I can talk about piggy toes before I wonder if I’m losing my mind.  And piggy toes are the one body part Baby Bop can identify, so they must be a frequent topic of conversation.

In Boston, when I went out in public, I avoided eye contact and hoped no one talked to me. I had zero energy for random people. Now going to the grocery store is a social event. Old ladies are a big fan of Baby Bop and we like some of them.

For the first time I feel strong waves of nostalgia. Remember when she was so small? Remember when she screamed all the time? Ah.

My nostalgia is a luxury of being well-rested. When I was in my sleep-deprived stupor, people said,

“Cherish the cuddles, it goes by so fast!”

Screw you. You come cherish the cuddles at 3am and I’ll get some sleep.

A daytime cuddle is where it’s at.

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Birth control is turning out to be useful

Six weeks of sleeping through the night and counting. My marriage is on the up swing. Before this, I wasn’t sure how people ever ended up with another child.

Captain and I head out for dinner for my birthday. No Baby Bop. We walk toward my grocery assault vehicle. Captain declares,

“I’m not doing valet parking with a car seat in the back.”

His two-seater car it is. I don’t know if it was the car, my unconducive for breastfeeding dress, the drinks at the bar, but I look at Captain, he looks at me. This is amazing. He says,

“It’s like none of this has happened yet.”

And I know exactly what he means. “This” being house, car, baby, marriage. Yes. It’s almost possible to imagine none of this has happened yet. Except this normal bra I haven’t worn in two years is not comfy.

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All you can drink juice boxes

Baby Bop is a year old and we had a big party to prove it. It wasn’t a pink party. Baby Bop wore a pink dress and we had one pink balloon, but it was a Sesame Street theme. Captain’s favorite.

I’m not making that up. He’s a HUGE Sesame Street fan. The other day I came home and found him watching Sesame Street all by himself.

He tells me,

“I want to watch the classic episodes with Baby Bop.”

“Like the ones from the 1970’s?”

“Yeah, pre-Elmo.”

So for Father’s Day I gave Captain Sesame Street DVDs. Many episodes from before my time. I also gave him Bert and Ernie sunglasses. It’s hard to know where to draw the line with a theme.

The doctor told us that the glue on Baby Bop’s eyebrow would flake off in 5 days. Three weeks later it’s all still there. It appears we may be waiting for her eyebrow hairs to grow out. I complain about it to Captain, he suggests,

“What if we glue on a Bert unibrow?”

We are committed to this Sesame Street theme.

And so we broke in our new home. The party went smoothly and we have lots of leftover beer, wine and juice boxes. If you’re in the mood for any of those, feel free to stop by.

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Yes I bought these. And the Bert ones too.

 

Almost a year old and mostly intact

I don’t have a photo to prove it, but there was a doe and a fawn in my backyard the other morning. That means Thumper, Owl and Flower have got to be close by.

In other news, Baby Bop is almost a year old. That’s a whole year I’ve kept Baby Bop alive, although we had a close call last week.

Baby Bop is fast. I like to think I’m faster, but she proved me wrong. I was getting her dressed on the bed. Never doing that again. She crawled and as I was grabbing her, she slipped and bonked her head on the footboard of the bed.

I picked her up and blood started to ooze from her eyebrow. Seeing my baby bleeding sent me to a very panicky place. Holding Baby Bop, I did a lap around the house. I’m not sure what this accomplished besides getting blood everywhere. Then I sat down and applied pressure to the wound.

Baby Bop stopped crying and the gash stopped bleeding long before I stopped panicking. Being Sunday and it being my first child and it being her face and me thinking about a 16-year-old angry Baby Bop with a scar on her face, we head to the emergency room.

They ask me,

“How much does she weigh?”

“16 pounds 3 months ago.”

They put her on the scale. I mention,

“She has a wet diaper.” I’m not sure why I thought 3oz of urine mattered.

The doctor hands me a wet cloth and tells me to wipe the dried blood off the wound so he can get a better look. I do, but then she screams like a mad women which also makes it hard to get a look. He says,

“I think we can glue it.”

I like the sound of glue instead of stitches, but I don’t like the sound of “I think.” We go ahead with the glue.

It takes 3 full-size adults to pin down a 20 pound baby. She screams so hard she doesn’t make a sound. Then I put my boob in her mouth and she falls asleep. My boobs are almost out of service, so I should make the most of them while I can.

Baby Bop is 100% fine. She doesn’t even know she has eyebrows never mind that maybe now she only has one. I really hope the hair grows over it ok. As I beat myself up, my mom offers some reassurance,

“Eyebrows are for protecting the eyes, so it did a good job.”

Yes. Good job eyebrow, thank you. I will try not to rely on you in the future.

 

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Hello House

Expanding magic family. We’re like one of those tiny souvenirs that you add water to and it becomes a full size t-shirt, towel or family with a dog in the suburbs.

Yes I’ve had a dog all along, but he lived with my mom. Now he’s with us.

I’m a stereotype. In retrospect, I’ve fit plenty of other stereotypes, but this mom in the suburbs thing seems to be the most blatant.

Living in the city there was a part of my old single self that didn’t feel that far away. Now I’m a 30 minute drive with no traffic and a lifetime away.

I feel like a new woman. Is it the trees? The space in the house? Being down the street from Target? All of that. But better yet, Baby Bop is sleeping by herself, from 7pm to 6am, without a peep.

She is on a mat on the floor. The crib pisses her off. So there’s that. Whatever.

Putting this in writing could screw it all up, but after 11 months of it being all screwed up, I’d like to revel in the 13 nights and counting that we’ve got going.

Now I can sleep in the same bed with Captain and work on filling up the empty bedrooms. KIDDING! I have boxes to unpack first.

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She’s asleep on the floor. You do you Baby Bop!

 

Bye bye condo

This is it! Moving tomorrow.

The other day I paused for a minute and stared at the blank walls and empty shelves. Whoa. What’s that emotion I’m feeling? I can’t believe it. I’m nostalgic for the condo.

Not so nostalgic that I wouldn’t have moved yesterday, but nostalgic enough to make one of my eyes water just a little bit. Could also have been the dust.

At this point it’s easy to believe we’re moving. I’m drinking water out of a red solo cup because I decided to pack everything except for Baby Bop and my computer. It’s harder to believe we own a house and a yard. I’ve been in our new home twice since we closed on it and both times I kept waiting for a real estate agent to pop out from around a corner and shout,

“So what do you think?”

I love it. I’ll take it.

We won’t have internet set up until Saturday so if I don’t blog for another two weeks it won’t be because I don’t have internet.

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If your living room/play space is going to be consumed by boxes, they might as well be happy ones.

 

We’re moving! Probably!

We’re in the process of a buying a house. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m not sure what else to speak about, because it’s consuming my entire brain. That and wondering where Baby Bop is. It’s a small condo, but she’s a small person and fits in the tiny space between the toilet and the sink. I know this because I found her there.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’m freaking out. I’m not. Maybe it would help if I were. I’m half getting ready to move and half still in disbelief that this might happen. During the past 2 weeks I’ve packed 8 boxes. There are 2 weeks left and about 30-40 more boxes to go, so you do the math.

I ordered a bunch of boxes from UHAUL. They have handles. At first I thought this was great, then Baby Bop managed to get her little arms through the handles into the taped up boxes and started pulling things out that I just packed. If at some point Baby Bop ends up in a box, I’m going to blame Garfield.

I’m trying to pack in some sort of organized fashion. As I drag things out of every nook and cranny, there are things I’m not sure what to do with. Streamers for my bike? Pack them. An unopened bottle of whiskey? Pack it? Open it? Girls Gone Wild VHS? Take a photo, text some people and wait.

Captain made a decision to hold onto this when he moved into the condo in 2009, so I doubt he’s going to want to part with it now. I ask him,

“Are we packing the Girls Gone Wild VHS?”

“Of course!”

Silly me.

I tell a couple girlfriends. One responds,

“Oh I loved that series, that used to be on every week right?”

“No, it’s not a TV series, it’s women flashing people.”

“Oh no, I was thinking of 90210.”

I ask Captain if he minds me blogging about it. He says,

“Go for it. For some reason I’m not ashamed.”

I noticed.

“Maybe it’s cause there’s no way to watch it.”

And maybe when Baby Bop is old enough to ask about it, she’ll be so bored by the explanation of what a VHS is that we won’t have to explain anything else.

The packing continues.

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Don’t tell Baby Bop where I am

Baby Bop has two teeth. She’s had them for a couple of months now, but they didn’t pose a problem until a few days ago.

At night Baby Bop likes herself a little comfort nursing. It’s her thing. I could do without it, but at 3am it’s not worth a fight.

I scooch toward the other side of the bed. In her sleep Baby Bop scooches too. She throws a leg over mine, then an arm and then she sniffs for a nipple. Yes, even if I keep them covered up. I duck, evade and jump over her to the other side of the bed to wait as she starts scooching again.

It was manageable until the other night when she clamped down with her teeth. She could’ve bitten harder, but it was hard enough. I snatch my nipple away from her,

“OW!!!”

She giggles and tries to nurse again. Wary, but not sure what else to do, I give her my boob back. She does it again.

“That hurts mommy!”

She lets out a full belly laugh and tries to get my boob in her mouth again. I’m pretty sure there’s a saying about this: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a million more times and I’m going to have really sore nipples.” Or something like that.

She falls asleep. My breasts are safe for a little awhile. Google tells me that when baby bites and mom yells, some babies are so shocked they never bite again. Other babies think mom’s reaction is really funny and keep biting.

Of course Baby Bop falls in the second category. Pretty soon I’m going to be sleeping on the couch with Captain.*

*Thanks to a good mom friend for this idea.

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Baby Bop learns to swim. Just kidding!

I love swimming and I love my baby. I ponder combining the two. Lots of people do it, but how? And is it worth it? I went to baby swim class when I was 6 months old and now I’m a retired lifeguard, so that proves it works.

When Baby Bop was taking 3 naps a day. We’d just about get ready to go somewhere, arrive and then it would be time for another nap. Now we’re on 2 naps a day and we fit a little more life in.

Boston University has a baby swim class that works well with our schedule. I email them,

“How do parents manage to get themselves and their babies changed for swim lessons?”

“Hi Jessica, We actually have family locker rooms by the pool specifically for families attending lessons with kids. In those, you’ll find private space to change, as well as changing tables if needed. I hope this helped, and please feel free to reach out with any further questions! Best, FitRec Member Services”

‘Dear FitRec Member Services, I don’t understand how I get my baby and myself dressed at the same time and where my wet, slippery, screaming baby goes while I’m getting dressed. I know I don’t know for sure that my baby will be screaming, but I’d say I’m 90% sure she will be. Thanks, see you soon!’

The first swim lesson I drag my stroller into a family locker room. I feel good knowing I have a safe spot to put my screaming baby. She didn’t scream until the swim lesson was over, so there’s that.

From getting ready to go, to getting there, to getting ready in the locker room, to getting dressed afterward, to getting home: took 3 hours for a 30 minute swim lesson.

The second swim lesson, I notice plenty of the moms are doing it with no stroller. I ask for their secret: a second towel to lay the baby on the floor. I try this. When Baby Bop decides she’s done screaming, she is off and crawling, delighted to find stray hair balls while I put my wet butt back in my underpants. Drying off is a luxury there’s no time for.

Third swim lesson. I swaddle Baby Bop in the towel super tight and lay her on the locker room floor. She doesn’t move a muscle. All the moms start exclaiming,

“Oh she’s so calm!”

“Wow, she just lays there!”

Nope. That’s not correct. She’s calm as long as every part of her body is physically restrained. She proves me right. The minute I loosen the towel to get her dressed she starts to scream.

Fourth swim lesson I feel like a pro. Baby Bop barely screamed and I even dried my butt a little.

The young woman teaching the swim lessons is very good and very serious. She tells us,

“Ok it’s time to float on our backs.”

“Now it’s time to float on our tummies.”

“Ok now we’re going to sing ‘Ring Around the Rosie.’ I looked it up and I learned an additional verse we can sing. If anyone knows any other verses please let me know.”

“Now it’s time for the lazy river.”

I tell Captain, he exclaims,

“Are there college kids floating around drinking?”

“No. It’s not that kind of lazy river.” Although I wouldn’t mind a drink.

Near the end of the lesson the instructor tells us,

“Now you can put your babies underwater, but it’s not required to pass this class.”

Pass this class? Who’s worried about passing this class? I’ll declare us passed if we complete this experience and don’t leave any floaters in the pool.

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Me! Modeling my new bathing suit, 1983.

Dear house, your photos look great, do you want to meet up? I’ll come to you. I’m still seeing other houses, but I’d love to see where this goes

The house hunt is on. It’s been on in theory since we knew we were pregnant, but it got on in earnest a couple of months ago when Baby Bop made it clear she’s not going to stay in one place for long.

I could be fooling myself, but I have a dream that we’ll all sleep better with more than one bedroom. Baby Bop would argue that she sleeps great, but she’s a bed hog. She sleeps on her back with her arms splayed out like she’s the letter “T.” A 9-month-old baby takes up most of our queen-size bed.

House hunting is like online dating. It’s a drag. The photos, or lack of, are very deceiving. If there are no photos of any bathrooms, assume the worst. If there’s no mention of a great neighborhood, it’s probably on a highway. If it says, “it has potential,” it’s probably a tear-down.

So no matter how good a house looks online, you have to meet in person ASAP. No point daydreaming about where I’m going to sit outside with my coffee and attempt to blog, while Baby Bop plays in a pile of dirt. I have fond memories of playing outside and Captain has fond memories of playing in piles of dirt.

The good thing about online dating is that after meeting three times, you’re free to walk away and it does not require the biggest financial investment of your life. If it does, you’re being scammed.

It’s all a little scary, a little exciting and a little overdue. I’m ready to move my stuff out of my mom’s garage, living room, kitchen, basement, attic and hallways. Don’t forget about my in-law’s basement and attic. Thanks everybody.

And I’ve got my eye on a new king-size bed. Baby Bop, the queen is all yours.

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Too much beer? Just go easy on the carrots

The longer Baby Bop is around, the harder it is for me to remember that I had a childless life for 34 years. I know it happened, but it gets fuzzier every day. One thing I used to do was ski. I’m reminded of that every time Baby Bop and I sit on the toilet and stare at my skis.

Two weeks ago I had an amazing ski weekend with my friends. Baby Bop was there because I need her to empty my boobs, but other than that, my mom and Captain did everything baby.

Even sitting on the chairlift was pleasant. Sometimes I was with my friends and sometimes with random people. One lift ride I got on with two middle-aged women. And as I’m writing this, I googled “middle-aged” to see if I made three, but it looks like I’m off the hook for a minute.

The women were chatting,

“I love my farm share, I just get way too much of the same vegetables and I don’t know what to do with it all. My kids sure aren’t eating it.”

Her friend nods. Farm-share lady continues,

“And there are always so many potatoes and I need to stay away from root vegetables.”

“Why?”

“Root vegetables have a lot of sugar.”

“I didn’t realize that.”

“Yeah, sweet potatoes? Carrots too.”

“Huh.”

“The other problem is that I have a full share and some people have half shares and the other day they gave me a half share.”

Didn’t you just say you have too many vegetables? I wipe my snotty nose on my mitten. Is this my future?

A few ski runs later I get on the lift with two teenage boys, maybe early twenties, but it’s getting hard to tell as I approach middle age.

One boy pops open a beer. The other one declares,

“Running into that tree hurt.”

His friend hands him the beer. He adds,

“I’m so drunk.”

Skiing, trees and alcohol. One of these things is not good with the others. Yes, Sesame Street is a part of my life now.

The ring leader with the beer offers empathy,

“Well I was so drunk last night I don’t even remember being on the lazy river.”

I head back to the hotel. I like my beer in the hot tub with Captain. I look at Captain. It’s like old times. This is how Baby Bop got started. Then we head to dinner the two of us. I feel like a new woman.

Captain tells me,

“You’re back!”

Yes, there’s still hope that I exist. I’m living somewhere between chugging beers on the chairlift and swearing off sweet potatoes.

These all seemed relevant.

Aggressive pre-snowstorm shoppers and a crazy pregnant lady

Going grocery shopping before a snow storm is never a good idea. But then when the snow storm hits and you don’t run out of Cheez-Its, it was worth it.

Baby Bop and I make our way through the store. She grabs anything. I try to be a little more discriminating. The mid-weekday grocery crowd is slow-moving. There are several people pushing around oxygen tanks.

One lady checking out has eight loaves of white bread and that’s it. She must be doing snow storm shopping for the ducks.

I start chatting with a pregnant woman. There’s a pet carrier in the cart. She tells me,

“I just got this puppy!”

“Adorable!” ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!

I screamed that in my head, but maybe it was also plastered on my face, because she adds,

“I’m due in 7 weeks, so maybe it was a mistake.”

Maybe.

Baby Bop is wearing pink and blue. I like all colors, but I especially like pink. Baby Bop’s blue eyes look good with blue. And so attired we head for the yogurt aisle. I’m bent over examining the selection. A woman raises her voice at me,

“Is that a boy or a girl?”

“Excuse me?” Why does this lady sound aggressive? She continues in a scolding tone,

“I can’t tell if your baby is a boy or a girl because of the pink and blue.”

I’m sorry she’s not wearing a t-shirt that says “I have a vagina.”

 

 

 

 

Nature vs Nurture. I’m going to toss a lot up to nature

Will the truth survive four years of this? Will we recognize it after it’s attacked day after day? I have no new insights, but I need to acknowledge the pile of poop in front of me before moving onto Baby Bop’s cuter, more manageable poops.

I got my parenting job the same way I got my first bartending job. I BS’d my way into it.

My mom’s friend’s nephew was a bartender and he agreed to teach me how to bartend with no intention of helping me get a job. My first day with him a guy walked up to me at the bar and said,

“You’re new here.”

“Oh I don’t work here, So-and-so is just training me.”

“I have a restaurant and I need a bartender.”

“Oh.”

“Have you bartended before?”

“No.” Didn’t this guy hear what I just said? “I’m learning.”

“Have you bartended before?”

Ooooh. “Why yes. Yes I have.”

And off I went to my first bartending job.

Fifteen years later: do you have a uterus?

Why yes I do.

Alright. Let’s see what happens.

I BS’d myself into thinking I knew what I was doing.

“I took care of my baby brother.” I was five.

“I babysat plenty.” At 15 I rang in the New Year with a baby who had just fallen asleep on his parents’ bed. This should’ve served as a warning.

“I’ve read so many books.” I have. But reading about feeding solid foods is very different from watching your child get prunes everywhere but in her mouth. Baby Bop, don’t be mad at me when you’re still constipated later. I tried.

Trying. Maybe I’ll try this. Or I’ll try that. Or I read this on some obscure site, after hours of Googling. It’s worth a try.

My hormones have provided some basic parenting instincts, like the desire to keep my child alive, even though I want to eat her. But they aren’t helpful with the nuances, like what to do when my daughter does pelvic thrusts the entire time I’m trying to change her diaper.

Having more children would provide perspective on what’s personality and what’s parenting skills. But I am not trying to have a comparison anytime soon.

This morning Captain’s bare chest was tempting. I slapped it, then Baby Bop slapped it. That’s parenting.

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I’m confused about how this baby’s hair, ears and eyes are so clean.

The fun fact about cribs you wish you knew when you were a baby

Sleep. Elusive sleep.

All I’ve heard my whole life is what a great sleepy baby I was. I slept through the night almost immediately and took two two-hour naps. My mom fed me, put me in my crib and walked away.

When Captain was a baby, he had a very hard time sleeping and remembers his parents bouncing him. He remembers being bounced. I’m repeating that, because it scares me.

In the beginning I had a lot of hope. Every night I thought to myself,

“Tonight’s my night! I got the naps right, the temperature right, the clothing right, the feeding right, the je ne sais quoi right.”

It didn’t matter.

Talk to anyone with a baby older than your baby and they’ll tell you,

“It gets better.”

This is true. But it’s not a straight uphill trajectory to Better Land. Or at least not with Baby Bop. We’re at 7 months now. It’s the best. Month 3 and Month 5 were the worst.

Month 3 was when she stopped breastfeeding during daylight hours and screamed if she could see anything. Anything. There had to be pitch blackness, motion and even better if her limbs were restrained. So her life in the sling began.

Then Month 5. She stopped sleeping for the four-hour chunk of time she’d been giving me her whole life and decided to wake up every hour. After a few weeks of sleep deprivation torture. I tell Captain,

“I’m not going to make it. I need you to sleep on the couch, so I can have Baby Bop in bed with me for the whole night.”

And that sounds really calm when I read it here, but it wasn’t.

After one night of that, I thought to myself,

“Wow, we were up every hour, but I feel rested.” Not having to stand up and get Baby Bop out of her crib, to put my boob in her mouth, was a miracle. I ask Captain,

“Will you sleep on the couch one more night?”

So two months of Captain sleeping on the couch later, I feel great! I ask Captain,

“What do you want for Valentine’s Day?”

“I want to sleep with you in the bed.”

Mmm. Sounds nice. So we’re working on getting Baby Bop back in her crib. I’m employing all sorts of methods, tricks, advice, witchcraft. Whatever works. And then I read this in one of my many parenting books:

“If diapers and pajamas don’t foil them… some baby girls adopt a version of rocking which rhythmically rubs their vulva against the crib mattress or bars.”

If Baby Bop knew this, she’d like her crib a whole lot better.

So while I leave the book near Baby Bop in case she wants to read it, we work on making our bed safe for an increasingly mobile girl. It was either put our mattress on the floor and lose precious storage space or put rails on the side of the bed. We put up rails.

I tell Captain,

“I like the rails! They make the bed feel really cozy.”

“You’re all set for the nursing home.”

Guess I should stop rubbing in the fact that I’m enjoying sleeping in the bed. But don’t feel too bad for Captain. It’s a memory foam couch and it cost a lot more than our bed.

The other night I startle awake to Captain standing next to the bed. I ask him,

“What’s going on?”

“I’m trying to see where everybody is.”

No one is in the crib and everybody, Baby Bop and I, are in the bed. This crib thing isn’t happening overnight.

Last night, with Baby Bop asleep in the bed, I collapse on the couch to enjoy my couple hours of baby free time. I start with my favorite activity, scrolling through photos of Baby Bop. Captain admires the photos and declares,

“I want to wake her up and play with her.”

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Bed rails!

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Baby Bop’s Valentine’s Day present for Captain: Chocolate poop

No Ban No Wall, Baby Bop agrees

I have an unshakeable queasiness. I go about my daily life: brushing my teeth, taking care of my baby and it stabs me again and again. The psychological weight of this evil White House administration is constant.

Baby Bop agrees, so I’m filling her calendar with protests. We didn’t make it to the one at Logan airport because it was past our bedtime, but we made it to one yesterday and looks like there’s one on Wednesday that’ll fit in great with our nap schedule.

Meanwhile on the home front, physical therapy is winding down. Am I like new? No. If I were posting my vagina for sale on Amazon I would need to label it as “good.”  As in it has had some solid use, there are small markings and folds, but it’s in usable condition. I could try passing it off as “very good.” As in it has had minimal use, is unmarked, undamaged and shows limited signs of wear. But we all know that’s not true.

After my regular appointment with my physical therapist, she hands me over to a 25-year-old guy to help me go through my exercises. He has an even younger trainee with him. This guy looks like he just started sleeping through the night. He might be 21.

I do my squats. The 25-year-old attempts small talk,

“How’s the sleep going?”

Once this guy has to feed a baby at 3am for months on end, then we can talk about sleep.

Out of nowhere a random woman walks up to Baby Bop’s stroller and starts touching her. My insides recoil and I almost drop the 17 pound weight that’s standing in for Baby Bop. The woman notices my concern and reassures me,

“I have a baby too.”

Part of me softens, but the other part of me screams, well then what the heck are you thinking?

I try to focus on my squats. The 21-year-old looks over the list of exercises I’m supposed to do and asks the 25-year-old,

“So what’s the injury?”

“Childbirth or something like that.”

Something like that? What is something like childbirth?

Baby Bop preferred to protest from inside my coat. Don’t worry, she made her voice heard.