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.

Once upon a time Baby Bop had a great-grandfather

My 91-year-old grandpa died. It sucks for a lot of reasons, but his being dead is not one of them.

After several days of insisting I wasn’t going to the funeral in upstate New York, I decide to show up for my mom.

I head to the rental car agency. We own four cars: a family car, the Toyota Highlander, a 14-year-old Nissan sports car, and two trucks, one from the 70’s and one from the 90’s, Captain’s babies. Out of all of these vehicles the only one that works and takes a car seat is the Highlander and the only one I drive is the Highlander.

At the rental car agency, the customer next to me is spouting off all of his car knowledge at a volume meant to encompass everyone whether they like it or not. I avoid showing any signs that I know he exists.

The rental agent offers me a hybrid. He asks,

“Are you going far?”

“Upstate New York.”

“So the hybrid will be perfect.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

The schmo next to me asks,

“What’s in upstate NY besides a bunch of cows?”

“My dead grandpa.”

Once we get there, my mom, brother and I head out for pizza and beers. We may be staying at a Super 8, but it’s the nicest hotel in town and I have a room to myself. This is my first night away from Baby Bop.

I propose a toast,

“To never coming here ever again.”

I really hope this is true.

The next day we sit by my Grandpa’s dead body for three hours while very few people who aren’t family stop by. This is what happens when you let your friends die first.

Finally it’s over. I’ve never been happier to return home.

Now all that’s in upstate NY is a bunch of cows and my grandpa’s dead body waiting in a fridge for the ground to thaw. The funeral director promised to let us know when the burial is.

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This wasn’t the funeral I was at, but we did take a selfie. 

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How many bunnies do we need to get some sleep?

Baby Bop’s sleeping has gone off the rails and is a big ol’ train wreck. I have no idea why it was so good for so long and now I have no idea why it’s bad again. Captain’s theory is that we never should’ve talked about how good it was.

At 7am, after waking up at 5am, Baby Bop says,

“Mommy, sleepy.”

Tell me about it.

We’ve been screwed up for 6 weeks. For the past 3 weeks we just maintained status quo, i.e. bed sharing so we could save our sanity because we knew going away would negate any progress.

We went skiing in Killington. Skiing was awesome. We all got the Norovirus. So that was the worst. But if I have to have a puking toddler, being in a hotel room that I’ll never smell again is not a terrible idea.

Now we’re home, feeling better and still not sleeping great. Except now Baby Bop is used to sleeping with both of us and not just one. She woke up screaming even though I was right next to her and kept saying,

“Dada? Dada?”

I settle her down and she reaches her arm out for where Captain was when we were on vacation. We were in a queen bed, so we were on top of each other.

At any given moment Baby Bop’s head was on Captain and her feet were on me. Or vice versa. Feet sound preferable because they don’t weigh as much as her head, but you’d rethink that when there’s a foot doing leg presses against your jaw.

Captain says,

“I think we should wash her bunnies.”

Agreed.

The only reason I wasn’t washing them, was because she was sleeping through the night. No point in keeping vomit-scented bunnies now.

I wash one at a time. She’s attached to two. There’s a third, untouched, entirely new back-up bunny on the shelf. While one is in the wash Baby Bop asks for her bunnies. I hand her one of her usual ones. She tells me,

“Two.”

“Yes. We only have one right now.”

She points to the brand new one on the shelf.

“Two.”

Hard to argue with that. I hand it to her. She looks at it. Looks at me. Takes a big sniff and wrinkles her forehead in consternation. It smells way too clean. She says,

“Bunny?”

“Yup, bunny.”

She gives me a look like she wants me to know I’m not pulling one over on her and gives the new bunny a hug.

Now both bunnies are washed and the new one is stored out of sight. She tried to have three. When I emerge from her room with the new bunny, Captain says,

“You got it away.”

“I’m not having her attached to 3 bunnies.” Then I’d have to buy 3 more bunnies to have back-ups and that would run us up another $120. Sleep may be out of control, but I’m standing my ground with the bunnies.

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Glasses? No problem. Haircut? NO THANK YOU

So after all that, Baby Bop’s glasses are a non-issue. She wears them 90% of the time. What I didn’t anticipate is how often I’d have to wash them. When she’s tired, instead of rubbing her eyes, she rubs her glasses. She loves a big ol’ slobber from Booker and he sees no reason to avoid her glasses.

Food on her fingers? Rub it on the glasses. Singing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes?” Smear fingers all over glasses. Demand that Mommy and Dadda wear their glasses? Inspect her glasses. And I knew I was cleaning them constantly when on the second day of wearing them, Baby Bop was “washing” them in her sink.

Now the best part is that Captain doesn’t want to wear his $8 fashion pair, but Baby Bop isn’t going to stand for that. She sees him without them and she declares,

“Dadda! Gasses!” (The “L”  and in Baby Bop’s version is silent.)

And really how can he argue with that?

I’m tired of wearing mine too. Baby Bop seems to be the only one who’s NOT struggling with glasses. Her and Cookie Monster.

So really all my anticipation about how Baby Bop was going to manage, should’ve been directed toward how Captain and I are going to manage. And it’s a new aesthetic to get used to too. The full head strap that keeps her glasses on her head is very necessary, but not great for her baby mullet.

Her hair could use a trim from someone besides me, despite how much I’ve tried to learn from YouTube.

Captain watches a YouTube video on changing our dryer vent from the back to the side and he does it in the tiny bathroom, in a few hours, on the first try.

I watch a YouTube video on trimming bangs, and after 5 or 6 separate attempts over the past year, I’ve yet to be happy with the outcome. It’s always a case of,

Oops, a little uneven, I’ll take some more from this side.

Baby Bop moves.

Gah! I need more from the other side.

She moves again.

I give up. I have to stop or else there won’t be any bangs left. A couple months go by and I get to try again. We’re at the point of me trying again or paying $20 for the pleasure of torturing her at a salon and hoping I can immobilize her long enough for them to do it.

I’m leaning toward the torture.

But yay for seeing! And Baby Bop likes what she sees. The first time she looked in the mirror with her glasses she stared at herself for a long time and kept turning from side to side. Then she gave a big smile and said,

“Gasses!”

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Potty or extra large cup holder? Who’s to say?

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You get a pair! You get a pair! Everybody gets glasses!

Happy New Year! We’re all starting the year off with glasses. Cookie Monster has a pair. Baby doll has a pair. The giant stuffed panda has a pair and Captain, who doesn’t need glasses, has an $8 fashion pair from Amazon. All because Baby Bop needs glasses.

For months I’ve wondered if Baby Bop’s left eye was doing its own thing. Sometimes it looked like it was focusing and then sometimes it looked like it was on vacation. It didn’t always seem wonky, so maybe I was imagining things.

Then a teacher of one of our classes pulled me aside and asked if I’d noticed that Baby Bop has a lazy eye. SIGH. I guess so.

We make an eye doctor appointment. I’m nervous. Baby Bop screams like we’re trying to kill her when all we want is her length measurement.

Captain takes the day off work. We’ll both be there. When I make the appointment I ask,

“How do you do it? We just had to abort a haircut because she was in a panic.”

“Oh we’re used to it.”

Used to the screaming and being able to examine a screaming toddler’s eyesight seem like two very different things. We show up and there are several other toddlers in the waiting room. One goes before us and we can hear the screaming. This is not encouraging.

And now Baby Bop does sympathy screaming. We were in a restaurant the other night and she was perfectly happy coloring away. A kid, not even in eyesight, started screaming. So Baby Bop screamed. He stopped and she went back to coloring. He screamed again, so she screamed. This continued for our entire meal.

Baby Bop’s motto seems to be: “when in doubt, scream.”

We head into the exam room. A Disney movie is playing, there’s a stack of books, puzzles and a cash register. Baby Bop ditches us the minute we walk in. This is off to a better start than expected.

A mechanical dog pops out of a doghouse on the wall and starts yapping away. Baby Bop lets out a big laugh and all the while the doctor is examining her eyes. Then Baby Bop starts hacking. She hacks like an old man who’s got a golf ball of phlegm in his throat. The doctor looks concerned. I can’t believe I have to explain this. I tell her,

“She’s imitating our dog. He has an obsession with licking his feet, then gets hair in his throat and hacks it all up. So if you ask her what a dog says she hacks.”

“It sounds like your dog has a problem.”

Yes and now it sounds like my daughter does too.

I ask Baby Bop,

“What does a doggy say?” In the hopes that I can prove she knows that dogs say “woof” and Booker hacks. She looks at the mechanical yapping dog and lets out a throaty hack.

The doctor tells us,

“She’s getting glasses!”

In theory I’m all for it. The reality of it is perplexing. I ask the doctor,

“How do you get toddlers to keep them on?”

“Once a kid realizes that they see better with them than without them, they’ll often want to wear them. But that’s not the case with Baby Bop, because she sees fine with her right eye.”

Huh. She adds,

“It’s like how we always wear our clothes. We always wear our glasses.”

So we don’t always wear our clothes.

Baby Bop’s glasses should arrive this week. Stay tuned.

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My sippy cup collection. It’s not Baby Bop’s unless she decides to reimburse me

I never thought I’d own this many sippy cups. When I was pregnant, someone told me that I’d go through a lot. I just nodded. Kinda like when everyone talks about new-mom sleep deprivation. I understood, but not really, not until I was up at 3am for 11 months in a row. Then I understood.

Now I open the kitchen cabinet dedicated to Baby Bop and sippy cups fall on my head. It was a slow accumulation starting a year ago. It’s 11 sippy cups of 7 different varieties. Which doesn’t sound super crazy considering people own table settings for 8 or more, but today all the sippy cups ended up on the counter and it really looks like I have a problem.

Two weeks ago, our music teacher started class with a cough, a runny nose, a hoarse voice and a promise that he wasn’t contagious anymore. We took the tambourines he offered and now Baby Bop is producing enough snot to smear on all the furniture in our home. In an effort to get a dehydrated Baby Bop to drink more. I pulled out our sippy cup arsenal.

Some can be drunk without tipping; some need a little tipping. Some need a lot of tipping, but can be drunk from any side. Some leak a little; some leak a lot. Some don’t leak at all until Baby Bop flings it on the tile floor for the millionth time and it cracks so I rush onto Amazon and order another one. Because the one that doesn’t leak is my favorite. The one with mermaids that leaks everywhere is Baby Bop’s favorite. Although her most favorite of all is a real cup. No lid.

This works if she’s strapped into her high chair and I want to monitor her every move. It’s that, or accept that I will be cleaning up milk flung to the far reaches of the kitchen. I have a hard time accepting that.

As it is Baby Bop likes to wave her silverware around. The other day a spoonful of applesauce went flying and splattered on a chair. The next day Baby Bop finds it and points it out to Captain. He asks,

“What’s that?”

“Applesauce she flung.” It’s on my list of things I might clean someday.

And you know what we got Baby Bop for Hanukkah? Another sippy cup. It’s a matching plate, bowl and silverware set. She loves it. The cup has Peter Rabbit on it. She spends a good portion of her meals taking large spoonfuls of food and dumping it on the side of her cup. She’s feeding Peter Rabbit.

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We don’t have this one… yet.

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TV Time for Hanukkah

Baby Bop and I haven’t watched much TV. In part because our TV wasn’t hooked up until a week ago. Hanukkah has changed that.

If we’re home in the late afternoon, Baby Bop has very strong opinions about what I should be doing. She wants me holding her, playing with her or watching her play. If I even think about going in the other room, the crying and clinging is almost unbearable.

I’ve resorted to making dinner at lunch time. I’m not a strong cook and I can’t begin to make anything edible and keep the moaning at bay.

For Hanukkah I had my heart set on frying up some latkes. I did not want to make them at lunch time. I wanted them hot and crispy at 6pm. And if you’re thinking, what about Captain? Baby Bop would happily spend all day with him, but if she can see me and it’s after 3pm, I can’t escape.

Sometimes I make food with her scaling my lower legs, but latkes, even on the back burner, are splattering hot oil.  And the last thing I want right now is a crying, clinging baby who’s also been burned by latke oil. I need a solution.

I turn on the TV. Baby Bop lets go of my leg, raises her arms to the TV and doesn’t bother to watch me leave for the kitchen.

I’m not sure why we didn’t hook up the TV sooner.

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Can’t go wrong with matching Hanukkah jammies!

Things are going as smoothly as my legs on a week that I’ve shaved

Baby Bop and I have a good flow going. We have just the right amount of classes, playdates and naps to occupy our time. There are still the moments in the afternoon when it’s next to impossible to do anything.

I try to put Baby Bop down and she clings with the strength of her gorilla baby ancestors. I manage to distract her. I put her down. Success! I think about making dinner. WAIT! Don’t jump off the back of the couch!

Captain puts her to bed and I relax with Baby Bop videos. Not every night, but more nights than I would think is reasonable if you had asked me before I had Baby Bop.

We’re taking a few classes like music, and a development class with a good dose of music, but not swimming. I can take Baby Bop to the pool and we can have the same amount of fun for a hundred dollars less. The only problem with this is that paying the hundred dollars motivated me to get my legs shaved and my butt in a bathing suit.

The other motivating factor is that Baby Bop LOVES the water. After a long bath, she will hunker down in the empty tub with no water because she doesn’t want to get out. And maybe if she can’t see us, we can’t see her? Who knows? She doesn’t explain herself well.

I try to go to the pool on Mondays. Last week was busier than usual and Friday ended up being the only day for the pool. I had an epiphany: if I shave for the pool Friday, then I’m shaved up for the weekend. Which is not a necessity, but nice. That and a clean shirt and it’s a special occasion.

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The countdown is on for my diminishing coolness

This post is 2 weeks late, but that’s in keeping with all of my posts now, so maybe that means it’s on time.

Halloween. It was a big success. Baby Bop fit into last year’s dinosaur costume and Captain and I fit into our Mommy/Daddysaurus t-shirts. It was a $50 investment, so good news that we got to use them again.

Yes I could wear my Mommysaurus t-shirt any day of the year. I’m tempted to, but I’m not sure what sort of statement I’m making without a babysaurus in tow.

Before Halloween arrived, in August, neighbors kept telling us,

“Halloween is epic here!” “We went through 20 bags of candy last year.”

Captain turns to me,

“Should we buy candy now to make sure we have enough?”

“It’s August.”

He’s unconvinced and I’m not sure what else to say. I buy candy in September. It stayed unopened for all of 30 minutes after I got home. The week before Halloween I made a mad candy dash because someone, me, had eaten all the candy.

You think one piece here or there isn’t going to add up, but if you eat one piece followed by several more pieces every day for 2 months, that does the trick.

The Halloween plan was for Captain to hold down the fort and for Baby Bop and me to toddle around the neighborhood for as long as each of us could stand it.

Baby Bop screams when she sees me headed her way with the dinosaur costume, but she lets me put it on and then she couldn’t care less. For someone who has strong feelings about not wearing certain standard pieces of clothing, I’m surprised. We hit the street.

All it takes is Baby Bop sighting the “big kids” walking up to random doors and she’s all about it. Baby Bop would follow a 6-year-old just about anywhere.

We go to 5 houses and I’m done. Baby Bop is thrilled. She is at the stage that putting objects in and out of containers is very appealing. So lots of shiny crinkly things to put in her little pumpkin is delightful.

A bunch of kids see Baby Bop toddling up to them and squeal in delight,

“Oh she’s so cute!”

A four-year-old asks me,

“What is she?”

“A dinosaur!”

He rolls his eyes, lets out a long sigh and says really slowly,

“What kind?”

“Oh, a stegosaurus I think.”

“That would make sense, that’s what’s on your t-shirt.”

Thanks kid. I’ve never been cool, but exasperating a 4-year-old is new.

We head home. We did not get a lot of trick-or-treaters. Some. But not 20 bags of candy worth. So here’s to blogging while I eat a Reese’s, a Twix, a Milky Way and a Snickers. We’re saving the candy for next year.

Those hormones have a mind of their own

Working at the bar was an amazing way to have crazy conversations with strangers. The other day at the doctor’s office gave me a little taste of what I’ve been missing.

Baby Bop’s doctor tells me,

“I’ve called in some labs. You can come in anytime. You can go to Weymouth or Braintree.”

“We’ll go to Weymouth, that’s closer.”

“Ok. Weymouth has one phlebotomist and Braintree has several.”

“We don’t mind waiting.”

“Well Braintree is great with kids and shouldn’t be too traumatizing.”

Ok. I get it. Baby Bop’s doctor is telling me in the most diplomatic way: DO NOT get Baby Bop’s blood drawn by the phlebotomist in Weymouth because whoever it is will stab her multiple times and scar her for life.

We head to Braintree. We toddle around the waiting room splitting our time between tapping on the fish tank and trying to tear up Golf Magazine. A woman with curly hair approaches us, points at Baby Bop and asks,

“Is her hair naturally curly or do you curl it?”

Who has time to curl a toddler’s hair? And what toddler would stand for that? “It’s natural.”

“She’s so lucky.”

“Your curls look great.”

“No. They’re not soft like hers.”

“She’s a baby.”

“I didn’t always have curly hair.”

“Me neither.”

“It started growing in curly when my period stopped a few years ago.”

What? Considering the social taboo about talking about periods in a normal voice, in public, with a stranger, I’m caught off guard. I’m about tell her my hair was straight until I got my period. She continues,

“All of a sudden it grew in short and curly. I got a few more periods, but then they stopped. You must still be getting yours.”

“So far.”

“It’s no good when it stops.”

I’ve sat through enough Winter car rides with my mom and the windows open to know it’s not comfortable for anyone.

The woman’s name is called or else we’d still be talking about her menopause transition.

A few minutes later Baby Bop is called. We walk past our new friend getting her blood drawn. Her moans are so loud that Baby Bop starts to whimper before the basket of stickers has a chance to emerge.

Baby Bop’s stranger anxiety is at its peak and she reaches full-throttle screaming long before the needle is inserted. The phlebotomist is great and we’re done before Baby Bop can catch her breath to resume screaming. I recommend going to Braintree.

On our way to the car two older women are taking tiny steps across the parking lot. One says to us,

“We’ll get there eventually.”

The other chimes in,

“Don’t get old!”

“I don’t like the alternative!” If only so I can see what happens to my hair when I stop getting my period.

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Nothing says “I’m ready to play in the dirt or go dancing” like overalls and a tutu.

 

A vacation

We just got back from a family vacation to the White Mountains. Having fun with my family has meant letting go of what fun used to mean to me.

Yes Captain and I can still drink a beer. We can do it in a beautiful location while managing a toddler or after she’s asleep in a dark corner of our hotel room. Or we can do both.

A couple months ago I asked Captain what he’d like for his birthday. He tells me,

“A relaxing dinner with cheeseburgers.”

“Sounds great! So after Baby Bop goes to sleep?”

“It would be nice to eat all together.”

Dinner with Baby Bop can be nice, but I’d never say it’s relaxing. Same goes for vacation. Captain’s request makes me wonder if we’re experiencing the same reality. I ask him,

“Do you think it’s possible to have a relaxing dinner with Baby Bop?”

“Maybe not. There’s never much time for digestion.”

Baby Bop does not appreciate lingering at the table long after the food has disappeared. Baby Bop doesn’t do lingering, at the dinner table or on vacation.

We buy tickets for a scenic train ride described as great for families with small children. There is strength in numbers. Not only will other parents be empathetic to my screaming child, there’s a good chance their kids will cause an equivalent amount of trouble.

As we wait for the train I notice several toddlers lingering near their parents on the nice grassy area. Baby Bop is on a mission to run in the parking lot regardless of the fact that she keeps falling on the pavement.

We get on the train and she’s determined to not sit with us. If I weren’t worried about her getting hurt, I’d be very happy for her to hang out with whatever family she likes better.

The train starts moving and that combined with snacks chills her out. The hour train ride is a surprising success.

Before the trip, we had decided that the three-hour, roundtrip train up Mt. Washington was unfeasible, but the successful one hour train ride made Captain reconsider. I look up a photo of the Mt. Washington train: one car. No where to go. If Baby Bop doesn’t make it, she’d take the whole train down with her. And tickets are $70 a piece.

I tell Captain,

“Ok, talk me through how you think this is going to work.”

“Maybe it isn’t.”

We don’t need to pay $140 to torture ourselves and a bunch of other people. We opt for a slow hike around a lake with a view of some mountains related to Mt. Washington.

We head out for dinner. On this trip we ate more meals out than we have in the entire time since Baby Bop was born. She was a super star as long as we kept providing something new every few minutes. Turns out she’s a big fan of eating butter packets and crayons.

Captain was so excited about her coloring for the first time that the placemat traveled home with us and is on the fridge. And I was impressed with Captain’s ability to draw, sideways, a really good pumpkin. AP art was worthwhile.

Vacation was fun and a little less work than if we’d been home. One toddler and two adults is a reasonable ratio. There was even a little bit of relaxing when Baby Bop was asleep.

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!