Friday, May 29, 2009

And So It Begins Again.

When I was pregnant, all my friends told me not to worry about the pounds I was gaining. They assured me that the weight would simply "fall off" once I started breast feeding. In fact, they said, I'd probably end up skinnier than I was before I got knocked up.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but they lied. LIED, I tell you.

Granted, the breast feeding thing didn't quite work out as planned, but still, I pumped every three to four hours for weeks. Meaning the calorie burn was still pretty significant.

If I had a normal metabolism, the weight probably would have melted away. But I don't. My body prefers to be somewhat Rubenesque (that's what us curvy girls call ourselves. The rest of the world just calls us fat).  So, while I lost 15 of the 43 pounds I gained right off the bat, after that, the scale stopped moving. At all. Leaving me with 28 whopping pounds to lose.

Luckily, I am a weight loss pro. In fact, it was just a year ago that I finished the Diet To End All Diets, dropping 50 pounds. I looked pretty darn fantastic, if I don't say so myself. See?

Yeah, like I said. Not too bad.

And now? Well, I'm not going to show you a picture of what I look like right this minute (I have my pride). But I'm not ready to give up and become that beaten down looking mom who wears sweat pants everywhere she goes (I'd rather be a MILF).

Which means I've got to embark on the Diet To End All Diets Part II. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I've already reinstated my Weight Watchers membership. Started tracking every bite that goes into my mouth. Even begun exercising a little.

Unfortunately, pregnancy left me with some pretty bad habits (ice cream for dinner, anyone?) that are proving hard to break. But I know if I keep at it, I'll get back in the groove. And ultimately, I'll get my body back. Maybe even a better one.

And in the meantime? I'll wear my fat pants with pride. After all, I might not look my best right now, but I gave birth to a little girl who just might be the cutest baby on earth (not that I'm prejudiced or anything).

And she? Is totally worth it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hi, My Name is Amber and I'm a Bad Mommy.

Once upon a time (like 11 months ago or so), I was one of the many that tend to shudder at the sound of a screaming child. Who frowned at the parents of the aforementioned screamers, thinking "Why don't they shut that kid up? They must be bad parents."

Which, I guess means that on Friday, I officially became a Bad Mommy.

Tori and I had had a good week, so I was feeling kind of full of myself. I thought I had our routine down pat, and could predict her fussy periods almost down to the minute. So, after giving her her twelve o'clock feeding, I loaded her into the car seat and headed out for an afternoon of errands.

We made it through Walmart just fine. So then I decided to make a trip to Sam's Club. And not just any garden variety Sam's Club trip. No, I decided to get my eyes checked while I was there. After all, she was scheduled to sleep for at least another hour. Plenty of time to remedy my contact-less plight, right?

Well, no.

She made it through the cart-filling portion of the expedition okay. And as a matter of fact, I got halfway through the eye exam without a single peep from my little baby dinosaur.

But then she woke up. In a foul, foul mood. Which means that she went from sleeping to explosive rage in oh, about 1.5 seconds.

Luckily, the doctor was a fairly new mom herself, so she agreed to wait while I settled her down. I cuddled her. Rocked her. Made all the shushing noises the books tell you to. And the screams just got louder.

Needless to say, the exam got cut short. But I still had to pay for my groceries, so I made my way to the cash register, looking for the shortest possible line.

Unfortunately, that line was short because the cashier was a nimrod. I'm going to assume he was new, because otherwise, this guy was so incompetent that he should have been immediately fired and replaced with someone with half a brain.

I waited while he asked for not one, but three price checks (at least, it seemed that way). And then had to have someone show him how to do something. And then...well, I don't know what came next, because by that time, Tori was having a nuclear meltdown. I swear, her screams probably could have been heard in the next zip code.  And I felt like every single eye in the whole place was on me, judging me, and finding my parenting skills sadly lacking.

The lady behind me actually said, "You know, I think she's hungry. See how she's sticking her fingers in her mouth?"

No shit, Sherlock.

Unfortunately, since my baby won't accept a boob, I can't just find a quiet corner and feed her. Nope, she has to have a bottle. And idiot me had left the diaper bag in the car.

After waiting in line for several thousand years, I gave up and wheeled my cart behind the head cashier, promising to come back to pay for them shortly. He looked rather alarmed and said, "You're taking the baby, right?"

I glared at him, scooped her up and ran for the car, feeling the judging eyes bore into my back.

Luckily, relief was just seconds away. Or so I thought.

But when I opened up the diaper bag, the cooler I keep the bottles in was not where it was supposed to be. Nor was it in the perma-layer of garbage on the floor. Or in the front seat. In fact, it was nowhere in the car.

Turns out, Bad Mommy had left the food on the kitchen counter.

At that point, I almost started sobbing myself.

Instead, I locked her in place and headed for home, turning the music up to level 11 in an attempt to block out the screams.

It was the longest ten minute drive of my life.

I had to send Brian back for the groceries - I don't think I'll have the courage to show my face there again for a while.

So, to all you mommies who have ever been stuck with screaming kids in public places, I'd like to extend my apologies. I shouldn't have  judged you. Please return the favor?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Halfway Through...

Today, Victoria is six weeks old. Which also means my maternity leave is half over. And boy am I glad I decided to take the whole twelve weeks.

I simply can't imagine heading back to work on Monday. Why? Well, first of all, I have no clothes that fit. And I mean none. My husband insisted that I throw out all my fat clothes last year when I got skinny(ish). Which felt very good at the time. But now? I wish I had just one pair of fat pants (or shorts) that fit. Because my skinny clothes? They don't even fit over my hips at this point (at least not without a lot of uncomfortable gymnastic moves). When I try to button them, the universe just laughs.

But even if I did have the appropriate clothing to wear, I wouldn't have the appropriate number of brain cells needed to actually do my job. The overwhelming level of sleep deprivation I'm currently suffering from has seen to that. Example? I was trying to think of something clever to say there. But I've got nothing.

Funny story? Today, I decided to take the baby with me to Lowes (couldn't exactly  leave her at home, could I?). So I got us both bathed and dressed, got her diaper bag together, unlocked the car and put her inside. At which point I realized I had no idea where I had put my keys.

So I dug around in her car seat. Took it out  to see if they were underneath. Dug through the perma-layer of garbage on the floor. Emptied the diaper bag out on to the lawn. Followed by the contents of  my purse.  I even combed through the grass to see if they had fallen somewhere.

Twenty minutes later, about to give up and call Brian, I happened to look up at the roof of the car. Where my keys sat gleaming, along with the granola bar I had meant to eat before leaving.

Yeah. So I don't think I'm quite ready to become a fully functional member of society yet.

And even if I was? I don't think I could bring myself to leave Tori yet. Granted, I lucked out in the childcare arena and found my own personal Mary Poppins (actually, someone even better) to watch her. But I can't even stand to have her in another room at this point. Never mind a different zip code.

Let's put it this way. I used to wonder how any sane woman could stand to abandon her career to become a stay at home mom. It boggled my mind. But now I totally get it (and I'm a little jealous of them).

Not that I'm planning on going that route. I absolutely HAVE to work. And I love my job (hear that, coworkers and bosses?). But it's going to kill me, just a little, the first time I have to leave her (and maybe every day thereafter).

Good thing I still have six weeks to get used to the idea. Maybe by then, I really will be ready to fly the coop and get back to my real life. If nothing else, hopefully by then I'll have something that least with the help of a rubber band.

Friday, May 8, 2009

So This is What Exhaustion Is.

Spend even the briefest span of time with this blog, and you'll come away with one overriding message - since I started this, when my pregnancy began, I have been TIRED.

Before I had this baby, I thought I was exhausted. But no. At the time, I didn't really know what the meaning of exhaustion was.

See, B.T. (Before Tori), I could make allowances for my tiredness. If I was up in the middle of the night, I could hit the snooze button in the morning (sometimes three or four or nine times). I could call in late to work. And once I got there, I could spend most of the day in a zoned out haze, only rousing myself when a deadline approached (that's when I do my best work anyway).

But now? There is no snooze. No calling in. No spacing out when work needs to be done. My boss is the most demanding person I have ever met. And she wants what she wants, when she wants it, or there is hell (in the form of shattered eardrums and shredded nerves) to pay.

So I, a woman who has always needed her sleep to function properly, find myself running on 3 or 4 - maybe 5 hours of sleep if I'm lucky (but not in solid chunks). The result? A level of tiredness so deep, I don't even bother making coffee anymore.

There's just no point. It doesn't penetrate the fog.

And now I know what exhausted really means.

But you know what? I'm rising to the occasion (mostly). Sure, sometimes I forget what day it is. Or whether I've taken a shower, eaten breakfast or brushed my teeth. And sometimes, the most basic facts and vocabulary words escape me.

But I still manage to rouse myself at the first pre-sob hiccup. And so far, she's gotten fed, changed and bathed regularly. I'd even mention that I haven't tripped over my feet and fallen while carrying her, but that would be tempting fate.

And tonight? Well, I'm told it's Friday, which means my husband can take the 3 a.m. feeding (that stretches till 5, most days). In fact, he's telling me I should go to bed right now - apparently, I'm in a foul mood.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have recovered enough brain cells to be able to think of a clever way to end this post. But for now? I think I'll just say good night.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This is My Life?

Scenes from my new daily routine:

I sit on the couch, Regis and Kelly (yes, I watch it. yes, I'm ashamed of this fact.) droning in the background. The curtains are closed, although the sun is shining, and I've got both hands clamped to my pumping devices, trying to prevent any precious milk from escaping.

Meanwhile, I'm rocking Tori in her car seat with my foot, singing a nonsensical (and tuneless) song as I go. Key lyrics? "Stay asleep, baby, I've got five minutes to go." But Tori has other plans, and the Mooing Machine session gets cut short...

Flash forward to lunchtime. I've got Tori nestled in my Sleepy Wrap, with a napkin strategically placed over her head to catch any crumbs. I crane my neck over to the side, trying to eat a sandwich I can't see over the baby in front of me.

Suddenly, she lets an explosive fart loose, and I feel something alarmingly warm oozing onto my stomach. Trying not to swear, I abandon my lunch and lurch over to the changing station, appetite suddenly squelched...

Now it's mid-afternoon, and I'm dozing on the couch, the baby nestled on my chest. Her soft snores make me smile as my mind wanders. A few miles away, my coworkers yawn their way through the mid-afternoon doldrums. Bet they'd do anything to trade places with me right now...

The clock reads 5:43, and I'm hooked up to the Mooing Machine again. The dog barks piteously at the back door, begging to be let in. Tori whimpers in her swing, threatening to break loose into full-throated wails at any moment. My mood darkens, and I gaze murderously at the phone, willing Brian to call and say he's coming home...

It's nighttime now, and the whole family is gathered in front of the TV. Kermit's on the floor chewing a bone, watched by an eagle-eyed Oliver, and Kiwi's purring from his post on the back of the couch. Tori's sitting on Brian's lap, gurgling cheerfully as daddy gives her her nightly lecture: "Be a doctor. Or a lawyer. Or an engineer. Whatever you do, don't major in liberal arts..."

I just shake my head and kiss Brian good night, knowing she'll do whatever she darn well wants. As I head off to bed, it's with a smile in my heart. Life has definitely changed, but at moments like this, I know it's for the better.