Car Rides

At this very moment, I can’t complain. I’m in the passenger seat, J is driving, and baby girl is sleeping in her carseat.

It usually isn’t like that though. From the day we brought her home from the hospital, she has hated the confinement of the carseat. I’m almost positive that’s what she hates, because she has always hated to be swaddled, or having a jacket on, or tight clothes. These are all optional, but the carseat is not. She pulls and rips at the harness, and turns red with frustration.

Just let her cry, you say? She’ll fall asleep eventually, right? Well, yes and no. I used to nanny for a second family one day a week, they lived a half an hour away. Each week, I left early enough in the morning she slept on the way there. The way home however, was a 30-45 minute (depending on traffic) scream fest, usually she did NOT fall asleep, and almost always got so upset she pooped. A couple times she fell asleep as I was turning into my neighborhood. It didn’t matter if we were driving 3 minutes or -God forbid- a whole hour, if she wasn’t the perfect combination of sleepy and content, she was going to scream.

Things got slightly better when we switched from the infant seat to rear facing convertible seat at 5.5 months. She enjoyed looking out the window, but still cried.

At 11 months, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I strap her in, give her a handful of toys and teethers in her lap (which I can help her play with- “where is the banana?” And she can look down and find it and be proud of herself. She can also say “more,” so I sing to her, and at the end of the song she asks for more instead of crying. I think my record is 25 straight minutes of happy birthday, ABC’s, itsy bitsy spider, and baa baa black sheep. So, it’s not easy, but I can at least go shopping or grab a coffee without being tortured.

I have a lot of friends and family 3.5 hours away who I haven’t been able to go visit. It’s been hard, to say the least.

How I’ve Changed

Okay, so the title is pretty vague. I’ve changed a LOT over the past 7 years since I left home for college- but I’ll just stick with how becoming a mom a year ago has changed me.

1. Anxiety. I was already prone to panic attacks and anxiety pre-baby (specifically- I can’t drive over bridges or I get panic attacks, ugh). But this anxiety is a whole new level with driving. Suddenly, I feel like nobody is going to stop at red lights or stop signs, and I am not afraid to point at you or eye you down if you looked like you weren’t going to. (Normal, right?) I never follow too closely, because the person in front of me is surely going to slam their breaks on any second. And I’m always playing out scenes of how I would swerve if xyz were to happen. It’s pretty awful.

2. Priorities. (This is technically number one. Lets just go with these are in no particular order!) Nothing comes before the baby, obviously. If her needs are met (rarely they ever are fully) then I can clean, shower, do laundry, sit and write or read. Oh, or eat. Sometimes I forget about that one. I would love to be able to call and chat with friends all day, but that’s just not happening. And I haven’t gone out past 8:00pm since my daughter has arrived (unless she was with me). It’s not as simple as “just get a babysitter.” But that’s a long story for another post! And it’s fine with me, because when I do reach my breaking point and get out of the house, I just worry about her, and that’s not fun.

3. I’m not as judgmental. I thought I had it all figured out before I had my little one. I was going to do things a certain way, and I was going to have the best sleeper, eater, independent player, etc. What I have is a sweet baby who needs her mom 24/7, can’t sleep without her, and a hoarder of food in her mouth who doesn’t like to chew. I can see now that parents are just doing what they need to do to survive. I shouldn’t judge and I don’t want to be judged for my choices either. (to a point- if you aren’t using a carseat for a baby, I’m judging you, sorry.) This ties into #4.

4. Low expectations. Like really low. For sleeping, car rides, alone time, a clean house, catching up with friends.

5. Views on breastfeeding. Pre-baby, I always believed in the powers of breastmilk and planned to nurse my baby- that hasn’t changed. But I thought the magic cut off was a year and beyond that, the baby is too old. I’m not sure when I am going to stop nursing, but I no longer feel like a year is too old if it works for the mom and child. (The WHO recommends two years, people!) The alternatives to breastmilk aren’t very appealing. I also love seeing women nursing in public, with or without a cover. It’s so important for new moms to see and do. And no, I will not go feed my baby in the room people take a crap in. Would you ask a bottle feeding mom to do that?

Five is a nice round number, so I think I will stop there.

-K

First Post!

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now. I love writing. I hope someone out there likes to read it! I have a few blogging friends who inspired me to actually do it. They are some wonderful moms and great writers. Here are two:

Jill’s blog: goodnightmush.wordpress.com
Jill has been blogging for a little while now and is currently writing for Sakura Bloom’s sling diaries.

Ashley’s blog:
moderationmama.wordpress.com
Ashley is a new blogger like myself. I’m excited to read more about her sweet family.

Melissa’s blog:
ezactly.wordpress.com
Melissa has been blogging about her family for a few years. Her posts are sweet and often filled with emotion. Sometimes I think I’m looking into my future when I read her blog.

One big thing that has been holding me back is Internet safety. How can I share pictures, names, and places and keep my family protected? I’ve always had a private Facebook and Instagram and am quick to delete people I no longer talk to or barely know. I won’t add you if I’ve never met you. It’s nothing personal to anybody.

At the same time, I know a good blog requires that a reader gets to know the writer in some way. It will be a challenging balance for me and will require a little creativity. <— like I have time for this!

-K