Travel Tuesday – Traffic. With a Baby.

With this past weekend being a 3-day weekend, I should have known that I’d be in for it if I went out on the roads. Sometimes though, there’s just no getting around it: you have to get from point A to point B, and you have to drive there. When baby is on board for a road trip though, there’s nothing that can throw a parenting curveball better than traffic.

You think you’ve got everything you need: Plenty of snacks. Plenty of drinks. Plenty of diapers (if your baby is still using them). I used to think pulling over to the side of the road to change a wet diaper during traffic was a pain. But what do you do when your potty-training toddler needs to GO and there’s no exit to be found? You’ve got quite a parenting conundrum on your hands at that point, and luckily, I haven’t had to find out the answer. My brief panic at the mere thought of what to do in that situation, has me coming up with a plan of prevention: make stops often and at regular intervals, even if the need isn’t apparent, so that in case of the unexpected, the dreaded potty situation will be less likely to occur. Fingers crossed that my plan works.

But it’s not just potty issues that can have moms stressing when it comes to unexpected traffic. Traffic can also be a concern for nursing moms. Babies have to be in their car seats, in the back seat when the car is moving. That’s just a fact. So it necessarily follows that the car needs to stop in order for mom to nurse. If your baby is sleeping peacefully for the first part of your trip, and then you get stuck on a highway where there’s no movement whatsoever, your options are pretty limited when baby wakes up hungry. This actually DID happen to me when my little one was 5 months old. I was driving with a friend who was visiting the Bay Area for the first time, and what I thought was going to be a quick, 30 minute drive turned into a 2 and a half hour ordeal. I stressed, and cried along with my little one, trying my hardest to get to an exit as fast as I could (it ended up taking a very LONG 20 minutes). Once we made it to the exit, I found a place to safely pull over, got in the backseat and nursed. (Yet another moment where I was grateful that I packed my nursing cover!)

Of course, with proper planning both of these crises can be averted. Regular potty breaks. Plenty of pumped milk on hand (and a travel bottle warmer for babies who are finicky about milk temperature, like mine was). I wish I could say I’m perpetually well-prepared, but even when I think I’m well-prepared, it always seems like there’s something I forget. As a first-time mom, I really am just learning everything as I go (at least I’m a quick-study). I’m just glad that I have a sense of humor for the times that modern life hands me a teachable moment. I’m sure there will be many more.

Toddler Time – “I Love You Too, Mommy”

“I love you too, Mommy”- the words that I have been waiting to hear finally came out of Harper’s mouth last night while I was tucking her into bed. I literally cried with joy. My heart is totally overflowing with gratitude and pride and overwhelming love for this child that sometimes I don’t even think I can take it!

Her vocabulary has been steadily increasing over the past months, and up until last night, she’s usually responded with a barely audible, whispered “yuv Mommy”, but last night it was loud and clear. (Ok, the “love” may have sounded more like “yuv”, but I know what she meant!)

I am so over-the-moon excited about this new development– more so than I even expected I would be. Obviously I was excited for the time when she would clearly communicate with me but so much more now that she’s communicating feelings, and not just needs. Moments like that make every second of worrying or stressing over what’s best for her worthwhile. I’m just in awe of the amazing little person that she’s becoming right before my eyes.

Mama Monday: Sleeping with an almost 11 month old and three year old!

I don’t think I have had a decent night’s sleep in close to four years. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but probably not. My girls are only two and half years apart. I had about six months in-between pregnancy/breastfeeding and getting pregnant again. We planned this so I knew it was happening but the funny thing about kids is that even when you plan you have no idea what you are getting yourself into!

Here is my current situation and I happily solicit any and all recommendations. The baby is still nursing throughout the night! Ok, before you judge, let me give you some background: My girls share a room and it is a lot easier to have one baby up in the middle of the night than two. So we have not tested the “cry it out” method as we did with my first daughter because of the baby possibly waking up the three year old. However, mama has just about reached her limit and if I don’t get some sleep I don’t know how I am going to continue to function. This is how a typical night goes….

Dinner/bath/bed – sounding pretty familiar I am sure.  My husband (when he is not traveling for work) usually takes the three year old for teeth/hair brushing, story and bed. Most nights she goes to sleep but sometimes I will have to lay down with her for “one minute” after I get the baby down. As my husband gets the three year old down, the baby and I lay on my bed and I nurse her to sleep. Wondering where the problem is? It starts anywhere from 11:30 pm to 2:30 am. The baby wakes up and starts crying. I drag myself down to their bedroom and retrieve her so she won’t wake her sister. I have tried to nurse her quickly and lay her back down but she always wakes up and starts crying as soon as I put her down. So now I just bring her back to bed with me…. Yes, I can hear the tongues clicking at this. I nurse her back to sleep in our bed and she falls asleep….For like, 15 minutes and then it starts again. And again. And again… This continues until the alarm goes off or our three year old comes in to wake us up.

Obviously, my quick fix solution isn’t working for anyone. I am not sleeping, the baby is not sleeping and my husband may be pretending to sleep but probably isn’t. How do I get this baby to sleep in her crib through the night?

Proof that she does sleep….

Mama Monday – One less thing!

This is how my Monday morning started:

This is everything that needed to be packed and brought to school/work this morning. Notice it doesn’t even include the baby (in an infant car seat) and the three year old! What is all that you ask? Let’s see, a school bag for each girl, my laptop bag, breast pump, lunch, grocery bags from last night and my purse!

When I saw that ridiculous pile this morning I realized that I might be taking things a bit too far and need to figure out how to consolidate. If anything, to make things easier for myself. Realistically, all I could have removed from that pile are the grocery bags but where can I simplify my life in other parts?

The first thing I can do (and my husband reminds me to do this all the time), is to simply do one thing at a time. I know it sounds crazy, right? But it’s true —  I get super stressed out and it’s because I am trying to do three or more things at once and not very well. For example, last night instead of holding the baby, cleaning up after dinner, and making zucchini & carrot bread (check back on Wednesday for the recipe… It’s delish!), I probably could have just held the baby and done the other things after bedtime. I tested this new approach out this morning after seeing that pile and mentally drafting this post…. The three year old was asking for milk, oatmeal, a specific song from the CD we were listening to, and I was trying to get all three of those things done plus make oatmeal for the baby and pack her lunch. I took a deep breath (key for most things) and told the three year old mommy can only do one thing at a time. I finished the oatmeal (for both girls), got the milk, changed the song, and sat down to breakfast. All without freaking out – yay me!

So, I did schlep all those bags out to the car but I didn’t try to do it all in one load like I typically do. I did it in two while the girls were finishing their breakfast and then I only had to carry the baby! That felt like a refreshing change. My “Zen” morning lasted about 10 minutes but I will take it. Let’s see how “Zen” after work can be…. Fingers crossed!