Archive | Life After Baby RSS feed for this section

Controversy Wednesday: VACCINATION

17 Nov

My precious little pincushion.

The timing of this discussion…er, monologue, is not a coincidence.  Seabass gets his 6-month shots today.  Hoo-ray.

A dear friend once told me about taking his daughter for her shots at three years of age.  “You think it’s bad when they’re infants?” he guffawed.  “Just wait ’till they can look deep into your eyes and plead ‘Why daddy?'”

I had never had a flu shot – or even given it much thought – until I was pregnant.  With the swine flu breaking out all around me this time last year, I suddenly cared very much about vaccines.  Very, very much.

I did some of my own “research,” which included poking around on the chat boards and such.  I scoff at the word research because, when it comes to the internet, I almost feel like there’s no such thing.  Everything is conjecture.  Everything is open for interpretation.  And God only knows where most of it really comes from.

Witness an article from something called stating that doctors are coming out to discredit the need for a vaccine because the H1N1  pandemic “may have in fact been a hoax.” 

While our administration and countries across the globe have been “pushing” pregnant women to the front of the line for the H1N1, we are now discovering much heartache from those who listened, received the vaccine and now are sure it caused them to lose their unborn child.

Articles like these make me nuts.  In the name of rigorous journalism, these writers plant ideas in my head that may or may not be true, and in the meantime, freak me out to the point of neurosis.  The fact that the website is called “Examiner” is a nice touch, too.  Gives it an air of credibility even though it’s basically a wiki.  (And speaking of wikis, notice that the author even cites a Wikipedia page as a reference source.  Come.  On.)

So anyway, back to my vaccination.  I was very much divided.  On the one hand, I had my OB telling me to get not only the swine flu vaccine, but the seasonal flu vaccine as well.  “I’m not going to demand that you get these shots,” he said, “but I am going to strongly recommend it.”

On the other hand, I had the onus of internet nay-sayers…and Jake.  That’s right, you guessed it.  Jake is anti-vaccine.

We had the discussion, and I totally tracked with him.  “These vaccines are so new,” he reasoned.  “How can anyone know what they’re doing to us in the long term?” 

It’s one thing to think about yourself and your own safety as an individual.  Frankly, if this were just about me, I’d say screw the vaccine and pass the mint jelly.

But it is something entirely different to think about a child for whom you are responsible and utterly head-over-heels.  Of course, all of this talk inevitably led to concerns about vaccinating the wee Seabass.  All I wanted to do was protect him.  That shouldn’t be too hard, right?  Oh, the ignorance. 

“It’s only one set of shots one time, right?” Jake asked me.  “And we just have to pick which ones we do and don’t want him to get, right?”

I didn’t have the foggiest idea.  Again, after the tiniest amount of “research,” I wanted to hurl myself out a window.  It is LOADS of shots on SEVERAL occasions.  To make matters worse, there are groups out there claiming that vaccines do horrible, unspeakable things to some children who receive them:

  • says vaccines cause autism. 
  • But Dr. Paul Offit says “no way, dude!” 
  • Then there’s some other guy with the wonderfully curious name of Seth Mnookin whose next book, The Panic Virus, details the implications of battling infectious diseases. 
  • Then there’s Jenny McCarthy running around through it all with, which asserts that vaccines can indeed cause autism.  (By the by, WHY am I listening to you Miss McCarthy?  Because your son is autistic and you were in Playboy?  Hmm.) 
  • And then there are comments and blog posts and forums with all of us moms trying to figure it out.  It’s maddening.

In the end, I told Jake I couldn’t defer to research.  “Basically,” I said, “I can find a fact to defend any argument I choose.  So I leave this up to you.”  And here is what he decided:

  1. If the vaccine is less than 10 years old, we skip on it, as there is just too much unknown there.
  2. If the doctor (whether my OB or Seabass’ pediatrician, Dr. Awesome) doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other about a particular vaccine, we skip it.

Well, so far we haven’t encountered any vaccines younger than 10 years, and our doctors have urged us to go through with vaccinations.  So we’ve been textbook.  We didn’t even choose to get creative with scheduling Seabass’ shots like Dr. Sears recommends.  So boring.

In the end, we’ve decided that we have doctors for a reason.  Yes, they fail us sometimes, and yes, it’s hard to trust anyone to know all the answers.  But I really believe these people still know better than the internet does.  At the very least, they can hold our shaky parent hands and look in our bloodshot parent eyes and reassure us that whichever decision we make will be our own and no one else’s.  Now, which website can claim that level of sincerity?

I’ll never forget hearing a medical student describe her training: “Patients want so badly to believe that medicine is a matter of black and white, but I’m learning that it’s all just shades of gray.”  Scary.  And also, oddly reassuring.

Enough outta me.  What do you think?

Sunday, phlegmy Sunday

14 Nov

It finally happened.  My sore throat has turned into a rich, gurgly hack of a cough.  This means I’m on the mend!  It also means my head is full of snot and my voice sounds like Harvey Fierstein. (In fact, when I called my friend Jenny in San Francisco yesterday, she asked, “Is this a drag queen?”) 

I’m tempted to take a video of me hacking to prove it to you, but instead, I offer this photo of my bedside table.

The worst part about being sick is that I have finally infected Seabass, poor little guppy.  As I write, he lays in his crib attempting to fall asleep, quiet for five minutes, fussing for one minute, quiet for three minutes, fussing for 30 seconds.  Remember the recent Controversy Wednesday about “crying it out?”  Yeah, that pretty much goes out the window when I hear my boy wailing from plugged nostrils and a hot little forehead.  You anti-cry-it-outters will feel vindicated to know that we’ve already gone in once to do some serious Seabass-soothing, and we’re on the verge of doing it again.

If only someone would give us all the answers.  Or even just create a Nyquil for nursing mothers.  I never thought I’d miss an over-the-counter drug quite so much, but I do.  Enough to write an ode.

Ode to Nyquil

Your hue, a bluish-green
As a syrup or a pill
You give us all relief
When we are feeling ill
My precious, precious Nyquil
The salve to soothe my brain
In earnest, I do wonder
When will we meet again?

The best medicine for a sick nursing mother

11 Nov

Okay, so it's a little creepy that there's a fake blog for a fake couple and their fake baby.

I’m really sick.  Yes, I’ve descended into an abyss of wadded up toilet paper, fleece, grape juice and whining.  I’ve never been all that great at handling illness, but at least there used to be sick days I could use. 

Now?  Yeah, no such thing as sick days.  Drat.

Thankfully Jake has some.  When he got out of bed to start the pre-work hygeine routine this morning, I looked at him with death in my eyes and pleaded for him to stay home.  Thank God it worked. Otherwise Seabass may have driven me over the edge.  I don’t know what’s gotten into that kid, but he is downright inconsolable.  IS IT NORMAL FOR A BABY TO LAST ONLY ONE HOUR BEFORE MELTING DOWN???  IS IT NORMAL FOR HIM TO ACT LIKE HE’S ONLY THREE WEEKS OLD AGAIN???  Forget it.  I already know the answer: Every baby is differentTeeth.  His diaper’s too tight. 

Sigh.  He’s lucky he’s so stinking cute.

I think the toughest part about being sick right now is the fact that I can’t take much of anything to make me feel better because it will all either go straight to Seabass’ delicate little system or dry my girls up.  No Nyquil, Dayquil, Tylenol PM or anything that will knock me out and take away the pain.  I’m trying to remember that I did labor drug-lessly.  Labor was a lot harder than this, right?  Right?

Anyway, in my unmedicated oblivion, I’ve spent a fair amount of time poking around the internet.  And guess what I’ve found?  Only the best baby blog ever:

The Halpert Baby Blog.

I love love love The Office.  It’s the only TV show I watch because even when it’s bad it’s good.  So discovering the marketing genius that is a mockumentary blog about Jim and Pam’s baby Cece tickled me pink, though it’s also made me a little crazy how easy the show makes parenting look.  I know, I know: it’s not real.  But the blog certainly blurs the lines a little, doesn’t it?

For this I will most assuredly be sent to hell.

8 Nov

Just this once...

I put him in front of the TV.  And he loved it.

When Seabass was first born, a friend came by to hand down a bunch of her kids’ old toys and such.  Excitedly pulling cool things from the bag, my hands found a VHS tape of “Baby Bach” by the Baby Einstein Company.  Then a “Baby Mozart” video. 

As if.  That’s the first thing that ran through my head, though I kindly thanked her and continued to delight in the new loot.  The videos took a spot on a shelf in Seabass’ room and have been collecting dust there ever since.  That is, until today.

Yesterday was Seabass’ first Daylight Savings day, and while it went okay, he’s definitely been fussier than usual, rubbing his eyes and biting his hands like he’s at war and they’re the enemy.  But the real kicker is that I’m sick again.  Went to bed last night with a raging sore throat and awoke to it in full bloom this morning.  So let’s just say the dye was cast.

I sat little Seabass in his Pack ‘n Play in the living room, lightly dusted with a few choice toys to occupy him.  And then I put in the Baby Bach video.  I lay down on the couch, my head throbbing, and watched as my sweet, innocent son surrendered to the mind-meld that is Baby Einstein.  Yes, I was complicit in the crime.

A few weeks ago, BFF Caroline told me that she had indulged in Baby Einstein with her own wee one.  “Have you seen this stuff, Jaime?” she asked in hushed tones, lest anyone hear how she’d sinned.  “It’s like a drug trip.  Or, at the very least, it’s certainly drug-induced.”

How right she was.  I suspect that if the stoner community at-large caught wind of these videos, The Dark Side of the Moon would be asked to step aside.  Baby Einstein consists of short – VERY short – clips of toys spinning, bouncing, and rolling to the music of whoever the featured composer happens to be. 

The Baby Einstein website describes their approach thus:

Baby Einstein offers a wide range of developmentally appropriate products for babies and toddlers. What makes Baby Einstein products unlike any other is that they are created from a baby’s point-of-view and incorporate a unique combination of real world objects, music, art, language, poetry and nature — providing you an opportunity to introduce your baby to the world around them in playful and enriching ways.

The part that gets me is that last sentence: “an opportunity to introduce your baby to the world around them in playful and enriching ways.”  I’d always believed that in order to introduce my baby to the world around him, I’d have to actually take him into the world, rather than plop him in a play pen to watch a video indoors.

But today?  Oh how I needed it.

The good news is that this whole being-humbled-with-impunity thing is getting a lot easier.

All I Want For Christmas Is Two Distinct Eyebrows

4 Nov

Dear Santa, A little help? Please? Love, Jaime

A couple years ago, Jake and I read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  The book is just meh, but its principles have definitely helped us to understand how we each show and receive love.  Before we’d read it?  Yeah, we weren’t so hot at that.

Jake’s love language is affection and physical touch.  That is how he receives and shows his love.  Before reading the book, I remember Jake holding my hand while we watched a movie and boring holes in my skin with repetitive thumb-strokes.  To him, that said I love you.  To me, it said I’m trying to kill you with my thumb, slowly and methodically.  I told him to knock it off, and he felt rejected.  No bueno, especially since I rarely returned the repetitive affection.  If it annoyed me, it must have annoyed him too, right?

Meantime, my love language is gifts.  I’m always afraid that sounds materialistic, but really any gift will do.  I also relish in gift-giving and the surprise on someone’s face when they get something they really like.  That speaks love to me.  But not so much with Jake.  I would buy him some little trinket or doodad that reminded me of him and await the gush of gratitude, but all he really wanted was a hug.  On the flip side, for our first Christmas together, he bought me a heating pad for my menstrual cramps.  A heating pad.  “You said you needed one!” he explained upon seeing my grimace-trying-to-be-a-smile. 

Did I say any gift will make me happy?  Okay, I admit, I feel most loved when someone gets me what I really want, not just what they think I need. 

But then we read the five love languages book, and now we get it.  I put my hand on Jake’s shoulder/knee/neck and he feels loved.  I still don’t understand how, but he swears it works.  And he goes out of his way to get me little somethings now and then so I fell loved.  The best he’s done so far was to surprise me with a super-plushy bathrobe I’d been lusting after.  When I asked him how he knew I wanted it, he pointed to my stained, crusty old bathrobe and said he was sick of seeing me hobble around in rags.  “Sort of a gift for everyone” is what he called it.  Hey, whatever works.

For gifty types like me, Christmas is a big deal.  I’ve been brainstorming gifts to give to family all year long, taking notes, keeping lists, etc.  It is how I enjoy myself.  Jake, on the other hand, is stressed out about the gift-giving.  (I don’t blame him for wondering why there isn’t a national affection holiday.  Wait, maybe it’s best that there isn’t one.  [Mind wandering]…ew, nevermind.)  So, to help him out, I present him with an annual list of things I might enjoy.  Again, this probably seems materialistic and grabby, but he always appreciates the minimization of margin for error. 

I noticed as I put it together that this year’s list is very different from prior years’.  Pre-Seabass, my wish list would include clothes, cookbooks, kitchenware, etc.  And while I do and will always appreciate those sorts of things, this year?  It’s all about making up for the hygiene I’ve lost since Seabass was born.

Again, the gifts I want are sort of like gifts for everybody.

Controversy Wednesday: BLOGGING ABOUT BABY

27 Oct

Just wait till he sees what I've blogged about him.

I remember the first time I heard about reality TV.  I was home from college for the summer and my parents had taken me out to their local Mexican restaurant, Paco’s (rest in peace).   Between bites of fajita, my mom and dad were gushing about some new wacky show called Survivor.

“The contestants have to complete challenges for food on a desert island,” said my mom.  “If they don’t win, they don’t get to eat.  And they have to make alliances with each other so they don’t get voted off the island at the tribal council.  All the starving and fighting and pain – it’s all captured on tape.  It’s AWESOME!”

I wanted to ask if the cameras even caught the contestants taking a dump, but I was too busy being mortified at the concept of a television show using money as bait for people to act their absolute worst on camera.  For all the world to see.  How disgusting!

And now, here I am with an online journal documenting the ups and downs of my son Seabass’ life for all the world to see.  And bowel movements definitely happen here.

It used to be bad enough that parents brought out “brag books” to show photos of their kids in various states of undress to complete strangers.  Now, we can take a photo, upload it to the internet and broadcast Jimmy’s first potty to an entire world of strangers in real time.   Better yet, we can *ahem* share our personal opinions about child-rearing with strangers and *ahem* graciously receive their thoughts in return. 

This is dangerous technology for someone like me.  You see, I have a rare disease known as BTS.  Blogging Tourette Syndrome.  I have no control over what I write; whatever’s buried in my subconscious just flies onto the page and I click “PUBLISH” before I take a moment to think.  Thankfully, Jake is sensible. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started to blog about our post-Seabass sex life (“People need to know this!”) only to be shut down by an appropriately private husband (“No, Jaime, they definitely do not need to know this.  Use your BRAIN.  People IN MY OFFICE read your blog.”).  Thank God for him. 

You know who should be thanking Jake for putting boundaries on me?  Seabass.  That poor child has been publicized as a crying and peeing, butt-stealing, dog-eateneasily-abandoned, frustration-causing and depression-inducing little boy.  And that’s not even mentioning the dandruff!  What happens when he’s old enough to hear about what I’ve written from his friends?  “Hey Seabass, I hear you peed the bed again.  Nice job.  Now I’m gonna have to beat you up.”  (Jake assures me this will never happen because with a name like Seabass, you tend to be the beater-upper-guy, not the beaten-up-guy.) 

Okay, so I would never really blog about my child wetting the bed.  Because Jake would stop me. 

It’s amazing to me what other bloggers write about sometimes, though.  Take Heather Armstrong, for example.  Her blog, is one of the most highly-respected and widely-read blogs out there.  And why?  Because she writes (beautifully and hilariously) about things that no one in their right mind would EVER EVER EVER post on the internet.  She’s actually so open that she was fired from her job for writing about her boss in 2003 and had a verb named after her: “to be dooced” is to be fired from your job for blogging about it.  Now she blogs full-time and gets paid a bunch for it.  Talk about irony.

Or Penelope Trunk, whose blog posts include everything from her time in a mental ward to a crumbling relationship with her husband, yes, CURRENT husband.

And Jill Smokler of  Let’s just say the weather’s cloudy with a chance of F-bombs.

To join the ranks of these much-revered and oft-followed women in baring it all and watching the comments roll in is very enticing.  Some days, I’m so tempted to tell you the details of Seabass’ natural birth and the havoc it wreaked below the belt I could just scream.  Or about my cellulite.  Or about our post-Seabass sex life.  (My apologies to any and all relatives.  But while I’m at it, you may as well know that, yes, we have had sex.) 

I think for now, I’ll just play it safe. 

Ah, who am I fooling?  If you stick around long enough, you’ll probably hear it all.  Oh look, here comes Jake.

Apology Thursday: I WAS WRONG

21 Oct

One of the things that destroys my faith in politicians the fastest is their frequent inability to admit they were wrong.  My skin crawls when the evidence is stacked against them but they still refuse to confess the error of their ways. 

These are the thoughts that run through my head on this Thursday morning following a long, painful Wednesday. 

The moment I clicked “PUBLISH” on yesterday’s post, I knew I was making a whopper of a mistake – long before any of the dissenting comments showed up.  But when they inevitably did, they only served to reinforce what I’d already been feeling about my harsh, abrasive words.  So please, dear blogosphere, allow me to apologize.  I was wrong.

The only people I know better than anyone else on the planet are 1) Jake, and 2) Seabass.  Aside from them, there is no one I know well enough to advise on any facet of life.  Especially unsolicited.  Remember when I said I didn’t want unsolicited advice from anyone?  Yeah.  Bit of my own medicine, that.

I have no right to claim that my way is any better than anyone else’s.  No really, I mean it.  Furthermore, I have no “authority” to make broad, generalized claims about anyone’s parenting.  So what if I taught piano lessons for 17 years?  (Though I would like to say that some of my students WERE “horrible, miserable burdens to society,” and I would prefer that Seabass, well…doesn’t turn out like them.  Nuff said.)  I am the mother of a 5 1/2-month-old child, not God.  Big difference.

The purpose of this blog was never to rile parents up or cause division; It was meant to bring us together over the highs and lows of bringing up little human beings.  I don’t know why it changed.  Maybe because we’re all so different and it’s hard not to take note of our diverse styles?  Or because I’ve felt attacked for my style and feel the need to retaliate?  Or because I’m bored and need more drama in my life?  Not sure.

In any case, I hope you’ll find my apology sincere and forgive me for the obnoxious way I’ve thrown my opinions around.  As penance, I’d like to publish this photo that Jake took of me when I first woke up one morning. 

My olive branch.


Yup.  That ought to make up for whatever harm I’ve done.

Controversy Wednesday: CRYING IT OUT

20 Oct

Does this child look maladjusted to you?

Type the words “cry it out” into Google and you’ll find a dizzying array of opinions.  Applications such as the Ferber Method (aka “ferberizing” – a horrible, kinda dirty-sounding verbization), and Babywise are both lauded and demonized for their approach to babies’ inevitable bouts of crying.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of making such difficult decisions, “crying it out” is letting an infant cry alone until they fall asleep, usually starting some time between four to six months of age.  Some folks appreciate this method as it tends to nip baby’s nightwaking in the bud.  But there is a large and very vocal cross-section of the public for whom crying it out is akin to child abuse. 

Witness this excerpt from an article written for, a clearing-house of information and authority on the subject of infant parenting:

Anyone who advises you to let your baby cry until he gives up and falls asleep is focusing on the baby’s behavior (going to sleep all alone) and not on how the baby feels in the process. The problem is that when infants are left to cry themselves to sleep, they are forced to conclude that they are not lovable enough to engage their parents’ desires to comfort them. If they actually stop crying, it is because they have abandoned all hope that help will come.

Then later on:

Once you see that you were right to worry about leaving your baby to cry and that the interruptions to your sleep caused by tending to him are both beneficial to him and time-limited, then, even though you are tired, you will have more reason to make the effort to go to your baby and try to help him to sleep comfortably.

Now, to be fair to, I should share that this article is written by guest authors Martha and William Pieper, who are identified as “emotional health and well-being experts” on the site.  That’s a pretty broad title.  So I decided to look further into their creds.  Turns out they’re both psycotherapists with more degrees than Farenheit.  And they’ve written a book called Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person.

As if you couldn’t already tell from the title, this book argues that “‘tough love’ doesn’t work, and that parents will get more cooperation if they focus on their child’s inner happiness and ‘avoid unnecessary confrontations with children about behavior for which they will eventually assume responsibility.'”

Here comes the part where I opine.  Remember: it’s Controversy Wednesday!

To begin with, let me cover my bases.  It wouldn’t be fair for me to assume that everyone who is against crying it out is in the same camp as the Piepers.  Nor would it be fair for me to state that every child who isn’t left to cry it out will become a little terror.  But the truth is that there are parents in the same camp as the Piepers whose children will become horrible, miserable burdens to society.

How do I know this?  I know because I’ve met them.  Having taught piano lessons to a wide spectrum of little people for over 17 years, I can say with authority that the children of parents who subscribe to the approach outlined in books like Smart Love tend to be reckless, insensitive to everything and everyone else around them, maniacal, loud, self-involved, and wild.  They throw atomic fits wherever – the grocery store, other people’s homes, the doctor’s office, the middle of the street – while their parents speak in soft voices attempting to appease them.  Out of a fear of crushing their spirit or squelching their soul, these parents allow their children to do just about anything they want at just about anyone’s expense

And what changes when these kids grow up?  Not much, unfortunately.  A total lack of discipline and negative consequences during childhood leads to an adulthood of entitlement and chronic unrest. I am acquainted with some of these adults.  And I can guarantee that I would have been one of them if it were not for the discipline and structure I was provided as a young, feverishly selfish child.

Now, what does this have to do with crying it out? 

First, I’ll say that crying it out was the method we used for our dear, sweet Seabass.  I say “was” the method because we only had to use it for about three days when he turned four months old.  (Any younger than that is considered too young by many authorities.)  After that?  No more crying.  Only sleeping.  Our baby sleeps like a little champion and wakes up rested, refreshed, and full of smiles – not morose and feeling “unloved” as the Piepers would have me believe.  (I honestly don’t know how he could feel unloved.  I am head-over-heels for that boy.)

I am not an expert on this.  I only know what I’ve seen, and I’ve seen that crying it out has made Seabass’ life, my life, Jake’s life – heck, even the dog’s life – so much better.  I like how Dr. Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, describes a child’s need for sleep as equally important to a child’s need for any other sort of care.  Seabass can’t feed himself – I have to help him.  He also couldn’t fall asleep himself (remember the swing post?) – so I helped him.  I didn’t refrain from going into him as he cried because I wanted to sleep.  (How could I have slept through that?!?)  I refrained because I believed that allowing Seabass this temporary discomfort would provide him with a lifetime of good rest.  In other words, I decided that crying it out would yield a better return on my investment than constantly giving Seabass what he wanted.

And that’s what parenting is, isn’t it? Making loving (and often self-sacrificial) decisions that protect a child from harm despite their short-sighted desires for instant gratification.  Those children I described at the top of the page?  The ones who never see negative consequences to their actions?  Yeah, they were given everything they wanted, and then some.  Pretty soon, they’ll be the same people cutting you off on the freeway, teaching your grandkids and running for office. 

But enough outta me.  What do you think?

Poll Time: Why would anyone have another child?

14 Oct
Cutest Baby Alive

Incidentally, HOW GORGEOUS IS MY BABY???

Jake and I had the chat last weekend.  Yes, THE chat: Should we plan to have another child?

Now, before you get all WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS SO SOON? let me explain.  Jake and I are both sprinters.  We don’t tolerate lollygagging.  If we are going to give Seabass a baby brother/sister, I’d rather it be sooner than later for two reasons:  one, I don’t want to change diapers for the better part of a decade, and two, my body isn’t getting any younger.

So, we entertained the idea over a nice lunch, and, unfortunately, Jake and I are experiencing a difference of opinion.  Can you guess who wants what?  That’s right.  I want to keep building our family, and he’s crying uncle.

Each of us has some very good arguments and some not-so-compelling arguments.  In general (and not surprisingly), mine are more emotional, and his are more practical.  Here I share my own, and then Jake gets to defend his reasons in his own words.


I want a girl.  I know, I know.  I can’t control that.  And if it’s another boy, I’ll still be over the moon.  But the thought of having a little girl touches something really deep inside me.  I guess it’s always been my assumption that I’d have a daughter sooner or later.

I’m finally (mostly, pretty much, generally) having fun with Seabass.  And glimpsing this makes me curious to experience more, with a different little bundle of love.

I don’t want to be left out.  One of the greatest gifts of my nascent parenthood is connecting deeply with other moms in the same boat.  The thought of being left behind as they continue having kids makes me sad.

I don’t want Seabass to be an only child.  If he’s anything like me, he’ll be horribly self-involved without having to learn how to share.  And that’s a valuable lesson that’s only fully absorbed in the home.

Four makes a family.  This isn’t true, of course.  Two makes a family, and Jake and I have always been very clear on that.  But something about an immediate family of four just feels nice.  Okay, not my best argument.  Shut up.


We can’t afford it.  With the first child we had state-sponsored health insurance for the birth and the boy’s first year, making him cheap to have.  A second kid would likely run us $5k+, in addition to an extra ~$300/mo in health insurance.
The pain.  I feel the first child nearly broke us spiritually/emotionally.  My wife’s on meds for crying out loud!  I experienced many moments with Seabass screaming like a banshee in which I swore one was it.  I told myself I don’t care what anybody says, I will not be swayed from this absolutely final decision that there can be only one, because it was that painful.  I am a peaceful, mellow, even passive guy, and I was tempted towards violence.  Violence!  That’s not even considering Jaime’s birthing pains.
We’ll have a boy.  Jaime wants a girl.  When will the madness stop?  10 kids?  15?!
We can’t afford it.  Did I mention that already?  We want to buy a house.  We want to send the first boy to college.  We want to live above the poverty line.  Don’t give me that BS about how kids don’t really cost that much.  Jaime can insert here some link to how much a child is supposed to cost in the first 10 years or whatever.
People only have a second kid for the first kid’s sake.  My theory is that foolish newlyweds say they want five kids.  Then they have one and realize how hard it is, and the count goes to two, maybe three.  But why have more?  Just because they think the first one needs a friend, that it will teach him to share.  The second one comes along and they see how hard THAT is, and they run to the doctor for a vasectomy.  Then the two they have that are supposed to be friends and distract each other so that their parents can take a breath end up at each others’ throats until they move out of the house…at which point they become best friends.
C-Bass will be better off.  If we can conserve all our precious resources (time, money, energy, attention) then C-Bass will get to enjoy more of them.  Maybe he can go to a better school.  Maybe we can take him traveling somewhere special, whereas when carting two kids around it’s unlikely we’ll make it further than the local campground.  Knowing how dead to the world we are currently with a  5-month old, imagine us trying to pay any attention to him when he’s a couple years old but his 5-month old kid sister has drained us just like he did.  It doesn’t get better as they get older because there’re just more events, activities, clubs, etc. that will divide our attention between children.
The difficulties will be different.  People say that if we had such a hard time with this kid, then the next one could be easy.  BS.  No kid is easy all the time.  Not even a vast majority of the time.  I remember Jaime being jealous of other moms whose kids were so easy during get-togethers and whatnot, only to find out that they’re waking up with them throughout the night.  Each kid has its difficulty now or later, and it will most likely be something different than what we’ve figured out with this first one.  New pain.

Alright folks, here’s the poll.  We want to know how you all feel about this and how your thoughts play (and played) into your actions.  So please answer the following three questions, and be honest!

Two Reasons Our Anniversary Is Different This Year

5 Oct

Jake's Gold Standard: Funfetti.

Exactly eight years ago today, Jake and I were married in my childhood home.  (I would love to share pictures, but alas, that was before digital cameras were the norm.  How quickly things change.) 

I know I’m biased, but I still consider it the best wedding I’ve ever been to.  Not only was it beautiful – thanks to my family and friends’ hard work – but it was sincere.  Jake and I fell hard for each other, marrying after just four months of engagement, and I think our wedding reflected that love.  In the brutally honest words of my best friend, Caroline, “Your wedding made it seem like your marriage actually might survive.”  And indeed, it has.

That being said, the nature of our anniversary celebrations has changed pretty dramatically this year: 

Reason #1: Seabass.  He’s here, we adore him, and yes, he has caused us mild brain damage.  Whereas in years past we used to ramp-up to October 5th with secret plans to sweep each other off our feet, this year, neither of us even realized it was our anniversary until late last night in a sort of “oh yeah – huh” stupor.

Reason #2: I’m sick as a dog.  I’ve heard that illness is de rigeur for mothers within their first year with baby, so I’d been waiting for the inevitable.  It hit Saturday night like a tsunami.  Since then, I’ve been either in bed, nursing Seabass in the glider, or sprawled on the couch watching the Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum because seeing Jason Bourne kick serious international butt just makes me feel better.

Thankfully, romance is not quite dead in our home.  No, not yet.  This morning I found a precious love note from my sweet husband tucked into the one place he knew I’d find it: in the roll of toilet paper I’ve been carrying with me around the house.  (Cue: aaaawwwwwww.)  And for him, I’ve prepared his absolute favorite sweet treat in the entire world: Funfetti cupcakes.  From a box.  He knows what a sacrifice this is because a) I’m sick and b) it KILLS ME to buy the box with the Pillsbury doughboy on it.  (I mean, have you ever heard of such a thing?  A man preferring Pillsbury to from-scratch cupcakes?  I ask you.)  But it is a special occasion, so whatever Jake wants, Jake gets.

Happy anniversary, darling.  You’re still the man I didn’t know I could hope for.  Now pass the Nyquil.