Monday, February 13, 2012

Thank goodness for things like "The Babies R Us Big Trade-In"

Once upon a time, there was a couple expecting their first child. Once they found out they were having a daughter, they did what most parents did- celebrated, rejoiced, and registered.

Then our beautiful baby came. We had a ton of stuff for her based on what we needed and was recommended to buy or sadly because they looked cute. Now six months into our adventures with Addie, I realized there are a couple of things I should have known BEFORE registering for the floral bouncer seat because it was so darn cute.

1. Bouncer seats: We use ours everyday. If we didn't, I would never shower. So, what I should have checked was the weight limit. Most are made for infants and can be used up to 25 pounds. There are some that are newborn to toddler. So much better! They convert into seats that are accommodating for your big girl up to 40 pounds. I am trading in my bouncer this week!

2. Stroller and infant seat: I am a huge fan of the infant seat. When they are tiny and sleeping, it is fantastic to simply "snap and go." However, I made the huge mistake of buying a travel system based on parental pressure and price. I bought (was given) a jogging stroller travel system. Honestly it seemed like a great investment- especially at the soccer games, but once we moved Addie to a regular carseat, the jogger was too big to bring to the mall and she hates the umbrella stroller. Now after research and having a baby, I realized that I need more of a grow with Addie stroller. I found the Britax B-Ready or those similar (City makes one and so does Bugaboo) are great options. The Britax has the option for Addie to face me and be up higher than the umbrella. Plus, it can hold a toddler up to 40 pounds plus converts to a dual stroller. It is perfect for people looking to expand their families (some of us sooner than later!). Had I known this, I would have purchased the Britax infant seat from the start. Now I am trading in!

3. The high chair- a necessity. We weren't sure what we wanted, so we registered for a compact and cute version that attaches to a chair. It was great while she was an infant. It reclined fully, and she could sit at the table. I even was a proponent of the portability. But once we hit six months, it is cumbersome at the table, she doesn't enjoy sitting in it for long periods of time, and we now use the boosters at restaurants. So, we are now shopping for a stand alone version that we can wipe down completely (no fabric thank you), can roll from room to room (carrying the chair was ridiculous), and is infant to toddler (the other seat was too). Another trade in!!

I don't have all the answers yet, but I working on purchasing more carefully from this point forward.

Things to consider:
Longevity
Durability
Usability
Cleanability
Cuteability (it does matter!)

Ask friends what they used, read online reviews, and don't be pressured to buy because of price. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Here are some items I would buy again and again:
1. A playmat
2. An exersaucer
3. A pack and play
4. Anything musical
5. Books
6. An Ergo baby carrier
7. A Deckor diaperpail
8. An infant seat and some sort or snap and go stroller.

The jury is still out on...

To swing or not to swing. Some babies love them, but Addie hated hers. Next time, I would wait and see.

The baby bath tub aka "the spa." I used the infant insert for about a month before she was too big. Then the tub needed to be stored. It was all a hassle. Next time I would just use her bath chair (16 dollars at BRU) from the beginning. BUT I only had one bathroom, so if you had two, you may keep the bathtub longer.

Baby bedding! Sheets are a necessity, but the APA once again has bashed bumpers because if SIDS and asphyxiation risks. I loved her bedding, but I never used the bumpers or the pillow. I only used the sheet. And by the time she is ready for bedding, I will purchase a toddler or twin set.

In the grand scheme of things, I am ├╝ber grateful for the events like the Big Trade In. It saves me some cash that I would otherwise be throwing away or trying to sell at a garage sale. This way I trade in, receive 25% off, and trade up!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Things I wish someone would have told me before I was pregnant.

There are many realities to having a baby. Many of these realities you will never foresee, but you depend on experienced "been there done there" moms to parlay to you. However, I truly believe that one of two things happen: 1. BTDT moms have babymesia. The joy of loving their babies so much causes them to forget all of the scary, annoying, or terrible realities of pregnancy and child rearing. This wears off in about ten years or so for most women. This is why the teenage years are so hellish and sp well remembered. Or 2) They lie. They lie because no one warned them and now it is payback.

While I was pregnant no one told me:
1. You will gain weight. You will gain weight from the beginning to end of pregnancy. The only women who don't gain the appropriate amount of weight (30-40 pounds) are usually overweight to begin with or may have other issues. I am not joking or mean to sound like a bitter Betty. This is the first thing the doctor tells you, so tell your friend who swears she only gained 12 or 20 pounds can go fly a kite.
2. Initially when you buy maternity clothes, you make purchases based on your normal size. So if you wear a small, you buy a small. But once you hit month eight or nine, you go to stage two maternity clothes. Your belly is so big it causes the floods to come for all of your pants, and remember how cute crop tops once seemed? Well it isn't so cute when you are hugely preggo. And shirts hovering are not cute or comfy either. So be prepared for Stage 2 and embrace it.
3. You will swell. You may not swell in your legs and feet like I did, but it will happen. So when you want to cry because you look swollen, don't worry, you are! And the beauty of swelling is that water weight is lost almost instantly when you give birth!
4. After having my daughter I heard all the BTDT mom's tell me how this was my first, and I would drop the weight like that! (insert finger snap). Well, trust me, you may lose the weight, but your skin may fight you for awhile. For me, I am six months into mommyhood, and I am still not "me" again. I would like tighter abs and to lose a few more pounds, but I take one look at Addie and smile. I know that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but nothing feels as good as my daughter's smile looks, or her skin smells, or her voice sounds.
5. Last but not least: you are the mom. No matter how helpful you may want your husband to be or how helpful he may try to be, you will always be a mom. Goodbye sick days (and sleep inducing medications for that matter), goodbye privacy, goodbye humility, and goodbye personal routines. Your baby is number one and that will be all that matters. Even though I may not feel it when she is thirteen and rolls her eyes at me, I know I am her number one too. I am the mommy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sometimes being a mommy is hard...

I often read posts of a Babycenter Birth board I belong to (wow- say that three times fast!) just for fun. Most of the posts are basic questions, some are debates (breast or bottle, CIO or not, etc), and a few are just random funny posts to pass the time. The other day a regular poster wrote simply: being a mom is hard sometimes.
I guess she was having a rough day or maybe a sleepless night, or maybe her bundle of joy was teething, or perhaps her baby had her six month boosters (Adelaide did not react well to hers). Whatever the reason, her statement received an abundant amount of responses with the similar sentiment: it sure is!
The truth is that being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. There are some days where I feel like I am failing especially when Addie is having a tough day or I am overly concerned that I am doing something to permanently scar her or worse: My fear I have done something that will cause her not to love me anymore. I know most moms who read this understand and empathize. Being a mom is hard.
But, and the HUGE but, is that being a mom is also rewarding. More rewarding than any career I have had or job I have worked on. Though I may be giving up a paycheck and "grown up time" that so many people tell me I will miss or need (and they may be right- but so far I am not missing much!), helping Adelaide grow and become a wonderful person is so much better than anything I will ever do.
I remind myself of that sentiment when none of my sweaters are spit up free or I haven't had a solid night's sleep in about a week. Sometimes I have to breathe and count to ten because she is crying hysterically in the car or screams when I leave her sight. It is unfortunate that she can't understand that her cousin likes to come home from school or mommy has to change her shirt because it has pee on it, but I can't fault her for loving me. I love her more than anything on this earth. So instead of beating myself up at night, when I lay down, I just tell myself that being a mom is hard, but well worth it.