Misdiagnosed Strep Throat put me in the hospital.

Because every day of my life is an adventure.

I went to Texas at the beginning of June.  My parents came back with me and left on June 17th.  On June 19th I wasn’t feeling well, on the 20th I went to an urgent care clinic to make sure it wasn’t anything to worry about.  I was told I had a minor viral infection and to go home, take some Ibuprofen, and eat better.

Eleven days later my best friend found me collapsed in the baby’s room and took me to the emergency room where I was admitted for three days!

During that eleven days I kept telling myself I was being stupid, that I was fine, that I just needed to double down and rally because the UC told me I was fine and that it was nothing.  I refused to go back to the clinic, or anywhere else, because I didn’t want to bother anyone.  In the meantime Seth was spending most of his time watching The Muppets and crawling around the living room, or playing in his crib, because I was physically too weak to lift him.

On the fateful day I apparently had the presence of mind to text Serena and even had a brief conversation with her in which I told her I wasn’t feeling well and thought I probably needed to go to the hospital.  I remember none of that.  I also don’t remember getting up, changing the baby’s diaper, getting him a bottle, or passing out on the floor of the nursery but it all happened.

I do remember her coming into the room and trying to get me off the floor, which made me cry because I was so dehydrated my skin hurt.  And insisting I didn’t need shoes, which is patently false.  You need shoes if you’re going to the hospital.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m unfailingly nice and polite to anyone who is helping me whether it’s a waitress or a flight attendant or a nurse so you can imagine how completely out of it I was when I started demanding the nurse explain to me why so many people were in my ER room and being surprisingly rude.  Once the painkillers kicked in I apologized profusely and she was super nice to me which I appreciated.  They ran a bunch of tests and I got to have my first CT scan in many years.

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I went through one of these every two hours for three days.  DRINK WATER FRIENDS.

At the end of it I was diagnosed with severe strep throat and a sub-tissue abscess!

Now, I don’t know anyone who’s ever been admitted over strep throat so I was not expecting the trip upstairs but, because it’s me and my life takes me on strange journeys, that’s what happened.  Rena stayed with me the whole time and sneaked me some water when I was so thirsty I wanted to die, because she is the best thing ever.   The next couple of days are blurry.  I slept through most of them and watched a lot of Golden Girls which was so surreal that it seemed like a fever dream.  I know all my nurses had to wear masks!

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This was after many, many, may bags of saline to rehydrate me. 

I’m eternally grateful that I have friends willing to bully and push me into taking care of myself (apparently at one point I started insisting I was fine and that I was just taking up their time) and that our health insurance covered the entire stay.  I can’t imagine what the bill for that would have been.

I’ve been on a steroid pack since I’ve been out which is making me puff up like a balloon animal and this absolutely disgusting lemon-lime chalk mixture of antibiotics, but I feel better.  My throat still hurts and we still haven’t ruled out a surgery to remove the abscess, but I can stand up for up to 30 minutes by myself without needing to sit down and I’m able to take care of my kid.

I did have to discontinue my psych meds while I’m on all this stuff because they interact badly but I’m doing okay.  Jake was not super happy to come home from work and find David watching our baby with no idea I was in the hospital.  I have this thing where I don’t call people with bad news while they’re at work.  There’s nothing they can do and all it does is upset them.  So I forbid anyone to call him until 4 and at 4, he was out in BFE with no cell phone reception.

The moral of this story, if there is one, is trust your body.  I knew something was wrong, I questioned the doctor’s diagnosis as I was leaving the UC clinic, but I did’t want to be a bother so I didn’t say anything and as a result I got really, really sick.  I mean I wasn’t dying or anything but that was 14 days of not being able to take care of my baby, pack for the move, or even watch a movie all the way through.  I didn’t need to go through that, I could have gotten a second opinion. Doctors are not infallible, tests can be wrong.  It’s not an issue of disrespect or distrust if you genuinely feel like something isn’t right.

Dogs and a Baby: Why no one is going up for adoption.

When Jake and I went public with our pregnancy, nothing went quite like we expected.  One of the most shocking issues was the number of people who asked when we were going to get rid of our dogs.  Some offered to take them for us (thanks I guess…?) but many felt we should just drop them off at any shelter and acted like it was a foregone conclusion.

Anyone who knows us knows that was never on the table.  I have -very- strong feelings about animal abandonment and would never even consider throwing aside our puppies.  Bender has been with us since he was 8 weeks old, River was somewhere between six and twelve (her litter was so malnourished that no one was sure).  They are great, well trained dogs who love us unconditionally and have complete trust in us.  Anyone who could look into those big, happy eyes and decide to send them to a shelter just isn’t human in my opinion.

There was an adjustment period.  Before the baby was ever born, we started researching ways to introduce them to the concept of the baby and found a website called Love and a Six Foot Leash.  It’s an amazing website for Pit Bull parents and while it’s not currently being updated, it’s still well archived.   The author chronicled her experiences in prepping her dogs for a baby, and it was amazingly helpful.  The first big part for us was allowing the dogs in the room but only in a designated area.  I put a puppy bed in there, and that became “their spot”.  If they wanted to be in the room, it had to be on the bed.  Forbidding the room would have just made it tantalizing and I’d have constantly been dealing with them sneaking in or whining at the door.  By making it alright with boundaries in place, everyone is happy.  Bender loves to lay down and take a nap when the baby does, River tends to pop in at night and sleep for a few hours (I suspect because we use a space heater in there so it’s much warmer than any other room in the house).

We always knew we wanted the dogs off the furniture when the baby came but we’d been allowing them on the couches we had since we’d bought them.  That, in combination with buying inexpensive couches from American Furniture Warehouse, broke the couches down pretty quickly so we decided the best thing to do would be just replace them and not allow them on the new furniture.  They both seem scared of the leather couch, and we replaced the other with recliners (it’s awesome to have my own chair and not be fighting Jake for it).  To make up for it, we’ve covered any out of the way area we have in soft pillows and beds, so they’re still very comfortable and we haven’t really had any issues.

I realized that people would be put off that we have a Pit Bull and a German Shepherd and a baby.  I did a lot of reading, a lot of discussion with friends who were trainers, etc, and decided to give them a “trial run” using my friends kids.  It was pretty simple:  Friends with kids would come over and I’d hold them in my lap, then wait to see what the dogs did.

The dogs were on leashes, no one was being set up as a possible chew toy.

Invariably, River would give them a quick lick, then go off to her corner to not be near children and Bender would try to LOVE THEM SO MUCH.  Licks, snuggles, tail wags that could bruise your shins, ah, the excitement.  After about 15 minutes he’d settle down and move on to what he was doing…  and that was the end of it.

When we brought Seth home, the dogs were calm, gentle, and well behaved.  There was no posturing of any kind and they slept in his room under the crib that night.

Sometimes it is exhausting to basically have three kids who want attention and have alternating late night pee schedules but overall, it’s been pretty painless.  And I’m dealing with about 190 pounds of dog between the two of them.    I can’t help but roll my eyes at people who “tearfully” have to re-home their dogs because they just can’t give the animal enough attention.

Yes.  You can.  You just don’t want to.  I get it.  Taking care of a baby is exhausting and the last damn thing I want to do most days is throw a ball or take these beasts on a walk, but it’s the promise I made when I got them.  I didn’t say, “I’ll love you until we have a kid at which point you’re going to be a burden” and I didn’t say, “I’ll dote on you until it’s not convenient for me anymore”.  I promised to bring them home and make them members of my family.  Do they get a little less attention than they did before?  Absolutely.  Am I less patient than I was when they were younger?  Probably.  But we find a way and we make time and we make room.

Believe me, watching my dogs and my son become best friends have been some of the most beautiful moments of my life.  To know he’s going to grow up loving and respecting animals the way we do makes me incredibly happy.

Mommy’s on drugs (and other things I tell my child)

Postpartum depression is a sumbitch.

I 100% expected to get it.  There was not a single, solitary doubt in my mind.  We’d had such a rough year and so much heartache over the baby’s (thankfully non-existent) brain damage that combined with my own issues I knew I was going to get hit with it like I was the Titanic crashing into an iceberg.

But I didn’t.

I was fine.  I adored my baby, I felt productive and motivated, my husband was (is) amazing, I was 100% confident things were going to be okay.  And I stayed that way!  It was great, I felt like super-mom.  I mean I slept a lot but damn, I just made a person, let a girl take a nap.

Of course, because it’s me, those naps started getting longer.  I got more and more tired, some days it was all I could do to get out of bed.  It was definitely more than I could do to bother with issues like getting dressed or dressing the baby.  I was so tired I couldn’t do more than put him in his baby chair or exer-saucer, put on a movie, and doze all day until Jake could get home and take him for a while.

But I was confident I did not have PPD because I love my baby.  Adore him.  The sun rises and sets on him, always has.  And if you have PPD, you don’t love your baby.  And it starts right away, not when he’s 5 months old.

I weighed myself one day and realized I was back up to the same weight I was at when there was a 9 pound baby living in me and that was actually the thing that made me realize I was dealing with depression.  My weight has always been a fairly accurate barometer of my mental state, bigger is not better.  Still wasn’t calling it PPD.  I did not have PPD because I love my baby (do you see the theme here?).  I mean I didn’t want to hold my baby, but I didn’t want to leave him at the bus station so clearly I was fine and the issues were unrelated.

After talking it over with Jake we agreed I should probably go talk to a therapist just to test the waters.  She was very nice, very responsive, asked great questions, and diagnosed me with PPD on top of my BPD and anxiety issues and sent me down the hall to her very nice psychiatrist co-worker who talked to me for another hour and came to the same conclusions.

Apparently you can get PPD at any time following the birth of a child.  Not just like, the first two months.  Surprise?

I’ve been through the medication process before so I had a pretty solid idea of what treatment plan I wanted, and my doctor+therapist were very responsive to that, giving me exactly what I asked for and helping me adjust my doses in small increments as needed.

Turns out I’m a way better mom when I’m not so completely smothered in self loathing that I can’t get off the couch!  Shocking, I know.  I mean I’m still not a great mom but I do the best I can.   I’m still tired but that’s mostly because Mister Baby decided to cut four teeth this week,  and I actually enjoy holding and snuggling him again which is very helpful.

I forget sometimes that not everyone gets my jokes so I’ve had to scale back comments about safe-dropping him or selling him, etc, and every now and then when he’s having a hissy I lovingly whisper, “This is why mommy has to take pills!” in front of old ladies at the grocery store, but I super don’t mean it.  Or I don’t super mean it?

The weight loss is obv a much slower process because…  that’s how science works?  Luckily my best friend is one of those amazing, sprightly bohemian goddesses who lives to work out and torture other people by making them work out too so we’ll get this whole show back under control ricky-tic-quick (she said, with hope welling up in her eyes and not holding a cupcake in her hand).

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See? I don’t look horrified or anything! I do look like I need to go see the girl who dyes my hair to it’s “natural color”. But totes happy about the baby.

Witty commentary aside, PPD is some real shit.  If you have it, if you think you have it, if you think you know someone who has it, please get it checked out.  I never wanted to abuse my child but I was bordering on negligent and I’d never have forgiven myself if anything had happened to him.  If you have a migraine you take medicine, if your appendix bursts you don’t tell the doctor you’ll meditate and focus on feeling better.  There is never, ever any shame in needing a little help.

Our First Family ER Visit!

Yesterday Seth decided to play the best game ever which included running a 103.5 fever for most of the day.  When it started inching up into the 104+ range we called it and decided to take him to the ER.  I’m picky about which one I’ll go to (since the one closest to our house called me drug seeking and almost let me die in two separate incidents that required emergency surgery) so we boogied on down to the hospital where the young prince was born.

I know you shouldn’t have a favorite ER because that suggests a number of not great things but between my clumsiness and rebelling organs, Jake’s penchant for workplace injury he doesn’t mention until there’s a major infection, and random happenstance, we pop into this place more than I care to admit.

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Sometimes you just need your dad.  Especially after your damn mom lets someone take your temperature rectally.

Three hours later we were home with a broken fever and a series of very specific instructions regarding his diet and medication for the next few days because he might be catching the viral infection Jake gave to me.  Because he loves me.

We got home and put the young prince to bed, relaxed for a few minutes, then Jake went to bed and I stayed up a little while to have some quiet time.

Am I the only mom who will wait until everyone is asleep so I can watch something stupid on TV and play Frozen’s version of Candy Crush in a quiet room?  If I am, y’all need to try it.

Turns out I should have gone to bed with Jake at 10 because I went at about 12:30 and all hell broke loose shortly after.  Seth decided 2:30 AM was actually party time and woke up shrieking like a Howler Monkey.  That wouldn’t have been so bad but he was just… up.  No amount of coaxing, pleading, bottles, movies, baths, rocking, or bribes were enough to convince him otherwise.

Go learn about Howler Monkeys. You will understand my suffering better afterward.

We swapped out for some of the night, but Jake had to work this morning so most of it was on me since I’m home right now.  I’m currently running on about an hour of sleep because somehow this kid is still awake.  Still.  Awake.  How???

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a mother could accidentally leave her kid in the car, this is how.  I’m so tired I’m seeing double and my hands are shaking, and I get to stay home today and recover.  Seth is also an amazing baby and this is one of the only nights like this we’ve ever had.  If this was a regular occurrence for us and I had to get dressed and go work in an office on top of the stress and lack of sleep?  I have no idea how I’d manage.  And even bigger props to single mothers who don’t have a husband to take half the work.  I’m amazed more kids aren’t left in cars or on buses or safe-dropped at fire stations conveniently located right behind my house and they’d never know it was me but I’d feel guilty and go back so I don’t know why I’d bother so I guess I won’t.

Now.  Can everyone cross their fingers that this guy decides to have mercy on me and take a nap sometime in the very near future?

What I’m Reading: The Myatheira Chronicles

I’m always looking for something new and interesting to read.   I grew up in a family of readers, it’s what we did to bond.  I was that kid in school who got in trouble for reading during math class, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten less than 3 hours of sleep because I stayed up until sunrise to finish the last few pages of my book.  I’ll try any genre but my favorite has always been a good fantasy novel.  Give me a character I can relate to but get me out of the daily grind of bills and laundry.  I’ve gone through pretty much everything available.  I happened to mention to my friend Melissa Grzanka that I’d run out of books and she mentioned she’d recently published the first several books in a fantasy series!  Naturally, I went straight to Amazon and downloaded them onto my Kindle.

I LOOOOVE THEM.

The series is called the Myatheira Chronicles and it’s awesome.

The first of the series is called “The Vor’shai: From the Ashes”.  It introduces you to the female-led cast (which I love) and follows the main character, Leyna, as she falls from a life of privilege to living in the streets.  From there she has to decide whether to succumb to her fate or learn to fight for herself both literally and figuratively.  Plot driven with enough action and adventure to keep me interested, engaging and smart dialogue, the story moves fast enough that you want to keep reading but not so fast that it glosses over details and creates plot holes.

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My favorite thing about this book is how well-developed the characters are.  Female characters tend to either be very Twilight-y or only exist to further the plot of male characters.  These women are fully realized, strong, brave, and articulate without seeming contrived or like they’re walking the female archetypes.  This is not a 5 part series about a girl trying to choose a boyfriend.  The male characters are just as genuine, layered and with real depth paired with that important edge of relateablity and realism you need even in the most surreal of fantasy books.

Well written and still easy to read, this book instantly hooked me and made me impatient for the next one.  Which is alright because it’s already available!  Books one through four are currently available on Amazon!  And to make it even better, it’s currently available for free for the Kindle!

If you’re interested in trying a new, amazing series to get super hooked on, I highly suggest you check out The Myatheira Chronicles by Melissa Grzanka, and go like her on Facebook!

One and done: Why I’m not having another baby.

I think I’d been pregnant with Seth for all of three months when people started asking when we were going to have the next one.

We’d kept quiet for a long time, just in case and all that and when we told people we were expecting congratulations, well wishes, somewhat weird advice.  I was not expecting the constant inquiries about future pregnancies.  Hell, I was barely into this pregnancy!

We’ve always been pretty candid so I would say, honestly, that we weren’t. This almost invariably resulted in aghast stares.  I didn’t mind the stares so much, though.  It was the lectures that followed which I found exhausting.

“You can’t have only one!”

“Only children are spoiled!”

“That is so selfish of you!”

And those were the nice comments.

Never mind any medical issues that I might have, or plans for the future, or financial challenges.  People were militant.  After he was born a coworker with whom I’d spent less than four hours, ever,  literally screamed in my face during her passionate lecture on the dangers of an only child.  She railed about everything ranging from him being spoiled and unable to share all the way how it could “make him gay or think he’s a girl”.  If I tried to politely change the subject she would get more worked up until I finally asked her if she’d bothered to consider that maybe I couldn’t have another child.  I’ll admit to enjoying the look of all the blood draining out of her face.

For the record, I am not unable to have more children.  My doctor just isn’t hugely in favor of it.  As it turns out, hemorrhaging during delivery isn’t a good thing. Nor was it my intention to make light of any woman’s experiences with infertility.  It is my hope that in the future she’ll reflect back on our conversation before going off on another aggressive rant with someone who might legitimately have that struggle.

That said, even if I could have more with no risk, we wouldn’t.

I guess I am selfish, because for me he’s enough.  He’s my sunshine, the perfect third to our small team, and never once since I met him have I felt like we needed to add anyone else.  I come from a large family (aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters EVERYWHERE) and I loved it.  But I have no desire to go that route and neither does my kind, loving, compassionate, generous only child of a husband.

Two things:  1) I am absolutely not in any way belittling anyone who decides to have more than one child, or a dozen children.  It’s all about what makes your family feel whole, and mine feels whole just as we are.  2) My husband has two sisters but we were 17 when the first one arrived and 21 for the second so…  only child.

At one point we wanted four.  Then it was two.  For a long time we didn’t want any.  One is perfect for us.  We will never have to divide time or resources.  We will never have to split up because one kid has a play and the other has a game.  We will be able to put him through college.

Now onto the crazier things I’ve been asked:

Aren’t you worried he’ll be lonely?

Nope, if he’s anything like his dad he’ll attract friends like a free ice cream truck.  If he’s like me…  we’ll put him in a lot of after school stuff.  There’s always a weirdo or two looking for a buddy.

What if he gets into drugs/alcohol/the devil’s music?

Oh, well in that case we’ll sell him to gypsies and have a replacement.

What if he dies?

Um…  That would be absolutely awful?  How would having another kid make losing my child hurt less?  Because I had a backup plan?  How about we don’t EVER talk like that again because that is a terrifying and cruel thing to say to anyone no matter what the circumstance.

What if you change your mind and it’s too late?

Well, I don’t see us changing our minds but did you know it’s almost never too late to adopt a child?  Thousands of kids in the system need forever homes and should we ever decide we have the resources and energy to take on another kid or two, you can bet we’ll be bringing home someone who needs us.

Concerned citizens ranged from close family members to total strangers and sometimes I couldn’t tell you which was more upsetting.  More than one person was told that if Seth wasn’t enough for them they were welcome to stay out of his life.  Thankfully the ones  who care about me have mostly accepted our decision.  We still get a snarky, “Oh you say that NOOOOOWWWW but you’ll change your mind” every once in a while but we expected that.  I just say what we’ve said all along.  He’s enough.

 

I mean seriously, like I’d get another this cute.

 

How I became an Accidental Stay At Home Mom.

I’m not sure when exactly I completely lost control of my life.  I’m going to guess it was somewhere around the time the strip turned pink on that little stick but I’d be lying if I said I ever really had total control over things.

I have a fairly modern marriage.  Gender roles have no place in this house, what needs to get done falls to whoever is there to do it.  To whit, my husband was a SAH for about a year while I worked a full time job and we were in HEAVEN.  Seriously ladies, if you’ve got a husband who’ll go for it and there’s a way to pull it off, do that.  It’s fantastic.

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I have no clue where or when this was taken because we’ve been together 9000 years.

So you can imagine my surprise at sitting here in the middle of a workday wearing a pair of yoga pants that are NEVER going to go to yoga surrounded by exersaucers and stackable rings as I clean applesauce off the coffee table.

I just realized I’m still watching The Muppets.  I put the kid down for a nap half an hour ago.

Basically?  A complete lack of options.

When we decided to try for a baby, Jake had a great job, I was doing great at mine, things were ideal.  Without getting into too much detail, things fell apart.  I lost my job, his company sold and the new owners cut salaries, things got REALLY bad.  Like, so bad my friends started a Go Fund Me for us.  We got through that, Jake got great job, and I started working for a photography studio.  After the holidays ended I was working maybe 12 hours a week, and found myself home a lot.  We’ve always agreed that if you’re the one working less,  you take on more of the housework, so I started cleaning.  Then I worked on our budget and got the bills under control.  Then the meal-planning.

One day Jake mentioned how much he loved me being a SAHM and I think I delivered kittens on the couch.  I am NOT a stay at home, no way no how.  That’s for women with highlights and SUVs and… other stuff?

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I took these pictures at night with a potato.

JFC I’m a stay at home mom.

I immediately panicked and insisted on going back to work.  We sat down and ran the numbers on how much I would need to bring in to make it worth the expense of a quality daycare and quickly realized I’d be working to send my kid to daycare.  I’m sure that’s how a lot of women become SAHMs.

Sure, there were less expensive day cares in our area but I’m picky about who has access to my baby.  Shifty’s Kid Watchin’ doesn’t quite make the cut at $200 a week.

It’s a little awkward because I have like, four mom friends, only one is a SAHM, and she does stuff during the day so it’s not like I can just grab her and run off on a whim.  Plus, you know, I have a baby with a schedule and while normally I’m pretty firm on him working into our lives, nap times are non-negotiable.  I mean he’s seriously an awesome baby but without that nap my life becomes a very difficult place.

 

I’m sure I’ll figure it out, I just need to join a Mommy and Me group and suppress all my weirdness until they’ve known me long enough that I can let it out in small bursts and be considered funny.

So now instead of getting up at 6 to run out the door with bleary eyes and carrying my shoes, I wake up at 6, put the baby in his play area, and lay on the couch wishing for death while Tarzan plays on an infinite loop in the background.  Phil Collins haunts my dreams.  I spend most of my time trying to convince him crawling is a super cool thing he really wants to try while keeping him from letting the dogs lick his mouth and when he naps I blog and research developmentally helpful ways to play with him.  But I have full access to my fridge and I can wear jimjams as long as I want every day so I consider that a win.

Making baby food like a boss.

First off, you’re going to need some wine.  Kidding.  Unless you want wine, then go for it, it’s just not required.   I’m having coffee because morning are boo.

I like to make my own baby food because I know exactly what’s in it, how old it is, and it’s MUCH less expensive.  For about $10 I can make enough baby food to last a month, where-as store bought food is on average a dollar a jar.  My kid eats 2-3 jars a day and unfortunately (maybe I mean fortunately because my husband has a great job and I’m grateful for that) we didn’t qualify  for WIC so that’s all out of pocket and this household runs on a budget.  Every dollar we save on things like making baby food is a dollar we can put into savings or toward another bill (my car is THISCLOSE to being paid off!!!).

Now, there are a few ways to do them and they all work well enough but I tend to prefer the path of least resistance because I do all this while juggling an  8 month old and 200 pounds of dogs along with establishing my own business and running a household.

The most popular ways to make it include boiling, steaming, baking, or my personal favorite, the crock pot.

I’ve tried all the others, this is bar none the most passive.

Follow along for pictures and pithy commentary!

Today we’re going to be making carrots for the young prince because he’s decided he’s too good for sweet potatoes even though I’ve got yams all over this damn house.

To begin with, all those cute products like the Baby Bullet and Infantismo are absolutely adorable, fun to think about, and 100% unnecessary.  It’s just  a bunch of extra stuff to clean, parts to lose, and disposable bags to buy.  When I first started making baby food I was determined to have one but a friend convinced me to try it without all that stuff and JFC is it easy.

Today we’re going to need:

8 peeled carrots

4 cups of water

1 crock-pot

A blender/emulsifier/egg beaters

Ice trays

Ziploc bags

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Seriously, that’s everything we’re doing today.

Step one:

turn the crock-pot on high.  Chop the carrots into chunks.

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Step Two:

Put it in the carrots in the crock pot.

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Step Three:

Pour the water into the crock pot.

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Step Four:

Wander off for a while.

Seriously, that’s the whole show for three hours.

After three go take a look at the carrots.  They should mush under a fork, if not make sure there’s still enough water in the crock pot to cover the carrots and leave them for another half hour.  Assuming they did mush under a fork, transfer the carrots to the blender and add about half the water from the crock-pot.  I use a magic bullet because that’s what I had (What you do from here will depend on how old your baby is.  If s/he is under 8 months or so, blend until they carrots are smooth, adding a little more water from the crock-pot so that it has a thin (but not runny) consistency.  If your baby is in the 8 months and over category, I recommend using pulse blending so it stays a little bit chunky.  Little guys need to practice chewing!

If you’re using an emulsifier or egg beaters you do the same thing, just use a bowl instead of a blender pitcher and add the water that way.

 

The reason you use the water from the crock pot is because when you were cooking the carrots some of the nutrients leeched out and into the water, by using that same water you’re adding them back into the carrots.  If there’s not enough water left in the crock pot it’s totes fine to add some extra.  

Once you’ve got it to the consistency you want, we move on to storage.  There really isn’t a -wrong- way to store them but the easiest is to put a week’s worth in a reusable jar (I just recycle baby food jars) and put the rest into an ice cube tray.  Firmly put the lids on the jars, and put the ice cube tray in the freezer.

When the food in the trays is frozen solid, pop them out and put them all in a big Ziploc bag with the date and type of food written on it.  When you’re through the type you have in jars, pop out a couple, throw them in a microwave or steamer safe container and let them defrost.

I generally use the bottle warmer I have to warm up baby food, I occasionally buy Beechnut brand organic baby food (if we’re out longer than I expect or for some reason I wasn’t able to bring home-made) and reuse those containers.  You can absolutely microwave it too, either is fine.  If after warming it up it looks a little thick, add a tablespoon of water and stir it well, that generally gets things to the right consistency.

Now you may be wondering why not just put all the food in baby food jars and freeze it that way.  Fluid expands when frozen, if the jars are filled too full to accomodate that (which is very easy to do) the glass can crack.  If it’s a bad crack you can see you just wasted a bunch of food, otherwise it could just be a strain on the glass that causes it to litter microscopic glass shards into the baby food.  Not worth the risk, don’t use glass in the freezer.

Super easy, right?  Seriously, if people really understood how easy it is and how much money they’d save doing it Gerber would go out of business.  Now other methods are absolutely faster but I like this one because I can leave the house, don’t have to deal with scalding steam, and I can do huge batches if I want.  My little dude is old enough that I add a little oatmeal to his food.  A tablespoon and a half right in the jar, a teaspoon of water, stir it up super great, then put it in the bottle warmer and let it cook all together.

I have a bunch of tasty recipes for baby food (unless it involves peas, Mister Baby does NOT eat peas no matter how well I hide them).  I’ll probably post some of them soon because I know how exhausting it was to figure them out myself.

Earlier I mentioned that $10 was enough to make baby food for a month.  That’s several different kinds of baby food.  What I made today cost me $0.45 because carrots were on sale for a nickle a piece.  This is easily fifteen feedings.  If you were hesitating at all, think about that for a minute in comparison with a dollar per feeding.  Srs.

 

How I’m Surviving the Infant Stage

Wine.  The answer is lots of wine.

My baby is 8 months today, UGH, and I just now feel like I’m getting the hang of this parenting thing.  So far he’s fallen off the couch twice and off our bed once, has figured out how to turn onto his tummy and slide out of his rocking chair and sit down on the floor, and I’m pretty sure both the dogs are working for him.

I’ve been asked how I’m managing a few times and I’ll be honest, I’m pretty lucky.  I have an extreeeeeeeeeemely well behaved baby with a great attitude.  But a lot of it comes from having asked friends with kids where they think they went wrong and the one fairly consistent thing we were told was not setting up a structured night time schedule.

Seth has always slept pretty well but it was erratic.  I could never tell when he needed to nap, and as a result he never really did.  When he was about three months old I decided he’d just nap when I felt he was tired and it actually worked.  After some trial and error (you can not force a baby who wants to play to take a nap, fun fact) I started laying him down at 9:30 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.  He fought it for a few days but eventually he started knocking right out.  Those were paced well enough that he was ready for bed at 7:30.  I tried keeping him up until  8 or 9 thinking he’d sleep later.

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He sleeps from 7:30 to about 4 am, wakes up for a bottle, then knocks back out until about 7:30 most mornings.  I will admit to one Bad Mommy habit: he has to nurse to go to sleep.  We’ve tried pacifiers to no avail, so I lay him down with a 2 ounce bottle, let him drift off, then go take it away from him.  We keep a space heater in the room (chill, it’s on a timer with a set heat, attached to a surge protector, and will turn itself off if it tips in any direction) because his room is goddamn freezing at night.  We lay him down when the room is warm, turn on his Twilight Turtle (ONLY the blue stars or all hell breaks loose), turn on his mobile, and he’s good to go to sleep.  I stay up until about 11:30, give him a diaper change, and it’s usually all quiet on the Western Front.

Unfortunately this week he’s been sick so all that nice, reasonable schedule nonsense went out the damn window along with my sanity and any organization in this house.  Yesterday he refused to go down for a nap until 3, then woke up screaming at the top of his lungs at 4.  That continued until 5:30 when he suddenly went to sleep and was down for the count.  Because I’m a friggin idiot I thought that was a good thing and puttered around until 11 when it suddenly hit me that this was a Very Bad Thing.  Unfortunately by then it was too late, I went to bed and accepted my fate.  He was up at 1:30, 3, 4, 6, and up for the morning at 6:30.  I can’t do cry-it-out so I get up when he’s crying to soothe him, I was so tired my hands were shaking this morning.

We probably watched more TV than we should have today.  I’m not proud.  But I was sober, and given how things went I feel like that’s a win.

If you’ve got tips, tricks, or a good recipe for fudge leave a comment.

Gas Bubbles, Moby Wraps, and Lactation Cookies: I Used To Be a Party Girl

I type this with Seth in a carrier against my chest, alternating between sleeping (and drooling down my boobs) and screaming like a maniac.  It’s surprising because he’s normally the most chill baby you ever met, but he seems really burpy and I think it’s uncomfortable.

I had to stop between paragraphs to give him a bath which helps calm him down.  After he was content and happy I used the sprayer to rinse him off and accidentally hit him with ice cold water so then we got to take a second bath while I offered my soul to the dark lord in exchange for 10 minutes of quiet.

He wasn’t interested.

I was talking to my friend Carla about increasing my milk supply and the benefits of brewer’s yeast and getting a second base for the car seat and flashed back to me 10 years ago.

21 year old Heather was more interested in cigarettes and tattoos, any spit up I was cleaning up was from after a night of drinking, and I didn’t care too much about seatbelt safety.

But I was getting roughly the same amount of sleep so there’s that.

I never, ever pictured myself as a mom.  I mean I love it and wouldn’t change anything but it’s strange how things turn out.

Back to dieting for the last two days (I’m aware it’s not impressive or anything to brag about but whatever, I’m trying.

Tonight was supposed to be a walk but it’s been raining off and on since 3 so I’m going to try some yoga, and I’m looking for a treadmill I can put in the sunroom.  I was going to rejoin the gym but I’ve run the numbers and overall it’s less expensive to grab one off Craigslist.  Plus then I can run when Mister Baby is asleep rather than trying to find someone to watch him or leaving him with a rando in the gym nursery.

Have you ever noticed that dieting makes you crave sweets?

Whatever.  I have the soul of a fatty and currently the body to match.  Go team.

So speaking of weird things I care about now, have any of you tried lactation cookies/muffins, etc?  If so, did they work for you?  If they did, can you recommend a recipe?  My surgeries have left me with a crappy supply and we’re having to use a lot more formula than I want so I’m trying to get things up and running again.