Photographing and Documenting Your Child’s Childhood- The Nightmare Continues

I am writing this post as I sit waiting for my phone to download approximately 6000 photos, dating from last August until this June, onto my computer so that I can print these photos out and put them into photo albums.  I want to print all of them, but I must go through them and pick and choose which ones will make the cut. I didn’t do that with Holden and now I have two photo albums with 700 pictures stress-memechronicling the first six months of his life.

Plus, I still have the photos on my camera and the all the special occasion photos to print up as well.

Does this seem a little excessive to anyone? I sometimes wonder if having cameras on every device imaginable is actually a good thing. I stress so much about capturing all the precious moments of my little ones that I wonder if that stress is causing me to sometimes miss out on these precious moments?

Question: Is a baby’s smile still as cute even if you do not capture the first ten times he does it?

I mean the memory books, the photo albums, the photo books, the scrap books, the picture frames… Am I the only person overwhelmed here? Holden is almost two, and I have not printed a picture since he was six months old. I feel a panic attack coming on every time I think of how I need to keep up with preserving all these memories.

I know this stress is nothing new.

I just have to take one look at the stacks of photos that have yet to be put into photo albums at my Mom’s house, and the way she cringes when she looks at them, to know that mine is not the first generation to be swallowed by the monster that is personal family photos.

But at this time, with the internet, it seems we have this whole new level of crazy. The internet is a wealth of information that unfortunately can show us exactly how we do not measure up. One look at Pinterest and all the crazy, cool ideas and ways to preserve memories for ourselves and our children, and you realize that you could make a full time job out of the art of photo preservation.

AND.I.JUST.CAN’T.KEEP.UP. h6T6Fvcongrats-baby-photo-albums-facebook-upcoming-pregnancy-ecards-someecards

Maybe I am not organized enough? Maybe I am not artsy enough? Maybe my children will be so sad that they are not able to see a photo of themselves from every day of their lives?!!!!!

Maybe.

Or maybe I should focus on capturing select, beautiful moments in their lives? But how do I even do that when every moment is beautiful and perfect? (Insert nervous twitch.)

What in the world will they do with all these photo albums anyways? At this rate my children are going to have like 200 photo albums to go through when they are older.

I have decided that the picture insanity needs to stop. In order to stop the insanity, I have come up with a resolution for myself.

First, I will give myself grace. I am raising two beautiful boys and the world is not going to end if I do not properly document every second of their childhood.

Second, I will enjoy my moments with them rather than constantly pausing to photograph or digitize the moment. I will remember to pause and take mental pictures. I will keep my focus on them and being there for them in that moment. I will push away thoughts of needing to share the moment with the entire world.

Reminder: Shelbi, it is OK to have private moments that no one will know about. stress

Lastly, I will continue to do my best to pick and choose the photos I cherish to pass on to my sweet ones. I still believe it is important to capture memories. I just do not need 100 pictures from each event or moment of their lives. One or two will suffice in most circumstances.  Less is sometimes more. Plus, those little moments will add up to a lot at the end of the year.

So today, dear friends, I just want to encourage everyone to let go of the photo obsessing and stress. I encourage you to embrace life in the present without any technology. I am doing my best to do just that.

We are all in this together. We will survive this messy world of immense pressure, immense responsibility, and immense love… this world known as parenthood.

And we will survive the demonic force that is the photo album.

I promise.

 

 

 

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The Tiny Thief

There is a tiny thief in my house.

He is 11 months old.

He is quick.

He is feisty.

And he will hide yo’ stuff.

Today I was trying to make a doctor’s appointment. Holden was singing (yelling) in the background and joyfully throwing the football against the floor repeatedly. All was well despite having to strain to hear the nice lady on the

Kids-loud-on-phone-funny-parenting-ecardother end of the phone.

She proceeded to ask me for my new insurance card. And that would not be a big deal… except that when I went to bend down and grab my wallet out of my purse aka diaper bag… it was missing. Frantically, I tried to search for that dang wallet. I felt so stupid for calling before I had that dang card in hand. Phone calls are precious things in Mom world, as is being productive, and I needed to get this dang appointment made. I tried to answer other questions for her so that I wouldn’t be wasting her time, but between searching for the wallet and Holden yelling… I wasn’t doing a very good job. Finally, I had to concede defeat. I told her I would call her back and then proceeded to tear apart my house looking for that wallet.

Now I am known to be forgetful so losing things is not new to me, but Taylor had just put my card in my wallet the night before so I knew it was there. Naturally, I called Taylor with an accusing tone and asked him where my wallet was. He had put it back in my diaper bag. Taylor never loses anything. Fine. Great. Dandy.

I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I looked in every pillow, crevice, and blanket knowing that Holden had to have taken off with it. I had already thrown in the towel this morning when I couldn’t find his bottle, but I refused to give up on this wallet. I refused to give up on being productive and making that dang appointment.Frantic-Checking

And then I remembered.

Holden has this new fascination with throwing EVERYTHING in the toilet. When I lost my shoe yesterday, I found it in the toilet along with a bottle and a onesie.

With a sinking feeling in my gut, I check the toilets. Not there. Good. There is one last place that Holden has been putting things recently.

The trash can.

I open up the trash lid and lo and behold what do I find? Two pairs of sandals, a shirt, a onesie, a flour sifter, and MY 10517497_10152166522250824_8614683437792491522_nWALLET. Thank goodness I caught that before the trash got taken out. The picture on the right is of Holden and his loot from the trash can.

After this event, I watched his process of throwing away shoes and clothes. He does it when he doesn’t think I am looking. He walks right over to that trash can, and I watch this tiny little person heave.. with all his might… any object he can find… into that trash can. He is so pleased with himself for managing to get things into the trash can. And randomly when, for whatever reason, he decides enough stuff is in the trash… he moves on to a new activity.

I seriously don’t get it. I had tried to teach Holden how to put clothes INTO the drawers, and for some reason, he came up with taking things OUT of drawers and throwing things into the toilet and trash can.

Sometimes I will catch him in the act. He will be standing next to the toilet holding up his bottle when I see him. I yell “Holden.. NO!” He looks at me… smiles… and as soon as he sees me run toward him… he turns as quickly as he can and throws his bottle into the toilet.

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This has happened numerous times. I try to keep doors shut, but that doesn’t always work. I may need to invest in a new trash can and toilet locks.

The other thing he loves to do is wrap himself like a mummy in the toilet paper, and then throw the rest of the toilet paper in the toilet. Toilet paper is not cheap people! Not to mention my nice makeup that does not do well sitting in toilet water…

This is the image that pops in my head when thinking of Holden and his destructive exploits:

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Here is to hoping that his fascination with the bathroom and the toilet will lead to early potty training. And maybe eventually I will turn his throwing everything away into a productive activity. Hopefully. Prayerfully. Ugh.

Welcome to Toddler-hood

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Ok I have to write this post fast. Holden is playing by himself nicely in his room, and it is only a matter of time before he finds a way to destroy something.

I thought toddler world began at age two.

False.

Holden is now 11 months, and it feels like we have been in this stage forever. The kid started army crawling at four months and full on crawling at five months. He was walking unassisted at ten months. I now understand why when I proudly told seasoned mothers how early Holden was hitting these movement milestones… they all responded with phrases like “Oh I am so sorry”, “You’re in trouble” or “Poor you”. I remember thinking “Why are you pitying me people!? I gave birth to an athletic prodigy!” 1458571_10151757142750824_509009564_n

I understand now.

By the time Holden was six months old I was longing for the days he just snuggled in my arms and cooed at me.

I mean how could a four month old will up the strength to attack a christmas tree? Seriously?

Now when people are telling me about their child prodigy’s movement milestones all I can muster up is “Just push him down. Do NOT let him get up. PUSH HIM DOWN.”

And then I cry. I may just keep my next baby in a swaddle all day until he/she is six months old.

With mobility came craziness, for example, by 9:15 the other morning Holden had:

Submerged himself in the toilet.. because the water in there is awesome.

Dumped all the baby cereal on the floor. (May the wrath of Zeus come down upon the person that put the cereal so low.)

Decided he wanted to feed himself… so he dumped yogurt bowl on his head.

While he was naked waiting for a bath, he picked up any item he could find and would slap his man parts on it or bang said object against himself. He plays the toy blocks like a drum if you catch my drift.

And then… he claimed his bathroom as his territory. He pooped on the floor.

After his bath, he decided it would be awesome to pull all his clothes out of the drawer. Because you know… despite my best efforts… the only time it is ok to put things away is when Holden decides it needs to go in the trash can or in the toilet.

All this before 9:30 am. I have to tell ya… on days like this I can get pretty tired. So tired that I have seen Holden eat some of his puffs Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.50.53 AMoff the carpet that had fallen off his high chair earlier that morning, and I did nothing. In fact, I may have poured some more puffs on the ground for him so that I could finish doing my chores without being attacked or worry that he is drinking the toilet water.

Yes. I have fed my child off the carpet. Don’t judge me. People do desperate things sometimes.

We may have some crazy mornings like that one, but don’t get me wrong, Holden is an awesome kid. He is inquisitive, active, kind, ornery, and sweet.

10406991_10152138788075824_8379895507644947704_n 10462695_10152138788660824_4581260644770878493_nHolden spends his days wielding hangers, sticks, any long object… like a sword. I shudder to think what will happen when there is some strength behind his whacking of the “sword”. He gets so frustrated when his “sword” or what I like to call a “hanger” gets stuck on his diaper or on his foot, and he can’t get it free to whack things with it.  Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.31 AM

He also gets very frustrated when he gets stuck under chairs, ottomans, and any other tiny place he decides to crawl under like a little mouse. These moments are hilarious.

He likes mud and squishing anything between his fingers. He loves to kick balls and throw them. He loves bubbles. He loves wheels. He likes to flip toy cars over so he can spin the wheels. He loves wheels so much that he takes off after any person pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair. His new thing is trying to roll off with other peoples strollers. And yes sometimes said stroller has a baby in it.

Holden’s first word is “da” for dog. God must have a sense of humor to allow my child’s first word to be dog. He sounds like he says “mom” or “dada”, but he rambles at everything. Only when he sees a dog will he consistently say “Da”.

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He loves his Daddy. I have never seen a child light up the way Holden does when Tay gets home. Sometimes it brings Holden to tears because he is so happy his Dad is home. Whenever Tay cooks breakfast Holden stands right by him.

He loves his Momma. If he has been playing away from me too long he finds me and asks to be held. Or if I am sitting 10419584_10152118721530824_3412618301591432108_nhe will climb up on the couch and throw himself on top of me for some cuddles and kisses. I may or may not have almost gotten a bloody nose from one of these cuddles.

I think I may have a toddler. I think I may be raising a rambunctious little boy.

And I love it.

Transition and Grief: The Mom Experience

559756_10151542658100824_1731661354_nTransition: a synonym for change

Being a mother has been the greatest transition of my life thus far. Nothing has changed my world more than being a mother. It changed my dreams. It changed my present. It changed my future. It changed me.

And that is ok.

But it didn’t always feel ok.

Why does no one talk about that? I have an idea… they don’t talk about it because it feels like a betrayal. A betrayal of your precious child(ren). I couldn’t even begin to express to you how much I love my son. It is one emotion that I can’t even begin to describe or I will start crying. It is completely all encompassing. So how could I ever tell someone that with becoming a mother… with that change… some of my dreams died? How could I ever say that becoming a Mom was/is wonderful, but sometimes the process hurts?

How awful does that sound?

But it is true.

I had everything planned out. I am a planner that’s what I do. I still do. I plan and replan my life over and over again. The funny thing is that no matter how hard one tries… you cannot control everything in life. After I graduated from college early, I was going to spend a year abroad as an intern and then I was going to go to law school.

Detour.

On the day I graduated from college I got engaged to the man of my dreams. Six months later we were married.

Best decision I ever made.

He had one more year left of college football so after we said our “I do’s” we loaded up my stuff, and I moved from sunny California to sometimes sunny South Dakota. Getting married and moving across the country to be with my husband… but not around anyone I really knew… was quite the adventure.

Change. Adjusting. Growing.

Almost a year later and I was almost done perfecting my law school applications. My personal statement was almost perfect, but I couldn’t quite press send without a few more adjustments. I never got to push send. Two pink lines and a tiny heartbeat on a monitor later…

Detour.

We packed our bags and headed back down to sunny California to be by family and have support while Taylor builds his career. On July 21, 2013 the most precious blessing entered our lives. And I was forever changed.

Taylor and I have always agreed that one of us would be home with our children so it wasn’t even a question that I would be staying home with Holden while my husband works and does his Master’s program.

So I found myself in an entirely different place in life that I had imagined myself being at this age. And it hurt. I couldn’t express it properly, but for the first time in a long time I felt very insecure. In the space of less than two years I had gone from being an aspiring, world traveling, professional student to being a stay at home Mom, and it was a lot to process. I guess being so young it was hard because the Moms I met that had babies were older and more established than me… and the people my age… who are in the building part of life… didn’t have kids.

It is a confusing feeling. Loving your baby.. loving motherhood.. but trying to ignore this whole other part of you that all of a sudden had to be put on hold.

I rode this wave of emotions for awhile until I finally confessed how I was feeling to an older Mom. And what she told me set me free. So now… I want to tell you… just in case you have felt this way too.

Grieve.

It is ok to admit that you feel a loss of some of your dreams. When the woman first said this to me… I felt defensive. I was so consumed by the idea that it was bad to admit that I had to give up some things as a mother. Within our culture, we are inundated with the idea that we can have it all… that everything is supposed to be about us. But we can’t have it all, and having everything be about ourselves is such an empty way to live.

After that first wave of feeling defensive, I realized that I was afraid to admit that some of my dreams and plans for my future were gone. I am a mother now so the way I had planned some things can never be the same.. and sometimes that feels like a death.  And fellow Mama… it is ok to acknowledge that… to grieve it even.

But… she told me… after you allow yourself to grieve it.. you need to move on.

You can’t stay stuck in your grief. Acknowledge the loss and let it go. I don’t know why it felt so freeing to have someone tell me it was ok to admit that sometimes it hurts that things had to change. Change hurts sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that the change isn’t the most wonderful thing ever.

A death to one dream only means the birth of another. Does being a mother mean I will never accomplish my goals? No, the path will just look different. Does choosing to stay at home make me any less ambitious? Not at all. I am just in a different season of life right now, and someday my children will grow, and I will enter another season of life. Change is constant. Me, my goals, my aspirations… they will all continue to change and grow.

So I did it. I cried. I grieved. I let it go.

And I felt FREE.

Transformation- Innovation- Metamorphasis: synonyms for change 

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#MomProblems

The #Hashtag is an interesting component to social media. As a very long winded person I have trouble with the hashtag. The fact that it is supposed to be succinct really throws me for a loop. My friends and I use them mostly as jokes when describing things… especially pertaining to circumstances caused by our position as mothers. This post is in honor of my friend Hannah… and all the mothers out there that feel our pain. Without further adieu… I give you:

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When you have to go to the bathroom really bad, but your baby is nursing, and it is the only way he will stop crying… and you still have PTSD from birth so the idea of just laying your baby down while he is crying is equivalent to ripping your heart out of your chest… so you take little baby to the restroom with you… still nursing. #ShamelessMomProblems

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When you have finally gotten your baby to fall asleep in the crib… closed the door… given your husband the smug look of success… and suddenly realize you left your cell phone in your baby’s room. #HowTheMightyHaveFallenMomProblems

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When you swore up, down, and all around you would never do something when you became a parent… and now that you are a parent you totally do it. #MomProblems

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When you get a beautiful bookcase and spend hours tediously organizing said bookcase so that you can find any book you want based on genre of book… only to have your baby slowly take down one book at a time… ripping covers… drooling on pages… until the bottom two shelves are empty and what once was a beautiful, organized, five shelf bookcase is now a three shelf bookcase of disorder and chaos… filled with books who were once beautiful, but now bear the abuse of your child. #nerdymomproblems

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When you can’t take a shower… or go anywhere alone… without hearing the phantom cries of your baby. #PsychoMomProblems

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When you hear your baby sneezing… walk into the kitchen where the noise originated… and find your baby sitting in a pile of pepper with the empty pepper container next to it. #SneezingMomProblems

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When there is silence so you hunt down your baby only to find him covered in the grease from the can of grease you use to drain the drippings of former meals. #FrustratedMomProblems

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When your baby decides that he loves the uncooked quinoa you stupidly put on a lower shelf before baby was mobile… and he dumps it everywhere.. and a month later you still find quinoa in your house. #MomGivesUpProblems

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When you don’t have a stroller or a cart and need to use a public restroom, but are carrying your baby and would die before said baby touches that floor… so you make it work. #DesperateMomProblems

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When you go to change your baby in the store restroom, and you get the diaper off the baby… but you drop something and right as you reach down to get it… foolishly doing so while baby is naked… your baby starts to pee EVERYWHERE. There is pee all over the restroom… it is all over you… it is all over your baby. #FlusteredMomProblems

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When your child has a rash so you let said child run free of diapers or clothing in order to get rid of it. And while child is free you suddenly hear your husband say your name… then he yells your name… and you look over at your child to see him straining with his best poop face… and you hope it isn’t true… until you see your husband pick child up with feces all over baby’s leg… still pouring out of baby onto newly cleaned coffee table… and as a cherry on top… on your way to the bathtub baby grabs himself. #DisgustedMomProblems

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When you have things to do… like use the restroom or eat… but your baby has fallen asleep on you so you don’t dare move for the next hour and a half so baby can get a good nap. #MomProblems

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When you have had a rough day and your baby is crying so you lay down on the floor next to your baby and cry too. #TiredMomProblems

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When you make the most ridiculous noises to ever grace your mouth… just to get a spoonful of food into your baby’s mouth. #ThatIsNotTheSoundAirplanesMakeMomProblems

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When you swore you were adopting while in childbirth and refused to watch any show dealing with childbirth for months… but one day see a brand new baby… and suddenly all you remember is giggles, kisses, smiles, and amazing firsts… and everything else disappears. #LoveBeingAMom #It’sNotAProblem

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43 Things Women Think About When They Go To The Doctor… And Ten Things Men Think Of

I recently was talking to my husband about all the things I think about when I go to the doctor.

It never ceases to amaze me how uncomplicated men’s thought lives are.

What women think about when they go to the doctor:

  1. Well I am here. Where is the pen to sign in?
  2. Oh how cute they put a flower on their pens!
  3. Wow the secretary lady has a cute family.
  4. I wonder how old her kids are? I wonder how old she is?
  5. Oh I am a little late… I think I will just round down.
  6. Where to sit? I think I will sit over here.. that way there is no one next to me.
  7. Hmm… I should read something.
  8. Seriously no People or US Weekly?
  9. Why do they only put out family mags and Sports Illustrated?
  10. Golf? There is an entire magazine devoted to golf?
  11. Oh Good Housekeeping… I guess it is better than nothing.
  12. Ooo… the food looks so good.
  13. I wonder if they are going to weigh me? MjAxMy1jZGRiMjdkZjA5OGU0MmZh_5251a63fc1a63
  14. I hate when they weigh me.
  15.  I swear doctor’s offices rig their scales so they weigh people heavier.
  16. They want me to have a weight problem.
  17.  Shoot. I wore boots. Will it be weird if I ask if I could take my boots off before they weigh me?
  18. Why did I eat so much beforehand?
  19. Seriously I should have worn shorts, flip flops, and a tank top.
  20. I probably can take away like 12 pounds due to the fact that I have eaten, I am wearing a ton of clothes, and their scale is probably broken.
  21. Time to go back.. it is the moment of truth.
  22. Screw it… I am totally taking my shoes off.
  23. Wow this is taking longer than I thought. I wonder if it is irritating her that I want my shoes off.
  24. I am never eating again. Seriously.
  25. I wonder if she is judging me? Should I say something?
  26. Well she isn’t the tiniest person either so she can’t judge me.
  27. Muscle weighs more than fat right?
  28. I think I will just put my shoes on in the room.
  29. I wonder if there are different sizes of blood pressure cuffs?
  30. Wow.. is my arm really that big?
  31. Good blood pressure and pulse. Thats right.. I may weigh a ton but I am healthy.
  32. Well time to wait 94804358 minutes for the doctor.
  33. Shoot I should have brought my magazine back here.
  34. Ahh.. this is taking too long.
  35. I wonder what they are talking about out there?
  36. I have never heard of half these drugs. I wonder if the doctor prescribes these exclusively.
  37. Why are they usually for birth control?
  38. Birth control reps do work.
  39. I wonder what is in these drawers?
  40. Maybe.. I will take a look.
  41. But what if they come in and catch me?
  42. Just one little peek…
  43. Oh hello doctor!

What men (according to my husband) think about when they go to the doctor:

  1. How long is this going to take?
  2. Oh magazine.. I will read… this one.
  3. Time to go back.
  4. Hmm.. cute nurse.
  5.  Blank. Nada.
  6. This is going to take forever.
  7. Blank. Nada.
  8. Time for checkup. Finally.
  9. Information.
  10. Done.

My husband was in awe of my list.

“I forget you sign in. Wouldn’t occur to me to look at the receptionist’s pictures. I don’t think about the magazines. Forgot you get weighed. Might as well be a white room with nothing in it… a black hole really. You go in… sit down… he tells you you are healthy or not healthy… what to do… then you go home. Seriously a black hole for time… don’t even know how long I am there. I don’t think I could even come up with fifteen things.”

 

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Mom Doesn’t Get A Sick Day

images-1I would just like to address something today… Something I miss very  much.

Sick days. Or rather the ability to recover from being sick.

Mothers don’t get sick days, and this is a terrible thing.

Oh you have a migrane this morning? Too bad. Baby still needs to be fed and changed at five am.

Did you just puke? Poor you, but baby is getting into the cupboard again and throwing the pasta all over the floor… and you do realize that pasta is a choking hazard right?

There have been times I have woken up feeling absolutely horrible, and all I wanted to do was sleep, but my buddy was ready to go for the day. So what do you do when you have an active child who refuses to sit in any bouncy play thing?

Here is my advice:

1. Close all the blinds so that your house becomes a den of darkness with just a touch of subdued sunshine… think hollywood recluse and/or a drug dealer’s place of residence.

2. Put some toys on the floor and pray that Baby finds them interesting. Understand that most likely these will hold his attention for max 5 minutes. MjAxMi04NDU3MGM5MmI0MmNhYzhh

3. Lay on couch. Close eyes.

4. Remind yourself to thank husband for baby proofing so that you can close your eyes for ten minute intervals without fear of poisoning and/or electrocution. (The fears Mothers have to deal with are ridiculous… but more about that later.)

5. Understand that Baby will come over and start banging on your face or maybe he will attempt to nurse from a standing position. Calmly pick Baby up and remind him that his toys are awesome, and he should not neglect them.. for the love of all that is good in this world he should not neglect them.

6. Lay back down, and pray for mercy.

7. When your Mommy senses kick in (not unlike spidey senses), and you abruptly sit up and frantically search for Baby… only to find that he is eating pieces of the WICKER BASKET holding your blankets… do not be afraid to grab some cheerios, put him in the high chair, and hope that this will keep him alive and well for a good ten minutes.

Now would be a good time to take medicine, visit the restroom, or maybe take the high chair into the bathroom and take a shower. You can explain the soggy cheerios all over your bathroom floor to your husband later.

8. If you are nursing, I am a big fan of nursing laying down. This position often puts baby and I right to sleep.

Disclaimer: If you do this, but baby wakes up and you still want to sleep.. so you let him crawl all over you and your face while you lay there and ask God “Why me?”.  And if you accidentally fall back asleep despite being accosted by your child… and only wake up right as you see your child sliding face first over the side of your bed… and are unable to grab him… And if you feel like the worst mother in the world as you try to console your crying child who you are sure probably needs to be rushed to the emergency room and is scarred for life… and if you call your Mom in tears only to have her tell you.. “Oh he is ok.. at least he landed softly on carpet. He fell off the couch onto the hardwood yesterday.You fell a ton as a child. He will be fine. ”

Know that you are not alone… Apparently there is nothing new under the sun and somehow our babies survive our mistakes.

 9. And finally… if you have this option because you are blessed like me…

Take the baby to your Mom’s/Mother-in-law’s house and get a good nap in while Baby gets some Grandma time.

Make sure to apologize for also being an unthoughtful child at one time to your mother when she was sick. Tell her you understand now why you thought she was impervious to any illness and how foolish that thought was… SO so so foolish.

Oh and congratulations… you made it to 10 am.

Here is to never being sick again. 

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