Sleep Tall – A Lesson in Accepting My Own Insecurities

Stand up straight.

I glance at my reflection as I breeze past a glass wall at my office. Stand up straight, I tell myself, as I lift my chin, instinctively pull my shoulders back and right myself. The sudden change in my posture must be bewildering to anyone who happens to catch sight of me.

I’m taller than average, just about 5’10”. Growing up, I always slouched and slumped to not stick out in a crowd of friends or classmates. I didn’t like being taller than everyone else, and did everything I could to just fit in. In pictures, I would always be stooped over or have my knees bent to appear to be the same height as everyone else. In class pictures I inevitably always ended up in the back row. It was a battle that I never had a chance of winning (DNA is DNA).

We were recently at a viewing for a family friend. Afterwards my dad said, “You looked like a question mark in there”, which I’m sure I did. My posture tends to get even worse in situations where I’m uncomfortable. Or in this case, if I’m trying to portray my empathy to someone going through a difficult time. This is one way that I communicate, which I think can be endearing at times. Other times I think it can be attributed to a lack of confidence.

I don’t want this not always appealing habit of mine to rub off on my daughter because she is going to be tall. Or at least, the odds are in favor of my daughter being tall (my husband is 6’5”).

Tall Baby

My Daughter is going to be Tall.

At 9 months old, Quinn is in the 95th percentile for height. It seems pretty unavoidable that she will be faced with some of the same challenges that I dealt with growing up. Which means, I will undoubtedly relive most of my own awkward gangly moments through her. I mean, the height struggle is already evident when her little pants look like little capris.

At the onset of writing this, I thought my initial intention was to put more pressure on myself to exude confidence at every turn and in every moment of every day. But as I reread and rewrite, I find that my main concern is not that my daughter will most likely be tall and possibly have height issues. It’s that I do not want her to have my height issues. I do not want to pass on my own insecurities.

Everyone has insecurities. I don’t pretend for a second to think that my daughter won’t have insecurities of her own. But if there is anything that I can do to avoid letting my own insecurities influence hers… Heck, I would do whatever it took, until it broke me into a million pieces. I think this is what often happens with mothers and perfectionists.

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve read so many blogs about moms who strive to be perfect and about how they drove themselves crazy in the beginning to do everything flawlessly. Then suddenly realized one day, how sheer and utter madness the idea of perfection is. However, walking the line between trying to be perfect and trying to just do the best you can without driving yourself insane… It’s like walking on the edge of a cliff. It’s quite tricky. I guess that is why it takes so long to get a good handle on this parenting thing.

The whole transition to motherhood, for me, wasn’t always easy.

My anxiety during the early weeks really knocked me off of my game. It has taken a while to get to a better place, but in some ways I think I am still recovering from those early overwhelming days. It’s almost like learning to walk all over again. Or in my case learning to stand up straight again. I know that as soon as I think I’ve got this parenting thing figured out, a new phase will begin, and I’ll have to start back at square one.

Tall Baby

My husband and I have a cute saying that started somewhere in our early days of dating. Late nights, texting back and forth would always be ended with “Sleep Sweet” from me, and “Sleep Tall” from my husband. I know that we have many hurdles ahead of us, and expectations are the culprit of disappointment. So instead of spending my days endlessly fretting and stressing myself out about how my posture will somehow someday scar my baby girl. I will pause and take a breath. I will try not to hold myself to an impossible standard. But at the same time I will also do my best to project confidence when I can because I do see her gaze watching me from across the room. For now though, I’ll just say:

Sleep Tight, Sleep Sweet, Sleep Tall, my Love.

Share Button

Stop and Slow Down – Parenthood Confessions

Last month I was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign.

I was definitely in the wrong. I rolled through and barely looked at the other car also approaching the intersection (or the cop car sitting there, waiting for someone like me).

At the time of the incident, I was on the phone (blue tooth) with my husband. I was telling him about how I almost knocked over a pregnant woman and her little girl, as I bustled out the front door of the daycare facility. That was the first moment where I should have said to myself “Stop. Slowdown.” Instead, I continued rushing on with my morning.

After leaving daycare, I stopped for gas because my car was running on fumes. Then I had to stop at the grocery store for a few last minute birthday gifts for my husband. The effect of the extra errands that morning, caused me to drive a different route than I normally would…

I pulled over before the officer even turned on his lights.

I knew what I had done was wrong, and I felt terrible. As he ran my information, I sat in my car and waited. I begged with myself not to cry, not to get upset, as tears formed in my eyes. I refused to make any silly excuse to the cop about why I did what I did because I had no legitimate reason for my failure to stop.

As he approached my window with the verdict, I could feel my stomach knotting up. I was about to get a ticket. I wondered, how much would this cost? If it would increase our insurance rate? How many points would I be getting on my license?

The officer began his spiel, and as he spoke I started to get the feeling that he was going to let me off the hook. I waited patiently and kept my mouth shut. He kindly gave me a warning, and left me with a word of advice, to always stop at stop signs, especially when a cop is sitting there.

I couldn’t believe it. Perhaps it was because I have a good driving record. Or maybe he saw the two stuffed animals sitting in my passenger seat and took pity on me as a mom. For whatever reason that day, he did not issue me a ticket.

Parenthood Confessions

I sat in my car for a while after the officer pulled away, and I cried. I cried so much that you would have thought that I HAD received a ticket (and had also been sentenced to 10 years in prison). The feeling I had was a mixture of relief and disappointment. The pressure of a looming ticket was gone, but in it’s place was a feeling of pure embarrassment. The kind of feeling that makes you want to crawl into a hole and disappear for awhile.

I completely deserved that ticket, no questions asked. As much as I was mad with myself for doing something that I knew was wrong, there was also a part of me that was just upset that I had been caught. Upset for not upholding this perception of perfection.

This was a wakeup call, and one that I desperately needed. I am not perfect, and that is okay. Sometimes, I just need to be reminded of that. I also need to stop and slow down, and enjoy these moments of parenthood because I know they go by so quickly.

Parenthood Confessions
Take time to stop and slowdown – Parenthood goes by too fast
Share Button

Lactation Granola Bars Recipe

I tried a new recipe last week for lactation granola bars that my friend Aislinn sent to me. This recipe was great because it didn’t require a ton of time or ingredients, which is very important nowadays.

List of necessary/optional ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe/Ripe-ish Bananas
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 Cup All Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
  • Handful of Craisins (optional)
  • Handful or 2 (definitely 2) of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)
Lactation Granola Bar Ingredients
All 7 ingredients for the Lactation Granola Bars.

First, turn your oven on and preheat to 400 degrees (I always forget to do this step in the beginning). Then proceed to mash up the two bananas.

Mashed Bananas - Lactation Granola Bars
It looks like baby food, so it must help you produce baby food, right??

Next, add the ground flax seed and peanut butter.

Flaxseed, Banana, & Peanutbutter - Lactation Granola Bars

After that, add both oat amounts to the bowl. Aislinn said the combination of rolled and steel cut oats really adds for a nice texture to the granola bars, which after tasting them, I agree. If you prefer softer granola bars, I was advised to use a little bit less of the oats, or if you prefer crunchier bars, you should add a little more of the oats. This is one of those recipes where you can experiment a bit. I prefer things softer, so I added a little bit less than 2 cups of each oat.

Lactation Granola Bar Recipe
You can never have too many oats.

This last step is open for interpretation. Aislinn said that she normally adds craisins and Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips. It just so happens that I also love those two things, so that is why I listed them in the ingredients section. Feel free to add nuts, or raisins, or coconut, or anything that tickles your fancy, as long as it’s edible 😉

Final Ingredients for Lactation Granol Bars
You can never have too much chocolate.

After all of these ingredients are mixed up, pour/dump your creation into an 8.5″ x 11″ baking dish. Using your spoon, smash the mixture down into the pan so that it is flat. Then pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Lactation Granola Bars Recipe
Getting ready to bake!

And Voila!

Lactation Granola Bars Recipe
Lactation Granola Bars

JK, I didn’t leave them on this plate, I only put them there so that I could take a pretty picture. I actually put them in Tupperware and stored them in the fridge because they last much longer that way.

Lactation Granola Bars Recipe
Ready for storage.

This whole process took me about 25 to 30 minutes, and that was because I was taking pictures at each step. I think this is a great recipe because after you’ve done it once, I can see how it would be really easy to make a batch of these super quick while the little one is taking a nap. They make for a quick easy breakfast or afternoon snack, and I like them best after popping them in the microwave for 15 seconds. I’m not sure yet if they have made a huge difference in my milk supply, but they have definitely been very yummy. I hope you enjoy them!

P.S. The more chocolate, the better!

Share Button

Pinkeye – My New Compulsive Fear

I have a constant fear of pinkeye.

Growing up I never experienced pinkeye. Strep throat was the ailment that constantly plagued us, so I do not have experience in dealing with maladies of the eyes (or the ears for that matter).

My daughter Quinn has just had her second round of pinkeye, which has only intensified my fear of it. These are some of the thoughts that go through my head daily:

  • Must wash hands 20 times in a row.
  • Did I touch my eye?
  • Don’t touch your eyes, Caitlin!
  • Clean every surface.
  • Did I touch that dish rag before I washed my hands, or after…
  • Must do laundry until there is nothing left to wash.
  • Is my eye itchy?
  • I think my eye is itching!
  • When in doubt, just throw it away.

New Compulsions

When people talk about how motherhood has changed them, this is one of the things that comes to mind for me: I now strategically apply makeup, so that certain applicators only touch either my right eye or my left eye, incase an infection breaks out. This way, hopefully only one of my eyes will be affected, and I’ll only have to throw out half of my makeup. I think this is called PTPED (Post Traumatic Pink Eye Disorder).

I also feel the need to explain to complete strangers that it is VIRAL pinkeye. Not the bacterial kind. No, I did not get poop in my eye. I know it is viral because it went away without drops. Each time Quinn has gotten pinkeye, it has started off with a cold and a lot of mucus. The doctor explained it to me like this: the mucus needs to find a way out, sometimes it will come out of the ears, sometimes the throat, but in my daughter’s case, it decides to come out of her eyes… Wonderful!

I just looked in the mirror, and my right eye looks a little pink in the corner, but that could just be from exhaustion… right?

Share Button

Milk Production Down, When Aunt Flow Comes to Town

I know that I recently wrote about how Fenugreek and oatmeal have boosted distribution at “Mommy’s Milk Factory” over here, but milk production has been down today, and I think I know why…

Aunt Flow is on her way to visit me (scratch that, she has arrived).

I noticed that this happened last month when my period had just returned after about 6 months postpartum. This led to my first milk scare, but I quickly discovered the correlation between the two (or in other words, I read a million things online that confirmed what I thought). Now it appears to be happening again.

To oppose this outcome, I’ve upped my intake of Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea. I might even try a magnesium/calcium supplement because I have read that can also help. For now though, it looks like Aunt Flow wins again, she always does.

At least now I have a good excuse to eat more chocolate.

Chocolate - Milk Production
Chocolate makes everything better.

P.S. Here is a recipe for lactation snack balls that a friend recommended:

  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 2.5 TBS brewers yeast
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional or add cocoa powder for chocolate ones)
Share Button

My Paranormal Baby Monitor

It is 2:37am, and there is a humming glow coming from the baby monitor propped up next to me. I hear baby girl moving in her sleep. She scooches herself towards the end of the crib, and sticks her thumb in her mouth. With her other hand gently strokes her own head until she settles back down into sleep. I love being able to see her in these peaceful moments.

We have one of those new high tech baby monitors with a camera and video display (Levana Astra). It allows you to control the camera to look around the room, play music, or even speak soothingly to your child, from the comfort of your living room sofa. Or if you would like to be like my husband, you can speak into the monitor as if it is God speaking from the Heavens.

Sometimes when I sneak a peek at her, she looks so dreamy and peaceful, it’s as if she is about to float away on a cloud:

Baby Monitor

So Precious

But other times, I look and see this:

Paranormal Baby Monitor

I mean, what is she doing here? Is she trying to scare the life out of me? That is one creepy sleeping position, my dear.

Far too often at night, I have found myself gazing at the monitor for way longer than necessary. Often trying to make sure baby girl is still breathing, but other times I find myself waiting to see some sort of paranormal activity. I’ll nudge my husband, waking him from slumber to look at an orb of light in the corner of the screen… Only to remember that it is merely the night light.

Sleep deprivation can really play tricks on your eyes. Sometimes it literally feels like I’m living in one of those “Paranormal” movies, which I have never seen. I have, however, seen the commercials, and that is enough to get my imagination working.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love this monitor. It gives me so much peace of mind, and I would recommend it to any new mama out there. It’s my own imagination that I can’t handle most of the time.

Sleeping Baby - Baby Monitor
Sleep Sweet, My Love.
Share Button

My Intentions as a New Blogger

Hello, my name is Caitlin.

I probably should have started this blog with this post to explain what my intentions are with it, but I really did not know what I was doing at first…

To begin, I would like this space to be a positive space injected with a little bit of humor because let’s face it, this world is crazy. The best way to get through life is with a few jokes here and there. I am by no means a comedian, but I do make my husband laugh (he thinks I’m funny :)).

I imagine if I ever attempted the art of telling jokes, the audience would look something like this:

Michael Somerville - Intentions
This is my friend, Michael Somerville’s, third comedy album, it is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify, he is much funnier than I!

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, humor. Everyone has a different sense of humor, and not everyone can see the same humor in any given situation. With that said, I promise I will never purposefully shame anyone with my humor. And if anything I write is ever perceived in the wrong light, I apologize now because that is, and never will be my intention. I just want to make you laugh, and share some of my experiences with you. To build connections. To remember how funny these early days were when we were crawling through the trenches of young parenthood. I want to root you on, and tell you good job at the end of a long day because in the end you have to do what works best for you and your family.

So Cheers, Proost, Cin Cin, & Salute to all the mamas and papas out there giving it their all every day. You all amaze me. I hope I can provide some entertainment for you.

Intentions
That’s the smile I was looking for 🙂
Share Button

Risky Business – Diaper Days

You know the few seconds between taking that dirty diaper off of your seven month old and replacing it with a fresh new one? Those few seconds where almost anything can happen. Appendages are flailing, tension is high and adrenalin is pumping. In some ways, I think I live for those moments. I am constantly tempting fate. The fate that one day I will have taken one second too long to get that new diaper in place before I am assaulted with pee, or poop, or both.

Diapers

Don’t get me wrong. It has happened (mostly to my husband), and it has been as terrible as you can imagine. One time she hit the door five feet away with one serious blowout. Missing my face by a millisecond! Though somehow, it has not stopped me from taking that risk.

In the monotony of the early days of child rearing, life can become a little predictable and tedious. Feed, burp, swaddle, change, pump, wash dishes, and repeat. My younger more adventurous self still craves a bit of excitement. I stress the word “bit” in this sentence. Deep down I believe I am really an old lady stuck in a 30 something body. If it weren’t for my wonderful husband, I would most likely spend my evenings knitting and petting one of my 20 cats. But I digress… my daily dose of excitement now comes in the few seconds where my child is briefly un-diapered. I know, I’m really living on the edge here.

 

Diaper Days

Sometimes I change her on her play mat or on the floor in her room. With a tight grasp on her legs and her little bum hovering in the air, I know that the consequences for not having a fresh nappy already arranged under the dirty one could mean schlepping out some serious cleaning supplies. But does that stop me?? Nope. Right now I am living for the thrill.

Diaper Days
Tom Cruise, Watch Out!

“There’s a time for playing it safe and a time for… Risky Business”

Share Button

The Sweet Smell of Syrup – Fenugreek

I smell like sweaty maple syrup.

I imagine that this is what a maple tree smells like after a long arduous day of being tapped. After almost 7 months of exclusively breastfeeding and pumping at work, my milk supply is diminishing. The herb Fenugreek is recommended to help boost milk supply at times like this. With the main side effect being that you will begin to smell like an Ihop, or perhaps a Waffle House? I made sure to highlight this fact when I told my husband about my latest experiment (he loves pancakes).

Maple Syrup - Fenugreek

I won’t lie. When I first started to notice that the bottles were not filling up quite as much as they used to, I was a little bit relieved. I thought “ohh, maybe I’ll be able to fit into my old bras again soon”. And “finally a break from washing pump pieces 5 times a day.” I imagined cutting back from 5 pumps a day to 4… The thought made me giddy.

Alas, I turned to google to see what could be done to bring my milk back. Instead of resigning myself to the fact that it was time to start supplementing formula, I ordered a big jar of Fenugreek, new pump pieces and 8 boxes of Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea. In my defense I thought I only ordered 1 box of the tea.

Breast Pump, Fenugreek & Mother's Milk Tea

Fenugreek takes it into overtime

If these were the last few seconds of a soccer game, I had just scored the tying goal to take us into overtime. I was going to give it one last good effort, win or lose. Then I would allow myself to let nature take its course.

Thanks to the help of my online purchases, and oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. I read that oatmeal also helps with milk production. My milk supply has improved. It is not as good as it once was, but it seems to be maintaining at the moment. So for now, I will continue to enjoy my 5am pump sessions, the quiet moments that I get to step away from my desk during the busy work day, and the fact that I smell like maple syrup.

Share Button