Monday, February 23, 2009

This One Is Mostly About ME

First, about your comments on the previous post: I was highly amused but not surprised at the unwillingness of most of you to follow the instructions re: only one piece of advice. It’s good stuff, though. Pretty much all of it mirrors my discoveries, and are things I wish I’d known earlier.

Just a few of my favorites (and I have many):
  • Ice diapers (genius!) (Darwin wanted to know if a maxi pad would work as well?)
  • “And then I thought: if a goddamn monkey can do it, I sure as hell can.”
  • “NEVER EVER talk to a mother of an ‘easy’ baby. EVER!”
Dar’s initial reaction (she only recently found out I even have a blog): “I am speechless—and I love my moniker. The comments will be there a while right? I want access to them at 3:00 am when I am all bits and pieces.” She is deeply grateful.

Now, all about me. All this baby stuff got me thinking about—NO, not about having another one!—about my own childhood. Coincidentally, as I was cleaning up some files I discovered some old photos.

I’ve written before about how I didn’t like being a child—I found the powerlessness awful, and I had very few carefree experiences. But looking at these pictures, I was struck by how very unhappy I look in almost every one of them. See what you think:

This one is hilariously—oh, I don’t know the politically correct term, but let’s say underprivileged Caucasian:

This one I remember really liking, believe it or not (awkward age, anyone?):

The happy toddler in this one is my little sister; I’m the one huddled in the background:

“Playing” in front of our house:

My main pleasure in life at the time—and evidence of where HB gets his love of tight colorful outfits:

At my grandparents’:

About to perform in a play for a Medieval Renaissance festival (don’t I look festive?):

And finally, fun times at the beach:

My conclusions? I am happier than ever to be an adult, and I should worry less about HB’s childhood experiences, because it does get better.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Advice to a New Mother (Whose Own Mother is AWOL)

One of my best friends—let’s call her Darwin—is due to give birth to her first child (a son) in a couple of weeks. This pregnancy was the result of years of trying, a journey that featured an ugly ectopic and expensive IVF. Her mother, who is nutty but usually endearing (I’ve known her since I was about 12), decided that the birth of her only grandchild could not compete with an offer to travel to another country (where she will be mostly incommunicado) for four months. Dar is one of the most good-humored, stable people I know, and she’s incredibly tough (she endured an ovarian torsion with nothing but Tylenol and then had to have emergency surgery for it in her 8th week of this pregnancy, and she’s still walking a mile and a half to work and back every day), but she’s a little apprehensive about this whole new baby thing, and I think that having a newborn is an experience that can be smoothed by a little bit of reassurance from the battle-tested.

Here’s the assignment: for those of you who have some experience in this area, what was the ONE—choose only one!—most helpful piece of advice you received during this time (or if you received no helpful advice, what is the one piece of advice you have to offer)?

Keep it pithy—she’s too sleep-deprived at this point in her pregnancy to focus on long sentences—and I will depart from my policy of never deleting real comments if anyone leaves a horror story.

UPDATE: Check out the nursing basket Dar made based on the advice here:

Some serious nesting going on.