Saturday, October 4, 2008

And Along Came Baby...

Before I had kids I was such an expert at raising them. I knew everything! OK, I didn’t, but I sure had perfected the smug, self-righteous glances deliberately shot at moms who were…just fill in the blank: squawking at their kids, ignoring their kid’s squawking, letting them tear around the store, gripping them by their necks aisle by aisle, feeding them junk, not wiping their noses. All around me were moms causing a nuisance in public with unkempt hair and mismatched socks and, oh my, a stain on their shirt! How could they leave the house looking like that?

All this from a woman that walked around the house in an old t-shirt soaked with breast milk because it hurt too much to wear my nursing bra and thus sop up the mess with nursing pads.

OK, so I know some of you just read that and are saying, “You are pathetic!” I get it, I know. I have seen you, the moms that are out and about three-days after birth, looking like they had never had a baby at all, full make-up on and their little cherubs all rosy and decked out in the latest trendy outfit with matching burp rags…oh wait, your kids don’t spit up.

I have never aspired to be like a celeb, or to parrot their insane “bounce back” behaviors after birthing a child…oh, I am not bitter, it’s just I am cut from a different mold, that’s all. So, you see, I am talking to the women who for a significant time after the birth of their baby circulate through three ragged t-shirts, one cool pair of over-sized college sweatpants and their favorite maternity jeans.

The point is, I was humbled beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Here I was a “mom” with humongoid breasts, (yes that is my word) clothes that did not fit and the challenge of trying to figure out how to not smell like partially digested breast milk when I left the house. Speaking of leaving the house, here’s a quick list of a few things you should have when leaving your house…even for 15 minutes…

-Diapers. Bring at least 12, 20 if you’re out for a day of shopping. Why do you think warehouse bigwigs sell such big boxes?

-Binkies, or nukies or pacis or plugs or dummies…in fact bring them all.

-Wipes-no need to say why, right?

-Clothing: at least two onesies, 2 pairs of socks, three shirts, four pairs of pants or dresses, weather-appropriate items such as coats, hats, mittens and booties for winter. Don’t forget some clothes for yourself! You never know when a river of baby puke will come splashing onto your one of three “good” post-pregnancy outfits. But do anticipate your baby’s first “blow out” up their backs or down their legs in their best outfit, or your first time out to dinner and/or on the day you scheduled family pictures.

-“Things to spread on”. Oh we love the savvy salves, lotions and ointments! Have some diaper rash paste, baby lotion to keep baby kissably soft at all moments of his or her life, Purel or other alcohol-based cleanser to wipe off the kisses from strangers and sniffling children, hand lotion to stop your hands and baby’s cheeks from cracking and bleeding due to all the hand sanitizer you are using, or better yet just use the nipple cream in your right pocket. That should keep those scabs away!

-Cherrios. For babies experimenting with solids and up to age 2, you will find that Cheerios are the best invention outside of the wheel. Bring a whole box and share the wealth!

-Burp rags. Make sure they match all the items of clothing you are bringing in case you bump into someone you know who would care.

-Ziplock baggies! Bring all sizes, and a lot of them. Good for dirty diapers and puked on /pooped on clothing, Cheerios, toys and paci’s to wash later…

-Blankets. One for the baby, one for the car, one to cover yourself if you need to nurse. One to cover the carseat as you carry baby from place to place. One that looks handmade and really cool, just because.

-Bottles and formula. Bring bottled water too, not only to quench your thirst from lugging around so much stuff, but also to mix up your formula. Nothing like using sink water from the bathroom in the mall!

-Nose sucker! You know, that blue thing or green thing you got that you weren’t sure what to do with? You will use this most often in public, and clear a good-sized radius around you as the baby screams every time you shove it up his nose.

-Breast pads. Another baby, squeaky door or violin music in an elevator could offset a steady flow of milk not intended for consumption at that time.

-Stuffed animals and toys. You never know which one will be the favorite and thus stop crying fits, so bring all animals baby has touched within the past 24 hours. Bring all the baby toys, books and teethers that you wish to lose.

-A snuggly, backpack and a stroller that will allow a carseat to latch on. Once they get bigger you can add an umbrella stroller for quick jaunts.

-A friend, hubby or even an in-law to help you get to the car and make it to your destination in one piece.

-And last but not least, your baby!

There! That should get you to the grocery store or even a Matinee if you are adventuresome! A word of warning: if you do not bring something on this list it will become the most important thing to you once you are far from home and realize you forgot your cell phone and ATM card. If you make up more than one diaper bag and leave one in the car, one at your mom’s and one with your husband, you will be considered a rockstar among your friends. Or at least by me anyway!

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