Monday, September 21, 2009

Easing into Parenthood

We went to Babies R' Us last weekend for the first time... so many choices of feeding bottles, different types of strollers and car seats, swinging chairs, walking chairs, high chairs ... the whole thing was daunting. Good thing we brought a friend who's had a baby. She walked us through the store and pointed out useful items and good brands. Hubby was getting crazy tagging all the items he likes with the little laser gun.

We also had a private tour of the labor and maternity section of Cedar Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills. Quite an impressive hospital -- very clean. And have so far interviewed 2 doulas (she's sort of a birthing nurse), with 2 more to go before we make our final decision. We already have an OB-GYN.

Planning for a baby makes me think of the long road ahead. As a hopeful future parent I have some definite do's and don't's for our child(ren):

1. Don't want to spoil the child.
2. Don't want to dress my 7-year-old daughter like a "hottie" -- I want my children to look like children, not like Julia Roberts in black boots in Pretty Woman. I have friends who dress up their daughters in too-sexy a manner. What were they thinking????
3. Do intend to give children age-appropriate house chores and responsibilities, starting at age three. They should see chores as normal, not extras or favors.
4. Do want to empower the child as much as possible, but still enforce good boundaries.
5. Do intend to bring up the child in an atmosphere of a loving home. Child must see that his/her parents love and respect each other, not just love the child. Family life is NOT all about the child.
6. Do intend to bring up the child to have faith, hope and love for God. And Mary. And Joseph. Do want the child to dream of Heaven.
7. My hubby will most likely fall in love with our child (no matter the gender) -- Daddy will give child the world. Child must respect (and not take advantage of) Daddy, Mommy will make sure of that.
8. Do intend to talk to my children about the sacredness of sex as early as appropriate. I won't wait until they are 12 or 13 -- by then that's (usually) too late. Especially by LA standards.

I really believe that if children are brought up well during childhood, there is less likelihood of problems in adolescence. So help me God.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tips for Parents-to-be

Hubby and I are expecting and we are getting all sorts of tips from different quarters. We got this list from Rabbi Brian and his wife. Rabbi Brian officially gave Jewish representation and a blessing at our Catholic wedding back in May. He had everyone in stitches despite the seriousness of his blessing. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Below is a list of Rabbi Brian's (and his wife's) tips for the unsuspecting parents-to-be. Enjoy :)

Bits of advice for the dad:

1. Watching your partner be in so much agony for so long is emotionally and physically painful. (Take breaks every so often.)

2. Nurses change every 12 hours. Some are good, some aren’t as good. The shift can be jarring.

3. The whole “cone-head” thing is real, but the cone goes backwards like a shark, not up like a Saturday Night Live conehead. (I didn’t know this and thought when he came out that Emmett had special needs.)

4. The vagina that your child comes out of looks more like a blue twinky/muppet character than what you remember it looking like.

5. Everyone should get to sleep within an hour or so of delivery. Call the rest of the people later. Newborns sleep for a while after delivery and you will want to take advantage of this. Really. I'm not kidding. Do it. You'll thank me later.

6. The first night in the hospital is like being in a Twilight Zone episode, except, as one of the characters in the episode, you don’t know that it’s a fun-house ride/alternate reality — it feels really weird and real.

7. Bring an extra bag to the hospital for gifts that people will bring.

8. Bring your own pillows to the hospital in colored pillowcases so that you will be more comfortable and so the hospital staff won’t think they are theirs.

9. Bring a bathing-suit so you can take a bath/shower with your partner at the hospital. (Bring two so the second time your suit isn't cold!)

10. The first 2 weeks are the most intense. Just get through them one day at a time. It’ll even out (some) after that.

11. Sometimes, getting through an hour at a time is all you can do. Really. Think about all the things that you pre-baby used to do to comfort and soothe yourself. For me things included: cooking, surfing the web, crafting, the gym, chatting on the phone. With one stroke, your child will single-handily keep you from doing those things. (It's not intentional, of course, but, still, not having things to self-soothe can drive you batty... especially when you aren't sleeping and you realize that you have to care for a child for a long, long while.)

12. You (and Mom) will be emotional. (I know you knew this.) In weeks 2-3, we couldn’t seem to help but to get on each other’s nerves by 9pm.

13. As mentioned, you child has robbed each of your ability to self-soothe... that might be part of why you are so tense.

14. Your brain will atrophy and you won't remember things that you used to be able to remember — like if you talked to someone or showered in the last two days — or, when you are in the shower if you have washed your hair.

15. By four weeks you will all feel like you know some of what you are doing.

16. By eight you'll like your child a lot. By 12 weeks you will really have a handle on it.

17. At 4 months you will look at parents of newborns with compassion thinking, "oh, the poor dears, they have no idea what they are in for.

Advice from a mom for Moms:

1. Get a sitz bath from the hospital to take home and use.

2. Maxi pads!

3. Take lots of Colace stool softener after.

4. Breastfeeding, while it would seem the most natural thing in the world, isn’t.

5. Don’t look down there for 6 weeks at least.

6. When you get to shower (use friend’s visits for this too!) take a clean washcloth, get it warm/hot and fold it and put in in between your legs…I swear this helped with healing the stitches…

7. You will smell and you will sweat a lot.

8. You will be sore from pushing or from healing from a c-section for awhile. I began to feel better at day 9. Those were long days.

9. Get a hemorrhoid pillow from the drugstore to sit on…really helps take pressure off.

10. Avent breast pads are the best.

11. Don’t judge yourself for the way in which your feelings about your baby grow and change…it is a relationship that takes time to blossom…