We interrupt this distressingly long blog hiatus

Babies change everything, including consistent blog schedules. There have been some exciting day job changes for me as well! My very cool friend Mackenzie writes a blog called The Pink Dinosaur and she has been running a series on women and their careers. Today’s post is about my new super-fly WAHM life! Check it out.

And here’s a fun picture of Zack because how can I resist sharing his cuteness??

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Five Signs That You’re a New Mom

A wise man (my dad, actually) once said that "Babies change everything." Well, this is true in some ways and not in others. I still read a lot (now it’s during naptime). I still love my husband (and especially when I see how he loves Zack). I still listen to weird hipster music in the car (though at lower volumes when there’s a small human in the backseat). But other things are decidedly different. I have to laugh at myself when I realize that I’m not immune to classic new mom behaviors. Here are a just a few that I’ve been experiencing since August 24:

1. New levels of clothing angst
After wearing maternity clothes for several months and the SAME PAIR OF SHOES for the last two (due to horrible foot swelling, I am so ready for new clothes. Sadly, my post-baby figure isn’t back to its former glory quite yet. Add in nursing-friendly garments and I’m in a world of challenges to find clothes that fit and look cute. I found myself at Eddie Bauer and bought a pair of jeans, so my Mom Card has been signed and laminated in the most official way possible.
I am very, very grateful that no one asked me when my baby was due in the first couple of weeks postpartum. But now I’m ready to wear normal clothes again and leave empire waists behind for a loooong time.

2. Sensitivity about sleep questions
This is a tricky one. Most people are well-intentioned, and just like when I was pregnant, they want to ask relevant questions. Unfortunately, one of the most common question is "how is he sleeping?" Every baby is obviously different. Some babies sleep through the night after a couple of weeks. Some don’t until a couple of months. I’m very jealous of the first group. Zack is juuuust starting to sleep through the night but I am not taking it for granted. And even the best night can still involved wake-ups and re-swaddling and feeding and so forth. So asking me how he’s sleeping mostly results in my eyes twitching and reaching pointedly for my coffee.

3. Cautious third person references
One of my major pet peeves is married couples calling each other "Mom" and "Dad" – don’t ask me why, but I find it creepy and weird. Call each other by pet names or actual given names, please. I am determined NEVER to directly call Jason "Dad" because he isn’t my dad – he is Zack’s dad! Anyway. I now call myself "Mom" to Zack when I explain things, like "please go back to sleep so Mom can take a shower!" and "Mom’s here, so stop crying!" It’s a fine line, but I talk to Zack about Jason saying "your dad" – never just "dad" – it sounds silly but it’s a distinction in my mind.

4. New comfort levels with TMI
There’s something about spending a week (yes, a week. Thanks, complications!!) in the hospital that breaks down my normal barriers about personal information. I’ve always been a pretty private person about medical things but in the wake of my delivery and recovery, I don’t hold much back when it comes to talking to friends and family (especially those who are fellow new moms or soon-to-be new moms). There are certainly some topics I wouldn’t discuss in detail, but I think there is great joy and help in being open and honest about my experiences. So much of the birth experience and new motherhood is painful, emotional, and just plain awkward that it helps so much to talk about it with others. I wouldn’t get into any of that posting here – that’s just not my speed – but I’m glad to have friends who are cool with sharing the gory details.

5. Time warp troubles
I swear, every day at 4, I am amazed that the day is already almost over. Zack is on a good schedule now (a recent change from our previous more flexible approach) and his regular mealtimes and naptimes give a rhythm to our day. Despite the helpful adage to "sleep when the baby sleeps," I’m more likely to do laundry while the baby sleeps or wash my hair while the baby sleeps. I race around like a madwoman when he’s conked out and crank through my to-do list.

I’m sure the coming months and years will reveal new and exciting things about being a mom. For now, I’m enjoying every minute and learning about Zack as we spend our time together.

Joining the Stroller Brigade

Even the most stubborn of babies have to eventually obey an eviction notice! Little Zachary Edward made his appearance on August 24 and he’s kept me hopping ever since. He’s even become a minor celebrity since appearing on the Today Show a couple of weeks ago! Jason submitted his photo and got a call from a producer just a couple of days later. Nothing like the feeling of a proud parent! Guess Zack peaked early at two months old — it’s all downhill from here!

Zack on the Today Show screenshot

Yes, it was surreal seeing this screenshot.

Now that I’m in the full throes of maternity leave, my days are filled with snacking on frozen grapes, gazing proudly at my sleeping baby, and prancing around in celebration of my newly slimmed-down figure. Oh wait! Not so much. Zack is a wonderful baby, but he has his mom’s inability to nap (seriously, it’s an issue) and his mom’s desire to stay curious and discover everything at all hours. With the wonderful support of my husband (Zack LOVES Jason and can’t get enough time with his dad!) and my mom, everything has really been going well. I’m still getting the hang of it and learning what the Mom Life has in store.

Though it would be fun to write a Buzzfeed-style article on “10 ways to know you’re a new mom,”  it would mostly focus on my new pair of Eddie Bauer jeans (I wish I were joking) and my eternal struggle to remember to keep replenishing the wipes in my diaper bag. As an official member of the stroller brigade, I’ve enjoyed a lot of time at the Forum. The weather has just started getting to the perfect early fall stages of cool but not frigid. Nothing like fresh air for a little recharge! My strolling has also revealed some up-and-coming destinations at the Forum, namely Lucy (an athletic clothing store for women) coming soon next door to Ulta. Brookstone’s pop-up store (that was also open last year for the holidays) is also back once again. I’m keeping an eye out for other newcomers this fall both at the Forum and across the street, where the groundwork is being laid for even more shops. More info as I have it.

During my dining and shopping excursions, it’s quick to realize what stores and restaurants are baby-friendly…and which ones aren’t. I’ve changed enough diapers now on those crappy, tilted, fold-down “Koala care” tables and pushed a stroller around narrow spaces to sympathize with other moms. It’s tempting to dole out baby-friendly ratings for various locations in the Forum. Perhaps I’ll start a series…starting with the restaurant that insisted I leave my stroller base at the front of the restaurant, instead of next to the table where there was plenty of room. Ah, the small-scale struggles I must endure. This upper-middle class oppression must end!

Expecting Better (Book review)

Expecting Better If you asked me a couple of weeks ago if I was interested in reading Yet Another Pregnancy Book, I would have laughed. Hardly! I read a couple early on, then turned to the almighty Google when I had questions or curiosities. Then about a week ago, my mom clipped an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal called “Take Back Your Pregnancy.” Well, I took the bait. Emily Oster’s article, a promotion for her new book Expecting Better, intrigued me. Definitely one for any subsequent pregnancy, I thought!

Then the furor struck on the Interwebs. Because Oster draws the conclusion from a variety of studies and data that it’s fine to indulge in the occasional alcoholic beverage during pregnancy, she has been excoriated in a variety of articles and in the responding comments. Current Amazon.com reviews are skewed by those who take issue with an economist (not a medical doctor) who will, in their minds, increase the number of children born with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Several comments made nasty remarks about the author’s 2-year-old daughter, Penelope, implying that it was only a matter of time before she would begin to fail IQ tests and demonstrate signs of FASD herself.

Was Oster truly that horrible and conniving? Did she write her book to cause birth defects and emotional trauma? I had to know the truth, and while 40 weeks and two days pregnant, I picked up Expecting Better and read it carefully.

Spoiler alert: it’s really not that bad. I love authors who examine evidence, explain scientific studies and methodology, and draw logical conclusions about the data. Oster isn’t an ob/gyn, but she’s a well-trained economist whose job is interpreting data. Her analysis is thorough even as she keeps her writing accessible, humorous, and sympathetic. As she points out in the introduction, advice about pregnancy tends to be either black and white—don’t have any drinks, ever—or vague—drink coffee in moderation. Instead of relying on the hearsay, she reviews the actual data and comes to her own conclusions. Oster doesn’t demand that women drink during pregnancy despite their own reservations. Not at all! She just presents the evidence that light drinking has been shown to be not harmful, and lets the reader make her own choice.

The knee-jerk reactions to the book and Oster’s approach are misguided because they don’t realize that telling women what to do during pregnancy is exactly the opposite of Oster’s intentions. Rather, she wants all the data laid out so women can make informed decisions during pregnancy based on their own assessment and comfort levels with varying amounts of risk. That is far more empowering and practical than a notarized list of what to do and not do. She gives examples in the text, citing instances where her review of the data prompted her to chose one path and a friend reviewing the same data to chose another path. That is fine. The goal is seeking knowledge to inform personal decisions.

Pregnancy in the U.S. is fraught with judgment from family, friends, and total strangers that add extra stress in an already anxious time. Expecting Better steps back from the hysteria and offers women up-to-date, relevant information about the choices they will need to make during pregnancy. I’ll definitely be recommending this one to pregnant friends in the future.

Housekeeping, or the lack thereof

Definitely took advantage of this today.

Definitely took advantage of this today.

Hello, dear readers! Perhaps you assumed my radio silence was the natural consequence of new motherhood, instead of laziness. Alas, I can’t lay the blame on a sweet and cuddly newborn since Baby Niz has decided to bide his time, waving merrily at the due date as it whizzed by. For now I’m resigned to the fact that he wants to camp out. We’ll see if I let him stay cozy indefinitely.

My major complaint about the last days of pregnancy (I always want to quote Michael Scott’s  quote from The Office about Jan being in the “terminal stages” of her pregnancy) is an utter lack of nesting instinct. I’ll admit, I was kind of excited for that to kick in! A pregnancy-induced desire to clean house and organize? Awesome!! Anyone (especially those who suffer most by living with me, namely past roommates and now my husband) can tell you that being tidy is not my strong suit. Since some actual science does back up the idea that approaching your due date can cause an increase in a desire to prepare your home for a new baby, I was expecting at least a small boost.

Well. 40 weeks and 2 days have passed by with nary an unexpected, irrepressible urge to Windex everything. Yes, I do clean occasionally, but it’s under duress or my own nagging voice reminding me that as a grown adult, I really need to wipe down kitchen surfaces and dust on a regular schedule. I’m lucky that Jason is always very helpful with house cleaning and he does the vacuuming, my all-time least favorite chore. Seriously, I would rather scrub toilets than vacuum. 

All apartment cleaning failures aside, the other bit of housekeeping that is happening around here is a brand-new blog theme! If you are reading this post via RSS, either in your email or a blog reader, check out the actual site for the fancy new look. Please let me know if you spot any weird display issues since I’m still tweaking the layout.

And feel free to send any tips on sparking that nesting instinct — I’ll take anything at this point to get a little more prepared before Baby Niz graces us with his presence.

Check out Sugo’s new look

Sugo

Sugo, a great restaurant with a couple of locations, has recently updated its Medlock Bridge establishment with a new look. They’re celebrating their renovations with a party at the end of the month. It will feature complimentary small plates, Italian sangria, and a cash bar. Join the restaurant on Sunday, July 28 from 6:00-8:00 for the celebration!

Official opening of Ulta at the Forum next week

The long-awaited day is almost here! After lots of anticipation for Ulta to open at the Forum, it's finally time. I have official confirmation that the grand opening will be next Friday, July 26.

I'll definitely be there! This is going to be a great addition to the Forum.

 

Drink up: Growler update!

It’s a bit of a bummer to post this update when I can’t even drink beer right now, but I’m taking one for the team. I haven’t yet posted about Peachtree Growler Co when I pass it basically every single day. Check it out!

Peachtree Growler Co
Peachtree Growler Co opened during the late spring/early summer in the shopping complex at 141 and Spaulding, near the Goodwill. Once I get the go-ahead to drink beer again (in approximately 6 weeks, not that I’m counting), I’ll be paying them a visit.

Growler Time in Tucker is another growler stop that I learned about recently. They aren’t new, but I just read their list of what’s on tap and now I’m drooling on myself.

As I mentioned last time I posted about growlers, there are quite a few places OTP to pick up your selection. Here are a few – let me know of any other favorites in the comments.

Unexpected Pregnancy Side Effects, Part Two

I had so much fun with my last post on unexpected pregnancy side effects that I decided to follow up with round two! Now that I’m further into the third trimester, I am even more cranky so here goes a slightly more irritated set of issues.

1. Your wardrobe gets smaller…and smaller…and smaller…

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that stores need two sections: first and second trimester clothes and third trimester clothes. A lot of the cute tops I enjoyed wearing a few months ago just don’t fit anymore or are simply indecent for most environments.
I was lucky to score a lot of hand-me-down maternity clothes from a variety of sources (thanks to my mother-in-law!) and haven’t bought much. A few pieces really appealed to me, like this red dress:

30 weeks pregnant in red dress

When I first got it, I thought "ooh! This is so cute, I can keep wearing it even when I’m not pregnant!"

HA! I have worn that dress so many times that I cannot fathom wearing it a day longer than necessary. All my maternity clothes get the stink-eye from me before I get dressed. Looking at Pinterest, I shed a tiny tear when I see nipped-in waists and shift-style dresses. I cannot wait to start wearing the rest of my outfits and go shopping for normal clothes again.

2. Sleeping becomes an aerobic activity.

Pregnant ladies aren’t allowed to sleep on their backs. Pregnant ladies can’t sleep on their stomachs (this should be glaringly obvious). Pregnant ladies have to sleep on their sides. If you’re a side sleeper, you know what that means: you have to change sides every so often because the one you’re lying on just isn’t the comfy side. Well, that can be difficult at the best of times but during late pregnancy, it means literally thrashing yourself by degrees onto the opposite side, kicking your legs to get rid of cramping, and forcibly re-arranging the body pillow until it lays perfectly. Many apologies to my long-suffering husband.

3. Getting out of bed becomes an Olympic sport.

After an extremely restful night of flailing about, getting up every 3.5 hours to pee, nothing is better than greeting the morning by having to slowwwwwly lean to the side, grip something firmly, and hoist yourself up into a standing position. Sometimes I feel like a pillbug or an over-turned tortoise. It just isn’t the same as leaping nimbly to my feet like in the pre-pregnancy days.

4. Heartburn.

Oh, the heartburn. Nothing like choosing between lying down to prop your feet up to ease the swelling, only to feel like acid is destroying your internal organs, or sitting up to keep your meal digesting in the right direction and having your feet swell even bigger. So glorious!

5. Small feelings of finality, also known as, "Should I do things spontaneously while I still can?"

Let’s be honest: I’m too much of a type-A to be truly spontaneous about anything. But I still have tiny moments of panic where I think, "Maybe I should see a movie! By myself! Because I’ll never get to do things like that spur-of-the-moment ever again!" But generally, I just end up staying at home, lurking on Pinterest.

6. Loving the pool like it’s my job.

As a kid, my ideal day at the pool involved hiding myself under a towel (literally, my entire body enveloped in a big Sam’s Club pool towel), reading a book. I still love a good poolside read but nothing feels as good as getting into the water after a long day at work or just all day on Saturday. The weightlessness is incredible, my feet get a chance to relax, and everything is beautiful again. I can’t imagine being pregnant in the summertime and NOT having pool access. I would cry.

pool time is the best

Despite some people’s exclamations of "oh, you’re still pregnant?" (YES, OBVIOUSLY), I still have 7 weeks to go. Here’s to staying cool, mentally and physically, until August 18 (or thereabouts).