my mommy must-haves

Here are some non-essentials that I probably could have survived without, but wouldn’t have wanted to:

1. Sophie the Giraffe.  She’s a teether, she’s a toy.  She’s hours of never-ending joy.  I first saw/read about this teether on Dear Baby Blog and thought it was the cutest thing.  Then I read endless wonderful reviews about it on Amazon and decided to give it a try.  It’s true…babies love Sophie. 
2.  Motherlove Nipple Cream.  I call this a must-have because it saves me from unnecessary pain from the mean, mean pump every day.  It’s organic and natural so you don’t have to wipe it off before nursing.  The lactation consultant at the hospital told me about it and I think I paid about $15 for this tiny 2 ounce jar.  Worth. EVERY. Penny.  I’ve only used about 2/3 of it in nearly 6 months.  I would have paid any price for relief around mid-March, 2010.  Even if you aren’t pumping, it is soothing during those nightmarish early nursing days.  I like this stuff waaay better than the Lansinoh cream, which I found to be thick and sticky.

3.  Kiddopotamus swaddlers (AKA baby straightjackets).  We have swaddled Theo for nighttime sleep since he was a newborn.  He has slept through the night a couple of times without it, but I’m not looking forward to giving them up completely.  Without it, he flails his arms and wakes himself up.  I think it must feel like a hug…or maybe it just feels like someone’s sitting on top of him.  He’s currently sleeping with one arm out… we are trying to wean him from them so he can sleep on his belly if he chooses to, self-soothe, etc.  (He started sleeping through the night between 8 and 10 weeks with these!)  For our next wee one, we will be trying The Woombie to get away from all of the annoying velcro.

4.  The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B, also known as “Lamby” at our house.  And no, the “b” is not silent.  This tricky little guy has a battery powered speaker and you can select 1 of 4 nature sounds.  The sleep sheep comes in two sizes but I found the larger one to be too big.  One negative about the small one – it doesn’t have the mother’s hearbeat noise like the large one.  This thing is great for on-the-go sleeping.  It provides white noise to help distract little ears from non-home sounding noises.  It straps onto the carseat handle quite nicely too. I even used this sucker the other day for my nap to block the sound of the hubs doing his workout.  It worked like a *dream* (snort, snort).
5.  Cradle swing by Fisher Price.  Oh, swing.  I love you.  I don’t know what we would have done without this swing.  Actually, we still use it quite a bit but I’m afraid Theo is quickly outgrowing it.  He can sit in it and be quite content for a long time.  He often takes naps in it during the day.  Now he is big enough to play with the toys on the detachable tray so he can be entertained by it long enough for me to cook dinner or take a shower.  It was my saving grace during maternity leave.  In 12 weeks, he only cried through my shower 2 times.  It swings side to side or backwards/forwards.  Theo has no preference.  Thank you Fisher Price.  And Trisha, for giving me your swing. 

6.  The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD.  This DVD is awesome.  The only complaint I had about it was that the hospital didn’t pass it out between pushes when I was in labor.  We didn’t get this until Theo was probably 6 or 7 weeks old, but Dr. Karp teaches parents how to instantly soothe and calm their babies.  It works.  I don’t know what else to say, but it works!  You have to try it yourself to believe it.  And thank goodness for the DVD format, because we sure didn’t have time (in the midst of all the incessant crying) to read a book.  (A book is available as well, but why bother?)
7.  Precious Planet Mobile by Fisher Price.  Because we are geniuses, we positioned our bed directly across the hall from Theo’s.  That means we can press the button on that nifty white and blue remote to restart this mobile without getting out of bed.  The base projects an image and lights onto the dome, which Theo loves to watch (and will do so for up to 40 minutes some days).  Other days, he will fall asleep watching the animals rotate.  At night, we press the little red button on the bottom, which sounds like a heartbeat, for white noise.  The mobile runs for 20 minutes then fades out gently.  The yellow button is classical music and the green/blue button in the middle is nature sounds.  Theo loves this Easter present from Grammy, but not as much as I do.
8.  What is important about these jammies is not the adorable pattern (we don’t even have these, I just found them online and thought they were cute)… it is the all-important zipper.  Never again will I buy infant jammies that do not zip.  Zipper jammies are soooo much more convenient than snap up ones.  Especially when your breastfed newborn poops 6 times a night.  On a side note, I do like how this specific pair is not footed.  Theo is especially in love with his feet at the moment and I think he would appreciate that feature!
And that is all I can think of.  For now….

healthcare and customer service in the same sentence. psyyyyyych.

I’m fuming right now, so what better time to write a blog post about something that has been irking me for a long time?  I’ve been particularly irked since I got pregnant in 2009 and began the prenatal care routine, which included about a million doctor visits.

Is it just me, or is the healthcare industry the only one in which it is okay:

1.  For your client to wait for hours with no explanation as to what is taking so damn long (apparently our time is not as valuable as the doctor’s)….and then when you finally do see them, they spend about 3 minutes with you

2.  For your service provider to be a total jerk and say rude things to make you feel stupid or silly

3.  For your service provider to make you feel like a jerk if you hint about getting a second opinion (not that you could do that anyway, because insurance sure wouldn’t pay for it)

4. To send you complicated statements with secret magical codes stating you must pay an astronomical amount of money for something you don’t even understand (and p.s…. do it in the next 3 days or the next statement will have lots of stuff in red)

5. To charge your client for insurance, but then make them pay all but $4 on a $108 prescription (what a value! Thanks!)

6. For hospitals to charge 4x the retail cost for EVERYTHING (example:  Theo’s Soothie pacifier was $8.75 on  the detailed bill…they are 2 for $4 at Babies R Us.)

7.  To insist that you have a procedure, product, etc. that isn’t really necessary and have no clue how much it will cost

Where’s the customer service?  Really…what other industry can get away with this?  And we just take it because, well, we have to.

I’m not ragging on doctors or nurses.  You can find jerks anywhere you go.  Some mechanics are jerks.  Some waitresses are jerks.  The difference, though, is that if your car still doesn’t run right or your food takes too long, you get an explanation… a discount… an apology… and then they make it right.  To be fair, I think a good part of the problem is out of any individual doctor’s hands. The industry is just not set up for customer service.

That doesn’t make it any less frustrating.


and to think it all started with a mouse

How many people can say they found true love at the Happiest Place on Earth?

It began 11 years ago…in late August of 1999.  I can’t believe how quickly that much time has passed and how much has changed.  I thought I was grown at 19.  Today, if a 19 year old girl told me she had met the love of her life and knew that this person was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, I would tell her to wait.  I’d say you’re just a baby.  You will change so much in the next five years, so wait ten.  I’m certain my friends and family thought the same when I told them I was madly in love at 19.

Who would have thought that two shy kids would fall in love at Walt Disney World?

One of my best friends convinced me to join her when she went to an information session for the Walt Disney World College Program.  The recruits raved about how much fun it was, how they met lifelong friends, and what a great academic experience it was.  Sign me up.

We both got called and within a few days, we were hobbling up a steep sidewalk in high heels towards the building where the interviews were held.  We each received letters inviting us to become part of the Fall ’99 Walt Disney World College Program.

My friend met me there and we decided to check in at different times so we would not be roommates.  We wanted to meet new people.  I had connected with another college programmer online and we met before check-in in hopes of getting a room together.  It worked.  She and I and 4 other girls became roommates and fast friends.

Our first night there, the guys from across the hall came over and introduced themselves.  I had my eye on the one with dark hair and dark eyes.  The second day, we all went to the Magic Kingdom to have fun and get to know each other.  I remember the dark haired guy sitting next to me at lunch but the ceiling was leaking on him so he got up and moved.  At the time, I didn’t know he was hoping I would follow him.  I was disappointed, but shy, so I stayed where I was.  Later we rode the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party together and our hands touched for the first time as we spun the wheel in the middle of our teacup.  Maybe I just got shocked by the ride, but I remember feeling a spark.  I liked him.

The next day was Thursday and on Thursdays, Disney employees, or “cast members” got into Pleasure Island for free.  Read:  Par-tay.  That first Thursday night we all ended up on the bus to PI and I sat next to that dark-haired boy.  With the help of a little bit of alcohol, those 2 shy kids became a little less shy.

We were instantaneously inseparable.  Looking back, I’m confident that we would have eventually started dating had alcohol and PI not played a role, but that jump start to our relationship allowed us to enjoy that much more time together.  We spent all of our free time together that entire semester.  I still remember the moment I knew I was in love.  Another one of my best friends had come to visit and we were at MGM (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios).  He had been with us that morning but decided to leave to run some errands.  I was disappointed but having fun with my friend so I tried not to sulk.  We rode the Tower of Terror and when we came out of the gift shop, I saw him jogging towards us.  He gave me a big hug and kiss and said he was glad he found us because he had changed his mind and whatever he needed to do could wait.  Sold.  I think I told him I loved him that same day.

After the college program, we had to return to reality.  He finished college in the midwest and I went back to the southeast.  We were more than 400 miles apart.  We took turns visiting one another and saw each other almost every other weekend during those three and a half years we were apart.  We put thousands of miles on our vehicles to make our long distance relationship work.  It wasn’t always easy but it was worth it.  He proposed to me Thanksgiving 2002 and we were married July of 2003.

I was just a 19 year old kid, but I was a damn lucky kid.  I knew I loved that boy, without knowing that he would turn into such a good man.  We have grown up together and have gotten closer over the years.  We enjoyed several married years together before we had a baby.  That was important to us since we had spent the early part of our relationship so far apart.  I hope Theodore knows one day that he is a product of SO much love.

We can’t wait to take him to Disney World.  Not only to re-visit our own experiences and incorporate him into new memories, but to see Disney World through his eyes.  For this family, Disney World really is magical.