Sunday, September 29, 2013

Night Out As a Mom

Last night I went to a bachelorette party. I am so fucking old. Buddy B is getting married in just over a month and his fiancée's party (Buddy K) was yesterday.

I'd been looking forward to this event for some time. I never get out of the house at night, and though I never really did that before the baby anyway, the novelty of a nightlife experience was thrilling. Anything you can do without the baby with you is very exciting.

The first thing, though, that made me feel like a tired old mom was finding pants. See, I wear dresses almost exclusively. I didn't even own jeans. And good thing too because they probably wouldn't even fit my postpartum ass anymore.

So, because we were all going to wear Tshirts for the bachelorette, I had to get a pair of pants.

This is where things got sad. I thought to myself, "H&M has inexpensive clothes. They have pants. They carry jeans. This will be easy." Pfft. I don't know why I thought this. Denial maybe.

Turns out the only jeans for sale are skinny jeans. Tapered ankles. Or jeggings, which are skinnier than skinny jeans, only without the practicality of a pocket or easy ability to remove your pants to pee. I stuffed myself into both in different varieties and watched as the denim encased my thighs and pushed all fat upwards. This is not a good look.

I looked in other stores and tried on pair after pair of skinny, skinny jeans because that is all there is. And low waists to boot. So, they push all my flesh up and then gives said flesh an immediate opportunity to cascade over the top in glorious muffiny fashion.

I did find a pair of jeans, however, regular waist, bootcut and undamaging to the self-esteem. I now own pants, pants I can wear with shirts. Very exciting. I don't own much in the way of shirts, though, 'cause, you know, dresses.

At the bachelorette, I was given a top that said "Hot Mom", which was fun. Also fun was people at the bar reading our tops and being flabbergasted I was a mother. I like being a mom, but I am exceedingly happy I don't look like one. Though one pair of drunk 40-year-olds thought I was 12 (and in a bar?) and that my motherhood was shocking. They crossed themselves Catholic style, as though they just encountered a bad omen (And I guess I would be the bad omen in this scenario).

The party was a great time, with all the usual penile items, games and food. I didn't get drunk. Buzzed, yes, but I let it wear off. Why? Well, the Dude is at his brother's today helping him paint a basement. I'm alone with Jack now. That's why. Oh yes, no matter how much fun you're having, you can't forget what the next day has in store for you (It's not going to be sleeping in bed all day and waking up at noon for greasy breakfast).

I got home a little after 2:00 and heard Jack gooing and babbling. He's almost 6 months and going through a growth spurt. His sleep has devolved accordingly. I cannot wait for this to be done. I truly do not enjoy these spurts. He needed to be fed at 2:30, which I did, and again at 6:00, which the Dude did. So, really, it was good I was sober by the time I got home. And no hangover today, which I lost the ability to handle with any kind of stamina a long time ago. Some people may think I look 12, but I definitely feel 30.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Spend and Splurge

Maternity leave is a recipe for crappy finances. As soon as you add a massive expense in your life, you are reduced to 55% of your income, which is effing taxable. I have no idea what I'm going to get slammed with come tax season, but I be scared.

Since I worked from home, it's not like I'm saving money on food in any way. There's no, "Well, at least you won't be buying your lunch." Buying lunch? Pfft, I've been scrounging for crumbs in the cupboards since 2008. When I started working from home, I stopped planning for lunch altogether for some reason. Even now when we have left overs it's like a revelation, "Hey, I can have lunch tomorrow!" As opposed to, you know, not having lunch.

I once ate baking supplies because the Dude polished off the last of the bread due to gluttony and pecans and chocolate chips were all that I could find to eat. I really should plan better. Hey, there's ice cream in the freezer! I think I may have a bowl. After this, of course. 

When I was planning my mat leave, I had intended to breastfeed, which should have costed me zero dollars, except that I bought nursing bras, a few nursing tops and a manual pump (crap) and an electric pump. And herbs, tincture and drugs that probably did something, but not much. I bet it's calculable how much each ounce I extracted actually cost and my guess is way more than formula, and that's scary 'cause formula is hella pricey. Pricey considering baby sustenance was designed by nature to be free, but again with the useless purchases I outlined above. 

Now I'm paying $100 a month roughly for formula. I was gifted bottles that caused gas problems (I'd picked these bottles out, so I really have no one to blame but myself) and had to replace them and get bottle brushes. I think all this cost around $60 to $70. I don't remember. I blocked it out. I also bought a powder dispenser so I could actually leave the house without being on the clock 'cause formula goes bad in two hours, probably faster in the heat we had this summer. That humidity could curdle milk still in the breast.

There's sales and coupons and I take advantage of Shopper's Drug Mart's Optimum points like no one's business. I don't even buy formula now unless I can get bonus points for them. I think this habit is warping me because even though I was running very low, I felt very put out for having to buy a can without being bonus-points rewarded for it. Like, yeah, I need this product to keep my baby alive and everything, but I have to buy it without getting anything else out of it? Whaaaa?

I recently bought a high chair for Jack for $80:

Yeah, there are used items on Kijiji and Craigslist, but ain't no one got time for that. Renting a car adds to the price of a used chair or borrowing a family member's car means too much organizing with random strangers over time windows not fully in your control. And anyway, all the other chairs were over $100.

I also bought more Tots Bots diapers 'cause they're better than the BumGenius, if you ask me (I'll review them another time in full), and they're damn cute. Also very expensive, about $25, which will pay for itself over time and it's a better sort of diaper to send to daycare when the time comes. No one wants to be a pain the ass about what goes on their child's ass, not with people you want to like your son and not view him as a, well, pain in the ass.

Moo. Hehe! Love cows.

And I saw baby food on sale, so I thought, "Well! I'll stock up on rice cereal, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes..." I know I can make my own baby food, but if there's anything motherhood has taught me, it's that I am not going to get a medal for going out of my way to be perfect. And Jack will probably be fine. I value my time more than I value saving a little money on baby food. I'll probably mush some bananas and avocados because I'm not that lazy, but that's about as far as I intend to go.

I mean, I'm already using cloth diapers. Surely that's crunchy and frugal enough. 

When Jack started teething, I bought Camilia (on the recommendation of a friend and reader) and it's around a dollar a dose! Of course when it's worth it, it's worth it, and I've also used baby Tylenol. Don't understand not using that stuff. I know there are wary parents out there, but I would never try to sleep unmedicated with tooth pain, so yeah. And bought Sofie the giraffe for chewing on. 

And then there's daycare coming up. $1,500 a month, and god help me, please let us get the subsidy! If not, I don't know how we'll manage for a few years with that cost. I know we could do it, we just wouldn't have any fun. Like ever.

When people say kids are expensive, they ain't lying. And I was all frugal. But babies, they are a money suck. You can borrow things, buy on sale and used, and go crunchy, but in the end you're still bleeding cash. On mat leave pay. 

I don't even know what I'd do with all the extra money we used to have. Probably buy dresses.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Solids: Part 2

No heavy posts for me today. I've been feeling strange since writing my last entry, a little vulnerable, a bit melancholy. But also a little freer.

As a dear friend of mine likes to say, onwards and upwards.

So, I took a break from solids recently because last time I tried, Jack had a meltdown. And when I say meltdown, I mean he recoiled from the spoon and sobbed inconsolably while staring down at the bowl, rattling in his high chair and wailing. The time before that he cried and refused the spoon. So, a bit of an escalation here. I can take a hint.

I think it's been about a week and a half since I got him started and quit early, and today I got going again. He's a wee bit older, I used different spoons and I thinned out the rice cereal. He ate it happily, which is to say it dribbled all over the place and enough of it went into his mouth that I consider it a success.

He's teething right now, agonizingly slow. It's sort of off and on. He's been getting grumpy, rubbing his gums (Which are whiter than usual) and he has rosy cheeks from time to time. I kinda wish the teeth would just appear and get it over with already. And when I think there are soooo many to come and all this fuss over one dang tooth...

Rosy cheeks and a sad little face.
But look at these sweet jammies!
So between sprouting some chompers and eating for realsies, my boy has a lot going on.

Oh, and the soother business? Pfft. Caved. Folded. Gave in.

Spent some time trying to get him to sleep on his tummy, since he was rolling on to it anyway, but ultimately it was hell trying to get him to fall asleep like that. Doable, but shitty. So, I'm now doing a revised swaddle: one arm out, the arm he uses less frequently to pull out the soother.

And it's been working out much better. Thank Jebus.

Raising a baby is so much minutiae. It's all super important (To you) because it's going to make or break your day every day. But damn if you don't get dizzy wanting adult companionship.

They also mark the time in ways nothing has since being in school. I know exactly where the last five months have gone. Every day I see those five months looking at me with increasing intelligence.

But that's really a topic for another day.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Letter, An Admission

This has been hard to write. I know people who know me will read this. If you see me in person and want to let me know you read this story, that's okay. But I likely will not want to talk about it. 

Some time ago I wrote a letter to patient relations at the hospital I birthed at. My midwife had spoken to the manager of obstetrics on my behalf, but had encouraged me to actually write a letter because that would be the sort of thing that would amount to real results. My cousin, a nurse, also told me she knew that would be the only way anyone would hear my story or that any change may happen.

 It took me four months to do it. It took that long for me to get into the right head space to first be able to really remember what happened to me, but then to actually write it down. It was hard to do. I know I shook and sobbed when I typed out my story and I hesitated before hitting send. I was so scared that I'd get a reply back and hear to the effect that it was a personal problem and that I should get over it.

 I spoke to the manager of patient relations soon after. She went over my letter and got more information from me and was compassionate in her questions. She asked me if I wanted a call from specific persons on staff. I realized, no, I didn't. Again, I didn't think I could handle hearing any excuses, and if that could possibly happen then I didn't want to go through that. I asked for the manager to call me back herself and let me know any follow up.

 A couple days ago I got that phone call. And here's what happened:

The head of obstetrics went over my medical information from the birth and said that a C section was medically indicated, that I did have a good reason to have one and that I didn't need to have been put through an induction if I preferred surgery.

Staff in the department were read my letter and will be given more training in handling patients with my sort of situation.

I was given an apology.

I didn't have much to say on the phone. I was sitting on the floor, holding Jack and quietly crying. It's hard to remember that experience without becoming emotional, but I was so relieved. I felt vindicated. I'd been walking around with this wound in my heart from how I was treated and now I feel like I've been acknowledged as a person, not just as the former vessel for my baby.

I'm going to post the letter I wrote, and then I'm going to have to explain one thing I mentioned in there, which I've rarely ever discussed before. I feel like it's time.

I gave birth at *** on April 3 of this year. I'm unsure of where to start, but perhaps laying it out in point form will help give you an idea of what I'm upset about with regards to the birth of my son. It's been a long time coming, writing this, but I must. I go to a dark place when I relive my son's birth but I have to do this.

1. I was admitted on April 1. I was 43 weeks along with a midwife and was 0 cm dilated and not effaced. I had tried every natural induction technique known to woman kind with no progress. I requested a C section since I felt strongly inducing from zero would be a hellish and unsuccessful experience. I was denied this on the basis that it would be better for baby to birth vaginally. This doctor, Dr. D, seemed to give little regard to my concerns for my own wellbeing at being put through an induction, which of course carries its own risks.

2. The nursing staff treated me like an emergency because I was 43 weeks along. I told them my grandmother gave birth 10 times all at 43 weeks, and successfully. This did not alter the air of anxiety they approached me with. One nurse said she'd bet me $100 there would be meconium in my waters.

I understand the stats about stillbirths and going 43 weeks. I also know that study was performed in the 50s prior to the age of ultrasounds and non-stress tests to detect pathologies in overdue pregnancies. My scans and tests (Performed every other day) were always perfect. There was no need to treat me like a ticking time bomb.

3. The Cervidil caused me to burn internally for 12 hours. I could barely walk. This garnered me 0 cm of dilation. The resident, a young redheaded woman whose name I don't recall, badgered me into allowing a cervical check. I wouldn't allow it because I was suffering so badly. Only when my husband intervened and told her to back off did she stop hounding me. I very very disregarded by this woman. She was condescending and dismissive of all of my concerns. She cared only about being textbook and had no bedside manner.

4. I have a history of sexual abuse. It was incredibly challenging to share this with my midwife, who was good enough to share this information with the staff in the hopes of getting their support. This did not sway staff from wanting to insert their fingers inside my vagina multiple times (sometimes with no real compassion for my emotional and physical pain) or reconsider the C section for my mental wellbeing.

5. I was given a foley catheter next, and morphine to sustain the pain. It was very painful, but thankfully due to the drugs I didn't care and I can't recall how it felt. This was the only part of my induction that didn't bother me.

6. They broke my water when the foley dilated me to 4 cm. I was okay with this, but was not alright with being forced into staying in bed. I wanted to walk around to try and start labour, but was not allowed to. When labour didn't begin within an hour I was bullied about being given oxytocin. 

7. I declined the oxytocin many times. I said I didn't want to have it. I would have (Obviously) been happy to have a C section at this point, but they were hellbent on forcing labour to happen against my body's will, and to use methods against my own better judgement.

8. I'd been kept awake all this time, not allowed to sleep. The nurses would wake me to check my vitals every 30 minutes. At the point I was forced to have the IV (I had lost my will to fight at this point) I'd been awake since 8:00 a.m. on April 1, and it was late into the night on April 2. It was inserted into my hand in such a way I could not put pressure on it, removing my ability to bear weight during labour. After I started crying, a nurse agreed to relocate it.

9. I couldn't sustain more than three hours on oxytocin and needed the epidural. This didn't prevent me from feeling the catheter go in. For the rest of the night I was stuck flat on my back in bed, awoken every 30 minutes and by 7:00 in the morning I had dilated to 5 cm.

10. When the nurses changed shifts, a new nurse came in and didn't check the positioning of the fetal monitors. She noticed a drop in the heart rate and everyone started rolling me around. The OB wanted to insert monitors on the baby's head. Another internal violation of my body, a body I could no longer use half of. I could have had this all over with if I'd just had surgery when I asked for it. This was when I broke and demanded the C section. Finally, mercifully, after two days I was granted my request. I think it's hypocritical to treat a woman like her baby's in imminent danger for being 43 weeks, but then not allow a C section. Which is it? 

11. My recovery was terrible. I developed hives and no one knew why. I was awoken by a nurse every hour or so to check my vitals, and this was on top of my baby waking me. I got no sleep for the two days I was in recovery. This may or may not be the reason my milk didn't come in.

12. I developed a uterine infection five days post partum. I was told I'd go back to Labour & delivery so I could take my son with me. Instead I was taken to a post-op wing with only a communal bathroom and no space or accommodations for my baby or a companion to help me care for him. My milk had trickled in and now I was removed from the one thing that would have helped build my supply: my baby. 

13. There was no support for me to pump. The sink in my room only ran luke warm water and I couldn't clean my pump, nor could I keep track of the time or get up without assistance. I had to ask for Tylenol and was treated with suspicion for wanting pain relief at all, despite being only five days post surgery. My midwife came to visit me and was very worried about me developing PPD.

The end result is I couldn't breastfeed. Perhaps had I been given the C section rather than being exhausted for two days first this wouldn't have happened. Maybe if I'd been cared for post op in a location that better suited my needs as a new mother, this wouldn't have happened. No one gives you any information about formula in the hospital, it's all about breastfeeding. But then I was set up to fail. I live with that failure every day.

From time to time I cry about what I went through. My son, who everyone was so worried about, was as healthy as his scans and tests indicated he would be (And 9lb 13 oz). I, on the other hand, who was treated like a vessel, deteriorated. I'd chosen midwifery to avoid this very sort of birth. But I wasn't so committed to a natural birth when it looked unlikely. I was willing to go 43 weeks and let it happen naturally, but it didn't. I was flexible about my plans. I was ok with a c section to avoid the complications of inductions and risky vaginal birth of a huge baby. For reasons I will never understand, I was put through the ringer against my will and put at risk of an infection I, of course, developed.

I don't feel my best interests were considered. I didn't bond with my son for two months due to this terrible birth. I was in a very dark place and through the support of my family and midwives I was able to break free. 

But thanks to the experience I had at ***, I will never have another child. I will never go through that again. 

When I was 16, my first boyfriend sexually assaulted me. It took me over 10 years to admit that is what happened. When I was a teenager, I knew about rape. I knew it meant a man forced his penis into a woman against her will. But I didn't know other types of assault were possible. I didn't know they were assaults.

This boy, who I only dated because I had very low self esteem at the time and didn't believe I could do better (I was being bullied in school and didn't think anyone would ever want me), used to penetrate me with his fingers. I'd say no, he'd do it anyway, fast, forcibly and it hurt. It happened all the time. Sometimes I bled. Sometimes I mentally went somewhere else. I didn't know what to do. I was out of my depth.

I didn't know why he was doing that. I had no experience with boys, didn't know what was normal, didn't know how to respond. My mom, who was vigilant in teaching me to leave any relationship that was abusive, didn't know. She always said if he hits you once, leave before he can hit you again. But we never discussed sexual things. I just didn't know better, and so I suffered and was confused and after a brief time of dating him, I dumped him because the abusive behaviour became verbal. I knew enough to dump him for that. And I learned I'd rather date no one ever than anyone I didn't care about or who was an obvious loser.

And for years I didn't think about what he'd done to me. I was jumpy with new boyfriends in my life when it came to sex. I had to force myself to relax and calm down, which became my normal. I experienced stinging pain from being tense and anxious about being out of control of my body when I was intimate with someone. Exams at the doctors caused me to melt down, shaking, sobbing and frequently leaving the doctor unable to perform the task at hand.

And then I got pregnant, and knew I had to see a midwife because they don't require pelvic exams. 

On the first day I saw my midwife, I asked about internal exams and got the answer I needed: They were unnecessary. And she asked me if I'd experienced any sexual trauma in my life. And I heard myself saying yes, and knew I wasn't lying. I didn't know what the trauma was, though. I hadn't admitted what I allowed to happen to me was an assault. Because that's how I remembered it: I allowed that boy to hurt me and did nothing. Therefore, it was my fault and not an assault.

But I slowly came around. I eventually was able to go there.

While I was lying in bed, hooked up to my epidural, with the oxytocin going, exhausted from lack of sleep and having been violated by all the hands that had been inserted to me in the past day and a half, I told my doula what happened to me when I was 16. 

I was scared she would think it was no big deal, that worse things had happened and women deal with that stuff all time time, and what was my problem? But she responded with distress that I'd gone through that, and acknowledged what happened to me was, in fact, an assault. 

I can't say enough about what it means to me to classify that experience as such, instead of it being a bad sexual experience I didn't fight hard enough against, something that was my fault for not stopping, for allowing to happen more than once. To have someone tell me I was wronged. It was normal for me to feel this way. I was not overreacting. 

That gave me courage to share my history in the email. Because it was a part of the problem and they needed to know. It was also part of the reason I took so long to write the damn letter, because I knew I'd have to share that part and I never fully felt ready.

My vindication from my letter was not just for knowing I should have had a C section, it was knowing they're planning on training staff better on how to treat labouring women who've been assaulted. 

My heart has been broken for so long over how broken my body has felt for half my life. I feel like I've turned a corner of some kind, like I'm ready to move forward with my eyes open. I feel so raw. Maybe now I can finally start dealing with this.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Baby Always Wins

You child will always find a way to thwart you. A couple days ago I wrote down Jack's routine on the kitchen chalkboard. It was a loose but accurate flow of his typical day, with hour-long windows for when certain things are likely to happen, say, a nap, which usually begins around 11:00 to 11:30. I was feeling very pleased with myself. It's not a schedule, but a helpful guide for myself, the Dude or anyone who might care for Jack in daylight hours.


Well, despite waking me at 3:30, today he didn't start his day until almost 8:00, which pushed his morning nap to start at 9:30, which had him waking up at 10:45, so nap time wasn't till after noon. I have no idea what's going to happen now and no clue what to expect.

Never believe you know what a baby is going to do. Probably serves me right for trying to sort him out while he's teething anyway.

I have a big post coming up about a topic that's near to my heart, but I'm not ready to write it out yet. It's a long one and since I have no idea what time my son is going to wake up now, I don't know if I have time to give it the attention it deserves.

But soon.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Goodbye Soother, Hello Solids

I am in pacifier purgatory.

So, here's the deal. My baby sleeps through the night. That is, he usually sleeps through the night. Lately, he has not done so. He has been waking up for his soother.

So, he's five months old now and I still swaddle him and have been giving him the soother and that seemed to be all he needed in life. He'd conk out, look like an angel for 11 hours and life was pretty sweet for everybody.

But he's been busting out of the swaddle, pulling out his soother and then flipping onto his stomach, a position he hates and can't get out of, and then he cries. Nothing illustrates to me how little a baby is capable of thinking about the future than this. He's totally in the now.

"Hmm, my arms are pinned down. I think I'll try and move them. Oh, they're out! Well, what do we have here? There's something in my mouth and I think I can grab it. Oh, there we go! Hey, I was sucking on that! I can't put it back in! Where did it go? Now I'm really awake... Maybe I should babble. Blah blarhg blah! Groo brah blah! My other hand is pinned. I think I'll try and move it. Hey, it's out! I can roll over now. I'm going to roll over. I did it! Now I'm on my tummy. I hate this. I'm stuck. I don't like this. Why is this happening to me?! WAHHHH!"

Tonight I was done with it. Last night and the one before he was waking me for this nonsense. No more soother. It's time for Soother Shutdown.

The Dude and I took turns going down to Jack to calm him down when his cries got too intense. We'd make calming noises and put our hands on his chest and he'd simmer down. Then he'd start bouncing and blowing raspberries and we knew it was time to get out of there.

It wasn't until about 9:30 that he finally fell asleep for good. And when I say "for good," I mean as of right now. He was put down in bed at 6:30. I'm really hoping tomorrow will be better. I'm nervous, though. I can't very well give him a soother at nap time now. It may well be a very hard day.

But after the soother is out of our lives, I'm going to try and wean him off the swaddle, maybe just into a sleep sack.

The thing with babies, as I'm discovering more and more, is there is no one way to do things. You find something that works, with the understanding that it's temporary. Eventually you'll have to do some weaning, or, if you're lucky, the baby will just move on. Things are always changing.

Today was a big day, generally, though. He started solids. Yes, I fed him some rice cereal that looks awful and he thought it was awesome. His eyes lit up after the first bite, like I was feeding him a culinary revelation.

Now his poop is gonna get gross. But giving him solids is something new I can do with him, which is pleasing. It may seem strange if you don't have a baby to think that this would be a fun activity. But consider that you can do very little with your baby, whom you love dearly, and any new interaction that brings him pleasure is a way to feel closer to him.

It's hard to know how much to give him. When they tell you babies don't come with handbooks, it's not exactly true. When you give birth you are inundated with pamphlets and booklets about all the shit you should do and when, and none of them are consistent. They all say different things. Or they're too detailed to the point you feel like if you make other choices you're doing it wrong. Then online there's various guides. And your doctor tells you one thing and other moms tell you another, including what their doctors had to say.

So what do you do? Well, like everything else in caring for a baby, you fly by the seat of your pants and you take a guess. I've already wasted formula and cereal. But it's a process.

Prerequisite sloppy meal face.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Solids For Baby?

I think it's time to start Jack on solids. He's grabbing at things and shoving them in his mouth, taking an interest when people are eating and he can hold his neck up excellently. There's spoons and rice cereal in the house and a high chair en route. I've bought some fleece liners to catch the new poop, which will become more foul and malodorous with the introduction of food.

I am not looking forward to that. Actually, I've been tempted to wait till six months (an often cited recommendation) just for that reason. But when you get the feeling baby is ready, then baby is ready. I made the half-hearted joke to some moms about wanting to wait longer because of the poop and one of them, who totally doesn't get me, said, "Well, you need to do it when he's ready, you know."

Well, d'uh. I will, obviously, but I'm allowed to joke about my laziness, aren't I? Sometimes I wonder if moms who can't joke about babies lack a sense of humour about other things, or if it's just infant care that zaps their buzz.

I went to the lake to see my in-laws for Labour Day weekend, and it was the annual horseshoe tournament. I always like going, though I've never cared for horseshoes. I didn't play last year, citing pregnancy fatigue, and this year I bowed out citing Jack. I think I can do it again next year too.

Jack was in excellent humour for everyone. He let strangers hold him, he gave smiles, he laughed, wore his straw hat all afternoon and didn't vomit or cry. Everyone raved about my baby, which I totally loved because these days nothing warms my heart more than people loving on my son. I used to love people complimenting me on my dress or telling me I looked nice. Now I bask in the glow of someone cooing over his cute outfit or telling me Jack is "adorable", "gorgeous" or "handsome", and it's so much more fulfilling.

I totally still love hearing nice things about me, mind you. Oh yes. But it's now an easy second to hearing praise for my baby.

The next trip up to our hometown won't be until Thanksgiving, and it'll be my family centric, as the last two times we came it was to see the Dude's family. I'm really looking forward to it. We did a drop-in type of meet with family the first time, but this will be the first occasion with everyone together. Having a baby adds extra oomph to the warmth you feel when you're with loved ones.

At Nanny's house.
This dog be bigger than baby.

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