Health · parenthood

I’m just a lady, crawling around after her kid, begging him not to get eczema lotion all over her sheets

We’ve been dealing with eczema. It’s super common nowadays, but why? At least two-thirds of the moms I’ve spoken to about it have said that their kids also have it, with varying degrees of severity. We exchange stories of our own successes and failures with treating it, or just keeping it from becoming too severe.

The general consensus amongst pediatricians and pediatric dermatologists seems to be that best way to “treat” the skin condition is simply to slather some steroid cream on it to take care of the inflammation. Matt and I took the advice of our pediatrician and used the 2% hydrocortisone that was prescribed for our son’s eczema, which at the time was causing the skin on his ankles to crack and bleed. It seemed like every week we continued with the steroid treatment, his skin would become worse and the further the eczema would spread. When it finally covered his chin, chest, back, legs and behind his shoulders, I started looking into different treatment options.

After a lot of trial and error (and a period of what seemed like detox from the steroids where his skin just became more itchy and inflamed), we found a routine that seemed to keep it under control somewhat. About two or three times a month, we will use a 1% hydrocortisone balm (not the cream) if needed, to get the redness and dryness down. On normal days, we make sure to slather on his SkinFix Eczema Balm, rub it in really well, and then top it with Cerave ointment. We then try to cover all the spots with clothing to keep the moisture locked in (socks, pants, long sleeves). Luckily it seems like it tends to flare up in the drier winter months, so more clothing isn’t a real issue. Sometimes when it’s looking really dry, I’ll take Char to the beach and let the ocean heal him (life in San Diego)!

I wish it were as “simple” as removing something from my son’s diet, but we tried removing all the normal things—gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs—to no avail.

Katie over at Wellness Mama also has a great list of natural remedies for eczema. None of these worked in our case, but the sea salt really does seem to calm it down a bit.

I would be interested to hear what other parents are doing for their kids’ eczema.

 

parenthood

On Raising a Reader

kid reading a book
little bookworm

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I kept imagining what it would be like to sit on the edge of his bed and read him a chapter of Harry Potter before bedtime. To do all the character voices, and watch his face as he got to experience Hogwarts for the first time. While we are not quite at Harry Potter status yet, Charlie insists on being read some of his favorite board books every night. It’s such a fulfilling thing, to be able to watch him enjoy the same books my mom read to my siblings and I when we were little!

And he loves his books! I wished so hard that my baby would love reading, and he just absorbs it all like a little sponge, asking to be read Caps for Sale for the millionth time (in a day). He gets super involved in the stories too, pointing to things and talking about them, imitating the faces of the characters, and laughing at the silly parts.

I can’t even describe the joy I feel every time Charlie grabs a book to read on his own; he just picks one, sits on his little Thomas the Tank Engine couch, and studies each page as though he were literally sitting there reading a chapter book. It makes me so dang proud, be still my exploding mama heart.

I had posted on my Instagram a few weeks ago about an amazing company, Zoozil, who’s mission is to make learning and reading more accessible through choose-your-own-adventure style e-books for kids. Zoozil has redefined the way kids get to explore the world by putting them in control of the story.

Reading, and making learning exciting for kids is something we are obviously pretty passionate about in our house. Which is why I wanted to share that you can get 50% off any book using the coupon code ChangeTheStory.

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Please check them out at www.zoozil.com, and help kids change the story! You can also connect with them on Instagram and FaceBook (@zoozil).

holiday post · parenthood

Fall Cleaning and Two Weeks Of Vacation

It is FINALLY starting to feel like Fall in San Diego! Every year it gets pretty hot and dry in October, and every year I ask my husband why it’s so hot and dry. He reminds me that the Santa Ana’s blow in at the same time every year, and we move on with our lives, destined to relive this same story line in another three to four hundred days.

quinceanera

But it is finally getting cooler, and PSLs are everywhere, which means Halloween is close. We are taking Charlie to his first pumpkin patch next weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m sure he will only be interested for about five minutes, but that’s enough for me! One of the fun things about being a parent is reliving every season through your kid’s experience. Hay rides! Pumpkin carving! Hanukkah bush decorating! Christmas cookies! Mom can barely contain herself.

This weather always gives me energy. After months of feeling like doing nothing in the sticky heat, I am up cleaning, organizing, minimizing, and even sometimes cooking. Not this week, but maybe next week with the cooking…

In other news, I suddenly have a couple weeks off from work, which is so wonderful at this stage of Charlie’s development. He is getting a little clingy, so I’m happy to be here with him full-time for a bit.

baby · parenthood · pregnancy · reflection

Dear Bdub

I found this wonderful little gem in my drafts today. It was a much needed pick me up, reading through my old thoughts from before Charlie was born! I almost forgot we even called him “Bdub” before he was born, haha. For the first month he was here, I kept almost calling him our little nickname for him; now he’s definitely Charlie!

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Dear Baby,

I can’t believe we are just a few short weeks away from finally meeting you! I have pictured our first minutes together (and millions of minutes after) so many times, and your father and I are counting down the days until we can kiss your sweet face, hold you on our chests, and look into your wonderful little (and inevitably blue) eyes. I have dreamed of your tiny fingers wrapped around my own, and the wrinkly little toes and feet which are destined to patter up and down our hallway.

I think you are almost ready to come into the world, these days. Just this week I panicked once again as you slept for most of the day in my tummy, rather than stretching and kicking gently as you normally do while we sit in the swively chair at work. Momma has had a hard time not worrying about your well-being since the second we knew we were pregnant with you. It’s normal, I think for a first time mom, but I know I’ll forever worry about your happiness and health; a task I willingly take on as your mother.

I promise to always love you more than words can say. You are already the light of my life, and I am already proud of you for everything you’ve done and have yet to accomplish. I promise to always love you for exactly who you are – no changes, improvements, or tweaks to be made. You are perfect exactly as you are.

baby · Body positive · goals · Health · parenthood · Uncategorized · working mom

Post Partum Body Image

I know body image can be a touchy subject for some people, and I count myself as lucky to be able to say I gave up on caring a long time ago. I just sort of got to the point where I was tired of stressing over my thighs touching, my arms jiggling, and my tummy having a lot of skin (aka adipose tissue) to grab. Sure, I sometimes wish I was just naturally thin so that I could wear short shorts in the summer time without getting a heat rash from the chub rub, but for the most part, I just DGAF. Sorry, not sorry (did I use that right?).

Now that I am five months post partum, I thought I would check in with my body and see how things are going (that’s how busy I am, I have to set reminders to check in with myself . #motherhood). We’ll start with the TMI stuff.  I was extremely surprised how much my lady bits were affected by childbirth (is that naive?). I only had the teeniest episiotomy requiring two stitches because either my kid’s noggin was just that large, or mommy was just a little too tired/numb to push effectively, and OH MAN was I scared to go number two after labor. Everything healed up just fine within about 3-4 weeks, but sitting on a super hard surface is still not ideal. But, as they always say (and only a mother would), it was WORTH IT.

Now for the reason you clicked on the link to this post, my boooody image. In a word, right now I feel “meh” about my post partum body. On the one hand I’m like, “you are amazing, THANK YOU FOR CARRYING THIS MIRACLE CHILD, BODY!!” And on the other hand I’m like, tired of having to buy bigger pants. Like, several sizes bigger.  All of this balances out for a general feeling of just “meh” when I look in the mirror.

I’m proud of my body and all we’ve accomplished in the past year and a half. We got through some nasty morning sickness that lasted almost through two whole trimesters. We carried a gigantic 8 pound baby, and survived labor after three weeks of no sleep.we even made it through the steep, painful learning curve that comes with breastfeeding in those early weeks post partum. My body is like my awesome, fat friend who is smart and strong and amazing and just maybe needs to cut out a few burritos each week.

When Charlie starts eating some solids next month, I’m thinking of starting to clean up my diet a bit (who am I kidding, I have a LOT of cleaning up to do) and exercising at the office gym. Mommy is tired of having to adjust her tummy when she sits down, and all the junk food certainly isn’t helping get me going in the morning when I’m tired AF and still have to go to work.

baby · parenthood · Parenting · San Diego · Uncategorized · working mom · writing

Tips From a Tired Mom

Before Charlie graced all of us with his wonderful presence I thought to myself, “this blog is not a mom blog. I’m not going to only write about being a mom.” To be honest, though, I don’t even care anymore. Welcome to my mom blog, everyone. I enjoy reading parenting blogs, and I feel like now I have something to contribute to the parenting blogosphere. We are all just grasping at straws trying to figure it all out anyway, and if by writing down whatever I have to say, someone else gets one helpful bit of information or a laugh on a bad day, then I have done my duty.
There’s a lot of discord among the many parenting styles these days. Just read through the comments on one poor momma’s post in any parenthood forum, and see the absolute chaos that ensues. Don’t bother asking anyone else about vaccinations, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, or sleep training unless you want to feel like a terrible mother in general. Seriously, do some research outside of the forums and Facebook groups, and pick whatever makes sense for you and your child.
In this space, my intent is never to provide unsolicited and unquestionable advice – I just want to share the ways I’ve somewhat successfully muddled through five months of my son’s life.
So without further ado, here are my tips for general momming/dadding:

  1. Leave your spare key fob next to the bed so that when you awaken in the middle of the night wondering if you locked the car, you can hit the lock button and hear the satisfying honk of your vehicle. This only works if you live in such cramped quarters that your car is parked right outside your window.
  2. Buy gum in bulk from Costco. I have lost count of how many times I’ve discovered it’s 4pm suddenly, and I still haven’t brushed my teeth.
  3. Load up that Starbucks card. I am blessed to live in a world where I can literally walk about 200 feet and be at heaven’s door. This is whether I’m at home or at work. #YAASSS
  4. Moms, if you are breastfeeding, LEARN TO SIDE NURSE. At first I was all “I will never fall asleep with the baby in bed with me” and to be honest, when he was super teeny, and I was super out-of-it exhausted, I still wouldn’t; but OMG it’s wonderful to go back to sleep at 4am when he wakes up and wants a boob. Plus, those mornings when he wakes up next to me and smiles like, “Oh MOMMY! I sure love looking at your face/grabbing your eyes/lips/nose/nipple while you sleep!”
  5. Subscribe to Amazon Prime. Again, I was hesitant at first. Who wants to pay $100 in membership fees?! But I no longer run out of diapers or toilet paper, so everyone is poop-free and happy.
  6. Try eyelash extensions. I actually just took mine off because I don’t have time to get them filled every month, but WOW I looked fabulous when I first went back to work after maternity leave. They gave me some time to get a morning routine down while looking like a put some effort into my appearance. If you’re in San Diego, let me know and I’ll tell you where I went that didn’t charge a million dollars and isn’t sheisty.
  7. Make lunches/breakfasts for the work week ahead of time. Whether it’s the weekend before or the night before….don’t try doing that shit in the am when your baby is teething and waking up all night long, and you can’t see straight because you’re exhausted and can’t turn the kitchen light on because you just got your precious baby back to sleep, and you don’t want to risk waking them up. Just…plan ahead with the meals. Dinner, however, is kind of a free for all. We are still working on not getting tacos every night.
  8. Know that we’re ALL still figuring it out. You’re not the only one who feels like you’re struggling, there’s a whole world of tired, confused-ass parents out there, and we’re all ready to talk about it when you’re ready to admit you’re not perfect out loud.

Have some tips for me? Let me know how you survive!

baby · parenthood · pregnancy

Birth Story and Postpartum Shock

My son is almost 4 months old, and I am finally getting around to writing again. It’s not that I haven’t had time, because I have, however my free time has been spent cleaning the house, napping and watching the entirety of The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie. Hunker down, because this is a long post.

The first few weeks of my son’s life were some of the best and worst days of my life. The last time I said that I was referring to the days in college when I could do whatever I wanted (awesome!) which caused me to make poor choices and ruin my life for a short time (womp womp).

The first few weeks postpartum are seriously unfair. The phrase “nature’s cruel joke” kept rolling around in my head as I realized that I had to juggle “taking care of myself” aka needing to spend twenty minutes figuring out how to move my bowels again, and take care of postpartum stuff, and having approximately negative forty-five minutes to do so. The doctors/nurse attending me kept asking me how many times I’d eaten or gone pee within the last 8 hours, like I could keep track of something like that after 16 hours of labor, and then having to walk my sore little self down to the NICU to visit my son. I literally googled “how many times should I have gone pee by one day postpartum” so I could just give them the right answer.

It turns out my boy was and is completely fine (he aspirated a little fluid…the nurse during that shift was about twelve years old, and seemed like she wanted to do her job right by being extra cautious), but once you’re in the NICU, it’s hard to get out. Overall, my son’s birth story is really magical and I would not change a thing, except that I would have loved to bring my baby home with us on day two like everyone else I know.

My contractions started at 2am on Wednesday morning, April 20th. I had been having prodromal labor for the three weeks prior to that, so I half wondered again if this was it, or if I was just doomed to suffer through “false” labor which feels pretty damn close to real labor every single day until my doctors finally induced me at 42 weeks. After an hour had passed, my husband was waking up for work and I told him I thought this might be the real thing, finally. Normally, the contractions would peter out after about an hour, and they didn’t really feel like they got more painful. About twenty minutes after that, I figured they were real because they got about a million times worse. I was having to breathe through each contraction after about 2 hours, so I got in the shower to see if they would stop. After no sign of them slowing, I called my mom and told her I apologize in advance if this is a false alarm, but I think I’m in labor finally.

Fast forward to an hour after I called my mom, when I was laying on my side in bed, moaning loudly through each contraction, exhausted, because I hadn’t slept in almost three weeks. In fact, I’d even had a little breakdown the night before this all occurred, because my doctor had told me I was not going to make it to my due date (yay!) and here we were on the eve of said due date with no baby in hand.

But labor thankfully did come, and after about twenty minutes of Matt and I deciding whether or not he should try going into work, I hopped in the shower and ate some toast in preparation for going to the hospital. It took about an hour for my contractions to speed up to about 5 minutes apart, at which point I was laying on my side in bed, wondering how the hell women wait any longer to head to the hospital. I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive sitting in a car for the ten minutes it takes to get there. My contractions had double peaks (even though they said that wasn’t the case in the hospital – those monitors are completely worthless. I would be writhing in agony and my nurse would say “okay, contraction is over”. Yeah. Right.)

When we got to the hospital, the nurse told me “Congratulations! You are dilated to 4 centimeters!” at which point I began moaning hysterically. I had been at 4cm for three weeks already. The doctor on call suggested we take 2 hours to walk around the hospital campus to see if I could move things along a little, and I agreed. As much pain as I was in, I wanted to get things as far along as possible to avoid the dreaded intervention slide that tends to occur in hospital births.

When you see women in labor in the movies, they waddle around, breathing hard for a few seconds here and there, sometimes throwing things at their husbands. I knew real labor wasn’t going to be anything like the movies, but I did expect to be able to talk a little between contractions. Um, no. My contractions didn’t start out slow and get more painful. My contractions started out MORE painful, and then got so painful I thought there was no way I wasn’t getting brain damage from the pain. I for real thought I was damaging my brain by experiencing the pain of labor. And again, the double-peaks. I would waddle sloooowly in between each contraction, then feel another one coming on, and frantically look for the closest thing to lean on during the peak. Sometimes that was Matt, and sometimes I would yell at him to shut up or stop it, even though he was doing and saying nothing at all. At one point, I got a kind, sympathetic smile from a woman passing by, and I wanted to kick her in the head.

Those two hours flew by in what felt like twenty minutes. My mom showed up and proceeded to take pictures of me breathing, and I broke down and told her I was going to get the epidural. I was nervous about getting to the point where I was too exhausted to push – I hadn’t slept in days, and the physical pain of labor was completely exhausting. She told me it was okay, I cried, and then when I finally got that epidural, ten hours into labor, I laughed a lot and decided I didn’t regret it even a tiny bit. In fact, my body finally relaxed and my water broke about two minutes after it was in. About an hour after that, I was fully dilated and ready to push. AND THEN the epidural completely wore off on one side. I always figured if that happened, it would be like half the pain, right? NO. IT WAS SO MUCH WORSE. So they fix my epidural and completely FLOOD my spine with medication. It is then that the nurse tells me it is time to push, and I can literally not even feel my legs.

So poor baby W has to wait around in there during all my double contractions, while mommy waits HOURS for enough of the medication to wear off so that she can push. The nurse tried to get me into all these pushing positions, which failed miserably because I COULD NOT FEEL ANYTHING.

Finally, after about 4 hours, the new doctor on call barges in gallantly, pulls my butt down on the bed, orders my mom and husband to each grab a leg, and she urgently makes sure baby has room, which he does. It then took 45 minutes of pushing, several rounds of throwing up orange popsicle on my husband, and our perfect, stocky little eight-pounder was brought into the big, wonderful world.

Overall, parenthood is SO GREAT, but those first few weeks can really throw a person for a loop. I’m used to the sink or swim method of learning, but the curve is pretty damn steep for a first time parent, and there’s just so much at stake. Everything feels like life and death in those first few weeks postpartum. But honestly, that’s the exhaustion, stress, and mostly hormones talking. You will not mess up your baby (at least not that early on). You do not have to do everything yourself while you have no core strength to speak of, and no comfortable way of sitting down or standing up. All you have to do is get through it at first, and make sure you stare at your tiny wrinkled baby as much as possible, because pretty soon they will be grabbing toys and have super good head control, and we all know that’s like one step away from graduating high school.