Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You're doing it right.

Somewhere around 5:15 a.m., I woke up to yelling. I didn't even get a courtesy cry from Hannah so I could slowly fade into the morning as I usually do. Crying bypassed. Straight to yelling.

Just six hours earlier I had gone into Hannah's room to put a light blanket on her because it had gotten cold upstairs. The damn floor boards beneath the carpet creaked. Note: the only floorboards in our entire house that creak are right at the base of her crib. We didn't know this until after the bead board was up, the walls were painted, the furniture was in place, and we went to set her in bed for the first time.

The floor creaked and Hannah woke up. She didn't courtesy cry this time either. She yelled. We're almost certain she has another molar coming in, so I'm sure when the poor gal wakes up she feels like she's been chewing on Legos all night. I tried to calm her down and handed her the subby (aka pacifier...we call it "subby" long for "sub" which stands for "shut up button") that our pediatrician told us to stop giving her about four months ago. The yelling combined with the subby caused her to cough and choke. She vomited. Sour yogurt vomit all over her jammers and bed. This was not going well. Jason had the baby monitor and heard the commotion. He whipped up a quick bottle and came to the rescue. The bottle that our pediatrician told us to stop giving her about a month ago.

After the wake up yell this morning, I got her dressed at the same time that I tried to fold her basket of laundry that's been sitting on the floor for a good week now. I got halfway through when Jason notified me of the time ticking away and I noticed Hannah dumping milk on the clean laundry and our kind dog Benson chewing on a sock. Finished dressing her as she yelled and Jason got her off to school. My ears were ringing.

I was exhausted so I laid back down for a minute of morning news on TV. One minute turned into 72 and I woke up to the sound of news anchors preparing to switch shifts. This meant it was nearing the top of the hour. This meant I was going to be late to work.

Fortunately, I work two minutes away from my house, so if I'm running behind I can usually still get there on time.

Unfortunately, I work two minutes away from my house, so I am now acutely aware of my problem with procrastination.

Work was busy, but fine. I normally try to go to the Y after work and then pick up Hannah, but since I stayed a little later to get some emails out, I painted the following peaceful plan of the night's events in my mind:

I would jump in the car, stop by the house, pick up the diaper bag, stop by Walgreens, pick up Vaseline and baby Tylenol for the molar-yelling issue, pick up Hannah, grab a bite to eat with her at Qdoba, run into Lowe's with her and buy a new fridge (ours went out the other day after I had purchased a good amount of attempt-to-eat-cleanly food...awesome), and then Hannah and I would come home, feed Benson (who would not jump up and claw my legs as usual), let him out to use the grass, give Hannah a bath (she still kind of smelled vomity), offer up a gulp or so of warm milk, and she would retire without battle to bed so I could have a little treadmill time (because in this dream I like exercise) and then head off to bed.

Here's how reality came in and junk-punched my vision:
I jump in my car after work, which looks like a baby piƱata exploded inside. I blanked and found myself on the outer road instead of the street that leads to my house, so the diaper bag was out of the picture because I don't turn around for things. I walk into daycare, which means I forgot to stop by Walgreens. I pick up Hannah - who is yelling in the backseat - and we head into Qdoba. An old friend from college is in line behind us with two of his daughters - one a week older than Hannah, sitting calmly in his arms. Hannah is back-arching in my arms as I'm paying the cashier. I am sweating and trying to figure out how I'm going to get us situated at a table with a highchair while holding a 22-pound gymnast baby, a tray of quesadillas, a purse, and a cup of water. Cashier sees this and delivers a quesadilla and highchair to a table in the back corner of the restaurant where yelling is allowed. We begin eating. Actually, one of us is eating and the other is yelling. I offer her water and she fills the top of my straw with backwash and quesadilla particles. She then begins chucking quesadilla pieces on the floor and snotting uncontrollably and attempting to backbend out of the highchair and yelling...lots of yelling. I sweat more and swallow my quesadilla in whole triangular pieces. College guy is sitting peacefully at his table with his peaceful wife and peaceful children, no yelling. Lowe's is out of the question but we head to Walgreens because, by God, I am getting Vaseline and baby Tylenol. Gas light goes on. We roll into Walgreens on gas breath and I get inside, take a sharp turn down the wine aisle, grab the Pinot Grigio that I added to the shopping list in between baby backflips, and make it to the medicine aisle. There are over 100 varieties of baby acetaminophen and none of them look like the kind she just polished off. Hannah wants down and at this point I'm speed-reading med boxes while she's shaking a bottle of Pepto pills like a rattle. And yelling. People are staring. I grab the meds and Vaseline and get to the checkout counter where a new register opens and a woman who clearly doesn't have yelling babies jumps in front. I could have screamed but Hannah was taking care of that for me. Get out, get gas, get home. Benson claws my legs as I'm holding wicked-tuna-out-of-water baby in one arm and Walgreens goods in the other. Clawing hurts. Goods get dropped. I feed Claws McGee as Hannah sings a song to me that is all in the key of yell. Benson gives me a look that says, Don't worry, no need to let me outside, I just used the carpet behind the couch again. No bath for the baby. I warm up a little milk in an off-limits bottle in the microwave as Hannah performs a dance I call Lay Yourself Out on the Kitchen Floor and Scream. I somehow managed to change a flailing octopus baby into pajamas and get her into bed, where she proceeded to yell at me for two minutes and then fell asleep.

I want to bypass the treadmill and head straight to the wine. But you know what? I won't, because I am fine. You know why? Because I'm not perfect, and my plans are never the same as reality anymore, but I'm doing my best.

Here's how I know. Earlier today I overheard two people having a conversation.
  • Female person: "I remember when I got pregnant your wife told me, 'Hey, as long as you don't drop it and break it, you're doing it right!'"
  • Male person: "Yeah, I only dropped two of my babies!"
They both have multiple children, the youngest being 6 and the oldest being a teenager. They both have children who made it beyond baby stage. They both did it right.

You know why they did it right? Because they did it imperfectly but with the right heart. I don't know the details of their child rearing, but since we are all imperfect beings I can say with confidence that they probably weren't flawless in their parenting. But I know they love their children with everything they have, and they did the best they could, and that is what we are called to do, and that, therefore, is "right."

Right now, I am sitting at my desk, ready to run on a treadmill even though I hate exercise, but my baby deserves a healthy mom and my husband deserves a healthy wife. My ears are done ringing from Yellfest 2013 and I'm listening to my baby's ocean wave sound machine that is keeping her calmly asleep in her crib. Warm in her bed. Not hurting from a molar. Tummy filled with milk no matter how hard it was to get it in there. I love her so much that I know if I go upstairs and I think it's cold I'm going to put a blanket on her and risk doing today all over again tomorrow, because I care about her and want her to be happy. Parents can't be perfect, but love can. When I parent out of love, I'm doing it right.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Little empty container, big full heart.

Yes, I'm about to get sappy about a plastic container. But I think you'll get it.

See, here's the thing: I wanted to breastfeed really bad. I enrolled in a really weird class at the hospital while I was pregnant where we even simulated breastfeeding with plastic babies. I sat in a chair in a room full of strangers, held a plastic baby to my chest and pretended. It was strange and awesome all at once.

I dropped $200 on a big old breast pump kit. It has tubes and bottles and lids and makes freaky pump noises. I thought it was going to be really funny to use.

My heart was in it. I read all about breastfeeding in my What to Expect book. I was expecting it to be the challenging, rewarding, bond-inducing special experience that I had built it up to be in my mind. And for two weeks, it was.

Breastfeeding is incredible. It's so awkward and it's so amazing. You get to feel like a life source to your newest, most favorite person in the world. What an honor.

It gives you a hormonal rush and a big head - like, Oh, you're good at math? Well, my body makes food.  It calms your heart and fills your spirit. Sometimes it annoys you because you're really freaking sleepy and not in the mood to be a snack, but someone else very important needs you to be a snack like right now.

I got to experience that for two weeks and for that I am blessed. But, I also got robbed of it early. My postpartum anxiety halted my ability to produce, and I also had to take some medicine that would get passed through to my baby girl and I wasn't able to come to terms with that.

I think I was upset about it but it's hard to say because at that point in my postpartum period I was just upset about feeling anxious, and feeling anxious about being upset. Actually, I'll admit it - I felt relief. Because at that point I knew I was not my best, and despite my inability to be 100% there physically - although my heart was always 100% there - I knew Hannah was going to be taken care of. And that was all that mattered.

So, here we are...almost exactly a year from when Hannah went to formula full time because I couldn't breastfeed. I remember feeling guilty sometimes because the very container that Hannah's food came in said "breast is best" on it. It was kind of a smack in the face.

You know what I think? I think they need to remove that dang line from the container. Because you know what's best? What's best is what you, as a mom, need to do to keep your baby's sacred tummy full and your precious self healthy. I had to stop breastfeeding, and I felt a little terrible about that. But then I knew I was doing what's right, and I thanked God repeatedly, over and over and over again, that He gave His people the brilliance to make formula. I was facing an adversity, and my baby was still going to thrive.

Yes, there are tons of major benefits of breastfeeding. I believe in it. But I believe even more in being healthy for your baby, and it is so, so, so important that you take care of yourself as a mom. Just because formula isn't breast milk doesn't mean it is bad. Or wrong to use. It is a gift, in my opinion.

I feel like I want to repeat that point.


Not every mom wants to breastfeed. That's perfectly fine. Some moms can't. That sucks if it screws up what you had planned, but it's still OK. Formula makes it possible for moms to have a choice, and that is a wonderful thing. My husband and I got to share the responsibility for feeding Hannah, and he loved it. When I was suffering my worst bouts of postpartum anxiety and needed serious medical attention, my mom was able to take Hannah overnight several times.

I have a very sentimental feeling about formula. Perhaps it's the same thing a mother feels when she weans her baby and packs the pump away. As I stand in my kitchen over the empty formula container, knowing that it is never going to be full again, I feel a bit melancholy. I will miss the feedings where Hannah's tummy was grumbling and I got to hear it stop, and she would fall asleep and wake back up mid-feeding, and the formula would calm her. Such a cozy feeling. I will miss seeing her light up at the sight of a bottle. I will miss Hannah laughing at the weird dance that Jason and I do when we make a bottle ("shake shake shake...shake shake shake...shake your booottle, shake your booooooottle" - to the tune of "shake your booty"). I will miss hearing my mom call it "milk." I will miss packing her little bottles for daycare. I will miss seeing her clench her fingers and open them quickly - the baby sign for milk.

I thank God for formula. I have a very healthy, ridiculously happy little girl sleeping soundly in the other room with a big old robin belly that was formed by formula. I am in a very good postpartum state and my recovery was certainly expedited by the use of formula. I am so blessed. Thanks for being so good to us, formula.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If you're looking for BIG BOOPS, you're in the right spot.

My new job as an online content copywriter requires me to know a bit about SEO and web content, and as part of the deal I am learning more and more about metrics, such as the data that can be found about a particular website via Google Analytics. To help me learn, I've used this very Mutherford blog to familiarize myself with how Analytics works. I think that some of the data I found today is worth sharing.

I was researching the search terms that people are using that help them find my site in search engines, and the list of queries that bring someone to Mutherford is quite...interesting. Take a look:

It's nice to know that people who are looking for "baby nora" get to read about my beautiful niece. However, the majority of the rest of the list is downright disturbing. Something tells me that "big boops" is the result of a typo and the searchers were probably really disappointed to find stories about baby face boops on my blog. I would love to know what people were looking for when they entered "chapped ass" in the Google search field. Muffin top came up twice in the list, so that's neat. I had to look up "francis mango" to see what the deal there was - apparently "madame francis mango" is a type of Haitian mango. I'm sure everyone looking for the actual fruit was thrilled to see pictures of my stomach instead. I guess there's more than one "Hannah Boo Boo" out there (surely not quite the beauty queen my Hannah is), I'm apparently not the only one who has hurt my tailbone, and jt hannah's is a restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that serves up some delicious-looking American cuisine. I'll have to try it out next time I'm in the 'hood.

In conclusion, the best way to find the Mutherford site by way of Google is to search for such terms as "big boops" or "muffin top." I am clearly changing the world one post at a time!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

She is ONE.

My ladybug, Hannah Sophia, is ONE YEAR OLD today! Can you believe it? So much has happened over the past year. It was the best, hardest year ever. Talk about trials. Talk about joy. But no matter what challenges I faced, I was always in a better place when I would look at Hannah's precious, perfectly-crafted-by-God face.

She has grown into a giggly, goofy little fun lover who can put away food like a lumberjack. She says mama, dada, uh-ohdog (preceded by woof woof), duck (followed by quack quack quack), eat, this, that, and she even said balloon yesterday. Sometimes she will just repeat whatever you say.

She loves baths - blows air into the water to make bubbles, splashes and rubs her eyes when the water hits them, tries to stand up even though she knows she isn't supposed to, drinks water as it leaves the spout, and chews on her toys relentlessly.

She loves books - sits as calm as she can in your lap as you read, turns the pages prematurely, points at images with her little toothpick finger, slams your hands in the book, and sometimes giggles at random when she likes what you're reading.

Her laugh is incredible - the perfect little girl giggle. She points and points at things all day, saying this and that as she points. Discovering. It dawned on me the other day when we were on a walk and saw a squirrel that this was the first time she was probably really seeing a squirrel and realizing it was a moving, breathing creature. She's a foreigner uncovering a mystical new land.

She loves to walk, but sometimes frightens herself when she stumbles. She thinks she's pretty funny when she starts crawling swiftly up the stairs and her dad or I sprint to her so we can ensure she doesn't fall. She thinks we're chasing her.

She loves the dog, although he doesn't care much for her except when she's eating. She will try to lay on him, follow him around, pat his face (sometimes a bit rough), and say woof woof at him.

She gets a really proud, beaming look on her face when she wants you to acknowledge what she's doing because she thinks she's pretty neat, like when she is taking a good long series of steps, or when she's riding around in the new wagon her grandparents got her and she thinks she's pretty big stuff. Because she is pretty big stuff.

She sleeps so well and often goes to bed without a struggle. She will let you know when she needs a nap and she really only fusses when she's hungry or constrained and wants to move.

Being her mother is like receiving the most incredible, irreplaceable gift anyone could be given. The thought of her special, smiling face and gorgeous blue eyes makes my spirit full and warm. She is God's child, His perfect creation, and I am humbled to be her mother.

1 month

2 months
3 months

4 months
5 months

6 months
7 months

8 months
9 months

10 months
11 months

12 months = ONE YEAR!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little big girl

Random poem inspired by a girl at the YMCA

"Little Big Girl"
I saw your sad face
In the back of the gym
As the little girls ran
With their bodies to swim
It's not that you're ugly
It's not that you're fat
It's just - they're amazing
And you just aren't that
But I'll tell you something
Your character counts
And people like pretty
Just in small amounts
For when it comes to it
You're bigger than size
It's not your facade
It's your heart that's the prize