Tag Archives: new parents

Pajama Thursday

Every Friday, our daycare sends home a peppy little newsletter informing us of next week’s theme and activities. For example, March 2 was Dr. Seuss’ birthday, so Read Across America with Dr. Seuss kicked off that Monday, and Wednesday, Cat in the Hat paid the classroom a special visit. (According to C.J.’s daily infant report, he REALLY enjoyed Cat’s visit — I only wish I could have been there to see it).

I keep this newsletter on our fridge. Sometimes I read it, sometimes I don’t. One evening, while perusing the fridge for an after-work snack, I happened to take a peek at it and noticed that the following day was Pajama Day. I immediately got excited because A) Dressing a baby doesn’t get much easier than P.J.’s and B) Honestly — is there anything cuter than baby in a footed onesie? (Sidebar: Two years ago, I would have said, “why, yes” and pointed at my dogs.)

I had just the jams for this occasion: a brand-spankin’ new, bright blue number with lime green buttons, footsies and an adorable little turtle on the front. I de-tagged it, washed it and the next morning, we were ready to roll.

“I wish I could wear pajamas today, too,” I whispered to C.J. as I carried him from the car to his school. He flapped his arms and responded with his happy pterodactyl shriek. Seeing other kids amble up to the building with their parents, I deduced that Pajama Day was not a school-wide initiative. Lucky infants! I thought.

There were only two other kids in C.J.’s class so far. L, who was, as usual, red-faced and screaming, and J, who as usual crawled right up to C.J. and swatted his face. Neither of them was in pajamas.

Guess their parents didn’t read the newsletter, I thought smugly. I was impressed with myself; it’s not every day I’m so on top of my game. I got to work and IM’d Jonathan to give him my usual unsolicited report of how drop-off went.

 Me:  That little stinker was so cute in his little turtle jammies.

Jonathan:  I know.

Me:  L and J were in there, but neither of them was wearing jammie jams. Oh well.

Jonathan:  You definitely got the day right?

Me:  Yeah, it was today. I don’t really care either way. Rainy Friday. He’s cozy. Still stylin.’

Jonathan:  Yeah, except it’s Thursday.

Me:  OH [word I can’t say on my blog or I’ll get fired]!

Jonathan:  Oh well—he still looks cute—but you are losing it.

I felt like a complete moron as several realizations hit me all at once.

I wasn’t sure which was more troubling: the fact that my child was likely the only one in the entire school wearing his pajamas, the fact that it wasn’t Friday or the fact that now his teachers — not just my husband — know I’ve lost my mind.

I had tried so hard to keep the crazy confined to my house. No one has to know that sometimes I absentmindedly toss dirty clothes into the trash can instead of the hamper. Or that once in a while, I run around the house frantically searching for my cell phone only to realize minutes later that I’m on it. Or that just a few weeks ago, I unloaded groceries and stored a box of trash bags in the fridge. Or that every so often, I yell at my husband for moving my phone charger, then later on, I find it in my laptop bag.

I contemplated calling the school and explaining myself, but I thought that might make me seem even more crazy.

So I did what any normal, sane human being would do. I laughed so hard I cried.

Advertisements

My Achy Breaky Heart

I opened the door. The sound of babies crying flooded my ears.

Crap, I thought.

My heart sank an inch. I had been fine until this moment.

Babies cry, I thought to myself. It’s practically their job.

I propelled myself further into the large, cheerful-looking room. For a moment, I stood quietly on the Kelly green rug, looking around, clutching C.J., keeping his face close enough to mine that I could feel his breath against my cheek.

Scanning the room, I recognized two other children from C.J.’s old classroom. They must have just moved up too, I thought. Both of them were crying, tears streaming down their little red faces.

My heart inched its way down a little deeper.

Babies in not-so-high chairs were lined up in a row along the front of the class. In front of them, Teacher #1 walked around with a bag of sandwich bread, placing torn-up little pieces on trays in front of them. It reminded me of someone feeding ducks in a pond. Off to the right, Teacher #2 was attempting to feed one of C.J.’s old classmates pureed baby food that looked like pears. I don’t remember what Teacher #3 was doing. Changing a diaper? Looking at papers on a clipboard?

I stood there expectantly. Am I supposed to say something first, or are they? I wondered.

“Hi,” I said, weakly. “This is C.J.”

“Oh,” they all said, sort of in unison.

“Hi, C.J.,” someone said.

“Look at those eyes,” Teacher #2 said, looking at C.J.

I stood there, waiting. For what, I don’t know.

In his old classroom, one or both teachers would rush to greet us, scooping C.J. up in their arms and talking sweetly to him. But this was not his old classroom, and no one was rushing to my baby’s side.

“When did he eat last?” Teacher #2 asked.

“7 a.m.,” I told her.

Teacher #3 came over. I think she introduced herself to me, but I can’t remember. She was not smiling as she reached for the diaper bag slung over my shoulder and put his bottles in the fridge. I asked a few more questions about naps and told them he’s been having a hard time sleeping during the day at school.

“That’s common,” they assured me.

I was still standing in the same spot, still waiting for the warmth his previous teachers had shown us. But they didn’t ask me a single question about my son. And not one of these women — these women I was leaving my child with almost every day for the next five months — made any move to come greet my child, make him smile, make me think they cared, make me feel at ease.

I felt a little bit silly. “Should I put him down somewhere,” I finally asked.

Teacher #2 sort of shrugged. “You can put him on the mat there,” she said.

The floor?  I thought to myself.

It’s not that I’m anti-floor — he spends plenty of time there at home. But to bring him in on his first day in a new class and set him down on the floor and leave? It just didn’t feel right. Unsure of what to do, I put him down, hesitantly. He propped himself up on his little hands and looked up. His lower lip puckered out, quivered.

C.J. began to cry. And still, no one came to hold my baby.

This. This was when my heart hit rock bottom.

I tried to play it cool and gave him a minute. When he didn’t calm down, I knelt down beside him and rubbed his back. I scooped him back up, gave him a kiss and set him back down, this time propped up against some soft, colorful blocks. He looked around, no longer crying. I let the teachers know I was going to grab his pacifier from the car, an excuse to distance myself from the situation for a moment.

I fought back tears on my way out. This wasn’t C.J.’s first day at daycare — only his first day in a new classroom. I hadn’t expected it to be difficult. Was it supposed to be? Was I expecting too much of these teachers? Had his previous teachers set the bar too high? Was I experiencing Mommy-melodrama? More than likely, it was a combination of all four. But I couldn’t help but think that on his first day in a new class, C.J. should have been welcomed a bit differently.

I gathered myself, grabbed a pacifier and walked back in, relieved to find Teacher #2 sitting in a chair, holding C.J.

My heart crept back up a quarter of an inch. As I washed off his pacifier, the school’s director walked in to see how it was going for the new kids in the classroom. Another quarter inch up it went.

I knew I had to leave. And I knew he’d be OK. I got in my car and let myself cry for a minute, hoping that when I picked him up later that afternoon, I’d find him smiling or in someone’s arms so that my heart might make its way back up to its rightful spot.

Must-Have Baby Gear for the First 6 Months

My pregnant friends always ask me what I couldn’t live without. Now that the first six months are under our belt (wahoo!), I thought it would be a good time to stop and reflect on what items really made our lives easier. Every mom will have her own answers. But other than the obvious necessities (i.e., diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a car seat, stroller and clothes), here’s a list of things I found invaluable during the first six months of motherhood.

1.       Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

Taking a little snooze in the Rock 'n Play, swaddled in his sleepsack, paci never too far away.

While pregnant, I constantly wondered: Where will we put the baby when we’re not holding him? I know it sounds silly, but it was a real concern of mine. For us, the answer was the Rock ‘n Play. C.J. practically lived in this cozy little hammock-type contraption for the first four months of his life. To this day, it’s where he takes his best and longest naps, so when I really, realllly need him to sleep for more than one hour, that’s where I plop him.

2.       Gerber Prefold Birdseye Cloth Diapers

We use these as burp clothes (I’m far too lazy to use them for their intended purpose). I can’t stress it enough: You just can’t have too many of these. We have them strategically placed throughout the house, from the nursery and living room, to our nightstand and the back porch.

3.       Nursing Pillow

These just made feedings more comfortable for me and C.J. I’m still extremely reliant on it. We also use it to prop him up in sitting position.

4.       Swaddle Sleep Sacks

As soon as C.J. was big enough that these didn’t completely envelope him, we started using them at night for peace of mind (versus a blanket, which could potentially come loose). Once he went all ninja and started breaking out and threatening to roll over while swaddled, we began employing the infamous Double Swaddle Method. That’s right. Double Swaddle. He slept like this until very recently (10-12 hours a night, might I add).

5.       Activity Mat

Must Have Baby Items

Perhaps no other item brings me fonder maternity leave memories than our activity mat. We would spend hours on this every day, working on tummy time, reading books, swatting at the dangling animals (Larry the Lion, Elliot the Elephant, Marvin the Monkey, Zoey the Zebra and Wally the Whale) or just lying there staring at each other. I could never bring myself to throw this away.

 6.       Pacifier

I was one of those clueless, self-righteous souls who swore my kid would never use a pacifier. By week three, I was begging C.J. to take one. They’re a lifesaver on long car rides and out in public, when you don’t want to be the Mom with the Screaming Child. When he’s tired, cranky and fighting sleep, all I have to do is rock him a little and stick a paci in his mouth, and his eyes immediately start to flutter closed.

Note: He was picky with his pacifiers, so be sure to test out a few brands. When you find one he likes, buy 10 of them.

7.       Bouncy Chair

Admittedly, it took me a while to warm to this particular item. I mean, how much baby gear can one family have scattered around the living room? I started using it at around two months, and to this day, it’s my babysitter when I’m getting ready for work in the mornings. It keeps him entertained for up to an hour, and it’s lightweight enough that I can park it just outside the bathroom and keep an eye on him while I shower, do my hair, makeup and get dressed.

8.       Changing Pad Liners

Yes, in addition to changing pad covers. It must be a boy thing, but it seemed like for the first three to four months, every time we changed his diaper, he’d pee the second it came off. We perfected a series of Matrix-style pee-dodging moves that kept us mostly dry, however it seemed like we were stripping and washing our covers after every other diaper change. These just made life a little easier.