Thursday, November 5, 2009

This has never happened before.

Actually, I doubt that it's never happened before. I'd certainly hope I'm not the lucky one-in-a-million, only person in the whole world that this has ever happened to.

On my first day at my new job, I got stuck working 14 hours in one day-- a 5 hour shift in the morning, then 9 hours from 6pm to 3am. No breaks either shift. I was away from my daughter for a good 16 hours that day, so she had several feedings where bottles replaced her diet of breastmilk, whereas on a normal day, she only has one or two servings of formula. This excessive formula, looking back on it, was probably the cause of my misfortune.


I woke up at after 2 hours of sleep to feed Sophie at 7 in the morning the next day, and was absolutely exhausted. I couldn't fall back to sleep, but still put Sophie in bed with me, so that I could rest and not have to really move in order to nurse. My mom had to leave for the day, but said if I got too overwhelmed, to just call her.


About 2pm, I called my mom. She answered the phone, and could hear Sophie fussing and crying a little in the background. "Mom, I just don't know what to do."


My mom imagined the worst: bleeding, vomiting, a punctured soft spot, etc. She had no idea.


The baby projectile-pooped.


I'm not kidding, or exaggerating. After almost a full day of formula, her poor delicate digestive system was completely wonked. I got out of bed finally to change Sophie, and in the midst of changing a terribly full diaper, I had her legs over her tummy to wipe, and I guess that gave just enough of a squeeze to pressure-force half a ton of mustard-yellow turd in an arching spray across an eight-foot section of changing table, floor, wall, window, French doors, wrought-iron plant-stands, and two innocent houseplants.


After standing in shock for a good 2 minutes ("Did that really happen?"), I finished cleaning up my daughter and put her on the floor to play. She wasn't particularly happy about that, but I was pretty sure the mess needed to be cleaned up before the acidic waste ate through the hard-wood floors.


I called my mom, still in a state of shock, and when she finally finished laughing, she told me just to take the plant stands and their respective charges outside, and she'd hose them down later. Everything inside was to be wiped down with bleach. I kid you not, it took half a roll of Clorox wipes. An eight-foot-square block of the floor had to be mopped, and then I mopped into the kitchen as well, just to be safe, because I had no idea exactly how far the field of minuscule wayward splatters could stretch.

Honestly, my mom really expected that I was exaggerating-- or had been holding Sophie bare-bottomed next to the changing table when she let loose, and was too embarrassed to admit it. However, the sheer volume of gunk on the plant stands, along with the indication of strong horizontal thrust in the splatter-pattern, indicated otherwise, and she had no choice but to believe me.

Moral of the story: You may think that keeping your baby covered while changing the diaper is only necessary with baby boys, but believe me, some sort of guard needs to be present whenever there is eminent possibility of a bowel movement. If these precautions are not heeded, be prepared to don a HazMat suit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lists: A Single Mother's Best Friend

I think, as a mother, I can honestly say that without lists, I would be useless. They do for me what my short-term memory is no longer capable of. (By the way, new mothers are allowed to end sentences with a preposition, up until their baby sleeps through the night. It's a new grammar rule. Look it up.)

Sometimes, though, even a regular chicken-scratch-on-the-back-of-the-pharmacy-receipt list is just not enough to get me through the day. Here are some excellent tools for creating Super Lists that will not only make your more organized, but save you money, too.

Grocery Lists
Immediately sign up for Shortcuts.com. If you shop with a rewards card at any grocery store (Kroger grocery stores, such as Dillon's, are one such grocery store with free rewards cards), you can download all kinds of extra coupons directly to your rewards card. You can also get cell phone coupons for places like Taco Bell. Plus, a nifty-difty feature lets you organize an online grocery list, automatically reminding you which products (everything from diapers to yogurt) you have coupons for. Just print off the list, and bam! You're good to go.

To-Do Lists
Sign up for Cozi and create the ultimate interactive to-do list. The service will send you reminders-- or anyone else who might need to remember when it's time for your toddler's antibiotics (your mom, babysitter, baby's daddy, etc)! It also keeps track of appointments and runs as a cellphone app. In addition, if you sign up now, you can get a free hardcover photo album of your digital prints.

Where'd-My-Money-Go? Lists
The free service Mint is an all-in-one budgeting tool-- allowing you to plan your budgets, and see where your money actually went. It's nearly effortless, too-- It automatically downloads and categorizes your finances and transactions.

Wish Lists
If, anticipating the holiday season, your child has refused in advance to wear any itchy mauve knit sweaters from Great-Aunt Mirabel, you may be in need of the Wish List from Toys R Us. Basically, it follows the same principles of a baby registry or wedding registry: you only get hand towels in a color that goes wit the rest of your bathroom. Or, in kid terms, you get exactly the Nintendo DS Pokemon Pearl videogame you wanted, and you don't wind up with the unwanted (but, to adults, seemingly similar-sounding) Gameboy Advance Pokemon Diamond.

With the help of these lists, you can become (or at least seem like) a mom who has it all together.

And don't feel bad if you next print-off grocery list reads as: 'Milk, Eggs, Vodka.'

You're not alone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Single Mom: the stay-at-home/ working-mom combo

When you don't have a partner to lend a hand, you basically have to be two people at once-- both the stay-at-home mom who tends to the children and the house (cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, helping with homework, coaching PeeWee soccer, etc), as well as the bread-winning working mother who supports her family (unless you regularly and reliably receive a massive child support check... hahaha riiiight...).

With the doubling up on more jobs than one person can reasonably do, we'd all like to spend a little less time at work... but we need the money (Remember, money does not make happiness; money frees us to do the things that make us happy). Here are some ways to save some money or make some money on the side, so we can cut back on the overtime and spend those hours relaxing... er, working our second job as a stay-at-home mom! =)

We all want to afford the best for our children, but you don't have to pay big-time for name-brand! Get discounts-- and freebies-- with the Name Brand Mommy.

Just switch from Google to Swagbucks, and every time you use the search engine, you'll have the chance to win points. Points are redeemable for giftcards, Apple products, cell phone ringtones, designer clothes, and other stuff you'd like to buy for your kids (or you!).

Ever wonder if other mothers have a baby with an oozey belly button? Want to share your secret tip for stopping tantrums? Need advice on how to deal with your baby's daddy? Join the message boards at MyLot. Just post questions and reply to others, and earn money just for being active.

If you make money online and want to share the secrets to your success, or you want to find out how to work from home from other mothers who've actually done it, consider joining Moms Making Money Online. This great site allows you to exchange resources with moms across the world who get to stay at home (Wouldn't that be nice? Only having to work ONE 24/7 highly-demanding job?).

I hope these resources can help you spend a little less time at the office! And if you have some more tips for other moms out there with the same dilemma, be sure to share the wealth and post your tips-- either as a comment here, or on a site such as MyLot or Moms Making Money Online! Thanks!

And like always, kudos to you and your wonderful kids. =)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Typing with one hand...

It's a skill I've developed, since I'm nursing almost constantly. In fact, baby's on my lap right now. Makes typing a little more difficult, but the only way I have time to blog is if I multitask!

Blogging really is an outlet for me, as well as hopefully making some extra money with Adsense. Hopefully as this blog gets more popular, I'll start making a little more than my current dollar or so per day from ad clicks. I think a good goal would be enough Adsense earnings to pay for diapers. (To see how much I'm paying for those, check out 'Total Diaper Count' in the collumn to the right.)

Another outlet is my various online mommy communities. I enjoy CityMommy and Cafe Mom.

Okay. That's enough one-handed typing for one day. Please subscribe and/ or leave me a message! =)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I still have no idea what I'm doing! Yay!

Just putting that out there. Sophie is 3 weeks old today (I can't believe it's been 3 weeks already!!!) and for the record, I still don't know what I'm doing.


For the most part, Sophie's been a pretty happy baby... when someone's holding her. Or she's getting fed. Or both. Sometimes I worry she's turning into a little piggy, but other times, I have no idea if she's consumed anything all day and is perhaps just pacifying on me for fun.


In fact, it's gotten to the point where whenever she starts to cry, and changing a diaper or eliciting a burp doesn't solve the problem, I just start nursing. Like I said, I don't know if she's actually eating during those times or not. Sometimes when she's been hanging out for an hour and a half, I attempt an Indiana Jones-esque switcheroo with the pacifier (pacifier in one hand, as the ready, waiting to sum up the nerve, and then-- SWITCH! Okay, did she notice?).


It rarely works.


However, nursing always works. It always makes her stop crying. Except a couple days ago when I got the hiccups, and every time I hiccuped my whole body jumped, and my nipple just popped right out of Sophie's little mouth and she'd start bawling and then I'd get it back in and she'd be happy. And then I'd hiccup again.


I've read that for the first couple months, you just need to do everything your baby wants and respond to his or her every whim, and this makes the baby trusting and secure and cry less later. I sincerely hope this is what I'm doing. I hope I'm not fueling some sort of I-need-to-eat-to-feel-love eating disorder that may emerge later in life.


So what's your take? Nurse the newborn 45 minutes out of every hour all day? Or let her cry why I look for some other way to make her happy?




PS. If you're the kind of person that's interested in diapers (aka any mother of a child still in them), check out the diaper count to the right. 140 diapers in her first 20 days. Watch this add up...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Check out the diaper count-->

My dad commented the other day, "Wouldn't it be interesting to count exactly how many diapers a baby uses total?" Yes, dad. Yes, that would be interesting.

Glance slightly to your right... There, you should see a box labelled 'Total Diaper Count', as well as the date it was last updated. Here, I will keep track of how many diapers Sophie has used. Total. Ever. Who knows just how high the number will get in the following months... and years.

The box will be organized by size (right now, the only size ever used is N for Newborn), and next to the size, the price per diaper of the cheapest generic diaper available when not on sale (for newborns, this is 12 cents per diaper). Below that, I list the packages of diapers, the type of diaper, and the amount I paid for the package. Then I subtract the diapers not yet used, and I have (ta-da!) the total number of diapers in that size I've used so far, as well as the amount I paid per diaper.

If you've examined my analysis very carefully, chances are you're curious about the 'emergency maxipad diaper'. What was supposed to be a 3-hour trip to town turned into a 10-hour trip when I became ill and needed to wait for 4 hours to see a doctor, and although the 6 diapers I'd packed were overkill for a 3-hour trip, they did not withstand the lengthy wait, and I was forced to construct a diaper out of 3 maxipads lifted from an office bathroom in the last hour of our sojourn. (Not something I recommend; if you can't afford diapers, don't try to make do with paper towels and duct tape either. Instead, opt for free diapers)

It will be interesting to see how this develops. Follow my blog to track the number of diapers Sophie uses in her lifetime (and how much I spend!), or just to share the joys of motherhood, the frustrations of single -motherhood, and everything in between.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mondays...

Today is my baby's 3rd Monday. Her very first Monday was Labor Day, and my first day out of the hospital. We went to visit some relatives, which was a huge excursion for her third day of life (and my third day of being a mother!).

Her second Monday was my first day ever to be home alone with her. We fared all right, but had one minor adventure. The tornado sirens went off right after I fed her, and luckily she was sounds asleep, so I stowed her in the storm shelter while I started gathering the 3-day supply of water, diapers, and extra formula that it is recommended you keep in your basement in case of an emergency. Once I had these supplies and the diaper bag together, and was squatting in the storm shelter next to my sleeping infant, waiting it out, I realized: The tornado sirens were only going off because our county tests the sirens every Monday at noon.

At least I was well-prepared.

Of course, I say that now-- who knows what her third Monday will bring! =)

(and of course, in a few more Mondays, it will probably bring me going back to work... That's going to be a whole another

Saturday, September 19, 2009

15 days old today!

My daughter Sophie is 15 days old today. It's been a hectic two weeks; as you can guess from the title of this blog, it's been mostly me and Sophie, getting through this together. I do live with my parents, who give me a place to stay and whose help is enormously appreciated. Sophie's father was present for her birth and helped us out in the hospital for the next couple days. But, I am a single mom. And it is a job for a superhero.

I've always wanted to be a mother, but I kind a had a housewifey, Martha Stewart-y type of mother in mind. Martha Stewart is my role model. In fact, her TV show was on in the delivery room as my daughter was born. I didn't even realize it until, between commands of 'Push!' from the nurse, I realized we'd left the TV on, looked up, and exclaimed "Oh, the Martha Stewart show is on!" My mom says that was a classic 'me' moment.

Unfortunately, The View was on by the time all the excitement had died down. I hate that show.

So now I'm a single mother. In a few weeks, I will have to be a working mother, because my current sources of income include being home when the girl next door gets off the bus, and my meager Adsense earnings from my blogs. Luckily, we've got room and board covered, enough diapers to last till October, and an endless supply of free milk (yay for breastfeeding). I also take advantage of every source of freebies I can find (find the links to free samples of diapers, formula, etc, on Name-Brand Mommy).

For now, I am living my dream of being a domestic goddess-- if goddesses wear spit-up adorned bathrobes until 2 in the afternoon and rarely have time for a shower, let alone a good leg-shaving. In a few weeks, though, it will be time to officially becoming a Working Mother-- something I'm sure just about every single mother has had to be. In my spare time, I hope that blogging about my adventures not only as a new mom, but a single mom, will allow me to reduce stress by venting, and hopefully connect with other single moms who stumble across this page!

PS-- Feel free to share your own frustrations, rants, tips, and tricks in a comment if you like! =)


Of course, that's my beautiful daughter Sophie!