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Charlotte Shea’s Baptism

My baby girl got baptized yesterday!  It was really one of the most favorite days of my life.  I didn’t realize how emotional I would be during the service, and when I held her to officially be baptized my heart was so full of joy and love that I could have burst.  She looked so beautiful.  Exhibit A:


She took a nap before the service began and she just looked like such an angel.  My mom bought her dress, but she wore the hat that I wore at my baptism, and then her hat and shoes were adorned with beads that came from my mother’s wedding gown and veil.  She wore my grandpa’s angel pin on her dress as well, and it was a special way of him being there with us.  It was our first family event without him and I could really feel the loss.  I know he was watching us and was with us all day, but we missed him, plain and simple.

My brother is Charlotte’s godfather and he loves her so much!  My cousin Brianne is her godmother.  She was my matron of honor at my wedding and is my very best friend.  Her son is 4 months old and he was there while we got Charlotte dressed.  Jack was just hanging out on the bed minding his own business while Charlotte did this:


In her defense this was really the only time she cried like this the entire day, but it’s so funny that she never fails to scream whenever we are doing something nice.  SHE HATES ALL OF THE NICE THINGS.

We had a small luncheon afterwards with family and friends and it was just such a good day.  Charlotte has so many people that love her.  She is one lucky little girl.  Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with our little munchkin and for all of you who offered congratulations.  It was a big day for all of us and we appreciate it!  I love this child so much that sometimes I honestly think I could explode.

Getting Sh*t Done

Multitasking and doing things quickl with a baby can be nearly impossible. The other day I was holding Charlotte as I ate a meatball out of a dish like a dog while I tried to clean one of her bottles. This is an actual thing that occurred. I know that it isn’t necessary to have everything done this very second, but I’m just not that type of girl. If I want every bottle cleaned the second I get home, I can’t relax until I clean every bottle. It’s ridiculous and I can’t change it or relax myself in this way, but because of this I’ve learned some really great ways to multitask. I’m able to wear Charlotte in my baby wrap while I clean the kitchen and put away groceries or quickly clean the bathroom, I eat like I’m trying to win some sort of competitive eating contest and I can get dressed in seconds flat.  I’m even able to check work emails and make some phone calls while I change her or get her ready for bed.   I’m looking forward to when Charlotte starts crawling so I can attach swiffer cleaner clothes to her body so she can help me multitask. Oh man this kid is going to be in for it when it’s time to do chores. You want to watch Mickey Mouse? Well you better fold laundry while you do. I’m only kidding. Maybe. 

Anyway, I’m doing the best kind of multitasking right now.  I’m writing this blog post while holding my sleeping child who desperately needed a nap while getting a pedicure.  I am getting shit done. 

The Leaky Cauldron

Here is an actual real live thing that happened today.  Actually, it happened within the last half hour.

I was waiting outside of a salon for my friend to come out to walk back to work, and it is located right next to a fancy schmancy pre-school.  Seriously, every stroller lined up outside was the exact same million dollar elaborate stroller that all the rich people have.  They would probably vomit on the street if they saw my Graco click connect.  OH WELL.  Anyway, all the parents and children (and the nanny brigade.  Seriously, they all had nannies.) were going to the front of the school to take photos with the cute little sign that was posted outside that said “My First Day of Pre-School!” (because that isn’t overplayed yet) and I was just watching this all go down because I had nothing else to do while I waited.  Then a little girl in an adorable blue dress and red patent leather shoes comes with her parents (and her nanny) and stands in front of the sign, and I guess the little girl realized that shit was about to go down, and it was shit she did not like.  So she started to cry.  She cried when she took a picture with her mom, she cried when she took a picture with her dad, she cried when her nanny handed her Elmo.  No photos for the nanny I guess.  Shame.  Anyway, the little girl was really letting it loose, and just as she hit her crescendo I felt an all too familiar feeling that is not welcome in public.  My milk let down.  I guess my body decided it was time to feed the screaming toddler and the milk began to flow.  Thank GOD I had tissues on me and was able to stuff them into my bra and run back to work before my dress got two nipple size wet stains.  Hashtag breastfeeding problems.

Support System

If there is one thing I have learned in the 6+ months of being a mom, it’s that a support system is invaluable.  I don’t know how anyone out there could do this parenting thing alone, especially as a mom.  I’m not talking about just having your husband there to help you with the baby, I’m talking about having people behind you that know what you’re going through.  You need people to vent to, to cry to, to laugh with.  You need women.  I have so many women in my life that mean so much to me because I can go to them with anything and they understand immediately.  I can send a text message that says SOS HELP ME BEFORE I JUMP OFF A BRIDGE WHILE ON FIRE AND DIE A FIERY DEATH (not an actual text message, maybe…) and they are there to lend an ear in an instant.  This help is so necessary that if I didn’t have it, I’m not sure I’d be a functioning human being in society.  I became a mom when so many of my cousins and friends became moms that we really are all in this together.  Charlotte’s godmother has a 4 month old, one cousin has a little boy who is 5 months, my other cousin has a 2 year old and an 8 month old, and yet another other cousin has a 2 year old and another on the way.  One of my best friends has a 16 month old, my other friend had a baby 3 days after I had Charlotte, my neighbor has a son 3 weeks younger than Charlotte, my aunt has my 7 year old godson and my 3 year old cousin, and my sister in law has my 4 year old nephew and her new little guy that is 3 months old.  Do you see what I mean?  LOOK AT ALL THE BABIES UP IN HERE.  There are working moms, stay at home moms, nursing moms, formula moms.  We are all different and yet going through the same things.  We have babies who sleep and babies who don’t sleep (cough cough Charlotte), husbands to complain about (sorry) and pictures to share.  We are deep in the trenches of motherhood and getting through it together.  To all of you ladies, you know who you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You are my women.  I know I can come to any of you, with anything, and you are there for me in an instant and for that I am eternally grateful.  You have helped me with the baby blues, nursing problems, stretch marks, family drama, bringing me food, giving me love, giving me advice, just checking in to make sure I’m still alive and haven’t jumped off a bridge, telling me that Charlotte will sleep one day (liars), and just generally being AMAZING.  I love you all so, so much.  Women really should rule the world.

We Will Never Forget

It has been 14 years since that day.  Think of everything that has happened in your life in these past 14 years. Since that day, I graduated high school, graduated college, got married, had a baby. I’ve lived a life since that day. And yet every September 11 I am still that high school freshman. I’m still that girl who was trying to make friends, thinking I was more adult than I really was. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast last week, but almost every minute of that day is etched forever in my mind. My high school was on a hill that overlooked Manhattan, it was impossible not to see. But then again, the Towers were so grand it would be hard not to see them burning from almost anywhere. I remember the frantic phone calls in a life before iPhone, the crying girls, the confusion. There was no Twitter or Facebook to let us know what was happening in 160 characters or less.  We had land lines and desktop computers that still used dial up connections.  All we had was each other. 

September 11 was one of the worst days in American history, but it is easily the worst day for New Yorkers. I remember in the years that followed any conversations with people not from New York about 9/11 made it painfully clear that nobody could really understand it if you weren’t in New York City when it happened.  It’s hard to explain to someone exactly how you felt as a 13 year old girl trying to get home with a cloud of ash behind you and debris floating in your swimming pool when you arrived.  It’s a day my father doesn’t talk about. But then again, I have a father who came home when so many people don’t. It is the highest level of tragedy to know of so many people that died that day. 

Now that I have Charlotte, I’ve realized that one day she will learn about 9/11. She will ask me and her father about it, and we will both tell her where we were and what we remember.  How do you explain something like that to someone you want to protect?  I know I have years before it happens, but it makes me think of all the children in my life that didn’t have to live through it but will learn about it. I think of my little cousins, my nephews, my friends children. It is up to us to tell them the stories, to make sure the day is never forgotten, as if it ever could be. But when we tell our children our own personal history with that terrible day, we must share the good with the bad. Tell them about the strangers who went to help at ground zero. Tell them about the American flags that flew from every house. Tell them about the patriotism.  Tell them about the search dogs and their handlers.  Tell them about the firefighters and police officers who ran in when everyone else was running out.  Tell them those heroes especially should never be forgotten, those who gave their life to help others. On that day, ALL lives mattered and let us NEVER forget that. Tell them that in a world so filled with hate, Americans came together with so much love. 

“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.”

– Senator John Kerry

The New Normal

I’ve been back at work for over two months now.  Say whaaaaat?  When I think back to that first week of July and how absolutely awful I felt, I never actually thought I’d make it to where I am now and be doing okay.  But the really weird thing is is that I am doing more than okay.  Working and being a mother is my new normal, and I really don’t hate it at all.  I’ve read so many things online about women who keep apologizing for having to work, women who cry every single day because they are away from their babies and some women who just give up entirely and back in July I thought for sure that this was going to be me.  I was going to be a weepy mess who couldn’t handle being away from Charlotte, who couldn’t handle the demands of a job and pumping and mothering.  But would you actually believe that I am thriving in this new life?  And I’m not feeling guilty, AT ALL?  It really helps that I have a job I enjoy, a somewhat flexible schedule and the help of a village behind me, that’s for sure.  But it’s so nice to have two aspects of my life that I love and enjoy.  Thank goodness it turned out this way, because I think back to the girl I was that first week of July and I just want to hug her and tell her it will be okay!

In other news, Charlotte seems to just be getting all of her teeth all at once and it’s Operation Orajel every damn day.  There is so much drooling and biting and crying that I wouldn’t mind if every tooth came in at once and she looked weird because of it just to get this shit over with.  Teething is rough and lasts forfuckingever.

On the food front she has tried the following: oatmeal, peas, carrots, string beans, sweet potato, squash & applesauce.  Today was her first time with the applesauce and she gave 0 fucks about it, which is surprising because I thought kids went ape shit over sweet things?  She’s a fan of sweet potatoes and peas the most, but honestly the kid just wants her bottle or my boob.  Feeding her is annoying.  I wish I could just give her the spoon and say HAVE AT IT KIDDO.  I’m a really great mom.

Mama is having a NIGHT OUT TONIGHT.  Charlie girl is spending the entire day/night with my dad while I’m at work and then go out for a work function (cocktails and dinner).  I’m sure I will pay for this night out when she decides to party all night when I get home, but she’s my dad’s problem right now!  God speed my father, god speed.

You Don’t Always Have to Like Being a Mother

I love being a mother.  It is easily the greatest job I’ve ever had, or ever will have, and I love my daughter more than I ever thought it possible to love another human.  I count my blessing every single day that I have a beautiful, healthy family, and that I get to be a mama to an amazing little girl.

That being said, just because I love being a mother and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean I always like it.  Hopefully I’m not alone on this one.  Hopefully I don’t sound like a mean wretch of  woman when I say the following things.

I don’t always like being a mother when my daughter wakes up for the fourth time in the middle of the night for no other reason other than the fact that she no longer wants to be on her stomach and can’t figure out how to get onto her back.

I don’t always like being a mother when the diaper explosion happens in the Gap for the second time and you have to change the baby in a public restroom and she gets shit on her leg.

I don’t always like being a mother when the baby is screaming in the backseat of the car because she WANTS TO EAT RIGHT NOW and you have to maneuver your body so that you are now half topless and nursing your child in a moving vehicle on the highway hoping that nobody sees you.  And then you hit about 15 bumps and you break your back and your child laughs.

I don’t always like being a mother when the baby is crying for absolutely no reason.  And you have tried everything there is to try and she just screams and your heart breaks but you also would like to just shut the door and have a cocktail and sleep for 12 years.

To all the women out there who have ever felt this way, and I hope there are some of you and it isn’t just me, it’s absolutely okay and normal to love being a mother, but to not always like it.  It has to be this way, because humans aren’t built to love something all of the time and not get annoyed at it every once in a while.  You can love the shit out of your baby but still want to take a break to watch Bravo TV in bed with a bowl of nachos and not get up for an entire day.  This doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it just means that you’re someone I would like to be friends with because you’re a normal human being and not a mombot.  Sometimes it’s hard for us moms to say we need a break or we just want to take a step back and NOT be a mother for a minute.  Remember, we were still people before we had kids.  We were people who had lives and dreams and interests that didn’t include Little Einsteins or Mickey Mouse clubhouse, and it’s okay to remember that and embrace it!  We love our kids with every fiber of our being, but we don’t always have to like every single aspect of motherhood.  I really don’t know anyone who actually enjoys cleaning shit off a baby’s leg in the middle of Jersey Gardens mall.

Growing Up

Last night, when Charlotte was wailing the cry of the damned sideways in her crib because she wasn’t ready to go to sleep, I picked her up and rocked her like I always do.  She didn’t want to be fed or changed or anything big, she just wanted to be held until she fell asleep.  Every baby book says not to do this, which is why I stopped reading the baby books.  My almost 17 pound baby girl curled into my chest, held onto my shirt and looked up at me until she fell asleep.  I rocked her past the point of deep sleep, because I realized that one day, sooner than I’d like, she won’t fit in my arms like this anymore.  She won’t need to be rocked to sleep and I will wish upon a thousand stars that I could have this time back.  I kissed her cheeks and stroked her hair and told her how much I love her and how she has made me a better me.  I put her in her crib and went to bed myself,  She slept for 7 hours and woke up at 3 AM, hungry as a hippo.  I didn’t mind getting out of bed this time.  I had already slept for 6 hours and I wanted to see her.  I don’t miss the 5 wake-ups a night but I’m not quite ready to let go of one of our nightly feedings.  I picked her up and let her nurse and I felt her and myself relax and I stayed that way with her for half an hour.  I have learned that 3 AM can be the loneliest hour with a baby, but it can also be the most special time.  It’s lonely when you’ve been awake 3 times already, but when it’s your first wake up and your baby calls out and you know that all she wants is you, it’s beautiful.  Everything is dark and quiet, there are no distractions.  No phones, no TV, no cars, not even a light.  These are the times that I will look back on and miss with all of my heart.  She is only six months, but she is growing so fast.  I want her to grow and thrive, and I look forward to all of the milestones ahead.  But I hold onto these moments tightly.  I want to remember it all.  I want to remember what her body feels like curled into mine and the look on her face when she falls asleep on me.  I want to remember how I feel in these moments, so that when the day comes that she no longer fits in my arms, I’ll have these times that fit into my heart.

My Daughter Has More Money Than I Do

So Charlie girl hit a big milestone on her half birthday by having her first tooth pop on out.  I was so excited, mostly because she was a giant cranky beast the entire day before and now we have a little relief until the rest of them come out.  I told everyone she got a tooth immediately, of course.  Nothing is confirmed true until it is on Facebook.  Such is life in 2015.

I wasn’t aware that getting your first tooth warrants you money, but oh, it does.  Charlotte made $60 off her first tooth.  I know it took a while for that sucker to come out, but doesn’t $60 seem a bit high for a six month old?  My mom and both of my grandmas handed over 20 bucks a pop to the little lady.  I was also told that because I found her first tooth I need to buy her first pair of walking shoes, so she’s getting shoes in the future out of this deal too.  This is in addition to the twenty here and there she gets from my grandma, the entire wardrobe that was purchased for her by my mom and kept at her house so I never have to bring anything over, and all of the random toys she gets, just because.  I remember when I would go over my grandparents house and get money “for lunch.”  I loved all of that lunch money.  Now Charlotte gets it all.  Hey grandma, I still eat lunch!!  I still need that money!  I’m just kidding.  (No I’m not.)  I obviously want Charlotte to get everything before I do because now I am a mother and she should get the lunch money over me.  Even though I AM her lunch.  So I should still get the lunch money if you want to get all technical about it.  Which I don’t, because I am now a selfless human being since I am a mother.  Anyway, She’s got herself a nice little bank account and she doesn’t even do anything yet.  What a lucky little girl she is.  She is so loved.  I go to work every day and I don’t know where all of my money goes.  Probably to the MTA and Con Ed electric bills.  I hate being a grown up.

A New Day Has Come

Somebody did something special last night. I’m not naming any names because if I say who did it then the universe is going to snatch away all my joy and send me back to zombie sleep hell. But SOMEBODY is getting the hang of sleeping. She who shall not be named has had a few good nights in a row, but last night was GREAT. 

Somebody slept from 7:30-7:30 with only two ten minute wake ups to have a little snack.  Her first stretch of sleep was SEVEN HOURS without even a cry or a whimper. To some, waking up two times may not be cause for the parade I am ready to throw, but this was all done in the crib of she who shall not be named and not in mommy’s bed. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Sound the alarms! Get the fireworks ready! Please God let this be a continuing trend!

Somebody also happened to get their first tooth on their 6 month birthday, and get her ears pierced the day after. So we’re growing up here people, and grown ups sleep. Somebody is also getting their 6 month shots today, so I’m really spending the past few days just messing around with her life. 

Somebody’s mother woke up every hour to check the monitor though because we weren’t sure what was happening. We’re not used to a baby who sleeps. BUT WE LIKE IT AND WANT IT TO CONTINUE.  I guess all those sacrifices I made to the sleep gods worked. 
In a completely unrelated topic, Eric and I watched the first half hour of the VMA’s last night and all I have to say is what the actual fuck?  Either I got old and irrelevant or the people they have at these award shows now are just WEIRD. I literally had no idea who anyone was except for Taylor Swift and a few others, Miley Cyrus makes me REALLY uncomfortable and I miss the days of the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.  Charlotte is not going to grow up watching Miley Cyrus wearing silver tape on her boobs when she can watch Britney Spears doing I’m A Slave 4 You instead.