Mommies Don’t Get Sick Days

How being a stay-at-home-mom is different from working (this is certainly not a complete list):

* I don’t have to look nice for my boss. He appreciates my work no matter what I’m wearing.

* The hours are much longer now – if you think a Blackberry doesn’t give you peace, try the Ferber method.

* The commute is much shorter, but leaving the house now requires one extra hour for packing the diaper bag, changing the baby’s diaper one more time, loading him into the car seat, remembering you left something on the counter, unloading the baby from the car seat to bring him back in to pick up what you left on the counter, running back out to the car, loading the baby back into the car seat, remembering you left something else inside and debating whether it’s worth going back for, deciding it’s not, then finally leaving because you only have 1.5 hours before peanut needs to eat AGAIN!

* No annual reviews, just daily kisses to let you know you’re doing a bang-up job!

* Lunch hour — hahahaha!! And liquid lunch has taken on a whole new meaning.

* No paycheck, no commission, no benefits. (Daily kisses, giggles and new “tricks” make up the new payment package.)

* No sick days

And so it was yesterday that I had to call the hubby to come home from work to sit with peanut while I went to the doctor’s office for a tetanus shot courtesy of the nice slice to the finger I gave myself the night before making dinner. Between a terribly sore finger (no stitches, but I think that’s because the liquid bandage we used on it after an hour of bleeding simply glued the sucker shut) and a sore arm from the shot and the relief after spending all morning worrying whether the finger was infected or the shot would be bad for the baby since I’m still nursing, I was ready to call it in for the rest of the day.

But no rest for the weary. Hubby headed back to work and peanut and I went about our business. Luckily, he took a longer nap than usual, so mama indulged a bit and had one herself (ah, naptime, add that to the SAHM benefit category). In the beginning, naps are a necessity for mom — you’re up all night, you really do need to sleep when the baby sleeps because life is unpredictable. Now that we’re in a pretty good routine of morning and afternoon naps, I use those times to get some work done around the house and spend some quality “me” time. But every once in awhile, you have a day like yesterday and you just have to take a nap. Boy, did it feel good, too!

Today is back to business as usual – I have a very demanding boss!

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If Life’s a Beach, I Have Nothing to Wear

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I did it. I went on the dreaded bathing suit shopping expedition. I’m happy to say I made it out alive, but I think I left my dignity in the fitting room at Macy’s.

I know swimsuit shopping is dreaded by most (okay, ALL) women, but let’s keep in mind that I haven’t had to buy a new swimsuit in a couple of years. I was HUGELY pregnant last summer and since we didn’t belong to a pool I had no real reason to buy a maternity suit. Well, we’ve recently joined a gym with an outdoor pool that I’m eager to take peanut to and a family vacation coming up that requires a swimsuit, so off I went. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but I’ve worked hard this year to lose the “baby fat” and have been feeling pretty good about myself, so I was, at the very least, hopeful.

Now someone please explain to me where real women buy swimsuits? Apparently not in major department stores. Nearly everything was a barely-there two-piece, and although I might be feeling good about myself, I’m not feeling THAT good. And the “tankini’s” I tried were definitely not meant for women who have borne children — that little strip of exposed skin is the exact area I’m trying to hide people. Ick. Even the one-piece suits had their problems. My nursing-ravaged boobs apparently need a roman shade pulley system to stay where they should — or so it looked in the suits I tried on (and trust me when I tell you I tried about 30 to 50 suits on…I stopped counting on my second trip to the fitting room). And to the makers of the Miracle Suit (promising to make you look 10 pounds thinner), anything that makes me feel like Shamu trying to put on a tube top is probably not going to make me feel good about myself once it’s on.

Eventually I found one that looks nice, it fits (meaning all the parts end up where they are supposed to) and will stay put in all the right places when being pulled on by a squirmy ten-month old. But it’s a total mom suit. Black with white shoulder straps. I suppose I could try to tell myself it’s the little black dress of swim suits, but it’s boring. Could someone please make some tasteful one-piece suits with upstairs support in a cute pattern? At least it was on sale.

I took a stroll through the shoe section on the way out to make myself feel better – my feet were first in returning to pre-pregnancy size. Hmmm…maybe I should get a pair of strappy heels to wear with my swimsuit to jazz it up a bit?

Or maybe not.

America’s Got What?

I have a sad, sad addiction to reality television. I’d like to think that I have standards, but when the award-winning “Amazing Race,” “American Idol” and “Project Runway” aren’t on, I still find myself tuning in at the end of the day when my mommy-fried brain has read the first paragraph of Fareed Zakaria’s latest Newsweek column five times (and each time it seems new).

And so I find myself watching “America’s Got Talent.” This week featured a Shakira impersonator…wait for it…named Louigi. Yes, this self-called Boy Shakira shook his booty, flipped his blond wig and jiggled his tatas in true Shakira style (thankfully there was no singing to this impersonation). Strangely, I found myself entertained because he actually had Shakira’s moves down pat (hey, the hips don’t lie). The judges must have just had their happy pills because they passed him on to the next round. But even more amazingly was Boy Shakira’s mama backstage telling Jerry Springer that her son was most certainly the best Shakira he could be.

I thought that mama really loves her son. I mean, what mama gazes into her infant’s face and sees that down the road? But I realized that he seemed to be happy doing it, and isn’t that all we really want for our kids? I started to wonder what might become of my peanut and came up with a few potential professions based on what I know of him so far:

* Lion Tamer – Since learning to crawl, peanut could spend hours chasing our poor cat around the house. Strangely, the cat sometimes seems to enjoy this and I can’t help but think that she has fallen under the spell of our little guy.

* Professional mover – When not chasing the cat, peanut could spend the remainder of his day simply moving piles from one location to another — these books? So not in the right place, they’d look much better one foot over. These stuffed animals? They definitely need to be behind me (oh, wait, I turned around? I better move them again so they are behind me…). This laundry? Clean or dirty, doesn’t matter. It will all look better in a big pile over here.

Of course his skills at moving items and pulling anything and everything from shelves, drawers, hampers also qualifies him to be a professional ransacker or TSA agent (I should get him those little fliers they leave in your suitcase notifying you that your bag was searched that he could leave on his piles).

* Elvis impersonator – oh yeah, he’s got that lip curl down!

* Dentist – he has a fascination with looking inside hubby’s mouth.

* Orchestra conductor/baseball player/drummer/sorcerer/golfer — anything that requires the waving around of a stick-like apparatus.

* Guacamole maker — loves squishing up some avocado when he’s eating it. There’s nothing cuter than a green guac-goatee!

So we’ll see. The possibilities are endless. And I know I’ll love him no matter what the future brings (but luckily Boy Shakira is already taken!).

Thanks Big Papi!

High Heeled Mama has a confession to make. I wear socks with my heels. Well, not really. But I am a die-hard Red Sox fan (hopefully that won’t turn any of you away). So it was with great anticipation that we took peanut to his first Red Sox game (thank you interleague play).

Considering the game started at 7pm, which is normally peanut’s bath time and therefore the start of the slippery slope to bedtime, peanut did very well. We have quite the observant peanut. He’ll typically watch and assess any given situation before deciding whether to participate. Last night was no different, but he adjusted quickly and soon began flirting with just about anyone in a three row radius.

It has been to my great consternation that peanut is not clapping yet. He is a happy baby who shows his excitement in many other ways. He crawls, he laughs, he is certainly an “on-track” baby, but he just isn’t into clapping. No big deal, right? True. But for some reason, a clapping baby is just so adorable. No matter how hard I try or how many rounds of patty-cake we play, peanut has not been interested in slapping his hands together. Until last night…

Down six in the top of the eighth, the Sox brought in David Ortiz (more fondly known as Big Papi) to pinch hit. The crowd, which was probably half Sox fans, went crazy. Flash bulbs popping and lots of cheering. I was clapping with my own excitement when I turned to see peanut clapping away in hubby’s lap!

At the time I wasn’t sure if I was more excited that he clapped or the fact that he clapped for the Sox which just might confirm that you’re born being a Sox fan, that it runs in your blood, that each victory and defeat is genetically passed from generation to generation.

Hard to say. But it was a moment I’ll cherish and always remember. Even if the Sox lost the game.

Lull in the Conversation

It’s happened. I’ve become that mother. Oh, you know the one — and probably because you’ve done it, too. Yup, in a social gathering I talked about peanut’s poop. I swore I wouldn’t become that mama, and then, like an out of body experience, I watched in horror as the words escaped my mouth. Thankfully, it wasn’t details and I suppose it was in context (my little peanut had just been handed off to the hubby for a change after making a stinky), but did the poor, unsuspecting, non-moms at this barbecue need to know that he makes the cutest face when he’s pooping? I’m cringing just thinking about it. When did I run out of things to talk about?

Working in public and media relations, I learned a lot of random (sometimes pointless, sometimes groundbreaking) information and had to keep my finger on the pulse of the media environment, both of which proved helpful when making small talk at an office party or neighborhood gathering. Now that my regular haunts include the swings, the grocery store (who knew a 10-month old could eat SO much?) and a Stroller Strides work-out with some fellow high-heeled mamas (although I only see them in sneakers!), my conversational repertoire has become severly limited to statistics (age, weight, length of labor), sleeping patterns, transition to solids and baby’s new tricks.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these conversations, I initiate these conversations. How else would I know what to do for teething or that rice cakes are a perfect starter solid for baby? But what happened to my party conversation?

I recently traveled back home to see the family and during a family dinner I realized I said three sentences the whole evening — and two of them were telling the waitress what I wanted. Granted, I was there sans hubby, so I was busy feeding peanut his dinner for a good portion of the chat time, but later, everyone was busy complaining about their jobs, sharing tidbits from a recent trip, and then doting on peanut. I felt like a glorified babysitter, afraid to chime in, afraid I’d lost touch with the outside world, afraid I wouldn’t have anything worthy to say. How is it that the most important job in the world sometimes makes me feel like the least important person in the room? Was a part of my soul living in the placenta that I lost after delivering peanut? I doubt it. And I don’t think I can blame it on the fact that I was wearing flats that night. I think it’s my own hang-up that because I’m not paid, and therefore validated, by an outside source, I’m just not that interesting.

The fact of the matter is I can share a lot. So the next time you see me, here are a few things I can talk about:
* the Annie Leibovitz photography exhibit I recently viewed
* what I’m reading (that isn’t “Goodnight Moon” or Parents magazine)
* my thoughts on why any presidential campaign that is longer than a pregnancy is entirely too long
* how the Boston Red Sox will probably blow their first place spot in the AL East after the All-Star break

And of course, I’m always willing to talk about my peanut. And I promise, I’ll try to leave his poop out of it.

Parental Advisory — Contains Some Violence

When I was pregnant and found out that we were having a boy, I decided that I wouldn’t want him to play with toy guns. It seems to me that child’s play should model positive behaviors. I am feeling a bit hypocritical, however.

I, like many other loyal viewers, was eagerly awaiting the series finale of The Sopranos. Granted my little peanut is only 10 months old and isn’t watching television with us, but shouldn’t I be leading by example? I find myself justifying my Sopranos-addiction in my head — I watch because of the storyline, the conflict, the characters, and I tend to cover my eyes during any whacking scenes anyway — but they sound like hollow excuses and any pre-teen boy would easily be able to expose the holes in my argument.

I know I won’t be able to isolate my peanut from violence — we live in a violent world. We’re a country at war, our media still adheres to an “If it bleeds, it leads” strategy, and the movie industry has come so far with its special effects technology that we practically congratulate them for creating realistic looking explosions and gun shot wounds. As a parent, I hope I can create a safe environment for my peanut to grow up and learn compassion, feel hope and experience joy to balance the reality that surrounds us. I hope that the most violence he encounters is a raucous game of dodge ball.

Just as I crawled through the house on my hands and knees looking for any potential dangers to my very curious baby, I suppose I have to take a hard look at my own habits — what I eat, what I say, what I watch. At least I don’t have to worry about The Sopranos anymore. David Chase took care of that for me. Now if only David Chase could do something about my sweet tooth…

Welcome!

Welcome to High Heels and High Chairs! After working for nearly 10 years in the world of public relations, I have now entered the world of baby relations. I’ve gone from press releases to a plethora of interesting baby releases (ew!); event production to milk production; satellite feeds to solid feedings; and crisis communication to, well, crisis communication (no honey, you CAN’T play with the electric outlets no matter how fun they look!).

Although I love being a stay-at-home mom, I have found that I miss the part of myself that went into hibernation when I stopped working. Don’t get me wrong, I love being mommy and am completely smitten with my precious peanut. As a mother, I want to make sure he gets the best of me. To do that, I’m tapping into that wanna-be writer part of myself and putting myself out there to see what develops. What could be more fun than growing up along side my little man? Not even buying a new pair of shoes beats that high!

And don’t worry, although I have a closet full of heels I can’t bear to part with because they represent that professional part of me, you will most often find me in a pair of flip flops. Ah, but there are those days when I’m feeling a bit sassy and sport a pair to Target. Maybe I’ll see some of you other high heeled mamas there.