Instincts: Mom vs. Dad

Our sweetie

1. Baby looks up imploringly; it’s obvious she’s begging for some fun

Mommy instinct: read a book, play a gentle game of Ring around the Rosie, sing the ABC song

Daddy instinct: throw baby as high into the air as possible and listen to her giggle on the way back down

2. An elderly stranger walks up to baby and begins commenting on how cute she is while simultaneously snacking on her toes.

Mommy instinct: Politely remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible

Daddy instinct: Chastise elderly stranger in a loud manner and then remove baby from situation

3. Baby cries and indicates that she is hungry

Mommy instinct: provide the healthiest meal possible with no sugar but lots of calories

Daddy instinct: give her a doughnut

4. A stranger at church picks baby up and begins walking to the other side of the room.

Mommy instinct: Dash to save baby while politely saying, “I’ll take her.”

Daddy instinct: Tackle the stranger, then take the baby back.

5. Baby is tired and ready for a nap

Mommy instinct: Sing songs and wind baby down for sleep

Daddy instinct: Rile baby up with rousing tickles because he wants to keep playing with her

So this is obviously an exaggerated list, but for the most part it’s true – at least for us and it demonstrates 2 main points: first  that men and women are really different and second that it’s important that our baby has both of us. We balance each other out and between the two of us we’re able to give her everything she needs.

So what about you? Are we the only ones with differing instincts? Is this similar to your situation or are the roles reversed? Share your stories in the comment section.


Squid Soup

For those who don’t know my sweet husband is kind of like alphabet soup. He is currently a CNA, EMT, and LPN. He will soon be an RN. A year after that he will most likely add a BSN, and he plans to go on to get either a DO, MD, or DNP. If you can’t tell already he’s in the medical profession and planning to stay in it. It’s a long haul, but it’s one that he loves and it’s very rewarding.

This all may seem pretty unrelated to soup, but it’s a necessary introduction if I’m going to tell you the story of what took place after one of his clinicals.

Hubby works hard, often going from school, to work, and back again. And no day does he work harder than on his clinical days. He has to drive 45 minutes to and from the hospital on top of an all day shift with very few breaks. For this reason – along with the fact that I seem to be infinitely more productive when he’s not home – I try to make dinner special on clinical days. I usually plan ahead and have it hot and ready for him when he gets home.

On this particular clinical day I decided I would pack up the baby in the stroller and walk a mile to the local Hispanic market in order to get some extra special (and on sale) ingredients. I marched to the market with three dollars in change rumbling in a stroller compartment. Once at the store I purchased two bollos (big rolls) and one seafood mix bag. These were all things I had purchased before with raving success.

When I got home I made what I lovingly like to call squid soup. It changes every time I make it, but it always has a Mexican seafood mix in it – basically a pre-maid bag of oysters, shrimp, squid tentacles (chewy but good), and fake crab. It took a lot of time and effort, but I was sure it was worth it as I smelled my creation.

Hubby got home after the mix had been simmering on the pot for two hours, just long enough to let the flavors really meld. We said our prayer, and sat down to eat as my hubby told me about his day in the operating room of the hospital. We both began to eat when hubby stopped and picked up something textured, green, and attached to a squid tentacle.

“That,” he said, “is an organ.” And he visibly swallowed back what I’m guessing was what he had already eaten of the soup.

“Just take it out, it was probably in there by mistake,” I told him. I guess the rest of this is pretty predictable. The super on sale seafood mix had more than just a few squid organs in it, and even though my hubby dutifully picked them out and ate his bowel of soup I was crushed. How selfish of me right? But I had spent SO much time and energy on that soup. The entire time I was walking home from the store I was envisioning my hubby’s delighted response to such a special and exotic meal. But after spending all day in the OR looking at live organs he just couldn’t stomach eating squid ones – not that I ate them either.

Over the course of the week I ate the rest of the left-overs myself knowing that my husband wouldn’t. I’m not gonna lie the squid organ soup was actually pretty tasty but man did I get sick of it. Still, I learned a couple of very important lessons. 1) Don’t buy seafood mix when it’s super on sale at a Hispanic marketplace and 2) if your hubby is kind of like alphabet soup don’t serve him organs of any kind – or else you will have to eat the left overs.

Dancing in Wal Mart

baby with yellow flowersMy husband and I were walking down the grocery isle in Wal Mart. The baby was in her car seat in the main section of the cart and she had just woken up with a big smile. Oh how I love that smile! Nothing fills your soul like the smile from a sweet baby.

That smile has great influence over me. I will do all kinds of things to coax it out from its hiding places. In this case, I forgot that I was in a very public place surrounded by people, and I began to do a little dance as I wiggled my fingers above my baby, chanting “I’m gonna tickle! I’m gonna tickle!” in a high sing-songy voice.

The baby laughed and cooed and my husband chuckled. Wanting more of those sweet baby sounds I continued my dance. My husband’s chuckle turned into a full out laugh, and I realized he wasn’t just laughing because of how cute the baby is… at the same moment I realized he wasn’t the only one laughing. I looked up and saw that almost everyone within 20 feet of me was laughing. On the other side of the isle two middle aged men were copying my movements as they laughed and several women were quickly turning their heads so as not to appear as if they were staring.

Oh dear, I thought, I’m putting on a free comedy improv. “They’re mocking me!” I told my husband, “No, they just think it’s cute.” he told me. “You’re a fun mom.”

Then it hits me. I may be a cool fun mom now, as I dance in a crowded grocery store for my baby, but in a few short years I will be the so not cool mom who forgets from time to time that free comedy improv doesn’t illicit the same coo and giggle it used to.

Oh well, I don’t have to think about those days yet. All I have to think about is how to make my baby smile and laugh, because I’ll do all kinds of things to see that smile.

What have you got?

Have you got a pair?

Have you ever pushed out a watermelon while breathing in deep breaths?
Do you know what it’s like, to waddle every little step?

Have you ever cried with your baby, as your baby cried at you?
Have you become an expert, on the different shades of poo?

Have you picked gum from hair, kissed bruised knees, and wiped away big tears?
Have you disciplined, and let things go, and calmed their little fears?

When the sun goes down do you wake up oft’ to check on sleeping eyes?
When the sun comes up does waking, take a couple tries?

Do you feel your heart will burst, inside your momma’s chest
When your child does very well, and aces his last test

Especially when the test, is not the school test kind
But the kind the world won’t know, the kind that’s undefined

They’ve chosen right, they’ve fought for good, they’ve learned their lessons well
And though you aren’t perfect, you’ve helped them to excel.

When you stand, do you rock, with nothing in your arms?
Do you worry, about the day, when you must come to terms

With the fact that they grow up, and leave their mother’s nest
They’ll no longer sleep so soundly lying on your chest.

There’s more you’ve done, the list won’t end, But I’ll stop and ask you please
Remember that you’ve got a pair

A pair of ovaries!

Dedicated to all mothers- but mostly to my mother, love you

If I don’t know your name, you do NOT have permission to kiss my baby’s toes

I was holding my baby in the church hallway chatting with a friend when an elderly woman approached us. I saw her coming but couldn’t quite figure out what she was doing until it was too late and her face was level with my stomach. The old lady was giving my baby’s toes big slobbery kisses! How do I know they were slobbery? Well, while this woman (whom I had never met before) was kissing the baby’s feet she accidentally missed and kissed my elbow…and it was wet.

My initial reaction was to hold my baby tight so that the old woman couldn’t reach any other part of her. I put my hand over her head and gave a weak smile as the old woman transferred to my friend’s baby who, unfortunately, wasn’t as well protected. The woman kissed her baby on the face, and then returned to snack on my little one’s toes some more. We tried to laugh it off, “Oh… hi… aren’t babies cute? Uh…I’m Amber, have we met?” But as the old lady left for relief society I couldn’t hide my discomfort as I commented, “Well, that was a new experience”.

Unfortunately though, it’s becoming an old one. What is it with old women wanting to touch my baby? I know she’s cute, trust me I do, as far as I’m concerned she’s the cutest baby in the world, but these women act like she is theirs, like they have the right to just grab her and start holding her or kissing her. When I was visiting my great Aunt at the Assisted Living Center I seriously had several old ladies trailing me and asking to hold the baby – at least they asked instead of trying to just take her. Luckily the baby was asleep and I was able to use that as an excuse, but I’m afraid I can’t use it every time.

Maybe I’m over reacting, after all it takes a village to raise a child, but my husband is a nurse and he has told me statistics on how many elderly people are incontinent or don’t wash their hands. I don’t know. Anyone want to weigh in on this one? What did you do when people started touching your baby? Am I over-reacting or not reacting enough? How can I politely refuse when a stranger asks to hold my child? It’s funny, I was uncomfortable but didn’t really react when people touched my pregnant belly, but when they touch my daughter I turn into mama bear! Watch out… Amber may be… a grizzly!

Amber may be… a pregnant student

As of right now I’m 12 weeks pregnant, a senior in college, a housekeeper (not my own house), a wife, a writer for the school newspaper, and a major slacker!

It is so hard to go to school and be pregnant at the same time. Don’t take this blog post as defeat, by no means is it defeat. I’m going to graduate on time, and I’m not going to fail any classes. In my mind I have no other option. I’m just admitting that it’s really hard!

I feel sick all the time, my apartment is in a shambles, and I’m finding it nearly impossible to get to my early morning lecture classes. The fact that I work nights doesn’t help. So I figured I would try to motivate myself a little by writing myself a how to blog post.

All right Amber, here is your How to go to school, work, be pregnant, be a good wife, be perfect message!

  1. Saltines: eat them. I know you hate them. They have become the bane of your existence. That dry mouthed salty, cracker feeling might just make you throw up rather than prevent it, but you’ve got to try! For the sake of the baby, just try.
  2. Sleep: get it. Sure you don’t get off work until after midnight most nights, and sleeping on your back and stomach (the two preferred sleeping spots) is now either off limits or very painful, but sleep has got to be possible. The fact that you are exhausted all the time whether you get eight hours or not shouldn’t be considered. It’s time to start scheduling brief naps, and going to bed at a reasonable hour whenever possible.
  3. Wake up: when the alarm goes off. You have a choice, you have will. The bed is not swallowing you whole. You can refuse to stay in bed. You can get up! You can conquer!
  4. Eat: healthy balanced meals. All of the popular pregnancy sites tell you that eating healthy will help you feel less exhausted, less sick, less awful. If you can eat without throwing up, then do it! Say no to the empty corn dog, nacho, potato chip calories and start saying yes to a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Maybe it will work. I kinda doubt it.
  5. Pray: for motivation. You had it before you got pregnant. It can’t have just completely disappeared like that! It defies the laws of nature. One minute it’s there, the next it’s not! Dig Deep Amber! Find the motivation to attend class, clean, do laundry, do anything but sleep.

*Deep Sigh*

I’m ruminating on my list… trying to let it sink in and cause some kind of change in me. Perhaps, I should just acknowledge that I don’t have to get a 4.0, I don’t have to have a perfect apartment, and just maybe my best effort is good enough.

Here’s to all the pregnant students out there. I feel your pain!