Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My friend was kind enough to "stub us down" as it were so we could attend a free gymboree class to see how Arlo would fare. I had the highest of hopes... he's usually a pretty sociable child that enjoys constant distractions as well as sizing up other babies( he usually looks as though he wants to eat them). For some reason, however, he was in one of his rebellious moods. If he could talk, I'm quite sure he would have told the teacher ala "doug" from The State : " I'm outta heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere."

The class was great-- it was Arlo who just wasn't having it. We weren't really prepared, either. Neither of us had on socks, which is a requirement apparently, and we were supposed to bring a blanket and all I had on me was some old raggedy receiving blanket with tylenol stains on it that looked like blood. While the instructor talked, he either babbled or cried or tried to grab/smush/eat the other babies. I have to say, it was highly comical. Either Geoff or I would take turns walking him around the room so that the other babies could enjoy their class in peace. One part of the class had all the mommies/daddies " comfort " their child to a quiet song. Arlo took this opportunity to continue his vocal disruption as loud as possible. I haven't laughed so hard in days. Not sure anyone else thought it was as funny as Geoff and I did, though...

If they had a "breakfast club" for gymboree, Arlo would surely be required to attend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My husband stumbled upon the real foundation of our frustrations late one night after a particularly harrowing day. He looked at me and said, " You know what it is? We're being selfish." I thought about this for a moment, and then realized he was exactly right. All the things that you never thought would fall into the category of "being selfish"... stuff like sleeping, finishing your lunch, going to the grocery at a moment's notice... were now considered things that we had to either do without or plan way ahead of time to accommodate our child's unpredictability. I think the realization of this has helped me in times when I thought I would lose it completely(not to mention the old adage that "this too shall pass"). In order to provide a happy, healthy, life for my child, I'm the one that has to adapt to the change.

The Winter's Tale is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and within it( as with all Shakespeare works, in my humble opinion) is a poignant line that simply says " It is required that you do awake your faith." This line plays over and over and over again in my head and it gets me through the day. Whatever "faith" means to you-- to me it is a myriad of things-- it is truly how I have, of late, become more aware of my selfishness and embraced all the wonderful things that come with having a child.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Let's Be Honest.

Prompted by a comment a friend made, I thought about this statement and what it has meant to me in terms of raising a child. Plenty of my friends had already had kids by the time Arlo came around... and looking back, I now notice there seemed to be a little something missing in their advice to me for after his birth. Not that they weren't being honest, but let's face it- no one was totally, brutally forthcoming with detailed info.  Everyone was really vague... " oh, the first couple months are weird"  and " just remember to sleep when the baby sleeps" and  " just remember, what you say to your husband in the middle of the night doesn't count".  Little did I know that they were being vague on purpose... because how can you convey to someone(in the nicest, least scariest way possible) that those first months are pretty much going to drain you silly, turn your world inside out, and freak the hell out of you? I remember one morning at 2AM, having not showered or brushed my teeth in days, baby screaming, looking at my haggard husband and going " WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL US ABOUT THIS??? WHY DO THEY HATE US??" And now I know. They didn't say anything because they loved us and there was nothing anyone could do or say to prepare us for what was to come. The honesty then came in the form of an abundance of support once we realized what we were in for.. and that we still receive to this day.

I also remember thinking that everyone who said they "loved" having a newborn were total liars. Not that I didn't love Arlo, or wasn't totally and completely grateful for his presence in my life-- but who really LOVES getting up every hour to feed?( not to mention that breastfeeding was totally rough those first few weeks. I left the hospital not even being totally sure what the hell to do) Who ENJOYS being sleep deprived?  I fell down the basement stairs Christmas morning and really didn't find that to be a charming side effect to being up all night with my son. Then I thought-- you know, maybe some people do. But I wasn't and am not one of them. And this doesn't make me a bad mom or any less "maternal" than those that relish in those moments. That's awesome that some people do and I admire that. But I've come to realize that I'm a different kind of mom with different strengths and weaknesses and that's okay. There's no point in trying to force myself to like those things just because current society's definition of being a "mother" say that I should or that there's something wrong with me if I don't.

So if 'm being honest with myself... I adore my son. He's the greatest thing ever to come into my life. But I refuse to beat myself up anymore when I get frustrated with the various and sundry things one gets frustrated with when having a newborn.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ah, Separation...

Methinks we have some separation anxiety going on. It's about that time- it begins around 6-9 months. I'm thinking this because when I put him down to bed( drowsy, but not asleep) he screams like a banshee when I leave the room. The moment I go back in, he smiles and jumps around like he wants to play a game of racquetball or something, despite the fact that 10 minutes earlier he couldn't keep his eyes open. God, I hear so much advice on how to curb this and sometimes I think that I should just stop reading shit and do what I feel is best. Let them cry it out, don't... I don't know. Personally, I can't stand to hear him cry. I can let him "fuss" it out... or "talk" it out.... but crying--shrieking really-- I can't just let him go. And it's not because I'm afraid he'll get some kind of attachment disorder. I know better. I just hate hearing him get so worked up and upset. I end up feeling like a complete ass for just standing there and letting him wail.

I borrowed a book from a friend-- the Healthy sleep habits happy child one-- and there are "warnings" in the book that really alarm me. One says that if your child is a horrible sleeper now he'll be more likely to be addicted to sleeping pills as an adult. WHAT???? Another said that if your child was "colicky" and a difficult sleeper that they will be more likely to have mental health issues as an adolescent and will be more prone to have ADHD. I honestly stopped reading after I saw that. I just couldn't take it seriously anymore.

There has to be some other way to do this. I have tried creating a transitional object for him but that hasn't taken flight as of yet. I have a routine. I know his cues. Maybe it just takes time. For now, though, it's rough going in the sleep department.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


So I realize that my son is now 5.5 months old now... but I desperately need a space to detail my day-to-day musings-- successes, failures, complete, total screw-ups and the like. And to be completely honest, I really haven't found the quality time I've needed to sit down and write until now.

So to sum up-- On December 9, 2009 I had a bouncing baby boy. His name is Arlo Stewart Davin. "Arlo" because a) I am an Arlo Guthrie fan b) the name "arlo" wasn't even on the social security website for name popularity and c) I just liked the name; " Stewart" after my wonderful grandfather who passed away a couple of years ago. He was born via C-section( he was too big, I was too small) with not one but TWO spinals(much to the dismay of both myself and the anesthesiologist) and as the doctor pulled him out of my belly exclaimed " Laura, Arlo is going to WALK to the table... and he just peed on me." Not a bad way to enter the world, I guess.

The last 5 months have been a blur. The newborn phase has thrown both my husband and I way off kilter. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE MY SON MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. I wouldn't do anything differently and I can't imagine my life without him. But this doesn't mean that things have been easy. And that is where this blog comes in. So I can look back and go " well shit, that wasn't so bad. we survived." I quit my job as a development consultant for an agency that serves the needs of kids with severe mental illnesses/behavioral issues and am staying at home with the boy. This is, by far, the hardest job I have ever/will ever have. Coming from someone who has worked in mental health for over 10 years-- that's saying a lot. I do miss working( I NEVER thought I would say that) and I'll get back to it eventually, but for now I love each day with my son-- screaming fits and all.

We are blessed with so much support from our family and friends. My parents live 3 hours away, but bless us constantly with phone calls, care packages, etc-- and make it up to see little Arlo every chance they get. My in-laws live right around the corner from us and are a godsend. Seriously. They give Geoff and I breaks frequently-- and in the beginning I admit was a little hesitant-- but now with very open arms I welcome any help we can get. It's nice to see that Arlo lights up instantly to others than just Geoff and myself. At times I still think to myself " am I a crap mom for letting my son spend the night away sometimes?" but then I realize that it makes me a much better mom for doing so. I honestly don't know how we would survive without the support that we receive on a daily basis.

And so now fast forward to the present. 5.5 months... wow has time flown by. Arlo is developing a strong personality and I love to watch him do something new everyday. He's a bluegrass fan(as my grandpa smiles from above) and likes books and putting everything in his mouth. He'd rather stand than sit, and I'm quite sure he'd rather walk than crawl.

And thus begins my blogging our life with him.