Diaper Duty

Erin and her son Lincoln

Diaper Duty - Join Erin on the journey of a lifetime.  Along with her first born, Lincoln, (born in 2010), Erin is learning the "art of being a baby mama"




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I'm a Time Hater

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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I’m getting this all too familiar pain deep down in my gut that alternates to my chest -- back and forth, back and forth. It’s not every day, but it is frequent. I can only describe it as hollow or maybe an ache. If I let my mind go with it, I get sad, depressed, and cry.

Before you go all WebMD on me, I’ve got a diagnosis.

My children are growing up too fast.

Like, lightning speed.

I barely remember Lincoln (4) as a baby without having to stop to really concentrate on that time, and Reagan (5 months) seems to be growing up at a speed that’ll put her on the school bus tomorrow.

Why does this happen? It’s downright cruel and rude that we have these kids as kids for such a short time. I feel bad I did it to my parents. (I’m talking like this now so can you imagine when they turn 16 or go off to college? I’ll be a mess.)

Often, I make myself numb to this pit-of-my-stomach + heartbreak feeling. I have to or it would truly send me into the looney bin.

NEVER do I say “I can’t wait until…” in an effort to slow time down as much as possible. Wishing for the next milestone erases what’s happening now (and that will never happen again once the milestone is reached).

Time is a B…

Lincoln and I joke that he’s not allowed to grow up in our house. He slyly says “Mommy…I growed up today.” My verbal reply is always a happy-toned “No, no, no, no you didn’t, you stinker” while my head and heart scream “NO! PLEASE! STOP just for today.”

As Reagan’s verbal and physical skills develop at unfair rate, I cheer her triumphs of smiles, giggles, and sitting up, while reminding myself that she’s probably my last baby. GULP.

I don’t do this crazy stuff to myself all day, every day, but it’s there. I’m glad, though. Well, sort of.

Constantly recognizing that these moments are fleeting is the only thing that keeps me in the present when I’m with them. It’s so easy to goof around on my phone when I get home from work or to immerse myself in unnecessary household chores for hours while they play in another room. I don’t, though. I do what needs to be done (including working outside the home and the dishes) and get back to them because tomorrow, Linc may not want to stack blocks, and I’ll have missed my chance.

I focus when we’re together. Often staring at every detail of their faces and little bodies and zoning in on their noises and conversations. I grab hugs and kisses every single change I get. I hold hands. Hell, I hold feet and legs and arms, too. (And I pinch little butts. They’re too cute!)

What do you do to try to stop time or savor it with your wonderful children?

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Changing the formula

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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I’ve introduced formula into Reagan’s diet.

Big whoop, right? Why am I telling you this?

Well…

I was embarrassed. Sad, mad, GUILTY! Why? Dunno.

Perhaps it was because I didn’t make my goal of exclusively breastfeeding until she was one. A goal that was probably never going to happen based on my track record with Lincoln (exclusively breastfeed him until he was about six months, then supplemented). A goal that eventually drove me crazy, made me cry with frustration, and stuff myself full of brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, and oatmeal. Or, perhaps it’s because I was “supposed to.” I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding and want everyone to try (I won’t make you, though), and I just couldn’t do it myself exclusively anymore. I’m also telling you because I didn’t want to. I felt like if I told anyone it would be like “Oh! Erin couldn’t breastfeed.” or “Oh! She’s doing formula now. She gave up. OOOoooOOO.” People do that. (Don’t do that.) I figured if I felt this way, someone else may, and they shouldn’t.

I’m not an everyone-should-breastfeed-their-kid person, and I don’t formula think terrible. I’ve never felt that way. I’m a do-what’s-best-for-you person. At first, breastfeeding exclusively was the best for me. Then, it wasn’t.

A few weeks ago it became clear I couldn’t give my baby what she needed. I couldn’t fill her up. I was nursing her every hour, and that put me in a situation where I was chained to her. Still, with all that nursing, she didn’t seem satisfied. Couple that with her reflux spit ups, and I felt like I was starving her. I felt terrible. I couldn’t go anywhere without her because I didn’t want to use my dwindling stock in the freezer. Not that I mind that, but I was definitely missing out on some mommy/Lincoln time -- hard core.

Last weekend, Lincoln and I went out by ourselves and left baby sister with daddy. I didn’t have to rush home, and I felt free. FREE, I TELL YOU!

I feel guilty saying that.

We had the best time, though.

I’m not changing my story about how I love breastfeeding and think it’s so great (for us). I still think that. I still nurse her whenever I get the chance and pump at work. I love it! I am, uh, “confessing” that I’m not exclusively breastfeeding my baby anymore and that’s OK. You have to do what’s right for your family. For my family, a crazy mama and crying baby are not right so we had to change it up.

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Telling kids what to do in a crisis

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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With the events that took place at Franklin Regional Senior High School, my alma mater, Wednesday morning, we’re once again reminded the world isn’t always kind to our children.

As a former FR student, I am shocked – but, why? There’s really no rhyme or reason to a lot of things like this, and I can’t really exclude Murrysville from all the places I think something back could happen. Sure, I feel better walking down the street there than in some other places, but no town is completely safe. To be quite honest, nowhere is safe.

I fought with the fact that I may actually have to explain what happened to Lincoln. He was going to karate class where I expected his instructor, who has kids at the high school, would mention something about it to the parents at the very least. Also, unfortunately, it’s about time I tell Lincoln what to do if something like this happens to him.

The short lesson I gave him was run and tell. Run, run, run!! Tell, tell, tell!! He’s four. He can’t take anyone down or help those hurt so he’s got to find someone who can. Later, we’ll probably give him some different advice, but for now, just get the heck out of there and tell. Once he tells, then, he should listen to that person on what to do next or run and hide.

Some people preach “snitches get stitches.” Me? I love me a tattletale. If you see something, say something is my motto. I want my children to do something when something is wrong, and, right now, all Lincoln can do is tell someone else – a teacher, the director of his school, me, his dad, the cashier at the grocery store. There’s no shame in it.

What have you told your kids to do in situations like this? When did you start these conversations? How have your instructions changed as they got older?

My prayers and thoughts are with students, their families, the faculty, and former students of Franklin Regional. We are FR.

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Go ahead and ask me why

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Lincoln started karate classes this week, and at the end of each class they have a "talk." Part of this week’s talk was about listening to your parents. The instructor went on about how your parents know everything and you should always listen to them. It kind of made me cringe. Why? Because I don’t think kids should assume their parents are right about everything.

I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t question some things my parents tried to teach me (and I like me). Today, we have very different opinions on politics, people, and many (many, many) other things, and I’m glad I went my own way at times. They tried to raise me the way they thought was best just like I’m trying to do with my kids, but some of their lessons were just bananas, and I’m glad I recognized that – sometimes it was right away, sometimes it was much, much later.

Now, I'm not talking about constant defiance or lack of respect. There are things Linc and Reagan MUST listen to us about for their own safety (strangers, drugs, not letting the dog lick your mouth, not walking in the middle of the street, etc.) and how to respect others, but I want to encourage them to ask me "why?" on other topics. (Your definition of "other topics" may be different than mine. That's cool.) I get asked "why" now by my four-year-old, of course, and I ask “why do you think?” I want him to ask questions. I want him to obtain different viewpoints and opinions other than mine and my husband's. When I was growing up, I was TOLD what to think and struggled when my gut feelings were different. In my opinion, we're here to guide, not to drill all our beliefs into them so they spit back out what we say. We tell them what we think and feel, and they can do what they want with that. If they think mommy and/or daddy are NUTS, then go ahead and go off and find a way you think is better for you and we'll discuss. If you think mommy and/or daddy are the smartest people alive go ahead and think what we think. It's cool either way. I don't have all the answers!

I just want a discussion to flow. I want open communication. I want questions asked of everyone. ("Why did Billy say this? Is it true?" and "Why do you believe in this? What if I don’t?") I want my kids to be themselves, to be kind, to have experiences. Just like my experiences have formed my thoughts and opinions, theirs will blow their minds and shape them as human beings. I want them to know it's all OK.

Do you always want your kids to believe and think what you do or ask questions?

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Basics for Baby

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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There are so many articles on what you need for baby, but, in reality, it’s really a very personal decision. Once you have the kid you realize right away what you really need and what you don’t, but to prepare for baby, it’s important to think long and hard about your life. No, not your purpose in life but what you’ve got going on. What do you do? Where do you go? Where will baby go? What season will baby be born it? Answering questions like these realistically will help you avoid getting crazy with that scanner at the store. Come on, it’s not your wedding registry! (P.S. Go nuts with that one. YAY!)

When I was pregnant with Lincoln I wanted every baby item ever made -- in blue. Then I started asking friends who told me what I’d use every day (nail files) and what I’d never use (a newborn snowsuit). I followed their instructions and was pretty much set with stuff I used frequently in gender-neutral colors and not a lot of random baby swingers and rockers and bouncers all over the place. This was an amazing help when Reagan came around. There wasn’t much I needed. I didn’t even have a baby shower. When people asked what I needed, I told them if they MUST get something, I’d take burp clothes, receiving blankets, and clothes bigger than six months. I needed those! (Oh, and money. No one gave me money, though.)

Having experience from the first, I knew to base what I was getting/keeping for number two on what babies do: eat, sleep, poo, and wear clothes. Now, sure, there was a good chance Reagan may not have liked something Lincoln liked, but going minimal with this one and waiting until I actually met the kid was key to having baby number two on the cheap (and keeping my house orderly enough for my four-year-old to still run around).

Eating

Y’all know I’m breastfeeding (and went back to work). So, Reagan needed bottles for daycare, and I needed a pump and some accessories. Currently, Reagan eats three times at daycare. That means three bottles a day. I have six for her so I’m able to rotate and not wash bottles every day. I had a pump and got new tubing for this time around.

Sleeping

We are co-sleepers by accident. We do have a crib, which was given to us by someone at work when we had Lincoln, and we have a co-sleeper my husband made for Reagan. A bassinet or something else small that could go in a bedroom the first few months would be good if you want baby close (but, not as close as in the bed with you) and a crib for later is perfect. We have a pack ‘n’ play from when Lincoln was little that we never took anywhere and never put Linc in to play. We have that downstairs just to change her on and lay her in if she’s asleep and we’re all downstairs and want to put her down. I’m still not sure the real reason for a pack ‘n’ play or how much use they get at someone else’s house. But, again, it’s all in what YOU need.

Pooing (and peeing)

Diapers – any type. Wipes – any type. Done! We do have a diaper genie for the stank.

Clothes

Borrow, borrow, borrow! Take, take, take! We are very lucky (in more ways than one) to be good friends with a family with three boys. I’ve never had to buy Lincoln more than a few pairs of pants or shorts and some shirts when he changed sizes or seasons. My friend commented on how she tried to give these clothes to others but they scoffed and only wanted new clothes for their new babies. Not me! Give me the sleep ‘n’ plays that have only been worn twice. I’ll take the outfit sets with the tags still attached! Pass on the semi-faded play clothes that my kids will, well, play in. Everything is as good as new with a little spin in the washing machine, right?

For Reagan, we’ve acquired lovely little girl things from another good friend who has a daughter a few months older than Reagan, and, again, I’ve had to buy very little. (And she looks GORGEOUS!)

Other stuff

Babies need stuff to look at and “play” with, but nothing is a good as your face and hands the first few months, right? Reagan can’t get enough of my stupid face when I sing songs or talk to her about our day.

Also, it is a good idea to have a place to put the baby down once in a while. We have a bouncy seat for the kitchen and a jumparoo for the family room (before that was a swing). We’re never upstairs unless we’re going to bed so we just put her in bed (safely, of course).

We also have the minimal toiletries and some towels and wash cloths along with a little seat for the bath tub.

And, yes, a car seat and stroller, and though I believe in being minimal with baby stuff, I must be honest and say we have two bases for the car seat – one for my car and one for my husbands. It is SO worth it to us.

What advice do you have for a new mom who asks “What do I need for baby?” What can’t you live without? What did you think you needed but later found you didn’t?

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To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.