Sometime last year, before Owen was born, Filip and I were talking with our friend Andrew who had just recently come back from visiting his family in Australia. He was telling us about his niece, who was maybe five or six or something. She had started writing a list that was entitled "Finks To Do" and it was filled with pretty hilarious kid "finks" to do. I think punching her brother was on the list somewhere, either way, it was hysterical. A tiny Australian kid translates things to finks.
While pregnant, everything turns into a list of finks to do, get, remember, etc. And even though all of that preparation is necessary, you know, nesting and so on, after Owen was born, so much of it realistically seemed, and was, totally useless. So now, seven months into parenthood, after overcoming hormone changes, mood swings, and the realization of what my life now is, what it has become and what it will always be and ever-evolving, I've got a pretty good list of realistic, simple finks that have made this pretty awesome, easy and pleasing for all of us so far. This isn't everything, and it's not the ultimate guide or anything like that, just some stuff that we've been into. It's mostly going to reflect Owen's current age, but yeah, you know.
1) Sophie. Seriously. I know every other baby has this and it's not like it's a cheap baby toy. I didn't understand the hype at first either. I saw it while pregnant and was like, "Fuck that. I'm not paying $20 for a stupid giraffe." And, although I didn't pay the $20 for it, ours was gifted from the great Jen Hellige, had I have known the magic it would behold and that it would become Owen's first best friend, I would have paid ten times that amount for it. Totally weird. He didn't care about it at all until about six months, and since then it has been guaranteed to make him smile no matter what. It's the only toy he hasn't gotten tired of yet. When he's super upset or his gums are hurting, pop this guy out and he's distracted and cheers right up. I don't know. It's like baby cocaine or something. And it's super cute to boot. It will always hold a spot on my shadowbox if and when Owen finally gets over it.
2) Boon Benders. These are the only baby spoons worthwhile. They are great for many reasons. The spoon is perfectly sized and lipped for big bites that make it totally in the mouth. Every other spoon we have has made a complete mess all over Owen and a 3 foot radius around him while eating. Not only the only spoon we use for eating, the fork has seriously been a great teething remedy for Owen. He is always hanging onto it and has taken it to bed with him the past few nights.
3) Obviously, the Bumbo. Every other photo of Owen, he's in the Bumbo. It has been absolutely perfect from the minute he could hold his head up. He's just now growing out of it at 7 months. Totally worth it and has been a lifesaver. We haven't had a fancy or proper high chair that he could fit in, really until this age and size, and this buddy has served that purpose and many more. Sometimes Owen just wanted to sit with FIlip and watch soccer, sometimes he just needed to sit up and dissect a pickle. There have been many finks he's needed to do without us holding him.
4) Gerber Cloth Diapers. Yeah. We've used them as diapers, barf rags, towels, teething toys, turbans, extra padding/blankies in carriers, you can make fun games with them, the possibilities are endless. I have always had one on me at all times since day one, and I believe I will continue to have one on me for the next two to three years. Lifesavers, man. I'm serious.
5) Green to Grow Bottles. After nearly two months of super stressful struggles with breast-feeding, we made the switch to bottles and formula. We went through a variety of bottles before sticking with these. I liked the BornFree Bottles a lot, and so did Owen, but somehow Filip and I kept managing to break the caps that screw the nipple to the top of the bottle, so we gave up. Apparently we are both over achievers with screwing (oh god, no pun intended) and could never get it tight enough until it was too late. I liked the plain glass Evenflo bottles but they leaked like crazy. Anyway, we tried a handful of different ba-bas, and these have stuck with us and are great. Super easy, simple, Owen is cool with them, environmentally everything and cute, well designed. We probably would have gotten the glass bottles if the boutique we went to carried them, but the plastic ones are great, and i'm not worried about them breaking in my bag.
6) Other pregnant friends/friends with babies. Not to be a total gaywad, but seriously, This is one of the most important things for many reasons. You trade shit and you get stuff and hammy-downs. Everything and anything, food, clothes, toys, dipes, wipes, binkys, medicine, everything. Also, this isn't meant to sound shallow, and anyone else who is going through or has gone through this knows what I mean, but when things are really brutal and you think it can't get any worse and kind of want to be dead, knowing it's happening to someone else too is pretty comforting. Not that I want my friends to be suffering, but this can all be very isolating and having other ladies who can honestly relate 100% is really, really the best. Having other people in it with you and having their support really means a lot. When I was pregnant early on, Jen was like, "You should meet Laura. She's pregnant too and you're as far along as she is." And I was up for it and like, "Yeah, ok." But really, in the back of my head I was like, "Yeah, pair the pregnant fatty with another pregnant fatty. Great. This sucks." But guess what- Laura rules, and Milo is over right now. Boo-yah, bitchy pessimistic self of a year ago! I was into it, but sometimes I secretly thought having pregnant friends and pregnant club and meeting other moms was gay. I was never so wrong in my entire life. And if it is gay, If I ever time traveled and met my pregnant downer self, I'd be like, "It's gay and you're proud of it. You'll see. Don't be such an asshole."
7) Sense of humor. If you don't have it, you will not make it and your child will suffer mental illness later. It sucks and is super hard sometimes, but you will lose your mind if you don't just give up and let things be. There were countless times that I was so nuts that I was crying and then just started cracking up, because it just has to be that way and it's okay and kind of sweet anyway. You know, to be so upset and stressed and tears are streaming and seeing barf caked all over the front of you and realizing how pathetic and ridiculous you must look crying to yourself with a screaming newborn that you start laughing at yourself while you're pushing out the last of those tears and then you just pack it all up and go on with the rest of the day.
8) Acceptance and relinquishing control. I've become so much more chill and happy and laid back the past few months after finally accepting and being happy with the fact that this is how things are. I cannot expect to keep dates or schedules, cannot plan on getting X amount of finks done, cannot control most of everything and just do what I can when I can and don't put pressure on or be hard on myself or others when things fall off the radar or don't happen. It's okay. Most importantly, my behavior and acceptance has reflected on Owen and he's much happier, making it easier and making it so that I'm striving and happy to be this way. We're all much happier. Acceptance of this and everything is so important. Accepting advice and help as well as material finks, accepting Owen as himself, not who I expect him to be or who I want him to be, just who he is, as well as myself, Filip and everyones rolls and just keeping everything open. Can't change or control most things, and can't change other people so figure out how to weave it all together the way it is and just let it be. It's good.
Really, you don't need a whole lot. Babies don't need a whole lot. It's cliche, but they really just need you to love them. They just need you to be for them and sometimes that's not an easy thing to understand and accept. Totally selfless. I'm really in love with Owen more than ever. We have so much fun hanging out and interacting. I mean, I've always loved him, but it's developing into so much more and I really love him. Anyway, I never had a baby shower, not to say I didn't receive a bunch of baby gifts, I totally did, but seriously, we would be just the same with 80% less of the stuff we have. All of the shit I panicked about not having before Owen was born is really silly. really. I mean, I absolutely love all of his vintage toys and everything else, but that was my fink, not his. That was my weird way of nesting. I don't know. I guess I just wish I could have this conversation with myself a year ago, and if I could I wish myself a year ago would actually listen, even though I know I'd roll my eyes and scoff and worry anyway. I guess what I'm saying is that this shit is easy and what you make of it. There are some tough spots, for sure, but it's the best fink that could have ever happened to me and it's all worth while and I'm happy with myself and with us. I don't know what my point was before this baby was born. Now I want to really learn everything, to do more, to accomplish, to show by example, to go more places, to experience everything with him and Filip and teach and encourage and support and I'm super proud. ain't got no shame. bring it!
Why my posts always end up sappy like this? Just the way it is, I guess. Don't mean to be preachy or anything, mostly just so I can re-read all this myself and be all proud like, "damn, go on with yer bad self."
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
let me tell ya. We heard Owen screaming from his bedroom after a while of quiet mumbling and play. Upon entering his bedroom, this is what we found. I felt bad leaving him there for a second, but I had to grab the camera. Dude scooted backwards under the bed until he got his head stuck. Pretty good.
We moved! yep. Let's get this baby off to the right start by moving at six months. maybe we'll move again before he turns one, and so on and so forth. My little vagabond. But really, I hope not. I love our new place. It's beautiful. Dark wood floors, working fireplace, office, huge room for O, amazing lighting, perfect kitchen. It's all very comfortable and we look good here.
tomorrow Owen turns 7 months old. what the? really? it's been 7 months already? as of Sunday, maybe as a mother's day surprise, Owen officially started crawling. like a goddamn pampers commercial or something. he's been scooting around and thinking about the logistics of it for a while, but Sunday, he put one paw in front of the other, coordinated the knees and crawled his ass right over to me, then belly flopped and started clapping. I cried, obviously. Look what I taught that baby! holy cacaballs! how does this happen?
Since we've moved in, Filip's mother came to visit us for a week. It was real nice to have her here, despite our own weird situational stresses. Like, it was real nice. I'm so glad she finally got to meet Owen. Makes me feel pretty good, like I've been doing a good job. I also feel like things are getting back to normal. Well, not back to normal, not back to anything, but like, a new thing that is on it's way to a happy medium. I'm balancing Owen 24/7, work, babysitting and now baby trading, some flowers in the in-between and almost staying sane by starting to slowly carve out little bits of time for myself here and there, which includes successfully thrifting again, knitting lace and going to see Babies tonight, all i'm so excited about. I guess having a kid has finally granted me the patience to knit lace. ha.
Just after moving, Owen had another amazing photo shoot with Michelle which you can see some of the results here. Which reminds me that I absolutely have to call the baby modeling agencies this week. I would have never imagined that our baby would have so much fun and be so happy and mild-mannered to put up with photo shoots. He had so much fun, we all had so much fun and again, I'm so fucking thrilled and thankful that Dee introduced us and that Michelle has been so awesome and generous in capturing some amazing shots of Owen for us.
Owen is officially left handed. I suspected so for a while, but over the past few weeks it's certain. Even this morning, he grabbed his mini bagel with his left hand. Filip's dad was left-handed and it's said that certain traits and things skip a generation. Pretty weird and funny. I bet he's going to have terrible handwriting much like Filip's.
How is it that coincidentally a bunch of us all had babies around the same time and that we all ended up living within a few blocks of each other? And from that there has become this brilliant and beautiful understanding and community that is so important and priceless. Never before have I understood or appreciated fully what and how important community is. And further, the thought of living this life that i'm in now, let's say even 15 years ago where the internet never existed, seems totally impossible and is mind boggling. How did people do it? How did my mother do it? seriously, jeez.
Anyway, my first mother's day was, in one, was a total success and in another, a disaster. Owen and I had a great, great afternoon hanging with Kate and Parker at smallbar. Owen had a pickle, Parker held a baby for the very first time and, I think, altogether it was a lot of love. It was really, really sweet and awesome. It was Owen's first time on a bus, too. And with his whole hand jammed in his mouth the entire ride, he fit in great with all the other crazies on the Diversey bus. ha!
So, yeah. I got a really sweet mother's day card from my mom with a gift certificate and for once in such a long time, I actually didn't need to use it for baby food or diapers. I've got a shitload of books coming from amazon that I'm super excited about. Consuming Kids, which I've been really looking forward to and sort of terrified to read, which is also our book club selection. and The Assassination of Fred Hampton, a couple Dover books and The Odyssey.
Ah, well. I should begin wrapping this up. My lists of tasks is dwindling and that's exciting, but I want to get back to that before more work comes my way. I made curtains for the kitchen last night. So now almost all of the old lady lace curtains are gone and it doesn't look like a weird Polish lady lives here anymore. The remaining crates and boxes have been taken care of and the back porch has been cleaned and organized. Feels good. I'm going to clean and finish up my sheepskin to make a small rug for Owen's room, put leather on my Bertoias to save our beautiful dark wood floors, and maybe start on this super cute vintage oriental themed gravel wall art that Adam and Angie gave me awhile ago. I have the perfect spot for it in Owen's room, but I'm not sure i'm ready to bust out the hot glue gun yet. Remember tacky glue? In that terrible gold/copper looking bottle? Does that stuff still exist? That would be perfect for this. heh.
2 last things. first, Desmond Morris said that if mothers really show their love to their babies and love them particularly in the first two years of their life, those babies are going to be good at loving later on in life. I want Owen to be really good at loving when he grows up.
and lastly, from The Tonight Show:
Tony Randall asks Johnny Carson, "Can you use the word horticulture in a sentence?" and Johnny responds with, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't lead a horticulture."
Posted by rachel ullrich at 12:37 PM