What’s on Baby’s Bookshelf?

My kindly coworkers asked if I needed anything in particular for baby #2. Besides the Ergo baby carrier that I’m still coveting, my number one pick is books!

I asked my well-read group of friends what books are on their must-read list for babies and toddlers and they responded with the following titles.

And favorite children’s’ book authors include Sandra Bonynton, Richard Scarry, Mo Willems, and Oliver Jeffers.

I would add Little Blue Truck, Ferdinand, Chu’s Day, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Llama Llama Time to Share, and If Jesus Came to My House. 

What books are on your top 10 list for babies and/or toddlers? 

FMLA, or Frack Mothers’ Leave in America

It’s that time of my pregnancy that I’m thinking about what happens after baby is born regarding work – when I should start my maternity leave, how long I’ll be gone, how pumping will work when I come back, etc. 

And so I begin to read the HR policies regarding FMLA. Seriously, America? I’ve now deemed FMLA to stand for Frack Mothers’ Leave in America. Because it’s dismal reading. Sorry if you run out of vacation and/or sick time. You won’t get paid after that. And once you’re in unpaid status, guess what? You get to pay your health care premiums, not your employer. And I’m supposed to be grateful that my job is preserved for up to 12 weeks. This is the type of thing that makes me want to move to a family-friendly European country or Canada. 

I know I should be grateful that I have a job that continues to give me benefits for even part of my leave, but when I calculate how much money I will lose by taking my full leave, in addition to the money I will have to pay to my employer to continue to receive health care benefits, I just get mad. And to top it all off? When I come back from my maternity leave, all of my sick time will be gone and doesn’t reset until September 2015. So if I or one of my kids gets sick from January until September, I will have to use vacation time to care for them (or myself). And once that vacation time is gone? Good luck. 

And don’t even get me started about the inequality of parental leave benefits for faculty vs. staff. It’s amazing how cushy faculty have it when it comes to parental leave. I’m not saying their benefits should be taken away, but that their much-enhanced options should be given to staff, too. 

I jokingly told another staff person on campus that we should start a revolution and her first suggestion was that we should elect more women to public office. Hillary, are you listening? When are you officially throwing your hat into the race for POTUS?

Top 5 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

1. But you’re so big already!

2. Have you seen your belly? You could balance a cup on it!

3. Did your belly explode overnight?

4. Are you okay? You look really tired.

5. I thought you were a lot further along than that!

All of these things have been said to me in the past month.

If you see a pregnant lady, instead of commenting on the size of her belly or touching her stomach, how about saying something nice or saying nothing at all. Better yet, treat her like you normally would: with respect.

I post my pregnancy-related insults of the day on Facebook to a select group – moms and pregnant women only and the stories I hear about what people have said to them make me so mad. At this point in my pregnancy, 32 weeks and 6 days, I am thankful to still be pregnant. But I don’t want to hear what other people think, especially if it’s negative. Pregnancy is hard enough. I almost cried when a woman said, “But you’re so big already!” I know I am. Don’t people realize pregnant women are hyper aware of their size? I know exactly how much weight I’ve gained and how hard it is to turn over in bed and how uncomfortable I am all the time. I don’t have the time or energy to explain to these rude people that I am more than grateful to still be pregnant and that my baby is a normal size, which is a blessing considering all of the scares we’ve had.

The next time you see a pregnant woman, do me a favor. Tell her she’s beautiful and doing a great job.

If it’s not one thing…

The good news first: baby is growing normally and is exactly the right size and weight for his gestational age. (Already more than 3 lbs!)

The bad news: his kidneys have not improved and before the first month of his little life is over, he will need to undergo a procedure to fix the problem. I’m not really clear what’s involved but an upcoming appointment with the pediatric urologist will clear that up. Thank god for doctors. 

I am trying not to dwell on this issue and to be thankful for the other blessings: his heart and brain look great, he’s already head down (oh yeah…he’s REALLY low, which explains the need to pee every minute, plus the searing pains in my groin and pelvis) and he’s not a giant baby, a possible side effect of gestational diabetes. I don’t have to take diabetes medication as I’m sufficiently managing the GD with diet and exercise. But as my MFM OB said today, pregnancy is awful. 

I do feel so awful, though. It’s hard not to blame myself, although realistically there’s nothing I could have done to prevent this problem. I keep telling myself it’s going to be fine but I’m already dreading the thought of my newborn undergoing this procedure. 

He better behave himself during the next ultrasound. I literally had to be tilted so far back on the ultrasound bed for a decent scan that I thought I was going to faint. 


The Preschool Blues

In a little over a week, my 3-year old starts preschool. We felt it was important for him to start school before baby arrives so he has his own “big boy” thing that is his and his alone and remains a constant when life gets crazy in a few months. The other big reason: socialization. He plays with kids at church, at the playground and at the library, but other than the kids he sees weekly at church, has no constant group to socialize with and learn all the important things about playing and learning in groups, like sharing, taking turns, interactive play and more. It’s only two days a week and he’ll get to spend the rest of the week with his grandmas, just like he does now. 

I don’t know who is more apprehensive, me or him. He was in daycare from 5 months to a year and his only primary caretakers since then have been family. We went to visit family in California at the beginning of the year and tried to go on a double date, leaving him with his cousins and their babysitter. It was a disaster. 

I know it will all be fine, especially after the first month. He had a hard time at the beginning of swimming lessons but now easily goes to his teacher and trusts her. He loves his speech therapist and I am constantly amazed at what a Type A, people pleaser he is during speech therapy. He tries so hard and converses with her in such a mature, respectful way. 

I told my husband that he gets to do drop offs for the first few weeks because I don’t know if I can handle the stress of him clinging to me. His teacher is coming to our house next week to meet him one-on-one and there’s a preview day in a week, where I get to hang out at the school with him for the morning. But then Monday will come, and he will be there with new people in a new environment and I am so worried about him. But I know he will do just fine, eventually. 

Any tips on making the preschool transition easier for him (and me)? 

MILP Roundup #359

The weekly Mothers In the Legal Profession Roundup (MILP) is hosted on a rotating basis on the following blogs: ButterflyfishGraceBJJ, Law, and LivingMommy and the Sin CityMagic CookieThe Reluctant Grownup; and right here at Perspectives of a Hard Boiled Egg.

This roundup includes posts between Monday, August 4 and Monday, August 11

Kids do the darndest things: Alice finds her son practicing the art of the selfie; CM’s Bill makes a fashion statement (and is that Kate making a fashion statement with her hair or what?!?); and LL’s Claire goes to exercise class with her mama.

Can we all just agree that pregnancy is awful but that it’s totally worth it? But I do…is both happy NOT to be pregnant but a little sad that time of her life is (probably) over. Cee agrees: pregnancy is the worst but–how can we savor these moments with our littles as time flies? Pregnancy is also the worst for planning: what happens if baby comes early (and, as Frenchie contemplates, you need to be in court)? And, surprise!, K joins the growing group of pregnant MILPs.

Parenthood is full of ups and downs: MM wonders what to do with her time when the kids are away, while Daisy enjoys a child-free day with her husband. Portia has a case of the Mondays. And the chaos doesn’t subside for Queen of Hats but at least they found another car. 

And lastly: if you haven’t, go read RG’s touching post about Robin Williams.

A Book-Themed Baby Shower for Baby #2

Baby shower time!

This time around, my friends threw a joint shower for me and another friend, who is having her third boy in a few weeks. It was super fun and low key. The baby stories theme was adorable with cute book decorations and corresponding yummy food. Our hostess even made bottle bookmarks with this adorable saying printed on the back: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” 

I felt a little awkward registering for gifts for this second baby, but lots of moms assured me that it was just fine. I mostly need things like diapers, bottles, breast pads, pump parts, etc. instead of big items. And of course it’s always fun to get homemade blankets and new clothes for baby. I am always amazed at the DIY gifts: this time I got a baby hat, hooded towel and washcloth, and two blankets. 

I did register for some big items that are mostly wishes, not needs. When we left Utah, I gave away the exersaucer and threw away the broken playmat. I also never registered for an Ergo baby carrier the first time around and since we didn’t own the Bob jogging stroller when Future President was born, I never needed the insert for the infant car seat. Wait, maybe they are needs…and I’ll just buy them in a few weeks after the nursery is more organized.

If you have more than one kid, did you register for any items the second time around? Did you have a shower? I am so glad I did. It was fun to hang out with friends and celebrate the soon (but not too-soon) arrival of Baby #2.