Remember when I used to take the Long Island Rail Road a lot? And I whined about it. A lot.
It has been almost four years since I officially bid adieu to the rails, and, I’ll admit, even I started to wonder if maybe I hadn’t been the eence bit of a drama queen.
I mean, it’s just a train through Long Island. How bad could it actually be?
And then, last week, I had to take it again after over a year of abstaining.
And, you guys? I think it actually got worse.
What I don’t expect? To find myself in a full-on frat rager before it’s even midnight.
For the entire 30-minute ride I shared with this crowd, it was non-stop screaming, seat-hopping, and literal chanting. Not like, monks-finding-inner-peace chanting. Like, THIS. IS. CHAN. TING. (*clap clap clap clap clap*) And the lyrics were, shall we say, not fit to print.
It was, in a word, unpleasant.
At one point, the conductor passed through to clip tickets and whispered to the guy across the aisle and me that “they might not notice you if you stay quiet.” It was that bad.
The good news is that they got off a few stops before me, so at least part of my ride was relatively peaceful. Even so, I think I can officially scratch “am I a drama queen?” off my list of concerns.
I think it’s pretty universally agreed upon that small talk is lame. Right? I mean, do you know anyone who actually enjoys talking about the weather or how “fine” work is?
No. Unless they are a sociopath.
I, for one, would much rather talk about the nitty-gritty of whatever I’m going through. Honestly, unless it’s something about my marriage or you are my boss and I am thinking of quitting, I will tell you all the details of “what’s new” if you really want to hear it.
The thing is…I’m pretty sure my nitty-gritty has even crossed over into mindless listening territory.
You know what’s really interesting and pressing in my life right now? How many times Vivi woke up last night. (Once, around 5 a.m., but then she woke up for real at 6 a.m., which is about an hour earlier than I would like and than she has been waking up lately, which makes me wonder if it’s that she’s teething or if she can hear our neighbor or if that congested cough she started doing a couple of days is something to worry about and OH MY GOD YOU’RE ASLEEP RIGHT NOW, AREN’T YOU?!)
The fact is, while I LOVE motherhood and could actually discuss all the new foods Vivi tried in the last week (shrimp, risotto, chocolate chip cookie) for probably hours, I am not an un-self-aware person. And I can feel your eyes glazing over from here.
So, naturally, the solution here is to talk about more interesting things, right?
Except…um, you do realize that this whole motherhood thing is a full-time job? My day literally revolves around this tiny, big-eyed person, which means I don’t exactly have a lot of time for hobbies.
I don’t have a solution for this. This is more of a request: If you aren’t interested in the kid thing, bear with me. I’m sure the day will come when I have time to do more for myself. And we can talk all about it then.
Anyone who knew me during the first few months of my pregnancy will tell you I was hoping my baby would be a girl. I imagined us doing the typical mom-and-daughter boding activities: shopping, lunch, etc.
I guess a part of me also knew there would come a day when she would start stealing things from me. I hoped it would be clothes. I hoped it wouldn’t be money out of my wallet. (Youths…) What I didn’t anticipate? An unavoidable obsession with stealing my food.
My friends and I have started calling her the seagull. She’s constantly hovering, and if you give her a bite, she just becomes more determined.
I should be happy — my daughter eats everything! It’s a parent’s dream! But GOSH do I wish I could get through a meal without getting hassled by the little people.
Lately, all my meals look something like this:
It’s my pizza, kiddos. Back off.
But, as parenting troubles go, I know I’m pretty lucky. I’d rather have a seagull than a picky eater any day.
Stand down, little seagull. Stand down.
One of my favorite parts of being Vivi’s mom is our bedtime routine. I’ve mentioned before the practical value of establishing a regular routine to wind-down a baby so they go to sleep more peacefully, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t get something out of it too.
I often say that, for me, the best part of sleep training (besides, you know, the sleep) is that I get to end every day madly in love with my baby. From the moment we start our routine, Vivi is typically calmer and cuddlier until the moment I lay her down in her crib. We end virtually every day with songs and snuggles and a peaceful parting.
Granted, there are times this doesn’t happen. (I wrote this post last night, and, of course, that was actually one of the evenings we ended with an overtired baby and a lot of frustration.) But those times just serve to make me even more grateful for the fact that that is not our routine — it’s the exception.
Typically, our nights go like this:
5:00/5:30: Family dinner
6:00: Vivi gets a bath (usually Joey does the bath so I can have a few minutes to unwind to myself, but if he’s working late I sub in)
6:20-7:00: Joey and Vivi play and spend time together
7:00: Joey reads to Vivi while I nurse her, then he says her bedtime prayer and I’ll rock her and sing a couple of songs before putting my now very sleepy babe to bed
While I would say the last few moments are my favorite part of the routine, Joey would undoubtedly say the bath and playtime are his favorite moments. I also love sitting in the living room and listening to Vivi belly laugh as she plays with her bath toys and splashes with her Dada. It’s such a great way for us all to relax and for Vivi and Joey to bond before bedtime.
A few months back, my friend Haley introduced me to a new kind of bath cleanser that has helped turn our evening routine into an even more relaxing — and, dare I say, spa-like? — experience for Vivi: Bébé de Luxe Coconut & Oat Milk Bath.
When we started giving Vivi baths after she came home from the hospital, we noticed pretty quickly that she had extremely sensitive skin. She was prone to rashes if we used any non-organic soaps, and we had to make sure all lotions and creams were formulated for delicate skin. So when I visited Haley in Vancouver when Vivi was about six months old, I was fascinated when I watched her sprinkle this delicious-smelling powder into her daughter’s bath.
“You have to try this,” she told me. “It smells like cookies.”
Um…a baby that looks AND smells good enough to eat? Sold.
The Coconut & Oat Bath is made from 100 percent certified organic and food-grade ingredients (thus the whole “smells like cookies” thing). Besides providing rinse-free cleansing, the oatmeal also soothes and moisturizes dry or itchy skin. And the coconut milk has natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Amanda, the owner of the company, recently posted on Instagram a photo of her son’s squirty bath toys — she had been using them in his bath (with the Coconut & Oat Milk) for over six months, and none of them had developed any kind of mold or mildew. That’s kind of amazing.
Using the milk bath is easy — just sprinkle three-ish tablespoons into warm running water, let your babe splash around for a while, and then dry off. No other soap or rinsing is required. And while I typically follow up Vivi’s bath by slicking her head to toe in baby lotion, I’ve noticed it’s less necessary when using the milk bath than it is with regular soap. Even better, mommas can get in on the action by using the powder as an exfoliating face mask — just mix the Coconut & Oat Milk Bath with a bit of water to make a paste and rub in circular motions on your face for instant glow. (Because, let’s be real: Mommas are in need of a spa experience too.)
And while Joey might appreciate an upgrade to his bath time routine, I still think I come out the winner here. After all, I’m the one who gets to snuggle a baby who smells like cookies every night.
Great news! If you want to try Bébé de Luxe Coconut & Oat Milk Bath, Amanda is offering Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One readers a 10 percent off discount code! Just use JUSTINE10 when you check out — and just try not to give your baby a nibble.
Sometimes I feel like my stuff is closing in on me.
I mean, that probably sounds dramatic. The stuff is probably minding its own business. But even knowing that it’s there is enough to throw me sometimes.
If you’ve been around this blog for a minute, you probably know that purging my stuff is practically an annual ritual for me. With the baby, though, I found I was too busy over the last year to do much heavy tidying. So, instead of spring cleaning, I’m hoping to clear out some space in time for fall and winter. (Because Lord knows I spend too much time inside during the winter to feel claustrophobic.)
While I rarely struggle with the actual letting go of stuff, I find the hardest part when living in New York City (without a car during the week) is getting the stuff out of my apartment. It tends to sit in bags and boxes, creating even more clutter, for weeks before I find a way to get it to Goodwill. This time around, I’m going to try to avoid that. I want to plan another clothing swap with some girlfriends. I’ll bribe friends with cars into making a drop-off. I’ll throw things away if I can’t give them away.
The point is, the stuff has got to go. Here’s to a more simplified end-of-the-year.
My family recently went on a trip to Virginia with some friends. I was excited about the trip, but, I’ll be honest, a little nervous for how Vivi would do in the car.
Joey and I tried to travel as much as we could before we had a baby, and most of our trips were out of the country. We both always felt like we should save the domestic trips for when we had kids. I think we both look forward to showing Vivi the Grand Canyon, national parks, and oceans and lakes throughout the United States — and it’s even better when we can drive there.
Vivi has done a major road trip before; we drove to Cleveland when she was about three months old. But a 10-month-old baby is different from a 3-month-old baby. For one, Vivi is a lot more mobile these days, meaning she expects to burn off some energy crawling and toddling around most of the day. For another, the older she gets, the more she expects out of entertainment. Meaning I can no longer expect her to be thrilled by what she sees out the window.
Fortunately, the trip went well — thanks to a little preparation. Here are the four things I’d recommend to any momma looking to hit the road:
2. Vivi isn’t big into TV or movies yet, but she will watch short videos, especially if a song is involved. This extendable tablet holder made it easy to prop up Joey’s tablet and play her favorite music videos and a few Disney favorites. (Not going to lie; the adults in the car may have enjoyed this more than Vivi.)
3. One thing that really gets Vivi steamed in the car is when the sun is in her eyes. To prevent that (and keep the car cool), we use these retractable window shades. Plus, they’ll also tell you if the car is getting too hot!
4. The final thing that I never leave home without? Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. Vivi eats a lot of what I’m eating these days, but squeezy fruit and veggie puree packs are clutch when we’re on the go. Because a hungry baby is definitely not a happy baby.
Now, let’s talk discounts! Whether you’re planning your own RTWAB (road trip with a baby…what? Is that not a thing?) or just love the look of a babe in a romper, I’m so excited to share a coupon code from Lunaby Baby with my readers! Use code JUSTINE10 when you check out for 10 percent off your entire order. The rompers, bibs, and colorful tights are all super reasonably priced, so you can walk away with a pretty great haul of seasonal basics for your baby. Happy shopping!
Romper provided by Lunaby Baby; opinions 100% mine.