The baby accidentally chewed the dog toy.

So, the other night, our son Solomon chewed on the dog toy. I know it sounds disgusting, and it was. We have a siberian husky named Luna and she is in the height of shedding (also known as “blowing” her coat), so her hair is EVERYWHERE.

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Luna lounging on a bedspread that she has now chewed two holes in. Husky owners cannot have nice things.

And when I say everywhere, I mean absolutely everywhere. Her hair especially likes to congregate on our stairs, under the couch, and on our clothes. I’m convinced that one day the hairs will become self aware and come together to form a phantom Luna. But I digress.

On the evening that Solomon snacked on Luna’s toy, we were somewhat mortified. It may be one of our biggest parenting blunders in our short, 6 month career.

But you know what? He didn’t get sick. He didn’t choke. He didn’t have a sudden allergic reaction. He is fine.

As I reflect on that incident, I realize that there are some moms out there who would seriously, hard core judge me for that. And I think there’s something wrong with that. Any mom with even the slightest iota of experience knows that you cannot prevent every possible disaster from happening. Lots of things are preventable using some simple common sense, but you could bust your butt all day trying to keep your kid safe, nourished, napped, clean, and happy, only to discover him playing in the toilet the minute you take your eyes off of him. But so many moms are hesitant to share those experiences because there’s always the mom who makes some snide remark or facial expression that somehow degrades mom points.

Why do we do that to each other?

I have some theories, which I will discuss in a later post, but for now I think we can all agree on one thing.

No matter how you decide to parent your kid- cloth diapers or disposable diapers, breast feeding or formula feeding, sleep training or co-sleeping, spanking or timeouts, homemade baby food or store bought jars, homeschool, private school, public school, or whatever- the most important thing you child needs is total and unconditional love.

I have a friend who is getting ready to welcome her baby girl into the world. At her baby shower, everyone shared some advice or a thought as to why she was going to make a good mom. I shared some advice about not being afraid to put your baby down (one of my rookie mistakes) but what I wish I would have said was this:

“Jaimee, there are a lot of hurdles that you are going to face throughout this child’s life, and a lot of different way you and your husband can handle them. But I know your capacity to love is so great already, and it is going to grow leaps and bounds the moment you set eyes on her, and if you just keep that at the forefront of your mind, she’s going to be just fine.”

So maybe my son got a taste of some doggy drool. But he is incredibly loved by so many people.

 

#PostPartumProblems

Last summer, when I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, “How fortunate to be in my third trimester during the winter! Now I won’t have to suffer in the unbearable summer heat like so many other mothers!”

It was incredibly naive and short sighted.

Because as terrible as it would be to spend the final months of pregnancy in sweltering heat, your belly at its most glorious, there are wonderful inventions like central air conditioning and snow cones to combat feeling like a sweaty hippo in search of a mud hole. Then, you give birth to your beautiful little meatloaf and you have all fall and winter to hide the tragic remains of your body under bulky, cozy layers of fleece and cable knit while you get yourself together.

When you have your baby in spring, and you’re totally pumped to “treat yo’self” to some new, non-maternity clothes, this is what you’re presented with.

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Guys, someone cut the bottoms off all of these tank tops.

When I told the lady at Target that I suspected youths of this horrible vandalism, she just laughed and walked away. Then I saw this.

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What is this???? Where is the rest of the shirt? Don’t they know some of us are not going to be able to conceal the jello bowl remains of our stomachs in shirts like this??

Excuse me, where is the section for stylish, postpartum moms?
Tough luck moms. Don’t even get me started on swimwear.

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I’m pretty sure these triangles are the same size as my breast pads.

I eventually found a maxi skirt with a wide elastic waist band, perfect for popping a squat anywhere to nurse a screaming child.

And these beauties.

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Hello friends.

I guess it’s time to tuck my stomach pooch into my big girl panties and accept the fact that I’ll be sweatin’ it out in gym shorts all summer.

How Having a Dog Prepares You for Parenthood.

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In April, my husband and I bought our first home. It is a lovely house, over 100 years old with beautiful wood floors and woodwork throughout the house. It also has a fenced in backyard, which to me meant one thing: we’re getting a puppy. And the following month, we did. We found a Siberian Husky breeder from rural Nebraska in the newspaper and in a Walmart parking lot in Fremont we were given our first puppy, Luna. As you can see, she was adorable. She stole our hearts immediately. She was so soft and sweet and cuddly. She took lots of naps. She was playful and quirky. It was a match made in heaven.

The honeymoon was over about two weeks later. As Luna grew, she became more energetic, and less sleepy. She became less licky, and more bitey. Potty training was hit or miss. She developed a taste for socks, Christopher’s in particular. She made several escape attempts that resulted in heart-attack inducing moments of panic as she ran fearlessly in front of cars, even a fire engine. She desecrated our dining room rug on so many occasions that we eventually gave up on cleaning it and just threw it away.

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Little did we know at the time that Luna was preparing us for the next big step in our lives: parenthood. In July, we found out that we are expecting our first son, Solomon, in March. And I can’t help but notice all of the ways Luna has helped us understand the reality of parenting. Now, I know raising a child is vastly different from raising a dog; you can’t put your child in a kennel for a few hours while you and your husband run errands. However, there as several things Luna has done that I am positive Solomon and whatever children come after him will do.

#1) Destroy beloved possessions.
My husband, Christopher, has a love for old books. He has quite the impressive collection that he displays proudly in our living room, but his most beloved book of all is a large, very old Bible that my mom got him for Christmas two years ago. He loves the ornate detailing on the cover. Tragically, Luna also discovered her love for this Bible, not as a beautiful piece of history, but as a delicious snack. One summer day, I discovered her methodically chewing away pieces of the spine. Terror rushed through my veins as I realized the magnitude of what she had done, the effect it would have on my husband, and the horror of being the one who had to deliver the bad news to him. When Christopher came home, I broke the news to him as gently as I could. He did not speak for half an hour. If you know my husband, you will know the depth of his devastation. It was an amazing display of self control on his part not to pack Luna’s things and ship her out the door. And as time passes, it slowly heals the wound, but I know there will always be a small twinge of sadness at the thought of that Bible.

Luna did not know how much Christopher loves that Bible, she simply enjoyed the rip of the cover and the flavor of over a hundred years of knowledge and wisdom. Likewise, Solomon will break many things in our home without knowing about our sentimental attachments to them. I fully expect him to one day discover my wedding dress in the back of my closet and decide to “make it pretty” with magic markers.

#2) Need to be reminded of the rules 10,000 times.
Luna is not allowed on our couch at home. We bought it at Mrs. B’s Furniture Outlet when we moved in on a lucky break and we are trying to keep it as nice as possible for as long as possible. However, at my parents’ home, Luna is allowed on the couch. Now, I understand that this may be confusing for her, but we have been quite firm about her not being on the couch at home. We know she knows this, because she always waits until we leave the room before she jumps up on the couch. Lately, however, she has become more bold. If you are sitting on the couch, she will come over to you under the pretense that she “wants to snuggle”. She will lay her head on your lap and lick your hands and shove her head under your hand to tell you she wants to be petted. Once you start petting her, she puts her front paws in your lap. Then she snuggles you. Then her back leg begins to slowly creep onto the couch and next thing you know, there she is sitting on the couch with you as if it was the most normal and natural thing in the world. And every time she does it, she gets a spanking.

If Solomon is half as stubborn as I was as a child, he will need constant reminders of the rules as well.

#3) Get sick and make spectacular messes.
On Friday evening, we bought Luna one of those obscenely humongous rawhides in the shape of a candy cane. It was on Christmas clearance at Petco. She was very excited, as were we because we knew it would keep her occupied for some time. She happily chewed it for several hours that evening before we put her to bed. The next day, I let her chew for a few hours in the morning, and Christopher let her chew for a few hours that afternoon. Luna has a sensitive digestive system, but we weren’t too worried because she has had rawhides before and been fine. We were horridly wrong. She had a little bout with her bowels Sunday morning, so we decided to have her skip breakfast to give her stomach a break.

When we came home from church Sunday afternoon, we immediately knew something was wrong. Our house was filled with a putrid odor. Something dark was brewing in Mordor. I went to the basement to let Luna out of her kennel. What I found was straight out of a horror movie. Her entire lower half was covered in mess. It was all over her kennel. There was no where for her to go. She was so sad. We spent the next two hours giving her a bath, cleaning her kennel, cleaning the floor around her kennel, cleaning the carpet where we tracked in mud from trying to rinse Luna off outside, and cleaning up the vomit that was still coming out of Luna. We fed her the tried and true remedy of boiled chicken and rice to settle her stomach and sat with her in the kitchen for about an hour until we were confident she would keep her food down. She spent the rest of the evening sleeping on our feet while we ate a dinner of cereal, trail mix, and edamame. We tried to have her sleep in her kennel in case she had another accident, but after about an hour she started crying, so she spent the night curled up on the floor of our bedroom. This morning she was tried, but decidedly better.

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As we were cleaning and worrying over our sweet Luna, I came to the realization that this was not the last spectacularly disgusting mess we would be dealing with. Children get sick. They make messes. And you take care of them because they are yours and you love them. So while I know Solomon and any of his siblings to come after him will test and try us in ways Luna never will, I can’t help but feel that Luna has helped up stay realistic about taking care of children and overcoming any squeamishness we might have had. We are better people because of Luna, and we will be even better people because of Solomon.

Dads and Victoria’s Secret

“Where did that come from???”

The answer was pretty obvious. In fact, it was printed on the bag. But it appeared that my dad, as he gaped at the pink stripped shopping bag with pink ribbon handles and matching tissue paper playfully poking out of the top, had entered some kind of state of denial in which he was suddenly rendered illiterate. At first, I was slightly taken aback, because similar bags had been in the house in plain view before. It took me a moment to realize that my dad was joking (he does that sometimes). However, as my mom and I were laughing along with him, I realized that this situation has probably occured in many other households without as much laughter. In fact, it is probably accompanied with lots of yelling and door slamming and “You don’t understand me”s and “All of my friends do it”s.

The origin of this little bag? Victoria’s Secret.

Dads, let me clarify something for you: Victoria’s Secret is not the red lamp and candlelit brothel it appears to be on television.

Do they sell underwear? Yes. However, Victoria’s Secret does not just sell lacy and racy underthings that look like they will fall apart in the wash and are only made of Chinese silk and Italian lace. You can actually find granny panties and long sleeve pajamas there too. They also sell a wide range of beauty products and makeup, and even laundry detergent. Their entire PINK line is fairly tame and made of cotton, the most innocent of all fabrics.

Is the advertising provocative? You bet. Every picture in that store features a thin yet miraculously busty 20 something with sexy bedhead and the stereotypical half closed eyes and slightly suggestive half open mouth. It’s not those girls’ fault though. They just can’t breathe through their noses.

And this is perhaps where the danger lies in allowing your daughter to shop there. Every girl needs underthings of good quality, and Victoria’s Secret offers that. Unfortunately, if a young woman (or any woman for that matter) suffers from the insecurities that women often do, shopping there can be toxic.

On the recent day that I visited Victoria’s Secret, the outside windows featured the phrase “I love (it was actually a heart) my body.” The model in the backdrop was posing sideways in her undies to feature her tiny waist and hips and full bust. I found myself slightly offended. Now I know that it was designed to advertise for the “Body by Victoria” line but picture clearly gave the impression that there was only one type of body to love. I was saddened as I thought of the young women who would walk by the store that day and think, “If only I was as thin and pretty as her” and the older women who might think, “Maybe if I looked like that he wouldn’t have left or I would find somebody.”

This is just one of the many negative messages women receive every day that they are not good enough. And I realize that this topic has been discussed countless times. Today, I only offer a warning for fathers.

Dads: If you discover that pink bag in your house, it might be a good time to let your daughter know that what she wears on her body will never be as important as what she wears in her heart. This is a lesson that can never be repeated enough.