Category: Baby

Hannah: 7 & 8 Months

Hello Hannah Bee!

My sweet girl, what a BUSY past few months you’ve had! For a pandemic baby, we have tried to give you some new experiences, but I won’t lie, it is a challenge sometimes. We’ve noticed a bit of stranger danger, which we never experienced with your brother. Despite only knowing life with masks, you definitely prefer we don’t wear one. In fact, you love pulling them down when we are out and about! Let’s look back on your 7th and 8th month.

{Beaching} Daddy was so disappointed we weren’t able to take our annual Ocean City beach trip over the summer, so when we hit a bout of ‘covid fatigue’ that is where we went! We found a cute little Air B and B, went indoor golfing, ordered in meals, walked on the boardwalk, and introduced you to the beach. We had such a nice time just looking at four different walls despite the chilly weather. You had a great time as well! You were a little confused by the sand but loved running your hands through it. We booked the same location for our summer vacation so maybe we can dip your toesies in the water.

{Snow} You experienced your first snowfall too! We did go outside for a few minutes to cheer on the boys while they shoveled snow. You were interested, but I have a feeling you will take after me and enjoy it from the window with a good book and warm blanket.

{Moving and Grooving} In the past two days you FINALLY mastered crawling after what seemed like weeks of getting the arms right and flubbing the leg movement. AND to really keep us on our toes, you are pulling up as well. We got two play pens which we are calling ‘Baby Containment Units’ and you seem to like the freedom, and since they both have a side flap, Mike can join you.

{Doggies} You continue to terrorize the dogs who seem unfazed by you. We’ve caught you more than on either trying to put their ears in your mouth or their dog tags. Either way they just patiently sit there. We are working very hard on the concept of gentle hands.

{Food} Daddy is very happy he doesn’t have to worry about your not eating enough. GIRL. I am worried you are going to start eating the furniture. You get SO excited when we bring out the yogurt drops or a bottle. You’ve taken to holding the bottle on your own so you can manage how quickly you get the goods. So far you have enjoyed all the foods you’ve tried – but peas. We will get there – maybe when you can actually pinch and eat them. We also tried a mesh feeder thing (like a pacifier) and put some frozen fruit in it and you. were. thrilled. You sucked and gnawed on that thing until all that was left were the raspberry seeds. We are still waiting for teeth though!

{Sleeping} I am still in awe of your sleeping. Your brother was never a great sleeper (we didn’t really realize it at the time), but you don’t mind it at all! So many times I put you in your crib wide awake and you just find your bubba, stroke it, and fall asleep. Even when you wake up, most of the time you entertain yourself in your crib.

{Touching} You are super tactile. You love to stroke our hands, pick at the furniture to see what it sounds like, ‘pet’ your bubbas while you sleep, and try to scratch off the freckles on my chest. It’s so cute and oddly comforting. I love that you are exploring.

{Movies} Daddy and I miss going to the movies so much, so when I found out we could rent a movie theatre for throwback movies, I knew what we would do to celebrate my 38th birthday. We invited your cousins, Aunt Rachel, Uncle Dave, Aunt Cathy, Grandma, and Grandpa to see Despicable Me – a family favorite. I am not sure I would count it as your first movie, but you were so interested in the screen and being passed around to sit with everyone. It was really a fun experience.

My sweet, sweet girl. You are a joy. We are so thankful you are here.

Love, Momma xoxo

What I Did on My Maternity Leave

Today is my last day of maternity leave. Not only was it a strange time to be pregnant and give birth, it is also a strange time to have a newborn. Looking back on my maternity leave with Mike (which was really the result of being laid off before he was born) we were on the move a lot – lunches with Daddy, parks, walks, meeting friends and family … that did not happen this time thanks to COVID. To be honest, that might be been a blessing.

I took about 9 weeks and, while I am furious this country doesn’t have better maternity leave practices, I recognize how privileged I am to be able to use my leave bank to have this time.

Here’s what I did on my maternity leave:

{Nap} Good Lord did I nap. If you look at my Fitbit’s account of my nights it is up and down and lots of restless time. If you look at its record of my naps – it is SOLID BLUE meaning I was barely-breathing-might-be-in-a-coma sleeping. I ain’t mad about it either.

{Folklore} Taylor Swift dropped her surprise album Folklore and it has been on constant repeat.

{TikTok} I showed by age lately by wondering what ‘this TikTok new fangled app is all about’. Well I wish I found it sooner. The short videos are perfect for my attention span and the #sirivoiceover has me laughing until I am crying every time. I even tried making a few of my own!

{Moved my FIL to Assisted Living} It was fast and unexpected, but almost immediately after we got home from the hospital we realized S.’s Dad can’t be living alone any longer. Thankfully we were able to get him into an assisted living facility near us and I had the time to make phone calls and manage the logistics.

{Poshmark} I gotta unload all these beautiful maternity clothes I didn’t wear because I worked from home. So I was snapping pictures and making deals left and right.

{Games} Mikey got me hooked on Hungry Shark World and it is a great, mindless game where you are a shark and eat stuff. Also, I discovered Rusty Lake which is an escape room style game for adults. It has beautiful graphics and a rich backstory – definitely needs a trigger warning though.

But what I did the most was stare at this beautiful little nugget and wonder how I got so damn lucky to be her momma. I really took the time to get to know her and get all the baby snuggles.

Oh. And put her pacifier back in her mouth no less than 5,295,820 times during these 9 weeks. I counted. It was ridiculous.

Back to work on Tuesday. From home. With the baby. So basically maternity leave with answering emails and not taking two-hour naps.

33 Weeks: Cauliflower Blossom

How far along? 33 Weeks

Size of baby: The heads of a cauliflower. Last week she was an armadillo!

Total weight gain/measurements: 2 lbs since February. Miss Hannah is in the 70th percentile for her size, which is apparently a good thing.

Sleep: I am having a hell of a time getting comfortable and end up on the couch most nights. I am eating Restless Leg pills like they are Skittles (pregnancy approved) and going through our COVID toilet paper stash pretty quickly.

Best moment this week: It’s been a few weeks since I last updated, but we have gotten her room mostly set up (not organized), but things are in place. I packed HER hospital bag and started mine (totally out of character). And today at my MFM appointment, I was able to see her in 3D! I just wish the boys were with me. She also doesn’t like when I rest anything on my stomach. Hands, phone … no pressure. She kicks like a crazy woman.

Miss anything? Swimming – which gave me such relief when I was in the home stretch with Mike. Same for my chiropractor and massage therapy. Also, being able to bend over. Now I just kick things I drop to the side and figure they will stay there for a few more weeks or become someone else’s problem.

Food cravings: Caramel, cheesecake, scrapple, sausage

Symptoms: My hips and lower back are screaming, full body fatigue, super emotional … I’m fun to be around right now. Plus I just feel huge.

Pregnancy in the Time of COVID

Today I left my house for the first time in weeks. I drove with the windows down, radio up, and took the long way to my high-risk doctor appointment. Mike hasn’t been to school and S. and I haven’t been to the office in two weeks.

I had to go to my appointment alone this time. I had to call from the parking lot to let them know I was there. Then I had to go in to hand a receptionist, who was wearing a mask and gloves, my credit card. I have to admit, for the first time ever, I hesitated when she handed me a pen to sign the receipt.

I returned to my car, alone, to wait for yet another call. Once I was called back into the empty office I was rushed to an exam room. I saw one person who asked me all the normal questions. When I asked if I could Facetime my husband during the sonogram it was a quick and firm no – it is their policy and protocol. But nothing about what is going on now is normal ‘protocol’.

Then I saw pictures of our beautiful Hannah. Our 1.5lb beauty had a button nose, strong heart and very active (I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that). She has no idea what is going on. When I was this pregnant with Mike Sandy Hook happened and I cried. Now, I am too tired and overwhelmed to cry.

After printing pictures, I waited for 10 minutes for my doctor, who was at her house, to review my scans. During those 10 minutes, I texted with S. about whether I should stop at Staples to get a headset for my upcoming teleconference (no, I shouldn’t). Then the same nurse who did my sonogram returned to report back what the doctor said, ending with, ‘we will see you in 4 weeks, but don’t stop at the desk. Someone will call you to make an appointment so we can get you out of here as quickly as possible’.

I know this is going to be an amazing story for Hannah when she is older, and all babies who are born during this pandemic. But I can’t help but grieve for our family who is missing out on so much. So many pictures will be missing from her baby book – S. at doctor’s appointments, a 3D sonogram, grandparents feeling her kick, being celebrated at a baby shower with cute clothes, maternity pictures we’ve been planning for weeks … this is our last baby. We won’t have this time again and based on the pregnancy groups I belong to, I am not alone in this emotion. And creating new memories with us quarantined in the house is important and we are trying AND doing our part to flatten the curve so when July rolls around we will have a positive delivery experience.

Birth is Birth is Birth

By now you’ve probably seen the viral text between a momma planning her c-section and a birth photographer where the photographer is essentially shaming the momma for not having an ‘actual birth’. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a real text. I have a hard time believing a birth photographer would have this mean and visceral reaction – BUT it has prompted a lot of really cool pictures and articles about c-sections. As a c-section momma I love seeing these images! I really like the Huffington Post’s recent gallery.

Mikey was a planned c-section and I was more than happy about our decision. When our (amazing) OB/GYN said with my PCOS diagnosis and Mike’s growth history he would likely be 10lbs. That was all I needed to know to make my decision. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I pushed and pushed only to have to have an emergency c-section. I wanted Mike’s entry into the world to be as safe and with as less stress for him as possible.

Mommas – you do you. You find what works for you and your baby. Don’t let anyone tell you you ‘picked’ an easy out (pun intended) or that you’re choice was wrong.

Whether you have a vaginal birth, a c-section or pull him out of you ear – I think we can all agree that birth is birth. And in honor of my c-section – here are my favorite images.

47 Minutes

My Momma said I have to blog even in the bad times, and I am usually pretty good at that. I’ve prided myself on keeping it real because it’s important, not only for other mommas, but other women. Who wants to read about how I am super mom 100% of the time? I really am only 95% of the time and the world should know. Kidding, obvi. There’s a reason I called this blog ‘Muddling Momma’.

So, things have been super frustrating lately. At 10 months old MIke’s sleeping has become … an issue. We’ve let it go on too long and have made excuses and that is embaressing. Each night I feed him, rock him to sleep, put him in the crib once I knew he was asleep and the minute he would pop up (which was pretty much as soon as his head hit the sheets) I would whisk him away to the rocker and start over. Recently I started to feel super craptastic about this and started to feel chained to the rocker for at least an hour a night. Easter weekend at my parent’s house really made night time difficult and S. and I realized, enough was enough.

We’ve talked about sleep training before and when I’ve broached the topic on Facebook… well, it was right up there with talking politics, religion and gun control. Everyone had an opinion and stories. From ‘say good night, shut the door and don’t open it until the morning’ to ‘co-sleep until high school graduation’. Neither of these options felt right to S or me. I worried a lot about what all this said about me as a momma. Because I don’t subscribe to the traditional ‘Crying it Out’ method, am I coddling my kid? Setting him up for a life where I catered to his needs? If I didn’t cater to his every request, am I raising him to be a sociopath? Frankly, being exhausted wasn’t helping the brain function either. I know a lot of things we do as parent’s don’t make us feel good, but are necessary to raise functioning members of society.

I gave our daycare provider a call and said said the at nap time he goes into the crib ‘chats and sings a bit’, then goes to sleep. I can honestly say – I was pretty mad for a lot of reasons. First of all, I am calling our daycare provider to figure out how to put our son to sleep and secondly, because it was painful obvious Mike was playing us. Looking back on this conversation, S. brought up a good point. We, as parents, should never feel bad asking our daycare provider things like this since we are partners in our kid’s development, right? Right.

So S and I did some research and bought The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.  It’s a great book, but it is more for a younger kid – making me a feel even worse for not starting earlier when we could still swaddle. But we took a few of the ideas including the need for the RIGHT white noise. We’ve been using timed ocean sound machine, but Dr. Karp said by his age it is more annoying than helpful. So S. downloaded a white noise app, and found a rumbly noise and played it much louder than we would have thought – about as loud as a shower.

The other tip we took was a more rigid bedtime routine. So now it’s bath, bottle, book, snuggle, sleep. That makes sense, and though we did it before – we are making it much more deliberate. The first night he slept through and it was amazing.

Then the next night, not so amazing. And then the following? Even worse.

Yesterday we were at our wit’s end. In my searching of sleep training methods (there are tons)I came across Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman and though the concepts aren’t new – for whatever reason what she said and how she said it really struck me.

I know Mike isn’t crying because he feels abandoned or is confused, but Obleman really summed it up when she said he is crying because he is tired and doesn’t know how to fall asleep – and guess what? That’s not my job anymore. No one likes to hear their baby cry, but it is easier to take when I know it’s frustration and not anxiety or fear.

She also outlined 2 options for sleep training. One is a called Camping Out which is where you sit in a chair next the crib until he goes to sleep and every few nights move the chair further away. The other method is call Checking In where every few minutes (whatever you are comfortable with) you poke your head in and remind them you are there and you will see them in the morning. S and I agreed on the 2nd option, which seemed like a doable process. We agreed we were going to stick with it no matter how long it took.

It’s amazing how anxious I was all afternoon. I was pretty convinced it would be a long, painful night. And like with everything – the anxiety and worry was worse than what actually happened. Here’s how our night went:

6:30P – Bathtime!

6:45P – Into Mike’s room for a bottle and a book. We made sure the white noise was playing through out the process. We made lots of references to going nighty night.

7:00P – Lights out! We said good night and Mike was not happy.

7:03P – S. poked his head in and said good night. Mike cried harder. We watched him on the video monitor and he was crawling around the crib, standing up and bouncing. Clearly looking at the door. Every time he would calm down, we would start the 3 minutes over.

7:14P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.

7:17P – S. noticed on the monitor that Mike spit up a bit. So we followed the book’s suggestion. We went in, I changed Mike’s poopy diaper, S. changed the sheets.

7:27P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.

7:30P – S. was watching Mike on the video monitor just in time to see him literally projectile vomit down the wall. We went in, changed Mike, changed the sheets, wiped down the wall, wiped up the floor and … started again.

7:40P -S. went in again to stay good night.

7:45P – We noticed on the video monitor Mike was laying down doing the sniffling crying.

7:47P – Mike was asleep.

47 Minutes. 

That couldn’t have been it right? I was convinced he would wake up again. Around 2AM we heard him crying really hard, and as the book suggested, we were prepared to wait 10 minutes before going in to remind him we were there. 5 minutes into the hysteria – he was asleep again. We didn’t hear another peep until about 7:30A.


Oh. My. Gosh. 

I woke up thinking I could cure cancer, save the pandas, walk in stilettos, or do something equally amazing.

Even nap time today took, literally, 7 minutes of hysteria before he fell asleep.

This is so good, not just for him, but for S. and me. I feel like I am free from sitting in the rocker for an hour a night, and that will leave more time to hang with S., get stuff done around the house and just ease into MY nighttime routine. I was really starting to worry about how I was going explain to Mike’s college roommate why I was there every night to rock him. At some point it was just going to get awkward.

Tonight might be difficult, or even one night next week. I am not convinced we have a perfect, sleep trained baby, but damn if we aren’t moving in the right direction.

An Update

It’s Saturday right? Good grief what a week! Here’s all the details:

So I started my new job at Main Street Genome on Wednesday and it was a great day! I managed the commute in, but on the way home it took FOREVER. I had a bit of a meltdown, probably from being tired, overwhelmed and lost in DC (thank GPS. Thanks.). I pretty much had convinced myself that Mike would never know me because he would be asleep by the time I got home. And I didn’t want to be one of those mommas who work 12 hours a day and are content putting the baby to bed before catch the train back to the office. As always, that is fine for other mommas, but not me. S. talked me off the ledge (of course) and my commute times were much better the rest of the week. Plus, there is the idea that in a few weeks or so it won’t be every day. That, I can handle.

The team is great, and from what I gather no one discussed my wardrobe. Or if they did I didn’t hear about it. It’s very much a start up culture – jump in and get sh*t done. There’s a learning curve, but that’s to be expected. S. and I are figuring out the best organizational skills for us to be on top of things at home and he has been AH-MAZING this week picking up Mike from daycare, managing Charlie and getting as much done before I get home as possible. And doing it with a smile, which I always appreciate. We make a good team.

So … the diaper drive!

Guys, I am so humbled and touched by the outpouring of diapers, cash and notes. This idea sorta came out of nowhere, but the longer I look at the diapers stacked in my living room,the madder I get about the situation and the more fired up I get to do something. Especially every time I change Mike’s diaper. I can’t imagine ‘letting it dry out’ and putting it back on. I digress ….

As of today, I have 1252 diapers – almost half way to my goal! And if you count the $281 in donations I have, it might be safe to say I am more than half way there!! S. has been helping get the word out and Bruce Leshan from WUSA9 tweeted out the blog link and I got a few more hits. There is still more than a month to help me reach my goal of 3100 diapers by the end of March!

Pass the Lysol

I promised myself I would never write an apology post for being a bad blogger. But guys? I’m sorry. This whole week has been a blur. First of all, snow. It was just 5 inches but it has screwed this whole week up. My coworker’s kids are out of school so work is a little out of sorts. Mike’s daycare is closed and S. spent 2 days home because of the feds closing and having a wicked cold. As for Charlie, it’s too cold to take him for a good walk, and too cold to venture to Day Camp. Needless to say I am climbing the walls. But mainly, I have been doing laundry because everything Mike touches has snot or throw up on it. Poor guy has an icky cold which is more time consuming than I could have imagined 8 months ago.

Yesterday was the worst. All Mike wanted to do was be held. Not worn, not laying next to me – held. Which is difficult when I work from home and have a million other things to do. I really depend on his naps which is the obvious problem. I would rock and rock him to sleep, then rock until he was REALLY asleep, then put him in the crib and he would instantly become hysterical. I even let him cry it out for 15 minutes only to go in there and he had spit up over everything – blanket, sheets, himself, everything. Cue the momma meltdown which sent us both to a warm bubble bath to try to relax. By the time S. got home, Mike was a happy baby again as if to prove I am a total drama queen and liar.

Then came bedtime. Mike fell asleep at a decent hour and slept until 9P when he woke up suddenly hysterical. I brought him to S. in bed so I could finish some work, but he had yet to calm down by the time I finished, so I brought him to the couch with me. He calmed down a bit, we wiped his nose and then I heard it. The tummy grumble. By the time I registered what was about to happen, he had spit up all over my shirt. S. came to the rescue so I could get cleaned up, but then it happened again. But much worse.

All. Over. S.

Then again. All over his playmat which you think would be great because we could easily wipe it down, but we didn’t have that kind of luck. One of the star pieces was missing and when we lifted it up there was a perfectly shaped star puddle of throw up.  At the risk of sounding gross, the beagle was very excited. Back to the bathtub we go!



After a bath with a fussy baby and new jammies, which we are quickly running out of with all the washing, Mike snuggled with me on the couch while S. cleaned up the mess (he scored major major daddy points considering he is sick himself). Around midnight I went to put a very asleep Mike into his crib and he INSTANTLY woke up. Back to the couch where we both dozed off and when I woke up around 3AM he went into his crib without waking up. He must have felt some sort of remorse because he let me sleep until 8:30AM.

We seem to be on an uptick today, but still very clingy and spit-uppy making any sort of productivity impossible.

If this has bought with the cold has taught me anything, it’s sometimes you just have to do what’s best for your kid and if that means sitting on the couch snuggling watching Doc McStuffins, then so be it. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. And even then I will be waiting for him to wake up in the middle of the night.


Footloose and Fancy Free

So remember last week when I was convinced I was screwing Mike up because I wasn’t letting him cry it out when he was waking up hysterical in the middle of the night?

And remember all the things we tried to solve the random problem? Like buying a space heater and flannel sheets? Turning on white noise, turning off white noise, turning on talk radio, turning OFF talk radio, tushie pats, back rubs, formula, water, begging, pleading? None of those worked by the way.

So why was Mike waking up hysterical all of a sudden? Here is the conversation that went at our house on Friday morning.

Jackie (6AM): Holy crap! Mike slept all night! God is good!

S.: So what was different?

Jackie: I have no idea. None whatsoever.

(later in the day)

Jackie: His jammies didn’t have feet (to S. and his momma who was visiting)

S: What?

Jackie: Last night. His jammies didn’t have feet. His feet are always covered in the footed jammies. They weren’t last night.

S: There we go!

Jackie: If we do the footless jammies and he sleeps all night again, I am going to be pissed.

(the next morning)

Jackie: Mike slept through the night. I am cutting the feet out of his damn jammies.

So my dear friends … 3 weeks of sleepless nights, a doctor’s visit, countless hours researching night terrors and sleep training and he just didn’t like his feet covered. Duh.

If I don’t laugh, I cry.


Sleep Training Or Lack There Of

screwing my kid up



I really feel like I need someone smarter and more experienced than me to tell me what to do next with this kid. Honestly, things just don’t occur to me – like when to give solids or when to start weening him off the night bottle. I just never really gave it much thought. If it wasn’t for the BabyCenter emails Mike would still be in a swaddler eating 2 ounces of formula like he did in the hospital. Not because I don’t want him to grow up, but because it doesn’t dawn on me that things need to change. And my little bug is just so go with the flow he doesn’t usually make me think otherwise.

I joke with my Momma friends that each day is a day I wonder how I am going to screw him up. Today I’m pretty sure not starting sleep training earlier has screwed him up.

If you have been following me on Facebook, it isn’t a secret that Mikey isn’t sleeping. Well. He sleeps, just not like he should be (apparently) at this age. He goes down at 8P, wakes up HYSTERICAL at 11P and after we rock him back to sleep, he is up every hour or two after that. Some nights. Other nights it’s different, but this foolishness has been going on for 3 weeks. We’ve tried EVERYTHING – temperature, sheets, music, no music, white noise, no white noise, gas drops, Ibuprofen ….

Guys. I’m tired.

So. Tired. 

Yesterday we finally went to the doctor, who was very nice, but confirmed nothing was medically wrong with our boy. He was probably having a night terror and when we pick him up, he wakes up and for the rest of the night he cries because he knows we will pick him up and snuggle. Doc asked if we were sleeping training. Um. No. Don’t we start that when he is 10 or 15 or something?

It never dawned on me, or us for that matter, to sleep train. Don’t babies cry at night? It wasn’t a huge inconvenience to my schedule so I never gave it much thought. Until now.

Doc told us to let him ‘cry it out’ with the night terror since it will pass and he won’t remember it and you shouldn’t wake him up. For just the run of the mill waking up, he recommended the Ferber method. S. and I both have mixed reactions to that, but decided last night to give it a try.

Mike went down around 8P and he fussed a bit since he wasn’t totally asleep. 5 minutes later, I went in, patted his tush and he was out. See? Not that hard. Around 2A (!!!!) he woke up hysterical and S. and I decided to give it 15 minutes. I patiently watched the video monitor and rushed in at the 15 minute mark when he was still going strong.

But wait.

What was I suppose to do at the 15 minute mark? Pick him up? Pat his butt? Shit. I didn’t think that far ahead. So I picked him up and rocked him. Probably not the right thing, but I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to do. S. and I agreed to start researching other sleep training methods to start on Saturday night. Mike’s Bubbe is in town Friday night and it is just too much to try to get him on a schedule until it calms down in the house.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like to hear my baby cry. I hate it, but I have it in perspective. Short term pain for long term gain, as long as he is safe. I am just not sure the Ferber Method is the right one for us. Co-sleeping isn’t right for us either. There has to be something in the middle right? What has worked for your little?