Strawberry Patch

For the first two months of Evy’s life, I thought she had a blister on her upper lip from nursing. My “What to Expect the First Year” book assured me that nursing blisters are common and not painful for the baby, so I didn’t think twice about it. Then we visited my husband’s family, which consists of a bunch of doctors and other highly educated individuals, and his cousin who happens to be a pediatrician mentioned that Evy’s blister might, in fact, be a hemangioma.

This word brought visions of my Anatomy and Physiology flashcards to mind.

oma: suffix meaning “tumor”

mick: name of new mother that wasn’t worried, now very worried

She saw the flicker of panic in my eyes and broadened her description. It’s actually a birthmark that occurs often on Caucasian infants. Sometimes people call it a “Strawberry Patch.”

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, a hemangioma is a “birthmark that appears as a bright red patch or a nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin. It grows during the first year of life, and then recedes over time.”

After reading this, I was adequately mollified. Plus, I heard from my mom that I had one on my forehead soon after being born. Evy’s so lucky she has it on her lips. She has a constant pout that rivals Angelina’s. I almost hope for her sake that it doesn’t recede.

Once I started explaining to people that Evy’s lip had a birthmark, lots of people told me stories of how they had one or someone they knew had one.

One of those stories makes me smile every time I notice Evy’s pouty lip. My cousin Courtney had a large hemangioma on her belly until she was about five years old. Her older sister was telling me how Courtney would meet people and, soon after being introduced, lift up her shirt and proudly show off her Strawberry Patch. She’d walk around the house topless, flaunting her birthmark to her three sans-strawberry-patch siblings. Cami, her sister, told me how jealous she became of Courtney.

“I wanted a Strawberry Patch so bad!”

Courtney gloated about her special mark until it disappeared.

I don’t know how Courtney came to believe that her birthmark made her special. It might have been my aunt Lauri convincing her it was something to be proud of, or it may have been something Courtney believed herself.

I love this story though and I hope that when Evy finds something unusual about herself I can promote this kind of thinking in her.

A mark of distinction rather than an imperfection.

How could she not be proud of these puckers?

lips

#Madly

You know you’re madly in love with your baby when, during her naptime – the time when you should be working…vacuuming…exercising…calling people…emailing…folding clothes…or taking your own nap – you end up looking through all the pictures and videos you have of your baby in your phone.

Time wasted?

Never.

Scary World

“We’re recommending to people that they stay home … and that they don’t go anyplace and congregate in large crowds.”from CNN.com

The world is scary.

You might get hurt if you go outside.

Strangers are dangerous. Do not trust anyone.

After the explosions that happened in Boston today, I’m sad to think of how the world will look when Evy is older. Actually, not so much the world, more the U.S.A.

In other parts of the world, people have lived with this kind of fear and uncertainty for decades. Senseless violent acts against the innocent are commonplace. I can’t imagine being a mother and wondering if the trip to the grocery store will be interrupted by a suicide bomber. Or if a terrorist group might recruit my son to be that bomber. Or if a militia will raid my village and steal the innocence of my daughter.

Sadly the list of “or ifs” goes on and on.

Today we saw a glimpse into how that might feel. When something as innocuous as a marathon is forever tainted by the a memory of something evil.

To be fair, this isn’t the only evil act of recent years to remind us of our nation’s decline. Shootings, corruption, sexual scandals, and attacks all come to mind.

This is a tough one though. Three people are dead and hundreds are injured because someone was mad and wanted to be noticed. That person or persons ruined a type of event that has always inspired rather than dismayed.

I pray for all those affected by today’s events, and I also pray for those people in other nations who feel this sadness daily.

Thank you Lord for letting us know that this is not how things are supposed to be.

An eternity is waiting that makes a lot more sense than this.

“The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.” Psalm 22:26

Parenting Tip #426

In preparation for parenthood, I’ve asked a lot of seasoned veterans for advice. My favorite answers are the unique ideas that are specific to real-life situations. Here’s a little nugget of wisdom from my super mommy sister-in-law:

Put the Gimme’s in Your Pockets

Whenever my sister-in-law would take her three children to the store, she would always stop them at the front door and tell them to “put the gimme’s in your pockets.” Hearing this command, the children would swipe a hand over their open mouth and “grab” their gimme’s, then place them in their pockets.

“Gimme’s” of course being the incessant requests for everything on the shelves.

She said this was one of the greatest ideas she had as a parent. She walked through the grocery store watching other children have meltdowns and tantrums while her kids calmly cruised the aisles. They had already put their “wants” away.

This one’s a keeper folks.

Boob Tube

While nursing, especially in the early weeks, I watched more than my fair share of television. Way more.

When you have one hand holding a boob in position while the other is holding a baby, there aren’t many options for entertainment. What you need more than anything is something to distract you from 1. the severe pain from the super-suction vacuum at your nipple 2. the fact that your breasts will never be the same and 3. the knowledge that the rest of the day will consist of spit up, poop, pee, blood-curdling screaming, no sleep, and more nursing. (And, of course, the greatest gift you could ever imagine).

Netflix, Hulu, and Xfinity became my best friends. I looked for the addictive type shows. The ones that make you want to stay up watching a marathon until three in the morning. Because as a new mom, three in the morning is prime feeding time.

Here’s my Boob Tube Top 5:

#5  Suits – The only thing keeping this show from being higher on my list is that there are just two seasons available on Hulu. Ideally, a Boob Tube show should have at least three seasons. However, the relationship between Harvey and Michael is just too fun to resist. It’s a show about the cutthroat environment at a powerful legal firm in New York. The main character, Michael Ross, is the genius-slacker type. He accidentally gets a job at the high powered firm even though they only hire students from Harvard Law. His photographic memory and quick wit make each episode memorable. Plus, when you’re a nursing mother hanging out in your P.J.s all day, it’s fun to whisk yourself into the corporate world of Gucci suits and Louboutin heels.

#4 Downton Abbey – Talk about addictive. Many people are currently in obsessed mode over this show and rightfully so. It’s a British period drama covering the early twentieth century. Various historical events take place throughout the three seasons of the series, including the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the dissolution of the British social hierarchy. The allure of the show, however, is in the relationships between the royal family and the “help”. In some ways it’s simply a glorified soap opera that makes viewers feel sophisticated thanks to the British accents. Even so, my boorish, unrefined American self could use some lessons in etiquette from the Brits (as I write a blog entitled “Boob Tube”).

#3 Parenthood – If I were ranking shows without the whole “nursing mother” spin, Parenthood probably wouldn’t make my top five. Top ten maybe, but top five, not likely. The series revolves around three generations of the Braverman family, and it’s loosely based on the classic film from the 80’s with the same title. The writers of the show have managed to fit in almost every issue a family could face in the modern day world, making it practically impossible for viewers not to connect with it in some way. Even though the story line can sometimes feel trite, it is warm and inviting. After a few episodes you can’t help but feel as though you’re part of the Braverman clan. Also, as a new mother, you realize that the serious issues they face (e.g. Asperger’s syndrome and infertility) could happen in any family and you may learn from how the characters approach these subjects.

#2 Homeland – Again, only two seasons, but this show is ridiculously good. I’m not going to write a synopsis because I think everyone should go into it totally clueless. That’s how I did and I was completely taken off guard by the sheer awesomeness of this series. You will be addicted and you’ll end up wishing your baby would feed for even longer periods, despite the pain.

#1 30 Rock – 30 Rock tops the Boob Tube top five because it’s so quirky that a postpartum nursing mother who is cruising the hormonal highway to Nutsville is in the perfect state of mind to appreciate the show. To be honest, if I watched it now as opposed to one week postpartum, I don’t know if I’d laugh as hard as I originally did. Either way, it felt like a God send at the time. I sometimes laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face and falling on my nursing baby. I actually felt pain from the shaking my laughing would cause, which forced me to readjust the latch. The combination of Tina Fey’s self deprecating humor with the hubris of Alec Baldwin was magical in my mommy mind. Plus, the six, and soon to be seven, available seasons on Netflix burned through a lot of nursing sessions.

Throughout the past 4.5 months, I’ve watched many shows in addition to the five listed above. Some were good, most were bad, and none were as helpful through a challenging time as the Boob Tube Top Five.

What show helped you while breastfeeding?