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A Different World

January 23, 2013 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Life is full of things you don’t pay much attention to. Until you have to. Like when you’re running late for an appointment and you’re 10 people deep in line at the grocery store talking yourself into going to the self-checkout lane. You know why those lines are virtually nonexistent? First, because rarely can you find the right buttons to key in for the produce (how many types of green peppers are there?). Plus, you have to bag your own stuff and as easy as it looks, there is a science behind it. Third, the annoying automated voice keeps telling you to put the item in the bag. Like you don’t already know that was the goal!

The point is, your world is full of things and places that you are familiar with. What’s the point in taking a path that you don’t need to just to see where it leads? Go where you need to go. And honestly, before you have kids, going some places is pretty scary.

Take Babies R Us. Until expecting a child, you were just fine shopping at the mall and boutiques. A warehouse like that is nearly the same as traveling to a foreign country. Which is why a map would be handy. Throw in a translator and a tour guide, and you’re good to go.

The clothing selection alone is overwhelming: clothes for infant girls, clothes for infant boys. Outdoor gear. Bedtime gear. Getups for Christmas, Halloween, and the 4th of July. No wonder babies crap so much. They’re totally on to the fact that they are one diaper away from a costume change.

And speaking of diapers, that place is like an art gallery just for them. It may very well be the only time diapers look so appealing. A whole wall filled with nothing but diapers. And not the kind of wall you have at home. A wall that is just slightly shorter than a football field. From preemies to potty training and plain to decorated, they’ve got ’em. In boxes and bags. I’m so hoping we’ll have such a selection for adult diapers.

But when you get ready to have your baby, you’ll learn how to navigate such places. You’ll see why it’s best to avoid them on Black Friday, eat before you go, and plan an exit strategy.

You’ll grow to appreciate the two rows Walgreens dedicates to pediatric medicines, wipes, and jar food. Not to mention the one that has alcohol too! Every Target store within five miles of your house will be your new favorite place to go (bonus points for the ones that have Starbucks and those slushy drinks). And you’ll be on a first name basis with the pharmacist at Walmart too.

As for the self-checkout lane, you’ve been warned.

How’s Your Schedule Look?

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

By Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

First her boobs were too big. People wanted to know what size they were, and if they were real. If only someone had told her that Chicken of the Sea was in fact tuna and not chicken, she would have avoided public scrutiny on that one. But who had time to dwell on that when there was a marriage, a divorce, a new relationship, and eventually a baby to gossip about.

The life and times of celebrities. This time I’m referring to Jessica Simpson. She’s blonde. She’s pretty. And she lives under a microscope. After she gave birth to her first child that microscope narrowed in on her weight gain. The media wouldn’t let up about her weight. Then she signed with Weight Watchers. Great. Now she could make a gazillion more dollars, shed a few pounds, and maybe get a few star-gazing vultures off her back. But then,.seven months after she gave birth to her baby girl, it was rumored that was preggers again. You could almost hear the collective gasp across the country. Here we go again.

And this is where terms like “oops baby” and “surprise child” come into play.  “Oops” is dropping your keys in the toilet. A “surprise” is finding them in the drain pipe. But why do we have the terms anyway? If you have intercourse, then you gotta know it could happen.

It comes down to “it” happened, but not according to the schedule you thought. Big deal. You’ll have baby pushers riding your butt from the moment you say “I do.” Those are the people that apparently have nothing better to do than ask you when you’re having kids. Every chance they get. The same ones that will not be offering free babysitting once the kid is born. For them your timing is all off. If you have a baby too soon, they say you didn’t have a chance to know your partner. If you wait too long, they say you’re too old.

You can’t always do things on a perfect schedule. If you have a child earlier than what you had in mind, go ahead and consider it unscheduled. If you have babies later than you thought, you could call it an adjusted schedule. If you have kids more than a few years apart, just see it as a full schedule. And when you have ‘em super close. That is a very tight schedule.


A Party to Remember

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

There are times when you feel like an outsider. Clearly, you have lost your flock.

Ever go to a dog park, but you don’t have a dog? Don’t be shocked to see people happy to see their Fido smelling Sparky’s butt! Seriously?

How about one of those candle parties? You prefer electricity. A room full of women bursting with excitement over the various scents. You just keep thinking they’re decorative fire hazards.

Or a Mary Kay party. Most of the ladies are giddy about the new line for the season. You just wonder if you still have to mix water with it to use it. That and how much of it will it take to make you look like the model on the cover of the brochure.

And even though you may have always wanted children and enjoy being around them, until you’re pregnant, you’re not truly an insider. But going to a baby shower will get you a little closer. However, it’s sort of a different world. Kind of like being a bridesmaid. Once you do it, you’ll be in the know.

The carefully crafted invitation is so cute it makes you want to get pregnant. It includes every pastel color imaginable, with graphics of baby bottles, the alphabet, diapers, and little angels. Seriously, why aren’t invitations for adult parties that adorable? At best, we send out an e-mail with a colon and half a parentheses to make a smiley face.

Yep, a party for someone who isn’t even born yet! They have yet to make it to the outside. But fetus shower doesn’t have such a nice ring to it. And it may seem like baby showers are over the edge. The balloons six blocks away directing traffic to the shower destination. More balloons lining the entrance of the actual party place. Cake shaped like a building block, melons cut into the shape of pacifiers, and mini baby bottles filled with candy.

And inevitably, games will be played. No one likes them. But everyone plays them.

The mood is light. People are genuinely happy to be there. It isn’t just the spiked punch—they really want to wish you well. No one goes to the showers for the games. Food maybe. Games not so much.

And the guest list includes all your favorites. From Godmothers to co-workers to college roommates—they might all be there. Think about that. When else would all those people be together with you? As a living person. Not even a Lady Gaga show, a weekend in Vegas, or a bachelorette party would do it. Well, unless your Godmother is really hip.


Belly of the Beast

December 6, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Jumping, touching your toes, and sitting up. For the most part, those are things that are easy to do. At least two of the three are included on those awful physical fitness tests we endured in grade school. You know: The ones you dreaded because the entire class watched. That’s okay, because if you passed all the gazillion mini boot camp drills, you got your name written on a cheesy pre-printed certificate.

When you really think about the transition your body goes through during pregnancy, on one hand, it’s amazing. On the other hand, it’s frightening. It takes less than 10 months for your body to transform another being from a tiny dot to a full-fledged human. Not an alien. A real human.

During that journey, your body won’t function the same as it once did. Consider how long it usually takes you to sit up. Pre-pregnancy, probably less than three seconds. To get an idea of how long that takes during pregnancy, go back to a time you were curious about ladybugs and beetles.

So there you are, watching a bug climb up a stick or across the lawn. He was just minding his own business. Doing bug stuff. And then suddenly you had the genius idea to see what happens if you turn the bug onto his back. His little legs and antennae flail around trying to grasp the ground that you took away. How many times can you recall a bug flipping back over to its rightful position? Well in a less insecty kind of way, it’s the same when you have a bulging belly.

Along the same lines, by the 7th or 8th month, you have a difficult time jumping. Which isn’t that bad. Jumping jacks are a distant memory, and if something excites you, you can always clap your hands.

Later in your pregnancy, you give up all hope of touching your toes. Don’t worry, if you are concerned that they’re still there, wiggle them. It’s almost hilarious tying to bend down that far. It’s reminiscent of a Weeble Wobble.

Sitting up? If you are already in an upright position, you’re fine. But if you’re lying down, you’re about as good as a ladybug on its back.

Who Needs to Know

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Once you get pregnant, you gotta figure out who you tell. Once upon a time, you swore by the same rule as winning the lottery. Tell no one and get an attorney. But the reality is that just when you think no one besides you and the baby’s father needs to know, the list of people you realize you really have to tell begins to form.

Your best friend from high school needs to know because, well she knows everything. You can’t withhold something like pregnancy. It’s totally against the rules. And you might want to tell your best friend from college. She saw you through three different apartments, two breakups, and one change of your major. Your in-laws have asked you for two years when you plan on giving them grandchildren. Perhaps if you tell them, they’ll be shocked into being quiet. Maybe it’s okay to let your cubicle-mate at work in on the information too. Because when fatigue, mood swings, and bizarre food cravings kick in, he’ll understand you’re not being the usual strange you.  You’re being  the pregnant strange you. And what the heck, for good measure (and because you can’t keep your trap completely shut) you add on the neighbor, the banker, and the mail carrier. Yep, no one needs to know.

Pregnancy can be one of those things that you kind of want to keep to yourself. Like telling people who you voted for or how much money you make. Or what your GPA was in college. There’s so much coming at you, it would be nice to dissect some of it before the masses chime in with their unsolicited advice, comments, and suggestions, such as:

“Are you going to stay at home with the baby?”

“Please don’t post every picture you take of the kid on Facebook!”

“You aren’t going to be using the break room to pump in are you?”

“Seriously, you should try labor without any medication.”

It’s like a snowball of all verbal assaults headed your way.

Speaking of the swarm, can you imagine how Catharine, Duchess of Cambridge must have felt? She‘s not out of the first trimester yet and anyone with a smart phone, laptop, or a television knows she and Prince William are expecting. To make matters worse, she was hospitalized with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Acute morning sickness. And now the whole world is watching. And speculating. And judging. Yeah, that’s gotta make that puking a whole lot easier to deal with.

So you tell a few people. And then a few more. You’re just excited. After all, it’s much more fun discussing your pregnancy than your college GPA.


Naming Rights

December 3, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Names are important. Buildings, dogs, and really big storms have them. And as a person, you kind of need one so people can call you something. You can’t go a whole lifetime with people saying, “Hey you!”

Who didn’t fill up a Mead notebook or stacks of loose-leaf paper practicing writing the name of your first love? Over and over. And then when you were sure it was true love, you wrote your first name with his last. It just flowed.

That’s sort of the same excitement you have when you think of names for your baby. Names for girls. Names for boys. First. Middle. Last. You want to get the name right, but just the same you want a name that fits your kid. Therein lies the problem: You haven’t met your kid yet. You can ooh and ahh over those ultrasound pictures all you want, but they don’t give you a clue about your child’s personality. At best you can find out if he’s a thumb sucker. What kind of name goes with that? So you muddle through trying to figure out if William is going to work or should you go with Brandon instead? Maybe you’ll name your daughter Isabella, but call her Bella for short.

When I was pregnant, I thought the name Malcolm was good. Didn’t even make it to the top 10 list because it reminded my husband of Malcolm Jamaal Warner from The Cosby Show. So? He was a successful child actor.

Reese was great. Well, at least until it wasn’t. Suddenly little baby Reese’s started popping up everywhere.

Niles sounded nice. Problem there? My husband met a rather naughty boy with that name. Plus, that was the name of the brother from the TV show Frasier. Suddenly, “Hey you” was sounding pretty good!

Somehow we settled on Miles for our oldest son. So did a lot of people that year. That’s like buying a car and feeling kinda cool because you think you’re the only one with that car. Then everywhere you go, you see the same minivan you have. Sure, you might see different colors, but it’s the same van!

When I was pregnant with our younger son, my husband and I couldn’t settle on another “M” name for our youngest, so we made up a name: Maxon. Ninety percent of people get it wrong, so he goes by Max for short. To date there are five other Max’s at his school. Sadly for him it’s one of the most popular dog names. If we open the door and call out, “Max!” half a dozen kids and two dogs might show up. I’m pretty sure that might be why he said he’s changing his name when he turns 18.

And perhaps this might be the worst comparison, but you know how puppies grow into their paws? Kids, will grow into their names. Come to think of it, they’ll do some amazing things for treats too.

Seriously, have fun choosing your baby’s name. But this time, maybe keep the name of your first crush of the list. Unless of course he’s your baby’s father. Parenthood is awkward enough.

A Dad’s View

November 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

We’ve all heard tall tales passed down from generations past.  Stories that are so old we can’t possibly verify their authenticity.  So outrageous we’re sure they can’t be authentic.  You know the story of how your grandparents had to walk a mile to school.  Barefoot and through the snow. Your parents studied tirelessly into the night.  By candlelight.  An uncle shot the biggest buck in a tri state area.  When he was 10 years old. A cousin spotted Big Foot.  Alone.

Childbirth is fodder for stories.  We women could talk for hours about birthing experiences: from the intensity of the labor pains to the never ending pushing. It took me until I had kids to realize that all that pain, discomfort, and anxiety molds into a distant memory.  Well sure we can recall a good story over cocktails or in the presence of our gal pals.  But for the most part once we inhale that brand new baby smell, we’re suckers.  Oh that wasn’t so bad, we say to ourselves.

But do you ever wonder what men go through during the actual birth?  Okay, some guys may be joking around with the hospital staff, taking more video than necessary on his cell phone, and playing with those rubber gloves, but baby birthing is big kid stuff and for some men, the experience stays with them. Not always in a good yeah-I-was-there-for-the-whole-birth-and-cut-the-cord-and-everything kind of way.

Martin Daubney form England recalled how seeing his wife labor for three days before eventually succumbing to a C-section made him not want to have sex with her.  For over a year.  Say what?????

He explained, “I felt guilty; I had made her pregnant, so surely I was to blame. That’s what made me terrified of love-making — I didn’t want to put her through that trauma again.”
Over a year? Okay, I had to ask my husband if he saw me (or rather my girl parts) differently because of watching our kids being born.

“No dear,” he said. “I wasn’t even looking at it like that.  It was more of a clinical thing for me.”

He was excited that my doctor saved the after birth for him to see the after from our youngest son’s birth. Yep.  Dude had a little science sidebar going on.

As of writing this, men cannot give birth.  Okay, there was that one guy that Oprah interviewed.  So it’s nice that there is some type of sympathy for what labor does to our bodies.  And 36 hours of labor is a very long time.  But man, so is a year without sex.

So That’s What They Look Like

November 21, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

We all understand things. Maybe not all of us get all things. But most of us get some things.

Things I understand? Zumba, counting by two’s, and how to make a mean batch of mac ‘n cheese. Things that I don’t get? Maps, roundabouts, and ultrasounds. Do we really need maps? They are virtually impossible to put back the way you’re supposed to and the print is often too small to make out. Can’t someone just tell me how to get there?

Seriously? Roundabouts? We did very well for a long time without them in this country. This is a cruel way to force some of us to go around in a circle for five minutes, working up the nerve to bail. Roundabouts are to traffic as double dutch is to jumping rope. Near perfect timing and the ability to enter total chaos are necessary for both.

And then there are ultrasounds. The first picture proof of your baby’s existence.

I had three ultrasounds done with my first son. Each time it was as if I were watching a movie that I had seen before but wasn’t immediately sure how it ends. My doctor smiled and pointed out where she could see the heartbeat. I just smiled and wondered if I needed glasses. It pretty much looked like what you see on your TV when a station is off the air. Very grainy. But as long as that grain had a heartbeat I was happy. Although subtitles would have been nice.

Just recently I took a look at the copy of the second ultrasound. I must have eyeballed it for five minutes before I realized it was upside down. Sadly, it made no difference. At that visit My OB was pointing out the different parts of the baby’s body. I was so amazed to see his sweet little bottom. Imagine my embarrassment when she told me that was his head! It was like being in advanced Algebra, when you are still working on your addition flash cards. I wondered how the heck she could tell what anything was. I looked so hard at that ultrasound, I strained my eyes. All I saw were light spots and dark spots. Thousands of them.

Ultrasound number three. Now, we’re talking. I didn’t need any translation this time. I saw a head, and an arm. There was a hand with little fingers! That was my baby. My first reaction was to cry happy tears. Then, I wondered why he looked so much like ET.  Perfect. One more reason to scarf down a bag of Reese’s Pieces!

It’s How You Play the Game

June 26, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Winning isn’t everything. Our parents told us that, and we tell our kids that. It’s about having fun and how you play the game. But it can be a bit ironic how things change when it’s convenient for us.

How many times are you there screaming from the sidelines, “It’s okay that you missed a shot sweetie. Just keep having fun!”? Or wonder how the ref could have messed up a call that messed up your kid’s team that messed up the whole game?

My kids played against a team that had one of the loudest, most aggressive coaches I’d ever seen. She was red in the face and yelling their names so loudly we all took note. I was thinking she’s just what we need for boot camp. Not a youth soccer league. She had me a bit scared, and I wasn’t a kid on her team.

And you just knew your kid would get the lead in the school play. Until she didn’t. Did you try to convince her that having a non-speaking part in a crowd scene would be just as fun? Sure, you’d be there with the camcorder during the performance, but there’s a good chance there would be audio of you saying, “Yep there she is. Third row top left. She should be singing, but the music director was clueless.”

Moms get competitive too. Ever been to a rummage sale? I’m talking the really good, big ones like they have at schools that take up nearly every classroom. These events are very much like opening day for baseball. And yes, there might be people camped out hours before in lawn chairs, just like at a tailgate party. And when those doors open— game on! Hoarders, hunters, gatherers, you name it. These ladies are grabbing the goods and make no apologies for stuffing their bags full of as much as they could, bumping into others along the way.

But for a moment, consider the story about high school junior Meghan Vogel. During a track meet, she saw an opponent collapse near the finish line. Not only did she stop running, but she went to the aid of her opponent, helping her up and cross the finish line—first!

Now there is some food for thought as we go about our busy days, passing others by. But maybe the next time we see that very pregnant mom in line at the store, we let her go first. As far as the gotta-be-first rummagers go, let them push their way in to be first. You can go back tomorrow—when all the goodies are half price!

A Million Ways to Raise a Child

June 24, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

There’s a lot of discussion on how to raise our children. Breastfeeding, daycare, and cold remedies are all up for debate. As long as there have been babies, there’s been advice on what you should and should not do.

I recall an older relative talking about putting a little alcohol in the baby’s bottle. Umm, doesn’t that seem a bit unhealthy, illegal, and just wrong? Now a glass of wine for the parents, I get. I don’t remember my parents letting me have alcohol at age 10, 16, or 20. I mean couldn’t that lead to other problems? Like a drunk baby?

Or how about the advice to put oatmeal in the baby’s bottle with milk? This might very well be the reason that I’m turned off by the sight of oatmeal. Unless it’s in cookies.

Some people might tell you to wait to cut your child’s hair until he’s one year old. There are different reasons why, such as  his speech will be impaired or he won’t learn how to crawl. I cut my son’s hair before he was a year old. I had to because I didn’t think the sheep dog look was cool. Not sure what to do with all that freshly cut hair, I placed it in a Ziploc bag. And once a year, he takes take the bag and runs around the house boasting, “This was my hair when I was a baby!” His speech and motor skills are fine, and he has a bag of hair to play with once a year.

Making sure to get professional photos of the kids every year was another suggestion given to me. Admittedly, it’s very cool to line the pictures up and see the changes from year to year. But that generally requires a cute little dress or nice slacks and a tie that realistically they will wear just for that photo. And yes it is possible that they will poop on, upchuck on, or otherwise destroy that outfit the day of the photo shoot. And no matter how hard the photographer tries, there’s a strong likelihood that the kid won’t smile. All that for around $150. That was cool until the recession. Now we set it up at home. I set my expectations low: Wear what you want and try to look in the direction of the camera.

When you first bring the baby home, tons of people chime in, telling you to let him cry to sleep. That might be easy for a seasoned parent, but we need to be a bit easy on the newbies. When you go from no kids and quiet nights to a baby screaming at excessive decibels, you get a bit freaked out. Those tiny creatures can cry for long periods. It’s similar to a recorded loop of the same cry. Only it’s not recorded. It’s live. In your house.

Best advice? Do what works best for you. Even if that means that you run in to pick up your long-haired crying baby every time he cries.

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