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Jan 18 2012

I Hate My Post-Baby Body

By at 11:48 am

Vulnerability is the new black and the Internet is a handy blank slate on which to pen our deepest fears and frustrations. So here goes: I hate my post-baby body.

Okay, let’s back up so I can give due appreciation to this fleshy place I’ve been living in for 38 years. The body is healthy, thank God. The body works fine – better than fine, actually, again thankfully, when it comes to producing funny, smart and healthy kids (pu pu pu).That stands to reason, as I do have what can be charitably called “birthing hips.” Yes, I’m a short curvy Jewess built for life in the shtetl. Slap a kerchief on my head and I’ll start singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.” I love to cook, host meals for many people, and eat – but that’s not really the problem. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 3 2011

Nice Jewish Girl Grows Up

By at 1:44 pm

I used to be really good at #5 but now that I'm a parent myself, not so much.

For years, the commandment to “Honor thy mother and father” always came ridiculously easily to me. I was the dorky kid in high school who, while I did my fair share of partying, never missed a curfew, and who always ran to tell my parents the details of every excellent grade or youth group accomplishment. In college I remained the nice Jewish girl, an overachiever who always wanted to please and impress my parents with tales of my academic successes and leadership activities. Sure, I had my wild frat party moments, but overall, I worked hard and made responsible decisions because I wanted to honor my parents’ unconditional love, generosity, and support.

Post-college, through jobs, grad school, and marriage, I remained the good Jewish girl, always wanting to obey, respect and please my parents. That is, until our baby Eliana was born three months ago.

All the sudden, there was a 7-pound, pink-clad, new boss in town.–and I stopped trying to please my parents. It wasn’t my hormone-ridden teenage years that initiated my rebellion and sense of independence, but my hormone-ridden early days of motherhood. All the sudden my new family of three became the priority.

It started the night she came home from the hospital, after an incredibly stressful five-day stay in the NICU. My husband, daughter, and I needed time to adjust to our new life at home. Pre-baby, when my parents used to visit, we’d all stay up late spending extra time with my mom and dad by watching old movies of my childhood. On that first night at home, I sent my parents back to their hotel room before 8 pm. And then every night after that for the remainder of their three-week visit. I was a new parent, and this was definitely new terrain. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 22 2011

Get Over Yourself, Mom

By at 11:13 am

The cocktail of postpartum hormones in a woman’s system – specifically, mine – after giving birth creates a mercurial temperament, to say the least. One second, you’re walking along, feeling groovy and grateful, and the next, you’re crying and wondering why you feel so alone, only to have the crying go away ten seconds later. It’s like those crazy summer days where, out of a clear sky, a sunshower pours down for seven minutes and then vanishes as though nothing has happened. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

All things considered, I’m doing fine. The biggest adjustment, as mothers of more than one child know, is not to the baby, but rather to the new number of children in the house. When you go from one to two kids, it entails a total recalibration of perspective and priorities. I vividly remember breastfeeding my younger son, R., and having my older son, Z, playing with a puzzle at my feet. Z is only a year and a half older than his brother, so this story takes place when he was just under 2. After about three minutes, Z looked up.

Z: Play with me, Mommy.

Me: As soon as I finish feeding the baby, sweetie.

Z: No. Now.

Me: I can’t. I’m sorry. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 19 2011

Welcome to the World, Madison Isabella!

By at 9:41 am

I’ve always been the odd childless one out on the Kveller blog, and while I certainly get my kicks writing about the babies of Jewish celebrities, nothing gives me more pleasure to announce that I finally have a baby to really kvell over: my new (and first!) niece, Madison Isabella!

At 5 lbs, 5 oz, Madison arrived a whopping 4 weeks early on July 12th in Chicago, and she and Mom are doing great. Now I just have to face the fact that the same older brother who used to give me noogies in the backseat of the Volvo station wagon is now a dad. And even weirder, my parents are grandparents! Though my mom looks nothing like the gray-haired, babushka-wearing image that it conjures, when deciding on what to be called, she’s intent on “bringing Bubbe back,” just to make sure that this baby knows she’s got a real live Jewish grandmother on her hands.

And if being an aunt wasn’t enough, last night I got the greatest gift of all while Skyping with Maddie (yeah, she’s already tech savvy): her parents showed off her newest onesie, pictured above, that says, “Will you be my Godmother?” It was just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen, and of course, I said yes! Considering that my brother is Jewish and my sister-in-law is Catholic, I’m not entirely sure just what that role will entail, but I’m sure I’ll learn all about it at the joint baby-naming/baptism planned for November.

Mazel Tov to the parents, grandparents, and whole slew of great-grandparents that Madison is lucky enough to have. Aunt Molly sends her love.

Jul 18 2011

Mazel Tov! It’s a Girl!

By at 3:02 pm

The little bundle of joy.

Time for more kvelling, folks! Our contributing editor Jordana Horn just gave birth to a little girl named Gabriella Ava. We love the name and hope that she and her husband are adjusting well to parenthood. (If you missed their story, this is her third child and his first, so we’re wondering if he’s learned how to change diapers yet.)

While we’re sure Jordana’s thrilled not to be pregnant anymore, we can’t wait to hear her birth story and what life is like with a baby girl and two older brothers. Hopefully they’re waiting to indoctrinate her into their world of Star Wars and Legos until she’s at least a few months old.

Mazel tov, Jordana and Jon!

Jul 14 2011

The Hazing I Never Had

By at 1:47 pm

Yes, all of this crying is just hazing for my new sorority, MOM.

I went to one of those colleges that lacked a Greek scene. That was alright with me, since I never really thought of myself as a Greek gal – until now. Since giving birth, I’ve been working on pledging my local chapter of the Mu Omega Mu (MOM) sorority.  My daughter Lila has been designated to oversee my pledging. Lila has dutifully spent each day testing my commitment to the organization and its values.

1. A New Identity- For starters, like most pledges, I have been required to accept a whole new identity. Yes, I am now Lila’s mother and not just Melissa; I expected that. However, I did not expect to feel like an industrial strength cow, which is how I feel most days. You see, when we learned in our prenatal class that newborns need to breastfeed 8-12 times a day, that was a fun factoid. Actually living it, and needing to clock each feeding – which can take 90 minutes including burping, especially if my baby is sleepy – is an entirely different situation. On many days, this is what I do. Keeping the baby fed is typically my daily accomplishment, because it is nearly always feeding time for Mini Moo. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2011

You Know You’re a New Mother When…

By at 2:13 pm

Time to write the sequel to this childhood classic.

“Are you my mother?” That baby bird’s question is the single most memorable line from my childhood library. As a newly minted mother it strikes me that a sequel to that story is in order. After all, it’s not just babies who need to learn to recognize their mothers. We need to recognize ourselves anew too, as our lives are completely redirected.

So, inspired by Lila and the other babies in our new Mommy and Me class, I present

“You know you’re a new mother when . . .”

1. Ergo. You spend so much time wearing your baby in her favorite Ergo Baby Carrier, it sometimes feels as if your pregnant belly is still with you. She’s there in a pouch on your front, sometimes kicking – only this time it’s on the outside of your belly.

2. Swaying. You’ve been known to dance to silent music while wearing your baby and waiting for street lights to change or for the train to start moving again. And then sometimes you realize you’re bouncing when you’re not even holding the baby.

3. Hearing. Remember when you could smell everything? Pregnancy’s Radar Nose has been replaced by Bat Ear. No matter where your baby is, you can hear her cry – if you haven’t simply sensed it already.

4. Phantom baby. There are times you’re semi-awake in bed, on your back, and you’re convinced your baby is laying across you and nursing. You feel her weight. And you’re afraid to move, lest she fall off you, so you wake your husband and ask him to pick her up, only to find there’s no baby on your chest, just your heavy milk-filled breasts.

5. Amnesia. You used to have the memory of an elephant; now you can’t remember anything without writing it down.

6. The future? You’re the newest Master of Focusing on the Here and Now. You can thank your daughter for that. You no longer have the energy or the desire to plan more than a day ahead.

7. All nighters! You’re getting less sleep now than you did in college. Wave to the birds chirping outside your window at 4am!

8. Partying! Your Saturday nights involve drinking too much and throwing up, only now the liquid in question is milk, and the protagonist is your daughter.

9. One hand. After taking typing in high school and perfecting your two-handed typing time over many years of emailing, you have regressed. If anything manages to leave your inbox, it’s brief and authored by the one-handed typist.

10. The gym. The only exercise you can manage is dancing the Bop and Bounce. You simultaneously bop from side to side while bouncing up and down to calm your crying baby. She loves it.

11. News. A news junkie, you used to get all of your news by reading it online. Now you have no time to read; instead you find yourself watching cable news while you, the on-call cow, nurse around the clock.

12. TV. You have become a regular viewer of both Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly’s late-night shows. You wish NBC had something better to watch at 2am than a bunch of random guys playing poker.

13. Getting dressed. You have given up on wearing all of your nice (read: dry cleanable) clothes. If the baby is going to pee or spit up on you, it might as well be on an old t-shirt.

14. Accessorizing. There are now two accessories you won’t move anywhere without – your nursing bra (for obvious reasons) and your watch, so you can keep your Mommy Cow appointments with your calf. If you leave home, your Bebe au Lait nursing cover becomes must-have accessory number three. Earrings and belts, by contrast, are now superfluous.

15. Luxury. To you, “luxury” now includes: five consecutive hours of sleep, a daily shower, brushing your teeth before 3pm, and the opportunity to eat your dinner without completely snarfing it.

16. Sleeping. A good night is one when the baby lets you both go to sleep at 2:30am, rather than keeping both of you up until 3:30 or 4:00am.

17. Outside. A good day is when the two of you actually manage to make it out the door, even for a walk down the block.

The high points of your day are holding your daughter as she sleeps peacefully, watching her smile and even laugh – typically while sleeping – and wondering what she is dreaming about, and generally being close to this little being who has completely transformed your life.

Motherhood is definitely harder, more physically taxing work than you anticipated, but there’s no going back. And that is a-okay with you, because when you can snatch a moment to reflect, you are totally enchanted by your Baby Girl.

May 31 2011

Welcome Lila Willow!

By at 1:46 pm

Lila Willow: 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 18.5 inches of adorable.

We’re big fans of babies and parents here, in case you hadn’t picked up on that. And we’re always excited when someone in the Kveller family reproduces. So today we’re sending our congratulations to blogger Melissa Langsam Braunstein and her husband on the arrival of Lila Willow.

Melissa reports that the labor was only 10 hours, which made some of us around the office a little jealous. Oh, and we hear that little Lila is her mother’s daughter already–they have the same ears.

Lila is making her parents very happy, and very exhausted. Mazel tov!

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