Reward

Creating new habits in order to starve off others.
Curbing habits in order to feed others.

I’m fascinated by the various ways people accomplish tossing bad habits.
And, I always wonder how successful people become motivated, and then stay motivated. This is a skill I have never mastered.

Some people drink diet Coke so that they can eat ice cream.
Some people workout every day after work so they can go out drinking on the weekends.
Others start a chewing gum addiction to help them quit smoking.
Some people elevate their goals to be of monumental, yet attainable heights, and visualize that goal daily while working so hard to achieve it.

Some use positive reinforcement.
Some use negative consequence,
I truly believe that some people just possess innate drive.
Personally, I need both positive reinforcement and reward. And that reward needs to be different than anything else I’ve ever received, unless it’s money. (Cold hard cash is always an effective motivator.)

Having a baby and raising one has been hard.
The rewards are confusing: they are tiny and huge at the same time. However priceless and invaluable they are, they are easily taken for granted.
The reward is also not immediate: waiting for that first smile seemed like years, yet 3 months later I can’t explain why I don’t try to capture the barrage of smiles beaming from her every few minutes.
It also hard because the goal is not clear and is forever changing.
So far, my goals have ranged from: “keep your unborn baby safe” to “prevent an ear infection by un-sucking all the boogers” to “choose the best babysitter” to “start a college saving plan.”

My daughter is my new habit.
It has starved off many many many other habits, some that are missed and some which are forgotten.
And seeing her smile is one of the best rewards I never knew to ask for.

Useless Inbox

Who the heck uses email for anything but shopping anymore?

My inbox is forever filled with coupons and urgent sale notices.
It’s my “last chance” for a “one day sale” which “ends tonight”, and I’m constantly asked to “click for savings”, and to “hurry.”

Why bother with email?
We have Facebook messaging, and free texting…Skype and FaceTime…we can even free-text via app now!

Honestly, I’m shocked stamps still exist these days.

Maybe the next trendy thing will be to use a locally-crafted landline telephone to actually speak to a person?

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The Lesbian Lifetime Evolution

Disclaimer: This evolution does not apply to all lesbians…it is merely opinion and a micro-cultural observation-based account.

A woman realizes she loves women.
Living consists of relationship-making in secret…online, in person.
Then “coming out” happens (hopefully).
Living consists mainly of relationship-making and career-building.
Party, savor living, travel (not in any order).
Then continuing with marriage, travel, and maybe raising children.
Middle-aged life rolls on, maintaining or changing careers, becoming an expert juggler of personal/family time and work life.
Travel.
Work.
Savor.
Family.
Travel.
Work.
Savor.
Family
Travel.
Work.
Savor.
Family.

The end.

Fail

A blog-a-day is hard.
The hailstorm of information thrown upon us each day is relentless.
How do we ever choose which little icy balls to collect, and how long will we hold onto them before they melt?
Do my additions really matter that much?
These blogs are for myself, and I forgive me for breaking my daily blog commitment.

I’ve only been busy living:
Making my 6 month-old laugh with a mere glance, and teaching her how to crawl.
Cleaning my bedroom so that my partner’s allergies calm down when she sleeps.
Going on a first-time visit to the grocery store with an extremely content infant.
Cooking a special winter fondue dinner eaten intermittently between diaper changes and failed nap time attempts.
Quietly observing my baby’s newly discovered fine motor skills, inspecting every object she touches with intense amazement.

No, not fail.
Success.

She has arrived!

8 days have passed since I gave birth to our healthy little girl. And not a day has gone by when I’ve not pinched myself in disbelief that this has really happened. It is surreal, and dreamlike. I’m a parent. I’m a Mom. We are a family. Everything everyone says is true. Our world has changed. Perspectives are different. Prerogatives have been realigned. Gratitude has been reinforced. Love has swelled beyond my wildest expectations. Appreciation of friends and family has breached boundaries. Although I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

I also wanted to talk about my postpartum experience thus far. I am the lucky girl to have come down with PUPPP rash, which is Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. It started as an itchy patch a week or so before I gave birth. It then erupted as a itchy striated rash in a circular pattern on my entire belly. All of the nurses at the hospital, and my midwives thought it was an allergic reaction to the dressing they used in the operating room during my c-section, or the mesh hospital underwear. They gave me hydrocortisone cream, and denied me benedryl, because it could dry up breast milk. On my 3rd day there, a different bumpy type of rash started popping up on my knees and calves…the nurses weren’t concerned whatsoever. Today is day 8 postpartum, and the tiny-bumped rash has spread to every part of body except for my back and chest. I went to my primary care physician because all my midwife suggested was an oatmeal bath, and the itching is so bad that it wakes me up at night and I’m scratching so hard that I want to rip my skin off. My Dr. Immediately knew what is was…PUPPP….she prescribed me prednisone cream which has helped a lot already. How in the world were all of my healthcare providers who deal with birth, and pregnant women every day have no idea what I was experiencing. Yes, it’s a rash that has no immediate cure, except for giving birth…but it’s an extremely stressful rash that has an itch so bad that some women are even induced early for fear of skin infections developing from all of the scratching! No one is sure of the cause, it’s just one of those weird pregnancy things that can start in the 3rd trimester and last until around 15 days postpartum. Some say its a reaction to fetal cells, in other words an allergy to your own baby! Some say its linked to the sperm DNA… So, I’m sharing this in hope that it will raise a tiny bit of awareness to any woman out there who has a mysterious rash that no one can assign a name to. Although the diagnosis doesn’t change my symptoms, it’s good to at least know what it is….and it’s a relief that I don’t have anything that can harm my baby or my family.

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The Wait

Again, it’s been a long time since my last blog…it’s becoming a trend.

Today I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. It’s hot, and all I wanna do is lie around naked or go swimming.

A few weeks ago, it was discovered through ultrasound that our baby is in a Frank breech position…in other words, she’s in a pike formation with her butt down where her head should be. Although I’m excited that she’ll prospectively be a diver, gymnast, or dancer some day, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a natural birth experience, and a breech baby calls for automatic c-section. And no thanks, I’m flat out terrified of a natural breech delivery. However, we did try a version procedure with an area doctor who is renown for his baby-turning skills. Alas, no dice…my anterior placenta is just too thick and juicy, and got in the way. I tried some yoga, we tried ice packs, we tried a flashlight….It was settled, July 10 is likely to be our d-day…unless the stubborn booger wants to come sooner.

For 2 weeks now…let the waiting commence!!!
Commence the commute to work with our labor-day bag, including the toiletry bag which I have to remember to bring in and out if the house every morning and night. Commence the fear that I’ll go into labor during rush hour traffic. Commence the thoughts of “is that my mucus plug?”, and “am I peeing or is it my water breaking?”, and “wow, these Braxton hicks contractions hurt a little, are they the real ones?” Commence the avoidance of driving more than an hour away from the hospital. Commence the envisionment of a c-section birth, tackling my fears of a punctured bladder, or an accidentally scalpeled baby, or puking while in an OR table, or miserable recovery time, or lack of immediate skin-to-skin bonding, or lack of delayed cord clamping.

Fast forward to today.
48 hours from now, I will be in that OR, and we will become moms. It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for. I’ve come to grips with the cesarean procedure…I am fine with anything as long as our daughter is healthy and safe. I am anxious for our lives to be turned upside down and inside out with her arrival. I am embracing the most amazing change I’ll ever experience in my life. Baby girl, I can’t wait to meet you!

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But, She Hasn’t Even Been Born Yet!

I’m 21 weeks pregnant and my wife and I are knee-deep in the daycare selection process. Yes, we know, the baby hasn’t even left my womb and we’re already looking for other people to take care of her. I wish that there was a local “manny” service we could call, but realistically and financially this is the avenue we need to be on. And because she’ll be an only child (at least for now), the socialization will be good. It is common that popular daycares book up many months in advance. And I think it’s wise that we are getting this out if the way while we have the spare time.

(Side note: If you’re a dog-owner, this process will feel oddly similar to selecting a boarding kennel, except emotionally times 10,000.)

Before we started touring these facilities, I had to separate my ideal wants from realistic expectations. I’m sure most new parents do this also. Ideally, I want the ratio of caregiver to baby to be 1-1, realistically it’s going to be more like 1 to 2-3 babies. One deal-breaker I had in mind was if we picked up on any weird anti-gay-parent vibes from the caregivers. So far, I’m proud to report that out of the 3 facilities we’ve toured, all if them didn’t as much as flinch when I introduced my wife as “my wife.” Because I’ve been so focused on the most important priorities regarding infant care (i.e., safety, cleanliness, attention, diapering, feeding, etc.), I haven’t yet questioned if and how same-sex parents are recognized in the classroom. Maybe I’m not as concerned because I can’t imagine my baby growing past the age of 3 months, or maybe I’m naive to think that just because I live in a state of marriage equality, that it will automatically be a positive experience for our child wherever they end up.

On the next tour, I will bring this topic up, and I’ll be sure to report back with the results.