The Ten Commandments Of Motherhood

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  1. You are your child’s mother. Your child may also have a grandmother, a godmother, maybe even an adoptive mother. Your child also may wish for another mother every now and then but that’s a different story. (“You shall have no other gods in My presence.“)
  2. You shall not worship ERGOs, pacifiers or white noise machines nor idolize your pediatrician or Dr. Harvey Karp. (“You shall not make for yourself an idol…You shall not…worship them…”)
  3. Don’t swear, for Heaven’s sake! Your little one may copy your foul mouth sooner than you think. And what the $*?*$& are you gonna do then, huh? (“Do not swear falsely by the name of the Lord.“)
  4. You’re a mother. There are no ‘days off’. The Lord may have been able to rest after creating the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. You, however, will not get any rest until your child moves out. (“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”)
  5. Your children honor you. No, really. Deep, deep, deep, very deep down your rebellious teenager adores you. Vice versa you’ve found a new appreciation for your own mother as she makes for cheap amazing babysitters. (“Honor your father and your mother.”)
  6. You shall not kill. Sleep deprivation doesn’t count as a legitimate excuse for murder. (“Do not murder.”)
  7. Saggy boobs, lack of libido, lingering pregnancy weight will not drive your husband into the arms of another woman. And soiled diapers are probably the only dirty thoughts you have. (“Do not commit adultery.”)
  8. Just because you accidentally forget stuff in the storage compartment of your stroller doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it. (“Do not steal.”)
  9. You shall not gossip or spread lies about other mommies on the playground. No matter how perfect they are. (“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”)
  10. You shall not covet other mothers’ strollers, diaper bags, bodies, husbands, babysitters, babies who sleep through the night nor their SUV’s or anything that is theirs. (“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife.”)

The 11. Commandment: No mother should ever have to apologize or feel bad for being late, canceling or rescheduling plans due to her baby’s sleeping patterns (or lack thereof).

Can I get an Amen, sisters?

Stay-At-Home Mom :: A Job Description

A not-too-serious job description. (Get yourself a latte – it’s a long read but worth it. Promise.)

The position
The SAHM is charged with the responsibility of

  1. the care and development of a brand new human being,
  2. the care of the family dog,
  3. the maintenance and staging of the family home,
  4. the beautification and maintenance of self.

Some major tasks include:

  • Feeding baby healthy and balanced age-appropriate meals including fresh breast milk – bottled or straight up.
  • Entertaining baby with safe, non-toxic toys that spark creativity, imagination and curiosity.
  • Protecting baby from harm, pain and disappointment.
  • Assisting with hygienic care including but not limited to diaper changes, hair and body wash, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, application of moisturizer, sunscreen, band aids and ointments when necessary.
  • Teaching Sign Language and German.
  • Cultivating German traditions.
  • Executing the following activities: Soothing, singing, reading, educating, making funny faces, laughing out loud, commenting, demonstrating, disciplining, cuddling, kissing, carrying, strolling and gently wrestling.
  • Facilitating attendance of swim lessons, ballet classes, soccer practice and piano lessons.

Other essential duties include:

  • Present baby and her progress during standing meetings with pediatrician.
  • Ensure baby’s mile stones are met in a timely manner.
  • Provide feedback on baby and her development to all family members, god parents and friends who care enough to listen.
  • Maintain an online photo sharing site, a mommy blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter and Pinterest profile for personal aspiration and in pursuit of own dream to write professionally.
  • Show every attempt to keep up with a handwritten baby memory book.

Additional duties include:

  • Nurture existing relationships with close girlfriends.
  • Pursue and build new friendships with like-minded mommy friends.
  • Implement and manage efficient household budgets and processes.
  • Leverage and enhance culinary skills.
  • Create a clean, cozy and well-designed home for the whole family using houses featured in Coastal Living, Martha Stewart Living and House Beautiful as examples.
  • Manage communications with landlord, property manager, vendors and contractors.
  • Manage supplies and utilities.
  • Coordinate and research opportunities for family outings, trips and vacations.
  • Develop and explore strategies for additional (legal) revenue generation.
  • Create warm meals for hardworking husband and serve with chilled beer upon his return from the office while offering an understanding and welcoming attitude towards him.
  • Plan, decorate and host parties and events.
  • Remember and celebrate child’s birthdays, Fathers Day and wedding anniversary.
  • Execute date nights and other marriage duties.
  • Stay up to date on CPR and emergency preparedness.

Success of the above will be strongly dependent upon the SAHM’s ability to:

  • Build and maintain a healthy, loving and trusting relationship with her husband, her daughter, MIL, own mother and self.
  • Understand the husband’s need for respect.
  • Understand the baby’s needs for love, food and attention.
  • Understand the dog’s needs for food, attention and more food.
  • Understand that she will no longer have any needs.
  • Manage every family member’s expectations and forget her own.
  • Obtain from feeling resentful should Mothers Day not be celebrated with breakfast in bed, extra sleep, spa treatments, a gift card for Anthropologie and handwritten cards by husband and daughter.
  • Provide clear, precise and properly detailed description of own feelings to husband.

Required skills:

  • Seeking God, worshipping Him and praying to Him.
  • Previous experience in Motherhood & Parenting is not required but beneficial.
  • Degree from the Martha Stewart School of Everything is not required but also beneficial.
  • Knowledge of best (grocery) shopping deals, couponing and bargaining are highly preferred.
  • Strong comfort level on the phone, excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills, to include networking, friendship building, small talking at social gatherings, play groups, and family functions.
  • Works well independently.
  • Is capable of working overtime with limited opportunities to feed self, sleep or rest.
  • Strong project and budget management skills to ensure that family activities and events are implemented on time and within budget.
  • Demonstrates gratitude towards husband for providing for the family so she can be a SAHM.

Benefits:

  • Spending precious time with baby, watching her grow up, never missing a mile stone, being present when she sits up, pulls herself up, cruises, makes her first steps, says ‘Mama’ for the first time or witnessing every other tiny new thing she does.
  • Strong attachment to mother instead of nanny or babysitter.
  • Feeling proud of what she does.
  • Most rewarding investment of her skills and knowledge as she teaches and raises her own child.
  • Opportunities for craft and DIY projects (pending nap schedules).
  • Flexible schedule (pending nap schedules).
  • Health insurance through husband’s employer.
  • Vacation without child and/or husband negotiable.
  • No sick days.
  • Choice of fuel efficient SUV with bluetooth and navigation system.

Compensation:

Contact:

Please send your resume, references, checks, words of wisdom and encouragement, prayers and offers to babysit to thrasherhomeblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Stay-At-Home Mom :: How Much Time Do You Really Spend With Your Baby?

So, I had another revelation over this past Labor Day weekend: I am a stay-at-home mom. I mean, realizing that wasn’t a major break through. What I’m trying to say is I am a stay-at-home MOM, not a stay-at-home blogger or (graphic) designer or crafter or house stager or maid. Just as if I had a job outside my house in an office somewhere, I wouldn’t be able to blog or answer personal emails all day either. Or do laundry or clean all day while Emma chills in her play pen all by herself.

"Mama, Mama, come and play with me!"

Since I am incredibly blessed to be able to just be home with my baby and not having to work – neither from home nor part time anywhere else – I believe I should honor my husband and give back. He works hard and sacrifices a lot so that Emma gets her mommy all day. I don’t think Mr Thrasher envisioned for me to stay home but not spend lots of time with our daughter.

Instead of hiding my face behind my computer all day to write, blog, research, design, IM or browser window shop and then spend the rest of the day cleaning our house, I’ve come to realize that my daily activities should look something like this:

  • chase Emma crawling through the living room
  • make up songs whose lyrics make no sense whatsoever
  • make funny faces that would make you look ridiculous in photos but cracks your little one up every time
  • clap your hands a lot
  • play ball
  • explain what you do while you do it
  • make meal time fun and exciting
  • cuddle
  • go for a walk with baby and dog
  • cuddle some more
  • play music and sing along
  • give her plenty of opportunity to learn new things
  • talk a lot with her
On that note, I’m gonna log off now and get down on the floor to boogie with my baby.
What do you think a SAHM’s responsibilities are? Do you think she should max out the day with as much fun and play time with baby as possible? Do tell – we don’t judge!

Breastfeeding Doesn’t Suck!

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Time to celebrate the boobies and join the boob-olution!

A Happy Meal for Baby Emma. Photo: Paco and Betty

I don’t think I can express (pun intended) how much I love breastfeeding my baby so I’m just gonna leave it up to these hip’n'hot celebrity moms to share their message in a bottle. Click here to view the video: Join the Boob-olution!

(Thank to the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy for sharing!)

Back to burping!

Mommy Peer Pressure

Inspired by friend Sarah’s blog name The Truthful Mom, I need to let down my pants (figuratively) and confess something. And between you and me, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom in the world who feels this way. If you’re really really really honest with yourself, you may even find some of these thoughts twirl around in your mind.

A single, male friend of mine was surprised when I told him about the mommy peer pressure. He had no idea something like that existed. So he encouraged me to blog about it.

Here’s how it goes: Believe it or not, peer pressure is not just for (high) school kids. It totally exists among mothers too. No matter how good your friendships are and how much you love each other but there is a bit of competition like which baby sleeps better during the day, who has the least problems nursing, which child learns to crawl/walk/speak the earliest and more importantly who looks put together and relaxed while pushing your stroller through the neighborhood.

That's pretty much how I look when I meet up with Emma's playgroup. Photo: Gucci

Come on, mommies! You have to admit that there’s a teeny tiny bit of jealousy popping up when you see how your girlfriend’s baby can fall asleep by himself without ANY crying. Or that girlfriend of yours who somehow manages to straighten her hair, put on makeup and keep her skinny denims free off vomit all day. Well, let me give it to you straight: I couldn’t stand hearing about my friends’ mellow super babies while I’ve been trying to cope with sleepless night after night. And I didn’t want to hear about the successful weight loss of another friend. Or watch her wearing her pre-pregnancy jeans so quickly again. It’s not that I wasn’t happy for them. You do wish your girlfriends the best, right? And you do want them to be blessed, yes? So what was wrong with me?

I’m gonna confess even more. I wasn’t just jealous of them, I was secretly looking at the areas where they had problems just to make me feel a bit better. Oh, God, forgive me for I have sinned. What an awful friend am I!

Now, go ahead, judge me. But before you do that, check yourself and see if there’s not a small piece of you that is a bit envious of another mommy friend. Some possible scenarios (not entirely fictitious):

  • Your mommy friend has lost her pregnancy weight faster than you
  • Your mommy friend always wears perfectly applied make up and somehow manages to style her hair
  • Your mommy friend can afford the Mercedes of strollers
  • Your mommy friend’s husband helps a lot more than yours (Ha, that’s a good one. Comparing husbands is a favorite anyways. Oh, don’t tell me you’ve never done that!)
  • Your mommy friend got more gifts for her baby shower
  • Your mommy friend scored better deals on used baby gear on Craigslist

Ok, enough. You get the idea. I certainly didn’t mean to give you any ideas for negative thoughts with this list but I think you get my point.

The moral of this story: Mommy peer pressure exists. Most of it comes from our own insecurities and doubts. Why else do we compare ourselves to others? If we were truly content and grateful for who and where we are in life, than none of this would be an issue. Correct? So the question is how will you deal with peer pressure? Curious to hear what you think, girlfriend.

A Letter To My Daughter

This morning, my DH (Dear Husband) encouraged me to write a post about Emma – not about a baby-related topic or any other topic but share my feelings about Emma and being her Mama.

Emma is back down for her late morning nap and instead of doing laundry, vacuuming or trimming the Hydrangea on our porch, I am taking a moment to write this post in honor of Emma’s upcoming half birthday.

Dearest Emma,

When I first touched you, and you crawled up to my breast, we both knew we’d be bound together forever. Something intensely awesome had just happened. A miracle. You were born. My little girl. My daughter.

It’s been almost six months since you’ve joined our little family. Which means, it’s been 174 days since we’ve brought you home from the hospital. In other words, I’ve been without proper sleep for 173 nights. No offense but it’s been torture tough.

The first few weeks of our life together, I was so worried about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g: Whether you got enough sleep, enough milk, enough love. Whether you would get sick, gain enough weight. Whether you were too cold, not comfortable enough. Whether we changed your diaper often enough making sure you wouldn’t get a diaper rash. Whether I would be a good mom, Paul a good dad and Griffin a fun companion.

Yes, your Mama is a worry wart. No matter how much I pray and try to rely on God to lift those burdens off my shoulders, I just can’t help it.

But you know the reason for my worries? I love you so very much that I can’t stand the thought of anything bad happen to you. Truth is, bad things will happen to you. You will get a flu eventually, you will fall and scrape your knees, friends will hurt you, your parents will disappoint you. That’s life.

But, the truth is that there’s a Father looking out for you. By that I don’t mean your dad. He will, of course, protect you as much as he can. No, I’m talking about your Heavenly Father. The one who is watching over you, me, Papa, Omi, your aunt Meike, your cousin Lasse, even our dog. God says, ” I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” ~ John 12:46. I guess, we should be faithful and let Him deal with our dark fears.

Yet, this lack of sleep is really getting to me. I know you’re not doing this on purpose. I know you love me. I can feel it. When you wake up in the morning and you look at me – that big smile on your face is priceless. You’re such a happy and positive baby. Seeing your personality develop is one of your parents’ greatest blessings. We can already tell that you’re so bold and strong-willed, your persistence and ambition amaze us every day.

With only 12 weeks of age, you learned how to grab and hold on to things. Quickly, you’ve figured out how to rake things towards you, pick them up and play with them.

When you learned how to roll over, it seemed like a whole new world has opened up to you. Wait until you’ll work out this crawling thing. Sometimes you already push yourself up and lift your buttocks into the air and I think to myself ‘oh my, she’s gonna crawl soon’.

You’ve gotten pretty good at this sitting up stuff. Funny enough, you seem to be sitting better by yourself than with support. (I’m still gonna put those pillows around you. You can complain all you want.)

"Excuse me! I can feed myself!"

During the day, I find myself watching you play on your blanket, happily cooing and finding simple joy in all of your toys. Recently, you discovered Griffin. I swear, you are talking to Griffin. When you see him near you, your tiny hands try to pet him, you’re flashing your brightest smile (which I so frickin’ love!) and when you manage to touch him you make this squeaky noise that you always make when you’re excited.

I have been walking with you strapped to my body in the Ergo, my neck, shoulders and back aching yet not minding the discomfort at all if only it brought you comfort.

I love rubbing my nose on your cheeks and covering your soft skin with kisses. You scream joyfully every time I do the raspberry on your belly during diaper changes. On that note, could you stop kicking so much while I try to clean your butt?

You’re kicking a lot in general. Especially during bath time. It’s hard to believe that your first few baths were torture according to your feedback, ie. crying from the top of your lungs. You hated it. These days, you can’t seem to get enough splash time, you little dolphin. What fun it will be to teach you how to swim!

When we go grocery shopping together, you always talk up a storm. Apparently, other people also find you quite entertaining. You’re a social butterfly. Whether you show complete strangers in the elevator your brightest smile or you hang out with your girlfriends Scarlett and Eva and your big buddy Jonah, you love other people.

Emma and one of her BFFs.

Oh, you just woke up. I can hear you talk to your dolphin. You sound so happy and content. I bet you’re trying to eat your feet again.

I am very blessed. And so are you, my dear daughter. Papa is working really hard to allow me to stay home with you so I can raise you, teach you, love on you. Paul and me both were raised by nannies (me) and in daycare (daddy). We always missed our parents and we wanted something better for you while you were so little.

Speaking of something better, I need to apologize to you. The other day, after another sleepless night, I lost my patience and yelled at you. I had been trying to put you down for your nap over and over again. You were so tired, showing all signs of sleepiness but you just wouldn’t want to fall asleep. Dang it, girl. Why do you always fight me on this?

Emma, you are such an adorable, smart, funny and cuddly little baby. Within seconds you took over my life and despite all the fear of failure, I love every second of being your mom. (Ok, maybe not those when you and I fight over sleepy time.)

Ich liebe dich!

My First Few Days As A Mom

(I drafted this post several weeks ago when Emma was only a few days old. I’ve learned a lot more since but that’s another post…) To all you new mommies, Be prepared for a long (a very long) blog post about my experience during the first few days at home with a newborn baby…

Emma doing what she does best during the day...snoozing.

Let me tell you, girlfriend, there are a few things I wish someone had told me about what to do when you first bring your newborn home. I mean, literally, what do you do when your baby yells from the top of her lungs and you think you’ve tried everything? It’s not necessarily as simple as trying the “5 s’s” (from The Happiest Baby On The Block by Dr. Harvey Karp). I had to have a revelation about WHY she’s crying first. After I realized that her initial cries are really just about wanting your attention, I learned to read the rest of her “communication”. Once I finally got it (and thankfully, it only took me two or three days), it was all so much easier.

You may not need that revelation because you already know that all they need at the beginning is your love, food, a solid burp and a dry diaper. But I was too worried that I may spoil her or ruin all chances for a regular sleeping/feeding routine. How silly of me to think that a tiny baby who just left my womb should “learn” already or should be put on a schedule! That’s why that book “The Happiest Baby On The Block” has opened my eyes. Here’s an excerpt that helped me understand what my job really was:

Congratulations! You’ve done a great job already! You’ve nurtured your baby from the moment of conception to her birth day. Having a baby is a wonderful – and wonder-full – experience that makes you laugh, cry and stare in amazement…all at the same time. Your top job as a new parent is to love your baby like crazy. After showering her with affection, the next two important jobs are to feed her and to calm her when she cries.

Like I said, all that may be no news for you but I didn’t really know what it meant until I had a screaming baby to calm down. I didn’t know that it’s totally normal that your baby may be hungry again an hour after your last feeding.

Snuggle time

This article has helped me better understand my most important responsibility:

And yes, it is going to feel like all you are doing is nursing, burping, changing diapers, etc., but that’s just how it is for the first week or two. Don’t plan on getting much done during this time. You’re lucky if you can fit in time to use the bathroom or take a shower.

Today, I can tell immediately when she’s hungry – she doesn’t even have to cry anymore to let me know -, when she needs to burp or have her diaper changed. Overall, she hasn’t cried much since, slept through for hours and has been easier to put down to sleep. Besides swaddling, I didn’t even have to use the other “s’s” to calm her down because she has been so calm. No guarantee that this is not gonna change today or tomorrow but at least, it made me and Paul feel a lot more confident about this whole parenting thing. And for me not to cry in despair all the time alongside my baby is priceless! Also, here are some learnings that have made my (and Paul’s) first few days with Emma a lot easier: Swaddling/Sleeping:

  • … is THE key to making Emma feel at ease and calming her down. So when you have to change baby’s diapers in the middle of the night while you’re barely awake, this awesome swaddle sleepsack makes it really easy for you. Since it’s still cold at the moment, we got the fleece one but we’ll switch to the organic cotton one soon.

(Breast)Feeding:

  • I thought I could just use regular pillows like I did in the hospital. Also had a My Breast Friend nursing pillow from a friend but I tried it and it didn’t work for me. Then I tried the Boppy pillow and am loving it.
  • What I learned very quickly about breastfeeding: You have to be comfortable and relaxed. Makes it a lot easier. Having your comfy pillows and everything you need in reach (like a Nalgene bottle full with water!!) are a must. I feel also very strongly about bonding with your baby. When Emma was a bit older, she started looking at my while nursing. There’s nothing better than that fuzzy feeling of being so incredibly close to my daughter.
  • Very last minute, I took most of the solid feeding supplies/items off my registry as I realized that I won’t need that for several months and could just purchase it over time. It helps people focus on gifting you the stuff you really need at the beginning.
  • I decided to hold off on getting the breast pump until I knew whether I was able to produce enough milk. They recommend not pumping/bottlefeeding until breastfeeding is established.
  • Ain’t gonna lie: The first few times, your nipples will hurt and you’ll want to scream out loud because it hurts so much. But only Day 3 into my breastfeeding adventure, I improved the “latching on” with Emma and now it doesn’t hurt anymore. I don’t even need that magic nipple cream anymore. Although, it was very useful in the beginning.

Pacifiers:

  • In general, I am not a big fan of pacifiers and I really don’t want Emma to run around with a binky when she’s already walking. When they asked in the hospital if they could soothe her with a pacifier, I reluctantly agreed.
  • After we came home with Emma, we had to try three different kinds until she finally used this one. She still is not really into it. So think about getting a variety of different ones to try.
  • I got a few pacifier chains on my registry which I’m not sure I’ll need since Emma is not really into pacifiers. That may or may not change later but I could possibly have used other stuff more.

Diapering:

  • I waited to see which type of diapers they were using at the hospital and which ones would fit her best before I got the large-sized packages. At CPMC they use Pampers Swaddlers Newborn so I got the same just to make it easy on me. First few days/weeks don’t seem to be the time for experiments.
  • During the day, we change Emma’s diapers in her nursery. While half asleep during the night, I prefer to change her right there on our bed. Since you don’t want to end up with poopy bedding at midnight, I found this diapering kit handy. I have it next to our bed and use it as a changing pad for the nightly diaper changes.

Baby Timer:

  • We’re loving our baby timer iPhone applications (nursing, sleeping, baths, pooping, etc.). Paul and I both have them and we sync the data daily. (Yeah, I know, we’re data nerds.)

Clothing:

  • When Emma was born she was smaller than I expected so we only had one (!) warm footed onesie for her that fit her! I had to actually leave the house for a bit to buy more, smaller clothes for our girl. Can’t believe out of all the clothes I had, nothing fit her! Make sure you have plenty of warm, footed onesies in newborn size. (I prefer footed onesies because at newborn age they won’t keep socks on and you want to make sure they stay warm during the colder months.)
  • Long-sleeve t-shirts with side snaps. When you first have to change/dress your baby, you’ll be thankful for easy-to-put-on clothes like these t-shirts with snaps. They are great! We had to buy a bunch more of those since Emma likes to pee on them while we change her diapers. The snaps allow you to dress her without pulling the t-shirt over her head – which she hates and makes dressing her much easier for daddy, too.

Playtime:

Sassy toys for sassy babies.

  • Black & White and high contrast toys (Sassy is my favorite brand). At the beginning, they can’t see much so high contrast colors or simple black & white toys are best to engage newborns. As wonderful as the organic toys are, they mostly come in softer shades and are therefore harder (or impossible) for baby to notice.

For Mommy:

  • While shopping and preparing for baby, I forgot about me. I don’t have any clothes that are convenient for breastfeeding, i.e. zippers or buttons. It doesn’t really matter how high you have to pull up your tank top/shirt while you’re at home but it may be nicer to just wear tops with buttons while you’re out and about to get easy access to your boobies.
  • Speaking of which: I’m a bit uptight when it comes to breastfeeding and am on the “spare-other-people-your-naked-breasts-while-nursing” team so I got myself a cute nursing cover like this one from Etsy.
  • Let’s be honest, there’s lots of weird stuff going on with your vagina after birth. Nothing scary but it would have been nice to know a few more things about the healing process. That’s all I’m saying.

Paternity Leave:

  • Having Paul stay home with me is an amazing blessing. He wants to help me so badly that it was easy for us to team up and find our groove. I breastfeed Emma, he burps her and changes most of her diapers. Especially, at night, he’s right there to help after I nursed Emma for the third time.
  • Paul putting himself on diaper duty has allowed him to find his own way of bonding with his daughter. He loves it! And is proud that he’s better at burping Emma than I am.

Help:

  • Accept all the help you can get! Seriously, there’s no need to say you’re ok if you need milk or hand sanitizer or toilet paper if someone has offered to pick anything up from the store for you. Let your friends be there for you! Apparently, they love it. I’ve learned quickly to let friends bring us food, beverages, take Griffin for a walk, or even come over to hold Emma for an hour so Paul and I can catch some sleep. There’s no award for parents who are trying to wing it all by themselves.

Phew, I think I’m done for now. Take from this post what you like and what you think is relevant for you. By no means, am I telling you “what to do”. Every mom is different and not everything works for everyone. But, we’re in this together so let’s talk about our joy, fear, excitement, successes and disappointments, shall we?

I Am A Mother

I have a daughter.

I am a mother.

We're home.

These words still sound so surreal to me. Even though our baby girl has now been with us for several days and I’m slowly recovering from the aftermaths of giving birth, I still don’t grasp the magnitude that motherhood means.

Paul and I can barely find words to describe how we feel, how grateful we are for her health, and what we experience with our little Emma. We mostly just want to hold and stare at her. Like right now, as she is sleeping in her bassinet next to my bed. (Yeah, after another sleepless night she decided that the morning would be a better time to go to sleep! Wonder where she has that stubbornness from…)

Emma, Paul and I are enjoying getting to know each other and finding our rhythm. Needless to say, our lives are turned upside down, nights have turned into wake time, day time has become a small window to catch a break, we forget when it’s time to eat, drink or take a shower, and nothing is like it was before. And we’re loving every bit of it!

We are no longer just a couple…

Adjusting to parenthood surely is quite a challenge – but an absolutely amazing one! There is so much for Paul and me to learn (read about my first key learnings about being a new mom here), try and, more importantly, let go off. That letting go part (what do you mean, they don’t sleep on YOUR schedule?) is my biggest challenge. As you know, I am a planner and love being in control. Well, none of that anymore. Dear God, please take over from here. Thank you very much!

It certainly is a blessing to have Paul’s mom Sharon stay with us. She has been incredibly helpful taking care of Paul and me while we’re taking care of Emma. And when my hormones are going crazy again and I can’t stop crying because I wonder if I’m ever gonna get this mother thing down, she is right there to tell me I’m doing just fine. She reminds me to take my meds, cooks dinner, fills the fridge, cleans, takes Emma every now and then so Paul and I can shower and makes sure life is a little less insane.

A huge thanks also to Griffin’s best friend Yuko who is currently looking after our furry baby to give us a bit more time before we introduce Emma to him.

But now, please admire my baby girl and tell me what a beauty she is!

Where did she get those pouty lips from?

Two became Three.

Proud Papa Paul.

Love,
-Wiebke, Paul & Emma

In(tro)ducing Baby Thrasher

…and we’re still waiting!

Considering that Baby Thrasher was doing great and pretty much ready to hatch, we decided to schedule my induction. So instead of sitting at home waiting for labor to start, Paul and I went out for a lovely dinner date the night before we had to check in at the hospital.

I barely slept that night. I was so excited that I was only hours away from meeting my daughter. After all these months full of anticipation, the moment was finally near.

Almost there...

After hours of waiting and staring at the monitors that tracked my contractions (what contractions?) and baby’s heartbeat, I was finally told that we’re (We? As in there are others who would have to push a watermelon out of their vagina???) ready to push.

Contractions, baby.

Paul and I were in good spirits and still all smiles.

My delivery nurse Kathleen was absolutely wonderful! We were joking and cracking up together. One of my fears was to be (secretly) judged by the nurses and doctors for being a wimp and not tolerating any pain. But every single nurse I met during my stay in the Labor & Delivery Unit was just absolutely wonderful, caring, loving and some of them were even quite hilarious.

But back to Kathleen. She was a devoted Christian and almost cried when we told her that we wanted to pray over the delivery and asked if she could join us in prayer. God most certainly answered a prayer when He gave us Kathleen. So I guess besides Paul, me, and Kathleen, we also had the Holy Spirit in the room. I had nothing to fear.

Speaking of fearless, my fearless (seriously) girlfriend Val witnessed the birth of our little baby girl. It was so precious to have her by my side (and I know Paul was thankful for the extra support as well). Thanks to the Epidural I was in a great mood and pretty chipper when she arrived in the morning. It was important to me that the whole birthing experience wouldn’t freak her out since she has that whole adventure still ahead of her. But I guess, she had a good time as well.

But back to me. Moments later…

Emma Louise arrives.

And there she was. Our little Käfer was born. Words can not describe what I felt when my doctor put that tiny human on my belly. My emotions ranged anywhere from joy to anxiety to relief to sadness to the utmost love one could ever feel. No, seriously, they say that this overwhelming loving feeling hits you like a truck when you see/hold your newborn for the first time and you wonder if you’ll really get to feel that way. Well, I did.

In my books, giving birth trumps everything you have and will ever do in life. Even getting married doesn’t come close to the emotions you experience when you finally meet that little baby that was nurtured inside of you for so long!

Shortly after Emma’s birth, we were moved to the post-partem unit of the hospital where we welcomed a bunch of visitors who were anxious to meet our newborn.

What an exciting couple of days! Paul and I went to the hospital as a couple and left the hospital as a family.

God is good! God is so frickin’ good!

Dear Käfer!

Only 100 days until Christmas Eve. Only 100 days until we are supposed to meet you.

Well, they say you could come any time between two weeks before or after that date. But then, your Mama is a planner and a tad bit of a control freak so she is expecting you to be on time (or maybe a bit earlier?). No pressure, kleine Maus.

While others may start to think about Christmas and what their plans are for the holidays, your Papa and I only have one thought: When can we finally be with our little baby girl?

Oh, your name. Let me clarify that you are not a tiny insect (Käfer = bug). You are a little baby girl living and growing in my tummy. So far, Papa and I haven’t agreed on a name for you. We have a couple of favorites and have decided to wait until we can talk to you about your name. We think you should have a say in all of this.

You pretty much consume our lives. And that is a good thing! Sometimes I think of pizza with tuna and red onions at 3am in the morning when I stumble out of bed to pee, or I read smart books about how to perfectly burp a baby, or I contemplate for hours over paint chips and color palettes for your nursery. Or I drag Papa into cute baby stores and show him all the cute outfits I want to buy for you. (Funny that in the end Papa is the one who buys a cute dress for you. He is now actually mildly obsessed with dresses. For you, I mean.)

Speaking of obsession: I have been working hard on your nursery (and even harder on your Papa to allow me to create the cutest nursery ever) because I know how important the right shade of Aqua and the matching Burnt Orange accents will be to you. If you are anything like me, you will start reading Martha Stewart Living magazines before chewing on silly baby books with pigs and cats in them.

I promise you will have the most perfect place to sleep and play in. After all, we moved out of the city to have more space for our growing family. Papa did not mind that sacrifice. He is pretty excited about fixing up that backyard so you can play safely outside when you are a bit older. I think, Papa is secretly hoping that you would be as crazy about his herb garden as he is. Promise me to show at least some interest when he proudly presents one of his homegrown tomatoes to you! Men need to be respected and validated. A pad on the shoulder telling them how awesome they are and that you thank them for their provision gets you a lot! (More about the secrets of a man’s heart and soul when you are older…)

We keep wondering what you will look like – maybe you will have Mama’s nose and smile, Papa’s gentle eyes and gray hair (wait!)? What about our gifts and likes? Will you prefer orange juice with pulp (like Papa) or without (like Mama)? But none of that really matters (hm, we still want you to look cute, though) as long as you are healthy. We already counted your toes and fingers, your arms and legs and every time we are listening to your heartbeat, we are told that you have a strong heartbeat. My doctor keeps telling me how active you are. As if I couldn’t tell!

One of our favorite things to do: Papa is putting his hand on my belly and talks to you. Sometimes you respond with a kick.

On that note, what are you doing in my belly? Somersaults (Koppsaboelter)? Are you dancing? Practicing penalty kicks like Beckham? Either way, keep it up. Because it shows me that you’re doing fine! But we will eventually have to discuss all this pressuring my spine and head-butting my bladder when you are a bit older.

It’s funny, you’re not even born yet and you already have heaps of fans besides your parents. There are, of course, your grandparents in Germany – Omi Christiane und Opi Udo, your two great grandmothers, your Tante Meike, my beautiful sister, and her husband Robert. There are my Girlfriends – a group of absolutely amazing women who share everything in life together. And all of Papa’s family in Southern California and lots and lots of friends who love your Mama and Papa and therefore already love you.

Also, we have chosen the best godparents for you: our dear friends Jen and Joe. Joe will soon be a famous actor and Jen is already a super star so, yeah, you can thank us later.

Let’s take a moment and be honest, the one thing that truly sucks about living in California is that we’re so far away from our family in Germany. But we promise to take you on a plane to Germany as soon as it is safe and we have gotten used to each other.

But back to you.

I hope you are enjoying to bounce around in my belly for the next 14 weeks. Since we heard the great news about your existence, we stopped praying for ourselves and started praying for you. We pray that, no matter what any doctor’s reports may tell us, you will be healthy and whole. We pray protection over your and our lives so that we can enjoy spending many, many years together. We pray that God gave you only the best of us. Who knows maybe you will be blessed with an insane talent that neither Papa nor I have? God does that sometimes.

My dear Käfer, as I continue to eat healthy and take care of my precious body so you have the safest cave a baby can wish for, I want you to know how much I love you already!