Monday, April 30, 2012

What happens when Mom is alone for a day?

This weekend was so amazing that I feel like recapping it for you. Friday night's opening act was presented to the Facebookers, so my apologies for the repeat from there. Anyway, it went like this:

Ethan: Mom, Brandon is sticking his toothbrush in the toilet! And he's putting it in his mouth!
Connor: And I was peeing when he did it!
Welcome to my Friday night. Be jealous.

If you're still with me and not vomiting in your lap, hands, or the bathroom, and your vision isn't blurry from the heavy gagging, then continuing on, I chose that same evening to try to integrate Brandon into his real crib in his brothers' room. He's been sleeping in a porta-crib in my home office and I'm not really down with that situation anymore. I need the space that his porta-crib is taking up. And I need to work when he's sleeping. So he doesn't do shit like this.

I put the boys to bed at the same time, which I know wasn't the brightest idea. I should have put Brandon to bed either well before or well after the other guys. But shoulda woulda coulda, it's not what happened, so oh well. Brandon, who is used to sleeping completely alone in utter darkness, with blackout drapes and everything, was now sleeping in a room with a lamp on and two brothers ten feet away. So of course, he thinks it's a fucking slumber party. 

His brothers, who are significantly wiser and more opposed to the wrath of mom, decided that falling asleep immediately was the proper choice. They were right. An hour later, Brandon wised up, stopped playing and screwing around, and passed out. Perhaps it was the fifth of tequila I slipped into his milk at dinner, perhaps not; we'll never know. 


However, in checking on him a couple of hours later, I discovered this important fact: Connor talks in his sleep. How we've never known this is beyond me since if there is a kid who is going to climb into our bed in the night and subsequently render us miserable with his snoring, profuse sweating, mule-kicking, space-hogging, and fish-out-of-water flopping about, it's him. He was saying something about his Nana and hopefully it wasn't anything important because the air filter was doing its job of blocking out noise. So it's true; we really do learn something new every day. 


The next morning, all three boys woke up at literally the crack of dawn. Actually, just prior to it. - 5:58 a.m., and it was on. Or so they thought. I told them to go back to bed and be quiet. Then I went back to bed and hoped to fall asleep for a bit. Well you know what they say about wishing in one hand and shitting in the other; see which gets full first.


Of course they weren't quiet and I finally gave up and got up. They proceeded to drive me nuts for the next several hours. They were excited because they were all going to spend the night at their Nana's house.


Yep. You know what that means.... NO KIDS FOR ME!! Nate had to work. So from 11:54 a.m. (the time I dropped them off) until my bedtime, it was me, myself, and I. It was glorious. I visited my friend who had her first baby two months ago. Perhaps you recall the story of his birth. If not, then I highly recommend that you click on the link and read it so the next paragraph has a chance at making some sense. 


Well, if he was a 3-month-old newborn, he is now a six-month two-month-old. If that even makes any sense. He is now 16 pounds and literally the FATTEST baby I have ever seen. His mom asked me, "what do you call cankles on his wrists?" I LOVE HIM. He simply rocks. He is a GIANT chunk of burning love and hanging with him blew all kinds of holes through my heart. And slightly cramped my arms but that's neither here nor there. This baby, at two months old, is so alert that he was actually talking to me in his baby babble and flirting up a triple-chinned storm. But it wasn't his baby blues that sucked me in, it was when he ripped a bunch of giant farts on my lap while looking me dead in the eyes. We had a "moment" there and now our bond can never be broken. I've already promised to shelter and feed him - if we can afford it - when he gets mad at mom and dad and runs away from home. 


I realize that I'm gushing about this guy and maybe it's getting slightly inappropriate. My apologies. Anyway, after I was finally able to tear myself away from Baby Triple B, it was time to go home and enjoy my peace and pure silence. But first, a stop at the grocery store for some things. While I was perusing the beer and booze aisle, I heard a little girl ask her dad why he always buys a "million beers when he's in the beer section." He was obviously embarrassed and was trying to get her to shut up while simultaneously denying it but she wasn't having it and was like, "yes you do, yes you do". Of course, I can't stop myself from saying something like I'm some kind of Tourette's sufferer and when he passed by I casually said, "he buys beer because he has kids." 


Now, this could have gone horribly wrong, because not everybody appreciates inappropriate drinking and children comments from total strangers. However, this guy cracked up and said "that's right", so it was all good. Thankfully. 


I went home and instead of listening to my kids scream, I got to listen to the neighbor kids scream. But oh well. I was alone and that was all that mattered. I made some dinner and stared at the smokin' hot Shemar Moore watched Criminal Minds. After a while, I realized that I literally could leave the house at any second, and have absolutely nobody to answer to, and go do whatever I wanted. Well, within reason, since I am married. This is something that Nate and I have dreamed about on a regular basis since having children, and I finally have it and what do I do? Sit on my ass, in my house. Like every other night.


Apparently, freedom is scary sometimes. I didn't even know what I would do were I to leave the house. I didn't think it through. I am so out of practice and used to being home every night that it didn't really occur to me to find something to do. 


Lame.


Now I kind of get it when people, who upon being released from a long stint in prison, immediately commit a crime in order to get arrested and go back to the only environment they have known.


The next day, Nate and I enjoyed our quiet, empty house for a few hours. Then we picked up the boys and enjoyed a multi-birthday celebration pool party. 

All in all, it was great to have the time to myself. I am looking forward to the next time with slobbering, rabid passion. But the facts are, I have these boys, and they are a part of me, and while there are days that I feel as though I could run, screaming, off into the sunset, alone and ripping my hair out and never look back, I know that it's just a temporary feeling born out of frustration and angst. And it will pass. Then come back again. And pass and come back again. But I am stuck with these guys and even worse, they are stuck with me and as long as we get to enjoy some breaks from each other to reset, we'll make it through.


I mean come on. Brandon just walked up to me with a plate of "food" that he made for me in his toy kitchen, and he was sporting a two-inch snot trail with some chunky, slimy boogers mixed in on his forearm that he used to wipe his nose with. 


How can I not want to be around that every day?


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pregnancy Insights: Maybe you'll turn into a fat ass, maybe you won't.

I need to let you in a little secret: There is no rhyme or reason as to how much weight you will or will not gain during your pregnancy.


None.


Now, I suspect that you may be sitting there and thinking, "Well, if I eat right and exercise, I'll be fine!"


Sorry, but I'm here to burst your bubble. No, not just burst it. 
Blow.  
It.
Up.


See, I thought that at one time, too. I've been pregnant three times, and each of those times has its own little story about weight gain. Each time, the amount of weight that I gained had absolutely nothing to do what I ate or how much I did (or did not) exercise.


Nothing.


Once again.... sorry. (Pop) (BOOM)


The first time, I ate right and exercised. I was such a douche that I actually kept loose mental track of how many grams of protein and ounces of water I consumed each day. 


I'll wait while your laughter subsides. 


...............................


...............................


...............................


I mean, for the love of God, I am supposed to eat x amount of grams of protein, I better damn well make sure I do! First time mom, much?


Like I said, what a douche. I want to slap myself, so no need to do it for me. And if you're pregnant and currently keeping track of your diet like your life depends on it, you just keep on doing that and ignore silly old me over here. Anyway, the point is that I did everything "right", and I blew up like a pervert's doll. No matter what I did, no matter how long I walked each day and dropped like a dead fly onto the couch afterward, twitching like a crack addict from the exertion, I kept gaining excessive amounts of weight.


Baffled and angry, I called my good friend and she assured me that the same thing happened to her. We bitched about how frustrating and unfair it was. And I'm pretty sure that she was secretly gloating and laughing her ass off at me, and was pretty excited that I finally was getting fat. See, we went to high school together and back then, I stuffed my face with ungodly amounts of sugar and doughnuts and fast food and pure crap and everyone accused me of being anorexic, I was so scrawny. And she would claim that just looking at the Twinkies (yes, plural) that I'd be stuffing in my face would cause her to gain 5 pounds (which wasn't true... she looked JUST fine). 


So yes, she was laughing her ass off at me. Don't try to deny it, Dibs. ;-)


I know there are a bunch of assholes out there who were just waiting for the day I got fat so they could gloat and point at me, splitting their mouths from laughing so hard. 


I have gotten completely off track. So basically, don't think that just because you're doing "all the right things", you're in the safe zone of weight gain. You might be horribly surprised. (However, do not let this discourage you from doing "the right things".)


At the time of my second pregnancy, I was still packing 25 of the 48 pounds I gained from the first pregnancy. The first five months of it, I lost weight. No, I was not sick. I have no idea why it happened, but it did, and I was not complaining. Not at all. I looked better at 5 months pregnant than I did ten months previously. Sad. And the kicker? I kind of ate like shit and I didn't really work out, because it caused contractions. Oh, damn it.


After I stopped losing weight, I ended up gaining about 13 pounds. So it was a wash. But it made no sense. That was the pregnancy I should have blown up on. No exercise, and I spent the last 6 weeks of it on bed rest because Connor tried to show his pretty little self at 31 weeks. I guess, when your entire body atrophies from lack of use, the muscle loss drops the scale's numbers. That makes sense.


The third pregnancy, I didn't exercise because I was scared of a repeat preterm labor situation, I ate what I felt like (most of it would fall into the "healthy" category), and I gained about 25 pounds. Right what I was "supposed" to gain. 


So. There you have it. No rhyme or reason to any of it. And if you're one of those who genuinely does not care about their pregnancy weight gain, awesome. You're a bigger person than me - although, probably not when I was nine months pregnant with the first.


Anyone care to share their pregnancy weight stories? I'm thinking no....

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

What SHOULDN'T happen in the bath.

So I'm still alive after my weird illness last weekend. Since it was probably just the flu or something, it makes sense that I'm still around. Anyway, Monday night, while I was still sick, Nate had a baseball (or is it softball... eh, who cares) game and since I wasn't on my deathbed it didn't make sense for him to miss it. So this left me to give the boys their bath while he was Barry Bonds-ing it (minus the 'roids and whore on the side, hopefully) for his team.

And this happened - the two oldest decided to play a "licking game". It's pretty much what it sounds like. They lick stuff and think it's just hilarious. Mostly, they were licking their hands and arms and each others' hands and arms. Then, they had their bath toys play the licking game, too.  

Then they got sidetracked from that by having an in-depth examination and discussion about their penises. "Look, there's a black hole right there." "Oh, I have that, too." "Look, I'm squishing the hole." "Oh yeah, me too."

I was rolling my eyes and taking the opportunity of being stuck in the bathroom to clean the toilet, when I heard, "Look, {giggle} the frog is licking my penis {giggle giggle giggle}".

HO-KAY. 


They can talk about their penises and pee holes but I think I might need to draw the line at them having things licking their penises.

*Deep sigh* "Um, how about the frog doesn't lick any penises, yeah?" Something I have always wanted to say my whole life. Goal achieved. I can go die now. 


And then, as I was drying Brandon, Connor, while still in the tub, thought it would be a good idea to lick almost the entire length of the side of the bathtub. Which maybe wouldn't be such a stupid idea if I actually cleaned the bathtub somewhat regularly, but I don't. 

I mean, come on... is it just my boys that do this? Somebody please tell me that my boys aren't the only freaks that do shit like this. You can even comment anonymously. Nobody will ever know it was you. I strongly suspect that I am not alone here. While I am quite the pervert and my mind is constantly in the gutter, this can't be some genetic flaw that I am passing along to the boys. I swear they are typical boys. 


They dance naked, just prior to their baths, and sing, "shake your peee-nis". They bend over in front of the full-length mirror in order to see their buttholes the best. They ask me why I don't have a penis (time to start covering up around them, obviously). They are entirely consumed with their penises and to me, this seems typical. Maybe if I had a penis, I would be fascinated with it, too.


Typical, yes?

More than a bath toy. It licks things.


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Monday, April 16, 2012

What's Been Going On The Last 5 Days

Let me tell you about the fun I've been having for the past five days or so. I've had alternating episodes of being really cold and then breaking out in some kind of sweaty hot flash, and my body has been aching all the hell over, like when you have the flu. My head feels like it's in a vise and my tits are on fire as if in some hormonal throe. I'm exhausted. But other than that, I feel totally fine. I don't feel like I'm sick.

Because I don't have a fever.

I'm telling you, it is the weirdest fucking thing to feel like this and not have an accompanying fever. I mean, what is going on?? And this is what I look like:




I feel that it's an accurate depiction.


Saturday night, I went to bed and sweated in odd places for like, three hours. Like, the back of my knees and the space under my butt checks, like where your butt meets your legs, were all sweaty, (I know, yum). But no fever. Then, at like 3 in the morning, I got the chills. Like bad, bad  shaking-like-you're-having-a-seizure chills. 

But no fever.

Even my wordy ass is incapable of describing how extremely odd it is to have the chills without a fever. And then I woke up in the morning drenched in sweat. Awesome. Trust me when I say I would rather have a fever - WHAT IS THIS?? How do you get body aches and hot flashes and chills without a fever? Anybody care to take a gander? Nate suggested AIDS. I love how reasonable he is.


I'm thinking more along the lines of some rare form of cancer, a fungal infection in my blood, very early menopause, or, and this is the most likely scenario, some kind of zombie virus that I'll most likely die a horrible death from and then consume my entire family in a rabid fit get over in a couple of days. But in the meantime, I am sitting here in my own sweaty filth and wishing that the fire in my breasts would go ahead and die out. And that I get over this quickly because it sucks monkey balls.


Hope your day is going significantly better.


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Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Stupidity Reigns

I saw a photo the other day and it reminded me of my worst parenting moment ever. The one I'll never forget, the one I beat myself up over and over for every day, the one you all, once I confess to this, should stop reading my crap because of.

Not really. I've not yet had a parenting moment so devastatingly bad that I cringe in guilt and beat myself up over and over upon thinking about it. However, I think the fact that I typed "yet" is not promising on my part. And I have had some pretty awful moments. That I probably should cringe about. I'm sure I'll be telling all about them soon enough. Anyway, upward and onward. Here's the photo, and of course, the story:


Have you ever done this? I, of course, have. I used to have a couple of jobs that required me to drive all over the middle third of California, and some days I would drive for literally 8, sometimes 10, hours. So, one learns how to occupy their mind in all that time, and music and the view can only cut it for so long sometimes. Next up? Solving math equations, of course. After that? Daydreaming. 

After I had Ethan, it was no longer feasible to have a job that required so much travel. So I started working in the company office of my primary job and apparently, old habits DO die hard. One day, I left work, got on the highway to home, and started thinking.

What would I do if I won the lottery? But not the big huge jackpot, like, the consolation prize of about $100,000? Well, first, I'd pay off that damn credit card debt. That shit is like the biggest albatross around my neck. Hmmm, pay off the cars... or would we even bother? That's a big expense and we "only" have a hundred grand. Gotta make the most of it... okay, go smaller. I'd upgrade a couple of things in Ethan's nursery. I hate that rocking chair; it's not very comfy for nursing. I'd buy a king size bed because when Ethan sleeps in there with us, a queen gets small fast. But wait, if we pay off the cars, that's x amount of dollars in our pocket every month, so we could figure out other things to do with that money, like actually contribute to Ethan's college fund---- OH SHIT!!

ETHAN!!

I was almost home. Ethan was still at the babysitter's house (his Nana's)... a few exits ago on the highway.

I was so busy figuring out what to do with this theoretical, non-existent money that I forgot all about picking up my son. 

What a dumbass. Here I am, this new mom, trying to find my way around this kid and myself as a mother and this is how I start it all off. He was like 5 or 6 months old... I think. Something around there. I called my mother-in-law and was like, "I uh, forgot to take the exit to your house, and I'm turning around, but I was kind of almost home and it's, you know, rush hour, so hopefully it won't take me too long to get back over your way...."

She busted out laughing and said that it was okay and to drive safely back (obviously a critical thing to add).

I concentrated very heavily on the drive back. And was pepping myself all up by thinking, at least I didn't forget him in the car all day or something. Or at the grocery store (or lately, Chuck E. Cheese... what the hell is up with all that??), so I'm good... he's safe at his grandma's house. 

This isn't toooo much of a black mark on me as a mom, right? Right??

Five years later, I've yet to do that again. At least, unintentionally. There have been plenty, plenty, of times that I've considered not picking the boys up from wherever on purpose. However, new plan for that lotto jackpot: forget the college fund. I'll just sock it away for his therapy. 

Oh wait... I forgot to get Ethan from school once. I lost track of time. I was only a *few* minutes late.

And we're going to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party this weekend. I'll do my best not to forget any of my kids. Wish me luck.

**As I was finishing up writing this, Brandon, who I thought was sitting behind me and eating his breakfast, had sneaked down from the table and gotten a container of cherry tomatoes, then sat on the floor and squeezed several of them all the hell over the place. His big "F you" to me for forgetting his brother years ago. And for laughing about it instead of feeling bad about it.

Keep it up, kid. You're next.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Questions I Did Not Think To Ask

"A friend once told me: 'The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn't even think to ask.'" -180 South, Jeff Johnson

I've never seen the 180 South documentary, but a friend (thanks, T.T.!) posted that quote on Facebook, and I love it. LOVE it. It's very true. Motherhood is that journey for me. I'm a deep thinker, an introspective person, always trying to think at least three steps ahead and to the side and from other viewpoints, and motherhood opened up a whole abyss of questions, and answers, that even I couldn't have possibly thought to ask prior to becoming a mother.


I've listed a few of them. The list is just a drop in the bucket of things I didn't think to ask but now know the answers to. Actually, a drop in the pond. No, ocean. I'm sure many other parents have experienced most of these, and if they haven't they will. Or something along these lines.

1. Will it be worth it when my kid sleeps longer?
It's not worth it when a kid sleep in or naps longer than they usually do, because once the normal wake-up time passes, all I do is wonder if the kid has died. And when rational thought sets in and I remind myself that it's such a remote chance that they actually died and they're just sleeping a bit longer, I still don't enjoy it because I feel the ticking time bomb of knowing that they are going to wake up at any second. And then when they do finally wake up, I'm simultaneously relieved that they are not dead and bummed that the peace and quiet is over. 

2. Will my kid make me look like a liar?
As soon as I (while being perfectly truthful) say to someone that my kid doesn't usually do something, the kid will do it. In front of only the person I said that to. Right after I say it, when what I just said is still fresh in the person's mind. Example:
Me: Connor doesn't eat salmon. 
Person I Said That To, 3 days later: So I made myself some salmon and some chicken for Connor, and he ate all of my salmon. And his chicken. 
Implication: You're a liar, and I am now starving because your pig-child ate all the food.
Aftermath: Connor has not eaten salmon since, and probably never will. Isolated incident, and I look like a liar, or like someone who does not know her child.

3. Will I want to throw my kid out of the window?
Yes. But instead, I put the kid in a crib and walk away. 

4. Will my kid have a weird pooping "schedule"?
No matter the time of day, we will be somewhere in public for 10 minutes, and in that 10 minutes, Connor will have to take a dump. Especially if we're in a place with the most disgusting public restrooms. Out of the entire day, that will always be his critical moment of potty need. Recently, we were at a friend's daughter's birthday party. Mind you, it wasn't a public place we were at, but in the mere two hours we were there, Connor had to crap twice and Ethan once. I spent an hour at the party, and an hour in the bathroom. Come on!

5. Will 8 p.m. become my most favorite time of day?
The boys' bedtime is 8 p.m. Yes, it's my favorite time of day. Even more so than nap time. 

6. Will I know it if my kid does something wrong?
If I don't notice that Ethan has done something wrong, the look on his face will tell me. The kid spells it out on his face like a damn billboard. If he ever learns how to do a poker face, I probably will not know about half the stuff he does that he's not supposed to. And if I catch anyone teaching him a poker face, I'm going to karate chop them in the throat.

7. What will happen if I simply make myself a plate of food?
On Nate's work days, when it's just me and the kids, I usually eat breakfast and dinner after the boys have already had theirs. 
If I make enough food for just me (after they have already eaten), the kids will eat half of it. 
If I make enough for all of us, they ignore it. 
If I ask if they want some and they do, they want more than what I made. 
If, the next time, I make more, they only want half of what I made. 
So in other words, there's either never enough, or there's too much. It's never just right. I think I'll just start stabbing them with my fork when they wander over to my food.

8. What will happen when I cut their nails?
I cut their toenails or fingernails, I'm ripping their nails from the beds. I wipe their noses, I'm pulling their brains out, not boogers. Or at least I'd think I was, the way they react to these basic grooming measures. I really just don't get it.

9. What will happen if I breastfeed my kid in an airport bathroom?
When Ethan was a baby, I was at the airport for some reason. He needed to eat. I went into the bathroom and found a bench to sit on, covered him up with a blanket, and tried to be discreet. A lady walked right up to me, and stared at me with this happy, goofy-eyed look on her face. After a few moments of discomfort and just when I was getting ready to ask her what the hell she was doing, she started telling me in a wistful voice about how she breastfed her son until he was five (five) and the only reason they quit was because he wanted to go to swimming camp or something like that. And she dried up while he was gone. I pretty much dried up on the spot. From horror.

10. Will becoming a mother make me a better person?
This is debatable. I still haven't figured out the answer to this one. So far, I'm probably going to have to go with no. I laugh at my kids when they throw tantrums, which Brandon is doing right now, and I would give just about anything to have a live-in nanny to take care of the mundane tasks (read: leave all the fun stuff for me) so that's probably bad. But, I do really, really love them, so that's good. I just don't know.

What about you? What questions did you not think to ask? 

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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Wooden Bowl

So I was cleaning out some old emails and came across the story below in one of them. I am not a patient person, especially with those who need it the most: children. Which is a black spot on my conscience and on me as a person. But no matter how much resolve I start out with each day to be a more patient mom, something always seems to go very awry and I lose my cool. And then I feel like shit and wonder what the magic trick is (besides their bedtime) to bring me this elusive patience, or if one even exists. 

In the story below, the old man reminds me of my children in the way that he's a fumbling mess with his food. He actually will probably remind anyone with a child of their child. 

THE WOODEN BOWL

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son.  "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.



Children can be frustrating. Very, very frustrating. Like the old man, they don't have the abilities and motor skills, among a thousand other things, that we would like them to have. I need to remind myself more that they can't help it. I need to remind myself more that it won't last forever; they'll grow out of this annoying and frustrating stage not quickly enough eventually. I'll do my best to remember that I don't want to make them feel like shit for stuff they can't yet help. 

Perhaps it will work. But as I'm watching Connor jump on the couch that he's been told not to jump on literally 25 times a day for the past year and feeling my blood pressure climb, I'm thinking not.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Pregnancy Insights: Offers to sign up for

This one is for the pregos, the will-be pregos, and perhaps the just-had-a-baby-and-are-no-longer pregos, but especially for the formula feeders. And if you're neither, feel free to share this with someone who is!

Maybe you've heard of this, but have you signed up for the formula coupons from Enfamil, Similac, and Nestle?

Breastfeeders - WAIT. Don't stop reading. This is for you, too. You may be fully planning on or currently breastfeeding but I beg of you to read this anyway and sign up for these offers! Because you may be planning on breastfeeding, but your boobs or your baby may NOT be, or your boobs or baby may crap out on the breastfeeding.... More on that in a minute.

So there are these deals out there through the three "big" formula companies in which you sign up for free on their website, and they send you these groups of money-saving coupons on their formula. And not like, save a dollar - like, save five or more dollars. And they send them to you for a year! Plus some other freebies, including these diaper bags that have samples and things in them that you get from the hospital when you have your baby. However, the hospitals in my area are breastfeeding Nazis super pro-breastfeeding and refuse to allow the formula companies to leave their bags at the hospitals, so they were not available in the hospitals where I live, but my obstetrician's and pediatrician's office had some on hand and gave me a couple over the years.

And they also send you these other coupons to get free formula samples from your baby's doctor - assuming your baby's doctor works in one of the offices that the formula reps stock with the samples. 

Now, I breastfed the boys for a year. Well, Brandon for 9 months - then my milk ducts suddenly shriveled up and died for some reason. But with all 3 of the boys, at about 4 months, my  supply started dropping off like dead flies. So whether I wanted to or not (I actually didn't care), I had to start supplementing with formula or my baby was going to starve. And I was not about to do the donated breast milk thing. So I can't tell you how grateful I was to have those coupons. I used them to buy the "convenience" formula, too, like the ready-to-feed (RTF) cans and even better, the ready-to-feed to-go bottles that you just pop a nipple on and you're good to go. I kept those in the diaper bag and loved every one of them. Say you're in the middle of the store and your baby starts shrieking to eat, grab a RTF bottle and stuff it in their mouth. Boom. And if you're thinking to yourself, "well, gee, Elizabeth [if you even knew my name] why didn't you just plan the feeding around the trip to the store?" 

Uuuhhhh.... 

Not everything is predictable, least of all BABIES. Or sometimes, most of the time, things take longer than they are supposed to. And then you find yourself in the grocery store with a screaming kid, no place of dignity to breastfeed or no milk in the tatas for it, and no pre-made bottle because you weren't expecting this to happen, what's a mom to do?


Ready-to-feed individual bottles in the diaper bag at all times. Best. Thing. Ever.





So do yourself a favor and just register. If you never use the coupons, then fine, you just toss them. No big deal. But at least you had them just in case. It's a piece of mind thing. I mean, what if baby never latches? What if your boobs don't make milk, or enough milk? What if your boobs or baby go on strike after a few months? What if you decide that breastfeeding just isn't for you? I'm not trying to scare anyone, I'm just pointing out that things can go awry, and have for millions of moms. And formula is expensive. 

Here are the links to the three:

They usually send you a sample can of formula in the mail, too.

They usually send a sample can or two of formula in the mail, also. And one time, we got randomly enrolled in their "special" gold club, and we got coupons for $10 and $15 off formula, PLUS coupons for free tubs of formula, plus other free deals from like, Shutterfly or somewhere. It was AWESOME. Maybe you'll win the Similac lottery, too!

Gerber also sends you coupons for their baby food/snacks/juice later on, too.

A couple of things:

The coupons are in check format, meaning that they are literally like a check made out to you to use at any retailer. So some store checkers will ask for your i.d.! And nobody but you is supposed to use them. And some checkers will have no idea how to process them, which means you have to wait while they call their manager and figure it out. It's really just a coupon and is supposed to be used as such, but they don't know that half the time.


It may take a couple of months for you to get into the system and the coupons to start arriving in the mail.

Register at all three because you never know if your baby is going to prefer a certain brand, and it also gives you more choice.

Costco's Kirkland brand formula is the best deal out there. Or at least it was a year ago. Something tells me that hasn't changed.

If you buy the RTF to-go bottles, check out eBay for some disposable nipples, like these:



Keep those in the diaper bag with the bottles and you are SET. Just be aware that when you search for "disposable nipples" on eBay, you'll also get results for nipple petals, with photos of slender half-naked model-like women with glittery pasties on their otherwise naked, very perky breasts that are resting atop firm, flat stomachs. Which, when you're pregnant or you've just had a baby, makes you feel super awesome. Ignore them, and focus on the other nipples. And slap your husband when he offers to "shop" for them for you.


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