I love my pediatrician. She is awesome. She is smart, she is funny/snarky, she is a ball to be around, she didn’t flip out on me the time Diddy got into Daddy’s pill box and ended up having her stomach pumped, and she has never once told me she’s concerned my kids are too small.
If she weren’t so geographically-undesirable, we’d probably hang out.
So there’s the first thing I would tell you new moms out there:
1. PICK A PEDIATRICIAN WHO IS CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE.
Like I said, I love my ped. You know what I hate? Driving across town to see her. All the time. Not because my kids are constantly sick or I am an overreacting helicopter nut of a Mom — in fact, I’ve gone the other direction COMPLETELY, I almost NEVER take the kids to the doctor when I should because she is SO FUCKING FAR AWAY — but because small kids, at least in the first year of life, tend to have monthly well-baby visits that lo-and-behold your insurance might actually cover.
After that, they go every eight weeks or three months or so until they turn 2.
And then you have another baby, and the whole thing starts all over again, and if you keep breeding like I did you will spend a lot of time dragging your kids to the pediatrician.
THAT IS A LOT OF DRIVING ACROSS TOWN.
And like I said, I love my ped too much to leave her, so I’m stuck.
DON’T GET STUCK DRIVING ACROSS TOWN.
2. PICK A PEDIATRICIAN YOU LIKE TO HANG OUT WITH.
Again, you’re going to be seeing a lot of her. Wouldn’t you rather it be fun?
3. PICK A PEDIATRICIAN OTHER DOCTORS RESPECT.
Here’s how you do that: Ask other doctors. My pediatrician went to school with my internist, who also went to school with both my first and second OBs. They trust each other. I trust them. They practice a brand of medicine I respect, aka THE KIND THAT’S BASED ON A HEALTHY RESPECT FOR AND UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE.
You can ask your friends, sure, but your friends motives aren’t always going to be your motives — for instance, your friends may secretly be batshit anti-vaccine nuts, and a) you don’t want to end up going to THEIR doctors and b) you probably don’t want to know that about your friends. I sure don’t. I don’t even want to know that about movie-stars-I’ve-loved-since-I-was-8.
(You wanna hear that story? Diddy and Gaga made friends with the daughter of Crushable Movie Star, over repeated sightings at our local restaurant-where-they-don’t-hate-kids. Finally, they all ended up on the local playground together. Mr. Big(Ideas) and Crushable Movie Star were having a good time, bonding over their love of chunky retro car phones, while Diddy and Crushable Kid were on the slides. Just around the same time Crushable Kid told Diddy “My parents fight a lot” ((PRICELESS!)), Crushable Movie Star told Mr. Big(Ideas) his kids weren’t vaccinated.End of story. We are not friends with Crushable Movie Star.)
Nor would I EVER EVER EVER take my kids to a doctor who didn’t INSIST UPON VACCINATING. I say this having spent my toddler-hood and some of my teenage-years in Kenya and Tanzania, where kids still die from things they could have gotten a shot to prevent. And guess what? THEY DIE HERE, TOO. Pertussis kills, folks. So does measles. And just because you haven’t seen a case of measles at your local supermarket doesn’t mean the kid at the pediatrician’s office sitting in the waiting room next to you didn’t sit next to a kid with measles on his flight back from France last weekend. See how that works? Small world, scary diseases. There’s a reason we invented shots to prevent them. GET YOUR KIDS SHOTS.
3. A “SICK-KID” WAITING ROOM IS NICE.
It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I am glad my pediatrician now has a separate waiting room to keep the sick kids from the babies getting their basic check-ups.
And that’s basically the extent of what I care about. I know it’s not a long list, but I am one of those people who believes you find people who are smart and trust-worthy, and you let them do their jobs as they see fit.
That said, my pediatrician has a new partner who blogs and tweets — I love this, by the way, my internist does the same thing, he’s awesome — so here’s HER list of good pediatrician interview questions:
Last night, Diddy came into our room a little after 2 am complaining she’d had a nightmare. I got right up and walked her back to her room — darling child has yet to figure out how to capitalize on her night terrors — and she obligingly went right back to sleep, as did I.
This morning on the way to school, I asked her what she’d dreamed about. Here’s what she came up with:
“I only remember a little bit of the scary part. The mean queen from Snow White was fighting me, and I had to make her dead, so I put her in my trash can. But she had magical powers and she came back to life, so then I tried putting her in the kitchen trash, but she came alive again, and so then I tried putting her in the pantry trash — I recycled her — but she came alive AGAIN so then I gave her a cigarette and THEN I put her in the trash again, and that time she died.”
Smart kid. My work here is done.
I love kid clothes. I really do. And my kids are INCREDIBLY lucky that their Grandmere Checklist (this is not a woman who will EVER answer to “Grandma”) lives within three blocks of five super-fancy kid clothes stores on the Upper East Side and periodically sends them enormous shipments of entire SEASONS worth of fabulous chic clothing that I wish to god came in grown-up sizes because I would literally be the most fabulous Mom at drop-off … also they’re not all PINK (and I at this point HATE pink with the same passion Diddy LOVES it) … which is great.
That said, if I had my druthers, I would simplify. My kids would all own three pairs of leggings and two pairs of jeans and five t-shirts and five long-sleeve shirts and three sweaters and one coat. Done. And it would all work together like those packing tutorials that InStyle used to run (do they still? I haven’t had time to look through an InStyle for a million years). And they’d all have their very own, dedicated color palettes for easy laundering and sorting … which, to be fair, I am moving towards — more on that later, but the quick answer, Grandmere and other readers who have an interest in sending my kids swag, is:
- Diddy — pink and purple and anything with frills
- Gaga — purple, yellow, anything with apples, cupcakes, or birds or owls
- Pancake — blue, black, red
- Sausage — green, brown, orange
I have heard great things about Zara kids clothes, and H&M kids clothes … but I am lazy/efficient so I stick to Target because I’m already there a million times a week and Gap, because they are constantly discounting EVERYTHING and I buy it all online.
And here’s the thing:
MY KIDS DON’T CARE. They think it’s all just fine as long as it’s in a color they’ll deign to don.
And guess what? YOUR BABY WILL CARE EVEN LESS. And, unless he’s anything like my kids, who grow at a glacial pace (Diddy, now 3, still rocks 18 month old leggings), he will outgrow those first infant clothes so quickly that it’s really not worth spending any real money on your layette.
Here’s what I’d do if I had to do it all again: Continue reading “Lighten Up Your Layette” »
Check out what my old friends and Brand Newbie Superparents went and did to their Citi Mini! Seriously — they are less than two months into being parents and they’ve already gone way and beyond me in stroller-land:
Yep, you’re looking at a Baby Jogger 2011 City Mini Single Stroller plus the Car Seat Adaptor — only my Newbie Superparent pals brilliantly unsnapped the cover of the seat, making the basket underneath more accessible.
I so wish I could say I had come up with this myself — I mean, come on, I have four tiny kids, I am CONSTANTLY pitching this stroller to people, I seriously ought to own STOCK in the Citi Mini at this point — but the fact is, I didn’t come up with this genius way to turn a Citi Mini into a much lighter, more flexible, more easily maneuverable, WAY MORE useful-in-the-long-term facsimile of … you got it: a SNAP-AND-GO!
Which now gives you ONE LESS REASON TO GO WASTE YOUR CASH on one. Do this, instead!
Just know a couple of things before you do:
1. Unsnapping the cover means, umm … you’re going to have to re-snap it eventually.
My Newbie Superdad was worried that might be a major PITA, but I went and did this whole trick to my own Citi Mini tonight, just so I could tell you it WASN’T a PITA without lying to you … and lo-and-behold: IT WASN’T!
So unsnap and re-snap away.(That said, if you’re not particularly good with visualizing how things go back together, keep your instructions handy.)
2. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE “PULL TO FOLD” HANDLE!
That handle is a big part of why I think this stroller is so hot — it allows for one-handed folding — and I can tell you I not once but many many times managed to hold a toddler on my hip and a baby in my Ergo and fold this stroller flat with my free hand.
WHICH IS WHY I CAN’T SHUT UP ABOUT THIS STROLLER.
That said, if you un-snap the cover of the stroller, you MAY lose your “PULL TO FOLD” HANDLE. I didn’t — my stroller is a 2008 model, and the strap is separate from the rest of the cover, so I just pulled it free and re-attached it to the appropriate loops so that I could retain the folding mechanism while the stroller was in its MacGyver Mini mode. (Oh, and: that’s the Baby Jogger Glider Board on the back of the stroller, in case you’re wondering.)
I don’t know for a fact if the newest models work this way. If they don’t, just tie a string to those folding-loops, and you’ll get the same effect.
Super cool, right?
What awesome MacGyver Mommy tricks have you come up with? I’d love to hear about them!
One of my favorite things about being pregnant — ok, the ONLY thing I liked about being pregnant — was “nesting” obsessively, dreaming about the perfect nursery (I can not believe I have been through THREE nurseries already!) and having the super-woman-pregnant-hypermanic-second-trimester energy to actually get NURSERY MAKING done. (If only I could have bottled that energy, I might be able to finally clean out our garage).
Now, like I just said, I have put together THREE nurseries over the last 5 years, and I have learned a few things in the process … for instance: YES, you really need somewhere COMFORTABLE to sit and nurse, more than you need something PRETTY … and it is worth spending real money one that comfortable piece of furniture. And: NO, you do NOT need to spend $500 on a fancy crib — because it will be just as shitty a piece of particle-board-constructed crap as the comparable looking Target or Ikea models, so save your cash.
Oh, and, your baby doesn’t need a suite. She might not even NEED a crib, if you’re co-sleeping, or if you don’t have a second bedroom — she’ll be fine in a PACK-N-PLAY next to your bed, really. Or in dresser drawer, like in every movie from the 1950s. Or in your bed … or in a padded laundry basket … you get the picture. Your baby really doesn’t need much. I mean, those crazy Swedes in the Ikea catalogue seem to be able to stuff entire nurseries into closets … so it didn’t seem weird,when Diddy was born, that all we had was one half of our office to offer her.
We called our set-up “Diddy’s “N-office,” and it looked pretty much like the photo at the top of this post, which I will now reproduce, here, annotated beyond an inch of its life, so that I can save you from making TONS of mistakes that I made.
- DON’T BUY A BUMPER. First off, they can be dangerous to active babies who get tangled in them. Secondly, they are a pain in the ass to deal with every time you have to change your crib sheets.
- Oh, and: DON’T BUY THE CRIB SKIRT, EITHER. It’ll shift around every time you lift the mattress to change your crib sheets.
- And that’s the famous RIDICULOUSLY expensive crib, too. Don’t do that either. Ikea makes great, similarly modern looking cribs for 1/5th the price.
The rug I loved — it’s Land of Nod, top quality, and it seemed worthwhile to give Diddy a soft rug, but I didn’t count on our cats destroying it, which they did — the loop construction was just too delicious for them to ignore. Still, I am ok with spending cash on that rug.
Here’s the other picture worth sharing:
OK, more “not-to-dos”:
- Don’t shell out for that fancy Svan bouncer you can see through the bathroom door — the first time you take it apart to wash it, the whole thing will shred. (Big FAIL.) Go get the easy-to-clean BABYBJÖRN BabySitter instead.
- OK — that wipes warmer? Waste of cash. Your kid doesn’t need hot wipes, really.
- And the changing table? Go get a dresser. You’ll have more flexibility in the long run.
Anyway, in case you’re trying to figure out what you need and DON’T need in your new baby’s nursery, here’s the boiled down REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF, as learned over time and subsequent babies. (Yes, I will post about babies and toddlers sharing a room soon — and do twins, too!)
ChecklistMommy’s NURSERY ESSENTIALS
- CRIB / PACK-N-PLAY: Your kid will need a bed of her own, eventually, unless you are a hardcore family-bed type. I recommend Ikea cribs, really, truly. The one I eventually bought Gaga, because Diddy was still in her crib when Gaga was born so we had to buy a second one, was Ikea — and it lasted through Gaga and is holding up great for Sausage, who occupies it now.
- CHANGING TABLE / DRESSER WITH A CHANGING TOP: You want someplace comfortable to change diapers and store extra diapers and diaper supplies and clothes and sundries. If I had to do it again, I would have gone with a dresser. You definitely want a dresser if you don’t have a dedicated closet for your kid — in fact, when Gaga was born and before we moved her in to Diddy’s room, we changed her on top of a HUGE Ikea dresser in our room and it was sort of perfect — lots of room for her diapers and her clothes, and our clothes — and if I had to set up a nursery in a closet-less space, I’d totally use that Ikea dresser again. Whatever you choose to use, load it up with extra diapers, wipes, diaper creams, pajamas, onesies.
- DIAPER CHAMP– put it next to the changing table / dresser.
- LAUNDRY HAMPER — Find something with a small footprint, and put it next to the changing table / dresser.
- LIDDED TRASH CAN — You need a lid so that your kid doesn’t get into the trash when she starts crawling around. Put this next to the changing table / dresser, too.
- ROCKER / GLIDER / CHAIR / COUCH: You need somewhere to sit and cuddle and nurse and bottle feed. You just do. The comfier the better, since you are going to spend many long middle-of-the-night hours in whatever piece of furniture you choose. We bought a Dutailier glider for Diddy (after a brief love affair with a gorgeous and incredibly uncomfortable vintage rocker I found on eBay), and used it when she and Gaga shared a room, too — I could have them both on my lap for bedtime stories, and it was awesome. When we moved into our new house, there wasn’t room in the boys’ room for the chair, so I went to Ikea and bought a narrow futon and stuck it on the floor, and threw some pillows on it, and that’s where I sat when I nursed Pancake and Sausage, or on those nights where I’ve had to cuddle a sick or teething baby. It’s been awfully handy for guests, too — I can drag it anywhere in the house.
- RUG: Get something soft for baby to loll around on. I have been happy with Land of Nod rugs — but just as happy with the far more affordable Ikea and Target versions, too (the boys currently have Ikea, as does Gaga, and Diddy loves her pink Target rug).