Candid Camera

Probably the most important thing I’ve learned about parenting thus far: for the love of all that is holy, put your shoes on BEFORE you strap the baby to your chest in a carrier in the morning. Seriously. I am just glad there is no video feed of me in my apartment trying to lace up my boots while wearing the baby in the Bjorn. Pure comedy.

Equally important, the other day I finalized Lina’s adoption!  She is now officially my daughter! I called in to the Florida court from my parents’ office. My father was so nervous  he couldn’t sit down, and he even managed to hang up the phone on the court right before the proceeding. My step-mother cried.  I just held the baby and fed her and hoped she wouldn’t have an epic crap (she didn’t).

Here is Lina with Grandpa right before she became officially part of the Tittsy family (God help her).  Grandpa is kind of obsessed with her. It’s so sweet. I know I joke a lot, but I’m really moved by it.

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Some Pearls of Wisdom From A Neophyte Mom

Here is what I’ve learned in the first six months of mothering:

1. There are a million toys out there to buy babies, but your kid will probably just want to play with the box it came in. Or with the toy you fished out of the garbage.

2. Your baby will like the dumbest book on the shelf, and you will be forced to read it every night. Do not even try to get her to like classics such as “Eloise” or “Amos and Boris.” She just wants the stupid one about finding her bellybutton.

3. She will always pee on the changing table if you roll the dice and leave her undiapered for 15 seconds.

4. Babysitters who have been doing this for a long time know way more than you do about raising your kid. They are pros. Pick their brains and hope they don’t charge you extra.

5. You will buy your baby a really cute Christmas dress and take her to the family Christmas Eve party in it. Then she will throw a giant tantrum and refuse to do anything but cry so you have to take her home before you get a photo of her with Santa.

6. When you start feeding your baby solid foods, she will have the runs like nobody’s business. Then there will be a bad diaper rash that you will buy ten creams for. These creams will not work. The rash will only be cured when you remove her diaper and let her go ass-to-the-wind for several shit-encrusted days.

More on that, and the unharnessed power of poop, next time.

Someone Better Than Me!

Oh my god. I just saw this hilarious blog post on a mom blog, and it turns out there is a hilarious mom blogger who I love.  A lot of the mom stuff has not been up my alley, and I half-started thinking, “should I try to put an effort into my blog and do something I’d want to read?”  Turns out, this woman, Jenny True, is fucking hilarious and genius.

And here is the post called “Ginger Fruit Bowl and Fuck Your Baby Advice” that I love so much I want to, well, fuck it.

One Ticket There, Two Tickets Back

So this is the story of how I went to Florida and came back with a baby.

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As you might know, in every state, in adoption, a birthmother has the right to change her mind for a set period of time known as the “revocation period”.  In New York, for instance, a birthmother has 30 days after she signs the papers to decide she wants to parent. It’s fair, I think, because it’s not the kind of decision you want to find yourself regretting if you have decided to make an adoption plan for your kid.

 

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In Florida, there is no revocation period, which means that after the birth mom signs the papers she cannot change her mind. That’s awesome for an adoptive parent, and why a lot of people try to adopt in Florida.

 

The one thing is that the birth mom can’t sign the papers until 72 hours after she gives birth. It makes sense ethically, since right after birth I don’t think anyone is in their right mind to sign anything.

 

I spent three days in the hospital with the birthmother for as she delivered the baby and recovered.  She didn’t really have anyone to be there with her, so I was happy to be her support person. I also took care of Lina from the minute she was born, which was incredible.

 

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My stepmother came too, although she didn’t sleep there in her room like I did.  So the three of us just sort of hung out, held the baby, talked and generally kind of got to know one another. The birth mom is a wonderful young woman who had no opportunities in life. She’s smart, gorgeous and has my exact same sense of humor, oddly. We loved her and she clearly loved us, and the attention we gave her. The nurses helped me feed and bathe Lina and I think the birthmom liked watching me become a new mom to her baby. She was generous and helped me too, with diapering and feeding tips. It was fun and sweet and intimate, and I’m so glad we all had those three amazing days.

 

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But the night before the birthmother was to sign the papers at noon and leave the hospital– and leave Lina with me– she just broke down emotionally. She was crying hysterically, and told me to take the baby into the other room and leave her alone. After all that closeness, I just was sort of rattled.  She wouldn’t talk or look at me, even though she was just a few feet away in the other room.  It was awful, and I felt terrible for her. And I have never, ever felt stress the way I did that night and the whole next morning, because it seemed like she was going to change her mind about the adoption.

 

My stepmother came to the hospital the next morning, and I told her what was going on. She and I just huddled together on the couch in the adjoining room, holding Lina for hours and wondering what was going on in the birthmother’s room.  I’ll never forget the look on my stepmother’s face– those wide eyes that reflected my own anxiety, hurt and bewilderedness.

 

Then at about 11 am, the birthmom asked to see the baby. Both of our hearts dropped.

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I took a moment, and a breath.  Then I realized, all of a sudden, that the wonderful, sweet, unlucky young woman we had come to know and love wouldn’t give up her child without saying goodbye.  I wasn’t sure, but that’s what came to me. I was still nervous, but that thought rattled around in my brain as she kept the baby in her room for about half an hour.   My stepmother just said, “How do people go through this? How?”

 

Then at around noon, the door to the birthmom’s room opened. She had changed out of her hospital gown and was dressed in a pretty flowery dress.  She was holding the baby in her arms and was looking down at her with this truly beatific smile on her face.

 

She slowly walked over to me, gently placed Lina in my arms and said, “you are going to be a wonderful mother.”

 

I was stunned; my stepmother burst into tears, jumped up said ,”That was so beautiful!” I stood up and hugged the birthmom and said, “YOU are a wonderful mother.” We said we loved each other, and I did and I do.   Then my stepmother hugged her, and later told me that the birth mom said to her, “don’t worry. Tittsy’s going to be great.” Even in that moment she was thinking of me and not herself. All I wanted to do was to take care of her, too, but I know that isn’t possible or even helpful. But I will always love her.

 

More about the first week later after I feed this baby.

 

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All we have to fear is fear itself?

When I was originally thinking about becoming a mother on my own, I thought it was going to be monstrously hard. I thought I’d have no friends, and be incredibly tired all the time and be barely functioning.

And while it is hard, it doesn’t look quite like that. People come to visit all the time. The baby sleeps almost through the night, and I have affordable help at night twice a week so I can catch up on sleep. She’s apparently a really easy baby, so that helps. I sleep-trained her two nights ago, and it only took about 15 minutes.  I just put her down for a nap a few minutes ago and she didn’t fight it or cry at all.

She’s just super cute and enjoyable and while it is hard work, most of the time it’s kind of a quiet grind. There’s a lot to do, but it’s manageable. I just have to take care of one person, and I feel myself falling more in love with her every day. Apparently things are going to get much harder when I go back to work, but for now, my imagination was way worse than the reality. So to any single ladies out there thinking of getting a baby somehow, I hope that helps.

And it helps that I didn’t give birth to her, so my body isn’t recovering from that.

I do really want to write about the week when I went to go and adopt her, so let me get to that. But first, a photo:

 

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How cute is this baby? Also keep in mind that when she came out it was not love at first sight. My first thought was, “holy crap, what the hell is wrong with that baby?” I even took photos of her squished-up face and emailed my doctor because I was sure something was wrong with her. My doctor just wrote back, “um, she looks perfect. Enjoy.”  I’m a neurotic New York Jew at heart, you know.

Okay, wait, I spoke too soon. Baby is waking up I think. More later. I might have to do some more sleep training.

 

Who You Talking To?

Every time someone calls me “Mom” I look behind me, like, “are you speaking to me?”

I mean, I diaper, feed and cuddle my girl all day long, but I still can’t wrap my head around being a mom officially. I saw a documentary called “First Comes Love” about a single woman having a kid, and I remember she had been told that the “mom part” of her would emerge slowly. I totally get that.

I’m keeping my daughter (even saying that is so weird!) off of social media for now, but I can’t stand it: I’ve got to show you a photo of her.  She’s super, super cute. Like, I walk down the street with her and people stop me to tell me she is beautiful. I say thank you, even though I can’t take credit for her creation.

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But come on, that is a cute little girl, right?

I feel like I should call her Ms. Tittsina on here for privacy’s sake, even though I forgot I already posted her name.

Tonight I have a night sitter– she is super awesome– so I was planning to do some writing about the whole experience. Instead I fucked about and watched Rachel Maddow with the babysitter.

I will say this: the baby seems to be pretty chill. Like, I was expecting it to be SO much worse. Yes, she wakes up every two to three hours every night to be fed. But I find that if I just nap, and nap hard, during the day when she sleeps, I feel pretty good. Plus sometimes she will sleep for three and then four hours at night, so then I’m really golden. I think it helps that I am not recovering from giving birth and that I am not breastfeeding.

I generally spend my days just chilling with Ms. Tittsina, and I have not yet gotten tired of it. I like just looking at her. She even laughed yesterday, which was thrilling. I could tell she was laughing at, and not with, me, but I’m fairly used to that.

I didn’t realize that becoming a mother meant an entry into a kind of club. Like, other moms stop me on the street to say congratulations and tell me how pretty Ms. T is. And on the plane ride home, no fewer than three women stopped to chat with me, and to tell me to enjoy every second of her being a baby.  It really struck me that they were so sympathetic. I mean, here I am boarding a flight with a tiny infant, and instead of hating me for what would surely be three hours of screaming, they were full of support. Hurrah women power.

Okay, next time I’ll tell you all about the three days I spend in the hospital with the birthmother. That’s really the story I want to tell.