Like people around the globe right now, we are living an altered life because of the novel coronavirus covid-19. A global pandemic. A worldwide health crisis. An unrecognizable world where society as we know it has come to a screeching halt. And like everyone else, my family is just trying to get by, day by day.
While I know everyone is experiencing challenges with this crisis—many of which are extremely real, such as loss of a job, income, health care, etc.—this experience and its challenges feel amplified as a parent, especially with a newborn in the house. The fear I feel for my children, and particularly so for my newborn daughter, is very real. I cringe at the thought of them getting sick, or worse, becoming a fatality among the statistics. They say children are faring well when falling ill, but I fear the virus’ unpredictability and its ability to mutate. I fear for what we do not yet know about this virus and how it could impact my children. Even the fleeting thought of losing one of our children brings crippling sadness. I would never recover.
Anxieties about catching covid-19 aside, challenges inside the home are at an all-time high. We have a newborn, which puts us in a unique situation, but then to be quarantined on top of that feels like a double layer of isolation. Taking care of a newborn brings lots of sleep deprivation coupled with tons of stress and anxiety. Add that to the mix of having zero familial or friend support, plus a wild toddler who cannot play with friends, and you’ve nearly got yourself a recipe for daily meltdowns from everyone. I surprisingly made it nearly three weeks before my first cry.
Being quarantined with a toddler is frightening. Spending 12+ hours a day inside (or in our backyard) with our son is not something we (or really anyone) is used to. Some days are easier than others, it’s true, but none of the days are ever easy. Prior to this pandemic, my son and I would venture out for a daily activity each morning: the library, the museum, the park, the playground, the lake, a playdate, etc. He’s a very social kid and we both get a little stir crazy if we don’t go out. Plus, it helps ensure a decent naptime.
But now, we can’t go anywhere. And while we have taken extreme measures in the past three weeks to make sure our backyard is an inviting space for him, none of us were prepared for spending so much time inside our home. My son is doing new things (that he shouldn’t do) like nap-striking, climbing bookshelves and generally just parading around our house like a wild animal. At the end of every day, it literally looks like a tornado hit our home. And when your home manages to look like a symbolic depiction of your mental and emotional state, it’s a bit unsettling.
I am personally trying to focus on the positives, but after three weeks, it has been hard. I love my kids more than anything. I am grateful for our daughter, even if this newborn stage is so damn hard. I am grateful for my supportive husband, and for the fact that he is able to work from home and keep his job and income during a time in which so many families have lost their economic livelihood. I am grateful for our backyard, for the economic means to buy a small swing/slide-set for my son, so he can have some sense of normalcy and playtime during the pandemic. I am grateful for food—for the ability to have our groceries delivered by brave workers who are willing to shop for us. I am grateful that we have the privilege to not leave our house, so that we can keep our family as safe as possible.
With that all being said, it continues to be a challenge to keep it together. To not snap at my son when he does something he shouldn’t. To not get frustrated and upset when my daughter wakes every hour at night and refuses to go back to sleep. To find the time to do the dishes, laundry, cleaning and cooking, and still make time to do basic things for myself like take a shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc. To keep a positive space inside my head where I can focus on the things for which I am grateful. To remember to take deep breaths. Nothing about this is easy.
In a few recent conversations with friends about one-year-old birthday parties, a theme arose: the one-year-old birthday meltdown. With my own son about to be a year old, I was curious why the one-year-old birthday meltdown seemed inevitable. And as my son approached his first birthday, it all started to make sense – one-year-old development is a chaotic time for both parents and babies alike. Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
It’s amazing how quickly the clothes and toys start stacking up in your baby’s room. My son is almost a year old and we have admittedly amassed more items than he needs. From hand-me-downs and gifts, to things we’ve purchased for him, his collection of “stuff” continues to grow. In an ongoing effort to keep his room tidy and embrace minimalism, I’m sharing my steps on how to easily do so! Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
My son officially turned one-year-old a few days ago. On the one hand, I cannot believe he is already a year old. But on the other, it feels like this was the longest year of my life.
From the very beginning, starting with a 77-hour labor, we experienced challenges with Camilo. We were absolutely relieved and blessed when he finally entered this world after such an enduring labor, but that was just the beginning of our struggles. Next it was acid reflux starting at six-weeks-old, then the emergence of food intolerances at eight-weeks-old; and resulting from both of those struggles was his complete and utter hatred for his car seat, stroller and baby carrier. We were damn near immobile half a year.
And when most babies start to get the hang of sleeping, around three months old, Camilo refused to give me more than 1-2 hour stretches at a time (and that lasted until he was nine-months-old when we finally decided to make some major changes to his sleeping routines and habits). Because of these challenges, the first nine months of Camilo's life were difficult for our family. We were happy and of course loved him more than anything, but as new parents we struggled a lot, and couldn't understand why we were experiencing so much hardship—what seemed to be much more than what most new parent experience. We were definitely in survival mode.
As we enter into Camilo's second year of life, I am happy to report that on most nights, he is sleeping incredibly well and in his own crib! I was able to get his food intolerances under control by following the AutoImmune Protocol for a solid six months, then slowly reintroduced foods back into my diet. I am able to eat everything now, except for dairy and soy. It has been life-changing to have Camilo's food intolerances under control and for him to be sleeping well. He enjoys the stroller and baby carrier now, too. And for the most part, can hold it together in the car if he's fed and has a few toys on hand.
There was definitely a point during the first (hardest) nine months of Camilo's life that I wasn't sure I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It sure is good to have caught a glimpse of that light and followed it. Seeing him develop these last few weeks in particular has been absolutely amazing. I can literally see the transformation from infant to toddler. He's walking and talking, and doing all kinds of amazing things like trying to put on his own shoes, dancing and engaging in imaginative play.
Being a momma is absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is also the most rewarding. When I look at him, I am in awe that my husband and I created him. I am in awe of his personality, his humor, his beauty. Thank you, Camilo, for choosing me to be your momma. Happy Birthday, my son!
Before you become a parent, you have expectations about what it’s going to be like. And of course, because you have parenting expectations, it’s easy to judge others who are already parents when you see them parenting their child(ren) in a way that doesn’t align with your own expectations. But all of that changes when your baby is born. And you suddenly realize there is zero reason to judge any parent for the choices they make in parenting. Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
The holiday season is upon us and I've been thinking a lot about the kinds of traditions I want to pass on to my son. When I was a kid, I grew up celebrating Channukah with my father and his side of the family. And although I never had a bat mitzvah and cannot read Hebrew, I have always culturally identified with my Jewish heritage. On my mother's side with Italian ancestry, we celebrated Christmas. Growing up in my full Italian grandfather's home instilled in me a deep connection with our Italian heritage. And thus, it was never strange to me to honor both cultures and celebrate both holidays. I still very much identify with both of my Italian and Jewish ancestry, and want to instill this identity in my son as well.
Camilo is nearly ten months old and just the perfect age to enjoy the holidays. He's smart and mobile—nearly walking already—and I just know he is going to get excited when we light the Menorah and decorate the Christmas tree.
My husband and I plan to celebrate all eight nights of Channukah, teaching him the blessing we say over the candles, eating traditional Jewish cuisine and opening one gift on each night. As a child, my father always bestowed upon us the gift of music for Channukah. I can remember many years that the gift my sisters and I all opened on the first night was always a CD. One year in particular, we all received a different Beatles album. Although most music is downloaded nowadays and Camilo wouldn't know what to do with a CD other than put it in his mouth, I still love the idea of carrying on the tradition of giving music. Camilo is already in love with music and I know that as the years pass, he will grow to appreciate the gift of music more and more—just as I did when I was young.
For Christmas, my mother always gave us a gift on Christmas Eve (in addition, of course, to our Christmas Day presents). The traditional Christmas Eve gift was always pajamas. She has been doing this for more than 30 years. I am beyond excited to continue this tradition with Camilo! There's something so special about putting on a new, snuggly pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve as you get into bed, excited for Christmas morning. In our Italian family, a lot of our Christmas traditions revolve around food. For instance, when I was a child lasagne was the dish of choice for Christmas Eve. And as I have become an adult, my mother, sisters and I have started the tradition of making quiches for breakfast on Christmas Day. Although this year will be a little different—because I can't eat dairy, gluten or eggs still—I do still want to carry on these culinary traditions in the years to come. Camilo and I won't be dairy/gluten/egg-free forever!
I can still remember the day we brought my son home from the hospital. We somehow managed to come home with triple the amount of stuff we took to the hospital; my dining room floor was a disaster for a week. Our hospital bag was still packed, but open and gone through for things I needed. And the large “goodie bags” from the hospital (full of pads, mesh panties, diapers, receiving blankets, and postpartum healing essentials) were overflowing onto the floor. Lucky for us, my mother-in-law came by after we left for the hospital to tidy up and wash our sheets before we returned home with the baby. But ever since that first day, my house has never been the same. I wasn’t used to new baby chaos... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
When I first got pregnant, I had a lot of anxiety about birth. I was nervous about how my body would handle it, afraid of the pain, and unsure how labor would unfold. I did a lot of work in my pregnancy to eradicate that anxiety. Among exercising, meditating, and reading a lot about birth, I also did a lot of research about doulas; in the end, I made the right decision to hire one... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
When I first became a mom, I had no idea the kinds of challenges breastfeeding could bring. And I certainly didn’t consider that my son might have food intolerances that would bring additional challenges to breastfeeding. But at nine weeks, my son started exhibiting all the signs of having food intolerances. He had blood in his mucus-y/foamy stool, eczema rashes on his skin, was fussy at the breast, and exhibited irritable behavior. The poor little guy was always uncomfortable and crying hysterically in the car seat, stroller, and baby carrier. He was diagnosed with acid reflux (which is often, though not always, linked to food intolerances). It wasn’t until he was 13 weeks old that I connected all the dots. That’s when I started to do research on how to continue breastfeeding a baby with food intolerances... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.
You will never be ready for kids. Your life will never be the same. These are the two statements—or some iteration of—that you will hear over and over again before you become a first-time mom. But what they don’t tell you is why you’ll never be ready for kids or how your life will never be the same. You’ll never be ready for kids because they are entirely unpredictable and each baby is unique. You honestly cannot even begin to imagine their needs, because every baby is so different... Read the full post on Wine Country Moms Blog.