The Black Bag

I thought when I walked across the stage at my college graduation that feeling of ‘the walk of shame’ would be over. But I can’t help but feel that exact same embarrassment, and want to disappear into my chair as I look at the clock on my desk, sanitize my hands and then grab ‘the black bag’. I get up from my desk and walk with ‘the black bag’ as low as possible hanging from my extended arm at my side.

I walk quickly and quietly, hoping my colleagues will all be at their desks, or getting a coffee and staying in the kitchen. I swipe my badge as quick as possible to get out into the hall. Maybe once I am outside no one will notice ‘the black bag’, think it’s my purse or be too busy to notice.

When I do see someone I try to say hi as normal as possible but I feel like everyone that looks at me can see right through me! They must know what is in ‘the black bag’ but more embarrassingly where I am headed and what I am about to do.

When I swipe back into the office and step into the ‘Privacy Room’ I pray no one will be walking by, standing in front of the door chatting or worse yet, that the door will be shut, with someone else using the room without looking to see if it has been booked on the conference room calendar.

When I get into the room I close the door as quick as possible, with my back to the hall and without turning on the light until the door is shut and locked. The less chance someone will see me the better.

All this worry and embarrassment, just for 25 minutes to pump a bottle or two of milk, the ability to provide and nourish my newborn naturally, while back at work.

When I finally begin pumping, watching the bottles fill up, there is a whole new emotion, one of success and true multitasking. The ability to know I am still successfully able to provide for my son while at work is a feeling of success. This feeling is revisited when I get home and move my bottles from ‘the black bag’ to the refridgerator and I am able to know that for one more day the bottles that my son has don’t have to be formula, don’t have to be shaken and stirred with water but instead are just as nature intended…kind of! It makes the embarrassment of carrying ‘the black bag’ wash away…at least for the next 25 minutes.

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Dear Southwest

Thank you for your continued stellar service…recently I travelled for the first time with our youngest son from Massachusetts to Florida. It was a pleasant flight with not too much drama from my lap passenger. (By the way, thank you for keeping under 2 year olds free, I hope you don’t have plans to change that airline policy anytime soon!)

I did want to bring to your attention the placement of the tissue dispenser in your lavatory, in particular the one that has the drop down change table for children. You may have noticed that you went through an excessive amount of tissues recently on this Orlando to Hartford leg! That was because of my 10 month old son! I realize there is not much real estate for stowing away tissue dispensers in those lavatories (and I am impressed with what you have done with the space!!) but you must realize that when trying to tackle (and I mean that literally) the job of changing a diaper in your lavatories it is not a small feat that it can be successfully accomplished. I found on this most recent trip that the only way I was able to make the change within the 2 hour and 16 minute flight was that I allowed my son to be entertained by repeatedly pulling your tissues out and dropping them on the floor. And let me tell you, he may have only been 10 months old but he is FAST! He had those tissues coming out faster than dispensed winnings from a slot machine. I couldn’t slow him down. The tissue dispenser was pretty much eye level with him when he was standing up (yes – you read that right – standing up). I lost the battle to change him lying down, there was just too much light and too much to explore in that lavatory! So – I let him waste tissue after tissue for the duration of diaper change.

Thank you Southwest, I feel much better to have this confession off my chest. I hope I am not the first to feel the need to admit this, but I do hope I am one of the last as I did feel awfully bad for the wasted tissues whose short existence was a momentary flutter from the dispenser to the floor of a Southwest Airlines flight from Florida to Connecticut for the momentary pleasure of a 10 month old boy and the momentary sanity of a tired traveling mother. Until we take to the skies again! xx

Budget Lovers Guide to Entertaining a Toddler

As I add parenting of my third toddler to my parental resume, I realize that I have been doing it all wrong! Why did I spend money on baby toys? As I stand here in the kitchen and try to clean the dishes, cook dinner, dictate spelling words to C and keep D’s starvation at bay until dinner is served, I look down to find T, the almost walker, careening to the open dishwasher, pulling himself up and reaching for every sharp, shiny, pointy, jagged edged implement in the rolled out bottom rack!

QUICK – halt everything, grab his hands, put the knife back in the utensil compartment and pretend that pushing up the door is more fun than investigating what is inside the dishwasher! Smile, giggle, repeat “Push T, Push!” until the door is shut and he is safe from the contents inside. As I make this final push and T whips around to find his next source of entertainment in the kitchen, I realize the three baskets full of infant/toddler toys was a complete waste of money and is now a complete waste of valuable shelf space!

So for those soon-to-be mothers and fathers worried about the cost of raising a child…I have your first short cut! DON’T BUY TODDLER TOYS! Here is my list of alternate options that you most likely already own:

  1. Open Dishwasher – shiny, wet, just my height!
  2. DVD cases on an open shelf – light, fits in my hand and fun to hurl across the floor! (and really, who watches them anymore?)
  3. Tupperware Lids – colorful, round, fun to chew on!
  4. Fridge Magnets – bright, slides easily, sticks in place!
  5. Dirty Laundry – it’s not supposed to stay in the hamper is it? Pulling it all out is FUUUUNN!
  6. Toilet Paper – its light, sticks to my wet fingers, and rolls away from me…and it never ends!
  7. Pots and Pan Drawer – loud! reflects my image and gets everybody’s attention!
  8. Water Bottles – when I steal one from my brothers they roll away, they drip, the spout is chewy!
  9. CD Player – That old school CD player you left out when you were doing your last project, when I stand and put all my weight on the CD door it pops open! And I can do it again and again! (Yes, my 11 month old climbs on top of old CD players!!)
  10. Open Dryer Door – when you leave it open I can take all the wet clothes out faster than you can put them in! Fun…and you play with me!

So there you go! Don’t worry about finding room in the budget for toddler toys, you already have a house full of them…and you didn’t even know it!

Here We Go…

LOVE Daddy and BoysMy name is Carly, I am the mom to 3 little boys, as I write this first post they are 6, 4 and 11 months. Before having children I imagined myself a mother of a little girl dressed in pink and red, skirts and ballet slippers. But it was not meant to be. Now I have a house of superheroes, monster trucks and army men. My mother tells me, “You girls were never like this,” and I question my parental skills and discipline tactics. After talking with other mothers of boys, I think my boys are pretty close to normal, fully energized, inquisitive individuals.

I decided to start this blog as a way to capture all my thoughts about this crazy ride as a parent, wife, and wanna-be-homemaker. Another motivating factor in starting this blog was because there is nothing better as a parent than to bump into another parent who makes you feel NORMAL! “You mean your kids do that too?!” Oh thank goodness my kids are not the only ones! I could write lists and lists of the things that once I realized I/my kids were not the only ones doing or struggling with…I felt relieved. I met one of my dearest ‘mom’ friends simply like that…talking about our infants and going “wow” you feel that way too? Your baby does that too?

I have dabbled in writing all my life, beginning with the 10 page story of a moose in 4th grade that was only assigned to be 3 pages, naming the school newspaper in middle school, or contributing to my high school newspaper after interviewing visiting artists to the school. Later studying communications in college and eventually in the full time working world writing content for websites, social media and a variety of other communication mediums…why not now try writing for a blog, MY blog.

The name of my blog, ‘Daddy Makes Four’ when recently I was at a birthday party and another mother said to me, “You have FOUR boys don’t you!” I just chuckled as I watched my husband open a water bottle and dump the water from the edge of an elevated deck onto the unsuspecting children on the lawn below. I really do have four boys! Now that I am a mom of three, I have decided, I just gotta laugh at my crew and myself…and enjoy the ride. So I hope you enjoy my thoughts, can relate to some, find entertainment in others and get a few laughs in the process.

Good luck to the mamas and papas out there, whether you parent boys, girls or both, here we go…let’s share this thing called parenthood and make sure we are all ‘normal’ (still deciding if normal really does exist). If nothing else we will know we are not alone, because let’s be honest, sometimes that is all we need to make it to the next day!