Status Update

I’ve alluded before to being “too connected” and lately, I’ve been feeling like I need to revisit this topic.

My husband spent the last four or five days glued to his Samsung Galaxy playing the extremely addictive game, 2048.

I admit, I too have fallen victim to it’s simple concept and quick, mindless play. But every time I looked at him, all I saw were his fingers sliding across the screen and the glow of pastel colored game tiles illuminating his face. It was like he didn’t exist. Quite an unsettling feeling comes over you when your partner is in the room, but you feel like you haven’t looked them in the eye or spoken the entire morning!

Aside from chastising him and telling him his son is going to grow up to think his father is the back of a smartphone – “…Daddy….?!” (because you know I did) I paused to reflect on how much time I spend cast in the glow of my own phone or computer – and what causes me to linger there.

Luckily, most of my reasons for staring at a screen are actually constructive in life (work email, balancing finances, online learning) but I can’t claim total innocence, either.

What distracts me on the internet? Facebook, mostly.

Which prompted me to make

My Rules for Facebook.

Trust me, I do not claim to be the perfect Facebook user. In fact, over the course of the past ten years, I’ve probably been guilty of breaking all of my self-proclaimed rules – multiple times. I’m devising these rules now to set some boundaries for myself, as I find the un-endingness of Facebook to be slightly disturbing. Often as I’m scrolling through the news feed, I ask myself why I’m even looking at it. What does it do for me? How is it constructive? Why do I care? DO I even care? And why do I share whatever it is that I share? I try my best to keep my posts fresh, witty or educational, but I often feel guilty of self-promotion – which at its core is mostly what Facebook is. And I don’t like that feeling.

I recently watched this short video which sheds some light (very creatively I might add) on what Facebook is doing to our brains. I couldn’t agree with it more. It’s scary. So without further adieu, my rules.

1. Limit the number of log ins each day.

The average user logs into Facebook a whopping 14 times a day. Considering we are only typically awake for, say, about 14 hours each day, my math comes out to logging on once an hour. That’s appalling! There is no reason for most people to log onto Facebook that often, and certainly not for me.

2. Do not use Facebook to play games.

Games waste time. Facebook wastes time. Can one not see why this is a terrible combination? And do not invite other people to play games through Facebook either. It’s annoying.

3. Do not use Facebook to sign up for or sign into other media platforms.

Unless we expect Facebook to be around as long as the internet is around – which I quite honestly hope it isn’t – it’s probably a good idea to just let Facebook be Facebook and let everything else be everything else. You’re going to get stuck without an account log in for a plethora of websites if Facebook is ever shut down. How annoying would that be?! Sure they’ll find a way to fix it, but seriously, who wants to deal with that? Also, I don’t want Facebook to have access to those sites or platforms, or vice versa.

4. If you don’t have anything nice to share, don’t share anything at all.

How easily the Golden Rule is applied! Facebook is not, and should not be, a soap box for one to stand upon and from which to air out their dirty laundry. I really don’t need to see your cryptic messages about how relationship xyz is over, nor do I care to read about how horrible your life is. If it’s that bad, you should probably spend more time investing in real friends and relationships, and less time posting about your bad ones on Facebook.

5. Don’t share memes or someecards or “Top Thirty” lists or any other obnoxious forms of social media fodder.

While it is tempting to let everyone know just how bad your Friday at work has been by sharing a 5-second video clip of someone repeatedly banging their head on a desk or a cartoon of an office worker tossing a pile of papers into the air with a witty caption, we just really don’t need anymore of these clogging up Facebook. Things like this are probably better meant for email (email? What’s that?), where you can share with only the most appropriate audience and not every single friend you have on the world wide internet. Does your Great Aunt Mildred even know what you do for a living? So then she probably doesn’t need a cartoon about how much it sucks popping up on her newsfeed every other day.

6. Don’t check in to everything you do.

Unless you want 600 people to know exactly where you are and be able to track you down in real time. Then sure, go for it. Also, because I really don’t need to know that you spent your Sunday getting a latte at Starbucks, doing your laundry at the Coin-Op and getting your hair colored. If you really want to check in, use something like Foursquare or Yelp, that was meant for checking in and reviewing businesses. Your Facebook friends’ news feeds will appreciate it.

7. Do not provide a visual play-by-plays of what you are doing (ie: post a new picture with captions every 5 minutes).

This work is better left to an actual photo album, which, if you can manage to restrain yourself and actually be present in whatever it is you are doing in real life, can be easily assembled in just a few minutes after said activity is complete. I love seeing your vacation pictures, trust me, but I don’t want to scroll ten pages through my news feed to get away from them.

8. Turn off all alerts – to email, phone, computer, etc.

Facebook is distracting and time-consuming enough as it is. No need to have your electronic(s) vibrate and ding at your every. single. time. that Facebook has a new story to share…you’re already going to check it fourteen times in a day anyways, right? Do you really need it telling you in between those log ins that there are more (meaningless) things to read?

So what do I think Facebook is good for?

1. Keeping in touch.

Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with those who are not close enough to you (either by distance or association) for you to see or speak with in person or on a regular basis. Friends in foreign countries, pals from high school or college, past coworkers. You can see what they’ve been up to and say hi, without the long distance charges, or sending photos via snail mail, or old fashioned gossip, etc.

2. Sharing big news.

Moving? Engaged? Pregnant? Facebook is great for sharing news like this with everybody you know at once. Now, there are still certain friends and family members who should hear about things like this in person well before it’s “Facebook Official” – but otherwise, what a fantastic tool to get that news out fast!

3. Networking.

Because we are going to follow the rules above and keep our Facebook account pretty minimalist, it should be a great way to network and keep yourself in touch with certain groups or certain people. I love the ability for a business or organization to create a page and for users to be able to “Follow” that page and to receive news, information, offers, etc. in real time from that entity. And it’s as equally beneficial for said group to have such an easy way to reach a large target audience with so-to-speak “forced” promotions that show right up on the news feed (versus the old fashion method of getting a consumer or member to visit your actual webpage). It’s called a social network for a reason.

4. Photo Sharing.

Now some may argue and say there are better designed or more appropriate sites or social media platforms through which to share photos (and I would agree) but the majority of people are doing this through Facebook. Not everyone has a Flickr or Instagram account, and so when you post to Facebook, you know “everyone” is going to be able to see your pictures without having to print out, text, email, or otherwise share the photo(s) multiple times to reach multiple parties.

5. Charity/Fundraising/Good Causes

I’ve read many a story of great things happening because a story was shared on Facebook, and I’ve seen firsthand how easy it can be to fundraise when you utilize Facebook to reach an audience. They get a gold star for this; and it’s not because Facebook was necessarily designed to be used this way, but because it so easily and perfectly is.

And that, my friends, is the long and short of it. I’ve made it about 36 hours and logged onto Facebook only once. Once! And it was my birthday yesterday – so my phone was constantly alerting me that yet another person had written “Happy Birthday” on my wall. It actually took self control to not slide over my notification bar every time another alert appeared. Instead, I just pushed the lock button on the top of my phone and carried on my day. Funnier still, is that I felt proud to be able to ignore Facebook. As if something was demanding my attention, and I just told it “No.” I felt more like a real person, more like myself, rather than a copied and pasted, edited, online version of me.

It felt good.

Zoe Faye Day– A Poem For Her Parents, And a Plea To My Readers

April M.:

Touching…and important.

Originally posted on momaste :

Zoe on the wind,

tickles your chin, and whispers across the water,

making cat paws on the golden surface

as she goes.

She carries butterflies and robins by day,

moths and owls by night.

She rustles through the fine fur of smallest mice,

sends pollen of spring trees bursting,

waves the bright waft of hyacinth like a flag,

a smell of Easter.

. . .

No longer grappling,

she goes,

wild and free all around you.

The universe sighs and settles.

. . .

Grains of her being graced your body

since before even your birth, this baby,

burning bright as the fever of sunrise.

You were not given an easy gift,

to launch this lofty life.

Grief in proportion to love is an unfair equation at best,

the burden with which you were blessed.

. . .

In the grace of a tulip, she is present.

In the thunder of…

View original 392 more words

What’s New

Often, I find it difficult to sit down and enjoy writing a post.

I’m trying to write at least once a month here (once I realized once a week was not going happen). Between work and baby and all of the other responsibilities that are life, a blog kind of takes the back seat.

Anyways, the past few weeks have gone by relatively uneventfully. Work. Chores. Taxes. A short run here and there. Not much else.

I planned a couple of weeks of vacation that will happen in May, August and October. I won’t be traveling anywhere, but instead taking a “staycation”. I’m looking forward to just enjoying time off at home, relaxing and maybe putting a brick patio in our backyard at some point during one of these breaks. Kevin will be off with me in August and October.

I’m eager to be outdoors more; between having a baby in October and surviving this brutal winter, I feel like I’ve been cooped up inside the good for eons. I can’t wait to Spring!!!

I’m looking into purchasing a running stroller, just have to budget for it.

Ollie will start solids this week (can’t wait!!!) and he is just getting bigger by the day (literally).

My best friend turns 30 in a week, and we will be celebrating with a trip to NYC and a weekend full of good food and fun there (sans baby). I can’t wait!

I’m just kind of letting things roll right now, enjoying motherhood and life and all that is good!

Will be back soon…hopefully in less than a month!

Lace Up!

So, I’ve been back to work for almost three months – wow! How quickly has that time passed?

I’m finally feeling like my life has settled down a little bit; admittedly, at times in the beginning when I was home on maternity leave, it felt like it never would! I wondered how I would ever function at work with such an irregular, constantly interrupted sleep cycle. Answer: your body gets used to it. I wondered how I would ever have enough energy to go on a run again. Answer: your body gets used to it! It’s true – somehow, you continue to function as a new mom. Life does go on, no matter what people tell you or try and convince you of otherwise.

In line with carrying on with life with an infant, I am getting really excited about being able to start taking Ollie on runs with me! The recommended age is six months, and we’ve just hit the five month mark this week – so running with him is right around the corner. I’ve gradually been getting myself out the door these days, about once a week, to get back on my feet and try and create a routine. I’ve been bringing Mugsy (my forever running partner) along with me for now. I don’t yet have a jogging stroller (will need to budget for one of those!) and I’m not quite sure how I’ll like running with a stroller – it will be a new dynamic, for sure.

As the snow and ice finally melts away and the last of it is dripping down to the squishy ground from cold, exposed tree branches, hope is in the air for a new season of running! Being pregnant last year, I ended up taking almost the entire year off. Not just because I was pregnant – I had also ‘run myself into the ground’ (no pun intended) the year before (2012) and decided I would take a little respite from more serious running. I did participate in the Boston Red Sox Foundation Run to Home Base 9k last Summer; I believe I was about 4 months pregnant at the time. That was it, though. And shortly after, I ceased running altogether (at that point, it did become uncomfortable having a belly bounce up and down!) and gardening, walking and light hiking were my sources of exercise.

Well, I’m back in sneakers this year, and more excited than ever! I have signed up for two races already – first, just a simple and local 5k in Boston in May (Chestnut Hill Reservoir 5k) and then a half marathon in Falmouth at the end of the Summer (Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon). I am sooo ready to get back on my feet.

For the time being, I am swearing off full marathons, and am going to take the time to really enjoy shorter distance running. I’ve done the BAA Half Marathon twice in the past (2009 and 2010) and I’ve completed three marathons as well (MCM in 2009, Chicago in 2010 and Portland, OR in 2012). I describe it like this: my first marathon was a personal feat – proving to yourself that ‘I can do it‘. My second marathon was an attempt to get even better, but ironically, I ended up timing far worse due to near-race-ending temperatures. The third marathon, was kind of an, ‘eh, why not‘ race which I didn’t really take seriously or care much about, and ironically this time I ended up placing my personal best for a full! But after that race, I decided I was going to hang up my 26.2 shoes for a while, and not run anything longer than a half. I want to focus on getting faster, and running more regularly. Some day I will run a full marathon again, but just not now.

I’m looking into a couple other races and thinking about running one race a month, my only challenge being the coordination with my erratic pharmacist schedule which automatically crosses out two weekends each month from my list of available dates. I’ve got the BAA 10k on my radar for June, which will give me a race in May, June and September. I’m trying to find a couple good ones for July and August (something near the beach, anyone?). October and beyond shouldn’t be a problem; October is prime time for races and there’s a turkey trot almost every day in November, and then Christmas runs in December. I figure getting a run on my calendar every month of the year will keep me on feet and serve as a motivator on those days that I’d otherwise put it off!

I’ll be sure to update when I choose a stroller, and of course, when I take that first run with baby Oliver!

Until next time…

Mindfulness

Last week I was approached by my boss with a promotion. It wasn’t a positional promotion per se; I’d be in the same position, doing the same work, with the same responsibilities as I am today, but I would be performing my duties at a different, more challenging location. I could write an entire website as to why I wasn’t thrilled about this “opportunity”  – but I’ll save that for never, and just let you know in short that I was not happy about the move, and did not not not want to go.

An entire weekend came and went, I cried, I stomped my feet, I collapsed in bed in defeat, I argued back and forth, made pros and cons lists, and ultimately, accepted my fate. A day after I called my boss and accepted the position, I got a call back. They weren’t going to move me!

I was in such disbelief and shock, I barely had a reaction. I had just spent four entire days poring over this change, which was going to affect my life in a myriad of ways. I had just wrapped my head around my new reality, and then it was pulled out from underneath me. I was happy – but I was also a pile of emotional rubble.

After all was said and done, I decided that this entire process – of having a sudden life change come about, to analyzing how it will affect me and me family, to accepting the loss of stability and familiarity (and happiness, really), and preparing for an entirely new routine and reality – was far harder on me mentally and emotionally than it should have been.

From this series of events, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself and life in general. Some of these realizations are not new to me, but were rather reinforced. Here’s the list:

1) Sometimes in life you have to say ‘yes’…even when you really don’t want to.

2) Never become too comfortable in any one position (at work and at home), or assume that anything is forever.

3) I need to have a Plan B!

In addition, I needed something to center myself and help me de-stress. I’ve turned to Buddhism before – precisely during the last time in my life when my stress levels were higher than they had ever been; when my [now] husband’s aunt was dying of colon cancer. Reading a book (What the Buddha Taught) then certainly helped me refocus on the important things and people in life, and helped me better understand life, death and what may possibly wait beyond. Surprisingly, this work-related debacle was far more up-ending than I ever would have expected it to be. I needed something to ground me again. So, I picked up a book on my Kindle and started to read again about Buddhism. This time, I’m reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. I’m a couple chapters in, and it has already reshaped the way I approach life.

It hasn’t necessarily affected the thoughts or feelings I’ve had surrounding the events at work, but it has begun to open my mind to, well, my mind.

Before I can even understand why my situation at work threw me off so much, I first need to understand where I am in life and where I’m going (or want to go). From what I’ve read so far, I’ve realized that currently, I’m barely living – and that in life there is no actual destination. Do you ever feel like you’re living certain days out just to get to the next one? Working Monday through Friday, just to get to Saturday. Sound familiar? Months and months at work, waiting for a week of vacation or some time off? Rushing through chores as simple as sweeping the floor or folding laundry, so we can sit on the couch to watch TV or enjoy a cup of tea with a good book.

The principle is simple: wash the dishes to wash the dishes. Not to get to your cup of tea. I mean, it is so simple, yet so profound! We rush through all the “musts” of life constantly waiting for the “wants” and we do so completely absentmindedly. What are you thinking about when you wash the dishes? Probably whatever your next chore or task is, probably the five hundred other things you need to get done. Probably the million other things you’d actually rather be doing. When we do this, we are not living in the present. We are not enjoying or truly partaking in the act of washing the dishes. We are simply doing it to cross it off the list and get to the next item. When we do this our entire lives, on a much larger scale, we feel as though we are always in-waiting for the ‘next chapter’, without ever really being present in the current one. Because how often do we stop on a given day, or in a given moment to appreciate that this ‘now’ is the ‘then’ that we were waiting for or anticipating a day, a week, a month or years ago? Not very often. Probably, only for really big events, like a wedding, or the birth of a child, or some other milestone in life.

To prevent this phenomenon of not living day to day, one must begin to appreciate every moment and act in life. Only then, will one really be living each day.

Please excuse me if I’m sounding preachy or prophetic here, but this observation is just too profound for me not to share! I am so guilty of washing the dishes simply to get to the next item on my list. I am the multi-tasker extraordinaire. I always have been, and now, with a baby, I’m even more-so. I’m constantly stretching myself into five different directions, testing the limits of how far I can go. And I do have this lingering feeling – of always being on the brink of satisfaction. Of almost being there, but not quite. But on the brink of being where? I don’t know. In actuality, there is no there to be had. In life, there is no finite point which we can reach that tells us we have arrived. It’s not like training for a marathon, logging runs and miles, eating well, cross-training, and finally arriving to race day, crossing the finish line and exclaiming “I’ve done it”! In that scenario, as with many other goals we set for ourselves in life, we take part in so many mundane tasks and activities, independent of the singular achievement which they are together preparing us for. Nobody celebrates the act of the protein shake or the long run or the tying of the shoe laces, rather, they are each another forgettable part of the process of completing a marathon. We must be wary of applying this approach to everything we do in life.

Life must be lived as we live it, if that makes any sense at all. If we don’t celebrate the so-called protein shakes of life, then the majority of our days are spent mindlessly reaching towards a handful of fleeting moments that come and go; we were never really alive during that time in between.

I’m not sure if I’m making any sense at all here. The author probably does a much better job of explaining the art of mindfulness. But in so many words, we need to be aware of what we are doing, as we are doing it. And we need to do these things in life, simply for the sake of doing them – not as part of some forward motion to another point in time.

I can’t believe how applicable this principle of mindfulness is to my life – and how profound an impact it could have day to day. I’ve already found myself being aware of what I’m doing. I’ve tried to do only one thing at a time, and to be truly present and find joy in the simple acts of life. Just today, I was washing the dishes, and caught myself in the act of creating a list of everything else I needed to get done. I stopped – pushed the ‘resest’ button in my mind, and began to focus on the contours of the dish in my hand. The steady wssshhhh of the water running from the faucet. The way it hit the porcelain sink below. The softness of the soap bubbles as they plopped from the dish to sink. I admit, I was not fully present in washing the dishes – I could still hear Oliver crying upstairs. My mind wandered to why he was crying, what Kevin was doing, and whether I should run up to help. But it was a start. I was more aware of washing dishes than I had ever been before. And while I can’t say I enjoyed it any more than I normally would have, it did feel different. It felt more meaningful, more purposeful. It wasn’t simply a means to an end – it was the means and the end. I was doing it to do it – not to get to the next thing. I was washing the dishes, but this time, I was living.

I’ve begun to apply the principle of mindfulness to many areas of life – from things as mundane as pumping milk for Oliver (no more perusing Facebook while I pump) to things more emotionally profound such as breastfeeding Oliver or riding in the car and chatting with Kevin. It isn’t easy, and I’m waayyyy far from perfect. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and I already feel optimism.

I can’t say that I’ve yet found a direct application of mindfulness to my recent situation at work which prompted my dive into it in the first place, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out someday. For now, I’m just grateful that I went looking and came across mindfulness – and maybe that’s all that was really supposed to happen…

I Didn’t Love My Baby

It’s true.

I didn’t love my baby when he was first born. That’s a strong statement to make, but based on how love works for me, it’s true.

There is much talk of the ‘oxytocin rush’: a hormone that is released when we baby holds our gaze, when a woman breast feeds, after we have sex with our partners and, as a side note, when our dog looks us in the eyes – perhaps shedding light on mans’ unique and long-standing companionship with the canine species.

But there is very little talk of what really happens after you have your baby, or how you will really (likely) feel.

Let me stress that this does not go to say that I in any way disliked my baby or that I wanted nothing to do with him. Simply, I did not experience that oft-referenced state of blissful nirvana which you come to expect during the first moments of holding your baby. Heck, I didn’t even experience that feeling during the first few weeks.

Rather, our relationship evolved more slowly. I look back now on those early days in the hospital and to be honest, I’m quite baffled by the way I reacted to having our baby. Granted, I was exhausted and in pain from over 48 hours of labor, and recovering from the same. But this thing that was in now the room with Kevin and I – it wasn’t yet my baby. It was a baby.

I didn’t want to cuddle with him. I didn’t want to hold him. Attempting to breast feed was an exasperating struggle that the mere thought of resulted in a downward slump of the shoulders along with a deep sigh.

I watched my husband bond with our new baby boy with astonished envy. It was like he didn’t want to put him down. How is it so easy for him? What is wrong with me? I’m the mom. Shouldn’t I not want to let go of this little guy? These were just some of the questions and doubts that surfaced in my mind during our stay at the hospital. I thanked the heavens again and again that we had the support and help of the hospital staff – and wondered again and again how I would possibly do this without their help just a button’s push away once we were discharged two days later. Just the thought of that feat blew my belly up into a balloon of anxiety.

We arrived home on a crisp, sunny afternoon in mid-October. In hindsight, it wasn’t as horrible as I had expected it to be, though I’ll never forget those first few nights. At first, I put our tiny eight-pound boy down to sleep in his huge crib all by himself; I have no idea why I did this, it was just what I did. It wasn’t until the third night home that something clicked and it dawned on me that we had his bassinet set up in our room; so we began to sleep him there. Two-am diaper changes blended into around-the-clock nursing sessions. Kevin had to return to work; how I dreaded those long days by myself so early on. I would begin the countdown to his return home from work around 3 pm each day…his shift wasn’t over until 8.

Breastfeeding was a battle that ended in tears just about every time. Around two weeks in, I gave myself permission to exclusively pump my milk for Oliver. It was the best option for me emotionally at the time, though pumping wasn’t much easier. I would wake at 2 and 4 am to pump – whether or not the baby was up. I’d have to plan trips out of the house around my pumping schedule. Bottles would need to be packed, and calculations done regarding their stability and Oliver’s feeding schedule.

Then, one day in late November, he latched on and breastfed as though he’d been doing it all along. I couldn’t believe it! After he breastfed himself into a peaceful slumber for the first time ever, we both laid together and napped. Our bond strengthened exponentially from that moment on. I no longer wanted anyone to feed him from a bottle while I was around. I wanted him in the same room as me. To cuddle with him, to sleep with him next to me. The bassinet attached to our bed didn’t feel close enough anymore. While before I was eager and relieved to have someone else hold him, I was now hesitant to pass him off, and would observe with watchful eye as others did just about anything with him.

He was suddenly my baby.

And I loved him.

It’s difficult to put into words the difference between my emotions toward Oliver during those early weeks and my emotions now. Because when I say I didn’t love him – there are a lot of things that doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean I didn’t want him. It doesn’t mean I didn’t care about him. It does mean I didn’t know him yet.

And now I do. And now when I look down at him while he’s nursing, or sleeping close to me, my heart swells with love, with pride, with motherhood. I can’t imagine life without him now. He is my world, he brings new purpose to all that I do. I want to do everything better now, for him.

I always cared for my baby. But to love him, is to know him. And now, I do.

I know he only nurses on one side. I know he loves to be lifted up high in the air. I know he can’t keep two socks on his feet. I know he loves to practice standing. I know he likes when I sing to him. I know he loves when I pull open the curtains each day and say ‘good morning!’ I know he likes it when I call him Mr. Fancy Pants. I know he likes to watch Mugsy run around the house. I know he loves to stare at the lights. I know he likes to be rocked, and would prefer to sit up and watch things around him rather than be reclined. I know he likes to watch TV, even though I tell him ‘no TV!’ I know he is in the best mood of the day first thing each morning. I know he doesn’t like long rides in his car seat. I know he doesn’t like laying flat. I know he’s still deciding whether he likes baths or not. I know he likes diaper changes. I know he loves when I grab his tiny feet and smush them into my face.

I know he knows I’m his mommy. And I know someday, he will love me too.

Disconnected

…it’s what we become when we are tooconnected. And why I haven’t written a post in a while. (Aside from returning to work full time and caring for a four month old!).

Almost four months to the day, my little Oliver was born. I’ve spent a lot of time on my phone over those past four months. Not that I didn’t spend a lot of time on it before, but having a baby has exponentially increased the amount of time I spend staring and tapping away at a tiny glowing screen. There are quite a few reasons for this…

1. It is small and portable. Just like a baby.

2. I can use it with one hand (HUGE plus!). As baby occupies at least one of them at all times.

3. I can access and use many different features and seamlessly transition from one to the next. Take a picture of baby’s first smile? Got it! Upload it to Facebook? I can do that right now! Answer that work email? Already done! Order groceries and have them delivered? All set! Play music to help baby fall asleep? Right-o! Write a blog post? Check! The multitasking productivity goes on and on!

4. I track my baby’s every move on it. Well, almost. But really. With phones these days, there really is an app for everything! Feeding. Diaper changes. Growth tracker. Fart tracker. You get the idea.

5. Everybody else is. Seriously. We are all on our phones, all of the time. At home. At work. On the train. At the doctor’s office. In line. While we’re walking. Heck, I even had a patient continue to text her friend while I gave her a flu shot. There just aren’t any limits.

In the interest of not having my baby grow up to think his mother is an iPhone, I’m trying to limit the amount of time I spend on the damn thing. And it’s not easy! There’s…just…so…much…I…can……dooooo….

With Ollie getting bigger, and more alert, he really is starting to watch the TV and track our phones with his curious little eyes. Which has brought to my attention the need to minimize his exposure to both of these evils. I’ve never been a big TV person, but Kevin has it on 24/7 when we are home. Ollie will turn his head and stare at the TV. It drives me nuts! Apparently, it’s not good for them before the age of one or two because it can mess with them developmentally. At this age, they should be watching and interacting with the world around them, in 3-D, and hearing and absorbing real world conversations and dialect. But when they watch and listen to a TV, they are only seeing flat images (2-D) and hearing muffled language via audio, with lots of random background noise that can drown out the words. You can see how this could mess with a baby who is trying to learn about and understand the world around him. There’s already a million and one things he’s trying to absorb, and then you throw into the mix this oscillating box of moving colors and sound that he can’t make any sense of. Not good!

So I’m trying to block his view of the TV whenever possible and turn my phone away from his little face whenever I must use it in his presence. I know it’s impossible to altogether eliminate these variables from the environment, but I figure if I at least make a conscious effort to limit them, then I’m doing a good thing. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think TV and electronics are a bad thing for kids (in moderation) – there’s actually a lot of use we can get out of them for children nowadays. But it is just that – for children. I don’t think babies should be staring at the glowing screens just yet, especially when they can’t make any sense of what it is they’re looking at, like an older child is able to. My baby can watch TV or play with a phone when he is developed enough to know what a TV or phone is.

That’s my take on that…and why I haven’t been writing much. I’ve been trying not to be attached to my phone and to be “present” when I am home with the little man. He is actually currently sleeping in the Boba carrier on me right now, which is why I stole this time to get on my blog and write!

I’m going to begin to write reviews of products I’ve tried as well…both good and bad, in the hopes that it can help moms like me decide which products might be right for their family. If there’s nothing else I’ve learned since becoming a mom (and trust me, there is!) it’s that the market for mom and baby products is endless. There is something for everything and each company wants you to believe that their product works, and that it is the best choice for your family. Even it is sometimes may not be. So I will make my vain attempt at sharing my real-life experiences with real products and post them on my “Real Reviews” page. Hope they help!

Until next time, happy blogging!