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Jack in the box

Six months ago, I was miserable and swollen with anxiety. Six months later, I’m swollen with pride but still miserable*

We’ve come so far in just six months. Every night Jeff and I hover over the boy and cheesily whisper to each other, “can you believe he’s ours?”

To answer that rhetorical statement, no, I can’t. I still can’t believe we’re responsible for this funny little guy.

And you know what? So far, so good.

jack6m1.jpg
I think.

There have been many nights over the past 6 months where I was mentally packing my bags and searching for the keys to drive myself to the loony bin. The breastfeeding, the mom constantly in my face, other relatives making judgments, the working mom juggling act, squeezing in some time for friends, finding the composure to still be a wife and searching for my professional higher ground– this motherhood stuff is no joke.

And Jeff is already naming the rest of the litter. HAHAHAHA.

It’s no wonder why I enjoy vodka so much.

And then, as quick as I envision myself en route to the crazy house, our sweet boy grabs my face with his chubby arms, pulls me close and plants an open mouth drooly kiss and emits a faint noise—an inaudible version of “mwah.”

Mwah!

That’s all it takes.

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the summer time. I have scars from PUPPPs, reminders of my first few months as a very hormonal new mom. My guilty pleasure, bargain shopping, doesn’t produce bags full of clothes for me any more. Now, it’s bags full of diapers and butt cream for the boy.

Without a doubt, motherhood suits me more than I ever thought it would. It’s been a fun first 6 months.
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Can someone hit the brakes? Please, make time slow down for a while!

We had brunch with some friends on Sunday. There was no room for his stroller, so we collapsed it and plopped the baby in one of those wooden restaurant high chairs. Mind you, he’s still working on sitting on his own, so he was a bit wobbly. As we sat there in this neighborhood restaurant with our friends, it totally hit me–my baby looks like such a big kid.
5 months old
Well, maybe not big, but he’s getting there and fast!

It’s so hard to believe we’re already at month 5. How did this happen so quickly? They said it would fly by, but I never thought it would go THIS fast.

Remember when he looked like this?
jack at three weeks

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The three of us had a very enjoyable, but productive weekend. As he does every morning, my infant alarm clock went off even before the sun was out. Jack and I got dressed and ventured out for our weekly trip to the best place on earth, Target. Jack and I both drooled as we oggled at all the unnecessary and necessary goodies. By 9:30 a.m. we were done with Target and went home to wake Jeff.
Can you go any faster?
With what seemed like all of northern NJ, we went to the baby store to pick out Jack’s new toy. Jack’s Exersaucer occupied a majority of the weekend. From the assembly, to the corralling of 12 (!) AAA batteries to the wobbly, upright Riverdance, the Exersaucer, so far, has proven to be hours of endless fun.
Aside from the new toy, we were productive by going grocery shopping at my 2nd favorite place on earth, Trader Joe’s. After weexersaucer 008 officially bought more than our refrigerator, freezer and makeshift cupboard could hold collectively, we headed back home. The weather was nice enough to walk around and be outside, so the boys and I walked to a little family festival indoors. He was pretty clueless as to what was going on, considering we plucked him out of his stroller and woke him from his strolling slumber. He was so disinterested at first, he made a point to barf on us both, separately. On the bright side, exersaucer 049Jack got to participate in a baby class while we were there. Even though Jeff asserted that the class was a good example of “herding cats,” Jack seemed to like looking at all the other little faces and hearing his people. He did seem to drool a bit more and also attempted to ‘talk’ with the lady teaching the little class– who Jeff described as “hot mess who sang like a really bad choir lady.”

Afterwards, we walked to Jeff’s favorite restaurant which was across the street. We had a delicious lunch and a few beers before the arctic cold rolled in. Shortly after we paid our bill, the bathe boys at Helmersbe began to expire and rightly so, whined because it was his time to eat. And as soon as we knew it, the weekend was over as soon as it began!

It’s a good weekend if it’s filled with beer, toys, Target and Trader Joe’s. Oh and my boys, too.

Though we all may have spent weeks and months preparing for this one special holiday by prepping the perfect feast and scouring the mall for the perfect gift, I think I can speak for my entire family and say that we got our best gift in September.  I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful our holiday has been with Jack’s tiny but grand presence.  It’s amazing how one tiny person can completely alter the family dynamics…forever!  The family memories and pictures that we’re coming away with speak volumes.

Even though today is the big day for many families, we did most of our celebrating on Sunday and yesterday.  With the reality of living almost 400 miles away from most of our family and having to work the day after a big holiday, Jeff and I are packing up and starting to say our goodbyes once again.
Christmas07 172We’re so blessed and fortunate to have so many loved ones who have extended their graciousness to our son.  Jack’s first Christmas was filled with so much love, hugs, drool and mountains of  toys! We really couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.  I wanted to keep this short and sweet, but for those friends and family that we might not have seen this weekend, please know we love you!  For everyone else, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Jack (1)

In the spirit of Christmas and with the many toy recalls abound, I wanted to share an anecdote about a toy company and customer service.

Like most babies, Jack has more toys than he knows what to with. Back when I was pregnant, I mentioned that like with everything I do, I researched baby stuff. Jeff and I always said that we wanted to be minimalists as much as possible in the baby stuff department, which includes the toys. So, I researched the development baby toys and checked out the toys that won awards. In the end, I registered for a variety of things that I thought would be fun and of course received much more than we could have ever asked for.
We have two favorite toys in the house right now: the Mobile and the Gymini Playmat. Any mom who has these toys or something similar knows how entertaining it is for the jack and the mobiletots! As we know from his love for the ceiling fan, we weren’t surprised about his excitement for the mobile. He can spend an hour just staring at the animals rotate to the tunes of Bach and Mozart. The kid huffs and puffs and runs in place as if he’s chasing these stuffed animals dangling in front of him. Now, he’s talking to them regularly.

With his playmat, even though the toys dangling above him don’t move, they squeak and jingle every time he swats his chubby paws at them. He even has this kicking device that goes off like a farm alarm whenever he kicks it. This thing lights up and a chicken and jingle go off very loudly every 3 seconds with the slightest touch of his foot. It’s fun. With his new scooting skills, he’s all over that thing!

Even though Jack’s enjoying these toys for hours on end, it wasn’t like that just a few weeks ago. Actually, neither of these toys were really working. The mobile’s music worked but it stopped turning when Jack was like 3 weeks old. The playmat’s foot peice thing stopped working after the second day. We replaced the batteries several times, made sure everything was connected and still nothing.

Disappointed by the quality of the toys, I emailed the manufacturer, which happened to be the same for both toys– Tiny Love. I wrote customer service about how I researched the toys, how we received them as gifts and then now that our baby can play with them, they no longer work. That very next day, a customer service representative emailed me back asking me about specifics and gave me her phone number to discuss the problems. Wow!
Because I was busy with the baby that night and with Jeff’s experience in the corporate retail world, I thought he’d be best to talk to the rep. After 2 minutes of friendly exchange and firing off serial numbers, the very cordial customer service rep simply told Jeff that we would be receiving replacement parts in 5-7 days.

And just last week, exactly as she quoted, we received the replacement parts! I was so impressed by the seamless transaction with their customer service, I still can’t stop telling my friends about. That sort of stuff doesn’t happen anymore– well to me anyway. If a toy or product breaks, then you go to call/email the company, it’s usually a miracle if the company answers your call. Our diaper pail actually never even worked!! It was supposed to be the latest and greatest touch free technology. Not so much. We still use it, but I’ve tried to call Graco countless amount of times to tell them that the sensor is definitely NOT touch free. They’ve had various recalls in the past 6 months so their customer service is automated. You don’t even get a person on the line.

Guess what? As the main shopper in our household and as an educated consumer, I probably won’t buy anymore Graco products if I can help it. I have a lemon of a diaper pail and can’t get anyone to talk to me.

Not in Tiny Love’s case. I took 2 minutes to write a simple email with my problems, 2 minutes for Jeff to confirm over the phone and a week later, our toys were practically brand spanking new!

Guess what Santa just picked up for the baby? A fun wind chime kick thing for his playmat. Guess what brand?
Tiny Love.

Moral of the story: customer service and good products win every time.
Just ask Jack