Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Reasons To Give Thanks

2010 has given me the greatest gift of all: bigger boobs.  It's also brought me a beautiful and healthy daughter who's become the love of my life.
With the holidays rapidly approaching I thought it was time to reflect on the things I'm most thankful for this year.

1) stretchy pants: Even though my maternity clothes have been packed away for months now, I may need to break out my favorite pair of elastic-waist jeans for Thanksgiving.  After all, shouldn't everyone be afforded the opportunity to expand beyond their body's capacity by stuffing themselves with too much food without pausing to unbutton their pants? I dreaded what Doug would say the first time he saw me in maternity pants.  Without hesitation he told me how fantastic they were and asked where he could snag a pair.

2) grandparents: because they'll love your child unconditionally and serve as free babysitters

3) express shopping at Harris Teeter: I'm not talking about the "15 items or less" lane that ironically always seems to move at a snail's pace compared to the rest of the grocery store.  I'm talking about the genius service HT offers its customers who are willing to pay a mere $4.95 for the opportunity to order their groceries online and pick them up at the store a couple of hours later without ever having to leave their car. If I don't have to shop for produce and meat with a screaming infant in my shopping cart I'm a happy girl.

4) jarred baby food: I have to admit, I was one of those ambitious, health-conscious mothers who started off with every intention of making my own baby food.  I bought a recipe book, readied my food processor, and committed myself to the daunting chore of steaming, pureeing, jarring, and freezing peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  I even read up on the kinds of seasonings and spices I could add to "meals" for Mackenzie down the road.  But after buying an 18-pack of jarred baby food (just to have as backup) I realized that this was going to be way easier for me and wouldn't cost much more than fresh produce.  Now, I also have to admit that I feel the slightest bit guilty about buying the commercial stuff.  I'm a stay at home mom, and have all the time in the world to stock healthy foods for my baby, right? How about this... it's hard enough for me to make sure there's any food at all in my house, and getting a meal prepared for Doug and I each night is a huge accomplishment in and of itself (luckily Doug is a huge help in the kitchen, too!).  I was raised on jarred food until I could ingest things that weren't smashed down to a paste and I turned out just fine.  The less time I spend pretending I'm competing in some sort of Iron Chef challenge the more time I get to enjoy Mackenzie.  That's not to say I don't admire the moms who are able to prepare homemade food for their kids.  It's just not happening in my house at this point.

5) Target: because I love that I can buy a birthday card, a tub of yogurt, a sweatshirt for me, a onesie for Mackenzie, wine, laundry detergent, socks, and Christmas decorations all in one place.

6) sleep: I just wish babies knew what they were missing out on.  Why is it that it takes us nearly 30 years to realize that sleep is our friend.  When we're babies we don't want to sleep because we have our days and nights mixed up.  As toddlers we stay up all night fearing the monsters under the bed.  In elementary school we're convinced that sleep is for babies and big kids get to hang out with mommy and daddy.  As teenagers we defy curfews and can run on empty anyway, so who cares if we're lacking a good night's sleep? By the time we get to college there's so much partying studying going on that we can't afford to miss a second of what's happening in the world around us.  Our twenties are pretty much the same; it's a miracle we manage to sleep at all considering the fact that we're over-worked, under-paid, and trying our hardest to keep up with our younger colleagues at happy hour.  Only when we reach 30 do we realize that an extra hour of shut eye is worth its weight in gold, and that the rest of the world will survive without us so long as our sheets are the right thread count and the thermostat is set to a coma-inducing temperature.  Now that I'm a new mom you could stick me on the sidewalk with a cardboard box and a feral cat as a pillow and I'd be happy as a clam just knowing I could spend eight hours asleep and never have to crawl out of bed for a feeding or a diaper change.

7) super human hearing: They say a mother can distinguish her child's cry from that of others. If you'd have told me this three months ago I would've called bullshit.
After Mackenzie was born you could've put her in a lineup with a dozen other wailing babies and Justin Bieber and I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of the bunch to save my life.  Now it's like I'm a collie responding to a dog whistle.   What's even cooler is the fact that I can now distinguish between "hungry cry," "tired cry," "wants attention cry," and "teething cry."  There's also a distinct difference between "those pants make you look fat cry," "are we still watching football cry," and "I don't like your music cry."

8) play dates: they're an excuse to get out of the house, have some adult interaction, and allow my child to lick someone else's toys for a change.  No wonder we all stock up on Lysol spray and Clorox wipes.  Mackenzie has especially enjoyed her visits with the boy next door, but seeing as he's two months her senior, and gets really excited when he sees her, Daddy Doug is a little nervous that things are moving too fast. 

9) date nights: a common feature in this blog, date nights are a lifesaver for a new parent.  Whether we're going all out and doing dinner and a show, or seeing a movie and gorging ourselves on butter-drenched popcorn, this is something just for us, without having to hand off the baby or whisper as we catch up on the dozens of sitcoms collecting dust on the DVR. 

10) a good husband: because he never complains about working 60 hours a week, doesn't mind spending half the weekend changing poopy diapers and singing "Frère Jacques", never loses his patience, always makes me laugh, constantly tells me he loves me, and looks at Mackenzie like she's the Hope Diamond.  

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