Thursday, October 30, 2008
Enjoy (oh, and if you're preggers, wear a t-shirt with a hole cut in it and paint your belly. Jack-O-Lantern, Aquarium, Earth -- the possibilities are endless!)
Monday, October 27, 2008
- My two secret weapons with kids under two was always those tiny bottles of bubbles (get the party favor size). They are a great distraction for the baby or toddler, and I find that they cheer the people around you up as well (who can be cranky to be seated near kids -- go figure). I also used to carry California Baby Aromatherapy spray in the Overtired and Cranky formulation, but now that we have those liquid limitations, I don't know if you can do that anymore.
- Use a sling. That way, you can schlep your baby (these work up to 36 pounds, so you can carry most toddlers) and they'll feel cozy and safe in your arms while you have a hand free for your passport and ticket. I could not have survived without a baby sling. My two faves are the Balboa Baby slings and the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder. I even have used two slings to carry my twin babies bandolier style. With a sling, your hands are free to use the phone or eat, while nursing or cuddling -- very key! And it can multi-task as a changing pad, pillow and extra blanket.
- Not a sling person? Give the Ultimate Baby Wrap a try -- easier than schlepping a car seat and travel system through the airport. Check those in your luggage and go hands (relatively) free.
- The very best travel companion for a baby? Your breasts (sorry, no photo handy!!) ;) Nursing during takeoff and landing is better than chewing gum, and for the toothless set, it's the only option. There's less likelihood that a flight delay will precipitate a feeding crisis (milk is always on hand, the right temp and ready to serve) and it calms many a fussy baby.
- In case Barbara Walters or someone just as baby-unfriendly is next to you, use the sling for privacy and wear a nursing shirt for extra discretion. I would have been sunk without nursing clothes. Not shilling any particular style, but even though I know breastfeeding in public is legal in all states, I felt less like a side show with my mammaries covered up! Tossing a nursing tank, for example, under a jacket gave me coverage and access on planes, cruises and trains. But any nursing shirt will help with too-close seatmates. And don't let them intimidate you -- they were babies once!
A happy baby is a quiet(er) baby, and if people aren't throwing you nasty looks, your trip is likely to go easier. I actually flew with my 1-year old back from Milan, and we were delayed THREE HOURS on the tarmac before taking off, and I kept Cameron occupied the entire time (he was still nursing, and I had my bubbles and other toys in my bag of tricks). At the end of the flight, my seat mate called his wife and said that sitting next to us had calmed his fears about having a baby (he was a big traveler).
Of course, it's not always that smooth! Good thing that guy missed the next flight we were on!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My girlfriend, Anita and I used to have a version of this we called "Wedding Face." If the last time you had your makeup done was your wedding and you really really liked it and you haven't changed it since, and your wedding was not in the past three years, this could be you. (A corollary is Prom Face.)
Why is this bad? Because times change, and if you are still lining your lips in brown eyebrow pencil and drawing on uber brows, your Wedding Face is about fifteen years old. I was talking with another actress/mommy about this the other day -- without my periodic work as an actor, I would still have Wedding Face, but luckily, I get to see current makeup trends in the makeup chair. What to do if you're not around current fashion and its practitioners? Head to the mall. Someone will play with your face for free. You don't have to buy everything they show you. I had a period when I hadn't worked for a while, and looking at a magazine, I could tell that faces were starting to look really different. So my sister in law, two friends and I found a makeup artist to give us a lesson. Fun and educational! Yeah, I'm shallow.
The Mom Jeans solution? Same mall, but take along a stroller that will fit in a dressing room and try on things that look really new and out there to you. Remember, your body's changed, so you might be surprised at the shapes that flatter you now.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Now, of course, I know that the baby was pretty close to newborn and probably needed a little help with his latch. Do I think that we all needed to see her entire boob? No -- I'm a big proponent of Mohammed going to the mountain, and not hauling out the mountain for Mohammed, and all, to see. But I realize something else, as well. I noticed her precisely because she was so indiscreet -- and, if I remember correctly, the poor baby was crying. I never noticed all the mothers I may have encountered nursing quietly.
Which brings me to plastic surgery. I rail against the likes of Jocelyn Wildenstein, the premier example of bad plastic surgery on the face, and various strippers and A/M/W* types with pneumatic breasts that look ready to explode on contact, but as my husband pointed out the other day, there are lots of people who've had facelifts and breast augmentations that I don't notice. When we only see the bad examples, we tend to be scared of the whole, but the truth is that have pretty much spent ten years nursing, and the only person who ever caught a glimpse of my aereola (for some reason, the body part that separates good cleavage from indecent exposure), was a zealous admirer who leaned right into the sling where my baby was nuzzled to say, "let me see her sleep!" only to be met by said infant nursing away.
What to do if you're pregnant and trying to figure out how to nurse in public, or if you have a newborn, how do you find good examples to emulate? Head to a local La Leche League meeting -- yeah, you're sure to find people showing it all (it's a roomful of women, after all) but if you watch carefully, you can catch quite a few moms who are really good at the subtle latch. Even without nursing clothes. But those help, too.
Let's hope, as I age, that I'm as discreet with my plastic surgery as I was with my nursing! :)
*A/M/W = Actress/Model/Whatever, a major proportion of the female population of Los Angeles between the ages of 21 and 35
Saturday, October 18, 2008
And don't get me started on accessories -- I can't decide between the cool product that will turn your regular purse into a diaper bag and sweet-as-pie baby-butt-casting kit. Coming soon to One Hot Mama!
Live your life.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Enjoy the You Tube clips of our Bringing Home Baby episode, the only one, so far as I know, to feature naturally birthed, exclusively breastfed, cloth-diapered twins.
Monday, October 13, 2008
When I was but 23 years old, a friend had a baby. She was the first in our group of randomly employed actor/poets to do so, and she had gained a good 70 pounds with the pregnancy. She was not married to the baby's father, and their relationship was tenuous. While she was still in the hospital, I thought it would be brilliant and supportive to gift her with ... a negligee, in her previous size, from Victoria's Secret!!! I may even have said something to the effect of, "so you can get back to being your sexy self!"
May God forgive me. I knew not what I did. Now, of course, I could give her something loose and billowy from our selection of nursing pajamas and nightgowns, but a teddy? Ack!
Feel free to add any horrendous post-baby gift stories. But I doubt they'll top this one.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Why does this matter? Because in today's world, visibility is everything. Just knowing something is possible for someone else makes it more so for you. I planned on nursing my twins, but everyone said that I'd have to supplement, and even though I was pretty sure I understood the biology, meeting one-year old, exclusively breastfed twins in my doctors office buoyed my resolve. When I hauled my nursing babies all over LA, Jamaica, Wyoming, Marta's Vineyard and Lord knows where else I've gone in the past three years, people would often approach to tell me that they didn't know it was possible to nurse multiples. So the more we appear in public (just quietly doing our thing), the more we inspire future mothers. And I think Angelina (& Brad) just may be inspiring future fathers, as well. Run out and buy the issue and send the publishers a love note, to cancel out all the whining. I'm sure Barbara Walters is cancelling her subscription as we speak.
The funny part is, even W doesn't understand what a hot mama is. Check this out, a poll where they actually ask people to vote which Angelina they like better -- the badass babe or the earth mother. Hello? Why not both? Why do people continue to think that a woman who cares to nurse and be attached to her children can only be a crunchy, granola, hippie? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are La Leche League members who paint their nails. Like me.
Peace out, from your fellow Badass Babe Earth Mother!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
- Aren't you totally in love with your baby?
- How are you sleeping?
- We're going to Starbucks -- wanna come?
- Let me hold him!
- Oh, I washed my hands this morning.
- You're not breastfeeding in here, are you?
- Which one is the good one? (when I had twins)
- Ouch!! That's why I would want a c-section/epidural/home birth!
- That whole instant-mother-love myth can, in fact, be a myth. And if you don't feel so into your baby, like I didn't, it can feel extra crappy for people to keep pointing out your lack of maternal instincts and feelings. Far better to offer a gentle opening -- "What an amazing little being. You guys are going to get to know each other so well. You know, I even have a friend (okay to fib) who said it took a couple weeks to really connect with her baby. Everyone's different."
- People are obsessed with your sleep. Often it's because it's the only thing they remember about the early days if they have children, or the only thing they've heard if they don't. It's none of your business, and not helpful at all to focus on it. Try this instead -- "The best part about being with a newborn is how time makes no sense. Ditch the clock and sleep when baby sleeps. Did you know sleeping through the night is defined as five consecutive hours? So don't stress about it. Stay in your pjs for the next forty days, if you can."
- This last-minute invite thing is going to come up a lot. Sometimes from childless friends, sometimes from friends with older kids, and sometimes from friends with full-time nannies. I know that part of it is because you still think of the new mom as her former self, but she can't really get up and go on a dime. So if the old gang is heading out for lattes and leaving her behind, offer to bring her takeout or just be quiet about it.
- The baby is cute, I know, but he/she just came out of someone's womb. Sometimes that womb feels a little empty, and it can be weird to watch your newborn passed around to all assembled. If other people are nuzzling your baby, it can feel like your services are no longer needed. (That's why it's great for new moms to nurse -- they have a reason to get baby back. So if you do get to hold the baby, give him or her right back.
- Wash them again.
- Wherever here is -- hospital room, living room, car -- is where the new mom is stuck for now, and however she gave birth, moving around might be a tad uncomfortable. So if you have issues with breasts, make yourself scarce. And, by the way, babies signal their need to nurse by opening their little mouths like baby birds and rooting around. By the time they're crying, it's too late. Pay attention, and let mom know it's okay to feed her baby.
- I almost have no words, and that's pretty unusual. :) How about never, ever asking a parent of twins to differentiate them based on value judgements? Not even, which one talks more, or any personality trait they could take on. Just offer, a simple, "God bless you. That's amazing to have two/three/four infants at once." Leave out the "I don't know how you do it" -- she doesn't either!
- If the mother feels like sharing her birth story with you, hear it, and reflect on what she's said, so matter how scary or against your personal biases it may be. Because, guess what? That's the birth she had, and telling the story is how she processes it and makes peace with it. If something seems to upset her, you almost can't be wrong by saying, "that's not at all unusual." We all just want to hear that we did our best.
- "What can I get you to eat?"
- "May I make the beds?"
- "Where's your washer and dryer?"
- "You hold the baby -- I'll take your toddler/dogs out for a walk"
- And, the all-time winner, after all of the above have been said, "Lie down/have a shower/I'll let myself out."
Oh, one last thing. I've had four babies. I thought they were all pretty amazing looking when I met them (except for one). When I look back at the pictures, though, the truth is that most babies are pretty hideous. So lie. (I had someone actually say to me that my baby looked better in person than in the photos I'd sent her -- what?).
"The baby's beautiful, and so are you."
Sunday, October 5, 2008
And that, sometimes, feels like the hardest trick of all. But bon-bons on the couch in sweats when you're a week away from delivery? Count me in!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
So, buy them for yourself this pregnancy, but don't be thinking posterity! :)
Jumper and Mock Turtle
Skirt and Top
This Season's Sweater
Long-Sleeve Mesh Top
This last one's actually really well made, but I need to move 'em out!
Shop well -- and I promise, there won't be any future mistakes. Okay, maybe a couple ... :)
No, it's worse than that. You could be seduced into ... getting pregnant again! We started One Hot Mama when our first baby was one, and focused on all things nursing. But two years later, when I "fell pregnant" (I love that expression, from my South African friends) with his sister, we added maternity to our offerings. Because we're a family business, I was the main model, so I was photographed in every stage of pregnancy, wearing fabulous clothes. After having a boy and a girl, we thought we were through. But God laughed, and I fell into that pregnancy thing again, this time with twins. This time, a maternity business came in really handy, because I grew out of my maternity clothes by the end of the first trimester!
Now the girls are three and I thought I was done. Body's mostly back, except for my breasts, which have, apparently, fled the country. They've left before, and their (temporary) return was part of the reason my husband was overjoyed that we were having twins. So their lack, coupled with how darned cute the clothes I'm buying for spring (you girls are so lucky to be able to shop at One Hot Mama this year!) have made me, well, a little broody (English friend's expression for wanting babies).
While you're in it, you may be focused on all the negatives, but there really is nothing so miraculous as having a little human inside your body, and to watch that evidence growing. All that plus not having to do ab workouts make me pine for the days when I filled out my Perfect Pants a little better. Yep, those great maternity pants have been with me post-baby, through a twin pregnancy, and are still my go-to black pants. So having a fifth baby would solve all my wardrobe and Itty Bitty Titty Committee problems. Of course, we couldn't afford to stay in our house, so maybe I'll just have to live vicariously through you guys!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Sure, you say, but tell me again what this has to do with Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler? If you watched Saturday Night Live's last two sketches with the inimitable Tina Fey as Palin, you couldn't help but notice that her partner in crime was, well, greatly with child. And that she was playing women, Hillary Clinton and Katie Couric, who have not been pregnant in quite a while. While I certainly admire her ability to still stay awake for a late-night broadcast at this stage in her pregnancy, I'd like to offer a few suggestions for minimizing the bump.
- Take a page from Governor Palin's book during her unannounced pregnancy with Trig -- all black on the inside (pants and tops) and structured, colourful jackets on top. And don't ever button the jacket -- use a non-maternity top and let its shape appear to be your shape, while the light is absorbed by the swath of absorbent black fabric on your belly.
- Accessories, accessories, accessories. Put 'em up by your face and make 'em colourful.
- Posture counts. For heaven's sake, if you lean forward, it looks like someone just heaved you a medicine ball.
- Distraction -- think legs and cleavage. If we can see those (and by we, I mean men) we will be too dazzled by bare skin to notice that pot belly.
- Keep your face on. Now is not the time to go barefaced, even if that's your usual look -- your skin is thinner and all sorts of funky lines and spots are making their appearances for the duration. And even if you carry your pregnancy weight primarily in the belly, some of up will creep into your face. Mascara and eyeliner will help counteract that.
- Carry things -- Bristol Palin carried baby Trig, Elaine from Seinfeld always had a magazine or purse in front of her. By the way, this works wonders after baby's born, too, and is yet another plus for using a baby sling instead of a stroller. When I was seven months pregnant with my first baby, I filmed a love scene standing behind an actor. Of course, that didn't even make sense, physically, but he was the only thing big enough to cover my girth!
- For more How To Dress During Pregnancy tips, check this out.
By the way, I really hope that these tips aren't used to hide your pregnancy from your prom date, parents or teachers in middle school. Everyone else, use away!