Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'baby'

band-aids that make mom proud

September 29th, 2014 · 6 Comments

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Do you see that band-aid?

It’s not often that a mom is excited to see a band-aid on her baby.  In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s exactly *never* that a mom greets a sight like this with a smile.

With one exception.

When those band-aids are there after your baby’s four-month vaccines.

See, here’s the thing.  If you look at Facebook or sometimes even the news, you might think that there’s actually some medical controversy over whether or not you should vaccinate your kids.

AND YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Let’s be clear: Vaccines save lives.  We are very, very lucky to be living in a country and at a time when vaccines against deadly diseases are safe, effective and readily available.  Children all over the world do not have that luxury. 

And yet, parents — a terrifying number of parents — choose not to offer their children this life-saving protection, because of misguided fears that ignore science in lieu of groundless speculation.  The article that originally claimed to link vaccines and autism has now been universally discredited and withdrawn by the journal that published it.  No medical data has ever supported any link between vaccines and autism. 

And yet somehow this unfounded “controversy” lingers.  And it is putting kids at risk.

As parenting goes, you will almost never hear a whiff of judgment from me.  Breastfeed or bottle-feed?  Both are great.  Stay home or keep working?  Up to you, mama.  Daycare or a nanny?  Either one!  Night-wake till they’re two?  More power to you.  Cry it out?  You gotta do what you gotta do.

Not one of those decisions is life-or-death for your baby.  They are all choices that can be made in different ways by reasonable, caring parents.

Vaccinating your child?

That is different. 

That is life or death – and not just for your child, but for every other child they interact with.

That is a life or death decision you are making for my child.

See, vaccines aren’t 100% effective.  They require multiple rounds before a child reaches immunity, and individual kids may have different immune responses in a particular case, even if the vaccine itself is effective 99% of the time.  The reason we don’t see these illnesses anymore, even though the vaccines aren’t perfect, is because of herd immunity — because all kids get the vaccines, even if your kid isn’t perfectly immune, it’s very unlikely for him or her to be exposed to the actual disease.

But when parents stop vaccinating their kids?  Their kids are at risk, obviously.  But so is every single other child, whether it’s a newborn who hasn’t had any shots or a five-year-old with a severe allergic reaction that prevented his own vaccination.

Deciding not to vaccinate your children is not just stupid.  Sure, it’s stupid. 

But it’s also profoundly selfish. 

Those kids are depending on you.  My kid is depending on you.

So, please.  Please.  Please.  Inform yourselves.  Learn the science.  There is not, and has never been, any scientific evidence of a causal relationship between vaccines and autismVaccines save lives every single day, and as a parent, I am thrilled and grateful to be able to provide them for my child.

So those band-aids?

Yes, they make me smile. 

Tags: baby

baby bear: four months

September 17th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Baby Bear,

I say this every month, but I think we are finally getting life under control!

See, here’s the thing. You take your sweet new baby home from the hospital, and for a few weeks, insanity ensues. You don’t have enough time to shower, brush your teeth, or check your email before it’s time for another diaper change, feeding, nap attempt, cuddle, whatever. Around the clock. Without a break.

And then a few weeks go by and it gets a little easier, and you think, “ok, we’re in the clear. From now on, things are going to be smooth sailing.”

But the real truth is: life with a baby doesn’t exactly get easier each month… it just get different.

Sure, some things get easier. When a four month old cries, you have a general sense of what the issue may be, and you know how to solve 90% of the possible problems.  And by now, I feel like I have a basic idea of how to take care of a baby, something that I just did not have when you were born.

(True story: when they put you on my chest, the first thing I said was, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”  I kid you not.  Those were the first words you heard your mom say. I had never held a newborn before, and you were so tiny that I was terrified that I might somehow hurt you.)

But now, you’re a little bigger and a little sturdier, and not quite so terrifyingly delicate — which puts my mind at ease, at least a tiny bit.  So, lots of things do get easier as the months go by.

But… other things get harder.

Like, say, sleep.

Here’s what no one tells you: It is completely possible for a four-month-old baby to sleep worse than a newborn.  Remember my little two-week-old baby who slept for four or six hours at a time?  Well, that baby turned into a three-and-a-half-month old who slept for no more than ninety minutes at once, ever, for weeks on end.  It.  Was.  Brutal.

But even in my extensively sleep-deprived state, watching you grow has been so much fun, and this month brought so many amazing new moments.

And, here, I’ll say it.

You are just SO darn cool.

Whether it’s learning to roll over or learning to laugh (!), it seems like every day brings some new skill. And it’s amazing to watch you discover each of these tiny little actions that remind us: you are slowly growing into your own little person, with all your own likes and dislikes and joys and sorrows. That’s the most incredible thing to watch, really — to see this little person emerge from an unformed newborn into something that’s starting to resemble a child.

And that’s what I’m most excited about, as the months go on — watching you become yourself, learning your place in the world, and seeing the person you become.

I said this while I was pregnant, and I feel it even more now: creating a life was a wonderful thing, and the experience of pregnancy was something I will cherish forever. But parenting is a million times more rewarding, more exciting, and more fulfilling than the biological process of pregnancy. Whether you had joined our family through birth, through adoption, or some other way, your entrance into our lives is an incredibly opportunity.  It’s the opportunity to guide a new person into becoming a happy, healthy, kind, and compassionate human being.

I think about that goal all the time, and I hope, as you develop more and more every day, that I’m doing a good job.

With so much love, and more every single day,

Your mom.

Tags: baby · life

on being a working mom

September 11th, 2014 · 11 Comments

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You may have noticed, in the six or so years since I started this blog, that I write very little about my job.

In fact, for many years, I didn’t write about it at all.  I worked for a big, very prestigious, very conservative, white-shoe law firm in Manhattan, and I decided early on that the best policy for balancing my work life with my blog was to keep them completely separate.  If you met me in person during those years, I would happily have told you that I was a lawyer — but on the internet, I barely mentioned it at all.

But, as you guys know, about a year ago I quit working at a big law firm and started my own practice here in Houston.  And with that change, I’ve slowly, tentatively, become more comfortable sharing little bits about my life as a lawyer with you guys.

So I’ll start by saying: building a new business is a wild ride.  Really, really hard, but also incredibly rewarding and exciting.  It’s like moving from a leisurely drive to a roller coaster, if that makes any sense.  For the past year, building my law practice has been the focus of nearly every waking minute.  It’s the biggest professional challenge that I’ve ever taken on, and not a single day passes without me analyzing how I’m doing and how I could be doing better.  There are days when it feels like too much, when I miss the steady salary and support staff that my big firm job provided.  And there are days when it feels like the best thing I’ve ever done, when I am so damn proud of myself for taking on this challenge and making it work. 

But for the last few months, there’s been a new thought that pops up every single day. 

Balancing work and the baby.

Being a working mom.

I had this idea that starting my own practice would make it easier to have a baby, and in a lot of ways, I was right.  Obviously, I have deadlines and meetings, but for the most part, I can manage my own schedule, and that’s no small thing.  Even when I’m very busy at work, I can still spend a good portion of the day with our son, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that: it’s a luxury that many (most) working moms don’t have.

And yet — the fundamental problem is that I want to do both. 

I want to take care of our baby boy. 

And I also want to give 100% to my job.

What I need is 48 hours every day, to spend time with our amazing, wonderful baby, and to be able to build a business with focus and care. 

What I have, instead, is what most moms have: a balancing act that never ends; concerns that I would love to give more in both areas.

And yet… it’s been almost five months now, and I’m doing it.  There are tough days and easy ones, but nothing has slipped through the cracks.  I am so excited for the time I spend with our baby boy, but also so excited for the professional successes that I’m building toward. 

And there was the moment that I captured in the photograph above.  When Bear was not quite 3 months old, I had an oral argument for one of my cases in New York.  And after a lot of debate, I decided to bring him with me for the trip. 

A few minutes before I went into the courthouse, my mom snapped this photo.  And since then, I’ve loved looking back at it — it’s a reminder that even when the balancing is hard, that I am doing it.  That I have not had to give up my job for being a mom (or vice versa), and that, sometimes, every once in a while, it feels like it’s working pretty well. 

A long time ago, the idea of being a working mom seemed to me a little bit impossible.  Would I be able to work once our child arrived?  Would I “pick” my job over this tiny life that I had worked so hard to create? 

But it’s not impossible.  It’s being done every day, in households everywhere, and just like me, moms are making it happen.  Despite the fact that it’s hard, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against us, we are balancing professional demands and family and figuring out how to make it work.  And with every generation that does it, it gets a little easier for the next one.

So from now on, here’s what I’m going to do. 

Rather than hide my job on this blog, I’m going to embrace it. 

I’m a working mom. 

And that makes me pretty darn proud.

Tags: baby · life