Thursday, October 31, 2013

Same, Same,Same, Same, Same, Different, Different, Different

(The title was a ditty from a commercial from my youth. Some of you might remember it.) 

My first ex-mother-in-law had six kids: three girls in a row, followed by three boys in a row. "They come as they come," she used to always say, meaning that their inherent personality was fixed and unchangeable from birth. 

While I knew that she had concrete experience in child rearing and I did not, I still was quite sure that she was wrong about this. In the Nature Vs. Nurture debate, I came down hard on the side of Nurture.

And then I had kids and learned that she was right.  Now, I am not saying that nurture isn't important, but a lot of who kids are is just how they come right out of the package.

I had no idea that two children of the same sex, born of the same parents, sleeping in the same room, possessing the same coloring could be so entirely different.

Even as babies, I was struck more by their differences both in appearance and temperament than by their similarities. 
The planets must be in alignment for Big Pants to fall asleep.
Tiny Pants grabs his sleep bunny and is asleep within minutes.

Tiny Pants loves to help cook and pour his own drinks, make his own sandwiches.
Big Pants would rather  have me get it for him, even if he has to wait for a half an hour.

Big Pants will not tell a lie.  
Tiny Pants doesn't think truth is important as long as it's a good story. 

Their brains just work differently; Big Pants digests facts from everything and can spit them back at you on demand.  Tiny Pants is overflowing with complex stories. 

This morning I was given physical proof of their differences.  I offer up Exhibits A and B:

I was awaken by two little boys in soft fleece pajamas with big blue eyes and matching buzz cuts bringing me Art in Bed.  Some mothers are brought coffee or toast in bed, but for this holiday my little beastie boys (whom I heard crashing around in their room at 6:00am) brought me art.

Tiny Pants:  On the left is a drawing of the bells at school, and these are fire extinguishers, and this at the bottom is my lizard. See?

Art by Tiny Pants

Big Pants:  Look, Mama!  I made you a proper fraction!

Art by Big Pants

I love my boys.  My very different, interesting little beastie boys who bring their Mama Art in Bed and always keep me entertained.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Divorce is Just Weird Sometimes - An Ode to A Dancing Gopher

When my ex and I split up, we didn't fight over the big things. We agreed easily over the division of all the major assets; property, furniture, pets. Where we got stuck was the little things.  We honestly argued over who got to keep the broom (I lost). 

We managed to come to agreement fairly easily, and I have few regrets over how we handled that, except for one thing. The Dancing Gopher.  I gave in on the Dancing Gopher, and I still regret it to this day.

Once upon a time, I had a dear bestest friend named Jesse. We were both recovering from bad relationships and lived together for many years.  One day we went to a bar.  Jesse was underage, so it must have been a bar/restaurant. All I know is that I had black beans and rice.  That is not relevant at all. It's also not particularly interesting, but I thought I'd mention it to make my story longer and filled with solid details. 

At the bar was a man, and with that man was a dancing gopher. A fabulous, fuzzy, adorable gopher that shook his fuzzy little bottom and danced to the Caddyshack song.  

I'm alright...don't gotta worry about me...

(If you go to this website you can buy him and watch him sing.)

He was the most wonderful thing either of us could imagine, and when we learned that he could be had for a bargain price at the local Walgreen's - let's be honest, a dancing gopher at any price is a bargain - Jesse or I or both of us raced down to Walgreens and bought one.  (The detail of who bought the gopher is much more relevant than the fact that I ate black beans and rice, but sadly I have forgotten. Now you see why I included the less relevant factoid.)

He was perfect and pure joy but somehow looked, well, naked.  Luckily, we had been given a bag of broken and mismatched jewelry, and we quickly accessorized him with earrings, necklace, and a flower lei. He was even more fabulous now, and we showed him off to every visitor to our humble abode.

Eventually Jesse left town, and I got custody of the gopher. I brought him with me when I, too, moved away.  I cherished him for years, dragging him from house to house and state to state, always keeping him in a place of honor in the living room.  He still sang, but no longer shook his money maker.  Eventually he would up on a shelf in the family room of my old marital home. 

I was surprised in the property settlement that he became a creature of contention.  He was mine. I brought him into the marriage, and I planned on bringing him back out.  Ex-Mrs. Only-Mama insisted that he should keep him, though, because he loved the movie Caddyshack more that I did, and besides, he really belonged to the children now, and belonged in their playroom.  I gave in and left my beloved Dancing Gopher there.

The last time I was at my ex's house, the Dancing Gopher was still displayed in his place of honor, though stripped of all his drag queen finery. I pushed his little button, and saw that his batteries had run down or his mechanism had wore out. Regardless, he no longer sang or danced.

Still, though ,maybe it's good that he's there.  In a house totally stripped of anything else Mama, he alone is proof that I once lived there. He alone watches over my children when I am away.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My First Single Halloween

I don't talk much about single parenting here, in spite of my blog's name. Honestly, it's been so many years now, that it is just a way of life.  I've gotten over a lot of my feelings of  being different just because I am not married.  I now accept that my difference is more about being a little whacky than being a single parent.

Still, when I meet someone who is newly single or thinking of becoming single, I remember how important it was to me to meet other single parents, so I am going to try and write a bit more about single parenting on occasion.

When I first left my ex, I had been a stay at home mom for several years.  Although I managed to find employment fairly quickly, it  was at a 40% reduction in pay from my last job. I was poor. I got by, but I didn't have a lot of room for extras.

Big Pants was three years old that year and excited about Trick-or-Treating.  He wanted to be Barney.  I tried to talk him into dressing up as something that I could make at home easily, or that used a costume he already owned, but he wouldn't budge. He had his heart set on being that ugly purple dinosaur. I didn't want to disappoint him, especially because our family had just broken up, and he was confused and sad.  I didn't want to let him down.

Tiny Pants was only seven months old, so I could make him be anything I wanted, so it was just one child I had to focus on, but that didn't change the fact that I could not afford a Barney costume. I couldn't afford much of anything. My only hope of any costume was the local consignment shop.

I had called ahead, and they said they only had a few costumes left, so I ran down there to see what I could find.  I knew the chance of them having a purple dinosaur in the right size was slim to none, but maybe I could find something else that I could talk him into.  

it turned out that I didn't have to talk him into anything.  They had a Barney costume.  A size 3 Barney costume that was cheaper than I had budgeted. I almost cried in relief. 

Sometimes it feels like the world is against you, like no matter what you do, you can never win, but when i look back on my newly single days, all I see are the ways the universe took care of me.  A teenager living next door who loved to babysit. A neighbor who anonymously shoveled my front walk.  Or, in this case, a Barney costume that didn't break my budget and kept me from breaking my little boy's heart.

Here they are in their costumes that year. What's notable is that the photo was taken at Daddy's house.  We took them trick-or-treating together for the first few years after we broke up, and Daddy and I both managed to have a less awkward time than either of us anticipated. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

3 Reasons I am Looking Forward to my Mammogram Tomorrow

** Disclaimer** Although I usually try to refrain from swearing unless I feel it adds to the writing, this entry has lots of unnecessary swear words. If I am writing about having my boobs squashed between two metal plates and shot through with radiation,  I'm going to swear as much as I like and not feel guilty. Plus, I'm going to go to Denny's afterwards and eatting like a pig and I'm not feeling guilty about that no how, no way, neither. 

I have a mammogram tomorrow, and I'm strangely excited about it.  It's not that I don't know what will happen - I had one in my twenties for a suspicious lump that turned out to be nothing. I know there aren't any fun.  Also, I am so sure that it is completely useless that even the hypochondriac part of myself isn't worried, since my boobs and I know each other quite well. 

Why on earth am I actually looking forward to the boob smashing?

1. I have read so many online articles about the importance of mammograms lately, that I feel responsible by going. I feel like a good adult taking care of my body responsibly. This is the shit I am supposed to do at 40, and I'm supposed to feel an increased sense of self esteem or some other bullshit because I am taking care of myself. And it turns out that I do.

2. After seeing this picture on Facebook, I am secretly convinced that when I get there someone is going to give me cookies. I know they don't just wait for people at the X-ray boob-smasher with plates of these.  I do know that, mostly, but just like I hoped for Santa Claus years after I knew he didn't exist (spoiler!) I still secretly think there will be cookies, and not just any cookies, but super awesome cookies. Fuck it, I can dream.

Image: apronstrings

3. I am in good company. Not only did the Blogess blog about her boob smooshing experience, but all my other 40 year old friends are scheduling theirs as well. It's a sense of sisterhood that I haven't felt in years.  Here in the United States, we don't have a heck of a lot of stage of life type events. Not many people bake  Happy First Period cakes in these here parts.  Which is probably a good thing if you have an irritating brother, but a bad thing if you like cake as much as I do. Any excuse for cake is a good one.

Although I know one person who was an actual debutante, most of my friends didn't get that coming of age ritual, either. Mostly, we just age.

(Yes, birthdays, I know, birthdays, but that's still not the same a culture that has ceremonies for blessing women at various stages of life.)

Some people get Croning Ceremonies, we get mammograms.  While I may not be exactly close enough to be called a crone, I still feel a sense that I am coming of age.  I am 40! Smoosh my Boobs!  Sadly, it doesn't have much ring to it. 

Let the Boob Squashing begin!  Unless, of course the metal is cold. Then fuck that noise. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Penises Are Like Dogs, Clitorises Are Like Cats


DISCLAIMER #1:  I'm not talking about all dogs/penises or all cats/clitorises. I am only making leaps of faith based on the ones I have come in contact with in my life. This is not a scientific study resulting from a well thought out hypothesis, and I did not once employ the scientific method. I merely woke up with an idea and ran with it. 

DISCLAIMER #2:  This article is NOT in reference to abused animals or people. Neither is funny. Often, if an animal is mean, we can assume an abusive person made them that way. I like to believe that   both people and dogs/cats are born good and if treated with respect and love will grow to be kind and decent adult animals that can be safely and appropriately made fun of in blogs.

Who wants to play with me?


I said Don't Fucking Touch Me Like That on Wednesdays!

But, in spite of their apparent differences, the right combination can result in a lifelong and beautiful merging of totally different personalities. When it works, it works.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I want to be more outrageous.

I have two boys. One who no one has ever picked on, and one who occasionally gets some flack.  At first, I thought that the youngest had a target painted on his forehead and that I had passed on some defective victim-gene.  Then I had a blinding-flash-of-the-obvious (prompted, of course, by someone older and wiser spelling it out for me).

My oldest son doesn't stand out. He is right in the middle of the group at school. He takes no great social risks. He likes everyone, and everyone likes him. He is fairly tapioca. I don't think he holds anything back; I'm not implying that he is striving to fit in.  He just fits in because he doesn't stand out.

My youngest, by contrast, is funny. He is quick to raise his hand in class,  always has a joke, and  isn't afraid to be a little outrageous. That makes him visible. That makes him fabulous, and that makes people notice him negatively as well.  But that doesn't mean he is doing it wrong. That means he is doing it right. 

I understand this from both points of view. I spent many, many years trying to be Just Like Everyone Else. I tried to squelch my uniqueness in an effort to never stand out.  Eventually I realized that being Just Like Everyone Else was destroying everything that made me interesting, funny, and beautiful. It didn't work for me.

Being a little crazy is better than being a little boring, even if it is not as safe. Being outrageous makes you memorable, but also gives you technicolor memories of your own.  Yes, you might get some stupid people that say stupid things, but by far, people will like you. Fun people get more party invites.

Last year I went to a bar on Halloween in my "safe" not-a-costume-costume consisting of a Wonder Woman t-shirt and jeans.  No one else was dressed up at the bar, and I was grateful that I chose to be conservative and less-fun than I had originally intended. I was glad I played it safe so I didn't stand out.  I don't recall having any large amounts of fun. I don't even remember where I went. 

Let me say that again slowly so you can appreciate the absolute patheticness  of it:
I went to a bar on Halloween. Without Children. With my best friend. And it was only moderately fun. And I don't even remember what bar we went to, only that it was filled with  other people who were playing it safe as well.

Going to a bar on Halloween should be the funnest thing ever.  I blame my conservative not-a-costume-costume.  This year, I am taking a page from Tiny Pant's book.  I am wearing this everywhere I go:

People might think I am a little crazy, but I bet I will have some memorable conversations. I bet I will be able to have at least one stand-out memory from the day. 

(and I know you are jealous right now of my fabulousity. But it's ok, you can be your own kind of fabulous, too. Ebay. That's all I can say: ebay, baby.) 

Carpe Lemur!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

7 Things My Mother Got Right

for this and other cool mama-baby photos, please visit

I was talking to a fellow parent at my sons' school yesterday about how much we appreciate the struggles the women in our family went through now that we are mothers, and all the pressures there are on mothers now. While society has increased the expectations, we both felt like children and mothers had a stronger place in society than in previous generations.  When we looked back at our grandparents and parents, the fact that they didn't kill off all their offspring while parenting in a society that didn't really support mothers is amazing. The only advantage they had over us was being able to send the kids out to play, watched only by the dog. 

We can't just banish our herd of children outside to play, we have to make sure they speak a minimum of 5 languages, play 3 sports, 1 instrument, and drive them to all of these places. Outside is scary, and unsupervised has become criminal. Dogs are no longer considered adequate babysitters.

Mothers are always thinking about theories of parenting, about how to raise the best kids they possibly can, and beating themselves up with guilt if they don't give their children every opportunity. 

As I age and as I struggle to raise my own kids and balance my life with parenting, I have gained a little perspective about mothers in general, my own in particular.  Whereas as a teenager I thought she did everything wrong, I can now appreciate how my mother got the most important parts of parenting right. 

Here's a list of the 7 things my mother nailed, and still continues to nail even though i am 40 and she's probably sick of parenting by now:

1. I always know I am loved, no matter what I do or what mess I get into, I know that not only will my mother still love me, she will always help me find my way out.

2. I always know my mother understands my soul. I never worry than my mother will look down on me for my housecleaning or for living in sweatpants. She is the least superficial person I know.

3. I know that if my mother doesn't understand where I am at in life, she wants to. She will talk to me until she understands. She will never shut me out or refuse to talk to me. 

4. My mother will always give me the benefit of the doubt. If i seem to be doing something stupid, she will wait to hear my side. She trusts that I know what i am doing even when I don't look line I know what I am doing.

5. My mother always thinks I am beautiful. Even when I gain weight, get bad haircuts, get the flu and don't shower for days, or make unfortunate fashion decisions. She always tells me I am beautiful,  and even if I don't believe her, I know she believes it.  

6. My mother will treat anything I am excited about with enthusiasm. My mother totally believes I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to, and will cheer me on whatever path I choose to take. 

7. My mother will listen with an open heart to whatever political or spiritual views I am embracing, even if they are contrary to her own.  When I voted against her in my first presidential election, all she said was, "I'm so glad you exercised your right to vote. That's all that I care about, " and she actually meant it. 

When I look at how I am parenting my own children and how passionately I feel about parenting and simultaneously how terrified I am that i am failing my boys, I try and remember that these seven things are really what matters. If I can do that, they will be okay. Everything else is gravy. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

R2D2's Cousin

I have a secret: I hate cleaning.  Ok, so it's not a secret to anyone who has seen my house, my car, or my kids, all of which are generally in some state of disarray. 

I do like my house and car better when they are clean, though I love my boys the same dirty or clean, and if it involves self-administered face paint or mud, maybe more when they are dirty. I know my life is better when the chaos has been reigned in. But that knowledge is not enough motivation to do the work necessary on a regular basis to keep them clean. 

My car has been referred to as the Rolling Dumpster on more than one occasion by more than one person, generally men,  and to be honest it is not an inaccurate description. 

just add car seats and away we go!
image: wikimedia

For a while I would invite people over with some regularity to force myself to clean, but once I had kids, that all went out the window.  As a single mother, I was completely overwhelmed by the mess. (See how I blame being a single mother on that? Completely the best excuse ever, except for my other single mother friends who fuck it all up by having clean houses and even house cleaning businesses.)

Recently, I have been able to maintain a certain level of picked-up-ness around the house, thanks to children old enough to boss around who are also motivated by the concept of an allowance, but the wash the floors smells-clean-is-clean kind of house still eludes me most days.

Le sigh.  It's okay. I have other interests. I can even blame my mother, as my first husband did, for not raising me to have high enough standards.  After Ex-Mr. Only Mama the First visited my parents house for the first time, he told me that he knew we would never work out, because I wasn't obviously wasn't raised to know how to keep house properly.  He was right, and also an asshole, as that also statement proves. But I digress.

What my mother did right was to allow my brother and I to play as much as possible, and what we played a lot was Star Wars.  It was one of the few interests that we shared equally, that crossed gender and age boundaries.  (This is not a ramble, this is a segue, stay with me.)  Although my brother had the At-At and the Tauntaun, I had princess Leia, assorted ewoks, and R2D2 underoos. 

So imagine my surprise and elation to find that Shark makes and actually sells for a reasonable price R2D2's cousin!

 It's white and shiny metallic red. It has wheels and attachments.  It even has headlights!!!

Who was vacuuming at midnight last night?  This girl.  Who was squealing and oohing and ahhhhing like a proud 1950's housewife last night?  This girl. Who laid on the floor taking photo after photo of the new cleaning device? You guessed. It was me. 

The geekification of appliances might be the answer to all my problems! Suddenly, the pursuit of cleanliness is a re-creation of my best childhood memories. Suddenly, cleaning is cool and fun.   Of course it will wear off.  Of course it will soon be just a kind of dirty tool of drudgery (white is a stupid color for a dust sucking device).  But now I have a plan.  What that happens, I'll buy it a C3P0.

Or better yet, an Ewok. 
image: the awesomer

Robots are cool, but dogs solve everything.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sharing The Love of All Things Delightful

One of the joys of having children is sharing things you love with them. 


I will never forget the first time I had fun with my kids. Let's be honest, babies are cute and funny and sweet and snuggly, but they aren't really fun. It took a few excruciatingly long years for my kids to be big enough to do things that I liked, as well.  When they were one and three, we went to the zoo. The baby was in the stroller, the big one on the back and we went careening down a big hill Full Speed Ahead.  It was the first time I had fun at the same time that they did.

image: flickr

As the boys have grown, I have gotten to introduce them to more fun things that I enjoy, like water slides, bicycles, Muppets, and chocolate covered pretzels. There is nothing like watching your child find something as wonderful as you do. 

There is nothing more wonderful than this
Image: HuffingtonPost

Introducing your children to your favorite foods is exciting as well. I love artichokes, but historically, not a lot of other people share my enthusiasm for the vegetable. They have been my favorite food since I was ten, or eight, or definitely as long as I can remember.  They were what I requested for my birthday dinner every year.  They are so good that after I eat the leaves, I have to dig through the pile and look for any leaves that haven't been entirely eaten.  I don't think i have ever met anyone else who feels the same way about artichokes in my 40 years on this planet.

I have tried for years to get my kids to try them, even calling them "monster snacks" and going RAARRRRR! while scraping them leaves with my teeth.  They flat out refused to try them, looking me like I was a little bit of a crazy person and quickly leaving the room.  Until, that is, this past Saturday.  On Saturday, Big Pants tried my artichoke, and he liked it.

Image and Eating Instructions:

He liked it so much he started chanting "ARTICHOKE! ARTICHOKE!" while spinning in circles of glee. I was so proud - I had been waiting years for this moment!  
My genes are strong with this one!

Yes, child, you can thank me for this amazing taste sensation!

And then he ate half of my artichoke.  MY artichoke, the one I had bought as a special treat for MYSELF was being rapidly devoured by my son, who until I opened my big mouth, never knew artichokes were so divine. Mama Fail!

 I should have stuck with introducing him to bike riding and kept the artichokes for myself!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Unsolicited Advice for the Newly Pregnant

I have someone dear to me in my life who is newly pregnant for the first time. I don't want to come off all preachy to them, but of course I am dying to foist my advice on some unsuspecting person, so I decided to do it here instead.

1. This is your pregnancy. Trust your body. If it wants ice cream, give it ice cream. If you get morning sickness, force yourself to eat constantly. Eating is self-defense. Don't worry about the weight gain. It will go away afterwards, and if you nurse, it will go away even faster. Until it does, your body will be softer to snuggle your child and that's a good thing.

2. Avoid negativity like the plague. You don't need it. Avoid listening to people's horror stories about birth. Here's the truth about childbirth - although you may have an ideal indoor mind, any birth that results in a living baby and mother is a good one.  If your childbirth is easy  that is good, but if it is very hard, it will make you stronger.  It will give perspective to everything else you experience for the rest of your life, and that will make all other suffering easier. So even if it is horrible, it will have value. And once again - healthy baby and mama = good.

3. Know what you want in terms of a birth experience and fight for it. A doula or midwife can help you find your voice. Also be willing to change the plan when you actually start the childbirth. Don't' shame yourself. It's not what you think it will be like most of the time, so be gentle with yourself.

4. Go to La Leche League before you give birth. If you have confidence about nursing, if you know you can do it, it is more likely that you will. Formula is not poison, but you will get all these great hormones from nursing and plus it's great for weight loss. Of course it is better for babies, but there's so much Mama shame that I am focusing on why it is best for you.  It is better for mamas. But here's a tip - it's hard. It hurts at first. But I have done both and breast is easier and I am lazy. A good lactation consultant is your best friend. I went to a nursing group three times a week for months. I didn't find it easy, but I am so glad I did it. There is a feeling of empowerment in knowing that you can sustain human life with your body. 

5. If you are poor, try cloth diapers. You will save thousands of dollars, your house will stink less, and its really not a big deal. If you nurse and cloth diaper, your baby is close to free. Don't worry about clothing - they won't wear it anyway. Both my kids preferred to be as close to naked as possible, year round until they were five.

6. Babies don't sleep. Anyone who says they do is lying. Do you know what sleeping through the night means? A five hour block. Not an eight or twelve hour block. But don't worry - it's ok. You will learn that you don't need as much sleep as you think. You will look back at all the times you cried over being tired before you had kids and you will laugh.  But when you are up at night rocking a little one, be comforted to know that all across America there are thousands of mothers doing the same thing. 

7. Seeing as the baby will never sleep, don't worry when they poop the minute you finally get them to sleep. Coat their bottom in vasoline at the last diaper change, and don't wake them up to change them. They will wake up in two hours anyway. This bit of advice was given to me by a nurse.  An RN and a mother. It sounds horrible now, maybe even abusive, but you will understand. The minute they fall asleep they poop and then you change them and then they cry and then you nurse them and then they sleep and then they poop.

(if you followed my advice to cloth diaper, you can cut up strips of fleece to use as liners inside your diapers which protect the diapers from the Vasoline and have the benefit of being disposable if you really need them to be.)

8.  You will feel like a failure, you will be exhausted, but you will also be exhilarated and flooded with love. It's worth it. You will be great at it.

9. We ALL have strong opinions on parenting. It starts with breast/bottle then there is cloth/disposable diapers then sleep, then it goes on and on. You need to parent your child according to the baby's need and your needs. Each baby is different and so is each mother.

10. Keep the baby close by. Think of the first three months as the fourth trimester. No, I don't know the latin to correct that statement. I liked the Close and Secure Sleeper for cosleeping, but there's a bunch of options. You can even put the crib in your room. They wake up a lot, you will be happier if they aren't down the hall. Cute nursery wallpaper aside, my kids were never in their bedrooms except to play. 

11. Dining room tables are better than dressers. You can see what you have before they outgrow it. You can use it as a changing table with a pad. You don't have to put stuff away only to have to race down the hall after a diaper explosion.

12. The best advice I got when I was pregnant was to be gentle on myself and my choices, that no matter what I think I want to do before I have kids may suddenly change after the kid is born, and that's okay.  Allow yourself to grow into the parent that is natural for you, and don't be afraid to let go of preconceived notions you had before children. 

Top Four Things You Can't Live Without (really):

1. A selection of different baby carriers. I used a front carrier with two shoulder straps, a hip hammock, a sling and a mei-tei and all have different uses at different times. If you go to La Leche League (see #4) people will show you how they all work and the different styles. Wearing a baby promotes all kids of good brain stuff but the most important thing is that they cry less. Baby-wearing Mamas pretty much all like to talk about baby carriers and why their favorite is the best one ever invented. Skip registering for plastic baby crap, instead register for cool baby carriers in a variety of colors and styles. A stylish baby sling can dress up a dirty t-shirt and jeans like nobody's business. The Baby Wearer website is chock full of good advice. 

See how the baby is now a fashion accessory?
Buy my favorite carrier, the Hip Hammock here but don't tell them I sent you, they don't know who I am and might not want to be affiliated with me. 

2. A glider with a gliding footstool. Don't question it, you just do, and make sure you register for one that comes with a gliding ottoman. This fine one is on sale at

image source:

3. The My Breast Friend pillow. 
Image source

The name is stupid, but it is the only one that actually works. Don't believe the hype about the boppy. It's crap and pops off you while nursing and is frustrating and stupid.

4. A car seat that snaps into a stroller. I used a cheap light weight snap on stroller, because I wasn't smart enough to know I needed one before hand. You do. Go for light weight over cute fabric.

Everything else is gravy. Each baby is different. Some love the bouncy seat, some hate it. Some hate strollers. No matter what you get ahead of time, your baby will be the one baby that hates it. 

I loved these books, if people even read paper books anymore:

I don't care if it's old and everyone recommends it. It's a great book.

2. American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring For Your Baby and Young Child 
This will save you hundreds of calls to your doctor's office at 2:00 am!  

We were so sleep deprived when we found this resource that we had to watch the DVD as we could no longer read words on paper.  Do yourself a favor and buy it now.

4.  La Leche League's Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 
A great resource. Also write down the phone number for the local helpline. They don't mind if you call them and cry on the phone over latching issues, even if you cry rather hard for a long time. Trust me on this.

Although I could go on for hours on the topic, these 12 bullet points, 4 items you can't live without and 4 books you should buy pretty much cover it.  You'll figure the rest out as you go.