Monday, April 27, 2015

Things I Have Learned in 6 Weeks of Parenting

1. Absolutely nothing will go the way you hope/plan/expect in both good and bad ways. In the 6 weeks since I became a parent my daughter had to spend a week in the NICU right after she was born due to a (minor) infection, I found out I couldn't breast feed, our new car's battery went to hell, my husband developed a temporary eye palsy and now has to wear a patch until it decides to go away. So good luck planning anything, basically.

2. Babies do not give even a single fuck about what they are "supposed" to do according to any parenting "guide".

3. All "guides" about things like making your baby sleep on their back, perfectly flat, only apply to ideal babies who don't have reflux or care about being close to you. I'm going to tell you right now that your baby will probably have reflux and want to be near you because most of them do. Adjust accordingly.

4. Your home will become a wasteland of baby paraphrenalia used and unused like some kind of infant version of Mad Max. Mostly it will be unused things you thought you "must" have but your kid hates with a fiery passion. Like, for instance, the bassinet.

5. Baby poop comes out at roughly the same velocity as a rocket shooting for the moon. It's pretty funny even when it's shooting at you.

6. After feedings babies get milk drunk. It's awesome.

6. Get a pediatrician you can call with all your stupid questions because you will have them and it's okay and they will make you feel better instead of stupid.

7. What's more terrifying than how much you love your kid is how much they need you and the sense of responsibility you now have for this tiny life. It can sometimes be paralyzing but you get through it and only check that they're breathing every 5 min instead of every 2.

8. Babies are pretty cute but they also make faces like Dick Tracy villains and it's pretty fucking weird.

9.  Make TV playlists of shows you can watch during 2am feedings so that you don't nod off on your baby. I recommend Community because it's A. awesome and B. the perfect length for keeping up a baby with reflux after a feeding so they don't yak everything back up.

10. Seriously, take care of yourself or you'll be useless to your kid. It's okay to put them down sometimes. Really.

11. I suspect in another 6 weeks I will have a new set of revelations because none of us know what we're doing. PARENTING.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Open For Editing!

Okay, folks, here's the deal: having a baby is really expensive even when you have insurance. Which means ...::dramatic drum roll::

So! I am officially open for editing projects. Why should you hire me? Because I'm awesome! Because I love stories! Because I've been editing for the last 14 years and I've gotten pretty darn good at it.

What sort of things can I edit? Lots! I can edit pitches, outlines, single scripts, series, and graphic novels. And that's just the comics stuff! I can also edit screenplays and game projects. My most recent projects have been helping a screenwriter adapt their script to an OGN, editing a massive RPG manual, and creating a short comic for a new game that was teased at last years E3.

Over the years I've edited a ton of comics you might have heard of, from Fables to Lucifer, Angel to The Last Unicorn. I've edited anthologies, New York Times Bestsellers, Eisner nominated AND awarded creations. So I've got just a little bit of cred.

My philosophy as an editor: helping you, the creator, tell the story YOU want to tell. It's that simple.

My rate: $50 an hour which is a BARGAIN. Seriously. We can chat about your project, your budget, and what I can do within it over at my email, mariah dot tiredfairy @gmail.

Spread the word!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Infant Things

3 weeks into new motherhood and I'm learning that parenthood is basically continuous trial and error, fuck ups and frustrations, joy and enchantment. For me. I have no idea what it's like for anyone else and I'm not here to tell anyone how to parent.

I've learned a few things in the past few weeks the baby books don't tell you and while I wouldn't call what I'm going to say "advice" I will say that they might be useful for others.

And just to get it out of the way: no, I don't feel like I'm more connected to the earth, universe, or "meaning of life" now that I'm responsible for a tiny one. The earth is a rock floating in space, the universe still doesn't give a shit about me or you, and I'm as mystified by life and determined to give mine (and what part of her's I"m responsible for) meaning as best as I can. But I didn't suddenly become an expert on anything just because I had a baby.

1. Newborn babies are not very complicated. They need to eat, poop, be loved, and sleep. They'll do all those things a lot and you'll figure out your babies rhythms after awhile. If those few things have been addressed and your baby is still inconsolable, it's pediatrician time. Note: not complicated does not mean "easy". It just means your baby isn't sitting around contemplating deep truths right now, they're just navigating this whole life outside the womb, tiny tube status.

2. If you're bottle or formula feeding like I am, get Dr. Brown's bottles with a variety of nipple sizes. My daughter has a bit of acid refluc and we use a thicker formula to help. It goes through the standard size 1 nipples at an excruciating pace and while it's a good idea for them not to gulp outrageously, it shouldn't be a chore either. This isn't an issue if you're using regular formula or breast milk in terms of flow. Also get a drying rack you can keep on the counter and a formula mixing pitcher to keep in the fridge. Formula only keeps for a day so don't go nuts pre-mixing, but having a bunch of it ready can definitely help when you're stumbling around at 3am with a crying, hungry infant.

3. Wherever you do your feedings/holding times, keep burp cloths, soothers, nose sucking bulb thing, and baby lotion within easy reach. Also make sure it has drink holders for you because you also need to hydrate. I mostly use our little couch and I've been using a little gray bath thingie they gave us at the hospital to keep paraphrenalia in. It currently has Aveeno baby lotion, a sleep sack, 2 burp cloths, my water bottle, and 2 binkies in it. It also has the Infant CPR pamphlet we got for easy referral.

4. You're going to get a lot of advice, a lot of it very good, but also not always practical depending on your lifestyle. For instance, I am home with my daughter but I'm a freelance writer. I was already doing assignments between feedings after 2 weeks. So the advice to sleep when she sleeps only goes so far. I do it when I can and so will you.

5. Cut yourself a break. Not just in terms of making mistakes, but also with things like needing to put them down for awhile and not hold them 24/7. Or by watching a favorite show while they sleep. You absolutely need down time and while that's not always possible with a hungry, wet diapered, fussy's okay to want and need that time. If you have a partner this is easier to do, but not everyone does. Plus you also have human things you need to do like eat and poop yourself.

6. Try not to over anticipate what your baby needs. You can't prevent poopy diapers, you can't prevent hunger, and trying to somehow keep your baby from ever getting fussy will only result in botched feedings where they fall asleep too soon and you have to feed them again in half an hour...or using way more diapers because you're trying to catch every pee/poop the second it happens and they're not ready yet. Obviously you don't want your kid sitting around in a funky diaper but as long as you're dealing with them 8-10 a days or whatever then you're fine.

That's all I've got for now. None of it earth shattering or revelatory, and all subject to whatever my daughter ends up needing. Sometimes that's feedings closer together, sometimes it's longer naps, we figure it out as we go.