Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

Iced coffee is my new thing.  The mister got me some and a cookie for us to share from the bakery down the street that we frequent.    Something was always a little "off" with the baked goods we brought home and then I finally realized everything there is vegan.

my little monster.

Charlie was so good on his car trips (as long as I sat in the back with him.)

look how big this kid is getting.

Charlie has quite the little patch of hair going on the back of his head.

Lyss hanging on the porch.

We finally bought Charlie some baby sunglasses at Target, and he LOVES them (well, at least, he doesn't not love them.)

We took a little trip back to PA this weekend for my stepsister's graduation party.  Charlie was quite the hit!  He finally got to meet most of his extended family and he was so well behaved and comfortable being passed around.  Incidentally, my aunts and uncles told me that I did NOT like being passed around and that as soon as I was handed off to someone, my eyes got very big and immediately scanned the room for mommy and daddy. This didn't really surprise me, but I'm glad that Charlie is already more comfortable around people than I am.  
Everyone was so excited to meet Charlie - it really was the best feeling.  My aunt even brought me a lamp that my mom had gifted to my cousin 15 years ago.  We hand't bought a lamp for the nursery yet and I can't even tell you how much it means to have something in there that my mom picked out.  
After celebrating the graduation on a rainy Sunday, today we went out to lunch to celebrate my dad's retirement. So many exciting changes in this here little family of ours.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Musings on Breastfeeding

So I've been wanting to share my thoughts on breastfeeding and I think the time has come.  Now I know what you're thinking,  "C, whyyy? This blog has gotten sort of TMI lately and breastfeeding is all you ever talk about anymore and who caaress?  Also, is Alyssa ever going to post anything again?  Her life seems like it might be a little bit more exciting than yours."  Well, calm down people, and get over it, because the fact of the matter is, as a new mom I happen to have a lot of opinions about this that I need to get out and obviously with all the uproar around that Time cover, I'm not the only one.  So let me just get this out and then I promise to give it a rest and maybe I'll even write something non-baby related for a change.

I'd like to share my experience, my "journey" if you will.  It's just one mom's journey and it's not over yet, but I need to get it out.  
Breastfeeding is hard.  
Maybe not for everyone, but for me it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do and it's not getting any easier. And the reason I talk about it all the time, is because it is ALL CONSUMING, basically a full time job that I am kind of sucking at.   When I first found out I was pregnant, I didn't really have strong feelings about breastfeeding one way or the other, and most of what I did know was rather, shall we say, "me centered."  Breastfeeding helps you lose massive amounts of baby weight: positive (and PS, not happening).  You can't drink while breastfeeding:  negative.  All I knew from my own mother's experience is what my dad was able to tell me.  She tried and it didn't work out so we were all formula fed.  My ignorance on the subject, of course, changed very quickly because as soon as you start dipping into pregnancy research, advice about breastfeeding becomes rampant.  The most basic of pregnancy literature will all tell you the same thing.  It's best for the baby, much much better than formula, with useful antibodies that your baby needs.  And it makes sense, breastmilk is made by your body specifically for your baby.  My doctor strongly advocated for breastfeeding.  Posters around the office encouraged it and Beth Israel, my hospital, was a "breastfeeding hospital" so all the nurses were trained in lactation consultation and were very prepared to help you (aka shove your nipple in the baby's mouth with a much greater force than a tentative new mom could ever adequately muster).  I know that people say that our country makes it so hard for new moms, and I do feel that way to an extent.  There are a whole new crop of challenges that have come up with my return to work.  Business trips are already in the books and pumping times need to be scheduled ahead.  But the biggest challenge for me has been my own body.  Why has it been so hard to fulfill this basic need of my baby that is supposed to be natural and instinctive?    I've never tried so hard at anything and with such moderate success (except maybe softball, but that's a whole different post, haha).  I knew it would be hard.  I was forewarned and it helped to know and mentally prepare ahead of time.  I figured I just needed to power through.  All the pain, all the feelings of inadequacy - I was prepared for them and knew I just needed to make it over the hump.  The only ones who will tell you you don't have to breastfeed are other mothers who have failed at breastfeeding and the pregnancy literature makes it very clear that you should ignore that kind of advice and just give breastfeeding "a few more weeks".  I knew the routine to not becoming one of those failed mothers.  Put the baby to your breast right away.  If you don't start feeding from the very second your baby is born, you are already off course.  Don't stop feeding.  Fight through the pain.  Pump if you have to.  But whatever you do, don't give up and succumb to evil formula.  Your baby will thank you for it.  After all, breastfeeding not only gives your baby useful antibodies, but it builds a bond and foundation of trust between you and your child that will last a lifetime, right?  I'm not so sure.  That is a lot of pressure for any new mom, who just gave birth and now is the only source of sustenance for this tiny little life in her hands.  In many ways breastfeeding has defined my experience as a mother, and when it's not going well, that's kind of hard.

And it wasn't going well, not at all, right from the start.  Every two hours Charlie and I struggled and cried together to try to make it work, to get that latch that we both so desperately wanted.  Erik would entertain our guests as the baby and I struggled through feedings together in the nursery every hour.  My nipples bled and stung and I knew from my books that we weren't getting it because it's not supposed to hurt, but all I could do was keep trying. A week in I went to a lactation group where I saw my own desperation staring back at me on the faces of five other tearful new moms, all with the war wounds to prove it.  Still, we must not give up urged the lactation consultant as she held her rather large child to her chest to show us how it was done.  If, worst case scenario, we had already screwed up our milk supply beyond repair, we should look online for black market breast milk to feed our babies.  All modesty was long lost as we in turn demonstrated our lack of breastfeeding talent for the group.  Why wasn't it easier?  Charlie seemed as lost as I was but also STARVING, crying and frantically rooting around for my breast but once faced with it as clueless as his mama as to how to really get the milk flowing.  The first two weeks were a constant struggle and I just wanted to enjoy having this cute little baby and be able to look at something besides his ear as we switched from a Boppy to a MY BREAST FRIEND and struggled to perfect reverse cradle and football holds.  Could the benefit of breastfeeding really outweigh this misery my baby and I were suffering through together?  Several times the mister put down his foot.  "That's it, he said.  We had formula and we were fine.  This isn't worth it." But "what if?" I thought, "what if we could have been better, smarter if we had only been breastfed?  We don't know!"  I cried on the phone to my dad, a rarity these days, and he recalled the similar struggles my own mother had faced with me, as I hungrily wailed and fussed until they were finally able to fill my belly with formula.

Still, I persevered because I had known it would be like this and two weeks in I finally felt we were making progress.  Until we went to charlie's doctor appointment and found out he had gained, um, NO weight.  "He seems hungry," she observed.  So we started supplementing with evil formula, but I stubbornly refused to give up, even while the sharp pains persisted with each feeding, even as Charlie got better with one breast and not the other (not a good look, girls, not a good look, if you know what I mean.)   Even with some formula, I figured, the antibodies, he still needed these superhuman antibodies that only my body could produce.  The next week Charlie came down with a horrible cold and cough.  Babies that young aren't supposed to get colds and he was BREASTFED FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  How could he be sick??

Yes, at some point it got easier, and I did feel like we made it over some sort of hump.  The pain went away and sure, it is a nice nurturing thing we can do together (if you like just being a pair of breasts to someone, which isn't for everyone, granted.)  I did start feeling kind of special. I had the goods, the one thing that could make Charlie happy.  Except when he wasn't eating, he seemed kind of discontent, borderline angry, and dare I say it, hungry, and I was still plagued by the new mom questions.  Is he getting enough to eat?  Is there something in my milk that is making his stomach hurt?  Does he really need to eat this often or should we try to space out feedings?

And now, since Charlie started daycare, feedings have been a struggle all over again.  At first, not being able to feed him gave me such a physical reaction, it felt like a part of me was missing.  I (literally) felt so detached and I wondered if Charlie felt the same (it definitely seemed like no, honestly).  It can't be right to feel that way. Is that all I am as a mother?  If I'm not feeding my baby from my breast, am I worth nothing?  I know logically this is not true, but I question the influences of the past year that have taken me to this emotional place.  And now we start to face the true challenges of keeping this up as the months progress.  They've been feeding Charlie way more per feeding at daycare than we would at home and there is now way I can match that supply in pumping (though I desperately try twice a day locked away in a conference room praying nobody interrupts.)  Has he been starving these past three months?  Who even knows?  Just this past weekend, Charlie has actually begun shunning the breast in favor of his precious bottles.

I know breastfeeding should be natural and it makes so much sense.  But I question if we've evolved to somewhere else because it did not come naturally to me or my baby or many, many other mothers i know.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY for the first year.  Do you know how hard that is?   Especially in a society that was mostly raised on formula, and frankly, isn't all that supportive to begin with.  And do you know how much it SUCKS  as a new mom to not be able to follow this basic guideline that has been implemented solely for the health of your child because your own body is so resistant to it?  I know everyone's experience hasn't been this way but I know a lot of other mothers for whom it has.  To me, it seems like some babies really take to breastfeeding and others just don't, biology be damned. My books tell me that I should keep going at all costs, for at least a year, that I should not schedule any trips and come home at lunch if I have to (are you KIDDING me?) and frankly, that hurts.  I am not in a position to be a stay at home mom and while I know some people are able to make it work, sometimes it's just not possible and I wish I didn't have to feel horrible about that.

So as a belated mother's day gift to myself, I'm going to stop feeling horrible about it, or at least try.  Everyone knows stress decreases your milk production anyway, so really what is the point?  I'm not ready to give up yet, but I'm starting to realized that if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, and I'll just have to start skipping over those breastfeeding chapters in my books and start figuring it out on my own.


PS Just had a thought.  Maybe if I had been breastfed, I in turn, would be better at breastfeeding and/or better equipped to deal with the emotional challenges of breastfeeding.  Something to ponder, cuties. ;)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

fro yo stop 5 minutes after brunch.  Why not?

this kid sure does love his daddy

hanging with aunt lyss
Charlie's favorite wide-eyed esxpression
these kids were all up in the mister's face at dinner.  luckily we were all cool with it because, ya know, we have kids too.
Sleepyheads!  When baby falls asleep on mommy's legs, what else can mommy do but watch TV?

Hi Cuties,
We had a lovely weekend hanging around the hood, doing our usual thing, brunch, the park, etc, but I am TIRED. Charlie has given up sleeping the past few nights and now we are back to the beginning with sleep training. Combine this new development with my return to work and I am really starting to feel exhausted.  This has led me to one obvious conclusion... it's time to start drinking coffee. I am not a coffee drinker for whatever reason. My parents weren't that into coffee (Folgers, seriously) and I just never really took to it.  At some point, it seemed like it might be a thing to start doing, but I hate to embark on a new addiction as an adult, plus I was always running late in the mornings so there really wasn't time to nurture a coffee addiction in the way it truly deserved.  If I did have a bit of coffee, I was wired (like pale and shaking kind of wired.)  But, guys, I need something.  On Saturday morning, I was really dragging and I asked the mister to bring me an iced coffee.  After just a few sips, I felt GREAT, like I could take on the world.  And now I'm thinking, maybe coffee is the secret to my success as supermom?  Let's hope.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Back to Work

flowers for my first day back.  how sweet!
nice to come home to these sleepy dudes at the end of the day.  please ignore all the junk on the kitchen table.  something has to give.  that's what my books tell me.

Hi Cuties,
Today was my first day back at work, and it felt great to be back.  Of course, I missed Charlie horribly but there's something to be said for spending the day with other adults.  What I really wish is that I could be in two places at once.  I do think it was a good decision to ease Charlie into daycare.   His first few days were so hard for me (he seemed fine) and it was especially hard dropping him off on that first morning, so I'm thankful that I didn't have to deal with all those emotions today.  
I felt pretty energetic most of the day, but I am EXHAUSTED right now.  Even though Charlie woke up for the day around 5, it was still a major struggle to get out the door by 8, and the mister barely managed to get dressed and make it out by 9.  I can see how this is going to play out.  Every morning, I'll rush around trying to get stuff done: pick out an outfit, wash bottles, get Charlie's stuff ready for daycare, proclaiming "These are better off as 'night before' activities."  And then at night, I'll feel too tired and assure myself that I'll have time in the morning. After all, I'm waking up at FIVE AM.  That's what's happening right now, in fact, bottles be damned.  
It was noted that today's exuberance may have been a product of "first day of school-itis" so perhaps my dear readers may want to check in on my state of mind again in a week or two.  Until then, I am instead going to chalk it up to my new "no stress/no mess" attitude and bask in this moment of super mom-dem while I have a glass of wine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Today Charlie is three months old.  I have to say, I love being a mom to this little guy.  Lately, he is all smiles and is so talkative!  When I think back to three months ago, it is hard to believe how far we've come.  I wasn't sure what to expect from motherhood, and while it has it's challenges, it's made me happier than I've ever felt. Today, Charlie woke up around 5 and it was pretty clear that he was just ready to wake up for the day.  He was so smiley when I went to take him out of his crib and he had so much to say as I changed his diaper and got him dressed for the day, that I didn't even mind that 5AM seems to be my new wake up time.  Who would have ever thought?  We love you, mister man!

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Mother's Day

breakfast in bed, courtesy of Charlie and the mister

what a sweet card, Charlie is so sweet, right?

exhausted from cooking breakfast

check out my new necklace

hanging on the blanket


Hi Cuties,
Have I told you how much I love Mother's Day?  Since my mom passed away, Mother's Day, eh, hasn't been my favorite holiday.  But now that I'm a mom, it has taken on a whole new meaning and I LOVE it.  The mister and Charlie and I spent a nice day together with breakfast in bed, a new necklace and a picnic in the park.  I feel so lucky to be a mom to this little guy!
PS. Even though Sunday was my day, Charlie is all about daddy lately.  Man, does this kid ever love his daddy. When he hears Erik's voice his eyes get so wide and he looks all around for him and then once his eyes alight on Erik's face, it's just BIG SMILES and lots of baby cooing.  Don't worry, I'm not jealous.  At all, not at all. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

(Post) Pregnancy Nosebleeds and Daycare

Having kind of a rough week over here.  Charlie started daycare this week which has been a tough (for me) but necessary transition because I had to have surgery on my nose on Tuesday.  You may recall that I had a lot of issues with my nose and nosebleeds during my pregnancy.  I was diagnosed with something called a pyogenic granuloma, which is basically a benign mass that can grow in the nose or mouth during pregnancy and is prone to bleeding a lot.  While it is associated with pregnancy, it is pretty uncommon, so there isn't a ton of anecdotal information out there which is why I am sharing my experience here.  It is somewhat alarming to look up a pregnancy medical condition and find nothing online but medical case studies.  It is a blessing and a curse that usually when you look something up online during pregnancy you'll find message boards of sympathizers, all part of the "pregnancy community."  It is sometimes overwhelming, sometimes comforting and sometimes just annoying (if you are someone who gets easily annoyed by other people, ahem,) but at the end of the day it is nice to feel like you are not the only one dealing with some of the more challenging aspects of pregnancy. Anyway, sometimes these granulomas recess after pregnancy hormones go away but mine hasn't so I had to have it surgically removed.  I had to wait until we were very established with breastfeeding since I would be put under with anesthesia, which would prevent me from feeding Charlie for a few days.  This of course put me right up against my return from maternity leave and suffice to say this is not how I wanted to spend my last week.  

You know when Alexis from RHOC went in for her nose surgery in her Juicy sweatsuit and she was a huge drama queen about it, like crying onto Jim's shoulder and worrying that she wouldn't come out of the anesthesia, and all you viewers at home thought "god, she is such an asshole?"  That was kind of me.  I just got so nervous for this surgery, it's been hanging over my head for months.  And it honestly was kind of scary.  For some reason I thought they would administer the anesthesia before going into the operating room but no, they just walk you into the operating room, strap you onto the table and then knock you out, with all the doctors and nurse standing over you!  Picture me weeping to the nurse "tell my baby I love himmmm" and you'll begin to get the gist of how I was feeling.  I didn't cry though, only on the inside, you'll be pleased to know.  Such a brave girl!

Everything went fine but the recovery hasn't gone as smoothly as I'd hoped and I've been more or less out of commission since the surgery.  So much for my "lose the rest of the baby weight" boot camp I had planned for this week.  And so much for spending quality time with the baby.  I'm pretty much just sitting quietly over here with my nose packed hoping that there is no more bleeding.  The worst part by far is not being able to feed Charlie.  Now I know that I have bitched and moaned my fair share about the trials and tribulations of nursing (and I'm not done either) but it sucks not being able to feed him especially when he is at daycare all day.  I can't even really pick him up or smile at him even for fear of nosebleeds and I feel so helpless and useless.  At first, he seemed so confused and upset and it was KILLING me but now I'm worried that he is already over it and won't even want to nurse anymore when I am finally allowed to feed him today.  

Hoping to get back to normal soon so we can start to get used to our new routine.  And so I can enjoy Mother's Day which I am not even going to pretend that I'm not really, really, ridiculously excited about (a new holiday all about me, yippee)!

The Best Five Years

The mister let me know that it was exactly five years ago today that we met.  How cute is it that he put a little reminder in his phone?  There won't be too much crazy celebrating with a baby and my post-op nose but but we're planning to toast to us tonight after we get the kid to sleep!  The last five years have been the best of my life.  It's crazy to remember the first night we met.  I though Erik was so cute, but such a grownup, lol! We really have accomplished quite a bit in terms of  New York relationships in the last five years.  I mean, we have a family now, it's crazy!  Here's to us!  

Monday, May 7, 2012


my arms were pretty tired from holding him the whole graduation, um, can you tell?

The cuties took a little trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to help my youngest stepsister celebrate her graduation from Point Park University.  Micky is the last of the five of us to graduate from college so my dad was one happy camper.  He is retiring like, um, tomorrow.  James and Jamie still have some grad school graduations coming up, so we're not out of the woods yet though!  I think I did a pretty good job maintaining my "flexible, take it as it comes" attitude this weekend and we had a great time.  The whole family only gets together a few times a year so we try to really make the most of weekends like this.  The mister and I, unfortunately, did not make it to the kegger.   It was one of those moments where it's just like, eh, we're old, and so tired, and we have a baby, but it was a little bit sad for both of us.  Charlie was a trooper.  He had his moments, and found the graduation to be particularly interminable, but nothing we couldn't handle and the poor baby did a great job considering he had to spend more than seven hours in the car yesterday.  (Yesterday was the Pittsburgh marathon and because of the road closures we couldn't figure out how to get out of the city.  It took almost two hours!  This may sound like a light hearted challenge but it wasn't!  It sucked! And it was not taken in stride!)
Now that we are home, Charlie is having some adjustment issues, especially after sleeping the day away yesterday.  We are easing him into daycare this weeks and I'm hating it.  It sounds like he did okay today but we had a rough afternoon and evening around here.  Hoping he gets some good sleep tonight to get back on track. 
The weekend, in pictures... 
Charlie got to spend some time in his special monkey seat that stays at grandpop's 
way too much sleeping in the car

polka dots!

lots of time with aunt lyss this weekend.

careful packing, easy access!

hanging out in the park by aunt micky's house

relaxing on aunt micky's bed

the Jamies.  notice the sunglass/belt coordination

the graduate with little mr. charlie

more carseat!

we walked around station square while the rest of the family took a duck tour

sleeping in the stroller, which, you guessed it, is also the car seat! aargh!

miss lyss, back from the duck tour

daddy and charlie sleep through any saturday night parties

packed and ready to go!

and...back in the car!

charlie slept through, oh, about the first ten minutes of graduation before we had to make a hasty retreat

big bed, little baby
everyone looks cute in this pic but me, but that's the five of us!
me and the babe

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Breastfeeding in the Park

Charlie, rooting around for the good stuff

Hi Cuties,
How do you all feel about breastfeeding in public?  I have to admit, before having a baby, I didn't really have much of an opinion one way or another.  But after the, er, struggle the babe and I faced together the past three months, the thought of any outrage against public breastfeeding makes me very ANGRY.  Until you have an inconsolable, screaming infant, thrashing around in your arms, mouth open, frantically rooting in all directions for food, you can't really understand the urgency of the need to feed.  Until you can only leave your home base for two hours at a time lest your child completely melts down from hunger or your breasts start leaking copiously through your clothing, your opinion isn't worth much as far as I'm concerned.  Now, while I may support public breastfeeding, I do everything in my power to avoid it at all costs.  Maybe I don't have the coordination for it, but I haven't exactly mastered the art of the discreet feeding.  In fact, within the confines of our own apartment, it was pretty much a 24 hour peep show for the first two months.  And, no, there was nothing sexy about it, I promise.
Yesterday we took our peep show to the park.  It was a really nice day so Charlie and I went for a long walk (far away from home base if you catch my drift).  He had been sleeping most of the day and when we entered the park I noticed a woman sitting on a bench with her daughter out of the stroller playing on her lap, the two of them enjoying the warm weather together.  The baby was about Charlie's age.  "How nice, " I thought.  "I'll take my baby out of his stroller TOO so he can wake up a bit and we can can enjoy the park together just like those two."  "Why not?  Why shouldn't we just enjoy the day too?" I thought.  HA.  Apparently, I forgot the fact that Charlie has been, as we affectionately call him, a crankypants, the entire week.  Charlie was not so happy to be out in the fresh air.  In fact, he really really wanted to be back in his favorite position, doing his favorite thing, eating.  As soon as I picked him up he launched into a full throttle freakout and there was really only one cure.  So we sat on a bench in a deserted corner of the park and I fed him as discreetly as I was able.  Easy, no problem,  no big deal, right?  Oh, except for the random full fledged handkerchief-on-a-stick HOBO that happened to wander by.  I can only assume that my breastfeeding moment was a feast for his eyes based on the huge hungry smile he leered in our direction before proceeding to circle back around our area three times.   I mean, a hobo? Really?  As Charlie and I left the park after his impromptu feeding, I noticed the woman and her baby were still sitting on the bench playing happily.  How awesome for them!
You'll be pleased to know that I'll be packing all "easy access" clothing for Pittsburgh this weekend because there's nothing better than being in a situation where you're forced to whip out a breast in front of your dad and brother (but I'll do it if I have to, who even cares anymore.)  If you had told me that "easy access" would have been the number one requirement for a graduation dress, I never would have believed it, but it looks like we've come full circle (ha, I'm just kidding, calm down.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Travel with Baby

Charlie and his cousin, Nate

This weekend we went to Long Island to visit with Erik's family.  It was a good trip and Charlie was so well behaved and happy to spend time with his family.  Since Charlie's new bedtime had only been implemented a week earlier we were pretty serious about maintaining his routine at Erik's parent's house even though he would be sharing our upstairs room with us.  "Oh whatever will we do?", we wondered.  We had forgotten the monitor and Charlie is pretty, shall we say, "sensitive" to sound.  The mister fiddled with the TV as we approached Charlie's 9 PM bedtime, but couldn't get it working.  Oh well, we figured, we'll just play word scramble against each other on our phones, nothing different than a typical wild night at home.  We put Charlie in his pack and play and laid back on the bed for a few minutes and I promptly fell asleep.  Like within three seconds.  The mister turned off the light, and that was it.  Asleep at 9:30 on a Saturday night.  I can't say I feel bad about it (and honestly I can't really say that our Saturday nights were that much craaazier a year ago.)  Besides Charlie and I have our own party every night around 3 AM so that's pretty darn cool.

We seem to be getting back in our routine of traveling around on the weekends, planning vacations and long weekends away.  Like many new parents, our goal has been to maintain some semblance of our former lifestyle, keep going places and keep traveling.  We want to be the kind of parents that aren't afraid to pack up baby and bring him along!  But the truth is, I do get kind of scared.  I think the key to being those kinds of parents is to be flexible and  just kind of roll with it, just chill the f out, you know.  That isn't necessarily my personality right now, but I'm really trying to get there.  Next weekend we are headed to Pittsburgh for my sister Micky's graduation and yes, there is pretty elaborate agenda.  Am I worried that Charlie might cry the whole way to Pittsburgh?  Am I worried he might not make it through the graduation? Am I worried that I might expose my breast to a lot of people to whom I don't want to expose my breast?  Am I worried that Erik and I will miss out on Saturday night's keg party?  Yeah, I worry about some of these things, but I really don't want to be the parents that stay home out of fear.  All of the above might happen and it could still be lots of fun but only if we roll with it.  Only if the sound of Charlie's tears don't bring on my own tears and the onset of full-on panic.  When it comes to traveling with a baby, the mister is much better at rolling with it than I am and I've noticed that his positive attitude tends to lead to positive outcomes, so I'm really trying to learn from him and other chill people I know.  But don't think I won't be stocking up on a hearty list of travel tips before Charlie's first plane ride this summer.  You can never be too prepared!