Tag Archives: baby

Day 29: Celebrate a Birthday

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” –Sir Winston Churchill


It’s finally here! Today, the 5th of November, is my Birthday. It’s the one day of the year where I can strut my inner diva and demand that I be given breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed. It’s the one day where I can pass off every poop-filled diaper change and angry baby tantrum to my husband. It’s the one day where I can rewrite history and pretend the expression “remember remember the fifth of November,” is actually a tribute to my importance and, you know, not a reference to a plot to kill King James I.

Wait, this just in…my husband is informing that I can’t do any of that. Apparently we are adults, he has to go to work, and Oliver’s diaper rash will get out of hand if I wait for him to come home and change a diaper. Also, I cannot rewrite history, but rewriting Wikipedia is fair game.

Let’s face it, adult Birthdays just aren’t quite as fun as kid Birthdays. Once you’ve celebrated enough they lose a lot of their luster and become just another day. Or just another day where you also happen to gorge on cake. I wanted to find a way to make this Birthday stand out.

After a couple days of scheming, I couldn’t really come up with anything that could fit within the constraints of real life. Running out of time, I started to think about my 29 Random Acts of Kindness Project and what final act I would do on my Birthday. That’s when the idea came to me.

If I couldn’t come up with a way to make my Birthday memorable, why not try to make someone else’s Birthday memorable. But who? I didn’t know anyone else who shared my Birthday, and a quick internet search only turned up some “notable” celebrities: Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, Kris Jenner of Kardashian fame, and Vivien Leigh aka Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. Not exactly who I had in mind.

Then I got another idea. In a hospital not far from my home there must be a tiny baby that is celebrating his or her actual birth day. Why not do something special and unexpected for that baby and her mom?

Since cake is mandatory at all Birthday celebrations, I ran out to a local cupcake shop called Cake in a Cup and bought some cupcakes for the parents. Then I went to the store and bought a really cute 3-month-old girl outfit and a card. I wrapped it all up and headed off to the hospital. After verifying that there was a baby girl born that day (there were three!), I asked the nurse if she could pick one and give the mom my gift. She asked me if I wanted to come back to the room with her, but since I didn’t want to intrude on a new mommy who was likely very tired and frazzled, I declined.

Walking out of the hospital I started to realize something. I had spent a good deal of time trying to think of things to do for myself to make this Birthday special, when all I had to do was think of something to do for someone else. Buying and delivering that gift made this Birthday special in a way that receiving hundred of gifts never could.

Today was memorable not because it was all about me, but because it wasn’t. Sometimes it takes stepping outside yourself to see that.

So happy Birthday baby girl. You are entering a complicated world that at its worst can be cruel and callous and hard. But today, on your Birthday, I hope you only learn of its kindness.

Note: Thank you to all my friends and family members who did go out of their way to make my Birthday special. I may be too old to celebrate with the animatronic mouse at Chuck E’ Cheeses, but you guys are a close second.



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Day 24: Leave Pregnancy Books for Someone to Find

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” –Mother Teresa


In previous posts I talked about how thankful I am for both my doctor and the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth. Well now I have a third source to credit for keeping my sanity intact both during and after my pregnancy: informational books.

When we found out we were expecting, one of the first things my husband did was go out and buy me the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. I think he was feeling overwhelmed and slightly frazzled by the news so finding a reliable source of information was important to him. When asked why he selected that specific book, he shrugged and told me, “I wanted a book that is scientific. I’m not falling for that pseudo-science nonsense.” According to my husband, the standard What to Expect When You’re Expecting is full of witch doctors midwives, voodoo water births, and magic spells hypnobirthing. We can’t all be enlightened…

Later I was gifted with a couple more books from my sister-in-law and aunt that really helped me navigate through the first year of parenthood. Having read each book cover-to-cover multiple times, I feel so confident in my abilities and knowledge that I thought it was time to pass on my books to someone just embarking on this journey. I took my four books and left them laying on tables at an OBGYN office. I attached a note to each one that read:

“I enjoyed reading this book. Now you can too! Take it home with you if you’d like. Pass it on when you’re done.”

For a little comedic relief I included a quote by Nora Ephron that says “if pregnancy were a book, they’d leave out the last two chapters.” I find that hilarious now, but I’m not sure I would have been laughing at 9-months pregnant. I’ll just have to hope whoever finds and takes the books is still coasting through that second trimester high.



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Day 20: Pay For Others’ Movie Rentals

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” –John Bunyan


Before Oliver was born, Brad and I watched a couple movies each week. We’d curl up on the couch, pop some popcorn, and let the stresses of the day fall away. It was one our favorite, not to mention cheapest, ways to unwind. Since Oliver has made us a family of three movie nights have taken a turn. Now we curl up on the couch, pop some popcorn, and fall asleep mid-movie with the forgotten bag of popcorn still sitting in the microwave.

The joys of parenthood.

What’s great about our local video store, Family Video, is that almost all rentals are only $1. This helps alleviate a lot of the guilt when you return a movie before finding out how it ends. Like if the underdog sports team comes from behind to win it all. Or if the unlucky-in-love female lead ends up with quirky but lovable best friend. I’m still on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan ever find love in You’ve Got Mail.

No spoilers!

In loving memory of our dearly departed movie nights, I went to Family Video and taped five $1 bills on five different movies: George of the Jungle, Titanic, Aliens, The Sound of Music, and X-Files Fight the Future. Clear winning picks if it were up to me. I hope whoever finds the dollars enjoys their free movie. But more than that I hope they have the stamina (or the necessary coffee) to see it to the end.

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Day 17: Surprise a Friend with Diapers and Cookies

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank


It’s a known fact that there is nothing pleasant about diapers. They’re a pain to change, they almost always smell, one “value” box can set you back $40, and the second you put a clean one on your baby, he or she is guaranteed to poop. It’s some kind of Pavlovian baby response. I’m convinced if it weren’t for the cute, smiling baby they put on the outside of the box, no one would buy them.

For my friend J who recently had a baby, changing diapers has become a way of life. Barring moving in with her and becoming her personal nanny, I knew there wasn’t much I could do to help on the diapering front. But I could help alleviate some of the expense.

Now giving your friend diapers is not the most exciting gift in the world. I think it falls somewhere below weight-loss DVDs but slightly above feminine hygiene products in the race for the worst gift. But when it comes to a practical thing to give a new mom, they are the clear winner. Second place of course goes to food, which is why I made sure to include some freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies with the diapers.

I used this amazing recipe here. Okay don’t really click on that link; it’s just a picture of Nestle break-in-bake cookies. That was all my baking skills were up to today. But I don’t think J minded. She seemed genuinely excited about the cookies. She liked the diapers too, you know, as much as you can like something that only slightly beats out tampons as a good gift. The best part of this random act of kindness though, is that it was preceded by adult conversation and a relaxing walk in the park with our little guys.


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Day 16: Deliver treats to the Maternity Nurses

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” –Leo Buscagalia


When you have a baby, most people are surprised by the fact that their primary doctor is not present throughout the whole labor. In fact, your primary doctor is often not present throughout much of the delivery. He or she shows up at the very end, catches the baby, hands it off to a nurse, and then deals with any serious complications that might arise.

Throughout my 23 hours of labor, my doctor was in the room with me for all of 30 minutes. The rest of the time, it was up to my husband and the nurses to keep me calm, keep my morale up, and fetch ice chips when I started to complain about how dry my mouth felt.

The nurses I worked with did a great job of treating me with respect and dignity. They did a great job of listening to my concerns and providing me with honest answers in a nonpatronizing tone. When I was tired and wanted to give up, they encouraged me to just hold on a little bit longer. When I desperately needed some sleep, they made feel less guilty about handing my newborn off for a few hours so I could get some rest.

These nurses are the unsung heroes of the hospital. They work long shifts, do the least desirable of tasks, and unlike the doctors who show up at only the most critical of moments, they are with their patients day-in and day-out. They deserve some praise.

When Oliver was born I never got a chance to properly thank all the nurses that assisted me. Since I’m a “better late than never” kind of person, I decided to use my random acts of kindness project as the perfect excuse to show them my appreciation. I heard through the grapevine that individually wrapped edible gifts are always a hit so in the spirit of the Halloween season I purchased a large bag of candy. I dumped it into a pail adorned with my RAOK sticker and then included a message of thanks. I figure sine they helped deliver my baby, the least I can do is deliver them a gift of gratitude.

I’d be interested to know if any nurses out there have seen this done and how it was received. Was candy a good choice? Comment below!


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