July 20, 2012 02:00 PM

Cuddle time – Mimosa Arts Photography

Celebrity blogger Jenna von Oy is a new mama!

Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.

von Oy, 35, wed Brad Bratcher on Oct. 10, 2010, and resides in Nashville with her husband and five dogs.

They welcomed their first child, daughter Gray Audrey, on May 21. She is now eight weeks old.

In her latest blog, von Oy shares pictures from their family photo shoot, plus observations from her first two months of motherhood.

You can find her on Twitter @JennavonOy.

It’s becoming clearer by the minute that the person who wears the pants in our family is also the one who wears diapers underneath them … and we are totally fine with that!

My professional life has always been measured by filming schedules, auditions, press events, and writing and recording music. Once I was married, my life was gauged by the quiet moments at home with my husband and puppies.

Now, I can’t imagine a life that isn’t quantified by the sweet smell of baby skin (there’s nothing like it!), little grunting noises during the wee hours, oodles of cuddle time, and tiny hands and feet. I don’t know how I survived for so long without those wonders, and I never want to go back!

It’s impossible to believe that little Miss Gray is two months old already, and it’s even more unfathomable that, not too long ago, she wasn’t yet in our lives. There’s so much love in our hearts right now, we can’t see straight. It’s downright dizzying!

Equally amazing is the discovery that Brad and I love each other even more, thanks to this pint-sized human. Despite the sleep depravity and chaos, we are finding new ways to appreciate one another on a daily basis. It’s inspiring on so many levels. I am cherishing every moment of being a mom — which is, by far, my favorite role to date!

It’s a family affair – Mimosa Arts Photography

Here is a selection of some of the observations I’ve made during my introduction to mommyhood

1. Staring at your own child is addicting. Even the high drama of Downton Abbey takes a back seat to watching my daughter do nothing but sleep.

2. Sometimes it takes twice as long to change a diaper as it does for it to be soiled again … There’s an average Pampers lifespan of five minutes in our house. It’s crazy! Crazier still? For some reason, I find this utterly endearing.

3. Whoever invented the wetness indicator on the aforementioned diapers is a genius. It eliminates the mystery, and saves us from a somewhat gruesome show and tell.

4. Breastfeeding takes some getting used to, especially when your child eats like a barracuda. Despite this fact, some of my favorite moments are in the midst of the bonding time that occurs while my daughter dines at the “breastaurant.”

5. People will rain on your parade and insist on informing you that every time your newborn smiles, it’s because she has gas. (Whether or not this is technically true, indulge me by letting me think she’s happy to be looking at me. It lights up my day, even if it is also lighting up her britches.)

6. Laundry “day” is a thing of the past. This chore currently takes place with more frequency than a politician telling lies.

Magic mommy kisses – Mimosa Arts Photography

7. Regardless of how much space you have for photos and video on your computer hard drive, I can assure you it isn’t enough. Though I am aware I can’t document every single moment of my child’s life, it doesn’t seem to keep me from trying. College is going to be a blast.

8. Taking showers is a luxury. So is eating meals. And getting out of my pajamas, for that matter. Sleeping for more than a few consecutive hours feels downright scandalous.

9. Cutting my child’s fingernails for the first time was virtually equivalent to walking a high wire with no net … while on stilts with wheels. The world needs roving baby manicurists to take the pressure off of those of us who are exceedingly wimpy.

10. There just aren’t enough variations of the words “I love you” and “You’re beautiful” in the dictionary. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, and I’m thinking of inventing my own dialect so I can supplement my vocabulary. As it stands, my daughter is likely to know those phrases in every language but Klingon.

11. Everything can be turned into a nursery rhyme. My life has become a musical number about spit-up and messy diapers. Don’t hold your breath for any kind of Broadway debut.

12. Sometimes a kiss from Mommy is the magic cure for the baby blues.

13. Sometimes it isn’t. When my child cries, it pains me enough to join her. There hasn’t been this much boo-hooing in my house since the finale of The Bachelor.

*** Bonus Observation: Global harmony might be attainable if the leaders of the free world had adult-sized WubbaNub pacifiers. Seriously. Dear WubbaNub, you get my vote for a Nobel Peace Prize.

If you are looking for a celebrity spokesperson (who clearly isn’t afraid to shamelessly plug your product), you’ve found your girl. The giraffe and monkey pacifiers have single-handedly gotten us through shopping excursions, dinners, chaotic nights of colic and … photo shoots.

I’ve never been so in love with an inanimate object in my life. And just think — that’s what I’m saying without getting paid!

WubbaNub saves the day – Mimosa Arts Photography

In retrospect, there are a few things I determined in my pre-Gray days that I feel are worth a mention as well, so we’ve now arrived at the advice segment of this month’s blog installment. Namely, take off your wedding bands a few months before you give birth!!

I cannot emphasize this enough. I grasped this lesson the hard way because, not unexpectedly, I was being downright stubborn about it. In some sort of romantic gesture, I wanted to be wearing my rings when Gray was brought into the world … a symbol of what our marriage had created and all that good stuff.

Sweet? Sure. A smart move? That’d be a big ol’ NO. And that’s putting it mildly.

Three days before my c-section, it dawned on me that I would likely be put on IV fluids during my surgery. I anticipated this would make me look a little less like the petite woman I am, and a little more like the Pillsbury Doughboy after an all-you-can-eat buffet. Little did I know, I was already well on my way.

For the record, getting my wedding rings off was as grand of a feat as scaling Mt. Everest on a tricycle. And rather surprisingly, no one really attempted to warn me in advance.

What people said: “I’m surprised your rings still fit,” which I took as a compliment regarding my lack of sausage-fingers. What people should have said: “You have no clue how much your fingers are swelling, and if you wait any longer to remove those suckers, you’re going to have to cut off either the rings or your finger.”

No joke — Brad and I tried everything from ice, to dish soap, to oil, to Windex. (In other words, we methodically worked our way through the cleaning supply cabinet … ) Ultimately, we had to truss up my finger like an Egyptian mummy, binding it with dental floss until it turned purple. It took over an hour per ring.

I’m still not sure how we managed to get the bands off, but I couldn’t move my finger for days afterward, and I still have a bruise. It was an excruciating experience. My poor husband is probably still traumatized by my instructions to “Ignore my screaming and cursing,” and “Don’t stop pulling, even if you dislocate my finger.”

So really, friends, please heed my warning. If I can save even one of you from the agony, I’ve made my peace.

Finally got my weddings rings back on! – Mimosa Arts Photography

I certainly haven’t been alone in the continuing infant education saga. My husband has had his share of trials and tribulations as well. For example, he now knows that you shouldn’t remove a diaper too far in advance of giving your child a bath. No diaper + holding a baby = wet T-shirt contest. And NOT the kind that wins you prizes, the kind that wins you surprises.

For as many things as Gray learns daily, she teaches us twice as much. Which is the way I think it should be. And there are, of course, a plethora of other lessons we have left to learn.

For instance, how in God’s name does one gracefully grocery shop with a newborn? Wandering the aisles of my local market used to be a favorite pastime, but it has taken a turn for the worse.

Gray and I recently had quite the first outing, where I quickly discovered that the only thing that fits snugly in the main portion of the shopping cart is … wait for it … Gray. So where does one put the groceries? It clearly isn’t safe to precariously balance a car seat on the front portion of the cart, lest it keel over, and every mother knows better than to awaken a sleeping baby.

Seemingly, the only place to put said infant car seat is in the main section of the cart, leaving room for nary a string bean. I suppose I could lock the car seat into her stroller frame, but then I’m stuck pushing the cart around with one hand, and the stroller with another.

This is a juggling act that would surely be bungled by even the likes of Penn & Teller. Color me uncoordinated.

Not sure who’s fussier… – Mimosa Arts Photography

We are also discovering the joys of parenting five dogs and a baby under one roof. It’s a reality show waiting to happen, not that we don’t have enough to deal with as it is!

I can’t seem to walk through any room in our house without tripping over somebody’s toy, and I’m not convinced the four-legged folks are quite so clear on who owns what. For example, I had to retrieve a pacifier from behind enemy lines the other day. Who knew basset hounds were so skilled at plotting a blitzkrieg?

And life with kids and canines has certainly taken its toll on my wardrobe. Whatever doesn’t have dog hair plastered all over it surely has drool and spit-up gracing the shoulders. Not to worry, I wear them all with pride. As one of my Twitter followers so aptly stated: “They are badges of honor.” Indeed!

As you can see, the mommy learning curve is officially in full effect. Since there are no adequate online courses for Baby 101, we are left to forge our own path. It is a beautiful, magical, hectic, crazy-making, smile-inducing, heartwarming, hands-on adventure … and I look forward to a lifetime of it!

Until next time,

— Jenna von Oy

Gazing at Gray – Mimosa Arts Photography

P.S. This is worth far more than a mere post-script to my blog, but I wanted to sign-off with this thought … I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to all (300!) of you who wrote comments on my blog last month.

Divulging Gray’s birth story was an intimate and vulnerable exposure for me, and I never imagined so many of you would connect so deeply with it. To have received such an overwhelmingly positive response was unexpected, uplifting and inspiring.

I was truly touched by the heartfelt stories of your personal birth experiences, and I appreciate your wonderfully kind words regarding Gray’s photos and name. What an incredible sense of camaraderie and encouragement from my fellow moms out there! I can’t tell you how beautiful that is … It made my heart happy.

Thank you so very much for your candor and compassion. Many blessings to you and your families, from me and mine!

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