G&B: How did you feel when you first brought Gemma home?
KD: All of my friends told me that I would be great with a baby, but I was so nervous. Only going through the first days with an infant will tell you that you can, in fact, do it.
G&B: Describe your “mom style” for us.
KD: I would say I'm a mix of Hippie Mom (I still make all of her food myself) and Controlling Mom (I get very worried that she will be cold and overdress her, for example). I lead a pretty natural lifestyle and try to be really careful about what Gemma eats, drinks, and takes in.
G&B: Where do you turn first when you want to scream for help?
KD: My friends. My own mom. And I read Parenting! Sometimes late at night, if I'm worried about something to do with Gemma, I Google my question. It has been helpful, but mostly because you realize that there is not one right answer to anything.
G&B: What do you wish you had done differently with Gemma so far?
KD: I really tried to always prevent Gemma from crying in the beginning. I believed it was possible to take such excellent care of her, to fulfill every need so completely before she grew upset, that I could actually prevent her from crying. Now I understand that A) that idea is not possible and B) babies are just expressing themselves when they cry. It would have been healthier for both of us if I had understood that viscerally in the beginning.
G&B: Are you a softie or a disciplinarian?
KD: I am a softie! But I am working on the disciplinarian side, too. Since I am a single mom, I really need to be both. And as Gemma is getting older, there are so many things that she wants to do that just aren't safe, so I am gaining skills quickly in the “strict mom” area.
G&B: How has motherhood affected your career decisions?
KD: I feel incredibly choosy about the jobs I take now that I am a mom. I really need the job to allow me to see Gemma every day for a significant part of the day, or I feel profoundly unhappy.
G&B: The first time a baby gets sick is stressful—have you had to deal with that yet?
KD: Gemma and I have both gotten colds this winter. I was so happy to know about Zarbee's products for both of us. I was already a fan of the cough syrup for adults and I used it and the hot drink for myself so I wouldn't be groggy while taking care of her. It was so great to be able to give Gemma something for her symptoms that I knew was safe, natural, and effective. The children's cough syrup (recommended for ages 12 months and older) helped soothe her symptoms a lot and I didn't have to worry about any dangerous side effects because it's drug-, dye-, and gluten-free. ($9;zarbees.com)
G&B: Are you going to let Gemma watch Sex and the City when she gets older?
KD: I hadn't thought of what to do about Gemma watching the show until you asked me! Even if I tried, I don't think I could shield her for long. There are so many reminders, and people talk to me about it every day. So I guess I would show her the edited version that they show in reruns, but not until she is much older!
G&B: We're brand-new parents—what advice would you give us?
KD: Try to appreciate both of your opinions if you disagree about anything relating to Duke. When I decided to adopt as a single mom, all of my friends said “Well, at least you won't have anyone disagreeing with you about what to do.” And while I can see they were trying to be positive, there are times when I wish I had a sounding board, even if that sounding board disagreed! There are so many decisions to be made, sometimes disagreements just make you think a little deeper about something. Though I'm sure you two never disagree!