Sleep

A note before we start:  

Mac began sleeping through the night at 14 weeks thanks to the Moms On Call program. At about 17 weeks, I had a major drop in my milk supply which caused us to have to start waking him up in the middle of the night for a feeding. For about three weeks, his schedule was blown to smitherines as we worked to get my supply back up. All of that TMI about my lactation (you’re welcome) is in service of saying - my now-6-month-old is sleeping through the night AGAIN. We have now used the Moms On Call principles of sleep training twice, and have seen incredible results both times. So, while I originally drafted this post in April, I believe in it even more now. 

On with the show!  

 

Almost every time someone finds out that Jordan and I are new parents, they wrinkle their brows and sympathetically ask, “Are you getting any sleep?” 

He and I exchange glances and say, “You know, we’re very lucky. Mac is a good sleeper and he hasn’t been too hard on us!”  

But the truth is, while he may have good sleep tendencies, we worked really hard to turn those tendencies into good full-blown habits. His predispositions + our effort = the baby was sleeping from 7 PM to 7 AM at 14 weeks.  

How did we do it? It may surprise you to find that we are far from alone achieving those results. (I’d also like to add a caveat here that Jordan and I simply following the wisdom of folks who’ve come before us. We’re not super parents and we didn’t come up with any of this on our own.) 

As I’ve talked to new mamas about sleep training, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we chose to go about it. 

What is sleep training?  

Almost all our peers have used a sleep training system, whether it’s Babywise, Moms On Call (MOC), or another book. They’re all basically the same idea - with each developmental stage your baby goes through, he or she needs a certain amount of sleep and a certain amount of calories. These books help you ensure your baby is healthy and thriving, working with what your baby is naturally already doing, in order to give you and your baby structure. It also helps you avoid that moment when you come home from the hospital and think, “NOW what?!” These systems give you an anchor and serve as a guidebook so that you are confident in knowing how to care for that sweet little squishy newborn.

“Sleep training” is actually kind of a misnomer, as it’s not just sleep that you’re helping your child with, but the routine of daily life - eating, burping, diaper changes, play time, and sleeping. 

For example - newborns need much more sleep than older babies, naturally sleeping in three-hour stretches and waking up for about 30 minutes at a time to eat, burp, get changed, and go right back down. Sleep training takes that information and sets you up with a schedule that is the same every day. Our newborn schedule looked like this:  

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 Now that he’s older, it looks like this: 

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When I was thinking about writing this post (because I wish that I had had one to read myself as a new mom), I asked Instagram if it had any questions about how we used MOC. Below you’ll find the questions and the answers!  

 

Are you exclusively breastfeeding or using/supplementing with formula? Does that make a difference with how well Mac is sleeping? 

I was exclusively breast feeding until Mac was 5 months, then started supplementing with formula (using Dr. Brown’s Slow Flow bottles), and started solids at 6 months. In my experience, how well he’s fed has a huge affect on how well he sleeps. Hungry babies are not going to sleep well, which is why following the feedings part of “sleep training” (remember that misnomer?) is just as essential (if not moreso) than following the nap schedule. 

 Did you follow the protocol ridigly or did you make it work for you?  

First of all, we’re certainly not experts OR pediatricians. Everything we did, we ran by Mac’s doctor. But we did see results very quickly, and I think it’s because we trusted the system. Consistency is KEY. I hear lots of parents on social media saying, “This just didn’t work for MY baby. My baby isn’t a good sleeper.” Or, “I don’t want to be so rigid - they’re just babies! Let them be babies!” 

Here’s what I’d say to that: 

Just like adults, babies and children crave consistency. They like and respond to structure - to knowing what’s going to happen next, even if it’s something as simple as, “When we’re done feeding, we’re going to change your diaper. Every time, every day.” By sleep training, you’re not punishing your baby or mistreating them, restricting their freedom or fun - quite the opposite! You’re actually helping your sweet little one to settle down, learn how to function in this big ol’ world, and to know what to expect. How comforting and wonderful is that? But in order to achieve that, you really do have to drill down into your most dedicated self and stick with the program. It can be challenging at times, but it is so, so worth it. If it says to put that baby down for a nap at 10 AM, put the baby down for a nap at 10 AM. Not 10:30, not 9:30, not, “He doesn’t seem sleepy right now,” or, “People have come over to see him so I’m going to keep him up for a little longer.” That’s where the discipline comes in. Babies are relying on YOU to be their advocate - so put that baby to bed! 

(Spoken as someone who has broken all of the rules I just said not to do and learned the lessons the hard way.)  

What do you do when everything blows up in your face and you want to quit/die/drink heavily?  

I’ll be honest and say there were some days that sticking to the schedule was tough. But I knew so many people who saw results using sleep training that it inspired me to stick with it and not give up. That said, one of the most important things I read in early on in MOC was a little section about how “bad nights” and “crazy days” are inevitable. No one, not even the authors of these books, think that parents are capable of sticking to schedule every minute. I mean come on, we’re dealing with tiny people who poop their pants (and sometimes also YOUR pants) with no notice. Ya dig? And on those days, Jordan and I both took a deep breath, rolled with the punches (and sometimes also rolled with a couple of glasses of wine because PARENTING IS HARD), and started fresh the next day. Because there is always a next day. We both committed to each other and ourselves that we wouldn’t throw out the sleep training system at the first sign of trouble - as my mom says, “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.” Don’t let the stone days rock your world, even if the stone days last for a week straight. Hang in. Wake up every day and decide, “We’re going to keep trying this.” Worth it, I promise. 

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What does bedtime look like?  

The actual, physical routine of bedtime is so huge for us and is another product of MOC. Every single night, Mac gets a bath, has some sweet talking and cuddling time with Jordan and me while I put some lotion on his very dry Scotch-Irish skin. Then we dim the lights and he starts a feeding. When he finishes, I turn on his white noise machine, put him in his Sleep Suit (more on that below), turn off the lights, put him in his crib, and leave the room. This happens at about 7:15 PM, and Mac sleeps until 7 AM the next day.

We have followed that exact routine since he was 3 weeks old (except for the nights during month 4 when he would scream at us for like 30 minutes in between bath time and bedtime. Just mentally add “endure screaming” in between “feeding” and “turning on white noise.” Just trying to keep it real, here, folks. This is the part where you have to decide to persevere). Mac now knows what’s coming next and associates all the bedtime-things with sleep.

How did you teach him to self-soothe? How long did you let him “cry it out?”

Our personal philosophy when he was very little was that if he cried more than three times in the night, I went back up to feed him. Some sleep training systems advocate that you should let your child cry longer than 5 minutes to ensure they aren’t hungry - whatever floats your boat is awesome. I felt like I knew his cries well enough to know that if he was crying that often, it’s because he was still hungry.  

These days, now that he’s older, if he cries within 30 minutes or so of being put down, then one of us will go back up and put his paci back in. But if he starts crying outside that window of time, we let him cry it out. It’s tough, but it’s worth it to be building good sleep habits of self-soothing!

The MOC system has you slowly drop those middle of the night feedings, so you aren't going from "feeding on demand" to cutting them off cold turkey. 

Crying it out is tough, but it serves a purpose. Continuing to run back in and replace a pacifier for your crying child every ten minutes doesn’t serve your baby (and it certainly doesn’t serve you). When you decide that you’re ready to train your baby to sleep through the night (MOC recommends doing this sometime around 4 months), try to think of it as giving your baby tools to learn to settle him/herself down. At 4 months, it’s perfectly okay for your baby to go long stretches (up to 8 hours/beyond)* without being fed, so you aren’t depriving them of nutrition. 

*A note here: keep an eye on your lactation if you’re a breastfeeding mom. Everyone’s body is different, and it may be that if you stop feeding your baby for 12 straight hours, from 7 to 7, your body will interpret that as you weaning your baby, and your supply will drop off. When we were training Mac initially, I pumped at 9:30 and at 5 AM to ensure that my body was still producing enough.  Always run these choices by a lactation consultant/pediatrician if you feel nervous or want clarity. 

If “crying it out” it feels cruel (and it can - Jordan cannot bear to listen to Mac cry, where I don’t have as hard a time with it), then remember these things: your baby is safe. Your baby is loved. Your baby has a dry, clean diaper. Your baby is fed. Your baby is bathed. As MOC says, “Are they abandoned? No!” Sometimes, you have to just go sit on the porch, watch the monitor (with the sound off, of course), and give yourself a break. You aren’t torturing your child. You’re helping them. And that “crying it out” time will get shorter and shorter each night if you can stick to your guns and stay OUT OF THEIR ROOM. That’s the key! 

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Do you use a pacifier?  

Sure do! This was one of those things I swore I wouldn’t do because I didn’t want to have to wean him off it. I now look back and think, “Oh, pre-mom version of Mary Catherine. Bless your simple little heart. You were so dumb.”  

We love a paci and started him at about 2 weeks. He likes falling asleep with it, but eventually falls into a deep enough sleep that he spits it out in his sleep and doesn’t care. 

As far as weaning him from it, I haven’t decided when that’s happening. That’s for another blog post. 

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What does his crib environment look like?  

Crib sheet, no bumper, no toys, no mobile. I am now realizing the importance of the “no stimulus” crib environment as I have a very active six-month-old who now performs an acrobatic act when he’s in his crib. If he had toys or a mobile in there? Forget it. He’d be absolutely lit every naptime. 

The point of a no-stimulus crib environment is pretty easy to guess - no stimulus = nothing to distract/prevent your baby from falling asleep. 

When did you start putting Mac on a schedule?  

We started early at 2 weeks old. The first two weeks of his life, we decided that we were just going to keep our heads above water - sleeping when he slept (although I have never been very good at that), and me feeding him on demand. For those 2 weeks, he slept in a Rock-n-Play at our bedside.  

At 2 weeks, we started putting him on a schedule. This was not different at all from what he was already doing (which is why sleep training is so effective - babies are already doing a lot of these things on their own!); all the schedule did was tighten up the times a bit. Mac was swaddled for every nap time and unswaddled for every feeding.  

At 3 weeks, we moved Mac upstairs to his nursery and he’s spent every night since in his crib (apart from nights we’ve been out of town). At that point, I was still recovering from a C-section (and our nursery is upstairs, master downstairs), so I had him napping downstairs in the Rock-n-Play. But we still followed the rules - he was swaddled, had white noise turned on, and low lighting for every nap. That routine is so important so that babies start to associate white noise, swaddling, and quiet time with napping.

So you’re saying he’s in his crib for every nap , every day?? Do you have a life, lady?! 

No way! When we’re home, he naps in his crib to solidify those bedtime routines. But sometimes we’re not at home and we have to improvise. A car seat nap, a nap on a neighbor’s bed, etc. - make it work for you! What we try to keep consistent is the white noise, the sleep suit (more on that below), and the low lighting. It doesn’t always work, but more often than not, it does. Make every time your baby goes down as similar to his/her bedtime surroundings as you can. 

What about traveling?  

Yeah, traveling is a curveball. It’s always hard to keep a consistent environment when you’re, you know, in a different environment. :) I’ve found that the key is to get as close as possible (we actually travel with our DOHM white noise machine), then to get back on track immediately when you get home. I mean, c’est la vie, y’all. You can’t control everything.  We use a Dock-a-Tot to help make him feel nice and cozy in any Pack and Play we might use, in addition to the white noise machine that goes with us everywhere. 

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 Did you swaddle/what swaddle did you use?  

We DEFINITELY swaddled and actually swear by it. There’s tons of research that shows newborns are comforted by a super-tight, snuggly swaddle that mimics the environment of the womb. Even if a baby fusses and cries for 30 seconds-1 minute after being swaddled, chances are, they’re going to calm down and absolutely love it.  

Although MOC advocates for large flannel cloth swaddles, we went with the Halo Velcro Sleepsacks. These are the kinds with the Velcro “wings” on either side, allowing you to get that awesome, snuggly swaddle in seconds flat. It also zips from bottom-to-top, which means that you can change a diaper without unswaddling! Game changer!! 

Somewhere around 14/15 weeks, Mac started jail-breaking out of his swaddle on a consistent basis. We tried the Miracle Blanket Swaddle, which has an extra layer inside to ensure baby’s arms stay down, but he was even able to bust out of that. We’d heard great things about Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, so we ordered it, and absolutely love it. He’s been in that ever since, and once he outgrows it (we ordered it a little too big on purpose), we probably won’t replace it. 

 Okay, you’ve sold me. But my baby is 3 months old now. Is it too late?  

I don’t know the science behind when babies develop habits, but my guess is, no way. Never too late. And you can do it!!  

All this is, really, is giving yourself and your baby predictable days. Wherever you are, start there. Do a little research to determine the best way to comfortably help your baby physically sleep (ie, if he/she is 5 months old, it’s probably better not to swaddle and to start with the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit) and see what makes the most sense for you and your family. A well-rested baby is more likely to sleep through the night. As long as your baby is gaining weight, healthy, and thriving, sleep training can be such a helpful tool in making sure you retain your sanity and get your OWN sleep back, which will help you be an even better parent.  

Go forth and catch those z’s!  

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Queer Eye and the NFL

The NFL released a statement yesterday detailing a new set of guidelines as a response to the significant number of players who’ve chosen to kneel with the national anthem is played before games. Their response to the protests is, in a nutshell, to make a new rule: instead of mandating that players be on the field for the anthem, they’re amending the rule so that if you’re on the field, you must be standing, lest your team face fines. You also have the option to stay in the locker room.

Twitter has been absolutely lit up about this in the last 12 hours or so, and I, as a breastfeeding mom, pretty much live on Twitter and Instagram. I have some personal opinions about the NFL’s statement on this subject (that, on one hand, they’re a business and reserve the right to handle their employees in whatever way they see fit - especially when they’ve experienced a massive ratings drop in response to the protests; on the other hand, this is a group of majority White men essentially quarantining a group of majority Black men who are exercising their right to peacefully protest about a cause that’s super important, and I feel some type of way about that. As in, not good.). 

Today, though, I’m more curious about people’s opinions of the protest itself. As I said, I've seen a lot of opinions on Twitter, and I wanted to flesh some of them out here in an effort to both share and learn.   

 

Opinion #1: You make millions of dollars a year. Get off your knees and go play football. This shouldn’t have even been an issue in the first place.  

Okay. Distilling that down to what the heart of the complaint is about, what I hear these folks saying is that NFL players are among the highest paid people in the country, and they need to cut the crap and do their jobs. Leave politics to the politicians. 

I hear what you’re saying, and I have this to offer in response:  

Most people who are paid at that level have some degree of notoriety, status, or influence. As of 2016, 70% of the NFL was made up of Black men. These guys are choosing to use the influence and power that they have on a national stage to stand up (or in this case, kneel down) for a cause they believe in. I’d say this is important and noteworthy for two reasons: 

  1. Because, as a person who taught low-income and majority Black students, one of the things I heard constantly is “I want to be a professional athlete when I grow up.” The eyes of people who look like these guys are on them. And Black NFL players are talking to them (in addition to all of us) about the nature of what it means to be Black in this country. For a child of color, seeing people who look like you, who are taking action about a cause that directly affects you? That’s pretty powerful. 
  2. The players who are kneeling, whatever their race, know the stakes. Colin Kaepernick is no longer playing football because of the choices he made about how he wanted to express himself. He sacrificed an NFL paycheck and exactly the status we’re talking about because of how strongly he believed this message needed to be communicated, and so are all of these other players who are following suit. That should tell us something about how much it means to them. 

 

Opinion #2: These guys are unpatriotic and disrespectful. There are people who died to make this country what it is - who are still dying - and they have no regard for that sacrifice.  

So, yeah. If you’re a person who has lost a loved one in combat, are a veteran yourself, or are the family member of a veteran, I completely get how this is especially touchy for you. 

I would argue that what these players are doing is trying not to be disrespectful. “But how is kneeling not disrespectful?”  

The protestors could be doing any number of things to make their opinions heard. They could be leaving the field during the anthem. They could turn their backs on the flag. THOSE things, in my opinion, would be extremely disrespectful and over the line. But instead, these players are staying on the field, respecting the song, the flag, and silently kneeling to communicate that there are people who look like them dying at the hands of police officers, who are sworn to protect them.  

If you’re offended by the gesture because of service to this country, whether it’s yours or that of someone you love, I understand where you’re coming from. Living in a country where our rights and freedoms are so expansive is an enormous privilege, and hundreds of thousands of people have given their lives in that effort. I think what these guys would ask is that you try and see where they’re coming from: a peaceful, respectful attempt at saying, “Something is wrong here and not enough is being done about it. Please pay attention.” In fact, many players even put their hands over their hearts while kneeling. This isn’t about disrespecting the flag or our veterans. Ultimately, the Black protestors don’t feel like the country they live in protects them or values their lives at the same level it protects and values the lives of White people. (More on that in a second.)

I see their kneeling as a sign of respect and reverence, and almost (if you can think about it this way) as a way to “take a knee” for their own brothers and sisters who have sacrificed their lives at the hands of the police.  In football, when someone is injured, players on both teams traditionally drop to one knee. The way I see it, this is like that - except on a much larger, more serious scale.

 

Opinion #3: This isn’t the time or place.  

I think the protesters would argue that this is exactly the time and place. The eyes of the world are upon them, and whether people are tuning in or (as is more commonly the case) turning off their TV’s in response, they’ve created a national conversation. 

One could certainly argue that the problem may be that there isn’t enough follow up TO that conversation. So, if you’re a protesting player, you now have a bunch of people aware of the protest against racism and police brutality, but then operating without sets of facts or data in order to form their opinions about what it is you’re doing. The idea that people are going to go out of their way to educate themselves is pretty naive, but (in my opinion) the protest is still important because it gets conversation moving. 

 

Opinion #4:  There isn’t anything to protest. What are these guys even talking about? Stop whining. 

So this is uncomfortable to talk about for a lot people because issues of race bring up a lot for all of us. But this particular opinion, I’m afraid, is just incorrect. And this isn’t a bleeding-heart moment (in fact, if you’re reading this blog and have been for some time, I hope you know that I try pretty hard to bring you moderate and fair conversation); this is a “brought to you by data” moment. 

According to this (very interesting) article written by Vox.com last year, racial minorities make up 37.4% of the US population, but constitute 62.7% of unarmed police killings. 

62.7%. Well over half of the unarmed people police officers kill every year. 

Another compelling table:

  C/o Vox.com   

C/o Vox.com  

So knowing this information, if you’re a Black NFL player, you have two options: continue to go about business as usual, or do something about it. The “something about it” is up for debate here - whether it’s appropriate, respectful, and productive (I personally believe it is all three, but I understand there are differing opinions). What is NOT up for debate is the fact that in America, Black people are disproportionately incarcerated and killed by police. If you’re Black in America, you probably feel like the justice system has failed you. You are probably suspicious of police officers because you or someone you know has been profiled, pulled over, or arrested, sometimes without just cause. 

 (If you’re a White person reading through that and you have feelings of defensiveness, I understand that and think it would be helpful for you to read both the Vox.com article linked above and - if you like this blog and my writing - this piece I wrote two years ago about the Alton Sterling murder.)

 

This next bit is not entirely relevant but is relevant enough, so...I’m including it.  

I’d like to bring you a moment of pop culture crossover from the delightful world of this season’s Queer Eye (which, if you haven’t watched and you read this blog, chances are you will  L O V E). If you’re not familiar with Queer Eye, first of all, WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEEN WATCHING IT?!, and secondly, you can read more about it here: 

There’s a moment in Episode 3, called “Dega Don’t,” wherein the only Black “Queer Eye,” Karamo Brown, is behind the wheel, driving himself and the other four cast members to the home of that episode’s straight subject. Early in the episode, police lights flash behind them, and Karamo is pulled over. His demeanor notably shifts from happy-go-lucky to tense and anxious. You can see his walls flying up. He’s asked to step out of the car, and the mood is icy. It turns out that this is a stunt the show put on because the straight guy being made over (Cory) is a police officer, and the cop pulling the Fab 5 over is the friend who nominated Cory for the show in the first place. Everyone is relieved, and the show continues.

Later in the episode, Karamo reveals to the Cory (who has Trump paraphernalia littering his basement, so the clash of beliefs is apparent from the beginning) that he was extremely nervous about interacting with the police officer who pulled him over. He said when he was asked to step out of the car, he was afraid “...this was the incident where I was going to get dragged out of the car.” They have an absolutely inspiring conversation about Black steretotypes of police officers, and police stereotypes of Black men. It is illuminating and wonderful and you should go watch it. They both leave feeling like they understand each other more and the moment moved me to tears (and you can shut up about the crying because it’s beautiful and precious and just go watch it and you’ll see). 

Cory and Karamo are still in touch today, despite their differing opinions. You can read more about their relationship here, in an article titled, “The Realest Conversation Abot Police Brutality Happened on a Makeover Show.”  

The reason I included this is because there is a LOT for us all to learn from one another, if we have ears to hear it. There is no room for the “all cops are racist” mentality, because that is an insane opinion to have. There is also no room for the “Black men should automatically raise suspicion” mentality, because THAT is an insane opinion to have. But opinions like these are born out of group think, lack of information, and lack of communication. In the same way, I don’t think there’s room for, “These guys are ‘sons of bitches’ and deserve to get fired,” or worse, “should not be in the country,” an opinion held by a leader whose words are often flippant, careless, and damaging (to put it very gently). There’s always more to the story, and it’s our responsibility as thinking, loving people to look more deeply into an issue - especially when, on its face, we have a problem with it. 

I’ve seen a lot of my White friends expressing the opinions above. Whether you agree with the style of protest or not, this is a great opportunity for us to engage with and learn more about an issue that is obviously affecting a community to the point that the rich and famous among that demographic are willing to trade their money and power, and likely give up on a dream they’ve had since childhood, simply to shed light on this issue. 

What are your thoughts? What have you read about this that has convicted or inspired you?  

Let’s learn a little something from Cory and the Queer Eye guys and talk to each other.  

Fetch or Wretch? Met Gala 2018

I know, I know, I haven’t posted in forever and also this is gonna be a drive-by commentary of both speed and hatefulness BUT I couldn’t let last night co un-remarked on. The event? The annual Met Ball. The theme? “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The looks? Well, we’ll decide, won’t we?  

HIT IT! 

 FETCH

Blake Lively

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I almost never like what Blake Lively wears. She famously doesn’t employ a stylist and curates all her own red carpet looks, which means that she also famously whiffs it like 75% of the time with fit, choice, all of the above. But this? I’m here for it. Remember that the Met Ball is a hot bed of WTF-ery, so we’re gonna give extra kudos to the people who both step out on a limb AND manage to be on-theme and fashionable. And I think homegirl has done all three. 

 

 Janelle Monae

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I feel like this year’s theme was made with Janelle in mind. Always in black and white, she is serving us a sartorial black and white cookie with some medieval chain-mail-and-halo-themed headgear. Fit is impeccable, face is so gorgeous, and even her nails match. GO ON. 

 

 Lena Waithe 

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Initially, one might look at this major departure from the theme and think, “....what??” But if you take a second to process that Lena Waithe, an openly gay actor, writer, and producer, is giving an intentional middle finger to the theme, it’s pretty darn killer. It seems like this is Waithe’s way of acknowledging that the Catholic Church doesn’t have favorable views on the LGBT community, and instead of jumping in with a theme that doesn’t celebrate her, she had a fashion MOMENT with a not-so-subtle message. What I love about it is that she chose to make her statement beautiful and high-fashion, when she could’ve just blown it off and made it ugly. Love, love, love. 

 

 Kate Bosworth

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This was one of my favorite looks of the night. I think this is STUNNING. So gorgeous, so ethereal. Lots of people did a spin on the “heavenly” part of of the theme, but I think Kate Bosworth did it best. And she even managed to incorporate the Catholic part of the theme by wearing what’s essentially a really freakin’ fabulous habit. How do you solve a problem like Maria? 

 

 Jennifer Lopez

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I mean, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! WHEN IS SHE EVER GOING TO AGE?! Do we think she 

a) sold her soul to the devil
b) injects the blood of baby goats into her face, or
c) is pulled/waxed/lubed/squeezed to perfection by a team of highly trained gays? 

I don’t even care what it is. I don’t even care if she’s a robot wearing a person suit. I love her. Forever.  

 

Chadwick Boseman 

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Wakanda for-MFing-ever. 

 

Zoe Kravitz 

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TBH, when I saw this last night, I thought, “Meh. Boring.” But then I realized she’s doing the “bodies” part of “Heavenly Bodies.” And I was like, “Oh.” And then I was like, “If I had a body like Zoe Kravitz, I think I’d wear a dress held together by a couple’a limp ribbons all of the time.” Because DAMN. 

 

Ariana Grande 

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Call me crazy, but I loved this. The bow is a little nod to Madonna (who was the entertainment this year because #ofcourseshewas), and the dress is kooky and well-fitted and just the generally pretty. 

 

 Rihanna

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The Pope is probably jealous of this. 

 

Frances McDormand 

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This is just some straight-up crazy shit and I’m here for it. I have no idea how it has anything to do with the theme and I just couldn’t care any less. I once met Frances McDormand in a J Crew and she is a lovely person. I’m here for it. Go get ‘em, Franny. 

 

Madonna 

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I mean, she kind of invented this, no? So yeah. She’s “fetch” no matter what she’s wearing. Which, in this case, at least covers her body. Remember ass-gate a few years ago? No? Google it. Or, better yet, don’t. Love the crown because she really is royalty when it comes to religion and pop culture.

 

Migos 

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DEAD. WHO ARE THESE GUYS?! I am so wildly out of the pop culture loop when it comes to new music/cool music so I don’t have a clue who these people are (outside of last weekend’s SNL parody), but I am so obsessed with every single thing. Rings Jackets Shoes Sunglasses Hair Tailoring Shoes Jewelry EVERYTHING. 

 

 Lilly Collins

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White girl weird-ass-ness. Nun gone wrong. And is she carrying prayer beads?? Either way. Yes all around.  

 

 Priyanka Chopra

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That color makes me want to jump into a pool of blood red velvet and just wallow around in it. The headpiece is also beyond. There has to be a name for the chain mail thing knights wore under their helmets that all these girls are doing a riff on, but I’m too lazy to look it up. Lemme know if you know. Any medieval studies majors out there? Is that a thing? 

 

 Zendaya

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There were several attempts at a Joan of Arc  (one of which we’ll get to in a second in our Wretch coverage), but this was easily the best. Every stitch of this is mesmerizing. Such a cool take on actual armor (rather than a nod to armor) while still being glamorous and high-fashion. I want to wear this. This made my top 3. 

 

 Cardi B, I guess? 

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Y’all, confession: I have never been more confused by a celebrity than I am by this person. I have no idea what she sings. I have no idea what her primary language is. I have no concept of how old or young she is. I could Google it, but I don’t want to. I kind of like being in the dark. This is something that would only work at the Met Ball, and while it’s definitely a fashion moment, I’m also feeling bad for the pregnant girl wearing ankle straps so tight she’ll have marks later. So she kind of got a pity Fetch. 

 

 Mindy Kaling

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Maybe it is more “royal wedding” than Catholic-inspired, and maybe the bodice is squeezing her shoulder and underarms in an unflattering way, but I thought she slayed in this. 

 

Sarah Jessica Parker 

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Because I said so, okay? That’s why. Let’s just put out thumbs over her face because the makeup is...not great...and focus on the fact that she is a full-on nativity scene on her head.  

 

And now let’s get to the real reason we’re all gathered today... 

 

WRETCH.  

*cracks knuckles*  

 

 Hailee Steinfeld

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I’m not even checking as to whether I spelled her name correctly. I should’ve called her sexy pouty overly-contoured Blair Waldorf Kardashian and been done with it. This is SO BASSSSSICCCCCCCC IT HURTS.

 

Katy Perry 

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I know that I’m in a super small minority in hating this, but I do. Obviously the wings are everything, but the dress and boots combo look like a tacky karaoke night outfit at some 22 year old’s bachelorette party in Dallas. I want an empire waisted gown in a pastel with some kind of subtle-yet-fabulous head-wear. She just always seems to be one degree from perfect. 

 

Greta Gerwig 

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I kind of love/hate this, but hate it just a little bit more than I love it. It’s ballsy and it’s obviously on-theme, but it’s SO voluminous that she just gets lost in there. Could’ve done with more tailoring and could’ve done with more face. She looks like the nun version of Violet Beauregard post-blueberry. 

 

 Claire Danes

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HATE. 

IT. 

What even IS this??? Valentine’s Day in 1999?? This looks like something someone got kicked off Project Runway for making. Was there a time limit? Did her original dress fall apart and a seamstress had to cook something up using three bolts of different-colored satin while blindfolded? And what the hell is up with that “bracelet??” I’m using quotations because it’s generous to call a bangle from Michael’s with a peacock feather and a long tassel strapped to it a “bracelet.” Claire, go look in the mirror and make your crying face. FAIL. 

 

 Didn’t Bother to Look Up Who This Is

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This dress looks like a Catholic mom gave her 4-year-old a sticker book on a road trip and this is what she came up with. Also the full-bloom roses on her head are giving me Phadra Parks at her boughetto baby shower in RHOA Season 3. Please tell me you get that reference. Bye, wig. 

 

 Ashley Graham, I Think? 

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Oh were you looking for prom? It’s down the hall to the left. Sorry, this is the Met Gala red carpet. You must be confused. Bad news, though. Even at prom, this is gonna be a snooze. 

 

Amal Clooney

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I know, I know, I’m going to hell for daring to critique Amal. But y’all, I just CAN’T anymore with the pants and giant ball gown half-skirts. It’s PLAYED OUT. The giant seam on the train is just too hotel bedspread for me and I really don’t get how this is on theme. She’s also one of the hosts for the evening, so I extra don’t like it. It’s dramatic, but it’s bad. Don’t look at it under a black light. 

 

And now, for the wretchest of them all... 

 

 SHAILENE WOODLEY OR HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT!

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TRUE STORY: When I was trying to save this photo, it crashed my computer. Also a true story: The camera wouldn’t even focus on this bad bad badness. Seriously, look. It focused on BackTat McFlashcrotch instead. This is TERRIBLY fitted through the shoulders and bust and looks like she’s left room for storage in there if necessary. The high pony and bangs are painful. It legit looks like the villain in Pocahontas. What was that guy’s name? You know, with the pug who was friends with Meeko? ...anyway the point is she looks like a British man and not even a well-dressed one. You know she walked in, saw Zendaya doing the same thing but so much better, and wanted to flee immediately. Poor Shailene or However You Spell It. Your wretchness wounds me. Now gimme one’a them cheeseburgers you’re hiding in that top.  

 

Okay, folks! That does it for me! I’ll see myself out and hope that the Lord continues to smile on me after I’ve been really mean to these strangers. Feeling guilty, a little. But hey - the them was Catholicism-based, right? So I guess a little lingering guilt is perfectly appropriate.