Thursday, December 18, 2014

My post-baby marriage

Mawwidge is what brings us togevwer...(bad Princess Bride reference, but those are the things that my marriage is founded on.)

Here's the thing, I don't mean to brag, but I have an awesome marriage. We were friends first. Our friendship had a lot of sexual tension, it's true, but that's what led us to becoming more than friends. Then we were married for years and years - 10 to be exact - before becoming parents.

Having a child has changed things. Most of those changes are awesome. We love taking Mr. Man with us and introducing him to the sights and sounds in our world. Our family has a lot of fun together.

But a kid means approximately five times the amount of dishes and laundry, plus the added toy pick up at the end of the night. Then there is the additional food prep, which must be done a bazillion times of day because my child will not. stop. eating. So that also means more trips to the store...I could just keep going, but I think I've made my point. There is a shit-ton of chores to do. And though my husband is a man who does his share around the house and with the childcare, it isn't a 50/50 share. That makes sense, since I work part-time since our son came along, BUT resentment builds, doesn't it? Every time I walk into a room, my arms full of laundry and see my husband staring at his phone, it's another drop in the old resentment bucket. Often, it's completely irrational. He may have just sat down after loading the dishwasher, but there is always more that needs to be done, and I often feel stretched to my limit by the end of the day.

What I'm getting at is the same thing you all have heard or experienced before: By the end of the day, we are both tired. My touchy-snuggly quota is pretty full because my toddler is kissing, crawling and clinging to me all the time. Also, my patience is thin, since all those resources necessarily have to be diverted to my toddler who will not stop putting his damn feet on the table during meals!

So many of our conversations are about our kid, our chores, what else needs to be done, what isn't being done, what was forgotten. It's tedious and draining. I just didn't realize it had gotten that way until recently, when, instead of zoning out and watching Netflicks at the end of the night, we played cards.

We used to play games together all the time. Though this is never going to make it into a movie, spending a couple hours at the end of the night playing rummy was just what we needed to recharge together. We actually had conversations about life, about us. And I remembered that my husband is a person, not just a friend/partner/father/lover/companion, but a person that I really connect with. An individual who I want to know better and be around.

Everyone tells you sex is what's missing. And sure, sex is great. I mean really, really great. But sometimes you need to reconnect on an intellectual level.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Let's Revisit Body Issues, Shall We?

Oh Internet, I'm at it again. Back when I was pregnant, I did not like my body changing. Becoming heavy and awkward, but you know, there was a baby at the end of it and so that helped immensely (at least that's what my hormone-addled brain remembers; I dare not revisit my old blog posts for confirmation because re-reading your blog posts is a uniquely excruciating form of torture). Then after Mr. Man was born and the swelling receded, stretchmarks started popping up, making matters worse.

BUT I was fortunate and lost my baby weight quickly. By fortunate I mean that my baby was a ravenous beast that sucked away all my nutrition and I'll probably get osteoporosis at an early age. On the plus side, I fit back into my pre-baby clothes, so yay to baby-led malnutrition.

THEN I got pregnant again. I don't know if this is true for everyone, or if it was influenced by the fact that I was still breastfeeding, but my body got on board the 'prepare for baby bandwagon' in a big way. As in I'm back up a pants size. Also, round ligament stretching was something my body considered a top priority and now my tummy is out there.

Now, it's one thing to gain weight and get a baby at the end. It's an entirely different thing when you gained weight, miscarried, and no one is really privy to the reason you have muffin top. Is this the worst aspect of what happened? Of course not. But in combination with major hormone fluctuations, it is not something that I'm putting on my Top 10 Awesome Things list.*

*I don't actually have a Top 10 Awesome Things list, but if I did, orgasms would totally be #1, followed closely by chocolate and toddler snuggles; not sure which of those would end up as #2.

To top this off, I was a raging hormonal mess just in time to binge on SO MUCH Halloween candy. I literally became addicted. Twix and Reese PB Cups were calling to me from the pantry at all hours. It was not a good combination. Not nearly as good as peanut butter and chocolate.

Now I'm having to take a good, hard look at myself, and the new cellulite I'm sporting. Occasionally walking the dog and doing some light yoga while watching old How I Met Your Mother episodes may not be enough. My arm muscles are great from all the toddler lifts I do all day, but my ass is giving Santa's belly a run for its money in the jiggly department.

I'm not happy with any of this. And yet, if you've ever allowed yourself to get sedentary, you know how hard it is to get off the couch. Even though I know I'll feel better if I got some exercise, that's not much of a motivator. By the end of the day, I'm tired. Also, I would rather eat chocolate covered cherries, which I can do while trying to finish up holiday cards, making it so easy to rationalize. All I get out of exercising is the need for another shower.

So, here I am, trying to motivate. I will not wait until the New Year. This is not a declaration, but a lifestyle change. (Seriously, Self, move your ass so we can lose some ass!)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Da Plane

All our flights were Delta, so I think it's okay I use this pic.
I recently remembered a promise I made, to you my sweet Internet. A promise to share our experience bringing Mr. Man on a plane. It's been weeks and I haven't followed through! My name is Shame.

So here's what went down (and up).

Prior to the big day, we talked a lot about planes. You know what we do on a plane? We sit on mama's lap. That's right.

Mr. Man was already very interested in planes when they were overhead, and became more interested when I showed him some YouTube videos. For several days he "flew" everything while exclaiming "Da!" and making swoosh noises. Let me translate for you: "Look Mother, I am pretending that this carrot/sock/sippy is a plane flying through the sky overhead! It is making plane-appropriate noises!"

We bought him a plane toy; mostly my husband played with it while Mr. Man flew various blocks and items of clothing around the room.

We talked more about how we would get on the plane and sit on mama's lap the whole time.

On the big day, we let Mr. Man carry his two favorite stuffed toys in a tiny backpack through the airport. He and all the observing adults thought it was great. At each airport we found little cul-d-sacs to let Mr. Man run around in and burn off energy. We brought out new plane and helicopter toys, which he enjoyed flying. We pointed through the airport windows at the planes. And we answered 1 bazillion questions from amused onlookers about Mr. Man's age/previous flight experience (none)/ability to run non-stop/ability to (mostly) stay near his parents. Basically he was the entertainment.

Aside from pooping his pants 1 minute before we boarded(like every time the kid did this), requiring us to ramp up our NASCAR pit crew skills, we had no problems*.

*I promise to never reference NASCAR again. Sorry.

During takeoff we nursed and no one even seemed to notice. Of course, I had anticipated this and wore clothes that made nursing easy (meaning I spent an embarrassing amount of time practicing whipping my boobs out of potential outfits in front of my mirror at home). Mr. Man slept 3.5 out of 4 flights. We changed one wet diaper on our laps because drink carts were blocking the bathrooms and we weren't even sure there was a changing station there and whatever, it wasn't that big of a deal; as in no one was sitting near us and it was dark and nobody noticed that we were doing it.

I had packed SO MANY snacks and needed very few of them. With the notable exception of my boobs.

That's pretty much it. Sorry that I don't have any horror stories to share**.

**TOTALLY not sorry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Miscarriage

I guess I should start at the beginning, which was actually several years ago when R and I decided that the optimal number of years apart between our two hypothetical children was two years. I should also remind you that R gets summers off, so having a child at the end of May or beginning of June is optimal so he can get as much newborn time in as possible.*

*Some of you may recall that Mr. Man was SUPPOSED to arrive June 1st, instead of the 18th. Kids, ruining plans before they are even born. SMH.

Okay, let’s fast forward to the future. Months before the Great Conceivening (that’s a word now, just go with it) I started to freak the f out because toddler, we has one! And it’s exhausting and how can I possibly keep up with him when I’m pregnant??!? And I promptly started researching all the pros and cons of child spacing and re-rationalizing our decision. We decided that there was a brief window when we would try to get pregnant (aka the Great Conceivening), and if that didn't work we’d wait a year.

And we were smug in the limited likelihood that it would actually happen, cause come on, every couple we knew had trouble getting pregnant the second time. You see where this is going, don’t you?

Yeah, the Great Conceivening was totally successful, like immediately even though we didn't really try very hard because toddler/lack of sleep/company/life/etc.

So then I was pregnant and I was an overtired mess, insisting that we keep going over all the reasons why two years apart was great because I was suddenly like, “Mr. Man is still a baby, WAHHHH!!” Of course, I’m still nursing a couple times a day (which, by the way, OUCH pregnancy-induced nipple sensitivity!), and (surprise surprise) my ramped up hormones didn't help.

And we waited and told no one because we wanted to go to the first doctor check-up before letting anyone know. In the meantime, we rubbed my bloated belly and laughing about my cravings for Indian food and tried to make it real. Like this is really happening. In less than eight months we’ll have a second child. Our last baby.

The morning that we were going to go to the OB I started to have serious cramping and spotting. I think R and I both knew what was going to happen. We’d already been marveling at how the minimal nausea I was feeling passed so quickly. I didn’t seem very hormonal. In small ways, we’d both already voiced some misgivings to one another.

Let me just provide the key events of our visit:

  • We did the normal pregnancy/doctor stuff, 
  • I was careful to mention the cramping and spotting – hoping for and receiving carefully worded reassurances,
  • the nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat, 
  • a transvaginal ultrasound administered by a palsied and semi-retired doctor** confirmed that the egg sack was measuring weeks smaller than it should, 
  • and we left knowing I was almost certainly going to miscarry.

When we left the office the secretary, who knows us, called “congratulations” across the waiting room. Every face in the room turned to look at us while we exited quickly. Many of them were smiling, surely misinterpreting why R had his arm wrapped protectively around me. I know the office assistant meant well, she didn’t know what was transpiring, but over the next several days that word came back to me. Sometimes with anger, other times with sadness, I thought about how she should know better. So many early pregnancies end the way mine did.

 So our second pregnancy ended in ten painful and messy days. They were filled with rationalizations (financially waiting another year will be really good), avoidance, and a heating pad. R and I talked about why we were disappointed and realized that sharing a second child with those we love ranked highest on the list; an especially poignant sadness as two of our very close friends are both pregnant – actually one just gave birth today. Our children would have been within 6 months of each other and that would have been special. Sadly, I know that there will always be a part of me that looks at these two little boys and wonders how our child would have fit in.

Then, something unexpected happened. I ovulated a short time after the miscarriage and we had to make an immediate decision: should we try for a baby next summer? It was a complicated decision. We’d now rationalized why 2 years apart was optimal and why waiting another year was really for the best. Sure, the baby would be born in July rather than May, but that was still doable based on our work schedules.

Ultimately, we decided to wait. But I mention this decision because it was truly a gift (straight from my uterus). The decision was no longer definitively made for us. We had a say again, which was immensely cathartic.

I wanted to share this story. I know many women who have gone through a similar experience. In fact, both of the women I mentioned who are expecting/just had a baby miscarried in the past. Actually, almost every child-bearing woman I know has miscarried. Some feel deep pain from the experience, some worried they would never have a child, some felt that they were failures, others accepted the event and moved on quickly. There is no right way to feel, and, I suspect, that how each of us feels about the experience changes.

It is amazing that each of us are here; so many people born through an immensely complicated process of splitting cells and pieced together DNA. I’m grateful that, no matter how sad or disappointing it may be at the time, our bodies usually recognize that something is wrong early in the process. That most babies that make it to full term are healthy and complete. 

I just hope that our next attempt at adding to our family has a happy ending.

**There is comedy in every situation if you look for it. Having a doctor enter a room with what is basically an ultrasonic dildo in his continuously shaking hand definitely helps to relieve some of the tension. Though it did not do much to increase my confidence in the procedure as I lay flat on my back covered by a paper robe. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remember when I used to write blog posts?

Remember when I used to actually update my blog rather than just drop by with a "hey, here's the link to my new Etsy site, which you should totally check out"?

(Psst. Here's the link. Totally check it out. And by the middle of next week I'll have some of my paintings as well as child and adult sizes available, so check back soon.)

Yeah, I barely remember that either. It's been SOOOO long ago. I am bastard. Sorry.

I promise to confide in the whole-wide internet on why there has been such a lapse in communication (I know, you care deeply), but it's going to be a few days because by the end of this week we are going to be half-way across the country visiting some of our most favorite people! We are so excited! Also, scared. Anxious. Quickly becoming panicked because, you guys, we have a toddler. An active one. And we have to put him on a plane.

Yep, we've officially morphed from the childless couple, drinking Starbucks, reading books, avoiding eye contact while our favorite playlist blocks out the surrounding conversations to (I am imagining) the couple frantically reading books and rummaging for snacks, also while avoiding eye contact, in a futile attempt to convince our 15 month old that he likes sitting on mommy's lap for hours at a time. Air travel is taking a big dive into a public toilet.

We used to read entire novels on our flights. Now, I'm anticipating reading Mr. Man's stupid counting book approximately 500 billion times. I really hope that the people sitting around us have their favorite playlists with them. Otherwise they are going to become very familiar with how many kittens are in a particular basket and exactly what sounds those kittens make. Can you say "meow?"

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On Eliminating Negativity

I wrote this post a while back and then thought to myself, "Self, maybe you shouldn't." And I let it sit in my draft box gathering dust along with other topics that I've deemed controversial (as in, likely to get nasty emails about and/or inadvertently make people feel bad). But then I read something that once again made the vein in my neck throb and that crease between my eyebrows sink deep down into the pit of my soul.

So, without further ado, here is a cultural pet peeve of mine.

I read a lot of inspirational quotes and motivational writing telling people to break off their relationships with negative or "toxic" people. Every time I see this suggestion, I want to punch a kitten.*

*Note: For the record, I would never punch a kitten. I wrote that for dramatic effect. No kittens were punched in the creation of this blog post.

Let me begin by pointing out that this view of self protection is very new and very American. Basically, it is the belief that you should prioritize yourself above all others. That you should be happy all the time. No, wait, that you deserve to be happy all the time. Your main focus should be on your own well-being and if others are dragging you down, drop them.

It flies in the face of 150,000 years of human relationships (and pre-human relationships before that). Humans are made to live in groups with other humans, where they do things like raise children together, feed one another, house one another, and drive each other crazy. Together.

Sure, we have developed a subtle set of social norms that reward people for being pleasant (i.e., popularity, attention, etc.) and punish people for being dicks (i.e., gossip, sarcasm, etc.). Yes, in it's most extreme form this punishment can escalate to ostracizing the offender. This is a big punishment. You know what happened to people who were cast out from society back in the day? They died. Because people, by and large, are unable to live without the care and support of other people.

I'm getting a little far afield, so let me jump back to my point. Sometimes you just can't get away from the negative people in your life, or it would be the height of irresponsibility to do so.

I'm not advocating that you get chummy with every jerk out there. But what if the toxic person is your parent or your child? What if that person has a mental illness? You could follow this new, first world rule and drop them anyway. I can certainly understand why you might want to. Toxic people become a mental and emotional weight; a burden that you carry, and it's true that you can only carry so much. BUT, not everyone can lift you up. If everyone else in your life is lifting you up, then take a step back and look closely because you've become the burden.

We need to support each other. If the burden has become too heavy, find someone else to help you carry it. We are all in this together.

Special-Don't-Sue-Me Note: If someone is actually abusive, or if you fear that they may hurt themselves or others, please seek help.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to school for Mr. Man

The Childcare Center at my husband's work has started up for the school year. Mr. Man's first day back was yesterday and it. was. glorious!

First off, Mr. Man LOVES it there. His classroom this year is similar to last year's and he was 100% comfortable, even after a summer's long absence. It probably helped that one of the teachers moved up from the infant to the toddler room with the handful of kids returning from last year. Same as last year, Mr. Man will be there three days a week; except that this year I plan on actually sending him all three of those days, whereas I kept him home as much as possible when he was widdle and teeny.

But the very best part of this arrangement is that R and I both have most Monday's off. So yesterday Mr. Man went to school and we had amazing adult time:
1. Breakfast. That I actually ate all of, myself, in silence while R and I both zoned out and stared at our phones because it is quiet and that does not mean that anyone is getting into something they shouldn't!
2. Shopping for household items. By ourselves. Quietly and efficiently! 
3. Lunch out! The witty banter was for our own amusement, involved no animal noises of any kind, and our food could sit near the edge of the table without being in imminent peril!
4. Time spent in a book store!! (ironically we bought a kid's book)
5. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy. We held hands. We are popcorn. Awww. Clubbing has been replaced with an afternoon matinee. 

When we picked Mr. Man up in the afternoon we were recharged and Mr. Man was pleased to see least he waved the string cheese he was eating around a bit and insisted I sit near him while he continued to shovel food in his mouth. The teacher, the new one, went on and on about how much Mr. Man ate that day. Because she obviously didn't believe me when I told her that he has a black hole for a stomach. I'll admit, when you look at him, you'd probably think I was just a new mom wow'd at the increase of food that can accompany true mobility, instead of believing that my little guy, the youngest in his new class, can eat as much as most of his classmates put together. Which, apparently, is what happened.

FYI, the school provides meals but parents are asked to donate snacks. We hit up Costco to get our donations. The old teacher nodded in acknowledgment when we carried it all in. The new teacher laughed. At the end of the day, the new teacher told us she now understood why we brought so much

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shopping for a Bit of Patience

We often let Mr. Man walk when we are in the stores. I'm trying to teach him to walk near me and not pull things off shelves while he is still wobbly enough and slow enough that I can intervene when necessary (which, since I'd prefer he not be run over by carts or topple an entire store display, is all the time).

If you were to follow us around the store, which means you would be walking very slowly because Mr. Man stops every three steps to point out interesting things*, you would hear these phrases repeated continuously:
"We stay close to mama in the store." or "We don't pull things off the shelves, please." or "Yes, that's very interesting, isn't it? But let's leave that there." or maybe you'd just hear me sigh.

*Note: Interesting things are often ceiling fans. Also, have you ever noticed how many animals are on packaging? As each animal is now pointed out to me, I can assure you that they make up a high proportion of what's out there.

Now, just so you don't get the wrong idea, most store walking is done during times when the store is mostly empty or in home improvement stores that have very wide aisles, which we are still frequenting all the damn time because my house continues to be a sucking vortex of in-progress home improvement projects, but I digress. My point is, I'm not letting my 14 month old (that happened! 14 whole months as of today!!) toddle around in the midst of busy shoppers, because I don't want to inconvenience anyone. Also, I'm allergic to death stares.

My ultimate goal is to teach Mr. Man self-control. Like his little leg muscles, self-control must be exercised in order to be strengthened. So we practice different forms of self-control...and I really do mean we, since I'm having to practice pretty hard myself. Certainly it is easier to just carry him or plop him in a cart...actually, he's only ridden in a cart twice and he was pretty sure he wasn't a fan, so that's really not easier. Anyway, my point (yes, I have one) is that I believe taking the time to work with him now, teaching him to stay close to me, be responsive to my redirection, and that he doesn't get to choose what we are getting at the store, is going to make things easier in the long run.

And though it can be draining, it's good practice for me. I'm not going to lie to you, though. There are many times that I don't have the time and/or patience to let his little feet touch the ground. But we make a concerted effort to let him down as much as possible when it's safe to do so.

We still don't let him walk by the toddler snack aisle, though. We aren't that crazy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

To Wean or Not to Wean, episode 2

The first pic of Mr. Man I've ever posted to this blog and he's got a boob in his mouth.

It's National Breastfeeding Week, so let's talk about ma bewbs.

A while back, I talked about my ambivalence? confusion? frustration? with weaning, or the potential for weaning, or the general mommy guilt for even thinking about weaning*...obviously it still isn't very clear to me.

*For the record, I wasn't thinking about weaning him before a year, just realizing that a year was coming up fast. The fact that I even had to write that shows how deep the mommy guilt goes. Ack, don't judge me!

Mr. Man was 10 1/2 months old then.

I just stared at that sentence for a full minute. It seems like I was just writing that post. Now my baby is not a baby. He's a toddling 13 1/2 month old. And he's still suckin' on the boob.

When I wrote my original post I was all, "he doesn't even ask to nurse." BAM. He started asking. There for a while, he was asking A LOT. Then we stopped nursing in the middle of the night **throws confetti into the air** and started offering him a sippy cup more often.

By the way, when he asks to nurse, he gets a very surly expression on his face, plucks at my shirt, and says "drink." I like to imagine it's the toddler version of walking up to the bar in a saloon and demanding whisky in a dirty glass.

For the last 2 months, Mr. Man usually only nurses 3 times a day. First thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, and before bed. Unless he's sick (we experienced our first bout of flu a few weeks ago, a.k.a. The Exorcist Experience). Or, like yesterday, he's teething up a storm and really needs his mommy. Or her boobs. Whatever. I've decided to equate the two. He loves me and my boobs.

So, how do I feel about breastfeeding now?

I still don't have strong feelings. Sometimes I super love him all cuddly and sweaty and pressed against me while in his jammies. Also, he stopped trying to do head stands while he nurses, so that makes things more pleasant. However, sometimes he wants to bob from one nipple to the other and back again, or insists on pointing out my eyes/nose/mouth/teeth/tongue over and over, which translates to getting repeatedly jabbed in the face. But this is balanced out by the special smile he gives me while nursing. It's always the same and I only ever see it when he pops off mid-nursing and grins up at me. Just thinking about it makes me all teary.

For those of you out there who are nursing or thinking about nursing, let me throw my two cents your way. In the beginning it can be hard. Your nipples hurt. It's messy. There's a lot riding on your tired shoulders. Over time, at least for most of us and I sincerely hope you can be included in that number, it gets easier. Get help if you need it and sooner, rather than later, Mama and baby will learn how to navigate the process.

Then, over the course of your nursing relationship, problems crop up. Biting. Distractions that cause baby to stop and start over and over. Growth spurts. Illness. Schedule changes. In my experience, there's a lot of ups and downs. Things will go very easily for a while then a new challenge springs up.

I'll admit, other than having an insatiably hungry child, my experience went pretty smoothly. I've never had a blocked duct or mastitis (thanks to the insatiability of said hungry child). The flip side is the time it took to nurse and pump and nurse and pump enough to satisfy him. Happy tangent: R is watching Mr. Man over the summer and I haven't had to pump in 2 months!!!!

Now that we have over 13 months of nursing under our belts, or diapers, or whatever, the process of nursing is easy. Our nursing schedule is predictable and I don't have to nurse in public so I largely avoid judgement for nursing a toddler. Of course, I get asked all the time by family and friends if he's still nursing. Mostly people just seem curious. I've never gotten any negative comments (yet), though friends who have already weaned obviously feel defensive, which is just weird and makes me feel the need to justify. I almost just wrote justify my decision, but it hasn't been a decision. If anything, it's been an indecision. I haven't tried to wean (except that middle of the night weaning, which was a gradual prolonging of when I would go to him, and within a week and a half he'd stopped waking up at all *throws confetti into the air again*). I don't want to take away something that brings him comfort. I also don't want to feel guilty when this part of our relationship comes to an end. But I know I will.

There's a lot of back patting in the breastfeeding community. I have seen several facebook posts where friends announce how long they have nursed or are still nursing. I also have friends who couldn't nurse and I can only imagine how that feels to see the virtual high-fives. I imagine they feel a lot like slaps to the face.

I feel hypocritical to tell anyone not to feel bad about how they fed their baby when I already cringe with anticipated guilt. I doubt we'll still be nursing a year from now. I hope Mr. Man weans himself and, though a bit of me will miss nursing, we will be able to just cuddle without the necessity of a boob in his little cherub's mouth. He's a very cuddly boy. I get lots of hugs and kisses throughout the day. He likes me to hold him and he hums while a sway back and forth. I think this will be enough to ease my guilt.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Soon we will not be able to afford him

Science tells me that Mr. Man's stomach is roughly the size of his fist. However, in this particular instance, science has more work to do. Either my child is supporting a thriving colony of tapeworms or he has a small black hole in his abdomen...maybe it is the size of his fist.

You see, Mr. Man is a medical marvel. He seems to be able to eat half his weight in a single sitting.

I recently received a weekly email update that informed me not to panic if my toddler hardly seems to be eating anything. That's normal. And I laughed and laughed.

Though he had nursed only an hour before (yes, we are still doing that, but that's another post), Mr. Man ate this breakfast today:
Cheerios...chubby handful after chubby handful
Several (adult-sized) handfuls of blueberries
Some cherries
A whole banana
A couple (adult-sized) handfuls of toddler puffs
At least 1/2 a piece of his parents' plates
1/2 a sippy of milk

There were tears when we cut him off because dude, you might explode!

And did I mention he eats every two to three hours?? We've taken to buying Cheerios from Costco, you know the two-box special.

 Last night at dinner he ate an adult-sized serving of meatloaf, green beans, and bread.

Of course, this means he fills his diaper with adult-sized craps. So maybe that black hole hypothesis is totally off base.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BAM, I have a toddler

Time is moving so fast and I've been swept away in an endless parade of moments. That's my excuse for not telling you about my baby turning 1. Or why you haven't heard about the construction of a mudroom or the summer-of-endless-painting that is currently occurring in my home. Similarly, I didn't tell you about my 11 month old's first steps (see, I can't even give you a half-hearted apology in chronological order), or his increasing (though largely incomprehensible) vocabulary. I didn't even have time to tell you about the Great Pipe Leak of June 2014, which cost $1000 and is responsible for the still existent two-foot hole in the concrete floor of my laundry room.

What can I say? It's almost the end of July and some part of my brain is insisting that's impossible. Where did May disappear to? How could June have flown by??

Damn physics, what with its continuous matter and energy and whatnot.

Anyway, we took our 1 year old on a trip to see all my husband's relatives. I'll skip right over the nearly 1700 miles spent in a car (did I mention we had a 1 year old with us???). It was a whirl-wind tour of some of America's least childproofed places on Earth. Also, there were relatives.*

*I joke. My husband's family is awesome and we had fun. Also, they owe me approximately 1 1/2 weeks worth of sleep and nearly 2 years of my life, which were stolen from me when Mr. Man nearly grabbed a cactus/ate a screw/touched live wires/etc.etc.

Mr. Man got to meet several cousins. He loved chasing his two year old cousin around using his little walking cart (yeah, he can walk, he just chooses not to most of the time and mommy is FINE with it) and was in awe of his older boy cousins, who blew me away with their gentle inclusion of him in their games.

Then we came home, but without our baby. Our baby had been replaced with a willful, opinionated toddler. Here are some examples:

Discipline prior to our trip: 
Baby crawls toward the dog's water bowl, stops, sits, points at it and says firmly, "no, don't!" Baby crawls away from water bowl. Parents smugly pat one another on back.

Discipline after our trip:
Baby crawls toward the dog's water bowl, shoves hand in bowl, and slaps water gleefully. Parents remove baby from area, firmly reminding said baby why we don't play with the dog's water. Baby immediately makes a beeline toward water bowl again. Parents use firm voice. Baby Boy-child looks back at parents while grinning, then moves twice as fast to water bowl and thrusts hands in water. Repeat.

Eating prior to our trip:
Baby eats everything given to him on his highchair tray. Requests more. Upset tone is occasionally used if parents do not put food on tray or in baby's mouth in a fast enough manner.

Eating after our trip:
Baby Boy-child is not satisfied with the food given to him. He eats it and insists on eating whatever his parents are eating. He makes his food preferences clear by spitting out a given food when he tires of it, pointing and using sign-language (why did we ever teach him this??) to indicate exactly what he wants more of. Increasingly loud protests are made if parents A) do not let him use the spoon, B) try to make him use the spoon, C) do not give him the food straight off their plates, D) do not let him use the napkin himself to wipe his own face, E) try to actually eat their own food, thereby neglecting said boy-child who is obviously starving to death in front of them, F) do not give him the sippy cup immediately when it is requested, or G) try to prevent him from flinging the sippy cup to the ground after each drink.

Additionally, food that is deemed not acceptable is put through the following ritual:
Step 1) Food is tasted and deemed unacceptable (note scrunched facial expression)
Step 2) Eye contact with parent is made
Step 3) Food is slowly thrust out of the mouth with tongue
Step 4) Similar food is picked up from tray with grubby fingers
Step 5) While maintaining eye contact, said food is held out above the floor
Step 6) Parents gently but firmly remind boy-child that we do not drop our food on the floor
Step 7) While maintaining eye contact, said food is slowly released from aforementioned grubby fingers and dropped ceremoniously to the floor
Step 8) Food floor must be pointed to no less than 10 times while uttering "no" and signing "more," astonished expression that food remains on the floor is optional

There are more examples, but I think you get the point. I don't know if it was the multiple near-death experiences or if he just had time for a good long think during our endless hours in the car, but Mr. Man has matured much faster than I ever dreamed possible. Unfortunately, the maturation process from baby to adulthood requires traveling through the carnival-mirror maze of toddlerhood. Of course, it brings a lot of intentional silliness, lots of kisses, a fascinating leap in reasoning**, and other adorable moments that keep you from wanting to abandon them on a desolate mountain peak.

**For those of you who have not been around a toddler, this is akin to a tiger learning to pick locks.

But speaking of moments, this one is up and I need to get back to the hectic pace of a working mother. Hopefully I have time to stop in and tell you about our experiences again before Mr. Man graduates from high school.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Airing my clean, if rather well-used, laundry

So. I have a problem. With my underwear.

You still there? Then let's dive in shall we...yeah, that just isn't an okay thing to say about my underwear. It's VIP down in those skivvies, but I digress.

My underwear are falling apart. The whole set (is that what you call your underwear collection?) is popping its elastic and basically disintegrating before my very eyes.

I know what you are thinking. Go buy some new underwear you weirdo. That totally makes sense, but I can't.

You see, YEARS ago I bought some underwear from Target and they were the. best. underwear. ever.

They were so comfortable. So barely-there-I-don't-even-notice-them that I immediately went and bought more.

Then time passed. The seasons changed. Laundry was laundered, again and again. Inevitably my underwear reached that stage when it needed to be replaced. So, I went to Target and, you guessed it, no such underwear were for sale.

No big deal, I thought to myself. I'll order more online. BUT (or butt, if you prefer), one of the reasons these underwear are so comfortable is that all the info is printed on them rather than on a tag. And (some of you already know where this is going, the rest of you are still wondering how I can write a whole post about my underwear) the print had mostly been laundered away. There is, of course, just enough of the print there that I have spent much too much time trying to decipher it. That's right. I sit on my bed and stare at my underwear. What??

I have tried to wear other underwear. The end result is that I have an underwear drawer full of underwear I only wear if my good (falling apart) underwear are all dirty.*

*Note: I use the word dirty here to mean in need of washing, not, you know, dirty. I'm fully potty trained. Promise.

I don't know what to do. I really, really,really want more of these same underwear. After years of comfort I can't go back to wearing wedgie-prone, twisting, slipping, uncomfortable undergarments. I CAN'T DO IT! 

You might think I'm being ridiculous. That just goes to show that you are clearly wearing sub-par underwear. If you'd slipped these babies on, you'd be right there with me (In attitude, not in my underwear, because I would not risk stretching these things out, which would surely happen if you climbed in them with me. Also, that would be really awkward.). I don't know what to do. It's not like a favorite pair of jeans that you can just launder less frequently so that they last longer.

I'm not so crazy that I'm going to re-wear my underwear before I wash them. But I am crazy enough that I've let this go on so long my husband has pointed out that I need to replace my underwear. If a man says an article of clothing needs replaced you know you've let it go too far; after all, most of the men I know own at least one article of clothing that meets the technical definition of rags.**

**Usually that article of clothing has a beer logo on it.

There really isn't any solution that I can think of. Unless one of you has a time machine I could borrow? I would almost kill to go back in time and buy a lifetime supply from that long-ago Target. If you do have a time machine and a person you need taken out, go ahead and give me a call. I'd consider it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tiny Gymnast Fails

Mr. Man is getting more mobile every day. He still HATES crawling with the burning passion of four emerging molars. He will only crawl for the shortest possible distance it takes to get to something to pull up on. But he does do it, on his hands and knees like a friggin' pro...I am pretty sure he only grudgingly started 'real' crawling because he realized it saves him a split second, in comparison to army crawling, when pulling himself up to standing.*

"Life's too short to spend it crawling" ~ Mr. Man

*Note: I started this post before the weekend. Over the weekend, Mr. Man has decided that crawling can be faster than cruising (you know, if there isn't a conveniently placed piece of furniture and your options are limited to the wall or the floor), plus you can get into more things and find teeny tiny rocks that you can try to eat before mom stops you, so it's something we do now. Sometimes. Obviously walking would be better.

Instead of crawling, he circumnavigates the room using furniture, the wall, the dog, and anything else that will hold his weight. He has also learned that he can push certain furniture around and in our home you can regularly find a baby, grin stretching ear to ear, little legs pumping as fast as possible, zooming around on poufs and ottomans. The only thing that makes him happier is when mama or dada let him hold their fingers so he can walk fully erect. And by walk I mean sprint. He LOVES running. His whole face lights up, his little tongue pokes out of of his giant smile and he produces a barking laugh as he careens around the room like a possessed puppet hanging from our fingers.

"Life's too short to toddle if you can run at breakneck speed" ~ Mr. Man

Mr. Man also stands. On his own. Without support.

"I do what I want" ~ Mr. Man

Of course, R and I are watching all this with a mixture of pride, fascination, and terror. It looks like he will break free of the steadying support of furniture any day now and then, and then...[insert image of whatever you love being smashed to smithereens right here]

As anyone who has spent time around a baby this age knows, there are so many failed attempts at independent mobility. Mr. Man is currently sporting four separate facial bruises and a scratch. It looks like we have been beating him with sticks. In part, this is because every vertical surface is approached with confidence that it is stable and can bear his weight. You know, like that paper bag and that canvas bin and that book that happens to be standing up. So....that doesn't always end well (see aforementioned bruises).

Between his own exuberance, shoddy balance, and his parents' slow reaction times, Mr. Man has recently resembled a failed Olympic floor routine. There have been several missed landings (unless you count his face). There have been bloodied lips, goose eggs, cries of MAMAMAmaamamamaa, and great big crocodile tears. But he recovers much faster than I do. A quick cuddle and then he's off again, leaving his mama sitting astounded on the floor behind him.

"Get used to it mom" ~ Mr. Man

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To Wean or Not to Wean, That is the Question

Remember that time when nobody judged anyone else and we each had magic ponies that granted wishes? Yeah, me neither.

I've been trying to decide how long I plan on breastfeeding Mr. Man. My original goal was 1 year, and (I cannot even believe that I'm saying this) that's rapidly approaching. I didn't think much about it beyond that because 1 year was SO FAR AWAY *sobs into keyboard*.

Some women have very strong feelings about breastfeeding. They super love it or super hate it. I don't feel strongly about it. I don't like having to schedule pumping when I'm away from Mr. Man. Sometimes I wish I could have a beer with dinner on the occasion that dinner is ready before I nurse the baby *sob* to sleep. But those things are becoming less of an issue as he nurses less and is staying awake late enough to eat with us. There are times where breastfeeding is sweet and touching and special, and sometimes it's annoying because he has to pop off fifty bajillion times to point out that the dog is in the room or he keeps trying to snap my bra strap.

As I started researching extended breastfeeding*, the fact that many women have strong feelings about breastfeeding was rapidly apparent with the judging and the agendas and the I HAVE STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS that were not so much hidden between the lines as waving a middle finger over the lines. And, because I am human, I started feeling defensive that I was even considering weaning.

*Extended breastfeeding = breastfeeding beyond a year. I don't know who decided to call it that either, but I'm guessing it was a man who wished his wife would stop breastfeeding so he had access to boobies again.

My brain started in with the rationalizations: I exclusively breastfed my baby who happened to eat every freaking hour he was awake for months and months. Do you know how much pumping that requires? I have suffered, people. My baby started getting teeth very early. He went through a nipple twisting phase - and sometimes I didn't trim his nails often enough! Serious suffering!

Of course, it doesn't help that most of my friends have breastfed their baby for two years or more. Though, my defensive brain points out, only one of them exclusively breastfed.

AND attachment parenting is the current thing. Whether you like it or not, there is always a current trend that does influence your behavior, even if you don't realize it. Sometimes you react against it, sometimes it just "coincidentally" coincides with what makes sense/feels best/works for your family, etc. I don't go out of my way to ensure my parenting approach is attachment oriented BUT (I admit grudgingly) the majority of the things we do fall in line with the crunchy attachment parenting zeitgeist: cloth diapering, breastfeeding, making our own baby food, baby wearing, room sharing yada yada yada.

Extended breastfeeding definitely falls into the attachment parenting camp, where it is viciously guarded by Le Leche League badge wearing warriors.

Speaking of Le Leche League, I went to one of their meetings recently. The topic was weaning. I was there to get some perspectives. Qualitative research, if you will. There were two women who dominated the discussion. One was talking about weaning her five year old. The other was talking about how to wean her oldest, as she was tandem nursing her three and one year olds. There's some perspective for you.**

**When I said I don't feel strongly about breastfeeding, I should note that I feel very strongly that I don't want to be either of those two women. Do NOT. Nope. No thank you.

The research on extended breastfeeding isn't very robust. Breastfeeding is great for babies, especially cognitive functions, IQ (which is often measured separately because research babble), and greater disease immunity. The research shows us that these benefits are strongest for babies who have been exclusively breastfed to six months and who have been breastfed for a year. No one is arguing that. Skirting around the statistical jargon and research methodology, basically the benefits after one year are about immunity. The toddler who is breastfeeding gets more antibodies and gets less sick and sick for less time. The other benefits may be there to some degree after a year, but there's not much evidence that supports it. There is some, but the research tends to have some pretty big flaws and it hasn't been reproduced.***

Personally, based on my research and personal experience, weaning is more about the relationship with my son. Much to my husband's chagrin and my mixed feelings of pleasure and guilt, I am my son's most favoritest person in the whole wide world. It's a big responsibility. But I don't think it has much to do with boobs anymore. He mainly likes to nurse to sleep, mostly to go to bed at night. Even then, he's just as happy with a bottle. We nurse several times during the day, but that's almost always me offering it based on our schedule. He doesn't nurse to help self-soothe. A cuddle from mama is all he needs.

Total disclosure: If there is an exposed nipple within his reach, he will latch on because nipple, obviously.

I think I could drop all but the three sleep/night related feedings (going to bed, middle of the night, first thing in the morning) without him even noticing. In fact, he doesn't always ask to nurse first thing in the morning, I just usually want him to because of throbby boobies.

So, here are my lists of the pros and cons to weaning him over this summer. 

Pros related to weaning:

  • Mr. Man wakes up once in the middle of the night to eat and I could totally do without that. 
  • I could finally stop taking that cruddy-tasting prenatal vitamin. 
  • I would have my body back for however short of a time that is before we start trying to reproduce once more. 
  • Will not accidentally get bit on the nipple! 
  • No more pumping!!
  • Getting to skip people judging me for breastfeeding my toddler, who, at 10 1/2 months, is already huge compared to me.

Cons related to weaning:

  • When he's sick, it makes him feel better. 
  • If he wakes up early in the morning, we can bring him to bed with us, I nurse him, and we all get another hour or two of sleep! 
  • I currently eat whatever I want and continue to lose weight. 
  • People judging me for not breastfeeding my toddler.

Basically, I need that magic pony so I can skip the judgment and guilt of either decision.

***For those of you who are interested and/or who want to fight about it, strap on your nerd goggles: The effect size (eta squared or r squared, depending on research design) representing the benefits of extended breastfeeding decline below statistical significance after one year in almost all studies. This is because most of those studies were not designed to measure effects after one year and the initial study grouped babies breastfed for one year or longer together; some studies were reanalyzed later to focus on extended breastfeeding - a big research no no. Studies specifically looking at the benefits of extended breastfeeding are often conducted in third world countries because there are not enough women in industrial countries that breastfeed beyond one year - in both of these populations (babies in third world counties and those in industrialized counties that have extended breastfeeding experience) there are other confounding variables that make comparisons to babies who have breastfed for less time very difficult (meaning there is something different about their mothers' education/health/resources/etc. that may be responsible for any differences found in the babies). Also also, many babies who are breastfed for an extended period of time are actually sick or weak in some way that leads their mothers to breastfeed for longer, which is referred to as reverse causality and is a prime confounding factor in much of this research. Then you toss in family size and birth order and the whole research design becomes so messy that odds ratios have to be interpreted with all these addendums and qualifiers and no one wants to bet their career on these findings but they HAVE VERY STRONG FEELINGS!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Taking a step back

I'm in a great place right now. Many of my 'someday' goals are becoming a reality. The catch (cause there always is one, isn't there?) is that I really do mean many of my goals, all at once. Opportunities, they have come at me. Falling into my lap. Calling me on the phone. Peaking from behind stacks of paper and waving ghost-like from Word docs.

Some of these goals were things I planned on doing later, as in, after babies. But I've always had a hard time saying no, and when one of your long-term goals sashays in, sits on your lap, and slips its number down your cleavage, what's a girl to do?

I had written out all the details. Suddenly finding myself being over committed when I still want need my focus to be on my baby. Dealing with a lot of stress. Being short on time and patience and knowing that I was the one responsible for all of it. Blah blah blah.

I wrote it all out, read back through it and asked myself, "Self, what, amongst what you wrote, is interesting to anyone but you?"* The answer was not a lot. Yay for the delete button.

*Note: I like to talk to myself all old-timey and sh*t. Doth I sound like a woebegone British rapper, b*tches? Pray tell.

Now that I've wrote out and erased my angst, I'm feeling much better. I think I've gained a bit of perspective. When I step back, I realize that I may be busy, but I am extremely fortunate.

At no previous point in history would I have the options I have today. The enormous strides toward gender equality that have occurred in the past few generations, the amazing leaps in technology, and the gradual awareness our society has gained around the need for flexibility and family-friendly policy have allowed me to do the previously unimaginable: I can continue my career while spending the majority of my time with my child.

I know that many of you don't have the same options/flexibility that I do. That sucks. But it's getting better all the time. And once someone gets on that whole teleporter thing, we'll all be golden.

Until then, I hope you can delete your own angst, take a step back, and see how privileged you are. After all, you're on the internet with enough time that you're squandering it reading my blog. Things can't be that bad, am I right?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I have a 9 1/2 month old baby

So, Internet, what's new with you? 

Me?  Oh, you know, I'm busy cramming my work and social life full to bursting and, oh yeah, I have a 9 1/2 month old baby!!! I sense you are less shocked than I am. 

Did I mention he's pulling himself up and cruising around like a little daredevil? Ironically, just the day before he first pulled himself to standing, I had read something about how preparing to walk really threw into relief a baby's personality: some babies are more cautious and won't let go of furniture for months, others show more confidence, etc. Then our Little Guy (Who I am will be calling Mr. Man in dis here blog. I don't know either, but it's become a habit around our house so you have to suffer along with us.)...what was I saying...oh, I read this thing and then Mr. Man (that's right) pulls himself up in his crib. Yeah! What a big guy.  Everyone takes a shot and so forth. Then we set him on the floor, he immediately pulls himself up on his ottoman, turns, spies a bookshelf a couple feet away, and lets go and tries to walk there! 

**BTW, he was not successful**

As it turns out, this was not a one-time occurrence but his MO. He takes huge steps, you know for a 29 inch high human, and will literally lunge to his next stopping point to save time. Cause baby has got sh*t to do. Can't be wasting precious time taking into account one's intact skull and mommy's anxiety levels.

So now, R or I can be found hovering behind Mr. Man, who is surprisingly good at keeping his balance until the precise moment his spotter looks away. Then he starts crying not because the fall hurt, or was scary, but because he is not currently risking his life lunging between pieces of furniture.  

He has also, very recently, begrudgingly started crawling. Technically he's been crawling for a month now, but only when rolling couldn't get him what he wanted and even then his technique, well, to be frank, he sucked. Hard. His crawl looked like an actual crawl - as in the swimming style, complete with the part where you turn your head side to side to breath.

A few days ago, in a desperate attempt to get him to practice moving closer to the ground, I started luring him to crawl using the one thing he wants even more than boobies. My phone. And it totally worked. Now he's army crawling to get all the things he really wants (read: dog toys, shoes, mommy's phone, dog toys, mommy's phone, and, of course, mommy's phone). 

If anyone gets an unexpected phone call from a drunk speaking Czech and shrieking, that probably means Mr. Man got a hold of my phone again. Sorry.

In other news, my baby is a damn genius capable of waving, clapping, high fiving, and he's officially said his first word, **drum roll** "hi". I had my money on "dog" but "hi" won, beating out mama, dada, dog (technically he's saying that but it's not always distinguishable from the other twenty variations of doh; the kid has sloppy pronunciation) and toes. So, you know, I'm looking into Stanford's scholarship options and hoping none of the other babies catch on anytime soon.

And that's about that. 9 1/2 months old. **eyes roll up into my head and I faint dead away** And, scene.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Loss

I don't know how to follow-up my last post.

Odin is gone, turned into ashes, hidden away in a cedar box on my bookshelf. I'm planning on placing his remains under the roots of a Japanese maple that I will plant in front of my office window this spring. A red tree to mark my red dog.

I'm concerned that the tree will die. That I will ruin this tribute.

When you don't believe in anything beyond the physical, does it make the gesture of burial, the act of paying homage more or less important? I can't decide.

 Karma, our other dog, is depressed. She doesn't eat much. She kept searching for him.

And, incredibly, life goes on.

But I find myself searching for him too. Scanning the room. Looking behind me to where he should be. Where he always was.

Loss is a funny thing. The most available script comes from fiction and we feel beholden to following it. Am I sad enough? I wonder. But sad is not nearly complicated enough to represent how I feel. I am relieved he is no longer in pain, happy to recall the good times, a bit angry, there's some guilt, a dollop of tightness about my chest that I have no label for. A tear always at the ready.

The thought that occurs most frequently makes me feel childish: I want my dog back.

And, incredibly, life goes on.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Saddest Day as a Dog Owner So Far

I don't know how to say this so I'm just going to lay it out there: Odin is going to be put to sleep next Saturday.

For those of you who don't know, Odin in my dog. Our doberman. Our first baby.

He has a leg tumor that's causing him a lot of pain. As is the way of cancer, the bigger it gets the faster it grows. It was just diagnosed a month ago. The vet said these things move fast. I was thinking we had until summer - I don't know where I came up with that but it got lodged in my mind somehow. That we'd have one last spring.

Today I called and scheduled the appointment. He's not even going to make it until spring. I was crying so hard on the phone I could barely make myself understood.

He's a mommy's boy. My boy. He's been right there with me for almost 10 years. My jogging companion, my hiking companion, my work companion, my bathroom companion...just thinking of him gone I envision this Odin-shaped hole following me around from place to place.

I've been taking lots of photos and videos of him and the baby. Since he's always with me, he's always with the baby too. Licking the baby. Letting the baby crawl on him. Laying next to him.

I take videos of the baby giggling as Odin limps around him and think how our Little Guy will have no memory of this dog who was an ever present part of his life. Odin will mean nothing to him.

Odin will never grow to be the crotchety old man I always envisioned. He won't gas us out of the room with old dog farts. He won't develop arthritis.

Because of a lump on his leg, he's got to leave us forever. I stare at that lump and think how unfair it is. He has four legs after all and he's otherwise healthy. But he's too big to be a three legged dog. He's too old to be put through that. Nine and a half is about the average life expectancy of a doberman. We should be happy he made it this long and was healthy for almost all of it. We should be happy that he won't have prolonged suffering.

But it's hard to be happy.

Odin - we've had some good times buddy. Mommy loves you, always.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What's Missing

Look at me, actually posting something twice in less than a 30 day period. I deserve a damn trophy. A trophy that I would give myself. And no one else would notice or have any idea that it had happened unless I placed it on my mantle. If I did that, R could ask where it came from and I would be forced to give some stumbling explanation before sulking in a corner...

Yeah, that seems like a lot of work. I don't even know where to buy a trophy anyway. Also, considering I really need to buy new bras and am way overdue for a haircut, I should just focus on more important matters.

Damn. Now I feel like I shouldn't be wasting time blogging. This random bit of silliness has totally backfired.

ANYWAY, looking at what I've posted in the last eight months, since the Little Guy was born, the subject matter basically falls into one of three categories: 1) adjustment (to having had a c-section, to breastfeeding, etc.), 2) sick sick sick everyone is sick ('nough said), and 3) BLISS, I love my baby and the world is full of sparkly, glitter-covered baby panda bears who frolic with pixies.

I feel like there is one facet of my new life that hasn't been represented. I feel childish saying it, but I want more friends. I mean, yeah, I have friends. I also have very limited time to hang out. But I still want friends. Different friends. Mom friends that have babies.

On occasion, I have attended a very informal mom's group. I get a chance to talk about dirty diapers and feeling ridiculously sad when my baby outgrows his wardrobe*. But there are women with a broad range of experiences there and I'm always trying to be careful not to say anything that's going to hurt or offend anyone. Which is exhausting. I'm not good at that kind of thing. Putting my foot in my mouth is much more my forte. But some people supplement with formula, or use disposable diapers, or feed their baby solids at 4 months, and all these decisions are emotion-packed landmines. Seriously, read any parenting website and you'll soon be buried in "mommy war" vitriol.

*Especially that first one. Boxing that one up and putting it in the garage was pretty painful cause my baby!! How's he growing so fast?

In addition to frantically trying and failing to filter myself while I'm at the mom's group, I'm mentally vetting the other moms, trying to find someone I would want to spend time with. This hypothetical friend does not have to make all the same decisions as me. She doesn't have to cloth diaper or make her own baby food or have exclusively breastfed. She doesn't have to work. It would just be nice if she did do those things. It would be nice to find someone who I can compare diaper brands with or show off the new cute woolie soaker I just bought (OMG, I have the best new woolies - but that's another post. A post that deserves pictures because SQUEE cute sweater butt!) or talk about how I am anti-rice cereal without them feeling judged. And maybe, just maybe, someone who appreciates researching outcomes and basing decisions on facts...I realize that one is a long shot, but a girl can dream.

So, you know, most of the time I'm surrounded by glitter-covered, pixie-loving baby pandas (in the moments when virus-laden bodily fluids aren't spattering my furniture), but sometimes I yearn for something more. A bestie who loves facts and fluffy-butt baby wearing hippy crap. She's out there. I know it. And someday we will lift our skinny vanilla lattes to the sky and unabashedly brag about how much our husbands help us around the house without worrying that we are making any overtired SAHMs want to strangle us. **sigh** Until then...

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm resurfacing to tell you about my experience with motherhood - 7 months

I see it has been a month and a half  more than 2 months since I updated my blog. That's got to tell you something about my life. Basically, just read the last blog post and add a three week break from work, a revolving door of family and friends, and the giddy, tedious ambivalence of the holidays. And, since I wrote this and am now (hopefully) going to actually post this, another baby illness and a mad sprint to finish work-related projects.

I am still thoroughly addicted to my baby. Who, by the way, is now seven months old!! Babies have the ability to create micro worm holes, by the way, that cause them and those around them to move faster through time. Pretty sure that's a fact.

What I wrote 2+ weeks ago:
My baby now sits by himself, sometimes rolls places and obviously feels very brave and adventurous for doing so, loves to stand (with assistance of course), will occasionally try crawling (imagine flailing legs and a lot of squealing) before he rolls over, and has five teeth. He eats solids with wanton abandon...or at least as wanton as his abandon can be since mommy refuses to give him as much as he wants (He has never indicated he was full, ever. This kid can EAT.). He lunges for whatever catches his eye, making it important to keep a firm grip on him at all times. He has a desire to get his hands and teeth on ALL THE PAPER. He's babbling up a storm and his favorite sound is currently mama*. His feet are always soggy and he often waves a sock at us happily while yelling gu, which I believe translates to "HAHA, I have once again thwarted your attempt to imprison my feet with this hosiery!" 

An update to my update: 
He is now rolling everywhere and has almost figured out crawling. He pushes himself forward with his feet, rather than thrashing them uselessly. We are so screwed.He now has six teeth. And, the other day, I decided to see how long it took for him to give me the 'I'm full' signal. After 7 tablespoons of food he was still opening his mouth eagerly and I decided that this experiment was going to end in gastronomical disaster and cut him off. Also, screw you every single breastfeeding resource out there that claims a breastfed baby is better at identifying when he's full.

*My heart grows three sizes every time I hear it. **THIS is still totally true.

He is a reverse imagine of himself outside the house. Inside, he's loud and he never stops moving. Outside, he's a quite observer, studying everyone and everything. I swear if the kid could write he'd be taking notes on what everyone is doing...and then ripping them up and eating them.

The Little Guy gives his mama kisses. This involves grabbing me by my hair or ears, pulling my face to his open mouth, and then licking me. Sometimes he then screams in my face for good measure. R is super jealous.

I could go on and on. He almost always spends part of the day laughing uncontrollably at some mundane or unexpected thing I do (once it was saying the word "poop," another time it was laying on my back next to him and waving my feet in the air), so, of course, I do it one million times. He drools on everything I wear. I'm revising my "do not encourage the baby to move" policy and am encouraging crawling, because that's better than walking, which he really wants to do. He loves pureed kale but hates turkey. He stretches out the neckline of all my shirts. He has mommy and daddy wrapped around his pudgy, wet fingers and we love it.

Recently, I've seen a lot of "it's so hard posts" about having babies, about being a new parent, about the dramatic shift in life and identity that it brings. I'm not saying that isn't true. But for our family, our experience has been 90% positive. I realize that my husband plays a larger role than most, and that makes a big difference. We've been together a long time (13 years next month!) and I think that makes a big difference as well. And our baby is pretty easy. What can I say? We lucked out. That addendum aside, I want to add my voice to the online parent babble and say, it's not always that hard. Challenging? At times. Exhausting? Certainly. There's also poop and slobber, teething, biting, more slobber, and babies change the rules daily.

Yep. It's pretty awesome.