Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Husband,
Are you fucking kidding me? Thanks for being such an asshole this morning when I needed you. When Max needed you. You think our baby is some master con-man! He’s six months old- crying is pretty much his only means of communication! You’d think by now, you would have learned all his different cries: his hunger cry, his “I’m bored” cry, his “I’m tired” cry, and his “I don’t feel well” cry! Last night was clearly his “I don’t feel well” cry.  I mean, besides last night, when was the last time you heard him cry all night like that?! Exactly. Christmas break when he had RSV. So why in the world wouldn’t your daddy radar pick up on the fact that his behavior wasn’t normal; his cry was harsh and screechy like he was uncomfortable?!! He was not crying because he didn’t want to sleep in his crib; or because he didn’t want to sleep; he needed us. He needed our attention, our warmth, our protection, our comfort.
Your attitude really pissed me off this morning. While I appreciate you getting up out of bed to help me with him—the type of help you offered was much less than awesome, and more so offensive and just plain disrespectful.  It was annoying, and frustrating; and leaves me worried about future parenting challenges we’ll face; and makes it difficult for me to even consider asking you for help in the future regardless of how much I need it.
So thanks for being a giant D-bag. Happy Valentine’s Day.


Friday, February 11, 2011

What an ignorant thing to say?!

"A newborn baby has only three demands. They are: warmth in the arms of tis mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." Grandly Dick-Read

One of my Facebook friends recently posted a news story about how introducing solid food early to formula fed babies can increase their risk of battling childhood obesity. Someone in the comments posted the following:
Neither of my older kids was obese at 3 months and they were both on 3 meals a day by somewhere around 4-6 months! Isn't it a matter of listening to why they are crying and not feeding on demand? There are many philosophies on these subjects and much listening to the baby.....patience on Mom's part for sure! Let the Wise one direct you!
What an ignorant thing to say?! First off, I’m guessing that when this person says, “Let the Wise one direct you”, she’s referring to the Baby Wise book that is highly controversial among the pediatric community. In my opinion, it’s a disgusting and hurtful approach to parenting—in fact, nothing could be farther from Attachment Parenting than the Baby Wise philosophy. I have heard that the author of Baby Wise has a severely broken relationship with his children; and there are accounts of babies “failing to thrive” when subjected to the Baby Wise methods. Baby Wise is borderline inhumane. And that’s all I’ll say about that. My real beef with this person’s comment is the part I bolded, “Isn’t it a matter of listening to why they are crying and not feeding on demand?”
When I first brought Max home, every single time he cried, I offered him a breast. Even if I had just fed him. Breastfeeding is so much more than actually feeding your baby. It’s comfort, it’s love, it’s bonding, it’s your baby learning that you are his safe place, his ultimate protector and provider, and nourishment. Further, breastfed babies turn to the breast for several reasons: they aren’t feeling well, they are teething, growth spurt time—if a developmental milestone such as rolling over or crawling is bothering them; they will want to breastfeed to relax.
Maybe I’m being over dramatic. Maybe the commenter’s reference to “the Wise one” set me off. I don’t know. What I DO know, is that I will never deny my baby my warm embrace or my breast. I will never deny him food in his mouth. I will never deny him the security of my guardianship.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

$#!* my mother says, part II

My mother has struck again. Saying something very thought provoking. I’ll start at the beginning.

A month or so ago, I mustered up some motivation to get dressed up and attend a job fair for a company who recently won a contract out here at the Space Center. I never go to job fairs.  I hate them. They are a waste of time. All they ever are is a bunch of people standing around, shaking hands, and telling job seekers to visit their website to browse and apply for career opportunities. I thought this one would be different. It wasn’t.

After much consideration, I decided to attend because a few of my co-workers were going to be there, and I decided that I would be upset if I DIDN’T go and later learned that someone who DID go got a job offer. You never know.

While there, this overly friendly man approached me. He talked to me like we were old friends. The way he talked to me, I thought I should know him from somewhere, even though he wasn’t physically familiar to me. He asked me a few questions like, “how it go?” and “do you think they’ll call you”. Then he asked to trade resumes. Without thinking clearly, I agreed, and almost immediately, I regretted it. He dove into this monologue of self pity—unemployed, used to work on Constellation, wife left him, house in foreclosure.. I realized it was just him and I out in the middle of the parking lot; him in his car, and me standing outside his passenger side window—My mind couldn’t help but equate the event unfolding to a Lifetime movie. The hair on the back of my neck stood on edge and my guts, my instinct, told me to say good-bye and get into my car and lock the doors. So I did.

I told everyone about the creepy encounter that left me feeling uneasy and nervous. By giving this guy my resume, I had willingly given him my address, my phone number—he’s unemployed so for all I know, he is spending his free time scoping out my home, finding out when we’re there and when we’re not! I am so disappointed in myself for doing something so stupid. At the time, I was preoccupied—I had left Brian home with Max for the first time and all I could think about was rushing home to my baby! That’s no excuse though. I put myself and my family in danger. Irresponsible.

I learned from that experience and I thought it was behind me until yesterday when the guy called my cell phone out of the blue. I answered the phone, even though I didn’t recognize the number—yet, another mistake. He started asking me questions about Brian—where does he work, what time does he get home in the evenings; I asked what the phone call was in regards to, he said, “I want to come over to your house and talk to you about some business opportunities. I think we can work together with your background”. Red flag. “Um no. That’s not a good idea. We aren’t interested. Please don’t call again.” He said, “I’m just really hurting here. My ex wife is taking me to court, I’m still jobless, and unemployment isn’t going to last forever.” ::crickets:: Me, “Sorry, something will work out. I have to go” ::click::

The first thing I did when I hung up the phone was call Brian and tell him what happened. Next I told some of my co-workers, one of which is a part-time cop who told me there isn’t anything he can do right now. That’s okay. I just wanted him to know. Both Brian and I agreed that I should keep the garage door closed when I’m home alone, and I should delete my address from my resume. I had never even considered this! But really, a resume only needs my email and phone number. Oh, and I looked up this guy on LinkedIn—his profile picture is C-R-E-E-P-Y! I made sure Brian got a good look at him too.

I told my mom and dad about the incident. My dad, my Great Protector, said that next time he calls, I should send him his way! I laughed and said, “The guy is probably harmless. He probably won’t call again.” To which my mother remarked, “Well did you think he was going to call the first time?!

See what I mean? Thought provoking. No, I didn’t think he would call in the first place. So I shouldn’t assume that he is ‘harmless’. Be cautious. Pay attention. And most importantly, listen to your instincts. They never lie.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

$#!* my mom says

Every once in a while, my mother will say something that is 110% profound.
We have had a rough couple of nights with Max. He fights going to sleep, he’s on some kind of crib strike, and once he is finally asleep- he is up every hour and half or so crying. I spent last Saturday night snoozing in the glider while he nursed on and off all night.. and Sunday night, I spent in and out of bed with him, nursing him, rocking him; needless to say, him and I both have had quite the zombie eyes lately. I’m not sure what’s to blame for his recent behavior; it seems I’m blaming everything on teething right now. But in the 11th hour (and near tears of exhaustion), I wonder the same questions over and over again: Is he cold? Is he too warm? Are his jammies uncomfortable? Does he have a belly ache? Is he hungry? Is he running a fever? Is he frustrated over a developmental milestone (yes, this is possible)? And so on, and so forth. The theories are endless.
And when people ask me how things are going, I’m cautious about mentioning the sleepless nights. I’m so sick of people offering unwanted parenting advice, i.e. have you tried letting him cry it out? Are you giving him some cereal to fill his belly before bedtime?; when really all I want is a “Sorry to hear that. It will get better soon”.
Enter my mother. I can almost always count on her to be the voice of reason. If I have a decision weighing heavily on my mind, she’ll say, “Listen to your heart”, and even though I’m familiar with that saying, when she says it, it’s like I have a newfound clarity and instantly know what to do. The other day I was feeling completely defeated, not knowing what to do to help Max sleep at night; not knowing what to do to keep my sanity the morning and day after another sleepless night? And my mother says to me,
“Cherish these sleepless nights cuddling with your baby. Your brother is 28 years old and doesn’t want to cuddle with me anymore.”
See what I mean? Profound, right? I mean it’s funny, but it makes me feel like I can do another all nighter in the glider.

Monday, February 7, 2011

In-Law Sundays

I have come to really hate Sundays. And I mean that with all the power behind the word hate. I wish I could say I hated Sundays because they mean Monday is JUST around the corner, and thus starts another week. Sadly no. I actually look forward to Mondays. I like the routine that daycare offers our household and family as a unit. Instead, on Sundays, every freaking Sunday, my in-laws come to visit.
They might seem like ordinary people from the outside. Some might even call them nice upon meeting them. I know them as those who come to my home every Sunday and tell me everything I’m doing wrong and/or question every single thing I’m doing as a mother.  It’s always, “when is he going to eat real food”, “when are you going to wean him from the boob”, “you should buy him a walker”, “have you tried just letting him cry?”,He really shouldn’t be sleeping in your bed” … … … ::breathe::
The truth is, my mother in-law has done and said a lot of things that have been and continue to be very hurtful to myself and my husband. Here’s a taste:
·         Lying to my husband about who is real father is for 30 years
·         Whispering  to my husband in the kitchen that she wishes I would realize that breastfeeding is a ‘pain in the ass’ when I’m in the living room crying about my milk taking for ever to come in
·         Telling me not to jump up at every fuss whimper or cry from my 6 day old baby—because it builds bad habits

I’m getting worked up just writing about these so I’ll stop here and save the rest (and/or details) for another blog. Thank God I have a supportive husband. Anyways, I am not one to forgive and forget (also another blog), and I am very good at holding a grudge. So Sundays are very stressful for me.  I want to just be able to enjoy the time away from work and with my baby. After all, he spends 40+ hours a week with strangers at daycare! I don’t want to make plans—further I don’t know when he’s going to be hungry, when he’s going to be napping—I just want to spend time doing what I want to do and not have to worry about being home at a certain time (or being awake for that matter!) so they can come over and visit. So annoying.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Whoever said, “Don’t cry over spilled milk..”

I realize this phrase is more about not worrying about small unfortunate events that cannot be changed than actually crying over spilled milk; but for me, since my introduction to motherhood back in July 2010, I have spent more tears over lactation than anything else!
It started when my first child was born. I cried for a week following my cesarean because my milk was taking FOREVER to come in. I was (AM) so passionate about breastfeeding, that my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to do it! There was a lot going on at this time- recovering from major abdominal surgery, dealing with in-laws being at the house 24/7- dealing with anxiety and just being overwhelmed having a newborn in the house outside of the comfort of the hospital.. and to top it off, we had to formula supplement because our baby was slightly jaundice and had lost a few ounces since birth.. and my milk was slow to arrive. Oh, and add post-pregnancy hormones and major pain medication to the mix and I was E-M-O-T-I-O-N-A-L! Of course my milk finally came in BIG TIME! I have 3 freezers full of milk stash to prove it.
A few weeks later, I accidently left the doors to the refrigerator open all night. Sounds ridiculous, I know. And my fridge is actually equipped with a ‘door alarm’ to prevent this from happening, but in order for that alarm to work, you have to turn it on. Anyways, because the doors were left open for about 8 hours, all the contents in the refrigerator warmed, including about 25oz of breastmilk I was saving to stash. This was very early on in my nursing days; I was learning to pump in preparation of returning to work, and thought I needed to have a healthy freezer supply of breastmilk.  I know now that’s not the case. But at the time I was devastated to have to pour 25oz of breastmilk down the drain. What a waste.
I can be pretty clumsy. Especially when I’m operating on about 4 hours of sleep. There have been two separate occasions when I have spilled a container of freshly expressed breastmilk. I remember these occurrences distinctively because although I have a very healthy stash of frozen breastmilk, it pains me deeply to sacrifice a single drop! Once I was transferring milk to a freezer bag for storage and my husband approached me to wipe spit-up off his arm. That task could have waited for me to properly seal the bag, but alas, I put the bag on the counter convinced it wouldn’t spill over and sure enough, the bag fell over and spilled about 5 oz of breastmilk all over my kitchen counter. The other time, I was at work in the medical center for one of my pumping sessions. When the session was up, and I was working to clean up the area, I nearly tripped over the cord to the pump, knocking one of the bottles from my hands-free pumping system I wear. It happened like slow motion, I remember watching the bottle fall from my chest, hitting the terracotta floor and spilling in a free form design. This was serious since that sacrifice could have impacted my baby’s lunch for the following day. Thankfully I have very juicy boobs and those 5 oz were destined to be stashed away in the freezer with the other 600+ oz! Still, I mourned. Liquid Gold, you know?
My most recent tears still disturb me. My child, who doesn’t sleep, has never slept, started exhibiting some interesting behavior before bed. I’ve always nursed him to sleep, but recently, after our bedtime nursing session, when I put him in his crib he rebels! Thrashes and cries—even though he was JUST sound asleep on me in the glider. I pick him back up and he fusses, cries, arches his back when I try to rock him.. so after about 20 mins of trying to manage his crying, I gave up. I took him to the living room, sat him down with his toys, and watched him play happily for an hour. Nothing but smiles and laughter. I was completely confused. After two nights of this, and while in tears thinking, “I can’t do this another night. I’m so tired. I don’t know what he wants”; I decided to prepare a bottle of breastmilk and see if he’d take it- EVEN THOUGH he had just nursed for a half hour and showed no signs of being hungry. To my surprise, he sucked down nearly 5 oz, leaving about a half an oz in the bottle; he entered a milk induced immediately! I put him in his crib, he rolled to his belly, and slept till midnight! That was a 4 hour stretch! And anything over a 2 hour stretch is a big deal for us! However, I can’t help but feel very mixed emotions. I’m sad because I feel like my body has failed me by not being able to satisfy my baby’s appetite before bed- is this a supply issue? My baby spends 40+ hours a week in daycare and I really cherish these bedtime nursing sessions- it saddens me to interrupt them with a bottle. But at the same time, if he needs an extra full belly at bed, I’ll give it to him—I’ll nurse him first, and if he needs more, give him a bottle-- at least he’s still getting breastmilk. I’m still sad though. Hoping this is either a growth spurt, or a temporary lull in my nighttime supply.