Category Archives: Complaints

Ewww…. carrots

No more carrots for now I think. Del hates them. As in, shudders, sticks out his tongue, and stops taking bites kind of hate.

Other foods have been great. He loves sweet potatoes, pears, bananas, was ok with avocado, and had a slightly improved tolerance for carrots when mixed with apples. But the carrots also make the grossest poop. As the lady rinsing out the diapers, I am making about the same face when the carrots come out as Del makes when the carrots go in. Ick. Now I gotta sun-bleach several orange stained inserts. I’m not making this up… this is honesty in parenting right here folks.

Note the furrowed brow.

 

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Lullabye…. and goodnight… not.

So I admit it. I’ve read about 50 pages of anything on sleep training ever. I’m just not. that. interested.

The goal.

I also feel really strongly that anything that goes hard against maternal instinct in caring for your baby is probably not a good thing. Those instincts are there for a purpose. Where they’re overly powerful, I find that good sense and reasonable arguments as to the benefit of a thing go a long way toward balancing the “cuddle and protect at all costs” instinct so that things like shots, babysitters, and bed times can happen.

I have happily ignored anything about sleep training up till this week, mostly because I have been very happy with Del’s sleep, and because I saw how stressed and worried moms who were doing it felt about it. How could that be good for anyone? Continue reading


Surviving Mastitis

Last month I had my second bout with mastitis. It is not pretty, let me tell you. But I got through it, again, without antibiotics or further complications. There seem to be some common conditions that bring it on, for me at least.

The first time I had it, Del had gotten his first round of newborn shots (at 8 weeks) and the pediatrician told me he’d probably be sleepy. That entire day, Del nursed only sporadically and yes, slept a lot. That night was the first time he slept “through the night” (a total of about 7 hours uninterrupted that night) which should have been marvelous. Except that my breasts got so full I was getting sore. Sometime in the night I thought it must have gotten very cold outside and our apartment was cooling down, because I had chills. By early morning I realized my chills were fever, and it was easy to tie the fever to the bright red, hot, hard and painful spot on my left breast, about the diameter of a Ritz cracker. My temperature was 101 and I was aching all over. Checking my breastfeeding books and the internet confirmed my suspicions: mastitis.

Continue reading


Here’s what I think about the TIME magazine cover.

This week’s TIME magazine cover has sparked a media milkstorm you can’t avoid if you’re even remotely alive and connected to the outside world. From a dozen Facebook references to glimpses of the cover on the morning talk shows while I worked out this morning (yeah, bragging about working out this morning) to emails from friends asking what I thought.

I think several things, but you should skip it all and just read #6 because that’s the one that matters.

Can you accurately identify the problem here?

1) That mother is way hotter than most moms. (This is important later.)

2) It’s as much my business how long she nurses her child as it is my business who a gay man or woman can and can’t marry. That is: it’s my business to say this is something a responsible adult should be allowed to decide for themselves.

3) I might have been inclined to say that nursing that long is just too long, except that I recently saw this and it really touched me: http://mothering.com/all-things-mothering/baby-2/breastfeeding/extended-breastfeeding-from-the-mouth-of-the-not-so-babe  …so, probably longer than I will breastfeed Del but I am moved that this very little person in the video has a clear sense of how and why nursing is important to her.

4) This photo is completely staged for maximum reaction: a) the woman is young and hot and standing in a posture that is emphasizes her sexual attractiveness. Remove the child and cover the bare breast and she’s just a sexy woman making  eyes at the camera. Her sexuality is being highlighted – see #5 for more on that. b) Her child is standing on a chair. No one would ever nurse that way. Put this mom in her yoga pants and GAP nursing t-shirt on a couch holding a child the way she most likely nurses him and it’s a very different image. c) The child is dressed in big kid clothes including camo. The kid is what, three? Put him in his pull ups and t-shirt with big bird on it and several aspects of this image change. d) The child is a son. They heighten the viewers gut reaction by showing us a boy sucking a girl’s boob. My point is this: same mom, on the couch in her comfy clothes, holding a pig-tailed three year old girl in pull-ups and t-shirt, nursing — voila, far fewer people would look, care or react. It would hardly make a magazine cover, which is a shame because that would be a lovely image.

5) The image plays on the mental confusion of  most anti-breastfeeding-in-public types – their ingrained fear of the blend of sexuality and nurturing that public breastfeeding entails. It is just more than they can handle, because by golly boobs are for sex and I should not have to see them being used any other way (translation: because I don’t WANT to see them being used any other way). My point, if and how long to breastfeed is a decision for parents to make, but now all the uptight, don’t-show-me-that fogies are going to add their unnecessary voices to the kerfuffle.

6) I think it’s just plain shitty of TIME mag to put that kind of divisive title on an the issue preceding Mother’s Day. “Are you mother enough?” Let’s get mom’s to fight and judge each other. A Mother’s Day Cagematch. Ya know, we mothers already do a really good job judging each other. And most of us are doing an even better job judging ourselves. Way to go, TIME. This cover, with a few roses and breakfast in bed, would be just about enough to ruin any mom’s day. Nicely done.


Honesty, and four things I don’t love about breastfeeding

The TED talk video I posted yesterday has really impacted my thinking. The day before I wrote about four things I love about breastfeeding. In the interests, then, of honesty about parenting, here are four things I don’t love about breastfeeding.

See, no one likes it. image from manolaw.blogspot.com

1) Leaking. My boobs leak. Not all the time, thankfully, but sometimes a lot. I can’t really sleep topless anymore because when Del sleeps long stretches of the night, at least one breast will get very full and begin to leak – especially if I happen to be lying on that side or on my stomach. I awaken in the wee hours in a little puddle of breast milk. So I have to sleep in a top of some kind all the time. And even then, when my milk lets down as Del begins to nurse, the breast he’s not eating from leaks. If I don’t have breast pads around, that means a wet pajama top or a damp bra. *sigh*

2) Nursing bras. Don’t get me wrong, mine are great. They are comfortable and open and close easily with one hand. They are absorbent. They are good colors – nude, black, hot pink. But they’re not exactly miracle bras. Support does not equal lift. And sexy they ain’t either. I really look forward to putting the girls back into a nice, low-cut push-up bra that shows off their non-nutritive attributes.

Dollface here LOVES her nursing bra. She is very happy. image from bebybaby.com

3) Sensitive nipples. The better books will tell you that breastfeeding should never be painful and if it is, something is usually wrong that can be corrected. This is really true. But even though breastfeeding isn’t painful, I still end up with nipples that I am just aware of. They usually feel a little like chapped lips, and a little overly warm. Pretty much all the time. I look forward to one day just not feeling them.

4) Having to pump. I am pretty sure that every breastfeeding mom hates pumping. If not hate, at least a tolerant annoyance. I am somewhere nearer annoyance than hate, since I really don’t have to do it all the time. Pumping now and then to build up milk supply is not a big deal to me. It’s the pumping when I’m out away from Del for more than a couple of hours – like, oh, photographing a party or a wedding, or having more than one or two sessions scheduled back to back. Remember #1: full boobs leak. Yeah, also full boobs hurt. And having to take breaks during a long photo shoot to pump milk from your swollen breasts is just a thing I don’t love.

I have it easy, I know. I have had no major challenges breastfeeding Del, and many many women do have challenges that they persevere through to successfully breastfeed for whatever length of time they can. And some women just can’t make it past the challenges and choose to give it up. I am grateful that Del and I have had an easy and satisfying breastfeeding experience. I know I will miss it whenever it comes to an end… but I won’t miss the things on this list. And look out, Victoria’s Secret, I’ll be beating down the door for your hottest double-Ds.


It takes a village, part two

Women in construction. image from ecobuildingtrends.com

Villages are not built overnight.

My attempts to rapidly fabricate a village in our new town have been a kind of tragicomedy which you can possibly only appreciate when you’ve felt the happy desperation that is being a stay at home mom. (Happy because instead of working somewhere you’re home taking care of this infinitely adorable little person/desperate because some days you just HAVE to talk to someone else or go somewhere before you collapse in an angry, weeping heap.)

I started with a few google searches: moms’ groups in gaithersburg, new moms montgomery county, etc. Found a few leads but nothing much was coming up. A children’s consignment shop about an hour from here was having a baby sign language class, and that inspired me to search for baby sign language in my area. I found something – classes taught nearby! Awesome. But no… the last time a class was held was in 2009. Further digging revealed this teacher lives an hour away and only does private classes now. Continue reading


Facing the move

Park Station Apartments... home sweet home

It has been is hard to face our move to Gaithersburg. Giving up our life in the city has left me feeling like I am breaking up with someone I still love. We’ve made three trips out since signing our lease – two moving a few boxes over, and one to paint the bedroom. Each trip has brought me to tears. I am not inclined, I don’t think anyway, to be melodramatic (though for what it’s worth, tears are closer to the surface since  having a baby – postpartum hormones I assume). I’ve sobbed every.single.trip.

Every other time I’ve moved, it has been for an opportunity or for love of the place. I can only remember one time I was heartbroken about a move – my parents bought a dark little ranch house in the country, and we left our bright, spacious rental with its swimming pool and proximity to my friends and our activities for a little acreage on top of a hill 15 miles from town.  That house – after a lot of remodeling – was a great place to live. We really made the place our own. I planted myriad daffodils (they still thrive today, fifteen several years later!) and my family built a barn together from lumber we salvaged over many weekends. I cut nearly every board of the hayloft myself. We raised sheep whose wool I spun. Four of my siblings came home to us there. And I didn’t lose my friends. We built another pool. I cried the day I moved away.

The point is, even a bleak move holds promise. Life goes on and it’s LIFE, not the PLACE, that makes it home. I don’t want to stay long in Gaithersburg, and I don’t expect to like most of the circumstances of life in the suburbs (so many blasted parking lots! you see more cars than people there!) but the days spent there ARE my life. I don’t get to suspend things till we can come back the city. I have a  very good-natured baby who deserves a happy mom, and a hard-working husband  who deserves a wife that doesn’t bring him down. Regardless of how I like my circumstances, I am the one who makes their circumstances either great or terrible.

Whatever else… I’ve got my gray bedroom, so I can wake up with a smile.