Things I love about breastfeeding:
- It's free.
- No bottles/nipples to wash/sterilize/store/remember to pack in the diaper bag.
- I never run out and have to
drivesend my husband to the store at 2 AM.
- It is impossible to forget to take it with me. Things I have forgotten to take with me in the past week include diapers, wipes, sippy cups, hats, blankets, strollers, the newborn. (I remembered that last one pretty fast.) (Don't tell my husband, ok?)
- At 3 AM, I can retrieve, nurse, burp and get the baby back to sleep without sitting up. I usually don't even bother to open my eyes.
- "Gosh honey, I would love to make dinner/do the dishes/bathe the toddler/have wild monkey sex, but I have to nurse the baby. Bummer."
- Actual, honest to god, almost-boobs and what could very nearly be mistaken for cleavage.
- 500 calories a day, baby. Pass the Peeps.
- You can't cry/scream/whine with a boob in your mouth.
- Long-term health benefits to the infant, blah, blah, whateverpants.
Things I hate about breastfeeding:
- You have got to be fucking kidding me. You just spent 90 minutes chomping on my boobs, you are not hungry again 10 minutes later.
- Pumping. (Are you a pumper? Because seriously, my hat is off to you. I think I would rather never get more than an hour away from this kid than deal with pumping.)
- Never getting more than an hour away from the kid.
- Waking up again to nurse again while the husband is sleeping peacefully again. (Best solution to this problem: swift kick to the shins.)
- THIS ECZEMA IS DRIVING ME INSANE AND NOBODY WILL GIVE ME DRUGS!
- None of my shirts fit over my boobs. Oh, except the maternity shirts.
- Nowhere to pass the buck at 3 AM, no matter how many times your eyes have literally popped out of your head from exhaustion.
- Breast pads.
- Sweaty breast pads. (I just started running again.)
- People acting like you have a boob hanging out or something just because you have a boob hanging out.
Hey! Guess who just scored herself a referral to the Pediatric Gastroenterologist?
Questions I get all the damned time, and the answers thereto:
Is Mia's hair naturally curly?
Are there seriously people who curl their 2-year-old's hair every day? Those people need hobbies. Mia will barely allow me to brush her hair, I can't imagine trying to do anything fancy to it. The curls are all hers.
When did Mia's hair get so long?
Why are you a vegetarian?
I'm not. I eat some salmon, tuna and crab and occasionally other kinds of fish.
Then why do you claim to be vegetarian, you lying bitch?
It's just easier than explaining that I don't eat meat or poultry or most kinds of seafood but do eat some seafood, dairy and eggs. Nobody really cares all that much. Well, most people don't care all that much.
Is Mia vegetarian?
By default, yes. Mia has about 6 acceptable foods right now, and none of those is meat. I've offered her meat, chicken and fish and will continue to do so occasionally but will not be the least bit upset if she never takes to it.
But don't you know that you are endangering her health and development by not feeding her hamburgers every day?
What can I say, I'm a horrible mother.
What are you going to do if/when the Hotty Pediatrician reads your blog?
I think that is highly unlikely since the only person (other than my husband) who knows both my url and the identity of the Hotty Pediatrician doesn't hate me that much (shout out to Laura, yo), the internet is a big place so the chances of him stumbling upon me are pretty small, and while he certainly has enough information to google his way here, I am quite certain he isn't that interested in my life. But if it did happen, I would hope he has a good sense of humor. Oh, and probably also hope for the ground to swallow me whole.
When are you going to post a picture of the Hotty Pediatrician?
Two weeks from never.
Where did you get those cool cloth diapers Owen wears?
Costco. Owen wears Pampers.
Is Mia potty training?
How's the poop thing going?
I don't want to talk about it.
How much does Owen weigh?
He's gaining about a pound a week, so let's call it 14 pounds or so right now.
What are you feeding that kid?
Breast milk. I was born too late, could have had an amazing career as a wet nurse.
Don't you want to have more kids since yours are so cute?
Nope. Well, maybe, if you are offering to pay for braces and college. But even then, nope.
Can I have your address so I can send you cookies/a baby gift/a nice package of bubonic plague?
What's Mia doing for preschool?
Two days a week at the church up the street.
But you hate church.
Not at all. I'm not religious and I object to many of the things done in the name of religion, but church was always a positive experience for me and I would be happy for my kids to have that same experience.
How are you so thin after having your second kid 6 weeks ago?
Shut up, you dirty liar. I'm 15 pounds up and the massive stash of Easter candy in my kitchen is not helping that situation at all. As of yesterday I was cleared to hit the treadmill though, so wish me luck. (I was also cleared for sex, but am more excited about the treadmill. No offense to my husband, naturally, blame it on the stomach so flabby that I am forced to avoid going outside on breezy days lest it get to blowing around and knock the toddler to the ground.
Did I miss any?
Him: Is your Playgroup Dropout site still up?
Him: Weren't they supposed to take that down?
Me: I thought so.
Him: You should start posting erotic fiction over there.
Me: Sure. And then our parents can read it. And my aunts and uncles. And all my cousins. And my mother's neighbors and coworkers.
Him: Right. Guess I didn't really think that one through.
Me: Also, my idea of erotic fiction these days is "Gabrielle felt weak at the knees as she watched Ramon do all the laundry, fold it and put it away... in the right places."
Me: "And then, he asked her about her day and actually listened to what she said."
Last Friday, just before we sat down to dinner, we learned that we had missed the window for enrolling Owen in our health insurance and would be unable to do so until open enrollment and unable to cover him until 2009. This was entirely our fault. As I sat there, trying to force myself to eat, trying not to panic or cry, I just kept looking down at Owen asleep in my lap and thinking how he was barely a month old and I had already failed him in such a spectacular manner. I was terrified - what if something horrible happened? What if he got sick or hurt and we ended up bankrupting ourselves with medical bills because we hadn't gotten off our asses to fill in a form on time? What if he was just a little sick and I decided not to take him to the doctor because I didn't want to have to pay for it and it turned out he was more than a little sick and I made him worse because I was worried about the money? What if he was turned away from a hospital or refused something he needed because he didn't have insurance?
Because it had never been an issue for me, it took me a while to realize that you can just buy health insurance. So I got online. I figured we would just get a policy to cover anything catastrophic and pay everything else ourselves. But most of those policies only cover 80%. And when I pulled our claims for Mia I found that some of her well baby visits run close to $300, and the very minor medications she has taken have at times hit $150 a month. So we decided we would buy a comprehensive policy to the tune of $300 a month.
It turned out that we were able to get Owen added to our current coverage, and I assure you we were hugely relieved. And while I would have been unhappy to pay $300 a month to cover Owen on top of the substantial amount we already pay to cover the rest of us, we would have been able to pay it. We would have been able to pay it and still pay the mortgage and buy groceries and gas and Mia would still have had ballet lessons and gone to preschool and we even would probably still have ordered the occasional pizza and gone on the occasional date. That ability is partly due to hard work, but not entirely. Lots of people work hard and can't afford health insurance for themselves or their children. It also has a lot to do with luck, and privilege.
I'm not entirely sure what my point is here, except that it was a new and unpleasant experience for me and I intend to remember that feeling of fear and helplessness very clearly so that I may stop taking my privilege for granted.
What can I say? The kid sleeps a lot.
(Those interested may compare to Mia at roughly the same age here.)
Ok ok, you asked for it. So, from my mondo list from yesterday, I would recommend the following books. Not necessarily my favorites ever read, not necessarily high quality literature, but engaging or original or just ones that stick out in my mind when I read back over the list.
The Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie
Becoming Madame Mao Anchee Min
What the Body Remembers Shauna Singh Baldwin
A Fine Balance Rohinton Minstry
The 25th Hour David Benioff
American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis (but be warned that this book will haunt you for the rest of your life and you may very well wish that you could unread it)
Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
Running with Scissors Augusten Burroughs
Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich
Middlesex Jeffery Eugenides
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer
The Task of this Translator Todd Hasak-Lowy
Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing Melissa Bank
The Ha-Ha Dave King
The Lost Daniel Mendelsohn
The Road Cormac McCarthy
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
What is the What Dave Eggers
The Historian Elizabeth Kostova
(There are lots more good books on that list, but if you are being struck with the sudden urge to read 19 books that I have read, those would be good ones to start with.)
Do you keep track of what you read? I strongly recommend it, because then you can go back and think, oh yes, I read that on the plane to Vegas or on the beach in Corolla or on the beach in France or while I was in California when my grandmother died or while I was hugely pregnant with my first child. You can also squander an entire naptime on an incredible amount of typing and post the list on your blog for no reason in particular. And so, here are the 300 books I have read since 1/1/01. Just ignore the typos (and the places where I couldn't read my own handwriting).
Remember this? At least Mia's pants were salvageable. This outfit was a huge hit at the mall.
Owen does this thing when he's sleeping where he cracks his eyes open just the tiniest bit to see if I'm there. If he can't see me, his eyes fly fully open and dart around and he moans and whines until I enter his field of vision. And then usually he keeps whining until I slip him some boob. But if he cracks his eyes open and does see me, then he just closes them again and slips peacefully back to sleep with a huge grin on his sweet little face.
Now on the one hand, dammit this kid is playing me like a fiddle already, but on the other hand, squish.
Owen is my second child. I know that baby poop has magical qualities and is able to escape every diaper ever invented such that your child becomes entirely cloaked in poop. You would think, therefore, that I would take a change of clothes with me when we go out. But no, instead I carry my newborn son around town all morning like this:
Good thing this kid loves to be naked.
Question for my fellow boob-feeders:
My boob hurts. Why?
(What, you need more to go on? Ok, it hurts over in the side, sort of up towards my armpit. I suspect it is bruised from squeezing the damned thing to try to fit it into Owen's mouth after he's slept 6 hours and I'm ready to pop, but if that's where it hurt that one time you had mastitis I would sure appreciate hearing that before my OB closes for the weekend.)
(No fever, so I'm pretty sure it isn't mastitis. Doesn't seem to be a latch problem since it hurts nowhere near where the little bugger clamps on like a starving shark. Plugged duct? What does that feel like? Something else?)
If you come to my house, you may notice that the blinds downstairs are always open, except for one window in the dining room. See, that's the one window that affords a view into the downstairs bathroom, and since I am never permitted to close the bathroom door I have had to settle for drawing the blinds in order to maintain some small degree of privacy. At least the neighbors don't have to come to the bathroom with me too.
So, how is your life glamorous?
You know how when you have a girl, everyone gives you pink princess clothes? Well, when you have a boy, they give you football clothes. So here is Owen in his Local Sports Team finery, courtesy of my brother.
Now, I know this is my kid, but seriously, that third picture? Couldn't you just cram him entirely into your mouth?
Also, sweet lord but can you see how blue his eyes are? If those suckers don't change I am going to be beating the girls off this kid with a stick.
I've started to get paranoid that the Hotty Pediatrician will some day realize that I spend every visit on the lookout for blog fodder
When I took Owen to his one month doctor visit, the Hotty Pediatrician told me I looked "rested." That's totally code for "hott," right? I mean damn, he may as well have said "wow, your ass looks really great in those fat pants," or "my god, I was so distracted by your milk-induced almost-cleavage that I nearly didn't notice your muffin top," or even "baby, you have to leave your husband and run away with me because he will never appreciate your flabby belly and fat thighs the way I will."
Way to play it cool, Hotty Pediatrician dude.
You were one month old yesterday, and before you get all offended about how you are my second child and therefore I can't even write your first letter on the right day, I am writing this on the 10th but saving it until the 11th so I can include your stats from your one month well check. Just in case that sort of thing comes to matter to you some day.
And so, you tipped the scales at 11 lbs 15 oz and are 22 and 3/4 inches long. Yowza.
Little man, I cannot believe it has been an entire month already. It feels, as I'm sure it always does, simultaneously as if you have been here forever and also as if you have just arrived. This month has been so fabulous, getting to know you, getting to watch how much you change in such a short time, seeing how easily and fully you fit into and complete our family. I cannot believe that it only a month ago I hadn't even met you, had no idea what you looked like or how you would be.
The benefit of being the second child is that I didn't have to spend the early weeks figuring out how to keep you alive and instead got to spend them getting to know you, so that I feel I know you very well already where your sister was still a stranger to me at this point. I can tell when you are hungry and when you just want your pacifier. I can tell when you want to be held and when you want to be left alone to explore the wonder that is your right arm. I can tell the difference between your waking-up noises and your just-because noises. I fell like we are already such a good team, like we are already partners in this business of getting through each day.
In the past month, you have gone from a warm, cute loaf of bread to an actual person. You are incredibly alert during the few hours a day you manage to stay awake. You like to watch people, stare at toys, admire yourself in the mirror, and most of all, you love to see Mia. If you are crying, which is rare, I ask Mia to sing for you and you invariably stop crying and listen. She adores you too, always wants to hold and kiss and hug you, and while I know there will be trouble ahead I deeply hope that you two will always feel such love and concern for each other. A few days ago, I caught you playing. You were sitting in your bouncy seat and would fling an arm over your head, smile, and then do it again. On a different day I put you on a blanket on the floor for a few minutes, and you had such fun kicking your legs that you cried when I picked you up and could not be comforted until I put you down to continue your game. You smile easily and often, and sometimes even seem to almost laugh.
You eat well, you sleep well, and for both of those things I am incredibly grateful. You are very relaxed, and even when you are very hungry can be bribed for a few minutes with a pacifier if I have something else I absolutely have to do first. You spend a lot of your time being dragged to Mia's' various activities, and endure it all happily either asleep in your carseat or lashed to my chest.
You are the noisiest eater I have ever seen in my life, slurping and chomping and cooing and making a cacophony of noises. When you get excited, you hoot and holler and it took me a while to figure out that it was a good thing and not the prelude to a cry. You will sleep just about anywhere, but at night have a definite preference for my chest, and I am usually happy to oblige, provided you let me get a few hours of sleep on my own first. You are incredibly strong and we have all learned to live in fear of your accidental head-butts.
I am afraid that I have allowed you to get sick in your very first month. Nothing serious, just a stuffy nose that requires me to spend much of the day extracting trails of green slime with the nasal aspirator, to your intense displeasure, but you have tolerated even that with your usual good cheer. Even when I can hear how very hard it is for you to breathe, you continue to sleep well, eat well, and be comforted easily following my nasal violations.
Owen, I was terrified about becoming your mother. Scared that I would not be able to cope, would not do a good job, would always be giving someone short shrift in my efforts to care for two children, but you have made my job easy. I keep saying that you are the World's Most Perfect Newborn, and that is true, but it would be true regardless. You are perfect because you are here, because you are, as Mia says, "our Owen."
When we moved Mia to her big girl bed, we told her not to get out of it on her own, to just call us and we would come get her. And she has never gotten out - until today. Naptime didn't so much happen today, courtesy of Daylight Savings Time, and when I gave up and went to free Mia from the prison of her bed, I found that she had already gotten up.
And cleaned her room.
Dear men who plan to someday have children,
There will come a time in your life when your wife says "hey, you want to try a little bondage?" and this is what she will mean:
Never say we didn't warn you.
(Owen is in there somewhere, I assure you.)
P.S. Before you get all mushy about how wonderful my husband is, please be advised that 1) that is true, and 2) he wore the kid for 30 minutes so I could make dinner and I wore the kid for 11 hours straight and had abdominal surgery three weeks ago. Also 3) it was totally hilarious watching him try to get something off the bottom shelf in the fridge.
Sometimes, trying to think of a title is the hardest part of my day. Is that sad? That's sad, right?
OMG! I CANNOT BELIEVE I forgot to tell you that last Thursday, someone cleaned my house! Someone other than me, obviously, because "last Thursday I cleaned my own house" would be a really boring piece of news to share with the internet. Not that the news of someone else cleaning my house is all that exciting... for you, but it is the most exciting thing that has happened to me in months. Well ok, I guess the second most exciting thing, after the birth of my child (who is currently strapped to my chest, where he has been basically non-stop since 1:00 this morning, but I cannot complain as he continues to be the World's Most Perfect Newborn). And! And! She is coming back to do it again next week! And then a couple more times after that! Man, sometimes life is just really, really good, you know?
Oh, and I'm wearing real clothes today. I dug out a pair of fat pants I bought when I was pregnant with Mia and didn't need maternity clothes until the third trimester as opposed to this time when I was in maternity pants at roughly four minutes pregnant, and am wearing them with a non-maternity shirt (and a nursing tank top, but whatever) and I have to say that you were all right. Wearing real clothes is the way to go, even if you are somewhat horrified by the number on the tag. So, I ordered some jeans (cause right, I'm taking these kids to the mall) and am hoping one of the six pairs will fit since I have no idea what size I am right now and even though I know the size of the pants I am currently wearing I have no idea how that will correspond to the size of any other pants on the face of the planet and also I am stumpy as all get out and can never never no never find jeans short enough to fit my wee little legs (am 5'6" and all torso - like seriously, you could serve dinner for eight on my stomach) so chances are I will return all six pairs and sink into a deep depression, but at least I tried.
And clearly, this will come back to bite me in the ass, but I still feel I have to document just how hard I am rocking this mother of two thing. I was terrified, convinced I would never be able to do it and would just sit in the corner all day and weep at the futility of it all, but dudes, I am so good at this. It just... clicks for me, somehow. In fact, I've been thinking we should have a few more, and the sooner the better.
(I haven't really been thinking that, I just wanted to flip my husband out. Hee. Sorry honey.)
I have, oh, let's just call it 20 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose. That's rounding up just a bit, but who doesn't like to be 2 pounds under their "normal" weight. (And ok, so really I would rather lose 25 pounds, but can assure you that I don't have the willpower to do it.) But I'm not in any real rush. I'm still within the "ideal" weight range and body mass index and all that stuff by most calculations, I think I look just fine, thank you very much, provided that I am fully clothed. (And obviously, the only person who will be seeing me naked in Chris and he has recently witnessed a series of such horrifying things in relation to my body that I am presuming "somewhat chubby" will be a welcome relief from "sliced open" or "gushing blood.") Admittedly, I could stand to back off the ice cream and cookie habit acquired during my pregnancy, and I will start trying to fit in a few days a week of real exercise once my OB gets over herself and clears me for it, but I have no intention of embarking an any sort of actual diet in the near future because I think dieting in the early weeks of breastfeeding is just setting yourself up for problems.
I am coming to terms with the likelihood that this extra weight will not just disappear the way it did with Mia and that I may be clinging to at least a portion of these extra 20 pounds for some time to come. And I'm cool with that, except for one thing. If I don't get out of maternity pants I am going to vomit.
I've avoided buying fat pants on the theory that hey, I'm just going to lose this weight so why waste the money, but I don't think I can abide the elastic waist bands for much longer. Also, the maternity pants require that I keep wearing the maternity shirts since they are the only ones long enough to hide the maternity-ness of my pants, and the maternity shirts are, thankfully, starting to look ridiculous.
So, I need new pants. Maybe. I really hate spending money on something I hope like hell to not need in a couple of months, it just breaks my little cheapskate heart. What did you guys do? Tough it out in maternity clothes until your old clothes fit? Embark on a totally depressing shopping expedition for fat pants? Wait until the easy part was over and you knew how much of it you were going to have to work for? Mu-mus? (Also, any recommendations on where to get inexpensive jeans that won't expose your ass to the other mommies at playgroup?)
I dreamed about the Hotty Pediatrician last night. We were getting gas. That's it.
Mia playing with the children of our friends Ava and Jack. Yes, it is tragic that those lovely children were born without faces, but they are very brave and leading normal lives. (Or else, I simply neglected to obtain permission from their parents to put their kids on the internet, have a four second window to get this posted which does not allow time for requesting permission, and while I doubt they would mind I decided to go the faceless route, just to be safe.)
Owen slept 9-4 last night, which for those of you playing along at home is a 7 hour stretch from a three-week old and further proof that everyone should have nine pound (by now closer to eleven pound) babies. So hooray! And also ouch! I had to get up and pump four ounces of milk before feeding him so that he wouldn't chip a tooth on my rock-hard boobs. You know, if he had any teeth.
Everybody loves random, right?
Thursday night was my turn to put Mia to bed, which I did knowing that Owen was almost certain to wake up while I was so occupied and be famished since it had been nearly four hours since he had eaten. When I finally finished reading stories, singing songs, adding to the amazing saga of Hoppity the Bunny and rubbing Mia's back, I went downstairs to find Chris holding a very grumpy looking baby chomping discontentedly on a pacifier. When he saw me, Owen flipped out - grunting and squirming and looking like if wishing were enough to make it so he would fling himself straight into my arms. Now, I know he was only going for the milk and has no particular affection for me, but I am still thrilled because my baby recognized me.
I went to the doctor yesterday (never get this, it sucks, but if you are going to get it, make sure not to do so while pregnant or nursing because then there isn't a hot damned thing you can do about it) (also, it took me much longer than it should have to find that link because I was thinking of the wrong Latin roots, would it really be so hard for doctors to spell this shit for you? I mean, they must know that everyone is going right home to google it) and I haven't been there in a while and now they have this bizarre checklist that they give you when you check in where you are supposed to indicate the symptoms you are currently experiencing. I cannot for the life of me figure out the value of this process, but I had to wait a while so I read through the list. In the "men's health" section, there was a place to check off "libido" but the "women's health" section was just things like "PMS" and "the vapors." Why is libido an accepted medical issue for men and not for women? Oh right, because we are supposed to just drink a glass of wine and get on with it. I am going to have to switch doctors on the grounds that mine is apparently a sexist asshole.
Mia got into our chosen preschool for next year. Granted, the only entrance requirement for this preschool is "can your mommy write a check?" but there was a lottery and a wait list so we are relieved to have gotten in, especially since it was the only place we applied (shut up, I was hugely pregnant).