20 minutes and counting…

I have 20 minutes between meetings, and I will not spend that checking emails or planning out the rest of my day. No, I will spend it attempting to update you all on my liiiiiiife.

Here’s what’s been going on:

  1. Last weekend I threw a 25 anniversary party for my in-laws. To abbreviate a very long story, Mr. O and I were emotionally blackmailed into throwing this and I did 90% of the work. (Nope. Not bitter. Not one tiny bit.) I spent the last month or so running around picking up decorations, planning the menu, and other logistics. It went off okay (because TRAFFIC meant we got there after everyone else and were setting up while every one stood around watching.) I thought it was nice, and almost all the guests who attended said we did a lovely job. You know who hasn’t said that? MY IN-LAWS. The same in-laws who refused to help with our baby shower. Sometimes they baffle me.
  2. I have stopped pumping at work as of Monday. I tapered like a pro, I think in large part for myself than for Chick. Because I am a weirdo, I brought my pump equipment “just in case”, and it sung its demented siren song on my desk ALL DAY. But I resisted the urge and I now have massive chunks of my day back. Is it strange to say I miss it? Not the pumping (flanges can f*ck themselves!) but I do miss taking time out of my day every day to think about something else, or just breathe. Or binge watch Netflix shows.
  3. Good friends who have been trying to get babied for almost 3 years are pregnant with twins. My heart swells with joy for them. I wonder if this is what healing looks like, as I have felt zero pangs of sadness/envy/any of the other icky feelings I used to feel about pregnancy announcements.
  4. Got into it big time on Facebook about gendered baby clothes. A friend got pissed that the Ghostbusters shirt for boys was just the logo, while the one for girls said “In Training.” #lame Of course, this got me all ranty about how gendered clothes for kids are and I went a little nuts… See,  if you dress a boy in a pink shirt, people get hella uncomfortable. I do think we’ve taken some strides (some tiny teeny strides) at allowing girls to like pink and also dinosaurs. If you put a little boy in something blue with unicorns on it? Wait…. I can’t find boy t-shirts with unicorns on them. As a feminist raising a feminist, this annoys the SHIT out of me because we’re implying that it is okay for little girls to blend being feminine with traditional masculine traits or interests, but boys can’t do the same because being “girly” is bad. Or literally not an option. I don’t mean to imply that the crap going on in the girls clothing departments of America is the same. Systemic sexism is a real thing and it disproportionately impacts women from the day we are born. [shakes angry fists in the air] To combat that, we need to attack this problem from both sides, allowing girls and boys to be brave, kind, and courageous. No one gender should corner the market on those traits. I do worry that my tendency to frame this up as “What Sucks in Little Boys Fashion” takes away from the real bullshit in girls choices. I don’t want to co-opt the conversation, but at the same time I find the challenge of raising a feminist son real and one I wasn’t entirely prepared for.
  5. Chick took his first steps! He is 14 months, and of course I was just starting to worry that his relative lack of mobility meant *something.* As usual, he took his first tiny leap forward just as I was about to google. Chick still prefers crawling since it is a lot faster, but still… he is on his way. I revel in watching him grow and learn new things. It’s like magic or something.

And like that, my 20 minutes are up. The whirlwind of life continues.

VIDEO: Embarrassed

So yeah… I’ve never felt embarrassed to breastfeed in public. I always figured my kid needed feeding so I was going to get the job done. That’s my job as Chick’s parent– you know, make sure he doesn’t starve.

However…

I have felt amused when a couple sitting next to me asked to be reseated when I was nursing my child.

I have felt angry when creepy frat boys tried to get a peak at my boob when I was nursing my child.

I have felt profoundly uncomfortable when a man sitting across from my table at a restaurant stared at me while I was nursing my child. (Just yesterday, my friends.)

Though there are parts of this video that I don’t entirely agree with (the formula thing, for example, can be more complicated than a 3 minute clip allows), I do appreciate the central question: In a culture that puts breast on every other billboard and splashes them indiscriminately on magazine covers at the super market check out… Can’t we just get over breastfeeding in public?

Bottles are for Suckers

About a week ago, Mr. O picked Chick up from daycare and they mentioned that he hardly took any bottle at all. At first they thought he is just going off breast milk. A weird idea to me, but one I welcomed since… well, I’m so over pumping. Nursing is fine, but this ‘round the clock business while I’m at work is cramping my style.

So we upped the formula and thought that would be the beginning of the end. It was, alright… the end of my SANITY.

You see, Chick hasn’t gone off breast milk. Au contraire, mon ami- Chick still loves boob time. What he has turned his back on is bottles. He will drink at most 6 oz over the course of the day from a bottle. Attempts to get him to drink more are futile unless he goes right to the source, i.e. me.

(Before you ask, yes I have tried to introduce sippy cups. #epicfail)

After some back and forth with Chick’s doctor, we’ve determined the best path forward is to make sure he is eating more solids, and more high calorie foods. So rather than preparing one lunch and two snacks for him every day, I’m making three god damn meals for him to take to daycare. This does not include breakfast and dinner which are served at home.

I’m making this little despot angel 5 meals a day. 5 MEALS!

I spent 4 hours chopping, steaming, mushing, and freezing food yesterday. Not only that, the added pressure of varying flavor combinations and textures. Butternut squash, apples and farro, butternut squash, golden beets and brown rice, golden beets, zucchini and pasta, zucchini and pear, sweet potatoes and black beans, avocado, black beans and quinoa… LENTILS! Lentils and pear and farro, lentils, apple and quinoa, lentils and sweet mother of pearl…

After hours in the kitchen making his meals for the week and then making our dinner for the night, I sat down with Mr. O and Chick. My one concession to this whole thing is that when Chick is at home, he is eating whatever we are (or some version thereof.) Last night, Mr. O and I were eating pork loin, lentil salad, and sauteed fiddleheads. Chick was eating some of the lentils, pork, and freshly prepped pears.

Chick hated it. All of it.

Now, maybe it was the hours of standing and cooking in the kitchen, which is exhausting under any circumstances. Maybe it was the indignity of having spent all that time making food only to have Chick reject it. After caving and giving him some stupid Happy Baby Organics packet usually reserved for emergencies, I asked Mr. O to take him for 10 minutes. I went to my bedroom and cried.

I have not been this frustrated since Chick was 2 months old, ironically also around food. It was the final nursing of the evening and Chick was still hungry. Mr. O was taking a bit longer than Chick would have liked heating up the bottle, and he just sat in my arms crying. So I cried. We both cried. It felt desperate, but also glorious in a weird way. There is something really liberating about admitting to misery.

It isn’t all bad, of course. While I was in the midst of my cooking marathon, Chick hung out in the kitchen with me playing with books, eating scraps, and banging on the floor with a pastry brush. I loved watching his face light up when he turned to the pages in his book, or when his faced turned after eating a raw piece of zucchini. But after this weekend, I’m going to seriously consider supplementing his lunch box with some store bought options… I’d rather spend my weekends with my baby than making food for him.

Mini-post: my baby hates me. Or at least my cooking.

I find a lot of joy in cooking. When Chick started on solids, I was looking forward to it in large part because I was excited to prepare his food. Ready, set, purée.

Things have been going well for the last two months. Then just last week, Chick went all diva on food. He’d take a few bites and be, at best, disinterested. I tried new foods, old foods, new combos, even a little baby led weaning.

Tonight, at my wits end, I pulled out the emergency prepared, store bought baby food.

He ate all 4 oz with gusto.

I’m trying not to take this personally.

A day in the life

Like many new parents, I get emails from companies trying to sell me shit. Or get me to sign up for shit. Or whatever. I’ve mostly ignored them, but there are a few I find helpful on occasion. One is Lucie’s List, which I’m a big fan of. Useful information with a dash of humor. I also like the ones from BabyCenter, because they recommend different development games you can play with your baby based on their age. A lot of the other stuff on their site is mindnumbingly idiotic, but there are a few gems.

So I was poking around the site this morning and came across something called “Baby Schedules.” I think “Huh? Baby schedules? Isn’t the whole point of babies that they say ‘F*CK YOU!’ to any and all plans?”  Needless to say, I was intrigued.

The article goes on to link to 8 different schedules, based on a whole bunch of variables.

Are you a stay at home mom?  Or are you a formula feeding working mom? How about a stay at home mom who is breastfeeding twins? We’ve got you covered!

Then I read these schedules and laughed my ass off. Of course, I picked the one that most closely resembles my sitch, only to realize whoever wrote this is a plan old liar. Okay, maybe not a liar, but leaving out all the good parts.

So ladies… here for your entertainment is my “Schedule” (Really. This happened yesterday.)

6:15 am: Wake up, stumble into the shower. My child is awesome and has slept through the night again. Hear Chick thrashing around in his crib the moment water hits my face. Realize I have about 10 minutes before he gets all diva on my ass.

6:25 am: Hop out of the shower to Chick getting his bossy on. Ask Mr. O to delay leaving for work by 5 minutes so I can dry off and put some product in my hair while he attends to The Supreme Leader.

6:30 am: Take Chick from Mr. O. Sing him his “Good Morning” song as I change his diaper and take him out of his pjs.

6:45 am: Heat up Chick’s bottle with his daily dose of vitamins while performing our morning “chores” which include turning down the heat, turning off his humidifier, and setting up my pump equipment.

7:00 am: Feed Chick. First we breastfeed, then he takes an oz or so from the the vitamin bottle. Chick has decided he would rather yell into my boob than eat from it. He also decides that smacking me in the face while nursing is a great way to test out his new motor skills.

7:30 am: Chick is finished eating. I lay him down in the middle of my bed so that I can get dressed while he laughs and plays. Then it’s time to get Chick dressed, which proves a little challenging because he has recently discovered that he has feet. “Look, Mom! I have FEET! Feet that can go in my mouth! What do you mean you need to put my pants on?”

7:45 am: Chick and I migrate to the living room where he hangs out in his exersaucer while I pump, ideally for 20 minutes. I’ve got a lot of milk let in them boobies, since Chick decided food time was actually fun time.

7:55 am: Chick develops a deeply complicated relationship with the starfish on his exersaucer. He laughs one minute, cries the next. Then laughs again. I apply makeup because no one needs to know what my face really looks like.

8:00 am: Chick and Starfish are no longer on speaking terms. From across the room, hooked up to my breast pump, I try to distract him from this painful break up with a basket of shiny toys. (We’ve all done that once or twice, amiright?)

8:05 am: I unhook myself from the pump, and attempt to get Chick’s bottles ready for the day. This requires that I’m in the kitchen, and Chick must have an audience AT ALL TIMES or there will be yelling. So I run back into the living room, take Chick out of the exersaucer and prepare all the bottles and his bag for daycare with one hand.

8:15 am: Take Chick into his room to get his winter gear. As if sensing I might want to leave the house soon, Chick pukes all over himself. My catlike reflexes successfully keep most of the puke off me and his clothes, but not the floor. SPLAT. And so I find myself cleaning puke from the floor with a baby on my hip.

[I would like to point out that I have now been awake for over 2 hours.]

8:25 am: I wrestle Chick into his bunting and car seat. Little known fact: This is apparently an act of torture as outlined by the Geneva Convention.

8:35 am: I waddle out to the car with a baby, my laptop, pump equipment for the day, and Chick’s daycare bag. Get in the car, and get on the road.

8:45 am: Get to daycare, hoist Chick out of the car. Carry him and all his crap up the very steep driveway that leads to daycare. Drop him off.

8:55 am: Arrive at work and get an amazing parking spot. SCORE.

9:05 am: I’ve settled into my desk with a cup of coffee, only to realize something smells like… what is that smell? Is that…?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I missed a puke spot.

9:15 am: Run to the bathroom to clean up said puke and readjust scarf to cover it up.

10:00 am: Skype meeting with colleague in London.

10:35 am: Said meeting runs over, so I am 5 minutes late to my pump session. Run over the Mothers Room and attach vacuum suction to my boobs. I’ve given up on the idea I can concentrate on anything while pumping and watch “Ms. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” in 20 minute installments.

12:00 pm: Eat lunch at my desk to prepare slides for a meeting the next day. I wade through spreadsheets like a shipwrecked cast away.

1:30 pm: Pump session #2. Finally find out who is responsible for poisoning the old lady in “Mozzarella and MURDER.”

2:00 pm: Run to another meeting with someone who makes my brain itch. Try very hard not to think “I put my baby in daycare for this shit?!”

3:00 pm: Weekly status meeting. I say smart things. Mr. O texts me to say that he forgot he has a haircut appointment after work, so could I do pick up? Please?

4:25 pm: Last office pump session of the day. I get started a little early so I can maybe leave a little early since I now have to do daycare pick up.

4:55 pm: Just about to leave when my boss wants to catch up the presentation for tomorrow’s meeting. I walk through it a few times. We’re all set.

5:35 pm: Make it to daycare. Chick just fell asleep, and I’m the meanie who wakes him up for his most favorite thing: bunting and car seat time! Yelling!

5:55 pm: Home. Chick sits in his car seat peacefully for about 5 minutes before the grunting and whining begins.

6:05 pm: I realize Mr. O never told me when he was coming home. Realize I will have to make dinner and hold Chick at the same time. I put him in his Becco, and chop vegetables while dancing him around to Shakira. (Yes, my baby likes Shakira. His hips don’t lie…)

6:45 pm: Mr. O still isn’t home yet, and Chick and I are both getting hungry. I make dinner while bouncing Chick on my hip.

7:15 pm: Mr. O gets home just as I finish cooking. I would sass him at his inability to let me know when he would be home, but I’m too hungry to give a shit.

7:30 pm: Food is on the table. Mine, Chick’s, Mr. O’s. Because Chick is all about the solids, he gets excited by the avocado just inches from his face, so I put down my fork and feed him. After about 10 minutes, Mr. O offers to feed Chick so I can eat. I say “Thank you” out loud and things that aren’t so nice in my head.

7:45 pm: Mr. O (who normally does all the dishes and bottles) offers me one of two options. I can a) play with Chick while he does the dishes or b) I can do the dishes while he has some Chick time. I opt for dishes because though I love my kid, I need some alone time right about now.

8:00 pm: Finish the dishes and the bottles. Wonder how it takes Mr. O twice as long when he does them. (Ahem. SERIOUSLY.)

8:30 pm: Start socializing the idea of bedtime. Change Chick into his pjs, sing him his pajama song, and get his room ready for the night.

8:45 pm: Nurse Chick. He struggles for about 5 minutes, then gives in. I hand him over to Mr. O who gives him a bottle and then puts him to bed.

9:15 pm: Last pump session of the day. To make this less tedious, I reward myself with a bowl of ice cream. Not sure why I bother because I get an ounce at most. Put all my pump equipment in the wash. Brush my teeth. Get ready for bed.

9:45 pm: Finally in bed. Read for 10 minutes until I pass out.

Then we wake up and do it all over again.

 

6 Months FTW!

First, I’m sucking at blogging right now. Sorry it has been awhile. I have three posts I’ve been incrementally working on but never fully satisfied with. Someday, I may even publish them.

I’m sucking less at life, however, and this strikes me as more important. On the good news front:

  • Chick went to his 6 month check up and was a dream (More on that later.)
  • Grumpy Cat is using litter once more, after a lot of intervention. It’s a mess, but at least it is a mess in a box.
  • We finally agreed on who to make Chick’s guardian should tragedy strike– and said person accepted. Now we just need to make that final and legal and shit. 

So, yes… I’ve been busy. But now on to the stuff you’re actually interested in.

We took Chick to his 6 month checkup yesterday and by all accounts he is doing wonderfully. From the tiny peanut who arrived in July, he is now in the 64% for head circumference, 50% for height, and 26% for weight. This last one is a huge improvement– he was just at 10% at his last checkup in November. As his pediatrician flipped him on his belly, Chick struck the “perfect 6 month pose”, holding his head up with a big, drooly grin.

He had his vaccinations, which I’m no fan of. Scratch that- I’m fine with vaccinations, I’m just a complete wimp when my child gets them. I’m not sure who cries more. He was mostly okay with them this time around, except he had a huge, fussy, crying fit going to bed. The only thing that calmed him was a snuggle and some booby time. Then he passed out from sheer exhaustion.

Chick is an amazing little being. He is rolling over, standing (assisted, mind you) and just starting to sit up on his own. He is even learning to turn pages of books, proving that he is actually my child even if he doesn’t look like me one bit.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reintroducing milk and soy to my diet to fantastic results. No bloody stool. No puking. So I’m mowing down chocolate and butter like it’s 1999.

I think we’ll start solids this week. I was getting all “To Baby Led Wean or not to Baby Led Wean,” when Chick’s pedi told me to calm down and do whatever I wanted. In her mind, now is about introducing flavors and textures. Don’t over think it. And so I’m not going to BLW. Long story, but since Chick tends to be a smidge delayed (thanks to his premie-ness) I’d rather feed him ourselves.

6 months is also a milestone for me. I’m still breastfeeding like a boss! What people don’t tell you is that breastfeeding is a huge ass commitment. I’ve calculated that it takes 2.5 hours out of my day every day (on the days he is at daycare.) Not to mention I have to make sure I’m eating and drinking enough, taking my prenatals, blah, blah, blah… When will the world realize that feeding a human being is a lot of motherf*cking work! So breaking it into 3 month increments felt less daunting. I’ve decided to re-up until he is 9 months, and see how I feel from there.

As every parent has said at one point, I can’t believe how quickly these months have passed. I’ve loved watching Chick learn, helping him grow, and seeing the world new through his eyes.

It’s some trippy shit, I tell ya…