Posted in J

What is There to Do?

We’ll be getting ready to go on vacation soon and thank the stars! I have two of the most bored kids ever living in my house.  This week away promises a reprieve to the day after day of being able to do almost anything they want (the horror). It is almost the end of July and we have not yet been to the coast, it’s true. I have been somewhat envious of the status updates being posted to my Facebook of friends on their day trips to the beach, with or without kiddos. That being said, I am only somewhat envious because I do not love New England beaches. Yes, they are pretty in pictures with their lighthouses and seagrass, but they feel horrible in the actual water. The Atlantic Ocean is the coldest, murkiest ocean imaginable. If you can get in up to your bellybutton before dying of hypothermia, consider yourself lucky. It is not refreshing, it’s tortuous (to me).

When I entered the Pacific Ocean waters of Oahu, Hawaii, I was instantly spoiled. This is what ocean water should feel like, I thought to myself–I knew something good existed. All those sea turtles and dolphins and whales couldn’t be wrong, right? Then I felt the beautiful gulf coast water, and I knew heaven exists and that God is good. I cannot explain how much I am looking forward to visiting that coast again soon.

But back to the kids. We are kind of protective of our boys. We live close to a big park, but we also live very close to one of the most dangerous cities in the Unites States, and this park borders that city. There are shootings every night, and I wish I was over-exaggerating, but sadly I am not. We have lived in this house for less than a year now, and I guess we didn’t take into consideration that we weren’t going to allow them to visit this park unsupervised when we purchased a home with a pretty small backyard.

If I get asked “So what can I do?” one more time this summer, we’re going to have problems. My child specifically, whenever a hand-held screen is removed from his possession, is likely to ask this question within the next 60 seconds. He also will probably tell you how bored he is now. No, son. It takes a lot more than 60 seconds to get bored. You are not allowed to be bored until you after you have spent hours playing with everything you own at least once.

I lived on a short street growing up. I remember riding my bicycle up and down that short street. I remember digging for worms. What for? No clue. I don’t know what I was planning on doing with the worms, but they didn’t stay put under the turned-over pail I kept them in on the grass, anyway. I laid in the grass and watched clouds go by. I played “Cars” where I would sit on the front stoop and try to guess the color of the next car that would pass by. I would get a point every time I was right. I also used up reams up paper on drawings. I liked to draw and color and this would amuse me for hours. I am young enough to have had a game system growing up (Nintendo), but it wouldn’t consume me. Yes, my sister and I would go through spurts of time when that was all we wanted to do. But it wouldn’t last forever and we would be back outside, either in the snow or the sun, stretching our legs and throwing softballs at each other.

My son has the same outside available to him, but he doesn’t want to do anything except play video games with the occasional break to get in our swimming pool, if it is nice out. We have our own freaking swimming pool, you guys. He does love swimming, I will give him that. But he loves his games more. He might love his games more than me, and this kid loves his mother, let me tell you. And since I have a 6 week old baby who keeps me busy feeding her around the clock, I am useless to help them. The only reason I am typing this right now is because her father took her out of the house for a couple of hours. I am watching the clock just to make sure I leave myself enough time to take a shower and get dressed before the baby comes back and needs my nipples again.

It just seems stupid that we have to fly 8 states away in order for the kids to have something to do. We have to take them to an ice rink. Let them have a friend over or go over a friend’s house. We have spoiled freaking kids. We did what we said we would never do. They don’t have simple lives. I wonder all the time if my son is going to be able to look back on his childhood as a simple time, and be able to tell his kids the free ways he had fun growing up. I don’t think so. I think he is going to remember having to be driven out of our neighborhood to a park or playground or a lake in order to have any simple fun. And we do that–but this summer has been hard with a new baby who requires oxygen support.

So we’ll see how vacation goes. We are planning on taking the hand-helds away once we de-plane so we can just enjoy each other. Should I take a tally of how many “what can I do’s?” when we get in the car without electronics?

Posted in diet

Just a Number

It’s time to go for it again–I’m talking food, folks. Real food. If I ever had a reason to before, it is now. Baby girl is breaking out, having belly-aches, and liquid dumps.
(Sorry.)

A few years ago, an old friend of mine posted on her Facebook that she just started a Whole30 program. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up. In the course of the day, I pored over the website. I thought I could never follow that diet, but something on their website somehow encouraged me to try. So I started right then. I made it a few weeks and the change in myself was obvious. Obvious to me and obvious to those around me. But someone came to my home, told me I couldn’t do that to myself… Couldn’t keep it up. Others chimed in with their agreement. And just like that, it was over. I stopped. I was discouraged. I gave in.

I wish I had kept going.

And I tell everyone how wonderful the diet is. How much sense it makes. And I still read nutritional books as often as I can. I research it online. I subscribe to Facebook pages that align with the Whole9 nutritional beliefs. Yes, I’m basically a paleo wannabe.

I have a friend who didn’t believe in it… and then her husband went away for 6 weeks. And she tried it. And she believes in the virtues of it, too. She gets it.

So I know that if I can eliminate inflammatory foods, not only will I feel better and healthier, my baby will feel better, too.

I’m not planning on doing another Whole30, just following the Whole9 as closely as possible. It’s a bit less strict, where the Whole30 is eliminating anything that could cause an adverse gut reaction in an effort to re-set your system.

I’m hoping my baby will soon become more comfortable and be able to self-soothe a little better if her gut isn’t freaking out by the contents of my breast milk.

I am also hoping my boyfriend will be more supportive of this choice than he has been in the past. He said he would be, and I think the difference is that now my diet is affecting his baby girl. His only concern is that I eat enough to nourish us both. I don’t think this will be a problem as I don’t like being hungry. I just have to make sure I keep enough of the right foods on hand so I don’t resort to an inflammatory choice.

Society has made such a big deal out of food. We have so many choices in the grocery stores and of grocery stores. Restaurants everywhere in varying levels of price and quality. There are television programs and entire television networks devoted to food. Nutrition and food preparation professions. Zillions of magazines about food. And books! So many books. And everyone has their opinion on every diet and option. It’s really confusing and not hard to imagine why there is such disfunction surrounding the American diet.
I feel like I have a grasp of what to do and how to do it–it’s the execution of it that I continually fail at.

I really need to be successful this time. If I can’t manage it for myself, then for my daughter who depends on me completely for her nutrition. I am hoping the gains I make and the progress I see will serve as motivation for me. As I sit here typing, I’m watching my little girl sleep, but she isn’t peaceful. She is visibly uncomfortable, moving and grunting. This, after hours of trying to get her to sleep. I need to help her.

I gained over 50 pounds this pregnancy. I was horrified by this. I sat in the midwifery and couldn’t control my tears when I saw the number on the scale. It’s just a number, people say. But it’s more than that for us, for our society. It feels like it’s worth. And so my worth was diminished that day with that number. And then the nurse blabbed the number to everyone in the delivery room without my permission. I was mortified.

I’m 5 weeks postpartum now, and 35 of that 50 pounds has vanished, thankfully. The other 15 I suppose is weight that never should have been put on. And I could easily lose 30 pounds to be where I feel I should be. It may be just a number.
And I may be a victim of this messed-up, vain, society.

So here we go again. The paleo thing.
I know it’s the right decision.

Posted in CG, lists

Sh*t People Say When You’ve Had a Baby

Firstly, before I start making a list, let’s talk about double talk. Ever since little CG was born, I’ve noticed it. When people talk to my baby, they repeat everything they say.  For example, and imagine this being said in a higher-than-normal voice register: “You’re a cute baby. Yes. You’re  a cute baby.”Orrrr, “Do you want your mama? You want your mama?” Almost everything that is said to baby, is said in double.

I brought this up to my boyfriend, CG’s father, when I heard him doing it, too.  I think I’ve given him a complex about it because now he speaks to our baby in triplicate or more… I think because he realized ‘shit she’s right’ and he isn’t going to be one of them. To be fair, I catch myself doing it, too.
Why do we do this?

1. She looks just like…

You think? I think people see what they want to see. If she hadn’t not left my sight from the moment of birth, I wouldn’t be completely convinced they handed me the right baby before we left the hospital. She shares features with no one. Boyfriend thinks she may have his family’s ears, but… We had to resort to her ears before we found any similarities. From a distance, she looks like she belongs in my family, but she is most definitely herself. Lucky duck. She’ll have a fighting chance at vanity.

2. Is she a good baby?

Huh?

How do I even measure this? Well, she doesn’t use swear words yet, but give her time, she’s only a few weeks old. I mean, she is a member of this family.
What does this question even mean? And what if I said ‘No she’s a little rascal.’ What do people expect me to say?
Of course she’s a good baby! She is the best baby! Every baby is.

3. Is she sleeping through the night?

Seriously? She was just born. No. Should she be?

4. Did you have her naturally?

People “love” it when I attempt to clarify the meaning of this question by asking, “Do you mean vaginally?” Yeah I went ahead and used the word ‘vagina’ for you. You are welcome. Yep, she came out the same way she went in since you were wondering. No, that’s not too personal, thanks! This question comes from women, so I can only assume they ask it so we can maybe compare birth notes or caesarian scars.

5. What’s it like having a girl?

I’m surprised to have been asked this as much as I have. I’ve had an only boy for 11 years now, and a baby girl for almost 5 weeks. She really isn’t any different than the average baby boy, except when it comes to cleaning the diaper area. Is it weird that I don’t find the different gender a big deal? Should I be more like, “Baby girls these days! It’s all makeup and tea parties!” Also, this question has come from parents of girls… Shouldn’t they know what it’s like having a girl? Or is this just small-talk, because I really don’t like small-talk.

 

I’m sure there will be more baby questions to answer as time goes on. My little one is only 5 weeks old and hasn’t even been visited by everyone yet.

But before I end, I want to bring up one more thing that parents do that I refuse to. Ever notice how some parents answer questions through their babies or small children? An example. Say someone asks me how old my baby is. I would respond “She is 5 weeks this Thursday.” Some other parents would respond in a higher register voice saying, “Say I’ll be 5 weeks this Thursday.”
This annoys the crap out of me. Just answer the question yourself. If I wanted your child to answer, I would have asked him or her… But I didn’t because I can see they’re too young to talk. And even if the kid is old enough to answer but too shy to answer… Just answer the question without telling your child what to say. We can see little Parker isn’t going to tell me himself, but don’t answer me by telling him what to say. I guarantee you aren’t helping your child learn how to converse with others by doing this.

Okay, I’m done ranting and raving!

-fin-

Posted in breastfeeding, CG, J

Heart, Lung, Belly, and Milk

Four weeks ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl I’ll call “CG.” CG isn’t my first baby, but it’s been 11 years since my last baby, so I’m practically starting over. My first baby, “J,” was a sensitive child who had a hard time adjusting to life outside the womb. I spent most of the beginning of his life trying to soothe him, and to a degree, still do. Well, my little CG is starting out life a bit sensitively also, though in a different way.

In the weeks leading up to her birth, I had numerous medical appointments for her to monitor her heart arrhythmia. I was at one hospital or another 3 or more times a week between the heart appointments and my normal weekly maternity visits. Her condition cleared up about three weeks prior to her birth and we thought we were clear.

Then she was born.

And she aspirated meconium.

And her lungs are more sensitive than average so she had a longer than average NICU stay.

So we’re still working through the lungs issue, and I’m still visiting the doctors all the time, and all of these other issues are coming up. She has reflux. Her brain is too immature to tell her lungs to keep breathing all the time. Now they’re telling me her digestive system is too immature to process cow milk protein and soy.

I can’t wait for the day when the medical community will agree that my baby girl is perfect just the way she is and stop making follow-up appointments. It kind of sucks that I have this beautiful baby in my arms and she looks like an angel. She is tiny and new and pink and lovely.

And the doctors keep finding things wrong with her. So depressing.

And on top of all of that, I have been having problems breastfeeding her. The first two weeks in the NICU were a nightmare. I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed her all the time. I got told “she is too tired to nurse.” They put feeding tubes down her throat through her mouth and her nose and fed her that way. They threatened me with formula if I couldn’t nurse her in time when they did let me feed her because they had to keep her on schedule. You can imagine how well that turned out. I spent the first two weeks of her life driving back and forth from the hospital, sitting at her crib side, expressing breast milk, and trying my best to nurse her. I got to the point where when they did offer to let me nurse her, I declined and gave her my bottled breast milk because I didn’t want to tire her out, cause her to aspirate milk through improper nursing, or not get enough milk into her if I couldn’t get a good latch.

We’re four weeks in now. Little CG is home so I don’t have to fight off any well-meaning NICU nurses. I am trying my best to breastfeed her. I also express milk as much as I can to keep my supply up, though it’s probably not enough. I have been experiencing painful latching, so I visited a lactation consultant at the hospital where I gave birth. It’s getting better–the pain goes away a few moments after the initial latch. I’m reading a lot about breastfeeding online and watching videos on YouTube to help me out. I still feel like we’re having difficulty getting a deep latch, but we’re working on it.

Now I have to deal with the allergy, so I’m cutting dairy out of my diet. Talk about a miserable thing to have to cut. When the pediatrician told me to cut dairy I said “Done.” This was no problem. So for a week I cut out anything with milk in it… Or so I thought. A week later, the pediatrician asked me if I knew milk was in bread.
Zoinks!
Why no. No I didn’t.
So now I’m stressing over every label to keep milk out of my breast milk. She told me even trace amounts will affect the baby, so that’s even more stressful. I had no idea milk was in so many foods that I eat.

This idealistic image of parenting this new baby girl as an experienced parent has gone out the window. I’m lucky to just hold it together.