Saturday, September 11, 2010

What? No Similac?

It happened. Again. Just like it did with my first. Inevitably someone, somewhere during my child's infant-hood will ask the question-

'What? Are you STILL breastfeeding? You're not giving them formula???'

Those are the words that immediately make me feel so incredibly uncomfortable for feeding my baby. The thing is, I don't particularly enjoy breastfeeding, I just don't. Don't get me wrong, there are parts I enjoy, the cuddling, the nursing faces, but ultimately I just don't enjoy doing it and I am not doing it for my enjoyment. Comments like the above only reinforce some of the negative feelings I have about doing it, it furthers my paranoia about NIP (covered, even), and I just freaking hate it.

So R is now almost exactly 3 months (*Gasp!* Already?) and I have been exclusively breastfeeding him because, simply put, that is what is best and I am able to do it. While my inlaws were here I got pressure to 'supplement' but I admit I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was an evening at a friends house (whom I knew was pro-formula) where she asked me-

'Your still doing that? No Similac? Why?'

Awkward moment considering I was sitting in her living room (covered) nursing him right then and would (of course) have to nurse him 3 more times while we were there. She explained that she had tried (briefly) with her first but just didn't like it and didn't even try with her second (There, see, for those of you who think I walk around with my nose in the air hating on those who FF, I actually have friends who are anti-boob!). Here I was nursing (exclusively) at 3 months- MONTHS, and she couldn't believe I was still doing that.

I smiled, said that well, you know, it's what is best and I can do it and you know in 3 more months he'll be starting solids and he won't be doing it so much. However I feel kinda like crap about it still. I feel awkward and uncomfortable. I know (her being one of the sweetest most caring person I know) that she wouldn't intentionally do anything to make me feel that way, that she asked out of genuine bewilderment, and curiosity. I feel, though, that the 'damage' has been done and I don't know how to repair it.

The entire way home that night all I could think about was spending my next 'paycheck' on getting a pump, bottle, and accessories. Nursing in public has always been incredibly difficult for me, and I had actually been feeling incredibly proud of myself for making sure that I was going out to places like the mall, the park, the library, even when I would have to nurse. Now though I know that I will have even more trepidation about stepping out, even though I do so covered. Each glance will bring me to the conclusion of 'I know they must be wondering why I don't just bottle feed, why don't I just give formula, why don't I just pump!', even if all they are doing is looking at the soda machine behind me wondering when a can of soda started costing more then 2 gallons of water.

Yeah, I get into my own head a little to much. I know that this is something I have to strive to overcome, that I can't let it interfere with what I know is best. All I want, is for those people who would ask that innocent little question (or one just like it) to not. Don't ask it. Breast Milk isn't harmful (obviously exceptions apply but I think we all know what they are) and so if you see someone nursing a newborn, or a not so newborn, or a baby who is nursing while eating crackers, or a toddler- really, it's o.k. They are nursing them because it is what is best-period. And that is all you need to know.

Wish them the best, ask how they are doing with it, and offer some support. Please, because breastfeeding even if physically easy (which it may not be) can still be pretty effing hard.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I Love Public Play Areas

Parenting can be some what depressing when you realize that you are constantly going to make mistakes, and often times you are left wondering what really and truly IS the best choice to make. Add to that the constant attacking and defending of one's choices and you are often left feeling incredibly drained. Children will put you through different embarrassing parent moments to add to all the fun.

For instance, nothing says fun quite like the screaming, crying, drooling teething infant. You try nursing, you try teething tablets, toys, whatever. You try any 'soothing' measure known to man and try to invent a few as well. And yet, there you are going nearly insane from the lack of sleep and overload of stress while holding said infant and while you are barely able to hold your eyes open wide enough to find the teething toy your child repeatedly tosses on the floor- you still manage to see and comprehend the looks of extreme judgement being flashed your way.

Or of course, when your child gets older there comes the fun of the 'public tantrum' stage. Apparently it is childhood instinct to know that most parents are completely incompetent in saying no in the midst of public humiliation. A screaming, hysterical toddler who has snot running out of his nose (result of the tantrum) while trying to lunch himself out of the shopping cart is enough to make any sane person wonder what on Earth they could be doing wrong!

Which brings me to why I love the public play areas, the park, the play area in the mall etc. These places are rife with childhood meltdowns. The diversity in the completely humiliating, and frustrating actions are RAMPANT.

Stripping kid? Why of course! The slide just doesn't have the same feel to it when your pants are on.

Child having screaming public meltdown? At least one an hour.

Child having screaming, kicking, hitting (or other physical manifestation) tantrum? Coming right up!

Child who has somehow concocted sudden illness ranging from snot dripping EVERYWHERE to the sudden explosive vomit? Been there, done that.

Child who is to big for child area and tramples all over smaller children? Makes you want to hit something but very very common.

Child who refuses to leave and has subjected parents to the exhausting task of literally chasing child round and round the play equipment? Don't you just love to take bets to see how that one will turn out?

Oh the things that happen in the public play area! So daunting, so scary, so... so... EVERYDAY! If the public play area has one thing to tell us, ALL of us, it's that there is no 'perfect' parenting style! Each one has a built in fail when it comes to implementing in real life. Your child is going to ensure that you are constantly questioning the method you have chosen, they are going to ensure that sometime or other you feel as if you must be the worst parent EVER

Public play area- exposing Parenthood for what it is, up, down, never perfect,and highly fallible! What can you do but try your best, grit your teeth through the hard parts and realize that you definatly are not the first and will never be the last!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Wonderful Walmart Expirience- Who'd Have Thought?

I hate Walmart. I despise it and it's policies. The merchandise is poor quality, the produce section is lacking. I would rather not shop there- ever. Unfortunalty in THIS economy, I am left with little choice. It is what it is, and I appreciate the fact that their lower standard means that I am actually able to afford to put food on the table each month.

Going there since the recent birth of my second child has been... an interesting experience. My older son has reached the public tantrum stage and while I would think that we would just be very run of the mill in a place that has a website like 'People of Walmart' dedicated to it, apparently SOME people can't help but harass the lady with the infant strapped to her while her 3 yr old tries to throw himself out of the cart while sobbing hysterically with snot running out of his nose.

Thanks. Because the stares, the comments, the general rudeness makes it SO MUCH EASIER, right? *Sigh*

However, a few weeks ago while I was struggling with my routine trip to the store, something really... really beautiful happened. Things really sucked that day and I was having a lot of angst at being forced to drag both kids to the store by myself like ALWAYS. 3 yr old goes in front of cart, baby gets strapped to me, diaper bag tossed into back of the cart- and into the store. The oh so helpful people begin to comment (like always)- 'Oh my you sure have your hands full', while I am squatting precariously trying to lift the $4.48 watermelon into the cart without A)dropping it B) Smushing my infant with it and C) trying to prevent the 3 yr old from escaping his designated post ('SIT on your bottom!'). Really I am sure it would be to much to ask for someone (who is just standing there idly) to actually offer to help out.


So shopping goes on and when I have everything loaded in and baby begins to squawk, it's time to head out to the check out. I don't know why but Walmart NEVER has enough lines open to prevent at least 3 carts (overflowing with crap)from standing in (frustration!) the middle of the store. I always wonder who manages to get to the front of those lines BEFORE they are full because I never do. Generally what happens is I stand there for 10+ minutes, swaying to soothe the fussy baby, and trying to prevent the escape of my 3 yr old. And then I move on to unloading the grocery, starting by having to almost climb over the previous persons items (and trying to not squish the baby again) to grab one of those things that marks the beginning of MY crap. Comments of 'Oh my, you sure have your hands full, don't you?' begin to pour in. Stuff it people, just stuff it. And then I get the unload all of my crap while trying to reload the crap that was checked, but not losing my diaper bag (with the required wallet) underneath the bags.

It is.... frustrating.

However the other day while I was there, trying to unload the enormous amount of crap the lady behind me did something that surprised me. 'Hey do you need any help with that?' 'Oh no', I assured her, thinking yeah she probably just wants to get the hell out of here too, 'I've got this.' She didn't listen and insisted on helping me put everything up on the conveyor belt. She assured ME that she had been there, and understood. I really appreciated it. Kindness, HELP, from a complete stranger.

I probably wouldn't have written about it (being some what skeptical that really she was just doing it for HER, because no one wants to be stuck behind the lady who they KNOW are going to take forever) but while I was trying to re-load all the newly bagged items, a boy walked up (from the other direction) and offered to help. On his own. He must've been about 13. I was floored. Let me tell you something. I have a very low opinion of today's youth after various incidents like struggling to walk while holding a 13 month old in one arm while carrying an enormous package in the other while a group ( a GROUP ) of boys sat there staring at me.

So, this boy comes up and offers to help me- on his own volition. I was a little surprised but then I realized that THIS was the son of the woman who had JUST helped me. Wow. I don't know who they are, where they are from but that woman, she is certainly doing something right to raise such a conscientious young man.

I left the store in a better mood then I think I ever have before. I only wish more people were like them. Normal, every day, regular people- with a desire to help people when and where they can. I wish them all the best and hope to raise my own sons to be so warm and helpful, and I hope that I am able to pay their kindness forward.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Breastfeeding- It's A Lot Like Oral Sex, Right?

I think it is important to note that-YES, people have made a comparison between breastfeeding and oral. Of course the person in the link isn't the first person to suggest that, or even remotely the first person to suggest that nursing should be done behind closed doors. Surprisingly enough to me, is the sheer amount of women (non nursing mothers and nursing mothers alike) that have stated (bluntly) that while they 'support breastfeeding there is absolutely no reason why it has to be done in public without a cover'.

Hmmm.... not unless you have a flailing infant who refuses to be covered (period), or have a small child who rips the cover off of mom- right? Or perhaps those people should be forbidden from leaving the house.

But anyways, hearing comments like these for the 2 or so years since I have been a member of CM (during the time that I was bfing or in the 'debate'), has really made me contemplate the duality between sexuality and pure function with our bodies. Take breasts for example. We all know that part of the issue that breastfeeding moms face is the constant bombardment of 'But Breast Are Sexual'. People get freaked out if you breastfeed uncovered, or if (by chance) their child should happen to see a little nipple slip.

On the other hand, bikinis (even for FIVE year olds) are expected to be worn- favored over the one piece in this day and age, push-up water bras, topless 'gentlemens' clubs, wet t-shirt contests, places like hooters,etc., etc,... those are common place every where- expected, welcomed- accepted.

Our society excepts breasts on the condition that they are to be oogled, stared at, and (of course) squeezed, teased, and whatever else you want to do to them in the bedroom. Whether we like it or not, accept it or not- they do have another function (you know the one we hear about over and over and over on here) and that means that they DO have a dual purpose. Fun bags and working bags I suppose.

Now lets take another everyday run of the mill ordinary organ. Lets choose one that is welcomed in this society even though it does indeed have a dual (nay a triple) purpose- Your mouth. See, I think that when that ignorant woman made a comparison between breastfeeding and oral- she was on to something, but only a little off.

Your mouth has two functions that are VERY VERY important. Nourishing, and communicating. We use it to eat (and boy do we eat a LOT! We even have devised very speacial places *resteraunts* to go to to stuff our faces) and we use it to express ourselves. Communication is so important- it really is.

However, like the breast, the mouth has another less appropriate function- purely sexual. That's right. Let me ask you a question (that you can answer to yourself)- In the past week, what have YOU done with your mouth? Chances are you have licked, sucked, or swallowed some part of your Significant Others body. Hey I don't have a problem with it- more power to you! See, your mouth has had waaaaayyy more action then your breasts, haven't they?

In this day and age, there is a good chance that your mouth has made repeated contact directly with your SO's genetalia then your breasts. There is an even better chance that your mouth has been the place where your SO deposited his 'bodily fluids' vs. your boobage. You may have even switched it up a bit and decided to try out giving a 'rim job', and I can practically guarantee that that is an area where your breasts have not been. Let me tell you I could go on and on about the dirty, purely sexual things that your mouth has done- or someone has imagined YOUR mouth doing.

And yet- you probably kissed your child good-bye without hesitation, didn't you? You probably didn't remember to put on your Burqa this morning before you met your friends for your weekly lunch, at the very public, curbside resteraunt. You didnt think twice before smiling ear to ear at the cashier at the store all with the mouth that was literally wrapped around your So's penis the night before- DID YOU?

Sorry, I am blunt, I know. However, think about that. When a mouth ISN'T presented sexually- it isn't sexual. It just isn't. It's out it's public- no one thinks twice about it even though it is far more, incrediblymore sexual then breasts. Even the sexual acts performed with a mouth are far more 'dirtier' then what happens sexually with breasts. If someone were to tell you that the pervert sitting 10 ft away was having a problem because you were eating a Popsicle you wouldn't cover your head, or run inside. It would be HIS problem. HIS, not YOURS. Not every Popsicle eaters out there problem, HIS Problem!

So why, when you see someone doing something that is incredibly NON-sexual do you insist that they NEED to be covered? Listen. It's really o.k. for something to be sexual and yet not. If a mouth is able to do all that incredibly sexual stuff and yet remain in the free and clear- why can't we do that with a body part that is nourishing our infants?

Lets face it- if Islamic women have taught us anything (in an example like this) it is that it is NOT necessary for you to have your mouth uncovered in public. So why ( if we o.k. mouth visibility) not the breast when it is serving its NON sexual purpose?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mothers, Leave Your Kids At Home!

I love children, I do. I love playing with them, I love hugging them, I love listening to the creative that they bring forth when they talk. Children, are amazing and I hope that I am lucky enough one day to have a profession where I am surrounded by them. However, there is one type of child that really, really should not be brought out in public.

The sick child.

Oh don't get me wrong- this child needs love. This child needs extra cuddles, extra hugs, and probably a nice mug of tea. But what this child does not need to do is to spread their infection everywhere they can, simply because the MOTHER and FATHER do not feel like canceling their social plans. This child, does not need to be running around, snotty nosed, coughing on everything because you don't have the heart to say no. This child needs to be at 'home'. This child needs to be somewhere where he can recuperate.

This child does not need to be brought to a place where there are pregnant women, small children, and where there are other adults, who most likely have plans in the near future that does not involve them being sick.

As a parent I know that sometimes the undesired happens and hey, you have to take them out. It happens to the best of us, it does. I think that when that happens, that it is really a time when good manners (and common sense) should prevail.

Yelling- 'Cover your damn mouth' to a four year old, is not only somewhat rude, but incredibly ineffectual.

If you have to take them out, and the snot is just pouring down their poor little face, bring a ton of tissues with you. Wash your child's hands frequently. Pay attention and wipe their freaking nose already. Don't let your child run up to some unsuspecting person and wipe their snot all over the persons arm. Or leg.

Mothers, sometimes you need to leave that kid at home!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To Much Good Luck?

Is there ever a time when you can experience to much good luck? Life for the last few years has been rather... well extremely difficult. I have had more growing then I knew what to do with. I have had to grit my teeth and say that one day I would have the ability to pull myself up by my bootstraps and really better my life.

Today, I find myself in an awkward situation. My life is getting better. Extraordinary situations have been happening and I don't feel as if I deserve it. Does that even make sense? I fear by excepting these really great events, gifts, I am really doing something horribly wrong. I try to live my life as honestly as I can, so why do I feel as if this were bad?

For some reason (thank god) I have had the good fortune to actually WIN at some contests. This has enabled me to hold on to a much needed sense of security- I know that with (blank) gift card I can purchase my son his birthday gift, and I know with (blank) gift card that I can purchase him some much needed summer clothing. And having that happen is so... exhilarating, such a blessed relief to have, I can hardly express it. And then I win some socks that a woman was (kindly) giving away, and I am able to cross one more much needed item off my list.

And then, I get offered a 'job' for my favorite ever website and they will send me MORE giftcards once a month. Oh holy Toledo... a moment of heaven. This means that I will have (X) amount of dollars per month to make sure that we have food in the fridge, or if that isn't an issue to make sure that we have dish and laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, razors. Or to buy a new set of pots and pans, or replace the broken mop or vacuum. That sort of thing. And life gets a little bit better, and I feel a little worse.

And then, I win another gift card and my first thought to myself besides (Ohmyfreakinggawdthisissoawesome) is- Should I have entered the contest? What if someone else needed it more?

And then (there's a lot of and thens in this post, aren't there?) I have someone tell me that they would like to send me a little something extra by way of clothing, shoes for my son. My jaw about hit the floor. We have been trying to figure out how to get him a new pair of shoes since his feet are quickly out growing his old ones. Another need has been filled through the generosity of others and good luck.

I am so extremely grateful for this. The pregnant part of me just wants to sit here and bawl and tell everyone just how thankful I am to have this happen to us. I think though, that I am really worried that by somehow excepting these really great gifts I am going to make something really bad happen, or that it will be really really short lived. And that scares the hell out of me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Orange Juice Is My Booze

I am pregnant. 32 weeks and six days pregnant to be 'exact'. It's hard, it's beautiful, it's uncomfortable, it's 'momentous', it's taxing, it's meaningful.

It's really anything you want it to be.

The one thing that pregnancy is for EVERY mother (or I should clarify- for EVERY mother who wants to ensure the safety and health of their unborn child) is restrictive. There's a crap-ton of stuff that you can't do out their while pregnant. Then, on top of that, is the stuff that 'They' don't 'recommend' that you do while pregnant. Of course, this only means that you want to do them more.

Take, in example, drinking. I am not a huge drinker, I have never been. Sure on occasion one here and there. Now add pregnancy into the mix. Pregnancy is the emotional roller coaster from Hell, and that's on a good day. Your body aches. It is sore. It's uncomfortable, and awkward, and expanding. Heck, it even swells. Things that I am not allowed to post about because I didn't make this 'Adult Only' happen- and frequently. And in large amounts.

At any other stage of life someone would probably say 'Here, lets have a drink'.

Pregnancy does not allow that. So what really, is a pregnant woman to do? She chugs insane amounts of fruit juice, that's what. Orange, is my poison of choice. I'm having a particularly frustrating day, and I start to crave it's cold sweet fruitiness. It beckons from the fridge.

"Come drink me!"

"You know you'll feel better if you do..."

I look around to see if my 3 yr. old is watching and then hastily sneak some into my mug. Mommy's dirty little secret. Of course one is never enough, and at the end of the day I end up passed out in an orange juice coma- not looking forward to the morning after headache at all.

Oh pregnancy, you viscous woman, how could you do this to me?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh Arizona, What Have You Done?

Arizona has recently taken drastic measures to try to harness the growing illegal immigration problem in their state. This issue... this issue is so important, feelings are so mixed. It is really hard to look at it and not feel at least the teeniest bit emotional.

I am conservative. I can't help it, it is just who I am. I am so strongly opposed to illegal immigration, and have only had that feeling reinforced after having to deal with the United States Immigration myself (I am a natural born citizen for those wondering). I do not support that Amnesty propositions, and yet- I whole heartedly cannot support THIS bill either.

This bill equates to a civil rights violation on one of the highest levels. I know that there is a lot of focus on this bill 'racially profiling' but that really isn't my biggest beef, as I know personally (and I know immigration and law enforcement is well aware) that illegal immigration happens across the board for people of all races, all nationalities, all colors. The problem I have, is the harassment of ANY law-abiding American civilian, regardless of color.

Police will not simply be asking to ID people who are breaking the law, like traffic violations. They will be stopping people on the street, people walking to the grocery store- anyone, and everyone. Maybe it shouldn't matter to me, but it does. I am not required in this country to carry ANY form of I.D. I, am an American Citizen, and I am 'protected' under the ideology that I am innocent until proven. I don't have to go around proving that I am not guilty. Nor does any other American citizen.

This bill revokes that. It changes that idea. Now ever single person (whether citizen or not, whether legal or not) is required by law to physically carry the documentation that they are in fact 'innocent' in the eyes of the law. Where is the rightness in that? Where is the justice for the PEOPLE of Arizona?

As if the 13 million dollar extra health care tab from illegal immigrants were not enough, as if the added cost for schooling were not enough, as if the loss of taxes from legal people filling these positions were not enough- now the LEGAL people residing there will be forced to deal with harassment and the complete trampling of THEIR rights. That, I cannot support.

It is sickening to me, saddening to me, that Arizona has felt that it has had to take this step. I do not feel that they took it lightly, and I do feel that they have felt neglected by America's government in dealing with this issue. I think the fact that they have 400,000 + illegal people living there is a very real and important issue that they are trying to deal with. How is it that we have allowed this issue to expand so greatly? How is it that we have allowed this to happen to the people of Arizona? How have we allowed it to go on for so long? Why have we left people with the feeling that the ONLY solution they have left is to strip more civil liberties?

Oh Arizona.... what have you done? America, what have you done?

I do not support illegal immigration, I do not support the people who immigrate illegally here. But I do not, cannot and will never support this bill. For humanity, for America and it's ideal values of civilian rights, I cannot.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The (Ugly) Golden Fleece

I happened to mention to my mother that I was thinking about buBoldyiBoldng some white fleece to make baby #2 a hooded bear blanket (think polar bear here) a while back. Bless her, she went out and bought me some fleece while she did her shopping! I was blown over by her generosity as it included a few yards of black fleece, and brown fleece each. So much I could do to feed my sewing addiction, and all do to her extremely big heart. Really a wonderful and thoughtful woman.


(And there is always a but, isn't there?)

But, ONE of the.... pieces of fleece... is a little odd colored. It is.. a very very yellow brown color. Similar to the color pictured here, but slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) browner. I admit that I have it hidden deep inside my closet and every time I think about a prospective project, I get excited, only to pull it out that the color I had imagined in my mind was slightly better looking then the actBoldual color- and then back in the closet it goes.

It is my shame. Gifts, should be appreciated with the love and good intentions they were given with- not hidden! I desperately want to do something with it. I want to take that ugly,awkward, socially outclassed piece of weird brown-yellowy fleece and turn it into something truly incredible, beautiful, magnificent! I want to turn that 'rag' into that silken princess's ball gown ideal.
I want to do my mother proud, darn it!
How do I do it? What do I make with it? I literally have YARDS of the stuff. Oh please, wont somebody have some idea of what I can do with this?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Religious Indoctrination, Or Looking Out For Spiritual Welfare?

We have had a lot of religious holidays recently, Passover, and Easter and whatnot and as always this has led me to reevaluate what that means to me, as a parent. For most people spirituality is extremely deep, personal... and very individual. With the birth of a child, however, things change. Suddenly what was once only important to YOU and your salvation (whether you believe there is such a thing as salvation or not), leaves you wondering how you are supposed to approach the spirituality of a child. A clean slate. Someone who is entirely dependant on you, someone who is incredibly impressionable.

For some people of faith (whether it be a belief in a God or a belief that any religious belief is false) believe that the only thing to do is to immediately start raising their family with their beliefs and only their beliefs. This worries me. I mean, I see the validity of it- you believe it, you have unshakable reasoning for your belief- it only makes sense that that would be what you teach. I get that. I understand also that some worry about the salvation of their children's everlasting souls and worry or fear that it would be (not only irresponsible) but somewhat sinful for them to not do their part to save their children.

What parent, really, wouldn't want to save their child from the fiery pits of hell if that was an option in their belief?

But I worry that doing so will not enforce any real belief in my child but instead will be... a form of indoctrination. How many people challenge something that they have been told is truth from the moment they were born? How often do you sit there and go -'Wait, is the Earth REALLY round?' How many people questioned that the Earth was flat. Not many did, for many many years. It just was. Do I want that for my child(ren)?

Do I want my children to just accept? Certainly I have a firm belief in a faith. My husband is a member of an organized religion, but doesn't practise, but does believe in God. I think what I want is my child(ren) to enjoy a relationship between them and their 'Creator' that they have actively sought for, found, and forged themselves. And yet, the thought of leaving them alone on that path without guidance worries me as well. After all, I want them to find it, I want them to know, and really faith is an active part of my life and lifestyle!

This is something that I struggle with as a parent, and as an individual who values free thinking. I don't know that I am on the right path, or that I am doing right by my child(ren) spiritually, but I am try. I try to make sure that I put emphasis on science when my son asks one of his millions of 'why' questions, instead of going 'Well God made it that way'. I wont hide my faith, but I will encourage an understanding and learning of other faiths. I will open my home for questions.

I only hope that my children grow spiritually, as I have. I hope that I don't brainwash them into blindly following my faith, although I do hope that they will share it. I am a parent, and I don't know what to do!