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.