Friday, November 30, 2012

Rainy days & Fridays

I think things are returning to somewhat normal around here. B still cries when I leave the room, but he is content in any of his containing devices (jumper-living room, playpen-dining room, Go Pod-kitchen, crib-bedroom) as long as I'm nearby. His extreme fussiness after this trip, and my resulting frustration and exhaustion, really makes me question future non-essential travel with him. It seems the more people I talk to/hear from on this issue, the more people seem to have decided to just not travel for a few years. Although one person last night told me their one-year-old niece can already play basic games on an IPod Touch, so at least maybe by next holiday season B can be entertained by a device of some sort.

This doesn't solve the problem of band travel - one gig confirmed for August, three more in the works, two others I've already passed on. I should just pass on them all, honestly. But I don't want to let the band down, and I do enjoy the stimulation these jobs offer. I thought of maybe bringing a sitter along - I know one girl who might be game - but when you add up buying her flight, paying food for three days, plus paying her, we're into thousands, and these gigs rarely make more than $700 or $800 or so. So maybe by the summer I won't mind throwing money down the toilet - and BOY would it be helpful to have someone else on the flight with me. But I have no idea what B will be like by next summer. He might be a nightmare, who knows? Ugh! I wish people would just stop frigging hiring us already!

For now it is pleasantly rainy and cozy here. I have been baking up a storm and cooking as if to prepare for a major disaster. I get a slight inferiority complex when I see all the people on FB with their trees and decorations already up; I will do all this next week. This week is all about recovery!

And work on my event. It dawned on me that tomorrow is Dec 1st and I still have no pricing structure in place, I am short three bands, and have no themes selected. So yesterday I emailed a bunch of bands, put the schedule online, and started work on the online registration form. Now is when I have to make all the decisions that will affect me until fall of 2014. Can you see why I sometimes get paralyzed and just can't make any decisions? It's very daunting. But it has to be done, and now. Registration opens Feb 1, which will coincide with all of my money running out. But at least I've been aggressively saving, so in case I get into trouble I have a small safety net (which I'd much rather use to build a sleeping loft in my attic than to pay my water bill, but you've gotta do what you gotta do, right?).

Here's a pic of me DJing last night:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Separation Anxiety

Not sure if we've hit this milestone or if we're both just discombobulated from the trip, but Bumpus has been super clingy/needy/whiny/cry-y the last two days. It's like having a newborn all over again - only one that weighs 20 pounds and can pull my hair out, put bruises all over my arms and legs from kicking, and never sit still for a dressing or diaper change. Agh!

Normally we have a pleasant, quiet home with only the sounds of toys and B chattering to himself. This week it's been blood-curdling screams every time I even make a motion to get up and leave the room, even if I don't actually leave the room. Almost non-stop crying, even when I'm right there. I would question if he's sick or in pain except for the fact that he is immediately happy the minute I pick him up. If this goes on much longer I may just revert to newborn tactics and strap him to me in a carrier all day. He's obviously going through something, I just don't know what, or how long it'll last. But boy do I wish I had my jolly little guy back!

For me, I am somewhat exhausted and fed up, but I think I'm putting a good face on. The band recently got an offer to play a weekend event in Canada in May, and as always I have mixed feelings - it's a great opportunity for us, and personally I'd love to do it. But what about the kid? Do I take him? Who watches him when I sing? Do I leave him behind? Will he be weaned by then? Would anyone be willing to watch him for a whole weekend, and if so, at what cost? Is fifteen months too young to be left behind (I'm thinking probably yes)? I can sub out and get another singer of course. But I do really hate having to make these decisions. So glad he'll only be a little baby once! Someday soon I'll never have to ask myself these questions ever again. That's very freeing.

In other news, I noticed I lost a follower in the last couple of days. It's always kind of an odd thing - I try to tell myself it probably has nothing to do with me; someone was maybe cleaning out old blogs off their list, or just isn't interested in the topic anymore, or canceled their account, any number of things. But then the sensitive side wonders if I said something that offended someone, or if I got boring or monotonous, or since I had the baby the drama is over so I'm no longer interesting. In short, is it something I said? Makes me wonder.

For now I am very busily booking my schedule for the holiday season, responding YES to every invite I get, because I want to get out and enjoy myself as much as possible. Most of these events are Bumpus-friendly so I'll be taking him, but for example this Saturday I'm seeing a movie, so it's to the Baby Kennel we go. Can't wait, personally - I desperately need a break-!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nipples o' Fire

I think the above title pretty much sums up my holiday weekend. Oh, there was more to it than that, of course. But I'm experiencing yet another episode of breastfeeding-related pain, and it ruled this last week. Months ago it was all-over achy pain; this time it's just the nipples, from being suctioned all night, clamped between hard gums, pulled like taffy and yanked across the room. It's not surprising, then, that they have reacted by feeling like they're on fire all the time. I've never loved my deliciously cool silicone nipple guards more than I do now. Looking for this phase to end real soon!

So, the holiday. Let me just say it was a really nice visit, the seemingly impossible challenge of flights with baby, rental car, driving in the middle of the night to the b&b, etc, all went seamlessly. Everything just worked out. And Bumpus delighted his relatives, and it was a joy to see how much they enjoyed him. But as when I critique a piece of writing and pick it apart for analysis, this doesn't mean I don't like it. So yes, it was a great trip. But here is the breakdown:

B was ok on the outgoing flight because he slept a lot; return was miserable. He is just too big, strong, and full of energy to do this anymore. I am considering shelling out the dough for the extra seat from now on. To spare my neighbors I walked the aisles nearly the whole 5 1/2 hour flight. Thank God for the Ergo! Otherwise he was just a kicking, squirming, back-arching, nipple-tearing maniac. At least I don't have to fly with him again for a LONG time, probably not until summer. Maybe by then I can shell out $1000 for an extra seat. Because this whole thing? This is not happening again, period.

Our troubled sister was ok - no weird incidents - but she sure does know how to shut down a conversation. She has her obsessions - hatred of the wealthy, fear of having no retirement, and her peri-menopause. Even as we were giving thanks around the table she brought it back around to how they have no money in the bank, no savings (join the club!) And she talked endlessly about her hair loss, hormonal issues, rages, hot flashes, etc. What do you say to a person who is always at the end of their rope, who is always miserable, year after year, who's life pretty much sucks, and never gets better? There's only so much sympathy you can offer. I know people got this way with me years ago before I decided to get happy and stop draining everyone. I feel bad for her, but sometimes I wish she'd just lighten up, even if only for a minute.

The weather ended up being very cold, which really restricted our movements. We kind of couldn't do anything, which was kind of a bummer because it's such a neat area with lots of fun activities (Western Mass). Still, with the cold and the baby and the general exhaustion, it was just as well. I have a whole new appreciation for you ladies who raise kids in cold climates, good Lord!

I never did get to sit and enjoy a meal with my family because of the baby, and that sucked. I did feel like my personal experience of the holiday was sort of thwarted, but oh well, it's not about me anymore, right? ;)

I mentioned the story of my friend who unintentionally insulted us (by telling her son B's father left us) and my step mother pointed out that she's a loose cannon, I don't know what she'll say around me, so I don't feel safe around her. Which I think perfectly articulates why I haven't called her back despite her attempts to contact me. Made me feel a little better about it.

I stayed in a solar-powered farm b&b with llamas and goats and peacocks, run by aging hipsters. Will for sure stay again, it was delightful!

And now...Christmas!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Too heavy for a Monday morning?

Yesterday I wrote this whole post about being afraid of the toddler years, only to have it disappear when I tried to add a photo. This updated blogger app blows, by the way. But at least it gave me more time to think through these fears and come to the root of them. And the root isn't pretty.

I spent the day with shall we say "spirited" boys, and it kind of freaked me out, as hanging out with other people's children pretty much always does. I was sitting there holding my sweet, innocent, compliant little baby who pretty much has no power, and watching as the older boys poked each others eyes out with sticks, threw sand in each other's faces after repeatedly being told to not to throw sand in each other's faces, and sticking their tongues out at their mothers. It was a nightmare. And I was left asking myself the same question I always ask myself - is this bad parenting, or is this just the way kids are? Which means, Bumpus will some day be like this, too!

Everyone I know with toddlers appears to be struggling (well, based on their Facebook updates, anyway). It just looks so hard. Of course many of them have toddlers and new babies, which is harder. But I still live in terror of the day B becomes angry, defiant, and disrespectful. And it makes me ask the hard question - will I stop loving him if he's like that?

Of course not, you say. He's your son, your blood. He could turn out to be a serial killer and you would still love him (while disapproving of his "choices"). But. Things are a little different from my perspective, because the minute I expressed an opinion of my own and tried to show my mother I was an independent person, she cut me off, and we haven't spoken since. That was essentially the end of our relationship. Could this happen to us?

I also want to tell myself "of course not, you're not a narcissist, and you already respect B as a human being and accept he has a right to his own personality, which your mother never did." But those fears are still there. Sure, it's easy to say that NOW, when he's so easy and a delight to be around. What happens when he's difficult? When we have a series of days of non-stop tantrums and crappy behavior, despite my best efforts? That's bound to happen, right? Even with no divorce or moving or instability? Every kid does that sometimes, right? And normal parents get through it and have a sense of humor. But am I normal?

I suppose it'll be like everything else, where you're just "in it" and you hardly notice the bad times, and there are far more good times. Right now I get little to no sleep, B destroys my nipples, and sometimes whines all evening for no apparent reason. None of these things are particularly pleasant, yet I just go through them because, frankly, I have no other choice. And the hours and hours of constant smiles and cuteness more than makes up for these things.

But I admit it. I'm scared of Bumpus getting older and being a rotten little kid, and not knowing what to do, and not loving him anymore. This scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meeting & Greeting

Aha! At last my Pasadena SMC group is having a meeting that I know about! It's not their fault; I have issues with my Yahoo account and so signing into the group is a real pain, especially since it's best done on the computer, not the phone, and as you know I rarely touch my computer these days because it's so clunky (and I have pretty much ceded the office to the dog at this point). But for some reason I got a string of emails from them about their monthly meeting which is tomorrow...and as long as it doesn't rain, I will finally get to meet some local SMCs! Can't wait!

Yesterday I joined one of my mommy's groups for a downtown LA adventure, which was fun. But I have to say I feel slightly alienated by all the husband talk. Again, not their fault, and they have all been very nice and welcoming to me. But there's something uncomfortably familiar about joining an already established group - they already have their friendships established, and it's my job to try to fit in. It just reminds me of the millions of times I had to do this as a kid since we constantly moved house, with resultant changing of schools, sometimes even in the middle of a school year. It's not fun trying to assimilate yourself into a closed group. So there were times yesterday where I found myself staring into space alone while everyone talked amongst themselves, and for sure being single just makes me feel like I don't belong. At one point I even found myself saying, "oh yeah, we have hardwood floors, too." And who is this "we", exactly? Me and Bumpus, I guess!

It reminded me of how amazed I am that my single girlfriend relationships haven't changed at all since the baby. Those were the relationships that I thought would suffer the most, and yet they have flourished. It really makes me think that it's not children that put a wedge between women, it's husbands! Either that or bitching about men is such a huge part of my life that I still need my single gals to get together and bitch with. So, we still have that in common, apparently!

It's funny because I get this weird attitude when I'm in the married mommy group like these women are all "held down" somehow, even though I know this can't be true. Is this something I tell myself to make myself feel better, superior? Probably. That and years of conditioning from an angry feminist mother (who ironically threw her whole life away over you do). Just the way they talk about their husbands...and it's never negative, mind you...but I see how many choices they don't get because they have to compromise all the time, especially when it comes to parenting. Not getting to choose the name you really want for your kid, for example. Just all those little indignities that go along with sharing your life with another adult.

Although I have a situation right now that I could really use a husband for. My bandleader booked us to play a free benefit tonight from midnight until 2 am, way down in south Orange County (over an hour drive). I originally agreed as we do this every year (though normally not in the middle of the night), but yesterday I got to thinking how insane this will be - B usually goes to bed around ten, so dragging a sleeping baby out at that hour, into a loud, bright environment, where nobody will be able to watch him while I sing, hours away in the cold (and possibly rain), to get home at 3 am and try to get us both back to sleep - and for free? I don't know why I agreed to this. I'm going to tell him I can't come. However if I had someone at home who could watch the sleeping baby for a few hours, I would go. So, I guess those husbands are good for something!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Christmas plans

Yesterday I went to Ikea "just to look". $115 and two giant bags later, I had bought 20 jars for "gift in a jar" Christmas gift ideas, a spring form pan, a laundry basket, candles, soft toys for Bumpus, and several other things. Buying the toys for B gave me kind of a funny thought. For this first Christmas, when I'll be home alone and Bumpus won't really understand the concept, how do I handle the whole "gift" thing?

I figured I'd buy him presents, of course, and I'm sure the relatives and some friends will send things. But it's kind of funny to think of Bumpus seeing me buy the gifts, watch me wrap them, and then have him open them. Not that he'll grasp any of this at nine months, but it kind of cracks me up.

Then I started thinking about future Christmases when he does grasp the concept - and I've decided I am "doing" Santa (that sounds wrong). Then I started thinking about how the Santa presents should have special wrapping paper, different from the Mommy gifts. And then I started thinking, does Santa bring mommy gifts, too? Should I buy myself something and wrap it just for fun?

So many new things to think about!!! I've been on such a Christmas frenzy lately, and it's all kind of funny since Bumpus won't understand any of it! He will, however, see pictures of his first Christmas one day, and he'll want to know about it.

Today I hit up the dollar stores for cheap decor. Once upon a time I got my pregnancy tests there. My how times have changed!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How would you feel?

Yesterday I had a singing gig at a bar, and my sitter called to cancel due to illness. It's one of the few things I do where I absolutely cannot bring the baby, and yet I can't cancel, either. Fortunately because I have a backup and a backup and a backup, I had a new sitter within five minutes. Bam!

A lot of our friends came. I positively basked in that. Boy have I missed my friends. The dumb inside jokes, the old stories. SO important. I feel like I get out a lot now - probably more than before I had the baby. But I never go dancing. And I don't see this changing, because you never know when you're going to have a "good" night where everyone shows up, and my sitter money is just best spent on sure things (book club, singing gigs, etc). I keep waiting for some month where I don't have much going on to set aside a night or two to go out and dance - but this never happens. So unless you're a single woman friend I can hike with or a fellow mom, I never see you.

Naturally a group of us moms sat at a table when I wasn't singing and talked about our kids all night. I used to think these conversations must be mind numbingly boring; now I find them utterly fascinating. What do you do about bedtimes, toddlers with attitude, birthday parties? This is all information I need to know. Everyone asked if I'd have another, and I recounted my fears if having lucked out with this one and not being so lucky next time (either with the baby's health or temperament or both). Have I mentioned that every sitter I have tells me what a good boy Bumpus is, so calm and easy? Maybe they say that to all the parents, but I think they're right. I'd love to say it's my stellar parenting skills, the fact that he's always with me so he feels safe, etc, but honestly I think it has nothing to do with me, I think it's just him. In other words, I lucked out. And I don't trust that luck to hit twice! Anyway it's been ages since I've felt any real compelling desire for another baby. I don't even think of it in a longing way anymore like I used to - I really am convinced the secret to happiness (for me) is one child. I often think my old longing for another baby wasn't so much wanting another child as it was I just wanted to name something!

So one topic that came up last night was the idea that kids have feelings, too, that should be honored as much as we honor our own. One friend said she is very scared of the dark, so how would she feel if she called to her husband in another room and said she was scared, and he ignored her or yelled to her to just go back to sleep? I've often thought about how people don't want their children obsessed with "screens" because they should be able to entertain themselves and not use games or videos as a "crutch", but then I think about how I pretty much glue myself to a phone or television to avoid life's boring moments - waiting in line at the post office, stuck in traffic, bored at home at night, etc. Why should I expect a little kid to be quiet and stare into space like a good little boy when I can't even do that? Why do we expect more from little kids than we demand from ourselves?

Here's a picture of Bumpus in his crib. He was in the middle of telling me something VERY IMPORTANT.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Food, glorious food

While stocking up on baking ingredients yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and buy some standard baby food. But what about making healthy, organic baby food at home, you say? What about your $100 baby food maker and all the cute little accoutrements? The baby food cookbooks, the little freezing trays? Well. They have gone the way of the cloth diapers, I'm afraid. They have gone to the "too overwhelming" file.

The primary reason I haven't started B on solids in any real way is because it was all just too complicated. And I've had too many second time mothers lately tell me how they cooked for their first baby and not for the second, and how happy they are about this decision. Also I have cross-continental travel coming up in two weeks and don't want to start a routine only to have it interrupted. But mostly I'm just lazy and can't deal with the weirdness of trying to cook and preserve baby food. And I need to get this baby eating food if I ever want to enlist part time care (I refuse to pump that much - I refuse!). So as one who prefers to deal with reality rather than fantasy, I figure if buying jars of food makes it easier for now, then so be it. There's no reason I can't make food for him later.

Today's effort didn't go so well, though. I gave him a little baby applesauce - he made a face like I fed him lemons and wouldn't eat it. I thought it might be a little too tart, so I gave him some peas, which also made him make a face. I gave him some rice rusks but I'm sure he played with it more than ate it. And all of this made a MESS. Isn't it ironic that the minute babies stop profusely spitting up and peeing and pooping out of their diapers they need to eat solids and then that gets all over everything? Oh well, thank goodness for dishwashers and washing machines!

I know the trick is to just keep trying the food - and maybe I do need to mix a little milk in, or start with cereals, so it's less jarring (no pun intended). Or maybe skip all these nasty purées and have him eat my food (I smelled the pea purée. It was pretty gross).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ho ho ho!

Here they are, improvised home made Christmas stockings!

Friends. How many of us have them?

Some of you urban types may recognize the title of this post. I have been in a nostalgia haze since watching a 1982 documentary called Style Wars yesterday about warring subway graffiti artists in NY in the early eighties. I love watching any movie about, or that takes place in NY in the 70s or 80s, partially because it's my childhood, and partially because it confirms my memory of how NY was such a Wild West back then. Honestly I don't know how I survived it, especially considering how us kids just wandered the streets at all hours unsupervised back then. But I digress -

I wanted to write about a couple of friends. One is my friend who inadvertently insulted me a couple of months ago in telling her son in front of me that my son's dad had abandoned us. I sent her an email demanding an apology, and she apologized profusely. A few days later she left me a message wanting to get together...and I just didn't feel like it, and put off calling her, finally sending her a weak text a few days later saying I'd been really busy but could get together the next week. Then a bunch of time passed, and I wondered if our friendship hadn't met its end. And I was ok with that, because I felt awkward about everything that'd happened and didn't feel a compelling need to spend time with her. Then last week she left me two messages. I have not listened to them; they are still on my phone, mocking me. And in our relationship I never left her hanging or didn't call back. So I'm sure she knows something's up, and I know something's up. And I am really torn about calling her back. I just don't know that I want to keep this friend, and that's a tough call to make, especially after nearly twenty years of friendship. One big reason not to see her now is because I can no longer talk politics with her - and you know that's what's going to happen, with a major election behind us. And unfortunately she's one of these paranoid verging on Tea Party types, convinced that we're heading into the End Times. I know, I know, this should be reason enough to cut her off. For me it's a huge reason, believe me. But figuring out what to "do with" her is causing me a lot of stress, because I know there's a really good, caring person in there. Agh!

The other isn't so much an issue but an observation. I have an older, childless friend who got a dog right after I had the baby, and it was cruelly pointed out to her by some guy that this was her version of having a baby. I know this really stung her, and so now every time we get together with my walking friend or just us, she has to bring it up, as in from last week, "here I am with my younger friends and their babies, and it's just me and my dog, wah-wah!" Oh, it breaks my heart. Because that used to be me, and could very easily have continued to be me. I was always the one left out of the life experiences that everyone else was having, and it sucked. My heart bleeds for her, it really does.

But in happier news, I've found I really get a kick out of reading my fellow bloggers' descriptions of their babies and what they're doing now. So for (hopefully) someone's entertainment and also for my own record (I will make a baby book, dammit!), here is a little snapshot of Bumpus Today:

He has started swinging his arms in such a way to clap his hands. I don't think he knows he's clapping his hands yet, but it sure is cute. He especially does this when I sing him the Batman theme song. I think he likes the "da na na na na na na" part.

I love when he yells at his toys. I know this is his rudimentary way of playing, and it's adorable.

I love when he looks around and snacks his lips - it's like he's saying, "what trouble can I get into...?"

He has started really noticing when I leave the room, and breaks into a huge smile when I come back. I make sure to return this big smile every time. I once heard Oprah say something about "does your face light up when your child walks into the room?" And that really stuck with me.

I love how when I pick him up and hoist him over my head his legs kick straight out like he's flying.

I squeeze him tightly, rock him from side to side, and make grunting noises. I call it Bear Hugs. He always giggles when I do this.

I love how when he spots something he's interested in, like mommy's toys (my phone, the remote), he starts breathing heavy and his upper lip gets all pointy like a little beak. So cute!

There's a million more of these; I think I'll just start compiling lists. These are definitely the kind of things I'll want to remember (and embarrass him in front of dates with) ;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's going on

What's been going on around here? Pinterest. Yup, that's pretty much it. See why I was reluctant to join it? I knew my life would be taken over with reading blogs with titles like 101 Christmas Crafts for Your Toddler and re-pinning pictures of peppermint marshmallows. And it has.

The good thing about Pinterest, though, is it fulfills my psychological need for shopping without actually shopping. I get to look at pretty things and fantasize about how great my life would be if I had that thing, without spending money to buy it. It allows me to just bookmark it for later...a later which, hopefully, will never come. And then most of the things on Pinterest that I pin aren't things to buy, anyway - they're cheap household DIY projects, or parenting tips (mostly about raising toddlers, or tips for mothers of boys, all advice I really need!), or recipes (can never have enough of those). So I figure as an addiction it's fairly harmless, or at least a lot less harmful than my other addictions - sugar, TV, carbs, shopping. I would say sleep, but that doesn't really apply at the moment -!

Yesterday I hit up the two people who still owe me money, one of them being my ex. He is incredibly defensive and hostile every time I approach him (via email or FB). He had told me he'd pay me the $300 he owes in two week increments - he paid one $100 payment two months ago and I never heard from him again. Yesterday he told me he had tried to pay one more payment but it "didn't go through" and he'd provide documentation if I "think he's lying" (exclamation point). What a loser! He said he'd pay me another $100 right away but of course a day has gone by and nothing. I won't stop riding him until I get that remaining $200. I'm amazed there are people in this world who can owe people money for years and not be bothered by it - AND when confronted act like the person who loaned the money is at fault (last time I wrote him he said "I knew I never should have accepted that money"). I guess we know who those people are - they're sociopaths.

The good news is when I get this money I am going to buy a new laptop with it. My computer is eight years old and so slow and buggy that I'm afraid it's going to crash any moment, so I just stay off of it, which means anything that can't easily be done on my phone doesn't get done. Which is no good with my registration launching in just a couple of months. So I am very excited to upgrade and start fresh! I am owed $950 total so I figure that should get me something nice.

Bumpus and I are recovering from yet another in a series of colds. I have completely lost my voice, and sleep has been terrible between a sick baby and my own nose being completely blocked. Bumpus HATES when I try to wipe his runny nose, and I traumatized him with the nosefrida, so handling his boogie nose has been a real challenge. Still, I would prefer not to have his snot all over my shirts, sheets, upholstery, etc. I mean, I love you, kid, but there are some limits.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Just a hint on how I voted on most of our California propositions today. And now...we wait!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What am I turning into???

I am doing crafts. You heard me. Go to the fabric store, buy special tools kind of crafts. And I joined Pinterest after avoiding it for months. I am suddenly inspired to make peppermint stick cupcakes, tin foil icicle decorations, and my own cheese.

I think it's the fact that a) I have tons of time on my hands, and b) it's the aforementioned Festive Season and I want Bumpus to have some holiday memories, dammit. There was a time when my mother cooked macrobiotic meals from scratch, made miniature paper dolls, and blew out the contents of eggs and made Christmas tree ornaments. I would like to channel those aspects of my mother if possible. The cooking part I've had down since high school, but the craft part still needs a little work.

My current project is Christmas stockings. So far they're turning out pretty cool. They're a lot of work and I don't really know what I'm doing, but I know one day I'll be really glad I made them.

So what constitutes a good mother? Is it one that hugs and kisses their child a lot? One that plays with him and makes up games? One that cooks and makes crafts? One that makes sure he's safe and warm and fed but that's it? I don't really know. I'm just figuring this thing out, day by day.

Here's some cute baby pics (and my pile of craft materials):

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Other mothers

Yesterday I went to the first of my new mom meetup events. It was a casual park get together, with the added lure of trying out a swing for the first time (see yesterday's pics).

It was interesting being around new people since I'm in such a crunchy mom bubble around here. At this meetup, everyone used strollers and not carriers. Everyone talked about their husbands more than their babies. And just about everyone formula fed. And before I caught myself, me, the defender of formula feeders, I found myself judging them. Just a little. When the fifth baby got cranky and the mom whipped out the pre-measured powder and small bottles of water, I found myself thinking, "wtf? Does nobody breastfeed around here? They're all young and healthy, what's going on?" But then I quickly corrected myself and remembered how hard it was for me in the beginning, how I almost gave up, and absolutely would have, had I not had people encouraging me and giving me resources to get help. And how many people have major issues around breastfeeding even if they're able to do it some of the time. Then I mentally shut up. But it was just odd because everyone - and I mean everyone - I know, are passionate baby wearers, breastfeeders, most even cloth diaperers. So that shows the company I keep.

My Mom Guru friend was impressed when I told her the turnout - probably 10-15 mothers - and said meet ups are really hard; that it's difficult to get new members, difficult to get anyone to RSVP for events, and difficult to get those who RSVP to show up. I forget how phenomenally flaky most people are, especially when they have small children. I can honestly say since I had Bumpus I've only had to cancel a couple of things, and am NEVER late. But this is not so for most people. And that's ok - it just means I won't be starting my own meetup group anytime soon. I had high hopes that I could really get a groundswell movement going here in LA for single moms by choice, but if you can barely even get traditional married moms together, well, I might just have my work cut out for me.

Speaking of groups and gatherings, the bastard on the Hall of Fame board has resigned! He probably didn't like being attacked by us at the last meeting. So now I am motivated to stay on the board, maybe even run for president if nobody else wants the job. I would love nothing more than to whip this puppy into shape. I also have lately been thinking about getting into some local politics at some point. I've always been very political and have found I really like the idea of public service. So maybe I'll look into getting into some neighborhood councils or something.

Lately as I move forward into this whole motherhood thing, it's hard not to think of my own mother and compare our experiences. And it sincerely pains me to say this, but I am developing a little empathy for her. She was profoundly selfish, yes. Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Yes. And later on she was a crappy abandoning mother, for sure. But when we were babies, she did everything I'm doing for Bumpus, for me and my sister. She stayed up with us at night, she diapered us, cleaned up our vomit, fed us, listened to us cry a million times, kept us warm or cool as needed, made us birthday cakes and Halloween costumes and wrapped our presents. I know there were times in our poverty where she did without so we could have something. When we were teenagers she had no sympathy for our problems, never kissed or hugged us or told us she loved us, yes. But when we were babies...when we were babies...!

She must have hugged us then! I know she was an old school CIO type (let's face it, nearly all mothers were in the 70s and 60s), but she must have comforted us at least some of the time, must have kissed our boo boos and picked us up when we really needed it. It's a cruel reality that we can't remember back that far, but can only remember later, when her depression and narcissism got out of control, when our religion ruled our lives and she was realizing that had she never had kids she might have been successful (not quite understanding that it was probably more the husbands than the kids that prevented her from doing things).

But so often I look at little Bumpus - and he looks SO much like her - and think of the love I have for him, and will always have for him, and wonder, with a broken heart, why, and how, she stopped loving us.