Sunday, March 31, 2013

Unexpected consequences

Ok. I've spent the whole day feeling like complete garbage. I woke up with a dark, crushing depression the likes of which I haven't felt in a very, very long time. But it's not related to anything...everything in my life right now is just dandy. I did a little googling, and you know what I think it is? I think it's hormonal shifts related to the weaning.

I'm so, so glad that I have awareness of things like this - that just because you feel depressed doesn't mean you have to go along with these feelings. I knew it had to be something hormonal because try as I might I couldn't put my finger on what was making me feel so lousy. I woke up to a chilly, overcast day, and that fact alone made me just want to pull the covers over my head and cry. What the f-?

So I did my Silverlake walk, did some housework, and now I'm watching documentaries about Monsanto. I have a fun gig tonight at one of my favorite Art Deco downtown venues. Everything is a-ok. Oh sure, I hardly made any money this month. I have to get my brakes done. My stupid ex- got engaged yesterday. But none of this should pull me down the rabbit hole. It's the hormones.

We're down to about two feeds a day. I am going to try to get B to eat a real dinner starting next week, to essentially cut the breast feeds even further. He really bites now which is very unpleasant - and tells me my supply has dropped precipitously. Thankfully B seems unperturbed by all this. I don't think the weaning process is going to be a big emotional thing for him; I just have to survive the crazy mood swings. But it's cool. Awareness is half the battle!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let them eat cake

I've been pretty much on the go non-stop since before B's party, so it's not surprising that I am WIPED today. So take the bitch fest that is to follow with a grain of salt. I'm just really tired and need some down time at home. Which I will get next week.

So, I've mentioned I kind of hate other people's kids, right? Not my friend's kids or any of you readers' kids. They're all great. Just everyone else's. Today I met with my single mom meet up group. It was an Easter egg hunt that I prepared enormously for - made the mini cupcakes, made little filled eggs with mini toys in, etc. And the organizer did a really good job of setting up a nice table and decorating. But only four women showed - and our kids were such different ages - a little five month old and then 3 and four year olds - that it was kind of a mess. I've realized these mixed-age playgroups are kind of pointless. And extremely stressful for me. B only wanted to go in everyone's purses and eat their IPhones; I had to spend the whole time grabbing things out of his hands and pulling things away from him, which always resulted in minor tantrums. I kept placing him far away from the group and following him as he crawled, again constantly pulling things out of his mouth. It was utterly draining.

One 3 year old girl did not so much like B getting into her stuff - at one point he was sitting on the edge of her little princess tent and she yelled "get off get off get off!!!" and yanked it hard from under him, almost sending him tumbling backwards into a metal drain. Thank goodness I was right there and prevented him from getting really hurt - if he had I would have kicked her bitchy little butt.

I couldn't wait to just get us home where he's content to play nicely in his playpen. I can turn my brain off and not have to be hyper vigilant every second. I just HATE being out of our comfort zone. That's when being a parent is really overwhelming to me. When you have to deal with other people's older kids being mean to your baby, and your baby throwing fits when you pull them away from things, and your baby getting in to everything and eating fistfuls of dirt and leaves...that's when I just can't deal.

Oh, and of course no one but me ate the cupcakes I slaved over all Friday night. What the heck is up with people not eating cake?!?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter fun

Today I spent hours making these little Easter mini cupcakes for my single mom meet up egg hunt tomorrow. I went to the dollar store and had fun buying little fill eggs and tiny toys to go in them. I'm starting to have the kind of household where I have boxes of holiday stuff stored up...and I like it.

I went to see former Bed Rest Friend and her little itty bitty baby who is still a week shy of his due date. Apart from still being a little jaundiced he seemed to be doing well. The tiny, delicate little arms and hands...such a far cry from Bumpus, who is a real bruiser! He tore up their living room while I tried to keep one step ahead of him. Now I'm the frazzled mom of the toddler who gets into everything.

When we got home I just had to start the cupcakes and B was being super whiny and cranky so I decided he needed a nap, so I put him in the crib. He screamed for probably a half hour until he tired himself out. It wasn't pleasant, but a) I had way too much to do to coddle him and b) I knew he needed to sleep. Sometimes there's no gentle way to do it - you just don't have the time to hold/feed/rock them (and I doubt any of those things would have helped). He did sleep - but only for about 45 minutes. This nap thing is very challenging. I hope it gets easier.

Last night he screamed a while when I put him to bed at 8 pm, without me...then woke up at 5 am and went back to sleep after an extended belly rubbing from me. Tonight I should have put him to bed about an hour ago to be consistent...but his nap was so late I doubt he'd go down without a huge effort, and I'm so tired I might just take him to bed with me (in his crib of course) in an hour anyway. I wanted to get in the habit of him going to bed a couple of hours before me but I just don't know if I have it in me tonight. I'm just wiped.

The good news is so far so good on the shots. He did not, as I've heard so many stories, disappear into himself within hours of getting the MMR. Even today they released yet another study debunking the MMR/autism link. No fever, no reactions. He's still Mr. Bumpus. Thank God.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

12 months...and a few days

It's the final month sticker shot - sniff! Luckily I have a twelve month photo frame to commemorate all the month sticker photos. It's been a fun project - although as of about six months it's been almost impossible to get B to lie down and not rip the sticker off and shove it in his mouth. Next time I might just do all sitting up shots.

What did you just say? What "next time"? Yes, I'm trying to wrap my head around the possibility of two children in subtle ways throughout the day. After so many months of "never again" it's hard to start thinking about "again". Especially when I gave all my newborn stuff away...especially when I looked at every baby milestone as the last I'll ever experience. And yet all of this may still be true! I know already I have no intention of doing advanced methods to conceive another child - I can't afford it and I can't take the risk of multiples. It kind of has to be easy or I quit. I'd do Femara again...but that's kind of it. Of course, I say that now.

Last night I knocked myself out hosting a book club at my house, which is basically a dinner party. Naturally at the beginning of the day there were eight people coming so I spent $150 on food and spent all day cooking...only to have three people cancel at the last second. So of course there was way too much food which has now completely overloaded my refrigerator making it impossible to do the most basic tasks. I'm going to have to freeze a lot of it. I made a kale salad, sweet potato and chick pea curry with jasmine rice, and my favorite upside down blackberry cake with cinnamon whipped cream. Also spearmint sun tea. It was A LOT of work, but I just love entertaining. Everyone seemed to enjoy it which was very gratifying.

Today we had B's one year appointment - and six miserable shots. I swallowed my fears and went ahead with the MMR. I was contemplating delaying until 18 months...but I figured if it has any ill effects they'll happen then just as much as they would now. And B is exceptionally strong and healthy, other than his crazy mole experience, nary an illness other than mild colds in his year on earth. So...I just went ahead with it...despite the news of the recent Italian court case rewarding a family for damages related to a child's severe autism they deemed caused by the MMR (this gave me shivers). I'm going to watch him like a hawk the next few days. He's napping contentedly now (in the car). Our night wasn't great but not terrible - difficulty getting down and then a 40 minute scream fest around 5 AM. We'll see what tonight brings.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Goals and progress

It didn't occur to me until commenting on some other blogger's posts about sleep issues that I actually have a set of goals for B's sleep, and I am slowly reaching them.

The first and most important goal was getting B to sleep through the night - and this entailed removing the allure of my magical orbs, which then fed into goal #2 which is having B sleep in his crib. I have accomplished both of these, which is a cause of great celebration around here. Now to tackle goals #3 & 4, which are getting B to sleep before I go to sleep (so, alone in the bedroom), and then finally getting B to nap during the day in the crib.

Tonight I got B to sleep in the bedroom without me but more out of necessity - I had my book club over and there was a huge mess to clean up and it was after 10 already, so I had no desire to keep him up any later (he'd been rubbing his eyes for a couple of hours already) nor could I leave all the food out overnight. So I figured tonight was as good a night as any to get him to go to bed on his own.

It was rough, but we survived. I probably came in here five times in a half hour period to make him lie down; each time he'd stand and scream at the edge of the crib and each time I'd lay him down, cover him with the blanket, and put his stuffed animal in his hand, rubbing his chest and telling him it's sleepy time. It was similar to his first night in the crib (but quicker). Naps are harder because of the daylight...not sure how to handle that. Right now he mostly naps in the car, but that's becoming increasingly inconvenient. And you don't want to be around a one year old who hasn't napped. I did get him to nap in the crib once (see picture) but that was an anomaly. Subsequent tries have involved a couple of hours of cruising around the edge of the crib while crying until I just take him out because he's clearly not tired enough to settle down and sleep. So, naps are hard.

Still and all, I admit I am not bothered by my son's screaming. I mean, babies cry all the time. He used to scream every time we got in the car, for hours. So it doesn't feel bad to me. I know I'm doing what's best for him, and with me reappearing to lie him down he knows he's not been abandoned, he's just mad and frustrated that he's not getting to nurse to sleep in my bed like I did for a year. I don't know if I'm just a cold bitch, but this listening to him scream thing really is not a big deal.

Looking back now I can say all the warnings were correct - don't let them sleep in your bed, don't nurse to sleep, teach them to self-soothe, they need an early bedtime, etc etc. Now it's ok that I'm doing all this now; I'm fairly confident I can undo all these bad habits in just a few weeks. He's young enough that it won't be too hard - after all, we've already met two of four goals! But if I had it to do all over again I for sure would have done all of this about six months ago.

I'll tell you one thing - if there is going to be another baby around here (or a pregnant me), B's going to be sleeping like a champ, pronto. There'll be no fucking around if this becomes a two kid family, this I can promise you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meeting a fellow SMC blogger

Today Jen of Me, Myself & Twins and I met up! It was kind of like meeting a celebrity - or an old friend, since for heaven's sakes we know pretty much every gritty detail of each other's lives. Her beautiful twins were very good and hardly fussed at all even when Bumpus took their toys away. Yes, now I am the mother of the toddler that crawls over and torments the cute little babies. It had to happen some day!

For some reason when I got home I was completely wiped and was just not up for the huge supermarket trip I needed to make so I can cook for my book club tomorrow. I'm also really trying to stick with this proper lunch for B thing which often means re-organizing my day schedule so we can be home to eat. So these days I do a morning feed, then a real breakfast, real lunch, breassesses for dinner and before bed and no night feeds.

Because I have to go to the supermarket I have very little food left so today I had to get a little creative with the lunch. And boy can this kid eat all of a sudden! He had almost an entire sippy cup of milk, a whole avocado, lots of rice crackers, half a pear, and even many bites of my sweet potato and chick pea curry (!). After the curry went over so well I feel a little encouraged to start feeding him a real dinner. Feeding him off my plate is way easier than making him his own meal! Will I luck out to have a kid who eats everything, despite our rocky start? I doubt it, but hey, you never know.

Spent the day sorting through the birthday presents and writing thank you cards. I think it's safe to say we're set for at least another year! As of his 2nd birthday I think I can start asking for no gifts. I did need the help getting his toy collection started but I think we're good now - he's got enough to keep him busy for a long, long time.

During the stress of his party I thought "oh hell no could I handle two kids." Then once we got home and everything was quiet I thought, "oh, I could handle two kids." And so it goes. In that arena I am obsessively googling protein content of various foods and making up menus and a diet plan for myself in which I can pack on 120g of protein a day even without meat. I may never need to follow this diet - but it's nice to know if I do I can get the right amount by eating peanut butter, eggs, quinoa, Greek yogurt, lentils, beans, nuts, and some soy products (but I'd keep those pretty limited because soy is linked to all kinds of weird hormonal issues, especially in boys). The midwife had said I need to start the liver & kidney support and protein packing now before I'm even pregnant - but that's a little too "real" for me. I don't know if I'm even going to try to do this at all, much less even be successful at it.

One of my biggest fears isn't even the physicality of having another baby - I'm really afraid of breaking little B's heart. I'm afraid he'll feel hurt and rejected if there's a new baby and that we'll lose that "you and me against the world" thing we have going on right now. I asked a friend of mine with two boys how she handled this - and she said she's actually in therapy about it-! That was not encouraging.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Year One, done!

Today we can say goodbye to Bumpus' Year One. It's crazy to think he can be considered a toddler now, even though he isn't technically "toddling" yet.

So, the party! I will front load this post by saying everything turned out great and it was a very good party. Enough people came that I didn't feel snubbed (thank God!) and it was a nice coming together of old friends who rarely get to see each other any more. Bumpus was in great form and charmed everyone (again thank God - I'm sure babywearing him much of the day helped him feel secure). So that's the good stuff!

The bad stuff is I was TOTALLY STRESSED OUT for the day before and while setting up. As technically a professional event planner (that's what my tax returns say anyway) I am a perfectionist when it comes to this stuff and can get very TENSE when things get out of control. But I keep it all inside (I think). As mentioned my sister and I undertook to make the cake. Which was moving right along - until we waited until 8 PM the night before to assemble and decorate it. Of course all the things happened when amateurs try to make a themed cake for 50 people - the layers all had risen unevenly and so they slid around on each other (until we stuck a thick dowel rod down the middle of it); we only had enough red food coloring to bring the frosting to a salmon color; the little fondant Cat in the Hat character arrived from Canada in a million pieces and would not be stuck back together; the frosting was full of crumbs; the fondant wouldn't fall correctly. In the middle of this a friend dropped by with her dog, I had to bathe the boy, and it was just totally stressful. We were both pretty bummed out by how the cake was looking...but somehow we pulled it together and I think it actually came out pretty great.

The great thing about having a party in a remote location is it's not at your house...the bad thing about having a party in a remote location is it's not at your house. The amount of crap you have to haul when you're setting up a party elsewhere is tremendous - garbage bags, paper towels, scissors, tape, a lighter, etc. And as always there were missteps despite all my planning - way too many drinks, not enough pizza, and too long of an interval between pizza and cake (I was waiting for the photographer). Keeping 20+ kids between the ages of 1 and 5 waiting a half hour for cake is a big no no! So, lesson learned there!

Still and again it was a great time, everyone was warm and lovely and helped a lot (especially my sister!), and B was unperturbed which was the most important part for me. I'm continually amazed by how social he is despite his age and my social weirdness. Hopefully he got that trait from good ol' donor guy!

**on another topic, to follow up on my .1% post. As many of you have gleaned I am pretty certain I will at least try for #2 when I am able. This doesn't mean I'll be successful. But I feel the need to at least try so I have no regrets. I debated on whether or not to even reveal this on this blog because I didn't want my readers to get frustrated by my constant flip-flopping. But in the end it's such a huge part of my life and thoughts right now that I didn't feel right hiding it - and if nothing else, flip-flopping is truthful!

I have done a ton of research on the protein-pre-eclampsia connection and am pretty shocked by what I'm reading. I just can't believe a thin, healthy person with no predilection to high blood pressure or kidney or liver issues can just develop this condition for no reason unless their pregnancy diet is way, way off of what it should be, which I think is what happened to me. I just didn't know, and nobody advising me knew, either (I don't think any of my obs/midwives even asked or knew I was a vegetarian), so nobody is to blame. And the sad thing is, had anyone told me I needed to seriously increase my protein intake, I probably would have just gotten angry and defensive and ignored them. That's the down side of being a contrarian as I am - sometimes I don't listen to sound advice. And I remember myself pregnant - nobody could tell me anything; I just didn't want to hear it. I think it was my way of coping with the elevated anxiety was to shut everything alarmist or negative out of my thoughts - to my detriment. There's a term I love called "learned helplessness" which explains all this - it's how I grew up. In my childhood religion it was all about ignoring warning signs, not believing you can help yourself by doing anything physical (it's all mind over matter), and just giving up. To this day I'll suffer with a headache for hours before remembering I can take a pill and be rid of it. So to be brutally honest, had anyone told me I needed to up my protein intake to avoid getting pre-e and being induced, I know I would have ignored it and just crossed my fingers. That's the truth.

So, moving forward, now it's just the waiting game. I only nurse B 2-3 times in a 24 hour period now, and even with all the excitement over the weekend I still got him to bed by 9 every night and he slept straight through to about 7 or 8 without waking, or if he did wake, I'd lay him back down and he'd be back asleep within minutes. I'll be watching for fertility signs this month but I know it may be a lengthy process. More time to flip flop I guess!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy birthday Bumpus!

It was a wonderful day - way too exhausted to give a full report! Here's some snaps I took on my phone; more to come later!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The .1%

So often over the last year I've talked about being 99.9% sure that I didn't want another baby. Today I'd like to talk about that .1%.

Several things have happened lately that have made this subject be on my mind, either hormonally or situationally. The first thing is B turning one, with all the joy/ sadness that entails. We made it through the first year. Centuries ago he would have defied all the odds to have made it this far. With the strange, bittersweet longing of B no longer being a little baby and moving on into toddlerhood brings the rush of having made it through - and thinking "hey, that wasn't so hard!" And then thinking maybe I could do this again.

The other thing that happened is realizing I need to make some decisions about the four vials of sperm I have reserved, as the yearly storage renewal is coming up. I could just let them go - he is still listed on the clinic's website and not as "limited" which means there's plenty more of him to go 'round - but to buy even one vial back would cost almost twice as much as storing four for another year.

Then everyone - and I mean everyone -around me is about to have, or just had, babies. It's hard not to think about it when it's all around you.

Moving on towards weaning, the return of the period, etc, all have meant dramatic hormonal shifts. Which as we all know affects our ability to reason.

My Facebook SMC group often has posts talking about embryos stored for the future. I was so envious of these women who could take their time, space their children as they please, never having to worry about egg quality or diminishing ovarian reserve. For a minute I thought maybe I'd do that - pull out some 40-year-old eggs and make some embryos with my frozen sperm and keep some potential siblings on ice until I can make an informed decision.

There are several holes in this plan, however. One being I could never afford it. The other being counting on just one egg retrieval to make me some good quality embryos - what if I did all that and ended up with nothing? Then there's the issue of enduring a pregnancy and labor in my mid-forties. My 39-year-old pregnancy was fraught with life- threatening conditions enough. Do I really want to risk it at 44 or 45?

So after milling this over for some weeks, it dawned on me that I don't have the luxury of waiting until I feel better about the idea or B is older. I can't wait until he's in school. I can't wait until the trauma of that birth is forgotten. I pretty much have to do it now or forever close that door. And try as I might, I simply cannot close that door. The .1% won't let me let this last opportunity to provide a sibling for B pass me by just because I was afraid.

So I went to speak to Mom Guru's midwife who delivered her third baby at home. I brought all of my lab results from Kaiser in the hopes that she would tell me I really wasn't that sick and being induced was totally unnecessary. But that wasn't the answer I got. Not at all. She said yes, I had pre-eclampsia and she would have told me to induce, too. That being a-symptomatic meant nothing; that not having any major blood pressure issues until the end meant nothing. That we both could have died. Not likely, but you never can tell with pre-e; it's an unpredictable killer. This put the fear of god in me. I definitely felt like one who is looking over the edge of a cliff they almost stepped off.

But moving forward she said there are many things you can do to lower or even eliminate your risk. For one, it's more common in the first pregnancy. So just having it once - especially a mild case as I had - is no guarantee I could have it again. And you can take preventative measures - tons of acupuncture, herbs and supplements that support liver and kidney function, not to mention loading up on protein, the absence of which causes your kidneys to basically consume themselves (I cannot describe to you the horror I feel realizing my beloved vegetarian diet may have caused all of this). She said with great confidence that it can easily be managed or even eliminated entirely by diet and supplements. Dandelion, red raspberry leaf tea. All of that stuff I poo-poo'd before thinking it was a lot of hooey.

And even if the worst happened and they started talking induction again, she could help me induce naturally to at least get the process started so it wouldn't be so drawn out and miserable as last time. And again it would be the second birth - faster, easier. She did mention going from zero (no dilation, effacement, etc) to a vaginal birth as I did with an induction is rare. So I pretty much lucked out. Hard to believe anything about that shit show was lucky, but there it is.

All of this is of course putting the cart before the horse. I have no idea where my fertility is at at nearly 41 - or when I'll even ovulate again, if at all. I may never get pregnant again; I may never be able to carry a baby again; I may not be able to have a healthy baby. I may encounter new and bizarre complications that I didn't have before - incompetent cervix, pre-term labor, bed rest, low fluids, birth defects. Remember all of that? It's been a long time since I've thought about any of those things, and I certainly didn't think I'd ever have to think of them again.

The downside to all of this is that I will be stuck delivering at Kaiser again (unless somehow by luck or hard work I have an amazing healthy pregnancy), and fielding their out of control bills PLUS the new mid wife's several thousand dollar bill. It's going to be hella expensive. Is it worth it, though, for the extra support, the pre- and post- natal care, the hand holding all along the way helping me make informed decisions? Heck yes.

But I promised, promised, PROMISED myself I would never make myself endure an induction ever again. How can I even put myself in a position where that's a possibility? Because somewhere in me I believe it can be different - that I can do it right this time, even if the circumstances are the same. That I'll be more prepared. That I'll hire people to help. That I'll be super proactive and not just float along and hope everything works out. That when you know better you do better. That maybe, just maybe, I can heal the trauma of what happened to me.

The .1% is a tiny but loud minority. I never thought I'd find myself here, but here I am - much like I never thought I'd live in LA and never thought I'd have a baby via sperm donor at all, much less try for two. But as I half-suspected, being faced with the REAL end of it all - releasing the sperm to some other family forever, shutting the door forever on B having a sibling, letting what's left of my fertility go by the wayside...again, I just don't want to look back one day and know I had this window of opportunity but I let it go because I was too scared. That's just not a good enough reason.

Guess who's back in town

So I guess for me it only took a couple of nights of night weaning to get ol' Aunt Flo back. Or something resembling Aunt Flo - honestly it kicked in last night and as of right now may already be over. But something is definitely up. I'm waking in the middle of the night drenched in sweat like the old progesterone suppository days, and yesterday I was really blue, like that crazy irrational period-y blue. I've been cramping on and off. And then. And so.

Last night B woke a few times but got back to sleep within a few minutes this time - simply lying him down and patting his belly is all it takes. I'm not getting any better sleep - I'm up for hours upon each waking - but I'm excited to see all that change. I wonder when will be the first time he'll sleep straight through...? I'm giddy just thinking about it. Suffice it to say the sleep training is working. And I'm tempted to say it's good for him - he seems extra smiley during the day. I really believe it's better for both of us.

Everything may be somewhat derailed when this weekend's excitement kicks in; my sister flies in tomorrow, then it's non- stop party prep until his birthday Sunday, then Monday I have a long night out and am leaving him with a sitter he hasn't seen in several months. I have no idea how to handle sleep for him that night when I won't be home until after midnight. It may be a rough back pedal next week to make up for how nuts the next few days will be.

In the meantime, here's a picture of the little birthday hat I made him. I hope to embarrass him with it every year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Night two

As hoped, last night went better. I put B down in the crib with a blankie and a stuffed animal with the intention that he sleep (rather than letting him fall asleep when he felt like it), rubbing his belly and cooing to him until he slept. I don't think I've ever done that before - actually put an awake baby to sleep. It was fascinating watching his eyelids slowly shut.

Of course he woke an hour later, hysterical. But I laid him right down, and he stayed there, and fell asleep after about 20 minutes. He woke again for what used to be his nighttime feed time, 4 AM. But almost immediately went back to sleep. I decided 8:30 was as good a time as any to be up, so fed him. My boobs were suffering something awful from not having fed him in 10 hours or so - and unfortunately he has lately taken on the habit of biting down so hard on my right nipple that it was unbearable and I had to stop. I tried to bust out the old nipple shield, but he would have none of it. So I may have a problem on my hands. I may have to start using the pump for relief, which I did today. Although I do believe we're on the way to weaning. He doesn't seem that interested, and the teeth frigging HURT. And he's a year. It's time.

In the effort to entertain more, I am thinking of changing up my patio furniture. It's all filthy, warped, and in ill repair. I never want to go outside because there's nowhere clean to sit. Unfortunately, patio furniture is a fortune. Fortunately, there are places like Big Lots that have ridiculous deals. I can replace my six rickety wooden dining table chairs for $20 each. The only problem is getting them here. They also have an amazing modular sofa for outdoors which is a fraction of the cost of the usual outdoor sets. I could trick out my outdoor area and have groups out there instead of in my cramped house - but I'm reluctant to spend the money. Not until I get that "out of network" ER visit bill, which could be in the thousands. Ugh.

It's definitely on my mind that a year ago today I was in a terrible state - being pressured into inducing, worried about my health, terrified of what I was about to endure. Boy, if only I could have seen how well it would all turn out! At least that would have given me some small comfort.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Return of the sleep training

So yesterday my Walking Friend gave me the gist of the sleep training consult she had recently - the same thing I almost did, until I saw the $400 price tag. Not surprisingly the trainer told her pretty much what I had figured out when I did my modified CIO back in January - that you let them cry, but touch them and reassure them the whole time. And no picking up.

So what happened to my modified CIO, you ask? Well, it was going great for a while, but then he had that terrible teething episode where he was pooping every five seconds, and then we had back to back colds for weeks, and, well, the whole thing just fell apart. So we were back to the routine of some so-so nights of a four or five hour stretch followed by lots of waking, to some awful nights of him waking to mangle my nipples every couple of hours. And he's a year old now - I kind of want my bed back. He sleeps all over the place, is harder and harder to get to sleep, and plays around so much that he keeps clonking his skull into my face, resulting in lots of fat lips and bruised eye sockets on my part. So, I'm over it.

Why did I co-sleep in the first place? Well, mainly for convenience. I figured I would be more rested if I could just roll over and pop a boob in his mouth rather than getting up every time. Which was no doubt true in those first months, when I could at least make up the sleep later because he would sleep in with me until 10 or 11. But then he started waking at 8 every day. And then it was months of never having had unbroken sleep. A lot of the co-sleeping was about fear and neediness on my part. I wanted to cuddle him, and I did, and that was great. I also was terrified to have him away from me in case god forbid he stopped breathing or some other nightmare scenario happened, especially in those early weeks.

Looking back on it now, I wish I'd done this around six months when I knew he was strong and healthy and didn't need to eat in the middle of the night anymore. I just let it drag on way, way too long.

So I wasn't really planning on doing any sleep training right now, but after talking to my equally sleep deprived friend, I decided what the heck and put him in his crib as we went to bed, rather than in bed with me. I put one of my pillows in there as a sort of mattress so he could still smell me. An hour later he woke up hysterical...and screamed for 1 1/2 hours. What did I do? Well, I held his hand, rubbed his back, and told him I was there, but didn't pick him up. It just went on and on. Finally it dawned on me that he was completely exhausted but didn't know how to just lie down after standing at the edge of the crib all that time, so I physically laid him down, put a blanket over him, and he immediately conked out. I probably could have done that way earlier.

He woke up again about four hours later, but this time I laid him back down and he went right back to sleep. And that was it, until now, when I figured it was ok to just be up for the day so I brought him into bed to feed him (my boobs were huge and angry) and let him nap a little more since technically he'd only had about nine hours' sleep, which is not enough.

I will keep up this routine and see how it goes. I imagine it will be like my modified CIO in which tonight was the worst but then it gets easier...if I stick to my guns. I will also make the crib a little more appealing - I won't use that big pillow because it's too dangerous; I'll take out the books and toys and use his favorite cushy blanket, maybe bring in a little stuffed animal or something. Yes, all of the things I should have done ages ago.

Again I will say it was almost entirely my own neediness that kept him in bed with me this long. It helped quell my anxiety to have him at arm's length. But in the end it wasn't good for either of us. I am exhausted and he has to learn to sleep alone before it's too late - I mean, he can't sleep with me forever, can he? My dream is to someday have a real bedtime where I can put him in here alone and I can have an evening to myself. That would be amazing. But, one step at a time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

My first SMC hosting experience

Yesterday I did what I've only done a couple of times - host a party at my house while tending to a baby, with no help. It's a very hard thing to do.

I had my first SMC meeting, consisting of five women. Thankfully the house was already clean now that I have my wonderful cleaning lady, so my only job was to straighten up...and bake a blackberry upside-down cake. I realized some nibbles might have been more practical, as would having a variety of drinks (I never have anything but water or tea around here). I always think desserts are great, but forget most women don't want to randomly eat cake in the middle of the day (which seems crazy to me. I'll have cake anywhere and any time). But anyway this is just my rambling way of saying I feel a little guilty that I wasn't a better host - I was rattled because B was having an insecure day (super clingy, wouldn't be put down anywhere), so I neglected to stay on top of the drinks or even offer the cake. Also the conversation came so fast and furious that I neglected to have anyone introduce themselves, which one woman pointed out. Blurgh! Oh well. I'll do a better job next time!

I think everyone found the meeting informative and helpful. I know I did, even though it was mostly the two mothers in the group who did the talking, having already been through the whole experience, whereas the other four women were in the thinking or trying phase. One has been trying with a known donor and just found out his sperm is sub par and so may have to make some changes; one is planning on freezing her eggs to buy more time; one is doing a fertility diet in preparation for IVF, one is just considering the whole idea. The other mother brought her super cute 4 month old and also had her donor's adult picture on her cell for quick reference (I should do this! Although I only have baby pictures); he was smoking hot. Nice choice!

We talked shop much of the time, but I think the highlights of the conversation were the philosophical points - as in, why have children at all? Why not leave well enough alone and continue on with our awesome single lives? Because for us it just wasn't enough - we were bored, we felt unchallenged, we felt alone, we were sick of being jealous of friends with kids, we wanted someone to tell our stories when we're gone. One woman asked if I thought being lonely was a bad reason to have a baby. I said not at all; that married people have babies for far more selfish/messed up reasons than that! I didn't tell her the loneliness doesn't really go away when you have a baby...that's a conversation for another time.

As someone pointed out to me when I was pregnant, it may seem like wanting a child is a very selfish thing - wanting the company, wanting someone to care for you when you're old, wanting your genes to live on - but in fact it's one of the most unselfish things you'll ever do. Especially as a woman, for how physically demanding it is for us. There are lots of sacrifices - financial, social - and they keep coming as your children grow. Still I like to think of it as one of my favorite comedians put it: Wanda Sykes, who always railed against children but then had twins with her partner, said about parenting, "now, I know I used to say children ruin your life. And they do ruin your life. But they give you a new life." That to me is the best assessment of what parenthood is all about!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Meets 'n greets

Thanks all for your comments on my last post confirming that I am not (that) crazy. My first reaction whenever I feel hurt by someone's actions is to assume I'm overreacting (gee I wonder who taught me that???), so it's good to have confirmation that others would have felt the same way under the circumstances.

I do think one person complained and this became "feedback I've been getting". Maybe it's the New Yorker in me, but I feel like if you're late it's your responsibility to catch up, not everyone else's job to wait for you. Not so long ago I was late to a LACMA meetup with this group (I was coming from another event and told them I'd be late), and despite messaging on the meetup site and texting the organizer, we never connected, so I just wandered around alone. Did I complain? No! Anyway.

I decided to be petty and change my reservation for next Thursday's meetup to a "no". My other, less active meetup group, the single mother one, has a hike at the same time. I'd rather hang with them.

Speaking of single mothers, tomorrow I host my first ever SMC meeting at my house. I think about seven women are coming...but only two wrote back when I sent a reminder email yesterday, so who knows? I would think a group like this will be even trickier because it's so intensely private - I try to remember myself two years ago just starting the trying process, and how clandestine it all was, and how much I felt the need to hide it from most people I knew. I would think if I keep this group going, people will come in and out of it - women will meet someone, they'll get busy with work, they'll have trouble getting pregnant and not want to be around other pregnant women or babies. I expect the group to be fairly fluid. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

In other news, had my interminable tax appointment today, expecting anything - I assumed I'd owe thousands. Guess what? I'm getting a refund for the first time in probably fifteen years! Can I tell you how much the child tax credit rocks? That refund will immediately be put against my sewer line debt. I'm cool like that.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hell is others

So annoyed right now. So I'm in this mommy & me meetup group, and I've been very active in it, attending nearly all of the scheduled events and planning three of my own. The leader is moving to Florida in a couple of weeks and put out an email asking a few of us if we'd be willing to take over as organizer, which would mean paying the fees and approving new members in addition to planning events. I said I'd do it, but if others would be willing to help with events and fees that'd be great. Two to three of the others said they'd be happy to help with the fees and planning, and that was the last I heard.

Yesterday I ran a meetup for this group at my farmer's market. It didn't turn out too well. Only five people RSVP'd, then two canceled and one said she was running way behind so to go ahead without her. I waited at the meeting spot for about ten minutes, but just had a feeling the other two were going to be no-shows; two weeks ago I went to an entirely different meetup at this very market and nobody showed but the organizer, and she was nearly an HOUR late so I just left. Fearing a repeat of this I posted on the meetup site that I was going to start walking around, this is what my stroller looks like, come find me. Honestly I would have waited a lot longer, but the spot I was waiting was hot and sunny and there was a group of teenagers skateboarding (and the skateboards were flying everywhere), yelling and swearing really loudly (this is a huge pet peeve of mine - I always want to yell, "excuse me, young man, there are ladies present!"). Anyway so I was really uncomfortable sitting there and just wanted to get moving, figuring I'd circle around and check for the two remaining women.

Well, one of them did find me, and she was delightful. Unfortunately she's going to Canada for two months next week, but I'm hoping I'll see her again at some point. What became of the last person I don't know since she never communicated if she was there or not.

Anyway. So today I get an email from the organizer asking how it went, and I told her. Then a couple of hours later she sends me this weird email saying she appreciates that I have been planning some events but she wants to remind me "based on some feedback I've been getting" that I need to wait at least 20 minutes for people and need to make sure I welcome everyone. Then she says she's turning over organizer responsibilities to someone who has only planned one event and hasn't attended ANY in the past couple of months, and wasn't even one of the people who offered to help plan or pay fees. Huh?

Then a few minutes later another email, just one line saying "thank you for your understanding." What?

The whole thing makes me feel very criticized and hurt. It makes me think that I've done a bad job and am being punished by having the organizer status taken away. It certainly reads that way, doesn't it? Or am I nuts?

Now in the end it's probably best that someone else take the reins and I just enjoy being a member who shows up, with no responsibility. Especially as my event gets closer I just won't have the mental energy to deal with organizing a group. But the whole thing was just weird. I feel - here we go - rejected. All together now.

On top of that I went to my beloved silver lake park today...only to find they had aerated the soil in the whole grassy part, meaning that every two inches there's a hard, turd-like cylinder of soil. Try putting a one-year-old down in that, and try keeping those enticing bite-sized dirt mounds out of his mouth. After spending five minutes pulling dirt out of his mouth and hands and saying no about fifty times, I finally had to just scoop him up and wheel him away, while he was having a major meltdown. So, that park is now out - probably all year, since I don't see those awful dirt cylinders going anywhere anytime soon, unless we have a huge rain, which we will not.

...aaaand tonight I have to finish my taxes, and I shirked off last night so now I have HOURS of tax prep ahead of me, and a baby who hasn't napped and wouldn't eat his lunch so I took it away, resulting in another meltdown, which then resulted in my leaving him to scream in the playpen while I sat in another room and slowly ate two Cadbury cream eggs. Good times.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Food, parks and taxes

Right now the cleaning lady is downstairs while B & I are in the playroom. How freaking great it is to have a completely separate, private space away from the rest of the house! B is going to love it up here when he's old enough to need privacy. When I was that age (jr high, high school) I had to hide in the closet in our tiny studio apartments, ha ha!

Thank you all SO MUCH for your helpful comments on my last few posts. I've learned a lot from them and I'm so glad I'm not the only one stressed out about sharing a dinner table with a toddler! It reminds me of a conversation I had with a married friend some months ago about her husband trying to force their (I think?) two-year-old to sit nicely at the table and have adult table manners, with resultant tantrums and tears. She felt he just wasn't ready for that and instead let him wander around, which her husband disapproved of. And I can see both sides of that argument. But for me I think you're right - at just one, I don't think B needs to be locked in to a proper dinner at a table. At least, not right this second. We've got breakfast nailed; I'm working on lunch. Dinner can wait. Today I put little naked B in the cold high chair and his teeth started chattering so bad I immediately took him out and put some clothes on him. Poor thing! It's all such a learning curve. I find this vintage high chair is a pain in the butt because with no plastic wedge holding his legs in place he tends to slip down to a reclining position which I can only imagine makes it difficult to swallow, so I have to keep pulling him up to sit up straight. I have also found he tends to play with the food unless I just start shoving it in his mouth; then he eats nearly all of it. It could be because he had a full breast feed right before and just wasn't hungry. I'll just have to figure all this stuff out.

I keep reminding myself that when he's fifteen all of these concerns will be so forgotten - then, I'll be worried about college, grades, that skank who keeps sexting him (if texting is even a thing in fifteen years!), how to talk to him about drugs, etc. Him slipping down and being cold in his high chair is going to seem like such ancient history, you know?

I have really been enjoying my silver lake walks. It's a rare area in the middle of the city which actually has a body of water, so you get that wonderful moist air coming off of it, plus the sound of the seagulls that hang out there, and a grassy area which also is hard to come by in east LA. All of it gives me fond memories of my east coast childhood. I really want grass, lakes, and water sports to be a part of B's childhood. I may start bringing a blanket and umbrella for us to have long stays in this grassy area as the weather warms up. With a reclining stroller he could even nap out there. Could be a nice springtime activity for us.

My bandleader friend called this morning to tell me he's discovered he's really unhappy with the recording we made a few weeks ago and may want to re-record it all. So as much as I was pissed to have missed the recording because of a cold, boy am I glad I did! I'd be pretty annoyed if I had to pay a sitter for all that time, twice.

This week is all about taxes. Every night this week I have to sit down and organize and calculate receipts. Why don't I do this throughout the year? Well, for me I'd rather have the freedom to just throw receipts in a pile all year and then suffer one week instead of having to enter them into a computer system every week or month. Also doing it all at once gives me a better sense of how the year went and which receipts I need to use and which I don't. But this year with all the tax credits expiring and all my non-deductible expenses (kid stuff, hospital stuff) I think this year is going to SUCK for taxes. Even though I made an advance payment I think I'm going to owe thousands more. I'll know on Saturday!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The single life

Just got back from Babies R Us after an unsuccessful attempt at getting a new stroller. Much like buying a car, it was just too overwhelming. So many needs - must have a tray, cup holder, recline well, fold up well, easily steerable with one hand, be light weight but not flimsy, have five point harness, good storage undercarriage, have good shade, be able to grow with him, and also not be expensive (as in, over $100, but I've accepted that I'm going to have to get over that). No stroller meets all these criteria - in fact, being lightweight and compact tends to override being sturdy. My Mom Guru friend recommended her City Mini. Of all the strollers it does meet more of my criteria than any of the others. And it might just replace my giant jogging stroller for my silver lake walks which would free up my trunk for storage again, which would be great. However, it's a bit steep at $250. But he could really grow into it, unlike some of the cheaper lightweight strollers that he'd outgrow in a year and then we'd be right back here again. Here's another thing I now get - why women get so obsessive about strollers.

I've used my umbrella stroller in real life situations a few times now and I hate hate hate it. Yesterday I was trying to walk around the blinding LA city streets with a drink in one hand, and it just sucked - sun right in B's eyes while the stupid flimsy shade kept collapsing, nowhere to stow my purse or shopping bags, no cup holder and so I had to hold my drink which then meant trying to steer the stroller with one hand which was virtually impossible. And no tray for B to play with and put his poor dangling feet up on. So I may keep it for travel but it is otherwise useless to me.

So the last two mornings I've given B milk, bananas, strawberries and a waffle for breakfast. Today I am going to attempt lunch and dinner using real food. It's just a question of looking at my food and trying to figure out how to make it safe and appealing for a baby. It's tempting to just do dairy and carbs and fruit - but I know we have to get those veggies in there. It's a whole new way of looking at what I eat and how I shop. Almost like starting a new diet or something - kind of turns everything on its head.

Which brings me to my point. I had a thought the other day about the difference between people who do things the "normal" way and people who choose single parenthood. This may come across as whiny but I don't mean it that way; it's just an observation. I think people who meet someone, date for a while, maybe live together, then get married, then have a baby, are just a lot more prepared for the changes a baby brings. You've already learned to change your habits and compromise to live with another person. Your lifestyle is already being groomed to accept new people in your house and your life. In fact in most cases it's not your house and your stuff but our house and our stuff. Now me, I haven't had that several years of grooming - it was just one day I'm single and living the same single life I've lived for decades; the next I'm a mother. Literally overnight. Now of course I had nine months of pregnancy and several months of contemplating before that; but that's nothing compared to several years of living a family life, of sharing your life with one other person. The only situation I can think is similar to what we SMCs go through is when people have only dated a few months, get pregnant, and get married. Honestly that must be way more jarring. But then again that usually happens to young people who aren't set in their ways.

I guess this is just my way of saying I'm struggling a bit with letting go of some of my single chick behavior. For example I realized today that if we're going to have dinner together, a real family dinner, it means I can no longer comfortably eat dinner in front of the TV. We have to be in the kitchen, because I'm not letting the baby eat in the living room, no way. And I know it's nice to have family dinners where we just share time together and enjoy the food and don't have the TV mesmerizing us. But. I've eaten dinner in front of the TV every night for 20+ years. It's how I relax and unwind. It's what I do. Somehow not doing that anymore kind of makes me sad. I don't want to sit in the kitchen and stare at the wall. I know it's a small thing and like everything else I just need to get over it. But if there were a partner here it would be different - I'd make an effort to make real dinners with flowers on the table, etc. And when B is older I am looking forward to doing this, when we can have a conversation and I can ask him about school. But right now it just seems kind of meh.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baby steps

I'm excited I've kind of discovered a new exercise/outing thing. There are lots of great hikes in the LA area, but some are more challenging than is practical (I find I wait until I'm "up for it", and then weeks go by). Also the more challenging ones are tough with a stroller or while baby wearing. So I have taken to doing the Silverlake reservoir walk every other day or so. I used to just go with Walking Friend when she was available, but then I thought why not do this all the time, like part of a daily/weekly routine? So I've been going every couple of days. It's nearby, there's a grassy area I can let B crawl around in at the end, and it feels safer than most of my hikes - lots of people, moms with kids, etc. Also exercise does wonders to elevate my mood, which is always a good thing.

So snap n go stroller is now dispatched so I have no choice but to use the umbrella stroller. As always thanks for all of your helpful suggestions. I will see if I can get some sort of shade extender; in the meantime I will most likely use the jogger in the most sunny situations. I went to Target for sippy cups and to my dismay they only had the Nuby kind; but I figured they were worth a try. This morning I gave him some full fat cow's milk in it! I'm not sure if he understood the concept at first - I didn't realize sippy cups have "stages" you're supposed to follow, so I got one of the in-between stages one just to hedge my bets. He mostly wanted to use the silicone nub thing as a teether - which they specifically tell you not to let them do - but he was swallowing so I think he did get a little milk. He seemed to like it, no weird faces or spitting it out. So hopefully this will be his new thing - and can you imagine if I didn't have to pump for sitters anymore...? Oh my God, that would be the best thing ever!

In a panic over him not being big enough, I did a little amateur sleuthing last night; measured his length and head circumference with a tape measure, and weighed us both on the bathroom scale and then weighed just me for the difference. It looks like he's in the 25th percentile for weight and the 50th for height and head size. Of course my measurements weren't exactly 100% accurate but it did make me feel better - I was worried he was undernourished after all this food weirdness. I can hardly wait until he's nine and scarfing down everything in sight (I say that now-!).

I also bought what I hope will be kid friendly foods at the grocery store yesterday. Cheese, cottage cheese, bananas, I have avocados from my tree right now, and ingredients for my more mushy adult meals, like my favorite polenta and white beans with spinach, or split pea soup and popovers, or pasta with spinach pesto. Haven't delved head on into the "real food" thing but I'm poised for it. I'll give myself the weekend for easy squeeze bag foods and then Monday it's on.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


So I've decided one of the ways to combat my fears about B's new developments is to acquire the proper tools. Of course I'm going to feel unprepared and gormless (one of my favorite British terms) when I'm dealing with outdated materials.

So I retired the GoPod for feedings and have started using the high chair which has sat unused for a year. It seems a little too big still - he kind of sinks into it. But I'm trying to mitigate that with the use of wadded up burp cloths. It's great to have the use of a tray that B can use to feed himself. He does tend to push everything on the floor, but I've accepted we have entered the "mom picking things up off the floor" phase.

I went to Home Depot and bought a 50 lb bag of random landscaping rocks to divide up into three ziplock bags to put around the base of the jumper so B doesn't tip it over. So far it's working like a charm. I hope I can get a few more months' use out of it, anyway. He does love it.

I am about to have a friend's husband install the convertible carseat, and turn over my snap 'n go stroller and start using the umbrella stroller that, once again, has sat unused for a year. I set it up and buckled B in here in the living room; I have to say I was kind of unimpressed. My main concerns are utter lack of shade, and no storage space. The shade is a major problem here in LA where there is always hot, direct sunlight. The little snap on shade they provide only covers the top of his head. I was thinking of getting rid of it and buying a different one with proper shade...but I do have a jogging stroller I use for any lengthy outdoor jaunts; maybe the umbrella stroller will be ok for those miscellaneous times, like waiting in line at the post office, mall strolling, etc...? Anyway I have it on hand so there's no point in trying to get rid of it until I've actually seen if I can use it or not. I'm meeting Mom Guru in the parking lot of a Target today to try out one of her strollers to see if I like it better. Just goes to show why it's so hard to make those big purchases while you're still pregnant - you have no idea what your needs will end up being.

Speaking of Target, I'm going to troll the baby section to look for sippy cups, food, and other feeding implements.

I am LOVING getting rid of all the old baby stuff! The nursery is finally looking pared down and organized, no longer full of giant boxes of things I didn't need until now. That's one freedom of knowing there will be no more kids - no need to hang on to old stuff. Although I did enlist my sister to make a baby blanket out of my favorite newborn onesies. Kind of couldn't let go of those, somehow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I get it now

The blog world is full of apologist posts from women who, before having kids, didn't understand their friends with kids, and are now sorry for being such a-holes. I've talked about this a lot on here, but lately I've isolated a few very specific observations. So, as B comes up on his first year milestone, here are some things I just didn't get before that I now do.

Runny noses. I used to be grossed out by kids' runny noses and wondered why the mothers just wouldn't "stay more on top of that". I now understand that babies don't carry tissues in their pockets that they politely dab their running noses with throughout the day, like I do. In fact, they can't even blow their noses; and when mom wipes it, it causes a meltdown of catastrophic proportions, followed by more running snot about five seconds later. When your baby has a cold - and they almost always do - their nose runs pretty much all the time. And there's nothing you can do to keep it clean at all times. Nothing.

Dirty hands/faces/feet. I used to judge people who's kids were dirty. Now of course there's dirty and then there's dirty - nobody wants to be Pig Pen's mother. But trying to keep your baby/toddler from never ever having dirty hands or feet or face, especially when they're running around a playground or dirty playspace, is physically impossible. Unless you want to be that OCD mom with an anti-bacterial wipe constantly at the ready...and that's a whole other issue.

Lateness/cancellations. I used to hate how flaky my mom friends were. And to be fair I'm pretty on top of it - I'm rarely, if ever, late, and try not to commit myself to things I know I just can't make it to. However, I now understand better why people don't show or show up late - because kids wake up with sniffles, and you don't want to infect a group of kids. Because little babies repeatedly have poop blowouts. Because kids need to nap or they make everyone miserable. Because when you've spent hours trying to get your kid to sleep the last thing you want to do is wake them up and drag them out to some gathering that really isn't all that important. Because when you've already been out all day running essential errands and driving around in traffic the first thing you want to do is go home and relax; the last thing you want to do is, once again, drag your tired kid out to someone's baby shower/birthday party/play date. I get it.

Bringing kids to things you shouldn't bring kids to. Here's another area where I've fallen short of my pre-baby promise to myself; I promised myself I'd never bring my kid to adult events, that I would always get a sitter. Well, did you know sitters cancel at the last second, leaving you stranded? All the time? Well, they do, mostly because they wake up feeling sick and don't want to get your kid sick, so they're doing the right thing. Also, sitters cost a fucking fortune. So no, getting a sitter for lunch with a friend is totally not worth it. A concert, a movie, a wedding that specifically asks for no kids, yes. But more than likely those are the things I won't go to rather than subject everyone to a crying baby (and myself to a lot of stink eye).

Houses blanketed in toys. Now, this is another one I've been pretty good about - I'm pretty organized and pretty freaked out about messes. But - I only have one kid, and he's little still. When people come over I clean and organize. But if you were to ring my doorbell on any given night, you'd find a baby in an empty playpen surrounded by a floor covered in toys. Did you know babies at a certain age like to drop their toys over the sides of things? I did not. So there's a reason why your friends' floors are covered in toys. It's because the kids put them there. Who knew?

Wanting more children. There's a lot of judgment about people who want more kids, especially when they dare to make a peep about how hard one/two/three is. I used to think, "then, just don't have any more." Well...I'm kind of discovering this is kind of like telling someone with food issues to "just" not eat that donut. People want their kids to have siblings. They just do. They have a vision of their family involving more than one child. And it doesn't mean they then lose the right to occasionally complain about how tired they are or how hard it is. Like all of us, they make their choices, and they have the right to bitch about it.

I'm now going to let you in on a little secret. This is something I never knew existed until I became a parent, because people with kids don't (or rarely) talk about this stuff with people who don't have kids. It is this - pretty much every conversation I've had with moms, dads, single, married, whatever, about having kids since I had B, has revolved around how great it is, how much it's changed our lives and made us better people. The word "fun" has even been used, also "awesome". And I swear it's not the sleep deprivation, denial, or desire to save face that makes people say these things. It's that despite all the little every day annoyances, raising kids really is great. They're just so darned cute and innocent and loving. I never knew how big my heart would balloon upon having a baby. So, I get it now.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Into the mouths of babes

So as ever in my quest to discover my true motives for my actions or lack of action, I brought up my food weirdness with my Walking Friend today. She's been on hiatus for a few months due to work so I haven't seen her in a while. She has a fourteen month old and a seven year old. So she's been around the block already with the first son and is experiencing it anew with the second. Also we share having been brought up in cult-like religions that later alienated us from our parents (not something the average person has any understanding of!). Today she mentioned her terror of being judged by other parents and how this relates to those old childhood feelings of being in this religion that everyone thinks is crazy and so always feeling defensive and like an outsider; I definitely get that!

But she did ask me why I'm so reluctant to dive into real food with B (and once again I have every intention of doing this once he officially hits a year old). At first I said, "I don't know!" But then I thought about it, and what it means. And please don't construe the following as me complaining about kids being too much work, or me being lazy (although that is somewhat true), or me being ungrateful. I'm just working all of this out in my head. And when I think about feeding B real food three times a day, I think about this: messes on the floor that have to be mopped up three times a day; clothes that get covered in slop and have to be changed several times a day; baths that have to be administered more often; cleaning of baby's dishes, sippy cups, utensils, etc, not to mention any extra items like hand blenders I need to use to make my food palatable for him. In other words, a LOT more work on a daily basis. As my friend pointed out, "it's opening a whole can of worms." Right now I'm in that sweet spot where he doesn't spit up anymore or blow out of his diapers anymore, so everything is neat and tidy and manageable. No messes, everything in order. What I'm looking at is things being messy, and out of order, and out of control. "Well, what the hell did you think would happen when you had a baby? Didn't you know things would be messy and inconvenient?" Yes, of course. But I reserve the right not to like it.

I feel like I felt at that six month mark when I lost it for a few days as B aged out of his swing and bouncy chair and went mobile. I kind of don't know what to do next. I am seconds away from graduating B out of his bucket seat car seat/stroller combo because he is about to meet the height/weight cut off. But when I think about what this means, the word "dismay" is all I can think to describe how I feel. It means no more napping while running multiple errands; no more carrying a napping baby up the stairs and having him continue to nap for an hour while I get things done around the house, eat lunch, etc; it also means sacrificing the ever- useful undercarriage storage for my non-storing umbrella stroller that comes next. It's going to change the way I do everything.

Then again, I freaked out when I lost the use of the swing because I thought it meant he'd never nap again, but still, he naps - in the jumper, in the car. I suppose something always presents itself to meet your changing needs. But he is about to be able to tip over both his GoPod (for use for him in the kitchen) and his jumper, and the crib in the bedroom will have to go soon, too, because he is so close to being able to climb out of it.

So there's a lot of change coming up for us. I feel all of my routines and habits having to change - everything, from sleeping to eating to playtime to baths to how we get in the car to what kind of errands I can do with him - and it scares the crap out of me. Did I mention I fear change?

Anyway. There's nothing to be done about it but put my big girl pants on and try to adapt as best I can. I'll figure it out. And fortunately along with these changes come good things, like ever-ramping up cuteness, the ability to clap, the enjoyment when I sing silly songs to him, watching him interact with other babies and learn how to play. I have no desire to keep him little. He has to grow. I just wish my cranky set-in-their-ways 40-year-old synapses could keep up!

Friday, March 1, 2013

You'll get nothing and like it, part II

It's a gorgeous day here in SoCal and I am determined not to ruin it by making follow up calls to Kaiser or the HMO state management agency which will send me into a tailspin of depression and rage. It can bloody well wait until next week. More and more I doubt I'm even right about any of this insurance stuff. I think the problem is I was just mislead up front and had unrealistic expectations. When I got this policy from ehealthinsurance they told me "maternity is covered" and the most I'd ever be out of pocket in any year would be $3500, but with a $1500 deductible it would really be $1500. Turns out neither of those things are true. "Maternity" doesn't take into account a $500 per day hospital stay charge (which then doubles if your baby is in NICU), nor does it take into account all the labs and procedures/medications that just aren't covered that are part of any normal medicated birth. So maternity is NOT covered...except for the prenatal visits which consist of a weight measurement and a five minute conversation. And obviously my out of pocket maximum is utterly meaningless. So. Just wish I'd known all of this before signing up, you know? Still in terror of my ER bill. Every time I go to the mailbox I have a minor heart attack.

As to the food, I have to admit I was a bit stung by one of the comments on my last post. But I had to remind myself that in this parenting journey people will always say things that are going to make me feel crazy and/or stupid. In my defense I will say this: B only just got teeth a few weeks ago, so I really wasn't comfortable giving him adult food without teeth. Also I have a friend who gave her daughter nothing but breast milk for the first year. And B is healthy and normal and average size/weight so I had no reason to believe he's not getting what he needs. I was in fact waiting for the one year mark to really start bringing real food into the picture, and that's just around the corner. So, we'll get there.

It does make me wonder how often we do things a certain way with our children because it's just easier and we're lazy. My mommy & me group is full of first timers, wide-eyed and scared, asking each other "are you doing this? Are you not doing that?" Yesterday a new mom asked if I'm reading to B every day. I said, "nope." My attempts at reading to B have entirely consisted of him grabbing the (board) book out of my hand, ripping it to pieces, and eating it. That's not to say I don't try to sit him down and at least turn the pages and point to things with him. But I don't try very hard, or very often. Right now he just wants to be on the move. He wants to bang things, drop things, and see what they taste like. His whole mission in life is to drop everything over the side of his playpen.

I just feel like none of our parents, and certainly not our grandparents, ever gave a shit about any of this stuff. They let us do things when we were ready. They warmed bottles for us on the stove, bathed us in the kitchen sink, dressed us in hand-me-downs, gave us sharp lead-filled toys, and we all turned out ok.

Right now my son is ripping off his socks and shoving them in his mouth. He seems to be enjoying himself, so I'm just going to let him have at it.