Minor Rant About Having Children

I follow a number of birth boards. And a number of them cause strong emotions to erupt from me on occassion. And while this overall is pretty innocent, there is one line that just grates on me.

“I think she went to get away from all the craziness at home.”

So backtrack to a few days ago, when I began reading “The Strong-Willed Child” (insert all your praise here – I’ve heard it all, trust me). The introduction refers to a woman boarding a bus in L.A. with seven “rambunctious” children in tow. When asked if they were all hers or if there was some kind of picnic going on, she replies “They’re all mine, and believe me, it’s no picnic!”

Okay, here’s my problem. I have two kids. I love pregnancy. If I could be pregnant all the time, I probably would. Yet there is a cold, hard reality after the pregnancy – you have to raise them, too.

So my first question is why on Earth would you have this many kids? I mean, let’s think about this logically. If you have a baby every 12 months – which you shouldn’t be doing anyway (insert remark about higher rates of autism in babies closer than 24 months apart) – your oldest will be 7 when you had that last one. Really, in seven years, with 7 kids, it didn’t suddenly dawn on you “Wait… this is a lot of work. Perhaps I should not have any more right now”????

Yet maybe you wanted a big family, and you appreciate your big family. So insert my other rant. Please, by all means, tell me if this isn’t fair. If you go to the hospital to get away from the “craziness” of your kids to have another kid, should you be having more kids? I understand needing a few hours to yourself. I still don’t get the taking-a-vacation-by-myself-to-get-away-from-the-kids thing. I’m a firm believer in the “you had kids and now you get to take care of them” theory.

Before you say “but you don’t understand, my kid is so hard to handle”, remember – I’m reading Dobson. My kid is insane. While he may not trump everyone’s kid, he trumps most in level of activity, general naughtiness, and sassing. He also suffers from RAV, or “random acts of violence”. (Yes, I created that term myself.) He’s equal to approximately four of my little girl, who is not yet two – and I figure probably at least two of any “normal” boy. So I get it – kids can be hard.

So at this point I will repeat – I love pregnancy. I’d have a million babies if I could. But I know that I cannot be a devoted mother right now to more than two. If I have more than two, I might just become clinically insane (extended vacation) or get pregnant to have more babies so I can go to the hospital (vacation), or simply duct tape them all to the walls. Okay, not really on the duct tape.

Does this mean I will never have more? I do not know. All I know is right now I cannot handle it, right now it is too much to think about, and right now it would lead to my certain demise.

My point is that if you are going to have kids, I feel you should be committed to having them, not then looking for excuses to get away because you can’t handle it. And if you are lucky, like me, and have an insane one (or more, you poor soul!), then it’s probably a wise idea to obtain a good, sturdy, reliable method of birth control and take one day at a time for a while until you’re sure that you won’t be seeking hospital visits for a break (not a relaxing place, anyway!) and grumbling about how your life is no “picnic” with the kids you have.

All It Takes Is Getting Spooked….

… for you to become a freaked out ball of anxiety. 

Okay, maybe that’s just me.  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that now I suddenly find myself even unable to sleep.

Last week I was in my Buick, headed towards Mora (and ultimately the metro) with my kiddos in the back seat.  I was cruising down a county road at 55 mph, and came around a curve.  About 3/4 of a mile ahead is a small dead-end dirt road that a few houses sit on.  Very little traffic on that road.  But I immediately noticed a red car going ridiculously fast down the road.  And I instantly knew, looking at angles, that we were going to get hit if they didn’t stop.

I began to slow down a little, sure that the speeder would start braking for the stop sign, but he quickly passed a reasonable point to begin braking without even slowing.  I began to get concerned.

Now this is Minnesota.  His road was sheer ice.  My road was slick.  I began to brake harder, but not much was happening…. my anti-lock brakes were trying to grip, yet they just couldn’t catch.  Just as he hit the stop sign, he began to brake.  He shot out in the road, and I came to a stop just before hitting his car.

What is the natural reaction?  Up until that point it was sheer terror, and then I instantly slid into a moment of fury.  I glared – and seriously considered getting out of the car.  I looked into the car and there sat 5 boys, I’m guessing around 16 or 17 years old, in a Dodge sedan, all staring back at me like I was the one in the wrong.  How dare I be cruising down the road right now?  How dare I expect them to stop at their stop sign?  HOW DARE I GLARE AT THEM.

I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t get out of the car to at least chew some butt.  Instead, they backed up, and I passed, glaring, but passed.  The whole way into town they were a ways behind me, but I could see them, and I thought about following them, but I didn’t.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the first thought when I thought that an impact was certain.

“They’re going to hit Emmie.  They are going to hit Emmie’s side… my little baby.  Is my baby going to be okay when a car rams into her side of the car?”

I know my next thoughts were just every possible option I had to avoid them hitting me.  It’s amazing how fast those neurons can fire when they need to.  Maybe I should take the ditch because then we will avoid impact but I think the ditch might flip us with the amount of snow it has but if I go in at this angle we should be okay if I go into the other lane it would be a head on collision and that might be safer or I could take the ditch on the other side into the field because it has less of an incline and fewer drifts and we’re more likely to then stay upright and if I….”

You become a giant run on sentence.  Yet after it was all said and done, all I could think of was “what would have happened if they hit Emmie’s door?  Would she have been okay in her car seat?”

I struggled with the car seat issue the whole time I was pregnant.  I knew that you should always try to put infants in the center, and I did that with Ollie.  However, I had very little luck with getting two seats side by side in my Oldsmobile.  When we bought the Buick, the seats we had didn’t sit side by side, so Ollie is behind the passenger seat and Emmie is behind my seat.  I have just realized that Emmie was approaching the weight limit on her car seat, so I knew I was going to have to move her into something else.  And now I was spooked.  I began to worry that my choices in car seats weren’t good enough.  So the research began.

The very week Target had a stellar deal on the Graco Nautilus – a forward facing seat that harnesses to 65 pounds, then can become a belt positioning booster and then a backless booster up to 100 pounds.  I bought two – the pink one and the gray and black.  I figured at that price, I could store the pink one for a while.  I know my husband had a hard time with the idea of spending money on a car seat right now that we didn’t need (and might not, which I hope to figure out soon so I can return it!), and wasn’t sure what my sudden obsession was with car seats.  We went home and I chucked my kid into the seat in the living room, and was disappointed at how my little giant fit.  (By the way, the Nautilus is at Target for $130 until this Saturday, and there is a great review here if you are thinking about this seat.)

He looked crammed in at the shoulders.  I posted on facebook, and got a lot of recommendations.  Some people suggested a booster for him, since he is 44 pounds.  While he does meet the weight limit, he is only 2 and a half.  This story is why I’m not ready to de-harness him yet.  (Moms, be ready – you will probably cry.  And don’t do like I did and read it before bed.  I couldn’t get it out of my head to fall asleep.)

Now, to be fair and completely honest, my son stayed rear facing until just before his first birthday.  Yet we didn’t have much of a choice – he was weighing in at 36 pounds – too heavy to be rear facing in his car seat anymore.  So I hadn’t put a ton of thought into how long I would rear face Emmie.  I know Ollie was so much calmer once I did – he could see me, and was happy to smile (or glare!) at me whenever he pleased. Emmie is a totally different story.  She doesn’t care that she’s rear facing.  She can see her brother, and that makes her happy.  (Unless he has a snack and she doesn’t, and then she just screams.)  And she’s always in the 50th percentile for height and weight.  Right now she’s just a hair over 20 pounds according to our scale at home, at 11 months old.  Perfectly on track.

So I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into extended rear facing.  I did have a nice new fancy car seat for kids 20 pounds and up, but in reading their manual, even they don’t recommend moving your child to front facing at the minimum weight the car seat allows.

I began to realize there are a lot of common misconceptions and some facts that really weren’t known about seating.  And that’s why I decided to write this blog.  I wanted to share the information I found with you.  So here we go.

  • Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatricians actually recommends that you keep your child rear facing until they are at least 2 years old and 30 pounds, but prefer until they are too big for their seat to rear face – which for some newer seats can be as high as 45 pounds?  Many people believe that it is just 1 year old and 20 pounds, but that is the minimum that most states require.  In other words, your child’s doctor should be recommending to you to keep your little one rear facing for longer than one year.
  • Also, even though boosters are available and legal for kids over 40 pounds, the AAP says that “Although boosters with shields may meet current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for use by children who weigh 30 to 40 lb, on the basis of current published peer-reviewed literature, the AAP does not recommend their use.”  They add, “Significant injuries to the head, spine, abdomen, and extremities of children in shield boosters have been documents in crash investigations resulting from ejection, excessive head excursion, and shield contact.”  (Kyle David Miller is a prime example) (http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;109/3/550)  
  • The leading cause of death for children ages 1-21 in the United States is motor vehicle crashes.
  •  Did you know that in Sweden kids are rear facing in their car seats until they are four or five? And did you know that death due to motor vehicle crashes in Sweden for children are barely existent at all?  There are some stunning articles at www.carseat.se where all the family members in the crash died except the rear facing 3, 4, and 5 year olds.  My heart aches for those children that lost their family members, but the fact that they lived with virtually no injuries should tell us something!  Plus, they’ve been doing this since 1965!  They add, “Significant injuries to the head, spine, abdoment, and extremities of children in shield boosters have been documents in crash investigations resulting from ejection, excessive head excursion, and shield contact.”  (Kyle David Miller is a prime example) 
  • Also, I had absolutely no clue that it was illegal to use a car seat from another country.  Sweden’s car seats have higher weight limits – higher than what we can get here.  I found a few forums where parents were complaining about that.  I guess the thought had never crossed my mind.  Random fact of the day.
  • I read multiple places that head on collisions make up 70-76% of all car collisions.  I was a bit skeptical on that number (still am), but an important fact remains – if you are in a head-on collision, chances are you’re going a pretty good speed.  If you get rear-ended, however, most of those collisions are at low speeds – less risk of harm.
  • In situations like mine, where you have a rear facing infant (almost toddler) and a forward facing 2.5 year old, who should be in the center?  I believed that the infant should.  After all, she’s smaller, so more at risk, right?  Nope.  All of the literature I’ve read says that your forward facing kid should be in the center if you have to choose, as they are much more likely to suffer injuries. 
  • Did you know that once your kiddo hits 48 pounds (this may vary depending on your seat and your car), you need to stop using the LATCH system and use the regular belts to hold down the seat?  (Not to get confusing – they can still use a harness seat, it just needs to be fastened into the car using the seat belts, not the LATCH system.)  They do recommend, however, that you keep the top tether connected.  (Read your car seat manual for more information on this, and check your car manual, too.  Some LATCH systems may have different guidelines.)
  • Also, my Oldsmobile was made the year before LATCH came out, and at my car seat safety class I took before Ollie was born, it was implied that the LATCH system was so much safer than using the regular car belts to secure the seat.  However, that’s not true – it was just a standard way to “idiot-proof” car seat installation.  (I read that exact term – idiot-proof – somewhere, just don’t remember where.)  So if you have a car without LATCH, please don’t beat yourself up over it!
  • Please, please PLEASE don’t buckle your kid into their car seat with a jacket on.  I read a general rule of thumb somewhere that you should not have to adjust the harness straps on a regular basis – only because your child has grown. If you have to pull the harness out to get your kid fastened in, chances are you’re not getting it as tight as it would normally be, leaving a lot of “fluff” room between the belt and your kid.  This video does a great job of demonstrating the danger with even a relatively thin coat.    I read another recommendation to keep kid Snuggies in the car – love the idea!  I always preheat the car, de-coat the kids before strapping them in, and re-coat them before getting them out.  Sometimes I will put Ollie in a light fleece and just bring his coat with, just in case we were to break down or something.  Emmie is easy – I can throw a bunch of blankets over her seat and she’s okay until we get into the store or house, but those days are ending!

So my plan?  Keep Emmie rear facing for a while still.  While the facts were interesting and helpful in my decision, the videos are what really convinced me.  These are my three favorite.

These are the ones that really blew my mind, though.  Looks what happens in a crash forward facing.

Now look at the difference when the child is rear facing!

I know kids don’t have the ability to reason like we do, and there’s no easy way to explain to your kid that they are safer rear facing, but that video makes ME  want to rear face in my car!  (And I have read that even adults would be a lot safer rear facing in the car, but hey, it’s hard to drive like that.)

I could keep bombarding you with facts, but I’ve given you the basics – now you can do more research if you want.  There are great resources out there.  Look at www.babycenter.com, www.car-seat.org, www.aap.org, and the Kyle David Miller Foundation blog, http://kdmf.blogspot.com (their website appears to have been hacked, and I did contact them about it, but the blog is safe, and I’ve  read the whole thing.)  Find a car seat technician and talk to them.  Ask questions.  Challenge the “basic rules”.  But MOST IMPORTANTLY, do what is right for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.  Because while I might think that this is the ideal situation, I know that every single situation is different (just like both of my kids – very different), and only you can decide what is right for you to do!  My goal in this blog was not to verbally smack you over the head with facts and say “YOU MUST DO THIS”, but to share what I found, what helped me, give some references for some information (because many blogs don’t have references to their facts), and hopefully ease a little bit of the fear that I’ve had since last week with the near-accident.  Maybe now I can sleep a little better?  I hope so.

A Bad Treat

We took Ollie trick or treating for Halloween and had a pretty good time.  There is one thing, however, that still has me mad – even days later.

We went to a house that gave Ollie a little booklet.  I wasn’t that worried about it – I figured it was probably something religious, but that’s fine with me.  I didn’t have a problem with it.

That night when we got home, I pulled out what turned out to be a little comic book.  It had a slip of paper in it telling us to vote for the Republicans, and listing each candidate out.  Okay, so that seemed kind of silly – these are kids, they can’t vote anyway, but whatever.  To each their own.

Then I started reading the comic.  It was a comic about a man who was dying and wasn’t very nice.  He is in the hospital, and his roommate tries to get the man to accept the Lord.  I wouldn’t have had a problem with this…. if that was all it was.  But throughout the comic book, to display just how “bad” the man is, he swears on nearly every single page!  Some of it was all symbols, but a few of the words were started, so you could easily figure out what words they were. 

Then I get to the page where the roommate asks the man if he “knows anything about love”.  The “evil” man responds “Sex?  Yeah, I know a lot about that.”

Wait, what?

So let me get this straight.  A bunch of conservative Christians just gave my two year old a comic book with a boatload of expletives and the mention of sex?

THAT I have a problem with.  I think it is highly inappropriate to hand such literature out to a two year old.  It’s not like I’m taking my kid freakishly young – there were lots of kids even younger than him out that night. 

I’m still mad about it.  I suppose Ollie can’t read, but I could read when I was three – do I magically think that such literature would be acceptable for Ollie in a year?  No.  Nor would it be acceptable at 4, 5, or 6.  Luckily I do know that I will be checking Ollie’s bag every year before he gets it.  Will I automatically chuck out literature?  No.  Will I throw away Christian literature?  No.  But I will certainly be reading it before I give it to my kid, because apparently just because it’s Christian doesn’t mean that it is acceptable reading for kids.

Any other moms have anything similar happen?  Any thoughts?

The Worst Week Ever

Okay, seriously, what did I do that karma feels the need to punish me for this week?

I was harassed about not being married a number of times. About 4 people today asked “what’s this?” and pointed to the engagement ring I’ve been wearing for NEARLY FIVE YEARS. And then… and then…

I stopped at the bank to pick up a Visa gift card. I’m standing in line and someone I used to work with at Coborn’s walks in. I haven’t seen her in probably two years. I say “Hey! Hi! How are you?” She replies that she’s doing well, and then points towards Ollie and says “how many?”. I smile, and look at Ollie, and say “just him.” She smiles back and says “Well, yeah, and that one” and points about waist level. At first I glance down, expecting to see someone else’s wee one standing next to me peeking at the baby or something. Then I realize with horror that she’s pointing at my stomach. My stomach, which is covered by a coat, and in my honest opinion, not looking pregnant. Still confused, I look up and say “No…. there’s no baby in there.” She smiles and says “Oh, it sure looks like it.” I turn around and say “Did you ever think maybe it was the pouch style pocket in my jacket?” (Sticking my hands in my jacket to demonstrate.) “I just had him four months ago, you could cut me some slack!” I felt bad instantly for snapping, and the bank teller, who knows me pretty well, said “Yeah, she’s looking really good. She deserves bonus points.”

So, to make the situation even worse, I leave and head over to the Little Bread Factory. I walk in, and Dawn peeks around the corner. I say “Dawn, I need a cookie. I mean, I NEED a cookie.” She grabs a wax paper and says “No problem hun… which one?” Then I lost it. “I need 2 cranberry white chocolate, and 2 chocolate chip, and 2 blueberry scruffins and…”

“WHOA WHOA WHOA!” She quickly grabs a bag. “I didn’t realize it was THIS serious!”

Needless to say, I left with ten dollars worth of cookies, scruffins, and one lone macaroon, which I promptly ate in the car before pulling away from the curb (the macaroon, not all of it!). And just because I told Dawn I was then on my way to kick someone out of their house and didn’t want to, I got some inspirational words and a free sugar cookie.

So a macaroon and a sugar cookie, some turkey pizza for dinner and then a blueberry scruffin. I lost a couple pounds, and now I’m probably packing it right back on. Sheesh.

I can’t get the image of the pregnant girl yesterday out of my mind. All of a sudden every time I see a pregnant woman I feel all warm and fuzzy and happy. Are other people like this? Or am I a bit of a freak?

I also do not cease to be amazed at what happens to us when we have children. All of a sudden there is this incredible bond. We nod understandingly when one’s child is screaming bloody murder in the store. We can relate to the woes of formula, gas reducing bottles, and picking out just the right baby food. And even if we weren’t friends before, or even slight enemies before, we now swap labor stories like trading cards instead of insults and glares. Women. Are. Amazing.

My dog is lying next to the bed snoring, and Nick has his legs wrapped around mine and is snoring on the other side. I’m trapped, and it’s like listening to someone snore in surround sound. How enjoyable. Ahhh, life is good. Luckily, there’s a cat lying immediately above my head on the pillows (which I rarely get to use because Harold feels that I put them there for him and him alone.), but at least I can hear him purring. That’s always a relaxing noise.

Ollie Update, and Oh What A Day.

I’ll give you the whole rundown of my day. Why not? You know you want to hear it.

Ollie had his four month appointment today, which of course means another round of shots. I wasn’t excited, because last time I started bawling, and Nick was with me. This time I was going alone. I was determined to be strong, though.

Just when I was ready to leave home, I got a very exciting email saying that a property that went to auction last week didn’t sell, and I was going to get to list it. You have no idea how happy I was. This particular property I know I’ve mentioned before – I’ve been driving by it for the bank (unpaid) for like a year and a half. It’s excellent that I have the chance to possibly break even on all the money spent running up there every week.

The drive was decent. Ollie slept. I stressed, fantasized, wished that the spring semester would just START already, because the sooner it starts, the sooner I will be off to grad school, which is horribly exciting in itself. I read a lot on the Frontier School of Midwifery last night. It’s almost all distance learning, short of like two weeks I’d have to spend in Kentucky (not consecutive.) If you have midwives working locally, you can ask them to be your practicum leaders. How awesome would it be to work with Susan and Rhonda?

Anyway, got to CMC, and headed inside. While sitting in the waiting room, a pregnant girl and her significant other walked by the waiting area. I couldn’t help but smile. Other than Ollie, that was the one sincere smile today. I can’t wait to be a midwife.

We played all kinds of games while waiting. I did chest lifts with him, we played with Spongebob and his keys, he pretended I was his jumper, and we played peek-a-boo. It was really nice to have 10 minutes where I didn’t have to worry about a phone, laundry, dishes, bottles, or anything else… it was just us. Got in, answered all the developmental questions, and meanwhile Ollie was super hyper because he had slept the whole way down. So while I answered questions, I paced back and forth, letting Ollie walk the room. I must have looked like a nutcase.

We got the clear for 2nd foods, still introducing one thing at a time. Unbelieveable. He weighs 19 lbs. 13oz, so he hasn’t gained hardly any weight. (Last weight was a month ago, 19 lbs. 8 oz.) However, he’s grown like an inch and a quarter. The nurse said he was probably working it off walking around all the time. 🙂 Amy and I discussed Ollie’s sleep habits, and she politely informed me that I may want to avoid mentioning them to other mothers with infants, because I may get beat up.

Then it was time for shots. Jessie held Ollie down herself, and I just leaned down next to his head and talked to him. The first stab he looked confused. The second he started to cry. The third he turned purple and let out his famous blood-curdling howl. She band-aided him, and I whisked him up and into my arms. I bought a bottle into his line of sight, and all woes were forgotten. My kid likes food.

We waited for 20 minutes or so until Amy could come back and check me out. I’ve had a headache for seven days, and my migraine medication isn’t doing anything except temporarily dulling the pain and making me sleepy. We determined that there’s something going on on my left side, because those pressure points hurt the most. So I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing on my left side that is causing those issues. She thought it was a combination of extra stress/tension on the left side and postpartum hormonal changes. She also recommended that I visit with Susan or Rhonda and switch my birth control. So I made an appointment with Rhonda for next week.

Off to Target to pick up the muscle relaxant I’m supposed to take every night for a month to try to relax. Shopping is such hard work now. I pull into the parking lot next to a cart corral. I take a cart and set up Ollie’s seat cover. Then I place a couple blankets on either side, his diaper bag hangs from the handle, my purse shoved inside the cart somewhere. Then, finally, I add Ollie who I cover with a blankt and play peek-a-boo with until we get inside.

So we’re cruising the store, and I’m walking down the center aisle. I see another couple coming straight at me. He’s pushing the cart, she’s walking in front of it. She looks right at me – we make eye contact. I know she can see me. Right when we are about to pass, she suddenly dodges right in front of me, hitting my cart head on. I stopped, shocked, and began to apologize. She GLARED at me, (even though I honestly did NOTHING wrong!) and then turned to her husband and started angrily signing, and he was signing back, and they kept pointing at me. I have no idea what that was all about, but I got out of there quickly. Either they were calling me names that shouldn’t be said aloud anyway, or they were plotting my death. It certainly did not seem friendly, and certainly more than a little odd.

God, I wish I had stayed in ASL.

Anyway, it wasn’t a pleasant experience, but I went on my way. Got to the pharmacy and they had my old insurance information. Gave them my new insurance, and the computers for my new insurance were down. Paid cash, because I needed that muscle relaxant, and I only had two days of birth control left. I love Ollie, I loved pregnancy, but I’m not ready for another one.

On that note, I would say I’m now officially to the point where I just can’t comprehend how you have room in your heart to love another one. It’s very strange. I love Ollie SOOOOO much… it seems impossible to feel that way about another person, too.

Anyway, so on to Walmart. I’m there, and standing in line at customer service, and this creepy guy keeps staring at me and Ollie. I do my best to ignore him. Finally he comes over and says “I just want you to know that you have a beautiful baby.” I wanted to run away screaming. It was just very strange.

I trot through the store, picking up groceries, and am so ready to be done by the time I get up front. I pay for everything and head for the door. Of course – OF COURSE – the alarm goes off. I stop for a second, trying to figure out what I had that would set it off. I only bought groceries. Then it dawned on me. My “purse”, a large, briefcase style bag that houses extra diapers, toys, my wallet, and anything else I could possibly need, was currently the cozy home for two movies from Coborn’s and two CD’s from the library. I took out the movies, while an old lady came up to watch the door greeter and I. I still set the alarm off. I took out the CD’s, handed them to the greeter, and walked through again. All clear. The door greeter says “okay, that’s fine.” and hands them back to me. I’m just about to turn around and walk out when the old lady FLIPS OUT. She starts screaming “That’s it!?!?!? You’re just going to let her walk out with stolen goods? Aren’t you going to check her bags? She’s got that big diaper bag there, too! What about her bags? What about in with that baby, under the seat?”

I could not believe what was happening. The door greeter stared at her, then glanced at me. I said “well, when you were holding my library CD’s and my rental movies I didn’t set the alarm off….”, now feeling about 2 inches tall.

The door greeter shrugs and walks away. I rush out the door, crazy old lady on my tail, following me through the parking lot, screeching and glaring. I zig-zagged through a bunch of cars and she finally stopped following me.

Do these things happen to other people? Or is it just me? I was SO embarrassed. I know I’ll never leave rental movies in my diaper bag again! I was hurt and offended and angry and in shock. I still am.

I was so glad to get home. Fed Ollie some sweet potatoes. He loves the orange veggies, but has no use for green ones. I don’t understand him. I don’t like sweet potatoes, and carrots aren’t my favorite, but I LOVE green beans and peas. Weird kid. After that we played on the living room floor. Finally I pulled him to my lap when Nick brought me a few slices of pizza. (Turkey pizza, great way to use up leftovers!) I finished my pizza, and grabbed my glass of water. Yesterday Ollie kept reaching for my glass and I finally let him tip it towards his mouth and get a little water. Today he was CRAZY. He kept grabbing it and pulling it towards him, and he’d take a drink, swallow, and then pull it towards him again. He’d make this funny face everytime from the cold, but he just kept doing it over and over again. I laughed, but figured a little water wouldn’t hurt him. I wish I had got it on film. Will have to try to next time.

So at least the day ended well, with laughter and fun with Ollie. And my muscles are feeling fairly relaxed, so it should be a good night, too. 🙂

I Should Be Working, But…

I get so damn bored in this office on Saturdays. During the week I have Ollie with me, and I’ll admit, it is sometimes frustrating because something that normally would take me 5 minutes takes 2 hours. But on the flip side, when I come in on Saturday and have everything done in 5 minutes, the next two hours and 55 minutes seem like they just drag on and on and on……
However, today, I haven’t finished everything yet. I’ve been fighting with my Outlook trying to get some listing docs printed, and a reimbursement form. I got mad and needed a break. I’ll probably do the work later, right before I have to leave. Yeah. Sounds good to me.
So I’m looking for more birth stories. I’ll take anything I can get. I know I wanted a ton before I had Ollie, but if you didn’t give me your birth story before, I’ll take it now. Sometimes I kick around the idea of starting a blog where people submit their birth stories. How much fun would that be? All you moms-to-be would probably be all over it, reading every detail over and over. Or maybe that was just me. I’m just anal enough that I like to be prepared for anything and everything that might happen. My labor was not like anyone else’s that I read, though, so I guess it wasn’t a huge help. But if you’re bored, or already wrote it down to remember forever, or feeling generous, I’d love the details.
Man, I bet some people think I’m messed up.
It is kind of crazy to think that if I pound the courses out and if I get into every program immediately that Ollie will be in first grade when I finish. That is, however, a big “if”. Competition is insane. However, Nick said that he’ll move, whatever it takes to get me where we want to be. And that’s okay with me. At one point I was completely convinced that I wanted to raise all my babies in Mora. My dream, secretly, would be that we’d end up in/around Duluth somewhere. I’d live on the outskirts if I could get a job at St. Mary’s or something. My kids could be in orchestra, (if they wanted to of course!) and even if we weren’t within the Duluth school district, I would drive them to school every day. I would really love to live there. I’ve been enchanted by Duluth since I first saw it – or at least remember seeing it. We were going to visit my uncle, who lived in Superior. When we came over that hill, the lights twinking on the water of gorgeous Lake Superior, (it was night) I was awestruck. If I wanted to live in a city, Duluth would definitely be my first choice.
Oh boy, now it’s “Jingle Bell Rock”. Holly Prusek, next time you come home, we should try to sing together. Although I suck now, I’m out of practice. But I will forever think of you when I hear this song, too. 🙂
I spend a lot of time fantasizing. I just talked to Nick on the phone, and he suggests making a timeline, and then doing our best to stick to it. I’m glad I have some extra motivation. Every time I think that 6 years is a long time (which really, it isn’t.), I think about things like how badly I want Ollie to have the opportunity to go to college – the chance that I didn’t.
I’m listening to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen performed by Mannheim Steamroller. Boy, does that bring back memories of band with Smith in Elk River. Shannon, I’m thinking of you. 🙂
Eh, now I’ve moved on to Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. I love her voice, too. If you couldn’t tell, I turned on my Christmas music. Prior to this playlist, it was Beyonce, Britney, Kid Rock, and 50 Cent. Ha. But when other people are in the office, it just doesn’t seem appropriate to listen to “Just A Lil’ Bit” by 50 Cent…
I do love that song though. That’s a groovy beat.
Okay, I’m rambling. I have all these ideas all day long… “I should blog about this and that and this and that….” and then I forget it all. Pfft.

Thanksgiving day. Ollie fell asleep in Uncle Gus’ arms while mommy played pool on the new pool table at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

I can’t help but wonder if that felt more comfortable than it looks.

Yesterday Ollie was determined not to take his nap. Sleep overcame him, however. Luckily, he was in good company with Raggedy Andy and his car keys. I had set him down for a moment so I could fold laundry on the bed, and ta-da! Notice his socks. I lost the other white one at some point, and there was a black one laying nearby. His foot was mighty cold, so I just threw it on him. However I forgot that he didn’t match, and we ended up in town for some groceries, where approximately 400 people pointed out the fact that his mother is retarded and his socks don’t match. Anyone who knows me, though, knows that 75% of the time my socks don’t match either. And the 25% is a large increase from a few years ago. All it took was one last minute showing of a house where the client walked up, looked me up and down, and said “your SOCKS don’t MATCH.” Now when I go into town, I wear matching socks, just in case. 🙂

The Rights Of New Moms

Seriously, I find myself extremely frustrated sometimes. I’m sure other new moms can relate. I frequently am bombarded with questions from strangers regarding my choice of feeding method.
 
Unfortunately, what they don’t understand is that it really isn’t my choice.
 
To some extent, sure. I pumped for over two months. When I quit, it was because I was producing 1-2 oz a DAY. That’s it. At my peak, I was getting about 15 ounces a day. At most that was half of what Ollie ate in a day. (He’s a big dude, people!)
 
Some have made comments that I “must not have tried very hard” to breastfeed. OMG. There were tears, tears, and more tears. There were lactation consultants all over me all the time. We tried to deal with the inverted nipples, we tried to deal with the crappy production, we tried to deal with Ollie sucking three times and then screaming. He hated the breast from day one. We left the hospital still trying to breastfeed, and syringe feeding him what I pumped, too. (Which at that point was only about 2 ounces a day.) 36 hours after leaving, we were in the ER because he wouldn’t stop screaming, was running a fever, and hadn’t peed for most of the day. The nurses whipped out a bottle, gave him 4 ounces of formula, and his temp went down and he peed. Pretty simple – like the nurse said (the nurses were fantastic!), he just “needed some meat and potatoes”.
 
From there we kept trying. I tried to get him to latch on for the entire two and a half months that I pumped. It never worked. He screamed every time. I would cry. I would pump and cry. I would cry because I wasn’t producing. I would cry because it is SO HARD to pump and take care of a baby. Ollie is so demanding and high maintenence that he would scream the entire 15 minutes that I wasn’t paying attention to him because I was pumping. It was horrible. (Although now that I’ve dealt with it for a while, I’ve learned that sometimes Ollie just has to cry, because otherwise I would never be able to make him a bottle, eat my own food, or get dressed.)
 
So no, I don’t breastfeed. I did pump, which everyone seems to think is a cop out, but let me tell you, I’d much rather cuddle up and feed my baby at night than mix formula, hold him and a bottle, feed him, get him back to sleep, and then have to pump, too! It’s so frustrating though that perfect strangers in the store see me mixing up a bottle and feel the need to comment on my apparantly shitty parenting ability. You would think that I’m the worst mother in the world.
 
I’ve read the statistics. They say that babies that are breastfed are generally smarter. I think that has a lot to do with the moms. Why are babies not breastfed? Let’s examine.
  • Mom has to work. Some manage to pump, some can’t or don’t. Do you think that perhaps in this situation babies that are breastfed are probably smarter because they have more one on one time with their mom? I understand as well as anyone that it’s nearly impossible for one parent to work and the other to stay home full time – I work, too. I just happen to be lucky enough to be my own boss and be able to bring Ollie with me.
  • Mom simply can’t produce. In this case, I would like to see more detailed studies done. So mom can’t make breastmilk. How does she spend time with baby? Lots of learning activities? Is baby the only child in the household? You could get really specific.
  • Mom doesn’t want to breastfeed, because it seems “too hard”. Now no offense here. But if breastfeeding is too hard or time consuming, or you don’t want your baby attached to you all the time, do you really think you are going to be spending the time to teach baby and play with baby all day long?
  • Mom doesn’t want to breastfeed because she feels uncomfortable, etc. This goes back to the can’t produce. Seriously, who has any right to say that the baby is going to not be “as smart” just because mom is not comfortable?

When I went in for my six week appointment, the midwife’s nurse asked if I was breastfeeding. I felt bad – I feel bad. I feel like a failure, and every comment is like a stab in the heart. I told her I was pumping, and I must have sounded sheepish, because she turned to me and said “Joslyn, I’m not here to judge you. I’m a nurse for midwives. I’m a NURSE. And I can honestly tell you that I’m just not comfortable with the whole breastfeeding thing. I don’t plan on breastfeeding at all. I will pump, and do the best I can. But NO ONE has the right to judge your decision, or the decision any woman makes regarding how to feed their child.”

 

Now I’ve heard some people say “Women used to not have a choice. I don’t believe that you can’t produce enough milk. If you try, it will happen. Would you just have let your baby die?”

First of all, boy did I try. I took Fenugreek, I did “pumping vacations” where for 48 hours I pumped EVERY HOUR. I read and read and tried and tried. Trust me, if I could produce enough milk, it would have happened.

Secondly, have you heard of a wet nurse? Women throughout all of time have had problems breastfeeding. Wet nurses were then brought in for the job. (You can still get breastmilk from other moms, you know. It’s expensive, but it’s out there!) It’s not like this is something entirely new, or something totally unheard of.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is before you make a comment about a mom’s ability, which you have judged based on the fact that there’s a can of powder in her diaper bag, think carefully. Because that mom just might be me, and you just might end up with me bawling out in my car in the parking lot as soon as you walk away.

 

I leave you with a very important picture for me. At the height of my production, I did 5 ounces in one sitting. I was so proud, I took a picture of it. No, really.

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