What I'll be doing this week...

on 24 September 2012

Alternate Title:  The Great Nursing Strike of September.

My week is going to be AWESOME.

So I woke up yesterday and brought my Girl into bed for her morning nursey-nurse.  Just like we've done every day of her ENTIRE life.

Only she pushed me away.  She twisted out of my arm and cried.  And cried and cried and CRIED.

And me, being more stubborn than my children, I kept cramming her into my chest trying to get her to latch on...occasionally when she gets really worked up, I have to do this for her to realize that she's bein' all melodramatic for no reason.  But pushing her, cramming her, coaxing her...none of it worked.

She went to her Daddy and curled up and sucked her thumb and cried off and on, ALL morning long.  We tried various things, but to no avail.  Eventually, I sought relief in the pump and in a fit of frustration I threw the bottle full of milk at Chris.  He gave it to the girl, who promptly drained the entire thing dry without coming up for air.

And I burst into tears.

I called my sister, I kept trying various things, and then I just gave up and bought her some formula.  Sherry was perfect at reminding me that I'm not a mother to have things My Way, I'm a mother and my job is to learn to be flexible.  So I made her a little bottle and after she had her spinach and peas, I offered her the bottle.  She tried less than half an ounce and LOUDLY refused the rest of it.  So I gave up for the day and plopped her in the bath.

At that point I noticed the horrific, blotchy, red rash that was covering my daughter.

I should say, that I'm a much bigger idiot than any of you might already assume I am.  She's had poor reaction to dairy before (ice cream and yogurt, and yes, I've offered her those things, she's not my first kid, and my first kid was eating full cups of cow's milk yogurt at 6 months so I felt like it was fine...).  I knew that she was likely going to end up with a dairy allergy, and I didn't even think to read the ingredients on the Box o' Formula.  I just figure, they make it for BABIES.  She's a BABY.  It should be FINE.

Alas.  It was NOT Fine.

So I took pictures of the horrific rash, gave her another bottle of pumped breast milk and called it a night.  I was sincerely hoping that it was just a day, and that today would be BETTER.

Oh, it's not.  It's not better.  If anything, it might be worse.  Because she comes to me like she WANTS to nurse, but before she gets a good latch she turns away.  So I took myself down to the local women's birth and wellness and all things hippy and green boutique and rented a hospital grade pump for the week.

If we can't mediate a negotiated settlement by Friday I'm hauling her in to the doctor and I'm calling in the big guns.  Lactation Consultants, I'm talkin' to you.

In the meantime, pray for us sinners...

Amusing ourselves

on 21 September 2012

Chris has been working a lot of overtime lately.  It's been a mixed blessing. I miss him like crazy, but the money is great.  And  then, when he's gone so much, we have a LOT of fun together on the weekends.

We're gearing up to move at the end of October, we're just moving across the parking lot into a 3 bedroom apartment, but it's still a move.  So we brought our handtruck back from my parents (who patiently store it for us in their garage).  The Boy loves playing with this thing, and occasionally Chris indulges him...

Also, we basically live in pajamas when we have no where we have to be.

But when we do HAVE places to be...

I LOVE dressing this child up!  The Girl?  Dressing her is the very BANE of my existence.  I have the hardest time finding things that are cute AND modest AND reasonably soft and comfy.  So dressing her is usually stressful.  But my Boy?  Dressing him is just fun.

He basically outgrew everything he owned in the month of August.  So I spent about a week replacing EVERYTHING.  His clothes are now a little on the big side, but he grows in waves and he's been on a growth wave lately and I really didn't want to have to shop for him again in 6 months, so size up it was!  Anyway, I bought him new church pants and a new white shirt and one Sunday we were getting dressed and he was adament that he neeeeeeeeded a TIE!  Just like DADDY!  So Chris found his skinniest tie and futzed with it until he got it tied.  My Boy was SO proud of himself, it was darling.

So I did what any goofy mother would do.  I took 423 pictures of him.

(Chris and I were talking last night.  When the Boy started out in his big-boy bed a year ago, he looked so small in that big bed.  And now?  Now he looks huge.  I told Chris, when he stands next to me he's up above my own waist now.  But the most heart-breaking thing?  At night, when I tuck him in, he twines his fingers in my hair and says, "I just want to keep you small, Mama.  Keep you here.  I just need YOU."  As if I were his human woobie.  And I know that he's saying those things because he's heard me say them to him so often.)

The Dog

on 19 September 2012

I swore back on May that I wasn't blogging about our dog until I liked her.

It took most of the summer.  Once a week, I told Chris that I was going to put the dog in a box on the curb with a sign that said, "Free Dog."  And then, well, I don't know.  I kept watching her with the Boy and Girl and she just LOVES them.  Abnormally loves them.  See for yourself:

Whenever my girl gets fussy, Molly comes over, lays down and attempts to wedge her HEAD underneath the Girl's body.  When the Girl is sitting up and fussing, Molly does this:

She loves the Boy just as much as the Girl, but with him she plays and chases and rough houses. 

Anyway, once she stopped peeing and pooping in my house, she started to grow on me.  Like a fungus.  She's nearly won me over now, she's clever and eager to please us, which helps.  She's been teaching me things that I think I knew about myself, but was in a little denial about.  For example, I really am a cat-person.  I have nothing against dogs, but dogs are the extroverts of the pet-world and I am very much an introvert.

Molly has yet to meet a stranger.  She thinks every single human being is as excited to meet HER as she is to meet THEM.  Consequently, she actually leads me into conversations with my NEIGHBORS.  I NEVER talk to my neighbors!  I'm a RECLUSE!  A HERMIT.  I'm the quiet neighbor that people nod to as we pass in the parking lot but no one ever actually speaks to.  Not anymore!  We know the maintenance guys, our next door neighbors, upstairs neighbors, the people on the third floor, the people in every single building around our parking lot!  And it's WORSE with people who have other dogs!  We know ALL of them.  The bloodhound that lives in the building to our left, the pit bull upstairs, the pit/lab mix that lives on the north side of the complex, the two black labs that live on the other end of our building, we know them all.

The truth is, she won me over after Leike died.

I try not to cry in front of the babies.  They need to feel like the world is stable and controlled and when Mama cries it really freaks out the Boy, so Mama tries not to cry in front of him.  It was the day after we had Leike put down and the babies were having rest time and I was laying on the futon with the blanket over my head and I started thinking about Leike, and indulged in a good cry.  Molly came over, wormed her snout under the blanket and proceeded to lick all the tears off my face.  She laid her head against my shoulder until I emerged from the blanket.

After that I stopped threatening to leave her in a box on the side of the road.

July, she will Fly

on 17 September 2012

(Bonus points for anyone who knows what song the title of this post is drawn from!)

So I spent the bulk of last July scanning the bulk of my parents 9, count them NINE, photo albums.  They've been married 50 years now, so the photos ranged from the early 1960s up to, well, when we all switched over to digital!  I'd say the last 5 years.

It was a fun project, but absolute exhausting.  I would spend 4-5 hours every day, 5-6 days a week just scanning.  And then I started to pick out my favorites and import them into the program I used for the slideshow.  It was much harder than I had originally anticipated because there were just SO many cool stories I could tell with these pictures.  I kept threatening my parents and Sisters with a slideshow just of all of our bad HAIR.

But there would have been a disproportionate number of pictures of my sister and I, and since we're AWESOME, that just didn't seem fair.  And so the Hair Slideshow remains unmade.  (I might still put it together and hold it over her head when I really need a favor...)

After the first couple of weeks, I started to get depressed.  I thought perhaps it was over-marinating in the past, and so I took a weekend off and just spent time in the present with my babies.  It was restorative, but when I had to go back to it, I still felt sad.

After the reunion, and the Slideshow Premier (I have no idea what to call it when you finally show it to your peeps), my Mom called me.  She and Dad had been watching it all over again and she asked me why she felt so sad watching it.  I started to tear up and said how odd it was because I had cried off and on the whole time I was making it and I couldn't figure out why at the time.  After showing it to everyone and talking to Chris and thinking about it, I think I realized what it was.

We can't hold time in our hands.  We can't pause, we can't rewind, we can't slow anything down.  It keeps passing, our children keep growing, we keep growing older, and time passes like the water of a river, flowing, every flowing down to the sea.

We were all so young.  Not just my parents, ALL of us.  And I'm not sure there was ever a time when life was Easy.  But for some reason, all that looking back made me horribly sentimental for my own children's childhood.  I can't go back and be young again.  (And believe me, looking back at the pictures of my own adolescence, I have NO desire to) But I want to do a better job at enjoying my own children's youth.  And maybe through them, I can find my own sense of wonder again.

Some days they're children and some days they're Jedi Knights.


on 12 September 2012

I feel like I've spent the last month, drowning.

I started to say, by drips, but really, it was a deluge.

We lost Leike and then I ended up sick and then there were the freelancing jobs, and then a whirlwind trip to Savannah and then it was birthday celebrations for my Mom and nephew and trying to get the kids back on schedule and then sick AGAIN, and trying to find a new place to live and it all goes around and around until my head is spinning and I can't bring myself to work in any kind of productive way because I'm so exhausted all I do is stare at the walls.

But I'm trying to surface.  I have all of these stories I wanted to tell, but I haven't because I just haven't had the time to sit down and write...and frankly, it's making me cranky.

So I'm going to leave the butter on the counter.  The cake won't make itself, but there's another day tomorrow and I can try again.  I need to tell some stories and show you some pictures and catch up with myself before I fade.

In more heartening news, I'm making a SWEATER!  For ME!  It's charcoal grey (my happy color) and it's wool (my happy yarn) and so far, it's only the top 1/3 and half of a sleeve, but I made it and it's mine and I can't wait to wear it.  I've been trying to work on it, since I stepped out last weekend and the West wind whispered that Fall is on it's way.  I'd like to be able to wear it by the time it cools off, and I think I can bust it out, if I'm just diligent.  But then, that attitude has been my downfall many a-time before.

In the meantime, the stories are coming.  Be patient.

An Open Love Letter to my Body

on 10 September 2012

Dear Body,

Well, it's been a while.

I know that I haven't always treated you with the respect that you deserve.  As I child I let you run free, we climbed trees and rode our bike as fast as your skinny little legs would let us.  We rolled around in the snow in Winter, and then chased lightening bugs in Summer.  But then, there were those horrible teen-aged years.

You were pretty crappy to me, but I was pretty awful to you too.  We shall not speak of how you sprung that period on me, nor about how I "blossomed" seemingly overnight, prompting the undesired attention of boys whom I still believed to be the bearers of "cooties."  But I suppose I should apologize for those years that I starved you and tortured you.  You didn't deserve that.  And even after all of that, you never let me down.

And then there were our twenties.  They were good times, weren't they?  But I fear I took you for granted.  All of those all-nighters, all of the toxic junk-food, oceans of Diet Coke and mountains of sugar.  I'm sorry.  That wasn't nice.  I knew better and I still treated you like you were second rate.

And then there was that whole mess when I was pregnant with the Boy.  Was it really necessary to balloon up like a sausage?  Only my uterus was pregnant, so why, oh WHY was I so expansive all the way around?  I know, I know...it might have had something to do with all of those nachos and the half gallons of chocolate chip ice cream.  But I tried after he came, I really did!  We went for walks, I went back to veggies and tofu.  And things were ok for a while, but oh, why were you so hard on both of us with the breastfeeding?

I admit it, ok?  I didn't know what I was doing!  I didn't eat or drink properly and I certainly didn't nurse on demand, but I was a rookie!  You can't have expected me to know what I was doing right out of the gate.  Couldn't you have been a little easier on me?  I was sort of shell-shocked.

Maybe we both made mistakes.

And then, oh man, I guess maybe we're even for the teen-aged years because you really let me have it in those two years we were trying for the Girl.  That was horrible.  Let's never go back there, ok?

But now?  Oh body, how can I tell you how grateful I am for you?  How can I tell you how you have completely won my heart? 

Look at those babies.  YOU did that, body of mine.  You grew them, and once they were here, you fed them.  And you're STILL feeding the Girl.  Look at those voluptuous thighs!  Look at those chubby cheeks!  Look at that little belly!  Oh my body, I couldn't love you more if I tried.

Thank you.  Thank you for working so hard to grow them, to shelter and protect them.  Thank you for regulating everything while I was preoccupied with other things.  Thank you for feeding them and providing them with comfort.  Thank you for keeping us all alive.

Let's be honest, for 36 years we've had an antagonistic relationship at best.  You've never looked like other girls, you've never been skinny or athletic or TALL.  You've always persisted in growing resiliently curly hair, in spite of my best efforts to straighten it out.  I've hated you, I've feared you, I've ignored you and brushed you off as just another annoyance.  And when you would have been justified in shoving it all right back at me, you didn't.  You chose the high road.  You made the best babies in creation, and you continue to make Magical Milk for my amazing Girl.

I never would have imagined that it would be breastfeeding of all things, that would make me fall in love with you.  But there it is.  Life is strange sometimes, and after 36 years I'm done.  I promise.  No more starvation, no more torture, no more loathing.  You are mine and I am yours.  I'm going to do my best to take good care of you, and sometimes, I'm going to let you eat junk-food just because it's a nice treat.  And most days we're going to go for a walk because fresh air and exercise are nice, not because we're trying to look like everyone else.

Because you're NOT like everyone else, body.  You are mine.  And you have done amazing things.