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Boulder, Colorado

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Payback (an entry on the softer side)

It’s enormous.  It’s all consuming.  It’s somewhat obsessive.  It causes me to do things I would never consider doing otherwise.  It’s more powerful than I thought it would be, even though I knew it’d be huge.  There aren’t enough adjectives to describe it.  I thought I knew, but I just didn’t know.  And yet, my love for this child grows every day.  How could that be?  And sometimes it manifests in ways that I wish it didn’t- the ways in which I worry, the ways in which I grow weary.

One crazy realization that this love has brought me is the true understanding that this is how much my parents have loved and love me.  I have no doubt about that now.  Not that I ever did.  I must admit, I’ve spent some time in my 20s analyzing the ways in which my parents screwed me up over the years, and granted, the screwed-up is there.  But I never really knew that THIS was what they went through.   Wow.
I'm sure they chuckle to themselves every time they talk to me these days.  Haha- I sure did get my come-upins.  And I mean that in the best way possible.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Certifiably Nutz, or just new parents

OMG. DH and I are going crazy. (Okay, so I've seen the acronym DH on several of these mommy chat sites.  Does somebody know what it stands for?  Could it really just be dad/husband??)  Anyway, literally, WE. ARE. GOING. CRAZY. We have the same conversation about 25 times a day, every day. Definition of insanity. It goes a little something like this:
Him: We’ve got to do something about this. Should we just go back to letting him cry? We could do the increments of 5, 10, 15 minutes.
Me: I know. I’m soooo tired. But I’m just not comfortable letting him cry because he seems uncomfortable when he wakes up, and he always makes stinkers. Do you think it’s gas or reflux? Or both?
Him: I don’t know. It does seem like it’s one or the other. He is awful gassy.
Me: I know, but he spits up a lot too, and he’s pretty fussy on the breast.
Him: What should we do? Maybe we should just start sleep-training him. Something’s gotta give.
Me: I know. I wish we had a better pediatrician. We can’t start sleep-training him when we’re going on vacation in less than a week, AND we’re moving.
Him: I know, but what’s our pediatrician going to do or tell us that we don’t already know?
Me: I know. I’ve never been this exhausted in my life.

And then again the next day, a little something like this:
Him: Something’s gotta give.
Me: I know, do you think we should start sleep training him?
Him: I don't know, what do you think?
Me: I don't know.  It doesn't seem fair when we're about to move and go on vacation in less than a week. But I've just about reached my threshold.  I can't keep doing this.
Him: I know.  Do you think it's gas?
You get the picture. It’s nuts.
Let’s face it. We did not get lucky in the sleep department. Turns out (yes, the catch-phrase for these profound life-revelations) sleep is really important. I often fantasize about how life might feel different if I could just catch a few more hours of shut-eye. I wonder how much more engaged I’d be with my little guy during the day. I do enjoy him during the day, but I also secretly look forward to his naps. Guilty as charged. I wonder if I’m spending so much time worrying about how to get enough sleep that I’m missing out on enjoying some of my baby’s babyhood.
I’ll tell you what doesn’t help. Clearly. It’s the moms at my mommy groups complaining about their baby’s sleep regression, “suddenly, he’s waking up every 5-6 hours when he used to go 12 hours without waking.” Are you kidding me?? 5-6 hours? If we could just maintain 5-6 hours, we’d be pretty happy. Or the moms who are like, "yeah, he sleeps at least 10 hours through the night, and on a good night, 12." Okay, it's my fault. I asked. I must learn to stop that.
Also, the horror stories DO NOT HELP. It’s absolutely terrifying to hear about so-and-so’s three year old who STILL doesn’t sleep through the night. Yes, I believe that it’s true, and yes, I feel for that family. Awful. But not helpin’ me.
Finally, my OCD reading has not been helping me. According to xyz book, if he’s 5 months and 15lbs, he’s capable of sleeping through the night. ARGH. But doesn’t it seem important to figure out why he’s crying before I let him “cry it out”??
Again. It’s crazy-town here.
This morning DH (so stupid- not him, the expression) took a bath with Zeke and I heard him say, “so this is what it’s like to have a baby.”
Yes, this is what it’s like to have a baby. We are paying our dues a bit. The bottom line is that it could be so much worse and we are lucky to have a healthy, happy little guy who is just so cute he’s edible. And, to validate my previous ranting, it is, in fact, difficult to thrive on 5 months worth of fairly extreme sleep deprivation.
Until next time J.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let's start with the breast since apparently it's best.

Breasts. A perfect topic for my first entry in my Mommy-blog. I am actually on the breast pump whilst writing this. It is one of the moments in my day when Zeke is asleep and I take a few breaths. Let me qualify that by saying that I am taking a few breaths if you count sitting at the kitchen table with my top off, suction cups strapped to my boobs, typing at my computer. But yes, I can relax for a few minutes knowing that my sweet little guy is safely wrapped in his knit blanket, sleeping in his pack-n-play. My nipples are killing me. Okay, “killing me” is a gross overstatement. The nipple pain I’m experiencing now pales in comparison to contractions. Really, it pales in comparison to the nipple pain I experienced when Zeke and I were learning to breastfeed.
When I was pregnant, I actually thought that breastfeeding was, get this, weird. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Not mechanically, but I just wasn’t sure I could get used to a slobbery baby sucking on my boob. The thought of someone suckling on a part of my body to extract his food was just too strange. I’d hardly seen anyone breastfeed a baby, and if I had, it was under a “hooter-hider”, or I’d turned away, lest I see a mom’s dreaded nipple. Breastfeeding was unfamiliar. And, while I’d never particularly sexualized my own breasts, they were mine, and they were private.
I felt that way until I met my baby, and in an instant, my thoughts and feelings changed. I had no problem with my precious, helpless little newborn latching right on and sucking the heck out of my unsuspecting nipples. It became my sole purpose in life to nourish my baby, and all I wanted was to be as close to him as possible. And what could be closer than having him gain sustenance from my very own body? It was amazing and gratifying to be able to provide this for my child. In the beginning, my nipples became incredibly sore, chapped, bloody, you name it. We had trouble getting his latch. But as the sleepless days, nights, and weeks went on, Zeke and I fell into what seemed like a perfect rhythm. Okay, the breastfeeding itself was a nice rhythm. The sleeping, or lack there-of, not so much.
My husband commented many times that he couldn’t believe how we had it down pat and could breast feed anywhere. He said I was like “a machine”. It was a dance that Zeke and I had momentarily mastered. We could breastfeed while standing, sitting, walking; we could breastfeed here, there, or anywhere. And my response to my husband truly was, yes, we are lucky, but you just can’t take anything for granted because nothing is static with a baby.
And I was right. I’m so grateful for those breezy days of breastfeeding. What could be more natural and less weird than breastfeeding my precious little baby? I know the phrase “precious little baby” sounds a bit cliché and trite, but he really is the most incredible little being I ever could have imagined.
Of late, we’ve been having more difficulty with the breastfeeding, and I hate it. The ease of breastfeeding only comes at the 4am feeding when he’s too tired to protest, and, frankly, I’m too tired to enjoy it. I once read a comment from a mom who loved her middle-of-the-night feedings with her little one (ps. It took me WAY too long to figure out that LO meant ‘little one’ on all of these chat websites) as she so enjoyed the quiet, peaceful times with her baby, no interruptions. I wish I could say the same, that I enjoy being pulled out of my already weak slumber to feed my baby, the half an hour that it takes, and the following half hour it takes me to fall back to sleep. Am I glad that he’s breastfeeding easily at 4am? Sure. Am I haggard and tired as all get- out? Yes, indeed.
Here’s where I start to sound like the whiner that I intend to be in this entry. Okay, perhaps I’ve been whining the whole time. Trying to put a crying, arching baby to the breast during the day is much more difficult than it sounds on paper. He doesn’t want it, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve done everything, have been on the phone with our pediatrician’s nurse a million times, have consulted two separate lactation consultants and nothing. We’ve now gone through a few weeks of fussy breast rejection. Of course, he gobbles down the bottle like he’s never had food before. I don’t feel so much rejected as inadequate. “Breast is best”, or so the motto goes, and I can’t seem to provide that for my son right now. It’s frustrating. I have no reason to complain when I know that some moms would give their right arm to have the five solid months of breastfeeding that Zeke and I have enjoyed so seamlessly.

Perhaps what I really need to do is think about what it means to be a mom and realize that the importance of my being a good mother to my son has very little, if anything, to do with breastfeeding him or not. If there is one thing that I learned in my work for the county, it’s that children need their moms. As a mom, I am not just my breasts. I am more than a boob. Thank God. I’ll try to keep reminding myself of that when my son insists that he wants nothing to do with my delicious, milk-producing appendages.