Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not cool dude...

Last night was rough.  Cache is teething.  On nights when he is teething I might as well drink a pot of coffee, chase it with a shot of Jack and half of a sheet cake to keep me up.  Because then at least I'd have a buzz and might find the writhing around, headbutting, kicking, screaming, nursing, rolling pin with legs entertaining. 

It was 11:45 and he had been tossing and turning, while latched on I might add, for over two hours.  I was O V E R it.  This on the heels of waking up at 4:00am for a few days just for funsies.  I was taking deep breaths.  You can do this.  I know that window is tempting, but you will regret throwing the baby out of it.

Finally his body relaxed and I could feel myself drifting off into a much needed slumber when out of nowhere the rabid chipmunk tried to bite my nipple off.  HOLY SHIT!  He has bitten me a few times before, but nothing major.  This was major.  I  know I'm being a bit dramatic here, but in my groggy state I honestly thought my poor nipple was hanging on by a thread.  And really, is there ever actually TOO dramatic when referring to ones nipples?

Of course when he clamped down I gasped and shot up, pulling him off of the breast and scaring him half to death.  I felt so bad for scaring him, but dude, my nipple!  The next hour, yes, HOUR was spent calming him down while applying pressure to my throbbing boob.  All I wanted to do was get him in a deep enough sleep to lay him down and go to the bathroom and assess the damage.  Not happening.

Finally around 2ish I got him down and went to take a peek.  Phew, the nipple is still attached, but owwwwie.  Digging through my bathroom drawer in search of the nipple cream that had been pushed to the back, unnecessary for the past year or so, I began to become nostalgic.  I opened the jar and breathed in the aroma.  Instantly I was transported to those first few weeks of motherhood.  The itty bitty fingers, the tiny cries, the sore nipples and the click of a nightlight I used to help guide a not yet perfected latch. Sigh

Fucking hormones making me forget how annoyed I am.  And that my friends, is why we get up and do it all over again.




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 2009

Everyone told me that the first year of marriage would be the hardest; but they were wrong.  The first year was filled with newness and fun.  We attended parties, went away on impromptu camping trips, and late movies.  We were free to do pretty much whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  Our first year ended with an absolutely perfect anniversary trip to Cayucos.  Gelato, Taco Temple, left over wedding cake, Champagne, the beach and the conception of our first baby to be.

The second year was again filled with excitement, spontaneity, and preparation.  Our love was growing by an entire human being and we were over the moon.  We took advantage of our couples only status with loosely planned vacations and mornings spent drinking coffee in bed until noon.  We had it all figured out, and then we had a baby.

A beautiful, perfect, passionate baby boy who would change everything in a way none could have imagined.

Last year we spent our anniversary in our garage, it was our first post baby "date."  Ryan spent all afternoon transforming the garage into a tiny restaurant, complete with candles and music for the occasion.  We didn't even make it an hour before baby needed me inside.

The rest of the year followed suit.  Having a challenging baby puts a strain of everything, including marriage.  I know for some couples, the addition of a baby isn't all that taxing on their relationship.  Things just seem to fall into place and the new normal is fairly easy to get used to.  It wasn't for us.  We were put through quite the adjustment and to be honest, we are still adjusting.  But we hold strong.

Sometimes Ryan and I think back on this time last year and wonder how we made it through.  It was an experience that could have broken a lesser bond.  High stress, sleep deprivation and emotional tidal waves filled our days and they did not quiet with nightfall, but we stayed close.  And we remain.

I can not take the credit for closeness we maintain.  For I am not the easiest person to be married to.  I am not free and open with my feelings. I shut down.  But somehow Ryan knows how to open me up.  He knows when I need my space and when I need my space invaded.  He reminds me that we have our whole lives for dates and a weekend get away, but that we only have right now for this baby, and that is okay, we are okay.  And so we stay.

I am married to the man of many a woman's dreams.  A true romantic.  A gentleman in a world lacking.  A man who without question dances in the middle of the night with a screaming baby on his chest.  A man who takes the time to let me know I am loved. I man who takes the time to let everyone he cares about know just how much.

Ryan Matthew, you are the cream in my coffee and the sugar in my tea.  I know you aren't supposed to think or say that another person completes you and blah, blah, blah, but I'm saying it.  You really do complete me.  It's not that I'm not a whole, thinking person without you, it's just that I'm a whole lot better person with you.  I couldn't do any of it without you.  And so we will stay.  Forever.

*Last night I looked back at pictures from out wedding day.  If you'd like to do the same here is a link to the brilliant Jeff Starbuck's photo blog.  There is also a video of Ryan's speech if you feel like crying.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just two dudes

...trying to figure a way out of this joint

Monday, September 24, 2012

Four

Today my middle little turns four years old.  OneTwo.  Three.  Four.  Notice that there is no link for three?  I could have sworn I wrote at least a small diddy for his third birthday, but I scanned the archives of last year at least three times waiting for that post to kind of appear, and nothing!  In my defense, this time last year was peak screaming all day and night for Caches so maybe I was a bit preoccupied.  But still, nothing?!  Sorry Abner.





A year later and my screamer has calmed, but not my bulldog.  He is still just as bat shit crazy as he was the day I picked him up.  Unlike a normal puppy who might show sighs of sadness leaving his mother and siblings, Abner never looked back.  He sat in the rented Cadillac, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Are you read for this?"  I wasn't.

The first two weeks with Abner I had so much anxiety I could hardly eat.  He was just so busy, I was convinced he was going to kill himself.  Choking on leaves, trying to eat bees, taking flying leaps off of the stairs! Ahh...And he didn't sleep!  You know how you hear of puppies falling asleep in their food bowls or sleeping all day in a heap of legs and plump puppy bellies.  Not Caches, I mean Abner.



He has embraced sleeping since, but if you so much as giggle a key or motion towards the door he is ready to go!  He is always ready for action.  With one of the best personalities I've ever known, Abner will tolerate pretty much anything.  Probably because we annoy the shit out of him on a regular basis and he has just given up, but still, it should be noted how sweet he is. 



He is nothing if not persistent, hard headed and stubborn.  He plays like crazy, loves like crazy and IS actually crazy.  Don't believe me?  Come over mid afternoon, when the sun hits the back door just right and watch as he obsessively barks at the reflection all. day. long.  He won't stop.  Move the door and all hell breaks loose.  He will chase and bark at that reflection until someone intervenes and physically removes him!  Where's Abner?  He's staring at the door.  Must be about 2:00.
 
Oh Abner, my sweet little bean, with your big brown eyes and shiny little lip.  Sensitive and strong.  Silly and sweet.  Curious and brave.  Absolutely ridiculous, and keeper of a large piece of my heart. Abner Wainwright, you make even the darkest day bright.  You were meant for me, for us.  And while some may think it's silly, I truly believe that you make me a better person, a better mother.  You ground me and you make me smile.  You have set the standard of crazy pretty high around here with your brother and sisters all attempting to reach you.  So just between us, seriously, you can stop now.  You win.  You always win.



Mama loves you so much.  You little snoring, snorting, no tail having, reflection chasing, tiny teeth all a mess, brilliant bulldog.  And she always will.


Happy Birthday Baby Bulldog



Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm not sure why is it even still up for discussion!?

Unnatural. Disgusting. Harmful. Child abuse. Sexual abuse!  

I must be talking about something horrible here, right?  Something that nobody would ever want their child to be subjected to, let alone actually DO to their own child!

But I'm not talking about something horrible at all, I'm talking about breastfeeding.  We had so much fun talking about boobs last time, I figured I'd give it another go.  Only this time I'm not talking about the warm and fuzzy milk drunk baby smiles, I'm talking about the sad state of our culture regarding the topic, and I'm kinda pissed. 

Like so many other things, it all boils down to education, or lack there of.  I myself haven't been an advocate for long, in fact before I had my own baby I never really gave breastfeeding much thought at all.  I never payed any attention to our cultures response to a woman nursing in public until I was one.  Never thought about what others might think or say, and I certainly never imagined it would be such a hot topic!  But oh my gosh you guys, it is like middle earth HOT! 

Okay, to be fair, most Americans are comfortable with a woman breastfeeding her baby to the ripe old age of 6 months.  In the privacy of her own home, of course.  But once baby can start eating solid food, everything shifts.  Suddenly you are considered strange, disgusting even, for wanting to continue.  Why aren't you giving that baby a sippy cup of milk?  Can't he have a cracker instead?  Your milk is just water by now anyway!  You need this more than baby, let go, let him grow up, get him off of your breast or he'll be a sissy mama's boy his whole life!

Sigh

And now you want to nurse your toddler!?!?  We might as well put the therapist on speed dial! 

One of my favorites, and probably the most common statement you will hear regarding nursing older babies and toddlers is this.  "Once a baby can walk or talk, ask for milk and/or has teeth, it is time to stop nursing!" What about babies that are born with teeth?  My son walked at 9 months.  Was that my cue to wean him?  Shit, missed that note.   And if I'm not mistaken, my newborn, at only 20 minutes old "asked for it" with a wide open, air sucking, nipple seeking mouth. 

My son now has 8 teeth, has been walking for nearly 6 months, talks, and definitely "asks for it" on a regular basis.  Should I wean him now?  Answer me this, don't all toddlers ask for milk?  For food?  For comfort?  They are walking?  Talking?  Have teeth?  Well in that case it is probably time to cut them off.

Sounds silly when I put it that way, doesn't it?

Now I know nursing a toddler isn't for everyone, I get that.  But here's what I think the main culprit is.  I think as a culture we are scared, uneducated and uncomfortable with the idea of breasts being used to nourish babies.  But rather than admit to any or all of these things we attack not the culture, but the mother.  Always the mother.  As if it is somehow her fault that she is a mammal with breasts made to feed her baby and her TODDLER!

The body of a woman, particularly her breasts, have been sexualized to such a degree that when we see a woman "exposing" her breast in public there is an uproar.  How dare she make ME feel uncomfortable.  I consider her flesh sexual therefore what she is doing, breastfeeding, must be sexual too.  Well, I'm here to tell you, there is NOTHING sexual about breastfeeding.  NO. THING.  But if you don't believe me, if you still think I'm disgusting, then my saying so won't change your mind.

And I feel sorry for you, I really do.

Because if I told you that the normal weaning age of a human is anywhere from 2.5 years to 7 years of age you would gasp.  And if I told you that there were not only immunological benefits to extended breastfeeding, but also social and emotional benefits to BOTH mother and child you would probably just tune me out.  You have been trained well by society, naysayer.  Even if I reminded you that you yourself are a mammal.  A mammal who more than likely drinks the breastmilk of another mammal FAR past the age of weaning without much thought, you still wouldn't budge. 

Oh that's right.  Cow's milk comes from a teat, not a breast.  My bad. 

Okay, I know this little blog who maybe 10 people read on a regular basis isn't going to change the feelings of an entire culture regarding breastfeeding.  I know that nursing my toddler in public is not going to change the negative thoughts and feelings of so many.  But I do know this.  If I talk about it and then you talk about it and then we all start talking about it, we CAN NORMALIZE SOMETHING THAT IS TOTALLY NORMAL.  Seriously, we could do it!

Then maybe, just maybe, American men and women would begin to respect not only the breast but the women they are attached to.  I sincerely hope that someday soon breastfeeding our babies and toddlers won't be seen as alternative or strange, and certainly not considered child abuse by some, but simply for what it is.  Feeding our babies and toddlers.  We are all hungry, I am hungry for change.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moms, are we really still in high school?

Maybe I was naive.  Maybe I still am.  But until I had my own child, I had NO idea that mothers could be so cruel to one another.  I'd never even heard the term "mommy wars," until I started Googling my own baby related questions which redirected me to message boards, or should I call them battle grounds. So judgmental, so hurtful, so mean. 

I guess it shouldn't surprise me though.  Nobody can break a woman down quite like another woman.  We know what hurts, we are keenly aware of the soft spots, the kill zone.  And like thoughtless bullies, women go straight for the heart. 

Remember witnessing a boy fight in high school?  There was punching and pushing, blood and testosterone, but then there was peace.  The fight was over.  The pent up energy was gone and the boys moved on.  Not the girls.  Girls are silent fighters, the damage is internal.  Their wounds can not be seen by the naked eye.  They spread and consume.  You have to delve deep to see the scars of yesterday and the gaping wounds of right now. 

"It takes a village to raise a child."  Well, in our modern world this idea unfortunately is lost.  Mothers do not typically have their sisters, aunts, cousins, mothers, grandmothers and friends close by for support.  So they search the internet, nearby parks and even the market for other mothers to support them because let's face it, mothers NEED support!  

But all too often mothers seeking support are attacked.  Questions posted out of desperation or curiosity are met with hurtful responses.  The guns are loaded, the boots are on.  These women are ready for battle.  They are quick to tell mother's that they don't deserve their own baby, that they are horrible parents, they are damaging their babies, or poisoning them.  All because they have a different opinion on the way things "should" be. 

Women who claim to be peaceful parents, attachment mothers, are shaming rather than educating.  Speaking to mothers in a hurtful way that they themselves claim they would NEVER speak to a child.  A child is to be respected, but what about that child's mother? 

Maybe it's because the internet is anonymous. You don't have to look that tired mother in her darkened eyes when you tell her that she is a monster for trying to sleep train her baby.  You don't have to see the her face drop and her eyes tear up as she reads your spiteful words that were left in haste.  Does this make you feel better about yourself internet bully? 

Wouldn't this mother and her baby who you claim to be concerned for be better off with kindly suggested alternatives?  Or even actual advice!  There is a big difference between explaining in a gentle way that you do not agree, expressing why and offering alternatives, verses attacking a struggling mother's parenting. 

Do you ever wonder, internet bully, what YOUR own children are making of your quick tongue?  For your own babies are watching your every move.  They are actively absorbing the way YOU treat others.  You can tell your children every day to treat others with kindness and respect but if you do not DO the same, your efforts will be in vein.  Your children are watching, internet bully.

How would you feel if you found out your own child was cyber bullying another child?  Would you be proud?  Would you offer a high five and encourage your child to go on and drill into others their beliefs?  Or would you feel sad?  I hope you'd feel sad.  I hope that you take a step back and try to curb your passion for a certain style of parenting into a positive, encouraging message.  Because we all know that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar.  Why you would want to catch bees in the first place is what I don't know for sure.

Honestly though, it is a jungle out there.  Please mamas, PLEASE take everything you read on the internet, particularly advice from other mothers on message boards, with a grain of salt.  These women do not know you, your baby, your heart or your struggles.  They are not attached to you in any way, nor do they have a vested interest in how you are receiving their comments.  Take heart mamas, there are people who offer sound advice and sacred woman to woman, mother to mother support, but they are rarely found on baby center at 2am. 

Or maybe they are, what do I know.  I let a message board stranger bring me to tears more than once.  What, I was tired!

Monday, September 17, 2012

These times, they are fleeting

My arm, it is numb.  I can no longer feel my fingers. 

My body is tingling, begging me to move

But I cannot.  For any movement may disturb the babe

And there's nothing quite like the weight of a sleeping babe on your arm


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Writer's block

 I haven't posted in three weeks.  One, two, THREE!  That is plain pathetic, even by my standard of late!  But to be honest, until I looked at the last thing I DID post, I had no idea it had been that long!  It's like groundhog day around here!  The baby was sick, the husband was sick, my body tried to be sick but I would NOT allow it.  Rinse, later, repeat.  I got out of the habit of writing and bam, just like that, three weeks later. Nothing

It's funny how that happens, isn't it.  Not ha ha funny, but funny still.  They say it takes anywhere from 7-21 days to create a new habit and make it stick.  "They," are full of shit.  If this were the case I'd be taking my vitamins every day, eating a completely plant based diet, well, one that contained fewer cookies anyway.  I'd be running 5x a week, cooking dinner from scratch 5x a week, and a whole lot of other great things that USED to be habits of mine.  That is until they weren't.

For me is has always been far easier to stop doing something than to start or even re-start.  An object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest.  You remember the theory.  And when I make writing every day a priority, after the first few days of struggle, the words come freely.  I sit down and ideas flourish, I am inspired.  But it is just so easy to stop.  To fall out of sync.  It's too easy!  I let it go and I don't know why. 

Beautiful, humorous, even pointless ideas sit along side my neatly sorted Mon.-Sun. vitamin organizer, untouched for weeks.  I peek at them each day knowing full well that it would only take a moment to pour them out and swallow them down, nourishing my body, my creativity, but I don't do it.  I close the cabinet door, the laptop screen and I sit.  Putting off things that are good for me in favor of doing nothing simply because it's easier.  Only I don't want easy.  I want inspiration, sweat, nourishment, commitment, habit, creativity. 

I want the momentum to stay.

And so for the next few days I will force it out, and the vitamins down.  In hopes of creating a new habit in only seven days, or so they say.

 Meanwhile this kid is g r o w i n g WAY too fast!