Kidisms, Part 1

May 28, 2013

BILL: Tomorrow is Mother’s Day – Mommy’s day!

CAELAN: No, it’s MY day.

BILL: Everyday is your day.

— — — — — — —

Caelan crumples up his paper kids’ menu at a restaurant, then looks at it with concern.

CAELAN: Uh oh, what happened??

BILL: You happened, dude.

— — — — — — —

CAELAN [pointing in excitement]: It’s a dinosaur!

SARAH [looking at the corner of the kitchen where he’s pointing and no dinosaurs are present]: Where??

CAELAN [pointing again, in a low voice]: Right there. It’s looking at Mommy.

— — — — — — —

Caelan is eating green beans at dinner.

BILL: Did you chew and swallow?

SARAH: You look like you’re working on it.

[Bill stares at Caelan who continues to chew.]

CAELAN [loudly and seriously]: I working on it!!

— — — — — — —

Bill hands Caelan a pancake at breakfast. Caelan gazes lovingly at it…

CAELAN: It’s beautiful!

— — — — — — —

Listening to music on Bill’s  phone…

BILL: Do you like it?

CAELAN: Beautiful. It’s beautiful music.

— — — — — — —

Caelan is studying the freckle on my forehead with his concerned eyebrows.

CAELAN: I want to take it off. [He tries to pinch the freckle.] Want to throw it in the trash. It’s trash.

(After much conversation about why my freckle isn’t trash, he now says “It’s part of Mommy.”)

Feeding My Kids

May 16, 2013

I never gave breastfeeding much thought before I was pregnant. I guess I figured I’d do it because, why not? When I started to learn more about it when I was expecting my son, my anxiety about it did nothing but grow and grow. By the end of my pregnancy, just the thought of breastfeeding would nearly bring me to tears.

Does that sound weird? I think it sounded weird to people when I admitted that’s how I felt. They wondered why I felt so conflicted about it. I honestly couldn’t explain why other than to say that I felt uncomfortable about it and I didn’t feel at all committed to it.

In the mommy community that I was a part of, there was a lot of emphasis on your breastfeeding plans. Would you exclusively nurse? Would you pump? Would you supplement? It seemed like if you didn’t breastfeed for at least 6 months or a year or longer, someone would be waiting to slap a badge of failure on you. Or a badge of selfishness. That’s a lot of pressure on a mom-to-be. Experienced moms told me that you have to be really committed to breastfeeding in order to make it work. I didn’t feel committed. I was also going to be returning to work after 2.5 months, back to my small company where there is no “lactation room” or anything like that and if I wanted to pump, well I’d be doing it in a bathroom stall or in my car. I definitely didn’t feel committed enough for that.

I was the only mom-to-be in our infant care class that didn’t raise her hand when asked if she’d be taking a breastfeeding class. Singled out already. But I knew I wasn’t planning on following many of the recommendations breastfeeding experts usually share, so it didn’t seem like a class was the right choice for me. When it came down to it, I decided that I’d give breastfeeding the ol’ college try, but I wouldn’t hesitate to add formula and bottles into the mix whenever it seemed like the right time.

Actually…that makes it sound like I had an actual plan or any real confidence in myself and I really didn’t. I wanted to breastfeed and formula feed, but I couldn’t find any information or advice on how to do that because I wanted to, not because I had to due to supply or medical issues. All the information on breastfeeding seemed so strict: you MUST do this, you CAN’T do that, etc. For example, breastfeeding experts will tell you it’s best to exclusively breastfeed for at least a month before introducing a bottle to avoid nipple confusion and supply problems. But a month sounded like a crushing eternity to me and I wanted to start supplementing earlier than that.

In the hospital after my son was born, I found the nursing staff very supportive of my feeding preferences, even though I wasn’t quite sure what my preferences were. My nurse brought me some free samples of formula (after I said that I was considering formula feeding) and showed me how to use the bottles. There was also a lactation consultant available to help me with breastfeeding and her guidance was very helpful.

I’ve recently learned that my hospital is now part of an initiative to promote exclusive breastfeeding and as part of that, they will no longer be giving out formula samples. I’m sure people think this is awesome, but I don’t. It’s great for moms who want to breastfeed, but what about moms who don’t want to breastfeed? Or moms like me who want to do both? I understand that sometimes moms are pressured into using formula when they don’t want to (and this issue is most likely at the heart of this initiative), but that was not my experience. I asked for formula and it was given to me, it’s not like they made me take it. I wasn’t pressured at all one way or the other by the hospital staff.  But…will I be pressured this time, now that this initiative is in place? Pressured to breastfeed? Just when I was feeling more confident…

There’s been a push lately to promote breastfeeding and to give nursing mothers more support. That’s all well and good but all mothers need support, not just those who are nursing. This whole post so far has been about how anxious I was about the simple matter of feeding my child and how I felt isolated for going against the grain and choosing not to breastfeed for any substantial amount of time. On my message boards, there are rarely posts about formula feeding, but when there are, all of these mothers come out of the woodwork and admit to having formula fed. ADMIT! Like it’s something to be ashamed of. Some mothers are confident and proud of their choice, but I find it suspect that we hear far less from them than we do from the breastfeeding crowd who are supposedly being ostracized for their choice.

Breastfeeding is great. It’s natural, it’s the best nutritionally, it helps with baby’s immune system – there are many, many benefits. I don’t deny any of that. I also don’t deny that breastfeeding mothers are sometimes treated unfairly when it comes to nursing in public. If mothers want to breastfeed, they should absolutely be supported by medical professionals and society as a whole. But shouldn’t formula feeding moms get the same support? Is it necessary to shun formula in order to promote breastfeeding? When the topic of breastfeeding promotion comes up, I generally keep my mouth shut. I’m not against it, but why can’t we promote the mother’s choice, rather than promoting one option at the expense of the other?

Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. It’s only sort of for me. But I get to choose – not just what’s best for my child, but what’s best for our family as a whole regarding breastfeeding or not. The right choice is whatever works best for your family and for us, with our son, that was a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding.

My second child is due in just 3 short months. I suppose I will find out then what kind of support/attitude I will face in the hospital. I’m going into it with the same basic plan as last time, but this time around, I will be armed with more information, more confidence, and less fear. Hopefully this time I will be able to be confident from the start that I’m making the right choice.

Project Big Boy Room: Where are we?

May 6, 2013

It’s a good question. After making a lot of progress on the room including a trip to the dump and a couple pick ups by Purple Heart, we kind of stalled out. Getting rid of the stuff we didn’t need/want anymore was the easy part. Now we are left with the things we want to keep, but since we can no longer keep them in this room, we needed to find other places in the house to keep them.

The thing is…those things were in this room in the first place because we couldn’t find a place for them anywhere else in the house. Mountains of CDs? Sure, we should rip them, but do you know how long it would take to rip hundreds of CDs? Bill’s old motorcycle jacket? He wants to keep it, but where? My old child-sized mug with my name on it, along with a personalized spoon that I think my mom sent away to Cheerios for when I was little. Gotta keep those, but where?? Then there’s the dresser we still can’t figure out what to do with…

Even as I write this I’m finding that I can’t remember specifically what else is in there that I need to deal with. That leads me to believe that whatever it is, I really don’t need. But I’ll go in there tonight and think, oh that…yeah I need to keep that. Thank God we have an attic, although I hear it’s getting full. I try to avoid going up there myself due to my irrational fear that there may be bats up there. (I know, I’m crazy.)

While we have been stalled out and not sure what to do with all this stuff, I just went ahead and bought all the new things we needed for Caelan’s room as if we had already figured it out. I’ve got curtains, a bedding set, sheets, fabric drawers, canvas wall hangings, and a family of vinyl elephants all ready to go. I even have paint chips on the wall and hopefully I’ll be able to choose a color this week.

For now, here’s another preview pic…


Assumptions from a First and (soon to be) Second Time Mom

May 2, 2013

We’re expecting baby #2 late this summer and, luckily, we have less to do to prepare for her arrival than we did for Caelan’s arrival. We have no major home renovations going on at the moment, we don’t have to research and select a daycare provider, and we don’t have to research baby gear and create a registry.

Well, sort of on that last one. We do need a few things for this baby, but the big stuff (crib, Pack N Play, car seat, stroller, swing, bouncer, and highchair) we already have. I did create a registry, but it’s mostly just a list for myself so I can keep track of what we need to get for her (and so I can use the completion discount!). But I thought I’d look back on some of my assumptions when we were registering for Caelan’s things and preparing for his arrival and see if I’ve gained any insight.

  • Bedding sets are a waste of money. I bought one for Caelan anyway. 

I still think they’re a waste of money. We use the crib sheet, but the bumper is a suffocation hazard so we don’t use that. We used the crib skirt until it was time to lower the mattress and then it didn’t fit anymore. And we never used the comforter (in his crib – we did use it on the floor for him to play on). For baby girl, I am just getting a new crib sheet and crib skirt.

  • Nursery themes are silly. We did a “theme” complete with mural.

Whatever. Caelan will move out of his room before he’s old enough to have an opinion on what it looks like, but we wanted to do something special with his room, and so we did. And the great thing about it now is that it’s fairly neutral, so we will be able to reuse it for baby girl, with a few additions. For Caelan’s new big boy room, we are doing a theme again. What can I say? I like themes!

  • Video monitors are overkill. I kind of wanted one by the time Caelan was 18 months.

We didn’t need one when he was a newborn/small infant. I could hear him breathing over the audio-only monitor and babies that young don’t move much so I didn’t think there would be much to see with video. But now, looking ahead a month or so to when we will put him in a twin bed, I am just envisioning him climbing out and wandering around the room. It will be nice to SEE what’s going on in his room once he’s able to get in and out of bed by himself. So I bought a video monitor for him, but we will use my (beloved) audio monitor for baby girl until she’s ready to climb out of a bed. (It’s possible I’ll eat my words on that last part, but if so, our video monitor has the option to add a second camera.)

  • The baby will be sleeping in his crib after 2 weeks. Yeah, it was 5 weeks.

And that was fine. It was a sufficiently short period of time that he was in our room, but not TOO short. And the transition to the crib was seamless, probably partially due to moving him relatively early. We have the same plan for baby girl (a month-ish), but I know every baby is different, so we’ll just see how it goes.

  • The baby will not sleep in our bed. Ha, that was a good one.

In fairness, we didn’t bedshare regularly. It was not a habit I wanted us to get into. But during the 4 Month Wakeful (3-6 Month Wakeful??) I decided that if Caelan woke up after 3:30am, I’d forgo the (then necessary) 1-1.5 hour of rocking him back to sleep and just bring him in to sleep with us so I could get a couple more hours before having to get up for work. I was always too scared to let him sleep next to us in the bed, so I’d sleep partially sitting up and he’d sleep on my chest. Not really looking forward to going through this phase again with baby girl, but we’ll do whatever works for us to get through it!

  • Breastfeeding will be horrible. But it wasn’t.

Some feedings were particularly stressful (especially in the first week) and I did find nursing to be very isolating. Early feedings took forever and Caelan was constantly falling asleep which was frustrating. But overall, it was much better than I had feared and I was kind of iffy on my decision to give it up when Caelan was 7 weeks old. I’m actually looking forward to getting another shot at nursing with baby girl. I still plan to incorporate bottle/formula feeding early on, but now that I know partial weaning may be an option, I’m definitely going to keep that in mind.

In about 3.5 months we’ll have a 2 year old and a newborn. I don’t think I have any assumptions about how that’s going to go! I have plans and ideas, sure, but I’m flexible. We’ll go with whatever works for us (which is, I think, the #1 thing I have learned about parenting so far).