Why does it matter?

Now that Baby G is approaching a year old, the question of when I’m going to stop nursing him is becoming more and more prevalent. Sometimes it’s casually inserted into conversation like the answer is no big deal and other times it’s pointed and almost bordering on concern.

There are multiple “camps” concerning breastfeeding. There are the moms who have zero intention of breastfeeding at all ever (and some can’t fathom why anyone would want to), there are moms who feel guilted into it so they attempt it and then make excuses why it didn’t work, there are moms who plan to do the obligatory 6 weeks and then quit, others who put a date, age, or milestone expiration date on it, the actually small group of women who cannot physically breastfeed due to medical or physiological issues (and if you research nursing at all this percentage is actually very small) and then there are others (like myself) who actually enjoy BFing and plan to let our child wean when they are good and ready. Obviously there are variations within any group so don’t get your panties in a twist if you didn’t see your particular situation. This is about me anyway, not you.

Then you have the observers. Those who don’t have children or weren’t breastfed or are men or who are part of some of the alternate camps of breastfeeding thought. A lot of who think they can determine when and where and for how long it’s “okay” to breastfeed.

When did it become “weird” to nurse a toddler? Who decided that once a kid can say milk or boob or whatever then the child is too old? When did babies stop being babies at one year of age? When I think of a toddler I think 2. Not 12 months. And why does it matter if you’re nursing a toddler? Basically, what’s it to ya?

Why are people so obsessed with this subject. I can think of a LOT of things parents do that are WAY more distressing and detrimental to a child than nursing them when they are 3. Or even 4. Recently the Time Magazine cover with the toddler standing on a chair nursing freaked everyone out. The Pro-camp thought it groundbreaking and affirming and the Anti-camp called it vulgar and freaked out about it. Personally I thought the cover itself was intentionally inflammatory and a little distastful. But it caused a lot of strong feelings both ways. And honestly, the best reaction to it I’ve read so far is this one. Well said. Read some of his other stuff too. He’s pretty funny.

So back to my situation. I love breastfeeding. It’s not sexual, it’s not selfish, it’s just a wonderful time I get to spend with my son. It’s nutrition and comfort. It’s time spent just with momma and during that time everything is alright in the world. Plus I’m providing him the BEST nutrition out there. Believe what you will but even formula companies recommend breastfeeding first. I’m not saying if you give your kid formula he or she will grow up stunted, undernourished, and socially inept. Quit reading into things! I have strong opinions about breastfeeding and this is my blog, dang it!

Ok, sorry. This subject makes *people* get a little heated. I choose to breastfeed Baby G because I believe that is what is best for the both of us. It fits our lifestyle and his needs. And I will breastfeed him as long as he chooses. And if he’s 3 when he weans completely, well, so be it. But that’s my business. No one else’s.

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House Beautiful

Have I told you I’m practically Martha Stewart? Except younger and without the criminal record? I mean, my house always looks like it’s straight out of a magazine. It’s amazing. You should be jealous.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Hoo! That was a good one! Whew, I think I just laughed until I peed. Ok, I didn’t actually pee. That really doesn’t happen too often to me. One of the silver linings of having a baby at 7 months (by C) is you have slightly more bladder control as someone who went all the way. I mean, when you miss out on so much you have to find some silver linings.

Anyway, back to my house. My house is a disaster area. It was clean and shiny and pretty for approximately 47 seconds at some point near Christmas and then it immediately went back to looking like a hobo camp. A hobo camp with wood floors and a pretty Christmas tree. The point is, I have never (and will never) be one of those people with the shiny spic-and-span house. I can get it cleaned up if someone is coming over but it never manages to stay that way. Now, having a baby, I at least feel slightly more justified in having a crazy house. Also, because my house does not look like it could belong on an episode of hoarders. Win for me.

What prompted this was the fact that Baby G got to play in my big bathtub the other night. Which he thought was super awesome by the way. But anyway, the next morning I walked through my (cluttered) bathroom and smiled at the bath toys hanging out on the edge of my tub. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look at magazines and wish my house looked like they do. I drool and dream and sigh over the beautiful tile bathrooms, the exquisitely decorated living rooms, and the fabulous master bedrooms. But while my house may not be perfectly vacuumed or have un-scuffed paint or have floor space to walk without stepping on a baby toy or cheerio… my house is home to a wonderful and perfect little person. He lives here. And it’s ok for my house to show that. Right now I’d rather sit on the couch with him and snuggle or play in the (crazy huge) play area we’ve set up for him in the living room than dust. He’s growing so fast and I work full time. So when I am home all I want to do is be with him. Sure I’m also a procrastinator and I hate cleaning. Those are totally valid reasons as well. But no matter what I do, I can’t, and I wouldn’t, erase the things that show he is here. And there are a lot of those things. Like the plastic butterfly I just pulled out of the couch. And the bowl of pump parts that sit on the counter waiting to be washed. We won’t mention the acre of toys scattered through the living room. Or the random socks that Baby G managed to shuck off (and then suck on). Then there are the aforementioned cheerios scattered throughout the house just waiting for Baby G to come find them before we do.

Maybe one day I’ll have a nice house that I can show off to people. Baby G will have a playroom or a toy box that he can put all his toys in each night. Or maybe my house will only be sparkly and clean at holidays and when company is coming over. And that’s fine. Because I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t trade that precious little boy for anyone’s perfectly decorated and spotless house.

It’s midnight yet again

My little one refuses to go to bed at night. No, that’s not totally true. My little one refuses to go to bed at night in his bed. He’ll sleep just fine if we’re holding him. He’ll be calm and collected and perfectly reasonable. But as soon as you put him anywhere near his crib he turns into a flailing, rolling, crazed maniac. It’s currently 11:30pm and we’ve been trying to get him to sleep since about 10. I know that sounds late to put a baby to bed but we sleep in late. And generally I’m up late. With my erratic schedule at work (this week for example: off, 10-7, off, 12-9, 10-7, 8-5, 8-5) if we were to put him to bed early (say 8 o’clock), I’d miss most nights with him. So later works better for us.

Why is his bed lava, you ask? Well, dear friend, if you can find the answer to THAT question we will all be millionaires and get to sleep at night. Ok maybe not on the millionaire part but we might actually get to go to sleep at a reasonable hour if we chose. I’ve never been one of those who is on a specific side of the fence when it comes to “Cry It Out” tactics, but I have a hard time with both sides. I HATE letting Baby G lay in bed and cry. I hate it. It hurts my heart and makes me feel like a terrible mother. I feel like I’m abandoning my sweet child who is lying in his bed miserable and alone and terribly upset at being bereft of my presence. I feel like when I finally do go to pick him up he clings to me like I’m a life preserver and I’m saving him from a terrible fate. But at the same time… I also don’t sleep very well sitting upright in a chair. I don’t have a recliner and for whatever reason Baby G doesn’t want to sleep on my chest if I’m laying down. So sometimes, like tonight, I let him cry. I sit downstairs and listen to him crying piteously through the monitor and I feel like my heart is going to leap out of my chest. Some nights we can bounce him or pat him to sleep and that works. Some nights if you put him anywhere near his room, much less his bed, he breaks out into hysterics. I don’t know what makes the difference but I wish I knew what the right thing was.

Sometimes I just feel selfish. Maybe that little tiny boy is scared or doesn’t feel good or is lonely and he just wants to be cuddled. I don’t know. Maybe he’s just being a toad and doesn’t want to go to bed. So what do I do? Do I hold him and let him sleep on me? Do I give up my sleep so he doesn’t cry? It took 10 minutes tonight. 10 minutes of him crying after I had been upstairs for almost 40 minutes rocking him, holding him, and trying to get him to lay down. That 10 minutes felt like 30. We are 10 1/2 months in and I still don’t know what the right thing is. There are lots of people who use the CIO method and swear by it. There are lots of others who deem it a method of torture from the devil which will result in your child becoming a homicidal maniac who will eventually kill you in your sleep. I’m not going to throw stones at either camp. I think both tactics have valid points and have different times when they are effective  My biggest concern is what is right for Baby G?

Tonight, anyway, was a combination of cuddling and soothing with a little crying at the end. It makes me want to go upstairs and hug him and give him kisses but I guess that would defeat the fact that he finally fell asleep. So I’ll take myself to bed now and hope he sleeps through the night, and plan to snuggle him in the morning when he wakes up to eat. You know how I love those morning nursings.

Little joys

Here I am, at 6:30am, nursing my sweet one before I have to work. His little forehead is imprinted with several of his tiny fingers because he insists on laying face down on his hands in the bed. I’d show you a picture but I can’t do that without showing you a little more of myself than I think we are friends for.

So the point is, I love this time. I love this sleepy little baby who cuddles up against me, softly reaching out to touch my face or chest. Whether I’m sitting and eating breakfast like today or cuddled up in bed with him, the morning nursings are some of my favorite. He isn’t trying to look over his shoulder and see what’s going on, he isn’t popping off every few minutes to see who just walked by, and he’s usually very calm and serene. And today he has perfect fingernail impressions in his forehead.

I love that this is time just for the two of us. Our morning nursings are warm and cuddly and sweet. It’s just us and I can forget for a second how big he is getting and that I have to go to work. I can revel in his tiny little body and his sweet little hands and know I am his source of comfort as well as food. I can provide what no one  else can and it’s so special to me.

A day in the life

5:45am: Sister brings a wiggly fussy Baby G to my room. It’s the second time he’s woken up and has (once again) bumped his head on the rails of the crib after he’s flipped himself over. Notice I didn’t say rolled. He doesn’t roll. He flings.

5:45am – 7am: Baby G sleep nurses, wakes up realizing he only got half his milks and wants the other side. I doze off and on as he’s nursing. {The morning sleep nursing cuddles are sweet and wonderful and some of my favorite times with him but they kill my back. His little hands dance as he nurses, touching my chest, neck or face, or playing with the covers. His movements are soft and fluttery and precious.}

7am: Transfer Baby G to his pack n play and go back to sleep. Hope Baby G sleeps in pack n play.

8:45am: Drag self out of bed and shower. Get dressed and wake up Baby G. {I love waking him up. It takes him a minute to come around but then he’ll just smile and look at me like I’m the best thing he’s ever seen. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, that face is worth everything.}

9:00am: Take Baby G upstairs to get ready. Clean up the barf he just puked on the floor on the way up. Turn on the hot water, lay him in his crib, and wait approximately 37 years for the hot water to come from China. Wet washcloth and lay Baby G on changing pad. Wipe down his sweet happy little face and pull off his PJs. Change an incredibly boodgy diaper and sing “Good Morning to You” and “The Good Morning Song” as he gets dressed. Give him a million kisses because he’s so dang cute you can’t help yourself. {I also love this part of the day. He loves it when we sing and he gets so happy and his little legs and arms just have to jump all around because he’s so excited. This morning he was “talking” to me which is soooo sweet and just melts my heart.}

9:20am: Nurse Baby G while putting on makeup. Try not to poke self in eye while he does his best to dislodge the makeup tray from my hand. Relatch him 14 times because he’s being too nosy to nurse. Remove my shirt from his mouth as he has decided since he managed to get a handful of it he must eat it. Switch him to the left side where he nurses without interruption. {Apparently the right side is more of an appetizer of sorts because he nurses much better on the left side. Which is funny because generally the right side produces more. }

9:45am: Give Baby G one last kiss before he is whisked off to church, leaving me alone in the house to finish getting ready.

10:30am: Arrive at the job.

10:30am – 12:30pm: Twiddle thumbs. Look busy. Check phone for texts. Help customer find something they are either already looking at or are on the opposite side of the store from. Miss Baby G.

12:30pm: Pump. Bleah.

12:30-3:00pm: Pretty much a repeat of 10:30-12:30. Throw in someone’s bratty kid who keeps messing with the stuff on my desk. Help customers in every department but mine.

3:00pm: Eat lunch and pump. Go to Michaels and buy stuff.

5:30pm: Pump again.

5:30pm – 7:30pm: Twiddle thumbs. Look busy. Check phone every 10 minutes to see if it’s 7:30 yet.

7:28pm: Clock out and go home. {Yay!} Try not to speed.

7:45pm: Run inside, change into comfy pants and shirt, settle into couch corner and feed Baby G. Relatch him 32 times because he keeps pulling off to smile at me. Can’t get frustrated with him because he’s too dang cute and he is so happy to see me {heart sings with joy}. Burp him and get barfed on at least once because he always turns his head away from the burp cloth at the last minute.

8:00pm: Eat dinner while holding Baby G because he is allergic to the floor and cannot be put down. Stop eating and stand up because the couch is still apparently too close to the floor (which is lava) and try to sneak sitting down because I’m starving and my food is getting cold. Finally get to eat properly once Auntie Nanny (also known as Sister) is done eating and gets up to walk with him.

9:00: Bath time! Take Baby G upstairs, turn on water, and go to changing pad to get undressed. Pick out jammies and get diaper ready for when he gets out. Auntie Nanny fills tub for us once the hot water has arrived from Timbuktu. Quickly take naked baby from room to tub so we don’t get peed (or pooped) on. Bathtime commences with lots of splashing and flailing of arms and legs. {Bathtime is a magical wonderful time and supercedes all other ailments. Hungry? Doesn’t matter, it’s bathtime! Tired? Doesn’t matter, it’s bathtime! Got an upset tummy? Doesn’t matter, just poop in the tub!} Let cutest naked baby on the planet play for a bit then wash him up, avoiding letting him eat the soapy washcloth or flail himself under the water. Lastly wash and rinse his fuzzy bird hair and load him into one of several adorable towels. Run to bedroom to dry off and get dressed in jammies. Reposition diaper 12 times as he is doing he best impression of an octopus and then fight to get his arms in his sleeves as he is intent on eating them. Zip/snap him up and it’s milky time! {Side note: Bathtime is always followed by milky time. If he had milk immediately prior to bathtime, milky time still immediately follows. This is the event succession people and it cannot be messed with. He knows. So we try to do bathtime as close to the next milky time so that he doesn’t nurse for two minutes then pass out without getting a full feeding. Because then he’ll just wake up 45 minutes later and want to eat.}

9:30pm: Milky time!! Nurse Baby G and then attempt to burp him. Read him a bedtime story (this is a new thing) and then get bedtime kisses and head up to bed. Turn on music thing (it belongs to his pack n play and does not make beautiful music but he likes it) and lay him in bed. Pat his bottom until he settles.

10:30pm: Baby G wakes up crying (screaming). Wait 3 minutes to see if he will settle. If not, go upstairs and pat his bottom (and turn music back on if it’s shut off) until he settles. Hope he stays asleep this time.

1:00am: Head to bed, overtired, because I stayed up playing on the computer and watching Netflix too long.

2:40am: Wake up to Baby G crying through the monitor. Husband gets up to go pat him back to sleep.

4:30a: Wake up to Baby G crying through the monitor. Stagger upstairs and attempt to pat him back to sleep. Stifle laughter as his little legs kick the mattress as if he’s throwing a temper tantrum. Pick him up and bounce him, sing to him, pat him. Nothing. Sit down on floor and nurse him as last resort. {Requires no energy, thought process, or coordination.} Put him back in bed and turn on white noise.

5:00am: Stagger back into bed.

8:30am: Husband brings a wiggly fussy Baby G to me to nurse.

 

Obviously this is just a guideline of some of our days. A lot depends on what shift I work and how fussy G is through the night. Some things don’t change though. I always nurse him in bed in the mornings. I always pump three times a day at work. I always clock out 2 minutes or so before my shift ends because I’m chomping at the bit to get home. I almost always go to Michaels on lunch. Sometimes Target. Bathtime is always followed by milky time. At some point in every day G realizes he is going to get eaten by the floor and screams until you stand up with him. It’s really just the times that change.

Blessings

Several things happened today to remind me just how blessed I am. And how extremely lost I would be without my God to rely on. It started out as I was playing around on the internet and stumbled across someone’s blog sharing their own preemie story. Their baby was born 14 weeks early and from the few things I read experienced so much more trauma than my own sweet one did. Surgeries and scares and many more problems than Baby G. I know in the world of preemies, 31 weeks isn’t anything compared to a 24-26 weeker. The odds for those babies are so drastically different from where we were. As bad as our experience was, so many families have it so much worse.

While reading that blog I saw that they mentioned another little girl and then saw a link on their page to another blog. I started reading that blog and ran into a scenario I can’t imagine. I know that I would be devastated, but there is no way to imagine just how terrible it would be to hear that your 4 year old child has several brain tumors and then spend the next year waiting to know if she will make it or not. I won’t lie. I sat there with my sweet baby cuddled up on my chest and I cried for this family. And for the sweet little girl who is living that nightmare.

Then, when Husband came home today he reluctantly told me that one of the younger men that works with him called him tonight to tell him that his wife went into labor. She was only 6 months along. The baby didn’t make it. The little boy was their first child. I looked down at my own little boy and told my husband it reinforces just how blessed we are. That could have been us very easily. Only a few small changes in our day and I would have felt that pain. My heart breaks for them. I have cried for them. It has been on my heart and mind all day.

As I read one of the posts about the little girl, the mom mentioned that someone commented on the blog saying that the family should “have had more faith in doctors than God.” That the doctors are the only ones with saving powers. I feel a profound sorrow for that person. I feel more sorrow for that person than I do for any of the others I read and heard about today. Let me explain. For while there is sorrow and pain in losing a child or dealing with a child that might leave you before you are ready, how much more sorrow is there for someone who has no light in their life? No hope? For there to be no purpose or no relief? To believe that the doctors are the only ones that can help? To not know that your precious child is safe and whole again with their Creator? How do you handle death? How do you look at your loved one who is fading away and not know that they will soon be happy and whole again? Or know that there is always another answer if the doctors, like in the case of this little girl, had all but given up?

I am blessed. In so many ways. I am blessed that God has gifted me with this precious little boy to raise and protect. I am blessed he chose to guide us and the doctors who attended us that day. I am blessed that my parents raised me to believe and trust in the power of our Heavenly Father. I am blessed that God has given me a heart that overflows with love for people I don’t know. I should remember more often that this love needs to be felt for everyone – not just those in pain. I am blessed with an amazing family of people whose fates I already know. I am surrounded by love and warmth, forgiveness and acceptance. I have a God who listens and answers.

I believe in prayer. I have seen God answer my prayers. And not just in the case of Baby G. He is actively working in my life. So I will pray. I will pray for the little girl, Lucy. I will pray for the couple who lost their son. I will pray for the girl whose story I ran across on Facebook a few weeks ago who has the same name as my own little sister. I will pray for my sweet Grandfather. I can’t change what has already happened, but I can pray for peace, for health, for healing, and for understanding. I can pray for others as so many prayed for us.

I am so blessed. And I hope that you will take a few moments to count your blessing too. And to say a prayer.

I’m not ready

Dear Little One,
I’m not ready. I’m not ready for size 1 diapers. I’m not ready for 3 month pajamas. I’m not ready for you to sleep upstairs in your bed. I’m not ready to go back to work.

Everyday moves too quickly. The time I have with you is never enough. I’m trying to savor every moment but the moments seem to happen so fast.

I worry our bond will weaken once I go back to work. I worry that I will become less important to you. I worry I will miss too much. I worry I won’t be strong enough.

I’m not ready for size 1 diapers or 3 month clothes. Those things mean you are growing up. They mean that you are getting further and further away from being my tiny baby. I know you must grow. I know you must get bigger. And I know I must go back to work.

But I’m not ready.