Archive for Motherhood

Sigh…

So, I had two posts planned, one about the new study that says pregnant women can have a couple of drinks and another, ironically enough, about thinking positive.

But I’m not feeling as positive right now. I’m hoping writing this will snap me out of it.

We’ve been staying at a family place temporarily during the house hunt that never ends. I haven’t been as involved as I usually am in the community because I have enough friends who live more than an hour away who I hardly ever see and have barely enough time to keep up with as it is.

We had been hoping we’d find a house fairly soon, but after various VA loan hoops, snags in closing, and more hunting, the whole thing dragged out far longer. Now we seem to have found a house again but since we won’t be closing for at least another month (and with our luck, who knows?), I wanted to try to find ways to get out of the house for some fun with other moms and babies a couple of times a week.

Our local library has a story time, but last week Baby Diva decided to take one of her rare morning naps.

Today was story time day again and I got myself all ready (a spot of lipstick and everything), dressed baby up in a cute orange and black outfit (cause it IS almost Halloween), packed up the bag with everything baby might ever need just in case (sippy, crackers, diapers, wipes, toys, pacis, extra clothing), located all the things that usually like to hide from me (my shoes, her shoes, keys, phone), and walked out the door…

…and one of my cats ran out.

So, I tossed the cat back in, locked up, grabbed everything, walked to the car, opened the car door and saw…

Captain Dad drove off with the car seat today.

Angry Woman Hates Children, Writes a Book

So this really angry, bitter woman has children and then writes a book about how she regrets having children, they destroyed her life, and she can find no redeeming value in having birthed them. And it isn’t enough that she feels this way about her own decision–she feels this way about YOURS, too. Apparently, if you think you enjoy being a parent, well you are just delusional, lying, or wrong.

The punchline? She refers to them as whiny, unpleasant, and annoying.

Seriously, who buys these books???

(via Hathor)

Explorers Journal

Dear Readers,

I do not know if I shall survive. I have been in darkness so long.

Underground stream

Whoosh

One they call “Mommy”

Fattening me for some sort of ritual slaughter

Already beginning to lose knowledge of my native language and identify with my captors

Good Mama? Great Mama!

I’m a great mother. Rebecca over at GGC pretty much hits it as to WHY self-deprecation is the new thin (or should I say the new bulimia) for moms, so I will save you the analysis and just get on with it.

I am a good parent. No, not just good–great.

I have found physical reserves I never knew I had. My mother was amazed at how long I waited for the epidural…and how I kept turning down the c-section. Then, when we were at 24 hours, and the doctors were describing the situation as desperate, I stood up still under the epidural so I could use gravity. Seriously. I could kick Chuck Norris’ ass.

I am emotionally stronger than I have ever been. Two days after a 24 hour labor, I took a 3 hour ride to find out that my perfect baby girl had a huge hole in her heart. For three months without my husband home, I comforted her every time she cried, because if I didn’t, she could turn blue and require emergency surgery.

I care as much about Baby Diva as anyone has ever cared for anyone else. Whenever she needs anything, I research. I research until I am satisfied that I have found the right thing to do. I researched every technique for easing colic, for getting her to sleep, for feeding her. I did whatever I needed to do to keep my little heart baby calm so that she could grow strong for her operation.

I am a fierce mama lion. When I knew that Baby Diva had reflux, I fought and returned again and again until I found a doctor who would finally listen to me. Finally, 24 hours on Zantac, and she became almost a different baby.

I reflect and enjoy. I was once on Fast Forward…now I know that sitting on a blanket with my baby, enjoying the weather, and playing with sprigs of herbs from my garden is not just enough–it is a triumph and a celebration.

I advocate. When I saw that there were dozens of formula packets, samples, and coupons at the clinic, but not one single pamphlet on breastfeeding, I opened my big mouth.

I grow. So that Baby Diva will have a good role model, I force myself into new experiences. I accentuate what is best about me and our family, and I work to eliminate the negative (don’t mess with Mr-in-between 😉 ). I enjoy the outdoors, play music, and travel to visit family.

Most importantly, I love. I love Baby Diva and I love Super Dad and I love our family with everything I have. Whatever faults I may have, I make up for all of them with the persistence, depth, ferocity, and joy of my love.

And…we…have…lift off!

My baby makes the cutest little wake-up noises. I hear her cooing and babbling from within the co-sleeper as the sleep fades from my eyes.

This morning, I glanced over to the co-sleeper. We recently put the rail up so she doesn’t wiggle out when she is napping alone. Oh look, her tiny little hand is grasping the rail! Isn’t that adorable?

Oh, my. She’s sitting up. Doesn’t she look proud of herself?

Of course, it was just a matter of time. For a long time, she has been getting on her hands and knees and onto the ground from a sitting position. And she has been lifting into crawling position from a completely flat start as well. So, it is no surprise that she put two and two together.

By now I am familiar with the patterns of emotions that follow. Pride that my little baby is growing up. Bittersweet sadness that another stage of her infancy has passed. And closely following on the heels of joy and nostalgia is anxiety…dread, fear.

Baby Diva gave a repeat performance of her new trick right before her morning nap and she’s been pulling herself up a few inches on a regular basis for a while. She can also balance on her feet if we support her.

I don’t want her sitting up, pulling up, and toppling over! So, with just a few weeks left in this house, I am going to have to re-think her sleeping arrangements…an issue I was hoping would wait until we moved.

All of a sudden, I have to adjust to something new in my parenting, with new safety measures and new vivid terrors.

Yes, I am aware that thousands, no millions of other parents have made it through all of these stages just perfectly fine.

Of course, I know that this is a normal step in her development.

Absolutely, I want her to spread her wings and fly (though, preferably, not over the edge of her bed). I cannot, will not, and do not wish to hold her back from growing, experimenting, and learning.

Doesn’t matter. I’m scared anyway.

I know that the stakes will only increase as the years pass. Sure, it would be horrible for her to lean out of the co-sleeper, but the fix is easy: we will just move her somewhere safer for her to sleep. In the stages that follow, the solutions will be neither so simple nor so obvious.

Okay, now I’m terrified.

A Little Blue Box and Peaches for Mother’s Day!

Millions of peaches, peaches for me Millions of peaches, peaches for free …

On Saturday, Super Dad gave me an impromptu Mother’s Day celebration. We were going to take Baby Diva out for a walk, then we decided to hop in the car to go to a local festival. As we were driving, we realized that what we really wanted were fresh Hill Country peaches. Why not? We drove down to Hill Country and got our peaches–fresh peach ice cream, fresh peaches, and peach chipotle sauce.

Baby Diva enjoyed her first taste of yummy fresh, local peaches.

Then we continued onto one of our favorite local wineries. On the way back, I got Indian Food–my favorite! I was nervous, but the music was not too loud for Baby Diva and just loud enough to cover up happy baby noises and any minor fussing. As it turns out, Baby Diva was so good and two other couples with babies were seated while we were eating.

We put Baby Diva down to bed, and then at midnight I got my Mother’s Day gift–a dragonfly keyring from Tiffany!

Dragonfly Key Ring Tiffany

Way back in the BC (Before Child) Era, Super Dad and I loved to travel. On a vacation in Hong Kong, Super Dad purchased me an opal dragonfly necklace. Then, we traveled up Victoria Peak and were surprised to find thousands of shimmering dragonflies darting around. Apparently Hong Kong is renowned for its dragonfly population.

Ever since then, the dragonfly has been very special to us. Now, I can carry one with me wherever I go…and it came in a little blue box! I know if Baby Diva were a little older, she would approve. How thoughtful of Super Dad!!!

What Makes Me a Mother…

Here I am, up late so I can get work done, because it is impossible to get anything done during the day anymore. I know tomorrow I will be exhausted. But I will get up at 7am tomorrow, because my baby needs me.

When I found out about Baby Diva’s heart condition and Super Dad was still deployed, sure, I wanted to shut off and grieve my expectations. I couldn’t, though, because someone needed to feed, dress, and love that beautiful little baby girl.

I had become someone’s Mommy and I just did not have the luxury of breaking down.

Being a parent means selflessness. I think Dads get that, too. Just perhaps a little later because they do not usually have to sacrifice their bodies in the same immediate and tangible way we mothers do.

For biological mothers, there is the realization that, really expensive plastic surgery aside, I will never look the way I used to ever again. Nursing mothers give their bodies, their energy, and their time over in a very tangible way. For mothers of any stripe, there is the radar that develops…the ability to hear every peep and the corresponding need to sleep with “one eye open” until the baby bird flies the nest.

And what makes you a mom is that…that is all okay. You may not be screaming for joy about all of it every moment of every day…but you are okay with these changes. In fact, you wouldn’t trade it for all of the free time, sleep, and stretch mark free skin in the world.

But the awesome experience of love at first sight?

The wonder of it all, seeing the world again through new eyes?

The joy of putting someone else above yourself?

The ecstasy of touching the future?

That knows no gender.

Parentbloggers has asked bloggers out there to write a post for Kevin at Light Iris. I think it is cool that he wants to empathize more with the physical experience of pregnancy. I wish I could write a better post in honor of his experience. Really, though, I don’t think we moms have a lock on anything–Dads are really special, too.

You don’t have to carry around the extra pounds for nine months to be a parent.



Would you like to post on this topic, too? Post on Friday, May 11 (that’s today), link to Light Iris, and e-mail parentbloggers at gmail dot com.

Parentbloggers will be picking a winner from ALL the posts that are dated May 11, rounding them up on their site, and a picked at random winner will get a $100 gift certificate to SPA FINDER to be announced on Mother’s Day.

Since I am mentioning SPA FINDER: Mother’s Day Special! Free Ground Shipping on orders over $125 at Spa Finder!

Super Dad is, well, Super

Super Dad has been especially super lately.

Last night he turned to me and said, “That nursing strike must have really played with your head.”

*whiplash*

Did my manly man hubby just attempt to…empathize…with me about…breastfeeding…? Wow. And he not only aimed, he hit the mark. Bulls eye.

Then, this morning he did not have to be in at o’dark thirty. So, he voluntarily took Baby Diva. Then took her for longer than he originally even said he would. Then stuck around a little longer so I could have a guilt-free shower.

And, as a result, I actually felt awake enough to do work. Then, while Baby Diva drank from her sippy cup after lunch, I loaded the dishwasher. I did more work during her next nap. When she woke up, she helped me fold laundry (her help mainly consisted of chewing on a sock and looking cute) and we went for our walk.

I almost feel human.

Mommy Books: More Buzz Than Buyers

Super Dad and I were just talking about what sort of market there actually is for all of these mommy books out there. And today he sent me this article:

Mommy Books: More Buzz Than Buyers By MOTOKO RICH

My first thought before even reading is that this is about more than Mommy Books–it is about books about “us.” “Us” being pretty much any demographic that has been identified, buzzed, and marketed to.

The books I purchase generally fall into three categories: useful references I believe I will turn to repeatedly (baby books by doctors, good cookbooks); non-fiction that reminds me I used to fancy myself edumacated; and fiction that I know to be or hope is a work of astounding beauty.

None of these include books that cause me to say, “Yup, that’s right. My friends and I say that all the time. And here it is. In print. Cool.”

It is not that those sorts of interesting ideas paired with anecdotes don’t have their place–I’m an avid blog reader and I do occasionally read magazines–it is just that reading a book is a commitment. These books just don’t justify that sort of expenditure of time…or money. $24? I could buy one piece of ultra-chic baby clothing with that…or a whole bunch of really cheap things for Baby Diva to destroy. Either way, more fun.

Here are some excerpts from the article and my thoughts:

But the book that prompted [Moen] to write a 1,200-word post on her blog,
www.mommiesparadise.com, was “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts, which Ms. Moen has not read and has no intention of reading.

Having seen an article from HuffingtonPost.com by Ms. Bennetts and a review of the book […] Ms. Moen believes that she knows enough about it to debate its premise.

“I really think she laid out what she wrote about in the book in the article,” Ms. Moen said. “The whole article rubbed me the wrong way, so I’m not inclined to read the book.”

A lot of these ideas are fascinating enough to sustain a blog post, an article, or even an essay…but a whole book? So much of these books seem to be padding, or they repeat themselves over and over.

But the truth is that, with rare exceptions (and it’s too early to say whether Ms. Bennetts’s book may be one of them), these so-called mommy books fail to transform their talk-show and blogosphere buzz into book sales. Talk, it turns out, is much cheaper than the $24.95 cover price.

“There is a lot of discussion out there about this issue and that’s why we’re having these books,” said Nancy Sheppard, vice president of marketing at Viking, which last year published “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World” by Linda R. Hirshman. “But it’s mostly just a discussion.”

Discussion. We can get that on bulletin boards and blogs and with our friends. I am more interested in hearing a wide variety of opinions surrounding this idea than lots and lots of words on the topic from one woman.

[…] What is striking about these limp sales figures is that these books cover a topic that raises fierce passions, as anyone who has spent time on a playground or near an office water cooler knows. But that may get at the heart of why women are not buying books about these subjects.

“I always felt it was something that women didn’t want to look at too closely,” said Jonathan Burnham, publisher of HarperCollins, who was editor in chief at Talk Miramax Books when Ms. Hewlett’s book, which suggested that women who pursued high-powered careers could end up childless, was published five years ago. “It was a problem that touched very complicated feelings, so while they read a magazine article or watched a segment on ‘Oprah,’ they didn’t want to read a whole book about it because it was such a difficult subject.”

Oh, please. If a book is truly challenging or earth shattering, people will read it no matter how disturbing the truth it expresses. Maybe no one is buying it because they just aren’t interested in reading it. Not buying it.

Because it’s such an unresolved issue, women have a “desperate need to express their feelings and have a discussion,” Naomi Wolf, the feminist writer, said. “You don’t really need to buy a book to do that.”

Wow. I agree with Naomi Wolf.

“Among full-time homemakers, this overdeveloped capacity for denial is often
accompanied by a highly combative sense of indignation about views that
challenge their own,” Ms. Bennetts wrote in a HuffingtonPost.com article.

Now, I find it appalling that someone attacked Ms. Bennetts’ weight and appearance instead of her ideas. However, Ms. Bennetts, just ’cause you use big words, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an ad hominem attack. Haven’t you ever watched the British Parliament? Saying that anyone who disagrees with you is in deep denial is not helping your cause. The buzz ain’t selling your book and it will only prolong your fifteen minutes just a few more seconds. Get back to the ideas and I may be interested. Otherwise, blow.

“I guess the media world has changed in such a way that a book is just a pretext for television appearances and blogging and writing for The New Republic,” Ms. Hirshman said. “If the world is divided into people who don’t need my message and women who don’t want to hear it, it’s a miracle I sold any books.”

But for many busy mothers, it is simply the only-so-many-hours-in-the-day factor. “I’m home-schooling, I have three children, and my reading time is limited,” said Heather Cushman-Dowdee of Los Angeles. With many of the mommy books, she said, “I think I get their points through the articles that they’re writing without needing to delve in.” Declining to buy the books, she said, is a way to “protect your sanity a little bit.”

This is a fascinating comment on our society. Hopefully we really are taking that time and spending it on something useful instead.

Speaking of which, I should go do some writing and then get some rest so I can enjoy playing with my baby tomorrow.

Strikebreaker

I hesitate to say anything (my family is 75% East European, it is just the way we are), but I think we can officially consider this nursing strike broken.

Yesterday, Baby Diva nursed all day except before breakfast. Today, she nursed before her breakfast and before her lunch.

I think this is going to have to be filed under “Motherhood Mysteries” (in fact, that sounds like a good new post category) and “Goodness, I Hope that Never Happens Again.”

Baby Diva is as happy as ever, erupting in uncontrollable giggles at the drop of a hat (literally, she likes it if you drop stuff…funny kid).

In fact, she seemed fine the whole time. I just mixed my milk in with her food so she would stay nourished and hydrated. I was the one who felt worried, rejected and engorged.

Maybe now I will manage to get some work done and possibly even post about something other than breastfeeding.