Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Night weaning

Being pregnant and nursing has not been so bad- it's the mother-led weaning that is the hard part to deal with.  I don't really mean to wean her but sometimes I turn to my husband and shake my head, "Too much nursey, nursey."

It all started right after I got pregnant.  My daughter was snacking on solids every day and was quite behind where most children her age are because we were committed to baby-led weaning.  Knowing that my supply could diminish soon I started pushing solids on her in an effort to get her to eat versus taste.  We still nursed on demand during the day.

At night she started nursing all night long.  Sometimes she would be attached for hours.  Not a big deal since I was worried about my supply.  I figured she ought to nurse as much as possible during the night to keep my supply up.  Then I started to get sore.

I was sore all day long but side-lying was worst, which is how I nurse her at night.  It's easy- nobody goes anywhere, I'd just "pop a boob" and fall back to sleep.  I wasn't able to sleep while she was nursing so every time she woke up I would have to put myself back to sleep after I could break her latch.  I was getting enough sleep since my husband takes her for an hour each morning but I was incredibly irritable every time she woke up, which was quite often, close to six times a night.

I had my husband read Dr. Sears's section on night weaning and discussed our plan for him to take her a few times a night to cut back on her need for nursings, not every time she cried as outlined by Dr. Sears because I didn't want to completely night wean her I just wanted her back down to two to three nursings a night.  My husband was so used to ignoring the baby when she cried it never happened that weekend.  I brought it up again the next weekend.  It was easier for me to put up with the pain and irritation than to wake him up!  Two weekends ago we had a crazy weekend.  Crazy like usual but it made us realize why she was really waking up so often.

At first I thought it was the increase of solid food during the day but she was still nursing on demand during the day so that was out.  Then I thought it was teething because she often has her finger in her mouth but no teeth are to be seen.  Two months is a long time to teethe with no teeth to be seen.  

I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband works late hours.  He takes our daughter for an hour in the morning but by the time he comes home from work she has been asleep anywhere from two to four hours.  That is why we felt strongly that co-sleeping was a great choice for us- to give our daughter the opportunity to be close to her father.  In fact, in the past few months she has really started reaching out for him at night- every time she finishes nursing she rolls over to make physical contact with her daddy.  If he's not home yet she rolls over and cuddles a pillow.  

Furthermore, since our daughter was an infant she has been foregoing naps and staying up late on the weekends when her father is home.  I mentioned the observation to my mom but she chalked it up to coincidence- no way a baby could be that perceptive.  Quite the opposite.  

When I originally mentioned the night weaning plan to my husband I sold it as making nights easier on mommy and preparing him (and the baby) for what the night-time strategy might sometimes look like after the new baby comes.  I intend to tandem nurse but I don't want to be nursing a dozen times a night!  

After last weekend I saw that our daughter really wanted to be close to her daddy.  They have a special relationship and now that she is older she doesn't need Mama all the time anymore.  The opposite is true- she can have Mama whenever she wants but Daddy is a special treat!  I explained this to my husband, how much she seemed to desire to be close to him when he is home and he noticed how attached she is to him on the weekends.  He has been taking the baby occasionally if she still fussed after nursing for what I feel is enough time to be soothed back to sleep, but he was holding her instead of using the sling like I suggested.  He was slow to wake up. He was aware of his duty but he didn't seem too thrilled with his new role of nighttime parent.  After he noticed the love she has for him- the extra squeezes when he hugs her, the way she motions to him be picked up, the way she smiles and waves to him WHILE she's nursing- he was ready to take on the job more regularly.  

Three nights ago he went to soothe the baby back to sleep while we were staying up late and he put her (almost) in the sling.  All was quiet for a while and I found them passed out in the rocking chair.  Last night she was fussy and he said he wanted to put her in the sling if I could help.  I watched as he did it himself, then took the baby outside and walked her around the carport since it was raining.  With my help to remove the sling, he then gently put her in the bed without waking her up.  All of this by himself!  I was very encouraging- I told him that in one or two weeks he would have "the touch" and be able to put her to sleep any time just like mommy does.  

He had been walking around with the baby at night and falling asleep holding her on the couch but last night since I couldn't go back to sleep I left them alone.  I nursed her only three times last night and although I heard two little whimpers- I'm sure she rolled over and touched her daddy and went back to sleep.  It's easier without the temptation of a boob!  I will either keep sleeping in a separate room or we will move the bed so that she can sleep between him and the wall.

I'm sure to some people this problem is foreign but I'm sure it's not so uncommon with breastfeeding, co-sleeping parents.  If a baby is bottle-fed, he/she can probably be soothed by practically anyone with food but such is not our case.  I am very proud of my husband for stepping up and I am excited that he will have mastered this skill of soothing our older child once our new baby comes and I will be interested to see how it translates into infant care skills, too!


I was awoken by a nightmare tonight for the second time this pregnancy, both after having taken acetaminophen. This time I took two because the first didn't help. When you've got one child and nobody to call when you're sick you've really got to nip it in the bud, especially when your headaches can be incapacitating. I always like to blog when I wake up in the middle of the night and I have a few blogs that I haven't published because those topics are tough to keep short and sweet. This post is about one very close to my heart and while enough can never be said on this topic it is something that I see pretty black and white.

Americans are awakening from discontented apathy. People have a reason to be angry, in fact our founding fathers fully expected that we would rise up against of government from time to time, armed if necessary.

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty . . . And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." -Thomas Jefferson

And this extremely appropriate one:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -Benjamin Franklin

I hope our MLK, our Gandhi will stand up soon to remind people of passive resistance. Not only have humans been on this earth long enough to be able to solve problems without violence there is another important reason the federal government must not be completely overthrown- I don't think the outlook for survival looks good if it were to collapse. Besides the people who are sustained directly by federal aid, the federal government has a hand in everything we depend on.

Some people are looking to their federal government for more, pointing to programs in Europe as examples and demanding we follow suit. My message is that nothing comes without string attached. I want to scream it at the top of my lungs, paint it on my forehead, tie a banner to my car, and paint the front of my house with it.

People like to say that the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves at the state of our country- even the Federalist ones. Fortunately their words are still here, if mostly forgotten. I wonder if it's not part of the socialist educational system's ploy that I didn't even hear about the concept of original intent until right before I graduated. Regardless, the Constitution is vague, but the fact that there are laws which contradict the Constitution should be a sign that we are not safe. Presidents must have to practice hard not to laugh when they take their oath of office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

If our presidents are going to break their oaths then they might as well change the oath. The Constitution can be ratified for God's sake but lawmakers don't even bother. It's offensive but it's a good subversive strategy- ratifying the Constitution would raise a red flag and people would come out of the woodwork to fight it even if they really didn't understand, which describes the majority of Americans.

My position has not been a popular one, mostly it is older folks who share my views. Some of my generation join me in distrusting the government but not many see the importance of the preservation of our natural rights. The backlash for my beliefs is often a hostile one- why don't I support universal healthcare? Why wouldn't I want to take care of the nation's poor? The younger people who share my views are often chastised as spoiled kids living off their parents. I may be in a more comfortable position now but I can tell you my devotion to this issue runs deep- I campaigned for Ron Paul in 2008 while homeless and squatting without heat or electricity in an apartment in winter. It's not something a lot of people know about me and I'm sure my parents would die to hear it.

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." -Samuel Adams

Unlike Adams, my friends don't need to all think the way I do, but I hope to inspire thought. To those of you who want a system like in the European Union- think of the freedoms you risk losing, think of those we are immediately poised to lose. I am not prepared to lose the right to bear arms, the right to home school my child, and the other things our media is gearing us up to lose. We have lost quite enough!

To those who disagree: I am not opposed to government assistance. I am opposed to federal government assistance. Lobby your local government to tax and create programs for whatever you believe in because when it starts to stink you can change it! If you want to live in a socialist/communist society- go live in one! I'm not ashamed to admit that I've considered moving to a commune more than once in my life. Communal or semi-communal living is a great idea when you are directly involved in the government and can leave at any time. If we cannot agree I will still be your friend as long as we can agree not to shove our ideas down each other's throats.

To those who agree:

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." -Patrick Henry

While Patrick Henry and many of our founding fathers advocated violence and it is our right and even, as Jefferson said, "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God," let that be passive resistance. Let us revamp our government peacefully with higher ideals. Let our government and the business they are working for know that we will not be fooled. Let us peacefully protest, strike, boycott, and spread the word. Imagine the feeling of having accomplished the task that lies ahead of us, like walking outside after a storm and filling our lungs with the fresh air and feeling rejuvenated. Imagine knowing your children will grow up knowing more freedoms than you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"You're too cute to crochet."

I just finished watching "The Buddy Holly Story" for the first time.  I knew there must have been a reason I liked Gary Busey so much besides that the fact that he is vulgar and querky, like moi.  I thought it was neat that Holly's wife Maria came up with the phrase "true love ways."  Or at least that's what Hollywood wants us to believe.  I've been sitting on this "redneck roll" idea for years but my boyfriend has yet to make it.  They say behind every great man...

My daughter is being an absolute angel.  I just can't get over how stinking cute she is today.  She will be six months old soon and I see her growing into a kid.  Or maybe a pre-kid.  Nevertheless, I must say of myself that looking at her I know we are doing a great job as parents.  She rocks.

We gave her a bath yesterday.  I've heard tell of parents who are offended if you don't bathe your kid every day and I know parents who swear they don't give their kids daily baths but every time I see them they smell like sweet soap.  That's not my daughter. I love my baby sweet cheese too much to scrub off her essence and cover her in fragrance.  So let's just say that the last time we bathed her she was smaller and her hair was a lot shorter.  What a monster 'hawk on that child.  Of course, she gets spot cleaning as needed.  I never would have thought baby pits get stinky but they have.  Nothing a little Kissaluvs diaper lotion potion can't be done with in a swipe.  On that note, I have to rave about using cloth wipes, it really is like washing her bum instead of smearing wet wipes around.  I'm sure my daughter will be mortified if she reads this as a teen.  She won't talk to me for days until she tries to sweet-talk me into something she wants.

Last night I finished a scarf for a dear friend of ours.  A very belated birthday gift but I had every intention of making it particularly for that occasion; I did buy the yarn before the birthday.  I made a fluffy pink one for her daughter using the puff stitch and I had a hard time thinking of a stitch to use for hers that would be as warm and as fluffy as the puff stitch as well as suit multicolor yarn.  The galaxy stitch turned out to be the perfect stitch for the multicolor yarn.  It turned out beautiful.  Another project under my belt.

When I told my dear hairstylist that I had taken up crochet to attempt to fill the void in my life she told me, "You're too cute to crochet."  Perhaps I am now, thanks to her amazing revamp of the hair that had not been cut for a month before my daughter was born, sheesh.  I hope not to be one of those lame crochet ladies who gift you things that you would never want to wear or even display around your house.  I hope to make things that are good quality like you would buy in a store so nobody look at you and asks, "What lady with eight cats made that for you?"  If I can't accomplish that I'll just make useful things.  I'm back to testing out dishcloths right now.  After six dishcloths I decided what I really wanted was a dish scrubber and I found an easy pattern.

Pattern courtesy of Charlotte's Tangled Yarns
The flip side of this is cream cotton yarn.  I did this side darker because I like to have a dark color for scrubbing things like tomato sauce that might not rinse off.  The original design uses one side cotton and one side acrylic yarn but I only used cotton.  See below.

While I was checking out dish scrubbers, I came across tawashi, the Japanese word for scrubbers.  This can mean dish, body, or household scrubber.  Eco tawashi are eco-friendly crocheted discrubbers that you can wash and re-use instead of trashing one every week.  I originally wanted to make my own cotton dishcloths because I learned that dishsponges are sprayed with a chemical to keep them from getting funky that is classified as a pesticide.  I was so pissed!  All that work trying to keep pesticides out of our food and it's all over our dishes!  Many people make their eco tawashi with acrylic, but that's synthetic, exactly what I was trying to get away from.  Acrylic is more scratchy so that's why it's touted as a good yarn for tawashi.  It's made from petroleum and that's just what we need- one more way to suck the earth dry of her nonrenewable resources.  I don't mind the cotton and the extra elbow grease or aluminum-free baking soda to get the tough jobs done but in the future I will experiment with wool and hemp.  Experiment with hemp, haha.  There's also yarn made from recycled plastic bottles but as a new mom I'm supposed to be terrified of BPA.

So while I was looking up the origin of, use of, and ridiculously cute patterns for tawashi, I learned this extremely interesting tidbit of information: some people use tawashi and cold water alone to wash their dishes!   Chew on that.  I'm not going to go into specifics, look it up if you're interested.  And don't look too closely at my dishes the next time you're over for dinner.

My daughter just crawled using one leg.  How awesome is that?  I'm really in love with her right now.  We've got plenty of time to bond.  She is spending so much time at my breast, chugging and comfort nursey.  The rest of the time she's sitting and playing, falling over onto her belly and scooting forward a few inches.  She smiles so much.  She gives me these big wide smiles, sometimes with squinchy eyes like me.  She also just said, "Huh Da Da Da Da Da."  Her daddy will be thrilled.  She's dying to use the laptop keyboard; she lunges at it and whacks it every chance she gets.  Perhaps we will get a new one and she can play with this one, ha!  Today. she dunked her hand into some salsa and grabbed some corn chips out of the bowl and stuck them in her mouth.  I had to take them away since DSS will pick me up if my child's first food is chips and salsa.  I wanted to exclusively breastfeed her for a year but we are doing baby-led solids so the next time she sticks a suitable food in her mouth it's hers.  So much happens in a week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Placenta Encapsulation

 The following post contains images some might consider graphic.

In the wild and in some countries, the placenta is not tossed out along with other biohazardous waste.  The mother eats it.  There are a variety of reasons for this:
  • decreasing the chance of the baby blues
  • helping the milk "come in"
  • increasing energy
  • decreasing sleep disorders
  • stopping hemorrage and decreasing lochia (wish I had known that one before!)
  • according to some researchers, ingesting the placenta may serve as nature's Rhogam, it may supress the development of antibodies should a mother with a negative blood type give birth to a baby with a positive blood type
Because of the amazing job it does nourishing the baby during pregnancy and the benefits it has for the mother after the birth, the placenta is considered in some countries to be like the baby's second mother or even the twin.  Among the cultures that do not eat the placenta, they have very special ways of laying it to rest. 

Unless it were an emergency situation, I might have a difficult time swallowing a chunk of raw placenta.  Also, since I'm not a big meat-eater anyways, I thought encapsulation would be best.  Furthermore, I am already out of the immediate postpartum period where daily consumption of the placenta would have done the most good.  Encapsulated dehydrated placenta will keep indefinitely in the fridge.  I wish to use my placenta for postpartum hormonal support since I know I am out of balance.  It's free and 100% safe for the lactating mother.

The father can also have some, if he needs a pick-me-up.  The postpartum period is hard on everybody.

There are many ways to prepare the placenta for encapsulation.  This is just how I did it.  Be careful!  The placenta is irreplaceable.  Prepare it using food safety measures you would use for any other meat.

Refrigerate placenta in an air-tight, food-safe container and begin preocess within 48 hours.  Or double-bag the placenta with freezer bags for use up to 6 months after the birth.  If it is frozen it will need to be thawed. 

 My amazing midwives had the foresight to double-bag the placenta for me after the birth.  When I decided to encapsulate it, I looked into the freezer to check if it had been stored properly to prepare since we had talked about just burying it.  Thanks, guys! 

Rinse well in cold water.  Be prepared for a good bit of blood, but try to look at past that.

 I thought my boyfriend would enjoy preparing the placenta for encapsulation.  I didn't think he would be bothered since he's a chef, but he was making funny faces.  I told him, "Respect the placenta!"

We used lemon and ginger to steam it.
Since we eat so much Japanese food, ginger is a staple at our house.  After making Arroz Doce this weekend I had a lemon sans peel.  It was great to make use of it.  Our family motto is "Waste not, want not."

Cover and steam the placenta baby side (smooth side) up first.  Poke it to bleed it.  It's done when it doesn't bleed anymore.

At the 10 o'clock position you can see a bit of the umbilical cord, or what I affectionately refer to as "umby."  As per Japanese tradition, one of our midwives cut off a good bit to save.  I've seen other moms shape the umby into a heart and dehydrate it along with the placenta to save.  I wish I would have done that.  It makes it such a cute keepsake!

Slice and then slice the longer pieces in half so that the pieces are uniform in size and cook more evenly.  I believe I cut mine too thick.  It would have been best had I cut the strips to be between 2-3 milimeters in thickness.  I dehydrated mine in the oven at the lowest setting (170 degrees) for 7 hours.  It smelled a little strong in the oven.  I've seen a lady who put the raw placenta in a blender and spread it out to dry on the countertop and reported no odor.  I will do that next time!

Steamed slices.
Dehydrated pieces.

Next, grind the pieces.  I hear a food processor works best but I don't have one.  I used a coffee grinder that I bought specifically for this project but it takes a long time.  I believe my pieces are very thick so I'm taking my time in the hopes that I will not break my blender.  I would really like to buy a Suribachi, a Japanese mortar and pestle or perhaps I will buy a regular one at the store for this project.

Follow the instructions on your encapsulating machine to fill the capsules with the powder.  You can add herbs if you like, such as Fenugreek which promotes healthy lactation or St. John's Wort for emotional support.  I don't see the point because the placenta itself does that.

I tried to purchase a capsule filler locally, but no pharmacy or medical supply store had one for sale.  One pharmacist told me that doctors often get them from drug companies so if I had a good rapport with my doctor I could get one for free.  Thank goodness I don't actually have need for a doctor!  Plus, I wouldn't want to bring something into my house with all the bad karma of a drug company.  My friend lent me hers.

Store the final product in your fridge.  They will keep indefinitely.

Each placenta yields approximately 200-250 "00" size capsules. The process is very tedious for me since I am having some trouble grinding the dehyrated chunks.

Nursing in Public

Yesterday we ran to Earth Fare to get eggs and sugar.  Eggs for the kale quiche I'd like to get off my butt and make one day this week and sugar for whatever goodies I feel like baking in the future.  People always snatch the bulk aisle sugar so since it was there, I got it.  My daughter got hungry and somebody had taken my usual corner seat so I plopped down at another table and nursed my baby.  My boyfriend came back from putting our bags in the car and saw me nursing without a cover.  He looked uncomfortable and he told me, "I'm not very comfortable with this."

I looked at him in an apologetic way but with a smile.  I think meeting the other person half way is a great way to have a healthy relationship and keep the peace, but this is something I have to put my foot down on.  I know he's not comfortable with it, that's why I used a cover in the first place, but I haven't been doing it for months.  I guess yesterday just happened to be the first time our daughter got hungry and I nursed her in public with him there in some place besides the car.  A very comfortable place to nurse, I might add, when it's not cold and raining.  I finally told him, "You'll get used to it.  If I don't do this then nothing is ever going to change."  I felt like telling him, "It could be worse!"  I support the legalization and NOT the regulation of marijuana, for instance, but I don't think it's worth the risk to my family to smoke it or have it in my posession.

Before I got pregnant I thought for sure that I would use a cover when nursing in public.  One time a fellow waitress called me over to look at a customer who was nursing her baby without a cover.  I agreed with her that she should use a cover.  That is one of those things I've done that I am ashamed of and I think back to it often.  When my daughter came along I quickly found out what a huge hassle it was in so many ways.  One of our friends gifted me a Bebe au Lait cover that opens at the top so that mom and baby can see each other but nobody else can.  It's a great idea, but when I used it the area that was designed to let mommy see her breast and her baby was full of my breast.  No baby + no nipple = no latch.  My boyfriend would hold the cover out for me so that I could get a peek and latch my baby onto my breast.  Besides not being able to see the baby there were other considerations.  Often my baby would squirm and shift the cover so that you could see the side of my breast.  I also had to find space for it in my diaper bag, already stuffed with the essentials:  loads of burp cloths for my heavy spitter-upper, at least two bibs and a change of clothes, diapers and wipes, my water bottle so I should never go without hydration, and the camera and camcorder (yes, they are essential).  I also needed to leave some space on top so I could shove my Moby Wrap in there if I wanted to take it off on one of those hot summer days.  I delicately stuffed the nursing cover into a bag and tied that to the handle of my oversized bag.  I went bump, bump, bump everywhere with the gorgeous designer bag I invested in digging into my shoulder.

I know other women have had bad experiences nursing in public but I haven't.  I don't dare say "yet" because I'm hopeful I won't but I haven't yet nursed my baby in public while walking around with her in the sling or wrap.  That's a sight to see, my boob all crammed up in front of to her face.  Unlike other women, I don't have the luxury of being able to hide my breast behind my baby's head.  When my daughter nurses, she sticks her arms out and wraps them around my boob.  I try to put myself in her shoes and imagine how she feels.  I imagine it would be like drinking from a big old wooden cask.

The only place I won't nurse uncovered is my boyfriend's workplace where I used to be an employee but now I am occasionally a customer.  Many of the employees there are excessively vulgar or, truth be told, just plain hateful.  If I were to nurse uncovered there, it would not be a question of "if," I would definitely attract negative attention.  I'd like to avoid having to deal with their disgusting behavior. 

I know that some women pump milk before they go out.  Some will not breastfeed in church when they are only seen by the eyes of God and His people!  What could be more holy?

Jean Fouquet - Madonna and Child (ca. 1450)
I just love this paiting of Mother Mary being so immodest!  Not too far off-topic is that more than one mom has had this photo deleted from her Facebook account. 
I strongly believe in returning natural birth, breastfeeding, and peaceful parenting to the norm.  I think if we can accomplish those things then within the coming generations a lot of the other issues I stand for will resolve themselves.  People are not aware it is legal to breastfeed in public in every state in the US, though unfortunately it varies from state to state how effective those laws are.  People have to be exposed to breastfeeding, and often, for it to become widely accepted.  My mother nursed uncovered over 20 years ago in Los Anglees.  My midwife called her a lactivist.  I've never thought about myself like that, but being a lactivist is as simple as feeding your baby the normal way.

If you are a mom who nurses in public, you know that it is easy to feel tense, ready to defend yourself and your baby.  Relax.  You are doing the absolute best thing for your baby and for the world.  I've found that most people try not to offend me by staring or looking shocked. 

If you see a mom who is nursing in public, give her a big smile to let her know the whole world is not against her.  Don't try to enforce your own standards of decency, modesty, propriety, whatever you want to call it.  I love the saying, "If breastfeeding offends you, put a cover over your head."

If you are a Dad, encourage your baby's mother to feed her baby straight from the breast whenever they are together.  Bottle-feeding, even when filled with breastmilk, does not offer all of the benefits of feeding straight from the breast.   How convenient it is to have sterile, hot milk whenever it's available!  Both of you will become more comfortable with it.  Most of your fears are unfounded. 

If you do have to defend yourself or a mother against ignorance, you need not do anything special.  Ignore them. Or better yet, ignore them with a smile.  Lactivists are extremely passionate and that sometimes translates to agression or hostility for others.  Prove them wrong.  However, if you are asked to leave a business or a public place, you should inform them that you are perfectly within your rights and that they may face legal repurcussions for their actions.  If you are still asked to leave, you may contact FirstRight, the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy or your local La Leche League group.

Good morning

My daughter woke up at 7 am again this morning and I wasn't going to wake up until I had to change her diaper.  It was just a fart, which put me in a great mood for the morning.  Baby farts are too cute.  This weekend she slept in until 10.  I hope for that every weekend!

This morning I had a dream that my boyfriend had a baby, effortlessly.  I saw her gorgeous face so clearly.  She looked a lot like our daughterly but with lighter hair, eyes, and eyebrows.  The eyebrows were not her father's like the ones our little girl has.  Overall, the looked a lot more like the kind of baby people would say looked like mommy.  He got up right after the delivery and started walking around while our daughters were playing; the new baby was already holding her head up and sitting up.  It sure does seem like that, as soon as they are born they are hitting those milestones.  When I woke up I thought, "He didn't deliver the placenta."

I think the dream spawned from the fact that I am often showed-up by my boyfriend.  I often need to take a break to nurse the baby while cooking our Sunday morning pancakes.  I ask my boyfriend if he can handle it and with the attitude he tries so hard to hide but says, "I've been a chef since before your parents even met," he flips the pancake up in the air without using a spatula.  Ugh!  Still, when we sit down to the pancakes he gushes all over them, "You make the best pancakes."  Yada-yada.

 Sunday's potato pancakes

Chistmas morning's buckwheat ginger cranberry sauce flapjacks

My boyfriend is still in bed, even though he set up everything to take his German Sheperd running with him.  The dogs are going through a trial separation.  They have been so bad recently that we thought it might be better for all of us if my dog went to go live with her previous owner where she gets spoiled.  I joke, "One down..."

Despite our daughter having a rough weekend, my boyfriend and I were able to get a lot done and I managed to maintain a positive ourlook for the second weekend in a row.  It feels so great being pleasant instead of succumbing to the baby blues.  Truth be told, it's more bitch than blues, but which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Our daughter is teething and she's had a recurring buttly-buttly rash for a while.  She was very sensitive yesterday, she went into fits during diaper changes.  She even did the shaking crying thing, poor baby.  She seems to be better this morning, though I am having one hell of a time fitting the prefolds on her.  This size runs to 30 pounds, which she most definitely is not.  I believe my difficulties are arising from the fact that I have to wrap the corners around two hamhocks compounded by the squirming.  When we were taking the Bradley class, a couple who had graduated visited with their son.  I saw the mom and her son later when he was 8 months old at a mutual friend's house.  Boy, was he a squirmy wormy at changing time!  He even rolled over and did down dog when his mom was wiping him.  I realized then that we might have to switch to all-in-one diapers in the future, I just didn't think it would happen so soon!  That's the age-old adage of parenthood: "They grow up so fast!"  I don't want to relinquish the luxury of the economy of prefolds.  We'll see how it goes.  Perhaps giving her a toy while I'm changie dee baby will help.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hooray for Productivity

A few days after my baby was born I was vaccuuming.  Go ahead and burn me at the stake for that one but that's who I am.  I find it very hard to relax when the house is dirty.  Clean surroundings, clear mind.  

Recently, I have been giving myself some more "time off."  By that I mean I haven't made a quiche from scratch in three weeks and I've only been vaccuuming once a week.  I was partly inspired by other moms, especially moms of older children who help me to realize the futility of it all.  I'll go out kicking and screaming on the issue of maintaining a tidy house.  After all, my mom was able to do it!  Then again, she did not have to clean up after two dogs.

As always, it's all about finding a balance.  I've been spending more time just playing and cuddling with my daughter and gradually working back in getting things done but trying to keep the stress level as it is just playing. 

My daughter has been learning to sit and she is on her way to mastering it.  The whole thing happened within the blink of an eye.  Just this week she's gone from being able to sit for a few minutes to being able to sit twenty minutes or longer.  Last night I plopped her down amongst a mat and some pillows to see how long she would be content.  With a rattle, Lifefactory teething ring, Sophie, and Ocean Wonders activity mirror, she had plenty to keep her company.  I was able to vaccuum the house and lint roll the rugs (I know, but I didn't want to put them through the washer) while she sat and played.  Unbelievable.  You see, if I posted something like that to my Facebook I would be ignored, but for my baby and me, it's a big milestone.  My baby is on the road to independence.

Now, if I were to modify this momentous occasion into a Facebook status I would have to make it more interesting.  Nobody really cares that my baby sat while I vaccuumed, except her father and my mom.  So I would have to say something like:

My daughter sat while I vaccuumed the whole house today.  Ironic that my 3-year-old, 50-pound dog is scared of the vaccuum cleaner but my 5-month-old, 17-pound daughter is not.
Still I might not get any laughs from the peanut gallery on that one.

Last night was major for me, too, in that I was able to wash, dry, and fold clothes all in one day.  Our clean clothes usually hang out on the oversized armchair in the living room for at least 24 hours before I even sort them into piles of folded, hanging, closet, baby, and towels.  Last week I washed diapers, too, before I folded anything else.  It is a huge chair.  To top off all the depressed feelings of laundry to be done hanging over my head, I usually fold them on the second day after washing them.  The second day falls on a Sunday when my boyfriend is home from work, lounging on the couch with the baby and watching ESPN.  I can't complain, I do this to myself.  Thankfully I will have avoided being stuck listening to Sports Center this weekend.

Also this week my daughter's sleep schedule has changed.  She is waking up earlier in the morning, which makes me have to wake up at 7 am.  I debated making some changes to make her sleep in later, but what kind of lazy, ungrateful mother would that make me?  She already sleeps through the night besides rousing to nurse once and even then I am fortunate enough to pop a boob into her mouth and fall back asleep.  So this morning when she woke up and started kicking me in the back it wasn't too long before I decided to get up and go with it.  No excuses now.  Izumi sat and played while I went through a 30-minute postnatal yoga DVD.

I didn't realize just how much the body is out of whack after pregnancy.  Pregnancy and birth are perfectly natural, perfectly healthy things but after 14 months of dedicating my body to everyone but myself, I wasn't even able to bend over and touch my fingertips to the ground!  Fortunately, yoga instructors know this and significant release was done on my legs in the sequence.  By the end of the 30 minutes I was able to touch the ground.

After running 17 miles, my boyfriend cooked yaki udon for lunch.  Then I got some precious time alone... at the grocery store.  I was planning on spending the day out since I had been cooped up from the snow, taking along my adorable baby whom I had already dressed to the nines.  I was hoping some friends would come over so I listened to the suggestion that I should leave the baby with my boyfriend and do my shopping real quick.  I pumped a couple of ounces of milk, switched my stuff over from the diaper bag to my purse, and was on my way.  Freedom!  Freedom to listen to my music as loud as I wanted so I turned on the radio.  As the unmistakable techno first notes of the song started to play, I checked out my other favorite stations.  The song wasn't exactly freedom jam material but I decided to go with it.  I Safety Danced in my car and I'm sure passersby were astounded at the authentic 80's upper body dance moves this young woman was busting out behind the wheel. 

When I got back home my daughter looked at me as if I hadn't left at all, except for sucking on her fingers to tell me she wanted to nurse.  While I was gone she only drank an ounce of milk.  My boyfriend told me how she tried to play with the bottle as she would my breast.  Later this evening she sat upright and held my breast while she nursed, squeezing with one hand how she likes.  Nursing an "older" baby is so much fun.  How sad that only 43% of babies in the U.S. are breastfed at 6 months.

Some friends stopped by to see the baby and me.  One of my friends taught my daughter how to walk assisted.  My mind is so totally blown.

As I used to like to do before I started slacking off, I took some time to do some cooking for the upcoming week.  Last week I made a double batch of Arroz Doce, Portugese sweet rice, for breakfasts.  I didn't use eggs last week because I couldn't bring myself to crack the eggs.  Last weekend my boyfriend shared something from a classic Japanese book he is reading, "Black Rain," a true account of Japan after the atomic bombs were dropped.  I know I am super sensitive but what he told me made me burst into tears.  I was crying for hours and physically sick.  I woke up crying in the night and cried in the morning.  I dreaded nursing my baby and wept when I did.  I was worried it might affect our nursing relationship, but I kept telling myself how fortunate I am that my daughter and I are among those living and not suffering.  It was so absolutely horrifying that I haven't been able to eat meat in a week.  I know my boyfriend wishes he hadn't upset me, especially now that he has to cook all veg for me.

If ever there was a book to end war, that would have been it.  What is wrong with us?

This week I did use eggs.  I figure technically I've laid eggs that have gone to waste.  I would feel a lot better if the chickens were able to have chicks of their own one day, but at least nothing is dying to feed me. 

"So who's having sex with the hen?" -Frank Costanza

Now I'm sitting down with a cold glass of raw milk and unwinding.  My baby just woke up from a catnap and is squirming all over me.  Like clockwork, I feel my milk coming down and hear my daughter sucking on her fingers.  Good night all.