Friday, July 28, 2006

Proud to be a nursing mommy

CCW has kindly taken on the screw-ups of the universe who continue to insist that the primary purpose of breasts is to be sexual playthings and not for nurturing small human beings.

Confession: I did not even notice the cover picture of Babytalk magazine when I picked it up at the pediatrician's office. I pay dues to La Leche and get New Beginnings magazine, an LLL publication, so pictures of women breastfeeding aren't exactly a new thing for me. What caught my eye was the print teaser "Special Report: Why Women Don't Nurse Longer." Somewhere inside the magazine the editors ask for comments on the cover, and then it slowly occurred to me that some Would Not Like It.

So, basically, we're all between a rock and a hard place. Everyone--the government, the formula companies, the American Academy of Pediatrics--pays lip service to the fact that nursing is the healthiest and best choice for babies, but women are still completely unsupported in their efforts.

If I had relied on help solely from the hospital breastfeeding educators, I wouldn't have made it. Not by a longshot. And this is a small hospital that still delivers upwards of 2,000 babies a year. Inexcusable.

Six weeks of maternity leave is the bare minimum to get nursing really on the right track, but then there are the issues of pumping at work. The Babytalk article reports that 90% of working mothers stop nursing before six months. This is SHAMEFUL for the American workplace. And maybe why women who have the option to stop working--even at the expense of their finances--and put their babies first for a while, do it. Not to waste their educations or their minds, as the pundits would have you believe.

Protections for nursing in public isn't offered in every state, but the fact that it has to be protected at all is backwards.

Honestly, it mostly makes me sad. I've said it before. But what makes me furious is that women are ashamed to be doing such an amazing thing! At our house, people are welcome to nurse in the living/dining room during a shabbat meal. (When we have company I actually retire to the couch instead of nursing at the table like I'd do if we were alone.) But nine times out of ten people will excuse themselves and nurse in the kids' room.

I've been very open about the fact that I am still nursing Miss M, that I did it while pregnant with AM, etc. At least three times in recent months, moms with toddlers of similar age have confessed (literally sotte voce) that they are still nursing. "Just once a day." "Just twice a day." "Once every other day." As if I need their justification? Because they think it's wrong? Icky? That they are creating sexually confused miscreants? I don't get it.

It's almost August, which is breastfeeding awareness month. I think I am finally going to buy us some T-shirts from Breast or Bust or Cafepress. (What I really want, though, is a shirt that says "I breastfeed, and I blog.")

It's time to put the shame to bed. Permanently.

Breasts are for breastfeeding. The End.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Postpartum molting

Hair everywhere. Shedding in the shower, on the kids, into our dinner.


But maybe now that my hair follicles have figured out I'm not pregnant anymore, the ring of flab around my middle will follow suit?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Peeved and aggrieved

Today I had the do the errands pushed off from yesterday. (Actually, one of them--veggie hunting at a farmers' market--will take place this afternoon, and be about 30 times easier than planned because Miss M will be whooping it up at Taxman's parents' house.)

I marshaled my forces and managed to get out of the house without being totally frazzled.

But then...

Someone had parked right next to the van. As in, maybe two inches away. I know parking in this neighborhood is a huge problem, but this was beyond obnoxious. If someone had been close on my other side also I would have been completely trapped. We all had to get in on the opposite side, and then I kind of vaulted myself to the front. And thanks to that maneuver, now have a huge rip in my skirt. One of the few that fits. Not nice.

I made my returns to Gymboree. People had generously given outfits to Miss M along with baby presents for AM, but she is growing so fast; I hate to put her in something when she is halfway through the size, and she is really ok for clothes for the moment. If I had gotten my act together about two months ago, I could have exchanged for the next size, but of course they are showing different clothes now. So I returned them for credit. By some miracle (trust me, it was--I am totally disorganized about this stuff), I had the gift receipts. I was under the impression that the point of a gift receipt was that you were credited the amount that someone paid, not the lowest sale price. But apparently that's how it works at Gap affiliated stores. At Gymboree, not so much. So for probably $80 of clothes, I now have $50 of credit. Annoying!

The clothes there are adorable, but $50 will not go far. I'll have to wait for the sales--hopefully I'll do as well there as I can at babyGap.

From the cute-but-exasperating department: Baby AM gives himself the hiccups at least twice a day. After a bit, he becomes very annoyed. The only solution is nursing. But often he's not hungry, so he just hangs out in my arms, grinning, until he's motivated to nurse and get rid of them. But woe to me if I make the mistake of putting him down! Twice a day. At least.

Good thing he is so cute.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Expecting rejection from the Boy Scouts

Today my plans to be Busy and Efficient while running errands were initially waylaid by AM, who screamed from the second he was buckled into his carseat. So the first part of the plan was scrapped, and I drove to a nice local park so Miss M could run around while I nursed AM.

Half an hour later, it became clear that we were not going to get to any part of the errands.

Miss M, who previously had been very timid about the sprinkler at the park, got over her shyness. She got wet. And then proceeded to go back and forth between the sprinkler and the sand pit. One gritty, soaked toddler coming up!

But the reason why the Boy Scouts would never have me (not that I would have them!), besides the obvious, is that I was not prepared for this. I did not have her bathing suit, a swim diaper, a towel, her water shoes, or a change of clothes. The park hadn't been in the original plan, but the problem was that I hadn't thought beyond the plan.

I am not someone who can conceive of every eventuality and plan accordingly. I go based on previous experience and occasionally get screwed. My kids, to this point, have been relatively neat--as much as a baby and a toddler can be. Not spitters, tend to poop only at home, not horribly messy eaters. A little banana on Miss M's shirt doesn't bother me, and the marker marks never fully come off until she's soaked in the tub for a few minutes. So I travel with the minimum required: diapers for all, wipes, a change of clothes for AM, enough snacks for Miss M to eat at the rate of one every 30-40 minutes, and bottles of water. Because, see, based on previous experience, I don't need a change of clothes for Miss M or for myself.

And I hate hauling around stuff that I don't use. My ideal is to arrive home with exactly two diapers (one for each)--and AM's change of clothes--in the bag and nothing else, because that means I didn't overpack. I think this is leftover from my pre-mom days. I never carried a purse, so I traveled with a bare minimum of things: keys, wallet, sometimes a book. And during the summer, when I wasn't wearing a coat with big pockets, I was constantly giving said bare minimum to Taxman to carry in his pants pocket.

It's odd how there are still quirks from that life left over. Two years, one month, and one day haven't been quite enough to blot out the previous me. I guess that's good. If I squint I just may see a day in the future when I can leave the house in under 90 minutes. With just keys, wallet, and cellphone. And kids, who will be hauling their own stuff.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Is it just me?

When somebody says to you:

Nobody's judging you.

It means: Everyone is judging you. Especially me.


Five minutes of randomness

1. It's supposed to be hotter in NYC today than in Miami. There's a reason I don't want to live in Miami, and it's not because of the beach. Only saying.

2. Having recently been introduced to the concept of cow's milk as a beverage, Miss M had Cheerios and milk together-in-a-bowl today for the first time, instead of deconstructed. She thought it was the Greatest.Thing.Ever and ate a ton of it. Who knew?

3. Baby AM can easily flip over from his back to his tummy and now rarely sleeps on his back. In fact, Saturday night we caught him in traditional "baby sleeping pose" (scrunched up, fist in his face, fanny in the air). And I wanted to cry. He was--at age three months and one day--so far removed from being a small, inscrutable thing. As I exclaimed to Taxman, "He's a real boy!" I am happy, yet bewildered.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

If you see my brain...

I'm looking for it.

Amy confessed to feeling ditzy a while back. (I read it as tired. Two kids under four? Of course she's tired.) In particular because she forgets whether or not she's washed her hair.

This happens to me sometimes if I take a shower by myself. When Miss M is in there with me, I have to stay 100% present, but when I'm alone and my mind can wander and I can close my eyes for six seconds....well, my brain sometimes just up and leaves.

Example? After I took a shower on Monday night, I was excited to find that I had three minutes to cut my fingernails. Usually it takes me several days to get around to it and they increasingly drive me batty. So I cut them. (Yay!)

Yesterday, which was Wednesday, I caught a glimpse of my hands on the steering wheel as I waited at a red light. I had clipped only NINE of my fingernails. Not ten. Nine. For some reason, the index finger of my right hand had escaped notice. How is that even possible? (The index finger of my dominant hand! Sheesh. If I were going to skip one, shouldn't it be one of lesser importance? Like my right ring finger? Left middle finger?)

In the grand scheme of things, of course, this is just a blip. I am filing it under evidence that my intellect is eroding into little specks of dust. (Coincidentally, one of Miss M's favorite songs.)

So, again, if you've seen my brain, please send it over. C.O.D. is fine. Oh, I'm also missing my Visa card.

Update: Visa is found. It was in my wallet. Stuck between two health insurance cards that, as of two weeks ago, we no longer use. This is so typical of me!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Twenty minutes ago, I left Miss M--tummy full of pasta and sauce, topped off with Ema's finest "nurse!"--drifting off to sleep.

Fifteen minutes ago, I wolfed down my second small lunch of the day. If I waited for another hour, there would always be the risk of being followed by someone demanding, "Try it! Please!"

Ten minutes ago, I noticed that Baby AM, who had been lying on his back, happily staring at the light from the windows, had rolled half to his tummy, found! his! thumb!, and had a sudden attack of heavy eyelids.

My dilemma: Pick him up, snuggle him, and hold him through his nap OR let him peacefully put himself to sleep, a skill his sister didn't master until she was about a year older than he is now.

It breaks my heart, but I left him where he was.

Oh, the guilt.

But here he is awake. My little cutie!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Spotted III

On a bumper sticker:

Voldemort votes Republican

No wonder Kerry couldn't get the Death-Eater vote.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Brooklyn by the See

On Sunday we trekked to Brooklyn to look at a used car, eat breakfast out, and go to the New York Aquarium. In truth, it wasn't nearly as much as a trek as I expected; New York City has a reputation of being pretty quiet over the July 4th weekend (despite the hundreds of thousands that turn out for the fireworks), so the journey there took less than an hour. This is very unusual. But it was also at about seven in the morning, so surely people were still sleeping. I would have been, but Miss M was up at six.

After Taxman test-drove the car--which we now own--out by Coney Island, we hopped over to the Flatbush area of Brooklyn to eat breakfast at Cafe K. There are a lot of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. Far more than in my particular borough. And there are the facilities to support them, including lots and lots of restaurants. Every time I'm there I remark on it, and how if I lived there I'd eat out all the time. (Although we certainly didn't eat out all the time when we lived in Jerusalem, despite having the option.) Which isn't strictly true, because many of the places have names like Burger Hut or Pizza Time and serve up a lot of grease. Plus, kosher restaurants, even the cheapie ones, are more expensive because the cost of food staples is higher.

But I digress. Miss M was spectacularly well-behaved at the cafe, even though there were no highchairs, as she set to devouring her share of an order of scrambled eggs & toast and another of pancakes. We're frighteningly coming to the point, as I noted to Taxman, that we can no longer order two entrees for the three of us.

We doubled back to Coney Island, known as "Brooklyn by the Sea," according to the street signs, and made our way to the aquarium. It was crowded, but Miss M had a good time watching the fish, the walrus, and the seals and sea lions. The weather was incredibly hot, so why we elected to attend the sea lion show at the outdoor Aquatheater, I can't tell you. Oh, wait, I can. Baby AM needed to nurse, and rather than sit in the hot car to do it--or find a place inside--why not sit in the bleachers and unobtrusively nurse while hundreds of spectators (Taxman and Miss M included) watched the show?

My plan was fine, in theory. I had a big cloth diaper and a floppy baby hat that I used to shield AM from the blazing sun. We were all settled in when the sea lions appeared. And then...I noticed that the narrator of the show seemed to be screaming. He wasn't; he was just miked from earth to the moon. It was loud. Don't get me wrong, I am all for wildlife conservation and species interdependence, but does it have to be touted at 4,000 decibels? Especially considering that probably a third of the audience was under five?

Then the starring pinnipeds began bopping to piped-in dance music. And my poor baby latched off and started writhing on my lap. In my frantic desperation to save his relatively virginal ears from damage, I clapped my hands over them. That's what I did instead of pulling up my bra flap as I normally would have. I belatedly noticed that my entire breast was exposed to the world at large...and I had mistakenly created my own kind of SEE in the fair borough.

So I hope Otis and Osborn didn't mind me hanging out. I don't think I created a diversion. At least I hope not.