Thursday, January 16, 2014

Three (short, unrelated) Thoughts

As part of my maternity leave I negotiated a work – from – home scenario for when I returned after leave.  My work often involves me working alone, on my computer.  Formerly, I was doing this in my office, in dressy work clothes with minimal interaction with others (doesn’t my job sound fabulous?) Now I do it at home, in sweatpants with minimal interaction with others.  This work – from – home scenario has enabled me to keep doing carpool for Lou, sit with her while she has a snack after school, kiss the baby when I want and on a slow day, even make dinner ahead of time. I like being able to do these things, it makes me feel like I can still participate in the little moments in the kids lives and keep our home-life from getting too out of control. The days my work is more intense, that home stuff waits and that’s cool because I know that its just a lower sweatpants  to dress pants ratio for that day or week.

I don’t know that I’ll be able to keep my job when we move in June. I’ve been making every effort to make this work – from – home scenario easy on my boss so the possibility of a work-from – an – out – of – state – home scenario is indeed a possibility.  Even the days where I wish my sweatpants ratio was 100% home and 0% work, in the back of my head I know that’s not the best scenario for me. I need some other, non-family thing to keep me happy.  Today when I emailed out a big project I felt great. I felt proud of what I produced and I felt happy that I could go into the kitchen and make lunch for myself before carpool.  Then, I felt very lucky that I had those two thoughts in tandem.   

I’ve been trying to find a ballet class for Bea.  I often feel that Bea is such the middle child- overlooked and dragged along.  Not quite old enough for a real social calendar or after school activities but not quite young enough that I need to pay attention to naps or bottles. She really never seems to mind, occasionally she asks “peas, I have playdate?” in her little muppet voice but mostly she’s happy to tag along and enjoy the ride.  I thought ballet would be nice for her.  A good way to get her moving a bit and also something that she would genuinely like (she’s never one to turn down a costume.) But its been so frustrating trying to find a class! There are so many options but I can’t make a single class fit in our schedule! Argh! I hate those people who are “so busy” all the time.  This isn’t really one of those cases, we’re not busy we are just rigidly scheduled.  Bea is in school until 1. Lou has to be picked up at 3. I work in the office on Wednesdays and one other day so there is no car for the nanny those days. I feel like this is life tetris and I can’t get out of this level.

We send Lou to school with 2 snacks and a lunch. We write his insulin dosage on a post it that lists what is for snack, what is for lunch and how much to dose.  Today the teacher gave the afternoon snack in the morning with the morning dose.  Lou had taken out the wrong snack from his bag and she didn’t pay attention to the list we sent in.  She didn’t realize until the afternoon when she saw him eating the wrong snack. She called but when we were discussing it she blamed it on Lou.  This really gets me upset.  He’s almost 6 and very responsible with his diabetes. However, we write the list FOR HER to read and check.  He is in Kindergarten.  She is not.  I understand that mistakes happen and this isn’t even the first this year. But I need to know that she is paying some modicum of attention to him and what he’s eating.  I would have so much less of an issue if she had owned the mistake. By blaming him, I’m more frustrated with her.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Nursed. I Pumped. I Stopped.

First I stopped nursing.  Now I stopped pumping.  I don’t know why this issue has me so defensive and emotional but I feel the need to to justify my decision to stop every time I tell people I’m done.

The baby was not good at nursing.  Fact.

I was also less into nursing, though I very much wanted to do it because I do think it’s beneficial.  But after nearly two years of nursing other kids my enthusiasm was a little low.

I exclusively nursed for 6 weeks.  I had mastitis.  I had cracked, bleeding, chewed up n!pples. I had an allergic reaction the hydrogels. I cried every time I nursed.  The baby gained wonderful weight and was happy as a clam. I met with a wonderful LC to try and help the baby nurse better. She couldn’t understand what he was doing while he nursed that was making things so awful. He looked like a great latcher.

I started pumping to give the ladies a break while they healed from the mastitis and breakage. It was so much better. The baby was happy with a bottle.  I pumped 5-6 times a day, even at 3am. I had plenty of milk. I got some Newman’s ointment and the n!pples healed. Situation solved.

I pumped. I drove carpool. I pumped. I worked. I pumped. I made dinner. I pumped. I showered. I pumped. I took care of the big kids. I pumped and bounced a baby. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped and I pumped. Then my milk started slowing down.  I pumped and drove carpool and worked and made dinner and then pumped.  I showered and took care of the bigs and then the baby and then pumped. Then there was even less milk. One day I pumped and there was no milk. 4 months of only pumping and I had no milk left. It was frustrating. Watching the output go from 13oz to 8 to 6 to 4 to 0. Fighting back by drinking litres of water, eating lots of protein, pumping after the milk stopped coming to up my supply but still watching the numbers slide down.

Finally I stopped. It wasn’t worth the 2oz  to have to pump in the morning while getting the kids ready for school. It wasn’t worth the 2oz to pump as I fell asleep at night. It feels selfish to say that I couldn’t be bothered to try and pump more. It feels like I gave up when I should have done more.  I somehow should have been more committed.

I stopped a week and a half ago.  I stopped slowly like they say but figured how painful could it be if there was barely any milk left? Apparently the ladies were hiding some. Its been really painful. I think I’m at that point in the cessation process where the hormones change and it feels like the world will end and all is lost. I believe Swistle wrote a post on this topic once. I’d link to it but the world is ending and you probably read already anyway.  I’m hoping this means that its over soon. That soon I will have my body back and I can make peace with all of this.  No it didn’t go as I’d hoped- life can be like that.  Focus on the positive: the baby is growing, he’s happy, he’s healthy. Will it really matter that I didn’t nurse him as long as I’d hope or that we tried to make a crappy situation work and it didn’t last as long as I thought it would? No, it doesn’t matter. It doesn't matter. I say the words but I don’t always believe them. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sundry's Year-End Quiz

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Had a 3rd baby! 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
It wasn’t a resolution per se, but I really did want to have a better post-partum experience this time than I did with Bea.  I worked out a lot while pregnant and I think it helped with my recovery (I didn’t feel as broken physically as I did after Bea but it wasn’t all rainbows and puppies either) but there were still post-partum issues (nursing: I’m looking at you) that were hard to overcome.  It may always be like that though. 

I’m continuing with my “be healthful, be strong, be active” routine from last year.  It has so many positive impacts on my life and frankly, an hour working out without kids or home stuff is really awesome. Also, I’d like to wear my skinny jeans again. Truth. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Babies, babies, everywhere.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Great Uncle Max. He was kindness personified.  He used to pick us up at the airport in his big, black Lincoln wearing a ship captains hat and pretending to be our chauffeur.  He was quiet and unassuming but was such a special person if you got to know him.  

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you didn’t have in 2012?
2012? Who the hell remembers 2012? What would I like to have in 2014? Hmm.  Patience. Movers that pack you. Trust that life will turn out okay. 

7. What dates from 2013 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
Is it sad that I remember the baby’s birthday as free slurpee day? 7-11 for life! 

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Having 3 kids and not going bat-shit crazy. Having 3 kids, going back to work, having DMS work like crazy and planning an inter-state move and not go bat-shit crazy. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
Yelling at the kids. Not getting along with my mom. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
For myself? Bootcamp classes. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
DMS for putting up with me.  My kids for handling transition well. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My mom around the time the baby was born. My own sometimes. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
School tuition. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
You know, back in 2008 I had a paper planner and I could look back through the year and remember all the fun stuff we did or events that happened and now I’m all digital but I can’t remember a damn thing or look it up. Boo.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Roar. Also some song that the workout lady plays but I’m so bad at music I have no idea the name.  When I hear it on the radio I have some pavlovian response to start doing lunges though.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
A) Happier! All is well!
B) Thinner.  But also not pregnant.
C) Same.  

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I feel pretty good about 2013 but I could have probably relaxed a bit about the to-do list just hung out more. I do wish we traveled more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Chanukah?
With my husband’s family.  Lots of people, lots of together time but truly lovely.

21. What was your favorite TV program?

22. What was the best thing you learned? (I changed this question.)
I can make dinner every night and the world will not end.

23. What was the best book you read?
Sadly, I’m one of those people who reads a book and then forgets the entire plot as soon as I finish it.  I’m sure I loved some books but can’t remember a damn one.

25. What was your greatest food discovery? (I changed this question.)

26. What did you want and get?
A healthy baby. Ability to work from home. 

27. What did you want and not get?
A more organized house.

28. What was your favorite film of 2013?
I saw one movie in the theaters this entire year and it was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I loved it. 

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 34.  We had ice cream cake that I bought myself. I was a little annoyed that DMS didn’t make the kids do anything special (or even tell them that it was my birthday) but otherwise it was low-key and nice, just as I wanted. 

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A gabillion dollars? A warm weather beach vacation with my little family?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2013?
Does it fit? Yay! I’ll wear it!

32. What kept you sane?
A good cup of cold-brew coffee with half and half in the morning.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I was so not into politics this year. Too many kids.

34. Who did you miss?
My friend who moved away.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I’ve been trying to be more social with people I know; go out more, call people during the week to say hi and generally not be a hermit. Its sort of working. 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
This too shall pass. The ice cream is always worth it. Always buy half and half when at the market.  Sleep is amazing.

37. Show us one of your favorite photos from the year. (I changed this question. It used to be about music. Which I don’t really listen to.)
I have a lot of photos I like but you’re getting one from my phone.

 Happy 2014!