The Problem with Not Sleeping

Corbin still sucks at sleeping.  I hope he’ll improve on this skill in the near future.  The sleeplessness in my household is starting to wreak havoc.

If you’re so tired, why don’t you SLEEP, dammit!?  See that smile on Brian’s face?  That is the face of a man who has no idea how much more sleeplessness is in front of him.

I have been back to work since having Corbin for just over 2 months now.  During that time I have forgotten some important breast pump component at LEAST 6 times.  I think it’s been more.  In fact, yup, it’s definitely been more than 6.  Usually it’s my bottle caps.  They are RIGHT NEXT to the bottles.  But there have been FOUR times now that I have left them at home.  The first few times I had Brian bring them to me when he had a break between classes.  The last time, I was too embarrassed to even tell him.  I made do with some plastic baggies and some rubber bands and some extra caution.

The Geneva Convention does not allow for prolonged periods of sleep deprivation for POWs.  My OWN little terrorist didn’t sign that treaty, sadly.

I can never remember to thaw the damn chicken.  And if I do remember to thaw it, I forget about it in the fridge until it’s not good anymore.

I CONSTANTLY go to a store for something and forget what I’m there for.  When it’s only like 2 items, I don’t bother with a list.  Clearly, my life needs A LOT more lists.

Furthermore, this incessant sleeplessness among the adults in our household has turned us into crabby people who are too quick to anger, too tired to enjoy each other, and who often have conversations with one another that one or the other of us doesn’t remember later.  This is a problem especially because we are on opposite shifts and are often only seeing each other in passing.  Yesterday was my day off and I think I saw Brian for about 30 total minutes.  And I’m sure I forgot to tell him something important. Which doesn’t matter, because if I DID tell him, he’d have probably forgotten it immediately. 

But this morning? This morning was a ridiculous little Sleeplessness Comedy of Errors. I went to pump at work and realized I forgot the horn parts that you hold to your boobs.  I call them horns.  I think they’re called flanges or something.

the round things there that look like the openings of brass instruments

There’s really no making do without those.  I’m at work for 10 hours.  I am NOT manually expressing the milk.  It would TAKE 10 hours.  I had to call Brian who was planning to bring them to me before his first class.

So I get a phone call a little while later.  “You have to come home.”  Ummm… NOT the way to open up a conversation with a mother.  Do you KNOW what goes through a mother’s head when she hears those words!?!?!  Anyway, what he did was, he locked the door on his way out, got the kids in the car, and then realized his keys were still in the house.  Now, on weekdays, he actually gets less sleep than I do, so considering we’re 1 to 4 on having to bail each other out, he deserves some accolades.  So I went and unlocked the door.  And I got my horns.

And THEN, I get back to work and realize that I forgot my name badge.  I can’t get into the building from the parking lot.  So I had to walk all the way around.

I’m a little afraid to see what happens next.  I CAN tell you that there is no chicken thawed for dinner tonight.  I’m still trying to figure out how to remedy that one.

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Thanks for the tip! (Or not.)

I was filling in Corbin’s baby book yesterday (only a month behind schedule.  And can I just take an aside here and mention the fact that this baby book is repeatedly worded in such a way that it is CLEARLY meant for a first-born.  What the heck?  Does NO ONE fill out the book for the second kid?  Because if so, I feel like such a rockstar mom!  Except for all that OTHER stuff that I totally haven’t bothered about the second time around.)  ANYWAY!  There was a question like “what is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve received so far?  What is the worst?”

And I literally wrote, “I definitely need more than 2 lines for this,” and left it at that.  Come on!  TWO lines!?  I should add “see blog.”  lol.

So, now I’m thinking about it.  What IS the best piece of advice I got?

Don’t try to keep her from messing with breakables, just put them far far away.”  That was a good one.  “Try to keep his penis covered with something when you change his diaper.”  An excellent tip that I repeatedly fail to adhere to.  “Treasure this time because it goes by so fast.” An oldie but a goodie, and something I didn’t really understand until I had a second baby and Lola turned into a preschooler.

Really, I get a lot of good advice.  I have a network of moms that I talk to online and I’m SOOO grateful, because I don’t really have mom-friends in real life.  I mostly have mom-competitors, you know the type.  But from my online mommies, there has been so much support and wisdom.  I guess one bit stands out the most, as I’ve remembered it almost verbatim for years now.

When Lola was a baby I was suffering from an aspect of PPD that materialised for me, not as sadness or a disconnect from my baby, but as soul crushing anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.  I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.  I worried constantly about whether I was doing things the “right” way, because what FELT right to me seemed to be at odds with all the things people kept telling me.  And since they were veteran moms and I was new to this, MY gut couldn’t possibly be right, right?

One day I was fretting about something or another.  Someone told me I catered to my baby too much and she’d be spoiled.  I shouldn’t hold her all the time.  I should be helping her learn to fall asleep without my comforting her.  She’s hungry too often; I nurse her too much.  And a very kind person told me, “Hold that baby until your arms break, rock her till your knees buckle, and nurse her till your boobs fall off.  And if your arms don’t break, and your knees don’t buckle, and your boobs don’t fall off, then all is right in your world.” And it just about changed my life.  And I repeated it almost like a mantra.  And things got better and better. 

Dont get me wrong, I still do, and always will I suppose, struggle with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy.  But those words help so much.  Those specific words are just what I needed at that specific time.  But that sentiment is something that I try to remember for all aspects of parenting.  Just love your kids, and cherish them in the best way you know how.  And if that gets you through the day with your family still intact, then it was perfect all along.

And the worst advice?  WHERE could I even START!?  There is so much to choose from.  “You have to let them cry it out by 2 months old or you’ll have ruined their sleeping forever.”  Well, Lola and I certainly proved that one wrong!  “You’ve got to switch to formula.” I got this one BOTH times, from DOCTORS!  I am pleased to report that I ignored that advice both times and we all survived just fine with a healthy nursing relationship.  I don’t know where I found the resolve to defy Dr’s advice, either, but I’m glad.  “Don’t worry so much about carseats, we all grew up Okay without them.” Do I even need to say anything about this one?

That whole “Give them a little blackberry brandy” for basically EVERY conceivable ailment thing?  I’m starting to see some wisdom in that one. 😉

Well, Wisconsin IS the Dairy State

This here post is going to be about breastfeeding.  You’ve been warned.

It started because I came across this image:

And HAD to share it with everyone.  Awesome. 

I then also found these at Babble:

19 Extreme Breastfeeding: a Collection of Images From Around The Web

22 Extreme Breastfeeding: a Collection of Images From Around The Web

11 Extreme Breastfeeding Images: 2nd Edition

OMG, how hysterical is that last one?

So, I love breastfeeding.  In an almost obnoxious way.  It is the thing that turns me into a sappy sappy momma.  There are several things about breastfeeding that I’d like to address today.

1. Nursing in Public. 

It is not only Okay, it is important.  It is a flippin public service.  I am borderline preachy on this subject. 

When I first started nursing Lola, it never even occurred to me that it was anything other than fine and normal.  I nursed my baby at a restaurant 3 days after she was born.  I didn’t realize until later that all those stares were probably not of the “oh how cute” variety.  I nursed my baby at a restaurant while sitting across from my dad.  I now wonder if maybe that was a little weird for him.  After a while it was brought to my attention (on a message board, so you can imagine how POLITELY it was brought to my attention) that this is gross and offensive.  MORE THAN ONE person compared it to ejaculating where people eat!  More than one! 

I started to worry.  Was it bad?  Gross?  Was I rude and offensive?

And then it slowly dawned on me: we don’t have a right to not be offended in this country.  And as a parent, pretty much every. single. thing you do is going to make someone pissy.  So get over it.  If they are upset, that is THEIR issue, not yours.  You’re doing something important.

And every time that you are seen nursing in public, you are making it a more common occurrence, one that we can hopefully someday take for granted.  There are women who don’t breastfeed their babies because they don’t want to have to go into hiding every time their baby is hungry, which is often.  But it is healthy for mom and for baby and it’s GREAT, so lets try to do what we can to promote the practice.  I don’t mean you have to whip off your top in the Red Lobster or anything.  But don’t go hide in a bathroom stall every time your child wants to eat, either.  This culture where  feeding your baby in the way your body was designed to do is somehow taboo?  It is ridiculous.  And we all need to do our part to stop the ridiculousness.

2. Pumping sucks.  Can I get an Amen from the pumping moms!? 

I am not blessed with a prolific milk supply.  So I have to pump 3 times a day at work, and I still don’t get enough milk, so I have to try to find time to pump at home too.  It’s boring.  It requires extra dishwashing.  INEVITABLY I pump all day and then knock over a bottle cause I’m so tired.  Or leave ALL of them sitting out overnight accidentally (that one nearly brought me to tears.  And I did it, so I couldn’t even yell at my husband to make me feel better.)  And every single workday is a reminder that my milk supply is not where it should be.  Which brings me to…

3. My lack of abundant supply makes me sad.  I know I’m usually trying to be witty around here, or get a chuckle out of you.  But here I’m just going to vent my sadness because I can’t afford therapy.  (Really, I can’t.  I went twice, but I couldn’t afford to keep paying the copays.)

I love nursing.  Did I mention that?  And I’m so sad that my milk is not just flowing like a damn river.  I do Okay.  It could be worse.  I am able to breastfeed exclusively when we’re together.  But, because my pumping output is not so great, I live in fear of the 6 month slump.  What if my milk supply dips so low that I have to supplement even on the days that I’m with him all day?  What if my milk just starts drying up altogether?  I get teary every time I think about it.

I am doing what I can to increase my supply (which, by the way, is costing more than it would to just supplement formula).  The primary galactagogue (that’s just a word for breastmilk-booster) is an herbal tincture.  I started with the More Milk Plus.  It was the MOST disgusting thing I ever put in my mouth.  And everyone with a dirty mind says “are you SURE?”  Yes.  I am.  And when it didn’t work, I tried the More Milk Special Blend with Goat’s Rue.  I didn’t think it could get more disgusting, but it did.  Now NOTHING could be worse right?  Well I accidentally purchased the alcohol free version this last time.  It CAN!  It CAN get worse!  Alcohol free!?  There is not enough alcohol in this world to make this palatable.  I have really thought of taking it with a shot of bourbon each time.  In fact, I haven’t even come close to ruling that out yet.

My next option is to buy some drug from New Zealand because they don’t sell it in the States.  I just don’t know if I can afford that.  But it’s looking like a better and better option.

Because I am not ready to give this up!  Nourishing another human that you love more than yourself with nothing BUT yourself.  It is wonderful.  It is so stinkin MOTHERLY.  Watching that sweet baby find contentment in you. Blissful.  Corbin is not AS into it as Lola (which could be because my supply was better with her.  I worry that he gets frustrated.)  And that breaks my heart a little.  With Lola, ANY time she was ever upset about anything, my boobies made it better.  Corbin sure doesn’t hate it though.  That innocent face looking up at you.  Sometimes they hold your hand while they do it.  And when they SMILE at you, with your milk trickling out of the corner of their mouth.  It’s just the happiest, sappiest shit on the planet. 

Please Milk Gods, don’t take this away from me too soon!

4.  On a shallower note: why in the WORLD does EVERY OTHER WOMAN IN HISTORY find that breastfeeding helps her lose weight, while I am the EXACT OPPOSITE!?  Yes, I’m a little bitter.  I can never lose weight while nursing.  And everyone else is claiming that it just FALLS RIGHT OFF.  Jerks!  I swear, I am convinced that my body knows about my less than abundant supply and is hanging on to every ounce of fat so I can feed my baby through a famine.  Newsflash!  There will be no famine!  Someone please alert my metabolism!

I think that’s enough now.  Though I can’t promise I won’t have more to say on the subject in the future.  Watch this spot.

International symbol:

Shirt I like:

I also saw one once that said something like “if it makes you uncomfortable feel free to put a blanket over your head” and it made me laugh out loud.

I Brought PJs to Work Today

I didn’t sleep much last night.  I know, SURPRISE! What the Hell else is new?  But last night was a particularly bad one.  In addition to the usual fussing, flailing, squirming, and grunting, we had a fair amount of full blown crying, from both Corbin and me.  While my husband irritatingly, peacefully enjoyed his Valium-induced coma not 12 inches away.  Meanwhile, I kept checking the time on my phone until I gave up in depression, realizing that even if Corbin DID fall asleep RIGHTNOW, my alarm was going to go off in 30 minutes.

Then I go to work to find a bunch of annoying stuff that didn’t get taken care of because I was off yesterday.

Then I went to pump.  Pumping is drudgery.  I LOVE nursing, but I HATE pumping.  The PITA that is pumping is actually the reason I ended up weaning Lola before I would have otherwise wanted to.  I just couldn’t take the pumping anymore.  I have to do it 3 times every work day, and that still doesn’t yield enough to fulfill what he consumes while I’m gone.  That is a source of endless frustration and devastating feelings of inadequacy.  Lola would shun her bottles and never needed much while I was away.  Corbin, not so much.  I find that irrationally insulting.

So today, I reached in my bag full of pump stuff that I have to haul around with me everywhere, and in the side pocket I saw some weird pink polka dot thing.  What the heck is that?  It was Lola’s baby doll’s pajamas.

She was being really cute with her baby doll yesterday; wearing her around in her tiny pouch sling, repeatedly burping her, etc.  Then she took off her doll’s little pink outfit.  “She’s too warm. She just wants to wear her t shirt.”  And apparently she stuck it in the diaper bag I use for my pump parts. 

It cheered me up so much.  I think about my kids all the time when I’m at work.  Especially after the second kid, I HATE having to work full time.  Hate it!  Usually I’m just thinking about them, and how precious they are.  In this case, I could actually SEE in my mind Lola rolling that little doll outfit up and sticking it in the diaper bag (just like she has repeatedly seen me do with Corbin’s clothes.)  It’s such a mundane instant in a whole day, but actually having my fingers find a tangible connection to my daughter while I’m stuck here away from her for 10.5 hours, it warmed my whiney heart.