Archive for April, 2009

6 Month Sanity Check

April 28, 2009

This morning I looked at my husband and said, “You know, for having been at this whole parenting thing for six months, I think we’ve done pretty well.” And so, I decided it was time to go through the list of things we thought we wanted to do as parents before the small one arrived, and see how many things had fallen by the wayside (i.e. how many of our friends with kids could now officially say “I told you so” after rolling their eyes at our grandiose plans for how we were going to do things differently).

What We’ve Stuck With

Cloth Diapers – still easy (but we’re still not eating solids… yet), still what we use at home. We do use disposables when we’re out of the house, but that was always assumed to be the plan.

Breastfeeding – Yippee, I’ve officially breastfed the small one exclusively for 6 months. Now where’s that medal from the American Academy of Pediatrics? No really, I’ve been lucky – as I’ve never had a supply problem, the small one is a champion feeder, and I have the pumping thing down to a science, it’s been easier to breastfeed than it would be to run to the store and buy formula. If things keep up like this, I don’t think I’ll have a problem hitting the one year mark. I hope.

As Little Plastic as Possible – Sure, a couple of toys have snuck through, but by and large we’ve held our ground. We’re still using glass bottles, most of the small one’s toys are wooden or fabric, and we’ve avoided contraptions like the Diaper Genie which basically wrap plastic diapers in more plastic, hidden in a plastic bucket. In fact, my husband is so committed to the no plastic thing, he just sent what is very likely a highly offensive email to his entire family asking them to only buy natural material, made in America toys for the small one whenever possible. I expect sacks full of crap from Walmart as retribution.

The Schedule – The small one has been on a self enforced three hour routine since practically day one, and he seems to love it. When we try to run errands and can’t get him down for his nap in time, he’s even so amicable as to warn us of our neglect by turning up the fussiness so that we never let things get to melt down mode. Honestly, this kid is so committed to his schedule that if I tried to nurse him just for comfort, he’d arch his back and stare at me like “woman, don’t you know we don’t eat for another hour?” So for as much as I bitched about reading Babywise, the whole eat play sleep routine has been perfect for us.

Division of Labor – It’s now been three months of me working full time and my husband doing the stay at home dad thing, and we are as committed to it as ever. We’re just so fortunate that he has the sort of job he can do from home, as adding daycare to the mix would be a financial and emotional stress that both of us are so grateful to avoid.

What We’ve Eased Up On

Organic Everything – While I was pregnant, nearly every single thing I purchased for the small one was made of organic cotton (and I felt guilty about the few items that weren’t). After he was born and the baby clothing started pouring in, I found myself avoiding those outfits people gave us that were decidedly not organic (i.e. the plethora of fleece pants). And then the small one outgrew everything and we started to dress him in what we had (because let’s face it, Carter’s sizes clothing knowing that parents want to use something more than once, unlike the organic, boutique-y stuff which runs like designer, boutique-y adult clothing – small and highly shrinkable). And guess what? The kid didn’t get a horrible rash and die – in fact, he looked really adorable in all those overalls. So now I try to buy organic whenever I’m shopping for the small one, but I happily dress him in the clothing we’re given (it helps to have a sister in law who works for Ralph Lauren – my child now owns more Polo than I do).

Constant Fear of SIDS – We still put the small one down for naps and bedtime on his back, but we have been tucking him in with a light blanket for a few months now instead of using a sleep sack. We started with the blanket once we stopped swaddling, as he would wake up from the cold otherwise, and I’ve never come in his room to find the blanket anywhere near his face (if anything, he now scootches out from under it).

What We’ve Dropped Completely

French – Yes, my husband used to read to the child in French. I’ve not just talking The Little Prince, I’m talking Voltaire. As he’s gotten better at doing more work from home, the daily language lesson was the first thing to go.

Yoga – Before the small one was born, I thought that I’d be back at yoga by week 6 and that I would get back into shape while still on maternity leave by handing the small one to my husband after he returned from work and getting some daily “me time” at the studio every afternoon. And then we had a C-section and the doc was all “no yoga for 12 weeks,” which happens to be the length of maternity leave. Once I was back to work, the thought of losing any of my precious non-work time to yoga instead of spending it with my baby seemed incomprehensible, which is to say that I have not been to yoga even once post partum. Oh well. I’ve lost the baby weight, but this belly is definitely worse for the wear.

Overall, I’m rather proud of how much we’ve stuck to our guns, although I freely admit that had the small one been a more difficult baby, this sanity check would be dramatically different. My husband and I constantly talk about how screwed we’ll be when the next kid acts like a normal baby (doesn’t sleep through the night at 10 weeks, has reflux, is a fussy eater, gets sick, cries). So the small one gets all the credit here.

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Backlash on Breastfeeding, or just (more) Judgmental Parenting

April 27, 2009

Let’s face it – we all do it. You see the eczema on my boy’s stomach and blame me for using wool diaper covers. I hear about your kid’s reflux that kicked in after your wife stopped breastfeeding and I blame the formula. Neither of us is saying “you’re a bad parent,” heck, neither of us even really think it, we’re just both feeling slightly more justified about the choices we’ve made as parents.

Now take that to the next level and you get the recent and much discussed Atlantic article, The Case Against Breastfeeding. Written by Hanna Rosin, who is breastfeeding her third child… well, let’s just copy the abstract directly lest I misrepresent:

In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?

My reading of this article boiled down to “breastfeeding can be a pain, and I don’t want to have society make me feel guilty for not wanting to do it anymore. And since I’m a woman and society is forming an opinion about what I should do with my body, it is anti-feminist to comply with this social norm.” Yes, I’m being hyperbolic. And yet…

“No-exceptions requirement”? Even Rosin states that only 17% of women are breastfeeding at 6 months – and this is despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. Clearly we aren’t talking about America in this article, we’re talking about the “certain overachieving circles” she both mocks and admits to being a part of:

In my playground set, the urban moms in their tight jeans and oversize sunglasses size each other up using a whole range of signifiers: organic content of snacks, sleekness of stroller, ratio of tasteful wooden toys to plastic. But breast-feeding is the real ticket into the club.

 So we are now making a case against something as far reaching as breastfeeding because it feels as pressure-filled and shallow as owning a Bugaboo? Really? That’s like deciding that we shouldn’t promote healthy eating because the upper east side-er’s are making me feel guilty about have the occasional side of fries. This whole “backlash” against Breast is Best to me sounds like “Formula’s not poison so quit making me feel bad.” To which I have to ask the question – who’s making who feel bad? Are we so PC these days that this is really an argument? To me, it sounds like yet another symptom of the competitive parenting disease, with maybe a dash of F**k You for the occasional, over-zealous lactivist.

I guess what I’m getting at is, go ahead Hanna – stop breastfeeding if you don’t want to do it anymore. Sure, somebody at your posh playground may snicker, but somebody at the coffee shop across the street would be equally horrified at your breastfeeding in public.

I just don’t see how this was worthy of an Atlantic Monthly article, but that’s just me (and it sure has increased their web traffic, says the cynic in me). I’d say it’s more worthy of, I don’t know, maybe a blog post?

***

I’m not going to touch her “survey” of the scientific literature, as enough people have taken her to task on that already. Just google it, folks.

Summertime

April 27, 2009

As is usually the case in Charlottesville, the weather decided to completely skip the spring part of spring, and so we’re into the land of 80+ degree weather and it’s not even May.  Normally I wouldn’t mind – I am the sort of freak who (when not pregnant or breastfeeding) practices yoga in a 110 degree room willingly, heck, enthusiastically, which is to say that I’m of the bring it on mentality when it comes to heat.  But I don’t know how I feel about the heat and a six month old.

Unfortunately, the small one’s room gets baked in afternoon sun, which meant that this weekend it reached 90 degrees by his crib.  I’m not so worried about this for the summer proper, as we’ll turn on the central air sometime in June, but in the meanwhile, when it is so nice to sleep with the windows open (and that 50 degree weather usually makes at least two more appearances before summer officially overtakes Virginia), it feels like such a waste to shut all the windows and live like an office park. 

And so, the small one spent his afternoon naps downstairs where it was a bit cooler, garbbed only in his diaper.  And he slept in his crib, despite his room still hovering at the 85 degree mark, in only a teeshirt and diaper.

My husband heard him fussing slightly this morning, probably because the room finally cooled off to a lovely 72 degrees but for the fact that the child was pantsless and without blanket, and he brought the small one to the bed in the nursery, covered him with a light blanket and slept with him until I came in to feed a 7.  Did I mention what an amazing dad my husband is?

First Tooth

April 27, 2009

A sharp, opaque-ish white little ridge has made an appearance on the small one’s lower gum line a mere day before his 6 month birthday, and I can’t say that he’s a real big fan of this new development. 

Granted, based on everything I’d heard (read: feared), he’s handling teething like a champ – no inconsolable wailing, no nursing strike, no fever.  But he’s still uncomfortable… he always has to have a toy or something in his mouth to gnaw on, and the chilled teething rings don’t seem to do anything above and beyond his wooden toys or stuffed animals.  It’s more of a struggle to get him to finish a feeding.  And sometimes it takes him almost a half hour to get himself down for a nap.  But he still naps.  And sleeps 12 hours.  Which is to say that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. 

And now I’m just waiting for the inevitable time when I’ll be bitten.

And by waiting I mean dreading.

I miss my boy

April 23, 2009

The longer I’m back to work, the more I find I miss the small one.  The novelty of being out of the house has officially expired now that I’ve been a working mom as long as I was on maternity leave.  It’s days like today, when I’m between projects and have some unexpected breathing room between meetings and general fire-fighting that I find myself staring at his picture on the computer’s desktop and smiling, and thinking how much I want to pick him up and eat his cheeks.  It’s not a bad sort of miss, the kind that involves crying or dread or self-doubt… it’s more of an “aw, man.  I wish I was with my kid right now.  He’s so awesome.  I wonder what toy he’s shoving in his mouth right now.”

And then I fantasize about winning the lottery, and all the books I’d buy to read aloud to the boy during our new found time together.  It’s funny how the lottery fantasy changes with a child – it’s no longer trips abroad… it’s just getting my time back.

Gearing up for Solids

April 21, 2009

… not that a little rice cereal blended with breast milk should really be considered a solid food. But the pre-feeding shopping has begun.

  • food processor for pureeing (already owned, so check)
  • bpa-free small freezer containers (on order from Amazon)
  • “soft” baby spoons (mom-in-law gave us these, check)
  • bibs (on order, and lots of ’em)
  • travel high chair (on order)
  • high chair (using one from mom-in-law, so hubby’s picking it up next week)
  • actual food – oh crap!  Time to buy that rice cereal…

Have you noticed a trend?  When a change occurs, I have a compulsive need to buy everything I could possibly need, based on everything I’ve read, and not at all grounded in any personal experience.  God forbid I actually just tried something and only ran out to get “gear” after I knew I really needed it – what would be the fun in that?

6 month appointment

April 20, 2009

The Stats:
18 lbs 15 ozs
27.5 inches long
17.5 inch head (i think – i don’t exactly remember)

So the small one continues to be not so small.

And yes, I have been on quite the hiatus lately. It was completely unintentional, as my life has become what anyone could have predicted – get up, feed the babe, go to work, look up to find out that ohmygod it’s already 5 howdidthathappen, run home, hang out with the babe for my meager hour and a half, feed him and put him to bed, and then it’s time for everything else (read: laundry).  As routine as it sounds (and is), it is impressively seamless, and I’m not about to rock the boat.  My expected regret is that I don’t have more time with the small one, but otherwise all is well.  Life is busy.  Life is full.  We’re a happy little family. 

Unfortunately said routine (and a crazy work schedule) leaves little time for blogging.  As I also should have expected.  But I will try harder, as I’ve already failed to capture such tales as rolling over (finally) and adventures in driving 6 hours with a 5 month old.

Hope you are doing well!