Letting go, one milestone at a time

 

Motherhood is mania personified.  Truly.  One second I’m pulling my hair out, desperately wondering when getting W dressed will no longer require chasing and tackling.  The next second, silent tears of pride stain my cheeks as he proudly pulls his own undies up and down to go potty.

And this week’s mania?

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W started his first art class where (soon) he’ll be in the class all.by.him.self. [GASP]  It was terrifyingly adorable.  Miniature chairs, tiny smocks and paint splattered masterpieces mixed with a little bit of sharing and learning his colors.

I faded into the background knowing that the goal was to soon leave him there alone.  I was just a silent (and proud) observer of his little personality filling the room and coming through loud and clear…a whole lot of spark and persistence, a little bit of antsy curiosity and a lot of kindness for his new buddies.

It’s exhausting.

And not always in a bad way.  But exhausting in a cathartic sense.  The other side of extreme joy and pride is seriously just as tiring as the other side of panic.  And I know a little bit about panic.  Like the mild panic I feel as I think about actually leaving him alone at his art class in the coming weeks…

But the day will come.  It will happen.  Eventually.  And whether I’m ready or not, there will always be another milestone fading away in the rearview mirror…another one appearing on the horizon.  A never ending lesson in letting go.

But real talk, this road toward a more independent child is a nail-biter of a ride for those of us in the driver’s seat.  It’s bumpy and paved with chaos, but it’s a scenic drive splashed with tiny moments of triumph, exhaustion, lots of joy and a few spilled bottles of paint.  Oops.

But the passenger seat?  Well, that’s a different story.  Let’s just say that my little co-pilot seems to be thoroughly enjoying every second of this hectic ride and happens to love speed bumps.  The more the better.  The bigger the better.

No wonder I’m starting to go gray…

Manically yours,

MomME

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Sleep regressions and other terribly-two-ish things

I’ve heard of the terrible twos, but up until a few weeks ago, I kept thinking, Not MY sweet little, angelic boy!  That was, until he was jumping up and down, stomping his feet, screaming, pounding on the door and “raging out” as I like to call it.

Why?  Because I told him he couldn’t have anymore of his favorite Honeysuckle Honeydew EOS chapstick.  After he’d already negotiated, with his little pointer finger, barely formed words and an affirming head nod,

“One more, mama.  One more. ” 

“No more chapstick, we’ve already had some,” I say calmly as we’re trying to leave the house to gymnastics class.  I literally hold my breath in anticipation of the rage that is about to explode from this otherwise utterly sweet little boy.  All over chapstick.

 <Cue meltdown>

Like a yoga mantra, I have to remind myself…Calmly offer an explanation.  Share affirming words.  Acknowledge his feelings.  Empathize with him.  Be there if he wants a hug.  Keep him safe from his own frustrations.  Let him express himself.  Move on after it’s over. 

I totally understand that in his ever-growing world, seemingly small things (to me) are a big deal to him.  He’s learning so much about the world around him, his place in his, his ability to interact with that world…to flex his control in that world…to negotiate in that world.  I mean, he loves those little chapsticks – he can open the top all by himself, he can put it on all by himself and he can put the top back on all by himself.

What more could a two-year old want than to be in total control?

A nap, you say?  Temper-tantrums are usually a result of being down-right-tired, right?  So, just make sure he gets his nap and we can hope to avoid some of these meltdowns.

Nope.  That would make too much sense and be too easy.  We are going on day 12 of no nap.  

And not the I’m-going-to-sit-in-my-crib-and-just-talk-to-myself kind of no nap.  No, this is the begin-SCREAMING-the-second-mom-puts-me-in-my-crib-and-rage-until-she-gets-me kind of no nap. Another lovely by-product of the terrible twos.  It started with some Christmas-cooties that we all passed around during the lovely two weeks my hubby was home.  After that, he hasn’t taken a nap except for when he falls asleep at the boob (twice)…or when he actually fell asleep in the car on Saturday for 45 minutes…which he NEVER does.  [I know, what kid doesn’t fall asleep in the car?  The kid whose mother was a freak about being home for nap time so he pretty much only knows how to nap in his crib.  Great most of the time.  Except for when he’s not napping in his crib and won’t nap anywhere else.  Sigh.]

BUT.  All hope is not lost.  I am NOT giving up on his nap time.  That is the MOST sacred of times for me and he is most CERTAINLY still in need of rest during the day.

So, what to do?  Call in the experts, of course!  My trusty network of amazing mamas.

I tossed the scenario out to the Boobie Group and another mommy group I’m a part of and I’ve gotten some great suggestions:

  • Keep at it and stay strong and consistent – their little ones did this at age two and sooner than later they were back to their nap!
  • Try moving nap time a bit earlier or later to see if he’s more ready for a nap then.
  • Give him some really great exercise before nap time, like a good game of tag!
  • Try putting some toys or books in his crib to help him quietly play for an hour and “rest.”

A Boobie Group mommy also posted an article from http://www.babysleepsite.com called “Toddler Sleep and 5 Things You Need to Know” that I found helpful, and most of all, affirming.  We’ve all been through sleep regressions before, and lived to see the other side of them.  Though, in the midst of them it’s easy to think that your baby will never sleep again.  At age two it is possible he’s done taking naps, but I haven’t given up hope yet.  He still seems pretty tired and if nothing else we’ll work out some quiet time for little W and for Mommy.

So here’s the game plan.

Yesterday I tried his nap earlier, and went into his room in increments to try and soothe him.  That did NOT work and actually only made him more angry.  So, today I think I’m going to try a little bit of a later nap and make sure he’s gotten some really good physical exercise in during the morning!  I’m thinking of putting up his mobile again, too, and letting him play with that during his nap – it has a swirling light, soothing sounds, etc. and I think could be a calming “toy” he could play with.

I’ll keep you posted.

Yours hopefully,

MomME

 

 

 

The art of using utensils

It’s time for W to start cleaning up his act at meal time.  Literally.  The mess is killing me!  Clearly W loves it, but me on the other hand…am left scraping avocado out of his ears all day.

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Let’s hash out what we’ve accomplished thus far with the baby lead solids approach, though, because I couldn’t be happier.  W does a great job feeding himself.  He chews incredibly well and rarely gags or bites off more than he can handle.  My favorite?  He’s so adventurous when it comes to trying new foods!  Win. Win.  And win.  We ate out a ton while we were on vacation in Disney (post to come soon!) and it could not have been easier (note I didn’t say cleaner…) thanks to his stellar attitude towards food.  With our amazing rubber bib, disposable placemats, a handful of Cheerios and the LED ice-cube (below), we were golden.  So no complaints on that end.

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But, as with all things, an evolution of process and procedure is in order.  It’s time for a spoon, folks!  The avocado face-and-hair masks are getting too much to clean up three times a day and, frankly, make me dread meal time.  W is nursing less and less (we are at about 6 times a day), so it’s pretty important that I not be dreading feeding the growing little dude.

So, I decided that introducing a spoon was a good idea…when black bean soup was on the menu for lunch, no less.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I must not have had my third cup of coffee yet…

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This first attempt was probably messier than it would have been had I just let him scoop the soup out of the bowl with his hands (which he did half the time).  He quickly discovered that his spoon was a great way to catapult food to the dog instead of his usual delivery method.  Our dog, Rex, is a food-motivated Frenchie who is always underfoot come meal time.  They’ve got quite the symbiotic relationship – W provides the food and Rex provides the entertainment.  It’s a habit we are SERIOUSLY trying to break.  But, W thinks that our head-shaking is part of the game.  So, he holds his food over the edge, drops it, looks at us with a scowl on his face and shakes his head, “No.”  Unfortunately it’s funnier than it is problematic.  At least for right now…

But, back to the spoon.

He does a great job grabbing the spoon with his right hand and usually gets a good grip on the handle – not to high, not too low.  He understands the motion he’s supposed to make and that he scoops the spoon in the bowl and then it goes into his mouth.  He’ll sometimes use the other hand to guide the spoon there with a bit more precision, which is so sweet to watch.  His fine-motor skills are improving so quickly, and it melts my heart to watch his tiny hands make such slow, deliberate and gentle movements.  And the prideful grin?  Agh.

So, I don’t have a calculated plan moving forward.  No benchmarks for the little guy to meet.  But, I think we’ll keep giving him a spoon at meal time and encourage him as he goes!  He has been picking things up so quickly, that I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to a cleaner eating routine in no time…

I know this is wishful thinking, but if you don’t have hope, what do you have?

Spoonfully yours,

MomME

#tbt Christmas morning

My quest to be a more diligent blogger (and capture all of life’s fleeting moments) is feeling more like a study of inertia – a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged.  W finally fell asleep for nap #2 of the day (something he’s been fighting for weeks) and I couldn’t get to the couch fast enough to have some much anticipated “mommy time.”

And then you ruined it.

Ok, so not you, per say, but the fact that I’d committed (in writing, just two days ago) to writing a post a week.  To keeping my focus not on literary perfection, but capturing the hilarious imperfections of life with a toddler.  Ugh, sometimes I get really irritated with myself when I move forward on something with such public gusto only to look back and think, Ugh, why did I say I’d do that?  I’m so annoying!  But the little voice in my head that hates to fail was louder than the volume on the TV (which isn’t hard when it’s nap time and I pretty much have to have the subtitles on to understand ANYTHING that’s happening.  But I digress…)

So.  Here we are again.  Post #2 of the week.  That’s the rate at which I’m going to need to crank ’em out and catch up on what’s happened without missing out on posting about what’s happening now.  So, I thought, why not make Thursday’s weekly post a dedicated #tbt post to catch up on missed happenings during my 3 month hiatus.  I’ll pair it with an Instagram picture.  For some reason, that makes this seem easier.  I guess I’m just a sucker for a good filter.

Let’s try and start where I left off – Christmas!

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My husband and I were SO excited for W’s first Christmas…and slightly overwhelmed with the number of parties and dinners and gatherings that we were schleping him around to.  New parents know there is nothing as terrifying as interrupting a baby’s nap.  Welp.  We had to get over that fast because celebrations were in full swing.  There were presents to open.  Faces to be stuffed with food.  But, as with most things, W took the holiday season in stride and (yet again) proved that most of the time we’re silly to worry.  He adjusted perfectly and loved all of the Christmas lights and decorations…and food!

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What we were most excited for, though, was Christmas morning.  We wondered if W was too young to understand the concept of presents or new toys, and if the wonder of Christmas morning would be lost on him.  We’d resolved to only buy W a few new toys and had asked grandparents and relatives to do the same.  But, the presents that we did buy, were laid out underneath the tree and unwrapped in hopes that their flashy colors and new-ness would catch his eye.

As soon as we heard him wake up, my husband got the video camera set up in the living room.  We all snuggled in our bed while I nursed W (our morning tradition) and it was finally time for the big reveal.  I carried W down the stairs in his new pajama’s (with an adorable firetruck on the front).  The house was still dark, but the Christmas tree lights glowed and his new toys sat sparkly, shiny and new below it.  My husband and I exchanged quick and anticipatory glances…did W understand that these were new toys?  That this morning was special?

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Yes!  He looked under the tree and pointed.  Then he looked at my husband.  And back at me.  As if to ask, “Are these really for me?  Are these new toys I can play with?”  And without further ado he got right to work pushing his alphabet train around and chasing this little bug that vibrates around and rolls balls around.

It was priceless.  As is pretty much everything he does.

We played for about an hour before starting the long day that is Christmas.  First, breakfast with my husband’s family and then a 2hour drive to my grandparents house for dinner with my mom’s family.  W screamed the whole way home that night and we were ALL ready for bed by day’s end.  But, it was still an awesome day.  I’ll never forget coming around the corner and seeing the look on his face when he caught sight of his new toys…those are the moments.

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And speaking of moments.  My solo moments are up.  The little guy is awake.  Funny thing, though, about Christmas morning and all…it pretty much feels like Christmas morning EVERY morning (and afternoon) when I go into his nursery to find him squealing and giggling with excitement and outstretched arms.

Yours truly,

MomME

Did you think I un-friended you?

My lack of presence in your newsfeed is not because I “unfriended” you, as one of my friends asked me.  However, since I probably have exactly three minutes to write this post before baby toddler W wakes up from his nap (yes, he turned 1 a little over a month ago [sob]) I’ll get right to the point.  On the 1-year anniversary of my entry into the blogosphere, after a 3 month hiatus, I have a request of you…I need your help.  Holding me accountable, that is.

Joy.  But, seriously, there’s far less commitment than you might imagine.  Read on.

If you’re anything like me, you likely know it’s easy to fail at goals you don’t tell anyone else about.  That’s because I pretty much thrive on being held accountable by someone…or to someone.  Someone other than myself, that is.  My fear of failure, or my desire to make others happy, is actually my greatest motivator.  (I’d like to think I do most things for my own betterment, but when I’m honest with myself, that’s just not the case.  I’m working on it, but that’s for another post.)

That’s where you come in, inter-webs and follower friends.  A place to cement my intentions and goals.  A place where I can’t take back what you’ve written.  A place to hold me accountable.

Without further ado…my resolutions are:

  1. Be more present (the former educator in me cringes at the vagueness of this resolution, and how challenging it will be to measure this…but)
  2. Write one blog post a week
  3. Read one book a month
  4. Get selfishly active 3x a week (that doesn’t mean lifting W, or taking him on a walk…that means exercise just for mommy!)

They’re not uber complicated or crazy.  Simple.  Realistic, I think.  My first step to making any of these happen?  Just write a fucking post already!  However short or poorly written this is, it’s intended to help me break the ice.  Otherwise, I just keep thinking to myself, Ugh, well I can’t write about Z without writing about X and Y first!  So, there are going to be many posts to come, highlighting all the fun and crazy things that have happened since my last post in early December (W’s first Christmas, learning to walk, I started working part-time, more drama related to his lip-tie, his first birthday, learning sign-language, our first family vacation to Disney, my creation of a cleaning chart…).

But, today, I’ll have to be satisfied with at least stating my intentions.

So, at the risk of letting myself down looking like a failure in front of others (a Type A person’s WORST NIGHTMARE), I’m now compelled to follow through on these things.  Because you’re waiting for updates on them, right?  ;0

Yours accountably,

MomME

Lions, duc(ts) and lip-ties…oh my! [The Final Chapter]

So, last time I sat down to write this post, I crashed our computer :/  However, after thinking we lost all of W’s baby photos, we’re up and running again (with most pictures recovered) on a brand new iMac and, boy, is she a beauty.

But, because I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering how this saga ends, I’ll continue the story where I left off last…a trip to the ENT to have W’s lip-tie evaluated…

As luck would have it, a friend of mine (whose little guy was due the day before W was, and born the day after W!) happens to be a otolaryngologist in Philly.  She answered a ton of my questions, told me exactly how the frenulectomy would be conducted if we chose to have it done…and did all that with far more compassion and charisma than the ENT we saw.  Oohhh, doctors…male doctors…young, new male doctors…young, new male doctors without kids…

Nonetheless, the ENT we saw confirmed W had a moderate tie, though there is no official scale.  He also noted that because a lip-tie often has no impact on the child or the mother, he’d only performed one frenulectomy…but the mother was EXTREMELY happy with the outcome.  He also mentioned that most of his lip-tie patients don’t have a gap between their teeth (a permanent gap between the two front teeth is something a lip-tie can cause)…and little W did.  Again, it’s an elective procedure, so aside from stating the above facts, he didn’t say anything to steer us in one direction or the other.  He did say, though, that if we waited to have the frenulectomy when W was older, it would be a more invasive procedure because he’d likely need anesthesia to keep him still.

So, my husband and I discussed our options.

Given my reoccurring clogged ducts we decided to move forward with the procedure.  Best case scenario, we’d prevent some cosmetic dentistry, expressive language delays and have a better go at nursing.  Worst case scenario, well, there just didn’t seem to be one aside from the 2 minutes of discomfort baby W would experience.  However, we felt it best to do that now while he was young enough to forget it.  While we chickened out from getting the procedure done at the consultation (it’s that simple he could have done it right then and there…) we scheduled an appointment for the following week.  I mean, we had swimming lessons the next day…we couldn’t bear to ruin that for him!

The following Wednesday, bright and early, we headed into the ENT’s office and nervously waited for him to get the show on the road.  Honestly, for as simple a procedure as it is, it was pretty extremely emotionally traumatizing for my husband and I to have to hold the little guy down while all this was happening.  The doctor and his nurse assistant swaddled W while I held his feet down and my husband held his arms down.  We’d agreed that my husband would be the one to “watch” and reassure W face-to-face so that we weren’t both upset.  They started with a quick shot of lidocaine and epinephrine to numb the pain and help with bleeding.  They let that take effect and in about 30 seconds they put a clamp on the skin to cut off the blood supply.  In another 30 seconds or so they were ready for the snip…and just like that, with a pair of scissors, it was done.  He then cauterised the would with silver nitrate and it was over.  Sure, it was over in less than two minutes…but it’s quite possibly the hardest thing in the world to hear your child scream and know you are the cause of that pain 😦

Within a minute of the procedure, baby W had calmed down and was nursing peacefully…every once and while pulling off the nipple to fiddle with his still-numb lip.  It was hard to tell whether or not the procedure had impacted his latch just yet, as I didn’t want to flange his lip.  I still haven’t really fiddled with it yet, or tried to inspect it, since it hasn’t been a week yet.  (We head into the doctor’s this Wednesday for our one-week follow-up to make sure all is well, though I’m expecting it will be given what I can see – a super happy little guy!)

The only sign he’d had anything done?  A bit of swelling and traces of black/silver on his upper lip from the silver nitrate…

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For all the time I spent researching, reading and worrying about whether he had a lip-tie and whether or not we should correct it…it was over in an instant.  But, so far, I’m glad we decided to have it done.

Sigh.  Another milestone in the book: his first procedure/trip to the doctors.  And, like most milestones, baby W seemed to be far more fluid, resilient and unphased with the event than we did.  Funny thing with milestones, though, they seem to come one after the other and far too quickly for my liking.

Our latest milestone?  W’s first serious cold and cough and ANOTHER trip to the doctor’s office earlier today.  We had a touch and go night last night with some pretty serious coughing and trouble breathing.  Yet again, my heart was in my chest.  Thankfully the doctor said it’s just the crud and nothing more serious.

So, here’s to more Tylenol and Motrin…a Nose Frida, saline spray, Boogie Wipes, humidifiers and steam baths with eucalyptus.

Snotfully yours,

MomME

Lions, duc(t)s and lip-ties, oh my! [Part II]

It’s like kryptonite to nursing moms.  And, unfortunately, it’s happened to me three times before.  But this one popped up October 17th and was, by far, the worst yet.

Plugged ducts.

Yup, plugged milk “ducks” as Siri likes to think I’m saying.  Unfortunately they aren’t as cute as those darling rubber duckies W likes to play with in the bath.  These plugged “ducks” are the kind that make your boob a painful, throbbing, rock solid mass of tissue.  A mass of tissue that needs to produce milk.  That wants to produce milk.  That is producing milk…but it just isn’t coming out.

Ugh.  The last thing a nursing mom wants to have happen.

The doubt that creeps into your head is the worst.  Is my baby getting enough milk?  Is he hungry?  Will my supply bounce back after this?  Truly the worst.  I had to check my negative thoughts and try to stay positive, because stress was only making the situation worse.  My first run in with clogged-ducts-turned-mastitis happened when W was 3 months old, and left me laid out on the couch and a major kink in my supply on my left side.  After that, my right boob was my milk maker…but with this clog ON my right side…all that was in jeopardy.

This clog was covering about 70% of my right boob.

I called upon my mommy circle to make sure I wasn’t missing any tricks that could clear this up. I pulled up KellyMom.com.  I started taking 4800mg of Lecithin daily.  I started gently massaging the boob, from the outside down toward the nipple.  I was soaking my boob in a bowl of hot salt water.  I was nursing W every chance I could.  I was even adding two additional pumping sessions during his naps.

But, after a day it was still there and had become painful.  Dramatic times called for dramatic measures.  I needed to pull out the big guns.  By that, I mean my hubby’s big guns 🙂  We put W down for the night and started our Friday night routine – homemade pizzas.  I cracked a Shipyard Pumpkinhead and headed for the shower while the pizzas were cooking.  I turned the temperature up as hot as I could stand it and called the hubby in to join me.

Get your head out of the gutter.  I’m still talking about how to clear a plugged duct.

I needed someone to really massage my boob, and I just couldn’t stomach the lumps and bumps and pain on my own.  It’s like trying to bite off your own tongue.  It’s just impossible.  So, the hubby put his muscles to work and I tried not to cry.  This. Shit. Hurt.  We started to see some milk coming out with each massage and we were optimistic the heat and massage were clearing some of the ducts!  After about 15 minutes we called it quits and  got out.  Then I started to pump and, what do you know, I got about 3oz and the mass was feeling significantly smaller.

Relief. 

Saturday came and went and though my boob was still feeling a bit sore and swollen, it wasn’t the solid mass it was on Friday.  Sunday arrived and it was time for the Wicked 5K and I was still feeling good.  But, when we got home I peeled my two sports bras off realized the mass was back.  And this time, it was accompanied by a little white milk bleb on the tip of my nipple.  I couldn’t take this much longer and my fear of losing my supply or getting mastitis were starting to consume me.

I needed to see the doctor.

So, the doctor squeezed us in at 11am.  I gave our LC, Linda, a call and told her we’d be over to see her for an opinion, too.  My hubby met me at the office for moral support and to hold W while they were checking me out.  Unfortunately, the look on the doctor’s face let me know it was as bad as I was thinking it was.  She ordered an ultrasound to make sure that the mass wasn’t anything more concerning, and sent us off to radiology.

I stopped in to see Linda and she gave me a quick feel, confirming that an ultrasound was a good call. She also pointed out my milk bleb and reminded me that I needed to pop it with a sterile safety pin.  Joy.  Nothing like taking a needle to your nipple. 

Walking into the radiology department was terrifying, to say the least.  Pink breast cancer ribbons adorned the walls.  (It was, after all, breast cancer awareness month.)  I couldn’t help but look around and wonder if the other women in the waiting room were there for a routine mamogram or something else.  I couldn’t help but feel terrified.  What if something is really wrong?  I thought.  When the ultrasound tech had a baffled look on his face because he wasn’t seeing clogged ducts, the terror set in.  We were sent back to our doctor’s office while the radiologist took a look at the scans.  I swear, waiting to hear what was going on was the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life.  For the most part, I’ve taken for granted the amazing and miraculous things my boobs do.  The thought of not being able to breastfeed W was more than I could handle, let alone thinking the doctor was about to deliver some terrible news…I was panicking.

Thankfully, our nurse (who happens to be one of my mommy friends) came out and delivered good news.  OMFG.  Exhale.  The ultrasound showed clogged ducts and, unfortunately, they could take a while to pass.  There wasn’t anything else they could do for me.  I should continue with gentle massage, wet heat, Tylenol, Ibupropen, nursing a ton and pumping a ton in order to clear it up.  I headed home, honestly just so thankful that the ultrasound didn’t show anything concerning and thankful for the milk I still had.  I was determined to get these clogs out!

The rest of the day, that night, all day on Tuesday and into Tuesday night I was diligent with my Lecithin.  I was nursing, soaking, popping my milk bleb, massaging, pumping and repeating like a champ.  This was consuming my entire day.  And, it was still huge.  I mean like fake boob huge.  And sore.

I woke up on Wednesday and reluctantly gave my boob a quick feel, only to confirm that the clogs were still there.  I got W from his crib and brought him back into bed for our daily nursing session.  I couldn’t help but think he was nursing on that side for quite a while, which hadn’t really happened because the clogs were preventing him from getting much milk.  When he finally popped off, I almost didn’t dare to feel it and confirm whether or not the mass had passed…

IT HAD PASSED!  W HAD NURSED IT OUT!  I can’t tell you how excited I was.  How releived I was.  I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and that the clogs could come back at any time, but for right now, I was elated.

The rest of the day we nursed as usual and I still kept the pumping sessions to make sure I was doing everythign I could to get my supply back up.  I could tell that breast had definitely taken a dip.  When I’d pump at night I used to get 3oz out of my right breast and that night I barely got 1oz.

It’s been almost two weeks since the clog passed and my supply is still a bit low on my right side. My milk bleb keeps popping up, threatening to clog things up again.  So, I keep popping it.  And taking Lecithin.  And nursing.  And massaging.  And pumping.  Literally, everything I can to get things back to full working order.

All of this got me thinking about what my husband and I had both, as of very recently, noticed in W’s mouth.  An upper-lip tie.  A labial frenulum, if you will.  You want to know what one of the symptoms of having a nursling with a labial frenulum is?????!!!!!!!!!

CLOGGED DUCTS & MASTITIS & SORE NIPPLES!

WTF.  I’m feeling rather angry that this is just something I’m realizing now, considering how rough a start with nursing we had.  And the mastitis.  And the clogged ducts.  And how he pulls off and nurses at the end of the nipple.  And how I have to flap his upper lip out to get a good flange.

We had his 9 month check up this morning and the FNP didn’t seem too knowledgable, but commented that it did look pretty thick and referred us to the ENT to get it checked out…

Though this is the longest story ever, it was just a small blip on our otherwise clear radar.  The great news is that W is an amazingly happy, healthy and advanced little guy, said the FNP 🙂  He just popped his 7th tooth and is climbing on everything, standing up, clapping and has just added the “N” sound to his vocabularly.

He is perfect.  Lip-tie or no lip-tie.

Proudly,

MomME

Bumper sticker fist-bump

Bumper sticker fist bump

I pulled into a sweet parking spot at Target, giddy to be so close to the entrance and right next to the cart return. As I put the car in park, about to gather my ErgoBaby and grab W, I looked up and smirked. It really was the perfect spot. The bumper stickers on the van in front of me read:

“Breastmilk: it’s never been recalled”
“Cloth, Love & Wear” and
“Wearing is caring”

I liked this mom already, and I didn’t even know her. During the rest of our Target outing (during which, of course, W pooped on my nice chambray shirt) I smiled at the other moms we passed…imagining each of them as the breastfeeding, baby-wearing and loving wonders they are.

As I drove off, I gave a little nod of agreement and raised a fist-bump towards those bumper sticker truths.

One revision “To My Post-Partum Self”

To My Post-Partum Self: Things I Wish I’d Known has been blowing up my Facebook newsfeed, so during W’s nap yesterday I finally sat down and read it.  And, she got it (almost) all right.  At first I found myself nodding along: boobs, do what works, you’re not alone, take a time out, ask for help, don’t clean, find your tribe…and then I got uneasy.  Be a hater?  This is where the “almost” comes in.  Yeah, she got it (almost) all right…except for being a hater.

Ick.  Ugh.  Shift in my chair.  Not sure I like that.

After digesting it all, I get that the overall message of the article is not to hate on other moms.  It’s acknowledgement of the crazy and reassurance to new moms they’re doing a great job and all will be OK.  I just don’t think being a hater (even a little bit, even jokingly) is what I want to tell my post-partum self…or my friends who just had babies…and are about to have babies.  Of course I’ve done it.  We all have.  And I think Shattuck means to encourage you to forgive yourself if you do get a bit judgy-pants (which I agree with).  But making ourselves “feel better” at the expense of others – of new moms – it’s just not very productive.  Or supportive.  Or kind.  Parenting is hard enough as it is, and if you’re anything like me, you probably already second guess every decision you make when it comes to your baby. Do we really want to wonder if every other new mother out there is “hating” on us?  Nope.  Not me.

Women already face too much sexism (along with every other ism) for us to fear that the one group of people who are supposed to be our “tribe” are secretly – or not so secretly – judging our choices.  The truth of the matter is that all moms want the best for their children.  All moms do the best with what they have.  All moms make the best decisions they can for their children.  Even if that means breastfeeding in public.  Even if that means formula.  Even if that means WIC.  Even if that means homemade baby food.  Even if that means “big designer diaper bags brimming with healthy snacks and water and sunscreen and extra outfits and hand sanitizer.”

So here’s my revision, Shattuck…from one mom in Maine to another:

Be a hater Be kind to yourself.

When the doubt creeps in and you’re comparing yourself to other mamas…be kind to yourself and know you’re doing the best you can, mama.  Your baby doesn’t care whether you’re size 6 or 16.  There’s only one you and you’re perfect for your baby.  Always and in all ways.  So when you find yourself in yuck-ville, take a deep breath and: take a break, ask for help, know you’re not alone and spend time with your tribe.  You are on your way. 

Thankfully 99% of Shattuck’s article follows this philosophy, which I loved.  A few other readers, and Shattuck herself, reflected that this section could have been a bit more thoughtful.  I appreciate her owning that!  We all have the right to change our minds 🙂  No shame in that.  So come on, ladies.  Let’s stick together.  If we can’t count on each other to support our, albeit different, parenting choices…then who can we count on?

Your tribe-mama,

MomME

And with a wave it hit me…

On three separate occasions this week I’ve been reduced to tears and about to explode with love and pride over the magic that is growing, birthing, nurturing and witnessing the journey of this tiny human.  I’ve been overcome with the magic that is motherhood.  Either that, or I’m pregnant again…I have been craving Thai food and crafting…

Welp, let’s hope not quite yet…

But, I digress.  That’s not to say I don’t think W’s amazing all the time, obviously.  But, I think the crisp fall air has jerked me out of a humid summer haze and made me inhale deeply…made me aware and present in these moments.  It’s been reminding me to emotionally and mentally catalogue these far too fleeting firsts.

IMG_3214

One of these moments was when W waved for the first time.  The realization that your child understands what is happening in the world around them and then communicating with the world around them is…just…cray.  It’s crazy!  Theoretically I know that he already communicates in his own way when he’s tired, hungry or unhappy and theoretically I know he is very intuitive and gets what’s going on.  But, when he waved “goodbye” to Nana as she left after her usual afternoon visit, with a forlorn look and all, the magnitude of his sheer human-ness just hit me.  He’s growing up so quickly.  He’s so smart.  He gets what’s going on and he’s engaging with the world around him in a learned way.

IMG_1556Another was during our morning nursing session.  This is, quite possibly, my favorite time of the day.  It’s been a long (and amazing and hard-worked-for) 12 hours since I’ve seen my precious little W, and when I hear him chirping over the monitor (usually around 7am) I go in and find him sitting up, happily playing with his lovie in his crib.  The excitement in his eyes when he sees I’m there is (swoon) priceless.  But my favorite part is still yet to come…we head back to our bedroom and sleepily snuggle under the covers while he nurses.  Some mornings we fall asleep again and take our first nap all intertwined.  Other mornings he fills up and is ready to play…so he babbles on and on, stares at our ceiling fan and giggles while we play peekaboo.  This was when it hit me again.  I was peering down at him…babbling and smiling up at me, playing with my hand…and again I was overcome with awe at what a little human being he is – and that we created him.  That we were nurturing him to become this incredibly happy and joyous boy.  Ugh, I love our morning time together.  My second favorite moment of the day?  When we get out of bed and I make cup of coffee.  Ahhhh…perfection.

IMG_3193The third awe-inspiring moment was yesterday at the park.  It wasn’t awesome for any special reason – W didn’t have a “first” moment or anything.  It was amazing because it was just so simple and mundane.  It was a gorgeous fall day. The sky was blue, the grass was green and the wind was blowing in our faces.  Our Frenchie, Rex, was with us.  W was so content looking at the fountains, watching the birds flit around and chewing on his whisk.  Oh, the simple things.  I just felt downright lucky to be alive.  Lucky to be there with little W.  It was just an awesome day and I got to thinking I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way than with him.

Sigh.  And with that, our little love-bug is just shy of 8 months and he’s phenomenal.  Sleeping through the night, finally taking a bottle, eating some solid foods, sitting up on his own, crawling, pulling himself up on his knees, waving goodbye and mastering the b, d and m sounds…soon it will be talking and walking, oh my!

For now, though, I’m just enjoying the present.

Yours presently,

MomME