Friday, April 19, 2013

Un Año

This year has flown by with a speed that is unparalleled in my previous life. I recently made a post on Facebook about measuring one year through the many emotions of first time parents. It's a scary, magnificent, draining, daunting, explosion of emotions. That is what parenting this year has been, an explosion of emotions. It is to feel uncertainty in every single moment. The uncertainty may reflect differing topics from moment to moment but it always there.

"Is the water to cold? Too hot? Does he have a fever? Am I giving him too much attention? Not enough?? Are we establishing good boundaries? What is in that yogurt?? Will he be Mexican enough? Jamaican enough? American enough? How much sugar is too much sugar? Is he being read to enough? What IS enough? What if he falls? Is that poop?"

The ramblings of uncertainty are unceasing, and they are loud, and often times they come without provocation. The blessing is that amongst the uncertainty is the most beautiful song. It is life magnified.

I am forever grateful for my partner in life. Together we have experienced the world with brand new eyes, an empty slate of wonder and amusement. He is the epitome of fatherhood and it makes my heart explode to see them together. This honorable man of ours shares all of his values and morals, and love so effortlessly.

How do you measure time? How do you measure love? How do you color your world? With laughter? With adventure? Whatever you do, I hope it is worth it - in every sense of the word. I hope your life is worth it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

we will not negotiate with terrorists

That is our new mantra around the house. As I recently noted The Tyrant is here to stay but Hopefully we can temper his blow, because right now it is mighty.

Howie has learned to arch his back and throw himself with wild abandon into the unknown. Sometimes there is a warning first like a squishy nose, narrowed eyes, or maybe a call of frustration. Instead of giving me small queues to let me know he is sleepy and ready to nurse he now goes from happy and content baby to full on "I'm going to die if I don't get my milk RIGHT NOW" in like one second. Sometimes he isn't even hungry or tired he just doesn't want his boogers wiped or his diaper changed. I can dig it kid. I hate doing things too. I like to throw a good tantrum. Apparently it's no longer socially acceptable for me to do that, but in my miiiiind I still want to.

When he first started these tantrums we feared the obvious - does he have gas? Is he in pain? What if he is teething? Is it another ear infection? How do I take away my sweet loves pain? I think B and I both remember how painful it was to watch Howie when we were dealing with his acid reflux and that it has colored our decision making with The Tyrant. It's hard as a parent to distinguish between his pain and his frustration and its even harder to stomach the look on his face when he is mid-cry.

What do you want kid a new pony? You got it.
A singing whale? Coming right up!

When he is cranky and fussy we sing songs and dance and make funny noises and other random ideas to get him to calm down.


We are getting better at determining if he is in pain and I would say 7 out of 10 cries are because he is being a brat and doesn't want to get his shit together i.e. getting his nose wiped or his butt wiped for that matter. So in the case that he isn't getting mauled by a bear and he is full of milk we have taken to putting his tantrum throwing bootay in his crib and walking out of the room.

Simple enough concept. I know I've often suggested this remedy to other parents (obviously before I was a parent) in an off the cuff manor as if to say "duh, ignore your kid yo." But when it's YOUR kid the stakes are higher. The connection deeper. I think most moms will agree that we can feel their cries vibrating every cell in our bodies. That's what I feel. It resonates so deeply that to ignore it seems more than criminal just down right morally reprehensible. So overcoming that, to me, seemed like a superhuman feat. Well, I finally got over all that hippiespeak this weekend when Howie wouldn't let me do any packing for our upcoming trip. He wanted to scream and shout and shake it all about.

Howie looking for his crowd.

So I picked him up, gave him a kiss and set him and his ruffled feathers in his bed. I turned on the video monitor, shut the door and waited in my room to see how this little experiment was going to turn out. Well let me tell you folks, within one second of closing that bedroom door he stopped screaming. His little head cocked back as if to say "where the hell did my audience go?!" He looked around a couple of times then sat down and played with his sleep sheep. In ten seconds this baby was singing to the sheep and trying to eat his blanket.

Mom is no longer amused.

I walked back in his room and he was all laughs! I couldn't believe it! I thought it must have been a fluke. Nope. We had multiple opportunities to test this theory. And each time except one he stopped crying immediately. The one time he kept crying was because he was in fact sleepy as all hell. Side note: he has become quite efficient at putting himself to sleep but that's for another post. Side note to the side note: my whole life is a side note.

In conclusion, ignore your baby yo! And don't negotiate with terrorists! They'll only learn to be better terrorists! Unless the terror is real. In that case don't ignore them; meet all demands.

This is the face of a content baby that has found a tag to
play with. He was crying 5 seconds before this shot.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Breastmilk Blues

This last month was a little difficult feeding wise. My milk started to dry up and with it so did my sanity. It apparently doesn't take a lot for my sanity to pack its bags and head out on a weekend adventure. If you ask me I think that my sanity keeps a "go kit" packed by the door, ready for deployment at the slightest hint of what we will refer to as "uncomfortable feelings." I like to have a plan and when life doesn't stick to the freakin script I flip out.

So, where were we? Ah! The milk. I guess around eight and a half months or so our huge container of milk bags in the freezer was low and I also noticed that Howie's appetite was increasing. His daily reports from daycare showed that he was drinking more and more and I was pumping less and less at work. Some days there are just too many meetings for me to catch time to pump and some days I just don't have enough milk to fill up four bottles in eight hours. There were some days that my little cooler only had one lonely bottle of milk. A sad day indeed.

I began to panic thinking that I would have to stop breast-feeding sooner than I would have liked if I couldn't provide enough milk to match his appetite. I've already expressed (get it??) how much I truly love breast-feeding and the thought of having to stop before we both were ready was quite excruciating. I imagined his little face when he is comforted by a midnight nursing and our snuggles under the covers for out afternoon nap knowing that his body recieves all . I wasn't ready to give that up yet. I'm still not ready.

So, when our milk box got down to about three or four bags I knew we were really in trouble. I typically like to keep about a weeks worth of milk in the freezer (I am a self confessed food hoarder) and four bags is barely enough for one day at daycare. So I did what everyone does in situations of sheer panic. I googled that shit.

Google told me stuff I already knew. Google told me to start supplementing his diet with formula. Did I also mention that at the height of milkgate 2013 Howie wasn't interested in food??? Yeah. I panicked the fuck out. Most of the websites out there had information for women who had just delivered and were working on building their initial supply. So I read back over all tips and realized that I had been straying away from the basics.

The Basics

  • Eat food
  • Drink water
  • Empty regularly

I know there are more difficult situations out there for other mothers but once I simplified it out those three things really were the root of the issue for me. I had recently bumped up my activity level at the gym. I went for a bout three workouts a week to five to six intense workouts.

WARNING: objects in photo may appear awesomer than me

I also started cutting carbs from my diet in my attempt to eat healthier again. Third factor: I had gotten away from pumping regularly. It doesn't matter whether or not there are valid reasons for not being able to pump, the body will read it as "milk not needed, cut down supply." Truth.

So, I wasn't eating enough to adequately produce milk and the food I ate was being burned off immediately with my pumped up ass workouts. I mean, the gym is addicting once you start to see results and lets be honest here post preg body is not hot. I had to make a decision between my vanity and breast feeding. I chose breastfeeding.

i love you carbs! we had such good times
I have since added more carbs back into my diet, but I have eliminated the whites. The white potatoes and the pastas and the rices are persona non grata. The rice for a whole separate reason but that's for another day. I just replaced them with healthier carbs that calorie count tells me are okay to eat. All carbs aren't bad, I just don't want to eat a shit ton of empty carbs. I am probably going to follow this post with a recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies so don't judge me, you hooker. I also cut out like ONE workout. Big deal. Not really. I cut out multiple super cardio workouts though. I only do one of those a week now and mainly stick to strength building classes and yoga. So no more multiple boxing classes and cycling and high intensity interval training. Just one of those a week. And lastly, but most importantly I got back to drinking more water. I pretty much only drink water (coffee doesn't count) but I got away from drinking the amounts I needed to keep up production.

I struggled with writing this post for fear of "the jinx" so I am crossing my fingers and hoping the universe doesn't do a "just kidding." But for now I can say that my milk supply is back. The freezer is filling back up and so are my chichi's. I don't know how much longer I will breast feed. I initially planned for a year and some days I still feel that way. I do know that I will try to stick with it as long as Howie needs to until he begins to eat enough food to sustain himself. And when we are ready - both of us, we will stop. I'll probably cry. Until then we still get to tangle up together with my fingers wrapped in his curly hair and his fingers twisting my own curls. I still get to sing him to sleep while he drinks up his mothers love. I live for those moments. I live for him.

**Note: literally the day after I typed this up Howie decided to stop nursing. I don't know if it's because of his ear infection or what but he doesn't want it. I hope that this shit wears off soon because I can't keep up production levels by pumping alone. I also need him to nurse.**

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bug Bites

Little bites with a little mouth with two little tiny teeth. Howie recently fell in love with food. This is a very big deal in our world. We tried for months to get him to eat and all we got in return was a closed mouth and averting eyes. Parents can only play it cool for so long. I google searched every online forum looking for a solution. There were serious fears that I would have to drive down to Howie's elementary school every day so that he could nurse because he wouldn't want to eat his packed lunch.

 One of my close girlfriends has a son that is about four weeks older than Howie and she gave me some great advice. She basically told me to chill out. She told me that as long as he was gaining weight as expected then to just let him develop his curiosity naturally. So we waited.

Howie was bumped up to to the older kids room where all the kids eat lunch and snacks. Well, the day he moved to that class he started eating. Just like that. On Sunday he refused food and on Monday he loved it. So ultimately the lesson of this story is that peer pressure is real.

On Sunday's I make Howie's "lunch" for the week. Here are a few of our favorite combos:

  • Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes and Bananas
  • Green Beans and Apples
  • Green Beans and Pears
  • Yogurt and Strawberries
  • Apple and Pear

The green beans and apples are by far his favorite foods so far. I'm excited to see what combos he likes in the future.