Monthly Archives: June 2015
First: Anyone else notice WordPress’ rainbow header today? That’s nice.
Second: I love this blog community. I love that I can write posts about things that are hard and have so much feedback that says, “Yeah! Us too!’ I started this blog as a TTC blog and didn’t know what path it would take when Gus was born. What I realized is that my main goal, both here and anywhere I have a public presence, is to normalize motherhood. I talk about the good and the bad and want people to know it all and to know they are not alone. I think I tend to share more of the hard stuff here although I try to do it on facebook (but maybe with a less serious tone there) too. A friend of mine asked me lately if I think I struggled with postpartum depression. I was taken a back at this. She said after reading some old blog posts she wondered. I don’t think I did at all. I think some parts of motherhood are really magical and some are really terrible – unfortunately, most people don’t talk about the terrible. I love that this space is space to talk about it all.
Third: I love the feedback I got about my post about the struggles to find our relationship. Lesley and I are big talkers and processors so it’s something we have been talking about a lot. We’ve been calling each other out more on tone useage which helps. Also, today we got an air conditioner. If you aren’t facebook friends with me (well first, why not?) then you might not know it is miserably hot here. We live in the PNW to avoid this kind of craziness but it is so so so hot. So we got us a little window air conditioner that has helped to take the edge off. Now we might be able to get a few things done around here without just laying on the couch thinking about death.
Now to my real post:
Before I had a baby I had hang ups about breastfeeding. Sure, I knew it was best for babies but I thought it weird when people nursed toddlers and didn’t understand why people needed to nurse in public. As soon as he came I got it – I have no hang ups about people doing whatever works for them and started to wonder how long I would nurse Gus.
Gus has never been a comfort nurser. He nurses to eat and then goes about his business. He hates nursing in public – there are too many distractions. It just ends with me boob out for a long time and milk spraying everywhere. Now things have shifted and he totally prefers the bottle.
There are a few reasons for this. First, it is HOT. We give him bottles cold, breast milk from the source is warm. I think he just likes the cold. The second reason is that he’s had a cold and a bottle is easier for him with a cold. I try to nurse him, he won’t stay latched, we give him a bottle and he downs 3 ounces easy. He’s nurse during the night but other than that every time I tried today it ended with a bottle.
I think the next move for him will be a bottle/nursing only before a nap or bed. He takes two naps and day so that would be three times a day (and overnight more). Currently it is probably closer to 5. He’s eating more and more. It amazes how much the little thing with two teeth can eat. We feed him whatever we are eating when he eats. He loves fruit, and peas, and meat. Yesterday, at a work picnic with my work, he ate four pieces of watermelon. It’s a bit absurd. I think as we feed him more set meals and as he fully settles into the two nap transition (this is new) he’ll move towards less bottles.
It’s interesting for me to think about. I was fully okay with nursing him as long as he wanted but didn’t expect it to be so short. I’ll continue nursing at night and pumping as long as he needs me to (meaning until he legit sleeps through the night with is NO WHERE NEAR soon.) But for now, I am thinking about transitioning to an exclusively pumping mama.
I read somewhere long ago that it takes 18 months after having a baby for your relationship to go back to normal. I thought that made sense at the time but I never knew how true it was until I started living it.
The stress of having a child, particularly the stress of bedtime, has really made things a bit harder in our home. Gus doesn’t sleep particularly poorly – he is a frequent waker but normally needs gentle soothing very briefly and goes back to sleep. When he is in his crib he just needs to know someone is there and falls back to sleep almost instantly. When he is in our bed it normally just involved popping a boob in his mouth and we’re all back to sleep. But he does not go to sleep easily. He has never fallen asleep not in our arms (Well, a few time we have found sleepy but not asleep but it still involved the same amount of work on the front end) and it used to always take holding him tight and patting his back while he screamed. About two weeks ago that stopped working. Now he only goes to sleep nursing or on a bottle. Last night, like many nights in the past few weeks, he nursed for an hourish and took four ounces in a bottle. That’s a lot. The night before that he nursed and was instantly to sleep in 15 minutes. Why the difference, Gus man?
It is hard during these bad nights not to use a tone of voice that the other mom may hate. Lesley feels like I talk to her like she is stupid. I feel like she yells at me. We both leave bedtime exhausted, upset, and mad at one another. The arguments we have then are the arguments my parents had my entire childhood. I hate so much that it keeps happening.
Yet it doesn’t seem to get better. These arguments are based on tone of voice. It’s so dumb yet we can’t stop it.
There are other stresses, too. Currently, we are all sick. We all have a cough and cold for going on a week. It’s been rough. Lesley has been sick for about a month. First a cold, then a stomach bug, then Gus got sick and she caught his cold, and now she has that and a stomach bug. I know she feels bad both physically and for not being as big of a help because she is sick. I am not a patient person. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses and I am not good when my partner is sick. I’m tired of her being sick. I’m tired of being what I call “the family motivator” who has to encourage everyone to participate in activities and do household chores. It sounds dumb but it is really tiring to always have to be the person to keep everyone moving. The good thing about this sickness is that it’s really motivated Lesley to do something about her health. She has always had a list of mysterious ailments that doctors have dismissed. One of these is her inability to kick illnesses. When she gets sick it is regularly for a month or more. So next week she has a consult with a Naturopath to see if they will be able to work with her to figure out if something bigger is going on. But for now it is rough.
The sickness and the baby who won’t go to sleep and the stress of life piling up around us (laundry, a lawn that needs mowing, the fact that Lesley hasn’t been cooking much because she is sick so we really haven’t been eating which exasperates all the problems) makes it so hard to be so far from our families. I just wish more than anything that Gus had a Grandma near by that we could tap out to for a bit. Our two biggest sources of help have always been our friends K and B. K moved to Canada at the beginning of the month. The same week B’s long time boyfriend returned from a year long deployment and they bought a house. (I should mention she still stops by and made us soup and cake last week. She just has a life, too.) But even if either of them were available I don’t know that there’s much anyone could do for us. I don’t know if there is much a Grandma could do. I think just not having that makes it seem like the cure all to these problems.
In the end I know our relationship will be fine. I know we’ll find a way to break these patterns that now seem unbreakable. I know we’ll be healthy again and stuff will get done and it will be okay. But for now the days are long and nights are hard and I just wish things would ease up a little bit. I wish that physically, emotionally, and mentally we’d all feel good.
I’ve been meaning to write but just haven’t been too sure what to write about. I will start a post in my head and keep it going for a few days but then either lose it or it seems unimportant (You know, because this blog is so important). But today I have a topic.
I hate working. In reality I don’t but this week I sure do. This week has been a strange week. I got a text from our sitter late Sunday that both she and her daughter had some sort of stomach bug. I told her to let me know when she woke up the next day and we would evaluate then. I stayed home with Gus in the morning and once he went down for his morning nap she texted me and said she was feeling good. I took him over after his nap and went into work around 10:30. On Tuesday we went to drop him off at the sitter’s house and after ringing her doorbell five times and calling twice Gus and I dropped Lesley off at work and went home. I heard from here later in the morning when she woke confused. It was 93 degrees Monday and 91 degrees on Tuesday so they had multiple fans on in the house – she didn’t hear the bell or phone. I stayed home with Gus until Lesley got out of work at noon, we swapped him out, and I went to work. I had to work late last night to give a presentation but Lesley and Gus came and hung out at my work because it is air conditioned.
These couple of days have really made me want to be home. I know that’s probably not how I really feel and that this is a “grass is greener” thing but these last couple days have made it hard. Gus takes semi reliable morning naps and is able to play by himself for a short period of time. I was able to get stuff done both mornings and felt like if I just had a little more time I could get a handle on our lives.
There’s other factors that made this worse. Lesley has been sick, first with a cold and then with some sort of stomach flu, for weeks. It’s hot so after bedtime we have zero energy. Before Lesley was sick Gus was sick. There’s always something to do and no time to do it.
Add to that that my kid is really fun. He’s happy and engaged and I want to see him engage with the world. I will never get to go to library story time. There is a local baby hiking group here that pretty much only has daytime hikes. All baby activities pretty much center around stay at home parents. I want to do things with him and take him places and I’m at work. He went with the sitter to a splash park on Monday for the first time. Don’t worry, I got to hear all about how much fun he had.
I’m getting seriously behind at work. I can’t focus and now I am so far behind that I just don’t even know where to start. Maybe I want to run away from that. Maybe I just want to cuddle my kid. Maybe this will pass. But look at this face — this passing doesn’t seem likely.
Lesley ran into a mom we know from baby class while at work today. The interaction went like this:
Other mom: “Oh hi! Is Gus with you?”
Les: “No, I work here so am working now.”
Other mom: “Oh right. [To her child] ______ you remember Lesley. Gus’ dad. Or mom. Or whatever.”
Also, your 10 month old child doesn’t remember Lesley (or Gus for that matter) so probably no need to say anything anyway.