Friday, October 7, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Over the past couple of days, a few things have happened, and Jason and I have had a few conversations, that have me thinking about the sacrifices you make as a mom (or a dad, but, honestly, I think more so as a mom). They aren’t necessarily huge things, but it’s funny how motherhood makes a woman sort of morph into this person who puts this other person first, without even necessarily thinking about it. I honestly never thought I’d become one of those people, but I sort of have.
Today, I gave up the chance at about 3 hours alone while Michaela should’ve been at her Mom’s Day Out to do the right thing – which was to put her back to bed when she got up in time to go because she was definitely still too tired to be awake yet. She just started the MDO program on Wednesday - about three months after we originally planned to get her into something like that – and I was definitely looking forward to my second day of being able to do what I needed to without having to drag a toddler along. But it wasn’t to be for today. In fact, another one of the things I gave up was more time alone over this past summer because I (we) chose to spread out Michaela’s vaccines a bit so she had to wait until the Fall term instead of doing the summer program like we’d originally planned. Then there’s the money that’s spent on cute shoes and clothes for her instead of me, the hours spent in the pool when the last thing I want to do is swim again but it makes her so happy, the endless loop of the “First Nursery Rhymes” CD in the car, the… well, you get it. And, really, these aren’t conscious decisions to put her first. They really just happen. And honestly I’m a little surprised to realize how often I do this stuff!
One of the biggest reasons why we waited so long to have a child was because I was totally not ready (read: unwilling) to give up a lot of the things that I wanted to do for myself. We were enjoying unencumbered travel. We were advancing in our careers. We were dropping everything at a moment’s notice (or as “moment’s notice” as you can get when trying to coordinate two military schedules) to go away for a weekend, or just to head out in the morning and not come back all day. We were enjoying two paychecks and only two people to spend them on. We were having FUN.
And then one day, having a kid seemed like a good idea all of a sudden (ask me about my favorite red wine analogy on being ready for a kid sometime). I think I finally realized that giving up some of those things would be ok. Because I knew from the start that motherhood would mean giving things up. (Ever met someone who didn’t realize that? It’s a sure sign of not really being ready, if you ask me… thinking that your whole life will go along like it was!) But I don’t think I realized how far the “giving up” goes.
Like I said, it’s not necessarily the big things. Really, with the exception of the unencumbered travel and the second paycheck, we haven’t really given up a whole lot of big things. It’s just all the little things… the things that made me even think about this in the first place. The things that make me wonder where this mom in me came from. And the things that make me wonder why I’m ok with all this sacrifice as long as it keeps my kid happy and healthy.
Who the heck is this me and where did she come from? I have to say; I don’t hate this me, though. I’m pleasantly surprised with myself and the fact that all of that not being ready (again, read: willing) to have a baby for a really long time (for the love of Pete – we’d been married for 10 years when she finally got here!) all disappeared as soon as she got here. I’m not going to say I don’t have my own little internal tantrum every now and again when I can’t do something I want to do just for me, but for the most part, this is just the way it goes – the mommy sacrificing - and it’s all good in my book.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Ha! They fell down completely! And upside down!
Perfect! Glasses are on and she's ready to go!
I've had a few ideas floating around in my head about things I'd like to just write about, but haven't quite gotten to them yet. As you can imagine, this kid keeps me more than a little busy, so I don't get a lot of time to do things for myself! It's enough that I get my 365 blog updated every night. Sometimes it's right before midnight, but I've at least been getting it done every day! I know I always say I'm not going to neglect this blog so much, and I really don't mean to, but it's tough to find the time!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
I am a nursing mom.
Once upon a time, way before I even thought about having kids, I was pretty sure I would breastfeed, but I KNEW I wouldn’t go past infancy (technically, a year). To be honest, I was a little weirded out by people who nursed toddlers. Well, I should say, I was weirded out by the idea of a toddler nursing. I really felt like, once a child was walking and talking – the old “if they can ask for it, they’re too old” idea – how could there be any need to continue nursing. Ok, who am I kidding… I was weirded out by the idea of nursing at all. Really.
And then I got pregnant. Being in Kodiak, I was exposed to a lot more natural parenting ideas than I think I would’ve been in the real world. It wasn’t that I sought them out, it just seemed that I was around people who knew things about doulas and minimal-intervention childbirth, and nursing. I think going to a family practice clinic rather than an OB for my prenatal care probably helped that along.
The more I heard about these things, though, the more I looked into them. We took a childbirth class with a natural childbirth educator, who we also hired as our doula. She was also the volunteer with the Kodiak Kindness Project (a breastfeeding support program) who did our follow-up for breastfeeding. I watched “The Business of Being Born” while Jason was deployed one time (and promptly decided that homebirth was not for me, but that an unmedicated, minimal-intervention birth was). I started reading the kellymom website to learn about all things related to breastfeeding. And I decided I would nurse for a year.
To be honest, there were a few reasons why I chose to nurse, and not all of them were noble. Sure, it’s the food made just especially for a baby! But I’m cheap. And formula costs a lot. Assuming I’d be able to nurse with no problems, why would I pay for something I was making for free? Even with the expensive pump I’d need for going back to work, I was still going to come out way ahead. Also, nursing helps you lose baby weight faster. I had a uniform to get back into. Within a week of getting back to work after having Michaela, I submitted my paperwork to do the temporary separation program. There was no way I was buying all new uniforms for a year. So, although I knew that breastmilk was the best, most complete, source of nutrition I could offer my child, I liked the other benefits of breastfeeding just as much.
And then Michaela was born. And then she hit the 3-week growth spurt. And then I was a crying, blubbering, sore, touched-out, tired-of-feeding-the-child-every-hour-from-7-to-11-pm-just-to-wake-up-in-two-hours-to-do-it-again mess. And I wanted to quit. I didn’t want to be a snack machine. I wanted my child to see me as something other than just the lady with the food. But a wonderful group of ladies I know from an online community talked me off the ledge. They assured me that, if I could get to six weeks, it would all get easier. I doubted them, but I’m too stubborn to give up that easily (and I hadn’t lost enough weight yet, and I’m cheap), so I kept going.
And then it was 6 weeks. And then 8 weeks, when I went back to work. Nursing Michaela gave me an excuse to get to go see her every day at lunchtime so I could feed her once a day myself… something I was loathing at 3 weeks became my lifeline at 8 weeks. And then it was 6 months and we were still going, but she started to eat some real food, too. And then she was 11 months old and we were getting ready to move. There were some transitional issues going on at daycare and I found myself in a place I never thought I’d be… arguing for my choice – my right – to dictate that breastmilk would still be my child’s primary source of nutrition, regardless of the schedule at daycare. Who was this mom I’d become?
Then we moved. While we were on the trip, she turned one. I was going to stop at one. But through 23 days of cross-country driving, being able to nurse my – what??? – toddler was the one thing that made things a little easier for us all. Cranky afternoon in the car? Let’s pull over and let her nurse! She didn’t want to go to sleep at night? That’s fine, we’ll just nurse a little extra! Needing a little morning snuggle to get the day started right? Absolutely! Let’s nurse! Getting all set up in the new house with no furniture for a week or so was also made easier by the fact that we had a schedule of meals and nursing and naps and bedtime. I think the toddler was the one who dealt with all of it better than Jason and me!
But I was sure that as soon as we were settled, we’d wean. I was still a little weirded out by the idea of nursing this older child. By the time she was a year, she was able to sign “milk” so we kind of got passed that “old enough to ask for it” thing. So I’d moved past that. But I still didn’t like the idea of nursing a toddler, a real kid. But then we were settled and, although we started to drop some of the times we’d normally nurse as her schedule started to change, we were still nursing. Then she turned 14 months. 15 months. 16 months. By then, we were down to only two nursing sessions a day as she went to only one nap a day – nap and bedtime. Every once in a while, on a particularly cranky day, we’d throw an extra one in to calm her down.
But at 16 months, she still seemed so young to me. I knew she was a full-on toddler, but she just didn’t seem like she was “too old” to nurse. And then she was 17 months. And then 18. Somewhere along the line, we made our plans to go to the Mardi Gras Ball and have an overnight away from her in February. I just figured we’d be done nursing by then so it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. I mean, I was never going to nurse a toddler. And then she was 19 months. And then we went to that Mardi Gras Ball last weekend (and she was fine without me overnight!).
And now she’s less than 2 weeks away from turning 20 months and I’m a nursing mom.
And I don’t know when we’re going to stop. And I don’t know how I became someone who nurses a toddler. The strange thing is that, when I look down at her, I don’t see a toddler. I don’t see a baby, by any means, but I don’t see a toddler. I just see my girl, the one who has just always been a nursling. I don’t see a girl who’s “too old” or who “doesn’t need it” anymore. I see a girl who now says (or signs) “Milk, please!” when I get her ready for a nap or bedtime. I see the girl who stops eating to say random words as they pop into her head. Or to turn her head to see if she’s missing something on our bazillionth viewing of “Finding Nemo” in the past month. Or to get up and run around for a minute like she did tonight because she’s just not ready to settle down yet. I just see my girl.
Maybe she doesn’t *need* breastmilk anymore. She’s certainly getting great nutrition from all the food she eats. But some days, she doesn’t feel like eating much and I am comforted by the fact that she’s getting so much good stuff from me. And it’s not just the nutrition. Though we’re more scheduled in our nursing than a lot of other people are, and it can sometimes seem like more habit than comfort, I know that I am still her comfort and her constant. As she gets more and more independent every day, I know that coming to me to nurse grounds her and lets her know that she is safe and secure. That will help her spread her wings even more!
I don’t know how it happened. But I am a nursing mom.