My Secret Shame

I have a secret. It’s not really a secret ’cause I tell a lot of people, plus most people who spend any time around me pick up on it pretty quickly. That being said, it still definitely still qualifies as one of those dirty little secrets of parenting. I HATE breastfeeding. I have spent well over two years of my life nursing my kids. And I mean no bottles, no formula, every two hours (if I am lucky to get two full hours) nursing my kids. And I hate it.

I love that I have been able to do this for my kids. I am so, so thankful that breastfeeding worked out for us. It is inconceivably hard to master at first. And no one can understand that except a woman who has tried. When I thought it wasn’t going to work and I might have to switch to formula when my oldest was a week old, I cried for hours. There are obviously a lot of benefits of breastfeeding. The health benefits to mom and baby alone are worth it for me. Plus, once you finally have it mastered, it is the magic cure all for newborns. Baby’s hungry? Throw ’em on the boob. Baby’s startled? Quick, shove a boob in their mouth. Getting a little tired? Suckle off to sleep. Cold? Cuddle in and nurse. Can’t figure out why they’re crying? A boob never hurts! Add to that, not having to deal with midnight trips to the kitchen to sterilize, mix and heat bottles. I will take the roll-over-and-whip-it-out method of overnight feeding. (Yes, we co-sleep, along with a lot of other things I said I’d never do before having kids!)

Yep, breastfeeding was the right choice for us. But I still HATE it. With a passion. I have never enjoyed that special bonding of breastfeeding. I have definitely bonded with my babies, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t find the process of breastfeeding to be more bonding than just cuddling them into my chest. Those moments in the first two weeks or so, when your baby is screaming and hungry and your nipple is actually in their mouth but they won’t close their lips together and suck; yeah, not exactly feeling that wave of maternal love rushing over me. If anything, cuddling is much more bonding to me, since I’m not worried about latches and leaking and all the other breastfeeding logistics.

So, latches, and leaking, and all the other breastfeeding logistics. I remember reading , before giving birth to my first, that breastfeeding doesn’t hurt as long as you are doing it properly. I call BULLSHIT on that. I assumed I was doing it wrong for the first week ’cause my god, the searing pain. In hindsight, of course it hurt! It’s breastfeeding. Sure, it hurts less if it’s done properly but in what world does applying significant sucking pressure on one of the most sensitive areas of your body for 6-8 hours a day, all of a sudden, not result in some pain. And chapping. And cracking. And that’s when “latching” is working well. I don’t know why it is so hard to figure out the latch thing at first, but it really is. All the while you are sitting with your breasts out for the world of visitors, or whoever, to see. And it’s leaking. Like sometimes spraying half way across the room, leaking. And all over your clothes and your baby’s face. And it’s sweet sticky milk, which is so much fun to be covered in, until your next shower which will be god knows when. Of course, all of this is being figured out when you’re on the biggest hormonal roller coaster of your life and your emotions are completely out of control. Your only real job is to keep this thing fed and you can’t understand why it is so hard and how the human race hasn’t died out before this point if it is dependent on getting newborns properly latched onto nipples.

I don’t think there is anyone I have spoken to in the last 4 years that doesn’t know I hate being pregnant. Surprising, since I have three children, but that just speaks to how much I like babies. And how bad my short term memory is now. I am always happy to have the pregnancy over with when baby is born, and have my body back to myself. But it’s not really, because of breastfeeding. I can’t drink coffee because my babies go PSYCHO when I have had a real coffee/decaf mix up (I think we legitimately delayed my brother in law from having kids by a year or two when Owen got a little real caf breastmilk at 4 months old and happy screamed until 2am). I can have the occasional beer or glass of wine, but not without worry and guilt about it. And all that talk about breastfeeding making you lose weight? I know I am in the minority here, but I cannot lose weight while breastfeeding. I can work out. I can eat healthier. I can reduce my daily caloric intake. Nothing! I have dropped my last ten pounds of pregnancy weight within a month of weaning both my boys. Never before then though. And even when the weight is dropped, everything else has too!

My real secret shame is that the reason I hate breastfeeding most of all is super selfish. It’s not that formula fed babies typically sleep through the night way earlier. Or that only I can handle midnight feedings. I can handle the sleep stuff. I just want to be able to leave my kid for a few hours on a date with my husband, or a girls night, or anything selfish like that. I mean, I do do those things, but I know there is a significant chance of her screaming the whole time so I can’t really enjoy any of those things. Especially if they go on for more than say 90 minutes. I feel like the worst mom when we get home and her cheeks are red and tear-covered. And I never fully believe the babysitter when they say “she’s only been really upset for the last five minutes”. Then your baby realizes you’re home and hits the craziest combination of anger and elation. And then she latches on and lets out a sigh of relief ten times bigger than her tiny little body and almost immediately nods off to sleep.

It’s amazing being that person that they love more than anyone and anything else in the whole entire world. But it’s also a terrible curse of responsibility. I can’t help but wonder if that would be all that different if we bottle fed. And would it be all that bad if they loved me a little less and their dad a little more in that first year? I obviously wouldn’t do anything differently, since I have had the chance three times now and still choose to breastfeed. But I am happy to come clean about not enjoying it.

So, to all the mom’s who fought through the pain, the frustration, the limitations and all the other curses of breastfeeding, whether for a day or a decade, I literally feel your pain! To the moms who didn’t, in my opinion, you really aren’t missing as much as some say. To ALL the moms, you do what is right for you. And complain about it whenever you get the chance ’cause damn this motherhood thing can be tough some times.

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Toddler Translations

Oee being "Gentle" with Wossy

Oee being “Gentle” with Wossy

I have officially discovered the language of the toddler, and decided to translate it. It sounds very similar to English, but the differing definitions are astonishing. Here is what I have decoded so far:

“Gentle please” = recreate the Of Mice and Men scene with Lennie and the rabbits, all the while nodding and repeating “Gentle”

“Please don’t touch mommy’s computer” = Pound that keyboard as hard and as fast as you can. Know how to change any settlings? Great, do it stealthily and quickly! The stranger the better, like that time you made the screen display sideways.

“Did you poop?” = Deny everything. You never poop. You never need a new diaper. You never need to use the potty.

“Can you show (family/friend) that new thing you learned?” = stand perfectly still and silently stare at mommy like she has lost her mind.

“Yucky” = Put that in your mouth as fast as you can, before anyone takes it away from you.

“Can you share please?” = Run. Grab that toy and GO!

“Can you take one more bite please?” = Use both arms as windshield wipers to clear your plate. Or the table. Then wipe whatever is on your hands in your hair, in an attempt to ensure a bath.

“Shoes on” = We are going to the park. Make a run for the park, across the street, to be sure you don’t miss out. No need to wait for shoes, clothes or adult supervision, just get going!

“Shh” = Louder please, mommy obviously can’t hear you over the sleeping baby.

“Clean up time”= Mommy is trying to take away the best toys. Forever. Insist on playing with every toy she touches. Lose your mind if a toy goes out of sight.

“Just a moment and mommy will help you” = No one will ever assist you with this task, so you better lose your mind, become inconsolable and blow this WAY out of proportion

With many years of toddlers ahead of me, I look forward to learning more of this new language. And by “looking forward to” I mean I terrified of and desperately hope to keep my sanity through. But boy do toddlers keep life interesting.

Oee’s New Nemesis

Howdy parter! Shirtless is how I roll!

Howdy parter! Shirtless is how I roll!

Recently Oee decided he hates wearing shirts. I understand hating pants. They are tight around the waste and give me muffin top and hurt my tummy. But shirts? They are warm and unoffensive. Regardless of my opinion, Oee now hates wearing shirts. He hates getting them on and insists “No shirt. Shirt off, shirt off.” every time I put one on him. Even if it is green!

Now he knows how to take them off. I have found him shirtless in many situations; during parties, going to sleep, when we are getting ready to go outside. None of them appropriate, but some are less appropriate than others. Especially with the winter we have been having! Today, I went to check on Oee during his nap, to find one arm had manouvered it’s way out the neck hole of his rather snug shirt. On some occasions he has managed to get both arms out that way and wears a sweater as a tube top.

When I correct the renegade arm, he usually gets very upset with me, knowing that he was part way to freedom from his evil jail of a top. Fits of crying and flailing normally ensue. I have learned to handle this. The newest trend is the one that concerns me. Oee thinks Wossy also needs to be freed from the constraint of shirts. Now, in addition to protecting Wossy for Oee’s kisses, hugs, attempts at carrying or trying to share the baby’s seat, I need to make sure he isn’t forcbily stripped naked by his well-meaning brother.

Well, I predict a naked summer in this house! For the boys. I will remain very, very clothed.

Awesome or Ruined?!

A rare moment of Oee crying, the day Wossy was born.

A rare moment of Oee crying, the day Wossy was born.

Darwin rarely barks. In fact he is scared of barking. He will happily run wild with any big, ferocious dog. Bring on the dobermans, mountain dogs, great danes; the bigger the better. They will beat the snot out of eachother, playfully of course. But if a dog barks at him, he is terrified, thus teacup poodles are his nightmare! I always thought it is awesome that Darwin is scared of barking. He is a quiet dog and I like it that way. I assumed it was something bred into him. Now I am questioning if this is instead a neurosis that I have created.

Oee isn’t much of a crier and he never really has been. Again, I thought this was awesome. When Oee was still in the infant class, it was pretty routine for me to come in to pick him up from daycare to find all the other kids crying, and Oee to be looking around quiet, confused, and a wee bit nervous. It was adorable.

Now, Wossy is an even quieter baby than Oee. I can actually still count the number of times he has ever cried since he was born. And yet again… AWESOME! Or so I thought.

At the WONDERFUL family get together we attended over the weekend, Oee’s second cousin cried at nap time. Like a normal, healthy child. Oee was more than a little concerned. Now I am worried that the same fear of barking instilled in my dog has manifested in my children as a fear of crying. The question in my mind, is have I made my children even more awesome as a result, or have I possibly done some real psychological damage!? It’s not like it was intentional, and we never scold them for crying. It’s not like we trained our dog to be scared of barking either, but boy he is!

I think a lot of parenting (for me and the giant, at least) is about worrying how much you have damaged your kid. And sometimes it’s pretty nerve-racking. Until I take a pen or marker away from Oee. Then he is not afraid of crying at all. And I think we’re doing ok.

Colours, the Dr. Seuss Way

Oee in his "Green Eggs and Ham bum". And cowboy boots, cause he's cool like that!

Oee in his “Green Eggs and Ham bum”. And cowboy boots, cause he’s cool like that!

Recently Oee has learned about colours. He loves telling you what colour things are. He likes restarting my laptop so he can tell me that the windows logo is red, green, yellow and blue. (Yes, he knows exactly what button to push to restart my computer, and he has fast little hands when he wants to get to something!)

We cloth diaper. Now that we have two boys in diapers, it creates A LOT of laundry. As a result, the diapers are rarely put away anymore. They are washed, hung to dry, then picked directly from the drying rack (aka, hung around the outside of the playpen) and put on a baby or toddler bum. Oee has access to the diapers and he loves telling me what colour they are. He loves picking the colour he is going to wear. The problem is he always wants his favourite colour and only that colour; green. We do have more green diapers than any other colour, but eventually he has to have a yellow diaper, or black or brown or whatever. All Oee cares is it is not the green diaper he asked for. Most times that is ok. Sometimes it is a disaster. Sometimes putting a blue diaper on the kid causing screaming, kicking and tears. Luckily, a lot of the time, Oee gets to wear a “green bum” as he calls it. And, like everything that is green, if he really likes it, it is not just “green” it is “green eggs and ham”.

10 Rules for Buying Toys

So, it’s a month past Christmas, and after clearing out under the couch (aka the collector of toys, shoes, garbage and terrifying quantities of cereal and raisins!) I decided to organize the toychest before putting everything in it. This made me identify the numerous flaws in my previous toy-buying decisions. Here is my new list of rules:

It was organized for 5 minutes, before O-E destroyed it again

It was organized for 5 minutes, before O-E destroyed it again

10. Toys that go in other toys are awesome. Never buy blocks, etc. unless they come in a container. The easier to clean and organize the better.

9. “Pieces” cannot be necessary. Never buy a toy that is no longer useful or fun if one piece (or even multiple pieces) go missing. It will go missing. Most pieces will go missing and when a toddler finds part of a toy he wants to play with, you try to to explain why it isn’t working properly!

8. Books rock! But you better be prepared to read anything you buy literally thousands of times. If you aren’t willing to read it 10 times a day, you are setting yourself up for a lot of frustration. Also, be very careful with voices. Once you do a voice while reading a book, it is expected every time. There are no takebacks with voices.

7. Books shouldn’t move. Pop-up books, or books with movie features is like giving your child an elmo doll made of fine china. They can’t help themselves. Paper will tear, tears will flow, you will be frustrated. Stick with bright pictures and words. That’s what books are for.

6. If they make noise, the off switch should be parent accessible. And only parent accessible. Sometimes elmo doesn’t care if he’s tickled and the kids should not be able to change that on their own.

5. Little pieces should survive the dryer. Toddlers discover their pockets, and it’s a whole new world of what you find in the laundry. Mr. potatohead tongues, blocks, cutlery, the pieces of pop-up books they have destroyed. And those are the things I am not too embarassed to write about.

4. Age appropriate doesn’t just refer to choking hazards. If your kids are safe with a toy, but need your help to play with it because it is too messy or complex on their own (I am looking at you markers!) it is not ideal!

3. Don’t get excited. If you buy an awesome toy that you know they’ll love and they are happier with the box than the toy itself, get over it. Don’t try to show them how awesome the toy is and get frustrated when they don’t care. They’ll love the toy at some point. But never on your terms or timeline.

2. Just go with it. If it’s clean and safe, it can be a toy. There is currently a cleaned out Sunlight Dish Soap bottle, and an old cell phone carrier that snaps on to your belt (it came with the charger, neither me nor the giant are douchy awesome enough to wear cell phones on our belts. Ever.) in our toy chest. If they make your kid happy, and keep them entertained; AWESOME!

1. DO NOT buy toys that you want to play with. Your kids won’t play with them properly and it will piss you off. Mister potatohead’s ears do not belong on the top of his head, but O-E doesn’t understand. Maybe this one is just me. But seriously there are so many toys that he just doesn’t play with the right way!

Just 'cause he was looking too cute while I wrote this.

Just ’cause he was looking too cute while I wrote this.