Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Breast We Move On

Thanks everyone for all of the kind, very non-judgmental advice about breastfeeding. I love your comments and hope you will continue to leave them!! I’ve had to figure out what’s best for me and my family and have decided it’s breast we move on.

I began weaning my baby last week and am officially done breast feeding. I fear that my last post on the topic led people to believe that I wanted to quit breast feeding simply because I felt it was making me fat. Being fat doesn’t stop me from doing much, including break dancing and running around nude, so why should it stop me from breast feeding? There were some more pressing issues like not having enough milk (I felt like I was feeding all day every day and baby still wasn’t happy), and most important: my brain chemistry. At the very beginning of each feeding, both pumping and nursing, I would get this sick, horrible, sad, sinking feeling in my stomach and it would last up to five minutes. I thought there was something wrong with me, like maybe I had intimacy issues. I asked the all-knowing Google for some answers by typing “Sadness while breastfeeding” and came up with this: I suffer from something called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER). It is an involuntary phenomenon that causes an unusual drop in dopamine during let-down and is characterized by extreme negative feelings similar to depression.

I still have bouts of guilt about stopping—I am known to beat myself up over these things but I must say I have felt an immense lift in my mood ever since I began weaning. And my husband and older daughter have noticed too. My little Ally is behaving better because she senses a new calm about me, and my husband is happy to see that I am happy. Cause when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, right? I have to give myself some credit though—I went this far—almost 11 weeks. I simply gave up with my first daughter after three weeks. I’ll probably just get better and better, breastfeed longer and longer with each child. So by the time I have number 17, I’ll just drive to the kindergarten and lift up my shirt at snack time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mama Says

The Wise Words of Mother may have come to you as lecture during stubborn teenage years, or may have been screamed into your face during a riotous childhood tantrum. But it usually takes that one moment of clarity, many years later, for you to remember what Mom had to say. It pops into your brain suddenly, and you know after all these years, with absolute certainty, and complete humility, “Wow, Mom was right!” It’s like a bit of clear sky breaking through the clouds, or the electricity suddenly switched on after an outage, or discovering the elastic pant.

I was moping around the other day while attacking a terrible pile of dishes when my mom whispered to me from the past. I was lamenting in my head: Dishes are the worst thing ever, if only I had a dishwasher, I hate cooking without a dishwasher, I’m so tired all the time, this is such a drag…On and on, when PLINK, The words of my mom hit me like a fat raindrop on the forehead—“You should do ten things everyday that you don’t like to do, it will make you a stronger person.” I dip my hand in the gooey water to retrieve another plate and chuckle as I recall my childhood reaction to this advice: What a stupid thing to say, who would want to waste time doing something they don’t like to do? I wiped the plate and realized that by doing the dishes, although not particularly fun at the time, I was keeping things clean, clean things bring peace, peace brings happiness and strength. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb with a single, fun day of pure genius; he spent thousands of hours trying thousands of things, until after many moments of doing things he did not want to do he had his, well, light bulb moment.

I don’t like to exercise and truly I don’t know if I ever will, but I know if I do, I will be a stronger, happier person. So tonight I’m going to start my “Strength Training” with a nice, swift, power-walk. And maybe after many days of doing many things I do not like to do, I too can have my light bulb moment by listening to what Mama says.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Out with Two

I’m pushing a bright pink $29 stroller (yes, from Wal Mart) riddled with black scuffs, wearing my too-long hair in a falling, sweaty, half-ponytail, my toddler (Ally) is wearing a knock-off Disney princess baseball cap, mismatched clothes that look like hand-me-downs from a dumpster, and a grimace on her face that clearly states, “Must poop NOW!” My infant (Ashley) is squashed in the front-pack-baby-carrier and I don’t realize her head is flopping out and she’s rooting around like a distraught fish. The host at the marble-clad “Cheesecake Factory” gives me the required smile and whispers something to his co-worker. I didn’t hear what he said but I imagine it was something like, “I thought bag ladies weren’t allowed on this street.” When I ask for a table the waitress next to him looks especially uneasy but takes me to a booth.

You’ll be proud to know that I ordered a green salad instead of greasy fries with my greasy hamburger. I bounce up and down in the booth trying to sooth the baby while I stuff the juicy burger in my mouth, and use the other hand to block Ally from pouring the entire bottle of ketchup on her lunch. “That’s too much!” I say. My daughter replies, “But I LOVE ketchup!” I make some sort of grunt, look down at the hamburger, sauce, and lettuce bits that fell from my mouth onto baby’s head during Ketchup Rescue, double-grunt. “How are you doing?” Asks the waitress apprehensively. “Good,” I say. “Bad, I’m doing bad! How does anyone have more than two kids and remain sane!!?” Ally then pours salt and pepper into her drink, and I smile sheepishly at my server who looks at me like she heard that last part I screamed in my head. It's not pretty, but we're getting out of the house, and I'm figuring out in my own, ungraceful way, how to mother two children.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So what's the breast option?

I am getting very conflicting messages about nursing. Quite a few people have told me it will help me lose weight, and quite a few people have told me it will make me hang on to my baby weight, maybe even gain a few extra pounds. I am beginning to believe the latter. I have seriously never been this hungry in my entire life, and when I try to limit my food intake to normal levels, it seriously affects my brain chemistry (i.e. I lash out like a starving mother moose, or like someone getting her period while taking “Annuel”—if you haven’t seen that SNL sketch, go check it out RIGHT NOW!)

So what’s the big deal, quit nursing, right? I was only able to nurse my first daughter for three weeks, and I feel terrible guilt about it. I have been determined to “Do better” this time around. No one wants to feel like they are giving their child second-best—and frankly that’s what I feel I am doing if I give my baby only formula. It might just be my crazy hormones talking, and maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. So I am opening up the floor for a very hot-button topic for many mothers—What do you think about breastfeeding, and what do you think is the Breast option??

Friday, May 6, 2011

She Shoots, She Scores

I’ve been getting some really great exercise, basketball actually.  It’s my new favorite sport—because I excel at making the 3-pointers and I can play while walking, standing, or my preference, sitting on the couch.  It’s easy, really.  Just grab a few things lying around the house: a garbage can with a wide, circular mouth, a newborn that poops 8-15 times a day, and a collection of soiled diapers ready for throwing.  The fresh ones are great fun because you must be careful not to let any of the goodies fly in mid-air.  The old, hardened ones are good too—they have the bulk and sturdiness to create that nice arc on the way to the basket…swish. Counting the diaper-throwing in one hand and the remote-clicking in the other, I could easily be burning 5-10 calories an hour. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Musings from a Superstore

Writing is easier when scratched on a spiral notebook. It reminds me of writing in a journal where I am uninhibited, and typing sometimes feels like a stuffy essay for a teacher who doesn’t get me. I consider myself an artistic person, but the blank canvas of the computer screen leaves me feeling empty and unmotivated. You of course are reading the typed version of this entry but know that it started from my new, spiral Five Star. Why you should care? It’s like knowing your salad came from the garden out back—it took effort, its…Organic.

My particular spiral pad was on clearance at Wal-Mart. It cost only $1.15 down from $3.50. I know there are strong feelings out there about Wal-Mart, and I don’t like to get political, but I think the place is great. It provides some of the most entertaining people watching on Planet Earth. Where else can you find a bearded lady with three boobs driving an electric cart? (Just kidding, but you can imagine, right?) As someone who didn’t practice regular grooming and hygiene habits until too late in life (I blame this on being the youngest of 17 children), and someone who happily wears hot pink pajamas in public, I really can’t judge my fellow Wal-Martiers—including the stinky grandpa with three teeth and Daisy Dukes. Wal-Mart is the perfect atmosphere to try daring, edgy fashion. Go ahead, wear your thumb-less, fishnet ballroom gloves, dust off that sequin, stirrup jumpsuit—it’s Wednesday at Wal-Mart!

You really can’t beat the shelf prices either—which is good and bad for me. Why not buy that pack of “Double-stuff Oreos?” They were just over a buck. I was stopped in my tracks by a generic brand of cereal called “Double-Berry Muffintops.” I took that as a sign from heaven to stay away from the bad food. So I parked myself in the checkout line—right behind ponytail Sasquatch, covered in tattoos, carrying a Chihuahua—to purchase just the spiral notebook and leave the Double-Stuffs for the lady down the other isle with eleven thumbs and a purple wig.