Thursday, February 17, 2011

Diapers Etc Blog Party!! (and GIVEAWAY!!)

Welcome to the party!!  Better late than never!  Debbie over at Diapers Etc has relaunched her site and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!

As part of the blog party, Debbie set me up with prefolds.  Yes, prefolds.  Those dreaded, old fashioned diapers that I swore I'd never use.  Now to be fair, I was searching for a night time solution and Debbie let me pick out what I wanted to try.  EVERYONE swears by prefolds for night time, so I decided to give it a try.  Surely 1 cover and some prefolds would be cheaper than the VERY pricey wool and fitted route I was looking into.  Debbie was great and helped me navigate what to order as I started on my newest cloth diaper adventure.  When we finally got it all set, she put it in the mail and it was here the next day.  Granted I don't live far from her, but the processing time on her end was quick!

Long story short....Debbie is my new favorite person ever.  I am no longer waking up soaked in pee (unless I pee myself, but I swear that's not as often as you'd think) and changing our bed sheets every other day.  Debbie has single handedly reduced our weekly laundry!!'s the party you were hoping I'd get to....

Debbie wants to give you $25 to spend in her store!!!!  Well, only if you're over 18 and in the US.  Here's the deal...  Go to her it...I'll wait....  Now leave me a comment about your favorite aspect of her website.  Debbie's generous enough to be doing these giveaways; please be respectful enough to play along and check out her website.  Please leave me your email address!!

AFTER you've done that...  You can leave some extra comments if you 

I'll use to draw a winner on March 1st (commenting closing midnight EST Feb 28th)!  Winners will not be immediately notified, however.  All winners from all of the blog party blogs will be submitted to The Eco Chic.  While you're more than welcome to enter all of the blog giveaways, you're only eligible to win once....gotta spread the love!!  After all the giveaways have closed, winners will be notified of their mini-shopping sprees!!

**Debbie at provided me with my choice of cloth diapers from her store in exchange for a blog post about her store.  All opinions expressed are truly my own.  Pinkie Swear!

Monday, February 14, 2011

So it's Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day.  The day of the Lonely Hearts Club.  The day where men are expected to buy lavish gifts for their beloved in order to show how in love they are.  The day people without mates are poignantly aware that they're alone and people with mates are comparing spoils to see who is really loved the most.  Forgive me while I scoff a little over here.

I mean, it was a fun day as a kid.  Everyone came to school hopped up on heart shaped tums dressed in their best collection of pink, red, and hearts.  You handed out little cards, enough for everyone in the class.  Props went to those who were creative or who included yet more candy.  It was cool.

Then middle school came and festivities were less equal as puppy love emerged.  We had a dance every year which meant we got out of a couple classes and got to segregate into our cliques for an hour or so.  Some girls got flowers or balloons, but really it was just the girls who put out.  So it was cool.

Then high school.  Relationships emerged, crushes became evident, and Valentine's Day changed.  Suddenly it was about the haves and have nots.  Not gonna lie...Valentine's Day came and went in 10th grade with no special gift from that special someone (that special someone who called my house the next year leaving a message on my answering machine confessing his undying love for me, whom later spent some time living as transgendered, whom is now an openly gay man).  I was jilted.  Valentine's Day that year was also a dear friend's 10th birthday....the last birthday she would celebrate.  November of that year took away my "little sissy" and I became even more jaded about Valentine's Day.

My junior year of high school I had my first "real" boyfriend (whatever that means).  We'd started dating before my friend passed away so he knew I was totally not looking forward to February 14th, when she should have been celebrating her 11th birthday.  I begged that we ignore the day and let it pass like any other.  I spent the day in tears, my heart ripped out of my chest.  I was 16 and dealing with the first death of someone close to me (that was not a great grandparent).  He showed up at my house that evening with 18 beautiful roses and a gold bracelet.  You might think I'd be happy about that.  But really, it just made me awkwardly uncomfortable.  I'm not one for lavish gifts to begin with, but especially when I was so heartbroken.  I tried my best to smile and be grateful, but really, I just wanted the day to fade into oblivion.

The years that followed I always had a boyfriend, it seemed.  The three subsequent Valentine's Days were spent with someone who, while basically a D-bag, actually understood that I didn't want to celebrate.  He'd lost his sister when she was young and her birthday he got it.  After him I (briefly) dated this guy who didn't believe me that I didn't want to celebrate the day.  He made LAVISH plans...I mean, reservations at the swankiest place in town, plus planned to book tickets for the special sunset tour of the lighthouse, and who knows what else.  If I'd let him, he'd have dropped several hundred dollars.  We'd been dating MAYBE a month.  But, it turned out that my friend gave birth that day.  I left town to meet the baby.  The day lost some of it's sting with this new little life.

Then I met Hubby.  He was great.  He got that love was meant to be showed at times other than JUST Valentine's Day.  He just got "it."   Guess that's why he made the cut and got to stay around.  Our first Valentine's Day together I was still away at school in a mad rush to finish my undergrad thesis.  I didn't have time for distractions and being 4hrs away made things difficult anyway.  When we spent our first Valentine's Day ACTUALLY together, our relationship had been well proven and neither of us felt the need to make a big deal out of the day.  Who wants to eat overpriced food in an overly crowded restaurant anyway?!

The first Valentine's Day we spent as a married couple was one of the hardest times of my life.  Hubby had to have some crazy intense surgery a few days before and long story short...I spent the day figuratively holding his hair back and worrying that all the throwing up meant dangerous complications of the surgery.  I got instructions on how to insert an anti-nausea suppository to save my poor husband from the very large, male nurse's gorilla hands.  By the time he was finally resting easy for the first time all day, MIL arrived with Taco Bell for 8:00pm...the first I'd eaten all day.  She sat with him as I collapsed in the hall of the hospital and cried into my soft taco.

So forgive me if I'm a cynic.  I just don't get it.  Last week I had a bad day.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I was coming down with a cold.  The kids were driving me bonkers, and I was just spent.  Hubby cancelled his overtime, picked up a modest and lovely bouquet from the grocery store, came home and cooked dinner for us.  THAT, my friends, is love.  THAT means a million times more to me than an over priced dinner, WAY over priced flowers, and a card that will get thrown away or shoved in a drawer all because the calendar reads February 14th.

Oh and for those of you pouring out your gooey, undying love for your partner on Facebook today...please don' just makes us all a little uncomfortable.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And so it begins....

There it is, again.  That feeling, that question...Is it really there?  Am I being hyper sensitive?

I've been here before.  Once before.  And to say it ended awkwardly would be an understatement.  Where am I, you ask?  In an awkward situation.

I am caring for a child.  A child whose parents are unhappily married but pretend it's all okay and plow forward.  A child whose care falls primarily to the father.  A father who works hard for his family, comes home, cares for his child, and goes to bed in a cold marital bed.  A father who drops his son off at my house nearly every day and picks him up every evening.

It starts innocently enough...the daily chatter, this many naps, that many bottles, overall mood.  A couple of mutual comments shared over non-child related life details.  A smile and "have a good night."

Then the conversations get a little longer, a little more personal.  The smile gets a little more genuine.  A friendship forms out of mutual concern for the child.

Then the texts become more frequent...and the pit in my stomach starts.  Next the texts would move into less child related subjects and the pick-up time conversations would go a little too long.  Then the friendship would solidify out of mutual care and concern.  Then...  I've been here before.  I will not go there again.  This time it ends NOW.

Last time it ended when the dad met me at the country club to take the reins while his kid was in her swim lesson.  Last time it ended with drinks and a mutually enjoyable conversation while the kid swam.  Last time it ended with the conversation taking a turn.  Last time it ended with the alcohol blurring my better judgement.  Last time it ended with a sexual proposition mere weeks before my wedding.  Last time it ended with me making a quick exit.  Last time it ended with me being both flattered and disturbed.  Last time it ended with me driving home probably more intoxicated than I should have been for driving.  Last time it ended with alcohol on my breath, crying my admission that I'd allowed the situation to happen and the conversation to take that turn.  Last time it ended with weeks of tension, an ended friendship, rebuilding trust with my fiancĂ©e, and an awkward employment situation.

And so it begins...and it ends NOW.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Another day, another destiny

Pulling out of the working world has left me pondering life.  I've always been goal driven.  Always had one paper, one test, one break, one finish line, one project, one deadline ahead of me.  I got my BA because that's what you do.  I got my MA because it was safer than going into the working world.  I just kept pushing forward.  I got a job and got things lined up to get my licensure.  Future career goals were always my motivation.  Like so many others, it was always about the destination.  Don't get me wrong, I was enjoying the journey, but there was always a destination.

Now...  Well...  I'm not in school.  I'm not working (on the books, in my career field).  I'm married.  We own our home (not outright, but still).  We have a beautiful child (whom may or may not be our only child).  By many accounts you might say that I have "arrived."  My bank account may argue with you, though.  This Type A personality has no goal, no motivation, no project, no deadline.  This Type A is supposed to live in the moment and enjoy.  I'm working hard on doing just that.  I love my life and I do love spending every moment with my son.  Though I can't lie and say that I don't feel a bit lost without a destination to strive for.

Each day, each chapter, each journey has lead to another.  I would have never been able to predict I'd be here, today, in this situation.  Actually, 5 years ago come June I was interviewing for my masters program.  The professors interviewing me asked where I saw myself in 5 years.  I laughed at the time, surprising them.  I told them I couldn't possibly know where I'd be in 5 years.  Five years previous to that moment I'd been in Europe touring with a vocal group and singing in the most glorious churches ever built.  Had you stopped me on an Austrian street and asked where I'd be in 5 years I couldn't have guessed it would have been in an interview for my masters in the middle of a tropical storm.  I told my interviewers that I was just along for life's journey.  Five years ago I had just graduated from under grad.  I was living back home with my mom (ugh!).  I was dating this great guy.  And I was juggling the decision to go to a Christian university in Colorado for grad school, or stay local and go to the state university who was interviewing me.  Five years ago I was asked to predict where I'd be now.  Even then I knew I couldn't.

Five years from now...  Squirmy will be half way through kindergarten.  Will he be in public school, private school, or home with me?  (Unless there's a DRASTIC change, I'm praying it will be one of the latter two since FL is like #48 in the country for public school quality).  Will Squirmy boy have any siblings?  Will we still live in this home?  Will Hubby still work for the devil that takes him away from us too many hours of the day but pays so well and provides us with incredible benefits?  Will I be back to work?  In my career field?  Starting over?  Back in school?  (Man, Dr. Mommy does have a nice ring to it)  Where will the road turn?  What adventures will we be off to?  Who knows....five years from now is a long way away, though I know it will pass in an instant.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

And THAT is what it's all about

King of the Power Nappers

I decided to take the troops outside to soak up the Vitamin D and to take advantage of the beautiful day not everyone was getting to experience.  I crossed my fingers that the sunshine and fresh air would also mean decent naps...

So the usual nap time routine.  Nephew in his PnP in the office first (he's an easy napper).  Kid I watch goes down next with a bottle in his PnP in Squirmy's room while Squirmy nurses.  Then it's Squirmy's turn to nurse in our room and go down in his crib.  (I swear, one day he WILL use the nursery we so lovingly prepared for him.)

It was a typical nap time start.  I had him peacefully slumbering in his crib in 10 minutes or so.  I tip toed out of our room, came down stairs, turned the baby monitors on, started Squirmy's nap timer, and heard the kid I watch still awake.  I took the last ounce he'd left in his bottle up to him.  He finished just as I started hearing the oddest banging ringing out.  I quickly left the room in search of this ODD noise.

It was coming from our bedroom!!!  My heart raced in the brief moments it took for me to get into our bedroom once I determined where the sound was.  Squirmy had woken up, crawled out of his side-car crib, crawled across our bed, found coins on Hubby's nightstand (why the man had coins there I'll never know, we never use cash), and was happily banging the coins on the nightstand.  He turned to look at me, all smiles, wide awake as though he'd never been asleep.  I tried to nurse him back to sleep, but he wouldn't so much as close his eyes.  Nap was over and he wanted to play!!

And play he though he'd slept for 3 hours and not the 10 minutes the nap timer read...King of the Power Nappers!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mama Bear Growls

This weekend was packed!  We had THREE birthday parties to attend, two on Saturday alone.  The first was for the kid I watch.  We got there and we were in a room full of people we didn't know.  Hubby found a seat and really didn't move.  Squirmy looked around and was cautious.  Slowly but surely he ventured further and further away from me and found the toys.  He went up to a few people as though he wanted to be held and managed well when they picked him up.  Everyone marveled at how cute he was and how he was much more about the festivities than his birthday boy counterpart.  Towards the end of the party, I could tell nap time was much needed as he started to melt.  We begged out early due to nap time and needing to get to another party.

Between parties, we had about 45 min in the car (had to run home first which made the drive much longer) and Squirmy napped peacefully, waking on his own as we neared the next party.  We arrived about an hour late to our nephew's party.  The family was all gathered around while the kids played on the playground and did a treasure hunt.  Of course Squirmy was the charmer and everyone was excited to get to see him walk.  Of course, being on his second party of the day and having a rough night (congestion) the night before and waking up early and only having a 45 min nap in between parties, he wasn't in his finest form.  But, we were at a small park and there wasn't anyone there but party goers.    He tolerated going to anyone who asked to hold him, even if it was just for a few minutes.

(our 78lb, 13 year old niece in the Ergobaby)

After a little while this family "friend" starts in.  Now this family "friend" is a woman whom Hubby has never liked and I don't exactly have a fond opinion of her, myself.  I got in trouble because I didn't invite her to my bridal shower (I'd literally met the woman less than a handful of times before the wedding and she was invited to the wedding).  She likes to kiss Hubby on the lips despite his protests and attempts to avoid her kisses.  Against my better judgement, I invited her to my baby shower to avoid controversy only to have her hound me at the party, asking how much weight I'd gained.  Luckily, when she tried to rally the other moms into bullying the amount out of me, they all protected me and changed the subject.  So suffice to say, she's not my favorite person.  But...she's a family "friend" so I smile and keep my distance.

Anyway, like I said, she starts in.  Two of the nieces at the party had meltdowns at some point because, well, they did.  She was complaining about how ALL the girls in Hubby's family cry too much (and by ALL the girls she meant 2 out of MIL's 5 female grandchildren).  Cue Squirmy fussing.  He wasn't crying, just fussing because it had been a long day.  It was now 3:00pm and he'd been up since 7:00am with a 45 min nap.  I instinctively started swaying as he sat on my hip while I chatted with people, careful to keep my back to the "friend" to prevent me from getting too frustrated with her rude, opinionated babble.  Then, oh THEN, I hear her make a comment about Squirmy crying too much just like ALL the girls in the family.  My blood started to boil.  A 10mo who's fussing because he's tired is no comparison for a 5 year old who's crying because someone didn't want to play her game or a 13 year old who is crying because life is so unfair.  But I continued on with my conversation and tried to ignore her.  WELL, that wasn't enough.  She came up to me and put her hands on my son while I was holding him.  He started fussing even more and clinging to me.  I resisted giving him up.  She snapped "Oh just give him to me" and made it clear that either I let go or my son would be in the middle of a tug of war.  I let go of him as she ripped him from my arms and walked away.

I know she couldn't hear me but I didn't care who else might have.  I was PISSED.  I made it clear that it was TOTALLY unacceptable to RIP a child out of his mother's arms.  She didn't even ASK me.  She just TOOK him.  Hubby was so lost.  He's the peace keeper of the family and NEVER wants to cause a scene.  He also knew what just happened was totally unacceptable and it was up to him to fix it since it was him family "friend" and he knew I'd be in jail for murder if I handled it.  So he gave me time to finish spewing hate which gave her a minute with Squirmy, then he took her back from her.  She tried to say he was having fun with her and Hubby shouldn't have taken him away, but neither of us cared.

After that we said our goodbyes.  Squirmy was really starting to melt, I was fuming, and we were over it.  All 3 of us just wanted to go home.  As we were walking to the car, I saw MIL go into the bathroom (one of those classic park bathrooms where you can hear everything that goes on outside while you're pooping) and I made sure to loudly express my discontent and drop a couple of f-bombs to Hubby as we passed by.

No doubt we're scratching 1 off his birthday guest list...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Separation, not him :)

So I did it...we did it...  We finally left Squirmy for a few hours.  I know a lot of moms have already left their children plenty of hours by the time they are 10 months old, but I hadn't.  For better or worse, that's just not been something I'm interested in doing.  But Hubby bought us tickets to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast on its nation tour, with a friend of mine in the cast.

When the tickets came in the mail, I ripped open the envelope!  I didn't know he'd bought any theater tickets and it was like September.  I WANTED to know what he bought.  I LOVE the theater.  Four amazing seats tickets lay inside.  At first I was elated...then extremely nervous.  As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Squirmy WILL not take milk from a bottle/cup of any sort.  If it's not from the tap, he's not interested.  The prospect of leaving him for 5+ hours was nerve wracking in itself, but add to it that he might be without milk and the fact that he won't sleep without nursing....  Nervous might have been an understatement.

But maybe he'd be eating enough solids by then and maybe we could work on getting him to take milk by then and maybe it would work.  Yeah....months of bottle/cup trials and errors (all errors) proved that he was NOT going to take milk from anything but the tap.  But he was doing well with solids...

Who we would leave Squirmy with was a no brainer.  We both quickly agreed to leave him with my brother and his wife.  We trust them and Squirmy loves them and his cousin.  Christmas Eve proved he was very comfortable at their house (as long as the big, scary, mean dogs stayed know, the ones that wouldn't know how to hurt a fly, much less want to).  They were more than happy to oblige.  We all agreed that a trial run would probably be best, so we went out to lunch one day.  Squirmy was blissfully unaware that we'd left and played with his cousin for an hour.  When we got back, he cried hysterically and reached for me.  I don't think he noticed we were gone until we got back.  We all laughed and he quickly calmed.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  We had done everything we could to prepare Squirmy to be left.  I pumped milk, packed an insane amount of food (all his favorites), tossed several different types of cups and his favorite toys in a bag, and made sure he'd napped well during the day.  I even made sure to have his velcro/aplix/hook and loop diapers clean and ready for easy changes.  I even sent some disposable diapers I "stole" from Squirmy's playmate in case she didn't want to "bother" with the cloth diapers.  Our timing was impeccable until 2 wardrobe malfunctions tied us up (a zipper broke on the shirt I was going to wear and then my pants ripped!!).

We totally forgot to make/grab dinner as we rushed off to my brother's house.  Also totally forgot to take his PnP.  Though, he hates the stupid thing and we had no anticipation he'd sleep anyway.  When we got there Squirmy FREAKED out!!!  I mean FREAKED!  He remembered that we left him there last time.  No amount of coaxing or favorite toys would calm him.  I knew in my mind he'd be okay, but he was breaking my heart.  Finally I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him I love him and that we'd be back later for him.  Sure, he doesn't understand what that means, but I still think it's important to tell him.

We left him there...screaming.  :(  I choked back tears, determined not to cry.  I focused on the drive and the evening ahead.  Hubby texted to check on him when we arrived at the theater and grabbed dinner: coke and twizzlers, don't be jealous.  He'd stopped crying within 5 minutes and was happily playing.  He even sent a video of Squirmy TOTALLY perplexed by my niece (who's 7) trying to get him to play patty cake with her.  They told us to let them know when we got out for intermission and they'd send more updates.

The play was amazing!  Allyson was great!!  A little piece of me wished I was the one up there preforming.  But then I squeezed my husband's hand, remembered my sweet boy waiting for me, and the lyrics from one of the songs reminded me that my life is wonderful and preforming would have meant a TOTALLY different life. "I never thought I'd leave behind my childhood dreams, but I don't mind. I'm where and who I want to be. No change of heart; a change in me."  I got choked up knowing how different my life is from the life I dreamed much fuller and better it is than I could have ever imagined.

So we rushed back after the play to find that Squirmy was *gasp* sleeping!  My SIL drug out my niece's old pack and play for him.  Apparently at 9:30, he was walking along, let out a BIG yawn, then fell to the floor and completely unraveled.  My SIL, who is a CIO fan and thinks a baby shouldn't be rocked to sleep, scooped him up, cuddled him, and rocked him to sleep.  Ten minutes after his collapse he was blissfully snoozing in his cousin's PnP.  He never signed for milk and since he was doing fine, they never tried to offer it (why rock the boat).  They never offered him any of the food I left.  Just let him snack on freeze dried bananas and strawberries they'd bought for him.

My heart about leaped out of my chest (or maybe that was my rack trying to free itself from the confines of a real bra) when I saw him sleeping peacefully.  I nearly cried when I reached out and stroked his back.  I picked him up and my heart exploded...akin to the feeling of belonging and joy I felt when I first held him.  As quickly as I could, I closed the door and started feeding my sweet boy.  I could say it was all about getting him milk after going 6 hours with basically nothing to eat.  I could say that it was about calming him down because he was startled by being awoken.  I could say it was my own need to feed him (6 hour is a LONG time to go when you're used to every couple of hours).  I could say it was a need show him that I was there and back and everything was okay.  I could say it was a selfish emotional need to feel the closeness and connection.  I could probably say all of those things and more.  But really, it was just a moment...a beautiful moment when all was right with the world.

We had a wonderful time at the theater, one of my favorite places ever.  Squirmy had a great time playing with his cousin.  It's wonderful knowing that I CAN leave him safely and he'll be just fine.  Though, honestly, neither Hubby nor I have any intentions of doing it again any time soon.  :)

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday it was someone's first birthday (Squirmy's playmate).  Spaghetti and birthday suits for lunch!

Followed by a rockin' after par-tay!

Friday, January 21, 2011


***Disclaimer--I've read a lot of blog posts recently about the topic of gender (like here and here and here and here and more that my sleep deprived brain can't remember specifically enough to credit) and it's something that's been on my mind for awhile.  This is just my stream of consciousness about the topic as it rattles around in my head.

My college days opened my eyes/ears/heart/mind to many things.  I really credit my school with doing good job at challenging me in many ways.  One of the things it got me thinking about was the way language and social expectations mold culture.  For example, in Spanish the words for things in the kitchen are feminine while words for things in the garage are masculine.  Did these gender assignments grow out of who was already using the items or did who used the items grow out of their gender assignment?  Are social roles influenced by these words with gender assignments?  Some might argue no since English doesn't have the same gender assignments, but it's one of the few languages that doesn't assign gender to all nouns.

Similarly, how do the words we use influence gender?  Have you ever looked at baby clothes...I mean really looked at them?  Aside from the pink and blue, what do you notice?  Little girls' clothes have flowers and rainbows and food (think cupcakes and candy) and maybe a puppy or two.  Little girls' clothes typically have emotion words on them like "sweet," "precious," and "adorable" along with passive words like "princess" and "angel."  I also tend to notice the word "little" on girls clothing.  Little boys' clothing tends to be adorned with dogs, monkeys, bears, sports, and cars.  The words you tend to find on little boys' clothing are onomatopoeia ("vroom," "roar," "bark") and words associated with physicality like "strong," "tough," and "big."  So from day one, we are teaching our daughters to use emotions to express themselves and our sons to not worry about words and focus on physical expression.  Toys tend to follow the same lines.  Girls' toys are about caring for others (dolls, kitchens, stuffed animals) while boys' toys are about physical expression (cars, sports, action figures).

This immediate imposition of gender norms, roles, and expectations has bothered me since I first became aware of it.  I tried to buy as much gender neutral clothing as possible, but let's face it...after 0-3 months there isn't a whole lot that is gender neutral.  You must or blue.  (Yes, I know I'm over simplifying here, but the premise remains.)  So what did I do?  I found myself drawn to the lovely little blue outfits.  Blue happens to be hubby's and my favorite color.  We painted the nursery blue (nursery=clothing storage, but that's another story).  We bought blue everything we could get our hands on.  Sure some thing had more gender neutral options, which we tried to chose when available (i.e., stroller, swing, PnP, car seat).  And the early toys are all pretty gender neutral.  Still, we chose the green talking dog with a boy's name over the purple talking dog with a girl's name.  I wish I could find the study that was done with a 10 month old.  I can't remember the gender of the baby but the researchers put the baby in very girly or very boyish clothes and asked participants to play with the baby.  The room contained girl, boy, and gender neutral toys.  The participants chose the toys they offered the baby based on the clothes the baby was wearing.  They also used significantly more words when playing with the girl dressed baby than boy dressed baby.  Even further, the words used with the girl dressed baby were passive, emotion words and action words with the boy dressed baby.

Then Squirmy's cousin left a toy car over here.  It became very clear that Squirmy LOVED this car.  He would crawl around the house pushing it everywhere.  For Christmas we told people to get him cars.  Hubby bought him a Kidkraft rocking dinosaur.  I bought him a Police Cozy Coupe.  I think either of those could be arguably gender neutral, but would we have picked the same items if we had a girl?  I sought out a doll baby for him, but couldn't find one I liked.  (Seriously, what happened to Cabbage Patch?!?)

I sit here, starring at the blue Chuck truck that is arguably his favorite Christmas present, feeling like I've failed him....feeling like a hypocrite.  I look at the blue bibs that he's spent the morning strewing about the floor and wonder if I'm doing enough to protect his ability to be who he wants to be, to not be pigeon holed and typecast into a role that society has predetermined for him based on his anatomy.

But then I think about other conversations I've had.  Like the time I told my mom some women at church commented on how cute "she" (Squirmy) was and how I smiled politely and answered their questions about his development (yes I nurse, no doesn't sleep through the night, crawled at 6 months, thank you for saying "her" eyes are beautiful like "her" moms) and how I laughed to myself as they walked away wondering amongst themselves why I would put a beautiful little girl in a blue shirt with a cow on it.  My mom's response was frustration and anger flashing back to her days of defending my gender: "isn't it so frustrating?"  I was taken aback.  No, I wasn't frustrated and I hadn't made any overt attempts to correct their assumption of his gender.  It didn't matter.  They were admiring my child.  And let's face it...babies are pretty damn androgynous.  Yesterday I was told I shouldn't have a necklace on my boy even after I explained that it's amber and supposed to help with teething pain and I'd try voodoo rain dances if it had the promise of helping at this point: "It's confusing.  Necklaces are for girls."  (said by a woman rocking a mullet, 80s leather jacket, and high lie).  I didn't really care that she called him a girl.  He was in gender neutral clothes, wearing a necklace.  But again, it didn't really matter.  She was commenting on his walking abilities...nothing to do with gender.  I've had people apologize to me for saying my boy is beautiful.  I don't mind.  I rather enjoy hearing my child is beautiful, if you really want to know.  I really don't understand why beautiful is "supposed" to be only for girls, anyway.

So maybe I am a hypocrite, maybe I'm not.  At the end of the day, I just want him to be happy and well rounded and free to be whoever it is he is. And maybe I can find a decent doll for his birthday...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thinking about a homebirth

For all the talk about not sleeping on my blog you'd think we'd be against having another kid.  And to an extent you'd be right.  Hubby and I have talked about leaving Squirmy as an only child.  We've both said we are comfortable with him being an only.  I can't imagine adding another little life to our family. hear us actually talk...we're not done.  We keep talking about when the next child is born and when I'm pregnant again and when we have 2 kids and...

So, it's realistic to look at my options.  Given Squirmy's "birth," my options are more limited than standard practice.  First, I will NOT being returning to my OB.  Not a chance in hell I'd give her another dime, let alone step foot in her office.  So I will be looking for a lovely midwife to help me through my next pregnancy and delivery.  Second, there's the whole issue of method of delivery.  Unfortunately in this area, "once a c-sect, always a c-sect" is the mantra.  That leads us to thirdly, location of delivery....

Now prior to Squirmy's birth I was under the impression that this whole "location of deliver" thing was a non-issue.  You gave birth at a hospital...PERIOD.  Sure you had the hippies giving birth at birthing centers, but that's just weird and non-conformist.  NOW, I realize that there are 3 main options for birth location: hospital, birthing center, and home.  Six months ago I would have thought you were crazy and reckless to attempt a home birth.

But let's break down my options further...  I will NOT be cut again unless absolutely necessary.  No "dead baby" cards will be thrown prior to me pushing and/or some glaring red flag appearing during my pregnancy.  And I mean GLARING!  I'm considering VBAC my only option.  It WILL be how I birth my next baby.  I FULLY believe my body is more than capable and would have been more than capable if my OB (and I) had allowed it to do it's thing for Squirmy's birth.  With that decided, that narrows down my choices for location.  No hospitals around here allow VBACs (whether in policy or practice).  There is 1 hospital I know of about an hour away that will allow VBACs but that would mean I'd have to have a provider with privileges there, which means LOTS of driving for pre-natal appointments.  Not really what I want to do with a toddler/small child especially given the crazy traffic I'll encounter and the zombie like state I lived in for most of my pregnancy.  Birthing centers aren't allowed to do VBACs in the state of FL.  So....looks like I'll be one of those crazy, insane, radical hippies who gives birth at home.  Which narrows my choices down to 1 midwife in our area (bonus that all prenatal appointments are in-home as well!).

So if PCOS and breastfeeding ever allow me to ovulate again, I may very well end up pregnant again...and may very well give birth right here, at home! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


I feel like a bad blogger.  Well, I am a bad blogger.  I can't seem to keep up with this to save my life.  I come up with witty things to post and then they're gone with the latest round of exhaustion and fatigue.  I'm not quite sure what's in it for him just yet, but my kid is trying to get me to the point of dying from exhaustion.  Uh, kid, I'm your main food source!!  Kill me off now and you have to start drinking nasty smelling formula out of a bottle. (Not knocking formula feeding, just the scent of my nephew's formula made me gag...oh and my kid refuses bottles)

So the old sleeping issue.  It seems to plague my existence.  I made the mistake of thinking I'd gotten off easy.  Though in the back of my mind I knew it was too easy...far too easy.  You see, when Squirmy was first born, he'd sleep all night long.  Of course he'd wake to nurse and to be changed, but he'd drift off easily as soon as his needs were met.  It was glorious.  While the group of moms I knew with babies all born in March were up all hours of the night with fitful sleepers and reverse cycling, I was sweet dreaming!  By 2 months old, we were sleeping through the night!!  How cool is that?!?  Yeah...if only I knew what was in store.

Around 4 months, he started waking once a night.  Okay, fine, that's cool.  Top off and let's get back to sleeping.  Then it was twice a night....then three times...  By 5 months I was starting to wonder if his mini pack and play bassinet thingy was getting uncomfortable (hence the night waking).  So, we took the front off his crib and pushed it up against the bed, side-car style.  That should be more comfortable and thus let us both sleep more, right?  Nope, night waking just got worse and worse.  Eventually we decided to put his crib back together.  Maybe a little distance from me would help.  That didn't; actually ended up backfiring to an extent.

Instead of him waking less, he woke the same.  Only, instead of pushing him back into the crib when he was done nursing, I'd have to get up and put him back in his crib.  So I did for the first couple of times he'd wake up at night.  Just about every night I'd end up leaving him in bed with me so I could squeak out a couple of hours of sleep before my day started.  Some nights I kept him in bed with me the whole night just to get some rest.

Now I'd love to say I'm one of those moms who thinks the world of bed sharing.  I mean, I think it's great in theory and my kid certainly sleeps better sharing the bed with me.  BUT (huge but here) I do not sleep well AT all!!!  We have a queen sized bed.  Every mom I've talked to who really enjoys bed sharing has had a king sized bed.  My dear, sweet hubby gets probably 60% of the bed at night.  Squirmy gets about 20% of the bed (and his nickname isn't without merit).  So what does that leave me?!  Not a whole hell of a lot.  But just for giggles, let's actually do the math.  A standard Queen is 60" wide.  So that means my hubby gets about 36", while Squirmy and I split 24".  So realistically...I get about ONE FOOT of sleeping space when we co-sleep.  I'm not a huge person but I certainly have some extra padding.  ONE FOOT of space is not enough!  Hell I could sleep on the couch (alone) and have more room.  So I spend part of the night sleeping in a horribly awkward/uncomfortable position while trying to not crush my child and part of the night being roused to nurse.  Kudos to those of you who make it work.  Not my cup of tea.  If a king size bed magically showed up at my doorstep, we might be having a different conversation (ya know, after I picked out some luxurious new sheets!).

There have been nights where I have been up EVERY. SINGLE. HOUR until I gave up and brought him to bed with me.  This started happening more and more often and I began to wonder if I played some role in it.  When I realized how inconsistent I was being with his crib sleeping and bed sharing, I realized I had to pick one or the other to make a difference.  Since bed sharing is not a realistic option for long term, I knew I had to crib train him.  I'm sure there are tons of moms who felt I made the wrong choice and should have sacrificed to bed share.  But, you know what?  I was "selfish" and decided that my son needed a well rested mommy more than he needed to bed share.  If you know me at all, you'll understand that the WORLD needs me more rested than my son needs to bed share.  I promise.

I read lots of suggestions, asked on (where I was told I was selfish and making the wrong decisions and ...), asked on Twitter, ready every Dr. Sears suggestion on his site, read articles about night weaning, read Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, and anything else I thought might be helpful.  I wanted to find the softest way possible to crib train my sweet son.

So...10 days ago we started sleep training, so to speak.  Every time he woke up, I got out of bed, nursed him in my lap, and put him back in the crib.  Every time I made a conscious effort to take care of his needs and put him back in his crib.  Every night we went to bed at the same time.  Above all, everything was as consistent as possible (night 8 was way off for bed time because of a Disney trip).  I knew it might get worse before it got better.  And it did!  He started waking MORE frequently.  How could he possibly wake MORE frequently you ask?!  Well, one horrid night he woke ELEVEN times!  ELEVEN! between 10pm and 7am.  He also started waking at 7am instead of his usual 9am.  I was beyond exhausted.  I almost gave up a few times.  But I had to keep plowing through.  *Disclaimer--tooth #3, the first top tooth, cut yesterday*

I don't dare tell you how the past 2 nights have gone.  I don't dare challenge the cosmos by reporting things are better.  I don't dare tempt fate by saying I've been getting 4 *gasp* hours of sleep in a ROW.  I don't dare report progress and challenge Murphy's Law.

For now, we're going into night 10 of crib training.  His crib remains by my bedside and I continue to wake and nurse and cuddle and put him back in his own crib...his own space...and return to my bed and my own space.

P.S. Screw you Dr. Nameless Pediatrician for all but scoffing when you heard I parent my child to sleep at bed time and if/when he wakes in the night.  #just sayin'

Friday, January 7, 2011

Squirmy's birth story

It's been 9.5 months and I realized that I haven't really shared my birth story.  It's painful and full of shame and guilt.  But I needed to write it down.  I needed to get it out.  I needed to share.  I needed other women to know NOT to go down the road I went down.  So here's how Squirmy came into the world...

I'd gone through infertility treatments with a specialist as I have PCOS.  I transfered to my OB fairly near the end of my first trimester.  My BMI had me just over the line as "obese" so my OB started harping on me about my weight from my very first exam with her.  She said I couldn't gain more than 15 lbs for the whole pregnancy.  Of course I met with the other OB in the practice and she was much nicer and more relaxed about my weight.

Towards the end of my pregnancy the other OB left the practice and was replaced by someone new.  The newer Dr seemed nice enough but something didn't sit right about her.  But I kept on my merry way and had done a lot of research (minimal I realize now) and whatever.  My OB was out of the office nearly all of my last 6 weeks so basically all of my final exams and prep were done with the other OB.  My first vaginal exam my OB couldn't feel the baby so she had me do an ultrasound to see if he was breech.  He was measuring quite big, but there's room for error and they slow down and yadda yadda yadda.  Don't think I didn't see his head was measuring weeks ahead on the ultrasound.  Mind you I've been seeing this OB/GYN since I was like 17 and she did my mom's hysterectomy when I was in high school.  I trust her and I liked her before she got kind of rude with me about my weight and telling me it'd be my fault for gaining too much weight if the baby was big (mind you we don't have any babies in NEITHER my family NOR my hubby's that were under 8lbs for as many generations as we know of).

So the next appt was with the other OB and she walked in and started in immediately about how she could tell just by looking at me that I was going to have a big baby and she could easily see that my hips were quite small.  Now, those two statements were both extremely odd to me.  I'd never heard that you could just "tell" how big a baby was by looking at a woman and I've NEVER been told I have small hips...NEVER....dear lord NEVER, lol.  I don't remember all the rest of the details but I left really shaken up and I believe that was the day I left crying.  C-section was thrown on the table and I was scared shitless.  The natural, med free birth I so wanted was in jeopardy.  But I was still a few weeks out so maybe things would change and they were planning on doing another ultrasound closer to my due date (which was set by multiple corresponding ultrasounds which matched ovulation).

So I didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed beyond belief.  I'd gained too much weight and whether it was due to weight or not, c-section was on the table.  I had failed somehow.  I'm not sure who, but someone asked about me getting a second opinion.  I didn't even begin to know how to go about getting a second opinion with less than a month to my due date or if such a thing was even possible.  Besides, that was the OTHER OB, not mine and I trusted mine.

So the next time I go in it's with the other OB again.  She starts with, "please tell me you're planning to get an epidural" and then laughed when I said I had no intentions of it.  I stated that my OB said she writes orders for it so I can have it if I so choose but I did not intend to ask for it.  Again c-section gets thrown out there.  I'm kind of panicked now.  I say that I want things to progress as naturally as possible and I don't want to induce and I don't want to be cut.  She was offering me a scheduled c-sect at that point.  I want to say it was like 2-3 weeks from my due date.  My internal exams continued to be totally soft, not effaced, dilated 1 cm....every week.

The other piece was that my heart started racing if I walked too long.  Too long= around a nearby outlet mall and around our regular mall.  I was also getting some weird vision things which was related to the racing heart.  My blood pressure was more than fine and everything else was fine.  I was swelling but at 39 weeks pregnant, who isn't swollen?  After the second day of heart racing over the weekend the other OB (who was on call) told me to go to L&D for monitoring.  They gave me an IV and I had to drink water and they monitored me for a few hours.  Nothing wrong other than my heart rate was high.  But I had an appt the next morning anyway so I went home and everything was fine.  My last appointment was with the other OB, AGAIN.  She said she was nervous about my heart and that we needed to get my baby out.  He was too big.  I had another ultrasound done and his head was measuring big but not much bigger than the one nearly a month before and his weight estimate was about the same which was like 7lbs 7oz or something.  Maybe more, I don't remember.   Anyway, my exam was the same as it had been...fully soft, not effaced, not engaged, dilated 1 cm.  She was worried and we needed to schedule an induction.

Okay fine, my mom was induced with me and she had a natural birth otherwise.  I was scared and trusting.  So she said she might have to fudge some numbers to say that my cervix was more ready for induction than it was esp since the hospital doesn't allow for induction based on "big baby."  Why I didn't pay any attention to those red flags, I'll never know.

So everything gets scheduled.  I went in at like 10pm to start cervical ripening overnight with pitocin to start in the morning.  If things didn't progress I'd be sent home, so we didn't tell anyone what was going on because we didn't know.  After an awful night of trying to keep Squirmy on the monitors (he hated those damn things) and still get some sleep, MY OB showed up first thing in the morning to examine me.  The cervical ripener thingy was half out so it hadn't been against my cervix the whole night (who knows if it ever was or for how long).  Exam was the same...totally soft, station -3, 1 cm, not effaced...nothing had changed in 6 weeks...nothing.  He wasn't moving down because he was too big.  Then she tells me that his head measured 10cm on Monday (this is now Friday morning) and that really that's bigger than a lot of women can handle because you only dilate to 10cm.  So by now his head was surely even bigger.  The cervical ripening failed because he was too big to descend.  They couldn't try the pit because it wouldn't do any good.  Nothing would get him to descend.

I had 2 options...have the c-section that day or go home, wait to go into labor, come to the hospital and have the c-section then.  Either way, there was no way he was coming out vaginally.  It was WAY too risky for his safety and mine.  So I asked her to leave so that my husband and I could discuss things.  I was terrified.  I wanted to trust her but I felt like things weren't right.  But I was so afraid something terrible would happen if I didn't listen to her and tried to birth him vaginally.  Hubby and I agreed to go ahead with the c-section that day since it was inevitable.  I never felt one contraction.  Not one.

I was shaking as they wheeled me into the OR and I was desperate for my husband, my best friend, to be with me.  They wouldn't let him in until certain things were done.  Turns out they started the surgery before they let him in.  I was crying as they did the spinal.  My OB made fun of me and told me I should be happy...this was the happiest day of my child was going to be born...and besides an owie here (motions across her abdomen) is better than an owie down there, she would know she's had the latter twice.  The nurses laughed as one pointed out that you should always wait to shave the patient until after the spinal in case you knick her like I'd just been knicked.  I had no control over anything.  The room was spinning.  I was scared and alone.

Finally my husband came in and I was still shaking and petrified.  Then they pushed Squirmy out of my stomach and he started crying.  They held him over the sheet so we could see him and my husband and I started crying.  I was sobbing with relief and joy.  The OB tainted the moment with a comment about how big his head was and how she was right about me never being able to birth him.  Funniest part was, his head measurement was NEVER taken at the hospital.  There's no recording of his head measurement until his 1 month well visit.  It crossed my mind to check it, but I didn't want to know.  I didn't want to know it was perfectly small enough to have been born vaginally, they way he should have been.  I didn't want to know I had made the wrong decision.

So that's the story of how my 8lb 1oz "too big" baby boy came into this world and why I firmly believe that a c-section wasn't necessary.

As an interesting point of mom knew of two other women due around the same time as me who went to the same practice.  Both of them had scheduled c-sections for "too big" of which had 2 previous vaginal deliveries.