Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"You'll Be Mine - All the Time!"

I love my kids. They are freaking awesome.

Gracie is sitting on the floor and Kairi is sitting between her legs with her back to Gracie's stomach. Gracie is going from one side of her head to the other chanting in a sing-songy voice, "You'll be mine! All the time!!" and Kairi is giggling.

It's just so cute. I wanted to share this moment with you. But now, I'm gonna get back to it. Because I'm missing baby and big girl giggles.

Oh, and by the way - I'm taking a while off for the holidays. I'm visiting my mom and she does have the internet, but I doubt if I will be posting until after the New Year. So, happy and safe holidays, everyone!

XOXO

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tragic

The internet has been buzzing with lots of loss over the past couple of weeks. Kristin Brite at Instructions Not Included lost her daughter Cora 5 days after she was born to congenital heart disease. Shellie Ross from Momdot lost her 2 year old son Bryson in a tragic pool accident.

I just read about a 27 year old woman named Amanda who lost her husband, her 4 year old son and her 8 month old daughter in a fire last Tuesday. This story hits especially close to home for me, as my kids are exactly those same ages.

Anyway, Amanda has lost everything. EVERYTHING. And she needs our help. Please go read her story and if you can, pitch in and help. If not, at least help spread the word.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Father

Sarah at  One Starry Night wrote a post requesting information regarding relationships with fathers. I began commenting, intending on writing a small amount about my relationship with my father, some about Jason's relationship with his father, and then the relationship between Jason and the girls. It got longer than I intended, so instead I'm posting my response here. Go check out her post and comment too!

My relationship with my father is complicated. Well, not really. It's actually quite simple. We used to be really close. He was my hero as a kid. He sang me Beatles and Elvis songs as lullabies, we danced while I stood on his feet, we laid around watching movies together. As a teenager we were pretty close too. We spent a lot of time together and talked about just about everything. Then he got remarried and things immediately changed. I'm 26 now and I pretty much only see my dad at holidays. I have tried to maintain regular contact with him because I would like for my girls to know the hero I knew at their age. It works for a week or two and then he becomes "too busy." It's too much effort on my part and not enough on his.

The relationship between Jason and his father is nonexistent. Jason and I have been together for almost 9 years and only at his sister's wedding last March did I meet their father. Even then it was unintentional. Because Jason grew up with an absent father, he's been afraid that he wouldn't know what to do. No one was there to show him what a good father is supposed to look like. Before we had kids, he had some pretty wild ideas about how a child should be raised - evidence that he was not yet a parent. (Haha. I'm pretty sure we ALL had some of those ideas before we had kids, did we not?) But after Gracie was born and reality set in, it became obvious that he was going to have to map his own way into becoming the awesome daddy he is today. I would like to say that I've led him a bit, but while I've given some pointers here and there, he gets all the credit.


It's so fun watching Jason interact with the girls. He will take them to the bedroom and let them roughhouse (Kairi not so much since she's so small, but she likes to watch). He'll lay on the bed and Gracie will jump on him and yell, "CANNON BALL!!!!"

He's so gentle with Kairi as well. A couple days ago I got out of bed to use the restroom and when I came back, I found the two of them snuggled up together.

I'm just glad that he's found his way as a daddy. He didn't need an example.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Something is Off

I have had the strangest feeling all day today. Something isn't right and I don't know what it is. Normally when I get this feeling, I think, "Well, maybe I've forgotten something..." then I go through my list of things I typically do in a day and things I know I need to do. If I haven't stumbled across whatever I think I'm forgetting I chalk it up to random weirdness and move on. I know what needs to be done will be done one way or another, my kids are taken care of - happy and healthy - and it's all good. Whatever it was couldn't be that important.

I have gone though my lists a million times today. Nothing fits and the feeling is not going away. Let me run you though my day (as boring as that may be - I'll stick to the highlights.)

I got up at 7 to get Gracie ready for school and sent her off by 7:50. Then I went back to bed for a while. Kairi and I got up just before 11, Jason just after. I got online and checked Twitter and Facebook (for those who don't know, this is an addiction for me that could possibly need rehab. Yes, actual rehab.) I had a new message on my Facebook account telling me I should check out this mommy forum. I normally ignore such messages or choose to try it out later but then forget, but this time I went ahead and signed up. I checked the place out and might actually stick around a while. But while I was there I started feeling it. That weird feeling that something was out of place. I went back through my list, found no good reason for the feeling then went about my day.

Just before 1 I get a phone call. It's Gracie's school. Gracie has bitten another student and is being sent home early. Great. So I walked up to the school and talked with the counselor about the incident. I explained that we've never had any problems with Gracie biting, not since she got teeth in the first place and discovered that Momma yells REALLY loud when she uses them. (That was a fun period of time.) After we got home I sent Gracie to her room to think about what she had done. I came back out and did some more tinkering online.

Jason and I hung out for a while and Kairi napped. Thank goodness Kairi napped - she's been sick and refuses to sleep unless being held. But that's another story. After a while Gracie got up and we were watching YouTube videos on the Playstation. I laid on my stomach on the floor while Kairi played on my back (baby back rubs, y'all. Good stuff.) and Gracie ran around the living room making Kairi laugh. The feeling crept back up as well as the incredible regret that I didn't try to nap while the girls were both sleeping.

Shortly after that Jason went to work. I hung out with the girls and we watched Up. Kairi pulled up to a box in front of the television and Gracie helped her find her way back down, right onto Gracie's lap. The girls sat together watching the movie for a good while just cuddling and for a moment all felt right with the world.

After a while of doing nothing worth noting I got back online and hit up Twitter. Lots of tweets about a woman named Military_Mom whose 2 year old son passed away tragically this evening in some sort of pool accident. I looked into it a little bit then went and hugged my girls for a little bit longer. (By the way, if you want to help the family, check out this site.) Again it felt like something was out of place, but I can't be sure if it was the same feeling I'd felt all day or if it was the pangs of remorse I felt for Military_Mom and her family.

A bit later I discovered a couple stashes of hidden candy wrappers that Gracie had tucked away in some random spots in the living room. Actually, I should credit those discoveries to Kairi - my only real discovery was the sudden stash of wrappers in Kairi's mouth. Good times. I decided perhaps it was a good time to do a nice, deep clean on the living room. I got about halfway done when I remembered hearing Gracie say to Kairi, "Here, you can chew on this!" and the sudden realization that I wasn't exactly sure what "this" had been hit me. As if in slow motion, I turned to see my lovely little baby pull her clenched hands away from her mouth, thick saliva strung from her mouth finally breaking as the distance thinned it out. In those wet, tiny balled fists, my phone. My $250 phone, that is in all actuality not my phone but my friend's phone who has been gracious enough to loan it to me until I can buy my own. I grabbed it and wiped away the spit from the buttons. "How long had she had my phone?" I wondered. "And just how much spit can an 8 month old baby really produce?" To answer that question: a lot. Enough to render half of the buttons on one side of the phone completely inoperable and half the buttons on the other side performing random operations over and over again.

Yay.

I managed to get my phone turned off (after randomly dialing a few different people without being able to hang up) and the SIM card removed and into a cheap, unbreakable phone that I keep around for temporary use. The saliva drenched phone is in a baggie filled with rice. I'm hoping the rice will wick away the moisture. (REALLY hoping. In fact, do me a favor and hope with me. I might need the help this time.)

Now, instead of the feeling that something is missing I am filled with feelings of frustration and anger and guilt that I could have quite possibly broken something that doesn't belong to me. I don't believe in psychics, but if I did I might conclude that my feeling had been an omen, my third eye picking up on the trouble in the distant future.

Anyway. I am sure I could end this on some really funny note about how psychic visions are bullshit and make it seem like it's all gonna be okay with a quick joke. But the fact of the matter is that I am probably out $250 and it is quickly approaching 1 am. I'm tired and I have to be up at 5 tomorrow morning. If I'm not too exhausted tomorrow I might throw out some extra energy to think up the perfect ending for this post and exchange that for this paragraph. In the meantime, hope with me that the phone is fine and that I haven't forgotten something that's going to be important tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Words I Don't Say When I'm Too Busy Complaining

There is something I feel I need to clear up. This is not so much something I need to clear up with my bloggy friends as it is with the people I talk to IRL. But it's going up here anyway because I write better than I talk.

I am a complainer. It is SO easy for me to find something to whine about and while I am in a lot of ways a very optimistic person, I am also very cynical. My optimism shines brightest when faced with severe adversity. And believe me when I say I have been faced with severe adversity. But that's a completely different story. The point is that when put in situations that other people claim they would either kill themselves or be committed if they were there, I see where I need to find strength and I look to the good to find it.

The same is not so true in everyday boring life. In everyday life, when the objective is not quite so clear, my mind tends to focus on what's wrong in the situation. What is there for me to bicker about? I get frustrated quite easily these days and once that switch is flipped, it's really hard for me to find my way back to a good mood.

The person I complain about the most is my husband. I rant and rave when he pisses me off and because of that I am afraid that people might have gotten the wrong impression of him. I don't compliment him to others often and this is a severe injustice. SEVERE.

I would like to take the time now to tell you a few of the wonderful things about my husband that I have kept quiet for far too long:

I have a hard time sleeping sometimes when he's not laying next to me. He, however, works nights and often needs to stay up later than I would like in order to wind down. But he knows that I have trouble sleeping without him so he comes to bed with me, hours before he is ready, just so I can fall asleep.

Often times, once we get to bed I will realize that I'm hungry or thirsty. I will usually complain about it briefly, and without actually being asked Jason will get up and go fix me a bowl of cereal, glass of milk, or a sandwich so I don't fall asleep needing or wanting of anything.

Jason has a crazy sense of humor. Sometimes he says things that sort of embarrass me (for lack of a better word... Not so much embarrass, it's more that he says things that aren't exactly PC in slightly inappropriate situations). But more often than not he will crack a joke that I just know if he said it to anyone else, they might think he had a mental deficiency, but when it's said to me (which it's usually something he would only say to me) it cracks me up. He knows that I like the quirky, slightly off comedy and he plays to it perfectly.

Jason is a great daddy. And he is SO proud of his girls. It's so funny hearing him brag about them, about the new things they are doing. When I was pregnant with Gracie he was so worried that he wouldn't know how to be a good dad because no one ever really showed him. In all reality, he's a natural. He's really softened up for the girls.

Remember how I mentioned that once I'm in a bad mood it's hard to get back? Jason is about the only person who can bring me back from that (aside from the girls, that is.) He is able to distract me from what I'm mad at long enough to see the situation objectively and let go of what I need to.

There are so many other little, wonderful things that Jason does and things about Jason that I could share, but for now I just wanted to share a few to let everyone know that although I complain - and I complain a lot - my husband really is a wonderful guy and I am so happy to be in this relationship. He puts up with a lot of shit from me, more than I think anyone else would and it's not fair that people don't know that.

The Post Where I Whine and Cry About Being Tired

Edit: I wrote this post this morning at about 7:30 after waking up at 6:30. At that point in time I had gotten 2 hours of sleep (stretched over a 6 hour period of time.) I was, as I say below, freaking tired. I was also pissed at my husband who didn't really do anything wrong... because I was tired and I wanted to blame him. I'm not going to edit the post itself because it's what I felt at the time, but I want it to be said here that I'm no longer mad at him, now that I've had some time to actually sleep on it, and that my anger wasn't entirely justified. My husband is a great guy - I just don't post the good things often. (Which reminds me of a post I need to write. Like, now.) 


Anyway - yeah, I was pissed this morning, but please take this as a sleep deprived rant and just that okay?

Guess what, folks? If you read the title, you're probably saying to yourself, "Hmm... I don't know! Is she going to announce that she's spewing rainbows and Skittles from every orifice?" ... Okay, that's probably not what you're saying. I'll spare you the speculations of what you may or may not be saying and get to the point:

I am freaking tired.

There. I said it. I'm tired. Last night was rough. I was tired because I'd slept like crap the night before (Kairi flailed in her sleep, kicking and punching me throughout the night, to the point that upon waking to a fist in the face my first words were *somewhat censored* "G-Damnit mother effing poo!" Jason, who just fell asleep, was not impressed.) Kairi was tired too. Her sleep schedule has been a bit erratic the past few days because she has a cold and is, I believe, teething again. I knew, as she had barely napped all day yesterday, that she was just as ready for bed as I was. It was midnight when we finally laid down and she was out within minutes. For me, it took a bit longer. 30-45 minutes longer. That's not bad, but it's not great either.

At 1 Jason woke me up to tell me that he was going out with a friend for a bit. Jason very rarely goes out with friends, so on the odd occasion that he does go out, even if it is 1 in the morning, I'm completely fine with it. Only I had just been asleep for maybe 30 minutes, and now I was wide awake again.

To make a long and fairly boring (but frustrating) story short, I went back and forth between sleeping 10-30 minutes at a time before being woken up by Kairi's coughing or flailing and being awake for an hour or two before falling back asleep. At 3:20 Kairi woke up just enough to start crying, but not enough to be soothed. I tried all my tricks to get her back to sleep but fell short. So I called Jason's friend to try to get Jason to come home. I needed his help, otherwise I wouldn't have called. I don't want to be "that wife," the party pooper. Jason told me he'd be home after a couple more hands of dominoes. Which took over an hour. I managed to get Kairi back to sleep in that time, but I was angry that he didn't come to help.

I managed finally to get to sleep around 5:30 only to wake up at 6:30. Kairi was wide awake and ready to get out of bed. I haven't cried about a frustrating, sleepless night since Kairi was about 2 months old, but I sure did this morning.

Forgive me if I seem ranty this morning. I'm just tired. And frustrated. I'm pissed that Jason is in the bedroom snoring away while I am up with the baby after being up pretty much all night with her. I'm sure after I get some rest I will look back at this and think I was being too hard on Jason (which I probably am, but only a little.) but for now I just need to get this out.

And now, an hour and a half later, Kairi is yawning. I'm going to try to get her back to sleep and hopefully we can sleep well into the morning. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ho Hum...

I'm a little disappointed in myself today. I promised you guys something that I can't fulfill just yet, as it turns out.

I'm so sorry.

The post, my story, that I have been working on and had finished writing out a couple of days ago is being held off for just a little longer. I spoke with my mother about the post, and since some of it has to do with her, she has asked that I email it to her for her to read and get back to me on. I am currently awaiting her response. As well, I have found a few parts of the story that I feel the need to edit... It just needs a little more tweaking before it's ready for you all. I'm sorry for the delay.

I will not be giving myself a deadline on this. As you can probably see, deadlines and I do not mix. What I will promise you is this: I will continue working on it until I feel it's ready for unveiling. Once the time comes, I will post it. But not until then. I hope it is soon.

In the meantime, let's just hang out. Cool?

Friday, December 4, 2009

While We Wait

Currently I am waiting on a couple friends to read and help polish the post I've been promising. This is a very big event for me where my blog is concerned and I want it to be perfect, so please bare with me another day while I wait for them to look at the post and get back to me. It will be posted by tomorrow night - I promise.

In the meantime I have been thinking about what I want out of this blog - where I want to go with it, etc. I thought I would go ahead and lay that out for you, my readers (hello, all 2 of you! HA!) so that we are all on the same page.

First of all, I share my stories and my concerns here in hopes of finding some community. I hope to find people that I can relate to and that can relate back to me. I would like to form friendships.

I also want to share my stories to hopefully help people who are in the kinds of crap situations I've been in. My life has not always been sunshine and rainbows (as you will find out by tomorrow's post - Man oh man will you find out.) and I know from experience that hearing others stories, stories of people who have been there and come out the other side can offer immense amounts of hope. It is important for me to share these stories, despite what judgment they might draw, because I want you to know who I am and where I've come from. And remembering what I've done and what I've been through is a great way to make me thankful for what I have and where I am now.

When I was in high school I spent a lot of time writing. Last fall when I returned to school for the first time in 7 years I had the hardest time coming up with material for my comp class because I was out of practice. Another thing I hope to accomplish is polishing my writing abilities by practice practice practice.

More than anything, I do this for self improvement. I have something to look back on and see a timeline of where I've been and where I am going. I hope to never stagnate, to never become complacent, and by writing and reading these accounts, these snippets of my life I am hoping to maintain the momentum I've gained in moving in the right direction.

As for you, what would you like from me? Is there anything I can be doing differently to make your experience here more enjoyable? More educational? More relatable? (Yeah, apparently "relatable" is not a word. Thanks for the heads up there, spell check.) Let me know what you think of me and my blog, if you so choose. I appreciate it!

A Promise Fulfilled

Some months ago I promised to post a story, something that has been weighing heavy on my heart and mind for the past 4 years. I wanted to let everyone know that I've finally written out my story and it will be posted shortly. There are a few very small kinks I would like to work out before posting it. As well, I've asked a couple good friends to proof read it for me.

Anyway, this post really relates a lot of who I am by relating where I've come from. It's probably the single most important thing I've ever written. That's not to say that it's the best thing I've ever written (ha). Keep you eyes peeled. It will be up in a day or two.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Few More Thoughts on Censorship in Social Networking

Okay - I just want to get this out there, and hopefully after this we can all get on with our lives. I'm sorry if I've seen obsessive lately. I guess I have been a little obsessive. But it's like this when it comes to me: I need something to obsess on. When I was in junior high it was being as weird and out there as I could possibly be without getting arrested. High school was all about the drama surrounding boys. After high school was about partying (well, that was high school too, I must admit). When I was pregnant with Gracie, I obsessed on pregnancy so much that I read some 15-18 books on pregnancy and childbirth cover to cover. Then it was me and Jason getting married. I obsessed for 6 months on planning our wedding. I've had lots of little things in the in betweens, but I really need something big to focus on. Currently it's breastfeeding. You know, because it's a huge part of my life right now - just as all the things I've obsessed over in the past have been HUGE parts of my life. Asking me to not talk about breastfeeding (or to tone it down a bit) is the same as asking a woman about to be married not to obsess over her wedding. I'm sorry if it seems to be bordering on fanatacism (is that a word?) but you know what? At least I'm focusing on something that I can make a difference in. It might not be a big difference, but by talking openly about breastfeeding, by nursing in public (not "waving my tits around," as I've heard/seen it referred to in the past) I am hopefully making breastfeeding a little more normal to people. I hope, at least.

As well, every single day I get on Facebook or MySpace I see something someone has posted about Jesus. Now, before everyone gets all up in arms over this topic, let me stop you. I am not against religion (well, I'm against "religion," but that's a whole different post) - I am not against having spiritual beliefs and talking openly about them. Does that mean I want my News Feed on Facebook to be filled with notes on the sermon you attended last Sunday? No. But because I respect what my friends and family have to say, even if I don't agree with it necessarily, I keep my mouth shut. I skip the posts that are clearly religious. It's not that hard to do. Now, I am not trying to compare religion to breastfeeding. I am sure that there are some people out there who would argue that breastfeeding could easily be compared to religion - but I'm not gonna go there. The point is this: if I can respectfully scan over your posts, I would love it if you would do the same for mine. I don't start religious debates (or flat out call someone out for believing in some deity that I don't hold faith in.) Don't do that to me either.

Last, and this kind of goes with some of what I was saying above, if I am a fanatic about breastfeeding, I guess you could say that I am cult-leader fanatic about food. Why do I say this? Let me break this down for you. I counted my posts on Facebook over a period of 2 days. There were ~30 posts (I'm rounding up a little to make it easier to figure) total. Of those posts, 5 were about breastfeeding. 1 of the posts about breastfeeding was prompted by the people on Facebook. 10 posts were about my kids and/or husband. 15 of the posts were about food. "Man, I'm hungry!" ... "I'm making X for dinner. It's gonna be so good!" ... "OMG. Dinner was delish. What's for dessert? Who's bringing ice cream?" etc. So by all rights, if I'm a fanatic for breastfeeding, the damn it, I guess I'm pretty fucking freaky about my food.

Just because I'm posting about something you don't necessarily do or agree with that doesn't mean that you can demean me or make me feel bad for posting about it. I don't do that to you. Please pay me the same respect. And if the idea of breastfeeding bothers you THAT badly, maybe you really should delete me.

*sigh* Okay. I think I am done. For now. In the meantime, I will leave you with this picture and the reminder that this... ...was grown with breastmilk. I don't really see a problem in that. Do you?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Change.

I posted a note on Facebook tonight. I state in the note that it is not aimed at any specific person, or any specific incident. I would like to make that statement here as well - especially in light of my recent posts concerning breastfeeding on Facebook. (Facebook Conversations Volume 1 and the Update) There have been several incidences where I have been approached about various different subjects that make others uncomfortable. I have been chastised for using dirty language (I cuss like a sailor.), for making crude jokes (I have an incredibly demented sense of humor.), for gossiping (what can I say? I like the juicy gossip.), and for making statements about MANY different hot topics (abortion, breastfeeding, the death penalty, the election, etc. etc. etc.) I realize that the breastfeeding bruhaha is still fairly fresh, and while that does play a large part in this, it is not what it's about.

Having said that, here is the note:

Changes That Need to Be Made

Disclaimer: This note is not aimed at any one person in particular. I am not in the mood to talk about this further - the subject is not open for discussion. I ask that you respect what I have to say and leave it at that.

Over the past several months, I have received several comments from several people regarding my statements on varying subjects. Some comments have been public, some have not. Some have been respectful, and some have not. Regardless of the tone of the comments made, I have felt the need to stifle myself, to censor myself here for fear of making people uncomfortable. Doing so has made me come to resent Facebook, a place where previously I loved coming to engage in various different discussions with my friends and family.

As most of you know, I am a stay at home mom. I also have no car. I have no way to get out, to go socialize as I so desperately need to in order to stay sane. This is where I socialize. And I have been made to feel uncomfortable in my only real sanctuary.

That's about to change. Rather than censoring myself for the comfort of others, I am going to speak what's on my mind. Ever notice what it says above the text box where you input your status? It says, "What's on your mind?" It doesn't say, "Who do you want to please?" or "Watch what you say! Your words might make someone squeamish."

What I ask of you is to think back to when you added me to your page. Why did you do that? Was it because we're friends or family? Was it because you value what I have to say? Anyone who is close to me knows how important it is to me that you like me for who I am, not what I pretend to be. That has been at the core of my being for a very long time, and I don't plan to change that. If this makes you uncomfortable, if you can't handle what I have to say, please remove me from your friends list. I promise I won't take it personally. I'm not going to quit talking to you in person or quit being your friend/family if that's the case. There have been several people who have posted things that I can't handle who I have un-friended. I'm not even sure if they've noticed. We still talk and hang out in person.

The point is this: I am who I am and I'm going to say what I have to say. I love engaging in discussions and broadening my views and debating issues, so please, still feel free to comment on what I say. But please don't ask me to censor myself.

Again, I would like to point out that this is not aimed at any specific person. I would also like to remind you all that this is not up for discussion. Period.
I really wish that I could close the comments on my Facebook, but I can't. Not on the notes. I can delete them once they are posted, but I really just don't want to hear anything having to do with this. Like I say above, it's not up for discussion there.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Because It's Thanksgiving

I was going to write a post about what I'm thankful for, because it is Thanksgiving. I did not, however, get around to that. It's not that I'm not thankful, it's just that I'm busy living in my gratitude rather than reflecting on it. (Not that the latter is bad, as I LOVE taking some time out to think about what I have to be thankful for.)

Anyway - I am a member of a message board (one, that I will not I am EXTREMELY thankful for. What an amazing support group!) and before I started this blog I would occasionallly write blog entries on MySpace and repost them for my message board friends to read. I found one from 4/26/09 that I think would be perfect for today. I am thankful for reminders like these:

Easy Like Sunday Morning - 4/26/09 (Kairi's 1 month birthday)


My family is awesome. I'm so stoked to be so lucky. Although the fact that I am breastfeeding Kairi means that I'm working with her a lot more than I did with Gracie, she's super easy. I get a little discouraged from time to time, but no where near as much as I did with Gracie. Gracie had colic, if that's any indication as to how often I could be found crying my eyes out at 4am while holding a screaming child. Want to know how many times I've cried out of frustration with Kairi? Once. Well, twice, but I was more frustrated with Jason than with Kairi.

At first, when we finally got to bring her home Jason would get frustrated with her crying and snap at me about it... Not an attack by any means, nothing directed necessarily at either Kairi or myself, but still discouraging. I had a talk with him a few days ago about it, and he's been SUCH A HUGE HELP since then. He's done a complete 180. Well, not complete as it wasn't that bad to begin with, but man oh man is he helpful now. And it's made life for me so much easier. I'm so lucky to have a man who can take constructive criticism well and do something with it... And I'm lucky to have a man who is willing to help... All I really ever ask is for 5-10 minutes of break time for myself. That, or I'll wake up with Kairi when he gets up, and I'll feed and change her, and he will take her to the living room so I can get a couple more hours of sleep. How fucking cool is that?

And Gracie... She's just a doll. She's still acting out a bit like she had been shortly before we had Kairi, but it's toned down quite a bit - that paired with the fact that I know how to handle it now really makes it a lot easier. And she's such a tremendous help with Kairi. Sure, we've had a couple issues, but nothing like what I thought we would have. Just areas where we've had to teach Gracie about babies and how they are too little for certain things, or about how when she's got her eyes shut to try to be quiet and still.

Kairi is starting to get used to things. Tonight has been a breeze. Kairi was asleep when Jason left for work. She woke up right after he left, but wasn't crying/didn't look like she was about to cry, so I let her hang out while I hopped in the shower. She cried a little while I was in the shower, but Gracie gave her a pacifier and talked to her until I got out. (It was SO sweet walking into the bedroom to see Gracie laying on her stomach talking to her sister... "It's okay, Kairi," she'd say. "Momma will be here soon. I'll watch you til then.") I kept the water running when I got out of the shower just long enough to get a couple inches in the tub and got Kairi ready for a bath. So far, every bath I've given her she has cried and squirmed the entire time. This time? She smiled. She cried just a bit towards the end, but nothing major. I got her out of the tub and dressed. After I fed her, she fell asleep. My friend Dugan came over and I got the girls together and we went to Chili's. Gracie behaved pretty well the whole time (she got under the table for a minute, but aside from that I have no complaints.) and Kairi slept the whole time. Since we've gotten home, Kairi has been awake and just hanging out in her bouncy seat. Typically she doesn't like not being held unless she's asleep. She doesn't cry hard or loud, just kind of idly complains. Tonight though? Not one single cry or complaint out of her. It. Has. Been. AWESOME.

I am so stoked to have had such a great day with such a great family today. I hope that I have more days like today.
I couldn't help but smile when I read over that again tonight. As Kairi has gotten older, Jason has become increasingly more and more involved and helpful. And now that Gracie is in school and we've got a more concrete disciplinary style down pat (we're doing a positive/negative reinforcement kind of discipline with her and it's working famously!) her behavior has mellowed out quite a bit! And Kairi... man, that kid is just growing so quick! I have such a hard time believing that she is 8 months old! Whoa!

Anyway. My family is awesome and things are going great. I am thankful for them, for the good and the bad and everything in between.





I love you guys.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Facebook Conversations Volume 1: Breastfeeding Updated

Late last night I wrote about a conversation I was having on Facebook regarding my apparent barrage of Facebook statuses having to do with breastfeeding. This morning when I checked my Facebook there were several new comments to the second status. I would like to add those, and my response, here. I will be including the entire conversation regarding this one status. (The first response was not included in my original post because it didn't have to do with where the conversation was headed.)

Status:

In order to appease the masses who are apparently annoyed/offended by my posts via Twitter about breastfeeding, I have suspended the connection btwn Twitter and Facebook. If you see a post ending in #fb it's a "selective twitter" post - a post coming from Twitter that I specifically posted to Facebook as well via Twitter. Censorship at its finest people.

Responses:

J: wow, people are still annoyed/offended about breastfeeding?!?! now that's appalling!

Me: Yup - Go check out my previous status and the comments...

T: wow really? Is attention that imortant to you and your twitter status Erin? Because I exercise my first amendment right and make an inquiry about your status updates/twitter posts you start another post demonizing my me? Come on if this is not the back bone of the feminist movement I don't know what is, ie. making a large deal out of a non-issue. No body give a shit whether you breast feed or not, except maybe for a few dense assholes, but that is not good enough for you. You need something to tweet about, so you chose an old, dilapitated subject. Compared to the real life issues weighing on our world today, the subject of bra burning feminist waving their tits to and fro for "equal rights" seems a bit shallow and pedantic. But hey if twisting my words and questions around help you get a few more fans to "make a difference" and boycott Nestle or some shit more power two you. Just remember freedom of speech is and always has been a double edged sword.

T:
BTW, "appease the masses?" Savior complex much? ONE person made ONE comment, come on you are no rosa parks here, lets take a step away from the high horse.

Me: Yes, really, T. And way to make it all about you as well, sir. No, it's not just about you. You're not the first to comment and I'm sure you wouldn't be the last either. I don't see how I "demonized" you, but if that's what you choose to think, more power to you. If you are bothered that much by what I post, then delete me. If you don't like what I have to say in regards to what you and other people say, don't read it. It is my First Amendment right to respond as I see fit.
Personally, I don't see how this is a non-issue. You bring up the Nestle boycott. Do you even KNOW why I'm boycotting? Are you aware that because of Nestle's immoral marketing in undeveloped countries, women who are perfectly capable of breastfeeding instead opt to use formula they often can't afford to buy (thus forcing them to thin it out, giving their infants less nutrients than they need, using unclean water). In the US alone (a developed country, as opposed to the above noted) infant mortality rates are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants. I don't know about you, but I don't see how that is a non-issue.
I am not trying to play the martyr. Sure, my comment may have been a little passive aggressive, but so is telling me, "Hey, no offense, but you're not the first to breastfeed or give birth." Like I said before, you're not the first to make this kind of comment. You couldn't possibly think that you're so original as to be the only person bothered by posts about breastfeeding, could you? I realize that it's not for everyone and that not everyone wants to read about it. That's why I changed my account connections. I have no intention of not saying what I have to say, but in order to choose my battles (an effort which apparently is a moot point now) I have changed the layout.
And in as far as attention is concerned, feel free to direct yours elsewhere. It's not wanted here.

K:
I'm actually writing a paper on censorship of the arts. I'm not sure if breastfeeding would fall under that category, but if it does, ill write the paper in your honor.

Me: Haha, thank you, K. It's not actual breastfeeding that I feel censored in (although there have been, as I have said, many times I have been harassed over doing it in places other than my home) it's speaking/writing on it. I would like to add that T's comment is only the straw that broke the camel's back in my decision to cut ties between Twitter and Facebook. I have had several people make comments regarding my posts on breastfeeding - some online, some off; some private, some public; some tactful and non-offensive, but mostly I've received comments like T's follow-up responses. There's nothing like hearing "we don't give a shit" that will make you want to censor yourself.

N: (some information removed for privacy sake)
Its not that people dont give a shit, its that we dont like it thrown in our faces all the time. I know you breast feed kairi and Im glad that you do, but neither of my children breast fed and they are just fine- neither did gracie and she is just fine also. There are millions of babies, like my two, who wont take to the breast and have to bottle feed. It isnt the end of the world and it doesnt make their mothers bad mothers... breast feeding lasts a small portion of your life and hers... so why make such a big deal? I know dozens upon dozens upon dozens of women who breast feed and you nor anyone else would ever know because they do it for their child and not to cause a big fuss or make a "movement" out of it. They do it descreetly and privately.. so? So, so what. I know dozens upon dozens of women who breast feed for the first three to four weeks and then stop because after the baby gets the colostrom (mothers antibodies) then formula is just as nutricious and it becomes a war zone to breast feed. It is your personal decison to breast feed and it is your personal decison to make a big deal out of it. The point is, why talk about it all the time? Why force people to be so tired of hearing about it that they stop reading your posts or start making hateful comments? I love Kairi but even I don't read alot of what you post in fears it is about breatfeeding AGAIN and I just don't like reading about it every single day. I just think that now you are beating a dead horse and no one takes you seriously anymore. Your coming across as a fanatic with nothing to do but, to quote T, wave a burning bra in the air. Chill out on the subject a little and people will take you more seriously and stop being hateful about it. They arent hateful you are posting it, they are hateful you are posting it so frequently.

A:
Isn't the whole point of all of these social media self-expression? Letting the world (or at least those who choose to listen to your words) hear your point of view? I say, tweet/post on, my dear! If I'm grossed out, I'll skip over!

T: Thank you n, I honestly did not expect a female to actually take the time to understand my arguement, it is appreciated. And erin I actually did not know you were boycotting, jest through it out there, and yes I am up to speed with the basis of the nestle boycott you are not the only socialy informed individual. Bottom line: your posts do not "bother" me. Hearing about or seeing breast feeding has never bothered me. I was simpy asking a question.

L: I agree with A. People also have the right to choose whether or not to read your posts, just like you have the right to post or not post what you want. I don't think there is anything wrong with formula feeding a child, but I whole-heartedly believe that breast feeding is the very best option for your baby. There may be reasons why a child cannot breastfeed, latch-on issues, tongue tied, low supply, etc. But I also believe that most "issues" that mother's have are just an excuse to stop bf and go to formula. It takes time and working with your baby to teach him/her how to bf. They do not come out of the womb knowing how to bf. And in my opinion, some women who try and fail, fail because it is too hard and hurts too much. Trust me, I know, my nipples were raw and sore for 5 weeks before bf finally "clicked" for the both of us. But I kept on trying and teaching my son. And lets face it, pouring a bottle of formula or even mixing a bottle of formula sure does sound a lot easier than going through the stress of trying to get a crying/hungry baby to latch on at 3 am with little to no sleep. Tyler is right, you/I aren't the first to bf or give birth, so what about those women and children years ago who didn't have formula as an option to give to their child? Did they just starve their child? No, they somehow made it work. Anyway, I can go on, but I hear my son calling for me. I hope you do not stop your posts. It's because people like you and me who are advocates for bf, that will help get the word out. Did you notice that there are only bf commercials on during the month of bf awareness month. That is sad.

N:
For whatever reason a woman decides to or not to bf it is HER decison and no one else's. No one has the right to judge a woman for bf-ing or not. My son was an emergency c-section. By the time I was able to try and bf he had been given three bottles of sugar water therefore he refused the breast. My daughter for some reason couldn't latch, she lost so much wieght in the first two days the doctors told me to bottle feed. She has fought her weight since the day she was born and now has to see a growth specialist. By the time she went home she had lost over a pound and it was down hill from there, if I had continued to try and breast feed she might have died. It was far from laziness, it was the best decision for my child and I still stand by it, eleven years later. Erin made reference to people not being offended by someone referring to a woman's "nice rack" I sure the hell am offended and I sure as hell will say something... anyone who knows me knows I will. I wont, however, say something to a breast feeding mom. Its her decision to do so. But, I mean, come on, if my two month old is screaming uncontrolably I am going to leave the store or restaraunt or where ever I am out of respect and courtesy. If I have to go to a "dirty bathroom" or out to my car to handle the situation am I going to whine about it? No because that was my decision. First it was my decision to be a mom in the first place and second it was my decision to go to the public place knowing my child might get cranky. It is basically the same thing... plus babies are on schedules. You know if you just fed or if it has been long enough that you should wait and feed before you go. Do you take your infant out of his/her carrier to feed while driving down the road and risk his or her life? No you don't. You pull over or you wait til you get to your destination. The bottom line is there are draw backs and disadvantages to breast feeding and if you mkae the decision to breast feed you deal with them. Personally I became thankful my kids didnt bf. #1 their daddy, grandma, aunt, uncle, daycare provider or sunday school nusery worker can feed them. #2 I didnt have to worry about feeding in public or if I had to for some reason be away for any length of time. What if you decide to go to an all day outting at your older child's school and you cannot take the baby? What then? Do you tell your childyou cannot go because the baby breast feeds? Real life dictates that shit happens. Period. All we can do as intelligent human beings is deal with it and move on.

Me:
I'm going to try to address all the issues here, so bare with me.

T - You asked a question: Why do I post so much about breastfeeding? Because it's something that is important to me. It currently effects almost every aspect of my life. It's a lot like how when I was pregnant I posted a lot about being pregnant.
I realize that in your original question you posted "no offense,"and the first post didn't offend me. I posted a response, one that I felt was respectful and addressed your question. We had a couple more responses between the two of us, then I decided to try to sever the ties between my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not just because of you, but because of, as I have said before, many people who have made comments about this issue. You jumped to the defensive (or should I say, "offensive") and jumped down my throat. Sure, my comment was a little passive aggressive, but I was a little annoyed with having to do this. As A said above, the point in social networking is personal expression. Breastfeeding currently is a big part of my life. I don't have a job outside of being a mother, I don't have a car, I don't have cable - I don't have a hell of a lot to distract me from what I am doing at home, and a good portion of my time is spent with a child at my boob.
I realize that there are plenty of people who don't want to hear about it on here. That's fine. I honestly don't mind severing the ties between Twitter and Facebook so that everything I put on Twitter doesn't spill over here. Last night I was aggravated about it, but it's really not that big of a deal. I understand that some people (probably most people) don't want it shoved down their throats, or at the very least wonder what the big effing deal is.
The point is, the change, and my attitude about it last night are not about you - your comments were just the straw that broke the camel's back in my decision to cut ties. I'm sorry if you took it personally.

N (and the others who have probably not spoken up about being afraid to read my posts because they might be about breastfeeding) - As stated, I have severed the ties between Facebook and Twitter. 90% (or more) of my posts regarding breastfeeding spilled over from my Twitter feed, so you won't have to worry about that. I'm sorry if I have shoved this down your throat/in your face/whatever. I hope there aren't any hard feelings.

I want to point out that I am not anti-formula. I realize that I post a lot about breastfeeding, but I am no more anti-formula than a pregnant woman who is posting about her pregnancy is anti-non-pregnant women. What I *am* against is the immoral marketing of formula in areas where it is unsafe to use as the norm.

I would also like to point out that after all of this went down last night, I counted my posts for the past 2 days... Of 22 posts, 4 had to do with breastfeeding, and only one of those was directly posted to Facebook (this one.) 3/4 of my posts had nothing to do with breastfeeding. Now, close to 100% of them will have nothing to do with breastfeeding.

T:
fair enough, did not know others had made comments about it, I wrongly assumed the post was directed at me. No hard feelings

Me: It's understandable - there was no context on my part suggesting otherwise.

There were plenty of issues that I probably could have or should have addressed in the responses, particularly from N. However, the issues have been discussed with her on previous ocassions and going down that road with her is both frustrating and futile. I can understand her point of view and although I don't agree with it, I don't feel like I should argue it further.

As for now, I think the dust may have settled. I am sure there will be further responses but I've said all I really care to say on Facebook. It's more than apparent that people, my friends and family, don't want to read about my experiences in breastfeeding, so I am not going to speak on it there. Period.

Facebook Conversations Volume 1: Breastfeeding

Welcome to the first edition of what I am going to call Facebook Conversations. I have posted previously various conversations I have had on Facebook, but they have never been verbatim posts, more just recaps, often edited for grammar and spelling, sometimes phrasing.

What you can come to expect in these posts (more to come eventually) is a brief explanation of how the conversation came to be, the conversation verbatim (names changed to first initials for privacy), and after thoughts concerning the conversations. With that said, on with the show:

For those of who you don't know, I am a breastfeeding mother. I am fairly proactive in trying to make the act of breastfeeding the standard over formula feeding when and where possible. Most of the people I talk to about this are on Twitter, and long ago I connected my Twitter account to my Facebook account. The following conversation stems from the fact that a good portion of my posts on Facebook have to do with breastfeeding, as a good portion of my Twitter posts deal with breastfeeding.

Status:



I ♥ The Cow Goddess. http://www.thecowgoddess.com/ #breastfeeding #babywearing #rockinmomma


(BTW - Totally check out the link! She posts cool AP comics on a fairly regular basis.)

Responses:

T: seriously erin why are the majority of your posts about breast feeding? I honestly don't mean any offence but you know you are not the first girl to ever give birth or breast feed right? (i am of coarse infering that you breast feed)

Me: The majority of my posts are about breastfeeding because the majority of the people I talk to on Twitter talk about breastfeeding a good portion of the time. I'm trying to set up my page to where all my Twitter posts don't spill over to Facebook, but the apps I have are conflicting. I'm sorry if you find it offensive or annoying but until I can get things sorted out between my Twitter and Facebook accounts, you will likely continue to see posts having to do with breastfeeding. Does it really bother you that much?

T: no not offensive i have had a kid and the bitch breast fed, just seems excessive for something that has been around since the dawn of time, and women did it just fine before social networking sites

Me: What seems excessive to me is the amount of intolerance received by breastfeeding women. It's just fine and dandy to show your breasts in a low cut/revealing top or a bikini, but if I am to show as much flesh in public by feeding my child (and trust me, I don't show any more flesh feeding my child than I would wearing a bathing suit.) I get harassed for it. By talking openly about it, or at least as openly as some guys talk about the nice rack on some girl passing by, we are opening the doors to normalizing it again. Breasts are seen as purely sexual in modern society and breastfeeding, the entire reason behind having breasts, is seen as a dirty act that should only be performed (if at all) in the privacy of ones own home, in a dirty bathroom, or at best, under a blanket.

This is not the first time that I have received responses having to do with breastfeeding on Facebook. I would like to take the time right now to say that I have set up my Facebook and Twitter accounts to only coincide when I put #fb in my Twitter posts. I realize that this is probably not the best way to normalize breastfeeding in modern society, but for this moment, I am picking my battles. Earlier tonight I was called a "spermbag prostitute" by an ignorant troll of a woman for standing up for a friend who is breastfeeding a toddler. I don't particularly care to engage in that sort of commentary on Facebook as well as Twitter, so for now, my accounts will no longer coincide. I am not happy with this, but it's what I'm doing for now and depending on how I feel about it tomorrow, I may change it back. I was feeling somewhat passive aggressive at the time of my decision and posted this status in reference to it:



In order to appease the masses who are apparently annoyed/offended by my posts via Twitter about breastfeeding, I have suspended the connection btwn Twitter and Facebook. If you see a post ending in #fb it's a "selective twitter" post - a post coming from Twitter that I specifically posted to Facebook as well via Twitter. Censorship at its finest people.


As for how I feel about what was said...

First of all, he may not have meant for me to be offended, but I was. I am offended. Obviously, as I post frequently about it, breastfeeding is something that is important to me. It has been a HUGE part of the relationship I have with my daughter. It has had a HUGE impact on every aspect of my life, in all honesty. So to question why I post about something that I obviously care so much about, that to me is offensive. (Excuse me. "Offencive." Ugh.)

Second, of course I realize that I am not the first (or last!) girl to breastfeed or give birth! The whole point in posting about breastfeeding is, as stated numerous times above, to help normalize it so that hopefully more and more women will be comfortable trying it out, asking for help when needed, and sticking with it.
"no not offensive i have had a kid and the bitch breast fed"
If I EVER read "not offensive" and the term "bitch" in reference to a woman in the same sentence again, I might have to get violent.
"women did it just fine before social networking sites"
Women did it just fine when breastfeeding was the norm. When little girls grew up seeing their mothers feed their younger siblings by the breast and not the bottle, as their mothers had seen their grandmothers do for their siblings, yes, women did it just fine then. Currently women do not do it "just fine." According to the CDC*(1), in 2003 only 14.2% of mothers surveyed exclusively breastfed their 6 month old babies. It is recommended by the World Health Organization*(2) that all mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. Of course, I'm sure that's excluding those who have actual medical reasons for being unable to breastfeed (of which there aren't as many as are claimed.) That still puts us almost 85.8% lower than the recommendation. I wouldn't call that "just fine," would you?

*Sources:
1 http://www.kellymom.com/writings/bf-numbers.html
2 http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/topics/prevention_care/child/nutrition/breastfeeding/en/


I am more than disappointed in the conversation listed above. I am not surprised by it, but that in and of itself is also disappointing. I hope though, that by continuing to engage in these conversations that perhaps one day we will achieve the goal. In the meantime, I will continue to fight the good fight alongside my friends on Twitter. What an amazing support system they have been. Thanks to all of you who have been there for me.

A special thanks to Annie at PhDinParenting. Her blog was what set me off in my search for acceptance as a breastfeeding mother.

**Edit**

T. has responded to my status stating the severed connection between my Twitter and Facebook accounts. For now I am just posting the exchange, then heading to bed. Tomorrow I will post further thoughts.

Status:

In order to appease the masses who are apparently annoyed/offended by my posts via Twitter about breastfeeding, I have suspended the connection btwn Twitter and Facebook. If you see a post ending in #fb it's a "selective twitter" post - a post coming from Twitter that I specifically posted to Facebook as well via Twitter. Censorship at its finest people.

Responses:

T: wow really? Is attention that imortant to you and your twitter status Erin? Because I exercise my first amendment right and make an inquiry about your status updates/twitter posts you start another post demonizing my me? Come on if this is not the back bone of the feminist movement I don't know what is, ie. making a large deal out of a non-issue. No body give a shit whether you breast feed or not, except maybe for a few dense assholes, but that is not good enough for you. You need something to tweet about, so you chose an old, dilapitated subject. Compared to the real life issues weighing on our world today, the subject of bra burning feminist waving their tits to and fro for "equal rights" seems a bit shallow and pedantic. But hey if twisting my words and questions around help you get a few more fans to "make a difference" and boycott Nestle or some shit more power two you. Just remember freedom of speech is and always has been a double edged sword.
T: BTW, "appease the masses?" Savior complex much? ONE person made ONE comment, come on you are no rosa parks here, lets take a step away from the high horse

Me: Yes, really, T. And way to make it all about you as well, sir. No, it's not just about you. You're not the first to comment and I'm sure you wouldn't be the last either. I don't see how I "demonized" you, but if that's what you choose to think, more power to you. If you are bothered that much by what I post, then delete me. If you don't like what I have to say in regards to what you and other people say, don't read it. It is my First Amendment right to respond as I see fit.
Personally, I don't see how this is a non-issue. You bring up the Nestle boycott. Do you even KNOW why I'm boycotting? Are you aware that because of Nestle's immoral marketing in undeveloped countries, women who are perfectly capable of breastfeeding instead opt to use formula they often can't afford to buy (thus forcing them to thin it out, giving their infants less nutrients than they need, using unclean water). In the US alone (a developed country, as opposed to the above noted) infant mortality rates are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants. I don't know about you, but I don't see how that is a non-issue.
I am not trying to play the martyr. Sure, my comment may have been a little passive aggressive, but so is telling me, "Hey, no offense, but you're not the first to breastfeed or give birth." Like I said before, you're not the first to make this kind of comment. You couldn't possibly think that you're so original as to be the only person bothered by posts about breastfeeding, could you? I realize that it's not for everyone and that not everyone wants to read about it. That's why I changed my account connections. I have no intention of not saying what I have to say, but in order to choose my battles (an effort which apparently is a moot point now) I have changed the layout.
And in as far as attention is concerned, feel free to direct yours elsewhere. It's not wanted here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tired.

Hey guys. I know I promised you first of all, a new post every day this month. I realize I also promised you the beginning of a series on adoption starting Monday. Neither of those are here, are they? I'm sorry. Truth be told, I am just tired. This time change is kicking my ass and handing it back to me in a nice little package labeled "Erin's broken ass." It may have bells and ribbons on it, but it ain't pretty, folks.

My series on adoption is on hold at the moment. Only one person who offered to send submissions for it has thus far and I still need to interview my mom for my part of the series. I suppose I jumped the gun on announcing it. Part of my problem is that once I throw a deadline out, you might as well call the project dead. I am HORRIBLE about working on a deadline. I am thinking of cutting it to a 2-3 post series, rather than a full week's worth of posts. I'm still trying to decide how I want to end it. Once I figure that out, I will post it. Hopefully sooner than later.

I had an interesting weekend - which is more than I can say for most weekends. On Friday my mother stopped through town and picked up Gracie. They went out of town to visit Mom's boyfriend, Terry. Gracie calls him Pops. It's cute. After Jason left work work I was left here with Kairi.... No car, no cable, no one over the age of 7 months to communicate with. It took about 2 hours for the mind-numbing boredom to kick in. I reached out on Twitter and Facebook, informing whoever would read my plea of my dire situation. I got a response from an old friend named Christine, someone I hadn't seen in almost 10 years. "Wanna come over?" she said. I jumped at the chance to get out of the house and loaded the baby up. She came and got us and we hung out at her house until about 1am. I really enjoyed catching up and reminiscing.

Saturday night, my friend Sandra was having her birthday party. Originally it was supposed to be at a bar that is a few blocks away from my house. I made arrangements to where I could go for about an hour or so, but I didn't want to stay long because Jason was off work, and is NEVER off work on a Saturday night and we don't have plans. I found out that she had switched locations though, and there wasn't any way I was going to be able to go. So I took her out to lunch instead. We went to this little Mexican restaurant that another friend recently had taken me to. It was delicious. Later that afternoon, Christine invited Jason and I over so that Jason could meet her boyfriend and maybe they could become buddies. Again, we stayed fairly late and we had a really good time.

On Sunday, Gracie came home. I was so excited to see her. I really missed her while she was gone. We spent the evening just lounging around the house.

Since the time change, Kairi has been getting up early. All weekend, we woke up at 8. On the weekdays, typically I will get up around 7 to get Gracie ready for school, and when I get back at around 8 I get back in bed and catch another couple hours of sleep. Kairi has not allowed that at all. Both yesterday and today she has woken up with the alarm. Fantastic. She won't let me nap either. I think she's going on a napping boycott. She's become the queen of the 10 minute nap - if she takes one at all. It's becoming depressing. So I've basically been running on 5 hours (if I'm lucky) of intermittent sleep with very little napping going on. It's not fun.

I am hoping that I can start going to bed earlier than usual and perhaps I can catch up on some of that sleep I've been missing that way. In the meantime, until I can write with a fully rested head, I will be working at whatever pace my grogginess will allow on my adoption posts. We'll see how that goes!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's to Come - Rescheduled

So. As I said last night, I am working on a project. It started out as a simple post, but once I started talking about it, it quickly exploded into a series of posts...

The first post is supposed to be a story about my mom and my brother, but I can't complete it without further interviewing my mom, something I won't be able to finish until the weekend is through. So, I have decided to push back the series to start possibly Monday. Sorry to disappoint - I just want this to be perfect.

In the meantime, check this out:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's to Come

Over the next week or so, I will be publishing a series of posts dealing with the subject of adoption. I am currently taking story submissions from friends and family who have had experience surrounding adoption (and some foster parenting as well.) I plan on having the first of my series up on Friday or Saturday. A few of the stories will be told 100% in the voice of the person telling the story, as a guest post, and a few of them will be integrated into posts of my own.

If you have a story involving adoption (please, first person stories only - I can't use "My brother's friend adopted a kid" or "My friend's cousin put her baby up for adoption" stories) that you would like to share, please feel free to comment here, or email me at babybeatnik at gmail dot com. Use the subject "Adoption Story."

Gracie's Very, Very Bad, Bad Time

Jason is off work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and on those nights if the weather permits we like to take family walks. I will put Kairi in my sling, Jason and I will walk side by side, holding hands if possible, and Gracie typically runs ahead (sometimes as far as half a block ahead!) Tonight, the weather was fabulous. It was cool but not cold - warm enough weather that we didn't have to wear jackets, which is just about perfect as far as I am concerned.

It just so happened that in order to make the dinner I had planned, I would be needing some jalapenos, so we decided to walk down to the dollar market* located about 6 blocks away to pick some up. Our walk there was great. Fantastic, really. Gracie, as per usual, ran ahead. Jason and I got to catch up with each other. Kairi was really enjoying taking in the scenery. Unfortunately, the market didn't have the kind of jalapenos I needed, but we didn't leave empty handed. We got some cookies and fish crackers, as well as a couple other items we were needing.

On our way back, about a block away from the market there was some water pooled over part of the sidewalk. I saw it at the last minute, and holding Gracie's hand I tried to steer her around it...

*SQUISH*

"Ohhh noooooo! My foot fell in, Mom!"

I looked down, and sure enough, her foot fell in. Her foot more than fell in. Her foot SANK in. Apparently the water had been sitting there for a while and had softened the soil around the sidewalk enough that when Gracie stepped onto it, it gave way and pulled her poor little leg down, covering the bottom half of her calf and her entire foot in a rich, black coat of mud.

I feel the need to take a moment here to explain something. My child can be unpredictable at times. I never really know how she is going to react to something, and just when I think I've got her pegged she surprises me. That being said, what I expected out of her was a meltdown. When she melts down (and this is too funny) she begins referring to herself in third person.

"You have to take my shoe off! You have to carry me! No walking for Gracie!"

Throw in some sobs and some hiccups and that's about what I expected. Instead, I got:

"Well, we're almost home, right? I think I can make it. You'll help me wash my foot when we get there, huh?"

She was as calm as could be. I was amazed. I mean, she was clearly bummed about it, but she was taking it in stride. I was very proud of my kid at that moment.

About a block later she began complaining about the squishy feeling when she stepped. Jason and I decided that perhaps it would be best if she walked barefoot, and if need be Jason would carry her. She walked home fine and didn't need to be carried at all, but the whole time she kept kind of chanting about how it was a very, very bad, bad time. (There's an episode of the Backyardigans where the characters are taking a tour of a swamp. Towards the end of the episode they get fed up with not seeing anything of any note and begin singing a song about how they are having a very, very bad, bad time. It also mentions stepping in mud and muck.)

I don't know why, but her little chant struck me as funny. When we got home, we ran a shallow bath and let her stand in it while we washed the mud from her leg and foot, and that was basically the end of it (minus the laundry). I just still can't get over how funny my kid can be.




*I am going to try to refrain from using store names if at all possible from here on out. I'm not sure why, it just feels right this way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Redesign

I don't know about you guys, but I'm growing a little bored of my generic Blogger template. I mean, it's pretty, but I feel like I could find something that is a little more me. Currently I am looking at a few different places that give you codes and/or downloads for your page, but I'm just not finding anything that fits. I suppose it would be a good idea if I had any idea what kind of a theme I want to use.

I started out looking at kind of a coffee-type theme. My thing is, though, that I would rather have a coffee SHOP-type theme because I don't really drink a lot of coffee. I'm more of a Chai kind of girl. I love coffee shops though... The atmosphere just kind of gets to me. But all the templates I find are just coffee cups or coffee beans which just isn't what I am looking for.

Then I began looking at a few different generic pages and all I found were anime themes. Don't get me wrong here - I like anime (Princess Mononoke is one of my FAVORITE movies ever!) but I really don't relate my personality with anime.

I started out doing this on a whim, but when it really comes down to it I want this blog to convey my personality in all aspects, not just through my writing. This is an important task to take on and it might just be something that I will need to invest more than just time into if I want it done just right.

Over the next month, I am hoping to make lots of changes here. I am hoping that by writing a new post every day that I will improve my writing, but more than that improve my ability to draw inspiration from more areas. Of course I love writing about myself and my family, but I would love to be able to write about other things on a regular basis as well. Currently, I have a hard time with that.

I hope to find a new template soon and I'm making a goal to have everything set by the end of the month (unless I have to spend money on it - in which case my goal is the end of the year). I might try out a few before the end of the month. If you like what you see, please let me know!

What changes, if any, would you like to see? Have you ever done a redesign? What changes were for the best? Any you regret?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloweerd!

I don't know about you guys, but I had a fabulous Halloween weekend! It was so much fun! My best friend Natalie, whom I never get to see anymore because she lives out of town, threw a Halloween party on Friday. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it, but at the last minute a mutual friend told me she had room for me and the girls to ride with her. So we went. There were so many funny and neat costumes! And it was great seeing Natalie's friends that I hadn't met or gotten to know very well. She and her husband Micheal have a great group of friends.


Natalie and Micheal

As only can be expected when I'm paired with Natalie, weirdness ensued....


Me and Nat <3


I find it easiest to not ask...

Gracie dressed up as Snow White, as she has been a little obsessed since the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the movie earlier this month.


My little angel <3

Kairi wore a tutu, but that didn't last long. Tulle + my baby does not mix well.


Pretty baby!

Halloween night consisted of the usual: dinner at Gramma's and then trick-or-treating with my cousin Kindra and her kids. Unfortunately, I was hung over (from the 3 glasses of wine I drank the previous night - 3 GLASSES!!! WTF, right?!) and didn't have the presence of mind to take any pictures of Kindra's boys. I assure you though, as a miniature Darth Vader and Batman, they were adorable!

Last night we set the clocks back an hour, and although it didn't particularly change the amount of time we slept (yeah, that time pretty much flies out of the window once you have kids!) it was nice to get an extra hour with my husband. He's been working so hard lately that we rarely get to spend our waking hours together.

All in all, a great weekend. Tomorrow starts a whole new week, back to the daily grind. I'm just glad it will start on a good note!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Am I Getting Myself Into?!

I have decided at the last minute that I am going to take part in NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. It takes place in November and it is rooted in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month, which is where you write a 50,000 minimum word novel in a month. Rather than writing a novel, I will be attempting to write one blog post per day for the entire month of November.

I am probably getting in way over my head. I have a hard enough time as it is posting weekly, let alone every day. But I really, really want to get this blog off the ground and I'm not going to do that by sitting on my hands.

So, here's hoping I am able to successfully complete the month of daily writing. I also hope that it will be good content. I am going to make this promise - I will not post something if it is not worth reading.

For those of you who write, from where do you draw your inspiration? Do you write regularly, or just when it strikes your fancy? Do you have a cache of posts stockpiled, or do you start fresh with each new post?

Monday, October 26, 2009

It Comes Down to Trust

Last week I witnessed my first piece of blog-drama. I've been reading blogs regularly for only about a year or so and never encountered anything that shook the entire mommy-blogosphere like this story did.

You see, this woman posted a story about how during a routine security check in an Atlanta airport a TSA agent removed her son from her and walked away with him. I read her post and, as a woman who has actually had my child taken from me I took this post extremely seriously. Not that anyone else wouldn't, but it hit home here. I relived my experience which was heartbreaking and traumatic, as even thinking about it renders me pretty much useless for a couple hours while I recoup. I wept for this woman because although what she had gone through was nowhere near as hard as what I went through, it was still scary and I know that feeling of desperation and helplessness that comes after your child leaves your line of sight and you have no idea where she is going to end up.

Shortly after I recovered from my tear soaked, snot covered journey into my past I discovered the TSA blog's response to the woman's accusations accompanied by a video showing 9 different angles of the whole ordeal. No one took her son from her. There were several other things that she claimed happened during the ordeal that did not appear in the videos. No tear-filled phone calls to her husband or mother. In fact, she didn't appear to be hysterical in any of the video. No tears at all. I watched waiting... Waiting for it to happen. Waiting for even a lapse in the video - a place where perhaps they edited out the encounter. Then the video stopped.

After the video ended I sat and stared blankly at the screen for a moment, shocked that I had been so easily duped. I wanted so badly to believe her, to believe that someone wouldn't blatantly lie like that. I was disappointed in myself for not second guessing the story and for taking a person whom I had never met for her word. I'm still amazed at how devastated I become when I realize that just because I am an honest person that does not mean that everyone else is. It hits me like a slap in the face every time I blindly put my trust into someone and it is taken for granted.

I realize that this woman doesn't care about me or how I felt when I realized that her story was a work of fiction. I'm not so much bothered by the fact that she lied - but more her complete disregard for those whose faith she has betrayed. Throughout our lives we gain a great number of things for ourselves. We decorate our lives with fancy electronics, nice cars, pretty furnishings. We fill our homes with items to keep us busy and entertained. What most people don't realize - like really, deep down gain understanding of - is that these things can easily be stripped away and we're left with nothing. And when it comes down to that, all we really have left is our word and our respect.

Most people I know are like me when it comes to giving and taking respect and trust. I give it freely - it is a courtesy I extend upon meeting someone. The longer I know a person without having that trust and respect broken the deeper it runs. So despite the fact that I had never before read this woman's blog, I took her word at face value and I felt for her more deeply than I tend to feel for people I don't know because her story hit close to home. I know that I probably should have known better, that I shouldn't have been so quick to react but that's the kind of person I am. I leap before looking because I trust (perhaps irrationally) that there will be a soft landing ahead. I guess that's why I find it so wrong that people take for granted the people who trust in them.

I am pretty sure that as it stands now most of the people who are reading this are people I know. Even so, there are a few out there that are strangers. Despite that, I know that I want to maintain my integrity - I find it incredibly important to maintain the trust that is extended to me by you - my readers. Because without that, why would you be here?

Where the aforementioned woman is concerned, she has been stripped of my trust. Not that she finds it important, I'm sure. I just needed, for myself, to get this out of my head. There are plenty of people who write personal accounts of their experiences that are true to their word who I would much rather take the time to read, to get to know - and I hope that those of you who are reading this see me as one of those people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What to Do?

Kairi had her 6 month check up and shots last week. We are about a month behind on her appointments due to some clerical errors, but I won't get into that. Her appointment went fairly well. She was weighed and measured. They checked her temperature and her ears. Everything that you would expect to be done at a typical pediatric doctor's appointment was taken care of. Then the doctor came in. He looked over her charts and immediately noticed how high her weight was on her growth chart.

"Hm," he began, feigning concern, "I see here that Kairi's weight is pretty high here. She's above the 95th percentile. We need to start restricting her diet."

"What do you mean, restrict her diet?" I asked him, caught off guard by his claim.

"Well, she needs to only be taking 24-26 oz of liquid each day. How much are you feeding her?"

I was confused. "I couldn't tell you. I breastfeed exclusively and have no way to measure how much I am feeding her."

Dr. A looked a little surprised. "Oh. Okay then, you need to only be feeding her 3-4 times daily."

Again, I was caught off guard. "Is that including nighttime feedings?" I didn't mention the fact that from the time we go to bed to the time we get up in the morning I feed her 3-4 times still.

"Yes," Dr. A said, his impatience becoming slightly apparent. "You should only be nursing 3-4 times in a 24 hour period of time. You can give her water and 2 servings of baby food or cereal per day as well, but I really want to stress how important it is that you reduce her nursing times to 3-4 times a day."

"Um, okay...." I was bewildered into agreement. Well, I wouldn't necessarily say agreement, but I couldn't begin to wrap my head around his request long enough to question it until I had left his office. The further away I got, the more angered I was by what he was telling me.

Now, I don't claim to be a doctor, but I am not some uneducated schmo from off the street who will take his word without a second guess if it doesn't feel right. I have done enough research into breastfeeding to know that until my daughter is a year old her primary source of nutrition should be breast milk and the rest of it, the baby food, the juice, etc, is all supplementary. Sure, she needs those things, because after 6 months of age she needs more iron than I can produce for her and she needs other vitamins that aren't found in adequate amounts in breast milk. But most of her basic needs are met in my milk and every single article I have ever read states that until she is a year old I should be nursing on demand.

That is not to say that I am a 100% by the book kind of girl. I know that nothing works exactly the way the books say it will and often times I have to find a compromise between what I've read and what I feel to make things work. More often than not I lean towards what I feel over what I've read. But in this instance, everything I have read is completely aligned with everything I feel. And down to my very core I feel that reducing my daughter's nursing times to 3-4 times daily - like I said before, that's just what she eats once we go to bed! - is absolutely not what she needs.

Today when I logged into Twitter I saw a link to the growth chart used for breastfed babies. I followed it and entered Kairi's information into it. According to the chart at her doctor's office, Kairi was above the 95th percentile in weight. That's supposed to be a cause for concern. According to the chart that is provided by the World Health Organization, my daughter is in the 75th percentile. Right on the line.

I realize that I have a chunky baby. In fact, I expected Kairi to be a chunky baby. I was a chunky baby. So was Jason. Gracie was ENORMOUS. By 3 months she was in the 95th percentile in weight on her chart and her doctor was cramming dietary information down my throat even then. But take a look at Gracie. Go on, I posted recent pictures of her in my previous post. Take a look at her, come back, and tell me that you are worried for her weight - that you fear she might just tip into the range of obesity should she eat one more Twinkie. Granted - Gracie's weight hindered her physical development to a degree that we had to have specialists come in and determine she would be able to catch up with the other kids. Gracie didn't roll over until she was 6 months. She didn't sit up until she was 8-9 months, didn't crawl until she was a year old and didn't walk until she was 18 months old. But once she started moving that weight fell right off.

I have no fear that my children will be obese. I realize that obesity is quickly becoming the number 1 preventable cause of death and that while children are less at risk of weight related health problems, being overweight as a child often leads to being overweight as a teenager and as an adult, which we all know can lead to all kinds of health problems. With that knowledge in mind I try to feed my children healthy food - at the very least home cooked food, which we all know is often times healthier than eating out - as well as I allow them to get plenty of age-appropriate physical exercise. Kairi may be at the top of the charts (the WRONG charts) at her doctor's office, but I know that like her father and I, as well like her sister, once she becomes more physically active she will thin out.

All weekend I have been fighting with myself over whether or not to switch doctors. Ultimately I have decided that I am going to try to find a more pro-breastfeeding pediatrician. Sure, Dr. A has spouted "breast is best" but beyond that I have seen no support from him. In fact, he suspended breastfeeding when Kairi had jaundice. After getting out of the hospital from that ordeal I found out from several sources that there was no need to suspend breastfeeding or to supplement formula as the doctor had ordered.

But I am concerned for the mothers who aren't as sure of their decisions as I am. Even with my level of certainty I faltered briefly when ordered to reduce what I know is working. If I was less certain of my choice to breastfeed, his order to reduce nursing would ultimately lead to a reduction in milk supply and eventually to having to supplement formula or even wean altogether before I am ready. I wonder how many mothers have gone through that with their children because of faulty claims that they are nursing too often. This also leads me to wonder what other misguided information Dr. A is giving.

I would like to do more than just switch doctors. I would like to raise awareness of what is going on, but beyond this I just don't know how. This man is a very popular and trusted doctor in my community. He's been around for a very long time - he was even my pediatrician when I was a child. This issue pulls at me, pulls at my morals and I don't feel that I can simply walk away and only do what is best for myself and my child. What would you do in this kind of dilemma?

Tiny Dancer






Monday, October 19, 2009

Gratitude Adjustment

I am having a bummer morning. Nothing in particular is going wrong - I just feel kind of bummed out. It's not exactly the day that I want to spend my day, so I am going to take a cue from my friend Angela who does Gratitude Mondays and focus on what I am grateful for today instead.

Last night on Facebook a friend of mine posted a status that read, "My greatest accomplishments call me "Mommy." I almost cried when I read it. It's so true. My kids are BY FAR my greatest accomplishment. Above all else, they are my purpose for being here. I know I've said it before, but I feel like I was incomplete before becoming a mother. Yes, yes, I know, it's very Jerry Maguire, "You complete me,"-esque but it's true.

Gracie is growing like a freaking weed. I didn't really notice before I had Kairi how quickly Gracie is growing. The day Kairi was born I remember laying in bed with Gracie and looking at her hands and feet. They looked monstrously big - so much bigger than they had just the day before.

She's really coming into her own too since school has started. Every week she learns a new letter. Each letter has a character, a story/song, and a hand movement. The first week she learned the letter "P." P is for Polly Panda, and Polly Panda paints purple P's, pizza pans and porcupines. Her motion is moving your hand up and down like you are painting a fence. (Think Karate Kid, "Up and down.") During the hand motion, she says "Puh, puh, puh."

A few weeks ago at the end of the week Gracie came home with her folder full of the various projects she's worked on. The letter that week was "M." That night, she worked hard on tracing and practicing drawing her M's. One of the assignments sent home was a piece of paper with a bunch of letters scrambled all over the page, and she was to circle all the M's and draw X's through all the P's. She did that as well as recognized each letter that she had been learning between the two, and some that she hadn't learned in class. She's also begun using these letters throughout her days out of school. She is learning so much. She will ask what a certain word starts with, or if I say a word she will say "That starts with O!" It's so neat watching her grow.

Kairi is growing fast too. I can't believe it - it's been almost 7 months since she was born. Wow! A week ago Friday she started saying "Momma" (and my heart melted!) My mother was here to witness it. It was very cool. Last night the girls and I were in the kitchen while I was baking a cake and Gracie and I were talking about Jason. All of a sudden, Kairi looks up and starts saying "Dah-ee Dah-ee Dah-ee!" over and over. (Think "Daddy" minus the d's in the middle.) That was very cool too.

She is also doing a lot physically. She is really beginning to be able to support herself sitting up. She's been kind of sitting up for a little over a month, but it's more like she's kind of folded in on herself. And she's begun inchworm crawling. She will scoot forward with her legs (as if she is crawling regularly) then throw her body forward and land flat against the floor. She rights herself and starts again. It's very funny to see her doing this.

Anyway, I think that will conclude my "gratitude adjustment" for today. I am feeling much better now.