Friday, March 26, 2010

16 and Pregnant

I don't typically watch the show, but I happened to be flipping around and found the episode about the girl considering placing her baby. She is an adoptee and her parents really really want her to place.

What a tough situation. Some of the things the mom says are way out of line, in my opinion. They really border on coercion, which makes me feel all sorts of icky inside. On the flip side, if this girl parents, her parents are taking on a huge commitment too. Whether they like it or not, they are going to help out a lot. Should the parents have some say? My gut says "no", it's really only the girl's decision, but it's hard because it affects so many people.

It's obvious the girl's mom is very pro-adoption; of course she is, it allowed her to have a family. It's almost like she is taking it personally that the girl is hesitant. The mom talks often about how much better the girl's life has been because of the choice that her birthmom made. (wow, this would have been easier to write about had I remembered any names!) I think it is really unfair of the mom to play on the girl's emotions like that. Every adoption is its own situation. Every adoptee who has an unintentional pregnancy isn't obligated to choose adoption as well as a sign to the world that they are cool with their own adoption! How crazy! Also, the girl seems to be processing her own feelings of loss wrt her adoption; I'm sure she is thinking about some feelings she would like to spare her own child. What an incredibly loaded situation. I wish the mom would back off; if this girl does choose to place, she needs to be able to own that decision and not look back years from now and think she got coerced.

I think this this is about as hard as a situation can get. If girl wants to parent and her parents are supportive: fantastic. If girl wants to place and her parents are supportive: also fantastic. If girl wants to place and her parents want her to parent: that's sad, but girl's parents will have to deal with it. But this? Girl wants to parent and needs her parents help but they are not supportive? Hard, hard, hard.

I really just should not watch the show. Most of the situations they follow are total trainwrecks, and the adoption stories are too triggery. I can't stand watching such a difficult decision get exploited.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Photo Post!

This is a glimpse into our lives over the last 6 weeks. Apparently there's been a lot of naked time. We were bored, and are ready for Spring!

That face kills me :)


Watching the Cable Dude do something cool. Notice the shoes on the couch... it was a Daddy and Jeb day ;)

Sometimes this is the easiest way to get Jeb to wash his hands:

I cut a "house" out of the box his new car seat came in. He L O V E D it.

He brought all of his Important Things inside: a dumptruck, pliers, snack, water, and a book.

Mama and Jeb. (Man, I look tired.)

He was quiet for a few minutes, and I found this in the bathroom:

No more onsies :( My boy is big enough for wife beaters now.

This is how Jeb feels about getting his teeth brushed:

My mom was on her way over with her dog; Jeb waited by the window with treats for the dog ready to go. So sweet.

I'm looking forward to the next months' photos full of sand boxes and swings and grass!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rambling about Daycare at the end of a night shift. Clever title, eh?

Daycare is one of the most annoying parts of being a parent. And I don't mean annoying like when your kid says "mama!" for the 908734127846th time that day but then flashes the cutest effing smile you've ever seen, so it's cool. It's just annoying. There is not one cute or redeeming thing about having to have daycare in your life. Oh, except the part where it enables you to have a job.

What's weird is that I really really REALLY look forward to Jeb's school years. Not as in I-can't-wait-for-him-to-be-out-of-the-house-for-6-hours-everyday; more like I can't wait to see what his future classrooms look like. And pick out his terrible painting amongst all the other terrible paintings hung in the hallway outside the classroom. And meet his teacher, who will want to talk to me about Jeb! My fav subject! And smell that distinct elementary school smell again, only love it even more. And give him milk money. And watch him walk down the hallway at school with a mostly empty, too big back pack on his back. Sometimes I imagine him with glasses and it gives me an extra squee!!! (I really wouldn't wish vision troubles on him at a young age, I just think they are damn cute.) ANYWAY. My point is that I know a lot of parents who refer to their toddler's child care provider as "school". I think it sounds weird to talk about sending my 2 year old to school. It sounds like I'm trying to put a better spin on it. Nope, my kid will go to Daycare, and I take ownership of the word. I am eternally less excited about Daycare than I am about Future School, even though the place is fraught with cute, terrible paintings. Why does a small blue chair at Future School sound totally awesomely adorable, but that same chair at Daycare is not exciting to me at all?

It's not even that I am philosophically opposed to daycare. Many people assume I should be opposed to it; my mother -- who is a nanny -- is one of them, which I find slightly ironic. One of my co-workers is apparently another one. She asked me last week, when I was talking about having to scramble to find a day care, but don't you have any *family*? Why yes, thank you, but weirdly they have to work for a living as well. Thanks for the brilliant tip that I would never had thought of. Oh right! My totally awesome, energetic, kid loving, puppy owning, game playing, zoo visiting, swing set owning relative who doesn't have to work will be perfect! Silly Patti didn't think of her ;)

Back to my original point -- Daycare is very annoying in several ways.

There is the scrambling factor: I'm not unusual in that my need for new Daycare is the result of abruptly losing old child care. So, fitting sifting/interviewing/researching new possibilities into my schedule RIGHT NOW is challenging. I'm not incredibly picky, I'm looking for the basics, you know, safety/fun/learning. But it's a scramble, and I am also processing the fact that this will still be a big change, and dammit! Why can't everything just stay the same for ever and ever and ever?!

There is the scheduling factor: Is it a 2 day program? 3 days? Do the days have to be the same every week? Can they fluctuate? What if they are not at max capacity? Can we have more flexibility in that case? What are the ratios, and how do they affect our scheduling? Will my boss work with me on changing my work schedule around?

There is the weird-policy factor: At Jeb's new home away from home, he cannot wear clothes with a drawstring. Does that include hooded sweatshirts? He has some pants that are elastic waist, but with a mock tied drawstring, are they OK? Are they worried Jeb's peer will rip of that 2 inches of fake drawstring and injure himself? Also, I have to provide 2 full spare outfits to be left there. Cool, no problem, Jeb frequently goes through a couple of shirts per day. But they want 2 pair of shoes as well. Honestly? Jeb has never gone through 3 pair of shoes in a day. Which means the spare shoes are really just going to sit in a cute cubby and go, for the most part, unworn. The really annoying part? Like most toddlers, Jeb grows out of shoes at a pretty good clip. So, that's lots of pairs of unworn shoes that I am going to be buying. Annoying.

There is the logistics/paperwork factor: Some piece of paper is going to have to be signed by a Pediatrician saying Jeb doesn't have the plague. Annoying part? I just switched Peds. Will new Ped sign the paper given we haven't had an appt with him ever? Will old Ped sign the paper given Jeb is no longer her patient? We have not fully vaccinated (cue scary music), this might be a giant effing road block.

The least annoying part? Is really the money. I've mentioned how I don't actually have any, so it's going to be tough, but not annoying. The Daycare we've chosen (and will hopefully accept us) seems to be full of fantastic, educated people who are nuts about kids. I think Jeb is really going to love it. So, handing over a bunch of money knowing Jeb is being well cared for? Not annoying in the slightest.

I would really love to stay home, I really would. But Jeb enjoys, you know, eating. That selfish bastard. I just hope he's ready to live drawstring-free. We all have to make sacrifices, right?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Flip Side

The experience of parenting is an exercise in living in the "extremes". It is extremely awesome, difficult, exhausting, rewarding, joyous, confusing, younameit.

This week was a perfect example. It was a h a r d week. But it was also a terrific week.

The weather broke, need I say more?

We took family walks, at Jeb-Speed, which is to say we picked up rocks and sticks and pointed out every hydrant/basketball hoop/flag/bird/plane. They were the exact walks that you fantasize about before you have kids.

We had spontaneous baking sessions. We also had spontaneous cookie-eating sessions.

Jeb and I took naps together in mama's bed with the windows open. The breeze was just cool enough that a sheet and some cuddling felt divine.

My friend came over for a play date with her 1 year old and 3 year old. There was a virtual hurricane in my house for 4 straight hours. The kids belly laughed and played and jumped and tumbled. The mamas sipped coffee and enjoyed broken conversation --- pausing often to holler "stop that!" or kiss a boo boo or offer a snack or pick up most of said snack off the floor.

Bennett, Jeb and I had a dance party in the kitchen listening to Johnny Cash. (I know dance parties and Johnny Cash don't often go together, but hey, that's us.)

There are so many other moments that were just regular, but fabulously so.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Richer or Poorer

I am so distracted by stress, I can't possibly write about anything else. I've meant to come and write several times, but I'm struggling to even think and breathe through the stress. Now I am at work, which actually helps, so I'm just going to unload.

The culprit? Being the wife of a Small Business Owner. AKA, money. Like, having none.

Our money situation right now is laughable. There is no safety net. I have had the only income for 13 months, now, which has been OK. It's been tight, but I've been able to support the family. But, our childcare situation will be changing any day, and I literally don't have the funds to afford the kind of place I want to send Jeb. The money just.isn't.there. I break down in tears every time I think about compromising my standards on where he goes.

The business is in a tough position right now because it's a Landscape/Snow Removal business. We had record LOW snow fall this winter. The snow $ was supposed to buy the mulch, and B was supposed to be able to start having an income. Well, there is no snow $, and B is losing his mind trying to figure out how to buy mulch. And there is obviously no way he can take a pay check.

There are a couple of possibilities: loan? investors? help from corporate (it's a franchise)? inheritance that we've been waiting on for a year? a miracle? the lottery?

I can't work anymore hours, especially because child care is an issue.

I hate blogging about something as dumb as money.

On top of it all? My loser neighbor sent a letter to the Chief of Police that I still hadn't switched my license plates from VA to MA. A cop showed up on my porch to tell me he'd be taking me to court if I didn't get it resolved. So, in the middle of one of the most stressful weeks of my life, I had to spend 3 hours (and hundreds of dollars that I can't afford) at the DMV. With a 2 year old. It was about as fun as you'd think.

My head is going to explode.

Tomorrow I will write about the fantastic week Jeb and I had despite my wanting to puke and/or cry at any minute. I refuse to let money make me unhappy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weaning. (this got long)

Well, the time is upon us. We are almost done nursing. I think our last session will be sometime in the next week (or two). After 27 months, it is time. It's starting to feel kind of skeevey to me, my supply is pretty much zip, and I really want a break before we TTC in the fall. If it were up to my boy, we'd have many many more months to go, I am sure!

It is a hard transition to make.

It is hard physically, to manage tapering without getting engorged. I'd say I started mindfully decreasing our nursing about 4 months ago.

It is hard mentally, to say 'no' or redirect when I know nursing will produce immediate sleep/peace/quiet/calm. Sometimes the fight just wasn't in me at 4am when all I wanted to do was sleep, and nursing was the surest fire way to make that happen. Or at 4pm when a quiet nursing session on the couch (sipping a coffee) sounded like the perfect way to s l o w everything down after a long day with the toddler.

It is oh so hard emotionally, to deny my precious boy when he looks at me with those big brown eyes and begs nurse? peas? and I tell him 'no' because any more time with toddler teeth on my nipples might send me over the edge.

It's hard because he doesn't understand it. No part of him ever thought there would come a time that we would not be doing this totally awesome thing. It's been a part of him since moment #1. It was how he transitioned to life on the outside. Before he knew he had hands, before he could see more than 12 inches in front of him, before he smiled, before he laughed, before he crawled or walked or talked or hugged or kissed ---- he nursed. It's been his comfort, his food, his home.

It's hard because he is my baby, who is not so much a baby anymore.

I never set out to nurse for 27 months. It just kind of happened. I threw myself into it in the beginning. I protected my supply fiercely. I dragged that God-forsaken Machine Baby (pump) to work for 13 months. I monitored my water intake, cut out dairy for 5 months, delayed solids until 6 months, did EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FEEDING, EVER. Jeb didn't sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours for 6 months. It was murder, but it was Our Thing.

Last week I let him have a spontaneous afternoon session just before I took a shower. He asked, and beamed when I said 'yes'. It was only a few moments, but I made sure to soak it in. I knew it would be one of our lasts, and I wanted a memory other than being annoyed in the wee hours of the morning. I ran my fingers through his hair, stroked his cheek, looked at his long legs that used to curl up and fit in my lap easily, told him how much I loved him, and then sent him running down the hallway to play in his room. I teared up knowing what he didn't: it was one of our lasts.

Now, I let him nurse for a few minutes when he comes to my bed in the morning. When he asks during the day, I tell him 'no, buddy, we can't nurse now, but we can hug and cuddle!'. Like always, he's adapted faster than I anticipated. (I am constantly underestimating this kid.) He still asks to nurse a bunch of times during the day, but he also asks a bunch of times for hug, mama? while extending his little arms. Sometimes he asks during a very inconvenient time, like when I'm on the toilet, or up to my eyeballs in cooking dinner, but I never say 'no' to the hugs. I don't want him to feel we are less connected; I want him to shift how we express our connectedness, but never the fact itself.

Oh, my sweet boy, we are so connected, don't you worry.

I am thrilled to be thisclose to being DONE, but my heart is breaking letting it go. This Mothering Gig sure is a roller coaster.