Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Get out your nursing bras. It's time for a virtual sit in!

By now you've probably heard that Facebook is requiring that women remove pictures of themselves breastfeeding because the pictures are "obscene".

Grr. Even writing that sentence makes me want to squirt some booby milk in the face of a Facebook executive.

Anyhoo, when I heard about this injustice the first thing I wanted to do was stage a huge mommyblogger boob-a-thon wherein people would post pictures of themselves breastfeeding and then all of the links would be sent to Facebook in protest. I figured the more boobage showing the better.

But then reality set in and I realized that, ironically, while I currently have time to breastfeed about 25 times a day, I really didn't have time to set up a mommyblogger boob-a-thon, let alone take a picture of myself breastfeeding.

So...I was so excited when I found out that there is a team of rebel lactivists who have set up this very thing - and in a much more impressive and professional way than I ever could. They are hosting the Great Virtual Breast Fest on October 10th at 11am. To participate in this virtual nurse-in, all you have to do is post a video of yourself breastfeeding at that time. Or, if you don't have video, you can send the lactivists a picture of yourself breastfeeding and they will include it in a video montage. If you didn't/don't breastfeed, you can simply write a post about why you support women's right to nourish their children whenever and whatever and in whatever manner they wish. Click on the button above for more information.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who says you need a daughter to have someone to do girlie things with....

Mama, how does this shade look on me?

Disclaimer: I did not put him up to this. He found my make-up all on his own and now he's addicted. Try to interrupt his morning make-up routine and pay. Pay dearly.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ah, the silly things women say to each other

A woman toting two kids behind her walked past me as I sat on a bench breastfeeding the baby. As she passed me, she said:

"Doesn't it just make you feel like a cow sometimes?"
Uh. No, I really never thought of myself as a cow. Until you said that.

Thanks a lot, beeyotch.

The incident just kinda left me wanting to go open a Facebook account and post a picture of myself breastfeeding shirtless.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Moms Speak Up!

The ever eco-conscious Izzy Mom has started a new website called Moms Speak Up. Moms Speak Up is collaborative blog of writers posting about the environment, dangerous imports, food safety, toy recalls, education, health care and many other topics of concern.

When Izzy sent out a call for volunteers to write for the site, I couldn't say 'no'. I have written before on my own blog about environmental and consumer issues that concern me so writing for a group blog like this was an exciting opportunity.

There are already a bunch of posts up. I hope you will stop by and check out the site. And if you want to volunteer to be a contributor, just let Izzy know. The more the merrier!

To read my latest post on where you can buy kits to test for lead in your kids' toys, bibs, lunch boxes, etc. click here.

On Blogging: Just One Last Thing

If the comments on my last post taught me anything it's that a) I have some kick-ass readers who are amazingly generous as to leave me a comment to reassure me and tell me to stop feeling guilty about the whole blogging thing...

and b) that we are all, to some degree or another, in the exact same boat. We are all struggling to maintain the same balance as mothers and bloggers, and we are just doing the best we can. And because we are all in this similar situation, we can empathize with each other. Isn't that one of the greatest things about blogging - finding women who we have so much in common with - realizing that we are not alone?

Well, I'm glad that I found you, my Internet friends.

As for blogging, I have decided to stop analyzing it so much. I'm not going to say to myself (as I have in the past) that I will blog x times a week because if I want to blog less than x times a week or MORE than x times a week, I don't want to feel boxed in. And I will read and comment as much as I can, which right now might not be much, but I am going to *try* to stop feeling so bad whenever I open my Bloglines and see how far behind I am. I will also stop feeling bad if I see someone unsubscribe from reading my blog (which always gets me right here - *points to heart*).

Thanks again for your comments on my last post. You guys rock.


Friday, September 14, 2007

How Can I Be a Good Blogger and a Good Mother?

I have no time to blog. No time. Between the toddler and the 3-week-old, there's just NO TIME.

As I write this post, both of my guys are miraculously napping at the same time. I should also be napping, but I'm not. I won't go into why because I don't have time to write about it and actually there are more pressing issues for this post.

Here's the thing: I don't know how to be a good blogger and a good mother. I can't do both. It's just not possible. To be a good mother, I need to be present for my kids (i.e., not shooing Little Guy away from me while I'm at the computer or trying to distractedly breastfeed the baby while typing one-handed at the computer). To be a good blogger, I feel that I need to not only write posts but write posts that I am proud of (which I haven't had time to do since pre-pregnancy days) and also visit people who visit me and leave them comments. Ideally, I wouldn't just visit people now and then but I'd really get to know them through visiting regularly.

The reality is that I haven't really visited blogs with any regularity since I became pregnant and developed morning sickness. And I feel very guilty about it. And sad about it. I want to visit you. I want to get to know you better. I want to make real friends out there in cyberspace, but how when I can barely find the time to take care of myself and my two little ones? So I wonder: should I even continue to blog if I can't get out to visit and comment? Is that fair?

I have been grappling with this for months now. A few months back, I decided that I would just quite blogging and I stopped posting for a while but I missed writing so I started up again. I know I want to keep writing here, but what to do about the other stuff - the commenting?

I don't have any answers. I'm wondering what you think? Isn't that selfish of me? As I tell you that I most likely haven't been regularly by your blog in months, I'm asking you for advice and a comment. Sheesh.

But I'm going to be selfish because I need to know: How do you ladies find the time to not only write posts but also visit and comment on other people's blogs? And specifically, do you visit everyone who visits you? Do you just visit a few of your favorite blogs regardless of who visits your site? I need practical advice. I probably have about 15-30 minutes a day for blogging - seriously.


p.s. Did you know that I am part of the Holy Blogging Trinity? Yeah, according to Pierce Mattie Public Relations' website "Dooce, Amalah and Mommy off the Record are three big name bloggers with exceptional followings".

Who, moi? I think I practically choked on my twizzlers when I read that. And no, I did not use the sign-generator website to make it up.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Boo-Boo Kisser

Now that we're into the second week of daycare with Little Guy, it appears that we have made some progress. He no longer clings desperately to Husband's leg letting out wild hyena-like shrieks and yelling "No Daddy! Noooooooo!" when Husband says good-bye in the morning.

Yeah, that behavior is so last week. Now when Husband leaves, Little Guy cries but a little less fiercly. Husband "affectionately" reports that we are breaking him in well. (Excuse me while I supress all my maternal instinct to not cry now.)

Anyway, we really do love the daycare. I keep telling myself that there would be something wrong if Little Guy didn't behave like this when he's dropped off in the morning.

But here is what I found really disturbing. This happened yesterday when I was asking Little Guy about his day.

Me: What did you do today, Little Guy?

Him: Little Guy cry. (Note: He always talks about himself in the third person. Just like Elmo.)

Me: Oh honey. I'm sorry. Why did you cry?

Him: Little Guy fall down. Little Guy get boo-boo. Right here. (points to his head)

Me (leaning towards him): Oh, Little Guy, let me kiss it and make it better.

Him (backing away): No. Meredith kissed it.

That would be Meredith, his teacher. The Meredith who we love and who is taking great care of him while he is there. The Meredith who is consoling him when he falls and teaching him his letters and numbers. The Meredith who is apparently now also in charge of kissing his boo-boos.

I should be happy about it. So why do I feel so bad?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birth Story

Skip this post if birth stories aren't your thing...

This is the story of the birth of my second son on 8/20/07. It was written by the doula who assisted me during the birth. I went ahead and added my own inserts here and there in italics.

I met Cristina and her husband in February of 2007, when they were looking for extra support for the birth of their second son. They asked me to be their doula, and we had three visits to get to know each other and go over plans for the birth. Cristina was preparing for her birth using the Hypnobabies method, hoping to use deep relaxation as a tool to give birth naturally.

On August 19th, the day after her due date, Cristina called to tell me that she had been having mild contractions (or pressure waves, as Hypnobabies calls them) all day. By midnight, they were getting stronger. She called at 12:40 a.m. to say that they were 3-7 minutes apart, and she wasn’t sure when to go to the hospital. I arrived a little after 1 a.m. and found Cristina up and moving around. The waves were now coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting about a minute. She tried several positions, including sitting on the ball (too much pressure) and kneeling leaning on the couch, but the most comfortable position seemed to be standing and leaning on the table or counter. Cristina was very relaxed but working through the waves. Her father arrived to take care of M (Little Guy), and we started to think about leaving for the hospital.

Cristina wanted to relax as deeply as possible for the drive to the hospital, so we went into the bedroom and she lay on her side in bed, listening to a Hypnobabies script with headphones. [I found that the hypnobabies wasn't really working for me at this point. It was too hard for me to focus.] After a couple of waves, we were ready to go, then decided that we should call the hospital to let them know we were coming in. A comedy of errors ensued (not too funny at the time to Cristina) as we searched for the phone number for labor and delivery, which didn’t seem to be in the paperwork from the hospital, in the phone book, or on the hospital website. [I was so frickin pissed off that we did not have the phone number ready in advance. I think this is when the cussing out of Husband really started to get into gear, poor guy.] Finally Cristina's husband reached a nurse in labor and delivery. The nurse asked a seemingly endless series of questions, and Cristina was ready to go [how did she know I was ready to go? maybe because the contractions were forcing me down to my knees in the driveway...] so he finally interrupted the routine questions and told the nurse that we were on our way. [He interrupted the nurse as I was screaming at him to get the f--- off the phone and drive me to the goddamn hospital.]

We arrived at the hospital around 2:45 and were in the triage room at 3 a.m. [Previous to this, I couldn't believe the insane amount of paperwork they made me fill out while I was in active labor.] A nurse hooked up monitors and left us mostly alone as Cristina continued moving through the waves, leaning on the counter or on Husband. The nurse midwife, Madge, came in at 3:50 and did an exam. Cristina’s cervix was 6-7 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced, with the baby at 0 station (the middle of the pelvis). [Woo-hoo! So much better than with Little Guy's birth when I was only 3 centimeters when I went in.] We moved to a room and met our nurse, Lori, who was very nice and supportive of Cristina’s birth plan. Lori placed an iv and started a dose of antibiotics to prevent group B strep infection. Cristina relaxed well with each wave and still seemed to be her normal self in between. She seemed most comfortable resting her head on her husband's chest, and he stayed close by so she could lean on him when each wave began. [He really was very good in helping me. I guess all those months of telling him he better be there for me during labor this time or else I would kill him really paid off.]

The admissions paperwork [that would be more paperwork than what we had filled out when we got there] took a long time and we were finally able to turn down the lights at 5 a.m. By this time, Cristina’s focus was turning more inward. She moaned softly through the waves and relaxed deeply in between, sometimes dozing for a minute or two. [At this point, I really felt like I was in hell and briefly considered asking for an epidural.] At 6 a.m. she felt nauseated and threw up. [I was SO happy when I threw up because I thought I was in transition. Unfortunately, that was not the case.] At 7 a.m. Cristina decided to try lying on her side so she could rest more in between. The nursing shift changed and we met our new nurse, Tanya, who was also very sweet and supportive. [Both nurses were GREAT. They were both supportive of natural chilbirth and said later that there were other nurses on the floor who hadn't wanted to work with me because I was trying to do it naturally, but that they supported natural childbirth and had been excited to assist.] She did an exam at 7:35 and Cristina’s cervix was 7 centimeters dilated. [I was so pissed! I hadn't even moved. But I tried not to get caught up in it. It was just a number was what I kept telling myself. And I remembered that some women plateau in their labors and then advance quickly and that's perfectly normal so I didn't stress about it.]

Within a few minutes the waves were getting stronger. [I was SO tired at this point. SO SO tired. That was one of the hardest parts about the labor for me. I was literally moaning like an animal. I was afraid that people in the hallway could hear me. It was nuts.]Cristina was ready to try some different positions again. First, she kneeled facing the head of the bed, which we raised up so she could lean on it. At 8:35 a.m. she moved to sitting on the ball and resting on her husband's lap. Tanya started the second dose of antibiotics, and the nurse midwife on day shift, Pam, came in to introduce herself. After the antibiotics were done Cristina got in the shower and Husband changed into his swimsuit so he could support her. [I really didn't want to get into the shower, but my doula said she thought this would speed things up and she was right!] When she got out at 9:25 I suggested spending some time on the toilet, and Cristina was now feeling more pressure. [Again, didn't want to do it, but it totally helped move things along.] Pam did an exam at 9:55 and Cristina was 9 centimeters dilated. The amniotic sac was really bulging and Pam thought that breaking it would cause the baby’s head to move down quickly, so Cristina agreed and Pam broke the water.

By 10:15, Cristina was pushing spontaneously. Pam came back in soon after and suggested that Cristina try lying on her side to minimize tearing. Cristina pushed beautifully and eased her baby out, following Pam’s gentle coaching. Baby boy F. was born at 10:27 a.m. and lifted straight onto Cristina’s chest. He was beautiful and healthy, with apgar scores of 8 and 9. He latched on to the breast and began nursing well at 11:05. F stayed in his mother’s arms until 11:40 a.m., when he was weighed: 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Cristina had a very small tear that didn’t need stiches.

Overall, I had a much better experience with this birth than I did with my first. I was a bit disappointed that the hypnobirthing didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I really think this was more due to my inability to focus on using the program than it was a reflection on the program itself. I would still recommend it to others. I am also happy that I hired a doula to help me through the birth. She recommended positions and had ideas to help speed the labor along naturally, which I wouldn't have thought of myself. I highly recommend hiring one if you are trying for a natural birth in a hospital.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Of Bad Men and Roller Coasters

Severed body parts

A roller coaster ride that goes out of control

Men trying to get into my house to kill my family

These are the types of dreams I've been having lately. WTF is going on? I never had weird dreams while I was pregnant and now all of a sudden I'm practically afraid to go to bed at night.

I have psychoanalyzed myself and I think that I am having these dreams because I am afraid (duh).

Specifically, I am afraid for my children. I am afraid of loving them so much and yet not really ever being able to ensure their safety in this world. I am irrationally afraid of losing them somehow.

I double check all the window locks before we go to bed. I triple check their seat belts before I drive them anywhere. I obsess about cancer-causing shampoos and toxic sippy cups.

I worry even when I don't think I'm worrying. And it's just gotten worse since the new baby was born.

I want to make sure they will be safe. Always. Yet, I know that I don't have full control over their safety. And this is what scares me. It scares me as much as severed body parts and bad men and faulty roller coasters.

I wish I could go back to that cozy state of denial where I believe that nothing bad can ever happen. How do I get back there?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Little Guy Develops Manners

Ever since Little Guy's close brush with the f-word back in July, I've been ramping up my efforts to work on his manners. I routinely ask him to say "please" and "thank you" when we're at home with the hopes that these phrases will become automatic pretty soon.

So last week when we were at the in-laws house, I was a bit disappointed to hear the following exchange between Little Guy and his aunt:

Little Guy (pointing to a toy on the bookshelf): Firetruck!

Aunt: Do you want the firetruck?

Little Guy: FIRETRUCK!

Aunt: What's the magic word?

Little Guy: Uhhhhh...."Want"!

Yeah, so, I guess we've got a little more work to do.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Today May Be Harder on Me Than It Is on Him

(Perfect Post awarded below)

Today is a big day for Little Guy. It's his first day at daycare.

Actually, it's not technically his first day.

His first day at daycare was when he was 3 1/2 months old. I still remember dropping him off in the infant room. There was only one teacher there because it was still very early and she was busy changing another baby's diaper. I had to leave Little Guy in the middle of the floor on a small rug. He was staring up at the ceiling. He was still too little to sit up so he just lay there. From the street, I looked in at him one last time through the window. I remember wondering how long he would lie there before someone would pick him up.

And then I cried all the way to work.

One week later I pulled him out of daycare and convinced my parents to watch him for me instead. I also arranged with my employer to reduce my work schedule from full-time to part-time.

It worked out wonderfully for everyone. I got to stay home a little and work a little, Little Guy got quality time with his grandparents, and my parents got to see their grandson often.

Fast forward to today, two years later. My parents enjoyed watching Little Guy so much that they agreed to watch the new baby when I go back to work in 6 months - at which point I had planned to put Little Guy in daycare so they wouldn't have to watch both boys. However, due to a series of circumstances, Little Guy has to start daycare now instead of staying home with me during the maternity leave.

So for three days a week, he will be at daycare and I will stay home with the baby. I think it will be a good situation in that I will get alone time with the baby (and get to take some naps!) and Little Guy will get to begin socializing with other children more. I looked at a bazillion daycares before I chose this one and I think it's good. (I hope.)

So why did I wake up this morning filled with dread?

Maybe it's because I see this as a major step in Little Guy growing up and I'm not ready for him to officially leave the baby stage. Maybe it's because I am afraid to think of him during the first week adjusting to the new school and feeling alone and confused and wondering where Mommy is.

Or maybe like Mary says so poignantly in a recent post, maybe I'm just not ready to share him with the world yet.


A Perfect Post
When I read Mary's post last week about her son's first day of kindergarten and the emotions that she felt that first week, I immediately decided to award it a Perfect Post Award. She helped me realize that it's OK to grieve when your child starts school - or, in our case, starts daycare. And no, I don't think that "grieve" is too strong a word. Perhaps most mothers would agree.

For all of August's Perfect Post Awards, please visit Suburban Turmoil or Petroville.

Monday, September 03, 2007

GE Refrigerators - Don't Buy Them!

Have you ever enacted blog revenge before?

What is blog revenge you ask? Well, according to MotR's dictionary of blogger speak, "blog revenge" is defined as the posting of information to one's blog to retaliate against a company for giving the blogger poor service. Bloggers typically engage in blog revenge after receiving crappy service in a restaurant, from a department store, or really anytime that someone has ticked a blogger off. Often, bloggers will enact this revenge in the format of an "open letter" post. Blog revenge may seem petty but it feels damn good.

As you can see from the title of my post (crafted carefully so as to ensure maximum Google hits from people who may be considering purchasing this appliance), this post is dedicated to getting blog revenge on General Electric for selling me a LEMON of a refrigerator.

I am particularly peeved about this because the refrigerator is only a year and a half old. I bought it from Home Depot. It's a stainless steel side-by-side with a water and ice dispenser in the door.

Anyway, the thing just had a complete meltdown.

It wasn't like a small, little problem. No, the entire muthafrickin motherboard blew up. The motherboard is like the computer brain of the refrigerator. We realized there was a problem when my husband came home several days ago and found a pool of water underneath our refrigerator.

That would be a large pool of water on our brand new hardwood floors installed only days earlier.

(As an aside, I remember asking the flooring installer about the downsides of putting hardwood in a kitchen. He said that with the new water-resistant finishes, it would withstand spills really well so not to worry. The only caveat, he said, is if our refrigerator were leak or something. With a fairly new refrigerator, we figured we didn't need to worry. Our bad.)

So once the motherboard blew, it created a chain reaction in the fridge causing two other essential components of the fridge to break, and within two days, the entire refrigerator and freezer had stopped working.

This all culminated the day we brought the baby home from the hospital. Nice.

I figure that more than 200 dollars worth of food was spoiled. And, of course, the refrigerator is no longer under warranty since it was over a year old. So the nice people at GE were happy to come out for $100+/hour plus a visit fee to fix their crappy refrigerator for us.

Of course, they wanted to know if we had a warranty on it. And we don't. And you know why? Because I think that warranties are a crock of shit. Why should we, as consumers, have to buy a separate warranty for ANYTHING? I refuse. Companies should be making quality products and standing behind them by providing at least a 5-year warranty free of charge. Otherwise, it's like they're saying, "Hey, we want you to pay top dollar for our stuff because it's the best, but you should also buy a warranty just in case it's defective." WTF? If it's defective, they should be paying US for the inconvenience of having to get it fixed.

So, next time you're in the market for a new refrigerator, skip over GE just in case. Unless of course you want to risk paying hundreds of dollars to fix your fridge a year and a half after you buy it.

And to all the random Googlers who may find this post, if you think my fridge is an exception, think again. Check out all of these complaints about GE refrigerators. I wish I read these before I wasted my money.
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