are you my moms?

the musings of yet another lesbian couple on the journey of mother(s)hood

A Mom by Any Other Name August 11, 2014

Filed under: Rigby,toddler — areyoumymoms @ 4:01 pm
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Have you guys seen my mom?

Have you guys seen my mom?

I’ve been called a lot of names in my life.  Those of you who know me well are probably having a bit of a laugh recalling the things you’ve called me (to my face or behind my back), or have heard others hiss at me.  Even at MKL’s and my wedding, one of our bridesmaids noted in her toast that “everyone knows” I’m a bitch.  More than one friend calls me “the boss.”  So, right.  I’m that girl.

It doesn’t really bother me to be called names.  But it has historically bothered me to be called something other than my name.  Don’t call me “sweetie” or “baby” if you didn’t put the ring on my left hand, and especially don’t do it if you’re a business colleague.  Don’t assume I’ll answer to “ma’am.”  While I appreciate my southern upbringing, there’s just enough yankee blood coursing through my veins that I will assume you think I’m old.  And I’m not allowed to be old.  I have a toddler.   Don’t think, mother, that you can give me a name with the express intention of calling me by a nickname.  I let everyone know at age two that wasn’t going to fly, and I still only answer to that abbreviated version of my name when it’s used by two of my cousins.

There’s an exception to this rule that I’ve been waiting my whole life to envoke.  I’ve always wanted to hear some tiny voice calling “Mom” or “Mommy” and know that it was meant only for me.  It’s one of the milestones I’ve been looking forward to since finding out I was pregnant.  MKL and I toiled over what our child would call us: Mama and Mommy, Mom & Mama, Mimi & Momo?  The choices for lesbian maternal monikers are endless.  We decided on Mama (MKL) and Mom (me), and ultimately knew that he’d call us whatever he comes up with.  But I didn’t think he’d come up with Dad.  Or Dog.

The saddest truth a couple of lesbian parents will face is that the vast majority of children say “dada” as their first syllable.  In a straight-2-parent household, this is awesome.  Daddy gets to brag that his new child has called him by name first.  Unfortunately, daddy’s brags are usually crap.  It’s just what kids say first.  It’s not that they favor one parent over another – it’s just easier to say “dada” than “mama.”  When it happened in our house it was hilarious.  For a minute.  For a month, even.  It was his cute little parlor trick he did for company – watch me call my moms “dad” and see how much it bugs them!!  And then we had to teach company not to request that trick anymore.  After a few months it became something that would push all kinds of respect-our-two-mommy-household buttons we didn’t know we had.  So eventually he stopped.

“Dog” was Rigby’s first official word.  We followed any utterance of “dog” when directed at our dog with “what’s your dog’s name?” in the hopes that Rigby would one day yell out “STELLA.”  Instead, we’ve inadvertently made him associate the word “name” with the word “dog.”  Now if you ask him “what’s ___’s name?” the answer comes quickly: DOG.  It makes no difference who you’re talking about: me, MKL, Stella, his grandparents, his godmother…everyone’s name is DOG.  If you prompt him and remind him of the name you seek, he’ll say it happily.  He just doesn’t do it unsolicited.  Until last week.

1 year and 356 days after I introduced myself, Rigby finally called me by name.  He saw me coming up the driveway after work and said “MOM” just as clear as a bell.  Of course, I was outside the house at the time, so I didn’t hear it.  But I saw his little mouth move and watched MKL jump up and down, so I know it happened.  He called her “MAMA” a few hours later.  So it seems he does, in fact, know who we are.

Since last week I’ve spent a lot of time focused on getting a repeat performance of his mom-o-gram.  I’ve heard it a few times, though not with the vigor he used last week.  I find it so strange how this affects my sense of identity.  I felt like I became a mom when I got pregnant.  And then I felt it again when the pregnancy got scary.  I felt it again when we had baby showers and opened cards addressed to “Moms,” and again when I started my maternity leave.  Of course I felt a surge of mommyhood when I held Rigby for the first time, again when he choked on a piece of fruit, and even more when he was sick for the first time and just wanted to be held.  But there’s something truly special about Rigby’s acknowledgement of our roles in his life – as though he has just figured out who MKL and I really are.  I know that I’ve been this sweet child’s mother for almost two years.  I know that we bonded as mother and son and that he knew my name long before I knew his.  But now when I’m in the store and he wants to tell me something, he can call me by name and everyone around us will know he’s my boy.   I’m not his Dad.  I’m not his Dog.  I’m his Mom.  And with every time he says my name (yes, even when he whines it or yells it at me later in life) I can assure you I’ll fall in love with him all over again.

 

Moms Say the Darndest Things July 31, 2014

Filed under: Rigby,toddler — areyoumymoms @ 4:37 pm
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The other day as Rigby started to wake up, he began that telltale whine that let me know something he wanted was out of his reach.  I went into his room to find him looking over the crib rail, exclaiming, “TOWER! TOWER!”  And sure enough, 2 prized lego stacks (towers) had made their way out of the crib and onto the floor.  A few minutes and a diaper change later as I was pouring his cereal, I heard myself say something I never thought I’d hear, let alone say: “Please don’t put your legos in the sink.”  Whaaa?  And then I realized MKL and I say strange things like this all the time.  So today, here are a few of my favorite things we’ve said since becoming moms.  They’re all funnier and weirder if I leave out the context altogether but I’ve included it a few times just in case any of you work for DFCS.  I don’t need a case worker showing up…

"You're bored?  Here - play with Stella's leash."

“You’re bored? Here – play with Stella’s leash for awhile.”

  • “We don’t eat seashells.”
  • “Don’t throw your milk at the dog.”
  • “Are you playing with the bubbles on your pecker?” 
  • “Do you have to put your head in there?” (you don’t want to know)
  •  “You have a Cheerio stuck to your butt.”  (this has been said to every member of our household, human and canine alike)
  • “Stop humping the baby!!” (yes, we’ve had to say this to our female dog)
  • “Eeeewwwww – don’t step on the condom!!” (on a walk around our particularly colorful downtown neighborhood…)
  • “Sure – come on in here while I go potty.”  (if you have a toddler and haven’t said something like this, please leave a comment and let me know how you’ve reclaimed your right to privacy in the bathroom)
  • “No, no, no, NOOOO – don’t put your hands in the poop!!” 
  •  “In fact, I am not your Dad.  I am your Mom.  Please stop calling me Dad.”
  • “Please stop pointing that at me!” (no, not his finger…baby boners start very early, and if you’re not prepared, the first one you see will continue to blur your vision for weeks to come)

 

Remember that show “Kids Say the Darndest Things?”  I can recall sitting with my grandmother and laughing hysterically at the cute things the children used to say (“Who was George Washington’s wife?”  “Miss America.”)  And now that I have a child and the world is just aching for another reality show, I think someone should just follow parents of toddlers around and catch the insane things that come out of our mouths on a daily basis.  Toddlers lend perspective.  And, thankfully, context.

 

Viva La Revolution July 25, 2014

Filed under: Rigby — areyoumymoms @ 12:52 pm
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Last night it happened.  The revolution began.

Rigby has been babbling for a year – having full conversations with us without actually using very many words.  About a month ago his vocabulary started to expand seemingly overnight.  Over the past week it has exploded.  It’s as though each time you talk to him he picks up another new work.  He has started answering questions (How old are you? Teeewwww!  What’s the dog’s name?  Stewwa.)  And he gets true joy out of the fact that we can understand him – he finds it hilarious.  I’m in love with this phase.  He’s so much fun and the new words are simply adorable.  In the bathtub he not only recited his numbers, but he picked up some blocks and counted them.  He’s so eager to show us what he knows and we are a more than willing audience.

Last night after his bath we were combing his hair (just try to do it without his help…I dare you), and he’d apparently had enough.  He picked up the brush and yelled “NO!” as clear as day and reached up to put the brush back on the shelf where it belongs.  I stood at the changing table staring at him, stunned.  Rigby has never said that word before.  Nana confirmed that I heard him right and I knew life as we know it will never be the same.  Out little boy has started to rebel.  My mind raced to a 5-year-old Rigby, standing in his room refusing to put away toys.  And then to a 10-year-old Rigby who just says no to homework.  Next I saw the teenager who won’t come out of his room.  And before I knew it, he was a full-grown man shouting about how out-of-touch his old moms are and telling us NO…NO…NOOOO!!! 

I had been so proud that “no” wasn’t one of his first words.  I’m pretty sure I said it early (and often everyday since) so when his first words were things like dog, apple, violin (!), flower, and a strange combination of syllables that  may sound like a New Englander asking for a beer but actually means please, I was thrilled.  All these words are so happy and are said with such a sweet little voice.  NO isn’t happy.  And it wasn’t said sweetly.  It was shouted loudly, with intent, and in my mind it represented such a huge leap in development that I couldn’t see my little baby anymore.  He’s a tiny person with opinions now, and he is finding the words to express them.

So I took a breath.

I decided to bask in his no.  This is progress.  He’s not defying us.  He’s just asserting himself.  And besides, a year ago he barely understood what that word meant when we said it.  Now he understands it so well that he chooses to use it.  Toward his mom.  Who loves him.  And only wants to brush his hair.  Ugh…NOOOOOOO!!!

 

Toddler Tips July 22, 2014

Filed under: Rigby — areyoumymoms @ 2:53 pm
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Well, another year gone, another blog ignored.  If you could all just be here for the witty observations as they happen in real time, I wouldn’t have to write this.  (Pretty inconsiderate of you, if you ask me.)  But since you’re not here and I still have a head full of observations…

A rare moment of pause.

A rare moment of pause.

Our sweet Rigby is about to turn 2 whole years old.  I’m not sure how that happened, but it did.  Around his first birthday, I wrote that he was a full-fledged toddler.  HAH!  Kudos to all you parents out there who didn’t publicly shame me for thinking that’s as “toddler” as it gets.  He no longer needs a destination to start running, and at a mere 23 months he has the reach of an NBA forward.  He talks now, too.  Well, sort of.  His vocabulary is expanding every day (whose isn’t?) and his comprehension level is amazing.  Sadly, that probably means he’ll be swearing soon.  His gorgeous hair is still all most people can talk about when they see him for the first time…I try not to get offended when they ask where he got it.  And he’s still wonderfully independent.  His toys of choice are simple: give him a book or some legos and he’ll entertain himself for an hour.  (However, give him a toothbrush, and he’ll fight to the death to keep his little fingers wrapped around it so he can do things without any help from his moms.)

As I’ve watched Rigby’s progress over the last year, I’ve made a mental list of a few helpful tips for parents of toddlers.  I could give a disclaimer about how this advice is not from a professional, but the way I figure it, anyone who has parented a toddler for more than 10 consecutive minutes is a pro. 

A boy is not a girl.  Seems like an elementary reminder, but when it comes to toddlers, this has real meaning.  Little girls like to sit and read, sit and color, sit and play with toys.  From my experience, little boys barely sit down to eat.  Rigby seriously doesn’t stop moving during the waking hours.  Fortunately this means he’s usually tired when it’s time to sleep.  So let your little boy run – take him on those slightly embarassing walks outside nice restaurants; ignore the common-sense-meter that goes off in your head when you see him headed the opposite direction on the beach; and just move your furniture around to create some more running space in the house.  Chasing toddlers burns calories, and wears them out in the process.  Win-win.

Your child will talk eventually.  I know every expert has already told you this, and if you think you have a late-talker, you’re not buying it anyway.  But it’s true.  I thought we’d never hear him say more than “dog” or “dad” (grr), but Rigby’s first words have come flooding out in the past few weeks.  He now counts to 10 – with particular attention to 2 and 8 – and says his abc’s (ok, 18 out of 26 isn’t bad).  So what if your friend’s 9-month-old is reading Shakespeare out loud?  Your kid will amaze you with his smarts just as soon as he’s ready.  And since there is no sound cuter than toddlers having full conversations without actually saying words, bask in the adorableness as long as it lasts.

Treat every child like the youngest.  I’ve heard parents of more than one child say that with each baby born, the rules get progressively more lax.  The first-born is virtually cocooned in bubble-wrap until she reaches age 16, and the 3rd child gets to do relay races in a meadow of broken glass.  I say treat them all like they’re the baby.  This is a lesson I had to learn from MKL.  I was all ready to start wrapping Rigby in plastic when I realized that she not only let him do things that made me gasp, but she encouraged it.  Now, it’s not as though we’ve put his crib in the middle of the road for naptime, but if he wants to run up and down the hill in our backyard, why not?  Jumping on the couch?  You bet.  If he falls, he falls.  And because she lets him fall (and I do my best to follow suit), he handles each fall brilliantly.  Just wipes his hands off, points to anything that might hurt, and moves on with very little fanfare.  As it turns out, children are not made of tissue paper, and ours is fearless. 

Ignore your child.  There.  I said it.  Sometimes you just have to pretend they’re not there, both for your sanity and their development.  Rigby is a well-adjusted, self-sufficient kid, and I think a lot of it has to do with how we react to him – or more to the point – how we don’t react to him.  He’s reaching the age where he cries for any reason: I want to read a book, I don’t want to read a book, I want to go outside, I don’t want to put my shoes on, I don’t want to take a bath, my bath is over, etc.  The key for us is to avoid giving in every time he makes a whiny noise.  For as long as we can take it, we start a conversation with one another and try to pretend the ear-shattering screeching isn’t happening.  And in a few minutes, he’s done.  He has found something to distract him from whatever made him mad, and he’s back to his giggly self.  That, or we find ourselves 6 verses into Old MacDonald and having built a lego tower while blowing bubbles in an effort to take his mind off things.  (Note that this tip is not applicable in public.  Just because your child’s every noise sounds like a choir of angels to you, doesn’t mean everyone else wants to hear the concert.)

Toddlers are hard.  For serious.  They don’t care what your priorities are, or what you expect them to be doing at any given moment.  But at this age they’re also learning how to show unsolicited – and in Rigby’s case, unlimited – affection.  The occasional whining, the constant running, and the lack of full sentences are a small price to pay in exchange for hugs and kisses from my boy.

 

Happy Birthday, Rigby August 30, 2013

Filed under: Rigby — areyoumymoms @ 5:07 pm
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Is it really possible that 2 years have gone by since I started writing this blog?  Hardly seems right.  Nor does it seem possible that an entire year has passed since I updated it.  But I digress…

Rigby is now 1 year old.  He’s a toddler.  A full-steam-ahead-don’t-get-in-my-way toddler.  And he’s by far the coolest kid I’ve ever encountered.  I figured that by the time we got through a year of his life, we’d be exhausted, snarky parents who take our time with him for granted.  I’m so glad to be wrong about that (well, we’ve always been able to teach a graduate course in “snarky” so that hasn’t really changed).  I’ve been trying to get back to this blog since just before his birthday.  There are so many things I want to say about his first year of life.  When he’s 18 and the Internet is accessed through some tiny screen in his retina, maybe he’ll take a look at his mom’s old blog. 

Rigby, if you’re reading, this one’s for you.

Dear Rigby,

You won’t remember the past year.  I can only hope that when you’re grown and I’m much, much older, I still will.  But just in case, here are some highlights of your first year on Earth:

  • Your hair made people smile from the minute you were born.  At 12 months and 2 weeks, you got your 4th haircut.  Rigby-1_2990_8x10
  • You slept through the night very early, which made me beam with pride and simultaneously bummed me out.  I knew your Mama wouldn’t be able to make it through all-nighters with you, but I was so ready for a year’s worth of midnight dream dates with my boy that I was almost disappointed when I started getting a decent night’s sleep.  Almost. 
  • You’ve never met a stranger.  Even when you’re a little shy at first, it only takes a few minutes for you to charm people with your sweet, toothy grin.
  • Lala is, as predicted, the best godmother ever.   
  • One night you choked on a piece of canteloupe and I wasn’t sure I’d make it.  I’m sure that by the time you read this, there will have been many more illnesses, injuries, and other scary events.  But to date, this one takes the cake.
  • Speaking of cake, you were surprisingly reserved at your first birthday party.  I was waiting to see your face covered in yellow cake and buttercream icing, but you just delicately picked at the sides until Mama and I helped you out.  I hope you’re still as tidy!
  • You love vegetables.  You love fruits.  You love just about any food we’ve let you try (ok, we were pushing the envelope with the lima beans).  So if you’re a picky eater now, snap out of it!  There was a time when you’d scarf down broccoli, zucchini, and could be convinced that peas were dessert.
  • You walked early.  We weren’t ready for that.  We were beyond proud that you took your first steps just a few days after you passed the 9-month mark.  And we do still brag on you.  But if you had waited just one more month, I wouldn’t have been mad.  Now you run.  Everywhere.  I completely understand what people mean when they refer to the “pitter-patter of little feet.”  The person who coined that phrase did so while trying to concentrate on something unrelated to the toddler who was doing laps around the house.
  • You have mastered the syllables “dada” and “dad.”  I realize they’re the easiest ones to say, but can we move on now?  We are Mama and Mom, not Dada and Dad.  I mean, come on!!!
  • Your Mama is transformed.  Her eyes haven’t stopped twinkling since the day you got here, and there’s no doubt she’s doing the job she was born for.  You are her shadow.  I know you will grow up to love playing in the yard, playing the guitar, and vacuuming.  I know this because you’re already doing all 3!
  • You have made me the person I’m supposed to be.  Through you, I am granted perspective on a daily basis.  You have taught me more about myself than I’ll ever be able to teach you.  But I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to repay that favor.  I promise.

In short, you are a miracle, son.  Happy 1st Birthday.

Love,

Mom

 

The First 8 Weeks October 6, 2012

Filed under: Rigby — areyoumymoms @ 1:25 am
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It’s amazing how quickly a day can fly by, even when you’re awake for most of it.  I’ve meant to post something – anything – for weeks now and there just never seems to be time.  I’ve hated that the last thing you heard from me was a rant about my boobs.  So much has happened since I gave birth that it seems a shame to leave you thinking the only result of Rigby’s blessed arrival is that I now have a love/hate relationship with my tits.  To sum up our experiences over the last (almost) 8 weeks would be impossible…well, it would at least be a very long post.  So I’ll try to break it up into a few palatable chunks.  I’ve started drafts on a few different topics, so provided that his majesty is getting close to a nighttime sleep schedule, I’ll be posting soon on everything from our favorite baby-related products to why I wish we could all have babies in Canada.  First up, a little bit about our boy.

Our boy Rigby is special.  I know every child is special, and every parent thinks their kid hung the moon.  But I promise that if you held our son, you’d know what I’m talking about.  First, there’s the hair.  Rigby has more hair than most full-grown men.  It’s longer than MKL’s, and has highlights that my salon couldn’t replicate with all the chemicals and color wheels in their arsenal.  Not a public outing goes by when we don’t hear passersby giggling or complimenting his locks.  He makes people smile wherever he goes.  Just when you’ve gotten used to the wonder of his hair, he will throw a charming little grin your way and melt your heart.  And then there’s his temperament.  I want to disclose that typing this next sentence scares me…like I’m tipping my hand.  But here goes: Rigby is an exceedingly happy baby.  If he’s crying, something needs attention.  A crying Rigby is a hungry, wet, or tired Rigby.  He entertains himself already – kicking, playing, and talking to any high-contrast or noisy object set before him.  As everyone in our world meets him for the first time, we find ourselves repeating phrases like, “We’re not really sure where the hair came from, but we love it” and “Yep – for the most part, he’s always this good.”  Cute, healthy, happy.  Who could ever ask for more?

I’ve wanted a baby for a long time.  I’ve prayed for the day when I’d be folding tiny laundry, lugging a carrier around, and picking up toys as they seem to scatter themselves around the house.  I pictured bedtime, and saw myself checking on a sleeping infant, all tucked neatly into footie pajamas.  I wished for sleep-deprived feedings in the middle of the night – dream dates with my special girl or guy.  I spent hours imagining what it would be like to have all day to stare at a baby, to memorize his or her unique coos and cries, and to be one of the people a baby looks to for comfort.

All of these prayers have been answered, and then some.  These days my favorite pastime is staring into Rigby’s sweet face; my heart nearly bursts out of my chest when he smiles at me.  I do victory dances several times a day when I’m able to calm his cries, or can diagnose his need by watching how he twists and turns his body.  MKL and I swell with pride as our genius infant sees himself in a toy’s mirror reflection, or turns his head at the sound of our voices.  He changes and learns new skills every day; today – grabbing a rattle with his own little hands.  Tomorrow – splitting atoms.  Sometimes I swear I can hear Marlin Perkins’ voice in the background, as if Wild Kingdom is here to document the growth and development of this very special creature.

Fortunately, no Marlin.  That’d be awkward A) as he died when I was 10 and B) because my son is not a lemur.  But even better, MKL is all about a camera, and has been taking amazing pictures of our son.  At first I thought she was a little obsessed.  Adorable, but obsessed.  And then it occurred to me that pretty soon I’ll have to go back to work and I will rely on MKL to document any significant (or insignificant but cute) moment with Rigby.  I, like Steven Tyler, don’t wanna miss a thing.  [More about my acute fear of the end of maternity leave in a future post...I can't face it tonight.]

About a week after Rigby was born, MKL and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  In the last decade, we’ve been through our fair share of challenges.  We’ve come through it as stronger people and a healthier partnership in the end.  Our bff recently said that we adore one another so much that sometimes it’s painful to watch.  I didn’t realize that I could love someone or something more than I love MKL.  But I do.  Rigby fits into our life like a missing puzzle piece, and while having a child has brough us closer together and magnified our love for each other, I find that I love our little family more than I could ever love one person.  I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t here with us.  And I’m still not sure what I did to deserve this kind of bliss.

 

The Tit Monster August 29, 2012

Filed under: Hormones,Rigby,Uncategorized — areyoumymoms @ 3:55 pm
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Seriously, Mom? Again with the boobs?

I have two obsessions of late.  1 – in a word, Rigby.  And everything that makes him feel like home.  2 – in another word, boobs.  Mine, and their food-providing skills, to be precise.  Since the day we came home from the hospital, I have been at war with my breasts.  Some of you have just sighed and said, “I see where she’s going with this and that’s the whole problem…it’s not a war…her attitude is what is keeping this from happening.”  You may be right.  But I’m not sure who could’ve wanted it to work more than I did, and self-sabotage isn’t really my thing.  As it turns out, I have a milk supply issue.  So as with my natural birth plan, out the window goes my “exclusively breastfed baby” plan.  And in the process, I have become – as Charlene Frazier would say – the tit monster.  My very patient wife has had to listen to me try to process emotionally what was happening physically.  So has our bff, our mothers, a few friends, and my cousin.  And now you get to hear about it to.  Once I’ve said it this time, I think I’m done.  (That’d be a good thing to have happen the day before we visit the therapist.)  So with sincerest love and apologies in advance to my very natural friends who will most naturally frown on this story, here’s where I stand on breastfeeding.  And why we’re not.

I had latching problems in the hospital.  Some of these little struggles took place in full view of our visiting friends and family.  I think I had a pretty cool head about it, except for a 10-minute meltdown on our last day there.  I knew that establishing a good nursing relationship between Rigby and me would take some time and patience.  So I just tried to relax and “let it happen.”  I took in all the advice the nurses and lactation lady had to offer and planned to put it to good use.

And then we came home and I got this sinking feeling…this tiny child still depends on me for life just as much as he did when renting space in my womb.  I loved my time with him, set up in the nursery with the lullaby Nirvana playing.  At first he did really well.  He latched for 15-25 minutes at a time per side, and was ready to eat every few hours.  The first few days I didn’t really think much of it…he was giving all the feeding cues I’d read about.  His stomach is tiny, and breastfeeding at that age is just as much about bonding as it is about nourishment.  Awesome.  Except that somewhere along the line it turns into an issue of nourishment.  The baby has to eat.  MKL made a wise decision to start supplementing with formula after a particularly long and futile attempt at nursing one night.  I’d still offer the breast with the bottle to keep stimulating milk production, but at least he was getting something in his belly.  And then came the screaming and chest-pounding phase.  Those were a dark 48 hours.  He’d latch for a few minutes and then start to cry and beat his fists against my chest.  I tried to stay light-hearted…even made a few “we are not Celine Dion” jokes.  But we could tell something was wrong, and it was starting to take a toll on my psyche.  As nutty as it sounds, it was hard not to take it personally.  Like he just didn’t have a taste for his mom.

Everyone says breastfeeding is the most natural thing a woman’s body can do.  Not so for me.  I, apparently, needed some instruction.  I was ok with that.  I had talked with friends who told me not to get discouraged.  They told me to use my resources and ask for help.  So I did.  I read every book and website on how to stimulate milk production and then called in the big guns: a home consultation with a lactation specialist recommended by our hospital and pediatrician.  Late last week a polo-sporting, ponytailed soccer mom arrived at my door for a 3-hour discussion of my 100% sure shot at being able to feed our child on my own.  Rigby got weighed and had his mouth examined (I tried not to take offense when she maligned my son’s frenulum.  Frenulua – actually – she managed to insult both of them.); we did an observed feeding, and then he got weighed again.  I was examined, lectured, and instructed to within an inch of my life.  I was admonished for referring to the breast pump as a “medieval torture device.” And yet when she left I felt somewhat more confident about the chances that Rigby and I would eventually get on the same page.  For awhile things started to look up.  We were doing great on the supplement feeder tube and I was faithfully pumping away…despite feeling like a dairy cow.

By the time a woman has been pregnant and given birth, she has every right to claim her body as her own, and trust the signs it sends her.  Mine was telling me, not so subtly, that the milk I wanted to feed our child would not be arriving anytime soon.  My first clue?  My boobs never got big!  As a matter of fact, as I began to lose a little baby weight and was pumping them both for 2-3 hours per day, they were shrinking.  Sore and shrinking.  I can’t think of any two adjectives I’m less eager to associate with my breasts.  There was no getting around it – these boobs are merely ornamental; kinda like my left hand – pretty, part of the overall ensemble, but not the least bit functional.

I’m quite sure that I could’ve done more to get the milk to come in.  Teas, herbs, another trip to the acupuncturist, etc.  But in truth, the whole thing was putting entirely too much stress on me and on our household.  Feedings went from a beautiful bonding time between Rigby and me to a “feed and pump” routine that I had to do 8-10 times per day.  The pumping (intended to stimulate milk) produced nothing, and I began to see a decline in my supply.  Here’s where it gets a little bratty, folks: Frankly, I feel some sense of entitlement when it comes to making a decision that doesn’t involve a whole set of “extras.”  We’ve already done hormone pills, shots, extra ultrasounds, ovulation predictors, acupuncture, herbs, and 8 individual inseminations to get here – not to mention 8 weeks of mid-pregnancy bleeding.  If my body is telling me not to nurse, so be it.  I will relax and go mix some powder and water.  I was raised on a bottle and so was MKL.  Rigby will do just fine.  He’s perfectly healthy and a much happier kid now that he is getting more to eat.  Peace and order have restored to our house, and that makes the whole thing worth it to me.

The pediatrician asked me yesterday if I’m sad about our decision.  And if I’d made it to the end of this post yesterday, I’d probably have said yes.  Absolutely.  I hate being wrong.  I hate quitting.  I hate failing.  I hate that we’ll miss out on all the health benefits of breastfeeding.  I hate that I no longer have an excuse to walk around topless, and that my breasts are still the less-than-impressive rack they’ve always been, instead of those awesome plumped-up new-mommy boobs I’d been looking forward to.  Fortunately today feels a little different.  I’m able to sit back and focus on the dreamy little face currently fart-grinning from the bouncy seat.  You know…this one…the face that melts my heart a hundred times an hour.

Eventually we’ll teach him to buy locally sourced food whenever he can.  For now, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care where his food comes from – just that it’s delivered with love by his moms.

 

 
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