Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So much for separation anxiety

Dear Ben,

I'm so glad that you like your daycare providers. It makes me happy to see you smile and reach for Miss R. when I take you to school in the morning. It's fun to watch you sit among the pile of toys and laugh as you shake the noisemakers. It would make me very sad if you clung to me and cried when I dropped you off. However, it would be nice if you showed some interest in me after we get to daycare. It kind of hurts my feelings when I try to say goodbye and you either completely ignore me or cry to get back to the toys. Just sayin'...

Love Mommy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Honest Abe

Lucy brought this home from school last month. No sugarcoating with my kid!

On the Bright Side...

As I mentioned, I am not really happy about being done with nursing. Even though I complained a bit about the pumping, I wasn't really ready to quit that either. But first my son and then my boobs quit on me. In fact, for awhile I was like the long-suffering girl who keeps begging the boyfriend who clearly doesn't want her anymore to take her back. I couldn't count the number of times after Ben was obviously done with nursing that I lifted my shirt hoping to entice him back. No dice, he would either just turn away and ignore me; touch my boob with his hands like it was some strange new toy; or aim for it with his teeth. So I finally stopped begging him to take me back. And I am still sad about it. There was, however, one thing that did not make me sad. A couple of days ago I threw out all my nursing bras. All I have to say about that is "Good Riddance!"

Friday, March 12, 2010


Ben had his ear tubes put in this morning. The morning went better than I'd expected considering we couldn't give him anything to eat or drink when he woke up. I took him to the surgical center and my husband met me there after dropping Lucy off at school. Afterward we all went home and then I came to work while my husband stayed home with a grumpy baby. He was still pretty unhappy even after water and juice at the surgical center, followed by a 40 minute nap, and then a bottle at home and some crackers. He'd be unhappy and then take a drink or a bite of cracker and suddenly smile at me and then just as quickly start crying again. But I recently talked to my husband who reports that after a big lunch and a nap Ben was back to his usual happy self. My only regret is that I didn't take the camera with me this morning. He looked so darn cute in his little hospital gown!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Last night I was ushering Lucy through the steps needed to get ready for bed. Yes, I was ushering her – if someone isn’t standing there telling her “ok, now go put on your pajamas, now brush your teeth, etc” she’ll get distracted and end up on the floor with a book or creating some elaborate scenario involving half a dozen stuffed animals. Frankly, even with me in the room guiding her every move it can still take awhile because there will inevitably be pit stops to bounce on the bed or adjust one of the thousand knick-knacks on her dresser or bookshelf or play with the cats. Where was I, oh yeah, getting ready for bed and she announces that a kid told her something “inappropriate” about her body. Me: pause, swallow, pause “really, what did she tell you”.

Lucy said she couldn’t tell me. As I have a thousand times before, I told Lucy how important it is for her to be able to talk to me about anything. I had to promise that I wouldn’t get mad, that I wouldn’t tell anyone else (course I had my fingers crossed behind my back). Still she hesitated. She kept assuring me that it wasn’t someone I knew. I kept telling her it was fine for her to not tell me who it was, but that just in case this kid maybe needed help I needed her to tell me. Then I started asking questions. I asked if the kid had said she touched her private parts, “NO!” I asked if someone else had touched her body, “NO!” I asked if she’d kissed a boy “Ewww, NO!” followed by lots of giggles. I can’t even remember the other paths our conversation took us before she finally divulged the big secret to me about 5 minutes later. Someone had told her “how much they weigh!” And yes, I had to stifle a giggle when she finally blurted it out.

I wasn’t really too worried about what the inappropriate thing was, but I was relieved that it wasn’t really anything to be concerned about. I’m not sure where she got the idea that telling someone what you weigh is inappropriate, but I took the opportunity to explain that some people don’t want others to know what they weigh and that’s ok, but that if someone wants to share that information that’s ok too.

The exchange has me thinking about two things. First, how do you ensure that your child will come to you with information that is potentially sensitive or embarrassing or scary? Second, I wonder how to balance the need to tell her about things that are scary and complicated so that she will recognize a dangerous situation and know to tell someone about it with the desire to protect her from some of life’s unpleasant realities and not unduly frighten a 7 ½ year old.

We’ve had the typical talks about bodies being private and touching, etc. But I seriously doubt that most children really understand the implications of such actions. And frankly people can be very subtle in their actions and words (both sexually and otherwise) leaving even adults unsure of their intentions. So, without divulging too much information how do you know you’ve shared enough with your child so that they are armed with enough information to recognize a dangerous situation for what it is?

And even if they do recognize something inappropriate or dangerous, how can you be sure that they’ll tell you about it. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I have said to Lucy that she can tell me anything, that I won’t get mad or laugh at her, that I can’t help her or celebrate with her if I don’t know what’s happening to her. But still my 7 ½ year old, who still wants me to snuggle with her every night at bedtime, who still sits on my lap, and is liberal with bestowing kisses and hugs, was nervous to tell me that someone told her what they weighed. I thought I was doing the right things and saying the right things to make sure that as she grows she’ll know that she can come to me with anything, but I worry that even done perfectly some kids just won’t and maybe she’s one of them.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that parenting is such a great joy, but it’s also full of little landmines. Just when you think the area is cleared, another one pops up. I guess really all I can do is pay attention and keep doing whatever I can to make sure she knows I’m here for her.

Oh, it's you again.

Today I got my period for the first time since August 2008. I knew it was coming since I recently stopped nursing and then pumping. Not getting a period for 19 months was a great side effect of being pregnant and then nursing and I sure didn't miss it at all. Having spent so much time trying and failing to get pregnant and then miscarrying several times when I finally did, I think I'm just conditioned to really hate any bleeding from the nether regions. On the bright side, since I'm not nursing anymore I can take as much Ad.vil as I want.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


You're all tagged! Yes, you, reading this. You’re tagged. Now that you know more about me than you ever wanted to know, play the game, it’s fun! Let others know a little more about yourself, repost this as your name followed by “ology.”

What is your salad dressing of choice? Ranch
What is your favorite sit-down restuarant? Jaleo
What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Chick-fil-a
What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Pasta
What are your pizza toppings of choice? Sausage, mushrooms, spinach, olives
How many televisions are in your house? Two, but one is just used for the Wii
What color cell phone do you have? Blue

Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right
Have you ever had anything removed from your body? My wisdom teeth, scar tissue from my tubes, a few moles, some cysts on my scalp, and my kids.
What is the last heavy item you lifted? My son.
Have you ever been knocked unconscious? No
Have you ever fainted? No

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Hannah. My grandmother was Johanna, called Hansi, and I always wished my parents had name me after her.
How many pairs of flip flops do you own? 4
Last person you talked to? my sister

Season? Spring
Holiday? Christmas
Day of the week? Saturday, the weekend, but still one day to go!
Month? Not sure, weather wise probably May. Event wise December
Color? Depends on what for. I do love me some bright pink, but I love medium toned blues and greens.
Drink? Diet DrPepper, hot water (I know, I know, my dad thinks it's gross)
Alcoholic? Cold beer in summer. A medium bodied red anytime.

Missing someone? Yes, friends who have moved away and even some nearby that I just don't see often enough.
What are you listening to? Radio - pop/classic rock station
What are you watching? Nothing right now
Worrying about? Work, my daughter's behavior, reconnecting with my husband
What’s the last movie you saw? Sadly I don't remember. I think maybe it was "He's Just Not That Into You" from On Demand, we haven't been to the movies in ages and haven't even been watching much on DVD lately. We definitely have some catching up to do.
Do you smile often? Yes, but too often lately it's an effort.
If you could change your eye color what would it be? Gray/blue like my dad's
What’s on your wish list for your birthday? Just a little effort by my husband. If I had to pick a gift item I'd say a spa day.
Can you do a chin-up? No, never could
Does the future make you more nervous or excited? neither, too busy getting from one day to the next.
Have you been in a car wreck? No
Have you caused a car wreck? No
Do you have an accent? I don't think so.
Last time you cried? Don't remember, but certainly within the past week. I am a cryer. I cry when I'm sad, mad, frustrated, etc.
Plans tonight? Get the kids to bed, clean kitchen, get to bed before 11.
Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Yes.
Name three things you bought yesterday? Lunch, a soda, lipstick
Have you met someone who changed your life? Yes, lots of people.
For the better or worse? both - depends on who and how you look at it.
How did you bring in the New Year? At home with husband and kids
Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? Absolutely
What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't. Showers are zen time -- I want quiet and lots of hot water.
Have you held hands with someone today? My daughter
Who was the last person you took a picture of? My son.
Are most of the friends in your life new or old? Mostly new (relatively speaking)
Do you like pulpy orange juice? Yes
Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly? a few weeks ago
What were you doing at 12 a.m. last night? Sleeping.
What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I hope the kids sleep awhile longer.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Infertility Hangover

I've got a lot of things swirling around in my head and I'm not sure I'll be able to write it out in a way that makes sense but I'm going to try. I've been mucking around with this post for days now and I can't get it organized in a way that makes sense and I can't get the wording just right, so I'm just going to post it as is and hope it makes some kind of sense.

A couple of days ago I was emailing with a friend who I don't see or talk to much anymore. She was there for me for my first pregnancy, my first miscarriage, my second pregnancy and the premature birth of my daughter and then all the years of infertility that came later. I commented in an email to her that I feel as though I have an infertility hangover. I feel as though I've been down for so long that I'm not sure how to be up again. That being said, I know it's not just the infertility stuff that's had me crying at the drop of a hat lately. There's the difficulty of having two children after being used to only 1 for 6 1/2 years, and the difficulty of a baby who hasn't slept well with few exceptions for 10 months (though he finally is and that's a whole other post), and frankly all it affects my relationship with my husband. I can't think of the right way to describe that at all. I wouldn't say that we are always "at each others throats" that seems too aggressive. It's just that I think we're both pretty disappointed and frustrated with one another and the state of our marriage and so we bicker A LOT. Oh and there's my weight and work situations. Right now I'm a good 25 pounds heavier that my pre-infertility average and even then I always wanted to lose 10 pounds. Long ago I realized I'd never be Hollywood skinny, but I've been really unhappy with my body for too long now. Also, there's the practical matter of my clothes. Hardly anything in my closet fits. Even what used to be my big sizes don't fit and I really don't want and can't really afford to replace my entire work wardrobe. I've been getting by, thanks in part to the fact that I work from home 2 days a week, so I don't have to dress nicely on those days. But it's getting old! And work, well let's just say that over the course of the years trying to get and stay pregnant I stopped caring much. While I don't think I did a bad job at my work, I certainly could have been doing better. The result is that I have been getting the kind of feedback that I was used to and I keep getting passed up for promotion. Even though I know my heart hasn't been in it, it still sucks. But still most of the problems I'm struggling with now are very much related to the 4 years of thinking of nothing but wanting a baby.

Also, I see a distinction between what I mean by infertility hangover, where I'm not sure how to get out of it and the feelings that I know I will always have about pregnancy, childbearing, family size, etc. I truly believe that there will never be a time when I won't feel some mixture of envy, sadness, bitterness, jealousy, when I see someone with 3, 4, more kids, or someone with kids who are close in age, or hear about how easily someone falls pregnant, etc. But I truly believe that the intensity of those feelings will wax and wane and they certainly won't be present all the time, they'll just pop up now and again.

The infertility hangover is more about the lasting effects of the all-consuming, constant depression that became a way of life during all the years we were trying to have another baby. I stopped caring about work, but not enough that I wasn't frustrated when promotions passed me by. I wouldn't say I stopped caring about how I looked, but I certainly didn't have the energy to deal with it.

But I've decided it's time to get rid of the hangover once and for all. I just got passed up for promotion again, I feel awful with regard to my weight and my physical well-being in general. And I have no excuses anymore. Ben weaned himself and now I'm done pumping AND he's finally sleeping through the night, so I'm no longer the walking definition of exhaustion. So, today I started the South.Beach.Diet; I still haven't figured out a way to fit in regular exercise in this crazy schedule, but I CAN do something about my diet. And even though my nicest clothes don't fit, I'm going to try and take more care with how I dress. I'm also going to try to do a better job with my hair and makeup (not a ton, but at least look a little more polished). And I'm going to really try to change my attitude about work and my work habits. I know it won't all be easy, but I'm ready to be up again. I really need to turn things around for myself and for my marriage, and I know that if I'm happier I'll be a better mom and that is the most important thing to me of all.

Sleep Training Is a Drag

But I can say it's worth it. I know it's controversial and I totally get why many people don't like it, but in our case it was definitely the right decision. In fact, I was pretty much dragged kicking and screaming to it, but I can honestly say thank goodness my husband insisted we finally do it.

With the exception of a few weeks in late July / earth August, Ben’s sleep habits have been awful. Getting him down wasn’t too hard as he would usually fall asleep nursing, and then after he quit the boob, after having a bottle. But he would wake up many times every night. Nap times have been very hit or miss. Some days he’d take great naps, others not so much. I was so exhausted because of the night waking and lack of naps in the fall that I did let him cry a bit at naptime and it seemed to work. We didn’t let him cry at night much because we didn’t want to wake our daughter. Then in November he got what turned out to be the first in a long series of ear and sinus infections. I certainly wasn’t going to embark on any sleep training when I knew he was sick and not feeling well. By mid-January we were pretty sure that Ben was going to end up needed ear tubes and so we agreed that we’d wait until after that happened to start any sleep training. First, I didn’t want to do it if there was a possibility that he was waking up because he was in some kind of discomfort or pain. I was also hoping that maybe some of the sleep problems would resolve themselves once the tubes were in.

Ben is actually scheduled to get the tubes put in tomorrow. But events conspired and we have already started the sleep training. First of all, his sleep habits were getting worse. Not only was he waking up multiple times a night, but it was getting harder and harder to get him down for the night and back down. He would seem to be asleep in my arms, but the minute I moved toward the crib I’d feel his little body shift and his hands would grip my shoulders. Then a couple of weeks ago, he caught a virus. Ben's sleep got even worse while he was sick and I got almost no sleep for 3 days straight. I ended up getting very sick myself and my husband had to take over all the night shifts for a couple of nights. I had taken him to the doctor so we knew it was a virus and not an ear infection. Once he was better my husband really put his foot down about sleep training. I kind of hated that he was being so fucking uncompromising about it, but I was truly too sick and too tired to really argue. Less than two weeks later and I am so grateful. The very first night was hard. Ben cried for 30 minutes, and I cried for almost as long. BUT, he slept the entire night through without a peep. The next night he cried for about 10 minutes, the third night for only 3 minutes and the 4th night he cried for 30 seconds. Since then we’ve had several nights were he didn’t cry at all even though we put him down awake. In fact, we could hear him babbling happily in his room and then after a few minutes silence. The other nights he has cried a bit, but always for 30 seconds or less. And, with the exception of 2 nights, he’s slept for between 11 and 12 hours straight.

Even now I still hate to hear him cry for even a few seconds. To be holding a sleepy but happy baby who is cooing in my arms and then listen to him cry because I’ve put him in the crib just hurts my heart. Truly though, I know it’s soooo much better for him to be getting good sleep and I also know that I am a much better mother, wife, and employee because I’m not so freaking tired all the time. After so many months of chronic sleep deprivation, I truly felt like the walking dead. I had very little patience and frankly, couldn’t even think straight. I’d read something for work multiple times that I should have been able to understand and I just couldn’t figure it out. Less than two weeks of getting somewhat normal sleep and I feel like a completely new person.

My husband definitely was ready to do this much sooner than I was. The other night I told him how much I appreciated that he hadn’t said I told you so after Ben adapted to bedtime and started sleeping through the night so quickly. He responded that he was too relieved and happy to care.

So, while I can’t say that sleep training is enjoyable, I can say that for us it was definitely worth it. Of course I say that knowing that compared to some people we’ve been lucky. I have friends who have told me stories of their children crying for hours, of making themselves vomit from the crying, and of much longer adjustment periods. So I do know that we are lucky that Ben adjusted his sleep patterns and his reaction to being put to bed so quickly. I’m not sure I would have been able to hold out had he cried for much longer that first night or if he had continued to wake multiple times and we’d had to listen to him cry several times a night, etc, etc. But fortunately he didn't and I think the entire household is happier for it.

Shopping Therapy

I've been a bad, bad girl.

I haven't been feeling so great lately. Physically or mentally (there will be another post about all that soon), and I have really needed a pick me up. I realize that spending money is not the best approach, and I do have plans for a more healthy way to deal with my problems, but I really needed to do something nice for myself. Though I didn't plan for yesterday's shopping spree, I'm looking at it as sort of the kick off to my "take care of me" efforts.

I actually went to the mall with Ben yesterday for the sole reason of getting him some new shoes. Which I did first. But by the end of the day I was grateful that my 10 month old is nearly 25 pounds, otherwise the stroller would have surely tipped over from all the bags hanging off of it!

After our stop at Stride Rite, I hit the Gap for a bunch of clothes for my rapidly growing baby. Then Hannah Andersson for some PJs for him. By the time I left the mall I also had bags from Sephora, Ann Taylor Loft, Nordstrom, and West Elm hanging off the stroller.

After truly years of searching, I finally found some throw pillows from West Elm for our living room that both match what we already have AND that I like. At Sephora I picked up some ridiculously expensive face cream, body scrub, mascara and lipstick. From ATL I picked up a cute sweater and t-shirts. I got a belt at Nordstrom, but the real splurge of the day was on a handbag and wallet. I actually still feel a little dizzy from the handbag purchase. I've never spent even close to that much on a handbag before. In fact, to pay for that shopping spree I spent all the money I'd saved up for a DSLR camera. I've been wanting a good camera for so long, but I also know that right now I don't really have the time to learn to use it. So, I'll start saving again, but right now I can't wait to take my new bag for a test drive!
Here's my new love

And 2 different views of the wallet I got to go with it.

Frankly, I don't think the photos do either of them justice.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The End of Nursing

Really I should have called this entry the end of pumping. Actual nursing ended a few weeks ago and had a bumpy ride ever since just before Christmas. About a week before Christmas Ben started refusing to nurse. And by refuse I mean biting, hitting, and sometimes crying if I offered him a boob, except for during the wee hours of the night. All day long I’d pump and he’d drink from bottles, but late at night it was just as it had always been, the two of us in his dark room snuggled up and connected in a way that I loved. Then in mid-January one Saturday afternoon he seemed to be going for the boob, so I offered it and all of sudden we were back to nursing all the time (though of course he was getting bottles and I was pumping during the workday). That lasted for a few weeks and then in early February he just stopped nursing all together. He didn’t bite or cry, but just had no interest at all in nursing. So I went back to the pump full-time and for a couple of weeks I was able to pump enough that we only had to supplement with a little formula. But it got harder and harder for me to keep up with the pumping and so last night was my last pumping session. Today the pump has been silent and my boobs have stayed in my bra.

I’m sad.

I’ll never nurse a baby again. And even though Ben hasn’t been interested AT ALL, at least while I was pumping I could keep up the illusion that just maybe we weren’t done. But as I used the pump less often over the past couple of weeks my supply plunged dramatically. I think between the inconsistent pumping and the complete absence of any actual nursing, my body said enough is enough. The past 5 to 7 days I’ve hardly managed to get any milk out at all. It was one thing to keep up the pumping while I was home with a sick Ben last week and over the weekend, but to keep lugging the pump back and forth to work and have to pump in my office when I barely get any milk out just seems ridiculous. So, last night was my last pump. After about 15 minutes I’d gotten maybe a drop or two and I just decided I need to be done. But I’m working at home today and I keep seeing all the breast pump paraphernalia in the kitchen and the pump is still in there and it just makes me sad. I waited for so long wanting so much to have a successful pregnancy and to have another baby and to hopefully nurse. And I did and it was not wonderful all the time, because this time around I spent the summer outside or out and about a lot because this time around I had a 6 ½ year old too. There were times out in public in the hot summer weather when nursing wasn’t so fun, but overall I was happy that it was never really too difficult and then once my daughter went back to school and I was still at home for 2 months it was just great. And it was always wonderful in the evenings. Even in the middle of the night when I was up for the 2nd or 3rd time and exhausted, it was so great that I could offer him what he wanted, something that made him calm and happy.

I know I’m lucky it worked as well as it did for as long as it did, and even the pediatrician told me at Ben’s 9 month check up that anything more was gravy, but still I just wish it had lasted a little longer. I really wanted to nurse for a year and even once he quit, as much as I complained about the pump, I really hoped I could pump at least ½ his “milk” intake until a year. We’ve been supplementing pretty heavily the past 2 weeks and now he’ll be strictly a formula baby. Right now there’s a bottle in the fridge with not quite 3 oz of breast milk. It’ll be the last breast milk I’ll ever pump and the last breast milk Ben will ever drink. Every time I open the refrigerator and see it sitting on the shelf tears well up in my eyes. In fact, it’s took a lot of self control while I drafted this post not to go hook up to the pump, but I know it’s time. He’s fine with it, so I guess I should be. Partly I feel a little sad that I can’t keep giving him the same sustenance that I was able to give to his sister for a full year. But really it’s the milestone that it represents. My baby won’t be a baby much longer. He turns 1 in less than 2 months, he’s started to cruise along the furniture and eat table food, before long he’ll be a toddler not a baby. He’s my second and last baby and after every thing we went through to have our kids and to make sure they are healthy, I’m grateful. BUT, I always wanted more children and knowing that I’ll never be a mom to a baby again makes me so sad. And on a more intimate level I will simply miss that special bond and that time that was just ours.