Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Be honest, now

If you have a kid(s), how often would you say they fell and hit their head in their first year of life? And are the IQ points slowly leaking out of my child's head due to all her bumps and lumps? Seriously, this kid hits her head at least once a week, if not more.

(Fell off the bed this afternoon, for the SECOND time in her life. First time was when she was learning to roll over and we hadn't quite caught on. Today she was walking or jumping or something on the bed...I guess? Daddy time is rambunctious in a way Mommy time never is.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

PTBD sufferers, unite

So as I think I've mentioned here before, I buy super pricey organic formula for Bat Girl. Just a personal preference, though I sure will be glad when we can start transitioning to cow's milk in a few weeks. Anyway, since we go through the stuff like crazy, I order it by the case online (btw, if anyone ever needs a discount code, let me know!). Today the UPS man brought what I hope may be our very last shipment of formula--box torn, so the contents were clearly visible. I answered the door with Bat Girl in my arms, so he very kindly hauled the heavy box into our foyer for me.

(I should preface this by saying that we are quite fond of our UPS man--we know him by name and are very friendly with him.)

"Now, if you were breastfeeding, I wouldn't have to carry these heavy boxes of formula all the time," he joked to me.

Huh? But OK, fine, I replied in the same tone: "Believe me, I'd much rather be breastfeeding and not spending the money on this stuff."

"Eh, you moms today, you try for a few days and then give up and go to formula."

WTF?!? Not quite believing that I am defending my inability to breastfeed to my UPS delivery man, I say, "Well, I tried really hard."

"Oh, sure, I went through that with all three of my kids, we got the pump and everything, but then you know what? After a couple of days, formula." He says this very knowingly, like, yeah, my wife pussed out like you, too.

Still not quite believing I am having this conversation, I say, "Well, I tried to breastfeed her for four months, but we had to give up, it was too hard."

"For you or for her?" he asks.

"For both of us," I say, which is the only way I can sum up four months of low supply, bad latch, breast refusal, and pumping problems without just printing out my whole damn blog and handing it to him.

Then he looks me up and down and says, "Yeah, I figured." OH NO HE DIDN'T! Did my UPS man just LOOK AT MY BOOBS and basically call me flatchested and unable to sustain human life?!???

For the record, this is the FIRST person ever to say anything the slightest bit critical about my not breastfeeding. The UPS man. Damn.


Before I got pregnant with Bat Girl, my husband and I always assumed we would have at least two children, assuming we could get pregnant (though we were open to adoption as well). Then came the, shall we say, less-than-ideal pregnancy, followed by postpartum misery, breastfeeding hell, a year of sleepless nights, a depleted bank account, a sex life shot to hell (ah yes, I promised to post about that too--all in good time, my dears), etc. etc. etc....

Anyone who spends five minutes reading my blog or talking to me in person knows that my daughter is the light of my life and a source of unbelievable joy. I do not regret anything I went through to have her. But having a baby has been hard, that's just the truth. Neither my husband nor I are ready to dive back in to the newborn phase again, nor do we feel, now that we're parents, that someone is missing from our family. (That was the advice a friend of mine was given when debating whether or not to have another: Do you feel like there's still someone missing from your family? In her case, the answer was yes.) That's assuming we could even afford it, which at this point--yes, technically we could afford another child, people have two kids on less money than I make all the time, but it would mean squeezing every remaining drop of luxury out of our lives, like vacations and books and cable TV and other things I am not willing to give up. (Not to mention the fact that to minimize the chances of conceiving multiples, in the future we would go straight to IVF with single embryo transfer, so factor in the cost of that, too.)

All of those things are valid reasons not to have another child, as is the fear of landing on bedrest again, only this time with a toddler to care for. But the truth is, the biggest reason I don't want to have another is that secretly, I am terrified of facing breastfeeding again. As I've mentioned before, I think I have a case of post-traumatic breastfeeding disorder (tm Eva. The thought of having to go through all of that--the low supply (because let's face it, even though anecdotally people get a better supply with each pregnancy, if I was only able to get to 11 ounces a day with serious pharmaceutical intervention, I'm unlikely to ever have a full supply), the struggling with latch, the tanking self esteem, and oh god, the pumping, the endless pumping--it makes my stomach clench up.

Now, a smart person would do as Pru does and say, to hell with the whole thing, why torture yourself like that again? Why I cannot be rational like this, I don't know. I suppose I am just stubborn enough to want to have another go at hurling myself headfirst into a brick wall. But I am rational enough to assiduously refill my birth control pill prescription every month. Because I cannot do that again. I. can. not.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 07, 2008

Eleven months

Which was actually almost a week ago, but hell, I'm a procrastinator.

At 11 months, Bat Girl is a maniac for walking. Since she is also tiny (18 lbs), nearly bald, and until last week toothless, it's a fairly funny visual, as if an infant suddenly got up and started roaming around. I got her this for Christmas and she loves dragging it all over the apartment. Actually, she loves dragging toys from one room to another in general--as my mom observed, "She's very busy, isn't she?" She wants desperately to walk up and down the steps to our sunken living room, and so while she does crawl up them, she refuses to learn how to back herself down. If you are not right there to hold her hands and help her "step" down, she will dive headfirst right off the top step, as my husband learned the other day.

Language-wise, she is babbling a lot and says "kitty" ("Dit-ty! Dat!"), "baby," "hi," and "bye" fairly reliably. Also, when the cat yowls "rrowr" she likes to imitate it: "Ow!" She's very interested in the names of things and likes to point to things for us to identify. She can now, when prompted, correctly point to the following objects: kitty, light [either light fixture or light switch, and she loves to turn the lights on and off], mirror, picture [any non-mirror framed item on the wall], Christmas tree, and, um, Boba Fett. (Don't ask...) The Christmas tree apparently made such an impression that now that it's gone, she keeps waving "bye-bye" to the corner where it used to sit. She is less interested in saying or identifying Mama or Dada, naturally. I have been trying to teach her to sign "more" and "all done" for mealtimes without much success, but I just noticed that when she wants to move on to the next "course" of her meal (done with soup, time for prunes!) she will wave hello at whatever she wants to eat.

The receptive language is the coolest development, in my opinion. Now, when we say something like, "Bring the book to Mommy," "Turn the page," or "Can you give that to Daddy, please?" she actually does it. This is especially nice when "that" is a wad of cat hair that she has plucked off the carpet and is about to insert in her mouth.

As you might have guessed from the above, she is really into books right now, which warms her bibliophile mother's heart. We've always had storytime before bed, and in recent months we've kept a stack of books in the living room for her to page through while she's playing, but a couple weeks ago she developed a new favorite activity: going into her room, pulling books off the shelves, and selecting a favorite...then holding it out to you with a heart-melting smile, for it to be read to her. And then doing it again, and again, and again...we've each read Miss Spider's Tea Party about three times a day. This made for a rough moment the first day I went back to work after Christmas--when she saw me putting on my shoes, she ran into her room and brought out Miss Spider, holding it up to me in (I think) an attempt to keep me from leaving. When I told her, no, I couldn't read the book, I had to go to work, she freaked out and had to be peeled off me by my husband.

After months of anticipation, her bottom two teeth FINALLY poked through last week. I don't think it's a coincidence that she's also finally starting to make some tiny progress on self-feeding. Up until now, she has not been interested in putting ANYTHING in her mouth, much less food. But right around the time the teeth popped out, she started picking bits of lint and cat hair off the floor and trying to eat them, and now she'll occasionally pick up a bit of shredded cheese or piece of tangerine off her high chair tray and attempt to get it in her mouth, instead of just mushing it around. The other night, she grabbed the spoon from me and dipped it into her mashed avocado and brought it to her mouth. Of course, it was the wrong end of the spoon, but this is progress.

What else...she's interacting with her toys more intricately now. When I make a tower with her stacking cups, instead of just knocking the whole thing over, she delicately removes each cup one by one, then flings them to the floor with a barbaric yawp. She likes to hold a mixing bowl or Tupperware over her face and yowl into it, enjoying the echo chamber effect. She'll now put toys one by one into a box or bag, instead of just dumping them out. (Though I think my husband was a bit ambitious this morning when, in trying to show her how to re-shelve all the CDs she had just dumped onto the floor, he told her, "Now, we do it alphabetically by artist and then chronologically by album.")

In short, she continues to amaze, delight, and entertain. I can't believe she'll be a year old in just a few weeks.


I knew this was coming...

...I just didn't think it would be so soon.

Last night, Bat Girl pooped in the tub. And none of us will ever be the same.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who says insurance companies don't care?

Beginning of a letter from my health insurance company to me, received yesterday, 10 months and 28 days after the birth of Bat Girl:
Dear [electriclady,]

Congratulations on the recent birth of your child! We want to remind you to schedule your postpartum visit, which should occur 21 to 56 days following delivery.

I guess this shouldn't surprise me, as we also just got a notice saying that they had rejected the claim for the ER visit my husband made the day before BG was born.


To the person whose very loud and very obnoxious car alarm went off outside our window at 5 o'clock this morning, waking up a baby who had slept from 8 p.m. to 4:45 a.m., gotten up for a quick bottle, and just settled back down to sleep, thus launching 45 minutes of inconsolable crying: Fuck you. That is all.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy new year and all that

Hey! I missed you! Did you miss me? Not much time for reading blogs (or writing) the last couple of weeks, what with being home with Bat Girl for 12 days straight and my husband having some mysterious illness the details of which are too gross to share and all kinds of family flitting in and out for Baby's First Christmas.

Anyway, so my parents and brother were in town for the actual Christmas and days surrounding--staying in a hotel, thank goodness. Unlike our Labor Day weekend visit, this time BG was perfectly sociable and played with and snuggled both my parents, to their delight and my relief. (Psst--I prepped her by showing her their pictures every day for the week preceding. Don't tell them.) My dad took a scientific interest in the frequency with which Bat Girl circled the living room and calculated that, proportionally to her size, she was running the adult equivalent of several miles daily. Bat Girl got some cute toys and clothes. I got no gifts but lots of cash, which given my pickiness is probably better anyway.

Then mere hours after my family left, my in-laws came to town for a couple of days. They were staying at my husband's great-aunt's house, a 90-minute subway ride from our apartment (literally the longest uninterrupted subway ride possible in this city), so naturally they thought it would be a great idea for us to drag a baby over there for the day Thursday. Which actually ended up fine, but for the napless meltdown BG had at the end of the day. Everyone finally cleared out on Friday. Whoo!

Sunday was my birthday. I am now 34 years old. (Which reminds me, I should update my Blogger profile, shouldn't I?) For my birthday, I asked to be able to sleep in until 10 a.m. I have gotten up with BG every morning her entire life, which means that I have not slept past 8 (and most days, not past 6) in 11 months. 10 a.m., that was all I asked for. My husband made it to 9, then brought BG back to bed, where she proceeded to complain until I got up and took her back to the living room where all the toys are. ("I tried, honey...it's just so hard..." he mumbled as we left the room. Yeah, I KNOW. I only do it EVERY WEEKEND while I let YOU sleep in.) But I'm not bitter! Not me! Sunday night we went out to an awesome restaurant--the first time we have been out to dinner, just the two of us, since before I went on bedrest, 14 months ago, and the first time we've ever had an evening babysitter. We did not talk about or think about BG the whole time. I had two glasses of wine and was hammered. BG slept the whole time we were gone and only woke up when we got home, around 11:30 (and then took 45 minutes to settle down--happy birthday, drunk Mommy!).

Anyway, I'm not usually much for New Year's contemplation (sour grapes for having a perpetually cheerless winter-holiday birthday?), but here's a New Year's meme, swiped from Jonniker.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Uh, had a baby. Milked myself.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
As I wrote this time last year, "I've always sucked at making resolutions and taking stock. As I look ahead to 2007, my 34th year, all I can hope for is a healthy baby and the strength to be the best mother I can be." If that counts as a resolution, I'd say I most definitely kept it.

As for 2008, my boring resolution is to make a household budget (so we have some idea where all the money goes) and stick to it. I also have a lot of work-related resolutions, one of which is to think about finding a new job that pays better. (I love my job, but salary-wise I'm stuck in a rut.) My personal resolution is to be less negative--I tend to complain too much and also to be too negative toward my husband, so I want to try to be more positive in general. Don't worry, I'll save a little whining for you guys.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Besides me? A bunch of coworkers and not-super-close friends. Two years ago every birth announcement would have been like knives in my heart. This year, I was able to be genuinely happy for every single one of them.

(And of course there were so many of you blog buddies--too many to link to!--who finally got your joy this year. I'm so happy for you all.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. In some ways, this was a very boring year.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
I definitely lacked balance this year--not enough time and energy for myself and for my marriage. I realize that's an inevitable part of having an infant, but I'm hoping that the coming year, I'll be able to do better.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Well, February 5, of course--the day of my daughter's birth.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Yeah, um, that whole birth thing? Also: Breastfeeding (sort of) against the odds. Having the sense (eventually) to know when to stop breastfeeding. Being a working mom and not sucking too badly at either the working part or the mom part.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don't know...I was going to say, letting my breastfeeding failure get to me too much and not enjoying the early months of BG's life enough. But then I realized, isn't it interesting that I didn't think that "not being able to breastfeed" was my biggest failure? So that's a victory right there. So you know what? I didn't fail this year. I am a winner! (Heh.)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing significant.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Um...a Moby wrap? Three weeks of post-partum doula services? God, how depressingly mommy of me. Oh, I know! My R@zr mobile phone. I think I bought that in 2007. Whew.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Blogladies everywhere. Biggest smooches to Pru, who saved my sanity in more ways than one. My husband, stay-at-home dad par excellence.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Oh Britney.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Other than rent? Overpriced organic formula, and diapers. Like I said, boring.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Taking a business trip and sleeping in a hotel bed. Look, sleep is exciting, OK?

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?

Oh geez, I fell off the planet when it comes to music this year. I know that Natasha Bedingfield song came out the year before but I do kind of associate that with this year. (Seriously folks, I need help in the music department.) Actually I'll probably think of the new Bruce Springsteen album, since that's what I played for BG at bedtime for about a month and half. Oh, and "You Are My Sunshine, of course.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
Oh lord, happier, no question.
b) thinner or fatter? 
Considering that this time last year I was carrying 25 additional pounds of baby, placenta, and flab: thinner.
c) richer or poorer?
 About the same. Except for all the money spent on diapers and formula.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Shopped. No time, no extra cash, though.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Crying about my faulty boobs.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
See above.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

Just with my delicious daughter.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Heaven help me, Gossip Girl.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not that I can think of. Not because I'm such a loving, peaceable person--I just couldn't muster up the energy.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read much this year (see: baby, boring life, etc.) but I did enjoy Eat, Pray, Love, along with 90% of the other women in this country.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

See above re: musical lameness.

26. What did you want and get?

A healthy, beautiful baby.

27. What did you want and not get?

I can't really think of anything, which does put all my whining about not being able to afford pretty things in perspective, doesn't it?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I did not see a single film in the theater this year. Just in case you didn't believe me about the no balance thing.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

See above.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Immeasurably more satisfying? I can't imagine. A baby who sleeps through the night?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

"Just don't let me be like one of those sad frumpy mommies on What Not to Wear."

32. What kept you sane?

Blogladies. Chocolate. Bad TV.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I must admit, I do get my knickers in a twist for Barack Obama. And everyone's boyfriend, Jon Stewart.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I was not very stirred this year--too focused on myself and my family. But I'm always ready to be riled up for choice, health care reform, and the environment.

35. Who did you miss?

Far-off friends, too many to count. Why does everyone move away?

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I made a new friend at work. And I met Momo!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
You are more than your boobs.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Ah hell, I don't know. Is there a song that goes, "Where the f*$& does the time go?"

This thing took longer than I thought it would, so I'm not tagging anyone...but feel free to do it or pieces of it on your blog or in the comments.