Monthly Archives: July 2011

Proud Moments in Parenting

Todays proud parenting moment is brought to you by Laundry and the Letter V.

If you aren’t cool/stalkerish enough to Follow me on Facebook, here’s what you missed:
(Paraphrased and embellished for entertainments sake.)

Me: “One of my kids just managed to trap herself in the laundry hamper. And, no, it wasn’t the baby”

Husband: “I have no children”

12 Random Friends: “Like!”

5 Other Random Friends: “LOL!” (Glad it wasn’t MY kid!)*

Kid in Question: im rite here!

Me: Dear Child, If you don’t learn to spell “Right” correctly, I’ll lock you back in the hamper.

More Random Friends: “Like!” “LOL!”

Husband: Please take pictures for future blackmail use.

Me: I just totally grammarnazi’d my seven year old.

This is parenting at its finest, people.

*Ok, so they didn’t actually SAY this, but you KNOW they thought it.

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I’ll defend your right to breastfeed wherever you want… But will you defend my right NOT to?

With the controversial Breastfeeding doll currently all over the Internet, it’s kind if hard to ignore. Not that I haven’t tried. (And failed…)
I decided to stop leaving ten page long comments on other peoples blogs and just say what I need to say here. Again.
So…The thing is-the doll creeps me out.

But, wait, don’t start typing that nasty comment just yet, let me explain.

All dolls that mimic bodily functions, (including talking) freak me out. Especially Elmo dolls that call me fat.
(I was pregnant, asshole)

I just don’t see why kids can’t use their imaginations anymore. Every kid I’ve ever met who has been around a breastfeeding woman for any amount of time has given one of her(or his) toys a little nip from the imaginary breast. (Pun only slightly intended.) Kids are going to mimic what they see, its inevitable. And natural. No different than a child pretending to talk on the phone, or pretending to drive, or pretending to be a fireman.

Do I think this doll is sexual or sexualizing children in ANY way?
Um, no. Flower petal nipples aside, it’s just a toy (Granted, it’s an obscenely overpriced toy.)

Breasts are sexual objects. I’m not going to argue that. They are, and that won’t change anytime soon. And that’s not a bad thing. Without them, what would weirdos motorboat?
But they are not only sexual. They are, first and foremost, a means for mothers to nourish their offspring.

Which brings me to…
No, nursing mothers should not be asked to leave, shamed, or forced to wrap themselves and their babies up like mummies when feeding their children in public just so you don’t catch an (unlikely) eyeful of boob. Or even, *gasp* a nipple.

No, not even if there are other children present.
I admit, I’ve sometimes worried about where to point my eyes when a friend is breastfeeding near me, so as not to have an awkward moment. So, I get that it makes some people uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable is your problem, not the nursing mothers.
I’ve never managed to breastfeed long enough to have to deal with this issue, but most moms I know have, and still do-deal with the realities of having a breastfed child and, you know, the need to leave the house every so often.
Taking care of a baby is stressful enough without having to worry about getting kicked out of an Applebees the first time you actually get to eat out in 137 months.
I’m a big proponent of the “If you don’t want to see something-then don’t fucking look” school of thought. There is no rule that says you have to stare at a woman, just in case she exposes something indecent while trying to feed her kid. As for the argument about not wanting your kids exposed to that smutty, porn-like breast that may be behind that babies head?
Seriously? Ladies –And sadly, it IS mostly women who complain about this-I promise you, your child is not going to be scarred for life after seeing a woman feeding a baby. Odds are, they won’t even notice, unless you draw attention to it. And if they do notice, just tell them the truth. Breasts, while being bouncy and fun to look at, are also where baby food comes from.

Most of the time, anyway.

Which brings me to…

I don’t breastfeed.

And I’m tired of feeling like I have to preface that statement with a long explanation about how I tried for three months with my first child, but I have inverted nipples and she never could latch properly and we were both miserable and then I tried again with baby number two and three, to no avail, and baby four, I didn’t even try because I had to go back on my meds after I had him. I’m tired of getting dirty looks for pulling out a bottle and feeding my child with it. I’m EXTREMELY tired of people muttering about how “Breast is Best” and if I really LOVED my kids I wouldn’t be poisoning them with evil formula, and I wouldn’t be to lazy to wear some freaky-assed nipple shields 24/7 and try, try and TRY harder until I’m ready to commit suicide while my baby starves. I’m tired of the attitude behind the people who felt the need to tell me that breastfeeding a baby while on narcotic pain medication was better than formula feeding.

(And I’m not talking a Lortab here and there people. I am talking big-time pain meds.)

There is no way in hell my child would be better off addicted to narcotics than fed formula.

Yes, Breast IS Best.

It is not, however, the wonderful cure-all for everything from ear infections to athletes foot that people like to claim it is.

Awhile back, I did a bunch of research, and discovered something interesting. MOST of the studies they did that found breastfed babies were smarter/Thinner/healthier/less likely to become Paris Hilton- most of those studies were done in a way that makes the results almost meaningless. When they did these studies, the people they gathered their data from were generally stay-at-home, well-off, upper-middle-class women. The children in question were generally born to mothers who didn’t work three jobs, do drugs, eat processed foods or live near waste treatment plants in asbestos filled trailers. Those children were already predisposed to be smarter and healthier than average because of their upbringing. (I’m to lazy to re-find those links right now, but they do exist.) I’m not saying breast milk does not have some awesome qualities, just that there are many, many other factors at play here that influenced the results of these studies. And there are many things a parent can do to ensure their child is healthy and smart. And generally, the mothers who breastfeed tend to do these other things as well, so take these studies with a grain of salt, as it were.

(Incidentally- the kids I breastfed the longest have the most health problems, and the ones that I breastfed little or not at all, is by far the healthiest.)

Now, I’m not saying “Don’t even try to breastfeed, because it’s pointless.” I really do think that every mother should at least try. It IS the way nature intended, after all. It is made to be the perfect food for infants.

What I am saying, is that if, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out for you, you shouldn’t be shamed for using formula.

The amount of guilt I get for being a bottle-feeder has at times, been unbearable. I’m sick of it. And I’m not alone in this.

It makes me sad that there are women out there who are completely, utterly miserable, but refuse to use formula because of the stigma now attached to it in most circles. Not all breastfeeding experiences are wonderful, unicorn-filled bond-fests where rainbows of contentment burst forth from your nipples. I spent three months in hell, resenting my baby because all she did was scream and I never slept, and you know what? If I could go back, I’d have just started her on a bottle and been done with it. That way, I could have actually spent that time enjoying my sweet baby and bonding with her instead of crying over my bloody nipples while locked in the bathroom.

I’m aware that I could have tried harder. I could have worn the scary nipple apparatuses (Apparatti?) or stayed off my meds. But, you know what, I finally chose not to. Because, for my family, using formula was what was best for everyone involved. If a mom is miserable and in pain and unhappy, she is not at her best, and our sweet babies deserve our very best, even if that best comes in a bottle.

As fellow parents, we should be supporting each other, not judging one another because of differing choices. Of course you feel like your way is best. You wouldn’t have done it that way if you didn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s best for me and mine. Motherhood is fucking hard. We should be lifting each other up, and supporting other parents, because, really, we are all in the same, poop-filled boat. This whole breastfeeding topic shouldn’t even be a debate. I realize that there are many well-intentioned moms out there that feel it is important to encourage breastfeeding. Encouraging and supporting moms who choose to breastfeed is essential. But honestly, in my circles at least, offline and on, I have never met a mother who had never heard that “Breast is Best.” I’ve also never met one that bottle-fed and didn’t feel guilty as hell about it, either. And giving moms guilt for not breastfeeding is just as bad as giving moms shame for breastfeeding (In public or otherwise).

We are all on the same side here- we are all just trying to feed our children.

So, do me a favor. If you see a nursing mom in public, and it bothers you, simply look away. If you see someone giving her shit, stand up for her and let the perpetrator know that This. Is. Not. Okay.

And if you know a nursing mom who is miserable and at the end of her rope, but is afraid to stop because she’s afraid of what people will think-please remind her that she’s NOT a failure, and even if she chooses to switch to a bottle, her kid will be just fine.I promise.

Together, we can bridge this gap between breast and bottle. Together, we can fight for the rights of all mothers. We can fight for a womans right to be left alone when nursing in public. We can fight against the irrational idea that exposing children to breasts as a food supply is somehow going to “sexualize” them before they are “ready”. And we can fight against the assumption that mothers who choose-for whatever reason- not to breastfeed are lazy and uncaring baby poisoners.

The one thing we should not be fighting is each other.

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Getting Back On The Horse

So much to catch up on. I don’t even know where to begin.
When I started working on LHR again, I let my personal writing fall by the wayside a bit. There’s only so many hours in the day and less time to write than I’d like. As it is, I do most of my writing in the middle of the night instead of, you know, actually sleeping, because with two active kids hone full time right now, it’s the only quiet, “spare” time I’ve got.
Then time issues became health issues. Things in that department took a turn for the worst for awhile there.
Back in November, I started what I’ll refer to as puke-fest 2011. After far too many rounds of musical ness and musical doctors, I ended up in a place where I’d hurl the second ANYTHING hit my stomach. Now, I’ve had bouts like this before, it’s par for the course with pancreatitis. But this was extreme. It started with a family rendition of the stomach flu, as brought home by the elementary school carrier monkey child. Of course, we all got sick, one right after another, and the baby and I were in the hospital together at one point. But then, everyone else recovered, and I just went right on hurling.
Three months, 8 emergency room visits, two hospital admissions and several doctors later, and it turns out it was one of my meds. (Seriously? My faith in doctors is pretty low right now.)

Once that was resolved, I started pushing another issue. The thing is-My abdominal symptoms get worse every month, around THAT time of the month, and during the weeks leading up to that time. I’d told doctors this before, but since most of my Drs are specialists, they want nothing to do with areas of the body that are outside of their area of expertise. Especially “womens issues.”. I know hoo-has are scary and all, but why aren’t there any doctors left who actually look at the WHOLE person?

Eventually I grew tired of the doctors blowing this off and went to an obgyn. After ruling everything else out with another series of fun, invasive and painful tests, she informed me that all that was left was endometriosis. The second I googled it, I went, “Holy shit! I have THAT!”
It took switching doctors a few more times, but to make a long story short- I’ve definitely got endometriosis. I’ve had it since puberty, and the only thing that saved it from being much worse was the fact that I started having kids young and basically spent four years pregnant. It doesn’t grow when you are pregnant, you see, and it wasn’t until after I had my youngest daughter that I started having all of this undiagnosed abdominal pain. (Yeah, over six years ago.) I’m trying not to dwell on the fact ghat had they figured it out THEN, I probably wouldn’t have incurred the damage to my pancreas during all those un-necessary procedures. Nothing I can do about it now, I suppose.
Anyhow I found an amazing doctor who cut me open and scraped all of the nasty crap off my insides. He also made it so I could perform normal bodily functions without the use of a syringe, rubber gloves, a tube and a shit ton of ex-lax. Oh, oh! And they removed a floating staple that fell off something gall bladder related and lodged itself in my “Pouch of Douglas”. (yeah, i didn’t know what that was either until very recently, and i don’t recommend putting sharp random staples there-particularly if you’d like to enjoy sex again, ever.)
So yeah. Now I’m on continuous birth control now to help slow it’s regrowth-but generally it does grow back and I’ll need to be cleaned out periodically. There’s also a possibility I’ll end up losing all of my internal womanly parts, (Which has really put my desire for one last baby into hyperdrive.)
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I had a lovely 5mm kidney stone decide to get stuck in my ureter so I also got to go under and have that shoved back into my left kidney, (Which is also deformed, as it turns out. I already knew righty had duplicate lobes and tubes.) Incidentally, I’ve got a random tumor in my bladder as well, but the biopsy says it’s just another random, strange “me” thing.

Some advice? If anyone ever offers you a uretral stent, for the love of the gods, say NO.

What’s that you ask?

Oh, just a tube that they leave in place that extends from your kidney ALL the way on down… and…out. Let’s just say I preferred the kidney stone itself to the feeling of the stent, and leave it at that.

So, to summarize, I’ve now got endometriosis, chronic pancreatitis, and rheumatoid(?) arthritis. Whee.

Add to that an insane ex who has decided to blog stalk me for his own sick amusement. (Go back a few posts.) And his mother and her crusade to prove the kids issues are somehow All. My. Fault. (As usual) And throw in a baby who has taken to stripping naked and pooping on everything EXCEPT the toilet when he feels the urge.

See why I’ve been in hiding?

But the surgeries are done (for now,) the meds have been adjusted, the baby isn’t allowed to wear anything other than backwards feety jammies 24/7, and my ex and his mommy can spout all the lies, hatred, filth and random crap they want. All anyone has to do to see what kind of parent I really am is look at the two children we have raised. (And compare them to the two he has “raised”.)

Yeah.

I win.

Unfortunately, my two older children are the ones who are really losing in all of this, since they are stuck being raised by soulless, evil compulsive liars instead of in a stable, loving family where they belong. Sigh.

The point is, life isn’t going to stop me from writing. I won’t be abused and controlled by that family anymore, and I’m not at the mercy of my diseases. And by the gods, the boy WILL crap IN the toilet one of these days!
(Right? Please tell me he will? Everyone I’ve spoken to about potty training boys has just shaken their heads, given me a sympathetic look, and muttered something about boys being “hard”.)
Sigh. Bad Baby.

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Dance

I took my youngest daughter to her first concert on Wednesday as an early birthday gift. She had an amazing time, and as much as I twitched at the fact that her first concert was none other than Britney Spears, I’ll admit: it wasn’t that bad.
The show itself was very theatrical. I have to give the woman some credit, it can’t be that easy to dance and sing and change clothes twelve times for two hours straight.
But, more importantly, so did my daughter. Well, without the changing clothes part. (Excepting shoes. But at least we weren’t the only ones limping and holding our shoes by the end of the night.)
She began the night the same way she ended it~

Dancing:

I spent more of the night watching her watch the show than I did watching it myself and I confess, I was moved to tears more than once. My girl is growing up, and shes growing up well. I couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride in my heart as I watched her. We started the night outside with a local radio stations promotional booth and, as you can see, my daughter danced with un-self-conscious abandon on the side of the road.

The radio station took tons of pictures of her for their website. She spoke to them articulately and when we moved to the line, shed already amassed a group of admirers. (Admittedly they were mostly in the form of young gay men)

When she was born, I was full of fear for her. At the time, I was alone, and I worried about what kind of life I would give her. Doubts and worries kept me up many a night. But seeing her now, confident and happy, smart and amazing, I’m damn proud.

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