Pranksters, Meet My Food Baby. I Call Him Frank.

I knew it was bound to happen.

I popped out my crotch parasites well before most of my friends had steady boyfriends (birth control failure FTW!) because I like to win at life. See also: failed birth control.

Once I’d popped out the first crotch parasite, I realized that what I really wanted to do was to pop out more. I’m not saying my logic was failproof or anything (see also: birth control) but I knew I wanted my first kid to have siblings. What can I say? I’m a sentimentalist.

(outright lie)

But I wanted the kid to have siblings, and luckily, he did. Five years later, out popped Alex, and two years after that came Amelia. Which means I have a fuck of a lot of kids, but alas, I digress.

That meant, of course, that I spent my twenties in Fug-Ville. While my friends were out being cute and sexy, I ranged in size from “Is she fat or pregnant” to “that girl looks like Grimace… only not purple.” Postpartum thyroid issues piled even MORE pounds onto my already chunky frame, which lasted approximately until their first birthday. Which = two years of Grimace per baby.

What I’m SAYING, Pranksters, is that I’m a sexy, sexy pregnant woman. You can call me Pregnasaurus Bex if you’d like. I don’t mind.

So now that I’ve gotten done with crotch parasites, I’m returning to the “OMG CUTE CLOTHES” and “UNDERWEAR THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A SHIP’S SAIL” walk of life. Just in time to watch my friends obsess about every little pregnancy symptom or complaint.

I swear to you, Pranksters, everyone I know is gestating. Their Facebook profiles all show blurby ultrasound images of fetuses (fetii?) and updates include all the stats from each doctor’s appointment. It makes me GLAD I’m no longer gestating since my stats would look like:

Weight: *breaks scale*

BP: Non-existent

Measuring: 40 weeks pregnant at 10 weeks.

What Baby Is Doing: Some various state of fruit.

Pretty much, you’d be bored even MORE shitless than you are by my mediocre blog. (my autocorrect wants to change “shitless” to “shirtless” which is actually awesomer.)

However, I feel kinda left out. I mean, I’d rather suck on an icepick than get knocked up again, but still, I want the opportunity to complain about my swollen feet and ginormous rack. Unless I have a Love Child, it ain’t happening.

Luckily, I’m crafty. I came up with a BETTER solution.

Pranksters, let me be the first to announce that I’m having a food baby. His name is Frank.

 

He’s gonna be a soccer player.

Also: who wants to throw me a baby shower? I can TOTALLY feel him kicking!

10 Years

I have been a mother for ten years now.

Ten. Years.

That number – a third of my lifetime – seems to be so much larger, more significant than it was last year. Ten years is a long time.

I fell into motherhood the same way I’ve fallen into every other major thing in my life: accidentally. I’d never given much thought to motherhood, parenting or having crotch parasites of my very own. I don’t have younger siblings or younger cousins, and the kids I babysat weren’t ever babies. If you’d asked me back then if I’d wanted to have babies, I probably would have said a resounding, “Fuck.” and “No.”

To be unexpectedly a parent was the most shocking thing that’s happened to me. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant against the odds, I can’t say that I’m certain I’d have ever walked down that road. I can’t say that, of course, because I’ve never been an adult without having a bouncing baby (of my very own)(I am not a baby-napper) strapped into my car, tooling along with me. I cannot imagine my life without children.

I’ve said many times that without Ben, I would be nothing, and that’s the truth. Every decision I’ve made in the last ten years has been executed while thinking of the betterment of another. Would I be nothing without him? No. Of course not. But I certainly wouldn’t have gotten married, had two more crotch parasites or become Your Aunt Becky.

I do not know where I’d be without him.

It’s been an unglamorous life, that’s for sure, but one filled with laughter and heartache, joy and sorrow, and mostly, the unexpected.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

mom-jeans

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Happy Mother’s Day to each of you – those of you struggling to become mothers, those missing their mothers, those whose treasures are in heaven, and those of you woken up each day to sticky fingers and poopy diapers.

Happy Mother’s Day, Pranksters.

———–

We’re doing a carnival of Mother’s Day posts from many different perspectives on Band Back Together if you’d like to join us.

It’s My Party/My Humps Remix

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Yesterday marked the eleventy-hundreth time (approximately) I’ve thrown a party for one of my kids. It started with a kegger when Ben turned one (what?!? That is SO not trashy!) and persisted until he was ready to have a Kids Only party for himself. This is where I bow gracefully out of hosting and pay someone insane wads-o-cash to host the 10 kids somewhere OTHER than my house. Kids scare me.

Thankfully, by that time, Alex was ramping up to have a birthday party of his own for me to publicly express both my fetish for cakes and my fetish for encased meats.

And yesterday, in all it’s magnificent non-barbeque friendly weather was one of the best I’ve hosted yet. Especially since I didn’t have to stand shivering over the grill while it rained on my head. But whatever.

I don’t know if it’s the isolation factor of having a small baby–especially one that screams her head off in the car–or the fact that I’ve felt so unwell in the past year or so, or maybe because I’ve been dying to have something to celebrate without a …but… after it, but yesterday seemed especially full of The Awesome. The perfect mix of people, food and, of course, prescriptions.

Here is Amelia, in her fresh party outfit with her Uncle Paul:

mimi-and-paul

Here is what Amelia thought of her dress:

mimi-dress

You can practically hear her yell “MOOOOMMM, I look STOOOOPPID!” And then I took the dress OFF her.

Easter Dress: 1

Becky: 0

And the moment I waited all week for:

cake

The cake. The glorious cake. It was as tasty as it was classy. It also wasn’t as cool as last years cake, but they wouldn’t do the tiered cake order over the phone. And since said baby sucks to take in the car, I was not huffing my fat butt out there.

Oh well. Even if it didn’t have drug paraphernalia, at least it was classy.

Now for Part II of my II Part Post (doesn’t that look like it should be an alliteration?)

My Humps

After Ben’s sensory issues wouldn’t allow me to nurse him, I developed a major complex about breastfeeding. Specifically, that it was something that I’d failed mightily at. I didn’t, of course, take into consideration that my CHILD might be the problem, which, of course, he was.

So Alex was born with hair on his back but I was the one with a chip on my shoulder. I was Going To Breastfeed Him, Dammit, At Any Cost. And I did. I got up every 1-3 hours every single night with him to nurse him. For a year. I nursed him at least once an hour every hour until he was one.

Despite my initial delight at HIS delight at my boobs, I had really mixed feelings about breastfeeding. On the one hand, I was very proud of myself that I was able to do something I’d been previously unable to do. On the other, though, I didn’t find the joy that others seemed to associate with it.

I’m not a touchy-feely person and although I like cuddling my kids, I did occasionally want my own personal space. And I longed for the day when I could wear scoop-necked shirts and not v-necked ones. I also longed for the day when I didn’t have to let my nipples hang out in the breeze constantly. I’m not modest, but damn, it got old.

So when I got pregnant with Amelia and finally figured out it might stick, I figured I’d breastfeed again, but not exclusively, and that I wouldn’t give myself a hard time if

1) She couldn’t do it

or

2) She occasionally got formula.

And, well, I guess the inevitable happened: she decided that nursing was too much work, just like Dr. Sears warned me about! I’d call this a Nursing Strike, but I think she’s just done with the boob. And I don’t have the luxury of time to pump. Or should I say properly, I don’t want to make the time to pump exclusively.

I sit here and try to remind myself of the positives: I can lose weight more easily, I can finally wear shirts that don’t expose my chesticles, I can wear bras that don’t snap open and shut, and I won’t smell like a milk factory constantly. My body will be my own for the first time in 3 years. These are all true.

But she is my last baby. This is the last time I’ll nurse anyone. And I am conflicted. I wasn’t ready to have her grow up so soon. I’m not ready to put away her tiny newborn clothes, pack them up for the NICU I’m donating them to, knowing that this is the last time one of my flesh and blood will inhabit them.

I hate endings, no matter how happy they are. Even if it means new beginnings.

For today, my heart, it is wearing a frowny-sad-face.

I Would Lact8 4 U

Alternately: Things I Wish I’d Known (Nursing Addition!)…

* That my nipples would become the size and consistency of ground beef.

* That I would be able to look someone squarely in the eye while inserting my nipple into someone else’s mouth.

* That my nipples would become as tough as shoe leather and could probably chip ice if necessary (necessary for what? I DON’T KNOW).

* That pumping milk into the Electric Baby would be even more boring than watching paint dry and grass grow.

* That I would exclaim to my father and brother simultaneously after they complained about seeing my boob that “Hey, at least I’m not masturbating.”

* That I would say “masturbating” in front of my father, brother or mother-in-law without having the common decency to turn red.

* That my daily menu would suddenly read like the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

* That the person who once broke her toe making a sandwich (that would be me) would be able to walk around Target while nursing.

* That other people who breast-feed would be so damn sanctimonious about it.

* That I would suddenly need to qualify why I didn’t nurse my first with an “oh, well, he’s autistic” when it’s really not that big of a deal.

* That let-down feels really, really weird.

* That breast-feeding does not make you a better mother.

* That nursing cover-ups are a complete waste of money because they draw more attention to the fact that you’re nursing AND because it makes trying to discretely get the nipple into said mouth almost impossible.

* That you will learn not to make eye contact with people while nursing in public so you feel less squigged out by the fact that your nipple is hanging in the breeze in front of people who haven’t even bought you a drink.

* That while it’s nice to bond with the baby, it also can chain you to the child, even if you supplement.

* That nursing is much like still being pregnant as your body is still not your own.

* That for every person who swears that they lost tons of weight nursing, you’ll find many that couldn’t no matter what they tried no matter what La Leche League says.

* That each breast will be twice the size of your new ickle one’s head when your milk comes in and it will make you wonder how they don’t object in sheer terror to latching right on.

* That the stupid adage “If you feel like you have the flu and you’re nursing, it’s mastitis” is so wrong. It should read “If you feel like you have the flu and you’re nursing, it’s because you have a new baby.”

* That after doing both bottle feeding exclusively and nursing exclusively, bottle feeding is much, much easier.

* That even with exclusive breast-feeding around the clock, you can still get your period 6 weeks post-partum (hello you old bitch!).

——————

What am I missing?

Dr. Sears Can Kiss My Fluffy White Butt

If you’re not a parent, or you are a parent who happens to live under a rock, you don’t know who Dr. William Sears is. But have no fear, sweet Internet, because I am about to enlighten you. He’s a crunchy-granola sort of doctor dude, the sort who has 43 kids and writes many, many different books on parenting. Not being the sort of person who tends to buy books on parenting–save for my coveted Dr. Spock book–because I figure that I do know more than I think I do, I only ran across him when I was highly pregnant with Alex and scouring the bookstore for a book on breastfeeding.

After my complete and abject failure at breastfeeding my first son, I decided that I must find the most militant book, written by the most militant author and read it cover to cover in order to be a proper breastfeeder. And Dr. Sears, with all of his 32 kids, was just the sort of militant breastfeeding advocate I needed.

It’s pretty safe to say that I was still pretty scarred from my inability to nurse Ben and had harbored a fairly large feeling of failure for the five years between the two of them. It was obviously MY fault (what shocks me as a parent is how quickly you begin to look for faults in yourself rather than accept certain truths about your child. My Ben was a lousy eater. My Alex IS a lousy sleeper. Neither of these has a damn thing to do with me) as an inept parent and everywhere I turned, this was only reinforced by everyone around me.

My brother was born in 1971 to a couple of hippies (also: my own parents) in a country hospital where breastfeeding was looked down upon as something that only savages did. The preferred choice was the far more sanitary and less savage-like baby formula, and despite my mother’s insistence that she nurse her son, she gave in to the nurses badgering after awhile.

The backlash to this formula craze was so severe, that even years later, when my first was born, I felt it. It seemed like no matter what I tried, no matter what excuse I had for why it hadn’t worked out, someone else was there to tell me that feeding formula to my son was Wrong. With a capitol ‘W.’

Even the cans of formula I carefully saved up for chastised my choice with a sweet message: “Breastfeeding is ideal.” It killed me to pay through the teeth to get the lip service from a can of formula.

(and yes, I know precisely WHY it says that on the can.)

Any parent I came across assumed that my choice to not breastfeed Ben stemmed from my age, my inexperience, and furthermore, from my abject laziness. (none of these are true, by the way. I tried desperately, but you know what? It turns out that autistic kids hate to be touched!) I’ve even heard the argument that formula ought to be available by prescription only.

Dr. Sears, whose book I did end up reading, succeeds in properly guilting anyone who dares put a pacifier near their baby’s mouth (nipple confusion!) or breaks down and feeds the child a desperate bottle so that Mommy can properly take a damn nap for more than 20 minutes. Apparently, you should only use YOUR nipples as comfort objects and consider formula that of The Devil! I mean, HIS wife breastfed their adopted children! What the HELL is wrong with you for not being able to do something SO SIMPLE?

Come on, people. Lighten up.

Sure, breastfeeding is best for the baby, I’m not claiming that it isn’t, nor would I ever. But having had one primarily formula fed (I pumped for the first month to very little output) and one primarily breastfed, I will tell you one thing: I preferred the formula experience.

I breastfed Alex initially to prove that I could, in fact do so properly (I could) and continued because I knew it was the best choice for him. Not because I loved it.

But what bugs me about the whole breast versus bottle debate is this: some of the breastfeeders tend to attack the formula feeders to the point where I’m not sure I’d tell someone if I chose to use formula.

Why should someone who chose to not breastfeed–for whatever reason–be treated like a leper? It’s not as though they’re giving their child apple juice and vodka. Breastfeeding is a deeply, intensely personal choice and–like the epidural–it’s not something that really makes or breaks you as a parent.

I’m not denying that breastmilk is best, because it is, but so is buying everything organic, free-range, and from a farmer’s market rather than shopping at Target or Aldi. Hell, why aren’t you growing your own veggies and raising your own livestock while we’re at it? And shit, you should totally make your own non-sweatshop produced clothes! Because those choices are all “better” too.

And besides, no matter how carefully you control what your baby/toddler eats, that ickle one will grow up into a child, then a teenager who will eat Cool Ranch Doritos at school for lunch, rather than the carefully hand grown carrots you sent to school. How do I know this? EXPERIENCE. My mother was that crunchy person who sent me to school with that sort of thing, and did I eat it? NEVER.

I guess all that I’m saying is why can’t we all get along? Why does one choice have to disqualify the other as a viable alternative? Because seriously, if we could stand united without having to pick apart the choices of others (*ahem* MOTRIN MOMS), can you imagine all that we could accomplish?

Or hell, maybe it’s just me and my propensity toward incontinence talking here.

Weaner

Walking (er, STUMBLING) into motherhood for the second time, I knew that I had some extremely complicated feelings about nursing. Now, I’m not the sort of person who claims to know what is best for anyone else in regards to parenting and all of the choices that come along with it, to me, I still engage in the Whatever Gets You Through The Night (Or Day) school of parenting.

As such, I don’t find fault in the decisions of other parents that I know that are not the same as my own. Co-Sleeping? Whatever, not my personal cup ‘o’ joe, but if it works, go for it. Baby Wearing? Again, whateves.

Feeding evokes the exact same feelings of ‘meh’ in me.

Now, this isn’t to say that I didn’t spend the first 5 years of Ben’s life wondering what the fcuk was wrong with me that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t nurse him, because I did. I convinced myself that I had low milk supply, inverted nipples, and likely a nasty case of BO, and THESE were the reasons I never got to nurse him.

Until Alex was born with a latch to beat all latches and an appetite like a teenager, I was sure that I was at fault for being unable to nurse Ben. My milk supply was pathetic (according to the pump) and my dinner plate (hubcap) sized nipples would certainly have turned ME off, were I in his diaper.

It wasn’t until later when I realized that any issues I had with nursing Ben had nothing to do with me.

It was his own fault.

I am blaming all of his nursing issues squarely on him alone.

(anyone who has had issues nursing their own children can understand the magnitude of this statement. If you have not had issues, it would make very little sense as to why this would be a big deal. Just roll with me, baby. Or ignore me. It’s cool.)

My feelings about nursing are now not so complex. Alex is weaning himself, and down to about one nursing session a day (if that), and aside from once again being amazed at how quickly he’s grown up, I’m having a hard time pegging which emotion I feel about it (I need one of those ‘match the emotion with the proper face’ chart right about now).

On the one hand, the thought of him turning one is freaking me out a wee bit, mainly because I am pretty certain that this is our last baby, and therefore I should have savored some of the baby-ness a bit more. The late night nursing sessions were annoying, for sure, but as with even the good parts of having kids, they never go back to that kind of intimacy again. Pretty soon, he’ll be getting his own food from the cupboard and begging for Dino-Shaped fruit snacks and Cap’n Crunch (with Crunchberries, if he’s anything like his Momma–which is is.), and when I blink again, he’ll be chugging shitty beers with The Dudes (just like his Momma) with the same intensity that he went after the boobs.

On the flip side, being one is so much more interesting (and exasperating) than being an ickle baby, and I’ve always preferred kids that I can interact with to those who are a drooling mass of baby.

I guess the only real emotion that I can see right now is relief. Plain and simple relief.

I’m glad he’s weaning himself, I’m glad he’s turning one, and I’m glad those all nighters are gone for now (until he hits college. But by that time, I will be relaxing by the pool, and likely asleep while he’s drinking his braincells away). I’m glad that his favorite game to play right now is “ball” and I’m glad that I can feed him whatever I am eating (without teeth, to boot!), and I am glad that he is in my life.

Maybe my heart will always skip a beat when I see (or hear) that newborn cry or smell their special smell, but maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just be glad that my time is over and I can focus my time on enjoying my children, who, while they are not getting any younger, are two of the most enchanting people I have ever been fortunate enough to know.

And maybe I will just thank the powers that be that I was deemed fit enough to be the mother of these two fascinating souls.

I cannot wait to see what new-ness today will bring.

Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? I Can.

It appears as though my era of a lactating female is drawing slowly to an end. Alex has decided that the quicker food dispersal system is not, in fact, garnered by my breast but by regular food stuff. To say that he is underwhelmed by taking a bottle (which would be the easiest way to use up the approximately 2,308 gallons of frozen breast milk I currently am storing in my freezer) is a gross understatement. He hates the bottle with an intense passion, which I cannot blame him for.

Despite my well-documented conflicting feelings on breast feeding in general (it’s more of a scientific oddity to me. You mean they do THAT? WEIRD!), I had assumed that I would feel more saddened by this inevitability than I am. After all, Alex has kicked my ass so thoroughly with his craptastic sleep patterns that I am not sure if I will ever be strong and/or brave (or stupid enough, really) enough to try and have another one, and three kids seems like a ton of kids (not to mention the fact that I would have to buy another car and grow a couple of extra arms). Even if I do have another one, I am not positive if I would breastfeed again (at least for as long as I have with Alex), as I’m underwhelmed by having to be tethered to a child all day, every day.

Please don’t send the Breastfeeding Mafia after me. I have no problems whatsoever with people who breastfeed for years. It’s just not who I am. And you know what? Being a parent is a lot of not being able to be who I am.

Seriously, if I were alone in the house, I can all but assure you that I would not watch either Elmo’s World on repeat OR PBS Kids all day. Nor would I opt to listen to Raffi, have to remove all swear words from my vocabulary, or take 30 second showers while feverishly praying that my children are not eating each other.

Am I bitching about making these personal sacrifices for my children? No, not at all. It comes with the territory of being a parent, and I am accustomed to it, and rarely get on the cross about it. But to me, breastfeeding is just another one of those things that strips me of all of my me-ness, and aside from doing it for the first couple of months, which is a sacrifice I would probably make again for the health benefits, I’m not sure I’d be willing to do it all over again.

Sure, there are health benefits to the mother (apparently) like losing those pesky baby pounds that I was just positive I was going to melt away along with my milk, but oops! psych! not so much. Hell, without eating supplemental junk food, I find it next to impossible to eat all of the extra calories that are required for my metabolism not to shut down.

Some people are overweight because they eat too much, but I am overweight (currently) because I didn’t eat enough. I HAVE A GLANDULAR PROBLEM, PEOPLE! (That always sends me into gales of laughter when I use this phrase. Maybe I should have shirts made that proclaim this. Then I’d be truly cool).

Until I stop breastfeeding, I have embarked on a new diet, one that doesn’t have me counting Points (but is still Weight Watchers), because I have no idea how many freaking calories I need anymore. It’s essentially a low fat, low sugar, low flour diet, and I’m finding it pretty easy to follow, thankfully. But it, of course, has one side effect that I’d never planned for: extreme flatulence.

That’s right, folks, I have now surpassed my husband, the former reigning King of All Farts, and have rightly claimed the Queen of The Rank Ass as my new title. Now I am the member of the family who can, in a single emission, clear an entire room with my suffocating farts. My new-found power is exhilarating, I am heady in my own strength, drunk on my own force…

Hey, where’d everyone go?

In Which I Ask (Seriously) The Internets For Advice

When we moved into our condo (before we bought our house), the previous owner left us a vacuum (AND a fridge full of half-eaten food. Yum!). I loved it, used it, and eventually broke it. I’m not techno-savvy (why is the Internet not working, Daver?), so I am not certain what I did to it, but it was a decent thing.

It moved with us to our new home, where it took up residence in our basement for a year and a half. It has now moved to the garage where it sits until I figure out what the hell to do with it. We have a Kirby, which is awesome, even though it weighs approximately 900 lbs AND doubles as a toliet plunger AND hair massager (same attachment!), so I have no use for this broken vacuum.

But I feel wasteful, just throwing it away, when it’s entirely likely that it just needs a little tweak here or there. I’d put it out by the curb, but it’s winter here, and the snow would absolutely break it.

What do I do with it?

Ditto with the baby swing that Alex wore out. It no longer goes (ESPECIALLY not to 11) in any direction, and in the event that I had another baby, I’d just buy a new swing (yes, I am somewhat wasteful. I know.).

——————

I am in dire need of a new pair of simple black boots. I got my old pair shopping in Ashley’s closet, but they’re about half a size too small and incredibly uncomfortable. I cannot order a new pair online, as I need to a) inspect the heel (I hate the really teeny tiny ones with a passion. Ditto with the really chunky ones) and b) try them on.

Are boots universally uncomfortable? Or is it just these boots (because they are too small)?

Where do you go to buy a decent pair of boots (my footwear is universally expensive, so Payless is not an option for me)?

Ankle boots or calf high (I’ve never worn calf high ones)?

—————-

Alex appears to be starting the weaning process, which is making the angels sing on high. The problem is, is that he now refuses to take a bottle (breastmilk filled or otherwise) in any form. I think he is convinced that the bottle = battery acid.

So he eats a number of pureed foods along with mountains of baby yogurt and nurses about 4-6 times a day (if you can believe it, this is far, far down from previous months).

I was beginning to feel all good about myself until I read up on weaning before 12 months (he is almost 9 months now), and all the literature screams: “YOU’RE A DAMN BAD MOTHER IF YOU WEAN YOUR CHILD BEFORE 12 MONTHS. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF, BECKY, AS YOUR BABY WILL ONLY SELF-WEAN AT 2-3 YEARS. UNFIT MOTHER!!!”

But the baby seems to be certain that eating solids is the easiest way to get from Point Hunger to Point No-Hunger, and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to dissuade him. (plus, I am getting somewhat relieved that I am seeing an end to nursing in sight. And what would a statement like that be without the accompanying Maternal Guilt?).

Any advice for me? (especially that which doesn’t involve fenugreek. My nasty nursing bras STILL smell like maple syrup 7 months later).

——————–

What the hell is up with the term “Teh”? I seriously don’t understand how “teh” means “the” unless it is misspelled due to error while typing.

——————-

I’m feeling rather diet-ly discouraged, so I need some new tips for weight loss. I know I’m not the only person on the planet who has struggled with weight loss, so lemmie hear your tips.

Please?

Pair -A- Docks

Crunchiness is one of those qualities that I admire but almost never display. I have no problem with “attachment parenting” given that those who practice it don’t find fault with me for not practicing it. I buy baby food rather than make it, I use Pampers with (almost) alarming frequency, and the only reason that I make baby wipes is because 1) it’s easy 2) it’s cheaper.

Nature is all well and good, but it often makes me itch, so I’m happiest if it doesn’t come into the house with me. The prospect of camping reminds me to self medicate with a bottle of booze and my shaker set and scout out nearby McDonalds. My idea of roughing it involves staying in a hotel, and only ordering room service once. You’re shuddering right along with me, aren’t you?

I began breastfeeding Alex mainly because I am stubborn, and with my Ben-related anxiety over my abilities to do so, I needed to prove to myself that I could. Unlike with Ben, who I was DETERMINED to nurse, I viewed the prospect as a maybe rather than a certainty, because I happen to have become a realist about the illusion of control and children (no matter what you believe, you’re not in control. Period). Had things been overly difficult with Alex, who for all intents and purposes is such a champion nurser who at delivery knew more in the instinctual part of his brain about it than I ever will, I’m certain I’d have stopped after a couple of months. Similac execs would have rejoyced, and I would have become several hundred dollars poorer each month.

I’ve continued breastfeeding only because I am too lazy to wean him AND I am not quite sure how to stop my sweater kittens from acting as milk bags. It IS easier, after awhile, than bottle feeding, no doubt, but also more annoying to me. I don’t so much like it when Dave wants to cuddle with me for longer than about three minutes (unless it leads to something less *ahem* PG), I rarely hug my best friends (and I assure you that I love them with all of my heart), and I assure you that I am the antonym of touchy-feely (which would make me cold and prickily. Yes, yes I am). I love snuggling my children, but NOT ALL OF THE DAMN TIME, which is what nursing involves, because I am just not that kind of person.

Nursing Alexander has made it so that he flips if someone else should decide to graciously assume my nightly duties, because well, that’s what The Lady With The Milk Bags does. And as with Ben, everyone has been pidgeonholed into their respective spots in Alex’s overly-large cranium (It’s a satelite, for serious): Ben makes him laugh and tries to share his food with him, Dad changes poopy diapers and plays SuperBaby with him, and Mom (a.k.a. The Milk Factory) comes in when he cries at night.

It’s sweet, really it is, that his face lights up like a Bud Lite sign and he begins to pump his legs as though he’s riding an invisable bicycle when he sees me when I come in at night. Conversely, should Dave try and take over for me, he screams and weeps copiously (and I wonder why Dave doesn’t volunteer more often. No, no I don’t.), his ickle baby starfish-shaped hands pounding his thighs in frustration at the Universe (sounds like me, eh?).

This week, after having to double my dose of Nite Sleep Aid (which is just stronger diphenhydramine, so don’t worry) AND take a shot of the Green Death flavored Nyquil (seriously, they should just call it that. Their marketing team would be speaking the truth) just to fall asleep, I realized that I needed to call in some medical assistance.

The crux of it was that during the night that I had to essentially overdose myself to get over my anxiety about sleeping, THE BABY WAS SLEEPING JUST FINE. Normally, he does not, which leads to the oft mentioned anxiety, but even on the nights when he does sleep for more than an hour at a stretch, I still cannot sleep. It appears as though I am damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

So begrudgingly I called my OB, whom I adore, but had no interest in bringing into this mess because I was fearful that he would tell me to “try drinking warm milk” or something equally trite, and then I would feel as though I’d been slapped in the face, once I’d finally admitted that I had a problem to someone in the position to help me.

He didn’t suggest warm milk, thankfully, but he did inform me that so long as I continue to breastfeed, I cannot take anything stronger than Benedryl.

Despite my non-crunchiness, and because of my stubborn masochism, it’s likely that I will continue to breastfeed, personal discomfort be damned, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR MY SON.

I just try to comfort myself on all of those long nights, that no matter what he now believes, he will NOT be seeking comfort in my funbags when he’s in Junior High. I have to draw the line somewhere, right?

It’s A Man’s, Man’s World

Dear Rabbi Shmuley,

I am currently breastfeeding my three month old son. I hate it passionately, but I realized that somewhere along the lines, if I could give him what is best for him (and it is, have no doubt), I would do so. For a finite time. As parents who willingly brought a child into the world, we are not allowed to behave as selfishly as we might want to do, which is simply put, part of being a parent, like it or not. Had we not been prepared to put our children’s needs before our own, at least most of the time, we would have either prevented the pregnancy or terminated it.

There is nothing in the world I love more than my children, except for my husband. I might even go out on a limb here to mention that I do actually love him more. Unlike my children, I was allowed to choose exactly who he is before I committed to him. Maintaining my marriage is an extremely high priority for me, as I am aware that my children may or may not remember some instance in which I messed up in one way or another as their mother, my husband will. In 20-odd years, my children will likely abandon me for their wives regardless of what I do, whereas my husband (let’s hope) will not.

I’ve been lucky enough to have children with two different men (OOOOOOOO!! And one was not my husband!!! OOOOOOOO!) who were both very interested in watching our children born. As I am totally aware, having seen any number of births, it’s a messy process, and it is not for everyone. Which is why I would never have requested/required that either man watch it. Both chose to do so, and neither experienced any diminished sexual interest in me. In fact, I would venture to guess that both of these men were aware that this is what the vagina was designed for and were able to separate the birthing vagina from the sexual vagina.

Normal mothers do not breastfeed for the sexual feelings, nor do they deliberately use their children as a shield to not engage in sexual behavior and if they do either of these things, there are significant other issues that require addressing. I actually like sex. New mothers and fathers are likely to avoid sexual intercourse not because breastfeeding can get in the way of it (unsure how, but this is a point you make), but because they are simply too tired to enjoy it. Personally, as someone who was at one point getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night in 15 minute increments, a 20 minute nap was far more appealing than a roll in the sack. Plus, as someone who ripped hole-to-hole with my first born, my privates were a bit tender for longer than the six week recovery I had expected.

Let’s be clear with one thing here, Rabbi, my body is property of no one else. Perhaps they didn’t teach you that at Rabbi school, but here in WASP country, we women are not property of our men or our children. We occasionally share our body with others, but this is our prerogative when and where we do so. My breasts and vagina are mine to use as I see fit and not how someone else would like. I can choose to breastfeed and I can choose to have sex. I can even do both (altho not at the same time; that’s sick), when I want to.

I have mentioned choices over and over again here, and that is what this boils down to: a choice. I can choose to put my relationship with my children above and beyond my relationship with my husband or I can choose not to. While breastfeeding or in other ways. And I refuse to apologize to anyone about my choices to do what comes most naturally to my body and the choices I make regarding who and what can use it when.

Respectfully yours,
Aunt Becky

P.S. I really liked your show until I realized how antiquated you are.