Tag Archives: parenting

Life Settling

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Its been sixteen days since I cried and for someone who knows me, that would sounds unusual.  After Malcolm suddenly stopped nursing right before he turned ten months old, I think that finally broke me. In my last blog I tried to convey the feelings of rejection and despair I felt, trying to pacify an infant that seemed to now hate everything.  He resisted every other means of hydration, and continues to get virtually all his hydration from baby purees.

I decided to start taking an anti-depression/anxiety medication to see if it could help me manage my days better and I think it has.  Although I feel more even-keeled, it also feels like I’m more two-dimensional.  Lately I don’t really miss the three-dimensional depth of feeling, as it was mostly negative.  I don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of being on medication, but I plan to stop as soon as things even out around here.

We had a good week.  Nothing seemed too overwhelming and I think we have adjusted to the new normal around here, as well as Malcolm’s new feeding pattern.  He still does not get any formula or breast milk, but I plan to try and get him some home-made formula in small quantities when he’ll tolerate it.  He eats constantly, so I just try to keep up with it and try not to let him get constipated.  My milk supply is now gone and I feel the familiar tug in my gut that aches for the connection he and I had, but its like I can’t access that part of myself fully anymore.  Crying was always so cathartic for me, but for now I suppose it will have to wait until life settles.

 

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Nursing Strike

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Its hard to sum up what has unfolded the past week since Malcolm began a nursing strike.  I’m not in the mood to detail the whole situation, as I am exhausted in more ways than I thought possible, and I’d like to go to bed. In short, Malcolm hasn’t nursed in five days and does not take a bottle, drink from a sippy cup, and resists open cup feeding and syringe feeding.  The only hydration he gets is from watered down purees and the occasional forced teaspoon syringe feeding.  He’s not sick.  He is just going through something that I hope will pass and happens to some kids around his age.

Its difficult to describe how I’m feeling in words.  Anxious. Devastated.  I never thought I’d feel “devastated” by something like this, but its like I’m looking at my baby through a glass window and watching him scream and cry and I can’t help him.  Except there’s no glass.  He is in my arms and still crying.  And he wants nothing to do with me.

I spend all day trying to give him some solid food, but terrified of constipating him. Trying to give him watered down purees but it doesn’t seem to be enough.  I feel like most things Eric and I have done since he was born for hasn’t quite been enough, and that has been difficult by itself.  One of the only things he liked was nursing.  I’m considering seeing a doctor about anti-anxiety medication, or something that can help me manage better.  After ten months, this has finally broken me.  

He’s too little to wean yet, and at the very least his hydration is minimal. I feel devastated not only because of his rejection of me, but that was our quiet, bonding time.  No screaming, no carrying around a 20 lb baby until my back ached.  Just quiet time to be together and I would know his tummy was full.  And now I don’t know.  Our pediatrician is keeping close tabs for the next few days, but we are all just waiting to see if he will change his mind and start nursing again.  Meanwhile, my milk supply is drastically reduced and I don’t know how much longer it will keep up.  

The past few days I feel like I’m unraveling. Like my insides are being twisted and wrenched every time Malcolm looks at me and screams, like he needs something I’m withholding.  Its the worst feeling.Image

 

Happy Thanksgiving

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When you are child-free, its easy to pass judgement on other parents.  I remember looking at a kid’s behavior and thinking that my child would NEVER get away with so much,  Of course, I would have close to flawless discipline and my child would be punished swiftly and consistently.  Now that I have a toddler, it is much more complicated than that and I try and judge other parents as infrequently as possible.

Another layer of know-it-all-ness is when you read book about child-rearing or sleep training or whatever, and decide you know how babies work.  Then you have a baby.  And BAM!!  Humbled once again.  When Vi was born, she was a terrible napper for about a year.  Regardless of whatever methods we used (and I resorted to all methods), the problem corrected itself around her first birthday.  But we were pros at nighttime sleep training and we preached the Ferber method whenever we could, praising Vi’s nighttime sleep which was decent.

And then Malcolm was born.  He screamed for two months straight, got better, then decided to have a major sleep regression for the past month or so.  He has been going to bed awake most nights and putting himself to sleep with minimal crying for awhile which I thought was a good omen.  But he is back to continual waking throughout the night and will not go back to sleep without nursing.  So we thought, “hey! its time to bring out the big guns!”  We thought we would try and space out the feedings over a period of time.  Minimum four hours between feedings, no exceptions.  After two straight hours of Malcolm crying at 2am, I don’t know who was in worse shape–him or me (or Eric).  Well, humbled once again.  But this nursing 3-4 times per night is not sustainable and needless to say, we are a little frustrated.  And I don’t think I have the courage to listen to more than an hour of crying, maximum.  I’m not sure what makes him more pissed off–trying to comfort him or leaving him to cry alone.

And another thing.  I’m so OVER the whole baby thing.  Not just the experience, but TALKING and ANALYZING and just plain GUESSING WHY? WHY? WHHYYYYYY??  Teeth?  Growth spurt? Hunger? And secretly: “Do I just suck as a parent?”  It seems silly when I type it out, but isn’t that really why it feels like your heart is being ripped out when your child won’t stop crying?  Or won’t sleep?  Or breaking out in an angry red rash all over their face that the doc can’t make sense of (that’s this week’s debacle)?  Joe Schmo’s kid can sleep, then why can’t mine?  Even typing things like “sleep regression” makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little because I’m just over it.  Because I know in my heart that there isn’t a “right” way to parent.  Kids just aren’t textbooks.  They’re people.  And people suck sometimes.  Ha ha.

I have nothing to offer besides this vent of mine, but its real and its all I’ve got right now.  Ok, there are a few major things I can hang my hat on:  I have two (more or less) healthy, beautiful children.  I have an amazing husband.  And I’m thankful for things like vasectomies.  Thank you modern health innovations.  And Happy Thanksgiving!

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It Takes a Village

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I just wrote a post about how I’m frustrated that the baby sleeps at night, but can’t nap without screaming as if she’s being tortured.  Then the post got deleted, and she just fell asleep for a nap with only 40 minutes of blood curdling screams.  And that makes my day for some reason!  Its one for me, I guess.  But somehow I feel like I don’t really win anything…except 35 minutes of blog writing quiet.  I’ll take it.

I was chatting with a friend recently about how long the post-partum depression window is open.  If your baby is over 1 year, is it just plain old depression?  When Viola was first born, I was on the lookout for post-partum depression since I am susceptible to some low level depression in general.  Surprisingly, none came.  In fact, I was more grounded in my current purpose in life which was very surprising.  What I have encountered lately is that the last couple of weeks have been the closest thing to depression I have experienced since Viola was born, and I think it makes more sense.  I have been a food source for a whole year, the sole caretaker for Vi since she has been born, and since my husband and my families are far away, we have had little help from the outside world.  I began daydreaming about a part-time job on nights and weekends just to do something ELSE for awhile.

Another friend of mine was very wise in saying that the phrase “It takes a Village” goes deeper than just a friendly acknowledgement that parenting is hard.  She cleverly pointed out that before our “modern” society developed, we were all closer together in villages or towns, just a hut/house away from our family, if not in the same home altogether.  A nap wasn’t something I would need to covet all day long–I would have many hands to take the baby and tell me to “Go!  Just go! She’ll be fine!!”  Instead, we have obsessive and exhausted moms wondering “why oh why can’t I do this”?  Its because we weren’t meant to do it alone.  That’s comforting, and somewhat depressing since we have supposedly evolved to  a more sophisticated way of living.  Personally, I think the shattering of Community Living destroys so much of what we were made to do, and tests what we weren’t meant to endure.

I don’t offer a solution to this, just an encouraging word to moms/dads/caregivers everywhere who feel inadequate.  The truth is, YES its true.  We are inadequate, and that’s why it takes a village.  If you’re getting through each day with minimal bloodshed, pat yourself on the back!  You’ve done the work of an entire community.

This post is dedicated to my lovely mom friend, Andrea!

Mind your own business

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I was getting my oil changed at Sears yesterday and a man buying a car battery took interest in the adorable little girl I was holding. There was a bit of a culture and language barrier but he seemed to be genuinely interested in learning how many children I had. It went something like this:

“Just one.”
“How many will you have?”
“Just one. Maybe two.”
“Why don’t you want more children?”
“I like my husband. I like having time to spend with him.”

And then he proceeds to share his infinite wisdom with me, the ignorant and young first time mom. …with statements like…

“You lose some of your love for your husband and give it to your children. That’s just how it is.”

Disagree. The family dynamic changes but I think its even more vital to love your husband and feed your marriage after kids enter the picture. How else can you be a good parent if your marriage suffers?  Its tougher, but its not an even exchange.

“When you’re young and you want to go out and party…”

He thought I was some sort of party animal lamenting the loss of my freedom.
And then the most blatent statement:

“Wanting more time with your husband is a bad reason not to have more kids.”

Thank you complete stranger.  Maybe you could do me a favor and carry around my babies for me while they develop inside your body, then push them out your nethers(slowly and painfully) since you feel its your job to encourage the growth of my family on your terms.  Just sayin’.

Again, I do think he meant well.  I’m irritated because he essentially said, “You’re just selfish” in a nice, fatherly way.  I think certain couples are built to handle several children–they are made for it and it shows. Each family has to make those decisions based on their temperament, needs, finances, whatever.  Each family is different.  And sometimes, we don’t have the control over those “surprise” babies, but we have some.  Planning a family takes some consideration.  I hear things like, “When are you having another baby?” sound as casual as “When are you picking up a gallon of milk from the grocery store?”

Who else has some thoughts or experience on this?