Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Horror Show

I’m not really sure when I started hating the holidays with a vengeance. I know it got worse after I became a parent. There are so many things we do to make the magic of the season come alive for our children. We kill ourselves trying to make them believe that there really is magic in the world. This year I’ve somehow either got the hang of things or decided I can only do what I can do and that will have to be enough.
Thing 1 is 10 and still believes in Santa. I know that this phase is going to be over soon so I have tried extra hard to give him one more year of magic. First there is the elf. His name is Mark and he is a little jerk. I have to move that thing EVERY NIGHT. And I’m not going to lie so far I’ve forgotten twice. The thing is, he’s really high up on a plant shelf and after the kids go to bed I have to wait for at least an hour to make sure they don’t come creeping out of their rooms for more water, or a scary dream, or they just don’t want to go to bed mom. Because if they come out and I’m standing on a stool to move the damn elf I’m going to be SO busted. The problem is I’m freaking exhausted. I love my children and I’d do anything for them but my chair is really comfy and as I have waited the requisite hour I have fallen asleep too many times. Most of the time I wake up at 3, hide the damn elf, and shuffle off to my comfy bed. Twice I’ve just forgotten. The first time I had to tell Thing 1 that the elf just really liked that spot. He gave me a questioning look so I knew I had to be more vigilant. So the elf stayed on that shelf doing other things for a few days. Just to drive home the point that he really liked it there. This morning I was woken up by Thing 1 as I was still asleep in my chair in the living room. The elf had not moved again and I saw the magic glow in his eyes dim. Now I think I have concocted a story about why Mark didn’t move. I’m going to feed my child an outright lie, because that is what we do as parents trying to keep the magic alive, and say Santa called me because Mark didn’t come home last night. I’m going to explain that Mark’s last report said that Thing 1 was being naughty by staying up past bedtime watching YouTube videos on his tablet he snuck out of the living room unbeknownst to his mother. Then I’m going to tell him that Santa and I think Mark fell asleep before he could leave because he was watching to make sure Tommy didn’t sneak the tablet again. This should work. I think it’s believable but what do I know? I just want to see the magic light shine brightly in his eyes again.
Then there is Santa. He’s a good guy but he screws me out of the cool gift every year. I started a tradition of him only wrapping his gifts in Santa themed wrapping paper. Was that a stupid move? Yes. Have I continued to make that move? Yes. So now I have special wrapping paper stashed at my office so my snoopy children don’t go looking for proof Santa isn’t real. It’s exhausting. Thing 2 no longer believes and his mother confirmed for him that Santa wasn’t real. This happened last year and I WAS PISSED. First, there are tactful ways of saying they might be right, but second he was not following the cardinal rule of keeping it to himself. When Thing 1 asked if Santa was real my response was “sometimes it’s not about how real something is, it’s about the magic it lets you see” then I asked his thoughts. Shockingly he told me he thought Santa, The Easter Bunny, and Tooth fairy were real. All the other characters were made up. In other words, he believes in the ones that bring him cool stuff. I say, fair enough. I created these monsters so I shall continue to make them kick ass in his mind. Thing 2 doesn’t believe but I made it very clear to him that if you don’t believe in Santa he doesn’t bring you presents. After that I got a lot of very enthusiastic belief out of Thing 2. I am not above threats and if he ruins his brother’s belief’s I’m going to follow through on the no gift policy. He’ll still get gifts from us but nothing in his stocking. It will be really sad for him but he has to learn that part of knowing the truth about Santa is keeping it to himself and letting others still feel the magic.
I am also the Gift Buyer in Chief. Meaning my husband and I discuss the gifts but most often I have the task of actually making the gifts appear, wrapped under the tree. This can be exhausting especially when all my children ask for are video games, which I’ve vowed never to purchase again, and other electronic stuff that I’m not going to get them. Then we have to go “off book” and find things they will like without crushing their Christmas dreams. I will say that we are very honest with our children about the “no video game” policy. They know we aren’t going to buy them the games but they also have grandparents and other parents that might be willing. That’s fine with me as long as they don’t have the expectation. This year they wanted the Spy Gear LCD Walkie Talkies. My mother tried to find them for under $98 and was unsuccessful. She got them something else so I casually put them on my Amazon Wish list. I knew I wasn’t willing to pay $98 for walkie talkies but I thought I’d keep it on the back burner. Eventually the Amazon gods were with me and the price dropped to a still outrageous but within our budget price of $65 and I snagged them. So now I’m down to Legos for the stockings and Christmas Eve Pajamas and we are good to go.

Normally I’m a ball of nerves this time of year that presents in the form of fits of tears over something minuscule but this year I feel oddly calm. I’m smiling at people at the grocery stores and trying not to get overly stressed about things I cannot change. I’m happy that we are still part of the magic that is Christmas. I’m happy that my husband will be home for an astonishing 11 days. I’m happy my children are going to have their Christmas wishes come true and I’m happy to be alive. We are in the final countdown, just 8 days until the culmination of excitement. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why I freed my nipple

I loved breast feeding my children. I know that a lot of women love it but what I don’t understand is the arguments for and against certain types of breastfeeding. “Free the nipple” or “cover that sexualized part of the body while letting a squirming child clamp on to a very sensitive area” are just strange arguments to me. Personally, do what you gotta do mama. I just tried to make it through each feeding with a happy full baby belly at the end. Isn’t that the only real point to feeding babies?
I personally tried to use a nursing cover with my second child. It made my husband more comfortable and until we got really good at nursing it made me more comfortable too. I was just like every other mom trying to feed their child. I have a story of my struggle and I think it might help some understand why each woman’s choice is hers alone and passing judgement only makes you part of the problem.

When my youngest son was about 6 weeks old he started having some trouble. It appeared to be colic but turned out to be acid reflux. He cried pretty much any time he was awake for about 2 weeks. I was so tired and my nerves were shot. Not only was I healing from a Cesarean section but I was figuring out how to mother a baby again, my older children were 8 and 9 at this point so it was like riding a bike with a bent wheel because this crying gig was something I’d never had to deal with before. After several doctor’s visits and switching to a new doctor we started acid reflux medication hoping to god that it worked (which it did! Yay us!). A few days into the medication my husband and I thought it was a great time to take our children to the hot air “night glow” event.

It was probably about 80 degrees as we set off on a journey to see the glowing balloons. We had to walk about 1.5 miles and because the baby was dealing with tummy issues he was having none of that stroller crap. He wanted to be held, by me, like right NOW! I was sweating like a pig and trying to keep up when the baby decided he was hungry. I was prepared for this because at 6 weeks he was only hungry about every 5 seconds. I had my cute nursing cover in place with a baby latched on as I walked with my family to the event. As we got closer to the crowd my son’s anxiety began to ramp up. He wasn’t used to crowds of thousands of people (gee I wonder why) so all he wanted to do was nurse, for 2 hours straight. I was a living breathing pacifier.

I hate being hot. I keep my house at a balmy 68 degrees in the summer to make sure I don’t kill my family out of crazy heat induced rage. I was not only wearing pants and a t-shirt, but I also had basically a jacket over me to cover the baby and my boob so as not to make those around me uncomfortable. But the hotter I got the less of a fuck I gave. I was becoming a crazy heat induced ball of rage and I was losing my shit. So I looked at my husband and mustered every ounce of calm as I explained that the cover was coming off and he was going to have to be ok with that. He could see that I was hot and bitchy and it wasn’t helping the baby attached to my boob so he was smart enough to hold the cover for me before I tore it to shreds. There I was in a crowd of thousands with my boob, complete with baby nipple cover, exposed for the world to see and I didn’t care one bit. In fact, if someone had told me to put my boob away I probably would have decked them because I was finally feeling air movement and the ball of rage was evaporating.

I was free. I was not trying to stage a nurse in and make other people uncomfortable I was just trying not to die of heat stroke. My husband watched for pervs which was his one and only reason he preferred me to use a cover but like I said, all I was worried about was fresh air. By this time the glowing balloons were out for the evening and we were headed home. I walked down a main street in town with a baby latched on to my nipple for dear life and no one said a word. I’m sure some people were uncomfortable but I didn’t care. We were doing the best we could and that was all that mattered. After that day I decided I wasn’t going to subject myself to that experience again. I hung up my covers and never used them again because that was what worked for me.

The moral of the story is this: each mother has her own limits and no one should judge her for those. I tried using a cover until I just couldn’t take it anymore. Some women are fine without a cover from day one and others prefer the cover at all times. Why not come together as humans and try to support mothers and their choices without passing judgement. We are all just trying to raise small humans to be good big humans someday.  If you want to judge, please do it silently, because nursing mothers are riding a wave of hormones that make them unpredictable and I could see a jury acquitting a nursing mother of homicide.. just saying.