I mentioned earlier that I will no longer write about my baby’s poop – for the sake of my baby’s mental health.
Well, I found that bowl movement of other individuals is worthy of a discussion.
For one, there is a mom I know who claims that her baby daughter squirted her poop into a fan. I am tempted to believe her, although this one is too good to be true. Something tells me it’s an urban legend.
Our family went out for a Mexican dinner the other day. The combination of salsa and tequila gives my husband indigestion. So after the dinner he was prostrated on the bed, and by the bed I was nursing my baby. Then my husband farted. My baby dropped my boob and began crying.
You think it’s funny! But think of it from her point of view: nursing is her most important activity, and the only way she knows to get sustenance. And then, all of a sudden her milk supply appears to be polluted!
So I switched the breasts and we continued nursing.
I don’t know too many people who go to bed at 10 pm. I know one parent couple, but unfortunately they live a half an hour away, which is like another planet right now.
Following an advise of my doula, I joined a new mothers support group. So now I can talk about my baby as much as my heart desires as long as I don’t boast too much.
I’m keeping my eyes open for other young mothers in the neighborhood, and there are some. Unfortunately, I have standards. For instance, last week I went out for a cup of coffee with a friend of mine. He actually gets out of his way to visit me once a week. I suspect his mother suggested he would do something like that.
So we were sitting in a coffee shop. Two other mothers were a table over to the right. One of them had a six-year-old, another – a baby.
“How old is you baby,” – I decided to strike a conversation.
“Nine month,” — She said. She was happy to know that mine is nearly the same age. But then she added: “I’m learning so much from her.”
That was unfortunate because I’m making a list of things I want mine to unlearn.
A couple of days ago we were driving to Target to get some baby products. I am becoming a fan of Target, BTW. When I was pregnant, I tried out all sorts of venues, but at the end bought the best maternity wear from Target and Old Navy. Both stores rock when it comes to cute and inexpensive baby wear. Plus they have jumbo packs of diapers and baby wipes at Target.
We were listening to IPod on the way to Target, and the above-referenced song came up.
What Rolling Stones meant to do is to expose the hypocrisy of your average respected middle class suburban adults – a dreaded demographic. Kids, you see, are not the only ones getting high. Some feminists would add a line about the mundane of married life. After all, a self-respecting feminist would not marry unless any vow to spend the rest of her life with one man would mean anything more then sharing their twilight years.
Regardless, when I heard Mother’s Little Helper I thought: Wow! How did they do it in the 50s? Women had five kids, and yet were expected to keep the house clean and have a dinner ready when husband returns from work.
My 10-week-old overwhelms me completely. I’m tiered when I get up, I’m dizzy after I feed her; I struggle to find time to walk with her and play with her. Last week I decided that she’s now old enough to read to her, and so I started reading my books aloud. This way I get some *time for myself*. When my husband comes home from work, I *let him* put her to bed and cook dinner for me.
Granted, child-raring expectations were different in the 50s. No experts advised mother to strap the baby to herself and carry her at all times. Pediatricians weren’t in the business of telling women to sleep with their babies, allowing them to nurse any time they wake up. This way a 50s housewife avoided nurturing her newborn into a sleeping problem that would later need to be redressed. Still, we are talking about the Dr. Spoke era, so mothering was already sufficiently child-centered.
Granted, cooking was less intensive as well. If 50s were the era of mass-produced canned food, today’s parents buy organic cook chichi.
Still 50s mothers ran households without servants. Now a middle class urb- or suburbanite can get a grateful foreigner with an expired visa. Supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants is a viable option to alleviate guilt. It can make one popular with other moms. Unfortunately, once househelp will get all amnestied, she will probably quit working in a demanding new parent household.
The real story of Mother’s Little Helper is not how widespread the pills were, but how limited was their use.
When we first heard that everybody would have a parenting advice for us we thought that old wives will voice their wacky opinions at will. We would then disregard their opinions and turn to medical professionals and psychologists instead. But no, every pediatrician and every shrink has his or her own pet theory and calls everyone else a so-called expert.
One of the wackiest and most popular theories is Attachment Parenting. Attachment parenting Bible is The Baby Book. The cover of my copy boasts half a million copies sold. The book was recommended to me, and I bought it although I should have known better – The Birth Book by the same author pair was to the left of Lamaze. Dr. Sears, the lead author, appeared on multiple TV shows, which is not surprising considering how outrageous he is. Dr. Sears teaches new parents to sleep with their children and to “wear” their children. He also advises to pad coffee tables – G-d forbids your crawling offspring bumps into it and cries.
On the subject of sleeping with babies Dr. Sears admits that there is no literature that supports his thesis that sleeping with babies is good for them. He actually admits that all studies show that it’s bad. Never mind – Dr. Sears feels that one day a study will come out to vindicate him. He actually conducted his own mini-study with the parents of his patients who admitted sleeping with their newborn. They were all happy with their decision to “share sleep”. Now, I admit, I had brought my baby in bed with me even though I realized that it’s not a good thing. But I was exhausted, and I’m not perfect, and I have to forgive myself. I’m not getting self-righteous on account of bad decisions.
Dr. Sears, on the other hand says that only in our culture sharing bed with children is not appropriate. It’s all great considering that we live in our culture. And yes, in the Middle Ages for instance, a peasant family slept together. They also brought a cow, and a sheep, and perhaps a chicken to bed with them. And it was before central heating.
What about the kids getting so used to sleeping with their parents that they are unable to leave the “family bed” and establish healthy sleeping patterns. Only Dr. Sears doesn’t mention the words “healthy sleeping patterns”. He tells us not to worry – one day the kid will mature and be ready to leave. In the meantime, parents might feel uncomfortable with intimacy in presence of their toddlers. In this case Dr. Sears advises parents to look for another place to have sex. Uh, what the hell, a grown up can act like a teenager without all this middle life crisis nonsense.
Then there is the issue of baby wearing. Apparently if a parent doesn’t wear the baby they will fail to attach. So generations of people brought up in the Western world, generations that created the most creative, dynamic, humanistic culture weren’t properly attached to their parents. Thus their parents failed to bring them up properly.
I find strollers and carriages comfortable, but no, forget that we have paved roads around here. Like hunter-gatherers we need to put our babies in sacks and break our backs carrying them around. Probably because like the noble savages we should make our sons warriors.
Baby carriers didn’t work out for me. The ones that go over one shoulder are not ergonomically correct. I bought a Baby-Bjorn style carrier and found it impossible to use. Putting baby’s limbs in right compartments is very very difficult. I basically have to break their safety rules in order to be able to fit her in. I’m uncomfortable carrying that much weight, and she is uncomfortable because I inevitably put her in uncomfortable positions. In addition the carrier pushes the diaper close to her skin, resulting in an unpleasant sensation the second she wets her diaper.
Supposedly there are some newer carriers that go over both shoulders but keep baby sideways. Still the weight is not distributed evenly in this kind of carrier.
I figure if I tickle my daughter, and sing to her and dance holding her in my arms, we will bond.
Mothering is a one giant heartbreak. When my daughter was born we had to feed her every two hours. I say we because although I was the one doing the nursing – naturally! – my husband had to wake me up and change the diaper. She had to be fed every two hours for about a week before she started gaining weight.
One day my husband woke him up and I asked him what time it was.
“Six,” — said he.
“How come you are up?” – I asked thinking it was six am.
When I relate this story to friends and neighbors they inevitably recall a similar experience – in their partying days.
Anyhow, that first week me and my husband were talking about how easy it will be once we would only need to feed her every three hours, or every four hours. And once she sleeps through the night – piece of cake!
As it happens she has been sleeping through the night – for about a month now. I didn’t want to admit it to myself though. Not because I’m one of those crazy women who sleeps with her baby and lets it nurse every half an hour because she wants to make it hard for herself. I was kind of hoping that my daughter would pick different hours to sleep. Instead of sleeping through her early a.m. feeding she sleeps through the late p.m. She once slept through the early a.m., but I believe it was a fluke.
She also doesn’t like to fall asleep too early. In fact a pattern had emerged. She falls asleep 8 p.m. sharp. (On one occasion we managed to get her to sleep at 7:30, but she was up again at… 8 p.m.) Then she wakes up sometime between 2:30 and 4:00 am sleeping for up to eight hours. After that she wakes up again between 5a.m. and 7 a.m. Her first morning nap is between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Naturally everyone has an advice. My aunt suggested waking her up at 10 pm. My doula said to not do anything drastic and try to gradually push her feeding and sleeping time to the desired hour. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work.
Given that this is not a behavioral issue I don’t want to press anything. If my daughter’s biorhythms tell her to sleep at certain hours, then she will sleep these hours.
Mothering is a one giant heartbreak. I hear it’s a one giant continuous heartbreak.
My daughter is mustering new skills every day. About a week ago she learned to scream without dropping her pacifier. Today she pulled her pacifier with her left hand.
Speaking of pacifiers, I was taking a shower the other day (a rare treat these days!) when I realized that the single most agonizingly difficult decision in my life was whether or not to give her a pacifier. The second most agonizingly difficult decision was when to give it to her.
On one hand there was this legitimate worry that while pacifier will save my nipple from the nipping monster who likes to suck for comfort, it might result in a whole host of physical and psychological problems. On the other hand I was jealous: what if my firstborn will prefer the rubber to my tit?
It all seemed to work out well. My daughter latched on perfectly, and she knows when a real thing tickles her lip. All too well, unfortunately, because she spits out (and now pulls out) the pacifier if she feels like crying her lungs out.
My mom drives me crazy. I somehow believe that my grandmother had more sense.
For instance, me, my daughter and my mom were sitting on our patio, enjoying the day. A squirrel hopped along our fence. I’m not a big fan of squirrels, I actually find them rather annoying, but that’s about it. My mom freaked out that the squirrel would somehow hurt my kid who was sleeping peacefully in her super-safe car seat.
“She (the squirrel – ed) was hopping atop the fence, but then she stopped and stared at the baby!”
I tried to talk some sense into my mom: “She stares at me too, she’s a dumb animal. But there is no known specie of carnivorous squirrels.”
My mom probably felt cornered because she said: “What if she missteps and falls into the car seat?”
If you think that my mom is crazy, consider her brother. He was ones driving down the freeway with his daughter and her kids following a minute or two behind. He saw an eagle sitting on the tree by the freeway. I guess that eagle was particularly sinister looking because he found it necessary to call my cousin and warn her about the eagle.
My uncle gives out a false aura of rationality in everyday life… On the other hand, he’s not completely lost because he now realizes that he must had irritated my cousin tremendously.
My daughter is growing and becoming more and more complex every day.
Every morning I come to her bassinette and wonder at how much larger she seems. I had to teach myself to recalculate my every move because her body is bigger and heavier each time I pick her up, and if I don’t recalculate every move, I might hurt her.
When she was born, my mother marveled at her very feminine sigh – practically the only sound she produced when she wasn’t screaming her lungs off. No worry, in a weak or two she discovered a new sound, and dropped her little sigh. That sound was an old man’s grunt. She stuck with that one for a while. Her repertoire is much larger now, and she no longer does neither the sight nor the grunt. Her favorite is a pirate’s ARRRRR!
She talks to us with her many sounds. I’m sure she’s full of bright ideas. She’ll be so much fun ones she starts talking!
She’s becoming a social being, which consists of her wanting to hang out and resisting sleep. She gets herself overtired, and she exhausts her mom who now has to carry her around constantly and tickle her silly. Putting her to bed for some well-deserved sleep is not an option.
According to Consumer Reports all diapers are now good. That couldn’t possibly be true, and it’s not. The one brand I found the best is Pampers. I tried out several different kinds.
- Long’s Drugstore – they have a name for their diapers that I can’t recall. They are pretty good absorbency-wise, but very stiff and leave red marks in tender little skin.
- Huggies –absorbent and softer then Long’s, but still leave marks;
- Cabbage Leave – Actually they are called 7th Generation. Those are the diapers that you buy in Whole Paycheck. At the first glance they are not overpriced, though, same price per diaper as Pampers. However, they are the least absorbent of all brands I tried. Because I had to change the diaper much more often, they, in fact, are more expensive then competitors. They claim superiority over other diaper brands via eliminating chlorine. According to them chlorine causes diaper rash. All other sources I consulted site excrement as a source of diaper rash. In any case, my daughter doesn’t get the rash ever since I started using Petroleum Jelly on her buttocks. I suppose an absence of a chemical can’t hurt, but I don’t want to be a chump either. Cabbage Leave has another advantage: When other diapers feature cartoon characters widely recognizable to a person who grew up in this country, but unknown to this particular mom, Cabbage Leave is tasteful beige. Really, diaper fashion is more important to mommy then to newborn. Not to mention that your everage newborn doesn’t watch Sesame Street. At least I hope she doesn’t. Since Cabbage Leave doesn’t feature any corporate characters, the company doesn’t pay licensing fees. Unfortunately they are too cool to pass the savings to the consumer.
4. Pampers – the most annoying in appearance, but the softest and the most absorbent.
Shortly before I had my daughter, I posted about a late pregnancy nightmare of mine.
I suppose I was too pregnant to really make anything of the dream.
This dream is set in three locations: Israel, a hipster hangout, UC Berkeley. They appear in reverse chronological order of what was important to me. In other words, I’m going back in time.
Dream starts in Israel, the homeland, where I am visiting with immediate female relatives. I am dreaming about my roots, feminine nature and continuation of our bloodline. Key event in this part of the dream is my family loosing our largest suitcase. At this point our largest suitcase is my uterus – at least if we are to believe Dr. Freud. There are many places where leaving your luggage unattended is not recommended. Any airport would do. Any place in Israel would do. One of my mom’s girlfriends, now an Israeli, told us of her adventures rushing to retrieve her purse in a park before police would get to it and destroy it. An Israeli airport is doubly precarious. Anyhow, equally significant is the fact that I was chasing our largest suitcase down the escalator. Down the birth canal? Giving birth is dangerous both for myself and everyone around me, and it has to be stopped.
Curiously, much of the action in this dream is taking place on the stairs, escalators and elevators. Again, the birth canal. The second act is near Mama’s Royal Café. It’s a popular breakfast place, but I found the food gross, and never frequented there. If it popped up in my dream, it’s because you know – royal mama. I’m seating at the bottom of the steps and breastfeeding. I.e. I gave birth and am now a mother. It’s working out. I’m bonding with the baby; I am in public, although near the café not inside of it. Still the baby doesn’t seem to intrude on my lifestyle too much.
But wait! I have a class, and I go even further back in time (and further away from my current home). I listen to a typical Berkeley lecture, and Berkeley is not a place where the faculty is likely to tell girls importance of motherhood in woman’s life. The class, by the way, is an undergraduate lecture. I found my undergraduate experience meaningful.
I leave after class oblivious about leaving my large bag behind. I’m relived that I don’t need to carry anything, i.e. there is no pregnancy, no burden. BTW in Russian pregnancy literally means “burdened”.
After leaving the building I remember about my baby. I left it upstairs, i.e. it never leaves the uterus, and I have to take the elevator (up the birth canal) to retrieve it. Curiously negotiation might have been in issue in my baby’s death. As I stood between floors and waiting for elevator talking to a person who always finds the middle ground my baby lied in her plastic bag suffocating. In other words, time is coming for me to give birth; if I don’t the baby will suffocate in the uterus.
Equally interesting is the later dream I mentioned in the beginning of my post. That one wasn’t a nightmare. Ségolène Royal, a mother of four, won French elections with a healthy margin. Remember Mama’s Royal Café? In other words, motherhood wins.