Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sleep Resentment

Ryder's getting better at sleeping. He's even managing one long stretch of about 5 hours each night. Unfortunately, he still prefers to stay up late and sleep in, much like his father. My sweet partner-in-crime is a SAHD. He's also a night person. Mornings, according to him, shouldn't arrive before noon.

The way Ryder's schedule is set up at this point, he doesn't fall asleep for the night until midnight, sometimes later. He wakes me up sometime between 4-6am. He'll nurse and then I shake Daddy awake and hand Ryder off for burping and a diaper change before going back to sleep. If the baby wakes up in the earlier part of the morning, he's sure to want to eat again before I go to work. I'll kiss both my men goodbye and hit the road while they hit the sack, sleeping in until noon or even later.

Is it wrong to be resentful of my wonderful babydaddy's extra sleep? Probably. But with my limited amount of rest I can't summon up the strength to be magnanimous. Nope, what I want instead is the freedom to go to bed at 8pm a few nights a week. Unfortunately this isn't realistic. But a girl can dream, can't she?

I can't complain (but I will) since I'm well taken care of at home. Jaime cooks dinner most every night in addition to doing laundry. My mister is one damn fine househubby. If only there was some magic potion I could quaff that would leave me feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated! Instead I'm waking up tired, crabby and with what may be permanent bags under my eyes.

Then I look at my beautiful child and I smile through the exhaustion. He is gorgeous, pure and innocent. His sleepy smiles in the wee hours capture my heart. And so I pour a cup of coffee, just one. I am nursing, after all. Babies grow fast. I can do this. In a month it'll be better. In three more months it will be much better (I hope). One day I'll look back and remember how tired I was but that thought will quickly be replaced by memories of how small Ryder was at 2 months and 3 months old. I'll smile at the memory of how in the early morning he'd be so sleepy and pliable, his tiny, warm body molding to my curves as he nursed. These thoughts sustain me, keep me optimistic and hopeful. Sleep will come, in time.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Our First Austin Fire Department Event

Over the weekend, our little family had its first Austin Fire Department event. No, Jaime wasn't burning his resume in a "screw The Man" fit of rebellion. Nope, Ryder hasn't started walking yet so the knobs on our gas stove are still safely off when we're not actively using the burners. And nuh uh, I did not succumb to a fit of hysterics and barricade myself into the bathroom screaming "I won't come out until someone promises me I can have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep!". Although I admit to thinking about that one.

No, we did the ultimate of awesome parenting: we locked the keys and our sleeping son in the car while at a gas station. Yup. Locked our baby in the car. In Texas. In summer. Technically it's not summer yet but when temps are hitting the high 80's/low 90's it's close enough to call it summer. And so we had Ryder, asleep in his car seat, and the keys dangling from the ignition.

I learned that when you call Pop-a-Lock they will dispatch the nearest technician, who will drop whatever they're doing and come to your location. They also call the fire department. Whomever gets there first opens the car.

As we waited, listening for sirens, I circled the car several times, fighting the urge to break a window. I knew Ryder wasn't in danger. He was asleep, not crying. The car was parked in the shade and it was early, so the temperature was mild. These rational thoughts were swirling through my head just as quickly as the irrational emotion was churning up inside me. The best way I can describe it is a burning, raw lava flow inside me. It pulsed hotly in time with the thoughts "you have to get to him" and "you can't get in there". It was most definitely primal and if Jaime hadn't been there to calm me I probably would've given in and smashed a window.

A very nice locksmith happened to pull into the gas station just as AFD arrived. He offered to open the car for free. AFD deferred to "the professional" and watched him use two inflatable car door wedges and then reached in with a long tool and hit the power locks button. They compared notes, since AFD uses a blood pressure cuff (now they'll use two). Pop-a-Lock came and went, seeing as we had plenty of people surrounding our car.

Ryder was still sleeping when I yanked open the back door and leaned in, kissing him and checking his body temp. He was fine, of course. A firefighter checked the indoor temp and asked if I wanted her to give Ryder a once over. I declined, he was fine. We'd been joking with the firefighters about my blood pressure and feeling hysterical so they kindly offered to check me out as well. I declined but thanked them. Once the door was unlocked my agitation subsided.

Nominate us for Parents of the Year but know this, we won't be locking our keys in the car again. Lesson learned. Keys go in pockets or palm as soon as you turn off the engine.

Breastfeeding Lies I've Been Told

I've always been a strong proponent of breastfeeding. Heck, for over 9 years I've been a member of a group of women who's sole purpose in forming was to offer breastfeeding advice and support to each other---and I was the only one who'd never lactated. That's a story in itself but here we are, close to 10 years later and I've finally fulfilled our nickname of "lactating loopies". For the record, the Loopies have never steered me wrong, never uttered untruths about breastfeeding and never painted a rosy picture over a landscape that should include lots of browns, greys and black. Here are a few of breastfeeding myths and lies that others have told me:

Breastfeeding is the easiest way to feed your baby.

Uhh, no it isn't. There isn't anything easy about it in the beginning, when you're trying to squish something the consistency of an ultrathick milkshake out of your nipples. And there's nothing easy about helping your baby learn to latch on correctly. When you have a newborn screaming the "I'M STARVING" cry and you're having to pop him off the boob and back on again there is simply nothing easy about it. And you can't leave him latched on wrong or the pain hits...oh yeah, the pain. Think of what it would feel like if someone froze your nipple, then pinched it as hard as possible. When your nip is compressed completely into an unnatural shape, they let go and the painful sensation turns from frostbite ouchie into needle stabbing sharpness.

So...let's just be honest and say it is much easier to feed your child from a bottle, be it breastmilk or formula. And I'll follow that by saying that although it is harder than bottle feeding I believe that the skin-to-skin contact elevates the mother-baby bond to a much higher level. If you can't or won't breastfeed I suggest taking off your top and the baby's onesie and feeding with bare skin. Call me crazy, but there's something very comforting for both mom and child when you utilize skin-to-skin contact. Just try it, if you haven't already.

Breastfeeding is more convenient.

I've been told that breastfeeding is more convenient because I don't have to worry about carting around bottles and expressed breastmilk or formula. There's plenty of inconveniences such as when you're out running errands and the baby wants to nurse but you aren't anywhere close to home. If you don't have some nifty nursing shirt or wrap that allows you to modestly feed your baby then you have to deal with the pervy stares and outright glares of uptight people. I've already fed Ryder in several parking lots...I use a receiving blanket to cover us but he doesn't like having a meal under the covers. When we're over at a friend's house it isn't every friend who's comfortable with me whipping out a boob nor is it convenient to ask to use a private room to feed Ryder.

Breastfeeding will help you lose weight.

Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day, that's true, but helping you to lose weight? No. What happens if you were to engage in an activity that would burn an equivalent amount of calories, say running? You get hungry. Uh huh. You want to eat. This is not conducive to weight loss. Breastfeeding makes me hungry. All the breastfeeding books tell you that you need to concentrate on good nutrition. Seriously, you finally get away from feeling like a ground walking whale but can't diet. Exercise, yes. Dieting, no. Healthful eating yes. Restricting calories below 2600/day, no. And whaddya know, the number one change that has happened in my body since I started nursing is craving carbs. Crave 'em! I want them with an intensity on par with a junkie needing a fix. I salivate over the thought of sweetly yeasty buttered dinner rolls, sinfully dark and moist chocolate cake with rich, thick fudge icing, a pile of mashed potatoes with a little flecks of potato skin here and there, topped with peppered country-style white gravy....I could go on and on revealing my carb porn dreams.

Now you know the truth, that there are some myths being bandied about by well meaning folks. Or maybe I have it all wrong and there are women to whom breastfeeding is easy peasy and they never have a moment's trouble. I'm still advocating for breastfeeding if at all possible. I'm happy that Ryder prefers me to a bottle even when he's indulged in cluster feeding and has drained me dry but is still insistent on more, more, more. And I'm not opposed to formula. Ryder started off being supplemented with formula and still is, albeit a very small amount compared to breastmilk. So please, La Leche Leaguers, no hate mail or nasty comments. I know breast is best.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Nothing More Adorable

Absolutely nothing is more adorable than baby feet. These are Ryder's one month old toes. I kiss them often.

House of Night

I've been indulging in guilty pleasure reading again, this time with a teen vamp series. The House of Night books tell the story of Zoey, an average high school student until she's "marked" as a fledgling vampire and sent off to a vamp finishing school. The story lines have been interesting but there's a few things that annoy me:
  • I solve the mystery before the end of the book. That means I'm reading along wondering when the imaginary characters are going to catch up with what I already know. I hope this is simply immature plot development and that the writers, a mother/daughter duo, will become more skilled as time goes by. I'm only on the third book in the series so I'm hopeful this is the case. I had the same opinion of my favorite pleasure-read author, Laurell K. Hamilton, who has grown light years as a writer from her earliest books.
  • I loathe the use of the term "brown pop" for a dark colored soda. The authors, P. C. & Kristin Cast don't hesitate to use brand names such as Doritos or Starbucks but they can't seem to make themselves write "Coke", "Pepsi" or "Barq's". Seriously ladies, cut it the hell out. It sounds stupid. I googled, to make sure I wasn't hating on some regional colloquialism but no, "brown pop" isn't one.
  • U-we-tsi-a-ge-ya. The Cherokee word for daughter. After the first time you explain that "u-we-tsi-a-ge-ya" is the Cherokee word for daughter, there isn't a need to keep explaining. Each time Zoey's grandmother visits or is on the phone you use the term AND the explanation at least twice. Trust me, we've got it by now. Define it once per book and be done with it. I realize you're writing for teens but even they have a memory.

To be fair, here's a few things I love:

  • The mark. What a nifty idea! When a teen who carries the vamp gene enters into the period of time where he develops into a vamp (or dies, read the books, you'll understand), he is marked by a crescent shaped tattoo. When a fledgling finishes vampire puberty and enters adulthood, that tattoo is filled in and more decoration is added, such as Celtic symbols or other intricate designs. This is so much more exciting than just being an extraordinarily beautiful vampire.
  • Teens being teens. The authors don't sugarcoat teenagers. They portray them as they are: nice, bitchy, thoughtful, catty, scatterbrained, horny, shopaholics and more.
  • Diversity. There's gay fledglings. Can you imagine coming out to your parents as a gay vampire?

Don't take my word for Gospel, go out and pick up a copy of the first book, Marked, and read it. Let me know what you think. If nothing else, it's better than watching mediocre television.