Tuesday, December 2, 2014

If Toddlers Wrote Haikus

A bowl of pasta
Must wash my hair with the sauce

Mommy's new iPhone
Sinks in the potty water
Mommy shouts bad words

In my open mouth
Doggie's crunchy brown kibble
Mommy's finger gags

My sister's long hair
I yank and pull big handfuls
She cries, I giggle

MINE I say and hit
MINE no one is listening
MINE I shout louder

Spoons are not for me
I will eat only with hands
Spoons will be thrown down

I find the markers
The wall is a blank canvas
Permanent artwork

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Poopacalypse of 2014

A text I sent my husband today
His reply
Today, I survived the Great Poopacalypse of 2014.

My three year old girl has been struggling with constipation off and on for months now, probably since early Spring.  If anything, it shows me that one character trait this girl has is steadfast determination. She simply will not poop. She will hold it and hold and hold it. Her 'tell' is holding up the seat of her pants. When she start tugging up those pants, I know she needs to go and is fighting it.

"I can tell you need to go potty."
"No I don't, I am just holding up my pants so they don't fall down."

"It is time to sit on the potty. There is poop in there that needs to come out."
"No there is not. My poopy is in Reese's tummy. It hasn't come home to my tummy yet. It's just not in there."

"You need to try to go to the potty."
"Well, I am your Mommy and sometimes your body talks to me. It is telling me you need to go."
"No IT isn't!"

"You are getting on this potty. Right. Now." (as I struggle to sit her on the potty and her body goes straight as a board)
"You're tight-ing me up! Let me go! I gotta get out of this place! You are squriming me!"

"Sit on the potty and I will count to ten and we will see if anything comes out."
"I want to count onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten. Noth-thing! Noth-thing!"

"Come on, you are sitting on the potty."
"I I I I I I CAAAAAANNNNN'TTTT!" ( Have you seen Frozen? I blame this one on Elsa.)

"Your job today is to poop. OK? It is a very important job. It is healthy and we want you to be healthy and strong."
"Please stop talking to me. Don't talk about poop anymore."

It goes on and on. Wednesday night I was at my wits end. She was miserable. She gets so mean and irritable and I don't blame her. I would be too. I got desperate and gave her the dreaded "bum medicine" aka glycerin suppository. This took an hour. An hour of begging, pleading, negotiating...from me. I was willing to give her anything. I was armed with the iPad cued up to YouTube, my phone, toe nail polish...promises of Safe-T-Pops, ice cream with M&M's on top, anything she would want.  It was terrible. She cried until she was hoarse.  I was finally able to do it with my husband's assistance. I wanted to cry too. It was horrible and she was mad at me. The kicker, it didn't work.  This isn't the first time this has happened. From talking to the pediatrician's office I knew what we had to do. Clean her out so she starts at zero and it isn't hard for her to go again.  So the next day she got loaded up with Miralax. She didn't go.  She should have been re-enacting the bathroom scene from Dumb and Dumber at this point, but she didn't go.

Today was the Thanksgiving lunch at her school. I was fortunate enough to attend. I get there and she is on the playground, pacing around in circles, tugging at her pants. I looked at her teacher and she shook her head no. We sat down to eat and she could barely sit in her chair. She kept getting up, tugging her pants up, and saying she wanted to go home. I decided to take her home with me. I could tell she was miserable.  I got her home and into a Pull Up.  I tried to get her to take a nap but she was too squirmy and uncomfortable, but still insisted that she didn't need to go.  I left her in her bed hoping she would sleep. Eventually she came running down the hall saying "Something is HAPPENING!" Praise the Lord, the girl pooped. It was a big one. I changed her into a new Pull Up. I knew this was just the beginning.  Twenty minutes later she waddles into my room. "Mommy I poopied AGAIN!" Have you seen a Pull Up reach it's critical threshold of capacity? The side panels were peeling apart as she moved. There was stuff oozing out of it. Solid stuff was on her ankles,  more coming out as she walked.


I put the one year old into the bath tub where I knew he would be contained. Poop falls on to the ground as she waddles in. She doesn't realize the extent that it is all over her. She looks like she just ran a mud run.  "DO NOT MOVE." She moves of course. I am trying to wipe her legs up and it is on her dress. I get the dress off which smears it up her back. The baby is trying to stand up in the tub - in his socks - so I am wiping her with one hand and trying to grab the baby and make him sit down with the other.  Luckily I had a Target bag stashed under the sink and threw the wipes and the remains of the Pull Up in it. I gave up trying to not get poop on me. It was pointless. I went through a package of wipes. I got her wiped up as much as I can and a new Pull Up on her just in case, and tell her to stay in the bathroom, she is taking a bath.  Now she feels like a new girl, alive, free, full of energy! She runs out of the bathroom before I can catch her and she is jumping on my bed. The baby is now standing in the tub again, and you guessed it, he is loading his diaper. I give up on worrying about fecal matter on my bed. I grab the boy, take off his diaper get him cleaned up, and start the bath.  I manage to corral her and get them both in the tub.  This whole scenario took place in a span of about ten minutes, I was impressed with my speediness.

This evening, I surveyed the aftermath of the Great Poopacalypse of 2014.  Two bathmats, my duvet cover, a blanket that was on the floor of the baby's room (she must have gone in there before she found me), her clothes, and my clothes are all in the process of being washed. The carpet in the bedroom is dotted with pieces of toilet paper to indicate where I sprayed carpet cleaner. I weighed the bag that held the Pull Up - one and a half pounds! I am astonished that it was that much. My poor girl.  I am so relieved that she finally went. 

I feel like I earned a Mommy poop survival merit badge today. I am sure there will be many more badges to add to my collection in days to come. In the meantime, I am going to eat MY ice cream with M&M's on top. I deserve it after the past few days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Help Wanted: Professional Pick Up Person

If I had money to throw away,  I wouldn't hire a personal trainer or a chef. This would be the want ad that I would post.

Help Wanted

Mother of two looking for full-time Professional Pick Up Person (PPUP).  This person's responsibilities would include:

Picking up any and all items dropped and/or tossed on the floors, that should not be dropped or tossed on the floors, throughout my home.  This includes, but is not limited to:

Grooming: comb / brush / ponytail holders / hair bows / de-tangling spray / toothbrushes / toothpaste

Mealtimes: cups / utensils / plates / bibs / napkins / food / shoes / socks

After Day Care: jackets / hats / shoes / socks / shirt / pants / artwork / daily activity sheets

Bath Time: rinse cups / wet washcloths / shampoo / soap / water-logged toys

Diaper Changing/Potty Time: underwear / socks / shoes / diapers(clean and dirty) / diaper cream / lotion / wipes(clean and dirty) / shirt / pants


Must be able to stand for long periods of time. Requires frequent bending.  Must be able to withstand the volume/attitude/mood swings of a three year old and tolerate repetitive singing, yelling, and questions.  Injury while on the job is possible from items thrown by one year old (He has a good arm). Must be willing to travel on occasion to preform duties at off-site functions such as play dates and family holiday gatherings.

On the job training is provided. Excellent opportunity for college aged individual who is interested in working with children. Benefits include lukewarm meals, first-hand knowledge of three year old potty habits, and learning all of the lyrics and nuances of the Frozen soundtrack.

If money was no object, who would you hire? Maid, chef, chauffeur?  The PPUP is at the top of my list, however I would also love to have someone to put away the laundry. I don't mind doing the laundry, it is putting it away that I don't like.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Random Act of Kindness

NaBloPoMo prompt for the day: Tell us about one time you benefited from the kindness of strangers.

 I don't have a life changing story to tell, just a little incident in a parking lot.

I had a stranger help me at the grocery store last year. I had my four month old son strapped my chest in his carrier, my 2 year old daughter in the seat of the cart, and a heavy cart load of groceries. I was preparing to load the groceries in the trunk of the car and the cart started to roll away from me. A very friendly woman saw me struggling to hold the cart in place and keep the 2 year old from climbing out. She came up to me smiling and said. "Let me hold that for you. I get it, I have been there too!"  She held the cart for me while I got the kids situated in their car seats. I thanked her profusely and loaded the groceries in my trunk.

It was such a little thing, and took two minutes out of her day, but it helped me so much.  It made me feel like I wasn't alone on the island of motherhood that I sometimes feel like I inhabit. That little acknowledgment that she had been there too, felt so validating.  My always inquisitive daughter asked "Who was that?" and "Why did that lady hold our cart?"  It led to a conversation about being kind and helping others.  She continued to ask about that lady for some time.

I am grateful that the kind stranger held my cart, that she unknowingly gave me a needed mental boost, a exposed my daughter to random acts of kindness.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy "Birth" Day to My Sister

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, one of my sisters gave birth to her second baby, her second sweet baby boy. I spoke with her briefly tonight and she sounded fried...happy, in love, in awe of the little face, running out of adrenaline, and deep fried tired.  I think of how tired a mama is after that labor of love, when your body is pushed to the limits of joy, fear, anticipation and excitement.  You have done this birthing thing before, but you hold that little baby burrito in your arms and wonder how it is possible that the baby is outside of you and now you are responsible for that little life.  You worry about the child at home and how they will adjust, how you will adjust to being a mom of two. How will you divide your time? How will you have enough love to pass around?  You already forget so many things about having a newborn, even though you just did this two short years ago. It is overwhelming.

It is hard being states away. It is hard knowing my other sisters and my mom get to spend the day with her and hold that sweet baby. I want her to know that I am there with her in spirit and in love and I am willing sleep to come her way tonight, even for a few short hours.

Welcome to the world Declan. We love you already and can't wait to meet you next week!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

When Kids Get Sick

Sometimes, you have good intentions, and life just gets in the way. I have fallen off the post something every day wagon for NaBloPoMo.  First it was computer issues, then a sick kid.

Priorities, right? 

On the topic of sick kids...kids are so damn resilient when they are sick. I want a scientific study done to find out at what age a person loses that capability. It has always amazed me.  For example, last night, my three year old daughter doesn't want to eat dinner, says she is tired, and wants to read a story.  This isn't completely abnormal behavior for her. She is usually a good eater, but I figured, we all have days when we aren't that hungry. I let her lay on the couch while we finish dinner. She doesn't say one thing about her stomach aching, or not feeling good. My husband reads her a story and at the conclusion of the story, she stands up, coughs, and then the flood gates open. Vomit everywhere. The one year old sees it happening, takes the pacifier out of his mouth and exclaims "UH OH! UH OH!"  Ya got that right, buddy, uh oh.  After the initial tears from the shock of throwing up, she calmed down right away. She was totally content the rest of the night laying on the beach towel covered couch, watching Super Why and chatting away. If I throw up, it is OVER.  I can not stand throwing up. I would be in bed, miserable, sipping Sprite and nibbling saltines (ok, at least that is what I would have done pre-kids).  If it was my husband, forget about it...we all know how men get when they are sick.

So let's talk about the boys.  Last month my son had the croup. He took his course of steroids and by day 2 the couch sounded better. A week later he still had a residual cough and developed a fever one day. I thought, eh, maybe he has a cold. He was acting totally fine. We had family pictures taken the next morning. Does this look like a sick kid? He was happy the entire time.
The next day, the kids were scheduled for their flu shots. I talked to the doctor about what had been going on. Turns out, he had PNEUMONIA!  We spent our morning getting a chest x-ray. It blew my mind. He was acting 100% normal, just a lingering cough.  So at what age do men lose that resiliency and revert to being a "baby" when sick?  Inquiring minds want to know. (I really just dated myself with that reference, didn't I?)

I am happy to report that it was a one and done vomit occurrence for the girl. All surfaces have been wiped down in the house and doorknobs/handles/light switches disinfected.  Now I am just playing the dreaded waiting game to see if anyone else falls victim...ugh.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Single Me

One day last week, my husband decided "I think today is the day." He was going to order his new car. He has been waiting for this moment for seven long years. I have been listening to him talk about selecting a new car for seven. long. years.  That evening I received a text message. It was a picture of the invoice for the car with the message:  "It is done. Thank you for being understanding! I love you!" My reaction? I wanted to cry. Not because I was happy, not because I was excited for him (I actually am excited for him), but because his new car means I have to get rid of my old car.

I purchased my blue Honda Civic in 2003. I paid her off 5 years later. It was the first big purchase I made on my own, no co-signer, no parental assistance, it was all me. She was with me when my boyfriend and I broke up. She carried my belongings and my broken heart to my new single girl apartment. She and I spent my single girl weekends driving to the library, to Blockbuster, the mall, and picking up take out at Wolfman Pizza and Taipei South.  Statistically, the Honda Civic was the most stolen car in the city. I actually had nightmares that she was stolen from my apartment building's parking lot.  She was my companion on countless road trips to and from Ohio to visit my family.  I would crank up the radio, roll down the windows and sing the Indigo Girls and the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" as loud as I could.  I was in that car (after driving eight hours through the night to be the maid of honor at my best friend's wedding) when I realized I left my bridesmaid dress back in North Carolina.  I nervously checked my hair and make up in her rear view mirror before my first date with my husband.  We have been together for over 150,000 miles.

Most days, I don't even think about the blue car sitting in the garage. She only gets out and about when we realize she hasn't been driven in six months. She is just collecting dust and acquiring that old car smell.  Getting the text that confirmed we needed to get rid of her made me so sad. I sent my best friend a message saying that I irrationally wanted to cry about the situation. She told me it was understandable. It wasn't irrational, it was a piece of my history. That car was single Katie. It is the last thing I have that was mine, all mine, before I was a wife, before I was a mom.  I don't want to trade my life now for what it was back then. My life now is so much more fulfilling, and tiring, and harder, and happy all at the same.  It's hard...it is just hard to say goodbye to that little piece of my history, of my identity. I became a wife, a mother, but I was single adult me for longer than I have been either of those things.

The next day my best friend asked me if I was feeling better, and I was, I am. I am still sad, but not crying about it sad.  I would describe the feeling as wistful.  I am not sure what we will be doing with my car. I still have a month or so to make peace with letting go before the new car arrives.  I just know that it will be a bittersweet day when it happens.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Change a One Year Old's Diaper in 35 Easy Steps

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: Write a "how to" post about anything you've got skills for, small or large.

A Step by Step Guide to Changing a One Year Old's Diaper:

1. Catch baby after chasing him around the couch.
2. Lift baby so his bum is in front of your face.
3. Conduct whiff test to confirm, yes, he pooped.
4. Carry squirming baby to the changing area.
5. Place baby on his back on the changing table.
6. Commence taking off baby's pants as he tries to roll over.
7. Place baby on his back on the changing table, again.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7
9. Repeat steps 6 and 7
10. Open changing table drawer.
12. Remove clean diaper from drawer.
11. Quickly scan the drawer's contents to find an object to distract the child. (Fingernail clippers, thermometer, diaper cream, lotion, medicine dropper etc.)
12. Hand child the $45.00 temporal thermometer. It beeps. He will like it.
13. Remove child's pants.
14.  Undo tabs of diaper.
15. Assess the size of the poop and mentally calculate the required ratio of wipes to poop.
16. Grab needed wipes from dispenser.
17. Begin wiping baby while he tries to roll over.
18. Get poop on your hand.
19. Grab more wipes, try to quickly wipe poop from your hand.
20. Grab more wipes to remove the poop that is now on baby's heel.
21. Hear the thud as the temporal thermometer hits the ground.
22. Roll up the offensive diaper with one hand, while the other hand holds the baby's feet.
23.  Give the baby the wipes box to play with.
24. Slide the new diaper under the baby and bring baby's legs down.
25. Fasten tabs of new diaper as he tries to roll over.
26. Hear the thud of the wipes box as it hits the ground.
27. The diaper is now securely on the baby.  It is crooked, but on the baby.
28. Commence putting each of the baby's kicking legs into his pants.
29. Baby has now kicked the pants off.
29. Repeat steps 28 and 29.
30. Give up on the pants and carry pants-free baby into the bathroom, while trying not to touch him with your poop hand.
31. Wash baby's poop foot in the sink.
32. Set him down on the floor.
33. Wash your poop hands.
34. Notice your baby's eyebrows are turning red as he is making "the face".
35. Start over, beginning at step 2.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why it is Awesome to be the Second Child: A Letter to my Son

Dear Sweet Boy,

This picture, right here, exists to prove to you that it is awesome to be a second child. You are at the top of the slide of a bounce house. You climbed up the stairs all by yourself, and with a little coaxing, you slid down, and then you wanted to do it again.  You are sixteen months old. Do you want to know what your sister was doing when she was sixteen months old?  She was probably sitting in the baby swing at the park. I never in my wildest imagination would have taken her to an indoor bounce house. NEVER. I would have dismissed the idea as if someone had suggested I let her run around with scissors at shooting range.  You, you lucky boy, are the little brother, the second child.

You have already tried ketchup. As a matter of fact, you ate it tonight on your chicken.  Your sister was denied that luxury until she was almost two years old. You are more skilled with a spoon than your sister was at sixteen months, because we gave it to you earlier. You take a bath in the big tub.  Your sister was still bathing in the little blue whale tub at this age.  There is no room to splash in that thing! You have so much more fun during bath time than she did.  You have your own personal comedienne. You think your sister is the funniest thing on the planet. Imagine if you just had me and Daddy to make your laugh? Bor-ing! Being a second child means there is a plethora of toys to play with and books to read whenever you want (OK, whenever your sister is nice and shares).  You know what, you get to play with my phone and the remote control more often than she EVER did. Isn't it fun pushing all of those buttons on the remote and talking to Siri?

I am a second child and so is your Daddy. I know it can be hard to be little when your older sibling gets to do things that you can't do.  I can sympathize with all of the "not fair" things you will experience. I will help you through those times.  I want you to know that my love for you is just as big as it is for your sister.  I want you to keep sliding down bounce house slides.  I won't wrap you in first-timer-parent bubble wrap, I know you won't break. I am braver now. I will give you opportunities to be brave too, to fall down, and get back up.

You will be OK, and I will be too.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cruises? Not for Me

NaBloPoMo Prompt: Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

My in-laws are the king and queen of cruises. They can tell you which ships to take, who has the best food, the best casinos and the best excursions. They cruise over to Europe and fly back and vice versa. They give such an enthusiastic pitch for taking a cruise, that they seriously should get paid by the cruise line. Even after hearing their stories of the places cruises have allowed them to see, I just don't get the appeal.

1. In my defense, I get sea sick. I would need to be on Dramamine the entire time, which would mean I would be sleeping the trip away.

2.  The thought of not being able to see any land kind of freaks me out.

3. Rogue waves. Google it.

4. Mystery cruise illnesses. It happens all of the time. 

5. Mingling. I am not a mingler, and don't do well with small talk. I would rather eat in my room than sit a table with strangers and engage in forced chit chat.

The only cruise I would slightly consider taking, is the New Kids On The Block cruise. Have you heard of this?  You and hundreds of other thirty-something suburban moms go on a cruise with the NKOTB boys. Joe McIntrye was my number one crush during the New Kids' boy band reign.  I have attended two NKOTB concerts as an adult and it was ridiculously fun.  I would don the motion sickness bands and down my Dramamine to hang with those Boston boys.  

Ok, so I probably wouldn't.

I will go on a cruise right now. I will spin around so I feel motion sick, drink something fruity, turn on 'Hangin' Tough' (now it's the NKOTB cruise!), and throw a cup of water in my face to simulate the rouge wave that is probably going to strike the ship. Surely that is the same experience, right?!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

Hey Peanut,

Tonight was a rough one. You have really been testing your limits lately. I know, it is really, really, really hard being three years old (you tell us this all the time). I know you have big emotions and don't know how to handle them.  You have been yelling, hitting things, and not following the rules. Daddy and I are having a tough time too.  This is the first time we have had a three year old.  We are trying to do our best, but are not sure if we are doing it the right way.  The consequence of not listening at night is to take your bedtime story away. Believe me, it hurts us just as much as it hurts you. I would have a much easier time taking away a toy, but to take away a book, ugh, I hate it. 

Tonight, when you were told no story, you ran into the corner, tears streaming down your red face. You turned around, eyes wide, hand on your chest and said through your tears "I can feel my heart beating.  My heart hurts because I'm upset." Oh Baby Girl, my heart hurt too.  It will always hurt when you are upset, even when you are a grown up. I wanted to give you that story back. It is so hard not to give in when you are crying, pleading for your story time, apologizing through your tears, saying between sobs that you are listening now.  I remind you that tomorrow is a new day, and we can try again tomorrow.

Tonight instead of reading a book we had a few minutes of cuddle time. You snuggled up against me in the dark and said in a voice still shaky with tears, "Tell me a story about when you were a little girl at the pool."  So I held you tight and told you about when I was finally brave enough to jump off of the high dive, and how the walls of the bathroom were painted the same blue as the bottom of the pool.  Daddy carried you into your room and we tucked you in.

As I closed your gate I reminded myself, tomorrow is a new day. We can try again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Last Magic Christmas

Have you heard of NaBloPoMo? I hadn't either until a few days ago. It is a 30 day writing challenge to get you in the practice of writing. Prompts are provided as a guide if you choose to use them.  SOOO, here we go, I am going to try this thing out. Because I am a few days late in joining, I am going to use yesterday's prompt: Your favorite holiday memory

Remember the first time you realized there might not be a Santa Claus? Your older sibling, in the middle of an argument, blurts out that Santa isn't real, or you had that one friend at school that seemed older and wiser and she said matter-of-factly that he does not exist, because she found her presents tucked away behind some coats in a closet.  You got that little flutter of panic in your chest and a sick feeling in your stomach.  I was probably in the third or fourth grade when I stopped believing. I had my suspicions.  When Santa brought me a pair of roller skates, and forgot to cut off the tag inside the box that held the skates together, I knew the truth.

This is the story of my older sister's last "magic" Christmas.

She was nine or ten and teetering on the edge of not beleiving. I am sure having three younger sisters helped facilitate the desire to believe. Feeling like you know the biggest secret of them all, that Santa, the granter of wishes, the supreme being who you try and try and try to be good for all year long, might not really be real?!  Well, that is a big burden to bear for a nine year old girl.

It was Christmas Eve. She and I shared a room. We scrambled into our beds. Our red night gowns snapping with static as we wiggled under our sheets. Our hair was wrapped up in pink sponge curlers, and it was difficult to get comfortable on the pillow.  Add in the Christmas Eve excitement and sleep was almost impossible. The top of my bed was up against a window.  Under that window, the black roof of the family room downstairs jutted out into the back yard. In our room, the bottom half of the windows were covered with brown wooden shutters that folded back on hinges. I would lie down, tilt my head back and look up through the closed slats of those shutters, at the alternating lines of wood and purple night sky. That night, as I was looking up, trying to go to sleep, snowflakes started to fall. I happily closed my eyes, thinking that the snow would help Santa and his reindeer on their journey.

I am sure the Christmas morning routine in our house was very similar to yours. The kids wake up, one or more wakes up the parents. Mom and Dad go downstairs to "check everything out". Our Mom would turn on Christmas music, and turn on the lights on the tree.  We would perch eargerly on the top step of the stairs waiting for the OK to run down. Dad would be at the bottom of the stairs with a camera.

This paticular Christmas morning was different. I woke up, I looked outside to see how much it had snowed. And right there, on the roof under my window, in the freshly fallen snow, REINDEER TRACKS! REAL REINDEER TRACKS! My sister climbed onto my bed. Our breath fogged up the window as we pressed our noses against the cold glass in awe.  Santa had been to our house!  She knew it! She knew there was real a Santa. There was no other explantion for the tracks. She was relieved, so relieved. We rushed into our parents' room to tell them about our discovery.  It was even harder than normal to sit still as we sat on that top step, waiting for the OK sign to come downstairs. We had PROOF that Santa had come.

That Christmas, you could feel the magic.  I felt it, I can still feel it when I think about it. My sister can too. It was just enough magic to make my sister believe for one more year. That was her last magic Christmas. The tracks on the roof must have been from a squirrel or raccoon, but to us they were from real live reindeer. We didn't bother to count them, or take notice of their size, or look for marks from a sleigh.  My mom and dad both have commented on the magic that Christmas and how the timing was just perfect.

I imagine it is a sad milestone for a parent when their child no longer beleives. I am still several years from that experience.  I hope, man do I hope, that I can make that same kind of magic happen just once for my kids.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

5 Things I Miss About Breastfeeding

There are a lot of things I miss about nursing my babies, and several that I don't miss at all, but for the most part, I was fortunate enough to have a positive experience.  Here are five things that I have realized that I took for granted during that year that I nursed each of my kids.

1. The smell of their poop. I am not saying it smelled good, like make it into a Yankee Candle so your entire house smells like it good (I can see it now, a mustard gold candle named "Breastfed Baby"), but their poop did not smell offensive to me. My aunt always said it smells like buttered popcorn, and it kind of does.  It smells so much better than the real deal poops once solid food and cow's milk are introduced.

2. Baby breath. I loved the way my son's breath smelled. It smelled so sweet and good and 100% baby. I literally would sniff his little mouth.  Perhaps this was a mother's instinct thing, because my husband didn't understand what I was talking about.

3. Nail trimming. I would trim my babies' nails when they were nursing.  They were relaxed and milk drunk and happy.  They wouldn't even register what I was doing. Now the squirmy feet kick and the hands flail. Have you ever tried to cut an angry cat's claws?  It is like that.

4.  The excuse it gave me for an escape. Breastfeeding is the best reason to make your exit from an undesirable situation. Loud family gathering? Older kid having a melt down? Oh!  Sorry, the baby needs to be fed, excuse me while I go upstairs for a few minutes and play Candy Crush on my phone, um I mean, feed the baby.

5. My comfy nursing bra. I wore the soft cup, sports bra-like type that can give you that uni-boob look, and I didn't care. I wore that thing practically 24 hours a day, I slept in it long after the threat of leaky boobs that required nursing pads at night. Now that I am no longer nursing, I am back to underwire..ugh..underwire.

If you breastfed your baby, what do you miss?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Real Life" College Courses for Parents

May 1999: College Graduation with my Dad

In three months I will make my FINAL student loan payment, the FINAL payment! I graduated college in 1999. I majored in Geology, which is rather interesting, but does not apply one iota to my daily life.  I started thinking about the courses that would have prepared me for my life now, classes that would be worth paying off for fifteen years.  I am pretty sure you won't find any of these offered in a university catalog.

Culinary Arts:
One Handed Meal Prep I: Master the techniques of preparing a meal while balancing a child, 5lbs - 30lbs on one hip. This includes lid removal, package opening, beverage pouring, pasta draining and pancake flipping.

One Handed Meal Prep II: Building upon the skills learned in 101, we add a toddler clinging to your leg in addition to auditory distractions such as crying, whining, yelling, and barking dogs.

Stain Identification: What is it and how did it get there?

Under the Couch Cushion and Vehicle Seat Archeology: How to accurately piece together a historical timeline by examining the remains of Cheerios, Goldfish crackers and discarded sucker sticks.

The Reality of Paying for Childcare I: Learn how to pay for childcare and still put aside funds to allow you to get your hair cut and colored every six months.  Additionally, learn calming breathing techniques to employ as you make that weekly payment and/or review your monthly bank statement.

The Reality of Paying for Childcare II: This course is meant for those with more than one child in a daycare setting.  You will learn how to cope with making the equivalent of a second mortgage payment each month. We also teach manicure and pedicure techniques, as we are aware those enrolled in this course will never be able to afford a professional mani/pedi again.

Fine Art:
Artwork Identification: Is that an aardvark or a self-portrait? How to identify the subject of your child's latest masterpiece without hurting his or her feelings, and at the same time, displaying the correct enthusiastic reaction.

The Animal Kingdom and the Child's Mind: In this course we offer suggestions and creative techniques to answer questions such as: Where does a fish go potty? Do elephants laugh? What if a raccoon rings our doorbell?  and Where is (insert your pet's name) mommy right now?

Health and Wellness:
Foreign Object Identification vs. Child Orifice Size: We review commonly placed objects in the nostrils, ears, and mouths of children, what circumstances call for a home removal, and when to seek professional medical help.

The Character Band Aid: How one cartoon character printed adhesive bandage is a miracle cure-all for bruises, scrapes, bug bites, and boo boos that are invisible to the parent's naked eye.

Crisis Management:
How to Remain Calm When Your Child is Bleeding: This course also covers how to remain calm when you are the one that caused the injury.

The One Wipe Left: What happens when you are in the middle of changing a dirty diaper and there is only one wipe left in the package? Learn how to fold and refold one wipe to maximize its effectiveness.  You will also learn how to assess your surroundings to determine what other objects/materials in the vicinity can be used in place of a diaper wipe.

Conflict Resolution:
The Toddler Years I: "I want squares. No, I want triangles. I WANTED SQUAAAAARES!" How to deal with a toddler's extreme reactions to incorrectly cutting sandwiches, choosing the scratchy pants, denying snacks, parental singing aloud and general "You're doing it wrong!" scenarios.

The Toddler Years II: The Bedtime Routine. This advanced course meets as a support group where parents can offer suggestions, solutions, and sympathy. We discuss the complex challenges of potty time, bath time, teeth brushing, pajama selection, story selection, tucking into bed, and most importantly, remaining in bed.  All registrants must be at least 21 years of age due to many classes being held off site at local adult beverage establishments.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Vocabulary Lesson

Our daughter has always been chatty, and seriously has a better grasp of the English language than about fifty percent of the adults that I know. She asks us what things are called and what words mean. We offer explanations and watch the little wheels turn in her head.  She surprises us with what she remembers and her ability to use words in the appropriate context. One Saturday we went out to lunch and ran into her friend from daycare. The girls ran to each other and jumped around and hugged. On the way home our two year old informed us, “I saw Avery at Qdoba and we embraced!”  My husband and I looked at each other, smiled, and shook our heads in disbelief.

Around last Halloween, she started to really get into the princess thing. She was two years and a few months old.  We read Cinderella as her bedtime story for at least nine nights in a row.  She was (and still is) under the Disney princess spell. At that time, my husband did all of the reading at night because I had my hands full nursing my three month old at bedtime. He is a champ when it comes to reading to our kids. He points to each word, acknowledges the author and illustrator, and makes sure to talk about what is going on in the illustrations of the book. There is a picture in her book of Cinderella entering the ball, and in that picture, there is a chandelier. She asked what it was. My husband explained that a fancy light hanging from the ceiling is called a chandelier.  She locked that information away and started calling any hanging light a chandelier.

Halloween night arrived.  I got her dressed in her ducky costume and she was so excited to head out the door. My husband got the video camera out and started recording. It was getting dark, so he turned on the entryway light. I started asking a bunch of questions.

Me: “What day is it? What are you dressed up like?”
Her: “Halloween!! I’m a duck!!”
Me: “What are we going to do?”
Her: “Trick or treat!”
Her: pointing up to the glass light fixture hanging in the entryway: "What's that Daddy?"
He replies: "You know what that is, what is that?"
She says proudly: "A VAGINA!"

Weeeeell, maybe she doesn’t use her words correctly all of the time. The best part, of course, is that we have the whole exchange immortalized forever on video.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Things I Never Thought I Would Become as a Parent

1. Sick...all of the time
The first year that my daughter was in daycare she got sick a lot.  Everyone said "With all of those immunities she is building up, she will never miss a day of Kindergarten." (P.S. That isn't really reassuring when you are a first time mom and have a sick baby). I hope it really is true, but what about me?  My husband and I got every sniffle, every cough, and every stomach bug that she brought home. No one prepared me for the fact that WE would get sick. Someone in our house was sick, I swear, for 8 months straight. To top it off, I had to use all of my sick time as part of my maternity leave. It was so stressful!

2. Injured by my own baby
Have you ever taken a board book to the brow bone? It does not feel good.  Picture this: Cuddling in bed early one Saturday morning with your sweet baby. You are reading Goodnight Moon because it was still on your nightstand from the previous evening, and it is just so precious because baby wants to hold the book too. "Goodnight kittens, and goodnight mitt..."  Out of nowhere, that baby has Herculean strength and that chubby little hand slams the book into your eye.  You are temporarily blinded and try not to cry. The baby laughs.  I have also been the victim of head butts and razor sharp baby fingernails to the face. I will spare you the details of a biting incident that occurred while nursing my son when he was 9 months old and teething. Let's just say that it involved a lot of cursing, ice packs, and a trip to the lactation specialist.

4. Owner of a hole-filled wardrobe
I knew there would be spit-up stains. I didn't expect the holes. In ALL of my clothes. For the sake of this post, I surveyed my closet. I have 16 shirts hanging with holes in them. The holes are all in the same spot, where the button of my pants rubs my shirt. It has to be from carrying around a baby/toddler/pre-schooler in my arms. I am too stubborn (cheap?) to throw them all out.  I have also worn holes in the left knees of my two favorite pairs of jeans due to the constant up and down from the floor. I like to imagine that when someone sees me out in public they think "Oh, she must be in the middle of some home improvement project." That is what I look like, someone running out to Lowe's to buy more paint.

3. Fairy Tale editor
Here is just one example: Have you read the Pied Piper of Hamlin as an adult? It is should be narrated by Chris Hansen on an episode of "To Catch a Predator".  If you haven't read it lately, here is the gist: The Pied Piper gets cheated by a crooked town official. To get his revenge, he lures all of the town's children out of their homes with his hypnotic flute and STEALS them. He takes them away to a mountain and the town's people NEVER see their kids again.  I do not remember the mass kidnapping aspect of that story.  I thought he just rid the town of rats.  (Perhaps my parents omitted the end when it was read to me.)  When I read it to my daughter, the kids go on a hike and meet their parents at the mountain.

5. Just...gross
My personal hygiene standards have been lowered and I don't know how it happened.  Showering on BOTH days of the weekend is a thing of the past. It just doesn't take place. Do you want to know a way to spot a new mom? She is hairy. Check out her eyebrows, and her legs. Eyebrow maintenance gets put on the back burner. There are stray hairs growing where it used to be plucked clean.  Legs go unshaven in the summer longer than her former self would have ever let them, but she still wears shorts. I had an excuse when my son was a newborn, and I was insanely tired, but he is now one. Teeth brushing?  It still happens. Most days.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Do You Explain Beauty to a Three Year Old?

A few months before my daughter turned three, we were having one of THOSE mornings.  The kind that starts with this conversation as she is opening her eyes:

Her: "Is it a home day or a school day?"

Me: "It is a school day."

Her: "NOOOO, I want it to be a HOME day!"

This is followed by a dramatic flop back onto her pillow and covers pulled up over her head. I have heard people refer to their three year old as a "threenager". We have one of those.  I manage to drag her out of bed, and guide her into the bathroom.  In my hand are the clothes I have selected for her to wear, a pair of purple shorts and a pink shirt. She has worn this outfit a dozen times. We struggle to get the PJ's off, I coax her to sit on the potty. I get the shirt over her head. She looks down and cries:

"Not THAT shirt! That shirt doesn't make me beautiful!"

Ugh, that statement went right through me. I ask why she would say such a thing.  I climb on to my soapbox and launch into my speech. I tell her that clothes do not make you beautiful.  What makes you beautiful is how you treat people. If you are kind, and friendly and generous and funny and helpful, you will be beautiful. I tell her that the most beautiful thing she can wear each day is her smile. I tell her she would be beautiful if she was covered in mud. I explain that the prince chose Cinderella because she was so friendly and nice and she helped her animal friends. She is half listening, sniffling, tears on her cheeks, sitting against the bathtub, thumb in her mouth and snuggling with her favorite soft dog. She is only almost three years old.

Like all parents, I have a very long wish list for my daughter. A big one for me is that she grows up feeling confident about her looks and has a healthy body image. I don't want her to feel like she must wear make up to be pretty. I know there is no way to avoid the horrific pre-teen and teenager years, when she will think everything about her is wrong.  I want to build her up so much that when people do say things to make her doubt her beauty, those words will just make little dents in her armor. I am starting that project now. I don't say negative things about my body in front of the kids and I remind my husband to be cognizant of what he says about himself. I know, this may be a lofty wish, but I am determined to do what I can to make it happen.

Just before this shirt incident, I read a post by Lisa Bloom about how we speak to little girls. She talks about how often, to make conversation with girls, we immediately compliment them on their looks. We teach them that how they look is the first thing we notice. We don't ask about their interests, what they like to play, or what they like to read. We say "That is such a pretty dress." or "I like your hair." It really resonated with me. I have been guilty of that a million times. I am making a conscious effort not to say those things anymore.  My girl is only three and is already an amazing and interesting little person. Ask her a question about the books she likes and I guarantee she will surprise you with her answer.

How do you explain beauty to a three year old that is wrapped up in world of pink and Disney princesses? I sit down and pull her into my lap. I wipe the tears and I tell her that she is beautiful just the way she is, no matter what. I pray that what I say-what I will continue to say-will have a lasting effect. I pick her up and carry her back into her room.

We pick out a different shirt.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Twilight Bark

Do you remember the Twilight Bark from the movie 101 Dalmatians? The dogs bark to one another all across the city to talk to each other, gossip, and ask for help. My youngest sister and I gave birth to our sons on the same day, 5 hours and 456 miles apart.  These baby cousins started communicating in uetero.  They talked by means of a Morse code of pokes and kicks, about how warm and cozy they were in there and how they didn't want to leave.  They were both a week overdue.  We both had to be induced.

During the early weeks of the boys' lives, my sister and I texted each other in the middle of the night, a life line after dark. When the babies started sleeping more regularly, our late night/early morning texting stopped. We talked on the phone during the day, comparing notes.  The boys were at it again. If one slept through the night for four days, then on the fifth day was up from 1am-3am, the other had done the same thing.  We joked that they were talking behind our backs.

I thought of the Twilight Bark one night as I was lying on the floor of the baby's room. He had been up several times already.  I was determined that he would not wake again.  I did not dare get up until I knew he was in a deep sleep. So I shut my eyes, curled up under a blanket and attempted to relax. That didn't happen. My hips and neck ached from lying on the floor, my arm kept falling asleep, my mind would not turn off. I thought that there must be parents all over the world, maybe even down the street, that were doing the exact same thing at this moment. I thought of my sister. Was she lying on the floor at this very moment too? I imagined that our boys were communicating in some cosmic cousin way.

It was then that I recalled the Twilight Bark. Here was the scenario: my baby would cry out his message in North Carolina, setting off a chain reaction of babies crying all the way to Ohio, where my nephew would receive it. I thought this must work for parents too. We are stretched out on bedroom floors lying motionless, awkwardly sitting in rocking chairs at an angle because the baby stopped crying if you lean to the left, spooning a little one in a twin bed with your back against the bed rail. We are all awake, willing our children to sleep. So, I send out a silent message to my sister, "I am awake, are you awake too?" I imagine my message is received by the dad down the street that is pacing back and forth in his kitchen with his newborn daughter, and he passes it on to another parent keeping vigil in the night, and the chain continues.   My Twilight Bark message makes it all the way to Ohio, where my sister is awake, barely rocking in her glider, afraid to move, with my sleeping nephew curled against her.

Now, when I find myself on the floor of the nursery in the middle of the night, I think of the Twilight Bark and send a out a little silent message. It gives me comfort to think of the other parents and caregivers doing what I am doing, that my sister may be lying awake on the floor 456 miles away.  Try it sometime. It just might work for you too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014


The fabric of parenting is a dichotomy of constant love and constant fear,  woven together like an intricate lace that envelopes your heart, filling up your chest.  I expected the love.  I knew there would be fear.  I expected to be scared the first time the baby had a fever or fell down, face first on the tile, while learning to walk.  I did not anticipate just how closely love and fear are intertwined, and how the combination can steal your breath.

It is a random Monday morning. I am standing on the porch, blowing kisses as my husband backs out of the driveway to take the kids to daycare. Little hands in the backseat. The baby boy hand erratically waving to me. The preschooler hand catching my kisses and putting them on her heart. It fills me up with so much love that my throat tightens. I think, "My whole life is in that car," and the love/fear cocktail runs through me like a cold chill.  What if they get in an accident? What if I never see them again?   This jolt of the love/fear happens in a nanosecond, washes through my veins.  So I stay on the porch. I continue to blow kisses until they drive up the street.  I turn around, I shake it off, I grab a kiss from the air and put it on my heart.

I breathe again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Items to Make The Best 'Coming Home From The Hospital' Gift for Your Pregnant Friend

Forget the baby gear, here is a list of items that your friend will actually need and use when she comes home from the hospital.

1.  Hemorrhoid pads/cream. We all know how fun that pregnancy/delivery bonus can be.

2.  Extra long, 'overnighter' maxi pads. You know, the kind that make you feel like you are riding a saddle, except you are not on a horse, you are sitting on the couch in your black stretchy pants.

3.  Stool softener.  Your friend may think it is gross, but she will be kissing your feet after she realizes she needs it. The post-delivery poo is no joke. Do not under emphasize the importance of the stool softener.

4.  Lanolin. The "girls" will need some extra TLC. Instruct her to start applying before the baby is born, and to bring it to the hospital if she is breastfeeding.

5.  Ingredients to make chocolate chip cookie dough. Every pregnant lady misses the goodness that is raw cookie dough.

6.  Her favorite form of caffeine.  She may think she will be caffeine free, but she will break at some point. If she has gone 9 months without it, she will be ready for it.

7.  iTunes gift card. She can download new games to play or shows to watch on her phone during those late night feedings.

8.  A giant water cup with a lid and a handle. If she is breastfeeding, she will be thirsty. If she isn't, she can put wine in it.

9.  Ponytail holders to pull back her, going on day 3, unwashed hair.

10.  Gift card to her favorite pizza delivery place.  Don't be stingy, put enough money on there so she can use it more than one time. Cooking?  Who has time to cook?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Few Parenting Milestones

A Few Parenting Milestones:

You arrive at work and realize there is dried poo under your thumbnail. You realize you prepared your breakfast and lunch with that poo thumb.

Your child makes an embarrassing comment about your body in a public place. For example yelling  “MOMMY! YOU HAVE A BIG HUGE BUM!” as loud as possible in the library bathroom. My aunt recalls a dressing room incident when she was trying on a bathing suit and my cousin says with astonishment and a little disgust, “Mom! What HAPPENED to your BODY?!” 

Your child makes an embarrassing comment about a stranger’s body. For example: “Not him, the tough one.” Luckily for us, she says ‘tough’ (for now) when she means big or plump, so only we know she is insulting someone’s size.

You clean up vomit in a public place with every used tissue and crinkled up napkin in your purse, and you don’t dry heave or vomit yourself while doing so.

You stick your baby’s pacifier in your own mouth to clean it off because you are not near any water source to clean it. This also applies to sippy cups.

You are disgusted by the tacky, sticky film covering restaurant high chairs. Really, do they ever clean those things?

You plan road trip pit stops based on which gas stations/fast food restaurants have a changing table in the bathroom. (I am still shocked at how many places are lacking changing tables.)

You crawl/roll out of your sleeping child’s room with ninja-like stealth.

You cry when you knock over the 3 ounces of breast milk you just spent thirty minutes pumping.  You get angry when your husband doesn’t understand that it IS a big deal.

You are forced to make a split-second decision on naming anatomy during bath time. Example: The child stands up grabbing his penis and questions “Bum? Bum?”  You have two seconds to make the wiener/penis/whatever you are going to call it decision. You had no idea it would happen RIGHT NOW, so you shout out your answer like a contestant on The Family Feud, “PENIS!” but there is no one behind you yelling “Good answer! Good answer!” there is just a naked toddler staring at you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Everything is Better in 3D

When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2010, my husband had the itch to buy a new TV. Not just any new TV, a gigantic, high definition, flat screen TV, to replace what I already considered a gigantic flat screen TV. The extra special thing about this TV was it had 3D capabilities. That is right, you could watch television in the third dimension from the comfort of your own couch, because, EVERYONE needs to be able to do that, right? In his mind, the answer was absolutely.

My husband is not one to make an impulse purchase. He researched. He fact checked. He read message boards. He watched YouTube videos. He weighed the pros and cons of LED screens versus plasma screens.  He sprinkled in random tech facts into our conversations. It would go something like this:

Me:  "According to my book, the baby is now the size of an heirloom tomato. I don't even know what the difference is between an heirloom tomato and a tomato-tomato."

Him: "Did you know that the 3D glasses work by alternating the images your eyes see at an incredible rate of speed?"

As my belly grew, so did my list of things we needed to purchase to get ready for the baby. I had the lists from the pregnancy books, suggestions from friends and the weekly pregnancy emails I received.  Wouldn't you know it, not one list included a 3D TV. I humored him. I went to Best Buy with him, waddling straight to the bathroom, leaving him in the home theater room. I would find him in the dark room, his smiling face illuminated by the glow of the enormous screens.  One of the young sales guys would approach and start a conversation. My husband typically knew more about the TV than the employee and would stump the salesman with a question regarding pixel burn out or ambient light.  

As my pregnancy progressed, the more the TV talk started to exhaust me. I would roll my eyes every time he would exclaim, with a dramatic arm sweep in the space in front of me "Now, picture this in the third dimension!" By this time my hormones were taking control.  My internal conversations would go to extremes. "How could he be so selfish by wanting to get that TV at a time like this!?" to "Maybe he is freaking out over becoming a dad and needs this TV as a comfort thing."  

He wore me down. I was swollen, I was hungry, and sleep deprived. I just didn't care anymore. I said yes. He triple checked all of his facts and ordered his new baby. He recruited a friend to move the old giant beast of a TV upstairs. He hooked up the new TV giddy with excitement.  He moved the couch back a few inches to optimize the 3D viewing experience. We sat on the couch, turned off the lights, turned on our 3D glasses, and watched tropical fish jump off of the screen and swim directly at our faces.  

It is now 3 years later. He likes to tell anyone with a pregnant wife/girlfriend that if you want something, wear them down while the hormones are in control. Last year, when I was pregnant with my son, he set his sights high and started dropping hints about a fancy sports car.  He does not have a Lotus Elise parked in the garage. He does, however, have a new Xbox that celebrated its first birthday just a few months before we celebrated our son's.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Letter to My Breast Pump

A letter to my breast pump:

Our first encounter was like a bad blind date.  I saw you at the lactation consultant’s office four days after Baby Girl’s birth.  I opened the door nervously, unsure of myself. I scanned the room and there you were, confidently standing next to a chair, like you owned the place.  You knew this wasn’t my scene, and I knew that you were a regular here. The lactation consultant and my mom watched as we hooked up. No one wanted to make eye contact.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Just like a terrible blind date, I left embarrassed and in tears. Baby Girl wasn’t latching correctly. I was drunk on that new mom cocktail of hormones, exhaustion, fear and doubt.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see you again.

I decided to give you another chance. In our early days together, we rendezvoused in the pre-dawn hours, the baby, my husband, the cat, all sleeping. It was just you and me. We talked over a bowl of cereal and a gigantic glass of water. The quiet of the house interrupted only by your rhythmic pulse.  I sat, slumped over in exhaustion, defeated and depleted by the demands of that tiny human being, breasts swollen and aching.  You offered relief. Painful relief.  I watched, a little terrified, as your collection bottles filled. I had no idea that nipples could be pulled like that, sucked into those openings, literally looking like udders, and still come out OK. We bonded.

When maternity leave was over, you accompanied me to the office every day. Your black backpack attached to my back like my own shadow.  We met three times each day at work. I figured out how to hold all of your parts in my left hand, freeing my right to type.  There were days when I was exhausted, eyes half closed, head bobbing, as you chanted, “Armpit, armpit, armpit, armpit.” Most days our time together was a welcomed break, other days I didn’t have time for you and I would panic, filled with guilt.  We ended up together again, every night, including the weekends, tethered. You were an umbilical cord of sorts. You allowed me to provide the nutrition of my choice to my baby.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of days and nights that I wished I could dump you. My schedule revolved around you. Once, I took a vacation day and sent the baby to daycare. I got my haircut, I felt alive again. I felt like me.  I wasn’t thinking about you. Even the harsh light of the Gap dressing room didn’t get me down. I was out of the house, alone! Then, I felt that familiar prickly twinge in my breasts and knew I had to come home to you. I left the clothes behind, eyes stinging with tears. My time was over. It was your time again.  You and I had exchanged vows, a commitment to stay together until the baby turned one.  A month after her birthday, I packed you up, said goodbye and put you on the shelf in my closet, not sure when we would meet again.

We renewed our vows one year later. Baby Boy was born the day before his sister turned two.  I pulled you down from the shelf, wiped the dust off of our relationship.  I was confident this time, knowing what I was getting into.  I wasn’t as horrified at the sight of my nipples being pulled like taffy. It didn’t hurt as much. We fell into our familiar rhythm.  We witnessed colorful sunrises and summer sunsets. We spent our evenings playing Candy Crush and stalking people on social media.  You once again occupied your place of honor on the back kitchen counter, next to my purse.

When Baby Boy was ten months old, something went wrong. During one of our sessions, you started making noises. You hiccuped. You coughed. I worried.  As the weeks passed, the coughing became more frequent. One day, you sputtered “Armpit, arrrrrrrmpi…” then silence. I panicked.  You can not quit on me now. We have one more month together!  I jiggled your cord, bringing you back to life. I begged you not to leave me.  Soon, every time we were together, you showed me that you were tired.  You were ready to end our relationship. You did the thing where you started acting like a jerk so I would break up with you first.  You would start and stop erratically, causing me endless frustration. We tested each other’s limits. I coaxed you to stay with me, please, do it for the sake of the baby. We limped our way past Baby Boy’s first birthday. I bargained with you, just a few more weeks while I slowly introduced cow’s milk, then I promise, you can quit.  Our last time together was a Tuesday night. You stubbornly did not want to turn on.  The only way I got you to work was by standing, holding your cord high up in the air. You lasted 15 minutes. Enough was enough. It was time.

If my calculations are correct, you and I spent approximately 1100 hours together over the course of two years. I have spent more one on one time with you than with my husband since the births of my two children.  It’s bittersweet, this parting of ways.  I have appreciated you, I have resented you. I will forever be grateful that you allowed me to be a working mom and still provide my babies milk when they were not with me. Thank you for offering that sweet relief in the early post partum weeks.  Thank you for supporting my commitment to breastfeeding.  Sure, I am looking back on our time together through nostalgia tinted glasses. I can not think of you without thinking of the first years of my babies’ lives. You are part of my motherhood story.

Thank you.