Two is so becoming

Two is ridiculous!

PRETEND
“What you like? A babycino? You want marshmallow? Here’s your money”

Yes, we can play cafes, we even wait while the pretend cup fills up, but the money is never quite going in the right direction.

It started two weeks before his birthday, in a cafe. He made this horrible loud noise, sitting beside me. “What are you doing?”
“I’m an elephant, mum”. Yes, yes of course you are. And just like that, we’ve gone into pretend. Sure, we’d done pretend toast and cups of tea, but nothing like this.

This week he has:
* washed a “shirt” (face washer) in the “washing machine” (small bucket in the bath) and handed it over “here’s your new shirt all dry, mum.”
* ordered zucchini slice with calamari, schnitzel, mashed potato and broccoli for dinner (just a moment sir, the bistro will call you when your number is ready )
* driven in a “car” (box) to grandmas, then loaded all the animals (animal fridge magnets) in. When asked where he’s going ” to the zoo!”.

LANGUAGE

His language is ridunkulous. Just insane.
“You’ve got a drink of water. I’ve got a drink of water. Daddy’s got a drink of water”

“I was splashing, Aunty cathy. I splashed.” (His use of past tense is better than my students).

” look mummy! There’s a dump truck! A dump truck! Hello mister dump truck. Where did the dump truck go? Where’s he gone? Mister dump truck, where are you?”

“Oh wow, that’s delicious, mummy”

Revisionist sentences: “milk, mummy. A drink of milk. I would like a drink of milk. I would like a big drink of milk. A cup of tea milk, (milk in a mug not a sippy cup) mummy. Please, mum mum. Tank you.”

Gross motor skills / independence

He can walk up and down stairs without holding on, all of a sudden.

He likes to climb into the car seat, not be lifted in.

He can climb rope nets on playgrounds (mostly).

He is suddenly very cooperative about having his teeth cleaned, but allergic to high chairs. Whereas he used to quite like being fed when he was tired, this Is not a thing we do now. In fact, many things have rules. Like :THOU SHALT NOT BUTTER MY TOAST. I DO IT.

But he still runs like a little fairy called twinkle toes. Very funny.

WEANING

I thought I’d never say it, but I think we’ve weaned.

We’d been on a feed first thing in the morning in bed thing for a long time. There was a feed when you pick me up at daycare thing, but that passed a little while back.

He still quite likes grabbing at my boobs. “Mummy’s boobs. Mummy has boobs. I don’t have any boobs.”

And we had a half hearted attempt at a drink on request the other day, the first in two weeks.

I was at a a loss how to manage weaning. The only method that made sense to me was first, night weaning (via dad only settles in the night). That happened a long time ago , maybe at 8 months?

Then, the only thing that made sense was “don’t offer, don’t refuse”. It was the only “way” that seemed ok to me. Don’t get me wrong. There were times I thought oh for the love of god, stop!. But I never wanted to make that decision for him.

There was an undercurrent to it early on, because weaning would be needed for any subsequent goes at IVF. When everyone asked “what about number 2?

And I wasn’t ready, and he wasn’t ready, and I couldn’t force weaning on him. Especially not with an “other” motive. I needed to put a full stop on one sentence, in the right place, before I began another.

It turns out that full stop is probably the last one in that paragraph. And I think I’m (mostly) ok with that. And we’ve weaned. We’ve just about weaned. We made two years. I am so proud of that. Not to put down anyone else’s choices, but when most other things were the exact opposite of natural, this was one thing I really really wanted, that I saw as very important.

I was only ever aiming for three months.
Then six months.
Then a year.
Then the questions started. are you still feeding him? When will you stop? You can give him cows milk, you know (I did. I still do).
When it works for us.
Which turns out to be just after he turned two. Which was a lot longer than I’d ever thought.

FUNNY LITTLE PERSON

There are a lot more moments, these days, when I just stop, and look at him, and think you are amazing. You are just a funny little person, where did you come from? How could this be me, sitting here with you? hoe could this be me, singing Bob The Builder with you as we walk through a supermarket? (On a loop : bob the builder, can he fix it? Bob the builder, can he fix it? Bob the…. you get the picture).

For so long, as babies, they are becoming. becoming a sitter, becoming a babbler, becoming a crawler, a walker, a laugher, a talker.

Now, at 2, all of a sudden like a light has been turned on, I feel he has become.

Feeding the jman

This is part of PAILs’ monthly theme post (Pregnancy After Infertility and Loss). You can see other posts on this theme by clicking here.

During my fairly disastrous pregnancy, my least favourite doctor ever, herein known as Dr North Korea for his open, fair minded and democratic approach to patient care (all sarcasm intended)… Well he very kindly told me I’d never be able to breastfeed. Call it a combination of what he saw as likely insanely complicated birth, the complications after gestational diabetes, and my PCOS, he didn’t exactly give me a big thumbs up on the issue.

Of course, he was a complete dick.

The thing is, when you’ve waded through all that crap, all that infertility crap, all that lets lay in bed for 16 weeks while we bleed to death crap, you know, you kind of feel it would be nice is something went how it should go. So birth and breastfeeding? Hell yeah, they’re pretty important. They can feel like your entry ticket back into a vaguely normal motherhood.. Remove them, and you feel like a parenting gig gatecrasher who just managed to jump the fence when the bouncers weren’t looking.

So, lets just say it was important to me.

I made sure I was really well researched on the how to’s of breastfeeding prior to giving birth, combining the hospital classes with calm birth, and also attending a hospital specific session on breastfeeding. I joined the breastfeeding association so I knew the support was there, I watched you tube videos, I borrowed library books and bought others.

My expected”disastrous birth” was a dream run. Skin to skin within about 15 seconds, breastfeeding within the first hour. Insane oversupply issues at first that took ages to settle down, and issues with bub falling asleep on the job for several days.

I set my expectations nice and low, and just tried for six weeks of breastfeeding at first. I was as strict as strict with attachments, sometimes correcting the jman six times before I’d let him nurse, handing him off to dad for a resettle before attempting again if he got really silly, seeing the lactation consultant three or four times in the hospital for pointers and supervision of feeds. I decided I was not getting any nipple damage, I was just going to be really picky with him in how he attaches, it was my first parenting “no kid, this is how you do it” and I took it seriously.

Once my milk came in he started to pay serious attention and we kicked ass. I still had my afternoons of falling asleep wearing cabbage leaves, an occasional public leak, a particularly memorable detach in a sushi cafe as I sprayed across the table (oh, the humanity).

My six week target changed to three months, my three months to six, my six to a year, and here we are, still going strong a few times a day. What can I say, he’s a boob man. I went from days of googling facilities and looking for baby rooms to whipping it out wherever we were.

I spent nothing on feeding jman, apart from $20 on bottles for expressing, and all the freaking extra food i needed (!!!!) til he was five months old. Breastfeeding hunger is scary hunger…

At first, the idea of being that tied down to another person that often terrified me and made me feel like the walls were closing in. Later, I couldn’t imagine feeding him any other way.

what I didn’t get

I didn’t understand that feeds got quicker and easier as he got older. That at first, you structure everything in your life around feeds, and later, they are shorter than a cup of coffee and I complain bitterly if they take longer than six minutes now. Jman is a guts.

I didn’t understand that two hourly feeds meant you only got an hour “off”, because the feed, change, settle cycle takes an hour at first.

I didn’t understand that two hourly feeds don’t actually occur every two hours, but that they can “cluster” happening very frequently for a few hours, followed by a long sleep.

I didn’t understand that night feeds can not only lonely and annoying, but that they can also be this perfect time of absolute focus, bonding, and tranquility that you will always treasure.

I didn’t understand that laying down and feeding in bed didn’t have to just be “omg what about the SIDS risk”, it could also just be a really nice way to chill out, and I should probably just breathe a bit more.

It doesn’t matter if you breast or bottle feed, or what you choose to do, but it mattered to me that I got to feed the jman how I wanted to.
It matters to me that my jman got the best possible start.
It matters to me because I was never breastfed ( my mother had problems with psoriasis and needed to focus on fixing that, and was also, like me, an older mother who didn’t think she had it in her to feed her fourth child)…and it is possible this affected my adult health with insulin resistance issues my breastfed siblings never faced….

I never thought I’d be into “extended breastfeeding” , but when our paediatrician yesterday suggested we could switch to cows milk I almost laughed in his face! Talk about old school. Get with the programme, doc.

My hardest choice is those two frozen embryos, a ticking clock, and knowledge I’d have to fully wean to IVF again…and I can’t do it. I can’t artificially impose a breastfeeding deadline on my little guy.

He’s a boob man, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Many milestones

A big blog post is needed…but it’s a busy old week, and there’s lots of photos to sort through.

Until a proper update, I’ll leave you with a photo of our one year old

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And one of his first attempts at walking. First steps came the day after his party, with hub in boots, me and my sister here to see it. This is about his third or fourth attempt.

baby steps: the video

Booby prize

Things have been a bit quiet in adventure land lately. You’ll see why in next Monday’s snapshot. Suffice to say, I’m sitting still this week. And no, it’s not baby related. It’s that I’m a klutz.

In the interest of attempting to be something more than a former infertile come potty mouthed mother of one gorgeous jman, a new blog hit the streets today: Booby Prize.

I’ve always been a big reader, I quite like a literary prize, and, lets face it, breastfeeding = a whole lotta couch time. I am on the last episode of Gossip Girl, (no DO NOT tell me who it is), and my brain is dissolving like an aspirin in a large glass of water.

In an attempt to embrace my former “life of the mind” self, I’m blogging about prize listed books. This was a fledgling idea in about December, spurred on by hub in boots Xmas present: every novel on the 2012 Man Booker shortlist, and a champagne stopper. I’m two books in plus the commonwealth writers prize, and it’s time to get talking. Dissolving baby brain, one prize winning novel at a time.

This blog will continue…but if you’d like to hear less about nappies and more about reading loves and a genuine stand alone person, head over to Booby Prize

Discretion is the better part of valour

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=JGJYbH_E5uE

Discretion is the better part of valour. This Shakespeare derived quote implies that a large part of courage & bravery is thinking before you act. Discretion is all over Australian social media today.

Australian social media is in a bit of a furore over breastfeeding in public, after a seemingly well meaning male media figure, Kochie (David Koch), said a woman feeding her baby at the side of a public pool, whilst supervising her other kids, should have been “discreeter”***, and moved away from the pool up on the grass, or been out of a “high traffic area” to breastfeed. In a rapid backtrack he implied it was a safety issue…but it was too late, the view was out there. Despite public breastfeeding being enshrined in law here, the woman was asked to move away from where she was, to stop feeding. And Kochie was implying that it is not ok to breastfeed anywhere or anyhow.

***(Or more discreet, and no, not discrete, people, sort out that whole english thing….and your opinion would mean more if you could spell….but I digress…..)

Of course, there’s been a backlash, and there’s a few camps in the discussion on the various Facebook pages/ discussion boards:

1. Hell yeah, get the girls out whenever, wherever, breastfeeding should be normalised and shutthef#%^up Kochie
2. Breastfeeding is ok BUT….you should be more discreet/cover up/ use a feeding room/ use a muslin / never show nipple / be careful of offending the delicate little flowers around you
3. This is a first world problem and you’re all whinging feminist nazis

This was my 10 cents worth:

dear Kochie, I think as part of Monday’s mea culpa, you should make a personal donation to the Gidget foundation AND The ABA. (the Gidget foundation deals with pre and post natal depression and anxiety, the Australian breastfeeding association supports breastfeeding in this country).

When you have a new bub, planning to leave the house is daunting. The timing of feeds is a big part of this challenge. It is only when women can feed anywhere and anyhow that it can become normalised and new mums feel it’s possible.

With my 9 week old son at a family funeral, I was terrified how to manage feeds, rang ahead to find out about feeding rooms etc. and when it came time to feed, my family said “no. Don’t go away to feed. Stay and talk.” And I did. Now he’s five months old, I still get embarrassed, but I still feed him out and about. Without muslin, Often without the limited wardrobe choices of feeding tops. And if I hadn’t got out that door and occasionally “whipped the girls out” in a cafe? I reckon I’d be sitting at home with post natal depression. There are many layers to this issue, and it is much more than just a feed. It is about the well being of the woman and her child. And it is different for each woman.

I am never going to advocate what another woman should do. I find breastfeeding in public hard, I’m paranoid about people having a go at me ( but I do it anyway), and I can’t cover up because I get all hot & flustered, the jman gets all hot and flustered, and HIS idea of a happy feed is to see and feel as much boob as possible. So I get all my clothing fixed, I drape a nice muslin over my shoulder to cover my stomach, side-boob, whatever, I think, I’m doing a good job here, and he grabs the muslin, rips it off, then pushes my top up and away. Helpful!

I also can’t plan that well, because I feed on demand, and his demand changes day to day. I choose to go with that rather than adopt a rigid schedule, because this is what the world health organisation recommends.

In a way, I feel draping muslin wraps and so on all just draws more attention to what you’re doing…not that there’s anything wrong with drawing attention to it! Hell, I’d like to be discreet, because of who I am and I’m easily embarrassed, but I don’t bother anymore. Because when he says he’s hungry, it’s now, not in five minutes time. When he wants to see and feel boob, it doesn’t matter how carefully I arrange things, he’ll have me exposed in seconds. When I’m feeding, it’s his boob, not mine.

But I think it’s wrong to say women should try to cover up. It has nasty echoes of “women should be careful about what they wear so they don’t get raped”, or ” rape is wrong, but….”. Women should breastfeed how they want to…breastfeeding is brilliant, anytime, anywhere. No buts. No “you can breastfeed, but you should…”, no. I don’t believe Kochie was totally anti breastfeeding by any means, but it wasn’t an informed comment, and he should have thought more about it. I certainly hope it wasn’t a transparent grab for ratings; we all know how that has worked out for some Australian dj’s lately. He should not be lambasted or abused for his bumbling into a minefield, but he should get informed, clarify, apologise, and use this as an opportunity to do some good.

For some, feeding in public is covering up, for others, this is letting it all hang out. And frankly, I love the “letting it all hang out”ers; they make it easier for the rest of us. They make it easier to feel that breastfeeding is normal, they make it easier to feel “hey I could do that”, they make it easier to think “actually I can go and meet that friend for coffee today even if his feed is due.”

And as an aside, no judgement from me if you can’t breastfeed, or choose not to. It can be a pain in the ass, it can be incredibly wonderful, it definitely is full of health benefits for baby, if you can manage it.

There were a couple of key moments in my breastfeeding career that changed it all.(and it is a career: 8 hours a day, seven days a week at first). The first was that moment at a funeral, noted above, the next one was meeting my old school friend I hadn’t seen for years (thanks ‘Tish), when she got the girls out for her daughter in a cafe facing the shopping centre about 50 metres from a baby change room with feeding cubicles. No muslin, no nursing top, no turning to the wall, no sorry nice seeing you but i have to go now and feed…..and no one even noticed. Except me. I noticed, and ten minutes later, I fed the jman, sitting right there next to her. All of a sudden the “how the hell do I ever leave the house with him” feelings lifted, in that instant. I felt different altogether.

When jman was new, I would create so much stress for myself before an outing, ringing ahead and googling “facilities” to see if feeding & change rooms were available, finding out where they were on arrival, planning ahead when to hit the cubicle and feed. When they’re newbies, feeds go on for almost an hour; that’s a long time to be away from what you were aiming to do, and it is often on an hour on/an hour off schedule (ie two hourly feeds). I had an added layer of embarrassment because I’m 40 (41 now!)… I was worried I’d get more disapproving looks as a 40 year old first time mum.

Breastfeeding can be annoying, and painful, and messy. My commitment to breastfeeding will slow down my return to work, now that my boobs are suddenly on a “no expressing without a trumpet fanfare and four days notice” binge. Breastfeeding lacks the control over modern life we’re so used to. You don’t know how much bub is getting. You don’t know when he’ll want his next feed. You don’t know if you have enough milk, or too much. You don’t know if you’ll spring a leak in a public place, or if the little bugger will pull off your boob in a sushi bar and leave your right one spraying across the table while you madly grab the baby wipes and hope no one noticed. It’s a great metaphor for parenthood, really.

Recently, after a bad night with jman and a visit to the paediatrician, I desperately needed a coffee before I could safely drive home. And jman desperately needed a feed. The doctor ran late, the planned feeds stops went all awry. All cool. I stopped in the hospital cafe, ordered my flat white, and sat down in an arm chair in a quiet corner to feed. Forgot to wear a breastfeeding top. Bugger. And then next to me, sat an older man. Damn. Here we go. Ah well, offence or no offence, I’m feeding the boy. You do not get into a car with jman when he’s hungry. You will only ever make that mistake once.

Jman of course had to make eyes and gurgle and giggle at the man, doing his “aren’t I cute” routine before turning, grabbing my top and reefing it up. At five months old. Lordy.

So I feed him, and I can feel the man’s eyes on us, and I think “ah well. Sorry mate. Jman comes first.”

And as I finish, and jman sits up, belches loudly, and starts grinning again, the man says

“Excuse me?” In a lilting German accent. here we go I think…”i hope you don’t mind me asking.”… oh dear, I think, here it comes…”how do you know when he’s had enough?”

“Sorry?” It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

“It is probably very rude of me to ask, but I am so curious you see, how do you know when he’s had enough?”

“No no! It is not rude at all. It’s fine! Umm, well often, you don’t! But when he pulls off, and looks around, and stops and starts, usually that means he’s had enough. I was just giving him a quick top up before the car ride home.”

“Oh thank you! I just wondered, I hope you don’t mind.”

No, I don’t. And no, he didn’t. And there should be more of it. More of these conversations around breastfeeding. It was a great moment, it turned my fears on their head.

Bugger discretion in breastfeeding…but we can be discreet about what we say to feeding mums. Sure, they’re not starving or fighting for survival, yes it’s a first world problem, but it speaks to the health of a future generation and the current & future mental & physical health of feeding mothers.

Once I decided I’d feed anytime, anywhere, a weight was lifted off me. I felt more mobile. I felt like I could embrace the world with the jman at my side, not hide away from it. I felt more like a mum.

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Ding dong, the witch is dead

An interruption to our invention broadcasts: This week I had my six week check up with Dr North Korea.

For those not in the loop, he won the title of Dr North Korea because of the dictatorial style he adopts in patient care, and the lack of involvement one gets in ones own health decisions. It wasn’t pleasant being his patient. He has all the empathy of a firing squad. It isn’t his fault, he’s a little aspergers-y, I’m thinking.

Anyhoo, my vijay jay passed the test, we’re healing nicely, thanks very much. Tick.

Let’s now reassess all the things he said would happen:

1. We’ll have an enormous baby on the 90th percentile

J-man was on the 25th percentile. He’s a little tacker. Good work with the ultrasound wand you bloody dill.

2. We’ll be separated at birth while he goes into days of special care for low blood sugar

He popped into special care for five minutes at a time, and had a few heel prick tests, and by 1 day old he was sorted.

3. I would have a caesarean

Natural birth, gas.

4. If I had a natural labour, my blood clot would rupture and the baby would die (his actual words)

The 60ml haematoma was re absorbed by 27 weeks, I had a natural labour, and bub was pretty happy actually

5. I’d have an induction

Nope. I told j-man when it was ok to come. He came 4 days later. Two and half weeks before the induction.

6. If I tried natural labour, I’d end up in an emergency c section

Or have a record 3.5 hr natural labour. With a bit of gas. And the jbaby arrived before the obstetrician did. Ha. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

7. We were at huge risk of pre term labour

He came at full term.

8. My gestational diabetes spelled disaster for us both, I’d be on insulin, blah blah blah

I saw dieticians and endocrinologists, I took oral meds, I watched my diet like a freakin hawk. I put on about 2.5 kg in pregnancy. I’m now 6kg below my pre pregnancy weight. Thinner than I’ve been for years. After 15 weeks bed rest.The bub was small. I rock.

9.I would never be able to breast feed (his actual words) because of gestational diabetes, PCOS and age

Ummm….my little Buddha of a boy gutses in the milk like a bloke with a yard glass of beer at his 21st. Breast milk. So ridiculously plentiful he splutters in it. And whilst sometimes I’d give anything to sleep through another freakin feed, my little butter ball is doing good on my gear. Never breastfeed my ass.

He’s lucky that doctor, that the best way to motivate me is to tell me I can’t do something, and don’t underestimate the effect of bloody minded stubbornness on us making it.

Then he had the audacity of suggesting I get pregnant by Xmas for bub number 2. This year!!!!I’ve been locked up since January, then breastfeeding & coping with a newborn since August 2, is he insane?????

What a dickhead. Well in the words of the wizard of oz, ding dong the witch is dead. We walked out of those doors and the sun seemed a little bit brighter. No more Dr North Korea. No more stupid communication style, rushed visits, scrambled responses. I am glad we stuck with him for the pregnancy, because Gumby aka Jensen made it. Against all odds. But no more.

Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead.