Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dried Up

My supply has dried up.  Parker is no longer breastfeeding.  I will never breastfeed again for the rest of my life. 

I have mixed emotions about this...

Mostly, I'm disappointed.  I couldn't do it.  I couldn't breastfeed for a full year.  I failed again.  Silly me thought it would be SO easy to do since I would be home this time.  We only made it nine months.  Maybe it was a mistake to start pumping?  Maybe I wasn't pumping long enough or often enough?  One day I was pumping my normal amount, and the next I could barely pump six ounces.

I'm angry.  I would have liked to stop breastfeeding on my terms, but I didn't have that opportunity with either of my children.  I tried to increase my supply.  I took a sickening amount of Fenugreek and pumped longer and more often, and it didn't help. 

I feel guilty.  I didn't have the same breastfeeding relationship with Parker that I did with Lucy.  I worked full-time when Lucy was a baby; she was attached to my boob from the moment I walked in the door every night.  It was how we bonded.  But since I've been home with Parker, we've bonded in other ways.  Breastfeeding was hard for us with Lucy running around; Parker was SO distracted.  We had to go in a separate room, leave Lucy unsupervised, and rush through it.

I'm annoyed that I have to start watching what I eat.  I've had the appetite of a 400 pound man for the last three years, and I've created some bad habits.  I'm also annoyed that we have to spend money on formula.

I feel sad that that phase of our life is over.  We literally threw away the baby bath tub last week, and now we're done breastfeeding.  My babies are growing up.  It's surreal.

There is a bright side, though.  I don't have to drag that stupid pump to work with me anymore or choke down all those Fenugreek pills.  I don't have to worry about pumping enough for whoever is watching the kids when I go to work or out with Casey and friends.  And for the love of God, I can drink a bottle glass of wine.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

9 Months

I feel like I just wrote one of these.  Dang, son.  Double digits next month...  It's weird, because I feel like you've always been here; and yet, I feel like I blinked and suddenly you're no longer my tiny newborn.  You're becoming more independent every day.

I think all of us expected you to beat daddy in the mustache department eventually.
(Even if it's just cucumber juice for now.)

At 9 months you are:

Cruising!  You've taken two steps without holding onto anything or anyone, so you could be walking soon!!!  You want to walk everywhere (with me holding your hands) rather than crawl or be carried.

Army crawling.  (You get up on your knees, but you haven't quite figured out how to move them.)  It's saving both of our sanity now that you can reach your own toys.  

Babbling.  We hear a lot of "dadadadada".

Best friends with Lu.  You guys have so much fun together.  She brings you toys and shares her food with you.  (She also steals your toys and food if it's better than hers.)  She tickles you.  She gives you kisses and hugs in the morning, before and after naps, and at bedtime.  I can hear her playing peek-a-boo with you in the mornings over the baby monitor.  She cracks you up.    

EATING.  I think you eat more than Lucy does...  We do half purees and half Baby Led Weaning with you.  You just loooove food.  (Like your momma!) 

Toothy.  You cut your top two front teeth, and one of your top canines.  Which makes for a grand total of 5 teeth.

Hairy!  Your hair is much thicker and darker than Lucy's was at this age.  You have the funniest bedhead when you wake up from naps.

23 pounds and 29 inches.

Pretty laid back.  We hit a rough patch when you were cutting teeth, but not a lot of separation anxiety outside of that week.  I can generally set you down with some toys or next to Sister, and use the bathroom or make lunch.

Still following the same schedule: two naps a day and sleeping 6:30 pm - 6:30 am.  Your naps are between 1.5 and 2 hours long, and you sleep through the night.

Going on two months without an Eczema break out.  Woot!

There are so many milestones coming up in the next few months...eep!  I can't wait for your first steps and your first birthday.  Spoiler alert: the theme is Pirates.  Love you, sweet boy!      

Monday, May 20, 2013

8 Months

Everyone ignore the fact that this post was written on Parker's 9 month birthday...


At 8 months you are:

Army crawling and wiggling to get wherever and whatever the heck you want - usually whining the whole way.  You much prefer to walk upright (with assistance).

Such a good eater.  You love food.  You eat A LOT of it.  You eat 2-3 meals a day, in addition to breastfeeding. 

Oddly enough, you actually really like strawberries now.

Messy, baby!  You go through 2 or more outfits a day.  You smear food all over the place and you dribble juice or milk from your sippy.

Oh, and you have two teeth.

Fed all sorts of things by your sister.

Happy and giggly.  (Except when you're teething.) 

Very concerned about the other person when playing hide-and-seek.

Consistent with your schedule.  Wake between 6:00-6:30 am, nap 9:00-10:30 or 11:00, lunch with sister at 12:30 pm, nap 1:00-3:00, bedtime by 6:30.  You dropped the early morning nursing, and are now sleeping 12 consecutive hours.

Probably 25 pounds...  (didn't break out the scale last month)   You're wearing 9-12 month clothing

Really beginning to interact with Lucy.  It is heartwarming.  Few things make me happier than when I hear you two talking (well, Lucy talking and you babbling) or playing (fighting over toys).

You are so much fun right now.  This is one of my favorite ages.  You're growing and changing by the day, and I love watching you explore.  You're still my cuddle bug for now, and I'm soaking up all the cuddles I can before you become a big bad toddler and want nothing to do with me.  Love you, buddy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Everything is hard.

We're living at my parents' house right now. 

Our air conditioner broke last Sunday. 

We are so effed.  To say that things are tight, would be a massive understatement.  We can't afford to buy a new a/c unit and we don't qualify for financing.  I have no clue what we're going to do.  It's summer...

That's the most immediate issue we're dealing with, but there is so much more...

I have anxiety.  Really bad anxiety.   
I'm going back to school (which I'll elaborate on in a separate post).  Class starts at the end of May.
I got a part-time job last week.  I'm enjoying it, but childcare and pumping are an issue.
Our marriage is a balancing act.
Parker is a teething nightmare. 
Lucy can be bipolar at times.

It just feels like a lot.  I don't know how to climb out of the hole.  I'm trying to stay positive and I'm always praying, but sometimes I feel hopeless and whiny.  (Like right now.  Sorry, readers.)

I didn't know how bad my anxiety was until recently.  It's like I've been in a fog for the past 5 years - since we got engaged.  It's the root of all my anger management issues.  I've jokingly referred to it as 'Survivor Mode' in the past, but that's exactly what it is- surviving, not living.  I put so much pressure on myself.  To have a big wedding.  To buy a house and fix it up.  To be the best parent.  I felt like I needed to prove to myself and everyone else that we could do it, despite our age.  And now, after 4 years of marriage (next Wednesday), I know that it can be done.  But at a price. 

I finally know why my parents said not to get married when we did.  They weren't saying not to marry Casey...  They wanted us to be kids a little longer, instead of rushing into all the responsibilities that come with being an adult.  They wanted us to finish school and have good jobs, so we wouldn't have to struggle like we are now. 

Hindsight is 20/20.  Right, friends?

And if anybody knows an HVAC guy, holla!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm stealthy

It has to be said. 

I'm like a mouse.  I can (usually) sneak in and out of the kids' bedroom while they're napping to check on them, put away laundry, whatever - and NOT wake them.

Everyone else sucks.  (At being stealthy, I mean.)  Sorry, that had to be said too.  In fact, if there were an award for being the least stealthy, it would probably go to Casey.

Being stealthy is really an art.  There's a certain way to turn the door knob, a certain pace to tiptoe.  You have to be observant; you can't be tripping over toys or stubbing your toe.  You can't breathe while you're in the nursery.  You have to be ready to dive into a closet the second an eyelid opens, so that you aren't spotted.

Some people find my methods to be a little extreme.  But, since I'm the one that has to deal with the cranky baby and/or toddler for the rest of the day, I'm allowed to be.  Nothing pisses me off more than when someone interrupts my kids' naps.  Consider yourselves warned!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Stage 5 Clinger

Parker is having a bad week.  Which means I, too, am having a bad week.

We are officially experiencing separation anxiety.  If I set him down with some toys and turn to walk away, he lets out a blood curdling scream.  I haven't been able to do anything all week.  Naturally, this is the week that Casey has mandatory overtime and my parents are out of town-- so I've had minimal support.

Parker also randomly started waking up 4-6 times each night and waking for the day at 6 am (rather than sleeping through the night and waking at 7:30 am).

This came out of nowhere.  He has always played well independently and has been sleeping through the night consistently for months.

Needless to say, I'm pretty frustrated.  I may or may not have contemplated calling a priest to perform an exorcism...  I was starting to worry that there was something seriously wrong with him until yesterday morning...  I was changing his diaper and noticed two bastard brand new teeth cutting through.

I felt a little better knowing that my baby boy wasn't possessed, just teething.  #balticamberfail

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Homestretch

My second breastfeeding journey has been very different from my first. 

Since I was working full-time when Lucy was a baby, I had to pump.  I only nursed her in the mornings and evenings, and on the weekends.  I hated pumping.  It was time consuming; I spent 1.5-2 hours a day pumping at work.  It was uncomfortable.  It was a big pain in the ass...lugging the pump and milk back and forth every day, washing pump parts, excusing myself from meetings because I was engorged.  Mostly, it was a reminder that I couldn't be home with my daughter.

But I'm home now.  I have been home for Parker's whole life.  He's been nursed exclusively, unless I had a farmers market or a (rare) date night.  And wouldn't you know it, the grass isn't always greener.

I have since realized that pumping was not the challenge the first time around...  The challenge was, and still is, breastfeeding.

Parker is 8 months old and still breastfeeding.  We've managed to get by without formula so far, and I'm hoping we can keep it that way until we're able to introduce cow's milk.  (It's not that I hate formula...formula would actually make life a lot easier.)  I want to prove to myself that I can meet my breastfeeding goal of one year (which is shallow, but whatever), and I really do not want the added expense. 

My supply is so different this time.  Then again, Parker is a much different baby than Lucy was!

Parker loves solid food and eats two meals a day.  (Lucy hated it!)
Parker has been sleeping through the night for months.  (Lucy didn't until she was 9 months.)
Parker self-soothes.  (Lucy was only soothed by nursing.)

Nursing has proved to be extremely challenging when Lucy is awake.  Parker is so distracted.  I started nursing him in a separate room, while Lucy watched Barney or ate breakfast/lunch; but I hated leaving her unsupervised.  So I decided to start pumping and bottle feeding Parker.  Ironic much?

It's been a couple weeks since we switched and it's made a world of difference.  Casey can put Parker down in the evenings, and I can start dinner earlier.  I've been able to pump while the kids are eating breakfast and lunch-- though there have been a handful of times where I dropped the ball with pumping and had to nurse.  We're not exclusive, because I refuse to pump at 4 am, but he's so sleepy at that time that he nurses easily.

Breastfeeding is a huge commitment.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  Four more months, buddy boy!  LET'S DO THIS.