Wednesday, December 25, 2013

ugly truth time.

i can't be nice for a single day.  seriously.  it was christmas today, and by  the time 4:30 rolled around, i was being an asshole to my kids.  christmas.

every morning, i wake up all covered in good intentions to be an attentive, positive feedback giving, low, pleasant voiced parent.  and by the time i've been parenting for 10 hours, i'm done.  i need the relief squad, and there is none.  so i just keep parenting, but poorly. i tap out, and then i start being ugly.  i let my exasperation and impatience show, on purpose.  i yell about stupid things.  i say 'althea' in a really terrible tone of voice.  i count.  i think constantly about how many more minutes are left until bedtime. it's not nice.  i'm not nice.  and i want to be nice, because i love them.  desperately.

i don't want Althea, or Iliana, to think that I am mad all the time, or that I'm someone you have to be careful not to piss off.  I want to be better.  a better person, a better mother, more patient, more kind, more loving.    I want to not use that shitty voice, the one that says 'you are wearing on my last nerve and i want you to know it'.  i don't want to always be hurrying them rudely out the door.  i don't want to be desperate for a break from them, despite the fact that they are what i love most.  how is that even possible, by the way?  it makes no sense.  but there it is.

i need some strategies.  how do other parents get through to bedtime without feeling like they are breaking down every night?  more days than not by the time i am tucking althea into bed all i want is for it to be over.  and then i realize i am basically shushing my 3 year old, who is trying to tell me something that she thinks is amazing (tonight it was about a type of frog who hatches eggs out of its skin, and she was worried that it would hurt the frog. but them decided that ti would hurt her, but it probably didn't hurt the frog.  i am not making this up.)  anyways, she is in bed, trying to tell me this, and i am more or less telling her to quiet down because i want to be done.  parenting. fail.

it sucks to feel like you are failing at what you are doing with your life.  parenting is what i am doing with my life right now.  and most of the time, i don't feel like i am doing such a bang up job.  a friend of mine recently posted a blog entry from a woman who realized she was overly critical of herself and her children, and took up the mantra 'nothing but love today'.  i need to tattoo this on my arm and go from there.

deep breath.  count to 10.  tomorrow i can wake up covered with good intentions again.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


mostly, i'm over Iliana not nursing anymore. I've theoretically come to terms with it. But tonight, I did my before bed pump and didn't get enough for morning now i'm running even more short than before. And in that moment I just wished so bad that she would start nursing again. even though I don't really even offer anymore, just randomly if she seems interested. I miss nursing her. I don't want her to be done. It makes me sad, sad sad.  and so i fantasize sometimes, that she will start again, now, what, 7? 8? weeks later?  i dream that she nurses.  i feel like i got robbed of saying goodbye to nursing.  i don't even know, like it would have been easier if i had seen it coming?  or gotten a last chance or something.  and it makes me feel like i should start my vigorous trying again, the middle of the night dream feeds, the nipple shields, the whole 9 yards.  but it made me more sad, i think.  so maybe i won't.  i wish this was over.  why can't i let it be over? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Has been INCREDIBLE so far.  If it weren't for the whole nursing fiasco throwing shade, I would call my life absolutely perfect right now.
The journey here went as well as approximately 36 hours of traveling with a toddler and an infant could possibly go.  I'm a little afraid to write that we suffered no missed planes, severe delays, lost baggage or other snafus as I'm worried that the lords of travel will smite us on the way home.
The house is gorgeous.  there is a fair amount of usable outside space that isn't so close to the lake that i'm constantly having a heart attack about Althea dashing off into the water.  a hammock.  a GIANT outdoor bathtub, basically toddler swimming pool sized.  everything you need in the kitchen, including a juicer and a blender for making delicious, delicious licuados every day with the fresh-from-the-market, ridiculously cheap pinas, papayas, mangos, bananas, etc.  plenty of space for everyone.

both girls (and tio max) have been battling some kind of travelers' diarrhea/vomiting bug, so that has been kind of unfortunate, especially in terms of the amount of laundry that has to be done, but they are both great little troopers so we have managed to still have a fabulous time.  so far we have: swum in the lake several times, gone on some treks up the mountain side, walked into town most every day and explored the market, various restaurants, etc, rode over to the neighboring town of San Juan where we stumbled upon some bizarro Catholic festival involving amazingly intricate designs on colored sawdust, flowers, pine boughs, etc placed literally all around the town as a carpet for them to walk on in a giant parade of the 'santisimo' (i don't know what that means, but i have internally translated it as 'ubersaint') and recently found a park in san pedro that althea quite enjoyed.

isis arrived yesterday (hooray!) and walker and max took off for a 3 day trek with their friend from CA who works down here in a town called Xela.  so it's just us girls here for now.

i'm so glad we decided to make this trek.  it's really been an amazing experience so far.  Althea especially is really becoming an extrovert, blurting out randomly to strangers now that she is more or less sure that they all speak spanish.  'i hurt my hand grabbing a plant yesterday' she explained to a total stranger we passed on the street.  everyone is very enamored of the two little white babies, as its rare to see tourists with children.  funnily, they frequently get mistaken for twins when we are carrying them both in the Ergos.  we make kind of a spectacle.  but once again children prove an invaluable icebreaker socially, and we have struck up more conversations with local people that we otherwise would have.

a few of my favorite pics:  never mind.  the internets here are too slow for that.

Friday, March 29, 2013

the long haul.

so i lost my shit in the kitchen today, in front of my toddler, after a long and trying morning of trying to nurse a baby who was clearly not going to have any, despite more than 24 hours without food.  yelling. swearing, sobbing.  it was not pretty.  this has been an ugly week all around, and its frankly not sustainable.  so after a last ditch visit to an LC - who was very nice, but mostly just said I'm sorry - I have decided that I need to protect myself, not to mention poor Althea, from the fallout.  since it appears, on day 9, as though we are in this for the long haul, i need to make a plan that I can live with, and offering Iliana the breast all day long is not it.  in a lot of ways this feels like giving up, and that hurts my heart, but it's what i need to do at this point to maintain inner landscape is in shambles right now and i'm not prepared to keep it up.
so from here on out, i'm just going to offer the breast first thing in the morning, and at bedtime.  if she decides to come back, that will be great.  i'll keep pumping, but only to the point that it doesn't interfere with the rest of our lives...morning, nap and after bed.  if she needs more than that, she can have some formula or goat milk or something...we'll look into it.  this is my plan.  just having a plan feels a little bit better.  except for the part where i feel like i'm giving up.  that part feels shittier.

one thing that the LC we talked to today said that really made sense to me was that part of the reason that nursing strikes are so devastating is that they are the first time- as a parent- that you are confronted with the fact that all you can do, in your relationship with your child, is one sided.  you can be there.  you can say, i'm here for you, i love you, i'll always be here for you.  and they can say no. i don't care.  fuck off.  and there's NOTHING you can do about it, except repeat:  i'm here for you, i love you, i'll always be here for you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

additional thoughts.

parenting, in my experience, is one long string of second guessing yourself.  no one really knows what is the 'best' way to do any of it, so you more or less go along, doing the best you can, and hoping that you're not irreversibly fucking your kid up.  say your kid won't pick up their toys: do you power struggle about it? just pick the damn things up?  pick them up and throw them out?  or say they are fussing in their bed.  do you go in right away?  do you sleep with them?  do you let them fuss a little bit and THEN go in?  do you let them scream it out? there are like 87,456  options and NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT IS BEST. it's highly alarming, to say the least.

 for me, up to this point, the only exception to this has been breastfeeding.  the ONE thing i could do for my kid where i was like, hey. i got this.  i am definitely doing it right.  boobs solve 100% of a baby's problems.  and, bonus points, it's super super good for them, and i could eat as much cake as i wanted and not get fat.  now, it's broke.  the only thing that i never questioned about my parenting has a goddamn flat tire, or dead battery, or something.  it doesn't work anymore.  and now i have to worry about the baby's diet.  i hate this.

additionally i am starting to get angry.  when i spend 25 minutes pumping, and 10 minutes cleaning all the stupid tiny pump parts, and then the baby STILL NEEDS TO EAT, so then i spend 15 minutes giving her a damn bottle, i'm like this is the SAME thing that comes out of my boobs.  only with approximatelly 17 times more labor.  and its making me mad.

these are my thoughts on day 7.

Monday, March 25, 2013

the hardest thing...

My darling, darling baby.  5 days ago you woke up at 6:30 and I blearily carried you out into the living room, plunked down on the couch, and latched you onto my full breast.  I remember you fussing a bit, and then settling down to business, just as you had approximately every 3 hours since the day you were born, 9 months ago.  If I had known it was going to be the last time, I would have paid more attention.  I would have been smelling your hair, and stroking your cheek, and savoring every second of what is beyond a doubt the most intense, emotional, beautiful relationship I have ever known: the one between a nursing pair.  But I didn't know.  Would never have guessed.  So I can't remember whether your eyes were open, or shut.  I can't remember if you were patting my chest, or pulling my hair.  I don't. remember.

Since then I have tried every thing I can think of...ridiculous, far fetched, long shots in the dark.  I'm not ready for you to be done.  You're supposed to be my baby still, and this?  this feels like you're breaking up with me.  I'm like a love-sick 15 year old...all I do is cry and eat way too much ice-cream.
I cried when your big sister weaned herself.  at twice your age.  gradually, over the course of 2 entire months.  But you?  You came at me out of nowhere with this. blindsided me. as if someone who previously had done nothing but kiss me suddenly and without warning punched me in the gut, knocking all the wind out of my body and leaving me gasping for breath, wondering what the hell just happened.  I told your papa, it feels like someone died.

Maybe I could start feeling better if I gave up.  Said, OK, I guess she's done, and went with that.  I could acclimate to the new normal.  But I don't really believe that's what you want.  So I'm struggling here, baby.  Struggling, day after day (and maybe 5 days doesn't seem so long, to you.  but its been en eternity already) to believe that you are coming back to me.  To keep offering, even when you keep biting.  To keep pumping, even when you are crying for me to hold you instead and Althea is tearing apart the kitchen.  To keep hope alive.  I'm not ready to give it up quite yet.  But its the hardest thing.