Saturday, February 25, 2012

A mother's quandary: how do I raise a good man? one who won't behave like those #&$! in Virginia?

Up until recently, I've kept my political self and mommy self somewhat separate.  It's hard to take in all of the political hating that's been going on these days and be a loving, attentive mommy.  So, I've compartmentalized those two selves.  Until now.

In Virginia legislature, there have been some pretty despicable bills being filed (and passed!) Need catching up?  One of them will redefine rape, lessening the offense for old men who sleep with young girls.  Awesome.  Or the one that requires a transvaginal ultrasound for women seeking an abortion.  Great.  There are more.  They are disgusting.  As I've worked through the shock and horror of all of this woman hating, I'm left with a few questions:

1.  What should I do as a woman?  That's kind of easy.  Make my voice heard.  Support the women in Virginia (and other places too, like Missouri).  Any one know good organizations?  I want to support them.

2. Why do these ass clowns want in my vagina so badly?  I'd like to warn them that my husband will jiu jitsu their asses.  Seriously though, please get out of my vagina.  And to their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, to their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, could you encourage them to please get out of my vagina?  Thanks.

3. Most importantly, and most difficult, what should I do as a mom?  How can I raise a good man who will opt to love over hate, who will respect people like him and people who aren't like him, who will understand that he has had incredible privilege, and instill the responsibility/value to help and empower those who have less?

Any ideas?  Things that your parents, friends, cousins did or do?  Things that you are doing?  This political mommy would love to hear them.

One final word, a shout out to my home state on the other side of the Potomac: we're celebrating gay marriage bills passing the House & Senate.  w00t! w00t!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

eating with ollie: questions about food

life with ollie has become quite a delight - smiles and giggles, chattering and singing.  he's a high energy little dude and i love that (most of the time).  and he's quite a comedian, quick to take in and make jokes.  our time together is so sweet and fun.

lately, ollie has been feeding himself little bits of food.  it's hilarious, as you can see, and he's quite into it.  until recently, ollie's been eating fruit, vegetables and some grains.  at our 9 month appointment the doctor noted that it was time to introduce protein into ollie's diet and this raised some questions for us.

right now, logan eats a vegan diet and i eat about 95% vegan.  i eat milk chocolate and occasionally cheese or yogurt or some meat.  but mostly, i eat grains and fruit and vegetables.  so the question is what should we feed ollie.

logan raised the question months ago, early in his vegan days.  at that time, i suggested that he should eat like me (70% vegan, 20% vegetarian, 10% carnivore).  since then though, my eating has shifted closer and closer to veganism.  so eating like me isn't the same thing.  it's almost vegan.

i asked our doctor about it.  she didn't seem judgemental: she admitted she didn't know enough to advise us and she suggested we talk to a nutritionist.  she did ask some questions, but they were pragmatic: what kind of milk would we switch to when he stopped breastfeeding?  what kinds of snacks would we offer?  she noted that her kids ate lots and lots of dairy.  she suggested that he could continue drinking breastmilk instead of transitioning to cow's milk.

there isn't a lot of info out there about a vegan diet for little kids, which makes me uncomfortable.  it isn't helped by the results of googling baby and vegan diet.  apparently there were some kooks killed their newborn by feeding the teeny one soymilk and applesauce.  who does that?  anyway, PETA needs to do some work on that google search because it's pretty awful.

but over the past few years, veganism has gotten a lot of great press: lots of public figures are eating vegan (Alec Baldwin & Bill Clinton, Mac Danzig & Carl Lewis), and the documentary & book Forks over Knives (streaming on Netflix) have gotten great reviews.  even the USDA has agreed it's a healthy way to eat!   i saw the documentary and read some of the books & studies and they are compelling.  so compelling that i'm eating 95% vegan.  but making a decision for myself is different than making it for my child.

i've heard folks argue that people shouldn't choose for their child whether he/she eats meat or not; they should allow the child to make that decision.  of course, i find that ridiculous.  i'm going to make LOTS of decisions about my son's nutrition (no soda, no fast food, we're staying away from canned food, we prefer organic,  et al.) and i'm comfortable with that.  it's just that babies can be finicky and selective and i want to make sure that we can provide appropriate nutrition for him and his tastes.

for now, we're doing a little dairy (we found that ollie loves yogurt) and we're looking for a nutritionist to consult.  more on to vegan or not to vegan as we continue to learn.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy holidays?!: times flies with a wiggle worm

Who knew wiggle worm would be such an apt nickname for little Ollie?  But it is.  He's fearless --incredibly energetic and physical.  If he's awake, he's in motion.  Even as a tiny little newborn, he was regularly busting out of his swaddle so that he could wriggle around freely and his energy is not waning.

In early November, the crawling began.  He started sitting up a couple of days later, and by the end of the month, he was easily pulling himself up into a stand.

His caregivers at daycare welcome me at the end of every daycare day with, "he's been climbing around all day," or, "he's going to be walking soon."  His mobility has become quite an asset at daycare where he is the only little one crawling.  That is to say, there is little competition for toys and Ollie happily goes after and takes the toys that he wants.  I can't help but wonder if this is foreshadowing.

As a mama, I'm incredibly proud of my baby's physical developments.  It's a funny part of parenthood.  The mundane has never been so exciting or fulfilling.  Who knew I'd be so amazed to see a baby sit up?  But I was, and honestly, I find all of his learning awesome.

Time has sped by nearly as rapidly as Ollie's grown.  Over seven months already?!  I'm back to work full-time and juggling a full schedule.  It's intense -- lots of work, relationships and loving packed into every day.  It's 80% amazing, 20% bewildering and always tiring.  In fact, I learned that one of my working mama friends is pregnant with her second and it struck me as so brave.  (She's always been inspiring and it continues.)  I think that shows where I am in my development as mother; still a little overwhelmed.

The holidays have been a lot of fun so far.  Logan and I put up our tree, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Santa Mouse entered the reading rotation and Logan and I set our DVR to record A Chipmunk Christmas.  We brought Ollie for his first CT visit.  We enjoyed lots of quality family time, including a great visit with Ollie's cousins Nick & Emma.  There was a little too much traveling though (Thanksgiving was in FL and Christmas in CT).  We're looking forward to a relaxing New Year's.

Wishing all of you a fabulous holiday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Downtime and a game of sorts

Ollie & Logan this past Monday
Well, it's nearly 11pm on a Sunday night and my house is unusually quiet - both Logan and Ollie are snoozing - and I have some energy.  When I have downtime, which is a rare occasion, I never know what to do with myself and I usually end up blowing this precious commodity on chores and errands.  Tonight though is different.  I'm going to think.

Before entering babyland, I used to think.  A lot.  Maybe too much.  Since my entry, gratuitous thinking has plummeted in priority.  I mean I still think a lot, but it goes like this:

"When did Ollie eat last?  I think 1.5 hours ago.  I should feed him again and put him down for a nap.  What do I need to focus on for work?  I need to write that report for the [fill in the blank] foundation.   That's right.  And I need to ask my colleague about our contacts database.  Good.  Okay.  Did I call the electrician?  I need to get Logan to bring the drywall guys back to sand and paint.  When did I shower last?  Crap.  I need to take a shower!"

It doesn't even feel like real thinking.

Lately, I've been wanting to think, reflect.  I've been reading Lamott's Operation Manual -- which I wouldn't recommend for other new moms* --  and last night I was reading a passage that I found so perfect that I wanted to write it down and carry it around with me.  And I don't ever write down passages from books or poems.  It's been so hard to capture how I feel as a new mom without using cliches, and even when I use them, they still don't seem to do my feelings justice.  Lamott's a genius though and gets at one of the sweetest aspects of motherhood.

Let me give a bit of context: she writes in the first person, her new baby is Sam, and Peg is her friend.

"Peg had treated herself to a manicure the day before, and she told me that the manicurist had her soak her fingertips in a bowl of warm soapy water and marbles, of all things.  "What were the marbles for?" I asked.  "So that your fingers don't get bored," she replied.  "So they have something friendly to do while they're soaking.  It was lovely.  They clicked softly between your fingers, and the water was like velvet."  I've never had a manicure, but I could picture and hear it perfectly.  It made me think of how Sam is in my mind when we are apart.  In the old days, before Sam, my mind would be filled with fantasies and ambitious thoughts and terrible worry about every aspect of my life, including global starvation and the environment and nuclear power and weapons and friend dying, and now that all still goes on, but there are a lot of times in a very real sense when images of him give my mind something friendly to play with, something lovely for a change to click between its fingers."

I'm introspective.  I care.  I'm a worrier by nature and I seem to lean toward feelings of anxiety and sadness.  My brain just spins and spins, and too often swims with the fears and darkness.  But now, I have this all-consuming addition to my life and my mind gets to delight in him instead of stress or sadness or anger.  This is not to say that those feelings are gone (ask my husband, he'll tell you), but the empty spaces that used to be filled with that crap are now brimming with Ollie.  And you've seen him, how great is that?  It feels so incredibly special and is probably the reason why those close to me keep on remarking about how happy I seem.
Ollie snoozing at my office on Friday

Ollie goes for his 4 month well visit this week.  In anticipation of more vaccinations, Logan is joining me;  I feel like I shouldn't be by myself for that sadness.  Of course, this time, I'm ready with a pre-visit dose of kids tylenol.

I'm so excited to see how big Ollie is now.  He started out on the light side, at the 20th percentile, and he's been moving up the chart with each visit.  At our 2 month appointment he was in the 40th percentile and I suspect that he's moved across the average line.  I tried to get Logan to participate in a "who can guess how big Ollie is?" game.  He participated, but half-heartedly.  Do you want to guess?  At his 2 month visit, he was 12 lbs. 10 oz.  I've posted a couple of recent pictures.  I'll report back later this week.

It's almost 11:15pm now and I still have half a beer and probably half an hour before I send myself to bed.  So, I'm going to go sit quietly and think.

*LaMott is incredibly skillful at conveying the highs and lows of the first year she spent with her son and this book is very funny and moving.  I really related to the range of intense emotions that she experienced, but her lows are really low (and far lower than mine).  The fact that I related to them freaked me out.  I just didn't want to connect with her through those moments.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

going, going, gone

well, there's no leaving ollie unattended for a minute anymore.  this little guy is on the move.  while he's not crawling yet, ollie has perfected the inchworm scoot.  2 weeks ago, i watched as he scooted his way from one side of our bed to the other.  it was amazing, but marked a new era.  this little guy needs to be under my watchful eye all the time now.

Ollie checks out his new mobile
and this isn't the only change that's happened.  ollie has moved into his own place!  well, his own room.  he is now residing in his crib with the lambs and a sweet new mobile.  i thought this was going to be a hurdle of sorts, but really, the only one hurdling anything was me leaping over my anxiety.  i'd gotten very accustomed to ollie's constant presence and i miss him when he's not at my side.

which brings us to our next change.  ollie is going to start daycare in 2 weeks.  this week, he'll go for 2 2-hour stays.  and the following week, he'll start going 2 full days a week.  i've had a few breakdowns about this: i don't want a stranger caring for my child.  i don't want him to be so far from me.  i don't want to miss out on anything.

the reality is that he's been incredibly engaged by daycare during our visits - by the staff and more, the other kids.  i think that he'll really enjoy having some buddies.  it's just mom that needs to get used to it.

we'll see how next week goes.  more on the upcoming changes then.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ollie gets his first cold

Ollie thought my whistling
was hilarious.

Dear Ollie, 

Last night, I watched while you slept, making sure that, in spite of the phlegm and congestion, you were still breathing.  I know it's only a cold, but you're still so tiny, just 3 months old, and seeing and hearing you struggle with coughs and congestion has been heartbreaking and scary.  

It is during this cold that you acquired the bright blue humidifier in the shape of a penguin.  I'm guessing that one day it'll have a good name, like Chilly or Bluebell.  Shockingly, this goofy humidifier was rated the second best according to Consumer Reports.  

It is also the time that your mom became skilled with a Nosefrida.  Who knew that I'd need to develop the capacity to clear your nose of snot?  Truth be told though, I'm not nearly as good as your dad is.  

And it was the probably the first time that I realized that your safety is only partially in my control.  We've kept you from being overly exposed to germy people.  We're always good about washing hands.  But, germs are sneaky.  And your immune system, despite the breastfeeding boost, just wasn't strong enough to fight this cold before it started.  

Today, you're clearly feeling better - lots of wiggling and smiles and far fewer sniffs and coughs and sneezes.  You seemed to think that my whistling was hilarious and didn't need nearly as much sleep as you did yesterday.

I'm sure that tomorrow you'll feel even better and next time you bump up against this virus, you'll be well prepared to kick its butt.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Mom, I only have eyes for you (and by you, I mean your boobs)

Ollie is 12 weeks now, decked out in a
shirt crafted by our friend Kate Coventry.
Well, we have encountered a new hurdle in our efforts to feed baby Ollie - he's started to refuse a bottle.  In the first weeks of life, we got the okay to start bottle feeding Ollie to give my breasts a break.  I was pumping anyway to get my supply up.  So, a couple of times a day, Ollie would get a bottle.  It was great because Logan and grandmas all got to feed Ollie.  By 8 weeks though, I could handle all the feedings, so we cut way back on bottle feeding.  I know now that this was a mistake.

Because then it happened.  Ollie just said no to the bottle.

After a few tries & rejections, we went to the internet & our lactation consultant to get some help.  The frustrating thing is that the most frequent & stressed suggestion is that Mom needs to absent herself.  Spending my days with Ollie, I feel like I'm best placed to work with him, but I did it.

And it helped.  Ollie took a bottle from my mom.  We thought that we were in business.  And then he rejected it from us (me and Logan).

So, we spent the week working with Ollie.  This stuff is really hard because the last thing in the world anyone wants to do is see their baby cry.  And that bottle could really make him cry.  I would try and give it to him, not pushing it for feeding, but just trying to get him to take it.  There was lots of cooing and cajoling and congratulations every time he would take it.  Logan continued to try and do feedings, but didn't have great success.

We were working hard because Logan's parents were coming to visit and Logan and I had planned a night out for our anniversary.  I was so reluctant to leave Ollie if he wouldn't take a bottle -- I didn't want my little guy to go hungry -- that I cried on the way to meet my husband.  It was purely emotional.  Intellectually, I knew Ollie would be fine, but apparently, my brain doesn't win in every situation.

Needless to say, I was so relieved to get the text that Ollie took a bottle from Logan's mom and was snoozing away.  In fact, he bottle fed a few times during their visit!  Since, he's done a couple of short feedings with his dad.  Not major eating, but it's progress.  Hopefully, in a few weeks, he'll be a bottle feeding pro again.  It's important because we're hoping to start daycare part-time in the next couple of months.  I've been told that tenacity is the name of the game.  Let's hope we can keep it up!