Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Busting an Infertility Myth

Resolve is a great organization aimed at increasing awareness about infertility. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, they are asking bloggers to bust myths about infertility. Here's mine: that after you become a parent, the hurts of infertility are magically healed.

Parenthood doesn't erase the effects of infertility. It doesn't just make you forget the hardship, the heartache. Infertility isn't forgotten the moment you become a parent. It's everpresent, pervasive, popping up when you least expect it.  It's the guilt that smacks you in the face when you feel frustrated with the baby who is up for the 4th time that night, because, by god, you asked, no begged, for this child.  It's hearing the statement, "oh, now that you've adopted it's just a matter of time before you get pregnant" and the sinking feeling when you smile sheepishly and said, "oh yeah, well, we'll see", knowing it's not going to happen. It's in feeling like you should explain and defend your decision to breastfeed your child, especially since you didn't give birth to him. Or how defeated you feel when you still have to supplement feedings because your body couldn't even do this one thing right (make enough breastmilk to sustain your child). It's the kick in the gut you get when a "friend" tells you that maybe the reason the baby wouldn't respond to efforts to get him to sleep at night is because "you don't know what his mom did while she was pregnant with him, or what kind of effect that has on him now, or will as he gets older". It's the anger and defensiveness that pop up when you're asked where your kids' "real parents" are. It's the sadness and protectiveness you feel when your child asks why no one in his family looks anything like him. It's the disbelief you feel when someone says "oh, you decided to become a parent the easy way. Lucky you". It's there. It's always there.

Today's lesson - while time certainly can take the edge off things, it doesn't necessarily heal all wounds.

Here are a couple of links with some info about Resolve and infertility:

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I know all these pictures are blurry. But it seems right to me that they are. The boys were playing together. It was adorable, and they really didn't stay still for more than a moment. And, you see, rarely do things stand still in my house. Heck, rarely do things stand still in life at all. And when you're sleep deprived - like for 6 months - things get really blurry, moving so fast it's hard to keep track, hard to remember what's going on around you.

Hard to remember all the smiles, in the midst of the exhaustion. Hard to remember the giggles, growling, squealing, belly laughs, when you've been sleeping only in 2-3 hour stretches for more than 6 months.

What you start to remember are all the long, long nights. The sad kid who doesn't want to sleep alone in his bed because nobody else in the house has to sleep alone (little does he know how much YOU would like to sleep alone, even if just for one night!). The tears of exhaustion when the baby wakes up for the 4th time that night, needing to be soothed back to sleep. The arguments with the spouse because you're both too tired to deal with it, whatever "it" may be that particular time. The constant redirections of the kid who misses being the center of the world, but adores his brother so much he would do anything to help him. The time you used to have to do things you enjoy, but now can't seem to find, or are simply too tired to engage in.
But then, one of these moments occurs, where you have the wherewithal to grab the camera and snap away. Because these moments are the ones that remind you why you wanted, want, to be a parent. They're the ones that remind you how much, even though you are really overwhelmingly exhausted, you love your life. They're the ones that negate all the sucky moments. They're the ones that you think of when a friend is trying to decide whether she wants to have kids. They're the most important ones. They're the ones that make all of the hard parts totally and completely worth it. They're the ones you can't imagine your life without. They're joy.

Today's lesson - Sometimes when you lose your cellphone, you should look in the freezer. It just might be there. Especially if you're sleep deprived. Apparently under certain circumstances, the freezer is the perfect - and logical - place to stash it, especially when your life is just a bit blurry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Push-ups, Yoga, or Crawling?

Not sure which of the 3 baby E's working on. It sure looks like the first two, though I of course suspect the third. Ya know, he started rolling from his belly to his back when he was just 3 and 1/2 months old. 3 months later he still hasn't learned to roll from his back to his belly. But he sure is working on this crawling thing.

And then it will be over. I will have two mobile, busy boys. I have visions of them heading in different directions, me not knowing who to chase after first. Of course, I'll have to go after the baby since I can verbally redirect the kid. But still. Life is about to get busier. Arguably more difficult. Certainly more mobile.

Just when things are getting a bit easier, because baby E will let us put him down for several minutes at a time, playing contentedly. He's working on sitting and is almost to the point where we can sit him on the floor and leave him there without fearing he'll fall right over. He's almost to that point where he has moments of being self-contained.

Today's lesson - Just when you think you've got some bit of a handle on this parenting thing, kids go and change. You must adapt. Or you kids will be heading off in different directions and  you'll have no idea who to chase first.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Food

So, we're not going to mention ever again the animal cracker incident. It didn't happen. Strike it from your memory. So, this is now the first you've heard about baby E starting solid foods! Isn't that exciting??!!! I thought so.

Here's a pic of the FIRST time baby E had food. If you can't see, and I can't imagine why you wouldn't be able to what with the awesome quality of this picture, it was asparagus. What? Your kid won't eat asparagus, you won't even eat asparagus?! Well, baby E loved it. He sucked and sucked on that piece of green. He sucked and gummed it so much, he even managed to get a few fibers off, not that he really noticed much. The kid, btw, also loves asparagus.

Then, baby E had some of these sweet potatoes, which he also loved! But, really, if you'd have tasted how sweet they were, you would have, too. I mean, the kid actually called them dessert, they were so sugary. and, no, I didn't, in traditional BLW style, let him just go at it on his own. We were at a restaurant, and about to take family pics. So, yes, I fed them to him with a spoon. Sue me.

Then he had a lemon and a couple of green beans at the Cracker Barrel (also a fan of these).

Since we've gotten home from vacation, he's had a couple pieces of orange (which was really funny because with the first one I just thought he'd suck on it a little, but I turned around and he had a death grip on it, looking at the kid like "dude, you even come close and I'll take you out", and when I looked back at him, the thing was gone. I mean he didn't eat the peel, but the meat of that thing was completely absent), a carrot stick (plain, even though my friend J kept trying to give him ranch dip with it - we're not quite ready for that), some avocado, some apple sticks (just sucked on them, and got really made at them for some reason), some banana, and...well, maybe that's it?

This is the apple - see how sad he looks about it?! He really wanted it though and I have no idea why he got so upset about it. It was kinda funny though.

Oh yeah, he had some pasta, too, which was this, not that you can really see the pasta in his hand all that well. He did really well with this, though.

This was post-orange. And, all that was left of the orange...

He seems to love food and really be ready for it now. He knows just what do with it and we've had no choking incidents (for those of you who said you were concerned about this with your kiddos). I was eating a cookie today and man did he get mad that I wouldn't give him a bite! He actually worked up some tears, poor little neglected creature. Maybe next week, buddy...yeah, probably not.

Today's lesson - I tend to sometimes have a hard time trusting my instincts, especially when they're questioned time after time by other (often well-intentioned people). For instance, people have been asking for MONTHS about whether baby E has had food. Now, I knew he wasn't ready, but I started to doubt that, what with so many people asking. Well, this past week or so, since we've started giving it to him has reminded me to trust those momma instincts. My baby is now ready for food. He's sitting well, his thrust reflux is gone, he can grab the food and put it in his own mouth. He is now ready. Before he wasn't. My instincts came through for me again. Thanks, momma-gut. I am reminded, once again, to listen to you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Growth Chart

Recently I wrote a blog post about how at baby E's 6 month check-up, the pediatrician said he was in the 10th% in both height and weight. I also said that it was according to the CDC's growth chart, a chart that was created based on a small sample of US babies, who were primarily formula fed. I found some research that supported that (yup, lost it now. I'm sure you can google it though). So, I went and found the WHO Chart. The WHO (aka World Health Organization) chart is based on a big sample of babies from several different countries who were exclusively breastfed for at least the first 4 months, and then most were still breastfeeding at 12 months. In general, the charts are quite different up until about 24 months, but then are more similar. 

So, as I said before, I was a little concerned about baby E's #s. Even though I knew he was healthy and growing and developing well, it was still a little worrisome to see it so low. Well, then I pulled up the WHO chart and guess what?  That's right, he's just below the 50th% on both height and weight. HA! Take THAT, stupid CDC! My baby's perfect, just like I knew he was.

Today's lesson - Actually, it looks like the CDC is now recommending that pediatricians use the WHO chart. Here's a little bit more info about it (here). I think this is awesome because too often breastfeeding moms are told their babes are too small, and thus they must not be producing enough. Yup, it's not actually the baby, the momma, or the milk that's the problem. It's the stupid chart. The short of it, trust your instincts, trust your baby, trust your milk (or in our case, trust all those other awesome mommas' milk).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

8 Lessons from Vacation

So here's what I learned from our vacation, little jewels I thought I'd pass on to you. And some pics we took on the beach our last night thrown in for decoration.

1. Both mosquito bites and sunburn are possible even in April. And it hurts to scratch sunburned mosquito bites.

2. Do some research beore you go about where you're going and at least have a general idea of your options, and what you'd like to do. Now, I am a planner by nature, but for some reason (probably because I didn't really believe that this vacation was going to happen), I had only a vague idea about what there was to do in Charleston. This led to more time than necessary spent researching while we were actually there, wasting precious vacation time. And may have induced a few squabbles.

3. When vacationing for more than a couple of days, only stay at places with in-room (in-condo) laundry facilities. It was awesome to come home with only 1 load of dirty laundry (between us all), instead of what noramlly would have been 6-7. The laundry seems to be one of the reasons I dread the end of trip so much. This made it so much less painful, and easier the day after, for sure.

4. Bring more toys than you think you will need for your 5yo. You think "oh we're going on vacation and we'll be too busy to need toys", but you forget that he gets up at the crack of dawn and will need something to entertain him. Otherwise he will come in and wake you up excessively early after you've been up every 2 hours with the baby. Yes, every morning.

5. Clean the house top to bottom before you leave for vacation. That way when you get home there are clean sheets on the beds, no stinky trash, the laundry is all put away, and all you have to do after your almost-12-hour-but-was-supposed-to-be-just-9-hour-car-ride is come in and sit down, grateful to be home.

6. Have reasonable expectations - about what you can do, about kids' behavior, about how long it will take to get places, and about how long it is reasonable to expect kids (or yourself!) to be in the car without breaks. Everyone is out of their routine, and probably not as well rested as normal (though, if you're me, you've not been well-rested in months, so it probably doesn't make much of a difference). This can lead to meltdowns, not sleeping as well (further perpetutating the cycle), etc...

7. Know your limits. For instance, my limit of car driving in one day is about 8 hours. After that I lose all sembalance of patience. The kid's limit is longer, if he has movies to watch. Baby E's limit is pretty short, about 4 hours.  Hubby's is pretty long, providing we don't get lost. If we're lost, it's about 3 minutes.

8. Lastly, take vacations more often. When your 5yo doesn't know what a vacation is, because the last one he went on was when he was 8 months old, you know there's a problem. Once every 4-5 years simply isn't adequate. Time for your family to experience new places and things is important. Time to just be, with nothing more pressing to do than be together, is paramountly important. Make it a priority.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beach: Final Day, baby E edition

Baby E here, for my last installment of our vacay adventures. On our last night, we went to dinner at some restaurant that Poppa picked. One of the reasons he apparently wanted to come to Charleston is because there's good food here. Not that I'd know that, but whatev'. I was all excited when they put me in the highchair. I thought "Finally! They're going to give me some for real food". But no. They were just pretty much teasing me. Well, maybe I got a couple of tastes, but Momma said she'd cover that with ya another day. At any rate, aren't I jaunty in my cute hat?

My awesome brother has gotten into coloring lately and he is supremely superb at it, as he is at like everything. I adore him. And his coloring.

The 'rents got yummy food and all I got (more or less) was this freakin' plate.

Us boys are cute, ain't we?

Here's Poppa's meal. He was a fan. It was shrimp and somethin'. He said he really wanted good seafood, and this, it seems, fit the bill.

Since momma doesn't "do" seafood, she had fried chicken. She said it was good, she guesses. It wasn't anything spectacular. The sweet potatoes, on the other hand, were delish'. I may have some inside knowledge about that.

So, this is me, baby E, signing off. Momma said to thank you for indulging me this week. She was just too relaxed to deal with blogging. I may be more interesting that her anyway. I'm sure she'll slack off and I'll have to take over for her soon enough. Momma returns tomorrow, with some final lessons from the road...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beach: Day 5, baby E edition

Baby E here again, documenting our last day of vacation. Can I just say, while none of us wants to go home, sleeping in my own bed would be nice. Hahahahaha!!! Who am I kidding?! I never sleep in my own bed so what difference does it make. Yeah, I'm a funny boy. I'll sleep, or rather won't sleep, anywhere ya put me. I did take a nice nap on the beach today though. It was refreshing.

This is what me and momma did while my brother played in the ocean with some new friends and Poppa took a little run. He wasn't gone very long because he said he realized he was missing all the fun. Momma said that was cute of him.

Ah, my awesomely awesome brother. He's a funny dude. He totally stuck his face down to look at the ocean floor and then this huge wave came up, smacking him in the face. Me and momma laughed hard at that one (but only, of course, because he surfaced giggling and tried to recreate it).

Poppa really likes making things in the sand. Today he did momma's foot in a flipflop, because that's all she wears all summer, and a crab. The two are completely unrelated, of course. Though the scale of the two is interesting... Something to ponder another day.

"Wait, what?!!!!!!! You are finally going to let me get in the ocean???!!!! Bring it on, woman!"

"Okay, here we go. Yeah, momma, just my toes to start, okay? Okay...What the...??!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DO hate the ocean. That stupid thing is freezing cold. Why in the heck would you put me in there??!! Get me out NOW!!!!!"

Momma said you can't see it in this pic, but I have actual tears because of that stupidly cold ocean. Yeah, it was cold. But, whatev' I'm allowed to cry because I am a baby and all. And, dude, seriously, it was flippin' cold. And, I don't get why everybody was laughing when I was so distraught. That was totally rude of them.

At least my brother loves me!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

(Semi) Beach Day 4: baby E edition

Baby E here again.  Our day started at the beach for an early walk. We were hoping to locate some sand dollars (and by we I mean my awesome brother wanted some and I'm happy to go anywhere he goes). Sand dollars were hiding, but we did find lots of starfish (which the kid and Poppa threw back into the ocean, of course).

My brother also found lots of jelly fish. They kinda freaked momma out. We figure the storm this morning brought them up on shore.

My brother is the best at posing  for pictures. One day I aspire to his level of awesomeness.

Then we went on a boat trip around the harbour. I'd post some of the pictures here, but I was asleep when Poppa took them so I don't know what they are. And Momma doesn't remember, so there ya go.

This is what my brother did while we were cruisin' around. Thus, he is of no assistance in labeling those pics either.

Then we took a horse drawn carriage ride. This is what I did.

Apparently we saw all these cool houses. But none of us knows what the deal is with them. Our driver was a little weird and was much more interested in telling us about the mules who were pulling us ('cause it was actually a mule-drawn carriage ride), than any of the actual info or history of the city.

Momma did catch that this row of houses is called "Rainbow Row". Yeah, that's about it.

Then we had dinner. It was good, but nothin' special (though I may have had another bite of real food. Momma said she'll go over that with ya another day). Aren't us boys cute, though?

Friday, April 8, 2011

(Non) Beach: Day 3, the Kid edition

The kid here today. Seems like all my little brudder did today was sleep, the little slacker, so I had to take over for him. You will see below how I have transformed our living room into my throne. It seems appropriate because I am "the living room king". Also like it when baby E is laying here with me.

First we went to the Children's Museum because, according to Momma and Poppa, it was supposed to be a yucky morning. However, by the time we got there it was a beautiful day.

I really liked the art room and the pirate ship  (ARGH, maties) room but for some reason those pictures came out all fuzzy. And, really, the water play room was my favorite. It. was. so. cool. like for real. Mostly I liked this room because I really love getting wet.

And then I had the biggest cupcake ever! (Momma says thanks to Ton for suggesting the place, which was aptly named "Cupcake") My cupcake was double chocolate with lemon frosting. And I ate it too fast for Poppa to get a pretty picture of it. It was really tasty and I liked getting messy.

Then we went to a plantation. Now, don't get me wrong, the place was pretty cool, but aren't plantations like big white houses, or something? This one didn't look like that at all (there's a pic of the house at the end). It was pretty fun though. Sadly, teenage girls were in short supply so I had to amuse myself in other ways. Like pretending to be a chipmunk.

And learning the secret of the magic pot (aka "old timey watering can"). Actually, it was not a magic pot, in case you were wondering.

And milking an actual cow. Her name was Annabelle. And I got to milk her while momma was milking baby E. I'm faster than her. But I sprayed some of the milk on my shoes. I don't think that's where it's supposed to go. I also learned that you always have to milk her from the side because she could kick you. And that would not be good, friends.

The gardens around were neat and there were lots of azaleas blooming everywhere (like thousands and thousands of them). I didn't like the bees, though.

Here's the house. See what I'm sayin' about how it looks? Momma said it looks like it belongs in the Netherlands more than on a plantation. I don't know what she's talking about. But that's nothing new...