I blame the baby

Suddenly I feel very very OLD

I usually go visit my dad on Thursdays. (He's a house husband now. We hang out and he tells me about all the things he cleaned that week and then he makes dinner for when my mom and Phillip get home from work. It's very nice.) Sometime on Thursday my back started to hurt. Just a little.

Friday I told some people: Yeah, my back hurt yesterday, but I'm feeling a lot better today.

Saturday Phillip had to go to work on servers or whatever. I had a babysitter coming because I was going to go to a party. A party with bloggers and wine. But then the snow came. Now, I know there are some people who see a dusting of snow and think, "Feh!" I see snow and think, "Well, I hope we have enough food in the house because I'm not driving anywhere." Snow brings out the terrified flunked-parallel-parking-on-her-driver's-test girl in me. And I was going to have to drive FAR AWAY. (Note: anywhere requiring me to drive across one of the hateful bridges is FAR AWAY.)

So yeah. I stayed home. Phillip left to go to work. (Note: I hate being an IT widow. HATE.) The boy and I played on the floor. And my back got worse.

SO MUCH WORSE.

People, I am 28 years old. I am the farthest thing from a gym rat, but I feel reasonably healthy. I haven't had back problems before. I hadn't done anything strenuous, like lift up my car, or carry my groceries home on my head, or perform acrobatics with my small child. As far as I knew the only thing I'd done was bend down to pick him up.

But within an hour I couldn't move. I am not even kidding. I couldn't tip my chin forward. I couldn't sit down. I couldn't lie down. I finally dropped Jackson into the exersaucer so I could try and find a way to sit comfortably on the couch. THAT was impossible and Jackson was getting bored. So I tried to pick him up AND I COULDN'T. I might have started crying.

My sister called in the middle of this as she has taken it upon herself to find me a pair of suitable black dress shoes to wear to my husband's Christmas party. (This is another story entirely.) And while she was describing a pair of peep toe pumps, I said, "Can you come over? To carry the baby upstairs?"

Oh man, it was so bad you guys. I think it was, quite possibly, the hardest thing I have done since I had this kid. Because you can't just leave him on the floor. Or not feed him. Or not put him to bed. You have to do these things, even though you start wishing you had a bottle of Vicodin in your pocket like.Dr. House. (Speaking of, that reminds me of my extra bottle of Percocet hanging out upstairs. I KNEW it'd come in handy!)

Of course Jack wouldn't go to sleep either. Between seven and midnight I was rushing upstairs every half hour to pop a pacifier back in and shush him back to sleep. And I couldn't sleep, although when your husband is updating servers until 3 in the morning, you're not going to sleep much anyway. (HATE.)

But Sunday, thanks to Phillip all the work and a half bottle of Advil, I was much better. So much better. Things were definitely looking up. I'd have no problem taking care of Jack by myself on Monday.

Until the IT people called at six in the morning, which meant Phillip had to Take Care Of Something downstairs which meant he wasn't around when the alarm went off. I hate the alarm clock almost as much as I hate IT emergencies, so I rolled over and smacked it.

And now? I am counting down the hours until my mother-in-law gets here and can pick up the baby for me. This is miserable. He's playing on the floor and every couple of minutes I stand up and kick the toys back within his reach. Pretty soon he'll need a nap and I have no idea how I'm going to pick him up, let alone put him in the crib.

WHAT DO I DO?

***Because a thrown out back does not prevent me from online shopping, I may or may not buy a Maclaren Quest stroller today at a very lovely discount. With free shipping! Thoughts? One very helpful trendy children's store employee told me that the Maclaren was 100x better than all the other strollers I was considering. (Although I've heard the Triumph is also good- and cheaper!) What sayeth the Internet? P.S. I want small, compact, easy to steer, for city strolling and lake walking and mall driving. Anything that tells me the temperature outside or could fit a grown adult or fly me to the moon is not an option.***


Day 18

The Evil Weight Loss Challenge ends Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. This morning I weighed in at my lowest weight since having the baby. But then?

I ate pumpkin bread pudding. I ate an egg dish full of potatoes. I ate toast with butter and jam. (Raspberry peach jam! Delicious!) I drank a mimosa or two.

Then I washed all the dishes and slept through the Seahawks game and cheered myself up by thinking about the light salad I planned to eat for dinner. But then?

I went to a one-year-old's birthday party. And stayed after everyone else had gone home. And ate the pizza the one-year-old's parents ordered for dinner. And two pieces of cake. TWO PIECES OF CAKE. Do not look at me like that. The cake was from here, aka God's Own Bakery.

I am fairly certain I will not weigh in at my lowest weight tomorrow morning.

Actually, I don't think I will weigh myself tomorrow morning at all. I am a glutton for cake, not for punishment.

Even if I hadn't eaten my weight in carbohydrates today there's no way I'd lose enough to win the Evil Weight Loss Challenge. Because this woman has lost eleven freaking pounds, running laps around the rest of us slackers. SIGH.

Before I started putting food in my mouth today, I had only seven pounds left to lose. Well, to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which wasn't particularly stellar or anything, but getting back to that number would do wonders for my psyche. I haven't been morose about weight for a while simply because I've lost enough to fit back into my regular clothes (most of them) and having clothes that fit you makes a huge difference. Even though some things that fit me at this weight pre-baby don't fit right anymore, I'm not having to make desperate runs to Old Navy to find something that won't offend the old ladies at church. My fat jeans are once again my fat jeans, not the ones I wear every single day. My shirts suddenly seem long enough again, my sweaters fit, I don't wear pajama pants all day long. I've still got seven left to lose, and when I lose that seven I'll want to lose a whole lot more, but I've stopped crying about the way I look. Over a year later I finally feel like I've got my body back.


This mom thing is for the birds

I really like my hair. Not my hairstyle, per se, although I recently got an expensive haircut at a fancy salon and it's true what they say: you get what you pay for. But I've always had hair that made other people say things like, "So shiny!" and "How pretty!" It's straight, but not stick straight. It doesn't frizz. It generally does what it's told. It's not perfect hair: it takes twelve cans of hairspray to hold a curl, I have to wash it every day and it can get pretty flat and limp. But for someone who is not a fan, necessarily, of her physical self, I am pretty cool with my hair.

Also, people tend to think it's thicker than it really is. A friend of mine was surprised I could hold up my (formerly long) hair in one little bear claw clip. When I put it in a pony tail I have to wrap the rubber band about fifty gajillion times before it's tight. And all of this is important because

OH MY GOD I AM GOING BALD.

For weeks now it's been falling out. I was told this would happen. I wasn't surprised. Dismayed, yes, but surprised? I've been expecting it since I was old enough to hear my mother complaining about her hair loss. It starts in the shower when I'm washing it. I have to rinse the hair off my hands every 30 seconds. Then it falls onto the floor when I'm drying it with a towel. Then I yank some more out when I comb through it. Then I carpet the floor and sink with more hair when I'm blow drying. As a final touch, my grabby boy will pull a few extra strands and try and stuff them in his mouth. It's FABULOUS.

I've been okay with this. It happens to pretty much everyone. And I still have hair on my head, right? You can't tell that I'm going bald, right?

WRONG!

This morning I decided I would actually look presentable for church. (Novel idea!) I wore pants that weren't jeans. I put on make up. I wore dangly earrings. And I attempted to do my hair. AND OH GOD, INTERNET. I HAVE A RECEDING HAIRLINE.

This is where I would include a picture, except, NOT.

You know where your bangs meet the sides of your head? That little corner? Where some people have tons of hair and other people (like me) have wispier finer strands? Well, on my head, even the wispier strands are gone. Poof! I haven't noticed because my hair is too short to pull back in a ponytail, so I haven't been brushing it away from my head. But today when I was drying it I noticed it was a little thin. And then I realized that "a little thin" was more like "completely absent". Even scarier is that I am not going symmetrically bald. The hairless patch on the right side is definitely larger than the hairless patch on the left.

No more ponytails for me, Internet. No more pulling my hair back EVER. Is there anyone out there with a five-year-old? A twelve-year-old? A sixteen-year-old? Tell me it grows back. Please? TELL ME IT GROWS BACK.

There is simply no dignity in having a baby. First you get sick and everyone hears you throwing up. Then you get fat. Then you discover you can't always hide inappropriate bodily functions in public. Then you go into labor and dignity and modesty fly completely out the window. Then you are a post-partum mess. Then you can't fit into your old pants. Then you have to figure out how to feed the baby when someone else is in the room. Then you don't have time to take a shower. Then your kid takes an hour to be rocked to sleep while your friends are downstairs saying, "Can't you just put him in his bed and turn out the light?" Then you want to kill those people. And then? YOUR HAIR STARTS FALLING OUT.

On behalf of the mothers of the world: God? Can we please catch a break?


Am I actually going to hit Publish?!

This one is going to be about boobs. If you know me in real life, can you just pretend you didn't read this?

Anyway. I am going to say something a lot of you probably won't like. That being: this breastfeeding thing is waaaay overrated.

I understand that's up for debate. And I hear there's something about the nutritional value of breastmilk? As opposed to formula? Or something about the immunities? Antibodies? Breastfed babies being Noble Prize winners as opposed to formula fed losers, such as myself?

Sure sure, I had every intention of breastfeeding when Jackson was born. I was determined to try it, at least, and since everyone said if you could make it to the six week mark, you had it made, that was my goal. Six weeks! I could do it! After an initial two weeks of syringes and marathon pumping and two different lactation consultants, things were going swimmingly. I! Could feed! The baby! Of course, then six weeks brought the turning black and falling off episode that I've almost put out of my mind. That is when I started to get suspicious. Wasn't it supposed to get easier at six weeks? I gave myself another two weeks. I tried everything my friends and the internet and my LLL friend told me to do and at right about eight weeks, things magically resolved themselves. (I'm realizing this is a theme with new babies. Nothing you do actually matters. Sleep training, no sleep training, feeding, rolling, playing, napping- he'll just do what he wants to do when he wants to do it.)

So! If you have assumed that all is going well in the feeding the baby department, you'd be right. I haven't had any of the awful problems one associates with breastfeeding. No gross infections, no agonizing pain (my six week issue was due to latch problems, I'm pretty sure), no supply issues and, thank God, no problem with my kid taking a bottle from me or anyone else. Perfection!

But breastfeeding is HARDLY the special bonding time Dr. Sears and the army of lactivists told me it would be. First it was just logistically hard. Then it hurt. Then it was confusing. Then he started getting distracted. Then last night happened.

Last night! Our baby is still going to bed pretty well (minus the weirdness from Saturday night) and we put him down around 7. I tried to feed him beforehand, but he's not a nurse-to-sleep kind of kid and wasn't interested. I figured he'd wake up pretty soon because he hadn't eaten in a while. I was surprised, though, that he woke up only an hour later. Phillip tried to get him to go back to sleep at first, but after a while we figured he needed to eat or chew on a teether or something. I tried getting him to eat, but he'd yank his head off after only a few sucks. And then he'd YELL. A yell I haven't heard. It was bizarre. It was somewhere between, "The food in this joint blows!" and "What am I doing out of my cozy bed!"

Because he'd had some teething pain the day before, I sent Phillip to the fridge for those chilled teething rings. Jack was barely interested. I tried feeding him again and he bit me. (Again with the overrated!) Finally I handed him off to Phillip who said he was going to heat up a bottle.

He heated up a 2 ounce bottle. Jack drank the entire thing in seconds. I heated up another 4 ounces and he downed that too. Suddenly I realized he was hollering because THERE WAS NOTHING IN THERE TO EAT.

I sat on the couch and bawled for, oh, fifteen minutes. I am not a fan of breastfeeding. I think all the people who say it's so natural and bonds you and all that stuff just have babies who really like to breastfeed. I have nothing against formula. Quite honestly, I continue to breastfeed my kid because 1) it's a smidge more convenient than dashing up to make a bottle all the time and 2) IT'S FREE. Do not underestimate my cheapness. Besides, it's a whole lot easier for me than I thought it would be, so why not? I confess I've been thinking about switching to formula (and I'm going to start him on rice cereal in the next week), but even with all of that breastfeeding ambivalence, there I was bawling over my inability to feed my baby. FAILURE!

It felt a lot like the early days when I didn't know what Jack needed. At all. Was he tired? Hungry? Wet? Cranky? Lonely? It was a constant mystery. He's much easier to figure out these days and I don't get all freaked out about not getting something right the first time. I remembered that I'd stopped pumping for a few weeks (pumping is, by far, the biggest drag in the world) and when I started up again a day or two ago it wasn't, shall we say, productive. I figured that wasn't a big deal, because obviously my body had adjusted and my kid was obviously eating and gaining weight blah blah blah. Never did it occur to me that there wouldn't be any when the baby tried to EAT.

But maybe, just maybe, I am distraught at the thought of Jackson not wanting ME anymore?

I've slept on it, but I still don't know where I fall. Am I really that upset? Am I just annoyed because the whole incident made me think about weaning when I wasn't ready? We haven't had any problems today, so maybe it was just a one time thing. Am I more attached to this feeding thing than I thought? Or does it just enforce my whole breastfeeding is overrated theory?

And what I mean by overrated is the bonding thing. The natural thing. The spending time with your baby thing. MY kid (and who knows where he got this idea, being the child of Phillip and me) treats food as fuel. He is only interested in eating as long as nothing else is going on. He rarely nurses for comfort. He takes a bottle from anyone. Sometimes I think we're going to get comfy and settle in, but his legs kick and push against the the arm of the chair or the pillow or whatever's nearby. His hands are everywhere. He's loud and jerky and most of the time it feels like something we're both just having to endure. I'm envious of the women who nurse their sweet quiet babies in church. I'm not terribly modest, but I would like to be discreet- a near impossibility with my loud cranky eater. Even when he was too small to flail around, breastfeeding was a chore. How to position him? How to position myself? Pillows and chairs and stools and gah, what a production. And then you read in the Dr. Sears book about his wife giving a speech while breastfeeding her baby in a sling and you're all, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

So not being able to feed my baby last night was about failing as a mom or not wanting to give up breastfeeding. I'm hoping it was the first and a little nervous it might be the second.


Return of the chunk

I am winding down from a most excellent weekend with wonderful friends. Four couples, four babies, lots of talking and heaps of food make for a fabulous, if exhausting, time. Once I get my pictures uploaded I will treat you all to the four cutest hapa babies you've ever seen.

Of course, four babies means we are all exhausted on a level I've never quite experienced. And our kids were GOOD! Super nappers, happy with their toys, friendly with the grown ups, perfection in chubby packages. But still. Very tiring. Also,

Jackson

kept looking at me like, "What is up with all this noise, woman? Aren't you supposed to be the one taking care of me? Could you please shut those other babies up?"

Anyway, it is the food I would like to talk about right now. (What I should be doing instead: stripping off the spit up and slobbered on shirt, climbing into bed, ordering my husband to give me a foot rub. The things I do for you!)

So, the food. Cinnamon rolls. Noodles with peanut sauce. Salmon and rice. This crazy yummy chickpea and black bean and rice and chicken thing. Fricking VEGAN DOUGHNUTS. Before the weekend started I was completely in love with myself for having dropped two pounds in the last week. Two! That is two whole pounds more than I'd lost in, oh, about a month.

This morning I saw that I gained one of those pounds back. And tomorrow morning I will probably note that I have gained back the other as well. And all I have to say about that is: DAMN YOU, FRIENDS WHO KEEP FEEDING ME DELICIOUS CARBOHYDRATES! 

(And the wine. I may have had a bit of wine.) 

Seriously people. I am feeling the Carbo Loader Blues tonight. I was doing so well! Salads for lunch, meat and vegetables for dinner and sucking down low carb fudgsicles when tempted to throw back an entire bag of chocolate chips. But this weekend I ate my weight in rice and bread and noodles, not to mention hefty side orders of sweets. (We went here Saturday night! How could I help myself?!)

Here is the sad truth, Internet. Sweet adorable Jackson required forty-five pounds to bring him into this world. (Well, that’s how I like to think of it. I’m positive he needed all that ice cream.) Two weeks after his birth I’d lost about twelve pounds (two weeks being how long it was before I was brave enough to check. Perhaps I should have waited longer. Twelve pounds? Six of those were Jack!) Three and a half months later I’ve lost 28 pounds total. I have 17 more to go before I’m back to what I was when I got pregnant. (It would be 15, but no, I had to eat doughnuts this weekend. VEGAN doughnuts.)

When I put it that way it doesn’t sound so terrible. But I lost most of those 28 pounds pretty early on and the last month or so has been slow going. Those summer clothes never made it out of their plastic storage box. And the last 17 are the difference between the fat jeans I’ve been wearing all summer and the two sizes smaller stuff in the back of my closet.

I know I know. It’s called: Don’t Eat The Ice Cream, Moron. But what’s a personal website for if you can’t occasionally slop around in a bucket of self pity?

 

Oh, and all you people who are all, "Breastfeeding! It is a weight loss miracle!" You people are liars. Ly. Ers.

Sigh. 

I’m hoping to get a post up sometime soon about Three Months: A Whole New Baby and Do Everyone’s Husbands Play Dorky Board Games Requiring Miniature Plastic Fantasy Creatures You Can't Bear To Admit Actually Belong To Him Or Just Mine? But seriously, I was not kidding when I said my shirt was soaked with slobber. I'm starting to reek.


Pictures? Who wants pictures?

In lieu of a post that could be summarized thusly:

When the formula people sent me free cans in the mail I thought, "Gee, that's nice of them, but I'm going to breastfeed so they wasted their marketing money on me." But now I know that the formula people are evil marketing geniuses, because they didn't send those cans of formula to me just so I could try them out. They sent them to me so that in the middle of the night, when I am fairly certain a part of my anatomy is going to turn black and fall off, I will think to myself, "WHY AM I DOING THIS WHEN THERE IS A PAINLESS FOOD DELIVERY SYSTEM RIGHT IN MY CUPBOARD?"

I am going to post some pictures. Because I owe you some pictures. Also because I am dealing with the turning-black-and-falling-off situation fairly well (I think) and the first item on my coping plan is DO NOT OBSESS ABOUT THIS.

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How many hands does it take to dress a baby?

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Six weeks

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I'd smile, but I have a cramp in my neck.

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Jack in the Box. HAR HAR HAR

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THAT'S a smile.


Feeling sorry for myself is not my most attractive quality

Yesterday I went to visit a friend who had a baby one week ago. Said baby is the same size as my child, although my child is already one month old. She came out with the cord around her neck and let's just say my friend did not have the easiest time of things. Friend is doing quite well, considering, but visiting her made me feel about two inches big for having the gall to complain about anything. One month later I am feeling almost- almost!- back to normal. My baby is gaining weight (like crazy). I am going out and about, I haven't had to cook myself dinner since the beginning of May, my husband is still getting out of bed and getting me a glass of water at 3 in the morning and I have no end of lovely people wanting to watch the baby so I can take my holy shower.

But this is my website, which means I can write about whatever I want, including shallow whiny rants about things I have no business complaining about. So here I go.

DEAR UNIVERSE: CAN I PLEASE HAVE MY PRE-PREGNANCY BODY BACK?

And Internet, the pre-pregnancy body was nothing to write home about, certainly not worth a blog entry. My whole life I have been the chubby dark-haired girl with the glasses and the nose and the decidedly un-slender appendages. I have always been friends with skinny blond things and girls who know how to dress and wear their hair. Some time ago I made my peace with being the Fat Friend who could never borrow clothes or shop in the same section. I attempt to make up for it with my delightful personality and splendid sense of humor. I did manage to talk the Devastatingly Handsome Chinese Man into dating me, but still. My little sisters wear sizes I wore in the sixth grade. 

One day I decided I was going to lose some weight and lo, the angels appeared and seas were parted and it actually worked. I lost weight. Enough to necessitate new clothes. Enough so that I went and bought an Actual Swimsuit to wear on my trip to Hawaii, a swimsuit I wore in public, in front of people, people who could see.

And then? THEN I GOT PREGNANT.

Pregnancy? Not so bad. The only pregnancy symptom I had, in fact, was quickly growing out of everything I owned. I hated it. I may have written about it a time or two. I may have sent a moany email or three to internet friends who could commiserate with me. But about the time I started to look pregnant instead of pleasingly plump (this is what my grandmother calls fat. Isn't she sweet?) I snapped out of it. Sort of. "Self," I said sternly, "you are pregnant. You are growing another person. It is recommended, nay, required that you pack on a few pounds." And oh, I did. Hello weekly gallon of ice cream!

I wonder what I'd look like now if I hadn't told myself it was perfectly acceptable to devour that gallon of ice cream (and the garlic bread and the Hershey bars and the doughnuts people were continually bringing to the office.) I can spend an entire feeding session berating myself for these indulgences and then berating myself for feeling sorry for myself because BOO HOO. Like I was unaware that ice cream does not equal spinach.

My baby is a month old. I was not expecting to fit into my Hawaii swimsuit or the handful of sun dresses I bought last summer at this point. There was a reason I saved a lot of my "fat" clothes. What I didn't expect was that I'd be far from squeezing into my fat clothes, that I'd have to make emergency runs to Target and Old Navy to stock up on things I could wear in public. I can't live in my yoga pants and maternity tank tops forever. During the 80 degree week (and I don't care what you crazy Southerners say, 85 is HOT) I went and bought a pair of shorts in a size I have never worn before. EVER. And then I went home and died.

Nine months on, nine months off. Breastfeeding works miracles. Soon you'll be able to get out more and push that kid around the lake in his stroller. BLAH BLAH BLAH. I feel miserable NOW. Sunday morning I nearly threatened my husband with divorce for not waking me up in time to sit inside the closet and decide which of the four things that fit me would be acceptable to wear to church.

When I think about the hardest thing about having a new baby, this body image thing takes the cake. I know that means I am blessed with a fabulous kid, few feeding problems, a fantastic husband, enough sleep and lots of help. I know I have absolutely nothing to complain about. But then I go to get dressed in the morning and some of those mornings I could seriously crawl under the bed and sob. Except that is where I store my skirts and summer tops and I am working on forgetting they are there. My mom says hating what you look like is why women get post-partum depression and I almost believe her.

Okay. Sorry. I had no intention of sharing all of this with the INTERNET, but my other topic choices lately are incredibly un-bloggable (and oh, how sad for you!) and I have to write about SOMETHING. Right?

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The genes say: you won't have scrawny chicken legs forever, kid.