Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 72-Hour Challenge

I am 68 hours into my challenge not to speak to Peter in an exasperated tone of voice.

It had hit me that his own voice of frustration, which has been irritating me to no end, had to come from somewhere. Perhaps he learned it at school. Perhaps it's just part of human nature. The more likely scenario, though, is that he picked it up from the person with whom he spends most of his time. Who am I to say, "Speak nicely please-- I do not like that tone of voice" when I am guilty myself?

With four hours left, I've done well. There have been a few instances when I started his name with an frustrated "Pe-" but caught myself by the end of his name with a falsetto "-ter." I've also noticed what triggers me, like when he makes a loud noise, particularly if his sister is sleeping, or when he stalls after I've given him instructions.

Peter, meanwhile, is less combative than he was three days ago. Is it a fluke? Like a lot of kids his age, he slips in and out of moods so inexplicably, it's hard to tell. Yet I do know that "a harsh word stirs up anger, but a soft anger turns away wrath." As long I as speak in an angry, impatient tone, I can expect the same in return. If I can soften my responses, then maybe, just maybe, I can soothe his stormy blasts. Some of them, anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"She's just using you as a pacifier."

I hear this now and then. And it's true! Since my daughter still refuses-- despite my repeated efforts-- to take a plastic nipple, she often gets the real thing instead. I believe strongly in the value of non-nutritive sucking to relieve a baby's tension and even mitigate pain.

Lately, though, I find myself bristling more and more when someone makes the above comment to me. It's not the words themselves, which are of course true. It's the derogatory tone that accompanies them, the implied criticism-- the implication that I ought to be enlightened to my baby's "manipulation."

No one stops to think that a pacifier is a substitute. A highly-convenient substitute, but a substitute nonetheless. Yet did anyone ever look at my son sucking away on his pacifier and say, "He's just using that thing as a breast"?

Why do we act as if the pacifier were nature's way of settling a baby, and non-nutritive suckling at the breast a bizarre aberration that needs correction?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Confessions of a Facebook Whore

After hearing my sisters-in-law discuss their facebook interaction, I finally felt left out enough to take the plunge. I'd create a profile, hook up with a couple of other very close friends, and check my page once a week or so.

Then I got there. I realized that there was this huge party that had been going on without me for months and months. When I had ten friend requests within two hours, I felt like the prettiest girl in the room. How did these people find me? And what fun I'd have catching up with old friends!

If by "catching up" you mean glancing at a few pictures to see who had gone blond, let themselves go, or had a slew of children.

When the cheapness of it all hit me, I decided that I'd confirm anyone who added me as a friend, but I wouldn't add any more friends myself. I didn't want a list too long to keep up with. I wanted a list of meaningful relationships.

My integrity lasted... oh, five minutes. The genius of facebook is that you can't look at someone's wall without becoming their "friend." So maybe I would go ahead and add some of my old sorority sisters as friends. I mean, as long as we were friends once upon a time. It wasn't quite as random as the friend requests I was getting from girls who just happened to have lived in the freshman dorm with me. But, oh, there's that funny guy who was in my art class!

...One weekend and fifty--no, sixty now!-- friends later, I'm watching for signs of a communicable disease.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Pilots

God has a literary mind. He created a perfect foil. In a week's time, one pilot tries to save his hide by creating a fake distress call, ejecting himself from the plane, then allowing the plane to crash itself into water at a very short distance from a subdivision--

while another pilot saves saves his passengers and crew with an emergency landing and rescue in the Hudson River? A perfect foil.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Has My Blogging Come to This?

A semi-weekly recounting of my lactation status?

Why, as a matter of fact, it has.

So I've discovered the biggest culprit in my overactive letdown. It seems to be most strong when Charlotte takes a really long afternoon nap as opposed to two shorter ones. Well, duh. Why does it take me so long to realize the most obvious things?

Much broken-up, back-lying nursing to get us through this evening... She's not as fussy as she's been so many previous evenings, though. I'm no longer concerned about my diet.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Big Brothers.

Can't live with 'em, can't sell 'em to the highest bidder.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Fire Hydrant Update

Could it be that things have slowed down? We've gotten several quiet evenings under our belt (the first in weeks), most of them with frequent nursing sessions spent on my back. Last night, however, was best of all: I was able to nurse in a "normal" posture without a peep from Charlotte. I got to watch the SEC prove its superiority for the third year in a row without lifting my bottom from the couch, while my baby alternately nursed and slept on my chest in total peace.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Off My Game

We've not had a good morning. We've not had a good week.

Peter and I, that is.

In my adult relationships, I've long clung to the maxim that you can't control what other people do, but you can control how you react. I'm realizing my need to apply this to life with a two-year-old.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Evening Fussiness, Part II

I take it back. I'm ready to have my evenings again, and I count the days until my infant gives up the evening nap and goes to bed early instead. Why?

First, I miss the alone time with my husband. We both get up too early to stay up after Charlotte goes to bed, which means our only waking hours sans kids is during their weekend naps.

Second, my letdown in the evenings has become aggressive, to say the least. This ticks off Charlotte, who would prefer a water fountain to a fire hose. Since she's already fussy at night to begin with, and she refuses to take comfort from a swing or a pacifier, we're stuck. Her source of comfort is now a source of pain, and many nights she has cried herself to sleep in my arms.

To lessen the deluge, I have to nurse lying flat on my back, which is not terribly conducive to watching movies or reading a good book.

Alternatively, I can soothe Charlotte by walking around the house with her, but that gets old fast.

So now I'm ready to get at the source of this evening fussiness. I was ready to try the Dr. Sears elimination diet-- until I read it. The thought of surviving two weeks on rice, potatoes, and pears is not particularly attractive. I could give up dairy, which is only slightly more appealing. But it would be a hard blow. It might be worth having a fussy baby in the evening as long as I can eat cheese.

Many folks have urged to me to talk to her doctor about reflux. This I will do-- but it won't necessarily solve things. My husband, normally the more "mainstream" of us, doesn't like the risks of medicating an infant whose symptoms aren't severe. And since Charlotte can be soothed without the meds, and she's still delightful during the day, I don't think it's time for prilosec.

Or is it?

Oh, what to do!