Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


Cutting Back

Hi, Internets.

When I sat down to write this post, I found one I’d started on Friday.  I’m too sleepy to write that one now — it’s a rant about the sanctimonious label on the Bean’s formula package, and rants require pep — but you’ll get it someday.  Meanwhile:

I’m worn out partly because of ill-timed insomnia (is there any other kind?) and mostly because the Bean hit no fewer than four destructive and dangerous developmental milestones just this morning, continued to polish up some he picked up this weekend, and then melted down for most of the afternoon.  Bedtime could not come soon enough, yet when I finally popped him off my breast, instead of his usual routine of crying and scrambling to find it again (despite having looked asleep seconds previously), he sort of rolled over on my lap, looked up at me, and smiled.

So he lives to fight another day.  They are fiendish clever, these creatures.

He’s done lots of cool new things in the past week, too.  After months of merrily climbing up any stairs he sees, he has finally learned to go *down* them, too, carefully turning around and lowering his legs first, rather than pitching headlong off of them and face-planting.  He realized very quickly that he can use the same technique on slides, which means he can now go down them alone.  He is extremely pleased with himself.





On Sunday, we observed a crucial NYC rite of passage: Baby’s First Dim Sum.  It was an unqualified success, possibly because the Bean loves the friends who invited us, possibly because there were chopsticks and a booster seat that looked like a throne, possibly because countless waiters and waitresses and hall managers came by to flirt with him.  He ate a ton, attacking the unfamiliar food with a gusto generally reserved for small rocks.  (That’s right: the child literally prefers rocks to my cooking.  A mother weeps.)



All of that was a great deal more fun than the previous weekend.  Saturday a week ago, I pretty much lost my shit.  While attempting to recover some semblance of composure (read: whimpering in the shower), I came to the conclusion that the step that would most improve my life and temper is partially weaning the Bean.

Prior to the Bean’s birth, I had no particular designs on nursing past one year.  Then the first two unmedicated months were so horrible that I could barely imagine gritting my teeth through six months.  (I had this vision I knew was insane but needed to believe that the Bean would somehow go from no solid food to 100% solid food in, say, six hours.)  I laughed bitterly at the very idea that people were less than thrilled to be done breastfeeding; if it hadn’t been for native stubbornness and a healthy dose of Earth Mother guilt, I would have given the whole thing up at six weeks.  (Which would perhaps have been wiser, I thought once blessed nifedipine showed me how much better and more patient a mother I am when not in excruciating pain day and night, but that’s a story for another time.) Even once things were better, the Bean nursed so very, very much of the time (always far more than the books said) and breastfeeding carried such power to provoke anxiety in me (Why is he so skinny?  Is it because I don’t make enough milk?  Is my milk not rich enough?  Why does he need to eat so often?  Am I starving him?  et cetera)  that I wasn’t exactly sorry to think of being done.

But a funny thing happened after six months or so, when he started eating more food: I started to like it more.  I still don’t feel blissful or existentially fulfilled the way some people describe, but as a year got closer, I realized that I didn’t especially want to stop.  For one thing, I’d like to build more of a store of pleasant memories to offset the others.  The Bean, who had seemed fairly wean-able at nine months (which was right before we were traveling for Christmas and Hell, No, I was not about to lose that magic pacifier quality) had regained interest, too, and since my breasts seem to do fine with my not pumping when I’m at work, there wasn’t any reason to stop.

But.  For the last month or so, the Bean has been adding and elongating nursing sessions, such that, left unchecked, he will soon be nursing more than some newborns.  Until that started, he was nursing 4-6 times a day, for something like 30 minutes each (more for some, but less for 5 and 6, when he added them).  That was fine with me, but suddenly he started demanding more and more sessions, and it would often be more than an hour before I could remove him without wailing.  We joked that he had heard a rumor that something called “weaning” existed and was making damn sure he didn’t become another statistic.

I started remembering why I hadn’t liked nursing.  It’s exhausting, physically and emotionally.  I don’t like feeling like my body never belongs to me, that I can’t decide what to do with it when.  The hormone surges make me feel out of control, and making all that milk just wears me out.

So.  I’ve decided that while I’m not ready to wean, I am ready to lay down the law.  Four sessions a day: first thing in the morning, before each of two naps, and before bed.  No more “more.” He already eats tons of food, but I guess he’ll just have to replace those calories with more of it (and/or rocks).

But it turns out that I don’t know how to do that: everything I’ve heard and read about breastfeeding is all about how you always have to do it on demand, which obviously is more about the first few weeks than my situation, but I’ve nevertheless internalized that mindset and am having trouble shaking it.  I’ve gotten some advice that seems very sound — about giving him milk in a cup when he asks to nurse, making sure there’s still lots of cuddling (which he’s more into now that he’s older), distracting him with trips out of the house, and so on — but the past week’s battle of wills has been neither fun nor pretty.  Naturally, I also wonder if I’m being horrible, though the Bean’s nascent toddler-ness does harden my heart a bit: I do NOT like being yelled at.

So far, he’s resisting the whole scheme pretty hard.  I’ve only given in a couple of times, but not for want of being yelled and grabbed at.  Non-stop party over here.  The first day of the rest of I-don’t-really-want-to-know-how-many years, I realize.

Any advice, commiseration, moral condemnation?


Watch Your Language Acquisition

One plagiarism case documented, at the cost of two days of my unpaid vacation.  Two to go.  Unless I decide to pursue a couple of sketchy ones I haven’t reported yet….

Meanwhile, back at the phoneme ranch:

After Christmas, we visited Sugar’s family, including her almost-94-year-old grandmother, who wanted to play with the Bean, though she is too stiff to get down on the floor.  She gave him a set of blocks, and at one point, he was playing with them by her chair.  “Give me your toy,” she said.  “Give it to me.”  And the Bean looked at her, squatted down to pick up the nearest one, and put it in her hand.

Guess we’d better work on the cussing.  If you don’t start young, they never learn how to do it properly.

Sugar said this weekend that the Bean was saying Mama in a way that definitely meant me, not just as part of his near ceaseless babble.  I had thought he maybe was, but I hadn’t mentioned it because I didn’t want to sound like…that mom.  But within a day, it became undeniably true. This makes me so melty I almost forgive him for having now, in possession of 6 teeth, completely forgotten how to unlatch from the boob short of just scraping his way off, jaws mostly closed.

It’s possible “mama” also means “muffin.”  We made a batch of pumpkin muffins, because Sugar and I were sick of eating banana bread, which has been the Bean’s obsession this past month.  He liked the muffins, too, but now we are out of them.  So we took the last loaf of banana bread out of the freezer, and he is overjoyed.  I handed him a piece this morning — while talking about it, because as you might suppose, I talk a blue streak — and as he grabbed it, eyes alight, I swear he said, “nana!”


Just In Case

Just in case you were afraid this was becoming one of those smug blogs where we only write about how awesome our lives are, I thought I should tell you that, after two days of solid Freak Out on my part about whether my milk was suddenly running dry, I’ve realized that the latest nighttime hell is most likely the infamous 8-month sleep regression.

Silly me; I thought maybe we would somehow get to skip that, SINCE THE BEAN HAS NEVER FUCKING SLEPT the way I keep hearing about other babies doing.

Special thanks to the folks across the street, who are paving the g-d parking lot during his “oh fuck, I forgot to sleep last night” nap, meaning I am stuck awake with eyes that feel like gravel.


P.S. Why do I read the comments on Ask Moxie? They only ever make me weep with hopelessness and bitter envy.


A Long Ramble, Mostly About Food

The sad fact is, I’ve been working on this post for over a week.  Just thought I’d mention that, lest you feel forgotten.

Hey there, people of the internet.  I think of you all the time.  We are all happy and well, but this whole “working with a baby” thing turns out to be — surprise — kind of hard.  Let’s not talk about just how many papers I get graded while chasing our now highly-mobile Bean from deathtrap to deathtrap in the apartment, let alone how much reading I get done for the (totally fascinating!) graduate-level class I’m assisting for in addition to my usual courses, despite having… minimal qualifications in the field.  Bad enough slogging through hundreds of pages of almost comically granular scholarship as a student; now there is the terrifying and very real possibility that I will at any moment be asked to facilitate a group discussion on some arcane point I only dimly remember.  It is really fun, I must admit, to be learning about a new topic; I wish I could talk your ears off about it, but I’m a little chicken that the graduate program in question is unusual enough that doing so could make me vulnerable to googling.  But if you notice feats of more-than-usually-spectacular nerdiness in future posts, this might be why.

The Bean is more charming every day.  No, he still doesn’t really sleep.  But he does crawl like a maniac, pull to stand at every opportunity, and perform constant experiments in balance of the kind that seem to spell E-A-R-L-Y W-A-L-K-E-R.  We are proud and terrified.  He has two teeth and known how to use ‘em.  He interacts more and more with other kids and babies, which I find unexpectedly thrilling.  He seems to like us, too; when Sugar was laid up while taking care of him, he seemed to be telling her jokes by throwing himself backwards onto the bed pillows in exaggerated gestures of lost balance and then cracking himself up, and when I was bedridden the next week (WTF?), he took three naps with me.  He loves being kissed (and zerberted), and sometimes he grabs our faces and sort of rubs his open mouth on us, which I like to think is an attempt at reciprocation, though he might just be practicing being a lamprey.  This Sunday, Sugar brought him to bed to nurse in the morning, and afterwards, he lay between us, touching us and smiling at us and generally looking so very happy to be all together.  Then he caught sight of the cat, and Sugar and I saw what JOY looks like.  Ah, well.  They’ll have to keep us around at least until he can work the can opener.


He crawls


He stands.


He makes friends.

The other thing he does is EAT.  A while back, Turia suggested a post about how we are handling food, so here is an attempt to get that done before he’s ordering his own cheeseburgers.  If he doesn’t have an awful reaction to tomorrow’s flu shot, maybe it will even get finished.

(HAHAHAHA.  I wrote that Monday night, on my train ride home from teaching.  It’s Friday now.  The shot went pretty well, actually, but see graf one.  Also, I’m not sure what he’s been doing counts as cruising, but I’m also not sure it doesn’t count as cruising….)

So. Food.

Before I ever hopped into the stirrups and started down this spermy road to parenthood (ew), I had Definite Plans about how I would handle a few things — surprisingly few things, to give myself a little credit, but the Best Way to introduce food was high on the list of things I was sure about.  (I’m pretty sure Sugar was in agreement about this, but realistically, my fervor was sufficient to overwhelm any objections she might have come up with, so she wouldn’t have stood a chance if she hadn’t agreed.  She’s known me long enough to recognize that glint in my eye, and she is wise enough to pick her battles.)  I was certain — so certain that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to describe it as a choice — that we would do Baby-Led Weaning.

At the time that I first started thinking about it, I didn’t even know BLW was a thing; I just liked the way my Danish friend was teaching her daughter to eat.  I never saw Baby X spoon-fed purees or cereals; The Dane just handed her the food she reached for and she ate it.  So easy!  Baby X sat at the table with us when we ate and chose from the same foods we were eating.  If she wanted something, she ate it, and if she didn’t, no big deal.  Later, thanks to the Fat Nutritionist (whom you should read), I learned that what The Dane was doing was just what Ellyn Satter says we should do for children: we take responsibility for what food is offered (and when and where, eventually); we let them decide whether and how much to eat.  I can’t overstate how much this philosophy appeals to me.  I’m sure that those of you who know I am an American Woman will be shocked, shocked, shocked to hear that I have not always had a worry-free relationship with food; I love that this idea of division of eating responsibilities removes some of the most negative emotional possibilities from the dinner table without seeking to reduce food — which I believe should also be a source of pleasure — to only calories.

When the Bean had his four-month doctor’s appointment, I had just gotten my period and attendant milk supply drop.  He was fussy and seemed hungry to me, I told the doctor as much, and by the way, I can’t pump without having vasospasms galore, so he’ll be getting formula when I go back to work at six months.  Well, she said, do you want to try giving him some solids?

I was shocked.  Aren’t solids a six-month thing?  My breastfeeding hang-ups are a topic for another post (hell, they could have their own blog by now), but suffice it to say that I thought six months of exclusive breastfeeding was basically required.  (I read later that there’s not actually much evidence solids need to wait more than four months; a lot of the discussions that suggest as much conflate the beginning of solids with the end of breastmilk.)  We told the doctor that we didn’t want to do cereals and purees, that we liked what the Dane had done.  (The Dane-lette is also her patient.)  Fine, she said, just let him taste what we’re eating.  No milk, no honey.  See you in two months.

(Here’s the part where I say how overwhelmingly grateful I am that the allergy theories have shifted again and we get to give the baby almost everything.)

I didn’t *rationally* believe that we could get the Bean eating so much food by six months that I could avoid giving him formula when I returned to work, but I admit to some fantasies in that direction — not because I believe there is much of anything wrong with formula (because given consistent access to clean water and sufficient funds to serve it full-strength, I don’t), but I am far from immune to the praise given to mothers who breastfeed and withheld from those who don’t.  (And if I ever get this post done, I’ll sound off on that phenomenon At Length.)  Nor will I deny that avoiding formula appealed because deep in my heart of hearts, I want to do at least one thing my mother couldn’t.  She didn’t even take time off from medical school when I was born, but I was by-golly going to win when it came to Earth Mother-hood.

(Good Lord, y’all, it’s been over a week.  I’ve written myself into a corner, and I can’t find my way out.)

The Bean showed signs of enjoying the tastings — that is, he started sometimes pulling our hands back for another go — after about three weeks of on again, off again efforts on our part.  At five months, he seemed so interested in sitting at the table, that we decided to ignore the “6 months” label on his swanky high chair.  He loved being at the table and happily grabbed whatever we were eating.  If it met with his approval, he would shovel it so enthusiastically into his mouth and against his gag reflex that exuberant vomit followed, resulting in a net loss of calories.  …Win?  At about five and a half months, while we were visiting Sugar’s parents, he discovered pickles and thank god did not puke all over his grandmother, who was slightly horrified that we were giving him big pieces of food, not mush.  (I felt smugly superior.  Mush!  Ha!  Not for my discerning baby!)

As my rational brain had predicted, when I went back to work two weeks later, he was only occasionally swallowing food; he still needed just as much formula as he would have had we waited until then to offer him solids.  We had fun getting the Bean to taste things, but, well, you can’t hurry love.  But a funny thing happened in my addled brain: all those tastes of real food meant that the Bean wasn’t only eating breastmilk, and suddenly formula no longer seemed like a sad replacement for something I should have been able to provide had I been mother enough to suffer my vasospasms for my child’s sake (or, better, the sort of La Leche League poster-mater who doesn’t have breastfeeding problems because her heart is just that pure).  It just seemed like one more food the Bean sometimes eats.  No big deal.  I will confess to some disappointment that giving him formula two days a week didn’t magically improve his sleeping habits; I will confess to a little satisfaction on that count, too.  What can I say?  Addled Brain Is Addled.

At his six-month appointment, he’d dropped significantly in the weight percentiles.  His doctor wasn’t worried — said this was just the age when breast milk was no longer enough, that we were doing the right things with food and he would start eating — but then he started crawling all over the place and got slimmer and slimmer.  The weather got cool enough for long sleeves, and he could still wear onesies he wore in April.  I took him to a motion study at the university associated with Kips Bay Mega Hospital, and their (sloppily measured) weight put him in the Danger, Will Robinson area of the growth chart.

At about six and a half months, a switch threw itself in the Bean’s noggin.  Overnight, his attitude towards food went from polite curiosity to GIVE ME THE BANANA AND NO ONE GETS HURT.  Two meals — one before his first morning nap, one midday — were required to forestall wailing.  He also made it very, very clear that he wanted to eat more food than pure BLW was going to allow, and so I have reluctantly admitted that our mothers were both right about the food mill.

…You know, I think I’ve realized why this post won’t resolve, and since this is a blog and not a proper essay, I’m just going to tell you about it instead of, say, fixing it.  (GOD, it’s good to be out of grad school sometimes.)  When I started this post, I did all that set-up about my righteous belief in BLW because I thought that we’d failed at it.  A little pride-ever-goeth schtick.  But the more I think about it, the less I think we really did fail, at least when it comes to the things I most liked about BLW.

Yes, I’ve ground up more food than I had intended to, but actually, in the time it’s taken me to write this thing, the Bean has mostly stopped needing more mashing than a spoon can provide.  (Uh, I mean his food doesn’t need mashing.  To be clear, we have never attempted to mill the baby.)  Yes, I’m feeding him with a spoon, but we settled quite by accident on using ice tea spoons with very long handles (and very small bowls, hence the choice).  This allows us to hold only the very end of the handle, while the Bean grabs the handle farther down and either puts the spoon in his mouth or shoves it away; he is still in control of what goes in his mouth.  He has some finger foods: sweet potato fries, Cheerios, and as of today, goldfish crackers (only from the coop, so they’re actually shaped like rabbits and if that isn’t genetic engineering then I don’t know what is).  He drinks water or his new favorite, seltzer, from a cup.  Since I’m cheap as the dickens, we haven’t been buying pre-made food; for the most part, the Bean has been eating what we eat, which makes me glad.  I realize there is a natural narrowing of the palette in toddlerhood and that the 3-year-old Bean will probably subsist on hotdogs and cherry chapstick, but for now, he seems to love almost everything, from bananas to sardine pasta to kimchi.  We sit at the table together at meals, me eating with one hand and holding his spoon out to him with the other.  Whaddya know, a happy ending.


(Teeth.  Did I mention that?  Just the two on the bottom.)


Oh, For Pete’s Sake

(Um.  This got really long, possibly because — see below — I am really tired.  But I added pictures!)

Big changes afoot chez Bionique.  I went back to work on Thursday, later than expected thanks to Irene.  It sucked.  The farther I got from home, the sadder and more frightened I felt, and I work very far away.  As in, no way to get home in under two hours.  Work itself was lonely.  I teach writing at the college level, which means that in the fall, I teach freshman comp.  I love teaching freshman comp, but it does mean that on the first day of the new year, my students don’t know me yet.  I’m an adjunct, so I don’t know many of my colleagues, either.  It can be pretty lonely.  The building I teach in is falling apart and is now wrapped in a fence to keep people away from the plummeting masonry.  So my office window looks out on chain link.  I know, an office with a window!  It is not grand and it is shared — think linoleum, dank half basement, horrible overhead fluorescent lights that turn off if I sit still for ten minutes — but I don’t get one at all in the spring semester.  For a prison, it’s very nice.

The good news is that Sugar gets to stay home with the Bean on Thursdays.  Yay!  Sugar’s office probably agreed to that schedule only because they are so terrified to lose more staff, but whatever, they did agree.  I’m really happy that the two of them are getting some regular time alone together.

Despite our attempts to rush the Bean’s interest in food, he really isn’t eating much yet.  He likes to grab things and put them in his mouth and taste them but feels quite betrayed when bits of them try to get down his throat.  At least he’s grown out of the exuberant gagging that led to vomiting.  I’m still glad we started giving him solids over the summer, as it’s made me feel less sad about giving him formula now; instead of the formula intruding on our perfect little wonderland of breastmilk (which I didn’t think I cared about until it was so fucking miserably hard and painful to create), it’s just one more “food” he’s trying in addition to nursing.  I do hope I will be able to keep enough supply that I don’t need to give him formula when I am around, though, principally because I am lazy and don’t like doing dishes.  This may be a little tricky without pumping much, so we’ll see.

Speaking of pumping, the bad news is that the manual pump is not gentle enough not to have kicked the vasospasms into action again.  On Thursday I pumped three times and only enough to keep from exploding.  (Okay, a little extra on that last round because I had just heard from a friend with mastitis.)  On Friday, spasms all day, plus white patches on the ol’ nips.  Ugh.  The spasms weren’t really painful — more pins and needles — but they left me feeling nauseated with fear.  It’s just possible I have a little lasting trauma in that department.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, in what I meant to be writing about when I started this post, we have come to the end of our ability to deal with the Bean’s preferred sleeping patterns.  Those patterns being: couple of naps in the day, followed by a trillion wake-ups all night.  When he was younger, this made a lot of sense: he was small and very hungry and clawing his way onto and up the growth charts.  Of course he needed to eat, and I was pretty damn irritated at the people from our birth class who, after telling us that “babies don’t like” to be rocked in the way that he liked, informed us that at 8 weeks, he no longer needed to eat at night.  Maybe your giant (dumb) baby doesn’t, I thought, but my little one does.  He never wanted to do anything but eat at night (where night is defined as ending at 4:30am, lest you get too jealous); no interest in playing or otherwise being awake.  If he did not get enough to eat, he would cry until he did, period.  Since he was eating every five minutes all day, it wasn’t surprising to me that he couldn’t go more than two or three hours at night, and I did my best not to begrudge him, though I admit to a few ugly moments during the vasospasm hell period.

At around three months, he had gotten big and strong enough to nurse with me lying down.  Or maybe it was an issue of coordination?  Regardless, my life improved so much that I didn’t really care about the wake-ups for a while.  I couldn’t sleep while he nursed, but at least I didn’t have to rearrange a million pillows every time and then hold my head upright for 45 minutes.  Ah, the good life.  He slowly started dropping a few feedings, such that he’d take a longish break when he was first put to bed and then often go three hours rather than two.  I was getting pretty tired — I hadn’t slept for more than 2.5 consecutive hours since he was born — but I also kept hearing about babies his age who were sleeping through the night, and I was sure he’d get there soon.

And then…he just didn’t.  And I started hearing about more babies sleeping through the night, babies who were younger than he was.  For my own sanity, I told myself their parents were lying or, in the case of parents I liked, delusional.  (You’re welcome!)  When the Bean hit the four month sleep regression, the spring 2011 moms on the local listserv started complaining about their little cherubs’ waking up sometimes.  After not one replied with a “me, too” to my post about the Bean’s relatively awful sleep, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and unsubscribed.  Meanwhile, I got my period, my milk supply dropped, and the Bean started waking more than ever.  You’ll recall I was thrilled.  My mood was not improved by reading all over the internet that my period should stay away as long as I didn’t stop feeding overnight.  Ha bloody ha.  As it were.

I tried to content myself with the knowledge of the Bean’s superiority in every other way.  (Cue photo break.)


He eats pickles.


He’s learning to swing.


He loves the cats.


He vogues.


He almost crawls: forward motion occurs, but not predictably yet.


He likes our favorite Mexican place


He helps Sugar look for four-leaf clovers.


And he’s going to get that beer, any day now.

And then a miracle occurred.  He had three nights of only one wake-up.  Three nights!  Not in a row, but still.  It was amazing.  I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Sure, it had taken two and a half months longer than the American Academy of Pediatrics had promised, but it was happening!  It was!  …the week we were going on a big trip to visit Sugar’s parents.

You all know how this part goes, right?  Sleep in a strange house.  It was an unqualified disaster.  We came home, and it was still terrible.  More wake-ups than ever.  We gave it a week; it didn’t improve.  We gave it two weeks; it got worse, as did my cough from the cold I couldn’t shake, thanks to never sleeping.  I started to wonder when I had last slept through the night myself.  Given the exigencies of late pregnancy, it certainly had been longer than 6 months, maybe 9.  I read this paper (tip o’ the nib to The Blog That Ate Manhattan), and despaired of ever fitting into my clothes again.

[Yeah, weight loss not going well.  Another rant for another day.]

So.  It is time.  This weekend, we started a little sleep training.  Our present goal isn’t no wake-ups — Weissbluth thinks two feedings per night is normal in a baby of the Bean’s age, no matter what the moms at the swing set are shouting into their cell phones — but I’d like to get down to one or two, knowing he can do that without starving.  At the advice of wiser parents, we have started by not feeding him before midnight.

The first night was horrible.  After waking and going back down fairly quickly in the early evening, he woke up for real at 10:30.  He screamed for an hour while Sugar sat with him.  At that point, she was wailing, too, so I sent her to bed and did something that made me feel like a total asshole: I sat on the couch and did not go in to him.  (This made possible by the amazing Starhillgirl, who should seriously run a sleep training skype hotline.  This is not a joke, and I will be her agent.)  I have always imagined rocking my baby and singing him to sleep, but it has been true since the beginning that he hates that.  Any comfort measure you can think of only aggravates him and keeps him awake.  Every nap time begins with crying, no matter what, so it is not ultimately surprising that the kinder forms of sleep training — the lady-shuffling, the rocking, the singing — don’t work.  Makes me feel like mother of the year, I tell you.  But after another half an hour, he fell asleep.  Incredible!  He had never fallen asleep at night without eating, ever.  Took me a bit longer to drift off, what with my own soggy face and feeling like a horrible person: call this a mutual cry it out program.

Or, Dr. Sears and me: still not BFF.

In the morning, Sugar turned to me, eyes still red, and said, “I guess this is what people mean when they say this sucks.”  We stumbled through the day.  We turned our backs for a moment, and the increasingly mobile Bean dove off of our bed with a terrible thud.  (He’s fine.)  This is why we need to do this, because we just can’t be good parents without sleeping more, now-ish.

The second night, he woke up again, at the same times as before.  This time, Sugar went to him, patted him and told him he was okay, and then left the room.  And, within two minutes, he was silent.  On the third night, he was silent as soon as she left.  Mirabile dictu ain’t in it.

He’s still waking up two or three times in the second part of the night, and in general things in the early morning hours are a bit messy, but things are looking up.

Except not for me.  I’ve gotten less sleep than ever.  I’ve spent the past several nights lying awake until after midnight, later last night.  Turns out I’m an oxytocin addict, and I a several-hour stretch without nursing leaves me restless and unable to relax.  I had certainly noticed that nursing would help me get to sleep on anxious nights, but I had no idea it had come to this.  After all the complaining I’ve done about breastfeeding and night-wakings, it turns out the Bean wasn’t the only one using nursing as a crutch for sleep.  Dammit.


I Haz A Flavah

…and, as noted yesterday, it’s creme brulee. (Except when it’s been in the fridge over a day, at which point, NOT GOOD.  Maybe I have that thing where it breaks down extra fast?)

In a brilliant comment on yesterday’s post, Manapan said:

I know this wasn’t the point of your post, but I was wondering if other people’s breastmilk tasted different than mine did. I just couldn’t think of a polite way to ask.


Lucky I’ve never been overly troubled by finding polite ways to ask things.  Don’t we owe it to the sisterhood to record our observations? Maybe it would all taste alike to a third party, but Honoring Our Own Knowledge of Our Own Bodies captures a certain Mary Poppins’s Medcine quality, no?

So, my lactating and formerly lactating friends, spill it:  What does/did yours taste like?  I regret to say that I never tasted mine on the post-broccoli days, when the Bean would scream at the boob, presumably because he hated the flavor; did any of you notice changes like that?

So far we’ve got my creme brulee, AnOff‘s “melted vanilla ice cream,” and as for Manapan:

Mine tasted exactly like the milk left over in your bowl after you have a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.


Come on, now, don’t be shy: it’s for Science.


August Is For Items

Hello, dearies.  Sorry for the radio silence.  In lieu of a real post — I had a migraine last night and now have a codeine hangover and anyway The Bean will be up from his nap soon — here are a few notes.

  • The Bean meets the ocean!  Sugar and I took the Bean to the beach.  I have just deleted a very boring paragraph about logistics, the gist of which was: it seemed like everything was likely to be a disaster, with 9 people in a two-bedroom house, no one who was willing to help me with the baby for the days Sugar couldn’t be there, and a potentially angry teenager thrown in for spice, but it was in fact completely lovely.  The Bean charmed the hell out of everybody, including the very sweet teenager, and Sugar and I got to leave him with family for our very first hour away from him.
  • Oh, look, he’s up already.  More items as the day progresses, I guess….

Hi, again.  Phew.  This napping after being up for 90 minutes to 2 hours business remains pretty successful.  I’ve been noticing that the awake windows need to be shorter in the mornings.  No idea if he’ll ever go to a schedule of fewer, longer naps, but at least he’s doing something.  A thousand blessings again to Jennifer at Autism Normal for suggesting it.  More items:

  • Night sleep is still just okay.  He sleeps pretty well, but still wakes up to eat several times a night.  This means I haven’t slept for more than 3 hours in a row (and rarely more than 2.5) since February.  This is not doing wonders for my mood.  Supposedly he’s big enough not to need to eat that often anymore, so we may try to deal with this in some way, but while I’m a heartless monster about crying to sleep during the day (which happens at nearly every nap), I have very low tolerance for being screamed at during the night.  We tried not nursing him back to sleep at one wake up on Saturday night (albeit not in a very well-thought-out manner), and boy did that suck worse than nursing.  The status quo suddenly didn’t look so terrible.
  • If he’d just stop believing the day begins at 5, I’d be happier.
  • But I have to admit it was pretty cute this morning when Sugar and I were trying to pretend he wasn’t awake and he was lying between us, singing.
  • Singing!  This kid kills me.
  • In exciting/terrifying news, we are seeing the beginnings of locomotion around here.  Right now we’re in the “I want that toy that’s in front of me OH NO WHY AM I GOING BACKWARDS???!???!!” stage, which would be funny if I were the kind of terrible mother who would laugh at her child’s agony.
  • I have also seen, several times in the past couple of days, full rising onto hands and knees.  The laughing shoe will be on the other agonized foot shortly, it would seem, as our apartment is about as baby-proofed as a china shop in a coal mine.
  • In the interests of finding novel methods of containment, we’ve set up the (inevitable) Stokke chair, and the Bean LOVES it.  I was going to put in a rant about how the stupid baby seat isn’t going together properly (so that he fits now but won’t for long) and customer service was being enraging, but it turns out I was in touch with global customer service by mistake.  While I was seething, a nice lady from American customer service called and is sending out a new version of the relevant bits.  Does this mean Americans expect more coddling than other people and are spoiled?  Maybe.
  • At his four-month appointment, the Bean’s doctor (who is wonderful and needs a good blog name but meanwhile please ask me if you’re looking for a pediatrician in Brooklyn) said we could start giving him food if we wanted.  We’re interested in baby-led weaning, but open to a little coercion, in the interests of more food and less formula when I go back to work.  (Pipe dream!  But never mind!)  We’ve been letting him taste things, which is pretty cute.  I don’t think he’s swallowed anything yet, but strawberries, cheese and crackers, mango lassis, and oatmeal cookies have all been aggressively grabbed for and shoved into mouth.
  • Yes, I am ruining the child forever by letting him taste things with sugar.  More on this another time, but the quickly: have you tasted breastmilk?  Mine, at any rate, is basically creme brulee.

Dalai Lama Goes To The PediatricianThe Bean at his four-month appointment, doing his best lama impersonation.

Breastmilk brings us nicely back to the proper subject of this blog, ME.  Sheesh, Bean, get your own blog.

  • My supply has not come all the way back, post-stupidfuckingbackalready period.  Whee.
  • Eating oatmeal helps a great deal, as long as I eat a whole lot of it.  I am getting royally sick of oatmeal.
  • I’m feeling somewhat embittered about this whole breastfeeding business, and right now, oatmeal is what I’m willing to do in terms taking things to increase supply.  I know there are teas and supplements and domiperidone in the world; I know.  Maybe  seems terribly ungrateful to those with bigger supply worries, but I’m just feeling burnt out on pills and such right now.  I hate herbal tea, and the hippy-but-not-dippy LC has warned me off fenugreek because of my problems with hypoglycemia.
  • Oatmeal experiments are constantly underway chez Bionique.  Oatmeal with a hard boiled egg and soy sauce smells like boiled ass but tastes pretty good (especially with a little butter); sriracha is okay once in a while.  Salsa verde is less successful.  Today I went with my mother’s (and great, great-grandfather’s) method of uncooked oats with cold milk.  Not bad.
  • Cookies come in handy, too.
  • ..which may explain why I’ve gained three pounds.  Though I think the carb-heavy breakfast and, more to the point, eating something because it is what I’m supposed to eat rather than what my body wants that day is as much if not more to blame.  Sigh.  I hope I get back to pre-pregnancy weight some day, as I miss my clothes very much.  I am beginning to doubt this will ever happen; I’ve been in the range of halfway there for a long time.  I am trying (with mixed success) to tell myself that feeding my child is more important than how I look.

Okay, I realize this post is not my greatest work, but I can feel the headache creeping back in steel-toed boots, so in the interest of ever getting anything up, I’m posting it now.  Next project will be getting the beach pictures on to flickr so I can show you how utterly the Bean rocked his sunglasses.