Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Saying No To Santa

I'm about to share something that will probably have people grabbing tinsel-covered pitch forks to come hunt me down (assuming anyone reads it.) Baby Darling will not believe in Santa Claus. We're not "doing" Santa. Baby D will get presents (so far for his first Christmas, we've gotten him a ton of books, a bead maze, one of those giant wooden puzzles with only three pieces, a ball pit, some pajamas, bath toys, a toy gingerbread man, a swing, and a giant stuffed hedgehog. Because nothing says Christmas like a stuffed hedgehog. Obviously.), but he will know that the presents are from us, not from Santa.

The one other time I dared to confess online that we aren't "doing" Santa, the automatic and overwhelming assumption was that I'm a Christmas-hating Scroogy Grinch with a heart two sizes too small, which could not be further from the truth. (Except maybe the heart thing. I couldn't say, having never measured it. But I assume it's the normal size.) I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday by far. For the past four years, we have always had at least two full-sized Christmas trees in our house at Christmas, along with a few smaller ones. I once wrote on this very blog about how I managed to convince Dr. D to let me leave the Christmas tree up until June. (I chickened out in late February and finally took it down, but still.) At last count, our family of three owns at least ten Christmas stockings. Dr. D and I got married a few days before Christmas, and the church and reception venue were decorated for Christmas from top to bottom. But I'm just not into the whole Santa thing. Before I explain why, let me say this in huge, bold letters: I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO TELL THEIR KIDS THAT SANTA IS REAL. I DO NOT JUDGE YOUR PARENTING CHOICES OR YOU AS A PERSON. I DO NOT THINK THAT YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE SCREWED UP FOR LIFE WHEN THEY FIND OUT HE'S NOT REAL. I THINK THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY A VERY NICE, LOVING PERSON WHO JUST HAPPENS TO MAKE PARENTING CHOICES THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN MY OWN, AND I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THAT. This post is not about you and your parenting decisions, it's about me and mine. Many things have been written "in defense of" Santa that are much more eloquent and meaningful than anything I've ever written, and I think that's great. Like 90% of the population, I smile when I read "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." But I'm not "playing Santa" with my own child, and here's why.

For starters - and this is my main reason - I don't want to lie. I think this is the reason that gets people all up in arms, because it makes people mad to feel like they're being called liars. And I've heard all of the arguments that it's not lying, it's "pretending," or "make believe," or "tradition." But if I say to my child, "Santa is real. The gifts under the tree are from him. He came down our chimney and left them for you," that's a lie. To me, it's different than saying to my child, "let's play a game and pretend you're a puppy and I'm your owner," because my child knows that he is not a puppy (I mean, he doesn't know that YET,because he's only nine months old, but he'll know someday). I am not trying to convince him that he is, in fact, a puppy. We are playing a game, and he knows it's a game. But if we "play a game of pretend," and I never tell him that it's a game of pretend, and I do everything I can to convince him that it's NOT a game of pretend, and I create elaborate schemes to convince him that it's real, then he doesn't know that it's just a fun game of "make believe," and I honestly don't see how that's somehow different than an outright lie. And if I'm going to teach my child that he shouldn't lie, I don't know how I can blatantly lie to him. I understand that there may be times when I might end up lying to my child out of what seems like necessity. The only one I can think of off of the top of my head is if Baby D should ever knock on our bedroom door while we're having sex and want to know why we won't open up. But I'm sure that other situations will arise where I won't be quick enough on my feet and I'll end up lying to avoid telling Baby D something that he shouldn't know. I'm not saying that's right, but I'm saying it might happen. But I just can't justify intentionally, repeatedly lying to Baby D while telling him it's not ok for him to do it.

(I didn't make that, I've just seen it re-pinned nine million times on Pinterest, presumably by teens. 
So this idea has obviously occurred to people besides me.)

My second reason is that I don't like the "spin" it puts on getting presents. Santa keeps track of who is good and who is bad, and only children who are good get presents. So the gifts children get at Christmas are not expressions of love from parents who worked hard to earn the money so that they could give nice things to the children they adore, they are things that the children earned and are owed because of good behavior. It's not, "wow, Mom and Dad, thank you so much," it's, "I was good, so I deserve these gifts from Santa. If I'd been bad, I would have gotten coal." Which brings me to my next point:

The tradition of Santa is often used to teach children to behave well for the wrong reasons. I know that this isn't necessarily a huge part of the Santa tradition for all families, but with the increasing popularity of the "Elf on the Shelf," it seems to be becoming more and more of a focus. You shouldn't hit your sister. Not because it's unkind. Not because it hurts her and you wouldn't like it if she hit you. But because Santa will know, and he won't give you any presents. It shifts the focus from doing the right thing because it's the right thing to doing the right thing because you're going to get something out of it. Would it be easier to be able to spend the whole month of December and at least half of November getting my child to be good because he's afraid he'll end up with nothing but a lump of coal in his stocking? Probably. But in the long run, I don't think it will teach him the lessons I want him to learn.

I know that on the off-chance that anyone reads this, someone will inevitably respond with "if your child tells my child that Santa's not real, I will... (punch you in the nose, tell my child to punch your child in the nose, cry, never allow my child to play with yours again, call your child an ugly liar, etc), so my next post will address that. In the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for any angry elves that might be coming my way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I will die here. With a picture of a squirrel in the backyard.

As I've mentioned, Dr. Darling and I recently purchased a home. It was kind of terrible timing in that we had to pack up our entire house and move while we had a four-month-old baby who isn't a fan of ever being put down. Also, the day of our home closing was also the day of Dr. Darling's residency graduation, AND we had house guests, AND we were trying to pack our whole house, AND I had scheduled a graduation party at our rental house the day after graduation, AND our landlord wanted to start showing our house to potential renters the day after the party. It was very stressful. (I started to write a whole long paragraph here about WHY we had to buy a house when we did, but it was very boring. If you really want to know, I'll tell you. But it's not an interesting story, I promise.)

So we moved. I was in charge of supervising the movers because Dr. D was working during most of the time they were there. Naturally, I did a terrible job of supervising, and they left like half of our stuff at our old house, and somehow I didn't notice, so then Dr. D went over and discovered it and had to move it by himself. It was kind of awful.

The people we bought the house from were moving to another state for the husband's job, and they were very nice, but maybe a little weird. (For example: the day we came over to get the keys from them, the wife told us that she and her kids had buried a time capsule in the back yard the day before, so "don't move it" because "we'll be back in five years to dig it up." And my brain did this thing where it went, "Aww, that's cool that... wait. Did she just tell me she's going to come dig up my backyard in five years?" Is it me, or is that weird? It's not even like they had buried it years earlier when they thought they'd live there forever - they buried it the day before they moved with the intention of coming and digging up someone else's yard in five years. Also, we are planning to build a garage where they put the time capsule. 

Before you say, "Oh, Tova, please don't be a jerk and build over those poor children's time capsule and leave them brokenhearted," let me assure you that we are planning to move the time capsule to a more convenient location, even though it seems weird that we have to do that. Would it be really mean if I stuck something in their time capsule when we have to move it? Like my report card from fifth grade? Or a picture of a squirrel? Because seriously, how funny would it be if they opened the time capsule and there was something in there they had no recollection of having put in it?)

Anyway, the point of this post was supposed to be that moving was a huge pain, and after we moved, I said to Dr. Darling, "I am never moving again. I will die in this house." But now I forget what else I was going to say about how much of a pain it was, because I'm trying to think of what I could put in the time capsule. Please make suggestions! The best one wins! (Or you can tell me that I'm a jerk. Either way.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Entertain a Baby

Subtitle: Things I do to amuse Baby Darling when I need a break from saying "Hi" 4,392 times a day.

I have Googled variations on the phrase "activities to do with your infant" more times than I care to admit. Sometimes, it takes me to blogs with some pretty good ideas. More often, it takes me to some baby website with paid authors who have made lists that always, always include the suggestion "Play Peek-a-boo!" And I always want to leave a comment that says, "Really?? Peek-a-boo?? That's all you've got?? Where do I sign up to get paid to recommend that moms play freakin' PEEK-A-BOO??" Because I think we can all agree that if you are reading an article in order to get ideas on how to fill 10+ waking hours with your baby without going insane, you have probably already played peek-a-boo 14,000 times. Another problem is that most of the activities are really for older babies, and Baby D is only five months old.

Anyway, there are some other blogs out there with good ideas that have worked for me, but I'm going to list a few that I haven't seen elsewhere (although I'm sure they ARE out there, because there aren't really an unlimited number of things you can do to entertain an infant. It's not as if someone's going to suggest that you challenge your baby to a game of Parcheesi.)

1. Mimic - If your baby is in a "talkative" mood, imitate any sound that he makes. My dad says he always did this with my two siblings and me and he swears it's why we were all early talkers. Obviously, there's no way to prove or disprove that theory, but he has a PhD in biology, so I'm going to pretend that makes him an expert in talking to babies. My dad tried it out with Baby D, and Baby D was enthralled, so I've been doing it. He'll make a noise, I'll repeat the noise, and then he'll stare at me for ten seconds trying to figure out what the heck just happened. When I mimic his shrieking noise, he laughs uproariously.

2. Water - Another blog I found recommended that you put a bowl of water on a towel on the floor and then let your baby play in it. That sounded like a great idea to me until I mentioned it to a friend and she said that when she tried it with her son, he grabbed the towel and the whole bowl of water dumped all over the floor. So maybe I won't try that. Instead, I just prop Baby D on the edge of the kitchen sink with his feet under the faucet (with my arm still around him, of course), turn on some warm water, and spray his feet with the sprayer. I actually get bored of this long before Baby D does. Plus, I start to feel guilty for wasting water, and then I flash back to elementary school when if you took too long at the water fountain, some annoying kid behind you would shout, "Save the whales!" like the biggest threat to whales was post-gym-class water consumption. But Baby D loves having his feet sprayed with water until I'm feeling too bored/guilty to continue.

3. Mirrors - I know that every baby blog says this, but it's worth repeating. I stick Baby D in his Bumbo seat in front of our full-length bathroom mirror, and I can almost always buy myself enough time to do my hair and makeup and maybe check to see if anyone commented on the 1300 new pictures of Baby D that I posted on Facebook.

4. Blocks - A lot of blogs and articles suggest that you put a bunch of small toys or blocks in a container and then let your baby take them out or transfer them to another container. But if your baby can't sit up very well yet, this one's hard to do. What I do is put Baby D on his belly, fill a square plastic container with soft/foam blocks, and then turn the container on its side in front of him. They kind of spill out toward him, and he's able to grab them out of the container without being able to sit up.

5. Exercise - I recently mentioned to another mom that I have no time to exercise, and she suggested that I do it in front of Baby D because he would probably think it was funny. And darn her, she was right, so there goes my excuse for not exercising. I dance, Zumba or do jumping jacks in front of Baby D, and he thinks hilarious. (I prefer to think he's laughing with me rather than at me.) Dancing while holding him works, too.

6. Whisper - To be fair, this one actually doesn't work that well for Baby D, but it worked like a charm for my nephew. When he was getting restless and cranky, if you whispered very quietly in his ear, he would stop moving and fussing and become totally entranced. When I try it with Baby D, he whips his head around to see where the sound is coming from and almost breaks my nose. Try this at your own risk.

7. Drink from a cup - Let me start by saying that you really, really shouldn't give water to a baby under three months unless your doctor tells you otherwise, and older than that, they still don't really need water (again, unless your doctor says they do.) But somewhere between four and six months, babies start really paying attention to everything that goes into your mouth, including water. Around four months, Baby D started staring me down every time I'd drink out of a cup, so I decided to give him a sip. I'd hold him, put my cup up to his mouth, and tilt it so that his lips touched the water. The first several times I tried this, he spit the water all over himself and me, but he was very interested in it. Now he'll actually drink a few sips from my cup. The hard part is getting him to let go of it...

8. "Lip-reading" - Baby D loves to touch/grab faces right now. So I'll lay him on his side on my bed and then lay on my side next to him with my face close to his. He always reaches for my face, so I'll put his hand on my lower lip, then I'll just start making consonant noises (ba ba ba ba, ma ma ma ma, etc.) He likes watching and feeling my mouth move while listening to the sounds. Added bonus - I get to lay down!

Does anyone have any other fabulous ideas? What did/do you do to entertain your baby?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tova needs a nap. And Sangria.

So far this year, we:
Had a baby.
Took two 16+ hour round trips with said baby.
Took two 8+ round trips with said baby.
Purchased a house.
Had a garage sale.
Packed up and moved all our earthly belongings to our new house.
Graduated from residency. (Actually, only Dr. Darling did that one.)
Started a new job. (Also just Dr. D.)
Were in two weddings. (Dr. D in one, me in the other.)
Had house guests approximately 732 times. (Funny how everyone wants to visit you after you have a baby!)

It has been a fantastic year so far, but I'm secretly hoping that next year will be really, really boring. I am still living in a house full of boxes, but I'm going to attempt to blog a bit more regularly again. Otherwise, I'm afraid that I will begin to lose my ability to form complete sentences. Baby D thinks it's hilarious when I say "hi," so I say it hundreds of times per day.

So if you're out there reading this, hopefully I'll be writing something semi-interesting and coherent soon-ish. Until then, hi!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Greeting cards that can be used as wedding cards in a pinch

One thing that I wish I'd done while I was pregnant is stock up on everything I might ever need for at least a year, because Baby Darling really, really hates being in the car and in his stroller, so going shopping is a pain in the rump. (Yes, I said rump.) What keeps happening is that I go to the store and then Baby D starts to freak out, so I try to hurry, and I end up forgetting something important... like a card for my brother's wedding. I have a box of greeting cards at home that always has a card for every occasion except the one I currently need one for, so sometimes a girl's gotta be creative.

So here are Tova's helpful tips for greeting cards that can be used as wedding cards in a pinch:

Congratulations on your new baby...that you might have in nine months, unless you're on birth control, in which case, nevermind.

You're expecting! ...A life full of happiness as husband and wife.

In deepest sympathy... to all of the singles whose hearts will be broken now that you two are off the market.

Thank you... for the free food and alcohol that you gave us at your wedding reception.

Wishing you the best on your birthday... which is a few months from now, and also on your wedding day, which is today.

We'll miss you... while you're on your honeymoon.

Happy Anniversary... is what I'll be saying to you one year from now.

Thinking of you... because I am currently at your wedding.

Any more you can think of will, I'm sure, be extremely helpful to us all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tova's got a beef with Enfamil

(Do people still say "got a beef"?) (Let me preface this by saying that I am aware that some women HAVE to give their babies formula. My mom breastfed my siblings and I as long as she could, but when she went back to work, her milk dried up even though she pumped, and she had to give us formula. I totally get that for some women, formula is a necessity. However, I think that for some* women, formula is something that they use because they are under-educated about breastfeeding  - either about how much better it is for babies or about how it works. One of my family members said repeatedly that she was unable to breastfeed her son because she "never made enough milk." Recently, I had a conversation with her and realized that she thought she wasn't making enough because her milk didn't come in the FIRST day at the hospital [milk doesn't normally come in until days 3-5], so she started giving her baby formula on day two.)

Anyway, this is something that I've ranted about to various friends and family members but have never actually put into writing. I really dislike the company that makes Enfamil. I think they are shady and take advantage of women when they are in a very vulnerable state. There. I said it. 

Here's part of my reasoning. I was 100% bound and determined that, no matter what, I was going to breastfeed Baby D. Breast milk is much better for babies than formula. For a list of just some of the reasons it's better, click here. One of the many things listed there is the following statement: "Children who are exclusively breast-fed during the first three months of their lives are 34 percent less likely to develop juvenile, insulin-dependent diabetes than children who are fed formula." My husband has type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. He was not breastfed. Do I know for sure that's why he has it? No, of course not. But statistically speaking, children who aren't breastfed run a greater risk of developing it. That fact alone would've convinced me to breastfeed come hell or high water, but there are also many, many more reasons to breastfeed.

So, I was absolutely going to breastfeed. I told my obstetrician. I told all of the nurses in the hospital. I made sure that everyone knew absolutely, 100% that under no circumstances was my baby to be given formula. I had a c-section, so I was in the hospital for four days, and my milk came in during that time. Breastfeeding was going well. When we were ready to leave the hospital, a nurse came in with a gift bag from Enfamil (and to be fair, she said they also had similar gift bags available from Similac.) On the outside of the bag, it said something along the lines of "Congratulations! Here's our gift for breastfeeding moms!" 

"Oh, how sweet!" I naively thought. "Maybe it's lanolin or gel pads for my very sore nipples! Maybe it's nursing pads! Maybe it's vitamin D drops for my baby!" It was none of those things. Inside was a can of formula and two pre-mixed bottles of baby formula with a nipple that screwed right on. (The only things even remotely helpful for a breastfeeding mom were a bottle holder and two small containers to store breast milk in. Since lactation consultants do not recommend giving breastfed babies a bottle for 4-6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, neither of those things would be helpful for at least a month.) Basically, what Enfamil is banking on is that you will be exhausted; your baby will be nursing ALL the time (totally normal at the beginning); you will be sleep-deprived, hormonal, and very emotional; it will be 3am, and your husband or mom or friend will say, "Is there anything I can do to help??" And you'll have those handy pre-mixed bottles. You won't even have to mix anything! Just screw on the nipple, and someone else can feed your baby while you sleep. And that is shady. Because they KNOW that breastfeeding is better for your baby. It says so right on all of their formula containers! But you doing what is best for your child doesn't make them any money, and so they try to make it really easy for you NOT to do what is best for your child so that they can make money even if it means your child might be less healthy.

I was never even slightly tempted to use those bottles. I was, however, often tempted to hurl them against the wall. I was exhausted and overwhelmed, and it made me really angry that Enfamil would try to take advantage of that. I ended up donating them to a local food bank instead of throwing them, but Enfamil still makes me mad. 

And that is why Tova has a beef with Enfamil. (And Similac, but theirs didn't happen to be the bottles I wanted to take my anger out on.)

*originally, I had the word "MORE" here in place of "some." I removed it because I don't actually know if it is more, and I realize that could be offensive to women who can't breastfeed. Where I currently live, there is a pretty low percentage of women who breastfeed, and it seems to correlate with a lack of education. However, I realize that may not be the same everywhere.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads, and happy "Get rid of crap" day to me!

Happy Father's Day to the amazing Dr. Darling and my wonderful daddy... neither of whom read this blog. Happy Father's Day to the rest of you dads, too!

Yesterday, Dr. Darling and I had a garage sale (and by that, I mean Dr. D carried everything outside and then slept because he's working nights, so I sat outside in 90 degree heat with my friend Andi and both of our babies), and we made a whopping $75. Our neighbors only made $10, so comparatively speaking, we did really well. (Andi made $11 and then spent $6 of it on a burger and a milkshake at the ice cream shop near our house. Basically, she traded her junk for some lunch, which to me actually seems like a pretty good deal.) I was absolutely thrilled, though, because our main reason for having the sale is that we're moving (We bought a house! Yay! More on that another time.), and we had a bunch of stuff that we didn't want to lug to our new house, and our garbage pick-up is now done by trucks that have a mechanical arm that picks up the can, so you can't leave boxes of junk on the curb, and you can only use one can. So... it was either sell our crap or haul it somewhere.

We were formerly the owners of the world's most hideous ottoman, and man, we did not want that thing. A - It was extremely ugly (we inherited it from Dr. D's mom when she bought less ugly furniture.) B - It was huge. Like, two feet tall, three feet deep, four feet long. (I didn't measure it, those are just guesses, and math is not my thing, so maybe it was bigger or smaller.) And C - Our cats, recognizing the hideousness of it, scratched the sides up. It has been hanging out in our basement for three years, and I really, really did not want to move it to our new house or haul it to the dump. So I put it out in the garage sale, and Andi was like, "Seriously? No one is going to buy that thing." But towards the end of the sale, some lady bought it for her dog to sleep on! Not only that, she paid me $3! Woo hoo! Nothing beats having someone pay you to haul away your junk. Also, we sold a giant, abnormally heavy television, circa 1984, for $10, and a 30 gallon aquarium and stand that we used for a while until the Great Snail Invasion of 2008 kind of killed the charm of owning an aquarium. It was a really nice aquarium, so we marked it for $30, but when one of our neighbors was looking at it, I said, "I'll sell it for $10!" He asked, "What would Dr. D say about you selling it so cheaply?" To which I replied, "He'd say, 'woo hoo! You sold the aquarium!' " (Which is pretty much what he did say after I told him that our neighbor bought it.) I also gave away a lot of stuffed animals to children, so all in all, everyone had a good day. I still have boxes of books that no one wants, but I cannot throw books away to save my life (it just doesn't feel right), so I will probably take them to the local used bookstore... which will most likely throw them away. Still, at least I won't have to witness it.

Anyway, if you ever have stuff you need to get rid of, come have a garage sale with me. I will offer your stuff for free to random children, but at least you'll be rid of it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

Totally Awkward Tuesdays are dead, but something extremely awkward happened to me last year, and when it happened, I thought "oh my gosh, if I was still blogging, this would potentially be my most Tova's Totally Awkward moment yet." So now that I'm back (for the moment, at least), I figured I'd share it. You know, just so everyone knows that I never stopped being awkward, I just stopped writing about my tendency to embarrass myself (for mental health reasons.)

Anyway, I seem to have a lot of awkward moments that involve clothing  - like when my underwear fell out of my pants at work, or when buying a padded bra made a sales clerk think I literally had no boobs, or when an ex-boyfriend's mom told me that my shirt reminded her of kinky sex, or when I learned that one of my shirts was allowing my male classmate to see my nipples, or when I fell down the stairs while wearing a short skirt (it kind of makes you wonder why I don't just live in a permanent uniform of sweatpants and turtlenecks), so it's not surprising that this is another "Tova is humiliated thanks to her choice in clothing" kind of moment. (Also, for the record, none of these awkward moments have been invented or embellished by me. I really am just this awkward.)

At some point last year, I went to church on Sunday morning, and I was actually on time for once (shocking.) My friend Andi and her husband Matt, on the other hand, showed up late, but I had saved them seats. They had a newborn at the time, so Andi sat on the end to run out more easily if their baby started to cry, and Matt sat in the seat between Andi and me.

Now about my clothes - I was wearing a plain black top and a cool Indian skirt that I got at a little boutique a few years ago. It's a wrap-around floor-length skirt kind of like the one to the right.
Except that it doesn't have elephants on it and also looks nothing like that one. But the length and wrap-i-ness of it are right. It's basically just a long rectangle of fabric that wraps around my waist and ties with a ribbon. When the church service was over, Andi turned around to talk to some friends, Matt stayed in his seat, and I stood up to get ready to go. I stood there for a few minutes because the aisle was blocked on both sides, and I couldn't leave. After a couple of minutes, I picked up my purse to put it on my shoulder. But when my purse touched my hip, I noticed that I could feel the coldness of the leather... almost as if it was touching bare skin instead of a skirt...

I looked down, and... my skirt had come untied. And was no longer covering any of the right side of my body. And I was only wearing a thong underneath. And Matt, who was still seated, was eye-level with my butt. I looked at Matt, who looked up at me and calmly said, "I think you're losing your skirt."

My face was approximately 75 shades of red as I hastily re-tied my skirt. Later, Andi told me that Matt was 100% convinced that I had been wearing NOTHING under my skirt, because all he saw was skin, so she had to tell him that I usually wear thong underwear. As she put it, she figured it would be slightly (only very slightly) less embarrassing for me if her husband knew what type of underwear I typically wear than if he thought I was going commando at church.

Clearly, I've still got it. (Awkwardness, I mean.) If you feel like blogging about how awkward you are, post about it in my comments so I know I'm not alone in my intense humiliation.

(Side note - to make myself feel better, I made a mental list of all of the people at church who I would've been even more embarrassed to show my butt to. Unfortunately, the list wasn't super long, and I really have no way of knowing if the people on it actually did see my butt...)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My apologies to all breastfeeding moms everywhere

Ok, so...

I'm sure that at this point, no one actually reads this blog anymore, but I just have to say something.

As I think I mentioned in my last post (I could go check, but let's just say I did), Baby Darling is exclusively breastfed. And man, the first six weeks were the hardest of my life. (Admittedly, I've had a pretty easy life, but still.) He was tongue-tied, and he ate ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Literally, he ate every 30 minutes. For an hour at a time. So basically, my days looked like this:

Feed Baby D for one hour.
Burp him.
Change his diaper.
Run to the bathroom to pee.
Grab a handful of food.
Rush in to comfort Baby D who is crying because he's hungry again.
Rock him for five minutes to see if he'll maybe nap instead of eating.
Feed Baby D for one hour.
Repeat over and over, all day long.

At night, he slept two hours at a time at most, so I was exhausted, and stressed, and frankly, not very clean, because I was showering for maybe two minutes a day... and that was on a good day.

Anyway, things gradually got better after the tongue-tie was fixed, but before that... I cried a lot. Dr. Darling took three weeks off of work to help after Baby Darling was born, and my mom came and stayed for a week after he had to go back, but weeks five and six when I was home alone all day with Baby D and Dr. Darling had to work a 24 hour shift and we ran out of toilet paper?? Um, yeah. That was awful. Let's just say that if we had had a newspaper subscription, I might've considered using that in the bathroom instead of trying to take Baby D to the grocery store. But we don't get the paper, so I had to take him to the store, and *gasp* nurse him in public.

The reason I bring this all up is that breastfeeding is on everyone's radar because of the infamous Time cover (which I'm not going to discuss right now except to say that how another mom chooses to care for her child is up to her), and today I just got really mad at a comment someone made on an online forum where everyone was talking about breastfeeding in public.

One woman entered into the discussion by saying that she didn't see why women ever needed to nurse in public, because since a baby only needs to eat every two to three hours, women should just work around that schedule and only go out between feeding times. She ended by saying that it was really "simple," and she didn't see how that could be a problem.


And then I remembered something very terrible. When Dr. D and I were trying to get pregnant (technically, we were trying to get ME pregnant, not him), I was on a forum on The Bump, and I said pretty much the EXACT same thing that the woman I wanted to shout at had said. I can't remember if anyone put me in my place or not, but I sure hope they did. And if not, I would like to go back in time and tell myself, "Self, you do not get to voice an opinion about breastfeeding if you've never done it, because you have no idea what you are talking about, and someday you will feel like an idiot if today you spout ridiculous opinions based on nothing."

Since having Baby D, I have nursed in public more times that I can count. I use a freaking awesome nursing cover that a friend made for me, but you know what? It's hot under there. And it's summer. And when Baby D breaks out in a sweat and starts to whimper, and my choices are either to let him suffer or pull back the cover a little and risk offending a complete stranger with the sight of one inch of my boob, then sorry, complete stranger. But I love my baby more than I love my own life, whereas I have no idea who you are, so I'm not putting your feelings over those of my child.

So breastfeeding moms everywhere, both past and present - I'm sorry for voicing opinions on something I knew nothing about. I was a moron. I have seen the error of my ways.

And before anyone bothers to suggest that women should nurse their babies in public bathrooms - please eat your next ten lunches while sitting on a toilet in a tiny, cramped, dirty bathroom stall and then get back to me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tova Darling is a Mommy

... and a crappy blogger!

You might be wondering how many times I can vanish off the face of the bloggy-earth for no particular reason and then randomly appear again almost a year later. The answer, apparently, is "at least once more."

I'm not going to make any grand promises about blogging regularly again, because, let's face it, I couldn't do that even when I did not have a child who would only nap while being held, which means that I can only ever type with one hand.

Oh... speaking of which... I have a son!!!! (When I originally typed that sentence, it had about 14 more exclamation points, but I toned it down.)

He is two months old, and he is, in my personal opinion, the most adorable baby on the planet. Mr. Darling and I pretty much think he's the best baby ever. Naturally, he shall henceforth be referred to as "Baby Darling."

To summarize the past... eight months (or however long it's been since I blogged):

-I loved being pregnant, even though I spent most of the last two months assuring people that, yes, I really was absolutely positive that there was only one baby in there. (Everything about me stayed the same size except for my belly, which looked like Baby Darling was standing on end with his feet on my spine and his head against my belly button. It was ridiculous. I will post pictures when my laptop [which I may or may not have stepped on while getting out of bed to feed Baby D at 3am,] gets fixed.) My ridiculous belly resulted in some serious stretch marks, the likes of which this world has never seen. (Slight exaggeration, but still...) Three weeks after Baby D graced the world with his fabulous presence, I made a self-conscious comment to Mr. Darling about said stretch marks, and Mr. D said, "They look kind of like a flame tattoo - like a sexy biker chick!" I love that man more every single day of my life.

-We decided not to find out whether Baby Darling was a boy or a girl until I gave birth. (I mean, we knew it would be one or the other... you know what I mean.) That lasted until ONE HOUR before Baby Darling was born. We found out that I had to have a c-section because 24 hours after my water broke, Baby D showed no signs of wanting to be born. So to make me feel better about needing a c-section, the nurse said, "He's just a stubborn little boy who doesn't want to come out!" Luckily for her, I was exhausted and in pain, or I might've punched her.

-Baby Darling was tongue-tied, and he nursed every 30 minutes, for an hour at a time, all day, until he was six weeks old. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I somehow* maintained my sanity. Finally, against the advice of our pediatrician, we got the tongue-tie fixed, and Baby D now can go 2-3 hours between daytime feedings and has slept through the night twice. Life is good!

-Mr. (Dr.) Darling will finish residency in June, and he signed a three-year contract at a hospital nearby, so we're staying in our current city for at least three more years! I'm thrilled! He is currently chief resident of his program and continues to be the best husband ever.

-My brother got engaged and is getting married in June, and I'm a bridesmaid. The fact that his bride-to-be picked an empire waist bridesmaid dress in case my postpartum stomach isn't back to normal is just one of the many reasons that I love her.

-I love my son like crazy. I'll try not to be one of those moms who only ever talks about how awesome her kid is (extremely awesome, for the record), but be prepared for a lot of Baby D stories... assuming I actually post more than once a year.

So, that about sums it up. I may or may not fill in more details later, but at least anyone who happens to still subscribe to my blog is now up to speed. Also, I'm really not joking about always typing with one hand, so cut me some slack on the typos.

*Sanity was mostly maintained thanks to prayer, an amazing husband, and Godiva chocolate.
In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes