I know I said I’d write about diapers over the weekend, but I didn’t do that. I don’t really have an excuse for myself. Sometimes I tell the Internet I’m going to do something and then I don’t do it. I should feel more ashamed than I do, but I’m incorrigible. I was hanging out with my kid and also Phil. We didn’t do anything crazy. I just didn’t write about the diapers yet. I will. Of course. Because, ha.
The truth is that I also kind of got overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by my diaper collection. Yet as soon as I finish this post, I will go back to working on some other writing, the kind that people pay me for in dollars, not silence, to squirrel away funds in my PayPal account for more diapers. So.
A while back, Swistle mentioned liking this young adult book called The True Meaning of Smekday, and I added it to my “to read” shelf in Goodreads. Then? One day? IT JUST SHOWED UP AT MY HOUSE. Because that is the kind of thing that happens when you’re friends with a lady like Swistle.
(When I was first on bed rest? Swistle sent me some brownies, and not only were they fantastic, she also sent along little plates with them, because she’s thoughtful like that. And you think that’s the end, but no – she left the Target clearance sticker on the plates, because she and I are kindred spirits of the orange sticker – I swear, I have orange-sticker-seeking laser eyeballs when I walk through Target. And she understands that. I feel like Swistle and I are the same people in alternate universes that are entirely the same, except in hers, the me/her can handle five kids, while in mine, the me/her is in a constant state of shrillness over just ONE kid.)
Anyway, Swistle sent me that book and within one chapter, I was totally charmed by it. It’s a cute book, and it’s funny. I feel like some of the jokes might go over the head of the youngest of the YA book reading age range, but not over the heads of adults. There’s a lot of humor that is based on the writing style of the author, which I can appreciate, and I don’t know how to compare myself to a published author without sounding like an asshole, so let’s first all accept that I’m an asshole, and then I’ll go ahead and do it so it’s not a surprise. Anyway, the writing style and tone reminded me, in some places in the book, of my own writing and style and tone, which probably enhances my enjoyment of the book, because I am my own biggest fan. Because I’m an asshole.
I haven’t even gotten to my point yet. So I was reading along in this book and it’s charming and entertaining, but the age of the main character – 11 and a half – takes a huge bite out of the believability for me. So I mentally adjusted her age to 14, and now this book about an alien takeover is much more realistic.
This is just like the other day when Phil started telling me a story about how he was trying to take a shower but the water was too hot because this is Phoenix and the water comes out of the ground hot (which is what leads to a sweaty toilet embrace), and I was waiting for the conclusion to the story, but that was it. This is just like that. I thought there was more of a thing when I started typing this part of the post, but I was wrong. Water comes out of the ground hot, doesn’t get cold. End.
Volunteering for things is really big in the Air Force, probably in all of the military, but I don’t know about that. Just this morning Phil forwarded me the flier of a volunteer opportunity he is going to join – making little beanies and blankets for children in Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where Penny recently stayed.
And I know that this particular opportunity doesn’t apply to most of you, but should you ever get a chance to participate in some kind of children’s hospital volunteer event, I really, really urge you to do it.
When Penny was in the NICU, she was provided with a couple of little hats, hand-knitted by volunteers, which was so sweet. But on top of that, and what still gets me, is that there was this senior citizens volunteer group, and they worked with the NICU people on scrap booking. And Penny had been in the NICU for a day, maybe a day and a half, and this group had asked for her name and got to work. And they made this sign that said PENNY, with cut out letters, matted on several pink and purple pieces of paper, and there were “girly” stickers, like a high heel, and there was a little wooden bird attached – I would look, but I’m not sure where it is right now and I feel like such an asshole about it. Anyway, they hung this little sign that said “PENNY” from her monitor, the one that kept track of her heart rate and O2 sats, that we stared at ALL OF THE TIME. Her name was written on a little white board next to her isolette, with her weight and her nurse’s name, and that was fine, but every kid in that NICU got a scrap booked sign of their name hung up next to their bed.
I guess that sounds kind of lame when I write it out, but that, plus the hats, plus the people who pushed a cart of complimentary hot coffee and other drinks around for families at Phoenix Children’s, plus the ones who brought around games and books and all of that, it really sticks out in my mind. I mean, my kid was in the hospital twice – one 8 day stretch and one 5 day stretch, very sick both times, and I distinctly remember the efforts of these volunteers.
I just think that if you get a chance, you should. I know that the whole point of a volunteer opportunity is to be selfless and do something without reward or thanks or whatever, but I know I personally am a person who is a little more encouraged by results (see above re: asshole), so I’m telling you. It matters to people.
Dear Medela, GTFO.
Hey, so, I returned the rented Medela Symphony we had picked up after Penny came out of the hospital this last time. We got it because she needed to be on high cal formula for a while, and it was easier to keep track of her intake using bottles. So I could pump and add some formula to the expressed milk to bring up the calorie count of that as well, but I’ve never been able to pump too much. So mostly, Penny got formula, plus I would pump enough to make sure that one to two of her bottles each day was breast milk, with the added benefit of keeping up the supply for her eventual, hopeful return to nursing.
And you know what? It just didn’t work out. I’ve never been able to pump too much. Some women and pumps just don’t get along too well, you know? So it’s not like I was building up this enormous freezer supply while doing this. Enough for her to get one bottle a day, most days, as well as maybe put an ounce or two away in the freezer.
And exclusively pumping is so stressful. It’s so by the clock. You can’t just hope she naps and do it then. It’s got to be regular. And sometimes your baby needs you during those times and there’s nothing you can do about it because you’re pumping. And if you do wait until she’s asleep, then the time that you would normally use to do things like dishes and laundry and showers and peeing gets taken up by pumping. Plus? That Symphony is no effing joke. Pain. Lots of pain.
I’d been through the whole thing before, the pumping and formula, when Penny was brand new and it took 6 weeks for her to learn how to nurse, and I was glad to be past it, because breastfeeding was just easier. Feeding the baby was no longer a two hour process of bottle, feed, pump, store, and things could get done and everyone was happier.
So I started pumping again with the idea that we’d get back to those easy times, but I realized after only a couple of weeks that it just wasn’t going to work. Going back to that stressful, clock-watching, supply-worrying time was just not on. It was making me resentful and cranky, and it’s just not the relationship that I want to have with Penny with regard to feeding.
So I took it back to the store with a couple of weeks left to go on the rental. I nurse Penny in the morning when she wakes up and in the evening before bed, and I don’t expect that will last too much longer, because both of those nursing sessions are followed up by a hefty bottle. It’s not even enough for two feedings, the supply. It started ticking down when she got sick and too weak to nurse properly, and I just don’t have it in me – I’ll be honest, I just don’t WANT to do what’s necessary to restore and keep it up.
Once those feedings are no longer happening, we’ll dole out the very small freezer stash, one bottle a day, until it’s gone. I’ll stretch out the breast milk as long as I can, but when it’s done – a week? two? Maybe a month? – that’s it.
I’m not saying this because I feel like I owe the Internet an explanation, or because I need your approval. I’m just saying it. There’s a lot of stuff wrapped up into this decision, with guilt and “best for the baby” and “best for our family” and “best for me” and all of that all at once.
But that’s what’s happening, and I am at the same time TOTALLY OKAY and REALLY DISTRESSED about this decision, but rationally know that we’re all going to live and it’s not the end of the world. It’s possible to feel really terrible about the right choice, I guess, but it’s hard to say that I feel TERRIBLE because I know I’m making the right call. But there are also flashes of terrible.
Over the course of Penny’s existence, I’ve talked about breastfeeding here a few times, and there have been two lines offered up in the comments that really helped me to get to where I am right now, not in terms of abandoning breastfeeding but more about how I got to be okay with it.
1. Formula is food, not rat poison.
2. Breastfeeding never, ever has to be an all or nothing thing, either in terms of exclusivity or duration. Some is GREAT.
If you were the one who told me either of those things, feel free to credit yourself, because I repeat them to myself and expect to repeat them to others, a lot.
HOW TO CAPTURE A WILD INTERNET
1. Set up one of those weird wooden box balanced on a stick with a string tied to it contraptions.
2. Bait the trap.
3. Yell, “HEY INTERNET! This baby is in a Bumbo on an elevated surface and there’s no adult in the frame of the picture so she is obviously COMPLETELY UNSUPERVISED even though that doesn’t make sense because then who is taking the picture but sense doesn’t matter because that UNSUPERVISED BABY is in a Bumbo on an ELEVATED SURFACE!”
4. Wait for the Internet to run into your trap with pointed sticks and those torches you always see angry mobs carrying.
5. Pull string, trapping the wild Internet.
6. Enjoy your wild Internet.