Cesarean-Born Self-Therapy?

I've noticed a certain thing that the cub likes to do lately: he likes to crawl to where I'm standing (sometimes he does this with DH, too) and then butt his head against my legs to push and squeeze through between them. As soon as he's pulled himself through, he turns right around and does it again from the other side. He doesn't want me to do anything but stand there and let him push and squeeze himself through, again and again.

Our doula has a boy who was also born by Cesarean. She told me that her son (4 years old at the time) would do something similar when they were playing in the pool together. He would push up between her arm and her side and say, "Look at me, mama! I'm coming through the birth canal!" (Being the son of a doula comes with a full understanding of the process of birth.) She told me to watch for the cub doing things to mimic the experience of "pushing through" that he missed out on by being delivered by Cesarean.

If there's some connection between his new game and his Cesarean delivery, then that's just the coolest thing ever. I'm very amused and may try to devise play "tunnels" that he can crawl through and other birth-mimicking games we can play to help him integrate whatever he's working on. If anyone reads this who has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.


Feeling Isolated Today

I've been reading some very entertaining blogs by women, other wives and mothers, that I don't even know. I feel like a voyeur reading their blogs, and a little sheepish, like I'm turning into some sort of Internet Peeping Tomasina. But I'm discovering two things: 1) we all have very similar problems, victories, hopes and fears; and 2) I live a very isolated life.

I am only able to work part-time right now, because the cub can't go into regular daycare, and I wouldn't make enough working full-time to afford a full-time individual caretaker. Because I'm a free agent who charges by the hour, and my part-time caretaker is paid by the hour, I feel guilty about any hour that she's got the cub and I'm not working. If I'm paying for a caretaker, then I damn well better be able to bill for the time.

Also, because I'm working part-time (M-Th, 10-4), I'm unable to schedule any sort of regular playdates for the cub. His caretaker doesn't know any of my friends and is a spanish speaker, so I'm not sure that she (or my friends) would be comfortable taking him to someone else's house where she can't communicate with them or vice versa. Also, since most (read: all) of my friends are now mothers themselves, the only time that there is to realistically spend time with them is as a playdate, and I'm usually working during prime playdate hours. When I get home, it's a little bit of time with the cub, dinner, tv, and bed.

DH, bless his good intentions, supports my taking time for myself while the nanny is with the cub, but read above re availability of my friends. I just need to hold it together until the cub can get back to a regular full-time daycare program so that I can take off mornings or afternoons with him for us both to go spend time with friends. Until then, I'm afraid I'm stuck in this rut.


It's a Stomach Bug, Alright

The cub got up from his afternoon nap Friday with a 101.6 fever. I called the pediatrician's office and we got there just in time for the last appointment. Whatever it was, we caught it early enough that they couldn't tell if it was a respiratory bug or a stomach bug, but whatever it was, it was viral.

A vomit-y laundry and total loss of appetite later (his and mine), I'm pretty sure it's a stomach bug. And by the way, the dr. appointment without insurance? Yes, that was an $80 fever, to be told there's nothing they could do and to let it run its course. Of course it's best to rule out other more serious causes with a trip to the doctor, but sheesh.

So, Memorial Day weekend plans were put on raincheck while the cub recovers. He's been in a downright pissy mood, and who can blame him, what with the molars, the sour tummy, the fever, and the having to be house-confined for a few days. Of course I chose to stay and take care of the cub rather than represent the clan at the social events today, because I Am A Type A Mama and would have been calling DH every fifteen minutes to find out if the cub had a fever/had eaten anything/had pooped, so I might as well just stay put and let the one of us who would enjoy himself go have fun.


I Thought It Wouldn't Happen to Me

Growing up in the '70's, we gals got two messages pounded into us: have a career, and get married and have children. It's like the western world can't figure out what it's supposed to do with women. We're bright, capable, and yet we're also the uteruses for the human enterprise, and the enterprise fails if we don't keep wanting to incubate new humans and then nurture them and shield them with our very bodies if necessary so that they successfully grow into contributing members of the enterprise, thus ensuring the continuity of the species.

So I: got into a great college (check); majored in something useless and got into a great grad school (check); got a fabulous advanced degree and clawed my way to a half-decent career (check); got married (check); had a kid (check); put the kid into daycare (huh?); put the career on the back burner working part-time to still try to also be a mom and a wife (wtf?); felt guilty and resentful daily because I still enjoy my work (bad mom) and yet I'd happily quit in a heartbeat to do nothing but take care of my son and have a clean, organized house with plants blooming on the porch and a delicious meal waiting for my husband every evening (what a waste of an incredible education and years of hard work).

And then something happened Thursday that just put a stake in my heart (yes, still watching BTVS reruns). The cub's caretaker came at her usual time on Thursday morning and, as usual, got the cub up from his morning nap while I finished getting ready to go in to the office. When I came in to the cub's room for a bye-bye hug and kiss, the cub CLUNG TO THE NANNY. He has never, ever, E-V-E-R preferred anyone's hugs to mine. I shook it off and didn't force the matter (how sick would that have been?) and nibbled his toes and stroked his forehead and went on to work.

When DH told my mother-in-law about it, she kindly said don't worry, it happens to everyone. I kind of knew that, but somehow thought it wouldn't happen to me.

The cub developed a fever today - his first in almost three months. It came out of nowhere and is pretty high, so la doctora thinks it's probably viral and will just have to run it's course. I hate seeing him sick. I can tell that he doesn't feel well and I hate not being able to make it all better for him.


A New Cocktail for the Summer

We have bottles of things in the fridge and freezer that have been there for going on two years (pregnancy + nursing) that are still perfectly drinkable. Now that I get to belly up to the bar again, I've created my own cocktail to serve to friends who are coming over for burgers by the pool tonight. I don't have a name for it yet, but it will have something to do with bears in the summer.

2 oz. chilled key lime soda
1 oz. chilled limoncello
1/2 oz. chilled Rose's Sweetened Lime
1/2 oz. chilled unsweetened pomegranate juice
chopped ice optional
Serve in a champagne flute with a little lemon zest ribbon


Happy Mother's Day and Vive La Revolucion!

It's a known fact that bears being reminded of from time to time: for every person walking the earth at this moment there was a woman who became pregnant, stayed pregnant, and gave birth.

I have recently begun reading "The Mother Trip" by Ariel Gore. This plucky gal became a mother at nineteen - a high-school drop out who had travelled to China to study and in a few years found herself living in a borrowed apartment in Tuscany with her British boyfriend taking odd jobs to support them. I realized last night that she is younger than me, which I found kind of alarming, but that's another topic for another day ....

Here is an excerpt of Ariel's wisdom for today:

"Our intuition isn't always accessible. We need each other's support and helpful words. What we don't need is junk-food advice that tells us to ignore our feelings, that undermines our confidence and insults our intelligence. It's just a recipe for depression. Because what is intuition? It's a capacity of the spirit. It's knowledge. And what is depression? It's low spirits. It's knowledge withheld. but there is also a jumping-off point from this circular equation, a point where we can recognize our exhaustion for what it is, give ourselves a break, and in that quiet hour begin to transform the energy our culture has taught us to use to scrutinize and blame ourselves, and turn it outward, into something revolutionary."

Lord knows we need a revolution. Mothers of the world (and our mother-ing friends - the men and women who support, nurture, and give the gift of their love to those fortunate enough to be in their lives), UNITE.


JCPenney Is My New Target

Holy cow am I the last person to find out how CUUUUTE the clothes are at JCPenney now? Why didn't someone tell me this earlier? It would have been easy to work into conversation: "Say, TypeAMama, those parachute pants look great with that velour sweatshirt ... have you been to JCPenney lately?"

Turns out over the last year or two the department store chain has been re-vamping (and I do mean vamping) the lines they carry, and even managed to snag someone over from Macy's (Michele K? Michele something-or-other ....) with the Bisou Bisou line. Except JCPenney's prices rock. Today while I was there looking at sundresses (and I found not one but two classy numbers that made even my post-baby frame look enticing), I also saw and considered (might go back for it yet) a darling denim blazer that had seaming that even Stacy London would have praised, with a tad of stretch in the fabric to help enhance curves, a dark dye, and contemporary cut. It was on sale from $50 to $11.77. Yes, that's right folks. Skip your Starbucks for 3 days and you've paid for this blazer.


Acid Reflux After One Year

Back in the sweet early days of the cub, I would, on occasion, refer to him endearingly as the "devil spawn". It wasn't his fault, of course, that his sleeping was all messed up from being very young and, poor guy, having to deal with acid reflux's constant spitting up and irritation. So much for such a little guy.

He has been on Zantac, 3 X day, since he was 5 weeks old. (Some other time I'll write about the crappy, incredibly unhelpful, anti-support I received from some of my naturopathic care providers.) He is now very close to the point that he will be "outgrowing" his current dose, and if he stays asymptomatic we get to stop giving him the Zantac. Without getting his exact weight now, but making an educated guess based on what he weighed at his one-year visit last month, his doctor reckoned we were approaching that weight now, and to take him off the Zantac and see what happens.

A return to devil spawn, that's what.

The little guy is getting his molars in. All four at once. Two have just broken through, one is a giant, swollen bump, and the other is just moving into position. So he's already in a delicate state. Last night he woke up whining a little after midnight, which has been happening sometimes when the molars are giving him a lot of grief. But instead of getting back to sleep after the tylenol, he fussed and fussed and nothing I could do could get him to go back to sleep. At about 1:45 I went ahead and gave him his first dose of Zantac in about 30 hrs. and he went to sleep shortly after that - enough time for it to work. This morning sitting in his high chair at breakfast he gave a solidly wet burp. It's not over yet.

I'm painfully exhausted, and this being a new blog I have no readers yet (if I ever will - there are some truly witty, laugh-out-loud funny mama blogs out there), and I don't want to whine to friends about how exhausted I am right now, but I'm on the verge of tears. It's the accumulated sleep deprivation thing, and it's the beginning of a day needing to be patient, gentle and attentive to my uncomfortable trooper of a cub, which takes some energy, and also being able to multi-task and deal with clients because today's my "off" day, meaning the nanny doesn't come so I'm home with the cub, theoretically not working, but the business world doesn't take Fridays off, so I end up still needing to be available anyway.

I really wanted to be done with the Zantac. I was fantasizing about going to bed every night at 9 again, like way back in the day, instead of having to stay up to give the cub his evening dose.


Working Mom

What a reediculously redundant phrase. What mom isn't working? Sometimes I get so fed up with all of the advice and judgments - good and bad - about whether or not mothers should "go back to work". I still go around with the feeling that I have to justify, defend, and explain myself. To God, my mom, my clients, co-workers, strangers at the grocery store. Sometimes I'll jokingly refer to myself as "bad mom" - telling a friend how I accidently clobbered the cub with my Target bags when I was introducing myself to the prospective new nanny, for example. But I know I'm just playing with the deep fear that I might, in fact, be a bad mom. I think I'm a pretty good mom, but then there's that lurking, nagging, hard-wired self-doubt, which is the grain of truth that makes the joking funny.

Another one for the bad mom archives: I learned two more foods not to give to a 13-month-old tonight. Polenta and creamed spinach. The polenta might work after it's really set, and then cut into pieces and fried in the skillet to reheat. It wasn't set enough tonight, and wound up in the cub's hair, nose, eyes, ears, all over the hands and arms. He was very unpleased. Couldn't get rid of the stuff, and everything he touched became covered with it, including himself. Little King Midas with corn meal. And the spinach - well, it was just plain deadly. He's eaten spinach before, but just on it's own, cooked and thoroughly chopped, and flavored with some goat cheese or a dab of butter and lemon juice. He usually likes it alright. So I thought we'd advance to creamed spinach. I was very proud of my lower fat version, with diced red bell peppers and mushrooms, built a roux with whole milk instead of using a lot of cream, added a bit of grated sharp cheddar for flavor zing, and it was darn good. But I didn't chop up the leaves like I should have before I put them in, and so I gave my child what was essentially large, slippery, clumps that he couldn't easily chew to eat. What was I thinking??!!! So, dinner was sort of a disaster. I had to take him out of the chair to hug and comfort him and apologize when he had to struggle with a clump of spinach that really scared him/pissed him off royally, and he was in no mood to get back into mommy's chair of torture to eat any more, so I had to hold a little tray of peach pieces and bits of veggie burger in my lap and let him eat standing up holding onto my knees (as he isn't really walking or standing without holding onto something yet.) The dog was having such a feast that I had to lock him up in our bathroom for a little peace. I have been told that once the cub starts walking, he will refuse to eat sitting in the high chair and will just need to get up and move around during meals. This will be a boon for the dog. He'll think he's died and gone to heaven except that I still won't let him sleep on the chenille sofa.