Monday, September 29, 2008

Love and Gasoline

The other day I was driving, and I happened to drive by a car dealership. There, in the lot, right by the road, was a 1983 red Volkswagon Rabbit. A convertible.

And I couldn't help it. My heart leapt from my chest, jumped across the highway and splatted itself on the windshield.

Now I am in love with a used car.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sadie's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding-Part 1

I've been breastfeeding now for almost six months.

That is nearly six months of feeding Norah roughly every three hours from 6am to 8pm and once or twice from 8pm to 6am. I really hate math, but if you would like, go right ahead and figure how many breastfeeding sessions Norah and I have been through. It would be an approximation, of course. As I said before, I really hate math, so I will approximate that Norah and I have been through A Stinking Lot of breasfeeding sessions.

Given that I have been through A Stinking Lot of breastfeeding sessions, I would like to share some of the things that have helped me survive these past six months, six months of being Norah's number 1 source of food, because honestly, in spite of all it's good, breastfeeding can be really hard.

So now that I have babbled on for way too long, I offer:

Sadie's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding-Part 1.

First, the issue of breastfeeding in public.

I know this makes some people very uncomfortable, both mothers and innocent bystanders, but I decided...the day after Norah was born that I was just not going to allow myself to be squeamish about it. Honestly, after having a room full of people witness the birth of my child (and by that I mean, see my naked from the waist down), breastfeeding was so not a big deal. I wanted to make sure I was sensitive to other people, but also wanted to make sure that I felt free to get out of the house and not have to worry about how to find a hiding place just so Norah could eat and stop screaming. So I bought myself one of these:

It's a Peanut Shell Nursing Cover (mine is in Retro Blue because that was all they had) and it has made my life much MUCH easier. I don't have to worry about a blanket slipping off my shoulder and me ending up flashing an old man in a cowboy hat. It has a wire in the neck so I can see Norah without having to move it. It's nice and light so we don't get hot, and obviously, I like that it's cute. And in a pinch it has doubled as a burp rag, which reminds me that I need to wash it. I really suggest any woman who is planning on breastfeeding to get one. It makes public feeding so much more comfortable and easy. Lately I have seen nursing covers everywhere, for a variety of prices, so they should be pretty simple for a new mama to find.

Next, the issue of bras and breastpads. People, this bra issue has been one seriously frustrating event for me. I am picky about my bras, I don't like lines or itchiness or seams or...I'm just picky. I tried several bras from Motherhood Maternity, but found their bras to be like their clothes: Cheap in every sense of the word. Those bras were awful! I have one bra from Wal-Mart and several sleep bras from Target, none of which I can find online. I also have a monster of a bra from Medela and a horrifying contraption from La Leche League.

But then. Oh then! I found this miracle of a bra, this lovely symphony of comfort and support from Bravado. I love it. It's comfy, seamless, supportive (yay!) and relatively pretty. It also has full drop cups and easy snaps.

By far my favorite disposable breastpads have been from Lansinoh, they are the least lumpy and visible under a shirt, but they are also one of the most expensive. I am currently trying some LilyPadz because they are smooth and are supposed to last for at least 2 months. I'll let you know what I think.

Norah has an obnoxious habit of getting a mouth full of milk and then dumping it down my side, so I am often sticky and have breastmilk pants. I am fully stocked with burp rags because of her penchant for puke so I always try to stick one underneath her head to catch her dribbling.

That's it for Part 1! Next I'll discuss my Boppy, my breast pump, and my wonderful precious and fabulous nipple shield. For now, happy nursing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Honey! Soup's On!

A few days ago my mom came up and bought me a stock pot so she could make me some clam chowder, which, I am still eating. It is very delicious.

Just before she left she told me she wanted me to make some good soup in my new pot (Because she knows how cooking makes me cringe deep inside my heart). So I decided to make her proud.

Also, here are some awful pictures of Saturday night's storm.


Words cannot express how much I love argyle socks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wondering Then Understanding

Last night when I was in WalMart I wondered to myself why they didn't make industrial sized Oreo packages. That seems like an obvious necessity to me. And this morning, when I leaned forward and accidentally clicked the mouse on my computer with my stomach bulge, I understood why they make industrial sized SlimFast packages.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Softly, Softly

Sometimes I really hate my job.

I hate it when I have to wipe poop off the bathroom floor. I hate when I have to run around like a crazy person trying to get a million things done in fifteen minutes. I hate it when I have to try and sort through hundreds of pairs of sock. And mostly I hate it when I have to pick nits. I really hate picking nits.

Sometimes I love my job.

I love my job when I get to play monster tag with kids. I love seeing kids that have been gone a long time, seeing how well they are doing. I love making kids laugh. I love that my job allows me to be silly and talk in funny voices. I love that my work attire is jeans and a t-shirt.

And sometimes, I just don't know what to think about my job.

Right now we have this 4 month old baby girl. Tonight was a little crazy, as opposed to all those other nights that are totally normal and mellow, so I was helping out by snuggling with the baby. She was so beautiful with her brown hair and her feet sticking out of her pink jammies I just wanted to eat her up. Or maybe bring her home and let her be Norah's little sister.

I should have known not to snuggle with a little baby, especially given the way I have been so sensitive about all things related to babies for the past...five months. I should have taken into consideration the fragile state of my heart. But I didn't, so when this little girl started rubbing her face into my shoulder, or holding onto my hands and trying to sit up, or whimpering for food, I lost all hope. She too closely resembled Norah, was too much like my little girl.

Driving home I was struck, once again, with the cruel reality that this is a mean and complicated world where babies can't have their mamas and are forced to cry out for a stranger's comfort. I fiercely wanted to give her as much love and comfort as I give Norah but I had to face the fact that I would be leaving in a matter of hours and she would wake up in the middle of the night to yet another stranger.

This has happened to me before. The last time it was a little blonde haired boy who always wore red tennis shoes. I just could not get over how much he reminded me of my little brother and it broke my heart to see him crying at night. I wanted to hug him and tell him I loved him and that it was going to be ok because I would always be there for him. But that would have been a lie and now he probably doesn't even remember my name.

Just when I think I have mastered the art of detaching from these kids, another one sneaks in and punches me right in the gut, making me painfully remember exactly what it is I do at work. Why I even have a job at all.

I have a job because there are parents who do not know how to love their children. And that's a tragedy on all sides. Tragic for the children, obviously, for they are often bounced around from place to place never really learning what home is, but also tragic for the parents who lose their children because they don't know--were never taught--how to love and care for their kids. It is tragic that the child protection system has to spend so much time coming up behind and cleaning up these disasters that there is no time left for building healthy families out of the wreakage. So my job is to love on kids who need loving, and even as altruistic as that sounds I can't help but wonder whether it makes any difference at all. I'm just another transient stranger in the end.

One time I was driving home from work thinking about how unfair it was that these beautiful kids have their innocence taken from them in such barbaric ways and I remember thinking that I would never do that to my kids. But you know, I am just as fallen as the next person, and if left to my own devices have the evil capability to hurt my own baby. What a scary thought.

So in the end, I am incredibly grateful to have the family I do because they taught me what it means to love and care for one another. My family is imperfect, but they taught me--are still teaching me--how to be a good mama. I am grateful to have the support I have, because without it I would be lost. I am grateful that God has chosen to give me the grace and strength and whatever else it takes to be a good mama. And I suppose all of this is to say thank you to everyone who has helped me.

The world is mean and complicated, but it is also terribly, almost painfully, beautiful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

20 Weeks

Dear Norah!

You are 20 weeks old! 5 months! That’s crazy! I am going to continue punctuating my sentences with exclamation points because that is how you live your life! In the imperative! When you say something, you mean it! When you want something, you want it now! When you talk, people listen!

I’m not joking, kid. You are serious about the things you say, and I imagine if there were a transcription of everything you said, it would look like this: Blee! Blah Blah! Oooh! Aaaack! SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK! SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! Today you were shrieking in church and afterward everyone was like, “Oh! We need to get that girl a microphone! She wants to sing!” And I was like, “No, you don’t understand. She was just warming up the vocal chords. When Norah is really ready to sing, Norah does not need a microphone. Rather, we all need earmuffs to protect our puny human hearing from her superhuman death shrieks.”

You are a little older now, Norah, and you are more like my little companion rather than my little parasite. I liked it when you were my little parasite, but I like it even more now that you are my little companion. In the mornings, when you make it clear that you are ready to get up I always try to convince you that we can stay in bed a little longer. I try rubbing your tummy and holding your hands and squishing your cheeks, but you just giggle. And eventually I give in and I roll out of bed. Then we go into the living room and I change you diaper and then we go around the house to do the morning things together, like opening the curtains and feeding the cats and making the coffee. I talk to you while we do these things, explaining what we are doing, and you talk back and you always try to grab things out of my hands and put them in your mouth. But I’m telling you Norah, you really don’t want to put used coffee grounds in your mouth.

One day last week I was having a really awful day. I was frustrated with the whole world and every single person in it. We came home and you were lying on the floor while I looked something up on the computer. You were looking at the ceiling fan and blowing the spittiest raspberries in the history of raspberry blowing and it was just so hilarious and cute I could not be mad anymore. All my anger, blown away in one spit bubble. Thanks for that Norah.

Then on another day we were sitting on the couch reading and you weren’t wearing any clothes. We finished the book and you took it out of my hands and starting chewing on it. I found that awfully funny because sometimes all I want to do is sit on the couch in my underwear and enjoy a good book. Whatever, I’m just glad you like books even if you do eat them instead of read them.

Remember last month when I told you we were going to ride on a plane and I was trying to get you to sit in my lap for long periods of time? Well. We had to take two plane rides to get to Roswell, and you were the most incredible baby in the whole world on those two flights. You ate well and played well and then you fell asleep in my lap with no fuss at all (which, I might add, was the first time you have ever done that in your life). And then in Roswell you cried a lot and didn’t sleep well. I don’t know what your deal was because I had a great time in Roswell. But we got to see our family and they all love you.

When we were coming back home from Roswell we almost missed our plane. In fact, you and I and your Aunt Sara were the last ones to get on the plane. It was an early flight so I imagine many people were trying to sleep, but you chose this to be the flight that you screamed through. Yep, you screamed nearly the entire hour and six minutes. The only time you didn’t scream was when you were eating, so once you fell asleep that way I just left you, even though my arm was hurting and you kept kicking your Aunt Sara. You weren’t crying anymore, but Aunt Sara and I were being a little silly (as we often are) and were probably just as loud as you were. I’m pretty sure that every person on the flight hated me, Norah. But it’s cool, we’ll never ever see those people again.

Speaking of Aunt Sara, she is awesome. I’ve been thinking back to when Sara and I were little and all the fun we had. Growing up sharing a room with your best friend is fantastic. We got into loads of trouble and I’m sure caused more than a few grays hairs to grow on your G-Ma and Grandpa’s heads, but Norah, it was the best. Sara and I had our rough times and we fought, but it was so worth it. I want you to have that, even if it means your dad and I go prematurely gray. I want you to have a best friend for life like I do.

You rolled from your back to your belly for the first time this month, and you had your first experience with baby cereal. You don’t love your cereal yet, but I don’t blame you. It tastes awful. You talk all the time and you love to snuggle with soft toys and blankets. By snuggle, of course, I mean you love to put them over your face and chew on them. Sometimes I go into your room and find you asleep with your blanket either covering your face or in your mouth. You also prefer to sleep sideways in your bed, so your feet and head are both butting up against the bumpers. You are a little weirdo. You think standing is the coolest thing in the world, but I am telling you now, sit down while you can because one day you will probably have a baby who is happiest when you are carrying her around the whole world and you will think to yourself “Oh, how I wish I could just sit down for a few minutes.”

Little girl, you are such a joy. I love you so much it feels like I should be crushed under the weight of all that love.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Need to Point Out the Obvious

Have you ever had one of those days when you can't find anything to wear? When none of the clothes in your closet, not any of the ones you had to buy since you had a baby and gained all that weight, are what you want to wear? When the only shirt you could possibly want to wear in the whole entire closet is the one stained with breastmilk because you didn't realize that breastmilk had the ability to leave unsightly stains on the boobs of your shirts?

Yeah that happened to me today. So if you see me, I assure you I am aware of the unsightly stain on my boob.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

All In a Day's Work

Today's class notes:

The bulk of my work was spent on Tiny Trees
But I am awfully excited about the beginning layout of
my new city, Townsvilleburg.
Today was a mentally taxing day, to say the least.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Today was the day I chose to go running around town doing non-essential errand type things with Norah. Today was also the day that Hurricane Gustav poured out buckets of rain in Arkansas. But did I let Gustav stop me? Of course not. It takes a heck of alot more than a hurricane to divert my attention from The Gap.

My decision to go shopping today was a real idiot of an idea, ranking right up there with the rest of my idiot ideas like: that time in the third grade when I was laughing at the naked people in National Geographic, that time in the third grade when I lied about laughing at the naked people in National Geographic and tried to convince my mom that I was laughing at a knock-knock joke, eating half a package of Oreos in one sitting, those green Chuck Taylors, telling my friends I would make dinner for them after they had a baby and then remembering that I don't cook, and watching three whole episodes of Secret Life of the American Teenager.

I had to go to school this morning to sell some books to other students and I should have taken it as a hint when I got to school and could not find a parking spot anywhere near the building I needed to get into. Instead, I parked super far away and dragged myself, the diaper bag, two books, Norah and an umbrella that weighs more than Norah all around campus. I nearly dropped everything, and really should have just left the umbrella in the car, that's how useful it was to me. Walking up to the student center I realized that everyone inside could see my stupid and soaked self since the whole building is made of windows. I was trying to figure out how to open the door without dropping and/or breaking anything when a nice Latin American boy took pity on me and opened the door. But not before he and his friends looked at me and laughed. Once I got inside I realized that I was not only dripping wet with a slippery baby, a useless umbrella and vagabond hair, but I was also too late to meet the girl I was selling my book to.

Still not taking the hint from the heavens I trudged all the way across the soggy campus, hitting several cars with my giant umbrella before making it back to my little Honda. I had a fleeting moment of lucidity when I thought Maybe I should just go home and drink some tea, but that thought was quickly followed by The Gap! The Gap awaits your arrival! so I went home to change into dry clothes and then kept on going, all the way to lunch with Dawn.

At lunch I had to feed Norah and was confronted with an old man in a cowboy hat who would not stop staring at me. While I was feeding her. Covered up, but still. He eventually moved tables, but not before standing up and staring some more. Perhaps to get a better view?

Then Dawn and I went to the mall where I realized how agonizingly slow the process of getting her from the car to the store can be. Especially in the rain. We shopped and shopped, and in typical fashion, Norah fell asleep just as we were leaving but not when we were trying to shop. It was still raining, perhaps even raining harder, but undaunted I chose to wade on through Old Navy and Target.

When I left Target I was carrying Norah in Bjorn, the diaper bag, a Target bag, a blanket a drink and yet another useless umbrella (that I bought for myself but was also rendered useless by the heavy duty plastic clip holding it closed). When I finally made it to my car and sat down to strap Norah into the car seat, I looked at her, with her face and head wet from the rain and her feet bare because she kept taking off her socks, it occurred to me that maybe I should have stayed home today. But then Norah, probably amused by her mother looking like some kind of damp crazy person, started laughing and I thought Eh, at least it will make for a good story later on.

All that, and I didn't even buy anything at The Gap.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Need a Nap

I work at a children's shelter, a place filled to the brim with kids, so by very nature my job entails a bit of chaos. But the last two nights had about 87456 times more chaos than normal.

We had two medical emergencies, two outings, one short staffing issue, numerous time clock shenanigans, lots of time outs, pantomimed knock-knock jokes, the longest bubble bath in shelter history, a missing fake chocolate chip cookie, poop wiped on the floor and one captive lizard.

All that would be ok if I was one of those people who is calm and organized and structured. Too bad I am one of those people who is excitable and frazzled and flexible.