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Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.

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I’ve been meaning to blog, but with the birth of my second child, I just haven’t felt up to it. Blogging was constantly on my mind, but it was hard for me to do it. Honestly, going back to writing is about as awkward, unsettling, and weird as having sex for the first time after giving birth (if you don’t know what I mean, read Erin Donovan’s “Dead Vagina Walking” to get caught up to speed). Plus, there was just so much to write about I honestly didn’t know where to start.

Since blogging about all that I had wanted to write about in the past year would take forever, so I’ve just made a timeline. Here’s a year of my life, condensed:

12/2013: I give birth to #2! After laboring at home and giving up because my beloved husband FELL ASLEEP while I was dancing to speed things up, we end up at the hospital, 6cm dilated and me yelling for an epidural because 1) holy oxytocin, back labor and 2) I was so desperate for sleep.

Eight hours later, my husband would help deliver a sunny side up, 7 pound 3 ounce baby girl. Unlike with my first baby, the moment they put Juliette into my arms, I was in love. Unlike with my first, I was not overwhelmed with the knowledge that I was now responsible, legally, morally and otherwise, for a tiny human being whose survival depended on me. Instead, I felt proud and confident. The past nine months had been terrible, both physically and emotionally, but after giving birth I felt amazing.

dancegome

Of course, no way could I ACTUALLY do this immediately after giving birth.

1/2014: On New Year’s Day, we go to Disneyland with my son and my brand new baby girl. Being in the hospital had been terribly tough on Tiny Boss, and I wanted to do something special for him. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a horrible idea and I end up with a sick, feverish infant and several sleepless nights. Those sleepless nights haven’t disappeared, by the way.

2/2014: I am pumping so I can save milk for Tinier Boss because FFS, she is going on the bottle as soon as we get her two month shots. I am NOT making the same mistake I did with her older brother (who never took a bottle and therefore I never got a break).

3/2014: I have way too much milk because she’s not on the bottle. I’m going to start donating milk. Or maybe I should sell it. I found a website that puts you in touch with parents who need milk. This person is willing to pay $2/ounce for fresh, unfrozen milk. I’m pumping 6-12 ounces a day. I am literally a cash cow! Wait, not a cow. Poor choice of words.

Later in 3/2014: I make $20 selling breast milk! After emailing the buyer, who promises to be discreet (ok?), we meet at Starbucks.

You’re K.C.?”

whaaa

Fine. Maybe he’s a dad? But a few hours after we meet up, K.C. texts me, “Your milk is delicious.”

ewBut maybe I shouldn’t judge because thanks to Google, I’ve learned that some cancer patients drink breast milk (it is full of nutrients and extremely easy to digest). Also, some bodybuilders do it too, although based solely on appearance, this guy wasn’t a bodybuilder . . . I speculate that I have sold 10 ounces of my breastmilk to an adult baby (thanks Wikipedia!).

4/2014: I am still disappointed that I can’t make money with my boobs.

sad

What happens to a dream deferred?

8/2014: We travel to Mexico with both kids by plane.

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

The kids do awesome and I am proud. On the return flight we are stuck in a holding pattern for almost two hours due to bad weather and no one under the age of three in my row has a meltdown. On the other hand, our surrounding passengers must have been coming back from a convention for assholes. I regret not being a Tom Clancy fan; otherwise I could yell out spoilers at the man sitting next to me pretending to read but he can’t due to the amount of eye rolling going on. Bless his heart, he can’t seem to stop alternating between rolling his eyes and huffing like he’s trying to get to the head of the Hometown Buffet line. dwight

Next time I board a plane with kids, I’m printing out required reading (including this and this) to pass out. How’s that for goody bags?

booobitch9/2014: My son is potty trained! I’m forever grateful for the 3 Day Potty Training method.

At first, this is awesome, but then the realization that my schedule is now ruled by his bladder (or worse) quickly sets in. I learn the importance of always knowing the location of a bathroom or a good bush wherever I go and accumulate bad juju for the number of times we have peed on the seat or elsewhere (shudder). I spend good money on a Kalencom portable potette that is used and accepted by every American toddler except for ours.

11/2014: Flu season has set in. You know what’s worse than being sick with one kid? You guessed it.

12/2014: Baby girl is one year old. I can’t believe a year went by.

And that’s what I’ve been up to since I last blogged.

IMG_9513Actually, it wasn’t that bad getting back into writing. Stay tuned for my next post, which will be about transitioning from one to two kids, and the number of new gray hairs that have coincidentally sprouted at the same time.

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It’s 3am and I’m up again, a decision I’ll probably somewhat regret tomorrow. Tiny Boss is over a year old, still breastfeeding, and wakes me up at night. I actually don’t mind  because it gives me a chance to write, and I love writing (I say this now – ask me again tomorrow in the afternoon when I’m dying to get a second cup of coffee).

Too bad when I get the writing bug, all too often I’m drawing a blank. Like I want to write, but I don’t know what to write about. Kind of like those people you know who just talk for the sake of talking.

shutup

But then I found this.

No seriously, I found this. Well, my friend sent it to me. It’s seven writing tips from Hemingway.

Most of these tips are applicable to all writers, not just those writing fiction, as well as other creatives – concept artists, copywriters, designers of all varieties.

So I’ll take the first prompt: “To get started, write one true sentence.”

I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

This quote kind of sums it up for me – “If you want to make God laugh, tell him all your plans.”

Things were so much more black and white, cut and dry, when I was in college. I could literally list the things I was into, and do them. Environmentalist? Don’t eat meat. Believe in fair labor? Get arrested with 53 other students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an “anti-sweatshop protest” (the mission was a bit more specific than this, but that’s another post, another time.)

Ironically, the first police report I ever read was my own.

Ironically, the first police report I ever read was my own.

I went straight into law school after college. I don’t know what exactly I was thinking, but it was something like, “if I go to law school, I’ll have the power to start really changing things up.”

It wasn’t a very well thought out plan though. Skip ahead 10 years later, after three years of law school, the bar exam, and changing jobs every two years.

That’s when Tiny Boss came, and life hasn’t been the same since. In some ways, nothing else matters. But now he’s a toddler, and time is speeding up, and I’m feeling that pressure to do something with my life. And I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.

Being a lawyer (mostly) sucks.

I’m not alone here. Lawyers aren’t the happiest bunch when it comes to job satisfaction, according to the American Bar Association, and me, and Forbes magazine, which lists “associate attorney” as the number one most unhappiest job. There’s even a book, The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law, that explores why so many attorneys are unhappy.

Maybe it’s because, according to the American Bar Association, “only 16 percent of lawyers found that their jobs afforded them the ability to contribute to the public good as much as they expected when they entered the profession.” Maybe.

The book also purports to offer “more fulfilling paths to careers in the law.” Ha! We’ll see.

According to the American Bar Association, lawyers also have more pessimistic personalities than the general population

According to the American Bar Association, lawyers also have more pessimistic personalities than the general population

Mommyvision

I often say that I see the world through the lens of a mother – in a sense, every child is my child. When I see a skinny baby in the bathroom of a courthouse, I wonder if she’s sick or diagnosed with failure to thrive. When I struggle with the NPO guidelines that dictate fasting before surgery – not an easy task to refuse to feed your infant or toddler – my heart aches in a way it never did before when I think of the millions of mothers who watch their children slowly die of starvation and malnutrition.

Yes, every child is my child.

I watched a little girl crossing the street the other day with her mother. When she finished crossing, she ran back to the stoplight so she could press the walk buttons. Going both directions. I laughed, because as a mother, I appreciate the little things that make a kid happy.

A couple years ago, a good friend of mine told me once that she didn’t want to have kids because she didn’t want them to grow up in this world. At that time, I was puzzled, because I couldn’t grasp the thought of not having kids simply due to the state of affairs of the world. But I understand her now, because I worry a lot more about pollution, cancer, sustainability, abuse, and just humanity in general. Yet at the same time, I still believe my child will make this world better.

And me, now that I’m a mom, I know I should make this world better too. But how do I do it? Some days I barely have enough energy to get through the day. Not to mention the whole lawyer thing.

This is probably my longest post yet, and part of it is because I’ve been up for over three hours and I’m finally starting to feel it. So I leave you with this:

“As parents, it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – L.R. Knost, author of Two Thousand Kisses a Day

The Most Interesting Man in the World + Breastfeeding

After Raynor’s cleft palate surgery, he went from a happy nurser to a nursing striker. Hence, I am back to pumping. At 12 months, I am nowhere expressing 8 ounces at a time, especially not from the one boob that is still “active,” but I didn’t think saying “2 ounces from one breast” was quite as catchy.
The sudden nursing strike (or maybe accidental weaning) was very emotionally painful for me at first. Whatever hormones that were in place were now suddenly gone, or were fluctuating wildly. I was as teary as I was when I first gave birth, and I felt a deep, profound sense of loss.

I was surprised to find out what I was feeling was common among women who are forced to wean before they or their babies are ready. Apparently depression and weaning all too often go hand-in-hand and are documented, with even the Huffington Post running an article, but unfortunately there isn’t much research on it. What studies that do exist show are that what I was feeling was real, and it can be bad.

The article states that one reason mothers who wean suddenly might become depressed is due to the “actual physiological changes taking place in the body. Breastfeeding stimulates the production of hormones such as oxytocin, known colloquially as ‘the love hormone.’ Mothers’ moods may plummet in its absence.”

Dr. Alison Stuebean , an OBGYN and assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina, told the Huffington Post, “Research on pregnancy has been focused on the effects of pregnancy on the baby. The mom kind of disappears from the radar.”

Yup and yup. How many times do we say “how’s the baby” compared to “how’s the new mom?”

Anyways, I ended up talking to a couple of lactation consultants recommended by my local La Leche League. I didn’t know if my son was accidentally weaned, or if the post-surgery traumatic feeding experience (more on that in another post) caused a nursing strike. Either way, I’m now pumping to give him breast milk in a sippy (which he doesn’t really like) and to keep my supply up.

I’m open to continuing the nursing relationship if my baby wants to. We’ve gone one step forward, two steps back. The first few nights were tough – since infancy he had always been allowed to nurse at night, which he took full advantage of, up until his surgery. Now, without nursing to sleep as a tool and comfort source, I was exhausted.

Walking him back and forth for naps, rocking every hour on the hour when the rest of the house was in a deep sleep – I was dying. I hadn’t felt this tired since he was a newborn. But he’s since stopped the nightwaking, I’m starting to get more sleep (which is how I’m able to blog semi-coherently) and I have to be honest, the newfound freedom is nice. We use sippy cups or regular cups for everything. I don’t have to rush home to breast feed (we had never used bottles before). But I still miss nursing sometimes.

So whatever happens – I’ll be okay with it. Parenthood is all about doing your best, rolling with the punches, and getting your laughs where you can. So The Most Interesting Man in the World Pumping Milk is funny, right? Right?

Maybe I still need more sleep.