More to mothering than milk

I spent Monday evening crying while reading posts entitled things like, “I hated breastfeeding.” Reading them helped me feel a little less alone.

I breastfed my eldest for more than two years after a very rocky start. I enjoyed the experience after we’d gotten the hang of it, and fully expected to have the same exultant experience this time around.

Nope.

OTOH, this isn't so bad, though it does make typing this post challenging!

OTOH, this doesn’t suck, though it does make typing this post challenging!

The pain isn’t so bad. I mean, it’s excruciating on the one side, but also fleeting. I’m not concerned Littler J’s being underfed; he’s pounding out those peed diapers like a pro. Read more…

Walks with Littler J

My littlest one likes to move.

His dad and I have already learned to leave his feet and one arm out of his swaddle. If we don’t, he flails at the cloth until he’s freed himself.

swaddle free foot

I’d wonder where he gets it from, but I’m a mover, too. I like to move constantly while awake, which is challenging when I’ve been instructed to rest a lot and drive not at all.

Read more…

My second son

At first, I sang through the pain.

By the end, I’d given up on singing. I was screaming, sobbing, and cursing, taking some comfort in knowing each surge of pain moved me closer to meeting my second child. The pain would pass and leave in its place a miracle.

And, indeed, ten years to the day after meeting my now-husband, I held our second child in my arms and rejoiced.

Me and Littler J

I really didn’t want an epidural. Read more…

Not yet Mom but Home

March 29, 2014 Comments off

This is posted not in admonition,
but in explanation (of silence) and
pursuit (of quiet, grateful presence now).

I hope to have just two children.

Now at the end of my second pregnancy, this means I have only a handful moments remaining in which my body houses another soul. It is a strange thing to feel those flutters of life in my belly, but a sweet and sacred one, too.

I am trying to savor every tiny stretch and jostle.

I want to be here, now, enjoying these irreplaceable moments from within the cocoon of my family. That is all I want right now.

My first instinct is to scream every time someone asks me, “Is the baby here yet?” My second, the truer and lasting one, is to cry. Read more…

Homework is stupid and Ms. A is mean

“Argh!” I exclaimed in the direction of my four-year-old son’s homework Tuesday evening.

Li’l D looked up at me wide-eyed. “Are you frustrated because I’m doing it wrong?” he asked.

“No, no, sweetie,” I told him while reaching to ruffle his hair. “I’m frustrated that you have homework.”

We had a short but candid conversation about why I dislike homework. I explained that my problem wasn’t with his teacher, Ms. A, or his school’s principal, Miss N, but with the school system for which they’re trying to prepare him.

I believe in open discussion with kids, but there are some risks. In this case, I was pretty sure my son would report some version of the conversation to his teacher. The question was, which one?

Read more…

My 19 years of blogging

Haven't changed a bit

June 1995. Haven’t changed a bit

I wrote my first blog on June 23, 1995. It was a text file I began with the earth-shattering words:

My, doesn’t she aspire to a lot! She aspires to be Bobby’s girl, and that’s all that’s important to her!

I was sixteen years old at the time. My only objectives were killing time and making my super-stellar website into more than a collection of links, which was what 99% of the web felt like at the time.

I didn’t write very often at first. I used a single short text file for all of 1995. My 1996 text file was even shorter, and included an entry written almost exactly eighteen years ago, on March 19, 1996:

[B] and I – the ‘giant teddy bear’ – moved into a rather groovy (if I do say so myself) house on eighteenth and Jefferson [...]. It’s a wonder – I would never have thought that we would get it.

I’m trying to get into the Youth Corps. Hope I make it - I’m so sick of washing dishes you wouldn’t believe. I do love my coworkers, yes, but that’s not enough to combat the loneliness and feelings of incompetence I deal with through every moment of every shift. “Am I such a loser that this is the best job I can get?” It’s not, actually, but I’ve not had the energy to look for a job again until recently.

How wrong you were, stylist. How wrong you were.

1997 me, with Pacific Northwest fashion sensibilities

In early 1997, I was writing enough to warrant a text file for each month. I wrote only one very long entry that March, detailing how I’d emailed my boyfriend’s parents about some unkind words they’d spoken about my mom:

I wrote a letter to [B]‘s parents, a letter wholly honest, nothing hidden or omitted. [B]‘s father called last night and said that he wanted to talk things over with [B] – one of those things being the letter that I wrote. He said that it had them very upset. It was then that I realised that no words will ever enlighten them; no understanding will ever touch their hearts. They lost me when they left that message – and when they lost me, they lost something good. They lost an intelligent, sensitive, creative and caring human being.

I wrote about anything and everything at the time, though I surely wrote it more dispassionately than I felt it. Shortly after I wrote this particular entry, I walked to a nearby park and swung in the darkness for a long time. I ached to realize my time with B was almost over. I knew there was no way we’d be able to overcome familial differences, and that our relationship was gasping its last (prolonged) breath.

For a seventeen-year-old, even a seventeen-year-old college student versed in poverty and abuse and long since moved out of her family home, that is huge stuff. And still I had time to write about life lessons, the kind I have to keep learning every few months even now:

I talked with an old friend of mine yesterday evening, and something I said remains with me still. Our conversation had fallen to the parts of our pasts that have hurt, and I remarked that this is why I look to the future rather than at the past. We can only relive something so many times before it becomes only an exercise in agony, a reminder of pain that we have already learned from. Though today may bite, tomorrow always has the potential of being a beautiful, wonderful day.

Read more…

Meeting other bloggers: Even better than shouting at the TV!

I loved living in rural Japan, but there were some downsides. Loneliness was first, followed closely by the hit to my English speaking skills.

On the bright side, my poster-making skills improved A LOT

On the bright side, my drawing skills improved A LOT

Sure, I could fake it in emails, but I fumbled my way through phone calls back home. I’d try making some simple statement and realize I just could not find the words. Idioms are hard!

Blushing, I’d scramble to find some alternative phrasing. Sometimes I was even successful.

Japan has felt especially close to heart the last week or so. Thanks to pregnancy leave, most of my discussions the last month have been with a four-year-old, sprinkled with occasional cashier conversations and admonitions to TV protagonists to make wiser choices. Read more…

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