Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily Peep: Bar Girls

Last night: Dinner on the deck at our favorite dive.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Peep: New Camera, Same Old Baby

Mama's Got a New Toy!

As you might have noticed, I use my digital camera alot.

Which means that any tiny little annoying thing about it is magnified times a zillion photos of the kid per day times hormones times just-missed really cute smiles times the camera is mine, so if it's Shrike that's annoyed by it, it's all my fault.

The thing is, the camera we've been using was a really good one - eight years ago.

Anonydaddy is quite the digital photographer, and quite the techie-gear-lover, so he gets the newest and the bestest of everything (including cameras) when it comes out, and then he give his kids the hand-me-downs when he upgrades.

We've got two of his old cameras that we've been using, but they each have their little idiosyncracies - like weak batteries, and slow shutter response, and having to turn it back on after each shot, and not being able to get the flash to work quite right and, well, to be honest, they are much smarter than we are.

They are really nice, fancy cameras with all sorts of bells and whistles that we don't really know how to work, nor do we have the time or patience to learn, when we really just need to record for posterity that really cute thing that Peeper is doing right this very mo . . . aw crap, she stopped doing it.

So, we've been thinking about getting a new point-and-shoot digital (since that's all we do anyway), and have been doing a bit of research on what's out there these days, but I've been worried about downgrading the quality of images that we're getting, not to mention feeling really guilty about it seeming unappreciative that we've got these great, fancy, free cameras from Anonydaddy, and we're going to replace them with an El Cheapo, and possibly El Crappo model.

So I thought maybe I should look up the specs on the cameras we've been using, for the sake of comparison.

The Nikon Coolpix 5000 that I usually use was evidently super hot shit when it came out. In 2001. It was actually only one of about four cameras available then that would shoot at 5 megapixels.

And the Canon EOS DS6041 was even fancier-schmancier a few years later, with its 6.3 megapixels.

So I guess this little 10 megapixel number for $125 will probably be okay, then?

Oh, yes. You know I got the cobalt one!

True, it doesn't do nearly as many tricks as those others, but I think it will do the trick for us, and hopefully this one won't be smarter than we are.

Cardio Report - 3.5 Months Post-Op

15 lb 13oz
Echo perfect.
Back in 9 months.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Daily Peep: Raspberry Buffet

Shrike and Peeper blowing raspberries at each other, while getting dressed for bed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review: Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding, by Andi Silverman

A few weeks ago, I received a free copy of Andi Silverman's new book Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding," to review. Now that I've done the review, I will be donating the book to my local La Leche League for our group library.

The first thing I noticed about the book is that it is physically small, which means you can manage it with one hand, while holding a baby in the other.
(As illustrated on the cover, in fact.)
It's a minor detail, but I think that's a definite plus in a book designed for breastfeeding mothers!

This book has a lot of down-to-earth advice for new moms about getting started with breastfeeding, frequently asked questions (including some myth-busting), and common challenges, with several personal anecdotes added along the way, to make it entertaining, as well.

There were some areas in which I thought she could have done better, the most glaring of which was the ommission of La Leche League from the list of "who can help," especially given that the list includes a lot of categories of people (pediatrician, hospital nurse, relatives) who, in my opinion, are as likely as not to give you counterproductive, out of date or just plain bad advice.

That said, LLL is included in the appendix of resources that also lists several good books and websites.

Mama Knows Breast also goes beyond the basic "how to" of the very early days, and addresses other areas that become more of a concern to breastfeeding moms as the months (years) go on, including nursing in public, how your partner or spouse can help, taking care of yourself and nurturing your relationship with your partner, and weaning.

There are several places in which the book was rather mainstream for my tastes, but my tastes do tend to run a bit toward the fringe, so I suppose that's to be expected.

I would recommend it in conjunction with a more in-depth book, such as La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know about Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning by William & Martha Sears, for answering more specific or complex questions that might arise, but overall, I think Mama Knows Breast provides a good introduction to breastfeeding that will be very helpful to a new mom, without overwhelming her or scaring her off.

Eight Months

Dear Peeper:

You are eight months old today, and I can't get over what a big girl you are getting to be.

You are sitting up on your own pretty reliably now. You do fall over eventually, but usually catch yourself and end up on your belly.

That really pisses you off, but you're not getting hurt on the way down, so I'm not too worried about it.

(I make sure you're not sitting close enough to anything to bump your head when you fall.)

You are really trying to stand up, but still need a lot of help. You also don't know yet that you're not supposed to let go once you're up there, so that's sort of a problem.

Luckily, since you needed help to get up, there's always someone there to catch you when you come back down.

Once you're getting up on your own, I guess you'll have to learn about gravity the hard way.

I really hate the idea of you learning anything the hard way, but I don't suppose you'll believe us if we just sit you down and explain it to you, so I guess it's the only option for now.

Your other big activity these days is teething, which is not particularly fun for any of us.

I said a few weeks ago that I knew you were working on some teeth, but that I didn't think we'd actually see them before you were eight months old. I wish I'd been wrong about that, because they have really been bothering you the past few days.

You've been getting lots of baby Tylenol, which luckily, you really like the taste of, as well as Hyland's teething tablets, which seem to help, and some Baby Orajel, which also seems to help, but I try to save it for really desperate times, because it's so nasty, and makes your mouth feel so weird.

(Or, at least, it makes my mouth feel weird. And judging from the look on your face and your tongue movements, it has the same effect on you.)

I've stopped making note of every little thing you're eating, because you're eating just about everything.

Yesterday, I was talking to Anonygrandma about the menu for our visit down there in a couple of weeks, and I realized that, with the exception of some choking hazards and other baby absolute no-nos like honey, that your diet is much more limited by your dairy sensitivity than it is by the fact that you're eight months old and don't have any teeth.

Oh yeah, the dairy thing. Well, we're still not sure what the story is there. I've tested it a few times (always with Sheetz macaroni and cheese -yum), and it seems like maybe your little booty gets red after a post-diary poopy, and doesn't usually get red after a dairy-free poopy.

But not necessarily, so it's a little hard to decide. For instance, you got pretty red after a non-dairy poop earlier in the week.

I've not had any in a few days, and your booty's been looking pretty good (Good = not red; it always looks cute, of course!) so I think I'll have some today or tomorrow and we'll see what happens.

It's very frustrating, but we were told that you'll probably outgrow it, so we're very optimistic that we'll both be able to eat dairy eventually, but I want to be sure you're all clear before I go back to it full time.

More significant than any of that, though is that, finally, you are "filling out" and the comments we're getting from both friends and strangers have suddenly shifted from, "She's so tiny!" and "What a little peanut!" (What the hell is up with the "peanut" thing, anyway?) to things like "Look at those fat little thighs!" and "Oh, those cheeks!" and "I just love chubby babies!"

You're really still not all that chubby, but do have some serious thighs and cheeks, which is about all that shows when I'm wearing you. Well, you are getting a bit of a tummy, too, now that I think about it.

Of course, they think you are a chubby five month old (we know two babies that age who weigh more than you) and are surprised to hear how old you actually are, but it's still such a nice change, and it makes me very proud - of both of us.

After all the stress and worry that we've been through, related to your size, breastfeeding, and growth, it just blows my mind to hear people say things like that.

I don't know quite how big you are these days, but we're going to stop by the pediatrician's office for a weight check on Monday, right after your appointment with the cardiologist (because we don't believe his scale), and of course, I will be reporting on that to all your interweb fans.

It's kind of wierd to be going back to the cardiologist, because in such a short time, we've gotten use to not going to him.

It's amazing how quickly you've gone from taking medicine several times a day, and seeing a cardiologist every week or two and preparing for / having / recovering from surgery to just being a baby.

A normal baby.

Still small, even for your gestational age, but a healthy, normal, chubby-thighed, chubby-cheeked baby.

And, as much as we've gotten used to it, and as much as the days of medicine and weekly doctor's visits and worrying seem like a million years ago, we're still not quite sure we believe it.

Earlier this week, Mommy and I admitted to each other that we're both a little nervous about this appointment on Monday, because things have just been going too smoothly lately, and it just seems too good to be true.

Of course, even during the worst of your medical adventures, you have always seemed too good to be true.

It's been eight months, and I still sometimes look at you and say, "Oh my God. We have a kid! How do we get to have a kid?"

You are simply the most amazing, incredible, beautiful thing that has ever happened to me (Sorry, Mommy. You are a close second.) and I am thankful everyday for whatever it is that has made you possible.

I love you my little peanut chipmunk.


Daily Peep: Panda Pic - 8 Months (34 weeks, 5 days)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daily Peep: No Respect for the Law (of Gravity)

Okay, she had a little help getting into this position, but she does pretty well once she's there.

Until she lets go.

She has no idea that one shouldn't do that.

After all, experience has taught her that, pretty much whatever you do, a mother will catch you before you crack your noggin on the floor.

I'm not quite sure how to teach her otherwise without, you know, letting her crack her noggin a few times.

Which just doesn't seem right, somehow.

As I said, I helped her to get in this position, but she is trying desperately to get up on her own.

The problem is that she doesn't yet get herself into any good positions from which to stand, such as kneeling or squatting, so she's trying to get up directly from seated-on-the-floor.

Hell, I have trouble doing that.

Her best bet is if she's sitting on something like my leg, with her feet on the floor, as though she were in a chair or on a bench, and also has something to hold onto, like the rim of the basket.

She's also been known to stand from that position without something to hold onto.

Up, up, up - and down.

And if she's got something behind her back, to lean against, she likes to go with the pregnant-lady-getting-out-of-a-low-chair technique, in which she pushes her back against something and straightens her legs and leads with her hips.

If that something is an adult, who can also help her to balance, and give her a bit of a push, it actually works.

I think we've got a ways to go before we can check off "pulls self to standing" on ye olde milestone chart, though.

I Have My Category Title

When babies attack: Labor pain is just the start
Parents, beware of poked eyes, broken noses, blows to the groin and more

While other moms were enjoying being pampered on Mother’s Day, Hilary Wheeler Miller was nursing a broken nose that she suffered after being
headbutted by her 3-year-old son.

“He stood up really fast and just plowed into my nose,” says the
40-year-old mom from Littleton, Colo.

You can read the whole article at MSNBC.

I thought it was a sort of tongue-in-cheek look at some all-too-common accidents that can happen when you spend several hours a day with a small person near you, who has no idea about personal space or his impact on the world around him.

But the comments. Oy.

The ranting, the raving, the "This is why the world is going to hell. People are letting their children run out of control! They should be teaching those babies not to . . . ." -ness of it all.

What. The. Fuck?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Daily Peep: In the Big Chair

Close Encounter

Baby Finger + Mama Eyeball =

This didn't hurt as bad as one would think, and oddly enough, didn't produce any tears (either of the ouch! kind or of the pissed-off-eyeball kind) and it doesn't hurt at all now.

But it did scare me a bit, especially when I asked Shrike, "So, my eyeball's not gushing blood or anything is it?" and she glanced at me, then said, "Wait, let me see. Look over there . . . " and looked all concerned!

PS - Eyebrows are kind of gross, up close.

PPS - Do I need to add a category for baby-induced injuries? If so, should I include my birth story?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

About Those Photos

I'd emailed M, the photographer, a few weeks ago (she's in MOMS Club with me, but we'd not actually met until yesterday), and said we were interested in photos, then let it fall through the cracks for a bit.

When I emailed her again last week, I thought we'd set something up for a few weeks from now, but she had last night free, and boom, suddenly we were taking photos in about four days.

And us, with nothing to wear.

I hadn't realized just what sad shape our wardrobes are in until we starting figuring out what we might own that we'd want to have recorded for posterity.

Hmmm, nothing.

M suggested that we pick out Peeper's outfit first, and then pick a color or two in it to match for our outfits.

I selected a really cute little sunsuit with light and dark pink fishies all over it, accented with blue bubbles and green, um, seaweed?

It has a hat with it, so on Sunday, we tossed the hat in the diaper bag and headed to Kohl's after our weekly trip to TGI Friday's.

We actually found a couple of shirts that matched well pretty quickly - a pink and white stripe with three-quarter sleeves (to hide my flabby upper arms) for me, and a blue and white stripe for Shrike.

Then we got to thinking about how often we'd be likely to wear them. Mine had a wide boat neck, that showed by bra and tank straps, so I'm thinking, um, never. (Not to mention that M had specifically said not to wear anything "fussy" that would require a lot of adjusting.)

So, back to the drawing board.

And over to the men's department.

(Let's get realistic, right?)

There, we went through about four sets of shirt pairs, mostly in pink and green. I was actually amazed how many men's shirts we found to match a baby girl's sunsuit.

We finally ended up with the green/white and pink/navy polo shirts that you saw in the previous post.

The navy bugged me just a bit, but since we would be in jeans, I figured it would be fine.

When we got home, Shrike went to walk the dogs, while Peeper and I hung out at the house.

At some point, I thought, "You know, maybe I ought to try that outfit on her - just for a trial run."

Good thing I did, because . . . too small.

Never worn. Too small.

It's not a stretchy fabric at all, and it's just thaaaaat much too short from shoulders to crotch.

It miiiiiight have worked if she'd been in a disposable diaper, but we were specifically planning some diaper-only shots, and I would have forever been annoyed if her butt weren't as poofy as usual in the photos.

So, well, crap.

Luckily, she owns several pink and green outfits, and I found a couple of possibilities - including the onesie that we put under her overalls - which matched our shirts very well.

Then we went "shopping" in the basement for 6 - 9 month clothes and found the little pink gingham (is that gingham? or plaid?) froggy outfit that she ended up wearing.


The photo session itself was a lot of fun. We met Marie at a local park, where she's done several shoots, and already knows all the best locations and backgrounds.

As her name, "A Day in the Life Photography," indicates, she really works to capture a family's personality, not just to pose and shoot.

There were several times that we were basically playing with Peeper, while she took pictures, and I suspect those will be some of the best ones.

I'm very happy with the photos we've seen so far (you've seen all the ones we've seen) and I can't wait to see the rest of them!

Daily Peep: Family Photos (Sneak Preview)

We had family photos taken last night, and the photographer just posted a sneak preview on her website. We'll get the rest in a couple of weeks, and of course, I'll share those, too.

Below are the ones she's posted so far. The captions are hers.

If you're anywhere near us, I highly recommend A Day In the Life Photography.

(Please tell her we sent you!)

What a sweet family this was. And what a fun time we had.

Look at this sweet girl with her blue eyes.

She is much loved.

And so very sweet.

And loves her Mama & Mommy very much, too.

But only sits up for a little while. Then she is done :)

Carnival of Breastfeeding - Links Added

I've edited my Carnival of Breastfeeding post to include links to all the other participants.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daily Peep: Sleeping and Shopping

Peeper got a little fussy while we were in Target this evening, so she and I went over to the patio furniture for a little goody.

Mommy met us there after picking up a few things, by which point she was sound asleep.

I gave her back, got her all tucked in, and we finished our shopping. She didn't wake up til we were checking out.

An Open Letter to Popeye (Peeper's Sperm Donor)

Dear Popeye:

Does the cryobank tell you when a child is born, who was conceived with your sperm?

Do you know that there is a beautiful little girl, sleeping at my breast, who carries half your genes?

That feels so strange for me to say, because it's so hard sometimes for me to remember that she carries none of mine.

What an odd journey we've been on, we three parents of hers.

You and Shrike, whose blood flows through her veins, and me, whose body carried her and still nourishes her.

My wife and I who dreamed of a child, and you, the stranger who helped to make her real.

Do you even know she exists?

On this day, when we celebrate fatherhood, do you wonder about the children you may have helped to create?

She knows about you. Of course, she is too young to understand, but I have shown her your pictures, and told her the story about how she was made.

It's a story that will be told over and over, in increasing detail, as she grows up, and we will see to it that she knows as much about you as possible.

She will know what you looked like as a baby, and at several points in your childhood, and as a young man.

She will know about your interests and hobbies, and will know about your parents' and grandparents' eye colors and occupations and education and religious preferences.

She will know about your medical history, and your favorite color, animal, music and food.

And when she is eighteen, if she chooses, she can find out your name, and your birthdate, and where you live.

And then what?

Then, it is out of our hands.

It's up to her to decide if she wants to initiate any sort of contact, and it's up to you to decide if you want to respond.

We will allow her to make her own decision about that, and of course, you will have your own family to consider in making your decision.

But, for my part, I hope that between the two of you, we at least have a chance to thank you in person for the incredible gift that you have given us.

And I hope that you will someday have children of your own, so that you can truly understand what your gift has meant to our family - and, I'm sure, to several others.

For then - and now - Happy Father's Day.

Father's Day and Our Fatherless Child

Someone asked Shrike yesterday if she and I are planning to do anything for each other for Father's Day.

Um, no. We're not fathers.

Of course, we celebrate Father's Day, and so will Peeper as she gets older. She will honor her grandfathers and her great-grandfather, and her uncles - just as we do.

And if, at some point, she finds herself in a classroom or at a summer camp somewhere making "Happy Father's Day" crafts, she can make them for any - or all - of those guys.

Or, I suppose, if she'd prefer, she's welcome to make something for us instead.

(Hell, the tools and barbecue grills - and even the neckties - on those things are probably more "us" than the flowery, girly stuff she'll be bringing home at Mother's Day.)

I honestly don't think that's going to be a big deal; I can't imagine she'll be the only kid in her class without a father, even if she is the only one with two mothers.

Sometimes I do wonder, though, what it might mean to her that she does not have a father, or whether it will even be a big deal to her at all.

Of course, there is a man out there somewhere whose sperm helped to create her, but he was never her father, so unlike most fatherless children, she's not lost anything.

I like to think that she will not miss something she's never had, that she will consider herself lucky to have more mothers than most of her friends, that she will find whatever male influence she needs in her grandfathers and uncles and family friends, that she will think in terms of the two loving parents that she has, and not in terms of the Y chromosome that neither of us possesses.

I hope that I am right.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jessica's Story: Please Help

Jessica's mom, D, is channelling her grief into action, fighting for universal healthcare. She is ready and willing to do all she can to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else, and is hoping to have an opportunity to testify before Congress.

She's asked us to spread Jessica's story and, specifically, to pass it on to anyone who is working politically for healthcare reform.

In case you didn't see it, here's LadyKay's comment from my earlier post:

Thank you for posting this. Please, anyone and everyone, please pass this story along. If anyone wants more information on this just ask, Whozat can pass on my email. J's mother okayed giving out her real name and it is being included as the story is passing around the Internet, but Whozat decided against listing it to avoid bringing her blog up everytime someone googled the name. Thank you all.
In addition to posting Jessica's story here, I've emailed it to several people - include some who are working on healthcare reform both nationally and here in BlueState - and have also posted it on Facebook and Twitter.

Below are links to some local coverage.In these links, you will see her full name. You may use it when forwarding or reposting the story.

An interview that D did with a TV station in Houston

An op-ed that D wrote (she is a reporter at a local newspaper) last week

Jessica's obituary, from the same paper

Please feel free to link to these stories, as well as to my post about LadyKay's letter.

If you Tweet about this, please use the hashtags #jessica'sstory and #healthcare (first, follow @hashtags, so your hashtags are tracked).

Daily Peep: The Wisdom of our Elders

Problem 1: Peeper's decided that, unless she's in the middle of getting goody, sitting in Mama's lap in front of the computer is booooring.

Problem 2: Mama's got work to do, on the computer.

Problem 3: Peeper is more or less sitting up, but not reliably, and needs someone spotting her - or at least a soft place to land when she falls - just in case.

Problem 4: Peeper wants to sit and play with her toys, but they keep rolling / falling juuuust beyond her reach.

Idea 1: Anonymama tells me that, back in the prehistoric pre-Bumbo days, she would put her semi-sitting babies in a round laundry basket, with some towels.

Idea 2: LadyKay tells me that sitting-up Frappa liked to be put facing the corner of her playpen, so her toys were trapped where she could get to them.


It lasted almost long enough for me to write this post. Then she decided it was time for goody.

Which works, too - especially now that she's big enough to hang on while I use both hands to type!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why We Need Universal Healthcare: J's Story

Last week, when I asked for your mojo, one of the intended recipients was J, the 21 year-old-daughter of LadyKay's friend, D.

Below is an email that I received from LadyKay this morning. Please help her to tell J's story.

I've never sent out something like this before, but I feel that I must. A dear friend's daughter died a few days ago. When I returned home from the funeral I was unable to focus on any of the things that I needed to do until I put down these words. I believe J's story should be told. Please share it with anyone that you will.

- LadyKay

I went to a funeral today. A funeral for a beautiful, vivacious 21 year old young woman. A funeral that shouldn’t have happened.

J had gallstones. Gallstones. Simple to fix, right? A fairly minor surgical procedure these days. In and out in just a few hours. Right? What could be the problem?

Even simple medical concerns can turn disastrous for those without health insurance. Over 45 million people in the United States are uninsured. Young adults transitioning from their parents care to independence often fall in this category. Most health insurance is tied to employment and joblessness on the rise.... That, however, is not what this story is about.

J was employed. She had health insurance. So, as her gallstone problem developed she sought treatment and surgery was recommended. However, what she didn’t have was $5000. This is what was required to be paid upfront to cover her deductible and co-pay before she could have surgery. J tried several hospitals, trying to work out a payment plan, but none was willing to work with her. As her pain increased she ended up in the emergency room on several occasions, only to be sent home with nothing but pain medication.

As the months went by J grew sicker and sicker and working became more difficult. Finally, she lost the job that she loved and the insurance that she so desperately needed, because she missed work too often. One evening a few weeks ago, in tremendous pain, she went to the emergency room one more time. This time she was sick enough that the hospital admitted her, even with no insurance.

By morning J was in ICU, fighting for her life. She had developed pancreatitis and sepsis. Her kidneys had failed and her liver was starting to also. As her body shut down the doctors and nurses worked desperately to save J as her family and friends waited and prayed. On a ventilator and dialysis, in and out of consciousness, J fought for three weeks to cling to the life that she loved. A few days ago she lost the battle.

During the time that she was in the ICU, now unemployed, uninsured, and gravely disabled, J qualified for Medicaid; thankfully, because her hospital bill rose to over $400,000. For want of a co-pay, for want of a payment plan, for want of $5000, J’s final weeks were spent in agony to the tune of almost half a million dollars, and her war was lost. The life that was before her, her future was lost. The love she had to give, the children she will never have, the potential unmet, an entire lifetime yet unknown, all were lost.

I feel sad and I feel angry; because I went to a funeral today. A funeral that shouldn’t have happened.

J, August 4, 1987-June 13, 2009

Daily Post: Keyboard Malfunction

Overheard, at 1:40 am:

Shrike: I keep hitting the "SLEEP" key, but nothing's happening!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Peep: Going to Town, Down on the Farm

Remember these photos of Peeper in her new exersaucer, in early April?

When she just lay up against it, and could barely peek over the edge, with the legs on the lowest setting?

And could barely reach any toys, let alone having idea what to do with them?

Yeah, neither do we.

Here she is last week, standing up, with the legs on the middle setting, playing with everything like it's the simplest thing in the world.

Giveaway: Pocket Dots

Oh how I wish I'd known about these (or I wish they'd existed) a year ago, when I was pregnant!

"Pocket Dots" are little clips to attach a "belly band" to your pants, to keep it from rolling up on you.
I loved my belly band and wore it with everything, but hated that it rolled up, if it was outside my pants.

These would have been perfect!

Read about 9 Things Pregnant Moms Need at Breastfeeding Moms Unite, and enter to win a set of Pocket Dots from .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Daily Peep: Mama's Girl

This old keyboard, sitting on the boppy, keeps Peeper's hands off of mine when she's in my lap.

I've promised her that as soon as she can talk well enough to tell me what to type, she can have her own blog.

Carnival of Breastfeeding: Nursing in Public
(Boobs) Out and Proud

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month's theme is "Nursing in Public."

Please visit the other carnival participants, listed below.

(More entries will be added through the end of the day on June 22, as they are posted - check back!)

I should probably preface this by saying that I considered myself a lactivist long before I ever lactated, and that I told Shrike, well before Peeper was even conceived, that "You do know I'm probably going to get kicked out of somewhere at some point, right? And I am going to make a scene about it."

It's always been my attitude that if someone is freaked out by seeing a baby breastfeeding, or thinks it's weird or inappropriate or whatever it is that people have a problem with, it's their issue to get over, and it's not the mother's responsibility to accommodate them.

I think that the discomfort that some people have about breastfeeding in public stems primarily from the fact that it's not something you see every day - which is one of the reasons that I do it.

Of course, it's mostly because my baby is hungry and, well, here we are, but once we're in that situation, my decision to just get on with it wherever we are is very much influenced by my belief that I should nurse her in public.

I am a proud breastfeeding Mama for the same reasons that I am an out and proud lesbian Mama: Visibility, normalization and I-will-not-be-ashamed-so-screw-you-if-you-don't-like-it-edness.

We exist, we (and our babies) have (or should have) the same rights as anyone else, and the more people see of us, then the more used to us, accepting of us and supportive of us they will be.

For many years, I've been completely nonchalant about my relationship with Shrike, presenting ourselves publicly as any other couple would and, even in our very conservative little town, we've run into no problems.

Likewise, I am completely matter of fact about nursing Peeper whenever and wherever the need arises.

If she's hungry or fussy or sleepy or pretty much any other adjective besides "happy," I just nurse her and fix it.

I don't ask people if they "mind," or ask them where it's okay to nurse, and we don't hide in bathrooms or backrooms or behind blankets or shawls.

And we've never had a problem - no comments, no complaints, no hairy eyeballs, no whispers behind our backs (that we know of).

Of course, it wasn't completely comfortable in the beginning. In fact, I was pretty nervous and uncomfortable, but I was probably as uncomfortable about my discomfort as anything else.

I knew in my head that it was fine, it was right, it was important that I nurse her in public, and I wanted so badly for it to be no big deal - but I just wasn't there yet.

Practice makes perfect, though, and we are definitely "there" now.

Of course, it's much easier to breastfeed a seven-month-old than a seven-week-old under any circumstances, and much easier to do it in public without feeling like you're exposing yourself.

(Hmm, I'm actually not so sure, now that I think about that. Peeper no longer needs help latching - just show her the goods and away she goes - but on the other hand, she didn't let go and turn around to look at the waiter quite so often when she was younger!)

As importantly, though, I just kept at it, refusing to hide or cover up, despite feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable, and each time it got a little easier, felt a little less weird, was a little less awkward, until here we are.

Another key to getting to this level of comfort has been the fact that Shrike has been so supportive. If she was ever uncomfortable about it, I certainly couldn't tell.

Especially in the beginning, she often encouraged me to "just go ahead and feed her" when I thought maybe it would be best to go elsewhere (typically when we were around her family), she has put up with innumerable changes in seating arrangements, to get me in the most comfortable spot for nursing (physically or in terms of being a bit less exposed from the back or side), and can always be counted on to let me know if I am showing more skin than I intend to (albeit, usually by way of a "woo hoo!").

I don't particularly care what a waiter or a fellow diner or a passerby thinks, but I do care very much what she thinks, and I would not be nearly as comfortable with breastfeeding Peeper in public without her support and encouragement.

And if that waiter or fellow diner or passerby is surprised to see me nursing, then maybe that's a good thing.

Maybe it will make them think a bit about their assumptions about what's "acceptable" or "normal" or "expected," and maybe they won't be so surprised next time.

Or maybe that other new mom at the next table, who has a bottle of expressed breastmilk in her diaper bag, will feel comfortable enough to just nurse her baby instead of bringing it out.

Or maybe the pregnant woman down the way will think, "Hmm, that looks convenient, and nobody's bothering her about it. Maybe I should consider breastfeeding, after all."

Maybe if they see me breastfeeding Peeper - if they even notice, because it usually seems like they don't - it will make breastfeeding just a little bit less "weird" and a little more "normal" to them.

And if Shrike and I are open enough about both who we are and how we parent, then maybe, just maybe, folks in this conservative little town of ours will see our little nursling and her two moms as the most natural thing in the world.

Because we are.

Other Carnival of Breastfeeding Posts
(Keep checking back - more will be added through June 22)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Daily Peep: Bath Time

Peeper and her friend Oswald.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daily Peep: Broccoli Bite

Dinner at TGI Friday's this evening, of course. Peeper had this piece of broccoli hanging out of her mouth for close to ten minutes. Beans and more broc were going in the whole time. Goofball.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Battery & Assault, Part II

Before I begin this story, I should say that we are both fine. I have a few new gray hairs, but we are perfectly fine.

This little panda had rather a rough evening, at the hands paws jaws of BigGaloot.

As did Peeper and I.

Usually, Mr. Panda lives on the changing table, with his boyfriend Rainbow Bear, but a few days ago, Peeper carried him into the kitchen after a diaper change, and I tossed him onto the dining table.

From there, he went "down on the farm" (onto her Exersaucer) and then into the floor.

When I saw him in the floor this afternoon, I thought, "I should pick that up before Galoot gets it," but then promptly forgot.

This evening, Peeper and I went out in the backyard, and there he lay, in the grass.

Galoot saw me spot him, though, and before I could pick him up, he'd grabbed him, run around to the other side of the year and come back empty-mouthed.

So, Peeper and I went over to get him, and again, just as I spotted him, Galoot ran back over and grabbed him.

This time, he dropped him in the middle of the yard, and ran off to play with Perfect Pup, while Peeper laughed at them.

Just as I approached Mr. Panda, he turned and charged toward us.

I figured he'd grab the panda and run again, or do a fly-by, where he runs right at us and at the last minute turns a bit and zooms past.


He ran right into me.

While I was holding Peeper.

It's a little fuzzy, because it happened so quickly, but I think he must have hit me in the front of my legs and then I must have started to fall forward, and turned my body on the way down, because it started with coming toward the front of me, and ended with me sitting on the ground. Peeper still in my arms.

As I fell, my eyes never left her.

My arm was behind her, and as I fell I saw her back arch a little more than I really liked, and when I hit the ground, she went back forward more forcefully than I liked, but evidently the whole thing was a damn amusement park ride for her, because as my ass was hitting the ground, and I was saying (as though I expected her to answer) "OhMyGodAreYouOkay!?!" she was laughing.


I fell down, landed on my ass, had the everloving shit scared out of me, and she laughed.

Of course, as soon as my panic registered, she got a real concerned look on her face, but by then, I'd realized that she was not only uninjured, but had enjoyed it, so I switched to "Was that funny? Did you like that?" and she was all smiles again.

After all that, I did manage to get the panda back into the house.

Which is quite a relief, because it's not like we have fifty more of the damn things in her room.

Oh, wait. . . .

Daily Peep: Battery & Assault, Part I

Peeper gave me a bloody nose today.

Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. She didn't punch, kick or headbutt me (that's just a matter of time, though, I'm sure).

She actually stuck her thumb up my nose, and before I could remove it, she'd scratched the septum enough to make it bleed.

(Which doesn't take much.)

I suppose this is what I get for allowing her fingernails to get long again.

As you can see from the photos, she felt really bad about it.

More Mojo, Please

It seems that I know and know of several people who could really use your mojo right now.

I don't feel like it's my place to get into specifics, but just put the good stuff out there, and I'm sure that the Universe will see that it gets delivered to the right place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Daily Peep: Tummy Time Update

Peeper still hates tummy time, but is clearly beginning to think, "If only there were some way to move from one place to another while in this position . . . " and then getting reeeaaally pissed off, because evidently, there is not.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daily Peep: These Are Not Trick Photos

No, she still isn't sitting up reliably, but she's completely unsupported in these photos (the Boppy is just there to catch her) and, in the time it took to take a half-dozen or so pictures, she stayed upright on her own.

Several times, she leaned forward to pick up the toy, sat back up, dropped it, picked it up again, and so on.

We're definitely getting close to another milestone here!