Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays

As my friend Stephen pointed out recently, I haven't written much here lately. That usually indicates that I'm either really busy, or things are going well in my world. This time, it's primarily the former, but things aren't going too badly either.

I've decided to give myself a bit of a break today and not try to spend every moment accomplishing something. I have a cold and am feeling run down - too many late nights, sweets, and stress.

Time to play a bit of catch up...

Went on a date with Bachelor B a couple of weeks ago (after sort of being stood up by him the previous week.) I wasn't looking forward to going out with him--he took a while to get back to me, so I made Plan B arrangements to go Christmas shopping with my free evening instead. When he did contact me that afternoon to firm up our plans, I kind of tried to bail on him because I was turned on to the idea of getting some shopping done. However, he didn't take the out when I offered it to him, so we went out and I had a blast. I laughed all evening. He doesn't meet many of the requirements from the list of what I'm looking for (other than being tall, good looking, and having a good job) but I figured that perhaps it might be good to cast that list aside for a change and just see what happens. We went out a second time last week but it wasn't quite as much fun. He's not assertive, nor am I, but I've been stepping out of my comfort zone to be a bit more assertive, in an effort to pursue this. However, now I'm taking a step back to see what happens. If he's not willing/able to make a move, it's probably not going to lead anywhere.

After our first date, H asked me what Bachelor B was like. All I could say was, "He's the complete opposite of you." It's incredibly true. He wasn't trying to impress me, he was completely honest about who he is, and he's rough around the edges. It was refreshing.

On the 22nd a guy in the pond added me as a favourite. I checked out his profile and I felt like I had to contact him... it was as if he was looking for me. So I sent him a message later that evening, and we've been doing the get-to-know you thing ever since. He's away for the holidays so we can't meet until Wednesday night. It seems like we have an online connection and similar values. The pics he sent showed potential. I recall thinking H's pics were okay initially, and when I actually saw him he took my breath away. Here's hoping... To make referring to this guy easier, I'll call him Bachelor D.

Funny thing, I'm meeting Bachelor D on the one year anniversary of first connecting online with H... also the one year anniversary of finding out the truth from XH.

On the topic of H, I haven't seen him in over a month, but we talk every day. He's become a great sounding board for advice, and pretty much any topic is fair game. Because I no longer hang off his every word, or sit by the phone hoping he'll call, friendship is that much sweeter. I think I'll move all of my old blog posts back (yeah yeah, I've said it before, I'm the queen of the flip-flop.) All of the stuff with him is no longer raw, and I like having them all in one place for the sake of continuity.

Christmas has been here and gone. It was the first Christmas that Baby Boy anticipated. He did not stop all day. His favourite toy was the drill from the tool set my parents gave to him. Baby Girl spent the day exploring all of the gifts, trying to eat tissue paper, and cleaning up crumbs off of the floor. (Imagine! Baby Boy would never have been allowed to hoover the floor for crumbs. My, how I've changed.) I managed to keep my tempter and attitude in check for the most part, which is impressive, considering my company was here for over 24 hours. By the time everyone left after dinner it was quite apparent that I was becoming sick, and I was grateful for the quiet.

Boxing day was spent at XH's with his family (turkey dinner is so much better when I'm not the one stressing over it!) and then BG and I visited K & A for a bit. H invited me over to his place for tea after our visit with K & A, but I decided to come home instead because I was feeling tired and yucky. Last night N & D popped over, so I didn't make it to bed early like I had planned, because after they left, I took the time to reply to Bachelor D's most recent email. (I feel a bit sad when I think of the time I've spent over this past year corresponding with men in an effort to make a connection of some sort.)

Baby boy is moving into his big boy bed tomorrow when he returns home from XH's. My plan had been to keep him "caged" in his crib for as long as possible, and yesterday morning I walked into his room to find all of his blankets piled up at one end with him standing on them, and one leg over the side of the crib. He told me he was going to put his feet on the floor. We got up later than usual yesterday, so I'm guessing that he was actually up at the usual time, but didn't call out for me because he was in his room figuring and calculating how to best make his escape. :)

I had more that I wanted to share, but I'm not feeling in the mood right now. I'm exhausted and I'm happy that it's quiet here today, because I'm afraid I would be cranky if anyone was around.

If I don't get around to writing again before the end of the year, I wish anyone reading a safe and happy new year. 2010 has been a great year because I managed to work through a lot of issues and have an even better understanding of what makes me tick, I've met some great people, and most importantly, my beautiful Baby Girl came into my life, but I'm still holding out hope for an even better 2011. XO

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On breastfeeding

I hadn't intended to write tonight. In fact, I already have my Christmas cards pulled out and was about to begin working on them when I decided to take a few minutes to catch up on a few blogs. I just read this on Yolande Clark's blog and I suddenly feel like sharing my story about breastfeeding Baby Girl.

To date, I haven't mentioned any of this here. It's a very painful topic for me. Anyone who knows me, or has been reading my blog for any amount of time knows that I see breastfeeding as a black and white issue.

With Baby Boy, I tried pumping a couple of times but he refused to take a bottle. As XH put it, "It was like the bottle offended him." Rightfully so. As a result, BB and I were inseparable for his first year of life. When I returned to work at the one year mark, we continued nursing in the evenings and over night.

I/we decided that I/we wanted to have our babies close together. After several months of trying to conceive without success, I went to the LLL website to see if there was anything I could do to make my reproductive cycle begin again. I learned there that overnight nursing is one of the things that can prevent your cycle from returning, so at 14 months I weaned BB during the overnight period as well, and we were just nursing in the evening at this point. I continued to have negative tests, so at 15 months I decided to wean him entirely. It was a difficult decision, but I recall our last few nursing sessions were a bit of a bust anyway. He'd latch on, then pull off with dramatic effect, run around the room giggling, and then would repeat the process. He and I breastfed for the last time on a Thursday, and on Saturday I had my positive test. I was five weeks pregnant - giving up the overnight nursings did the trick.

Fast forward almost eight months to BG's arrival. Life was no longer the same. My belief that breastfeeding is the only option for my darling baby girl still held true. And for over seven months I was there without question. There were a few occasions early on where I did pump and had either my mother or XH bottle feed her, but she only accepted the bottle once or twice. Aside from those few attempts, I have been here for her. 24/7.

I have to say, doing it this time around has been easier yet harder. BG's crib has been next to my bed, just like BB's was; however, BG actually sleeps in bed with me. BB didn't get to do that because the bed was cramped and I was worried that XH might roll over on to him and not realize it because he had too much to drink. (Sorry, XH. I know you're reading this.) Having the bed all to ourselves has been great for BG and me. I haven't had to worry about whether we're keeping someone up who has to be able to function for work the next day. If I get uncomfortable, I can switch to the other side of the bed. All this has made night time nursing much easier.

But around a month ago, I started questioning my ability to continue. Sure, some things have been easier this time around. Other things though, not so much. Breastfeeding without the support of a partner isn't easy. There is no relief. I'm surrounded by people who say, "Go ahead and give her a bottle. You deserve some freedom." "I gave you formula and you turned out okay." (Actually, no I didn't. I was plagued with allergies and asthma as a child and into my early adult life.) "Lots of babies get formula and they grow up to be healthy."

I've been feeling caged and trapped. There is no one that I can truly lean on (or that I'm comfortable leaning on in that way.) No one who loves me in that supportive way. (Ironic that I've phrased it that way, since apparently XH didn't love me when BB was an infant... but even so, he was here.) There seems to be no one on the sidelines cheering me on in a way that is meaningful to me. (Here come the tears.) I love BG so much, and in even considering supplementing her with formula so I can "get out of the house" makes me feel like a terrible mother. I've judged other mothers for less. I've judged them harshly. If there's one thing I've learned over all of my experiences of the past year, I really need to turn off that judging voice inside of my head. Until I've walked in someone else's shoes, I have no right to judge them or their decisions.

No, I haven't broken down and bought formula... yet. I've looked at it and marveled at the cost. I've tried pumping a few times to see if maybe I could stock-pile some milk for times that I "need" to escape (saying need here sounds so effing selfish) but I get next to nothing when I pump. There are too many distractions and I'm too stressed out over it all... and that ridiculous machine pulling and tugging at my breasts can't replicate BG's natural suckling rhythm.

Until now, breastfeeding has always seemed so simple, effortless, and natural...

I am failing my beautiful baby girl. As her mother, the person who is supposed to be her biggest champion, I feel like I am all ready letting her down. For what? My reasons are not noble. I want to be able to go out on dates and not be constantly checking my watch to see if it might be close to BG's next feeding. I expect that people who have never experienced this situation are probably thinking, "Why can't she just wait a few more months?! Before she knows it her baby will be older and will no longer be nursing." But over the past year of trying to do the right things for everyone in my life, I feel as if I'm becoming a martyr.... I've worked so hard to keep a good relationship with my ex-inlaws, to make this situation with XH work, to show H how a real friend acts while wishing for so much more than just friendship with him, to keep my temper in check with my parents when there are times that I just want to blow up at them, all the while being loving and nurturing to BB and BG. It's all starting to feel like it's too much for me to handle. Something has to give because I feel like the flame within me is starting to flicker.

I feel selfish, and at the moment, I feel unworthy of the love beneath this roof. I realize that this statement isn't true... it's just how I feel right now. I'm embarrassed about all of this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This, that, and the other

I'm having a do nothing night tonight. Lately I've kept busy puttering around the house during the evenings, tidying up, working on my budget, etc. It's been a bit, so I figure it's time to take a few minutes to record some of the stuff cluttering my mind.

- BG had her first bath in the big-person tub last night. I was a bit apprehensive about moving her out of the little blue tub, but she loved every second of it. When we moved BB over to the big tub he cried and screamed... I ended up getting in with him for a week after we made the switch. I recall writing about it, actually. BG is definitely a different child from BB. Tonight I put both of them in together. It went really well. BB tried to help me bath BG (he rubbed the soap on her belly) and waited patiently while I got her bath out of the way. He even was patient with her as she climbed onto him while I was trying to wash her. He often screams, "No, BG, No!" whenever she touches him, but didn't do it in the tub.

- About the "No, BG, No!" What made BB feel that it is undesirable for his younger sibling to touch him? I know that most kids don't seem to want to be touched by a sibling, but how do they know that it is undesirable? BG has always been very affectionate, and loves to be touched. But as soon as his little sister started reaching for him, he started yelling no to her. He spends no time with other kids to pick up on this... it's totally come from within him. I don't get it.

- My appetite is back, and it is insatiable. The scales are creeping up.

- Not unrelated, I've finally started running again. I even signed up for the Resolution Run on Jan. 1. It's a 5k run. Right now I'm at 3.75k. On the treadmill. I would like to be outside running, but it's just not possible. Hopefully I can pull this off. I know of a lot of people who are going to be there and I don't want to make a fool of myself.

- I'm annoyed with the stores at the mall right now. Every store seems to want your email address so they can send you coupons and updates. Also, stuffed in my purse and wallet, I have so many coupons to be used between this date and that date. Having to print out coupons via email, etc. is too much effort for me. I can't keep the ones they're giving me at the checkout straight, how the hell am I supposed to keep track of the ones via email too? Yeah, I know this isn't a huge problem, but my beef is this: Just give me the damn discount and stop screwing around with all of the coupons. It must cost these chains money to run the coupon program, and it's not buying my goodwill toward the store.

- I'm in love with pickled peppers right now. N gave me a jar of them for my birthday (like the ones you get with your sandwich at Quiznos) and they sat in my cupboard until a couple of weeks ago when she and S were here for lunch. We cracked open those bad boys and ever since, I've been eating them like they're going out of style. (Side note, I just finished typing this and I somehow managed to get the juice from the peppers in my eye. Never in my life has my eye burned like that. Wow.)

- I met a guy from eHarmony for dinner on Monday night. He has become Bachelor A in my Twitter convos, so that's what I will refer to him as here. Everything is where it needs to be. He seems nice enough. His ex girlfriend is still living with him even though they broke up two or three years ago... That's weird. And it sounds like she hasn't really moved on. So I'm left to wonder, are they really not together? He told me that she's supposed to be out by the end of the year, but really, if she hasn't left in this many years, is she really going to be out by then? The whole thing sounds sketch. But then, people might think that things between me and XH are a bit sketch too. I promised H that I would see this guy three times before making any decisions. If it weren't for H, I'd have dropped him already. Sure he was nice, but I didn't feel anything. But H gives me shit for not giving these guys a chance. He does recommend; however, that I have a discussion with Bachelor A about his living situation the next time we go out, and tell him that I have concerns about the whole thing. Something about him reminds me of J, and that doesn't sit well with me. We shall see.

- Bachelor B: Last week one of my mother's friends (my honorary aunt) sent me a message on FB asking if I had a special someone in my life right now. (Yes, she used the words "special someone".) She went on to explain that she knows this guy through her work (she works with his father) and thought that we might be interested in one another. She told him about me and my situation, and he didn't seem to mind the idea of the kids. She added him to FB so I could creep him, and later that same night he added me as a friend. I gave him a day to see if he would send me a message... I wanted him to be the one to reach out. I've spent the last year chasing. First XH, then H. Anyway, after a day I still hadn't heard from him, and as H pointed out to me, waiting for him to make the first move was game playing. I had to agree. So I sent him a message. He said, yep, he was very interested but was away for the weekend and would be in touch when he returned. I said great and that I was looking forward to meeting him. He then replied and told me his schedule is tight for this week, but that next week would work. My reply basically asked him for a couple of days notice so I can arrange for a sitter. He sent a message yesterday morning saying that either Monday or Friday next week work, but that he isn't good at going on a date, but he will try. WTF? Wow, okay, is he really lacking in confidence? I'm attracted to men with self-confidence... my gut is now saying this won't go anywhere.

- My ex-MIL is coming to visit tomorrow. She's a nice person. Really. And she'll probably always be family. But, I sometimes find that relationship to be so draining. And it really has nothing to do with the break-up, but more to do with me having one less reason to be pleasant and sociable now.

- I'm tired but I can't bring myself to go to sleep at night. This isn't the existence I ever imagined for myself... but that being said, I guess when I was a kid, I never pictured myself being a happily married grown up. I always pictured myself being single. So when I found myself married with kids, I was like, "Wow!" But maybe being alone is where I'm supposed to be. Blah.

- H is still around. It's been almost three and a half weeks since his big apology (a.k.a. the night we kissed and made up.) He's seeing someone else already and seems to really like her. I'm happy that he's happy. Yes, I'm being honest here. It stings a bit, but we have a pretty good thing going right now. He makes me push myself to do things I normally wouldn't do (see above re: giving Bachelor A a second chance.) I seem to act as the little angel on his shoulder. I'm feeling good just having my buddy back. I will live without the other stuff. Right now our friendship is kind of intense... probably just the newness of being able to be friends again. I'm guessing it will fade a bit soon, especially with him being in a new relationship. But as long as I know things are okay between us, it's okay if that happens.

- I think I need to find an activity of some sort to get me out of the house. A new hobby... something that will only take one evening a week, since getting someone to watch the kids can be difficult. If anyone reading has any ideas, I'll gladly entertain them.