cupcankles

Cankles, according to urbandictionary.com, are calves that become feet-without taking an ankle break.

This word has a negative connotation, right?  Imagine my distress when I see my little 16 month old nephew toddle across the kitchen today, supported by his own little set of cankles….

 

although these images from www.cafepress.com illustrate a movement to not only accept the cankle in our  young ones, but to support and embrace it….. the word cankle still sounds kind of harsh and judgy.

It doesn’t inspire the mental image we want to take away when thinking of our sweet, dimply, jolly little guy. You may call him Rubenesque…but you may never call him fat.

We tossed around some variations of the word…. baby + cankles = bankles????  No…….

Then the sister came up with a brilliant compromise to describe the transient phenomenon of baby cankles…

CUPcankles!!!

Doesn’t it sound adorable and kind of delicious?

One day, when the nephew is a strapping young man, complete with toned calves and visible ankles, we will remind him of his sweet little baby cupcankles. Until then, we will enjoy them 🙂

Advertisements

Babysitter secrets

I was having a conversation with my sister the other day, about a mutual friend who seems to have such conflicted feelings toward her babysitter.

Seems like the sitter is very nice, happy, friendly, responsible, and loving toward her child. He loves going over there. He is treated like family. Yet….. the friend was reluctant to leave him with her. Found fault with the way she did things, and seemed very suspicious of her.

My sister doesn’t understand how in the world this is possible. Especially since the babysitter is also a close friend of hers…and she can vouch that the girl is in fact NOT torturing or neglecting this child during the time she is watching him.

I decided to fill her in on the whole mom/babysitter relationship. At least how it sometimes goes.

For example, if you look on any babysitting site, there are ads from parents looking for that perfect person to watch their baby. But what they are asking for and what they really want aren’t always the same. In these cases, you need to read between the lines and understand that we don’t REALLY want you to love our kids. Maybe just a little, but not enough to make them love you BACK. Because then you’re competition. And that makes us hate you.

This might be a more honest look into the heart of a mom who has to work, and needs a sitter, but also hates the idea of needing a sitter, and worries about being replaced emotionally.

“In search of a dependable, efficient, no-nonsense sitter for my kids. Please be very kind to them, but also sometimes indifferent so they don’t start to love you, but instead always remember to love me more. No more than 3 hugs per day, which must be initiated by the child and tolerated by you. Absolutely no cute nicknames for them. Please do make them healthy and yummy lunches, but don’t cut the sandwich the special way that I cut it… and no pancakes made to spell their names. Just circles for you. If you witness a “first” moment, ignore it. Pretend it didn’t happen… save it for me. If they tell you they love you, pretend you just stubbed your toe and jump around yelling to distract them from those dangerous thoughts. Must be kind of irritable at the end of the day so they run to me with smiles when I come home.”

Or if you need visuals:

NO

YES

 

I may have experienced this myself…. so it’s possible that I know what I’m talking about just a tiny bit. It doesn’t make sense, but nothing makes sense after having kids anyway… In my own experience, I did finally come to really appreciate that the kids and the sitter DID love each other, and time made me realize that nothing-so far-has been able to replace me in their affections.

I think our friend is going through the same issue. Which sucks, but I guess I’d rather hate my sitter for loving my kids and making me jealous, than for actually being a shitty sitter. Ha, try saying that five times fast, shitty sitter, shitty sitter, shitty sitter….. can’t do it can you??

 

My holding advice

Talking to my future sister-in-law today, as she frets about how her 1 month old suddenly wants to be held all the time. He cries when she puts him down. Won’t stay in his own bed all night. Won’t nap for long without waking unless he is being held. Wants to be held. All. The. Time.

So she asks me for advice.

Is she kidding???? courtesy of: Pixshark.com

Is she kidding????
courtesy of: Pixshark.com

I may not be the best person to ask, seeing as how I have not been successful in forcing independence on my own children…. but I guess desperation makes people, well, desperate.

So I told her what I could.

Mostly about how Sammy did the same thing. I held him constantly, and when I did attempt to put his cute little baby head down for a nap, he was up within 15 minutes and looking for those comfy arms again. Some days, I would just give up trying to let him sleep alone. I gave up and watched a damn movie that he would sleep “like a baby” through, as long as I kept holding him.

We talked about baby-wearing, which is supposed to raise more independent and confident children in the long run.

The whole family tried baby wearing

The whole family tried baby wearing

So this was a way to hold the baby without having to hold the baby. Theoretically, you can get a lot of stuff done since your hands are free. I was too nervous, and still kept a hand on the baby. Plus, I probably didn’t try using the wrap enough to get comfortable with it. Once I had it on, it felt stifling to me. Trying to get the baby out fast when she started to cry was a little difficult, as was shimmying my way out of it if I didn’t want to try untying it first. I got my first wrap with Sammy, and remember one day trying to cut the grass on a muggy summer evening. I was in “super mom” mode, determined to do all the things I was doing before having the baby.

My initial confidence waned as each pass over the lawn (with my electric, NOT self-propelled mower) resulted in a hotter, sweatier me…. and a decidedly droopy baby in the carrier. He started out with head right under my chin…and ended nestled in my chest, as the material stretched and bounced with each plodding step. I envisioned him eventually dangling somewhere around the knees, swaying and being bumped along as I walked.

I saw other moms breezing through the grocery story, the park, life in general…with a smiling baby tucked inside their sling or wrap. I was jealous of these perfect moms, who could wear their babies so effortlessly.

smug much?? amazon.com

smug much??
amazon.com

So, I just held mine. A lot. I still do.

All I can really say is that eventually. EVENTUALLY….they don’t want to be held so much. I doubt I could get my 17 year old on my hip anymore…although she was the one who broke it in for the others.

As for the sleeping alone bit…. I’m definitely not qualified to give advice on this. I share a pillow with one or two other people most nights.  All I can say is, who WOULDN’T want someone nice and warm to cuddle with?? And if all else fails, and you need to try doing something else besides holding your little one during their nap, try letting someone else sleep with them!! 🙂

nap1

 

 

 

Nursing Secrets and “Live Boobs”

pumping is fun!

pumping is fun!

I never was the mom who was able to nurse her baby exclusively for that first 6 months. I wasn’t the mom who was able to continue nursing for the first whole year, or even beyond. I didn’t even nurse ALL of my children!!

I tried nursing my firstborn, for like 1 day.

I gave up before even starting to nurse my 2nd, partly because I was freaked out by the lactation specialist touching my naked boobs.

Third time around, I dug my heels in and decided I WAS going to nurse. Dammit. My husband was extremely supportive (2nd husband, this was his first baby), and the baby latched on like a champ the first time I held him.

Too bad I HATED IT!!!!  I did, I’m sorry, but I did. I still did it, but struggled with myself the whole time, hating it, but not knowing exactly why I hated it. I know that my PPD had a role in my thoughts. We went 2 months with me as his sole source of food. During that time I learned to pump. Hated it too….at first. Ended up being GREAT at milking myself….and froze a million bags of milk. Out of milk by 4 months.

Last baby, I’d set a precedent, of course I was going to nurse….. and she sucked at sucking. Ended up giving up breast feeding after a couple weeks and exclusively pumped and fed her my milk from bottles. I really, really liked that. I think it worked better for my OCD. I could see how much I was pumping, how much she was eating, I could work on some sort of schedule….. all necessary things for happiness in my very structured brain. Baby Jenna got the benefit of mommy milk for a good 5 months.

So I know I wasn’t perfect at it. I’m jealous of my Bestie who did nothing when her babies were infants except sit around and nurse them. All day long. Switching them from side to side. over and over and over. And she felt a loss when her kids self weaned, she still misses it. She is all that I am not.

I think the only time I didn’t feel slightly bothered by nursing was in the middle of the night. I do remember those nights still, with my little Sammy. It was only then that I felt no pressure or need to do anything else, I wasn’t “wasting time”, or taking time away from anything else. For those night feedings it was just him and me. He nursed the best at night, and I remember as he got a little bigger we would just stare into each others eyes…sometimes I’d smile, then he’d smile, back and forth like a couple of loons…. I’d have to look away to get him to start nursing again. Yea, I did enjoy that.

Ok. So. Now I’ll tell you all the weird and cool things about nursing that I never knew before. Maybe if you plan to nurse you would like to know these things.

Like at first, when your body is learning how these boob-things work, it is PAINFUL when your milk comes in!  Like a really prickly feeling, similar to that pins and needles feeling when your foot wakes up from being asleep. It would happen within a minute or so of the baby latching on, and sometimes it would just happen for no good reason. Just a bonus. This got better over time, and actually was never as intense with the subsequent baby. I felt like she never did latch as well, it always felt like I was ALMOST going to have that big milk let-down…but it just didn’t happen with her.

Also, it is apparently common for one boob to have a much better flow of milk than the other one. That was my right boob. Sammy would be nursing away, I’d feel that tingly let down….and then almost blast his poor face off with the resulting gush of milk. After I realized I was choking him, I learned to hold a cloth over myself until the spray tapered off.

Your boobs are ALIVE. I can’t even explain it, but as I sit here writing this….my body is not conscious of them at all. I don’t feel them just sitting there on my chest, unless I jump around or grab them. BUT, when you are breast feeding….those suckers are awake, alive, you feel them there…even when you are not nursing. And the longer you go without nursing…..the more you feel them. I would get to a point that I HAD to nurse, or pump just to be able to stand them! They were living entities growing from my chest, natures way of ensuring you keep paying attention to them.

Another secret? Seriously, probably the best sex of my life was during my nursing days. Why? Again, the mystery of live boobs. Your whole body just feels more alive, more sensitive, more responsive. If something felt good, everything felt good….. I don’t think it’s possible to get close to that feeling again. And no, I didn’t douse the room in mothers milk. They do not spray like fire hoses when stimulated….they can be controlled!

By the way. Breast milk tastes good. Is it weird that I know that? Of course I tasted it, I wanted to know what they were tasting. It’s kind of sweet, not disgusting at all. I can’t imagine any baby willingly drinking formula after getting breast milk first, especially if they’ve gotten it for many months.

I was at Target recently with my two little ones, the oldest saw the breast pump aisle. “Hey mom, remember when we got those for your boobs?” He used to want to pump with me, I would have to let him put the pump on his chest for a bit, then switch back to mine. It was adorable. Obviously, it was also memorable for him.

I look back on my experiences with nursing and pumping, how my first time around I was so modest, going to a separate room or keeping my shirt over everything I was doing…..trying to spare my older kids any embarrassment. By the second baby, I think the image of moms boobs was burned in everyone’s memories. I pumped all the time, and didn’t have time to care about privacy. I cut holes in my bra’s to wear the pump and keep my hands free. When nursing, I quickly learned how to do most things with a baby latched on, as long as I had one free hand, I was good to go.

I’m glad I breastfed. I’m sorry I didn’t try harder with my older kids, but I feel they are still ok, even if a few IQ points short of their full potential 🙂   I applaud the moms who are so much better at it than I was, who nurse longer and can actually relax enough to enjoy it. I always wished for ounce markings on my boobs, and worried incessantly that the baby might always be hungry ’cause who knew how much he was really getting??!

It is satisfying to know that you are keeping that baby alive, and thriving all by yourself…..and it is much easier to hold a baby to your chest in the middle of the night than to venture downstairs to heat up a bottle….but ultimately whatever works for you will work for your baby. My God, I thrived drinking formula in a haze of second hand smoke ’cause for some reason no one knew any better back then!

If you do nurse, you’ll see what I mean about the live boobs. Kind of cool, kind of freaky….. and if you choose to bind those suckers as soon as  you are home from the hospital, I won’t judge you.