Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I posted. Probably a testament to how busy we've been with traveling and work and all of that good and fun stuff.

When Teddy was born, he wasn't home three days and Charlie said, "We're done. We're not having any more kids." I laughed at him and told him that this was not necessarily the time to make that kind of a decision. He argued that it was the perfect time. That when you're in the thick of the newborn phase was the perfect time to make that kind of a decision, because you know just exactly how bad it is. And in a way, he's right. After not that long, I was on board. Neither one of us are super fond of newborns. Those first six months really suck. Some women seem to love it, I am not one of them. I love my boys with all my heart, and they are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I really, really hate that newborn phase.

So we weren't having any more. I gave away all my baby stuff. I actually sold it at a garage sale, but we sold it for pretty cheap. Most of our bibs, my cheap clothes, some burp cloths, our bassinet. The bumbo chair. One of our bouncers.

Then Teddy turned a year old. I weaned him. It was sad for me. But I started to get this feeling like I wanted another baby. I brushed it off, figured it was just the hormones from weaning. But it's stuck around. If we were going to have another, I'd like to do it soon. For one, I'm not getting any younger, but for another, Max and Ted are so close in age. I don't want them to be a ton older than the next. Plus, let's just get the hard parts over with. Traveling with Max now is easy-peasy. Ted is getting easier. So let's not get to a comfortable place and then go backwards. Just keep on with the challenging times.

There are a million reasons not to have another. How in the world will be get three kids into car seats in the car? Max will have to be in the back, and because he'll still be in the convertible car seat, someone will have to climb into the back to buckle him, because there is no way he'll be able to buckle himself. When we took Max to Tanya's, she charged us $100 a week for two days. Which seemed kinda steep, but whatever. When Ted came along, she doubled it to $200. I don't think I can justify $300. In a similar vein, Charlie is not at all sure he can handle three kids at home by himself. He's actually only home with them by himself for two full days a week - Monday and Thursday. But having three will definitely be a lot more difficult. Max will go to preschool, but that is only two days a week and only for a few hours. So it will actually probably be worse bc I'm sure preschool will interfere with nap time and he'll have to take all three kids out to leave Max at preschool for 2-3 hours and then go back and pick him up. We gave away a lot of our baby stuff already. Flying home to see people will be that much more expensive. Packing and getting to the airport and on the plane and to our destination will be that much more difficult.

But this is the thing. It's not that hard to climb into the back seat. And who knows, maybe Max will figure out how to buckle himself. We don't know that Tanya will charge us $300/wk. She may realize that's a tall order and that Max is getting easier and only go to $250. Or we can work around that. Max could go to daycare, he's old enough now and the social interaction may be good for him. Max and Ted actually play pretty well together, and there may be more Daniel Tiger watching than we'd like, but Charlie could make it work at home with 3. Lots of people do. We still have the basics of baby stuff. Our pack and play that we used for Max has an infant insert. I saved a good number of bibs and the nice burp cloths for myself. We lent one of our bouncers to our neighbors, we could ask for it back. I still have one bumbo seat. I kept all the nice clothes, and who knows, maybe it will be a girl and she'd need all new clothes anyways. Traveling would be more expensive. There is no getting around that. And more difficult while they're little. For sure.

We've talked about it. One day I feel like I'm on board, the next I'm not. Charlie seems like he could be convinced if I was really passionate about it, but I'm not.

I wonder if anyone ever truly feels their family is complete? Like, "Oh, OK. We've reached maximum capacity. We're good!" I dunno. What I do know, is that they are so, damn, cute. And funny. And their smile lights up your whole world. And watching them grow into toddlers and kids and little people is pretty incredible.

So who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. Even if we want to, there is no guarantee it will happen. Infertility strikes at crazy times for all sorts of people. For now I'm still on the fence. But they are pretty cute...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Weaning

Another change in pace. I honestly just have to get this out somewhere, and here is as good a place as any since it's really only my family that ever reads this.

Teddy has weaned. Mom really wanted me to wean him before we went to Portugal, but I wasn't going to force it on him. After he turned a year old I quit pumping at work. And I quit feeding him overnight. So sometimes I was only feeding him twice a day. Sometimes more, but never more than maybe 3-4 times per day. I knew that my supply had dropped off pretty significantly.

Then earlier this week he got sick. And he was really congested. And last Friday morning he didn't really nurse. Not for very long. And Friday night he screamed when he tried to latch. It just happened so fast. Like Thursday was fine, normal. He was happy to nurse, grabbing at my boob and shoving it in his mouth.

I knew that my supply was dwindling. And I knew that he never really preferred the bottle or the boob (was always happy for milk in any form, from anyone). But for some reason I thought it would be slower. I was prepared. I was expecting him to nurse for shorter sessions for awhile or something like that, not just stop cold turkey.

Then on Sunday I noticed he had two fever blisters under his tongue. Which is probably why he was crying when he latched. My milk was drying up even faster, and I was so, so sad about it. Nursing Teddy has truly been one of the greatest joys of motherhood for me. It was something I wanted so bad and fought so hard to protect our nursing relationship. And was so proud of us for making it to a whole year.

Monday morning I felt like giving it a go again. He latched, and even though I had probably almost no milk left, he happily nursed for probably 10 minutes or more. And I just sat there. Trying to soak it in. To sear into my brain the image of his little face, blonde hair, playing with his hands and my shirt, in what had been his happy and safe place since the day he was born. And I just tried to enjoy it. To remember it. To be present to it.

And I offered Monday afternoon and Monday night, but he was done. Not even pretending to nurse. He'd rather have his sippy cup with milk now.

And I know that I'm leaving for Portugal soon. And when I made the decision not to force him to wean, I prayed that things would work out as they were supposed to. And I have faith that they have. But I am still sad. So, so sad. And grateful. So very grateful. Grateful for the time I had with him, grateful that the Universe gave me that one last nursing session, and so very happy to be his Mom.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Plastic Free July

So, it may be the second of August and I just heard about plastic free July, but it is what got me to thinking about this, and I thought I'd take a break from rambling on about my clothing choices...

We, as a species, use a LOT of plastic. Plastic that, unless it is recycled, will end up in a landfill and will be there for millennia because it effectively NEVER breaks down. And I think that there are about a million things that we can do on a daily basis that are not difficult, in order to decrease our plastic consumption.

I made the switch to <mostly> reusable grocery bags years ago. We are more lenient on that now, but we use the plastic grocery bags as garbage pail liners for the few disposable diapers we use. So we do at least repurpose them. I started washing out <most> of my ziplock bags and reusing them awhile ago, too. Because usually they are perfectly good after one use. When I pack my lunch I use a reusable Bee's Wrap sandwich wrap to pack my sandwich, and I almost always bring reusable containers with my food in it. I recycle what I can, which around here is only #1 and #2 plastic, and you know what? There is a LOT of #5 plastic that is used in food containers. I sadly have to put those in the garbage right now. I have carried my own water bottle around for a long time.

But still, the amount of plastic is staggering. Think about how many things we touch every day that were wrapped in plastic, are made of plastic, etc... Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, toys, toothbrushes, toothpaste... I could go on and on.

I recently I ran across a Instagram account called simplyzero_. It's a girl from Cincinnatti who is pledging to go "zero waste" over the next year. That means that she, quite literally, makes no trash to go to a landfill. It is not a new concept to me, but for some reason, her approach rang true for me and what I've been trying to do recently to simplify my life, minimize my impact, and leave the world as good a place as I can for my kids and grandkids.

There is no way I can totally get rid of all of my trash. It just is not going to happen. HOWEVER, it is not necessarily about the end goal, but rather about the process of being mindful in our waste. We have a tendency to flippantly just throw things in the garbage. And away it goes, never to be seen again. If we had to pile our trash up in our backyard, we'd be more mindful.

Our bread comes wrapped in plastic. When I make my own bread at home, you eliminate that plastic bag. Yogurt comes in a #5 plastic container. It takes about 10 minutes of work to make your own whole milk yogurt at home, which I used to do. I need to start doing that again.

So, a few things I learned from her. If you put a spork or a reusable multi-utensil in your purse, you don't need to use plastic utensils when you go out to eat. I learned about TerracCycle zero waste box. You have to pay for it, but you can literally recycle almost ANYTHING. I'm thinking of getting one for alkaline batteries, because with kids, we go through an insane number of those in all of their toys. And maybe one for those food pouches that we get.

I also learned about Plaine Products which are shampoo, conditioner and body wash that come in aluminum containers. You order one, then when it runs out, they send you another, and you send them the container back in a prepaid box. They clean the container and refill it for the next person. What a fantastic idea! I wish they made body lotion, too!

And, something I hadn't really thought of, toilet paper. And paper towels. They all come wrapped in plastic. Which can't be recycled.  Who Gives a Crap is a company that will send you toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues that are made from sustainable fibers, wrapped in paper, in a cardboard box that you can recycle. And then I don't have to fill my cart at the store up with Scott crappy toilet paper that is wrapped in plastic. Because that toilet paper is crappy anyways. Anyone who knows Charlie knows that we have a 5 year supply of toilet paper right now. BUT, eventually that will change. And I'd like to try to do something a little more sustainable when the time comes.

Lastly, I'm going to try to get more serious about bringing my own produce bags to the grocery store. I bought some cotton ones at one point, but I'm not a huge fan bc you can't see what is in them. So I may have to research some other options.

It's about the process. And being mindful. And maybe inconveniencing yourself a little bit for the betterment of the planet. Because we only have one. And we are quickly making a mess of it...