Friday, September 30, 2011

Ask the Host Q9: The Boobie Brigade

I'm pregnant, due in December. I'm wondering about breastfeeding. When I think about doing it now, it makes me feel weird. Plus, I've been on medication for depression for most of my adult life and I'm worried about taking it and getting it in the milk. I'm already having a hard time with the unmedicated pregnancy. Every article I read says that if I don't breastfeed I'm a bad mother. What if I hate it? Am I a bad mother?

Congratulations! You have so much to think about with your baby coming, please stop reading what the boobie brigade has to say about breastfeeding right now. You're just going to make yourself crazy. The Parasite nursed until she self-weaned at 22 months. According to the boobie brigade, since I didn't breastfeed for the full two years the WHO recommends, I might as well have handed her a bag of Cheetos on the way out of the womb.

Am I a breastfeeding advocate? Sure. I think everyone who wants to breastfeed their baby should have the support to do so. I think it's shameful that the medical community remains so uninformed about breastfeeding. It makes me sad when I hear stories of woman whose nursing relationships were sabotaged by well-meaning but uninformed advisers. And formula advertising in economically challenged areas that has convinced an entire generation of women that their own milk isn't good enough is vile, pernicious and should be stopped. But my support for the "Breast is Best" movement ends there. I don't think to support breastfeeding you need to vilify formula feeding mothers, and I don't think it does anybody any favours.

There are few things on the internet that annoy me more than anti-formula wank. "It's like a home cooked meal vs. McDonalds!" - Yes, I've actually seen that one many times. Well, no it's not. It's much more like the difference between fresh and frozen vegetables. There are pros and cons to both, and nobody should be made to feel bad or shameful for using either. Whatever or however you choose to feed YOUR baby is up to you. Mom guilt is a powerful force, don't let them start getting to you already!

Before I had an actual human baby in my arms, I thought I'd be creeped out by breastfeeding too. Turns out I wasn't when the time came. You don't know how you're going to feel, or how that baby is going to change how you feel until you get there, so try not to fill your head with too many preconceived ideas about your baby, your boobs and what you might think about the milk coming out of them. You just don't know.

If you DO decide you want to nurse, your medications may not the stumbling block you think they are. You'll have to speak to your doctor about your specific medications, but know that it's not like pregnancy when it's a direct link to your bloodstream. There are actually very few medications that are truly not safe for breastfeeding at all. If your particular medication is one of the few that are contraindicated during breastfeeding, you might be able to try something else. Or not. Please don't beat yourself up for circumstances you have no control over, especially not preemptively.

You know how you know you'll do just fine as a mom? Your baby isn't even here yet and you're trying to figure out how to do what's best for them. If you're happy and healthy, you'll be in a much better place, whatever you end up feeding your baby. It's not far away now, Mama!

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The one where she talks about Judgy McJudgerpants

Judgment. It's a word that almost always brings up the pejorative. The person who barely glances at the cover, let alone the book. To be sure, we all judge and are judged every single day. We temper our actions based on what the neighbours will think. Used inappropriately, judgmental behaviour is a terrible thing. You need look no further than the Mommy Wars to see judgment gone terribly, terribly wrong - and be sure to check back for week's Ask the Host on Friday for an example of this!

But what about using your powers of judgment for good, not evil? When you see the dirty little kid, way too young to be by herself, playing on the street what about using your judgment knock on the door to check if mom is OK, rather than assuming she's a terrible mother? Maybe your colleague who doesn't put in the hours they used to is sick or going through some terrible personal stuff, not just slacking off. When you use your judgment to assume the best instead of the worst, you open yourself up to a whole new world. A compassionate one. One where most of the people are just doing the best they can with what they've got.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that you stop being wary in weird situations or pretending there's nothing wrong with the state of the world. I'm a dyed in the wool, big city born and bred cynic. I'm mostly willing to help my fellow human if I can, and I don't believe I'm THAT unique. Snap judgments are bad. There are people and circumstances that just suck. But sometimes... Sometimes you can use your better judgment to assume the best and everything turns out alright. If you're someone that doesn't, maybe you should try it some time.

This post is part of GBE2. Week #19 word prompt: Judgment. For more info,  click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 5 things I wish I had known : Guest Post on A Taste of T

Hey! Are you a parent, or are you planning to be one? Then you should check out the "Top 5 things I wish I had known about the first year of motherhood", a guest post I wrote for A Taste of T. For example, did you know that babies do not follow any of the schedules "they" say babies should follow? I DID NOT KNOW THIS EITHER!

If you're a new mom it might make you feel more normal, if you're a not so new mom you might giggle in commiseration, and if you're an expectant mom it might make you wonder what the hell you're getting yourself into. That's OK, we've all felt that way at one time or another. Drop by A Taste of T to read my Top 5 list, and while you're there check out her amusing slices of life and adorable baby pictures!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ask the Host Q8: Serious Family Business

I have a very serious and important question to ask: What are some things we can do for our 4 month old for Halloween? We want to dress him up but it's not like we can go Trick or Treating. What did you do with when The Parasite was small?

Oh, Halloween! I had SO MUCH fun with the first Halloween. I love matchy-matchy costumes for families. For the first Halloween were a set, The Bee and The Beekeeper. It was fun and I loved every minute of it. Feel free to borrow the idea. As a matter of fact, I still have both costumes. Interested? Cheapay-cheapay, pretty lady!

Last Halloween The Parasite was Pebbles Flintstone. I used food colouring to get her the right hair colour and had far more fun with it than I should have. I totally would have done Wilma but The Husband wouldn't play along to be Fred. Such a fucking spoil sport! Whatever you do, be sure to have fun. This year I'm going to chase her from house to house trying to keep her from punching other kids on the way to the candy bowl before scraping her off the ceiling when she gets too much sugar in her system.

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

HEY! That's my chain!

I have the distinct and unpleasant feeling of the yanking of my chain and this vexes me greatly. Like it's not stressful enough to look ahead to the prospect of surgery and decide if we're going to proceed with fertility treatments, I am already frustrated by the bureaucracy involved in being a part of The System.

The Insurance Company: I faxed my pre-approval form for the fertility drugs on August 18th. I was told the turnaround would be five business days. After not one, not two, but THREE follow up calls, I finally got a call back today (25 business days later, for those playing along at home) to inform me they had come to a decision. That they have sent to me by mail. How quaint!

The Surgeon: The presence of a polyp was confirmed on August 30th. The baby doctor submitted the referral paperwork to the surgeon the same day. The surgeon's office is to call back with the next available appointment time. I'm still waiting. How complicated is this? Look at your booking system. This procedure takes X time to perform. Put my name in the next available spot available for that time required. Call me back, tell me when that is and I'll be there. Even if it was six months away, I'd now be one down, five to go. Not awesome, but not as shitty as having no idea. But no, apparently it's more efficient to field several calls from the same person on the same subject. S-M-R-T!

God forbid they should be efficient in any patient dealings, the hoards might get uppity and expect to be treated like people or something! We can't start treatment after the surgery and the baby doctor can't plan the course of treatment until we know what drugs are covered. So I get to sit. And wait. I am not good at waiting. *grumble*

Monday, September 19, 2011

The one where she talks about standing by her people

To me, loyalty is:

... standing up for your friends, even when they're not *technically* in the right
... meaning your wedding vows, even when it's hard.
... ALWAYS being in your child's corner: Parent = 2 parts advocate + 1 part warrior.
... reaching out to one in need, without being asked.
... knowing that bloodlines are a really narrow definition of family.
... saying you're sorry. Not because you are, but because you have hurt someone that matters.
... teaching the next generation to keep their friends close, and tell their enemies to go to hell.
... picking up the conversation where it left off, be that an hour or a year ago.
... sincerity wrapped up in honesty.
... something each and every one of us can and should practice every day.

What does loyalty mean to you?

This post is part of GBE2. Week #18 word prompt: Loyalty. For more info,  click here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Running up that Hill

I had the follow up Echovist a couple of weeks ago. I have a uterine polyp that is totally benign but they won't start fertility treatments until it is removed because it could interfere with a normal pregnancy. We have to make sure the coast is clear before we take extraordinary measures to avoid having those efforts thwarted by a preventable miscarriage. I also have to fight with my insurance company to get an answer on whether or not they'll cover the "very expensive" drugs I'll need for the fertility treatments.

I can pay a fee to jump the queue and have the procedure done in a clinic rather than a hospital. Since I've already been waiting for weeks to hear back about an appointment date, I guess that's what I'll have to do. There's a rant somewhere in my loins about two-tiered health care in a provincially-run system, but I'll save that for later. You may or may not be surprised by my feelings on the matter and I don't want to detract from the point at hand, which is that I hate the idea of having another surgery.

During a routine ultrasound while I was pregnant, they found a benign growth that was growing faster than the baby. Soon they'd compete for the same space, and the odds of the baby winning were slim. So at 19 weeks I had surgery to remove it, with the understanding that we could lose the baby but prevent a hysterectomy so we could try again. We now know and love that baby as The Parasite, so everything turned out OK but it was the most terrifying experience I have faced to date.

A little later on in the same pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I managed it just fine without insulin and if I knew then what I know now I would have challenged the medical recommendations more. I didn't so I went along with the invasive, inconclusive monitoring and was induced at the recommended time for GD patients. And my labour story ended in more surgery.

The battle scars are faint, but they're still there. Now I face the prospect of another war wound for a baby that doesn't exist yet. We are good and loving parents who face an uphill battle every time we try to grow our family. Meanwhile right now, someone, somewhere is hovering over a toilet and peeing on a stick, muttering "Oh fuck, please don't let it be positive. He said he'd only put it in for a minute!" They're praying to a God they haven't spoken to in years to ensure the thing *I* want most doesn't happen to them. Time and again I learn the lesson that life just isn't fair.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ask the Host Q7: Fun with trolls!

How is it that just anybody can publish a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said anything extremely impressive more like youve painted a quite picture about an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, here. But do you really think that you can get away with adding some quite pictures and not really say anything?

Hi brinkka2011! Thanks for stopping by, and for calling Life with a Parasite "popular." I'm so glad you dont [sic] want to sound mean. It's pretty clear you don't want to "sound" coherent either. First of all, what the fuck is a "quite picture?" Your comment was left on a post about Facebook, specifically Facebook's interest in opening the floodgates to children. As a parent, a Facebook user and someone who works in communications, I'd say I know a little more than "nothing" about the issue. If I knew what a "quite picture" was, I'd be happy to tell whether or not I think I can get away with it, but I'm pretty sure I can.

Now let's talk about leaving an anonymous, unintelligible comment on a stranger's blog, shall we? It's a pretty dumb thing to do. Do you really think you can get away with showing up on my doorstep, being rude and belligerent and then walking away? Allow me to be perfectly clear, and this goes for anybody who leaves a comment here:

You may disagree with me, and that's OK. I encourage healthy, respectful debate. That said, consider yourself a guest here. If you insulted me in my home I'd kick your ass out, and I'll do the same here. If you leave a comment like brinkaa2011's that is in no way constructive, I will delete it and carry on with my day. Though I may post it publicly and make fun of your spelling and grammar first. BTW, they're called apostrophes. Feel free to use 'em.

Lucky you, brinkka2011! You've happened by here on advice day, so I feel compelled to offer you some words of wisdom:

1. Fuck off
2. Actually, #1 pretty much covers it all...

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

OK, so this wasn't really an Ask the Host question. it was a comment left yesterday on this post about Facebook written back in May. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finally Diaper Free: Guest Post on Multi-Testing Mommy

MTM Button Want to know all about my kid's early toilet habits? Of course you do! I can think of nothing more interesting to read, especially right before dinner! That's why you should check out my guest post on Multi-Testing Mommy. It's the story of how and why I said screw it to diapers after screwing up my back. Seriously, go read it. And while you're there, check out some of the awesome contests, reviews and giveaways that Multi-Testing Mommy hosts all the time! Many thanks to her for letting me prattle on endlessly about stickers and poop and battery acid!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I live.... WHERE?!?!?!

So... When my fellow Canadians elected a Conservative majority this spring, I was more than a little disappointed. I didn't especially want any of the other candidates to win, I just really, really, really didn't want a Harper majority. It's not even Harper himself that scares me so much. Oh, I don't like him AT ALL but he's just a soulless automaton with all the charm and charisma of drying paint. It's his "we-walked-among-the-dinosaurs" former Reform Party cronies that scare the shit out of me.

The man is totally unlikable, I knew that. What I *didn't* know is that he is SO racist, he'd make up new words to try to bring  legitimacy to his deluded point. It seems he lives in a different country than the rest of us. As we take strides to become a more open, tolerant society, our fearless leader is relying on fear-mongering to demonstrate his... something. Really, I don't know what he's trying to accomplish, other than being a buffoon. It's completely out of touch with the people of the country he leads.

I was afraid of a Harper majority because I was afraid that as a leader without other parties to keep him in line, he and his former Reform Party cronies would chip away at things we hold dear. I felt OK with Jack Layton as his Jiminy Cricket but now he's gone and the Liberals are running around like a headless chicken so there's nothing to stop Kooky from doing kooky things. The next thing you know he's going to try to strengthen ties to the monarchy. Wouldn't that be funny? Some self-aggrandizing pile of horseshit like pictures of himself and the Queen in every Canadian embassy in the world. God, that would be ridiculous! Oh...

Monday, September 12, 2011

The one where she talks about last year

I had to look at my calendar to see if anything happened One Year Ago today or if there was anything remarkable about last September at all. There wasn't.

We spend a lot of time attaching meaning to dates in the past: Birthdays, Anniversaries, dates we lost someone or something important to us, dates we started new jobs or the date our kids took their first steps (May 18, 2010). Even the saddest of anniversaries usually has something to be happy about, be it triumph over adversity or just plain survival. We remember the date that loved ones die and eventually look back with fondness on that anniversary. It just takes us a while to find the joy in the pain.

In all our struggles to keep track of dates of significance, there's days and weeks and months in between where not much happens at all. We're just busy putting one foot in front of the other, going through the motions and doing the best we can with what we've got. There is nothing remarkable about most days, and maybe that is remarkable in and of itself. That I have no recollection of one year ago today means that I did some stuff with my beautiful little girl and slept in a bed next to the love of my life. None of my friends or family were sick or injured and I didn't inadvertently hurt somebody's feelings by forgetting their birthday.

In other words, one year ago today was a pretty good day.

This post is part of GBE2. Week #17 Challenge - One Year Ago. For more info,  click here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ask the Host - Questions Needed!

Oh hi! I was all set to do this week's Ask the Host last night but then I realized there isn't a question to answer! Dear Readers, I am very disappointed in you!

OK, no I'm not really disappointed, and I'm not going to pull a PBS and be all like "We can't continue this programming without your support," I just carried on with my evening instead. But really, you should ask me stuff. Mostly because as I type, I hear myself talking in my head and I really like what I have to say. Wait, I think I just admitted to being kind of crazy. Pfffft. You knew that already!

Seriously though, Ask the Host. I really do like to be helpful!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Things I Learned on the Internet #2 - The Eye of Sauron

Can you imagine living in a society where the people have grown SO lazy, the task of flushing their own toilet has become too strenuous for some? I know, right? Sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but it we're living it!

Toilets that flush themselves are a pet peeve of mine because they usually go off as I'm sitting down, making me one Seriously Unhappy Camper with a Really Wet Ass. While I am mildly perturbed by these events, the unexpected soaking of an auto-flushing toilet is terrifying to a tiny person who's just learning how to use said toilet.

The solution?

You know that ridiculously HUGE purse you started lugging around when you became a mom? Sure you do. A wise mother on the internet once shared the idea of slipping a little packet of post-it notes into your purse. When you take your little person to a bathroom with auto-flush, you can pop one over the creepy, red Eye of Sauron thing  (I'm told normal people call them sensors) and spare your potty training little person the traumatizing effects of a Really Wet Ass.

Unless the Really Wet Ass came from pants that were peed in. The post-it notes aren't going to be much help in that case.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The one where she talks about other people's children

You know, for the longest time I didn't want children. Truth be told, I didn't particularly like kids. They're cute and small, but they're also grubby and their noses run all the time. They're covered in wicked, potent germs that are capable of bringing adults to their knees for weeks on end. The Husband didn't want children either, but apparently two negatives really DO make a positive.

As it turns out, I like my own kid just fine. Sure, she's grubby and her nose runs all the time and she brings home wicked, potent germs that have brought The Husband and I to our knees for weeks on end, but she gives hugs and kisses that can't be beat and she cracks us up several times a day.

Today we took her to the CNE, a place our childless couple selves would have referred to as a "kid infested slice of hell," but if you want to see the joy on your kid's face as a goat licks food off her hand, you have to endure it. As expected, kids were everywhere and while we were there I came to an important realization.

I still don't like other people's children very much.

This post is part of GBE2. Week #16 Challenge - Writer's Choice: Children or Parents.. For more info,  click here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Location, Location, Location

I wonder what thought process led to this decision. I think it went something like this...

"Let's sell the house":
 "I listed the house months ago. I simply can't understand WHY people aren't tripping all over themselves to buy it. Do you think it's the neighbours to the right causing a problem?"
 "Or maybe it's the neighbours to the left?"
"Surely it's not the view from the veranda that's scaring people away.."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ask the Host Q6: Work and Home

My partner and I both work full time. I feel like I have to do everything in the house because he "worked all day." My baby goes to daycare from 7:30 to 5:00 and I feel like I don't see her as much as I want to, then when she goes to bed I'm doing housework and sometimes more work-work. We fight a lot and I feel like people at my work-work are unhappy with me. I'm overwhelmed a lot of the time and find myself wanting to cry a lot. How do you manage to get everything done and still have time for your baby, your job and your relationship?

Honestly? I don't. I don't get everything done to the standard I would have held myself to pre-baby and I've just learned to cut myself a little slack. Sometimes you just have to say close enough. I rely on The Husband's participation a lot. For example, he does daycare drop off and I do pickup. He entertains The Parasite while I make dinner, and he cleans up after dinner while I get her bedtime routine started. Some days we're so tired at the end of it that we kind of zone off into our own little worlds in front of the TV or a laptop until bedtime. Romantic, right?

Get demanding. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it - NONE!

Is work seeping into your home life? It's one thing to put in time after hours if you're in the midst of a huge project or a colleague is on vacation, but it's quite another thing if it's all the time. Are they *really* unhappy with you at work or is it just the mom-guilt talking, making you feel like you can't please anybody - let alone everybody? Maybe you could examine the stuff you do every day to see if there's anything that could be done more efficiently or by someone else. Can your boss help?

As for your partner, sometimes you have to be specific and pointed about your needs. You might be waiting for your partner to see that you're overwhelmed and expecting him to step right up and offer to take a few things off your plate. You might be waiting a really, really long time. Ask for help! "Honey, can you stir the soup while I take <insert kid name here> to the potty?" or "I can fold the laundry while you bring the groceries in from the car." Yes, if you have to delegate you're still responsible for getting it done and that's kind of frustrating. You can fume about it, or you can choose to use that energy more productively.

Are you and your partner getting any time where you're not being Mommy and Daddy? I'm lucky enough to have a mom that adores her granddaughter and loves to babysit her, and on the occasions that "Grammie" isn't available we have a couple of reliable sitters to call on. But I know if you don't have family volunteers it can get expensive to pay a sitter on top of date night. We've been known to, on rare occasions, feed The Parasite some leftover noodles (her fave!), put her to bed and have a nice meal together at home with an even nicer bottle of wine. Not quite the same as a dinner out where you don't have to cook it yourselves and clean up, but romantic and sweet in its own right.

I feel your pain about not seeing your baby as much as you want. It's hard. If you get some assistance on the other fronts you might a little more satisfied with the time you DO have with her.

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.