Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gender Roles and Stereotypes

I see there is a post on BotB about this from last night, and I'm just starting to read all the responses now, which is good, because lately I have really been thinking about how what we do as parents and people will now start to affect the burrito as he is fully able to view and take in everything around him.

I have noticed that hubs' family is especially supportive of gender roles and boy stereotypes. I can't remember exactly the situation, but someone tried to give him something purple, and MIL said "no, that's a girl color!" I said that I don't want to tell him that certain things are meant only for girls or only for boys. I also pointed out that he has four spoons of differing colors and one of them is pink and I use it even though it's not a "boy color." Hopefully if I keep pointing it out, she'll get it. I try to make it more about the way I want him brought up and not a me vs MIL sort of thing (just because recently I've noticed that her mannerisms and way of acting around the burrito are not exactly in tune with in point: please do not let my child lick your fork which just had a seasoned steak on it).

But I digress...I don't want to post the whole conversation here, but I did want to put down some snippets so I recall them later:

(original thread)
(original original thread)

I don't know the answer, but I will say that I'm amazed at how much of a "boy" Gabe has turned out to be.  There's just so much that comes from society that you don't even realize.  I try to expose Gabe to a wide range of toys and experiences (he has dolls, he has play food, he has puzzles, he has trucks etc), but he's currently obsessed with cars, trucks, airplanes and trains.
Where does my responsibility as a parent lie?  Do I encourage the things he is interested in even though they are pretty stereotypically "boy" interests?  Do I try to steer him towards more gender neutral interests in order to "balance" him out for lack of a better word? - armandos

...listen to a child's cues and be aware of their comfort level. I have two friends with little kids who are displaying gender non-conforming behavior. Explaining why peoplereact the way they do without blaming the child or telling them what to do makes a difference. These are kids who know their sex, don't have the words to describe gender expression, but who are truly discovering what fits for them. - BGG

I am  thinking of a blog post (which I can't remember) where a mom was called in because in her 1st grade classroom, her daughter was in trouble for being violent.  They were writing a story and each kid built on the page in front by the previous kid.  Her daughter's had to do w/ something violent and the teacher insisted that she had NEVER seen such violence in a story before...but the daughter's page was building directly off of the MORE violent pages that came first...but no one cared about those because boys could be violent. - GBKC

But I also grew up knowing that physically, I am a girl and there are certain things that are expected of me as a girl (for lack of a better term).  I knew that going to church on Sunday, showing up in a dress would be less controversial than showing up in khaki's and a tie.  I was blessed to have incredibly supportive family/friends and not to have any serious inner gender/identity issues and could go between my desire to be more tomboy and societies expectation for me to be more girly. - Balls

As far as the coddling girls and toughening up boys thing... it is the total opposite at my house.  It has nothing to do with their sexes, and everything to do with their personalities.  Rough housing is an equal opportunity sport in this house, and nobody holds back anymore on Riley than they do on Nathan.  Nathan tends to be more sensitive if he gets hurt or feels upset, and he needs the hugs and cuddles to get over it quickly, so that's what he gets.  Riley tends to do better with the "you're alright, shake it off and get back up!" speech, so that's what she gets more often than not. ... I think that expecting everyone to conform to them is definitely not ok, but there is nothing wrong with "girls like to wear dresses" and "boys like to play with trucks" as long as people understand that it is ok for it to be the opposite. - Leslie

My MIL has voiced her concerns about us not teaching him proper gender rolls.  She sees photos of him playing with the vacuum, pretending to cook, etc.  She truly feels that we should be pushing the cars, trucks, and trains.  He owns "boy toys" and chooses not to play with them very often.- MadameFP
This is something I worry about with MIL. I believe that every kid no matter the sex should know how to do things around the house - laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. I know that hubs will support this, because he's a clean freak by nature (his time in the Navy added to this). But hopefully she won't discourage that. My common sense says she would not, but my inner monologue worries about everything. I just have to focus on how hubs grew up I think, because she raised him, and he makes a killer french toast. Score.

One of my favorite selections from The Parent's Tao Te Ching - A New Interpretation:

2. Take Care With Labels
When you teach your children that certain things are good,
they are likely to call all different things bad.
If you teach them that certain things are beautiful,
they may see all other things as ugly.

Call difficult things "difficult,"
and easy things "easy,"
without avoiding one and seeking the other
and your children will learn self-confidence.
Call results "results,"
without labeling one as success
and another as failure
and your children will learn freedom from fear.
Call birth "birth,"
and death "death,"
without seeing one as good
and the other as evil
and your children will be at home with life. 
 - AKA
↑ I need to get this, I completely agree with this excerpt. Thanks akalutts for posting this! ::adds to Amazon list::

Well, I have a little time before he starts being heavily influenced by outside sources...I'm not entirely sure that the other kids at daycare are giving him pressure right now. But I am interested to read the book that aka quoted and see if there's anything that I can start doing (or not doing) now to help make the burrito a more tolerant, well-rounded, and communicative individual. Or, just not screw him up. Isn't that what every parent aspires to?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Milestones - they make me *tear*

So here are the milestones that have been making me cry lately:

1) we moved the crib mattress to the lowest setting.
here's our crib, btdubs:

Several reasons for this: two weeks ago, he figured out how to sit up from a kneeling position. he hasn't yet figured out how to move forward, only backward, but he can roll over onto his tummy, push up, and move one leg so that if he pushes himself back, he's sitting up. I'd hear babbling in the morning and walk in to find him on the opposite end of the crib, pac in mouth, hands folded, watching for me as if to say "oh, you're up too? I'll take some milk."
This past weekend, I was ironing next to his crib, and he decided to see what was going on. He pushed into a sitting position, put his hands over the crib rail, and pulled himself up until he was in a straddle - not quite standing up, but close enough that I decided it was TIME.

2) He's saying dada. Not in any recognizable way, in that when hubs walks into the room he says it; just baby babbling. But it's enough.

3) He can now sit up on his own, and play with toys on his own, and at the beginning of the month we got him a Pooh stand-up-easel-looking thing that has wheels. And when I stand him up and he holds on to the handle? He takes steps with it. STEPS. Granted, the thing has to slide out so far that he is almost horizontal before he actually thinks "hmm, I should move a leg..." but still.

(obvs not the burrito)

4) He ate bananas the other day. Like, actual bananas. I cut up a semi-ripe one, and he was smushing it onto his fists, and then putting his fists in his mouth. It totally counts. Ish.
Of course, this past weekend, I had some melon on my plate and he was bored, so my plate was his target of choice. So, I let him suck on the melon (note to self: wear drop cloth). When I pulled the melon out of his mouth, a chunk was gone. WTG burrito, you actually gummed a piece of food off and down your little throat!

Soooooo, I will be taking a vacation day sometime soon in order to babyproof my first floor...he should be crawling any minute now, closely followed by high school.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day - my lesson.

I just got back from a loooong walk. You know the kind; one of those walks where you keep looking down over the canopy on your stroller to see if they're asleep yet.

It all started innocently enough - hubs went to lay down before going into work at ten, so I took the burrito downstairs and placed him lovingly in his pack 'n' play. In a few minutes, he was p'n'p-ed out, so we switched to the new convertible walker/easel-type toy with Pooh noises. He soon tired of that too. I knew he was tired, so I walked him around a little bit. Nada. He started to scream louder. The pac didn't work, holding him sideways didn't work, none of the usual tricks.

So, I resorted to the last trick I knew - The Stroller. I estomped (that's Legally Blonde for walked while pouting) upstairs, ripped off my PJ pants and put on some jeans, threw on a sweatshirt, estomped back downstairs, grabbed Yelling Child from p'n'p of death, grabbed dog leash, yelled over my shoulder to said dog, yanked stroller down the front steps, and attempted to shove Yelling Child in stroller. Pac in mouth, dog in front, all was good (read: distracted).

I a complete failure. Here it was, Mother's Day, the day when I should be celebrated (it's my first as a mama), and give myself a pat on the back, and pamper myself (the non-diaper variety of that word please). The day when I get to bask in the glory of my kid(s), and reflect on all I have done for them. And I have to push Yelling Child around the block in Stroller to get him to calm down. Normally when it's the two of us at night, hubs and myself, it works out better. I'm not sure why; it just does. But when it's just me? I swear that he senses it and is not satisfied with the norm. He wants more! Step it up mama! Work for that title!

So all through the walk, I'm wallowing. Rolling around like a pig. In the mud of my self-pity. "You had to use the last resort Stroller! on Mother's Day no less! What kind of mom can't calm their kid down?? What kind of mom can't rock their baby to sleep??" A tiny voice in the back of my head said, "ok, but you knew that the stroller would calm him down, and he loves walks." And I wanted to estomp it out and continue to wallow in my lovely mud.

And then I realized. I was giving up too easily. I'm not sure where, but somewhere along the way, I have come to be That Girl - the one who cries "this is too hard - I don't want to do it anymore!" and estomps back upstairs and into bed. I have no idea how it happened; maybe it was a result of my relationship troubles last year. Somewhere, after all the not giving up there, I apparently started to feel like I could now give up everywhere else. Maybe my emotional brain decided that I hung in so long with that aspect of my life that I deserved a little giving up elsewhere. I don't know for sure. But I know it's been happening more recently. Especially with Yelling Child. And I don't have a colicky baby, an awful baby, anything like that, which may make it worse - I expect him to be happy all the time because he is happy most of the time.

So...where does that leave me? When is it ok to "give up," to throw in the towel and go get a pedicure? Because I'm sure that there are times where that is acceptable. But not all the time. Not every day. Not even when, on the day we go out to breakfast to the place that I want to go to, where hubs utters two complaints (which I knew were coming), where the burrito gets fussy because he poops and then proceeds to rip off the wipe I strategically place upon his baby nether regions while changing him and then emit a stream of urine so powerful the second I turn to grab a new diaper that it not only wets his face, hands, jacket, overalls, shirt, and the changing table, but also myself and the whole underside of his outfit as well (which I did not discover until afterwards when he was sitting on hubs' lap while we were waiting for boxes for our food and the check because his spare outfit was used the day before). I kinda gave up then. And I really didn't have to, but I think I placed so much pressure on the whole thing to be perfect that it was doomed from the start.

I'm pretty sure that's the worst kind of perfectionist too - the kind who doesn't even do things because they know it can't be done perfectly, so why bother? I don't know, is that me?

Well anyway, I know what I have to do now. Self, this one's for you:
Realize that life will go on no matter what, and if you keep stopping to complain/give up/estomp upstairs, you may miss things.
Don't worry, it can always get worse.
You have been through worse - this isn't it.
While ruined moments may give you just cause to eat a whole pack of chocolate poptarts, they do not give you just cause to continue to ruin more moments. Only one pack is justified, so suck it up and say NEXT.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

hmm, I think I unintentionally plagarized... and, a blog question.

I was looking at my last post title, and the title of a fellow blogger who posted about bf'ing last week...and I'm not sure when I started writing my post, but when I published, it had almost the same title. oops. color me embarrassed.
I mean, I'm not sure if yoinking a title is considered as such, but I feel bad. I wonder if I saw it and it floated around in my brain until I pulled it out and attached it to the post. ah well, my apologies, danse!

on a brighter note: I can now fit into my size 12 tar-jay jeans. yay for small victories! now, to get rid of the pooch.

and, finally, a blog question, to you readers out there - I may pose this to BotB as I am not sure I have any readers other than my occasional click in googlereader to this blog thinking it's something completely different.
I am going to embark on a (yet another) get-healthy-lose-weight journey. Should I combine all of this into one blog, or post again in my Smaller Teapot blog? I'm just not sure whether or not to separate.

What say you, interwebs?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Breastfeeding: the Saga Continues

I figured it's been a while since I posted on this topic, and since I made it past my initial goal of 6 months, I'd better give a rundown. Y'know, for future generations and all. Or, so I remember what the hell it was REALLY like next time around.
So: dear future self, it only sucks for 4 to 6 weeks. Then, you don't need to wear pads all the time starting around 5 months or so. And also, your boobs may change size again around 4 months in, so don't go buying fancy-schmancy bras that cost an arm and a boob.

Things You Will Need:
Breast pads - disposable, washable, thin, thick, you name it, I've bought it.
Lansinoh nip cream
Medela soothing gel pads
Medela nip shells
Nursing wear

A note on the nursing wear. I bought bras 3 times: right before - for use in the hospital and the first few days at home; right after - when my milk came in and I started getting real high school chesticles: and 4 to 5 months later, when the girls decided to suddenly spike in size, giving me spectacular cleavage, but also veins and stretch marks, back fat and strap marks, and the lovely deflated pancake look after a really good nursing session. Sorry for that burst of reality there future self.

Breast pads:
At first, I didn't need these. Around 2 weeks, I started thinking burrito had wet himself right where the boob he wasn't nursing from was perched; alas, it was my letdown advising him that the milk he ordered was in stock. So, they became a necessity. At first, I'd wear them all the time, because we weren't in a routine yet and I'd have letdown occur at the most random times. About the time I was lamenting to bff "can I EVER stop wearing these things?!?!," I realized that burrito and my body had worked out some sort of deal, and there were times I could now go without the pads. I believe (don't set your clocks by my recollection of anything baby-related, folks) this was around 4 months old. I was able to go to work pad-free, but then would put them in when I went to sleep, because I never knew when he was going to wake up and want to eat, and there were times when I was too tired to pump right before bed and would wake up at 5am a but engorged with some slight leakage.
Now, I only wear the pads when 1) I don't pump before bed, or 2) when I feed him in bed in the morning - I keep them by my bedside and stuff one in there when I'm nursing so that my letdown doesn't soak me.
 - - - I have used the Lansinoh ones, which are tip-top-wonderful. I have used some Gerber ones as well, and some brand beginning with the letter A which was very colorful. Those ones were smaller. But all worked pretty well. Currently, I use some washable cotton ones - these weren't the best at first because of my engorgement in the am; I'd totally soak through a whole one of those babies and have to retire that night's sleep bra. Now, however, they're good to go. And less wasteful, and less money of course.

Nip Accessories:
Boob Cream/Gel Pads - best thing evah to sooth my sore ladies in the beginning. It took a few weeks for them to get used to their new position at work, and in the meantime they were red, sore, and occasionally bled. Yah, gross. Creams are able to be put on at any time, so the baby can nurse regardless.
The Gel Pads aided for those times when they were sore and red and just needed a little cooling off. Bonus, they acted like a shield for letdown, so I didn't leak hugely.
Nip Shells - during those first months; no, that's too scary weeks, these were a nipsaver. At times I could barely stand anything touching my nips, and these were the answer to that problem. I shoved one into my nursing bra as soon as I was finished nursing (after coating the nip with either the cream or a little bit of extra milk), and it got to breathe. No smushing, no drying against the bra and causing agony after I ripped it off band-aid-style not thinking that I was ripping the bra off band-aid-style.

Nursing Wear:
This is one thing that has changed throughout my nursing career. I had figured during my pregnancy when I was making my tens of thousands of spreadsheets that I'd go get a couple bras before and after. It was recommended to wait until as close to delivery as possible so that I could better gauge the girls' new size. So, over to tar-jay I went, and got 2 nursing bras (38B, because the only thing that had change was added back fat, TYVM burrito) and 2 nursing tanks. After he was born, my size didn't change much, so I got two sleep bras and started looking for sites to get the best deals on nursing bras.
My local thrifty outlet mall didn't have anything - oh wait, my mistake, they did have nursing bras, but for superplustripleboobed women. 40D???? Really??? That's the smallest size you have?
So, onto Gap - I wasn't impressed, because at the time I was looking for something without underwire. I ordered another tank from Glamourmom, which was highly disappointing, but only because I was actually an XL at that site and I ordered a M or L, can't remember which.
And then, when I had just decided to add more to my arsenal, they got...bigger. As in, I thought this was what should have happened before I gave birth bigger. So I am currently a 38C. As such, I went back to tar-jay, hoping against hope that they'd have some new stock in. Sacrebleu, they did! (they also had bangin maternity wear which made me instantly jealous...but not enough to have another baby.)

The timeline of this was:
Pre-preg: 36B
Pre-birth: 38B
4/5 months pp: 38C

And then...I discovered Undercover Mama, who makes nursing tanks that hook onto your bra, so you can NIP (nurse in public) without showing off your muffin(s). I heart them. They make pumping when it's a bit chilly in the little room in the basement at work bearable. And double as undershirts for my favorite new thing, cardigans.

So, my current stash:
3 nursing bras from tar-jay, wireless (white, black, and blue with white dots)
2 nursing "sleep" bras from tar-jay (white, black)
2 nursing tanks from tar-jay (blue with white lacy trim, black)
2 nursing bras from tar-jay, underwire (white, blue)
1 nursing bra from gap, underwire but not with padding on the cup (tan)
2 undercovermama nursing tanks (white, ivory)
2 sleep bras (nude) - these have totally fallen apart in the wash. they are super comfy, but apparently get stuck on everything and the elastic and threads come out.
1 nursing tank from glamourmom (tan w/ pink trim) - bought the wrong size, apparently.

I'm not sure if there have really been any big huge challenges other than the first couple (months, sorry), but some issues I've had to deal with:

 - fearing my supply is low, and eating oatmeal every morning, drinking tons of water, mother's milk tea
 - identifying when a growth spurt is occurring and realizing it's not my supply getting low
 - as the warmer weather comes, determining when the boppy is needed and when a pillow or end of the couch will suffice as we both get sweaty
 - distractions! he whips his head around (sometimes with the nipple, sometimes without) to see who is talking
 - keeping up the pumping at work, especially when people give me looks like "oh, you're still doing that?"
 - handling nights now that he wants to eat at 630 and again at 730, right before bedtime
 - trying to still stock a freezer stash when the only time to pump for extra is 10pm and I want to GO TO BED
 - attempting to get up early and run/walk/exercise with a child whose sleeping schedule has him waking up at 4-6am depending on the day to NURSE NOW NOW NOW

But that's about it, so I consider myself very lucky that I've been able to do it for this long.
So, future self, don't worry. (Rob Schneider voice) You can do it!