It was bound to happen eventually. Someone would mistake my baby for my grandchild. I was prepared for it, there’s no way to be a Do-Over mom and not have that go through your mind when you’re pregnant. “My daughter is 21, I AM old enough to have a grandchild”. That thought is right after the one about how old you’ll be at graduation. When it happens though, it still makes you shrivel up a little on the inside.
My daughter and I were in the baby section, I was holding little E, she was pushing the stroller. We started chatting with a nice lady, who was about my age, and was telling me all about her new grandchild. It was like the far away toll of the bells. You can feel it in your bones when they start to chime. I knew what was coming. “So is this your first grandchild?” “No, Actually he’s my child. And that’s my child too….just All Grown Up. No, it’s fine, really. Anyone could make that mistake, yes she was pushing the stroller, really don’t worry about it. Haha (Poor Me) congratulations on your new grandbaby”.
We made almost as speedy of an exit as the lady did. My daughter and I trying to comfort each other. “do I LOOK like I just had a baby??” No of course not! “do I LOOK like a grandma??” No way! It was horrible. And we will never shop together again. The End.
The reality is, we will probably shop together again. I enjoy her company, and she enjoys that I sometimes buy her things. So I just need to be OK with people assuming I’m a grandma. Maybe this is my Karma for making my mom a grandmother at the tender age of 38.
I don’t have any words of wisdom for other Do Over moms out there. Maybe I’ll figure out a less awkward way out of a conversation like that. Maybe I’ll just let people assume I’m the grandma. Maybe I’ll run like mad the next time I hear the bells start to chime. I have a feeling I will be dealing with this kind of thing a lot in the years to come.
If anyone out there has dealt with this before and knows of a graceful way to handle it… I’d love to hear from you. From one ‘You-Have-A-Kid-Old-Enough-To-Make-You-A-Grandma’ to another you don’t look a day over … twenty five!
If it wasn’t for my mother I would not be breastfeeding. My son is three months old and nursing did not come easy or natural for us. It was a surprise because I had breastfed two other children with no issues. From the start he had a hard time latching on, he fussed and pulled away. He seemed hungry all the time, but then would fall asleep after only a couple minutes on the breast.
I got nervous that I didn’t have enough milk (thanks to ‘helpful’ family members), so I tried to pump in hopes of increasing my supply. The first few times I pumped was horrible. After thirty minutes all I had was a few drops at the bottom, and sore nipples. Eventually I was able to express a couple ounces, then I was worried that I was taking milk away from the baby. I became a neurotic mess. I felt like a terrible mother because I was starving him.
I hated when people looked at him and said – he seems a little skinny. I felt like slapping them. Yeah. My baby is skinny, yours is fat. We all come in different shapes. It didn’t help that part of my neurosis was a hypersensitivity to any and all ‘looks’ from people. I felt judged. I was sure they were tsk’ing to themselves about that poor skinny baby.
At our six-week check the doctor said he was at a low percentile in weight, and said we may need to supplement (with breast milk of course). The doctor wanted us to come back in the following week to recheck weight. I called my mom from the parking lot of the doctor’s office in tears.
My mom was an OB nurse and lactation consultant. She was also a La Leche League coordinator. She encouraged me to keep trying. She assured me that babies gain weight on their own schedule, and not all babies are round and chubby. It’s ok. As long as he had wet diapers, and hitting his milestones he was fine. He was healthy and strong, he was already holding his head up, he was just shaped different, he was long and lean. She also said it’s fine to bottle feed too. She said the best thing to do, is what is right for YOU.
The only reason I stuck it out breastfeeding little E is because I KNEW that my boobs worked. I had already breastfed two other children. If I had been a first time mom, I would not have had that confidence, and would have given up.
We just hit month three last week. Things are much better. Breastfeeding is working like I remembered. Little E is gaining weight, he is eating fine, sleeping fine and overall a (mostly) happy baby. He still has some digestive issues. He is hard to burp, and when he does it’s like a 50 year old trucker. When he passes gas it sounds like it should fill a diaper, but nope, just gas.
During the worst part of this breastfeeding nightmare I was doing research every day trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and what I could change to make it easier. I consolidated a short list of what I think might have helped.
1. I hope I don’t get hatemail for this – but he sleeps on his tummy. Yes, I know the thing now is ‘back to sleep’, but anytime I laid him on his back he screamed – like in pain. I tried every wrap out there, finally gave up and put him on his belly to sleep (like I did with both my girls). I’m not saying everyone should do this, but it worked for me.
2. Little E prefers nap time in his own bed. He was overtired and very fussy for the first couple months of his life. We tried co-sleeping , but it didn’t work for me. Once I started putting him down for naps in his bed (instead of waiting until he nursed himself to sleep and laying him down in the bassinet, or carseat, or anywhere else I could think of to get him to sleep more than 10 minutes) it seemed to work.
3. Latch issues – when he would pull off and cry, I immediately switched sides. He would nurse for a couple minutes and then do the same thing. I’d switch sides again. For a while nursing was like a circus act. But it seemed to help. I don’t have to do that anymore, but for a week or so it got him eating instead of crying. I don’t know why that worked, but it’s out there on the internet so I must not be the only one.
4. Breastfeed only on one side for several feedings, then only on the other side for several feedings. Something about hindmilk/foremilk. I did this for a few days.
5. Burping – don’t let anyone tell you that breastfed babies are less gassy! He has always been gassy. I finally learned to take him off the breast and burp him during feedings. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to get a burp out – I keep trying. I can hear the bubbles in his stomach so I know they’re in there!
6. Diet changes – I just mention this because I tried all kinds of elimination and reintroducing, and nothing seemed to make a difference for us.
7. Gas drops – I used Little Tummys Gripe Water and Major brand gas drops. I used them together and it seemed to settle his stomach a little during the worst times. If nothing else it made me feel like I was doing something to help. Placebo effect maybe.
Maybe the most helpful thing of all was time, patience and a good support system (thank you mom). There’s nothing wrong with bottle feeding. But if you’re determined to nurse, and things aren’t going easy for you, don’t give up. Don’t listen to all the helpful family members who say “just give ’em a bottle”. It gets easier, and it WILL get better. Oh – one more piece of advice from my mom. Drink lots of water… and have a glass of wine, it will be ok.
The concept of loosing weight is simple. Eat fewer calories, increase metabolism, and make healthy food choices. It should be easy. It’s not.
As an experienced mother, I knew my body was not going to spring back into shape like a spring chicken. Let’s face it, I’m more of a summer, or maybe fall, chicken. I set realistic goals for myself, and so far, have accomplished none of them. Here’s what I told myself in chronological order: “when the baby gets a little older I can take him out jogging. Once the kids are back in school I’ll have more time to exercise. After I go back to work I’ll automatically eat less. Now that I quit work I can cook healthy food. As soon as it gets cooler in the morning I can go out walking. Now that it’s cold in the morning I can walk in the afternoon….”
There’s always a better time to exercise than in the moment, and tomorrow is always a better day to start eating right. So what is the trick to really committing to a healthier lifestyle? Not just to shed the baby weight, but to feel better? I don’t know. If there was an easy answer the ‘Magic Skinny Pill’ ads would not be blowing up Facebook. We wouldn’t care about celebrities and their Weight Watchers success, there wouldn’t be a lucrative industry catering to looking younger, fitter, healthier…etc. But we do care. In fact, we care about looks so much that we have crucified Barbie and her skinny legs. Guys, really. She’s just a toy, not a statement of social and moral awareness.
We all want to look and feel our best. I know, the wrinkles and stretch marks and age spots are a badge of honor … blah blah blah. And I wouldn’t go back to my 20’s for anything. I don’t even want to compete with younger women. I just want to get up in the morning and not creak and be able to jog for more than half a block before I keel over.
So I am making a worldwideweb statement. I am going to go out for some kind of exercise at least three times a week, I am going to sign up for one of those dumb runs (kind of exited about that), and I am going to eat vegetables at least …every week. There, I feel better already. Maybe next time we can talk about my secret addiction to chocolate covered pretzels.
We don’t usually gather around the dinner table. Normally, we are going in so many different directions, it’s just not possible. Last night we did. We had all the kids, and all the chaos around one table; it was great. From telling dumb Halloween jokes (why can’t ghosts get witches pregnant? … because they have haaaaalllowwweeenies), to spouting off random facts and discussing sports, we were all there, all present. It was a blended family magic moment.
Magic moments don’t happen very often, but when they do, you know it. They are special moments when everyone is PRESENT, not just in body, but in spirit and mind as well. Important things happen when the family is sitting around the dinner table discussing the mundane. ‘How’s school’, ‘how’s the team’, ‘how’s the job’…nothing life altering, just life. These are the times you discover the latest crush, and that small nagging issue your kid is having. The magic happens when an older sibling mentors a younger one, giving advice and talking about a mutual interest. These connections are what weave the fabric of a family together.
Extracurricular activities can be crucial for kids’ success in today’s world . It takes a weekend warrior to make sure everyone is at the right place at the right time. Busy lives can sometimes lead to scarce family time and, as parents, it’s often the trade off we’re willing to make. But, every once-in-a while, we’re all in the same place, at the same time, and you catch a glimpse of the magic.
Sitting around the dinner table last night I saw it. The kids were all talking over each other, the baby was fussy, the dog peed on the carpet and the cat was biting toes under the table. At that moment you look up, catch your partners eye and smile that little smile that says “yeah, life is good”. The moment is gone in an instant. But for that moment, it’s pure magic.
A do-over parent is one with a significant age gap between ‘sets’ of children. There is a seventeen year age gap between (what used to be) my youngest child and the new baby. With that many years of hindsight, I almost can’t help being a better parent. I’m not saying I won’t make mistakes with little E, but it won’t be the same mistakes I made with the girls.
I am a different parent than I was twenty one years ago. I’ve matured, mellowed, and come to fully understand how fast children grow up. Just yesterday my oldest daughter was over visiting and it struck me that she really is All Grown Up. It’s hard to imagine in the midst of diapers, scraped knees and school projects that you’ll ever be on the other side, and missing the chaos. But let me assure you, no matter how much you never want to hear the words “wipe my butt” hollered from the bathroom ever again…you will miss it later.
It’s easy to want the frustrating stages to be over. Teething, potty training, terrible two’s, those years of ridiculous science projects (that every teacher MUST know the parents actually do), puberty, and teen angst. Looking back, I enjoyed the good times, but just wanted the ‘bad’ times to be over quick.
As a do-over parent, I savor the good stages as well as the bad ones. When little E decides to scream his head off in the middle of Target, that’s ok. He’s a baby. Baby’s cry. The sidelong looks from others in the store don’t even phase me. They would have 20 years ago. Back then I would have left the store, and my cart, so I could get the screaming baby out of there (don’t pretend you’ve never done that). I’m going to enjoy every diaper blow out, every spit-up covered shoulder and every sleepless night. Because before I know it, he’ll be All Grown Up.
For all you parents out there slogging through the trenches of exhaustion and carpool hell, take heart. As I’m sure many old grannies told you, enjoy it, time goes so fast. Capture those moments and file them away under the heading “things I’ll miss when they’re older”. And if you happen to be an older mom who has made the choice to have a do-over, you’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have the second time around.
There are a variety of reasons parents choose to homeschool a child. They can give them a better education, their child is being bullied, their child can’t socialize with others, their religion encourages separation of the “good” and the “bad”. While these reasons might be valid, the bottom line is that a homeschooled child will eventually need to learn how to interact with their peers and be their own advocate.
I was homeschooled back in the 70’s and 80’s, when nobody was homeschooled, except social outcasts (I may have been a social outcast…but I don’t think so). I spent the majority of my elementary education in homeschool, and my high school years in a private Christian school. My graduating class had 12 people. Here’s the problem. Eventually you must make your way in the world. You have to meet people, get a job, have a family, interact with soccer moms, and most importantly you need to learn to be your own advocate.
Homeschooled children have a serious disadvantage. Maybe their parents are professors. The kind who specialize in every subject, but probably not. Probably, the average homeschooled child has a regular parent just doing the best they can to muddle through mid-level math. I mean, who really remembers how to divide a fraction? Or maybe the parent is a math whiz, but can’t string together a non-fragmented sentence. Like me. The reality is, the child will end up being pretty brilliant in one area, but severely lacking in another.
One of the things you learn in school is to ask questions when you don’t understand something. This is a skill that will keep on giving long after college, and into the work force. If you’ve been homeschooled, with undivided attention from your parent teacher, you may not know that you have to speak up when you don’t understand something. You aren’t going to learn to ask questions, because a parent knows the look on their child’s face when they don’t understand something. They will naturally re-phrase or go back over something. This will be done almost subconsciously. The child will then grasp the concept, and everyone moves on. That’s not how real life is. In real life you have to 1. realize you have no idea what is going on and 2. speak up and ask questions until you DO know what is going on. The homeschooled child is going to be very frustrated when, eventually, they are being taught something by someone other than their parent and it doesn’t make sense. They are going to have serious self-doubt, and feel like they aren’t good enough to compete with their peer group.
Social interaction with peers may be the hardest lesson of all for the homeschooled child. Kids can be mean. There are bullies in the world. Not everyone is going to play fair and be nice. A homeschooled child will need to learn to interact with peers (unless they choose to live under a rock, which has been known to happen), and not just peers of other like-minded parents. Even children from cult-like religions have to learn how to socialize with worldly people. My ex-religion’s famous saying “be in the world, but not of the world” is crap. This will set up a child for failure and lead to culture shock of epic proportions. Like I said, eventually everyone has to go out into the world. Even if it’s just for cotton to sew up your modest dresses…unless you raise sheep and make your clothes out of wool, in which case you have already stopped reading so we’re OK. Being in the world, you need to know when to stand up for yourself, and when to advocate for your own best interest. This is something no homeschool classroom can teach.
As parents we should be teaching our children real life skills. Like how to manage stress and anxiety, how to know when someone is a real friend or a some-times friend, and how to ask questions and be heard. It is difficult to learn skills, that should have been learned in junior high, as an adult. What is the real advantage of homeschooling? I haven’t thought of one yet.
I hate appointments. Not just the standard ones that everyone hates, boobs, butt and teeth…but even the good ones that women usually look forward to like hair, nails and massage. How am I supposed to know if the third Tuesday, 6 weeks from now is going to work. I might not feel like getting a hair cut that day.
My stylist has gotten used to it, and will try to squeeze me in when I call, frustrated with my hair. “well you ARE about three months past due for a cut…”, “yeah I know, can you fit me in sometime soon?” She’s awesome, so she does. (In case you live in the Sacramento area – Jennifer Ellis Escobar, Envy Salon)
Other appointments, like pedicures, I just stop on a whim at my favorite shop to see if they are busy. They’ve never said they were too busy. Even when I can see every chair full, and a line taking up the whole couch, it’s always “5 minutes”. And then “Pick A Color”.
Oh. The dreaded nail color choice. Is it Halloween time? Will painting them black and orange be over-the-top? How long will it be until my next pedicure….am I going to be wearing pumpkins at Christmas? Better stick with something more neutral. Do I have to pick a seasonal nail color? Can I use my standard bubble gum pink one more time? Am I too predictable? Here … I’ll go with this LIME GREEN! No, that one will make me look like a dead person. How about ELECTRIC BLUE! Nah, too much of a commitment with that color. The internal struggle of it all is almost overwhelming. Invariably I stick with my standard pink.
I am a creature of habit. I like to order the same things from a menu, because I know I’ll like it. I like to open my curtains every morning to welcome the day, and see how many geese are on the pond. Am I boring? Probably. Actually, I AM pretty boring. I go to bed early, I’m not a big socializer, I like a simple life. I like neutral colors.
Every once in a while I break out of my comfort zone and go with electric blue, and it looks good. It’s something different. But it’s not long before I really want my bubble gum pink back. I like to look down at my toes and see pink. It’s ‘me’. I have friends who can wear any nail color, they all look good and they all work. I hate those people. They are comfortable in any situation, they make friends easily, and they’re fun to be around. I always wanted to be more like that. But I’m not. I’m pink.
I don’t know what my mood will be six weeks from now. I might be feeling great about myself and be ready to take on the world; and a new haircut. Or I might just be wanting the comfort of something familiar, like out of shape hair and pink toes. Looking at a calendar full of appointments causes me stress. Much better to do things at the last-minute. After all, that’s how I found my stylist, two weeks before my wedding in a panic. Thank you friend of a friend for hooking us up.
So for all you people out there who can wear any nail color, take pity on those of us who are scheduling-phobes and color challenged. Keep offering invites and we’ll probably accept; if it’s less than 48 hours in advance. Any more than that, and the anxiety of long term planning kicks in and we’ll probably decline. After all, we don’t do Electric Blue.
My family are true Americans. Blended from Natives, Immigrants and Islanders (I’ll acknowledge right up front that Puerto Rican’s are not “Islanders”, but it worked in the string…). My dad is from Puerto Rico, a heritage that includes Spaniards, Africans and Native peoples. My moms great grandfather was full Cherokee and her other grandmother was full Blackfoot. There’s also the obligatory German, Irish, Polish, and who knows what else. I am – in a nutshell – American.
I’ve watched enough episodes of America Unearthed to know that Columbus wasn’t the first European in North America. I also know enough about science to believe that Native Americans had to come from somewhere else too…maybe even Europe if some of the current theories are correct. The voyage by Columbus, and the land grab by Europeans that followed, is not a new concept in this worlds history, it’s just better documented than in previous times. This Country’s history has had its dark moments.
African people were rounded up and shipped to America to be treated like property and enslaved. The same can be said about the Irish and Chinese who were discriminated and enslaved in their own way. Native Americans were placed in schools where good Christian people tried to help by teaching them how to act white and converting as many as they could. We have documents from my great grandmother writing about her dad and how he managed to pass as a white person even though “he showed Indian real bad”. OK. That’s our past. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.
If America doesn’t start uniting under the flag of the country, not as African-Americans, Asian-Americans or Hispanic-Americans, but as AMERICAN-Americans we will never reach our true potential as a country. This world has enough evil in it, that we don’t need to create more by the ethnic divides people seem insistent on creating. How about we drop the adjectives and just live like Americans. Fundamentally, humans want the same thing, no matter the ethnic background. The way to move forward is to respect our heritage, remember our past and embrace our future. As Americans. No adjectives needed.
Breastfeeding is natural, it’s good for babies and helps the bonding process. Three wonderful things that many new mothers look forward to during the long months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many new mothers aren’t prepared for the awkwardness that can be felt when the baby is hungry in a public place.
I breastfed my first two children back in the 90’s when things weren’t as civilized as they are now. Back then if you chose to breastfed in public, you knew full well that it was like a red flag to those who felt uncomfortable seeing a little bit of side skin. Back then, if you didn’t cover up under a tent the stares would be hostile . I nursed two children back in the day, and never had a single nip-slip in public. I was looking forward to the nursing experience in a more tolerant, enlightened era. Boy, was I wrong.
Twenty years later, women who nurse in public still get the sidelong glances, and uncomfortable stares. Amazingly, The Look comes from our own kind. It is the old granny who says “you know, they sell those nice cover-ups”. Or the perky young 20 year olds that make you feel like you have broccoli in your teeth. When half the world is vegan, and the other half paleo, where is the love for mothers who are trying to feed their babies in the most natural way possible.
There’s been the anti-GMO, anti-sucrose, anti-fructose, anti-JustAboutEverythingBecauseItCausesCancer, campaigns. There’s been the slow food movement, the return to nature movement, the caveman diet movement. So where is the “my boob is not going to scar you for life” movement? Seriously. The amount of skin showing during breastfeeding is about 1/16 of what shows in a normal woman’s wardrobe. Maybe if my boobs were slung in the same upright position as a Victoria’s Secret model, it would be ok for me to parade around with almost nothing on. But god forbid if a baby is using one of those boobs to breastfeed. THAT is just going too far.
I buckled under pressure. I fed my baby (with a blanket over him in the middle of August) in the farthest back corner of the child’s section at the department store . The only other options was to let him cry, or go sit in the car and leave all my treasures in the store. Even WITH the blanket, AND the child’s section, AND the back corner I STILL got the look. Come on people! There’s nothing to see here…keep moving. I probably would have been better off in the middle of the men’s section, with my Victoria’s Secret outfit, and the baby latched on, than where I was in the kid’s section, with the old ladies and 20 somethings.
So here’s my call to action. Let’s stop cowering in the back corner of department stores. Let’s stop being paranoid that a side boob might be showing. Women. Let’s start supporting each other and giving approving looks and nods when you see a poor mom trying her best to breastfeed her baby, and not offend someone’s delicate sensibilities.
Mothering is a tough enough job without the added stress of the booby trap.
Where is the strangest place you’ve ever nursed to avoid the nip slip ? Post a comment, I’d love to hear.
PreggoPause is when you think you are going through menopause; but actually have a surprise pregnancy. It happens.
When the doctor told me I was pregnant I experienced a TV moment. That moment on TV where everything gets blurry and vision is reduced to a tiny pinprick. As you’re watching, you just want the person to faint and get it over with, but they don’t. They just sit there in complete dumbfounded confusion. That was me. The doctor was the teacher from Charlie Brown and all I heard was “whaa-whaa-waawhaa”. I stopped myself before I could ask the most incredibly stupid question of all (everyone knows what this question is, so I’m not even going to say it). But for a moment I really had an out-of-body experience. After I insisted the doctor check her results (twice), I’m sure she just wanted me to have a “get out of her office” experience.
When I made my follow up appointment, the girl on the phone said I was AMA. For those of you that don’t know (like me), AMA means Advanced Maternal Age…it means you’re too damn old to be having kids. It was humiliating. Even more humiliating was the thought of telling my 16 and 20 year old daughters about it. I had beaten into their heads about safe sex and unplanned pregnancies since they’d reached puberty. I was horrified. I was old enough to be a grandmother. I was definitely old enough to know better.
Not only was I horrified because of my age, but also because I was supposed to be getting married in five months. I’d already bought THE dress. A gorgeous creation. Form fitting. Small. As in, no way a pregnant lady would fit into it. We’d been engaged for a year and a half, we were taking it slow. We had kids we were trying to blend, and it was a tough job with (count them) FOUR teenage and pre-teen girls. Another child would make five kids…who has that many kids?? Crazy people, that’s who (just as an aside, my mom has five kids). The pregnancy felt like a complete disaster, and I spent many weeks floating on that good ol’ river denial.
Telling everyone The News wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (no stones, no sticks…everyone lived). Incredibly, our family was happy about it (but as I mentioned, they’re mostly crazy). Looking back, the months I spent being embarrassed and horrified were a waste of time. The only thing I should have “known better” about was not caring what other people thought.
I prided myself in being an independent woman. I was successful in my career. I had almost finished raising two incredible girls. I was in a stable, loving relationship. I had the world by the … nose. So why I cared about what people thought made no sense. I learned something new about myself. Yes, I was a strong, independent woman. But, over the years of being that strong woman, I had become hard. I saw emotion as a thing to hide, as a weakness. I’d spent so many years building up a hard shell to protect myself and “be strong” that it took something drastic to wake me up. Showing
emotion and being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.
I was given another chance. A chance to evaluate what was important. A chance to be a better parent. A chance to enjoy the raising of another child. This time without the pressure of being a single parent, a young parent, or a preoccupied parent. I was given a Do Over. And I won’t waste it worrying about what other people think. Menopause, however, well that’s a different story.