Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Had Easter dinner with my 95 year old mother in law.  It was nice to see her- haven't seen her in a while.  I wish I was feeling better so I could have been better company.  

I have double ear infections and had/ have a headache.   On antibiotics, but I am not sure they are working.  I may call the doctor again tomorrow.

Thinking about Easters past.  We have sure colored loads of eggs, and made baskets for the kids.  One year my mother bought some cute Easter baskets for the kids.  A friend of hers made them- they looked like bunnies (sort of).  Thing is, we had 4 kids when she got them, so when we had Chance, I made a matching one for him.

The year Morgan was born (1981), I was living with my in-laws for a few months.  Courtney and I got to color eggs with Grandma and Grandpa Sherwood.  I remember Grandma Sherwood (my mother in law) hiding eggs in the yard for Courtney and then helping three year old Courtney find the eggs!
We also went to my brother's place and colored eggs with him and my sister.  

And I think about the fact that my brother was born on Easter Sunday.   I know that was special for my parents.

Something I read today in a "residents comments" book:  "alas, the demise of a perfectly good hot dog due to the lack of baked beans"

Friday, March 29, 2013

Where has the time gone?

Ruth with her father and her older brother, George

A girl and her chickens!
Grandma Ruth meets her first great grandchild


Thursday, March 28, 2013

If you had a do over, what would you change?

Earlier today I posted on Facebook that I wanted a "do over".  I want to know what to do and how to help someone in  my family who is having a hard time  I know what it feels to be depressed and unsure exactly what to do that doesn't let anybody down.

Life can be hard.  Trying to figure out what you want to do and how to do it.  It's hard.  Where do you start?  How do you put that first foot in front of the other.

Now I know that most of us do just that.  We get up and go to work and take care of our families.  We somehow know, or have learned what to do.  We may not always love what we do, but we are able to see it as a means to an end.  Work long, sometimes boring tedious hours with a view to having the rewards of a home, a family that is secure and not needing for much.  Yes, there are rewards, and I guess there is the grunt work that gets you there.  With the ultimate view to being old enough to retire and rest, or travel, or work on home and yard improvements.   It's hard to see that far ahead  when you are in your twenties and don't have the world view and experience that you acquire with years.

When the kids were little and all living a home, I sort of knew what to do.   I could talk about their dreams, and listen to their thoughts.  Nick and I were their rocks.  We were behind then no matter what.

They all learned to read and write and ride a bicycle and eventually drive a car.  Nick spent evenings packing brown paper lunch bags, each with a child's name crayoned on it to make sure everyone got the right lunch.

Getting the kids out the door, teeth brushed and lunch bags in hand was something of a Chinese fire drill.   Nick got the early kids- middle school and high school, out the door before leaving for work.  I got the later kids, the elementary school kids our the door later.

As soon as Nick and the kids were gone (seems that there were lots of years where at least one baby was with me),  would start my chores with a cup of coffee.   I seem to recall that I had a routine.  Clean off the kitchen table and take care of the dishes.  We ran the dishwasher twice a day when all five kids were still at home.   Next came getting the laundry downstairs and sorted and washed.   I am sure I did at least 15 loads a week.  Plus, for many years I washed diapers three times a week.

On Friday I would change all the bed sheets, the towels and generally clean and vacuum so I didn't feel over loaded with chores  on the weekends.

Afternoons when the kids came home there were almost always snacks.  Cookies, either oatmeal or chocolate chip.  Sometimes banana bread or cupcakes.  And most often, cut up veggies and dip.

It all sounds so idyllic, so Little House on the Prairie.  Well, no, it wasn't.  I was very busy with La Leche League work.  I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to new moms- this was pre-internet.  I would meet with other LLL Leaders and moms.  I did a lot of administrative work. There were moms and their nursing kiddos here a lot.

I used to get frustrated because someone had forgotten to clear the table, or had set it not quite right.

The kids messy bedrooms drove me crazy.  I told the kids that they were their own rooms and they didn't have to worry about sorting them out.  But sometimes it just had to be done.   

When I was a kid, I had posters and stuff on my bedroom walls like any teen.  My mother made it clear to me one day when my room was a mess, that it was NOT my room.  It was her and my dad's house and it was their room.   That made me so unhappy and confused, and sort of like the man without a country.  If my room was not my own, what was it.  So I tried to do better than that.  Though every so often I would crack and claim that it was a fire hazard and had to be cleaned.

I even invited the Fire Marshall in to inspect and tell the kids how bad their rooms were.  The main thing that that came  from that visit was being told that we have too many books in the basement and that the real fire hazard.    Oh well.

What happened today was mainly, things didn't go as planned.  I went to the gym [as planned].  Was planning to go get my oil changed in my car, and then make a home visit to see a new mom.

But, when I got home, the appointment that had been made had to be cancelled.   Everyone felt bad, but that's what happened.   I was too concerned and a bit overwhelmed with still having the mom thing to do so I didn't get my oil changed or go help this new mom.

The day is about done.  We all had dinner together, cooked by son Austin.  It was good to reconnect and talk about ideas and ways to make our lives better.

I have really learned about patience the last few years.   With young babies and toddlers, patience is sort of a given.  When you try to rush with a diaper bag and a little  one in diapers and the other in training pants, it does not work.  The diaper bag spills.  The toddler pees the training pants.  The baby wants to nurse, and then proceeds to barf on your clean shirt.

But when the people you live with age and mature, you do get impatient because you expect them to be mini "you"  (or bigger as the case might be).   With teens you yell because if you don't, you are likely to be half way down the street before you remember that someone was in the bathroom running the hair dryer.

And then they become adults.  And it is hard not to talk to them like the baby/kid/teen/ young adults you have know since before they were born.  Now there are adult people who needed to be treated as adults.  Yet, we are still their parents.  We are still here if they need a shoulder.  Or if something exciting happens in their lives.   

Sometimes they really want our advice.  Most of the time they want us to be pleased with them and proud of the people they have become.  We try to offer suggestions and guidance, not a shove (unless you think it might help)

It was a long time before I had a healthy, adult relationship with my mother.  The last few years of her life, while physically rough for her, were the best in terms of us being able to enjoy each other and talk to each other lovingly with no harsh judgement.

March 29, 2013 marks the ninth anniversary of my mother's death.   I held her hand as she took her last breath.  Funny how life works out.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Poke me with a fork... I'm done

Some sort of baby boom is going on in the Washington, DC area this month.  I have been busier than I have ever been as a lactation consultant.  I love it.  More often than not, I start a visit with a worried, tearful mom and I leave with the mom smiling and confident.   I am good at what I do.   I have probably written about that before.

Then there are the times when I leave the mom with so much to ponder and so many things to correct that she is not so happy.  After a few phone calls and maybe another visit, it works out.  Today I visited one of those moms.  Her baby needs some work getting his latch right, and possibly some intervention (frenulum clipping).  So despite all of our efforts, I left a mom with more ammo so solve her problems, but without a quick fix.

I feel so bad when I cannot help a mom find immediate relief.   I guess I really do care.

Today I went to Silver Spring, MD.  After my home visit, I decided to drive around a bit.  I grew up on that side of the Beltway, so I wanted to see what had changed and what had stayed the same.   I took a few pictures that I will put up later.

Pretty much everything has changed.  The building that were there when I was a  kid, and still exist, have different businesses and companies in them.   There is no evidence of the Singer sewing machine store for instance.

I made my way to the neighborhood where we lived for eight years of my childhood.  Not the first time I have done that, but it is stranger and more unbelievable as time goes by.

I went to a new yarn shop in Wheaton.  I'd been there before, and wanted to go again since I was there anyway.  I was reminded of a "fiber festival" in Vienna, VA that I had planned to go to.  So I went there next.

After that I went to Costco, which as everyone knows, is the last place you should ever go on a weekend.   It was really crowded!

By the time I got home, I was exhausted, dehydrated and feeling dizzy.  I remembered that all I had for lunch was a soda and a candy bar.   My ear has been bothering me on and off, and today was one of those on days.

A lot of the time I was out, I was thinking and stressing about the dinner we were supposed to go to this evening.  And I was stressing about the things I always stress about- chores.  There is always work that needs to be done both in and outside of the house.  I often feel like I am the only one to notice it.  Or at least the only one to care.   Nick does a lot, but nobody cleans bathrooms or empties all the trash cans on trash night,  vacuums, or cleans inside the microwave unless I ask then to.  I guess I should be glad that they do it then.

But I hate being a taskmaster. I really hate asking for "help".  How is it help?  Why do I think of it that way?  I am not the only one here.  I am the one who is bothered though.  I am sure that contributes to why I am sick.  And why I am depressed at times.  And even to why I have weight problems.  Yes, stress can do that.

Ok, I have to get my tired self to bed now.

An amazing story

I have been following this story and want to share it here.  It is about a baby who sustained a severe head injury and how breastmilk has helped her recovery.  The doctors and her parents were about to say goodby to this precious little girl until her lactation consultant, aunt stepped in.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Am I falling behind?

Almost every day I tell myself that I am going to write on my blog.  Then I don't.  Then I feel like I have not gotten my homework done.  That's not the idea.  That's not what I had in mind when I started this blog.

I have been incredibly busy with lactation calls this past week or so.   And with health stuff too.

The moms I have helped with breastfeeding are a very international group.   I helped a Korean mom and baby, a woman from Pakistan, and her baby.  A new mom from Morocco with her baby, and her family, all of whom spoke to each other in French and Arabic, neither of which I know.    Saw a Polish mom with an American husband and a beautiful new baby girl.    And a mom from Senegal.

Today I went into the office at The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington and worked seeing moms and babies there.  It's the first time I have done that, and I really enjoyed it.  The families I worked with today were Indian mother, a Nigerian mother, and American partners.   I love the concerned fathers, not knowing how to help, but desperately wanting to.  And the grandmothers all have my heart.  Often the grandmothers don't speak any English, but I connect with them.  I see how much they love their daughters even more than they realized that they could.

Tomorrow (it's after midnight, so today officially) I don't have anything scheduled.  I know I will do laundry.  I will try to get to the gym.   I'll try to go visit my sister.  Maybe I will knit too.

I always think I want time to just sit and do nothing.  To just sit around all day in my pajamas and watch TV and knit.   But, then, when I have days like that, I feel lazy and slovenly and often depressed. 

Days like today and the other days this week, where I am driving all over the place and spending time with stressed, tearful new moms, I feel charged.  I help these moms.  Even if I cannot fix their problem, or they choose to do things differently that I suggest, I know that they feel better after our meeting.   I have been there.  I have cried from being overly hormonal after giving birth.  I have had sore nipples and engorged breasts, thrush and cracked nipples.  I have felt the uncertainty of my trust for my body to know what to do and to function they way I had expected.   I know that these moms are scared, exhausted, sometimes in pain, sometimes just overwhelmed by the power the responsibility for this small baby holds over them.  I have experienced these things.   I know that it can be difficult and for some women, impossible to overcome all of the problems and concerns.  I help women realize that they are not a failure.  They are a success by virtue of the fact that they care enough to seek help.  That if they decided that they cannot go on with breastfeeding, they are strong and capable and they need to redefine their own definition of success.

Yeah, I do all that.  I love being that person.   That mentor.  That mother. That teacher, and that helper.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I wrote on Facebook today and more

I feel a bit of a rant coming on. I just saw a post with the picture of an overweight woman falling off a skateboard. There were all sorts of "jokes" about not allowing obese people to skate board, about how she ate too many nuggets etc. How is making fun of people because of their physical appearance not bullying? How is it funny? How is it not discrimination? I am overweight. I am tired of never being represented as anything but stupid or the brunt of a joke. How many people have I helped? How many have I affected and made a real difference in their lives? Hundreds, maybe thousands.
Do not bully. That is mean, so do not bully ANYONE. Weight, gender, race, stature, religion; if you ridicule anyone who is "different" than you in any of these ways, you are a bully. YOU really are. So stop it!


I was so upset about the whole fat humor thing, I cried after I wrote this.  I got lots of positive feedback.  I really don't think that non heavy people have a clue .  Recently a friend and I were talking about the large number of heavy women at an event we attended.  My friend said "but they could do something about it".   Maybe they can.  Maybe they cannot.  Maybe they love themselves enough that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks.   

If I met someone who was very different from me, say an Orthodox Jew, I would never say "well they don't have to be that way.  They can change it".

I have been really in a deep, sad place lately, and the fat humor just threw me over the edge.  I am not "sad" in a way that is circumstantial.  I cannot just stop.   It is a part of who I am- like my blue eyes.   I am constantly working on my life.  Learning new things.  Helping new moms and dads and babies work more smoothly in their new rolls in life.

Knowing that I love and that I have love coming back to me keeps me going.  I have a very meaningful life and I know that I am a force for good.

But I am also me.   Sometimes my depression motivates me to do things and grow.  Sometimes it makes me feel like doing nothing at all.  What I need to learn is how to relax and "do nothing" without feeling guilty about it.

Happy Birthday to my Morgan.   He is 32, which means I have been his mom for 32 years (plus 9 months).

I am so lucky and I am blessed to have such fantastic children to love, who love me back.