Friday, May 22, 2015

Daily Write It Out: Gender and Marriage Equality Not in Action

Nobody in my house is screaming!  Quick, write faster.

A few weeks ago I took Sweetpea to Academic Medical Center in the largest nearby city (small city) about an hour and a half away from here, to be Lactation Helped.  (The doctor was very good and we ruled out all kinds of stuff and figured out what was really wrong: my NIPPLE! - actually, just Rightie- is prone to getting plugged up, which leads to all the problems.  It wasn't precisely curative, but it was informative.)

So AMC is in a big university town, full of hip and cool young people and coffee shops and self-conscious hippie stores and probably a ton of people who don't vaccinate their children.  I live in a tiny university town, full of retired people, farmers, and Civil War nuts.

The check-in clerk asked the name of the primary insurance holder (Dr. S) and then asked if he was my husband.  And, while he is my husband, I was actually kind of offended.  While on average, white ladies in the South holding a baby and wearing a wedding ring are probably married to a dude, is it that hard to ask a) if the insurance holder is my spouse or b) ask what my relationship is to that person?  (As long as we are all on the damn insurance card, does it MATTER what my relationship is to this person?)  Especially in a big university town, where on average there will be many more people with a same-gender partner.  Do we have to be so irritatingly heteronormative?  Can't the South do a little better?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Boooooored now

Dear readers, I would like to solicit book recommendations. I read voraciously and fast, to the tune of 300 books a year (I spend a lot of tie nursing) and... I'm reduced to rereading Gaudy Night for the 67th time right now.  An excellent novel, but 67 times...

Books and authors I like because I think they are good writers who produce engaging stories: Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers, Patrick Rothfuss, Kelly McCullough, Kevin Hearne, Ann Leckie, Marie Brennan, Neil Gaiman (though not his last novel), Robin Hobb (though not the dragon stuff), Lois McMaster Bujold (though not the Sharing Knife stuff), Robin McKinley (though REALLY not the Pegasus stuff), John Scalzi, Ian MacDonald, Ilona Andrews (mostly), Charles Stross, the Anatomist's Wife series, Emma Bull, Wen Spencer, Seanan Macguire, Ruth Downie, some Tim Powers, Benedict Jacka.... You get the idea.

Books and authors I like for entertaining fluff: Chloe Neill, Mercedes Lackey, Deanna Raybourn, Diana Gabaldon (in this category for the shark jumping nature of the last one), Kowal, Carrie Vaughn, Kim Harrison....

Things I generally find abhorrent or boring: steam punk, violence, Terry Good kind, Shananananara, dear god no more Robert Jordan/ Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card (except Ender's Game which is, you have to admit, super creepy), Modesitt, Thomas Whatever Covenant, most nonfiction, 'paranormal romance', really depressing stories (the last edition of year's best sf nearly did me in), Joe Abercrombie, Laurel Hamilton,  Simon Green...

So tell me what to read next!  I reserve the right to tell you I've already read it though.  100 to 150 new books a year times twenty years adds up.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Daily Write It Out: In which my MIL gets on my very last nerve

So I've never really gotten along with my egocentric, toddler tantruming, whiny, entitled in-laws.  Neither does my dear spouse.  And they've always played favorites because Dr. S doesn't play along with their inconsiderate and coercive games. They disrespect every boundary we have.   They have spent the last ten years being rude and disrespectful, and throwing a tantrum every time Dr. S and I establish reasonable adult boundaries (no, a one year old cannot go to dinner at 7 pm; no, the tantruming child does not get ice cream; no, we cannot drive ten hours with a nursing baby but you're welcome to come here, retired people). They have a chronic inability to get that dairy could actually send me to the hospital and are always insisting in going out for a cheeseburger (while I either stay home or starve- in my cosmos, not feeding people is a cardinal sin). They drove down to Alabama for BIL's pilot graduation, but here is 'too far'. The only good thing is that it is Dr. S's job to enforce boundaries and he does with extreme prejudice.  They visit once every year or two; I go along with it because I don't want to cut my boys off from them- for the children's sake.  I mean, one day they'll be gone and I don't want to have to explain why I never let them see grandma and grandpa.

My parents are wonderful, helpful, and reasonable, and only drive us nuts about once a year.  They also understand that dinner is 5:30


So my SIL, who is delightful, is pregnant.  Just a little pregnant.  After many years of infertility, and I'm genuinely delighted.  I very much hope they'll be holding a screaming baby in January.

My MIL has not bothered to come see Sweetpea, her only granddaughter and the third of her three grandchildren (the astute reader will note that I have three kids). But she is already planning to FLY TO KOREA in January.

No, dear, I DON'T think you should take the kids to see them in August after all.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Daily Write It Out: Running on Empty

One of my huge sources of frustration with.... everything... is the current complete lack of time/opportunity to do all the things that make me feel like a functional human.  I need to get exercise.  I need an hour at the end of the day, with no children in it.  I need to get outside and garden. I need time and energy to clean up the house sometimes because my spouse is afflicted with can't-put-it-away-itis.  I need to have time and energy to give to my older children, who otherwise are super extra horrible.  I need to spend less time  nursing the baby.

With all this and the lack of sleep, I feel like the tank has run dry.  Dr. S does what he can, but he can't feed the baby (yet, though she  will drink a little from a bottle now) and the to-do list is endless.

Of course Dr. S might also benefit from doing something that's not dishes, mowing, or child-wrangling.  I'm thinking we need a weekly family outing to the local brewery or something (they don't have a restaurant license so we bring cheese sandwiches and pickles for the boys, and once, a gloriously delicious kosher  sausage with homemade sauerkraut).  And I need to work out some kind of summer schedule for the boys.  Mondays at Local Gardens!  Tuesdays at the park!  Rainy days at the... hmm, don't know. And I need to find some kind of kid swap, though this is pretty hard with three and one a baby.  And I need to go to the gym.  And before any of this Sweetpea needs to drink more than two ounces of bottle at a time....

Friday, May 15, 2015

Daily Write It Out: Nursing

It's surprisingly hard to produce readable English on a tablet.  But, you know, I need to write to retain my sanity.  So forgive us our linguistic trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

I feel most amazingly trapped.  In large part by breastfeeding, which prevents me from, say, gardening, or going to the gym, or knitting, or going to knitting, or... you get the idea.  I know that this too shall pass, but if people would stop telling me I'll miss it, I'd be grateful.

In related news, Sweetpea has consented to take a bottle three! whole! times!  In retrospect, however, right after she rolled over the first time (and was consequently in a righteous fury) was not the best time for today's bottle.  So far, so goaty. (Not a typo; this.  Due to my cow dairy allergy and her eczema I was hesitant to give her cow or soy yet.)

Because I'm a terrible mother, I also gave her a little banana today at 4.5 months.  She loved it, and I was getting tired of the piteous crying every time she smelled food.

This may be a product of my trapped depressed feeling like nobody listens to me and my mommying work has no value to me.... but I kind of want to become a lactation consultant.  It would take me at least eight years, I estimate, since this would be a seriously part time endeavor.  It's somewhat problematic that the main route now is as a LLL leader, since I'm cruelly weaning my baby (slowly) with a complete disregard for how I should be a miserable milk machine for her sake until next December.  How dare I prioritize my own needs?  Nonetheless.  This is born in part from the feeling that there should be more LCs in the world who say 'It's okay to wean your baby.  It's okay to hate nursing or even just dislike it. It's okay to NOT nurse your toddler on demand if you don't want.  Nursing does not have to be a magical bonding experience. All that HAS to happen is your baby HAS to be fed something.  Breastmilk probably has minimal real benefits.  If you want to breastfeed I will do my best to help, support, and educate you, but if you choose not to, or to add in formula, I will also help, support, and educate you.  And I will try to help you feel good and not guilty about your choices because breast is not always best.' And it is also born of the feeling that I have never met a LC - except my doctor in Cold State- who actually said those words to me.  (In fact she said something like, a chronic infection with severe pain is a medically indicated and completely reasonable reason to wean your child, and I will help you as best I can until you are ready to wean him.  So good for her.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Serious Conversations

Dr. S:  "There's something we need to talk about..... but I don't know if now's a good time?"
Me: "What, about the construction?  Our bank accounts?  Bills?"
Dr. S: "Well... no.  I know you won't like to hear this but...."

(I anticipate some dreadful thing incoming...)

"... I found a two inch long wolf spider in Bug's water shoes* and you might want to shake them out before he puts them on...."

Me: ." AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA SPIDERS I HATE SPIDERS AAAAAAAAAA"

Dr. S: "Yeah, that what I figured you'd say."


*A creek runs through our front yard.  A nice shallow creek.  The boys play in it almost every day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Irony, double helping

1.  I finally worked through my guilt and reluctance and worry over giving Sweet pea formula, mixed her up a nice warm bottle... and she spat it out and cried.  We have now tried six different kinds of bottles and three people.  I have two very damp, milk-flavored towels, and no formula in the baby.

2.  I wish to not breastfeed because of severe pain, but have excellent supply and a 15 pound four month old.  My nearby friend with a little baby wishes to breastfeed, by has a low supply.