Newsletter—19 Months

Peanut,

You’re such a toddler! It seems like every day you’re making leaping bounds away from baby-hood, which obviously comes with good things and with bad. Let’s start with the good.

First off, you’re talking like crazy! It’s amazing! You’re still pretty shy out in public, but when you’re at home or either of your grandparents’ houses, you’re chattering constantly. We can only make out every few words, but even when it doesn’t make sense to us it’s still pretty obvious that you know what you’re talking about. I’ve been keeping a list of all of the words I can think of that you know and you know a whopping 25 words! I realize this is kind of tedious, but I’m going to tell you all of them just for the record: hi (which you’ll now say to everyone out in public), bye (usually bye-bye repeated a ton of times), Mama, Dada, Yeah!, Uh-oh (when you drop something on accident or on purpose), kitty (often in the combination of Hi kitty!!! while bending down so you’re eye level with the kittens), dog, owwie (which you actually say when you’re hurt. Like when you get a sticker in your foot you just start yelling “Owwie owwie owwie!!” and limping over to me. So cute!), baby (which you think every miniature human is a baby even if they’re bigger than you), up (“up up up!” while bouncing and holding onto someone’s legs so they’ll pick you up), mine (when you want something or if you drop your food and the dog goes for it), please (always while signing please at the same time), I want (when you really want something!), Niki (that’s Mema’s dog. She says you follow the dog around saying “Hi Niki!”), Idella (squeed’s name), Mema (which sounds almost like Mama), Yo (when you want Yo Gabba Gabba), ball, yucky (usually saying it with me when I want you to throw something away), again (when you want to go on the slide again), tomato (Mema says you say that when you want to go pick things in her garden), I love you, banana (more like “ba!”), milk (more like “ma!”).

Wow! So many words! Sorry to the readers that just had to read (or skip) that list. It was mostly a memory thing.

Anywho, you also jump! You’ve been trying to for months and you could always bounce, but your feet actually leave the ground now! Sure, only like a centimeter off the ground, but they leave the ground! Who ever thought that I would be so excited about my child being able to jump?

This next one is kind of a good and bad thing. We adopted two kittens this last month and you love them so much! It’s incredibly cute your adoration for these kittens, but it’s also incredibly stressful at times. They’re only about 10 weeks old now (we’ve had the for a couple weeks) so they’re still really fragile. You, being a 19-month old, don’t really get that. So these kittens are being picked up by their necks and grabbed by their fur. Thrown not-so-gently down when Mama asks you to set them down. We’re trying to monitor your time spent around the kittens and explain to you when you need to be more gentle, but I can tell it’s going to be a long process. At least the kittens don’t seem to mind most of the time and at least we know that these kittens will be very much used to people when they’re older.

The last thing is your tantrums. If anything, and I mean anything doesn’t go your way, you start screaming bloody murder. You’ve always been a very willful child, but wow I wasn’t aware a child could be so easily set off. I can’t watch your show right now? Scream. Can’t get the block into the hole? Scream. Can’t leave the room when it’s bedtime? Scream for 30 minutes straight. Yeah, that last one was a fun night. You wouldn’t let me touch you at all, you didn’t want to read, cuddle, or nurse. I mean really? You didn’t want to nurse? Who’s child is this? It puts Mama at a loss when she doesn’t even have milk to comfort you. I mean seriously, I don’t know what to do when you refuse milk.

So for now we’re just letting you go through your tantrum until you’re finished. I figure it’s healthy to express your anger and I can’t expect a toddler to hold that kind of stuff in. When you’re tantruming for more than a minute, I try to comfort you a bit and tell you it’s alright to get your anger out, but you usually don’t let me. I think when you’re that angry you just don’t want to be touched, which is also alright.

This is a picture of you trying to cuddle with Newton.

This one is you and “Baby” sitting on chairs together.

Love ya Pea-nut!

Friends and Breastfeeding

I’ve been trying to be friends with a girl. We know each other through friends and seems to have a lot of similar interests, but she’s just not going for it. Today my husband told me his theory on why: breastfeeding.

To be honest, I had almost forgotten that people get freaked out by it. I’ve already converted all of our main friends to at least not caring when I do it. Most of the time, I don’t realize that I even started breastfeeding Peanut until letdown. It’s just such a natural thing to me that I don’t worry about who could be getting offended.

I know that sometimes I startle people when they see me do it. I know that it’s probably weird especially for the people around me because being in my age group and having a child means that I’m likely the first person their age that they’ve ever seen breastfeed—if not the first person of any age (which is just sad).

But for someone to actually dislike me because of it? I just don’t know what I feel.

My initial reaction was “thank goodness” because it meant that it wasn’t that it wasn’t me. Thought, really it is me. Breastfeeding is a big part of what makes me, me. At least it wasn’t that I’m horribly annoying or something?

Immediately after, I started to just feel sad. Sad for her future babies that probably wouldn’t breastfeed if their mommy was so against my breastfeeding. Sad that someone would dislike me because of something to wonderful and beautiful. Mostly, sad because we live in a world where breastfeeding is seen as gross, inappropriate, and sexual.

Of course, all of this is just a theory. Maybe she doesn’t dislike me. Maybe if she does, it’s because of my bad jokes.

Have you ever had an instance where someone doesn’t like you because of your breastfeeding? What did you do about it? What would you do about it if you were in that situation?

Peanut’s New Bed

A few weeks ago, I posted pictures of all the things we’ve done to Peanut’s room in our new house. One of the things I said that I still wanted to do was to get her a bed.

A mattress for Peanut was on the list of things to buy once we got our Homebuyer’s Tax Credit, but shortly after getting the money, my husband found out he was going to lose his job because the small business he was working for is shutting down, so spending went on hold. Luckily, the world—even in recession—is always in need of programmers. He started his new job on Monday, missing only one work day between one job ending and the other one beginning. Yay!

So now that we’re allowed to spend the money we had planned on spending again, we decided to get Peanut her mattress.

Oh boy, does she love it!

She loves to lay on her pillow (which we bought mostly for me while I’m nursing her to sleep) and read books. She thinks it’s cool to walk around on the bed. She actually cuddles me—without nursing!—a little bit while laying on it. I’m thoroughly happy that we bought it for her.

We still co-sleep, but she goes into her bed for the times that she would normally be alone in ours. This mostly equates to naps and from the time she goes to bed until the time I do. It’s really nice to have her in her own room and bed while I’m still awake.

This means I can put away laundry while she’s napping, I can get changed without worrying of waking her, and gasp! I can do “unspeakable things” in my own bed! What a thought!

It’s also nice that we’re actually using her room. Yeah, we still put stuff in there before the bed, but we didn’t actually hang out in there or anything. Now I rock her in the rocking chair when she doesn’t want to sleep. We read books on her bed before she goes to sleep. She even goes into her room to play with toys more often now.

For reading all that common-sense nonsense, I’ll reward you with a cute picture of Daddy and Peanut reading on her bed.

The New Addition

It’s a boy! Oh, wait, it’s fraternal twin boys! OMG!

Oh, did you think I meant human boys?

The orange one is Darwin and the gray one is Newton. Yes, we’re nerds. Did I need to convince you of this any more than I already have? We have a whole room for playing Magic: The Gathering (btw, look for more of the house project this Monday).

We decided to get a kitten because they’re cute, we like animals, Dea was hassling our very old cat a lot (who went back to live with Mema actually), and did I mention that they’re cute? We decided to get another one after reading why it’s better to get two kittens at once.

Of course it probably wasn’t smart to add more things to my plate, but when they’re such cute things to add, how can that be sad? They also keep Peanut pretty entertained so I can do homework for a while. When she got home from Mema’s today, she said “Hi kitty!” That’s two words together! W00t! We’re also hoping that getting them as kittens and having them grow up being molested by our toddler will make them more forgiving of her (and future children) than Cheyenne.

So kitties! Yay!

Breastfeeding and Classrooms

As some of you know, I am going to school to be a biology teacher. This, of course, entails classes about teaching. This semester I am taking an “Intro to Education” class. We had a discussion in my class on Thursday about what we expect kids to learn in school. Within this discussion was a lot of homeschool bashing (which is an entirely different post) which was very bothersome to me, but even more so was this (paraphrased) comment a girl made.

My major is physical education and my minor is health. It really bothers me that I’m going to have to teach kids about sex. I mean, isn’t that something that their parents should be teaching them?

She poses an interesting question that is definitely one with strong feelings on either side, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about the fact that it bothers her that she’ll have to teach kids about sex.

Really? I understand that it will be a difficult subject to teach. I understand that a lot of health teachers have to tip-toe around parents possibly getting upset versus actually giving the kids adequate information. I know that it’s awkward to talk to kids about sex. But really? You’re going to school to be a health teacher.

As you can see, this comment really pushed some buttons with me right off the bat, but it took a few hours for it to really hit me what this means for breastfeeding—this woman will be teaching your children about breastfeeding and she’s not even comfortable discussing sex objectively. Learning about sexual reproduction seems to me like the perfect time to learn about breastfeeding because I see breastfeeding as an extension of pregnancy. This could be a wonderful opportunity to show young people that breastfeeding is biologically normal and the best thing for a baby. Of course, this won’t happen.

If breastfeeding is actually covered beyond a couple of sentences about the function of breasts, it will probably still be a small amount of information. There will be no pictures shown because that could upset the parents. The benefits of breastfeeding probably won’t even be mentioned. This girl who has probably never even seen a breastfeeding woman will be teaching these things and will likely have obvious bias.

Biases are taught. This girl probably didn’t think that sex was gross when she was young. She probably wouldn’t have given a breastfeeding mom a second glace. These children could have that same bias prevented if they were taught about breastfeeding correctly. They could grow up without the notion that breastfeeding is gross (or that sex is gross for that matter).

That’s if breastfeeding is taught at all. Earlier this year I wrote a Letter to the Editor about breastfeeding being taught in schools. There were parents in the county next to mine saying that breastfeeding (among some other things) should not be taught in health classes. It’s hard to even wrap my mind around that. What is so offensive about feeding your child? If you’re not teaching that breasts are for breastfeeding, what are you teaching that they’re for? Looking pretty? Your pancreas produces insulin, your small intestine is for digesting, and your breasts… hrm… they’re just there.

Really, what is our country coming to when we can’t talk about such biologically normal acts? Why is sex gross and awkward? Why would a health teacher get in trouble for showing photos of women breastfeeding? How did we possibly get into a mindset where these things are considered bad?

I don’t know about you guys, but contemplating about these things for long enough makes me want to slam my head against the wall. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing the best I can to change these notions. I breastfeed in front of young people to show them it’s normal, I write this blog to help moms, and I word-vomit information out to everyone I find out is pregnant. And if I ever get the chance, I will talk about breastfeeding to my biology classes. Hopefully, that will make a difference.