8.30.2009

GIST #21 of 365

1) Fresh garden peas

2) The fact that I totally lucked out on weather this summer. I know it was kind of lame for everyone else, but I am eternally grateful that didn't have to share my body with this kid through a heat wave summer.

3) Cramps, discharge, and a number of other symptoms of pre-labour that no one wants to hear about in any detail, that signify that this pregnancy is almost over, which, of coarse means that this discomfort will soon end!

4) Das Piper made me chocolate chip cookies, which he served hot from the oven with a giant glass of milk. . . He's a keeper for sure.

5) The teeny little teddy bear booties my parents got for the baby. I haven't been able to put them away yet because I like looking at them, and feeling them, and imagining little feet in them.

8.25.2009

Passing Judgment On Those I Have Never Met

Dear Upstairs Neighbour;

I feel the need to apologize. Without ever having met you I have found myself jumping to many conclusions, most of them negative, about you based on the many very annoying things I have witnessed over the past few months. The final conclusion I have drawn about you is that you are a family of uneducated red-necks who must have had some good luck at some dark VLT one night and decided to trade in your trailer for an apartment in the city and a sound system.

Ok, so I am not really apologizing, these conclusions are totally backed up by fact. I am just trying to be nice in the hopes that you will take the following suggestions under consideration:

1) Please keep in mind that I can hear you. The thing about these fancy apartment buildings in the city is that your neighbours are much closer than they were in the trailer park, so when you use that fancy new sound system to listen to the same Kid Rock song over and over again, or yell at your child causing him to stomp and slam doors, or yell at each other while stomping and slamming doors the people around you can hear it. Although I do have to give you props for being this annoying in a cement building, it’s much harder to get all of that sound through cement than it would be through wood and dry-wall.

2) It is not acceptable for your son to stand on the front lawn and yell at your window (the one right above mine) for you to let him in. If you really think that a 7 year old is old and wise enough to wonder the neighbourhood alone and unsupervised, then teaching him to use the buzzer shouldn’t be all that difficult. I know, intercom technology may be new and scary to you, but I promise that it is wonderfully convenient.
- Also, the next time I hear you tell him to go away and play a bit longer when he just wants to come in for a glass of water on a hot day, I am calling family services.

3) The window is not an appropriate garbage disposal. When you throw your fruit pits, cigarette butts, rotten eggs, and food wrappers off your balcony, they end up on my barbeque, in my tomato plants, and on the front lawn. I am sorry that you feel the giant garbage bin located at the back entrance is not convenient enough, or perhaps it’s the cost of garbage bags seeing as how you never leave and therefore couldn’t possibly have a job, but it’s not a suggestion, it is mandatory for you to bag and dispose of your garbage.

4) Do some laundry every once in a while. I have noticed on the laundry schedule that you have booked the 3 hour block of laundry time right before mine on Tuesdays. I am not really complaining that you have never used this time in the 6 months that I’ve had that laundry slot, it gives me the extra time I need to wash all of the new baby stuff we’re getting. But it does make me wonder. . . I mean, if you don’t care to dispose of your garbage properly, I can’t imagine what your other house keeping skills are like. I just hope you’re not growing anything up there that may become a health concern for others living in the building.

These are only a small few of the many things you do to make me judge you on a daily basis, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you. When you feel you have mastered these tasks I would be happy to give you another list of things you may want to consider.

Thank you for your time:

-pocket.buddha-

P.S. Please note that the noise and garbage complaints have been passed onto the building manager, and will probably only get worse should any of your obnoxious sound pollution wake my sleeping baby.

8.20.2009

Breast Feeding After Reduction Surgery

At the age of 16 I underwent breast reduction surgery. It was one of the best things that I have ever done. At that age the larger than average size of my breasts was causing a lot more than physical pain although there was quite a bit of that.


At that age, the larger than average size of my beasts, combined with the very early appearance of them, was causing my usually outgoing and bubbly teenaged self to shy away from pretty much any situation where I thought they may be noticed.


In grade 9, after 3 years on the elementary basketball and volleyball teams, it was assumed if not expected that I would try out for the high school teams. But after 2 minutes in the changing rooms outside of the gym I quickly got myself out of there. Hardly any of the other girls trying out had breasts, let alone ones with stretch marks that hung lower that a teenaged girl’s ought to, and adding the bulk of my chest to the good foot of height that I had over each one of them made me feel like a bumbling giant.


I struggled almost daily in front of the mirror of my bedroom making sure that the tags of my shirts, the ones that were clearly marked ‘plus size’, would not be spotted, and that the giant straps of my specialty bras, the ones that looked like a 60 year old woman should be wearing them, would not slip out into the open. I wonder to this day if my ending up befriending the punks of my high school didn’t have to do with the bulky black sweaters I wore as often as the weather would allow, to try and hide my chest.


It was all of this and more that got my 16 year old mind set on breast reduction surgery. I knew that it wouldn’t be covered, nor would I get my doctors approval just because I wanted to shop at a store for 16 year olds and not at a store for middle aged women. So I played up the pain, let them put me on pain killers before booking another appointment to tell them that I didn’t want to be on pain killers the rest of my life, and that I wouldn’t if they just removed the problem. I was quickly added to the waiting list, and received a surgery date a few months later.


At about this time in August of that year, I went under the knife. My mother looked terrified while they were preparing me. But I don’t remember feeling much of anything as the doctor marked his incisions and the nurses put me in a gown and walked me down the hallway. I walked right into the room, laid down on the bed, and took the deep breaths the anesthesiologist asked me to all without blinking an eye.


At 16 years old I wasn’t thinking about the future. I wasn’t thinking about having children and whether or not I was going to breast feed them. I don’t even remember if I asked about it, or if the doctor told me on his own that I would have a 50-50 chance at successful breast feeding in the future. It didn’t matter, and to tell the truth, even if it did my decision would have been the same. I do not, in any way, regret having the surgery.


Now though, I am 23, and not only am I thinking about having children, I am 40 days away from having one. The question of whether or not I will be able to physically provide for my baby has haunted me from day one, and I’ve spent countless hours reading about breast feeding after reduction surgery.


At first I was put off by what I was reading. You wont know until you try is the consensus with most of the material, and the Le Lache League’s literature offers eight billion different ways to supplement while still maintaining a breast feeding relationship most of which sounds just as, if not more frustrating and tedious than bottle feeding, and offers little in way of hope that I will be able to breast feed exclusively.


My doctor seamed optimistic when I first asked about it, my young age at the time of my surgery, the fact that I continued to grow a bit puberty wise after it, and from what he can tell on physical examination all is well. My breasts are acting exactly how breasts should act when preparing for breast feeding. ‘Just make sure to let me know about anything you may notice about your breasts’.


About a week ago I noticed that my nipples were dry. . . Really dry, almost as if they had dandruff. Not wanting to sound stupid I neglected to call my doctor to report dandruff nipples. Over the course of the next couple days it was less like dandruff and more just crusty nipples. Two days ago I went to wipe away my embarrassing nipple crust and found that it was wet.


At yesterday’s doctor’s appointment my doctor smiled. ‘That is exactly normal, your breasts are preparing to produce milk, and it looks like both of yours are working.’ I managed to avoid hysterical pregnancy crying with joy about that until just this moment as I am writing this.


I feel like I’ve finally been given permission to say ‘yes’ when people ask if I plan to breastfeed without following it up with an ‘if I can’. I finally feel like I can BE a mother. I feel less trapped, even if I didn’t want to, even if it wasn’t so important to me to feed my child this way, it would be MY decision; my 23 year old decision, not my 16 year old decision. Instead of grasping at the straws of pigment changes and occasional swelling or soreness, I can confidently say that this is going to work; I can go buy a nursing pillow.


Even though there is still the question of how much I will produce, I am overcome with relief about the fact that I can produce milk for my child. Should it turn out that I need to supplement, it will simply give Das Piper the opportunity to take part in such a large part of caring for our baby, and I refuse to see that as a bad thing.

8.19.2009

Tempting Fate.

I've been taking full advantage of the perinatal programs offered at the local YMCA. Said programs are awesome! The prenatal class was mostly fun, very informative, and cleared up many of my nerves about giving birth. The prenatal aqua-fit is similarly geared towards labour preparation, I highly recommend it to anyone who can keep a straight face while a 75 year old woman is screaming at you to squeeze your vagina really tight.

These classes are also really good for meeting other pregnant woman, you know, for camaraderie and what not, but also scoping out those due the same week as you, aka the ones you'll be fighting for the private rooms in the mother-baby unit.

Last Thursday at said aqua-fit class, one of the women also due the last week of September, and myself were chatting in the pool before class.

Me: Can you believe my partner wants me to pack a hospital bag already? We have like 5 weeks left.

Her: Oh I know what you mean, my husband hasn't stopped hassling me, it's not like I am going to go into labour tomorrow, we have loads of time.

Well, she didn't go into labour tomorrow. . . She went into labour later that night. She and the baby are both fine, she had a boy, 6 pounds 4 ounces. . . But really, if I didn't know any better I'd think Das Piper had planned this whole thing to make me pack that hospital bag.

It's worked, to not pack that bag now would just be tempting fate.

8.11.2009

6 Weeks: Split Second, Or Near Eternity?

Das Piper pops his head up over his computer with a big-eyed look on his face:

"48 days? is that really all we have left?"

I lift an eyebrow at him:

"um, yeah, that's just over 6 weeks, you knew that."

My calmness doesn't seam to sooth him at all:

"maybe you should pack your hospital bag tomorrow."

This causes my eyebrow to move higher yet, I haven't seen it since, I think I may have lost it in my hairline:

"We have 6 weeks! We could order Ikea furniture in that time!"

Maybe it's because he's a carpenter and has therefore never ordered Ikea Furniture, or maybe he secretly has and was impressed with their speedy service, I am not sure, but his eyes only got wider:

"Pack your bag tomorrow, please?"

Me thinks that Das Piper is getting a little jumpy already. . . I think it's really sweet, but to me right now, in this very uncomfortable moment, 6 weeks feels like a lifetime.

8.08.2009

Pocket Buddha's Covet List:

"Enough baby stuff!" my mind screamed at me about an hour and a half ago. "You've been spending all of your time and all of your money on things for the baby, what about you?"

I totally agree with my brain. . . 6 months of constant baby things is a little excessive, if totally understandable.

Here are a few things I covet for myself:


1)Awesome recipe cards from boygirlparty.com

2)'Prey for me' T from threadless.com

3)Angry pirate ninja kitty buttons from Maustudio.com

4)Attack of the friendly octopus tote from cutoutandcollect's Esty shop!

GIST #20 of 365

1) Good music on the cool grass in the warm sun.

2) A frozen chocolate covered banana.

3) Purchasing a fun new percussion instrument that sounds, and is shaped, like a frog.

4) Homemade lemonade.

5) Putting my swollen feet up when we finally got home.

8.07.2009

On Discipline And Negative Expectations

Das Piper and I attended a wedding last weekend. A beautiful wedding that brought to town many friends of Das Piper’s and mine from the west coast that we hadn’t seen in a long time, and quite a few that I’d never met before. The service was beautiful, outside at a gorgeous location, and the reception was the perfect size with awesome food and lots of dancing.

The reception also triggered another one of those annoying parenting conversations that I know we need to have, but I can’t help being bothered by. I am bothered because the conversation usually starts with Das Piper saying something along the lines of, ‘what do we do if our son does [insert random defiant/terrifying/undesirable behavior here]’.

I understand why he does this. Not only does he have considerably less experience with children than I do, a fact which makes him nervous about what to expect, but also because of the circumstances of his own childhood; which he seams to think happened as a result of his bad behavior, and not the other way around.

What upsets me is that when he does this, my hormone filled brain flips it around to mean that he is assuming our child is going to be a bad kid. So I get frustrated and tell him that we won’t have to deal with it because I am not his mother, or my mother, and he is not his father and our child will be much happier and well adjusted than either of us ever were. My frustration, of coarse makes him frustrated because, as I mentioned before, he seams to think that his childhood unhappiness was the catalyst for unfortunate circumstances, and not a result of them, and is worried that he will pass this unhappiness on to our son.

I think he also thinks that I am na├»ve in saying that there is absolutely never a reason to spank a child. Because I believe that if you rule out the option of hitting your child from day one, then you will be more likely to show greater patience and be able to find better solutions to family problems than simply jumping to a spanking because it seams like the easy way out, and that spanking only teaches a child that it is sometimes ok to hit. Whether you believe that to be true or not, a child does not possess the social knowledge and tools to know the difference between those times and other times. It’s just asking for trouble if you ask me.

Of coarse by the time we get to that point in the conversation Das Piper is just arguing for the sake of arguing and no longer actually cares what side of the argument he’s on, or what the result will be. I know this sounds like a horrible trait in a person, but I have it too. It’s part of what attracted us to each other, and it resulted in many of the hours long pub arguments that eventually turned into ‘we may as well just argue about this in your bed, wouldn’t that be convenient?’ arguments that resulted in our eventual close relationship and now domestic lives together.

So, because he’s arguing for the sake of arguing, he starts presenting me with tough scenarios that depict our unborn son doing horrible things like bullying other children, and making older friends to pull him beer at the age of 12, or buying an ABBA record. At which point I usually snap and tell him that by even entertaining that possibility it will become a self fulfilling prophecy if that’s what we expect from him, and totally shut down on the conversation.

At the wedding reception, the issue being discussed in this manner was that age old right of passage; at what age is it ok for an irresponsible adult relative to sneak your child sips of beer or wine?

Well, I huffed, no one on my side of the family would ever dream of doing such a thing, and by the time it’s even an issue your Uncle will be too old to do it, so never. We can decide when he’s older, depending on what kind of a teenager he is, if limited under-aged drinking is appropriate, but I couldn’t possibly make that decision right now.

I was so sure of this fact, that I turned back to my plate with a smug smile and continued eating. Until Kevin agreed that I was right, there wouldn’t be many relatives on his side of the family, only a grandfather and elderly aunt and uncle, none of whom would be in a position to slip our 8 year old any beer, my brother on the other hand would be clamoring to pop a nipple on a bottle of Jamison whiskey and take our son out for a night on the town before he was even out of diapers.

This made me angry. At first at Das Piper, not because it was kind of a rude thing to say about my brother and I felt a little protective, though it was and I did, but because he was right. Then I was angry with my brother. Not only had he already made jokes to this effect when talking about my baby, but in the past year or so my trust and respect for my brother has taken a beating due to his irresponsible behavior when it comes to, and as a result of alcohol.

I stewed on this for days. I was not only angry at him for any number of the stupid and hurtful things he had done in the last year, but also I realized, for the future sip of wine or beer that he would sneak my son at a family function. So angry that when I heard about the knee injury that he sustained well working out in the back woods of Alberta, I couldn’t help but let out a sarcastic grumble about whether the alcohol content in his system had anything to do with him ‘Stepping the wrong way’ and tearing a ligament in his knee.

When I found out that this injury would require him to wear a brace on his knee ala Forest Gump until he could get in for surgery to repair the ligament I immediately felt horrible. Who was I that I couldn’t show my own brother any support or sympathy in a shitty situation because I was already mad about something that may or may not happen 8-10 years from now?

Wasn’t that what I had been cautioning Das Piper against? How could I be encouraging my partner not to develop any negative expectations, or predetermine punishments for things that hadn’t happened yet because he is trying to prepare for fatherhood and at the same time turn a cold shoulder and emotionally punish my brother in the same way for things he hadn’t, and may never do?

With all of this in mind, I have two new goals: 1) Try to be more accepting of Das Piper and his incessant need to look further into the future than I am willing to, and accept that he has his reasons for concern that I should take seriously. 2) Stop hating on my brother for being irresponsible, it’s not like I am having to pick up after him or anything, and he is still my brother, who despite having bad judgment is still family and will love me and my son as family no matter what.

8.05.2009

Roasted Garlic And Red Pepper Hummus

A few years ago, I told a friend that I would put my hummus recipe on the internet so that she could make some herself. At the time I had every intention of forgetting to do so. That way she would have to stay my friend forever and not run away and stop calling the moment she got my recipe.

Since then I have received an e-mail every few months or so ‘gently’ reminding me that I have yet to actually cough up the secrets of my hummus. This is me giving in . . . Sort of.

This is not my original hummus recipe but a roasted garlic and red pepper version that I created earlier this summer. The original recipe will stay with me simply because I’ve held my ground too long to give up now. So hah!

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion - minced
1 large can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans - drained
1 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder.
½ tsp cayenne
1 tbs each rosemary and oregano
1 – 2 tbs tahini
Juice of 1 lemon

To make:

1) Get your resident grill master (In my house that’s not me because Das Piper is still over protective of his shiny new barbecue) to roast the garlic and red pepper. If said grill master is you, here’s how you do it:
- Cut the top off your head of garlic so that the tops of all cloves are showing.
- Poke with a fork several times to score the surface to let more heat in.
- Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. (You may also top with spices, I prefer a few shakes of Italian Mrs. Dash, and simply use your roasted garlic as a cracker spread with a nice soft cheese and forget about the hummus!)
o Depending on your barbecue or oven the Garlic may take anywhere from half an hour to 45 minutes. It’s done when the cloves are soft and sweet.
- The red pepper you can simply throw on the grill and cook until the outside is all charred and the inside is squishy.
o TIP: the easiest way to peel a roasted pepper is to throw it in a paper bag, close the top, and set aside to cool. For some sciencey reason this causes the skin to separate and you can then just pull it off with your fingers.
- Also keep in mind that you can roast these things in the oven if a shiny new barbecue and/or man slave are not available to you.

2) In a frying pan, heat your onion along with all of the spices until the onion becomes translucent. (That’s what all the cook books say . . . but I’ve never had see through onion, just heat it until it’s cooked.) Then set aside to cool.
o Tip: If you’re using fresh rosemary or oregano it’s sometimes nicer to add those later so that they keep their fresh taste. If you’re using dried, however, cooking them now will release all of their flavour.

3) Take your roasted garlic and scoop all of the soft and delicious roasted cloves out of garlic skin into a food processor, or blender, or large bowl that you will later attack with a hand blender. You’ll also want to add your roasted pepper, make sure to pull out all the innards and seeds before you chop it up and throw it in.

4) Add the chickpeas, cooked onion and spice mix, Lemon juice, and tahini, and blend to your heart's content.
- Make sure to taste as you go. The quantities listed above are to my tastes, you may like more or less of something, or may want to add your own spices.
- If you find that the mixture is too dry you may try adding a little olive oil, or more lemon juice, or some of the bean juice out of your chickpea can to moisten it.

5) Once your hummus is the texture of hummus you may start stuffing your face with it. Left over hummus is even better after a night in the fridge exploring all of its own flavours.

Making My Niche On The Internet A Little Prettier. . . And Bigger.

It would seam that today's boredom not only created the previous post's haiku's, but also a new layout. which I managed to paste together in my own, extremely technically limited, way.

Pretty no? In a 'You get a gold star for not eating all of your paste' kind of way.

I also got bored enough to Join Twitter today. . . Which is weird, because Twitter was on the list of Internet fads I would never consider joining, right after Face book.

I am still not going to join Face Book. I just needed an outlet to complain about general pregnancy discomfort and I figured if John Mayer can complain about his penis falling asleep from sitting cross-legged and get away with it, I can bitch about Braxton-Hicks contractions without putting anyone too far out.

8.04.2009

Fetal Haiku

Wiggly swish squish!
Sorry, was that your bladder?
Kick, kick, wiggle, squish!

***

Move over Daddy!
We need way more room to grow.
This is our bed now!

***

It is four A.M
You ate just before bed. Yet,
I am still hungry.

8.03.2009

I'll Hold My Real Vomit If You Hold Your Word Vomit

As you may have noticed from the fancy baby widget to the right over there, we now have less than 60 days to go before this baby makes his grand entrance into the world. It seams that every day there is a new flashing neon sign to remind me of impending motherhood.

One week ago, by best friend, who was only 9 weeks 'more pregnant' than me, gave birth to Charlie. He is a darling and oddly alert little boy with more hair than Das Piper and adorable little hands that I would love to chew on if they weren't slapping me in the face saying 'Hey wait! Don't you get one of these in just 9 weeks or so?'

This week marks the end of our prenatal classes. As my instructor Sally puts it, as soon as we 'graduate' it's on, we're ready to have a baby. . . I think maybe my O.B.G.Y.N was a little more accurate when he said this: "Prenatal classes are great, when labour starts Dad will know exactly what to expect. . . Mom, you will have no idea"

Saturday was August 1st. Saturday morning I woke up and the only thought I was able to think was 'I can now officially tell people that I am having a baby at the end of next month.'. When I rolled over a told Das Piper this he looked a little pale, but quickly smiled and said something sweet to cover it.

These are only a few of the signs, some of the cosmic reminders that I really should stop procrastinating and actually buy an ear thermometer, and a diaper pail, and eight thousand more blankets, because for some reason I am utterly convinced that we will need all of the blankets in the world.

Anyways, the point is that, yes, I know that I am about to birth a child, I am thinking about it constantly, and there are a thousand million little things reminding me along the way, and staying calm and relaxed and positive about the experience is getting a little tougher every week. So I do not need anyone to take it upon themselves to further remind me.

If you should see me on the street, reach out and touch my belly without asking if you absolutely must, but please, do not tell me about your birthing experience, or your friends birthing experience, or that woman you read about in Argentina who had three episiotomies, the vacuum, and the forceps turned on her after 68 hours of labour before they finally gave up and gave her a Cesarean section. It's really not helpful.

What I really don't understand about this word vomit epidemic that seams to have hit friends, family, and strangers alike; is that not one of these woman has anything positive to say about it. This makes me really sad. Maybe I am just being naive in that glowing pregnant woman kind of way, but it makes me really really sad that not one of the women who have chosen to regale me with every detail of the birth of their children seams to have enjoyed the experience.

Yes, I know, it's going to hurt, even more so if I do have the drug free labour that I would like. My point is that it's supposed to hurt, and it's supposed to take a long time, and you're supposed to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. A woman's body in labour is working 10 times harder than it has ever worked before in her life, and even with support and self education, and pre-determined coping techniques this is bound to take a mental and emotional toll. But at the end of the day it's what the last 40 weeks has been leading up to, it's the hard stretch right before the finish line, the prize at the end being your child. I can see this being a hard experience, but I refuse to believe that it is not a positive one.

If this is doesn't jive with your experience, please keep in mind that it is just that, your experience, and in the coming 56 days and beyond I will have my own, and I would prefer to interpret the experience myself, without anyone else's influence.