Check 1, 2

So we're back up again, I hope. I still don't know if the posting/comment/directory problem is definitively fixed or not. And the problem remains that whenever it rains too much my cable internet connection in my apartment goes out. (It's a building-wide problem that seems to afflict only our building, out of aaaalllll the buildings in Manhattan.) But in the meantime I lost a post I'd started. I'll try to redo it and post it tonight or tomorrow.

I am feeling a little defeated today, after a nasty shoe-throwing-leading-to-lateness-to-school incident this morning that left me feeling bruised by the Mothering Experience. And then on the way to work I was really just wondering if I'm ever going to find real love. Not a panicked, "Oh, no, I'm going to end up alone." Because believe me, alone would be F-I-N-E fine! But I do have a ton to give, and now that I know who I am it would be nice to have that breathless feeling again, but for the right reasons.

Maybe it's just the spring weather and the end of a looooong week talking.

I'll try to resurrect that post.

Something rotten on Typepad

I have no idea why we can't comment, or why the comment counts are screwed up. I'm hoping Typepad can fix it today–I'm guessing it's related to their wacko new interface.

Ooh! And now sometimes this post is on my site, and other times it's not. Exciting. Is this happening to all Typepad blogs, or am I just special?

Q&A: hiding early pregnancy on family vacation

I realized I've been dodging writing about negotiating things with your parents for awhile, but it's time to bite the bullet and write about it. And that it's really more like 3 days' worth. So the whole adult kids/adult parents thing is going to start Tuesday, after I've had the holiday weekend (here in the US) to work on it.

For today, though, a time-sensitive question from Rachel:

"I am going to [American region famous for wineries] for an extended Memorial Day weekend family vacation
with my in-laws! And, I will be almost 7 weeks pregnant at that time, and don't want to tell them!


My husband and I don't drink, so we are already out of the wine tasting events, but we have reservations for almost every meal (Sunday through Wed morning) at amazing restaurants. Under normal circumstances I would be *very* excited about these restaurants, however for the past week I have been having major food/smell aversions and my diet has consisted of things like plain chicken breast, white rice and mini stoned wheat thin crackers. Don't think I'll be finding these items on the menus of the foodie restaurants in [American region famous for wineries]. I am assuming my morning sickness/aversions will be getting worse before they get better…Another problem is that my in-laws are late eaters, so all of our dinner reservations are at 8pm and I know I'm going to need to eat before then, especially the first day when I will be on east coast time and 8 will be 11pm for me.

We are also all staying in a "family lodge" which has separate bedrooms, but a common living area, so it may be hard to sneak off for naps, go eat on my own,  to go throw up, etc.

We may end up having to tell them, but really don't want to tell people quite so early as I haven't even had a prenatal appointment or ultrasound yet (just a confirming blood test).

I thought about faking sick, but my MIL is a nurse, and so any mention of illness will actually bring more attention from her, not less. we don't want the pregnancy to be the focus of the vacation, as the intended purpose of the family vacation is to celebrate my inlaws anniversary and birthdays.

If your readers
have any advice I would appreciate it! Would also recommend easily
portable snacks that can go through airport security for the plane —
my old standby of a turkey sandwich is out due to the pregnancy ban on
deli meats…"

Rats. My old standby, faking sick, is out.

Unless… Can your husband fake sick? And you can stay with him to "take care" of him?

My other suggestion is to choose one or two people you would be OK with knowing if you do miscarry, and have them run interference for you.

But you guys are sneaky, too. What do you have for Rachel?

Twin Cities, June 22

If you’re not up at the lake, come Sunday, June 22, from 2-5 pm (that should straddle all naps) to the Chutes & Ladders Playground in Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington (chosen because it’s my older son’s favorite playground in the universe, so he won’t give me problems about meeting up with a bunch of grown-ups).

Here’s the GoogleMap link to the playground:

View Larger Map

To get there from the north, come down Normandie Blvd, go under 494, then turn right onto W 84th Street. Turn left onto E Bush Lake Road and you’re driving through the middle of Hyland Lake Park. Pass the lake on the right, and then turn into the Recreation Center parking lot and park.

Or, come down 169, go under 494, and turn left onto Highwood Drive. Then turn right onto E  Bush Lake Road and you’re driving through the middle of Hyland Lake Park. Pass the
lake on the right, and then turn into the Recreation Center parking lot
and park.

If you’re coming from 35W (either from the north or from the south), get off at the W 90th Street exit and go west on W 90th, then north on France Ave S, then west on W 84th St to E Bush Lake Road.

Anyone else, it’s probably easiest for you to take 494 to Bloomington and get off at the 169 exit and follow the directions from 169.

Anyone interested?

Q&A: weaning earlier than you want to

Second half of yesterday’s post, on negotiating things with your mother, is getting bumped for this cry for help. Kirsten writes:

"I am sorry to be so pushy, but I am in a desperate, time sensitive nursing situation. My 13 month old who has been the nursingest baby ever got a cold, started teething and went on a 100% nursing strike. I have been working with a LC and am doing EVERYTHING I can. I have always had a meager supply and take Reglan and I don’t let down well for the pump, so even though I have a hospital grade Lactina, I am still only pumping about 6-7 oz. per day. I know I am going to lose my supply soon. The baby, I hate to admit, is no closer to getting back on the breast that she was a week ago, she just get furious whenever she sees a boob anywhere in the vicinity. I wake her up in the night to catch her sleepy, I try in different places/positions/noise levels. People keep saying that it is unnatural to wean this young, but it also feels unnatural that I am forcing my will on someone who seems to very much know that she wants no part of breastfeeding at this point. We are on day 9 of the strike. I wanted to nurse at least another year. I feel guilty, rejected and sad. What do I do?

It would mean the world to me if you would respond and allow other mothers to comment to my dilemma. My supply is only going to hold on another few days."

Who are these jackasses who are telling you it’s "unnatural" to wean this young? All other things being equal, if you lived in a tribal society 500 years ago your baby would probably still be nursing*. But, realistically, what control do you have over 1) a nursing strike that sounds serious, and 2) your supply?

Until we figure out if there’s anything we can do to reverse the effects of all the plastics and other things in our environment that are screwing with women’s supplies on a large scale, we all just need to back away from the guilt.

And, seriously, how much control can you have over a baby? If you’re working with a knowledgeable LC who knows all the tricks to help babies and moms through nursing strikes, and it’s not working, then it looks like it’s your time.

FWIW, I think a majority of us are conflicted about the weaning process, no matter how old our babies are. Two weeks, two years, three years…you always feel like you should be doing more. You wean and your baby gets a cold or ear infection the next week, and you think it’s you. Heck, my mom still feels bad that I weaned myself at 16 months or so–she’d wanted to nurse until two years. But you know what, 34 years later, we’re both healthy and happy and still close to each other.

Anyone who’s been through a rough nursing strike, who didn’t nurse as long as she wanted to, who wasn’t able to nurse at all, or has at any point felt disappointed in how things went with their baby or toddler, show some love, please.

* Or someone else in your tribe would be nursing your baby for you.

Q&A: 15-month-old hitting and dealing with your mother

Amy writes:

"I have a 15 month old son who is such a love.  It has been love at first sight since the beginning.  We spend almost all of our time together.  My boyfriend has a very unpredictable schedule so we have days when it is all three of us but for the most part it is always me & child together (which i love so much).  Recently he has started slapping me or hitting me in the face.  Mostly it is when he is tired, at the end of his little rope… like on the final walk home from a morning out or before bed as we lie in bed together nursing and then if he isn’t going down he gets a little excited and slaps me or (this is great) when i am carrying him up 4 or 5 flights of stairs with grocery bags in each hand with him in an ergo carrier.  I do think it has something to do with unexpended body energy and tired state of mind for the most part but some days i really do have to go to the post office and the grocery store and he has to come with me.  Anyway, besides angering me to no end, it’s really embarrassing to be slapped in the face by a toddler and then hear laughing as I say NO.   Or try to catch his hands before he does it again and have him laughing the whole time.  I have experimented with different no’s:  Holding his hands down and firmly saying no.  He cries (because he hates to be restrained at all) and then hugs me. Which all feels bad.  Trying a surprise "NO!" in a louder, stronger tone which feels awful and is also really coming from an anger place and not something I believe in when setting boundaries for a baby.  He laughs.  I think its nervous laughter because I never use that tone or volume of voice with him but maybe he is just laughing at me.
To compound matters, I am out of the country for a bit and my mother came to visit.  It has taken a while for her to completely accept the way that i am raising the baby — extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding on demand, no CIO, no crib, no stroller until recently (one reason is just logistical, easier to navigate new york city with a baby on you rather than pushing a stroller but I also love having him near and up high with me), etc. etc. …Anyway, she is pretty much completely on board with me now as he has turned out to be such a happy, loving, independent, funny, wonderful person… there’s not much to fight me about.  But when it comes to the hitting me, well it makes me feel like a pushover in front of her, that my parenting is somehow too laid back or child centered.  She suggests growling "No" loudly and basically scaring him into behaving. 
What I really don’t like is reacting out of anger.  My mother really did get angry, angry at us when we were children.  She hit us (now she is horrified that she did such a thing), yelled & screamed at us when we pushed limits or broke rules and really we were very scared of her when she was angry.  It never stopped us from doing what we were going to do, I think, but it just made us better at not being caught.  I think she had a short fuse due to all of the turmoil that was happening in our lives.  I understand & forgive it all.   We’re really close and can talk about all of these things for the most part but her first instincts in terms of parenting advice always seem a little insane to me. obviously, having a child brings up all of these things for me.  How do I want to do it?  How do I set boundaries with out using FEAR and anger.  The baby is 15 months old.  He’s a baby.  Being angry at a baby is one of the worst feelings in the world.   I think I need a good plan to deal with this slapping so that I don’t allow it to fester and then blow up at him (which has happened a couple of times, my worst parenting moments to date) and also to set me on the right track for being strong and loving, setting boundaries with love."
There are three issues in this email: the hitting stage some toddlers go through, setting firm limits without being punitive, and negotiating your relationship with your own mother. Let’s do the first one and part of the second today, and then start a new topic about dealing with your parents tomorrow.
I don’t have an answer for the hitting issue. When there’s a clear reason a behavior is happening, you can address it, but I’m not sure the reasons young toddlers hit is always that clear-cut. If he were closer to 2 years old, he’d probably be hitting out of anger and frustration, so giving him another way to channel those feelings and at the same time helping him communicate better would probably curb the hitting quickly. But it’s not usually so clear-cut with a young toddler (under 18 months). Sometimes they hit out of tiredness, sometimes out of frustration, but sometimes they just hit because they like the way it feels, or think it’s funny.
I think the best thing you can do is try to keep him out of situations that provoke it (figure out if there’s a better time of day to do errands and a worse time, and try to avoid the worse time). At the same time, think about your feelings. What is it that makes you feel so embarrassed about being hit by him? Is this something that makes you feel worse than the other stuff he does that you don’t like? It seems like this hit (ha ha) a particular nerve. I’m wondering if maybe this was an issue your mom had particular problems with and was extra-punitive with you about. Or maybe this reverberates in you because you did get spanked as a kid. (That one sounds veeery familiar to me. Getting hit by my younger one shot right through to my psyche, and I think it’s because I felt so enraged when I’d get spanked as a kid.)
At any rate, it’s probably just a phase, so knowing that, it’s not a do-or-die situation to curb the behavior, as it’ll pass anyway. So you could use this time to figure out how you’re going to deal with misbehavior that sparks strong feelings in you.
The other thing is to figure out what’s going to work with him. I did do the roaring thing with my older son, and it stopped him in his tracks but after a quick hug he moved on (without doing the behavior I’d roared to stop). In other words, it worked the way it needed to, without making him feel bad (just startled!). My younger one, though, gets so upset if spoken harshly to, which makes it awful if he runs away someplace he’s not supposed to, because there’s no way to react except to scream "NO!"" BUt once we’ve talked about it, he does a great job with role-playing and pretending to be รค cat who stops at the curb" or whatever.
In other words, it’s all a process. And part of getting to know your child and yourself. And you’re going to make mistakes. And you’re going to have to do things that you don’t like (like making your kid cry when you scream "NO!" to stop him from running into the street). And your kid will piss you off, and your kid will piss you off. But you’ll work your way through it together.
I’m really hoping Sharon Silver has some comments about all this (especially the hitting), because I’ve never been good with figuring out what to do when the kid really does think it’s just fun.
Anyone else?

Bodies, selves

(Next week it’ll be all reader questions, and none of this week’s self-indulgent navel gazing from me.)

I knew the body post would hit a nerve. I went to a women’s college (the same one Enu went to, which is how we know each other even though we’ve never met IRL) and distinctly remember the first time I realized that everyone else I know there had the same feelings of inadequacy about her body that I did. And that the women who I thought had the most amazing bodies ever still felt like there were things wrong with them.

That’s why I never post about what my actual weight/size is. Because it doesn’t matter. I think a size 4 who used to be a 2 feels the same self-loathing that a size 28 who used to be a 20 does. Part of the conditioning is instilling the dysmorphia so that no matter what we look like we still think it isn’t enough. Which makes the problem, at least for me, a two-parter: Stop hating my body is the first (and more important) part. The second part is make my body the best I can.

I had this big realization earlier today that I’m going to have a happy life. I’ve certainly put enough time and work into living a miserable mediocre life that if I can apply even a fraction of that to making good decisions and accepting love and grace, everything’s going to work out. (I’m sure I’ll still keep a healthy amount of my Lucy-in-the-chocolate-factory-ness, though. It seems to just be part of me.) So it behooves me to shake off this body loathing. Because what good is it to be exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, if you can’t really let go because you hate your body?

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand yesterday’s post and think that I’m all "La la la–I loooove my stretchmarks!" But I think now I see my body truly as a work in progress. So I can look at it now and say "I look better now than I did in December, and I feel better, too." And that makes me think that today’s feelings about my thighs are just another point on the line. That’s something I had no sense of when I was 20. I thought what I had was what I had, and it was only going to get worse.

It’s late and I’m stuffed full of delicious, delicious Thai food, so I may not do this next part justice, but here goes: Anonymous, I’m so sorry. And my initial reaction was that Bridget was being harsh and callous. But it’s my suspicion that Bridget doesn’t have the same experience with weight being a function of emotional issues that Anonymous and anonforthis and I do. If it’s just gaining extra weight, then dieting and exercise are going to take it off, and Bridget’s right–Just do it. And Enu‘s right, too, that people fall in love with the person, so often extra weight/baldness/whatever doesn’t matter.

But sometimes it’s way more complex. I realized that I gained weight after having my second son to hide and protect myself. (Other hiding mechanism: Clutter–I could hide in plain sight. That was a humdinger when I figured it out.) Which is why I felt so much better doing T-Tapp for a year, but never dropped any weight or changed my body at all. I needed to have that weight on to stay emotionally safe. The problem now is that just knowing why I put on that weight doesn’t make it drop off–I’m still having to do the work. Sigh.

If Anonymous is in the middle of the horrible feelings, then it’s not just as simple as losing the weight. Especially if a teeny part of her is so angry at her husband for his truly horrendous behavior (I have NO sympathy for turning her down to surf porn) that she’s keeping the weight on to protect herself from him wanting her once she’s thin again.

Any thoughts?

Body talk

I’ve been thinking a lot about my body lately. What it’s good for, what it looks like. How I feel about it, and how someone else is going to feel about it. How I’m taking care of it better than I ever have before.

One of the things I’ve been feeling sad about is how back when I was young and had a stunning body I still hated it. Back before I got married I was actually pretty (I can say that now, looking at photos from back then) and there was not a single thing wrong with my body. I can’t believe I wasted all those years hating it and wishing I looked different. All my imagined flaws.

Now, post-kids and on cortisol overload for a decade, my body really does have flaws. And it’s been a struggle and journey for me to feel like I don’t need to punish myself for having this body. One of my friends on the T-Tapp message boards recently had this huge insight that working out isn’t a punishment because she’s fat. Instead, it’s just what she needs to do to take care of her body, no matter what size she is.

I’m amazed at the changes I’m seeing in my body since I’ve actually been doing T-Tapp on a regular basis (3 times a week since January). It’s interesting to me that I feel better about myself and my own physical attractiveness now than I did back when my body was truly beautiful. But there’s still so much work for me to do, both in caring for my body and in accepting it.

Do you guys want to talk about this? I feel like body image is the shadow of so many things that we experience as mothers and as women.


Thanks for the great thoughts on my first book. I haven’t had a chance to read more than the first 20 or so, but will tonight. I wanted to clarify a few things, so it helps you come up with ideas. For readers comments, I’d put up posts asking people to post things specifically that they gave permission to be used, along with the way they wanted to be attributed. Trying to get permission in retrospect is a hot mess.

Also, hedra’s right that I can’t do this right now. I technically have the time (subscribing to the "write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day" theory–I could be writing a book instead of watching that sweet David Cook sing. Yes, I feel like Mrs. Robinson). But until this process is through I just have a big psychic weight on me that’s kind of keeping me in first gear.

So I’m not making any moves for a few months. Keep walking through this with me. I’m not expecting a perfect solution, just a workable one.