Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Itsy Bitsy Baby

Oh my. I am on cloud nine. A friend of mine has trusted me with her precious baby for two days a week.

Christopher is his name. He is sitting in his little seat beside me, making cute little newborn noise, staring up at the ornaments hanging from my chandelier.

I had forgotten how much they like shiny things that they can look up at. He's super happy.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The weatherman said it would cloud over mid- morning, and rain in the afternoon, but he was wrong.

We had a beautiful day for the entire sportsday. I volunteered for a shift at the snack station, then spent the rest of the morning following Coram from station to station. He had great fun.

We had lunch in the classroom, and all the kids got a special ribbon, and a popsicle. Coram and I played on the playground a bit, then came home.

It rained in the evening. So the weatherman was off by just a few hours, but it was perfect.

Oh, and here is a picture of me. Coram, of course, didn't want his orange at the snack station, so I had it. He took the picture.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

About A School

Well, for better or for worse, the decision has been made: both boys will be going to our local school next year.

The plan has been to place Coram in a mainstream class next year, with an aide. I was advocating for him to remain at his current school, so as to minimize change.

After all, we have a boy who has an extremely hard time with change, and we want to move him from his cozy class of six kids to a regular sized class AND ask him to move to an entirely different school at the same time?

But, I was not able to make this point. Or, not loudly and clearly enough. The administrator of Coram's current school was adamant – no cross boundary kids next year, there was no space. (Forget the fact that Coram was already a student at that site!)

I was geared up to appeal this decision all the way to the top. I figured I'd take it to my MLA if needed. I also figured I probably wouldn't need to do that. The case for Coram to stay at his current school is strong, and I think once I had presented it to the district they'd likely approve it.

First, though, I decided to get a better sense of the local school option. I was really impressed when speaking with the principal of our local school. He had some good, pro-active ideas for helping Coram find the right class in his school. I found myself asking 'why do I want to fight to force a principal to take my child, when I have this other principal who is pro-actively interested in helping Coram succeed?'

So, I decided to shift my focus. Instead of fighting to get Coram into the school he is currently in, I decided to work with the kids (both of whom are opposed to going to the local school) on accepting the idea that they will be going there next year.

Lucas had a huge cry, but has since seemed to be coming to terms with it. Coram had very little reaction, but the true test will be how he behaves when he goes there in September.

So, the decision is made. I am feeling good about having the kids at a school two blocks away. It will be nice to walk to school, and to be involved in our local community. I'm trying to tell the worry dragons in my head to go away. We'll see what September brings.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why I wish I had stopped pumping sooner...

When Lucas was born, we found out he had a cleft and I would be unable to nurse him. I was encouraged to pump for him, as breast milk is 'liquid gold'.

And so I did. I pumped full time for seven months. I stopped when I had found out I was pregnant, because I had so little energy I could barely get off of the couch.

In retrospect, I often wonder if I shouldn't have stopped sooner.

For me, pumping consumed my life. If I missed a pump, my milk supply would drop drastically, which caused me a lot of stress. So I had to pump every four house, like clockwork.

And even when Lucas started sleeping a 10 hour solid night, I had to be up every four hours pumping.

Of course, the pump needed to be cleaned after every use, and the bottles needed to be cleaned regularly. I became very anxious about the cleanliness of the tools, and I felt uncomfortable washing them in public washrooms. SO, I ended up needing to be either home or at my moms every four hours, so I could pump and properly clean the equipment.

This was one thing when I had a newborn who slept a lot and we didn't got far from home. It was an entirely different thing when Lucas became older and wanted to be out and about. Several moms groups were available to me, but it was impossible to get ready and out the door, get to the group, and get back and settled to pump again withing four hours.

And so I began to simply not leave the house.

I tried to explain to Steve how I felt. Imagine, I said, that every four hours, on the dot, you have to have a glass of water from the tap in our house. Not any other tap, the tap in our house. No matter where you want to be, or what you are doing, you MUST get back to that tap every four hours.

Imagine how tied you would feel to that tap, and to the house.

Now add fatigue and the pure amount of energy and planning it takes to get a bay out of the house, and ask yourself how often you would leave.

Of course, the longer I stayed home, the less able I felt to leave. In the end, it took a counsellor actually coming to my home to help me feel more confident to actually leave.

I wish someone had been there to tell me that being emotionally available to my child was more important than breast milk. I wish someone had given me the push I needed to set aside what had become chains, and give my child formula, so we could both experience life again.

Breast is best, it's true. I will never deny that. But I will affirm that having breast milk from a depressed, non responsive mother is NOT best. Sometimes, we need to make the choice to go to formula, for our own sake, and also for our baby's sake.

I'm sure there are breastfeeding advocates out there who would attack me for that statement. Some people want to insist that baby's need for breast milk supersedes all of mom's needs. Some will suggest mom is being 'selfish'. But I will defend my position.

I was not selfish. I was lost. My commitment to breastfeeding caused an isolation and depression that both myself and my son would have been better off without.

So, for all moms out there who are feeling guilt or sadness because of a decision not to breastfeed, this post is dedicated to you. Know that you are good mothers. Know that happy moms mean happier babies, and if you need to choose not to pump, not to breast feed, or to wean early, or to supplement, to make yourself happier, that is a GOOD choice. Many, many people will come after you (why strangers on the street fell they have a right to comment, I have no idea), but I will always be behind you.

And your baby will adore you, and that is what counts.