It’s January. We’re 9 months in. He reaches for the tissue box and looks back at me, already aware that I’m gonna say “No.” I’m trying to remember what the parenting books tell me I’m supposed to do in this situation: set a boundary? Or let him explore? I can’t remember, so I tell him, “Ok, one time, so you can get it out of your system.”
And he pulls those tissues out with such gusto. It’s like he’s been waiting his entire life for this moment, which, quite possibly, he has. And he’s waving them around like a little mini modern dancer and then he starts tearing one apart and I hide the rest, then I hide all of the tiny pieces when he’s done so that he doesn’t eat them, but all the while I’m starting to worry: does this mean he’s gonna grow up to be a serial killer? Like, why all the destruction???
When do we get to the building towers out of blocks instead of just knocking them down? When do we get to the actual coloring with crayons instead of just eating them?
But then my mom tells me I spent an entire airplane flight ripping apart a magazine when I was a baby and she let me do it because (and I quote) “You were being quiet and not bothering anyone.” So I let him do it, because I didn’t grow up to be a serial killer.
And, later this evening, when we embark upon our first flight together so that I can give my paper at the Dance Studies Association conference at Northwestern University, I intend to do the same. Especially because I, in my infinite wisdom, accidentally booked out flight for 9:30pm instead of 9:30am. You know… because toddlers are known for becoming increasingly angelic as the night wears on.
That feeling when your kid’s got 5 teeth coming in at once, you’ve run out of baby Tylenol, and it’s snowing…
(No, you’re not crazy. It’s not snowing today. But it was when I wrote this post at 3:00am a few weeks ago. Thankfully the snow has cleared and the Tylenol has been procured. Phew.)
So I’ve made it for about 7 months without actually using
the Lactation Room on campus, in part because I never got around to filing the
paperwork, in part because I still don’t know where the damn thing is, and in
part because when you’re carrying three bags already as it is, it’s easier to
just pump in a closet before your classes begin (and then again in the car
after they’re done).
But at the end of the semester I had to stay late on campus
to attend a student concert, and I had to pump, and I couldn’t pump in my usual
closet, so went to HR a full three days ahead of time and asked for the
paperwork for the pump room.
Except no one knew what I meant by “pump room” (even though I had seen a room with that very designation printed on the door just outside the library) and I couldn’t remember any of the more workplace appropriate euphemisms for “my boobs are leaking” (i.e. “lactation”) so I stood there just suggesting related terminology— nursing? breastfeeding? BABY???— until someone figured out what I was talking about and hurried me into an office down the hall.
I received a form to fill out and a lukewarm assurance that
my swipe card would now give me access to the official Lactation Room, and that
said suite was located somewhere nearby
in an adjoining wing.
To be continued…
There’s a reason you should never throw away your heart-shaped, eco-friendly, reusable bamboo nursing pads: because someday your kid will celebrate his first Valentine’s Day and you’ll want him to have a Valentine’s outfit, and you’ll need a quick way to cover up the penguin on his Christmas sweater…
Also you’ll want to sew them as opposed to glue them because this will allow you to remove and eventually destroy the evidence, or else your kid’s gonna make you pay for his therapy someday.
Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
In the early days of breastfeeding, establishing a “good latch” is kind of like refueling a spaceship in midair: it’s a team effort, and everything has to line up just so, at exactly the right moment, and if you get it right, you save the day and everyone cheers.
The only difference is that the spaceship in this scenario doesn’t understand basic physics and has tiny but surprisingly strong hands that do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to prevent the fuel from reaching its intended target.
The fuel itself is also a bit temperamental and cannot be trusted. Instead of flowing with a nice, steady pressure at the touch of a button, it leaks out in spurts and streams without any apparent rhyme or reason, and the fuel tank on the left gets jealous if the fuel tank on the right gets emptied first. It decides to join the party, and shouts, “Look, I have fuel too!” And then it demonstrates: clothing, bed sheets, and strategically placed burp cloths be damned.
The worst part is that with breastfeeding, no one actually cheers when a successful refueling takes place. And even though it might comprise a pivotal, climactic plot point in a blockbuster space odyssey, it’s just business as usual when the spaceship is a baby, and you’ve got to do it again in like 90 minutes anyway…