Scenes from a Commute

I only commute to work about 8 miles each way and it’s mostly through neighborhood streets.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t see some interesting things…

An elderly man, easily in his 80s, riding a Vespa scooter clad in manpris, black socks pulled up over his shins and shiny black loafers.  He capped off his look with a British Zulu-style pith helmet.

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A woman in her 40s jogging along the sidewalk, a wide weightlifting belt around her waist, a thick rope tied to the back and leading to a kid, maybe 9 years old, behind her.  He also has a belt on with the other end of the rope tied to it, Izzy Mandelbaum – style.  The kid was clearly not happy and was tripping along, arms flailing.  I seriously almost called the cops on her. 

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An older gentleman on a hot, humid day, in a full church suit, strolling in the dappled shade.  Bright Kelley green coat with wide, white stripes.  Green pants.  Green and white newsboy hat.  A green cane with a gold ball handle.  Shiny white shoes and big sunglasses.

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The mean old lady with her humungous straw sunhat, walking on the street, in the middle of my lane (a mere 5 feet from a perfectly level sidewalk).  I wait for oncoming traffic and move to the other lane to pass her but she still turns and shakes her angry fist in my direction for daring to drive my car on the road.

There’s always something to see and it’s always interesting! What do you see on your daily drive?

Milk Maid

I know I’ve been a horrible blogger.  I hardly comment.  Posting is random and not often. But that doesn’t mean I’m not reading your blogs* or writing a dozen different posts in my head.  The truth is that there just isn’t any time.

Thanks to the 4-month sleep regression and what seems to be a growth spurt here’s my typical day:

6 AM – Up to pump, shower & get ready for work
6:45 (if he doesn’t wake up sooner, which he often does) – feed MAD
7:45 – Everyone out the door
8:00 – Feed MAD at daycare
8:30 – try to actually get some work done
11:00 – Pump**
11:30 – A little more work
1:00 – Take a late lunch to visit MAD at daycare for another feeding
1:30 –  A bit more work
3:30 – Pump
4:00 – try desperately to finish the day’s work (this never happens and I get further behind)
5:00 – Pick up MAD
5:15 – 7:00 – Try to play with M & have dinner all while MAD is a constant-feeding machine
7:00 – MAD’s nursing/bedtime which lately has taken upwards of 1 hour
8-10:00 – Pump, exercise, try to do a few things around the house, talk with the husband
10:00 – Fall into bed, knowing that I will be up 2-3 times during the night.

This doesn’t leave anytime for surfing the web,  writing, TV or just about anything else.  When I’m pumping or nursing I feel guilty that I’m not spending more time with M or doing anything close to my share of the housework.  When I do sneak away to exercise I feel guilty because I know MAD is home screaming while Mark tries to get M in bed.  At work I feel guilty for the time I spend away from my desk pumping/nursing and I feel guilty for leaving MAD at daycare.  I feel awful that I’m not giving M the attention she needs and it’s showing through her behavior.

Top this all off with the fact that MAD is wanting/needing more bottles and I’m struggling to keep up with his demand.  I never had any sort of supply issue with M (of course I didn’t pump with her either), so this is very frustrating.  I let him nurse on demand when I’m with him and I try to pump every 2-3 hours when I’m not but my output is dwindling.  He was getting 2 4oz. bottles at daycare in addition to my one visit to nurse, but last week they asked for a 3rd. (Side note: one little girl in his class, 2 weeks older then him, who is there the exact same amount of time each day gets 5 4 oz. bottles – does this seem like A LOT to anyone else?) My 3 pumping sessions leave me with just enough, but sometimes I’m a few ounces short.

I’m already drinking 90-120 oz of water a day and taking a max dose of fenugreek (as recommended by my lactation consultant) to help boost my supply. I’ve added a big bowl of steel-cut oats in the morning (using this method which rocks). I bought some “mother’s milk” tea which is absolutely disgusting and I don’t think I can drink it again. So far my efforts really haven’t paid off. I know that the sleep thing is hurting me, as well as the stress of being pulled in 8 different directions at once but there’s not much I can do about that.

We did supplement with formula last week which he promptly puked up – so much so that I took him to the doctor who thought it was a stomach bug and not a reaction to the formula.  However, I’m not ready to try that again.  With M we tried cereal around 4 months but she wasn’t a fan so we postponed solids until 6 months and skipped “baby food” altogether.  I was hoping to do that with MAD but right now I’m burnt out at being is only food source.

I look a breastfeeding like running a marathon (not that I’ve ever done that or plan to – just from what I’ve read) and I know I’m in the “this sucks, and it’s only going to get worse” phase.  I also know that I’ve made it 1/3 of the way to my goal and the payoff is worth it so I’m not going to quit.  I don’t remember being this irritated and down on breastfeeding with M but with her I never really had to pump.  So, if you breastfed and worked outside the house did you hit this wall at about 4 months, too?  Does any have any supply-booster ideas that I haven’t tried?

*I read everything, almost as soon as it’s written!  I don’t know how I got through nursing M for 17 months without my iPhone.  Having Twitter, WWF and blogs to keep me company during pumping sessions and late-night feedings keeps me much more sane.  But commenting on an iPhone leaves a lot to be desired so I usually don’t.

**My work is awesome about pumping – I work at a hospital that is very pro-breastfeeding so I have a lot of resources.   We have lactation rooms and lactation consultants on-call. However, since I work at an administrative campus and not the main facility things are a little different.  For instance, instead of having swipe-card access to the lactation room I have to get a key from security. Every. single. time. And most of the security guards are male. Such fun.  And, I’d been jealous that at the main facility that the lactation rooms are equipped with “hospital grade pumps” so all you had to do was have your own parts, and not lug the whole pump back and forth to work.  That is until I happened to be there one day during pumping time and saw the provided pumps:


let’s just say I was so happy to have my PIS at my side.

Move In The Right Direction

Last week I got in a heated twitter-debate about the proposed mosque on Park Place in New York City. Because months after this project was proposed the conservative wind-bags decided an election year would be a great time to denounce an entire religion and culture based on the acts of a select few.  And the crazy thing is that people are buying what they are selling and re-preaching what they are saying. And it blows. my. mind.  

I cannot believe that in 2010 we are giving credence to people who preach bigotry, hatred and intolerance.  It’s insane to me that in this day and age not only that a church is planning a “Burn a Quran Day”, but they are getting coverage from major news outlets as well.  [By the way, the lovely Karen Walrond is organizing a photobomb as an act of peace in response to this act of hate – please think about participating]. 

Look, I know that what happened on 9/11 was a tragedy of unheard of proportions.  I will never, ever forget where I was on that day or the feeling of fear and helplessness in the weeks that followed.  I can’t imagine what the families of the victims felt then or still feel now. So in the days after 9/11 I decided to arm myself with knowledge.  I didn’t take what the news outlets spouted as fact.  I picked up the Quran and started reading it myself.  I saw for myself that just like the Bible, anyone can piece-meal verses together out of context and come up with a rigid (and mostly wrong) interpretation of the message.  I observed prayer services at our local mosque and spoke with its members.  I don’t claim to be an expert on Islam, but I feel very comfortable in my assertion that it’s a peaceful religion.  

The way I felt on September 12, 2001 is the same way I feel today: it was an act of an extremist few who dislike the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  The way to respond to the unthinkable acts of 9/11 is not to start eroding at those freedoms ourselves, but to extend those freedoms even further. I am a fierce defender of the separation of church and state and this usually means fighting the Christian church to keep its dogmatic rules out of our governing laws.  But this time it means making sure the government protects the right for this church to be built anywhere it wants.  And for that reason I am so glad that the mosque is one step closer to realization.