It’s happened twice in the past couple of months: I’m in line at my favorite sushi restaurant and strike up a conversation with some people around me. And after just a few minutes I think, wow, these are cool people. We could be friends. But then what? Are you supposed to say, come find me on Facebook and we’ll go out? It’s not a date…but I suppose it sort of is.
I’ve talked before about how hard it is to make friends after age 30. No more college, no more grad school, no more natural places to find like-minded people (except maybe church).
The first couple I met were talking about how their first child was on the way and whether she should eat sushi. I chimed in and we started talking – about pregnancy, local restaurants, horrible commutes and good neighborhoods. And then the restaurant finally opened and we went our separate ways. I wanted to say, hey, if you find any decent breakfast spots on the other side of the river, let me know. But I didn’t. And now I’ll never know what name they chose for their baby girl.
The second couple had a baby almost the same age as Junior. They lived in Bend, one of our favorite places to vacation. We talked about jobs and housing prices and sleepless nights and ice cream. It was like a first date, considering we were seated next to each other and by the end of the meal were on a first name basis. But when it was time we paid our bill and left. Goodbye Lindsey and Nickoli. Hope everything works out with the teething baby. He’ll sleep through the night soon.
So my question is this – is it too weird to end these conversations with, here’s my number? Here’s how to find me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? I have no idea.
I’m pumping. The phone rings. I answer it without thinking twice. It’s a male colleague who has a question only I can answer, so rather than telling him I’ll call him back, I answer the question. “It sounds like you’re using one of those old matrix printers,” he says. I don’t respond. Because what would I say?
I’ve stopped answering the phone while pumping unless it’s my husband calling.
I am fortunate to have a lock on my private office door. Not everyone is so lucky. At my last job, I pumped in a conference room. A maintenance guy almost barged in to fix a broken light but thankfully my coworker caught him in the nick of time.
I know I am lucky. My boss gives me time to pump and I pump in the privacy of my own office, surrounded by pictures of my kids.
But it’s still awkward and embarrassing despite the best of circumstances. Where am I supposed to clean the pump parts? I’ve tried the bathroom but it’s kind of gross with all those bathroom germs. I’ve tried the break room sink. But should I be washing breastmilk off pump parts in the same sink as dirty dishes? I’ve tried Medela wipes but those don’t get into the crevices and inevitably mold starts to grow. Am I supposed to be taking the parts home every night to deep clean? I have so many unanswered questions.
Last week I decided to wash the parts in the break room sink. A female colleague looked at me and said, “I remember those days. My boobs will never be the same. It’s not the nursing, it’s the pumping.” Sorry, I do not want to discuss boob sagging with you, kind and empathetic lady I barely know.
Last time around we made it 8 months. We are fast approaching that age with Junior and while I’m hopeful I can make it a full year this time, I really won’t be sad when this phase is over. There. I said it. I’m the horrible mother who doesn’t cherish every moment I have left to breastfeed.
I have a very fat baby, a fact I am immensely proud of considering our three months of struggle at the beginning. Fat baby is hungry all the time. A few weeks ago his jealous glances at table food prompted me to buy some cereal and baby food and last week we began our adventures in eating “solids”.
So far he’s had banana, apple, applesauce, pear and sweet potato. This time around I’m not even waiting days between feedings to see if he’s allergic. If nothing happens in 8 hours, I assume he’s fine.
Up next: carrots and prunes.
He loves food so much. At the initial bite of a new food he makes a face but I keep trying and so far he has yet to reject anything. He cries when he’s still hungry and tonight when I put the lid on his food he started fussing so much I almost gave in. I’m trying to hold off on giving him too much because I don’t want my milk supply to go down.
On Friday after swimming lessons, Future President always asks for a sweet potato and cottage cheese. Yesterday when he was done there was a little sweet potato left so I mashed up a bit to give baby. He would have eaten more if I’d let him but I was worried that because it wasn’t liquified he shouldn’t have too much.
I really want him to be an adventurous eater, unlike my first. I want him to eat what we eat, including eggs and sushi and tofu and tomato soup and pizza, all things Future President won’t touch. And the thing is, Future President was just like Junior at his age, eating everything and anything. He even ate salmon skin of all things. Even though he eats fruits and veggies, the main course is usually bread (or waffles or pancakes) with cheese and avocado or peanut butter and applesauce. Hopefully one day this will change! Maybe Junior will be a good influence on his big brother.
There are some words a mother never wants to hear, including, “Mommy, my tummy is telling me I have to go potty” while you are stuck in a traffic jam 30 minutes from home.
I should have trusted my gut to force him to try at the ice cream shop but instead buckled both boys in and set out for the freeway. We opted for a pint to share at home instead of cones. To my dismay it was still stop and go traffic at 6pm, which would mean the ice cream would likely be a puddle upon our arrival at home.
I took the first exit after hearing the plea from the back seat into a neighborhood I didn’t recognize. “Can you just pee on a tree?” I kept asking. “Did you already pee your pants?” Because let’s face it, I’m not above letting my kid sit in wet pants for a little while if it means I don’t have to find a bathroom and lug the baby in his car seat to said potty.
Future President wouldn’t pee on a tree so I frantically searched for the closest Starbucks. “But Mommy, aren’t there potties in all these houses?” he asked as I followed Siri’s directions through the sketchy neighborhood to the closest Starbucks. And then I drove right past it because I was in the wrong lane. “Are you sure you didn’t already pee your pants?” I checked one last time as we circled around to the Starbucks. Surprise! He held it. But of course in this sketchy neighborhood there was a lock on the bathroom door, so I had to ask the barista for the code, which meant I had to order a drink.
We finally got back in the car and I asked Siri how to get home. She led me to a freeway on ramp that was completely stopped. And then an SUV cut in front of me. “Idiot! Wait your damn turn!” I yelled while the baby cried and my engorged breasts swelled even more. (If you’ve never breastfed a baby and had engorged boobs, well…you are lucky. The pain is intense.)
“Mommy, don’t say that word,” I heard from the back seat. And then I just wanted to cry along with the baby. He’s right. We’ve told him not to say idiot. I’m sure he didn’t even notice the damn.
So the baby cried some more while Future President held his hands over his ears and I thought about the ice cream that was melting in my back seat.
The barista at Starbucks must have given me a caffeinated coffee instead of the decaf I asked for. So I’ll be up late tonight, snacking on my refrozen ice cream and practicing fake swear words and making up nice insults so my 4 year doesn’t develop back seat road rage.
Sometimes eye contact makes me uncomfortable. But in meetings, I like it. It shows me that other people are paying attention. I have a coworker who brings her smartphone to every meeting. She routinely texts during meetings and I find this to be rude and disruptive. I’m not this person’s boss. but if I was, smartphones would be required to be out of sight during meetings.
I admit to keeping my phone with me at all times and using my kids as an excuse. What if there’s an emergency? I’ve noticed I check my phone far too often even when I’m with friends. The text or email can wait.
I’m trying to be more present, whether it’s at work or with my family or friends.
But back to meeting etiquette. Is distracting doodling a problem for you too? Maybe I should leave all writing implements in a drawer and just focus on the conversation. Besides, all my doodles look exactly the same.
A heartbreaking and inspiring essay by a doctor who just passed away from lung cancer.
You might change your views on poverty after reading this very thoughtful essay by an author and Pulitzer Prize winner who is very poor himself.
Check out this informative article if you’re curious about losing weight or exercising more, with a little help from your iPhone: Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle
And if you’re trying to lose weight post pregnancy, this week-by-week post-pregnancy fitness trainer program looks really helpful (and really, really hard!).
And speaking of a healthier lifestyle: this one ingredient ice cream (spoiler alert – it’s bananas!) looks delicious.
Looking for a laugh out loud TV show to fill the large gaping hole left by Parks & Rec? I suggest The Last Man on Earth. Seriously funny. Check out a review here.
We do lots and lots of driving and I’m convinced Future President does his deepest thinking in the car. Some of these questions I can answer. Some I cannot.
Here’s just a sample of some of the questions I’ve been asked in the last few days.
- Do you have fuzz in your toes?
- Do you smell that cow poop?
- I can have lots of babies when I’m older, right?
- Do you remember when I threw up in the car?
- Can I turn red?
- Why can’t I have a cookie for breakfast?
- Have you seen Paw Patrol?
- Do you want to be a giraffe?
- Can baby eat his bubbles?
- How do the lights turn from green to yellow to red?
- Do you want to go to outer space with me and Dady and baby?
- Do you want to play I Spy?
- Why does baby always wear jammies?
- Why does the baby only drink milk?
- Why do you have to pump?
- Why does Daddy work day and night, day and night?
- Did your grammie and grandpa die, too?
- Can we get a cat? A fish? A turtle?
- Can we go back to Utah some time?
- Why? Why? Why? That’s his favorite.