23 January, 2015

Boobs are a touchy subject.

So, an old friend of mine (we'll go with OF for this one) in Texas had a baby right before Christmas.  As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to meet the sproglet and to catch up with those who so cleverly made her.  I proceeded to sort through some of Herself's small things, choosing a few of my favourites to pass on, and a few silly little gifty things, and made plans to pop by OF's parents' house to say hi.

Let me just lay this out for you.  I had the whole family in tow, which was understood before we were invited.  Perhaps, hindsight being what it is, I should have arranged for the first visit to be sans bratlets, but it didn't occur to me at the time.  So here we are, jet lagged after the HellFlight and spotty sleep, arriving to meet the fresh baby, and first thing I see is a huge well decorated tree with a pile of beautifully wrapped presents beneath it.  Now, as we discussed in the last post, that's Dude's version of catnip.  So I'm already attempting to stop him wrecking the place and opening everybody's gifts for them, and it turns out that their family has been decorating Christmas cookies.  When OF's dad asks if the kids might like one, I say I'm sure they'd love that.  It hadn't occurred to me that he'd bring a plate with about eight cookies on it and put it on the coffee table within short armed reach.  My two, of course, pick all the chocolate off the tops, making sure to touch every cookie so none are salvageable for outside consumption, and go back to attempting to wreck their surroundings.

I think you can probably tell I was a little distracted at this point.  *lol*  I handed over the bag of bits, and I remember now mentioning that the container of Cadbury's was only for the breastfeeding mama.  I remember when the baby started to fuss, I said "oh honey, mine aren't your flavour" and handed her to her mummy.  That's when OF proceeded to give the baby a bottle.

Now, I don't know what was in the bottle.  It could have been pumped breastmilk.  It could have been special formula to help that baby doll put back on some of the weight she lost after birth, to supplement breastfeeding.  OF may not have been able to breastfeed for whatever reason.  I honestly have no idea, because nothing was ever said.

We left shortly after that, removing our chaos from their well ordered abode.  I kicked myself all the way home for having put my breastfeeding foot so neatly into my mouth.  This was in addition to when I asked how the birth experience had gone and they said they'd induced the baby.  I asked what had happened that they needed to induce, and was told that the doctor figured the baby would be big enough, that it was more convenient with the family plans for December, so they went for it.  I was so confused, I'm sure I had a weird look on my face that was very likely taken for negative judgement about their choice to induce.  I mean, I went over with both kids because in the UK (where I've lived for the last eleven and a half years, in case you need the reminder) the whole "elective caesarian" thing is completely foreign.  Babies go to term and over, intervention is a last ditch effort.  I decided to contact OF in a couple of days to arrange for a childless meet up in the hopes that I could smooth the situation out and spend more time admiring her perfect offspring.

Of course, that was before I was asked by The Mimi (who had also heard my woeful tale of foot-in-mouth) whether I'd seen the link about breastfeeding that OF's sister had posted to her timeline on Facebook.  That would be this one here:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-study-finds-link-between-breastfeeding-always,36823/

It's titled "New Study Finds Link Between Breastfeeding, Always Knowing What's Right For Everyone".  In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit I didn't read all the way through it.  I did notice OF's comment underneath it of "funny stuff".

I need to say this.  I have never intentionally set out to hurt someone's feelings about they way they're choosing to parent.  I'm particularly careful about the breastfeeding land mine, ironically, as one of my closest friends had trouble with her first child.  He was hospitalised at birth which saw her up the hospital pumping milk for him several times a day, he never took to the breast, she got a wicked case of mastitis... basically it just didn't work out for them.  She was gutted.  She felt that her body had let her down, that she wasn't fulfilling her son's needs the way she wanted to, it was awful.  I am actively grateful I didn't have problems feeding either of my kids, and that's mainly down to having seen the contrast with my friend.  Her experience brought home for me, before Madam was even an accidental glint in her daddy's eye, that parenting is a tricky business and not everything always goes to plan.

So yes, I'm a little crunchy.  We cloth nappy, we co-sleep, we baby wear.  We went the baby led weaning route, we wear amber, we use coconut oil.  Those are all choices Himself and I made mostly because they just work for us.  I think we straddle the crunchy divide a little, because on the other side we vaccinate, we don't avoid TV, we allow the occasional dirty McD's kids meal.  We have lots of toys, we use some chemicals in cleaning, and I'm not touching kombucha with a million foot pole.  *shudder*  We're very lucky to be surrounded by a circle of friends that are varied in their own approaches, yet nonjudgemental about the choices made by others.

I have no idea if that link was sent to OF because I'd managed to offend her on one of the myriad points I worried over as I left her parents' house.  It might have been because I'm not the first person to have assumed she'd be breastfeeding her baby.  Again with the hindsight, it might have helped for OF to mention to yours truly (the self avowed extended breastfeeding flag waver) that she wasn't going that route for whatever reason, it would have stopped me forcibly shoving my size eights into my face, but hey.  If anything, the whole situation has made me even more conscious of what words fall out of my mouth, and that can never be a bad thing.

09 January, 2015

Furious flights, familial festivities.

Since we've procreated, we made a deal with our respective families that we'll alternate Christmases.  One year here in the UK, one year in Texas.  This year was a Texas year.  Yee haw.

Himself, being the savvy consumer that he is, searched around for the flights.  He found the best deal for the time we wanted to spend in the States and booked it for what was, to me, a staggering £2600.  Just out of curiosity, he checked a few weeks later.  The same flights were up to £4000.  A week or two before Christmas he checked again.

£7000.

For.  The.  Same.  Flights.

Because apparently the Reason for the Season is for the airlines to squeeze as much out of people wanting to spend the holidays with their families as they possibly can.  Gross.

Anyway, we piled into the cab on the morning of the 22nd to head to the airport.  Little did we know that the ride to Heathrow would be the last moments of peace we had before we hit the tarmac in Dallas.  I can't even tell you how bad that flight was.  Here are the highlights.  If Dude wasn't eating, he was screaming.  He doesn't do captivity, and the three square inches between me and the seat in front of us just wasn't fulfilling his need for room in which to rampage.  Madam was Bored.  It warrants the capital letter, believe me.  There was one (ONE) kid's movie on the in flight entertainment.  The crowning glory of Her was when she dumped a ginger ale all over herself.  Like, ALL over herself.  I had grabbed a dress out of the clean laundry as a last minute "forgot to pack this" deal and stuffed it into my carry-on, and Dude had on tights under his trousers, thus a new outfit was cobbled together.  About three hours into the hellflight, I vowed we'd never fly again.  We may not try again until Dude is fifteen or so.

Of course, the moment we entered The Mimi's domicile, he made a beeline for her (frankly amazing) Christmas tree, which for the next two weeks he single-mindedly attempted to destroy from the bottom up.  We're talking ornaments that have been used every Christmas since my mother was a child.  See below for visual confirmation of the amazingness.


If he wasn't hellbent on tree destruction, he was opening cabinets and drawers.  I'd say every single door and drawer in that house was tried at some point or another.

Madam spent the two weeks eating candy.  And nothing else.  Well, I think she ate a little cucumber, but that was about it.  Apparently the food in Texas looks weird.  We're attempting to detox her now, she ate roughly fifteen kilos of sushi last night and the prognosis is good.

We went to (wait for it)... Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show.  No joke.  It was amazing, both kids were totally enthralled by the horses, whips, guns, cowboys, trick riders, and general Texan-ness of the whole thing.  They were also fascinated by the cattle drive that preceded the show, there's something about a cow with three foot horns on its head that draws the eye of the toddler.




The trip was pretty good on the whole.  There were dance parties and adorable donuts...



Basketball games and vegetable puns...



Purple hair and carousel rides...




Toddler tattoos and recovered Army fashion...



Expensive jewellery and Santa sightings...



And last but certainly not least, a veritable feast for the eyes.  Yes, those horns are real.  Yes, they do light up.  Yes, there is a doberman peeking out of the window.  His name is Warlock.  For reals.


Anyway, we made it back in one piece, mostly.  The flight back was pretty turbulent, so although the bratlets slept, it wasn't the most peaceful slumber they ever had.  Their little body clocks are so confused that our first night back home saw us downstairs watching movies and eating pretzel goldfish from around half eleven until five in the morning, when we finally collapsed into bed again and slept until almost noon.  *lol*

Thus another holiday season plays itself out.  Happy New Year, all, here's to making it a great one.