Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Not Just "The Terrible Twos"

"She's two;  it's the age."

You don't know how many times I've heard that in the last six months.  But I know, deep down, that Amelia's behavior is not typical two year old behavior.  I've had five children of my own and two of them have been 'challenging.'  Having been down this road before, you would think that I would have my ducks in a row, that I would know how to handle each situation as it came up.  Surely I understand that I can not turn my back for five seconds, no matter how badly the laundry stinks or how burnt the supper is.  I've written, on this very blog a series of posts about dealing with challenging children.

Then why does it surprise me so when Amelia circumvents the safety guards on the doors and gets all of the baby chickens out of their box?  Why am I appalled when I see that she's dumped out their water and food and between that and the chicken poop, has made a lovely skating rink of the basement floor?  Why can't I remember that she has a melt-down every time we go to get into the car and it takes a minimum of six minutes to get her to transition from whatever she's tearing up at the time to actually getting in the car?

I guess that the 20 hour long days over the past two and a half years have clouded my mind.  Some days aren't as long as that, more along the lines of 18 hours, but for the most part, four hours of sleep is all Amelia needs to recharge her hyper-lithium, long-life, energized batteries.  During that time I consume way more caffeine than is safe for the human body and usually end up with the jitters along about hour nineteen.  I have to do something, lest I accidentally doze off during those hours only to be jolted awake five minutes later to the sound of Amelia cackling as she cracks the 14th egg into my house slippers.  I've also developed horrible eating habits and consume about 4,000 calories per day because it takes food to make energy to keep up with her but I'm usually so busy keeping up that the food I eat is less than healthy.

If you have ever had a newborn, you understand what it truly means to only get about three hours of sleep per night.  If you've been lucky enough to have had more than one newborn in succession (or OMG twins or more), you know that it is a repetitive cycle that usually lasts for the first six months or so and then you get more sleep.  You feel like you only get three or four hours, but let's be honest, you're a tired parent and duly so but you're getting a few more than that.

I wish.  I wish that I was exaggerating about the sleep I get.  Okay, maybe I am exaggerating the three hours thing because sometimes it is three glorious, consecutive hours but mostly it's three hours blasted up into bits when Amelia wakes up screaming or starts kicking for no reason or just decides it's time to get up.  I started putting her off on nursing at night right after she turned two, but if worse comes to worse, I'd rather doze uncomfortably while trying to breastfeed her than to hear her scream for two hours.

As for quality of sleep, well that is what I make of it.  The girls sleep in a double bed and Amelia takes up about two-thirds of it.  If anyone moves or makes noise she will scream.  If she doesn't have her pillows she will scream.  If someone else has some pillows she will scream.  If she doesn't have all of the blankets she will scream.  I think you're getting, now, that quantity and quality are pretty much tied together and are pretty much negating each other at this point.

Less and less frequently, there are naps.  Amazingly freeing naps where I can rush around for 45 minutes to one hour and get everything done in the house and with the other three children who live here that needs to be done in the day.  Sometimes, like now, I can even manage to type while she's nursing and almost asleep.  Usually, though, nursing sessions are full of kung-fu type artistry and outstanding feats of high-flying antics all while 20 pearly white teeth are precariously attached to my nipple.  My laptop is missing a few keys and has a  dent in the top from those few times I actually got crazy enough to try and type while she was still awake.

None of this is new, really, and I've known since I was pregnant that this child was special.  A few days before her birth, she kicked me so violently that my ribs were bruised and every intake of breath hurt like daggers being jabbed into my lungs.  She was just about 34 1/2 weeks gestation.  We also got clued in to her high needs status when it took us six weeks to get her to breastfeed without help and then it took us another six months to get her to take anything besides the breast or to have any other source of comfort than me.  She used to scream when her father held her, which made for bonding between them very difficult.  We had read Dr. Sear's Fussy Baby Book and his Baby Sleep Book and we new that something was different about Amelia when we read about the signs of a high needs baby on his site.

The Sears' present twelve 'features' of high needs babies, and I just looked at the computer and it was like an epiphany.  SOMEONE ELSE KNEW.    Someone else knew that I wasn't crazy, I wasn't exaggerating or making things up, and I wasn't just being a grouchy new mama.  There in the words on the screen was the exact definition of Amelia, every last one of them.  I was thinking that if your child scored a nine out of twelve, you might have a pretty high needs child, but all of them rang true for us.  Amelia was about seven months old at the time and I was beginning to think that I was the one who was somehow not fit to parent.  It was a relief to know that others had and were going through what we were, but it did not and does not take the edge off after a really challenging and long day of parenting.

I know Amelia's behaviors aren't typical of two year olds.  I know that she is high needs and parenting her requires extra effort, sometimes, super-human effort.  I know that there will be days when I fail.  I know that others do this and their kids turn out okay (heck, my other daughter ain't too shabby!).  I know that there will be moments of bliss in the madness.  I also know that I am a tired and worn out mama who really needs to type these things out more in order to keep myself sane!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How Many, How Much?

I'm only one person, yet I have so much to tell, so much to say.  I can only reach so many of you, and then I am hoping that you reach out and that others reach out.  Spread the love, be the voice.


I am the voice of one
My journey just begun
I am the voice of one

I am the voice of one
Together battles won
I am the voice of one

I am the voice of one
Doing what must be done
I am the voice of one

I am the voice of one
The Earth and Moon and Sun
I am the voice of one

I am the voice of one

-copy write Jen Hart, January 31, 2012  

Share, but give back where credit is due, please!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Word From Your Queen!

Hi!  Millie here.  My mom has so generously invited me to be a guest on the blog today.  Ok, maybe 'invite' is too strong a word.  She's in there 'cooking' something she likes to call lunch, so I've got a few.  And may I say a big THANK YOU to Google Translator because, WOW, this woman types in gibberish!

Anyway, I wanted to share a little about what it's like to be 2, from someone who knows the dealio.  See, I've been 2 for four whole months now and I've been acting like I'm 2 for quite a bit longer (like, 8 months AT LEAST).  No one really gets it, so I thought I'd give a few pointers.  Here goes!  (Dontchya LOVE the title???)

1.  My way there another way.

Do we really need to discuss this?  I mean, seriously, why can't you just GIVE me the knife and the markers and let me decide when it's inappropriate and where.  You call that the 'good sofa?'  I've seen better furniture on the curb being peed on by a dog, lady.  All it needs is some decoration and a few holes cut in it an voila, you've got yourself a work of art!

2.  I wanted it YESTERDAY.

Back to the markers, why didn't you give them to me already?  I mean, I've been screaming at you for at LEAST 13 seconds and I said as plain as day, "GIVE ME MARKERS NOW!!!!"  Do you have hearing issues or are you just really old and slow?

3.  What?  I don't want THAT now!

Ooops, too slow.  You took too long, I was SO over the markers like, 4 seconds ago.  Get with the program, I am now after the spray bottle of spot remover.  NO, I don't want to clean up the sofa, are you insane?  I just want to go remove the spots from Spot.  You know, the dog.  He and I have to go poop on the floor later and I really don't wanna be seen with him and those darn spots of his!  They clash.

4.  Go to sleep?????

Sleep is for the weak and old (obviously because my mom does a LOT of it!).  THREE HOURS???!?!?!?!?!?!  Are you kidding?  I can recharge in 15 minutes and I'm ready for some trash trawling or some cabinet excavation.  Really, you people would think that sleep is a vital part of life or something.  Why are you so darn tired, anyway?  I mean, all you do is follow me around all day, surely you're not THAT out of shape!

So, I've kept it short and sweet 'cause the woman keeps looking around and asking why I'm being so quiet.  Gaw, I try to be good for once and she suspects something!  Just as a last note of importance:  THE CARSEAT HAS SPIKES IN IT.  Check that out, it hurts to sit in that thing unless you turn the DVD player on, give me candy, and act like a lunatic singing "Let's go for a ride."  I think that turns the little spike thingy off....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why don't you just leave???

***EDIT:  I had the settings on this blog set to "Adult Content."  I changed them because I feel that when you open up an internet page, you are opening yourself up to what is on that page.  YOU are taking the risk and therefore, YOU need to be responsible for filtering out what YOU don't want to see.  Same goes for life:  Don't like it, don't look.  If I get myself in a situation I'd rather not be in, removing myself from the situation usually alleviates the stress for me.  However, I'm not stressed about posting my breastfeeding photos, so therefore, I won't be leaving!  And as for children and what they see on the net, that is for THEIR OWN PARENTS to discuss and limit, not me.  Happy Reading!***

That's the question of the hour, it seems, especially over on the FB Stop Harassing Kwasnica and ALL Breastfeeding Women page on Facebook.  So, why don't I just leave Facebook, start my own site where all breastfeeding photos and discussions are welcomed, with like-minded individuals who aren't offended by the site of babies sucking on breasts?  Call it "Faceboob" and have at whipping our tits around and showing off the repulsiveness of a baby eating on our own page.  Why shouldn't I just gather up my militant breastfeeding posse and hitch it on over to our own site?  Why?

Let me tell you why.

Because I don't want to.  Facebook is the third largest community IN THE WORLD and I want to be a part of the community.  I want to share on Facebook and connect with friends and family.  On Facebook, I have access to a treasure trove of information on subjects OTHER than breastfeeding that I enjoy such as Crochet,     Natural Parenting, and some happy little venting about parenting, complete with crappy pictures, not to mention my slight obsession with The Earth's Children book series and all fan-atic stuffs therein!  Facebook is where I learn, connect, write, share, and most of all, where I go to help women breastfeed.

I've met many people online and have a contact base that includes people from all walks of life.  They know that if they need advice on breastfeeding, I'm open to sharing and passing on information.  They can see my pride and acceptance of breastfeeding and breastfeeding full-term in the pictures I post of my children nursing.    Sure, we could meet up elsewhere, but why should we 'get off the bus' if we aren't the ones who are having an issue?

There is a policy on Facebook in regards to uploading breastfeeding pictures.  While it is a bit vague, it does set some guidelines for posting and viewing of the photos and even states that Facebook follows the same guidelines as print and television media.  They've even changed up the words a bit to include 'child' and not just 'baby.'  They say they won't take action on the photos that are compliant, but as can be seen on Jodine Chase's blog posts detailing further deletions of breastfeeding photos, Facebook isn't exactly following their own rules.

My question to those asking me to leave is this:  Who should leave?  If you are uncomfortable with the photos, shouldn't you leave?  Maybe not Facebook, but leave the area/forum/page in which they are posted?  I've asked my friends and family to either unfriend or hide my posts instead of reporting and I had 9 lost friends (and who knows how many just hid me) that day.  They knew that I wasn't going to lighten up on the issue and that they didn't want to see my photos, so they took their own comfort into consideration and removed themselves from the situation.  Again, I'm not suggesting you leave Facebook, but removing the chances that you might see the images, and therefore, be offended, isn't a bad idea, either.  I don't really like house pets, so I don't go to house pet pages or forums.  See, easy!

Honestly, I don't believe anyone should leave, not even the 'trolls' or 'haters.'  I believe that the more people see breastfeeding, whether it be in person or via photos on Facebook, the more people will accept breastfeeding.  It won't be cool to tell me how gross or vile or useless breastfeeding is anymore, because it will be the minority opinion.  And once you truly consider that breastfeeding is feeding a child, how can you even think of it as gross?  It's a child, a baby, a toddler, a CHILD.  Eating.  Being sweet and cute and just being!

There are choices to be made in this world.  I am free to leave or stay on Facebook.  You are free to look at the photos or not.  Your choice!

I've made a vow with myself to be nice during this and to give information as well as my opinion without spewing hate or words that will make others value themselves or their opinions less.  I'm trying and I will continue to try.  I hope I  can inspire some of you, whether you like the photos or not, to try, too.

Jen (who isn't going anywhere!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Can YOU Tell Who's Breastfeeding?

I've gone to the grocery, to the mall, to the doctor's office and breastfed.  I've breastfed at basketball games, at graduations, funerals and weddings.  And 95% of the time, NO ONE EVEN KNEW.  "Oh, look at that sleeping baby!"  Nope, not sleeping, NURSING.  BREASTFEEDING!  Seriously, you should see the looks of shock I get when touchy-feely strangers wanna take a peek at the 'sleeping baby' only to find that she's actually nursing.  Can you spot the nursing pictures below?  Is she nursing or just sleeping?  Hmmmm....

In ALL of the pictures EXCEPT THE LAST ONE, the baby IS NOT NURSING.  The last picture was taken on the DART in Dallas, May 2010 and I am in fact nursing 9 month old Millie.  :)

If you'd like to share your pictures, and let others see if they can spot the breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding) baby, e-mail to rickkater2 at yahoo dot com.  Here's a link, if your device is enabled Please include written permission for me to use your photo and any other info you'd like published (or not!)  

***We've had a couple of ladies want to share, so here goes!***

Paulina nursing her babe at a yoga class, or is she?  :)

Here are a few more pictures that Paulina wanted to share.  Can you tell whether she's breastfeeding or not???

And a final share from Natalia.  Obviously, she's breastfeeding (or is she????).   This was too cute not to share!  WTG Natalia for BREASTFEEDING TWINS!  You go, girls ;)  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So You Ask Yourself, Why?

Why is that child still nursing?

Or maybe,

Why did her mother choose to share that on the internet?

Millie, 26.5 months

No doubt, if you're on Facebook, a friend of a friend of a friend (or maybe someone closer) has posted about recent removals of pictures like the one above.  In fact, the one above was removed from Facebook, just last night, for 'violating the terms of service' with a picture that contains 'nudity.'  Seems they changed their tune from last warning, that said my picture was 'sexual in nature.'  

I'm not the only one who has had photos deleted, as is attested by such groups as Fb!  Stop Harassing Kwasnica and All Breastfeeding Women .  Another group, FB Unblock Danelle Frisbie! Enough is Enough, was created because a woman was blocked from use for posting content in support of another who was banned for posting photos.  Round and round we go, where we stop, only the Facebook gods know?

So why is that kid still nursing?  Well, she's 2 and she's a picky eater.  She likes to nurse and it gives her comfort.  Those are the short answers, but as you can see in this posting, the benefits to her and to me are numerous.  For one, kids who are breastfed at any age have less significant illness than their formula-fed peers.  They also score higher on tests and have more nutritionally complete diets.  Moms, well we get a lowered risk of getting ovarian cancer and protection against osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

As for comfort, if you are a parent or know one with a toddler, you realize that High Drama can ensue at any given moment.  Forget Hollywood Divas, because that cutie up there in that picture, she's got them all beat hands down.  Her tantrums can last a while, cause disruption to the family (and others when out in public) and can even be painful with all the flailing and limp-noodling.  The easy solution:  give her ninny (what we call breastfeeding around here.)  It shuts down the tantrum NOW because, well, she can't scream with a boob in her mouth and she's getting the attention she needs and wants.

Now, I will try to briefly go into why I share my breastfeeding images online.  

If you are exposed to a thing, it is easier to understand it.  And by that, I don't mean you being exposed to my boob.  I mean the breastfeeding experience, and not just with young babies, although that's where this thing usually starts.  

I mean, seeing women breastfeeding, everywhere, when and how they want.  People in other countries see this all the time, and no one bats an eye.  Here in the good ol' US of A, we don't and we are usually caught off guard when a mother breastfeeds in public because the rate of babies exclusively breastfeed at 3 months is about 45% and at 6 months that rate drops to about 25%.  Look at babies over 12 months old, and the average drops down to around 5%.  The average weaning age, world-wide is about 4.2 years and natural weaning isn't shown to occur until at least 2.5 years in humans. 

In some places, breast milk is the only clean or readily available food, but here we have good old chicken nuggets and fries.  But the latter aren't healthy or nutritionally complete, like breast milk, even though a picky toddler might actually eat the nuggets and fries for her tired parents.  
And breast milk helps keep children hydrated, especially after tonsillectomies, which we experienced last month.  Millie wouldn't drink or eat, but she would nurse and that sped her recovery up dramatically.  Instead of the usual 5-7 days recovery, she was FULL STEAM at about 45 hours post-op.

So, without further ado (I could go on and on and on), I am going to continue to show that nursing aka BREASTfeeding is natural, normal, loving, and something people should see on a daily basis.  

Millie, 2 months

Millie 3 months

Millie 6 months

On the DART in Dallas, TX (9 mos)

Millie 20 months

Millie 23 months

On a Hike (13 months)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


When will I be whole again?

When will I pick myself up?

When does this end?


I'm tired.  Bone-achingly tired.  My eyes are parched and my soul is withered.  Isn't it enough?  When does it stop?  Just when I think I'm better, the anger creeps back in.  I'm not me, I'm some raving, angered, screaming ball of nothing inside.  The worthlessness and the pain, they come in and beat me upside my head, then leave me wondering who the hell did all of that.  I want the ride to stop I want to get off.  I want to be who I was then.  One thousand, six hundred and nine days ago.  Back when I knew bliss and I took it for granted.  I want to be her, looking at the other possible realities and thinking, 'Hmmm, unlucky her.'  This rock on my chest doesn't help me float.

I want to go outside and scream it.  I miss you.  I need you.  I haven't forgotten you.  Not for one of the 8335872000 seconds since I was happy with you.  I feel like it's that next day, 1608 days ago.  That's how raw it all is.  I am frozen right there, losing you every day, over and over again.  All the smiles, the tears, the love, the laughter, the raging hormones of a teenager, more love, leaving me and coming back again.  You'd walk out that door and you'd come back.  You would.  I walked out that door, and I'm never, ever coming back.  Not who I was, not anymore.  I left with you.