Friday, 22 March 2013

10 reasons why having a dog is NOT like having a baby...

Let me start this by telling you that I am a dog person.  I've grown up with dogs my whole life, I love them, I think they're fantastic.  Who wouldn't love that sweet slobbery face of love with that unconditional wagging tail of joy?  But if one more person tells me they know what it's like to be a sleep deprived parent because they have a dog that has to pee in the middle of the night, I will probably kick them in the face.  

Having a dog is NOT like having a baby.  While you may call them your furry children, they are not your offspring.  There is something VERY different about caring for a small helpless human compared to caring for a dog.  Don't believe me?  Want to send me hate mail?  Bite me.  Pun intended.

But ok, if you want to argue... no problem, I'm game.  Here are the top 10 things you must do as a dog lover to convince me that you indeed are treading water in the same deep end as the rest of us, called parenthood.

1.  You have rocked Fido to sleep.  Let me be more clear.  It's 3am, they're whining and pacing.  You have picked up that doggy, and rocked them in your arms until they have passed out.   You try to put them down in their own bed, only to have them wake up and start howling-- so you pick them up again.  They claw at your face trying to destroy you in a cranky temper tantrum as you desperately start rocking them again.  You repeat this vicious cycle every 20 minutes until 5 am before resigning to the fact that you will be 'sleeping' upright in the damn rocking chair the rest of the 'night', with this dog in your arms. (Oh, and you can't take the dog back to where you got them, you're stuck with the one you got sucka!)

2.  You have been barfed on while lying in bed together, and then because it was 4:23am (just slightly too early to get up and bath your dog) you've put a towel over top of the barf, wiped your dog off as best you can and went back to sleep.  

3.  You've planned your life around 90 minute intervals feeding intervals for at least 4 months.  You have stopped everything that you are doing to hold them, cuddle them, and make sure that they eat.  Doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, stop - drop - and feed.  Oh, this applies to the wee-waking hours of the morning peanut, just to be clear. 

4.  You take your dog with you everywhere with a twenty pound bag filled with their 'stuff' (food, water, blankets, toys, hand sanitizer, toy sanitizer, extra leashes--incase yours breaks, bags for the poo poo, and something to carry them in if they get tired).  Now I mean, EVERYWHERE.  Like grocery shopping, to the restaurant, to the gym... EV-ERY-WHERE.  If not, you find someone to watch them or you do not get to leave your house without them -- no exceptions

5.  You have picked snot out of their nose with your fingers.  And when that wouldn't do,  you bought a teeny turkey baster and felt an extreme sense of victory when an enormous snot ball gets freed.  You consider keeping it to show  your significant other of your achievement.

6.  They have shit in your hands, and you didn't throw up.

7.  They have urinated on every bit of your body.  Face, hair, arms, behind your knees.  You name it, it's been pissed on.  Your reaction?  Laughter, because dog urine is pure and angelic.

8.  You never, and I mean never go to sleep unless they are sleeping.  If they aren't sleeping and it's been 4 hours since their last nap, you do everything in your power to make them sleep.  If they are awake, you are also.

9.  You have an unhealthy obsession with their bum hole.  You've powdered it, smeared cream on it, poked at it, smelled it, and quite possibly asked other people to smell it.  You have gotten all up in that chocolate starfishes face (more than once), just to make sure everything is normal (because apparently you're an anus specialist).  Extra points if you have used a q-tip to fish hard poop out of the 'hole of ass' because he's constipated.

10.  You have checked on them at least 53 times while they were sleeping just to make sure they weren't dead.  Like a stalker, you have stood over them as they slept to see if they were breathing.  If you couldn't tell, you poked their leg to make sure they moved.

Bonus:   You have let them suck on your nipple.  Actually, if you have done this, you have bigger issues than you realize.  Seek help.  Immediately.    

This goes to show you can find ANYTHING on the internet.

Ok, so I know and you know that having a dog is awesome.  They're great companions.  But lets agree that they are emphatically not like raising a baby of your own.  Perhaps I confused you because I have a harness and leash for my 8 month old tornado of a son but I have raised many dogs and am raising a son and it absolutely, positively, not even close to the same thing.   I'm sorry to break it to you but if my child is 12 and needs surgery that I think is too expensive, I don't have the choice of euthanizing him.  Nor can I leave my child alone in a crate for the work day.  Now lets be clear here, I'm not hating on dog owners, because I am one -- and I love me my doggie, she's awesome.  But I'm just done with people making a completely bogus analogy between the two.  When I tell you I'm sleep deprived, just nod in sympathy, buy me a coffee, or just don't say anything -- but for the love of all things holy, don't tell me you know what I'm talking about because your dog needed to take a shit at 5 am-- because clearly that's the same.  

Crazy dog people, do still want to send me hate mail to convince otherwise?  Go ahead.  Here's my email address.

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Monday, 18 March 2013

... My experience with Mom Guilt: My sons first injury....

My son, the little tornado that he is, has just acquired the skill of being able to pull himself up on everything.  Absolutely everything.  Did I mention he is only 8 months?  I swear to you I blinked and the child went from a beached seal doing yoga tricks to the holy terror of fearlessness.  *blink* Oh shit, he's pulling himself up on the dishwasher where there are sparkling clean knifes. *blink* Dammit, how'd he get to the stove so fast.  Don't pull yourself up on the warming drawer! *blink* How the hell did you get to the bathroom, and don't you dare pull yourself up on that... toilet. *blink*  

The child is able to teleport himself ALL over the house to dangerous areas.  (On his 11th birthday, I fully expect to have an owl come to my house inviting him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.)  He pulls himself up to stand on absolutely anything (the more hazardous the better) and proudly eyeballs me while bouncing up and down on the spot-- essentially laughing in my face, taunting my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  So as you can imagine I'm totally on edge, laying on the floor eye-spying the entire house for any I-can-climb-up-here-and-lose-a-limb-while-eating-poision kind of area.  Smugly, I think I baby-proofed this house like a boss so, of course, the universe had to teach my over-confident self a lesson.

And here's when the event-that-shall-not-be-named begins.  I had to get dressed, and toted my baby wizard upstairs with me, along with some of his toys, to our room.  I can outsmart an eight month old right?  Closed the door, dropped to the floor on my belly --double checked the room.  Whoops!  Grabbed the iPod charger out of the wall.  Ok, I think I got everything.  Down to the floor you go little man, play on playa.  

I turn my head for 2 seconds.  Two.  Seconds.  Just long enough to grab my 'good-wear' yoga pants out of the drawer when I hear the most blood curdling scream.  My worst nightmare has come to life, my heart is in my throat and I'm about to throw up.  In the TWO seconds it took me to turn away, my son pulled himself up on our super tall book shelf.  He somehow, with his super ninja magic skills, levitated to grab the second shelf.  (Wingardium leviosa!)  But when he needed to steady himself -- he grabbed a hard cover book called "How to Deal With Having the Worst Mother in the World" and of course he fell backwards and the book fell directly on his left temple, barely missing his eye. 

Now I'm having a panic attack.  Things are swelling, there's for sure a scrape.  I don't know if he's concussed.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  I am bear hugging my child for dear life as he bellows like a banshee, tears streaming down my face because I have just nearly killed my child.  I start singing his bedtime lullaby, he starts to settle.  I must have kissed the top of his head and apologized a thousand times with so much guilt.  He calms down, the bruise is forming and it's almost nap time.  My head is spinning, I don't know what I should do.  I know it's not life threatening, there's no gushing blood.  But my precious perfect baby has a scrape, and now some bruising and it's so close to his eye.  What if it's a concussion.  What if I am not over reacting and I put him to sleep and he doesn't wake up.  Ever.  Must.  Calm.  Down.  Maybe I should take him to the hospital.  Oh shit, what are they going to think?  They're going to question me like I'm some kind of child abuser.  Oh dear God.  

Out of shear panic of my child being taken away from me by protective services, I call my husband at work to confess of my terrible parenting.  He calms me down, but suggests to call teleheath (a toll-free number in Ontario where you can talk to a nurse who will access your concerns and make suggestions on home care or whether or not you should go to the hospital).  Ok, good idea.   

Ever call there?  It's a consistent gong show.  I don't know why they're my first choice every time I have something the matter with me.  But it never fails -- I call them, just to get the reassurance I need.  At this point I'm pretty certain everything is ok.  My son has completely settled down -- he seems totally fine but I just need to ease my mind.  As I carry my precious baby boy tighter than ever, my guilt rises in my throat each time I catch a glimpse of his war wound.  I dial the number and I get the nurse on the phone.  Now prepare yourself for the most idiotic conversation, EVER.  

Nurse:     Hi Ma'am, how old is your son?

Me:    8 months old.

Nurse:     How much does he weigh?

Me:    22 pounds.

Nurse:     And what is the reason for your call?

Me:     My spiderman child climbed up a bookshelf and pulled a hardcover book on his head.  Specifically on his temple.  

Nurse:    Is he bleeding?

Me:     Nope. (probably would have just taken him to the emergency if that was the case...)

Nurse:     Is he convulsing?

Me:     Uhh, (confused...) nope.  (definitely would have called 911 if that was the case...)

Nurse:     Is he responsive?

Me:     Ummmm, (completely bewildered...) yesss.  

What the hell???  Do you think I would stay on the line this long if my child was passed out in a pool of his blood having a seizure?  Really.  REALLY?! Breathe Stephanie.  Moving on...  

Nurse:     Is he having trouble walking?

Me:     Uh, absolutely.  He's an eight month old baby.

Nurse:     But is he wobbling when he walks?

Me:     Umm, he doesn't walk.  He's a baby.

Nurse:     Oh, ok.  Alright.  *pause*  Is he talking confused?

Me:     Yah see, he doesn't talk because he's an EIGHT month old baby.

Nurse:     Yes, I know that but when he talks -- is it confused babbling that doesn't make any sense?

Me:     (You've got to be kidding me...) ...uh, yeah... when he babbles -- it makes no sense, because... He's.  A.  Baby.  

Nurse:     But does he sound confused?

Me:     Well, he seems about as level headed as he usually is. (...seriously, I give up..)

Nurse:     Ok, can he see?

Me:     From what I can tell.

Nurse:     Is his vision blurry?

Me:     *silence*  He is an 8 month old baby, I really don't know how you expect me to answer these questions.

Moral of the story.  Call telehealth of you're in need of something to distract you from almost killing your child.  By the end of this conversation, I seriously was so dumbfounded by the questions that I actually started scribbling them down for this blog because they were so off-the-wall.  I almost forgot that I felt like the worst mother in the world.  

In the end, he was fine.  No concussion.  Perfectly a-okay except he's marred with a scrape on his face that is a constant reminder of how quickly things can happen.  I seriously have pictured the whole scenario over and over again in my head with the bookshelf falling and seriously injuring him as the alternate ending.  And now I have nightmares of him eating toilet bowl cleaner and other horrible poisons and having to rush him to the hospital, with that helpless 'I'm hurt Mommy' look on his face.  A manifestation of my mom-guilt I'm sure.  

Being a parent is so hard for so many reasons but one seems to take the cake.  A piece of your heart is forever outside of your body, free to roam this big bad dangerous world.  I know he'll never remember the first time he got hurt, and later he'll only remember that Mama hugs and kisses make everything better -- but I'll never forget that scream nor will I be able to rid myself of the enormous rock of guilt smack dab at the bottom of my stomach.  I now completely understand my parents stalking phone calls, needing to know where I've been and what time I've gotten there even when I'm a 31 year old adult mother of her own child.  This boy is my world, the love I feel for him is indescribable, I wish I could protect him from everything.  Now where's the magic spell for that Dumbledore?  Protetum Mybabyboyus!

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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Don't worry, you can't see my nipple...

Breastfeeding in public.  Still so controversial in the year 2013, it has even been comically addressed on two of my favorite TV shows -- The New Normal and Modern Family.  In the New Normal, they end up organizing a flash mob of breastfeeding Mamas and their babies all dancing around to "Milkshake" (you know... my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...) at a local restaurant that asked one of the breastfeeding Moms to go and "do that" else where because it was making some of the other patrons uncomfortable.  While in Modern Family, Gloria answers the door while breastfeeding her baby -- the UPS delivery guy takes his time getting her to sign a bunch of papers so he can peer at her boobies longer.  Gloria's husband gets pissed off, and gives her shit for breastfeeding in front of people because it's weird and somehow sexy to other people.  Both had brilliant comedic timing and caused me to burst out laughing.  But then it made me think ...what the hell is so offensive about a baby being breastfed?

My milk shake brings all the babes to the yard...

I definitely have answered the door while breastfeeding, and received shock and dismay from the person (who was a friend coming over for coffee... not a complete stranger).  I've even had people sit in my living room, all shifty eyed, staring at the ceiling while my son eats unable to carry a conversation with me.  And I wonder, why the hell do people have to act so damn awkward?  What is it about breastfeeding that is so controversial?  Inspired, I decided to write a letter to the general public telling them to calm the hell down...Because, they're only boobies people...

Dear Anyone Who Has Seen A Baby Breastfed That Isn't Your Own,

Hey, hows it going.  No, no, up here.  Look me in the eyes and stop peering at the back of my baby's head like if you look hard enough you just might see my nipple.  Let me explain to you the proper etiquette of being around a baby who is being fed by milk that is sucked out of a boobie.  First and foremost, calm the hell down, stop acting so awkward, and relax.  Seriously, what is the problem?  Are you afraid you might actually see a nipple?  Sorry, but you're not going to see anything but the top of my breast mounding up like I have an excellent push up bra on.  Trust me -- the nanosecond my nipple sees the light of day, my baby will be sucking on it quicker than you can say gazoombas.  

So if you can't see my nipple (which clearly would be earth-shattering) lets talk about the real issue you're having.  You can't stop visualising my nipple getting slowly tugged on, can you?  Curious like when you drive by a car wreck and hope you don't but really hope you do see something?  Listen.  Let me solve 'The Mystery of the Milky Nipple' Nancy Drew.  My nipple grows, so much so it elongates to nearly the back of my child's throat, roughly an inch.  Grossed out yet?  Well grow up.  We're mammals, and maybe you should deal with that.  Hear my child coughing?  My milk finally let down (even with all your uncomfortable glares).  So much milk squirted out, from multiple holes in my nipple, that it caught him off guard.  Hear him murmuring?  Let me translate for you, he's saying "Stop staring at my food, I won't share... Take a picture it lasts longer... Gawd damn this is delicious.... Mmmmmmm!" 

Or is the problem you have with me is that you think I'm being inappropriate  and that I'm trying to steal your husband?  Well sweetie, I'm more covered up than the girls that work the bar at Moxies -- so order yourself some med bread and have a beer to simmer yourself down.  All you can see is my childs feet poking out from underneath my enormous cape, and quite frankly he's eating more polite than you.  Even if I didn't wear this stupid nursing cover, you'll see just as much if I was wearing a low cut shirt which is never offensive, it's sexy and beautiful.  So please, explain to me how I'm being disgusting.  Didn't your mother teach you not to stare?  Give me one more dirty look because my child had the audacity to be hungry (at a restaurant no less) and I'll squirt you in the eye.  Thats right, with my evil husband stealing breastmilk. 

And please, for the love of boobies stop asking me when I'm going to stop breastfeeding my child.  It is not repulsive or sleazy or weird that I feed my 7 month old, 22 pound child from my breasts.  It is common place to breastfeed for a year, or (hold on to your 1940's panties) longer -- and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it nor is it any of your damn business.  This does not make me a pervert or a paedophile.  Nor does it make me a clingy mother who has attachment issues.  This makes me a woman who persevered through cracked, bleeding, fissure ridden, burning, hurting nipples for the health of her child.  I pump in between feedings to keep my milk supply up.  I take medication to ensure I can lactate properly.  I have woken up at every hour of the night, because my child was hungry -- and stayed up for hours on end to make sure he learned how to eat properly.  I have rearranged my entire life so my child has access to the exact type of nutrition that his little body needs to grow because my breastmilk changes to meet every single one of his needs.  

So pardon me, when I finally get my shit together and get my isolated ass out in public to grab a coffee and look through the books at Chapters that I need to pop a tit and feed my child.  You think you can judge me and give me dirty looks for being a good mother?  Well, know that I'm judging you for being uneducated and blatantly ignorant.  And don't bother to tell me to go use the bathroom to feed my child so that you can feel more comfortable and less repulsed.  How about you go and take your fresh mocha-choco-latte and sit in a stall with the dried urine on the toilet and a person shitting in the cubical next to you.  Mmm, smell that?  Urine, feces, and fresh coffee.  Drink up.  What's disgusting now? 

Another thing, while it is "natural"-- for many women, breastfeeding is not easy.  In fact, for me it is a perpetual uphill battle.  I've struggled since the beginning with my supply.  By the time my son was six-weeks old, I had to start supplementally feeding him while he nursed with a tube and syringe so he had enough to eat.  Just when I think I've got my supply up to his needs, he goes and has a growth spurt and back to the tube we go.  I take medication to help lactate, make lactogenic cookies, pump and pump and pump my milk like I'm a cow (trust me, there is NOTHING sexy about pumping milk out of your boobies-- in fact, it is the least sexy my boobs have ever been), and even drink beer when my supply seems low (...interesting fact, the brewers yeast in beer will one-up those boobies to engorgement by morning...).  I am constantly fighting with my body to make enough milk for my ever growing son.  I've only met two women who have struggled with the same issue as me, but trust me when I tell you that this is just one example of many sacrifices women make in order to breast feed.  I know women who had mastitis, open fissures on their aerola, bleeding nipples and blood blisters but still pushed through all of that hell because they, like me, made a choice to breast feed and stuck by it.  

So if you tell me to bottle feed my child one more time because you see me struggling with breastfeeding, I will hide my sons sweet-yet-putrid smelling shit diaper in your car, and it will take you weeks to find out where the smell is coming from because I am a hiding ninja.  Here is my unwavering response-- I made a commitment to breastfeed my son.  End of story.  Being a mother isn't about making the easy choices, it's about making the right ones for you and your baby.  So just so we're clear, I breastfeed my son, it's none of your business how long I do it, I'll stop when both of us are good and ready.  Capeesh?

While we're on the topic, really, just really, can we stop the breast vs. bottle war?  Mothers shouldn't judge other mothers.  Period.  No one knows what the other has been through, but boldly assume it has been difficult.  Anyone who says, "Ah, it's just so easy being a Mom...I have all this free time and I'm so rested, I hope my next pregnancy is triplets!"... is delusional and doing something bloody wrong.  Seriously, show me a good mother that has loads of free time and I'll show you a unicorn that farts skittles.  Just because I choose to feed my child one way, doesn't mean you can't feed yours another.  As long as you're not filling your child's bottle with Coca-cola or your Timmy's double-double (sadly I've seen both, no lie)... I really don't give two shits what you do.

So to conclude, yes my child is enormous for a 7 month old but someone has to be in the 95th percentile.  You know how he got there?  From my boobies.  From the milk that floweth from my nipple.  That's right, my titty-tatters got my babe all huge and healthy.  So deal with it.  You eat when you're hungry, he eats when he's hungry.  And if by chance he needs to eat while you're around me, just look me in the face and talk to me like I'd talk to you while you're scarfing your sandwich.  It's seriously as simple as that people.  

And the only thing disgusting about any of this is your attitude towards breastfeeding as you casually look through the Victoria's Secret catalogue.  Hello... kettle?  Its me pot.  Just wanted to let you know that you also are black.  Lets agree to stop.  You stop bothering me while I feed my baby and I won't judge or stare at your too tight muffin top jeans, hairy ass crack when you bend over to grab your change you dropped on the floor, cleavage, pot belly, or even your horrible breath as you try to dispense parenting advice to me.  Deal?  Stop your tirade of nasty glares, and realize I'm not a hippie Mom who is going to rip her top off to parade around topless to make a political point before latching my son on for some nom-noms while I try to steal your husband.  I'm just a regular Mom feeding her baby when he is hungry.  It's a simple human rights issue -- he's hungry?  He gets the boobs.  But don't worry, my milkshakes only bring one boy to the yard...


I love to multi-task.  Here is my son and I as
I do yoga, and breastfeed.  Namaste.
I kid, I kid.
Seriously though, WTF?

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