October 6, 2018


My weight has yo-yoed since I was a preteen. Part of me assumes that I was predisposed to be a huskier gal because my parents were big, but clearly, there's a diet aspect of it. The best way to curb my sweet tooth has been to limit carbohydrates, which was hard enough when I lived alone but is an uphill battle since getting pregnant. My doctor told me when I was a few months in that I didn't need to eat carbs during pregnancy, but Zach begged to differ.

When it was just me, I could buy low carb food and cook because I had all this energy from not giving a shit about anyone else. Now I can't even count the times I had to turn the stove or oven off in the middle of cooking something because Zach was having a meltdown. The counters are cluttered with stuff that I have had to move out of Zach's reach, and I'm too short to reach the high shelves. This also wasn't a problem when I lived alone, because I easily climbed all over countertops and furniture like the nimble thirty-six year old I was. Then when I was in my third trimester, I was hanging curtains, and the chair I was standing on buckled beneath me. I texted Jason crying that I was now the fat sidekick in a buddy comedy.
Six weeks pre-pregnancy, all fresh-faced and relaxed.

I assumed after giving birth, I would lose a ton of weight pumping and breastfeeding, but my body decided against that plan. For the past year, I have felt a combination of physical exhaustion and insatiable hunger. The more solids Zach eats, the better I feel, and the more energy I have. He really is a little parasite. My understanding of breastfeeding was that I would get back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a year while experiencing an extra special oxytocin bond with the baby. Maybe with the breast pump too. Instead, it feels weird, and sometimes like I'm a hostage.
Me now, suckled dry. 

The older Zach gets, the more awkward the breastfeeding gets. He does weird gymnastics during and if we are in public, has no problem suddenly moving to expose me to the world. So on one hand, yay, I'm nourishing a life. On the other hand, I miss wearing a bra with underwire that keeps my boobs and dignity in place.

Now that I'm trying to wean him, I have hopes that I can start bouncing back, but this is dependent on my not getting pregnant again. Now that I'm breastfeeding less, I'm ovulating again, so it's a possibility, so I have to either go on birth control or run from Jason when the Lions win. Fortunately, that a rare occurrence.
Zach's bizarre breastfeeding position. My boob has been censored out because I'm only comfortable with immediate family, friends, distant relatives, Denny's, and Ripley's aquarium seeing them. 

Instruction Not Included

Since my entire day is consumed by Zach, it would be helpful if he was a better muse. I don't know how there are so many parenting blogs out there because babies are boring. Also, if I tell the truth about my parenting style, there's always some guy quick to make a joke about calling child services. They can't comprehend the mama bear nerve it hits to tease about taking my baby away. Next time I'll joke right back about taking their cat, and they always have cats, and sticking it in a blender. That would only give them a glimpse of what I feel.

In my desperation to be a good mother, I read a lot of those parenting blogs. I also read parenting books and listened to too much advice. Very little of it was helpful. The most helpful thing was my realization that I am Zach's mother, and I know my baby. When he wouldn't latch, several people told me that it was "nipple confusion" because I was using bottles. His doctor disagreed, and so did I. My hunch was that because he was born early, his mouth was small and having trouble, but as he grew, it would resolve itself. Sure enough, by the time he was six weeks, he was only nursing and refusing bottles. Until then, it was painful thinking that I was failing as a mother because I couldn't feed him properly.

Not only does he refuse bottles, he finds sippy cups perplexing. It's embarrassing for all of us. I've now filled bottles and cups with every spout, nipple, and design out there with lemonade flavored Kool-Aid and stashed them all over the place. That way when he's exploring, he will come across one and try to figure it out. Instead of sugar, I use stevia or sucralose so that I can drink it all day too.

He also gets plenty of screen-time even though it's recommended that they don't get any in the first two years. I didn't do the best job of building a community when I moved to Pittsburgh, so it's just the two of us all day. It's too much for me, so I put on YouTube videos of kids' songs for him to watch so that I can do simple tasks.

The list of what I'm doing wrong is endless, but it must be right for Zach because he is thriving. At eleven months, he's already starting to walk and talk. When he wants to climb onto something, he finds something to drag across the room to use as a stepping stool. He went from being in the third percentile for size to the ninety-fifth. Most importantly, he is extremely happy and loving. I just wish he wasn't so curious because he destroys everything in his path, but I'm also proud of his curiosity. I just wish he could figure out a damn sippy cup already.
Zach's favorite thing to do is dance. If you even start humming a song, he will start dancing along.