Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello, I'm Kanga and this is Roo

Long long ago in my single days, when my pets were my substitute children (because who are we kidding? Of course they were), I had an iguana named Beast. He liked to ride around on my shoulder. So I'd put his little leash on and stroll outside for a walk, and every kid in a 300-mile radius would come running to see the cool lizard. It was hilarious. I'd never been the center of attention that quickly, ever.

Occasionally I get a flashback of that when I stroll around with kiddette in her sling. People are fascinated. "Is there a baby in there?" "Wow, what a neat pouch!" "Oh, honey, look at the baby!" Etc. Which is kind of cute and amusing -- and yes, I do think I have the most adorable kiddette on the planet anyway -- but clearly a fair amount of the attention is over the sling.

Not sure why they're still such a novelty. I see parents using other carriers, like the Bjorn and the Ergo, fairly regularly. My Peanut Shell, though -- and all the other slings like it, rings or no -- not so much. Which is weird considering I got it at a big-box baby store.

Maybe slings are too hippie-dippie hipster for the North Jersey parenting set? Or maybe, and this seems more likely, they're not incredibly cost-effective since they seem to be designed for and marketed to women? (DH uses a Bjorn.)

I'm pretty fond of it though. Kiddette has ridden in it through a holiday craft fair, a holiday open house in a historic building and a train show, all of which were in stroller-unfriendly places, and we got around fine. Plus happy sleeper that she is, she snoozed through almost all of it. Pretty unbelievable with the train show, considering the huge noise in a small space and her brother zooming around like a maniac yelling "Trains! Trains!"

I guess I don't mind being the novelty act. And this is way better than carrying a lizard around.

Friday, November 20, 2009

H1N1 vaccinations: More fun than you can shake your fist at

So getting out of the way the whole Should I? Shouldn't I? part -- we have a toddler and an infant and I already personally know one kid who's gotten swine flu, and I'd rather risk side effects from the shot than side effects (or any effects) from the virus. But hey, you want to fret about government conspiracies, that is of course your call.

I got kiddo and me into a clinic for high-risk groups a few hours before registration closed out entirely. It ran 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and no you could not register for a specific time, what do you think this is, a haircut?

So we waited on line. And waited on line. And some more. And genius me for bringing the stroller, because I could stash our coats in the storage bin and have something to lean on while also keeping maniac kiddo contained in one spot instead of chasing him all over the room. You anti-stroller people, you have no idea how much they simplify our lives. At least I apologize when I accidentally run over your toe.

We moved from one line to a room where I had to fill out forms providing essentially the same information I'd already provided on the printouts from the registration. And then to another line, in which we discovered that they were going alphabetically by last name and I possess the most common first letter in the alphabet. Occasionally a guy walked back down the line calling out, "Any Ds? Any Fs?" I thought maybe we'd be getting a seating chart and a syllabus next.

Kiddo was putting up with all this remarkably well because he had a granola bar and my iPod. There's one episode of "Sesame Street" on it I just keep showing him over and over, and whenever he sees the iPod he says, "See Elmo!" Somehow he figured out where the earbuds go, though I've never showed him that, and he sat there playing with the clickwheel and listening to my music. I hope he didn't find the Metallica.

We got to the front (!) of the alphabet line and found out that we had to go to the "verification room" because kiddo got his regular flu shot last month and they were, I dunno, afraid he might explode or something. So we went to that room and waited on another line to be told that he's good to go, and we should go down the hall where there is -- wait for it -- another line for kids under 36 months.

We got there and there were two lines leading through double doors into a bigger room, and the nice lady who was trying to direct me started to bring me in front of the double doors, in between the two other lines. Another worker tried to stop me, assuming I guess that I was a line-jumper, and after I had a minor hissy and explained that I was following someone, he let me pass without a password or anything. And then I stood there at the front, on no particular line, waiting for I knew not what until the first worker beckoned me into one corner of the next room, which was apparently the kiddie corner.

They had quite the assembly-line operation going. Haul the kid onto a table, yank his pants down, stick him quickly, shove him off on his parent while he's screaming. Next!

I wheeled still-crying kiddo to a quiet spot against the wall and brought out my secret weapon: A fun-size Butterfinger. "Want some chocolate?" I wheedled. Kiddo stopped crying, perked right up and attacked it. Leftover Halloween candy, I love you.

The chocolate perked him up so much, in fact, that he was calm and happy while I got my shot and while we waited the required 15 minutes after to make sure neither of us had a reaction. There were rows of folding chairs set up at the other end of the room so all the recently stuck could wait together. Kiddo hung out in the stroller while I texted DH and we had another round of granola bars (it being past dinnertime). He was so calm, in fact, that the grandma next to us scolded her weeping little girl: "Look at that little boy, see how happy he is?" Oh, silly grandma, where's your chocolate?

And we're done. Except that kiddo needs two shots on account of his age. Can't wait to do this all again in a month, assuming of course there's any vaccine left.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lose weight sitting down!

Or such is the tone, more or less, of this article from the NY Times, discussing the weight-loss benefits of breastfeeding. It kind of treats the whole idea like some hot new fad diet, then suggests it might not work anyway, then finds people to criticize women for treating breastfeeding like some hot new fad diet. You horrible mothers for wanting to lose weight!

It's actually a fairly interesting piece if you get past the usual Times-ness: "Nursing mothers can buy form-fitting tops at so they can flaunt their shape as they push their Bugaboo." Yeah, we all drop $1,000 and up on strollers, you're so totally right.

But I'm not sure the approach works. For one thing, the weight-loss benefits aren't a new concept. Every article/book I've read on breastfeeding notes that as a possible side effect. And I can vouch for it, to an extent. I'll even roll out the numbers: I was 118 before my first pregnancy, gained more than 30 pounds (I'd say how much but I forget and also it was horrifying), and after just over a year of breastfeeding and not nearly enough exercise, I was hovering around 130. Which is where I started off the second time, got up to about 168ish, and eight weeks in am down to about 141. Hoping this time to go all the way down to 118, because there's a cute dress in my closet I can never wear again otherwise.

So yes, I'd definitely say nursing *helps* weight loss. But at some point I'll have to do the rest myself, either by walking more or showing up at yoga again finally, or chasing after kiddo a lot (I'd recommend that, actually. I could rent him out for running practice). And that I think is where the article stumbles, because it seems to suggest that moms might be able to lose all the weight solely by breastfeeding, and not also exercising or changing their eating habits. Because boy, it's easy to keep eating like you're pregnant when you're not anymore.

I do very much like this sentence though: "Breast-feeding mothers face many obstacles: little hospital help, public squeamishness and too-short maternity leave." Yes and yes. And I had a good experience in the hospital and really can't complain about my leave, but I've heard horror stories from other moms and it burns me up.