March 11, 2011

this moment

This is a blurry cell phone picture of an ice cream sandwich. And if it were anyone else, they'd say, "This is an ice cream sandwich that I ate this week. It was EPIC. The end." But that's not how I roll around here. I say things the long way.

But yes, that ice cream sandwich was epic. Mint chocolate chip ice cream smashed between two homemade chocolate cookies. I wanted to marry that ice cream sandwich. But I didn't. I was too busy chasing my toddler around.

Let me start over.

Roy and I took the boys to the zoo on Sunday. Our hopes that they would nap in the stroller while we were there were dashed. They both just screamed instead. We left the zoo in hopes that they would fall asleep in the car. Charlie did; Simon kept on screaming. We had to pull over into some random LA parking lot so that I could nurse Simon. There was something that looked like a dried turd on the ground near our car. (That is unrelated to this story. It was just something I noticed and that made me want to vomit. Plus I was pulling a Britney because I was barefoot, and who wants dried turd on their foot? I had taken off my shoes and socks, because I don't really like wearing them. I'm country, you know, because I grew up in Texas on four acres of land. But I have never driven with my baby on my lap.)

Back to the story. Simon was very happy to be held and nursed. I think he was just lonely. Since the car wasn't moving anymore (good grief, these boys are particular!), Charlie woke up and was not a happy camper. Once I got Simon all snuggled back in his car seat again, he wasn't a happy camper either. We drove for awhile, listening to their protests, and then decided we all needed to get out of the car for awhile. We stopped in one of my favorite little towns. Charlie needed a diaper change, and Simon needed to be fed (again). I sat in the driver's seat nursing Simon while Roy sat in the passenger seat and changed Charlie. People walked by and were staring at us. My boob was hanging out and Charlie was crawling all over the place, pressing random buttons, without pants on. Roy and I couldn't stop laughing.

Finally we got Charlie back into his pants and Simon into the Ergo. Charlie immediately took off down the sidewalk, Roy chasing after him. I was trying to find my shoes and after rooting around in the car for awhile, discovered that I couldn't reach them because it would be too difficult to perform those kinds of gymnastics while wearing Simon. Roy came to my rescue, handing Charlie off to me. Charlie was very absorbed in a leaf he picked up off the ground but then all of a sudden went tearing down the sidewalk. I chased him down the street in my bare feet, Simon bouncing along in the Ergo. I must have been quite a sight. All I could think was, "Five years ago I bet you never would have guessed your life would be like this."

Charlie was retrieved, my flip flops made it safely onto my feet, and we hit up the little ice cream shop for a snack. That's when I got the epic ice cream sandwich, which I immediately began eating as soon as we went back outside. It was awesome. Pretty squishy. I was having a hard time eating it because Simon was crying and I was trying to comfort him at the same time. I pretty much shoved it into my face as fast as I could. Then I had to chase Charlie down an alley. I was holding my hands in front of my face because I know I had ice cream and chocolate all over it.

That wasn't the end of our Claremont adventure. I decided I wanted to go into the awesome music store. I really really really wanted to browse. That's what music stores are for! However, I had to settle for a 10 minute visit during which Charlie ran out the door repeatedly. Only to be brought back inside by Roy, screaming. (Charlie was screaming, not Roy.) I was holding Simon, who was drooling everywhere, no doubt. I asked Roy if he wanted me to handle Charlie for awhile, and he said, "Sure." I took another look at my screaming child and said, "Eh, nah. Let's get out of here."

And so we did. And again, we couldn't stop laughing. Later on, Roy said, "I think it's awesome that we're those parents who are laughing while their kid is screaming."

Me, too.

This week I realized that I have come into my own as a mother of two. Up until now, I've kept the outings to a minimum because I was too scared to handle two kids in public by myself. But this week alone, I took both of them grocery shopping, to campus, to two friends' houses, and to the music store. This is huge for me. And it feels good to not stress so much over the logistics of it all.

But it's not just about the outings. It's so much more than that. It's this feeling I have when I go to bed at the end of the day. I know I give them my best every single day. I may not be the best mother in the world, but I am exactly the mother they need me to be. I don't care if they scream in public (well, obviously it would be nice to avoid it), but if they do, I don't believe it's a reflection of my parenting. I faced a lot of disapproving stares this week, particularly at the grocery store when Simon started crying hard because he was hungry. But babies cry, you know? It's what they do. It's how they communicate. And it's not fun to hear, ever. But it happens. All the judgy looks in the world aren't going to change that.

We took Simon to the doctor for his well check about a month ago, and one of the questions I asked was about how much he spits up. Simon spits up a lot because he nurses for comfort quite a bit. He's ingesting all this extra milk and as a result I get to change my shirt five times a day. He won't take a pacifier so when he is fussy and can't be distracted or comforted any other way, the only option really is to stick him on my boob. Problem solved. Anyway, I asked the doctor about the spitting up, just to make sure that it wouldn't cause any problems, and we got into a stupidly familiar conversation about how Simon is eating too much and that is why he weighs so much. (If you click on the link, you'll see that he told us the exact same thing about Charlie, only Charlie wasn't spitting up a lot.) I asked the doctor what to do and he told me that we needed to let Simon cry instead of letting him nurse for comfort.

That pretty much goes against all my parenting philosophies. I mean, really?! I'm supposed to let my three-month old baby cry it out because he wants to be comforted? It's pretty much the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard and I have not taken his advice. I still don't have a solution for the spitting up, but I know it isn't letting him cry. I know that because I am his mother, because he has a brother who also was (is) big for his age, and besides Roy was a big chunker of a baby, too.

That's quite the tangent, but hopefully you'll get what I mean. This whole thing with Simon? I could so easily have taken it as an attack on my parenting. But it's not like that. I mean, maybe the doctor meant it like that, but if he did, I think he's dead wrong. I think letting babies cry instead of meeting their needs is mean and I refuse to do it. (Although we did sleep train Charlie, but to me that was not mean at all.) I don't care what the damn doctor says. Well, I do care, when he gives me good information instead of crap. Ahhh, I should change the subject because I'm getting mad over this.

Another realization I came to this week? It's about this blog. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed writing these posts every Friday. Committing to posting just once a week has given me a lot of space to think about why I blog and what I want from this.

It seems pretty common to get sucked into caring about how many followers you have, who's reading, blog stats, gaining popularity in the blog world. I'll admit that I've thought about it. I'll admit that over the past year, the amount of comments I get has gone way down, and there have been times when that has bothered me. I took it personally, like I am somehow boring or whiny or too wordy. That is why I really, really, really came close to ending this blog last summer. It's hard, you know? To offer yourself so fully and not hear back the way you imagined you would.

But that wasn't the reason I started this blog. I started it because I was moving away from journaling and still wanted to talk about my life. I love the blogging medium, that you can share pictures and video and songs along with words. It's such a rich experience, to read a blog, if you really think about it. I've put so much time and energy into my blog, and so much of myself. As I've written these snippets of my life since the beginning of the year, I've come to realize that I have stories to tell that are worth sharing, and if I get zero comments or 1000 comments, that simple fact is not going to change. Because I didn't start sharing them for other people; I started my "moment" project for me. And because of it, I have gained clarity and purpose. I feel a renewed passion for this blog. I am not sure if I will blog more often, because gah, seriously, where is all the time I used to have? But I am happy and excited to be here again. If this continues, then I have an awesome idea for blogging in 2012.

It's like I've been cracked open and am a brand new baby chicken or something. Finally, a step backward to what feels real.

And here is where I say thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for being a support system for me. Thank you for giving me a space to be honest about my life. I have been a part of this world for four years now and I have learned so much. I am continually awestruck and inspired by what's out there. We live in an amazing moment in time and I love being a part of it. (And yet I often long to escape it. But that's a subject for another undoubtedly long post, and hey, I actually already have written about this.)

Happy weekend! Thanks for letting me ramble.


Sara said...

This whole post had me saying YAY all throughout it :)

Eric's Mommy said...

What a wonderful post, made my day :)

phairhead said...

Have you thought about contacting La Leche League or a lactation consultant?

I love yr blog! Mwuah!

sherthebear said...

Hey Les, if it makes you feel better, no one comments on any of my blogs (and I have more than one, LOL), but I keep blogging, go figure.

Your pediatrician sucks telling you to let your baby cry and that Simon is eating too much. No such thing!

Patty said...

You go, Leslie! I am so glad my grandsons have such an awesome mother!

Amy said...

I've thought about ending my blog a few times before as well, especially considering how infrequent my posts had become. But like you I keep it because I need that outlet since I don't really journal anymore. Keep it up. I may not comment all the time but I'm reading. :)

Kimberly said...

wonderful post! As you know, my blog has gone up and down too. It is a mess. However, I enjoy the outlet it provides. Readers/comments or not.

I think you are a wonderful mother. Just the fact you are able to reflect on what is going on in your life, your thoughts, feelings, actions, shows how much you really do care. When I have kids, I hope I'm like you; the kind of mom that is laughing while kids are screaming :)