Thursday, January 31, 2013

Moo Cow

Cup of coffee, check. 
Oh, oops, that's not coffee!  

Just kidding. That's my wine from a few nights ago. The lovely thing about my Iphone is I can share a drink with friends without actually going out and joining them. That is usually the only option, lately. Peter is not a fan of me leaving the house without him. This is Peter:

He's even that cute without the cool Jack the Pumpkin King hat. He's my cling-on, my constant companion. He's 8 months old and the second sweetest person I've ever met, the first being my husband. I think Peter gets all his greatest qualities from his dad.
Anyway, thank goodness for my husband's family, I would never see the public sphere sans baby without them. Husband doesn't even like staying with him for too long. One of the great Daddy-inherited qualities Peter possesses is obsessiveness. I meant to say persistence. When Peter decides its been too long since he's seen me (more accurately, my boobs) he starts to whine, then cry, then he gets dramatic. He actually growls sometimes. Wouldn't know it by looking at him, would ya? So we've been practicing leaving him with various family members so that I can get out and explore my identity as more than moo cow. He does enjoy holding his own sippy cup, as long as its filled with mama milk. This requires me being hooked up to the breast pump for up to an hour a day at different times, which I HATE because I really can do very little else while I am being milked like Bessie for the morning cream.  No formula for this kid. He wants the homemade stuff. This is in direct contrast to his solid food preference. He can't stand the baby food I make, he only wants the jar kind. I can't blame him, really. My baby food making skills are not great. I choose to blame the lack of fancy, over-priced tools. So, really, we are saving money by buying the jarred stuff. HA!

The question of identity and mommy breaks is a big one in our house lately, and a big one in my circle of women. One of the wisest things I ever heard a mama-to-be say was 'I am ready for it to not be about me for awhile'. I knew, with my 7 months pregnant belly and 13 month old toddler as evident experience, that she was without doubt ready to be a mother. When you have little bitty ones, it just can't be about you. They need too much from us. It is my happy job to provide lots of kisses and fun activities in addition to fulfilling their physical needs. I am so fortunate to be a fulltime stay at home mom, part-time daycare provider for other bitty ones, because I get the most kisses and snuggles.

There are drawbacks, though.  If you don't have a job outside of the home and other (adult) people regularly interacting with you, it can start to seem like you are merely a vessel, no longer a person with personal needs, wants, interests. You are the gadget that provides the milk, the food, the toy-reacher, the diaper-changer, the gate-opener, the nose-wiper. Children, especially those under 5, do not care about your agenda or your needs. And, really and truly, they aren't SUPPOSED TO.
I have to say that again. They do NOT CARE. They do not care if you are an artist, a singer (although they like it when you sing at full volume, especially selections from Les Mis and sometimes The King and I. Maybe that's just my kids), they do not care if you are trying to start a business or if you are a writer (ha! sorry I had to laugh at myself with that one) or if you haven't had a break or sleep for 4 days. They are not supposed to care. They are supposed to grow and learn and develop and PLAY. And your job, your MOST IMPORTANT JOB is to provide that opportunity for them. You OWE THEM THAT BEST CHANCE. When they are bigger they will owe you bathroom cleaning, lawn mowing, back rubs, possibly credit in 'who's your hero?' school essays. But now, when they are little, they deserve this time to get their best start, their best chance at being their best selves.
So, if you will excuse me, I have to go play Moo Cow and hook myself  up to the breast pump so that my youngest, my Peter, my cling-on lovie, can practice with his sippy cup.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This morning we had a poo-splosion. Mommies will recognize this as the times when the poop overtakes the diaper and spreads down the leg. My two year old doesn't care if he is covered in uck, so he makes an even bigger mess by continuing to play as though everything is fine. So, into the bath he goes. He had a blast.

Sometimes, motherhood can make you feel trapped. Need to go to the store? The baby is sleeping. Or sick. Or ornery and you cannot imagine having to get through an entire store with the whining and the fits. Or the poopy explosions keep happening over and over and over and you can't even get out of your bathrobe, much less out the door. Planning a road trip with two kids in diapers and one nursing becomes an exercise in strategic preplanning. (okay, if I get up at 4:30am and pump, he can hold his sippy cup for his morning feed, and then they should nap, and if I have to change a poopy diaper I can pull way over to the side of the road, if I need to pee and they're sleeping I will just have to hold it until I die...). Its marginally easier when Husband is going along. I remember the good old days when, if I felt like taking off for a few days, and work wasn't in the way, I would. I would drive for hours for a one day visit. Now, it has to be REALLY WORTH IT. I bring this up because my sister is moving to Korea (which is pretty weird because I have another sister who already moved to Korea and my mom is there now with first Korean resident sister) and I think I am going to drive down to Texas with the boys to spend a few days with her. But Husband can't go. Am I crazy? Probably. Bring it on.

So, the trapped feeling. It may seem counterintuitive, but if I stop trying to escape, the trapped feeling goes away. Okay, that isn't counterintuitive at all, that completely makes sense. Give in to your jailers and resign yourself to your years in the Bastille and the time is smoother, quieter, more content. I am totally kidding, I don't actually feel like I am in jail. I distracted myself with the jail metaphor.

What I mean to say is this:  My best days with the boys are the days when I show up. Not when I turn on the TV, not when I hide in the corner of the kitchen with the computer, not when I carry my phone all over the house with me and obsessively check my email and Facebook (I actually deleted the app to try to stop doing this, and now I just use Safari. Damn the convenience!!). The days that I leave my phone where I can hear it but can't reach it, the days the computer stays shut while they are awake (unless its time to Gangnam Style. That's different. More on that another time) the days the TV is only on when I need 20 minutes to get a meal prepared...Those are the amazing days. This morning, Benjamin was getting into his 'blue chair' (blue hand-me-down highchair). I went to give him a hands up as usual and he yelled 'no! no hands!' It took me a moment to realize he wanted to get into the chair unassisted, thank you very much. That was the first time he's refused my help. I was very taken aback- and know we are now entering a new phase, the part where he slowly but surely starts to pull away, claiming his own body and will and life direction. I know intellectually that this started happening the moment he showed interest in something other than nursing...but it still feels like a milestone. I have looked at him more closely since that moment this morning, trying to find my baby in the little boy. We built with blocks for about an hour, and he was overjoyed at the quiet mommy-Benjamin time. I was overjoyed, too. In a quiet, content kind of way.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Creating Momology

The suffix -logy means 'study of'. I am starting this blog because I have learned over the last two years of being a mom that it is an ongoing study, there are no hard-fast rules to follow, and the stories and musings of other bloggers has been sanity saving since I discovered all of you out there. We need to share with each other, and be there for each other, desperately. Plus, the word 'momology' is just cool, and I couldn't convince my partner in crime, I mean business, to let us use it for our baby swag venture.

Meanwhile, as I write this, I have had to change two poopy diapers (on the same kid) one regular diaper, feed two babies breakfast, pump breastmilk, and now I have my 2 year old begging to go play with his choo choo upstairs. I have to open the gate to let him upstairs. Very easy to do. But I also have to go lock the baby's room so that 2 year old doesn't go in there and crawl into the bed with the 8 month old. When this first happened, my husband and I said 'aw! how sweet! he wants to sleep with his brother!' and envisioned the lifetime relationship/bond developing between them- the two Ochoa boys against the world, running and flipping through life together like some sort of cloned Jackie Chans, never letting the other fall off the wall. I don't know why they are jumping onto walls. Insert tasteless Mexican joke here. I digress.

That feeling of sweetness and bonding (which was only experienced by us, I am sure) was shattered when, one day, when they were supposed to be napping, I ran upstairs when the sleeping baby started hard crying (you know the kind I mean) and I found 2 year old Benjamin jumping on the baby. Yeah. Fuzzy feeling gone. Thank goodness Benjamin is skinny and the mattress gives a lot.

Now I feel I must insert apologetic and defensive words about how Benjamin is a totally normal 2 year old (he's not quite 2 yet, but he is in the way that all of his skills are 2, so he's 2.) He loves his brother in that 'let me hug you now let me ignore you and accidentally on purpose sit on you' way that is typical of his age. He's a sweetie head, especially when he wants something. His baby brother worships him. I know this probably equals big trouble in a few years. Benjamin loves to sing, loves to hug, loves to have conversations about 'who is this? what is this? where is that?' and play with messy things. He still kisses with his mouth wide open, like a baby. When he was one year old he became enamored of a Russian Opera singer and walked around the house imitating the movements and vocalizing he saw on YouTube- on key. Extremely entertaining kid. I adore him. He made me a mother. He changed me on a cellular level. Literally.

Right now I can hear him grunting next to his train table. Sigh. Third poopy diaper. Then laundry, then maybe I will get to shower before I go off to enjoy my Sunday. This is how this blog will be- Starting with one topic, and moving around as I am distracted and pulled (by the hand, by Benjamin) in different directions. Mostly I hope it helps me focus on the important things while I navigate through mommyhood. I hope it reminds me to laugh at all the ridiculously cool things my kids come up with. I hope it reminds you to laugh, too.