Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Staying at Home

I get the distinct feeling that I'm not cut out to be a Stay at Home Mum.

I love my little monster.  I love him so much that sometimes I cry about it, just break down sobbing at how wonderful he is.  But I don't think I was built to be a stay at home parent.

I always knew I wasn't maternal.  Even as a child, I knew it.  Which is why until I was about 25, I was dead-set against having kids.

When I met Mr. Wolfman, kids weren't something we discussed and not long after we moved in together, I found out that he thought he was too old.  I was fine with this.  Then, a year or so later, I was looking at him, and I thought, I really want this man's babies.  So I asked him if he didn't want kids, or just thought he'd missed his chance.  Turns out, he did want them, and so did I.

But that doesn't mean that my personality just changed and I suddenly became a big ball of maternal sunshine.  It didn't and I'm not.  And while I love my son, literally more than life, I still don't particularly care for babies in general.  And I don't feel like being home with him 24/7 is my calling, per se.

It's hard to put into words.  It's not that I think there is anything wrong with being a SAHM.  In fact, I think it's incredibly noble and something that is far, far more difficult than people (including me, before I was one) realize or give credit for.  So when I say I want to do more with my life, I'm not saying that dedicating your life to your children isn't doing something.

The truth is, I do want to do more with my life.  I want to be more.  I don't want to be defined as the little monster's mummy, or Mr. Wolfman's wife.  They're roles I love, but I don't feel like they should make up the whole of who I am.  The truth is, that in 20 years or less, the little monster will move out and move on.  If we do a good job raising him, and maintain a good relationship, we'll still see or talk to him frequently, but he's not going to need us day-to-day.  The truth is, that long before I came along, Mr. Wolfman had defined himself as a strong, educated, confident man.  He has a lot going for him, and if you took away me and the monster, there would be no question about who he is.

Me, I feel like I just sort of squeeze myself into whatever role suits the moment.  I spent my young adulthood putting off my own development.  I was raised to get by, so I've been getting by for my whole adult life, working jobs I hate, filing away lists of things I want to do, or learn, or be, when I have the money or when I have the time.  Now that I'm a mum, it's becoming painfully obvious that I will never have the money or the time, unless I steal it or make it.

In theory, this should be inspiring.  I can make the time.  I can save some money to pursue what I want to pursue.  But, fuck.  I'm tired.  I'm so tired that the thought of thinking about the necessary steps to get a part time job is exhausting.  The act of considering starting a little at home business puts me to sleep.

And anyway, all of this should be done after the housework, which is never, ever, ever done.  Because the contemplation of doing dishes puts me into a zoned-out coma.  The very idea of laundry makes me want to weep.  I feel like it's a struggle just to keep my head above water, which is shameful, when I have a wonderful husband who goes above and beyond, and literally all I have to do is look after the monster and at least attempt to keep the place tidy.

Time for a diaper change.  And then a feed.  And then, and then.  One of these days, I'll do something productive.... one of these days.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Boring (but Informative) post about Cloth Diapering

Within a very short time after finding out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper. There aren't very many reasons to do it, but what reasons there are are good ones.
  1. It's better for the baby
  2. It's better for the environment
  3. It's cheaper (assuming you don't use a diaper service)
Three reasons, that's it.  Very briefly, it's better for your baby, because there are no harmful chemicals being held against their skin.  It's better for the environment because you're not dumping plastics, harmful chemicals and human waste into landfills*.  It's cheaper, because, even though it's a big initial investment, It's less than half of what using disposables costs.  It cost us $450 for our stash, $150 for a mini washing machine (not necessary, but we live in a building with shared laundry) and $50 for a diaper sprayer.  That's a total of $650, plus whatever extra water and electricity is needed.  Disposables, which run us roughly $26/week would cost us $1,352 in the first year.  If we ever have another little one, we won't have to buy cloth all over again, so we'll save huge there.

The 4th, not-really-a-reason-reason is that there are some adorable colours and patterns to choose from.

Our stash consists of 6 Blueberry Basix AIOs (All-In-Ones), 6 Charlie Banana and 6 Bum Genius Pockets, and one prefold cover with 3 soakers, which I still haven't worked out how to use and can't remember the brand of.  It's not quite enough to use all the time, but I think another 3-6 AIO or Pocket diapers would do the trick.  All of our diapers are one-size, which means that until the little monster was about 10 lbs, they were too big for him (even if they say they fit 8 lb babies, it may not be the case, so read the reviews)

The Blueberry AIO has the cutest shape, giving him a little bubble butt, but the downside is that they take forever to dry after washing (I have to hand-ring them and we hang-dry everything).  The nice thing is that you don't have to fuss with trying to find the right insert for the diaper, because it's attached.

I think the BumGenius are my favourites, because they dry really fast and don't seem to leak ever.  But they're quite bulky, so on the smallest size (the monster is now on the middle size), they take up a lot of room.  It makes sitting awkward for him.

The Charlie Banana, I think start from 12 lbs.  With one insert, they're super trim and look great under clothes... but they leak.  You need two inserts (which to be fair, they do tell you on the package).  With 2 inserts, they're bulky.  Not quite as bulky as BumGenius, but not trim.  Like BumGenius, they dry incredibly quickly, though not as quickly.

Practically, it does take more time with cloth.  But not much more.  Diaper changes themselves are just as fast, but instead of putting the diaper in the garbage, it needs to go into a pail,  after being sprayed if it's poopy.  Washing them takes me a while, but if I had a normal washer instead of a portable one that has to be filled by hand and has no spin-dry, I imagine it would take a lot less time.  The majority of my washing time is spent filling the washing machine and hand-wringing the diapers after they're clean. 

You also have to use non-petroleum ointments with cloth, which means not the super-cheap Vaseline that we use with disposables.  There are some great ones on the market, though.  

What we do right now, is combine cloth with disposables.  At night, because the little monster never poops and usually doesn't wake up to eat, I don't change him unless he wakes up on his own, or I can feel that it's heavy.  So he wears a disposable, because they are better at keeping moisture away from his skin.  The first diaper of the day is likewise disposable, because I want him to have some daily tummy time without that bulk until he's able to crawl.  And because I'm paranoid, I feel like the bulk of a cloth could make his car seat harness less effective, so if we're driving somewhere, he's in a disposable.  The rest of the time, he wears cloth.  Because our stash is a little small and we hang-dry, that means I have to wash them daily.  I'm looking forward to the summer when I can save time by drying them outside.

We're still using disposable wipes because the cloth wipes I bought ended up being used to wipe away drool, and I don't want to accidentally use the same cloth on his face as his ass. We need to buy more cloth, colour-coded wipes before I'll feel comfortable.

*You're supposed to clean the poop out of disposable diapers before putting them in the garbage.  Before the little monster was born, I quite condescendingly mocked people who don't do this.  Now that I've had first-hand experience with newborn poop, I understand why no one does. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Thoughts on Circumcision

On my birth board, it's considered a violation to refer to male circumcision as genital mutilation.  Which is exactly what it is.

I mean, look up the word genital, look up the word mutilation and draw your own conclusion.  Unless you're mentally changing the meaning of one of those words, there aren't that many possibilities.

This is something I feel strongly about, obviously.  Anything that puts babies and scalpels in close proximity is something I feel strongly about. Especially when the reasons for doing so are so stupid.

The one, not-very-stupid, but I think very misinformed reason I often read/hear is that a circumcised penis is a healthier penis.  It's less likely to get dirty or infected, or have a funny smell.  It's weird to me that women with vaginae (which are a lot more complex) are so hung up on the idea that, left uncircumcised, their sons won't be able to simply wash their penises. It's not that hard, people (no pun intended).  Little baby penises just wipe clean.  And as long as it's properly cleaned, there is no increased risk of infection from being left intact.

Ok, on to the other (extremely stupid) reasons people get their kids cut...

Religion.  The stupidity of this shouldn't need an explanation, but I'll give it one.  What if your son doesn't follow the same religion as you?  What if your son converts to one of those religions where it's considered sinful to alter your body?  What if your God created your son exactly the way He wanted him to be? What if your religion is a load of crap, and you've just cut a chunk off your son's penis for the sake of a made-up invisible man in the sky?  If your religion asked you to cut off a piece of your child's ear or nose, would you do it?

He should look like his father.  Ok, one, ew.  Why the HELL would anyone want their son's penis to look like their sexual partner's penis?  Why?  Why would anyone care?  How often do you think your son is going to be comparing his penis to his father's?  Is your family made up of nudists, or does your son's father just let it all hang out?  Would you dye your baby's hair to match his father's?  I mean, that's a lot more noticeable in nearly every situation, and it'll hurt a lot less.  OH, PS, adult penises and child penises don't look the same anyway.

He'll feel self-conscious around his friends.  Do boys usually just sit around with their dicks out, taking notes?  Also, in most of the world, circumcision isn't the norm and in the West, it's now about 50/50, so...

Women Won't Know What to do with an Uncircumcised Penis
It's not hard to figure out.

It's Better to do it as a Baby (it doesn't hurt as much/he won't remember).  By this logic, we should all have carte blanche to do whatever the hell we want with our kids, until they're about 2 or 3.  I mean, obviously children don't experience pain the way human people do, right?  This is a huge burden off my mind, too, because I guess I can just leave my baby home alone while I go do whatever.  As long as I make it back before he starves to death.. it's not like he'll remember anyway.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Long, Long Overdue Post

I'm bad at this, apparently.  But the Little Monster takes up so much time (I know, surprise, surprise, right?).  This post will be a little hectic, but the following ones should be better.  I just need to remember to write, then find the time.

Upcoming posts will have to do with:

  • Cloth diapering
  • Vaccinations
  • Circumcision
  • Sleep (or the extreme lack thereof)
  • Staying at Home
  • Toys
  • Some other Stuff

This post, just to keep it relatively short, will be an update on everything that's happened in the last 4 months, and where we find ourselves.

The Little Monster is 4 months old.  He's huge, or at least he seems huge.  His hands are massive, but they always have been, compared to the rest of him.  He can push himself up on his belly, and roll front-to-back and back-to-front and although he used to hate it with the firey passion of a thousand suns, he now tolerates tummy time. He can't quite sit up on his own, but that doesn't stop him from trying.  Crawling is much the same.

He talks constantly.  Just chatters away, sometimes to us, sometimes to his toys or his feet.  The cutest thing he's done recently was smile and start saying "Boo boo booo" with a mouth full of boob.

He smiles and laughs a lot and every time he does, I feel like I could just die of happiness.  It's the most wonderful thing in the world, and it's nearly impossible not to do silly and ridiculous things 24/7 just to try to get a smile.

He has a favourite book.  I didn't think it was possible for babies this young to have favourite anythings, but he has a favourite book and a favourite toy and a few songs which he clearly prefers over others. Neither Mr. Wolfman or I are particularly musically inclined, and the Monster finds it hilarious when we sing to him.  Except at night, when I sometimes sing him to sleep. Sad music makes him sad, the same way as it always did for me as a child (until I was maybe 11 or 12).

Where I am: I'm not getting any sleep.  Last night, I was up with the monster every 45mins-1.5hrs and had nightmares in between.  My wonderful Mr. took the monster for 2 hours(!) this morning and let me sleep.  It was absolute bliss, but nowhere near enough to catch up on 4 months of next-to-no sleep.

Also, I've confirmed what I've long suspected: I'm a terrible housewife.  I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mum.  My husband suggested we switch in a few months, and if I can find a job that will pay enough, I'm all for it.  Mr. Wolfman has so much on his shoulders right now, and I don't feel like I'm pulling my weight, but at the same time, I'm permanently exhausted and starting to go nuts with cabin fever.

Well, the little monster is waking up.  He's been napping behind me on the couch, but, of course sleeping when he sleeps doesn't work if he can roll off and hurt himself.

More posts to come :)