Baby Legs

I can't really explain my obsession with making leg warmers for C. But, I do love making them and then putting them on her chunky, beautiful leggies! They're a quick project, they let me repurpose all sorts of things, and they help me keep my baby's legs warm on super cold days like today.

Mostly I've been using old, out-grown pants (the ones above) or onesies that I cut and stitch in one way or another. But, recently a friend gave me some old socks, and I pretty much went nuts. On one pair I picked up stitches and knitted a cuff, but then I figured out that I could use a bit of the sock foot to make a very professional looking cuff (the ones below). I'm irrationally pleased by this.


A Year in the Making

One year ago I did this:

And today, to celebrate, while she did this:

I finished this:

Can't wait to give it to her!



Last Thursday was a D-Day for me; "D" as in "dress," as in "dry," as in "done." I wore a dress to work, solidifying what has been a gradual trend--I don't need to pump or express milk in any way while I'm at work. I still do nurse a little at home now, when C. bumps her head, when she wants some extra nighttime snuggles, but all-in-all, she's more interested in exploring than nursing. The bottle of cow's milk easily goes with her when she needs to check out the next big thing. And, as C. is my second and last baby, this is the near-end of my stint as a lactating momma.

In many ways, this is a good thing. Nursing is hard work. I've been the all-night diner (to paraphrase the Sears' Breastfeeding Book) for many, many months. I haven't had a good night's sleep in years.

J. was a nursing fanatic. She decided to wean from the bottle (which M. used to give her pumped breast milk on my work days) at around 6 months and wouldn't use a sippy cup until around 16 months. This meant that at the height of summer, she wasn't drinking anything on the days I was at work. Therefore, when she was an all-night nurser, I didn't feel that it was safe to set any limits until she was about a year or so. Weaning finally happened when she was 20 months old, because I was almost four months pregnant with C. and incredibly sick.

C. has been much more easy-going about the whole thing. She was a nursing pro from the get-go. She latched on perfectly in the labor and delivery room, twice. However, she has always been fine with taking a bottle of breast milk. I was SO relieved when it became clear that I wasn't going to be the only option for this one.

But, then that led to it's own problems, I think. Without constant on-demand nursing my supply started to dip when she as around nine or ten months (likely due to my Mirena monkeying with my hormones), and we ended up supplementing with formula. This was so very, very hard for me. I have read pretty much every page of each Mothering Magazine delivered to my mailbox and have been well indoctrinated into the "Breast is Best" mindset. My scientific, critical self as well as my emotional, nurturing self both really do legitimately buy into this, but I have been troubled by the impact of this perspective and campaign on those who can't or chose not to nurse. I've seen several women really struggle with this, and the real pain that results just can't be useful to moms or babies or society at large. Finding Hanna Rosin's article, "The Case Against Breast-Feeding" (which I found, by the way, because of angry critics in Mothering), was really helpful to me. While I don't agree with all that she says, she helped to shed light on much of the rhetoric and politics that surrounds the issue. I found Rosin's perspective a comfort when C. happily sucked down her first bottle of formula. More, though, I saw my baby, who had been a bit cranky for the last week or so, perk up because she was getting enough to eat. The change was needed.

So is this change. Pumping needed to be over. It was making it so I didn't have lunch breaks, couldn't talk to friends or colleagues for any length of time, and was stressing over the lack of milk that the activity was producing. And, I really missed wearing dresses. It was time, but there's still a bit of sadness and regret I feel even now writing this. And it's not really about losing the baby time with my kids--sure that's part of it, but that time is smoothly and delightfully moving into toddler and preschooler time. It's really about my own identity changing and shifting. This body will never be pregnant or nursing again. It will be a comfort and an anchor for my girls for many, many years to come, but I'm really out of the reproducing business. It's good; I don't want to do that anymore, but I spent a lot of time looking towards those experiences and now I don't know exactly what to look forward to in terms of my body's place in my life, in my dreams, in my future. Much more so than when I turned 30, I'm feeling older and uncertain. I'm really glad I love this wardrobe shift because the deeper stuff turns out to be really, pretty complicated.


Casting On

It's been so very long since I even tried to put words down to post and even longer since I've posted. The last few months have been so very busy and exhausting. When I look back, I can't exactly tell you what took up all the energy and time, but certainly it has to do with two spirited youngsters, a job listening to trauma 27 hours a week, a limited budget, stubbornness about making our meals from scratch and using cloth diapers, not enough sleep, and, oh yes, that pesky dissertation draft M. is trying to get mostly finished by the end of the month. Whew.

But, there's been lots of creativity and joyfulness throughout that time, too. And, often that has been what has taken me away from keeping up with this blog. When I have to choose between writing here and being in my life, there really isn't any contest. But, now in this new year, I'm interested in seeing whether I might be able to bring the blogging back in without having to give up important time I need for other things. We'll see.

Today seemed like a good day for it. I've been thinking about new things, new possibilities lately. Of course, January is often a time of talking about new beginnings, resolutions and the like. In the past, January as a time for reflection has never grabbed me much, however, January was when my lovely C. was born last year, and now that the anniversary of the month of her birth is upon us, I'm finding myself doing a lot of looking back and looking ahead.

Beginnings are hard, though. Knitting recently reminded me of this. I just finished a goofy cowl for myself, made out of yarn raveled from a sweater bought at the Salvation Army the other day.

The knitting was easy and brainless, but the casting on was vile. The needles I was using didn't help, but I've always hated casting on. I don't like the counting, I don't like having to guess how much yarn to start with (I always get it wrong the first time and sometimes the second and third. Grrr.), and I really hate the work of the first row, when the yarn is tight around the needle and not interested in getting started on whatever I'm proposing. (Here's the pattern--it's beautiful in cashmere, don't you think? The reused synthetic took it for a bit of a weird turn, but it's comfy and warm and I didn't bring anything new into the world.)

I've been thinking about the beginnings of therapy, too, lately. After a break of three weeks, many of my existing clients and I have to figure out some of the choreography of our therapy time anew, and I've taken on a handful of new clients in the past month or so. So, there have been many sessions that also feel like casting on--I haven't yet found that comfortable flow of the work yet. It is exciting to be in these new or renewed relationships and brings a freshness to the work, but it keeps me on my toes and yearning, some, for the relative ease of humming, purposeful therapy work. It can be tiring.

Which reminds me of a new beginning of today. Believe it or not, I went to the gym today. I know. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Over the holidays, our family joined the local YMCA, and I've been really excited and anxious about it. So, Saturday, J. and I tried out the "family fun pool" (it was, in fact, true to it's name). Today, however, I really pushed the new start thing. I took advantage of the free childcare rooms; J. and C. both played in the childcare area while I worked out a little. This was a BIG THING--C. had never been cared for by anyone but me, M. or our mothers. However, C. did not seem to get the memo about this, and, true to her take-on-the-world nature, she didn't seem to have a bit of a problem with it. So, it amazingly was a new beginning with little fanfare.

I hope that putting words to the page will prove to be a similar experience in this coming year. I hope to cobble together some record of my adventures, my ponderings, and my creations. We'll see how it goes...