Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's Talk About How Disgusting I Am

So, I have this problem. It drives Mr. F absolutely crazy - he has to give me a talking-to at least once a week. I haven't bothered to look into how common this behavior is, because I don't even think it's that big a deal. It cracks me up, actually. So what's my problem?

I hoard food.

We moved to where we currently live seven(!!!) years ago. There is nothing here to eat except the world's most pathetic Stop and Shop. If you follow me on Instagram, you know all about how I feel about that place. I feel really far removed from anything good to eat. I frequently travel 30 miles to Trader Joe's or even further for Whole Foods, I spend way too much money at the farmers' market every weekend, and heaven forbid I come across food I can take home if I'm in NYC.

Because I will take it home. And then I will NEVER EAT IT. I get it home, and in a fruitless effort to not eat it all in one shot and waste its glory, it sits and rots until one day I hear Mr. F in the kitchen, furiously slamming moldy food into the garbage can and cursing me out under his breath. Meanwhile, I'm hiding out in the other room, half laughing and half feeling ashamed of my wasteful tendencies.

A month ago, I was in such a situation where I found myself in a French-Korean bakery in the city. A French-Korean bakery is a thing! Did you even know that?? I did not. So that's why I spent a whole bunch of money carting home all kinds of delicious pastries. I didn't even know what they were. I can't read Korean. Who cares? They looked fun. I put them in my bag and went on my merry way.

Recently, I decided to finally unpack my bag from that trip (that was a month ago, remember?) I think you know where this is going. I unzipped my duffel bag, and flies came out. FLIES CAME OUT OF MY BAG. And then the smell hit me. Oh, it was terrible. It took me a second to realize what was going on, and when I reached into the duffel bag, moving aside some clothes that will never smell the same again no matter how many times I wash them, I knew. I felt that familiar feeling. I heard Mr. F in my head, as I sat there with a bag of unidentifiable black fur in my lap, letting the shame wash over me. I had done it again.

Look at this. Look at it! It's almost a thing of beauty, isn't it? Ok, I know it's not. You don't have to lie to me.


This one was equally horrifying to hold in my hands. Who's ready for some science?! Those are not poppy seeds.



Please just take a moment to appreciate the carefully cultivated fur. This one actually creeped me out when I pulled it out of the bag. I didn't even want to touch it, even though it was wrapped up.


So, yeah. I sat on my bedroom floor with these former pastries spread out around me, nervously checking over my shoulder to see if Mr. F was coming in.  I immediately felt violated as I realized that I had been sleeping in a room with this rotting food for a month. This stuff was just sitting over in the corner growing as we slept every night. Could it hear us? Was it watching us? I don't know. I spent way too much time thinking about it before sneaking the bag into the kitchen and burying it in the garbage like a well-seasoned criminal.

If you're reading this, my dear, patient, handsome, smart, funny husband... there's my confession. I bought expensive pastries and ate none of them. They rotted in our bedroom for a month. In your duffel bag that I stole from you. Sorry?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Story to Close Out World Breastfeeding Week

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
In my last post, I talked about how I've been interning with some awesome lactation consultants in my area. Part of the services they offer is a monthly support group for past and current clients. I've had the pleasure of joining the group for the last several months, but I've never led one by myself. Until yesterday.

All of my mentors were attending a seminar, so I offered to host the group by myself. I was nervous because I am an awkward jerk, and when I get uncomfortable I tend to say stupid shit that doesn't make any sense and usually makes me look like a total creepy moron. And I usually get uncomfortable when I'm responsible for offering some kind of good experience to everyone in a room. I figured the odds were pretty good that at the very least I would sweat through my shirt, and at worst, I would kick off a chain of uncomfortable moments that I wouldn't be able to stop once I got going. It's kinda my thing.

I got there early, set up the room, and moms started showing up. Things were going really well, I was surprised that I wasn't making everyone in the room want to crawl out the door! One of my goals was to make everyone feel comfortable enough to feed their babies in the group. I remember being a new mom and not wanting to whip it out in public. Even in "safe" places, like my own house sometimes. I made my dad leave the hospital room when I first had Kid A because I was embarrassed about it. I get it. We do have rooms where moms can go to nurse if they're not comfortable, but in this group, everyone was really cool about it and got right down to business. I was pretty proud of them, and myself.

No sooner had everyone gotten comfortable than the door busted open. There was the mailman, standing there holding his one single stupid piece of junk mail, gawking at our circle. He laughed nervously. I stared. He said, "Whoooooooa, sorry ladies! My wife's gonna be mad! Heh, heh." I just said, "BYYYYYYYE dude, happy world breastfeeding week!" I cracked a joke to the moms as he backed out the door nervously. Thankfully, the moms laughed it off and we moved on from the incident.

This might not seem like a big deal if you've never been a new mom, nervously navigating the challenges of breastfeeding for the first time. It can be a very fragile balance - for some moms, a bad experience or something that makes them feel ashamed about it can be enough to damage the whole relationship. I did not want to be any part of that happening!

I started out writing this trying to give it a funny spin, because it was funny. It was funny because I am in that office all the time and NOT ONCE has the mailman come inside. Every single time I'm there, he shoves the mail through a slot in the door. I've never even seen his face. So of course on the day that I was sitting there trying to hide my nervous sweaty armpits, the guy comes in and acts like he walked in on something weird. Of course. Because that's how my life goes, all the time. I've come to expect it.

There's the obvious underlying issue that makes it kind of not funny - the fact that the guy clearly felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing, when he would not have acted like that had he walked into a room of women giving their babies bottles. It's not his fault, I don't think he's an asshole or anything. I don't blame him for feeling nervous or uncomfortable. I used to wonder why we had to shove breastfeeding in people's faces. Why we had to post pictures of ourselves nursing our babies on social media and hashtag them and why we had to do things like "nurse-ins" where a bunch of moms get together in a public place and all nurse at the same to time as a form of protest. I honestly thought it was obnoxious. But I get it now. It's unfortunate that we have to have hashtags to #normalize something that IS normal.

Feeding babies is normal, however you choose to do it. Don't let any mailman tell you differently.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Some of you may remember that I lost my job last April. Well, shortly afterwards I decided not to continue on my current career path. With the support of the awesome and patient Mr. F, I threw caution to the wind and did a complete 180, pursuing a path towards becoming a lactation consultant, professionally known as an IBCLC. That's an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, for the 97% of you who are most likely wondering.

That's right. I abandoned my corporate career that I hated, choosing to take a 100% pay cut (for now anyway) in order to help moms breastfeed their babies. I cherish the time that I breastfed Kid A so much, and I want to help others to experience that also.

It has been very challenging so far. The requirements for certification are not easy to achieve by any standard. If you're lacking a medical background, like I am, it's even more of a challenge. There are basically two ways to do it - in addition to completing college courses and breastfeeding-specific education, you can volunteer as a breastfeeding counselor (like La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, or in the WIC office) for a minimum of two years to obtain the hours of experience needed, or you can find someone to mentor you and complete 300-500 clinical hours. I chose the latter, and after almost a year of searching, I have found some absolutely fantastic women who have agreed to mentor me. After you've completed all of the requirements, you take a rigorous (so I've heard) test that's offered once a year in July. So if you don't pass, you have to wait another year to take it again. No big deal, right?

I consider myself extremely lucky that my mentors agreed to take me on. It's not like IBCLCs are a dime a dozen... It was not easy finding mentors, and I am so fortunate to have found some that are not only ridiculously accomplished, but are working to advance the field as well.

So to sum it up, things have been great. I've been learning a ton, and I am loving all of it so far. I have experienced some incredible things - for example, I was able to help a prospective adoptive mom make milk. I was there when she made those first precious drops. Absolutely amazing. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And now, for some FAQs:

Some actual questions that I am frequently asked...

A laca-what? Is that, like, a real thing? Are you making this up?
Yes. It's a very real thing. Problems with breastfeeding are a lot more common than you'd think. Lactation consultants can work in hospitals, where they hopefully get brand new moms off to a good start. They can be on staff at a pediatrician or OB's office, or they can work for WIC. I'm working in a private practice right now, so the moms I see have babies who vary in age and a very diverse range of issues.

Are you going to make any money doing this?
Don't worry about it, mom. I'll figure it out.

So, you walked away from a decent-paying career that you put all those years into and now you're an intern? Are you crazy?
Yes.

What are you, some kind of boob nazi now?
Yes.


Do you get to see lots of boobs all day?
I do. But it's not what you think.


I gave my babies formula and they turned out fine.
Of course they did! Let's just get my judgement potion out of the way first. That's not a question, and this is the frequently asked questions section.  Now, onto the answer portion. Believe it or not, we actually give babies formula pretty frequently. A lot of people apparently think that supporters of breastfeeding are automatically looking down on people who formula feed. Not even close to true. Babies need to eat, and sometimes there are problems with breastfeeding that necessitate the use of formula. I didn't choose this path because I hate formula or because I want to persuade anybody to breastfeed. I don't care what people feed their kids, it's not my business. I chose it because I want to help moms who want to breastfeed their babies.

So that's what's up. Thanks for sticking with me!





Thursday, April 24, 2014

Watch Out, Don Draper

I don't know if you know this, but I used to write advertising copy for a living. It's something I've always loved doing, even as a kid. I took the liberty of "designing" (using that term very loosely here, ha!) an ad using copy I wrote when I was in fifth grade.

Yes. I wrote copy for fun as a child. Call me, Crayola!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thoughts I Had at the Town-Sponsored Easter Egg Hunt

"Yay! An egg hunt! A FREE egg hunt! Reliving my childhood through my kid is my favorite thing!"

"I wonder why my parents never took me to any of these egg hunts when I was a kid?"

"Oh... I didn't realize this was a formal affair. I guess I should have maybe changed out of my pajamas. Everybody is really dressed up here! Oops. At least I brushed my teeth."

"Wow, look at all those eggs! Kid A is going to love this!"

"Holy shit that Easter Bunny is creepy looking."

"Better get Kid to the front of this crowd so he doesn't get trampled by all these bigger kids."

*whistle blows*

"RUN!!!!!!! RUN!" FUCKING RUN! GO! GOOOOOOOOOOOO! DAMNIT, YOU'RE NOT RUNNING FAST ENOUGH! PICK UP AN EGG!"

"Hmmm. I think I might have just tripped someone's kid."

"Definitely elbowed a kid."
 
"Is anybody watching me? I look like a friggin idiot."

*2 minutes and 11 seconds after the whistle blows.....

"My poor kid got zero eggs. Not one."

"Ooooh! That kid isn't looking, maybe I can just take one of her eggs. She'll never know."

"Eh, the mom's watching me. I'd better not."

"Let's just stop at the store and get some candy on the way home."

"NEVER. AGAIN."

Kid A, dressed like a slob, not caring that he didn't get any eggs



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - The Test of Ultimate Coolness

Long before buzzfeed, hell, long before Al Gore graced us with the internetz, I was generating quizzes to help people correctly determine their self worth. Go ahead, take "The Cool Test (the test of ultimate coolness)" and find out if you're all that and a bag of chips or just a fart knocker.


The Cool Test

the test of ultimate coolness


1. Who are you a wanna-be of?
a) Jim Morrison
b) Eddie Vedder
c) Kirt Kabana
d) no one

2. Who's better, Beavis or Butthead?
a) Beavis
b) Butthead
c) they suck
d) they both are cool

3. What's your favorite color?
fill in the blank

4. Do you like Onyx or White Zombie or Danzig the best?

5. Name two songs of The Doors

6. Name three songs of Pearl Jam

7. What's one part of your body that you would pierce?

Results:

1-8 points
You're a nerd! You stupid wuss. You wouldn't know coolness if it flew up your butt! Try to be cooler. Think before you do ANYTHING!

9-16 points
You're ok - you could be cooler, much cooler. You may not be as cool as Jim Morrison and Eddie Vedder, but you're cooler than those stupid English guys on Z100.



18-23 points
You're really cool man, but you're probably not as cool as Kate and Becky. Anyway, no matter how high you score, you most likely will never be as cool as Jim Morrison.



Who's judging you???



This mad dope beeotch who wore her mom's sweater and cut her own bangs for picture day! Looking back, I'm not sure I had a handle on the whole scoring thing, since there doesn't seem to be any sort of scoring system attached. That being said, it's hard for me to tell whether or not "Kirt Kabana" was a red herring that my genius self threw in there to throw off all the posers, yo. Considering my apparent burning torch for Eddie Vedder and Jim Morrison, I'm going to give middle school me the benefit of the doubt. What does it matter, anyway? None of us will ever be as cool as Jim Morrison. The Lizard King.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday, Literary Edition

I'm not sure if I have ever tried to convey to you people of the importance of never, ever throwing anything away. If I haven't, consider this your life lesson of the day. Don't do it. Keep everything.

Now that that's established, please, take a trip with me into the horrors of my 11-year-old mind. I was ridiculously excited to discover my old creative writing notebook from 6th grade. That excitement turned to sheer horror as I uncovered my past as junior Stephen King. The following is copied directly verbatim from said notebook.

Let's read, shall we?

Where are YOUR Parents?

     The weather was fair. Partly cloudy, it felt as if it were going to rain. Chris looked around. Today she would find something to do if it killed her. (Not figuratively speaking.) The sky clouded up even more. She got worried because she was at least a mile from home.
     
     Little drizzle drops fell on her face. "Oh oh," Chris thougt, "I'd better start heading home now"

     She started to jog. The harder she ran, the harder the rain fell. 
     
     She slowed to a fast walk. She thought she was right at her house then, but she could have been mistaken. All that was there were two large black bags with red sprayed all over them. Next to the bag was a narrow hole.

     She decided to give up and see what was in the hole. She'd look for her house when the rain stopped. 

     Chris lowered her body into the hole. It wasn't very long before she reached the bottom. A very odd looking couple appeared. They asked if she would stay the night. That's the last thing she'd remembered.

* * * * * * *

     When she woke up soft, brown dirt was all around her. Next to her were two bloody bodies. They were her parents. She screamed. But then, only the dead could her her WHATTHEHELLWHY WOULDANELEVENYEAROLDCHILDWRITESOMETHINGLIKETHIS? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?



As you can see, my teacher left a coment. "Very 'eerie'" she said. I think what she meant was "Somebody please call a priest or something."