Friday, February 19, 2010

Mama Knows Breast, AP Carnival, airport books, and I can't eat noodles there again

I'm going for the gold for Worst Title Ever.


And she sticks it!

sleeping toddler face
He's angelic when he's a sleeping sicko and very, very grumpy when awake.
Mikko's been sick (poor guy), so I've been sitting around (watching Olympics, clearly) and listening to him mope and snooze and wake up flailing and cranky and then snooze some more. He seems to have some sort of virus that gives him a low-grade fever, runny nose, and terrible mood.

My lap and my arms have been constantly occupied, so not much else is getting done. At least a friend gave us her old Tivo, so I have lots of TV to keep up with! I think it's always inspiring to watch great athletes while sitting on a couch, snacking on Pirate's Booty. Makes me feel like a hero.

So I'm trying to catch up with several things at once while Mikko naps on my lap. I have both hands to type, but my laptop is rather precariously balanced, so we'll see how far I get.

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to BreastfeedingFirst of all, a reminder that you can enter to win a copy of Andi Silverman's Mama Knows Breast at Hobo Mama Reviews. If you're just starting out breastfeeding, it will guide you through what to expect. If you're a breastfeeding world champion, win it to give to a friend. I have this idea that every baby gift we give should be something that inspires the recipient toward natural parenting. Good idea? I think so.

Mama Knows Breast — Cindy Luu — nursing pillowYou can enter by just telling me something from the blog. Super easy. If you're already reading Andi's blog, just give me a sentence of something you remember, and if it's new to you, take a gander. She's got great breastfeeding news and information there.

You can get bonus entries for following her or me, so if you're already doing that, just leave a comment and you're in it to win it.

Golly, this is uncomfortable. Now I'm kind of tilted to the side, one leg is falling asleep, and my back is angry with me.

Get better soon, Mikko, because (a) I love you and (b) I want my lap back for whole moments at a time.

The Attachment Parenting Carnival is posted at API Speaks! The topic this month was the first principle of attachment parenting: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting.

My article Think ahead to the baby: A checklist for new parents-to-be is up there, along with amazing articles from Happy Mothering, Mama2Mama Tips, Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, Living Peacefully With Children, The Baby Dust Diaries, and more! I won't link to their particular articles so that you can all visit API Speaks to find the complete list. Thanks to Attachment Parenting International for sponsoring this carnival series! It's right up my alley, both for writing and reading. I love it.

A word about my submission, the checklist for new parents: I'm so glad the comments were positive, because I was afraid it was coming across as bossy. Well, maybe it was bossy, but everyone can handle a little of that?

A note to Taryn who commented so lengthily (ha! I've gone over the word limit myself so many times!), I have no way to email you from your profile and I wanted to see if you would like to guest post on the subject of preparing for the birth itself. Otherwise, I'll probably just crib your notes. :) I didn't even attempt to include that topic since it's so huge, so I was impressed you fit it all in, despite Blogger's attempts to thwart you.

I need a massage. At least I haven't dropped my computer yet.

The Noisy Airplane RideYou know how I recommended those airport/airplane books at the end of this post on Mikko's current favorite books but I hadn't read them yet? Well, we got them out of the library and — phew! — they're really good. They're fun to read and comprehensive in preparing a little one for an airplane ride, including elements like taking shoes off to go through security, waiting to board, buckling up, using the loud toilet in the lavatory, hearing the wheels kerchunk, seeing the world so tiny below, etc.

Although — I was reading them to Mikko this morning and Sam started whispering to him, "Fight the man, Mikko!" We usually follow more of an unschooling or continuum curve in our approach to situations, but this is one experience where I feel like a lot of preparation is necessary to head off meltdowns and being kicked off planes. Did you hear about Kevin Smith, for instance? Gah. Not that you can prepare for that sort of incident, but my general impression is that flight attendants are getting ever more quick to push the eject button.

My First Airplane RideSo I'm reading these books and really teaching Mikko about how we behave properly in an airport and on the plane, and Sam's trying to undermine my efforts (not really — he was just being a goof, but he had a valid point). What do you think? Is being overtly didactic necessary to prepare a toddler for today's highly charged airplane environment, or should I chill out and let Mikko observe the airplane experience as it comes at him?

Just to be very clear, here are reasons people have been kicked off planes recently:
And a bonus question for the airlines: Are we still paying customers, or are we dependent on your capricious good graces? I somehow thought we were customers.

Leg cramping up. Must shift positions. Should really decrease liquid intake, considering I have no prayer of standing up anytime soon.

strawberry milkFinally, my noodle story.

I like going to this teriyaki place near Mikko's preschool. Sometimes we end up there together, and sometimes I'm alone after having dropped him off. It's a good place to bring him when I need to get him out of the house, because there's cheap and kid-friendly shopping nearby and he'll eat all the broccoli on the plate, a couple pieces of chicken, and some yakisoba noodles and rice. That's seriously a huge meal for him, and it all seems pretty high quality to me.

Granted, he picks out the stupidest bottled drinks from the cooler. His current favorite, chosen after having seen another kid temptingly drinking one near him, is a syrupy-sweet strawberry milk he named "pink drink." He drinks at most a couple sips, and then I'm stuck with it for the rest of the meal. It's like swigging treacle.

So I had this grand scheme for the week, taking him to a different amusement each day to keep him out of Sam's hair while Sam was shrink-wrapping DVDs, but then Mikko fell sick and all our plans devolved into sitting around and wallowing. Yesterday, though, I was beyond stir crazy, so we ventured a modest outing: yakisoba and two short errands.

The lady who runs the teriyaki place is animated and gregarious. She always remembers us, and she chats Mikko up. I like her enthusiasm and cheerfulness.

But...yesterday Mikko was not feeling so hot. He was really zoned and out of it, and he occasionally would cough or sneeze and make me feel like a bad person for having a sicky out to infect the public. He didn't interact with the owner this time, and he ate woodenly (but at least he ate). Until — he choked on a bite of broccoli. It wasn't a big deal, at all. It wasn't a big piece that went down the wrong way; I think in fact it was a tiny floret tip that maybe rattled in his windpipe a little and startled him. He began screaming. And then he asked for what he always asks for when he needs comforting: nummies.

Well, of course. So I picked him up on my lap and he settled in for what I hoped was a quick breastfeed.

I've talked about this before, how I do breastfeed my toddler in public but worry about it nonetheless, but he needed it, on an emotional level, so I wasn't going to refuse. But the restaurant was more crowded than usual. I'd inadvertently stumbled onto the dinner crowd, whereas often there are only a couple tables occupied. I was aware of his breastfeeding, and the sleepy way he was drawing it out. I was aware of a solo woman at the table nearest me asking for a to-go bag and wondering in a paranoid fashion if she was hightailing it because of me. I was aware of Mikko's runny nose and wondering if he was still contagious and if I'd really done an unethical thing by bringing him outside at all.

And then the owner came over, and I hoped — hoped — she just wouldn't say anything. That she wouldn't notice, would pass on by, would get back to work behind the counter.

But of course she noticed, and of course she had to say something. "He's so big!" she exclaimed, laughing loudly. "He's still doing that?" She pointed us out to the woman who was leaving. "I can't get over this!" she yelled to the departing customer. "He's so big!"

Mikko was momentarily distracted, and I detached him and sat him back in his seat, urging him to eat some rice while I surreptitiously did up my bra straps.

I kept my face down and shoveled noodles in and hoped that was the end of it, that we could just finish eating and go home and hide.

But she came back. "Which milk do you like better?" she asked, pointing first to the sugary strawberry monstrosity and then to my chest. "Which milk? This one, right?" she said, gesturing toward the strawberry. She kept smiling broadly and laughing, and I smiled back, weakly but politely.

Mikko looked at her blankly, unsure what she wanted of him. He pushed his plate away and bravely attempted a response. "This one," he parroted, without pointing.

Silly woman, as if anyone could prefer that nasty "pink drink" to subtly sweet breastmilk. As if any toddler, when gagging and sick and sad and overwhelmed, would prefer a cold bottle from the refrigerated case over snuggling with his mama.

And, keep in mind, this is the same person who mocked Mikko for choosing pink milk the first time he did it, telling him a boy should want the brown chocolate milk instead. As if she can impart gender shame to a 2-yesr-old! She didn't succeed, and that incident just kind of rolled off my back as a funny anecdote I'd Tweet about later. But the making fun of my (full-term) (extended) breastfeeding (a toddler)? (Dang it, people, I need a term to talk about this!) There she hit a nerve.

I just wanted to leave. I know she didn't outright chastise me or kick me out of her restaurant or anything horrible, but I'm so embarrassed now to go back there. What would you do? What should I have done at the time? I'd love your opinions to inform my hindsight. Sigh.

Sam brought food home. Going to try to eat some General Chicken without spilling it all down Mikko. Wish me luck, and thanks for listening to my post from the sickbed!

Strawberry milk photo courtesy aschaeffer on stock.xchng. I could unfortunately not find something to convey the full horror of our drink.


Anonymous said...

I probably would have gotten a bit defensive and "educated" her on the benefit.

I would probably wish I had the "intestinal fortitude" to point out how inappropriate it is to point out the breastfeeding child, regardless of the size! (but would likely not have actually done)

Also, I think it is wise to help prepare him for airplane / airport experiences if you have one upcoming - so long as you don't present it as something you already think is scary. I think you could then be asking for trouble.

btw - kudos to you for putting Mikko's needs above other people's comfort zones (even your own).

Anonymous said...

Oh! I think it would have been *awesome* if you had pointed out that your breasts were *also* quite large... the better for nursing your large child! ;-D

Lauren Wayne said...

Oh, my gosh, your second comment, Jorje: I totally should have said that! You're cracking me up. I do think it's really awkward, first of all, to shame a breastfeeding mother — but when the child is old enough to be shamed along with her, how much more horrible is that! I mean, fortunately for us, Mikko's not yet at the age where he fully comprehended what was going on, but I know he was confused by it all.

I don't know if this is significant, but this woman has a thick accent so I'm never sure how good her English comprehension is. It makes talking with her feel a little awkward to me under the best of circumstances. I kind of wanted to point out that he was sick and breastfeeding was (a) comforting him and (b) giving him important antibodies, not to mention calories, considering the yakisoba was practically the first solid food he'd eaten in days. But I didn't want to emphasize how sick he was, since I'd brought him to a restaurant!

For the airport thing, I'm definitely trying not to pass my fears on to him. I'm mostly just trying to (over)explain everything and present it as an adventure. It seems like he's excited. That's a good point.

Lauren Wayne said...

Plus, you know, he shouldn't need a reason to breastfeed. He could have been doing it if he'd been healthy and happy instead of sick and sad. But all I could think about was, Listen, lady, this is the best thing I can do for him right now while he's feeling so rotten, so lay off.

Lisa C said...

I'm so sorry about Mikko being sick and the nursing incident at the restaurant! So much for being discreet, right? Clearly she didn't see any reason to be discreet about it, though. Maybe she didn't say the things you wanted to hear, but at least she didn't act like it was some forbidden thing to talk about. Different culture, different attitudes. If you go back there and she says something about it, you can say something positive about it.

Anonymous said...

keep it up! i got a 16m old and can't stop bf nor do i care about people's opinions' nor do i want to be stuck in the house - i may be the only one in the playground bf a 16m toddler and maybe slightly showing some skin unintentionally BUT we need MORE moms feeling comfortable feeding/comforting their babes in public!

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