Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Change of Venue!

Hey everyone! Just a quick note to tell you all that "Paper, Scissors, Keyboard" has moved! I've transitioned to WordPress so I could have a few more fun things on the blog. I hope you all will visit me there!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Got Milk? I Could Use More.

Here's a giant preface to what I'm about to write: I know that *nothing* I'm going to say is based in logic. Nothing. You are entering a logic-free zone. Enter at your own risk.

It was traumatic. For me. Tobin couldn't have cared less, but when William told me that Tobin had his first formula today, it was traumatic. I can't help it that giving the baby formula made me want to cry. It's stupid, but there it is.  And William has been nothing but encouraging and helpful, but that doesn't make milk either.

Tobin is 5 months old, we nurse in the mornings, when I get home from work, before bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night. He's not hurting for breast milk. I'm pumping during the day, but it's just not enough for him to have breast milk only and it's making me sad. He's also already eating solids, so he doesn't need as much milk during the day, but even that I can't keep up with.

I'm working to build up my supply, drinking more water, eating better, trying to get more rest. I haven't started taking supplements yet, but that's coming. I've talked with healthcare professionals about it, and there is a game plan, but it still makes me sad.

My friend, Jenna, and I have talked about how breastfeeding is almost a "macho" thing for us. A look-what-my-body-can-do-for-my-baby thing. I don't blink at parents who formula feed, but I start losing my milk? That's a whole different story (did I mention there was no logic going on right now?)

Part of the problem is that I'm comparing my two boys. With Nicholas, I nursed for 23 months, pumping for his first year with not a drop of formula necessary. Now, 5 years later, I'm having to give Tobin formula? It sucks. And I'm not thrilled that it makes me so sad...and we're back to the no logic thing. Someone asked the other day if I was under a lot of stress. Well, I guess. I mean, the normal stress of a mom with a job and a family and a home. I can't use the stress card when, during Nicholas' first year I was spending so much time in the hospital with Mark that everyone knew Nicholas and me on sight. Talk about stress.

Were you a nursing mom who had to go to formula? Did you choose to formula feed? I'd love to hear your stories...maybe you can bring some logic to my swirling thoughts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Okay if I Crash, I Have More Lives

Our friend, Lauren, sent Nicholas "Mario Kart" for his birthday in June. Nicholas loves cars and loves Mario, so it was a perfect gift. The first couple of times he played it, I watched him, and told him that it was okay if he crashed, that he needed to give himself a chance to learn the game. He's really good at it, but still crashes on the more difficult courses. I love to watch him play, because when he crashes, he's so zen about it, "Don't worry, Mommy, it's okay if I crash. I'm learning and I have more lives."

I've talked about it before, and I'm sure it's something I'll always fight with, but I'm really hard on myself. I am really good at supporting others and encouraging and giving other people a break. Not me, though, I'm supposed to be great at everything. I'm supposed to be a great mom, a great wife, a great employee, a great writer, a great child, a great grandkid. I'm supposed to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan...or something. Something great.

I'm really trying to adopt Nicholas' attitude. I need to learn to do my best and then give myself a break. I need to learn to crash and be okay with it. There are very few times in life where there isn't room to learn, and we almost always have more lives if we crash.

So, how do you give yourself a break? Are you harder on yourself than you are on others?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Watch Your Mouth!

I really hate to hurt people's feelings. As sarcastic and snarky as I can be, I am usually the topic of the snark and sarcasm, and I especially hate it when I accidentally hurt someone's feelings. I work with words for a living and I know how powerful they can be.

Because of my dislike of hurting people and my understanding of the strength of words, I try very hard to make sure my son knows how to monitor his speech. Or I thought I did.

The other day, I heard him say someone was fat. Thankfully, we weren't close enough for the person to hear. The thing is, Nicholas was just describing the person, he wasn't making a judgement (the person being fat was neither good nor bad). But, one day it will be a judgement and I hate that. I hate even more that it will be a negative judgement. And since I'm fat, that judgement will one day be placed on me. My baby will think negatively because I am fat. And I hate it.

More importantly, I don't want Nicholas (and Tobin later) to be really focused on a person's outside. So, William and I are going to work on it. We'll work on not labeling people by how they look, even if we don't "mean anything" when we say it. We'll work on talking about how nice someone is, how smart someone is, how helpful someone is. And if we talk about someone's outsides, hopefully we can find another descriptor. Also? I'm going to work on the whole being-fat thing so I can be around to teach my boys for an annoyingly long time.

How do you talk about people in your family? What do you say if your child describes someone negatively? I need tips!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

I told myself, in the months and years since Mark died, that Nicholas would have some sort of memory of him. That Nicholas would have some sort of primal, basic, foundational memory of his Daddy Mark.

Nicholas was 6 weeks old when I went back to work and Mark started taking care of him full-time during the day. Nicholas was about 10 weeks old when Mark got sick and went into the hospital. Nicholas was 4 months old when Mark went into the coma that he would never come out of. Nicholas was 5 months old when Mark died.

I told myself that the time in my belly, the weeks that Nicholas and Mark had before Mark died, and all of the hours and hours of the baby and me at the hospital would make an imprint on Nicholas. It helped me feel better to think that somehow, Nicholas would still know his father in the most basic way. Now, I think I was lying to myself.

My new baby is 3 months old, and I can admit to myself that if I died today, he wouldn't remember me or know me. Hell, Nicholas is 5 years old now, and I don't know if he would have any real memories of me if I died today.

Nicholas has stories and pictures about Daddy Mark, but if I'm honest with myself, I know he doesn't have actual memories. It's up to me to keep the stories alive for Nicholas, but I am no longer telling myself that they are memories.

What do you think? Do you think there's a chance that Nicholas has some kind of primal memory of Mark? Do you think that a bond can be that strong?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sandra Bullock and I? We're the Same.

Sandra Bullock and I? We're the same. I know you think it's the beauty, poise and millions of dollars in salary that showcase the similarity between Ms. Bullock and myself; but, you are wrong.

I don't follow much gossip stuff (except what is gleaned from Go Fug Yourself and Mama Pop), but there are a few celebrities who I think I would like to hang out at a lake house with, with no television and we'd have stuff to talk about. Sandra Bullock is one of those, so I tend to notice when stuff is printed or aired about her.

Not that you could have missed anything about her and her scummy soon-to-be-ex since just after the Oscars.

Anyway, besides all the beauty and riches, I couldn't help but catch the similarities between her 2010 and my 2005. People keep talking about what a crazy year she has had. I mean, who has a major event happen (winning the Oscar), loses a husband and has a baby in the same year? Oh, that would be Sandra Bullock and me.

I'm making light of it, but her situation really reminded me strongly of my 2005. A lot of people said I must have hated 2005 because that's when Mark died. But, it's also the year that I spent growing a baby in my belly, turning 30 and becoming a mother for the first time. So maybe just August-December of 2005 were crap. Watching my belly grow, getting a Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake for my 30th birthday, and watching the miracle that is our son being born? Those were so not crap. Neither was the Spurs winning another NBA championship, but that didn't really have anything to do with me.

It was a strange year, 2005. Strange, sad, happy, joyful and surreal. All of those, at one time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hear That? It's the Universe Screaming at Me.

I sometimes try to forget that I'm a widow. Not that Mark died, but that I'm a widow. In the last week, though, the Universe is reminding me. Often and loudly.

I've been running into things that remind me of Mark, reading about people dealing with loss, supporting fellow widows through difficult times. And then yesterday @CalifMom lost her husband Bob. Reading her tweets and posts are dragging me back to those first few days of widowhood. Those days of complete autopilot. You do everything you need to do to get ready for the ceremonies that surround death, you comfort other people, you eat and sleep (sometimes).

You do everything you have to do, and then you are swallowed by the wall of grief you've held at bay until then. And you just try to avoid drowning.

This morning I heard that a colleague's husband died unexpectedly while they were out of town this past weekend. It's Tuesday and she's trying to get her husband's body home. His body home. Not him, they aren't coming home together after their trip, she's coming home and trying to get his earthly remains back for all those ceremonies I talked about earlier.

Husbands and wives and lovers die every day. Widows and widowers come into being every day. And I can usually register the loss and move on. Lately though, the Universe has been screaming at me...

It doesn't matter that I'm happily remarried with two beautiful boys to take care of. The Universe doesn't want me to forget that I'm a Widow, and that I have two new compatriots. And I want to just hold them and make it all better and write those stupid thank-you notes that you send out because someone sent you a bunt cake. So that they can avoid drowning just a little bit longer. I can't hold them, so I cry for them instead.