Bouncing Babies, momlife, They Said WHAT?

YOU are Best

YOU Are Best

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, and as the Salty Mama that’s still attached to a person several times a day, I figured it was my civic duty to weigh in.

I’m almost 10 months into breastfeeding Izzie, and on paper I’m a Gold Star Breastfeeder. She feeds on demand and often, has never had formula and never taken a bottle (except for one weekend when she finally gave in, but that’s a story for another day). Basically I’m waiting for La Leche League to give me some sort of trophy.

The community that has been built around positive breastfeeding messaging in America recently is an awesome and powerful one. Once, when Evie was nearing a year, I was sitting at the kid’s swim lesson feeding her. A Mom sat down next to me with her child and struck up a conversation. She also began to nurse her baby and we exchanged baby stats. Evie was a big healthy baby, and this woman immediately started in on how it was all due to my hearty breastmilk. Our strong bond due to our physical connection through nursing. Basically all of my child’s positive attributes existed because of the way I chose to feed her. As a person currently breastfeeding a baby, those statements were a booster shot to the heart telling you you’re doing a great thing. What an ego boost! Hell yeah, my body not just created a person but is now basically making her super-human! If she gets good grades? My breast milk made her a genius. If she excels in sports? Literal Muscle Milk! I was basically raising an Olympic bound future Harvard graduate.

But there’s a flip side to this messaging.

One that I lived through with my son. My firstborn was almost 9 ½ pounds when he was born. And he was HUNGRY. And I tried, oh how I tried, to feed him. The first few days went well. He latched like a natural in the hospital and seemed to be happy. I left with all the confidence that I was going to do everything right. But when we got home it all went to hell. No amount of “help” actually helped. I had a lactation consultant berate me for “doing it wrong” while offering nothing constructive and better ones that told me I just had to keep trying, my milk would come in. By day 4 or 5 he was unhappy and hungry all the time, so I started pumping. For weeks, I was either trying to feed him or pumping around the clock. I spent so much time pumping and trying to make sure he had enough food that I feel like I actually missed some of his first days. I was exhausted – far beyond what I experienced with my daughters, who were by all measures “worse” sleepers and bigger criers – and felt like I couldn’t function. I watched other people feeding him the bottles that I worked so incredibly hard for.

After engaging in this battle for what felt like a lifetime, but was really about eight weeks, my husband finally intervened. “This is ridiculous. I’m getting formula. You’re both miserable.” In the moment, it was a stab in the heart. I was not ready to admit defeat. But I had to admit that he was right. We were miserable. On the one hand the idea of just enjoying my baby was such an intoxicating one. I could know that he was getting enough food. I could relax and snuggle with him without him straining against me trying to eat and being devastated when it didn’t work. I could be happy. But in the not so back of my head I heard the chorus of people that aren’t just pro-breastfeeding, but anti-anything else. “Formula is poison.” “You’ll never bond with your baby.” And of course, “Breast is Best.” But I was desperate. Anything was worth a try.

Four years later I so appreciate my husband stepping in and taking the reins. My son is so happy and healthy and beyond bonded to me, and if anything, formula saved us. Because breastfeeding just. Wasn’t. Working. And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a bad Mother. It doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for my kids. It sure as hell doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. And the people that want to insinuate that in the name of Breastfeeding Awareness need to try to take a walk in the shoes of those of us that tried and failed.

Because as I roam around my Mommy-sphere of the internet, I can’t help but see over and over and over again that mantra “Breast is Best.” While this phrase may be full of empowerment to those that are breastfeeding, it can also be a soul crushing phrase to those who – for whatever reason – made the decision, or had the decision made for them, to not breastfeed.

I know it was for me.

So I guess what I want to contribute to Breastfeeding Awareness Week is this: Be aware of all the absolutely wonderful reasons to breastfeed. Be aware of all the reasons that some people may not be able to breastfeed. Be aware of all the completely valid reasons someone may choose to not breastfeed. And then support each other. Because at the end of the day, YOU are best for your kid. YOU are what keeps them healthy and happy and all the wonderful things we strive so hard for.

Bouncing Babies, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, They Said WHAT?, vacation, Why We're Salty

Panic at Panera

Road trips are always a huge endeavor, especially when you’re traveling with a bunch of little ones. You spend more time prepping for the trip than you’ll probably spend at your final  destination, making sure you have everything you could possibly need for every possible scenario: illness, peed pants, owies of all shapes and sizes, snacks – OH GOD THE SNACKS. Every possible book that will be required to get the kids to sleep at the end of the night and every toy that might be needed to get someone to stop crying/fighting/fussing/etc. I started getting ready on a Friday and a year and a half later we were packed, loaded and on the road.

Later that day, we found ourselves in the middle of what we thought was a seven hour drive – which ended up being over eleven hours – and were all in pretty good spirits. My husband and Dad were in the front row, chatting away, seemingly oblivious to the chaos of the back two rows. The kids were mostly singing songs from the major motion picture Moana and playing games they made up like “Guess the Animal,” where Evie gave charming clues like, “The animal I’m thinking of is a mouse.” It was cute, but freaking A man, was it LOUD.  We had strategically positioned the carseats so that no one could touch each other, so at least there was that. But even cute wears off after a few hours.

Then something happens and cute is a distant memory.

And when you’re trapped in the third row of a Ford Explorer with your very talkative20503897_10214160697637757_1520894625_n three year old sitting right next to you and your very hungry 7 month old screaming as she stares you down from her second row spot, the Panera off the highway might just look a little like heaven.

The second we parked the car I started yelling to the Daddies in the front row, “Please, please get the kids out so I can get out of the car, PLEASE!!” I scrambled over seats and literally fell into the parking lot, the black pavement scalding hot, but I was on LAND. And there was going to be food.

We went in, ordered and that’s when the fun began.

If you know anything about eating with kids, it’s that seat selection can make or break your meal. When in doubt DO NOT SIT NEXT TO THE NICE LOOKING OLD LADIES IN PANERA. This may have been a one off,  but just in case. Heed this warning.

We all sat down and started to eat. The baby – a staunch refuser of all things pureed – was sitting in her high chair enjoying one of a baby’s major food groups: the Mum Mum. Yes, it looks like I’m feeding my baby a bird treat but she loves it, so I’ll keep ripping open package after package as long as she likes. Being a baby though, she drops food. All the time. In quick succession she dropped not one, but TWO of the coveted Mum Mums. I chastised her playfully saying, “Silly baby, you’ve got to stop dropping your food!”

It was at this point that Lil Biddy #1 decided to mumble, “Of course she’s dropping it, it’s WAY too big for a baby….how can she possibly eat it….ugh….grumble grumble.” Uh, excuse me? I shot over a look, equal parts, “I’m sure I just heard you wrong” and “Nosy bitch says what??” Okay,  maybe not quite equal parts.

Resume meal.

At some point, Izzie ran out of Mum Mums and it was time to bust out the canister of Puffs. Both food AND fine motor skill enhancer, Puffs are pretty much the perfect food for a baby on the go. Sure, she can spill them EVERYWHERE, but the cleanup is pretty easy. What could someone not like about PUFFS????

Enter Lil Biddy stage left! This pushed her straight over the edge. “That’s it. I can’t stay here and watch this anymore. Those are too small! That baby is going to choke and die and it’s all that Mother’s fault!!!”

She, no joke, STORMED OUT OF PANERA. Lil Biddy #2 chased behind her crying, “I mean, I think those are actually made for babies….” but it was too late. She was dust.

In the moment, I actually thought it was funny. Me, feeding my baby food, that was made for a baby, was such terrible parenting that it drove two ladies from a restaurant. Are we in the twilight zone? It was honest to God laughable. In fact, my whole table laughed. But the more I thought about it, the more it chapped my ass. Who do these people think they are that it’s okay to just comment on every parent that comes in their wake? Because make no mistake. This was not unique to that day, to that Panera. Chad thought it was funny as well, and commented on how random it was which is when I realized that it doesn’t happen to him. It happens to the Moms. Our jobs are open to feedback and criticism and judgement, from anyone, anywhere.

Whether you’re in the grocery store, or an amusement park, or Panera.

And it’s BS.

So we won’t even get started on what happened at the next rest stop where….but Evie looked like this. So use your imagination…18697898_10213434533244101_1156915492_o

momlife, parenting, The Daddys, They Said WHAT?, Why We're Salty

No, Husband, I Did Not Poop in the Tub

My husband comes out of the bathroom, fresh from a shower, still with dripping wet hair, and looks at me with utter disdain.

“Babe. Did you seriously poop in the shower?”

I mean, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to respond to this, because clearly, I did not. Like, I’m not sure how to even justify this with an answer. We live with a four year old and a one year old. How, of all the Torrezes, is the 31 year old devoted wife and mother nominated as Most Likely to Poop in the Shower?!?
Me: “No! I didn’t poop in the shower!”

Mike: “Well you were the last one in there, and there was a little poop nugget in the drain”

Me: “WHY WOULD I EVER EVEN DO THAT?!?”

Mike: “I don’t know, why do you do anything you do?”
Me: Head explodes.

As EVERYONE ELSE BUT MY HUSBAND has probably already figured out, a few hours earlier, our one year old did, in fact, poop in the tub. Because that’s kind of a thing for Torrez babies, apparently. And I did my best to clean it up, evacuating both kids from the tub, scooping up the poop (well, most of it anyways I guess), and spraying the whole thing down with Lysol. And I did all this without even sending out a Spousal SOS, for which I probably deserve some kind of medal. At the least, gratitude. But certainly not accusations of some form of shit-related vandalism.

And that got me to thinking about some other “reminders” my husband has given me.

Me: Oh shoot, I just threw out some balsamic vinegar this morning and now I need it for this recipe.

Mike: Don’t dig it out of there, it’s too late.

Me: …

Like, obviously, hon. I’m not gonna use trash-vinegar on this salad I was planning to serve to company. CLEARLY.

 

My Husband: Standing Next to My Child, who is sitting precariously in a bike seat attached to a grown-up-sized bike, “You’ve got to watch him when he’s in there, Jaymes. You can’t walk away and just leave him in there.”

WELL YEAH I KNOW, BOO. I didn’t intend to leave my wibbly, wobbly one year old strapped into a fifty-pound piece of metal by himself. Who do you think I am?!?

The baby’s graham cracker falls in the dog’s water bowl.

My Husband: “Don’t give that back to him.”

Good idea, buddy! Thank God you said that, cause I was just about to hand this soggy, dog-water cracker back to our precious fifteen month old. I mean, if it was an apple slice or something I would, but a graham cracker?? Just think of what a mess he would make with it.

On second thought, maybe I get why he thinks I need this kind of advice now. But pooping in the shower?? That just goes too far.

Tub

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They Said WHAT?, Why We're Salty

High Comedy at the Post Office

I am not good at being sick. I am terrible at taking time to recover. So I’m that nutjob in Labor & Delivery asking if I can leave early. Which is how I was checked out of the hospital 23 hours after our third baby was born. All that sitting around was making me ancy. I wanted to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food (or at least Chipotle’s food but in my own house) and I was sure my Target checkers were starting to worry. Basically, I had shit to do.

And so it was that a day after we were discharged, I found myself running errands with 15025161_10211442850133268_1808075476829088992_othe family. We visited my Nana, so she could meet the baby. We went to the grocery store because even though I was fine with eating ALL THE TAKEOUT my kids still wanted milk and fruit and all that “growing food” we apparently had spent too much time focusing on. Oh! And the post office, I definitely had to go to the post office! DO NOT FORGET TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE! A day before the baby had been born – SIX DAYS LATE, THANK YOU BABY #3 YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE EARLIER THAN THE OTHER TWO, but I digress – I had been selling some LuLaRoe on some Buy/Sell/Trade sites because I can’t just sit and do nothing waiting for baby’s arrival! But it wasn’t going to mail itself, so I told my husband to take me to the slightly out of the way Post Office that was never busy and has the lovely old lady that’s so friendly and works on Wednesdays.

I left Chad and the kids in the car – I may be running errands 43 hours post partem but I’m not insane! – and popped into the post office. As predicted there was only one person waiting in line. He was a cute old man, wearing a hat signifying that he was a Veteran and I warmed to him immediately because he reminded me of my Papa.

I smiled at him as he turned to me and exclaimed, “Oh! You’re having a baby! When are you due?” I took ZERO offense because, let’s face it, I DID look pregnant. I had that weird, mushy, misshapen I-just-had-a-baby belly thing happening, and if you don’t KNOW I just had a baby, expecting a baby seems like a pretty good explanation. I kindly responded, “Oh, no, I had a baby two days ago actually.” The woman now in line behind me squealed and offered congratulations, commenting on how impressive it was that I was already out and about. I smiled and thanked her and assumed that would be the end of that.

I was wrong. This is where the cute little neighborhood post office feel good story takes a turn.

My sweet, old Vet turned back to me and grumbled, “What, did they leave one or two in there???”

Uhhhhh, excuse me?? I did a double take trying to rectify this new development with the aforementioned assumption that this was my new grandfather figure. The nice lady behind me tried to take over asking the usual just-had-a-baby questions.

“Did you have a boy or a girl?”

“Girl”

“Your first?”

“My third actually.”

“Hey!” – Joy, he returns – “Did you hear there’s something in the air that keeps getting girls pregnant.”

I REALLY just want to mail my stuff and leave, but he was just as adamant that I hear the punchline of his joke, so he came up quite close, right to my face and says, “THEIR LEGS!”

At this point I was too shocked to respond with anything other than an absolutely stunned expression on my face. As I’m contemplating picking my jaw up off the floor, he sensed the disapproval from me and my companions in line and proceeds to respond the way so many offensive men do: “Oh, I’m only joking, don’t get mad.”

Because, of course, it’s MY problem that I’m insulted when someone makes uninvited comments about my weight and getting pregnant – not that he’s a douche…..

And so it was that I was reminded of how awesome it is when men think it’s appropriate to say whatever they want to women, about women. I left more than a little bit pissed off. Fired up. Sad for my daughters that will be growing up with crap like this happening in their lives. Adamant that my son be kind and respectful. Disheartened to see that douchbaggery has no age limit.

But he didn’t make me feel bad about the way I looked. Cause I had just made a person. And then gone to the post office. And that’s pretty badass.