Friday, November 16, 2012

Mother's Milk: Le Leche, the Jerkward, and the Honking

I took the photo below during one of our recent birthing center classes.

Not really.
One would generally assume that at a Birthing Center, your typical clientele wouldn't necessarily be the biggest of meatheads and chauvinists.

Last week we attended a class on breastfeeding, and it was a full house.  Altogether there were 12 couples, all of who were well on the way to month #9.  Most of the couples looked and behaved like you might assume a well-attended breastfeeding class at a birthing center would be.

There was a lot of plaid.  And men with ponytails.  And earrings.

When we all went around the room to introduce ourselves, we were asked to say our name, when we were due, what we did for a living and what town we lived in.  One couple who looked to be about our age mentioned that they were from the same town as us and I had every intention of introducing myself to them at  the first break.  They lived close by and were due right around the same time as we are.

I couldn't be happier that I didn't.

The peanut gallery comments from time to time were pretty funny.  At one point we were asked to go around the room and talk about one benefit of breastfeeding -- they ran the gamut from strengthened immune systems to the low cost (as compared to formula and bottles).  But the husband from down the street said, "breastmilk comes in nicer looking packaging," which, clearly, is correct.

But then he did something that blew my mind.  In a room full of 23 strangers (including the teacher) he reached over and honked his wife's boob.

Yup.  Room full of people you don't know and your impulse is to tweak her boob?

His wife didn't seem terribly put out by it, so I figured it wasn't a big deal.  But then he repeated the behavior whenever he'd answer a question.

The teacher asked the class -- "If dad can't participate in the feeding of the baby, how can he bond with his newborn?"

Our new friend from around the block raised his hand and said,"we can demonstrate how it's done."  And then he leaned over his wife's chest and pantomimed suckling.  That's right.  Pantomimed.  Suckling.

I wish I were making this up.

At this point, the poor girl who was married to the clown blushed from her neck to her forehead.  She pushed him away and stared at the floor.  The teacher was nonplussed but it seemed so strange to watch this guy at a freaken birthing center breastfeeding class bully his own wife.

That poor girl is going to be raising a human being with this turd.  And, in all likelihood, this turd-spawn will be in the same grade/school as our daughter.

By the time he was cupping her breast like he was weighing a melon at the supermarket, I was grateful that class was at an end.  Was he uncomfortable being surrounded by so many hippies?  Do boobs as food-source make him squirmy?

Why would he feel the need to assert his masculinity in that setting, of all places?  He fathered a child.  Pretty concrete evidence, if you ask me.

The good news is that it was a pretty informative class.  You'd think the whole process would be rather straightforward, but there's some art to the science of it all.  Probably the coolest part of the class was a video that showed a baby being placed, immediately after birth, onto his mother's abdomen and kicking and climbing his way to her breast and self-attaching.

It doesn't happen with babies when the mom has had an epidural, and even then not all babies will do it even if the mother hasn't had drugs during labor, but it was crazy to see.

I couldn't find the exact video of it on YouTube, but if you Google "baby self attachment" or "breast crawl" there are dozens of videos that crop up.  This one gives you the basic gist.


Crazy stuff.

Next week starts the final countdown.  As of Tuesday, we're cleared for launch at the Birthing Center.  Maybe she won't be like every other Gach and actually show up on time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Picture (Book) is Worth a Thousand Words

And just like that, it's November.


Both of Em's baby showers are over and done (and a HUGE thank you to all the lovely ladies who did so much to make the events special) and now it's a waiting game.

Cuteness Level: Extreme
Luckily, we got a lot of books as gifts.  We registered for a few, but the very clever invite asked people to bring a children's book in lieu of a card.  Being a bibliophile, I was thrilled to begin to build out the baby's bookcase in advance of her arrival.

Ermagerd! Kids Berks!

It got me thinking about the children's books that were read to me as a kid -- and those that made regular circulation without my request.

Hands down, without a doubt, my number one contender for best picture book of all time is Where the Wild Things Are.  Max's misadventures and the pictures that Sendak created are easily one of the biggest influences on my creativity.  I used to have terrible nightmares as a kid, and there was something empowering about the way Max rules over all the wild things.  Big, scary monsters were nothing for Max to contend with, and when things got a bit dicey (and by dicey, I mean that they were looking to eat him) he left in his private boat and came home.  To where dinner was waiting for him.

Yes.  These are all mine.  And the one to the right is
my original copy from when i was a kid.
The stories that were read to me, without my asking, were slightly different in nature.  I can remember two in particular.

One was a book about a house and its non-human inhabitants who get sick of the people not cleaning up after themselves.  So all the anthropomorphic items in the house (I can remember one particularly pissed off tube of toothpaste) get up and leave one by one until, finally, the house sprouts legs and takes off down the street because it doesn't want to be lived in by people who don't take care of it.

I wish I could remember the name of it (Google couldn't help me this time), not so much because I'd want to purchase it all over again, but because I'd love to see what psychological scarring it caused.  How messed up is that?  Scaring a kid into cleaning the house because it might up and leave if you don't? 

In all fairness, it really didn't work.  I usually pushed all my toys and dirty clothes under the bed and then made my bed really well.  This (in my memory) worked for some time, before I started running out of clothes and my dad had to look under the bed to find them.

Because sharing bread would be Socialism.
The second book was The Little Red Hen.  If you've never heard the story, here's the CliffsNotes version: little hen does all the work preparing a loaf of bread.  She asks for help from Sleepy Cat, Lazy Dog and Noisy Duck and none of them want to lift a finger (or paw or wing).  Now, one might ask (and rightfully so) why are you befriending people whose nicknames are "Sleepy," "Lazy," and "Noisy" and then expecting them to do anything, but apparently the good people at Golden Books have decided that is beside the point.  In the end, the Little Red Hen makes a kick-ass loaf of bread and her schmuck friends all want to eat it, but she won't share because they didn't help out.

And the moral of the story is "Hold a Grudge because Lazy People Don't Deserve Your Charity."

Or something like that.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that The Little Red Hen might be mandatory indoctrination reading for future members of the Republican Party.  The Hen is red, after all.

I'm sure that there is a much clearer message inherent in The Little Red Hen but whatever it is, it's lost on me.    So, sorry about that one, Dad -- whatever morality you were trying to bake into your son got lost in translation.

I've got about six weeks to kill between now and Baby's arrival.  I'll probably use it to catch up on my reading.