Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thoughts on Nursing and Socializing, Two Birthdays, and A New Era

Breastfeeding my son is one of the best things I can possibly do for him...ever. There are so many benefits, for us both, that it is sometimes hard for me to fathom those who CHOOSE not to breastfeed. But everyone is different, has reasons for what they do, and this is not about judging you for your decisions. This blog is about the sleeper shock that I never would have considered regarding nursing until I experienced it.

Allow me to digress briefly to apologize for my extended absence from the blog. Last week, I was commuting, taking my son out of my way to the sitter so I could then turn around, go in the exact opposite direction, and way beyond, to a conference an hour away. I had the option to stay at a hotel, but since I am still nursing, I thought it would be better to commute. Ergo, I really was too pressed for time to post any entries.

But along that line, my topic for today's entry came up. Benefits of nursing we're aware of... weight loss for Mommy, bonding between Mommy and newborn, digestive consistency for baby, antibodies for every infection (viral - i.e., colds, flu, etc.) Mommy has ever had, saving money rather than buying formula... There are many more, but suffice it to say, the public is well aware of these as a whole. Drawbacks to nursing we are aware of, as well: needing to find privacy (at least until you are more adept at baring the nipple for the baby), depending on your comfort level, having to pump and/or schedule every feeding and pumping session around everything, EVERYthing you do, making sure the milk follows set storage guidelines, etc. But there's one more that doesn't come to light, that I never thought of until I experienced it, and that is the Social Absence.

The first time I really experienced the S.A., I was at a relative's house for dinner. Steve helped me get settled in a bedroom so I could nurse Sydney while everyone else was waiting for dinner to be completed. He left to give us quiet so Syd would relax and nurse, and by the time he was done nursing, dinner was not only finished, it was eaten. I had one lonely, limp piece of pizza left to me because everyone had forgotten that I wasn't joining in.

The next time the S.A. reared its head was after I went back to work. I had to pump during the day. As a teacher, there are not many opportunities to do so. I used my lunch, as well as a portion of my planning period, which altered depending on the day of the month (we have block scheduling). Other than taking my planning and breaking it up, making it harder to get anything done at school, it wasn't as big a deal fitting it all in. What was frustrating was that I lost all opportunities to converse with my colleagues. I'm not referring to talking about students, or planning out lessons, just the mere connection with other adult humans. I would manage to get time to talk with someone and feel completely out of the loop because I had missed out on many day-to-day conversations.

Most recently, the S.A. was felt when I was attending the AP conference last week. I needed to obtain a private, easily-accessible place to pump while I was away. My fantabulous instructor, Dr. Betty Moss, overheard the conversation with the front desk. She had an extra room key made up for me so I could use her room as needed. It made for a much more convenient experience. Thank you so much, Betty! I cannot possibly express how deeply I appreciate your trust, hospitality, and understanding since I was tardy a few times coming back from lunch or break.

The S.A. was noticed when I would leave to pump at lunch, come downstairs to get my lunch, and find that all the seats were taken and the food nearly gone. Food, eh - the Hilton did a wonderful job of keeping everything replenished and I would just have to wait a little for them to bring more out. The seats, however, were another issue. I would have the choice of either going and sitting by myself in the conference room until others finished eating and came in, or I could dawdle long enough for a seat to open in the dining area to join others, just to have them finish and have to get back to their individual sessions, leaving me alone at the table.

It is all something you get accustomed to, but every once in a while, it gets a little lonely. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, though. Anything for my special little guy!

This week was exciting. Both my best friend and I (sorry BFF!!) had our birthdays. Jody and I turned 34, and to celebrate, we went to Carlos yesterday. YUMMERS! Now, my faithful readers know how much I enjoy food! So you can imagine Jody and me contemplating what we were going to order, tasting each others' dishes, and comparing notes. Excellent all around, and our 'boys' had a good time, too. Happy 34th, honey! Love ya so much!

That being said, on my actual birthday, I kept Steve and a former co-worker of his company at the TNA Wrestling match. That was interesting - a completely unexplored sub-culture awaited me as I entered the door, inserting ear plugs as I walked to our front row seats. WOW! I won't watch the stuff on tv, but sit in the front row, have a beer, and the show is quite entertaining. I will go so far as to say that the actors are athletes. Some of the acrobatics taking place were quite impressive. But foremost, they are actors who take their craft seriously. We had a good time.

It's August. This summer passed much more quickly than summer has ever passed before for me. I can only assume it is the 'Parent Vortex of Time' (say it with a booming voice - makes more of an impact). Yes, tempus fugit. But become a parent and the lack of sleep as well as milestones and exponential growth of your child somehow seem to speed time up. Hermes lent us his shoes. School begins, for me, in two weeks, and I/we have no idea what we're about to encounter.

For that reason, I am excited. I don't think I've anticipated the new school year this much in quite some time. I am anxious to see what classes I have (still don't know, definitively), where I'll be (my trailer is supposedly gone...we'll see...), or what the dynamics will be. For the first time since I started teaching in the public schools, we will have a completely new environment. Physically, the place is nowhere near the same. Construction poses many questions and elicits many reactions. Mentally, our department has shifted several times over and will by no means have the same chemical makeup. Also, our administration has taken quite a few steps towards change and we don't know what kind of school we will be in regards to policy, discipline, intrapersonal relationships and support. Altogether, an interesting mix. I plan on taking things one at a time and watching. Observation will be key this year. Oh, and I think I have a good chance of being in one room, which means I get to take my toys out of storage! Yay!

Last, excitement for the new year, my birthday, and my relief to be at home again aside, I have to tell you what I made for dinner. It was scrumptious! A very easy, healthy salad thrown together - I plan on making this for lunches this year to keep me full...

Tuna Avocado Salad
1 can of tuna (in water), drained
1 bell pepper (or, 1/2 of two - I did red and yellow halves), diced
a handful of kalamata olives, cut into fourths
depending on your tastes, 1/2 to 1 whole avocado, diced
olive oil
lemon juice (necessary to have the acid)
sea salt

Toss together and season to taste! I want to add some basil, but I didn't have any fresh today. Also, I think that for lunches, I'll add some brown rice or quinoa to help me stay full. But the creaminess of the avocado and the crunch of the pepper mixed with the saltiness of the olives and the lemon - YUM! Very healthy, very quick, and so easy. Try it and let me know what you think! You've got to love what happens when you start poking around your cupboards...

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