HOME ALONE II: THE SEQUEL

Josh has been gone for another week on business, taking clients on guided duck hunts in Arkansas. This is the last week of duck season. If anyone follows the show, Duck Dynasty, I’m “happy, happy, happy”! I love my alone time with my little dude, but it is nice to have another person around to help out. I miss my chief bottle washer. Josh says if I have to pump, he can at least help keep the bottles washed. He’s a keeper.

Josh’s alarm clock goes off around 5:30 AM; so if John Luke wakes up anytime after 4:30 AM, Josh will give him a bottle. That gives me a couple hours of sleep, since I’ve usually been up with John Luke every two to three hours during the night. I don’t usually “sleep when he sleeps”, so it helps carry me through the rest of the day. Besides, it gives Josh a little daddy time before he goes to work.

We kept busy while daddy was gone. We had a snow storm in our area, so John Luke saw his first snow. Knowing the weather was going to get bad, I went to the store and stocked up on food for a couple of days, ready to “hunker down” until it passed. I made bean soup and cornbread and we hibernated. (And snuggled).

After the storm cleared, it was good to get out. We had a kid birthday party to go to on Saturday, so TJMaxx was calling my name. I was eager to get dressed (in something besides pajamas) and put on some make up, and go to town. A lady friend from the church offered to keep John Luke while I went shopping. It was the first time I’ve let anyone babysit him. It was fun to look around like old times, even if it was just to TJMaxx, and even if it was for just an hour.

Josh will be home tomorrow, and me and John Luke will be “happy, happy, happy”.

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SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand; and let’s just say, my supply is not keeping up with the demand. Breastfeeding is not as “natural” for some as it is for others, and for me, it is rocket science.

Me and John Luke couldn’t get into a rhythm in the beginning. I am not sure if he wouldn’t properly latch because my milk wasn’t coming in; or my milk supply wasn’t coming in, because he wouldn’t properly latch to extract it. After a few minutes at the breast, he would get frustrated and start crying, then pull away. My breast became so sore from trying to latch and re-latch. Blisters resulted.

My lactation consultant advised me to feed 10 minutes at each breast, then supplement with formula. She also instructed me to pump every 2 hours, to help keep the supply up for the demands of my growing baby. The piglet. That’s when I was introduced to my Ameda pump, and we’ve been joined at the “boob” ever since.

After my breast healed, I could nurse for longer sessions; however, he continued to pull off the breast after about 20 minutes. Then he would still act hungry.

I would try to put him on the other side, or change positions, but frustration for both of us would set in. I could not tell if he just wasn’t getting enough, or if being bottle fed had spoiled him. Either way, giving up and getting a bottle becomes very enticing in the middle of the night, when you’ve had no sleep.

The lactation consultant suggested two options to remedy the problem.

A)To eliminate bottle feeding all together. She said it will take about 48 hours for my milk production to build back up at a rate that would be sufficient for his needs. Sounds easy right? Wrong. This would require him squalling through the 48 hours until the supply met the demand. You’re talking to the mom that had to leave the room when he got his jaundice shots.

B)Exclusively pump every two hours to see how many ounces are being extracted daily. Divide that by the number of feedings per day, then supplement the difference. She said it would be a good idea to nurse at night instead of pumping, to eliminate me having to do double duty; also to keep him used to coming to the breast.

Option B has worked for me. It has allowed me to approximate how much milk I am producing, and how much supplementation is required to meet his needs. He seems more satisfied, and we are starting to get into a rhythm at our night feedings. Soon, I will resume breastfeeding primarily, as I continue to evaluate my supply versus his growing demands.

NEW BEGINNINGS

I am so excited about starting a new year. Not just because I have a new baby; because he reminds me I need to simplify my life. I simply have too much STUFF.

Merriaim-Webster’s dictionary defines sim-pli-fy: to make simple or simpler; as to A: to reduce to basic essentials B: to diminish in scope or complexity: Streamline- to simplify management procedures, to make more intelligible.

Synonyms: to purify or refine. Antonym: to complicate, perplex.

Before John Luke, one of the ways I coped with being childless was to shop. I didn’t have to spend a lot of money; I just liked to shop. Some of my favorite places to plunder were thrift stores and consignment shops. I think it was the “thrill of the hunt”; to find value in something you like, that you got for a deal. But, is it a deal if you don’t wear it enough, or can’t find it when you need it? I think I have overcomplicated things.

I like my purse to match my shoes, my shoes to match my earrings, and my earrings to match my bracelet. I love my accessories! I have a summer closet, and a winter closet. I have two bins to hold extra shoes, a bin just for jean jackets, and two jacket closets..need I go on. I even sell the clothes that I don’t wear anymore; or that are out of season. Let me just say, I love my clothes.

Nonetheless, my wardrobe is evolving as my life evolves. I now find myself content donning a Columbia fleece and sweatpants. Do I really need all this STUFF anymore? The more STUFF we have, the more stress it adds to our daily life. It gets harder and harder to manage it all. I have slowly started to downsize, and prioritize what is important.

One of the definitions of sim-pli-fy is to reduce to basic essentials. Some of my greatest joys are the simple things, i.e., to to give John Luke a bath, swaddling him up to hold, singing to him while rocking to list a few. The less I complicate my life, the more time I have spending it with him. The rest is just STUFF.
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HOME ALONE

Josh’s parents came for a visit a couple of days after Christmas, and stayed until the day after New Years. Unfortunately, Josh was away on a business trip for 10 days. They joked that it didn’t matter whether Josh was here or not, they were coming to see the baby. Ha, can’t say as I blame them!

Josh and a partner run a small business as duck hunting guides. They lease rice fields in Arkansas, and hunt clients through out the season, which runs November through the end of January. His partner had handled most of the clients during the first half of duck season, until after John Luke was born. He has three kids under the age of 8, so now that John Luke is almost 6 weeks, it was time for Josh to give his partner a break and go hunt some clients.

Josh’s parents, (a.k.a.) Tahatee and Popee, were having John Luke withdrawals, and I think Josh was relieved they were coming since he would be gone for so long. John Luke is still waking up about every two hours. During their visit, they would come downstairs around 7 am and take over for me; and let me go back to bed. I was usually awake feeding the baby, or would still be in the recliner holding him after a long, sleepless night.

We had a great New Year’s Eve at home, just me, John Luke, and the in-laws. Popee had gone shopping and found us some New Year’s party gear half-off. We had 2013 glasses, hats, and blow horns. We partied like rockstars in our pajamas (sort of), while we watched the ball drop, and said a toast. At 12:00 midnight, I kissed my little man, and wished him his first Happy New Year.

On New’s Years Day, Tahtee and Popee watched the Rose Parade while they let me sleep in. Sadly, all good things come to an end. They had to leave the next morning to head back to Alabama, so I tried to get as much sleep in as I could, before baby boot camp started. Josh wouldn’t be home for another four days.

Like Josh says, “If it cries feed it, if it still cries, wipe it.” However, one thing I’ve learned, there are times when you just can’t figure out what a baby wants; and sometimes, they just want to be held. So we did a lot of holding and we did a lot of bonding. Mostly in the recliner. But, OH MY, was I happy to see Josh walk through that door. I was glad to see Josh, but even more glad to see a shower and a toothbrush.

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CHANGING PRIORITIES

I wish I could say everything has been rainbows and fairytales since we brought John Luke home. It hasn’t been, chaotic is more like it. His nursery wasn’t ready. We had ordered the crib and the bedding, but it had not arrived. All that were in his room were bags and bags of baby gifts that still needed to be sorted, and thank you notes still to be written. I don’t know why I was under this false sense of security that I wouldn’t deliver early. I guess because I had not had any swelling, no early signs of contractions, and in general, felt great.

In my Type A mind, I had these visions that we would bring John Luke home, and usher him into his beautifully decorated, well organized nursery. My house would be clean for all those well wishers wanting to drop by and see the new baby. Not to mention, they would get to see my beautifully decorated and well organized nursery, the one I spent weeks planning (albeit in my mind). My goal was to get the thank you notes written while we were waiting on the crib and bedding to arrive. Then I would launch into a “Martha Stewart on steroids” frenzy and get the nursery looking like it came right off a Pinterest post.

Luckily, the crib arrived the day after he was born, and we did get the nursery (semi-finished). The thank you notes have been written, and things are starting to settle down. My days (and nights) are filled with milk stained shirts, bottle washings, butt wiping, and sleep deprivation. My social calendar has been reduced to 3 AM feedings with my little man, a recliner, and yes-sometimes a remote control.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So, if you drop by my house on a moments notice, please overlook the fact that I will most likely still be in my milk stained PJ’s, and have good intentions of cleaning the house. Sometime.