8 Months!

So, first off, we made it. I spent three days away from my baby and we both survived. I also made it from Washington D.C. to Denver with 60 oz of breast milk and no issues. I actually had a tougher experience getting through security on my way out, purely out of happenstance. It’s always good to know your breast are not producing noxious chemicals.

I got back on Tuesday the 17th, Ansel’s 8 month birthday. 8 months feels BIG, like, we are rounding the corner on a year. And he’s becoming so much more his own person these days. Still a baby, sure, but also a more independent type of baby.


He’s crawling – sometimes the traditional way, sometimes using something that approximates a land-locked butterfly move, all arms and muscles. But, he can get around (and get into trouble) and is starting to learn that most human lesson: the word NO and not getting everything you want.

He’s babbling and using consonants, starting to pull himself up on a few things, reaching for us and showing some preference for me and La (or sometimes just one of us, although he tends to switch off at least.) Still no teeth, and no signs of anything coming through yet either, but he doesn’t really let this stop him when it comes to food. New Ansel favorites include carrots, pears and refried beans!


He’s still super charming, incredibly laid back, and smiley for days. He’ll flash that mega watt beam at you mid playing, and it just melts your face off. Even in his cranky moments, he’ll often break into a smile or giggle, like his good nature can’t quite get lost even in tears. He’s pure, unadulterated joy, and it fills me deeply with love and happiness. He especially loves dance parties, being surprised (peek a boo is great, but so is anything with an element of suspense), acrobatic flying and hanging, and christmas lights (because yes, we did already hang them and I have no shame about it!) He also loves Santa. Of course.


And boobs. He still LOVES boobs. I am not really loving pumping (not that I ever did) and am beginning to see the light at the end of the pumping tunnel. My plan right now is to pump ‘full time’ (ie: my usual pumping routine, about 4X a day when I’m away from him) until his first birthday, and then start gradually dropping pumps, with a plan to be done completely by 15 or so months. I’ll keep nursing him when I’m home for as long as he wants (and probably, if I needed to travel overnight, I’d pump for those times too? Not sure) but switch him to another kind of milk at a year and not worry about keeping up . Of course, this will probably depend on how he’s doing with solids, as he isn’t getting nearly enough now to substitute for breast milk. But, I think teeth will probably help with that a bit, and in this respect, a lot can happen in 4 months. Still, I am feeling the least anxious ever about maintaining my supply, both because I know I have this long, and also because the freezer stock of about 70 oz has stayed at that level for months. We are getting close enough now that I can see the end of the anxiety associated with nursing, and imagine it just being the really lovely parts I enjoy.

I suppose the last bit of news is that I have a phone interview for a job that I am SUPER excited about. It’s still in Colorado, but it’s doing community based grant making for health initiatives. Super cool form of granting, more secure organization (funder vs. non profit) and a MUCH better salary (like, the minimum salary range is what I make + what La makes now) The interview is in December, so I have some good time to really prepare. So, send some good woo into the world for that, if you’d like.

I’ll leave you with A’s comparison shots, one month vs. 8 months, and 2-4-6-8 months. I can’t quite believe he was so tiny, but I also feel immense pride my body made that baby and then turned him from a 6lb scrawny bird into a 20+ lb. michelin roll stay puft marshmallow man. Boobs! They are so amazing!!


  • First, an X mas update:

I called my aunt and my sister-in-law and confirmed that they gave 0 fucks about us being in Indiana for Xmas and would be happy to attend an Xmas like event on a different day. So, I scheduled this event for December 19th and L and I are hard at work coming up with something that will be fun, meaningful, and start some good traditions. It also sounds like the Xmas day big family celebration won’t be happening in light of this new event, which is really just an unexpected benefit of the whole thing. I’m sure my parents will go over to my brother’s house on Xmas day and my mom will still have lots of feelings about us not being there, but she can’t use “the family” as some bullshit emotional weapon in her manipulation war. So, that’s good.

  • Ansel Update

The dude is locomoting around the world these days, through sheer upper body muscle. It’s a very distinct army crawl than involves putting his arms out in front of him and then hefting the rest of his body forward. He’s also REALLY good at going from hands and knees to sit and back again, which is sort of unusual given that he’s not really using his knees to crawl. L’s mom (Oma) is in town, and she’s bound and determined to get the kid crawling on his hands and knees, so I think he’ll be at it in no time. In any case, our ability to sit him somewhere, go to the bathroom, and expect him not to have gotten into something is now gone.

Still no teeth, but he’s eating really well as long as things are pretty squishy. Otherwise, he mostly enjoys the flavor, but can’t really handle swallowing. I keep thinking I’m seeing something white poking out, but it inevitably ends up just being some shiny spit or a piece of teething cracker.

He’ll be 8 months on Tuesday, which just feels impossible. This past weekend we visited friends who have a 6 week old who was born the same size as Ansel, and it’s so cliche but really, how is it even possible he was ever that small?! He’s over 20lbs (not sure by how much, guessing he’s maybe 21?) and solidly in 9 month clothing, and some 12 month jammies.

He’s begun settling into some different sleep habits, which is awesome. He now pretty consistently sleeps from around 7:30/8 to between 1-2:30. He’ll have an occassional wake up before we go to bed at 11, but can be settled by rubbing his back and giving him a pacifier most nights. After I nurse him around 2, he usually goes back to sleep until 5:30ish, when I bring him into our bed until we all get up at 7:30. So, that basically equals one wake up for me, since I don’t count the zombie walk to bring him to bed. I’ve been feeling so much more rested at work, and I’m super grateful he’s beginning to settle a bit easier (the other night he even fussed for just a few minutes and then fell back asleep without crying or support, so that’s a win!) I know that teething and other new things may impact this, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Finally . . .On Sunday afternoon, I’m leaving for a meeting in Washington D.C. for two days. I’ll only be gone about 50 hours, but I’m having so many feels about it. I’m super excited to go to this meeting, where I’ll meet colleagues doing similar work in other states and, hopefully, get a lot of questions about my grant answered (no promises, it’s the federal government) and I can eat good food and take a long shower and watch whatever TV I want. But, I’ll also be away from Ansel, and that makes me sad. I’ve only slept away from him one night in our lives, back in August, when I went to deliver a training in a small town in Colorado. He survived, I survived, L (barely) survived. He’s older now, and we’ll be ok. But I worry about pumping (and transporting milk through security) and how he’ll fall asleep without a boob and if he’ll still want to fall asleep with a boob when I get back. It feels quite a bit like walking away without a piece of my body, and while I know he’ll be safe and well cared for, I also worry he will miss me. And also, that he won’t miss me at all.

Fucking parenting, man. So confusing. So hard.

So, so worth it.


Home for the Holidays

L and I had our first pseudo-date a few days before Christmas, so by the time the next holiday season rolled around we were, like typical lesbos, totally unable to imagine spending the time apart. To be fair, we were all but living together by then, and we were really, truly, fully a couple. We were so smitten, in fact, that although the original plan was for me to fly out later on a buddy pass while L drove out to Indiana, I made a last minute, late night decision to drive with her, even though it put me in the red with my vacation time at a newish job.

It was strange, that first Christmas away, to be with someone else’s family, to be away from the traditions I was used to and my own family dramas. But, it was nice, too. It felt special to be with this person I was in love with, in her home town, meeting her family, learning about her history. It felt strange, but not bad.

When the next holiday came, L and I were planning our wedding and we’d talked not only about the upcoming Christmas, but also about what Christmases would look like in our future in general. And the decision then was that while we lived in Colorado, we would go to Indiana for the holidays. This made sense to me, although I did have to grieve a little. We rarely saw L’s family any other time, and we spent every other holiday and special occasion with my family, so it was totally logical to go back for Christmas.

But my mom was bummed. She was sad the first year, and has grown steadily resentful every year since. Last year she started mentioning that she didn’t feel it was ‘fair’ and I told her our rationale, and that we would likely continue to go to Indy for Christmas while we were living in Colorado. It never really escalated into a full blown conversation, but I know it’s something that bugs her.

This past April, when I was less than a month post partum, coursing with hormones and generally kind of a mess, my mom effectively cornered me in the middle of modmarket during my first lunch outside my own house. “What are you doing about Christmas this year?” When I told her we were likely going back to Indiana, she started sobbing and talking about how unfair it was. Because I was holding an infant, had a giant gaping wound in my belly, and was leaking milk, I tried everything in my power to get her to stop crying, which included trying to negotiate without actually giving in. I said things like, “maybe we can talk about leaving on Christmas eve” and other non sense. By the time L got home from work, I was a mess.

So we knew the conversation was coming, but I was dreading it. Every once in a while, my mom would throw in, “I hope you’re talking about Christmas!” while we were on the phone, and I spent a LOT of time getting anxious about how the conversation would go, but manage to find excuses to not talk about Christmas plans whenever the subject got close.

But on Saturday, dressed in a gnome costume, at the end of a visit with my parents, I did it. Thanksgiving came up, L’s birthday came up, it was inevitable. So I just said it, “We are going to Indiana for Christmas.”

And the tears were immediate, as was the demand, “Well I expect you’ll be here NEXT Christmas, then?”

For the next half an hour, my mom came up with every reason she could muster why we needed to stay in Colorado – it wasn’t fair, we actually see L’s family “a lot”, other people in my family ‘think we’ve abandoned the family’, it’s not the same to celebrate on other days . . .on and on and on. I held my ground, which isn’t easy for me when it comes to my mom. Finally, we got to a point where she’d said what she needed to say, and I said what I needed to say, so we got up and left.

I’m hurt that my mom can’t have empathy for us, for L’s family. I worry that, at the heart of it, my mom doesn’t respect L’s family as Ansel’s family, that because of the lack of biology she doesn’t see them as connected (my feeling that this is at the heart of the issue comes from more than just this issue.) And that, for me, is what’s so heartbreaking. I’m hurt that she lied (about other people making comments) in order to emotionally manipulate me, and that she can’t just express her sadness and still be willing to move forward and create something meaningful for A and his cousin.

During the conversation, I asked her to help me create a celebration on a different day that would be meaningful. She said it just couldn’t happen, that we’d tried and it just didn’t feel the same. Plus, she said, the extended family wasn’t involved, so that felt bad. When I suggested we invite the extended family, she acted as though people would be horribly offended by this. I said I’d be happy to call folks and ask them. Which I did.

And I found that everyone else seems to understand the situation completely, and are more than happy to come to another event. When I called my mom and told her, she seemed more peeved that I’d proven her wrong than happy that we’d found an opportunity to create a new tradition. And so, I continue to feel hurt by her behavior.

This isn’t unusual, right? That people create new traditions when their families expand, on different days? (For the record, my mom isn’t into Jesus, so why Dec 25th means so much to her, I don’t know.) Creating opportunities for Ansel to have relationships with his family in Indiana is important to us, and that just can’t happen if we only go back to Indiana every other year. I think there are ways to make things meaningful, even when they don’t happen on Christmas day.

Mostly, I continue to grow more and more heartbroken that my relationship with my mom is so strained and has actually gotten harder since Ansel was born.

And just so as not to end on doom and gloom, here’s a couple of pictures from A’s first Halloween:

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He’s also just days away from fully crawling! And he’s SO BUSY! And he’s going to be 8 months old soon and OMG what is happening?! I love this baby so much!