Tag Archives: motherhood

A Voice of A Generation

20 Feb

“I’m the voice of my generation. At least I’m a voice. Of a generation.”  — Hannah Horvath, Girls

Image

Whenever I watch Girls — which, if you haven’t seen it, is a funny, often shocking, bitingly well-written show on HBO about four twenty-something girls in New York — I have the following three thoughts, not necessarily in this order:

1.  CRINGE!
2.  I am SO glad I’m not in my 20s (especially my early to mid 20s) anymore!  This is one of the rare times when my age, 33, sounds like the perfect age to me.
3.  Wow, Lena Dunham is a damn good writer.

Lena Dunham is incredibly impressive because while the show (and its predecessor, her film Tiny Furniture, which is like Girls‘ unfunny indie cousin) center on characters played by Dunham that are clearly drawn at least in part from Dunham’s life, Dunham herself is obviously a lot more put together (or at least a lot more focused) than her character Hannah.  If Dunham purports to be confused and struggling twenty-something, then she’s a twenty-something with a Golden Globe and a show directed by Judd Apatow – not too shabby.  I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to have someone, especially someone with so much cache, really “get” the appeal of your voice and your point of view and decide to get on board with it.

I laughed aloud watching this week’s episode where one of the characters, Ray, commented that “when people say they want to be writers they just want to eat and masturbate.”  It suddenly occurred to me (hello, Captain Obvious) how many people are aspiring writers.  Especially in L.A., if you go to a coffee shop I guarantee that among the college kids and grad students with their laptops, you will see at least one dude working on his screenplay.  (I was tempted to write, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting an aspiring screenwriter,” but that expression is kind of gross.  Sorry, Noodles.)  And now that blogging is so easy that anyone can figure it out, people can get their worldview and their writing out there instantaneously.  But among all the ordinary “here’s what I did today” writing out there (guilty as charged!), there are some real standouts, and Dunham is definitely one of them.

I think what Dunham does so incredibly well is just what Hannah Horvath says — she really speaks to and encapsulates the experience of a particular generation (or at least a particular white, New York-dwelling subset).  I think I’m on the young end of the prior generation, so I can’t attest to whether Girls is true to life for today’s twenty-somethings (those crazy kids!  Ok, now I sound old), but it certainly comes across that way.  And maybe that’s what I’m aspiring to do as well.  Maybe I won’t be the voice of my generation, but I can be a voice of a generation, right?

While Dunham’s girls are trying to find jobs, boyfriends and generally figure out what to do with their lives, many of the “girls” in my generation have jobs and/or husbands (and in many cases, kids) and now we’re all trying to figure out how in the world to manage our lives.  What kind of job and work schedule do we have?  Do we work full time, part time, flex time, are we stay at home moms?  If we have kids, what do we do for child care?  How do we focus on our marriages and our partners when we are also so focused on our kids?   Not the sexiest,  most glamorous, or most titillating issues in the world, perhaps, and maybe not the stuff good TV is made of, but these definitely the issues that keep me up at night and I know I’m not alone.

Recently I joined a Facebook group of other moms who attended the same women’s college as I did.  The group has grown to a couple hundred women, all of whom attended sometime in the mid-late 90s to the mid-2000s.  People post questions and get a flurry of responses from moms who have been there before — it’s a really awesome resource and I love reading the posts even if Lucy isn’t experiencing a certain issue yet, to sock away the information for future reference.  Last week one woman posted saying that she’s unhappy with her current work/life balance and wanted to know what other peoples’ work arrangements consisted of.  She received about 40 responses from every variation from full-time work to stay at home moms.  I found it so fascinating what a vast difference of opinion there was with respect to the desire to work outside the home or not, even among women who attended the same school at approximately the same time.  One woman admitted that she finds playing with her kids really boring.  Another said that she couldn’t imagine working outside the home and being away from her three small children.  One woman described herself as a “reluctant” stay at home mom who regretted having left academia when her son was born, and another expressed that she wished she could afford to stay home.

But despite all the differences between these women,  absolutely nobody makes judgy or condescending remarks (which, if you’ve ever looked at any online mom resource, you will know is quite a feat).  I’ve written before that one of my biggest pet peeves — at work, with parenting and in life in general — is when women cut each other down instead of supporting each other, so it’s wonderful to know that I can pose questions in this forum and receive nothing but positive encouragement and advice.

I must say…. if this is my generation, I’d be honored to be a voice of it.

Advertisements

Paparazzo

19 Feb

Before Hubs and I met, he took photos as a hobby.  I’m not sure if it’s because he had less free time after we started dating or some other reason, but he has done much less photography over the past 4 years since we met than he used to.

But now, Hubs has found the perfect subject for his photography:  Lucy!  And while I snap photos all day long on my iPhone, Hubs actually has a nice Canon for which he recently purchased a new lens.  In the past 3 months, his photos of Lucy have been getting progressively better, and now some of them look almost professional.

Yesterday I decided to pick up Hubs’ camera and start snapping a few photos.  Hubs commented that there are tons of high-quality shots of me with Lucy, but very few of Hubs, since most of the photos of him to-date were taken with my phone.  So now, I am making a concerted effort to get comfortable with the camera so that Lucy can have great photos with her daddy too.  I took one photography class in my senior year of college and found it to be very difficult — I ended up with nothing but a lot of blurry prints (despite many hours in the darkroom), so lucky for me (and Lucy) Hubs’ camera is still basically a point-and-shoot with autofocus.

Here are my favorite photos of Lucy from yesterday (I got some great ones with Hubs too but I am leaving those out to protect his privacy on the internets):

Hmmmm....

Hmmmm….

photo-45

Auntie Love

18 Feb

Lucy has lots of adopted aunties.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an only child, so my close friends have often felt like family.  That being the case, Lucy has no shortage of amazing women to shower her with lots of love, cuddles and gifts!  I think everyday about how blessed we are to have people who love us so much.

Lucy also has a real aunt — Hubs’ sister who lives back East.  This weekend she came out to meet Lucy for the first time.  It was so fun and so heartwarming to see the two of them together.  She even made Lucy laugh for the first time!  It was the best sound in the world.  Hubs and I have been trying in vain to replicate it, but apparently Aunt R is funnier than we are.

Image

Image

It was a gorgeous weekend in Los Angeles, and we took advantage by going to Santa Monica on Saturday to have lunch and walk near the beach, and yesterday we walked down to our local farmers market.

Image

Wide awake on the ride to the beach

Image

Not so awake on the jaunt to the farmers market

Today Hubs doesn’t have to work, and we celebrated by sleeping in (otherwise known as getting up with Lucy at 6:00 then going back to bed till 8:00) and having bagels from our favorite place.  Right now he’s getting a haircut, then I’m going to get a pedicure (I haven’t gotten my nails done since Lucy was born and I’ve actually ripped a hole in a sock with my clawlike toenails.  I know, ew) and go grocery shopping.   I don’t know that I ever would have considered that a terribly exciting day, but I’m loving it now!  Then tonight Hubs and I are having a date night while my parents watch Lucy, which we haven’t done in a few weeks.  I wouldn’t trade my days and nights with Lucy for anything, but I admit it will be nice to take a quick break from focusing on Lucy’s sleep patterns (which are definitely improving slowly but surely, but it can be taxing being the nap police!)  This week if her naps continue to get better I also hope to have time to do some more substantive blogging.  On tap:  an update on my struggles with my oldest friendship, thoughts on work/life balance, and more!

Softies

12 Feb

I’ve always known I’m a softy.  It turns out that — at least where Lucy is concerned — Hubs is too.

Yesterday Lucy was extremely fussy.  Not all day, but enough of the day and with enough intensity that it was unusual: arched back and wailing and crying real tears and going all red in the face.  She didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms of being sick, so Hubs and I suspect she’s going through a growth spurt.  She barely napped all day, and by the evening she was so tired that she fell asleep in my arms, which she rarely does these days (I admit I loved that part):

Image

Sleepy baby

Then when we tried to transfer her to the Pack n’ Play napper so that I could make dinner, she woke up.  Usually she doesn’t go to bed till after 9 pm, since she’s still sleeping in a bassinet in our room so we usually move her and then go to bed ourselves.  But in my Mommy & Me class (which I had the second session of yesterday), we talked about setting a sleep routine and I decided we should start trying to move Lucy’s bedtime up to be earlier.  (One thing that convinced me was the instructor commenting that it’s better to do it now before Lucy can speak and say things like “Don’t go, Mommy” and “You hurt my heart.”  Yikes, point taken.)  So last night I thought, since she was clearly tired but also in a relatively good mood, it might be a good time to try to put her to bed at 8 pm in our room while we listened to her on the baby monitor from the living room.

Hubs got her all swaddled and settled in the bassinet, but as soon as she figured out that we weren’t also going to bed, she started wailing.  Hubs went back in, and I listened to him try to soothe her.  The silence lasted until he returned to the living room.  Then I went in and tried soothing her and also re-swaddling her since one arm had already escaped the swaddle (have I mentioned she’s a little Houdini?)  She would not stop flailing around long enough for me to re-do the swaddle.  I returned to the living room and there was some rustling and then silence other than Hubs’ footsteps.  

Success?  Not so much.  Hubs returned to the living room carrying Lucy, who was raising her arms in a victory pose (ok, not really, but she was pretty darn happy after we brought her back out to be with us).  Clearly, Hubs and I don’t yet have the stomach to listen to Lucy crying — it seriously breaks my heart when she’s upset!  So she will continue to be a night owl for now (or we will start going to bed at 8 pm!)

On the plus side, Lucy slept from 9:30 pm to 6:30 am, ate, and then went back to sleep and is still sleeping now (at 9:30 am)! So we know she can sleep like a champ–we just need to work on shifting the sleep schedule back.

Image

Our little Lucy burrito in her bassinet

Today I am going to try for the first time to put her for a nap in her crib instead of in the napping station in the living room.  Wish me luck!

Challenges

11 Feb

This weekend was pretty mellow.  On Friday Hubs and I discovered that one of our favorite local restaurants delivers (oh the little things!)  On Saturday we took Lucy out for a quick shopping trip and then celebrated my dad’s 64th birthday with dinner out.  And yesterday we mostly laid low and watched a DVD at night.

Admittedly, my main preoccupation continues to be with feeding Lucy.  After hearing from a couple of friends that nursing really does get easier and less painful over time, I decided to persevere.  Now I am doing a combo of nursing, pumped milk and a little bit of formula.  We decided to add back in the formula when we realized that Lucy was starting to fuss shortly after nursing, even when it seemed like she had nursed long enough to have gotten a full meal, so we’ve started bottlefeeding her 2 more oz with each nursing session.  When possible this is pumped milk, but that’s not always available.  It’s a little disappointing to realize that my milk supply is still inadequate, but Hubs and I also suspect Lucy may be going through a growth spurt.

I’m happy to be nursing Lucy at least part of the time, but it’s definitely not making my life any easier.  I had this vision that I would have less bottles and hassle to deal with, but since we are supplementing it’s just become a longer process.  I am still getting up once or twice a night to pump in order to keep my supply up, even though Lucy is sleeping through the night.  And now when we go out with her I have to figure out how and where to nurse, as well as bringing milk or formula too.  I know that most nursing moms go through this and worse, so I shouldn’t complain so much (wah wah wahhhh…)  I think it’s just growing pains and I’m sure in a few weeks it will be a much smoother process.

Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be so hard… -Coldplay, “The Scientist”

In more cheerful news, Lucy’s new favorite thing is looking at herself in the mirror and “talking” to her reflection.  Who can blame her for wanting to talk to this cutie?:

Image

Hello, me!

Spoke Too Soon

8 Feb

Well readers, after my big ol’ brag about how Lucy and I totally mastered this whole nursing business, it turns out…not so much.  The first evening we did it a few days ago it was wonderful, but every time since then has gotten progressively more and more painful.  I’ve been consulting books and websites trying to refresh my memory about positioning, latch, and all that good stuff, but I just can’t figure out how to fix things. 

Before, the problem was that Lucy either wouldn’t latch, or else would latch on and promptly fall asleep and not drink anything.  Now she’s latching on and drinking, but in a way that is somehow excruciating for me.  Her positioning looks like what they show in the photos, so I have no idea how to keep her from attacking me with her bitey little gums (if that’s what’s happening…I honestly don’t even know).  She also is very fidgety when she’s eating sometimes, and tends to abruptly tug her head backward or side to side while still latched on.  When she’s drinking from a bottle I don’t really mind and it’s actually kind of funny/cute, but when she’s nursing…well, not so funny.  It’s also hard to take the time to get the right latch because when Lucy gets hungry, she gets ravenous and needs her four ounces of milk RIGHT NOW, and will wail and writhe until she gets it.

As a result — and I know this is a taboo thing to say — I’m not finding nursing enjoyable at all.  I know I’m “supposed” to feel like I’m bonding with Lucy but it’s hard to feel that way when really what I’m thinking is “OH MY GOD OUCH!!!  LET GO OF MY BOOB!!!”  I’ve felt much more snuggly and lovey with her when I’m giving her a bottle and she’s gazing up at me with her big blue eyes.

Now I’m really torn on what to do.  On the one hand, if I could figure out how to make nursing more comfortable and pleasant, I’d like to be able to do it at least part of the time.  So I will probably meet with a lactation consultant again.  But on the other hand, I had come to a point where I was really comfortable with the way we were doing things.  Of course I don’t love pumping — it’s inconvenient and I’d rather be snuggling Lucy than snuggling up to a machine — but it’s also pain-free and allows me to measure exactly how much Lucy is eating, which I like.

To be continued…

Awesomeness

6 Feb

Ok, I admit it — I’m going to be doing a little bit of mama bragging here.  This has been an awesome 24 hours for Miss Lucy!  Here goes:

1.   As I wrote about at length before, Lucy and I had a lot of trouble with the whole nursing thing.  After many failed attempts with latching and my low milk supply, I switched to pumping and formula feeding.  At first I was doing about 50-50 but lately my milk supply increased to the point that I was only feeding Lucy one 4 oz. bottle of formula a day, if that.  However, I was still reluctant to try nursing again because it had been so painful and so stressful.  But then yesterday evening, Lucy was about ready to eat again, I didn’t have a bottle of milk pumped, and I was not excited about the idea of sitting down to pump again.  I said to myself, “OK, tonight’s going to be the night that we make this work.”  I sat down with Lucy, and after just a little bit of squirming and fussing, she latched on perfectly.  I was able to nurse her for 30 minutes total!  I was astounded.  We had three successful nursing sessions today, too.  I think I want to continue to pump some to give me flexibility, and I am definitely a bit sore, but it made me SO happy to be able to nurse Lucy.

2.  After I nursed Lucy at 7 pm, I was afraid she’d want to be fed late at night or in the middle of the night.  But instead, she fell asleep at 8 pm and didn’t wake up again until 7 am!  This is by far the longest stretch of sleep she’s ever had.

3.  Lucy rolled over, tummy to back, for the first time this morning!  The first time I was so surprised I thought it might be a fluke, and after the second time it finally occurred to me to grab my camera.  I’m having technical difficulties loading the video but I will keep working on it!  Here is the still shot of the “before” pose:

photo-32

Tummy time – about to roll over!

Lucy and I also attended our first Mommy & me class on Monday.  There were only 3 other mamas and babies, but we learned some interesting information about baby sleep and other issues, and I discovered that Lucy loves to play with colorful rings (I bought some immediately on Amazon and they arrived today).  I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow, Lucy and I are going to my office so that she can meet everyone and I’m having lunch with one of my colleagues.  It is slightly giving me hives, thinking about being back there, but at least I know I don’t have to do actual work.

And in non-Lucy news, I am continuing to work on a short story (that may end up being a not-so-short story!) and making some good headway.  Stay tuned…