Life Update: January 30th 2014

Dominic
Man, my little guy is growing up so fast. I know everyone says the time goes by quickly and it really, really does, though sometimes the days feel like forever. He is growing and learning by leaps and bounds. We (read:Melissa) were really worried for a while that he didn’t really talk. When he turned 18 months he only knew three words; now, in just almost three months, he knows so many words I’d have a hard time counting them. He is picking up on language so quickly that almost every day he learns a new word, sometimes more than one, and I’m not exaggerating that either, it really is averaging out about one word a day. And this has been great for our relationship. It eases a lot of frustration for the both of us when he can communicate exactly what he wants. I don’t have to guess any more what he wants (most of the time – he has enough words to communicate most of the things that he wants) and his needs can be met a lot quicker because of it. However, he has also entered the temper tantrum stage and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how trying that can be at times. However, overall he is such a sweet, little guy, who loves us dearly. And he loves to read so much. We even read some books together when he knows the words – that is a lot of fun. He loves to go to the library, which he is trying very hard to say, but comes out sounding nothing like library. A few days ago he learned to say hug and it’s the sweetest thing ever to me when he asks for a hug. He also loves to color and draw. If you take out a pen, he wants to be coloring with it. We get to have a lot of fun together and I’m very privileged to be his mom. He also loves animals. He knows so many animal sounds plus the word monkey. It’s amazing watching him put together the pieces and learn new things. He wants to be increasingly independent so I work hard to help him when he asks, but also to let him figure things out for himself, even if it sometimes takes longer.

Weaning
Warning: frank talk about my boobs in the next paragraphs. Please skip it if you can’t handle that or don’t want to know and go to the next section.

So Dominic is finally weaned. We made it to 20, almost 21 months so I feel as though we had a really good go of it. I always said I wanted to make it to 1 year and anything after that was bonus time. Well I made my goal and got 8 months of bonus time, so that’s pretty good. The choice to wean was both hard and easy. It was hard because I knew that Dominic would happily go on nursing for longer, but it was easy because I was ready to be done. It’s funny because it was one of those things that I had talked about doing probably just about every month since he was almost a year old lol but yet never followed through with it. Well this time I actually did.

I have to say, when they mean gradually, they really mean gradually. Dom had dropped some of his regular nursing times over a period of weeks one by one and I could tell at other times that he wasn’t getting any milk (dry nursing). Dry nursing was super uncomfortable for me – it gave me the worst skin crawling feeling ever, part of the reason I was ready to wean because I knew my options were either a) up my supply or b) wean because I could not live with that dry nursing feeling. While I most of the time didn’t have those warm and fuzzy feelings many people talk about having while nursing, I didn’t hate or resent it, but the dry nursing was starting me down that path, so I wanted to wean while I still thought of it in a positive way. I always feel like I have to explain and/or justify myself in why I weaned, because in a lot of places that are pro-breastfeeding (and I’ve seen it) women will ask for advice about weaning and the “advice” they will get is usually along the lines of “Don’t stop, you can keep going.” (My paraphrase) which is helpful in certain situations with a mom who is looking for encouragement to keep going, but in other situations can leave a mom who is truly ready to wean (as I was) feeling trapped. Luckily, I asked in one of my safe groups and got wonderful support where people just helped me with my decision instead of trying to talk me out of it.

It was a little hard on Dom at first and he didn’t quite understand when I said we couldn’t nurse, so I put some vinegar on my boobs (don’t laugh) and let him try it, which of course, he found to taste awful and then he didn’t want it. Then when he asked again, I would say, “Remember boobah [his word for nursing] tastes yucky” and then offer him something else to drink, which did work most of the time. I knew after that first time that I made the right decision because I didn’t feel sad or guilty, I felt relieved.

Anyways, my boobs and I had a disagreement about what gradually meant and I became extremely engorged. Oh man, this was bad. I had been engorged when Dom was a newborn because I had so much milk (and even possible oversupply) but this was so much worse. At least engorgement while nursing meant Dom could nurse, which helped it go down, but there was no such relief after weaning and you don’t want to pump too much either because breastmilk works on supply and demand, so too much removal of the milk can send a message to the body that it needs to make more. To combat this, I downed a lot of Earth Angel Mama Baby No More Milk Tea despite the fact that I don’t like tea or peppermint and put cabbage leaves in my bra (both of which my loving husband gladly picked up for me). I found the cabbage leaves to be the most helpful – I could feel my boobs were noticeably softer and not quite as full after I used them. I nursed Dom for the last time on a Wednesday, Thursday I was engorged but it was okay, Friday though I was so engorged I was completely miserable. They hurt so bad I could not think straight to do hardly anything. Every day after Friday was a little but better. In all it took about a week for them to be normal/not hurt any more. I did notice they are a lot smaller again though.

In-laws Visit
This last week my in-laws visited. It was a lot of fun. Dominic warmed up to them pretty quickly and caught on to calling them Oma and opa pretty quickly too. He adored spending time with them. While they were here, they totally spoiled all three of us. We ate out a lot, which was fun because I like to eat out but also view it as a luxury and I’m cheap lol. We did a lot of shopping: we went to the mall and Target and Costco. And they took us on a real mini-vacation to the Dells. I can’t remember the last time I went on a real not visiting family or doing school related stuff vacation. This was all relaxation. There were hot tubs involved – man hot tubs – I forgot how nice they are. I don’t think I had been in a hot tub for probably 3 years, so that was amazing. I went on some COMPLETELY TERRIFYING water slides. I went on this one, the Hurricane something or other, and I am pretty sure I basically screamed in terror the entire time, while Nick laughed at me. They were fun though. And of course Dom loved it. That kid loves water – somedays I swear he is half fish. He had also discovered he liked slides sometime in late summer/fall time frame so of course there were a lot of those for him to be on.

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And Nick’s parents graciously agreed to watch Dom for us so we could go out on a solo date. We date every week but most of the time it is either an at home date or we being Dom with us, so it was really special to go alone. We used that time to go bowling, which was a lot of fun. We both equally suck at bowling, so it feels like even footing to have a chance to beat him. And I did beat him, in 1 out of 4 games but hey, I’ll take it. I even bowled a strike once. And then we got Dairy Queen.

All in all it was a great visit. We are really blessed because Nick’s parents really care for us and are just generally fun and easygoing people. I’ve heard horror stories from friends, which make me realize just how big of a blessing it is to have good in-laws. I am also so grateful again, that Dom warmed up to them so quickly. They live quite far away so we don’t get to see them nearly as often as we’d like.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot new happening in our neck of the woods, besides Nick and I being totally sick. So far Dom hasn’t shown any signs of catching it, so I’m hopeful that he won’t. Since we’re weaned, I can no longer comfort myself with the fact that he’s getting antibodies in my milk. But he’ll live I’m sure. Germs make our immune system stronger.

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