Making peace with my epidural

Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis month marks the first installment of my new column in the Portland-area family magazine Metro Parent. I figured I should start at the beginning, so I wrote a little about Peeper’s birth story.

I had planned on having a medication-free birth but, for many reasons, I opted for an epidural. I sometimes felt like I should have had a “natural” birth (I use those quotation marks with a huge eye roll—having a baby by C-section or without medication is not unnatural!), but I’ve since come to terms with having an epidural.

You can pick up a free copy of Metro Parent all over town or read the full column here.

Were you happy with how your labor and delivery went? Was there anything you’d change? Did it take you a while to reconcile with your birth story?

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Begging dog - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

My daughter and my dog, equally excited by the prospect of my tossing them peas.

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Toddler philosophy

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Life is too short to walk around empty-handed.

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Banana boobs

Sometimes Peeper wakes from a nap completely sweet: You can hear her babbling to herself or spot her playing with her toes when you peek at the monitor. Other times she gets up on the wrong side of the crib. She fusses and clings like a monkey.

I was carrying her around the apartment on one hip when she was like this a few days ago. She was holding her stuffed bunny and lay her head on my shoulder.

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I made her a snack, and we traded bites of toast and banana. She was starting to perk up a bit but still was a sweet bundle of snuggles. The more she runs around, the fewer chances I get for quiet cuddles, so I relished the moment.

Then Peeper dropped her half-chewed banana down my shirt.

Precious cuddles followed by mooshed banana-y boobs—that, in a nutshell, is motherhood.

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From near and far: Summer family visitors

Summer in Oregon is pretty much the best time/place combo I can think of. With the state’s beautiful weather, easy access to swimming holes and unbeatable hot-weather harvests, it’s no wonder we get a ton of visitors this time of year.

It’s just mid-August and a slew of family members from afar have made the summer even more wonderfully full.

Grandparents - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Portland Zoo - Ten Thousand Hour MamaGrandparents - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Eric’s parents drove their mini-RV out from Michigan. They hadn’t seen Peeper since January, so she was quite a bit different! They witnessed her first solid food then; this go around, they joined us for her first camping trip. We also visited the zoo, though Peeper was more interested in playing with leaves and bark chips than watching the animals. And we captured a rare moment: Peeper with all four of her grandparents.

Bill Ryan - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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My brother, aka Uncle Fuzzy, jetted out to surprise a friend for a camping bachelor party. Thankfully he had a few days to hang with Peeper, too. We went berry picking and played at the park, but the highlights were tickle fights and roughhousing at home. Even better: Uncle Fuzzy will be out later this summer, too!

Welches, OR Old Salmon River Trail - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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My sister from another mister Monica and her son T joined us for Peeper’s birthday celebration in Welches. We discovered an island along the Old Salmon River Trail and plotted a camping trip at the secret spot. T pretended to fish in the creek, and Peeper pointed at the water a whole lot.

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My younger sister and her husband moved from Berkeley to Seattle this summer. Now that they live much closer, that means more games of chase and high fives lessons for Peeper.

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We also visited Mr. T for his big 4th birthday party. He loved his superhero costume (which I ordered from the Etsy shop Fun Kidz Stuff) and his alien-themed party in the park. I enjoy eating blue-frosted cupcakes and wearing bobble alien headbands as much as the next guy. But most of all I loved being with those I care about.

Have you had family visitors this summer? What parts of your town or state do you show off?

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Nurse-in shows support for breastfeeding mamas

Over the weekend a group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a restaurant outside Portland. An employee there had recently asked a nursing mom to cover up, despite it being completely within her rights (not to mention the baby’s) to breastfeed basically anywhere in public.

In response, dozens of moms showed up to, you know, provide their children vital sustenance (gasp).

I love how these mothers, many of whom didn’t even know the original woman who was asked to put her boob away, used the frustrating moment as a way to raise awareness and rally support. It is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, after all!

I was in Eugene over the weekend, but I did end up breastfeeding at a different restaurant—not as part of the protest but because Peeper was hungry.

I don’t use a cover-up (or, as one company that thought it was a good marketing strategy to compare lactating women with cows calls them, Udder Covers). Even if I wanted to, Peeper would never stand it. And really, breastfeeding shows a lot less boob than, say, wearing a bikini. Continue reading

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Mac n’ cheese is my hero

Yesterday we got home from a long trip to Eugene for Eric’s birthday. It was a packed long weekend, full of hanging with the family, games of Euchre and Quiddler, meeting up with friends, blackberry picking and twice-nightly dessert.

Super patriotic super sweetie with Grandpa

Super patriotic super sweetie with Grandpa

We were beat, so when it came time to cook dinner last night, I made a box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, mixed in some spinach for good measure and called it good.

When I set the shells on Peeper’s tray, she couldn’t shovel them into her mouth fast enough. She sucked them off her fingers and had more in the other hand waiting. We marveled at how much she packed in.

“That’s more than a three-year-old eats,” Eric said at one point.

After Peeper ate her fill and we washed off the greens and cheese she mashed into her hair, I put her to bed.

People, she slept through the night.

Even more remarkable: I slept through the night.

I didn’t wake up worrying when she’d want milk. I didn’t get up to pee. I didn’t peek at the monitor. I just slept. That was the first uninterrupted night’s rest I’ve had since Fall 2012.


Mac n’ cheese for dinner every night!

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