Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bubonic Plague

This post is totally unrelated to my family, and tangentially related to motherhood. It's more a post about perspective. It's a little disturbing, you may not want to read this one.

Ever since I was a little kid I've been fascinated with the various outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague. I've almost thought that the whole thing was "cool"... as much as one can about something so grizzly. I've done various presentations on it over the years and I have a fairly good understanding of how the plague was transmitted and what they did about it.

At least, I thought I did. In October 2011, I got to go to Scotland for a week when Scott was 1 year old. I was pregnant at the time. During this trip, we went on a walking tour that lead underneath the city of Edinburgh. The tour was called "The Real Mary King's Close". The tour was full of interesting things, but it was also full of absolutely terrifying things. The way Edinburgh grew, people ended up living underground, or at the bottom of very tall and narrow passages. I'm slightly claustrophobic as it is, so this was a little stomach churning to begin with. But the thing that's still haunting me 8 months later was a small offshoot about the bubonic plague. We were exploring a section under the streets of Edinburgh, where people really lived, in real old homes and passages, and they had various mannequins set-up in different scenarios showing how life was then. Murders, daily work, and one section on the plague. There was a mother trying to care for her two children who had come down with the plague. They were huddled on a bed of straw, wasting away. There was a man, a doctor of sorts, coming by to collect the dead in a full leather coat and mask. Viewing the scene from the eyes of a mother who has had to care for her child with just a cold, I was seriously shaken. There are things about history that seem interesting until you are confronted with them in a new way. For me, in this case, it was being a parent myself, facing a life sized representation of one of my worst fears. Motherhood creates fierce and strong emotions. This one, the protective instinct, is new and powerful. I'm so heartbroken over all of the mothers who had to watch their children die (and then probably die themselves from catching it themselves).

I just wanted to write about it because it's stuck in my head and my heart today (no idea why), and I wanted to try and get it out, have the chance to process my thoughts on the topic. And to express my great grattitude and joy that we know what caused the plague and aren't currently living in a time or area with any great medical epidemics.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Joining things

The hardest thing about working out is starting. Before last year, I've never really enjoyed working out. Sure, I've had dance classes I loved, and I've done weight lifting physical education in school that was fun, and I even had one semester in college that I was REALLY dilligant about wroking out, but I never really liked working out for working outs sake. What happened? Why do I now really enjoy it?

I think it part of it comes down to it being time for me, only about me, that's actually productive. Time spent with kids is so focused on their needs, their desires, and it's so hard to get any ME time. Sometiems I need to veg (yesterday, for example, when I FINALLY got both kids asleep for ~30 minutes, I spent the first 20 doing some paperwork stuff that needed doing, so I spent the last 10 minutes eating ice cream). But being able to steal time to improve my self esteem (because that's what working out does, it improves my body, thus improving my self esteem) is rad.

But I remember the first time I went to work out in a group class last summer. I was so nervous. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up. It was a class where you use dumbells and I brought along 2lb weights because I was scared. The instructor laughed at me, gave me 5 lb weights and I've never looked back. When you're in a group dynamic, it seems like you need to keep up, be the one that isn't dragging everyone back. But that's not how it really is. You need to work on you, and let everyone else work on themselves. That first day in that class, no one else was slowed down by my presence.

It's funny to think that about 5 years ago I was debating joining weight watchers, but I didn't want to join and be "too skinny" and have everyone else feel bad about the skinny girl joining their group. I now know that anyone else in my group wouldn't have viewed me as "too thin" to be in it, they would have been happy if I was just an active memeber. That's what it's all about, attitude. If you are excited and ready to be a part of whatever it is that you are joining, everyone else will be excited for you to be there too.

I now workout with the people from that first workout class last year 2-3 times a week. They're all excited to have me there, even if I'm the weakest link. I go, I work my butt off, and I get better. They help me do it! I keep them motivated by improving week to week and they keep me motivated because they're doing it right along with me!

Moral of the story... do you have something you're contemplating joining that you're kind of unsure about? Join it! Be it a nutrition group, a workout group, a walking group, a book club... whatever it is, if you go into it excited to be a part, everyone will be happy you joined!

Monday, June 11, 2012

This and that

I have it really easy these days. Ok, that's a lie, no parent with two little kids has it "easy"... but on the scale of 'yes, I have 2 kids under 2', I have it easy.

Jeremy sleeps through the night, sleeps in his crib!, LOVES me, smiles, occasionally laughs (he makes me work for it, so when he does laugh it's super rewarding), has no eating issues, rarely poops, is good at daycare and makes fabulous faces. Scott is learning to eat his vegetables, loves to play, is pretty good at quiet time, smiles and laughs like a madman, is good at daycare, is good at letting us brush his teeth... basically, my kids are both in nice stages right now.

That's not to say I'm not exhausted, wouldn't like a several day break from parenting, and don't need someone to manage the rest of my life (cleaning, food, shopping, etc).

Anyway, this post was suppose to be about pumping. Twice a day while I'm at work, I close and lock my door, get out my electric pump and settle down at my desk to read or write (documents for work mostly), and strap stuff to me to get milk out. It is an awkward thing. Undressing at work, hiding in my office, getting bottles of HUMAN milk to put in my fridge (at least I have my own!!). I make lots of milk and when I produce like 15 oz in an 8 hour perid at work it's neat! But it's still strange. I really appreciate being able to get away from parenting 24/7 by coming to work, and I know that breast is best, but it's still awkward.

I am also extremely awkward about talking about breast feeding and pumping. I know it's natural. I know it's a good thing. I'm not even embarassed to actually breast feed in public anymore, but even writing out the word "breast" just feels strange to me. It's like unwanted attention. I personally have never looked at anyone else breast feeding and had any thoughts beyond admiration (to a point, when the kid can ask to nurse, I do find it a little weird), but I still feel awkward about it.

Ugh, sleep deprived. Things sound much better in my head then they do when I get them out onto the screen.

In other news, my kids are now 3 months old and 20 months old. Only about 2 more years of diapers! Wait, really? I'm not even half way through the diaper years... crud.