27 WEEKS - THE CAR RIDE OF SHAME

If you’ve turned on the news lately, you’ve probably seen the kind of people that make you embarrassed to be …a human. A mirror, reflecting the worst of our society. This weekend …as I sat there watching the Chicago Trump rally/protest… I couldn’t help but think, “Where did all these people go wrong?” Forget politics. This isn’t a blog about politics. We all make our own choices in life…and its not because you’re a Republican or Democrat…it’s because of the person you are…at your core. Who taught these people to be so intolerant? Who taught these people to hate? For the love of god, who told that man it was cool to wear crocs, khaki shorts, a sombrero AND an American flag tank top at the same time? Who raised these people?

Raising my tiny human the past 6 months, I’ve quickly realized how wholly responsible I am for the person that he turns out to be. Sure he’ll live his own life..and through personal experiences he’ll develop his own biases, opinions and beliefs, but for the next 18 years….I’m responsible for turning him into him a the kind of person that doesn’t end up on CNN tearing up another person’s sign and then punching them in the face. So how do I make sure he’s a good human?

Everyone has “fork in the road” moments. Moments where something happened that changed you…and sent you on a different path. And its not always something big like a death…or birth…but rather a little thing. A random day, a random occurrence that taught a lesson and shaped you into who you are today. Here’s one story…when my dad wanted to make damn sure I turned out to be a good human…

I was 6 or 7 years old. We had a baby sitter named Miss Sue. My mom and dad picked us up from Miss Sue’s just like any other time. Me, my sister and my brother headed to the mini van with my mom. I sat in the back seat of our yellow Plymouth Voyager mini van [affectionately known as the Twinkie.] It must’ve been around Christmas time because a bound Christmas tree was laying out across the van. The stump of it just off to my right. I know this…because I stared at the damn stump the whole ride home.

My dad stormed back to the van…fuming. I could see on his face someone was in trouble. The door slammed shut and he shouted, “KRISTEN ASHELY QUINTRALL, YOU ARE GETTING THE BELT AS SOON AS WE GET HOME!” (Immediately crying) “What? Why? What did I do?” 

As the story goes… the ice cream man came by and I, of course, asked if I could have some. Miss Sue said no. Apparently that wasn’t the answer I wanted so I kept insisting. I told her allllll about how "my mommy and daddy always got me ice cream." Miss Sue said no. I worked myself up into a frenzy…furious that she wouldn’t buy me the damn ice cream. Lets call it a tantrum. Why Miss Sue? Why won't you get me ice cream!?!? 

What she told my father…the reason she held him back while we all piled in the car? Was to apologize to him. She told him the story and wanted him to know how sorry SHE WAS that she hadn’t bought me ice cream. She had fallen on hard times and simply didn’t have the money to buy it for me and hoped he could explain it to me, so that I wouldn’t be mad at her. 

....eeeeesh

Now yes, I was a 6 year old kid who simply wanted ice cream...but if my father hadn’t taken the time to make it a teachable moment…I’m certain I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. See my father came from a very poor family...living in trailers and bouncing around foster care...he had a rough upbringing. So he took particular offense to what I had just done. That his daughter...would ever treat a person that way. 

It was a long drive home. Had to be an hour…"the never ending car ride of shame". My father described, in detail, what it’s like to be poor. He told me about when he was my age...that he collected coke cans off the side of the road for money just so he could buy himself used clothes from Goodwill. He told me about how he only owned two shirts. He told me about all the things he didn't have growing up. He made sure I understood exactly how Miss Sue felt. He made sure I understood that while I was whining for ice cream...she was struggling to pay her bills. He made sure I understood...that I was an asshole lol

As I sat in the back...staring at the stump, crying...ashamed to look up...my life took a silent turn. I had an "ah ha" moment. It was the first time in my little life that I ever understood ...that everyone’s life wasn't the same as mine. Some were less fortunate. Some more. Some were just different. I'd never thought about that before. I had never really thought about others before. Not in a bad way. I had just blissfully and ignorantly believed that everyone's life was as easy as mine. I will never forget that talk...and I'll certainly never forget the belt to my ass when I got home lol 

From then on out, my dad made sure we all understood. We'd go to soup kitchens and serve vets. We'd donate all of our clothes and toys to Goodwill. We'd give...to those that had nothing. Not a day goes by where I don't try to put myself in someone else's shoes. In truth, every time I get frustrated as a parent...every. single. time....I think, there are women in Africa who don't have cribs, diaper genies, pediatricians, teething necklaces and fuck...clean water. "You're ok Kristen", I tell myself.

So where did all those people fighting in that arena go wrong? I don't know the answer, but I can only assume it's because they never had a Mickey Quintrall give them the talk of shame...so they could realize that not everyone's life was the same as theirs. Sure ok...maybe that person is voting Republican...maybe because he's in the military with a wife and 3 kids...and he doesn't want to lose his job. Sure that person is voting Democrat...maybe because she's a poor single mother who's drowning in bills and needs her welfare check and is afraid to lose it. We all have our reasons why we do things. You don't know someone else's life...and the journey they went through to get where they are. So breathe...and never let a "Miss Sue" feel bad because their situation inconveniences you. 

Parenting isn't as easy as telling a kid what to do, but rather finding those "fork in the road" moments and making them teachable life lessons. Killian will undoubtably go through things and I guess, I just have to be there to push him in the right direction…the direction where he doesn't wear Crocs.

WEIGHT LOSS/DIET/EXERCISE:
I ate an entire box of chocolate chip cookies in 3 days. 

ME AND MY BODY:
The first 30 years of my life, I rarely farted. <———TRUTH. I’ve always been a burper. I once wow-ed my 10th grade biology class with a 15 second long burp…in the bass tenor range…on command. It was my thing. My famous line (which I totally stole from Jimmy Neutron the movie) was “Just be happy it comes out the attic instead of the basement.” 

Now it’s not like I’ve been walking around my whole life withholding the anal salute…I’ve just never been a farter. I never felt the urge. Sure…there’s been times here and there, but I can honestly say…there could’ve been months that went by without setting off a sphincter siren. And then I got pregnant…

The constant water drinking, the tiny human resting on my bowels?…Duck calls began sneaking up on me. I tried my best to be discreet…and figured things would get back to normal once I gave birth, but that did not happen. Maybe it’s because I still drink a lot of water? Maybe a tiny human exiting the birth canal loosened stuff enough for air bubbles to have a party? Maybe I was by myself for so long I just started relaxing? As my granda always said “Let your wind be free wherever you be.” All I know is…things will never be the same.

I’m 97% certain I don’t even know how to hold in a fart anymore. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 6 months now. 6 months of just me, the baby and the dogs. Sometimes I fart and I don’t even notice. Not until Anthony looks at me with shock and awe. #Confessions

BREASTFEEDING/FOOD:
Killian bit me. He bit me bad. Anthony made me promise before he left for work today that I would not post the photos in my blog… so I’ve obliged just this once. Just know the photo exists and it would give you shivers. 

K was in the middle of a feed and decided to just chomp down. Blood started gushing everywhere. I screamed for Anthony, who was in the middle of the 20 minute morning ritual of sitting on the toilet and checking his Facebook feed. ::flush:: He came running in with toilet paper in hand. There I was…with a small part of my left nipple…gone! He took one look, turned his head away, extended his hand with the toilet paper and said “I can’t look…or I’ll be sick.” men lol

So that happened…and now I’m at a crossroad… and I have no idea what to do. Do I continue breastfeeding and work vigorously at teaching him not to bite?…with the chance of this happening again? Do I start pumping and exclusively give him bottles? Do I switch him to formula and say “ah well I tried”?

27 weeks. 27 weeks and not had a single sickness... which can only be attributed to the worlds healthiest anti-viral…boob milk. He’s smart, he’s healthy…he’s thriving….but then again…I can’t keep losing chunks of my body like this.

I don’t want to switch him to formula…and I don’t want to spend my entire days pumping and cleaning bottles. BUT what if next time he actually bites off my entire nipple? I’m sat here…with scabs and a very engorged healing boob…and I can’t for the life of me decide what my next move is. 

SLEEP:
“Cry It Out” doesn’t teach your child to sleep better. It teaches your child that you won’t respond to his cries, so he gives up and just stops crying. This kind of abandonment could lead to psychological problems later in life”

“If you don’t do “Cry it Out” your child will sleep in your bed until he’s 10 years old and never learn to put himself to sleep.” 

I read these kinds of arguments everywhere. They’re all over the internet. Damned if you do…damned if you don’t. Everything WILL RUIN YOUR CHILD!! Well I was just thinking back on those 2 weeks of “Cry It Out Lite” that I did way back when (3 months ago lol) …and wanted to give you a brief update on my personal experience of the outcome/effects. 

If I add it up in my head, I think I let him cry it out 6 or 7 times over the course of 2 weeks (both middle of the night AND naps). It wasn’t easy. Probably worse for me than for him, because he forgot as soon as he fell asleep, while I felt guilty for weeks. As you know, I didn’t put him in a room…and not come back till morning. I responded to his cries. Just not every single one. I used good judgment…and ignored the fake cry…the tired sleepy cry, that beckoned me to get out of bed and present my nipple while he’d dose off within 5 minutes not even drinking milk. The cry only 1 hour after i just fed him. 

Here’s what I learned. By letting him cry those times, I gave him the space to figure things out on his own…and he did. It didn’t take months of blood curdling screams. It just took a few times for him to learn there’s another way to sleep that doesn’t involve a nipple in your mouth. And now that he has that tool? It’s made all the difference in the world. My son isn’t traumatized. He still cries for mommy and knows that I’m going to come….but now? He only cries when he needs me. When he’s really hungry…or something is wrong.The other times? He knows he can do it himself. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night…and I can see him on the monitor rub his eyes, roll on his side…and put himself back to sleep. Makes me proud of him, proud of myself and confident I made the right choice for my child.

K pretty much slept 7:30pm-6:30am this entire week. Like …all the way through. Sometimes he wakes up, and goes back to sleep…and a few times he cries for a late night snack. The point is…he knows that I’m there if he needs me, but he also figured out how he can do it on his own. With all the advice you’ve read or will read on the internet. Nothing is the “right answer” it’s just one answer…feel free to modify and make them work for you and your baby. I’m certain that either extremes would no have been right for me.

You don’t have to abandon your child to the point that they never cry for you again. But you don’t have to nurse your kid to sleep for every single nap. You can find balance. You can loosen the leash and let them wander a bit.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: 
Music class!! Tell you what, I freaking love seeing him around other babies his age. I swear to god he leaves that class every Monday and hits a new milestone on Tuesday. Yesterday, when she dumped all the instruments on the floor K got up on his knees and crawled towards them. Before then, he hadn’t fully gotten up on his knees properly, but another baby just a few months older was crawling…and he followed. I was like YESSSSSSS!

LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: 
The bite heard round the world.

KILLIAN: 
In class, everyone was rolling balls to each other. K reached forward, put his arms out wide and grabbed all the balls and brought it in between his legs! Essentially…ending the game like some crazed ball hoarder. I thought it was a fluke…until she brought the wave drums out…and he snatched the teachers drum when she wasn’t looking. And then again when all the instruments were on the floor, the only ones he wanted…were the ones the other babies were holding. I mean, I thought it was hysterical, but I’m not sure if I should be worried. Hopefully this is just a normal baby thing to do and not a personality trait. #TooYoungForTeachableMoment?

One more thing, when we were all playing the drums and singing…K refused to play the drums but instead watched everybody play. Then, as part of the song, she says ”Stop!” and everyone stops drumming. Except, Killian decided that was the one time he wanted to play the drum. Every single time she did it. Think I’ve got a rebel on my hands. Or one that’s really bad at following directions….OR he was just waiting for his drum solo!

NEW THINGS:

*Not only does he sit on his own…he now knows how to sit up on his own. I laid him down…he grabbed the couch and pulled himself up. And that was that.
*He’s crawling. He hasn’t mastered it yet. But he’s crawling.
*He figured out how to turn around in the exersaucer. Full 360’s.
*Sleeps on his side and stomach only. Every nap, every sleep…as soon as you put him down he rolls over. Just like his mama :) I think stomach sleeping has helped him sleep better and with cutting down on spit up.
*Does a weird thing where he rubs his ear when he’s super tired. I was worried he had an ear infection, but I guess its a tired thing.
*Size 4 diapers, 9 month pants, 12 month onesies…this kid is a beast. 
*Prefers carrots and apples to everything else. 
*Terrorizing the dogs. Now that he’s mobile, he’s crawling all over the floor and the couch, chasing the dogs and grabbing their paws…and they run away. Here's a photo of K trying to eat Marty as he tries to escape.

THINGS I DID NOT KNOW, BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW:
Due to the numerous poo explosions…and how my son is growing out of clothes faster than I can buy them…I had to find ways to get the stains out. Everyone said blue dawn and hydrogen peroxide. I did it…I used it…scrubbed hard with an old toothbrush…nothing. And that’s when I discovered you have to let it soak. Maybe everyone else knows this, but I did not. I’m a sucker for skimming directions. So ya…let it soak for like 5-10 minutes in the blue dawn/hydrogen peroxide mix…and it totally works. 

END OF THE WEEK THOUGHTS: 
Keep calm...and vote libertarian.

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