And with people food comes…

People poops! 

Jack loves his mama’s milk, and I am delighted to provide it to him. 

He was exclusively breastfed until just about six months and, for those that don’t know, the poop that comes out of an exclusively breastfed baby is actually not too bad, as poop goes.   Kind of yeasty smelling, yellow, runny, washes away, wipes off.

At six months, we started him on little bits of food — some yoghurt, some banana, a little avacado.  A cheerio or two.  He still mostly drinks milk, but his range and volume of solids has increased.  And things have changed.

Oh my, have they ever changed!

First, he stopped pooping as often. He was a once-a-day guy until about seven months. Then it was every few days. Then he started pooping every four-five, sometimes six days.

Poor Steve seemed to get the bad luck of the draw in the diaper changing regard (even though I almost never engineered it to be his turn when the poop finally came), and confess that I resented his shouts of horror and begging for help when he was diaper changing. I confess that I rarely helped him, and if I did it was with much resentment. “Drama queen” I would mutter to myself. “Princess.” I was really very ungracious. It really didn’t seem that bad, even though he has been telling me that for the past few weeks, the poop has been taking on a most unpleasant texture and odour.

“Whatever you say, Steve. It’s only poop.”

You may see where this is going.

Today my choice was diaper change (which I knew was poopy) or litter box (also a known poop entity). As I abhor changing the litter box, and my sense of social justice finally reared it’s ugly head, I opted for the diaper.

What a terrible mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake.

The first indication something was wrong was the smell. My darling little baby boy smelled… funny. Bad, somehow. Actually kind of gross. He hadn’t smelled so bad since his cord stump turned into a putrid swamp of zombie-ness before it fell off.

Then I took his pants off.

The green streak up his leg wasn’t completely unexpected since he hadn’t pooped in two days, even given our awesome cloth diapers, but the smell had intensified. Badly. In preparation, I got two wipes out of the container (I generally pride myself on using one wipe per change) and had them handy. Then I unvelcro’d the top of the diaper. Jack reached for his penis with both hands.

Within a nanosecond, I had re-velcroed the diaper.

“STEVE!!!!!!!!” I screamed into the baby monitor. “STEEEEEEEEVE!!! I neeeeed you! HELP!”

My husband ran up the stairs, laughing. “Hold his arms,” I told him. “Stat.” Steve grabbed Jack’s arms, weak with laughter. “I told you they were bad.” “Shut up and hold his arms.”

I wiped the leg first. Then I opened the diaper.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have never seen anything like it. It was a greyish green putty, smeared in a layer about a centimetre thick all over his penis, testes, buttocks and diaper. It had *chunks* in it. I’m pretty sure I saw peas, watermelon and zucchini. The image is burned into my retina. And the smell. Oh my goodness, the SMELL.

Have you ever attended a country fair sadly undersupplied in the porta-potty department? Where large, large men with unhealthy colons have voided their bodies of too many corn dogs and Those Little Doughnuts? And it’s hot? Very, very hot? And the overused porta-potties are in the middle of the sunniest part of a blacktop parking lot?

It was like that. Only all over my baby’s bum. And it was cold and windy outside.

I looked at this abomination of diaper-ness, and I looked at my two puny wetwipes. I looked back at the abomination, and grabbed a prefold from the shelf. I started taking big swipes at the bum, and grabbed another prefold. Worse yet, I couldn’t even put the used diapers anywhere, since I needed one hand  to hold Jack’s legs up and out of the detritus and other to wipe.

In all this, my husband was still laughing. Whenever he had breath to speak, he would gasp out something that sounded like “I told you so.”

Gee, thanks.

Unfortunately, all the laughing got Jack right riled up — he thought the situation was HI-larious — so he squirmed and wriggled and twisted his little bum and thighs ALL OVER the dirty diaper. As fast as I wiped him clean, he rolled his bum, back and legs back through the mess.

Did I mention the peanut gallery Steve was still laughing? Yeah.

Finally I got the worst of it up (which is to say there was now just a film of disgusting smelly poop instead of a spackle of disgusting smelly poop), and, with two premium-sized prefolds AND my two sad little wet wipes now covered in that toxic waste, I told Steve to just hold Jack on the change table and I ran to run the bath.

One double-dose of bubble bath and two very wrinkled baby feet later, I was pretty confident he’s clean. I do, however, still feel like scrubbing my hands with the barbeque brush and I may have to bleach the bath (to say nothing of my sinuses. And my eyes.). I haven’t even considered what to do with the diaper (tongs and a bonfire comes to mind), and Steve (who mercifully stopped laughing) tells me this is the new normal.

Normal? This? And he potty learns WHEN? What did you say? WHEN?

The heck with starting solids at six months, I’m not giving him another solid until he’s THREE YEARS.

So, to all lovely mothers just champing at the bit to feed your little angel his or her first mouthful of sweet potato at six months and two minutes old — don’t. Just don’t. For the love of little apples, wait as LONG AS YOU CAN before introducing solids. I recommend middle school at the earliest.

Trust me. 

In our eighth month together…

In dark hours, I feel you breathe beside me, deep in sleep.

Pale morning light cools your skin to porcelain, so much like mine.  The blue line of your eyelid flicks with a pulse matched by your throat as you nurse.  Your cheek flutters — a hummingbird wing — you suckle for comfort, and I am comforted at our connection.  Soon you will wake and you will exercise your will, assert your independence, and I will celebrate your confidence.  But not now.  Right now, we are one.  

Afternoons bring staccato feet drumming my thighs and belly as your body’s drive to move is slowly stilled by your mind’s desire for rest. And milk.  And my presence.  And you sigh, and still, and sleep.

This is our respite from a day of activity, your “ah!” and flashing smiles for strangers, your determination and my laughter.   This is a time just for us, where you are still my baby, and not the little boy we have dubbed ‘our gift to the world’.  Jack, I miss you when you belong to everyone.  

When you nurse, though, you are an extension of me, attached to me.  I slow my breath to slow yours, calming both of us.

We slide into sleep together, your hand tracing mine. Your inquisitive finger presses the ball of my thumb, touches my wedding ring, my wrist my breast my face.  Your ear.

You hold my hand with yours, your tiny, perfect hand.  You nurse, and sleep, and your hand falls away. 

Your gossamer hair against my arm smells metallic, bright, golden.  It stirs and moves with a life of its own, lifted by the cherry-blossom breeze from the open window.  It tickles my nose when I bend to kiss your head, damp with sleep.  I breathe in how we smell together; milk and honey.

Hunger sated and with a full measure of comfort, you roll to your back, cheeks flushed and mouth pursed in the memory of nursing.  I watch over you, a lioness with loving arms. 

Your mouth reaches for me, blind and needing, as you sleep.  A rising panic makes your languid motions urgent! frantic! until you latch — aaah  — and slip back into the bliss.  This is bliss.

This is more than I could ever have imagined.

That something so simple — feed your baby — could be such a profound expression of intimacy and love is something I could never have expected.

I would do anything to protect you, and us, and the nursing that helps make us an ‘us’.  I am fierce with passion for this.  I am sabre-toothed in my defense of our need to nurse and be nursed, for us both to be nurtured at my breast.  

You have made me thus: a mother.  By nursing you, I am provider and provided for.  I am blessed, anointed, baptized in milk.   In this bed, I participate in an everyday miracle.  I believe. 

And still you sleep beside me, drinking in love.  

Thank you.

In my defence, you are keeping me busy!

In fact, as I write, you are wriggling your way over to the dvds on the shelf and look very much like you are going to pull one down for a taste.  Or all of them for a taste.  Oh, first you are going to taste Daddy’s birthday card. Again.

Which is all my roundabout way of explaining, dear Jackie, why your seven-month letter is coming at almost exactly at seven-and-one-half months a few days before you turn eight months old.  Bad mama!

The past six weeks two months have been a rollicking adventure of milestones and development, and the ride is not slowing down one whit.  As you have now pushed yourself backwards under your swing and will be clamouring shortly for rescue, I will be brief. [Ok, this is not entirely accurate, two weeks later.  The swing went on Craigslist and you required rescuing before I could finish this post. Right now you are sleeping on your sleeping daddy on the couch. Seriously, seriously cute.]

You can push yourself around backwards.  This is cute, and not nearly as scary as the next trick — crawling.  You can already get to hands and knees pretty much at will and you rock back and forth in preparation for the next stage, as if you are a little toy car getting revved up to be let go, zooming across the floor.  We MUST get a baby gate.  Seriously.

You have two teeth.  The first popped above the gum line at Mt. Baker a few weeks ago and the second followed a few days later.  They are now readily visible when you smile.  I call you ‘Sharky’ because of your terribly sharp chomping which you do on our fingers at every opportunity.

You taste EVERYTHING.  Every object you come across is lifted (if possible), turned, examined intently (with your little duck lip sticking out in concentration) and tasted.  These include and are not limited to: the buttons on my sweater, the cat’s tail, daddy’s steel guitar (with teeth clicking on the metal), any carpet you are placed on, your coat, the granite countertops at Ikea, my toes, my wallet, my debit card (handily lifted from my wallet), your seat belts and whatever else you grab/we give you in desperation to keep you occupied for another 20 seconds.

Food has been interesting.  I am a lazy ardent breastfeeder, so your diet is virtually 100% breastmilk, on tap.  This is normal at your age, and since I’m lazy prescribing to baby-led weaning, food is for fun and texture at this point, not for nutrition (that’s what the boobs are for).  No purees for you!  And no preparing/spoon feeding/cleaning up puree-covered walls for me!  Since we are going for fun foods, you have been eating a range of delicious things.  You like raspberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast, any kind of cheese is a BIG hit, and you sucked back two slices of spicy Genoese salami at Costco.  We actually had to go back to the sample guy for another slice.  Awww our little blond, blue-eyed Italian shows his true colours! Sometimes you hide food in your cheeks for later.  That’s always fun come nursing time.

“Why is this piece of half-mascerated steamed carrot on my boob?”

You are talking up a storm.  You are speaking fluent ‘Babyese’, and we don’t understand a word of it, but you obviously believe that you are speaking a complete and many-nuanced language and your descriptive powers are amazing.  We are actually surprisingly good at translating your Ahs! and Ers! into the mother tongue, or at least you appreciate our efforts.

For the past few days, your naps have been all over the place.  Mostly far, far away.  You are working on so many skills — walking, crawling, communication — that it wires your brain and you can’t sleep even when you are so. very. tired.

You have also begun to ‘request’ to be nursed upstairs in bed no matter where we are.  It doesn’t help to explain to you that London Drugs just doesn’t have a bed we can nurse in — you are insistent! Arching! Take me to bed to nurse! Only nursing in bed + shortage of beds at major retailers = eating less during the day (though that ipod Touch Addiction is mighty handy for surfin’ and nursin’).  In compensation, you are eating about five fifty times over the nighttime hours.  Thank all the little gods we co-sleep, though your Daddy has on at least one occasion been pushed right out of bed.

*thump*

I’m ordering a nursing necklace to try and keep your attention long enough to get some milk in you during the day.  Cheerios are fascinating and tasty and look fine on my boob, but I’m getting a little tired of the afternoon pump because you can’t be bothered to slow down enough to nurse — or we don’t have a bed handy.

Diapering has also become something of an ordeal adventure as you’ve mastered the whole rolling uphill thing.  Daddy and I miss the days when we could leave you on the change table to run and grab something and not worry about a *thump*.  Frankly, I miss the days when I could grab a wipe without having to simultaneously pin you with a fancy wrestling hold while trying to keep your hand off your poop-covered privates while keeping your diaper in place with a fourth hand and trying to free the music mobile from your other hand so that it can make the music it needs to TO DISTRACT YOU.  Ahh let it go.  We do love the All In One Monkey Doodlez (I should buy stock) as it is only one layer of diaper to put on and therefore only requires two extra hands instead of four.  Made in Canada with super velcro for the win! Go Canada!

I’ve been attending a ‘Mamas Unfolding‘ group put on by the same people as we did our pre-natal classes (Dancing Star Birth) where one of the mamas did the prenatal class with us.  Her little guy, James, is working on walking (so scary cute!).  You watched him and that night showed us that your mad standing skillz have translated into mad walking skillz!  Of course your balance is non-existent, but the leap to one-foot-in-front-of-the-other has been made.  Dear god.

Since I need to start working on eight months ASAP, I will close this one off with a bunch of random photos.  Quick, before you wake up.

You love hiking.  When the MEC baby backpack comes out, you jump with joy.  Which makes hiking even more fun — nothing like a wiggling 20lb backpack to make daddy grateful for a hiking pole.  Here we are at Lynn Creek.  Truth be told, you find the label on the Jackpack just as interesting as the scenery.  Mmmm… tasty label!

We checked out some Olympic venues.  Stroller = snowplow if people = snow.  Way to get us to the head of the line, baby! The energy downtown was pretty darn cool and you loved it and the people loved you.  Beth and I stood in line for over an hour in the Bay Olympic Superstore lineup, where you decided a snack would be nice right about now… so we nursed in the lineup, Beth pushing the stroller and me walking and nursing.  Too bad breastfeeding isn’t an Olympic sport.  Go Canada!

Hiking at Cypress Falls in West Vancouver.  The closest we could get to Cypress Mountain during the Olympics. You loved the rushing falls.

You do love your daddy’s music.  Three… two… one… turn and EAT GUITAR!

You also love your pasta.  This was your first (but not your last) trip to Anton’s Pasta Bar.  You like chorizo sauce on your pasta.  Someday you will be able to eat a whole plate, I know it.  Go  Quattrocchi metabolism!

Grandpa Rod and Nana Tracy were in town for a few days over Spring Break, which was awesome.  I was so relieved that you took to them like you had seen them every day (instead of not since Thanksgiving).  We went to a Sledge Hockey Game and you were RAPT.  You watched the replay, you cheered at the goals, you ate Greek food afterwards and barely stayed awake on the bus on the way home — just like the rest of us.

Go Canada!

Go Canada!

Go raspberry pancakes!

In a few minutes, we’re going to pack up and go to Grandma Gayle and Grandpa John’s house for  dinner, which will be followed by Easter brunch tomorrow and maybe some birthday cake for mummy and Auntie Lisa.  Mmmm… cake.  Maybe we’ll let you have a little taste… or maybe I’ll pick up a little salami for my little Sharky.  Go Italy Canada!

I love you, Jackeroo.  You are the awesome-est.

Mama