Monday, September 20, 2010

Baby Milestones

Any moment now I should be able to post footage of my baby's first crawl.  He has been working hard at figuring it out and he is getting close.  Meanwhile, here are some other "first's" to look back on.

First Smile
I have better pictures of his smile now that he is older, but when he first started smiling, the smiles were hard to capture on film because they passed by faster than the delay flash on my camera.
First Laughter
My daughter wanted to play choir director.  She asked me to sing high or low depending on where she waved her spoon.  I was holding the baby in my lap at the time and he laughed more than he ever had before.  Seeing the video, I know why.  I do sound ridiculous.
First Solid Food
Like his siblings before him, he grabbed the spoon and tried to feed himself during his first solid meal.

A Great Big Fire Teaches Me a Lesson About Self-Pity

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself earlier this evening.  My stove is broken.  My husband tried to fix it yesterday without success.  He was going to try to fix it again today, but he kept being called in to see patients at the hospital and had no time.

Then the car broke while he was on his way to answer yet another page at the hospital.  A kind bystander pulled him into the hospital parking lot but then I had to drag our sleeping children out of bed, drive the truck over to the hospital and tow the broken car back home. 

I would rather have oral surgery than tow a car.  And it wasn't fair that we should have two such important belongings break in the same weekend.

When I arrived at the hospital, I opened the truck door and an overwhelming burning smell engulfed me.  That is how I found out about the fire that is currently eating up much of Herriman, Utah, where my sister's family resides. I immediately phoned my sister.  They are fine.

It puts things into perspective.  That broken stove is dang annoying, but its not like we're starving around here.  We still have a microwave, a crockpot, an electric skillet, a rice maker and a toaster oven.  There are plenty of ways we can cook until we get this figured out. Towing the car did feel like torture to me, but it's over now and I have an amazing, ingenious husband who is confident he can fix the car. In the meantime, we still have the truck. 

Not too far away in Herriman, some peoples' homes burned down tonight. Our stove and car troubles pale in comparison. My loved ones are okay, and according to news reports, this fire has not taken any lives.  I am grateful.  I'm going to stop whining about the stove and the car. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Get $300 to make your worksite nursing mom-friendly

The Utah Breastfeeding Coalition is offering Utah worksites up to $300 to set up rooms for breastfeeding employees to pump milk. The funds can be used to buy the pump, a fridge, a door lock, or furniture for the room. Just fill out and return this simple application. The deadline is Sept. 30, but apply ASAP because the funding is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This funding comes at an ideal time to help employers comply with one of the lesser-known components of the new health care reform law, requiring most employers to accommodate the lactation needs of the nursing moms they employ by allowing them reasonable time to pump in a private, non-bathroom environment. You can learn more about the new federal law and about state laws protecting nursing moms at  (When I went to this website, I learned that the jerks in Flagstaff who kicked me out of a movie theater for nursing were in violation of Arizona law. It is good to know your rights.)

I am a nursing mom, now nursing my third child, and I work for the health department, a very enlightened place about the merits of breastfeeding. At my worksite, private rooms, heavy duty community pumps, and paid pumping breaks are available to me to facilitate a healthy environment for me and my baby.

However, every now and then, I spend a workday away from my office for a conference or training or something and experience a glimpse of the less-enlightened outside world. I pack my not-so-heavy-duty personal pump and must seek out accommodations for this important ritual.

Such was the case this past week when I spent a day at a computer training facility. I did a training at the same place about two years ago, when I was breastfeeding my second child. During that first visit, I sheepishly asked the woman at the front desk where I could pump. She looked at me like I had just vomited on her and ordered me to go to the restroom. "Isn't there any other room I could use?" I blushingly whispered. "This is a computer training facility," she informed me, in case I hadn't noticed. "We keep computers in all the rooms." I meekly reported to the restroom. The only electrical outlet there was located directly over the only sink. I stood there with my exposed breasts reflecting in the mirror and I tried to duck whenever someone needed to wash their hands.

A few weeks later, I attended a conference at a different location, where I received a similar response from another receptionist. This time, however, another health department employee, who happens to be one of the state's greatest breastfeeding advocates, was also in attendance. When she heard about my banishment to the restroom, she took matters into her own hands and politely but firmly insisted on access to a room with a lock other than the restroom for nursing mothers at the conference.

Since that time, my approach towards seeking accommodation for nursing or pumping has changed. I am no longer embarrassed. I am proud that I am protecting both my own and my child's health. It doesn't even bother me to ask men about a place to pump any more. It is good for men to know what female breasts are actually for. I see myself as an advocate. I am not ashamed that I lactate and anyone else who is embarrassed by that or thinks I should pump in a restroom stall needs education.

As my confidence has improved, the response has improved, too. Now that the sheepishness is missing from my requests, it is very rare that they are dismissed by grouchy receptionists.  When I do get such a response, I just politely ask to speak to their manager instead.

At that same computer training center last week, I confidently requested a private room for pumping and while they had to check around to find an available room, they did find one and I was spared from another bathroom pumping experience.  I noticed that the employee who helped me happened to be pregnant, so I am sending them notice of this funding opportunity.  Maybe someday, as more employers set up designated nursing/pumping areas in compliance with the new law, and more moms gain confidence about educating the world about the need to accommodate nursing and pumping, no such scrambling will be necessary.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Kindergartener and Her Marketable Skills

First Day of Kindergarten
Our little girl has started kindergarten. As we expected, it has been a hit. She reports lots of new friends, playground adventures, fun bus rides, and occasionally even learning something.

Starting Gymnastics
Also, she has begun gymnastics. Her kindergarten teacher freaked us out a little bit when she sent home a letter saying that each child in the class would have a turn teaching the rest of the class about something they knew how to do well, such as speaking a foreign language or playing a sport. Yikes! Our kid had no skills. My sister suggested long ago that I put my kids into tumbling, because they lack rational fear and are always climbing and jumping off things, so we went with that idea. So far, gymnastics is a hit, too.