Category Archives: Bonding

Just Write, #2

Linking up with Just Write


The babies wake up happy, as usual. We nurse and smile and talk to Daddy and the dogs. Diapers are changed, laundry is started, the Today show keeps me company in the background. I’m hungry and cross my fingers, hoping they’ll stay happy long enough for me to scramble an egg.

They don’t, and I have to turn off the stove halfway through the process. Peanut Butter is extra hungry and Jelly isn’t far behind. I don’t want to start the day with formula. I won’t start the day with formula. We’ll nurse every 30 minutes if we need to. I’ll put off giving them formula until at least noon. I am determined.

But so are they. I give in and decide that 2 ounces will be enough to take off the edge and we will resume our nursing non-schedule. Jelly is happy enough and plays with his toes. Peanut Butter is not. He is still hungry, so I pick him up and nuzzle him into my breast. He screams and arches his back, over and over. I prop him on my shoulder and pat his back, trying to whisper calming and encouraging things to him. I try again, he screams louder. I am struggling to hold in my growing anger.

Maybe he’s not hungry. Maybe he needs to be distracted by a toy. This doesn’t work and he continues to scream. We try the breast again and the rejection is tearing at my heart. I sob and shout out and pound on the arm of the couch. There is milk there! Why won’t you take it! Why are you rejecting me?

This is the only thing I can give you that is truly unique. Anyone can bathe you. Anyone can hold you. Anyone and smile at you and play with you. Anyone can give you a bottle with that wretched liquid in it. Your rejection feels so personal and it fills me with an irrational rage. I’m angry with my body, and myself and even you. I’m angry at myself for being angry with you. You’re an infant, telling me what you need in the only way you know how.

But every drop you take from that bottle is a drop you don’t take from me. Every drop is a reminder of my failure to provide for you. If I can’t take care of you in this most basic way, how will I be able to be a good mother to you in the rest of your life? These thoughts are ridiculous, I know. But they are so big and so real and sometimes, often even, I want to just give up. I want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and leave the rearing of you both to someone who can do a better job.

I resign myself to giving you a 4 ounce bottle. Drink what you want of it. I’m obviously unable to give you what you need and want. Six ounces is more than half of my daily goal of keeping the supplementation at or below 10 ounces. I know that the more formula you drink, the less I will produce and I am filled with dread and sadness at the prospect of you weaning early, but I can’t leave you hungry.

All is quiet now. Your brother is having his morning nap and you, satiated, roll across the floor and giggle at the dog. I cry and wonder what sort of monster I am to project my own feelings of inadequacy on a helpless child.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


Just Write, #1

Some of the bloggers I admire (like Steph from Adventures in Babywearing) participate in a writing exercise called Just Write. I thought I’d try my hand at it, though I can’t live up to most of these incredible writers.


I wake earlier than usual; it’s still dark outside. There is a baby on either side of me and I’m afraid to move, fearing I might wake one or both of them. OW is shaving, showering, dressing in a rush because he has to be to court early. The boys are sweating through their footie pajamas, having soaked up the heat of my body. Their faces are relaxed in a way that only a baby’s can be; the tips of their pink tongues sticking out, their mouths dream-sucking.

I’m still in a groggy half-asleep half-awake state and I feel oddly content. It’s odd because I usually wake up dreading the 12 to 13 hours ahead of me that I will be alone with the babies. This morning I feel a little trickle of happiness about this impromptu family of mine.

The Today show is on and OW watches the weather report as he brushes his teeth. Sunny and 75 degrees today, perhaps a few showers tomorrow. Peanut Butter stirs and opens one eye. He gives me an open-mouthed grin and then nuzzles against me. I twist around a bit to give him a little morning susu and he idly pats my breast while he nurses.

OW brings me my coffee, my pills, and the boys’ vitamins as he does every morning, rushed or not. He kisses the babies, kisses me, and reminds me to feed the dogs, who are circling his feet in anticipation of a goodbye treat.

Jelly is now awake and flapping his arms and legs excitedly and I make funny faces at him while Ann Curry talks about a missing child. I try not to listen because it makes my heart ache and I don’t want to spoil this moment. I know we have a just a short window during which everyone is happy and relaxed. I want to relish it, to make it last as long as possible, to be completely present.

Bonding Part 2

I’m not a Christian but OW is a devout Lutheran, son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. We have silently agreed that I will accompany him to church on high holy days and a few other times during the year.

Yesterday was the annual outdoor service and picnic. This is one of the days I agree to go and we managed to get the twins, both dogs, and us out the door and to the church before the service started. This is almost enough of a miracle to make me believe.

The boys were both tired and a bit grumpy, but I knew that they’d probably fall asleep. Grandma took Jelly and I held Peanut Butter because I knew he was hungry. It was a beautiful day and we sat in the shade of a huge tree near the church. I sat near the back and off to the side for a little extra privacy. As I sat there in my folding chair, nursing and listening quietly, I realized that I never take the time to just sit with my babies. I’m almost always in a rush to accomplish the next task. If one is nursing the other is getting fussy. If Peanut Butter falls asleep I hurry to get him to lie down so I can take care of Jelly. If I’m lucky enough to get them both asleep at the same time, I race to get to the washing machine, the kitchen, the toilet scrubber, the vacuum cleaner. If one is awake and complaining, up he goes on my back while I race to get to the washing machine, the kitchen, the toilet scrubber, the vacuum cleaner.

So as I listened to the hymns and nursed Peanut butter, I was free to do nothing but stare at him. I wasn’t playing with my cell phone, I wasn’t thinking about folding a load of laundry, and I wasn’t making mental lists. Because he was nursing and sleeping I didn’t even have to participate in the up and down of the service. I had an entire hour to just sit and look at him. To look at each hair in his golden eyebrows; the folds of his ears; the blue vein that curves around his right temple; the particular way his hair swirls at the edge of his hairline; the buttery smoothness of his skin; the scratch on his cheek; the length of each fingernail; the shape of his lips; the pads on his feet; the weight of his tiny body in my arms.

And it was beautiful but sad for me at the same time. I’m sad that I am so anxious to prove my worth as a new stay at home mom that I don’t feel I have the luxury of just sitting and staring at my babies. Who will wash the clothes? Who will cook dinner? Who will sweep up the pounds of sand the dogs track in every day? These things have to be done. It’s not an option for us to have no clothes to wear, or to eat take out every night. Beyond that, the house devolves quickly into chaos if I don’t constantly work on keeping the hotspot surfaces from being overtaken by clutter. It’s amazing how quickly that happens. As I write this, I’m looking around at the stuff – the STUFF – threatening to devour us because I’ve been too down to take care of things for the past few days.

In the meantime, the boys have become just a part of my household routine. I’ve mentioned before that I’m worried that I’m not bonding appropriately with the twins. The affection I noticed felt while taking that hour to look at my little Peanut Butter must be part of what the bonding feels like. I was more at peace during that hour than I have been in a long, long time.

How do I continue to develop this with both of my boys while dealing with the practical realities of feeding my family and maintaining our home?

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.