Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breastfeeding is Really Hard

by Mom (Stevie)

This post has been a long time coming. When we had Captain, John said “You should write a post about breastfeeding”. And I said “You're right, I should.”

When I was having a hard time with it, I said “Maybe I could write a blog post about the difficulties I'm having. I’m sure others can relate,” and John said “You’re right. You should.”

When I gave up breastfeeding, I said “I’m not writing that post. It’s too hard.”

So this post has had many versions. I've basically gone through every level of acceptance. The first post was fun but unfinished. The second was whiny. The third was angsty. The fourth was depressing. The fifth version had the word "nipple" in it so often that even I began to feel awkward. So here it is, all laid out.

I said from the beginning that I would breastfeed Captain as long as I could. I breastfed Duchess for almost a year and loved it. It was hard in the beginning with Duchess. It was very, very hard. I had to adjust both physically and mentally. Not only is it incredibly painful in the beginning, it takes a toll on your body the entire time you are breastfeeding. Sure, you lose some baby weight faster. But your hormones are out.of.control. Your gums are sensitive. Your boobs are VERY sensitive. In fact, they are off limits to everything but your baby. And emotionally, you have to decide what you are comfortable with. Will you breastfeed in front of friends? Family? In public? What will you do if the baby gets hungry at the restaurant and you don’t have a cover? You basically have a full year of these physical and mental challenges.

Iron = FE, Man = Male, therefore Iron Man = Female

I didn't have that with Captain. I was a breast feeding champ. I knew when my milk was going to come in and how to prepare for it. I knew that I was going to soak through every bra/shirt combination I had. So I stocked up on bra pads. Costco-sized boxes of bra pads. I had no qualms about breastfeeding in front of anyone. We’re in the mall and Captain is hungry? Done. No cover? Who cares?  I had it DOWN. It was an art, really.

But there was something different about my breastfeeding adventure with Captain – exhaustion. Home life was hectic with a newborn and a toddler. I had a new job this time around. A job I love but definitely a job with more stress and more responsibility. It was harder to get away to pump. I quickly fell behind in my “stash” and found myself resenting the daycare when they gave him four bottles of milk and I’d only pumped three that day. At seven months, I finally just made the decision to stop pumping at work and let him get formula at daycare. It was definitely an easier decision to make with Captain than with Duchess. Duchess was on formula exclusively at the very end, for about a month. It took 11 months to convince myself that I wasn't a terrible mother for letting her have formula. It took much less time with Captain.

So we worked with that plan and it was great. For about a month. And then….biting. Oh lord the biting. I don’t remember having that problem with Duchess. But with Captain, that kid is like an alligator. Seriously, have you ever seen an alligator lock their jaw on a prey and do the barrel roll of death? That’s my kid. He drew blood on many an occasion.

I finally had come to the end. I was having anxiety attacks the entire time I was nursing him. Just waiting for him to bite with those little sharp baby teeth. I had to quit nursing. That was really hard for me. You see, I had actually said months earlier that I would be willing to go as long as 18 months with Captain (whereas I put the cutoff at one year with Duchess). I knew what I was doing, and I was good at it. But then life happened. I cried my tears and held my boy close and apologized profusely (all while whispering “really this is your fault, kid”).

But then do you know what happened? With the help of my friends and that husband of mine, I realized that I’m awesome. I nursed my kid for 8 months. He got a damn good start to life. So to all those mamas out there are struggling with nursing: you’re a good mom. If you keep on with it, you’re a good mom. If you need to supplement here and there, you’re a good mom. If you've never nursed at all, you’re a good mom.

Just keep being awesome. High f*cking five. You ladies all rock.

Love, Mom (Stevie)

P.S. Also, here are some tears for you all. (This post is not sponsored by Johnson's, it's just a great commercial) 

P.S.S. John wants me to remind you to follow Ask Your Dad on Facebook. He works really hard to make it a fun and engaging community that doesn't just spam your news feed with cat pictures. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Things We Learn As Parents Lesson 273 - Comic

Things We Learn As Parents - Comic - Barmy Rootstock

This week's guest comic comes from the fantastic Barmy Rootstock. I've known Barmy for awhile, and am a huge fan of his blog "I've Become My Parents". It is that perfect mix of tender and funny that I strive for here on Ask Your Dad, but rarely accomplish with the grace that he makes look effortless. Here's a little about Barmy in his own words:

Barmy Rootstock is a humorist and parent, blogging at IveBecomeMyParents.com. He became a cartoonist when he started his blog, mostly because he was too lazy to track down images he could use legally online. He has come to the realization that he has become his parents and his blog is a last-ditch effort to stop his son from suffering the same fate.

You can find and follow Barmy at his parenting blog, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Talking to Poop

This post talks about poop a lot. In fact, it talks TO poop. If the title, and the fact that I've mentioned poop four times now isn't warning enough for those of you who prefer not to read about poop, than that is more of a you problem than a me problem. Poop. 


Potty training has been a strange journey. Stranger, I would say, than any other part of my parenting experience thus far. This was starkly accented last night when I had to have an imaginary telephone conversation with the poop inside my daughter's bum. I'll set the scene. 

Duchess and I were 95% through her bedtime ritual and well into what I like to call "The Danger Zone." I don't call it "The Danger Zone" because that is when I sing a lullaby version of the Kenny Loggins' song from Top Gun, which I do, but because when we're five percent away from bedtime Duchess will look for any excuse to reset to 0%. Last night the excuse was poop. 

Poop is a valid excuse for stalling bedtime. Duchess looked at me with her droopy, bedtime eyes and said, "Daddy, I have to go potty so I don't go poop in my bed." Enough said. She could be lying 9/10 times, and if it prevented 1 bed wetting, or worse, pooping incident, it would be worth 10 trips to the bathroom. Away, to the bathroom we went! She peed right away. Trip validated. Then things got weird. 

screen shot from Galaxy S4

"Hello? Poop? Are you there?" She was talking to what looked to be an imaginary phone in her hand. 

"What are you doing honey?" 

"I'm calling the poop in my butt. Helloooo? Poop? Are you coming out to play?"

"We don't play with poop."

"I know that daddy." 

The best part of her response was that she moved the imaginary poop phone away from her face so that the poop in her butt didn't hear that she actually had no intention of playing with it. She was lying to her poop to get it to come out. Sly devil.  

"Do you want to talk to my poop daddy?"

"Nope." That answer was not hard to find. It just kind of fell out of my mouth.

"He wants to talk to you!"

"Your poop is a boy?" I don't know why I asked. 

"No. He is a poop."

This was getting too weird. She was obviously not going to poop. I decided I would need to hop on the line to end the poop conference call. So I took the imaginary phone out of my daughter's hand and had an imaginary conversation with the imaginary(?) poop in her butt. Sometimes being a dad is SO GLAMOROUS.  

"Hello, poop?"

"Hi daddy!" Oh. My. God. It answered me. Duchess had upped the pitch of her voice and was going to be the poop side of the conversation. Aaaand the poop was calling me daddy. Awesome. 

"Hi poop. Are… you… going to come out and play?"

"I'm sad." 

Oh Jesus. Was I seriously going to have to address my kid's poop's depression in order to help it overcome its fecal agoraphobia? No. It was too much. I am not a poop psychiatrist. 

"Why are you sad?" 

I should have said "I have to go now. Bye poop." I should have said "Duchess, it is time for bed. Quit doing your creepy high-pitched 'I'm a poop voice' and let's go sing songs from the hit movie, Top Gun." But nooo, I said "Why are you sad" because, honestly, at this point, I was kind of curious why her poop was sad.  

"I hit my head." Bed time could wait. Now it was getting interesting.  

"Where did you hit your head?" (More importantly, does my daughter think little poop people live in her butt with arms and legs and heads?)

"I hit it inside Duchess's butt." Well, I guess that was the obvious answer. I don't know what I expected. 

It was at this point that I realized that I had been talking to Duchess's poop longer than Duchess had been talking to it. I WAS THE WEIRD ONE. I decided to end it.

"I'm sorry you're sad poop. Are you going to come out?" Please remember, I am holding an imaginary poop phone to my ear this ENTIRE time. 

"No. I think I'll come out tomorrow."

"Ok. Good night poop."

"Good night daddy. I love you." Ahhh shit. Really? OK...

"I love you too poop."

And that was it. We hung up our poop phones and Duchess went to bed. She slept through the night with no accidents, and I went to work before she woke up in the morning. 

I'm not sure how her poop is dealing with his depression, or if he has come out to play yet. I might try and call him on my lunch… just to check in and see if he's feeling better.

Love, Dad (John)  

If you liked this post and want exclusive, smaller, and even funnier posts, come like Ask Your Dad On Facebook. Less poop. I promise. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lessons from My Nephew's First College Football Game

Quick note: This was written last year, but I just recently found it and since it is college football season, I thought I would put it on the blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. - Dad (John)

My nephew taught me an important lesson this weekend. Well, to clarify, he reminded of me of a lesson I already knew but had forgotten a long time ago. 

Stevie and I had tickets to see the Utes play on Saturday, but due to a poorly timed fever, Stevie had to stay home with a sick Duchess on instead. Deciding not to let the tickets go to waste, I had the privilege of taking my nephew to his first Utah Football game.

The second I picked him up from his aunt's house the questions began.

“Why are we wearing red?”
“Because Utah wears red.”

“What color is the other team?”
“I’m not sure.”

“Are we the good guys and they’re the bad guys?”
“Yes. Kind of. Well I guess they’re not bad, but we want beat them.”

"So who is the bad guys?"
"BYU is the bad guys." (BYU are our rivals.)
"Oh yeah. My dad says BYU sucks."
"Suck isn't a very nice word."

We got to our tailgate and my nephew immediately made friends with the kids from the neighboring tailgate spots. They played what appeared to be a mix of football, freeze tag, and hide-and-go-seek. Later, during the walk to the stadium the questions continued.

“Uncle John, Can I sit with those kids?”
“No probably not, the stadium is really big and they’re probably not sitting by us”

“Uncle John, Is the stadium really big?”
“Yes, it’s very, very big.”

“Uncle John… how big?”
“One million billion big.”

“Oh. Wow.”

At the game my nephew came to life. He wanted to know everything about the game: rules, player’s names, when he could be loud. He liked being loud the most. On every defensive third down, everyone in Rice-Eccles Stadium screams as loud as they can to try and disrupt the visiting team. Being able to scream as loud as he can blew my nephew's mind!

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”


The game went down hill in the third quarter. Utah started turning over the ball. Some calls didn't go our way. The other team scored. A lot. Still, every time I wanted to curse at our team, or scream at the refs, or hang my head and get angry, there was my nephew screaming.


And suddenly it all clicked. Suddenly I was walking into the Metrodome for the first time with my Grandpa to watch a Minnesota Twins game. Suddenly I was watching the Salt Lake Trappers play some unknown, Pioneer League team at Dirk's Field. I was clapping at a Timberwolves Game at the Target Center. I was standing in the south end zone of the old Rice Stadium stomping and jumping and screaming “Utah! Utah! Utah! AHHHH”

Honestly, I couldn't tell you a single, final score from any of those games from my childhood. 

Utah lost Saturday’s game. We exited the stadium with a horde of grumbling fans. I kept my nephew on my shoulders so I wouldn't lose him in the crowd. He was singing his own version of the Utah fight song.

“U-tah U-tah Dah ta dah ta dah”

“Uncle John, Did we win?”
“No buddy, we didn't win.”

“But that’s ok right?”
“Did you have fun?”
“Then that’s ok.”

“Uncle John, can I come to every Utah Game?”
“Probably not every one, but I’ll see what I can do.”

“Uncle John, does BYU really suck?”
“Suck is not a very nice word buddy… but yes, BYU sucks.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stevie Loses at Fantasy Football but Wins With Walmart Family Mobile's Unlimited Plan

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Did I ever tell you about the time that Apple Maps send Stevie and I to a field outside of Portland Oregon? If I did, did I remember to mention the two, screaming children in the back seat of our rental car? It was so much fun. SO. MUCH. FUN. At that moment, I swore on my children's tears that I would forsake my iPhone and move on to a new chapter in my life. And while I was at it, I would explore new cheap wireless plans while trying to keep an unlimited plan for our data usage.

As you all may remember, I am a member of an online community of bloggers that on occasion will review services and products. I get paid to do these, but the opinions are mine. I also get to pick and choose what I review. Well, when the chance to give the Galaxy S4 on Walmart Family Mobile came up, I jumped at the chance. I was ready to get rid of my iPhone, and here was the chance to try something new for half the price of my monthly AT&T payment, and no contract. Win/Win. Speaking of winning, have I mentioned how much I love Fantasy Football? I love fantasy football as much as I hate awkward transitions in blog posts. Sorry about that by the way.

#FamilyMobileSaves, #cbias #shop

But really, and I'm not kidding here. I love fantasy football, and so does Stevie. We're sadly (or joyfully) obsessed with it. Most of our Sundays are spent streaming games and checking our score. Stevie loses pretty much every week. Honestly, she is truly horrible at Fantasy Football and should probably quit forever. Bad bad bad.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Duchess - The Birth Story

Well hello Ask Your Dad readers! A little context is needed for this post. I wrote it a long time ago, before Ask Your Dad was even a thought in the back of my mind. It is my half of Duchess's birth story. The first half, written by Stevie, has been lost to time. It basically said that she ate spicy Italian food, got a belly ache, and it turned out she was in labor. We went to the hospital, walked around for an hour to help labor progress, and then she was admitted to the hospital. She wrote it much more eloquently than that, I promise. Anyway...

The following is an accounting of Duchess's birth. It was written April 9, 2011. My wife first requested that I write it in September of 2010. I hope you enjoy it.   

Love, Dad (John)
Duchess's "going home" outfit. Taken the night Stevie went into labor. 

Duchess - The Birth Story