Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

MomsRising had a great blog by the mom of one child. She was dismissing the cultural notion that children need siblings or families with one child aren’t much of a family. I was envious of all she and her family of three could do!

How did you come to decide on the number of children to have?

And whoa momma! Check out this 29-year-old Olympics-bound woman from Malaysia. She will be eight months pregnant when she participates in the 10-meter air rifle event. Here’s what she had to say about it: “One advantage that I’ve seen is that my stability increased — maybe because my gravity increased, my weight increased.”

You know, that is the one area that was not an issue for me while I was pregnant: my center of gravity. I wore high heels to work up until I had Ari. And I became a better runner after I had my kids. Have you noticed an increase in athleticism since having children?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

86 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

    • That was interesting. The whole salon article is more nuanced than the headline, and I’m sure the research piece is more nuanced still. But it makes intuitive sense that little girls are looking to their moms to learn what it means to be female and if mom is constantly obsessing over her looks, well…obviously that’s going get passed down. The article also mentioned that girls have more problems in families where looks and weight are often discussed. This, I think, is where either the salon article or the original research missed the boat on including a more complete look at family dynamics. I’m sure it’s not just the mom’s actions that make a difference…if there’s a lot of critical talk about fat people from dad, for example, I’m sure that makes a difference.

      The point about parents needing to critique the media could be a lot more detailed. It’s not just that parents need to offer critique, but that they need to raise questions that teach their kids to critique. And boys need,these tools, as well. Partly for their own self image vis a vis how men’s bodies are portrayed, and partly so they are less likely just to see girls/women as objects.

      I’m actually teaching a gender class right now, so I’ll be stealing this. Thanks for posting!!

    • Interesting! I can see this — although I think this is true for all aspects of parenting. For example, I grew up in a household with a smoker, and not surprisingly, three of four of us smoked. My children are not growing up with smokers and live in a state where it is banned in almost all public places. Not surprisingly, they give my dad a lot of grief when they see him light up. :)

      We have to model the behavior we want for our children. The “do as I say not as I do” form of parenting doesn’t work.

    • This just goes back to what I’ve always said. I always tell other parents to relax a bit about media, peer pressure, etc. Yes, these areas are problematic, but way, and by far, parents have a greater influence on their children. Having adult children, I can look back and see this very clearly now. There have also been studies that bear this out…we feel helpless a lot of the time because there are so many things in our children’s lives that we can’t really control, so of course we obsess. But, in the end, what we do, how we behave and the impression we leave on our children matters far more.

    • It makes sense, and based on just anecdotal impressions (thinking of a few girls in my kids’ classes and their moms) it does seem to me like it has some truth to it.

  1. I noticed no change in athleticism – klutzy then, klutzy now! And I’ve never been good in heels, LOL.

    But I did do my normal activity when I was pg with DD until the day before I went into labor. So if this woman’s normal is the shooting thing, she can do it too. I flew from Pittsburgh to MA, and defended my dissertation at 8.5……not the same as Olympic competition, but hey, it was MY ultimate achievement!

    We have two kids – DD was born 10 months after we got married. Then DH went into a clinical depression. It was years before we could actually even think about a second. Then we realized we wanted DD to have a sibling. DH is an only child, and he hates that he’s the only one who is around to support his Mom. But baby #2 came when I was nearly 40, so we never really thought seriously about a third. I would have like 3 kids, but here’s where life took us.

  2. We were really happy as a family of 3, but deep in my heart I knew I wanted another baby. I just had to wait until DH got on board, finally. I wasn’t worried at all about not giving Lucy a good life as an only, but I did think about her being lonely with no family when we’re gone. Since we’re older parents, that felt like a more pressing concern. Certainly not a requirement, though, and peoples comments about Lucy NEEDING a sibling or we were being cruel or something pissed me off to no end. Three can be really great.

    • I think I would have loved having an only, or spacing my kids much further. But dh is from a catholic family of 5 kids 2 years apart or less, so he wanted at least 2, preferably 3, spaced closer. Once we had dd tho, she was so nuts we figured why not add one more…it can’t get any more chaotic. I do think often about how life would be with an only, or a 5 year gap like the one between me and my brother. The grass is always greener.

      • There’s a huge gap between my me and my brothers. Nine and ten years. For that reason, I never wanted to have that kind of spacing between my own children. I didn’t even feel as if I had siblings. I still don’t, in many ways. When I was a child I really wanted to have siblings that were close to me in age. So, my kids are all roughly two years apart.

        • My brother and I were not close and my dh is very close to his sibs. But honestly….I think they bonded together due to neglectful patenting. I don’t think its spacing.

    • We had originally discussed three kids and our family feels complete with two, but one would not have been right for the first three of us. The only one who really would have been content as a family of three was DS9, who never got the chance. But DS11 needed a sibling, badly. He was able to make himself perfectly clear before he was verbal, and he’s part of the reason our spacing is 18 months rather than 2 years. From the time we had a referral photo to the time his brother came home he was completely obsessed with “Baby. MY.”, bringing a toy stroller with two boy dolls jammed into it everywhere we went, pointing to every passing plane and asking, “baby?” He’d have been happiest in a big family, and if you ask him what is the one single thing in life regrets, he’ll tell you he wishes he had an older brother.

      • Yeah, evidently, I was like your son. I really missed having siblings close in age to me. For as long as I can remember I wanted that. Probably why I had seven children. Created the family I wanted a a child.

        You know, I never had an only child. I don’t know really what that would be like.

        • Most people seem to picture a soft focus image of mom, dad, and baby cuddling and gazing fondly at one another. But my dominant memory is of watching him excitedly toddle into a frenetic mass of wildly rampaging older children while the mom on the bench beside me gasps, “Look at that baby! Where is his mother?” Poor kid hated weekends, stuck with just his boring old parents for two solid days – he’d get so excited every Monday morning when I pulled into the daycare parking lot.

  3. Um, no. Pregnancy does not make me better balanced or more awesome in any possible way. What I cannot do right now is even catch my breath or walk a few blocks. I’m short and short waisted so this baby has effectively squatted herself a nice home in my rib cage…at 23 weeks, I already can’t breathe. My joints and balance are all out of whack and I’m moving super slow. And I have zits. Just having a ball over here.

  4. Stressed! Either my boobs are not working or my pump is on its way out, but I’m coming up way short on DD2’s bottles for this afternoon/evening. I’m waiting for the hospital’s bf boutique to open at 10 so I can get the pump checked and/or rent another one. We’re 9 months into this with only 3 more to go, damn it! I think I’ve not been very careful about supply and am going to have to work to get that back. But in the meantime, she’s not had any formula yet, but tonight may be the night if I can’t get things going this morning. Poo.

    • Oh carp! Maybe you’re getting sick or are dehydrated? Does she eat solid food? You could mix formula in with her cereal for more calories maybe…

      • She eats lots of solids, and I’ll be with her until the early afternoon. She can get by with a big solids dinner and 2 bottles for the early evening and then bedtime and I already have one.

        I think it’s more laziness than being sick. I was out a few times this weekend and DH fed bottles without me pumping to replace them. I’ve always been able to just do it before bedtime or first thing in the morning and catch up, but it didn’t work this time. That plus a pump that I’ve suspected was on its way out and we’re in a situation! I don’t even have any formula and don’t know what to get or how to use it!

        • If she’s not getting formula exclusively, I would say get a small can of whatever’s on sale! It can only be opened 30 days before you have to pitch it. I know what you mean about getting lazy. I pumped religiously for ds, but for dd i would just hand express when I was going to be leaving. And sometimes I’d come up short. A la leche league trick that helped me was to think about cuddling my baby and her sweet smell while pumping. You’ll get more letdown that way than reading the business news!

          But in any case, pumping is hard work and ya done good so far! She will be just fine

          • Oh I just remembered: a good buy for you might be those enfamil “on the go” sticks. They’re little individual packets of formula. Great for your situation since you’re not going to use a lot, and I liked having them in the diaper bag to be able to mix a quick bottle on the road or at the store or wherever bfing or refrigerationwere inconvenient.

            • Oh yes, I used those here and there. I nursed past a year but stopped pumping earlier than a year and used those sticks of formula for when they were in child care.

              • that’s a good idea! I got the pump checked and the suction is ok, BUT she asked me how long it has been since I’d replaced the membranes? Huh? Or the valves? Valves? I’d been treating the “horns” as one piece and washing them all together and never once replaced the membranes or valves. Oops. So I got some of those new. I also decided to rent a hospital grade one for a month just to get things going strong again, since this is the last month before Clara goes to daycare fulltime while I go back to work fulltime. I’ve been thinking I should get on a more regular pumping schedule before that, so I guess that starts today. Crisis averted for now.

            • Those little packets are great – I just threw out my last ones a few weeks ago. Yeah, my youngest is 9; I don’t clean out my car all that often and hadn’t checked my emergency roadside kit in a while.

              I don’t want to discourage pumping, which I know is hard to keep up. But keep in mind that there’s no evidence for an advantage to breastmilk alone at this age. (At least there was no data supporting this last time I read on the topic, which was admittedly years ago.) She’s on a mixed diet now, and you’re no longer providing antibodies to her. The real downside to formula is that it will help you slack off if that is something you’ve been fighting.

            • Those were great. DD was exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and then from time to time I would give her formula until I stopped breastfeeding completely when she was 11 months. Those packets were perfect for us. It was great to be able to keep one and a spare bottle in the bag and know that if circumstances weren’t right for me to breastfeed her I could make a quick bottle.

              Getting over the guilt of using formula was one of the best things I did for myself as a mom. The first time I gave it to DD (she was such a fussy eater and feedings were never very peaceful) I was really upset with myself for giving in, like I was cheating. I believe that supporting women who want to breastfeed and encouraging women to breastfeed exclusively is great. However, it goes both ways — supporting women who can’t or just plain don’t want to exclusively breastfeed is just as valuable, and no mom should feel guilty about it.

              • I liked breastfeeding. I found it to be the far easiest method of feeding for us. It worked well for me. However…I, too, like to keep it in perspective.

                I supplemented my twins with formula from the beginning. And they’re fine. I totally breastfed the next four…never supplementing at all. And they’re fine. My last I had to wean over to formula completely when she was about 8 weeks old. And she’s fine. And I love them all equally. I’m as well bonded with one as with another. And if anyone observed them together today, they’d never be able to figure out who was breast fed exclusively or who was supplemented with formula.

                • I love breast feeding. In fact it was a major factor in our decision to have another baby instead of adopting. I nursed both kids for 18 months but didn’t feel bad about giving formula occasionally. Especially with dd, when we were out, because she was more of a distracted nurser and would just mess around with the boob. I didn’t have time for that plus chasing a toddler. Ds basically nursed with the frequency and volume of a newborn until a year. I had no problems with either, but they were so different. I wonder what the next one will be like.

                  • And yes, I am aware that many people nurse adopted newborns, but I’m not sure its something we would do. There were a lot of factors in our decision besides that one.

                  • It is really different with every baby. Two of mine would never even take a bottle. We tried. Acted downright insulted. One of these, though, just abruptly quit nursing on his first birthday. One day he was going full time, the next day, nothing.

                    As I said, it was just very easy for me. And I did like it. And I DETESTED washing bottles.

                  • I also love breastfeeding. I’m just weird that way. It’s one of the reasons I really really wanted to have another baby, so I could do it again. It’s funny, though, I am totally good now with this being my last baby to nurse. I am sure I’ll be a bit sad when we finally wean, but I think I’ll also be ready to move on to other ways of mothering.

                    • that’s what I felt with Lily. I loved breastfeeding (even when it was hard with Jess), but when Lily weaned, I was ready for it.

    • You probably don’t want to hear this, or think about it, but since you are working some and are away from her, your sleeping arrangements could be playing a role as well. I know it’s great for her to sleep through the night and away from you, but it will cut down on supply. MIght get better with adjustments and figuring out a few tricks to fool the system.

      • She’s never really slept in our bed, and we moved her out of our room at about 4 months. But we did recently have that 2 month bout of nightly 3am nursing and dropping that has probably messed with my supply. I hadn’t really thought about that, but when she started sleeping through the night again I guess it was basically like eliminating a feeding. I hope to trick the system by pumping before my bedtime every night and again early in the morning, even on days I’m not away from her. Crossing fingers that this will get me through the next 3 months. And then? I’m going to go all Office Space and take a baseball bat to that pump. 3 moms have used it for 6 kids…it has done it’s duty.

          • Maybe others could join with their most hated piece of kid gear that their kids have recently grown out of. I might be willing to light some of the girls’ “hand wash and line dry only” clothing on fire, for example.

              • Someone who routinely puts Vaseline on their camera lens, I bet. All those soft focus madonna and child photos have to come from someone’s mind, lol.

                • I usually do go ahead and wash them on gentle and then hang them up to dry. But that’s still several extra steps.

                  Ides–I agree. These are items that we only have because they were given as gifts! Probably stuff from pricey boutiques. Adorable, to be sure, but impractical as all hell.

    • If she’ll let you, try pumping on one side while she nurses on the other. My sister taught me that one- take advantage of the good let down you get when she’s really nursing.

      • We did that this morning with limited success. Clara’s a grabber, though, and she’s distracted by the noise. It was great in a pinch, though. Thanks!

    • You can borrow mine for a couple of weeks of you need to. Seriously. I will need it back on Aug 6 but I’m happy to loan mine to ya. Call me today.

  5. Ok. I’m just going to say it. One thing pregnancy did for me was make me more orgasmic. Not surprising. Pregnancy causes the pelvic region to become much more vascular. During pregnancy itself this was of no particular benefit as I was not a pregnant woman who particularly wanted sex…but afterwards? Ya take what you can get! And after six pregnancies? It’s all good in that regard.

    Other than that? Nope. In fact, I gave up high heel shoes, by and large. Don’t know if it was because my balance was worse after my first pregnancy, but I know I did decide that that I liked comfort. Still wear modestly high heels, up to about three inches, but that’s about it.

    As for having only one child? I don’t know. Depends on the circumstances. My father was an only child. However, because both of my grandmother’s parents had died, she raised her younger brother who’s about 9 years older than my father. There was also a family down the road with 21 children. Really. Dad always said that this in itself helped him from ever feeling like an only child. Whenever he wanted companionship, he’d just go down there and be treated as one of a large number of children.

  6. I would rather stab myself in the head with a fork than have another child. the thought of going through all that AGAIN is horrifying. I LOVE my teenager..I love our freedom and independence, I love what the 3 of us can do on a moment’s notice.

    don’t get me wrong. I love OTHER people’s babies but I never ever wanted more than the one girl I got. no thank you sir…and I also never felt empty or lost, nor has she. I mean she has a little sister now at her dad’s so I guess she got that sibling feeling but.. eh.. no thanks

  7. Belly wrap?

    Now that I am post surgery, I’m thinking about how someone posted a while ago about a velcro belly wrap that helps the muscles heal better, more tightly.

    Right now (one week post surgery) I am in the softest loosest granny pants I own. I can’t imagine more pressure. But I’m getting the staples out today, and I”m hoping that decreases the touch sensitivity in the incision. Maybe then I can wear something firmer?

  8. Well, I did just spend three days at Disneyland at 7.5 months … Unfortunately I threw out my SI joint again on the first evening (did something dumb), which made the second day in particular fairly challenging. Overall, though, fabulous trip as long as I enforced the stopping-when-I-needed-to-stop thing. And Expat and I had dinner on Saturday with Erika and her DH and DD. Who was THRILLED at the idea of an upcoming baby.

    I may be the least athletic person on Earth, so I consider it a win that things are only slightly more difficult than they were when I wasn’t pregnant. I actually gave up on heels early on; not that they were difficult per se, but because having sore feet was one more hassle I didn’t need on top of everything else. And being tired early on made me klutzy and prone to tripping.

  9. I have found that I am more athletic post-children, but I think it’s more mental than physical. Two things for me – one, I am more focused when I’m doing things, because by golly, it’s a real achievement for me to carve out 45 minutes to an hour to do something exclusively for me. So I’m not going to waste it with a half-a$$ed attempt. Secondly, having conceived, carried, birthed and then nursed two children and been engaged in this hand-to-hand mother thing, how difficult is it to try and run faster/bike harder/lift weights. I mean seriously. What’s more physically challenging than this mothering thing?! So I’m more willing to give everything a try.

      • yes…but your child is no longer trying to kill herself by launching herself headfirst down the stairs. Or, in my case, trying to make gunpowder from scratch.

        The scary thing? He has a recipe. Thanks, grandpa.

        • did you install a spycam in my house for this morning!? Why?!?

          Pls god, don’t let RJ share the recipe with Jess. She’s already realised that turned on its side, the vinegar-and-baking-soda rocketship become a surface:surface missile. I will pay you for this silence with Koko Black chocolate.

        • My son can teach him how to make dynamite. That uses nitroglycerin, though, not gunpowder. (You may know that but I only learned this quite recently.) And I’m pretty sure he does not have a recipe for nitroglycerin, so we’re safe for now.

          Tell me again why I’ve devoted this summer to teaching him to read?

      • we don’t have a couch. We have an upholstered launch-pad/docking station.

        Mind you, you must have a large amount of endurance to do all the ferrying of Liza for all her lessons, plus your own rehersals and performances. So I call a big ol’ shenanigans on you my darling! 😉

        • LIza was never a launch herself kind of gal– never.. I never babyproofed a damn thing b/c she had not one desire to explore, climb, launch or jump… apples trees yadda yadda

          • That’s so funny! Because Lucy was the same way. We put those little plugs on the outlet covers and got rid of the sharp glass coffee table and that was the extent of our babyproofing. She just wasn’t one to get into things. Now that Clara is crawling, I can already see that she is completely different in this regard. She goes straight for any cord, purse/bag, or garbage can. Her obsessions right now are those little doorstops that stick out of the wall. She likes to crawl over, bend down, and chew on the rubber tips of the doorstops. Wtf, child!? I know you are teething, but you have rubber toys all over the place that I’m able to keep cleaner!

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