Breast Pump vs Actual Baby as Travel Buddy: A Scientific Review

Babies cry. Breast pumps don’t.

Babies are cute. Breast pumps aren’t.

These are among the various factors you may consider if you are ever lucky enough to be in a position to choose between taking along a nursling or a pump as your air travel companion. I’ve broken down the pros and cons of each option using the most rigorous of scientific methods. I would love for you to join me over at Sammiches and Psych Meds, where I discuss my results and conclusions.


LTYM: Boulder- Video Release, Overdue Recap

So, there’s this little thing called The Listen To Your Mother Show. It features local writers reading their own essays on motherhood- the experience of being one, having one, or knowing one, in celebration of Mother’s Day. I’ve co-produced the Boulder LTYM show for three years in a row now, and it has been amazing. My dear reader, please note I do not use the term “amazing” lightly. I’m not talking The Most Amazing Sweet Potato Fries You’ll Ever Taste or the Amazing Secret of Flat Abs (also, does this exist??). I’m talking laugh till you cry, cry till you are digging in your purse for a tissue, and everything in between, Amazing with a capital A. And that’s just the show itself.

Bringing this event to my community with my lovely and talented co-producer/dear friend Joelle is an experience I can only compare to being pregnant and giving birth. I thought it would be a cool project, but I had no idea what it would be like and in what ways it would challenge me and force me to grow. And just when it felt like the workload was too much to bear, I could not handle one more email, text, call, or item on my to-do list, it was showtime, and my mind was blown.

As we processed onto the stage, the audience was going crazy for us, hollering, hooting, and clapping- and we hadn’t even done anything yet. They didn’t know what any of us were about say and they loved us anyway. I remember feeling awed, like, “They are dying to love us!” There was an energy in the room that felt like electricity on my skin and warmth in my heart.

We performed our show twice, and each and every cast member nailed it- positively nailed it- both times. Every last little bit of work was entirely worth it, as the audience heard our stories. The power of a story cannot be underestimated. We tell our own stories to make sense of our experiences. Stories connect us. Stories matter. It was such a gift to provide the opportunity for people to share their stories, with our community and now, with the entire internet.

If you came to the show, thank you for being part of it!! If you didn’t make it, the videos are online now. Here is the link to Boulder’s 2015 show.


And here is my talk, called “A Farewell To Questionable Snacks,” on learning of Lady Bug’s allergy diagnosis…

Me reading, "A Farewell to Questionable Snacks" at the Dairy Center for the Arts. Video Credit: Joel Peterson

Me reading, “A Farewell to Questionable Snacks” at the Dairy Center for the Arts. Video Credit: Joel Peterson



This is not really a post about my kid’s poop

In the weeks following our our appointment with the allergist who told us Lady Bug has potentially life-threatening allergies to many common foods, I had a lot of nightmares. Also, we scheduled an appointment with a doctor at National Jewish, a world-class hospital in Denver considered to be among the best in the nation as far as allergies. With such extreme issues on our hands, Dan and I felt a second opinion would be valuable. Though we hardly ever leave Boulder city limits, we make exceptions for fancy doctors (as well as grandparents and certain restaurants).

The consultation was as valuable as it was confusing, however. The way the first doctor approached things versus the second had me thinking medicine is perhaps more like the finger paintings of a three year-old than the mixture of art and science I had previously believed it to be.

The doctor at National Jewish said that because her eczema was flared up when the skin testing was performed, the readings were likely to have been false positives. He said we should keep the baby away from nuts, but as far as everything else, he basically said, “She’s your second kid? Let her try different foods. See what happens. Give her a little more cream if her eczema worsens.”

We were equal parts elated and puzzled.

We left with so many questions: What did it all mean? Why did the original allergist paint such a dire picture? And also, if after a couple of glasses of wine, despite my best intentions, would I devour the random peanut butter chocolate chip cookie in the pantry, the rest of the chocolate chip cookies in the freezer, and two generous slices of leftover vanilla birthday cake preserved in saran wrap in the freezer, because it has been over four months since I’d had had a legitimate (ie not vegan, gluten-free) dessert?

The answers: We aren’t really sure, we will have to ask her, and yes indeed, I would.

Shortly after the doctor’s appointment/cake binge I had eggs for the first time in six weeks. Within a couple of days, Lady Bug developed a sad, drawn-out case of diarrhea.

The idea that the eggs were the cause of her illness seems obvious. Except any good scientist knows that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.So we can add to the aforementioned mysteries of the universe: Why does my child have diarrhea?

After speaking to experts including but not limited to my mother, my sister, various friends, the phone nurse at National Jewish, the phone nurse at Lady Bug’s doctor’s office, and taking her to the doctor for a sick visit, I have narrowed it down to a mere five possibilities.

1- Teething (aka the reason virtually anything out of the ordinary happens to a baby)

2-GI Bug

3- Egg allergy

4- Egg sensitivity due to not having been exposed to any eggs at all via my breast milk in over a month

5- Natural result of licking bathroom floor, soles of shoes, toys in doctors’ waiting areas, etc.

The family doctor dismissed it as a GI bug, but I’m suspicious. How come no one else in our family had a GI bug? Why would she have diarrhea for the first time in her life right after I tried eggs for the first time in forever? Then again, why hadn’t she ever had diarrhea when I was eating eggs to rival Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke? (We have chickens and they lay delicious eggs which I was eating constantly). Of course, I could try eating scrambled eggs again and see what happens, except “see what happens” means “prepare to have a fussy baby whose diaper needs to be changed every 60-90 minutes, don’t even think about trying to serve anything more complicated than take-out for dinner, and also don’t be surprised when your three year-old acts like a maniac because, naturally, she’s jealous of all the attention the baby is getting.” Sounds like a fun science experiment, doesn’t it?

I’m not up for data collection right now. Also, I’m pretty sure my science career peaked in 1991 when I won 3rd place in the middle school science fair.  While I obviously can’t be trusted around cake, I won’t be eating straight up eggs for the foreseeable future.

Lies I Told Myself About Baby #2… Guest Posting at In the Powder Room!

I know one thing about babies: They are mysterious. I learned this when my two-year-old was a baby, but I buried this nugget of truth in the recesses of my brain, which is disorganized to begin with. I can barely remember where I put my phone.

I sailed through my second pregnancy, blissfully unaware of what was to come. My carefree life had already been obliterated with the birth of our first child. We’d barely notice the addition of a mere eight to ten pounds worth of additional human in our household. This was what I told myself, along with a few other handy lies.

Click here to read the rest at In the Powder Room. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a website filled with hilarious, snarky articles, and I am beyond excited to be part of it. Yahoo!!!

Read me In the Powder Room!

The Lessons I Never Expected Canva to Teach Me

This is not a Canva tutorial.  I muddled my way through Canva, using mostly trial and error, and I have created a total of one hopefully share-able graphic.

Dan is really good at computers. I’m not. Ever since I met him, he’s taken on the role of 24 hour on call technical support person. There is no computer-related matter too small to warrant my seeking his expertise. Even if he doesn’t have the answer, he has a special talent for Googling the exact right question with the exact right phrasing, that I have yet to master.

It is not unusual for women to experience postpartum anxiety. It is my understanding that this anxiety revolves around the baby or some aspect or aspects of motherhood. I, on the other hand, feel fine about the baby. It’s my blog that is making me anxious.

I want to write. I want to submit my writing. I want to journal. I want, I want, I want… Oh yeah, I want to sleep. I want to feel like myself again. I haven’t worked out since before the baby was born (just a few more days till I’m allowed!) and I haven’t been away from the baby for more than a couple of hours, and even then it’s only to go to acupuncture to try and fix my face.

I have zero time for 99.9% of the ‘I wants” because caring for a a newborn and a toddler is no joke. If I were a normal person I would be like, “My blog can wait. Everything can wait. My life is chaos right now.” But no, not me, I have to think of a thousand things I could be doing but am obviously too lazy/lame/undercaffeinated to actually do. Doesn’t matter that I ate my dinner left handed tonight while breastfeeding the baby and intermittently jumping up to get Sweet Pea more honeydew which I just didn’t have an extra hand to cut into toddler-size pieces and I felt bad because the chunks were way too big for her little mouth. Doesn’t matter that the hours between dinner and anywhere between 10 and midnight are a chaotic mess of nursing, bathing, storying, diaper changing, nursing, stuffed-animalling, rocking, bouncing, door cracking (just the right amount), nursing,  burping, nursing, oh yeah did I mention nursing. Somewhere in the middle of the parenting shenanigans I manage to sneak in glass of wine, a coconut popsicle, and a conversation with Dan that is more than an exchange of information about our offspring.

So obviously now is the perfect time in my life to beat myself up about the dearth of Pinterest-ing graphics on my blog and because PicMonkey frustrates me I need to learn to make said graphics on Canva RIGHT. NOW.  After multiple attempts to create such a graphic, each of which lasted a total of 10-15 minutes due to one interruption or another, I got a free 30 minutes today to continue on my mission. When I finally, finally hit “save and publish,” the image that saved to my computer was not the same as the one I saw in Canva.

I wanted to throw my computer. I was ready to give up. I was desperate to call Dan, but he was at work. And once he gets home, there’s hardly time for either of us to take a shower, let alone for him to help me with my stupid (but somehow urgent) Canva graphic. But how much time was I going to invest in this stupid project? I could not deal with the idea of wasting even more of my precious time.

Until I realized it wouldn’t necessarily be a waste because I might actually learn something. The beauty of the baby needing to nurse while I was in the middle of hating Canva and before I completely gave up on it was that I had to step away from the computer. This allowed me some time to let some ideas on possible fixes float into my brain. I’ve always known that it’s important to give your mind time to “marinate” when you’re doing anything creative, but it never occurred to me that problem-solving a computer issue was a creative endeavor. Except duh, of course it is. Not only is Dan a computer genius, he is also one of the most creative problem solvers I know, which is so not a coincidence.

So I futzed around with Canva for a bit and I figured out what the issue was. BY MYSELF. Perhaps my two year old, with her obsession with doing everything BY HERSELF, has been a good influence on me. And just like that, a possibly share-worthy image was created, self-esteem was boosted, and a lesson in perseverance and independence was learned (even if it was at the tender age of 35).