La Leche League
I went to my first meeting today. It was very pleasant, but I was the only one there when I arrived with a toddler. The others were all about 7 months. I felt pretty conspicuous. Luckily the fact of its being LLL made me comfortable enough - but having had no breastfeeding problems made me an outsider again.
We did a little exercise designed to show how small a proportion of our children's lives is actually spent in intensive parenting, which was pretty nice. And a bit about our hopes for our children, which made me uncomfortable, because that's a bit close to having plans. Some people were perfectly comfortable saying "I hope she has children because I want to be a grandmother" or "I hope he gets some kind of professional qualification because I want him to be able to look himself in the mirror and be independent" which makes me... nervous.
I met a woman who is tandem nursing! She loves it! I knew it wasn't all drudgery. And I met a woman whose baby vomited blood. I had no problems. My god. No problems at all.
The La Leche Library was there - I borrowed a book about Caesarean births with a foreword by Sheila Kitzinger. It's interesting - it does cover my situation, but the book is copyright 1991, so a bit out of date in some ways. I read it over lunch, after Linnea went to sleep. Of course I cried.
I left the meeting late due to near-terminal disorganisation on my part, and so Linnea's lunch was late. We had to get a bus back into town, and that meant folding the buggy and having her on my lap, along with the nappy bag and the lunchbox. OK, fine. Initially she got a lot of compliments on being well-behaved (when we get on a bus with a folded buggy, she sits on the floor, because generally the driver doesn't wait for us to get safely settled before moving off) and quiet, so when she got fussy later it was kindly tolerated. She fell asleep, briefly, on my shoulder, and when we got off the bus, someone helped us off with the buggy. Then I had to unfold it, so I had to stand her on the path.
She threw a minor tantrum at being put down and hit her head on the footpath. There's a graze, now. I unfolded the buggy, put all the bags on the ground, and picked her up and soothed her. Then I held her on my knee and unpacked the lunchbox and fed her grapes until she was calmer. I got some funny looks from people who overheard me saying "It's ok, darling, we can have lunch right here if you want to, I'm sorry," but for some reason I wasn't bothered the way I usually am - I was able to smile back at them without grim determination. Perhaps hunger is good for serenity, or perhaps I'm just more confident in my parenting decisions.
I got her as far as Cafe Iguana and walked in. There were a few non-folding chairs so I nabbed them. The staff were great - one girl came up to me and asked if I needed a highchair ("No, she'll kick it over, but can I have a glass of water with a straw for her?") and then they left us alone until I had settled Linnea calmly and had a chance to breathe. Then they took my order. They know exactly what's in their food so I was able to have leek and potato soup, sorbet, and tea. Linnea shared the soup. Then she got up for a wander around the cafe, where she was well-received by everyone, and then she grizzled and went into the buggy. And then I paced her to sleep.
The Tot Seat got a lot of positive comments, too.
I read my book, discovered I'd left my phone numbers leaflet and Linnea's sippy cup in the LLL meeting, and got a bus to clinic.
By the time I was 15 months old, I had 100 words. Linnea is almost 14 months old, and, like most babies her age, has almost no words recognisable by the average man on the number 38 to Clapham, or whatever the bus is. But certain of my family have asked me more than once how her verbal development is coming along (the first such question was when she was 9 months old) and I've been getting nervous.
So I went to the health visitor who was lovely. It's Esme! She's back! She's not leaving until September! I am so pleased. We like Esme. She likes us. And she told me that next time they ask I can say that most 18 month old babies have between 6 and 20 words, but not all, and it's not a matter for concern if they don't. I feel better armed with information. Otherwise I'd have to kill anyone who put my baby down, and that's counterproductive, from a close maternal bond point of view.
The holiday has been sorted out - Rob and I get ten days with my mother in serene bliss, then he goes away and I get a succession of visitors, including people I want to see, people I don't mind seeing, and unknown quantities I'm slightly afraid of. Then I get about three days to recuperate in the warm and welcoming home if a kindred spirit, which will be...