Sunday, April 29, 2007

Book Groups

I'm shopping for an online book group. Something like Slaves of Golconda. I guess the way it works is you just have to read the book they're reading and then you can comment and post your own thoughts to your own blog? I see that Iliana has some links in her links section to online book discussion groups. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Too bad Slaves of Golconda didn't decide to read A Canticle for Leibowitz since I just finished that. It was among those books up for a vote for their next read. Instead they chose The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. I haven't read it but it brings me back to my "American Writers in Paris" class from graduate school. We immersed ourselves in Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, e.e. cummings, Hemingway, Djuna Barnes, that whole crowd. I'm pretty sure this book fits right in with them. And while I'd love to read it, I don't think I'd get it done by May 31st. So maybe I'll wait until their next selection.

I'm so into The Postman right now that I don't think I'll be able to pick up anything else until I'm finished. I can't wait until baby feeding times now because it's a chance when I'm not expected to do anything else and I can just sit with the bottle in my right hand, the baby in my left arm and the book in my left hand. Sometimes I have to read out loud to her because she gets all excited and can't wait to hear what happens in the next chapter.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Irresistible Challenge?

A Canticle for Leibowitz

First post-baby book finished and first book finished for the Dystopian Challenge and for my own dystopian fascination.

The premise for this book is so interesting, especially if you read the jacket copy on the edition I have,
By the time of the 32nd century: The atomic Flame Deluge was over. All knowledge was gone. In a hellish, barren desert, a humble monk unearths a fragile link to 20th century civilization. A handwritten document from the Blessed Saint Leibowitz that reads: pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels--bring home for Emma.

That idea, of our everyday objects being ancient artifacts to future beleaguered civilizations, is really what drew me to the dystopian genre. There is a fair amount of that in the movies Waterworld and The Postman and those were pretty much the ones that made me realize there were a whole lot of books on this topic. And yet, there is so much more to a A Canticle for Leibowitz than one of those classic dystopian plots of two enemy groups battling against each other for survival, one striving toward a new organized version of civilization and one adapting to the harsh, animal-like conditions of the post-war landscape. Instead, Canticle tracks the history of an abbey of monks somewhere in the vicinity of what used to be Colorado. It is located next to an ancient highway that, "in earlier ages, . . . had been a portion of the shortest route from the Great Salt Lake to Old El Paso. . ." Now it's cracked and broken with pieces of asphalt salvaged by generations of survivors, covered in sand, and has desert weeds growing up through the cracks.

The story begins in the 32nd century and continues for about 600 years. Miller fits a lot of time into a 313 page book. I won't go into the whole plot here but basically this group of monks was formed in the 1960s, just after the devastating war. Saint Leibowitz was a survivor who strived to keep modern knowledge alive by saving what books he could from the riots and chaos that followed the war. After his death, these monks continued his mission for the next 1800 or so years, becoming first crusaders saving books from destruction, and later librarians, archive keepers, and perpetuators of the ancient knowledge, waiting for a time when there arose a society ready to use it again to create a new civilization out of the ignorance and violence of the current times.

The book is very philosophical, dealing with big, broad themes of right and wrong, good and evil, moral responsibility, and religion versus secular society, and has a lot of religious discussion, but generally not in a boring, didactic way. Occasionally, just when the philosophy starts to get to be a little much, the action and character development pick up again. And there's a lot of humor in this book, too, although much of it is subtle. I found so many parts of it funny and amusing.

One other thing to note is that Canticle was published in book form in 1959. Parts of it had previously appeared in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" in the mid-fifties. And so, when Miller describes a computer in the year 3781, he describes it as occupying all the shelves in the abbot's office and covering one-third of his desk. The printer of the machine he describes as going, "Clatterty-chat-clatter-spatter-pip popperty-kak-fub-clotter." If anyone even now in the year 2007 (or in the past 10 or 15 years, for that matter) has a printer that makes noises like that, then something's wrong. Miller did have a great imagination for how technology might be in that year, but his descriptions have a decidedly fifties bent, amusing, but understandable.

Aside from The Giver trilogy, this was my first dystopian novel and I think it makes a good introduction to the genre because it gets you thinking about the big issues of nuclear war: life and death, civilization vs. chaos, knowledge vs. ignorance, right and wrong, good and evil, greed and materialism vs. appreciation for life and nature. There is so much packed into the 300 pages of this book that I could write a whole paper or two on it.

Recommended, but only if you're in the mood.

Friday's Feast

Feast 141

How fast can you type?
I haven't tested myself in a long time, but it's fast. I love typing. I officially learned in high school in a typing and steno class. The teacher was super strict and lots of kids hated her but I loved her, her structure, and her standards. She wanted me to compete in the FBLA competition, but at the time, I had no interest. In retrospect, I think I should have competed. Why not? But I think it was because I had no interest in being a Future Business Leader and never wanted to work in an office and I knew that even then. Then during summers in college, I used to temp and the temp agency I was working for hired me to work in their office, doing their payroll and registering new temps. This meant I gave math, spelling, and typing tests to people, so during down times, I used to give myself the typing test. So I used to know my WPM but not now.

What is your favorite online game?
Does this mean games you play with other people online? I've never done that so I'll say blogging because you interact with other online, although not in a game setting.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are?
This is a weird question. I'll say 7.

Main Course
Name three of your best teachers from your school years.
I loved: Miss Hemmer, 3rd grade, 1983-4; Mr. Colagrande, science teacher, 11th grade, 1991-2 (he taught a class called Sea & Sky where we studied Aeronautics, Astronomy, and Oceanography, I LOVED IT); and hmm, I'll say Mrs. Cherot, 10th grade Geometry, because she's the only teacher who ever made math make sense to me.

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend?
Hmm, not sure about Saturday but I want to do something fun. Sunday we'll probably have M's dad and my dad come over to help break ground for our new shed. We have no outdoor storage right now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bowing Down to Single Parents

and those who have spouses on the night shift.

M. has had to inspect a bridge (he's a civil engineer) overnight all last week. Meaning he gets home from work a tad early, sleeps a few hours, his crew meets at our house at 8 pm and they're gone until 4 am or so. Also meaning, I have the kids all day and all night with no break. And "all night" really feels like ALL NIGHT when you have a 7-week-old and a toddler with the flu. Yes, they both just got over the flu. Although it seemed more like a chest cold. What's one way to freak out a mom? Tell her that a newborn with a fever is a medical emergency and that if she were to have a fever of 100.3, we must take her to the ER. Well, she never got a fever, thank God, but Little Guy had a 102. Which is OK, because he's a sturdy halfway to three year old. Children's Motrin took care of him, but his coughing and runny nose kept waking him up. So between the two of them alone all night was a challenge, to say the least.

So now he's feeling so much better and has been sleeping for a few hours. Little Q. went right to sleep after her 11 pm bottle, and now that I have some downtime to write on my blog for a few minutes? I just want to go to bed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Now That's Motivation

I took Little Guy to Dunkin' Donuts this morning and the woman behind us on line had a baby in a carrier and started talking to us. (I didn't have Q. with us.) She was younger than me, maybe mid-20s. She asked Little Guy the standard questions like, How old are you? and whatever, and then, then! she glances at me (I was wearing M.'s big blue zip-up fleece, no less), and asks Little Guy, "Are you gonna have a little brother or sister?" As soon as I realized what she meant, I wasn't offended, I mean, it's not that outlandish of a question considering that I did give birth six weeks ago, but still. It was six weeks ago. She was skinny and it turns out that she has a five-year-old boy, a three-year-old girl, and the two-month-old baby in the carrier.

So, it's like this. I lost weight really fast after Little Guy because A.) I was nursing, B.) I was walking him in the stroller every day, C.) I was eating well.

This time, I'm A.) not walking with the stroller because, even if Little Guy deigns to get into the double stroller, two seconds later he wants to get out, four seconds after that he wants to get back in, 8 seconds after that he wants to get out and pick a dandelion or get a rock, 5 seconds after that he's back in the stroller but putting his feet on the front wheels so it's that much harder to push, etc.
B.) I'm not nursing and C.) I'm not eating all that well.

I have lost 28.5 pounds so far but have about 20 more to go to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. And then ideally I'd like to lose 30 more on top of that. The 30 wouldn't be entirely necessary, with the initial 20 I'd be back into 12s again, but it would be nice.

Oh Yeah, I Got This

Six weeks is definitely a magic milestone, of sorts. Not only is one almost fully recovered from a C-section, but the baby calms down a little bit and seems to start to get into the swing of things, getting a Circadian rhythm and all that. Or maybe it's the mother who starts to calm down a bit, getting used to having a newborn again and not so mystified by the crying and fussiness and feeling more confident in dealing with it. And, the big brother, having seemed to grow into a huge, monstrous, tantruming giant of a toddler, has gradually shrunk back down to normal size and is once again and a lively, demanding, yet mostly obedient, friendly and sweet two-and-a-half-year old.

So Thursday the three of us embarked upon a journey of errands for the first time. CVS to drop off digital pictures (I guess you don't say "drop off" anymore, as we're not dropping off film, but downloading our pictures into the Kodak kiosk), the bank, and Barnes & Noble to get coffee and hang out by the Thomas the Train set. It was a wonderful success, especially the part where I almost forgot to go to the bank and Little Guy reminded me by saying, "Are we to the bank?" My little errand administrator was rewarded with a yucky blue bank lollipop, but he enjoyed most of it.

Then Friday we had a lovely playdate with a "friend" of Little Guy's and my friend, his mom, at a playground. The boys played so well together and ate lunch at the picnic table. Very cute. This occupied the whole morning and we weren't home until 1:00. But then time stopped in the afternoon and between 1 and 3 felt like six hours. Falling asleep on the playroom floor while Little Guy pretended he was the doctor and kept giving me medicine and telling me to "cry because you're sick" didn't help matters. So we went to Starbucks. They let me have a chocolate soy milk for him in a tiny little coffee cup for $.40 and we sat at the table together with our cups. He acted like such a big boy and looked hilarious with his coffee cup with the coffee lid and everything.

Also, the house is pretty damn clean and straightened. And I even cooked dinner a few times, Risi e Bisi last night, for example, while two kids screamed in my ears, one of them saying, "Can I have a rolly-pop?," literally about 85 times. And we have three Moms Walking Tours set up, we signed up for a thing called Art in the Park where we go four Wednesdays in May to the park where Little Guy can do an art project and then play and, I'm sure we'll have lunch with Daddy one of these weeks. So, yeah, I have to say, I just might be getting used to having two kids.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dystopian Challenge

So I said I wouldn't do any more challenges for awhile because A. I never finish them and B. I don't have time for excessive reading at this point. But lo and behold! there is a Dystopian Challenge going on. Did you know there is a blog that is a sort of roundup of lots of different reading challenges? That's how I found Books. Lists. Life who is hosting a little Dystopian Challenge. And it doesn't end until November 6. Q. will be EIGHT MONTHS OLD by then. I can't even imagine.

So since I'm already reading A Canticle for Leibowitz, that's one of my books. I also plan to read:
The Handmaid's Tale, of course.
The Postman by David Brin
maybe re-read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, I don't remember when I read this, high school, I think
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Children of Men by P.D. James because I saw the movie last weekend and really didn't like it, but I suspect the book is way better, as is often the case

Monday, April 09, 2007

Book Plans

In my previous post, I said that I needed some lighter reading for the time being, but then I listed the books I bought at the used bookstore, which are not necessarily all light novels. What I forgot to say was that I'm thinking of once again returning to my plan of reading all the Oprah books. (I'm a sucker for reading lists and I have a whole folder filled with different lists, like the Modern Library's Best 100, the Hungry Mind's Best 100, the Pulitzers, the Nobels for Literature, etc. At some time or other I've had plans to finish all the lists. Once I even made up a schedule where I was to read one from each list and then a book of choice and keep going around until all the lists were done. That didn't quite work out.) So anyway, years ago, I was a book snob about the Oprah books. Then I read a few here and there, some I liked, some I didn't. But now I'm not a book snob--I'm of the school that advocates reading no matter what. If you read, read what you like, as long as you're reading. So anyway, most of the Oprah's are fun, dramatic, character-driven stories. Of course, I'm still going to include the more classic selections of her re-started book club, like Anna Karenina and The Road (hey, post-apocalyptic!).

Now here is a matter of logistics. How to read them. In what order. The last time I planned to do this, I decided to read them in the order in which they appeared on her show. So I printed out the list and wrote the date introduced next to each title. I'm so not doing that this time. They are listed in alphabetical (isn't it more fun to say abecedarian?) order by title so I might just do it that way and go straight through. Or maybe in reverse alphabetical. Especially since I already read the last two on the list and I'll feel like I've already accomplished something.

So to make this post even longer and more boring, here's the list, with the ones I've read in italics.

The Oprah Books

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell
The Best Way To Play by Bill Cosby
Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Jewel by Bret Lott
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Light in August by William Faulkner
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
The Meanest Thing To Say by Bill Cosby
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
Night by Elie Wiesel
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Open House by Elizabeth Berg
Paradise by Toni Morrison
The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Songs In Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
Sula by Toni Morrison
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby
Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
White Oleander by Janet Fitch

But now I'm reading A Canticle for Leibowitz so I can't start quite yet.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Reading Withdrawal

I don't need to say that I haven't had much time for reading lately (but I did just say it, so I guess I did need to.) I was reading Annals of the Former World when Q. was born but I haven't had the head for geology since then, even in the form of narrative nonfiction. I'm thinking I need some light novels. So I perused my shelves when Q. started sleeping better and I wasn't so tired. (She slept through the night last night, by the way! 12 am until 7:15 am. I don't think Little Guy did that until 11 weeks.) But I didn't find much on my shelves because we did a big house purge and got rid of a lot of clutter before the baby was born and when we got new carpeting downstairs, and part of that purging was my books. I packed up boxes and boxes of books that were spilling off my shelves and in stacks on the floor in my room and now they're in my parents' attic. I did leave a few books that I haven't read yet, but I'm not in the right frame of mind right now for The Historian or Gilead, for example.

So I started A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk, her nonfiction book about motherhood.

And yesterday I went to the new used bookstore near my parents' house. (The one closest to my house just closed.) This new store is fabulous. It's called The Cracked Book and they trade AND give cash for books. The one near me only traded and it was dingy and they had some really old, boring stuff in there. This one has a really great general fiction section and all the other genre sections are also big and varied. The children's section is adorable and packed with books. And it's not even a huge store square footage-wise. Anyway, here's what I got:

Possession by A.S. Byatt--I've seen a lot of book bloggers reading this lately and it sounds really good

White Teeth by Zadie Smith--I know On Beauty is supposed to be good and it's gotten very famous and everything but I had never read anything by her before. But when I picked this one up, looked in the inside cover and saw that Zadie Smith was born in 1975, I had to get it. We're the same age. She's a famous, published writer and I'm. . . not.

The Postman by David Brin because I'm still in my dystopian/post-apocalyptic phase

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ditto the above

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. ditto the above

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things That Get Me Through the Day

I so did not realize it was April. I've been in a fog of baby feeding issues, no sleep, a toddler adjusting to big family change, C-section recovery, a house lacking some much needed housework, etc. Anyway, the daffodils are done, and suddenly I have the first tulips and azalea buds. Wow. This happened to me with Little Guy, too. He was born in late August and I completely missed September. Next thing I knew it was October and leaves were changing and my birthday was happening.

So all of March I've been pretty housebound, being physically limited while recovering, and only now just getting used to lifting that heavy baby carrier again. I went to CVS once by myself about two weeks ago, we made two trips to my parents' house 25 minutes away, and just before I went out to get Chinese food. That's about it. Tomorrow I have big plans. The THREE of us (not husband) are going to return the breast pump and then go to Target. Big plans indeed.

So finally, in my cooped up state, here are the things that are bright spots in my day:

the Discovery Channel show "The Deadliest Catch" about the crab fishermen in Alaska. My husband and father used to watch this all the time and I was always like, whatever, stupid boring man show. Now, at midnight, with a fussy reflux baby, I'm like, wow, I'm so glad I'm not on a freezing fishing boat in rough ice waters with 60-foot waves in the Bering Sea. I'm so fascinated. I can't get enough. My favorite boat is the Cornelia Marie. I do feel ecologically bad about all the huge crabs they are catching (76,000 pounds in one trip!), but I love the dynamics and interactions and everything of the crewmembers.

blasting Zeppelin's "I'm Gonna Crawl" in the car (alone!) on the way to get the Chinese food before

the Sunday crossword puzzle (not that I have to time to do it, but just knowing it's there on the floor next to my bed with a nice fresh sharp pencil makes me happy)


the show Between the Lions
I'm admitting now, before god and everyone, that Little Guy has watched more TV in March than he's probably watched his whole life. But I refuse to feel bad. It's not like I had nothing going on. Anyway, there is Dora, Blues Clues, Backyardigans, Reading Rainbow, Clifford, etc, but my favorite is "Between the Lions."
P.S. And now that I'm able to get out again, we will resume our normal (or close to it with a newborn) activities such as my moms walking group (think Metropolitan Moms), library and storytime, errand running, The Little Gym, and other fascinating things of this nature and the TV watching will drop significantly.

Smoothing Out

Everything is going better. I can't believe Q. (what should I call her on the blog?) is one month old tomorrow. Now it turns out that she has reflux. Not so bad that she's not gaining weight, but bad enough to make her miserable for most of March. But now she's on Zantac and already it seems to be making a difference. She definitely seemed to feel better and be more relaxed today. So breastfeeding is over and I've made my peace. Also, she's on a pretty expensive formula used for colic and allergies, and, if I were breastfeeding and not on a dairy elimination diet, then it didn't make sense for her to be on such an expensive formula. She might as well just have been on a regular cow's milk one. But with Little Guy's allergies, we'd rather spare her allergy symptoms this early. And also, selfish as it may seem, I don't want to be on an elimination diet. I already have a lot going on and the breastfeeding stress was plunging me to the brink of PPD. So formula it is. Nothing has gone as planned with either baby regarding their births and feedings, but I'm learning to accept what the Universe gives me. (Also, never brag that you never get sick and that you have amazing immunities because the Universe will give you three weeks worth of colds and then one horrific GI bug when you're 36 weeks pregnant. I am humbled now.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Beware--Mommy Post

If you don't feel like reading a mommy post, skip and I promise I'll be back with books and random stuff soon.

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time saying this, but you know what? this is hard, having two kids. One reason I know I feel bad is because my mom says how easy it was to go from one to two kids and then not a big deal when she went from two to three. For one thing, I'm not sure she remembers quite how it was (I am 31 after all) and also she didn't have C-sections, she had relatively short labors with no epidural, and her milk came in the NEXT DAY after delivery. Sadly, I can say none of those things for myself. I had 2 C-sections--NOT easy recoveries, people. Please never schedule one for convenience or out of fear of labor. It's not "like opening up the zipper" as some people like to say much to my horror. Anyway, back to my point. Not only have I had these looooong recoveries, but I've had some milk problems, which is another thing I don't like to admit in this day and age of hardcore breastfeeding.

I, too, think breastfeeding is absolutely the way to go. I have friends who did not breastfeed, though, and, of course, I think nothing less of them. It's a very personal choice. But for me, I'd rather breastfeed. Not for a whole year, but my goal with my son was 6 months. Even though I had already planned on breastfeeding my son, it became strongly encouraged and necessary for me since I hemmorrhaged after my first C-section. I needed to breastfeed to help contract the uterus to keep the bleeding stopped. (It was such a bad hemmorrhage that I needed two blood transfusions.) So anyway, I was pumping away in the hospital and on Reglan and the whole nine yards. TWO WEEKS later, the milk came in and I was off and running. I ended up only going for 5 months, though, because that's when we found out about his dairy and egg allergy, and, at that point, I was not willing to do an elimination diet, especially considering I only had a few more weeks to meet the 6-month goal.

Well, now, again I had fears that my milk would not come in soon enough and that I'd have to pump and take medication again. I really didn't want to have to go through that again. As it turned out, there was a worse factor going against me this time. My daughter was born with a short frenulum, or tongue-tied is the slang term, I guess. I had never heard of this before, but it's just that piece of tissue that kind of holds your tongue down to the bottom of your mouth. She had an extra piece of tissue or whatever attached to the tip of her tongue and holding it down toward the front of her mouth. So she couldn't really move her tongue around that much and couldn't stick it out of her mouth. A baby's tongue is integral to successful breastfeeding.

When the pediatrician saw her frenulum, she refused to order a consult with an Ear, Nose, Throat surgeon who could have it clipped for her. It's an easy, quick and painless procedure. NOTHING like a circumcision, for instance, and those are done every day. But it turns out that most pediatricians are against clipping tongue ties. (And it could also lead to speech impediments and other small issues later in life. I have heard so many since Q.'s birth about toddler and older infants having to go to the OR for their frenulums to be clipped when it could have been done at birth.) The nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital made calls and wrote notes and badgered her every day, but she still refused. But with Q.'s inability to extend her tongue, breastfeeding was going very poorly. She could latch on well enough, but could not keep it for more than a second or two without sliding down to the tip. Any breastfeeding veterans out there will know that that kind of latch equals PAIN and getting very torn up. As the days went by, Q. went from 9 pounds even on Monday to 8 lbs. 1 oz. on Thursday. I told her that the breastfeeding was going horribly. Q. was starting to be brought to me more and more frequently because she was always hungry, and when she saw her weight drop, it was then that the pediatrician relented and ordered the ENT consult.

We were supposed to be discharged from the hospital mid-morning on Thursday but were told that the ENT wasn't going to come around until 5 pm. So we hung out and fed Q. formula from bottles. She had to eat and I had no milk at that point. Finally he came, took one look and thought her a prime case to have the frenulum clipped. He explained everything, took her to the nursery and she was back in 15 minutes, the procedure all done. After that, it seemed like she still had her bad latch, I was super sore, never mind in the throes of C-section recovery, and just was not up for all the pumping and medication and the whole deal that I had to go through the first time. So I decided to formula feed.

About the second week, my milk sort of came in. Nothing like it did for my first, though. No engorgement, no leaking. So I stuck with the formula decision.

For the next two weeks, I started getting into some kind of post-partum depression, and realized it was because I was not breastfeeding. So I talked to the lactation consultants and decided at week 3 to start trying to get the milk production back up. I got a prescription for Reglan, started pumping again, drinking Nursing Mom's herbal tea, and eating oatmeal.

The thing is, what one lactation consultant said is absolutely true: It would take up every waking hour if I really wanted to reach a maximum supply of milk. If Q. were my first, sure, I could schedule my pumpings every two hours during the day and every three hours at night, I could remember when to take the medication, I could make myself 4-6 cups of herbal tea a day; but as it is, Little Guy is DEMANDING. Just at pumping time, he wants to go on the swing. Just at a regular feeding time for Q., he wants me to go outside to play. (I know about the special bag of nursing time toys, but that doesn't work for him.) If I were just a regular breastfeeding mom, with an adequate supply, feedings wouldn't be an issue. But all this extra work to think about is wearing me down. I don't know what to do.

I'm nursing her before every feeding but she still needs a supplemental bottle of formula. She's still only drinking about 2 ounces every feeding, so I give her about an ounce or ounce and a half in the bottle. I don't know how long to continue in this vein. I was thinking to try to get her to 6 or 8 weeks and then go to straight formula after that. At least I would feel she got some benefit of breastmilk. I know this should be a happy time, and yes, a little stressful and sleepless, but this is getting to be a lot. And I also know that anything that is creating too much stress in the mother is not beneficial to the baby. I just don't know.

Anyone who skimmed this far have any words of advice or experience?