Friday, December 22, 2006

Angst and Spilled Milk

I know I wished you a merry Christmas already, and said I didn't have time to write for awhile now because it's time to go north for the holidays, but some mornings are so blogable you just have to sit down with the laptop and a caffeine-free Diet Coke as soon as the babies are mercifully asnooze. This morning really tested my patience--and I'm not sure it passed.

First of all, Miss Julia was quite the Cranky von Crankster today. Maybe Early Christmas was a little too much for her; I think she's still tired out from being up late yesterday opening gifts and then being too wired to calm down and go to sleep once in bed. At any rate, whining, fussing, and melting down over seemingly nothing were all major features of the morning. Then at one point when she was actually acting happy and calm, she went upstairs by herself to grab a toy while I played with Genevieve, and yelled down that she was stopping in the playroom to read a book, "Hug," by herself for a minute. Fine. But then something totally strange happened. I should explain first that "Hug" is a board book she received from some friends as an infant, and we've read it many, many times over the past 2-1/2 years, with nothing but enjoyment. It's a picture book about a baby gorilla named Bobo, who is looking for his mama. He wants a hug from her, and along the way he sees all sorts of other animals hugging each other. He gets more and more distraught, until, at the end, his mama runs into the picture, yelling, "BOBO!", arms wide. Bobo yells, "Mommy!" happily, and everyone hugs fiercely. Happy ending.

So she's up there reading, and then she comes downstairs and she's weirdly upset. She says she's Bobo (which is actually her daddy's nickname for her), and she hugs me over and over, and embarks upon a pretend "game" where she sits on the other side of the room "on a rock" (just like the baby gorilla does in the book), with her hands to her eyes in the universal gesture of crying, and calls for Mama, then runs over for a hug when I tell her to come over to where we are. She's not crying, but her eyes are shiny and she can't keep her mouth from turning down when she talks to me, and her voice has that breathy, stuttery, about-to-cry tone that kids always get when they're ready to lose it at any moment. She keeps asking me, "Why the monkey sad?" and "Why Bobo does this with his hands?" (rubbing her eyes with her fists). "Where's his mama?" It goes on and on, and it's so odd, because she's truly about to cry from reading this book; she's not putting this on. We go over it and over it a million times, and I hug her and hug her and ask her if the book made her sad, and why, and I remind her that I'm always nearby, and that if I have to go anywhere, I always come back and she's always with Daddy or Nonna or her teachers at baby class when the mamas go to the other room to talk. But it doesn't seem to help, and she keeps getting shaky all over again, thinking about Bobo in the book, looking for his mama.

I know: totally sad, right? Except--and this is terrible of me--after awhile, after maybe the twentieth time of hashing this out, it started to get a little....annoying. Because Genevieve was fussing, and lunch needed to be made, and I was supposed to be packing, and the whole thing was just getting a little tiresome. But, she got over it eventually and all was well for the time being.

Then Genevieve started to get really upset. I'd tried to nurse her awhile earlier, because she was due to eat, but she didn't want it then. Now I knew she was actually hungry, so I tried again, multiple times, as she cried harder and harder. She wouldn't take my milk. She kept latching on and then pulling off the nipple in rage, as if something tasted terrible, even though she'd nursed as normal two times already this morning. In the end, I pulled some old milk out of the freezer and started thawing it out, while she screamed bloody murder--starving by then--and I made lunch for Julia at the same time. Genevieve kept screaming, not wanting to drink her milk from a bottle when the lovely breast was RIGHT THERE--and Julia started acting up too, throwing a huge meltdown fit when I told her she had eaten her whole clementine. This made Genna scream harder, since the sound of Julia yelling and crying scared her. She did end up taking the bottle, but she was still hungry when the milk was gone so I had to go start to thaw out another bag of milk. While doing that, Genevieve spat up half her bottle all over herself and me, Julia continued to cry over her lunch, and as I turned to grab a rag to sop up the spit-up, the bag of thawed milk tipped over and spilled all over the floor. Yep. Goodbye, milk. Did you hear my internal screams of frustration echoing across the universe just then? I bet you did.

At 12:20, a full 40 minutes before Julia's usual naptime, she said, "Mama, I'm ready to go up for nap." I didn't argue. Eventually Genna Rose conked out on my shoulder, having grumpily sucked down five or six ounces of pumped breastmilk from her bottle, leaving me to wonder what exactly her objection was to her usual meal of milk from its original source, and is she going to reject the breast all day here?

And who, exactly, is going to get all this packing done? Oh yeah--me, when I'm not blogging about it.


Donna said...

As hard as it is, some babies do go through nursing strikes. It happened with my son (and he wouldn't take a bottle like Genna) and my daugther (hers was more of a one-boob strike - she took one side but refused the other). I consulted our peditrician and a lactation consultant and both told me it was normal to - even for them to strike for a couple of days. They also said it happens more with well-fed babies (of which Genna is certainly one!). As scary/frightening and physically uncomfortable as it is, she should decide to go back to the good ol' boob soon. Good luck!

Oh, and I totally sympathize with you on the spilled milk. It's happened to me more than I wish!

Donna said...

One more thing... Be glad your Genna will take 5-6 ounces in a bottle. Never mind the fact that she'll take it in a bottle FROM YOU! My daugther won't take a bottle from me, and when she does take a bottle, it's at most 4 ounces!

Shan said...

I know--I'm so glad G. will take a bottle, though this is the first time she took one from me; I've never had to try to bottle-feed her before. I have a friend here in town whose baby (6 mos. old now) has never deigned to take a bottle yet. :( The update here is that the rest of the day G. was fine with nursing--it was just that midday feeding. Strange!