If You Let Your Toddler Watch You Pump
Friends, when I tell you that I feel as if I've been run over by a Conestoga wagon and team of eight, I mean it. Let's start at the beginning. On Wednesday, I got my period for the first time since giving birth in April. I thought I had more time. I didn't have enough time.
So, armed with hormonal rage, I stared down the barrel of this weekend which, as any parent with children under the age of ten will tell you, was ABSOLUTE HORSESHIT.
Let's break it down. Saturday marked the full moon, Halloween, and, in the most 2020 of moves, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.
I give birth to little werewolf babies. My dad was a werewolf. This means that every full moon, they experience an almost out-of-body, out-of-personality experience for three solid days.
My three year old was having all the full moon feelings. I'm menstruating like I'm being paid to after a more than year absence of a period. Daylight savings time. Motherfucker.
As if this wasn't enough, my 6.5 month old is about to get her first two teeth. Simultaneously. Because of course she is. For those of you who have forgotten or never learned, teething babies don't like to eat. Eating is what creates the demand for a mother's body to produce more milk. When a baby doesn't eat, supply drops, and mama has to either be okay with this or pump to replace all the feedings that baby is slacking off on.
I hate pumping. I HATE it. But really, I don't know a single breastfeeding mom who loves it. We tend to have mixed feelings about it AT BEST and a gut-deep loathing of it at worst. Normally, I pump once a day to have a freezer stash in case any of the scenarios that keep me awake at night come to pass. (My breaking a bone and requiring surgery. My getting trapped in a different room in the house from the baby and forgetting how to get out. You know. Real logical things.)
Today, I had to pump three times. Thrice, kittens. Twice with an audience. And by audience, I mean a three-year-old basically motorboated me while I pumped.
And so here we are. Did I bury the lead enough for you? Yes? Excellent.
I present to you, on this the most exhausting day of the decade, my newest children's book that's not for children, "If You Let Your Toddler Watch You Pump."
This is not, and I cannot emphasize this enough, associated with any of the beloved favorites such as: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, If You Give a Dog a Donut, and many others. Don't come at me, Laura Numeroff. I love you. My kid loves you. But it's been a fucking week.
And so, without further ado....
If You Let Your Toddler Watch You Pump
If you let your toddler daughter watch you pump, they'll have some questions:
- Mommy, what are you doing? (I'm pumping milk for your sister.)
- Mommy, where does the milk come from? (It comes from my body.)
- Where on your body does the milk come from? (From my breasts, babe.
- Do I have breasts? (No.)
- Does Daddy have breasts? (... No.)
- What's that noise? (That's the pump.)
- Why are those that color? (That's just the color nipples are.)
If you start answering questions about nipples, you'll be forced to really interact with the fact that pumping makes your nipples look far more like baby carrots than the "taut buds" that you're reading about on the heroine in Capture of the Lord Everhard. (Bitch).
If you're forced to think about your baby carrot pumping nipples, you'll be forced to think about nipple trauma from those early nursing days.
If you start thinking about nipple trauma, you'll probably start to look more miserable than you were moments before.
If you start to look more miserable, your toddler daughter will climb even closer, gripping your cheeks in their tiny grubby hands, and saying "Dinosaurs don't have breasts" and then making loud pterodactyl sounds.
If your toddler daughter tells you that dinosaurs don't have breasts, you'll wonder if that's true and start recounting all the facts you halfway know about reptiles that you learned from David Attenborough and Planet Earth but will also remember that you only just learned this year that birds actually have sex instead of what you somehow internalized which is that male birds don't just waddle overtop of freshly laid eggs, spraying their baby batter over top like trout.
If you think about how you only just learned this year that birds actually have sex, you'll probably remember that one time you were on a farm and a kid asked the guide if chickens "pooped eggs out of their buttholes." and how you thought to yourself "Obviously not, weirdo" but then the guide said, with great enthusiasm, "YES! Two chutes, one hole!"
If you remember that the phrase "Two chutes, one hole" was ever, ever uttered in all seriousness in your presence, you'll obviously wonder about the similarities between bird egg laying and human childbirth and whether or not there is also an obsession among fowl as there is with humans regarding whether or not a hen "poops the table" during birth.
If you start thinking about defecating during birth, you'll remember that story you read about the woman who was so terrified of having a BM in front of her husband during childbirth that she gave herself an enema in the hospital bathroom at 10 centimeters dilation and ended up delivering the baby (and the BM) together into the toilet.
If you start thinking of that foolish, vain woman, you'll probably start thinking about other foolish, vain women, like the daughter of the leader of the free world.
If you start thinking about the leader of the free world, you'll remember there's an election in three days and that you don't remember what it's like to not feel like your heart is actually eating itself.
If you start contemplating what it feels like for your heart to eat itself, you'll realize that maybe you should start meditating again because HOLY SHIT, Y'ALL.
If you think about meditating, you'll want to close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
If you close your eyes and breathe deeply, you'll remember that you haven't been sleeping well lately. And by lately, you mean since your first child was born 3 years ago. And isn't it Daylight Savings? Haven't you been up for twenty-eleventy-nine hours? You'll suddenly feel very tired.
If you suddenly feel very tired, you'll lean your head back and think, "Maybe just a catnap until my pumping timer goes off."
If you lean your head back and start to catnap, you'll be awoken immediately by your toddler who will whisper in your ear, "Mommy, your breasts are moving," which will bring you right back to baby carrot nipples and don't you dare tell me that things don't come full circle.