Category Archives: love

Throwback Thursdays: Doll Houses

dollhouse boxWhen I was a kid, one of my good friends had the most amazing dollhouse I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was something straight out of a museum really. It actually reminds quite a bit of the dollhouse at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, although it might have been a tad bit smaller. I know the house had 8 rooms in it and was almost as long as we were if we laid down beside it. Not only was her dollhouse huge, but it was fully furnished with the tiniest and most detailed furniture and accessories I could imagine. The kitchen had tiny little fruits on the table. The baby’s room had a tiny cradle, and even tinier blankets and rattles. The laundry room actually had infinitesimally small boxes of laundry soap that we could actually read the names of.

While it was not behind glass, she was never really allowed to play with it. Or at least not when she had friends over. I’m not really sure if she got to play with it when she was alone. Not that it mattered to me. I was perfectly happy to spend hours just staring at all of the tiny fixtures in that amazing house. I am not sure I have ever envied anything the way I envied Tiffany’s doll house.

Well, maybe the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle dollhouse at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, but that was in an actual museum and had a weeping willow try that “wept” real water. Even though I got to see the Moore castle at least once a year when I visited my dad, to me that doll house was a true fairy tale, whereas Tiffany’s doll house, which I saw every couple of weeks, was a reality.

I had a few dollhouse-like toys. I had a Little People A frame dollhouse when I was really young. One year I got the Barbie Dream House for my birthday. That was amazing and I loved it greatly, but it didn’t quite fit the niche of the dollhouse I always wanted. Everything in it was plastic and for giant Barbies. There was nothing small and delicate and artistic about it.

I knew my parents couldn’t afford a dollhouse like the one Tiffany had, but it didn’t stop me from wanting one.

old dollhouseWhen I was in my late teens, my great-aunt, who knew how much I’d always loved dollhouses, gave me this one. It only has one room and after some recent research, I’ve learned it was sold in catalogs between 1910-1920 for about $1.25. When I was a kid, I remember it had some metal furniture that looked very old-fashioned (there was an ice box). While I don’t have any of the furniture, it looked just like the furniture found on this dollhouse history website that was manufactured between 1920-1930. This makes sense as my great-aunt was born around 1915 (there is some debate about what year she was actually born).

It was very sweet of my great aunt to give me this treasure of hers, but I was not only afraid of breaking it, but also a bit disappointed that there was only one room to decorate.

Even as an adult, I still wanted a dollhouse. There was a store, about two hours from my house in a crafty little town that sold doll house kits and all that perfect little, tiny furniture and whenever I visited, I used to spend forever in it. There was a hardware/crafty store I used to go into when I’d visit with my parents and they always had these amazing dollhouse kits. I knew I could never build one, but I would just stare wistfully. I remember telling my dad that when I had a daughter of my own, she was getting an amazing dollhouse.

Seven years ago, I finally had a daughter of my own and one of my first thoughts was: this little girl is getting a dollhouse. For her first birthday, my aunt got her her very first dollhouse: another Little People one. She definitely loved it. So did my son. It was perfect for her because at 1 most of her toys went straight into her mouth. It also got me dreaming about her “one day” dollhouse.

daddy doll houseFor Christmas that year, my dad surprised both my daughter and me by refurbishing a dollhouse that had belonged to the daughter of a friend of his. He didn’t tell me about his project because he wanted to surprise both of us. Even though he put all that time and effort into painting it and finding new carpet for the my daughter, as soon as I saw the house, I knew that he’d really done it for me. He knew how much the dollhouse meant to me and that while my daughter would eventually love it, she wasn’t even two yet, so she couldn’t appreciate it the way I did.

Little did I know that it would be my dad’s last Christmas with us. His beautiful gift, to both of us, is still something we both cherish, although my daughter is still a bit too young to realize the full importance of it.

Since he fixed up the dollhouse over 5 years ago, my daughter has added a couple of additional “dollhouses” to her room. Two Christmas’s ago, my aunt got my daughter Elsa’s Frozen palace. Although it’s a dollhouse the same way Barbie’s Dream House was (at least in my eyes), my daughter still calls it her dollhouse and loves it.

doll house backAnd earlier this week my daughter spent her very own money on a 3-D dollhouse puzzle by Melissa and Doug. Of course while my daughter spent her money on the dollhouse puzzle, it was really my son and I who put it together. My daughter has never been a huge fan of puzzles, however my son is obsessed. The newest dollhouse is pretty cute and actually has movable furniture, two dolls, a cat and a dog to play with. Unlike her Elsa castle it did not come pre-assembled, but the hour and a half we spent putting it together was considerably less than my dad spent on her first one. She loves it and it appears her room is now turning into a small village.

Unlike my friend Tiffany’s house, my daughter plays with all of her dollhouses. Right now two of them are full of large plastic doll furniture and dolls, but my daughter is only 7 and not quite ready to turn any of them into art pieces. She may never be. And that’s ok. As much as that perfect, beautiful dollhouse with the tiny oranges and paintings and delicate bedding was my dream, I love watching my daughter actually play with her dollhouse. I won’t lie and say that when all the furniture gets turned upside down, I don’t sneak in there and fix it. And it does pain me greatly when I see the mess she makes in the rooms. But, I take a deep breath and try to remember that my dreams are not her dreams. Just because I liked to play one way doesn’t mean she has to.

I may not have gotten to have the dollhouse I always dreamed of, but she gets to.

all three dollhouses

 

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Chocolate Monday: DeBrand’s Tart Raspberry Tasting Bar

full debrandsIt gets really hard to deny that you have a chocolate addiction when you find yourself asking for chocolate for your birthday.

Who am I kidding? I’m not really trying to hide the fact. I have, in fact, asked for chocolate on several birthdays…and Christmases…and anniversaries…and Flag days…and, well, you get the picture. What can I say, I’m a simple girl. I don’t need expensive jewelry. I don’t want a closet full of shoes. I delight in school supplies and truly tasty cocoa treats.

That’s why this year for my birthday, I took out the recently arrived DeBrand’s chocolate catalog, circled several different items I’d love to have and handed it to my husband. I know to some people this might seem rude, but my husband is generally bad about picking up hints and really prefers me to just flat out tell him what I want. He enjoys getting me what I really want and I enjoy getting what I really want. He does the exact same thing for me. Anytime he sees something he really wants he sends me a link, so that when a birthday, anniversary or Christmas approaches, I go through my Facebook Messages and start ordering.

DeBrand Fine Chocolate is a fairly new find of mine. Last year, after writing a series of college and scholarship recommendation letters for one of my seniors, she got me a 14 piece box of their Classic Collection to thank me. It is a well-known fact in my classroom that I am a chocoholic. Students often bring in exotic chocolates they find for me to try. There is also an ongoing joke about how many different types of chocolate I have stashed in my classroom cabinet (the record, if you are curious, was 10 different types).

I fell in love with pretty much every piece in this collection. Even their mocha cream, which is usually my nemesis in any box of chocolate, was pretty tasty. I was equally amazed at how much I liked the gourmet PB&J piece. I have had exactly one PB&J sandwich in my life (my freshmen year of college) and did not care for it in the least. As a result, despite my love of peanut butter, I usually stay far away from anything PB&J flavored. DeBrand’s version, however, was tasty. It’s really hard for me to name a favorite in this collection as I really liked so many of them. The salted peanut butter, strawberry rhubarb caramel, raspberry and cream, caramelly coconut and vanilla buttercream are all top contenders. If you get the chance, I highly suggest you try this collection. It gets a A++++++ rating from me.

debrand's packagingFor my birthday, however, what I really wanted was to try some of their Tasting Bars. Despite circling several items in the catalog I would have been thrilled with, after all these years, my husband either really knows me or got really lucky, because he got me a nice selection of them. Knowing that I am more of a milk chocolate gal, he got me the Hazelnut Sea Salt Crisp bar, The Very Cherry bar, the Sweet Potato Pie bar, the Pina Colada bar and the Tart Red Raspberry bar.

 

Even though the Tart Red Raspberry bar is dark chocolate, I have a passion for any kind of chocolate combined with raspberries. My absolute favorite chocolate on the planet (to date) is Godiva’s raspberry cordials. I am still bitter they no longer are sold individually in the display case, especially since they are nearly impossible to find. So even though this bar did not offer the ooey-gooey promise of a cordial, I was hoping it would live up to the TART portion of its name.

Oh my goodness does it!

Debrand's up closeI LOVE this bar! I cannot stress enough how great I think it is. Even though it has the slight bitterness of dark chocolate, it is so flooded with tiny pieces of amazingly tart raspberries that I don’t even care. Just like the Godiva cordial, I can completely ignore the dark chocolate and simply love, love, love on this bar. Ok, so that’s not quite true. There is no denying the dark chocolate. And for those of you who actually prefer dark chocolate, don’t worry, the taste of the dark chocolate is not lost. Not even for a minute. However, it is so perfectly balanced by the raspberry that I, an avouched dark chocolate hater, LOVE it! Just glancing at the picture you can see how this bar is packed full of tart raspberry goodness.

As much as I loved this bar, believe it or not, it is actually not my favorite of the bars I tried. That honor goes to the Very Cherry. Since it is mixed with both dark and milk chocolate, any hint of bitterness evaporates. It is actually the perfect blend for me. However that bar was gone long before I started writing my blog again, so I decided to focus on this one instead.

If you are a chocolate fan and have not yet tried DeBrand, I highly recommend them. I was not quite as impressed with their truffles, but they are HUGE truffles. And they are definitely tasty, just not as tasty as their Tasting Bars, Classic Collection or Connoisseur Collection.

Overall:
Taste: 10/10
Appearance: 9/10
Value: 9/10 (each bar is $7.25, which is pricey, but they are delicious. And although the label says they are 3 servings a piece, they more easily break into 4 servings. When you compare that to the cost of 4 truffles, these bars are a value).

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Throwback Thursday: Small town blues

My mom is in town. For some people that is probably not really a big deal. I have lots of friends who see their mothers at least weekly and a few who see or talk to their moms every day. My mom and I, however, haven’t lived in the same state for 28 years and have only seen each other about 8 or ten times since I was 14. We don’t exactly have the mother-daughter relationship that Hallmark dreams of.

What we do have is my 97-year-old grandmother who is seriously declining health. As hard as it is to see my grandmother, who has always been a major force to be reckoned with becoming meeker every day, it has brought my mom and I much closer. She’s actually been back to visit three times in the last 18 months. Each time she comes to stay with my grandmother for a week or two, I take my kids up to visit with them.

The trip up is always a bit odd for me. Not because my mom and I have a strained and complicated past that we both sort of pretend doesn’t exist, but because my grandmother still lives in the same tiny (and I do mean tiny) town both my mom and dad grew up in. While I only lived in the town for the first year or two of my life, it is still a place flooded with memories for me as two sets of grandparents, my great grandmother and various aunts and uncles lived there throughout my childhood. It’s a place where I used to go to the Labor Day carnival which I thought was spectacular, but also terrifying. One of my earliest memories is of my youngest aunt, who is only 10 years older than me, in a cast after her seat on the swing ride (you know the one that tilts and turns as riders fly up in the air) broke and sent her uncontrollably airborne.

The town also has the community center my family meets at every year to celebrate Christmas together. Sure, we usually celebrate a week or two after the actual holiday, but I come from a family of paramedics and firefighters who often had to work on holidays, so we’ve never been huge sticklers to the date itself.

On the main road through town, which houses every business in the actual town is the park where we took pictures when I was the maid of honor at my aunt’s wedding. There is “The Little Store,” a convenience store so small it’s hard for more than three people to be in it at the same time, where my dad used to stop and buy me treats.

Driving down the main road, I can still see the charred remains where my great-aunt’s apartment used to be. I’m not actually sure apartment is the right word for it, but she always called it her apartment building. And it was hers. She owned the property. Only a small portion of it faced the main road. The rest of it was on the street behind the main thoroughfare. There was a lovely garden with a tiny bridge over a tiny creek. There were raspberry bushes she’d let me stuff myself on. There was a giant balcony that ran the entire length of the second floor of the building that I could run around and play on. I know she had a few small apartments that she rented to people, but she and my uncle owned a rather massive two story apartment that had a secret passage way behind a giant picture of the Virgin Mary. The passage way actually led into the shop that she owned (but rented out) which was on the main drag. I think it was a Christian bookstore, which might explain the picture. I can’t recall her ever actually being religious.

The town also houses the cemetery where my dad, my step-mother and my little brother are buried. I cannot make a trip to see my grandmother without passing it and every time I do, the wound opens back up for a bit. Since my parents’ deaths, I don’t go to my home town anymore. There’s no reason to. No one else in my family lives there. My parents’ house, which was not the one I grew up in was sold off a few years ago and I have no desire to see someone else living there. I have a few high school friends who still live in the area, but we keep in touch over social media and haven’t met up in a decade or so. Which means I can avoid the pain I know would come from being back there.

But I can’t avoid my grandmother (not that I want to). So every time I see her, I am thrown back to my childhood. And when I get to that cemetery, all I can feel is the ache of a little girl missing her daddy.

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Just Because

flowers 2As I was sitting in the pediatrician’s office last Friday trying to figure out the mysterious fever and sore throat my son had, I got a call from an unknown number on my cell. This doesn’t happen very often and when it does, I generally ignore the call. I’m not often a fan of talking to people I do know on the phone, so there is no way I want to talk to someone I don’t.

A few moments later, I heard my voicemail tone. Since the doctor wasn’t with us and my kids weren’t being monsters, I went ahead and listened to the message. I figured it was probably the library calling to tell me that yet another item I had requested had come in (this sounds like a good thing, except that I’ve had a fairly dry spell at the library all summer and suddenly in the last week, four different books I’ve been waiting for are now ready for me to check out). To my complete and utter surprise, it was a florist, at my house, wanting to deliver, well, flowers.

Now, I have a pretty darn good husband, but he’s not exactly a roses kind of guy. He used to buy me flowers, back when we were dating, but even then, he thought flowers were kind of a waste of money since they died so quickly. He’d rather buy me something that lasts. I knew they couldn’t be from him, so I was thoroughly perplexed.

When I got home, my confusion continued. There, on my porch was a lovely arrangement of carnations and lilies, all wrapped up in cellophane. I hurried to get them open so I could grab the card. There was a card, but all it said was “Just because.” No name, no city, nothing else. It wasn’t even handwritten (not that handwriting would help as I could only identify like four people’s handwriting ever and one of them is dead).

I’d been having a bit of a rough time of it, so I thought, maybe, just maybe, my husband had turned over some freakish spontaneous new leaf, but when I texted him about my flowers and their lack of card, his response was “weird.” Yeah, that pretty much took him off the table.

My son thought maybe my best friend had sent them (in all fairness, he knows like six adults). Now, she does love flowers and has always been the kind of gal to just stop off at a flower shop to buy some daisies or lilies. However, I figured if she was going to get me flowers, they’d come in a vase from her house and they’d most likely be a grouping of tulips or daffodils she got while at Trader Joe’s, not a professionally arranged bouquet. Sure enough, when I texted her, she thought I might have a secret admirer (which was actually my son’s first thought…not sure where he got that from).

I tried to call the florist to see if the card had been left at the shop, but sadly the flowers had been ordered online and sent with no card. She apologized, but was glad I liked the flowers.

The list of people who might send me flowers, especially “just because” was shrinking quickly. I’d had dinner with three school friends the night before and just told one of them my step-mother had passed. Now, when my father died less than a year ago, this same friend sent me a beautiful arrangement which arrived just hours after she found out. In addition, she jumped in her car and drove an hour just to check on me. I thought it could have been her. Still, she’d just seen me the night before and we’d already commiserated together.

I was almost ready to give up my quest when I remember the modern day Sherlock Holmes at my fingertips: Facebook. I made a comment about the lovely anonymous delivery and within minutes I got a text from my aunt asking me what they looked like. When she told me the name of the arrangement “Light of my Life,” I let a few tearsflowers 1 fall. The mystery had been solved.

It was my aunt, who at different points in my life has been mother, sister, and best friend all rolled into one. It was my aunt, who knew just how much I was reeling from the loss of two parents in less than a year. It was my aunt, who’d been right there with me as we made a final visit to my parents’ house and watched years of memories slip away from us as we locked the door a final time and pulled out of the driveway. It was my aunt, who had no doubt spent far more sleepless nights this summer because she’d been left with the daunting task of trying to sort out my step-mom’s affairs since my step-mom had no blood family of her own left. It was my aunt who, lost not only her brother and her sister-in-law, but also her best friend. It was my aunt, who knew just how much I was hurting and needed that lift, because she was hurting right along with me. And, it was my aunt, who wanted to remind me even though this has been the worst year of my life and that I’d lost so much, I still had her, no matter what, because I was “the light of her life.”

This is why I love my aunt…just because.

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Chocolate Monday: Godiva Heart Duet Collection

Since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I thought it might be best to feast on Godiva’s newest collection: Heart Duets. There are only four pieces in this collection, and I’ll be honest, only two really appealed to me, so they are the only two I bought. The collection has a dark chocolate/strawberry piece, a milk chocolate/black raspberry piece, a white chocolate/apple piece and a milk chocolate/banana piece.

Now, I can’t bring myself to try anything banana flavored. I don’t know why. I love real bananas, but am not a fan of anything else banana flavored (except bread, but that is made with 100% real bananas).  I’m also kind of burned out on apple flavored chocolates. It’s not that I don’t like the flavor combo, I usually do, but I just wasn’t feeling it this trip, so I skipped that one too.

I decided to focus on the two which looked most like potential Valentine’s treats: the dark chocolate strawberry and the milk chocolate black raspberry. Since I’m a best for last kind of gal, I decided to polish off the dark chocolate piece first, even though it was definitely the most eye-catching of the collection. I really like the bright red color of this chocolate. The flavor, on the other hand, is another story. Don’t misunderstand, it didn’t taste bad. It just didn’t taste very much like strawberry either. If I hadn’t seen the dark chocolate back, I wouldn’t have realized it was a dark piece. There was none of the usual bitterness to it. It had a creamy chocolate inside, but that was about all I tasted. There was a tiny wisp of fruit flavor which reminded me of a toned down version of their black raspberry truffle (the one that actually has the cute red heart on it).

I think the strawberry flavor gets lost in all of the chocolate. Godiva’s hearts are always kind of heavy on the chocolate. Now, I realize that sounds like a dumb thing to say since they are a chocolatier. However, what I mean is that there is so much area taken up by pure chocolate, that any flavoring often loses its punch. It gets hidden in the chocolate and to quote Iron Chef judges, the secret ingredient just isn’t “the star of the dish.” I think I described it accurately when I called it the dark chocolate/strawberry heart. Although, to be even more accurate, I might have to call it the DARK CHOCOLATE/strawberry heart. It had a good chocolate flavor, but the fruity hints were so subtle, they basically got lost.

As for the milk/black raspberry piece, I feel it was a bit more successful in showcasing the fruit. But only a bit more. The tiny seeds mixed in with the chocolate ganache fooled my brain into thinking there was more raspberry than there actually was. It’s a texture trick I feel too many chocolate companies rely on. Now, in fairness to Godiva, anytime I eat something that claims to be black raspberry, I always forget that it will not have the same tart punch the good ol’ red version would have. Black raspberries themselves have a far more subdued flavor and often, my brain just thinks raspberry and when I don’t get that tart, I get let down. I tried to remind myself that this wasn’t going to be the raspberry I adore, but my stupid monkey brain forgot for a brief second.

This piece actually left me with a bit of a fruity after taste, which was an improvement on its strawberry counterparts. I think since milk chocolate is also a tad blander of a flavor, it is a better vehicle for letting the raspberry come through. Too often, the only fruit combos which really shine with dark chocolate are very tart fruits, and good strawberries should be more sweet than tart. Had the strawberry been with a milk chocolate, I think the flavor would have come to life more. It would not, however, have looked as appealing. And while the dark chocolate may have given the pale lavender of the milk/black raspberry piece a bit more pizzazz, I don’t think dark chocolate and the often mealy black raspberry work well together.

If I was giving a Valentine’s gift and just wanting to score points for sticking to the theme and being cute, this collection would be swell. But, if I was hoping to impress with the flavor, this would not be my pick. I’d go for one of their assorted boxes of chocolate in a pretty heart-shaped box, or even a box full of raspberry cordials, which have very pretty shiny pink wrapping paper AND a glorious mix of dark chocolate with the most amazingly tart raspberry center I’ve ever had. A cute attempt to brighten the holiday, but not a score in my book.

Overall:

Taste: 5/10

Price: 4/10

Appearance: 7/10

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Way too much TV

I forgot just how quiet my house can be. Last week when my daughter was born, my parents came to take care of my son. Since my husband wanted to stay at the hospital with me and we didn’t think it would be a good place for a toddler to hang out, my folks came to meet our newest addition, then took my son home with them. It was really sweet of them to do. Not only did it mean my husband and I would be able to focus on the new baby, but my son also had something really fun to look forward to. He adores my folks and the fact that they have tons of toys (and trains) for him to play with.

We had talked about having him stay until we got used to having the new little one around, but it was all rather indefinite. It wasn’t until my folks showed up at the hospital that I found out they wanted to keep him for over a week. Under the influence of vicodin and a spinal tap, holding a teeny tiny newborn, this sounded like a great idea to me. I’d be able to adjust to her schedule a bit before I’d have to figure out how to juggle both of their schedules together. I also liked the idea of getting lots of snuggling time in with her before the jealousy sank in and I was trying to cuddle both of them.

This, as I’ve said, was under the influence extreme exhaustion and drugs. And before I actually got my little girl home. It turns out that she is a real sleeper. Now, not that I’m complaining. It means I get about three hours of sleep at a time (usually two and a half of these jags each night) and a good nap. It also means that the house is really quiet. Almost too quiet.

I’ve gotten so used to my son’s constant motion and energy, that being alone with my sleeping baby is actually a little unnerving to me. I want some volume. And not just any volume. I want my son asking for a snack or telling me he doesn’t have to potty or even arguing me that the lion is not, in fact a lion, but a puma.

I don’t, however, want to call my folks and beg them to bring him home. I know he’ll be home in two days and I know he’s having fun (today he got to go to the candy store and play with my dad’s trains). Every time I call to talk to him, he’s too busy watching a show, playing on the swing set or going somewhere fun with my dad. He hardly has time to tell me anymore than “bye bye” and “I love you.”

So, I’ve been filling the silence with my old friend TV. The problem, of course, is that daytime TV sucks. So, I find myself watching TV shows I have on DVD. So far I’ve watched the first three episodes of the Tudors (season 3–waiting on the next disk from Netflix), finished season 3 of Angel  (and started season 4) and I’ve sat through about half a dozen old episodes of Bones, The Office and Gilmore Girls. I’ve also watched Public Enemies, Miss Petigrew Lives for a Day and bits and pieces of other movies. Heck, I even found myself watching part of Loverboy today.

Luckily several of my current shows have come out of re-runs and that is nice. I’ve gotten to watch Castle, V, Lost and I think I saw a commercial for a new episode of Bones tomorrow. It does help pass the time, both when she’s sleeping and when I’m breastfeeding. If it weren’t for TV, I think I might be bored to death. I’m just not at all used to the quiet anymore and it’s unsettling.

My son will be home soon and then chaos will no doubt take over. I am sure I will be wishing for the silence and my TV dates. But for now, I just want my little boy home so I can hold my daughter in one arm and wrap my other one around him.

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Breastfeeding, take 2

Breastfeeding has not come easy to me. Anyone who has followed this blog has read about my struggles and frustrations. With my son, I spent so much time obsessing over my milk production and my son’s health, that I missed enjoying the first few months of his life.

I don’t want to rehash it all since I have several posts on the subject, but I was surprised that in everything I read ahead of time and in the classes I took before I had my son, that no one bothered to mention that not everyone can breastfeed. Heck, everyone and everything made it look so easy. No one even bothered to mention to me that it might be anything but a piece of cake.

This time I was prepared. No one was going to make me feel bad or try to push me toward something I wasn’t able to do. From the moment my daughter was born, I started explaining my situation to every nurse, doctor and lactation consultant who entered my room. When I went in to the situation, not only expecting to need a bottle supplement, but fully prepared to walk out of the hospital with nothing but the bottle, the whole experience was different.

From the moment they heard of my struggles, everyone at the hospital was supportive. They were impressed with how much I’d thought about my decision and respectful of it. I told them up front that I wanted to try to breastfeed, but would reach for the bottle if it didn’t seem to be working. Without question, the nurse brought in Enfamil in case I needed it.

For the first day, I didn’t think I’d need it, but it was in the back of my mind. Things seemed to be going better. My daughter took to nursing pretty well. Unlike my son, she dropped off after 10 or 15 minutes, then slept soundly. I started to get my hopes up just a bit. My husband got excited.

My nurse, Laura, wasn’t quite as encouraged. She noticed my daughter hadn’t had a dirty diaper yet. She’d had a few wet ones, but it had been over 24 hours and no meconium. Laura told the pediatrician before I even got a chance to, because she was concerned. She agreed with the doc 100%: if my daughter didn’t have a dirty diaper by 6pm, we were adding formula to the mix.

A few hours later, I realized that not only had she not had a dirty diaper, but it had been hours since her last wet one. Before I could even suggest it, Laura told me to get the formula out. She wanted some results before the docs went home for the day. So, I breastfed and then broke out the bottle. My daughter took it. Less than an hour later, we had both a wet and dirty diaper. I realized that even though everything looked like it was going right, obviously it wasn’t.

I found myself reflecting on my son’s birth. Everything seemed to be going right that time too. Everyone seemed convinced he was taking to the breast, only to find out that he went home a full pound lighter (and it took him three weeks to get back to his birth weight) and dangerously close to dehydration. I remembered being stressed out before we even brought him home because he wasn’t sleeping well and wanted to feed every two hours or so, despite all the books telling me that he should have spent most of the first few days sleeping.

This time though, I avoided that. I had a little girl who was feeding every three or four hours. I was getting sleep, she was getting sleep, it was awesome! Unlike the first time around, I sent her to the nursery every night so that we both could sleep better. This was another mistake I made my first time around, I had my son stay in the room with me for all but the last night. Even though he did sleep, he made so many noises, I hardly slept. When my baby girl went to the nursery, she slept and so did I.

When we left the hospital, she was only 8 ounces down. She did lose one more between the hospital and seeing the doc today, so we do have to go back on Friday, but I feel so much better about everything. Last night she only woke up twice, at 2:15 and 6:30. She is napping/sleeping about 18 hours a day. She rarely cries, unless she’s hungry and is just as snuggly as can be.

I even think I’m making more milk this time around. I know it’s still not enough because she does take the bottle after each breastfeeding, but only about an ounce. I think the fact that I’m not stressed out and feeding for an hour, then being off for an hour, then feeding again for an hour, has helped me. The fact that I knew how hard it was going to be, almost made it easier for me. I’m not at all stressed because I know that if she stops taking my breast or if she needs more formula, I’m ok with it. My son, who had a lot of bottles, is healthy and thriving, so I know if it happens again, she’ll be fine too.

I know it’s because I went through such a nightmare the first time and because I’ve learned so much since, but this time I’m actually enjoying the bit of breastfeeding I’m doing. I plan to keep it up for as long as I can. Last time I made it 8 weeks. If I make it longer this time, great. If not, it was good while it lasted, and that’s ok too.

In the end, all that matters is that my little girl is healthy and happy, and that I am too.

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