Saturday, August 25, 2007

Breastfeeding Number two

Summer's six weeks old.

Now that we are back in the house it's dawning on Jen that this chick is here to stay, and she's getting very upset. Screaming, wanting to breastfeed, refusing to eat. Then she's hungry, which makes her bad tempered, and wanting to feed, refusal of which makes her scream again, in an endless cycle. Sigh. If only she could suck without actually drinking the milk, that would calm her down, but she can't! I'm regulating her to one feed a day, after breakfast as she eats that meal best, and it's when I have masses of milk.

Also my mum's here. I find that the last generation's approach to child raising doesn't prioritise respect for the child as an individual. I try to treat Jen as I hope I would treat a guest, respecting her feelings. Jen responded well to my mum's approach a year ago, at 18 months - my mum could always make her eat, but this time it's just making her upset. So it's a balancing act, trying to keep Jen, himself and my mum from getting upset.

At first we called the baby Emily. I found it too similar to Jen, when it comes to short forms and endearments that go with it. It was encroaching on Jen's endearments, which was stopping up my mouth. Summer's in a completely different sphere, she's my summer blossom, or my sunshine, and Jennifer's my angel or my heart, and it works easily.

Some things are not working that easily at present though. Sometimes I get totally furious with himself and think, if I were advising myself, I would advocate leaving, but I really don't want to break up the family. Then when it all calms down I'm glad I didn't do anything irrevocable. But if I had, it might make him hold on to his temper better next time he got upset. Or would he just have less reason to value me and the girls? Perhaps it would open his eye to the fact there are other women, other options. But then, for me also there are other men, other options, and I'm not taking them up.

On the other hand, if I didn't have a neurotic male ego to take care of as well as my children, my life might be easier. But the thing is that he is a functioning housework doer, essential round the house, even when we're not talking to each other. I'd actually have a lot more work to do if I threw him out. I am pretty sure this is not a consideration that would stop one chucking out the average Kenyan man.

On the other hand, if he was my daughter's husband I would be wanting to throw him out myself! So why I am accepting something I wouldn't want my girls to grow up and put up with? That's just self defeating. They'll grow up and do whatever they saw me do. So I'm being a coward cos I don't want to do all the housework. But ... successful long term relationships are about learning to live & let live, maybe what they're watching is a healthy relationship? I would call my relationship with my sister or brother a successful long term relationship, and he's never made me madder than they have. Ai! I guess this is a perpetual question.

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