Harrison is off to the farm for a few days to visit Grandpa and Grandma Welsch, so as a rare treat, I got to take Raegan to Baby Weighs this morning with no schedule and no toddler, and therefore, no rush. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Baby Weighs is a breastfeeding support group that meets for two hours each Tuesday morning. You can take your baby to see not only how she is growing but also what she is getting in an average feeding. With Harrison I was addicted to Baby Weighs and hardly ever missed a Tuesday. This time around it is a little more hit-and-miss, but I’ve actually been going on a pretty regular basis to see how much Little Girl is gaining each week.
Normally I don’t nurse Raegan at Baby Weighs because she is too distractable and never seems to do much (whereas Harrison nursed like a champ there, getting 4-6 oz. almost every week). She has been like this from almost the very beginning. Seeing as she doesn’t usually need to eat when we are there, I have been, for the last month or so, taking Harrison with us. Before I would only go if I had someone here at the house to watch him because I just couldn’t imagine him having the patience to wait in line with me and stay put in the small but active area where we meet. Part of my decision to leave him at home also stemmed from when I was taking him there as a baby. When he was about 6 months old or so, a bunch of moms started coming who had brand new babies and older siblings in tow. I distinctly remember being frustrated when some of those older kids were just running around like crazy, getting into everyone’s faces and stuff. I really did not want to be that mom.
At the same time, I have been really curious about how Raegan is doing because her nursing tends to be brief and sporadic at times. Now she’s got the cutest, chunkiest thighs I’ve ever seen, so I don’t think she is wasting away, but I have hated to miss Baby Weighs just because my sitter bailed on me too many times to count, so I decided to start taking Harrison with me.
From the very first time the three of us went, I have been impressed. He’s done an amazing job of staying relatively close to me and listening when I warn him about getting into things in the room (never anyone else’s stuff, mind you). I always have a special snack for him to eat while we wait and he always wants to come up and see Raegan when she’s on the scale. He helps me by throwing trash away and by putting back the hospital blanket that we use during weighing. He’s done so well on some visits that other moms have even commented on how great he was. *Pause for Proud Mama Moment!*
Now on several occasions, other “big” kids have been there too. Some of them are watched at various degrees by their own mothers, but I try my best to make sure that Harrison plays nice if he is interacting with anyone else. At last week’s meeting, there was a 2-yr-old girl there that he started playing with. While they struggled a little bit to share some blocks, I thought they did pretty well, except for when she took off and Harrison went after her to play “chase” (she didn’t want to play that game, though, so it was more of her just running away from HD). I corralled him as soon as I could and he calmed down, but apparently it wasn’t enough.
This morning, I decided to try a “before and after” weight after weighing Raegan (14 lbs.!!) because she hadn’t nursed in four hours and I thought she might be hungry enough to do a solid feeding. Wrong! She was on and off in less than four minutes, but I stood in line anyway, waiting and waiting (lots of mamas there today!) to see how much she got. It was an ounce. I should have skipped it & gone straight to grocery shopping especially because of the conversation I heard as I was packing up Baby Girl and all her stuff.
Five or six nursing moms sitting on the couches were talking about, you guessed it, the times when a bunch of older kids are there. And then someone brought up last week and the kid who was chasing the other kid for a toy. In other words, my kid (except he wasn’t trying to take her toy, I promise). The conversation went on about how they always leave their older ones, if they have them, at home and basically the tone/point of it all was how annoying those older kids are.
Here is my dilemma. I get it. I really do. I remember what it felt like to be there with just one baby. I remember wondering why those older kids had to be there or why they had to be acting like, well, kids. But now that I’m on the other side, I understand that those moms were just doing their best to take care of their entire family, even if that meant bringing an older brother or sister (or both!) to Baby Weighs. And quite frankly, I was both embarrassed and hurt to overhear them talking about my child like that. I have an active, spirited (more on that later) boy who is two and a half years old. He is not going to sit still and silent the whole time we are there. Of course I wish he hadn’t been running around last week, but he did and it was brief and I dealt with it. I am sorry that I don’t have the means to leave him at home every week like those moms do, but I actually feel like the outings to Baby Weighs have been really positive and good for Harrison. He gets to be my helper and a proud big brother. He also, some times, gets to play with other kids. All of these are good things, as far as I can tell.
So I guess what I’m really sorry about is the fact that I ever judged other moms who were in the same situation that I now face. Juggling two or more kids in public is never easy. For now I’ll try to nurse my own wounded pride and focus instead on all the times HD has listened and behaved, even if I have been “that mom” a time or two (or three).