Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have a love-hate relationship with La Leche League meetings.

LLL, for those who don't know, is a breastfeeding support organization with a group that meets in Orillia once a month.
So there's a 'love'.

I first started attending when I was 7 months pregnant at my mom's convincing. Luke had left me a month prior to that and I think she just wanted me out of bed and talking to other moms. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to socialize. I didn't want to hear the joys and the horrors of child rearing when that was the last thing i wanted to think about at the time.
My mom went with me and was excited about the conversations and I just sat and listened and only really spoke if someone asked me something directly.
The textbook information was good to know, but when the conversation branched into people's personal problems I wanted to leave. I didn't want to hear about how so-and-so's husband complained about getting up to change a diaper, or how so-and-so's husband is ultra supportive and told off a family member who was turning up their nose at breastfeeding.
I had nothing in common with anyone here. I didn't feel comfortable despite their best efforts to welcome me. They all lived normal family lives, complaining about their routines or their husbands while I grumbled to myself that at least they still HAD a husband.

It took a few months after Toby was born to want to go back. We were having problems with breastfeeding so I figured I should. I finally convinced my mom that I didn't need her to go with me and finally I loosened up a bit.
There were the 'regulars' every month as well as a few new people who came and went. I sat on the big caterpillar alphabet rug in the middle of the room with everyone else and nursed Toby and actually took part in the conversations. People had the same problems I was having. I was able to offer advice to some. I felt like I was finally part of something.

I spent the whole 'immobile Toby' phase wishing he was able to crawl around and play with the other kids while I sat and talked. But when he started crawling I had to keep crawling after him and taking bits of fluff and other people's toy out of his mouth. He got offended and cried when another kid bumped him by mistake or took a toy he was thinking about playing with. I didn't get to hear much of the conversation when my attention was being demanded.

When he started toddling he could go get a toy and bring it back and I'd help him play with it. He could drive little cars on the ground. He could roll a ball to me. He would sit on my lap and have a snack and then nurse. I felt like a real mom. I was having adult conversation while my darling little boy played beside me. One of the moms made a comment on how much he's grown and she could still remember when I was pregnant. Really? you remembered me? I was a 'regular' now too.

This most recent meeting, however, has me considering ending my La Leche League meeting streak.
Toby went off to find some toys and I made myself comfortable on the alphabet rug.
This phrase rings through our house 80 times a day. At least. I turned around to locate the voice.
"Bring it here and show me Toby!"
"Noooooo Mommy COME ON" Stomping of feet commenced.
So ok fine, he's not comfortable with the place yet. He just needs me to tell him he's ok. I went over and he wanted me to help him locate the pieces to the tractor he usually plays with. I brought it back to the circle and started playing with him there. That lasted about 10.3 seconds.
The sitting on my lap and snacking bribe didn't work. The nursing bribe didnt work because my mouth ended up with little fingers in it every time I tried to talk.
We went and ate a snack in the kitchen area. We went and looked at the train table. We went and looked at books. Every time he started playing with something I would wander back to the circle and only hear two words of the conversation before getting shouted at again.
Eventually it got to the point where he was just tired and being 'two' and asking to nurse but wanting to play and I finally said that we were going to leave.
"NOOOOOO Want to play!!"
"Ok that's fine you can play, but everyone else is going home soon too. So soon we have to think about putting our hats on."
All hell broke loose.
Tears. Tantrum. Evey time I picked up a toy to clean up he screamed at me that he was playing with it, even if it was one of the other kids who had gotten it out. I tried just shoving his hat on his head and leaving and he writhed out of my arms and ran back to the toy room. I tried calmly saying that we would nurse and have one more snack and then talk about what we'd do. He kicked and hit my face the whole time and kept crying so I got up to leave again. Screaming. Tears.
The whole way home he shouted "Play at Leche League again... Play at Leche League AGAIN.... PLAY AT LECHE LEAGUE AGAIN!"
Makes me not want to..

I had missed the entire conversation.
I have no idea what happened at the meeting.
I don't even remember the name of the new-comer.
I feel like I had wasted an evening driving 20 minutes to town to be yelled at the whole time, to just drive 20 minutes home again.
And maybe the answer is to go to MORE play groups so Toby get used to leaving? Maybe the answer is to NOT go to anything until he's over this phase?
My mom says he's exactly like me. She couldn't do anything until I hit 3. Was I really that clingy? Was I really that demanding? Did i really nurse that much?
I keep having these horrible visions of Toby being this monster of a child who doesnt know how to interact with other kids. But I had no trouble starting school and wasn't a terrible kid. And if I was just like Toby, maybe there's still hope?
I don't want to just shrug it off as 'terrible twos' because I actually had more trouble with him between 15 and 18 months... but maybe I just need to start telling myself that it's just an age thing and not his personality for life.
I've been blaming his insecurity on me being depressed during 80% of my pregnancy, and him not having another parent around. But maybe I just enjoy blaming everything on that...
Maybe all two year olds are like this.
Maybe when he hits age 3, like my mom says, things will magically get easier.
Maybe I'm the one who's insecure in my ability to handle everything on my own.

Good grief I type a lot.... I will end this one now!!


  1. I think you're totally right- all two year olds get like that. Heck, I'm 26 and I still feel like throwing the odd tantrum!

    What I've been advised and I'm trying to take to heart (especially during full out toddler fits!) is that each stage is quick, unique, and in its own way awesome. Embrace it while you can. Sit back and smile at his tantrums (until the other people in the grocery store etc. start to give you lengthy weird looks...). Soon enough he'll be 14 and won't want to share any of his feelings.

    You're doing an amazing job!! Don't forget!

  2. My two year old is just starting to do the same kind of thing - this weird screaming and then coughing because he's screaming so hard. I know it's hard because you just feel so helpless and frustrated.

    BUT you are an amazing parent just for the fact that you're talking about it, trying to figure out what to do and worrying about him throughout the process. In the end, it's the intent behind our actions that matter the most - you love him. The fact that you're the kind of parent that is trying to figure it out means that you are a great parent.