Thursday, March 29, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Peace Out

A common denominator amongst all the places I've inhabited was a McDonald's within five miles of my front door.  When Matt returned home from Switzerland last month with a grim look on his face and a consolatory box of Swiss chocolates, I knew before he opened his mouth that he had horrendous news. McDonald's was now a twenty minute drive.

I was able to locate the Swiss Golden Arches via online GPS satellite, and although it's no longer as convenient a trip, at least I know their people appreciate the Big Mac.

After accepting a position in Switzerland, Matt has done his best to convince me that their way of life and mine go hand-in-hand.  Fearing I would be Von-Trapped and never return to the motherland, he's presented me with literature, French lessons, pictures, and truffles to win over my American heart.Trying to remain neutral (see, Swiss already), I decided on an open mind. Although I always pictured the Swiss chilling with goats and popping Ricola cough drops to ward off their sore throats after all that yodeling nonsense, it turns out they actually have some pretty decent ideas. I may adapt after all:

1.No mowing or laundry on Sundays---no new concept for me

2. Tarts are the traditional Swiss cuisine---had a poptart just this morning

3. A Hand Hygiene Campaign was introduced in 2006 to promote the use of alcohol based hand rubs---I implemented this same campaign

4. Swiss Bank Accounts---enough said

Now that I've conquered six French phrases, ordered Millie a beret, and picked out a house via an iPad tour, it's finally hit me: I'm leaving the 217.

The rear of our new home. Still getting use to European architecture (I added the trees for effect)
Photo-shopped the beret, but you get the idea

Bidding adieu (one of my six phrases) to those I love and pretend to love is next up on my list as it appears that May will be our departure month.  My initial sadness is quickly fading and I'm starting to experience a twinge of excitement.  At best, it will be the greatest adventure and smartest decision of our lives. At worst, I'll fracture my spine skiing and end up on a goat farm. Either way---still one hell of a ride. And please, pardon my French.

Friday, March 23, 2012

MYOB (Mind Your Own Boobs)

It's safe to say my high carb/high protein/high sodium post-pregnancy diet will not be published and shelved at bookstores anytime soon. After reading the South Beach Diet and adding my own little flavorful twist, I am now a South Beached Whale instead. It's time for plan B.

Since Milan, Italy, will soon be my new neighbor, I figure I owe it to myself and to the fashion capital of the world to finally drop these last twenty pounds. In the name of Versace and all that is size zero, I decided to invest in the HCG diet plan. I won't get into the details of this newest diet fad (or at least not until I have seen the results) but it entails liquid drops under the tongue and a very limited calorie intake. My mother tried it and had incredible success, so I packed my big butt and baby into the car and headed to the nutrition store. Once there, I was greeted by a worker who "oohed and aahed" over Amelia (duh, she's freakin adorable), and I asked where I could find the HCG drops. "Are you breastfeeding?" she asked. Legitimate question, I suppose, because this diet would then be off-limits. No, I told her, I had recently quit. Apparently answering no to this question is the same degree taboo as poisoning small puppies. "She's much too young for you to quit." Although I needn't defend myself to a complete stranger, I felt the need to quickly explain that it was a hard decision to make but it was the best one for me, yada yada yada. She began walking down the aisle toward the HCG drops while announcing, "My whole body is screaming this is wrong!" Well lady, my whole body is screaming "get this woman a push-up bra" but I kept my nose out of your boobs, now didn't I?

As my mother, Amelia, and I approached the counter to purchase what I hoped to be the solution to my elastic waistbands, the lady pipes up again with her titilating information. My mother asked her to stop with the breastfeeding spiel, but the lady speaks over us because she just HAS to get this off her pro-breastfeeding chest. She says three things may happen with my formula-fed baby. One, she MAY end up ok, which she prays she will. Before she gets out her next ridiculous point (which I am sure is to tell me that third only to heart disease and cancer, powdered infant formula is the next leading cause of death), we tell her we are going to walk out of the store because she is out of line. She is still preaching about how I need to be "informed" about breastfeeding (lady, if you knew me, you would also know that I Google no less than 167 articles per topic when it comes to my child and her well-being), and did I know that I could re-lactate if I changed my mind? Yes, I did know that. Did you know that you could re-dye that awful gray hair if you changed yours?

But what you didn't know, you self-righteous, lactating wizard, is that I suffer from severe OCD and without medication, I wash my daughter's bottles until my fingers bleed; I spend an hour every night deciding on temperature-appropriate pajamas in fear she will overheat and thus increase her risk for SIDS. What you didn't know, Dairy Queen, is that the medication I require is not compatible with breastfeeding, or that my daughter was seriously underweight after the first month of breastfeeding because she had a milk allergy unknownst to us. Even after eliminating dairy from my diet and continuing to only let those dressed in Haz-Mat suits hold my my child, I still maintained the breastfeeding because I knew it was best for her and I so badly wanted to give her the healthiest start possible. After three months of struggling, I came to the conclusion that the best possible start for my daughter was a mom who didn't purchase $100 worth of anti-bacterial soap a week. But you didn't know that, now did you?

With my milk-less chest held high, I exited the store and purchased my diet drops elsewhere. Needless to say, the man at the counter never asked for my current lactating status.

So today begins my new diet and the start to a healthier, happier, elastic-waistband-free me. My daughter may be formula-fed and I may have given up on the ta-ta's a little too early, but we're as happy as ever. Indeed, breastfeeding shoud be the first choice for our babies and families---but hey, it just wasn't the right formula for ours.