I know it’s on the wall in Evie’s nursery because this morning, as I tried to shoot it into her eye in an Earth Mother-y attempt to clear up her clogged tear duct, it went shooting off at a 45 degree angle like some sort of lactation shooting star.
I know it’s on the couch because every time I pump while simultaneously trying to respond to emails, post witty mommyisms on Facebook and watch maybe three minutes of The Bachelorette on DVR, I get sidetracked and wind up letting the suction cup fall off my boobs, raining milk down on the cushions below.
And I know it’s in my refrigerator, because the first shelf has morphed into a sort of miniature dairy aisle, constantly stocked with a rotating cast of yellow Medela bottles. I’m pretty sure my husband thinks a teeny tiny cow fairy lives in the produce drawer, sneaking up to the top shelf in the middle of the night to deposit her creamy goods.
Lately, though, there’s been even more milk in da house. That’s because when Organic Valley caught wind of the fact that I was having a dozen or so nursing moms over for a Mommy and Me Happy Hour on Tuesday, they asked if they could some product for us to try – a sort of post partum wine tasting, only less wine, more bovine. And because I
’m a perpetually thirsty corporate whore happen to love cereal (and cereal needs milk!), I said yes.
OV’s newest product is Grassmilk. That means that, much like me during my eating disordered college days, the cows responsible for this milk eat only fresh grasses and dried forages, like hay – they’re never fed grains or soybeans like conventional cows. (Other easy ways to spot an unconventional cow: Nose piercing; shaved head.) I imagine these animals live the cattle equivalent of life in the Athleta catalog, Downward Dogging on sunset cliffs, surfboards and yoga mats tucked beneath toned hooves, sweat glistening off their six-pack udders. On a day I’m sure the FedEx man will forever rue, a gallon of grassmilk arrived along with half-gallon containers of chocolate, skim, skim plus DHA, whole and whole plus DHA. My fridge groaned as I loaded it all in, playing food Tetris in an effort to stash it all alongside my CostCo bin of spinach, various jars of natural peanut butter and the deep dish pizza we ate in celebration of our recent eight-year anniversary. (Fact: The traditional gift for an eighth anniversary is a breast pump.)
First of all, let’s just take a moment to reflect upon the fact that my new version of Happy Hour involves DHA-enhanced skim milk and not a dirty martini. Pour some out for the nursing homies, yo. Also, the last time I set out shot glasses, they were opening their glass mouths, eagerly waiting to be filled with red and blue Jello shots for the Fourth of July, not Moroccan and Monroe Carey-Cannon’s drink of choice. Oh, and remember when having grass at a party meant getting high, watching Being John Malkovich and giggling? Now I can’t even apply lip balm without worrying if it will somehow be absorbed, pass through to Eve and cause her to spout a third nipple.
The moms arrived on Tuesday at 5pm, most of them straight from work but a few with babies in tow. Studly Max laid claim to the Tummy Time mat, acting like he owned the joint (and I’m pretty sure copping a feel off of Evie); Declan rocked a neck rash like a cashmere scarf from Kanye’s latest fashion line. I had a smattering of apps laid out – guac and chips, carrots and hummus – plus a pitcher of sangria and an assortment of Milkmakers lactation cookies. Oh yes, I said Milkmakers lactation cookies. They’re treats made with oats, Brewers Yeast and flax seed – ingredients purported to help boost milk production. (Note to self: Stop liberally sprinkling Dan’s morning oatmeal with flax seed.)
Organic Valley had also been kind enough to hook me up with James Beard-nominated NYC pastry chef Amanda Cook, who overnighted freshly baked chocolate chip and oatmeal fig cookies to serve as “palate cleansers” for our “wine tasting.” I’m not sure how much her cognac-plumped figs did to cleanse our palates, but they seem highly effective for keeping the baby weight on.
I had visions of a full tasting event, with all the moms thoughtfully swishing various milks around our mouths and filling out the cute Milk Tasting Notes Organic Valley sent (including space for notes on “Varietal,” Nose/Bouquet, Mouth/Flavor. But if you’re a new mom, you know the only thing you have time to swish is Scope because you haven’t brushed your teeth in a few days and don’t foresee having time to do so until August. We did manage to knock back a few shots – first, of the grassmilk. Because it’s non-homogenized, the cream rises to the top, so the carton comes with strict instructions to shake vigorously. Have you ever seen a nursing mother vigorously shake a gallon of milk? If so, I hope you were wearing protective eye goggles because boobies be flying everywhere.
We all took a sip. “Now that’s milk!,” Jackie commented, alluding to how thick it was (most of us are skim drinkers, used to the watered-down version.) “I think I caught a chunk of cream,” Jill added, which means that, despite giving myself a black eye with my right nipple, I didn’t shake vigorously enough. Isaiah didn’t sample, but he voiced his support by spitting up what seemed like an entire cup of liquid all over the floor.* Megan watched from the couch, where a pint-sized sommelier else was conducting a milk tasting of his own.
Everyone liked the chocolate milk the best (no surprise there) and the universal response to the whole milk was that it seemed far too rich for everyday drinking. By 6pm, everyone had to get going before their boobs exploded; on their way out, I foisted Milkmakers and James Beard cookies on them. That night, after pumping, I went to store a few ounces of milk. As I opened the storage bag, I noticed some printing: “When thawing, milk will separate. This is normal, as human milk is non- homogenized.” Which means I am so much more like an Athleta cow than I ever realized. Now I just need to work on toning my hooves and getting my udder’s six-pack back.
PS Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you ate a lactation cookie while babysitting this weekend. Let me know if you need to borrow some breast pads.
*Jackie, I SO don’t care. Just teasing here!