Shiny Shells: No. 10 of 40 Forts

Shiny Shells: No. 10 of 40 Forts

Shiny Shells: No. 10 of 40 Forts

While in New York, we went to eat dinner at Momofuku Ssam. The day’s specials sounded really good to me. I was delighted when we were presented with a plate of half dozen oysters topped with caviar on ice. They were so beautiful. And before they cleared the plates, I decided that i wanted to keep two of the shells. As I was trying to clean them with a pacifier wipe, the waiter brought me a small condiment container to easily take them home.

Dinner was our last stop after walking from around 1 pm, when we arrived our hotel, until 7:30ish when we hopped in a cab to go home. There were no afternoon snacks for the little one. And anyone who has been a long-time reader of this blog probably knows where this is headed. In New York, I ran into milk supply issues once again. Low milk supply is a recurring issue with my breastfeeding adventures. This time I did not panic.

I hoped to feed her as we waited for the table. The hostess sent us to the sister restaurant, ironically named The Milk Bar. There I had quite a bit of cereal milk ice cream. And cake. And a compost pile cookie. I had to eat it. The batter includes potato chips. I was totally abusing Lucy with all of the dairy I consumed. I didn’t even attempt to feed her considering we just stood around tall tables eating our dessert first. It was all that I could do to hold her and not let our stroller tip over onto the guy next to us.

I attempted to find a coffee shop using my Around Here iPhone app. But I didn’t find one.

Caroline and Lucy in The Milk Bar

Caroline and Lucy in The Milk Bar

I guess I really should have attempted to feed her, but she seemed content and I thought I could just nurse her extensively once we returned to the room.

Well, that was not enough. I needed herbs. I didn’t even open her travel bed. Instead, we nursed on and off through the night. And I located a massive Whole Foods right next door to Sunday morning’s first stop. Bingo. We were back on track. And I didn’t make the mistake of waiting six hours before feeding her again. In fact, we found some great breastfeeding spots on Day Two of our trip. If you need to know them, I am happy to share.

She forgot all about the old wives tales, she was seduced by the pretty, shiny shells.

She forgot all about the old wives tales, she was seduced by the pretty, shiny shells.

Months ago, way back when we went to Baltimore, the same thing happened. Lucy had started sleeping through the night. I waited just a little too long to feed her on our day trip with the Joneses. And well, the rest is history. After writing a blog post about it, Taylor told me that the same thing had happened to her that day. And in fact, her acupuncturist told her that an old Chinese wives tale was that the shellfish, or plate of massive oysters we ate, were responsible for stealing our milk.

And again a repeat of the same scenario in New York, minus Matt, Taylor and Silas. And the oysters were a third of the size of the ones we ate in Baltimore. The Baltimore oysters were so huge, they sort of scared me. But these oysters were so lovely and beautiful, especially under the warm glow of the wooden interior of the restaurant. I didn’t think twice about staying away from the oysters. In fact, I ordered them!

Oh well… we have recovered from the low milk incident. I had no idea that I would use the shells to represent this recurring theme in motherhood. But I did know that I wanted to incorporate them into a fort. I had folded a picture of oyster shells in jewelry on the train ride to the city. These would be the perfect accessory. As the next couple of days progressed, it became pretty clear of what the fort would be about.

She forgot all about the old wives tales, she was seduced by the pretty, shiny shells.

top view of the string used to hang the shells

top view of the string used to hang the shells

I used a string to help hold and hang the shells, which are my first non-paper item I have included in the forts. I like the knot and loose ends hanging down. They remind me of the natural beard of an unprepared mussel.

I am on the downward slope of this breastfeeding adventure. Lucy will be ten months in just over a week. Who knew it would be so intense.


This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.

Read about all of the Forty Forts.

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