The little things

It’s the little things that make me appreciate just how much I love my kids.

Like the new lip-smacking sounds that Julian makes.

Like the way Ava kissed my arm a few times while falling asleep tonight.

And like when me and the kids were sitting on the couch this evening. I was nursing Julian and Ava was sitting next to us talking about there being a giraffe on the roof, all the while pretending she was “Flick,” I was “Princess Atta” and Julian was “Dot” – from “A Bug’s Life” (one of her favorite movies – besides “Annie,” of course). I don’t know what it was about that moment, but my eyes welled up with tears as I felt so full of love and thankful for my kiddos.

It’s the little things like that that make me truly appreciate that I’m able to stay at home with them. There are those days when I wish that I had a job outside the home (other than my very part-time photography) so that I could escape for a few hours a day. But I know (at least for me) that “escape” would not fulfill me and I would miss my kids terribly.

I feel fortunate that I can be there for them and witness all of their milestones, as well as the everyday laughter and tears, the silliness, new sounds and tricks, and the wonder of just being a kid. There may be things in my life that I regret, but staying at home with my children will not be one of them.

3/13/07 - Ava lovin’ on Julian

Julian cracks up when Ava rolls around on top of him. Good thing he’s a big enough boy to handle all the love she passes his way. 😉

Super? Nanny

Mamas all over the Internet are voicing their opinion on the latest episode of ABC’s “SuperNanny” today. Some think Jo’s advice to the family was completely uneducated and out of line, others have issues with parts of it and still others think there was nothing wrong with it at all. Of course I have my own thoughts on the matter to share and, now that I have a minute to get on the computer, I will do just that.

First of all, this family had a LOT of issues, namely needing to set boundaries, find some balance in their family life, and find an alternative to “whoopin'” the kids (which is what the mom called the spankings her kids received). Although the mom held her14-month-old baby a lot, nursed her on demand and the parents co-slept with their 6-year-old as well as the baby, this family was not practicing Attachment Parenting nor seemed to have any desire to.

The mom seemed reluctant to wean the baby at first, but then changed her mind and said she was ready. I applaud her for breastfeeding for as long as she did, considering only 17.2% of moms in the U.S. were still nursing their children at 12 months old (in 2003) per the CDC, even though the AAP recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.”

The fact that the mom decided to wean does not bother me, however, the way Jo handled the weaning process (cold-turkey) seemed pretty darn awful. There are much gentler ways of getting a baby to wean than to go cold-turkey. Plus, it’s not good for the mom to just up and quit like that. I’m sure her boobs were about ready to explode and I hope she didn’t develop mastitis (breast infection) as a result. I wish they would’ve consulted a lactation consultant or two before giving out advice on weaning. Perhaps if they had, they would’ve known better than to encourage the mom to give her 14-month-old a bottle. Bottle use past 12 months of age is discouraged because it can lead to mouth/teeth problems.

From kellymom.com: “Stopping breastfeeding abruptly, or “cold turkey,” can be very distressing for both mother and baby and can cause plugged ducts, breast infection, or even a breast abscess. Hormone levels are also more likely to take a drastic plunge, causing mood swings, depression, etc. It’s very rare that sudden weaning is truly necessary. If someone suggests to you that this is required, get a second opinion. It would also be helpful to talk to a lactation consultant and/or a La Leche League Leader, who will be able to suggest alternatives and, if necessary, help you to wean with as little distress to mom and baby as possible.” Kellymom also has recommendations for gradual or partial weaning.

I felt many of the comments Jo made about breastfeeding or about the mom keeping the baby close to her were made with disdain. Rather than supporting the mom for breastfeeding her child, Jo seemed to be appalled that the nursing relationship continued. Perhaps she needs reminding of the AAP’s recommendation (12 months+) or WHO’s recommendations (2 years+) regarding breastfeeding.

I also disagreed with the way they transitioned the baby from co-sleeping with mom and dad to sleeping in a crib using CIO (cry it out). I felt that it was unusually cruel to first take her off the breast cold-turkey, then make her CIO in a crib (even if it was only for 5 minutes) when she’d been so accustomed to the closeness and security of mom for the past 14 months. Again, gentler methods could have been used.

More from Kellymom.com: “When you’re actively weaning, be sure to offer lots of cuddling and extra affection during the day. As your child grows older, nursing becomes much more than a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It provides him with much comfort, security and closeness, so be as sensitive to his needs as you possibly can be throughout the process.”

They sure missed the mark on that one. Also, the way Jo applauded the mom for remaining “detached” while she listened to her baby CIO behind a closed door made me feel sick to my stomach. 🙁 No parent should ever be praised for their detachment from their children, especially while the child cries alone.

I felt really sorry for the baby (the only one in the family who couldn’t voice her feelings) in all of this. I agree that the mom needed to pay more attention to her other children (and stop hitting them!), but there are better ways of handling it all. Perhaps Jo could’ve offered her a sling and showed her how to wear her baby (which would allow her to get more things done and still satisfy the baby’s needs) rather than just tell her to break off her attachment with her.

I know numerous families with more than one child who don’t have to break the attachment with one child to spend time with the other(s). It might take more work and ingenuity to figure out a balance, but nobody said parenting would be easy.

Another thing that bothered me was Jo saying that the baby was missing developmental milestones because she was so attached. Hmmm. I’ve never heard of a baby missing milestones from being worn/held or breastfed, the opposite is often true – the babies thrive because their needs are being met.

Overall, I’m grateful that the “SuperNanny” helped mom to realize that hitting her kids is not an effective or good discipline tactic and I hope that the family was able to find some balance after all of this. Those older two kids (not the nephew) really seemed to be crying out for attention and hopefully they are getting more now. I just wish the baby’s needs were considered a bit more. After all, she’s part of the family too.

If you wish to voice your opinion on this episode to ABC, click here or email Nick Powell, the creator and executive producer of both the American and British versions of the show – supernannyUSA@ricochet.co.uk. Craig Armstrong and Nick Emmerson are executive producers of the American version. Supernanny is produced by Ricochet, Ltd.

BSM (Best Shot Monday) 3/12/07

I have a few to share this week.

These first two were taken during my newborn photoshoot last weekend. They are a couple of my favorites from the session. The little guy was 12 days old.

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After having the shoot, I haven’t had time to pick up my camera all that much this week because I’ve been busy proofing the session. However, when Ava came across a punjabi suit that my sister bought for her during her travels in India (during the summer when Ava turned 1), we decided to try it on her to see if it fit. It did! This picture is not technically correct (there are major hot spots and a slew of other things wrong), but I still think it’s sweet and shows off the beautiful outfit.

Ava - punjabi suit 3/2007

We went to the zoo on Sunday, which was a lot of fun. The sun was very bright though which didn’t make for very good pics of the animals. Plus I found it’s hard to take a decent pic with a 17 lb. baby strapped to my chest (I was wearing Julian in the Moby Wrap). 😉
I snapped this one of Jody and Ava though that I like.

Jody and Ava at the zoo 3/11/07

Visit Tracey over at Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for this week.

Single parenting

Each time Jody travels for work, I have a renewed appreciation for single parents.

This week was the first time he had to leave for a few days (three to be exact) since I had Julian. I wasn’t looking forward to doing it all with both kids on my own, but I’m happy to report that we managed and even did fairly well. (His being out of town was another reason why my computer time was limited this week.)

I was quite happy and proud of myself for having both kids asleep by 8:30 all three nights. That rarely happens when we are both home! I think the fact that I was able to do dinner around 5 or 5:30 then still have plenty of time for Ava to wind down before bed helped a lot. When Jody is here working, he doesn’t get home until 6 at the earliest, usually more like 6:40, so we tend to eat dinner later than most people, which results in a later bedtime for Ava. (Of course we all got up at around 6:30 this morning which was at least an hour too early for me, but c’est la vie.)

We had some friends over for a playgroup yesterday which helped break up the time a bit. It was very nice for me to get some adult interaction and Ava enjoyed playing with her friends. And the weather has been nice the past few days so we spent a good chunk of time playing in the backyard each day. (Hooray for spring!)

Even though we made it through unscathed, I’m glad Jody only has to travel about once every quarter. I wouldn’t want to do this on a regular basis. And I’m glad I’ll have the weekend with Jody back home now so I can catch up on some Zzzzzzs. 😉

Scarce this week

I will probably be pretty scarce in the blogging world this week. Ava’s been having some behavioral issues – hitting and kicking – so, in an effort to give her more attention (which is what I think is the root of the issue), I’m trying to do the majority of my computer time in the evening after she’s in bed. It’s hard because I feel like I need some adult interaction during the day, even if it’s only virtually, but so far the past two days she’s done so much better with no hitting or kicking at all. 🙂

When I have been on the computer in the evenings this week, I’ve been working on proofing my photoshoot, so not much time for blogging.

We’re having some friends and kiddos over tomorrow so I’m also trying to get the house cleaned up today.

Gotta run. Hope you are all having a good week. 🙂

Thanks to those of you who signed the dolphin petition. If you haven’t yet had a chance to sign it, please take a moment and do so. Every day since watching that video, I can’t get those poor creatures out of my head. I hope something can be done to help protect them.

the dolphin massacre in japan

I urge you to take a couple of minutes to visit Christina’s blog and watch a video about the senseless and cruel slaughtering of dolphins in Japan narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. (Please make sure your small children are not around when you watch it. It is gruesome and was very difficult to watch. I ended up in tears.) After you watch the video, please take 5 seconds to sign the online petition (below the video or here) to the Prime Minister of Japan urging him to stop the killings.

Please pass this along. Perhaps our combined effort can make a difference in the lives of these poor creatures.

BSM (aka Best Shot Monday) 3/5/07

Is it already Monday again? Time for another round of “BSM.”

Here’s Julian at 3 months, 1 week old. I realized most of my BSM’s are of Julian because he can’t run away from me yet. 😉

Julian 3 months, 1 week - 3/2/07

Visit Tracey over at Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots.

In case you are wondering, Julian did very well without me on Sunday. I nursed him right before I left for the photoshoot. He was sleeping when I got home and slept another 45 minutes or so before he woke up ready to eat. Jody didn’t have to bother with a bottle, which is good because I don’t think he would’ve taken it. We’re still going to try to get him used to one though so that I can schedule more photoshoots without having to time everything just perfectly. I lucked out that this one was less than five minutes from my house so I could’ve got home quickly if the need arose.

Also “Monkeysmama” from Maya’s Mom found out that one of the women in the Maya’s Mom office runs the company that makes the “Breastbottle Nurser.” She gave her a free one to send to me so she had it overnighted here. That was so nice of them! Thank you again, Monkeysmama. 😉

Oh, and the photoshoot went well. I came away from it with several images that I really like.

Kidisms from Ava

And now for a little light reading…

Feb. 2007:
Ava called “Rooster” from the movie Annie, “chicken.”

2/9/07:
The day before, Julian was “talking” and I told Ava he was “finding his voice.” So the next day when he was squealing, Ava said, “Is he finding his voicemail?”

2/13/07:
Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Ava (pausing to think): “A pumpkin!”

2/15/07:
Discussing whether or not Ava was going to go to the store with daddy.
Me: “Do you want to go with daddy?”
Ava: “No”
Me: “OK, then daddy will just go by himself.”
Ava: “No, he will get lost in the woods.”
(What??)

2/16/07:
Me: “What do you want for lunch, Ava?”
Ava: “Egg cake.”
Translation – Quiche

3/1/07:
Ava took off Julian’s socks and was picking at his toes.
Me: “What are you doing, Ava?”
Ava: “Getting the crap out of his toes.”
(Doh!)