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. 😉

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.

Look, ma – no hands!

Hands-free nursing while walking. Sounds like some sort of acrobatic act you might expect to see at the circus, no?

They (the folks at Moby Wrap, that is) said it could be done, but I had yet to attempt it myself until yesterday.

With the weather finally warming up a bit and the snow melting, the kids and I went out for a walk yesterday. I honestly don’t pay much attention to the clock when it comes to nursing Julian – I practice “on-demand feeding.” So when Ava said she wanted to go for a walk, I thought it *might* be getting close to the time that he’d be hungry again, but I wasn’t sure. I figured we’d play it by ear. So I plopped him into the Moby, Ava and I got our coats on (Julian fits inside mine while in the Moby), and off we went.

It didn’t take long for him to start crying and I knew I either needed to plop down on the cold sidewalk and feed him, go home and feed him or figure out a way to nurse him while in the Moby. It took a bit of crazy maneuvering on my part, but I finally nudged him low enough so I could hoist my boob up into his mouth. He was happy to be fed, I was geeked that I did it, and Ava was delighted to get to continue playing outside. Success!

I didn’t actually follow the tips they give on the Moby site for nursing in the wrap, which may have worked a bit better. I just loosened the wrap so I could scoot Julian down on my chest a bit lower. It worked just fine, though I’m sure it looked a bit odd while I was getting him situated. 😉

We passed a few folks on our walk and even stopped to talk with a man who had a very friendly golden retriever named Kody and no one was the wiser that the bundle zipped up inside my coat was happily blissed out on mama’s milk. 🙂

Mothering multiple choice

It’s 2:30 in the morning, your 2-year-old daughter just woke up and only mommy can comfort her, your 13-week-old son just did a doozy in his diaper and wants to nurse, the wind is howling outside and the dogs are barking downstairs because of the wind.

What do you do? Do you…

A) Wait for your husband to change your son, then nurse him while trying to cuddle your daughter at the same time;

B) Lie in bed thinking about how you *really* wish you were in the bathroom right about now because of (TMI) the intestinal flu you’ve had the past two days;

C) Brainstorm ideas for a new CafePress store;

D) Think, “I wonder how I can blog about this?”;

E) All of the above.

If you guessed “E) All of the above,” you are right! Your prize is … hmmm, well, there is no prize, other than getting to chuckle to yourself thinking about me in that situation last night.

Around 3:15 a.m., after both kids had fallen back to sleep, I finally got up to go to the bathroom, then snuck downstairs and let the dogs out, drank some Recharge, came back upstairs and checked out Kellymom to look up diarrhea meds that are safe to take while breastfeeding, and jotted down the store/t-shirt ideas I came up with.

Pretty productive for being half asleep, no? Maybe my kids should wake me up in the middle of the night more often. 😉

The Law of Attraction

Don’t you love it when you put something out there in the universe and then get what you asked for? Ah, the “law of attraction” in action. 🙂

A week ago, I posted about some new blogs I’d come across and invited you, my readers, to share with me any blogs that you thought I might be interested in, hoping to find some more like-minded mamas out there in the blogosphere.

Fast forward to Feb. 13, when I received an emailed invitation to join a site called Maya’s Mom. The invite stated “…you can easily and seamlessly expose your blog to new readers by importing a feed into your Maya’s Mom journal. All entries will appear as new and link back to your personal blog!” I’m always interested in expanding my blog readership so I checked it out and signed up. I didn’t plan on getting too involved there, because I don’t have the time to commit to something else. However, as I perused the site, I decided to do a quick search for other members who had the word “homebirth” in their tags. I came across three women fitting that description and sent them an invitation to be my “friend” (similar to “friends” on MySpace, etc.).

One of them, named Christina (om mamma on Maya’s Mom) – a mother, author (of “The Dharma of Motherhood”) and speaker – responded to me after checking out my profile, invited me to her website and encouraged me to sign up for her monthly newsletter, saying she thought it was something I would enjoy.

With Jody home from work and able to watch the kids today, I emailed back and forth with Christina a bit, then spent a good chunk of the morning browsing her site and reading her columns. It only me a quick glance around her site to realize she is exactly the kind of wise and inspirational mama I’ve been looking for and I immediately added her blog – Dharma Mum – to my blogroll.

I’ve been touched by many of the things Christina writes about like discovering your potential, the power of words with regard to your children, bringing spirituality back into our lives, the potential of “mommy brain”, and more. I feel like I struck a gold mine and I want to share it with everybody. 🙂

From Christina’s about page:

I believe that every mother can choose to become a Peaceful Spiritual Warrior:
become the change you wish to see in the world
spend time in sacred silence
bring Spirit into your children’s lives
lead by example and a willingness to learn new things
honour the Goddess perfection within each of us
honour the God and Goddess Selves within each of our children
believe in a better way
work to make the world a better place
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…
I believe mothering does not have to be as difficult as we are led to believe. I invite every mom to consider the benefits of bringing meditation and gratitude (amongst other things) back into your lives – to ground and centre the experience in deep meaning and with honour.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging about some of her writings/philosophies in the days/weeks ahead, as I think I can learn a lot from her, but in the meantime please feel free to check her out on your own.

Isn’t it cool the way things work out if you open yourself up to the possibilities? 🙂

Oh, and if you happen to join Maya’s Mom, look me up. My username there is amygeekgrl – what else? 😉

Growing my blogroll

Since I started my blog nearly two years ago, several of my (real life) friends have started up blogs of their own. They are all in my blogroll, but I wanted to give a shout out to them here too. 🙂 Hi, ladies.

Heather at A Mama’s Blog
Julie at ChezArtz
Sonja at Sonja’s Outdoor World
and most recently, Nicole at From My Zoo To Yours

Stop by and say hello to them, won’t ya? Tell them Amy sent ya. 😉

Recently I’ve been on the lookout for other mamas with similar interests/passions as mine to add to my blogroll. Here are a few new ones I’ve added:
Jennifer at The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog
Estella at Taming Estella
Jeannette at Crunchy on the Inside

If you have a blog that you love to visit and think I would enjoy it too, please share the wealth and let me know. 🙂

Room for two

tandem nursing

One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time.

Jody had to work an unusually long day yesterday and wasn’t planning on getting home until after 8 p.m. Since I knew Ava was really tired I decided to try to put her to sleep while Julian slept in the swing. Seems easy enought, right? Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as I got Ava undressed, Julian woke up crying. So much for easy. I brought him in the bedroom with us, hurriedly put Ava in her PJs, washed her face and hands (we skipped brushing teeth) and we all laid down on Ava’s twin bed (it was cozy) so that I could nurse Julian and hopefully, get Ava to sleep. She thought it was quite fun that we were all laying on her bed together. When I asked her if she wanted “na-na” (to nurse) with Julian, the giggles started. It took a bit of acrobatics on Ava’s part to nurse since I had Julian in the side-lying position, but she/we managed it. She giggled a lot as she nursed and thought the whole thing was quite funny, and I started laughing a few times too appreciating the comedic value of the scene. After the giggles subsided, she stroked Julian’s cheek and then held his hand as they both nursed, and it was a very sweet moment. Then the giggles started back up again. 😉

It was all going quite well (other than being a bit uncomfortable for me), when Ava remembered that we hadn’t read any books yet – something that daddy generally does as part of her nighttime routine. Since Julian was asleep at that point, Ava and I got some books, turned on the closet light and read in the little hallway by the closet while we sat on the floor. She thought that was pretty fun too. 😉 Then Julian woke up so I brought him to our storytime on the floor as well.


It was about that time that daddy got home, so he came in and proceeded to brush Ava’s teeth, then took Julian downstairs so I could finish putting Ava to bed. She had a bit more na-na though not without first saying she wanted to do it with Julian again. Aww. I explained to her that it was a special occasion that she had na-na with Julian because daddy wasn’t home yet. She seemed OK with that, had her na-na, rolled over and drifted off to sleep.

Never a dull moment in this house. 😉

I was talking with a friend about breastfeeding recently and she observed that since Ava only nurses once per day (before bed) that I’m not really tandem nursing, and she’s right. I made the decision before Julian was born that even if Ava asked to nurse more frequently (than her usual once before bedtime nursing), I was going to say no. It was hard to tell her no a few times when she was really upset, but I knew I had to set those boundaries or I would end up tandem nursing them, which wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing. And now after having nursed them simultaneously once (which may be the only time I do – we’ll see), I am happy I made the choice that I did because I honestly can’t imagine nursing two kids throughout the day and/or night. I commend the women who are able to do it. 🙂 You rock, girlfriends!

 

Since we’re on the topic of breastfeeding, I thought I’d share a few recent articles on the subject:

Sharing the milk: Moms breast-feeding other women’s babies are raising eyebrows, and concerns

Food or lewd? Breast-feeding reveals divide – Why we get so worked up about how women feed their babies

The Sears doctors chime in on CIO and other parenting topics

Ooh, just realized this is post #401 for me. Wow! That’s a lot of posting over the past couple years!

I’m not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but was happy to learn he was having the Sears doctors (Dr. William Sears and sons, Dr. James Sears and Dr. Robert Sears) on a show on Friday called “Young Moms Ask the Experts.” I didn’t get a chance to watch the episode, but I did read about it on Dr. Phil’s website and was happy with how it all unfolded.

The topics they covered ranged from PPD (postpartum depression) to discipline issues to bonding with your child to whether or not to let a baby CIO (cry it out) to SIDS to boosting children’s immune systems to colic and more. In my opinion, there was a lot of helpful information provided.

As most of you know, we’re a co-sleeping family and we don’t believe in CIO for our kids. Here are some things they mentioned on these subjects that I feel are particularly noteworthy:

On whether or not to let a baby (in this case, a 4 1/2 month old) CIO (cry it out):

Dr. Phil turns to Dr. Bob Sears. “What about this?” he asks. “Do you let them cry or do you not?”

“No, I don’t think you should let a baby cry it out,” says Dr. Sears, “and the most important thing is, Robert, who’s getting up with the baby during the night, anyway? Wendy is. So what do you care what she does? Let her go in there. Wendy, I applaud you for listening to your instincts and your intuition and going to your baby.”

Dr. Phil asks Dr. William Sears if he agrees.

“If your baby could talk, Wendy and Robert, here’s what he would say. ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, this is not working. I’m in a dark, quiet room, alone, behind bars*. I need to get close to you. I need to be in your bed, in a co-sleeper next to your bed, in your room somewhere,’” he says.

Next, Dr. Phil asks the Sears doctors to address a myth. “The myth is that if you let the child scream it out, it really develops their lungs,” he says.

“Absolutely wrong,” says Dr. William Sears.

Something I thought was particularly interesting to note:
“When a baby screams for 10, 20 minutes, or a half-hour night after night, what actually happens to the baby’s brain?” asks Dr. Bob Sears. “The blood pressure goes up. The pressure gets so high, new blood with oxygen can’t flow into the brain. So the brain can be deprived of oxygen, you guys. And that’s not all. It gets worse. The brain can be flooded with stress hormones, and we know that stress hormones can damage sensitive developing nerve tissue. So, night after night, weeks and weeks of crying can actually harm a baby’s brain. That’s why we encourage you both to respond to your maternal intuition. Robert, develop your fatherly intuition, so you can both really thrive as a family. Respond to your baby.”

Like I said, I felt like there was a lot of good information provided in this episode, but I don’t have the time to go into all of it. However, I am curious if anyone here (my readers) watched the episode? What are your thoughts?

Of course, I was happy to see the Searses suggest many of the things I believe in and choose to do with my children (which all really comes down to following my instincts). I think one of the most important things I’ve learned about parenting over the past 2 1/2 years is to follow my instincts whether it’s regarding sleep/CIO, feeding, discipline, health care, etc. If I trust myself to know what’s best for my child (whom I know better than anyone else), I usually feel good about my choices. 🙂

*For the record, the part about the baby being behind bars wasn’t meant that all babies that sleep in cribs feel like that way. It was meant in the context of if a baby is crying and crying and no one is coming to them, then it could feel like a prison. The Searses believe in whatever gets the whole family the most sleep (whether it be in a crib, in a co-sleeper or in a family bed). I think the main point they were trying to get across was that parents should respond to their babies.

Feeling guilty

I’m feeling guilty about the way I parented (or rather, didn’t) today.

Julian was being particularly needy (I say “needy” in the most loving way – I mean the kid is only 7 weeks old, of course he’s needy) and maybe going through a growth spurt (Is that possible?? He weighed in at 13 lbs., 14 oz. on Tuesday.) because he was nursing a LOT and just needing a lot of mommy time today. And because I didn’t have my hands free and was pretty much tied to the Boppy or the bouncy exercise ball (which he loves to bounce on), I let Ava watch a crapload quite a bit of TV. And then when I told her she’d watched enough and we needed to find something else to do, she turned it back on and said she “needed” to watch something else. Ugh.

I don’t mind her watching some TV, but since Julian was born, she’s watching more than I would really like. Pre-Julian she’d watch Sesame Street on some mornings and that was usually it. That was cool with me because she was learning things and it was only an hour of TV time. Now she watches Sesame Street as well as Teletubbies and Barney, which is two-hours’ worth total, and that’s pretty much every week day. Some days she also watches a 30-minute DVD (Laurie Berkner or LeapFrog Letter Factory) too. *gulp*

I don’t want her to turn into a TV junkie and her turning the TV back on today and saying she “needed” to watch something else scared me a bit. Maybe things will get better once Julian is a bit older and doesn’t command so much of my time or once the weather warms up and she can play outside again. But it certainly is easy to flip the tube on, knowing she’ll be occupied for the next 30 minutes or whatever, while I tend to Julian, throw in a load of laundry, wash some dishes, make lunch, or whatever.

And that’s another thing, if I don’t have time to spend with Ava, I really don’t have time to take care of all the necessary household chores. Making dinner is a colossal effort most evenings. Tonight I had every intention of making a decent dinner, but then Julian couldn’t be set down and wasn’t happy in the Moby (*gasp*), so I had to wait until Jody got home and could hold him, and then Ava just wanted Mommy time so I had to hold her for a while. At 7 o’clock I finally made banana pancakes for dinner (with Miss Ava’s help). Oy.

I should add we did have a couple nice outings this week. One day we went to the library (my first time taking both kids out by myself) and yesterday, since the weather was warmer, we went for a walk and then Ava played out in the snow in the backyard. It was good, for all of us I think, to get out of the house. 🙂

I need to wrap this up now because I have things I need to get to before bed. Just wanted to vent a bit. Tomorrow is another day. I can only strive to do better.