Birthing Remembered

I've been thinking a lot about Lucy's birth lately. A couple people have asked about it lately and it seems like the reactions I get to my brief synopsis of the event lead people to one of several conclusions. Of course, part of that is because I'm trying to condense an intense, life-changing event into a 1-2 minute story so I'm not saying I blame them but it has had me thinking about what Lucy's birth was - and wasn't.

It was not "lucky" - I didn't just get lucky to get the birth that I did. I knew what I wanted and actively worked to get that. Now I know that some moms do the exact same things (or even more) as I did to prepare for birth and it doesn't work out - baby's breech, water breaks but labor doesn't start, etc. Things happen that are beyond anyone's control.

I like to think of the race analogy. Most people who run a 10K successfully have prepared. They have trained and worked hard to get to the point where they can run a 10K. Nobody would say to a runner after the race that they were so "lucky" that they were able to finish. Now, it's true, some people are unlucky and even with proper training before hand, aren't able to finish. They twist their ankle or wake up with a cold or whatever. It isn't a weakness on their part or anything they should be ashamed of but neither does it take away from the achievement of those that do finish.

And other people, like my older brother, just wake up one day and decide to run a race without any preparation. Probably not the best idea, and definitely not the way I would recommend running a race or experiencing natural labor, but he has survived so far (running, as far as I know he has never experienced labor :-) and if it gets you there, I guess it worked. But for most women, laboring without drugs or interventions involves effort, both before and during the birth. It wasn't just luck.

It was not easy - This is probably what a lot of people think (and some even say!) when they hear my labor was less than 6 hours. I think some moms must be thinking of the first 6 hours of their laboring experience and not the last 6 hours because I'm here to tell ya, it wasn't easy! I'll avoid any cliches like "They call it labor for a reason" but it was easily the most intense event, both physically and mentally, of my life. Back to my racing analogy, it took effort to get to the race part and effort to run the race.

It was not perfect - This one is the one I dislike the most because I hate the idea that a homebirth or a natural labor can only happen if the stars magically align and everything is the exact textbook definition of perfect. I pushed for almost 2 hours. I pushed without ever feeling the urge to push (really, never ever, she was crowning and I didn't really want to push - which frankly, was very frustrating). I tore. All of those things are probably due to Lucy's non-ideal hand by the face position and I most certainly hope that baby Dewey keeps his/her hands down. Lucy and I have been singing head, shoulders, knees and toes a lot lately so maybe that will help :-) But again, it was training, not luck. This time, it was my midwife's. She knew what was happening and what positions to suggest and we got through it.

It was ideal - I'm going to stop a moment and beat this poor running analogy to death. I know that not everyone wants a natural birth just like there are people (like me!) who have absolutely no desire to run a 10K. I think runners are cool and I am the first to cheer them on at the end of the race but there is no way I want to be out there running alongside them. If that is how you feel about giving birth without drugs, okay, don't give birth without drugs. But I don't like people thinking the above things because it makes it seem like it is not achievable and I happen to believe that most women could give birth naturally just like most people could complete a 10K. You don't have to be a super woman, you don't have to have a crazy pain tolerance or be a marty. I actually think the pain tolerance thing is funny because the people that know me well know that I am the biggest wuss when it comes to pain and all things blood/needle/hospital-ly. The idea of a flu shot has me hyperventilating.  I've fainted after getting eye drops for crying out loud!

But for me, I wouldn't change Lucy's birth at all. Because I know my body did what it needed to do. Craig was there for me in the way he needed to be and he and my midwife gave me the support and confidence I needed to be able to let me body work. There were times when I doubted myself, and not just the standard middle-of-transition times but the I've been pushing for over an hour and nothing is happening and does my body even know what it is supposed to be doing because aren't I supposed to feel like pushing!? times. I really didn't think I could do it. Craig probably had some doubts/worries too but he never let them show. And I know that if anyone had even brought up the idea of a vacuum or forceps, even just told me they were an option, I would have lost all confidence. But I also trusted our midwife and if she said I was doing fine, I was going to believe her. And you know what, she was right.

It's hard to look back on labor because so much of it is fuzzy but there are those few specific things I do remember and the above is what I know about last time and what I know about this time as well - it won't be easy, I am prepared, and it doesn't have to be perfect.

Another memory that helps, I distinctly remember sitting in bed with Lucy only an hour or two old, while our midwife was packing up her equipment. She asked me how it compared to my expectations and I said "I could do this again, not tomorrow, but in a year or two." I am still believe that.


Toddler Tuesday: Big Sibling Books

Lucy and I have been reading a lot of books about babies and being a big sibling so I thought I would share a few of our favorites.

I'll admit that I'm pretty particular about the big sister things I've exposed Lucy to. Far to often the emphasis in this type of books is on how annoying the new baby is or how he/she takes all the attention and it isn't until the last page that the big sibling decides the baby isn't so bad. Which means you've just spent 10 minutes playing up the negative and 30 seconds on the positive. Now we've obviously never added a little sibling to our household before but the more seasoned mother's I've talked to have said to make sure to keep the emphasis on how much of a positive event it is for everyone in the family - not that the big sib won't have moments of jealousy and impatience, but don't give them the idea to start with. So that is my goal. And for right now at least, she is super-excited about the baby.

Hi, New Baby by Robie H. Harris

This is one of Lucy's favorites. It is fairly realistic in that it shows new babies can be loud, boring and sometimes even gross but I don't think it is overly negative either. It also helps us talk up the big sister role - she has teeth and the baby doesn't, she can feed herself but the baby can't, etc.
Happy Birth Day! by Robie H. Harris

I guess you could call this the prequel to Hi, New Baby. It's about a babies arrival, what happens and how the baby looks and acts and most importantly, is loved by everyone. It was helpful in talking to Lucy about how the baby might look kinda smushy and wrinkle, how the belly button would look funny at first, that sort of thing. It shows a mother nursing and a daddy cuddling the newly swaddled baby and both of those pictures are similar to ones we have of us with Lucy which she enjoys pointing out. It's funny though, one Amazon review complains that this is only a good book if your birth goes perfectly but another complains that it is too focused on hospital interventions. I think its in the middle - yes it talks about ankle bracelets and the doctors "quickly" cutting the cord but those things are pretty typical so I'm not going to complain - it is funny to hear Craig read this and add his commentary though ;-)

The Baby Dances by Kathy Henderson

Not strictly a big sibling book but it does show a sibling relationship as the baby grows and the illustrations make it pretty easy to talk about sibling things - look, the baby wants to crawl towards the brother's toys, do you think you will share things with the baby,etc. And the brother is obviously very loving towards his baby sister which is a plus. Sweet and a big hit with Lucy.

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

I don't really like the little critter books but this one isn't too bad. It's pretty simply so I wouldn't use if for anyone other than the under 3 crowd, but it it works to show a bit more realistically what a new baby might be like - they can't play games with you or understand jokes but the do like to be cuddled and tickled.

What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy

A non-fiction book about how a baby grows over the nine months it is inside the mommy's womb (but there isn't any information on how the baby gets there and the only reference to the birth is that the mommy pushes and it's hard work - which I think is all she needs right now). It's responsible for the upside down baby in tummy drawings Lucy's started up with and now Lucy can say womb which is adorable. We don't always read this through but often just look at the pictures and talk about it. She's probably on the low side of it's age range but still really enjoys it.

Baby Brother by Tanneke Wigersma - This was a Lucy selection that turned out to be great. Lovely illustrations and cute story. Mia is writting a letter all about how her cat was acting funny and ended up having kittens while you see mom preparing for a new arrival herself and actually having a home birth which is rare in children's literature (but it's not at all graphic though, don't worry).

A New Barker in the House by Tommie DePaulo - This isn't about the birth of a new "puppy" like I thought it was when I picked it up but instead is a cute book about how the Barker Family (there is a whole Barker series) adopts a 3 year old from another country. I don't have any first hand experience but I think this would be a great book for any "waiting siblings" or anyone hoping to expose their little ones to the idea of adoption in a positive way - which should be every family!

I don't recommend:

The Berenstain Bears's New Baby 

Not bad if you can stand the Berenstein Bears other books but not really much about the new baby so just not very helpful overall. And I probably shouldn't complain about realism in books about bears that talk and wear clothes but Ma and Pa could probably stand to do a better job preparing poor brother bear for major life changes - they don't tell him he is getting a new sibling to mere hours before she arrives and they don't tell him he is moving until the night before the moving van comes. Poorly done bear parents!

Angelina's Baby Sister

I bought this for 10 cents at a library sale but didn't really get a chance to read it. After reading it a handful of times to Lucy, I snuck it out during nap time. It's just a horrible example of what I mentioned above - lots of jealousy ending in a huge tantrum where Angelina throws all her books and toys with no discipline other than an ''Angelina!" She evens says she hates her sister and wishes she would go away (but I skip that line, why in the world would I want to even bring up that idea!). It isn't until the last page or two that all is resolved but that isn't redeeming enough. Skip!

Of course, we probably have time for a few more..any recommendations?


If Akin Stays In

Like most of my ideological counterparts, I was hoping Todd Akin (who I voted for in the primary) would withdraw from the Senate race here in Missouri, and I was surprised that he didn't, especially with the easy-withdrawal deadline so conveniently right there on Tuesday (he can still withdraw, but would need a court order - I'm not sure how hard that would be to get). But he stayed in, and it seems to me that, if he didn't drop out then, he won't hereafter (he reiterated his plan to stay in on Friday). So while the drumbeat for him to go might continue, though somewhat diminished with time, it seems pertinent to look at what happens to him from here. I will look at three issues, and I will skirt the issue of national implications.

Before I start off, I link to this PowerLine post that asks whether Akin is unfit to be in the Senate. The author's conclusion: yes, if he repudiates his statement. He adds that Akin is preferable to incumbent Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill, who Akin is facing. I agree with this.

First, we have the money issue. He has lost a lot of donors, including the Republican National Senatorial Committee and Crossroads GPS, who were each going to pony up $5 million. Other, smaller donors have also withdrawn. Akin has been trying to gather small donations from regular people, and has brought in over $20,000 over the past three days, which won't go too far. Some smaller, socially-conservative groups have offered support to him, but again, their checks will be small. Perhaps Mike Huckabee, Akin's lone high-profile supporter, will help him bring in small-donor cash from around the country.

I have to think, though, that if Akin sticks it out, the controversy over his comments dies down a bit, and he keeps the race close (these may be big ifs), that perhaps some of that money will come back his way, if in no other form than ads against McCaskill.

Second is the loss of GOP party support. Part of the reason Akin is believed to have resisted calls to resign is that he's never been a favorite of the establishment, so they don't have much sway over him. He is trying to portray this loss of support as a throw-him-under-the-bus abandonment by national outsiders, assisted by the media. Akin is known for his loyal band of social conservative supporters (including homeschoolers), and this appeal might resonate with them (and maybe it is?).

Third is the loss of electoral support. He has gone from being up 5-10 points or so to being down 9 or 10. Akin has said about the 2nd poll that, despite all the attention he's gotten, McCaskill is still under 50% (she is at 48 in that one, 50 in the other.) I think, though, that we need to wait a couple of weeks to see how the current furor shakes out in the polls.Missouri, long a bellwether state, has become more conservative. In the 2010 Senate race, the Republican won 54-41. In 2008, McCain beat Obama in Missouri by 4,000 votes, but neither candidate is expending much effort here this time. The state is generally considered to lean to Romney. In an off-year, potential Akin voters might just stay home, but the presidential race ensures they will come vote. And the Republicans who show up won't vote for McCaskill. Undecided and swing voters will have to weigh one dumb remark against the voting records of both candidates and their view of Obama, to whom McCaskill is quite closely tied in most peoples' minds. 

The NY Times suggests that an Akin victory is "possible" (but is this just liberal propaganda to keep him in the race?). Two bloggers suggest ways forward for Akin: FIGHT and become much more disciplined and focused (mainly on the economy). Akin was having trouble with that before his rape comments.

Taking all this into consideration, I would say this race is not entirely over at this point.


37 Weeks so it's time to start guessing

Officially full term! I don't expect a baby in the next day or two but it's still a good milestone. Here is a belly pic:

Or at least, that's the view Lucy seems to have. Here's a comparison shot.

For the record, I've hit that point. And I think any women who has been in her third trimester knows what I mean by that point. But Craig is great about reminding me how important these last few weeks are and how I really do believe babies come when they are ready. And he's good about taking over dinner and dishes when I'm too pooped to do anything by 5pm so he's cementing his status as best husband ever.

Thanks goodness I'm ready so I can afford to my a bit lazy. Our freezer is full of meals, these to be exact:

Pigs in a blanket x2
Calzones x 3
Beef and pepper enchiladas (using this sauce which is really really good) x 2
Lasagna (but replacing some meat with spinach) x3
Taco Corn fritters x 1
Chicken spaghetti (using my homemade cream soup)  x 3
Southwestern chicken soup x 1
Swedish meatballs x 3 (ingredients for gravy in pantry)
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos x 4

2 loaves of whole wheat bread (not even enough to last us until my due date but store bought bread won't kill us :-)
2-3 sides worth of whole wheat rolls

Healthified Mrs. Fields cookie dough
Whole Wheat PB Choc-oat Chip cookie dough
Energy balls
Smoothie ingredients
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I promised myself that I had to work hard on freezer meals until 37 weeks so I'm done with that now although I might add a few more batches of cookie dough - mostly because I allow us to have a sheet or two of fresh cookies before putting the rest of the dough in the freezer and cookies and milk are a current craving. We also have the ingredients for several easy meals (tuna noodle salad, spaghetti) in our pantry and a bunch of easy meat (grass fed pork chops, steaks, roasts) in the freezer thanks to my dad so I am confident we won't starve.

The co-sleeper and changing table are all set up, all my pre-baby craft projects have been completed and Lucy's fall "curriculum" is all ready to be brought out for her although I might not be able to make it to the baby's arrival before I need those extra busy bags - I'm just too tired to entertain her all day.

So basically, we just need the baby now. We've started with the weekly midwife appointments and baby's looking good - very low and I've been having a lot of those twinges which tell me my body is starting to efface. They aren't very pleasant but I just remind myself the more it does now, the less it has to do later. But hopefully not too much later :-)

But now the fun part. Let's play a little guessing game, shall we? Any thoughts on whether baby Dewey is a boy or girl, when he/she will come and what he/she will weigh?

To get you started, my official due date is September 15th and Lucy came into the world on her due date weighing 7lbs, 14 oz.

My guess is boy, September 12th, 8lbs, 2oz - but what do I know?

(Oh, and you can only play the guessing game if you promise not to guess September 11th. I really don't want baby to come on Septemeber 11th, okay?)


Here are the combined guesses from facebook and the comments below:

Sept 5:
Elizabeth - girl, 5 ft long :-)

Sept 9:
Teresa - boy, 8lb 3oz

Sept 10:
Greg - boy, 8lb 2oz

Sept 12:
Carter - boy, 8lbs 2oz

Sept 13th:
Janna - girl, 8lbs 14oz 
Joyce - boy, 8lbs, 14oz
Rachel - boy

Sept 14:
Hannah - girl, 7lbs, 13oz
Amanda - girl
Karen - boy, 8lbs

Sept 15:
Steph - boy
Chad - girl, 7 lbs 8oz

Sept 18th:
Michelle - boy, 8lbs


BFIAR: Goodnight moon (our first row!)

Last week we took some time to "row" the book goodnight moon. For those of you who don't know what that last sentence means - it is from the curriculumn Five in a Row (or in our case, Before Five in a Row which is for kids age 2-4) where you read a book over a week and do different activities with it.  I was going to share what we did through-out the week but no computer last week means you get it all in one gigantic picture filled post.

First off, just in case you missed my posts last week and think I did this because I am some sort of super-mom, let me burst that bubble right now. No, I did this because my child was driving me crazy. Seriously. We had such a bad week (or two or three, but who's counting) before I realized that it might have something to do with our messed up routine combined with my attempts to get stuff done before the baby comes. Then I wrote that weaning post and realized that she had also started sleeping through the night and weaned during this same crazy period and while I know she was ready for both, it still meant a whole lot less attention, snuggles and one-on-one time that I wasn't being intentional about replacing. And shockingly, she was being extremely whiny and clingy!

So I took a time out from everything else and we had a "Lucy week." I wasn't really going to do anything specific but she picked out Katy no-pocked from the library and I remembered it was a BFIAR book. The book ended up being okay but I didn't really like the activities I saw but the Goodnight Moon activities seemed like stuff she would like and I easily came up with additional things too.

I don't have the actual BFIAR curriculumn. If we do more in the future, I will buy the book because I don't think it is completely ethical to take all the ideas off the internet when I know they came from the book originally but in this case, I actually came up with a lot myself - not that it takes a genius to think of eating "mush" and talking about the moon when you read Goodnight moon. Okay, enough talk. Picture time.

Day 1 (Bible and Science):
We started off our first day by reading Goodnight Moon and eating cream of wheat "mush." Actually I ate mush, she tasted two bites while I took these pictures then decided she wanted cheerios :-)

And get used to this face. It's her new "smile" face. 

She had already memorized Genesis 1:1 - although every time she says ""earth and da heavens" instead of "heavens and the earth" but I figure that is close enough. If you ask her what it means she'll start naming things and won't stop..God made the moms and the dads and the flowers and the moon and the stars and the sun and the dogs and the cats and the mice and the horses... so I knew she understood the basics (as well as a 2 year old can).  When we were reviewing her verses, I realized it would be a good fit for this book so we read over the creation story from her Jesus Storybook bible again - focusing on the heavens and earth part and the day and night part.

I had a coloring sheet about the creation story but after a few minutes she turned it over and drew her own picture on the back. Coloring pages are so stifling to a two year old's creativity, you know  :-)

We also did a printable game where I put stars in the sky and she counted them and moved the right numeral into the box. The game went up to 15 but we just did numbers 1-10 (randomly). You could also do it where you give the number and they put the right number of stars in the sky which is what we do with her other counting printable but she can only count and add to about 6 before she has to stop and count each time to see if she has enough - then add one more and count again. She can do it but it ends up taking a looong time. 

We also checked out several other moon stories from the library to read: Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, Kitten's First Full Moon and Happy Birthday, Moon all of which were hits with Lucy.

Snack time was a special treat - moon cookies! (Otherwise known as oreos split in half with the filling removed to look like various phases of the moon) I've seen this on pinterest several times but wasn't really going to get into the phases concept except that Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me is about a moon that shrinks then gets bigger and I'm always up for a chocolate sandwhich cookie so I added it in. I didn't go over any specifics other than to say the big circle is called a full moon then it gets smaller and smaller until it disappears and then it comes back and gets bigger and bigger until it is a full moon again. Now Lucy loves to point out all the moons she sees in pictures books and tell me if it is a full moon or not.


 Can I eat them now?

Not surprisingly, the "full moon" was the first to go. She shared the "new moon cookie" with me.

Day 2 (Math and Art): We read Goodnight Moon again and then put together a little printable book on the numbers of things we saw in the book (1 moon, 2 kittens, 3 bears, etc). Then  I explained what a pair was and she did a work sheet game where she sorted socks and mittens into singles and pairs and glued them. She had never used a glue stick before and really enjoyed watching it go from purple to clear and how it turned paper into "stickers". 

Then we hung up mittens I cut out from red felt. The "clothesline" is always there but normally holds her play silks. This was a bit tricky but if we worked together she could do the simple clothespins while I held the mittens or she would hold the mittens while I put the spring clothespins on. 

Then she decided she wanted to put her play silks on instead and I found since they drapped over the string, she could do that herself - which was nice to know since normally she brings them to me and I hang them up and now that can become her responsability.

She alsp sorted the mittens into pairs. That wasn't planned but she enjoyed it and kept making them one big pile then resorting them into pairs while counting one, two...one, two.

Then we colored a balloon sheet. I pre-colored the color names (since she can't read :-) and she colored the balloon to match. The last page asks "What color was the balloon?" and she told me red but was upset because they didn't have a purple balloon to color so instead of telling her to color it red like I think she was supposed to, I let her color it purple and  just circle the red balloon - I'm all about compromise :-)

After going over the colors, we went on a color hunt. This is something we had done before and Lucy loves it but I always forget about. She picks one of her color tables (but you could use anything, crayons, pieces of construction paper, etc) and goes from room to room finding all the blue items (if it's a blue tablet), then we repeat. We normally do 3-4 colors before she loses steam. And I can now tell you where every single purple item in our house is because we don't have many and I've had to strategically plant a purple book, item of clothing, etc so she doensn't get upset if we do purple :-)

We also painted the moon. I'd seen thick paint made with white tempera paint and flour but I didn't have white tempera paint so I mixed flour, white glue and shaving cream and it worked well. I traced a small plate to make a circle and she filled it in and added stars. Then she wanted to do a daytime sky (since God created day and night, mommy) so we did some clouds on a blue page. The paint dried very foamy and textured and was pretty cool.

Day 3 (Literature) : Our last day was pretty low key. We read through Goodnight Moon yet again and then did a few paper activities. I'm not really a fan of these types of activities for such a little tot but Lucy loved them. Here she is picking out the items as we read the book and said goodnight to them. 

We read Hey Diddle Diddle from our Mother Goose book (to go with the cow jumping over the moon picture) and then we sorted items into daddy bear, mama bear and baby bear sized groups (to go with the three bears picture - she already knew the story of Goldilocks or I would have read it prior to that activity).

We also did a few activities with the letter M - luckily m is one of the fourletter/letter sounds she knows (we are following Tim Seldin's letter order but she only has her first four sandpaper letters out). We made a little M book and colored the smallest and circled the largest m item (moon, monkey, etc). That was actually Lucy's favorite although I'm not quite sure why.

The last thing we did was a narration sheet. Lucy's never done narration before but she loves to tell stories so I think she could do it easily for almost any other story but Goodnight Moon is probably the worst book to start with - there's no plot! But she did pretty well considering. I read the questions from the sheet and here are her answers

Mommy: What happened in the story?
Lucy: Big red balloon and bunnies and bears and the cow then goodnight.

Mommy: What was your favorite part of the book?
Lucy: The cow jumping over the moon.

Since that was a kinda lame way to end, I asked her to draw a picture of Goodnight Moon. Here is what she came up with - she asked me to label the items, she's a big fan of labeling these days.

On a funny toddler drama note, she told me what to write but then got really mad when I wrote "green wall" because it was "two times." I tried to explain that green wall was two words but everytime she told me what to write after that, she would remind me to only write it "just one time, mommy!"

I think my favorite item is the comb. She drew the short lines then tried to connect them with the long line. And if you just scoot the long line up a bit, it really would look like a comb. 

And after drawing the stars, she told me she wanted to draw the air but then took a minute to stare at the paper before giving me a crayon and telling me to draw the air. I told her air was difficult to draw and that we should try something else but she caught me in my own trap. If she tells me she can't do something or its too tricky, I normally ask her to "just try" so of course, when I said I couldn't draw air she said "but you'll try mommy?" I'd like to say that I was a great example to her and actually tried but I can not tell a lie - I just suggested we eat a few more moon cookies to distract her. 

And that was our first row. I hadn't heard great things about BFIAR (although I have about FIAR) and it often times seems to depend heavily upon printables - or at least that is the impression I get from blogs - so I didn't think it would be a good fit for us but we really had a good time exploring Goodnight Moon. If I wasn't about to have a newborn, I think I would probably buy the book and continue on. Perhaps in the spring we will.

*I used ideas for a couple blog posts as well as printables from two different sources, all of which I carefully kept track of so I could share with you - on the other computer. So sadly, you get nothing. But it really only took me an hour or two internet searching to find everything so you shouldn't have trouble finding it either. 


Toddler Tuesday: First Family Portrait

About half way through cleaning up the mural mess, I realized I should have taken a picture of it for posterity's sake. It was actually a pretty good picture. Lucy has just discovered how fun it is to draw people. Of course, they don't always look like people but they are definitely getting closer. Craig says they are aliens while I refer to them as minions (only out of her range of hearing though - to her we declare them to be the best people we've ever seen!).

Here is the first family portrait she drew from last week. You might notice that there are is an extra person and an extra head but sometimes she adds the baby and the cat so that might be them although I've noticed if she isn't happy with how one is going, she just ignores it and makes another so that's another possibility. She told me the smaller circles were water bottles - we had just come back from a hike so perhaps she is drawing us on the hike with our water bottles?

I'll have to try and get pictures of her current ones, she's started adding hair which basically makes us all look like we are wearing awful toupees and she's started drawing my belly as a extra circle below my mouth. I can't capture the best part though which is sitting next to her while she draws them and tells me exactly what she is drawing. It's a lot harder to piece together what's she's drawn after the fact so hearing it first hand really shows how much thought she is putting into them. I never understood why mom's talked about how hard it was to throw away art until now, I love each drawing - as long as it's on paper.



Didn't mean to disappear on you but our computer crashed last week and we just now got the new one. We knew it was coming, Craig had even researched what to get since two weeks ago it was tax free weekend - but we decided to try and hang on for another month or so. Three days later, it was toast. Oh well - everything was backed up and life goes on. Now I just have to get used to this new keyboard and in the meantime, please excuse the typos and enjoy this post I wrote the day before the crash.

The first week in August was National Breastfeeding Week so it seems funny that it was also the last time Lucy nursed.

Our weaning process was slow (and yes, it was our process because nursing is a relationship). Technically weaning started when she started eating solids 20 months ago but she didn't really slow down her nursing much. When I got pregnant, she was still nursing several times a day and probably at least twice a night. Then my milk supply decreased and so did the amount she nursed, but not that much. So I still wasn't sure if we were going to be a tandem nursing family or not. Either way was okay with me.

Now, I will be the first to admit that nursing while pregnant can be a whole different ball game. Some women don't seem to notice much of a change but I did, it just was not comfortable. And I did have to put more limits on when/how long which I believe is perfect reasonable considering her age and my needs, but I wasn't going to force her to stop completely. Partly because I could tell she wasn't emotionally ready (and frankly, neither was I) but also because I was pretty sure it was a big factor in keeping my "morning sickness" from evolving into full blown hyperemesis. And for me, almost any discomfort is worth not throwing up 6-8 times a day. Nursing was also the one way I could really rest during the day - if she was snuggled next to me she wasn't getting into trouble. But I also completely understand the decision the stop because of pregnancy. I highly recommend Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding during Pregnancy and Beyond if you find out you are pregnant and are still nursing. The only thing I don't like about it is the title because really most moms are likely to stop before reading the subtitle and it truly is a book about nursing while pregnant too and it offers lots of information and support - no matter what decision you make (or your body makes for you).

Okay, back to my story. My supply was pretty much gone by 5 months but still, she kept nursing although she was down to once a day or so, normally naptime. At that point, I really did think we would be tandem nursing. But the last 6 weeks or so, she just gradual decreased more from every couple days to about once a week.. By the time she got to once every 2-4 days, I kept expecting each time to be the last so I tried to savor it as if it was but there was always that one more time. Two days ago she asked but once she was in my lap, she said her mouth was too big  and that she was a big girl so she didn't need to share mimi (her word for nursing), the baby could have mimi and she could have milk... and candy.

I know that some kids unwean when the next baby (and the new milk) comes and of course, she could change her mind in a few days and ask again, but I'm pretty sure this is it. And I'm okay with that. When I thought about weaning when I first got pregnant, it just made me sad. Then I was torn. Even a month ago, the idea still had me tearing up. Someone said to me that it seems weird to be emotional about weaning when your pregnant because you have another baby to nurse coming soon. And yes, I think knowing that I have another baby on the way is nice* , but it also kinda missed the point. Breastfeeding really is a relationship and I'll never nursing Lucy again.  But now, she was ready and so was I.

My originally goals were 6 weeks, 6 months and 2 years. I made Craig promise not to let me quit before 6 weeks, no matter what we had to do to make it work. But I knew I really wanted to go to 6 months exclusive nursing (which we did) and to the WHO recommendation of at least 2 years. We made it to 27 months. I'm proud of that. If I had to describe my perfect weaning situation, this would probably be it. Of course, it is a bit sad, but in the same way that it will probably feel like when she first rides a bike, first spends the night away from me or goodness I'm not really ready to think about this - gets married.(I'd add goes to kindergarten but I'm already thankful I'm not going to have to deal with that - I'm sure I'd be a mess).  Being pregnant is also another reminder that in a few short weeks, she will no longer be my baby. But then again, she'll always be my baby.

*Although it also makes me want to go out and by the most complicated dress I can find. Being 8 months pregnant makes that seem like a pretty silly thing to do so I won't, but I want to. I don't feel like nursing really limits my wardrobe except when it comes to dresses. And the fact that I rarely wore a dress before I had Lucy seems irrelevant :-)


So much for that calm

I had every intention of finishing my Toddler Tuesday post yesterday before Lucy reminded me she actually is a toddler when she drew a mural on our white cotton living room chair in pen...but rubbing alcohol blotting + hairspray blotting + heavy duty shout + hot rinse + oxyclean soak + hot wash = saved chair (but tired mama). Thanks goodness for slipcovers than can be thrown in the washing machine. But that really wasn't the worse of the day. It's been a week and it's not even half way over - pray for me!

But on the bright side, I have found another reason we need a leather couch and late last evening when I was trying to keep myself awake long enough to watch the women's floor excercises, I stumbled upon this:

I don't think I would have found it as funny on Monday night but yesterday I could not stop laughing - that almost creepy delirious laugh but whatever.


Finally some calm (otherwise known as a random update)

This weekend was a bit of a break from the craziness that has been our life lately. As soon as Lucy got over her cold, we headed to my dad's for a long weekend. We worked hard helping my dad getting his new house organized but we also played hard celebrating Ben's birthday with an afternoon at the pool. I must say that as fun as it is when Lucy and I go to the pool together, it is 10x better when we go as a family and she gets to wear out Craig and my dad while I float around and relax. We also had an ice cream cake which was a new concept for Lucy but definitely a hit. Knowing how much she loves ice cream, I had assumed she would but she kept telling us "I like dis" as if she was surprised by that fact.

We came home on Monday and my dad and brother joined us the next day (I know that sounds weird but I promise it actually did make some sense) and I somehow convinced my brother that he really wanted to repaint my bedroom. Free labor is great and I'm really pleased with the results but it was also exhausting for me.

They headed home on Wednesday afternoon but Thursday I had several errands in the morning and a midwife appointment in the afternoon (everything still good!) and Friday we took our poor cat Zeeba in for surgery to remove her bladder stones then headed off for a playdate so by the time Craig woke up Friday afternoon and our weekend started - I was pooped.

We actually had plans for Saturday morning but it was an outdoor event and it was raining hard so we decided to skip and ended up just lounging around Saturday and Sunday afternoon . Probably a good ideasince we could keep an eye on Zeeba. They scared me a bit when we picked her up but I think they gave us the worse case scenario because none of their warnings have come true. Thanks goodness - 2 weeks of her being unwilling to use a litter box may have been my undoing! We'll keep her in our bedroom for a few more days to make sure she doesn't get too active on her cat tree or the stairs and to keep her toddler friend from being too friendly when she needs her rest but hopefully that is the end of all the kitty healthy drama. Which is good, we have enough drama coming from Lucy lately.

Do you know the poem about the little girl with the curl - when she is good, she's very very good and when she is bad she is horrid? Well it seems as if we have one of those. I knew that with a little girl in my life the drama and emotions were coming but I really did think we had at least a few more years. I have to share one example from earlier this week. When she gets bossy/demanding, I'll ask her "Who makes the decisions?" and she knows to answer "Mommy and Daddy" and this often stops her in her tracks. This time though, she answered correctly albeit through sobs but when I turned my head the crying stopped and she added in a little diva voice "...and juju." Oh girl, I don't think so!

But hopefully a week of regular routine and some extra attention from mama (mostly positive but probably some negative as well ;-) will start to remedy that. Because as funny as I do find the above story now, at the time, it wasn't so pleasant and I'd rather not have too many more.


Because I know I'll need to remember

Dear Self,

I'm so proud of you! Having a non-sleeping baby/toddler is not easy but you've made it, you've persevered, you have have even managed to keep some brain cells from dying during the last two years of sleep drought you've experienced.

You are now the proud parent of a child who can and most of the time does sleep through the night, a concept that was completely foreign to you less than a year ago and still very rare until just a few months ago. You also have a child that falls asleep, in her own room, in her own big girl bed, all by herself - for naps and bedtime. You knew that crying it out wasn't right for your family and so you ignored all those who said she would never learn to sleep if you didn't or something. You waited until she was ready and now she falls asleep happy as a clam. You check in on her only to have her look up at you and smile, and then leave again only to return to a cute little girl with a fluffy bum stuck up in the air, puppy tucked under her arm, and a peaceful look on her face and you can know you met her needs, night or day, until she was ready for this step.

It wasn't easy and I know I can't convince you it was. But I can remind you that you think it was worth it. Remember this moment, this feeling; remember how short the times seems from this side of the struggle, how fast it seemed to go. Now it is your job to encourage those other mothers that are struggling and I'm starting with you, my future self, because I know that in just a few months, we'll be starting it all over again. But I have faith in you, you can do it!