Sunday, June 16, 2013

Real Life

This is a recent picture of our dining room table.  I took a picture of it because it accurately shows what our house usually looks like-- disorganized, things out of place, evidence of Baby having done some experiments (in this case, she was on top of the table dumping out salt from the salt shaker).  Every once in a while I still look at the old blogs I used to look at, even though I've previously sworn them off-- blogs by people with babies where everything in their house is totally immaculate (ie bed made, beautiful table and centerpiece, living room worthy of being shown in a magazine).  So, this is what living with a baby actually looks like!  There are crayon markings on our walls, baby toys everywhere, pieces of food half-eaten.  Recently the upstairs phone was awol for about two weeks; Husband found it this morning.

We joined a new mommy/child group this past week-- sort of socializing time for babies-- they get to play and have snack together-- and the moms get to support one another. It's great!  I got a bunch of book recommendations from one of the moms in it and ordered them this morning: "Parenting From the Inside Out", "Raising Your Spirited Child", "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk", "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be".  I also want to read "Siblings Without Rivalry" if and when it's appropriate for us (that is, when Baby has a sibling).  Also signing up for the newsletter from Aha! Parenting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Becoming a Mother

Quiet morning here.  Baby and I went to a new mom/baby group-- sort of a support group for moms and playtime for the children.  We know about it from a mom I know in La Leche League.  It was really nice to go and talk (well, mostly listen) about the challenges of being a mom.  It's kind of a cliche but it's true that it's hard but fun and rewarding to be a mom.  Some days are harder than others, but never ever would I give it up for anything.  Baby is just too cute.  I think reading a lot of parenting magazines and-- depending on the playgroup-- being in playgroups or especially reading blogs about moms and babies, the hard side of parenting gets glossed over.  I think I'm quite patient and most of the time when there's yogurt everywhere or Baby pulls down the stack of towels I just folded, or does some other exercise that strengthens and fulfills her curiosity but means more work and organizing for me, I do find it quite funny and end up laughing.  But sometimes I don't and I feel exasperated.  Usually it helps me to see things from her point of view rather than mine-- yes, maybe if I want our floor to be clean, I need to clean up the cereal (or better yet, just let Pug eat them), but Baby is enjoying doing whatever she's doing with them.  Babies experiment.  At the Portland Children's Museum, I remember reading there that babies do experiments all the time naturally.  They make hypotheses and check to see what happens.  This is so true in life.  So usually when she's making a mess, as long as it isn't hurting her or making things too tough for me, I let her experiment and make her conclusions.  Maybe she's a budding scientist.

Only a few people know, but before I got pregnant with Baby, I had a very early miscarriage/ possibly chemical pregnancy.  It happened very very early on (which is why I always suspected chemical pregnancy). Husband and I were in Maui on vacation, and I remember getting a very faint positive.  I took the test at sunrise.  I was so happy.  I bought a little wood necklace that I wanted to give to that baby someday.  A day or two later, everything changed.  I felt okay, if a little shocked, while we were in Hawaii, but as soon as we got home, I started feeling really depressed.  It was December.  I spent most of that month at home.  One day I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and from my car, saw a mom and baby in the parking lot.  I cried and went home.  Those were hard days.  I wondered if I would ever have a baby.  

I read somewhere that fertility is often very high following a miscarriage and that if there's no health reason not to (there wasn't for me), to try again for a baby soon after.  So we did and I think it was the cycle after the miscarriage that I became pregnant with Baby.  It was the very end of January.  Getting pregnant with Baby is what made me feel all better.  I have never felt bad about the miscarriage since then.  All the gloom and depression disappeared.  

I also went to acupuncture for fertility treatments, and to boost up my energy/immune system.  

And when I got pregnant with Baby, I started to bond with her right away.  This was a very conscious decision on my part.  Unfortunately, I think it's become this sort of normal phenomenon for moms not to bond with their babies during the first 12 weeks-- I'm sure out of fear of losing the baby and then having to deal with the loss.  But my feeling is that it will only help if mom and baby bond from the very beginning.  I wish western medical doctors encouraged this.  I do think it's healthy and very beneficial to the mom and growing baby to experience the love and bonding from the get-go.  In the sad event that a loss does occur, mothers can have some comfort in the bond they shared with their babies, even if for a short time.  Denying the excitement of pregnancy and bonding could, in the case of a loss, contribute to a mother's sadness, grief and guilt.  Many many women have miscarriages.  I wish, in hindsight, I had told more people about it.  I think it would have helped me.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10th

We had Gymboree class this morning, followed by a little trip to the outdoor shopping center next to it.  I attempted to stop in Anthropologie to check out some cherry-printed pants my mom saw, but Baby was not happy in there so we left.  Went to the Gymboree store after that... usually I feel ho-hum about their clothes and feel their prints look too cartoonish, but I did find a few things that were pretty cute today.  Next stop was a burger for lunch and I found a shaded kid-sized picnic table where Baby sat and ate.  She loves tomatoes (one came on the burger).  We went to a few more stores and I popped into Mrs. Fields and bought a few tiny cookies for us for the ride home.  Baby fell asleep in the car and it did melt my heart when I got her out of the seat at home and she had chocolate around her mouth and apple juice from her juice box on her shirt. I love lifting her (fairly heavy) little body, all soft and warm and limp, out of the car, up the stairs, plopping her in bed, and then relaxing in the rocking chair.

This is maybe a fairly boring topic and only of use to nursing moms out there, but since we still nurse (Baby is really a toddler now) and I've tried lots of nursing tanks and nursing clothes, I've been wanting to write a little review of my favorites and not-so-favorites:

Target's Gilligan & O'Malley nursing tanks win hands down for me in terms of comfort, price, and ease of use (some nursing tanks have the worst little clasps that take an acrobat to undo).  Color selection is a bit boring but practical (can't go wrong with white or black).

Glamourmom Nursing Bra Long Tank  I really like these tanks but they're a bit pricey ($49).  They fit really well, have nice clasps, wash well and come in good colors.  Immediately after I'd had Baby and still had extra weight on me, I found them quite tight and had to cut little v's in the elastic around my rib cage.  Now that I'm back to my normal size, they fit fine.

Bravado's Essential Nursing Tank At 49 bucks a pop, with a strange fit and the fact that it isn't entirely cotton (or at least doesn't feel that way), it's my least favorite.

I got two new nursing tanks from Destination Maternity today (Pea in the Pod brand) and I'll update after I've tried those.  One's cotton and one's some new-fangled material.

I don't wear a ton of nursing clothes anymore but I did for about the first year after having Baby.  I feel pretty frumpy in them now so they're mostly relegated to being clothes I wear around the house, but there was a time when I enjoyed wearing them in public.  I've tried lots of nursing clothes, and my favorite is from Japanese Weekend.  It can be a little pricey but it's made in the USA (last I checked).  The best style is the cross front .  I have one or two D&A (from Japanese Weekend) nursing dresses and they shrank-- mostly they're nursing tunics now.  Gap has good but basic nursing tops.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday musings

We're having a nice, quiet Sunday.  I like having at least a few days each week with nothing scheduled.  This morning, after breakfast and after I folded the 3 or 4 loads of laundry that have been hanging out on top of the dresser all week, and after I put away the 20 or so books that Baby had taken off the book shelf, we set off on a stroller ride.  First we went to Starbucks for a chai latte and bagel with cream cheese, then to the park by our house.  Baby went in the swing, then played on the playground (it's geared to older kids but there are a few things she can safely do), and then when it was really starting to heat up, I pushed the button to turn the fountain area on! She loves water play.  I put on her swim diaper, swim bloomers and a uv 50 hoodie (and quickly smeared some baby sunscreen on) and let her go at it.  I love sitting in the sun and watching her giggle as she runs around and plays in the water.

Now we're home and she's napping and I was looking online at some blogs and found  this blog post about kids and sports.  Good food for thought.  Obviously baby is not ready for sports yet, but this article sort of confirms some of my hesitations and concerns about organized sports for kids of all ages.  Mainly, the whole culture of adults yelling and screaming at kids and making winning seem so important really rubs me the wrong way.  Of course, I didn't care for sports much myself as a kid (and as an adult).  So we'll see what Baby is interested in, but even if she does like soccer and softball, why not just play with her friends?  Why must everything be so serious for kids? Why the need to schedule so much? Truth be told, I already sometimes feel like I have too much scheduled for her, or close to too much.  Once a week we go to tumbling, once a week we have music, and soon we'll be starting a once a week mommy/baby group.

Unrelated to the above things, I've been reading a really nice book.  I bought it on a whim at a store.  The title, "Things Good Mothers Know" doesn't feel like the right title to me.  Sort of smug or something.  And I haven't really read anything in it that is only for mothers.  I think a better title, just off the top of my head, would be "Nice Things To Read Before Going to Sleep."  Which is how I read it.  I have a few minor quibbles with the book, like that the author gives good advice ("simplify your life") but many of her examples show she doesn't take it herself (like the paragraphs she spends talking about finding some place to store her husband's illustrious leather-bound law journals).  That aside, it's a great little book and makes me feel better about life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8th

Warm weather is here! We've been getting out a lot, going to the zoo (pictured above on the zoo train), going to parks, going to the farmers' market, spending time in our yard with the sprinkler on.  In fact we just got back from the farmers' market.  Favorite, favorite, favorite thing there: hot maple donuts from Lowhill Village Bakery.  Long lines, but I would wait forever for one.  Baby fell asleep on the way home.

Links I wanted to include:

This article on one of my favorite sites,, entitled "7 Principles for Peaceful Parenting".

This commencement speech by Nipun Mehta.  Just love it.

"Helping, Fixing, Serving" nice article on

All I can think of for now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This and That

We went to the Portland Homestead Supply Store this morning.  Got a couple Weck jars, a little knit chicken for a baby we know who's turning one year old this weekend, a plastic bag dryer (I'm behind the times and tired of throwing away plastic bags, so I've been trying to wash and keep them), a book on wreath making (I might have time in five years to do this!), and I forget what else.  [Edit: I remember now-- an allspice trivet (will smell good when a warm pan is put on it) and a jar of meadowfoam honey.]  Hard to leave there empty handed.  Our main purpose for going there is to visit the chickens and goats.  Baby loves it.  We went to see them two or three times and when we were back in the store to check out, Baby kept signing for more.  I told her they were taking a nap.

I'd like to have an outdoor clothesline (yes, for the month or two out of the year that I can use it).  Not sure where it'll go.  I found this tutorial on Mother Earth News.  Too much building and wood work for me but maybe Husband would be willing to rig something up.

We've been going down to the river.  That's Pug, above, smelling the smells down there.  The day before Mother's Day, I took the kayak out, rowed upstream for a bit, and when I got back to the path we use, there was a bald eagle standing right on the bank!  Bummer I didn't have my camera with me-- I'd even almost taken it too!  I watched it for about a minute before it flew away.  Sometimes I see the sea lions out there too, but not this time.

Our dear little guinea pig, Guinevere, passed away yesterday.  She was the sweetest pig and she came from Pleasantville, NY.  She was getting old and I guess it was just her time.  Husband will bury her in the backyard near Molly (our other pig from NY).  I think we'll be guinea pigless for a while now.  Having a baby and pug alone is quite a bit of work.  When D is older and wants something (rat? bunny? guinea pig?  I'm saying no to snakes) we'll get a critter then.  She understood something happened to Guinevere, since at one point during the day G was there and later, she wasn't.  Unsure and undecided on how to talk to D about it, I said Guinevere was sick and died and went to guinea pig heaven, and that she was with other guinea pigs now.  When D seemed to want to know more, I liked the part about G being with other piggies and so I kept telling her that.  From what little I know about talking to kids about death, it seems honesty is best.  I know you don't tell them someone or something has "gone to sleep" because it can make them afraid to fall asleep and cause sleeping problems.

In other news, I'm still "napping" by D some days.  Today I am, and the last two days I did as well.  I'll play it by ear depending on how she's doing and how I'm doing.  If I really need time to myself, I'll put her in the toddler bed.  But some days I just still really want to be by her, and as long as I can sneak away at some point during her nap and my back isn't killing me, I'll keep doing it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another quiet night

D is asleep in bed, and husband and I are downstairs watching tv, enjoying the cool quiet night.  The neighbor's frogs are noisy and I love listening to them.  I had to close the sliding door in our bedroom (that leads to the balcony) so the frogs don't wake D up.

I've mostly stopped reading the old blogs I used to look at (not counting friends' blogs).  SouleMama for example, and many others.  All the blogs primarily about moms who have all these hours in the day to make popsicles at home, sew their children's clothing and knit their socks, tend chickens, make their own graham crackers, have meticulously beautiful homes with not a thing ever out of place.  I guess it makes me annoyed!  My life is not like that, it can't be, and I'm okay with that.  I guess when I see these other blogs, my gut feeling is they can't be real.  How can you have children and have time for all that?  How does a picture of your living room not have socks, balls, dog toys, half-eaten pretzels and squeezie pouches, and baby toys everywhere?  When I have free time, depending on how tired I am, I might take the kayak out on the river, or like tonight I might sit on the couch next to Pug and watch TV.  Other times, I clean or organize or shower.  Sometimes I read.  I have dreams of writing again, and I do a little sometimes.  When the babysitter comes, husband and I go on a walk or have a picnic or go out to dinner.  In the recent past when my back was hurting, I'd go to the chiropractor, and back in February and March, to the acupuncturist.  Husband and I have taken to calling my former craft room the attic.  For a while it pained me to think of my unused fabric sitting in there.  Now I'm okay with it.

Anyway, one blog I've been looking at on and off over the last year is the Road is Home.  It's probably one of the loveliest little blogs I've ever seen.  Stunning photographs.  Beautiful writing.  It's about a very young family and their baby.  I just love it.

Meanwhile in our neck of the woods, I am finally starting to have D try to take naps in her toddler bed.  She is 18 months old and she has always napped next to me in bed.  She still nurses to sleep-- we will be nursing for as long as she wants, I think-- so I didn't know how this transition would go.  I felt and still feel a bit unsure about the transition.  Sometimes I think, she's only so little for a tiny speck of time.  But since she sleeps with us at night too, it's okay if she sleeps in the toddler bed for the nap.  Day One went better than I imagined.  I explained to her that she's a toddler now and this is her toddler bed.  I told her I would be by her side while she slept (mostly true-- when she fell asleep, I moved to the rocking chair across the room).  When she cried, I held her and we hugged.  I did not want to leave her to "cry it out".  It pains me too much and it distresses her, and I want to be there for her.  So I held her while she cried.  We read a book about guinea pigs, then I nursed her in the toddler bed (me sitting by the side-- it worked).  She fell asleep and stayed asleep for 30 minutes.  Today she slept for 35 minutes.  Success!  We sleep very well together at night, most nights.  Last night she got 11 hours of sleep, and typically she gets around 11 these days.  I enjoy having her close to me at night.  We have a king bed, so there is plenty of room for the three of us.  Sometimes she scoots close to me to nurse, and other times for long stretches of the night, she sleeps a foot or so away from me.  We all like the arrangement.

I like this book, "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for alternate ideas to the "cry it out" method.  I also have the "no cry nap solution".  But any of this can be done without a book and just with your gut!  That's how I came up with our nap transition.  I knew in my heart I didn't want it to be too hard on her, and I didn't want her to experience this drastic change on her own.  It feels right to me to do it the way I'm doing it, just as it feels right to me to still nurse her and still co-sleep.