This morning's outfit choice.
Ms. Plum has had a very rough week. Asthma has been kicking her little butt. We go tomorrow to the specialist and hopefully come home with a new game plan for her so that she can breathe better and be sick less. I'd be more than grateful if you'd think of her tomorrow morning and send up some love into the universe. Say a prayer or just think about her. We are at the beginning of getting a handle on this asthma shiz. We'll figure it out, I know. And it will become the newest normal. In time.
So I thought today I'd celebrate one of my favorite things about her. She wakes up happy and ready for the day even when she's had a bad night. She almost always gets fancy within minutes of waking. I don't know how she does it. She reminds me that she can handle this and by proxy, so can I.
She's just fancy. She can't help it. And I thought it was high time I documented her amazing fashion sense here on the blog. There are no words to describe it. You just have to see it. She can work just about anything. Even if it's Dora slippers and Hulk underwear. She even gets fancy to nurse these days. See for yourself. These are a few of my favorites.
First, when there's nothing but a slow glowing dream....
This girl...she's just so damn fancy. Tomorrow's a big day for her.
I have a feeling she's going to be the fanciest patient there.
Fell off the couch
She falls down. Her pain is lessened as I draw her close. Her breaths go from cries to regulated. Like magic.
She comes to me when she is scared. When she is sad. And we take a minute to connect. She feels less afraid, less lonely.
She comes to me when she is tired. I help her to unwind and relax into sleep.
I go to her when she wakes afraid in the night or because her teeth hurt or she is cold. I help her to keep warm. I help the bad dream become the past. I help her to rest again.
She pats my belly. Sighs. Curls into me. Her toes tickling my knees until they are still again.
She smiles at me in the morning and says, "Hi mommy" with a lilt that lights up my heart. I tell her "Good morning,baby" We snuggle into the day. She takes a moment to get ready. A little mama milk before the hustle and bustle begins.
Sometimes she is wiggly-giggly. Sometimes relaxed. Other times distracted. Or oh so serious.
Sometimes she touches my face. Other times she counts my arm freckles. She says "Gank you, mommy" and goes on her way. My big girl who is still my nursling.
I cherish these days. I know they will not last. The day will come when she requests other things. Replacing these times with a hug, a shrug or a band-aid. There will come a day when a kiss will do. A book. A special treat.
But we are not there yet.
And so I will nurse her until she is ready for those other things. No worries. No timeline. No regret.
For now, I am physically her anchor. And someday when she decides it's time, she will cast off and sail away.
Thankfully, for my heart's sake, that day was not today.
I sit and stare at her in amazement at least once a day. Usually it's more. This girl is fancy. This girl is funny. She is silly and smart. And beautiful. I know I'm not supposed to emphasize beauty but I can't help it. She is a beautiful girl and I can't believe that she is mine. Well, sometimes I can. Like when she puts on her clown wig and rainbow pants. I totally believe it then. Because, duh.
I have been putting off writing this post. It's mostly because I have no idea what to say. My feelings are all over the place. She's two now. She's two. Two whole years old. And I am all at once in love with little ball of awesome energy she has become and wistful about the little tiny baby who lay skin to skin on my chest this very night two years ago.
She has changed and grown. She has learned to talk. She sings and dances. She dresses up and has mad fashion sense. She loves Dora the Explorer (Dora Bora!) and putting on a pwee-tee dwess (pretty dress). Her favorite foods are avocado and turkey wraps. Her favorite drink is still mama's milk. Her second favorite drink is apple juice. She has learned how to bring the best and the worst out of her brother and she is an expert in knowing when to play her cards with him. She knows her alphabet and the sounds the letters make. She is smart smart smart.
She is always excited to see you. She is always chatting with someone or something. She cares deeply for her babies and tells them how loved they are. She will rock and nurse her baby dolls to sleep and then let us all know that we need to "Shhhhh, a baby sweepy". She runs to most of the places she goes. Her amazing chub-a-lub jiggling, even though I notice when a roll disappears and is replaced by a longer body. And yes, that makes me sad. She was my squishiest baby. Maybe the squishiest baby of all time. I'm not ready to see those rolls go just yet. But she's running and jumping and climbing. Determined to grow them out. She has a twinkle in her eye and lilt in her sweet voice. She is gentle and kind and funny and loves her family.
But tonight as I sit here typing, all I can focus on is that she is my little itty-bitty baby. I can still feel her curled up like a kidney bean on my chest. Wrapped in a Moby wrap. Breathing her soft breath in my ear as we slept. Sometimes sleeping with her head stuck in my armpit. I remember the little barracuda baby who knew exactly what to do to get the milk from me. I am remembering the smell and lighting of the bedroom where we spent a lot of time during our first weeks together. How the bedside table lamp tossed a soft light on her face and how I would just stare at her. How when I sang to her, she would smile and coo along. I'm remembering the little baby who eventually won her brothers heart. She knew he'd come around. Because you can't help but love her. You just can't.
She made our family whole. That is how I am thinking of her tonight. Our last baby. Our Plum.
But she's is not a little baby anymore.
I knew she was the last and I made sure that I was soaking up the scents and soft snuggles of her babyhood. But I still want to go back for a few minutes and nuzzle my nose onto her soft fuzzy newborn head and take in her sweet baby scent. Just for a minute. I swear I'd come right back and be ready to move forward on this new chapter. But it seems there is no return but for dreaming. And time will march forward like it always does. What with the flying by...
So I will hold my heart in my hands and say out loud that I am so very sad at times when I think of how fast she has grown. My heart is squeezed and my breath is shallow as I fight tears, wishing I could hold my new babies just one more time. But then I am pulled back into this place. This time. And I hear her call out to me, frightened. Maybe from a dream or just not wanting to be alone. "Mama? Mama?!" and I jump up from my keyboard and slide into bed next to my sweet Plum and say "Mama's right here baby girl. Mama's right here. It's ok." She is immediately calmed. She makes the most beautiful sounds as she nurses back to sleep. And I am reminded that while she is not a baby anymore, she is still my baby. She will always be my baby.
Happy Birthday to you, my precious and loved baby girl. You light up my life every single day with your joy. You are a gift to this world. It is an honor to have been the first to love you. Love you always, Mama
Newborn Baby Plum
Daddy and I practice attachment parenting; Breastfeeding (well that's all me), co-sleeping, babywearing and we don't use the cry-it-out method or sleep training. Why we do these things is simple. It's not because it's the right way to parent. It's because it's how we would have parented anyway. It makes sense to us. It works. For us. Those pictures up there are the physical extensions of the style. The rest of it revolves around building trust with your child. Like believing that when a baby cries they are communicating with you and should be responded to no matter the time of day or night and that biology and instinct should not be ignored. But here's the thing, those things aren't exclusive to AP. It's just when you put all of those things together it is called Attachment Parenting. Because someone named it that. To me, it is just parenting.
AP is an approach, rather than a strict set of rules. It's actually the style that many parents use instinctively. Parenting is too individual and baby too complex for there to be only one way. The important point is to get connected to your baby, and the baby B's of attachment parenting help. Once connected, stick with what is working and modify what is not. You will ultimately develop your own parenting style that helps parent and baby find a way to fit – the little word that so economically describes the relationship between parent and baby.
Quoted from the site http://askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting. You can also find all the "baby B's" there.
I am not a rule follower. Actually I often say things like, "the rules are there ain't no rules" or "I know I'm not supposed to cuss around the children but I won't be tamed!" Ok, the latter one was more of a confession so just never mind that and let's keep going.
I never actively looked for a parenting style. I didn't comb through a bunch of books as my belly grew to gargantuan sizes hoping to find rules for bringing up our kids. I never took a breastfeeding class (totally should have). I never even considered
co-sleeping let alone bed sharing. We had a nursery set up and back-up formula in the cupboard just in case my boobs didn't make the milky-milks. My friend had given me a Moby
and I thought it was a smidgey bizarre (so, wait I'm supposed to wrap the tiny human to my body? Weird.) I thought I would probably do some sleep training too. My thought was that at around four months old, we would move the babies out of the room with us and into their own cribs in their own rooms. I figured that the transition would be a bit tough on everybody but that it would be important.
But then slowly things began to unfold differently than I thought they would. Mr. Pants didn't latch for the first eleven days of his life but my milk was enough to feed not just him but also all of the neighbor children. At four months old we had learned some things about him and sleep. Moving him into another room would have resulted in no one
sleeping. Wearing him helped his gas and sensory processing. Etcetera etcetera etcetera.....we evolved, we adapted and we experimented. And then one day it occurred to me that we were following the AP style. Not because we made a conscious choice to, but because it's what came naturally to us once crossed into parenthood and met our kid.
But I didn't answer my own question, right? What I asked you
was, "When I hear the term Attachment Parenting, I think .
So having said all that up there, here is my answer.
When I hear the term Attachment Parenting I think , "Ughhhhhhhh" (complete with dramatic facial expressions and over blown sigh). Sometimes
when I hear the term it makes me roll my eyes so hard. It's true. Not because I don't jive with the style (obvs), but because the term itself suuuuuucks. It's a craptastic name. Because it stops people from even knowing what it is before judging it to be ridiculous. It makes people think things like, "cut the cord, already!" or smothering parenting or creates defensiveness because well, the opposite of attached is detatched. There's no getting around that. And add in a few sancti-mommies making people feel less than enough by condemning other parenting styles and you've got the makings of an "I'm better than you" powder keg. Result? Mommy wars.
Like so very many things, Attachment Parenting has an image problem. And it's because the internet is a silly little place where misinformation spreads like herpes and people get wild hairs and rant (GUILTY!).
The loudest people are always the fanatical ones, right? That's true for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Ya know, the squeaky wheels and how they get the grease? That. Attachment Parenting has some really squeaky wheels, dudes. And squeaky wheels are experts at condescension and superior thinking. And they get noticed and put on TV in shows like Wife Swap and Extreme Parenting! They get interviewed on news shows and talk shows making us look like a bunch of douchecanoes. But I know
that "The Situation" Sorrentino does not represent the entire male population of New Jersey and I am POSITIVE that the vast majority of Christian parents are not like the self-proclaimed God Warrior
. So, my hope with this post is that most people will be able to see that the squeaky wheels do not represent all parents that use attachment parenting in their tool box. You know, people like me. Because I promise you that I'm not crazy and I don't think that you are either. The floor is now open for questions and comments. Just be nice or I will wrap you in a Moby and breastfeed you. ;)
Attachment Parenting has been quite the hot button topic this year right? Between the Time magazine cover and its own spokesmodel in Mayim Bialik (who I love, btw) and the media's pointed move deciding that Attachment Parenting is extreeeeeme. And yes, I just tried to type that word as though a snowboarding stoner said it. You know, because parenting is so extreeeeeme, dude.
If you read parenting blogs like I do, you will eventually find some on the subject. And then if you read enough of those, you will most definitely come across more than a few who think it is just an awful way to parent a kid. I've let my blood boil a few times about this because I can be an emotional volcano (SURPRISE!). The truth is, it's hard to read posts that make fun of the way you parent or even go those steps further to call your parenting hurtful or even crazy and cult-like.
If I'm being honest I have even taken those posts pretty personally. I get all offended and I say things to Daddy like, "LOOK at this! This lady is such an asshole! She is judging the shit out of us and she doesn't even know us! She isn't even explaining AP right!" and then I pause and it occurs to me that I have just judged her, too. I have decided that she is a cold and unfeeling asshole that hates me and my family. My only recourse then is to make myself feel better by deciding she is probably a terrible, cold and soul-less parent, right? Her poor children probably sleep on stone slabs without blankets
Someone said to me recently, if you put three religious extremists in a room together, they will kill each other. I disagree. I whole-heartedly believe that if you put those three in a room long enough, they will emerge peacefully. They may not become besties but I believe that they will understand each other better because they will find reasons to not hate
each other. It's hard to hate those that you find common ground with. It's hard to hate what is standing right in front of you. And I believe that every single one of us has common ground to discover in every person. No matter how different we are. Even in this war zone of opposing parenting styles, we can find common ground. Because we are wired as humans to try and find that common ground.
But we cannot find it without first going into that room together. And that's uncomfortable. We worry about the intentions of the others and fear their potential judgment of us. So we then gather up our defenses to arm ourselves with judgments in preparation for counter attacks. Also a very human thing to do, no?
We humans are bunch of dummies sometimes.
I've been wondering recently if we really can
rise above the so-called mommy wars. I wonder what it is that fuels it. I wonder what the bottom line is. And I keep coming back to the internet itself. The internet keeps us out
of the room. It keeps us safe and gives people license to say things they would never dream of saying to someone's face. It creates a space for snap judgments and anonymity with little regard for damage. But what it doesn't provide is a shield for our feelings. And we are only human, after all. We cannot shut those off. Oh how I've tried.
So what inspired this current ramble of mine? On our Facebook page I asked this question... "Wanna help me? I have a question for you and there are NO wrong answers (I mean that). When you hear the term Attachment Parenting, what do you think? Your first reaction. Be TOTALLY honest, pretty please. I'm writing a post and would LOVE your input. ~Mama Pants"
My intention was to write a post about attachment parenting. Tomorrow I will post my personal answer to the question that I asked of all of you. It may not be what you think (Or it may be exactly what you think). But then as I read through the comments on our Facebook page I noticed something happening. I have long suspected that this blog has readers of vastly different parenting styles and the Facebook thread validated that. People began opening up and taking risks. People were honest. There were negative and positive reactions to the term Attachment Parenting. Some opened up further and shared some of their parenting tools with the group. Some were more succinct, answering the question with two or three words. But you know what? Nobody fought.
No one said anything rude directed at another commenter. There was even some peer support going on. And let me tell you that I know for a fact that some of the ideas expressed rubbed some people the wrong way, including me. But instead of fighting about it, there was pause given. I noticed that many comments began with phrasing similar to "please don't judge me but here's what I think". People braced themselves for an attack but the attack never came.
Like our newest reader, Jenny. She had this to say: "I'm going to be honest, I was nervous when I mentioned the name Ferber & semi-'dissed' the Moby.... But I will say... It is SOOO refreshing to know that we can all voice our opinions & they all be so different :-) without fear of retaliation or judgment.... Totally encouraging!!! So glad I 'liked' this page this morning!!"
And something else kind of awesome happened in that thread. Common ground started to form. It would seem that the parenting style of "love your kids, do what works best for your family, trust your instincts and eff the haters" started to emerge. And that's a style I think I'd like to write a book about someday.
I always wanted to have an epilogue on a blog post. Forgive me. I know it's ridiculous and makes sense to no one but me.
It is my goal for 2013 to grow the Facebook page as a place for conversation and discussion about parenting. For everybody
. You know, like that room I talked about up there. It's gonna be tricky because despite our best intentions, talking about parenting choices can often be a minefield. And the whole feelings and the internet thing. But I have high hopes that it can become a great thing. My belief is that we have so much more in common than not. And that the only way to truly play a part in ending the parenting wars is to get into that room together. So consider this your invitation. I'd love to see you there. Come join us on Facebook here and bring your friends. We have a community to build.
Wait, what?? Did I just say I was still
I've been asked that very question a few times recently. Those who asked weren't grossed out or offended or anything like that (at least I don't think they were). Instead they seemed genuinely interested, if a bit puzzled. The follow up question is usually, "When are you planning on stopping?" You can find the answers below but first, if you read this blog regularly then you know that first I must ramble on about stuff.
Asking questions is more than ok with me. We live in a culture that arbitrarily judges us for just about every decision we make. Oh and of course there's the sexualization of boobs, too. It's not surprising to me that many people are shocked by seeing a nursing toddler and I don't think people are bad if they find it different. I equate it to my shock and awe of macrobiotic diets. I am genuinely intrigued by how people do it. It seems like such work
. As I sit here lazily munching on my sea salt and dill Triscuits, a macro fairy is crying. But to each their own, right? I try to approach questions like the ones above with an understanding that most people are just curious. And that's cool.
I'm not sure that made sense to anyone but me but... moving on.
I've been having a lot of moments
lately. You know the ones where your eyes get all wet and you start thinking about all the amazing moments you've already lived and how you never want to forget them? I keep staring at Plum every time she nurses and remembering all the years I have been nursing my babies and how it won't be long before she begins to wind down now that her vampire teeth are starting to actually cut.
I've been crying the love tears, you guys. There is something completely insane about watching your last baby grow into an almost two year old. And I have been beating back my dread that her second birthday is only three months away. Because I think, for me, that will ring the final round bell on this chapter of babyhood in our lives. Three months. That's all we have left. I look at her and I still see my little baby. But I cannot fight time. So when I find myself with moments of quiet, I have been thinking myself into a tizzy remembering the scents and soft giggles of nursing my babies when they were tiny. The sweet gurgle sounds of a tiny babe gulping down a satisfying dinner. The milky grin
they flash in the middle of it as if to say "Oh mama, this is delicious!" And then just as I'm near a rush of tears I cannot stop, I am jolted back into this
moment because there is a toe up my nose and a giggling toddler that thinks she is just hysterical for putting it there.
And, of course, she is.
So last night as Plum nursed through the pain of cutting of one of her canines (one down three to go!), I started to giggle. Because instead of being sad about her babyhood slipping away, I thought about all the things about nursing her as a toddler that are awesome. Like these things...
1. She's always on the move. Toddlers are active little people and this can make for some very, um, interesting nursing positions. This graphic? It's not wrong...
2. She is generous. A few nights a week, Plum thinks that George
could use a little mama milk. Especially when they are drifting off to sleep. So she will hold him over the available boob and share her night-night milk. It's pretty much the sweetest thing ever.
3. She is always falling down or running into something because she has the coordination of a newborn baby elephant. Her injuries on display with bumps to the head and bruises to the knees. Her heart breaks every single time
she falls. Which is approximately 14 times a day. And do you know what takes the awful away? My boobs.
4. She is funny. Plum thinks it is super fun to dress up or read book while nursing. It's not always pretty since she is attached to my body while trying to flip the pages of a book. I often get smacked in the face with a turning page and she thinks that's just awful. "Oh no!", she will say after popping off to see if I'm ok. She'll rub my chin to make it feel better, latch back on and turn a new page. Rinse. Repeat.
Little bunny foo foo messing with the garland needed a snack
5. She is grateful. I'm not sure there is anything sweeter than when Plum thanks me, hops down and goes about her business. "Tanks ah Muk", she says.
6. She has things to do. Remember when you were nursing your newborn and they wanted to eat 23 of the 24 hours in a day? Or when each meal took forever? Yeah, Plum has no kind of time for that noise. She is in and out inside of a few minutes so she can get back to her job of destroying our Christmas tree. She has priorities, man. I can respect that.
Pretty much the saddest Christmas tree you've ever seen
7. And finally, she is not ready to wean. So we go at her pace. It's a very relaxed pace, too. Gone are the days when she had to nurse for all
of her nutriton. I won't rush her because there's no reason to. She will
wean someday. That's a sure thing among the sea of unsure things about parenting. Someday she will stop. Someday I will never nurse any of my children again.
It has been wonderful nursing my babes. But now that she is big enough, I no longer need to call the shots. And as that thought brings tears to my eyes, I will just leave it at that.
Well, I'm off to do some research on how best to help crying children when you can no longer put a boob in their mouth. Because while Mr. Pants is weaned he isn't into mama cuddling the pain the away (No, um...that doesn't kill me inside. Why do you ask?) and I have a feeling that Plum won't either. My feeling is based on the fact that she goes from zero to enraged in no time at all. And there's also her tendency to dramatically moan and fall on purpose only to become incensed when you try to assist her (I can do it MYSELF!!). So yeah, I'm kind of hoping she decides to nurse for a good while longer so that I can get a handle on this before I lose the best tool in my tool box.
What is your favorite thing about nursing a toddler? Will you miss it?
It's Friday morning and already I am in a tizzy. All over the webternet there are news reports that have me crabby and questioning this life. Like how in the hell am I supposed to live with Ho-Hos? I have been thinking in question form today. And this is what it looks like if I just let it rip....
1 If Hostess goes under
, how will I survive the two times a year I that only a box of Ho-Hos will make me feel better? It's no secret that "Swiss Cake Rolls" are an insult. And of coarse the bigger question is why can't a CEO sit down at the table to negotiate with his workers? Why is it better to close up shop and throw 18,000 people into unemployment 6 weeks before Christmas? Why can't people just compromise anymore? And also, what about Zingers? Does NO ONE care about losing Zingers?
2. When will Facebook stop deleting and banning women for their breastfeeding pictures
? More to the point, when will people stop getting their unders in a twist and reporting the photographs in the first place? Why can't people stop being afraid of boobs when they are feeding kids but go and turn a blind eye to the blatent porn that passes for a magazine cover? Why would feeding a baby offend anyone? When will people stop sucking? WHY? WHEN? AHHHH!!!! Seriously, does this offend you? (sidenote: I don't hate magazines.) But if you have a righteous itch to scratch then maybe consider getting up in arms about the seventy quadrillion pages and photos on Facebook that objectify women. And men. And kids. Because they exist.
3. How in the world did I muster the balls to cut Mr. Pant's hair? And also, what do you think? It's blurry because it would take a horse tranqualizer to slow him down this morning.
4. Why is my dryer dying? Does it hate me?
5. Why do people want to secede from the very country that is cool enough to let them be a douche and petition to secede
? Because they don't like the current President? Hmmmm....I spent eight years being a bit bummed about my country's choice in President. Ok, you're right, I was more than a bit bummed. I even cried on election night. I get it. I really do. But um...secede? Like for REAL? Dudes, come on. I'm rolling my eyes so hard I am seeing out of the back of my head.
6. Did my kid just go to the sliding glass door, place his butt to the glass and say, "Wook, kitty, wook! I have poop in my butt"?
7. Are my kids taking everything out of the cupboards as I type this? I better go.... Ok, then that's over. Feel free to add your 2 cents in the comments. Or 6 cents. What questions fill YOUR brain this morning? I can't be the only one with burning questions...
Perhaps a better title would be...
Step Away from the Buttholes in the Comment Section of Divisive Parenting Articles.
Because you know what? People are assholes. And I say that with the knowledge that I have been one of those assholes and am reformed. I'm just so done with anyone judging my parenting and I have been working hard to be sure that I'm not judging theirs.
I admit. As a new mom I was fresh off a dose of hormones and emotions. There were times when I just couldn't imagine how any baby not born to me could ever be loved. Times when I cried about the idea of a baby sleeping in a crib. Or sat at my keyboard in horror reading about xyz thing that I didn't do. I was high on new mom love and post-surgical Vicodin. I have asked the parenting Universe for forgiveness and moved on. I know not who that woman is anymore. It wasn't me.
In the interest of full disclosure, I throw out my exceptions: Don't hurt your kids. Don't abuse them. Don't endanger them by driving drunk or making them go base jumping. Don't be a mean and unloving a-hole. If you can promise me that you can do those things, then I will promise you that I am in your corner.
All of those other things I used to think are gone. I'm not hating. I refuse. There are so many bull roaring arguments on the web about what is The Right Way to raise children. And tonight, my head nearly exploded as I read the most recent article on parenting
over at the Huff Post. The article is being passed around like herpes. More fuel for the mommy wars fire. You can see me shaking my head right now, right?
Being a liberal, the Huff Post is often my sanctuary. Not tonight. Tonight it was an all-out parent judge fest. On the site, Facebook and my Twitter feed. Sides were being taken. Name calling.
"AP parents coddle their kids and make them weak!" OR "... pushy attachment breastfeeders lol!! " OR "We are already seeing a generation of kids who can't get out of their own way because of helicopter parenting." OR... oh eff it. You get the point. Judgy pointy fingers are wagging.
I'm tired of all of this in fighting.
As a matter of fact, I'm just tired. I should be in bed, but my blood pressure spiked reading about how my kids are going to be wussy pants sissy crybabies from people who don't know me or my kids. I wanted to put on a pot of coffee and take to the comment section like crazed mama bear and intelligently brow beat the handful of asshats that got me so fired up. I was trying the pull Daddy Pants from his brand new video game to discuss it. He wasn't into it.
I wanted to start linking research to challenge and debunk the author's assertions that attachment parenting is detrimental to kids and marriages. I wanted to tell her that being an asshole to Mayim Bialik is rude. Yep! She took a stab at Blossom. I mean, Blossom
. She's just raising her kids. Just like me. Just like you. Probably while wearing an oversized hat and adorable flower print dress with high tops. I've got no time for Blossom hate.
I wanted to scream in ALL CAPS at the author, "Attachment Parenting does not equal helicopter parenting!" But even if it did, so effing what? Some people are more comfortable being helicopter parents. They aren't bad people. They aren't bad parents. Just like I am not a bad parent for being not close enough to my toddler to catch her as she fell from a climber this summer. I wasn't next her. She fell. I'm a good mom anyway.
Because the big reveal here is that none of us are going to raise perfect people. We just aren't. I mean we have to all know that on some level. We do the best we can and we try to teach our kids how to live in this world. But not a single one of us will do it perfectly.
Why are we competing like we can?
Ok, man. I'm going to bed. I'm going to snuggle my toddler who is also sleeping in my bed tonight. She is going to wake up about four more times because she is teething hard and I am going to nurse her. And I would challenge you to not care at all about that or assume things about me because of it. Because if you are going to bed tonight with your child in a crib in another room, then that is what you do. And I am not holding it against you.
Vaccinate/don't vaccinate, Breastfeed/Formula feed, Babywear/ or don't, co-sleep/crib sleep, stay at home moms/work outside the home moms, Single parents/dual parenting, religious parenting/atheist parenting, helicopter parents/free range kids. Whatever.
I'm holding up a sign right now in my living room that says, "GO YOU! LOVE YOUR KIDS!"
Come on over and drink this kool-aid with me. It feels good to stop being a judgmental douchecanoe.*
I parent my kids, you parent yours. Let's not be assholes.
*I've been waiting to say 'douchecanoe' for some time now. Finally found the perfect spot for it. But I cannot take credit for its brilliance.Thanks Jessica! Or HB! Or whoever said it first. I love you.
I've been nutso busy this week. Ok, that's not true. I've been playing with my kids in the back yard. Sorry I lied to you. It's just that it's so fun back there now. I'll post more on that in a week or two because the "Backyard of Awesome" project is not yet complete. With Mr. Pants turning three, other family birthdays, Memorial Day and playing in the yard, I haven't had much alone time at the computer and I've been a little behind on the writing. But it really is because I can't stop playing with these kids. I am currently engaged in an all day everyday attempt to re-program both of them into giving high fives instead of pushing each other and laughing maniacally. I thought my strategy was brilliant until yesterday when they had "Pushfest 2012". Fuzzbuckets. I must break this kid from pushing. I am guessing kids at the park will not love it like Plum does.
After pushing her down and returning to the playhouse, Plum laughs and laughs and returns for more. My weaksauce, "No pushing! Only high fives!" strategy is failing miserably...
So while I've been playing with these two and wracking my brain for a successful "no pushing" strategy, I did write something for the blog I Am Not The Babysitter
. Remember that Time magazine cover a few weeks ago? You know the one
. Well, Jamie Lynne Grumet was the mama on that cover and she's been working hard to change the topic of conversation from the cover photo "controversy" into the reason she agreed to do it in the first place. To normalize breast feeding past infancy. She asked some other mamas to contribute to her most recent post and I am so happy that I could help. I answer to the myth that breast milk loses its nutritional value at one year and also talk about people's judgment of mamas nursing toddlers. Because you know I'm all about spreading the breastfeeding love. So if you are so inclined, head on over there and check it out! You'll find some great answers to common myths about nursing. Straight from mamas that are nursing toddlers.
And while you're there, check out her story
. It's pretty amazing.
I woke up this morning with that awesome feeling you get after having just hung out with your friend. That feeling of relief and readiness to tackle life because you spent some time getting filled up. Talking, laughing, sharing. It's a really excellent way to first wake up to the day. But then after a minute in my waking haze, it occured to be that my friend was gone. And that I only get to see him in my dreams now. That's the part that slaps you across the face a bit. Pulls the rug out from under you. Hurts your heart. And takes you back to that first moment that you knew he was gone. At least it does for me. I made my morning coffee with a lump in my throat and I needed to have a good cry. Because still, almost two years later, I miss my friend. And my tears flowed without any help from me. So happy that I got to see him and so sad that he is gone.
It didn't take very long for me to realize that today is April 14. And that this day is significant. It is two years ago on this week that I last saw the real Bo. We went to lunch with our work pals. But at that lunch I saw the beginnings of the end for him. I hadn't seen it before that day. For the last year and half he had been seeking alternate treatments for the cancer in his body because he had been told he had just a month, maybe two to live. I mean, what the heck right? You'll try anything.
There was an awkward moment at first between us when I first suggested that there was encouraging research about breastmilk and it's ability to kill cancer cells. I mean, that's bit unconventional. Bo was a father figure to me and here I was suggesting that I pump my milk for him. AWKWARD! But that subsided quickly. Because while we didn't actually talk much about it, he left a note on my desk at work a few weeks into it. All it said was, "I feel GOOD!". I closed my door to my office and had a good cry. Because even though I knew I couldn't cure him with breastmilk, maybe, for just a bit, it could help him feel better. And it did.
After that we had a little fun with "The Exchange". I would bring it to the shelter and stash it in the basement freezer, he'd arrive and we'd pretend not to see eachother as he jetted by with his cooler toward the basement to get the goods. There was a milk deal going down. Then after he stashed it in his truck, he come back in. And as if it were the first time he'd seen me that morning, he'd say, "Oh hey Colleen". He always greeted people like that, "Oh hey (your name here)".
Well he lived for another year and a half after that initial two months left prognosis. Nine months of which he took my milk with his morning oatmeal. Or a smoothie. And until that lunch date (three weeks before he passed), he was strong and very much himself. He died a few weeks later. I had seen him twice after April 14 but those two times, he wasn't able to speak. The lesions on his brain were growing too fast and rendering him unable to get words out. So it was April 14 that I got to last talk
to my friend. No wonder I dreamt about him last night.
So, the dream was simple. I knew Bo was coming over to visit. I go to the bedroom to get a freshly napped Ms. Plum when I hear the door open to the living room and I hear his voice. "Oh Hey, Mr. Pants.", Bo says to my boy. And then calls out to me, "Where's that sweet baby?". I head out with Plum and he reaches for her. The kicker is that she reaches for him too. And if you know Ms. Plum's current stage of development, then you know that she's not so keen on anybody but mama right now. Willingly and eagerly going to others isn't currently in her skill set. But in my dream she reached for him. He held her. And he talked to her, "Well aren't you so pretty?", "You're such a big healthy girl!", "Are you being good for your mama?" and "She's so perfect" are what he said. And they are only parts of the rest of the dream that I remember. Everything else is blurry.
I have written before
about my struggle with knowing what, if anything, in this life goes on after we die. And the practical part of me knows that I have had a few moments recently when I wished that Bo and Ms. Plum could have known each other. I found out she was on the way about two months after he died. And I'm sure the science of the brain intervened to help me bring these two together in my dream last night. But maybe, just maybe, a part of me hopes that he came to visit from somewhere in my heart instead. Or even better, from his.
I hope that he keeps coming back to watch my children grow and to have coffee and chat. Because I still miss my friend. And even though it makes me sad when I realize all over again when I wake, that he is gone. It's ok. I'll take it, if it means I get to hang out with him.
So today I will honor him. I'm going to put a little extra love into the world today. Maybe, you can to.