Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby News!

Just a quick note to those who haven't heard yet. I had the baby!
Isaac was born Dec 23rd at 12:51pm after about 3.5 hours of labour. He was born at home in a pool in my living room. Caught by my friend Megan while Caleb cheered in the background and Adam held me close. It was an amazing an beautiful labour and birth and I'm in the process of writing up my birth story and will post it as soon as it's done. Oh, he was 6lbs and 10oz and 20 inches long. Just 5oz smaller than his big brother. Caleb is so affectionate with his brother and Isaac is already turning into a little pork chop :)
I'm feeling really well except for the fact that I got a nasty 24hr flu bug yesterday. Caleb spend the day at my moms while I went between the couch and toilet with a newborn in one hand and a bucket in the other. So grateful for the wonderful support that I have around me. I can't thank my mom and Adam enough for taking care of me! I'm still a little nauseous today but compared to yesterday I'm feeling way better.
I don't have any pictures on my computer yet so I can't upload any of Isaac but I will post some with my birth story. But now Caleb has woke up from his ridiculously short nap so he's needing some extra hugs. He has come down with a nasty cold, the poor little guy. Thankfully he's the only one with the cold and he has avoided the flu bug.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I've Read

I thought that after the summer I would find more time to write but apparently that isn't quite the way things are working out. I try to take it easy, especially in this weather and at this stage of pregnancy, but for some reason silly little things keep making it into my schedule to tie up my time.
But I really wanted to post on some of the great books I've read over the last year.
A lot of them have been about birth and breastfeeding and parenting. Here's the list on that topic:
Mothering your Nursing Toddler: Norma Jane Bumgarner
Natural childbirth the Bradley Way: Susan McCutcheon
Pregnancy and Birth, the Best Evidence: Joyce Barrett, MD & Teresa Pitman
The Discipline Book: Dr Sears
Ina May’s guide to Childbirth: Ina May Gaskin
Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Hilary Flower
Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: La Leche League International
The Breastfeeding Answer Book: La Leche League International
Silent Knife-Cessarean Prevention & Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: N.W. Cohen & L.J. Estner

I have learned so much from reading all these books. It's amazing how there are certain books you and read and they meet you exactly where you're at and make you feel like you're really on the right track. I truly don't enjoy reading books that tell me I'm doing everything wrong!

Another topic of interest to me has been homeschooling and education in general. Here are some of the books I've read in regard to that topic:
Playful Learning-An Alternate Approache to Preschool: Anne Engelhardts & Cheryl Sullivan
The Homeschool Handbook: Mary Griffith
Why So Many Christians are Going Home to School: Llewellyn B. Davis
For the Children's Sake: Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Maralyn Rockett

I haven't read any books on homesteading but I have spent a large amount of time looking at articles and websites online about it. For those of you (like me) who are newbies to this phrase, it basically means getting back to living off the land. This is something that people do both in cities as well as in rural areas. I have always been intrigued by this lifestyle. I love reading books about the Amish for example and learning about how they live with no electicity or vehicles (though some do have those things of course). It's silly but I've even incorporated some of their ideas about housework. The biggest thing is probably that (most of) the Amish women in the books do laundry on Mondays. So now Mondays I make sure to do a load or two of laundry.

I have a couple of books that I'd really like to take some more time to talk about because of the impact they've made in my life. I would love to tell you what I've learned about all the books but I think that would just take to much time. If you have questions about a particulat book or even just a topic in general that I've been looking into feel free to ask and I'll fill you in more on what I've learned.

So there's two books that have quite radically changed my thinking (and lifestyle)but, unfortunatly, I don't have time to type more right now! So yes, I'm going to leave you in suspense for those two. I'll start typing up on the first book and I'm not actually finished the second one yet but I hope that you can get something out of my experiences with them too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sippy Cups - Good, Bad or Ugly?

So I have a love-hate relationship with sippy cups. I personally believe that there is no reason for a child to ever use sippy cups as their full time cups. I understand that fluid requirements for a formula fed baby are a little different but a breastfed baby can get all of it's fluid from breastmilk directly up till about a year. After that point most children are very capable of using a regular cup. Of course this will depend on how often the mother nurses but generally speaking, if your baby is thirsty, just feel free to nurse him/her. But then there are a lot of moms out there who don't share this viewpoint or are not able/willing to let their baby nurse for thirst as well as hunger. Enter the sippy cup.

I'll start with some of the things that I don't like about them.
Speech issues: because of the way a baby/child sucks on the sippy, it hinders the proper movement and development of the jaw and tounge and can lead to speech delays and/or speech impediments. Kids who live with a sippy cup in their mouth are more likely to need speech therapy.
Cavities: when a baby/child drinks from a sippy cup the drink deposits on their teeth. It's very similar to the reasons that you should let your baby sleep with a bottle of anything other than water. Water in a sippy would be fine, milk is alright but walking around with juice or *gasp* pop! in a sippy should be no-nos.
Delayed cup skills: a baby/child (fyi: I say child because I know plenty of 4-5 year olds who still use sippies) using a sippy cup won't learn to use a normal cup as quickly. They don't learn that tipping causes spills and they can't control the flow of their drink as easily. Since they're not used to it, it's going to take them longer to use these skills. Yes, they will eventually learn but will they still be having issues when they hit kindergarden? Is that really the best time for a child to learn that a cup spills if they bump it? (This depends on how long the sippy cup is used of course.)

I will be honost, I REALLY don't like sippies. I have a couple that I started using with Caleb but he was drinking on his own from a cup at a year so we've never really had a big need for them. I also took the valves out so they were more just a cup with a pour spout (you don't suck the same way on a pour spout). Caleb is perfectly capable at 2.5 to drink from a regular cup. He can even drink while he's walking (I can't even do that, I need to stop walking)! He's very good about trying not to spill (though he's only 2.5 so sometimes he spills his drink, sometimes he spills mine, that's just life with a toddler). He only gets water when he wants to drink elsewhere than the table. He only gets a little bit of water when he wants to walk to the other room with it (less spill to clean up). Milk and tea stay at the table.

That being said, sippies can come in very handy. We've used them on car trips (mostly to the midwife) when we're driving and trying to do a meal at the same time. I put water or milk in it and he can put it in his cup holder or give it back to me. That way if we go over a bump or he drops it we're not dealing with a major spill in the car. I think that's pretty much the only time we use them. I could get a bottle with a spout that I know he will use just fine in the car (at this age anyway, maybe not a year ago) but I already had the cups in my house. Though he got frustrated with the lack of control over the flow so he stuck his finger through the holes in the spout.... not much of a sippy cup anymore lol! I'm still a big fan of cups with lids and spouts (Tupperware has some great ones) and I think that I'll buy some of those when the next baby hits that 1.5 - 2 year mark and decides he/she needs water in the car just because mama has her bottle.

So that's a bit of my thoughts on sippies. And now I'm off to have a nap... or maybe I'll read a bit... darn I just remembered I have to fold laundry before Caleb wakes up. The job of a mom is never done is it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Steps to a Better Life

I just read a really inspirational post on trying to "do it all." I came across this mama's blog a while back and she had some very similar ideas about lifestyle that I do. She called her post "The Impossible is Possible."

There are some really terrific women in my life who seem to have it all together. They eat the the right kinds of foods (unprocessed, whole ingredients, made from scratch etc) and homeschool their children, exercise regularly, volunteer, garden, keep a clean house, spend personal time studying Scripture, run a business, do "crafty" things, and still have time for playdates and husbands! I am so far from being organized (or energetic) enough to do even half of that. I know that these women didn't accomplish this all overnight. But I have still looked at them and thought "I wish I could do that." I have tried to stop saying things like that. I don't want to "wish away" chunks of my life. I want to be content where I'm at in life and enjoy each stage of life that I go through.

I love the saying that we are a work in progress. That's totally how I feel. And it's kind of great knowing that the Lord's not done with me yet. I don't have to feel like I've "arrived" because, until I get to heaven or the Jesus comes again, I haven't arrived. I still on the journey. So I reflected a bit last week on how I've grown in mostly intangible ways and I want to take a bit of time this week to talk about some of the steps that we've made toward the lifestyle we feel called to.

Over the last few years a BIG change we have made is in our diets. We used to buy a lot of premade meals (I didn't cook a lot) and processed snacks. I now cook most of the time (I still throw in a frozen lasagna once in a while) and try to make sure that those meals are well-balanced (i.e. enough veggies). Our snacks usually consist of crackers n cheese, or fresh fruit, or yogurt, or homemade (healthy) muffins or cookies. We also only do whole wheat bread and pastas. It was much easier for us to get motivated to eat healthier when Caleb started eating more with us. I really don't want his little body to get filled up with junk. I want to give his body things that are more natural and flow through his system without clogging arteries or filling him up with foods that have empty calories. I want him to learn to take pride in the body that God has blessed him with. In order to do that, we need to do it ourselves. That doesn't mean that we don't EVER have chips or cake (remember the apple pie I mentioned last week?). It just means that we choose not to keep that kind of stuff in the house on a regular basis. Adam and I are also learning to take better care of our bodies and we feel much better for it. It's amazing how a couple of eggs, whole wheat toast, homemade hashbrowns and a glass of milk make you feel for the rest of the morning! And then something as simple as spaghetti with whole wheat noodles and ground beef and tomato sauce with corn or carrots mixed in makes for a delicious healthy dinner.

Another change that we made was the switch to cloth diapers. I originally thought about doing cloth right from the time that Caleb was born. But I never got around to it. And when I signed off my business when he was about 10 or 11 months old my reward was to switch to cloth. It felt like a LOT of work at first but I was so passionate about the switch and since I used it as a "reward" to officially closing my business it was a lot more fun. Plus I was able to focus on the cute diapers that you can get when you do cloth and the fact that we were saving money and saving the environment... it was just a very exciting time. Next step is to hang my diapers to dry instead of putting them in the washer. My baby step toward this is to hang Caleb's nighttime diapers. He only has about 6 or 7 a week that I wash and need to hang up so it's very easy to take the few minutes to do so. When the newborn comes in a couple of months it will be more like 20 diapers every other day that I will need to hang. But I can still do baby steps and choose to hang them even once a week, or once a month if that's all I can manage. At least it will be a step closer to my goal.

Another accomplishment that I feel really good about is some volunteer work that I've had the opportunity to do. I get to support other mothers and even though it's really only a couple days a month that I put in regularly, it's great knowing that every little bit counts.

I have a list of 4 items that I want to plant in a garden next spring. I would love to have TONNES more but I feel like I can handle 4. Over the winter I'm planning to read about how to grow these items and how to prepare the soil etc. And I'm going to get Adam involved too (he can do more of the manual labour) and I know that Caleb will just have a blast finding out how seeds grow. Caleb already loves the dirt so it will be a really fun family project to do together. That's the way I'm looking at it. If I think about all the work involved and all the things I want to plant in the future then I will get overwhelmed. But a 4 item garden next year is better than no garden this year.

I've also read a lot about homeschooling and talked to a number of moms I know that have homeschooled or are currently homeschooling about how to start off with a toddler. It's very exciting that Caleb is getting old enough to "learn." But then I have to remind myself that he's been learning so much all of his life. Adam was always supportive of "my decision" to homeschool but it's been really great to see him not only support me but become pretty passionate about the topic himself. That's a huge step forward. I would love to buy a really great preschooler curriculum for Caleb right now and dive right in. But in reality he's 2 and a half! I do have somewhat of a more relaxed game plan for him over the course of the next year. A large part of which consists of going to the library regularly. He LOVES to be read too and will often sit on the floor with a book and "read" to himself. He was actually finding letters on the cracker box on the way home from groceries today. ("F, F, F, bigger F, where's Q? S, *sss*, *sss*, BOOM!" In addition to the library we walk around the farm and just talk about the animals and the plants and we talked a lot about harvesting. We've been talking about babies and birth a lot. Next spring we'll talk about gardening and where fruits and veggies come from. It'll just be living life. Way simpler than a full curriculum!

Another change was getting rid of cleaning chemicals. I'm not really one to put a "plug" in for a particular product but I would just like to say that I LOVE Norwex. I know that there are other great companies out there who sell similar stuff but my favorite thing is the antibacterial clothes. They came in especially handy when Caleb was potty training. I could just wipe up the mess (pee anyway), rinse the rag, and hang it up ready to use for next time. I also love them for when he was a newborn and I dropped a toy on the mall floor. I could just take my rag out, wipe it up, and know that it was clean. Plus they're still super soft but grippy enough to use when he's got jam or peanut butter or spaghetti sauce all over his face.

I have a number of other things that I would love to do with my time but for now I am just taking it day by day. I'm so thankful for the strength and guidance the Lord has given me so far and I know that He will continue to guide our steps towards living a healthier, simpler lifestyle. So that was a little longer than I intended but I hope that you enjoyed reading about some positive things. Like Kelli mentions in her post, there are many areas that I need to work on but I'm trying to be the kind of mom God wants me to be and live the life I'm called to live!

Feel free to leave a comment either here or on my facebook with some of the positive changes that you've made to your life in the last few years :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


As I am enjoying some quiet time while Caleb is napping I realized that I'm quite bored right now. Sure there are plenty of things that I could be doing. Well... most of it consists of different aspects of housework. Instead I'm sitting here eating my second piece of pie (and last because it's all gone now) and reflecting a bit over the last year. I realized that I've had this blog for a whole year now! And what a year it has been.

I've learned so much about myself and my family. Did you know that raising a toddler is a lot more "work" than a newborn is? A newborn's needs are (usually) easily filled (diaper, snuggles, nursing). A toddler is mobile and has opinions and is essentially a little person, minus the logic and reasoning skills that adults have. (Or should have?) Watching Caleb put his boots and coat on to play in his sandbox is absolutely incredible. It's amazing how independent he can be. But then he gets tired and cold and still needs his mama right there too. He's super excited when I wake him up to go to Little Lambs (a children's story hour at my church) but then needs me to sit with him for 5-10 minutes before he's comfortable enough for me to leave. I really enjoy reading to Caleb (which we do a LOT these days) and doing puzzles and baking with him. I love that he wants to go out to work with his Papa as often as he can. I love that he wanted to follow his Opa & Oma (my parents) back to their place when they came by to tell me happy birthday. It's amazing to watch Caleb's vocabulary take off and see his interests expand and develop.

I've learned that my purpose right now is to create a safe and loving home environment for my family. It was very hard for me when I gave up my career to stay at home but I certainly don't regret it. I love being able to build my life around my family instead of trying to fit my family into my life. I've become a lot more content with my role as a SAHM. I'm still not keen on the cooking and cleaning end of things but I try to remind myself that those things are a way of serving my family. It helps that Adam doesn't mind having spaghetti at least once a week as long as I throw in an evening of shake n bake chicken once in a while.

I've spent the last year doing a lot of reading and learning about birth and breastfeeding as well as homeschooling. It's been fascinating to find out all of this neat stuff that I get to apply to my family's life. And it's been great to see Adam become more and more excited about homeschooling too. He was always supportive but excitement about it is even better.

Caleb and I have made some great friends over the last year and had tonnes of playdates. He's starting to get better with sharing and he not only remembers his friend but is finally saying their names. It's awesome to be able to to tell him which friend we are going to visit and he gets excited to play with them. He even recognizes vehicles when they pull up in the yard! Though I have learned to not mention the playdate until right before we leave or right before they arrive. Saves us the heartache if plans change or if he skips his nap out of excitement.

The impending arrival of our new little one is coming. I actually have a frozen meal in my freezer (which is more than I had with Caleb) so hopefully I can get some more made so we don't starve. We are still trying to figure out sleeping arrangements as Caleb is still pretty keen on snuggling really close to me at night. He also still likes to nurse down so it will be interesting to see how those things will need to be adjusted when there's a newborn in the bed too. My hope is that Caleb will snuggle more with his Papa instead of me. We've also been talking about how babies need lots of diapers (to which Caleb replies that he doesn't need diapers because he's a big boy) and that they need lots of "milkies." Caleb is usually pretty good with saying he will share milkies with the new baby so that's a very good thin. He also hugs my belly and says "hi" to the baby. I'm in the process of making a book for him on his entrance into the world with my digital scrapbooking program. I still have a lot more work to do on it though so I will really need to make the effort to get it done by Christmas.

I think that Caleb is about to wake up now though (I can hear his breath change in the monitor right now) so that's all for now folks! Happy Birthday to me and Yay! for a whole year of blogging!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Exclusive Club

So last night when Adam came in from milking he wanted me to listen to a song. He said that the words really spoke to him. The song was "I Believe in Angels" by George Canyon.
I had heard the song before but I don't usually pay really close attention to the words when I'm listening to the radio. Adam listens to the radio pretty much all day every day when he's working in the machinery or milking in the parlour. Not to mention that he has an amazing aptitude for deciphering and remembering lyrics anyway (i.e. he knows what AC/DC is saying!).

Anyway, back to the song. There is a line that says "to watch them sleep how could anyone say that there's no Heaven? Man, there's no way" That was the line that Adam really wanted me to hear (and we actually had to replay that part because I coughed or shuffled a plate or something during those two seconds *oops*). He mentioned that it was a great line in a great song but there was more to it than that. We both sat there and totally agreed with George Canyon. We've spent countless hours just watching Caleb sleep. Not to mention watching Caleb do such simple little things like smile or eat breakfast or play in his sandbox. And the "bigger milestones" like learning to laugh and crawl and then walk and talk. How could such a tiny person know exactly how to do all those things if there wasn't a Creator with an awesome plan for him and his life?

We kept talking about how people without children don't understand how incredible that feeling really is. Other people listen to that song and think "oh how sweet" but it isn't really until you have your own children that you truly understand the depth of it. When you become a parent you automatically belong to this "club" that understands heaven in your child's eyes. A club in which you can talk to another mother (or father) and completely understand where they're coming from when they talk about their relationship with their children. A club that allows you to understand more deeply the joys of actually raising children, despite the poopy diapers, sleepless nights (with newborns or teenagers!), financial responsibility, and the difference that it has made in your marriage. All those things can be looked at as negatives.

I have heard so many people say that they are not ready to give up their current lifestyle. "They ruin your lives" and "they cost to much" are the most common two that I hear. Yet if you ask anyone who has children, neither of those have come to fruition. They will tell you that children have enhanced their lives and that somehow they always manage to make ends meet. And yes you might have to do without some luxuries but if you ask a parent whether they would choose to have their child or an annual all inclusive vacation, or a new car, or more nights out with friends, they will tell you that they would never give up their child to go back to their old lifestyle.

As many of you know I read, a LOT, and some of the things that I've been reading on are the values that society tries to teach us. We are being raised to have a "things before people" mentality. Or "if it feels good, do it." Become a parent puts you in an exclusive club that has proven time and time again that putting people first is where you find "true happiness" (such a corny phrase and I hate using is but can't think of anything better) and that life is not all about you. Contrary to popular belief, people are much happier when they are putting another's needs in front of their own. When you have a child you have very little choice but to put his/her needs before your own. And that's not only okay, it's exactly what we were created to do.

So to all the parents out there, I'm glad to share membership in this club that is based on self-sacrifice, giving without receiving and yet feeling more fulfilled that those not yet in this club.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crazy Summer

So my blog has been put on the back-burner for a while as I've had other committments these past few months that took up most of my time. Plus I used to write while Caleb was sleeping but a lot of time I will crash with him at nap time. It's wonderful that he still naps every day!
This doesn't mean that my blog hasn't been on my mind. In fact, it's been on my mind for sometiems hours at a time. Unfortunatly it's usually at about 3am when I'm waking up to pee and then I just lay in bed "writing" articles in my head for the next hour or two until I fall asleep. I'm hoping over the next few months to actually get some of this stuff in type.
Here's a few of the topics that have been on my mind. I'm listing them partially so you can have an idea of what sort of topics I will/might post on in the future but also so that I can refer back to this when I forget what I wanted to write about. (Forgetting happens a lot these last 6 months, baby brain lol!)
The books/web articles I've been reading
Sippy cups
Breastfeeding while pregnant (might do this after the baby is born so I know what the last trimester is like)
Toddler Sleeping habits
Differences in Doctor vs Midwifery care
Entertaining a toddler
Mother-to-mother support system
Creating Independence in children

Those are just the few that pop into my head at this moment. Of course I have more but I can't remember them at the moment. In the 20 minutes I've been typing this I've been distracted by a potty break (Caleb's and mine) a husband coming in, a son going back outside to play (in mama's shoes of course) and showing the hubby an interesting video that a friend came across. So I've been a little distracted!

Quick update on me: feeling large but usually feeling good. Uncomfortable at times but I really shouldn't complain because it could be much worse. Everyone's telling me that I look really cute and pregnant so that's nice :) I realized recently that I should maybe think about getting some more newborn diapers (I have about 2 covers, 10diapers plus the flats that I could fold) and maybe find/wash some newborn clothes. I've got to look into prepping the carseat and in a couple month we'll have to install it. Plus I want to do Christmas cards this year but should probably get everything ready to go before the baby comes so that when he/she arrives I can stick a picture on and print them and send them out. So there's my to-do list for baby. Or at least that's what I've thought of so far... I think I need to go catch my little monkey right now and try to get him to nap. More for Mama's sake than for his!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hormones and "Losing it"

So last night I woke up thinking that maybe, just MAYBE, my hormones are getting back to normal. I went through my life and this was about the train of my thoughts: I'm not on antidepressants anymore, that's good.
I'm not on birth control (and don't ever want to go back on the pill!).
I'm not lactating any more (though we're still nursing)...
Yup, I think my hormones are finally getting a chance to get straightened out!
CRAP! I'm pregnant! So much for that theory!!!

It's kind of silly that I was up at 3:30am to go pee (because I'm pregnant and all midnight trips to the bathroom have become routine) and I'm laying there nearly halfway through my pregnancy thinking that I'm finally able to get my hormones back into shape. Isn't being a woman lovely? Especially a woman of childbearing age! I had to have a giggle to myself about my lack of mental capabilities.

So speaking of hormones, mine are still totally out of wack. Not as bad as they were in the first trimester (i.e. I'm not nauseous all morning anymore) but they are still playing a wonderfully annoying role in my life. For example, Caleb is (I don't want to say it for fear of jinxing it!) mostly potty trained. For a long time we just did a bare bum around the house (I have mostly lino so accidents were easy to clean up) so he got used to a certain way of sitting on the potty. Now that he's graduated to underwear and pants/shorts potty time requires a few very distinct steps. The first being my requirement: tuck and hold your knees together. The second is Caleb's: pants and underwear compeltely off. Now this isn't normally a big deal because they usually just fall off when his little legs are dangling off the potty. A few weeks ago though he was wearing sweatpants with the elastic around the ankles. This means his pants did NOT fall off. Apparently this was te biggest deal in the world (at least to him). I, on the other hand, thought he should just suck it up. He kicked and screamed and I finally tore his pants off, threw them at the wall and said (not so kindly and quite loudly), "There, are you happy now?" and walked out of the room....
So apparently my hormones are still playing a role in my parenting! The worst part was that this blow out could have totally been prevented! It was Caleb's naptime (the plan was to pee and nap) so that moved him into the red zone. Since it was Caleb's naptime, that means it was also probably time for me to have a nap as well (red zone for me). Then add in the fact that I knew he wouldn't like having his pants on and I left them on anyway (strike against me) and the fact that sometimes my hormones just get the better of me (another strike against me). So if you count it up, that's one strike agains Caleb, three against me. As mad as I was at him, it wasn't really his fault. He's two for pete's sake. I'm the adult and should have stayed calm. But I didn't. So he peeed (is that how you spell it?) and then I had to apologize to him and show him I loved him. We sat on the couch and he had some milkies and we both had a nice nap. Although I would like to point out that he did mention to me that I shouldn't throw things.

Would you like another example? He was playing with a piece of our windowsill and I told him not too. He pulled his arm back, I told him throwing is not allowed. He threw it anyway. It wacked me right in the nose. I thought for a bit that he broke my nose because all of the sudden I couldn't see straight. Partially due to the blinding pain and partially due to the anger. I yelled at him not to throw things (I try to control my voice level but it's hard sometimes) and picked him up and gently set him in the corner of the couch.... okay, maybe not so gently. And I'm really grateful that he missed getting wacked into the bookshelf as I had him in my arms and turned toward the couch (I didn't see it, I was partially blind remember?). So he's sitting in the couch and I wanted to walk away. I figured though if he could see my emotions (the one of pain) that he might understand that he hurt mommy. So I chose to sit on the (far) opposite end of the couch. I REALLY didn't want to be near him at that point.
I discovered my nose wasn't broken, just bleeding and VERY bruised. Through his own tears he saw mommy crying and saw me bleeding and, after about 5-10 minutes, came over to apologize and give me a hug. I wasn't ready for his hug (still angry) but what could I do when my little toddler comes over saying "tyorry mommy, owie mommy, no throw, tyorry" with his arms open wide? So him and I had a good chat about throwing things. I also had to tell him he couldn't kiss mommy better because it was owie to touch. And the mark on my nose was handy because he would look at it for the next several days and remember what throwing does.
While this was going on, my potatoes boiled over and my meat burned. But Caleb and I were able to have a good heart to heart. Food is replacable, life lessons are not. As much as I wanted to walk away from him because I was so angry, I'm glad that I didn't. Sometimes it's good to show your children emotions (though like I said I'm still working on the raising my voice thing) so that they can learn mommy and daddy have feelings too.
The first incident was totally my hormones. I was thinking the whole time that this is ridiculous and why am I flipping out? The second incident came to be because I was cooking supper and Caleb was hungry and needed my attention. Who knew you could get so angry at and exasperated with such an adorable little being? It's amazing what will happen when both you and your child are both in the "red zone." So why am I telling you all this? First of all, this blog entry made a lot more sense when I wrote it in my head at 3:30am (it had a much better conclusion, but I can't remember it). Second, because sometimes it's good for parents to know that we're not the only ones that get angry and "lose it." There's a line by Julie Andrews in Princess Diaries 2. She plays Queen Clarice and is talking to her granddaughter (Anne Hatheway - Princess Mia) who has a tedancy to get into questionable situations. The line goes like this "As royalty we are held to higher standards. People look up to us. We can't afford to 'lose it.' Other people 'lose it,' we're supposed to find it."
I love that line! (And yes, I have nearly all that movie memorized.) It can apply to parenting too. Our little people look up to us. We need to show them how to deal properly with our emotions so that they can learn to deal with theres. Does this mean we're always going to get it right? Apsolutely not. Does that make you a bad parent? Absolutely not. Good parents fly off the handle sometimes. But a good parent understands that sometimes circumstances led up to a point and we can't blame the children for that (usually involves being tired, hungry, bored/lonely). Other times we can realize that we messed up and in that case, we MUST apologize to our children. It's only fair to treat them with the respect they deserve. Especially if you want them to treat you with the respect you deserve.
So take the time to sit and read a book with them. Or drive the train around the train track 100 times. And make sure that they get the (healthy) food and sleep they need. It will save you a lot of problems. And if you're in the wrong, own up to it. It makes it a lot easier for them to do so as they get older.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A New Topic of Study

Ever since I had Caleb I've been interested in reading books, article, forums any anything else I can find of parenting and breastfeeding. Lately my interest has expanded. I am still reading on all of the above but I've also added reading and research on childbirth and pregnancy to the list. Mostly childbirth since pregnancy seems (to me) pretty straightforward.

I have read on VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), effects of medication during labour, comparisons of hospital vs home vs unassisted childbirth and much more. And I currently have about 4 thick books sitting on my shelf just waiting for me to dive in! I have no idea how I manage to find time to read about this and can't manage to find time to vacuum or wash dishes lol! I suppose much of my study is done over the breakfast table and while Caleb plays outside (as he's doing right now actually, laptops are wonderful).

The book I'm currently reading is one that I would recommend to any mom giving birth, as well as her support person (often a husband but occasionally a mom friend or sister or mother etc). The only problem that I have found with this book is that my husband doesn't read. Unless it's a car magazine or a manual to some piece of farm machinery of course. So I suppose I have about 6 months to educate him on the whole process of labour and delivery. Yikes!

I'll give you a bit of a cliff notes version of some interesting things that I've learned so far from this book:
1. Amount of dilation is the least reliable indicator of where you are in labour! The reason for this is because you can be at 3 cm for 12 hours and then all of the sudden shoot to 10 cm within a couple hours. Or go to 8 cm within 2 hours and then spend the next 10 hours going from 8 to 10cm. Better indicators include emotional signposts and how far apart and how long the contraction are.

2. There are four different ways to enter the pushing stage (I won't go into detail, if you're interested feel free to look it up yourself, very interesting): a) all the way dilated and an urge to push (this is pretty much the only stage the Drs believe exists, or at least the only "right" stage); b) Hoquet Reflex; All the way dilated with or without and urge to push; c) All the way dilated with no urge to push (this was me! and though Drs think this isn't okay, it totally is); d) Not all the way dilated with a strong urge to push.

3. Protein is really good during pregnancy: it is the key to steady energy and it helps you keep your mood stable (anything to help avoid mood swings is a good thing right?)

4. The use of aspirin has been shown to prolong pregnancy.

Those are just a few of the great tidbits I've been reading about. I can't wait to finish this book and start reading all the other books that I've borrowed. I could probably spend a whole bunch of money on books on childbirth. I am resigned to spending this money instead on buying newborn diapers.... which can also be a very addicting habit!
Anyway, here's a link if you're interested in more information in the book. I just realized I haven't even mentioned the title yet! So here it is: Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, by Susan McCutcheon. Dr. Bradley has also written a book himself called Husband Coached Childbirth but to be honest, I probably won't read it. Because that would mean I'd have to read it out loud to my husband. Not really at the top of my list of things to do :)

So that's some of what's been on my mind lately and I just thought I would share. To those readers who didn't know yet that I was pregnant, well I am. We haven't been "shouting it from the rooftops" because we have been a little gun shy due to a couple of miscarriages. But I'm currently 15 weeks and due around Christmas. It's still a little surreal to us, but then it was the same with Caleb. We are very excited as we've been waiting for and wanting another baby for a long time. And Caleb is excited too. Even though he doesn't really understand there is a baby growing in mommy's tummy yet. He thinks it's growing in his knees..... don't ask, long story!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Toddler Translations

So my life has been a complete roller coaster of the last few months making my blogging time very limited.
Every day I spend with my little family gets more and more interesting and involved. I keep thinking about how much Caleb has started to make me laugh (not that he didn't before of course) with his funny little antics. I thought it might be interesting to give you a bit of an insight into Caleb's mind and his way of speaking/thinking.
For those of you who know Caleb on a personal level some of these will come as no surprise. For others, it may jsut let you understand why I enjoy mothering this little man so much.

Caleb has a way of communicating that consists of signs with a few words interjected. Sometimes he makes up his own signs and often he makes up his own words. I think it's pretty typical of a toddler to do so but every toddler still has their very own language.Here's some of Caleb's language:

He says "kitty" and kitties say "wow!" (in a very high pitched voice.
For the most part, all of the other animals just get noises as their names. Examples: fwoof=dog; a whispered "quaaa quaaa"=duck; "mmmmmmoo"=cow (this sound hilarious when he actually says it cuz it's mostly just a long mumble); birrr=bird which says "pee-pee, ouch!" (my mom pretends that her bird bites her so he figures all birds bite); "he he he"=horse; fish consists of a pretty limp fish sign accompanied by the word "twater"

Trater=tractor (very easy to get confused with water)
Keee= kitty and kids, or "key car" means.... car keys (shocker!)
Troe bow=soccer (he loves watching Fifa with my dad and playing soccer with his uncle)
Quaa= quad, wheel loader, skidsteer
Coke-ee = Cookie
Cwook or Crock=book (not a great thing for him to say when he wants a Bible from the pew in the middle of a sermon. Don't worry, I explained that the sermon is not a crock)
Bye-ee=bug or butterfly or fly
Ttheeo=TV, movie, music. If accompanied by some hand motions it means Tea
Bump truck=dump truck
Tyorry or Sossy=sorry
*snif snif*=flower

Phrases (usually half SIGNED, half spoken):
My WORK HELP daddy trater SLEEP moo= I'm going to help daddy bed the cows. (always accompanied by "bye mumbee")
Quaa HELP BABY moo=Let's go help feed the calves then go on a quad ride with daddy.
WORK Bar moo MILK= I'm going to pick up some milk from the barn (usually accompanied by "bye mumbee" and a door slam)
Trow bow ttheeo=I'm going to watch soccer on TV now.
WORK dirt quaa=I'm going to play in the sandbox with my loader... er work in the sandbox I suppose would be a better translation.

Things Caleb loves: Butterflies, bubbles, birds, machinery of all sorts, his mama and papa, playing outside (he would live outside if I let him!), milkies, snuggling with a book, going to Opa and Oma's house, friends of all sorts (he's very good at making new ones), his Cozy Coupe. Pretty much things that all toddlers love. Did I mention that he ADORES his dad? He is a little buckeroo and would follow his daddy to the ends of the earth!
To illustrate:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thoughts for the Future

A few of you know that I have been thinking/planning to homeschool my child(ren) instead of sending them to public or private school. Through my life I've attended public schools, Christian schools, as well as homeschooled for a couple of years. I will be honost and say that I did well in all 3 systems. I think that school was something that I always enjoyed. Perhaps it's because my dad was a teacher and he instilled a love of learning in me so that I was always eager to pick up a new book and read. Perhaps it's just because I learn very easily in the way that the school systems teach. You pick up a book, you read it, you take some notes, then you write a test. For me this was always very straightforward and simple to understand. Not that I always go the best grades, mind you, but at least I never really believed that I was "stupid" or "didn't read well" or worse, "didn't learn quick enough." Those are all phrases I've heard people close to me say actually.

Since I had pretty good experiences in all three systems, what would cause the big urge in me to homeschool instead of make use of the public/private system?

I came across a website that made me think about my reasons for wanting to homeschool and actually put them on paper. This was an awesome experience for me to go through because not only did it make me evaluate my reasoning (part of it is because I just can't stand the thought of sending my children away from me for 8 hours a day, I want to spend that time with them instead) and expand on that. It was also good for Adam to see what some of the reasons were. He was a little more skeptical of the whole "homeschooling thing" because he only ever experienced going to a Christian school (the same one actually) for all of his education.

So anyway, here's my thoughts that I put on paper as I followed the outline on the aforementioned website. Keep in mind that these are a rough draft and unedited. I realized as I read through them again that some of the wording is awkward but it's quite late now and I don't feel like editing them so I'm just going to type them as I wrote them several months ago :

My Educational Beliefs
1. I believe children should love learning.
2. I believe a parent's main education to a child should be to teach him/her to:
a) Love God wholeheartedly
b) Love others as they love themselves
c) Love him/herself (confidence/self-esteem)
3. I believe all children learn by different methods and learning should be tailored to suit the child (not vice versa)
4. I believe children are naturally curious and should not be discouraged from pursing those interests.
5. I believe education should not be resitricted to a certain subject or method.
6. I believe a parent/teacher should only ever have enthusiasm about a child learning, not disappointment over what they haven't learned.

Life Goals for My Child
1. I hope he learns to listen to his Heavently Father in all things.
2. I hope he shows commitment to what he starts and is a man of his words.
3. I hope he becomes a wonderful, loving, involved husband and father (if God leads him that way).
4. I hope he does everything to his best ability.
5. A man of impeccable morals and ethics, I hope he always does the right thing, no matter what others do.
6. I hope he takes care of the mind and body God has given him.
7. I hope he is not afraid to be who God made him to be. Not ashamed of who he is.

Why we are going to homeschool our children
1. No one has a better vested interes in thier education than we do.
2. To give us flexibility of time to pursue life instead of grades.
3. To stay close to our children - emotionally, mentally, and physically.
4. To take the money we could spend on school and use it for education instead.
5. To be the favorite and respected teacher that they think about when they grow up.
6. Because I want my kids to learn in a way they enjoy.
7. Because kids learn better/more if they are not restricted by graces/curriculum.
8. Because I will not allow anyone to tell or make my child feel stupid.
9. My children will learn with, intereact with, and appreciate children in all age groups.
10. So we can learn right alongside our children.
11. Our school systems sucks.
12. To know what our children are learning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flashback to my Cesarean

So last night I had a strange dream. And stranger still, it was one of those dreams that you remember with such clarity that you wonder if it was really a dream at all. In this dream I went to the RD Regional Hospital "Birth Office" (that's how I knew it was a dream because I'm pretty sure that office doesn't actually exist). I sat down with the lady for an "interview" of sorts about my birth experience with the hospital.

What I told her (in my dream) went something like this:
"I was very disappointed with my birth experience with this hospital. I ended up with an unnecessary c-section. Truly. Even my doctor couldn't give me a good reason as to why I had it. My son was in the perfect position, wasn't overly large (6lbs 15oz to be precise), wasn't stuck, wasn't in distress. He just wasn't ready. I didn't appreciate having 10 people in the room trying to "diagnose" me. I didn't need to be diagnosed, I needed to be left alone so I could deliver my son. I didn't appreciate that the one nurse that understood had to leave because her shift was over. I hated being tied to that stupid fetal monitor in the most uncomfortable position. I didn't appreciate being "on the clock" while I was in labour. Apparently it was more important how long I was in the hospital and how long I was 10cm dilated than it was how comfortable I was or how I was feeling. I didn't like that you guys stuck me up to an IV for no good reason the whole time that I was in labour and "forgot" to take it out after I had my son. I hate that my birthing experience with my son was a medical procedure that was being done to me, instead of the natural, empowering journey that it should have been.
Did you know that your hospital had one of the highest c-section rates out of all the hospitals in the province? (Note: not sure if that's entirely true, I know theirs is higher than average but don't actually know where it stands in relation to the rest of the province) I am not satisfied with my birth experience in this hospital and I will recommend to all my friend to avoid giving birth here."

It may have gone on further but this is when I woke up (at 20 to 5am!). I started mulling over this dream and reviewing my birth experience (again) to see if there was anything I missed. I could have said so much more in this "interview." Like how I felt so out of control and that it wasn't fair that no one asked me what I wanted. I was never asked if I wanted the surgery. (I told them "I want it out" and they took that to mean surgery. I meant that I just wanted something to help move it along) Like the fact that despite my son having 9 and 9.5 on his two apgars (10 is perfect but nearly unheard of, so I've been told) they still felt the need to hold him in the neonatal nursery for an hour. The nurse there also felt the need to give him a bottle of formula, despite my instructions that he was not to receive any (my husband stopped her, thankfully). Or what about the fact that I got to see my son, hanging upside down, for about 2 seconds before he was whisked away to be weighed and wrapped all up. I got to touch his cheek, that's all. Or the fact that they pumped me so full of painkillers that I could hardly see straight. Or maybe I could have brought up the fact that the nurses (most of them anyway) wanted nothing more than to separate me from my baby during my whole hospital stay. They would come in and ask if they could take him so I could "get some sleep," or "eat my food" or just generally "have a break." (I only had him for about 2 hours before they thought I might need a break from motherhood!) And whenever they came in to check on him, they would swaddle him and put him into his bassinet. I kept having to unswaddle and pull him into bed so we could snuggle and breastfeed and have skin-to-skin time.

That was my introduction into motherhood. I came home and realized that I loved my son but didn't feel like a mother. Looking back, with the way that I was treated as a medical condition, it's not really a surprise. I felt like I had been through surgery and a hospital stay. I didn't feel like I had gone and had a baby. That part of the experience was very surreal to me and took a long time for me to accept. I asked my doctor at my two week check-up why I had the surgery. He hemmed and hawed for a bit and said "well maybe your pelvis was too small." Did I mention my son was only 6lbs 15oz? (And nearly a pound of that was water weight that he lost in the next day or two). The c-section was out of convenience. It was Sunday afternoon, I had been 10cm dilated since noon. It was 3pm and everyone just wanted me to be done so they could go home. Did you know that most "emergency" c-sections take place on the weekends and holidays? Coincidence?

I have always said the the only reason Caleb didn't come down (he never really dropped, even when I was 10cm) was because he just wasn't ready. It occurred to me this morning that this thought isn't entirely accurate. I think that the reason he didn't come was because I wasn't ready. I just remembered that he shifted at one point and I kind of panicked. I asked if he was coming and what should I do. Nobody told me to relax and that everything would be alright. I tensed up and probably prevented him from moving any further. I was afraid. Being in labour is a time when you really need to focus and connect with your "inner self" (for lack of a better term). If you don't know how to do that and don't have anyone guiding you to that place then It's going to be extremely difficult to deliver your child.

I'm glad that I have been able to learn so much from my experience with Caleb. I'm glad that I forced myself to bond with him, it would have been so easy to stay away and be only half the mother to him that I am now. Here's a few other things that I've learned about labour and delivery in a hospital, things I wish I knew then:
They time you: from the moment you check in you're on the clock. If you're not dilating as fast as they would like they assume something is wrong and (try to) medically intervene.
Fully dilated doesn't mean you have to push: I got to 10cm and they told me to push, so I did. But I never actually had the urge to bear down. Push when you feel the urge and ignore the "coaching" that doctors and nurses give you.
You have 3 hours: from the time that you at 10cm and pushing (which don't always happen at the same time, much to the doctors' dismay, hence the coaching) you only have 3 hours to push your baby out before you are considered "failure to progress" and they assume they need to take medical action.
Your birth plan doesn't mean jack: you can't just write a nice birth plan with your wishes and expect it to be followed. You (or more likely your labour support) will have to be proactive in making sure that you are being heard.
You can always say NO: you can say NO to any intervention they throw your way. You can say NO to the scare tactics they use (I was told "you could push for another 12 hours, this baby's not budging") and you can say NO to having a hundred people in your labour room "observing you" like you're some sort of animal in a zoo.

So my advice to expectant moms is to either avoid the hospital scene altogether by getting a midwife or having an unassisted homebirth, or to get a doula or a "been there done that mom" friend whose views on birth are similar to yours. Someone you trust will stand up for you in the midst of the chaos of the medical system. And if you do have an "unnecesaren" or any kind of traumatic birth experience (read as: bad feelings associated with your birth experience) then talk to someone. Get into a support group or find another mom who has been there and worked through it. And of course, pray pray pray about it. God is an amazing Healer and He won't tell you it's silly to feel the way you do. It's not just about having a healthy baby (although that is important and a great blessing) it's also about having a healthy, happy mama.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Longer a Baby! - Update Post

First off I would like apologize for my lack of posting these last few weeks. It's been a crazy time for us lately. I figure I should take some time to fill you in on some of what has been going on.

One of the "recent events" in my life has occured over a link to a video trailer that I posted on my Facebook page. The documentary is about the influence of the overuse of infant formulas in America. I shared it on my Facebook because I have several friends who would be interested in the education a video/website like that could provide. I also wanted to get more information about the video and how would I be able to see the rest of it.
Some of my breastfeeding friends liked the link (one even knows the author and is getting more informaiton for me about it!) and the information that the video trailer presented. Some of the formula feeding mothers on my friends list agreed that it was an important topic to educate ourselves and talk about. Some were posted directly on my "wall" while a couple were sent as private messages to me.
Unfortunatly, I also recieved some pretty judgemental comments about it. The biggest acusation I recieved was that by posting that link I accused all formula feeding mothers that they are terrible mothers. Now if you watch the link, this video does not say anything about formula feeding mothers being inferior or breastfeeding mothers being superior. My main thought is, did these women even listen to what was said? Or did I just get comments out of their self-defense, perhaps due to their own securities?
In perfect honosty, I would like to say that those comments didn't bother me. But they did. Mostly in the sense that I felt like I was torn down for something I never said or did. I felt attacked for an opinion that I don't hold. I also feel sorry for the mothers who made them because they are obviously already on the defensive about the decisions they made. The video likely just triggered an already existent negative emotional reaction that was, unfortunatly, directed towards me. If you make a decision for the good of your children then you shouldn't let anyone make you feel bad about them.

Now that I've covered something which has been weighing heavily on my mind for quite some time, I'll move on to more cheery topics. The first one: I dejunked!!! We have (technically) a 5 bedroom home. One of those is our office, one is our bedroom, one has functioned as the "diaper room," and the other two have be basically filled with junk. Caleb and I have finally gotten to the point that we are starting to sleep better with some distance in between us so it was decided for him to actually have his very own bedroom. This meant that at least one of the junk rooms needed to be cleared out. I'm not one to go halfway on a project like that though, so I went storage bin shopping (with my sister, because who wants to buy storage bins solo?) and twisted my husbands arm to help me sort, discard, and store everything. We also recieved and bought some furniture from a friend who is moving and was dejunking as well.
The main floor now has a room for (and shelves/bins) for nearly all of Caleb's toys, books, and craft items (and his craft table), as well as a table for my sewing machine and supplies, and a desk where I can study my parenting and breastfeeding books, Scripture and journal/write. This is quite an accomlishement because the room actually still has floor space for Caleb's train track (his birthday gift from Adam and I) and the whole room is only approx 10.5' by 8.5' (at it's widest points). His bedroom now has his double bed, dressers and a night stand and we were able to keep a separate diaper room with the change table and comfy chair. It was a LOT of work but it was totally worth it! Caleb is currently napping in his new bed. I think it is about the 3rd or 4th time he has done so. I tried to nurse him down in it last night with the plan for us to spend the night there. Caleb had other plans though and nursed his fill, got up, and dragged me by the hand to crawl into bed with daddy :) So I guess he's not quite ready to give up sleeping with us yet, but at least he knows that he has his very own bed for when he's ready.
The best part of my dejunking story: I took a "before" picture of the rooms. Then we worked like busy bees for a couple weeks. When I planned to take the "after" picture my camera was no where to be found. I'm seriously hoping it's not in a storage bin!

My final part of this update is the fact that my little baby is no longer that. He's officially 2 whole years old! We had a really great party with family and a few friends on Sunday. It was a great day for him. He got spoiled rotton and loved every minute of it. In fact, he enjoyed opening the gifts so much that the next day he was putting all his toys back in the boxes to take them out again! He had a blast with his family and little friends who gave him everything from loaders, to a boy doll, to clothes and even one of those Cozy Coupes that he's had his eye on for the last couple of years. We haven't had a lot of the "fancier" toys for him so this birthday it was pretty neat to see his appreciation for his new toys. He's also at an age where he plays with ALL OF THEM. My personal favorie gift that he recieved is a Toddler Learning Kit. The friends who gave it to him/me told me it was to help with my endevours with homeschooling. It's pretty great because it has tips and tools to teach numbers, letters, colours, and shapes. Caleb is going to be sooooo smart! Or at least his mama is going to have a lot of fun over the next year playing "teacher."

So Caleb's birthday party was on Sunday. I had been suffereing from fatigue for several weeks and headaches for several days prior. I should have taken that as a sign. But I ignored it. BAD IDEA! I woke up Sunday morning with chills, body aches, and a monstor headache (previously the headaches started late afternoon to evening). In short, I felt like I got his by a mack truck. I was debating about whether or not I should postpone Caleb's party but cleaned up a bit and prepared the house. Then I figured I would nap for an hour before people came. I woke up from my nap and realized something. I was not coming down with the flu like I originally though. I actually had mastitis. Before the nap I actually felt better. After the nap, add in an inflamed/infected breast to the mack truck. But by this point it was nearly time for people to start arriving so I had no time to cancel the party.
The cure for mastitis is to rest/sleep all day and nurse nurse nurse. I had no opportunity to do either on Sunday. I though for sure that I was going to rush in to either the walk-in or the ER on Monday morning. But Caleb must have sense that something was wrong and God answered my prayers. We went to bed on time and Caleb nursed like a newborn, ALL NIGHT! It was amazing because he hasn't done that for a long time. I woke up Monday morning feeling, surprisingly, better than Sunday. I took Monday to sit on my butt on the couch all day and rest. I am happy to say that I'm feeling much better. I have no idea how I made it through Sunday while feeling so sick but God was looking out for me and He made sure that I didn't suffer extra long for it.

So that was a really long update. I have started several blog entries in the last few weeks and maybe, someday, I'll get time to actually finish them! Hopefully now that my house is more organized my head will be too..... or maybe that's wishful thinking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prayer for Patience

Caleb is at a stage in which he has more energy than I do. This is very very bad for me! I love that he is in a good mood nearly all the time but does he really have to run around the house yelling "Mum-bee Mum-bee" all the time?

He's not a high energy child and I'm very blessed with how mellow he really is. But he's still a toddler and toddlers love to get involved with everything. He loves to help cook dinner, sweep the floors, play puzzles with me, wrestle, and he even enjoys helping me go to the bathroom (he loves to flush)! Sometimes I think that having a nap would help. But of course this is always right after he wakes up from his so I can't go down for mine.

Have you ever heard the saying that you can't wait until those sweet little lips say "mama," but once they do you wish he had never learned it? That's precisely the stage that Caleb is at. He always wants to talk to me and he always has something "interesting or exciting" to show me.

For example:
"Mum-bee, mum-beeeeee! MUM-BEEEEE!" "Yes darling?" "Kitty!" (as he points to the cat sleeping on the chair). "Yes Caleb, that's a kitty."
2 minutes later:
"Mum-bee, Mum mum mum-beeee, Mum-beeee!!!" "Yes Caleb?" "Kitty!" (as he puts his finger in the cat's ear) "Yes Caleb, kitty has ears too."2 minutes later:
"Mum-bee? Mum-bee? MUM-BEEEEE!" "Yes Caleb, it's still a kitty!" Caleb responds with a high pitched "wow" "Yes kitty says meow."
2 minutes later...
I think that you get the picture!

I know that it will only get "worse" when he learns the word "why?" To be perfectly honest, there are times when I just throw up my hands and ignore him altogether. I think that's the natural human response. Most moms I know are very good at blocking out loud and annoying noises. I have to remind myself constantly that although I have known for YEARS that kitties have ears, and kitties have sharp teeth, and kitties sleep on chairs etc. apparently this is all news to Caleb. I go back to the mantra of "put yourself in his shoes." I also go back to my familiar old saying that "patience is a virtue." Although I have adapted it into a very short prayer that gets repeated regularly (sometimes many times in one hour!) "Patience is a virtue Lord, that I'm in desperate need of!" Even just that simple reconnection with God gives me enough patience for another round of "mum-bee."

"Yes Caleb, kitty woke up. Maybe he woke up because you're poking him. Can you please be gentle with the kitty?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Motherly Love - It's not always instant

Pregnancy was very surreal to me for the first number of months. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there was a little person growing inside me. That the little feet that kicked my tummy would one day be the same little feet I'd play "This Little Piggy" with.

I won’t talk here about how my birth experience and how it was completely not what I wanted. I won’t complain about the fact that I had an unnecessary cesarean section. I had my son in my arms after about an hour and he was healthy and I was quickly recovering from the surgery. My husband and I had a boy named picked out before I even got pregnant with our son. Jeremiah. I was so excited that I told the nurses in the O.R. about Jeremiah, the ones in the recovery room, and the ones that brought me up to the hospital bed where I would first officially get to hold my son. My husband came in the room carrying that little bundle, placed him in my arms and said, “Honey, I’m sorry…… Um…... He really doesn’t look like a Jeremiah!”

And so began my journey with this little stranger. He was the cutest baby I had ever seen. A lot of the nurses would poke their head in the room just to get a look at him. He even got the “Cutest Baby on the Ward” award (that constituted of a smiley face beside our room number on the whiteboard which signaled nurses to come meet us). I loved him right from the start. He immediately took over residence in my heart. Caleb was my angel and I would do anything to keep him from harm. I was totally in love with my little man.
Not quite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t love him. He was my child after all. I knew even while I was in labour that I would love being a mom and would want many more children (my husband told me that we should probably wait a while though, smart man). I just didn’t have that “maternal bond” that people always talk about. I looked at him and saw this adorable little baby and wondered why I didn’t love him as much as I thought I should. Truth be told, there were times I thought of him kind of like a pet. You feed a pet, you make sure it gets exercise, you snuggle with it and you have a love for it. The nurse poked his heel for blood tests and then commented about how great it was that I was so calm with my bleeding and crying child next to me. After I got home, people always commented on how calm of a mother I was. “You’re not like most first time moms who come running as soon as their baby cries.” Little did they know what I was feeling inside.

I longed to have that passionate, undying love that a mother feels for her child. I wanted to cry when he cried (I tried actually, it didn’t work) and feel pain when he felt pain. I wanted that closeness and connection with my son. I wanted to feel that infamous “motherly love;” to have that much talked about “bond.” But I just didn’t. I thought something was wrong. I blamed it on the c-section. I have read about the fact that certain hormones are released during a vaginal birth that promote bonding. They weren’t released for me. A friend told me that it was okay to “mourn” for the type of birth that I had but then I had to move on. She had an unplanned cesarean too. I felt so guilty that I didn’t love my son the way that I thought a mother should.

On the outside, I was a very good mother. I fed my son when he was hungry, changed him when he needed it, snuggled with him around the clock, sang to him when he was awake, and stared at him while he was sleeping (unless I fell asleep too). A lot of moms stare at their child because they just can’t get over how amazing their little miracle is. I stared at mine for two reasons: he was so adorable I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and I was looking for some sort of special connection with him.

I had an epiphany after about a month: I had never loved as a mother before so it would make sense that I didn’t know how. It was really that simple. It sounds silly but it all came together for me at that moment. I had a sense of relief. I talked to people about this and discovered that I wasn’t alone with these emotions. It confirmed to me that bonding is not just hormonal (although I’m sure hormones help). Bonding is something that is learned and needs nurturing. So being a typical Canadian who has access to the internet, I searched for tips on how to bond with my baby. The biggest thing that I discovered was to follow my gut. Or my “mother’s intuition;” the intuition that I thought was missing from me.

I also read a paragraph in The Baby Book about how the first 3 months of being a mother are about getting to know your baby. Yesterday during Coffee Break (a Women's Bible study I attend weekly)we talked about a passage in Philipians. In Philippians 1:9 it says "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge." Paul is talking in particular about the Philippians learning more about God and through doing so, they will draw closer to Him. One of the moms there made a really good point. She mentioned that this works the same way with children. The more you get to know them, the more you love them. I am so glad that, instead of spending the first months of Caleb's life trying to fit him into MY life by trying to make him follow MY routine and My ideas about how parenting should be, I spent time getting to know him.

I also believe that this knowledge of my son gives me much more confidence in myself as a mother. As Caleb gets older and goes through all those wonderful toddler stages, I can always go back to asking myself, "why does he do this and how would be the best way to deal with it?" I think that a lot of times it's easier just to ask the "how to deal with it" part of that question and forget to figure our children out. I may go "against the grain" with a few of the parenting choices that Adam and I have made, but I know what's best for Caleb because I know Caleb best. It doesn't (usually) bother me when people give me all sorts of "advice" because I can feel confidence in the fact that they just don't know Caleb as well as I do. They are probably giving advice that has worked for themselves or someone they know. With a different child and a different parent-child relationship. I'm not saying that I don't take advice from people who hae been there and done that. I am, however, saying that I'm not bothered by the "helpful" hints to get Caleb to sleep through the night, or sleep in the crib, or wean, or a number of other things. I know that I'm doing what's best for my son and that's the part that matters to him.

Anyway, the jist of this post is that a great bond is something that you need to work on. And keep working on it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you knew your teenager the same way that you knew your infant/toddler?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quirks and Anecdotes

So having a child really changes your life. Before you're married and settled down you talk about "the good ole days." Then you get married and talk about your adorable cats (don't laugh, I know many people who do this!). Then you have children and your topic of conversation changes once again. So I'm going to take this entry to tell you some of the cute things that Caleb does and says.

He is currently eating uncooked spaghetti, which he loved and I have given up the fight on this one (there are worse things he could be eating).

He often will put on either his touque or Adam's an pull it down over his face and run around the house yelling "RAWR!" Sometimes he runs into walls while doing thing. He thinks it's hilarious.

A few days ago I told him I needed to go to the potty so he came with me (he usually follows me everywhere) and proceeds to plunk his "Little People" in his little potty (that he doesn't actually use so it's clean). He then signed "potty" and waited till I finished. I started washing my hands and he handed me the Little Person to wash her hands too. (Now if only he would realize that he can use the potty too!)

The aforementioned Little Person is a little girl in a red hat and a yellow rain jacket. He calls her "daddy," because she has glasses like daddy does. I get the Little Person holding flowers and a lunch kit, because the lunch kit is a diaper bag.

He doesn't call me "mama." He calls me "mum-bee." Sometimes if he's searching the house for me he just yells "Bee! Bee!"

He has recently learned to put his boots on. So he puts on his boots, touque, and usually a mitten on and then lets himself outside into the snow. He has also done this in only his diaper. He also knows (as of the last couple days) how to unlock the deadbolt. (I have an escapee problem in my house)

He has tried to run over his banana with his ride-on toy.

The ride-on toy does wheelies already.

He doesn't do the full hand grip on his spoon that most toddlers do. He holds it prim and proper, like an adult.

He tried to blame the coloring on the wall on my friend's 5 month old baby.

Caleb has an incredible ability to hear a truck or tractor from 4 miles away. For example, there was a siren in the distance last night as I was nursing him down (we live about 1/4 mile off the highway and I had to strain to hear it). I thought he was nearly asleep. All of the sudden he pops off and says, "Truck." He has only ever heard sirens on a movie or on a toy police car.

He also knows the instant the tractor is started on the farm and feels the urge to put his boots on to "help Papa work, tractor."

He communicates in complete sentances (sometimes). Half signs and half words.

Some of the less common signs that he knows: work, tea, potty/toilet, diaper change, brush teeth, color, sleep, and friend.

He thinks all babies need "milkies" and "diaper changes."

He has 4 teeth on the top, two on the bottom and four molars. It his been this way for about 7 months. Though it seems that a couple days ago he finally got in his canine teeth.

He has no comfort object other than his mom and dad. I'm glad that he's attached to people and not a thing. Makes my life easier, you can't leave a person behind at a friends house and they don't have to go through the washer.

So anyway, those are few things that I find adorable about my son. There are lots more and he just gets cuter every day. Even though there are times that it can be frustrating to be a 24/7 mom the good moments are more often and more memorable. I think that sometimes when you become a mom you are told about all the hard work that it is and how you'll never sleep a full night again. I like to welcome people into motherhood buy telling them it just gets better and better all the time.

Final cute thing: Adam is due in the house any minute. Caleb has taken styrofoam plates and plastic popsicle handles out of the cupboard and arranged them on the floor near the doorway. I asked what he was doing and he said, "cook, daddy, work" He's making his daddy supper for when he comes in from work. What a sweetheart! Now to stop him before he eats the plates!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some of the lesser known facts on Breastfeeding

As most of my regular readers know I am very passionate about breastfeeding. I understand that not all moms choose to do it and I understand that it's not always easy. You're entitled to your thoughts and opinions and I'm entitled to mine.

That being said, I think that there are many facts about it that even breastfeeding mothers do not know about. For example, did you know that it is recommended for healthy infants to be put directly skin-to-skin with mother after birth until the first feeding is completed? Even though I knew it was recommended to mothers to do that, I just read that is even recommended to DOCTORS not to interfere with this first feeding. (1) I don't know about other mothers' experiences but a lot of time the mother gets to hold her infant for a few seconds and then the baby is whisked away to be cleaned, weighed/measured, and given medication and other vitamins.

Another interesting fact that I learned about breastfeeding is that breastfed infants not only have higher IQ, their eyesight, speech, jaw and oral cavity development is improved. (2) There are various reasons for this and I won't go into the details but I would like to add that long-term use of sippy cups and soothers may hinder jaw, speech, and oral cavity development. (3)

I recently wrote about the Significance of Feeding and I talked a little bit about the bonding aspect of feeding. Did you know that breastfeeding releases hormones that actually make a mother feel more nurturing towards her child? It is a natural release of oxytocin and prolactin (4). Studies have also shown that breastfeeding mothers show less postpartum anxiety and depression.

World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years AND BEYOND (as long as mother and baby see fit). I have had people tell me this particular recommendation is for Third World countries where the baby is more at risk for diseases etc that the antibodies in mothers milk can help fight. This is completely FALSE. Health Canada also recommends breastfeeding for two years and beyond. Even in a First World country we can see the benefits of "full term" (2 years) or "extended" (beyond 2 years) breastfeeding. (5) Another thing to note on this topic is that many cultures still nurse for up to 4 to 6 years of age. North America is one of the few places where a large amount of babies do not breastfeed and where even "full term" breastfeeding is met with skepticism if not outright rejection.

This is probably my favorite fact of all about breastfeeding... well I shouldn't say that because there are so many wonderful facts! I'll just say that this fact is near the top of the list: Breastmilk kills cancer cells! Well there have been preliminary studies done that show it does anyway back in 1995, in Sweden. (6) I thought this was amazing when I first read about it and am shocked that research on this hasn't been expanded. Is it possible that the number one financial backer of cancer research (pharmaceutical companies) have something to do with it? Even if it is not an "absolute cure" there are still many benefits of breastmilk to a cancer patient, from an immunological and nutritive perspective. (7)

So now that I've said a few words about breastmilk and breastfeeding perhaps you can understand a little more why I am so passionate about it. I could go on for days about all the benefits to mom, baby, the rest of the family, society, the environment etc. But I'll just leave it at this. Hopefully you've learned something after reading this and perhaps it's given you something to share with people that you meet.

Some of my sources:
1. American Academy of Pediatrics
2. Australian Breastfeeding Association & Little Known Benefits
3. Problems with Sippy Cups
4. The Science of Mother Love & Of Love and Milk
5. Health Canada & A Natural Age of Weaning
6. Breastmilk Kills Cancer
7. Breastmilk as Cancer Therapy

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Christmas in February

So last night Caleb brought me a book. "The Stroy of Mary." Apparently he wanted to hear (a few times) about the conception, birth and celebration of Jesus. So as I was reading the book to him I asked him to point out baby Jesus. He loves babies and usually points to them and signs that they need a diaper change. Last night, however, he kept signing "cheese." I thought at first he was hungry. It turns out that he was signing baby "cheesus." So cute!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blog Design

Just wanted to let you know that I am working on making some changes to the look of my blog. I have very little knowledge on how to do this and am making it up as I go. As you can see, the header changed, It's the wrong size and it's kind of dorky looking (IMO) so I'm working on correcting that. If anyone has a good tutorial or any ideas on how to do some blog design I'd be interested in hearing from you. I have Creative Memories Storybook Creator 3.0 Plus which is what I used to for the header. For now, please be patient with me as I try to educate myself of web design!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hitting and Throwing - What Worked for Us

I feel like I'm constantly talking about discipline. But it occurred to me that, at this age, it seems that a large part of parenting consists of disciplining. He's almost two (yikes!) and is at that age where he's really starting to learn that he can make his own decisions and doesn't actually have to do exactly as mama tells him to (remember that Free Will I talked about last week?). I am sure that most moms (especially those with will boys) have been through this stage as well. Caleb really enjoys seeing what happens when he throws toys. He also gets frustrated and wants to show it in a physical way, i.e. he hits.

Let me first say that I DO NOT believe in the "terrible twos." In fact, I despise that phrase and wish people would stop using it. It seems to me like it is a) giving the child an excuse for their behavior and b) giving the parent an excuse for why they lose patience with their child. Plus, to be perfectly honest, two is one of the most fun stages that you can experience with your child and it's sad that society has devalued this stage to be nothing more than tantrums and frustration. The "twos" is a stage when children are really starting to communicate, interact, laugh at jokes, play pretend and so much more. I prefer to call this stage the "terrific twos."

Sorry, I got a little off-track there. Now that I'm done with my little "rant," let's move onto the topic at hand.

Caleb started throwing toys when he was quite young but he never did it very regularly or with any actual force until about a month ago. Even one of the ladies that watches him at church while I am attend a women's Bible study mentioned it to me one day. That was when I knew that it was getting a bit out of hand and he could hurt himself or someone else. Not to mention that he could break something. It's not that I didn't do anything about it when he threw a toy but I it never really escalated and I thought he might just be doing it at home to get attention. Turns how he was doing it in public with other people's toys. I'll say here what I tell Caleb about this: this is unacceptable behavior.

I started by giving him a warning if he threw a toy. And asked him to show me how to "do gentle touches." (We're really big on gentle touches because we have two cats and he knows what it means.) I'll be honest, it didn't really work :) So I took his toy away. This was when he would got angry, and hit me. He is a very physical little boy and he felt like his aggression could be released by getting physical. The throwing toys I could handle, but hitting me was something completely new. He has never seen anyone hit another person (in my house anyway) and I have no idea where he learned this. But he did. And there was a while when he would clench his little fists and take a swing at me! I tried to tell him "that hurts mama, that's not gentle touches, can you show me gentle touches?" A lot of times this worked. He would caress my cheek or give me a hug to show me that he was sorry. But there were times when he didn't give up so easily. He would turn and hit the fridge or the floor or even the cat a time or two.

So being the average Canadian mom, i went on the Internet to look for tips. I was startled by a lot of them:
- lock them in their room: I did this once for about 60 seconds because I really needed a break and he was scared that I had left him for good. Plus he ate my lip balm in the meantime.
- hit them back: This made the least sense, how can I teach him not to hit if I am hitting? And do I really want to hit my child?
- time outs in the corner: he would never stay in the chair. Again, he thought I abandoned him. And even when I sat with the chair he just wanted to crawl into my lap.
- ignore it, he'll grow out of it: Yeah, right. And in the meantime I'll just let him hurt himself and other people.
- Cry so that he sees he's hurt you: this only works if your child is receptive at that point but a lot of children are unable to focus on anyone but themselves at a time like this.

So I went back to my trusty Ask Dr Sears site to see if I could glean any information from there.

Here's what worked for Caleb and myself in regard to his hitting. I sat on the floor with him and grabbed his hands. I told him "hitting hurts mommy. Hitting is not nice. It is not acceptable behavior. Gentle touches please." I would repeat all those phrases that he had already become accustomed too. Then I added a new one. I told him "if you can't control your hands, mama will help control them for you." If I had just told him that and not followed through with it, I would have gotten nowhere. So for a couple of days I made sure to follow through. Even if it meant turning off the stove while cooking dinner. This meant I sat on the floor holding his hands (bear hugs are great for this) for him until he calmed down enough to reason. One time I held him until he actually fell asleep in my arms(anger can be exhausting!).

Note: For Caleb it was anger that triggered his hitting. Some children do it out of boredom or to get your attention. Try to figure out the reason so you can deal with the root instead of the result.

Flashback to a month later: he barely hits at all. Or throws toys either. If he does, the toy gets taken away for a while. There was a day when I took away quite a number of toys and my linen closet got really full! When I see him raise his hands I remind him "control your hands please. If you can't control them mama will help you." Some days he needs to be reminded several times but I can't actually remember the last time I reminded him. As for the lady at church, she mentioned this past Wednesday that Caleb is such a well behaved little boy and she was surprised how very short-lived his toy throwing and hitting "phase" lasted. It's so great to get the reassurance that he's not just on his best behavior for me but also behaves elsewhere.

So that's my success story with overcoming this stage that can escalate very quickly. Or at least it's on pause right now. But Dr. Sears says that 3 year olds are easier to discipline. So I'll cling to that fact (though I know mothers who would disagree with him on that point lol!) and hope that this issue stays away for some time. Anger is an issue that both Adam and I have dealt with in the past (and we still have our explosive moments) so if Caleb is anything like his parents we're not through with teaching how to express anger in a healthy way and control it instead of letting it control you. But I know that if this problem comes around again, at least I will already have a plan in place to deal with it. For now, I'm enjoying the "terrific twos" with my son.

My favorite part of this stage right now is that he's learning how to play pretend with his Little People (the little girl with glasses is "daddy" (Adam wears glasses)which is hilarious!) and the Little People kiss (sound effects and all) and then he lays them down to go to sleep. So cute!

Please feel free to leave a comment with any of your experiences in what worked or didn't work for you and your family. I'd love to get more ideas.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Perfect Parent - Part 2

So last week I talked about the toddler in the grocery store. I just want to address the comment that was made about the discipline factor involved in parenting. I completely agree that most parents need to be more patient and just accept their children will be children and try things out. But, in my mind at least, patience and discipline go hand in hand. I read a really great post about spanking (can't find the link at the moment) and how it is one thing to spank your child when you're angry. It's completely different to spank your child out of love. If you are angry you are much less likely to be fair and gentle in your discipline. If you are exercise patience, you try to understand the child's motive behind the behavior and thus respond more confidently and in a way that will (hopefully) get the child to understand that you love them but will not accept this behaviour. (This is not a post to encourage or discourage spanking, I just wanted to illustrate).

Now, onto my original thoughts for this post.

We do all the right things (or at least try to) and pray for our children and teach them all we can about Jesus and His love and his Word. We discipline them with love and patience. We teach them right from wrong. We take heart the verse that tells us to "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

Then we hear from the principle that our child is skipping class. Or was caught smoking.
Or perhaps they have decided to stop attending church when they move out, or marry an unbeliever, or constantly chase after money, or live in any other non-Christian way. Ways that they certainly didn't learn from us!

I often think about how I would feel if, after all of the "good" parenting choices Adam and I make along the way, Caleb ends up going astray. We all know families where all the children were raised in the same household by the same parents yet one of the children becomes a "black sheep." Or some families where it seems that as soon as the children are out the door, the run the opposite direction and never look back.

It's easy for parents to start looking back and pick things out of their history with their child that should have been a "sign" of things to come. Maybe if I had attended more of their hockey games... Maybe if I was a little more lenient/strict with curfews... Maybe if I had paid more attention to who he/she was hanging out with... Maybe if I dealt with that particular incident better... It's a true fulfillment of the saying that "hindsight is 20/20." We can look back and see all the times that we could have done things differently. All the choices that we "should" have made, but did something differently. I know of many parents who beat themselves up by agonizing over every little detail of their child's past to see how they could have prevented things that are happening in their present.

I'm going to be perfectly honest by saying that there probably was a better ways to deal with those particular "hind sights." That being said, you need to consider this. Did you make those decisions based on God's guidance? Did you deal with situations out of love for your child? Or did you make those decisions with the intent that your child stray/rebel? What I'm basically asking is did you push your child in that direction on purpose? I can almost guarantee that the answer to that question is NO.

Since you did not consciously choose to send your child(ren) down a path away from the Lord then it would make sense that you also not blame yourself for their faulty decisions. A friend once told me that you can have a really great child but you can't take credit for all of it. Some children are just easier to parent than others. I always say that God has blessed me with an amazing child. I fully realize that Caleb's personality (that God given design) plays a big role in how easy he (usually) is to parent. On the flip side, we can't blame ourselves when they start making bad choices. God gave us Free Will, and He gave that same Free Will to our children.

Due to the Fall of Man and the introduction of sin into the world, we can't really fault ourselves for not making perfect decisions all the time. And we have to realize that imperfect parents raise imperfect children. No matter how amazing of a parent we are, there's nothing we can do to make our children turn out perfectly. That sounds a little disheartening doesn't it? If that's the case, what point is there in ever trying at all? So where do we find the hope?

The hope lies in God's promise to us in Proverbs 22:6. We sometimes forget that just because we teach a child something and live as an example to them their whole lives. they may not always do exaclty what we want them to do. For example, I have never climbed over the back of the couch. Caleb decided to do this. I was able to catch the little stinker before he fell of the other side and hurt himself. Where did he get the idea that climbing over the couch was okay? I have no idea! It's not quite the same scale as some of the life-altering/threatening decisions that plague older children but the principle is the same. I can tell Caleb that he shouldn't climb the couch, I can explain the results, but he may still end up doing it anyway. The only thing that I can do, as his mother, is be there to comfort him when he falls. But I can take comfort in the fact that no matter how many times he may fall off the couch (even after me telling him not to cimb it) when he is little, he will learn. Eventually. It may not be for another 10 years, but he will learn.

The same applies to teenagers and adult children. If you are constantly there to comfort them when they fall, the will eventually learn that falling hurts. They will also learn that you love them despite their imperfection and you can help them understand the God loves all of us in spite of our imperfections. Note: I'm not encouraging you to "bail your kid out" every time he/she gets into trouble, kids need love, not money and other material things. And we can take hope in the fact that EVENTUALLY they will turn back to the Truth. Once a child of God's, always a child of God's. He doesn't let go of His children.

So that concludes my current thoughts on being a perfect parent. I will apologize for and mistakes of strange phrasing. This has been an interesting post to write because Caleb woke up halfway through, and Adam came in the house so I've been a little distracted and all over the place. And I don't have time to give it a final edit because I'm going on a date tonight!