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Archive for the ‘Bella’ Category

Mama Rage.

First off…

Happy Winter Solstice! And yay!!! Laura went into labor today!!

Next…

A friend recently mentioned to me in observation, not criticism, that despite what is going on with Bella’s skin (health problem) I seem to be handling it in stride. On some levels, I would agree. That would be on the surface and the level slightly below. On a  level slightly below slightly below the surface, I am racked with guilt and grief.

In the most darkest moments, there are times when I wonder if having a second baby was the best choice for me. I imagine how easy life would be right now if I only had Max to care for and love. I get agitated when I hear Bella scratching because I know there is nothing I can do to make the itch go away. I get angry when awakened in the middle of the night by her fussing because I believe if her skin health wasn’t compromised that both she and I would be sleeping blissfully through the night (something I have not experienced since my third trimester of pregnancy with Max, three years ago). I get so depressed because it feels like I am doing so much for her… and I just wish she would heal already. All this makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel like a horrible person. A self centered woman.

I have to question why I feel so bad for just acknowledging HOW I FEEL. I mean, I not only experience these difficult-to-acknowledge emotions, but I feel an incredibly deep well of love for Bella, a bottomless well. On the deepest of levels, I always feel a magical love for her. It is what motivates and guides me. If this connection wasn’t present, I don’t think I could be doing all that I am for her skin.

Going on a rant because I have been reading, “Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics Of Radical Feminism,” a book that was recently [timely] given to me…

There is a creepy myth that has been created by men that mothers should always happily be self-sacrificing and loving towards their children. That if we utter any dissatisfaction with our children [if we speak of our real experiences with mothering] that we are dooming/hurting ourselves, and more importantly to the emotive power of the myth – our children. I think the internalization of this myth is self imposed martyrdom, self hatred, and the constant guilt of not living up to the myth. Or worst, isolation from other mothers while feeling that in order to relate we have to have the same parenting philosophies.

The lack of a safe space to speak honestly of our full spectrum of experiences with mothering only tangles us even tighter to the irrationality of the myth by giving us a motive to deceive ourselves and others about our true experiences. It is a vicious cycle of abiding by a standard that wasn’t even created by mothers.

It is important to me to have the space to speak of my true experiences with mothering. I have worked hard to surround myself with powerful women who can hear and speak of the truth. I feel strongly that all women are able to speak their truth if given a safe space to do so. It makes me angry that it is so much work to create these bonds with other women. And yes, I blame patriarchy for this difficulty. I blame men.

About Bella again…

I am not an altruistic person by nature [I don’t believe anyone is] yet doing what I am doing for Bella is an act of altruism. The fact is, NO ONE can do for Bella what I am doing for her. The fact is, I have to do it without hearing her praise and I have to do it alone – the same as I gave birth to her alone. The fact is, I can not do it with a smile on my face.

I drift in and out of resentment towards Bella’s skin (this often mixes with resentment towards Bella). I really need to not waste to much time feeling guilty for this. This resentment I have felt is temporary. When she looks up at me with her big almond-shaped brown eyes, I know her love and my anger is reminded of my love – it happens this way all the time.

Being a mama is such a bag of mixed goodies.

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PS: BaoBao’s skin is improving. Slowly, but still improving.

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The irony of listening to, Crass – Penis Envy, while doing housework is far from lost on me.

I’m eagerly awaiting the new designed, Fuzzi Bunz, to reach their distributors. Bella has been wearing Max’s FB’s. They are too big and the elastic around the legs is shot. Bella is in serious need of her own cloth nappies.

For a short time this morning I feared that my calm outlook on the daily grind (home with the kids) was already heading downhill and taking a turn for the worst. Bella was crawling after me for about 30 minutes while I attempted to quickly pick up the junk all over the floor. Then, she was itching like crazy and as per usual, protested the ritual of changing her nappy and caring for her skin. This protesting = pain for me because it is my right hand that hurts the worst. My right hand is the one she aims for when kicking.

She was so crabby that I was sure I’d have to spend the rest of my “free-time” (what a joke!) holding her. To people living without chronic pain, this may seem easy and ideal. For me, carrying her is painful.

I feel bad typing this all out but in addition to what I just wrote, I have to admit to myself that I don’t spend nearly as much time one on one with Bella as I was able to do with Max. Nor do I wish too. Don’t get me wrong, the time I spend with her everyday, one on one, just playing is delightful (all 10 minutes of it). I just can’t – and don’t want to – do it as much as I did with Max. I really need to work on carving out “Bella and Me” time. Also, (to continue the grumbling) her skin issues suck the life out of me. I get so depressed at night when she wakes up scratching.

After a freak out period this morning, after calling Hal and crabbing at him for leaving me with a messy house (for a moment there, it was all his fault), I gave Bella a sippy cup of water and she instantly stopped following me around. I immediately called Hal back to let him know that order had been restored.

Whew. The ride downhill was a short one.

Now, I better get back upstairs before Bella’s content in the playpen turns ugly.

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I’m going to take a little break (that started a while ago) from posting. I will most likely pop in to share a picture or an update. Life is busy right now with the holidays, Max’s new school (which means my new found [semi] free time), and Bella’s acupuncture treatments.

I’m making a point to make daily trips to the floor with Max so he feels like he’s leading play or like we’re doing things co-operatively. I used to do this all the time before having Bella but fell out of it while trying to find my rhythm with two children. Rhythm, I’m finding, always changes.

I’ve also started telling stories that I [or we] make up as we go along, both of the children love that – Max often preferring a story over a book. Our relationship has grown into this really rewarding and harmonious thing. I think the key is to take the time to just be. with. the. kids. Easier said than done, let me tell you. And having Max in a home preschool that we both LOVE helps in so many good ways. Oh such good stuff is happening.

Bella also learns a lot by watching how the family interacts – especially me with Max and Papa. It has become a fine habit to include Bella in everything. She lets me know when she needs something and seems so happy to just be with us – in mama’s arms of-course.

I think I’m starting to get interested, again, in cooking. That passion has been on sabbatical for a few years now. As my chef of a husband can tell you.

Now, I say this next part knowing I have, like, only five readers. Beautiful, sexy, smart readers at that…

As life has started to get busier, I can’t help but to feel grateful to you for sharing this space with me. Your comments and support have gotten me through some very difficult times this year. I used to be quite cynical about the whole world of blogging but not anymore. This world has become another form of community for me. I thank you for that. Even if you don’t comment I know you are reading and I appreciate your presence.

There is no doubt that this year has been challenging (at best) and downright painful (at worst). However, I’m on the upswing and feeling good and normal again. Bella is seeing the acupuncturist that I used to see when I was pregnant with Max. Dr. Han helped manage my pain with RA so I have a lot of faith in her methodology of practicing Chinese medicine/acupuncture/herbs. Oh, and Bella doesn’t mind the needles at all. They only stay in for a few seconds.

I have three bags of wild looking Chinese herbs upstairs on the stove waiting to be boiled and chilled for use on BaoBao’s skin. I’m also taking herbs orally to benefit both BaoBao and myself. I needed some help with stress because there has been a few times while I was up in the middle of the night with an itchy baby that I felt as if I was slipping over the edge. I am in shock over how much better I feel after taking these herbs for only a couple of weeks. I have more faith in Chinese medicine than Western – though I do believe there is a time and place for both.

I am in a deep space right now regarding the work of being mindful. Not deep as in, “whoa, that is so deep, dude.” I mean, deep as in I can’t put words to it but I know I’m in it because I feel like myself. I feel calm even when irritated. I feel happy even when doing nothing. I’m also learning so much from Max right now because I’ve finally figured out how to listen to him. This in and of itself is blowing my mind.

So on that note, I wish all of you a lovely holiday season filled with many moments of intuitive living.

See you next year!

Love,

Michelle

P.S. This may sound strange since my son is three years old, but… I no longer see being a mom as my “job.” You know, as something I do instead of what I am. Being a mom is who I am. Just the same as I am a woman, I am a mom. And I love my mom-self. She is quite amazing.

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Lots has been going on.

The Monday before Thanksgiving, I started to seriously consider taking Max out of his preschool. I don’t want to get into detail as to why I feel this way (too long and rambly) but just know I witnessed several different dynamics and actions in his classroom that I do not agree with. It really boils down to the fact that the preschool he was at had a mode of operating that isn’t compatible to the realities of children.

The same day that I started to feel strongly about Max needing to change preschools… a nature mama friend, H, said she was thinking about starting a preschool in her home. H met a woman who was interested in teaching and who is a friend of a friend, thing. In other words, connected to the natural parenting/earthy/healer-type community. Talk about things falling into place. Today, just a week later, I met with Max’s new teacher at H’s house. Max will be going to a very dear friend’s home for preschool Mon, Tue, and Wed from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. I am so relieved.

I took Bella to her first acupuncture/NAET appointment yesterday morning. Dr. L seems to really know her stuff, is kind, honest, and in general a warm person. In other words, she gave me good vibes. At this point, I am doing everything within my powers to help Bella and it is time to move into the next realm of help. I left Dr. L’s office feeling relieved, understood, and hopeful that she will be able to help Bella.

Admittedly, I am not convinced that NAET will help. No amount of personal testimony will convince me of it’s ability to actually cure a person of their allergies. This is one of those things that I need to see/experience to believe. I do, however, have personal experience with acupuncture working to relieve severe pain by controlling the inflammation in my joints. Bella will be receiving Chinese herbs through my breast milk (I will be taking them), acupressure (needles are not used on babies), and NAET therapy. I have also been a strict bitch about my diet for the past 2 ½ weeks. Controlling what I eat helps her skin but she is still itching.

My father in-law (whom I get along with very well) is building a swing set with a slide, deck, and sandbox in our back yard. He is the kind of builder who is very meticulous and goes all out so this is going to be quite a little playground for my children…

Hal battling the wasps on our porch. They are relentless in claiming their territory…

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The play space isn’t completed, yet, but the swings are set up so today the kids got to enjoy their new play space…

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Okay, sometimes it really is hard to pick just one…

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Max is really into doing puzzles. He can do a 48 piece puzzles all by himself!

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Hanging out by his finished work:

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Bella looks like she is going to love books, too.

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Look Ma! I’m standing!

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Deep Thoughts by Michelle Harmon:

Sometimes when you think a person is a little crazy it turns out that they are. Then, you know it is necessary to build a fence around your yard – one made of pretty stone.

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Hal got off from work today at noon and has off until Monday! Woo hoo!

I took Bella to her 9 month check-up today. Since last week when I took Max in and Dr. B. made that comment about her skin, Rebel Girl has cleared up almost completely. She is right on track developmentally and physically… thank gawd… I don’t think I could deal with it if she wasn’t. Her only problem is the eczema. Dr. B. was impressed with my knowledge about Bella’s food allergies. She also paid me accolades for doing so well with my diet restrictions. It felt good to get some recognition in regards to how difficult it is to give up so many foods for someone else. My friends and family are good at patting me on the back… but I appreciate every pat I can get!

I have decided to delay solids until Rebel Girl is a year old… because… I have an auto immune disorder and Bella is already having issues with her immune system. It is important for me to do EVERYTHING possible to help her get a good strong start in life. Breastmilk gives Rebel Girl everything she needs to grow and be healthy… right now food will only complicate her system. Delaying solids until she is 12 months is what is best for her.

I was happy that Dr. B. was so supportive of my efforts to help Bella. Many doctors would not be as understanding and knowledgeable as Dr. B. It is comforting to be able to share so much with a medical professional and receive such warmth in return. She agreed with me on every point and assured me that I’m doing everything that can possibly be done to help Bella.

*Exhale*

I know this already but I’m not above receiving/needing some recognition and praise (as mentioned above, already, hint hint *wink*). It is hard to not fall into self proclaimed martyrdom doing what I am doing. I often do feel quite martyr-like regarding my strict diet (no dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, corn, or tree nuts – or anything with those byproducts). Then, I give myself a good swift quick kick in the head (whack).

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I want to be her best friend.

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Rebel Girl,

You are the Queen of my world.

Love,

Mama

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Hi.

Hal leaves for work this morning and I sigh to myself, “welcome to my personal hell.”

Last night and this morning I have felt hateful and sad.

Yesterday, at Max’s 3 year checkup his pediatrician took a look at Bella when I was changing her diaper and stated, “she is the worse case of eczema I have ever seen.” Thanks, I didn’t feel bad enough already. And I actually like my kid’s pediatrician.

Bella is still scratching all the time. She will clear up, I’ll eat two bites of anything, and she will flair up all over her body. I hate this. I am starting to feel desensitized to her suffering. When I change her diaper I try not to pay attention to how uncomfortable she looks as she scratches viciously at her skin. When I do pay attention it makes me cry.

Doctors are just useless. I set an appointment for Bella to see an acupuncturist. This acupuncturist is also a NAET practitioner. Not that we have the income comfortability to go the natural route – but what little extra income we do have, I’m willing to spend on healing Bella’s skin.

I know that her skin condition is a symptom… not the actual problem. My pediatrician, an allergist, and other doctors are well-meaning but have NO CLUE as to how to build my little girl’s immune system. They want to prescribe lotions and creams but don’t even address the fact that her immune system has broken down and needs some help to repair. Grrr. This is so frustrating.

I bought Bella a butt-load of cute clothes today. Three pajamas and three outfits is my definition of “butt-load.” I am not a clothes/shoe/or jewelry shopper AT ALL but I do find it fun to shop for my kids.

I drank a little alcohol yesterday. My SIL’s boyfriend is a bartender by trade and mixed up some fancy drinks for us. I used to be able to down quite a bit of liquor back in the day but not any more. My glass was still practically full when I left my in-law’s house yet I felt a little buzzed from the five sips I took. It also seems like alcohol no longer peps me up. I don’t really enjoy drinking any more.

I started writing this post in the morning after Hal left for work. I’m finishing it up at 9pm at night. I feel much better now than I did this morning.

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I run downstairs to write and surf the net for five minutes. I’m in need of a little respite from mothering. Bella is getting in her top two teeth at the same time and is just absolutely miserable. I feel sad that she is suffering and understand her clingyness, but… I also feel annoyed and frustrated that I can’t set her down for any reason or length of time. She is in her crib crying as I type this little paragraph…

… Max’s birthday parties went over very well. Friday night we had the family at our house for dinner and b-day cake. Saturday morning, Max partied hard at the playground with his friends. It was a beautiful day on Saturday, the weather was just perfect. Everyone who came had a lot of fun. As Hal and I were driving home we were glowing with happiness. Our little boy is growing. Each age is so exciting and new.

I still muse over how I got to this very special place in life.

Our back yard is slowly becoming kid-friendly and worthy of adult lounging. Today, we had someone remove a batch of five dangerous (with their threatening six inch long thorns) reclinata palms. Later this week a pest control dude will give us an estimate on ridding the ground of those pesky red ants. I have been enjoying afternoon hours outside while Max plays. Bella watches him prance around and laughs at the birds flying overhead while I kiss and hug on her warm sweet skin.

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We play a game of stationary tag with Max. Bella and I being the stationary party in the rocking chair as Max charges us from across the yard. He starts at the banana tree a neighbor planted in his yard, until we put a fence up and discovered it actually fell on our property line. His little legs move so fast and his hands are stretched out far in front of him. His face smiles with anticipation of tagging Bella’s and my hands. It’s a fun game that we play often.

The weather is so beautiful these days. It sends me into fantasy mode. I have visions of plants, fruits, flowers, and vegetables adorning our home and yard. I also have fantasies of back yard barbecues, parties, and camp outs. I have pushed moving-to-Sarasota fantasies far to the back of my mind in order to enjoy where we live now. I’m sick of anticipating a move that isn’t realistic for us at this time. I want to live in my house and make it a home. It was hard for me to do that when the space felt temporary.

Max’s birthday party brought out about 13 kids and 20 adults, many of whom drove 30 minutes to be present. This put things into perspective. My friends will drive the distance. Distance doesn’t prevent friendships and I’m always making more friends as the years go on. And as a result… as the years go on… mothering gets easier and less lonely. If the time ever arrives where it feels right to move we will know and it will happen. However, I’m done planning for it. I want to enjoy my home right now.

PS: CONGRATULATIONS LIZ!!! My friend Liz gave birth at home, Sat., November 10th, to her second daughter, Sage. I am so happy for her and her beautiful family!!!

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Our TV has been off and the kids have been playing together all day long. I mean, really: together. They’re totally feeding off one another’s energy. I suspect this will only get better. It seems that Bella’s new found mobility makes her that much more interesting to Max, and Max to her (which I didn’t realize was even possible, but it is!).

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I don’t worry about the affect TV has on my kids. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t notice what the affects are. Some days the tub-boob is on all day and it takes away Max’s listening powers. Some days it is on all day and we have fun watching movies together. And some days it is off all day and we have fun cooking, playing, and going on errands.

I try to keep a good rhythm in what we do every week but nothing is written in stone. This laid back attitude I have adopted has had an impact on how I deal with my ideologies. I use to be very uptight about my belief systems. I think if my ideologies ran my life, I would feel like a horrible mother and a worthless human. Or, I may just look at everyone else that way. No thank you. I don’t need that kind of pressure to be perfect. And honestly, it took motherhood to make me realize that I am not the ideas I believe and it is okay to fall short of the ideal. What can I say? I’m a slow learner.

I have done a lot of things in parenting the way I envisioned they should be done in my family. Most of those things place my lifestyle somewhere in the margins of our society. Homebirth, cloth diapering, extended breast feeding, co-sleeping, no vaxing, herbs and homeopathic meds, baby wearing, positive discipline (for the most part), not using a pacifier and maybe a few more things I can’t remember. These are some of the choices I’ve made that aren’t “the norm.”

These things used to be so important to me. These choices were my life. My identity as a mother was based on “what I did.” For a while in the beginning, I understood motherhood through the pages of philosophical and scientific parenting books. These days, I also understand motherhood by experiencing it.

I’m proud of the way I parent (past and present). I recognize many of the choices I’ve made as accomplishments, some as bad choices, and all of it as a learning experience. I am also happy for the privilege to have had the education to make the choices I’ve made.

The choices I made the first two years of Max’s life seem so far behind me and so small in the grand scheme of life. The challenges and accomplishments of today don’t seem to be connected to the ones in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I know that they are. However, those parenting choices have become one square on the quilt of my children’s lives. One square that helps build the whole.

I do use books to help me along the mothering road, however, I have come to accept that there aren’t really any books that can tell me how to raise MY children. It’s all suggestions. All those books really do is tell me what I already know to be true, open my eyes to ideas I had not heard before, and place a certain amount of pressure on me to succeed. They are guides and reminders and I value the knowledge they offer and the wisdom they drum up from within me.

I just read the latest issue of Mothering Magazine. I used to have a lot of respect for this publication, but now I feel like they should grow some real chutzpah and stop preaching to the choir. Speak about your convictions without condemning the masses. Stop printing such judgmental articles. Give your readers tools to talk non-judgmentally to other moms – that is… if you really want to spread the knowledge of your ideas.

I used to really like, Mothering, and I’m not sure if I just started noticing how crappy some of the articles are (sans Peggy O’Mara from my criticism – I love her) or if it has gotten worse over the last three years.

I’m not renewing my subscription. Mothering Magazine has served its purpose in my life but its time to move on.

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We baked delicious vegan wheat-free chocolate chip cookies today and have made ourselves sick enjoying them. The kids are conked out upstairs in front of the movie, Toy Story, and I’m finishing up this post.

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Me trying to feed Bella:

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Happy that I stopped trying:

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Max successfully feeding Bella:

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At the playground:

 

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I’ve been taking the kids to the park often, lately. I’m working on Max – trying to get him to stop fighting me when it is time to leave a place he is enjoying. This way, when I’m at the park – a place where there are actually not a lot of people – if I need to curse at him, no one will hear me. I’m still working out the kinks in my responses to anger therefore, every-now-and-then, I slip and say, I don’t care what you want to do, get in your fucking car seat. Of-course, he just says, no.

Then, I get another chance to reword my needs.

 

 

 

 

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