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Archive for the ‘Num-Nums’ Category

Hey! I’m starting to get the hang of parenting two kids.

Bella is upstairs sleeping while Max and I are downstairs playing:

My biggest emotional obstacle was accepting that Bella is not going to get the same kind of attention that Max did at her age. Her experience in our family and my experience with her is and will always be different. And that is OKAY. Maybe if I was able to carry her in the sling all day I’d feel she was getting the attention she deserves (then again, maybe I wouldn’t). But I can’t carry her all day. I’m done beating myself up over it. She cries longer and more than Max EVER did, but she is still a happy baby. She is showered with love and affection.

I also had to get use to the fact that I can’t give Max the attention I was once able to give him. I now realize this is probably a good thing. He is very loving towards Bella and shows it everyday with lots of hugs and kisses. I can only assume that he learned how to show this love by experiencing it himself. He seems to be enjoying Bella. Of-course, he won’t always be so affectionate towards his little sis’, but I’m loving it while it lasts.

I’m just [finally] happy that we decided to have Bella when we did.

Max is sleeping in his own bed in his and Bella’s room. He makes it through half the night before quietly crawling into bed behind me. When he wakes and is not so quiet, Hal plays the night parenting role.

Max has adjusted to his new position of facing my back when he sleeps with me as I am always facing Bella. It is her turn to have easy night-time access to her beloved num-nums. Max is still nursing but only two times a day at the most. Usually, first thing in the morning and occasionally once in the afternoon. What can I say, he sees Bella nursing all the time so it’s kind of hard for him to forget about it. He tells me, “those num-nums are MINE!” And I always assure him, “no, Max, these num-nums belong to mommy.”

He never believes me, though.

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This morning when I blinked, Max poured out my Aveda hair product into the toilet and trashed the bottle into the can as well. Then, he transferred a bottle of Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil into a coffee mug.

I realized early on that today was going to be one of those days. This was before 10 am. “One of those days” means I try to ignore him unless he’s being nice or wants to play with me. I spent most of the morning folding laundry and some of it playing with him and his dinosaurs.

While I was nursing him down for a nap (that he didn’t take), I decided that today would be the last day I nurse him for a nap. Tomorrow, I’ll read him a few books (like we do before bedtime at night) and lay with him until he falls asleep. He is almost weaned! The last nursing time to go will be the one first thing in the morning.

My MIL is coming soon to take Max to Jungle Gardens. While he’s with her I’m going to get the house cleaned and make some food for the week. I’ve been having issues with hunger. I mean, when I get hungry it comes on so sudden that I feel sick. I’m not eating as much as I normally do because of my food restrictions (no dairy, soy, eggs) so I need to have easy, already-made food on hand. And fruit. I don’t mind these restrictions because it forces me to eat healthier. It will just take some time to get use to preparing food in bulk so it’s good-to-go in the fridge.

Dear Max,

You will always be an awesome kid in my book, but… since you were such a tart this morning, I thought it would be shweet to post this picture…

Love,

Mommy

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I really did know better than to try and level with my MIL. If there is one thing she can’t handle, it is hearing that someone is depressed. So scary for her. She and my BIL talk about depression as if it is a weakness or disorder. The only reason I said something to her is because I wanted to give her a chance to hear the truth. I didn’t like how she reacted to it so she pretty much lost that privilege from me. In my heart, I know she does care and she does love me. She just isn’t aware that normal people get depressed and see therapists and that it is OKAY. Maybe she’ll learn a little from knowing?

I started to feel better last week – probably due to going outside more often – and *almost* decided that I didn’t need to see a therapist. Then I thought, no, there is a reason beyond my understanding that I have been feeling so sad and just because the sadness comes and goes, doesn’t mean I should ignore it. Because we all know what happens when we ignore important emotions… they come back in the future to bite us in our respective ass.

I’m still in the weaning process with Max. I don’t mind nursing him anymore. I feel like since there is so much that I can’t do with him right now I can “make up” for it by allowing him to nurse. I’m careful to not nurse him when I really don’t feel like it because I don’t want to be sitting there hating every moment. He nurses maybe 2-3 times during the day, to go down for a nap, and first thing in the morning. No night nursing. Hey, it’s a start.

Okay, verdict is in… I can not eat eggs or soy products. They have a negative affect on Bella’s skin. Next week, once her skin clears up from the recent soy introduction, I’ll reintroduce dairy to see what happens. That day, I’m going to Whole Foods with a friend and ordering a cheese sandwich and taking home a pizza for dinner. It takes about two days to see if her skin reacts. I’m really hoping I can at least eat dairy! If I have to give that up, welp, that is what I will do. A part of me finds it fun to come up with a variety of foods that don’t have those three ingredients as the staple.

Yesterday I let Max run around our back yard nekked. And by “let” I mean, I couldn’t get him to keep his clothes on. He was playing in his pool and decided it was just not comfortable being wet and having on clothes. When Hal gets home tonight I’m going to run up to the store and buy batteries for my camera – it is killing me to not have it! He was so cute with his curls bouncing up and down as his pudgy little legs took him all over the yard. I love how wild and true kids are to their nature – so beautifully primitive and free.

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I realized today that it is Rage that I am reacting to when I loose my temper with Max – not Max and not Rage’s little sis, Frustration.

I experienced it in awareness, today. I looked Rage straight in the eye and did nothing. I just stared. She was ugly and hurtful.

The scenario:

Max was “suppose” to go down for a nap. He said that he was ready to take a nap. He lied. I know he doesn’t understand what it means to “lie” but my brain reacted as if he does.

He lied because he wanted me to himself. I have to put Bella in the swing in order to nurse Max. I always nurse Max to sleep. He knows this. I know he knows this because when he wants num-nums or a nap he will say, “put Bella down, put Bella in the swing,” So today when I was holding Bella and asked Max, “are you ready for your nap?” naturally, he said, yes. He wanted a nap just so he could nurse.

When he isn’t lying about being ready to nap he falls asleep rather quickly and doesn’t fidget as he nurses. It’s the fidgeting that gave him away. Normally, I would jerk my body away from him or out of bed (to make sure he could “see” how mad I was) and exclaim how angry I was that he lied to me. Then, I would say something manipulative to “get” him to say he was ready to sleep. Like, mommy isn’t going to nurse you ANYMORE today unless you take a nap RIGHT NOW! This, as you may have guessed, never works. He’d still be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as he told me he was going to take his nap.

I’m starting to notice that while I don’t yell or become violent when I’m pissed, I do become manipulative. I threaten Max with actions that I can’t or won’t carry out. I don’t want to do this. I also struggle with empathizing with him.

The fidgeting while nursing is annoying when *I’m* ready for him to sleep. He pinches, rubs, and slaps until I just can’t take it anymore. However, instead of my usual M.O. (which always brings him to tears), today, I did nothing. I just said to myself, hello rage. I see you. I hear you loud and clear. Max looked a bit surprised and confused that I didn’t react the way I normally react. I just got out of bed quietly and smoothly without expressing the anger (out loud). He seemed happier, less tense, and stopped acting out faster than he would have had I reacted. Oh, and he finally fell asleep on the couch while watching Jurassic Park (he’s into dinosaurs – big time). He requested to watch “the real dinosaur movie,” then conked out ten minutes into it.

Acknowledging Rage but not reacting to it didn’t make it go away – like I hoped. It lingered, prodding me to do something about it’s presence. However, seeing it clearly and without judgment took the focus off Max. The benefit… a good relationship with my son.

Rage is something that visits me when I feel like I don’t have any control over a situation. I.e.: Max’s behavior. And while it didn’t go away, I did feel a sense of accomplishment for not “taking it out” on my kid. The fact that the feeling is lingering (still, even as I type) means that it is there for some other reason. I’m thinking being tired and having poor nutrition are those reasons. These things aren’t always about our childhood – the same as when a child gets cranky because she’s hungry or tired. This rage had a physiological trigger.

In an attempt to control my rheumatoid and to become a healthier person (physically and mentally) I’m looking into the macrobiotic diet. Wish me luck on this because to eat a macrobiotic diet takes a form of discipline that I’ve never had.

I need to wean Max because I really hate nursing him as much as he *wants* to nurse. Even nursing Bella has become joyless (though I mind less with her). I’m at a point where I only nurse her because it is the right thing to do and I nurse Max because I don’t want him to resent Bella. I don’t want this to be the fate of our nursing relationship.

I know I’m going to have to facilitate Max in weaning – as opposed to him “self-weaning.” My plan is to wait until Bella is eating solids before I start the process of getting Max off the boob-juice during day-time hours. I’ve started the night weaning already and am taking it slow from there. I need to set some more boundaries with Max. I knew tandem nursing would be hard but nothing really prepared me for all these feelings.

There is a balance that needs to be respected with weaning. It’s not just about me. It’s also about Max’s needs. I have to reteach him that there are other ways to obtain comfort from mommy and himself. I have to take the boobs away slowly and gently. Maybe I’ll get to a comfort zone again with nursing them both and will be able to continue until Max weans himself. It’s hard to say right now. I know it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” thing.

I’m considering weaning Bella after her first birthday – at least night weaning her. However, if I get this pain under control and Max cuts back on how often he nurses, I *may* feel differently about weaning Bella so early.

There is a lack of information out there concerning the various ways of gently weaning your baby/toddler. There should be more information about the feelings that a mama experiences throughout the weaning process as well as the feelings/circumstances surrounding the decision to start the weaning process. I find it annoying that every piece of information about breastfeeding deals with why it is best for the baby and how blissfully bonding it is for the mother. This type of white-washing sets women up for depression and feelings of failure. There is a whole spectrum of feelings that women go through during the different stages of nursing – and they’re not all flowery. Too bad I’m in no shape to right a book right now.

Max News:

He has adjusted well to having a baby sister. He kisses her all the time and talks to her. When she cries he’ll say (usually), “mommy, Bella crying. Bella want mommy’s milk. My (I) want to kiss Bella! Kiss Bella.” We stopped having play dates at our house because Max was having a really difficult time sharing his toys. And because of all the changes he has been going through – having to share everything with Bella – I don’t want to force him to be polite and share with other kids in his own home. For now, we are only having play dates at other people’s homes. Also, going out in public (without Hal) is out of the question for a while.

Bella News:

The girl is growing like a weed. She is seven weeks old and wearing 3-6 month old clothes. I’m cutting dairy of my diet (as of today) because I think she is having a negative reaction to it – gas and rashes. I’ll know in a few days. She sleeps well, only waking 2-3 times a night. She also sleeps in her own bed. Max wouldn’t sleep alone and kept crawling into bed with Bella and I. Because of my arthritis, laying in one position all night KILLED my joints so, I moved her into the twin bed and Max is with me. Bella will probably be sleeping in her own room before Max. As soon as she starts sleeping “through the night” (at least five hours) consistently… I’m actually going to put her in her and Max’s room to sleep. Not sure yet if I want to use the crib or put a mattress on the floor. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

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How I’m able to take the time to write this: Hal and Max are out running errands, Bella is napping, and I’m happily and rightfully ignoring the mess in our kitchen and living room.

This last week has been all about making adjustments in our life and healing my body. We do have a few challenges, as one would imagine. The first thing we had to figure out was the night parenting stuff. We are an attachment parenting family and Max was still sleeping next to mommy before Bella arrived. I did myself a huge favor by night weaning him during the month of December, but that didn’t take away his love for snuggling with me at night. So, after rearranging our beds a couple times we finally *think* we have figured out something that will work for us. Max is in a full-size bed – by himself – papa and the dogs on the twin bed – and Bella & I on the other side of the room from Max in the other full-size. That way, papa is in between Max and I.

Hal has started night parenting Max. This means that when Max wakes up it is Hal’s job to get him to go back to sleep. Mind you, before Bella was born Max had stopped waking during the middle of the night, but with all the newness going on in our home his sleep has been a little less than deep. Hal is getting a good taste of what I have been going through since Max’s birth – soreness from being in the same position to comfort him and tiredness from the lack of sleep. However, Max is doing pretty darn well all considering – oh, and so is Hal.

The other challenge, which really isn’t as bad as I was anticipating, is just getting Max acclimated to seeing Bella nurse on his beloved num-nums. Introducing Max to Bella was amazing and easy. He got very excited to see her, knew right away that it was Bella lying on the bed, and started clapping while exclaiming, “It’s Bella! It’s Bella! Yay! Bella not in mommy’s tummy any more!”

It was the best, most sweetest eva introduction of a baby sister to her big brother. He immediately wanted to hug and kiss her, lay next to her in bed, and just stare at her. The whole time he had this big excited smile on his face. It was so touching that Hal started to cry! Max was pretty much like that until he saw her nursing. Then the lessons on boundaries began. He’s taking it well, though, and understands (after only two days of teaching this) that he has to nurse on the other boob (because you know at first he had to have the same one), has to be gentle when he latches on, has to make sure he isn’t laying on top of Bella, and has to wait until mommy latches Bella on first before he can dive in. He’s a very smart kid and I’m very proud of how well he comprehends everything.

Look at that forced smile! Inside I’m thinking, “How the heck did I get myself into this!” 🙂

Max has been great with Bella about 95% of the time. The other 5% has been a slap on the face here, a pinch there, even a wide open mouth-full-of-teeth pressed a little here – on the head. First, my way of dealing with it was to talk to him about how it is not nice and he can only touch nicely – then I showed him how and allowed him to follow/copy the behavior. The second approach I took was to, in the spur of the moment, I popped him lightly on the cheek (didn’t even leave a red mark but startled him good) when he hit Bella on the face and another time when he screamed in her ear. I did this once for each offense. It felt right when he hit her but not when he screamed in her ear (I felt bad for that one). Both times I explained that mommy had to protect Bella from him if he was going to hurt her the same way I would protect him if someone bigger was hurting him. I also said, which he probably didn’t understand (too wordy) – it was more for my benefit – that when she can protect herself I’d let them work it out alone but until then mommy will be protecting Bella. After this, I gave him a lot of love – kissing his cheeks where his “owie” was – and just reminded him how much I love him.

I’m not comfortable at all with hitting my children (regardless of whether or not it “felt right” in the moment) so in my heart knew – even in the moment it was happening – that it wasn’t something I could add to my repertoire of disciplining. I think it happened almost as a knee-jerk reaction to being both frustrated with Max’s behavior and desiring so badly to “drill” it into his head that he can not be “mean” to Bella. Oooh the irony in adult behavior sometimes! Don’t be mean! Slap! Anyhoo… so now, my way of handling Max-Lashings on Bella is to just ignore it. I get up and walk away from him (taking Bella with me of-course) without punishing, rewarding, or responding to his actions. And at this point, I know that he knows that what he did was not nice and that it upsets mommy and Bella. On the flip-side of ignoring the undesirable behavior, I am making a BIG DEAL out of it every time Max is nice to Bella. As a result, he has started showing me (making a big deal out of it) every time he is nice. I am most comfortable with this approach – it feels right. All of this in the span of 6 days.

I can’t sing Hal’s praises enough so I won’t even try. However, I will say that he is the kind of partner that makes all of this feel more like “team-work” rather than “mama’s-work” – which is in my opinion how it should be.

The healing of my body has been a lot easier than it was with Max. There is way less soreness down in my neither regions and way less physical, emotional, and mental shock to my psyche. The whole after birthing experience, in general, has been easier. I’m assuming this can be contributed to the fact that everything is already familiar to both my body and mind. What a relief about that!

Bella is fantastic. Perfect in every way. And already so different than Max who is also perfect in every way.

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I am so impressed with how well this baking soda remedy is working for my heartburn. I woke up – as per usual – at 1:30am by my tiny bladder and her partner in crime, Heartburn, who was threatening to push up some scary stuff milling around in my stomach. After tending to my bladder, which is ruthless in it’s screams for attention (the pain), I stumbled out into the kitchen and whipped me up a shot of BS. It worked instantly and I went back to sleep free of that bitch, Heartburn.

In my last post I mentioned that heartburn and the typical discomforts of carrying an extra 30 lbs (now 33 lbs) in my midsection is the only thing I really have to complain about with this pregnancy. What I didn’t make clear is that each trimester I had different complaints. I don’t want it to seem like I’ve already forgotten how much of a physical pain this pregnancy has been. Must. Not. Place. Rose. Colored. Glasses. On. AGAIN. Two babies are really enough.

I went to the YMCA today and as all the children were merrily playing, I looked over to the far left corner of the gym and saw a little boy standing there with his little nose glued to the wall. It freaked me out because my first thought was, BLARE WITCH! Then I reminded myself (quickly, before I ran over to rescue him) that no, that is how some parents chose to discipline their children. I was mortified. I mean, shit, what-ever works for them is fine for them. I just can’t imagine treating Max that way. It seems humiliating – even for a small child.

I know that a lot of folks see this “time-out” thing as a more gentle approach to disciplining – you know, because it’s non-violent. I can respect that. It just seems weird to me. Hal and I don’t have any “methods” at this point that we use to discipline Max. Each situation that arises is handled differently depending on what Max needs in that moment and what we are able to give. Admittedly, we both know that we need to read up on (real) gentle disciplining within the, um, next few seconds before Max does get “out of control.” Though, he is no where near getting out of control. But he is two! Boundaries are important and while we do set them, we just don’t have a “word” or “phrase” to call it – or a book that we can refer too for backup.

I nursed Max in public for the first time today in a long time. I was a bit hesitant to do it because I am 8 months pregnant and he is a toddler. That is not something people are used to seeing. He kept asking for num-nums and eventually I let him have them. He was pleased as apple pie and was so good and patient the entire time we were there (we were in a waiting room with lots of other moms and children). He nursed twice. I think he was getting a bit stressed by all the people and noise in the room. I made sure to only look at him so that I wouldn’t see anyone looking at me disapprovingly and to make certain he didn’t pull my shirt up. Everything was fine and I was proud of myself for doing it so modestly and shamelessly. Max is a really well behaved child and I feel lucky about that.

One of my mama friends commented today on how Max is obviously very attached to me. She noticed how he will venture off away from me very easily but will always look back to check in and make sure I’m still there. He rarely plays right by my side when we are at the YMCA or library but I always feel like he stays connected either with eye contact or dropping by for a little attention. This, I attribute, to 1.) of-course, his personality and 2.) to the fact that I nurture his personality by the way I parent him (attachment parenting).

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It’s been a while since I’ve recorded some of the great things Max is doing these days. As he is getting older and more communicative he is turning into a really cool kid. I think he is going to be a “charmer.” You know, the kind of guy that women love to do things for because of how cute and charming he is. Oh boy. However, he sure does know how to make me laugh. Charmer.

* The other night he started “petting” my num-nums. He would pet one, look up at me, giggle, then continue petting it. He did this several times in a row. At one point he looked up at me and said very warmly, “I love num-nums,” then kissed the very tip of my nipple. This may seem weird to anyone who has never experienced a relationship with a nursing toddler, but I assure you, it is the sweetest expression of Max’s love for both me and his original source of nutrients and nurturing that he could ever give.

* I was holding a toy ball that Max wanted but I didn’t want to give back to him because he was throwing it around the house. It was a heavy ball that if thrown hard enough could break something. After crying for me to give it back to no avail, he tried a different approach. He looked at me all sweet and innocent-like and leaned in for a big kiss. As I was moved by his cuteness and leaning towards him to plant a smooch on his lips, he quickly snatched the ball out of my hands running away while laughing at his accomplishment – and my gullibility! I eventually got that ball back but not after laughing for a few minutes and chasing him around the house.

* Last night when I wouldn’t let him nurse (he rarely asks anymore), he softly asked me if he could pet num-nums. Of-course I didn’t let him. Then, for some reason, he thought that I would let him kiss num-nums so asked me if that was okay. HA! I wasn’t falling for THAT trick again. When I said no, and called him a little stinker, he started laughing. It was like he knew he was being sneaky and was busted!

* Side note… I wish I could look inside my belly and see Bella right now. She is moving so much that my skin is poking up and stretching out. She also responds to my touch. I can feel her little foot right now! She presses on my tummy when I press on her foot.

* Max makes a lot of fart jokes. Need I really say more about this?

* The other day Bossman started reciting “Goodnight Moon,” out of the blue. He also likes to sing along to songs he knows while making the correct hand gestures that either papa, myself, or Barney taught him.

* He LOVES to dance.

* Max speaks in full sentences, now.

* If I have my shirt up and Max sees my belly he yells out, “BellaGrace!” and runs over to touch her womb. He also likes to blow farts on Bella’s home – she likes it and I bet she too is laughing.

* When Max gets loose while naked, he’ll run through the house laughing and yelling, “Naked boy! Naked boy!” He then inevitable squats and takes a leak on the carpet. Not my favorite thing he does but it is funny.

Next weekend we are going to let Bossman stay the night with Grandma and Grandpa. I hope he can make it through the night because it will be the first time in over two years that Hal and I will be able to sleep in the same bed! We are also excited to have privacy and no responsibility for the night.

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