Monday, December 17, 2012

Manic Monday: Christmas Break!

Hello! Welcome to Manic Monday! It's great that it happens to be Monday, because I wanted to blog without any real solid idea for one particular post.

  • First and foremost, my heart is broken over the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT.  I decided not to immerse myself in the detail after the first night, as I felt shaken profoundly to the core of my being. My sadness is not what the world needs right now. The world needs positive energy.
  • Speaking of positive energy, I'd like to introduce you to my new side project, The Online Positivity Movement. A few weeks ago, I decided that I don't enjoy the negativity on social media. From Facebook drama to heated, uncivilized debates over politics and gun control and so on, to people simply posting that they are having terrible days or are in foul moods on a continuous just got to be overwhelming.  I started The Online Positivity Movement to start sharing some positivity and happiness on social media each day. Take a look, 'Like' it, and share it with your friends!
  • Let's share some photos:
This is my father-in-law in a Santa suit...makes the photo so much more special.

Yum! Spaghetti!

K., the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It Must Be So Frustrating

Imagine with me for a moment.

You are so eye-droopingly tired. You want nothing more than to relax and drift off into dream land. You are cuddled up in your cozy, comfy bed and you know you should be okay, but your mind races. You can't shut it off. You keep tossing and turning impulsively; it's beyond your control. Your partner keeps telling you to just lay still and that if you're so tired, you should sleep. But you can't.

I think that must be what it's like to be a baby trying to sleep in the midst of a developmental leap. Baby Bird was just so tired, and grumpy, but he just couldn't drop off to sleep. It's been like this since Sunday. First it was his first two teeth cutting, and now it seems like he is putting all his energy into gross motor development toward crawling.

Yes, for me, it's very much frustrating. We don't really sleep train here, so a summary of nap-time is:

Rock rock rock
Baby seems drowsy but eyes pop open
Baby arches back and squirms until Mama gives up


Rock rock rock
Baby falls asleep in arms
Put baby down
Baby rolls onto stomach and tries to crawl away

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes I give up and we go play until I get my patience back.

But today it sunk in. How miserable must it be to be so exhausted but you just can't power down for the snooze you desperately need? Adults with insomnia, you know what I'm talking about here.

So today, I just kept my patience. I empathized with Baby Bird while I rocked and shooshed him gently. His eyes closed and his little body relaxed. I put him down and covered him with his blanket.

I walked out. Put an English Muffin in the toaster and the kettle on to boil.

"WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" Bird awakens with a start.

I curse the whole way to the room, breathe a deep breathe to regain my composure and enter.

Repeat the empathy, rocking. Put Bird down, cover with blanket, blow him a kiss.

It stuck. He's napping. Must've been the kiss I blew him.

Sometimes it pays to just be patient.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Manic Monday

Goooooood morning! I'm not really sure why I'm so chipper this AM, given the almost 2-hour Party Baby session we experienced overnight, followed by the extremely sad baby this morning. BUT I am. 

Welcome back to Manic Monday!

Let's talk about...stuff. In a bulleted list.

  • I completely dropped the ball on Christmas shopping for the relatives "away". It's only half done, and my usual self-imposed deadline for shipping was yesterday. I guess I know what I'm doing tonight. How it got to be December 10th is beyond me.
  • My family and my best friend has banded together to buy gifts for needy families this Christmas. Yesterday I went to church and picked up all the gift requests, and I will complete the shopping this week. I feel that we are so fortunate, it's the least we can do to give other families a chance at a merry Christmas without worrying. I encourage everyone who can to do a little something - donate a few items to a food bank, purchase warm winter wear for children in need, donate to the Salvation Army's Christmas campaign.
  • I have only one assignment left for this semester of my Career Development Practitioner program. How I survived, I'm unsure. While I wish I had started part-time, I don't regret full-time. I got so much confidence back from baby-wrangling and getting excellent grades in school. Now I'm really excited for some down time.
  • Baby Bird has at least two teeth cutting right now. He's honestly taking it really well. He has his moments of upset but overall, he's been happy.
  • I ordered a new bag to use as a diaper bag. The one we originally chose pre-birth ended up being a little on the small side, especially considering we use cloth diapers (a little extra bulk), and we are planning to eventually have another child.  It's this one from Lululemon:

  • My usual Christmas decorating style is Victorian, with white lights and rich jewel-toned ribbons. I like it classy and twinkly. But now with a baby, I'm leaning toward FUN FUN FUN! This Christmas we've bought a few new fun decorations. After Christmas, when all the decorations go on clearance, we're going to stock up on coloured lights and fun decorations for next year.
What's your Christmas decorating style?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I swore it would never, no, it COULD never, become me.

I'm going to say these three words just once, so treasure them. Savour them. Because you're not likely to see them in anything I write for a long, long time.

I. Was. Wrong.

It started slowly. I was in the habit of dressing decently and putting on make up daily. Then, after Bird was born and Keegan went back to work, some days I couldn't manage to do more than quickly dress in whatever I could find and throw my hair in a pony tail. It wasn't every day, though, so I felt safe because I still mostly made the effort.

Then I went from daily showers to once every two days. That was okay.

But this is day three and I'm wearing a head wrap to disguise my hair. And I'm not going to get a chance to shower until K. gets home.

Then I had to stop accessorizing because babies pull on and eat everything. So no more pretty dangly earrings, and no more necklaces, and definitely no more wearing my hair down.

In October, we got rid of cable. No more Canada AM to keep me up to only a day behind on my news or show me the latest viral video. No more Ellen show to keep me somewhat up to date on pop culture. No more re-runs of What Not To Wear.  No more watching our favourite shows the night they air. Heck, I don't even know what shows are even relevant anymore.

So here we are. I, my friends, have become uncool. Unhip. Not "with it". I'm a mom who has no idea what is happening in the world or what adults do for fun anymore. I don't know what's trendy for the winter.

What I DO know is that all of those things have become unimportant to me. One day, when I have a more independent child and I'm back in the working world, I'll probably care again. But right now, what I care about is my home. My family. My little slice of quiet heaven each morning while my son naps. Watching him learn and grow. Taking him to playgroups so he can socialize while Mama talks to other mamas going through the same thing.  I care about my studies. I care about learning and growing as a human. I care about learning to be generous of spirit and with my time. Learning to balance the motherhood side of my life with ability to still be me.

So what if that means I'm not really on top of the 'real world' right now? I'm deeply in love with my life, and indeed with living itself.

And that, my friends, is worth its weight in all those things I have let go.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I'm struggling with a really big case of "Want It All".

I never imagined it possible that I would want to be a stay at home mother, but here we are. I would give up so much to be at home with Baby Bird past a year, but it would mean selling our current house and giving up our second car (at the very least).

So I thought, that's okay, I can find part-time work and bring in enough for us to maintain our lifestyle. That would keep Bird out of daycare full-time, and it would also give me a bit more adult time outside of the home. Ideally, I'd love to start my business but I'm just not ready.

I told my husband, and he agreed. I pranced around feeling free like the wind and I wanted to tell the whole world. I wanted to shout from the rooftops.

Then it all came crashing down. We started talking about when we should try to have a second baby, and I realized that a second baby means a second maternity leave. And if we are just barely comfortable with me only bringing in a part-time income, then we wouldn't make it at 55% of that during a second maternity leave.

I came to grips with going back to work full-time for roughly a year until a second baby arrives (if we are so blessed). I thought that then I could take my second maternity leave and then do the part-time work thing after that.

Yet another problem popped up and my heart crashed again. With two in daycare, could we afford for me to work only part-time? God knows I don't want to work to pay for daycare.

So at this point, I guess I'll be a working mom. I'm told this is not the end of the world; that children survive and even thrive in daycare.

But, I have this niggling feeling. I didn't realize it until a few months ago, but I did not have children to let someone else raise them for 40 hours a week.  I do not wish to be separated from my heart for 40 hours a week. I want to continue to watch him grow, to participate with him in life. I want to show him the world around him and see the wonder in his eyes. I want to be there when he skins a knee, to kiss him and tell him Mama loves him before each nap. I want to be there through the terrible twos to teach him about his emotions and how they can be safely & appropriately expressed.

I wish I could go back in time and tell Childless Kim that she would feel this way, so we could have avoided lifestyle inflation.  We could have made sure we could live comfortably off one salary.

Now I just feel stuck in a situation there is no way out of, and it's not a good option for me or for Baby Bird. I feel like I am failing him by not figuring this out.

Mamas who work: talk me off the ledge.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Co-sleeping Doesn't Work For Us

During pregnancy, one of the things I was vehemently against was bed-sharing with the baby. No way, Jose, our bed was going to be a place for my husband and I to seek refuge against the life shock that is adjusting to parenthood. We set up the bassinet next to our bed, determined to room-in with Baby Bird for the recommended six months, but no way would he sleep in our bed.

Fast forward to Bird being about 6 months old, when he went through a series of nights where he woke up screaming, inconsolable and unable to go back to sleep, wanting only to be near his mama or daddy. I researched co-sleeping and bed-sharing, then practically begged my husband to let us try it. I learned so much about why co-sleeping could be awesome in my research that I really wanted to try it on a part-time basis (as needed).

K. was convinced that it might be a way for us all to sleep a little better, and so we tried.


It went something like this:

Shuffle shuffle squirm squirm. Awkward positioning of my arm. Nurse nurse nurse. Baby falls asleep; I lay paralyzed for fear of waking him if I shift. Lay awake for a long time. Finally drift off. Minutes later awaken to nurse-nurse-nurse. Repeat process.

And he nursed about a million times. It was unreal. I thought our 3 times a night was inconvenient before this experience. I was wrong.

So, considering I got next to no sleep and had a child attached to my breasts all night, then got up feeling like I was hit by a motor vehicle, I decided co-sleeping is sadly not for us.

I'm very envious that some people make it work and love snuggling with their baby. But I'm also secretly a little glad that our bed is just for the two of us. To each, their own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Have a Secret

Secretly, I think I'm amazing. I think I'm special, and that I should be shouting from the rooftops about what I've managed to accomplish.

I find myself wondering if other mothers feel this way? Billions of mothers world-wide bear beautiful children in their lifetimes. Every single baby is a miracle in so many ways, but at the same time, the ability to bear and raise children is not exactly a unique trait.

Then why do I feel like I've done something nobody else can do? Like I've been let into some special sisterhood that few people are admitted into? MY baby is a miracle. MY baby was grown inside of me and continues to be nourished primarily by me now that he is thriving on the outside. MY baby has made me realize how genuinely happy I am with me, and my life, and especially my family. MY baby has basically changed me from a pessimistic, selfish, and occasionally arrogant woman into a happy, optimistic woman who is learning how to truly be generous. I feel like the Grinch - my heart grew three sizes when I delivered Baby Bird.

Baby Bird is a little bit of kismet to me. I feel strongly that he was given to us as a gift, in the exact right time for us, and for exactly the right reasons. I feel he was sent to me at this point in my life before I could become any more pessimistic or set in my ways.

New mothers are told to never wish away babyhood, because it is fleeting and will pass quickly enough on its own, leaving mamas longing to revisit those precious moments. I always believed I would "hate" the baby stage, even throughout my pregnancy. But, I can honestly say I have not wished away Baby Bird's babyhood. I soak up every cuddle, smile, giggle that I can.

Tell me, Mamas, do you have a secret, too? Do you secretly feel that you are special and accomplished because of your children?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

8 Months!

I hesitated to write this post for fear that I was going to jinx us, but it seems Baby Bird it outgrowing his reflux! Life is much easier, and he's just like any other baby now.

Baby Bird is 8 months old now. He is so much fun!
  • He is chattering up a storm! Most importantly (to me), he says, "Mama!". And now, when I ask him to say it, he does.
  • He is trying so very hard to become mobile. He's really strong and is constantly trying to flip himself around and squirm his way to whatever he's looking for.
  • He has a smile that lights up my life. Unfortunately, we have trouble catching it on camera.
He WAS having fun, I promise. Then right after this photo was taken, he got cold and his bottom lip shook.

Remembering & Realizing

Remembering the first time I heard him cry, and thought it the most beautiful noise on earth.

Remembering the first time I saw his face, red and twisted into a shocked, angry expression after meeting the outside world. How I wished his first experience after birth was being placed calmly on my belly.

Remembering how my doula made sure I saw my baby before they swaddled him.

Remembering how I felt like the quintessential woman and mother the first time Baby Bird breastfed.

Remember the first time, in the hospital, I called him Baby Bird. He was mouth agape, trying to latch to feed, maybe two days old?

Remembering the first time we put him in his car seat, and how tiny he was.

Remembering the first trip to the grocery story. I had the baby blues and wanted to sob. A lady came over to ask how old Baby Bird was. When I said he was three days old, her jaw dropped and she told me how good I looked. She probably didn't understand why I looked so sad, but her compliment was appreciated and I will remember that for the rest of my life.

Remembering the first bath at home, and how we were terrified.

Remembering crying while he ate and ate and ate during growth spurts. I was convinced I would never leave the couch and never be able to leave the house alone again.

Remembering his first smile. My world has not lost its glow since them.

Remembering the three weeks where his reflux was at its worst, and my husband was working 12 hour days. Remembering his misery and my tears.

Remembering the brief stint of depression that followed.

Remembering the first time he laughed, and how we weren't totally sure what that funny little noise was but that he sure looked happy.

Remembering all the nights where we sat snuggled together in our rocking chair in the dark, drowsy and drifting.

Remembering seeing the whole room light up when I walked into his room and he smiled because I was there.

Remembering when we stopped fighting over naps and went with the flow.

Remembering the person I was before he was born and realizing that I don't care who that person was, because this is who I am now. I am, for the first time in my entire life, truly happy and fulfilled.


Realizing that this feeling is for keeps, and that I have so much love to give that I want to have more babies.

Realizing that I can do this all-consuming motherhood thing and still manage to do some things just for me, too.

Realizing that I am far stronger than I ever believed possible.

Realizing that I am a better, kinder, more caring person than I thought I was.

Realizing that for the rest of my life, someone is going to call me Mum.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Living for What I Value

Lately, because my school program focuses so much on helping people determine their values and beliefs, I've spend a lot of time reflecting on my own values and beliefs. I'm in my mid-twenties, and I feel most people this age are just solidifying their ideas of what they value. I'm no exception. It's very important to live as closely to one's values as one can (for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is simple happiness). This is often referred to as congruence.

In terms of congruence, it seems that some people automatically live according to their values without necessarily even needing to articulate them. In my experience, these tend to be the naturally happy, effervescent types of people. I am inspired by these people. Others, like myself, struggle with congruence.

I value my family above and beyond anything. I value generosity of spirit as well as tangible things. I value a healthy and fit lifestyle, living as closely to how nature intended as possible. I value living simply, and living with minimal "drama".

The number one value I struggle to live up to is living healthfully and staying physically active. I've been digging deep within for answers on this one, and I've come to this hypothesis:

When values are acquired through education (rather than being raised with them) and differ from habits, incongruence results.

 So, in my case, since I was raised with no particular focus on healthy or natural nutrition (not that we ate poorly), and no focus on fitness or athletics, living deliberately healthfully does not come naturally to me. My views on living naturally come from much self-directed education and a need to feel healthy and vital.

Right now, I'm struggling with a combination of factors, not the least of which is an inability to see that in many other ways I'm living according to my values. Family? Check! Generosity of spirit and tangible things? Recently I've made great progress in this area and my life feels richer as a result. Healthful eating/living? Unfortunately, no. Living close to nature? Only if you count how I am raising my son. However, I don't seem to give myself much credit for the many ways in which I'm already successful. A large part of my self-esteem comes from living healthy, and right now I'm not living healthy.

I want to lead by example. I am loathe to find myself being a "Do as I say, and not as I do" parent. None the less, I know I must be forgiving of my faults. I'm certainly not perfect, but I am doing my best hour by hour and day by day. I'm focusing on my number one value right now (family). A large majority of my non-family time is spent on school work so that I can ultimately live according to my belief that it is possible and important to be happy in one's career. I'm making natural, positive choices for my son.

The biggest hurtle in my journey to living healthfully is my food addiction. I'm not sure when it will become appropriate to chase this demon. Right now, with things in their present state, I just can't. I know I'm not ready. I don't have the mental or physical resources to deal with another thing on my plate by choice. The thing that eats at me, though, is that each day I spend living in sub-optimal health is a day that affects my life span and enjoyment. Often, I find myself thinking that if I could just hire someone to tell me how to do it (from a logistical standpoint), I'd be way better off. It's so time consuming to try and learn about how to accomplish my nutritional and fitness goals and put them into motion simultaneously. It's exhausting. I even find it exhausting to be around people who are doing it right now.

How do you live according to your values? In situations where you find yourself living incongruently, what do you do?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Side Note

My dearest mommy friends, has anyone outside of your spouse ever told you that you are doing a wonderful job raising your children?

The resident doctor who was working with the GI specialist at the hospital today was so taken with Baby Bird. He was such a great patient, smiling through her pokes and prods. She was sure to tell us that we are doing a wonderful job with him - he is happy, growing strong and thriving. She enjoyed that we have him in (adorable) cloth diapers and that we have already taken so many steps to reduce his reflux discomfort.

Anyway, the point is, we as mothers (and fathers too) spend much of our time worrying and fretting that we are making the wrong choices for our babies. This is especially true of new parents, and parents of babies with health problems.  Sometimes, hearing the words that affirm you are, in fact, a good parent come from an utter stranger's mouth - somebody who owes you nothing - is a powerful force. For me, today, it was very powerful. Between her kind words, and the doctor reassuring us that Bird is okay, I am hoping to be able to enjoy motherhood even more.

Catching up - 7 months and counting!

Baby Bird is an unbelievable 7 months old. Actually, he is 7.5 months old now.
  • He is getting smilier and gigglier with each passing day. He is just a joy to watch. He'll sit in his jumperoo and alternate bouncing with grinning at me. 
  • He can't crawl yet, but he is trying! He gets on all fours and rocks. He also lays on his belly and moves his limbs in the crawling motion, and he's squirming around to get what he wants. 
  • He loves when I stand him up against things his height that he'll soon pull up on and let him stand there.
  • He is such a charmer with strangers, although he seems to be getting shy from time to time. 
  • Turns out he is rather enjoying the world of food. So far he enjoys just about everything he's tried, except he really hates carrots.
  • His daytime sleep has really improved. His naps are typically 1-2 hours now
Other Baby Bird news:
  • Things with the acid reflux are improving. He still has the occasional flare up, but over all he is happier and less bothered as time goes on. Chances are he will outgrow it in the coming months.
  • I have been taking him to an osteopath, which seems to have helped. I recommend researching and asking about alternative therapies such as osteopathy and chiropractic for babies with acid reflex. Sometimes birth trauma such as caesarean birth or traumatic vaginal births can cause alignment issues with baby's body, which can press on the esophageal nerve and cause reflux symptoms.
  • We had a specialist appointment with a Paediatric Gastroenterologist today.  He said that Baby Bird's reflux is not severe, and there are no red flags that lead him to do further investigation. He is thriving, meeting milestones, and is relatively happy. The doctor believes that he will very likely outgrow it in the near future.  So, while this has been a terribly big stressor in our lives and continues to be a pain to deal with, it is not serious and will pass.
  • I have wondered for a long time how much of the reflux-related fussiness was a problem mostly because of my coping skills. I am trying again to focus on my self-care by quitting facebook (a time-sucking addiction for me), writing in my journal, etc.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Acid Reflux, Eff You.

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been busy with school, and blah blah blah, but the REAL reason is because I just haven't known what to write.  And today, you'll have to excuse my language and lack of eloquence, because I don't have it in me to be polite or wordy.


Fuck you, Acid Reflux.

Acid reflux, you have done nothing but torture my innocent son. He has done nothing to deserve the agony you've been inflicting upon him. You have caused me to break down in pubic places because my son has just been screaming in pain all day and there has been virtually nothing I can do to put an end to it.

Conventional medicine? I'm not your biggest fan right now either. I'm sure you have plenty to offer lots of people who are injured or ill, but you failed us during my son's birth, and you are failing us as we try to treat his acid reflux.


I'm sick of acid reflux.

 I'm sick of listening to my son whine or cry most of a given day because he is miserable.

I'm sick of him crying during or after nursing sessions because acid reflux makes it miserable for him.

I'm sick (sick to my stomach, heartsick, and sick & tired) of not knowing how to help. Of feeling guilty because I think I *should* be doing more. Should I have been a better advocate or pushed for this referral or that dosage increase?

I'm sick of trips to the doctor.

I'm sick of hearing his reflux cough/gag in the middle of the night and praying that it won't wake him up (but knowing it will).

I'm sick of cleaning spit-up off of everything.

I'm sick of watching him struggle to develop because he is miserable when he spends time on his tummy.

I'm sick of being strong.

I'm sick of acting like acid reflux isn't a big deal or isn't affecting our family too badly because others have more serious illnesses to deal with.

I'm sick of praying fervently every single night, trying to bargain with God to make my son feel better

I'm sick of being deeply mentally/emotionally exhausted at the end of a day.

I'm not depressed. I'm not anxious. I'm simply very much at the end of my rope with Acid Reflux.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Six Months Old

Baby Bird is SIX months old today! Where on earth did the time go?

He can:

  • Sit up unsupported for more than ten minutes at a time - as long as he has something to keep his attention.
  • Bang his toys together.
  • Squeal, laugh, and tell great stories.
  • Squirm/army crawl toward something he really wants.
  • Stand with little help from us, and bounce.
  • Pass things from hand to hand
  • Use his pincer grip to pick up some objects.
He likes:

  • Mama, Mama's hair, Mama's milk, Mama's cuddles. Yup, it seems six months is a really strong attachment phase. 
  • Daddy, Daddy's silliness, Daddy's strong arms. Once again, a strong attachment phase.
  • Being out and about, observing. 
  • His jumperoo
  • Watching out the window.
  • Grass outside
  • Walks in the stroller
  • Shopping with Mama on her hip in the sling.
  • is happy
  • is curious
  • seems extroverted so far
  • gets frustrated if he wants to do something that is not yet in his skill set
  • is trying very hard to crawl
  • will be trying solid food for the first time this weekend, as he will stop what he is doing no matter how much fun he was having if someone is eating
  • loves meeting new people and generally greets them with a smile

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Monday: Dance Party

Good morning, and welcome to Manic Monday!

  • Baby Bird and I just had a dance party. It was almost nap-time, so he wasn't particularly interested. 
  • K. and I noticed this weekend that Baby Bird's looks changed noticeably all of a sudden.  There is less baby, and more little boy in his face. Slow your roll, child. 
  • I didn't know what it was to be addicted to caffeine until I had a baby. Sure, I liked my morning coffee, but it wasn't always required, especially on weekends. Now, it is a necessity.
  • We spent the weekend with Baby Bird's grandparents - both sides! Saturday, we drove to K.'s parents' house and spent a nice relaxing day there. Sunday, my parents came to see us. Both days, Baby Bird had so much fun and is in love with both sets of Grandparents.
  • We've decided to get rid of cable and go streaming-style - we're going to get a new TV (ours is circa 1999) and an AppleTV box.
  • I need some new fall duds. I had a pair of red shorts this summer, so I think I need a pair of red skinnies for fall. That, and some long tunic-style tops so I can keep rocking my mommy uniform of leggings. I'm not quite loving jeans on my past-partum bod.
  • As of today, we're cloth diapering full-time. Our grand total is 18 cloth dipes. We have not been brave enough to tackle nighttime in cloth yet (except once), but I'm planning to buy some fitted diapers and get some wool soakers. 
  • I have three baby-and-mommy events planned this week, and on Friday I will see an old friend from Air Cadets. Thursday will be our shopping day. I need time to mentally prepare myself for pants shopping.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ever growing, ever glowing

Baby Bird, you are a small baby for your age. Some days it is so easy to get caught up in your size by comparison to other babies your age, but secretly I love how tiny you are.

How bittersweet it is when you grow. Just this week, Daddy and I have noticed how suddenly your looks changed. The newborn you once were is no longer visible in your face. Now, instead, I see glimpses of the little boy you are swiftly becoming. I long to call out, "Slow down! Please, God, let him slow down," but I don't dare in fear you will be stricken with illness and stop growing for real.

You are still exclusively breastfed. Your Mama is ceaselessly proud of this. Now you are six months old, and whenever someone in the room starts eating, you stop what you are doing to stare. If you were nursing, you stop, in awe of the food. I know I won't be able to put off solid foods much longer, and I pray you still enjoy nursing for a long time to come. I won't be ready for you to wean for many months yet. While you nurse, I stare down at my own personal miracle. I examine your fingers; touch your soft, barely-there, hair; gaze lovingly at you while you return my gaze. On days when your reflux is not bothering you, you end your nursing by smiling sweetly and cooing up at me. My heart expands like a sponge in water, soaking up all of your love for me.

Soon you will outgrow your bouncy seat. In truth, you're probably ready to stop using it now. A pang of sadness hits me as I think about how tiny you were when you sat in it on your first day home from the hospital. Or when you reached up and made the toy froggy sing his song for the first time. Or how you were too small and too light to make the seat bounce for the longest time.

I am constantly needing to remind myself that it's okay for you to grow. Indeed, that is why we brought you into this work - for you to grow into a man whose qualities will be revealed to us in time. People keep reminding me to enjoy every moment of your fleeting infancy, but little do they know I need no reminding. I savour every second we spend together, from the first smile of the morning to the cry that means nobody but Mama will do.  The floors grow dusty and the clean flatwear develops rusty spots in the dishwasher. Meanwhile, you are smiling at me while I watch you play.  Some days it feels as though if I failed to watch you carefully, you might be a different child when I looked up again. Other days, it's as if you are growing in my arms by the second.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God and Baby

Typically, talking or blogging about spiritual matters is not for me. However, this blog is my mommyhood outlet, and mommyhood has wrought some changes upon my belief system. Feel free to tune out if talking about spirituality and the divine is not your jam, but I hope you'll keep an open mind, read, and comment.

B.C. (Before Child), I was not much of a God-knowing woman. My beliefs were all over the place. All I knew for sure is that I believed in some spiritual presence, but I was still prone to bouts of Atheism when that attitude served me. Still to this day, I believe that the only thing that matters to that spiritual presence is that we try our best to be good people, own up to and learn from our mistakes, and love with our whole hearts. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll call the spiritual presence "God", but this does not necessarily refer to the Christian God that I was raised to believe in.

A.C. (After Child), my views have not changed drastically in terms of what I belief, but my depth of belief has. Nothing as good and pure as my son could come from a Godless world. I find myself on much better speaking terms with God since having Baby Bird. To God I turn when I need strength, when I need clarification, patience, or when I'm simply so overwhelmed by gratitude for the gifts life has given me that I need a divine outlet (and Facebook has grown tired of my "I love my boy" posts). I find myself routinely asking God to look out for my loved ones. I feel so fortunate that my deeper understanding of God came from a positive event. It seems far more common that people find God in times of need instead of times of gratitude.

We go to an Anglican church. I have always gone to an Anglican church, although attending church has been a once-a-year type thing over the last decade. Despite my uncertainty in Christian beliefs, I have always turned to an Anglican church when in need of a house of worship. While I'm not sure how much I believe in Jesus, I have, at times in my life, derived great comfort from the lessons of kindness that Christianity seeks to teach. We were married by an Anglican clergyman. We will have our son baptized Anglican. This is my default, although I could derive divine comfort from any kind-hearted religious service in any religion, I think.

I want Baby Bird to have a spiritual belief system to run to when he needs comfort. I've found this is the wonderful thing about God - (S)He is there for you when you need him/her, no matter what. In fact, I know many people who don't spend time thinking about spirituality or God, but are surprised to find themselves appealing to whatever/whoever is out there in Universe listening in their times of need. We all need something to believe in from time to time, even if your spirituality lies in a deep sense of self and not "other".

I want to learn meditation so that I might deepen my connection to the Divine. Often, just spending quiet moments with Baby Bird is enough, but as he grows and becomes busy, those moments will be fleeting and I'll need to learn how to connect through myself rather than him.

Did having children change your belief system? Or perhaps another major life event did? I'd love to hear about your beliefs and how they have evolved. Please be respectful of other commenters and belief systems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sleep Sweet Sleep

As I write this, I'm holding my breath. It's been about thirty minutes since I laid Baby Bird down for a nap. Naps are fleeting events in our house. Somewhere between 30-45 minutes in, the sleep cycle ends and Bird rouses from his naps. On the rare occasion, my attempts to pat him back to sleep work. Sometimes the short naps seem adequate, and other days they do not. I try not to stress about it - I am doing all I can to make nap time work for him, and perhaps he is just a short napper. Eventually, it won't matter anyway.

Night time sleep is less than ideal here, too. We are fresh off a streak of what we've dubbed, "Party Baby" nights. That's when he wakes for a feeding in play mode and has no desire to go back to sleep. It can take upwards of an hour to get him to settle back into sleep. There were quite a few Party Baby nights in the weeks that passed.

BUT (and I hesitate to proclaim this publicly at all, but I'm just so excited), we may have turned a corner, at least for now. For three nights running,  we have had no party baby. Two night wakings to quickly eat (last night, only one), and that's it. I can definitely get by on this much sleep for now. Last night I got FIVE UNINTERRUPTED HOURS of sleep (Bird slept 8 hours before his first waking). After that, I got another two hours before I had to get up.  And then yesterday, we had two naps that were longer than an hour each. He awoke happy and rested each time.

Please say some prayers, or send some good vibes into the universe, or do your Sleep Dance for us. We could really use a fairly long stretch of good sleep before the next disruption kicks in. And it will - there are always sleep disruptions.

Still holding my breath, but we are 40 minutes into this nap now....

**Somewhat rude disclaimer** Please withhold your nap-time and sleepy time advice. I think at this point, I have read/heard/considered it all, but ultimately what we are doing for now works for us. 

A much younger napping Baby Bird

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unremarkably Remarkable

Of late, I've been thinking about how proud I feel of my son and of being a mother. Of all the remarkable things I've done in my life, this is truly number one on my list.

Funny thing is, though, is that having children is a normal, natural thing to do. Billions world-wide do it, whether they were planning to or not, whether they are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, healthy or ill.  All of their lives change forever. However, I have been afforded opportunities that are far more rare than childbearing - a post-secondary education, a pilot's license, home ownership, and so on.

So doesn't that make childbearing remarkable in a sort of unremarkable way? Yet I feel no less proud, no less unique, and no less amazed with the miracle that is the life I brought into the world.

Yep, being a parent is truly unremarkably remarkable.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Manic Monday - Labour Day Edition

Welcome to Manic Monday! Can I just say, I cannot believe it's September already? I'm not entirely sorry to see summer passing by. With the breastfeeding hormones and the extra 20lbs I'm carrying, I did not tolerate the heat well. It was the hottest summer I can remember in recent history, and I was not working in an air conditioned office all day.

  • I start my college program on Tuesday. Whoa. It's full-time, and I promise you I am crapping my pants thinking about how I am going to juggling caring for baby who is almost mobile and a full-time study program. None the less, I'm confident that I'll be able to handle it. Sure, I'll stress but it will be positive stress (there really is such a thing. Some degree of stress is often necessary for motivation. It's when it paralyses you that it's no longer positive).
  • Saturday was a wonderfully family-filled day. K.'s parents were in the city, as well as his Aunt, Uncle and two cousins. We had lunch together because one of the cousins is moving here from Ontario to go to university. Then, another set of K.'s cousins were passing through Halifax for supper, so we saw them and their precious 1.5 year old daughter. I'm so lucky to boast a very positive relationship with my in-laws.
  • My cat, Marvin, is being such a jerk-turd lately. The minute the baby falls asleep, Marvin is on the scene, running through the house and howling. A few days ago, Marv started meowing every time the baby fell asleep while I was trying to put him down for a nap. It amounted to three tries, and I ended up having to bail on the nap. Then, a few days before that, I was actually trying to sleep while Baby Bird napped, but the cats wouldn't let me have any peace.
The Jerk-turd in his monster sweater

  • I've been having trouble sleeping after Baby Bird's night feeding lately. Two days in a row, I've been awake for the day at, like, 3am. No bueno. 
  • We bought one heck of an amazing stroller this week. I was sick of confining my walks to city sidewalks or malls. I went on a fabulous 1.5 hour trail hike to test it out on Wednesday, and I felt like a million bucks afterward. 
I think that's all the news for this week! I have to figure out how to make link-ups happen, and then I plan on turning this Manic Monday thing into one.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

With Pride

In my life, I've had occassion to be proud of myself. I've had occassion to be proud of others. To be proud of yourself or someone else for an accomplishment or simply "just because" is a wonderful feeling. Nothing could have prepared me for how proud I would be of my son.

If he smiles? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
If he giggles? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
If he does something new for the first time? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
This was true of the first smile, the first grasp of a toy, the first time he help his head up during tummy time, the first time he rolled over, and the first time he sat unassisted.
If he exists (and he does!)? My eyes well up with tears of pride.

There is no accomplishment on the face of the earth that could be more important than bringing my child (and future children, we hope) into this world. In my womb, he grew ready for life. In my arms, he grows ready for life. In my eyes, he will always be my baby.

While I am proud of myself for my role in his life as his Mama, I am far more proud simply of him. In every way, I adore him, and I am proud of every move he makes.

Now please excuse while I go mop up the puddle of pride-tears I cried while writing this post.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Manic Monday - Cloth Diapers, Professional Pics, and Crunchy Mommies, oh MY!

Welcome to Manic Monday! I'm thinking of making this a link-up - would anyone be interested in the future?

  • I bought 6 cloth diapers (pocket style) to see if using cloth is a viable option for us. Here's the beginning of our stash, below. They're KaWaii brand, each with two microfibre inserts. I also bought two hemp inserts to try night-time. I just prepped them this afternoon so tomorrow will be our first try. I know, I must be crazy, right? Washing poop in my washing machine? But this particular brand is super cheap so if it doesn't work out, I won't have lost much money. If it does, my stash will cost about $200 to start cloth diapering full-time.
  • I'm turning into a far crunchier mama than I ever expected to me. Frankly, I never in a million years thought I would breastfeed, and especially not past 3 months willingly. I also turned my nose up, way up, at cloth diapering. Attachment parenting? I thought it was weak. Turns out I am attachment parenting without even knowing it.
  • We got professional Baby Bird photos back! I will post one of the ten, only because some of them will likely become Christmas gifts for family so I don't want to spoil the surprise. Avery was about four months old in this photo.
Photo by Amy's Images (Dartmouth, NS)
  • I'm beginning to wonder if I should remove my nose piercing and try again in a few months or years. I absolutely love it, but it's been nothing but trouble for me. I got the dreaded bump beside it (from a fledgeling infection or the piercing moving around too much), which took forever to get rid of. And now Baby Bird is in the face-grabbing stage, so I'm always terrified he's going to end up ripping it out. 
  • I'm really addicted to this cajun spice I bought last week. I've been making oven spicy fries like they're going out of style. So tasty!
  • I discovered that my new college hoodie has a phone/wallet pocket that velcros INSIDE the typical kangaroo-style pocket. No more phone going sliding out of one end!
What random things are you excited about/up to?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Baby Bird Sleeps

It's 3:24pm. I'm standing in my son's darkened bedroom, with only a ribbon of brilliant sun light streaming in between curtains drawn. This tiny five-month old child rests on my shoulder, asleep, as I bury my nose in his sweet, natural, baby-scented shoulder. I'm close to tears, moved by the knowledge that these moments are numbered, and one day he will be a Big Kid who doesn't want to spend time in Mama's arms.

A month ago, I fought every nap time and bedtime mentally. I dreaded the chore of putting Baby Bird to sleep. He fought, and fought, and fought against sleep. I couldn't understand it; his eyes would be drooping and he was clearly so exhausted. Then, K. would come along and next thing I knew, Baby Bird would be fast asleep. Worst of all, with the horrendous combination of post-partum depression and anxiety I was battling at its peak, I let myself believe it made me less of a mother.

At some point in the last month, I talked myself into relaxing. I decided that even on the worst days, I would just go with the flow and know in my heart that it would not last forever. That mindset has changed my world. Not every day is awesome and smiles, but every day is manageable and comes equipped with its very own end. Happily, this has translated to nap time. I've truly come to (mostly) love the quiet moments where I sing softly to Baby Bird as he drifts off on my shoulder. His tiny body relaxes into mine as we sway gently back and forth, and I am left to my thoughts about how wonderful my life has truly become since he arrived in it. Because I am relaxed, he can relax.  On the odd occasion where he still fights the sleep, I don't sweat it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

News! Good News!

You guys, I've been dying to put this very good, awesome, amazing news on blast for so long now! But, it wasn't really my news to tell so I had to wait like the patient girl that I am pretend to be.

My sister-in-law and her husband are expecting their first baby in February!  I'm going to be an auntie! We are ridiculously super-duper excited.

I'm doing my best to keep my "When I was pregnant" and "When Baby Bird was born" stories to myself (for the most part), and trying to keep a handle on the unsolicited advice for pregnancy and new babies, as well. I now *get* where it all comes from, though - there is an honest and real need to offer any and all advice that could potentially make another new parent's life easier. This is especially the case since my sister-in-law has similar beliefs about baby-raisin'.  However, if you're a parent, you know this in your heart - there is no amount of experience or advice you can share with a new parent to make their life easier. Every new parent needs to figure it out on their own, and they'll do things their own way. And since G. (my sister in law) is the kind of person who was born to be a mother, she'll figure out the whole mommy-gut thing quickly.

So anyway, that's the news for Tuesday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Manic Monday: Small Victories

The Bird's Nest hasn't been very uplifting lately. We've dealt with some heavy subjects, including post-partum depression. I haven't been feeling witty or light-hearted in my writing. You've probably felt the heaviness in my heart over the past few posts.

Post-partum depression can seep into your life in the most insidious of ways. You may not feel like you're any more 'depressed' than any other new mother, until BAM! you can hardly wash your hair that day. You just. can't. do. things.

In the interest of celebrating small victories, I wanted to write about things I managed to do - productive things, or things just for me that I enjoyed.  I'll admit, I'm writing this more for my own good than yours.  But if nothing else, maybe you'll see that sometimes it's okay to be proud of seemingly normal or little everyday items.

  • I have been out for short walks a few times over the past week. This is a big improvement over a few weeks ago. The only reason it wasn't longer/more frequent is the darned humidity.
  • I have cleaned my house twice in the past week and a half.
  • My car got washed today. I'm lazy with washing my car at the best of times, so this was a major victory. And I had fun doing it - it was moderately active alone time.
  • I went to bed early when I needed to.
  • I'm here, blogging, again! 
  • I've been taking my vitamin D. I suspect a large part of my depression was due to not getting enough sunlight and therefore not enough vitamin D.
  • I ordered my text books, straightened away some other return-to-school business.
  • Perhaps my largest victory this week was learning to stop fighting against the flow. For instance, there would be times that Baby Bird was playing by himself, and I would be posting to my online mommy group when he'd start to fuss. I used to find this incredibly frustrating, but then I realized, why bother getting frustrated? Once I started going with the flow, both Baby Bird and I were a lot happier minute-to-minute.
  • I enjoyed 90% of my past week. There was one bad day, but it wasn't entirely bad, even.

Random Other Manic Monday Stuff:
  • Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much these last weeks is because I went on vacation with my family, had a great visit from my in-laws last week, and have my grandparents in town this week. Life has been truly busy.
  • My college hoodie and textbooks have arrived and I geeked out skimming my texts. Unfortunately, it's roughly a bagillion degrees here so no hoodie wearage yet.  I long for fall.
  • I look and feel a lot better since eliminating dairy from my diet. The huge dark circles under my eyes are gone, and I'm certainly no more rested so I attribute it to dairy.
  • I have a whole bunch of posts in draft form - promise to get'em up soon.
Have a great Monday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Five Months

Baby Bird is five months old today. He is happy as can be; I'm teetering between ecstatic and devastated that the time is passing so quickly.

Raising a baby is a roller coaster. The days, weeks, and months that make up the first year are rife with phases - some good, some challenging.

Here is what I've learned about Baby Bird this month:

  • Baby Bird has a high need for stimulation. He is never happier than in public with lots to see and hear, or in a room full of people doting over him. At home on quiet days, I struggle to keep him entertained and happy.
  • His pain tolerance is not so great, as discovered at the doctor for his latest vaccinations. I was worried sick over the 4 month appointment (to the point that it was closer to five months) because his two-month vaccinations resulted in two weeks of screaming, crying, no smiling, and no sleeping. I was terrified he was allergic or susceptible to autism as per the experience of thousands of other parents. Anyway, he was fine after the first day or two - normal - but I have never heard him scream like he did while getting jabbed. I tried to nurse him through the shots, and after the shots, and it just wasn't happening.
  • He has learned about cause and effect. He knows how to make his toys work, and he knows the difference between me pushing a button and him pushing a button. 
  • He has learned to "yell" at me to switch sides while nursing - this one cracked me up. He gave me angry eyes and yelled, "Ah-mummumm!" at me.
  • He is sitting up with assistance and has sat up unassisted once.
  • He wants to be mobile. It frustrates him when he spots something out of his reach and can't get there. He has the upper body and lower body components of crawling down but hasn't managed to put them together yet.
  • He smiles when a parent enters the room.
  • He has learned to transfer things from hand to hand.
  • The way he holds his hands tells me he is about to start working on his pincer grip.
Finally, I have learned that my heart truly lives outside of my body. There is no love like this. It is all-consuming. I have become the mother who incessantly posts about her child on facebook and twitter and frankly, I don't care if anyone is bothered by this. Infancy is so fleeting, and raising Baby Bird is my entire job during his infancy. It's my whole entire world.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why I'm a Good Mother

In following my post partum depression post, I wanted to thank you for your amazing feedback and encouragement. It's clear from the comments that post partum depression happens to far more of us than society would have us believe. It's sad, but also a great comfort, to know I'm not alone in my experience.

I have been doing well lately. Baby Bird is having more good days than bad with regard to his reflux, and I'm having more good days than bad as well. Today was a bit of an "off" day, so I decided to refocus my energy on something positive.

Without further ado, I give you the reasons why I am a good mother.

  • First and foremost, I love my son beyond what words could express. 
  • When Baby Bird goes to bed, despite knowing I will be up with him far too soon, I can't help but miss him. I pour over all his photos and videos while he sleeps peacefully. My arms and my heart ache for him.
  • I have fought through the challenges of early breastfeeding, and recently I gave up all dairy products in an effort to solve Baby Bird's woes. I'm now an advocate for breastfeeding and feel strongly about making it work (in my life).
  • I would do anything, absolutely anything, to protect him from harm. Do not mess with my child.
  • I never give up, even when I am exhausted and run down. I make every effort to put my woes aside and be a happy positive mother. There have been days I've been barely able to wash my hair, but I can still be what he needs.
  • I am seeking help for my PPD, and trying my best to practice good self-care. I'm doing it equally for myself and for Baby Bird - I'll be a better mother when I am happy.
  • I turn into a Mama Bear when I feel I need to protect my son (typically, this is from pushy advice that I know isn't right for our family). I never in my life display a temper toward others, except when I am acting as a mother.
  • My baby smiles at me whenever I walk into the room. He reaches for me when he is tired or sad or hungry. He stares at me when others hold him.
What are the things that remind you that you're a good parent? And when have you had to make an effort to remember that you're a good parent?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Postpartum Depression

Some might say I'm making a huge mistake by writing this post and putting it out on the internet for the world to see. What if employers see this and it limits my career opportunities, they might say. I don't want any part of an employer who would hold this against me - and working in the HR industry, I certainly know it can happen.

I have post-partum depression. There. I said it. I've read that as many as 1 in 8 new mothers experiences a post partum mood disorder, so why do so many still live in darkness, afraid to get the help they need?

I knew PPD was a real risk for me going into pregnancy, as there is one particular risk factor I had to tick off. After fighting off the normal baby blues a few weeks after giving birth, I made my way across the amazing and occasionally rocky shores of motherhood fairly easily. Sure, it wasn't always easy, and not every day was good, but I was by no means experiencing any depression or mood disorder.  None the less, I continued to evaluate myself regularly and have K. keep a watchful eye out for the signs.

Once I hit the three-month mark, things got a lot easier and I began feeling confident that PPD was not an issue for me. I regret ever letting that thought pass through my mind. Not even two weeks later, Baby Bird began struggling with acid reflux, and K. began working 11-12 hour days, 6 days a week. The poor child screamed and fussed for hours each day. I cried several times a day for two solid weeks.  The entire time, a little flag raised itself in the back of my mind, alerting me that if PPD was going to set in, this would be an opportune time to take advantage of my exhaustion and stress. Then, things got a little better in the final week of K.'s three-week crazy work schedule - Baby Bird was doing better, and I felt much better able to cope once I got a bit of rest - and then they got much worse again.

This past week, I began to realize that even when I wasn't actively feeling sad or depressed (I still feel happy often enough), I am feeling completely overwhelmed by things that just shouldn't be overwhelming. Every little fuss of Baby Bird's would trigger an anxious sinking feeling in my stomach. I wasn't able to enjoy the activities of daily living, and I could never think of anything I might enjoy doing when I got an opportunity for "me-time". I would just go wander around the mall because I didn't know where else to go. I didn't want to go for a walk by myself because I was fairly certain I would end up walking down the sidewalk sobbing. Finally, today I noticed that I was having trouble finding the motivation to pick up the shampoo bottle in my shower and actually go through the motions of washing my hair. Finding something to eat in the kitchen was going to be a big ordeal. I just wanted to sit there and have someone else make all my decisions for me, because even deciding if I wanted toast (Yes or No) was too much to ask.

Not every day feels like that, but having more than one of these days "once in a while" was a big sign to me that I needed some help.  Happily, I recognized the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression well before they escalated to thoughts of harming myself or Baby Bird. I was still able to take care of him safely and well, but I preferred to not have to do it alone, and it took every ounce of energy I had in my body to do so.

My biggest fear was having meds pushed on me. This is completely hypocritical of me - I have a degree in psychology and I have always recognized that mental illness is a biochemical problem that sometimes needs medical intervention. However, I am breastfeeding, and no matter how many studies say certain meds are safe for breastfeeding, I'll never completely buy into it. I'm at my heart a complete naturalist, and I don't want my innocent boy getting any part of an anti-depressant. Long-term studies on the safety of such medications through breast milk have not yet been conducted.

So far, I have received a referral for therapy, which I'll start on August 22nd. The doctor did not want to go the meds route at this point (which is good, because I would have fought him on it until therapy failed, I was screened for other conditions, and a psychiatrist did a complete psych screening).

I really had my reservations about posting all this, however, I want to help overcome the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and I want to raise awareness that this really can (and does) happen to anyone. Do yourself a favour and, if you are expecting, take a close look at the signs/symptoms of PPD and other mood disorders. Tell someone you trust to keep an eye on you after the baby is born. And if you are a new mother thinking that this all sounds a little too familiar, please tell somebody you trust and talk to your doctor. I don't have to feel like this, and neither do you. PPD is temporary and treatable.

Original source: unknown. Here simply because it makes me smile.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What You Should Know About Mothers Who Breastfeed in Public

Those who were readers of my other blog, Say What?!, may have read this post already. However, my audience is changing and I feel strongly about this subject.

Breastfeeding in public is currently a hot-button topic in the Maritimes after a breastfeeding mother in Moncton was asked to be more discreet in the future. Before I get into the meat-and-potatos of this post, let me be clear: this is NOT a post about whether to breastfeed, whether breastfeeding is best, or any of that. If you do breastfeed, great. If you don't, also great. That topic is not open for discussion here. This post IS about the RIGHT to breastfeed in public for those who do breastfeed their babies.

You may have read the title of this post and thought to yourself, "What's to know? You feed your baby in public and that's fine, as long as you're not flashing your boobs all over the place". I hear that a lot from the population at large. People seem to want breastfeeding mothers to do it in washrooms or dark corners away from the public as much as possible. "Cover up" is the conventional school of thought.

I'm here to tell you, as a breastfeeding mother, I don't ever choose to reveal myself. I don't want to flash you my boob, and I really don't want to flash you my stretched out, marked up, flabby mommy-tummy. If you see me breastfeeding in public, it means there was no comfortable, private place provided for me to feed my baby when he got hungry. And no, I'm not going to stay holed up in my house on the off chance he may need to be fed in public. If you see me breastfeeding in public with my baby draped in a scarf or blanket, I'm doing it equally for my own comfort as for yours. I know zero new mothers who are eager to show off their goods to the world - even those who are very much breastfeeding advocates.

If you see me breastfeeding in public without being covered up, it's because things happened in this order - first, my baby got hungry and upset. I looked for a private place to feed but there was no sanitary option provided (bathrooms are gross, and cars are far too hot in the summer without needless idling for air conditioning). I then attempted to discreetly feed my baby, but he understandably objected to having his head covered to eat. It's dark and hot under that blanket. Trust that I do not want to be sitting out in plain site with the possibility of some stranger seeing my boob. However, even if I skipped the aforementioned steps and just went right to feeding my baby where-ever, that's my call and it's my protected right. I'm definitely not doing it to make you uncomfortable or to show myself off in any way, much less a sexual way.

Here's where you can make a difference. If you see a mother breastfeeding in public, just go on with your day. Don't stare or make rude comments. Certainly do not ask her to cover up or move to a private location - Breastfeeding in public is a protected human right. I understand it may make you uncomfortable - it probably would have made me somewhat uncomfortable pre-motherhood. It's how you handle that discomfort that makes or breaks the situation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On Mommy Gut

Emotional, sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive are all words that describe me. I feel everything so deeply. Throughout my life, I've been tempted to think of these qualities as "weak" or "inferior", and even told to toughen up from time to time.  Trouble is, each time I've made decisions while ignoring my heart's song, I've ended up in over my head in bad situations. A prime example was choosing a university program after being pushed into thinking a science degree was the only way to get ahead, and then essentially flunking out after my first year. Over the years that followed, I have learned (slowly, and sometimes painfully) that being emotional and sensitive is not necessarily a weakness. In fact, I would say that my ability to purge my unhappiness frequently by expressing it is healthy - I do not bottle up my feelings, and after a few minutes or even a day of feeling blue, I often bounce back to my better-adjusted self.

I parent by feeling things out in my heart and gut. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I ask for advice, but ultimately my heart and my gut makes the end decisions. I put faith into my mommy-gut that it will guide me to making the decision that is ultimately correct for Baby Bird, K., and I. The only decisions I regret making to-date are the ones where my mind said one thing, my gut said another, and I sided with my mind.

As my mother once said, after we butted heads briefly on differing philosophies, "The only people you need to make happy are [Baby Bird], K., and yourself. Screw what everyone else thinks."

People-pleasing is a tendency of mine which causes me a great deal of anxiety when the action required to please a person would also require me to ignore my intuition. At no point has this been more evident than since I became a parent. Trouble is, some days it seems like everyone tries to tell you how you need to raise your child, and people pleasers can get caught up in that haze of conflicting advice so easily. Still other days, I make assumptions about what others close to me expect of me that aren't even valid - often these people do not truly judge me for my parenting decisions, regardless of whether those decisions are congruent with their own beliefs or not.

I often think about how strong "Mommy Gut", or a mother's intuition, really is. Having been one to follow my gut feelings throughout my life, I am STILL blown away by how clearly a mother's intuition will speak to her. I don't have to sort through a confusing array of thoughts and feelings to find my answer - it is right there telling me in no uncertain terms what to do.

I believe that all we can ever do as parents is trust ourselves to decide what is best for our children. That's not to say there is never a season for asking advice or seeking facts, just that your parental instinct will ultimately guide you to do what is best for you and your child. And if what you feel and ultimately decide is right for your children isn't congruent with popular opinion, or what other people think you should do, screw 'em (to put it somewhat less eloquently than the rest of my post).

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sara is So Cinnamon-Sweet (a word from our sponsors)

Hi friendly friends! I want to take a moment to introduce you to Sara, awesome-sauce sponsor of The Bird's Nest. Her blog, Cinnamon Bubbles, is full of personality and vibrancy - go check it out!

Hiya The Bird's Nest readers! I'm Sara and I'm the Evil Mastermind...I mean writer behind Cinnamon Bubbles. I'm 24 and I live in New Jersey with M & D & my giant furbaby, an Akita called The Intimidator (or Dator for short.) Trust me, he lives up to his name but he is a big sweetie. I am the other half of Sarah. (Sara & Sarah, imagine that. YES it does get confusing after a while.) and we've been together for a little over a month now. I'm a nerdy, geeky girl and I'm not afraid to show it. What about the blog, you ask? Cinnamon Bubbles is a lifestyle blog, that has been running for about ten years now. Of course, it went though a lot of transformations to get to where it is now and I really enjoy sharing a window into my life with the world. You meet so many fabulous people! (and some not-so-fabulous, just like anything else!) I'd love for you to come along and join me too! I don't bite....hard!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Manic Monday - Piercing bumps and Babies and Puppies

I call Mondays "Manic Mondays" because I plan to be ALL OVER THE MAP and bounce from tidbit to tidbit.

  • I got my nose pierced a few months ago, and now I totally have "the bump" beside the piercing. I accidentally yanked it about half out when wiping a runny nose a few weeks ago. After picking up some tea tree oil (which I was secretly just wanting a reason to buy for years), it seems to be improving. There will be no photo of the bump, and for that, you're welcome.
  • Baby Bird loves laying on a blanket outdoors and feeling the breeze. He smiles up a storm out there. 
How adorable is this piggy blanket! It was a hand-me-down which I fell in love with. 
  • Hubby and I were supposed to see the new Batman movie yesterday, but due to some illness we were out babysitting. So, K went with a friend (which I'm happy about - he totally deserves to go out without me and Bird but never does) while I went shopping with Bird.  I only half wanted to see the movie anyway, since such movies aren't really my thing.
  • Baby Bird got some new toys today! He didn't have much that is age-appropriate before 6 months. Does anyone listen to those age thingies on the boxes? I totally do, but I can't always understand the difference between why something is appropriate for 3+ months or 6+ months.
This little guy is Jacques the Peacock.
I have been obsessed with getting Jacques for Baby Bird for about a month now. Don't ask me why I NEEDED to buy him this toy, but I did.

A cute piano-thinger for Baby Bird
I wanted to get Baby Bird something for tummy time, because he is just so bored of everything else.
  • Funny story about Jacques the Peacock - I bought him, along with a Pepsi - at a department store yesterday. When the cashier rang it up, I wasn't really paying attention, but it sounded like she said $2.09. Jacques was a solid $22 toy, so I had no idea what happened and I wasn't thinking fast - like I said, wasn't paying attention. So I paid, left (thinking if it really didn't ring up, it would set off the theft sensors at the door, which is didn't), and looked at the receipt only to find that the peacock didn't scan. Why she didn't catch her error, I have no idea. I pondered for a few minutes - I got out free and clear with a free toy, through no fault of my own. Do we keep it and say nothing? So I texted my sister-in-law with a "What would you do?". As soon as I hit send, it struck me that if I even had to ask what I should do, then I should clearly take it back and pay. So I did - otherwise I'd have felt terrible.
  • K and I took Baby Bird to church yesterday - an Anglican parish in our neighbourhood. We aren't really church-going folks, but Baby Bird needs to be baptized, and I also believe he should be raised going to church so that he learns about the faith he will be raised in, and later on in life he can decide for himself whether church is for him (or synagogue, or temple, or whatever he chooses). We went to the 8:30am service, and apparently that is the "sedate" service (otherwise known as the senior's service, judging by the other parishioners in attendance). We were welcomed warmly and I plan to return.
  • Baby Bird met a puppy on Friday! The puppy is a Golden Retriever - Nova Scotia Duck Toller mix, and he belongs to my friend Erin.
Baby Bird with Brooks