Monday, December 23, 2013

Another Season...another post

Wow.  I guess I am one of them. One of those people who finally has a baby and then drops off the blogging earth.  I am ashamed.  However, life has been busy!

My baby girl is now 13 months old.  Over a year has gone by and I can honestly say I am still falling in love with this wonderful miracle.  She is my everything.  She is walking and using sign language to communicate.  Life is simply amazing.

Working and being a momma has been tough.  2 weeks ago H and I came down with the stomach flu that kept us both up all night puking.  She then became dehydrated and needed to go to the hospital for rehydrating.  Then she had a double ear infection.  This all occurred while I was working and still feeling crummy myself.  We have an AMAZING sitter and we were blessed we could still send H when she wasn't feeling herself.  Working and having a sick baby is the hardest thing in the world.  I am not sure how mommas find the balance...but I will try.  I need to put my family first and not worry so much about my students or what my administration will say.  This is a new year's resolution of mine.

We are still very much AP parents.  Still bed-sharing, nursing on demand and loving every minute of it.  I would LOVE to get more sleep at night...however I know that she wont be this needy for ever and I will one day miss on the night cuddles.  She will tell me when she is ready to move on.  We saw some pretty amazing progress, and then she got sick and has regressed.  However now that she is eating more again, I am hopeful that her sleeping will turn around. 

I have so many posts I want to write about.  I also resolve to spend more time doing things I enjoy - such as writing - in the New Year. 

Wishing everyone who still cares enough to read this post, a wonderful holiday!  Here's a recent pic of my peanut! Love her so much!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

As seasons change

It's hard to believe my last post was the first day of summer and now we are into fall.  These last couple of months have been busy!  H is 11 months old and I return to work on Tuesday.  Having this year off with my daughter has been the greatest, most rewarding, most stressful and full of anxiety year of my life.  I am so sad to have to leave her and miss all the wonderful things she will do in my absence.

I'll give a quick update on the most important things:

- sleep: ugh. I wish things were better on this front.  I spent 8 weeks this summer trying to 'train' her to sleep in her crib on her own.  We had about a week of success (although she still woke every sleep cycle and needed a little shushing to get back to sleep) but then it went downhill.  She would scream and cry for hours until I nursed her back to sleep as well as waking ever 45 minutes even if she put herself to sleep.  I was a zombie.  I was more tired and getting so sick from the CONSTANT night wakings.  One night hubby was on baby duty and tried to get her to sleep on her own, he couldn't stand it and gave her back to me to lay in bed beside me.  We haven't looked back. We realized that she simply isn't ready for sleeping independent of us. We were very consistent and very diligent and tried many things over those 8 weeks.  Everyone said it would get never did.  We have since done an extensive amount of research and we realize how much sleep training doesn't fit with our family.  As much as I would like my nights free to sleep alone, I do cherish my cuddles.  Sleep will come when she is ready. Until then I will meet her needs and do what is needed to ensure we both get the most amount of sleep possible.

- Feeding: She still nurses A TON at night and a few times during the day.  While she is at the sitters, I express to comfort but I wont have time to pump at work.  I am going to let her nurse till she is at least 2 and maybe older.  Beauty of it all is I still haven't regained my cycle! Period free since Feb. 2012! Loving that! I think once I go back to work and don't have her nursing for such long periods during the day my cycle will return. H loves to eat and is a good eater.  She pretty much eats what we eat.  She eats a TON and stil hasn't gained weight.  All that stress I put on myself when she was an infant. Worrying and worrying that she wasn't gaining like she should and that I didn't have enough milk to feed her...I wish I could have just relaxed.  Since 6 months she has eaten solids like a champ.  I think the first time we fed her she devoured an entire avacado, sweet potato and fruit.  AND she still nurses.  At 10 months she still hadn't doubled her birth-weight.  I figure that her metabolism is so high and she never stops moving that she burns more calories then she consumes!  She is growing and happy! I wish I would have realized that earlier.  I would have saved myself a lot of worry.  She is currently off the charts for weight.  Oh well!

-Gross Motor: H is a crawling machine and walks along furniture.  She loves her walking toys but isn't stable enough yet to stand or walk by herself.  I'm okay with that! I am not really ready for a walker!

-Day care transition: We had a sitter lined up since Jan.  When we met with her in August things didn't go to well and once she realized H's needs (specifically around sleep and separation) she felt she couldn't take care of her.  We were pretty stressed, but found an amazing sitter who H loves.  For the baby that wouldn't allow ANYONE (including grandparents) to hold her for any length of time and would scream if she were left alone with anyone but Hubby or myself, she is doing fantastic at the sitters.  She is so happy to go and is happy when I pick her up.  She has been for many half-days and yesterday was her first full-day.  The sitter even got her down for a (albeit small) nap! We are very happy!

I never thought my daughter would become independent or secure. She had such separation anxiety I never visioned the day I would be able to leave her with someone else happy.  She surprises me everyday. Attachment Parenting is hard.  There are many days/weeks/months you don't see your rewards.  I know that things may get difficult again before they get better, but I am seeing results.  H is a happy, secure little girl.  Her smile is the best thing in my life and I'm so lucky to have her.  I love looking into her eyes while nursing her or feeling her sweet breath on my cheek at night.  Adjusting to a new baby is HARD.  Putting your needs aside for the betterment of your child is HARD.  Finding a balance is HARD.  But once I found my tribe of women to help me become more confident in my parenting choices, I have really begun to love all aspects of parenting  I KNOW things are going to get hard again...and again and again as we meet new obstacles of parenting.  Right now I'm happy with how things are going.  I just wish I could stay home with my daughter longer to enjoy more time with her.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A gift for my daughter

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by
Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I am a Special Education Teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities.  Some have Autism, some have Down's Syndrome, others have CP and some are developmentally delayed.  I NEVER thought I would enter this field of teaching - however I love my job and couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life.

Growing up I wasn't brought up to respect people with disabilities.  My mother told me once, that 'Mongoloids' as she called them, should be all put in a home never to bother society.  (She told us this after we moved into a new house where our neighbour had D.S).   I grew up thinking that people with disabilities were not to be respected and shouldn't be talked to.

After I graduated teacher's college, my friends were getting their special education qualifications, I can be quoted saying "I'm NEVER going to get my special education qualifications because I NEVER want to be in the position to teach THOSE kids".

However, 10 years later, I have my specialist in Special Education and I value, respect and learn from my students every single day.

It was a long road for me to become good at what I do and value what I do.  I was embarrassed at my job at first, thinking people would think less of me because of the kinds of kids I teach.  This wasn't because people judge, it was left-over feelings from growing up.  I never want my daughter to think the thoughts I have had.  I believe it is crucial to teach students about diversity and inclusion.  My daughter will be raised knowing people come in all shapes and sizes and have different skills and talents.  She will come and see talent shows put on by my students, come to dances and learn the names and faces of all my students.  She will see the beauty in almond shape eyes, a lot sooner than I did.  Her life will be enriched by knowing someone with Autism and knowing how amazing they are.  It took me a long time to realize how much my life can be enriched by opening my heart to those with different exceptionalities.  My daughter wont have to wait that long.

By opening her life to the amazing gifts people with Down Syndrome, Autism, CP and other exceptionalities will bring to her, she will be able to pave the way for inclusion at her school.  She will accept the little girl with Down Syndrome in her class.  She will not tolerate classmates laughing at the boy with Autism who is having a difficult time.  She will be able to help educate her peers on the amazing qualities these students possess so that they have a better space at her school.  As she gets older, she will sit next to the person with Down Syndrome on the bus and wont be offended if he or she starts talking to her.  She will open her heart to them and treat them with kindness, dignity and respect.  Something I wish I had done when I was younger but am ashamed to say I didn't.

I know you can't force relationships, but you can educate.  By educating my daughter and from her hearing stories - both good and bad - about my job, she will learn to treat everyone with respect.  She wont have to learn the hard way, like I had to.  It will be a natural part of her life, just like eating and drinking.  As much as I can't change the first 27 years of my life, I can make a difference through hers.  I am proud at what I do now.  My pride and my expertise will pave the way for not only her, but all those she touches.  I am excited to include her with my students and have her learn from them just as I do.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon July 9 with all the carnival links.)
  • A gift for my daugther — Amanda, a special education teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities, discusses at My Life in a Nutshell how she will enrich her daughter's life by educating her the amazing gifts her students will bring to the world.  
  • The Beauty in Our Differences — Meegs at A New Day writes about her discussions with her daughter about how accepting ourselves and those around us, with all our beautiful differences and similarities, makes the world a better place.
  • Accepting Acceptance and Tolerating Tolerance — Destany at They Are All of Me examines the origins of and reasons behind present day social conformity.
  • Differencessustainablemum discusses what she feels to be the important skills for embracing diversity in her family home.
  • Turning Japanese — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different shares how she teaches her kiddos about Japanese culture, and offers ideas about "semi immersion" language learning.
  • Celebrating Diversity at the International House Cottages — Mommy at Playing for Peace discovers the cultures of the world with her family at local cultural festivals
  • Learning About Diversity by Honoring Your Child’s Multiple Heritages — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of truly knowing your roots and heritage and how to help children honor their multiple heritages.
  • People.  PEOPLE! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is trying to teach her children to use language that reflects respect for others, even when their language doesn't seem to them to be disrespectful.
  • Call Me Clarice, I Don't Care - A True Message in Diversity — Lisa at The Squishable Baby knows that learning to understand others produces empathetic children and empathetic families.
  • Diversity of Families — Family can be much more then a blood relation. Jana at Jananas on why friends are so important for her little family of three.
  • Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect.
  • Just Shut Up! — At Old New Legacy, Becky gives a few poignant examples in her life when listening, communication and friendship have helped her become more accepting of diversity.
  • The World is our Oyster — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot is thankful for the experiences that an expat lifestyle will provide for herself as well as for her children.
  • Children's black & white views (no pun intended … kind of) — Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders how to guide her kids past a childish me vs. them view of the world without shutting down useful conversation.
  • Raising White Kids in a Multicultural World — Leanna at All Done Monkey offers her two cents on how to raise white children to be self-confident, contributing members of a colorful world. Unity in diversity, anyone?
  • Ramadan Star and Moon Craft — Celebrate Ramadan with this star and moon craft from Stephanie at InCultureParent, made out of recycled materials, including your kid's art!
  • Race Matters: Discussing History, Discrimination, and Prejudice with Children — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how her family deals with the discrimination against others and how she and her husband are raising children who are making a difference.
  • The Difference is Me - Living as the Rainbow Generation — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is used to being the odd-one-out, but walking an alternative path with children means digging deeper, answering lots of questions and opening to more love.
  • My daughter will only know same-sex marriage as normal — Doña at Nurtured Mama realizes that the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage will change the way she talks to her daughter about her own past.
  • Montessori-Inspired Respect for Diversity — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her multicultural family and shares Montessori-inspired ideas for encouraging respect for diversity.
  • EveryDay Diversity — Ana at Panda & Ananaso makes diversity a part of everyday living, focusing on raising of compassionate and respectful child.
  • Diversity as Part of Life — Even though Laura at Authentic Parenting thought she had diversity covered, she found out that some things are hard to control.
  • Inequity and Privilege — Jona is unpacking questions raised by a summit addressing inequity in breastfeeding support at Life, Intertwined.
  • 3 Ways to Teach Young Children About Diversity — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama recognizes her family's place of privilege and shares how she is teaching her little ones about diversity in their suburban community.
  • Teaching diversity: tales from public school — A former public high school teacher and current public school parent, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama values living in a diverse community.
  • 30 Ideas to Encourage Learning about Diversity While Traveling — Traveling with kids can bring any subject alive. Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with a variety of ways you can incorporate diversity education into your family travels (regardless of whether you homeschool). From couch surfing to transformative reading, celebrate diversity on your next trip!
  • Diversity, huh? — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't do anything BIG to teach about diversity; it's more about the little things.
  • Chosen and Loved — From Laura at Pug in the Kitchen: Color doesn't matter. Ethnicity doesn't matter. Love matters.
  • The One With The Bright Skin — Stefanie at Very Very Fine tries to recover from a graceless response to her son's apparent prejudice.

Looking Back - Pail monthly themed post

June is a very emotional month for me.  It is funny that this month's PAIL theme is about reminiscing and looking back, as just last week I was telling a co-worker how much your life can change in just a year's time.   3 years ago in June, we were avidly trying for a baby.  I remember we went camping with friends, I took an OPT and told hubby we had to DTD cause I thought I was ovulating.  It was a time of excitement and naiveity.  We had no idea what was in store for us.  We just wanted a baby.  A year later, with lots of BFN in between,  we went for what we thought was our 12 week ultrasound to only find out our baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks.  I will never forget that day (and the days following) for as long as I live.  Even as I sit here typing, my heart aches from the hurt that I felt.  Last June, (on the EXACT same day) I went for my 20 week ultrasound and found out that our Dragon baby was healthy and alive and moving like a champ.

This June, I am able to play with my amazing daughter and watch her grow and explore her surroundings.  This June, I am no longer hoping and praying for a baby, but am educating myself and reading blogs and articles on what being a gentle parent entails.  I am trying to find my momma bear instincts and follow them as I listen to my baby to determine what she needs.

IF and Pregnancy loss stole something from me.  Not only did I loose my innocence around the 'beauty' of getting and staying pregnant, but I lost valuable time.  Instead of fixating over my cycle, and worrying about every little symptom, I could have been reading about different parenting styles and discussing valuable parenting choices with my husband so we could have been better prepared.  Once my daughter was here, we were lost.  we had no idea what raising a baby was all about.  All I wanted was to be a mom - and then once I acquired that title, I didn't know how to fulfill the role.

Looking back, I now know that I am the mother I am because of my history.  IF and Loss made me guarded and scared.  It made me want to hold my daughter closer and keep her safe.  Perhaps its because of my IF history that my husband and I are such advocates for gentle parenting techniques.  Maybe in the end, it's not all bad?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When an emotional melt-down leads to some horrific advise

Every second Tuesday of the month I go to a postpartum peer support group facilitated by a nutritionist/homeopath.  This Tuesday the topic was on nutrition and well-being.  I was feeling extremely exhausted on Tuesday.  Not knowing at the time, my body was fighting a major cold that soon hit me later that day.  I was tired.  Tired of having to wear my daughter and tired of the all night nurse-a-thons.  Mostly I was worried that I should be doing 'something' to get her to sleep more independently ... not know what that 'thing' is without her crying...not having the energy to do a lot of pick-ups/put-downs...I was drained.

I felt that maybe, someone at the group would know a good resource for meditation.  I'm horrible with living in the moment and quieting my mind.  I felt that maybe if I was able to meditate while nursing at night, H would fall asleep faster and not need me to actually fall asleep for her to go into a deep sleep.

Due to the exhaustion and the looming cold and everything else on my mind - when I asked for help I started to cry.  I said to the group that I am 'DONE' with the way things are and that I'm looking for meditation support to see if that can change things.  All the facilitator heard was 'done' and saw the tears and she proceeded, for the next 30 minutes to tell me that I need to make a change.  She implied the following:

- my daughter has set the boundaries and if we continue the way things are going, she will be an unruly toddler
- that she will not learn how to sleep and may become obese and have difficulties in results in kids that cannot sleep through the night by themselves.
- comfort nursing is bad
- that on an 'energetic' level (no idea what that means) she feels I have been unhappy for months.
- That she let her kids cry it out and they turned out okay..
- That Einstien's definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (thereby insinuating I am insane?!?!)

I was so hurt.  She refused to listen to what I was saying (granted through tears...mainly because what she was telling me was making me cry more).  She was giving me just wrong advice.  I know for a fact that sleep is a developmental milestone that all babies will reach when they are ready.  Some can be helped to reach this milestone earlier...others cannot. I know for some families CIO is the only way to get sleep.  I know that many babies have been left to CIO and they are in fact okay.  Hubby and I have talked about this A LOT and we believe that this choice is not right for our family.

I have also talked about the topic of sleep with my local LLL chapter and I believe that comfort nursing and co-sleeping and baby wearing will change as she matures and gets older (therefore I could in theory do the same thing again and again and I WILL get different results as she isn't static and does change).

I am just very upset that someone in a position of 'authority' wouldn't let me speak my feelings and felt the need to interject her own beliefs into my life.  I know she came from a position of trying to help and possibly give me 'permission' to let my daughter CIO....but that's not what I was asking for!  What scares me however, is this woman will become a IBCLC come July and is a breastfeeding mentor.  How can she mentor people when she so clearly feels that comfort nursing is wrong.  She even told another woman in the group that she needs to set boundaries and not let her son comfort nurse.  She said 'you are not a pacifier once he is done actively sucking, get him off!".  This is a personal choice! I would thinks he has read the literature out there on how pacifiers are plastic human nipples! Some babies take them, others do not.  If a woman wants to let her baby comfort nurse...that is HER OWN DECISION.  It isn't right or is up to the woman to decide if it is okay with her.

I came home from this meeting very upset.  Luckily an on-line community support group for anxiety and depression saved me and helped put things into perspective.  Hubby and I also had a really great conversation and we agreed that we will break down the sleeping situation and see if there is a way to make minor changes so that I feel progress is being started.

I haven't confronted the facilitator about this yet...I am torn on whether I should or not.  In one hand, she was coming from a place of wanting to help, on the other...she needs to know that she wasn't listening to me...and if you are going to counsel, listening is the first step.

I still am wanting a meditation resource.  Is there anything you have used that has worked? Either a book or something I can down-load onto my ipod.  I would just like to be able to learn how to shut my brain off.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A synopsis of our reality as first time parents

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by
Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.

This post will probably summarize many of my struggles withing the last 6 months.  It is a post written for Hobo Momma at Natral Parents network Carnival of Natrual Parenting.  For those IF folks that still follow my blog, it would be similar to Mel's ICLW.

As a mother who struggled with loss and infertility, I can honestly say parenting and what type of parents my husband and I would become, wasn't on my radar.  When we decided we were ready and willing to try to get pregnant, we were caught up in the 'fun' and 'excitement' of trying. We wanted a baby.  A snuggly baby to hold and to nurse. We knew that we would breast feed (or I would breast feed) and we would practice gentle discipline - we don't hit our dogs...we definitely wouldn't spank our children.  However, how parenting would look and the work involved wasn't something we really thought of.  As months passed with no positive pregnancy test, the fun and excitement turned to worry. We (correction I) was starting to become concerned about our lack of success and with spotting for days before Aunt Flow's arrival and Dr. Google, I realized we may be dealing with more than bad timing.  I requested an appointment with a specialist and we started the road of testing. However, a year after trying, just after our consultation meeting we were blessed with our first BFP! This excitement was met with reservation as I was terrified of loosing the baby.  This fear must have been mother's intuition as we found out at our 12 week ultrasound that the fetus had died at 9 weeks.  Devastated we took a few months off from trying and when we were going to resume testing, we found out we were pregnant again.  Only this time, the fetus didn't even form.  At 6 weeks we were diagnosed with a blighted ovum and once again had to deal with the reality of loosing another baby.

When we conceived our now daughter, I was cautiously optimistic.  Our fertility testing showed I was having premature ovarian failure and my egg quality was low.  However, with a diet change and new supplements (didn't need to take fertility drugs) we were able to conceive on our own and at 9 weeks had a very positive ultrasound.  Our pregnancy was uneventful - but I was watched like a hawk and had to go through monthly ultrasounds.  During the 41 weeks I was pregnant, I was scared and anxious every step of the way.  We did the things normal couples do, paint the nursery, buy furniture register for the shower - but the entire time I was jaded.  I just couldn't let myself believe that this was happening.  I was so focused on the pregnancy, my hubby and I didn't really take time to think about what being a parent was all about.

There were a few things that we had thought would happen that showed how naive we were.  We bought a crib and an organic crib mattress thinking our baby would be spending most of his or her days in there.  We had a play-pen set-up downstairs so when we were downstairs he/she would nap in the play-pen.  We had a bassinet for our room and a nursing chair.  I knew beast feeding was the only option for us, and we had been gifted a set of cloth diapers as we wanted to cloth diaper.  Going into parenthood, we had discussed CIO - and I wasn't going to let my baby cry...but I didn't really think what the alternate would be.  I was niave.  I thought I would nurse my baby to sleep and she would lay down and sleep blissfully for 4 hour blocks.

I wasn't anticipating the following:

- a baby born with a  spontaneous pneumothorax where we were not allowed to hold our daughter for the first 12 hours of her life and had to watch her be stabilized and go through torture in getting there

- low milk supply and needing to take medication to get a decent supply to feed my baby

- a baby with slow weight gain that made my anxieties for feeding her through the roof

- a baby who would (and almost 7 months later) LOVE to pacify / comfort nurse around the clock.  At the beginning I took this behaviour or her always being hungry...

- a baby who wouldn't fall asleep nursing after 4 weeks of age.  She ended up (and continues) to ONLY sleep during the day if worn in the ergo and gently bounced on an exercise ball.

- a baby who would stop sleeping large chunks at night at 4 months of age and we would resort to co-sleeping and all night nursing so that I would get any sleep.

As a first time mom, I was convinced I was screwing things up.  I thought for sure I was setting my daughter up for bad habits.  I cried.  I was depressed.  I was incredibly anxious. I started thinking we needed to sleep train her and let her cry so that she would  break herself of these habits. However, the more I thought about letting her cry, the more anxious I would become.  It wasn't until I started meeting other like minded moms, I realized that my baby wasn't broken - she was normal.  I read the Dr Sears High Needs baby article and realized my daughter fit this description. I attended La Leche League meetings and got support and realized that CIO can lead to more problems down the road - especially for a daughter like I had.

Its funny how a few key elements shape how you parent.  For us, breast feeding really paved the way to a more natural parenting road.  I fundamentally believe in breast feeding and even though things started out rough, by keeping with it and understanding what mothering through breast feeding means, I became more of an advocate for other means of parenting.   We will not allow our daughter to CIO.  We are huge advocates for bed sharing (if you do it safely) and swear by baby-wearing.  Now at 7 months, we are much more confident and comfortable in our parenting choices than we were even 2 months ago.  Through living and learning and meeting our daughter's needs, she is showing us how to become parents and has forced us to throw all expectations out the window.  We have lost friendships and have become distant to certain family members who do not share our same views.  That's okay - we believe in what we are doing.
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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — "I'll never cook a separate meal for my children," Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn't turn out quite as she'd imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don't. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn't mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year - because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she's not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn't it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I've Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love... — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin', They Hatin' — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with "babywearing haters."
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting "mistakes," and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids... — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But "doing it right" looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell  summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter's high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.  
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.  
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children's needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn't do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby's mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, "Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?"
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Attachment Parenting - a reflection

Hubby and I are full-fledged attachment parents.  Breast feeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping (granola-crunchy hippie type) parents.  This wasn't fully a choice we decided upon before having H, it just came about as issue arose and we needed to find solutions.  We do not believe in CIO - after doing research and KNOWING OUR DAUGHTER we realize it isn't for us.  For some, I can see it working.  For us, not so much.  See H is a Duracell Bunny Baby and she will not just fall asleep with some gentle guidance.  On Friday, I had the stomach flu and had to be in the washroom for almost 2 hours (it was nasty).  She SCREAMED the entire time (even in daddy's arms) as she was tired and needed me to help her go to sleep.  Her cries didn't stop as the books said they would.  She didn't slow down...she kept on screaming (as she does in the car).  I eventually was able to nurse her - but then when I had to go to the washroom again she woke up and screamed for another 30 min until I came back to bed.  It was rough.  See we know that she is the way she is and that it would take some drastic measures to get her to sleep on her own. This is hard for us...and is a source of contention all the time. I am ready to try some of these measures at least 3 days of the week, and hubby refuses.  He feels that the research shows it would do more harm then good (I agree with him...I'm just exhausted).  AP is natural and for us it just makes sense.  Luckily, living in Canada we have a year off to be able to stay home with our babies.  I don't think it would be possible to be a working mom and an AP parent. 

Reading other blogs this week about the return of Aunt Flow and ovulation cycles has me thinking - I don't have any idea when my period will return - but it doesn't matter cause the stars have to align just so for us to have sex!  It isn't because H is in our bed - that isn't the issue. We have other beds in our house.  Its because she needs to comfort suck ALL NIGHT LONG.  I am too exhausted to fight this need (but getting to the point where I really want it to stop) and have no idea on HOW to stop it knowing that she is so stubborn (unless we enlist more drastic measures).  AP - for us - is a natural form of birth control LOL.  We don't need to worry about having another baby any time too soon! This is the hardest part. I'm not sure if it is the teething or wonder week or what, but during the day she needs to be in my sight 100 percent of the time.  If I leave her for a moment, she screams bloody murder.  I can't handle it.  So she spends  a lot of her days in the ring sling on my hip.  Napping is still on us as she wont sleep in her bed during the day and if we try and transfer her she wakes up.  I do really want to work on this habit, and am starting to slowly by eliminating the constant movement from her naps.  This is hard though as her naps turn out to be half the length they can be if I were to bounce her the entire time.  I guess it is all a balancing act. If she is well slept and within my sight, H is a very happy little girl.  She loves to be on the ground rolling around and is almost crawling.  She loves to 'sing' and interact with the dogs.  Being with her and seeing how happy she is makes my heart sing and realize deep down, we are doing what's right for her.  

Over all AP is just natural for us - its the do what works philosophy that meets are child's needs.  I have a lot of friends right now with babies and H is definitely the highest needy baby out of all of them.  I see how each baby is different and how different strategies work.  H is not easily fooled by plastic substitutes (bottles or soothers) and really needs her mommy and daddy.  This is okay - it just makes it hard for us to find time for each other.  Hopefully things become easier in time...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear Daughter

As you are laying on my chest curled up in the moby wrap, there are so many things I would like to tell you. This letter is to you in hopes that I can turn some 'negative' elements of the first 5.5 months of our time together into positive ones.

I love breast feeding you.  It took us a long time to get a routine going.  You loved to nurse...all the time and it frightened me when you were younger that you weren't getting enough to eat.  I now, looking back, think you were.  You were simply a slow gainer (and still are) and just enjoyed being comforted on the boob. Now, I enjoy nursing you.  I love how convenient it is.  I love when you play peek-a-boo with daddy while pretending to nurse.  I love laying down beside you at night holding your hand while you nurse your way into a slumber.  Although it took awhile for me to realize it, breastfeeding has worked for us.  We are a success story!  We are very lucky to have doctors that know about breastfeeding and are okay with your slow gain.  They see how happy you are and how much you are thriving and are fine with your slow gain.  Someone has to be small right?  Your chubby cheeks and beautiful blue eyes tell the world that you are doing OK!

I love falling asleep beside you at night.  Although it bothers me to have to go to sleep so EARLY some nights, the truth is, I'm usually pretty tired myself and welcome sleep.  You look forward to this to.  You start to cry and get cranky as soon as we go to mommy's bed and just wait in anticipation for me to lift my shirt so that you can latch on.  As much as I tell myself I will just wait to your asleep and then roll away, we both know that unless I fall asleep, you never get into a deep enough sleep for me to just roll away.  The hormone transfer that happens between us is nothing but pure magic.  You need that hormonal release to fall asleep and the funny thing do I!  The nights that you do sleep in your bassinet for a couple of hours (which are VERY few and far between) I usually am up tossing an turning awaiting the moment for you to come back to bed and latch on so that I can fall asleep too.  Some would say this is a bad habit for us to be getting into and that daddy and I need to teach you to fall asleep on your own.  I argue saying that sleep is a developmental state that you will reach when you are ready.  We celebrate milestones like rolling, walking and talking, but we criticize sleep regressions as if they symbolize a 'bad' baby.  Truth is, sleep regressions and triumphs are as developmentally normal as rolling and crawling.  We need to take the good with the bad.  The beauty of co-sleeping and you comfort nursing is that mommy can just go back to sleep.  No floor walking, rocking, bouncing etc at 3 am.  We can just roll-over and sleep together and we both get rest.  I love waking up to your smiling face and you forcing me to stay in bed longer than I normally would so that you can get the sleep you need while comfort nursing. Our days have become much more relaxing (even though some days I want to scream from feeling like a prisoner to you).

I love how putting you in the wrap is such an easy way to get you to sleep.  There is rarely any fussing.  You look forward to it.  I don't enjoy having to wear you for your entire nap...but sitting on the exercise ball allows me time on the computer to read, watch a movie or do whatever else I want to do. I can't relax on the couch or take a nap..but it does give me permission to just be. Some days I try and lay you down in hopes that you will stay asleep...maybe when you are a bit older your morrow reflex wont wake you up...or you'll have been so comfortable in staying asleep on mommy you will just roll over and fall asleep.  Either way, we can work around your needs.

Truth is buttercup we wanted you so badly in our lives.  We loved you so much and you gave us such a scary start that we are afraid if we are doing things right.  I never want to second guess myself and co-sleeping, baby wearing and breast feeding allow us to never think twice about what we are doing.  You enjoy it and so we know we are meeting your needs.  Life is too short, and given what happened to cousin Tyler's baby, it can be taken away from us all too quickly.  We will hold you for as long as you need and love you with all our might.  Things are definitely not easy for mommy and daddy.  We don't like the lack of time we have for each other and needing to sleep in separate bedrooms,  but we do it because we love you and we are committed to meeting your needs and making your transition into this world as smooth as it can be.  When you are older and are able to understand more ... we may try to encourage you to be more independent.  But right now, you are a baby and are learning so much.  You don't understand what is happening to you just as much as we don't understand it.  You need the comfort and security and we are here to provide that to you.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


As we are further and further into this horrific sleep regression - or as I like to think - my new reality of having a baby latched onto me for most of the night - I started to think 'Why me'.  Why couldn't I get one of those magic sleeping babies? What have I done to make her sleep like this? 

Then I got a big dose of perspective.  It usually happens through the blogging community when I read of someone's failed IVF, or miscarriage.  I become thankful I'm out of those trenches and have my beautiful little girl. 

This week's perspective came in a form of an email sent out to family by hubby's cousin.  He was the messenger for another cousin stating that their baby, only 3 weeks old, died on the weekend from an unknown heart failure.  They had no idea anything was wrong. 

This breaks my heart.  This is their second child.  They were so happy the last time I saw them. 

The service for immediate family was yesterday.  We sent them an edible arrangement.  What else can you do?   We aren't overly close to this family (funerals/weddings and the odd visit here and there) but this loss is taking its toll on me.

All of a sudden being up all night nursing my baby has a whole other meaning.  At least I have a baby to nurse.  Loving and nursing my baby isn't doing anything wrong.

I've been holding her a little more close to me these days. 

My heart aches for this family.  They are such amazing people - I can't imagine what this will do to them.

This is too close to home for me :(

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hitting a brick wall

When I don't think things can get any worse...they do.  Currently we are dealing with:
- 4 month sleep regression from hell
- the 19th Wonerweek (first long one with a huge stormy period)
- 2 teeth almost ready to break through
- 1st Nursing Strike which leads to reverse cycling at night.

All at once.  We were doing so well and now the last few weeks have been so hard.  Everyone told me it gets easier after 3 months.  I'm now learning that it is common for 4 months to "suck monkey butt" as a friend told me.

However, with all the negative come positives:
- my baby is so aware of her surroundings - interacting with Hubby and I more and the dogs
- She is SO close to rolling over
- she will have teeth!
- is able to play games like peek-a-boo and understand basic cause and effect.

I keep telling myself that 'this too shall pass'.  I just wish I could have been more prepared for the hell that 4 months brings.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why motherhood makes one egotistical

Lately I have really been torn between the 'Wait it Out' Sleep method, where we really don't do anything but nurture our baby and meet her needs - however inconvenient they may be and feeling like an utter failure for not following through and succeeding in sleep training.  While talking with the social worker, she made me understand one thing - IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! Why do I feel like a failure because MY DAUGHTER doesn't fit inside a mold that someone somewhere thought she should?  Of course I could do more, structure her day more, let her cry more etc etc and she would eventually 'get it'.  But at what cost?  Why do I feel like it is my inadequacies that are failing her, and not look at her as an individual with her own quirks that may or may not be responsible for the failed sleep training attempt? 

I think mothers do this regarding everything.  Feeding, sleeping, potty training. If our kids don't 'get-it' right away, then we feel like failures.  However, sometimes the kids' needs need to be looked at and taken into consideration.  For example, my neighbour was doing a potty training boot camp last month with her almost 3 year old son.  He had a few successful pees in the potty, but many times he would pee his pants just after sitting on the potty every hour.  It got to the point where he was refusing the time on the potty and getting very upset at himself and his parents every time he had an accident.  After a day and a half, they gave up.  He clearly wasn't ready as he couldn't associate the feeling of having to pee with actually peeing.  Very hard to potty train if those two things can't be connected. One could blame the parents for not trying harder. Putting him on the potty longer or more often - however when the child resists and is becoming traumatized, it is better to quit and start again when they are ready.  She blamed herself and I told her it wasn't her fault - he simply wasn't ready. It isn't as though he will be in diapers forever.  Eventually, he will learn to use the washroom like everyone else.  It just may take him longer.  The same can go for sleep training.  Like in all areas of development, babies mature in their ability to sleep.  Some say rocking/nursing/bouncing etc are crutches that make it so babies will never sleep on their own.  However, diapers can be considered crutches for toilet training. I have many friends who have told me that they remove the diaper because THEIR CHILD has initiated this step to them.  Not because they decided their child is able to go without. Each child will learn how to sleep on their own.  It may just take some longer than others. 

The same theory can be applied to eating.  When I was having major issues with supply and breast feeding, I was feeling like a total failure for not producing enough. However, my daughter didn't have the knack of sucking yet, so she wasn't doing her part either.  It wasn't all on me. 

Parenting is HARD.  Because it is so hard, we take everything so seriously and blame ourselves for our child's development (or lack there of).  There are  A LOT of theories/resources out there (so many that if you are like me, you can drown yourself in information and loose your ability to listen to your gut instinct) and many theories work for many people. However, if your child doesn't fit the mold and the theories aren't working for your family, it isn't your fault.  Now that you have a kid, it isn't all about you anymore!

I think for those of us who have gone through IF and loss, parenting and trying to do things 'right' is even harder.  We couldn't control getting or staying pregnant, so we want to control our lives with baby.  Truth is, baby sets the rules - no matter how hard we try to make it otherwise.   Society (family/friends) tend to tell us what to do or make us think we are inadequate.  However, evolution gave us instincts for a reason.  The best thing I have learned lately, is to listen to your gut.  You will know what's best for YOUR BABY.  If that's following some plan, great.  If it is waiting a while and then trying a plan - wonderful.  Whatever works for you!  If it isn't working, it isn't a reflection on you as a mom. is a blog I've been following about gentle parenting.  If you are interested in learning more about the 'wait it out' method of sleep training, or about any other gentle parenting issue, I would highly recommend her blog. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

20 Questions

I decided I wanted to try to answer the PAIL inspired theme post - 20 questions.  So here it goes!
  1. What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling? Garbage from the car my hubby left behind.  Wrappers of some sort. 
  2. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Right now, we have a Celtic Lullaby that plays every night.  I haven't put my own music on in a while!  Mumford and Sons is my go-to if I do.
  3. What is your favorite quote? "To Thine Oneself be True". 
  4. What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Hmmm...vacuuming. We have 2 dogs and it always needs to be done...I hate it!
  5. What is your favorite form of exercise?  When I used to go regularly I loved spinning. 
  6. What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? I'm a morning person, I love Saturday mornings when you know you don't have to go to work (or hubby is at home) and I love September
  7. What is on your bedside table? Don't got one...but on my dresser I have a whole pile of crap - and a ton of dust!
  8. What is your favorite body part? My eyes
  9. Would you use the power of invisibility for good or evil? Elaborate. I would probably use it to just escape.  If I am in a situation where I don't feel comfortable, I would use it so I could just get away.
  10. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? Hmmm....not sure! Maybe 30. I like 30 - just don't want to get any older
  11. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? Pay off debt!
  12. What is your biggest pet peeve? Noisy eaters.   My dog barking
  13. If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be? ??
  14. At what age did you become an adult? I became an adult at a very young age...At 7 I was responsible for looking after my brother before and after school and making dinner when my mom was in the hospital.  I don't remember having a joy-filled, care-free childhood.
  15. Recommend a book, movie, or television show in three sentences or less.The Red Tent (book) Most amazing, inspirational book I have read that celebrates womanhood in a way that no other story has done before.
  16. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble? Well my mother was a bit of a control freak so one day, I didn't wipe the counters and she yelled and slammed cupboard doors in my face...
  17. What was the first album you bought with your own money? Michael Jackson I believe
  18. If someone wrote a book about you, what would be the title? Looking for Acceptance
  19. What story do you wish your family would stop telling about you? Hmmm...not sure what stories they are telling.
  20. True or false: The unicorn is the greatest mythical creature. State your case. Not sure...I never really believed/became educated in any mythical creatures so I don't have anything to compare it to!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Well she's gone...

My good night sleeper is gone and nowhere to be found.  I have made myself sick over this.  I even went to the hospital and talked to a PPD social worker about my feelings.  I haven't been able to eat or stop crying.  She told me that it was serious sleep deprivation and not PPD causing my problems get sleep and everything will work out fine.  So last night, Hannah curled up beside me like she always does and nursed to sleep. Her and I fell asleep together and when daddy tried to transfer her, she woke up the first time but stayed sleeping the second only to wake up an hour later.  So, instead of fighting with her, I brought her into my little cocoon and there she and I both slept all night long.  Her suckling me for comfort/food and me holding her tight.  When my boob fell out of her mouth, she would let me know and I would help her relatch and we would both fall asleep. At 5:00 I thought that this had to end, and she would sleep in her own bed. I was successful at transferring her into her bassinet, however she was incredibly restless. She wasn't happy being by herself, so I opted to bring her back into bed with me and she mellowed out.  By doing this, I didn't get a single moment of time for myself (normally she would sleep for another 3 hours after waking where I could pump and just have 'me' time) but we were both well rested.  This has made the world of difference.  I emailed our sleep consultant about her sleep regression to see what she says.  Her response was defensive saying she has never heard a baby regress so badly from starting a sleep training regime (especially one that was aborted so quickly). She told me that since I'm not getting sleep anyways, that I should plow through and do the sleep training program so that I can get sleep again in a weeks time.  I partially believe her..however, something in my gut is telling me that my daughter NEEDS me right now. Either trying to separate her from me for a weekend (for naps) caused some separation anxiety or it is completely unrelated but I think she is telling me she needs to be with her mommy right now.  I am the one with the issue - not her. She sleeps for 2+ hours at a time in the ergo carrier and last night she slept all night long - didn't get up to cry or need consoling. So really I'm the one with the issue.  I was surprised with our consultants response - as she also identifies herself as an attachment parent and puts on attachment parenting workshops too.  If she was an attachment parent expert, wouldn't she have suggested that she is just needing mommy right now and to keep the training on hold...not rush into it?

Sleeping is such a 'hot' topic and I have literally made myself sick with worry.  Everyone else is making me feel I'm doing something 'wrong' by wearing my daughter and co-sleeping.  I may change my mind next week - but for right now I think I'll try and put myself intune with my daughter and listen to what she is trying to tell me.