Friday, January 31, 2014

6 Months Went by WAY too Fast

     I refuse to believe the calendar is right...Lucy can't be 6 months old. It's just not possible. She was just born a few weeks ago it seems. As much as I wish the calendar was wrong, it's not, and my little princess is growing up!
     We are halfway through our first year with two under two and so far it's been quite the experience with many new challenges. Having two little ones is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. Lucy has been such a different baby than Roxas it can be hard to believe they share the same genes at times.
     Thankfully I think Lucy is starting to get a little bit better about being a little bit less attached to me. Oh, she is still firmly Velcroed to my side most of the day but there are times when it seems she is becoming slightly less so. She will actually reach out for other people and be somewhat content being held by others, as long as I am within sight of course. She is even sleeping in her own room now! Well...most of the night. Truthfully I find it is a little harder on me than her. I miss snuggling up with her all night. She starts looking sleepy so I feed her, she drifts off, and then I lay her down in her crib. She pretty much always wakes up but after about two or three minutes she drifts back to sleep and stays that way until about 6am. It's been very nice getting a little more sleep but truthfully that's more so because I am not staying up until 4am every night doing random stuff like cleaning or crochet.
     Roxas and her have really become your typical brother and sister. He loves bringing her things and is always making sure she isn't left out of the fun. He's a sweet brother and I know he will be the best protective big bro ever. They have their squabbles over who gets to hold the snack cup or who gets what toy every once in awhile but those are quickly fixed and they both move on. I savor the ease of quelling these little tiffs now because I know it's going to get worse! I can already hear the cries of "But MOOOOOOOMMMMMM! He's touching my stuff!!" or "Get out of my room Lucy!!!".
     Both of the kids have been just growing like little weeds. I swear I can hear them growing. Roxas will be two in just about a month! Holy cow did that year fly by. He's such a little character too. He charms all the ladies he meets, and just melts hearts wherever he goes. He talks NON-STOP too. I understand about 40% of what he says and the rest...well it's a total mystery but whatever he is saying it's apparently very important to him. Lucy is almost able to sit all by herself, she still falls over after a few seconds but she's doing really great at it. I swore she was getting her first tooth last month but she's still sporting an adorably gummy smile with no teeth in sight. She loves to be on the move and I know when she's mobile I will really have to watch out because she will be into everything! Wiggleworm is her nickname and for good reason! She is never sitting still. She twists and turns and tries to hang upside down when I'm holding her. Honestly a greased up piglet would be easier to hold onto. She also has "go-go-gadget" arms, I am amazed at the things she can reach. It's almost like she sprouts extra limbs. Of course she immediately tries to eat whatever she grabs too. Her favorite thing to try and eat is paper, she LOVES paper! Her check up is on Wednesday so I'm excited to see how much she has grown. I'm sure it's a lot!
      Since she is 6 months old now we have officially reached the age when it's "OK" in my opinion to introduce solid foods. She has had little tastes of this and that but we haven't given her "real" food yet. I'm really in no hurry to do it either. Partly since we do cloth diapers and you don't have to rinse off exclusively breastfed poo! The other part is I'm paranoid about killing off my milk supply. With Roxas I made the distinct mistake of feeding him so much solids that he really backed off nursing and then once I got pregnant with Lucy it was curtains for our breastfeeding relationship.  This time I have learned from my mistakes, and we will be making sure solid foods are just more snacks as opposed to the main course for Lucy. I also have absolutely no intentions of making Lucy a big sister any time soon, so that element will be out of the picture this time too. I'm sure she will have a blast with her first foods though. There will be plenty of pictures for sure!
     Overall it's been a wonderful 6 months and I can't wait to see what the next 6 months bring. I started school again and it's one killer schedule. Bless my family who has agreed to be flat out abused and watch the little rascals for me while I go to school. Especially those 12 hour shifts, oy. Plus, because I enjoy losing my mind I interviewed (and hopefully landed!) an extern position at the hospital here. That will mean working two extra 12 hour shifts each week. On the very, very, bright side of that though: I get paid for it!!! Unlike the time I'm at the hospital for clinical duty through school. It will be rough having such a full schedule but the experience of it all is absolutely priceless. The extra cash will really help alleviate some of the heavy financial burden on our family too.
     It's a bittersweet milestone to be arriving at. I wish she would slow down the growing part but I am happy she is growing up to be a healthy little munchkin. I will be happy to leave the frustrations of babyhood behind but sad to also leave the little joys of it too. There is a lot going on in these next few months. Between school, the externship and Roxas turning 2 it will be a crazy year. Oh, and our 5 year wedding anniversary is next week too! It seems like just a few years but this May marks a full decade of us being together.  I really want to go to Disneyland for that milestone but we will have to see what kind of funds we have for it.
     Until next time, I will be working furiously on my mountains of school work and attempting to herd cats (also known as keep the kids from maiming themselves.)


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feminists Have Completely Missed the Point

     I have read two blog posts in the past few days. One of them was a mom who wrote a post to herself, from herself, about reminding herself to allow her husband to love her. It was a beautifully written post and really hit home for me. She wrote it from a very personal place and although it was meant to really pertain just to her the message resonated with many mothers out there, myself included. Evidently her post ruffled a few feminist feathers. She was accused of promoting the "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" ideal of what marriage is. She was called names, and told her ideas were antiquated. This brings me to the other blog post I read. It was a shock piece written for the soul purpose of stirring up the internet. I'm not sure if the author really felt that way or if it was just a stunt to drive traffic to her blog but at any rate the opinion was put out there and unfortunately it is shared by many. Her opinion was that stay at home moms have an easy job, and should not be celebrated. Her post mentioned how having bridal showers and baby showers was ridiculous, that "anybody could get married or get knocked up." It was "easy" to her. She felt things such as a woman landing a CEO job, or backpacking across Europe should be the ones being celebrated and having parties. Since after all those things take hard work, unlike getting married or having a baby and maintaining a household. [insert HUGE eyeroll here].

     The latter blogger is what most would call a feminist. Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. On the face of it, this sounds pretty good right? Men and women are both humans and should be treated equally. Great. In this definition I would consider myself a feminist. I believe women should earn the same wages as men, I believe women should be considered for jobs that are typically performed by only men (so long as they physically can do them ie. Construction, or the Army). I believe women should have the same legal rights and be considered equal to a man in the court of law. See....I'm a feminist.

    Now, where these radical feminists miss the point is...they think every woman should WANT to become some powerful CEO career woman and to hold the title of mother/homemaker is shameful. Any woman who stays home with her children, cooks meals, does household chores and otherwise does "wifey" things is a failure as a woman. They call themselves feminists and hide behind the guise of standing up for women's rights. What they completely missed is it is every woman's right to choose how she wants to spend her life. They slam men, calling them lazy and declaring women don't need men to survive. True...a woman is perfectly capable of surviving on her own but if a woman chooses to spend her life with a man that is her right. No other woman has any right to tell her that her choice is wrong, she is somehow being controlled by that man and should dump him because he's just holding her back. I see SO much more husband and man bashing coming from so called feminists than any woman bashing coming from men. Yes, it exists. Yes, there are terrible misogynistic men out there that are terrible to women. There are also amazing men out there that want to love their wives, provide for a family and be loved by a wife. That doesn't make him a terrible human being.

     I am antiquated, yes. I believe in marriage, I believe in a wife serving her husband. Not because she has to but because she wants to out of love. I desire to make my husband happy and he desires to make me happy, it is equal. We have different roles in our marriage for sure. He goes to work and provides for his family while I stay home and keep the kids alive, clean the house, and cook the meals. Sure maybe my job isn't nearly as stressful as the high powered career woman but it doesn't mean it isn't a job. It's tough, not as tough of a job as a female soldier's of course but IT IS A JOB. I don't compare a woman working at McDonalds to a woman managing a fortune 500 company so how is it that some women feel it's okay to slam stay at home mothers for having an easy job compared to a business minded woman? It's not. Every job is hard. Every job has easy parts. You are entitled to complain about the hard parts and praise the easy parts no matter what your job is. Whether you are a CEO or an MRS. 

     The fact that the first blogger I spoke about had to issue a post explaining that her words were meant to just apply to her and she by no means advocated every woman should be a stay at home mom, or that any other job was inferior to that of a stay at home mom, is absurd. She had to defend her choice in life to be a loving wife. She had to explain herself to millions of strangers when really it shouldn't have been necessary. We are all women and we should empower each other in whatever choice that is. If you want to be a high powered business woman who stays single then you go girl! If you want to get married, have babies and be a wife then I say rock on lady! We all have incredible freedom to do what we like with our careers and just because somebody picked a more "traditional" occupation doesn't mean they were forced there by the all powerful men in the world.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How I Accidentally Became An Attachment Parent

I'm not one for labels, and my best advice to any new mom is simply: ignore the internet. Especially webMD, because no matter what you put in that symptom checker you will always get some life threatening disease. My kid has a slight fever...sorry he has speticemia and is probably going to die. Anyways...back to my point...

So when I found myself googling "getting my 5 month old to sleep in her bed" I was surprised to find myself not only violating my best advice but I found myself being labeled.  The whole reason I was googling this was not because I care she sleeps in our bed, not because it bothers me but because others acted as if it should. I allowed others to make me question my instincts. Another mistake. On the various forums I visited I was labeled a so called attachment parent, something I never considered myself as. I read article after article, blog after blog on both sides of the parenting style divide. When I plucked up courage to ask a question of the all knowing interwebs I was called names. Few of which were nice, but the one that struck me was the AP label.

I thought surely I'm not a crazy AP marshmallow of a parent. Nope, not me! None of that flimsy hippy-dippy stuff here!

I wear my baby in a sling/ergo/Moby because, as great as I am at doing almost anything one handed, I do occasionally need both of my upper limbs. Grocery store trips are a dream with my carrier. Lucy likes it and is happy while being held so I hold her. It just feels right.

I cloth diaper because I'm poor, and cheap...and oh my word have you seen how CUTE they are? What? What's that about the environment? Eh, go hug a tree hippy...KC [cloth diaper site] is having a sweet sale on AIOs [type of diaper] and I have to get them all! The poor and cheap reasoning comes into play for making my own laundry soap too.

I breastfeed my babes well...again..I am cheap. I will admit even if breastfeeding somehow cost more than formula I would still do it. Ummm...lowered chance of breast cancer? Weight just melts off? I can stuff my face with 500 extra calories? Baby gets amazingly unique antibodies protecting them from all kinds of crazy things? Temporarily look like you paid good money to fill out that top? I could go on and on but I need to? I'm also unabashedly becoming one of "those moms" who breastfeeds anywhere with no cover. Lucy just pulls the darn thing off anyways and I've gotten really good at using my wardrobe to make it where you can't see anything. Am I a crazy lactivist? Nope, I just like to feed my baby whenever or wherever she might need it. Because you know...I respond to her needs...because I was pretty sure that's what parents do. I'm not out to male a point or stand up for a cause, I'm out to keep my kid alive and keep her from screaming though your entire lunch meeting at Chili's.

I allow Lucy to sleep with us in our bed pretty much every night. Why? Because I like sleep. Sure I'm up at 1am right now (and I have an alarm set for school at 5am) but that's my own problem. Lucy is happily snoozing next to me, as is my wonderful hubby who can sleep on command it seems, a trait I envy. Lucy sleeps ALL night next to me. She might half wake up and want to nurse but I barely have to leave dreamland to pop a boob in her mouth and we both fall right back asleep. I've tried putting her in her co sleeper bassinet, 9 times out of 10 she wakes up screaming her head off. This leads to me not sleeping [again, I like sleep] She feels happy, safe and loved sleeping next to me, it's an easy and quick buffet [you can't tell me you wouldn't sleep next to the fridge if you could] plus I get sleep? What is wrong with that?! Sounds great. Sure, eventually we will work on moving her to her own bed but right now she has only been in this world for 5 months. You can't tell me you would be completely comfortable on an alien planet after just 5 months. No, you would still be weirded out by that blue fellow down the street and want to have a friend staying with you even if it's only so they can describe the attacker to the galactic police when the blue guy eats you.

Lucy is happiest in my arms, and happiest sleeping in bed next to me. So, I hold her, snuggle her and sleep curled protectively around her without moving an inch all night. Even though a lot of people have told me I should just let her cry it out, get some sleep for me, it won't hurt her. No, it won't hurt her but it hurts me. [See also: this child will NOT cry it out, she WILL cry for an hour or longer, yes I've tested it out]

Now, I've never read a single parenting book. Barely read parenting style or advice blogs [see the number 1 rule] but choose to instead parent on my instincts and prayer. I do what feels right for us, and for Lucy.

A lot of people would say how I'm parenting Lucy is too hard. Since when are children supposed to bend to our whim and be convenient? I was pouring over pages and pages of people bashing others for nursing babies to sleep, or picking them up when they cry because it's just so much work. Did I miss something here? Kids are hard work, like 100 times more work than a min pin hopped up on red bull. When did responding to your kids needs become some kind of fad or specific style of parenting. More importantly when did ignoring your kids become the thing to do? I thought responding to your kids was just called you know...being a parent, no label required.

Apparently I am a wimpy attachment parent raising some horrifyingly dependent kids. By listening to my instincts...I'm destroying humanity...human instincts=downfall of humanity. I don't get it. A lot of people criticized me for not just putting my foot down and forcing Lucy to sleep in her crib, or holding her most of the day, or allowing her to nurse on demand even if that means every 2 hours at 5 months old.

Do I do these things because I read a book about written by some doctor who has no idea what my kids are like? Nope. I hear my baby cry...I pick her up and feed/change/play with or snuggle her. Needs met=happy baby=happy mom. That little tidbit is from my brain and not some book or blog or magazine.

I was the sane with Roxas although not nearly as confident. I responded to what he needed. I relied on my instincts a lot of the time. I think he is developing into quite a nice young man if I do say so myself. My parenting responses with Roxas look WAY different than with Lucy though. Why? They are totally different kids! They have different personalities, different wants, needs and dislikes. Parenting styles are not one size fits all. Parenting is dynamic, like fluid, always changing to fit it's container. Parenting is always changing to fit the child.

Well you know what...go get my birkenstocks and granola. Because evidently I am a crazy attachment parent. You guys have a club or secret meeting place or something?

To me parenting is not a style, it is just what you do. You don't need a book, or a doctor, or a voo-doo priest to tell you how to be a parent. God gave you the best instructions ever: your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it because it's not right for you. If it feels right then go for it. This applies to hot topics like cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, babysitting and sleep training. Does is feel right for that kid? Then do it, If not then don't. Stop worrying about what kind of parent you are and just be the parent God made you. I don't care of you're a tiger mom, an AP parent, a crunchy mom, a honey badger mom, a ferber mom or whatever you want. Raise your children to be respectful, have empathy for others and to know and love God. If you achieve those things, in my opinion it's a very good step to raising productive members of society no matter which way you end up at those goals.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sleep. I miss you.

Lucy is high maintenance to the extreme and her sleeping habits are a glaring example of it.

Right now I'm sitting in bed holding a sleeping Lucy but I can't set her in the bassinet next to me because she will instantly start screaming. Sleeping with her next to me is out too, it's incredibly uncomfortable and I'm already sore from putting decorations away today.

It's frustrating not being able to just lay her down and catch some shut eye. I'm the only one awake in the house right now. I know a lot of people will advise the good old cry it out method. I won't be taking that advice though. Why? My instincts tell me not to.

With Roxas I was ok with the method. He would cry for maybe 15 minutes, if that and then he was out. It never sent my mommy senses tingling. Lucy on the other hand, oh boy. She will not stop crying. I'm sure eventually at some point she would become so exhausted that she would sleep but I don't ever want her to cry that long. She absolutely will cry for an hour or more.

My mommy instincts tell me to just keep holding/nursing her and it will eventually work out. They protest the idea of crying it out. It's a feeling I can't explain but just deep in the pit of my stomach I don't feel right about it.

So I may be a hippy dippy, cloth diapering, soap making, attachment type parent. I never thought I would be the person I am today, but I have to trust my instincts and hope they are more right than when I use them to pick lottery numbers.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hindsight is a Funny Thing

You know they always say hindsight is 20/20 and its so true. Our society is full of sayings referring to good old hindsight.

It has almost been two years since I first became a mom and there are so many things I've already changed about how I fill that roll.

If I would have known then what I know now...

I would have gotten help for my depression a lot sooner. I was in complete denial about how bad things were and I missed out on some serious bonding time with Roxas in those first three months. Of course I loved him but I didn't have the same bond and feelings I've gotten to feel with Lucy as a newborn. I love his goofy self to pieces now and we do have a great bond but therefore was a big difference in how I've bonded with Lucy.

If I would have known then what I know now...
I would have held Roxas more. Lucy is a bit of a diva and prefers to be held oh at least 23.9 hours per day. Sometimes it drives me nuts but really I do love it. I love that she wants her mommy, that she feels so safe in my arms. I feared spoiling Roxas as a baby, and he was content to not be held all the time, I didn't just toss him in the crib and leave him but I regret not holding him more. Putting the nagging piles of chores to be done aside and enjoying holding the tiny person I grew in my body.

If I knew then what I knew now...

I would have prepped better for milk storage. I was a bit lazy about pumping milk for when I went back to school and it became a huge source of anxiety for me. This time I've been super committed to pumping as much as I could from day 1. I am thrilled to have a chest freezer filled with roughly 350oz of milk for Lucy. Plus I keep adding to it every day. Having such an amazing stash has relieved my anxiety about not having enough milk for Lucy when school resumes. Having that weight lifted feels like a boulder has been pulled off my shoulders.

If I knew then what I had known now...

I would have written more down in a journal. My memory is about as good as a collander. I think I will remember that cute and funny thing the kids did forever...and I can't even remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday. I need to write more things down so I can look back and enjoy all those little moments one day when I'm old and gray. I try to write little notes in Lucy's baby book every time she does something super cute or amazing.

If I knew then what I know now...

I would have spent less on baby stuff. Oh boy did I kind of lose my head when it came to buying baby stuff. We really didn't need all that stuff! Then I was scrambling to use everything I bought because well...I bought it so I better use it. The only exception is I would have bought more cloth diapers!

I am sure the things I would have, could have, should have done mean little in the grand scheme of things but I've learned so much over the past two years. So what good is learning all these things if I don't change as a result.

As 2014 kicks off I'm setting a few goals I want to reach. One of which is to be the best kind of mom I can be.