Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pneumonia, Pills and Parent/Teacher Interviews

So, somehow January is over and we're nearing the half-way mark of this shortest/longest month of the year.

I think winter has finally hit our part of the world. We've had a little bit of snow and some very cold days, with more in the forecast.

We've spent the better part of this week bunkered in. After being back and forth to the doctor for a bad cough several times, each time coming home with different medications to try out, The Bean was diagnosed with Pneumonia. He finished his antibiotics this morning and was back to school for just the one day this week as tomorrow is the first day of a four day weekend. Of course, now Sprout is coughing, but I'm hoping it doesn't develop into anything. She's also all but given up her mid-day nap, which is another thing all together, but to continue the theme from my last post: Tired Mama.

Thankfully before kid-sickness hit in full force I was able to get myself in for a few long-overdue doctor's appointments. One of those included a chat with my GP and the starting of some anti-depressants. It was time. I don't like the idea of them (for myself) and I resisted even considering them for so long, but the truth of it is that things have been getting worse rather than better. My mood has been impacting my interactions with both Jen and the kids in a negative way. Something needed to change. And, though it's only been a week, I feel like it's making a difference. I am so glad.

Tonight we had our first-ever parent/teacher interviews with The Bean's teachers. His report, which I only picked up this morning, was more or less what I expected. It's hard to read between the lines --the teachers mostly select comments from a drop-down menu so it doesn't say a whole lot and what it does say isn't neither very specific nor backed up by examples. Talking it through was good. We had requested the interview a while ago since he had been resisting going to school quite a bit before the break and we wanted to follow up on that. His teachers spent nearly 45 minutes with us, which is about three times what we were scheduled for. (They didn't have any interviews scheduled immediately following ours, so I guess they didn't feel rushed.) Most of what they had to say was about what a bright and social student he is, but they also seemed to have a pretty accurate insight into other things --his perfectionism and desire to please, his sense of social justice and his tendency to "police" others. We walked away with the feeling that they know our kid pretty well and are doing a good job supporting him. We also got some reassurance that they making efforts to challenge him academically despite him already meeting many of the curriculum expectations.

It's only 10:30pm, but it's been a long week. Tomorrow I will have both kids home again and with -20*C temperatures in the forecast I think it will be another long day spent indoors. I best rest up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tired

Tonight Jen and I were lying in bed talking. She commented on me yawning, and I said that I didn't lie down this afternoon and that I was a little tired. She sort of chuckled and said something about not understanding why I stayed up so late, so I replied that it's the only time I get to myself. She said that she doesn't get time to herself either, but that she rather sleep. And while I understood her comment, it still got to me.

Jen works very hard to support our family. She wakes up early and helps get the kids ready for the day, while she gets herself ready for work. She rides her bike to work most days, works at the office all day, and then rides home before coming in to help with dinner, bath, bedtime and all the other evening routines/chores. Most nights the two of us watch a show and chat a little bit before she heads in to read before bed and I veg on the couch, playing around on the computer, crocheting or reading.

That two or three hours in the evening, before I go to sleep, I need it. I need it to have a break from thinking about what needs to get done. I need it to connect with other people (via email or Facebook or reading and commenting on blogs). I often need it to feel like there's something tangible I've accomplished that day. A blog post written. A few pages in a photo book completed. An arm of a sweater finished. A chapter of a book read. Because what I've discovered, and probably one of my biggest hurdles of being a stay at home mom, is that there is very little to show for my days. I may have washed three sink fulls of dishes, but there will still be dishes in the sink.  I may have done all the laundry, but that night there will be dirty clothes in the hamper. Floors will always need to be cleaned. Groceries will always have to be shopped for.

I know (I know) that this is a privilege. To get to be home with our kids. To watch them learn and grow. To have the chance to connect with them. But I feel like it's viewed as doing nothing. And sometimes it does feel to me like I am doing nothing. This year will be another hole on my resume. This year, again, will see our savings remain stagnant.

I like working. Even when I am burnt out from it, I like it. I love the kids. I like planning and teaching and assessing and communicating. I miss having coworkers to talk to. I am interested in best practices and improving my teaching.

I feel like if I were working all the stuff I am doing currently would still get done. The dishes. The laundry and cleaning and groceries. The kids would still be learning and growing. I'd still have a strong relationship with them.

So what is the benefit of me being home right now? In all honesty the only reason I am home is because I haven't got a job. It's not a strategic decision we made to support our kids while they were young. It's because I can't get work. And I'll tell you what: That feels pretty shitty. And it feels pretty shitty to resent the fact that my wife gets to go pee by herself. My wife, who I love very much, but having been doing a pretty crap job of showing that to. My wife, who I've known for 15 years (as of tomorrow) and been married to for ten years (as of Thursday) and parenting with for five years (as of two weeks ago).

I'm just not sure what to do about any of this. Or how.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Bean is Five Years Old!

Today The Bean is five years old!


FIVE. Can you believe it?

This kid. He has been trying to act very grown up lately, "practicing for when I am five", he says. I think he thinks it will make us happy and proud --he is very much a people pleaser-- and it does, but it also makes me want to squeeze him and kiss him all over and toss him up into the air and tickle him and read him a million books while he still enjoys it all.  

So, where to begin with our Bean? He really is a complex little person. The past few months have been kind of hard. There were some mixed emotions as he was about start school, and sadly he doesn't seem to be enjoying it as much as we had hoped he would. After the initial adjustment, he seemed happy. In October he was upset for a while because he wanted to be seen as a girl and he felt the other students weren't accepting of that. His teachers were very open and responsive though, and I felt like we had resolved things (meaning, he knew he could be whoever he wanted and the other students were seemingly understanding of that). Then in late November he got a cold, I kept him home for a half day, and after that he did not want to go back. As in crying at drop off many mornings a week, sulking, telling us he was sad/lonely/had a bad day at school etc. I talked to his teachers about it in passing before the break, but they assured me he seemed happy and engaged at school. It's been a bit of a mixed bag since school started up again last week, so I think we're going to ask for a meeting. As his pediatrician said at his well-check this week, he should be happy at school.

So, mood wise, I'd have to say he's been a bit glum, but not all the time. He still has many moments where he is happy and playful and full of giggles and jokes and jumping around. It's very hard as his parent to navigate this. While it's fine to feel sad, I would like to get to the root of it and make it more of an emotion that he only feels on occasion than something he's feeling on a regular basis.

Academically he seems to be doing very well. He comes home reciting many songs and rhymes he is learning at school. He LOOOOOVES visual art and his art teacher (though he is awfully hard on himself when his pictures don't turn out the way he would like). Phys. Ed. of course, is much enjoyed. He's counting to 100, doing some basic arithmetic. And his reading has taken off. I mean, shockingly so. I know he's among the eldest of the JKs, but even still, his ability is pretty remarkable. He can pretty much read any story book from our shelves. He stuggles with unfamiliar words and will still guess at things rather than really sound them out, but for a just-turned-five year old I'm thoroughly impressed. He is also showing an interest in writing and can often be found carrying around a notebook and pencil. He regularly proclaims his love of his teachers and several of his classmates, but does not see, to have a "best buddy" in the class.

For a while now he has been interested in distinguishing between "good" and "bad" (both people and behaviours). I get fairly regular reports over who in his class has misbehaved that day --fortunately he thrives on positive attention and tells me he is "never bad" at school. Before Christmas he became more concerned than we would have liked about whether his behaviour was "good" and what Santa would think. A bit heartbreaking when he would do something like spill a drink and ask right away whether Santa would be upset with him.

As I mentioned already, he is really a people pleaser which makes him pretty cooperative overall. He's been doing a lot that shows his growing independence --getting ready in the mornings, bathing himself and washing his own hair, wanting to help prepare snacks, tidying up after himself and his sister. He glows when given praise. It's a good thing, but we're also aware that it's something that could be taken advantage of. So far there haven't been any issues, but when he talks about friends telling him to do things, we're always a bit more alert than we might be if he weren't so eager to do what others ask/tell him to do.

Somewhat related, he is also very aware of other's expectations and preferences. He often refers to himself and Jen as the boys in the family and will occasionally call her dad. She never makes a big deal out of it, but one day asked why he never calls me dad. He told her it was because he didn't think I would like it if he did.

He loves girls. He especially loves older girls. If they're 10 or 11 and have long blonde hair, I would almost guarantee that he will be talking about them for days.

He's starting to ask more involved questions about why things are the way they are and how things work. He got some really interesting science kits and books along with a set of Magic School Bus DVDs for gifts recently, and I'm sure they'll spark more questions and investigations.

He loves rocket ships, robots and knights. He's just getting into more superheroes (his exposure is pretty limited). Board games are starting to be a semi-regularly requested activity --Camelot Jr. and Jenga are two recent favourites.

Mostly he loves being active. Skatergirl and Scootergirl continue to be two of his alter egos. He is always running, leaping, flipping... He zooms around on his bicycle, practices on his skateboard (doing all the coolest tricks in his mind, I am sure), and just got a very awesome scooter from his Grandma and Grandpa and a (kid's/intro) snowboard from my cousin and her son for his birthday. He took gymnastics lessons this fall which he will be continuing through the winter. While he is developing his skills, I have to say that his body awareness and control is pretty remarkable. He listens carefully to his coach's instructions and really does his best to do things the way they describe.

He still loves music. Living room dance parties have continued. Back in May I got to take him to his frist Whitehorse concert which he was just thrilled about. The lucky, lucky boy got a shout out from Luke Doucet during the encore and his requested song played, even though it was a song they haven't played live in nearly a decade. His new favourite band is Van Morrison. His favourite song: Gloria.

He still loves being read to and will choose tried-and-true favourites from the shelves before bed each night. He has recently shown an interest in the Magic Tree House series of books. We've read a couple and he got a few more for Christmas and Birthday gifts, so I imagine we'll be starting those soon. He and Sprout will pretend to be the characters from the story and go on adventures in our apartment.

He's really started experimenting with different phrases.  "Give me a break" "Get over it" "You're killing me" and  "I'm dead" are a few that come to mind. He also uses the phrase "You're sweating my paws!" which we're not really sure where he picked up but seems to mean he can't believe what you're saying.

Not much has changed for him in terms of his gastro health. We have had him off of dairy forever now, and it does seem to help, as does having him on a regular dose of fibre, but still there are issues. He does not have Celiac disease and we are not moving forward with a test for Crohns. We suspect he has IBS, as it runs in the family. It's a hard thing to diagnose, as it is really a diagnosis of exclusion. We go back for another specialist appointment in the spring.

His food preferences are about the same, but we're starting to insist that he take a few bites of the things Jen and I are having for dinner. He has a good appetite. He usually has two breakfasts -cereal, toast, cream of wheat, etc. I pack him a hardy lunch and it usually comes back about 3/4 eaten, though he's getting pickier about what he will eat at school. He eats his dinner (and a small dessert) nightly will follow it up with some cheese crackers and often a fruit. We wonder where he puts it all and fear for the teenage years!

He is currently in a growth spurt. He gets thicker looking in the trunk and then shoots up. He had his well check last week, but I forgot to ask for his stats. I know his somewhere in the 10th-25th percentile for both height and weight. A bit of a peanut. I think that's just him. He's consistently in size 4 tops now and moving into more size 4 pants because the 3s are just getting too short. He has tiny hands and feet. About the same size as Sprouts, who is nearly two years younger. His shoe size is a 7.5/8. Sometime mid-November he decided he wanted a haircut, so after months of growing it out he got a super-cute undercut, which we rarely style. Ha!


And while the past few months have had their difficult moments, when he is happy he just shines. The way his eyes light up and his smile radiates is contageous. While I am always happy to be his Mama, I can think of little that makes me feel happier than seeing him in these moments. I love him with my whole self. My baby.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sprout is Three Years Old!

Today Sprout is three years old! (Yes, I was slow to get this typed out and have backdated it. ;) )


If I've learned anything about myself as a parent, it is that birthdays always come as a bit of a shock. Our round, pink, screaming newborn is now a little girl who will proudly say "When I was borned I was as cute as a ham!"

This girl, she is a character. Honestly, I'm not sure quite what to make of her. Jen says she is 1/2 completely me, and half my total opposite. We're also learning how she is such a different person from The Bean and figuring out what her needs and personality are versus her older brother.

She is such a silly kid. Her sense of humour continues to blossom. She loves making people laugh. Still faces, nonsensical rhymes, crazy dancing... Often times it's quite clear she is trying to get a reaction, but it's the times that she's not trying that I realize how funny she really is. Quirky in the most endearing of ways.

She is sweet. She will gently place a hand on your cheek and cock her head to the side, asking "Are you okay?" if she thinks something is wrong. She gives the best squeeze hugs ever and sweet little kisses. She likes holding hands and is super-snuggly. She definitely is a person uses touch and looks for physical closeness from those she loves.

Leading up to her birthday we talked a lot about how how three is big, and how three year olds don't need to nurse. She said when she was three that she would stop nursing. I was hopeful, but didn't really expect it to be that easy. Of course, she hasn't stopped. I have made the decision to eliminate her morning nursing session though. Things have been crazy with Christmas and traveling and our schedule being totally off, so maybe it's been a little easier... she isn't pleased about the situation, but I also think she realizes that fussing about it isn't going to make a difference. (Though it does make my heart ache and make me want to give in, just a little, when she seems sad.) We have replaced the nursing session with cuddling before getting out of bed.

She can be incredibly stubborn. I know all toddlers are stubborn, but she just digs in her heels and doesn't budge. The Bean was much more compliant, so figuring out how to navigate this stubborn streak has been a parenting challenge.

She can be a bit defiant and as typical of siblings, will tease her brother from time to time... most often when she gets the coveted pink spoon at mealtimes. For a long time this consisted of her taunting, "I have the pink spoon! Too bad, Bean." One day when Jen and I were out my cousin who had been watching the kids reported back that she had been asking to nurse, and when he told her she couldn't because I was out, she said to herself, "Too bad, Sprout." That made me chuckle.

She has started to occasionally push or hit when she's not getting her way. This is always dealt with by a short time out, followed up by a brief discussion about why she pushed/hit and how that hurts and is not acceptable behaviour. She knows it's not allowed and isn't ever very forceful, but we'd still like to nip it in the bud.

Sleep continues to be a bit of a struggle. If she doesn't nap in the afternoon she is an emotional mess by 4pm and crashes early. If she does nap, she really fights going to bed and will often be awake until close to 9pm. She usually falls asleep easily at nap time, but when she doesn't it's not worth trying to get her to. Fortunately she's pretty good about doing quiet time and will look at books for about a half hour or an hour before saying she's ready to come out of her room. She had started to get into an elaborate bedtime routine of asking for water... and pillows beside her bed... and to use the washroom... and to have  a gargoyle to protect her, etc. before we left for the holidays. Hopefully it does not resume when we get back home.

She loves books and LOVES being read to. She doesn't have any strong and true favourites. She likes fairy tales and other princess stories, but also enjoys funny books, adventure stories... anything really. She will sit and listen to stories being read for over an hour... I almost always am done before she is. She also really takes in what is being read and what the pictures show and asks a lot of questions about what words mean or what a character is doing.

Her favourite game is to pretend she is a baby. She and her brother can be quite creative in their play and often will play for a long time together... babies, but camping, Christmas, knights and princesses and Jack and Annie (from the Magic Tree House series of books) have been other recent themes. Her alter ego is still a ballerina princess. She loves to wear her "princess dress."

She loves playing with her babies and toy animals. Her only request for Christmas was a cradle for her babies. Santa did not disappoint. (On a side note: she was SO excited about Christmas. We let the kids pick out gifts for each other and she promptly told The Bean what she got him. She just couldn't wait!)

She was in three programs/classes during the fall.  An art program, a dance program and an outdoor education program. The outdoor education one was fantastic and a nice way to get outdoors and explore, as well as meet some new people. The art and dance classes were at the local library and we attended with my cousin's son who is becoming one of Sprout's best friends. They weren't stellar from an instructional standpoint, but she enjoyed them none the less. We have a music class and a program at a city farm lined up for the winter.

Her language skills continue to develop. She is a chatterbox, but can still be a bit hard to understand at times. When she's excited her voice goes up about three octaves and I joke that she's turned into a cartoon character. Some of our favourite of her misspoken words are "Absowootwe" "Vampirate" and "Snissors." We rarely correct her one these ones just because we love them so much. Other words/phrases that she uses regularly are "Perhaps", "I'm exhausted!", "I'm all puffeled up" (meaning she is full), and "Big thumbs up!" with her forefingers held in the air. She still mixes up pronouns and will say "What is her doing?" rather than "What is she doing?"

If she's not chattering away she will be singing. It could be a nursery rhyme, or Christmas carol or sometimes a little song that she has made up.

She has good manners, and will usually say "thank you" when you do something for her or give her something. Her appreciation was so sincere over Christmas. It was so sweet and made me feel quite proud.

She can count reasonably well and can hold up the correct number of fingers on one hand. She even will alter the ways she holds up three fingers.

She loves to run and jump and climb and skip. She is a little bit clumsy and will often call out "Just me!" when she falls. She's become much more bold recently, letting us toss and flip her around more and will often request that we "Please do that again?"

She's a bit fussy over clothes and also very observant over what others are wearing. If I grab Jen's socks or sweatshirt she always notices and calls me out on it. Funnily, when she wears clothing with pockets, she will put her hands into them and proclaim, "Me mama!" (She also loves pockets to carry money in. She goes nuts over coins. If you drop change she will literally run out from whatever room she is in, in the hopes that you will give her some.)

She's grown! She continues to be a big kid. We have her three year check up early in the new year, so I'll get her official stats then. She's now mostly in 3t clothing, though some smaller things still fit. Shoe size is holding steady at 7. She weighs somewhere in the low 30lbs range. She's definitely stretching out and though she has a nice round belly, she's lost most of her chubby baby rolls. People often comment on her hair, which despite a recent trim, is getting quite long. It's such a gorgeous colour. She doesn't like having it combed, but will tolerate it if I put a video on my phone for her. If she starts to fuss too much about it, I'll insist that it get cut shorter, but so far she does okay. She wants to have "Rapunzel hair".

Eating continues to be fine. She doesn't eat a huge variety of foods, but eats a reasonable number of things from each food group, so it's manageable. She loves dairy products and sweets. A recent favourite is croissants, which she calls "poissants".

Her favouite people still mostly consist of family members (me, Grandma, and my cousin, though Jen and Grandpa are in there too, whether she will admit it or not). Her best friends are The Bean, my cousin's son, and Teagan and Quinn. She will regularly say she is going to any one or several of these people. She also named her new doll Quinny. <3 p="">
She uses the potty/toilet consistently, but still needs reminders as she will wait until the very last second to go. She wears a diaper at naps and bedtime. Naps are hit or miss on whether she'll wake up dry, but she is always wet overnight. I feel like it's going to be a while before she's able to go through the night.

It's a wonder to see the many ways she has grown and changed over the past year(s), but also to see how she has stayed the same. She brings us such joy and we love her more than we could have ever imagined! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice

I'm not sure about everyone else, but the days certainly do feel short around here. Time is flying by. I can hardly believe it's December, let alone nearly Christmas. Nor can I believe that our little Bug is going to be THREE years old in three days. (Or that The Bean will be FIVE in just three weeks!) Where the time goes, I am really not sure.

The weather has been unseasonably warm. We've had only a dusting of snow. It's not what we're used to and certainly doesn't feel very Christmas-y. The kids are excited nonetheless. We've had our tree, stockings, and other seasonal decorations up since just after American Thanksgiving. There are a few gifts under the tree, taunting the children. The Bean legitimately fell onto one of his gifts and tore the paper open, though the reason he was close enough to fall onto the said gift is a little spotty. I made an effort to cut back on Christmas gifts for the kids this year. There is really very little that the need, and even their wish lists were fairly short because, really, they have most things they could want too. Being an one-income household and the crappy Canadian dollar also impacted things. That said, they will both get what they've asked for from Santa -A remote control car for The Bean (he also asked for a remote control airplane, but that is NOT happening) and a cradle for Sprout's babies (my sister mentioned a while ago that she was going to give her one, but we have since had a falling out, so I'm not sure if she will follow through. There is a back up, just in case, but if she does receive it from her Aunt she'll be getting a jewelry box from Santa, which she didn't ask for, but will be thrilled about).

We celebrated with my cousins' family on Sunday. Sprout and my one cousin's son have become quite close. They're only six months apart in age and did a few programs together this fall. Sprout often says she is going to marry him (as she says about all the people she loves most). While we don't condone incest, they are very cute together. And, as I know I've mentioned before, both our kids absolutely adore my other cousin. All that to say they enjoyed the get together. We stayed longer than we should have, and even though they were both in need of a nap, they stuck it out. We even got a cute photo of the exhausted and over-stimulated kids by the tree.



Aside from that we have been downtown to see the windows, visited Santa and had their photos taken, opened Advent calendars, been visited by St. Nicholas, done a little bit of Christmas baking (that has all been eaten) and made Christmas crafts. I don't think there's much more we've got planned in terms of Christmas activities. Mama and Mommy just have to wrap a few more gifts and get us packed up for our travels.


 




We're all looking forward to the holiday and to the return of longer days... even if they do sill fly by.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge Wrap-Up

So I'm pretty sure I mostly failed my own photo challenge.  The upside is that I did take more photos than I might have otherwise. 

So, without further ado, here are the photos from the last two weeks of the November 2015 Photo Challenge.

November 3:  Music
Didn't happen.
November 10: Colour
Ditto.

November 17: Creativity
Playing "Christmas."

November 18: Technology

November 19: Weather
Nun-uh.

November 20: Water

November 21: Family
Downtown with the in-laws.  Best family I could have become a part of.  

November 22: Nature
Surprisingly, no.

November 23: Love
<3 i="">

November 24: Kindness
I should post a photo of the tea Jen makes me every morning.  The gift of early-morning caffeination is a kind one, indeed.

November 25: Food

November 26: Tradition
Christmas windows downtown.


November 27: Home
I have one on my phone... not sure if I'll be able to figure out how to post it here or not.

November 28: Holidays
Would posting two photos here make up for all the ones I didn't get?  The first isn't stellar, but I can't resist. Pretend the girl-child is looking at the camera and the boy-child isn't talking. ;) 




November 29: Art

November 30: Warmth
I did say I thought I failed the challenge.  

Here's the full list, for anyone who is interested...
November 2015 Photo Challenge 
November 1: Shadows
November 2:  Routine
November 3:  Music
November 4: Comfort
November 5: Words
November 6: Change
November 7: Animals
November 8: Sky
November 9: Touch
November 10: Colour
November 11: Memories
November 12: Clothing
November 13: Rest
November 14: Friendship
November 15: Movement
November 16: Beauty
November 17: Creativity
November 18: Technology
November 19: Weather
November 20: Water
November 21: Family
November 22: Nature
November 23: Love
November 24: Kindness
November 25: Food
November 26: Tradition
November 27: Home
November 28: Holidays
November 29: Art
November 30: Warmth

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge, 9-16

As I've already said, I'm participating in a November Photo Challenge and anyone who cares to is welcome to participate.  Leave a link to your post in the comments!

Here is my second installment:

First catching up with...November 4: Comfort
I had to pick up The Bean from school early one day as he had thrown up.  He rarely naps anymore, but fell asleep in his "nest" during quiet time.


And onto this past week (or so)'s photos...
November 9: Touch
 The squirrels at the Public Garden were really bold.  They came right up to us looking for food.

November 10: Colour
I don't have a photo that really stands out for this one, so I'm putting it on my catch up list.
November 11: Memories
I am really drawn to ghost signs.  This was one we walked by in Boston.

November 12: Clothing
My suitcase all packed up for my trip. It was such a shocking realization that packing for only myself is SO easy. In fact, I could have gotten away with bringing much less than I did.

November 13: Rest
Admittedly, this is a bit morbid and not at all what I had in mind when I came up with the word "rest" on this list. But many of the gravestones in the Boston cemeteries had this image on them. I need to do some research to find out the history on it. 

November 14: Friendship
Taken by by best friend's fiancee. My best friend and I have both had some ups and downs the past few years that have indirectly impacted our friendship. It was good to spend time together this weekend. 

November 15: Movement
The Bean very rarely stops moving. This blurry photo is from a bedroom dance party.

November 16: Beauty
I know why they put the bench by this tree. I could have sat and started at it for ages. Gorgeous. 


And here's the full list for anyone who wants to join in...

November 2015 Photo Challenge November 1: ShadowsNovember 2:  RoutineNovember 3:  MusicNovember 4: ComfortNovember 5: WordsNovember 6: ChangeNovember 7: AnimalsNovember 8: SkyNovember 9: TouchNovember 10: ColourNovember 11: MemoriesNovember 12: ClothingNovember 13: RestNovember 14: FriendshipNovember 15: MovementNovember 16: BeautyNovember 17: CreativityNovember 18: TechnologyNovember 19: WeatherNovember 20: WaterNovember 21: FamilyNovember 22: NatureNovember 23: LoveNovember 24: KindnessNovember 25: FoodNovember 26: TraditionNovember 27: HomeNovember 28: HolidaysNovember 29: ArtNovember 30: Warmth

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge, 1-8

Along with Little Monster(s) & Mommies and Two Lasses, a Baby Three Children, I am co-hosting a November photo challenge. For anyone who wants (needs) motivation to blog this month, here it is. Come join us!  (It's not too late to start!)

All you have to do is:
-take photos using the daily prompts.
-post them on your blog. (I plan to post weekly, because daily photos never mind daily blog posts aren't really that likely to happen.) 
-come back here and comment to let us know you're playing along. 

Here is my first installment:
November 1: Shadows
Not only were we out at the perfect time of day for casting shadows, I like how Sprout is following The Bean in this one.  She really is his little shadow.

November 2:  Routine
The first thing she says whenever we get anywhere is, "I'm hungry.  Did you bring a snack?"  So here she is, munching on chicken fingers at 9am.

November 3:  Music
Next week, perhaps?

November 4: Comfort
See above.

November 5: Words
Tickets for the zoo, courtesy of The Bean. 

November 6: Change
Jen says of all this needs an explanation. 
Since starting school we have seen a HUGE difference in The Bean's interest in "written work" (both drawing and writing). He insisted on bringing along some new notepads and pencil crayons on our nature walk and would sit down at various intervals to write his notes. Prior to this he was solely into the hiking and jumping and throwing of stones into the when we went on our nature walks. This is clearly very important work to him these days.

November 7: Animals




November 8: Sky

And here are the daily prompts for the entire month:

November 2015 Photo Challenge 
November 1: Shadows
November 2:  Routine
November 3:  Music
November 4: Comfort
November 5: Words
November 6: Change
November 7: Animals
November 8: Sky
November 9: Touch
November 10: Colour
November 11: Memories
November 12: Clothing
November 13: Rest
November 14: Friendship
November 15: Movement
November 16: Beauty
November 17: Creativity
November 18: Technology
November 19: Weather
November 20: Water
November 21: Family
November 22: Nature
November 23: Love
November 24: Kindness
November 25: Food
November 26: Tradition
November 27: Home
November 28: Holidays
November 29: Art
November 30: Warmth

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nursing a Toddler

When I was pregnant, I imagined Sprout nursing until she was a year old. As her first birthday approached, it seemed pretty evident that she wasn't going to be stopping any time soon. Sometime shortly after that, I recall saying to Jen that I was fairly certain she'd self-wean by age two. Her second birthday came and went more or less as her first did: with no end to her nursing days in sight. I've learned from my past experience, so with her third birthday around the corner, I'm making no assumptions about when she will wean.

I always feel a bit anxious when posting even a sentence or two stating that I am still nursing.  Will readers think I'm crazy for breastfeeding for so long? Will those who haven't breastfeed their babies feel judged?  Maybe it's best to begin with this post by stating that I am firm believer that people need to do what feels right for them and their families and their babies when it comes to nursing. I understand that some people can't or just don't want to nurse their children or decide to wean after a certain point. It's a personal decision. Still, I feel judged. I know there are many people who think it's (beyond) time I stopped nursing Sprout. I always feel like I need to justify our nursing relationship --it's only around sleeping times. It's not in public. Etc. Etc.

All that to say, I've had this post floating around in my head for a while. It's just been hard to actually write and publish it.

I am fortunate in that nursing was never a big challenge physically for me. Sprout latched well.  I produced enough milk. One of the most difficult things in those early days, and still a hard part of it now, is the forced stop of all other activity. I've never been one to read on my phone or really do anything at all while nursing except for, well, nurse. Sitting still is not one of my strong suits. I have had to make a concerted effort to be in the moment. To watch Sprout's face and feet and hands while she nurses. To do  my best to commit those moments to memory. To take a minute to rest.

I never imagined myself nursing a child for this long. And for me, in this moment, it does feel like it's been a long time. I am both grateful for my ability to do so and exhausted by it. If we hadn't night weaned her after her second birthday, I may be losing my mind by this point. Fortunately, one of the biggest differences between nursing an infant and nursing a toddler is that the toddler can understand when you say you've had enough. They might not like it, but they understand. In addition to night weaning, setting limits to where and when I nurse has gone a long way towards making me feel comfortable with nursing a toddler.

Without saying when I think she will wean, I do feel like the end to our nursing days is drawing closer. I know I'm no longer producing a lot of milk.  Sprout's nursing sessions have become increasingly shorter. It's obvious that the main goal of the nursing is now comfort. As she snuggles in I can often feel her body relax. Her breath slow. Her eyes close.  For a toddler that doesn't like missing the action, I like that nursing gives her the ability to slow down and disengage when she needs that break. And the weight of her sleeping body in my arms. I will miss that.

I was concerned that when Jen and I went away this summer that Sprout would be done nursing upon our return. When we got back and she asked practically first thing to nurse, I breathed a sigh of relief. A week long vacation that she had no say in was not how I wanted things to end. But, after that "reunion" nursing session I also knew that I would be (mostly) okay with things coming to an end soon. I am ready to have my body back to myself.  To not have to feel guilty about leaving her around naps or bed time. To have a back that doesn't ache from positioning awkwardly in a chair. I've questioned Sprout on whether she is ready to stop.  (No.) Or if she will be soon... perhaps when she is three?  (Yes. But then no.)  If not then, when? (Never. Stopping nursing? Why? What a ridiculous thought!)

Sprout's attachment to me is very strong. Sometimes as a person who needs their alone time it can be overwhelming. I joke about Sprout being a "Mama's girl", but the truth of it is that she is. I feel like a lot of that has to do with our nursing relationship. And while I am glad that she feels close to me, I also feel guilty that she doesn't have that same relationship with Jen and that she will reject Jen in favour of me. The Bean didn't do this. I think I would have been heartbroken if he did.  He also weaned before a year old. While Jen seems to take things in stride and keep the perspective of this as being a short term thing, sometimes I wonder if breastfeeding Sprout for this long has been the fair thing to do in terms of Jen's relationship with her.

Though there are reasons I am ready to stop, I know I will miss nursing Sprout. Maybe that's why I'm not forcing things at this point.  I like to think I'll be able to let weaning happen on it's own. Almost certainly before she is four... right?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge

Get over the "November blahs" before they start by participating in our November Photo Challenge!

All you have to do is:
-take photos using the daily prompts.
-post them on your blog. (I plan to post weekly, because daily photos never mind daily blog posts aren't really that likely to happen.)
-come back here and comment to let us know you're playing along.

This photo challenge is being co-hosted by Little Monster(s) & Mommies and Two Lasses and a Baby so be sure to check out their pages as well.

November 2015 Photo Challenge 
November 1: Shadows
November 2:  Routine
November 3:  Music
November 4: Comfort
November 5: Words
November 6: Change
November 7: Animals
November 8: Sky
November 9: Touch
November 10: Colour
November 11: Memories
November 12: Clothing
November 13: Rest
November 14: Friendship
November 15: Movement
November 16: Beauty
November 17: Creativity
November 18: Technology
November 19: Weather
November 20: Water
November 21: Family
November 22: Nature
November 23: Love
November 24: Kindness
November 25: Food
November 26: Tradition
November 27: Home
November 28: Touch
November 29: Art
November 30: Warmth