Thursday, April 28, 2011


Many moms have various reasons for co-sleeping. Just as many as the moms have for not co-sleeping. I suspect that the true reasons people have are not so much the scientifically researched statistics but rather that it simply works for them. The scientifically researched statistics just sound good. Even in just saying scientifically researched statistics I feel smarter. Doesn't take much these days. 

My reasons for co-sleeping have changed along with the needs. Originally, it was because Miss K had a nasty ear infection and was not sleeping well, and was nursing around the clock. Every nursing mom knows just how convenient it is to breastfeed and co-sleep- everyone gets more rest. My feet never hit the floor throughout the night. After the ear infection, and I learned this Great Convenience, it became more for survival then anything. She was nursing every 2 hours nightly. Now, at 8 months of age, that has changed of course. To every 3 hours. Some might argue that she would nurse less at night if it was not readily available for her grubby little fingers to reach up and rudely grab, twist, and pinch until she was served. But I really don't mind. 

I don't think it is cliche for me to say that time flies by so quickly that I want to savor every moment of this time. I have an 18.5 year old (or a 222 month old for those women who incessantly count months waaaayyyy beyond a reasonable time frame in hopes that their 5 year old will just stop aging. Ever run into these moms? "My Tommy is 54 months now and we are trying..." that irks me. Anyways. ) So I know that high school is thisclose to pre-school. 

Not only do I know how fast this time goes, but I also know just how long I waited for this little angel. We tried for 5 years, on an off. Even during those off times, we were never protecting from pregnancy, just not going to the doctor for blood tests, ultrasounds, exams and consultations. We had just about given up hope. Little did I know that the day of graduation from nursing school was the perfectly planned timing that was set for us. I could not have planned it better myself. I could NOT imagine focusing on 90 page papers and careplans and final exams while pregnant. So when K came, I was ready for her. I was ready for time to slow to a halt so I can just breath her in and truly enjoy every single moment. 

And so far, I have. 8 months of every single day and every single night. I thought about trying to get her back in her bed at about 6 months. Every night I would tell my husband that we need to "prepare for the hard work that would be coming". And every night that thought made me sad. Why would I make a decision that would make me sad, K sad, and lose sleep all in 1 fell swoop? So I let it go. 

It was not until this morning that I fully realized my true reason for co-sleeping. I did not find it in statistics, or research, or convenience. K told me in her silly, drooly, lovable way. Most babies that sleep in cribs have a way of letting mom know they are awake. They cry, mom hears baby cry, and mom goes in to get the baby. It works. I will not agrue that this crying is harmful for the baby (it isn't) nor will I say that this crying has "long-lasting psychological effects" (it doesn't). I will tell though what my mornings are like. 

K wakes up and rolls over. She looks at me, and I pretend to be sleeping. She knows better. Her grin is ear to ear as she crawls up on to my chest and starts poking my eyes. If Daddy is home, she goes for his ears. Or cell phone. She really would like the cell-phone. But it is all smiles. She wakes up every day with smiles. I would not give that up for anything. In this sweet girl's childhood, I want to capture every smile I can. I don't want to miss one

Those smiles make it all worthwhile. The arm going numb in the night because of the position I am forced to sleep in, the rude awakenings as she gets more demanding, the fact that I might "never get her out of my bed" when she gets older (I suspect I will enjoy her morning smiles just as much then.), all completely worth it.  

So our co-smiling relationship will continue, and I will savor every moment, every morning, every smile. I would not give it up for anything. This is motherhood in its rawest, most organic beauty. I am in love in the truest sense, and it is incredibly rewarding down to Every. Last. Smile. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ahhh (Pea) Nuts!!

This content brought to you by Folger's coffee. Ok, so it is really Jewel brand coffee, but it is in a Folger's container.

I have been following this news story about a child in a Florida community with a peanut allergy. On one side, parents are complaining about all of the time that is being taken away from their child's education. Somewhere in the ball park of 30 minutes a day is being spent washing hands (when has THAT ever been a bad thing? Am I right?) and rinsing out mouths, and using Clorox wipes to clean the desks and doorknobs and such. Good riddance to cold and flu germs if you ask me. Some parents, however, are outraged by all of this. Not only the time spent, but also the limitations that are being placed on their children as far as food they can bring for lunch. Apparently one child at the school has such a dangerous allergy to peanuts that even the smell can end in anaphylactic shock. 

The parents that are outraged to the point of picketing outside of the school are saying that if an allergy is that bad, perhaps that child should be homeschooled. Of course the other side of that is the parents of this child who has the debilitating allergy. How much else in life should their child have to sacrifice? Birthday parties cannot be permitted. They cannot have playdates at another child's home. They cannot eat any foods that are sold commercially. Every day is probably consumed with near misses and epi shots. Not fun at all. So should their child also be kept home from school and be denied any social norms along with all of these sacrifices?

It is a tough situation. Every parent just wants the best for their child. It is easy to vilify either side and label them selfish and inconsiderate, but truly they are only thinking about their child. I guess my question would be to the parents that are objecting and picketing. Sure, they are looking at the time spent that they could be spending learning in the traditional sense. What is so wrong about what they ARE learning though? Lets take a look at the valuable lessons that are being taught in all of this.

1. Good hand washing. 'Nuff said.

2. Being consciouses of others needs. In order to learn to be a giving, caring person, a child needs to become aware of others, and the fact that they have needs too. An important rite of passage, and one that is perhaps skipped over resulting in an over abundance of selfish adults. Am I right? (Ok, I won't do that anymore. How does "virtual high five" rub you?)

3. Putting others needs before their own. Not enough of this being taught, for sure. Once you are aware that others have needs, you also need to be taught that it is good to put other's needs before your own. Especially if their need is not to die, and all you have to do is not have pb&j for lunch to make that need met.

4. Promoting healthy behaviors. Let's face it- almost everything that contains peanuts or has been made in a factory where peanuts or peanut oil has been used is a processed food. Cookies, potato chips...pretty much anything in a box or out of a bag. So now you send your child to school with fruits and veggies to follow the guidelines and you have started incorporating healthy eating habits for your child.

I am not trying to judge all of the parents with complaints. I am sure there are some legitimate complaints in there and, as I said, everyone is looking out for their own child. It just rubs me the wrong way when "best interest" means "not inconveniencing my child in the least". I think that is a new style of parenting. It is certainly NOT what our parents thought "good parenting" meant,and I for one am glad for that. I personally think that when we tell our child in action and words that they are the most important person in the world, they grow up believing it.

Gasp! What can be wrong with that??

Well for starters, a group of 8 year olds that believe they should come first turn into a group of 16 years that believe they should come first. Ever at a 4 way stop sign with another vehicle that arrived at the same time? Ever have that other vehicle be driven by a teenager that is not even glancing at you to do the "You go ahead" politeness dance as they just charge on ahead? That is because no one ever told them that they are not entitled to go first in all things. That may sound like a petty example to some, but I live next to a school, and I can assure you I see it all the time. It is a mindset that directs decisions in ALL of life.

Is it a jump to say that being aware of peanut allergies will make a good teenage driver? Probably. Maybe my point is overgeneralized and perhaps a bit weak, but maybe not. Maybe this whole ordeal at the school is a perfect opportunity for a teachable moment. And isn't that truly what parenting is all about?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rockin' the Role

Forgive me for my leave, it has been 3 weeks since my last confession.

Many times in my impatient life, I wonder where things are going and why I am not there yet. Take now, for example. Here I am with a nursing degree under my beltless maternity pants (yes, I still wear them. Bite me.) and I actually feel panicked at times that is has all gone to waste and I not find a job when I am ready to start looking.

I need to, at these times, stop and remember that it was not me who initiated nursing school to begin with. I was not the one that decided it was the perfect timing for a baby right after graduation, and it is not me who has a Great Handle on all of this. So why am I still here? I truly believe that in order to get there, I need to excel here. Here at home, here in my marriage, here in my current role. And I believe I need to rock it.

Here is what I am learning (and re-learning over and over again). Life is not just the goals, it is the interim. This is not limbo- this *is* life. In all things... I just got peed on. No literally. I JUST got peed on. How's that for a little bit of life? Clean pair of maternity pants on, and K is now diapered and watching Dora. Moving on.

I don't think I have to tell anyone else how important the role of mother is, or how vital it is to stay connected in the role in marriage, but these are things I often lose sight of. If I am to believe that I am being prepared for my role as a nurse, I must also accept that all of life in the present is vital to rock at in order to rock at that role.

So this week I am concentrating on rockin' my home. I have set a cleaning schedule up that would make any maid proud. I am working out. (Seriously! I am working out!) I have always felt strong in my role as Mom, but I think I can work a little harder in my role as wife. I can do less eye rolling when he is sick. After all, I doubt my patients will enjoy that either. And I will do it ALL with joy in my heart and a song on my lips. (Too much?)

If LIFE is the here and now and not just the goals to be obtained, then that is what I will focus on. Since I am such a goal-motivated person, this will of course be hard for me. There is no "end date" and no reward without "met goals" so I need to find another way to stay motivated on a day to day basis.

Never fear. I think my phone has an app for that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I really thought that this time around, I was going to be the most organic, hands-on mother there ever was. Attachment parenting? Check! Breastfeeding? Check! Co-sleeping? Check! So why did I (somewhere around 3am) want to detach my little one, slap a bottle or a turkey breast into her mouth, and put her back in her crib? Because she is breaking me down. I am starting to think that sleep deprivation is just her way of breaking me in now, so I am to weak to go on in her later years. It is a tactic, and a very wise one at that.

Most of the time, our little arrangement works out for us. The last 2 nights, she is nursing all night long. All night long. Did I say all night long? I am sorry, what I meant was ALL. NIGHT. LONG. If I moved in the slightest, she would "stir and search" like a baby bird. All night. Long. So we need a new plan. I need to get this little one out of my bed before object permanence kicks in. You know, the period of time when peek-a-boo is a fun game, and she has a memory that lasts more than 15 seconds at a time. I need to get her into her crib before she remembers that she doesn't want to be there.

Doesn't that just sound manipulative? Well she started it.

I knew when I started co-sleeping that we would run into this problem. I knew it. But I am too old to get up 4-5 times a night and function the next day. My precious little bottomless pit eats every 1.5 hours even now at 6 months old. I just can't do that. So I knew what I was getting into. I know that little tummies need food as often as they seek it, because their bodies know what they are doing. They need the food that often to help them grow. And isn't that important?

So now I have to try to devise a plan to get her out of my bed and nursing less each night. You see, this is where her brains come in. She has broken me down and I cannot see an escape in sight. I am a victim of a 6 month old. And she looks so cute and innocent...

We have under 2 months to come up with a plan before she truly is smarter than me and thus turning this into an unconquerable mission. I am pressed for time. I am also tired. Do they still have wet-nurses around?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


 I once had this view of stay at home moms that included perfect hair, dressy attire, busy schedules and mini-vans. Now of course I am sure there are many that do fit that profile, but that has not been my experience. Perhaps if the child(ren) I was home with were school aged and activities were included in that package, I would find myself in a faster-paced daily schedule.  

Me? No Mini-van. No dressy clothes. No more than a pony-tail on ANY day. And the busy schedule?  What do other moms DO all day? I find that the things I do, such as cleaning and laundry and such are things that I also did while I worked (and was in school) so the fact that school and work are taken out of the equation means I have perhaps too much time to myself. Now granted, I only have one bundle of monster to look after, and she is not quite mobile yet, so I am sure that will change a bit. And I am in no way saying that these days are not still exhausting, because I find myself collapsing in bed more often then not at the end of the day. 

I do not, however, find this job to be more difficult then working. In fact, I find it hard to get things done under these circumstances. I need goals to be in big, blaring red letters looming over my head before I can do much of anything. You see, I have Motivational Hormone Deficit, or MHD. It is a shortage of re-uptake of the getoffyourbutt hormone that the Motivational synaptic thing needs in order to conduct....stuff. It is real. Look it up on Wikipedia. Without impending deadlines blaring at me, I find it difficult to get things done. 

Sure, there are back to back episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine that need my attention. And of course there is the care of my new blog. And Facebook. And Yahoo Answers. Don't get me wrong- I find plenty of time for my "high needs baby" who requires a lot of attention. She is as cute as a button, but definitely runs the show. Even so, she takes a few decent naps on a good day, and she does not always require my attention while she does. So what do I do? 

There was once and episode of Wife Swap that featured a wife who believed in the 15 minute clean up theory. Granted her house was crawling with filth and needed much, much more than 15 minutes to clean to a decent level of acceptance. I find though, that my house does not much require much more than that on any given day. If I clean the kitchen the night before, I wake to a clean house. The rest of the day might include the tasks required for that day, such as laundry, but there really is not a whole lot else to DO! 

Someone once suggested to me that I start working out. Let's not be silly. Who has the time for that? Oh wait. I do. 

I know I am risking my own "job" security here, but that is only is my husband happens upon my blog. I knew I should have changed names...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Motherhood: Time is a changin'!

I am a mother and have held that title for 18 years and counting. Somehow though, it seems so much more challenging this time around. I have a 5.5 month old now, and the changes over the years are huge! When did they come up with all of these new catch phrase? Sleep training? Since when do you need to *train* a baby to *SLEEP*?
I didn't breastfeed with my first, so that is a whole new ball game this time around too. It seems that breastfeeding is in season, which was not the case with my first, who we we will call Brooke. Because that is her name. (Should I be changing her name to prevent her from embarrassment? Nah.) With Baby K, it has all been about Attachment Parenting, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. I don't even recognize myself anymore. Brooke was a "raise yourself" kind of kid, and that worked pretty well for her, but times are changing. Or I am changing.
I once prided myself on being a laid-back mom with Brooke, and because of how well she "turned out" (I didn't burn my first pancake too badly) it is a wonder why I feel the need to re-write the playbook with K. Is it because I am older and wiser? Or is it because society is older and smarter, and things have just changed that much?
When visiting social networking sites for moms today, you are bombarded with opinions on how to raise your baby. If you are not breastfeeding, you are filling your child with poison. If you are co-sleeping, you are raising your child to be insecure. If you are NOT co-sleeping, you are raising them to be untrusting. If you let them "cry it out" you might as well get them a psychologist now. When did it all become such a hot button issue?
I guess we will see how it turns out using 2 completely different parenting models to raise children in 2 different generations. I guess we will also see if I ever get a decent night's sleep. Only time will zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz