Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ways I was Playful Today

1- I put on some music on the TV (cable channels that just play music- no video) and danced around with the kids.

2- Filled up bathtub with bubbles and showed toddler how to blow bubbles using a straw. (This will backfire when he has juice/milk next..)

3- When loading the washing machine we played “laundry basketball”. The baby helped despite her desire to eat dirty socks.

4-When loading the drier it became a relay race where I handed my 2.5 year old each piece of clothing and cheered him on while he ran over to the drier and threw it in. We named the colors. Note to self: We have too much black clothing and not enough colorful clothing.

5- When making the bed I pulled off all the blankets and flipped the sheet into the air letting it come to rest on the heads of the baby and 2.5 year old. Repeatedly. For 15 minutes. While they shrieked in laughter.

6- Diaper changes = FLYYYYYINGTODDLER! and FLYYYINGBABY! After diaper changes = Piggyback rides to our bed, and being “thrown” onto the bed. (Obviously the throwing of the 10 month old is more like swing swing swing ::put down:: whereas the throwing of the 2.5 year old is more akin to throwing.)

7- Toenail and fingernail clipping accompanied by “This little piggy” followed by tickle-tackles.

8- Toddler-led crafting. Alexander-in-the-middle is obsessed with his big brother’s scissors and wants to use them all the time. So I gave him some old catalogs and construction paper and glue. He created a masterpiece consisting of lots of cut up pieces of stuff glued together in a big pile with puddles of glue and topped with bits of granola bar and copious amounts of cat hair that he found in a tumbleweed in the hallway.

Lunch time!

9- Pretended to be a fishandrice eating monster that wanted every bite of the fish and rice and blew on it to cool it off, but Alexander stole all the bites! Oh no!

10- chased Alexander around down stairs to the tune of two different “toddler tunes”. Anne-Marie likes to be carried while we chase, and shrieked joyful chasey shrieks. When the tune changed I froze like a deer in the headlights, then changed how I was chasing him.

11- Peed on space monsters in the little potty while wearing a stealth squadron helmet. (He did. I did not. My butt would get stuck on the little potty and my head would get stuck in the helmet. I use the big potty, as is properly dignified. I do still pee on space monsters though. You know. As a good example.

12- Worked on putting together Lego men from a bucket of heads, bodies, hair, helmets and other accessories in a bucket. Technically this is not me “being playful”. Technically this is me handing him a bucket and a tray and me laying down and nursing the baby and reading stuff on the computer between making comments about the awesome Lego guys and girls that he’s making. It’s awesome for the hand-eye coordination stuff and the fine motor skills.. And for me being able to lay down for a while.

13- Wrestled with the 2.5 year old on the bed once the 10mo woke up. He likes rough play. Got kicked in the face a few times and decided it was time to get dressed to go outsiiiiiide!

::Editing this as the day progresses::

Sleeping Like a Baby

Dear Daughter,

You are eight days from being ten months old. I get asked all the time “How does she sleep?” and I smile and say that you sleep exactly as you should, which means that you rouse easily and frequently and you nurse often in those dark hours between bedtime and waketime. You are sleeping like a baby. A very wise baby who knows her needs and who wakes me up to meet them.

Nighttime nursing helps keep our milk supply up and helps keep you nursing when many babies are weaning off onto formula or cow’s milk. By waking frequently to nurse at night you make sure that you continue to breastfeed. You make sure that you are getting antibodies, stem cells, the most bioavailable nutrients that exist. Digestive enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, and many other things that are in human milk that scientists don’t even understand the function of  just yet. If you did not nurse at night you would not be getting as much human milk as you do. You might not nurse for as long as your body needs you to.

Nighttime wakings lower your risk of SIDS. Babies that sleep more soundly have a harder time rousing when they have developmentally appropriate pauses in breathing. Your ability to wake yourself up is a remarkable survival trait that makes your nighttime sleep just perfect.

When I think of my goals with parenting- keeping you safe and healthy while I nourish your body and mind.. Your sleep habits now at ten months old are perfect for meeting those goals. “Get ten hours of sleep every night” has never been on my list of parenting goals, just like it would not be on my list of goals while working towards a nursing degree or studying for the bar exam.

Sleep is necessary, of course. But the way we sleep now is life sustaining. It sustains your life through a vulnerable time. As you pass out of this vulnerable time and sleep becomes a safer place for you, we will sleep more.

It already begins, as your body is ready. Last night you slept from 12AM to 6:30AM without waking. (And you slept before and after that as well.)Not because I have taught you that your needs will not be met when it is dark out, but because your needs have been met and your body was ready and willing.

I do not know if you will sleep well tonight. I do not know if you will wake once, twice, or many times. We’re taking this sleep thing one night at a time, one waking at a time.

And I’m fine with that, as this understanding helps me fall back to sleep as well, and it keeps us in sync as we sleep and wake. There is no resistance. There is nothing that keeps either of us awake when we could be sleeping. We wake when you have need, and we sleep as you are ready.

This is no different from pulling an all-nighter to meet any other valuable goal. This is the most valuable thing that I can do for you at this point of your life. This will not be a permanent need of yours. Sleep will come as you are ready. And until then I can wait it out.

This is not a permanent thing. Those nighttime needs to do not last forever. As you grow I will show you how to meet those needs without needing my help. But it would be ridiculous for me to expect that time to be now.. When you cannot yet walk, when you cannot yet get yourself a drink of water, when you cannot yet use the toilet instead of laying wet in a diaper. When you cannot yet speak your needs, and when you do not always understand them.

I do not want you to sleep through a need of yours. I will not train you to do that, just as I would never think of “training” you to pee in your bed rather than wake to use the toilet. When you have a need, you will wake up. And for as long as you need me to help you meet that need, I will wake up too.

Willingly, and with kisses, hugs, and whispered murmurs about love and sleep and safety and the warm darkness that holds us both in its arms and that lulls us back to sleep.

I can wait it out until you no longer have this need for me at night.

<3 Mama

Goal Charts

My six year old son and I sat down to make him a goal chart. When we finished I opened up another file and started to type. My son read over my shoulder as I went. “What are you doing, mommy?” He asked. “I finished your goal chart, so now I’m making mine.” I said. “What do I need to work on in order to be a better mommy?” He thought for a few seconds. “Play more.” He said. “And teach me things.” I agreed, so those things went down on my goal chart, too. If he needs to collect stickers to work on things, I don’t see why I shouldn’t collect stickers as well. Life is about positive changes at 32 just as it is at six.

(Click to download printable PDF)

If your mommy-goals or daddy-goals are different from mine, feel free to leave a comment with what your goals are, and I’d be happy to make you a PDF with your own goals as well as one for your child.

Do Not Interrupt.

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“Isaac!” I called from downstairs. He did not come. I went upstairs expecting to find him in his grandmother’s room watching cartoons on her computer again. He was not there.

I walked into his room and found him using the bottom step of the bunk beds as a worktable as he carefully poked, prodded, cut, molded and pinched some soft clay into shape.

There was something we were supposed to do, but this is not something to interrupt. In this house we do not interrupt drawing, painting, Lego-building, reading, writing, paper-cutting, block tower building, clay sculpting, or quiet sibling conversations. We do not interrupt sandbox digging, birdwatching, or talking to the cat and dog.

Because those things are the very important work of childhood.