We finally got around to photographing and designing our holiday card. Who knows when we will actually get these in the mail, but in a way I'm happy we procrastinated patiently waited until now to take the picture. I wanted those two beautiful pearly whites to shine for all to see!
2 day countdown to Hanukkah, 1 week to Christmas. Happy Holidays!
Before J, I was so judgmental. Being a teacher and working in a school for the last 8 years really makes one feel like an expert on families and parenting. While it has given me excellent experience, knowledge, and a window into parenting - I never knew what it was really, truly like to have a child.
In my line of work, in the area where we live, nannies are not the exception but the rule. Parents work ungodly hours to be able to afford a particular lifestyle. In our program I, more often than not, interact with the nannies/au pairs. I hate it! It breaks my heart not to see a parent dropping of their child. It breaks my heart to watch a child run into the arms of the nanny at the end of the day, instead of their parent's. While I am glad that there is a bond between so many, there is still something so fundamentally wrong about it.
I swore that would not be us, but here we are. J is picked up by his nanny in the morning and taken to the other family's home. He smiles when he sees her, she greets him with hugs and kisses. I am thankful that he loves her and is loved by her.
Our massive student loan debt is the ONLY! ONLY! reason why I am still working. Otherwise, I would stay at home and raise our child. But this is a necessity for us at this time, and so this is what we do. Judge me! you young teachers who dream about staying at home with your children one day. Just know that you will be in the same boat as I, mulling of your preconceived judgments and feelings.
(Let me tell you this one thing: I sit her blogging/working from home today. It is a glorious feeling to know that my child is safe and loved, while I enjoy some coffee, music, the wafting scent of an Anthro.pologie candle, and productivity. There, I said it. Today I am THRILLED we have a nanny.)
Our students often have very intelligent, engaging conversations with each other. Unfortunately, it often revolves around a TV program. A few years back, I asked one student, "Well, what's going to work?" In response (and I kid you not!) the entire classroom erupted in song/chant: "What's gonna work? Teamwork! What's gonna work? Teamwork!" This song comes from the popular program, Won.der Pe.ts. Wow.
My general rule of thumb is still "no television before age 3." Now that I am faced with reality - I make an exception - when I have to trim J's fingernails. This little man never stops moving! Unless, the television is on. So for the 3.5 minutes it takes me to trim his fingernails, he has been enjoying Ses.ame Stre.et (thank goodness for Net.flix)!
I'm sad that I judged. I'm sad that I had blinders on for what I expected all parents to be. While I do wish to strive for perfection, I understand that I am bound to fail in my own expectations. It is hard to look back at myself before I was a mom, and see how stubborn I was in my opinions. I really think I did a disservice to myself and those parents by judging how they raised their children.
After all, we do the best we can do.
I do the best that I can do. And I totally get it now.
Slowly, little man is starting to recover. The croup-y cough disappeared after 24 hours, thankfully. It seems our multiple walks in the chilly morning and evening air helped this. However, we still have the worlds most obnoxious amount of snot clogging up his nose! Nursing a congested baby is so frustrating for all involved. J latches, sucks for approximately five seconds, pulls away, cries out in frustration, then repeats until let-down (which is inevitably delayed due to him pulling back).
Regardless, today has been better. And this, my friends, calls for an impromptu snack photo shoot.
Last night, J officially came down with croup. A small cold had been brewing the last few days but last night it came to fruition with loud, honking, barking coughs.
Unfortunately, T was at work and there was no one to help talk me off the freak-out, panic, manic ledge that comes with motherhood. Instead, I texted T many times giving specific details on J's illness and how it was expressing itself. I went so far as to make a voice recording on my phone of J's coughing and send it to T.
This recording turned out to be the perfect way for T to diagnose J with croup - the classic barking cough that accompanies this illness. To confirm his diagnosis (remember, T is a pediatric ER nurse), T played the soundbite for the Attendings, Residents, and other ER nurses. Their response? Textbook croup.
With T's medical background, knowledge, and access to treatment, we have all that we need to treat J without a trip to the ER. Thank. God. Now, the poor boy is finally napping after waking himself up repeatedly with nasty coughing. I am working from home today, albeit exhausted from little sleep last night. I want my healthy baby back.
Has your child ever had croup?
I hear it gets worse before it gets better and can last up to 10! days!
How did you make it through?
P.S. Look who turned 8 months a couple of weeks ago!!!!
All right, now that we're almost officially a week into November, I should share the costumes J donned for Halloween.
If you have a child under 18 months(ish), did you take him/her out trick-or-treating? Let's be honest, we all know it was so you could eat the candy. No judgement here! I'm just curious. If I weren't cozy at home drinking wine and watching The Walk.ing De.ad (another AM.C win!), then I may have considered taking J out in the neighborhood. We all know we could use a little more Ree.ses in our lives.
What was I saying? Ah, yes. Costumes. Despite our lack of trick-or-treating, we still made sure J had not one, but two costumes.
Last weekend, we attended the wedding of J's godparents. It was the most romantic, beautiful wedding I have been to besides my own (duh!). This wedding was the first traditionally Jewish wedding (with an interfaith couple) I've ever attended. Being that T and I are an interfaith couple ourselves, we had more of a traditionally "Christian" wedding. What I love, however, is how these two faiths are so interconnected that the differences are really few and far between. Watching J's godfather break the glass, to see them dancing the hora, and celebrating love at it's beautiful, raw essence - it was incredible.
J was a rockstar the entire time. Really. He was the most popular person there. Maybe even more so than the bride and groom.
Later in the week, J turned 7 months and we captured his 7 month expressions. Where did the blue eyes on this boy come from!? They are too much for me to handle.
Lately, T and I have been on the cusp of making a big change. We love our jobs, we love our friends, we love our city.
We don't love our debt.
Thankfully, the only debt we've accrued our short lives is from student loans. But with the way our economy stands, those lenders are not being friendly. It is time. It is time we sit down and make some decisions. Do we stay? Do we go? Where do we go? How do we stay?
Things in this household have been rocked, twisted, and turned upside down! The lack of posting is only due to me trying to wrap my mind around all the changes. Some of these are exciting, others challenging, and few have left me in a puddle of my own tears.
1. J turned 6 months old. What!? What happened to my itty-bitty baby boy!? Half a year old and blowing my mind.
2. We began Baby-led Weaning, i.e. solid food! We're sticking to veggies and quinoa. J's favorite veggies are cucumber and carrots. He's also fond of kale, spinach, and peppers.
3. J is crawling. STFU! Now he's giving us a run for our money!
4. The sweetest noise in the entire world, only second to J laughing with T is...our new washer! Thanks to my mother-in-law, we have a brand new, connect to your kitchen sink, take up way to much space, enjoy clean cloth diapers, washer! It is heaven!
5. We went on an adventure bowling at the White House. With beer.
6. J sprouted not one but two new teeth! They are just about the most adorable teeth ever. Thankfully, we've had no biting. And, who can resist a gummy smile with two sprouting teeth!?
This picture is 2 weeks old. They're much more prominent
and adorable (hard to believe, I know!) now.
7. Lastly, and much more will be said about this later, we hired a nanny. I have been alternating between sobbing about this and feeling empowered. We will be sharing a nanny with another family and we are excited for J to have a 10 month old boy to share his days. If only it didn't cost an arm and a leg (and a black market kidney) to pay for it all. Tomorrow is his first day.
Juggling work and parenthood is a tricky thing. Juggling work while parenting is a whole new ball game. I am blessed beyond belief to have a boss who values the attachment between mother and child, so I am able to bring J to work as much as necessary. He comes with me as many as four days a week or as few as two, depending on T's work schedule.
I want to ensure that I get all my work done quickly and efficiently, so that my boss continues to allow me to bring J knowing that my productivity is just the same whether or not he is with me. I also want to ensure that J is getting the right amount of attention and stimulation he would otherwise. Clearly, I do not want to stunt his development so that I can get work done.
When J naps, I am able to complete many tasks as he gets his (much needed) rest. However, he takes a brief 45 minute nap at school and sometimes close to 3 hours later in the afternoon. I would like him to reverse those, but so far I have not had the most success.
The rest of the time, J rolls around on the floor scooting towards his toys or, inevitably, the blinking light on my wireless router. I try to self-talk about my work as I am doing it and he listens intently. Thankfully, there are a few staff members popping in throughout the day and he has often traveled to a classroom for community time (i.e. when the children sit together in a group for stories, songs, etc.).
Right now, this is a wonderful situation. Childcare for infants his age is upwards of 2k a month. I am just not willing to pay that. Likewise, breastfeeding is a cinch as I can scoop him into my arms and still use the computer at the same time.
As he gets older, I'm not sure that this will be the best environment. It will be important that he has peers for social interaction. He will need an opportunity to move more freely and learn to be (a tad) more independent from me. I'm just not sure we want to spend our money this way, as this time. Ideally, we could have a nanny-share with a family whose child is close in age to J. How about my blogger buddies pair up with me? ;)
As it is in all situations related to parenting - you figure out what works in the now and you adapt as time goes on. Nothing is static nor should it be. And for this, I am thankful.
What do you do for childcare? Does anyone else have the opportunity to bring their child to work? Would you do this if you were able?
This weekend was J's first visit to the ocean. He has donned his bathing suit only twice before - swimming in the whirlpool bathtub at my parents and taking a quick evening dip in the pool (shaded, lukewarm water). This trip was his first time listening to the surf, napping in the sand, and smelling tasting saltwater.
He loved it.
Well, maybe love is a strong word. Like? No, that's not quite accurate.
He tolerated it. Mostly.
On Saturday, we dipped him in the water only to hear a blood-curdling scream. To his defense, the water was a bit chilly and it took our own breath away. He expresses it a tad differently. Making matters worse, I demanded T place him (sitting) in the sand where we spelled out his name. Predictably, J face planted and enjoyed sand for an early afternoon snack. He spent the rest of the afternoon napping under the makeshift shelter.
The next day, we were a bit more prepared and/or experienced. After a quick trip to the store to purchase an actual beach umbrella, we set out. Placing a tarp under our beach blankets, we avoided a second sand snack when J was rolling around happily. We were determined to have him enjoy the water, so in we went. Again, he let out a scream and began to cry.
However, shortly after, we all began to get used to the chilly water and it was fairly enjoyable! In fact, the tears stopped, and we even captured a smile or two.
The best part of the weekend was ditching our tent and staying in a Marr.iott, lounging on the bed. I wish every weekend was a beach weekend with my boys.
Whew! I must say that the last week and a half have been a whirlwind. I've returned to work, experienced my first earthquake and hurricane (yes, I know I need to stop talking about them, but c'mon! 2 natural disasters! In one week!), nursed, nursed, and nursed some more, cleaned, cooked, laughed, cried...you get the point. Last night, after a seriously delicious Lebanese dinner, I went to bed. At 7:45.
On top of being incredibly busy, our internet service provider lost power in the hurricane. As a result, I chose not to wasn't able to check my e-mail, read any blogs, or compose any of my own. When I finally opened up my e-mail today, I found this:
ugh. where to begin!?
In perfect procrastinating form, I ignored all the e-mails and went straight to my Goo.gle Reader:
Yeah...not gonna happen.
As if I'm not already overwhelmed by everything else in my life, my fun pastime has to rear it's ugly head and slap me in the face.
That's pretty much the state of this girl as of late. So I'll leave you with a picture of how we abused enjoyed our uninterrupted time with J this weekend.
Despite the hurricane ready to pummel us tomorrow, I'm kind of excited. I haven't been home with T and J, uninterrupted, since April? We have food, water, wine, books, music, games...I'm ready to stay put and enjoy the weekend.
Stay safe if you're out east, everyone! Otherwise, what does your weekend entail?
1. I'm a guest blogger at Naptime Is My Time! I list some of the challenges of city living with an infant. Check it out here!
Come on, Ir.ene, well I swear what he means.
At this moment you mean everything!
2. Welp. I'll experience my first earthquake and hurricane, all within the same week. I'm trying to be prepared without being obnoxious. I picked up some canned food and water. I've been instructed to fill the bathtub with water to flush the toilet if necessary. I'll charge phones and computers, and I'm thinking about making a run to Tar.get tomorrow to pick up a radio. Otherwise...
3. Being back to work is surreal and exciting and exhausting. I'll post more on this later, but I'm so incredibly thankful that I'm able to bring J with me part-time. Yes, I have the best of both worlds.
4.I'm addicted to the song Perth by Bon Iver. Please tell me you've had the privilege of listening to this song. On repeat. For hours.
5. J has been log rolling across the living room which is just about the most adorable thing ever. However, he does this strange head twist when rolling from front to back resulting in slamming his head on the ground a few times. He then cries out and looks to me for comfort. It gives me visions of the future when we reach toddlerhood and skinned knees.
The weather was gorgeous. I was off of work and sped home. I picked up J from his tired Papa's arms, secured him in his Bob, and strolled through the neighborhood.
The sun shone brightly, the breeze blew gently. We stopped and watched as the older children shrieked in delight, flew down slides, and ran in circles. I sipped my drink and kissed my babe. He watched the leaves on trees rustle and smiled at the wind.
We experienced our first earthquake today. J was with me at work, T was at home sleeping.
Around 1:45 pm, I was working in my office visiting with 3 other colleagues. J was snoozing dreamily in his moses basket in the corner. I stood up and strolled across the room to look at some material, when I felt small vibrations in my inner ear. Consequently, this made me feel a bit dizzy. I asked if anyone in the room noticed the peculiar vibrations. Someone laughed and pointed out a bottle of water teetering on the desk. Almost instantaneously, the ground began to shake in a very violent, rhythmic pattern. And that's when I lost it and began to shriek.
GET MY BABY! SOMEONE GET MY BABY!
One of the women who was standing close by frantically lifted up J's basket by the handles. Seconds later I was there, whipping him out and into my arms. We fled to the doorway and stood there for a few moments until the shaking stopped. Visibly distraught, we quickly walked outside to see hundreds of people fleeing their high-rise office buildings. Thankfully, we saw no signs of injury or severe damage. With a sigh of relief, we quickly learned that we had experienced a large earthquake. The largest our area has seen in history. J woke up but, perhaps sensing my fear, was very quiet and observant in my arms.
The phone companies were immediately bombarded with calls, allowing us only to communicate via FB or text. I heard from T who jolted out of bed and out the door - consequently locking himself out of the building. I heard from J's Godparents, our colleagues at our other locations, my friends, our family. Thankfully, no one was injured, just shocked.
I sped home to be with T and burst into tears explaining to him how terrified I was, not for my own life, but for the life of J. I so desperately want to protect him.
I will forever DESPERATELY try to protect him.
I'm okay now, thankful that we can all "laugh" about the extensive news coverage of bricks falling to sidewalks. But now that I'm a mama, I am not sure that I will ever recover from the immediate stress those 45 seconds put on me.
Thank God, one extra gray hair will be the only negative consequence of today's event.
Did any of you experience today's earthquake?
Have you ever experienced an earthquake?
Please share how you dealt with the situation.
I'm from the midwest. I can handle tornados like a champ.
visiting a church to see if it aligns with our interfaith family
meeting the Hypnomamas and their babies for lunch
meal planning for the week
shopping at trad.er joe's for ingredients for said meal planning
completing Jill.ian's 30 day sh.red level II
And then a massive thunderstorm rolled in. Consequently, I cancelled all plans and this is how I spent my day.
I go back to work tomorrow. While I am no longer "teaching" per se, I still have the depressing feeling that comes with returning to work after 3 months of leisure caring for an infant. Add to that, T works tonight so I'm home. Alone.
Thank goodness I spent the day photographing this handsome boy.
Wow! Little man is already 5 months old. Next month, he'll be half a year...yikes! J has been growing like a weed. He unofficially weighs in at 16 lbs and 26.5 inches.
J will be eating something other than breast milk as we are preparing for solid foods via Baby-led Weaning (read: more like Baby-led feeding as weaning is not on the horizon). This will happen shortly before or around 6 months.
He is talking up a storm, grunting, spitting, giggling, and smiling. Seriously, I am so thankful we have such a laid back boy. But, he's become very feisty lately and I'm worried we're in for it during the toddler years. Someone recently said he has a lot of "piss and vinegar" in him. Uh oh!
J is almost able to sit unassisted. He is quite good at the tripod sitting, but I've been trying to give him more practice without the use of his hands.
He has also continued to do amazing pushups while on his belly, his favorite position. Put him down on his back and within seconds he's on his belly "swimming." He has recently been able to hike himself up onto his knees and hands - absolutely the precursor to crawling. I anticipate he'll figure this out in the near future.
I head back to work on Monday. I cannot believe this summer has already bypassed me and we are at the beginning of a new school year again. I'm afraid I didn't appreciate my time at home enough. I am, however, excited to see all of my colleagues - many of whom I am great friends with outside of work.
I traveled with J on my own for the first time. Lots of anxiety gave way when helpful passengers stowed away my carry-on bag for me, readjusted my cover as I nursed J (a mother of twins who said she could never travel alone like I was. Compliment from a mother of multiples? I'm blushing.), and many offerings of help.
I recently had a blood test and my TSH levels are all wonky. I guess I have some type of hy---thyroidism. I'm seeing an endocrinologist at the end of September. Wish me luck!
He might seriously be the hardest working man I've ever known. It's ridiculous. As I've mentioned before, he's a pediatric nurse. Who works nights. Lots of them.
On top of his "real" job, T is a volunteer Firefighter who works every Thursday night and 2 weekends a month. So. time. consuming. I deeply admire him.
T is training for a 10-miler this October and I promised him I'd be his training buddy. So far, things haven't been stellar in that department, but we have work-out days actually on the calendar. This helps us to be accountable, and ensures that someone will be around to watch J. 2 weeks in and we're sticking to it!
As my addiction runs strong for Ma.d Me.n, T has joined in. We have a wedding to attend in October and are thinking about having his and her Ma.d. Me.n attire from Ba.nana Re.public. A little Don and Betty Dra.per sounds sexy to me (sans womanizing, adultery, and the all out debauchery, of course. Well, maybe a little debauchery).
J and I have jetted off for the week to visit family! While we're sizzling in the heat, some of my favorite bloggers and/or people have honored me in their willingness to guest post. Please visit these bloggers, and follow their blogs. They inspire me!
Meet another fantastic blogger, and also a March Momma, of gorgeous Baby Emma. Taylor from like you for always gave birth to Emma on March 30 of this year (Yes! 10 days after J!). Taylor blogs about her pregnancy (read her archives) and now chronicles the life of her sweet girl. Curious about what baby products others are using? Taylor tells all about products she loves, hates, or recommends to new parents. I find this VERY useful! Go check her out and follow her blog! Really...I can't get enough of Emma's sweet expressions.
Hi! I’m Taylor and I blog over at like you for always. I am so excited to be guest blogging over here at JET’s Journey today! When E first asked me to write a post, I was stumped. Total writer’s block. So, I started stumbling through her achieves to see which topics her readers enjoy most … and in the end, just decided to write what I know.
When I was pregnant, I was constantly on the receiving end of unsolicited advice. New moms, old moms, grandmas, even people without children of their own see a growing belly and cannot resist telling you about their experience or the experience of their boyfriend’s sister’s roommate. In the beginning, I would smile, nod and listen politely, but eventually there came a time in my pregnancy (around the second trimester) where I became so frustrated, I would devise ways to abruptly end these conversations.
Now that I’ve had my daughter, I better understand where these women were coming from. I gave birth to my baby girl, Emma Rose, back in March, and talking about my pregnancy and birth experience never gets old. When I find out someone is expecting, my heart swells for them – I want to hear all about how they’re feeling and share with them everything I went through. Pregnancy/motherhood is like a special club and when you find a new member, you want to totally unload all of your best advice on them.
So, that, in part, is what I’m going to write about today. A compilation of my best pregnancy advice…
Put the book down! Stay away from pregnancy books. I read TOO many different titles during my pregnancy and instead of making me feel informed and prepared, they scared me. Nothing I read in those books caused me to have a more successful experience.
Join your birth club on Baby Center. I turned to Baby Center daily when I was pregnant and still find myself perusing articles now that Emma has arrived. Unlike the books, Baby Center is an interactive, online community of real moms talking about the things that really happen – not dozens of hypothetical dramas that affect less than one percent of pregnant women. Questions I posted were answered in real-time and I took comfort knowing that hundreds of women were experiencing everything I was right along with me. I also loved reading the answers to questions I never thought to ask.
Don’t share your baby name. Clearly, all of this is just my opinion, but I fully believe in guarding your chosen baby name(s). Selecting your child’s name is a personal, private decision, and unless you are prepared for the feedback – good and bad – keep your lips sealed. How dreadful would it be if you and your partner are set on a name, and then your family squashes it? They have no choice but keep their thoughts to themselves after the ink is already dry on the birth certificate. Plus, it makes for such an exciting arrival! Our families knew we were
expecting a girl, but we didn’t give a single hint as to what her name would be. Announcing her arrival was thrilling – not just because having a baby is magical, but because we had kept that very special secret.
If you’re going to get stretch marks, you’re going to get stretch marks. No amount of coca butter will save you. And watch out! They can strike POSTPARTUM!
Register for gender neutral baby items. When we found out we were having a girl, I was tempted to change everything on our registry. While I did adjust a few items, I kept the big (expensive) stuff in gender neutral colors and patterns. If Baby #2 happens to be a boy, we won’t need to rebuy any of the necessities because they’re too “girly”.
If they are really your friends now, they will still be your friends after baby arrives. I read a lot of posts on Baby Center about women who were afraid they would lose some of their non- mommy friends after their baby arrived. Truth be told, if they ditch you after you have a child, they probably weren’t great friends in the first place.
Love every second of your “pregnancy hair”. It fades fast and you resume shedding just after delivery.
Try to exercise. I was really into running prior to getting pregnant and I was devastated when I had to stop at 20 weeks (too much pelvic pressure!). I was forced into long walks and the elliptical machine. I know it’s easier said than done – especially when you are beyond exhausted and feeling like an elephant – but I’m convinced that regular workouts helped me stay comfortable even in the later weeks.
Don’t skimp when packing your hospital bag. That first shower after labor and delivery will be the best of your entire life. Bring every toiletry you could possibly want. Also, bring your make-up. Everyone told me I wouldn’t want it, but at the last second I grabbed it anyway – and boy am I glad I did. Call me vain, but my favorite pictures of me and Emma in the hospital are the ones where I “have my face on”.
It’s not a competition. Make decisions based on what’s best for you and your baby. Don’t ever feel guilty about your choices and avoid comparisons.
And my most important (and longest) piece of advice …something I struggled with during my pregnancy …
Ignore the Debbie Downers. My husband and I were married in May 2010 and started trying for a baby in July. What was the rush? There wasn’t one really. At the time, we had been together for almost 5 years and just felt … ready. We had no idea how long it would take for me to become pregnant, and assumed it would be a few months before we’d be blessed enough to announce we were expecting. Little did we know the first time was going to be the charm. Instead of being over-the-moon for us, my family was a little … reserved. They didn’t shower us in congratulations like I expected them to. Eventually, they admitted that they thought we’d settle down for a while and just “enjoy being married”. Hearing that was like a little raincloud over what should have been an incredible time for us.
Likewise, when I’d talk about starting a family with some close friends, they’d say things like, “I want to wait a long time before having kids. I want to have fun first!” They probably don’t even realize how I interpreted that. People just say silly things to pregnant women without much thought sometimes, like, “Enjoy sleep now, because you won’t get any for months!” or “I hope you’ve had your fill of date nights, because you won’t have many of those for the next 18 years!”
And so I say to you, no matter what anybody scares you into thinking, having a baby does not mean that you won’t be able to enjoy your marriage. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do fun things. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever get a satisfying nights rest. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have to sacrifice date nights from now until eternity.
Emma has filled a void we never knew we had – a notion you can only understand if you’ve had a child yourself. It’s hard for non-parents to understand this: Yes, you may have less sleep, less “me time” and less overall freedom, but your life becomes exponentially better after having a child. You have a greater purpose. You lose some of the selfishness that we all carry around as humans and it gets replaced by selflessness – which is far more flattering anyway.
To all of you pregnant, soon-to-be mamas, I hope you are having the time of your life preparing for your little one’s arrival.
To all of you mamas reading, I’m curious if you share in my advice?
J and I have jetted off for the week to visit family! While we're sizzling in the heat, some of my favorite bloggers and/or people have honored me in their willingness to guest post. Please visit these bloggers, and follow their blogs. They inspire me!
Christy, from Baby Lately, is one incredible momma. Marriage in 2010 resulted in just about the sweetest baby boy, Jackson (another baby J!) in 2011. Jackson was born on April 17 (literally 4 weeks to the day from my Baby J) and has grown to be one of the cutest little chunks this side of the Mississippi. Another bonus? This momma had a natural birth! She's tough.
Hello Jet’s Journey Readers! When E asked me to be a part of her guest-blogger week, I must say that I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough! My name is Christy, I am a first-time mama to a really squishy almost-4-month-old giant named Jackson. He was 9 lbs at birth and is rounding out 18 now! I blog over at babylately.com, and welcome any of you to stop by at any time! Now, down to business:
When it comes to having babies, everyone has an opinion. No really, everyone. The opinions start flying, practically, from the moment you see two pink lines on that test. People give (many times unwarranted) advice to expectant mothers on the best ways to take care of themselves, what kind of exercise to do, what kinds of exercise NOT to do, what to eat, what NOT to eat, how to sleep, what to name your baby, what kind of delivery to have, on natural childbirth, on medicated childbirth, on what to name your baby, on what trauma your baby have if you give it the name you have chosen, and the list. goes. on. Throughout my entire pregnancy I grew frustrated, weary of the unwarranted opinions of the friends, family, and strangers (yes, strangers) that were sure to be hurled my way each day. I kept thinking, with all my naiveté, that if I could only bite my tongue until I actually gave birth, and then it would all be better.
Well, I was wrong.The opinions just keep coming! Now it is a matter of what vaccination schedule I should follow, why it is better to worse to cloth diaper, when I need to start solids, and so forth. While I do not mind the opinions and sweet advice from my close friends and family, I get easily agitated by the ‘advice’ perfect strangers have for a new mother. One of the first questions I get when I meet a stranger is ‘are you nursing?’ My first thought – ‘Why do you care what I am doing with my breasts and my baby?’ That seems a little invasive, no? Of course, I let them know that I am, and they breathe a sigh of relief and say ‘oh, gooood.’ This confuses the you-know-what-out of me! I love breastfeeding, it is a great decision for my family, but I realize that it does not work for everyone. Not long ago, formula-feeding was the norm, not the exception.Some people have actual issues with low supply, a premature baby that won’t latch, a non-premature baby that won’t latch, or a personal preference for bottle-feeding. The same goes with cloth versus disposable diapering, natural versus medicated childbirth, and so on. I think what I am trying to get at here comes down to this: How dare any person have the audacity to question a stranger on personal decisions over their child’s well-being? Most of these strangers are women. Mothers themselves. Do they not recall a time in their experience, as a new mother, where they second-guessed their decisions, researched what would work for their family, and plead with the universe not to catch judgment from others, especially those who know nothing about us? Now don’t get me wrong, questions are fine – just leave the judgment to yourself. And of course, I adore people who gush over my little mister and let me know how beautiful he is (I know, I am enamored with him myself, but I still love to hear it). However when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, maybe we should embrace a ‘to-each-his-own’ sort of attitude. There is enough pressure to do things right as it is.
I am proud to say that I am a natural childbirth, breast feeding, formula supplement giving, disposable diapering, imperfect to some, but perfect for him mommy! All of those decisions are working for me right now, and my baby is healthy, happy, way adorable, and more perfect than I could have ever hoped for in my wildest dreams. All of the judgment and opinions aside, I know one thing for certain: I love that kid, madly. (I mean, do you see his face!?)
Researching for a birth class was both exciting and intimidating. Upon my 20th week of pregnancy, T and I began to seek our best option: Bradley Method? Or Hypnobirthing? After a little bit of research, including what classes were available and when, we decided on Hypnobirthing (more on this decision in another post). We were the last couple to be added to a class of 4.
The 4 couples with whom we studied breathing techniques, fear releases, positive mantras, and relaxation quickly became aware of our personal feelings toward birth. At the beginning of each session, we would discuss how our pregnancies were progressing, how we could prepare ourselves physically for birth, and how we all could support one another. I was the first woman due to give birth, shortly followed by another, and then months for the other 3.
As it were, the woman due 3 days after me gave birth 28 hours before me. 10 weeks later another baby was born. 1 week later yet another. And lastly, the final hypnobaby was born this July.
4 of the 5 hypnobabies
Since the beginning of June, as many or as few of us that are able come together for a long lunch and conversation. What is so striking to me is that these women are intelligent, kind, gentle, and compassionate - not one ounce of ingenuity can be felt among them. Perhaps it was because we knew the most intimate details about one another from fertility issues to perineal massage, or perhaps I am lucky finding women who are genuinely thoughtful and peaceful women, but my time with these women is so unpretentious. So uninhibited. And I am so thankful. It is in this group that I am not afraid to express my anxieties or joys about parenting. I do not find judgment or competition. I find likeminded women, also looking for community in which we can be ourselves, swoon over each other's children, and find comfort and support. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all women were committed to being this type of mother?
What do you do to connect with other mothers?
How do you avoid, stand up against, and admonish those so desperate to compete when it comes to mothering?
To thank the followers with whom I have joined in fantastic community, I wish to give something back to you. This is not something for your lover, baby (fur or otherwise), or best friend. This is a giveaway for you.
A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard,
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
This wise owl pendant originates from the 1960s. The owl is articulated into three pieces measuring approximately 3" in length. The chain on which the owl dangles is about 16" when worn. The necklace is a golden tone with dark jeweled eyes that sparkle in the light.
The owl pendant retails for $30 and comes from my very own thrifting collection.
How to Catch the Owl:
You must be a public follower of Jet's Journey. Leave me a comment in this post letting me know that you are following me. If you are already following, please comment letting me know that you've been here since the beginning. :) (equals 1 entry)
1. "Like" Jet's Journey on Facebook and leave me a comment on this post letting me know! (2 entries)
2. Blog about Jet's Journey with a link to this giveaway! Comment and leave me a link to your post. (4 entries)
3. Grab the button for Jet's Journey and post it on your blog! Comment and leave me a link to your blog. (6 entries)
The winner will be selected by Random.org on Friday, September 2nd. (This is not arbitrary, for it is T's birthday!)
Thank you to all of my followers for validating all that