Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween is finally here. I must admit, this year is WAY more fun that last year was. Last year, Bug was only six months old. He didn't care about candy or costumes or carving pumpkins or going from house to house for trick or treating. THIS year, however, Bug cares about all of that. He is your basic toddler. That means he is curious about everything and into everything. He loves sweet treats and getting messy. And he even loves seeing everyone dressed up in costumes. He just stares and stares, wondering why people look funny.

This year, we dressed Bug up as Avatar Aang. If you don't know who that is, you are seriously missing out. Avatar is an adorable Nickelodeon anime-type show. I love watching it. And it was going to be so easy to turn Bug into Aang that I couldn't resist. So....I shaved his head. Bought him a yellow pullover sweater. Made him a red cloak. The best thing about his outfit is that he can wear most of it on any other day, too! (In fact, he is wearing a pair of red sweat pants that he wore for Halloween last year. Except last year they were huge on him and this year they are getting too small!) And he stood incredibly still while I painted a blue arrow on his head!

These pictures were taken at our church's Trunk or Treat this past Tuesday. So tell you think Bug makes an excellent Aang, or what!? (And believe it or not, he isn't eating candy in these pictures, he was sucking on his cloak. Weird kid.)

Bug as Aang:
Compared to Aang as Aang
[photo removed, click to get the picture]

Oh, yeah. I did a good job on this costume!

The whole family:
The husband and I were going to go as Peace and Quiet (a hippie and a mime), except the hubby didn't want to be a hippie...and I wanted to actually dress up! So we decided to both go as mimes. It was fun. And, I tell you what, the hubs should make a profession out of it! He was hilarious the whole evening; picking on people, staying quiet, juggling and doing all sorts of mime things! Now, if only he had let me do his makeup for him!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I gotta go...Again!

Last week, I bought Bug his very own potty. I was always very opposed to buying a potty that I would have to empty and clean...but it seems to be worth it.

Over a month ago, I bought a cushioned toilet trainer seat that fits onto the regular toilet. I would sit Bug up on the toilet and try everything I could to encourage him to -go- on the toilet. I would turn water on, sprinkle Bug with water, say "Pssssss", vocally tell him to pee and try all of the techniques that are recommended by those who do elimination communication. (I also would grunt and tell him to poo...I wasn't going to be picky, of course.) He went pee once. I would try and try to get him to do it again. But he just was not interested. I knew it was still early for me to try potty training Bug, but I wanted to try. Bug is so independent, I just felt that it would be good to go ahead and start to try.

Finally, I gave in and bought a cheap toddler potty. I took Bug's pants and diaper off and helped him sit on the potty. Then I asked him if he would go pee. And you know what? He peed!!! I got so excited for him. I clapped. I hooted and whooped and did a little dance. And Bug smiled hugely at me.

Then, I emptied the container into the toilet, rinsed it, and put it back in the seat of Bug's potty. I hadn't put Bug back into a diaper (I figured he would be fine with some diaper free time, because he just peed). As soon as I got the potty back together, Bug sat down on it again. He clenched his hands and grunted and strained for a couple seconds. Then he looked up at me with a happy face and started clapping his hands. He got up off the potty and we both peered into it. There was a little puddle of urine. I clapped again and verbally praised Bug for using his potty again. And I, once again, cleaned the container...still without re-diapering Bug. And...AGAIN...Bug sat on his seat and squeezed and strained and clapped. And was rewarded with praise again as I found three little drops of yellow fluid in the potty. Repeat cleaning process. Finally, I got a diaper and clothes back on Bug before he could once again show me how great he is at using his potty.

And that is how it has gone ever since. In the morning after we wake up, I let Bug use his potty....about three times in a row. Before our shower, I go through it all again. Sometimes we do the routine in the afternoon. And we always do it before bed.

It can be annoying...because I never wanted to have to clean the stupid potty in the first place. (And now I have to clean it three times more than I should have to.) But it is also exciting, because Bug understands. He knows that it is where he should go potty. He obviously recognizes and knows what it feels like to pee. We don't use it all the time, he still has to have his diaper changed throughout the day. And he hasn't learned to defecate in his potty yet. But, I must say, it is a great start to teaching him how to use a toilet!

Monday, October 26, 2009

One, two, WHEEEE!!!!

Bug is a climber. Seriously, I should encourage him to join the circus when he gets a little bit older. I have no idea how he does it. If the wall has a .002mm indent, he will use it as a foothold and climb. He fears no heights. Actually, he fears nothing. Maybe he would fear not being able to climb? I don't know? The kid is crazy.

And it gets better...after he has climbed (on top of side tables, kitchen tables, computer desk, dresser, coffee table, chairs, step stools, four inch wide headboard...) he likes to jump. And I must admit, I probably encourage this behavior. I can't help it. When Bug gets up to the summit of Mt. Whatever, he turns and looks at me with such pride. And then he holds out his hands.

So, I count. One. T-Bug jumps while I am totally unprepared and I nearly drop him on his head-wo. Three! And Bug enthusiastically calls out, "Tee!" or "Whee!" Sometimes, Bug will climb up, bounce and "count" while he waits for me to outstretch my arms. His counting sounds like this: "Uh, Ooh, TEE!"

If I am within 5 feet of Bug, I must be prepared to catch him. Because he will jump.

The kid is crazy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Support and Acceptance

It is human nature to desire to be different....yet, it is also human nature to conform. We want to have our individuality, but we want to have people that agree with us and support us. Women, especially, have an emotional need for support and acceptance. That is why women like to go shopping together, have social gatherings, gab with others, blog, etc. Women like to have a group of women that will listen to and agree with all their joys and woes. Sometimes blogging can satisfy this desire. Sometimes, you really need a group of women that are there for you in real life.

I guess I have been feeling a little discouraged lately. (It happens every now and then...I like to blame it on hormones, because it is an excuse that my husband seems ready to accept.) I have surpassed my human desire to be different. I am definitely my own unique person. I have broken societal norms and I haven't looked back. But, even without looking back, I am looking around and feeling very lonely.

Where are all the mothers, young and old, that are passionate about pregnancy? About natural childbirth (including *gasp* unassisted birth)? About breastfeeding, even into toddler hood? About baby wearing? About not vaccinating? About not circumcising? About bed sharing? Are these all lost arts? What is wrong with just leaving things simple? Why are there so many people who think it is wrong to be a "crunchy" parent? I am continually trudging through the crowd of all those who think I am doing things wrong.

I don't want to be a hypocrite. I am often verbal about what is wrong with other parenting styles. (Usually after I feel attacked...which is probably more perceived and less real.) But science is giving more and more support in saying that natural parenting habits are actually BETTER than the parenting styles that have become more mainstream. How can there still be so many people that are completely ignorant about this? How can there still be so many people who blatantly reject this? Parents have become lazy. They don't want to learn, they don't care to learn. They choose to rely on "experts" instead of scouring for the knowledge themselves. Is there anything wrong with being self sufficient in more ways that growing your own vegetables?

What is wrong with being a "crunchy" mom? And if there is nothing wrong with it, why are naturally minded mothers lacking support? And why aren't more mothers delighting in the knowledge and ability to be an intuitive mother?

Bring back the art of mothering! Listen to your body. Listen to your babies and children. If they want to be held, hold them! If they want to nurse at your breast, nurse them! Keep them close, day and night. Protect their health, their bodies, their minds. Women are strong. Women were divinely created to be mothers. Our bodies were created to give birth without complications or trauma. Our bodies were made to nourish our children. Our hearts have the ability to love and to cherish our children, and give them exactly what they need. There is such great joy in simple mothering. It is an art that has nearly been lost in the Western culture. Bring back the art of mothering!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Aunt Flo

Every woman has an Aunt Flo. Young girls may not have met her yet. Old women may have long said "Farewell" to the good relative. For most women, she makes a monthly visit. Dedicated, if you ask me.

Or to some, Aunt Flo takes an extended vacation, shows up after a couple of years and says, "Holy Macaroni! You have a stinkin' toddler!" And subsequently makes it the worst visit you have had with her in your whole life. At first, you are excited to see her again. But then you realize she isn't happy. She can't believe that you fooled her into that long absence, and is so upset that she brings her fury down heavily, unrelentingly, and painfully.

When she finally leaves again, you are wiping your brow in genuine relief. Then you beg your husband to please, please, help trick her into another extended vacation. Because life without Aunt Flo is a comfortable life, indeed. So you and your husband start formulating plans to keep the bad Aunt away for a while. You don't know if the plans will work, but you will keep trying until they do.

True story.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Please Research: Why the breast?

It has been nearly a year and a half since Bug was born, and it has probably been less than a dozen times that he has had a bottle given to him. I received exactly five bottles at my baby shower. One of them broke. The other four are sitting on the top shelf of one of my cabinets. They are collecting dust, and I don't know why I haven't gotten rid of them yet. The fact is, I never really felt comfortable leaving Bug alone for extended periods of time that would necessitate him needing a bottle. And because of my parenting style, which I sometimes refer to as intuitive or instinctive parenting, I chose to keep well within my comfort level most of the time. Before I knew it, Bug was old enough to use a sippy cup and eat solid foods. And what do you know, I was more comfortable leaving him with a babysitter.

Recently, a family member sent me an email curiously asking why I was still breastfeeding my toddler. She told me that she had thought I was bottle feeding Bug, but when she found out that I was still nursing she was so curious that she emailed me. She wanted to know exactly why I was still nursing, from my own point of view, not some web site's information. She wanted to know how it could be beneficial to Bug or to me. So, I told her. I pulled from my memory all the things I had learned about breastfeeding. I've done a lot of research concerning all kinds of parenting topics, including breastfeeding, and I used that knowledge to fill my response. My email got longer and longer as I explained as straightforwardly as I could the physical and emotional benefits, for both Bug and me. Here is some of what I told her:
A lot of people question mothers who nurse longer than a year. In our society it has kind of become taboo, for unknown reasons. Bug is 17 months right now, and yes, he is definitely still nursing. The World Health Organization has recommended that children be breastfed for at least 2 years, and as long after that as mutually desired by mom and child. Breast milk has a lot of stuff in it that is really healthy for children, and the benefits of breast milk don't go away at a certain age. They are always there. Human specific healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and antibodies are all found in breast milk, but aren't found in formula and cow's milk. Because we don't give Bug any vaccines, it is especially good for him to continue breastfeeding. It helps him keep from getting sick. It prevents earaches, cold/flu, childhood obesity, asthma, allergies and other health issues. Also, breast milk helps build up the myelin fat in the brain, so children that are breastfed longer are generally more intelligent. Breastfeeding can also help oral development (especially keeping teeth healthy and straight).

I also believe that nursing Bug still will help him become a more emotionally healthy person. Babies and toddlers have a need to suck and be comforted. Most children Bug's age still use a bottle or a pacifier, which both of those are actually a substitute for the breast. Weaning could teach a child to lose trust, because they expect their parents to give them what they need, physically as well as emotionally. When Bug gets hurt or upset, I can nurse him to help him feel better...even if I only nurse him for a couple of seconds at a time, it usually stops a tantrum and helps us both deal with the issues at hand much better! I genuinely feel that Bug still has a need to nurse. I'm ok with that, so we still nurse. He gets so excited about nursing and he smiles and laughs. It makes me feel good to know that I can make him so happy that way.

As for how nursing benefits me, there are also lots of ways. In the beginning, nursing helped me to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and also helped my uterus recover from pregnancy and birth faster (as nursing causes mild contractions that help the uterus return to the normal size). That contracting also helps prevent excessive bleeding after birth too. But, benefits also come with extended nursing. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the less likely she is to have breast cancer, uterine cancer and cervical cancer. Breastfeeding also releases "feel good" hormones that can help prevent depression. Also, it helps with natural child spacing. Because I have been nursing Bug, I didn't start my period until just recently!

I guess I just see that the benefits of extended nursing are enough to keep nursing. Since around one year, Bug has been eating regular meals during the day, and nursing more for snacks and comfort. It makes it much easier for me to get him to sleep, for naps, for bedtime and if he wakes up in the middle of the night. It also makes it easy if we are out of the house and I forgot his sippy cup or snacks. I can let him nurse a little bit and it satisfies both hunger and thirst. I don't see any reason why I should wean him.
I hope that I was able to properly convey the benefits, and even the importance of breastfeeding. This isn't only about extended breastfeeding, either. Many people forget how important breastfeeding is, even for a newborn infant. I came across this wonderful article that reminded me a lot of my response to my curious family member. It is my hope that mothers learn about and come to realize how wonderful it is to breastfeed. I believe that if women knew...really great breastfeeding is, we would have less curiosity, disgust, ambivalence, etc. toward breastfeeding. It truly will be a happy day when every mother can put her baby to her breast without judgment or ignorance interfering.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cleaning out the Fridge

Dried, crusty rice. Five Tupperware dishes of congealed noodles with sad, limp veggies. Molding asparagus. A half eaten dish of toddler ravioli (we don't even buy that stuff?!?) Gelled fish. Curdled Alfredo sauce. Who knows what that is.

Oh, yes. Every couple of months, my refrigerator turns into something that is highly embarrassing and more than a little frightening. And no matter how long I try to ignore the feast that would make maggots around the world happy...there comes a time when I just have to clean out that fridge.

So, I don my yellow rubber gloves. I pull the trash can up right next to the sink and dishwasher. And I set my nerves. Then, I pull out all those dishes; small and large, Saran wrapped, lidded, bowls, Ziploc bags, and restaurant take-home boxes. Throw away. Open and throw away. Open, scrape, grimace, and throw away. Rinse and shove in the dishwasher. Repeat until there is practically nothing left in the fridge, except that gallon of milk we bought yesterday. Oh, and the pears we bought yesterday, too.

I'm really not a dirty person. I like my house to be organized and tidy. I would never pass a white glove test, but clutter grates on my ever last nerve. Of course, with a husband that likes papers, I'm learning to deal with the clutter a little bit better. And with a son, I am learning that I don't have the time to clean every day. Not that I would, even if I didn't have a son, but that is beside the point. I think having a clean home is important, but I don't want it to detract from having time with my family. I definitely think I am somewhere in between total slob and psycho neat freak. And it is a happy place for me.

Now, I need to do something about those bananas on my counter that are sending out party invites to all the fruit flies in the whole Midwest!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Contribute 2009


Don't forget to get out to a small, local business and help! Go spend at least $50 to boost the local economy. Make it fun. Start your Christmas shopping. Anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Maybe you can buy something you need. Is there a local grocer or produce shop around? Go get your dinner supplies there instead of a major grocery store. Or treat yourself to something you want, and know that you are helping out in the process! Just go out and Contribute!

Little Boys

One really annoying thing about little boys is that they can pee in all directions. And when they pee, they pee. There is no trickling or dribbling. It is all out squirting and spraying.

I was once talking to a lady at a friend's party about little boys and their urinating capabilities. She told me the most hilarious story about when her son was a baby. She said he was just screaming away as she tried to quickly change his diaper. When the cold air hit his baby bottom he started to pee...up, over his body and into his open mouth. This lady said that he gurgled and sputtered through his cry because of the pee in his mouth. Luckily, he didn't breathe any into his lungs. But his mom just totally flipped out. She was a new mom, and so called the pediatrician frantically, wondering if her son would be alright. After all, he just had a mouthful of pee! The nurse on the phone told her that urine is sterile, and that the baby would, indeed, be alright. This lady swears that she heard the other nurses in the office laughing in the background!

When I found out that I was having a boy, I decided to buy some "Pee pee Tee pee's" to try to keep the spray at bay. I later discovered that they weren't very helpful, as they didn't stay on Bug's little pee pee to even act as a tee pee. All you have to do, is learn how to change diapers quickly. But, no matter how fast you can change a diaper, you have to make sure that the little squirt is pointing down. Not sideways. And definitely not up. I learned that the hard way-wet outfits and wondering how the heck my son could pee outside of his diaper!

Bug is old enough now that I don't really have to worry about him peeing while I change his diaper. The trouble now is him removing his diaper without my knowledge. OR sticking his hands in his diaper and pulling his goods out the top. One day the hubs noticed a wet spot on the carpet in our hallway. He assumed it was a harmless wet spot (we do have a toddler, after all....then again, that may not be a good explanation for harmless wet spots) but jokingly asked, "What, did Bug pee on the floor?" I shrugged my shoulders, but went to investigate anyway. And, what do you know...I discovered Bug with his pants off, onesie unsnapped, and diaper missing. The really funny thing is, I had seen him running around with his onesie unsnapped for a while and thought nothing of it. I wonder how long he had been without a diaper!? And I hope that I never find anything more menacing that a wet spot after something like that happens!

Friday, October 9, 2009

What is to come...

I've been working on getting my Bachelor's Degree of Psychology since I was 15 years old. Kind of. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started a program called Post Secondary Option (PSO) that allowed me to attend a local college and get credit for both high school and college. I knew even then that I wanted to major in Psychology. (Of course, I never imagined then that I would ultimately want to end up in Midwifery.) So, I worked hard and got excellent grades even as the youngest student in the whole college! I took nearly 20 credit hours nearly every quarter, and I graduated with an Associates Degree when I was 17 years old. I also graduated high school a year early.

Then I transferred to another local University. I settled nicely into my PSY niche. I continued to work hard (still taking nearly 20 credit hours, but now on semesters). Requirements for my degree included a wide variety of PSY classes, both easy and hard. They were no problem for me. Also, statistics. Easy. Philosophy. Meh...I passed the Honors course with...honors. Countless other electives. Fun and a breeze. AND......language requirements. Pass the 202 level of any language.

Now, I am a lover of the arts. Anything that doesn't quite resemble some hard science will find favor with me. English was one of my best classes my whole life. But give me a foreign language to learn and I struggle. Not my forte.

I took Italian 101. Passed top of the class. A+. I took Italian 102. Same deal. I started thinking it was easy. I took Italian 201. I struggled a little bit more. A-. I took Italian 202. The only one that counts, but took me a year and a half to get to. Bombed. Majorly. A big, fat, ugly F. Stupid class is the only one I've ever failed in my whole entire life! The only difference between my 201 semester and my 202 semester (and subsequently, the excuse for my ridiculous failure) was that I was in my third trimester with Bug. I didn't even go to class the last couple of weeks because I didn't want to drive an hour to campus and back all by myself. Oh yeah, and that little thing about taking the final less than a week after Bug was born. I mean, seriously, I was still wearing huge maxi pads, sitting on my stitches, wishing I had an ice pack...and I had to take a break half way through the exam to nurse Bug!

So, after I worked through the stages of grief over failing a class (which, to be honest, I'm not sure if I'm over it yet) I decided to learn Spanish. The hubby served a full-time two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Buenos Aires, Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish. I figured he could help me out. A year after failing my Italian class, I had forgotten nearly all of my Italian. Sadly, I hadn't been replacing the knowledge with Spanish. I just had no motivation to learn.

About a month ago, the hubs decided that he REALLY wants me to graduate. (So do I, hon, so do I!) We decided to purchase the Rosetta Stone software; which, I might inform you, is a major investment. But I am here to tell you, it is awesome. And it is going to work. If all goes to plan, I hope to graduate -finally- this coming May. Seven years after I first started college, and with enough credit hours to get me two Bachelor's Degrees. Too bad I'm only getting one. (But, don't congratulate me until it actually happens, though!)

The Rosetta Stone software is great. It probably would have helped me graduate all by itself. However, a girl likes a little incentive. So, my computer genius of a husband has offered me my very own domain for my blog. I get to design it all, with his help, and make it perfect. Then, when I graduate, it is going up for the world to view! And this makes me more excited than all the diamonds in the world! (Well......maybe.)

Of course, I have been bookin' it through Rosetta Stone. I'm learning (and retaining, 'cause that's what counts) tons! And I downloaded a free photo editing program, that is awesome, called Inkscape. I've been designing my blog to be. And I'd like to offer my readers a sneak peek by showing you my design for what will be my new button. (Which makes my old button look like Bug made it, instead of me!)

Free Image Hosting

I bet you're really excited!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Thrilling Week and more

Never fear, blog world. I am still here and still alive. After a week and a half of having my sister and her husband in town, I am finally getting back to a basic routine. (And, hopefully, Bug will be getting to bed earlier than 11pm.)

My sister, Megan, and brother-in-law, Chet, are some of the most fun people I know. They don't have any children yet, which means that they spend all of their time having adventurous fun...well, all of their time outside of full-time jobs and medical school. So, Bug and I (and the hubs, after work hours) had our fill of adventures while they were gracing us with their presence.

Our family (ever since Megan married Chet) has started a tradition of making family videos whenever we are together. Last year, we rode bicycles all over Cincinnati (the video was put to Queen's song Bicycle, which we all hated with a passion by the time the video was finished!) Over New Year's, the rest of the family went to NYC (where Megan and Chet live) and made a video of us all being typical tourists...and getting food poisoning. This week was no exception. And we pulled together a Mockumentary about X-Men rejects. I haven't seen the finished video, but once it is posted on YouTube, I may share it....maybe.

And, speaking of videos...Saturday night, while all of our men were at the Priesthood Session of General Conference, Megan taught the rest of us how to dance the Thriller. We learned it (as best as we could) in an hour and a half. Then we dressed up as zombies and danced for the guys when they got home. And there was a video made. The video is more than embarrassing, but I may share it too. (But you have to promise not to make fun of us!) The Thriller is a HARD dance!!! Megan said it took her about 4 hours to learn it, and she still feels like she could be better. When...or If I put the video up, you will have to keep that in mind as you see us messing up and doing everything a beat behind. However, Bug had a lot of fun dancing to the music, too. And when we would line up at the back of the room to begin the dance, Bug would stand with us and wait for the music to start.

Megan, Chet, my dad, Bug and I went hiking at the Cincinnati Nature Center, too this past week. Our hike was a little bit less than two miles. It was gorgeous and Bug walked for about a whole mile all by himself! He also did a face plant after trying to walk down a hill by himself. He couldn't maintain a walk and ended up running full speed down the hill before he biffed it. But he barely cried and was ready to walk again shortly after.

It has been nice to get some outside exercise. I'm afraid I don't exercise often enough. And I'm feeling it in weight gain and inflexibility. I won't tell you how much I weigh, but it is about 50 pounds more that what I want to weigh. Megan brought (and accidentally left) a Pilates video and I have been doing it for the past couple of days. It is a work out and makes me feel good. I have also started cutting my portions in half. I use a small plate to help remind me to eat less. The more often I eat less, the less I feel like I need to eat. I guess there is nothing wrong with having a "mom" body: wider hips, saggy breasts, belly pooch, and stretchmarks. But, I definitely want to be fit and active and healthy. Plus, I want to be happy with myself.

We also got family pictures taken at Robert Glutz Photography. Bob is a friend of the family and I must say, he has quite the talent for getting toddlers to take great pictures! He danced and ran around with a stuffed animal to get Bug to laugh for the camera, and it totally worked! Bug is probably the most photogenic in the whole family!

Sunday afternoon we had some friends (and new neighbors) over for Conference. They have a daughter who is one month older than Bug. They had so much fun playing together. And they shared a banana (Bug's little friend giving him a bite, and then taking one herself). The whole time Bug was being a perfect little friend (a bit more rambunctious that a girl, but not being a bully) until he decided to bite her arm. As a mother, I can tell you, I was completely mortified!!! I apologized over and over again, told Bug that he had done something very bad, and made him apologize by giving her a kiss. Bug has never bitten another child before, and it terrifies me to think that he is starting now!

Also this past week, a good friend of mine had a baby! I got to go to the hospital and hold her sweet little boy. It made me want another one so badly, I can hardly stand it!!! Hopefully, it won't be too long until that happens.

Now that I've filled you in with all that has been going on this past week, I will be able to get back into the perfect blogging rhythm. Well...that's the plan, at least!