Expressions of motherhood — the beautiful, the challenging, the hilarious, the terrifying, the awe-inspiring, and everything in between.
Current (Weird) Toddler Obsessions
August 12, 2016
Electrical cords (“Chargers”). This one’s been going on a long time. We’ve drawn the line at the bathtub, but otherwise one accompanies him just about everywhere. Some kids have a blankie, others have a teddy, my kid has a 10-foot-long extension cord.
Counting sprinkler heads in the yard over and over and over again. 16! There’s 16, kid. Just like there were the previous 575 times we counted them this morning. Oh, and I can’t just supervise or stand in one place to count them. (Look, I’m game and even pretend to be enthusiastic for the first dozen rounds, but then come on!) I personally have to go touch every single one of them.
Watering the plants until every pot is flooded. Got last month’s water bill…here’s where we introduce the concept of make believe and pretend watering.
Boobs. My boobs, his boobs, daddy’s boobs… Boobs. I’m not holding my breath for this one to pass.
Adele. Yes, the singer. He is obsessed. He doesn’t watch TV, except for Adele music videos. He’s mesmerized. In the car he sings her riffs during the bridge in “Hello” complete with eye closing and emotive hand raising. He is feelin it!
Stretching. It’s not uncommon to catch him mid sun salutation, complete with strong exhales and hands in the prayer position. Sometimes when he falls, he uses the opportunity of suddenly finding himself on the ground to do a little down dog and upward dog. I have SO much to learn from this kid!
Our First Step Toward Weaning
August 6, 2016
It’s amazing how my love for him has become so entwined with breastfeeding. Obviously it exists outside of and far beyond this activity, but I didn’t realize how deeply it was expressed each and every time I held him at my chest and fed and comforted him from my breast until last night when I denied him for the very first time.
I’ve been toying around with the idea of weaning for a number of months now. We made it to that (somewhat arbitrary but somehow powerful) mark of one year. I had new mom fear and was so concerned about making it to a year that I didn’t ever consider what would happen after that. The answer– nothing different. The day after his first birthday he would continue nursing (on a newborn’s schedule might I add) just as he did the day before. He would continue like this for the next 7+ months.
I read weaning and breastfeeding books, I spoke with our Mommy and Me teacher who is also a lactation consultant, read countless accounts from online mommy groups, and after all of this I still felt torn. Our Mommy and Me teacher introduced the option of cutting back one night feeding. This idea appealed to my exhausted mama self and felt a little less daunting, more reasonable, and maybe even possible than going cold turkey. I know that works for some mamas, but that hasn’t felt right for me. Plus my gut just tells me it isn’t our time to stop altogether yet.
I did some homework the night before, snapping out of my half asleep autopilot haze to note his waking patterns a bit better. Early morning is when it all falls apart, with near constant waking and nursing. I decided that window would be our target, still only half committed.
So the next night (last night) when he woke around 4:00am and asked for a boo-boo, I told him he could have a boo-boo in the morning. All hell broke loose. He threw a tantrum and asked through gasps for air and tear soaked cheeks for a boo-boo about a thousand more times. Each time I responded, I’m sorry buddy not right now, but (insert one of these rotating substitutions:) we can snuggle, would you like your water, we can sing a song, I love you so much, you’re safe buddy, mommy will hold you, we can have a boo-boo when the sun comes up and we wake up in the morning. He was hysterical — thrashing, flailing, and kicking. After what felt like an hour but was probably somewhere closer to 10 minutes, he finally calmed down. He fell asleep (with his hand in my shirt, of course) as I held him in my arms, patted his bottom, rocked him, and between “shhh’s” quietly sobbed.
I don’t know what gave me the resolve to carry through with this first step toward weaning this morning. It was heartbreaking, denying him the simple action that gives him such comfort that only I can give, but I kept in mind (at least I assume that had to be the driving force as I repeatedly refused him) the bigger picture and what I think will be best for both of us…a goddamn night’s sleep.
This was incredibly emotional for both of us, but also somewhat empowering. We did it, and we’re both alive to tell the tale. I still love him just as much. He knows I love him.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week
August 4, 2016
This time last year during World Breastfeeding Week I posted a photo on my social media accounts of my son nursing. We were just a couple of months into our breastfeeding journey. Like so many new moms, I was influenced by all the fear-invoking conversation that surrounds both birth and breastfeeding, and I was so afraid that our breastfeeding relationship would end before we were ready.
Well today, after 555 days of nursing, this boy of mine shows absolutely no sign of slowing down, let alone stopping altogether. 😳 I was so fixated on making it to a year that I gave absolutely no thought to what would happen after those 365 days.
Sometimes my 19-month-old still nurses like a newborn (God, help me), except now he verbalizes: “A boo-boo? Other side?” In fact the first two words he ever strung together we’re “other boo-boo.” It’s cute. It’s a lot cuter during the day than in the middle of the night…but it’s cute. 😉
I love nursing him, the time it gives us together, and the physical closeness. I deeply treasure our breastfeeding journey, but I have a feeling I may tap out before he does. He’s no longer the tiny baby in the photo from a year ago that fits on one arm. Now he’s huge and heavy and there are arms and legs hanging out all over he place. I don’t know what’s next for us or how much longer we’ll keep going. I’m trying to negotiate following his lead and taking care of my tired self. It’s a tricky balance right now.
June 28, 2016
A compassionate reminder to my fellow new mamas: In becoming a mother, you are undergoing the biggest transformation of your life. There will be growing pains, and there will be days and nights when it’s really hard and uncomfortable. While it may feel like you’re falling apart at times, you’re actually just falling into your new self. Like with all falls, you get hurt when you try to control or stop it. Instead, try to roll with it. It’s natural to desperately cling to the shattered pieces of your former self, because she’s all that you know, and the unknown can be totally scary. But try to let them slip through your fingers, and then take a look at what’s left — she just might be extraordinary.
You will not be your old self ever again, but rather a new, beautiful mama-self. She may be unstable and feel foreign at times, but try to encourage her growth and get to know her. She’s pretty cool and happens to carry the most radiant, authentic essence of your past self. Be patient with and kind to her. Treat her as you do your newborn child because she too was just born. You can’t expect her to have all the answers (or any of them for that matter). How could she? She’s never done this before.
Your life will never be the same again either, and that’s a good thing. I think that if every single aspect of your life has changed somehow since becoming a mother it means you’re doing something right.
I’m a year and a half into this transformation (longer if you count pregnancy), and there are days when motherhood challenges every facet of my self — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And yet, it is my proudest title, greatest teacher, and most rewarding role. I do not always succeed at embracing my new self and life, but I aspire to, and I’m really trying.
Note to Self
June 19, 2016
Be present. Be kind. Be honest. Be grateful.
Our Job As Parents
May 3, 2016
Our job as parents is to preserve our children’s self esteem. It is our natural state to be confident, self-assured, focused, in touch with our true self and our purpose. This is the way we are as children. Many of us lose that connection along the way. It’s a gradual process. Some live out the entirety of their journey disconnected, while others put in hard work learning again how to truly love themselves and honor their unique purpose and truth.
We must live in our individual truth, live our purpose, be our true selves. Must. Everything else is a waste — a waste of time, energy, heart, life. Life is too too precious to live any other way.
As his mother, I’ll do whatever I can to help my son feel self-assured, focused, and confident. I want nothing more than for him to be healthy and become 100% his true self, whomever that may be…
Note to Self
August 31, 2015
More listening and learning, less talking and teaching.
And All At Once
July 29, 2015
It’s amazing how the whole world changed the instant I became a mother. The intricacies of a leaf became infinitely more fascinating, a spoon endlessly entertaining, and bubbles completely hilarious. Crosswalks became more dangerous, speed limits much too fast, and the nightly news unbearably tragic. Sunsets became more beautiful and strangers much more friendly. Lawn mowers became much louder and my drive home after work much longer. Life became much more precious and my own mother even more incredible. Time started moving faster, too. It really is amazing how all these things happened on the very night my son was born.
December 4, 2014
This is my mantra in my final month of pregnancy, leading up to the birth of my son:
I am strong. I am confident. I am supported. I am loved.