Where Whine Meets Wine

Rocking Chair Bliss

Thankful Friday… today I am both thankful in general, and thankful it’s Friday. We are expecting some snow, starting this morning, this weekend and I’m looking forward to a weekend of snuggling in with my honeys and maybe some fun time outside. we haven’t had enough snow to really enjoy winter activities and my biggest boy has been so sad about that. Today he decided he misses warm weather since there’s nothing fun to do outside right now. Can’t say I blame him. We were looking forward to snowball fights, snowmen, sledding, and snowshoeing…but there just hasn’t been the snow for it. Hopefully this weekend will turn that around. So today, I am thankful for weather that feels like winter, and hoping it brings snow to make it look like winter as well.

I am also thankful for something else. Those that know me in real life, and probably those that have read along with me for a while now, know that I am a breastfeeding advocate (the daughter of a lactation consultant, I can’t help it!). Now if you know my feelings on breastfeeding and it’s importance you probably just think that I’m not one of the masses who has struggled with it. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. Now I am a go to person for questions, and have never minded the late at night phone calls fielding questions that I sometimes get. Sometimes my hubby even gets phone calls about breastfeeding to have him run by me. I don’t mind one bit. The truth is, a lot of the answers I have, is because I’ve been there. I’ve had a baby who only wanted to nurse all the time (and by all the time, I mean all the time. Truly.), I’ve had to figure out how to get newborns to latch correctly, I’ve had to figure out how to deal with nursing strikes and growth spurts, cluster feedings, thrush, and teething. With my oldest I lost my supply when he was only 9 months- when I was pregnant with his sister. With MissE she and I both battled a long, painful battle with thrush when she was 12 months old. And now with my youngest, after we passed the year mark I was thrilled. No major bumps (or bites). I thought that finally I might have one child that I could wean naturally, in our own time. And it seemed as if we were going rather smoothly along that road. Unfortunately, as his eye teeth have come in, he has developed some bad habits in his latch. My oldest was so adamant about nursing that even very, very little I could coach him in how to hold his mouth and he would do whatever it took to continue nursing. My youngest is more stubborn about doing things the way he wants. These teeth have been slowly easing their way in for months. Seriously- they first poked through  about 2 months ago and they’re still maybe half in. Try as I may, and try with all my might I did, but have ended with pain and lots of tears. After the battle we went through with MissE, hubbyman was adamant that I not let it progress to infection and the battle that becomes. While it seems we may be headed down that road anyways, we’ve certainly been trying everything in our power. I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. I was not getting enough milk and my body was not healing fast enough to actually nurse him. Last week he and I were both sick, which made pumping more difficult. I mean, not only did I not feel well, but he didn’t either, therefore was always in arms. Pumping and holding a wiggly baby toddler is not so easy. Today is my 5th day of not pumping. It’s kind of heartbreaking and I feel disappointed and sad.Littlest is now 18 months old, and I know that I have gone above and beyond what a lot of moms do, but it was not how I had envisioned things. You’d think with 3 kids, at least one of them would be easy! (But I guess it just adds to my frame of reference for more breastfeeding questions.) Now I know this doesn’t sound like it fits into a thankfulness post, and if I’m honest, I’ll tell you- I am not thankful for this. At all. But what I am thankful for is the support I have always been given by my husband. He came to my defense when I called the failings of my body into question (between his pregnancy, his birth, and now this…). He has become a staunch advocate himself, and  I find that something to be so thankful for.

We recently acquired a rocking chair that my parents had in the house I grew up in, which was wonderful because we didn’t have any furniture that rocked. And everyone with kids needs something that rocks! Between sick times and cuddle times- it’s just a necessity. At least to me. And over the holiday sales I found some suede microfiber fabric on major clearance that I snatched up to reupholster it with. I just about lived in this chair while we were all sick, rocking Littlest to sleep. And it became a miracle for while we were transitioning to bottles and milk not from the tap. We’d always nursed for nap time and bed time, and it was becoming a challenge to put him down without. In came the rocking chair. I mentioned to hubbyman how thankful I was for the rocking chair to rock and snuggle him in close, and how still having that time was helping to alleviate some of my disappointment. And so this week he took it upon himself and took apart the chair. He took the old upholstery off, he did some upkeep to the chair itself, and he spent a couple evenings in a row doing the actual reupholstering. I really missed being able to use it while it was a work in progress. But when I took Littlest upstairs to rock after an hour of unsuccessful bedtime attempts, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. He put his chubby little hand around my neck, gave me a kiss (along with the sound- his kisses always include the sound mmmwah!), nestled in, and went right to sleep.  It may not be the way I’d hoped, or the way I’d envisioned, but as I sat and rocked my sleeping baby, the disappointment and frustrations subsided and all I felt was thankful. For this old rocking chair turned into new and my sweet hubbyman who always seems to know my heart.

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Ain’t that a kick in the head

Lately, I’ve been wondering something. Well, lots of things, but this is in the top ten, I’d say. Is it possible for me to say how I feel and what I believe, to people that feel and/or believe differently, without judging them? I think it is.

I feel like I have two main pieces of advice that I usually give to my friends when they become mommies: 1) No matter what anyone says, YOU will know YOUR baby better than ANYONE else does. 2) Risks and benefits. Before doing something or deciding something when it comes to your child’s health and well-being, ask yourself, what are the risks and what can I live with? We all want what’s best for our children. I found myself asking this question (to myself) frequently when my oldest was a newborn (especially at the Dr’s!), when faced with a choice, whether it be to breastfeed or bottle feed, or to CIO or not, or to let the kids play outside vs watching TV…big and little!

Here is a shortlist of things I believe/practice/do/whatever in my parenthood. Yours may be different, yours may be the same… we each have to live with the results. And I say that without insinuating that my results will be better, or worse, than yours. (Because obviously mine will be better. Kidding, kidding.)

  • I use cloth diapers on Littlest E, and for various (valid!) reasons I didn’t with the older two, even though we talked about it and thought about it. While I totally love it, I only bought enough for about a week, so by the time we’re to the weekend, he’s in disposables, which is of course when we usually see people, and so I get asked about if we’re still using them all the time. I’ve been meaning to buy more for months, but just keep forgetting! (And maybe at this point I’m just wishfully thinking that he may not need them for too much longer!) It’s sooo much cheaper (key selling point to hubbyman). Plus less waste, which is something of importance to us, as a family. We’re not super hippyfied, just kinda straggling along the edges.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything about this in here, but we didn’t use CIO (cry it out) methods for our children (under one)… although sometimes in the middle of the night, it is occasionally temping. There are various reasons for our choice in this, but none of them really matter because our children are stubborn! Biggest E would cry until he threw up and then cry some more… there was so crying that child to sleep. Road trips were not fun. Miss E you could lay her down, and just pat her back gently and she’d fall asleep very quickly (she’s still that way). Littlest E as a newborn could be laid down sleepy after a feeding and would go quickly to sleep. Occasionally he’s still willing to do this. Now he likes to eat and then just snuggle for a few minutes. It normally doesn’t take him long to go down. That’s just the way my children are. Because of how close in age the older two are, when Miss E was born Big E had a hard time. He was used to mommy putting him to sleep, but that wasn’t really an option since it was prime feeding time for the new baby. Therefore Daddy took on that job. And Big E did not appreciate it, for months. Man he would cry… for a loooong time. At least it felt that way to the mama listening in the other room, generally crying along with him. But he was being held by his daddy, so I’m not sure where that falls on the “crying it out” spectrum.
  • Breastfeeding. As the daughter of a lactation consultant (among many other mother/baby licensures) I have been exposed to it my whole life, and I never really knew there was any sort of stigma surrounding it. Growing up, I always found it odd when that wasn’t how babies were fed, because that was all I knew. Plus, it truly saved my brother’s life. Drs said that without it, he never would have survived his serious illnesses he suffered as a newborn. And for me, with a few short breaks in between, I have been nursing for the better part of the last 4 1/2 years. That’s a long time. While I’m ready for the freedom that will come with littlest E’s gradual and eventual weening, I know that I will be sad. But at least I’ve reduced my risk of breast cancer by over half! Not to mention all the other health benefits for me and baby (like reduced rate of SIDS -over 50%, reduced rates of asthma, allergies, and obesity…the list goes on). Plus the bmilk changes as your baby grows, so that it has what your baby needs at all steps. Nothing man-made can come close to that. Plus, God designed it, and I kind of think that He knew what He was doing. But that’s just me. Nobody can ever tell me I don’t know how hard it can be, because I totally get it. From poor latches, to thrush, to double infections, to having to pump exclusively to having to hand express, to an overnight change in milk supply (loss)… I’ve been there, done that. No fun, but to me, it’s worthwhile.
  • I fed on-demand. If baby was hungry, baby would get fed. It seems so simple and obvious, but to some it’s not. That does not mean that baby gets fed with every fuss. They have other wants and needs too! Littlest E hated to have a wet diaper and would immediately stop fussing as soon as it would be changed. Big E, he always just wanted to be cuddled. Miss E, she just wanted to be where she could see everything going on. Thankfully feedings (because they are so physically demanding) get more spaced out as they grow, because the ever 1-2 hrs that a newborn needs can be exhausting! And did you know that when you’re measuring the time since your last feeding you measure from when you last STARTED feeding and not when the feeding ended? Like I said, it can be exhausting. Those first few months I always felt very “touch overwhelmed.” Not everyone feels this way, but I have come across lots of other mothers that do. As far as on demand feeding goes, I will say this, a growth spurt goes WAY faster if you feed on demand vs. scheduled. It can be over in a couple days vs. a week (or more). I’ve witnessed the difference!
  • Breastfeeding in public. I’m a fan. I do it. I think it should be done so that more people can be exposed to it. That said, I wear nursing friendly clothing when I’m in public during a feeding session. I am not offended by the women who throw care to the wind and bare all (she has the right to feed her child how she chooses), that said, I’m not that woman. I’ve had enough practice now that I’ve had lots of strangers walk up to me to get a look at one of my chubby-faced babies only to realize (after a conversation) that I’d been nursing the whole time.
  • I never implemented a schedule. That said, we do develop routines. Personally, I think everyone benefits from a routine, it’s when you have a hard and fast schedule with no flexibility that I find I don’t agree with.
  • I didn’t want any of my kids to watch TV before they were 2 (because this is what’s recommended!)…Big E really didn’t and I think we have that to thank for his big imagination and the way he really loves to just play on his own. Miss E was probably closer to 18 months, just because her brother was older… but really she was over 2 before she even wanted to watch anything. Littlest E, I’m sad to say wants to watch TV now. I try to distract if I’ve let the bigger ones watch something… thankfully he’s still young enough that he’s distractable. That and they all really just love to play, more than they want to sit still.
  • Food. I believe in not filling my kids up with garbage. While they have had McDonald’s (which they really only like for the playland) we are teaching them about the importance of what we put into our body. Their favorite weekly activity? The farmer’s market. Really. They love fresh fruits and vegetables. Big E loves (and will request!) spinach, and both he and Miss E love broccoli. Hubbyman and I believe in living our lives with intention, and we believe that should include the things we eat (not to mention the health benefits or how we just plain ‘ol feel better when we eat that way!), and we believe that should be passed down to the kids.
  • Discipline. I do not like spanking. In general, not just with my children. But I am not a believer that no spanking has to mean no discipline. My children have been spanked, but it is very few and very far between. Actually, I’m not sure when the last time was… anyhow. For me, discipline needs to be consistent and fair and AGE APPROPRIATE (I cannot stress that enough). For Big E, he needs a quiet space to settle down. He’s been this way since he was really, really little. I don’t shut his door, but tell him he’s going to have some settle down time (after talking about whatever attitude or action he’s needing to have settle down time for). He either a) falls asleep, b) calms down and comes out saying, “I’m ready to be happy now!” or c) calms down and begins to play quietly on his own. I’m ok with all these options. Miss E is an entirely different story. If stuck in her room you’d have to shut the door (or she’d never stay put without you physically holding her there) and she would scream the whole time, no matter the length, and still be just as worked up when you get her out as when you put her in. What she requires is about 3 minutes of one-on-one time. Tell her why her behavior is unacceptable, tell her what you expect, hug and kiss her and she’s good to go. I have yet to develop a routine with Littlest one, but his time will come too. *Sigh*
I’m sure there’s more but I’m on a timeline, and I may be getting behind… Please know I don’t mean this as a judgement on the way YOU do things, nor am I telling you this is how you need to do things. It’s more or less just me sharing my reason for doing things the way I do, you know, in case you were wondering. (*Wink*) And to show you that even with all my feelings and beliefs on various aspects of parenting, there has to be some wiggle room because each child will keep you guessing, as they are each unique. Whether you have one or twenty-two (God help you if you have 22!). And you know, to show that I can be me, and you can be you… and we’ll focus on the things we do have in common! Motherhood and parenthood, and really life in general, is hard enough without having to justify your every move and decision to the rest of the people around you!
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