motherhood

Raw.

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Once upon a time I heard that life carves deep ravines in you by way of pain so that one day you can be deeply filled with love. Over the years I have changed so much but never as much as I did at the 22nd year of my life. One day in said year, I decided to get breast implant surgery because I had reached the peak of unhappiness with my lack of shape. Not graced with any hip curves or big breasts or an ample backside (these had somehow been programmed to be part of "the ideal woman" in my psyche) I set out to do something about it. When I woke up from that procedure and the general anesthesia began to wear off, I looked around me and knew my life had changed forever. I even said out loud to the nurse attending me, "Something is different" and that statement had nothing to do with the two new mounds jotting out from my chest. I felt different in every way.

I got home and began a tremendous healing process. One that took a month, or a few years, or one that goes on today, depending on who you ask. My poles had shifted. I had gotten the breasts I had always longed for but I no longer really wanted them. I stayed home for a month in pajamas, with waves after relentless waves of panic attacks pounding me; I quit my job; quit some friends; I began to lose my self. Suddenly I turned the dial off on so many things that were relevant to me while perceiving enormous amounts of new things that weren't really new but new to my eyes that now could SEE. I had glimpses of discomfort such as this growing up- slight panic attacks in my bed at different times growing up while I was in bed at night with my eyes closed whiletrying to understand the meaning and the scope of the infinite. But all of this... this was a point of no return.

If memory serves me correctly (which sometimes it doesn't now approaching forty), the change was more of an internal conflict at first. I grappled with anxiety and depression for a long time, mostly in silence. I would find myself keeled over in the fetal position many nights trying to salvage whatever dignity or shred of self-esteem I could hold on to. After that initial month of major consciousness shifting post-surgery, I found meditation and yoga and they would be the life preserver that would bring me back to shore time and time again throughout the course of my life.

Then I met a man who finished the process of turning the rock into a shining crazy diamond. He was the first man I ever felt something beyond words for but he was lukewarm for me, at best. The process of loving him was one I never regret even though it stung badly at the time because it completely turned all the lights on inside the house. He was the spark that ignited a unique inner fire I had not yet acquainted myself with. Through his lack of attention, he helped me find my feminist, my intellectual, a deeper insight into my rebelliousness, my inner guru, and my self-love. After him, I spent the better part of five years alone to gather myself, recuperate, go inside and find out what was in there, and what it was that I wanted to express out there.

Then I met my husband. Who- besides being the most incredible and awakened soul on the planet- was the perfect person to receive the ME that had emerged from all the breakdowns and time up on the lift. Before him, I ended up at the door of every next man bruised and broken and desperate for repair. But when I met him, full of self-knowledge, love, and awareness, I knew taking time for myself was the right thing to do and that whatever I had done during that time to discover myself was so, soooo good because this man would not share his life, his heart, his truth with just anyone.

Then we had our children.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had no idea what labor and birth would be like. I thought it might hurt. Hahahahahaha. Then when I found myself in the final pushes before her birth, when I thought I just couldn't anymore and thought I may have to ask for drugs or a hospital, I felt the soul of Everywoman permeate the room and I was transported to a place where every single woman that ever lived, lives, and will ever live were holding hands, forming a circle around me, and swaying side to side chanting a soothing song and infusing me with a strength that beamed out from their hearts and wombs that I never knew I had. Then, one more push and our first little was born to us and to herself Earth side. That was another moment I knew I would never return to whatever was before that moment. And then my midwife put her on my chest...

And then I knew that every ravine was overflowing with love and joy and many things words could not express.

And I knew that I had always been okay. No, more than okay... I had always been good. And enough. And more than enough, actually.

My crazy life played back in my mind- all the drinking, heartbreaks, friends lost, experiments, regrets, successes, mistakes, what ifs, trips, music, laughter, tears. It was all good because I was now holding this tiny beautiful piece of the universe that had grown into a little person in my womb in my arms and she was suckling at my breast.

I felt the exact same thing when my son was born. And again when my second son was born in the same way as his brother and sister, in a warm pool of water in our home, surrounded by our loving midwives.

Now my first little one is of school age. She made me a necklace with her little thumbprint on it. I wore it all day today and I recalled the time, before life had carved all this space to carry and love these immense souls, when I would have preferred shiny, expensive jewelry over a piece of handmade clay with a thumbprint on it.

I feel so full and happy.

Happy Mother's Day to every mother on Earth.

<3

My Favorite Part by Jessica Peill-Meininghaus

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Being a mother is one of the most exquisitely; painfully beautiful roles one can play and it is my favorite part.

The feel of my children turning somersaults in the watery world of my womb and nursing into the wee hours of the night, year after year felt like an eternity at the time, an eternity that passed by in the breadth of a second. Reading books out loud until I was hoarse, looking for gnomes and fairies on every single walk and in our yard, daily and making art together for hours seemed like it would be a part of my life forever- but I knew that that wasn't true. I knew that the little giggles and baby smiles, the tantrums and colic, the cuddles that fit their chubby little bodies into my lap, would someday pass and I was scared because that is what motherhood looked like to me. That is what I knew, what I had wanted since I was two years, sitting in my tiny rocking chair, nursing my baby doll while my mother rocked my brother to sleep.

So now, I look at these giants that came from me, well into the double digit years, mostly teenagers, and all definitely adolescents, and I wonder what motherhood means as it evolves and grows. I’m sure it varies from person to person, circumstance to circumstance but I always want it to come back to love, to know that it is rooted in this elemental piece of life.

 My mother still mothers me as I head towards forty as her mother, mothered her as she headed toward sixty and I don’t believe there is an end in sight- thank goodness! Isn’t that what we do until we are cut off by the cessation of our breath? We seem to be driven to mother by an urge so deep and so primal that to deny it is to deny the air we need to survive.

 This isn’t the need to manipulate our children’s movements or motivations or tell them how it should be or who they should be but the drive to encourage them to find themselves, help others, make the world a more peaceful, beautiful place and love all that makes them who they are. It is a drive to help them as long as we can without interfering to the point of their rebellion in the hopes that they have less pain and more joy than we can imagine, than we, perhaps, experienced in our lives.

 I wonder on a daily basis if I am modeling enough love, acceptance, forgiveness and open mindedness and what I can do better. So, I offer suggestions and like many mothers I plead and praise, rant and rave, cry and laugh in turn because the stakes couldn’t be higher and there is no manual that fits each mother, each child and each moment- we just do our best. But that’s the best part, isn’t it? That element of adventure, of unpredictability that keeps us on our toes, that frustrates us and elates us, that makes it real, keeps us present and creative and wears us into a soft place (we hope) like the Velveteen Rabbit-- A place where we become our true selves; REAL, flaws and all-- Sticky like a mango in the sun, sweet and tart and juicy and full to the brim with flavor.

 Sometimes, I wake in the middle of the night wondering: “Am I doing this right? Do they know that I am trying to meet each of them and help them on their journey as they continue to become themselves? It was so much easier when they were little, wasn't it? Do they know that I love them so much that sometimes I can’t breathe because there is no room left in my body for anything else but my love for them? Is this how my mother feels?” I know it is. And I know that they know. How can they not?—Deep down in the dark, rhythmic pumping of their hearts, they feel the beat that my heart played for them when they still swam in me, tethered by a spiraling cord that joined our blood. They know because I whispered it into their sleeping ears while they curled against me and when they came to me with scrapes and bumps and now, when we argue as they struggle to be separate and understand the newness of themselves and how they fit into this dynamic world. It’s the song a mother sings: Love, love, love, always and forever, love.

 Often, on drives I will look with awe in the rearview mirror of our ancient minivan and count their heads- one, two, three, four. All of them there, still with me for this brief moment in our lives before we scatter apart and they seek their own adventures. Who knows how long we have? The only thing that is certain is that we have right now- nothing more, I remind myself. Why wait? So, I say it, knowing that they have heard it a thousand times and seen it in my eyes more than that, knowing that they may smile or roll their eyes a little bit to shrug off the less than cool proclamation of a mother’s love to her teenage child:

 “You’re my favorite part of this life,” I tell them. “You’re my dessert- it’s the best part, you know- that’s you. If you forget everything else, remember that."

 I don’t cry, I know that upsets and embarrasses them and I always try hard to sound relaxed but solid- I want there to be solidity there because these words are never really enough.

 “We know.” They say.

 And they do. But I will keep saying it until I can no longer draw breath to do so because that’s what mothers do, rooting ourselves deep in the foundation of our love, trying, always, to do better, to give more and to find the right words to pass on our most important feelings and thoughts, the legacy of our love for them. They know because we continue to chant our mother song long after our mouths no longer open, long after our bodies lose the ability to hold them and long after our hearts have ceased to beat, we chant to them through the ether: Love, love, love, always and forever. You are my favorite part….

Home.

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 Jessica's mother surrounded her with art and creativity from the very beginning. Jessica began her personal journey with motherhood with the birth of her son. She was influenced by her natural and Waldorf-inspired upbringing and brought those elements into her own parenting techniques along with some of her own ideas and made a constant effort to follow her instincts. She lives in Maine where she unschools three of her four children who are now eighteen, sixteen, fourteen and twelve and makes art with them as often as possible. She is a fiber artist and author of the book The Gnome Project: One Woman's Wild and Woolly Adventure and she strives to say the words "Thank you" and "I love you" every single day.

You can follow Jessica and her lovely work on her website, on her Facebook page, or on Instagram as thegnomewoman.

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Jessica's favorites on her journey through motherhood:

Books

Grimm's fairy tales

Elsa Beskow books

Astrid Lindgren books

The Little Ghost by Otfried Preussler

The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

The Inkheart Series by Cornelia Funke

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke

Games

Saboteur

Clue

Oh, Gnome You Don't

Frog Juice

Quiddler

Orchard (board game by Haba)

Contract Rummy

Online Shop

MamaKopp (on Etsy and Facebook)

Mother of 3.

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  mother3 This picture tells the story of a baby who pooped on himself when his dad was taking a walk with him. Poppa looked into the diaper bag only to find a muslin blanket and an empty box of wipes. No change of clothes, no diapers, no baby wipes. Poppa wiped the baby with the clean part of the diaper, discarded the very soiled clothing, and wrapped him in the muslin blanket. Baby remained this way for about a half hour while poppa continued to walk him.

This picture also tells the story of a momma who now has 3 babies and can barely remember to brush her teeth. This morning she was going to, but then remembered she had already. Later in the afternoon, she recalled that it wasn't that morning that she had brushed but yesterday morning, so she then ran to the bathroom and finally brushed her teeth. She's a mom who's new to this breed of chaos. She is used to not doing everything her heart desires for herself by now- 3 children later- so when her husband offered to give her an hour to go to an outdoor community yoga class near their home, she jumped at the chance. Excited, sleep deprived, and rushing out the door as usual, she forgot to pack the diaper bag with fresh clothing and diapers and also forgot to replenish the baby wipes. Luckily her husband is very resourceful and patient! So, she tried to enjoy the yoga despite her tight body, the frustrated feelings welling up inside, the inability to quiet her mind and the judgments about her age and body in the midst of that young and uber-flexible crowd.

This baby is mine. And that mother is me. As I take 10 minutes to write this, I'm keeping the beat on a rocker with my foot so my little one will stay asleep so I can write this. For the next nap, I will put him in a sling and read my week's chapter in my textbook while I walk and sway. I spend the day fending off two bigger siblings because they like to play harmonica directly in baby's ear while he sleeps or kiss him profusely or come tell me who's fault what is- very loudly. There's always so. much. to. do. There is always something to clean. There is ALWAYS laundered clothes to put away as well as clothes to launder. And there is always love. Even though my scary mommy has emerged quite a bit in the middle of moments of stress when I bargain with God, "Please, just send me a clone. Or make me grow more arms (gives new meaning to the term onto-mom). Or send me Mary Poppins... I'll do anything!" But no clones, or arms, or nannies arrive. It's just us 5 here at home, trying to stay sane, and trying to figure out where the balance is for the day.

I no longer judge any mom for anything. Many dear friends have been bullied into C-sections. Lots of moms I know use formulas for feeding or supplementing. Pacifiers. Sleep training. Swings. Carter's clothing. Strollers. All things i said I'd never do and I've had to eat my words. If more pain had presented itself with the last baby's contractions, I may have caved at some point and asked for painkillers or a hospital. I've tried a pacifier this time around. I gently sleep trained one of my kids. I have had a swing with each child. I buy Carter's clothing KNOWING  there are some poor women making a penny an hour but it's so affordable. And while I love my carriers and use them daily, I also use a stroller. With how hard parenting is, I often wonder how there are so many people in this world. That thought makes me smile though. Knowing almost all moms have struggled and eventually figured out their balance and have made it happen for their family... that's uplifting. :) Most every mom shares a secret with each other. It makes me feel like part of a secret club of badassery and loneliness and everything in between.

My life is so different. The other day a couple of friends were over and I noticed my conversational skills were at their all-time low. I couldn't remember simple words and it made for very choppy and unintelligible sentences. They say you will probably never remember your third child's name and birth date and I'm starting to think that's true. I usually call my baby by my second's name. I don't really care what I look like when I leave the house right now. I just grab whatever is most at hand and throw it on. I pick up my hair in a pony tail and head on out. If it's not easy it's just not doable. Makes me feel frumpy often but I'd rather keep things easy than stress out. It's my choice. One that I'm finally completely comfortable with.

Manis, pedis, vacations, shaving, yoga, bellydance, romantic dinners, long peaceful strolls, sleep, dates... they're all on hold now. Sometimes I want to scream and punch something or someone and sometimes I drop an F-bomb or five, but one of the things that keeps me going (besides my husband and my little ones) is that it's my life. My life as I have created it. Chaotic as it is. This is me now.

Guilt and Babywearing.

... two things that seemingly have nothing to do with each other, right? I found out this week that this is not the case.

I recently committed to learning to carry little one #2 in a woven wrap. Woven wrap carrying is another level of wearing your baby- it takes real commitment to learn because it is very challenging and because there are 500 different ways to carry your baby in a wrap- each more labyrinthian than the next. The advice I have been given over and over is to do it once or twice a day for two weeks and you'll have figured it out.

It's like my Everest right now.

Two mornings ago, I almost chucked the wrap into the trash bin because after ten minutes of maneuvering around like a pretzel, discomfort, failed positioning and breaking out into a full-on sweat, I gave up and snapped my Ergo on in 3 seconds flat.

"So why not just wear the Ergo forever?" you might ask.

For one, my son has been in 24 month clothing for 3 months now and he's not even a year old yet. So, his Ergo days are numbered. But also, the wraps- once figured out- are so comfortable and can be worn so many different ways. Again... once figured out.

So far the easiest for me is the back carry. I lulled him to sleep on my back while walking him around the neighborhood the other night. It was yummy.

And then... it wasn't.

I started feeling huge pangs of mommy guilt. I was having the most lovely walk under the stars with my son, enjoying the balmy air and appreciating the peace and quiet. And I looked over to my husband who had little one #1 asleep on his back. I looked at her little sleeping cherub face- cheeks all smushed up against his back- and I wanted to cry.

My guilt was consuming me and I did the walk of shame back home to put the little ones in their bed. I sat down with my feelings and began to nervous knit (kinda like nervous eating but with less calories).

A montage of my daughter's babyhood flashed in my mind's eye and I dove deeper down into my shame spiral. From the moment I birthed her I was such a mess. If it wasn't breast issues it was depression or anxiety or severe self-doubt or crippling loneliness. I bumped her off to my husband countless times because I couldn't deal and I yelled and cried and felt hysterical more times than I can remember. I don't think I started to feel any semblance of normal until I was 9 months postpartum. Even then, it was only a slight trickle of light coming in through the cracks. So, to see myself able and happy to take my little one everywhere with me- since the very beginning- enough to commit to challenging babywrapping, it makes me feel sad. Like I jipped my first-born of a fun and happy first year. Momma guilt weighs the heaviest, I think. And mommas know how to lay it on themselves quite thick.

The only thing that helped me feel better was going back into our room and watching them sleep for a minute. No matter what has happened, I am a balanced and content momma now to both my little ones. It's a very human thing to have a hard time letting go of the past. That's okay too. A huge part of being a momma is learning patience, love and compassion to open your heart for enough room to bestow them unto yourself as well. To learn to be that compassionate mother to ourselves first so we can be the best one to our children and anyone else who needs our open arms and love.

Now that I'm done sharing, I'm off to You Tube to learn how to hip carry. That Poppins hip carry is NO JOKE... and it makes me feel like anyone BUT Mary Poppins!

The mom gene.

Today I read something in a book that I found so interesting. It said that when we have feelings, physical sensations or emotions- any experience at all- our whole self responds and changes as our electromagnetic system and our RNA tells our DNA about what just happened. The messages travel through our energy systems which communicate infinitely.(*) So basically our DNA is always talking to the universe. Think about the implications of that! So while my DNA has known for three years that I became a mother, my mind had not yet received the memo fully. There were still unsettling feelings about it and some quietly constant unrest. Yesterday after finishing a deeply moving book, the resistances- big and small- came out of their caves to make themselves known. So I chanted over and over, "I am a mother" silently while taking deep breaths. Every time a resistance came up, I repeated it. "I am a mother." Over and over and over until each resistance had been met, acknowledged, understood and released. Surely, I will huff and puff next time I have to walk out of the house with a 30 lb diaper bag and clothes stained with milk and markers, but I suspect that and all the other resistances no longer have the hold they had on me. I am a mother and I always will be and this is no longer a condition or something to resolve or make sense of. "Mother" is who I am now. Whatever else I am, I am also always a mother. And so, I have fully opened my heart to meet my children where they are and will always hold their hand to wherever they are going. I look them in the eyes more and am more honest with my words and actions. I can love more and nurture more. I have more compassion and sensitivity for the limits of their respective ages and more wonder for the magic of their pristine joy and their precious innocence.

My mother genes have been fully activated.

 

 

(* "The Children of Now" by Meg Blackburn-Losey)

Messy motherhood. #nosleep

Talking to another momma tonight, it hit me (as it does again and again and again) that mommas are never truly ready for motherhood. Financially stable enough?... sure. Aware of their decision to have a baby... certainly. But ready for motherhood. Nope. No. Non. Niet. Nao. Nein. Just, no. Not ever. The vastness of it... the multi-layered nature of the whole vastness of it... it's just huge.

Add to that the fact that most of us are either working while doing it or trying to run a home and not run ourselves to the ground in the meantime and it just becomes a whole other thing.

And then add to that the fact that we are culturally conditioned to think things that are absolutely wrong about motherhood and then we have a mess on our hands and many situations that have led to depression, anxiety, abandoned children, and broken relationships.

When someone who is pregnant asks me about life as a mother, I say "Please hold on to the bar and keep your legs and arms inside the vehicle at all times." And if they're especially carefree as I was I say, "The moment you decide to have a child, just know that there is something like a ten ton truck coming at you at 100 mph and one day you will feel the impact. Whether it's while you're pregnant, when you are birthing or 2 years postpartum, you WILL feel it." Sorry, ladies. I am here to smash any and all ideas that motherhood is happy coos and smiles and cute, smooth powder-scented baby butts- like what it looks like in a Johnson and Johnson's advertisement. What I, admittedly, thought it was going to be. It could be- if you make poor decisions that are going to affect your child for the rest of his or her life. But mostly, motherhood is messy. Emotionally and physically messy. Messy floors, messy clothing, messy feelings... messy, messy, messy.

After my first child, I fantasized about being a tribeswoman. Everyday. So that I could a. be topless all day, b. have other women around me who could help me and keep me company so I wouldn't have to stare at the wall all day and c. live in some kind of hut or teepee with quick access to the outdoors and the elements for the benefit of myself and my family. I still do sometimes. Especially after the 55th time I've put all the books back on the bookshelf before 11am. And on the days when I am so bored and know somewhere deep inside that this way of existing is not natural for mothers and all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs, "THERE HAS GOT TO BE ANOTHER WAYYYY!!!" There is, but I don't see it as a truly viable option. At least not right now, not the way the world is set up.

But, I digress.

The reason I began writing this post is to relay some valuable information I was given by a friend a few days ago when I asked her about what I could do about my toddler who still wakes up some nights. My friend is the principal of an incredible school in town. I value her opinions about childhood and parenting greatly and this- below- is what she sent me. I hope it helps any momma with the same questions I had or reminds mommas that they are doing right by their children. Society is not always fit to answer messy motherhood questions. It wants to wrap it up in a neat little box, even when things are very much not neat, not little, and don't fit in a box.

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsleepthrough.html

Kathy's Commentaries

Sleeping through the Night

by Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D.

Department of Anthropology, Texas A & M University

I am an Adjunct (semi-retired) Associate Professor of Anthropology and Nutrition at Texas A&M University, and I do research on infant/child feeding beliefs/practices both cross-culturally and from an evolutionary perspective, as well as research on children's health and growth. I know from first-hand experience that being a new parent is a difficult time of adjustment, especially when expectations don't match reality, especially when our culture has taught us that children should have certain needs/wants/behaviors and then our children don't seem to fit that mold. This problem of a mismatch between expectations and reality can be very difficult for new parents to accept and adjust to. Sometimes, some children can be encouraged/convinced/forced to fit the mold of cultural expectations, and they do fine. Othertimes, though they do eventually fit the mold, it is at the expense of their sense of who they are, their self-confidence, their view of the world as a safe and trusting place, sometimes, even, at the expense of their health or life. Probably nowhere do cultural expectations and the reality of children's needs conflict more than in the two areas of breastfeeding frequency and sleeping behaviors.

Human children are designed (whether you believe by millions of years of evolution, or by God, it doesn't matter) -- to nurse *very* frequently, based on the composition of the milk of the species, the fact that all higher primates (Primates are the zoological Order to which humans belong, higher primates include monkeys and apes) keep their offspring in the mother's arms or on her back for several years, the size of the young child's stomach, the rapidity with which breast milk is digested, the need for an almost constant source of nutrients to grow that huge brain (in humans, especially), and so on. By very frequently, I mean 3-4 times per hour, for a few minutes each time. The way in which some young infants are fed in our culture -- trying to get them to shift to a 3-4 hour schedule, with feedings of 15-20 minutes at a time, goes against our basic physiology. But humans are very adaptable, and some mothers will be able to make sufficient milk with this very infrequent stimulation and draining of the breasts, and some children will be able to adapt to large meals spaced far apart. Unfortunately, some mothers don't make enough milk with this little nursing, and some babies can't adjust, and so are fussy, cry a lot, seem to want to nurse "before it is time" and fail to grow and thrive. Of course, usually the mother's body is blamed -- "You can't make enough milk" -- rather than the culturally-imposed expectation that feeding every 3-4 hours should be sufficient, and the mother begins supplementing with formula, which leads to a steady spiral downward to complete weaning from the breast. Human children are also designed to have breast milk be a part of their diet for a minimum of 2.5 years, with many indicators pointing to 6-7 years as the true physiological duration of breastfeeding -- regardless of what your cultural beliefs may be. I can provide you with references to my research on this topic if you wish to read more.

The same is true of sleeping. Human children are designed to be sleeping with their parents. The sense of touch is the most important sense to primates, along with sight. Young primates are carried on their mother's body and sleep with her for years after birth, often until well after weaning. The expected pattern is for mother and child to sleep together, and for child to be able to nurse whenever they want during the night. Normal, healthy, breastfed and co-sleeping children do not sleep "through the night" (say 7-9 hours at a stretch) until they are 3-4 years old, and no longer need night nursing. I repeat -- this is NORMAL and HEALTHY. Dr. James McKenna's research on co-sleeping clearly shows the dangers of solitary sleeping in young infants, who slip into abnormal patterns of very deep sleep from which it is very difficult for them to rouse themselves when they experience an episode of apnea (stop breathing). When co-sleeping, the mother is monitoring the baby's sleep and breathing patterns, even though she herself is asleep. When the baby has an episode of apnea, she rouses the baby by her movements and touch. This is thought to be the primary mechanism by which co-sleeping protects children from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In other words, many cases of SIDS in solitary sleeping children are thought to be due to them having learned to sleep for long stretches at a time at a very early age, so they find themselves in these deep troughs of sleep, then they may experience an episode of apnea, and no one is there to notice or rouse them from it, so they just never start breathing again. Co-sleeping also allows a mother to monitor the baby's temperature during the night, to be there if they spit up and start to choke, and just to provide the normal, safe environment that the baby/child has been designed to expect.

Is this convenient for parents? No!

Is this difficult for some new parents to adjust to? Yes!

No doubt about it, the gap between what our culture teaches us to expect of the sleep patterns of a young child (read them a story, tuck them in, turn out the light, and not see them again for 8 hours) and the reality of how children actually sleep if healthy and normal, yawns widely.

But the first steps to dealing with the fact that your young child doesn't sleep through the night, or doesn't want to sleep without you is to realize that:

  • (1) Not sleeping through the night until they are 3 or 4 years of age is normal and healthy behavior for human infants.
  • (2) Your children are not being difficult or manipulative, they are being normal and healthy, and behaving in ways that are appropriate for our species.

Once you understand these simple truths, it becomes much easier to deal with parenting your child at night. Once you give up the idea that you must have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, and view these nighttime interactions with your child as precious and fleeting, you get used to them very quickly.

I highly recommend Dr. Sears' book on Nighttime Parenting [available from the La Leche League International Catalogue]. Our children's early years represent the most important and influential time of their lives. It passes all too quickly. But meeting your child's needs during these first few years will pay off in many ways in the years to come.

Prepared August 25, 1997

I seem to have lost my super cape.

My house is full of molding clay.  Like... it's EVERYWHERE.  I can't keep a clean house longer than an hour. I do laundry every day now.  Every day.  I once asked a mom friend about laundry and cloth diapering before I had little one #1 and she said "I do laundry every other day or every day."  I remember thinking, "I am NEVER going to do that."  Never was closer than I thought.

My favorite tee shirt is full of dried milk.  And I still haven't changed.

I went to the park this morning with the two kiddos for the time today and it went fairly well but my back hurts so much from it and I had to ask another mom for help to get both kids in the car.  And I had to stay longer than I wanted to because little one #1 refused to get up off a friend's buzzy car and I had no hands to pick her up with to take her to the car.

I left the house without brushing my hair (but did somehow manage to brush my teeth... hooray!)

When I was pulling up to my house, I looked to the backseat and saw both little ones peacefully asleep in their chairs.  I don't mind staying in the car for as long as I need to for them to nap but today it was a problem because I really had to go to the bathroom and had no stroller in the trunk to help me carry my 30 lb. toddler home while loaded with a heavy diaper bag and an infant car seat with my infant in it.  I waited for an hour and when I couldn't wait any more, I woke up little one #1, grabbed #2 out of his chair with lightning speed and ran upstairs in just enough time to make it without any accidents.  And since little one #2 is in arms, I am writing this in my underwear because I didn't have any hands to pull my shorts back up.

I got peed on 3 times today by little one #2.  He's a boy.  p.s....Peepee Teepees don't work.

I went to see my husband for lunch at our restaurant and he was in the middle of a rush and a photo shoot.  So when little one #1 was tugging at his pants and not letting him talk he said to me, "Figure out what to do with her because I'm in the middle of a lot right now."  I understood, but it still sucked.

The routine and the familiarity I had reached for little one #1 and I is gone.  I had gotten as far as starting to do some preschool homeschooling with her a bit- lots of reading, art, crafts, parks, playdates, etc but now that's all gone now and super mom went with it.

I feel completely defeated and, not to mention, very tired.  I'm sure I'll get the hang of it but today, two feels really REALLY hard.