Wednesday, April 27, 2011

smart AND pretty

In the last few months I have started the journey to a more natural way of life. I'm not saying that I'm going all- little house on the prairie, but i am attempting to try a more natural, cleaner way of living. I have been doing alot of research on sites like skin deep cosmetics and all signs points to environmental factors such as pollution and chemicals as the leading causes of cancer, autoimmune disorders and early on-set puberty. Consider the bejeebers scared out of me! Ignorance is bliss, but I have been trying my best to make informed decisions when it comes to some of the products that i choose.

I inadvertently began the switch a few years ago, when my sister (holla!) convinced me to try some natural mineral make-up. SOLD! I am in love with it now and feel that it provides nice coverage and there are plenty of color options. I then replaced my toxic cleaning products with some environmental friendly Shaklee all purpose cleaner. I use it on everything except the bathroom, that still gets straight-up bleach. I can't help it, bathrooms are gross! My next switch was equally easy. I traded in most of our regular meat products for organic meat. I did this due to the hormones and antibiotics that are injected in animals and then fed to our family. Along with meat went milk and eggs, now i only buy these two things organic because they are easy to find in my local grocery store.

Naturally, I began to switch our personal care items to more safe products. We went with all natural deodorant for my boys and i use it often as well, but here lies my dilemma.......i haven't found a brand that works well for me and i don't want to be sweaty and smelly, so i cheat sometimes and use the "strong" stuff. Then I have fear and guilt that I am putting chemicals on my body, but I am compelled to do this because I am vain about personal hygiene. Peanut has eczema and I replaced cortisone cream with an essential oil blend. I researched the baby lotion that i was putting on my kids and decided to make an all-natural body lotion for them instead. Its greasy, but I'm still working on it. I use them on myself too, though i am finishing off my B&BW lotions because i am too cheap to throw them in the garbage...

Anyway, when it comes to my kids it is easy, when it comes to myself, well...i am a product whore. I love my products! Shampoos, conditioner, face soap, lotion, eye cream, lip get the picture...I love it all, but now I'm conflicted because i have started to examine the content of said products and am not a happy girl.

I decided to make the switch item by item so as not to traumatize myself too much. The first item was recommended by my friend Christine (shout out!). She bought me a bar of Black African Soap for my face since I was using a potent acne system and i didn't have acne. I would frequently get one zit, and i would get it in size extra large. This soap smells so pretty and is all natural. It is an oatmeal soap and it has cleared my face nicely. SUCCESSFUL SWITCH! The next item to get tossed out was my under eye cream which was full of chemicals and fragrance. I started to use plain coconut oil and it seems to be working nicely. (so far - SUCCESSFUL SWITCH) I started buying and using all natural 'fragrance'-free soaps. By fragrance-free, i am referring to artificial fragrance which is not the best for your health. We are using the natural soap all over and saving the 'deodorant' soap for the three p's (pits, privates, and piggies) LOL. My next switch was a biggie. I don't know what possessed me, but i was at Wegman's and decided to buy some organic hair conditioner instead of my beloved Pantene. Pantene and I have been together for over a decade and I have yet to abandon the shampoo. Instead i wanted to make a slow break with as little stress as possible. The first few days were great. My hair was slightly dull but otherwise, happy and bouncy as usual. BUT, after a few days, I have started to notice that my hair is completely, utterly FLAT! This is not OK! I am hoping that it is the humidity, but it's not lookin like the new conditioner will be taking up permanent residence in my shower. It's like the Pantene shampoo was pissed and sabotaged it somehow while i was sleeping, just for spite. I will hang in for a bit, but this girl can't be walking around with stringy hair! I may have to try some other brand and i am committed to going natural, but c'mon, this is my hair! I plan on switching to an all natural shampoo when i get the 'do' straightened out which only leaves finding the perfect all-natural deodorant and face lotion.
Does anyone else face this struggle between wanting safe, all-natural products while trying to still look their best? I want the best of both worlds!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

a lesson from my daughter

This Saturday was like any other. Pip and I got up at 9:00 (early for us), went to theatre for a 4 hour rehearsal for peter pan, and then came home to the rest of the crew. My stepson and his bff were here for the weekend and hubz got an emergency call for a furnace repair, so all the boys went with him and were going to ride their bikes in the cul de sac where the house is located. As last minute plans were being arranged, and re-arranged, kids were scurrying around, dishes were being done and bikes were being loaded onto the truck. Also, shoes and gloves were being looked for, the remote was no where to be found and the girls were mad that they were being left behind.
For those of you who don't live in a 3 ring circus, this is quite typical. As we make spur-of-the-moment plans, try to transition from one activity to another, my stress level steadily rises. By the time we find 6 pair of shoes, 4 pair of gloves and make it out the door, it takes approximately 15 minutes. These are not 15 regular minutes either. They are stressful, tortuous, self hating minutes that make me feel inadequate and ill equipped to handle the job that I have been blessed with.
Once the boys were gone, I still had to get the girls outside because, during the tirade of transition, I somehow conveyed that I would be taKing Pip for a bike ride. Let me state a few facts.1. I don't like being cold. 2. In order for Pip to ride her new bike, we need to walk it two blocks into the ally behind our house because that is the only non hilly area for her to ride. 3 . I am not a fan of the ally.
As I begrudgingly left the house, I began to finally relax. It was cold, but not too cold. It was difficult to push Peanut's stroller while helping Pip push her bike, but not too difficult. Once we reached the ally, I was pleasantly surprised at pip's bike riding skills. It was only her second time on her new bike and she was unsure of herself at first. She made a lot of negative, fearful statements at first but with a little coaxing and cheering, she began some positive self-talk. I heard a steady chant of 'i can do it, I can do it', with different tones and inflections. I heard some 'don't stop now'-s and even a bunch of 'go, go, go'-s. It took me back 11 years to when my step-son was 5. We used to take him to my in law's to ride his little motorcycle in a big circle around their house. As he would whiz by, we would hear him talking and laughing to himself, and when we would catch a word or phrase, it was always encouraging, like 'yeah baby' and 'you'll never catch me'! Hearing Pip made me laugh and smile and as I jogged beside her, I wondered what my difficult days would be like if I cheered myself on instead of making negative statements. Would I be able to cheer myself througthe finding of the always lost shoe? Would I be able to 'go, go, go' my way through editing the preschool yearbook? How about some 'you can do it'-s while emptying the dishwasher? I'm not really sure, but I think I should give it a try....
Do any of you ever hear your little ones engaging in encouraging self-talk while working on a new or difficult task?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

i'm so excited!

I am so excited! The hubz bought me the domain name for my new home business. Here it is : and it is almost complete. I'm putting this in writing right now so that it feels more real to me. I was trying not to publish it because there is a terrible picture of me on it and my head is deformed because of the editing on the actual site, but my vain self does not even care, that's how excited I am!!!

The best part, besides the adventure of starting a new business has been the fact that my kids are so excited for me. My boys especially are overjoyed, and they are telling everyone about mama knows best! It is really cute to hear them make plans for the business. Heartbreaker told me that "we are going to be richer than OPRAH"! Haha! I explained that the 'true' best part is the fact that we have figured out a way to earn money while HELPING others and the environment! It is amazing that I have been able to research essential oils and natural butters and have been making products that really, truely work. There are no harmful chemicals and most of the products are organic. There have been some mishaps, (sorry jules for the slippery fall down the stairs and the putrid smelling test vial that you tried for me)but for the most part, we are having SUCCESS.
So here's to Mama Knows Best! Let us have success, happiness, and hope for the well-being of those we love!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

life is what you make it

I was taking a shower this afternoon when I was hit by the realization that my life doesn't suck. I know sometimes i state otherwise, but in fact, my life does not suck. The fact alone that i was able to take a mid-afternoon shower, without anyone banging on the door, is my first piece of evidence. Once I got out of the shower, i really started contemplating all of the things that I regularly bitch about. Here is my average, everyday, bitch-fest............

1. My house. I hate it. It's too small, we pay rent to live in this crapper, when we own a perfectly designed-by-me-and-hubz-to-fit-all-our-kids-and-stuff-house. the problem is that said house had a fire and we have not had the time or money to complete the renovation. that being said, I complain about it alot. I fantisize that if we lived there, the kids wouldn't fight as much, we wouldn't have such a cluttered mess on our hands, we would have more room to have friends over..............the list is neverending about how glorious our life would be if we could just get into that house! The thing is, I guess I could go to work full-time to make more money, and I guess hubz could close his business and get a mon-fri job. Then, I wouldn't be there for all of those milestones, the sweet morning snuggles or the family days that we share so often. If hubz was a 9-5er,I would have to do everything myself. He wouldn't be there to help get the kids off to school, be home in time to help me make dinner, or help on days when one of me is just not enough.

2. Money. This ties into the above point. I guess I am sacrificing money to be a mother. I can live with that, considering peanut will be in kindergarden in 4 years and I can work every day then. Plus, I do have alot of expenses that could be avoided if I choose to avoid them. For example, we have a birthday every other month. No joke. That means a cake with the family and a party with friends, not to mention treats sent into school. Then holidays X 5 kids + soccer, basketball, preschool, theatre, baseball, hockey..............well you get the point. I could skip any one of these things if i needed to, but I choose not to.

3. My kids fight. ALOT. I blame the lack of space and being outnumbered for my kids fightning. Considering that both of these items are true, I guess it could be much worse. They don't get physical very often and usually, the fighting is limited to teasing and annoying each other. Again, I can live with that, considering my kids do love and play with each oter more often than not.

As I type, I'm running out of things to complain about. Im realizing that I am not really in a bad position at all. I am actually in complete control of my life and I am in the position that I am in because I choose to be in it. I actually enjoy sitting at the computer in the afternoon while the hubz takes peanut to the bank and post office. I love that we will pick up the kids from school and have a relaxing afternoon together. The kids WILL fight and come in the house like a bunch of wild animals, but at least i will be here to witness it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

code name mama's: march of kindness

I have been reading alot about Dionna @codename mama and her March of kindness on facebook. It hit me that this was an excellent idea and I really wanted to participate, but then "the word" appeared. "The word" being COMMIT! Time and time again, I would see that word. Commit to participate in Code Name Mama's March of kindness. Commit to show a random act of kindness every day in March. Will you join us in our commitment to............well, you get the idea. Let's just say, that if we were all in a room, chairs in semi-circular formation, I would stand-up and say "my name is Jodi, and I'm a commitment-phobe".
The funny thing is, I'm not a commitment-phobe when it comes to the really big things. Marriage, check! Buy a house, check! Help raise step-son, check! Have kids, check, check, checkity, check! I'm a commitment-phobe in relation to the proverbial "small stuff". I don't "sweat" it, I just avoid committing to it. While berating myself for the past few days, and wishing that I could just commit to this quest, I had a thought. By committing to this endevear, I would be doing myself a random act of kindness. By pushing through the uncomfortable, I would be making myself a better person. There is no better act of kindness.
As I type, I am thinking of the sample acts of kindness that Dionna has listed on her website . there were so many simple ideas that can be done. Acts of kindness that should be done everyday, even if there was no 'challenge' to do so. You can spend 5 extra minutes with your child, minutes that would normally be spent on the phone or doing some other task that takes up most of our adult life. You can do something nice for a friend our your partner. Write a quick note of appreciation to someone who has been kind to you. Write a note of encouragement to someone who needs it. There are hundreds of things that could be done to make the world a kinder place.
There are a few things that I have done today that were purposeful acts of kindness, even though i was, at the time, NOT going to commit to anything!! For example, Today, when my BFF asked me to *gulp* commit to watching her daughter, my beautiful neice, I said "yes". I have no issue watching her, I just have a hard time saying "yes" without resistance. I defended a mom at work today even though I have never met her, even though she was not even present, when her son's therapist was talking about her parenting. I stopped myself from yelling at Pip when she continuously interrupted my conversation with hubz. And my greatest act of kindness occurred at a sesame street live performance. During intermission, hubz, pip, peanut and myself were taking a stroll. I was wearing peanut in my moby and we passed a similar aged toddler on a leash. I ignored this, although I had much to say. THEN, as I was recovering from the sight of it, two men of a less than clean, less than smart nature, were heard by hubz saying 'you thought the leash was bad, check that thing out' to each other. Once we were past them and hubz relayed what he had overheard, I decided to do another act of kindness. I decided to NOT punch them in the face. I decided to turn around and give them some information. I asked the men if they thought my baby wrap was as bad as a leash, to which they replied, um oh um. I didn't let them lie, I just gave them some information. One of the men was holding his toddler who was thrashing around in his arms. I pointed out that he would benefit from a carrier. And then I told him what I thought. Leashes promote wild, non-hand-holding behavior. It tells your child that you want them far away from you. A carrier tells my child 'i want you close because I love you'. Wearing my baby is also an act of kindness.
So, Dionna, I will try. I will try to commit to the March of kindness. I will try to do a random act of kindness, every day even though i am still more worried about the 'committment' than i am worried about the 'kindness'!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

be vewwwy vewwwy quiet, im hiding from my family

Ok, I am going to come right out and say it. I'm fried. Burnt. Ready to freak the freak out.
It started out as a very relaxing Saturday, but I should know better by now. When you have 4 kids, relaxing leads to nothing but trouble. I spent the morning/afternoon working on my essential oil mixes and talking on the phone with cassie from not so average hippie mommy and the next thing I knew, it was 3:00.
From then it was madness. Shower, dinner, wegmans......a stop at the mountain to see the hubz and heartbreaker skiing, friend pick-up and then post dinner-dinner for those that were still hungry.....all with three of my kids.
I must have been out of my mind to think I could actually have some 'me' time while the kids played. I was trying to relax and have some fun with my friends at instinctual mamas where they were doing online contests and giveaways. Well, I guess it was not meant to be. Peanut destroyed the playroom and pip was in my face. Curlytop and his friend were so loud and I kept trying to ignore them, but it was no use. Peanut poured a box of staples all over and then beat the shit out of me. She pulled my hair and slapped me across the face so hard that I swore! Realizing that I was on the verge of losing it, I left the computer and took the girls up for a bath. peanut was terrible. it was really unlike her. she purposely tried to soak me and threw everything out of the tub. She beat her sister and jumped out of the tub and tried to run out of the bathroom. Finally, I had enough. I tried to put peanut to sleep but she was not having it, but then I heard hubz come home. I looked at peanut, kissed her and handed her to dear old dad.
That's why, right at this moment, I am hiding in my bedroom, writing this. I am savoring the silence. Enjoying the far away sounds of my kids playing, yet only enjoying them because they are far away.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but right now, I need 5 minutes, before I have to re-enter my life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

what the hell smells???

I have been very busy lately. I am starting a WAH business and have been buying supplies, and mixing oils while the hubz has been designing my bottle labels. We took the kids to office max for printer paper and then to the tried and true Chinese buffet. When we got home, hubz got busy on the computer while I worked on homework and baths. Hubz kept saying that he smelled poo, though it sounded more like (what smells like shit) and i, of course thought he had left a poo diaper on the changing table. After searching the room for the stench, playing the age-old game of 'what the hell smells?' we found out. Our dog, Stewie, had pulled a poo diaper out of the garbage and ate it. Well, he ate most of it. I caught him just as he was going back for seconds.
In the crate he went as I pulled on my cleaning gloves and sprayed and scrubbed the rug behind the loveseat where the little bastard had contaminated. I also crawled all around the house, sniffing the rug all aound the computer and everywhere else I thought I smelled poo. Finally, I was able to go to bed.
Today, after spending the day running all over creation, we returned home, and again I smelled poo. WTH? So, again, we all played 'what the hell smells' until Pip joyously announced that she indeed found the remainder of the diaper under the loveseat that Stewie destroyed last night. Needless to say, Stew went into his crate for a time out and this mama spent the evening shampooing the rug.
Oddly and unfortunately, as a mama of four, I found nothing strange about this situation. Don't judge me!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have not allowed myself to read the blogs that have been popping up in mama-blog-ville related to baby Maddie. I knew it was a tragic reality and I wanted no part of it because I am an extremely empathetic person and didn't want to know what happened. But, I am a sucker for adventures in mommyhood, and I read christy's blog today. What a tearjerker. I am dedicating my prayers to baby Maddie's family tonight and I hope you do too.
Cherish every minute you have with your children.Every moment is a blessing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the mom i have become (mushy version)

So I blogged about parenting from instincts. It was factual and I feel like that old fashioned tv know...'just the facts'. I was not happy with the message it conveyed because the facts do not justly convey how it feels to be an instinctual mama.
Here is how it feels in the best words that I can come up with at this moment:
It feels like :
my heart is walking around outside of my body x's 4. (stole the quote but it is true)
If I am not guiding my children through life, someone much worse may guide them instead.
If my children show an interest in something, I will do everything in my power to provide them with the means to explore that interest.
If anyone were to do anything to break their spirit I would kill!
Being emotionally present with all four of my children is like looking into the sun, its blinding and amazing and could destroy me.
I have to go beyond my own comfort zone in order to be the best parent I can be in the short time that I am the center of their world.
I can do anything if the end result will benefit my children.

The connection that I feel with my children is not weird, it is beautiful.

the mom i have become

I am an instinctual mama. I use my instincts to parent. It should be that simple but alas, it is not the way of the world.
I consider myself a work in progress, a woman of many talents, interests, and roles. My parenting is also a work in progress and I have not always held my current parenting philosophies.
In my early parenting stage I considered myself knowledgeable and loving. I read books, followed doctor's orders and was completely mainstream (with the exception of vaccine schedules, i've never trusted those buggars). I took my baby to the Dr. for every sniffle, and I weaned him at 10 months when I realized I was prego because a book said that my poor little fetus wasn't getting any nutrition if his big brother was drinking it all up :-p My second nursed awhile longer (14 months) and I made excuses and finally weaned him because he was over a year and people said he was too old. My daughter showed up two and a half year later and I was really coming into my own. Her birth was just as I wanted and I was really begining to use more natural ways of disciplining and treating sickness. I made all of my own babyfood. My boys and I were cosleeping, miss pip was riding around like a papoose on anyone who would wear her and I was laying the smack down on the pediatrician. By the time I delivered my fourth, I had personally offended 4 out of the 5 Dr's at my pediatrician's office. I was growing an organic garden and making babyfood to freeze, i was storing milk in the deep freezer, and babywearing, breastfeeding, and cosleeping like a real instinctual mama. I had evolved. There was no moment when I 'decided' to parent this way, I just let my instincts take over.
I have never felt more sure of myself. I have never felt stronger! The best part of it all is watching my little muffins thrive. Check out instinctual mamas blog to connect with other mamas who parent with heart.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

drama mamas

My life is nice. I get along with most people for the most part and I think I am a good mom. If nothing else, I can honestly say, I try my best. I try to do what I think is healthy and safe for my children. Lots of parents go to extremes to keep their kids safe and healthy and that's awesome. Then there are the parents who do things that are for the benefit of the reaction they get from others. I happen to have the displeasure of knowing some people who will put their children in danger (or lie and say they did) just to get a dramatic reaction. No matter how you handle the situation its a lose/lose. If you react with shock, you are reinforcing them by giving them attention. If you ignore them and they are really truly ignorant, you are missing an opportunity to educate them. There is no way to handle these people.
I truly feel lucky that I don't require drama to feel fulfilled. I can actually have a conversation with someone and not have to try to freak them out. I love the relationships that I have in my life and I love the opportunity to meet new people online on natural parenting websites. I would rather have a few minutes of meaningful dialogue with an old friend via Facebook or someone that I met online than spend time with people who do not value the blessings that have been bestowed upon them.
Vent over!

Friday, February 18, 2011

hoarding my own milk!

I am facing a major problem in my life right now. My youngest baby is 16 months old and I am no longer the center of her ever expanding universe. She climbs and speaks and plays....all without any assistance from her mama. When this realization has hit me in the past, I would think long and hard about it and then tell the hubz its time for another.
This time is different. I don't think I will have that discussion, I don't think I can. As parents, we are maxed out in all areas that matter. We can't afford more babies, but then again we can't afford the ones we already have! That is not what I consider something that matters. We are strapped for time. Time with the kids as a group, as individuals, and time for hubz and I as a couple. I never want my kids to feel overlooked and we manage just fine now, but barely. There is basketball, hockey, Spanish, theater, baseball, soccer, and friends to top it all off.
Herein lies my problem. I have never had to let go of my baby years. Today I went to work and left peanut home with hubz and she didn't drink one drop of my stored milk. She ate and drank people food and I still went out and pumped in my car.....wth? I don't have to worry about my supply because peanut only nurses a few time a day and at night. She eats a well balanced diet now and can have cow milk if she wants. Still, I pump....I have a terrible fear that someday, someone may need some breastmilk and I will be like 'right here, I have some right over here'! I think it all stems from the fact that when I'm done nursing and pumping, that will be it! No more babies in my house :-( I'm not sure I can handle that, so for now, I pump!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

cosleeping gone right

I got my first blog request.....kinda.....
Today a friend asked about my thoughts on cosleeping. I decided to blog rather than email because I have alot to say about it.
Way back when, in the day of Curly Top's only-childness, I had a huge bedroom with a crib across the room for the little bundle to sleep. I had a cradle in the living room for His Highness to nap, and I was all set to use them. Except, Curly Top along with my hormones had different plans.
I remember putting him to sleep in the crib on our first night home from the hospital. After the first few minutes of sitting, awake in bed, looking longingly across the room at that crib, I realized that I was having some serious separation issues. Once he awoke for his first feeding session (which lasted 45 minutes each, by the way) I tried to put him back, I really did, but we ended up sleeping in that rocking chair....for days this went on, until the hubz insisted I pump, give him a bottle to feed CT and sleep in my bed for at least a few hours. I couldn't sleep. I just missed CT so much that I couldn't relax without him. Then one morning, my neck was so stiff, my body so tired, that,I staggered over to my bed with CT in my arms and slept. We slept like the dead. We were good at it, it was perfect and things were looking up. At 4 months, we moved into a house that had a room just for CT. In went his crib and all of his things, and in went CT. Why, you might ask....well I bet if you thought about it you'd figure it out, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Some well meaning mom told me how unhealthy it is to cosleep and told me about babywise.....yikes, I actually said it! I thought, oh Crap, I better go against all of my maternal instincts because this lady is older and wiser and has Triplets who sleep through the night! If her babies can do it them my baby is sure gonna do it too. I ended up spending my nights rocking CT in his room, back to sleeping in the rocking chair again because it was the was as close to sleep training as I could handle. I couldn't CIO, and cosleeping was 'wrong' so this was my mental middle gr. When he was 10 months old, I got prego with baby 2. I needed sleep, so we were back to putting CT to sleep in the crib, waiting for him to cry for me, then I would rock him in his room and put him back to bed once, then he would cry again around 4 and we would bring him in the bed.....poor baby must have been so confused! I also weaned him at 10 months when I found out I was prego because I thought I had to. I had no guidance from his Dr. but that's typical when it comes to breastfeeding. CT ended up drinking formula then cows milk from a bottle until he was 19 months because I felt so bad that I weaned him before he was ready.
When I was ready to deliver baby 2, aka the HeartBreaker, CT was 19 months old. The Heartbreaker was lovingly placed in a bassinett right next to my bed. CT's ritual was getting exhausting so he regained his rightful place between the hubz and me. I remember one night nursing Heartbreaker in my bed. CT rolled over and sleepy said 'josh josh baba', demanding that hubz get out of bed and meet his needs. Even he knew that I was busy and too tired to go downstairs to get him a bottle. Anyway...the four of us coslept for years, soon getting a king sized bed. There were no issues except CT had to be rocked to sleep for his naps and then placed ever so gently on the bed. Heartbreaker would nap in the crib or on the couch, anywhere really.
When Heartbreaker was two and a half i was expecting miss Pippi aka Pip. She was Jaundice so we stayed in the hospital for 5 days. While in the hospital, Heartbreaker developed rotovirus and was so sick! When we came home, we kept the same sleeping arrangements but with Pip in the bassinet. If you are trying to imagine the scene, by now we were a real freak show. Poor pip probably thought she was in an orphanage, there was so much action! Kids tossing and turning, newborns crying, parents waking up constantly, we were in rough shape. At this particular moment, my 12 yr old stepson decided to move right on in too! We were packin em in like sardines! Sooo, brief recap. Two adults and two toddlers in one bed. Infant next to bed, pre teen in other room. One empty room with unused crib and dressers.
We decided to make a bed on the floor in our room for the boys, dubbed 'the floor-bed', as in "i don't wanna sleep in the floor-bed, I wanna sleep with youuuuuuu". When pip outgrow the bassinet, she moved out of our room. She never slept with us and when I tried, she kicked and cried until I put her in her own crib. She slept through the night, and nursed once at 6 am and then slept until 9 or 10ish. Still, our nights were like a revolving door with the boys waking and wandering around all night. We would have to make room in our bed and once the fourth person tried to climb into our bed, one of us would take them and sleep on the floor-bed with them. One day, we decided to move the preteen into the smaller room, and put the boys in bunk beds in the big bedroom. Heartbreaker took the top bunk a curly top got the bottom bunk. The crib was dismantled and reborn into a toddler bed and pipi moved into the big room with her brothers. it was a crazy adjustment with lots of 'im scared''s and 'he/she's bothering me'. It was not the best scenario, but we had little choice. Somewhere during that year, heartbreaker gave up on the top bunk and started sleeping in the bottom with his bro. We also turned the small bedroom into a big Duggar-style clothes room with shelves and hanging space for all three of the kids' clothes thus eliminating the need for dressers. When pip was three I was expecting our fourth baby. We decided to keep the small bedroom for clothes and an extra bed for my stepson when he stayed over. We brought our fourth home after 5 days in the hospital for the birth,and subsequent jaundice and she slept in the bassinet next to my bed. When she was four months old, I moved her to a pack and play next to my bed because I wasn't ready to send her out on her own. I used the excuse that pip still needed the toddler bed and we had no room for a crib. Well, at one year, and partly sleeping in my bed, partly,sleeping in a pack and play, we made another sleeping adjustment. Pip was annoying her brothers so we moved her to her own room and set the crib up in our room. It looked cute, so much better than the pack n play! Peanut would kinda sleep and nap in there, she would wake up and get in our bed, and I'd think I should put her back in the crib, but would be too tired or she'd wake up. Eventually, I decided that we were going to purposely co-sleep. It would not be for convenience or by accident, but straight-up 'peanut sleeps and naps in our bed and the crib is now my robe hanger-co-sleeping!' It was a marvelous, wonderous, relief.
My boys are well attached, loving, cuddly individuals who are secure in the fact that they are loved. Pip is an independent spirit who is in-your face and demanding. At times I think I should reattach with her to give her more peace, but when I try to do skin-to-skin with her she freaks and runs around saying 'i got away, now you can't skin me'! She is amazing and has the greatest personality. Peanut is my last baby, I think, and I am holding her close. I feel an intense attachment with her and continue to nurse her well past my expected 1 yr cut-off.
So, I know this is an excessive, indulgent post, and I did not write it in one sitting, but my point is....I believe that the attachment formed during co-sleeping is irreplaceable. It can not be replicated, or made-up-for if you do not do it. There were times when, as a SAHM, and even when working part time, that I craved 'me' time. when this happened hubz would rescue me. When we decided together that we needed some 'us' time to watch tv and hang out together, we worked together to arrange the kids into an agreeable sleep routine.We spent many nights laying with kids, trying to get them to sleep, then running out of the room like the recess bell rang, just to watch a show together.
I think if you are co-sleeping in a family bed it is much easier than sleeping alone, in another room with your baby. if your baby is in danger of getting squashed or keeps everyone awake it is important to come to a compromise so that everyone is satisfied. try co-sleepers, floor-beds , crib in your bedroom whatever it takes for everyone to be getting a satisfying experience. if your baby won't sleep without you then you may have to sacrifice your social life, but if you can't always sleep with your baby it is important that they get used to sleeping with your partner so that everyone gets a break. Peanut prefers to sleep with me but will sleep with the hubz. There have been nights that he is the only one who can get her to sleep. Through successes and failures, we should keep working toward raising our babies to be well attached people. That's what attachment parenting is all about. The sad truth is this: my curly top is nearly 9 now! The time goes so quickly, they are only little for a short time, so please love love love the tiny humans because they grow into our future!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

who knows best?

Everytime I hear a mother talking about the good ole family pediatrician, I wonder if they too lie and manipulate them just like I do. I mean, yes the Dr has much more medical knowledge than I, but I know my baby and I am no dummy. I respect medical professionals and often seek their advice for validation for what I believe, but call me crazy, i think we are equal.
My beliefs are simple and go something like this:
1 I vaccinate on a predetermined schedule-my schedule.
2 I do not give my child medication except for high fevers.
3 if the aforementioned fever is caused my an infection that will not naturally heal, I give an antibiotic.
4 if my child even LOOKS sick, I do not vaccinate and I reschedule when they are feeling better.

When a doctor wants to disagree with my decision I will prevail even if I have to lie and say my child had a fever earlier that day in order to delay a vaccine.
Funny, drs don't vaccinate when a child has a fever........I digress...

Anyway, today we met an excellent pediatric allergist who validated my thoughts that my youngest daughter, Peanut does not fit the profile for an allergy baby. I knew this but an unprofessional, on-call, uneducated-about-breastfeeding-and-my-child-in-general pediatrician had me doubting my maternal instinct. She even had me thinking that Peanut was not thriving. I told the allergist the issues and said 'i just need your degree to reassure me that my baby is fine'. He was a good sport! He reassured me and also helped me to realize some simple truths.
Sometimes, the internet can drive a mama crazy with all the conflicting information. Sometimes books written by vigilanties with a specific beef can drive you crazy. Sometimes your 'go with the flow' hubz can try to convince you that the doctor knows nothing, and you can ignore him and get in your own head until you are bat-shit crazy and then said hubz will give up when he realizes you have lost your mind and sit back and watch the train wreck because its not really hurting anyone anyway.......................AND.....
Sometimes, mothers give up their rights and think that the doctor knows best, but this mama knows who knows best! I'm sorry I doubted myself....and I'm sorry for poor Peanut who was egg, dairy, wheat, gluetin, and soy free for a month for no reason at all...
BTW....I'm not the only mama who knows best.

Monday, February 14, 2011

the birth of Curly Top, a love story.

Reading the blogs of other mamas has me traveling down memory lane, a lane on which I hope to spend my elder years as my mind begins to fail me. I would travel this lane for all eternity if it would not interfere with the daily needs of my ever growing, ever changing family.
Today, memory lane travels through my early 20's, a time when I was living in a beautiful townhouse with my true love. I was 41 weeks and 3 days past my edd with my first pregnancy. This pregnancy was a pampered one, being my first. I did not bend, lift, or move much. I ate for two and became fat, full of chicken wings and my little bundle of joy. On this particular day, I was weepy and in dire need of some progress toward holding my 'overdue' darling. My husband and step-son spent an evening with me at the drive-in movie theater. We saw the scooby doo movie and then I went home to bed. I awoke at 6:00 am on Sunday, father's day, to be precise and my water had broken. We dropped my step son off at his mother's house and then stopped at Walmart because I needed some slippers for the hospital. Next, we arrived at the hospital and I was admitted. Looking back, it was a shabby hospital, but at the moment, it was heaven. We called our families and they traveled an hour to be with us and spend the day with my step-son so that he could be with us when the baby was born. I labored with a full house. For 11 hours we watched tv, socialized, and managed pain. I have fond memories of this time, my father-in-law slipping on my amniotic fluid, playing cards, the guys watching golf and me taking it all in, just so drunk in my thoughts of holding my baby. During transition, I asked for and received nubaine for the pain. It made me high and happy and then I vomited, but it was ok because this is what the books said might happen. Then at 7 centimeters I got an epidural that was so effective my legs felt like cinder blocks. I felt no contractions and no urge to push. When I finally reached 10 centimeters, everyone cleared out except the hubz and my mom and I began to push. Now, no one told me about childbirth. My bff/sister in law had two c-sections and my other two bffs had c sections also. I read that It was a good idea to push in a squatting position so I demanded that I be allowed to try and almost fell flat on my face because of the epidural. I remember that they turned the drip down and I pushed for 40 minutes. I remember the hubz praising me and cheering me on, I also remember my mother's face as I pushed her first grandson into this world. When he was born, I held him and nursed him immediately. It was hard and emotional and the single best thing I had ever done at that point in my life. Our immediate family came into the room and passed him around, grinning for the camera and deciding who he looked like. Once alone again, I showered, ate and got a ride over to my new room where I was greeted by applause from over 15 friends and family members. My baby was here and life was good.
There were booby traps, slight medical issues, and some post partum anxiety, but that can wait...