Tag Archives: baby

They’re finally asleep…

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…and now I can see how amazing this day was.

I thought it was a bad day. In some respects, it was. My temper was short. My mind was occupied, attention elsewhere. I didn’t get a shower or do much of any self-care today. I was primarily concerned with my goals, most of which I didn’t even accomplish.

However, two things became glaringly obvious to me, after all was said & done.

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Why I Nurse in Church (Without a Cover)

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I’ve been working on this essay, off & on, for several weeks. I’m pretty proud of it, although I’m still tweaking it. I think that, despite needing further detail edits, my voice is pretty strong here. I’m satisfied enough to post it.

I realize that someone my read this who could choose to be offended by it, either the subject or my attitude regarding it. However, I feel strongly that breastfeeding in church is a pertinent issue affecting moms today, and that it is relevant to my personal life, to the breastfeeding world at large, and to the strangely oversensitive Christian church & culture, in general. I won’t apologize for these personal beliefs.

So if breastfeeding offends you and you have nothing nice to say about it, please disregard this post and seek your mental nourishment elsewhere.

I’m sad that I even have to say that. :-(

For those who will, enjoy my recent essay. :-)

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Sometimes, a kind smile is all we need…& wet wipes.

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Thank you, to the kind, older woman who took pity on the frantic, overwhelmed, not-entirely-sane mommy kneeling on the floor in a Target bathroom in front of her poop-covered preschooler while wearing her other baby yesterday afternoon.

You heard the panic in my voice, you knew how close I was to losing all my common sense, & then you realized how you could help me. You provided me with four wet wipes from your purse to clean the poop off of my potty-learning preschooler who had an accident during our shopping trip.

I don’t know how I appeared to you in that moment, but I know that, to me, you appeared to be an angel. My thank you was the most sincere, heart-felt, relieved group of words I’d spoken all day. You absolutely saved me in that moment, & you saved my poor daughter, too.

You heard the crushing tones I used while speaking to & around my little girl. You knew I was speaking from a place of fear & humiliation, not of love & understanding. And you helped me.

I wish I knew who you were, so I could thank you properly. But since I don’t, I will simply remember, forever, the simple kindness you showed me & the much-needed aid you provided. (I also will not forget to keep wet wipes in my purse again.)

Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for taking a moment to bring me back to my senses & providing me a moment to ground myself & regroup. And thanks for helping me to remember that my daughter deserves more than a frantic, frustrated mother who cannot control her own tongue in an overwhelming moment. I apologized profusely to her & listened to her tell me how upset it made her. I am shamed by my initial reaction, & I thank God that you were there.

What may seem like the simplest, easiest gesture to you was, in fact, an eye-opening moment for me that I won’t forget.

Thank you.

We all need help at some time or other. Have you ever had a complete stranger help you in a moment of weakness or need? Do you remember a time when you assisted someone unexpectedly? I’d love to hear about it! The kindness of strangers is a beautiful reminder of how much good there still is in humankind.

Steak Salad, Hold the Depression

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Tonight, the fam & I headed over to Chipotle for some yummy, trendy, Mexican food. While we were there, I watched as a new mom & her partner attempted to tend to a newborn little boy. I felt bad, because I know I judged her. Then I felt really bad, because I’m pretty sure she was struggling with post-partum depression. There were three couples dining together, & as I observed the group (I’m sure not as covertly as I tell myself I did), I saw how everyone else stepped in to take care of the baby. My heart broke for that woman & for that little boy.

I actually do have some very mild experience with PPD. A brush with it really, but it makes me more empathetic than I once was. When NBG was born this year, it took me no less than three weeks before I actually FELT like I loved her. I spent the first weeks of her life breastfeeding her, staring at her, changing her diapers, & not feeling a shred of emotion toward her. I would look at her, & I knew in my head that I loved her, but I couldn’t feel it. I forced myself to treat her like I felt something. I made myself care. Basically, I faked it ’til I made it. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized I had a brush with PPD. I couldn’t even admit it to my husband until recently, & he was shocked when I told him about those first few weeks. He’d had no idea.

I remember thinking that if anything happened to her, I’m sure I would be sad, but, well, maybe not. I felt resentment toward her for furthering my body’s ruin. I couldn’t figure out how I could love my eldest child so immediately & intensely and yet feel nothing when looking at this new little girl. I remember thinking, “I didn’t ask for her.” I wasn’t depressed or sad. It wasn’t baby blues. Other than mild resentment, I really felt nothing, & I didn’t care. (See? Nothing.)

But my head insisted that I would eventually care, so I forced myself to keep going. After three or four weeks, the feelings gradually began to take root, beginning with the moment my littlest daughter truly saw me for the first time. Or maybe it was the first time I really saw her. It was the first time I didn’t feel like an appendage to a boob. The first time I felt like something more than just a means to an end. It was the moment when I realized that, to this little innocent, I am the world. It was the instant I felt the connection.

The connection. It matters so much. Without it, I don’t know how a mother perseveres. It’s why my heart broke for that mother tonight. Once I realized why she was being so cold. Once it hit me that I hadn’t seen her even look at her baby, let alone touch him, in the hour that I sat in a restaurant with her, despite the fact that he wept for her. While my first reaction had been mild anger that the dad gave the baby a bottle by propping it up with a blanket instead of holding his son & properly feeding him, after continued observation, I realized that this was a new family barely hanging on. I wanted to cry.

At one point, the dad took the mom outside. She was on the verge of tears, & he was literally supporting her out the door. I’m pretty sure it’s all Dad can do to help her keep it together, but then I expect him to consider the need his son has for emotional bonding while feeding? Unlikely. I can empathize with the mom. My mind start filling in the story. Maybe she tried to breastfeed but failed for lack of support. It almost happened to me with my first. Maybe the baby was unplanned, & now she feels trapped with the father. Maybe she simply feels woefully inadequate, & my judgmental presence just exacerbated the situation.

I can imagine, though, if what I experienced had extended to twice as long as it did. I’m pretty sure I would’ve begun to wonder what was wrong with me & to feel, if nothing else, at least frustration with myself. I’m a world-class self-beater-upper. Pretty sure I would’ve been beating myself up regularly, too.

I briefly spoke to one of the ladies from the group while waiting for my steak salad. She was holding the newborn, & I asked how old he was. 8 weeks, or so she thought. She was his aunt, she told me.  He’s adorable, was all I said, but I smiled at him. A part of me just wanted her to know, & to maybe pass it along to the mother, that I thought her baby was beautiful. That, although I’m pretty sure they saw me watching, I had nothing negative to say to or about anyone.

More than anything, I wish I could’ve told that mother that it’s ok. That I know she loves her baby. That eventually she will feel it. That it’s ok for her to seek out help. I wish I could have encouraged her, & mostly what I feel is disappointment in myself for possibly being the direct opposite of that.

I’m praying now that the family she was with tonight has recognized the signs & is looking out for this new mom & her baby. I’m praying they all come through it with few scars & are stronger for it.

If you’re struggling with PPD & it’s been more than a few weeks, please tell someone. Talk to one of your friends who’s struggled with it. Talk to your spouse or partner. Talk to your mom. Talk to your doctor. Just talk to someone with whom you feel safe, please.

I just want you to know that you’re not a bad mom. You’re not a failure. There’s nothing wrong with you, at least nothing that a little time & support won’t fix. I know you love your baby, & I’m not judging you. My heart’s aching for you & your baby.

Although I connected with my little girl after a few weeks, it was still a bit unnerving that it wasn’t immediate. It made me doubt myself. I understand, at least a little bit. I was fortunate. Please don’t try to do it alone. You don’t have to, & there’s no reason you should. You don’t have to be tough or embarrassed or “strong.” PPD is not a weakness.

It’s legit. It’s real. It needs to be acknowledged.

And if that new mom I saw at Chipotle tonight with her 8 week old son is reading this, I’m so sorry I judged you, especially before I understood. Before I realized. It’s too easy to judge, & you didn’t deserve it. I’m praying for you tonight. Please keep hanging in there. You’re not alone. I’m sorry.

Headbands & Flowers, or Having daughters is so much fun!

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This post is actually about my most recent crochet projects, but since I was able to do them for my own daughters, & the projects are uber cute & feminine, they just remind me again how much I love having girls!

I’m certainly not knockin’ the boys. Quite frankly, I’m terrified to ever have any. hahaha With both girls, I was hoping for boys, but God knew my nerves probably couldn’t handle it. If God ever blesses me with a boy, I’m not sure who the joke will be on.

Anyway.

I haven’t worked on anything crochet in a few weeks, but here are some super fun, super easy, super cute head accoutrements that any little girl can be proud to wear. You might say, these projects are super.

First, since I crocheted the beanie for my toddler, I had to make something for my little baby to also show off her cutey style. I searched far & wide on Ravelry, & settled on Audrey’s Easy Baby Headband!

Yeah, I know…super cute, right?

The pattern for both headband & flower are included together, & both are perfect for a beginner. Thank you, Audrey!!!

This was easy to crochet & didn’t take a lot of time. The pattern is for babies, but I think it’d be really easy to add some stitches to make it longer for the toddler.

Two patterns combine for cuteness overload.

What you probably can’t tell is that the flower is all one piece. I was really intimidated to try it, but Audrey provided easy instructions that I was able to follow with minimal trouble. This was my first flower ever, & I’m addicted. I want to put flowers on everything!!!

So I am.

Remember I said I crocheted & attached a flower to the toddler’s beanie? Well, I did say it, & I promised a picture & a link.

My toddler LOVES it when Mommy crochets for her.

Again, I found the flower pattern on Ravelry while browsing. Thanks to Megan for this super cute flower & easy pattern! There are actually 10 flower patterns there, but the one above is the first pattern, Seven Pointed Leaf Blossom. I didn’t have a button with which to attach it to the beanie, so I just did a whipstitch, like the one on the headband. I also really loved Megan’s headband, but since it’s a for-purchase pattern, I’ll probably never do it. Who knows, though.

If you’re a beginner, like me, these patterns are great for practicing stitches & branching into new territory while reading a pattern. They’re challenging without being overwhelming. I’m planning on making another headband for a friend who’s having her first daughter. Hmmm…maybe purple?

So there you go. If I can do it, you totally can do it. Enjoy my baby’s stylish cuteness on your way out!

Behold! Uber, feminine, baby cuteness.

To the New First-Time Mommies

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Dear New Mommy,

Today I’ve been thinking back to when my eldest child was newborn & all the helpful (& less-than-helpful) advice people would give me.

Quite frankly, I’ve forgotten most of it, which is probably just as well.

But there’s one thing I remember…& I remember it crystal clearly.

One day at some gathering of people from our church, a lady I knew (& still know) commented on what she considered to be my over-protectiveness of my newborn child. She laughed at me and told me that I was cute & funny (read “silly”) & would “get over it” with my second child. I was as taken aback by her callous comment as I was embarrassed for being “That Mom.”

Was I really so over-protective? Was it wrong for me to want my first & only child in my sight & presence as much as possible? Was the risk of a simple cold really worth demanding people wash their hands before holding my precious baby? Was the seizing of my heart whenever I saw her in a potentially dangerous situation (from my “over-protective” perspective) something that I should have better control over? Was I being silly?

As a new mom, you may have already been told something similar. If you haven’t yet, you will. It’s practically a rite-of-passage, I think. And it doesn’t always come from the cold, condescending acquaintance. I have friends who’ve heard it from their close friends, their in-laws, other family members, even their own mothers.

It’s as if being a new mommy to this incredible creature means you’re suddenly open to being condescended to & having every natural, protective instinct questioned or ridiculed.

I just wanted to tell you that, no, it doesn’t.

I just wanted to encourage you to keep listening to your instincts. You’re doing a good job.

Right now you’re starting a journey that, from what I can tell, has no end. The worry & concern & wanting your baby with you & need to protect. I’m a few years into it now, & it hasn’t gotten any easier.

In fact, it’s gotten harder! Because now that little baby who only went where I took her, who only went with whomever I gave her, has suddenly got her own agenda. SHE’S the one ready to take the world onto her skinny little shoulders without a second thought to the heart attack she’s giving her mother.

I’ve since added Baby #2 to the mix, & yes, that lady from my church was right…to some degree. But in some other ways she was wrong.

I’m still quite focused on my baby’s safety, but my natural instinct is tempered by my increased experience.

And that’s kinda how it works, you know?

With everything.

It’s so easy for mothers to condescend to those they see as “less than” them. But you’re not “less than.” You’re just new. And that’s beautiful & exciting &, quite simply, the bees knees!

Yes, if you end up with more children, it will probably be a little easier with each one. You’ll probably panic less. You’ll probably relinquish more control. At least in some areas.

But this new little one you’ve got? Well, honestly? She’s your test drive. She’s your “starter pack.” She’s the one with whom you earn your wings.

You’re learning as much, if not more, from her as she’s learning from you. Things that will make parenting the next precious baby just a tad easier. (Breastfeeding is a classic example of this in my life.)

And because of that, it’s quite possible you’ll always love her a little “differently” than the others. Not more. Just different. Because she’s your first.

Maybe it won’t ring true for you, but I know it’s true for me anyway.

So feel free to ignore all those other mommies out there who might scoff at your “over-protectiveness.”

They’re probably not really rooting for you, but there are plenty of other mommies who are. Surround yourself with those.

Keep your head up, & keep listening to your instincts. You’re doing just fine.

Potholders & Beanies & Baby Booties

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I decided it’s time to learn to crochet, so last week I hopped on YouTube & found me some video tutorials.

I’ve done cross stitch since I was in 4th grade (I’m not saying how many decades that is, so don’t ask). It’s nice to think that plays into my ability to pick up on other hand crafts, but who knows?

Regardless, I found an awesome 2-part video tutorial:

 

Obviously, I had nothing to do with making this video, so please go by YouTube & watch it, like it, & comment on it there, because Donna (www.naztazia.com) did an absolutely fabulous job with this.

Thanks, Donna!

By working along with the video above, I was able to crochet a potholder in about 2 hours. Considering I’ve not crocheted since the one (& only) time my grandma tried (& failed) to teach me during a long RV ride cross country one summer (many, many moons ago), I was pretty impressed.

The Dishcloth...or Washcloth...or Something

Snicker if you must, but I'm pretty proud of this thing.

So there you have it. Proof.

I have learned to tie a slip knot, chain a row, single crochet 20 rows (I think), tie off, & weave the leftover threads into my work (I did that after I took this pic).

So if you’ve been tempted to try crochet or tried at one point & quit, the above video is a great intro to the craft.

I just did this Saturday night (yes, this is what I do on Saturday nights now), & Sunday, I started an adorable beanie for my toddler! I actually finished it early Monday morning, & the toddler loves it! I’ll blog about it later.

I’m currently trying my hand at some baby booties. That might take me a bit longer, but I’ll let you know when it’s done.

So, no more excuses. Go find that H hook & some pretty yarn, & sit down with a cup of tea & this tutorial.

Good times.