Tuesday, October 4, 2011

well-intended parenting advice

once we become parents (or pregnant for that matter) the advice invitational is open. at times it’s a bit excessive, and our filters and happy faces need to be on full force. but alas…advice shapes parenting, and being mindful in what advice we accept, disregard, and pass along is an effort in itself. a wise friend recently made the point that maternal instinct is real and part of our evolutionary makeup. it’s taken me 3+ years to trust in it, and it gets both blurred and been matured by parenting advice.

starting early, I was given several different books and advice tidbits on how to help my baby sleep (a desperate need as a new mother!!). I remember how I thought I could just dabble in a bit of several and mix them up to what worked. I vividly remember being with my bff (with my 2wk old son) in a book store and asking her about a sleep book (I had been given) that claimed to make me ‘wise’ about my baby, and what she thought about it. She’s not one to typically give strong advice, but from her mouth came “that book is evil” (and then she walked away, without elaborating or trying to convince me of the point). I was shocked that a book written on becoming wise to your baby could provoke such a comment. it wasn’t right away that I realized why (I didn’t think to google why it was so controversial)… then come to find out years later it’s actually recommended against by the AAP and has been linked to dehydration and failure to thrive. it’s built on the philosophy to help your child detach from communicating their needs, and allowing the parent to be in charge. why in the world would a well intending mama pass this advice along and swear by it?!?! because it works for some…it gives a plan a schedule, and for some that’s most important. how can I argue with that? but then what…then if we teach our kids to detach at a young age, how does this impact how they respond as toddlers or teenagers?? does it affect them all of them, or just the ones who really need more attachment? do some kids need more attachment and/or to trust in their voice at a very young age than others?

I am learning that there are many different philosophies to parenting…child centered (attach to your child, read their behavior as a clue to something deeper), parent centered (parents are in control and teach children control), and then there are ones that are centered around making money (think Disney or McDonalds, and how they market to our children and teach them certain lessons) (as a side note, I recently attended a conference (on nutrition and the brain) that noted we are the ONLY country that allows fast food to market to kids (?) and that meat is steamed until all flavor is gone (thankfully to prevent ecoli), and then synthetic flavor (what kind of chemicals are those?) is added back into the food- thus it will always taste the same…creating a comfort food that lasts through generations, that we neurochemically associate with good times and an exact flavor/smell). (I never had to think from a point of view where companies are marketing to my kids with a certain agenda…not all bad, but I now realize I have to question what they teach kids, and at such a young age, depending on what we expose them too).

we parent with the best tools we have available. my mother in law (who i consider very wise) has noted we don’t have to be perfect parents (that’s not possible) just good enough parents. sometimes (or most times!) we don’t have time or energy to seek out other tools, sometimes we listen to advice that enhances our intuition and other times advice that works but doesn’t always feel right. (recently a mama on a listserve im on asked if it was a good idea if she locked her son in his room at bedtime b/c he kept coming out, or if that would scare him? some of the advice (parent centered) said that ‘threats go a long way’ and that it would keep him contained; other advice (child centered) questioned if his behavior was a sign to something deeper going on with him. ultimately, it seemed to me that the mama’s intuition was that it would likely scare her 4 year old to be locked up, but she was asking the question b/c she was questioning her intuition, and at a loss for other tools to use. as parents we’ve probably all been in a situation where we’ve been at a loss and questioned our intuition, or we certainly will at many points along the way.

I recently read a blog that talked about the reality of being an imperfect parent and making mistakes…she commented that our main goal in parenting is to 1- accept that we are human (thus we’ll always make mistakes) 2- help teach our children what it means to be human (accepting mistakes and learning from them). I go back and read that blog regularly.

when I turn on the news (which is rare these days) i wonder why do we have so much violence and detachment (is it more than usual or just the nature of humans). is there something we can do as a community of parents raising the next generation?

my mother in law has been teaching a parenting class that touches on these concerns. shes compiled brain research that notes the brain has such significant development in the first 3 years of life (nurture vs. nature), and that the human brain can change with stimulation (at any age), that babies can’t self sooth until 18 mos, that kids who have secure attachment, especially at a young age, have higher self confidence and lower depression when they are in high school, that wrestling with kids (dad attachment- as males are evolutionarily are physical) is showing kids are better learners…the list goes on and on. she implies that we as a community of parents can raise the next generation to be attached and secure and make positive changes in our world. it's quite a heavy task.

then I have to stop reading and thinking too hard on how to change the world. i remember im human, we’re all human. we’re trying to teach my kids to be human and grow up in the world around them. (then i think of steve martin in parenthood and smile). don’t we all want the same thing, to be a good parent and to have good kids. to be a good enough parent. to be human and to teach kids to be human.

then I have to start reading again….and find my intuition…it’s in there somewhere if I can continue to figure out how to listen to it and use it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

when will grows up

tonite before bed chad was rocking him and i overheard:
will: "dad, what's this fur?"
chad: "that's chest hair"
will: "oh"
chad: "when you grow up you'll have chest hair too"
will: "no i won't, because when i grow up i'm going to be a mom"
chad: (trying to explain)...
will: (not having any part of it) "no, im going to be a mom"

Monday, August 22, 2011

why "Ruby Adelle"

several years ago, the hackensaw boys came out with the song ruby pearl...i loved this song and loved the name ruby. when we found out we were having a girl, chad (and will) joked that we'd name her after patsy cline. (no such chance would i have my daughter's initials be "pee pee"). after much debate...ruby won thehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifir hearts and seemed fitting that she was born in july (ruby is the birthstone), and destine to be our spunky child (as will is our mellow, gentle soul). we debated a middle name. wanted to carry on the wisdom and legacy of a former generation, but didn't have a name we loved. we listened to gillian welch during most of labor, and so 'gillian' was a close choice for the middle name, but it didn't quite fit. once ruby was born we came upon adelle. certainly from a former generation, full of wisdom and antiquity. we came to find out it meant 'gentle' and 'kind' and nicely off set the red spunk of ruby "a sister of pearl whose feet are kicked up on the dance floor" (so our name book read). i had loved the name 'del' when we were thinking of boy names, and have always enjoyed the del mccoury band. music was such a part of chad and i coming together, especially with bluegrass and the start of our relationship in north carolina. we had great times at festivals and music venues all around. i even became a clogger (and performed at fiddlers grove and the eno river festival- my claims to fame!--imagine where i could be now if we stayed in nc?!) to fully embrace the north carolina music scene, in the only way i could.

(ruby, that's your clogging mama in the middle there...:))

thus having a name that has music roots fit well. ruby adelle, we love you so.

(for a good laugh...you can see me and the "mighty wind" as chad lovingly referred to us as)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ruby's Birth Story

for two weeks the contractions had been curiously presenting and then fading away, but on july 19th, she decided she was ready. (i sure was!)

2am, i awoke glowing- literally. the moon (just past full) was crossing the sky and for about 5 minutes it hovered in the window above our bed. i awoke contracting and glowing, and certain i was having some bizarre esoteric dream- likely all the spicy food i had been consuming just before bed. but no, it was an actual contraction, and i somehow knew that i'd be meeting our little girl before long. i laid in bed enjoying (and breathing into) the stillness and getting ready to wake chad (after all the false alarms, he had gone to bed, saying, "don't wake me up this time" :)). through the monitor, will woke up just then, calling for us and crying. it's amazing how in tune he is. luckily chad was able to settle him right down and he was back to sleep.

4.30am, lit candles and got the bathwater ready between contractions. chad was packing our bags, i kept coming up with random extra things to bring with us :). got into the bath, and lasted about 3mintues before deciding that the yoga ball was much better. soon after, my water broke, and the reality that this was it, became even more clear. chad called our doula (jennieve), his parents (to come hang with will) and the midwife.

5.30, our house filled w/ chad's parents and jenneive. the sun began to rise. little baby pearson was getting ready to come, she was rotated posterior, and jennieve and chad helped me get her to flip (phew, no back labor this time!). things progressed, and by 7am it was time to go.

our house is only about 5 min to the hospital (where i also work) and i was planning to work that day, and would have been arriving around 7.15, now instead, i was arriving in active labor at the same exact time. shuttling up the main entrance elevators in labor was interesting to say the least.

we went to the wrong floor and had to shuttle up the elevators again. random lady trying to congratulate me and touch me and say how beautiful labor was- luckily the elevator ride wasn't long. i had tears of overwhelm, just from being around so many people at that stage of labor. we checked into our room, and got back onto the yoga ball. all was well in that moment.

one of my biggest fears was labor slowing down once we got to the hospital, but things continued to progress. they set up the birthing tub and checked me and i was over half way there (6 1/2 cm!). being a teaching hospital, there was quite a team of people supporting me. our midwife, a midwife student, a nurse and a nursing student, chad, jennieve, and another nurse who came and went. in the birthing tub i was surrounded by people, but in a most calming and supportive way. i labored in the birth tub for about 2 hrs. i was convinced that i needed the yoga ball in the tub. they entertained my request, but after trying to push a huge inflated ball into a tub of water multiple times (with it flying up into the air w/ the resistance of the water), i finally came to my senses...and was able to laugh between contractions. what an amazing and intense range of emotions from laughter to tears to pure exhaustion/ sleep.

chad was amazing...and exhausted too :)

after about 2 hrs laboring in the tub, the midwife asked if i felt ready to push. before she could even get her query out, i felt an overwhelming compulsion to push. the intensity was overwhelming. the challenge was to try not to control it, rather to work with it. i fought it for a while, and then my midwife asked if i was scared of anything. i immediately shook my head, and said "i don't want to push again for 4 hrs." she assured me i'd meet this little girl any moment.

it wasn't quite a moment later, but after an hour of pushing and all of it's intensity, she arrived (1:03pm) kicking in the water, with a smile on her face.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

big brother

I woke up this morning to Will's smiling face in front of mine...

Will: "Mom, I have something to tell you"
Me: "what's up buddy"
Will: "my penis is getting really bigger" (grabbing onto his pee filled diaper)
Me: "...oh"
Will: "It's because I'm going to be a big brother...that's why my penis is getting bigger"
Me: ".....interesting...?!?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

getting closer

almost 37 weeks and this baby seems ready to pop. my belly button has officially been an "outie" for a few weeks now (will it ever go back?!), and i can see waves of movement across my midsection both day and night. luckily no blood pressure issues (phew- peeing in the bottle for 48 hrs about killed me last go around), and other than being tired, crampy, refluxy and moody, im really just plain great. :)

will has been reading books about the baby and what to expect. we've also read him some about how the baby is made (the dad has the sperm and the mom has the ovum and they fit together like a puzzle piece). the other day at the store, will busts out with "mom, do you have a sperm in you?" i (discretely) tried to remind him that i'm the one with the ovum...for some reason he found that hysterical...and belted out "silly mom, you have the sperm in you!"

we're planning to (eventually) have will and the baby share a room. we've painted the walls green, and hung a tree decal on the wall. there are two (red- will insisted) owls- "one is the baby and one is the big brother." eventually will will have a loft bed and a 'tent.' despite all that, he's most excited about sleeping with the baby. i've tried to prep him that she'll need her mom a lot for the first few months, and that she'll sleep with me. to that will has responded "well she probably needs her big brother...she can sleep with me when she's littler, and then you when she's bigger."
he's got a plan for everything.

the baby ideas are showing up in his art work too. the other day he drew a picture and described it all to chad. it included a "a vacuum/ lawn mower mixed, a dad and baby bee, a mom bee sucking the fire truck, a tent with a tunnel out of a tent, a golf course and (of course) an umbilical cord...."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

wills preparation

will can't wait to be a big brother (so he thinks). He was asking me in the car the other day "Mom, when's the baby going to pop out? I can't wait any more!" He's been practicing pushing his stroller "for when I'm a big brother" and today at the park, he practiced pushing the swing, and even doing it underdog style "for when I'm a big brother."

In the lines of potty training, Will has decided he should wait "Until I'm a big brother" to tackle that one...and now this is his excuse when he doesn't want to sit and try "well, I'm not a big brother yet" (oh jeez)

He's also decided that the binkie fairy will wait to come (to take away his binkie and take it to babies in need) when he's a big brother. We tried to sweeten the deal by telling him the binkie fairy can get him a toy of his choice once she takes his binkies. Will is already on the prowl to figure out what he wants. The other day at Naturally Loved will found a parking garage that he wanted the binkie fairy to bring him. We took a picture of it so that we would be able to send it along when needed. (seemed like a fine choice to me) Then yesterday, we were leaving preschool, and will wanted to show me Maren's shoes. Black, patent leather, mary jane sandals, with a bow. He really likes Maren, so I figured this was why he made such a big deal to show me her shoes. As we left he said:
..."mom...next week...when the baby pops out...and then I'm a big brother...and the binkie fairy comes...I want for her to bring me that parking garage...and those shoes...like Maren's"

there she is

...in all her glory...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

valentines day

valentines day...the first day will decided it would be okay to hold a girls hand. maggie was the lucky one.

she's a she

will and chad were right (or at least as correct as the ultrasound tech. will didn't even seem phased by the news (he already knew it was a girl). he continues to use chad's desire to name the baby after a country great, to tease his mama.
will: "mom she's patsy" (aka patsy cline)
me: "noooo she's NOT patsy" :)
will: giggling..."mom, when she pops out...you're gonna figure it is right...you say 'IT'S PATSY!'"
me: "noo...i'm not going to figure it was patsy"
will: "actually it will be patsy" (more giggling)
(will's favorite new words..."actually" and "figure it" ...)

when we were driving home in the car last nite will was asking me about the baby.
will: "mom, when is the baby going to pop out?"
me: "it'll be a while yet"
will: "i can't wait for the baby to pop out"
me: "what are you most excited about"
will: "for her to play basketball with me...she'll be a defender"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

the song about green grass

saturday morning in colorado. there was sunshine vs. snow, thus we got our hiking gear together and headed out. on our way to the trail head we were listening to our local station's (KGNU) bluegrass hour. a favorite saturday morning tradition at our house (or in the car). we were telling will that it was bluegrass hour (vs. a cd we were listening too). he bopped along as he usually did and looked out the windows searching for tractors, tanker trucks, or steam spilling clouds out of the cooling towers. (scenery in the city isn't quite as thrilling for me, but will certainly digs it).
after a nice hike and a stop at yak and yeti's for some Himalayan lunch, will put in his request from the back seat. he often requests froggie went a courtin' by either doc watson or bruce springsteen, but instead he requested "that song about green grass." chad and i couldn't figure out what song he was talking about so we kept asking for more details...
will: "you know it...it's that song...the green grass song"
finally after many rounds of this, chad and i clued in to the fact that he wanted to listen to the blue grass hour...and the green grass song was as close as he could describe it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

i see a baby in there

will is working on becoming a big brother. he announced his news not too long ago, and continues to announce it regularly. (like the other day- the glorious day- when he went pee on the "potty" and we called chad (my effort to make an even bigger deal about decreasing the number of diapers in our life). i handed will the phone to tell chad the big news. will proceeded to tell him that i had a baby in my belly.

it's at the front of his mind, and he's constantly asking questions and wondering about things to do with the baby. today he was wondering if the baby could come with us to the zoo. and then later he was looking into my belly button.

will: "mom, i see her...i see her tail...i mean i see her penis...i just can't see her eyes"

he hasn't yet asked about how the baby got in there, but he was asking about chad and i going on a date tonite.

will: "mom, what's a date"
me: "it's when dad and i get to go out all by our selves and do stuff"
will: "oh woah...like kiss and stuff"

(where does he get this?!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

sweetie of a fish

im coming to realize two things:

-maybe will and i are spending too much quality time together
-maybe i use too much sweet jargon, and i need to toughen up my lingo a bit
so will got a fish for christmas. "otto" came from the uncle carl clan, and was a surprise (oh great :)) new pet....but one we've come to embrace (although we've had to check for floating fish more often than we'd expect b/c of limited movement, and are a little concerned otto has a teenage eating disorder w/ some form of bulimia)

anyway...will sure does like otto.
on day #1 of having him we got home from the store.

will: mom, what my fish name again?
me: "otto"
will: "oh that's right"
will: "otto, i missed you when i was at a store"

on week #2 of having otto, we went to feed him. will opened his lid and started to smile and talk to him.

will: hi honey...do you want to eat sweetie
me: (oh crap, do i really talk that way?? i need to toughen will's lingo up a little, and then take a lesson myself)...(after some regrouping, and quick thinking, i thought i'd model some better "otto language")
me: (to otto) "hey dude, you want some food?"

will: (shaking his head and cocking it to one side) mom, his name not dude, it's sweetie!