Parenting


Just like everything else with parenting, weaning is a hot topic. I’ve heard everything from “forced-weaning is cruel” to “if you don’t get that kid off the breast, he’ll NEVER grow up!”

I’m a rare breed – a scheduler who has opted for extended nursing. Which means that folks on both sides of the fence think I’m either weird or doing irreparable harm to my child. You can’t please everyone, eh?

If you read my earlier post about Jonathan refusing milk from a cup, you know that I was starting to try to wean. Jonathan didn’t approve. So, in desperation, I offered everything from soy milk to Carnation Instant Breakfast to Nestle Quik. Seriously. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a bit of a health nut and I don’t do things like give my kids Nestle Quik (except on very rare, special occasions!)

Then a friend reminded me that Jonathan IS still a baby and maybe, just MAYBE, he was trying to tell me something. Like, “hey mom…I was a month early and I’ve always been a little needier than my big brother and I’m just not quite ready to stop nursing yet.” Since he can’t actually say all that, maybe that’s what he was trying to tell me when he was hurling cups of milk in my general direction.

Even after two children, I’m still trying to figure out who I am as a mom, and I am for sure trying to figure out who my children are. As I try to figure out those two things, I’m also trying to figure out how to mesh who I am as a parent with who they are as children…and…sigh. It’s a tough job.

Here’s what I know:

While I generally favor teaching children those things that they need to know as adults as quickly as possible (I’m a fan of early potty-training, learning to pick up after themselves, getting dressed, etc.), there are certain things that can’t be forced. Just as you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, you can give a child a cup of milk but, well, you see my point. And because nursing is both a source of nutrition and comfort to a child, it makes sense to me that those other important life skills may be easier taught if he’s feeling nice and close to me (and isn’t all hopped up on chocolate milk).

And, what is it about weaning before baby is ready that is beneficial? Wouldn’t it be better for me to continue to giving Jonathan his mommy milk than to try to force him to drink Nestle Quik?

James was ready to wean at a year. Jonathan is 18 months old and STILL not ready. And I’m ok with that. Rather than fighting the milk battle I’ve decided to add back the feeding we dropped, continue offering milk in a cup, and let Jonathan give me a hint (like taking sips from his milk cup!) when he’s ready to start weaning.

What I am going to do is be thankful that I have my mommy milk to give him. I am going to ignore those that say I’m babying him or that he’s NEVER going to wean if I don’t do it now. I am going to give my kiddo what he needs because I can. And I’m going to avoid nursing in front of those folks who think it’s gross to nurse a toddler.

😉

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So, my intention for this blog has been to share my motherly/housewiferly wisdom with the world. Like everyone else, however, I’m learning as I go. And I’ve hit a roadblock.

Jonathan, my 19-month-old is still breastfeeding, which is fine. I’m to the point when I want to begin weaning (I’ve actually dropped his lunchtime feeding already), but the child WILL NOT drink anything but water from a cup. I am hesitant to continue trying to wean when I can’t get him to drink milk from a cup, but I know we’re going to have to face this eventually, so…

Here’s what we’ve tried: cow’s milk, breast milk, vanilla soy milk, chocolate milk, warmed, cold, straw cups, sippy cups, Nuby cups, big-boy cups, not allowing him to leave the table unless he drinks his milk, getting big brother to “share” his milk, not allowing him any other beverage but his usual nursing and milk from a cup (which, by the way, leads to a thirsty child screaming, taking one sip of milk, and then throwing the cup at me while continuing to cry). I am at a loss.

He will drink water from a cup, no problem. He actually bypassed the sippy cup and just went straight to a straw cup. He will, especially at the end of a long fighting-over-the-milk-day, literally CHUG an entire cup of water. But after one sip of milk, he turns up his nose and throws the cup. Sigh…

I need help. Please tell me that someone else has been here! Really the only non-option is not giving him milk at all. I’ve read that milk isn’t “necessary,” and that you can supplement a child’s diet with other foods to make up for the lack of milk, but Jonathan is also a very picky eater. I am a big fan of milk (chocolate milk is actually my post-running recovery beverage – milk really DOES do a body good!!), so just not giving him milk is not something I’m willing to try. But anything else…ANYTHING!

At this point I’m putting weaning on hold until we get him accepting milk from a cup, so the quicker we come up with something, the better.

The lesson I have taken from all this, by the way, is that our next little Oliver will be getting cow’s milk at 12 months even though I still plan to breastfeed past the first year. Little did I know that it’s important for kiddos to get used to the taste of milk long before they really need to drink it!

The newest Oliver was born on Saturday, August 30! He weighed in at a tiny 5lbs, 15oz and a mere 19 inches long – a far cry from my first little linebacker.

Thanks, I’m certain, to all the prayers on his behalf, his ultrasound showed two healthy kidneys! Even the pediatrician that saw our little guy in the hospital said there was no physiological reason that the hydronephrosis would be there three days earlier and then disappear right after birth. She said that, other than a miracle, she had no explanation.

So far all is well. Baby Oliver #2 is healthy, growing and already enjoying politics during his late-night feedings, as mommy always turns the TV to CSPAN in the middle of the night.

Once we get ourselves on some sort of a schedule and I feel like I’ve slept – which could be a while! – I’m sure I’ll catch up on my blogging, but, until then, your prayers are always appreciated (or thoughts, for those of you who don’t belive in such things…) and thank you for your support thus far!

Taking a break from my standard political blather (which I like to do every now and then, especially around certain holidays), allow me to share what my dream Mother’s Day would look like. And if anyone wants to forward this to my husband, feel free.

Although many call Mother’s Day a “Hallmark Holiday,” I have to tell you that nothing I want for Mother’s Day can be purchased at Hallmark. Or even Wal Mart. What do I want for Mother’s Day?

A day off.

For you men and children (and other non-moms) out there who haven’t realized it yet, “Mother” is the only job where you never, ever, ever get a day off. Even farmers can delegate their chores in order to go to church on Sunday morning. As mommy-in-residence, church attendance still requires me to wipe noses, change diapers, and ensure my little one is fed. Oh, and then there’s the worry. Did that other kid in the nursery have green snot this morning? Is the “hitter” here? Will my little one try and climb the bookcase without the nursery worker noticing and fall to his doom?

You guys that come home from work and put your feet up after a long, hard day’s work have it made! Even after my little one goes to bed, there’s still toys to be picked up, lunches to pack, a kitchen to clean, and a never-ending pile of laundry to work on. And just because the little ones are asleep doesn’t mean they will stay that way. I might as well carry a pager. Oh, wait…I do. It’s called a “baby monitor.”

Even Sunday, the supposed “day of rest,” is still a work day for moms. Children still have to be dressed, changed, fed, and otherwise tended to. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – even if prepared in advance – still have to be placed on dishes and put in front of the family. Dishes still have to be washed. Messes cleaned up. The chores don’t take a break!

Not that I am complaining.

My dream has been, for many years now, to be the “June Cleaver” of my generation. Only better. I am an educated, hard-working gal who sees no greater purpose than caring for my family and I do it with gusto. I am a cleaner, accountant, daycare worker, teacher, cook, business manager, personal shopper, and cheerleader all rolled into one. And I love it!

But we all need a day off now and then. My last day off was due to a raging sinus infection, so I don’t really think that counts.

So, tomorrow, I want breakfast in bed. I want someone to bring coffee to me. I want my son dressed, changed, fed, and ready for church without my having to lift a finger (or wag my tongue). I want lunch placed delicately in front of me, and my kitchen cleaned without a second thought. I want to come home from evening church service and play with my little one without a care in the world, knowing that dinner will be on the table momentarily. I don’t want to pick up toys, wipe noses, change diapers, or refill sippy cups.

I want what most of you get a day or two a week.

A day off.

And I bet your mom would like one, too.

The other 364 days of the year, we’ve got it all covered, but tomorrow, give us a break. We’ll be back on duty Monday morning, refreshed, smiling, and ready for another year of work.

I’ve decided to take a moment to post on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart right now. Sleep. Because I’m not getting enough of it.

Before I had a baby, I was told that there was this magical thing called “sleeping through the night.” What I wasn’t told is that “sleeping through the night” is defined as five to six hours of continuous sleep. WHAT?!?! This is NOT my definition of sleeping through the night. By this silly definition my angel child has been “sleeping through the night” since he was 8 weeks old, but I’m still so ridiculously sleep-deprived I can barely see straight. When will this madness end?

Can anyone tell me when he will start sleeping through the night by a normal human’s definition (as in, eight solid hours)? He’s not waking up to eat – his last feeding is at 11pm and he doesn’t eat again until 7am. He wakes up at around 5am every morning wanting a pacifier, then sleeps off and on until 7am. I follow a feeding schedule of 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 11pm. Naps are between feedings for around an hour and a half. Someone please tell me when I’m going to get an entire night’s sleep!! Any tips on getting him through the “pacifier hours?” I’m exhausted!

A mere fifty years ago, Lucille Ball wasn’t even allowed to use the word “pregnant” when she was withchild…she had to say “expecting.” Now women open themselves up (literally) for the world to see on shows like “A Baby Story” and “Maternity Ward” and families expect a front-row seat in the delivery room. When did we become so immodest?

I’m glad that I can talk to my girlfriends, and even offer up the occasional post on my website, about being pregnant, but when it comes to the actual show-down (i.e., labor and delivery) I – and most of my girlfriends – feel that this is a really, really personal event. So why is it that people treat it like some sort of open-to-the-public freak show? I didn’t invite you to the conception, why in the world would I want you at the delivery?

I understand that people, especially family members, get really excited about a new baby, but that does not remove the cold hard truth of from where that baby actually comes. If I wouldn’t have you at my yearly gynecology appointment, then I don’t want you to be at the hospital when there’s a baby involved. Need I remind you, dear readers, that childbirth is a glorified gynecology appointment, at which most of us gals would prefer a lot of privacy? Read: I don’t even want people to know I’m there! The fact of the matter is that childbirth is the most exposed that most women will ever be, and I certainly don’t want anyone other than my husband and experienced medical professionals anywhere near me on that blessed day.

I’ve even considered the Angelina Jolie approach – flying to Africa where I don’t even know anyone in the same hemisphere. Or maybe going out into the woods and not coming back until baby and I are good and ready.

Here’s my advice: if a friend or family member is expecting, understand that this is a very private experience to be shared between husband and wife…not between husband, wife, parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, and the local Ruritan. When mommy, daddy, and baby are fully clothed, cleaned up, fed, and bonded, we’ll call you, and you’re more than welcome to come for a visit. But not a moment earlier.

Oh, and don’t even think about touching my pooching belly.

RIGHT ON! I just saw a report on the Today Show (I don’t have cable, so my morning news options are limited) about restaurants in the Chicago area who are enacting rules for children who are dining in their establishments. One coffee shop has posted a sign politely asking parents to ensure that their children use “inside voices”. I say, “IT’S ABOUT TIME!” Don’t get me wrong, I love children. My husband and I want a house filled with children…but we, unlike so many parents today, plan to teach our children to behave.
Working in the customer service industry I can remember wanting desperately to be able to admonish parents to get their kids under control, so I am glad that stores and restaurants are taking the initiative to not only teach children how to behave in public if the parents aren’t going to, but also to ensure that patrons who are irritated by the behavior of out-of-control children are not driven out of their minds when trying to eat or shop. I can remember, when working at Victoria’s Secret, being on dressing room duty and seeing a couple of little boys sticking their heads under the doors to see the women in the changing rooms. The mother said and did nothing – and neither could I for fear of insulting the mommy who thought her little boys were “just being boys (and thus losing my job.)
The funny thing is that the parents with the monster children are upset that anyone would ever dare tell them how to raise their little darlings…they’re staging boycotts and whine-fests. I like the boycott idea…if you can’t keep your children under control and you don’t like going to places where the owners force you to keep your children quiet, then that’s just fine with me. I would never advocate the state coming in and telling you how to raise you’re children, but business-owners have every right to say “keep your children under control, or leave.” Don’t like it? Go someplace else.
I have recently heard that some establishments, however, are banning children altogether. With this I do not agree. We cannot punish the entire population for the flaws of a few. I have a number of friends whose children are better behaved than a lot of adults I know, and to forbid them from frequenting certain establishments is ridiculous.
So, business owners, my suggestion to you is to take some initiative and set up some behavior guidelines for children (and maybe grown-ups, too) who enter your establishment. “Inside voices” is a nice requirement, as is not using the store as a playground. But don’t dare ban children altogether, or you may miss out on some wonderful patrons.
And parents, children need rules (oh, and they actually need to be forced to follow them). Swallow your pride and admit it if your kids are out-of-control. There is nothing good about letting your children do what they want…how will they learn to be productive members of society if they don’t understand that certain behaviors are simply unacceptable? (such as peeking under the changing room doors at the Victoria’s Secret.)