Sunday, 31 January 2016

Big Month Moment: January 2015

Sunset Ski
"Someone once told me that women should do two things everyday they love, one thing every week that they treasure, and one bigger thing every month they will never forget." ~ commenter on Modern Mrs. Darcy
I love this idea, and since I only vividly remember the moments chronicled in this log, I am writing down those big things monthly.

4pm - Goodbye children.
4:30pm - Sunset cross-country skiing for two.  Deer make an appearance.
6 pm - Break into a house with a hot tub.  Enjoy.  (Technically, we have the keys and the hot tub is outside, so there was no break or enter, but they weren't home and that felt a little sneaky.)
6:30pm - Ditch dinner plans.
6:32pm - Arrive at grocery store.  Stock up on essentials: french fries, butter chicken sauce, a chicken breast, cheese, chicken wings and egg rolls.  Because thats how we roll.
6:45pm - Pick up baby, put to bed, leave older children for a sleep over.
7:30pm - Start watching The Martian.  Also known as the film adaptation of the first book we've ever read together.
8:00pm - Break out the popcorn and pretzels.  Because butter chicken poutine wasn't enough.
9:30pm - Go to bed, gloriously early.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Three reasons I love my husband on a random Saturday evening


1) In reference to something I hate, he said "It was marketed by Donald Trump and the devil."  That is what spurred this post, and really, it stands alone.

2) When I layed down, my pillow was really uncomfortable.  I reached under and pulled out a beanbag stuffed animal.  He started giggling.

3)  He got up with the baby.  Twice.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Malcolm at 13 months


Independence.  That's his word of the month.

He chugs his milk like its an ice cold beer on a hot July day, and he'll take it all on his own thank-you-very-much.
He prefers to go up the stairs without any help.  It is his favourite thing to do.
He will walk around furniture, if its his idea.  If you are holding his hands, it stands to reason that you could be just holding all of him in your arms, right?  Ergo, he has never attempted to stand, let alone walk, with the help of an adult.

And despite all this independence, he continues to be one of the most laid back babies I have ever met.  Happy to go with the flow, sit and explore whatever is within arms reach, eat the food placed in front of him without complaint (and continue to sit in his high chair long after the meal has finished and everyone has forgotten about him), and watch the world around him.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

On Breastfeeding

malcolm snuggle

I gave up breastfeeding exactly one week ago today.  It broke my heart.  I am the mother of a happy, healthy almost-13-month-old and it was time.  When I started this journey, exactly seven years ago, I never thought I cry at the end of it, or that I would come to love it as much as I have.

When I made the decision to breastfeed my first baby it was an easy one, but it wasn't for my benefit.  I did it for the baby.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.  I always covered up and often left the room if we had company.

I clearly remember the first time Shawn's grandmother came to visit us postpartum.  I was feeding the baby on the couch, covered by a nursing apron, and she came in and headed straight for me.  Her two old hands hobbling towards us, ready to snatch the apron, the baby and my dignity in one swoop.  In my mind I could hear the soundtracks of Jaws and Psycho and my internal dialogue screamed "she's going to lift the nursing cover!  She's going to see my boob!  Abort! Abort!"  Since I'd forgotten how to breathe, I choked out "we'll just be a minute.  Please."  That is how I felt about breastfeeding in the beginning: uncertainty, embarrassment and a little bit of fear.

Fortunately, my firstborn was a robust eater.  He was born to nurse; a real gem to learn with.  We figured it out, my confidence grew, and by the time I returned to work six months later, I chose to continue nursing him many times a day.  The benefits outweighed the lack of sleep and complex scheduling.  I cried the entire weekend after I stopped nursing him.

It was with my second baby that I began to feel like a natural.  I stopped caring as much about who saw what and although we still had hiccups (of both the literal and figurative kind), I loved it everyday.  We chose to forgo bottles.  When her first birthday -- and my inevitable return to work -- loomed, we got a little stressed because she didn't want anything else.  Only me.  In the end, it all worked out, as things with babies usually do, and I looked forward to my one last chance to feed a baby.

When that "one last chance" seemed like maybe it wouldn't happen, I would cry.  I was shocked to realize that a big part of what I was mourning was a lost opportunity to breastfeed again.  My perspective had changed so much - I now identified nursing as one of my favourite things to do.

The last baby finally did come into our lives and I was so excited to breastfeed him.  Even with a very tough start -- he was tongue tied -- I saw it as a gift.  Despite getting mastitis three times, I didn't want to give it up.  I think if he had been my firstborn, it may have shaded my view of breastfeeding, but he wasn't and I held on to this, my most favourite thing I've ever done.

And then he turned one and I returned to work, and I saw a window of opportunity.  He still loved breastfeeding, and I did too, but he no longer needed it.  It was a comfort for us.  I saw that I had a small time frame to stop before it turned to a habit of comfort that would be painful to take away from him later.  I have never wanted to be the mother of a breastfeeding two-year-old.  If I stopped now, he would quickly forget those tender moments.  So I did.

This is how it came to be that I am sitting here typing about breastfeeding, eating leftover chocolate birthday cake, tearing up over the loss of those moments, at 5:30am on a Saturday morning.  Today, it has been one week since I gave it up.  My milk hasn't dried up yet, and I don't think it will until I mourn and accept that it is over.  I'm not there yet.

Its interesting that it coincides with Nevin's birthday, the seven year anniversary of the start of this phase in my life.  A bit of a gift, I think.  I can look at my oldest in wonderment, see the beauty of a growing child, take pride in what I did for him in the early months of his life, and -- most importantly -- take solace in the fact that he still loves our cuddles.  I am reminded that although I am done breastfeeding, I still have years of quiet, intimate moments with my baby.
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