Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Power of Vulnerability

Another video today.  This one is a bit longer-- 20 minutes-- but is very much worth watching.  It's a talk by Brene Brown on "The Power of Vulnerability," and was sent to me by my sister, Jenny.

This talk reminded me of why this blog has been so important to me over the years-- it has been a place where I can be more vulnerable, where I've aired my insecurities and flaws, and where they have been met not with ridicule but with acceptance and compassion.  This is something that I try to also incorporate in "real life" as well-- being open and understanding of myself as well as others.  I have to agree with Ms Brown, that this willingness to be open and vulnerable, and be understanding and compassionate of others' vulnerability, may be the key to a better community.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not that I'm comparing...

People will sometimes ask me how Quinn is as a baby compared to Donovan.  It's hard to really compare, as it's difficult to look back and objectively remember what D was really like at this age.  I think in some ways Quinn really is a bit more... demanding.  I don't remember having to hold and soothe Donovan this much.  I swear he spent more time playing in his bouncy chair and playmat.  Donovan also didn't nurse as frequently as Quinn does.  At the same time, Quinn's pretty easy to get to sleep (by either nursing or wearing him) whereas Donovan tended to require a good bit of wrapping, singing, and dancing.  Also, Quinn's overnight sleep has been pretty great for a 2.5 month old (at least so far, and thanks to my experience with D I am much more able to just enjoy the good nights of sleep and not really expect them to continue which makes it easier to be happy about each new one I get).  So, as I figured would be the case, I think Quinn's both more difficult in some ways, and easier in others.  Of course, Avoiding Sibling Rivalry 101 is NOT comparing your kids to each other, so I'm trying to be very careful about how and when I make any of these comparisons and, in general, just trying to treat each kid as the individual they are.

Quinn's been smiling, talking, and even giggling more lately.  It's pretty amazing.  It makes all the not-so-happy times easier to bear.  Donovan continues to be amazingly patient and easy to deal with, considering that so much of my attention goes to Quinn during the day.  He does sometimes get tired of me nursing so much, and he'll turn to me and say, "Mommy, I think that's enough milk for Quinn."  He does seem to be spacing his feedings out a teensy bit.

Both kids have now been in cloth diapers for a month or so now.  It's going pretty well, although having to wash them every 1-1.5days is a bit of a chore.  Then again, when I had them both in disposables it also felt like quite a chore to deal with the mountains of trash, and also the keeping track of who had how many diapers and remembering to order more in time so we wouldn't run out.  So maybe it's just that having 2 kids in diapers is a drag, no matter how you do it.  It sure will be nice when D decides that potties are cool, after all, and diapers overrated.  At least the days are getting longer again, and direct sunlight is starting to peek back into our patio so soon I'll be able to start air-drying diapers in the sun again.

I went in to register Quinn's birth last week.  We should be getting his birth certificate back in the next week or 2, I think, and then we can send off for his social security number.  At some point I have to plan how to get both boys their Chilean citizenship & passports, etc.  I doubt we'll be leaving the country, let alone going to South America, for a while but still would be nice to have that done...

And now, time for bed-- I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Covering Up is a Feminist Issue (video via PhD in Parenting)

Annie from PhD in Parenting out together this amazing video, inspired by her post (and comments) from a year ago on how asking mothers to cover up when breastfeeding is a feminist issue.  If you haven't read the post, I invite you to do so.  And definitely watch the video-- it's a beautiful video, with an important message.

Monday, February 14, 2011

parenting, discipline, and double standards

(This post is partially inspired by Raising my Boychick's post on Parenting, Play, and Power)

One very interesting aspect of parenting a young, fully verbal child is that they act as a mirror of yourself, your actions, and your habits.  There are things I won't realize that I do or say, until I see D saying/doing them and wonder where he picked them up (oh, right... me).  It makes you that much more aware of what you do, and it's quite amazing when you realize the double-standards we set up between what's ok for us to do and what we expect of our kids.  We have a rule in the house of no throwing.  No throwing toys, no throwing clothes, not even throwing balls (we have some that are wooden, and it's easier to just say no to all of them, indoors at least, than to try to distinguish).  I'll get upset at D when I see him toss his shirt across the room for the fourth time that week... and then he'll be sitting next to me as I change Quinn's clothes, and without even thinking about it I'll toss a dirty onesie on the ground in the direction of our hamper only to be reminded by my child that I shouldn't do so.  Or, in play, Zach will throw a ball to D in the living room, forgetting the "rule."  I expect D to remember these rules we set in place, yet we, his parents, have trouble remembering them ourselves.

One challenge we've been facing lately is yelling. D will start yelling loudly at us when he's mad (or just tired), or just in play with himself.  I'll get frustrated at him for yelling, but then remember that, well, I yell. At him.  More often than I'd like to admit.  And that's when it hit me-- if I, a mature, grown 30-year-old woman can't keep enough of a handle on my emotions to keep myself from yelling when I'm frustrated or angry, how in the hell can I expect a three-year-old child to do so??  If I know I get cranky when I'm tired or hungry, why am I surprised when my kid throws a tantrum when it's past lunch or nap time (and why is the assumption that he's trying to "get his way" when he's probably just cranky from hunger)?

Sure, I could just claim that, as an adult and a parent, I have different standards than kids. Sort of the "because I said so" approach.  The thing is, kids learn by imitating, and it seems like a lot to expect a toddler or even a preschooler to understand why one person may be allowed to do something when another is not.

Does this mean I relax all my rules?  Allow my kid(s) to yell and throw things however they please? No.  But, it does help remind me to have a bit of empathy and patience towards D's (and eventually, Q's) "misbehavior."  It reminds me to be more aware of my own behavior and the example I set for my children.  It reminds me to try not to assume that he's ignoring rules to be purposefully disruptive or manipulative, but that instead he sometimes genuinely forgets, and sometimes he's just tired/hungry/cranky/sad and try to fix that issue first.  And, it reminds me that I can correct and re-direct while being forgiving of his slip-ups (and of my own).

Friday, February 11, 2011

nine weeks down...

Quinn is now 2 months old... 9 whole weeks. Each Thursday I note his weekly birthday, and as terrible as it may sound it reminds me of marking off tick marks on a jail cell wall. I am blessed, I know that-- I have 2 wonderful, healthy boys whom I adore. Between the nanny and Zach being such an involved father, I have much more support than many mothers do.  While most of our family is far away, they are all loving, and very supportive of us and our choices and parenting styles. Basically, we have it good. Really good. And yet it still feels like such a massive challenge.

We have good days and bad days. I am definitely noticing a trend towards the better, as Q gets slightly better able to nap in his bed, or is entertained by toys for longer periods of time. But this is still very much a 24/7 gig, and a very demanding one at that. I really do treasure the days when I just have Quinn and can focus on him, hold him, snuggle with him, guilt- and stress-free. On the days when I have both kids, it feels like I'm constantly neglecting one in order to meet the needs of the other. Sure, things like babywearing make it easier, but it only helps so much-- I've managed to get Quinn nursing while wearing him a couple of ties, but it's tough and not comfortable (I managed it Monday night while prepping dinner for D, then had a backache all day Tuesday I think from the awkward way I was trying to hold him). Quinn requires me to be standing and on the move pretty much the entire time I'm wearing him, so I'm very limited in what I can do with him in a carrier. The only times I can get down on the floor to play with D is when Q is napping in his bed, which doesn't happen every day and even then usually only lasts 20-30minutes.  Even once he's asleep I can't promise D that we'll get to play a game, etc, b/c I never know when Quinn will wake...  Weekends are better as Zach can take the baby, but even then with a baby who wants to nurse so frequently there really isn't much time to do much inbetween feedings.

So, D is usually the one who misses out.  I figure since he's older he can understand the situation better, and Quinn just needs so much still. When I do have to tend to D and can't wear him, I usually set Q down and pray he'll be happy till I get back. D's nap time caused me considerable stress, though miraculously that's been going ok so far (what I do is get D set up with his lunch, then I'll feed Quinn to try to increase the odds of him being happy and perhaps even sleepy. Then we'll all go upstairs and I put Q in his bed while I read D a story and lay with him for a minute. Thankfully this routine is short-- 5-10mins-- and Q usually stays happy enough till I get back to him...).  D has been so great with all of this, but I feel like his patience may be starting to wear thin and is wanting more time with me.  This often results in him climbing all over me when I'm trying to nurse, and you can imagine how well that goes.  So yeah, it's kinda rough on all of us-- Quinn ends up crying more than he otherwise would; Donovan is missing out on fun time with his mom (which is another reason I'm so glad for our nanny, at least he gets fun play time with someone during the week); and I feel like I'm pulled in different directions with little break to take a breath. And again, that's with all this support.  Those of you who pull this off without it, I bow down to you.  If I had to do all this all on my own, Zach would probably come home at the end each day to find me huddled up in a corner, in a puddle of tears (my own, and likely also the boys').

I hate to think of any period of my life as a time to "just get through" but that's kind of what it's like now. First I was just trying to make it past the first 6 weeks. Now I'm looking ahead to being past the first 3-4 months. I fantasize about Quinn's first birthday. I'm trying to enjoy this time now, but I also am very much looking forward to a time when we have some semblance of a daily routine-- when I can count on even just an hour of down time in the evenings; when I get to spend time with my husband; when I might get more than 5-6hrs of broken sleep at night.

Gotta go, baby's awake.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

slowing down

I feel like I have no time for blogging right now.  I rarely get a chance to sit down at the computer, and even when I do I often find myself staring at the screen trying to remember what I wanted to write about.  I have a separate blog for family updates, and I'm also finding that since life pretty much revolves around my kids and little else these days, the little blogging I am doing is aimed more at that blog. (I don't link our family blog here as I want to keep it a little more private, but if you want to read that blog send me an email and I can send you the link)

All this to say, that I may not be posting here very often for a while.  I may still update when time and motivation combine in that rare, magical way that occasionally happens.  Maybe it'll become more of a photoblog for a while.  I can't imagine this being a long-term break as blogging has become too ingrained a habit/hobby/outlet.  But just as with photography, getting back to the point of feeling inspired (and having the time/energy) to blog or photograph for fun (as opposed to documenting my kids' lives) may have to wait till Quinn's a bit older, a bit less demanding of me, and I can have more of myself back and available to devote to other interests.

So, posts may be sporadic for a while.  I'm hopeful that in a few months I'll get back to posting more regularly.  Till then, here's a couple pictures of the adorable boys who are keeping me so busy...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Guess who's THREE?!?

In the past 3 years my little boy has gone from this:

to this:

It's been a pretty incredible journey, and it only seems to keep getting better. =)


Music: When You Come Back Down by The Greencards

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

update (fried mommy brain = no creative titles right now)

I keep sitting down to try to write a post, and then can't think of anything to say.  There just doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interest to talk about.

D continues to do pretty well dealing with everything.  Today Q took a marathon 1.5hr nap (usually I'm lucky to get 30 minutes at a time... ).  It was super nice, as I got to actually get down on the floor and play with D, which is really hard to do these days.  I expected D to eat up this rare mommy-and-me time, and he did for the first hour or so, and then he started saying, "I think Quinn's awake, let's go check on him..."  I think he actually missed his brother.  =)

Then again, later on when Quinn took a marathon nursing session and had me glued to the chair for nearly an hour (while D watched yet another Mighty Machines video...), D asked me to get him some juice, and when I was still feeding Quinn 5 or so minutes later, he came over and said, "I think that's enough milk. I think Quinn has had enough milk now."  I asked him what we should do instead, and he said "You can get me my juice."

Q's rash is basically all gone. We've had a few relapses, I've established that tomatoes definitely hurt him.  I'm back on dairy now, as I haven't noticed enough of an effect on him to justify the huge PITA that it is for me to not have it.  His temperament seems to slowly but surely be calming down a bit...  he still fusses often, and some days are better/worse than others, but we're having more instances where he'll be entertained looking at toys for longer periods of time.

Right before my mom left, a friend of mine with two kids emailed me and told me that the first week on my own would be really hard, and I'd probably cry several times, and wonder what the heck I'd gotten myself into.  Then the next week would be better, and the week after that a little better, etc.  And she was totally right.  When Q was right around 3-5 weeks things felt kind of awful.  Now, while I'll feel frustrated and exhausted at times, most of the time things feel... ok.  I can handle it.  It may not always be fun, like when I'm busy with one kid while the other one screams, but I know I can handle it (and that they can, too).  And that knowledge really makes all the difference.


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