Wean Baby, Wean

Seventeen months. I made it seventeen months nursing Kanga. Six of those months while pregnant. Go ahead, pat me on the back and throw me a box of tissue because this is way harder on mama bear than it is on that little girl I’ve been attached to for the past 17 months.

Last night was our first try at weaning. We didn’t nurse during the day, we didn’t nurse to put her to bed but we did nurse a couple times in the night. No longer than one minute each time. She slept much better than previous nights. She woke up half as many times and slept for longer periods in between wakings. I, did not sleep well at all. The baby on the inside was moving way too much and I was busy anticipating Kanga’s wakings and peeing every five minutes.

It took an hour to put Kanga to sleep last night. She had almond milk before bed then just hung out and cuddled. Cuddled and tugged at my heart strings. She fell asleep, and I found a spot to curl up on the couch and shed a few tears. Maybe a little more than a few. Physically, I have been wanting to wean her for a while. I didn’t think it made much sense though, since I would start nursing again so soon. Emotionally I felt that I should give her as much one on one attention and bonding as possible before baby two is earthside. For about a month I would quietly cringe as Kanga would nurse. Not all the time, but enough for me to know that it was time. Between the baby having a party 24/7 and the pain in my legs/ restless leg syndrome, the physical contact of nursing has put me right on the edge.

Yes, I feel like an ass hole saying that.

I also know that it’s for the better.

I woke up this morning and pumped thinking I would have all the milk to expel. That was a joke. I had less than an ounce! I have been a human pacifier for months. How did I not realize this before!?

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Today, we nursed once, for about a minute. I went to the store and bought rice cereal to mix with almond milk as a “hot milk” before bed. A special something to start a new routine instead of nursing. I tasted it and it was delicious. Kanga could not care less. She tried it and liked it but couldn’t be bothered. She took her binky, put it in her mouth, cuddled up to me and was out like a light after just a few minutes.

So here I am back on the couch, emotional, and in awe of my little girl. She was ready, I was not. She’s ready to share the nutrients with her brother or sister. We cuddle all the time and play rough and tumble. We are together all the time and clearly are well bonded. She needs me but she doesn’t need my boobies or that boob juice anymore. I must say, I am slightly relieved and also terrified to see how tonight goes.

I’m sure I will have updates. In the meantime, throw me a box of tissues.

Raffaella

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Boys and Girls

Do we instill fear in our girls and bravery in our boys? Do we set our girls up to be scared of life?

I listened to a podcast today that made me reflect on my childhood and think about the future in raising my children. We were given a few books when my daughter was born that I have refused to read to her because they put women in a box that I am not at all about. I will be throwing these books to the curb. It’s hard for me to get rid of books but I will be booting them with no problem.

The podcast was an interview with author and badass Caroline Paul. She has written a book called the “Gutsy Girl: Escapades for your life of Epic Adventure”. I haven’t read it yet, but I am very excited to pick up a copy and share it with the women in my life. Both young and old.

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Back to the point. The question at the top of this page. As parents, do we instill fear in girls and bravery in boys? We can all see that society pushes gender roles onto all of us, both men and women. We wear certain clothes, speak a certain way, downplay our strengths or play up our weaknesses. Do we do this in part of our upbringing? When we tell our little ones to “be careful” do we steer them away from taking risks in their adult life? Do we say “be careful” to girls more than boys? I would say so. We say “toughen up” to our boys, “brush it off”. What do we say to girls? “Awe, poor girl, be careful.” or, “Don’t do that, you’re going to get hurt”. It’s not rocket science. Tell someone to always be careful and they’ll do just that, probably with a little self doubt and low self-esteem. I’m sure many of us can relate to those feelings, even just a little bit.

Then there’s the question, should we raise girls and boys differently?

I keep trying to rack my brain for a scenario where I would tell my child something different based on their sex, and I can’t think of any. Body parts, don’t touch others and don’t let them touch you. The way they dress? Maybe? Unfortunately, its the shitty reality in this world. But then I fight that because what does that say to girls. It’s your fault for being tempting? That’s messed up. Ok, let’s focus on the early years. Are boys and girls that different before they reach puberty? I would say no. So why treat them that way?

Am I naive? Am I stubborn? I don’t think so. Well, we could argue the stubbornness. If I have a boy after having our daughter I wouldn’t want to guide them to do things differently based on sex. I think back to where I grew up and how I was spoken to. My parents did a good job in pushing me to do all the things the boys could do. I played in the schoolyard with them, rode a skateboard headfirst down a hill like them, ran just as fast, threw just as hard, my parents never told me not to. I think that’s pretty obvious in the person I am today. Not to say I lack self doubt but those are my hang-ups from this big world and some other baggage.

Some food for thought.

What do you mamas and papas think? Anyone with a boy and girl who feels differently? Please share with us. I would love to hear other points of view on this!

Raffaella

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The Gray Space

Parenting isn’t so black and white. I am only 16 months in but it is very clear that you don’t know a damn thing until you experience it. Even when you have experienced it once, it may be very different for the next child, for the next birth, for the next moment that comes along that requires you to make a decision big or small.

Before I became a parent I was quick to make bold statements that I would never let my child use an ipad. I was so sure about the things that I would or would not feed my child. The things I would allow, the things I would not allow. I apologize for my ignorance and the arrogance of my statements. I would say I have a significant amount of experience working with children. This somehow justified my statements even more. I don’t think I was the worst person out there making such statements but, I played my shitty part. If you’re not a parent, I’m pretty sure you are playing a little bit of that part. I hear it all the time. I hear it from one parent to another and from one single person to another parent. I hear it all the time. The you should be doing this not that, have you heard of this technique, that technique.

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My mother used to tell me all the time when I was in my teens, especially, that she wished she had someone to make parenting decisions with. I always rolled my eyes and would think, “just make a decision, it’s not that hard.” Mamma, I apologize. I know now, that things can be THAT hard. We’re not even parents of teenagers yet.

Decisions are not so easy to make. Yes, there are some that are very easy to make. Don’t do the clearly wrong thing, don’t kill anyone, don’t run a red light and put others in harms way, don’t text and drive, there are plenty of easy decisions we make—-for ourselves. Parenting decisions come with a great deal of responsibility. They also come with a certain degree of doubt. Are we investing in the right thing? Do we move into a bigger place or size down and save? Do I vaccinate my child? Do we space them out? Do we do them all at once? Should I catch my daughter every time she falls or let her fall?

I have recently decided that we are going to switch to cloth diapering. It was a decision I made to cut costs and save as well as transition our little girl to underwear and hopefully what will turn into potty training before our second little one is born. We don’t wear diapers at home. Luckily little miss does not like the feeling of peeing on herself so we have been able to slowly move things to the toilet. The poop thing is a little trickier. She hates it to the point where she can make herself constipated. She pushes at the same time as squeezing her butt-cheeks and legs to stop anything from happening! As a result, or reaction, I have been taking her to the toilet and helping her sit on it. The new technique has been to sit behind her as I bend her legs and let her do her thing. She fights it. She fights it then is so relieved and goes right back to reading her millions of books.

Today I thought mayyyyybe it wasn’t a good idea to sit behind her like that. Am I traumatizing her? Is this the right thing? Should I just let her do her thing—-on the floor? It sounds so ridiculous. It’s quite hilarious, actually. But seriously, how could I have so many doubts about my daughters pooping? If I don’t sit behind her she’ll fall in the toilet. She won’t sit on her own toilet, her legs are locked out. How is this so hard?!

Because things aren’t so black and white. I made the decision that I thought was best, as we all do in our parenting decisions.

The truth of it all is, in this whole parenting thing, is that decisions, no matter how big or how small are not so simple. We are raising humans. It might seem simple from the outside looking in, but it isn’t. It’s easy to judge but as parents we are individuals with our own personalities, our own beliefs, our own baggage. Our children are individuals, they grow at their own pace, they have their own experiences, they have their own personalities, they have their own determinations. It may not be appropriate to parent each child the same way. Their health needs may be different. Their behavioral needs may be different, as well as their emotional, cognitive, and physical needs. They are all different. It may seem black and white from the outside.

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“You have to be fair and give them all the same things at the same time.” “You’re spoiling your kids.” “You’re going to make one feel more important than the other.”

But really, you don’t know shit. More often than not, everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have. People need different things, children need different things. There are always decisions to be made, you will probably make a not so favorable decision at least once. That’s ok.

Unless you scar your child by sitting behind her on the pooper to relieve her anus. Oh man…

Doing the best we can,

Raffaella

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We’re On To you-Noa’s Freestyle Friday

Ever notice that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods? You may think nothing of it, but our government policies and practices help lower the prices of unhealthful foods. Since the 1920s, American farmers have received government subsidies to help maximize production, reduce cost of raw materials, stabilize crop prices and keep the cost of food down for the American public, allowing farmers to stay in business. This originally well-intentioned government money has led to the overproduction of corn and soybeans, and consequently, lower prices for these crops and foods containing them as ingredients. This may seem harmless. Corn and soybeans are healthy, right?

 

050811_FarmSubsidiesfarmer-hands-exchanging-money-green-cropsIn their natural states, these foods are not bad, but the outcome of the overproduction of these crops has led to their increased use as cheap, unhealthy ingredients found in processed foods on the grocery store aisles. High fructose corn syrup—an artificial ingredient found in most sodas and junk foods—is an inexpensive use of corn. Low corn prices have led to artificially low meat prices, because corn has become the number one feed for cattle—a major shift from a traditional grazing diet. The overproduction of soybeans and corn provides an inexpensive way to add flavor to packaged junk food, fast food, corn-fed beef and pork, and soft drinks. For consumers, these less nutritious foods are cheaper, and particularly tempting to people living on a budget. These subsidies contribute to the obesity epidemic by making it cheaper to produce and purchase unhealthy, packaged foods.

As a result of the subsidies, growing fruits, vegetables and other grains is less lucrative for farmers. Less than ten percent of USDA subsidies are spent

on fruits and vegetables. We should be asking why vegetables, fruits and whole grains aren’t heavily subsidized so they can be cheaper and more accessible to everyone. Obviously, this change in policy would go a long way in helping Americans follow their own government’s nutritional guidelines. This disparity in government funding points out an awkward truth about the USDA: what it urges people to eat does not match what it pays farmers to grow.

Another influential factor is political campaign contributions. Dependence on financial contributions from powerful lobbies prevents government agencies from stating the simple truths about nutrition. Politicians say the money they receive from corporate donors does not influence the policies they promote, but why would companies give money if this were true? Corporations are not known for their spontaneous generosity. Politicians need a lot of money to get elected, and food and drug companies are some of their biggest backers. McDonald’s, Pepsi, General Mills, Kraft, Nestlé and Hershey depend on their friends in Washington, who make the food laws and guidelines. The top contributors to the former chairman of the Agricultural Committee, Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), were American Crystal Sugar, Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, National Beer Wholesalers Association, United Egg Association and Dean Foods.Of course, they want some return on their investment here.

We’re on to you!

So don’t expect the government to feed you good food, do the research yourself and feed your family better food.

Shabbat Shalom,

Noa

We survived.

So we did it. We moved two hours away with Little in tow. We hired professional movers thinking it would make our lives easier. Big word of advice; Expensive does not equal efficient. As nice and cordial as they were, our movers were not fast or organized. After three weeks I’m still finding boxes like, ‘towels’ in random places. Needless to say, it hasn’t been fun. Nothing like a move, to really test your relationships and your patience.Hubby and I were under a lot of pressure to get everything organized in a short period of time. With boxes marked, ‘pjs’ found in the garage, we tended to throw our frustration on to each other. And when it rains… you know how it goes. It was as if the move was the first of a series of issues. Appliances in our new place started breaking down, nothing seemed to work. A lot of repairs and a lot of hassle. 

After a few weeks, we’re starting to feel more adjusted and trying to focus on the positive aspects of the move. Now that we can actually find things, we’re at a calmer place, and making it a point to go on date nights and re-connect. It’s been a nice reminder to know that when things feel like they’re out of control, they will eventually get better. 

Mommies/daddies how have past moves been for you?

Baby steps, and make sure you label everything,
Roxy
  
 

What He Doesn’t Know…-Noa’s Freestyle Fridays

Getting toddlers to eat nutritious food is tough, yet doable. If you eat healthy, your child will eat healthy. If you eat shit food you can’t expect your child to not want the same. After all, we are their role models. My degree in nutrition was put to the test when our 3 year old started eating more and more store bought snacks at his daycare. I knew right then that I had some mean competition. My mission officially changed from how to make good food to how to make good food that LOOKS good.

This summer he is alllllll about popsicles! so that was my first mission (If I chose to accept it…).

I have long sought an answer to the question: How to make homemade popsicles that will be nutritious AND easy on the eyes and this is what I came up with-

Ingredients:

  • Silicon popsicle molds with silicone lids (I ordered mine on Amazon)
  • Left over frozen fruit (ANY fruit)
  • Goat Yogurt/Coconut milk/any other liquid
  • Drizzle of Agave/honey/stevia

Put everything in your Vitamix or other powerful blender, scoop the batter into the molds,freeze overnight and hallelujah-you’ve got yourselves nutritious, shit free, toddler (and mommy) approved popsicles.

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Enjoy!

To your health,

Noa

Anticipation.

I haven’t been able to put much on paper recently. Not because there isn’t much to put on paper, but because there is so much I want to put down on paper. We are halfway through our second pregnancy and there are a million and one emotions and thoughts that flood me. So here I will write them down and share them. Maybe it will bring some clarity, calmness, hopefully it will bring me something.

I am excited and scared to have two babes.

I cannot wait to see how they interact and the bond they will have but I am scared shitless for the first three months…maybe six months.

I am worried that I won’t be able to provide Kanga with the attention she needs while providing the baby with what he or she needs.

I know it’ll work out and I will be fine and I have given birth before and I can do it again but that doesn’t change the way I feel. It doesn’t change my concern of childhood baggage showing up though I am working them out.

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The birth of my daughter was beautiful. I don’t remember it as painful, hard, but not painful. I didn’t suffer. I’m aware of the realities of childbirth and I get all in my head about all the things that could happen. Both great and dreadful.

I am worried about postpartum depression.

I am ridiculously excited to watch little Kanga look over the babes moses basket and smile at him or her. To watch her grow into a big sister. To hear her say “Bebe” and rub her head against the baby’s while making cooing sounds. (Yes, we do that pretending to be different animals and show love to her stuffed animals and baby dolls.)

I am worried I will become frustrated with my husband and resent him for working even though I know he has to work. I can get irrational and needy, I know this.

I am worried we will both be so exhausted that we forget ourselves, and our relationship. Deep down I know this won’t happen because of the type of people we are, but it’s still a thought.

I am afraid of feeling a lack of connectedness to everyone around me other than the babes.

I am excited to wrap that little babe to me while I take walks with the little toddler that runs circles around me.

I can’t wait to experience life with these two bundles of love.

I can’t wait to see my husband grow as a father, to grow as a man, once again. To watch the love in his eyes and in his heart grow even more than it already has.

I can’t wait to feel my heart explode with  new love…but I am also afraid that it wont.

I know I am going to be so happy not to be pregnant anymore but I am going to miss it with every ounce of my being.

I also know that this is once again, another transition period.

I know that there are stages and phases that pass, they are scary and exhausting and full of frustration but, I have support. I just need to learn how to ask for help.

My emotions will evolve, my thoughts will evolve, everything evolves.

We are halfway there and it is all starting to get real.

I hold onto our little girl at night and watch her sleep taking in every moment. I wake up to her little face in my face asking for me to read her a book at five am. She drives me crazy and makes me laugh hysterically. For the next four months my focus is that not so little monster who sprinkles laughter, kisses, “buh-byes”, and big smiles wherever she goes.

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I know it’s easy to get all worked up and way ahead of myself. Especially when my day is all about babies all the time. I will have two babes under two. Holy shit.

Thanks for reading my crazy and for the support.

For the mamas with more than one babe, please share your experiences.

Raffaella

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