Sunday, September 14, 2014

The way of the mother

I suppose that it is a fact of life that I should just accept: the more there is to write about, the less time there is to write. I struggle to find the time for a blogpost that I compose in my head, tweaking it until it reaches a cursive flow of words that will never reach an actual page. I realize that I absolutely must write to my friend in Holland to tell her about my son, and about his baptism, and never get to sit down and do it until the moment has passed. I yearn for a fresh, smooth page in a notebook to analyze, summarize or maybe just record by hand in ink some of my days, but man, finding a half hour somewhere for actual handwriting sounds decadent and unnecessarily old fashioned even to me, who makes bread and cheese from scratch.

I wrote all this on my cellphone with my thumb while skipping a nap, while everyone else is sleeping. Perhaps this is the way of the busy mother. I know that once my kids are all grown up, and Emma's knees will no longed dig into my back, squishing me against Daniel's tummy, I will write at my desk and feel a lot more freedom but a lot more emptiness too. This is the way of the bound woman, with very little time but bursting at the seams with love and fulfillment.

The way of the mother

Monday, August 25, 2014


I woke up this morning at 6 am to go for my run.  Daniel woke up too, I think he might have been a bit hungry, and even after I fed him he was still awake and chatty, so I decided to take him with me in the jogging stroller.  After bundling him up (it is getting colder in the mornings around here), I took off for my run, and he looked very interestedly at the trees, listening to the birds, and wondering why in the world I am running.  The entire time he was smiling and flirting with me shamelessly.  (That is why I don't mind taking him along, he is such a good sport, and great company).

Once we got into the forest, where there is a paved path of about 2.5 km each way, we enjoyed the dark tall trees, and the new sounds, but all the while I was scanning for bears, because there are lots at the moment.  About midway, after crossing a small bridge, I saw a momma bear pushing one of her cubs with her nose, and the cub running happily onto the path about 20 meters in front of us.  I smiled for a moment, thinking of us mothers awake so early and busy mothering already, and turned around ('cause I'm not crazy:).

I only looked back once, and seeing that she is not following me, I did not worry.  Bears are usually peaceful, if you don't bother them, they return the favour.  And I must say, it was fun seeing her this morning.  I feel like we had a bond of some sort.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parenting up close and personal

Hey, maybe I get to write an ENTIRE post before Emma and Daniel wake up and jump on me...

My kiddies are very well attached, indeed, and love to be cuddled.  Emma pretty much demands to be held every morning upon waking, and she loves the closeness.  Since having Daniel, poor girl has had to do with reduced cuddle time, since baby has to be fed, changed, etc.  She is actually pretty lucky that Daniel is a very low-demands boy, and is content enough to sit in his swing watching Emma jumping on me.

 In the mornings, our routine is something like this:  I wake up and exercise until about 7:30, then I come home, and usually find Emma just awake.  I cuddle her, take off her diaper, give her a bath, brush her teeth, brush her hair, breakfast, etc, and we sit in our rocking chair and read a book (lately Clifford or Llama Llama).  Then Daniel wakes up, and he gets changed, a bath, fed, and then I hold them one on each knee and we read some more, or we do crafts.  At 11 we leave the house, as lately she has had a daily "camp" activity like soccer, gymnastics, pool, etc (gymnastics around here comes for only one week, but it is daily for one hour and they call it gymnastics camp).  If the camp is done, then we go to the park and are just as wise.

Emma is growing into a confident, beautiful girl.  I love spending time with her.  I have decided that I am not putting her in preschool, because she is already going to daycare for five hours daily when I work, and I simply don't want her away from me for a further two hours.  I don't care what the learning opportunities that she is missing out on might be, it is way too much for this momma and child dyad.  And, honestly, if I were not working, I would for sure homeschool for a few years as well.

I have had the opportunity to observe mother-child interactions at all these summer camps that we went to.   Some of the mothers were more involved than others (and I don't mean helicopter style at all times, but watching the kid, encouraging, talking them through difficult times, etc), and those were the kids that I found were thriving.  They stood out as more confident, just for knowing that their mothers were there and had their backs. Something good happens when the mother or father are close by, and get involved.  I want that so much for my kids.

I have read a wonderful book,  Hold on to your kids, and the book has actually reinforced for me this concept that the kid needs me more than she needs friends or peers at this stage.  Emma plays a lot with other children, especially now that it is summertime, and she does very well with them, but I try not to let her hang out all day long without supervision, and both her and the neighbour's kids do better when one of the mothers is there to remind them to be gentle, be kind, share, etc.  It takes a long time to teach a kid how to be civilized, and the more time I spend with her, the better our chances :).

I would love to hear from any mothers out there who plan on homeschooling, and in particular if working part time and home schooling.  Is it working?  What are the drawbacks (and the high points too)?

Here are some pictures from her third b-day party, and from our recent day trip to Summit Lake in the mountains.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Milk issues again

I am thinking that my milk supply is not keeping up with Daniel's growth.  He was unsatisfied for a while now, and I don't have the same approach with him as I did with Emma, thinking that my body will keep up.  I now know better.  I tried to pump a bit each morning to have enough for the evenings, when the supply issue happens, but then I ended up not having enough in the morning either, and having to supplement twice a day, which was not good.  I started by pumping 30 ml (one oz) each morning, and weighing him to see how much he ate when he woke up.  He would eat 70ml and be hungry still, so I often would give him back the pumped milk, then he was satisfied.  I then stopped pumping and he would just eat 100 ml and be happy.  This is a lot less time consuming and much more satisfying to both of us.  My body just cannot make more than 100 ml, that's the way it is.  Pumping first, waiting a bit and feeding later does not change things either, that is the way I am built. The sooner I accepted this, the better it was.

My advice for the lactation-challenged ladies is (after much, much experience with hitting my head against the wall):  recognize the problem early.  If you think you don't have enough milk, it is likely that you are right.  Daniel was gaining 20g per day and doing fine, but with supplementation he is gaining 30 g and he is a lot happier.  He only needs 1-2 oz at night extra, but that is what he needs, and I won't argue with it.  Second piece of advice:  supplement at the breast using something like the SNS or Lactation Aid devices.  Bottles are fairly deadly in this situation, because a frustrated hungry baby will always prefer the faster milk flow that comes from the bottle.  Third piece of advice:  feed often.  Allow the baby to soothe-suck at the breast whenever he wants to, it will increase the prolactin levels.

I was lucky enough to have two ladies in town donate milk for him (just as it happened for Emma) and will probably be able to avoid formula until he is a bit older, and perhaps if we are lucky indefinitely :).

Friday, July 18, 2014

biking with the bears

Yesterday morning I had a biking date.  For anybody who has missed the recent developments, I bit the triathlon bug and am trying to learn some road bike skills on my second hand bike that is extremely temperamental (hopefully the bike technician comes back to town pretty soon to fix my large gear problem).  Anyway, so yesterday morning I was supposed to go biking with a lady in town, who has to go to work at 7 am.  Hence I got up extra early, at 5:15 am, to feed Daniel and change him and put him in the swing before I have my coffee, get dressed, try to find my helmet that has a bad habit of prancing around the house all by itself, etc.  I showed up at the meeting place at 6 am, and this lady was not there.  I waited for a bit, riding around in circles (I would have dismounted the bike, but the clip pedals make me fall each time I try to dismount, so I thought I'd better save that fun for later, at the end of the ride, or at least for some "stop" sign excitement!).

Finally, after ten minutes of small boring circles around the block, I felt the need to go do my workout and left.  It was about half an hour earlier than my usual riding time, so I ran (biked) into these ladies running on the road towards me.  They yelled at me "there's a momma bear with cubs further up the road, don't go there".

The local people are (rightfully) terrified of bears.  We carry bear spray in our purses just about everywhere, and definitely on any of the paths around here.  That being said, although we encounter them often, I have not met anybody that ever got attacked, except for this guy who decided to shoot one and the shot was not deadly (I think that he told me that bear was dangerous for some reason, whatever).  In general, I have the feeling that if you don't bother them, they don't bother you.  And it is generally wise not to walk too close to them with your camera, ahem, MrH...Yes, yes, even if it looks like the bear is smiling at you.

Well, that blocked my workout path alright.  I had to decide whether I was more afraid of riding past the lady-bear with the babies, or of riding on the highway, with its bigger, longer hills, and the less welcoming truckers with their fast semi's.  I chose the bear, and rode on.  I never saw her, she must have just dashed into the bushes.

That's the problem around here with riding too early, there's a lot of wildlife.  It is also what makes me relish my early morning rides, since some of the wild life consists of momma deer and their fawns too :).

Speaking of which, I cannot wait for my new cruiser (cruising bike) to arrive.  It will have breaks that don't screech bloody murder and 18 speeds.  More for me to climb the hills with!  My quads will soon need me to pay property tax on them.