Tag Archives: Bean

“Do You Wanna Build a Snowmaaaaan” Cover: by my 2-year-old

4 Apr

You guys.  The toddler who wouldn’t talk suddenly has a huge vocabulary.  And thanks to a few dozen viewings of Frozen, she SINGS.  Sings.

Wait for it – it’s worth every second.  The way she leans into the door to muffle her voice like Anna?  And when she touches the door before singing “okay, byeeeeee….”  I just couldn’t love this kid anymore.

p.s.  The husband and I will perform Love Is An Open Door when my Climb Out of the Darkness fundraiser hits $400.  I am not a singer.  That’s how epic it will be.

 

 

Yes, I’m Still Breastfeeding

6 Dec

Extended BreastfeedingI never expected to be breastfeeding a toddler.  But here I am, with my 23-month-old, still going strong.

After my first breastfeeding experience ended abruptly due to to a myriad of issues, I was determined to give it a shot the second time around, but I knew what mattered most was that I took good care of myself, no matter how I was feeding my baby.  We had rough start.  Bean struggled to gain weight and ultimately to nurse because of an undiagnosed milk protein allergy.  I had massive oversupply and hyperactive letdown difficulties, and I spent many nights sobbing out of frustration.  I knew my baby would be okay no matter what I decided to do, but she would be my last and I just wasn’t ready to give up.  But eventually, as many promised, it did get easier.  Breastfeeding became a solution instead of the problem, and both Bean and I grew to relish the quiet time together.

I never set a concrete goal, but deep down, I just wanted to make it farther than I did with Doodlebug – 3 months.   6 months sped by, and we introduced sweet potatoes, avocado, and bananas, and I found myself musing, “now what?”  I didn’t know what else to do, so we just kept nursing like aways, and I followed Bean’s lead.  We celebrated her first birthday, and we just kept nursing.  I remembered weaning Doodlebug from her bottle at 13 months out of fear of babying her (I know… first-time mom syndrome), and so around that same time, I started to feel a little conflicted about nursing Bean.

BFing Quote

By 13 months, she wasn’t nursing to sleep any longer.  She nursed before naps and bed, in the mornings, and a few times spread out during the day.  She wasn’t biting, wasn’t pinching or pulling at my hair, and didn’t “nurse and run.”  It was working for us, so we just kept on doing it, and one day turned into one week, one month, one season.   The conflicted feeling passed and we made it to 18 months, when she began nursing only before nap and bed and once in the morning.  Breastfeeding receded into the background of our day and I didn’t really give it much thought.

Now, her second birthday is fast approaching (pause for a moment to think about how utterly ridiculous and unfair that is) and the conflict has resurfaced. I have many good reasons to continue to breastfeed her, both anecdotal and scientific.  Nursing feels natural for us, it helps her sleep well and soothes pain and hurt feelings.  It’s alleviating some of the pain of her two-year-old molars erupting without the use of medications.  Extended breastfeeding is supported by the AAP and the WHO for the emotional and medical benefits.  My mama gut tells me it’s the right choice for us, and yet I feel like I should feel more uncomfortable with it.

Extended BreastfeedingIt’s not that I’m conflicted about continuing to nurse my toddler – in fact, I’m convinced my mama gut is right.  Instead, I’m conflicted about my lack of conflict, especially given my culture and upbringing.  I had no exposure to extended breastfeeding (or really breastfeeding at all, for that matter) before doing it myself, and it’s rarely discussed openly in this country (other than to condemn it as gross, damaging to a child, or selfish).  And to be completely honest?  Before nursing an almost-two-year-old myself, my first reaction to a breastfeeding toddler would have been misinformed judgment.

It turns out that it’s much easier for me to dismiss the opinions of strangers on the internet or hushed stares at the local playground than it is for me to silence my own social conditioning.  In recognizing this about myself, I can move past it…  Because the bottom line is that: Yes, I’m still breastfeeding.  It’s working for us.  And I refuse to put the discomfort or judgement of society before the needs of my family.

These words poured out of me for two reasons today.  Writing allows me to work through my emotions – to document my soul-searching.  But also?  I wanted to share that what I’ve learned from breastfeeding a toddler has nothing to do with breastfeeding at all:  Suspend judgement.  Informed convictions are valuable, but until you’ve experienced something, remember that you might not know everything.  You might be wrong.  I certainly was about extended nursing.

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p.s. Why do I post pictures here, you ask?  Because the more breastfeeding (both infant and extended) is normalized, the more moms will feel comfortable asking questions, sharing their stories, and reaching out for help.

p.p.s.  Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone – each family has to decide for themselves what is the best fit for mama and baby/toddler.  I support a mom’s right to choose how she feeds her baby.  But I’d also like to see more non-pressured support for nursing mamas.

Sibling Rivalry

9 Aug

Mom, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the time I knocked two of  my little brother’s teeth out with the back of my skull even though he had my arms pinned behind my back and wouldn’t let me go.

And remember when he flushed my favorite washcloth down the toilet and I screamed and cried for days?  Even thought it was just a washcloth? Yeah.  Sorry.

For all the times I waited for him to do something bad just so I could tattle to you and get him in trouble.

And for the multitude of moments when you just wanted us to play nicely together so you could drink your tea in peace but that were inevitably punctuated by screaming.

I wish I could say it was all his fault, but I know better now.  And I’m so, so sorry.

This sibling rivalry nonsense?  Totally sucks from my new perspective.

I hear it’s normal and that I’m not doing anything wrong as a parent, but my god do these girls ever drive each other and me to tears.  They are almost 5 and 2, certainly more than the 4 and 1 their birth years would suggest.

Now, I know they adore each another.  The first person that Doodlebug wants to see in the morning is her baby sister.  She looks forward to the moment when Bean’s face will light up and they both grin silly smiles reserved just for sister.  Doodlebug’s mere presence in an unfamiliar environment is enough to fill Bean with sufficient courage and confidence to tear herself away from my arms to explore.  And noone has more adorable nicknames for the baby than her big sister.  They crack each other up and inspire a creativity that I couldn’t begin to understand.

So why are they constantly at each other’s throats?  Toy grabbing.  Screaming matches.  Shutting doors on little sisters.  Throwing toys at big sisters. Crying about toys “I was thinking about playing with but then she played with it and she’s never going to be done playing with it and IT’S NOT FAAAAAIR.”

It’s a passive agressive war for family dominance and I’m the one caught in the crossfire.

And though it’s truly exasperating, I’m trying to reframe it in a positive light.  Our home and family is the one place where both girls feel safe enough to experiment socially.  The can try things out, knowing the safety net of family love will catch them. And like lion cubs, they are testing their strength on one another.

So. Their sibling rivalry is important to their social development.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Sisters

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