Saturday, September 24, 2011

Prenatal Yoga

I took a prenatal yoga class when I was pregnant with Evan. I did pretty well, too, until some point in my third trimester. We were all sitting in a well supported seated mountain pose and the teacher began to talk us through a guided meditation. During that, she asked us to bring a circle of light from our hearts and surround our babies with it. Then she said to take this heart connection and send our babies an intention, to talk to them and send them warm feelings of love and connectedness. How horrible is it that I couldn't do it?? I maintained my composure through the end of class, but that was about it. I spent the next chunk of my life sitting in the car in the parking lot, sobbing and rubbing my well-rounded belly, thinking about this little being growing in me that I was too scared to even "wrap in a circle of light" for fear that I might grow too attached and potentially crushed again. I never dared, not even for a second, to believe (truly believe) that he would make it into this world alive. I did not go back to that class. I made up something about schedule conflicts and never looked back. I never told the teacher why, either.

Fast forward to today. I went to my first prenatal yoga class for this pregnancy. Now, aside from the fact that it made me feel very old (everyone else there was on their first baby while I'm on my 5th!), it felt very different from the previous class. It is in the same location with the same teacher, but I am in a completely different place. When we were doing the meditation at the end and she again asked us to wrap our babies in the light from our hearts, I did so. And know what I found? Joy! I can't believe we are so fortunate to have this little one entering our lives and I feel happy to be in a place that I can say that I really, truly believe that this baby will be born alive. This baby will grace our family in a few short months and either give Evan a brother to destroy the house with or give me one more chance to hold a baby girl in my arms. Both possibilities bring me so much excitement that I am actually looking forward to this winter. It has been a long time since I have felt that joy and excitement and I welcome it back into my life. I can't wait to meet you, Little One!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Did It!

The kids and I have been studying the book My Side of the Mountain. It is a a fictional account of a 12-year-old boy who runs away to the mountains and survives quite well. The girls have loved the book and are making a lapbook in addition to doing some hunting for edible plants, building shelters outside, etc. One piece of the survival puzzle that has eluded us, however, was the flint and steel fire. We simply haven't been able to get it started. We have lots and lots and lots of sparks, but we haven't been able to get anything to flame, until TODAY! (For the record, if you are going to use cattail fluff as tinder, be prepared for it to flame very HOT, very FAST!)

(Don't worry, we managed to get the magnifying glass out before it melted. Erin had been trying to use that to start the fire...lots of smoke, but no flame. We tried!)

Now we can move on to our next unit without regret. Though, as we discussed today, if it were a wet, soggy day, the odds of us getting fire started with flint and steel in the wilderness are slim to none. Oh well....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Conversation

My mother-in-law keeps a folder of funny things my kids say. When Erin was two, we had hordes of the one-liners she came up with. With Megan, we had fewer, simply because we forgot to write them down. Now with Evan, I hardly have time to register what he said, much less record it for posterity. However, this morning as the girls were off at a watercolor class and I had Evan in the car by myself, we had the following conversation (I'm writing it down for you, Pam!):

Evan (after we drove over a bridge being repaired) "Was there an excavator?"
"No, I didn't see an excavator."
"Oh. What were the other tools there?"
"I don't know, Sweetie, I didn't look hard and I don't know the names of a lot of construction tools."
"Oh, that is sad."
"It is sad that I don't know the names?"
"Yes, Mommy, that is just sad."
(I paused here, letting it soak in that my 2-year-old is disappointed in me and my knowledge of construction vehicles.)
There comes a giggle from the back...I look in the mirror and see a smiling boy who says, "Don't worry, Mommy, I'm just trying to push your buttons on!"

Thanks, kid.

First Day of Not School

Every year it happens...the big yellow school bus comes down my street and swallows up most of the kids in the neighborhood. Not mine, though...not mine. And, like all homeschooling moms I know, there are definitely mixed feelings about this! As I watched the other moms standing at the end of their driveways waving goodbye to their kids, a part of me is so very jealous of their chance to go back inside, sit with a cup of coffee, read the paper...perhaps even take an uninterrupted shower! Oh, it all sounds so wonderfully peaceful to me! (I recognize I'm totally romanticizing it--these moms also have houses to clean, meals to prepare, errands to run and a few still have younger kids at home, so I know I'm living in dreamland to think they quietly go back to their house and live in peace until the bus comes back!)

At any rate, like many moms out and about during the summer, I've been asked in the past few weeks about whether or not I'm looking forward to the kids being back in school. I read the funnies and get a giggle out of the comic-strip stay-at-home moms who sit in their lawn chairs with a cold drink as the school bus pulls out. But our family isn't like that. We have chosen a different path. I truly treasure the time I have with my kids and I don't want to give it up if I don't have to. Yes, my kids fight, they whine, they create a mess like you wouldn't believe...they do all those things! But I love it--I truly do (though not necessarily at 5:30pm when dinner isn't ready and Daddy isn't home--I am human, after all!) And so we enter another school year alone on our street but truly happy in our hearts as we do what is right for our kids and our family. Yes, there will be days when I wish they would get on that bus, I won't deny it! There will be times I'll call my my husband and beg him to come home NOW. There will be times that kids won't want to do school and times I don't want to teach them anything. But there will be so many more times that they will be proud of what they have done and excited about a project. There will be new friends and swimming lessons and karate classes. There will be adventures to Boston and trips to the ocean and perhaps even a ski trip or two...oh yeah, and there will be a new sibling to learn about and take care of. Our year will be wonderful! So good bye, big yellow school bus, I'm sorry, but once again, you simply can't have my kids. I'm not done with them yet!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Phone Call

Normally, today, I'd have a very important phone call to make to wish my best friend a Happy Birthday. I'd call her up, we'd chat, she'd tell me that she had lunch with her mom or maybe went shopping. She never made a big deal out of her birthday (as most of us stop doing when we get older!), but if the timing worked out, maybe I'd be the one having lunch with her--we'd meet up at whatever restaurant struck our fancy that day and talk about absolutely nothing. In the days that she lived up here, I'd probably show up at her apartment with a cake or something and we'd eat ice cream together--no big deal, but something to honor the day. Once, in college, because we had moved into our dorms on her birthday weekend and then started classes the next day, her birthday flew by completely I threw her a surprise party in October. She was definitely surprised!

Instead, I find myself sitting here having just finished a wonderful walk/run with my oldest kiddo (discussing all the mushrooms we found in the woods--her current interest). In a little while, we will head out to visit my in-laws because tomorrow is my FIL's birthday. We'll have a picnic and laugh and eat cupcakes. In short, I'm sure I'll have a perfectly nice day. But it certainly won't be the day I wish it could be...because one phone call will be missing. One very important phone call.

Happy Birthday, Amy.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Evan is weaning. Now, this should be a pretty obvious statement, given that the child is two-and-a-half and many people are shocked that he's still nursing at all. But nursing has been such a huge part of my relationship with each of my children that I feel sad to see it end, even when it is clear that it is time and he is outgrowing the need and all that. You see, Evan is the first comfort-nurser I have ever had wean and it is with a tear in my eye that I watch the end of this phase of our relationship.

Erin was never a comfort nurser. She nursed for food...period. When she was an infant, she nursed every 2-3 hours during the day and every 6-8 hours at night. As a toddler, I was her morning nourishment (followed by "real" breakfast), her mid afternoon snack and her bedtime fill-up. If she bumped her head or some other toddler emergency that required comfort, she never asked to nurse, she simply curled up with her blankie or with a book in our laps. When I was pregnant with her sister, she weaned fairly quickly as my milk supply decreased and by the time I only had colostrum in days before and just after her sister's birth, she literally looked at me and said, "Mama no milk, Erin want yogurt," and walked away. That was it. She never asked again and never accepted if I offered.

Megan was a HUGE comfort nurser. She nursed every 20-30 minutes through most of the first year of her life (in between bouts of crying!). As a toddler, practically every jolt brought her to my lap with requests for "ishy" (that was her word for it!). Unfortunately for Megan, weaning was not a fun time for her. Just shy of her second birthday, I nursed her to sleep before calling my friend Amy to come babysit for us. I was having pretty severe abdominal pains, you see, and because I was pregnant, I needed to go to the ER and get help. Amy brought me to the ER and I spent the next several days on pretty heavy medication, the following week in ICU and by the time I was home after losing Sophie, Megan was weaned. I tried to get her back when my milk came in, but she wasn't interested. I was crushed. Completely crushed.

So here I am with my third nursling and my second comfort-nurser. Before he turned two, we nursed all the time--"I want mama!" he would demand. For some reason, when he turned two, he stopped needing it so much. I switched to a "don't offer, don't refuse" type policy to try to ease into the weaning process. When I found we were pregnant again, one of the symptoms was that Evan just didn't seem to want to nurse anymore. More and more often he was permitting Chris to put him to bed. He was taking naps in the car or not at all, skipping that nursing session. In the past month or so we have come to a point where he hardly asks at all. With the exception of today, he hasn't asked to nurse in over a week (maybe two?).

Today was different. He was SO tired and in desperate need of a real nap. I have been watching two other children this week and all the activity has really made it hard for him to keep up. He was in full melt-down mode on the floor when I picked him up and hugged him. He looked at me with tears running down his face. "I want mama," he said quietly into my shoulder. I kicked the other children out of the house, told them I needed 15 minutes of quiet, and curled up in the rocking chair with Evan. He latched on gladly and when I asked him, "Is there any mama in there?" he shook his head no, but continued to nurse contentedly. He fell asleep within minutes and I just rocked him, admiring the dirt on his cheeks, the marker on his face, the bits of chocolate on his shirt. I looked at his hands curled into his blankie and his very dirty toes sticking out from under it. He looks so much bigger than he used to when he was nursing every day, so much older. I know our nursing relationship is almost over. I know that, now, every time I pick him up to nurse him could be the last time. Maybe it was today. And while a part of me will lavish the next few months of complete freedom before another nursling arrives, a part of me is sad to see these last remnants of my baby boy fade into memory.

So we move forward into the next chapter of raising this amazing little man who climbs trees, crashes cars and charms the hearts of all who meet him. Who knows what it will bring, but I'm so excited to be along for the ride!

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