Filtering by Tag: baby

Mother's Day 2017

I just celebrated my first Mother's Day. I found myself getting anxious in the days leading up, much like I do when my birthday comes a-knockin'. For whatever reason, having a celebration centered around me, even partially, drudges up old feelings of unsettlement. I'm nervous no one will show up and say, "we're glad you were born" or, I guess, "we're glad your baby was born." No matter how much work we do on self development, we're still just fragile creatures searching for validation and love. I guess the best thing to do is accept that aspect and continue to foster our growth as peoplekind. was it?

Actually, it was wonderful. There have been hiccups in the past, as I mentioned, that have made me gun shy about accepting recognition. It's somewhat unnatural to me. But having the people in my life tell me they see me, they see my love for my son, my sacrifice, my effort and care, and casually ignore the poop smeared on my shirt, well, that's a pretty amazing thing. 

I woke up stretching and gathering my sheets around me, much like a beautiful princess in a Disney movie. Birds were chirping, the sun was barely peeking in, and I was alone. Let me just repeat that for those of you in the back. I woke up...after sleeping. The concept of waking up naturally was thought extinct around the holidays last year, so I was already considering the day a win. But then a series of incredible little miracles occurred that damn near sent me into a bout of hysteria. (Shout out to the nineteenth century!)

When I opened my bedroom door I was greeted by a happily fed, changed, and engaged child. Nothing was broken or adorned in small, indistinguishable bits of food. Breakfast was just being set on the table (shrimp and grits) and coffee was poured. All I had to do was sit and feed my face. I was then presented with the sweetest collection of gifts. Seedlings for my garden, new smudge sticks, crystals, and other goodies for my nighttime routine. But you guys, there was a handmade card from my boys that totally annihilated my heart meat. Words cannot describe my surprised giddiness. 

We spent the day in the yard and got more materials for the crazy greenhouse project my sweet husband is still pretending will work out. We had dinner with friends, stayed up way too late discussing the science and The Universe and the weirdness of its vastness. It was perfect. 

I wasn't anxious. I was completely fulfilled watching the miniature human I made with my body explore and laugh and eat dandelions. I watched the man I still call my boyfriend father our son (you guys, my ovaries), I got to share in the joy my friends find in hanging out with my baby, I got to plant things and drink alcohol before noon. I realized that I have achieved my biggest dream and I'm living it right now. Whoa. 

Thank you to all the moms. I share an incredible admiration for your relentless sacrifices, fierceness in love, your watchful nurturing, and hustle for your families. However you entered motherhood, whatever your circumstances and affinities, despite the immense pains and challenges, you did it. If you're walking alone, I applaud you. It's the hardest job in the world and I can't imagine having to do it by myself. If you're remembering a child lost, I feel you and hold you in my heart, Mama. There's nothing in the world that can prepare you for that experience and it's something I wish no one had to go through. But you are here, you are strong and beautiful, and you are a mother. If you're facing discrimination, I stand beside you. Motherhood looks different for everyone and it looks damn good on you. If you're struggling, I am too. It sounds simple, but it's the truest truth in life. We're all doing our best and guess's good enough. You are enough. I am honored to be in your company and I am blown away by the power that is The Mother. 





An RIE Success Story

I am a big fan of the RIE (Resources of Infant Educarers) method of parenting. It basically advocates for parents treating their littles as "real" people, whereby showing them the same respect we'd bestow on a fellow adult. It's easy to forget (or maybe never know in the first place) that even the youngest infants are completely capable, aware, and responsive. They aren't objects. I know that sounds obvious, but it really isn't to a lot of people.

Think about how people interact with babies. There's a lot of baby-talk, faces, poking, and manhandling that happens to a baby. You would never physically maneuver an adult towards an intended activity without any explanation. Magda Gerber, the program's founder, says the same should be true for children. Respect your child by explaining what you're about to do before you do it. It may seem a little silly, but it really does make a big difference.

I want to share a cool experience I had with my son a couple months ago. His first set of shots were scheduled at about 3 months of age. I didn't know what to expect or how to comfort him through the experience. Like many parents, I looked to my doctor and nurses and tried to be as supportive as possible. I held my baby's hands and spoke softly to him as the nurse hurriedly poked three needles into his soft, rolly thighs. As expected, he screamed and struggled. He was extremely upset even as we got him tucked safely away into the car. He passed out and remained "off" the rest of the day. That night he was restless and fussy. He's normally an excellent sleeper. 

We got through the next few weeks until his next appointment. Unfortunately, he had to get a second round of all three shots from before. This time, I told him about going to the doctor and having to get shots before we even left the house that morning. As we pulled up, I again explained what was about to happen. In the office, he was a little on edge but mostly his normal, cheerful self. When the nurse entered with the needles, I laid him down and explained the process once more, touching his legs where the shots would be going. "The needles are going in here and here and then it will be over." He looked at me the whole time, whining when each needle went in...and that was it. I picked him up and he immediately began babbling and even shot the nurse a smile. It was incredible. The experience was so much less stressful for me and for him. 

RIE has a lot of really awesome suggestions for most situations/circumstances you'll encounter with your kids. I don't follow every word, but there's a lot I've adopted and adapted in my own house. There's a great Facebook community that has a lot of active members sharing experiences with each other. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Mentioned in this post:
RIE Parenting
RIE Facebook Group Run by Janet Lansbury

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