Monthly Archives: July 2014

KSBW.com news story http://www.ksbw.com/news/restaurant-sign-stirs-controversy/27198928#!brWSCL

Thoughtful Thursday: High Chairs

(photo credit: KSBW.com)

I saw THIS news story posted on Twitter.  The tweet, composed by @ConsciousBirths on their another social media page, asked, “Controversial restaurant sign! What are your thoughts? Would you be offended by this or be happy to go to a child free restaurant?”

I used to be one of “those” people who believed we should have child-free restaurants, airplanes (I had a whole business plan around a child-free airline!), shopping experiences.  Who in their right mind wants to be around screaming children??

My mind was expanded when we welcomed our first child.  So much miracle in one little body – I was not leaving her alone.  Ever.  She went with me everywhere…including work.  I could not imagine leaving her for a second, especially since I was breastfeeding and babywearing…there was not a single place we couldn’t go together.

By the time she was a year old, she had already flown ten times (five round-trips).  I saw the dreaded looks from other passengers – I recognized the look of disbelief and dismay when we got on the plane and took our seats.  Without fail, every flight we heard, “She is such a good baby!”, or, “We were scared when you sat next to us – what a nice surprise!”

Why? Are we some kind of baby-whisperer? Or did I put bourbon in her bottle with breastmilk?  (Since we had a car seat in a plane seat for her, the “rule” was that she had to be strapped in for take-off and landing, so I would give her a bottle to help with ear pressure since I couldn’t nurse her in my arms.) NO!

No.  We treated her with love and respect.  We talked her through the experience.  We pointed out all the different features on the plane.  She had her breastmilk, liquid love, from the start through the end of the flight, since I could take her out to nurse while the “fasten seat belt” sign was off at cruising altitude.  She was a miniature, darling, little travel companion.

Along the lines of treating your child with love and respect, comes the part where you pay attention to their needs.  We booked flights around the times when she would naturally be sleepy so that it would be less stressful for her.  Since she nursed to sleep, we would both arrive rested at our destination.

Extend that concept of parenting with love and respect to dining out of your home.  A phrase that I learned early on when I was in management was to, “set yourself up for success.”  There are a lot of different scenarios where it can be applied, and it definitely drives the way I approach any excursions with our Sweet Peas.

You want to go out to eat with at a restaurant? Plan for it!

  • Pick a day when you do not have a whole lot scheduled so that even if you haven’t been able to get a nap in, your Sweet Pea isn’t over-stimulated before you even head out the door.  Call ahead, confirm the menu is suitable for you, and for your little one if they are eating solids (to be safe, we still brought our own snacks just in case!).  While you’re at it, ask the staff when the off-peak times are, and plan to eat there during the down-time.
  • Start small and start teaching your children etiquette from the beginning.  Go to a local diner or drive-in where it doesn’t matter if your Sweet Pea has a melt-down because the dining area is already operating at a dull roar.  Use all the same tools you would use at home and they are familiar with (we use the suggestions from Dr. Harvey Karp’s “Happiest Toddler on the Block”).  And if they really cannot pull it together, love on them even more, and tell them it’s okay to go home – we can try again another day.
  • Bring your own entertainment.  We do not rely on restaurants to have coloring pages and crayons.  We would bring books to read, our own coloring books, and now that our kiddos are older, we bring our Busy Books.  We take turns walking around with them when the entertainment is no longer engaging and they are getting restless before the food arrives. Once the food is served, we eat, pay, and leave according to our children’s frame of mind.  If they are rested and patient, we dine.  If we are at the end of a long day, we eat at the speed of lightning, pay, and go, leaving a cartoon streak behind us.

If all else fails, we ask for our dine-in to turn into take-out, we call it a day and go home.  There is no reason to stress ourselves or our children out.  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and being okay with that is honoring and respecting your child.  It has nothing to do with fussy restaurant owners – my children’s needs will always come before anyone else’s opinion.

We are also good at asking people, “Today is not a good eating out day for us – can we do take-out at our place or your place?”  We adjust our expectations according to our children’s needs and abilities in that moment, and hence, we get the, “Your children are so well-behaved!” every time we do go out to eat.  Of course! Because we do our best to take rested, “respected for their humanity” children out to dinner.

What if you are out of options? Like the parents in this news story, what if you are traveling and there is no “home” to go home to?  Use the tools you have at hand to set yourself up for success.  There are so many great search sites or smart phone apps out there that can help you find family-friendly dining.  Another idea is to ask the employees at the hotel where they like to eat with their families, off the beaten path.  You’ll find yourselves at a place that wants your business, and is probably less expensive than the tourist-driven restaurants.

When your children are at an age where they understand restaurant etiquette and like eating out, take them out for a fine-dining experience.  While you’re at it, take them to a place that has high chairs.  Although white linen service doesn’t necessarily cater to families with small children, by all means give your business to an establishment that recognizes that children at any age are people, too.

To the restaurant owner in Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey: We will not be asking for a high chair, nor will we be eating at your restaurant with our awesome and “well-behaved” children – thanks, anyway.

Wordless Wednesday: Sun-Kissed Summer

Sweet Peas are out and about and having all kinds of fun this summer – these are adorable – thank you to all the families who shared their enchanting images…and now I am off to enjoy the summer sun with our Sweet Peas and today’s birthday boy – Happy 5th Birthday, Charger!

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Charger as a toddler – how time flies!!

Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer

Phoenix Children’s Museum

Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer

Sea LIfe Aquarium – Phoenix

Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer Sweet Pea Families: Sun Kissed Summer SKS15 SKS14 SKS13 SKS12 SKS11 SKS10 SKS09 SKS08 SKS07 SKS06 SKS05 SKS04 SKS03 SKS02 SKS01

Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: helping others reach their breastfeeding goals

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about how you have helped another mom reach her breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

When you are submersed in the natural birth and natural/gentle parenting community it seems like breastfeeding is everywhere. Pictures, stories, advice and an abundant amount of information surrounding the benefits, etc. etc. etc. But outside of this small (or even large) part of your life there are still all of the other parts, your family, your high school friends and their families, your employees/employers/coworkers to which more times than not formula is the norm. Once you emerge from your baby moon and are back to more of your “normal” activities you may suddenly find yourself feeling super awkward when you have to feed the baby despite your rockstar breastfeeding-in-public confidence you gained in your other circle of natural mama friends during pregnancy and immediately post baby.

I was definitely surprised at how weird some people in my life acted about me nursing, how some  would go on and on about how weird or gross or whatever it was and how it would make others just clam up and not want to talk/look/or hang out with me and baby. I told myself that I would just act completely normal always, no matter what. I wouldn’t get weird, I wouldn’t change my behavior, I would go with what I was comfortable with and I would engage in all conversation positively, truthfully and most of all, sincerely.

I think this is one of the biggest keys in helping other moms. I would always bring my baby when meeting with my friends, mamas and non mamas alike and he would always need to nurse at some point. I would never comment on their choices to formula feed or ever bring up why I chose to breastfeed unless someone asked. If someone asked me about how everything was going with the babe obviously breastfeeding would come up and I would be honest about our struggles, successes and what parenting is like when you are the sole food source. I really feel that because of this laid back attitude and honesty I connected with other moms that were interested in breastfeeding but it had not worked for them for whatever reason or moms that maybe weren’t ever interested but now had a different take on it. I was always very open about what breastfeeding was like for us, how we did no solids until six months, that we were still nursing at one year, 18 months and 2 years and everything in between.

During this time I became the go-to breastfeeding person for two of my old work friends, one a first time mama and one who gave up very early with her first baby and was now nursing her second baby. Another pregnant friend who hadn’t considered nursing at all before but was interested and after baby latching in the hospital went with it and another high school acquaintance who was going to breastfeed but had never known anyone to nurse past one year. Once they all had decided (on their own) they *wanted* to breastfeed giving them advice and information was super fun and extremely helpful! From supplements to pumping advice to ditching the feeding schedules, I had a great time sharing my experience and research. Breastfeeding comes with a HUGE amount of uncertainty, something you can’t really understand ahead of time so I think sometimes it is nice just to know you are not alone in your thoughts or worries and to know there are always an abundance of options.

I am a huge proponent and supporter of breastfeeding and although not a hugely outspoken advocate unless approached or engaged (and there are obviously many varying positions on the matter). I really feel that because of the stigma of breastfeeding in our culture and the attitude so many people (and women!) have towards it, that a natural, sincere approach is best. By being open and honest and not having an opinion on whether or not people in my life supported, cared about, or wanted to breastfeed their own children I was able to help a few mamas and babies I may not have been able to otherwise!

How do you feel about advocacy? Are there any friends, family members, etc. that you have helped during their breastfeeding journey?

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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A Tale of Potty Training

A Tale of Potty Training in which Otter validates my belief in attachment parenting

Through this journey of mothering, my philosophy has become, “drop the book, read the child”.  I do not discount the books out of hand – many of them have sage advice and are written by experienced professionals and parents.  I offer our students the La Leche League approach: treat the information that is offered as a buffet; take what is appealing and leave the rest.  My mantra has become, “Honor The Child”.

A wise aunt of mine once told me that our children are gifted to us to be our teachers.   I have tried to embrace that concept whole-heartedly.  Yet every once in a while, they remind me again of their role in my life.  Oh, that Otter.  She continues to teach me about mothering although I am already ten years into this adventure.

Her latest lesson to me arrived via potty training: it’s the promise of that glorious day when you don’t have to change another diaper…especially those of the “stinky, poop-y, how-does-all-this-fit-into-your-tiny-body diapers that have you running to the toilet as you gag to empty them” variety.

There are SO MANY books on potty training on the market – a quick search on-line yields several titles that promise an easy passage to the promised land.  There are videos you can buy, books written for children to ease the transition, and if you are a family with a fluid bottom line, you can hire a potty coach for $925/day! (Read about that trend HERE.)

She did not want to know what we knew; she did not care that we had already potty trained three children.  She was on her own path.

Winter 2012: Otter showed early signs of being ready to use the potty.  The winter after her first birthday, she sat down and used the potty chair – she was probably 15 months old.  Then she did it again.  When she wasn’t around the potty, she told us that she had gone potty and that we needed to change her. And she couldn’t stand to be in a poopy diaper – I was thrilled!! Were we really going to be free of diapers so soon?!?

Alas, it was not to be.  After a promising week, she started screaming when we brought her near the potty.  She much preferred to do her business in her diaper and then have someone change her *immediately*.  As an attachment parent, I went with the flow, so to speak.  I did not want to push her into something that she was not ready for and forced her into tears.

Spring 2013: The pressure starts to build.  A few mamas of Sweet Peas born from our Fall 2011 and Winter2011-12 classes are announcing that their little ones are sitting on the potty.  They are using it.  A few are actually potty trained!!  What?!?  These children are younger than Otter and they are out of diapers already?

Summer 2013: So I bring out the potty again.  I figure different space, different place; maybe we’ll have a different result.  Still the same reaction – tears and screaming.  I put it back up with the resolution to just let Otter be Otter.  I *know* that it is developmentally impossible for her to be in diapers forever.  Breathe. Mantra. Repeat.

Fall 2013:  More Sweet Pea babies younger than Otter are potty trained.  Breathe. Mantra. Repeat.

WInter 2013: Otter wants to be in the Christmas show with her siblings.  We remind her that she is not in dance classes yet and she cannot dance on stage with them.  However…light bulb moment…we point out that all of the children dancing are out of diapers.  Especially the ones in her favorite number, Santa Baby, a daddy-daughter dance performed by the youngest students in the school.

New strategy!! Instead of offering the training potty, every once in a while, we will drop the line, “It’s okay to keep using diapers.  You’ll have to be out of them if you want to dance in Santa Baby – no diapers on stage!”

Spring 2014: We go to birthday parties for Otter’s contemporaries from our Bradley Classes.  They are out of diapers.  We are still lugging our diaper bag around, albeit a very adorable tokidoki bag.  The SPB alumni mamas tell me what they are doing to facilitate potty training.  A mama from our Fall 2012 class is actively training her one-year-old.  I begin to question if I am crazy to just leave Otter alone and leave her in diapers until she is ready.

YES to leaving her alone, jury is out as to whether I am crazy.  Honor the child. Breathe. Mantra. Repeat.

May 2014:  The diaper service we use announces it’s going out of business. We warn her that her diaper days are numbered.  Diaper service ends and she is distraught to be in training pants, even the adorable ones in patterns she is familiar with since they look like her diaper wraps.  After two days of an unhappy Otter, we decide to buy organic disposable diapers by the sleeve because we Honor The Child.  She is waking up dry, even with night nursing.  I offer the potty in the morning as an alternative to wetting the diaper and an immediate change.  She declines.  For weeks.

Sunday, June 22, 2014: Otter sits on the training potty that we have left, lonely in the bathroom, for months.  She pees.  She stands up and announces, “I am ready to do Santa Baby.”  She was “potty trained” at two years and eight months – done with never another day in diapers.  Or thirty-two months old if you prefer that method of accounting.

No joke.  Since that day six weeks ago she has had exactly two accidents.  One the next day when she was playing with a friend and was too distracted to really go potty and she let the rest go when she came back to play.  And one a week later, strangely enough, overnight when she wet the bed after waking up dry for weeks.

It has been a great validation to Honor The Child.  Once I stopped offering the option to use the training potty, neither of us shed a tear in this non-process.  She is done, without the  mess of soiled clothing, misses on the floor, and a training potty to empty over and over again.  I do not miss the piles of laundry covered in human waste!! That was awesome.

Now, we do keep the training potty available – she doesn’t always want to use the “big potty”.  I figure that is a fair trade.

Breathe.  Honor The Child. Repeat.

Do you have an AP “Aha” moment to share?

BLOG Busy Book Feature Image

Tuesday Tips: Busy Books

We are going to be taking a few road trips this summer, so when my friends posted THIS link, I was intrigued.  A portable activity kit could definitely entertain our kiddos on the road.

I also thought that they would have the added benefit of keeping the little Sweet Peas entertained when I was reading out loud to the older kiddos during our morning school session.  So far they have been a big hit.

I am sharing our modifications and some new ideas that occurred to me based on the skills we want to improve. I decided to start from scratch with most of the activity cards instead of printing off the provided links for a couple of reasons. I want to provide a print-rich environment, so I added words to many of the activities.  In addition, I also want everything the Sweet Peas see to be bi-lingual so that they are exposed to both of the languages we speak in the house in print as well as sound.  (Even when some of the activities had words, they were English- only. )

The books were such a big hit with Otter and Charger! Puma and Night Owl were also flipping through the books, checking out the different activities.  I felt badly that I hadn’t created something for them, so when the opportunity presented itself, I bought more supplies to create books with age-appropriate activities for them.  They helped me choose what they wanted in their books.

As far as the little Sweet Peas go, I am thrilled that they are enjoying their books and looking for new pockets to unzip.  I loved all the printables (free!) on the Busy Little Bugs site. I am thinking that I will have to go back there to the to find new games that I can swap out periodically so that the littles do not get bored doing the same activities.  Ideally, I would like to have twenty different “busy bags” with activities to rotate through, maybe putting in five zip pockets at a time into the Busy Books, and letting them choose their favorites when it’s time to hit the road.

We are three days into having these books around, and every day I still hear (several times a day!), “Where is my Busy Book?” YEAH!

Notes:

  1. Links to all the websites I used to make the Busy Books are at the bottom of the post.
  2. If you would like my English/Spanish activity cards, then please send an email to sweetpeafamilies@gmail.com.  I will send you the file I used so you can print them out for your Sweet Peas.
  3. Felt sticks to itself!! You probably knew this – I am thrilled since it is new to my memory bank! Saved all the leftovers – looking forward to cutting it up and using it for future activities.
  4. Cardstock and Con-Tact® Laminate paper are the best! I wish I had picked up the cardstock the first time around at the store.  Since I didn’t and I am not patient when my mind is set on finishing something, most of the activity cards are printed on regular copy paper.   Still okay – the laminate paper make them durable enough to get good use out of them.  In the future and for any recipients of Busy Book gifts, we will definitely use cardstock.

Charger’s Book (5 years old)BLOG Busy Book Overview

Felt Name Board with letters color-coded for vowels and consonantsBLOG Busy Book Name

Shape-MatchBLOG Busy Book Shapes

Buttons + Boards for sortingBLOG Busy Book Sorting

Counting Cards 1-10 odd/even color-codedBLOG Busy Book Numbers

Memory Game / Puzzle Cards

BLOG Busy Book Memory

Charger’s pieces double as a puzzle and a memory game; I chose a fun chevron print for the top-side of Otter’s game

Color Card MatchBLOG Busy Book Rainbow

“Copycat” bags: Felt “Snake”, Velcro Craft Sticks, Before & After number game from Busy Little BugsBLOG Busy Book Copycat

Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.

BLOG Busy Books TRVLPPOB-1

Image from Mona MELisa Webpage

 

Otter’s Book (2.5 years old)

  • Felt Name Board with letters and shapes
  • Shape-Match Buttons + Board for sorting BLOG Busy Book Toddler Sort
  • Counting Cards 1-10 odd/even color-coded – Otter’s set has pom-poms to put on the circles – she is still having a hard time with the mini-clothespins.  She reminded me that she can use the big ones 😉 I tried to explain to her that they don’t fit in the bags and we’ll have to save those for the schoolroom games.
  • Felt “Snake”
  • Velcro Craft Sticks
  • Memory Game
  • Color Card Match
  • Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.

    Blog Busy Books TRVLPPPONY-1

    Image from Mona MELisa Webpage

Puma’s book (nine years old): BLOG Busy Book Puma

  • Felt shapes for creative design
  • Beads + Cord for jewelry making
  • Horse coloring pages
  • Memory Game
  • Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.
BLLOG Busy Books TRVLPPMER-1

Image from Mona MELisa Webpage 

 

Night Owl’s book (six years old):BLOG Busy Books Owl

  • Sorting Cards + Buttons
  • Velcro Craft Sticks
  • Knights (Printed on cardstock /laminated.  They stand-up for play and fold flat for storage)
  • Memory Game (Dragon Images + a Bowman Family Crest for top-side)
  • Dragon Coloring Pages

 

Link List

Inspiration Post From Mama.Papa.Bubba blog
http://mamapapabubba.com/2014/05/22/portable-activity-kit-for-little-travellers/

Busy Little Bugs – Printable activities
http://www.busylittlebugs.com.au/

Travel Play Sets – Mona MELisa Designs
http://www.monamelisadesigns.com/Travel_PEEL_PLAY_Sets_s/1839.htm

Chevron Paper
http://www.minqandmode.com.au/2012/06/11/chevron-digital-paper-free-download/
http://www.craftyferret.co.uk/viewItem.asp?idProduct=759

Pirate ship background turned puzzle
http://background-pictures.picphotos.net/fantasy-pirate-pirate-ship-ship-skull-ocean-wallpaper/images7.alphacoders.com*304*304125.jpg/

Flowers for Puma’s Memory Game
https://sites.google.com/site/lucknowflowers/lucknowflowers2

Google Searches
Knight Images
Horse coloring pages
Dragon coloring pages

 

 

Tuesday Tips: A Weaning Story // 26 months

Mine & T’s breastfeeding journey has been very rocky from the start with low lows, some highs, a lot of tears but a ton of joy and gratefulness too. I have wrote about breastfeeding before here and here and over the past 14 months (since my son’s first birthday) my thoughts about nursing, nursing at night, and weaning have been all over the map.

he has been nursing to sleep and cuddling his boobs for literally years now!

he has been nursing to sleep and cuddling his boobs for literally years now!

My son turned two in March, as of January he was nursing all day AND all night, today as I write this (May 15th) he is nursing at nap time only, once to fall asleep and sometimes once more if he wakes prematurely. These past couple months have been *nothing* like I could have ever imagined so I thought I would share our weaning story, for anyone who feels like their toddler will never “self wean”, anyone frustrated with the amount and/or duration of their toddler nursing, anyone who feels like the end will never come, or even those just curious as to what could lie ahead!

In January we tackled night weaning.
We were following T’s cues, many times when he would wake I would go in and cuddle him and he would fall back asleep. I knew he was capable and it would yield much better sleep for both of us. It was rough though. He would usually settle for cuddles until about 1-3AM and then he was INSISTENT on getting milk. I explained over and over not until the sun, but days and weeks, a month passed and he was still asking. We would get out of bed, get water, get snacks, there were some veerrryyyyy long nights in there but we stuck to it, we had taken this step because we were all ready and we were not going back. He still sleeps in our bed, so we were always there with him, cuddling, singing, patting his back, he would often ask me to bounce him on the ball but I wanted to help him sleep on his own, not substitute nursing for bouncing. Often in order to calm down a walk around the house was necessary and then we would climb back in bed for cuddling and maybe a song.

In April T contracted a mild case of Hand, Foot, Mouth Syndrome. He had a fever one afternoon and through the night so he was nursing TONS. We watched movies, slept, and nursed.

the 2,739th viewing of Frozen (;

the 2,739th viewing of Frozen (;

I made an exception and nursed him through the night during his fever and the next night to help him sleep as he was obviously very uncomfortable. I knew it would be hard going back, T is a very all or nothing kind of guy, and although the next couple of nights were difficult, the nights after that were much improved!

Our last nursing session for the night was usually lying down next to each other where T would drift off to sleep while still on the breast, but a few nights in a row he started growing restless, popping on and off, and eventually I would just say no more milk and he would roll over, cuddle into me and fall asleep. I took this as a sign that he was ready to give up nursing to sleep. Not only could he fall asleep without it, but it seemed the limit would actually really help him. From there we started doing bath time, diaper, pajamas, nurse in bed sitting up with the lights on, then read lots of books, have some water and/or snack and then turn white noise on and lights off to cuddle and go to sleep. T picks up on routines a lot more now and his memory never ceases to amaze me. Because we were doing something new I knew it was important to really start being more “routine” and sticking to the same thing night after night in the same order. We have always been kind of all over the place during the evening but it was a very natural shift for all of us to be more disciplined as it seemed beneficial for T and helpful for all of us to avoid melt downs, super extended bed times, frustrations, etc. We are by no means strict or anything, just follow the same flow each night around the same time. This was surprisingly easy, as I said, he was definitely ready. There was hardly any protest and he would normally make it until around 5AM until asking for milk, which is when we would nurse for the first time that new day.

On May 1st T had his 5AM nursing and was incredibly restless afterwards, nursing was not putting him back to sleep and was up, out of bed and ready for the day before 6AM. This was very UN-typical for him as he would usually like to lay around in bed nursing and sleeping on and off until 8:30, sometimes even 9AM! I took it as a great opportunity, I had been wanting to cut down nursing to 5AM, nap time, and before bed for awhile but he was just nursing SO often during the day it seemed like an impossible feat. Something clicked that morning and I just knew I had to try. I wish I had more to add, but really, it just came out of no where that today, was the day.

We don’t do the “big boy” thing in our house and it’s not something I will continue with but for this instance I talked up “big boy milk” in the morning and told him that we were going to go to the coffee shop where he could get some in a cup that was just for big kids. I knew we had to get out of the house, and fast, before he got bored or wanted my attention and asked and then had a tantrum to nurse. This day and the next day were not easy. He would still ask for milk at home (we had stopped nursing in public a long time ago) but I stuck to the 5AM, nap time and bed time only. I would offer almond milk, cow’s milk, to make chocolate/strawberry/banana milk in the blender or make a smoothie. There were tantrums and meltdowns but I tried to stay as busy as possible and keep us out of the house from the morning until nap time and then leave the house after nap for an activity before coming home for dinner. My husband came home at 4PM the first day and took T (as he usually does on Tuesdays & Thursdays) for an activity outside of the house just them two. This was extremely helpful! The next evening we headed out of the house and then played outside for a long while. I had to give T all of my attention, if I became the least bit distracted (by my phone or a conversation) or was trying to do something that didn’t involve him (makeup, laundry, etc) he would ask for milk and it would be a lot harder on both of us.

After two days he was totally fine! He would still ask for milk but I would just say “you have your water over here”, or “want some almond milk?” or just laugh and say “noooo noo milk!” and he would just smile and run off. I honestly was surprised at how easy it was. We have tried to decrease frequency and duration in the past and it was always met with unparalleled perseverance, uncontrollable crying/tantrums and a huge disconnect between us. This time he was obviously ready and it showed, it seemed he just needed the nudge. He would fall or get hurt and cry in my arms and I would offer him water in his straw cup and he would accept, a few days in he had a fall, came to me in tears for a big hug then got down and went and got his water cup himself! Tears gone and he was ready to play more! This was extreme initiation to me, he was so old and independent and practicing amazing self regulation right before my eyes!

The Night Time Nursing

After a few days his night time nursing session was literally 30 seconds long on each side, and seemed like the perfect feeding to cut out next. I tried saying no milk one night and he was pretty upset so I was happy to continue. Two nights later though he wasn’t even asking and late into the routine he asked once and I just said “you already had your milk!” and he didn’t even protest and just like that the nighttime feeding was gone.

The Early Morning Nursing

He seemed to be waking earlier and earlier in the AM wanting milk, 5AM, then 4:45AM, then 4:40AM so although I knew it was going to be rough on us I decided to nix this one ASAP. We went to bed each night armed with almond milk + a little maple syrup in a straw cup, water, a banana and a cheese stick next to the bed. Whenever he would wake, middle of the night, early morning, I would first rub his back and cuddle, if that didn’t console him then I would offer water or almond milk then offer snacks.

The mornings are still rough and he is upset because he doesn’t actually want to be awake that early but can’t put himself back to sleep, but he doesn’t insist on milk and totally “gets” that it is not an option and the choices that he does have. We have naturally transitioned into continuing to lay in bed that early but reading his favorite stories. After a couple of weeks he has even fallen back asleep after the dreaded 5:30/6AM waking until 7AM a few times!

Nap time Nursing 

So that just leaves us with the last nursing time of the day, nap time. I am not ready to give up his naps. Although he *could* go a day without napping, he can’t go several days in a row without a nap considering his early rising times now. He also has never fallen asleep in bed for nap without nursing. I use naps to work, nap myself, or just take some time in the middle of the day to recharge, as I often feel like I am running on crazy. Some friends that have weaned rely on a car ride around 1 or 2PM to put their little one to sleep but since we car share with my husband this isn’t an option for us. He has fallen asleep in the stroller before but usually not until 3PM when he is just wiped out, which is really late for a nap and doesn’t really help me if I am out and about pushing the stroller. I am not really sure what we are going to do about this last feeding…. I am not in a complete hurry to end it but also don’t want us to get to a point where he is absolutely unable to nap without nursing and naps go out the window entirely when nursing does. I feel like we may have a small window of time where it could still be possible?

I know this has been all over the place but I just wanted to get our entire story and process out in one place! This transition really has been everything I could have hoped for, easy, pleasant, and seriously feels liberating for everyone! T has such an easier time sleeping now, if he falls asleep in the car he can be transferred to bed (that has never! happened without nursing before), he has a more reasonable bed time and naturally evolved schedule that works well for us and he doesn’t have the super cranky episodes for times in which I am unable to provide nursing. We read more books and cuddle more and I don’t feel a bit of sadness or regret or any negative emotions at all for that matter, only positive! I am so very grateful and thankful to have nursed him this long, through fevers and diarrhea, through bumps and bruises and countless bedtimes and nap times and uncomfortable situations and so glad that our weaning has been so smooth. It hasn’t been without effort, all of the above was definitely a lot of work. Early wakings, more attention required then just laying down with a boob out, gentle reminders, boundaries, more time out of the house, but it has yielded nothing but great results for both of us. I think when it works, it works, it really is akin to the stars aligning.

what may have been one of the last chest naps! These were always preceded by nursing to sleep!

what may have been one of the last chest naps! These were always preceded by nursing to sleep!

What is your experience with weaning/wanting to wean/child led weaning? Does anyone have a similar situation to the nap time nursing? I would love to hear anything and everything!

 

 

 

Puma is all smiles after the last number in her Christmas show.

Monday Musings: Healing

What does that mean, really? HEALING.

Is it from one ailment? Good enough to function? Or am I praying for truly a complete, transformational healing that changes a life?

Let me back up.  Puma has been struggling with her bowels for years.  It started when she was about five years old.  We suspected food poisoning, and later blood tests showed Hepatitis A, which is generally an indicator of food poisoning.  As our pediatrician told us, “you could get it from lettuce in a salad bar”.

Ever since then, she has not been well.  After going the Western allopathic route with no positive results, and the weekly visits to the chiropractor that started when she was six years old didn’t resolve the issue, we started working with an acupuncturist when she was around seven.  He has an Asyra machine that evaluates the whole body….after three sessions, we were able to get that her body was not tolerating gluten.  An answer!

So we cut out gluten – things got better.  Then she got hit with Rotavirus last April (2013).  Her little body could not recover from that on her own and we ended up with a five-day hospitalization.  Little by little she got stronger and added more weight.  Things started to improve again – life goes on.

Last September, I start having this nagging suspicion that something is still not right. After the “summer growth spurt” children go through, I see that she is among the “small” ones in her peer group as other girls her age have added inches to their stature.  Then Night Owl, who is 2 years and 9 months younger is gaining on her height (he is actually now taller than she is.)  I begin to wonder if maybe, just maybe, this gut “thing” is still preventing her from using all the nutrients in her food, and if I will have any regrets if I don’t follow up.

So after talking with Bruss, praying about it, we decide it is time to go the allopathic route again. She does another round of blood work; our pediatrician recommends a naturally-minded GI specialist.  We make the appointment and are counting down the days until we take another stab at getting some answers and some kind of solution.

In the meantime, Puma comes down with another virus.  It is suspected to be Norovirus.  Thank goodness there is no vomiting this time (we know if that happens, we try the Zofran and if Zofran doesn’t work we need to go to the hospital…) – anyway, it’s just a gradual decline into helplessness as I watch our child fall into despair and listlessness and she refuses to eat because she knows it’s just coming right out the other side.  I hear her crying every time she is in the bathroom, and one morning she asks me, “Why me – why am I always in the bathroom?”

I remember the lesson she taught me – ask for prayer – plain and simple.  I send out an email to our family requesting prayer.  The next morning, I have a revelation that I am praying for her to get better.  What I really should be praying for is not just for her to get better, but a full, complete HEALING.  Entire body well.  Entire body functional.  Entire.

Why does that scare me?  If she is off gluten (and Night Owl is also GF among other allergies), we have the perfect reason to keep wheat out of the house.  That crop scares me – it’s primarily GMO, highly processed, and found in all the foods we so conveniently and thankfully keep out of the house.  I often say that our children’s allergies are the best thing that ever happened to us – it forced us into whole food eating without a fuss.

If Puma, and Night Owl for that matter, are HEALED, then the food restrictions go away.  AWAY.  It means that they can eat anything.  I had to ask myself if there is pain/pleasure disconnect in my children’s suffering and my desire to have the simple answer, “You know you cannot have that,” and it’s the end of a discussion.

I had to face the reality that if I trust that God is the Supreme Healer, and that He wants the best for us, then I must pray for a complete healing.  I have to trust that He can heal, and I have to believe that is the best for our children.  He did not design us to be sick and intolerant of his wonderful provision.  We are to be healthy, full expressions of His Glory.

I must pray for complete healing, and then change the paradigm for our food choices.  We are not going to avoid foods because we have allergies anymore.  We will make wise choices that nourish and feed our healthy bodies and souls.  All the same rules still apply – the motivation behind our food choices must change to accept that my children can be healed if that is God’s will for our lives.

So I wrote down the prayer that was in my heart – it came to me almost as soon as I had the revelation that I was praying the wrong prayer.  Here it is for you to share in communion with me, and join me if you are so inclined, or maybe they will be a blessing to someone you love.

This is my parent’s prayer:

Slide1

Prayer for a child – I say her name when I pray for her.

And I also wrote down a version for Puma to keep at her bedside and pray if she wanted to pray for her own healing:

Prayer that Puma can read and pray if she is led to do so

Prayer that Puma can read and pray if she is led to do so

I had an initial gut-check – I have seen the blogs of parents who pray for healing and the answer is a child that is called back to God.  Who am I to pray for a complete healing?  Can I be so bold?  And the answer I get is YES. A resounding YES because I felt called to pray this prayer.  I cannot know what the answer is.  I just know that I am called to faith and prayer.

So every morning, I start with the Our Father and then this.  I trust in all the goodness and the glory of Our Maker.

(P.S. Thanks to some direction from our chiropractor on what she needed to take, and the combined voices of our family joining mine in prayer, Puma woke up the next morning so much better than the day before.  By the third day, she was back to what I would call herself.  God has already showed me that I just need to have faith.)

Thursday Tips: Summer Bucket List

I was inspired by Jessica at Little Baby Garvin to do a Summer Bucket List a little while back and I thought I would share here!

nothing says sweet summer like ice cream on the beach!

nothing says sweet summer like ice cream on the beach!

Now that my T baby is over 2 he is much more aware of what we are doing each day, has his friends (seriously SO cute), loves certain activities, doesn’t love others, tells me what he wants, doesn’t want, etc. and is making me very excited to share some summer fun with him! We live on the central/northern California coast so the temperatures don’t really warm up here as they do in other places where there is no escaping that it is sweet, sweet summertime so I figured planning some out of the ordinary activities would help us get into the summer groove and really live it up these next few months before the crazy-ness of the fall & winter holidays hit!

Go to a Giant’s Game: T loves watching the big kids play baseball at the local baseball field and often hits baseballs with myself or his dad, I am not sure about sitting through a whole game but I think he would love it nonetheless!

Make Homemade Ice Cream: I have had my eye on this machine for awhile now, I think I should just pull the plug and we can get to creating our own healthy and delicious versions.

Swimming Lessons: check! We signed up for lessons that start July 2nd, a local outdoor pool that is heated is having them twice a week for four weeks, bonus – it is at the beach!

Take a Vacation: Our good friends recently moved to Seattle, a city I have been dying to visit for some time now. Summer would be the perfect timing weather wise, even though we live in an idealistic vacation destination it is always nice to try and escape the hustle and bustle or routine of daily life sometimes.

Celebrate the 4th of July: Last year we were moving on the 4th of July so no celebrations ensued, this year it is the one year anniversary of us living in this amazing place and I really want to celebrate! We don’t have fireworks near us either so going all out on a party, BBQ or something sounds exactly like what we need. T also has this adorable shirt a friend got him for his birthday that we have been saving for the 4th, so he definitely needs some fun activities to match his festive outfit.

in all his America glory :)

in all his America glory :)

We had a fun time! Nothing epic – but we wore cute outfits, visited a park with live music and had lots of fun and celebrated with great food, friends and family.

Go Kayaking: Kayak rentals here require that any children on board are at least 5 years of age, so we need to scope out a cheap kayak to buy or borrow. We have been wanting to do this forever and this summer seems like the perfect time to get in gear and make it happen.

Grow some more things: We currently have one planter box growing cilantro, tomatoes, strawberries and sugar snap peas. We planted them on Mother’s Day and they have yet to really take off. I would like to dedicate some time to mixing up the soil, adding some compost and really get some more things growing in the next month or so. T baby loves watering the plants and is even more obsessed with picking the fruits, we need some more for him to harvest!

Visit Friends: It has been a year since we moved from our brief stay in Sacramento, we have many friends and family there though and it would be nice to make a visit before everyone is busy with holiday plans.

Go Camping: My husband has been wanting to go camping forever, and we have yet to take our little T! He loves being outside and his current obsessions include rocks, sticks and things to do with dirt. He would be right at home. We really need to make a trip happen soon!

sticks & stones, the way to this kid's heart!

sticks & stones, the way to this kid’s heart!

And of course, last but certainly not least, go to the beach as much as possible! It was 70 degrees and sunny today so that is where you could find us. I plan on us trying to soak up as much sun as possible and the days the fogs burns off the beach compares to no other.

What are you plans with your Sweet Peas for summer? Does summer seem busier than normal or is it a time you try to relax? I would love to hear what everyone else is up to and even get some more ideas!

Hello, hello!

Yes, we are still here!  Our nanny is on sabbatical so my days are *full*.  We homeschool year-round, plus now there is all the housework, laundry, and cooking to do.  The commitment to get good sleep every night so I can be Peaceful Mama is even more important now….so yes, something had to go by the wayside.  I hope you will stick with us through these lighter months of posting.

I have loved the time with the kiddos – we all fall into bed exhausted at night!!  It’s been nice (in the sense of living in gratitude) to have my yearly “reality-check” of just how grateful I am for my husband who provides that luxury for us, and how much I appreciate our hard-working nanny who so lovingly cares for our family so I can homeschool, write, and support our student base of growing families.

I have a couple of posts that are in the works for this month, and Cassandra has a couple that she is working on.  We are also still hosting a Wordless Wednesday submission contest this month.  Our theme for July is “Sun-kissed Summer” – get your submissions in by July 23, 12:00 am PST in order to be entered into our random.org drawing to win SPB gear.

So while blogging will be lighter than normal, we are still here. Living, growing and learning! We look forward to sharing with you as time permits.

WIshing you and your Sweet Peas a great summer!

Click HERE to see our July newsletter that we publish for our students.
Click HERE for some sun-safety tips for your Sweet Pea.

A picture of some of the summer fun we’ve been having – the Sweet Peas checking out an elk herd on the golf course:

Checking out the wildlife at the golf club

Checking out the wildlife at the golf club