Happy birthday, Jeremy P!

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Three pieces of my heart

Three pieces of my heart

Today is a very special day. On this day, 48 years ago, my husband was born. He is a wonderful father and partner and is my point of reference in this crazy universe.

Thank you for loving me and loving our babies…we love you πŸ™‚

Girls love #dinosaurs too!

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dinosaur-girls

Two girls looking at dinosaurs

I was shopping online for nap mats. I thought Georgia (3 years old) would love one with a dinosaur theme, so I showed her one. I wanted her to pick it out, thinking she might like it more if she did. Sugarpie has opinions.

Me: How about this (light blue dinosaur themed) one? Do you like this one?

Georgia: That’s blue for boys. I need a pink one for girls.

Two things. First, we are pretty girly and I love it. But we aren’t so pink-all-of-the-time girly. Obviously we absorb these gender “rules” just from living in our culture, I get it, but this was so sudden. So matter-of-fact. It was as if someone sat her down and laid down the gender law when I wasn’t looking. It just makes me a little sad that she would limit herself in any way, for a color.

Which brings me to my second point. Why is it that only boys get to wear dinosaurs? I would happily put a dark blue t-shirt with a T. Rex on my daughters, I don’t care. But SHE DOES. Now she does. Since she has intuited that girls don’t wear blue, she might refuse even the cutest velociraptor shirt.

Where are the stegosaurus dresses?! CAN A GIRL GET SOME TRICERATOPS JAMMIES PLEASE?!!

If we are serious as a society about getting more women into STEM careers, shouldn’t it start here? The implicit message is this: Girls, you don’t like science.

Paleontology, not for you!

Engineering, there’s a whole lot blue! Look the other way! (When is the last time you saw a pink shirt with a cute cartoon robot?)

Astronomy, that’s for boys! (Anything space-themed is inevitably shrouded in “strong masculine colors.”)

Can someone out there start catering to our daughters’ interest in science-related themes? Can we start telling them that girls can love science too? I know that we say this with our words, we just need to show it in all of the ways that our children understand.

Because right now, I’m afraid, they’re getting the message.

A cure for SIDS?

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That’s my Sugarpie. I used to hover, terrified of SIDS.

Wow, wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing? Every parent I know, to one degree or another, fears SIDS. How many of you first time parents out there sit next to your sleeping baby worrying over EVERY SINGLE BREATH?

What an unimaginably horrific tragedy it must be to lose a sweet little child for seemingly no discernible reason. A sainthood on the order of Jonas Salk will surely befall any soul who wipes this cause of death from the face of the Earth.

Such a man has recently made headlines. His name is Daniel Rubens and he is a pediatric anesthesiologist. Basically, his theory is that SIDS is due to an inner ear dysfunction. He thinks that babies who have this malfunction cannot wake themselves to escape the build up of carbon dioxide and lack of oxygen and reposition themselves for a life-saving breath.

He hopes to create some sort of screening process for this problem.

Wouldn’t that be marvelous? Please read here for the full article and a much more articulate scientific explanation of it all.

God speed, Dr. Rubens! We are all in your corner.

The Brontosaurus is BACK

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Oh you friendly guy! An illustration by Charles R Knight, 1897

But I really just discovered it was gone. My Sugarpie loves dinosaurs. When I was a girl, my favorite dinosaur was the Brontosaurus. It was a gentle giant, and it taught me what the word herbivore meant.

Then I realized in all of our fact finding about dinosaurs, I hadn’t come across the brontosaurus. Only about 2 months ago, I discovered that it was really called the apatosaurus. WHAT?!

I dusted myself off and decided to call it (begrudgingly) an apatosaurus. Life moved on.

Until now! Our friendly and oh-so-retro Brontosaurus has been revived! And the wikipedia page is already updated.

Check out the article in the New York Times for yourself! Children of the 70s, your Brontosaurus back.

 

#BreakingBad with my grocery cart

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Ever feel like this?

For the last entire 3 months, my children have either been coughing or had the flu, or at the very least are usually leaking radioactive snot from their sweet little baby noses.

So every time I go to the grocery store and dutifully wipe down the cart with those “hanna-tizer” wipes (that’s what Sugarpie calls them), all I can think about is Walter White and his most famous monologue.

I look at my sweet little snot bags and say…

I AM THE DANGER.

 

A Farewell to Nursies

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This photo might cause a letdown. Proceed with caution.

The time has come, and I am no longer a nursing mother. Just like that.

My breasts have been in full production mode for more than three years, and though I had never nursed a child for my previous 36 years of life, this had become such a deep part of my identity that I almost feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself.

But I’ve also gained. No longer obligated to wear a nursing bra, I might be able to have one that actually fits me now. (No one ever talks about this, but apparently nursing bra designers think that only women with large ta-tas breast feed. I am here to advocate for all of the Bs out there, we need bras too! I digress…)

Dresses and shirts that promise no easy access will now be worn again!

My body is my own again, I can eat and drink what I choose, and apply topical creams at will!

So I guess as with all things in motherhood, we trade one phase for another, full of ambivalence. While every step toward independence brings some degree of relief, it also forces us to realize that our children need us just a little less.

This is as painful as it is glorious.

No one ever said that motherhood wasn’t heartbreak and joy in equal measure, but this, this one is difficult. It’s final. The last two times I nursed my little Lila Jane, I was reminded WHY I WANTED TO WEAN.* In all caps.

In December, Sugarpie weaned completely (Yes, she was almost three). Two months ago, I cut Little Sugar’s sessions back to mid morning and early evening. Two times a day, that was it. Surprisingly quickly, she would go all day and not ask for it. I went with it, but wondered if I was really ready for this. A missed session turned into a missed day, then a few, then a week. Here we are.

But I didn’t want to let go, even though it had become unbearable in the most compelling way. I thought, the last time should bring that feeling of peace, love and oxytocin. But it didn’t. My body was done, even if my girl wasn’t. That much had been proven. So I tuned out the irritation, looked into her beautiful big eyes one last time and knew that this was it.

Now, onward we go. I am no longer a nursing mother. I am no longer the mother of a baby. Before I know it, I will no longer be the mother of toddlers, I will be the mother of school-age children, then teenagers, and so on.

But I am so lucky, because I still get to be their mother.

So to my no-longer-nurslings Georgia and Lila: let’s celebrate this new phase. I have grown you in my body, fed you from my body.

We will always be connected in a way that is profound beyond comprehension and because of you, it is lovely beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

 

*Nursing agitation, it’s a thing. Read about it here.

Peaceful cooking, happy baby

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IMG_2869I’ve seen this trick on a couple of websites with pipe cleaners and a colander, so when Lila got a little bored with it, (and I needed to cook), I gave her the basket from the potato ricer and some toothpicks. Voila’! Instant engagement. She stayed busy for at least 40 minutes. For real!

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Mind you, this should be closely monitored for obvious, pointy reasons, but she was so fascinated by trying to get the toothpicks in the little holes that she forgot to try to do something dangerous with them.

Happy cooking!

 

Letter for Little Sugar: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY GIRL!

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12 months! That's one year. A whole year!

12 months! That’s one year. A whole year!

Oh my goodness! As of 7/22/14, you are one whole year old! You are officially NOT an infant anymore. *Sigh* You are actually 14 months old by now, but we are going to pretend that you’re still just 12 months…you little pookies keep mommy busy!)

Happy happy birthday to my sweet little smunchie wunchie woo woo. I love you so big. I can’t believe just how perfectly you have fit into our family, Lila Jane. Everybody loves you, even your sister. Mostly. But you are easy to love. You’re smiley and social and what a sassafrass you are. It’s really cute.

I am melting. And where did you get those green eyes?!

I am melting. And where did you get those green eyes?!

We had a fun birthday party for you at home and your family came from all over Texas, just for you. Mommy made a yummy strawberry cake and you had a mini one all to yourself. You weren’t so into it at first, but you warmed up and eventually, it even got in your hair!

First sugar and that was your very own cake!

First sugar and that was your very own cake!

In this last month you have become an excellent communicator. You know how to tell what you want, and also what you don’t. For example, We were lying in bed nursing before I put you to sleep. I was patting your little tushie-woo like I always do, but I must have stopped absent-mindedly. You reached down, grabbed my thumb with your tiny hand, and pulled my hand up and down in a patting motion. “Mommy, come on!”

And if you don’t want something, you make that known by swiping at it or shaking your head no vigorously. But you always, always make a scrinchie face when the answer is no.

I had to include this one, even if it's a little blurry...just look at those piggy tails!

I had to include this one, even if it’s a little blurry…just look at those piggy tails! I mean, if that ain’t cute…

Since last month, you have learned how to sit yourself up! You have been able to sit independently for a while now, but you just hadn’t figured out how to go from lying to sitting all by yourself until now. You were so proud! (And so were we πŸ™‚

You have also become a master of peek-a-boo. The changing table is the preferred place for a round of peek-a-boo. You really know how to cover your sweet little face with your open palms, sometimes you even cover your face so hard that it sounds like you’re hitting yourself! Do it like you mean it, Lila Jane!

She's leading you in some hand clapping. Good times!

She’s leading you in some hand clapping. Good times!

You love The Itsy Bitsy Spider. You’ll put your little fingers together (kind of like the sign for more) and I know you want to hear your jam. You also say the same word every time, sounds like “pa-dah.” I think you’re trying to say spider.

You have pushed two more teeth through! But your bottom teeth are still only a pair…it kills me when you do your incredible hulk face with those two tiny teeth sticking up! LOVE. (Look at this video, the Hulk appears at 13 seconds. Ha!)

We had a birthday party for you and lots of family came from all over the place just to celebrate little ol’ you! Aw!

You just started scooting. If we needed any further proof of your being a monkey, this was it. Who cares about crawling, you get around monkey-style and BOY do you like to explore now. You are happy to scoot around from one place to the next discovering what’s hiding in this box or under that toy. It’s so cute!

Look! It's the Lila pucker.

Look! It’s the Lila pucker.

And you also like to pucker your little red lips when you concentrate. I usually take this as a cue to steal a kiss! When you’re mad, like when your sister takes something away from you (which is all the time), you hit the ground with both hands and blow a raspberry into the air–so funny! I know you’re trying to express frustration but it is really one incredible display of cute.

Like herding cats...that's you, Georgie, and your cousin Tobey at cousin Katherine's wedding. He's your sister's fave person in the world.

Like herding cats…that’s you, Georgie, and your cousin Tobey at cousin Katherine’s wedding. He’s your sister’s fave person in the world.

Speaking of big sis, she has really started to see the value of your company. You two engage each other more and more and seem to really enjoy playing together. She is such a good girl, you will learn from the best. Y’all love to play peek-a-boo with the door in the living room, that elicits tons little fairy giggles–best sound ever! You also love of playing peek-a-boo in daddy’s kick drum. *more fairy giggles*

Little Sugar, you have made our little family so much brighter. Sugarpie is even starting to get used to you! You are funny, feisty, and affectionate. You are precious, delicious, and beautiful. I just can’t believe my eyes when I look down at you while nursing and see shiny dark hair, long eyelashes and red cheeks. What a gorgeous and perfect little creature you are, inside and out. I am so glad that it was you. I am so glad that it was your sister. I am so glad that it was your Daddy. I am so glad that I get to be a part of your lives.

So this is our last monthly letter, but I write volumes and volumes of love songs in my heart every time that I see your sweet, tiny little face. You are my sunshine, Lila Jane. You and your sister…my sweet sweet sunshines. Happy birthday, baby girl. Looking so forward to seeing what year two will bring πŸ™‚

Love you forever and ever,

xoxo Mommy

P.S. Since you turned a year old, you’ve started burying your face in my neck and squeezing your little arms around me so hard! It’s theΒ  most passionate little baby hug I have ever seen and you cannot even imagine how special it is. One day, I hope you’re lucky enough to have a little sugar just like you πŸ™‚