Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

this is pretty perfect

I was trying to prepare and make a double batch of hash for Bennett, but he was not having it. After ten solid minutes of "I watch!" "Sit lap mama!" "Kiss!" "Kiss!" Kiss!" "Pick up!" "Hug!" "Hold!" I gave up and spent some time cuddling him. He is really, really into spending time together right now. I wouldn't have it any other way. The hash was quickly finished when he went down for a nap (without rocking or getting out of bed!!). I probably won't get the double batch of winter stew prepped, or the double batch of tortillas made like I wanted to, but there is time enough for that tomorrow. And that last "kiss, mama!" picture is the sweetest. I might have to print and frame it. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

less than perfect, maybe not even my best

Oh you guys, I am so tired. Same song, different day, but let me tell you, I am exhausted and in so. much. pain. Bennett is in a bit of a challenging phase right now, which has a lot to do with the baby coming. Or at least I think it does. Either that or he turned 2 and had a personality change. He hasn't napped for four days, which makes bedtime really easy, but wow these days are loooong.

I had all of these things I wanted to do before baby comes, but finding time to do them with a very busy Bennett is not easy. He enjoys helping me in the kitchen, but when I want to get a double or triple batch of tortillas made and in the freezer he adds at least thirty minutes to the process. Plus he eats all of my dough.

I've been thinking about two years ago and how I thought I would be the most patient parent ever because I was so glad my child was alive, but ya know that's not always the case. I confess, I snapped at Bennett this morning because he spilled water on the couch. Water on a microfiber couch. It wiped up without a problem. It wasn't a big deal. But I snapped at him because everything irritates me right now. If I had a parenting motto I think it would be - always do the best you can. And honestly, right now I'm not sure I'm doing the best I can. Yesterday I ate ice cream from the carton while Bennett had rest time in the crib in his room. Today I ate chocolate chips. I don't think "stress eat like it's your job," is on the list of recommended pregnancy activities, but if it were I would get top marks. I need a few minutes every day to put my feet up and be alone. And right now that consists of eating as much sugar as I can in a short amount of time while Bennett alternates between playing quietly for two seconds and yelling "Mama!! All done!!" for two minutes.

I wouldn't have it any other way. You know that, right? This is a welcome chaos. This is even a happy chaos. But I am a tired mama. And because Charlotte died I feel like I don't have the right to complain. I feel like I'm not being grateful enough. I feel like I need to find a way to be better or do better or change. After all, I know the alternative. I know what it's like to have an empty nursery and dreams packed in boxes. I would much rather have a two year old standing on my lap trying to flip the tortillas on the hot griddle with his left hand while he eats a ball of dough with his right.

But this end of pregnancy gig is tough. It's hard on me. It's hard on J. It's hard on Bennett. I am under an extreme amount of stress and worry. Even if we wanted more kids I would have to say no because this version of me is not good and I can't expose my family to it again.

I just want to know she'll be okay. I want her here and alive, but I know that is not always the outcome and the knowledge of what can happen weighs so heavily on my mind it's hard to be anything but a mess. So I snap, I stress, I eat ice cream in the middle of the day and I remind myself over and over and over: this pregnancy will not last forever. And thankfully Bennett most likely won't remember the hot day in September when I snapped at him for spilling a little water on the couch.

Inhale grace and calm. 

Exhale fear and worry.




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

certainty in uncertain times

On Sunday at the very beginning of the sermon the pastor made a very brief comment about Syria and how we can rely on God to be our certainty in uncertain times. I needed to hear that for two reasons:

1. I am so worried about our nation and the choices our President is on the cusp of making.

2. I am so worried about my babies.

Today I'm going to write about my babies, because I know them and I don't know nearly enough to create a sentence about what is happening in our world right now.

It doesn't look like we will know why Bennett had a reaction. Our church no longer gives snacks during second hour, so he did not receive food at church. We're still waiting to hear from the person in the room at the time, but it sounds like that wasn't the problem. Maybe he found something on the floor? Maybe he got into something at home? We're really careful about leaving food out and making sure he can't get to anything he is allergic to, but accidents happen.

Anyway. It happened. Bennett had a really bad reaction and I had to find the wherewithal to stay calm. It's nearly impossible for me to be rational when he's sick, but this time I managed to stop myself from going straight to, "he's going to die." I was able to walk the living room floor while Bennett held onto me screaming at the top of his lungs without panicking.

When J went out for medication (twice) I was able to hold onto the temporariness of the situation, even though I usually need J's reassurance to do so. As I held Bennett's sweaty body tight and paced the living room, my back aching, his legs draped awkwardly over my growing belly, I prayed for peace and healing. And I found a solid place where I understood that all would be well.

One topic that always comes up when I'm spending time with my loss mamas is protecting our children and how helpless it makes us feel to know we can't. In or out of the womb we cannot ensure their survival. Every day we have to give them over to God and pray for safety and protection. Each morning we wake in uncertain times, in a world gone mad, on roads we didn't foresee, and we have to turn it all over to the Lord and remember that He will hold fast to the promises set forth in the Bible. Promises to sustain and protect and love not only us but our children.

I can't watch over Bennett every second of every day and keep him with me at all times so he doesn't accidentally eat something he is allergic to. I can't will or wish our baby girl to be healthy at birth. I can't go back in time and force Charlotte to breathe. I can't alter any outcomes through worry, but I can remember to find that place of certainty and reassurance even when I'm swimming through the dark waters of fear.

Friday, August 2, 2013

offensive and insensitive {*possible trigger*}

I follow quite a few pro-breastfeeding / natural birth sites on facebook. This is World Breastfeeding Week so a lot of conversation and promotion has been popping up in my news feed. And now there's even some controversy.

According to one blog this image was originally posted by a facebook page called "Mama Drama." I have no idea if this statistic is accurate or what facts (if any) it is based off.

The blogs and posts I've read focus on how an image like this is not the way to promote a cause, but I instantly thought of all the women who have lost babies.

I think breastfeeding is important and I think it's best for babies but I also understand and acknowledge that breastfeeding is not the only answer. And once you've buried a baby things like breastfeeding vs. formula feeding become a lot less important. I think making women feel bad for how they choose to feed their babies is shameful. I'm glad formula exists. I think parents are lucky to have the option should they need it, or choose to use it.

The mother, or mothers, who slapped this ad together didn't stop to think about the 1 in 4 women who have lost babies. They didn't think about the mothers and fathers who have cried over tiny coffins. They didn't think about the guilt that comes with the loss of a baby. They didn't think beyond promoting their agenda and pushing their ideas. And I agree with other bloggers, an ad like this is not the way to convince people to follow your point of view. Not only is this ad thoughtless, it's hurtful and insensitive.

Parents are humans, which means they fail, but choosing to feed a baby formula over breast milk is not a failure. It's a choice, it's a necessity and sometimes it is the best option. Ads like this make me angry because they focus on the wrong question. Whether or not you fed your baby formula isn't going to matter seventeen years from now. What will matter are the countless hours of parenting and the years of effort you put forth to create a kind, smart, loving human being.

Are you pouring love into your child? Then you, my friend, are a wonderful mother.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I'm reading this book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search For Identity, and oh my goodness it is making my brain hurt. It's a good hurt, I need to read things like this every now and again. I've been reading far too many "beach reads" since Charlotte died, which is all I could handle for a while, but beach reads don't make me think about ethics, politics, religion and my personal/emotional response. This book is so good, and so dense, I would actually like to take a class on it.

But it's got me thinking about love and sacrifice and parenting. About how a person thinks, "I could never handle that," but then your own that comes along and while it knocks you sideways and renders you broken and speechless you survive it. You come out the other side. And of course you're changed - irrevocably altered really - but even the most tumultuous change contains goodness.

In Far From the Tree Andrew Solomon writes, 

"The raw grit of anguish will never be in short supply. There is enough of it in the happiest life to serve these instructive purposes and there always will be. We are more sympathetic to Holocaust survivors than to malcontent children of privilege, but we all have our darkness, and the trick is making something exalted of it.

We say that our struggles have ennobled us, but we don't know who we would have been without them. We might have been equally wonderful; our best qualities might be inherent rather than circumstantial." 

I always say I'm a better person now, that I have a greater understanding of so many things since Charlotte died, and I do really feel that way, but how do I know? I can believe, and profess that belief, but I can't truly know if the me shaped by the constant shifting tides of grief is better. There was a split within me when Charlotte died and I can only imagine who I would be had she lived.

I struggle with who I am as a parent. I wonder how I would parent had Charlotte lived. I see how my grief shapes some aspects of my parenting and wish I could open a window to a parallel universe and watch, just for a moment, how I would have raised Charlotte.

So much of who I am is tied up in the fact that Charlotte is not, but all parents wrap themselves around their children. The circumstances of my life have created a beautifully complex frame to parent in, but as I read this book I understand all parents have challenges - and some have it really hard. As so many have said, as even I have said, we all have devastating life altering moments that reshape who and what we are. I don't think how we respond, or how long it takes us to adjust our expectations matters. I think finding our altered space comfortable enough to live within, and in my case, parent from, is the true test.

I don't want to be a loss parent. I don't want to be a mother who parents from a place of grief. But that's the unique gift Charlotte brought to my life. I can't know who I would be had she lived, but I can acknowledge that this me - the one typing these words - may not be as different from the parallel universe self as I imagine. Perhaps my capacity to work through enormous grief and suffering, to come out the other side with hope, strengthened faith and redefined purpose, was always within me, lying dormant until Charlotte died whereupon it sprang to life and saved me from absolute despair and complete wreckage.

Monday, July 8, 2013

on embracing a little chaos

This pregnancy is hard. It is by far my most difficult physically. I hurt all. the. time. I can't keep up with everything because I'm tired and just want to put my feet up. Something is always left undone, which doesn't seem to bother anyone but me.

This pregnancy is different than my last two in that I have a toddler to chase around. Yesterday we went to three grocery stores (side note: how will I manage that with TWO?) and it went fairly quickly but by the time we arrived home I was tired and cramping a little. I unloaded the groceries onto the porch, let Bennett out of the car and reached in to grab his diaper bag. By the time I stood up he was gone, tearing down the street for our neighbor's house yelling the name of his little friend who was standing outside. Thankfully he headed straight there so I didn't have to chase him too quickly, but nearly every day there is a moment when he gets away from me and I have to sprint after him. I love when J is around because I can send him after Bennett and he's a lot quicker and less awkward than me.

It's hard to balance being a good mom and wife with taking care of myself. Yesterday I did the grocery shopping, unpacked, tidied and cleaned the house, made dinner and then I was grumpy, grumpy, grumpy because my back hurt and my pelvis ached.

Some days I am able to let things go, but eventually having toys and books scattered around the house, five loads of laundry to do and a cluttered kitchen table makes me crazy. And there's a sneaky voice in my head that does not hesitate to tell me every other mama is doing a better job than me.

Sometimes I have to let things pile up so Bennett gets everything he needs. Most days it's best for me, Bennett and J if I rest while Bennett naps. J doesn't care if the house is a little messy. Bennett doesn't care if his room isn't vacuumed this week. Somehow I have to shake the notion that people are looking in through the windows and judging me because the truth is: no one else cares either.

I don't know where the notion that women have to do it all, and do it all well, originated, but it's annoying and impossible to accomplish. And I am totally guilty of buying into it. I compare myself to mama friends far too often, but it's not really a fair comparison because I have no idea what goes on in their lives most of the time. I just see them at church or the park where they look like they have it all together and aren't nearly as exhausted as I am.

I have to remind myself it's okay to be tired and there's nothing wrong with sitting a while. Living in a little bit of chaos doesn't make me less of a wife or mother. It makes me human. There's a whole lot of love in this house and I think that's what Bennett will remember when he's grown. And J has a terrible memory so twenty years from now I can probably convince him the house was always pristine when the kids were young.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I have a little boy

Who wipes my tears and plays the harmonica for me while tears fall until my eyes burn.

He says, "Mama, mama, mama" with some distress as he gently dips his tiny fingers into the tears covering my face.

I say, "Sorry, sorry, sorry. I miss your sister."

I feel like half a mother.

Because she died.

Because three years on I still think maybe, just maybe, it was my fault.

Because I can take a picture wearing the sweater I wore the last time I held her, with my boy on my hip and new life starting to show in my belly and that's as complete as our family picture will ever be.

I love the little boy who calls me "mama," and I love the little soul we don't yet know, but I'll always feel incomplete; like this holiday isn't for me because I wear motherhood so awkwardly, misshapen as it is by grief and sorrow.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

tell me how it ends

Just when I think I'm nearing the end of morning sickness, I throw up. Just when I have a day of energy with little nausea, I spend the next day feeling like I've been run over by a truck. I've been told by many that the third pregnancy is always the hardest. Why is that?! I think pregnancies should get easier.

B is going through a very defiant boundary pushing phase, which makes life even more interesting/frustrating. He is a busy, adventuresome little boy who wants to go, go, go while mama wants to sleep, sleep, sleep. The laughter and joy he brings to our house is worth every frustrating moment, but there are days when I need to take a time out.

J has been so helpful. I think he's more than ready for me to feel better. I think he's also ready to stop running to the store every day to buy whatever I MUST have. I don't remember having this many cravings come and go so quickly with my other pregnancies. This morning it's not even 10, we're readying ourselves for church, and all I can think about is pizza. By this afternoon I'll want tacos. Do you ever think about how weird and wonderful pregnancy is? I'm just sitting here growing a human and thinking about eating food I would normally never eat before noon.

I'm having a hard time attaching to this pregnancy. I think a large part of that is my certainty that it's a girl, which makes me feel like I need to protect body and soul from potential pain. I feel guilty and ungrateful, like I don't deserve this pregnancy. I should be over the moon about it all, but I feel rather meh and ready to know how it's going to end. Yeah, people say it will all be fine, but you know I don't find much solace in those words. Once I have a breathing baby in my arms we can throw around the word fine. I just don't have my feet under me right now. I don't know if it's the pregnancy, or Charlotte's birthday, or trying to parent B through a difficult phase, or a combination of all three.

I'm just so anxious for early fall, a not complete but still wonderful family of four and all of the adjustments that will bring.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

this is not my best

Today was ... rough. I can't believe I haven't cried. B had four vaccines yesterday, I had a whopper of a blood draw today (7 vials, sheesh), both of us were out of sorts. He didn't nap until 3 (and he slept until 5:45) which means he is going to be up late tonight. J is really, really, really swamped at work this week because the only other employee who can do his job is on vacation. Last week was busy, this week is insane. J is squeezing in patients left and right then coming home to a tired, hormonal wife and a messy house.

When B finally napped I crashed on the couch and thought about how frustrated I was with him. I think it's okay for him to see me frustrated, and I think it's good for him to see a range of emotions, but I still feel bad when I don't parent as well as I know I can. When I don't stop for a deep breath or moment of prayer before dealing with the fact that he's thrown his entire lunch on the ground for the five thousandth time. When I don't stop to remember that he doesn't know how light headed I feel, or how badly I need to sleep for a little while.

Today I had to tell B, "This is not my best. I am not being the best mama today. I'm sorry. I'll try harder tomorrow. I love you." And he was all, "Change my diaper, I've been napping for three hours." But even now when he doesn't understand exactly what I'm saying I think it's important to get in the habit of saying, "I messed up," so he develops a habit of admitting when he's wrong and asking for forgiveness. 

Parenting is so difficult, and the foundation of my parenting is built on some seriously shaky ground. Charlotte's short life was my first mothering experience, having it end so abruptly has shaped and molded how I parent B. The entire time he was napping this afternoon I worried he wouldn't wake up and I wouldn't have the chance to apologize to him. I've managed to curb my anxiety and worry most of the time, but there is a fear deeply rooted within me that I can't excavate. And that fear that any child at any time can simply stop breathing exists because I've witnessed it.

Parenting is the hardest thing many of us will do, but what about those of us who are trying to parent from behind the fog of loss? I value the struggles all parents encounter, but I think what baby loss parents are up against is a subject to itself. Losing a baby adds complex psychological and emotional issues to an already weighty subject. All parents think about and fear the worst case scenario, but loss mothers and fathers have lived it.

What do we do with the aftermath? How do we cope? How do we manage?

How are you coping? How are you managing? Do you feel isolated? Do you feel like there's no one who understands?

I have real life friends who have lost, which helps a lot, as do the connections I've made online. There are moments though, when my heart slams in my chest and I think, "this is it, no, no, no this is it." and in those seconds when time seems to suspend itself momentarily so I can follow the thread of fear to its awful end I am completely alone. And I think that's one of the most difficult things about parenting nowadays: most of the time, we are alone. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

this time

This pregnancy has been really rough. And I'm only 8 weeks in! Poor B has been running wild while I lay on the couch/bathroom floor/guest bed. My symptoms are worse than my two previous pregnancies and some days I can barely function. I've been sick since the beginning of February, though I didn't register positive on a test until the middle of the month.

B does not like having a sick mama. He cries and tries to climb in my lap when I get sick. The other day he got so upset he ran in the bathroom and dropped the toilet seat on my head while I was vomiting. Sweet boy thought it would make mama stop, but it just made the situation worse (talk about adding insult to injury).

I'm up in the air regarding a care provider for this pregnancy. The people I had in place last time are not available to me so I am trying to figure out who I would like to see/which hospital we would like to birth at. I have my first appointment with a group of midwives at a hospital about an hour away next week. I hope I love them and won't have to figure something else out. The midwife I am scheduled to see used to work where Charlotte was born so she knows my history (read: baggage). It's so strange to be this far along without an appointment or ultrasound.

I don't feel very anxious about this pregnancy. Probably because I'm too busy crying about how awful I feel. I have never shed so many tears over morning sickness. Yay, hormones! This is the first pregnancy where the gender isn't already clear to me. I knew with Charlotte and Bennett, but this time I haven't a clue. Honestly, it feels like a boy AND girl in there, but that's just because my boy and girl symptoms are all mixed together this time. I'm leaning towards girl, but that's what my heart aches for so who really knows how much logic and truth there is to that prediction.

Belly wise, I have the infamous first trimester bloat going on. I'm showing a tiny bit, but most of it is due to food. When I feel well enough to eat I cram it in.

J has been trying really hard to alleviate my symptoms. Something is working, I think, because I don't feel as bad and the vomiting has slowed. J is really excited. I'm still in the first trimester what was I thinking my 18 month old cries when I do and slams the toilet seat on my head to make me stop vomiting whose idea was this I'm a bad mama phase.

I will be blogging a lot about this pregnancy. I hope it's not a trigger for anyone. I've come to a place where this blog is about me and my life. While that includes loss and Charlotte, of course, it also includes life in general. I hope everyone is comfortable here. I'm so excited to share our journey to rainbow #2 with you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

the good life

Before I had kids I would stare at my friends in amazement when their little one said, "mmab ka snawa" and they would respond, "You want a sandwich? Sure!" Every now and then I can understand someone else's kid, but most of the time when they are first learning to talk my response is, "I don't know, ask your mama."

When B was really sick with the flu I sat up night after night with him. One night I was holding him in our bed right after he threw up. He looked up at me and said, "Mama, water." I know he didn't speak it that clearly. I know water comes out more like wawa when B says it, but in that moment I understood how mothers and fathers know what their children are saying. There's some magical connection that makes it so we clearly hear what our children are saying, even when the words are jumbled, and possibly made up.

It doesn't work perfectly, (Example: It took me a few days to understand that the crazy hand signals B was constantly throwing out meant he wanted to listen to "Wheels on the Bus.") but most of the time I know what B is asking for, or telling me.

I think observing language development is one of my favorite things about raising a little one. B is in that stage where each day a new word pops up and it's fun to watch him try new sounds. He has a large chunk of words and is starting to string them together. B is also big on animal sounds right now, and of course the moon is still a favorite. He's been into planes and birds since we went to Hawaii, and every day something new and exciting interests him. In six days he will be eighteen months. I think that calls for a newborn picture.

And from this morning:

This is the good life. It's not the easy one I imagined, but it's good. And very, very sweet.

Monday, February 25, 2013

fatten the baby muffins

Fattening B up is our primary goal and mission right now. We've done away with normal meal times - and normal food, really - and focused on offering food every two hours. I'm not going to force B to eat, but I am trying to be intentional about offering food on a near constant basis.

A few days ago I made my first recipe from scratch! I mean, I went in the kitchen, put together some ingredients and created these strange tasting muffins B loves. I can't believe he likes them, but it's a good way to get him to eat avocado, coconut and pea protein so I'm not complaining.

B is currently 16.4 lbs. We are down a pound from his December weight, which is not the direction we went to be going in. He was 16.8 lbs prior to that nasty bout of flu. I'm trying to stay positive and calm. I know we'll figure this out. I know B will be fine.

Even though I don't find the muffins tasty I am going to share the recipe because it's my VERY FIRST completely made up recipe, and the fact that it's edible has to count for something. Sweetening these up with honey or agave nectar may help a little. And using regular flour as opposed to gluten free flour will reduce some of the graininess. I don't think anyone else is in my position, but if you need to fatten your baby up (or if you just want a healthy muffin recipe for your little) here it is:

Fatten The Baby Blueberry Banana Muffins


1.5 cups gluten free flour

6 oz vanilla coconut yogurt

1/2 cup heavy coconut cream

1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 ripe banana

2 Tbs groundflax seed 

6 Tbs warm water

1/4 cup coconut milk

Pinch of xanthan gum (only if using gluten free flour that doesn't already have xanthan gum)

1 Tbs pea protein

1/2 avocado


Preheat oven to 350

Mix ground flaxseed and water. Set aside.

Blend avocado and banana - if your little one is picky. I just mash it together with a fork. B likes the banana chunks and doesn't mind the avocado if he doesn't taste it.

Mix flour, flaxseed mixture, xanthan gum.

Add coconut yogurt and coconut milk.


Add banana, avocado mixture and pea protein. Mix well. If too thick add 1/4 cup water.

Stir in blueberries.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

If you brave this recipe, let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

you're going to miss this someday

I'm probably jinxing things up one side and down the other, but B is sleeping ever so slightly better. We've found the perfect balance and I can only hope it stays this way. He sleeps in his crib for a good long stretch - sometimes til 3, sometimes midnight, I prefer the 3 am hour - then comes in with us. It's perfect because if he were to stay in his crib all night I would miss him. A lot.

I need a few solid hours of sleep without B right up next to me, but after that I like having him close. When he wakes I go down and lift him from his crib. B clamps his arms and legs around me so tightly I couldn't put him down if I wanted to. I say, "There, there, come in with Mama and Daddy," carry him upstairs and settle him next to me. B likes to share my pillow. He likes to sleep nose to nose with one little hand tucked behind my head, nestled tight behind my ear.

It's amazing how comfort is perceived by little ones. Children don't need much. They're quite simple really. I tend to make parenting all about what I'm doing right and where I'm failing, but what really matters is that B knows I'll be his comfort; I will pick him up and cuddle him night after night after night. Even when I'm so exhausted I cry I hold him close because someday, years from now, I'll miss that tiny hand furled behind my ear.


I'm in one of those moods where I want to know you. So if you feel like it, leave a comment, send an email, tell me your story.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm sorry

Because my brain is anywhere but here. I haven't caught up on blogs in weeks. If something really important has happened in your life, please tell me. I'm behind on everything.

My terrible sleeper has now become a truly terrible sleeper.

B hasn't napped for FOUR days. Dude is 17 months old, he can't quit naps on me. I'm not ready! And night time is a real ho-hum mess of a deal lately. More so than usual. And yeah, I've been banging on about this for months now - maybe even a year? - but we have medical grade sleep issues here. And I'm pretty sure it's not because I didn't put him down when he napped as a baby.

I'm stressed to the nth degree trying to figure out how to sneak avocado and coconut oil in every single dish. I'm making weird muffins from scratch in an attempt to fatten the kiddo up. I dream about weigh-ins at the doctor. I fret over every. single. bite. But I don't want B to pick up my stress so I pretend like food is no big deal when he's around.

And as I type this B bit me on the thigh because he has two-four teeth coming in. I refuse to get close enough to give an exact number.

So today, oh today,

Here's to the tired mamas. Here's to the sick mamas. Here's to the overwhelmed mamas. Here's to the hoping mamas. Here's to the sad mamas. Here's to the missing mamas. Here's to the empty arms mamas. Here's to the happy mamas. Here's to all the mamas everywhere who do this super hard job day in and day out. And here's to the papas who bring the mamas chocolate. Thanks for keeping me sane, J.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

recovery {and muffins}

Bennett is on the mend! It's a slow heal, but he is feeling better. He will play on the floor for a few minutes at a time, then it's back to mama's lap for milk, or books, or sleeping. When this is all over I have no idea how I am going to convince B he doesn't need to nurse every two hours anymore. He thinks it's wonderful and should continue for a good long while.

I am so tired. The nights are still pretty rough because B has a bad cough which wakes him up/keeps him up. Remember how we were going to insist on crib sleeping only after our Hawaii vacation? Let's all take a moment to laugh at us for thinking we would actually accomplish that. I've spent the past week with a feverish forehead pressed against my head all night. One particularly fun night I woke up just in time to flip B off me and onto a towel before he threw up.

We used homeopathic medicine throughout this illness and we consulted with our naturopath as well as our pediatrician. It was nice for this panicked mama to have two doctors to call and fret to throughout this bad bout of flu.

B isn't up to eating much. I made him muffins a couple days ago, which did not go down so well the first time, but he has been loving them ever since.

It's the usual no eggs, wheat (flour of any kind actually), dairy, nuts, but it also has no sugar (aside from what's in the fruit). I adapted this banana oatmeal muffin recipe.

Recovery Muffins

2.5 cups old fashioned oats 

1 cup applesauce 

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed 

6 Tablespoons warm water

Couple scoops honey

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1 shallow Tablespoon ground flax seed (in addition to the ones you've already added)

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas


Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Prepare muffin tin

Heat 6 Tablespoons water. 

Add 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed

Set aside

Place oats in blender. Mix until smooth.

Add all other ingredients.

Blend until everything looks well mixed. B hates the blender so my mixture was a little chunky.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I find these rather bland, but B loves them (and let's be honest, I'm a sugar fanatic).

It's sunny outside this morning. We might maybe try to take a walk. I'm still feeling a little so-so myself, though J and I did not get nearly as sick as B did.

Thank you for the encouraging comments on my last post. I would like to be someone who can handle basic childhood illness, but I'm not. And that's okay.

Monday, February 11, 2013

down the rabbit hole

That's where I go during times like this. Moments when B is ill and I'm exhausted. Down that PTSD rabbit hole where babies get sick and don't recover. Where every simple illness is death in disguise. J takes it in stride while I fret and try not to cry.

The doctor said he's okay. We are to continue on the course set forth by the naturopath. Keep him hydrated, keep him comfortable, breastfeed. When we arrived home and he threw up less than two minutes after nursing I nearly called the doctor in a panic. I feel so ill equipped in situations like this. I want another adult present at all times because I don't feel capable. I can't believe I'm mama and therefore I'm supposed to know what to do. And apparently crying in the corner until J comes home is not a recommended course.

B has dropped to 16.8 lbs. He was 17.5 lbs in December. 17.1 on Thursday. The doctor we saw today - B's pediatrician - said she's glad we're working with a naturopath because she doesn't know how to help. We have one month to turn things around. If he doesn't gain weight it will be time to run tests. Every doctor we see says, "I have no problem with small babies but this, but this ..." Then they look at his chart and frown.

And all of those frowns hurt just a little because I'm his mama and helping him grow via good nutrition is basic, but I can't seem to manage it. And all these worries roll off J because he has a daddy soul. And those daddy souls are sensitive, but strong, while mama souls are more jumbled, full of ribbon and steel, easily punctured by words and perceptions.

This is day five. I haven't slept well for nearly a week. I am trying to breathe and rest in Jesus.

Isaiah 41:10

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Friday, February 8, 2013

sick, sick bennett

Oh my mercy me, B is so sick. Fever, vomiting, double ear infection. Hopefully he feels better soon. I hoped he would wake up feeling better this morning, but that was not the case. B did ask for food and water this morning, but it didn't stay down very long. He's on a bread and breast milk diet, yummy.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. The house is a mess, the laundry is out of control and J will be gone most of the weekend. B is miserable and I just want to make it better. We had an appointment scheduled with the naturopath yesterday morning. I'm glad we kept it even though B wasn't feeling well because they were able to catch the ear infection early on. It was a hard appointment, with words like underweight tossed out. B has lost a little bit of weight recently, which is not good. Once he's healed we're going to focus on increasing his fat intake to see if that helps.

Like I said, a little overwhelmed here, and ready for better days. On the bright side, being sick means watching Thomas for the first time. It's a clever little show. I kinda like it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

resting in the moment

When we were counting bags for our vacation J said, "Wait, we don't have the laptop. What are we going to do with that?"

"I'm not taking it."

"Really?" He stared at me. "It's not a problem ..."

"No. It stays."

I didn't want to bring the laptop with me because I wanted to focus on our family while we were away. I didn't want to think about blogging or tweeting (though I did Instagram plenty!) or catching up on Facebook.

I didn't plan on blogging while away but when I woke up at 5 am every morning I couldn't stop the words from forming. So I dashed off quick posts while waves crashed against rocks outside the windows and my boys softly slept.

I am guilty of getting so caught up in recording the moment I forget to live it. I'm (slowly) learning to set down my phone, put aside the camera, look deep into my loved ones eyes and find contentment with recording a memory only we possess. A memory just for me to pull out and look over whenever I realize how fleeting and fickle time is.

Yes, those memories will fade. Having a memory tucked somewhere in my scattered mind is not as secure or tangible as a photo, but it is the faded, tattered quality of memories that make them so special.

I can't capture every sweet or cute thing B does. I can't bottle the joy I see in J's face when he looks at B. It's incredible how J's entire body exhales thankfulness when he looks at his son, but it's also too sacred to capture, or explain, or try to convey in 140 characters.

This life is short, people. It's short, and it's sweet and it's sad, and I have to stop pretending that a quick Instagram update is going to stop time. Sweet B is nearly 17 months old and he has laughed more throughout his little life than I have in nearly 30 years. My baby boy loves life with a passion I can't conceive of and it's my job as his mother to spend some time each day setting down everything that distracts me so I can focus solely on him. So I can inhale his laugh and let it wash the grief anchored to sadness and shackled by grief from my soul.

That's a huge weight, and if I can just let go and stand firmly as someone who understands letting go of the heavy negative emotions doesn't mean letting go of Charlotte I'll be in a better place, and I'll be a better mother. If I can do that, if I can let go of the thoughts of unworthiness and shame over Charlotte's death I won't need to capture every moment so someone else can tell me how good it is. Or how good I am.

I'll know.

I'll look deep in my soul, inhale that sweet, high laugh of my baby's and know I'm doing okay. And when I share a picture, or post an update it will be from a place of security, rightness and contentment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

when you can't make it better

Bennett has been itchy for a couple days, but this morning at story time I noticed his near compulsive inability to leave his neck alone. After lunch I nursed him down for nap then settled on the couch with my book. Bennett woke up screaming after thirty minutes. Full on, mad baby, why aren't I sleeping? screaming. I considered teething, but when I picked him up from his crib he had his hands on his neck, scratching away.

I tried to settle him on the couch with me, hoping he would go back to sleep, but he just cried. After watching him itch his neck and belly for a few minutes I decided to try a bath. Bennett settled in the bath, somewhat, but he was still upset and itchy.

When his general fussiness developed into full on crying I took him out of the bath and into the nursery. He sat on the changing table, itching his belly and screaming. I wrapped him in a dry towel and rocked him for a while, then put anti-itch lotion all over his skin, which had a few break outs. Bennett cried as I dressed him, cried when I tried to put him down to wash my hands, cried as I rocked him. I set him on the changing table for a minute and took a few deep breaths, totally lost as to how I could help him. After a minute I burst into tears, which did not help matters.

We cried and rocked for a while, then I settled down enough to realize breast feeding may calm him down. I'm so used to an afternoon and evening feed now I don't think about using nursing to comfort like I did when he was younger. After nursing for thirty minutes he was calm, but when I tried to put him down so I could get a drink of water he began screaming again. A solid hour - seriously, a solid hour - of cuddling on the couch in our pajamas and reading every. single. book. in the house with a moon, or about a moon, he was back to his normal slightly itchy, but able to roll with it, self.

I'm really struggling with this right now. I hate that Bennett is uncomfortable. I hate that I do everything I can think of to protect him from break outs, but it doesn't seem to matter. I need J during afternoons like this because he can be calm about the situation, whereas I can't. I start panicking about never being able to send Bennett to summer camp, while J deals with the immediate situation. I'm glad we have an appointment set up with our naturopath next month. She thinks he can help him with homeopathic medicine. I hope she's right. I feel like we can't go on as we are. I know this is not a unique struggle, but that doesn't erase the tiredness or frustration.

Sometimes I think people try to handle the grief of people they love like I try to handle Bennett's allergies. Like they're trying to protect them from what hurts, like they want to remove all the irritants from life so the grief doesn't break out. But it does. It's impossible to stop. One of life's hardest truths is that we can't protect the people we love from pain and hurt.

I know I need to give this over to God. I know He has His hands on our family and that He loves Bennett more than I do. I know all of this, but it's hard to actually do it. Instead I cry with Bennett, and don't even think about giving him a dose of Benadryl because I'm so upset. I hate not knowing how to fix it. I hate the panicky feeling that comes when I realize I'm a mother, and I have no idea what I'm doing. But that's not a unique struggle either, is it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

sweet irony

Apparently B reads my blog. I now know what he is up to when he oh so casually swipes my phone off the couch and runs away.

He nursed five times today.


Every two hours he was cuddling in close and asking for milk. I think it was a case of long weekend away + big day out + not feeling 100%.

B passed out an hour before bedtime. In my arms. In the middle of nursing session number five.

He was super whiny before I nursed him for the last time this evening. I was trying to clean up after dinner and I was not as patient with him as I should have been. There were a few stern Williams, I will admit. After discovering that I couldn't load the dishwasher because I did it before leaving for Seattle and then forgot to turn it on (ewwwwwwww) I settled on the couch with a hot mug of tea.

Only to have B come trailing after me begging for milk. I nursed him, cuddled him and apologized for being a mean mommy. He got what he needed. He slept. And I realized two things:

We're not ready to wean.

Cold tea tastes excellent when you have an extra hour of kid free time in the evening.


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