Monday, August 25, 2014

Ten Minutes

These last few weeks have been grueling physically and emotionally. We've had so much going with illness, camps, the fair, family gatherings, birthday parties and a death in the family. The kids are tired and grumpy and I'm fighting a flare -up.

I wanted to make sure I spent some time connecting with each of my kids today, but I knew it was a rough day physically and my energy would be very limited, so I set a goal of 10 minutes of focused individual time with each kid.

The first one took me for a walk out to the other end of the property to show me her secret place, the second one opted to do a craft together, and the third didn't like any of the ideas I suggested and couldn't come up with any ideas of her own that didn't involve screen time, so reluctantly sat with me and had a bit of conversation for 10 minutes.

I'm not sure if I should hold firm to my "doing something together that allows for interaction and doesn't involve screen time" rule for next time, or if doing something like playing Minecraft together would be more positively relationship - building than forcing a conversation with a kid who doesn't really want to be there.

It took us about an hour to accomplish 10 minutes of focused time together with each of the three older kids by the time we figured out what to do and whose turn it was to watch the baby with each one.

By the time it was done I was exhausted, hobbling painfully, and needed a nap (perfect timing since the baby was ready for some quiet time too). But I'm glad we did it. I'm hoping to work it into our routine on at least a semi -regular basis.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A rap, or chant, or something . . .

Crazy grumpiness today, from everyone in the household including Mom. I was racking my brain about how to "reset" the mood and reclaim the day, and came up with this little rhyme.

"Grumpiness, grumpiness, go away!
We're family (and friends) and we're here to stay!
We love each other; yes we do!
So let's have some grace and some gentleness too!
Gentleness, kindness and courtesy
Make for an awesome family!

I wish I'd had a camera to capture the looks on their faces when I suggested to 4 teens/preteens (my three plus an extra we had today) that we all hold hands and dance in a circle while chanting it. I then proceeded to loudly and animatedly demonstrate it myself, making them all roll their eyes, laugh at me and groan.

My kids think I'm crazy. But it actually worked to dissipate the foul mood. :)

Apparently at this age the ability to embarrass myself in front of my kids and/or the general public is like some sort of secret weapon, LOL.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Too much milk

As I was reading through some old blog posts, including this one mentioning Baby E's fussiness and difficulty with nursing and this one that mentions her inconsolable near-constant screaming, I was reminded of how difficult those first few months of nursing were with all three of my older kids. While they really did probably all have reflux and Ebee definitely had food intolerances too, something I've learned with Baby Nae is one thing I really wish I had learned sooner, as I think it would have helped significantly with my other babies.

I'm so thankful that--I forget whether it was through a lactation consultant or just googling symptoms--I came across the La Lache Leage International page about oversupply and overactive letdown and a few others on the topic.

All four of my babies had many of the symptoms listed. With their rapid weight gain combined with other symptoms, there was no doubt that we had this issue. (Note: some babies actually have trouble getting enough milk because of overactive letdown, so not having rapid weight gain doesn't necessarily rule it out, but it is one factor a lactation consultant will consider.)

Baby Nae had the same kinds of symptoms the older kids had displayed--wanting to nurse constantly, but writhing and fussing even while nursing. Green frothy diarrhea. Massive numbers of wet and poopy diapers, far above average. Arching her back and screaming inconsolably even right after feeding. Copious amounts of spitting up and gassiness. Gulping and spluttering during feedings. More fussing and crying and writhing. Not sleeping unless being held almost upright.

Thankfully, this time around we were able to figure it out and work with a lactation consultant to help manage the issue. The LC showed me some nursing positions to help gravity work to slow down the flow of milk, and I learned how to "block feed"--nursing on only one side for long periods of time. In our case, what worked was about 4-hour segments. I found a smartphone app to help track when I'd fed the baby on which side, and I'd feed her as often as she needed to be fed but only on one side for that 4-hour block of time.

That helped to regulate the milk supply and ensure that Baby Nae was getting enough hindmilk to meet her needs, rather than just getting foremilk delivered fire-hose style at every feeding. Within a week or two, it was so much better. The "colic" was gone.

Which meant that my fussy, colicky, inconsolably-screaming baby turned into the intense, social, active, but basically extremely happy child that she is. And, this time around, I get to experience having a baby that I can actually console most of the time when she cries. Usually if she's fussing, there's a reason that I'm able to figure out and fix. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful that is.

Such a simple thing, but it has made such an amazing world of difference.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Enjoying my Baby

As brand new parents, we were concerned that if we consistently picked our babies up right away when they started to fuss and took care of their needs as promptly as possible, they might become more fussy and demanding. Several books and teachers popular in our circles taught that it was easy to spoil a baby in that way, and that if you responded to them promptly the majority of the time, they would become little "tyrants" who demanded to always be the center of attention.

Now, as more experienced parents, we find the opposite to be true. It seems that a general pattern of responsiveness (as much as possible, within reason) helps a baby to develop the trust and confidence that her needs will be met and her cries will be answered. We've also come to realize that things like cuddling and comfort, eye contact and interaction, are real and valid "needs" even when they don't need to be fed or changed and we feel like we've already been holding them a lot all day.

With each of our kids we've found that, in general, they tend to be less fussy and demanding, and seem to get worked up less quickly and severely in the times we can't respond right away, when we are more responsive to them in general. And the times we do put them down, they aren't as prone to get upset about watching and interacting with us from somewhere other than someone's arms for a while.

I love no longer being worried about spoiling my baby, and just being able to relax and enjoy this time of bonding and connection.

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Monday, May 05, 2014


The other day Ebee was getting a bit riled up and argumentative with her sisters in the grocery store, so I handed her my purse and asked her to carry it (as a distraction, sensory input, and helping her feel like she's doing something important to help).

At the checkout I said, "I need my purse now, please. [pause] Ebee, could you please hand me my purse?"

She rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" as she handed me the purse.

I said in a light, cheerful tone, "Sure, Mom, I'd be happy to hand it to you!"

Ebee, in exaggeratedly bright, winsome tones: "Sure, Mom, I'd be happy to hand it to you!"

The grocery store checkout clerk laughed and said, "That's awesome!"

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday the kids went to a Valentine's Day party with some friends from school and Baby Nae and I hung out with Morning.  In the evening I took AJ on a date while DH took the two middle girls shopping for birthday presents for AJ. AJ,  Nae and I found just what we're we're looking for--some black shoes for AJ that would "go with everything. "

Today we celebrate AJ's 13th birthday with a casual roller skating outing with a few of her friends. 13! I can hardly believe she's a teenager already. She is turning into a delightful,  level-headed,  confident , kind and compassionate young lady. It's amazing to me how much she has grown up,  matured and levelled out these last few years. She's truly a wonderful young person. I'll see if I can get a good bloggy picture of her to post soon.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles

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