Friday, August 27, 2010

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Dear Ian,

You have been a challenge to me this week. Not for anything particular, just in general. Perhaps the stars are out of alignment or the world is tilted wrong on its axis. I guess it happens to all of us now and again.

You are now 18 months old. Your vocabulary is vast and you talk all the time. You are starting to put together short sentences: Where Dada go? Sit down Pawpaw. Dada at home. You comprehend even more than you can say.

One of my favorite things in the world is coming to pick you up at the end of the day. Especially when I walk in the door to your classroom and it takes you several moments to realize I am there. I get to observe you as your own being, separate and apart from me in the world. And then when you see me, you light up and call out Mama, or more recently Mommy, and hurry over for a hug. You know we need to get your cup and your sheet before we can leave.

You aren't ready to potty train but you are getting close. You are becoming very self-aware in this area. I admit that I would love for you to be ready for this but I certainly don't want to rush you. I know that would end in disaster.

I really like that you are finally sitting down with me long enough to actual read a book. You like to sit next to me on the couch and go through the book with me slowly. You even have some of the words down in the pattern to Sandra Boynton's The Barnyard Dance. I can almost say that one perfectly without the book in front of me.

Keep growing and learning, little boy. You teach me so much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Negativity Must Stop

I know I talk a lot about birth and c-sections here. It's my forum; I can do what I want. I generally do it with a purpose. Before I get on my soapbox I am going to say a few things: I believe in and support natural birth, I do think there are too many c-section being performed and I do know that we need better education for pregnant women through peer support, doulas, midwives and open minded OB/GYNs.

Now time for my soapbox: why must we be so negative about c-sections?

Stop right there and close your mouth and let's listen for a moment, shall we all? My post here came about from a posting on facebook. It took me to an article about birthing and the health of both mother and baby. See it for yourself here: at-least-i-have-healthy-baby-and-birth.

Please understand that I am not trying to attack the very valid points in this article. I agree with almost all of them. What I am trying to say is this: put yourself in my shoes, in the shoes of a woman who had a c-section. Do you realize how hurtful some of the things you say are? Maybe you don't mean it that way, but sometimes a woman who has a c-section feels a bit smaller when you talk only the benefits of a vaginal birth and only about the negatives of a c-section. Aren't you natural birth supporters/advocates supposed to be the most empathetic to a woman no matter what type of birth she had?

Because there are too many unnecessary c-sections performed in this day and age, I cannot tell you how many times I have felt the need to slap a patient smile on my face and explain my own situation. If a woman says "I had a vaginal birth in water at home with no drugs" you can see everyone's face light up with joy. If a woman says "I had to have a c-section" the whole atmosphere in the room is deflated.

Maybe it is our own negativity, our own judgemental assumptions, that add fuel to the problem. I think the author of this atricle has it exactly right: we need to change the way we think about the whole birth experience. We need to focus on the health of the mother and the baby and the overall experience for both.

Just realize that some of us would not have a baby without the c-section experience. And some of us weren't traumatized. And some of us actively participated in our own care and what happened to our bodies. So let's all change our focus. The next time a woman mentions having had a c-section, perhaps instead of immediately consoling her and launching into how the system is broken, first find out why. The good stories, the necessary ones, often get swept under the rug because we focus on the traumatic ones. We have the wrong focus.

There are always going to have to be c-sections. Otherwise some mothers and babies would die. Mamas and babies both are the key focus here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tell Me Your Strange

Courtesy of:

1. unusual, extraordinary, or curious; odd; queer: a strange remark to make.
2. estranged, alienated, etc., as a result of being out of one's natural environment: In Bombay I felt strange.
3. situated, belonging, or coming from outside of one's own locality; foreign: to move to a strange place; strange religions.
4. outside of one's previous experience; hitherto unknown; unfamiliar: strange faces; strange customs.
5. unaccustomed to or inexperienced in; unacquainted (usually fol. by to ): I'm strange to this part of the job.
6. distant or reserved; shy.

The strangest thing I have ever done is name another human being. Granted, I had a boy's name picked out from the time I was 5.5 weeks pregnant, probably sooner. A girl's name took much, much longer. Perhaps I knew deep down I was having a boy.

Then he arrived. And he had a name. A name I had chosen. What if I looked at him and the name didn't fit? What if when I called him that name it seemed wrong? What if he hated it? What if I hated it?

Sometimes I think I repeated his name so often in my head that it just sounded funny in general. Luckily, his name does suit him. I can't imagine him being named anything else.

What is the strangest thing you have ever done?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Everything I Really Need To Know About Parenting I Learned From My Cat

My darling son, at 17 months, is in the I WANT TO GET MY WAY stage. He says "no" a lot but not always meaning no. A yes no sounds different than a no no.

Occassionally he has decided that the proper method for expressing his displeasure is to push his sippy cup onto its side or to throw down onto the floor whatever he has in his hands. Every now and again he will even plop himself down onto the floor and throw himself backwards. That has resulted in a few bruises when it happened on tile and not on the carpet. Lesson learned.

Now he is taking it one step farther. He will now reach out and try and slap or scratch me. Not fun. I sternly tell him no, to stop and that what he is doing is not nice. When this doesn't work, I make sure to stand up and make it a point to move very far away from him. He is not going to get to play with mommy if he slaps.

I don't know about you, but sometimes being a parent means you are tired. You have repeated the same song, the same book and the same game more times than you can count. All you want is a little quiet and then your child decides to act out.

So one evening I am sitting on the floor playing with Ian when he decides he doesn't like something I did or said and decides to slap at me. I tell him no. Then he proceeds to try and bite me, with his whole 4 teeth. Not thinking, I reached out and popped him on the head while saying "no". Just like a mother cat would do to her kitten. Just like I have done to teach my cats not to bite.

I think I was just as surprised as he was. We both just looked at each other and blinked a few times. At least it worked.

So the next time you aren't sure what to do with your child, remember the things you have learned from your pets.