Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Apologize For This Post

To all the mamas who have experienced toddler breastfeeding and the intense desire to wean against your toddler's will: I feel you.
You're going to get this.

To everyone else: I apologize for this. Profoundly.
But, as they say, #sorrynotsorry

Lilla is approaching 21 months and she is still quite an breastfeeding aficionado. 
It's a serious pastime 'round these parts. (Pun intended. You're welcome.)

It could be an all-day affair if I allowed.
As in: We-only-break-for-solid-food-meals-and-Mickey-Mouse-Clubhouse.
And mamas, I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. And so are my parts. 

Apparently, not only am I tired, I'm worried

{I do not apologize for any of the above content; this is where it gets questionable. 
If you continue to read, you do so at your own risk. You've been warned.}

A few nights ago I had a dream. 
I rarely remember dreams, but this one had me waking up in a bit of a panic hoping to the heavens that it wasn't real. You know what I'm talking about...

I dreamed that Lilla was nursing and my nipple fell off.

It. Fell. Off. 
My right nip. 

I'll let that sit with you for a moment. 
. . . . . 

Isn't that terrible?

I was quite calm about it in my dream, although devastated. 
I took that poor, disconnected part and placed it in a baggie and put it in the fridge. For safekeeping. You know...until we could get to the hospital to repair the damage. 

And that's it. 

I'm so sorry. But I had to share that. 

I woke up thinking, "Oh ni... Ah, it's there." 
After the flood of relief I felt a slightly bemused pity for my poor subconscious.
She's worried for the well-being of my body.
Like, desperately worried.
That sweet subconscious of mine...she's sending me signals.
She's all, "Girl, this may not be healthy for you anymore." 

I'm picking up those signals, subconscious. Thank you for your concern. 

I have no idea how to wean this child. 
I've tried refusing her (she screams, loudly).
I've tried distraction, feigning injury, bribery, pretending I don't hear her requests, literally running good. She still gets what she wants. 
I even went away for 5 days and hoped against hope that she would forget and wean. 
She didn't. I think she got even more intense after that escape tactic.

So I breastfeed. And I slightly resent my daughter (let's just be honest here) and my subconscious weeps and I plot more ways to try and wean her. 
I'm thinking yucky-tasting Lavender oil on the skin in question will be my next route. 
Wish me luck, and send me all your fail-proof, stubborn toddler weaning techniques.

There's Lil. Thanks, Lil. You're awesome.

The contents of this post are in no way insinuating that women shouldn't breastfeed toddlers. In no way at all. 
I love extended breastfeeding. I think it's awesome and fine and right (if you wanna). 
The AAP recommends breastfeeding for 24 months at least. The world average of breastfeeding length is reported to be around 4 years. That's fine. Super great. Love it.

I'm a lactation counselor for heaven's sake. I'm in this for all the mamas and the babies. 
I'm a believer. 

And I'm done. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Making Room

My kids are still asleep. It's 6:55 am. This is an anomaly.
It means I need to get a pool. ASAP.

Last night, at 8:30, the kids were getting in bed and Britt, my incredible boy, caught a glimpse of one of our new neighbors and sprinted across the street. Basically, he coerced an invitation for a night-swim out of the grandpa-like man.
"I wanted to go for a dip anyway." He said, "Let the kids come over."
I promised it would only be a 15 minute swim and then he could get to bed.

So, I met Ann and Jim for the first time. While my kids romped in their pool in the dark.
Ann Windex'd her patio table and pulled out a chair for me. She proceeded to tell me every last name of each family in our neighborhood, their occupations, their kid's names, why they added an extra room to their house...
We talked about her kids and why Britt reminds her so much of her middle son. She told me it would all be okay if I could just channel that energy. I said, "How?" She said, "Find what he'll figure it out."

Jim will be 80 years old this year; he's a scuba diver. He taught Beck how to dive last night and held Britt while giving him instructions on how to kick his feet harder while he's sinking swimming.
"Stop holding your nose! It's not going anywhere! Only girls hold their nose in the water."
He says Britt will know how to swim laps by the end of the summer.

So...our 15 minute swim became 35 minutes and I just wanted to hug and kiss Jim and Ann as they waved goodbye to us from their gate and my kids jaunted home happy and wet and barefooted across the street.
And the kids are still sleeping.
That's why I need a pool. It completely wore them out.
Night swims need to be a regular activity.

But, you guys...I have come to a place in my life that I'm looking around and am really disappointed with the way I've been doing things.
I've said "yes" to so many good things - jobs (that I'm good at!), business commitments, scheduled kids activities, trips to here and there...the list goes on; so long.
I've said "yes" to all of these good things and I've left no room. There's no space in my daily life for the spontaneous "yes."

A joyful yes because that is the thing I want to do at that moment.
A friendly yes that builds new relationships and creates community.
A thoughtful yes that feeds the soul.
I can't indulge these yesses if there's no room.

My margins have been so tight in the past few years and somehow I felt accomplished with all of my "things to do" that I've missed the joy. It feels good for a minute to say Yes to something and fill a need for someone.
"Yes, I'll bring a dish to the event."
"Yes, my kids will be at that service opportunity."
"Yes, I'll take on that extra responsibility for the hospital."

They're all really good things. But they're not the best things.

Rolling around in my head so much lately:

I get so distracted by all of the good things that the best things go unnoticed and undone.

This is where my heart is right now.
I want to say yes to the impromptu night swim and get my kids out of bed and into their swimsuits.
I want to sit with the neighbor and talk about how God shouldn't be put in a box and there are many ways to seek and worship Him.
I want to invite a struggling young mom to my house and hold her baby and let her smell my oils.
I want to make bacon and fruit crisp for my kids for breakfast.
I want to play Memory with Britt and scold him for cheating and high-five him when he wins.
I want room. None of this can happen if there are no margins left.

I'll be making some changes soon.
But gosh, it's a hard thing to say "No" to the good things. Especially when those good things fill you up and make you feel accomplished.
But night swims and new neighbors and deepening friendships are worth it.
I'm struggling to push back the margins.
And the struggle is real.

What is your best thing?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Current Thought-Life

  • Life in-flux is not my most becoming look. I whine and fret and drive my poor husband to the brink daily. But God is doing some big life-work in me in this season and the beauty of that reality is bright and shining and worth every uncertainty.
  • The Find-A-Pen-and-Draw-On-All-Surfaces stage of toddlerhood is really a very inopportune time to be in an Airbnb for a month. Like...a really, really bad time. #ruinallthethings
  • I hoped so hard that said toddler would wean from breastfeeding while I was away for 6 days. She didn't. Her: still going strong. Me: not excited.
  • Peach iced tea steeped in the scorching June sun: nectar of the gods.
  • Wondering: Do people even read blogs anymore? I know people write them...but who reads them?
  • We have a pet turtle in the temp housing. Its equal parts icky and fascinating. I'm torn between feeling sad that there's a mini-dino trapped in a tank in the corner and being terrified by my day dreams that it somehow crawls out and clicks around on the tile floor, all slow and prehistoric.
  • My boys are watching The Sandlot and it makes me inordinately happy. Such a classic.
  • My little sister just had her second son last week...I can't wait to get my hands on all 10+ lbs of him. He's perfection; and his name is he's just the kind of guy I'd like to meet.
  • I'm currently reading ALL of Susan Branch's life-story books. Every time I sit with her book it's like a squeeze from a friend. So cozy and comfy with the perfect dash of inspiration thrown in. 
  • Life is weird. And hard and incredible and beautiful and such a struggle. I want to live it well. 
Leave me a comment: Give me a thought out of your thought grab-bag. What's running circles in your head? I want to know! Let's talk about it...


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Holding His Hand

My Beck. He's nearing ten years old...and that is just the strangest thing I could have possibly written. In my life. Ever.
Ten. I mean. That's real. That's a real age for a real person. 

Do you ever have those moments? You look at your kid and think, "Oh my're an actual person. Who is turning into an even older person. How did this happen?" 
Please tell me I'm not the only one. 

My kids ask me who my favorite kid is. Often. And I always go through this spiel about I don't have a favorite and I like each of you for different reasons; and I list those reasons. You know, the mom thing. 
And the reason I always say for Beck is that he's the one who made me a mom. We started out together. A couple of babies just trying to figure out how to deal. And he loves that. Gets this little grin on his face and looks at me sideways. 
And every once in awhile, I think it's when he needs a bit of reassurance, he says,"Who's the one who made you a mom?" And we grin. And we was us first.

Yesterday I took Beck and Evie to the movies. We don't get out enough on our own. It's all about the baby over here these days. So we did a big-kid thing. (Side note: if you haven't seen Inside Out yet, do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Darlingness.)
Evie grabbed my hand while we were walking out of the theatre and I reached out reflexively to take hold of Beck's hand. He held my hand for a total of maybe .2 seconds and slipped his hand from mine. I looked at him and I saw on his face this dialogue (maybe it was because I'd just seen the movie) inside his head..."Cool guys don't hold their mom's hand." 
It was the first time that has ever happened...up until now we were all over the PDA.

The way he stuffed his hands in his pockets at that moment and his walk became a little more swaggering was pretty funny. I almost laughed. And I would have if there hadn't been this darn lump in my throat that I couldn't dislodge. 
It didn't hurt my feelings really, moms know way better than to have their feelings hurt by these things. It just...shone a big, bright, harsh light on the fact that my little partner is not so little anymore.

See that guy up there? That curly mop-headed boy? With the giant brown eyes and the corn kernel teeth and the chubby fingers? That's who I still see when I look at Beck. He's still 4 and just learned how to poop on the potty and stutters a little bit.

In the dark parking lot I said, "So, your inner cool-guy didn't want to hold my hand?" And I made some whimpering sound trying to caricature a sad mama (to cover up the real sad mama that was inside).  I asked if he would hold my hand now that it was dark and no one could see us. He smiled and snatched my hand. Almost as if he were relieved to give up the charade of being too cool for it. 
I was relieved too. I heaved out a sigh for the relief of it...of holding his still-small hand in mine. 

All the way home the kids chattered about the movie and it was all foggy background noise to me. I had tears in my eyes, a tight chest. I'm just remembering and hoping so many things...
I'm remembering when he was placed on my belly after labor and I touched those tiny clenched hands. They were so much warmer and more real than I anticipated. 
I'm remembering all of the times I washed those pudgy fingers. 
I'm remembering the kisses blown and the "I love you" sign language flashed between us.
I'm  remembering the first time I cut his fingernails when he was 2 weeks old and I cut his fingertip along with it. We both cried.
I'm hoping he does big, noble things with those hands. 
I'm hoping they're capable and steady and kind.

And I'm hoping I held his hands enough...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

1000 Gifts...Again

(This is a re-post from my blog in 2012 but I re-read it today and it stung me...all over again. Ann Voskamp's book is one I need to keep on constant rotation in my reading. I'm picking it up again today.)

This morning I was ugly.

I was blind to it until my husband's voice, from the kitchen said, "You complain a lot."

Like a punch to the gut.
Not a mean-spirited punch...just...truth.

I stopped in mid-action.
Folding yet another pair of rip-kneed jeans that had been left on the floor.
My hands froze and I rewound my brain through the morning to view it like a shameful movie.

Me: scowl on my brow.
Me: taking in the mess of life all around me.
Me: with words coming forth full of negativity.
Me: overwrought.
Me: undone.
Me: ugly.

And then I rewound again and watched, not myself, but my family.
Them: numbering three.
Them: running, laughing, eating, smiling.
Them: making messes and then surprised at the fury coming from my mouth.
Them: healthy, breathtaking, smart, funny.
Them: joy.
Them: the face of God.

And then I saw Mr. B.
Him: making three lunches.
Him: carrying the heavy weight of responsibility.
Him: tuning the iPod to a higher volume to tune me out.
Him: a blessing to me.

I was shamed.
And then I cried for forgiveness. 
What can I do to stop this?
My plight - the plight of all mommies - is not going to change.
There will always be plates that sit in the sink, unmatched socks, floors to vacuum, crumbs on the counter, broken toys to step on.
I can't change that...but I can change something.
I can change me.

I've talked about Ann Voskamp's book before.
How it worked in me to make a difference.

And I started a journey there.
A journey of gratefulness, of counting my 1,000 {and ever more} gifts.

I saw the fruit of noticing His goodness to me in my life.
I saw myself realizing the blessing in the simple, the mundane, even.
But then I stopped.
The journal got pushed to the bottom of a pile and soon I stopped fishing it out to chronicle the good.
And I miss that now.

The list was young in these photos.
In it's 20's. 
It has grown to be in the 200's but it stalled there.
I'm ready to pick it back up.
To remember the gifts.
I miss the gifts.

I found my notebook and set it back out on the dining room table.
Open to it's page left from March...

Gift # 213. Warm foreheads and Disney movies to rest.

#208. A new two-year-old

#65. Honey-Vanilla pound cake.

#78. Little pink leotards and tutu skirts.

#129. Funny Friends.

#203. Humming of the dishwasher & dryer...quiet home.

#168. The first mosquito bite.

#172. Red wine and pizza.

#47. Safety from the storm.

I'm going to start reading the book again.
And penning my gratitude.
Because, she's right, there's something about searching for the gifts 
{and finding them, because they are always there}
that heals that broken spirit.
The spirit that is accompanied by creased foreheads and negative words spat before you think.
I need to be healed...again.

I may post some gifts from my list here on the blog now and again. that I'm not alone, would you please post just one 
{or two, or...however many you can come up with}
of your gifts in my comment section?
A gift is not a gift until shared.