Thursday, May 28, 2009

Out of the Mouths of...Cookies?!

We went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant tonight. I've often chuckled at the inane comments found inside fortune cookies, but tonight's were so fitting that I thought I'd share them with the world.

This year you should explore your feminine side
[I dunno, maybe by having a baby?]

Now is the time to make your family a priority
[He probably would not have left Pelican if it weren't for the rest of us...]


Your words are charming. You should write a letter tomorrow.
[admittedly not as perfect a fit...although it sounds like someone knows that somebody needs some encouragement to write more ☺]

Soon you should explore some nearby coastline
[perhaps by ferry?!]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So long, farewell!

Right about the time this message posts on this blog, we and our van will be on board the MV LeConte (the ferry in the photo), pulling out from the Pelican dock...probably never to return.

Goodbye Pelican . . . There are some things I will miss about you, but honestly, not enough that I think I will ever want to come back to visit...

Tonight we'll be in Juneau, and in a few days we'll catch a ferry up to Haines, and from there we will drive the 850ish miles to Anchorage.
We don't have an apartment yet, we just have a storage unit, where we will be putting most of our stuff before flying south to visit family for the next few weeks.

I will probably not be online very much in the coming weeks, but I have scheduled a number of blog posts in my absence, and I will check in from time to time.

Have a happy summer. I know I will!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Mama Bear

How public is your blog?
Photos, real names, where we secrets -- 8 (21%)
Have photos, but use kids' initials or nicknames, not detailed on where we live -- 16 (42%)
No photos, no real names, very vague about where we live -- 2 (5%)
I avoid topics that would require me to name my kids or discuss where I live -- 0 (0%)
My blog is private (invited readers only) -- 3 (8%)
I don't blog -- 8 (21%)

About two years ago I wrote a post about being public vs private in the personal information that we share on our blogs. At that point, I was always very vague about where I lived (I just said "western USA" though I've since specified the state); since coming to Pelican, however, I've been a lot more open. The reasoning is simple--if some creep wanted to come steal my kids from here, they would have to go to a LOT of trouble to do it (6hrs each way on the ferry? Not likely. Expensive seaplane ride? Even harder--the seaplane folks know my kids and wouldn't let them board. ) If someone in town wanted to swipe my kids, all I'd have to do is go door to door for 20 minutes until I found them. Really, I just don't worry about that kind of predator out here. (The bears are, admittedly, a whole other issue, but they don't read this blog!)

However, now that we're preparing to move--to a place with roads this time--I'm going to get more vague again. No photos that show our house or our neighborhood, nothing too specific about our town... I'll probably just stick with "Alaska" (it's a nice big state!) and leave it at that. The chances of a creep going to the effort to try to track us down is still minimal, but I'm not going to do anything to help, because those creeps are out there.
I will continue post pictures of my kids from time to time, but I will also continue to use nicknames for my children--they are minors, and frankly their names are not any of your business. ☺ I don't mind mentioning my own name, or my husband's, because 1--we are adults and 2--we both have really common names. But my kids, well, I reserve the right to be a protective mama bear for my little cubs. ☺

SO, yes, we are moving. No, I am not going to tell you quite where...but we are leaving the bush, and we're oh so happy about that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Manipulating Parents" by Paul W Robinson

The first, and most important, point of this book is that children do not try to manipulate their parents per se, they simply seek ways to get what they want. In other words, their intentions are pure, but sometimes their methods are problematic.
I do agree with that basic premise--that children often engage in manipulating behavior in their efforts to get what they want. I have mixed responses to the author's recommendations for how to respond to these behaviors, but here I will go into the parts which with I agree.

Robinson begins by outlining classic methods of manipulation:
  • ask for more, settle for less (child asks for 10 more minutes, haggles down to 5, but still gets more time which is what he wanted)
  • repeating (they ask so many times that the parent wears out and gives in)
  • setting parents against each other ("but mom said..." "dad would let me...")
  • shaping (asks for something small, then more, then more)
  • wearing out the parent (they squirm until let go, ignore until parent gives up, etc)
  • follow the crowd ("but everybody is doing it")
  • playing favorites ("you let __ do ___, you like him better")
  • threats ("I'll run away") or tantrums
  • public places (they know you'll respond differently in front of friends or a crowd)
He then expresses that it is important for the parent to be "in the driver's seat" and to not let the child run things. Now here is a point where I don't wholly I've mentioned elsewhere, I don't want my children to grow up to be yes-men, I want them to be thinking individuals. On the other hand, (to stick with his driving analogy), my kids only have learners permits, whereas I am a licensed driver, so they do need to heed me as I am trying to teach them safe and appropriate ways to get down the road. ☺
Robinson offers a list of ways that the parent can stay in the drivers seat, including classic recommendations such as "be aware of your child's manipulations and never give in," "be consistent," and "give children freedoms in direct proportion to their appropriate behavior." I used to think that these things made a lot of sense, but as illustrated in past (and future) parenting posts here, some of my perspectives have shifted.
I do agree with the author on the following points:
  • The child should take responsibility for his own actions (don't put blame on yourself or anyone else)
  • The child should take responsibility for his own knowledge
  • Respond to (correct) your child as necessary, regardless of location, situation, or surrounding people [a personal note: if in public, I think it is important to correct children in a discreet way, but I do think it's best to address problems immediately rather than waiting]
  • Make sure the child knows that you love him. Say it, show it, and remind him often.
  • Make sure that your words match your actions. Be someone your child can count on [and, I would add, don't utilize manipulative techniques on them either!]
I'm working on a post outlining the most basic premise of my parenting philosophy, which is respect: respect for oneself and for everyone else. Truthfully, if respect is demonstrated and practiced by the parents, it will probably be practiced by the children as well, and it is likely that manipulative behaviors will be sporadic rather than habitual. However every child is different, and I think that some are inclined toward manipulation. Again, it's not a malicious thing on their part, it is simply their effort to get what they want. Since I perceive their wants as being as valid as my own, I'm often willing to give them what they want. I am opposed to denying them just because they ask in an inappropriate way, but I would certainly make efforts to help them find better ways to ask, (and then I would expect them to utilize those methods in the future).

Robinson speaks of punishment methods to use to break manipulative behaviors...while I appreciate that sometimes parents do need to impose consequences, I am not a fan of punishment as such...I agree with him that it is important to always address problematic behavior, I just have different opinions about the best ways to address it. ☺

One very important point Robinson makes is that we as parents need to be careful that our expectations of our children are appropriate. As I've said before, I do believe that children (and adults) tend to live up to what is expected of them, but we do need to have realistic expectations. A third grader cannot do algebra, and a toddler cannot lift the milk jug to pass at the dinner table...on the other hand, a 5 year old can check in before going outside, and a teenager can schedule in advance to borrow the car.

For those parents who are firmly in the "gentle discipline" camp, this book will probably offend you greatly. When I first read it I thought it had a lot of good ideas, but as I said, my philosophy of parenting has shifted since then. I think that this book (like most parenting books I've read) has its good parts; however I've just covered them all for you, so now you don't need to read it yourself. ☺

Friday, May 15, 2009

Facebook Friday (evening edition)

Ha, it's Friday again and I nearly missed it (again).

Highlights from the last two weeks...

Saturday 5/2
Jenni is delighted that the pull-ups I got for Bear for nights have cars on them. Bear is delighted about the new "car underpants." Now I will wash and pack the last of the cloth diapers (which he was using at night, but I'm pretty sure he's staying dry...I just wanted the little 'disappearing dots' on the pull-ups for a few weeks to make sure!)

Monday 5/4
12:47 pm
Jenni's husband has two job leads today!

Tuesday 5/5
11:01 am
Jenni is enjoying the shorter haircut now that the sun has finally feels springy and spunky and cute. :)

Wednesday 5/6
Jenni is praying for Hubby's job interview this afternoon to go well. Also she's craving a strawberry milkshake...but the job interview seems more important.
4:51 pm
Jenni is very happy that Hubby's interview went well. Now it's ok for me to obsess a little more about that strawberry milkshake (which I will have to get in about three weeks...when we hit mainland...)
[I subsequently found out that it's possible to get one here in town...rural prices are not at all the same as mainland prices, but hey, it's possible to get the pregnant woman a strawberry shake...]

Thursday 5/7
Jenni is impressed that the 2yo has slept the last two nights in plain regular underpants...but sad that last night he cried a lot about not nursing.
Jenni just got a strawberry milkshake!! (Bear filched a large portion of it, assuring me that it was actually his...oh well, I used the opportunity to tell him about how it's great to be a big boy--and give up nursing--because then you can get cool stuff like milkshakes!)
10:02 pm
Jenni tucked two boys in in one big bed (mine), and now they have both gone to sleep and need to be carried to their own beds...or maybe Hubby and I should just sleep in Wolf's's a double...hmmmmmmm.

Friday 5/8

Jenni is tired...and frustrated...but hopeful! [on this day we thought we had a job offer but then it was actually not an official offer it was a call of interest, but they do seem very very interested!]

Saturday 5/9
12:57 pm
Jenni wants a strawberry milkshake again. :s
3:35 pm
Jenni has done 2 loads of laundry and packed 4 boxes today. check! check! oo, that to-do list is shrinking!

Sunday 5/10
4:34 pm
Jenni has tickets to come to Utah this summer!

Monday 5/11
7:49 am
Jenni is thrilled that Bear slept through the night last night *in*his*own*bed!!

Tuesday 5/12
4:00 pm
Jenni just tried the priceline "name your own price" thing for the first time...and will soon be staying in Juneau's luxury Baranof hotel for less than the Super 8 price!

Wednesday 5/13
Jenni had a dream last night that she gave birth to a girl...then she woke up to find that Bear had slept through the night in his own bed again. Mmmm, what a great morning!

Thursday 5/14
8:46 am
Jenni feels very fat today
2:18 pm
Jenni is pleased to announce that Bear fell asleep for his nap without nursing for the second day in a row. Yes, I am shamelessly using movies to accomplish this, but the point is the not-nursing, right?

Friday 5/15
Jenni's goal for the day: find a storage unit place to hold our stuff for the summer
Jenni got chinese takeout for dinner. Yes, it had to be flown in. Mmmm, my hubby loves me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

14 Weeks

I think I've kindof gotten myself into a tri-weekly update thing, which works for me...not so often that this is turning into a pregnancy blog, but often enough to decently update the people who want to hear about this stuff.

 Pregnancy Ticker

Welcome to trimester two! Your beautiful baby is covered in downy hair known as lanugo and really starting to move around. It may still be a while before you'll be feeling it, but they're in full motion anyway. At about 4 inches & 2.5 oz, their little body and limber limbs are coordinated enough for loads of complicated motions. In fact, their whole body is moving right now! You're probably not feeling it because their current size is still a bit too small to make an impact you'd recognize. Still, their movements are recognizable on an ultrasound. [At this stage I had an ultrasound with Bear where I was able to clearly see that he had the of the funniest things I've ever seen!] Your baby's heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day! He or she is also starting to develop the ability to move their eyes this week, although the eyelids still remain fused shut. What's more, they can make all sorts of fun facial expressions as they practice squinting, frowning, and grimacing. Cute development of the week: their little hands can grasp at things and they may already be sucking their thumb!

So, 14 weeks...this is a big deal, as it's the gestational period at which I had my first (and latest) miscarriage. Passing this date is a sigh of relief for me.
(Holding my tiny baby in my hand was as amazing as it was heartwrenching...yes, he looked almost exactly like the picture there. To give you a sense of scale, he fit in the palm of my hand, both his hands and both his feet could all fit on my thumbnail.)
I'm officially into the second trimester (most people count that at 13 wks actually), I'm pretty much over my morning sickness (YAY!), my belly bump looks more like a baby and less like too-many-twinkies, depending on the pregnancy this is about when one starts feeling movement (I'm pretty sure I've felt a few little bops already)...yeah, it's a nice place to be.

(yes, this is at sortof an odd angle...Hubby was sitting in the chair and I guess he was comfy so he didn't get up. I should have had him move to the other side of the room though so we could get one from a comparable angle to the last one! Anyway, I've hit that milestone of belly-sticks-out-further-than-bustline...yep, I look pregnant!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why "Extended" Breastfeeding?

Extended Breastfeeding: breastfeeding a child beyond 12 months after birth.

Recently a friend from college found out that I'm weaning Bear at 27 months, and she said "wow, you're more dedicated than I am. I'll go to 12 months but then I am DONE!" Now I don't think she's a bad parent, but her particular choice of words got me thinking. Dedicated? Um, if I wasn't willing to be dedicated to my children, then why would I have them? Seriously, if you want a pet, get a dog or a cat. If you want a child, you'd better plan on being dedicated. Is that such a strange notion?!

But that's not really the point of this post. The point of this post is that nursing beyond 12 months is not about dedication, it's about practicality, simplicity, and health for both me and the baby. Consider these facts:
  • Human milk is the perfect food for little humans--as much so on the day after their first birthday as it was on the day before it. (In regards to physical maturation, what is a birthday but an arbitrary date anyway?!)
  • For every year that a woman breastfeeds, she lowers her own risk of breast cancer.
  • For as long as a child breastfeeds, they get the benefits of mom's immune system. Considering that kids are at the peak of their exploratory phase (and still putting everything in their mouths) at age 1, it seems logical to continue giving them that extra protection through that stage.
  • Nursing provides a great way to re-connect with a toddler who is in that busybody exploratory stage...they may be walking and running, but they are still not very old, and every mother I have talked to agrees that their nursing toddlers benefit from continuing that special one-on-one mommy time.
  • Nothing calms a tantrum like nursing.
  • Many mothers find the nursing time a calming break in their daily routine.
  • Many 1 year olds do not have many teeth yet, or are not interested in many solid foods, but continued nursing ensures that their nutrition does not suffer. (Bear had only one molar at that age--so obviously he couldn't chew much, and could only eat limited foods--knowing that he could still get all the nutrients he needed from me was a great comfort.)
  • Nursing longer means that you can wait longer to introduce common allergins (like cow milk). The longer you wait, the less likely the child is to have a severe response to those foods.
  • Breastfeeding is really really convenient for traveling with a toddler (especially one who still has a limited diet). No matter where you are, you can bust out a breast--no need to pack snacks, worry about dehydration, or stress about whether appropriate foods will be available for your child.
  • When they do get sick, and won't eat anything, the average toddler will still nurse--so they can continue to get the nutrition (and immunilogical boost) that they need.
  • Primary brain myelination is not complete until age 2 (myelin is a sheath of fat that covers the neurons, allowing them to move faster--something like greasing them. The high fat content of mother's milk (which greatly exceeds even 'whole' cow's milk) contributes greatly to this process. Incomplete or improper myelination = slower brain function. In other words, nursing longer may make your kids smarter (actually, research suggests that it does).
  • Breastfeeding on demand (ie, when the child wants it, rather than on a schedule) usually causes lactational amenorrhea, or the lack of ovulation, for an average of 14 months. Depending on your child spacing plans, this can be a very convenient form of birth control. (Please note that 14 months is an average; I was infertile for 20 months, but I've had friends who were fertile again in under 6.)
  • The worldwide average age for weaning is around 4. I happen to feel comfortable with weaning anytime after 2, but I know many mothers (yes, in the USA) who are nursing their toddlers until 3 or 4. It may not be something that is seen very often in public, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
  • (if you have others please comment and I'll add them, this is just what came to me off the top of my head!)
Obviously not every mother can nurse beyond a year. Some struggle with supply issues, some have health problems. And some mothers, for whatever reason, struggle emotionally with continuing to breastfeed. As I have said before (and will continue to say!) a healthy relationship means that it is working for both parties involved. If mom is resenting nursing, then it's not a healthy relationship...I would encourage her to consider why she is resenting it, as well as whether her child still seems to really need it, and whether there might be alternatives (ie, will it be detrimental to the child to wean? Is she just tired of nursing, or is it affecting her health or sleep patterns? Would cutting back/night weaning solve the issue?). Personally, I think mom should do her best to stick it out, no matter the challenges, until the child is 12 months. Ideally, I think children should be nursed until 24 months, and longer if mother and child desire it...but like I said, each mother needs to make her own decision. I just wanted to share my reasons for choosing extended breastfeeding...which, by the way, I don't think is very extended at all...I wish nursing till 2 were a whole lot more normal.

And because I know it's bound to come up, yes, there are potential cons to extended breastfeeding. Toddlers don't like to let mommy be discreet. Toddlers may prefer nursing over table food and refuse to eat many solids. Obviously things can become complicated if mother becomes pregnant and/or is tandem nursing a toddler and a newborn. I thought about a lot of these things when making my decision about how to proceed with Bear. The simple truth is that I feel that the pros far outweigh the cons, at least with nursing until 2. Now that he is past 2, I think the scales have shifted a bit, and given the other circumstances, weaning feels like the right choice. As I said before though, it would take some pretty extenuating circumstances to make me consider weaning before 18-24 months.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Keeper of the Home

My mother taught me (by word and example) that anything worth doing is worth doing right. You can be whatever you choose to be in life, she would tell us, but "whatever you are, be good at it." When creating something, "make it handmade, not homemade" (meaning make it better than the standard, not inferior). It was not until college that I started realizing just how rare my upbringing had been:
I could cook--and not just simple things, but foods that people actually wanted to eat.
I could make bread, or crepes, or beef stew or brownies--all from scratch.
I could sew--not just pillows or baby blankets--but clothing that even led people to say "oh, you made that?!"
I knew how to mend.
I knew how to do laundry without shrinking anything or dying anything pink.
I knew how to get stains out of clothing and off of tile.
I knew how to prioritize my day, work before play, and get everything done.
I knew how to change a baby's diaper--even a cloth one with pins.
I knew how to stay calm when the baby was not calm, and how to rock him and walk with him for as long as it took.

I was reminded of all these things this week when Hubby came up behind me as I was doing dishes, and commented that he is very lucky, because I am not just content to cook meals for the family, but I take the time to learn to cook them really well, and to learn new recipes. My initial thought was, Really? Is that so rare? Of course I'm always trying to learn more and be better at what I do. This is my life, how could I be content with mediocrity?
Then I realized that this is due in great part to my mother, for teaching me that whatever I am going to be, I should be a good one. I have chosen to be a wife, a mother, and the keeper of a I strive to do these things well. Of course I'm not perfect, I have days--even weeks--when I feel that I'm not very good at what I do. BUT, in the bigger picture, I do not accept mediocrity from myself. Ever. I am always reading books on parenting or marriage, trying out new recipes, or coming up with new schedules and goals for myself.

It's not about being a perfectionist, not really. It's about magnifying the life calling that I have, and always trying a little harder to be a little better.

So thank you Mom (and her Mom),
for teaching your daughters to be keepers at home,
for being an awesome example of how to be one,
and for teaching me how to never stop improving at it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cool Homeschool

A couple of months ago my mother started a blog. I was excited about it then, but have waited a while so that she would have the time to get a good collection of posts up before I started telling everybody about it.
But now she has some posts up, so you should go visit it!

For those who do not know the story, my dad is a teacher. When he was in grad school (certifying for gifted ed), he came home one day and said to mom [in reference to his classmates, the future gifted teachers of America]: "These people are morons, I do not want them teaching my children. We are going to homeschool." I was still an infant, and no other siblings had come along yet. The way mom tells it she "had five years to get used to the idea," but by the time I was school aged, she was wholly on board.
(Yes, if you missed the subtext there, I was homeschooled from the beginning until age 16 when I started college...)
Twenty seven years and 8 diverse students later, she is one of the more experienced homeschoolers I know, and frankly, I think she's amazing. She's like me in that she doesn't take one philosophy and go with it; instead she reads a lot of everything and gleans a little from everywhere, then considers her own children's needs and creates her own versions of most of it. I find her inspiring and think that you will too.

Here is the description she wrote for the blog header:
Homeschooling has brought many blessings to our family (not the least of which is my children's feeling that school is cool!). And with those blessings comes the desire to document our family’s journey in an attempt to help others who follow. Ours is a journey that began as an idealistic voyage in 1981 and has evolved into an eclectic expedition. Let me show you our path and try to communicate some truths I've learned.


OK, official disclaimer...
I think there are some excellent teachers in public schools--I think that my dad is one of them, that my husband is another, and (if it's not too cocky of me to say so) I think I was pretty darn good... With that said, teaching in this country doesn't pay well enough to entice nor hold most of the best and brightest in the profession. So that "those who can't do, teach" is sadly true of many many teachers. That "these people are morons" sentiment is one I can echo in thinking of many of my own classmates at a college that was considered that state's leading school for teachers.
Yes, I've seen homeschoolers (and honestly public schoolers too) who had a woefully inadequate education. There are a few socially backwards utterly clueless homeschoolers that give the rest of us a bad name (just like they say about 90% of lawyers giving the rest a bad name, right?!) But there are socially backwards kids and the behaviorally challenging kids who slip through the cracks in public system too. I guess the point I'm getting at is that the quality of a person's education is not not about where they are educated (home vs school), it's about the investment and support that the student gets, and that usually comes from home anyway.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time to Wean

I mentioned in my Facebook Friday update last week that I had decided to wean Bear. First though, I want to take a minute to talk about why a 27month old is (still) nursing...since that's not a very common thing in this country.

I am not weaning him because I think he is too old to nurse (although obviously I do think that he is old enough to wean...details on that difference in a minute!)
There are great physical benefits to nursing until age 2. For one thing, the brain is not fully myelinized until age 2, and the high fat content of breastmilk helps with the myelinating. (This is why they say to only give children that age whole milk...but even whole cows milk has a lower fat content than human milk...and I do believe in human milk for human babies!). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing "at least 12 months" frankly because they don't think they can talk the average American woman into nursing for longer. However, if you turn to a global group like the World Health Organization, they recommend nursing for at least two years. The world average age for weaning is actually around 4 years old (and considering how many children in this country are weaned before 1, I think that says something!) So I do not think I would consider weaning a child under 18-24months, unless there were some pretty extreme circumstances. However, nursing past that age (and how far past that age) is very much a matter of personal preference.
By the way, nursing a toddler is just plain neat. I have very much enjoyed having a little guy who snuggles up to me with lovestruck eyes and whispers "I love da nurn."

I am not weaning him because I am pregnant.
If I had an objection to nursing while pregnant then I would have weaned him several months ago. Contrary to popular rumor, nursing while pregnant is possible and safe for the vast majority of women (here is a great article on the subject). Some women find it painful, and wean for that reason. Some women's milk dries up, and although some children choose to keep suckling even when there is no milk, most of the time this leads to weaning as well. In very rare cases the mother is unable to maintain her own health (losing weight as she tries to support both fetus and nursling), or increases her risk for miscarriage (this is most likely to be seen in a woman who already needs hormone supplements to maintain a pregnancy). However, the average woman can nurse while pregnant, and many do. Many women also choose to tandem nurse--to continue nursing an older child after the baby is born and begins nursing. Many people feel that tandem nursing helps the older child accept and adjust to the newborn better.

Well, Bear loves to nurse. I mean, he really adores his beloved 'nurn.' He often tells me that he loves it, or that he needs it, and frequently gives it kisses and little affectionate pats. I felt that, between his attachment, and the fact that I had no supply issues and only moderate tenderness (not extreme pain), I should just nurse him right through the pregnancy and then tandem nurse him with the baby. I thought he would cope with all the changes better if he could share his nurn with the baby rather than having to wean. Mothers who have done it both ways report that children who tandem nurse are less likely to be jealous of the new baby, and cope better with the new family dynamic. SO, I was planning to tandem nurse. I figured that Bear would be 3 just a few months after the baby was born, and that he would wean by then...but that there would be those few months of overlap to soften the adjustments.

Well, about a week ago Hubby and I were talking, and he said "you know, I think Bear needs to wean. If we do it now, it will be long enough that by the time the baby comes he will have forgotten about it, so I don't think he'll be jealous...and meanwhile we can help him adjust to a bedtime routine that doesn't involve nursing. Once the baby comes he'll need to be able to go to bed for daddy, so we might as well start working on that now."
I wholeheartedly agreed about the needing to learn to go to sleep with daddy (or a babysitter, of all shocking things!), but I wasn't entirely sure about the forgetting part...he's not an infant anymore, after all. So I started talking with friends who had weaned, and with friends who had tandem nursed, and I was slightly surprised that most of them agreed: toddlers do forget pretty quickly, and 5-6 months is certainly long enough that by the time the baby comes Bear is not likely to remember nursing. Even if he does remember that he did it, he probably will have forgotten how to latch on, so even if he wants to try (and I would let him), he would not be able to get any milk. With the thought in mind that weaning him and not tandem nursing was probably not going to be traumatic after all, I started actually considering that option (something I had not previously done) and realized that I liked it a lot better.

[here I have copied and pasted an excerpt from the post I wrote about it on NaturalLDSLiving]
Prior to birthing and nursing any kids, I felt that i would probably nurse for 18m-2yrs. I really figured that 2yrs was plenty old enough though. But of course, once you're doing it it's easy to just keep doing it...Bear showed no inclination to give up nursing, and I had finally gotten my cycles back (that did take 20m :l ) so I figured the nursing wasn't in the way of trying to we just kept going. I had been afraid that I might have a lot of nipple pain (that was my earliest sign of pregnancy with prior pregnancies), but I was pretty much ok...until about 8wks, then it started being tender after a little nursing...and then around 10wks it started being tender all the time. I'd already committed to night-weaning (honestly I've been attempting that on and off since last summer), but I guess I had been feeling like tandem nursing was this ideal thing that I should strive for, you know? I think that sometimes hanging around in crunchy circles (or, heck, in non-crunchy ones where I feel the need to be an example) leads us (or at least lead me) to make efforts beyond what I really wanted, because I feel like it's what I should do. Does that make sense? A sort of peer-pressure-induced idealism. :hmm
Anyway, I had been planning on tandeming--even though I now realize that I didn't particularly want to--because I felt like it was going to be better for Bear. Now that I've made the conscious choice to wean him this coming month, I feel like a weight is off my shoulders. I hadn't realized how much this had been bothering me, but I guess it had. Now that I've made the decision, I know there will be hard days, but having made the whole decision (to wean entirely, not just cut back) it's easier because it feels like the end is in site. I know he's old enough, I know he's going to be ok, I know I'll probably stress about what he eats for a while (I'd never worried because I knew he could always make up for it with nursing), and this morning he did eat a bigger breakfast than I've seen in a while... But yeah, anyway, I just wanted to share that it's a relief to have made the choice.

I am obviously not opposed to nursing during pregnancy or to tandem nursing. If the spacing between Bear and this baby was closer, I might have made a different choice. But as it is, I feel that a child over 2 does not need to nurse any longer (no matter how much he likes or wants it). I do not think that weaning will do him any physical, emotional, or psychological detriment at this age. So, we are weaning, not because we need to, or because he wants to, but because I am ready...and any relationship needs to be working for both of the people involved or else it's just not healthy.

This post has gotten quite long, so I will hold off a couple of weeks before writing about how we're doing this weaning thing, and how it goes. Suffice it to say that so far so good. He is not thrilled that I am insisting on short nursing sessions, but he is not waking in the night like he used to, and he is not crying when I refuse him the 'nanu' in the night or after we've finished our designated minutes. He generally seems to be accepting of the changes, although it's clear that he's not excited about them. He does know that he still gets it sometimes, and I can tell that that is important to him. The final step of this process will most likely be the hardest, but I have some ideas about how to help it happen like I said, I will post more about all of that in a couple of weeks!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nursing an [Older] Toddler

I originally posted "Nursing a Toddler" a year ago when Bear was 15 months old. Today I'm participating in a blog carnival about nursing toddlers, so I'm re-posting it...along with a few new entries that are more specific to my now 27month old nursling...

Nursing a toddler is not like nursing an infant.

An infant nurses for nourishment, comfort, and security.

A toddler nurses for nourishment, comfort, security, and FUN!

  • Toddlers engage in "walk-by nursings" wherein they sneak in a sip while literally still walking by.
  • Toddlers like to play "peek-a-boobie."
  • Toddlers know how to lift up your shirt and get at what they want--by themselves.
  • Older toddlers can unhook the bra by themselves as well.
  • Toddlers think it's funny when the milk shoots across the room, and they will pull off repeatedly just to see it do so.
  • Toddlers get so excited about nursing that they laugh and then milk comes out their nose.
  • Toddlers like to drink from one side while cuddling the other (without that pesky bra in the way, thank-you-very-much!)
  • Older toddlers like to switch back and forth to the 'udder one' every few minutes (or moments!).
  • Older toddlers justify this switching behavior by pointing back and forth and explaining "I yuv [love] dis one, and dis one, and dis one, and dis one!"
  • Toddlers give lup-bats* to the breast. *Wolf's toddler pronunciation of 'love pats' (so-named because pats on the bottom are obviously not little spanks...)
  • Toddlers like to nurse while climbing, standing, sitting, rocking, playing with blocks, or otherwise wiggling a LOT.
  • Toddlers like to nurse upside-down.
  • Toddlers like to give breast-zerberts in between sucks.
  • Toddlers say "nurn!" and sign "milk" while nursing, and then afterwards smile and say "doo!" [thank you]
  • Older toddlers say "mommy I need some nurn peese" and when they are done they grin and say "sank oo for da nurn"
  • Toddlers run and run and run and run...and then climb into the big bed (by themselves) and lay down and start signing 'milk' because they are ready to nurse to sleep now.
  • Older toddlers can understand that they need to wait just a minute before we nurse.
Toddlers melt mommy's heart in a whole new way.

And when it does come time to wean them, an older toddler can look you in the eye and say "mommy, I yuv da nurn, but I don't need it" and then pat your face and snuggle anyway.


Here are the other entries in the "This is what nursing a toddler looks like" carnival:

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