Can Somebody Build me a Time Machine?

When I look at Violet and Olivia, I no longer see babies. I see two dramatic girls standing up on their own, fighting over who stands in front at the baby gate blocking them from the hallway while they wait for their bath water to fill up, and signing “more” when they want more of whatever they’re being fed, or “milk” when they want to nurse. Olivia knows where her belly button is and Violet points to the bananas hanging in the kitchen when I ask if she wants more banana. Where has the time gone? They’re turning into toddlers.

cms_1012(photo credit: Courtney Contreras; outfit credit: Frayed Knot Lakeland, LLC)

It’s hard to believe they were premature. I considered doing a post on how prematurity has affected my parenting, but aside from holding off on giving them baby food until eight months, I don’t feel like their prematurity has affected them, therefore it cannot affect me. I have had tons of people tell me, “they’re so tiny,” but I don’t dwell on their stature because I am petite, and their pediatrician is totally okay with their measurements because they have always followed a growth curve. Their teeth took a little while to come in, but once the first tooth broke through their gums, they’ve steadily been coming. Violet army crawled up until a year, but she was pulling to stand by ten months and has been shimmying down the couches, tables, and walking with her push toys everywhere since then, too. Olivia has always been slightly ahead, but never so far ahead that we were concerned with Violet’s development.

Here we are at fourteen months and they’re standing on their own, eating tons of “table food,” drinking apple juice (and whole milk… yuck!) out of straw sippy cups, and babbling away in their own language. They both put remotes up to their ears like they’re talking on the phone, and sometimes they’ll nod their head up and down like they’re saying “uh huh” to somebody or they’ll shake their head side to side in pretend disagreement with the person on the other line. Violet has three teeth with one cutting the gum now. Olivia has one prominent tooth and three cutting her gums. Their hair seems to grow much like Harry Potter’s, and they get a kick of out shaking their head “no” before doing something they aren’t supposed to. Violet loves to share, it doesn’t matter what it is, she’ll offer it to you. Oh, and Olivia can throw one hell of a tantrum. She cries and somehow manages to roll her tongue while doing it. The noise is like nails on a chalkboard for Erik. I don’t like it either, but I really dislike when they throw themselves backward. Olivia doesn’t care if she’s on a hard floor or not, she will throw herself back so fast… and Violet does it when I pick her up in mid-air. Talk about an adrenaline rush. *insert eye roll*

img_8266(Thank God I had the Tula on!)

We are still breastfeeding with no signs of stopping. Violet has been nursing more frequently than in the previous months, and I think it has something to do with her teeth coming in. Their separation anxiety is out of this world, and it is becoming more evident when they need to sleep. They get CRAAANKY. They love playing with (and fighting over) toys, especially ones that light up and play music. THEY LOVE MUSIC. I wish you could see them dance to Beyoncé’s Formation. It’s seriously their favorite song. They also love 60s music and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

img_8625(gorgeous weather calls for enjoyment!)

(in the toy box their Papaw Roger built for them; Erik providing entertainment)

At times it is definitely challenging, and on certain days it’s a lot harder to keep our cool than others, but we are so blessed to be their parents and we are so happy God chose us to raise these angels. They are daring, they are emotional, but most importantly, they are thriving.

 

Finding your baby’s schedule vs. forcing it

During my pregnancy, I was heavily involved on the Multiples & Twins board on the What to Expect app. I read damn near every thread and comment, sometimes chiming in on some of the subjects myself. It was a great outlet because I didn’t know anybody who shared my experience that I felt comfortable talking to. I could bitch all day about how nauseous I was to a friend or family member who had already been pregnant, but unless you have had hyperemesis gravidarum, you have absolutely no clue what I felt like. There were ladies on the board due around the same time as me, some pregnant with triplets, a couple of women pregnant with quadruplets, but mostly twin moms, and I seemed to fall right in the middle of everyone’s due dates based on what I had been reading. One thing I saw regularly, was women who had already had their babies mentioning this “Moms on Call” system. They swore by it.

I shelled out the $16 for the ibook and app combination for my phone and started reading into it on my own. Basically, Moms on Call is a schedule you follow that gets your babies in a set routine, changing every couple of months to adapt to the developmental leaps they are bound to experience. The ultimate “goal” with this system is getting your babies to sleep through the night by around the three-month mark. It’s co-written by two pediatric nurses, so you would think that everything in there is advice you should listen to, right? If you’re going to exclusively pump and you know your supply can withstand the ever-increasing demand of your babies, or if you know out the gate you’re formula feeding, maybe. You could definitely benefit from it. However, if you are determined to be successful with breastfeeding, I will confidently advise you to steer clear of the entire thing, because this is rigorously structured, and breastfeeding is not. 

(I included the photos for reference)

The only reason I say to steer clear is because your baby might want to nurse longer than 30 minutes, especially if they’re going through a growth spurt, and if you’re strictly breastfeeding, this could affect your supply in the long run. Boobs are completely supply and demand. If you’re cutting your baby off before they’re done nursing, you’re telling your body, “I don’t need anymore milk at this time.” They’ll adjust to the schedule, but not your baby’s needs, which are continuously changing. Shortly after you’re finished feeding, which in the book they’re pretty adamant about, you either lie your baby down for a nap or play with them. They follow certain ferberizing techniques which isn’t where my biggest problem was with this system, because I genuinely do think they helped the girls become good sleepers, but more so how they urged you to stop feeding and then do rounds of CIO (cry it out) to get your baby to sleep.

Erik and I followed the Moms on Call system until sometime in late October. I was in a Moms on Call group on facebook that was formed by a couple of the moms in the Multiples & Twins board on the What to Expect app. There was a new mom following the schedule I posted above, so her baby was somewhere between a month and two months old. She had said that the night before, her baby had woken up crying and she couldn’t console him. It was before 2:00 a.m., so she did the rounds of CIO, but it only got worse. She didn’t consider feeding him because she was so focused on what the schedule was telling her. She said she gave her baby a bottle around 4:00 a.m. after a few moms said that her baby had obviously been hungry. All I pictured was a helpless little baby crying because he was hungry, and a mother so hypnotized by this system that she forgot that babies are vulnurable beings, completely dependent on us to meet their needs and aren’t meant to follow stict schedules at such a young age. I immediately unfollowed the facebook group, stopped focusing on the system, and started following Violet’s and Olivia’s cues. They have them, trust me. You just have to pay attention. 

There were a few things I took with me from the system, though, and implemented into our more organic routine. I truly do think these have helped the girls get into their own schedule, because they certainly have one:

  • sound machine (every time they go to sleep)
  • swaddles (every time they go to sleep, until they’re breaking out of them regularly)
  • cribs (every time they go to sleep)
  • bedtime routine consisting of baths, bottles, bed, in that order around the same time every night

The Moms on Call book suggested a white noise machine, but I use this little $25 MyBaby sound machine by Homedics on the “ocean” setting because white noise gives me the creeps. We turn it on no matter if the girls are going down for a nap or for the night. It’s loud enough to block out noises in their room, but not so loud that we can’t hear them if they wake up. It’s also about $15 less expensive.

Swaddles are important because your new baby will have a startle reflex that they can’t control until they get more control over their muscles. If the girls were not swaddled, they would wake up every time their little bodies jerked in their sleep. I love the SwaddleMe brand from Target because they’re inexpensive compared to their competition, and super stretchy. The tighter the swaddle, the better. 

CRIBS! CRIBS! CRIBS! Not pack and plays, not rock and plays, CRIBS. I’ll admit, when we first brought them home, they slept in the double bassinet on top of their playpen for the first few weeks. Olivia’s monitor in the NICU said “apnea” too many times for my liking during her stay there and I wanted her to be close to me in case something happened. Once they started rolling around in them though, we went straight to their cribs. We dealt with reflux and we dealt with gas. I only mention that because I think a lot of people use rock and plays to help with reflux. You know what though? You’re going to have a hard time transitioning your baby into their crib if they get used to sleeping elevated like that. (They can also get plagiocephaly, but babies can get that from favoring one side of their head over the other even if they are in cribs. Violet and Olivia both favored their right side. We had physical therapists come do an at-home evaluation on them to determine if they needed helmets per their pediatrician’s request.) We put a pack (not a box) of diapers under one side of their mattress and put them on their backs during that stage. It worked. All I have ever had in their cribs is a fitted sheet and their little giraffe nightlight stuffed animals my friend, Ashley, bought them. I don’t use bumpers, pillows, blankets, or anything like that because the AAP advises against those things, and I wanted to take any measures I could to prevent SIDS, especially since they were premature.

bathtime

Bedtime Routine: Every night between 7:00-8:00 p.m. depending on their nap schedule that day and their level of fussiness, I start their bath. They know as soon as the water turns on, it’s time to get in there. They stop whatever they’re doing and crawl right to the tub.  They LOVE it. I wash them every other night, but on the nights I don’t wash them, we do a bubble bath. They have some toys in there, so I let them play for about ten minutes, and then I get them out. I diaper them, get them dressed, and make their bottles, which have two to three ounces more than their daytime bottles do. (We are down to 3 bottles a day with lots of snacking on baby food, yogurt, beans, cut up fruits + veggies) While they’re drinking their bottles, I turn off the light in the living room (where they eat), make sure the light in their room is off, and turn the sound machine on so the mood is set when I go to put them down. Usually, they go right down with minimal fussing.

 

With everything being said, Olivia didn’t start sleeping through the night until sometime in her eleventh month. Every. single. night. she would wake up sometime between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. to nurse, and we have had plenty of days that started at 5:00 a.m. because there was no way she was going back down without putting up a fight, and that would wake Violet up because they share a room. (never have they shared a crib) Just about a month ago, Olivia was waking up between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. and staying up until damn near 3:00 a.m. every time she did. You just have to roll with it, because babies go through countless growth spurts and developmental leaps during their first year of life, and our job as parents is to adhere to their needs to the best of our abilities.

I’m not trying to knock the Moms on Call system at all, but I do think that in a sense, it’s pretty selfish to expect a baby to sleep through the night at such a young age. We are lucky that Violet has been doing so for as long as she has, but like I said, Olivia had plans of her own the entire year. If you’re low on sleep, I do suggest implementing the same steps at nap time and bedtime so it signals to your baby, “ok, it’s time to try to sleep.” I think that whole aspect of the system is psychological, and it seemed to work. If your baby has days and nights confused, or has a hard time going to sleep for the night, try throwing in a warm bath and dimming the lights and ‘setting the mood’ for a good night’s rest, and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, don’t get frustrated, just listen to your baby.

 

 

Let Them Be Little

As I stand in the middle of your room swaying side to side while humming with my cheek against your head so the vibrations in my voice calm you down, I inhale the scent of your hair and thank God for allowing me to spend this much time with you. I kiss your cheek while tears gently flow out of my eyes because I know there are women out there who aren’t as fortunate to have made it this far whether losing their babies in utero, during, or after birth. While saying a prayer for little ones lost, remember that time isn’t guaranteed and hold your babies closely. Don’t get mad or discouraged when they won’t go to sleep, won’t eat their vegetables, or refuse to take a shower. Let them be little.

nursing: more than food

It’s 2:00 p.m. on the dot, and right as Olivia was dozing off in her swing, I took her out and put her in her crib. Violet went to sleep about an hour ago, but she completely skipped out on her morning nap. I have been writing posts as I experience things and think, “this would make a good post,” and today is one of those days.

I always thought ‘nursing strikes’ were a bunch of bologna, but I really think that Violet has been having one for the last few months. What was she protesting? Her disdain for me following shitty advice on my local La Leche League Facebook page and ultimately altering [lowering] my supply? The fact that mother nature visited me for the first time in her life and my milk levels were even more out of whack? I’ll never know, and she won’t remember by the time she’s talking to me, so I just have to adapt to her needs as well as I can. It’s partially empowering because I feel like super woman when she latches on and calms at the breast after refusing to nurse for almost three months, but it’s also mentally draining trying to get back in the groove of nursing both her and Olivia constantly during the day, especially now that they become distracted with one another if I tandem nurse. Olivia gauges Violet’s eyes and Violet pulls her hair. At eight months, it’s a real shit show.

Yesterday, Erik got up with the girls so I could sleep a little longer, but they were really whiny so I got up anyway. In my eight months of being a mom, yesterday was the first time I negatively thought, “damn, I’m a mom.” Out of nowhere it hit me: there is no escaping their cries. As soon as they wake up my day starts, and there is no packing up my stuff at the end of the day and going home. I am here with them for the majority of my time, minus the two five hour shifts I work a week. Within five minutes, they were teetering on that nerve that can’t snap because once it does, I become an emotional wreck. Violet’s whines turned into hysterical cries. That nerve snapped. My eyes big, I picked her up and tried to burp her because her stomach felt hard, but she kept throwing herself backward so I just put her in her crib because I didn’t want to accidentally drop her.

Watching her lie there while arching her back and crying, tears started flowing out of my own eyes. “Why am I upset with you?” I thought as I picked her back up to try again. She didn’t do anything wrong. Erik met me at her doorway and took her from me to burp her. He is much better at getting her gas out than I am. I sat in the chair in the living room crying, mad at myself for getting upset with Violet. The more I thought about my emotions, the more I realized that I wasn’t even upset with her. I was letting a rough morning determine my attitude for the rest of the day, and I was taking my frustration and blaming it on Violet.

This morning and afternoon were fairly similar. Olivia went down for her morning nap easily, but Violet cried when I put her down. I let her cry for a couple of minutes but when it didn’t subside, instead of getting mad, I took our shirts off and did skin to skin. She alternated between resting her head on my chest and nursing, but eventually calmed down and closed her eyes. “She is obviously going through something and needs me.” I thought, and that’s what I meant in the beginning of this post by adapting to her needs: breastfeeding is so much more than feeding. It is their comfort and solitude, and they are in this relationship because I wanted them to be. They were in the NICU for 17 days with bottles and pacifiers. I could have easily avoided nursing them altogether and continued exclusively pumping and bottle feeding them, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to breastfeed and asked their nurses and doctors every day when I would be able to try to. Now, out of nowhere, Violet is nursing more than ever after me making peace with the fact that she might have to be strictly bottle fed. At almost nine months, neither one of them are showing signs of wanting to wean any time soon.

I will be the first to admit that yes, it is draining, and yes, sometimes I do get annoyed with the constant clinging to me and the fact that I have two babies depending on me. Once they latch on though, the tension in their hands release, their breathing slows and turns into content cooing, oxytocin surges through my body and I am calm, too.

*disclaimer: I didn’t finish this post until 5:42 p.m. THAT is what having twins is like. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I get back into school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hiring: night shift personnel

Bath time came a little earlier tonight with the intention of having the girls in bed by 8:00-8:15. They were cranky.

Erik left to go to a friend’s house as I was giving the girls a bath. Bath time looks a little something like this: each girl in the tub at the same time with about an inch and a half of water. Sometimes there are bubbles, sometimes there aren’t. I bathe each girl individually, let them splash around for a few seconds, and then let the water drain before getting them out, that way I can get them out one by one safely.


I put some Aquaphor on them as a barrier before their diapers, then socks, and then their sleepers. I put them in their boppy loungers that surprisingly still come in handy after all of this time, and I made their bottles. I withdrew .06 mL out of their gas drops and divided the dose between the two of them, and did the same thing with Tylenol. They’re teething. It sucks.

Olivia ate her bottle like a champ; Violet was refusing. I was getting aggravated. I picked her up to burp her. She burped twice. I tried feeding her again. She still didn’t want it. She was sucking on the bottle but she wasn’t actually working to get any milk out. I took the bottle away from her and went in the kitchen and cried. I picked Olivia up and burped her because at this point she was done eating. I put her in her crib and went back into the living room to tend to Violet. I sat down on the couch with her and attempted to nurse her. She surrendered so sweetly that it made me cry again. She just wanted me, not the bottle of formula. Anytime, Violet, anytime. She nursed herself to sleep.

8:40 p.m.- start washing dishes because girls went down peacefully.

10:40 p.m.- have cleaned kitchen, seperated laundry, washed bottles and pump parts, unloaded dishwasher, reloaded dishwasher, and am two glasses of wine deep. “Wahhhh!” My heart sank.

11:15 p.m.- text Erik and tell him Olivia had already woken up and gone back to sleep. I was going to go to bed. Told him to put the clothes in the dryer once he got home.

11:32 p.m.- I just turned the tv off to go to sleep. “Wahhhh!” You have got to be kidding me. I go back to get Olivia… Again. Nurse her, again. Put her back down, again. Get back in bed… Again.

12:11 a.m.- “Wahhhh!” I got her out and gave her a bottle. I know, it was weak of me. I need sleep. Put her back down. She stays quiet.

12:15 a.m.- I go check on Olivia to make sure she’s down, ready to fall back to sleep. She isn’t. She is playing with her giraffe. Whatever. She’s quiet.

12:30 or so- Check on Olivia one more time to see if she’s still awake. She isn’t.

I published that up there ^ last night before I finally got to go to sleep, but decided that it would be fun to include what happened from then on because it wasn’t happily-ever-after-everybody-sleeps-until-8:00 a.m. No, no, no… 

5:08 a.m.- I wake up in a panic because Erik isn’t in bed yet. “Oh god, is he even home?” I get up and to my relief, see him asleep on the couch. “Wake up, come to bed.” I tell him. He wakes up, tells me he was waiting on Olivia to wake up again, and follows me into the room.

5:12 a.m.- “Wahhhh!” I laugh and say to Erik, “Of course she waits until you get back in bed.” I get up and get her because 1. I needed to pump anyway and 2. Erik is working a double today.

5:47 a.m.- Get Olivia back to bed after nursing her, again… for what, the fourth time? Fifth? I am pretty freaking annoyed at this point. I sit up in bed. My motion was enough to wake Erik up. “What’s wrong?” He asked me. “I am wide awake. I am aggravated. I am hungry, but I don’t want to get up.” “Close your eyes.” He suggested. “No, I think I’m up for the day.” Erik convinced me to lie back down. We both heard Olivia screech, but she didn’t ever cry.

8:22 a.m.- Violet wakes up.

The only positive thing I have to say about my morning so far is that I have managed to keep them entertained until 10:45 a.m. or so when they got tired enough to take a nap. Erik reminded me to look at today as a fresh start, and to not dwell on my night. “Don’t worry about Violet not eating her bottle last night and don’t worry about Olivia not sleeping well. I’ll be home and take over tonight when I get home.” He even went as far as asking me if he wanted to see if he could find someone to take over his shift tonight so he could come home earlier. I told him no.

It is now 11:16 a.m. and I completely forgot that I made toast before editing and finishing this post. So while I have the time, I’m going to eat that and watch The Office.

*disclaimer: I would never, ever hire a night nanny. Cool if you want to or did, but that’s not my style.

 

 

 

 

 

communication is key

relationship

I don’t know if I am ready to write something like this and I really don’t know if I am ready for you guys to read something like this, but the more I saw it the more it bothered me and I want to address it. So, for my sixth post on my blog, I am going to go there. Like really GO there. Okay? Okay.

I was following a certain mom-themed Facebook page that is geared toward supporting breastfeeding mothers and normalizing breastfeeding in general. I am all about that. What I am NOT all about, are the various posts that were shared on that page justifying why it’s okay not to have sex after you have a child. Okay, wait, this post isn’t just about sex. Hear me out. The writers behind these posts would list ten, if not more, reasons why you might not want to have sex and for the most part, they are understandable reasons, but one that just made me go, “wait, no…” was that if you are a breastfeeding mother, by the time your significant other gets home, you may feel ‘touched out’ by your child and not want to be touched by somebody else. If that is something you deal with, I apologize, but I don’t agree. I don’t think your child needing you and your spouse showing you affection are in the same category. Honestly, after a day with the girls, as soon as Erik comes through that door I am like, “Yes! HUG ME. LOVE ME.”

After reading the articles, of course I read the comments. SO MANY WOMEN said they dealt with this problem and would go to say things like, “You want to turn me on? Take the baby and let me sleep.” Or, “After doing this this and this all day, the last thing I want to do is have sex.” One woman even said, “I haven’t had sex since I was seven months pregnant, and my daughter is over a year old now.” Hold on. Rewind. You mean to tell me that you and your husband haven’t had sex in a year and a half, give or take a month or two? I just don’t understand. These women make it sound like sex is an all night affair and I’m sorry, but put yourself in his shoes. Based on what I read: these men go to work during the day, come home at night to what sounds like defeated women who want absolutely nothing to do with them emotionally, yet they expect them to willingly take over the kids and household so they can have a break. I get it, I have days where I am in tears by the time Erik comes home. Honey, if you haven’t had sex in such an elapsed amount of time, it’s not going to take more than five minutes for you to finish. Put the kids in their crib with a toy they can’t choke on, and by God go in your room and get it on.

Those same women seemed to be the ones who would go on to complain that their significant others wouldn’t do this or didn’t do that, and they wished they would ____ and all I could think was, “then why don’t you tell them that instead of putting it on the internet for complete strangers (who are evidently in the same boat) to read and reply to?” It coincides with my post from yesterday. TALK TO THEM. COMMUNICATE. I always exit out of my browser thinking, “damn, how did I get so lucky?” You know how? Do you really want to know? Erik and I talk to each other. We are supportive of one another. If we get upset with one another, we address it like adults instead of bottling it up and exploding on each other like Mentos and soda. Erik and I get into little tiffs here and there, but we never ever get into screaming matches with each other. The result? A functional household.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am lucky, because I know that there are men and woman equally out there who just don’t understand how to put someone else’s needs before their own. Erik is a great man and an excellent father. Our relationship didn’t just happen like this over night, though. We definitely worked on it, and it took time to get here, and the girls definitely add stress to it sometimes, but that’s what this is about, and this is why I brought up the responses from the women on those articles. You, as the other half in a relationship, have to equally put forth effort for things to work, whether that be your husband cleaning up after dinner because you cooked, or taking the time to be intimate with one another, because if you both aren’t in it, you’re going to fall victim to resentment and nothing good comes from that.

*photo credit Merriam-Webster

 

 

 

get off the phone

Last night at work, I had a man sit down and ask for three menus. He ordered a Corona and then went to the restroom. When I got back to the table with his beer, his two young boys were at the table. I asked them what they wanted to drink. The first kid asked for a Dr. Pepper. The second boy didn’t say anything so I asked him again. “Same thing as him.” “A Dr. Pepper?” Just to clarify, you know. “Yes sir.” Neither of the boys had looked up from their phone during this conversation. Are you kidding me? I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa…” They looked up and laughed and said sorry, and I wanted to suggest they get off their phones long enough for a drink order, but I refrained. Not my monkeys, not my circus.

I despise people that live on their phones. When I am driving to work on I-45, I see people on their phone. At red lights that turn green, I see cars at the front of the line holding up traffic because the drivers are on their phone. In public places like Walmart or Target, people text and walk without ever looking up to see what’s in front of them. I have been tempted to stop in front of them to see if they hit the stroller or not, but I don’t want to chance them falling onto the girls so I go around them. The one that really irks me though is when I am at work and I see families sitting at tables in silence because they’re all on the phone. I will never forget the look on this man’s face when he was with his daughter at a table of mine one night. During the entire dinner, she hardly looked up from her phone to talk to him. It broke my heart, and it looked like it broke his, too.

I feel like the internet has become this realm that people cross over into when they are on their phones. Liking, hash-tagging, retweeting, posting, pinning, or whatever else because at this point there are too many social media accounts to keep track of. More times than not, I see children under three years of age with an iPad or phone in front of them while they’re out to eat with their parents. You know what happens when their dinner is delivered? They throw fucking tantrums because they don’t want to stop watching whatever they are watching long enough to eat their dinner. I can’t stand it. That is not how I want Violet or Olivia growing up. If other children their age are already consumed with electronics and their parents aren’t limiting their time on them and stimulating them in other ways, it is going to be hard for them to make friends because the other children will have a harder time doing so. They won’t know how. The internet has replaced human interaction and it scares me.

I try to limit my time on the internet and there are days that I am more successful than others. However, I make sure I take the time to read to the girls at least once if not twice a day. Books. With spines and paper pages. Erik and I take them outside and let them watch Rose and Roman run around, or we load them up in the stroller and hit the block once or twice just to get out of the house. On the now very rare occasions that we go out to dinner, we stay off of our phones and we talk to one another, and when I cook dinner, we eat at the kitchen table. Oh, and we sure as hell don’t get on our phones under any circumstance when the girls are in the car with us.

We can’t prevent technology from advancing, but we can absolutely limit how much it affects our relationships and daily lives, and we certainly can control how our children spend their most important years of growth. So please, put down the phone, go outside, and get yourself a breath of fresh air. Any day spent living is a beautiful day.

your baby, your way.

In this day and age, I feel like moms and dads alike get scrutinized for their parenting choices whether it comes from friends or close family members. “You shouldn’t _____ because _____.”

Some days I wake up ready to take on the day with the girls in my loving arms, and other days I want them at an arm’s length because I barely slept and they won’t stop whining. I know babies whine and cry, but sometimes it’s too much. I’m allowed to be annoyed. If your kid is annoying you, don’t feel bad. It’s normal.

I breastfeed as much as I possibly can, but that doesn’t stop me from making them a bottle of formula throughout the day if I need to or gasp, WANT to. As long as they are eating well I don’t care where the nutrition comes from. I will NEVER shame a mother for how she chooses to feed her baby. Unless it is your baby’s nutrition, it’s none of your business. Period.

If the girls are visibly tired and I put them down in their crib, I let them fuss for a few minutes because I know they’ll fall asleep. I refuse to pick them up at every little noise they make because if I do, they won’t nap or go to bed, and they will be one thousand times crankier as the day or night progresses, and it’s harder to get them to sleep if they’re overly tired. I also know the difference between fussing and full-fledged crying. If you are one of the parents who refuses to ever let your baby cry, that’s cool. That’s what works for you.

I LOVE cloth diapering. I think it’s great for the environment and great on the bank account. If you don’t have the patience or simply don’t want to, that’s totally cool. I am not secretly judging you for using disposable diapers.

Last thing, I also really believe in baby wearing. If you don’t like it, haven’t tried it, or are simply uninterested in the subject, by all means, carry your baby around in your arms, their car seat, or stroller. Whatever you want, dude!

All of the things I mentioned above are things I constantly see being debated over, yet what works for one family might not work for another, and that’s what you need to understand. Unless a child is in physical danger, opinions on other parenting choices are absolutely NONE of your concern and should be kept to yourself. Society is bad enough, we don’t need any extra mom/dad tyrants calling other parents out for not doing x,y, or z like they think they should be.

 

 

 

it’s not that bad

When I first started this about two weeks ago, I said that I wanted to try to post something every day. I am trying to hold back my laughter because who was I kidding? With two babies and a short temper, that’s pretty fucking impossible. I have these activity seats from Summer Infant that the girls LOVE, so when I think I have a solid post, I’ll put them in them in front of me on the table and attempt to type something up. Don’t worry, they’re buckled in. *insert mom bashing here* I get a solid ten minutes of contentment before they’re crying to get out of them and do something else.

Speaking of crying, I cried when I found out I was pregnant because I wasn’t ready to commit to being a mother 24/7 for the rest of my life. I wasn’t ready to carry a baby, give birth to a baby, or nurture a baby. None of that. Yet here I am sitting at my kitchen table, drinking my second cup of lukewarm coffee (with heavy whipping cream because I forgot Erik and I killed the hazelnut creamer before he left for work, damn it), and listening to the gentle crashing of the waves coming from the sound machine in the nursery while Violet and Olivia take their afternoon nap.

My living room floor is covered in random toys and a big alphabet puzzle mat. On my love seat there are two Boppy loungers, against the wall adjacent to me there are two swings and a jumper, on the floor there is a big bin of cloth diapers and accessories, and next to that is a play pen filled with more toys. I have to pick everything up off of the floor to vacuum at least two times a day because we have two dogs. Dishes are constantly being rotated from the cabinets to the sink to the dishwasher, and at any given hour you can hear one of three things: the dogs barking/whining, a baby crying, or the washing machine washing what seems to be like an endless amount of laundry.

I think people have the perception that once you have a baby, your life is screwed. Sure, I can’t up and leave whenever I want to, I can’t drink half a bottle of wine and sleep it off anymore, hell, I can’t even sleep a solid six hours without needing to wake up and pump, but I don’t consider myself to be screwed at all. I love it. I love watching them learn and with each milestone they conquer, I re-evaluate my life. “What really matters here?” Material things? No. Friends? Only a very few. My girls? Absolutely. So before you consider being a mother a shitty situation, let me assure you that in all of my twenty-four years, it is by far the best thing to ever happen to me. I don’t think for two seconds that I am missing out on anything.