Thursday, February 17, 2011

There is sunshine in my soul today

Sunday I baked cookies for the first time in my entire life! Even though I am a brownie addict, I have never been a fan of "other" sweets. However, I get a hankering for some warm, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Yum. In order to satisfy those cravings, I have been content to open a package of Toll House cookies and plop them on a cookie sheet. Good enough for me! Not Sunday. I decided to try my hand at Jori's Peanut butter blossom cookies as well as experiment with throwing some chocolate chips in the remaining batter once the first batch was done. Success! They were so good, and I was tickled that I did something mommy-ish.

Don't believe that I am addicted to brownies? Before my husband and I were married I would tell his mom that I wanted my wedding cake to be made out of brownies. It was a running joke for awhile. Ms. Judy was always such a sweetheart and knew exactly what to do to just make my day, so she made this multi-tiered little brownie cake out of brownie bites just for me for my wedding reception.

Brownie cake

Monday I attended a local baby wearing group meeting and FINALLY learned what I was doing wrong with my Moby Wrap. It is so much more comfortable for both of us now that I was able to get some pointers. I LOVE it! I have been able to wear Lily at some point nearly every day this week and it has been wonderful.

I did not notice until yesterday how absolutely gorgeous it has been outside. Yesterday I opened the windows, let the breeze blow on my face, listened to the birds chirping outside, and marveled at the beauty Heavenly Father has created for us to enjoy. Sometimes I feel like He makes days like that just for me. I know I do not talk about things so close to my heart very much, but I truly feel His love in quiet, peaceful moments like those. 

Today has been equally beautiful so far. I decided that I should pack Lily up and we should both go outside and enjoy nature. It felt so good to soak in some sun, because sunshine for me truly is happiness! I love sunshine! When the sun shines on me, it's like Heavenly Father is giving me a warm hug. I remember when I would sit in music theory class on some days, and a ray of sunlight would happen to shine right on my face and nowhere else in the room. I would always have to look up and smile because it made me feel like Heavenly Father was noticing me. It was a simple little thing that made me think of Him in the midst of my busy day. 

Lily in the Moby Wrap

I am so thankful for moments like these where I can ponder Heavenly Father's love for me. I do not do this enough and it is so nurturing to my soul! To copy the words of one of my favorite hymns, There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

15 things I've learned about Infant Sleep

In my infinite wisdom of being a parent for eight months, I have learned a few things about infant sleep.

1. Interrupted sleep is like poop. It happens.

2. Before you have your baby, expect sleepless nights followed by sleepless days, followed by sleepless nights, followed by sleepless...days....followed by....sleep...mmmm....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

3. Whatever you do, do NOT look at the clock at night. Just. Don't. Do. It.

4. If your baby is not sleeping through the night by the time she is two weeks old, there is definitely something wrong with her. At least, that's what people will lead you to believe.

5. If your baby is not sleeping through the night at two weeks old, one month old, two months old, eight months old, you, your baby, your cat, dog, ferret and grandma are just fine and perfectly normal!

6. Your baby is not worried that she's not sleeping through the night. In fact, she's probably perfectly happy about it.

7. If you decide that CIO (Cry it out) Methods are right for you and your family, you are NOT a bad mom or dad. However, expect to second guess yourself about your decision over and over again.

8. If you decide that CIO Methods are NOT right for you and your family, you are NOT a bad mom or dad. However, expect to second guess yourself about your decision over and over again.

9. It is not about the amount of hours you sleep at night. It's about how you feel when you wake up. If you feel okay, you got and are getting enough sleep. #3 will help with this.

10. "They" were right. Sleep when your baby sleeps.

11. Cherish these moments because they will not last forever. My baby is only (already!!!) 8 months old and it is going by way too quickly.

12. Remember, everyone has bad days. Everyone gets cranky. That goes for you, your dog, and your baby. Sometimes your baby just won't be able to sleep. It's okay! You'll get through it. You really will.

13. Nugget of wisdom from Hank Hill, "Babies do weird things. Babies are weird." This is especially true of infant sleep. Babies just do not have the same sleep patterns as adults. Oh well. One day, your baby will be an adult.

14. The bigger deal you make out of sleep, or lack thereof, the worse it feels. It's really okay! Whenever your baby starts sleeping through the night is wonderful!!!!

15. Go ahead, repeat after me, "I am a good mom/dad. I am a good mom/dad. I am a good mom/dad. I am a good mom/dad. I am a GREAT mom/dad!"

Monday, February 7, 2011

25 things about flutie patootie

Because my brain has been overloaded with thinking too much, I decided to borrow an idea from Tres Jolie and share 25 facts you did not know about me. Here goes nothing.

1. I play the flute. Maybe you could tell that.

2. I really wanted to play the piano when I was a kid. I begged and begged for a piano. Never got one.

3. When it came time to pick instruments, I really wanted to play clarinet, but a friend of mine persuaded me that buying reeds would get expensive and I should play flute with her. So I did. She quit after the first year. I. Didn't.

4. I have a love-hate relationship with my flute. Sometimes I really REALLY hate the thing. It makes me miserable. But I can't live without it. I must have it!

5. I am left handed and I think that's AWE-some!

6. I did not know that what I had thought was a pecan was actually a walnut until I was 20. True story.

7. I think poo is funny. I can't help it. The word is hilarious. Hi-LAR-i-ous!!! Go ahead. Say it out loud....Poo...I bet you're smiling.

8. In reference to #7, anywhere I go, I become known as the "Poo Girl." I do not TRY to do this, but it seems that if you laugh about it one time in front of people, you get labeled. Watch out.

9. I think hay bales are funny. Not the square ones. It has to be a big round one. They are SOOO funny! They just sit there. Bein' hay bales.  It's funny.

10. Yes, I'm weird. Thanks.

11. Remember the old Zoloft commercial with the little round smiley face guy that would scoot across the screen and then bounce around? Hilarious.

12. I think the Pop Tarts commercials are so cute, sweet and innocent. I love them!

13. I hate talking on the phone. Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate it! I can totally relate to Jolie on that one. I'd much rather talk in person.

14. As far as I can remember I have never ordered a pizza over the phone in my entire life. Maybe once a few months ago because my husband pestered me into it. But...I THINK I may have gotten out of it somehow.

15. I have a terrible memory.

16. I'm a musician, right? I can NOT understand words in music! I just can't! I call anything on the radio "word music."

17. More on #16. On any music other than classical music, there is something in my brain that absolutely prevents me from matching artists with the correct title of a song.

18. I fell out of a second story window when I was a toddler. Probably explains #9. Number 11. Oh, yeah, and #15.

19. I want to be a doula when I grow up.

20. I can crochet. My latest projects are diaper covers and matching hats. I have some cute ideas up my sleeve.

21. I married my high school sweetheart and I still have the hugest crush on him. He's so cute! I still get jealous sometimes and think that all the "other girls" want him.

22. I tried gymnastics, soft ball and tae kwon do before I started playing the flute. I was incredibly bad at all of those things, but flute just seemed to happen for me!

23. I was too scared to drive, so I did not get my drivers' license until I was 18. I still prefer not to drive if I do not have to.

24. Borrowing an idea from Jolie (see her #19) I am scared scared scared of butterflies. It must be a phobia b/c that is totally irrational. I am also scared of bees and wasps, but that is a little more normal.

25. When I was a little kid, I would fill the bathroom sink with water and fill it with toilet paper. I would stand there squishing the toilet paper in my hands, look in the mirror and ponder what a funny word "mirror" was. For some reason I feel comfortable telling strangers in England about this, but not people I know.

Until now.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thank you for supporting me!

The Leaky B@@b page on facebook has the following as a status update:

Fill in the blanks: "Dear _______, I appreciated it when you said _______ about my breastfeeding and I felt ________. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding."

Of course the first person I thought of was my husband! I commented on that post and then I decided I should post it on my husband's facebook wall. But there are others....many...others....

Dear Robbie: I appreciate how you tell me every day what a wonderful thing I am doing for Lily, how you reminded me that I would be disappointed if I quit when it got tough, how you still bring me a glass of water when I nurse even after 8 months, how you are so proud of me b/c no one in your family (according to your memory) breastfed, and when you called the midwives for me when I was in tears from mastitis. I feel so supported in my breastfeeding because of you and I could not have made it even this far without you. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Mom: I appreciate how you always have my back! I appreciate how you were my first lactation consultant and how you helped me establish my breastfeeding relationship with my baby. I appreciated it when you said that I was doing a good job about my breastfeeding and I felt you had confidence in me. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Dad: I appreciate how you do not say very much about it, but when you do it is always really cute. It probably makes you feel really weird to think about your daughter doing mommy things, but I feel like you support me in my goals. Thank you for working hard so my mom could come over to our house after Lily was born to help me. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Sister B: I appreciated it when you made a trip to my house to help me with my perceived latch problems. I appreciated it when you told Janet I had you on speed dial and I felt that you did not mind how much I need(ed) your help with breastfeeding. I appreciate your continued support in this parenting journey of mine! Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Jori: I appreciated it when you said I could breastfeed Lily at your house and when you encouraged me when we went to the park even though all those people were around! I appreciated it when you said that you breastfed all of your babies at church. I appreciate when you said that I was modest about my breastfeeding and it made me feel more confident about when I may need to do it in public. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Sherry: I appreciate all the encouragement you give me when I talk about my struggles with breastfeeding on my facebook page and blog. I feel supported and encouraged, and although we have never met, I feel like I have a listening ear from someone who really understands what I mean! Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Rachelle: I appreciate when you said all of the things you went through when you first started breastfeeding. I appreciate all the advice you gave. Most of all, I appreciate when you nursed in public when we all went to eat together before Lily was born. I always think back to that moment when I am faced with the need to nurse in public. Thank you for providing an example for me and thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding.

Dear Family and Friends: I appreciate when you say "Of course!" when I ask if it is okay to breastfeed my baby when you are around. It gives me so much more confidence to know that I have the support of so many people. I need ALL OF YOU to succeed at this. Thank you for supporting me in breastfeeding. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I was ____ and I turned out okay!

Last weekend I performed in another Rapides Symphony concert, and I had the privilege of playing with one of my best friends from college. While we were taking a break from rehearsal, I needed to pump. I asked if she would not mind coming with me to keep me company, and she agreed. While I was in the dressing room pumping, she asked me questions about breastfeeding. She told me how it seemed weird to her and that she did not think she was going to do it. As we were leaving I said, "There are some people who exclusively pump and feed their baby breast milk. I'm sure you could do that. Just as long as you're getting breast milk into your baby." She responded with, "Why does it matter? I wasn't breastfed and I turned out okay."


The dreaded answer.

Because we were walking back to rehearsal, I did not have the opportunity to give her all the wonderful reasons to breastfeed. I decided to file it away for later and write a fantastic article full of reasons to breastfeed when I got back to my hotel room. I had so many good ideas! However, when I made it back to my room and checked my blog, I began reading an article on the peaceful parenting blog entitled "How Spanking Changed My Life." As I continued to read, I quickly forgot about my breastfeeding article and began to formulate thoughts about spanking, which unleashed a fury in me that I did not know existed. I knew I needed to quickly get my thoughts out of my head before I became too angry to sleep.

My husband and I disagree on whether or not we will spank our children. I insist there must be other ways of getting your point across and he likes to use the "I turned out okay" reason. He was spanked as a child and he feels like he deserved it. Some children turn out just fine after being spanked, but many do not. My husband is lucky. I ask him how effective spanking was if he received them all the time for the same reasons. Sometimes he did not know that what he was doing could lead to a spanking. He would happily go along and all of a sudden he was getting spanked. Sometimes he was warned he would get a spanking if he did ____. Then he would proceed to do _____. It seems that even knowing ahead of time he was going to get spanked did not matter.

Sometimes when I am having a bad day, I may accidentally snap at my husband. He says, " I was just happily going along when all of a sudden you ____ for no reason." As an ADULT that unexpected behavior from me confuses the heck out of him. Can you imagine having to explain hormones to a little child? What about yelling? What about...hitting? That must be what it feels like to a little kid. They do not know how to control their behavior and emotions. They are in the process of learning how to do this. All they know is they are happily going along, then WHAM! They get spanked, smacked, swatted, beat, whatever you want to call it in order to soothe your own conscience to the fact that you strike your child. 

Not everyone fares well when it comes to spanking. The article is an open letter to Roy Lessin, author of Spanking: When, When, How, from Beth Fenimore, whose father illustrated the book. In her letter she details how the Roy Lessin method was a ritualistic event. 

The following are my own words.
1. Choose your weapon. Do not use your hand because your child will begin to fear your hand.

2. Do it quickly.

3. Find a private place in which to conduct the spanking.

4. Explain to the child WHY she is getting spanked.

5. Get the child into the spanking position. Some would have the child remove her pants and underwear.

6. Spank the child. 

7. Spank until you hear that particular broken cry that signals you broke the child's will.

8. Comfort the child. Make sure she behaves appropriately. If she does not calm down correctly or quickly enough, the ritual begins again.

There are so many things wrong with this. The first that struck a nerve was to ask the child to remove her pants and underpants. By the time a child is wearing underpants and by the time the child can really understand what is going on, parents should not be seeing their kids private parts. Those parts are exposed during this ritual, which must add to the shame and humiliation of the experience. Never mind the fact that there is no barrier between the body and tool of choice for the thrashing. It makes me uncomfortable to think of a young girl being alone in a room with her father and he is asking her to expose her private parts. Even if your words are, "It is time for your spanking. Take off your pants and underwear," it is still creepy. Maybe it's my dirty mind,! The suggestion IS there! The shame adds to the punishment, making a greater, deeper and more lasting impression.

How demented it is that the parent must spank until he hears a certain cry- the cry that indicates the child's will is broken. Will? What exactly does this mean? When I think of a broken will, I think of an empty shell. Someone who has no hopes, goals or desires of any kind. No hopes. No dreams. Nothing. They just exist. No joy or happiness. No determination. 

Once the spanking is over, comfort the child. Are you serious? As an adult I am confused when someone who did something terrible to me acts nice to me. When someone hurts me it doesn't make any sense that that person would also comfort me. That is so confusing! Now imagine a child. I wouldn't want that person to touch me anymore. Why is that person who just caused stinging welts to raise on my flesh wrapping his disgusting arms around me to tell me everything is going to be okay? Why is he telling me anything other than what he just did was wrong? My heart would be screaming, "Go away! Don't touch me!" Of course I would not be able to say that because I am busy trying to act the "right" kind of happy. 

This is so confusing! Is this supposed to teach that, as long as someone comforts you, it is okay that she hits you? Most likely it not intended to teach that lesson, but it probably does anyway.

Fenimore wrote in her letter about receiving her first spanking at six months old, hearing screaming babies in the lobby of her church who were receiving a Roy Lessin spanking, and of Roy Lessin's wife giving her a spanking. This angered me in a way that I have never felt before. I thought about someone laying a hand on my 7.5 month baby girl. Especially someone who is NOT her mother or father. How DARE she touch someone else's kids? I thought about my little girl, and I imagined that I would gladly give them a dose of their own medicine if that ever happened to her.

So there are plenty of people who would tell me, "Well, Kristi, you need to understand the difference between spanking and ABUSE." Say what you want to try to justify your actions and make yourself feel better, but the fact is you allowed your hand, belt or chosen object to make physical contact with your child's body in a harsh manner. I think those that try to differentiate between levels of spanking are those that spank. And I think they do that so they can convince themselves that they are doing the right thing.

I wonder if those that spank feel good about what they are doing. Do they feel calm, cool, collected and in control of their actions when they hit their children? Are they surprised when their kids start hitting others who do not behave the way they want them to? I suppose then they just teach the kid not to hit others by spanking them. That makes sense. Here kid, I'm going to hit you but you should not hit people. 

But "I am an adult and children and I are not equals." You're right. As an adult are you not capable of more rational teaching methods than hitting? Spanking, swatting, hitting or your chosen sugar-coated word is not a rational teaching method.

And anyone who hits a BABY is just plain evil. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior. It is just evil.