Newsletter – January 2015

At Bear Lake on your birthday.

Hello My Children!

We’re still playing newsletter catch up here (so close!) and on to January. It was a surprisingly warm winter this year, so we spent plenty of time outdoors. We also spent a lot of time watching Studio Ghibli movies as a family. You both love My Neighbor Totoro. Really, you’ve loved all the ones we’ve watched. And of course, we celebrated Twig’s third birthday!

Twig, you had your first ever birthday party this month and you chose Winnie the Pooh as the theme. You loved being able to invite your own friends and being the center of it all. I had a blast planning it for you and everyone had a wonderful time. We got you some Calico Critters for your birthday because you love playing pretend with little toys. You really enjoy playing with them. On your birthday itself you were sick, so we took a long drive to Bear Lake as a way to celebrate without spreading disease. We had a lot of fun and you girls gathered tons of tiny shells.

You’re also learning more letters by the day. I wasn’t even aware that you knew any, then you suddenly started picking them up rapid fire. You love reading and especially love to read Press Here. It’s a silly book where you press the dots (and do other things to them) and it makes it look like you’re effecting the dots. You ask me to read it to you almost every night.

You also love drawing with your sister. Both of you have been drawing pictures from these videos on YouTube. I’m surprised at how well you both can draw. Twig, you made a daddy long legs that actually looked like a daddy long legs! And Dea, you can already draw just as well as I can most of the time. It’s awesome watching you two expand your artistic abilities.

Peanut, you are obsessed with black widows. Really it all started this fall. It was a warm fall also, which apparently caused a bit of a black widow issue in our area. We ended up finding about half a dozen throughout our property (thank goodness never in the house!). Ever since, you’ve decided you love black widow spiders. You brought a book home from the library at school that told you all about them. We checked out books at our library. We watched videos online. You just think they’re amazing.

Taking a bath in the sink when Oma and Opa watched you.

Banana, you are putting in a valiant effort to crawl. You’re trying really hard to get up on all fours and you can even do it if you get your butt wedged up against something. You can tell you’re so satisfied with yourself when you get up too.

You’re also very loud, just like Twig was. You love to just yell and yell, even when you’re happy. Something that’s different though is your pitch. From pretty much day one, you’ve been really high pitched! And when you get happy you’re literally squealing in delight. It’s so ridiculously cute. You’re also mad when you’re mad though. You don’t get angry often, but when you do, you sound like a fire alarm. We tried to leave you with Oma and Opa for the first time so mommy and daddy could go on a date, but we ended up leaving half way through The Hobbit because you were so angry. It’s alright though, mama doesn’t mind being with you all the time.

Speaking of you being happy, there’s one song from our music class that you just adore. We call it “Open and Shut Them” though I’m sure there’s a more correct name. Every time you’re upset, we start singing it and you get happy again. It works when you’re in the high chair while I make food, while you’re getting your diaper changed, anything. We start singing and you immediately start smiling.

Love you all!
Mama

Newsletter – December 2014

Hello You Three!

On with the catch up! This time it’s December. Christmas time!

Twig, you’re such a hoot. This month you’ve been obsessed with “beating” everyone at everything. You race to the car when no one knows we were racing. You announce that you won a game, even when you lost. You’re so cute!

You started doing a preschool co-op this month. You’re pretty shy about interacting with the other kids, but tell me you like going. Mostly you stay right next to me, which I’m completely okay with. I think being shy is just part of your personality and you’ll figure out how to interact with time. No reason to push things.

You also revealed and known skill to me this month. I drew 10 smilie faces on a piece of paper and asked you to count them for me, just curious how high you could go. Turns out you can reliably go all the way up to 10! I figured when I was doing this that I was writing way more than you could do, just to test. Proved me wrong!

Banana, gone are the newborn days. You’re a full fledged baby! You hate it when mama yells (even if it’s just calling someone’s name) and it makes you cry every time. Anyone else could be yelling right next to you though and you could care less. You’re also rolling over from back to front now too and sitting up without any support at all.

Your favorite toys are your caterpillar mirror and your own hands and feet. And you are the most high pitched little baby I’ve ever heard. It’s super cute when you’re happy squealing. Not so cute when you’re mad screaming.

Peanut, you’re still doing great in school and your teacher has nothing but wonderful things to say about you. In the program you do every day at school (since the school is technology based), your teacher says you’re already well into the first grade material. Reading your books from school is falling a little out of vogue for you, but your teacher said that’s completely normal and not to pressure you.

You made a Frosty the Snowman from playdough.

You just love your new baby brother. Sometimes too much! You recently decided that you should pick him up, which luckily hasn’t led to any dropping, but quite a few conversations with mama have sprung from it. Just about needing to ask first and not doing things like carrying brother up and down the stairs. He’s already a third your weight for goodness sake! You also love reading to him when he’s in his swing to keep him happy. Really, you love to do anything to make him happy.

Love you all!
Mama

Newsletter – November 2014

Playing board games with mama while Twig naps.

Hello Children!

We’re playing catch up with newsletters still and today we’re on to the month of November!

Peanut, your brain seems to be making leaps and bounds lately. You keep astounding me with things I wasn’t aware you could even come close to doing. This month, it’s finger spelling. I’ve known for a long time that you know the whole alphabet in ASL, but I had no idea that this so easily translated to spelling. You’re just starting to really spell words and one day, out of the blue, you started finger spelling them too. You can sound out words as I finger spell them too. I’m amazed.

You also like to spend time teaching letters to Twig. You sat down and wrote on your calendar a different letter to teach her every week day, then a number. You haven’t remembered to work on it every day, but when you do you two have a lot of fun with it.

You’ve also been working hard trying to make Banana laugh ever since he started to do it. This month it finally paid off. It’s already so clear how much he loves his big sisters.

Twig, you want so badly to be like your sister. Lately you keep telling me you want to read like her and you’ll actually sit down and “read” books. You even get mad if I interrupt you while you’re reading me a book.

You’re also loving working on your letters. Like I said earlier, you’ve been working on them with your sister. You like working on them with me too. You recognize the letter M and point out that your name starts with M. You’re staring to catch on to more though.

Banana, I forgot how quickly babies grow! In just a few months you’ve started showing your own little personality. You’re fascinated with your sisters and love sitting in the high chair watching them. You also have started really holding onto toys. Which, of course, means they’re going right in your mouth.

That’s all I have for this month! Love you all!
Mama

My Little Vampire

What’s that little hint of white on the top left side? It’s proof that Banana is a vampire. Not as if we needed more proof, as ever since he got those two bottom teeth his favorite thing to do has been to crawl over to me and bite whatever body part is closest to him.

That is actually only the first one, which has been through for almost a week. I already see a teething pattern emerging. Tooth #1 pops through seemingly by random. No grumpy baby, just an appearance of a tooth. But it’s more than a tooth–it’s an ominous prediction. It’s a subtle hint that my life is going to go to complete shit for the next few days. And by golly it did. 3-4 days (Probably more, I’ve lost count, no sleep) of night wakings where he would just cry, clinginess in the daytime, random screeching out of nowhere. Babies are fun.

But the storm has now calmed. As of this morning (Peanut’s birthday, happy birthday Peanut!), I see the second tooth just poking through the gums. Explains the decent night sleep I got last night. And now I’m left with a cute little vampire.

Baby-led Spoon Feeding

Banana is thoroughly on table foods now. Eating them ravenously, in fact. The plan was to continue baby-led weaning like we did with big sisters, which we are doing, but also a little bit not.

You see, this child clearly does not understand that food is supposed to be a toy at this point. He does not like the idea of gradually working up on consumption either. He wants Food. In. Mouth. NOW! And he doesn’t want food that he can’t get bites off of, he wants food that he can chop down.

So we started with our baby-led weaning plans. I figured, as I did in the past, that I would causally give him food when it suited me. Within days of starting solids, Banana made it clear he was NOT content to play with toys or nurse while we eat. He wants to eat too! Adding this to the fact that we get free baby food anyway (we’re back on WIC with the up in family size), I figured we’d try some out. Oh boy does he love it! He also loves yogurt, which I’ve been giving him in an attempt to get him to poop more often (even before table food, he was only going about 2 times a week, which just seems weird to me).

So an interesting conundrum. I want to let him have mashed food with a spoon occasionally, but I also want to keep the general concepts of baby-led weaning. Enter baby-led spoon feeding!

The basic idea is that he’s still in control. I put a bit of food on the spoon and hold it in front of his mouth. When he opens, and only when he opens, I’ll put it in. He needs to give a clear signal that he’s ready for more. I give him a few bites, then wait a bit to see if he wants to continue (generally eating my own food in the meantime). When he fusses, I’ll give him more. Lots of pausing to see if he’s done.

I discourage him from grabbing the spoon because it just fouls up with process and makes a big mess, but if he keeps going after it I’ll give him the spoon. I generally put a bit of food on it first so he can eat that at his leisure as he plays with the spoon. He generally stays happy with it for a minute, then drops it. I take that as a signal that he wants more food, so I’ll put a bit more on and give it back.

Really, I’m not sure how much this differs from regular spoon feeding, but for me it’s the mindset. Baby-led weaning is about baby being in control of their own food intake. With my baby-led spoon feeding, I still try to allow baby to be in control. Respecting his feelings of hunger or fullness (and of course nursing before we eat). So far, it’s working for us. And I’m learning that baby-led weaning, as with so many other aspects of parenting, isn’t all or nothing.

Somewhere In-between

I’m at an interesting crossroads. I still feel passionate about so many of the same things. About breastfeeding, about treating children with respect, about parenting with fun and love.

But I’m also realizing there isn’t only one way to do things. I’m finding my balance in life and, in most respects, it appears to be somewhere in the middle.

Not normal enough to avoid being the weird one in the group. Not crunchy enough to be really in that group either. I extended breastfeed, but I also vaccinate. I practice elimination communication, but I also use disposables (and cloth too for that matter). I don’t home school, I do ferment foods. I don’t avoid sugar, I do avoid too much tv. I do baby-led weaning, but we’re using a bit of baby food too. The list goes on.

I’m okay with being in the middle. If having Banana has taught me anything, it’s that there isn’t one “right” way to parent. I’ve always said that we all make the choices that are right for our own families, but my own choices are shifting quite a bit. I’ve changed my views on many things and I’m not quite sure how to put it into words most of the time.

So that’s where I am right now. I’m working on putting all my perspectives together. I’m working on getting past this writing block I’ve been experiencing. Now I’m working more actively. Because I miss throwing my thoughts out into the abyss that is the internet. Hope you all miss me too.

Just Another Wednesday

Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday.

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Welcome to a day in our lives! Today, as part of the Carnival of Natural Parenting, I’m sharing photos from every hour to show what a normal day is like in our house. This was pretty fun to do!

This particular Wednesday started at 5:45am with Banana deciding it was clearly no longer time to sleep. He’s been on an early waking kick this week. 5:45 isn’t too bad though (there was a day where he woke before 4am!). Now on with the pictures!

6am: Drinking my big ole cup of coffee. Mmm coffee.

7am: Girls are awake now and we’re drinking our purple smoothie breakfast.

8am: Rushing Peanut off to school. Today was wear a hat day for Dr. Seuss week.

9am: Reading books with Twig before we return them at the library. Wednesdays are library days.

10am: Got myself dressed and contemplated cutting my hair. It’s getting so long!

11am: Waiting for Peanut to get out of school.

12pm: Story time!

1pm: Back home and eating some lunch. Banana loves apples.

2pm: Nap time! Twig recently went back to napping and likes to hold onto my left arm. Twig nurses, of course. Peanut is in her room having an hour of quiet time.

3pm: With the two little ones asleep and Peanut finishing up quiet time, I actually get 10 minutes of alone time! Knitting, listening to The Half-blood Prince (re-reading them for the 6th or 7th time), and sneaking some poptarts.

4pm: Nekked baby crawling! Twig is still sleeping while Peanut and I try to “teach” Banana to crawl. He’s so close!

5pm: Twig is awake again and helping me put laundry away.

6pm: Eating dinner (leftovers night) while we start watching The Boxtrolls. Twig is sitting on the floor eating some cauliflower.

7pm: Still watching Boxtrolls and cuddling on the couch.

8pm: Bedtime! Actually at 8pm it was dark, but this is around 8:20 when I was sneaking out of the room.

9pm: What? More baby-free time?! Maybe this isn’t a normal day! Doing some dishes.

10pm: Getting Twig to potty (we just started night training) before I go to bed myself.

Well I hope you enjoyed a look at what our days are like. It’s always nice to see that the people we see on the internet are real. Show me yours!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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