The Time Has Come The Walrus Said…

So big things are coming. I am eating smarties and drinking tea which means I am alone and finally have a chance to write!

Life is changing, it’s rearranging and so is my blog.

Seeing as I will shortly be using my blog as a platform for some new ventures I have moved to a self hosted site and am now under the title This Mum.

I am super excited for this and if you are already subscribed (thank you my darlings) I have moved you over so there will be no interruption in your viewing pleasure.

If you however are new and have found this site through your top notch searching abilities then please, head on over to thismum.com and subscribe there!

This blog shall no longer be updated but I will leave it open until it is no longer visited and those lovely visitors redirected.

To bigger and better blogs my friends. Stay in touch for more connecting, laughing, crying and other parental things.

Now, the sun has gone to bed and so must I…Goooddd niiiggghhttt!

Just for the heck of it…this is me eating a banana.

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And these are my two babies. One asleep. One naked in the flower bed.

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And I thought I was going to bed. But I actually have to rewash the clothes I left in the machine all day. Mmmm mildew.

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Dinosaurs and Diapers-No-More??

That is what is happening in our house right now. Honour is into dinosaurs at the moment. We had a dinosaur birthday party today and had to sing to each one. They feasted on toy frogs and socks?? and birthday cake made from a plate with water on it. There is no dino eating dino in our dinosaur land which I appreciate, long necks and t-rexes party side by side for triceratops birthday:)..can’t say the same about the frogs.

Onto diapers. Have any of your heard or tried elimination communication? Yes I know, I hate the title too. Maybe we could come up with something better…’potty signs’, ‘baby gotta go’ ‘mums watching for pee pee signals’…any of those would be better in my opinion. But for now, we can stick to EC.

EC is a practice used, without the title, in many other countries where diapers are not as accessible. Many tribal mums watch their child from birth to see their unique signals they give off before they need to use the toilet (or wherever one choses to let their child ‘go’). From there the caregiver quickly disrobes said child and places them over a proper area where they then give a cue (saying pee pee, whistling etc.) and then their child learns to relax in response to that word and pee/poop.

It is based on the concept that children are born not wanting to soil themselves. They try to tell us unknowing adults that they have to go but just can’t get there so it is our job as caring parents to place them where they need to be placed in order to relieve themselves. It is said that in North America we train our children that it is acceptable to go in a diaper and then try to untrain them when they reach a certain age…but if we could help them stick to what they already instinctually know, not to pee in your pants, then we can bypass a lot of trouble later on…makes sense right?

So armed with this new information I thought I would just try it out. I was not sure what to expect or if I even believed it. After following the steps in the book Go Diaper Free for a few weeks I can honestly say I believe. Journey does not always wait for her diaper to come off but it is usually when she is sitting in her bumbo chair while I am pretty occupied with something else therefore missing her signals that she has to go. We have gone one day where we did not go in a diaper at all…but I have also been peed on at least once a week so success comes with failures 🙂

I still throw a cloth diaper on her for back up purposes as I would rather not find her sitting in a puddle of pee if I can help it but man she actually responds when I sit her over the toilet and say pee pee. It is really pretty cool.

We will continue on with it and see where it takes us,

if nothing else it is mega entertaining to watch your little one go on command and she seems pretty pleased with herself too. 🙂

What are your thoughts on EC, have you tried it? Do you do it full time? I would love to hear your experiences as we are just starting our ‘baby potty signals’ journey now with our second.

Ahhh the Mum life…blogging about pee and pooh…keepin’ it classy since twenty-twelve.

From a little while ago but still super cute. (Both blankets shown are ZeeZee blankets, find it on facebook and buy  super snuggly blankets!)
From a little while ago but still super cute. (Both blankets shown are ZeeZee blankets, find it on facebook and buy super snuggly blankets!)

A PPD PSA – Rage

Honesty time. The PPD monster is back.

This time it was a swift attack, hit much earlier than before but within a week of feeling lousy I got in to see a wonderful nurse practitioner. Last time I let it linger longer but this time I can be honest and say I was scared of myself.

Thankfully, in less than a week of seeing my care provider I felt better. It is not always like that and I still have down moments (or full days) but the issue that got me running to my clinic has for the most part settled it’s ugly head. Rage.

Post-partum rage sounds as disgusting as it is. Just the word rage makes me cringe, yet it is the only word that can adequately describe my main post partum depression symptom. A switch flips and aggression takes over. You want to hurt, you want to release this dragon inside you because, like partaking in any desire, it feels good at the time. You don’t really think, you are just annoyed, aggravated and in need of an outlet. Please don’t worry, I was always able to walk away before things got out of hand but it is an incredibly scary feeling wondering if next time that hot flash happens you will be able to control yourself. There is no rationalizing and no thinking your way out when it overwhelms you. So, before that could happen to me, I called for help.

There is not much discussion about rage post partum. It seems taboo to talk about female anger and the possible actions this could result in.  I could not find to many personal stories when searching Dr. Google for answers. Weepiness, tiredness, depression, not finding things funny. These are the signs we are told to look for, but not sudden outbursts of rage and the ability to hurt physically or emotionally. If you have never dealt with these irrational emotions you probably cannot understand how this could be. How could someone let themselves act or even want to act in such a way when it is utterly against their personality? And it is ok to not ‘get it’. You won’t understand, but please do not judge. A gentle, loving mother drowning in ppd can often show symptoms through anger and rage and this HAS to be discussed. These women need to feel safe enough to get help because help is available and life can go on as normal 🙂

So what would I say to a Mum bristling at another’s touch or even their words? Please do not think it is just fatigue taking over or that if you only ate more during the day you would feel better. This kind of anger needs addressing fast and talking to your physician is the first step. Maybe medication isn’t the route you will chose together but you have to tell someone, open up and know it is normal with PPD. It is not you being a terrible mother or not being fit to look after your own children. This IS NOT YOU. These hormonal induced emotions can be managed but you must first recognize them and validate them so you can conquer them.

The guilt you feel from acting in anger, forgive yourself. If you have said something or acted in an angry way towards a child old enough to understand or your spouse, apologize. Mummies make mistakes and still need to seek forgiveness. It will bring you peace, as well as teach your child a valuable lesson in communicating with the human race.

Medication, mindfulness, getting extra home support, taking care of yourself. One or all of these things may need to happen and that is ok. PPD is a season, not a life sentence. Do what needs to be done to be in control of your emotions now so you can be the mother you desire in your heart to be. We all know the impatient, yelling, aggressive beast inside of you is not that Mum so don’t let it stay that way. Reach out to your partner and your health care provider.

Just say ‘help me’. Don’t let it go on any longer and don’t let any fear of stigma stop you from being the person you know you are without these insane hormones.

You are worth it, your family is worth it.

Love,

Just another Mother 🙂

Feeling so much better...snuggling my cherub
Feeling so much better…snuggling my cherub

Dwell on What is Lovely: Popsicles and Marshmallows 

Tonight I needed a moment. Just a moment. So I put a movie on for Honour, wrapped baby in her carrier, grabbed a Popsicle from the deep freeze and stepped onto our deck.

The evening sun hit my face, the breeze rushed past me (inevitably tossing my stray hairs into my dessert) and I took a deep breath. I listened to the birds singing their bedtime tune, watched the leaves twist and scarfed that dairy free Popsicle down guilt free.

My back sore from nursing babe all day, my eyes stinging from the occasional bathroom break downs and my mind tired beyond compare after a day of toddler battles including the 2 hr disagreement surrounding nap time. I was ready for that breath.

As I stood there for probably less than 5 minutes I reflected on the day. I knew where all the difficult moments had happened. Had been replaying my responses to everything over in my head to see where I could have ‘parented better’ but I didn’t go back to those. No, not during this beautiful calm moment. I pondered on the lovely.

The early morning park visit where Honour happily played with a less than alive worm for 45 minutes. The moments he would look at me and giggle as he got more wet than anticipated during this over cast day at the splash pad. The sword fight we engaged in…me trying to call dibs on the longer sword as he doesn’t have much sword awareness yet and it’s a bit safer for me…but him telling me that I would probably like the machete. Decision made. The darling smiles I received when I came into the sight line of my baby girl after placing her in the car seat while I quickly threw on some clothes before my wonderful cup of morning coffee. The long nap she took while I was working to have her older brother sleep as peacefully as she. And finally the heart smile and deep relief I felt when I heard, before I saw, Ben drive up to our gate after overtime.

That is what I need to dwell on when all has calmed come evening time. What a perfect moment to remind me that scripture isn’t just feel good verses…it has meaning and application in our lives daily. Dwell on what is lovely.

Today had lovely moments. That popsicle was lovely, as was the moments I shared above and as will the glass of dark red wine I will appreciate later on.

I determine to dwell on the lovely…as hard as it is during the difficult. It is worth it.

Oh…and those few minutes? I came in to find this:

 

And my boy doing this:

 

  

A marshmallow may have been captured and devoured…

Oh well…it was a lovely part to his day I’m sure 🙂

Kiddie Goggles

“Those are great circles you drew Honour!”

“Those are O’s.”

I stood corrected…guess it is all in how you look at things.

These past two weeks have been a roller coaster. Amazing ups, filled with laughter, spontaneous hilarity from my son, coos, smiles and connections with my daughter. Then…plummeting drops of grandios tantrums in the middle of our quiet street, baby crying for hours on end threatening to dull my heart and wear out my arms and to top it off watching my phone fly behind our van as it was hurled off the roof as I accelerated hastily from 50 to 80. Thankfully, even after a trip like that, my phone only needed a one hour screen replacement but it wasn’t great at the time. It has really got me thinking about the extremes of life, the extremes of our children’s lives that happen daily.

As a parent you are often forced to live your life through your children’s eyes. You are once again transported into a world of innocence, exuberant joy, utter abandonment and also lack of rational thought. This last one we often have difficulty grasping as our children grow quickly physically before our eyes yet they truly cannot comprehend most of their emotions, thoughts or our direction until much later in life. So, to aid in their day to day journey through emotion, we stop. We look at the situation through the eyes of one who cannot process their feelings, one who is unable to communicate eloquently or in a timely manner, one who sees black and white with no understanding of the shades between. This is where we live.

We are adults, capable (for the most part), of rational, methodical thought. Weighing pros, cons and the outcome of decisions. Yet we are asked to put that aside and think without reason to see, as closely as we can, how our young toddlers are viewing their daily encounters.

It is tough a lot of the time for me to put on my kiddy goggles. To view my own behaviour or expectations as my son would see them is challenging, but goodness does it ever help:

1. I can see when my expectations are unreasonable and therefore do not get frustrated when he is unable to meet them

2. I am able to comfort him with more grace and patience when I understand he is not purposefully trying to push my buttons.

3. I am better able to walk him through his emotions of excitement, anger, frustration and eagerness which all happen daily and all usually result in biting (or nibblin as he call is it). This lessens the extremes…a real bonus!

4. I can better appreciate his age and the wonder and frustration it holds, grasping every second before he grows into the next stage of development.

5. Finally, looking at his world through his eyes allows me to better love him. To be less frustrated with his outbursts, more patient with his tears and laugh with him whole heartedly when he finds something toddler-funny (that which is funny to an almost three year old but not an almost twenty eight year old) 🙂

Do you take time to live the life of a toddler? Your circles might just become o’s.

Try it, work at it and love it!

Sunny days with my little dude!
Sunny days with my little dude!

Often Lonely

Mother’s Day was perfect. Spent the weekend with those I love and who love me. Didn’t have to cook and was able to relax.

But 1 hour of it really sucked and it got me thinking how quickly the good can disappear from your mind and the negative can take hold faster than my little girl can throw up after a feed (never get the cloth in time). And also started pondering how lonely mothering can often be.

That one lonely hour was spent pacing my in-laws kitchen, gut-screaming babe in arms, watching the rest of my family walk, explore and adventure outside after our mother’s day dinner. That hour has been common over the past few weeks. I like to think she is wearing herself out so she can sleep peacefully til the morning, sunlit hours…sometimes I am right, sometimes not so much.

But as I did laps around the family table I couldn’t help but feel lonely. Motherhood can often be lonely. You are the one to sit quietly as you feed your easily distracted child. You are the one to wake up in the dark hours and sit silently in the dimness waiting kind-of-patiently for your young one to drop back off. You are the one who’s heart aches if you hear your baby crying in the arms of another, so even though it may not make a difference to her tears, you scoop her up and take her somewhere secluded to calm your own heart as well as hers. You are the one to spend the majority of your hours investing in your children through keeping your home, cooking meals, wiping tears and tending to their needs as selflessly as humans are capable. We are thrust into a world we have not been a part of since we ourselves were babies yet we spend most of it as the only adult present.

And you know what is pathetic? When I personally am given the option to have someone watch my oldest so I can get out into the land of the living or hold my baby so I can wash the spit up and baby wearing sweat off my body, I miss them. I breathe deeply the independence and make the most of having two hands and a partly clear mind…but I still miss them. I miss my boy terribly when I see him running around laughing and I am bouncing on achy legs trying to calm my youngest in a room where I can only watch him from afar. This transition is difficult isn’t it?! Then at the end of the night when my oldest is sleeping I look deeply into my newborn’s eyes and realize I have hardly connected with her. I may have had her in my arms or on my boob most of the day but that intimate sitting, looking, talking and discovering is not as normal as it was with only one baby in the house. Then I feel I am missing this fleeting stage with my darling daughter.

So, this mother’s day (yes this was meant to be posted earlier) I am thinking of the mothers who feel secluded. Who feel like strangers in their own families sometimes as their role has once again changed and it is taking some time to adjust. The mothers who invest wholly in their children and feel full to the brim with love and accomplishment but who still sometimes ache. Ache because it takes time for transition to become normal. Ache because life is different.  Ache because we are often physically alone. Ache because we always feel we could be doing better. Ache because we try so hard and yet feel guilty.

Ache because we love our families so very very much.

And that is the best ache, worth every other. We wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

Don’t let that negative hour take away from the joy of raising your family…even if that hour occurs often. You are taking it one hour at a time so cling to the beauty of motherhood and remember…you are seen, you are recognized and you are succeeding.

To you sometimes lonely but always loved mothers…Happy Mother’s Day

 

  

Tribal Mummas

Cliques. We all hated them. We all wanted to be a part of one. Even if it was just with one other human with similar characteristics as ourselves. Just because this term may hold a negative meaning as being utterly exclusive and often alienating to those the group deemed unworthy of their attention, it shows a primal part of our human nature. To want to belong. A desire to be surrounded by those who think similarly and who can support you in your decisions based on the fact they often make the same ones. In the mumma world the word clique holds a bit harsh of a meaning but instead they are often referred to as ‘your tribe’.

Before having children I did not quite understand this concept, but after having two I can say that I now see the importance of finding and making the most of this so-called ‘tribe’. Some may envision this as baby wearing, breast feeding (uncovered), hair flowing, no-sugar-allowed women singing in a circle, their children happily frolicking in the grass and their babies suckling soundly at their non saggy breasts. Could this be further from the truth?

As a new mum, or an experienced one, I truly believe finding your tribe, as silly as that sounds, is an important part of motherhood. All of us will raise our children a little bit differently. There are so many decisions to make from birth to empty nest that no one parent will ever make all of the same choices, but many of us are similar in a majority of areas and these other mums are your tribe. I have found the support of other women, in the same walk of life and coming to some of the same conclusions (which means dealing with many of the same issues), to be invaluable at many points of my journey into and through motherhood. And sometimes all you need is to chat with a fellow Mum and know that a hot topic won’t arise that causes awkwardness or another tiring debate/discussion.  When in the company of your tribe you can rest and know that, yes you may disagree with certain things, but with most you are in agreement, keeping it a safe haven for you and them.

The beauty of today is that even if you feel that no one around you physically is dealing with the same things you can always find online groups dedicated to a cause where you need support. No one else around you exclusively pumping? Find a facebook group or your local la leche league meetings. On the other end of the spectrum, are you alone trying to figure out tandem feeding (breastfeeding two children at once), again get online to discover a world of women battling the same problems willing to reach out and help!

My tribe is made up of older women who have walked this road before, close friends I have known personally for a long time (not all close friends have to be part of your tribe), local women who I occasionally visit and chat peacefully with, women who I connected with online who have become close but who I may have never met face to face, and groups of ladies who post their questions and get support answers online. As you can see my tribe varies but it is strong and well rounded. I know that when I have a difficult day I can either visit with my local friends, take my little guy and girl down to the early years for female support or just hop online and post a question to a set of women I know can honestly sympathize and support. THIS is what you need.

So what does a tribe look like? No hippie circles here…unless that is you :). Tribes are made up of mothers, often tired and sleep deprived who are working, staying at home, cooking dinner, ordering out, cloth diapering, buying stock in disposables, formula feeding, pumping, exclusively breastfeeding, tired of feeding multiple children, feeding older children real food, still in sweats by dinner, in full hair and make up by breakfast, joyful in their parenting, struggling with depression, enjoying the benefits of school, enjoying the benefits of homeschool, raising their children in a faith, keeping faith at arms length, single mums, blended families, drinking coffee pregnant and mothers who let their toddlers sip from theirs. Should I go on?

Your tribe will look a lot like you, which may or may not look a lot like me. 

Mothering is hard work and we too often doubt ourselves and our choices. But when we reach out and find out so many are making the same ones it holds us up as we walk that path, knowing we won’t be alone when the issues arise. 

Take time for you, and take time to find your tribe. Have the relationships ready, have your circle surrounding you (they may not even know they are your support quite yet), have your common bonds identified so that when you need to be encouraged or encourage another you can right away and without a doubt that these women will know exactly where you are coming from and offer earnest and knowledgeable help.

Who knows?

You may already be in someone else’s tribe 🙂

Baby wearing is one of my parenting choices..passing it along :)
Baby wearing is one of my parenting choices..passing it along 🙂

Conversations – Know Thyself Before Baby

I have been having an ongoing conversation with a friend of mine who was ‘due’ two days after we were meant to be ‘due’. As goes most estimated due dates neither of us hit ours dead on but actually traded dates 🙂 So she got the St. Patty’s baby and Journey entered on the 19th. We honestly hardly knew each other before we discovered we were both pregnant with our second babies so close to each other. But since then our conversations have delved into the intimate pregnancy side effects, our emotional roller coasters through pregnancy and post-partum as well even being aware of when each went into labour…even though I personally wasn’t sure at the time haha.

It has been wonderful to have someone to share these moments with as we are literally days apart from dealing with many of the same things, toddlers transitioning, husbands at work, desiring labour but trying to be patient and lately we have been talking about why we are so grumpy.

Can we be honest? The newborn stage does not suit everyone’s personality. Working around 2 hour feedings, toddler nap times and the inability to always get a bra on by bed time means it is often difficult to be spontaneous and go out into the world of the living when we have the desire. Life needs to be a little more planned and as both of us are women with free spirits and a love of popping out when we want or going on a quick trip when we get the urge, this newborn and toddler stage is hard on us. We feel a bit trapped, held down and the big parts of our personality have to be put on hold while we attend to the needs of those around us. If this is not recognized, as we both first discovered, we turn into frustrated mums, a bit resentful of those sucking away our spontaneity and overall we become grumpy. Now the emotions we are feeling are not uncommon and they are ok to feel. The difference though is recognizing why we feel that way, working through those feelings and coming to a positive conclusion that will settle our wild hearts.

This may not be your battle as a new mum. But there will be sacrifices and compromises made on your part that WILL affect you. Before giving birth take inventory of yourself. What do you love to do, what makes you feel alive, where do you like to go that rejuvenates you, who do you make time for that you would notice if not a part of your life. After you have reflected on these things, imagine these were removed from your life for a period of time. You aren’t able to shower daily and get yourself properly dressed all the time, if that is what makes you feel good. The conversations with your husband are shorter, less deep and often interrupted by wails or one of you dozing off. The food you are able to prepare for your family is not as wholesome or even delicious as you are used to, and, for a short time, you are denied the creativity you love to show in the kitchen or in keeping your home to your usual standards.

This will happen. And yes, it will end. But with raging hormones, (actually they more so creep up on you and take your company by surprise when you burst into tears or get angry over nothing…but that’s another topic), it is difficult to analyze why you are feeling a certain way and how you can rectify your emotions to best of your ability. So, take the time to know yourself now. Where do you need to make the most effort to keep normalcy? You cannot prioritize many things like you used to, so pick one, maybe two if you are feeling daring and do them.

I love blogging, writing and having a small creative outlet so I try to take care of myself during this inside time by reflecting on my life and emotions through this medium. For you, it may be making a great meal every couple days (baby wear, it will make it much easier). You may be one who needs to be outside for a short time every day, so make that your priority for self care. Or, you may be like my husband, and need some time to just spend alone. So work out 15 minutes when you can get out, go down the street and have some of your own thoughts for once 🙂

Whatever your personality, think about it beforehand. Know what you will miss, know that this is ok but make a plan to help you overcome those grumps. Change will happen but you can make it more smooth by understanding who you are. It won’t always work and you will have down days but that’s alright, it really is, because the next days will be better and if they are not, ask for help 🙂

PREPARE  For both LABOUR and POST PARTUM
PREPARE
For both LABOUR and POST PARTUM

Sunday Dinner

Last night I ate dinner in the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom…and it was kind of by choice.

As I sat at the dinner table being fed on and feeding myself I had the urge. Being less than a month post partum I do not like to wait too long to take care of such business as a sudden sneeze, burst of laughter or unexpected jumping up and down session could lead to minor puddles. So I picked up my nursing babe and off to the bathroom I went (exciting life I know).

I lovingly placed Journey on our bathmat, it was clean, for the most part, and did what needed to done.

She lay there, calmly, happy, entranced by our shower curtain and my heart leapt. She was not needing to nurse, I was needing to eat. My food was waiting for me at the table but if I brought her back would she take away the opportunity to enjoy it with two hands? And Mums, we know how sacred the chance is to eat dinner with a knife AND fork…or any utensils at all for that matter. So dinner was brought to her.

Sitting on our bathroom step, soaking in the view of baby babbling to bathtub,  I ate. Her fussing began as I treasured my last forkful and then scooped up plate and little one and exited our bathroom.

End dinner scene.

Are their situations in which you have made quick decisions that normally would not be your first choice…wait…isn’t that most decisions we make for ourselves once we become mothers haha 🙂

Have a great week!

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Just because she’s cute.

My Kid’s Grandparents

Last night Ben and I were interrupted mid movie, (yes we actually tried to sit and stay awake for a full 90 minutes at night), by our toddler coughing, sputtering and trying to breath through a phlegm filled throat. It was a horrid, startling sound and sad to say we have a sick bubs in the house. Our sensitive toddler turns uber clingy to Mum when sick to the point he won’t even let someone else wipe his bum…everything has to be done by Mumma, even if we are mid nursing-the-newborn.

Today though, amid sneezes, coughs and some extra crying, I am thankful for grandparents. For the selfless acts of our parents who go out of their way to love, support and give even more than we deserve. Both sides showed their love in action today and I can only say thank you with a huge smile of relief and appreciation on my face.

My littles are so blessed to have two INCREDIBLE sets of grandparents to cherish and love of them through their lives. I myself have been blessed with the same type of adoring grandparents and can hardly find the words to express how immensely joyful it makes me to know my children have this to grow up with.

Nanny's first cuddle with Journey
Nanny’s first cuddle with Journey
Grandad and Honour taking a coffee break
Grandad and Honour taking a coffee break
Grammie and the kids
Grammie and the kids
Grampie
Grampie