Posts tagged ‘Sharing Stories’

September 29, 2011

The Benefits of Being a Short Mom

I am not the only one to wonder how such a large child was born of such average to small parents. At Jacob’s one-month well visit, the pediatrician looked at Jacob, looked at me, and presumed that John must be a big guy. At just five-ten and lean, he’s not really much larger than average.

During Jacob’s first year, it was humorous to me to share either his age or his birth weight with curious strangers. When I went to the nursing class at the hospital before we were discharged, I was the smallest woman in the room—and I had the largest baby. I remember telling someone that he was three weeks old when they guessed he was three months. By six months, the little man had fallen to the mid-range of his peers, but compared to me, he was still a big guy.

Check out our relative head sizes. Scary, no?

J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

Since Jacob’s started walking, I’ve found there is at least one benefit to being a shorter mom. Because he’s about half as tall as I am (can you believe that?!), when I reach down to hold his hands and support him as he walks, I don’t have to bend over. John, on the other hand, rightfully complains of an aching back after ten or fifteen minutes of this.

While I do sometimes have to go on my tippy toes to lie the little guy in his crib at night, I don’t have to bend too far to pick him up when he’s on the ground, and if he’s about to fall, I’m that much closer to catching him.

Considering I’ve never really appreciated the freedom to wear any size heel I want—an inch is plenty for me, thank you—I’m glad I’ve finally found the beauty of being short. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I found it in motherhood!

September 23, 2011

Been There, Done That

Like most things in life, the weaning process has not turned out to be as easy as it seemed at first glance.  Frustrated with a very clingy child, and concerned that I wasn’t making the right decisions, I did what I always do when I need a practical answer to a question:  I went online.

 

We’re all very aware that the Internet can be either a very helpful or a very dangerous place.  Anyone can post information online, and while it’s great that such a variety of perspectives is available at the click of a mouse, it can be tough to pick through and find the good stuff.

 

The thing about parenting is that in most cases there aren’t “right” answers that unequivocally apply to everyone.  Nursing and weaning are certainly not in the cut-and-dry category.  And yet, I turned to what I knew to be a pro-breastfeeding website to get what I hoped would be some perspective.

 

I did get some perspective.  Unfortunately, not one that jives with my own.  The good thing is that I recognized the weaning process was maybe going a little too quickly for Jacob.  His clinginess might have been because he was used to a little more physical contact in his day.  That was useful.  What was not useful was the veiled message that really, the only good way to go about weaning a child was to let him/her do it him/herself, even if it takes until the child is two or three (or seven) years old.  This works for some people, but not for us.  John and I both feel that in our family, as far as nursing goes, once you can ask for it, you’re done.  Again, that’s just us.

 

Essentially, I had to decide what answer I wanted, and then I could find someone to validate it for me. In the great search for an answer, it was discouraging to be met with such a one-sided view—even if I did unintentionally seek it. On the other hand, I could have sought a site with a perspective on the other side of the spectrum, and ended up in the same place. The whole point was I wasn’t sure what I wanted to hear.

 

So then I did what I should have done in the first place:  I turned to a couple of women who have kids about Jacob’s age or older, whose perspectives on marriage, parenting, and family life I appreciate, and some of whose stories of weaning I was already somewhat familiar with.  By the next morning, I had a couple of emails in my inbox that gave me the encouragement I needed.

 

They reminded me that, as parents, John and I need to make the best decisions we can for our family and stick by them even when it gets tough.  The offered some practical tips from their experiences as well, but mostly, they let me know that I was doing an okay job.  That if I knew the path we were on was right for us, then we needed to stay on it.

 

For the record, Jacob threw up/spit up—I’m not sure which—the next morning, and then was back to his old self.  Still a little clingy, but nothing I can’t handle.  All of that and the problem effectively handled itself.

 

Maybe this parenting stuff isn’t so hard after all.

September 20, 2011

Mommy’s Bedtime Ritual

Even before we started weaning the little man, there were a couple of nights when he slept through his eleven o’clock-ish feeding.  This was often the feeding that got me to stop blogging or Internet surfing or working and get to bed.  When it didn’t happen, I just had to look at the clock, realize it was much too late of my own accord, and go to sleep.

Those nights I was surprised to find I had some trouble falling asleep.  I tend to stay up too late, so I was relying on utter exhaustion to knock me out.  But no such luck.  I couldn’t seem to get my mind to stop spinning. Despite having just had some time to myself, I didn’t feel relaxed, didn’t really feel ready for bed.

And then I realized: nursing Jacob relaxed me just as much as it soothed him.  A couple of these nights, I lay in bed, wishing he would wake up to nurse.  When he did, I leaped out of bed and into his room.  Once I got back to my bed, I slept, quite literally, like a baby.

When he didn’t, I just had to wait it out and kind of learn how to fall asleep again. It had been a long time since I had fallen asleep on my own, and now I sympathized with the little guy even more—it’s really not such an easy thing to do!

Thankfully, John and I have recently started reading Anna Karenina to one another in the evenings, after dinner and our rosary.  Now that Jacob’s sleeping through the night, a bedtime story is just what I need to get some good shut-eye.

It’s crazy the things you learn from your kids.

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