Monday, January 31, 2011

Multitude Monday 142 -

holy experience

Today we registered Pk for kindergarten to begin in September. There are so many feelings that go along with that. I am surprised, as an elementary teacher, I should be easy about doing this but I am finding all of these worries creeping up. While she goes to daycare two days a week, it's a wonderful, nurturing home daycare and while J takes the kids to the park, they are never anywhere that they aren't in her direct sightline. She will take a bus to and from school to daycare and that terrifies me. I have faith that everything will be o.k. but I am surprised at just how anxious I am. On the other hand, I have so much for which to be grateful:

142. I live in a country where there is free, high quality education available for everyone, including our girls
143. there is so much pleasure in learning and I can't wait to discover Pk's passions
144. the warm and welcoming atmosphere of our local school
145. the fact that Pk has made several good friendships with library storytime friends and some of those children will be in her class
146. the wonderful daycare where Pk is loved and kept safe
147. that we remembered all of the forms we needed!
148. our warm home that offers us comfortable and cozy shelter as winter storms approach
149. down duvets
150. hot tea
151. red and pink and hearts, in readiness for Valentines Day
152. the pleasure that I get from knitting, which I am off to do right now!

Enjoy a week of the ability to see how richly you have been blessed!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Love Challenge

Over at Muthering Heights, a lovely blog with inspiration for mothers, there is a wonderful challenge for mothers to show their children how much they are loved during the month of February. Click on this link for more information. I can't wait to give it a try!

On Loss

This morning, when we were on our way out the door for church, the phone rang.
"Don't get it. It's probably just my parents and I'll call them later," said dh.
"No, we'd better get it. It might be someone who needs us to cover a job at church." I went over to the phone and when I saw that it was Dh's best friend, who definitely does not go to church, I said that we'd leave it.
Dh came running for the phone. I didn't know that dh's best friend's mother-in-law had reached the palliative care stage of cancer. She died this morning. Needless to say, we were pretty subdued as we drove to church.

Whenever I hear of a death in our circle, I always feel at a bit of a loss. I so desperately want to help, to be there for whoever has suffered the loss. On the other hand, I always feel so useless... it's so hard to know just how to be there. I am so afraid of saying something stupid, trying to put a positive spin on the loss or trying to be reassuring, making the person feel alone.

It's funny how something like this seems to hit all at once. Yesterday, we had to take our car into to my brother-in-law to have some work done. When we talked to him afterwards, he was railing on about people in their circle. They had suffered a real tragedy. Last week, the father of my niece's good friend committed suicide (in the hospital emergency ward). He left behind three teenaged daughters and a wife. My b.i.l. and s.i.l. are trying to be there for the family while also trying to help their own daughters, aged 8 and 11, to deal with the knowledge of a daddy killing himself. My b.i.l. was vicious about people being insensitive and not listening to the family, talking too much with platitudes. He isn't someone who thinks much about how other people are feeling and I think he was missing the point. The people saying those stupid things don't mean to be insensitive - there's just something about death that either makes us tongue-tied or a bit stupid.

I wish I felt more confident about how to be there. When my good friend lost her husband to cancer last winter, I tried desperately to be there and my strategy was simple - listen, let her cry, shut up and give food. I don't know whether I was there the way she wanted me to be but we had a lot of conversations where she cried and I told her that she needed to allow herself to be sad and to grieve. The food part made me feel like I was DOING something and doing is my comfort zone. Now, I am finding that she is feeling abandoned and being there and letting her talk and cry seems to mean a great deal to her.

So, we will try and listen and, of course, I am cooking (they are getting a delivery of pasta and lemon bread tomorrow). We will be praying, too, but we won't tell dh's friend, who is not someone of a religious belief system. I just hope it will be enough.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Good Times

One of the things that I am really enjoying is that our children are making such good friends with the children of our oldest and dearest friends. I have two friends in particular, one from high school and one from university, who have children whose ages are not too far off from our own. When we get together, the kids are at ages that they can really enjoy each other and truly, Pk seems to love them as much as I love their mothers. Today, we got together with one of those friends, her wonderful husband and the children.

They live about 2 hours from us and we have had a hard time getting together - every time we make plans, someone gets sick. On a whim, my friend emailed this week and wondered whether we wanted to meet at Ikea, since it's at the halfway point between our two homes. We would have dinner and then maybe browse around. We didn't know how it would work but it was worth a try.

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun. Their restaurant is open enough and casual enough that the kids were able to have a great time. As we wandered through the store, the kids ran around having a marvelous time. Pk is 3 and R is 2 and a bit, and he is finally old enough that Pk and he can really enjoy each other. They ran like fools, chased and, luckily for us, older brother A who is now 9 didn't mind actually as our sheepdog, herding them in the right direction. We ended with tea and cinnamon buns by the exit and the kids again had a great time - until little R got a little too close to the escalator and moms and all the kids actually had to chase him upstairs to grab him. It has been agreed amongst the parents that Pk and R will need VERY close supervision when together - they like each other a little too much and as they ran around together holding hands, they were adorable.

Who knew that Ikea could be more fun than a trip to Disney?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blizzard Bloghop

Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

My name is Sarah and I'd like to welcome you to my little corner of the blogsphere. I love bloghops and I discovered this one through Hallee, of Hallee the Homemaker (who has the BEST hummus recipe around!). I guess this weekend is Blissdom in Nashville and many of the best bloggers around are there... to be honest, I would find that totally intimidating - I'm a bit shy and would find the crowd totally overwhelming. I don't pretend to have an amazing blog, this is just a bit about me, my life and the things that make me happy.

I'm 38 and living in Canada, where I was born and raised. I used to be a "big city" girl (at least by birth) and 7 years ago, we moved to a small town, which really feels more like home. I'm a mom to two littles, Pk who is a feisty 3 year old daughter and Baby Bean, my 7 month old son. I'm married to my best friend - we've been together since 1991 and married since 1999.

I'm not great at making decisions and so my blog tends to meander all over the place, usually focused on what's on my mind at the moment. I'd say I'm pretty traditional and domestic in my interests. You'll see some crafty stuff (mostly knitting, scrapbooking and holiday decor stuff), cooking (I LOVE trying new recipes), parenting (I'm not a homeschooler but I once saw the term "after-schooler" and I love that - I'm trying to round out my children and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE doing crafts together) and some posts about my faith (I'm a Christian who, in the past, hasn't been very good about talking about my faith and my blog is a good place to practice). I'm also a big reader (Christian materials, mysteries of every kind, with a bit of chicklit thrown in). Every so often, I will get on my soapbox about something that I'm pondering and for those, I apologize ahead of time. Mostly, though, I just like connecting up with other moms and getting great ideas for ways to be happy.

If you do stop by, I'd love it if you left me a little comment so I can return the visit. Happy bloghopping!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crafty Stuff

Last week, when I was driving home from Baby Bean's swimming lesson (which are going swimmingly, I might add), I heard an interview with the author of "The Happiness Project". It really grabbed me. Of course, as a Christian, I know that deep contentment and joy comes from faith. On the other hand, I also believe that we have to do things to promote our own happiness and that God gives us the chance to enjoy many blessings. I don't always take advantage of the things that are around me and that's been on my mind, especially in the middle of January (a month that I loathe). The author talked a great deal about figuring out what actually makes us happy as opposed to what we feel should make us happy and she stated that we need to make for time for the things that actually make us happy. That got me pondering. What does actually make me happy?

One thing I truly love is crafting and that takes many forms. I love to knit (that's another post - I recently made a local friend who is an avid knitter and she has inspired me and we are planning to do some knit-along projects together). I dabble in quilting but since I hand quilt, it takes ages. One goal down the road is to buy a good sewing machine and take lessons. I used to cross stitch and I do a bit of scrapbooking. I'd like to branch out a bit.

The first craft project I am going to share today grew out of killing time at the grocery store. Pk takes highland dance each Monday and Baby Bean and I need to use up 45 minutes in a town too far from home to come back here. This town doesn't have much to do so as often as not, we hang out in a really great grocery store. A few weeks ago, I was browsing the Valentine stuff and saw a really cute felt heart garland. It was expensive and not long enough for what I wanted but I thought I could make some myself. I searched online and found this example. I modified a bit and came up with what you see in the pictures myself. It was fun to make and nicely mindless. Pk loved it, too, and I had to cut her quite a few felt hearts.
I ended up making two strings, one for over the big living room window that you see here and one to hang on the sideboard in the dining room. I love it! The colours are bright and cheerful and there is something about felt that just makes me feel happy. It didn't take long, another bonus.

The other craft is something that Pk and I did this morning. I saw the idea on a blog - Frugal Family Fun. Pk is really into flowers (fake or real, doesn't matter) and I am into things that can be made from dollar store supplies. We used $5 worth of dollar store flowers, $1 of moss, $1 of basket and a block of floral foam (that cost more since it had to come from Michaels and don't get me going on how ridiculously overpriced most of their stuff is...) Anyway, Pk LOVED, LOVED, LOVED doing this and really, while it isn't something I would feature in a magazine, I was impressed with the finished product. Definitely a nice way to bring a breath of spring into the house.

I'm on the lookout for a few other simple Valentine's Day crafts and I'll share if I find anything good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Multitude Monday 131 -

holy experience

The past few days have been filled with wonderful people. At this time of year, I find that I can feel really isolated and often, my resolutions for the year include something along the lines of putting more emphasis on important friendships and extending hospitality more often. This year was no exception and so far into 2011, I have been pretty good. I can thank Pk for a lot of it - she is quick to form friendships and much of our entertaining has been friends of hers and their mothers for playdates. It's been great and we are actually thinking of setting up some kind of mom's group, either a crafting group or a book club, just to give us all a chance to get to know each other better and to get a little break. I also went into work today with Baby Bean and had lunch with friends in the staffroom. I don't want to go back to work and I DREAD leaving Baby Bean at daycare but I have to admit, it was really nice to go back today and reconnect with the wonderful people with whom I work. I'm lucky.

131. working with other women who have children and who understand how torn working mothers feel
132. watching Pk form the beginnings of friendships that I hope with colour the rest of her life with love and support
133. two little girls in full costume playing our piano and giggling
134. the words, "mummy, I love you!"
135. the way that Baby Bean has of winning men over (at work today, the men, who always sit together in the staffroom, informed me that Baby Bean should be sitting at their table - he is all boy and men seem to be really drawn to him)
136. the fact that my friend whose husband was drinking heavily and putting great stress on the marriage, has found peace and her husband seems to be dealing with his issues
137. having found a friend who knits!
138. the good feeling that comes from being able to help out a friend (a good friend with a 3 year old and a 12 week old baby blew out her ACL last week and we dropped over bottles for the baby when Grandma was babysitting and in a panic, and took a meal over for the family later in the week - everyone was so nice, it felt like they were doing something for us instead of the other way around)
139. feeling like we have finally made firm connections in town (not easy in a small town of this size)
140. the fact that our town is so small that when bedtime stories were cancelled at the library due to the librarian being sick, we got a personal call at home since we usually go to save us the trip - I love the little personal touches that make me feel accepted
141. spoiling myself (with dh's approval) to the lovely dishes with a bird on them (I have a thing for birds in the winter but only English-looking little birds) - I know that I shouldn't be thinking so much about stuff but I am loving the look of the dishes and it makes tea feel more like a treat

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What a Waste

This afternoon, I cried through the funeral of police officer Ryan Russell which was on CBC. I wouldn't usually listen but I just couldn't get my mind off the senseless tragedy of it. For those of you who don't know or aren't from around here, last weekend, a man with bare feet stole a snowplow that had been left parked with the keys in the vehicle briefly. He went on a rampage across town, crashing into other vehicles and eventually running his car into a police car, killing Sgt Ryan Russell and then being shot himself by the police. From what little I can understand, the man is very, very unstable (obviously) and surely it must be a case of someone with poorly managed mental health problems ( I believe that the man was homeless and had checked into a shelter the night before). In light of the events in Arizona last week, it's hard to ignore the fact that our society has blood on our hands thanks to our insistence on keeping our heads in the sand about those who are struggling with these kinds of problems.

CBC did an interesting set of stories on "The Current" last week dealing with mental health. Some of the things I heard were really interesting and at times, downright bizarre. One thing I did hear from a psychiatrist was something along the lines of, "only 2 - 5 % of schizophrenics are violent and can be dangerous". Only??? He may be comfortable with those odds but I am not. I am not saying, in any way, that schizophrenics all need to be locked away but surely the risk that those who are not being treated or effectively managed means that we need to address the issue, not only for our own safety but even more for theirs.

Another thing that really grabbed me, and again, I see this as the crux of the issue, is around the ability of schizophrenics to accurately perceive their own level of illness. A doctor (again, I can't remember who) said that schizophrenia is a disease of the brain that effects the very part of the brain that is aware of the individual's own mental state - with a broken thermostat, how can you possibly judge the temperature accurately?

I realise that these issues are not as clear cut as they seem. Yes, the easy answer would seem to be to just force these people to take meds but it isn't that easy. Who is the judge of what beliefs are "crazy" and what are just different or divergent or creative? Will turning off the disease always necessitate suppression of the individual? Can medicating be an easy way to shut down someone whose ideas we don't like? Obviously, there are issues of personal freedom that would need to be wrestled through but, based on what Margaret Sommerville of McGill University, a prominent bio-ethicist said on CBC, there are court rulings that do lay down some guidelines and we are working to develop more.

I wish I thought that these issues stem from our desire to respect the personal freedom of those suffering from these mental illnesses but sadly, I don't think that is what it is really about. More basically, I think it is about money and it's about shame. Providing medical care, especially for chronic conditions that need ongoing monitoring, is expensive and these days, we are already trying to deny the fact that our society has to pay if we want to be healthy. We shut down all the psych wards as being inhumane (which may well be true) and emergency psych beds are almost impossibly hard to come by. In the meantime, we did nothing to increase accessibility to community based care and when families are dealing with a family member in crisis, other than calling the police, there is little that can be done to help. On the other hand, we just don't like to talk about this. It's scary, it's embarrassing and there are no easy answers. It's easy to blame the behaviour on drugs and bad choices and ignore the fact that these people are ill, no differently that a diabetic or someone with chronic heart disease. We wouldn't try and ignore people with those chronic conditions. I think one of the hardest parts of mental illness for most of us to understand is that it can't be measured clearly by ultrasounds or MRIs, it's manifestations are almost entirely behavioural.

On Saturday mornings, a group of us used to get together to do field training with our dogs. There was one couple who always came from VERY far away to train. I always wondered why they would bother. The wife and I got talking and I discovered that they had a schizophrenic son in his twenties at university and the training was their way of getting a break from the anxiety. I know that this woman and her husband went through hell. Their son had been in all kinds of trouble and his doctors refused to talk to them. She knew that one day, someone was going to be hurt and, to be honest, we all worried that one day, we would read in the paper that he had killed them in the night. Sadly, in the end, he killed himself. I will never forget my conversation with her after that - her grief, her guilt at feeling relief that it was over and the way the two of them fell apart. It was one of the most upsetting things I have ever watched.

So, today, we bury yet another victim. Another child is without a father, another family is destroyed by our fear and our denial. How much more does this have to happen before we face it head on?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Multitude Monday 121 -

holy experience

I've been finding the winter blahs have hit me hard during the last week and looking for the snatches of beauty has been a good exercise for me.

121. cauliflower with browned butter
122. a hot cup of tea
123. cuddling with my children in bed in the morning
124. iced coffee
125. that I am able to breastfeed my baby (high on my mind right now - a good friend with a 12 week old baby was rushed to hospital this afternoon with what is probably a blown out knee and I got a frantic call from her mother at 5, wondering whether we had bottles and how to make formula - when I spoke to her mother at 7, my friend was sitting on a stretcher in the hallway of the emergency ward, hadn't been seen by anyone and the nurses had sent husband and baby back home because there is so much flu in the hospital - please say a prayer for my friend that she won't need knee surgery and that she can be home with her baby very soon)
126. flannel p.j.s
127. popcorn
128. coming home to dinner in the slow cooker
129. birds visiting the feeder outside my front window
130. buying craft supplies and planning new projects

Much Ado About Nothing

I made the mistake today of watching a daytime talk show. I try very hard not to watch daytime t.v. Most of the time, it either makes me feel like an ambulance chaser or, worse, if I watch the opening segment of "The View", my blood pressure elevates to the point of bordering on a stroke. My politics and values just don't mesh with some of the opinions stated and things are said that bother me much more than they should. Usually, I just stay away. "The View" was my mistake today.

The focus on the discussion that annoyed me today was Amy Chua and her new book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". Allow me to preface my comments here by saying that I have not read the book, I am only responding to what I have heard said about the book in the media over the last few days. I normally wouldn't even consider reading something like this but I will admit, after all I have heard, I did go online to see if our local library had it, just out of curiosity.

If you live under a rock and haven't heard about it, the book is supposed to be a memoir of Amy Chua's raising of her children, I believe to be two daughters. Supposedly, she says a lot of controversial things, in particular, stating that Chinese parents love their children more than Western parents do because they do more to ensure their success. It is being reported as almost a kind of manifesto on how parenting should be (no playdates, straight A's all the time, no extra curricular activities other than music lessons and those only either violin or piano and a need for perfection ALL THE TIME). Of course, it has created a media frenzy with emphasis on 1. how awful these parenting practices are for the emotional well-being of the children and 2. that they play on cultural stereotypes.

My first reaction was to wonder why those who think the book is so awful would bother to comment at all. I am sure that Amy Chua must love the publicity - if I am thinking of reading the book, I am sure that I am not alone and the book is probably already in another print run, making her a great deal of money. If you hate the ideas espoused in the book, why give it attention? Why bother? Obviously, the woman is presenting a recipe for raising children with emotional problems and research on long-term emotional success emphatically proves that... just because someone asserts that snow is hot doesn't make it so and at a certain point, what's the point in arguing?

My second reaction is the one that I think this discussion is really all about. I felt just the teeniest twinge of self-doubt. Am I giving my child enough of a push to be successful? Am I too easy on her? Do I put too much of an emphasis on being "happy" and not enough stress on building the skills she needs to be able to compete in the global economy? The louder we yell, the more defensive we are feeling. What middle-class parent doesn't wonder whether her child should be signed up for just one more lesson or whether not doing what friends are doing is going to leave the child behind?

Frankly, I am finding the discussion annoying and a play on the anxieties of parents. I will not read the book and I most certainly not be sending Amy Chua my money. Most of all, I will not be watching "The View" again any time soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Musings on Music

A wonderful bloggy friend of mine, Jill, has started a new series on her blog that has gotten me very excited. I would post a link but I believe that her blog is private, so I think you are out of luck. I enjoy stopping in and following her adventures as a Christian, a mother, a homeschooler and a musician. She plays the violin and music education is a focus with her family.

She posted that she is going to focus on a classical composer each month and that she would expose her children to works by that composer. I think it's a fantastic idea! In teaching, I have found that little kids are much more open to different genres of music and don't have all the negative associations that older people do (e.g., they don't find classical music as "stuffy" or "elitist") and it's a great time to begin shaping their tastes. I think that some of my favourite moments in teaching have involved having my students play imaginary timpani along with Sibelius' Finlandia, playing imaginary instruments from the string family along with Vivaldi's Four Seasons or pretending to play a trumpet with Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man. Why wouldn't I begin that with my own child?

As a graduate of music in university, it may seem odd but we don't listen to a lot of music in our house. I seriously believe that I suffer from A.D.H.D. and I have found that since I hit my 30's, I have a really hard time tuning out extraneous stuff going on around me. A t.v. in the background makes me think I will lose my mind and at workshops, when we need to read and comment on a text, I am almost incapable of retaining what I have read unless there is silence. It's very frustrating. Because of it, though, I don't often have music on unless it's a CD from one of Pk's music classes and it's "homework". I tend to avoid art music in the background especially (I don't know whether it's a universal term but when I was at university, what is commonly referred to as "classical" music was called "art music" since "classical music" really refers to music from the classical period, composers such as Haydn and Mozart). We used to have these exams that were joking called "drop the needle" - we were responsible to learn a selection of music and at the exam, the prof would randomly play excerpts and we had to name the composer, the period, the movement and the title of the piece. When I am anywhere that art music is playing (like a restaurant or a bookstore), I find myself trying to identify what I am hearing and if it doesn't come to me right away, I brood on it.

I like the idea of being deliberate about exposing my children to a different composer a month. I don't think I will do much teaching yet - they are so young, I think that right now, it's just the exposure that's important and we can learn more down the road, as interests develop and music lessons become more structured. For now, I just want to build appreciation of different styles and to develop their ears to hear different instruments and musical elements.

This month, Jill is presenting Mozart and that seems as good a place to start as any. I have to be honest (and Jill and I have been having a fun conversation about this), as a former trombone player, Mozart isn't my favourite. He didn't include a whole lot of low brass in his compositions, although in his Requiem Mass, there is a trombone solo, in the Tuba Mirum, that took years off my life in terms of being scary to play. I tend to like darker, moodier and more richly orchestrated music but I can recognize his absolute genius and appreciate the balance of lightness and sophistication in his creations. Of course, there's also his absolute genius, the HUGE extent of his repertoire and his ability to create a long-standing work of art in one sitting.

We are going to listen primarily to two of his symphonies that I enjoy - Symphony No. 40 and Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter". Not surprisingly, 40 is in G minor so I get my need for darkness filled. Dh claims that he remembers it being used in a Smurfs episode, which is definitely possible. I love the Requiem Mass but I may save that one for down the road. I would guess that Pk might find parts of it a bit scary (e.g., the Dies Irae, one of my favourite movements). Someone gave Baby Bean a Mozart CD for babies that I don't mind either - it's some of his gentler stuff performed by piano, flute, trumpet, violin and cello.

If you listen to Mozart, what are your favourites?

Isn't This What Grandpas are For?

Pk adores her grandparents and Dh and I are thrilled. I only got to know two of mine because my father's mother passed away before I was born and my mother's father died when I was two. They were all gone by the time I was 12. Dh's family emigrated from England (immigrated to Canada - I get emigrated/immigrated confused...) when he was young and he only saw his grandparents a very few times after that. My kids are lucky to have all four still around (and hopefully they will be for many years to come) and reasonably local (mine are an hour away, Dh's are about 2 1/2 hours) so they are an active part of their lives. We feel very lucky.

(I find the glowing eyes on the dog slightly alarming :-).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Look Alikes

There's not much to this post. I was working on a scrapbook of Christmas memories and found these two pictures. People often tell me that my two kids look a lot alike. I can really see it in these photos. Enjoy.

Baby Bean

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Food for Thought

I am not especially comfortable with babies. I love my own kids from day 1 but I find the baby stage really stressful (surprise, surprise). I hate trying to second guess all the time. I think that one of my happiest moments in mothering was the day that Pk announced to me, "Mommy, my teeth hurt. I need Advil". It really bothers me when something is wrong and I don't know what it is. I immediately leap to extremes - "my milk supply must have dropped off and baby is starving," "he must have an ear infection", or, the most common one, "obviously I am doing things wrong, if I had it right he/she wouldn't be crying."

I think the thing that I find hardest is the fact that I don't know what the right answers are. There are many people who purport to have the "right" answers but given the fact that those people are often directly in contradiction to each other, there isn't much security in that. I tend to straddle the line between mainstream and crunchy and that isn't a comfortable place to be. I do some/partial/delayed vaxxing, I cosleep but not entirely by choice, I do some babywearing but I do use a stroller and there is some t.v. watching in this house. There is no black and white and I would really like there to be.

In my case, one of the most stressful things has been introducing solids. With both kids, it has been stressful and worrying and downright frustrating. The hardest part is that nobody seems to have the definitely right answer.

With Pk, I was all set to be mainstream. At about 5 months, I started feeding her breastmilk on a spoon to get her ready for cereal. I mean, come on, cereal was supposed to get her sleeping, right? I anxiously awaited the day we started cereal, she was going to eat and sleep. Right???
Not so much. She refused the cereal. She. Would. Not. Eat. I panicked. She needed the iron in the cereal, it was urgent, right? How was I supposed to get iron into a kid who wouldn't eat? We fought and it got ugly. She would not eat anything pureed. I didn't know what to do. Finally, after about a month of flat-out refusal, I emailed my doctor something along the lines of, "I don't want to be nursing this kid at 15 years old. What do I do?" She suggested giving her dry toast and Cheerios. I did, she fed herself and we were off to the races. I stumbled across something called Baby Led Weaning and we dabbled in it and she ate.

When the time to introduce Baby Bean to solids approached, I found myself getting nervous. I tried to convince myself that he was a different kid and things wouldn't be so stressful. I had decided to forgo the infant cereal after considerable research that indicated that the iron was very poorly absorbed and actually interfered with absorption of breastmilk iron and that the cereal itself had no nutritional value, it was just a vehicle for iron. I came up with a plan for introducing homemade cereals, fruit and veg. And, again, Baby Bean totally refused to eat. I was ready to rip my hair out.

You would think that I would just confidently BLW him again. That would be too easy. I wanted to go that way and I started to give him sticks of food to suck. He was in heaven. He loved banana, canteloup, ripe pears, carrots and most especially, cucumber. I wasn't sure how to go about introducing the other foods, though. Where was I going to get the iron for him? I was a bit nervous about meats for some reason. I mentioned all of this to my doctor and she was fairly blase and suggested buying a pediatric iron supplement. That seemed like a good idea. I went and bought the stuff and felt o.k. about it until I read the box - 1. it needed to be given with water or juice, which he doesn't take and 2. it "may cause discolouration of the teeth that can be removed by brushing with baking soda." Right, I really want to brush his teeth with baking soda.

It seemed like a good idea to call the public health information line in our area. That was when I truly went into a panic. I explained the situation and the nurse on the other end of the phone was less than helpful. I was going to kill my baby by choking him and he was going to have brain damage from not eating the cereal. She had no suggestions to solve my problem, she just tried to terrify me. I came off the phone trying not to cry. I truly didn't know what to do.

Enter Gill Rapley. I googled Baby Led Weaning and ordered the book. I now feel totally confident in the route that we have decided to follow and finally, I feel like I have encountered someone who "gets" my situation. My child is not strange for refusing to eat mush and to have stuff pushing into his mouth without knowing what it is. He is learning as he eats, learning about taste, touch, texture and developing his motor skills. She clearly addresses the concerns about choking and what I have seen from Baby Bean follows exactly what she says will happen. I won't lie, it also made me feel better that the handouts from Public Health clearly outline the great importance of introducing finger foods at 8 months to avoid texture problems down the road so truly, my venture off the beaten track is really only about a month and a half long.

Mealtimes have gone from being a struggle to being fun. I don't do things purely the way she outlines it - Baby Bean isn't yet eating off our plates but the food that he is eating very closely resembles ours, just minus sauces and served in slightly different sizes. He eats melon, bananas, carrots, cucumber, broccoli and pears. Best of all, he is eating chicken and turkey for iron and I plan to introduce beef tomorrow. He is having a blast and I don't have to fight. The best part is that Gill is right, while it seems at first like he isn't actually eating anything since so much is left behind or comes back out of his mouth, his diaper is proving that some food is getting in. I consider this a win-win situation - no texture issues down the road, no store-bought baby food (I don't judge anyone who uses it, I just don't like all that I see on the label - I couldn't find any fruit other than prunes that didn't have preservatives) and it travels well.

Cross your fingers for me that it continues to go well. With his terrible, Terrible, TERRIBLE sleeping these days thanks to teething, I am just not up to another fight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Multitude Monday 105

holy experience

I haven't done an entry for the new year so this should be a long list.

105. having dh home for 3 weeks
106. mincemeat tarts, hard sauce, snow pudding with custard sauce
107. Christmas Eve church services, candlelight services
108. laughing with family
109. recovery from illness
110. kind emergency room doctors who don't make parents of young children feel like we are wasting their time
111. a clean slate, a new year
112. the way that snow cleans up a dirty-looking world
113. the blue of a sky next to snow
114. getting back into routine
115. flannel pyjamas and sheets
116. hot pots of tea
117. hot chocolate after a winter walk
118. that snowsuits only need to be put on for a few months of the year
119. when I can find both mittens right away
120. to have time with my children (someone from high school died this week of cancer and she discovered her cancer when she was 8 months pregnant with her first child and died when he was in junior kindergarten - that certainly reminded me to treasure every moment that I have to give love to my children

Have a wonderful week filled with blessings.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year

I do make resolutions but I am not going to share them here. I know that most resolutions don't get kept but at this time of the year, I really like the idea of a clean slate, a chance to work on the things that aren't the way I want them to be in my life, the idea that I can craft things in a different way. As always, I have made resolutions but this year, I am trying to see them more as goals. Not only did I write them but I also wrote the steps I would need to follow or the criteria I would need to meet to actually achieve them. I am also journaling a bit to record and explore my progress. I want this year to be different.

One thing that I do want to share, however, is my word for the year. I have not heard of this before but two blogs I love, Emerging Mummy and Big Adventure Calling, had posts about choosing a word for the year, a word that encompasses the direction in which each blogger is either feeling pulled or is wanting to travel. I LOVE this idea. It took me all of three seconds to come up with my word for the year.

Peace. That's it. It's what I crave and what I lack. It's the ability to slow down, to be in the moment. It's the chance to take a deep breath, to trust that God is good enough and that things will work out. It's releasing my need to analyse everything to death and to question everything and stew over it. It's rest, it's quiet, it's knowing that I am doing the best that I can in the best way that I know how. It's being quiet so that I can listen and hear what I need to move forward on the right path. For me, it's the opposite of worry, anxiety, frenzy, being overwhelmed. It's the word that's going on my wall and into my heart.

Here's hoping I can find it, with help.

John 14:27 (New Living Translation)

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.