Sunday, January 30, 2011

I accept my parenting, Part III

This will be the last part in this series of posts. I promise my posts will regain a more focused nature after this last one. Maybe you didn't notice, but I feel like I've been rambling a bit lately.

Here we go. Last post on this topic...

Thursday ended well. Friday got off to a rough start. I woke up grumpy. The alarm had been going off repeatedly after J. got out of bed. H was in the other room and I couldn't turn it off properly, or get his attention for him to do it, without waking up L.

I was irritated and tired. That was conflict number one.

Conflict number two: earlier in the week, I made plans to go out with several moms from the moms group on Friday night...without children or partners. J. was going to watch L. and I was going to go out all by myself with other moms. Please note that I've only done such a thing ONCE since L. was born 14.5 months ago.

Seriously, only on one other time (aside from while I was working and working doesn't count) have I gone out without my husband and/or daughter.

Long story short, J. didn't want me to go. I wanted to go.

That is is the super simplified version. This discussion continued in some fashion or another throughout the entire day.

In the end, I went out with ladies and I had a wonderful time. We laughed a lot and I got to know several amazing women a little better.

J. and L. had a rough time while I was gone. We'd had a long day and she hadn't napped so I was able to put her to bed early. She woke up right after I left and was upset to find that I wasn't there. J. tried everything (milk, dancing, food, music, movies, toys, etc.) and ended up taking her to my mother-in-law's house. She calmed down in the car and, with the two of them keeping her distracted, they had a pretty good time until I got home.

At one point they started showing her pictures of her first birthday party on the TV (my mother-in-law has the internet and Picassa hooked up to their TV). It seemed like a good idea until there was a picture of me. J. said that her whole demeanor changed when she saw my picture and she walked up to the TV and tried to touch it and looked behind it while my mother-in-law quickly tried to put another picture up.

I felt a little guilty when I heard that.

For a while I was going back and forth about whether it was a good idea for me to go. L. has been sick and nursing a lot and clinging to me and fussy all week (part of why I needed a break) and I felt like I wasn't being a good mom leaving even though she'd been feeling better. But I accept my parenting. I am a good mom, even if I take a few minutes away from my daughter.

I reminded myself over and over again that taking time for myself makes me a better mom. I have more patience, more energy, and more fun when I've had a few minutes alone. I really questioned this Friday afternoon and Friday evening before I left. I felt really selfish leaving J. alone with L.

I shouldn't have questioned myself. I'm not selfish. I was gone for less than three hours and they were fine. Even though they had a few rough moments, they were fine.

My mother-in-law supported my decision to have some girlfriend time and I'm glad she did. I really needed that reassurance that it was okay. I think J. was more understanding when he saw how relaxed and happy I was when I got home.

So, that's it. It took me three days to get to a point where I accept my parenting. There will probably be moments of doubt again in the future but for now I'm okay.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I accept my parenting, Part II

So, I went to bed Wednesday night feeling like a lousy mom and a lousy partner. In my effort to tidy up the house and make things nice for my husband, I inadvertently put him at the end of my list. In my mind, I was taking care of everything so we could relax and have a few minutes together. In reality, I did a bunch of unimportant stuff and didn't have time with him before L. woke up.

He felt like he wasn't important to me, we didn't get time together, I was stressed out when L. woke up...and so on.

For me, part of good parenting is setting a good example. I want J. and I to be a good example of a healthy relationship for L. I want her the grow up knowing how to treat a partner and how a partner should treat her. Taking care of yourself is important in a relationship, but at the time, making your partner feel insignificant is not okay, even if it is done unintentionally.

Before we moved last summer my mom gave me a book called Plain and Simple by Sue Bender. I loved it. At one point she talks about how the Amish people value the process as much as the result. The idea is that each thing you do has equal importance (This is a super simplified explanation. It's on page 85 in my edition). The past few months I've been trying to find joy in all the little tasks throughout the day and not constantly be rushing to get through the chores so I can enjoy something else.

I realized that was what I did Wednesday night. I was so frantic to get all the little miscellaneous stuff done so I could spend time with J. that I didn't enjoy the things I was doing and then I was disappointed in the end because I didn't get to have five minutes alone with him. To top it off, L. could tell I was upset (and probably rushing her back to sleep) and that made her upset too.

It was a big old snowball and I didn't realize it.

Thursday morning the snow storm continued. I woke up late. We rushed to get out of the house. I still wasn't feeling like a good mom or a good partner.

J. and I talked on the drive to work (L. and I were dropping him off). We need to make more time for ourselves, I need to make more time for myself. Real time. We need to make real time for us and for myself...not just five minutes stolen while no one is looking and I try to write an email or read a book and get called back to reality by people yelling my name from the other room.

It was good that we had a chance to talk. I felt a little better when we dropped him at work. The day was looking more sunny.

L. and I had a good morning. While she napped and I tried to take care of some business. I've been trying to find a new pediatrician for L. I spent a long time on the phone with our insurance company. Finally, I found out the pediatrician that several people recommended was covered. I called the doctor's office to see if they were taking new patients. I went through all the questions and, although I was caught off guard by several of her questions, it seemed like it was going to work out just fine.

As an after thought I mentioned that we've been doing the Dr. Sears selective vaccine schedule. Good thing I did. Apparently this doctor doesn't allow patients to do any variation of the vaccine schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The woman I was talking to changed her attitude abruptly. She acted like I was ignorant and reckless. When I hung up the phone I felt like she thought I was a bad parent.

I was really shook up. I was physically shaking and feeling highly anxious when I got off the phone. How dare a complete stranger question my ability to parent my child? How dare she assume that my husband and I haven't put a lot of time, research, thought, and debate into our decisions surrounding vaccinations? She knows nothing about me, our family history, or my daughter. She doesn't know that I had a seizure following a vaccination when I was four years old. Yes, I'm concerned about vaccinations and no, that doesn't make me a bad parent.

Take a deep breath.

I accept my parenting.

I decided I just needed to let go of everything for the rest of the day. When L. woke up from her nap, we went to the aquarium. It's one of her favorite places. The aquarium made us both feel better. I have a wonderful daughter. I'm not perfect but I'm doing my best. Watching her run around with pure joy, pointing at all the fish, playing in the fountain, I repeated my affirmation again. I accept my parenting.

By the time J. was done with work, I was feeling more relaxed. L. took another short nap when we got home and J. and I had some time alone. I ignored everything else and focused on relaxing. It was just what I needed.

To be continued...

I accept my parenting, Part I

I've been saying this affirmation for three days now.

I accept my parenting.

Wednesday night I started feeling anxious. I haven't felt this anxious for a while and it just kind of snuck up on me. Nothing bad happened. Wednesday was a good day. L. and I spent the day watching another little baby (a seven month old girl) and it went fine. L. had a few moments where she was a little jealous in the morning but by the afternoon she was fine.

If the other little baby got upset, L. would pat her on the head or hand her a toy. L. also put on a few good shows to get my attention (I was paying attention to her but I was holding another baby so L. thought it necessary to keep me well entertained). She got a blanket and wrapped herself up in it, played hide and seek, and I could see so much emotion in her face. It was amazing to see the contrast between her and our little baby friend. I found myself thinking about how much L. has grown and learned over the last seven months. It was hard to remember her being only seven months old and so much more of a baby than she is now.

I felt good. I accepted my parenting. I felt like I've done a good job so far.

Then it was bedtime. L. went down to sleep with a little more difficulty than usual. She was fussy and clinging. After L. finally went to sleep, I ran around trying to tidy up and do the dishes and respond to a few emails. By the time I was getting in bed with J. she woke up. I really wanted to have a few minutes alone with J. and tried to get her back to sleep in her crib. She didn't go for that. She's been sick and she wanted to be attached to me. Three hours later I needed a break. I left her with J. and went out of the room for a minute (probably 30 seconds only it felt way longer). I could hear her crying and it didn't really help. I got back in bed her with and let her "nurse" again (I don't know how there could possibly be anything left after three hours but apparently it didn't matter).

She finally fell back to sleep and let go of me a little while later. I felt like this three and a half hour bedtime session should make me feel good about my parenting skills. I got her to sleep in the end right?

But it didn't make me feel good about my parenting skills. I did not feel like accepting my parenting. I was upset, L. was upset, J. was upset. Obviously I was doing something wrong.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sick

L. has been sick. It sucks.

She's snotting and coughing and she will only sleep while laying on top of me and nursing. It's a little better today than it was yesterday. Yesterday was a little better than Friday.

She's been in a fairly good mood despite it all.

I'm glad we're still nursing. I'm glad that it makes her feel better (or at least more comfortable).

I hope she feels better soon. I'm crossing our fingers for a good flight tomorrow...and no snot. Nothing is worse than flying with a head full of snot.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toddler Biting

No, that's not my affirmation for today. It's just the title of this post. I considered several others but figured that was the simplest one.

Just in case you're curious, these are some of the alternate titles I considered:

"Toddler Biting and Tantrums"

"Feeling Self Conscious About My Mommy Skills"

"Overtired Toddler Rebels"

Like I said, I figured "Toddler Biting" was simplest.

Monday was a long day. L. had a good nap and played hard all afternoon. We were staying with friends and I underestimated the time it would take us to bathe the kiddos, make dinner, and make up our sleeping space.

Long story short, by the time we were ready to eat dinner, L. had reached her limit. Her little friend (also 1 year old) gave her a hug (and held on super tight), they fell over and L. ended up flat on her back with the other little girl on top of her (still hugging). Before I could do anything, L. bit her on the arm. Hard.

Seriously, it happened so fast. They'd been hugging each other all afternoon with no problems. L. really likes hugging. She gave as many hugs as she received (probably more) and all of the sudden, she was biting her friend. She didn't break the skin but she left little teeth marks on her arm.

It was horrible. I felt horrible. The kids were crying. I felt like crying. I felt like a bad mom. I felt embarrassed (even now I'm wondering if I should even post this). I should have just taken her to bed when I knew she was reaching her limit. I knew she was tired and yet I kept her up (I knew she wouldn't go to bed without me) because I wanted to eat dinner and I didn't want to be rude.

Yup, selfish me.

I'm glad our friend loves us. I'm glad she doesn't hate us forever. She knew it wasn't L.'s normal behavior. She knew L. was tired and that it had been a long day for all of us.

But still, I think I'm reaching my limit. All the traveling, new places, new people, jet lag, and no regular nap schedule has left my child cranky. She's whiny and clingy and tired. I've tried to help her nap and, with the exception of Monday night, I've gone to bed early so she will go to bed early. Nothing seems to help.

She's in a good mood for 30 minutes when she first wakes up in the morning or if we're doing something exciting like hanging out of other kids or going to the aquarium (with the obvious exception of Monday night when the exhaustion overshadowed the happiness of being around other children). I'm seriously beginning to question my mommy skills.

Normally L. isn't fussy. She's in a good mood. She does pretty much everything with me and we have a good time. Generally, she's happy. She smiles, she laughs, and I think I'm pretty lucky. She's full of energy and never stops moving and constantly keeps me on my toes, but she does it cheerfully (I feel slightly dishonest writing that. We definitely have our tough moments at home too. It all just feels compounded the last few weeks). Now that she's cranky I question my abilities. I've always thought I was a pretty good mom. But the crankiness...I have no patience.

I guess this is my new challenge. Patience is my goal. I get to be a good mom to a kid who never stops moving and cries all the time. (I should note here that she doesn't really cry ALL the time. Relative to how she is at home, it feels like she cries all the time but people around me say she's really not that bad). I guess perspective will be part of the goal too. I need some perspective.

I'm hoping that she goes back to being herself when we get home. I think she just misses her dad, her toys, our dog, our house.

I'm going to focus on getting her caught up on her sleep and hope that maybe it will all be better when we get home.

Here's to hoping I'll never have to deal with toddler biting ever again.

I am proud to be a woman

I'm struggling with how to begin this post. The last few days have been wonderful. I've had the opportunity to spend several days with with some of the most incredible women in my life. They are strong, intelligent, compassionate, loving women and mothers.

It seems fitting that my affirmation today was:

I am proud to be a woman.

Let me tell you about my ladies. We were all pregnant together, did prenatal yoga together, had our babies within months of each other, and have continued to raise our children together (even though we're not always in the same city).

All of our stories are a little different. There were home births, birth center births, hospital births, a VBAC, medicated births, unmedicated births, long labors, short labors. Some babies were early, some were a little later. Some had easier recoveries, others were more difficult. Some of the women are working now, some are staying home, one is in school, one is pregnant again. Others are thinking about the possibilities the next year might hold.

It was incredible to see how much the babies have grown and how much personality they have. They are all so different. They're all toddling around now. They hand toys back and forth, hug each other, change their minds, squeeze each other too tight, fall over, play hide and seek, and peek-a-boo. It's thrilling to see how they have all developed into little individuals and their moms have developed into confident mothers.

I am so proud to be a woman. I am so proud to be part of such an amazing community of women. I am so proud of what we have accomplished. Each one of us has struggled to find balance, find ourselves, maintain relationships, maintain jobs, and find joy in our new roles as mothers. And we have all done that in one way or another. Each of our routines is different but many of our challenges are the same. Some of our struggles are unique within our group. But even those are not as unique as they seem as first glance

We are all so different but we do so much. We juggle so many things and we are amazing. I want to go on and on about all the things my friends have dealt with and overcome and the incredible things they accomplish everyday...but I won't because this post would be much, much too long. When I started this post I was thinking specifically about my friends I saw over the last few days, but as I'm writing this, I'm thinking of all my friends, all over the country (and in different countries) who have recently become mothers. It doesn't matter where they are, we all face so many of the same things. Motherhood has brought so many strong women into my life.

But on to my main point: We don't know how amazing we are. We don't really, truly believe we are amazing. I can say the affirmation, "I am proud to be a woman." And I am. But there is a part of my brain that is saying, "yeah, yeah, you're proud to be a woman but you should have done...you could have dealt with _____ better."

I've been making a conscious effort to tell the women I love and admire how amazing they are. My friends inspire me on a daily basis. Whether they are dealing with a chronically ill child, post-partum depression, a ridiculous quantity of dirty dishes, a sick partner, unemployment, or just a random poopy day, they are amazing. Seriously.

But when I tell them they are amazing, that they inspire me, or that they are good mothers, I don't think they believe me. Just like I don't entirely believe them when they tell me these things.

It's not okay! We need to believe each other. None of us are perfect but that doesn't make us any less amazing or beautiful or successful. We don't have to be perfect to be good mothers to our children, good partners, or good friends. We are amazing women and amazing mothers.

I feel this way about my friends who are not mothers too.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing she's intelligent, beautiful, and strong. I want her to really believe these things and I realize that I am her example. If I don't believe these things about myself, she'll know that I don't. I don't want her to question herself the same way that I question myself.

I'm going to work on that. No, I'm not going to go to the opposite extreme and start telling everyone I meet that I'm fabulous. That's not what I mean.

I'm going to work on being happy about my little successes every day. I'm going to accept compliments without making excuses. I'm going to focus on being glad that I'm me instead of focusing on how I think I should be. I'm going to strive to live in the present. I'm going to tell all the women that I love and admire, exactly how awesome they are and I'm going to start right now.

To the women in my life, including the five generations of amazing women in my own family, I am thankful for each one of you. Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Wordless Wednesday

Quick disclaimer: today's image is actually from last week. I haven't been able to put this week's pictures on the computer yet!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I sleep well and let myself rest

I sleep well and let myself rest when I need it.

Yes and no. I've had a rough week sleeping. I have a hard time sleeping when my partner isn't next to me. I know he has a hard time sleeping without me too. I have a hard time falling asleep, wake up a lot at night (typically early in the morning), and I have been having a lot of strange dreams (fairly normal for me but not helpful).

I've been dealing with this by focusing on the resting part. Instead of beating myself up about not being able to sleep, I've been reading. I figure that it's better to lay down and relax (and help L. sleep better away from the familiarity of home) than to worry about not sleeping.

This has had mixed results. I've been going through a lot of books which is good (I'm enjoying the time to read) and I've been practicing sitting still. I have a hard time sitting still. I always feel like there is something else I can be (should be) doing.

So, it's good to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow myself to rest.

This affirmation also made me reflect on how I rest at home. I'm not very good at it. I constantly feel like I need to be doing something else. I try to work on the computer while L. is napping if she won't let me put her down, I compile lists in my head of the things I need to do, and think up menus for the coming weeks. The result is that even if I'm sitting still, I'm agitated.

I've been working on this for a while. I have to consciously let go of everything in my head. I have to take a deep breath and try to focus on other things and remind myself that it's okay if I take time to nap with my daughter. It's okay if I'm not moving every minute. It's okay to sit down.

It's okay to rest. Vacation is a good time to remind myself of this. I'm planning to take the time I've rested this week home with me. When I'm at home, feeling guilty for sitting still, I'm going to remind myself of how it felt to relax and read (and eventually sleep) this week. I'm going to promise myself that I will give myself permission to rest and I'll remember what it feel like to relax.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I will flow with my changes

I have a confession to make. I missed a few days of affirmations.

Second confession: this is why I didn't make any New Year's resolutions. I tend to have unrealistic expectations for myself. When I make resolutions, I tend to go overboard. Then I get upset with myself for breaking the resolutions that weren't really realistic in the first place.

I decided this year, I wasn't going to set myself up for failure.

I set goals instead. I decided goals were a little more flexible. L. and I are visiting my parents and what with traveling and getting settled and caught up with everyone here, I missed a few days of resolutions. I'm okay with that.

Instead of trying to make up the days I missed, I'm starting where I left off.

Today's affirmation is:

I will flow with my changes.

This was the perfect affirmation for today. J. is starting his new job today. I'm 100% certain it will change our lives for the better. I can't put into words how I feel. It's incredible. I think I might burst with joy.

The other reason this is perfect for today is that L. and I had a good day today. Yesterday was a really bad day. Today was good. I'm flowing with the changes. Some days are good and some days are bad.

Remember all that stuff I wrote about being compassionate and bonding and patience? I sucked at it yesterday.

Yesterday I yelled at L. to be quiet. She had been screaming for an hour and a half. I couldn't figure out why (still not sure...she was just having a bad day) and I was super frustrated. She didn't want to be down, she didn't want to be up, she didn't want to nurse, she had a clean diaper, she had a full tummy. I was by myself and would have poked myself in the eyeball with a fork if it made her stop crying.

Just for a split second I lost it. I screamed for her to shut up. I wasn't even really yelling at her so much as at the universe. But I've never yelled at (or near) her before and it scared her. Consequently, she cried louder and I felt like the most horrible mom on the planet. Seriously, I felt like a horrible mom. I felt like CPS was going to break down my door because I'd yelled at my darling girl when she was upset and I couldn't fix it.

I immediately picked her up and hugged her and we called J. He didn't answer so we called my best friend. She answered and made us both feel better. L. finally started nursing and we went to my sister-in-law's house for the rest of the afternoon.

I had planned a big dinner for everyone but it didn't go as planned. It was one of those days. The chicken in the crock-pot was still raw at dinner time (apparently my mom's slow cooker is WAY slower than mine.) The bread I made didn't rise or cook right and it was still doughy in the middle. At that point I didn't even bother with the salad.

My mom and I ended up going to the grocery store to get already cooked chickens and bags of salad. All the kids ate the doughy bread anyway so we didn't get bread. L. screamed the whole time I was putting her car seat in my mom's car. It was awesome.

But that was yesterday. Today was good. I made bread again and turned out fine. We're eating the chicken from yesterday with the new loaves of bread. L. napped this morning and I made the salad while she slept. She's been in a good mood today which has done wonders for my mood. So, I'm flowing with the changes. New day, new mood, new job, new bread, new snow...

I'm letting go and it's a beautiful day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I am able to bond with my baby

Thursday's affirmation was:

I am able to bond with my baby.

This was a fun affirmation. I'm so grateful everyday that I have such a strong bond with my daughter. She's amazing. We bond while she's nursing, while she sits on her potty, while we read books, while we dance around the kitchen, while we're walking to the park, while we swing, and slide, and run.

This affirmation reminded me how lucky I am that my daughter and I bonded so strongly. I'm a big fan of attachment parenting and L. spent a lot of her first year riding around in the Moby or the Ergo. She always sleeps best when she's right next to us (for a long time she napped while I was carrying her in the Moby or the Ergo. And she still spends a lot of time in the Ergo...)

This affirmation was good for me because it reminded me why all of these things are so important to me. When L. is nursing and pinching my nipple or when she doesn't want to be put down and my shoulders ache or I want just a few minutes without anyone touching me and she clings to me for dear life or cries when I put her in her crib, I say this affirmation. I will keep saying this affirmation every time I'm ready to scream and remind myself of how lucky I am to have such a strong bond with my daughter.

She loves me. She trusts me. She knows I will keep her safe and healthy. What more could I ask for?

Well, at the age of one, she has learned compassion. Perhaps not consciously, but I'm convinced the instinct is there. All of the times that we picked her up immediately when she cried and hugged and comforted her seem to have influenced her. Not only does she have a bond with me and my husband, she is very sensitive to others. If another child cries or is upset, she goes to them immediately and touches their arm or tries to give them a hug. The first time I saw this I thought it was a fluke. I thought she was just curious about all the fuss...but then she did it again and again.

I'm convinced that because I was able to bond with my baby, that she has learned to be sensitive and caring towards others. As I focused on this affirmation I realized that because I was able to bond with my baby (and continue to strengthen that bond every day) my daughter is developing into an amazing human being--a human being that I admire and am inspired by. I want to have her patience. I want to remember to hug all my friends who needs hugs.

I am able to bond with my baby. Because I am bonded with my baby, I work hard every day to have patience and compassion towards her and others. I realize that the actions that bond me to my daughter set an example for her. My actions show her how to treat people and that motivates me and reminds me to be calm and loving.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I am at peace within myself

Today I focused on the affirmation:

I am at peace within myself.

And I had a very peaceful day. We had a nice breakfast as a family. We went to a play-date at Chuck E. Cheese's and we were only a little bit late. [I should mention at this point that J. and I once swore we would never take our kids to Chuck E. Cheese's. We're not horrible parents, we're just not fans of the place. We made an exception today because it was the 1,000th play-date celebration for the mom's group, it was 10am on a school day, and L. is still to young to remember it and whine about going back tomorrow.]

The play-date was much more relaxing than I expected. 10am on a school day is a good time to go (if you're going to go) and J. played with L. while I talked to my mom-friends. The three of us rode on the giant rocking horse and L. got to hug all of her one-year-old friends.

I thought about my affirmation while we were there and felt really happy. I felt the peace within me...how else could I feel relaxed, happy, and peaceful at Chuck E. Cheese's? I felt like it was proof that, in that moment at least, I was at peace within myself.

When we got home, L. took a nap and I had a few minutes to relax (there were things I could have been doing but I decided to just sit and relax for a few minutes. It was great. ) When she woke up we chatted with the neighbors and ran a few errands. None of it felt stressful.

Later in the day, my inner peace was tested. After dinner L. didn't want J. to give her a bath, she wanted me. Flattering but frustrating. J. was irritated that she was upset. I was starting to feel stressed about the dishes and laundry I didn't get done earlier in the day while I was enjoying my peacefulness. J. did all the cooking yesterday and today so it was definitely my turn for dishes.

However, I took a deep breathe, tried to remember what the peace inside me felt like earlier in the day and let it go. I did as many dishes as I could before L. was ready for bed and I turned the dishwasher on. I switched the clothes from the washer to the dryer and folded the dry diapers. And that was it. I couldn't do anything else tonight.

Since I couldn't do anymore tonight, J. and I watched two episodes of The Office and laughed really hard. Laughing totally made it easy to let go of all the stuff that didn't get done. Now I feel peaceful again and I'm going to go to sleep with my beautiful little family all snuggled next to me.

Good night.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It is okay to cry

I woke up this morning and read today's affirmation:

It is okay to cry.

I thought about this all day. It is okay to cry and I've definitely done my share of crying over the last year. But today I didn't feel like crying. I thought a lot about last January and how much I cried then. I cried when L. was nursing and my nipples hurt. I cried when I had to go back to work. I cried because I was tired. But today was okay. We've come a long way in a year.

J. was home today and he went grocery shopping and cooked dinner and did a lot of the dishes. I ate lunch and napped with L. for the second half of her nap this afternoon. It was a good day and I didn't feel like crying. It was cloudy and gray and I realized how much the sun influences my mood but I still didn't feel like crying. It's supposed to be sunny again on Thursday.

So there I was, thinking about what a good day it had been and how I would write a nice post about how I didn't feel at all like crying today. And then it was time to get L. ready for bed.

L. was a little clingy toward bedtime. She pulled on my clothes while I brushed my teeth, she cried every time I tried to have J. hold her. She had a good dinner, she played with her toys, she nursed several times, she had a clean diaper. All she wanted was for me to hold her and to nurse.

But she didn't just want to nurse--she wanted to do extreme nursing. She wanted to nurse on one side while pulling on my clothes, doing downward dog sideways, and pinching the nipple she was not currently using. When I tried to move the pinching hand, she would pull away (almost taking my other nipple with her), unlatch herself (roughly, I might add) and yell and fight to grab my nipple again. Seriously, you'd think she wasn't able to get milk out of one side without pinching the other.

So we did this for a while. I was getting exhausted when she suddenly hopped off the side of the bed and staggered down the hallway (as only a one year old "drunk on the boob" and half asleep can do) to the living room to play with her toys. I gave her a few minutes before hauling her back to bed. Once back in bed we spent another 33 minutes wrestling before she finally fell asleep.

Around 28 minutes I considered crying. If she'd still been awake and trying to pinch my nipple at 35 minutes, I would probably be crying right now.

P.S. I'm not sure why it says I posted this at 7:42pm. It's definitely 10:15pm.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I am able to care for myself

That was my affirmation today:

I am able to care for myself

And I did that today. L. and I had friends over for a play-date and we went to the park. This was fabulous after our REALLY long day home alone yesterday. After our friends left, while L. took a nap, I decided it was about time I painted my toe nails. I know this is not an essential task (and it's not something I do all the time) but I still have paint on my toes from Halloween and I've been wanting to take it off.

My mother-in-law gave me a little bag filled with nail polish remover, cotton pads, a nail clipper, and a new nail polish for Christmas. I laughed when I saw it. Perhaps she was trying to tell me how desperately I need to do my nails? Probably not (although it's true.) I think it more likely she wanted me to take some time for myself.

So, when L. was finally napping, I got out all my goodies and went to work. I took the polish off one toe and L. woke up. The timing was comical.

I didn't get another chance until after J. was home from work (last day!) and we'd had dinner. J. watched L. while I quickly took the polish off and put one coat back on. Success!

I'm not a super "girly" girl but it's silly how happy it made me to have new polish on my toes. I'm glad I decided to review the affirmations this month because I probably wouldn't have finished my toes today if I hadn't been telling myself "I am able to care for myself" all day.

Ta-da!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Feel the Love...

Today my affirmation was:
I feel the love others have for me

When I woke up and read this line, I had a few ideas of the things I might write at the end of the day. Some of what I thought about this morning is still true now that it's super late and I'm finally writing this. But the rest of the day didn't quite go as expected.

I'll start with the stuff I was thinking about this morning.

J. got up today and went to a job he hates (tomorrow is his LAST day. He starts his new job on the 11th!) He's been working at a job he hates for almost six months now, just so I can stay home with L. He definitely loves me.

While I was home with L. today she gave me lots of hugs and reminded me why I love being home with her. We cleaned and vacuumed and washed laundry and she followed me around, catching the spots I missed with her bright yellow, toy vacuum cleaner. She loves me too. I could feel it when she smiled.

Here's the stuff I wasn't expecting today.

I got a call from my dad and found out that my grandfather had a mild heart attack last night. (He's okay and was released from the hospital early this evening.) I called my grandmother while they were still at the hospital and I could feel the love she and my grandfather have for us. They were at the hospital but they were worried about how we were doing.

Later in the afternoon I talked to my parents again. Dad was painting the new room in their house so it is ready when we visit. He wasn't feeling well and was busy painting but still took time to talk to us. My mom was busy at work but still took time to talk and was ready to offer more help than I thought we needed (and she was right, it turns out we needed more help than I asked for) when I didn't even really know how to ask. They love us and I think they miss us as much as we miss them.

Tonight, my mother-in-law called to say hello and see how we were doing when she found out J. was (unexpectedly) working late and L. and I had been at home by ourselves for 10 hours. She called just when I needed someone to talk to. She loves us too.

When J. finally got home from work tonight, he let me eat dinner first (L. was really fussy this evening and missed her dad) while he played with L. After we'd both eaten he helped me put the clean sheets on the bed without a single word of complaint even though he had just spent 12 hours taking sheets off beds at the hotel. (Now that he's given his notice he gets all the fun jobs. Thank goodness tomorrow is his last day!) But he knew I'd had a difficult afternoon too and didn't way a word. He definitely loves me.

So, I'm going to bed tonight, very aware of the love others have for me. I can feel it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and I've decided to start the year on a positive note. Today has been a good day. So far so good.

I don't really want to make resolutions but I want to enjoy the little things this year. I want to have confidence in myself, have patience, meet at least a few of the goals on my list. I want to get a sewing machine (and learn to sew), I want to plant a garden, I want to run another half marathon (which means I need to actually start running again), and I want to go to the beach as much as possible. But if I only do one of those things (or all of them) it's going to be okay. It will be a good year no matter what.

When L. was born our midwives gave me a little calendar with a positive affirmation for each day. This little post-partum calendar is still hanging inside the door of the medicine cabinet in our bathroom. I've decided I'm going to focus on one of these affirmations each day this month to remind myself of all the good things and, hopefully, help me appreciate each day a little more. It sounds a little cheesy, reading what I've just written but that's okay. I think it will be fun.

Today's affirmation is:

I am gentle and strong

I am gentle and strong. Today I played with my daughter and held her gently while she nursed on my lap. We gave each other lots of hugs today. I was gentle while we spent lots of time sitting on the potty today (she peed in the potty five times today!) and I was gentle when we missed and she peed on the floor. I was gentle with myself for my lapse of attention that resulted in our miss. I was strong while I cleaned the floor and did laundry today...and I took a shower too and shaved my legs--just for me.

Happy New Year! I hope the year got off to a good start for all of you!

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