Monthly Archives: May 2015

Birthday parties

So, as long time readers know, we joined a group for newborns and their parents at a local nonprofit. It was ten weeks of groups that are now over but the goal is really to connect with parents.

There are some parents I like a lot, some I like just fine, and one who are nice but just not people we would ever be friends with. Like the dad posts this kind of stuff on facebook:

So now kids in the group are starting to have birthdays and we were just invited to their son’s birthday party. We can be “out of town” that weekend, right?


You can’t, you won’t, and you don’t stop

When Gus had his six month pediatrician visit she said a few things that really stuck out to me. First, when talking about sleep, she said if we wanted to do any sleep training we had to do it right then or wait until he was about 15 months because between 9 months and 12 months things happen so rapidly that it is unfair to kiddos to try to do sleep training. The second thing she said was that Gus was going to hit gross motor milestones early and to not be worried about other stuff – he was spending all of his brain energy doing that.

That appointment was a month ago and those things all make sense now. Last week he started crawling. It started with a few crawls and a lot of pulling himself around army crawl style. Then, all of a sudden, he was able to sit up from laying down. This week he is doing more actual crawling because he realized that he can better change positions from that stance. He’s also pulling himself up on things. He’s not super sturdy but he can do it. He’s been cruising us when we are laying down with him but yesterday cruised a chair.

Last week he also got his first tooth. (Big week!) Yesterday we noticed the second is coming in. He handle the first one well and is doing okay with the second although last night was a rough night (he also got a shot yesterday though so maybe that was some of it). He’s had no fevers, no major signs of pain, and minimal disrupted sleep.

There are things he can’t do as well. We printed out the 9 month ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire) and filled it out so we know what kind of things we should be looking for him to do in the next couple of months. He’s actually got most of it down but a few things stood out to us: 1) His fine motor skills are not quite there. He can do many of the things asked (like pick up a string) but has trouble with the pinching motion for food. I think he still scores fine but we’d love to see that improve. 2) He talks A LOT but I don’t feel he is close to word communication. The other day he said “doggie” but he repeated it after me. I don’t count words until he is using them to communicate. So we’re working on labeling things more when talking to him (“See the doggie? Look at that doggie!” “Kitty!” “Is that your kitty?”) 3) Clapping. It asked if he claps. We had never shown him clapping. Clearly doing that now.

The fourth thing is a bit odd. It asks if he responds appropriately when you tell him “No”. I’m really struggling with this one. I hate the idea of the first word he understands being “no”. But we talked about it and can’t come up with a good alternative. When he is hair pulling or hitting me in the face then I need to tell him no. He needs a command that is understandable to all situations. I wish there was a better alternative but I can’t find it. So this week, we sadly started telling him “no.”

But for the most part he continues to soar. I didn’t really understand this about babies – It’s not like they can crawl and then three months later they can walk. They can crawl and then after that they spend ever waking hour working on walking. We’ve hit the point where there are not breaks between development, just a kid who is braining so hard to get to what is next.

We’re a little terrified.


Right and Wrong

Something I am working on as a parent is understanding that for the most part there is no right. Sure, there are things that are 100% wrong but for the most part everyone is doing what works best for them and doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. I try to be mindful of this in my professional life – most of my clients do things very differently than we do and that’s okay – what they are doing is okay.

But as hard as I try I am struggling with this a lot in my personal life today. Bear with me, if you’d like, and follow along.

Lesley and I are your typical hippie parents. We are “attachment parents” or “crunchy mamas” or whatever term you may like. Gus will wean from my boobs whenever he wants, he will extended rear face in his car seat, we are cloth diapering, baby wearing, coconut oil using hippies. I can go on and on about this but I’m guessing you get it. I (and really, we) have two sets of best friends for over ten years: E and K (a couple, three older children, tiny baby J – E blogs over at gaybymakessix  – and L and J who have two daughters e (note the small e to clear up confusion) and h. e is almost 3, h is 2 months or so.

L and J live in the midwest town we moved from. We do not see them often but talk regularly. They are very different parents than us. As soon as e hit 14 pounds they put her in her room, shut the door, and just let her cry. This is something I am adamantly against. They switched e forward facing in the car at a year despite the APA recommendation of 2 years. e watches a lot of tv and eats a lot of junk food and overall we’re just different people and they serve as a good reminder of why we left the midwest.

Today J posted on facebook about how e is sucking her thumb. They tried to paint it with the bad nail polish and it didn’t do anything so their next step is taping her thumb to her hand. TAPING HER THUMB TO HER HAND. She is not even three years old! They do not want to pay for braces and she is just doing this for attention – those are J’s arguments.

I am so appalled by this. First, she is not even 3. Second, she has a new baby sister and is adjusting to that. Third, I have a really hard time with adults taking control of children’s bodies and not teaching them that their body is their own. I think this is cruel. I think this is completely wrong. I really am totally horrified.

Now, I should mention that sometimes J makes big statements to be dramatic so there is a chance that this is not happening. But in talking with Lesley and E, Lesley, E, K, and I all think this is happening.

I honestly don’t even know how to deal with this. We will see L and J and the girls this summer and I don’t know how to even look at them. I also imagine that this is not the end of these issues. J is pro spanking and if they ever hit their children or threaten to hit their children in front of Gus that will be it. There will likely be other issues that come up before then.

E asked K how to deal with this. (K is a touch older and has more parenting hours clocked than the rest of us.) K said you stop being friends with them. She said first you like someone and start a friendship. Then you find partners and your partners and you like each other and you all are friends. And then you all have kids and your kids have to like each other and your friends can’t do things as parents that you think are awful and if all these things happen you can keep being friends. Otherwise, it just stops.

So I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know that we will continue being friends after ten plus years of friendship. I am struggling with this because I’ve long suspected this would happen when we all had kids but I always thought it would be one big event that ended it and instead I am realizing that it might just be a culmination of small things that eventually end this friendship. And I try to think about if I am overreacting and then I think about that sweet little girl whose parents don’t care about her emotional needs and I just get enraged.

Priority shift

I’ve always had trouble with feeling anxious. I go to bed at night stressed about the things I didn’t get done. When I have time to do things I feel stuck with where to start. I feel like there is never enough time, always too much to do.

I’ve worried about how this would play out when I had a child. Surely, things would not get done. We didn’t get laundry done fast enough and keep the bathroom clean enough before – how would we ever do it now?

And the first few months of my child’s life were filled with stress about this. I didn’t like people at the house (except a few close friends I stopped cleaning for). I had a hard time prioritizing fun things because there was so much work to be done. I felt like we were failing at motherhood because we couldn’t do it all.

And then suddenly and without warning I let it go. I’m not sure what shifted – Gus is more interactive. It’s easier to do things. (Game changers: Sitting up and eating solid food. We can go out to eat now and get him some avocado and not just eat one at a time while the other walks around with him.) And so much of the time we are at work – why waste our time as a family doing housework while Gus plays on the floor alone?

So we are living life. We move the laundry over from where it lives on the couch and just shuffle all papers to various piles about the room. But then we go hiking and play in the garden and find things that will make Gus laugh and I wondered why I ever wasted time doing anything else.