Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Bittersweet End of an Era

Ode to Spencer Nursing
Spencer's nursing journey, over 4 years

Having nursed Sasha during Spencer's labor, which brought his birth on fast...
Having nursed him through his stay in the NICU...
and the slow cutting of those first sharp teeth at 12 months...
Having nursed him through his diagnosis of having a hyperactive thyroid...
as well as his Celiac diagnosis and resulting diet change for us both...
Having nursed him even while he explored new foods, through medical procedures and to help calm him after surgeries...

I nursed Spencer for 4 years. When he wakes up tomorrow, he will be 4 years old. And officially weaned. The last time he nursed was after his dental surgery earlier this month (seen in recovery in the bottom right photo). I knew it was coming, but I've been second guessing myself. He had dropped down to only asking for "Momma Milk" every few days. I was so glad to have it for him when he woke from surgery. I'm admittedly fearful of how we'll manage the next surgery sometime down the road. Spencer is my last child, so this is all behind me now. I nursed for a total of 10 years, tandem nursing for one of those!

Breastfeeding at 2 Months
2 month old Sasha at my breast, swaddled

As a mother, I done good. I was feeling ready. But now that it's done, I don't feel so ready anymore. This is the bittersweet end of an era for me...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Autonomy of a Tickle

The topic of tickling has come up among friends recently and I'd like to get back into the swing of writing, so...

This piece was originally published as a guest post on Tales of the Kitchen Witch in December 2012.

When I was a preteen, I remember my brother tickling me to the point of crying. I'd be yelling for him to stop, begging him to stop. He would point out that I was laughing, so I must be enjoying it. I do not ever want my children (or anyone, for that matter) to be put in that position.

Babies can't even tell you they don't want to be tickled. But they are so much fun to tickle! There has to be a way to respect our babies' autonomy and still (possibly) enjoy a good tickle, right? There is! I have some suggestions for you.

The most important trick to any tickle game with a baby is anticipation. If you can give them a chance to anticipate (and to learn when to anticipate) the tickle, you give them the opportunity to object.

With Sasha, I would make tickle hands and chant "Gonna, gonna, gonna" (think Jaws music) as I got closer, then "Get you!" as I tickled her.

Sasha would also run away and back to me for more tickles.
Also? OMG Look at that chub!! I do love to fatten up my babies!

Here comes the next important tip: Short bursts of tickling. I would never tickle a child to breathlessness. It can be fun for both the tickler and the child, sure, but I want to make sure children are capable of communicating "stop" to me when they feel it necessary. It can be difficult and awkward to enforce this with other people tickling your child (even older siblings), but I really feel it is an important lesson. If any child says "stop" - that should be heard and respected. I think of this helping to prepare them for other sticky situations later in life.

Back to fun tickling! With Spencer, I hold up my thumbs and index fingers like pincers. I tap thumb and forefinger while making a "tick" sound. I do that a few times before diving my fingers to him and saying "tickle, tickle, tickle!" as I tickle him. Three "tickles" is probably long enough for one burst in the beginning. As he has gotten older (he is a ripe, old 10 months old now, after all!), he reacts to the preparation. When I hold my fingers up and make the sound, he often giggles preemptively! This lets me know that he enjoys the game!

Love to nibble your babies? Oh, I do! I love to nibble around their little, fat, ticklish necks! Find a way to help your babies anticipate the nibble. I open my mouth wide and snap it shut while making an "Om!" noise. I do this a few times before I "Nom, nom, nom!" on them. (This munching is also awesome on ribs, especially on babies that are upside down!) This is one that will surely elicit preemptive giggles if it is a game your child enjoys.

I'm sure you're familiar with This Little Piggy and Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Both of these nursery rhymes are great build-up to tickle play. They offer other learning benefits, too.

How did you feel about being tickled as a child? How do you feel about it now? Do you play tickle games with your children?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Good Things Jar

Thanks to an idea I got from Mom's Clean Air Force on Facebook through a shared post, a year ago I began a "Good Stuff Jar." The idea was to jot down any surprise gifts, accomplishments, beauty of nature noticed, LOL moments, good memories, etc. Then we would read them at the end of the year.

Momma Jorje's Good Things Jar 2014

Any project is difficult to maintain for a full year and this one didn't require a lot of attention, so it was often forgotten. Still, I did wind up with a handful and reading them with my husband on the first of this year gave us a chuckle and a reminder of some things we appreciate. I'd like to share them with you, since there aren't too many. Some of them were funny to us because they seemed great at the time, but didn't really pan out in the end...

  • Frying chicken + pork chops was a lot easier than I was making it out to be.
  • Bonus plants from Patrick (for my garden - we laughed because my garden was a bit of a failure)
  • Elmo cleaned the ENTIRE kitchen... for $25. HAHAHA (he felt underpaid)
  • Gardening + catching worms with Sasha
  • Daddy brought an OK Brown [tarantula] home from [work].
  • Found Little Leafers (a local nature explorers group that died out before it even began, when the leader suddenly had to move out of state)
  • Taste of Summer, Horse Awareness Day and Zoo - all in 1 weekend with Samantha (my stepdaughter, shortly after we gained visitation)
  • Spencer choosing the [ASL] "monkey" sign to mean "Marcus" (his Speech Therapist).
  • Cathulhu (the cat... that we immediately had to re-home when it was found that Samantha was allergic)
  • Neighbor, Brent, brought wood + tools - spent 5 hours on coop!
  • Carnival Epsilon performing in our own back yard for Ronni's Sweet 16.

  • Awesome garden tools from Angie.
  • Got to sleep with Elmo all weekend! (This would have been before the move, when I usually slept on a different floor.)
  • Horse Awareness Day (apparently warranted being mentioned twice)
  • Singing Disney songs in the van together
  • I learned how to make paper seedling pots.
  • Discovered the wonder that is spinach in scrambled eggs - new favorite! (I still eat this almost daily!)
  • Spencer learned to give hugs & made a hugging game. (Taking turns hugging people)
  • New-to-us stove deal - approved out of rent
  • Last $325 [owed] to [last place of residence] written off
  • Made Tubby Custard - Kids loved it! Sasha asked me to make it again the next day.
  • Angela chose our family to receive her free [weekly] "Meal Maker" eggs. (She later sold me our 6 hens at a great deal!)
  • [new home address] (We have been very happy to live in a house!)
  • Courtney & mom [last name] - furniture including full size bed! (They gave us furniture they had in storage.)
  • Got to be Dulce's guests to Taste of Summer (an event that includes free ice cream!)
  • Elmo figured out how to safely install new-to-us stove.

Considering how many times we forgot about the jar, that's pretty good! I'd like to continue the jar into 2015, but I think I'll add one detail - a date. I think it will be cool to be able to put them in order, remember when things happened and maybe even match them up with pictures at the end of the year! This was a really fun thankfulness project and I would definitely recommend it.

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