nominated for an award thingy

I was given one of those blogger awards “Versatile Blogger” by Mommy of Twin Angels. She lost her dear Hazel and Willow just before I lost Avalon. I often think of her girls when I think of mine. Anyway, I’m supposed to post seven things about myself, but I lay it out pretty bare here on the blog. So let randomness ensue:

1) I speak conversational Nepali (the language of Nepal)
2) I played bassoon and clarinet in high school
3) I listen to Jo Jo make noises at night, and sometimes have to put her “arm’s reach” sleeper next to me to feel her breathe, so I know she isn’t dead from SIDS
4) I drink a sugar free Red Bull on my way to work every morning, followed by 1 or more large cups of coffee
5) I drive an hour to work, and an hour back, and listen to audio books all the way. I’m an avid reader but my mom washed my kindle with the laundry… not that I have time to read now that Jo Jo is here! I need my hands and eyes on her, so audio books are perfect!
6) I fully subscribe to the “Supernanny” Jo Frost’s discipline techniques for young children, as well as bedtime rules and routine setting
7) Still obsessing over Game of Thrones, and wondering what other series I can get into or if I will have time!

doing “me” things

My last piano lesson of the “semester” was yesterday. I improved drastically from January til now, and it makes me really happy. I played Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso (well, I got the introduction part down pretty well, memorized all but the last two pages, and have a LOT more work to do on it) and actually got Bartok’s Ostinato from Mikrokosmos No. 146 into performance order. I’m amazed at how much I learned from my instructor. She is so full of talent it amazes me. I plan to take lessons again in the “fall semester”.

Getting Jo Jo in the middle of it all definitely made practicing a struggle. Most of the time I was so tired it was just hard to practice after Jo Jo went to sleep. My very nature as a procrastinator made it even more difficult to practice regularly. I’m hoping that with the summer going by, and a nice vacation in September to California, I’ll know more about what is happening with Jo Jo’s case, and have a routine down so that I can have a more regular practice schedule.

Of course, more than anything, I hope that I HAVE Jo Jo still, so Universe, please don’t make it TOO EASY for me to practice!

Other “me” things (non-baby things) I do: Listen to audiobooks during all of the driving I do. I rarely have reading time right now, but this catches me up. Unfortunately, it’s expensive, so I don’t know what I’m going to do about that. I water and weed my garden on a semi-daily basis, and in the spring plant flowers in my window boxes and around my cottage. And I read blogs! Lots and lots of blogs. I also try to visit and keep up with my family and friends as much as possible, because it keeps me from turning into a hermit.

My biggest “me thing” is traveling. I can’t WAIT to go to Mackinac Island in August and then the big California Coast adventure after that. I am even looking forward to traveling with a baby!

What are your “me” things?

home late

I’m sure any working mom out there can understand this:

I hate getting home so late and missing Jo Jo’s whole day. By the time I walk in the door she is almost asleep, if not already asleep. I cover her little sleeping baby face with kisses and reluctantly put her in her bassinet. Did she do anything new today? Smile more? Was she fussy? Did she miss me? I won’t ever get this day back.

the kind of parent I am

I am a strong believer in breastfeeding but don’t like the shaming that comes with bottle feeding. Not every single woman can breastfeed. I would’ve liked to give it my best shot, and breastfeed at least for the first year. I try not to feed Jo Jo without giving her my full attention, if possible (watching TV, on the phone, reading, etc) but sometimes she demands a feed in the midst of the grocery store, for example, so I admit to having walked and fed at the same time.

I keep the baby close to my bed, but not in my bed. I don’t believe that co-sleeping is either right, or wrong, but it may be right or wrong for you or your child. Every baby and every parent is different. Safe sleeping is the most important, so I believe in using co-sleepers that give them a firm surface and sides that keep them from rolling out and into the bedding or you. Both Jo Jo and Moose started off unable to sleep on a flat, still surface, and started sleeping in the swing. After two weeks they transitioned to the bassinet. Jo Jo has a co-sleeper inserted into the bassinet. Sometimes I take the insert out and lie it next to me in the bed, if I know we’ll be up soon. Sometimes I just like to listen to her breathe. She sleeps swaddled, and sometimes falls asleep with a pacifier. Moose hated swaddling, and never got into pacifiers. You just have to find what works for that particular baby.

I do agree with most principles of attachment parenting, in that I meet the baby’s needs immediately and do not allow her to cry for more than 15 seconds without attempting to soothe. I carry her on my body whenever possible. (Moose did not like any type of swaddling and his medical condition meant that if he got too hot, his oxygen levels got too low, but I still held him most of the day in the beginning.) I carry her when we are out running errands, and while doing things around the house. I believe that the more bodily contact she has, the better off she’ll be.

I signed up for a baby and me music class. I can’t help but believe that the more exposure to music, especially classical, that young children have, the better. It doesn’t “make them smarter”, but it does allow them to learn more quickly, and has been proven to improve spatial ability. I try to play the piano as much as I can around Jo Jo, or while holding Jo Jo. Participating in music is the most important way to reap the benefits of exposure to classical compositions, so I want her to use her body to really interact with the music, even from a very young age.

Opportunities are important, but kids don’t have to live your dreams. I really really want a daughter who loves gymnastics. I want my children to be able swim (I live on a lake). I want my children to play a musical instrument. I’m going to expose them to all of these things, at some point. If a child really loves to do something, he/she will do it without much prodding. I will hold them to commitments, but not force them to continue lessons/activities if they aren’t passionate about it. Still, “which instrument would you like to play?” is a question that will be asked. Jo Jo will start swimming lessons at 6 months old.

The jury is out on baby led weaning. I think I like the idea of it, and I don’t really like the notion of shoveling nutrition-less rice cereal at the baby. The pouches that babies can squeeze pureed foods out of might be a good option. Many more issues are going to come up as I have older children: discipline, potty-training, transitioning out of crib, activities, school… and I’ll explore each area as I go, based on the needs of the child, myself, and mostly,  gut instinct. 

growing by leaps and bounds

I am so glad that I switched Jo Jo’s pediatrician. The new office gave us tons of attention, and really gave the impression that they were focused on Jo Jo and I. (Ok ok so I work for the same institution, but I am proud of it! My healthcare system is truly the best!) The best part was that they immediately got ahold of Jo Jo’s hospital records from birth. I finally know how much she weighed and her gestational age.

Jo Jo was in the 16th percentile for weight for newborn girls when she was born. When I took her to be weighed at exactly 6 weeks, she was in the 20th percentile for height and weight. Today, four weeks later, she is in the 40th percentile for height and weight. Her head has also grown from the 50th percentile the 85th! I guess she’s just getting really smart really fast…

After her two month immunizations the poor baby is not feeling well tonight and is in bed a whole hour before the usual time. I have a feeling it might be a rough night.

does the gender of parents matter?

This is a hot topic. I am not writing an article, so I’m not citing references. I am also writing from my own place, as a queer, 20-something, educated, white, non-Christian. I was raised by a Christian grandmother in a relatively liberal Christian church, and practiced Wicca, Hinduism, and Buddhism with other relatives at the same time. My parents both struggled financially, and we often lived very humbly, and yet I would consider myself privileged as I had everything I needed, as compared to children who grow up in third-world conditions. That is to say, I had safe drinking water, enough food at all times, access to a good education, clothing that if not new, was very nice and in abundance, transportation that enabled me to travel easily from one place to another, and a grandmother willing and able to pay for and transport me to and from extracurricular activities. I was also privileged  enough to go to college, although I had to pay through scholarships and loans and work full-time to support myself while studying. I was then able to get a job in a career I enjoyed with health benefits and a decent, middle-class wage. I am able-bodied, able-minded, and despite many childhood challenges arising from abuse, I had the resources at my disposal to overcome most of their negative effects. I had the mental capabilities and hardiness as well as access to therapy, self-help books/tv, and other ways to empower myself such as through travel and education.

I start this post with that self-bio because I know that it affects my belief and value system. Environmental influences, heredity, and good or bad fortune dictated almost all of the way I think, my opinions, and my positions on divisive moral issues.Even my career as a nurse has influenced how I see my nation’s policies and how quickly I judge those of a different background from me.

The point I’m finally getting to, is that I have a hard time believing that fatherless children are at a disadvantage. It’s hard for me to accept because I don’t see my father as having played a parenting role in my life. I see my mother and grandmother as my primary parents, and feel that they did a more than adequate job. I don’t feel that I was disadvantaged by having two female parental figures. Nor do I believe that a child is disadvantaged by having two male parental figures. I believe that a two person household, or parenting team even if they reside separately, can effectively parent regardless of the nature of their relationship with each other or their gender.

Now, when it comes to raising boys, I admit to feeling confused and conflicted. I tend to think that having one strong male influence is important for a male child, and the same for a female child having one strong female influence. As a girl, however, I don’t think that I lacked in any way for not having a strong male influence in my life. My father’s role was minimal, and there was no uncle or or brother or male teacher of any kind to fill that gap. And I don’t have a hole inside of myself, or feel that I’m missing anything, or would somehow be more complete or psychologically well if I had had that.Certainly if I had had that, it would have been nice, and that male could have contributed greatly to my life, but not because of his gender, just because of his person and our relationship.

That being said, I do feel like I would have been lacking if everyone in my life had been male, with no primary female-to-female relationship. But I can’t say for sure, since I’ll never really know. Still, it’s enough of a belief that I fear raising a son, and thus have a strong preference for daughters. I fear that a little boy of mine would grow up without a strong male figure (I have no brothers, husband, close male friends, etc) and would end up on some Oprah-esque show describing the huge emptiness inside of him and the ways it impacts him negatively. I don’t want to take that risk.

I don’t agree that fatherless daughters are necessarily promiscuous or lacking in self confidence. I certainly wasn’t. Perhaps other factors are involved, such as over-worked and less available mothers as a result of being the only earner for the household. That’s just my hypothesis. This is just coming from a very narrow self-perspective. I don’t think that fatherless (or male replacementless) boys are necessarily going to be more violent (that too may just be a result of the burdens on the remaining single parent), but I tend to think they will feel a lack in some way.

I was watching Oprah’s show on fatherless boys and that’s what brought this whole post on. It’s a controversial subject, one that many many people will disagree with me on. I respect the roles that fathers can and do play. Like I said, I think a two parent household made up of two men can raise a girl without any issues resulting from the gender of her parents. But I am not convinced that she wouldn’t need a close female figure somewhere along the way to complete her sense of well-

Ok flame me if you want.

the moby wrap

This baby loves to be carried in the Moby wrap. She prefers it to rocking, to car rides, to swings, and to bouncers. She cries especially when she is getting over-tired, and only walking and bouncing will do. The Moby is an automatic rock/bounce machine, and gives her bodily contact with me. I wear her in stores, in restaurants, when cleaning around the house, and just about anywhere else. I have use of both my hands so it’s also convenient just for sitting and using the internet.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a baby who likes to be worn (and attached to me at all times). Moose couldn’t stand to be constrained in any way, and he also got overly warm very easily, not to mention he was attached with wires and tubing to machines, so wearing him was just not an option.


and other outings

I’m a control freak

I hate going to work. I want to be here with Jo Jo. I know that it’s ok for me to get in the car and drive away. I know that my mom loves her and will take care of her just fine without my help. But I still have a hard time walking away. I can’t help but feel like can calm her down best, can put her to sleep best, can soothe her and make her most comfortable and secure. Of course, most households do have more than one parent, and this household happens to have one parent and one grandparent, so it’s good that she learn to let someone else soothe and comfort her besides me.

But it’s just so hard to let go. Even though I’m exhausted, and I’m getting really cranky and once in a while (like when I need to have a phone conversation but she won’t stop screaming because I’m not holding her) a little overwhelmed. I get peevish and want to snap everyone’s heads off, then I remember that these people are trying to help me and be family to Jo Jo, and I need to relax and step away. She will be ok without me for short periods of time, and I will be ok, too.

I never experienced this feeling with Moose. Oh yes, I worried about him and checked in often with his caregivers while I was working… but I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to be his everything. I was at ease leaving him with someone I trusted for a bit while I did something else. Maybe because I knew and liked his parents, and knew he’d be going home to them soon? Or am I feeling this way because I was supposed to be a new mommy right now, and I’m programmed to be an over-protective clingy mom at this time? Or is it because I lost my own baby and that creates an overwhelming clinginess with my new baby? Or have I just bonded differently with Jo Jo?


The baby won’t stop crying. It started last night. She doesn’t sleep. Like ever. Today, for example she slept for 15 minutes, twice. She will stop crying to eat, sometimes. Then start again. She didn’t cry at all the first two days. Yes, we have tried everything under the sun. I have googled and googled. My mom can sometimes make her stop by jiggling her. It’s only temporary. She gets really stiff. She’s inconsolable.

I know that she is transitioning. She has been through so much more than she ever should have in 6 weeks of life. She is grieving and she is insecure. I don’t blame her for her outrage.

But I feel like a failure and like I’m breaking down. No sleep at all and working two 12 hour shifts in a row, I’m just sitting here crying. I’m not a good mom, that’s how I feel. I can’t make it better. No matter how much I research and how many techniques I try, she doesn’t feel better.

the two-year-old surfing wonder

We hit the beach yesterday with our new playground friend and her daughter, and M came upon a boogie board that had washed up on shore. She immediately grabbed it, ran into the water a ways, squatted down to use her arms to “paddle” out, and then hopped on the board and attempted to “ride a wave” in.

Ok, I’m not a surfer. I’ve never, to my knowledge, read a book, watched a movie, or in any other way exposed my child to surfing. We once watched surfers on a beach in Malibu on vacation when M was six-months-old. She obviously remembers that day… either that, or being conceived in California really did leave some kind of surfer-imprint on her genome. Or perhaps she is tapping into past life experiences?

Because, really, seriously guys… how does my daughter know what surfing is???

Practicing her paddling
Jumping on
Jumping on
Catching a wave
Catching a wave
Riding it in
Riding it in
Gosh mom, why are you acting like this is so weird? I'm trying to surf, here.
Gosh mom, why are you acting like this is so weird? I’m trying to surf, here.

I guess her love of surfing just goes way back…

World record holder for Cutest Surfer Baby
World record holder for Cutest Surfer Baby, 2013

Also adorable… M went in to give her friend E a hug. E surprised her by not only hugging her but kissing her on the lips! M was so surprised that she giggled and kept her hand over her mouth for a whole minute… Never have seen her get so bashful before!

Surprise kiss
Surprise kiss
Too shocked to know what to do
Too shocked to know what to do
Still thinking about that kiss!
Still thinking about that kiss!

How adorable is that! Love seeing M really get along with a friend.