30 March 2009

Ethics

For the first time in 2 years my body is physically supporting me, and only me. I am not pregnant or breastfeeding.


You'd think I'd relish the freedom, right?


You wouldn't think my mind (body?) would start tick, tick, ticking away, would you?


Well, you'd be wrong, wrong, wrong. Tick, tick, tick.


Cowboy and I have been seriously starting to think about, thinking about going again. In fact we may even be plain old thinking about going again.


So, here is my dilemma.


I have a wonderful little boy. I never, even for a second, experienced gender disappointment once he was born and I found out that my baby was a son. However, while of course, all you ever want is a healthy baby, I have always wanted a daughter. That feeling has diminished a little now that I know how much wonder and happiness a little boy can bring, but I still would love a little girl one day.


If I could have a guarantee that #3 (yes, we are that crazy to want more, more, more) would be a girl, I would actually love to give Champ a brother close to his own age, so #2 being a boy would be lovely. Of course since it is not possible to guarantee #3, it would be good to have a girl at #2 so that I've a guaranteed 'one of each'.


Recently, reading about what I should be eating and how I should be timing our baby-making realtions (yes, I have thought about it that much already!) to increase our odds of having a girl, I have found a body of thought regarding the ethics in even this 'low-tech' gender selection. I had never even considered this before.


Now that I think about it, if I'd known the in's and out's of how boys vs girls are created, I may have timed our baby-making a little differently 2 years ago (as I said earlier, I have always wanted a girl). Different timing may have resulted in me having a 15 month old daughter right now. But that would mean that there would be no Champ. How in the world could there be no Champ?!


So now I am unsure if I should use this 'knowledge' of how to 'naturally' increase the odds of us having a girl for #2, or if I will always wonder about the brother that Champ could have had close to his own age...

Baby cuddles

Once Champ stopped breastfeeding, I was expecting to experience a dramatic decline in my cuddle quota each day. I had enjoyed those 10 minutes each day when my active toddler once again became my little baby lying in his Mummy's arms. Obviously, so had Champ.

After a few nights of Champ squirming out of my arms to get into bed after his bedtime story, we had a horror couple of nights with Champ waking and screaming once a night. It is not uncommon for him to wake during the night, but usually Cowboy or I would go into his room, offer him some water or find his 'Sleepyhead' blanket for him and then we would all quickly get back to sleep. These horror nights have involved Champ screaming until we pick him up and then he just wants cuddles.

The first night, I tried staying in his room and singing to him until he fell asleep. Fast forward an hour and Champ was still tossing and turning, so I tried leaving the room - distressed crying (from Champ, and nearly from me!). Thinking Champ my be sick, I brought him into my bed where he promptly fell asleep in my arms... for 20 minutes, and then he tossed and turned so much that I had to put him back into his bed for fear that he would throw himself out of our bed. I put him back into his cot and left the room for a 2 minute breather (as I had expected the crying to continue all night). Less than 1 minute later the crying stopped and I didn't hear from him until 8 a.m.

This has since been the theme of his 'off to sleep' and nightly wakings ever since. He will cling to my neck, and cry as soon as I take him over to the cot and then cry as I finish his prayers and sing him his song, cry as I leave the room, and then stop and go to sleep. It is quick, but not painless. I can't stand to hear him cry, however he won't go to sleep when I am in the room.

The last two nights have been a lot better thanks to an idea from Cowboy (he often comes up with the ideas, I think being a little removed from the day to day situation, Dad's can often see the issue more clearly). Cowboy had the idea that Champ's 'cuddle meter' was low and I should try to top it up with some cuddles before bed.

So for the last two nights, Champ and I have had a lovely long (10 minutes, plus) cuddle after his bedtime story while sitting on our breastfeeding pillow. We just sit with the lights dimmed and his sleepy music on low and I tell his about his day and all the wonderful things we did, and give him kisses all over his face. Champ even tucks his little arm under mine, just the way I used to do for him when I fed him. I L-O-V-E, love it!

23 March 2009

Holiday... celebrate!

Cowboy, Champ and I went on a holiday over the weekend. We went with another family for a short sea-side break.

We all had a great time but we all wanted to wring the neck of the other family's 5 years old by the end of it. The 5 year old boy (let's call him Wheelan) is full of energy which is misdirected 99% of the time and is the victim of lazy parenting. It's a shame because we really get along with his parents, but this was a common conversation we overheard:

Parent 1: "Wheelan is climbing on top of the table."
Parent 2: "Humph."
Both parents continue having coffee.

Parent 2: "Wheelan is hitting the smaller child."
Parent 1: "Wheeeeelan!"
Both parents return to reading the newspaper.

It's hard not to get annoyed by that. On the morning of the second day Wheelan actually woke up earlier than his parents and came upstairs to where Champ and I were reading. He asked to join us and, despite being very demanding of my time and energy, was actually quite delightful... when he was getting 100% of my attention.

It's a shame. He could be such a likeable kid except that his parent choose to do very little disciplining - until he is actually in serious trouble in which case they border on bullying him rather than disciplining him (bearing in mind that discipline means 'to teach').

Anyway, other family aside, we had such a nice time. Champ had never swam in the sea before and just loved it! He spent his time playing with the wet sand, getting bowled over by little waves and 'eating' the shells.

Here are a couple of pics:

16 March 2009

Never offer, never refuse

The most liberating and simultaneously terrifying thing just happened.

After Champ's bath, I gave him a short massage, dressed him for bed, sat on our corner pillow with him on my lap and read him a few pages from his evening book (Dr Suess - Sleep Book), I then put my 15 month old son to bed, said his prayers and left the room. He did not ask for a breastfeed.

About a week ago, Champ started getting really... annoying (for want of a better word). He would stick his finger up my nose, claw my arm and then bite ever so slightly, so that I could feel it and would yank my breast out of his mouth. He would BAWL! I'd comfort him and calm him down with songs and rocking, then try to feed him again. Repeat above steps until Mummy decides he is tired enough for bed.

This past weekend Cowboy and I have taken Champ out until a bit after his bedtime (8.00). We had two parties on which finished at about 9.00 each night, so we dressed him for bed while out at friends' houses, he would then fall asleep in the car and we would transfer him to bed when we got home (still so excited about being able to do this!).

He did fine with no milk those nights. But tonight we were back to our normal routine and I was very curious about what would happen. Especially as I sat down in our regular breastfeeding location (corner pillow) to read his book.

I had decided on a 'never offer, never refuse' policy. This was the first night I trialed this policy. He didn't ask. I didn't offer. He didn't feed.

I am not crying great big milky tears as I once thought I would. I am not dancing around the house happy to be 'free'.

I am proud of our breastfeeding journey and satisfied that it has run its natural course. My baby still needs me, just not for sustenance anymore.

04 March 2009

Well, I never.

Champ was not a great sleeper when he was younger. Actually he is not a great sleeper now, but he is a lot better and we can deal with it as it is currently.

But when he was younger and would wake every 35 minutes like clockwork during the day, and every hour at night, I'd listen to stories that other Mums told about their kids great sleeping feats and would think 'My kid will never do that'. I was wrong.

This week 2 things have happened that I never thought I'd see Champ do:

  1. He fell asleep in his high chair. I was preparing his lunch while he sat there waiting and eating a cracker, I turned around and he was asleep. Of course I thought something terrible had happened and woke him in a panic to find one very sleepy tot after a morning running around at playgroup.
  2. He transferred from the car to the cot without waking. On the way home from the park yesterday he fell asleep (despite me trying with all my might to keep him awake so he could sleep in his cot instead), when we got home I picked him out of the car seat, unlocked the house and turned off the alarm. He was still asleep on my shoulder (Wow!). I laid him down to out on his sleeping bag, he had a dirty nappy. I changed the dirty nappy. He stayed asleep (Wow! Wow!). I put him into his cot where he slept for another 2 hours (Wow! Wow! Wow!).
To Mums who have good sleepers, these things may not seem very big. To a Mum who has read more sleep books than she ever thought existed and lived bleary eyed for 6 months because she refused to let her baby cry it out, this is HUGE!

I credit one thing for his good sleeping (apart from a certain amount of sleep maturity as he grew). Elizabeth Pantly's book The no cry sleep solution. This book saved us!

I have a baby who sleeps (at least moderately well, most of the time!).