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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh the many things a bathtub can do!

Lately motherhood seems to be an exercise in knowing when to conserve energy and when to expend it.  For example:
Late night party at the Palmer House... spend it!
Slam dunk contest in the living room...spend it!
How many parks can we visit in one day?...spend it!
It is SO early, E is rarin' to go and I haven't had a cup of coffee it!

Baths are great for saving energy! E loves to play in the water and all I have to do is supervise.
Muffin cup experiments are even better than baths! Witness the awesomeness that is art AND science in the bathtub:

E mixes colors, scoops, drips and dips for over thirty minutes! I can clean the bathroom. And since there is no running water involved, I can make a cup of coffee. I can eat breakfast (in the now clean bathroom). I can read an article in a magazine (also in the bathroom). Then, when experiments are concluded, a quick clean up down the drain and a seamless transition to bath time.

A LOVELY morning!
For those with toddlers, here are the supplies we used:
Muffin tin
Food coloring
Action figure (Cookie Monster and Big Bird often need baths)
Various spoons and cups
Medicine droppers
A few rocks and sticks to drop in the cups

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I have so much housework to catch up on... The dishes are piled up, really, really high. The laundry too. The toys are strewn all over the house. There is marker to be washed off the floors and doors. I have to make dinner right now, during nap time, or we might have to eat out again and there is no money for that right now...mumble, grumble, mumble, grumble. What? Mother's Day?  Or do I mean What Mother's Day?

I haven't even thought about Mother's Day. David keeps telling me that he has all these plans and that he needs to snatch E away to execute them. I know it's coming. I just haven't really thought about it yet. I remember feeling very emotional about Mother's Day last year. I don't seem to feel that way this year. UNTIL... I opened the mailbox today (Friday, May 11): TWO envelopes with my name on them. I don't wait to open these kinds of things. I know I should, but I have no patience. I NEVER get mail that doesn't have a bill inside. Beautiful cards from the Aunt Julia and Grandma Lambert and Oma," thanking me for all I do" and reminding me that " I am a great woman".

So, NOW I am thinking about Mother's Day and how these women - the women who raised me and David - worked hard everyday to sustain our lives. They scrubbed floors and kissed ouchies and held screaming, independent, think I am bigger than the world, toddlers until they settled down. They cooked our dinners, even when they didn't want to cook. They played games with us and made us laugh and created memories for us to hold in our hearts. They did some things perfectly and some things differently and some things completely wrong. They worried about us and hoped for us and loved us.  Today they sent me words in recognition that I am doing the same. Likely, their mothers did this for them on Mother's Day.

It's a really very simple cycle - this thing called humanity. Seems so mundane, because for the most part it is. It's VERY NOT glamorous. It's exhausting. It's never-ending. It is wondrous: how we all got into this world, how we survived it being so small and then so curious - our mother's (and father's but that's for a different day) protection, sustenance, devotion, and love.

And it is so very rewarding: those people called our children.
A little note to E: I love you more than the number of times you make me read Good Night Moon, the Gorilla Book, and Mr. Ted combined. That's a super lot: like more than to the moon and around all the stars and back. I love you more than you love fans. Oh my beans that's a lot! That's really really a lot! I can't wait to celebrate Mother's Day with you and Papa. It's gonna be so fun and I am excited. But really I feel that way every night before I go to sleep, knowing that tomorrow I get to wake up next to you and hear whatever your first words of the day are. I love you Babe-O! Thanks for making being a Mom-O the best thing I have ever done (next to finding your Papa of course)!

Thanks Moms and Julia for helping me think about Mother's Day! Too late to send cards or presents that will arrive in time. But we do hope that this makes it to you and that you enjoy the day remembering all the times we shared together (big and small) that have made us who we are. And thank you for all the special love you share with the Babe-o!

Happy Mother's Day to you! We love you!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

TIME to Get Some Ni-Nis

On Thursday night,  E said " I love Ni-Nis." (Decoder: "I love nursing"). He said it, out of the blue, as we were walking in the door from a nightime walk.

On Friday afternoon, TIME magazine showed up in the mailbox just as E went down for a nap.

I am compelled to comment. Every feminist bone in my body (and that's all of them) is aching.

I am an "extreme breastfeeder." Although there is absolutely nothing extreme about it. It has been a gradual process of adapting to E's needs and my production issues for 20 months. We are "attachment parents." We don't have a guru named Dr. Sears. In fact, we don't have a guru period. We didn't even know about Dr. Sears, until we were trying to normalize the fact that we don't want to and it's just easier not to move E out of our bed. AND I STILL breastfeed.

I still breastfeed, not because it's some reality T.V.-like extreme challenge but because it's what E needs and wants. Not because he said, " I love Ni-Nis." Although, darn it, I deserve to hear "I love Ni-Nis" after all that I have been through. I am still feeding him and will feed him until he's ready to wean himself because:
1) at first it was about his nourishment, now it's more about his emotions (Hello, TIME Magazine? I know, this is just me, a lowly mom but emotions are important too. I know it's an ingrained cultural tendency to minimize the emotional life of our children, our women, and especially our men (shout out to Hottie, a.k.a. Diet Coke Papa) but COME ON! Just a little blurb on the emotional needs/lives of infants would round out your "extreme" story).
2) I trust that he'll know when he's ready to move on
3) I believe that my milk has nutritional value specific to Elias's needs
4) It's easy - when there is an ouchie or a fever or a bad dream or he's thirsty and I don't have a water cup with me - I've got the Ni-Nis.
5) Breastfeeding is a natural mammalian process. And these are MY mammary glands. I have carried them around my whole life and I'll use them to feed my kid. I'll do it in public and I'll do it in bed. I'll do it when he can speak in full sentences (which brag-brag he occasionally does at 20 months).
6) I do it because if he gets married and has children I want him to be the kind of husband that supports his wife in feeding their child if she chooses to, (because there is so much support needed) just like his Papa.

Do these decisions make me Mom enough? YES. I was Mom enough the very second that E was born, before I even knew that I needed to make these kinds of decisions.
Do these decisions make YOU Mom enough? What kind of question is that? What do my decisions have to do with your Mothering? Why do we have to compare our mothering choices? Why can't we just support each other in the world-wide effort of raising children? It is after all the most important responsibility on the planet. Hey TIME, why don't you ask that question on the next cover? And next time don't make breastfeeding look like some kind of perverted display! It's totally normal ALL OVER THE WORLD if not here!

Check this out:

In the meantime, E just walked in the door from time out with Papa. It's TIME to reunite. It's TIME to get some Ni-Nis.

"Want Ni-Nis." On a walk at the pond.


Monday, May 7, 2012

E Takes Down the Palmer House

Every year David's students present their research at a conference at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Every year we get to spend one night in a SUPER expensive room, in an amazing, luxurious hotel for FREE. Over the course of the year there are a few opportunities similar to this one, but Palmer House is my favorite! It's historical and gorgeous, it's busy and relaxing all in one.

Usually the date sneaks up on us, because it is such a crazy hectic time of the year (the end of the semester before summer break). So there isn't a lot of anticipation and waiting for the night to come. It turns out like an awesome last minute surprise complete with a comfy down covered bed and a deep bathtub! This year our stay included an all out HOTEL PARTY, hosted and pretty much orchestrated by the BABE-O!

We arrived in Chicago around 10 o'clock on Wednesday night. This was our stealthy plan: do the drive during early bed time so that we can get some talk time on the drive down (one of our most favorite ways to spend time together), sneak him into the Palmer House and put him to sleep for a little extra quiet time before we rest.

Here's how it went down:  E did sleep for one hour of the ride. And then  he woke up just as we were entering downtown, in time to see the lights, cars, trains, buses, and bikes of "CAGO"! Then he proceeded to indulge in the amazing splendor of the "tea party" room. I have to say he was best dressed in his Cars jammies! Once we got to the room he tried all the phones (there were three), pretending to call Grandpa. He pressed all the buttons on the safe and ran the stroller from the bathroom to the bedroom to the sitting room...until 12:30am.

It was SO FUN, especially for "Diet Coke Papa" who had to be in tip top condition for the poster session at 8:30am. Best part: we seemed to have lost all evidence of the late night ruckus. We took several pictures and videos of the party but somehow (in the middle of the night) they were mysteriously erased from the camera.(Hmm? We are still sleuthing out that one.)

Moving on - The night's sleep was horrible. I think we maybe got 8 hours between the two of us, while E got a total of maybe 7 hours (not enough)! But this was not about to prevent us from having a tea party in the tea party room! David went to the poster presentation and E and I had a pre-breakfast snack in the tea party room.

When David finished the presentation, he and E explored the Empire Room, where we had a private breakfast for three.

After a much needed nap we ventured out to the "Fishies House" (the Shedd Aquarium) by bus.

Yes, those that know me well, I said the Shedd Aquarium. This is the place where they keep fish and marine life behind glass - the place where Mama's worst fear in the entire universe originated. Turns out having a kid reduces fish behind glass anxiety. (Except when there are HUGE eels and shiny fish that approach out of nowhere. In these cases, you will find Mama with her back to a wall that does not contain fish or aquatic creatures of any sort).

Babe-O had a blast playing with the turtles, dressing up as a penguin, watching the belugas, and playing campsite (so did Mom-O and Papa)!

As usual, and awesome Palmer House experience and tons of fun with E!
Needless to say, fishie house anxiety is not genetic (Phew!). We will be going back!