My choices aren’t the same as yours, and that’s okay

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot of about different parenting styles, and the millions of choices that we have to make as parents on a daily basis.  What is deemed ‘the Mommy Wars’ makes frequent headlines, and it seems as if moms love to duke it out and bash each other on social media for making different choices.  I have noticed lately that certain websites love to fuel the fire.  A recent example is a picture of a mom nursing in public with the caption “Would you nurse here?  Do you think it’s okay?”  Guess what, if mom and baby are legally allowed to be there, it’s okay!  We don’t need any other mothers (or other people for that matter) to express their opinions on whether they ‘think’ it’s okay.  The advent of social media seems to make people feel that they have the right to comment (and even judge) anything and everything!  I would argue that that is what is not okay.

Obviously, I make the choices that I make as a parent because I believe them to be the best ones for my family and myself.  But my family is not your family, and by virtue of making different choices than you, I am not saying that yours are wrong.  I think that is something we all need to remember.  We need not take offense because someone makes different decisions than we do.  And it is absolutely okay that they make the choices that they deem best for their family.

I consider myself a ‘free range parent’ which drives my mother insane.  She was a helicopter mom and continues to be a helicopter grandmother.  Let’s be honest, she still helicopters me all the time even though I recently turned 30.  She lives and dies by ‘better safe than sorry.’  And that’s okay!  That’s her choice.  It also gives me lots of reasons to give her a hard time and send her articles and studies on how that makes for dependent children!  Case in point if I don’t talk to my mother on the phone for 24 hours she calls asking where I am or if I’m okay and if it stretches to 48 hours, I call and ask her if she’s okay!  Dependency much?

Let’s take the contentious issue of vaccines.  I choose not to vaccinate my children.  That is a decision that I came to after my two older children both had vaccine reactions.  I decided to do a lot of research into vaccinations.  I read everything that I could get my hands on.  I’ve read the CDC website, FDA website, Dr. Tenpenny, and Mercola,.  I have read the package inserts for every single one.  I have had heated discussions with a close friend who works in a lab creating adjuvants for vaccines.  I have read the decidedly biased-for research, the decidedly biased-against, and everything in between.  I never stop doing research because I want to make sure that the decision I have made continues to be the right one for my family.  I believe that the things I do to boost my family’s immunity will protect them more than a vaccine with a dubious track record at best.  In addition, we practice strict quarantine during illness.  I don’t have to take them to school and I don’t have a job that requires me to be at work while ill or when I have sick children.  This can be frustrating at times.  Because I work with pregnant women and infants, if either myself or a member of my family is feeling even a little bit off, I have to call in a back up doula.  I hate missing an appointment or birth for illness!  But it’s a fact of life and a choice that I make to keep my clients and their families safe.

I have been attacked and berated for this choice that I have made.  I have been accused of putting other children in danger.  But the point I am trying to make is this:  I do not attack other parents for vaccinating their children with certain vaccines, despite the fact that I disagree with their decision.  I believe every parent has the right to do their own research and make their own choices and not be attacked!  I don’t accuse parents who give live virus vaccines to their kids of putting mine in danger.  Despite the fact that live virus vaccines are known to shed.  My mother’s own physician cautioned her against getting the shingles vaccine because of her close contact with myself (I was pregnant at the time) and my two young children.  I do not attack other mothers for their decisions and I would hope they would give me the same respect in return.

What about natural birth?  Epidurals?  Babywearing vs. strollers?  Homeschooling vs. public education?  There are so many different ways to live, and there is no one right way for everyone.  The world needs all types of people and we need not attack each other because we make different choices.  Did you love your natural birth?  Great!  That’s an amazing accomplishment.  Did you love your epidural?  Awesome, I’m so glad it worked for you and gave you a great birth experience.  Do you love baby wearing?  Me too!  Prefer to use a stroller?  Not the choice I would make, but some babies love being strolled around!  Do you love your local public school?  That’s so great that you and your kids have a school you like that’s nearby.

I have noticed that some of the ways I choose to live can make people really uncomfortable!  My decision to begin homeschooling next year has many of my friends and family in quite the tizzy!  But after much discussion with my husband, and including my oldest son in the decision, and fully researching our schooling options, we have come to the realization that it’s the best choice for our family for next year.  Doesn’t mean we won’t change our minds.  Or we might homeschool forever!  The great thing is that we have so many choices!  There are many frustrating things about living in America (stay tuned for my post on maternal leave and restrictive birth policies in the US) but we are lucky enough to live here and be able to choose homeschooling if that’s what works for our family.

I have many friends in the natural birth and homeschooling community.  We understand each other and feel comfortable together.  But I also have friends on the other end of the spectrum!  And I need them just as much.  I have one friend who would never dream of a natural birth, and that’s okay!  But if she ever asked me for more information about natural birth, I would offer everything I had!  As a doula, I am for informed choice in pregnancy and childbirth.  As a parent and a human, I am for informed choice in all parts of life.  But I am also for respect and decency.  Let’s stop slamming each other on social media.  If you see a meme or website that you like, share!  Tag people who might be interested!  Express why it speaks to your heart.  But let’s chill out in the comments.  We don’t need to attack the ways of others in order to promote issues that we are passionate about or explain the reasons why we walk a certain path.

THE WOODS

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted!  We have been slammIMG_4327ed with the schedule of my big guy’s new school, moonlit mama’s job as a doula, and getting exposed to every germ EVER IN LIFE.  The healthy ones in the family have escaped, but my middle guy (or Typhoid Marcus as I like to call him) and I have the celiac gene and I can’t help but wonder if it’s why we catch EVERYTHING that’s coming through.  It’s almost as if it passes through my oldest and just hits us.  Luckily the exclusively breastfed baby has not caught ANY of the sickness.  It’s almost hard to believe that I have a 6 month old baby who has never been sick ever.  On particularly hard days I really should remind myself of that and how lucky that makes me.

We’ve been trying to soak up as much of this amazing weather as possible.  I keep saying to my husband, I feel like the break from school should be August, SeIMG_4372ptember, and October.  One hot month for beach-y stuff and then have the kids home to enjoy this amazing fall weather!  It’s absolutely the best for walking, hiking, exploring, everything.  One of my homeschooling friends was actually telling me how they have a more rigorous schedule in the insanely hot summer months and then they relax and play iIMG_4374n the fall.  That seems to make so much more sense!  Especially where we live it is SO hot and muggy for most of the summer it’s almost impossible to enjoy any time outside.  This cool, crisp, weather, on the other hand, is absolutely divine.  Perfect for all types of outdoor play and exploring.

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Deserted parks and forests are always the best places to venture out when you are finally feeling better!  I feel strongly about not going into public places when we are sick, both because I know we need the rest, but more importantly so that we don’t spread our germs around to the general public.  An abandoned woodsy area is just the spot for little boys who are still getting over the sniffles but will bounce THROUGH the walls if they don’t get outside.

Moonlit Mama is still in (but hopefully getting over) what is known as Fall Flare.  I literally forget about it every single year until I am sick for WEEKS in October, and then I remember.  Fall Flare refers to the changing of the seasons when seasonal allergies get worse, and all autoimmune conditions seem to flare up.  For me that means my Bile Acid Malabsorption (also known as BAM because yeah my digestive condition needs a badass name) and Celiac are causing my stomach to feel like small elves inside it are trying to murder me.  It also means I’m extra tired (helpful when I have a baby that never sleeps) and catch every stray bug that’s floating around.  But when we finally do get out, and get to see this AMAZING scenery, it’s totally worth it!  I love seeing my guys run around and explore the natural world.  Dirt, leaves, trees, even prickers, they love exploring all of it!  I especially love when we can all do these nature walks as a family.  With two working parents (even though I have the most sporadic hours ever), and the demands of daily life, it’s really  hard to just find time together to do something simple.  But when we do, it’s totally worth it. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in what I call “indoor life.”  I could spend EVERY free second curled up in bed with a book.  With multiple part-time jobs, three kids, and home responsibilities it’s almost impossible to find a free hour to myself.  When I do I usually want to just shower and read a book!  But I have to realize that being out in nature absolutely rejuvenates me in a way that nothing else can.  Climbing the rocks with my kids, tromping through the forest (or THE WOODS as my boys ominously call it), and just watching the water.  Those activities really feed my soul.  IMG_4414 IMG_4329 IMG_4406

Tiny bladders and the strict schedule of Kindergarten

I have been dreaming about Christian’s first day of school for months now.  I had perhaps romanticized the idea of the neighborhood school.  I was originally worried about my son going to public school (I went to Quaker school my whole life), but I also felt that once we saw the school I would be comforted and encouraged.  I want to support public and neighborhood schools because the only way they will ever get better is if people actually attend them instead of fleeing to the private schools.  I envisioned us walking to school every day, and talking all about his day on the way home.  In my mind I would be less overwhelmed at home when he was at school for most of the day.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

To start, our school is pretty damn crowded.  Not to say it’s terrible, and apparently twenty five-year olds to one teacher is an acceptable ratio, but that just seems insane to me.  I want to rage and complain and whine about everything that happened the first day and how it’s all the teacher’s fault, but really I don’t want to throw her under the bus.  (Or do I…?! Lol)  As my husband says, I don’t know what problems she may be having that caused her to be disorganized in the first week of school.  Maybe her daughter has preeclampsia and she’s really worried about her and been unable to get it together for the beginning of the school year.  Yes, he is clearly married to a doula with thinking like that.  But, I digress.  My point is that from the very beginning his teacher seemed flustered, irritated, and not totally on top of the ball.  

If you follow me on Facebook you know that on the first day of school as they were lining up to leave the classroom for the bus my son asked his teacher to go to the bathroom.  He was told that he could not go.  He rode home on the bus with a full bladder and when he got off the bus he said, “I really have to pee they wouldn’t let me go before I got on the bus!”  So we RAN home.  He made it, thankfully, but by the time we got there I was really angry.  What kind of person (teacher!?) doesn’t let a 5 year old go to the bathroom when he has to go?  Worse, what kind of person puts a 5 year old who has to pee on the bus!?  That just seems unnecessarily cruel and asking for him to have an embarrassing accident on his first day of school.  It definitely seemed like passing the buck to me.  Like it was an inconvenient time for her to let him go to the bathroom, so screw it, not her problem if he pees on the bus or on the way home.  I always remind my kids to pee before we get in the car because, duh, we are getting in the car and you should pee before you leave the house.  The fact that he was trying to be independent and responsible and go before getting on the bus but was prevented from doing so just enraged me.  And the argument that the bus has to adhere to a schedule?  Irrelevant.  Because your schedule is for sure going to be jacked up when one of the kids pees all over the seat and you need to clean it before any more kids can get on.  And also, human decency.  If a child has to go to the bathroom, let them go to the bathroom.  

I called the school and demanded to speak with his teacher.  Her first question was, “oh did he have an accident?” Um, No, because we ran, but was that the phone call you were expecting??  Honestly, it’s the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.  You can’t be flexible and let the kid go pee for chrissakes??  After all of the time I have spent teaching my kid to listen to his body, and be independent about using the bathroom, this just felt like a major step backwards.  She explained to me that they have a schedule for bathroom breaks and that he had not gone at the previously scheduled time.  I asked her if he knew that that was the last time to go before the bus (No.)  Okay, she promised to remind him when the last bathroom break of the day would be.  When I asked what would happen in the future if a kid asked to go to the bathroom during a non-scheduled time she told me that “their little bodies just adapt to the schedule.”  Which might be true, as kids are very adaptable.  But emergencies happen.  Not every kid can get on the same bathroom schedule as the other nineteen in the class.  Denying a child access to the bathroom when he or she has to go is just absurd.  If the classroom is so busy that the teacher can’t let a kid pee when he needs to, that is indicative of a serious problem with the system.  

I have since spoken to his teacher again, and to the assistant principal.  The assistant principal assured me that he would always be allowed to go to the bathroom when he asked.  But what about other kids!?  I’m not trying to get special treatment for my child.  I would never want any kid to sit and suffer the pain of a full bladder or embarrassment of an accident because they spoke up, asked to go to the bathroom, and were denied!   That just seems unnecessarily cruel.  And if letting kids use the bathroom when they need to would disrupt the whole day, then my friend your day needs some restructuring.  Because you are teaching a Kindergarten class.  They have tiny bodies, tiny bladders, and most of them are away from home for the first time in their lives.  There’s a time and a place to teach kids the harsh realities of the world but I just don’t think that Kindergarten is it.  

Christian’s second day of school was today.  He was very excited to go and wanted to ride the bus instead of walk.  Afterwards he was all smiles and said he had a great day.  Clearly I have been more negatively effected by this situation than he is.  That is, however, most likely because we avoided an embarrassing accident.  This whole situation has made me lose trust and faith in the school that he is currently attending.  I find myself wondering why I am sending him there 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, if I don’t feel that he is being properly taken care of.  If they can’t take care of his basic human needs, how can I expect them to teach him to read, to count, to care properly for others?  It is incredibly important to me that my children respect themselves, their bodies, each other, and become good stewards of the earth.  I worry that he will not be learning these things at his current school and that I will be fighting an uphill battle trying to do it all at home.

My husband says I am being overly dramatic (I’m pretty sure he says this about me every time I have an opinion), that this one mistake does not reflect on the school as a whole.  I have to disagree though.  I believe in the hierarchy of needs, and that if the basic ones aren’t met, higher needs cannot be properly learned or fulfilled.  

After the initial rage wore off, and many conversations with my husband and mother I have decided to give it a chance.  Christian told me today that he had a great day and that school was fun.  That hasn’t stopped me from filling out transfer applications to other programs.  A very good friend of ours has a son in a Montessori program.  They are taught independence from an early age and to follow their body’s cues and use the bathroom when they need to.  This is how I was raised.  It was considered less disruptive to quietly exit the room, go to the bathroom, then quietly come back.  None of this bathroom pass nonsense, or only during scheduled times.  And guess what, the whole system didn’t fall apart because we were allowed to pee when we had to!   Shocking.  

I have always said that I could never homeschool, that I don’t have the personality for it.  This incident has definitely made me reconsider that stance.  I am unable to change the teacher, and I am unable to change the whole broken system.  But I can make myself do better.  if we end up homeschooling I would do everything in my power to make it an amazing year of learning and exploring for Christian, and my other two children.  Already I am fantasizing about all of the fun things we could as home/unschoolers!  Kids definitely don’t get enough outside time during the day in traditional school.  My son LOVES gardening, plants, dirt, farming, animals, anything and everything to do with being outside.  He doesn’t get to involve himself in any of that at his current school.  I find myself longing for the days of farm camp when I knew he was learning so many useful things in an amazing outdoor setting.  In addition, his brother is bored out of his mind without him!  I used to love watching Christian and Marcus interact and play.  They could build Legos for hours. Christian is a natural teacher and had an amazing amount of patience (for the most part) with Marcus.  Perhaps I am romanticizing home life with three kids, but adjusting to all day at home without Christian is NOT super fun for Marcus or I.  We miss our guy!  

I wonder if I am the only first time Kindergarten parent who thinks this traditional stuff might totally NOT be for us.  We avoid a lot of mainstream American culture because it is not the right fit for us.  I am starting to think that traditional schooling might be falling under the umbrella of “Things that other families do because they are right for them but are definitely not right for us.” Or maybe I’m just being overly dramatic.  Only time will tell.  

 

How are my other mamas doing with their kids in school??

 

What is a belly cast? Should I get one?

And now for a happy post! Embrace that beautiful belly and get a belly cast!

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Our answer is, simply, absolutely! A belly cast is simply a plaster mold of your pregnant belly, done in the third trimester.  The mold typically includes a woman’s breasts as well, though can certainly be done without.  Belly casts are a beautiful, artistic way to celebrate your pregnancy and growing family!  They can be painted, decorated with flowers, ribbons, or other decorations, or left plain white.  Many women put them on display in their homes, or keep them as keepsakes in the baby’s room.  We’ve even seen professional photo shoots of the newborn laying in the plaster cast!

Casts can even include hips, arms, and legs.  The options are endless!  One of our doulas, Rachel Vorhauer, uses her extensive artistic skill to create beautifully artistic belly casts.  Materials are relatively inexpensive and are covered in the belly cast package.  It’s a keepsake that you can treasure for years to come…

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Ongoing Recovery

It’s been a rough time at the Brown household while Marcus recovers from his burns.  He has (understandably so) been even more cranky than usual, and we were already going through a somewhat heinous terrible twos episode.  And as noted in my previous post, giving in to his constant requests for chocolate because I feel bad about his arm has created a monster.

It’s such a fine line between showing him extra love and spoiling the crap out of him!  Same goes for my 6 year old.  He has been neglected because I have a cranky baby and a cranky two year old, so I indulge him by letting him play Lego Marvel Superheroes all day if he wants to.  Logically I know that doing all of these things is bad for them and making my life harder in the long run, but how many things can I do at once?  How many small beings can I comfort at once?  How many places am i supposed to be at once?  I’m also supposed to be preparing meals, cleaning up from meals, doing dishes, regular laundry plus cloth diaper and kitchen rag laundry, preventing the dog from running away (a full time job in and of itself), finishing my childbirth educator certification, blogging for my employer, and writing my own blog.  Oh and all of this on three hours sleep sometimes.  Not to mention the ongoing HELL that is my relationship with the Health Insurance Marketplace and my FSA card that requires so much time on the phone I’m starting to think of that as my job (except wait, I don’t get paid for it, and they constantly want to prevent me from spending my own money).  

If I were to make a list of all the things that I am supposed to be accomplishing in one day it would be so horrifying I would probably cry.  I may or may not already be crying.  How do other moms do this?  Please give me your insight!  Everyone tells me it will be better when Christian goes to school, except Christian and Marcus are buddies so Marcus will actually be bored without Christian, therefore requiring more of my time.

Somehow this post has gotten completely sidetracked from it’s original intent of writing about Marcus’ ongoing recovery.  Maybe i am writing about our recovery as a family.  I have been so overwhelmed with the family and friend support that we have received over the last two weeks.  People come out of the woodwork to bring us lunch, or wine (best gift ever), or healing salve, or well wishes.  It has been so comforting!  And yet, why does it feel like it’s never enough?  Why does it feel like the very moment we leave a friends house, or a friend leaves our house, that all hell is once again breaking loose and I can manage NONE of it?  I have to believe that this is not the way human communities are supposed to be.  One person spending all day at home with three tiny, incredibly needy, beings.  Where is the village that everyone talks about?  I’m in desperate need of it.  

My 2 year old fell into a pot of boiling water

It is horrifically ironic that not two days after I write a post about how high the stakes are when you are a parent, my kid literally fell into a pot of boiling water.  Some of you might have noticed I haven’t blogged in a while, and that is because we have been dealing with the aftermath of his severe burns, but if you follow me on twitter or Facebook you might have seen the pictures.

We have been having a rough go of it the last few weeks in general.  To be perfectly honest, I am completely overwhelmed by having three kids.  While I love staying home with them, I’m not sure that it’s my most valuable skill.  But because I believe in the importance of full time and extended breastfeeding, and have to be home to do that, I am the one who is home with the older ones as well.  I recently got a work-at-home job blogging for my amazing chiropractor (Dr. Brenda Fairchild at Pea and the Pod Chiropractic!), and that’s been helping me feel like I have some worth outside of wiping small people’s butts.  But other than that, my main job is to take care of and entertain small beings.  And this is challenging.  With Audrey’s breastfeeding issues she requires most of my time, leaving the older ones feeling like they have to fend for themselves all day.  This is fine for the almost-six year old, but my two year old guy needs a little more attention to that.  

Last Monday night Marcus and I finally got some quality time together!  My husband James was playing video games with our oldest, and the baby was napping while I made dinner.  Marcus loves to stand up at the counter and pretend to cook with me.  I always put him either to the left or right of the stove while I stand at the stove in front of anything hot.  He has played cooking with me enough that he knows to never touch the stove, or touch anything on the stove.  I had chopped up a bunch of vegetables to sauté and he was pretending to stir them at the stove before I turned anything on.   IMG_2982

Note the raw vegetables in the pan and empty pot.  No heat here!  I let him stir the raw veggies for a while before I added the ground beef to cook it.  Given that I am a germaphobe I made him move away when I added the raw meat to the pan and turned it on.  I filled the large pot with water to make pasta and turned it on.  At that point I moved him to the counter to the left of the stove to play with a bowl and spoon and some spices to “cook” more veggies.  I was standing directly in front of the pot and he was to my left.  We have done this many times before, and it is a fun bonding time for both of us.  We rarely spend any time together, just Marcus and I, and I was really enjoying this time with him.  I reminded him again that the pot was very hot and showed him the steam and not to touch or come close.  He’s not very verbal but he understands everything so really I had no concerns about this leaning over to touch it.  I did not, however, think about him losing his balance and falling into the pot.  I don’t know if he was reaching for something, or just lost his balance out of nowhere, but all of a sudden, he was falling in front of me.  He put his hand out to catch himself and his right hand and arm landed in the boiling pot of water.  I screamed and grabbed him and yelled for my husband to come help me.  It was, as of yet, one of the scariest most horrific moments of my life.  Seeing your child fall into a boiling pot of water is absolutely terrifying.  He was screaming and crying uncontrollably as my husband grabbed him up.  I am ashamed to say that I totally panicked and did not know what to do.  My husband grabbed a towel and turned the cold water on, soaking the towel, and wrapping it around my sons hand and arm.  Marcus was crying and screaming so hard I could barely take it.  He was thrashing around and yelling “Owwwwwww” and trying to get out of husbands arms and run away from the pain.  It was so awful to see I could barely keep it together.  In fact I really didn’t.  I kept yelling at my husband to get a clean towel (he had grabbed the hand towel from the bathroom and my fear of germs and exposed burn skin was making me insane) and asking if we needed to go to the hospital.  My husband ran upstairs with Marcus and set him in the bathtub so that he could run continuous cold water over the towel.  As he opened the towel to look at it he yelled down to me “Kate get clothes for Marcus we have to go to the hospital!”  I grabbed some clothes, a diaper, I don’t know what else and before I knew it they were out the door.  My oldest kept asking what happened and the baby was crying.  Sobbing, I called my mother begging her to go buy an aloe plant (really!?) then just yelling “No please come over I need to get to the hospital!”

My mother made it to my house in record time and after nursing the baby I ran out the door.  I cried so hard on the way to the hospital and RAN into the emergency room.  It was so packed and crowded with people lying on gurneys in the hallway.  Thankfully they led me to a room where Marcus was sitting on James’ lap.  He was no longer crying, just waving his arm back and forth saying “Owwwwwww, Owwww….” He looked so pathetic and sad I just started bawling in front of all the nurses.  James put him in my lap and explained that he had IV morphine for pain and that’s why he was so quiet and dazed.  He had apparently been screaming and thrashing uncontrollably when they arrived at the hospital.  His arm was wrapped up so I couldn’t see the burns.  The whole time at the ER was such a haze for me.  I was so upset.  I could not believe my son had landed with half his arm in a pot of boiling water.  I couldn’t believe that our one joyful moment in weeks was ruined by this accident.  I could not stop blaming myself for letting him stand close enough to a pot of boiling water.  I kept saying to the nurse over and over, “I was right there!  I don’t know how it happened!”  I remember her telling me he would have to be transferred to a burn unit in Pennsylvania.  I remember her telling me that they are mandatory reporters and she would have to take pictures of his injuries for Child Protective Services.  This made me cry even harder, I felt like such a failure as a mother.  She explained that Marcus would travel by ambulance to the burn center and one parent could go with him.  

I left the hospital, still in a daze, and drove back to the house to pack a bag for James and Marcus.  I’d been gone over an hour and a half and when I got home the baby was still crying.  I can’t describe the stress of having two children falling apart in different locations and wanting to be with both of them.  I knew Marcus was in good hands with James.  They have a special bond and he’s definitely a daddy’s guy.  But I wanted to be there with him!  Audrey is a mama’s girl and she tends to freak out if I am gone for too long.  Nothing will soothe her but me, and the guilt I felt when I wasn’t with Marcus, combined with the guilt I felt when I wasn’t with Audrey, was making me fall apart completely.  I finally nursed her down to sleep, packed the bags, and got in the car.  I got totally lost in the ghetto getting there and then even more lost in the hospital.  By the time I found them, Marcus was settled in with another bandage and dose of pain medicine.  He actually smiled to see me!  (I was afraid he would hate me forever).  Funny how kids don’t blame parents they way parents blame themselves.  IMG_2996

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Note the pile of mini Snickers I brought him.  

After I plied him with chocolate, I snuggled next to him until he fell asleep, then left to go home and nurse the baby again.  I couldn’t believe that I would be able to sleep after such a horrific night.  We had no information, no knowledge of how long he would be in the burn unit, whether grafts or surgery would be needed, or anything.  I was so filled with worry for his little arm!  I felt horrible that he and his dad had to stay in that hospital but thankful that James had not left his side the entire time (even during the ambulance ride when the driver wanted him to sit up front instead of in the back with Marcus!  I’m so grateful James stood his ground and he was able to ride in the back).

So went the longest, possibly worst night of my life so far.  I suppose I am lucky if that’s the worst night I’ve had so far, but it certainly didn’t feel that way at the time.  Tuesday morning they told us he might need surgery and grafts.  By Tuesday night magical baby skin healing had taken place and we were allowed to take him home!  Over a week later, I am still slightly traumatized by what happened.  I feel nervous every time I cook something on the stove.  I have not let Marcus cook with me since.  His arm still needs to be constantly bandaged.  There is a special type of bandage that secretes Silver and antibiotics.  It is wrapped in a thick outer layer to prevent moisture and bacteria from getting in, and this whole thing stays on for a week.  We have been calling it his monster claw, or robot arm.  James and Marcus have been back to the unit twice since Marcus was released, and the bandage replaced once.  The pictures of his one week old healing wound that look ‘good’ according to the doctors are still terrifying to me.  

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Somehow the majority of the burns or on the inner arm and top of the fingers and hand.  He must have clenched his fist as it went into the water.  It happened so fast I couldn’t even say.  So far the doctors and nurses have said there shouldn’t be a need for physical therapy as long as we continue to bend his fingers and move his wrist as much as possible.  He’s still on daily baby Motrin for pain and inflammation.  My crunchy side is horrified at all of the ibuprofen he is getting but I know that it is necessary. I am sure there will be bad scarring.  I can’t help but be grateful that it’s only on his hand and arm.  Everyone tells me that the scars will make him look tough, and give him a good story, and it makes me wonder what stories he will tell about it as a teenager, or if he will even remember.

Next Monday he goes back for another bandage change.  There is a chance it will be healed enough for no more bandages, but I can’t get my hopes up after seeing the pictures from yesterday.  He talks often about what happened, how he went into the hot water and it hurt and then he and dad went somewhere.  It makes me so sad when he does that!  I know he’s not mad at me, and I always let him talk about it, but I can’t help but feel terrible.  I don’t want my babies to feel any pain ever!  I know that accidents happen, that with two rough-and-tumble boys I will probably be making many more trips to the ER.  My job from now on is to not panic.  And not let anyone near the hot stove ever.

I would not have made it through the last week and a half without the support of family and friends.  It was such a terrible time, I think I cried for 48 straight hours.  Friends who called and texted, who brought food, and salve for the splash burns, and breastmilk!  We would never have made it through without them.  There will be another post about that, and about Marcus’ continued recovery.  Comments welcome but please be kind.  

 

the stakes are so freakin’ high

One of the hardest things about being a mother, in my opinion, is that the stakes are just so freaking high.  In experimenting with blogging and putting myself out there via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my blog, I keep wondering, is it a mistake to plaster my life all over the Internet?  If it were just me, I wouldn’t care at all.  But these are my kids.  I love being able to share my triumphs and tribulations with like minded people.  Without social media, there would simply be no way to do that.  But then my anxiety kicks in… there are creepy weird terrible predators out there.  Do they know where I live?  Do I want them staring at my children?  Would it be better to just hide away and stay off of social media completely? That would certainly be safer.  But it would make me feel much less connected, (more about the loneliness of motherhood in another post), and is perhaps completely unrealistic. And I have to admit, I really love blogging. I love the comments from my mama friends about how they can completely relate! I’ve gotten some amazing advice from this blog already.  And I know that the best blogs have a lot of pictures, and are connected to social media in various ways.  My friends and family post pictures of my kids all the time as well, would I tell them not to?  Could I ever even keep up with making sure no one did?  Is it better to just embrace it!?  Say here we are world/internet!  I mean there are, quite literally, billions of people win the world.  Chances are, no one cares about my little family, right?  Here’s hoping…

I recently read a post at scarymommy.com (love that blog!) about things parents miss about not having kids.  Being able to make a decision without worrying that you are ruining someone else’s life is definitely something that I miss!  Every single thing I do carries potential terrible consequences.  The stress is enough to make me lose my mind.  I am already a worrier, and worrying that I am damaging a small innocent human for life is a heavy weight to bear.  I was never easygoing per se, but I was definitely more relaxed before I had children.  At times I think I might actually be a terrible candidate for parenthood.  I worry way too much!  I would be destroyed if something happened to one of my children.  Just reading about stillbirths, children with cancer, terrible freak accidents, anything of that nature makes can reduce me to a crying fit that can last hours.  (That could also be the postpartum hormones, but let’s be real, I have always been that way).  I read a quote once, that described having children as letting your heart walk around outside of your body.  That’s exactly what it’s like.  What a silly thing to do!  How risky!  Why do we put ourselves in this vulnerable situation??

I love my children so much.  It almost hurts how much I love them.  I want to share them with the world, but at the same time I want to hide us all away in a secluded cave where we will be safe forever.  There are no good answers from me today.  This has been weighing on my mind, and I’ll admit, sharing it for all of the world to (potentially) see, makes the burden a little less lighter.  But is it worth the risk?  (What exactly is the risk??)  Mama friends, if you have any good advice, on how to manage your worry in the age of social media, I would love to hear it!  

Things I love

Every now and then I like to be super materialistic and talk about all the things I love!  So many things!

Today most of all I love my Girasol Romantique Woven Wrap – not only is it beautiful and durable, but my baby loves being in it.  Win.

Makeup.  I love makeup.  Sometimes it solves all the problems.  Red lipstick can be especially helpful in coming out of a funk.  Mirenesse Lacquer Stain has got to be the best lip color product I’ve ever used in my life. I love it.  So much.  I want tons more and I want them to read my blog so that they will send me some.  Not likely, but a girl can dream.

My new toaster I just bought that hasn’t arrived yet because it has FOUR SLOTS!  And I have so many kids now that a two-slot toaster just won’t do anymore.

All of the Dr Sears Books. Because they are such a gentle intro for mainstream people into the crunchy lifestyle.  So gentle!  But after reading  them you can’t believe you weren’t a crunchy attachment parenter the whole time.  

Camera filters. Because camera filters.  I almost think I look this good in real life!

More fun things coming!  Want to know where to buy?  Comment!

 

 

 

Since I became a mother…

During a conversation with my husband last night about current events I realized that I used to be a very well-informed person about current events, and be able to speak quite intelligently on them.  That is absolutely no longer the case.  I barely know what is going on outside of my own chaotic home, and after that, only what is going on in my small birth community.  I can speak quite intelligently on pregnancy, the physiology of labor and birth, the postpartum period, the absurd (lack of) maternity and parental leave policies in the U.S., and quite a few other issues related to this one area of life.  As for what’s going on in Gaza, Syria, Thailand, or anywhere else for that matter I quite frankly have no idea.  In a way this makes me feel terrible.  I have always been someone who cares deeply for all people of the world.  I think it matters that we know the atrocities occurring on our own planet, in hopes that we can one day do something about them.  The fact that I am so wrapped up in my own little world is not something that I am entirely comfortable with.  Many days I don’t even leave my house!  Isn’t there more to life than that?  I consider myself a smart person.  I read incredibly fast and I retain what I read.  I like to educate myself on world issues.  I did very well in school, and in college, and I was even a Teaching Assistant for an intro Anthropology class.  Sometimes when I am bogged down in the mundanities of being a stay(work)-at-home, I think, “I AM SO MUCH SMARTER THAN THIS! WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?”  At times I really think my brain is atrophying from trying to communicate with tiny humans all day long, two of which do not talk!

I know that this time will not last forever.  Already I am mourning the day when my oldest goes off to school and he is not with me and his siblings all day.  (More on this later and if we survive the public school system in Delaware or if we revert to homeschooling!)  But at the moment, feeling like I am clearly not realizing my full potential, is hard to swallow at times.

I have a very good friend who has no children.  She travels extensively, doing service work for people in need in the farthest corners of the Earth.  At home, she is involved in improving her community almost every day.  I look at her enviously, because I believe that I have so much to offer the world, and yet cannot even manage my own existence at home.  On days like today, when I am feeling especially down about that fact, I remember her kind words during my Blessingway ceremony.  “You are a steward of the Earth.  You care about social justice for people you have never met.  And so will your little girl.”  I believe that my most important job is to raise children who are good stewards of the Earth.  Who care deeply about the wellbeing of people that they have never met.  Who believe in social justice and in protecting the planet that we all live on. There is so much hatred and evil in this world.  At times it worries me that I even brought children into it!  I can only hope that they will be a force for change, for peace, for happiness.  And if nothing else, that their lives are so full of joy that they can’t help but spread it to others.