My French Parenting Love Affair
Posted on September 6, 2014 1 Comment
My new vocabulary list from Bringing up Bebe:
bêtise (beh-teeze) – a small act of naughtiness
cadre (kah-druh) – frame, or framework. A visual image that describes the French parenting ideal: setting firm limits for children, but giving them tremendous freedom within those limits.
doucement (doo-ce-mahnt) – gently; carefully.
education ( eh-doo-cah-see-ohn) – upbringing. The way that French parents raise their kids.
enfant roi (an-fahnt rwa) – child king. An excessively demanding child who is constantly the center of his parents’ attention and who can’t cope with frustration.
non (noh) – no; absolutely not.
sage (sah-je) – wise and calm. This describes a child who is in control of himself or absorbed in an activity. Instead of saying “be good”, French parents say “Be sage.”
Ok, so I honestly don’t remember much from all of my French classes, I’ve never attempted to put my hair up in a french twist, and sadly the closest I’ve been to France is my undying love of french fries (which I am quite the connoisseur), but ever since I was young, I’ve had a love of all things French. It could be because it’s in my blood, great grand-père came straight from France, but the more likely reason is the exuberantly romantic way of life that the French portray throughout daily life. I can’t even say the word “French” without seeing a leggy brunette with a flowy sundress, completely polished and put together from head to toe, walking down the street with her adorable, well behaved child, so of course I jump at any book that promises to magically turn me into her!
I read Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman and, simply put, I loved it. I had so many “duh, that makes so much more sense” moments and a lot of it really stuck with me. I want to build a cadre for Skyler to know her boundaries, but still have freedom to explore. It just makes sense to me. The thing I loved most was that French parents don’t push their children to grow too quickly. Here in America, it is a battle to get your children into the fanciest preschools, the more advanced classes and the starting line-up for their sports team. I don’t think that much pressure can be good on a little kid. I love the idea of letting them grow and discover while they are still young. Let them be little.
I’ve just started reading my next book, French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon and am excited to get into it!
Anyway, if you haven’t heard of Bringing up Bebe, look into it. It was a great read and as a bonus, it got Sky to sleep twelve hours at night without any interruptions. Maybe it’s because she has French blood in her too ;).
Revoir tout le monde!
Posted on August 26, 2014 3 Comments
Warning: this post might get a little mushy.
I don’t know if it is the blustery day outside, the fact that my baby just turned six months old or that she has two new little pearly whites in her mouth, it’s probably a combination of all three; but I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic lately. Where did my tiny newborn go? Everyone will tell you when you have a baby, they grow up so fast, but guys, they grow up so fast! It’s crazy, actually. When did my little 7 pound baby turn into a scooting, squawking, busy little person? I fought this whole growing up business from the beginning. I still stuffed her in those newborn clothes long after the suggested weight limit. Poor thing had her chunky thighs and arms pop out of her clothes like a busted can of biscuits. It was at this point, when I finally realized it was time to box them up, along with my dreams of having a newborn forever. I remember when she was only two or three weeks old and wishing she were older so that she would start sleeping through the night, go longer between feedings or sit up by herself. I can’t believe I ever wished away that time. I know it’s so much easier now and every day it gets more and more fun to watch her discover this strange new world, but it is just a bitter reminder that time is flying by.
One day, I was trying to get Skyler down for a nap and was wishing she would hurry and fall asleep so I could lay her down and get on with what I needed to be doing. Nap time was my time, one or two golden hours to do the things I needed to do throughout the day. I used to lay her in her crib and let her fall asleep on her own, but since the move, and the struggle with the change, I started rocking her to sleep. Usually, as soon as she closed her eyes — bam—I put her right down, I was so excited to finally get that shower I’d been meaning to take all day. I would rush her to her crib and head on my merry way. This time was different. I remember something my sister telling me about taking five minutes after your baby fell asleep to just hold them. I’m not going to lie, at first this was a challenge. The whole time I was thinking of all of the dishes that needed to be cleaned, the clothes that needed to be folded and how I really needed this time to get my chores done. I had to force myself to stay and focus on my little sleeping babe.
Now, I know this may sound silly, but these five minutes have become sacred time to me. No chore or obligation can keep me from snuggling my little baby. This time I have with her is so special and it is passing by so quickly, I want to soak in every moment I can. Right now, she wants me to hold her, to cuddle her and rock her to sleep. It will be all too soon that she turns into a teenager who is embarrassed to be seen with her mom and I will wish for this time back. It’s like that saying:
“The dishes will wait, life won’t.”
This became so real to me over the past few weeks. I wish she’d never grow up, but since she has to, I’m going to try and soak as much of her up as I can while she still thinks I’m pretty cool!
In The Swing of Things…
Posted on August 18, 2014 Leave a Comment
We found a new favorite!
We are really starting to settle in to our new life and finding our new favorite spots around town. Skyler definitely loves to go to the park and play on the swings, watch the bigger kids run around and play in the grass. We have been collecting old bread and cereal to feed some ducks, but we always seem to find them when we don’t have the food, and then can’t spot one when we have a whole bag full. We will catch them before winter, hopefully.
I am so sad that Skyler won’t remember her time here in Ithaca, so I am trying to take as many pictures as my camera can hold. I am so happy we get to have this experience. I want all of our children to be able to explore new places and people. I am surprised at how quickly this new place has become home to us.
With the change of location, we’ve welcomed some long overdue lifestyle changes as well. One big change, I cook dinner! Guys, this is huge. If you know us, you know we eat out all the time. It was becoming a problem for our wallets as well as our waistbands. With cooking for ourselves, it has also been an easy change to go gluten free. We both feel one thousand times better since cutting it out of our diets. We are trying different types of foods and flavors. Out here, we’ve been introduced to Witch Finger grapes. They are the weirdest little grapes you’ve ever seen. Long and skinny, like a witch finger. The local grocery store, Wegmans, is hands-down one of the things I will miss most about living here. I was so excited about it, I had to call my mom and talk her ear off for 15 minutes! This store! Besides offering front row parking to costumers with kids, they have two hours of babysitting, dry cleaning, a whole section of rows dedicated to gluten free foods, a market place cafe that puts Harmons to shame and produce aisles for days! We honestly spend way too much time here.
All in all, we are settling in quite nicely and are happy to call Ithaca home.
Posted on August 18, 2014 3 Comments
So this last week was National Breastfeeding Week, I know what you’re thinking, this is a thing? I didn’t know either, but I guess they have a day or week for hot dogs, doughnuts and slurpees, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. I don’t think I would have ever known about this “holiday” if I didn’t move to Ithaca where, I kid you not, I’m the only person I’ve seen feeding my baby from a bottle. “Oh…you don’t breastfeed?” is a common question. When I pull out a bottle to feed Sky, I literally try to sit in a corner and not let anyone see. I feel like I’m smuggling contraband to my daughter or something. I scheduled her a six month check up at a new doctor, where they asked if my baby was bottle-fed or breastfed. Five minutes later, after I spewed my whole spiel about how I used to breastfeed and all of my apologies and justifications for why I wasn’t still, I got set up with a lactation specialist….. Really? No, I haven’t breastfed for months and the last thing I want to do is have a lactation specialist try to start me up on the pump every hour again. Ideally, I would have loved to breastfeed my baby for a whole year if I could, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I tried taking the herbs and teas, doing all of the regimens to increase my supply and had no success. I was exhausting myself trying to get enough food to my baby. I wasn’t enjoying any of it. I wanted to actually enjoy being a mom and feeding my baby. I know statistics prove that there is nothing better for your little one than breast milk, but my pediatrician also pointed out some stats that show how much formula has evolved and is closer than ever to real breast milk.
My baby is happy, healthy and still has a special bond with me, even though I feed her from a bottle. (Plus, an extra perk of bottle feeding, you can leave them with grandparents for longer than a few hours! 😉 ) People will strongly encourage you to breastfeed your baby, and if that’s what you want, I encourage you, too! What people don’t realize is that, when you have tried feeding your baby that way, and it isn’t working and you’ve made up your mind to bottle feed, all of their “encouragement” can actually be really annoying and unwanted.
Some people will call it “natural” vs “unnatural”, when really, your maternal instinct is the most natural thing about this child rearing process. You know what is best for your baby, because you are their mom. So whether you feed from a bottle or a breast, make sure that feeding your baby is an enjoyable experience and what YOU as their mom feels best about.
PS- If you do choose to bottle-feed, you have to get the Dr. Brown’s bottles. They are amazing! Not going to lie, cleaning them is twice as hard and keeping all of the parts together is a constant battle, but you will be glad you have them when your baby doesn’t have a gassy fit!
B & B take NYC!
Posted on August 14, 2014 8 Comments
We are New Yorkers now! Ok, so…the locals would scoff if they heard me call us “New Yorkers”, and we’re technically not in the city. But, we did move to Ithaca, which is by far one of our better decisions. I love it here. I love it, love it, love it. It is so family-friendly, green and outdoorsy, and just all around great. Seriously, if you’re thinking of visiting New York, go upstate. Trust me.
Anywho, that was a little tangent about why I’ve been slacking at writing this time. I am pretty good at thinking up excuses as to why it takes me forever to write, but honestly, when it comes down to it, I just don’t know if anyone reads the blog so I just forget. I do have one follower (thanks, mom!!) and have gotten a few comments which have inspired me to trudge on. Even if no one reads my rants, I find it therapeutic to write.
Today, Sky and I went on a walk all around downtown. They have a common area with lots of local shops with handmade goods and fun trendy restaurants that smell amazing (we’re on a student’s budget, so we are just smelling for now) and tons of interesting people who love to talk to you and let you pet their dogs! The Farmer’s Market here is one of the best! It sits along Cayuga Lake and has a stunning view of the sailboats. We are really hoping for family and friends to visit soon so we can take them to our favorite spots. Until then, we will keep discovering more!
While Austin is in the MBA program at Cornell, Skyler and I are pretty glad to have each other to hang out with as the program is pretty demanding. On nights when Austin has late meetings and class activities, we explore! We went hiking around the gorges of Cornell yesterday, and let me tell you; lugging my little chunk back up to the car was one of the best work-outs I’ve ever had.
I am excited to have more adventures out here and to have fun things to write about! Thank you so much to those of you who left comments and read my blog, for keeping me motivated to write. Feedback is always welcome and if anyone comes to Ithaca, let us show you the town!
Cayuga Lake Cruise
Exploring the gorge while Austin is at school
Ready or not….
Posted on July 22, 2014 3 Comments
So here it is, the birth story. I have been putting off writing this for so long. I keep wanting to write about all of our latest adventures and comedic mom fails, but I feel like I have to start at the beginning. So naturally, instead of getting this post written, I put off writing all together.
For me, being pregnant was….well…awful. I was sick the entire time, could not get enough sleep, and was so tired of being fat. I wanted my body back to myself again. I tried all of the natural ways to help induce labor (soaking in a ginger bath that left my whole bottom half burning was the worst), I even tried to tell my doctor I was worried about getting sick and needed to be induced, but all that got me was a non-stress test.
After I went a week over and had not dilated at all, they scheduled me for an induction…on Superbowl Sunday. Austin was a really good sport to watch the game from the hospital room.
The worst part of the whole thing was getting my IV put in. The poor nurse was shaking so bad and could not get it to work. She tried three times before she had to get a different nurse to put it in. I do not do well with needles, so I was going nuts.
It was pretty smooth sailing after that. I started to feel contractions, so the nurse gave me some medicine which made the whole night SO enjoyable! I was laughing at everything and truly having a great time. I wanted to talk to everyone about everything.
The nurse came in to check on me the next morning, and my water broke on its own and I was dilated to a 3. I opted in for an epidural and had THE BEST experience with it. When they came back to check me an hour later, I was dilated to a ten!! Suddenly, I was not ready to have a baby! I wanted to wait for a while before I delivered so the baby could descend on her own.
It was time to push. I had the cutest labor and delivery nurse and she told me to do a few practice pushes. Then, she told me to stop and that she had to run get the doctor. It was just Austin and me in the room, not sure what was going on and what would happen if this baby came before the doctor got there.
I see our doctor walk in with his long hair and he said, “Alright, lets have a baby!” and I was like…alright, lets do this. He was so fun and relaxed that it made it seem like such an easy thing. I wasn’t even worried anymore. Dr. Thorpe was honestly the best doctor and I couldn’t have wished for a better situation. I asked him if the baby was going to be here soon and he told me she would be here in one push. One push!! I think I felt every sing emotion all at once. Scared, excited, anxious, nervous, happy! Life was about to change forever. Then, I heard the sweetest little cry and I melted. She was here! A healthy, beautiful baby girl. Ten fingers and ten toes, she was perfect. I just wanted to hold her forever.
So there you have it. The beginning of Bopper and Baby. One of these posts I will have to explain where my nickname came from. But that is just going to have to wait. I have a lot to catch up on from little ones six months of life and I can finally post those now that I have the birth story done!!
….Here comes baby!
Those First Two Weeks
Posted on June 27, 2014 2 Comments
How do I describe the whirlwind of those first weeks of a newborn and a new mommy? Basically, I was crazy. My eyes were constantly puffy from a non-stop stream of tears and a two hour night sleep, I was paranoid about everything (let’s not even talk about my SIDS obsession), and I wanted so badly for things to go back to the way they were, but still somehow wanted this new baby at the same time.
My mom and mother-in-law took shifts and spent the first week with us and I think it may have been better than a five star hotel. I mean, every meal was prepared and even brought to me in bed if I wanted, the laundry was washed and folded and placed neatly in the drawers, our house was constantly being cleaned and whenever baby made a squeak, someone was there to pamper her while I rested. I wish I would have known how good I had it, because I was in for a big reality check when they went home.
I first realized I was dealing with Post-partum Depression when Austin took me out to dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant and I didn’t want to eat anything. That is definitely out of character for me! I found myself crying on the bathroom floor more times than I’d like to admit. PPD is a real thing and even though I knew how bizarre I was acting, I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Thankfully, I was able to get into my doctor and get the help I needed. A few days after, I was a complete different person. I found myself loving being a mom and could actually hold myself together when Austin left us to go to school. I wish people were more open about how hard it is to be a mom. All you see on social media is the pictures of glowing mothers doting on their perfect sleeping child. What you don’t see is the behind-the-scenes meltdowns and panic attacks.
I wasn’t the only one having a hard time adjusting to this new life. Poor baby girl was not a too fond of life on the outside. She was not an easy baby, by any means. When we took her to get her newborn pictures, it took us two hours to get one shot because she would just scream the whol
e time. The photographer was kind enough to let us come back and try again a different day, but baby decided not to cooperate that day either.
What I learned in those first two weeks was this; to have a baby, especially a challenging one, you have to have a sense of humor and learn to go with the flow. Your old life is gone, and you’re tossed upside down into a new one. For me, I had to let myself mourn the loss of my old life, to appreciate the joys of this new life. It was the simple things that kept me going. There is no feeling quite like holding your sleeping baby; watching the faces they make as they dream and listening their little breaths! At the risk of sounding horribly mushy, I must admit, I really have never felt so close to Heaven.
Cry Baby Diaper Gang
Posted on May 27, 2014 1 Comment
CBDG, as we were affectionatley titled by Austin just a few days after we brought home baby, was a pitifully, accurate description of the mess of spit-ups and break-downs that is Bopper and baby. I read the books, I followed the hip mom blogs, I knew which diaper bag would keep me stylish and ready for the daily grind, I knew exactly what baby would wear home from the hospital; what I didn’t know…. that shiz was about to hit the fan (litteraly).
My delivery was a breeze, I actually slept through it all and woke up at a ten and ready to go. Those first blissful days in the hospital, with people waiting on you hand and foot, whisking baby away to the nursery if she got fussy when you wanted to sleep, bringing you breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed really gave me false expectations of how easy this was all going to be. Then, when your time is up, they wheel you out to the curb and send you packing…without any instructions, advice or meals for the road. We were on our own, just the three of us.
Baby and I earned our title as the “Cry Baby Diaper Gang” pretty much right after we got home. I was not prepared for any of it. I was completely sleep deprived, scared out of my mind, and yes, I was basically wearing a diaper. So that’s what it had come to. Baby and I sitting on the couch watching horrible daytime TV, crying over every little thing and just waiting for Austin to come home to pull us both together.
Although I am proud to say that I graduated from the “diaper” part and the tears have mostly dried, there are still little bumps and quirks that we are working on from day to day. I hope to document all of our little adventures and mishaps in hopes that I (and anyone else reading) can find humor in this glorious trainwreck we call ‘motherhood’.