Tuesday, October 20, 2009

things I've learned from wearing my baby

I love wearing my baby. It's almost an addiction (I can quit anytime, really!). When I get out my sling, my son starts kicking his feet and squealing in delight, which gives me the biggest mommy high. Sometime I think he might love it as much as I do!

When I was still working, a lady came in to my store with her one week old baby snugly wrapped in this crazy, bright orange, stretchy, bedsheet, wrapped around her body*. I was absolutely fascinated. While pregnant, I knew I wanted to have baby carrier, for the occasional convenience factor, but I didn't know anything about the world of "babywearing". My first sling was a disaster. Purchased at a big box store, I thought all slings were alike. My tiny son soon let me know this was not the case.

A few weeks later, I borrowed a Baby Bjorn from a friend for an all day 4th of July event. It was awesome! I delayed giving it back for as long as I could. Unfortunately, I had to give it back right before our move, which only served to confirm how essential a carrier is.

A few weeks later, while unpacking, I unearthed a sling one of my best friends gave me at my baby shower. I noticed it was a brand I heard of through my midwifery practice's online discussion group. With a few YouTube lessons on how to use it under my belt, and a day hasn't gone by that I don't use it.

So here's what I've learned:

1) Babies are learning about their larger world while being worn.
My son is incredibly curious. He wants to be in the center of everything, looking, touching, tasting whatever he can get his hands on. This is not unusual for babies or particular to my son. But what strikes me as odd is how is often other people comment on it. Almost every time we go out, someone will say to me "What a smart baby- you can see he's really taking in his world" or something similar. Because he is completely integrated in my world, he is learning more about HIS world.

2)Babies are learning about emotions while being worn
Kids are amazingly intuitive. Body language is virtually their only way to communicate with the world. When my son is in his sling, he is constantly "checking in" to see how I am reacting to life. Because he's physically close to me for a large part of his day, he can tell if I am happy, sad, sick, or stressed by my body language. Since I am aware of this, I try very hard to make sure I demonstrate healthy way of dealing with all that life gives me.

3) Babies are learning about love while being worn
When I am wearing my son, I've noticed that I am far more loving and attentive to him. I talk to him constantly, we make eye contact, I'll scratch his back, or snuggle him in hug. He coos at me, scratches my "back" (really my arm since that's as far as he can reach!) and nuzzles his head down on my chest. The sling facilitates this so much better than when I have him in a bouncy seat or playing on the floor. He's also able to witness loving behavior between his daddy and I when in the sling and close to us. I pray that translates to a healthy marriage for him, in the future.

***One disclaimer though--I do not believe this means babies who are not worn are going to be deficient in giving or receiving love! There is much more to it than that! But in my very limited experience, it is easier for me to demonstrate healthy love while wearing a sling which as I said, I hope will allow him to have a healthy framework to start his life with.

* I later found out this was a Moby Wrap style carrier. I want one in the worst way!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

"Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because He always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:24-25

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hollywood lies! (a.k.a. things I already knew but need reminded of often)

I'm pretty much like any other American women-- I wish/long/desire to be thinner but I pretend/ignore/pontificate it away. Oddly enough, I generally felt better about my figure while pregnant which, I guess, shouldn't surprise me since I took care of my body and ate consistently healthy for the first time in my life (no diet of tea and tortilla chips, like in college!) and it was finally doing exactly what it was designed to do.

What has surprised me more was the very relaxed attitude I had about my weight, post-partum. I felt so good after the birth, I automatically assumed I looked as good as I felt and generally, that was true. That made me more willing to look at my weight-loss needs prosaically. "It took 9 month to put on, it'll take 9 months to take it off." But lately that fabulous feeling has been going away and its been a big battle to get it back.

The other day I was standing in line at the grocery and saw yet another tabloid cover boasting how a Hollywood mom got her body back in six minutes by eating six calorie meals, six times a day, delivered right to her doorstep. And a black cloud of envy scurried right over me in six seconds flat. "Why does SHE look so good, so quickly and I have a shriveled, shrinking stomach? I'm breastfeeding and I'm probably only consuming 36 calories a day too, between diapers, baths, unpacking, and life in general!"

So later on, when trying to get myself out of this funk, I used one of my favorite methods to do so, which is to remind myself that Hollywood is in the business of "exaggerating" the truth. (BTW-This method rarely works when pictures are involved because as we all know a camera ADDS 10 pounds, not makes you look thinner.) But then this AMAZING thought occurred to me.

While we/I take them seriously and allow it to become personal, it's just business for all involved. Do the tabloids check in with the new mamas and ask them what they weigh, postpartum? Not likely. They take a guess, put it on the cover and sell, sell, sell. What if they got the number wrong and the girls weigh more or less than they published? Do you think the new hormonal mothers would call US Weekly and correct that mistake? I know I wouldn't! It's better for them business-wise if everyone thinks they are camera ready as soon as possible. The only people who probably know the real numbers have signed a confidentiality agreement because their business would suffer if they didn't.

Somehow this barely original thought struck a chord with me, why not approach it all like business? No one really knows what weight we are, so just let them take a guess, there's no need to correct them, it's better for your "business" of staying healthy mentally. Those who do know, should be close to you and have likely "signed" a confidentiality agreement, in the form of a trusted relationship, otherwise their "business"/relationship would suffer.

Since realizing this silly but admittedly helpful train of thought, I feel freer from my self-condemnation, which was the real problem anyway. Ready to approach it from a long term philosophy.

So here's to reaching my goal weight by Easter!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Frugal Weekend Fun!

I LOVE the autumn. There just something about the shorter days and cooler nights that makes me want to be outside as much I can. But I also just want to enjoy the cooler temperatures by snuggling up in a fleecy blanket and taking a nap. This weekend I got to do both!

Other fun inexpensive things we did:

... I finally figured out how to make bread in my Bosch mixer! I'd tried twice before but couldn't get the water temp right. This weekend it worked and I celebrated by making 2 dozen Turkey and cheese sandwich rolls and 2 loaves of Stromboli! (In case you are wondering what sandwich rolls are, think cinnamon rolls but with turkey and cheese instead.) Both of these make wonderful cold lunches and should last us 2-3 weeks.

... my husband and I decided to take up a new hobby-- metal detecting! He already had a metal detector from before we were married (he was a ghost-town hunter!) so it cost us nothing to start. We had to pay $1 for parking on the beach but eventually we plan on finding beaches that cost nothing. It was super fun and relaxing to walk the beach after dark, just moonlight, waves and our little family!

... I made blueberry scones for breakfast but in the middle of making them, I found I had run out of milk. Should I run to the store or find a way to resolve this with what I had on hand? Aha! Yogurt! I put in one container of peach yogurt in place of 2/3 cup of milk and they were delish!

What fun things did you do this weekend?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
1 Peter 1:3

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sneaky ways to make your grocery budget go farther

I confess- I'm not the savviest grocery shopper. When I still lived at home, my sister and I had jobs to help the family and the house to run smoother. My older sister's was the shopping and menus, mine was helping with the little kids. We both were pretty good at our jobs but in my case, they didn't overlap very often. In college I lived in apartments and cooked my own food, so I should have figured out how to shop but instead I lived like a bachelor and just bought easy favorites over and over again. So even though I was almost 30 when I got married, I still didn't know how to make a menu or plan a grocery list.

Our first months were not pretty. We ate out far too often AND had food going bad in our refrigerator. At the same time. I was so embarrassed.

Eventually I learned how to sit down with my cookbooks and cooking magazines and plan a menu. Later I learned how to STICK to that menu! When we decided to go to law school I scoured the internet to find ways to live on as little as possible while we had to use student loans. One of the ideas that showed up often was using coupons. I was so excited by the prospect of walking out of the store with a cart full of groceries I had got for free! But the more I looked for coupons for REAL food, the more I realized I was going to need a different plan.

So over the next few days/weeks/months/years, (however long this blog lasts!) I'm going to show how we make it on our food budget, from budgeting through planning and executing a big shop to our meal preparation.

Should be very fun!