"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Friday, August 23, 2013

not at all how it was supposed to be...

Monday, August 19, 2013, 7:15 pm.

Two days shy of 18 months old.

Molly nursed for the last time.

I breastfed for the Very Last Time.

And my heart is broken because I didn't know it would be at the time, so I didn't savor every moment, remember every snuggle, trace every outline as I should have...as I would have had I realized it's finality.

I knew the end was near. Molly had been regressing lately with her sleep. She had been sleeping through the night and waking at 5 or 5:30 to come into bed with me and nurse/doze until the boys woke at 6 or 6:30. Over the past few weeks, however, she'd been waking earlier and earlier and not falling back to sleep at all, even when nursing. Since last Saturday, she's been up for the day at 4 or 4:15. Four. In the morning. That's crazy early. That's even early for my dad.

So it was decided. No more morning nursing. I figured I'd teach her to sleep later in the morning by offering only a sippy cup of milk rather than nursing. I would still nurse her at nap and bed times, but would gradually taper that down, too, over the next several days. I was buying myself more time. I wasn't ready for it to be over.

I love breastfeeding.

I love the bonding. I love the closeness. I love the fact that my body has come through for me so flawlessly THREE times to nourish and sustain my babies. (And I know how lucky I am for that.) I love that, by breastfeeding, I can still keep my babies BABIES. I mean, she's 18 months old, she's no newborn...but when nursing, she is. She's my itty bitty, snuggly baby. I love the fact that it has never really mattered that Molly is such a picky eater (she puts Evan to shame. EVAN!). I know that even if she were to skip all three meals, she'd still get her crucial nutrients and calories from me.

But that was the other problem....besides not sleeping, this girl has not been eating. I knew that it was time to wean so that she would learn to fill her belly with food. Again, she's eighteen months old. It's time. Besides, perhaps if she ate more during the day she'd sleep later in the morning? Perhaps she really is waking up hungry at 4am?

Tuesday morning, when she woke up at 4:15, I brought her straight downstairs from her crib. "Nu-nu!" she said, pointing into my room. "No, baby, let's go downstairs and get some milk." She protested, but ultimately drank a few sips from her cup and snuggled while we she watched Angelina Ballerina (and I closed my eyes, obviously). We had a normal morning, which included a trip to the park to meet some buddies for a Last Day of Summer Ultimate Playdate. It was wonderful. And long....after an already long morning. I wasn't surprised when Molly fell asleep in her carseat on the way home at noon. I was surprised, however, when, for only the second time in my six-and-a-half year tenure as Mother, I was able to transfer a sleeping child from carseat to crib.

She slept for an hour and a half. She hadn't nursed beforehand, and I certainly wasn't going to nurse her when she woke up....and so....it seemed like it just made sense....we would wean cold turkey. I thought that if I nursed her at bedtime it would be confusing. Like we'd be starting over at square one the next morning.....

Sam put her to bed that night. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a little heartbroken that she didn't have a harder time falling asleep without nursing....

And so it is.

She's not quite sleeping yet, she's not quite eating well yet, and she's pretty fussy...but...
Molly has weaned.
My time as a breastfeeding mother has come to a close.

My girl will, someday, sleep and eat.

For now, I'll savor my snuggles when I can get them (yes, even at 4am) and I'll look forward to what lies ahead....because there is so much to look forward to as our family, together, gets older.

And I'm not going to lie, if not for the discomfort that cold-turkey weaning causes, I could get used to these B-cups.

Lesson Learned:
She's off on her way...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'Twas the Night Before School....

Evan and Max, tomorrow you'll each start a new year of school. Evan, for the first time ever, you're returning to something familiar. You're a pro. And Max? Well, buddy, I have a really good feeling that we found the right fit for you this time.

On this, the Night Before the First Day of School, I'd like to offer up these wishes to the universe. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they find you...but I'll keep repeating them to you myself, just in case.

Evan and Max:

Be brave.
Be confident.
Be sure of yourself.
BE yourself.

Be kind.
Look out for others.
Be helpful before being asked.
Be aware of the needs of those around you.

Be open.
Try new things.
Be ready and willing to ask questions.
Be thoughtful.

Be friendly.
Smile. Laugh. Be as funny as I know you are. 
But save the potty humor for home, please.

Be happy. 
Come home with stories of new friends and new things you've learned and done that you can't wait to share with me and Daddy. 
Miss us a little, but not too much.

And never forget, even for a second, how much...

Lesson Learned:
It's going to be a great year. I just know it.
Love stones, for backpacks or pockets, inspired by Kelle Hampton.
The one pictured above is for Max. Here is Evan's (front and back....or back and front?):

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Water Beads! A Light and Sensory Experience

We've played with Water Beads before, and the kids have always had fun with them....but today, we made A TON of them. And it made all the difference....

Evan and I set up this "invitation," to borrow from Play At Home Mom, during a rare Quiet Time during which the younger two both fell asleep. We used about half of each of our blue and clear packets of water beads. 

Water beads, often used in cut-flower arrangements, can be found in the floral section of most craft stores. 

They are tiny beads that, when soaked in water for several hours, expand to marble-sized, squishy, clear gel balls that are super fun to scoop, pour, and slosh your hands through. They're also really cool to look through because, as Evan immediately pointed out, "They're kinda magical because they can turn the whole world upside down."

Or, one tiny head.

Because you could see right through them, Evan decided they would be even cooler to play with on the light table. 
He was right.

When the others woke up, we had to relocate the bin to the floor because Molly wanted to play with them All. Afternoon. And I couldn't just stand next to her while she stood up on the bench and played all day...I had things to do. Things like take 100 pictures of her playing....

...and "sorting"...

....and taking this simple sensory experience and turning it into a Full-Body Sensory Experience.

Lesson Learned:
This was a huge hit. We learned here that, sometimes, bigger....or MORE....really is just waaaaaaayyy better. So skip the mini-bin and fill up the big boy. Fill up a deep bowl with them and sink your arms up to your elbows in there. Max has already suggested that we fill the bathtub with them next time. I don't know about that....but maybe a baby pool?

Best part is, you can leave water beads out and play with them for awhile, replacing water as needed. Then, when you're ready to fill your sensory bin with something new, dry the water beads out, let them shrink back down to original size, and put them away until next time.