I refuse to stop using my cell phone around my kids

Yes, I use my cell phone when I’m spending time with my children. #sorrynotsorry

I have read lots of articles and anecdotes about smart phone addictions: how our phones have become an extension of ourselves, how we are ignoring our kids because of it, how “mommy loves her phone more than me.”

My children know how much I love them, and that they are not second rate to a device.  Yes, sometimes they have to wait a few seconds for me to look at their 12th new Lego design (learning a little patience is never a bad thing). But, I will not stop using my phone around them; this is what I will continue to do:

I will continue to take photos of my children doing whatever they are doing, because tomorrow when I’m at work and my heart is longing for their hugs, I will browse through the photos and my heart will feel full again.

I will continue to check my email, because like it or not, sometimes work does come home. Even a quick email back of “I see your email, and I’ll get you the answer in the morning” can help someone enjoy their family that night.

I will continue to watch for updates on a friend’s recovery as I cheer along him and his family.  Learning about his specific prayer requests that day can help guide my children’s prayers that night.

I will keep checking instagram to see how an internet stranger’s daughter is doing through her chemo treatments, because although I cannot help directly, I can send love through a like.

I will continue to text a family member who is looking for help with a new baby.  I can send answers, support, and love to someone struggling.

I will watch for photos of my sweet niece who lives much too far away.  As much as a photo of my own children fills my heart, so does her pudgy smiley face.

I will continue to read a blog related to a stage of my child’s life, because sometimes people who have been through it before, just know more that I do now.

I will continue to use my phone when I’m with my children to keep in touch with my village. That village provides the foundation on which I stand, and I want to teach my children to grow, love on and support their own villages.  This is one way I can show them how to do that.

Routine

I can sit now mom!

I can sit now mom!

I am not great at maintaining a routine for myself.  I try to schedule my days so that the house gets clean on a regular cycle, I exercise each night, and meals are prepared for the next day.  This rarely happens – I don’t listen to the rules I set for myself.  This leads to greater issues when I have to construct and follow a routine for others.

Dinosaurs are a part of daily life

Dinosaurs are a part of daily life

Children thrive on routine.  There is a lot of evidence to support this, but I can tell from just observing my children.  Lincoln behaves better and feels better if he is on a routine.  The Montessori he attends has a basic routine for their day, with a lot of freedom built in.  On weekends I am not great at following this, but we do a basic job of it.  Breakfast, play, maybe snack, play/learn/story, lunch, nap… etc.  I do believe that the weekends are for resisting routine a bit more and creating excellent family time and adventures.  But things like brush your teeth, take a bath, make your bed – those are the things that I am not the greatest at enforcing.  Okay, so make your bed has never even been mentioned; brush your teeth happens regularly, if not exactly as it should; baths occur, although maybe not quite every other day.  It’s just the idea of making sure other humans follow a routine that challenges me.

Eating oatmeal!

Eating oatmeal!

Now we look at Eloise.  She is just starting in the world, and believes wholeheartedly that sleeping at night is not part of the routine, unless maybe if it’s in mommy’s bed.  I know she is old enough to do some sleep-training, but I’m not quite ready to do that.  Plus, she is sick with an ear infection right now, teething, and we are going on vacation in a week+, so it’s better to just wait until after all of those disruptions.  But I did some reading and thinking, and realized that she does not have a good bedtime routine.  So last night we started one.

At dinner she had a bit of baby oatmeal.  Although this is a cereal, and not what she is getting fed in general with BLW, I wanted to see if it would help her sleep.  I did have her feed herself, and she got quite a bit in her belly.  And on her belly.  Then we played for a bit with big brother and daddy.  Next was bath time.  I probably won’t do bath every night, but she really enjoys herself – I’m pretty sure she’s a mermaid.  Then I slathered her up with coconut oil and gave her a bit of a massage. Dressed, sleep sack on, and books read.  Then I nursed her a bit, which she wasn’t very interested in, and rocked her to sleep. I also added music playing in her room.

Bath time!

Sleepy head

Sleepy head

She did not sleep all night, but she only woke up twice-ish.  She went down at 7pm, woke up at midnight and ate.  I put her back in her crib and she slept until 4am.  Then she ate again, and slept in our bed with us until 6 when I got up.  This is better, and hopefully is a path to better sleep for all!

But sleep is not necessarily my main goal here.  I want Ellie to feel comforted and safe, and to thrive.

Routines are helpful, and if maintained, lives are better.  (Especially in situations like holidays/vacations – but that’s a completely different post…)

 

It is good to stray from the norm

My mom has referred to me as a hippie mom.  I’m not sure that I’ve gone that extreme, but I have chosen some parenting techniques that are not as common.

I breastfed Lincoln and took him to baby yoga. I made all of his solid foods, many of which were organic, and we taught him baby sign.  But he did wear lots of blue, started his solids right at 6 months, and had some formula in his first weeks of life.  It was a wonderful blend of the traditional methods and some newer trends.  We learned a lot about parenting an infant.  There were a few things that I’d wished I’d done with him, and I planned to do that with the next pregnancy and baby.

I found out I was pregnant again (with Eloise), and I considered the things we did with Link, and the things I wished I had.  I decided I would do more prenatal yoga to prepare for birth (I did it almost 5 times… but I was on restrictions a lot of her pregnancy, so I’ll blame that) and that I would get in a place where I wouldn’t need an epidural (I totally had one).  I prepared to breastfeed her without using any formula to supplement, but I knew, based on Link’s experience, that the needs of the baby outweighed my wants.  Eloise was born, perfectly.  We were able to breastfeed right away (thank you Jesus!) and I was able to store up enough extra milk that I was able to donate some, as I wished I could have done with Link.

I cloth diaper Eloise, which I am so happy about.  I love not buying diapers (we are almost not buying any for Link either).  My family was supportive of my decision, although I’m pretty sure they thought that I was nuts, and would give up.  But I was alright with that, and it did encourage me to give it the best go of it that I could, so that I knew if it was right for us.

The next thing that we are doing different with Eloise is baby-led weaning as a way of introducing her to solid food.  It’s going pretty well, although we are on a hiatus to figure out some issues she’s having otherwise.  You can read more about the benefits here if you’d like.  Before my mom read the benefits, she was certain I was nuts.

But here is the important part: It’s alright to do things different than how your mom (mother-in-law/sister/neighbor/friend) did them!  If you, as the trusted parent of this little one, feel that this way is right, do it that way.

I do feel that it is important for family members to be involved in raising your children.  If you, as a grandparent, don’t understand why a certain method is being used, ask!  I am grateful that Link’s and Ellie’s grandparents care enough about them to ask why I do things a certain way.  My children are so blessed!  And I am so incredibly blessed that my husband, parents and in-laws may seek better understanding of what I’m doing, but then they support it.  They know that I am choosing the best for my kids.

I feel that listening to people’s concerns and questions, and then making my own decision, is an important thing to demonstrate for my children.  They need to know that it’s alright to do things different than what is expected of them.  If Link wants a pink balloon instead of blue – great!  If Eloise is dressed head to toe in boy clothes (ok… not quite her own decision yet) – great!  Their mommy and daddy love them, they were designed by God.  That is what matters.

Now… some pictures of Eloise trying to eat food.

photo 2

This is an avocado?

photo 3

It’s mushy.

photo 1

Apples!

 

Life with Link

Life with Link is quite the amazing adventure!  There is so much to learn about him, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve known him forever.  I have known him longer than anyone else, since I spent 41 weeks and 2 days growing him and learning some of his characteristics.

Getting things done around the house has been much more difficult than I thought.  Link takes some naps during the day, but they are usually short, and often times they are spent in my arms.  If he isn’t in my arms while sleeping, I am often laying down with him.  Fortunately I have had incredible help from my family so we do have clean clothes to wear and dishes to eat off of.

Link is breastfeeding now, with the help of a nipple shield.  I am very glad that this is working well, but I do hope to eventually wean him off of it.

I have much more to write about, but Link is crying, so I must go!

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers

Today has been full of questions.  I have often been told that I ask too many questions.  In situations where I shouldn’t be asking them, e.g. movie theaters, sermons (some may argue this one) and meetings where I am taking minutes, I always want to raise my hand at some point during the event.  And today has been no exception, except I am at least asking them at appropriate days.

It is only noon, and I have already asked more than can be answered.

To my boss:  Can I please have another project?
As a result, to colleagues: Can you please get me this answer?

To my coworker: Can you please explain these things to me?

To my professor: Can you please explain the proper way to cite these sources?

To my husband: Is typing without looking at the keys more like learning a language or learning to drive a car?

To myself: Did you enjoy the spaghetti?  Are you going to the gym after work?  How are you ever going to finish your assignments?

Life is just full of questions, and I know that they will never stop.

The great thing about this is that I am totally alright with that!  I knew who I was!

Quote by Voltaire

If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

Sometimes I think that I walk wrong.  When I am walking for exercise, I don’t get shin splints and I don’t get sore muscles too often, but the outsides of my ankles hurt.  I do not know why that is, but I am convinced that all of my life, I have been doing something so normal the wrong way.

Justin made microwave popcorn the other night.  It killed me, and I in turn wanted to kill him.  Now, I would never do that of course.  It is just popcorn.  But I am obviously still craving that which I cannot have.  I think that is somewhat a good thing.  If I wasn’t longing for it, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.  For example, when I was younger and Lent came around, I would try to give up things that I rarely encountered or that I didn’t like anyways.  I would give up meatloaf and homework.  Of course I want to not eat meatloaf and not do homework!  That was not a sacrifice for God.  And I was bound to fail – I had to do my homework!

I have worked out everyday this week so far, both indoors and out.  This is the first time in a very long time that I have worked out four days in a row, and I am hoping to continue.  Thankfully, God has blessed us with a few beautiful days to be outside.  Today is a not so beautiful day, but that just means wear warmer clothes outside!

My Lent goals have been transforming since the beginning.  I started out by giving up two food items that I LOVE!  Then I wanted to start trying to eat healthier meal options, and then add in exercise.  So far I have been doing awesome at it.  My biggest problem though, is convincing myself that I do not have to have a snack after dinner.  It is a very bad habit that I have long held, and will be a difficult one to break.  I don’t imagine that I will do so by April 4th, but I am hoping to do so more and more.

Here’s to a continued journey!

Quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt