my body is screaming at me.

my left knee has been hurting all day. i put my brace on for extra support, but i know i need more than that. i’ve had knee issues for a while, and they stem back to treeplanting over a decade ago. but, after two pregnancies, two births, carrying my kids, breastfeeding them and all that other stuff that mama’s do for their kids, my body is screaming for attention. and it’s LOUD!  and yes, my knee pain is connected to breastfeeding, as all your muscles are somehow joined to each other, as are your nerves. i’ve been hunched over for so long, tightening my shoulders, by back, which has now travelled down to my knee. the knee pain is not new and comes and goes. when i get to the Y and yoga regularly it feels better.

[ bear (6.5 months) and i in finland, after we got my finnish citizenship in order. even though i was born there and my mama is a finn, i only held canadian citizenship until 2008. the law was such at the time of my birth, that the child took the father’s citizenship. i was so happy on this afternoon in september 2008 to finally be a finn! now, i can travel with my  finnish EU-passport! ]


i went to a highly recommended chiropractor in town, who basically told me that the left side of my body is more messed than my right, but who are we kidding, my whole spine area is a huge ball of messed up mess! 
when bear was a baby i carried him in a sling, but was pretty good at switching sides. when lion was a baby, i only carried him on one side. sure, i used the ergo and eventually carried him on my back, but i’ve always been a sling mama, and now that my babies are no longer babies i am really feeling that pain and paying the price of all of that one sided carrying!
my chiro was so kind and reassured me that although my initial scans weren’t great, they weren’t horrific either, and that there is lots of potential to get my body to where it should be. she also sent me for x-rays, as a precaution, especially after my pituitary gland tumour history. her and i will discuss those images on friday. 

[ the dudes and i at hillside, 2011 ]


i feel like this year, i have slowly started to harness back some control of my body again. i lost it to my kids years ago and then my tumour, but now i am slowly finding ways to really nurture it again. i was going to the gym regularly in the winter and spring, but completely fell off the wagon in the summer. now, i am ready to get back into that routine as well. 

my body is screaming for attention, and finally, i feel like i can give it what it needs.
finally!

how’s your self care?

xo, mama lola

kid’s are worth it!

i’m reading this amazing parenting book right now, by barbara coloroso called kids are worth it. i may have talked about this book before, but i’m reading it and have been having some pretty serious (as oprah would say) A-HA moments.


the kids and i have been on a pretty smooth groove recently (knock on wood), but i think this is the perfect time to be learning about how to be a more consistent parent. coloroso’s ideas and suggestions realistically are nothing new, but she really emphasizes parenting in a way that does not attack or minimize a child’s dignity, but instead supports mutual respect. as followers of the attachment parenting philosophy, coloroso’s suggestions go right along with those values.


she is strongly opposed to rewards and bribery, which i know is way of parenting we’ve all fallen back on. i know we have. but, when she delves into why it’s not an effective way to parent, it has made me tweak my methods at home. 



for example, lion is potty training and has pooped and peed in the potty without any incentives other than a few kind praises from us and cheer or two. he has not received any candy or stickers or treats of any kind. he’s learning to use the potty without bribery or rewards; so different from how bear learned. it’s been an easier process, one with less power struggles and fighting, he’s doing it, because he realizes it’s time to learn. we have walked by the potty only to discover it has pee in it, which means lion (who turned two on sunday) has been going independently! 



i am also trying to teach bear that some things he has to do, for the only reason that it just has to be done. things like tidying up toys or other messes, doing things to help out when asked; there are no rewards, no treats, no gushing mama showering him with empty compliments. and it too is working. it’s kind of amazing!



i would recommend this book to all parents. doesn’t matter if you follow attachment parenting or not. we all sometimes need to be inspired on this rocky road of parenting!


*****
saw this lovely sun dial at the university’s arboretum.



we’re going camping today. looking forward to it and counting down to take off!
what are you up to this weekend?

xo, mama lola

ballet camp was a disaster.

my eldest guy is a tad on the what the experts call the sensitive side of things. he has difficulty during transitions and has great difficulty separating from me, especially when an activity is new. like preschool or as we experienced last week, ballet camp. 



each morning as i was trying keep the ball rolling, getting the two boys ready for the day, bear would shout “i hate ballet camp, i never want to go”. he was in fact shouting and crying this on the first morning, before he had ever stepped foot into ballet camp. i signed him up for dance camp at the same school he has been taking weekly ballet lessons for the last year, in the hopes that he wouldn’t feel anxious or stressed. he also went with a very good friend of his, which i thought would make the process easier.
but, boy did i miscalculate things and boy did it all backfire in my face!

on the first day the ballet teacher phone and left a worried message. and each day we chatted about when he cried and what calmed him down. he was fine during the actual dancing parts, but became upset during craft, snack and whatever else they did.  



the class did an interpretation of “sleeping beauty” and seeing as bear was the only boy in the class, he was the prince. but in this version, the prince was a bit of a grump and a meany and stomped around a fair bit pointing wands and swords in various directions. the girls on the other hand were given opportunities to dance freely with sparkly fairy wings and my guy had to stand there and watch.
i think this was a part of the problem. he was isolated from the rest of the class because he is a boy, and this upset him. but, i’m just guessing. who knows anything with four year olds!



this terrible experience at camp creates tremendous stress in the pit of my stomach, because it makes me think of september and when he will start school. and where we live, kindergarten is all day, every day. 



*******
we had a lovely birthday for our ferocious lion, today. it was such fun to celebrate with our family and friends! bear has been receiving lots of special, focused attention because he graduated preschool had grandparents watch at ballet a few weeks back, so this morning he threw a fit of jealous rage threatening to “ruin lion’s party”, yikes! he of course didn’t and was a delightful big brother helping open gifts!
i will post about the party soon!



xo, mama lola

maternity leave bye-bye’s.

it’s always hard to say good-bye, or more accurately see you later to friends when their maternity leaves come to an end and they head back to their jobs outside the home. another MAMA friend of ours went back to work at her office this week and i am left to explain to bear why he can’t see his friends as often. 
we’re going to miss you MAMA j, you’re AWESOME!

it’s tough.
it’s hard, because my kids have no idea what day care is. it’s tough because my kids miss their friends and i miss mine, and we lose the weekly play date routines we have established over the past year or so. it’s so different being a stay-at-home-parent and being a stay-at-home-kid. 


and finally,

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY MISSe!!!

our lovely, little friend has grown into a smiley, intelligent, observant, hilarious, and loving little lady. every gal needs her own boat and sand toys! missE loved the toys and gave us her chewy, drooly approval! 



i’m leaving you on this hump day with a plank off! it was a competition between dear hubby and MAMA j to see who could hold a plank the longest or at least a minute. missK was judging form and ensuring there was no cheating! 




xo, mama lola

guns n’ boys n’ stuff.

what exactly does “boys will be boys” mean?
does it mean that boys have an innate tendency towards violence?  because, that saying is often heard after someone sees boys playing roughly, mischievously or violently. nobody ever says the same about girls.


dear hubby and i have a rule about certain toys not being welcome in our home, basically guns and swords. guns scare me, a lot, and i don’t think they are an appropriate toy for my boys to play with. from all of the reading we did on this, and there is TONS of stuff out there, our decision was a natural extension of our (parenting) values. we are pacifists, our kids don’t have water guns and don’t wear anything camo; both are very conscious choices we have made for our children. My sister allows her children to use a bb gun (only when supervised), her kids are a lot older than mine and I can see her point of view that it’s useful to have a bb gun for protection.  We are not against pretend games or imaginative play where violence is a major player.


kids, including our boys, want to push boundaries, feel powerful, and yearn to discover their own world view, and if violence is a part of that play and exploration, i think that’s ok. 

violence is every where around us. i grew up watching various BBC nature shows with david attenborough. remember those from the 80’s? he taught me that the natural world is full of violence, killing, torture and survival; good guys against the bad guys; the hunter versus the hunted. exploring one’s place in all of this is expected. right?


but, and this is a big but…
war, is not a game. it is something so awful, i don’t want my kids to ever even imagine being involved in one. guns were created with one intention in mind: to kill. that is their only purpose and that’s why we don’t allow anything resembling one in our house or in our play. 


i do struggle with where to draw the line. how much violence is too much? are fingers pointed like guns and aimed at others ok, well, i’m not sure. and, how much “rough housing” should i tolerate before calling it quits?

stuff to read on this, HERE and HERE

where do you draw the line with your kids of any gender?

[ the pictures are from our hot day at the beach today. the kids built this interesting piece of architecture with the help of some older kids they befriended. such a fun day! we’re all tired from the sun! and to end the day on a high note, lion pooped in the potty for the first time, completely on his own initially. we did have to encourage him finish the task once he had started! ]

xo, mama lola

empathy :: lesson’s to be learned.

my four year old bear can be the most empathetic person i know. and then, he can be coldest, meanest person i know as well. teaching someone to be empathetic is tricky. teaching someone to trace lines is much easier.

today bear was blatantly mean to his good friend, and when the friend told him his feelings were hurt, bear laughed a terrible mean laugh. my heart sank, i flushed and felt instant shame and embarrassment. after our friends left, i tried to talk to him about empathy and why it’s important. but it kind of back fired. 
when bear feels socially unsure, insecure or embarrassed he giggles and laughs. it’s something that infuriates me, because i feel judged by other parents. i know he cares about people, especially his friends, but it’s like there’s a link missing between feeling something and knowing what to do about it. he’s kinda like his dad in that sense. dear hubby is very internal and can shut down if confronted with emotionally uncomfortable or demanding situations. and yeah, i get it, why they do it, where i comes from, what triggers it, but it doesn’t mean i like living with it.

[ this is what i looked like mid-afternoon. so tired, but i was woken up at 5:30am. ]

i tried talking to bear again after lion went down for his nap (sootherless, mind you). he was kind of getting it, but he was also tired, so i dropped it after about 10 minutes. emotions are difficult things to navigate, but it is so necessary to know what feelings are, and what to call them. i think that’s what i really need to focus on with bear right now, labelling his emotions as we encourage (or am i insisting) on learning to be more empathetic.

*******

last night at bedtime there was a big search for lion’s thu-thu (soother) and we took that as a sign to ditch the habit. he fell asleep relatively well, only shouting “stop that” a couple of times when dear hubby tried to rub his back. he woke up a couple of times in the night, but that’s pretty common for him. dear hubby co-slept with lion, but i think it’s the cool temps that’s waking him in the night, and not the absence of the soother. today’s nap was cut a little short, as i couldn’t get him to fall back asleep once he woke up. we’ll see what bedtime is like tonight. 
i’m guessing a disaster!
today, he hasn’t really asked for his thu-thu, which is the shocking part. when we took bear’s toodle-loo away, he would ask and scream for it, especially at sleeping times. 

counting down to the end of this very long, long monday.

* does anyone have any good empathy book recommendations?
thanks.


xo, mama lola

am i enough? am i doing enough?

[ i didn’t post anything yesterday. it was a busy and when i got home after zumba and yoga at 9:45pm, i could feel my body getting sick. instead of blogging, dear hubby and i watched thirtysomething while i sipped hot tea.]


so, often i wonder if i am balanced in my mothering with the boys. it is clear that each child has experienced a very, very different first couple of years, which i think, is neither here not there. but, my concern is, have i given enough of myself to my youngest, lion. we attachment parent and try to be mindful about the choices we make as parents, not just following the norm. although, lion and i co-slept longer and he’s still nursing (only about once or twice a day) it feels as though my bond with him is not as tight as the one bear and i had at that stage. 



is it because with bear i only had one child pour myself into?
now i have two, and with my health issues i have perhaps, become more selfish?
does any of this matter? both of my little dudes is healthy and developing wonderfully.


for the first two years of bear’s life it was just the two of us during the day, with lots of extra time with dear hubby as well, since he was a student back then. the three of us would get into all sorts of adventures and fun things. now with two, i feel like the flexibility of one kid is long gone, but as the kids get older they need more predictability and consistency. spontaneous adventures are hard to figure out these days, also because dear hubby works at a regular nine to five job.  

when i am at home with just the boys, they play together and leave me out of it. they only need me when a disagreement arises (which is often) and if the other kid is away at preschool or napping and the one ho is alone does not want to be alone. they play nicely together and obviously enjoy each other’s company a lot, which is amazing to watch. my heart melts hen i see them busy with a game of sorts.


but when bear was this age, he and i would colour together, do all sorts of sticker creations and other little projects, but i worry that lion is not getting that same focused time with me. as a stay at home mama, it feels as though there is an endless river of hours to spend with ones kids, but truth be told, there really aren’t. sometimes it feels like, because i am an at home mama, i should be doing more with the kids (whatever more means), but we constrained by naps, meal times and the two outside of the home activities bear participates in.

how do i know i am enough?
how do i know that what i am doing is enough?

i would love to hear from you and how you handle loving, caring, and nurturing more than one child. 
xo, mama lola

a cloth bum.

i’m spring cleaning and getting rid of stuff. there is a local kids clothing swap coming this weekend, so i’m getting my bag of goodies ready to go. 


then i started sorting through the diapering supplies. oh, my! we sure have accumulated lots of different kinds of cloth diapers and accessories over the past four years. we started using cloth right from the beginning with bear. his wee bum would get lost in all the fabric and folds of the diaper and he was more diaper than baby in those days! we’re still going strong with the cloth diapers on lion’s bum. many of the prefolds we were gifted for bear are so old and torn, so we had update and get some new ones (new ones meaning they’re second hand! new to us i suppose.)



i’m feeling ready to start potty training lion. it seems absurd on one hand, i mean, the wee dude isn’t even two yet! but, i think it’ll be easier with him than it was with bear. lion already wants to sit on the toilet and likes to talk about pee and poo. and with the warmer weather it’ll be easier, from what i remember, although it won’t be easy.


but back to the diapers. i feel quite happy and even proud that we can confidently say we cloth diapered two babes. that’s not to say we haven’t used disposables, because we have and i have no shame in admitting that. but, we are mostly a cloth bum family! it was and still is a commitment, but in the long run it’s better for the environment and better for your baby. cloth diapers have come such a long way too, even since bear was born four years ago. they just keep getting better and cuter!


looking at the small diapers in our basket, i am hit with waves of nostalgia and memories of my guys as tiny wee babies. bear, now four years and lion now 21 months, are far from babies. where did the time go?



i wonder if we will ever have a third… so much depends on what my neurologist and endochronologist say in july.


*****
today we went from this…



to this….



to this….



i am grateful today is almost done. now, off to the Y for my zumba and a break my guys.



xo, mama lola

thirtysomething.

my latest favourite show, was a late 80’s hit. 
after watching the first half of season one, i see why.

the show revolves around a handful of characters, as seen above, and their lives. mostly it focuses on hope and micheal’s marriage and relationship, while also exploring the day to day struggles of raising a baby girl. what i really love about the show is the open dialogue about mothering, staying at home vs. working outside the home, but best of all, breastfeeding! it actually sounds real, which is kinda shocking and ground breaking. hope is seen opening her blouse on several occasions preparing to breastfeed; she struggles openly when her daughter starts to self-wean and has long conversations with her husband about it! can you believe this? because, i was floored when i heard these discussions on the screen; this is after all an american prime time show. they even say the word breast, in a non-sexual, normalized manner (unlike today) which was also very shocking! 

but, this was 1987 and things have changed, A LOT since then! this is proof of how ridiculous people have become about something so natural and NORMAL, as breastfeeding. presently, parenting and mothering has become about what you can buy for your child, rather than what you do for your child. i am so relieved and proud we attachment parent; it has made our children into the amazing little dudes they are today. people assume they are dependant, but they are actually quite independent for their age.

you should check out this show!
it does move slowly, compared to the shows today, but i kinda love it! nice way to end my day!

*****
did you ever watch this show? is there something else you’re watching that has made you think about parenting? or marriage? 


xo, mama lola

doubt.

today’s prompt via NaBloPoMo is to write about the word doubt. since i can’t decide what else to write about, i thought i would share my thoughts on this topic. (i have also included some random pictures to make this post more, um, colourful!)


i am a very doubtful person. i am always questioning if what i am doing or saying is right, or accurate, or kind or whatever. many people see me as a confident person and in many ways i am, but doubt is always lingering in my periphery keeping me on my toes. 


it is difficult to not doubt ones-self in our society. the media is always inundating us with images and notions about who we should be, as if who we are now is not good enough. it is difficult to be a woman  and i find it especially difficult to mother in this media storm of information. when bear was a baby i doubted all of our parenting decisions, and would quickly worry about our choices. luckily for us we were pretty broke financially, so i couldn’t actually spend a lot of money on all of the gidgets and gadgets i was told i needed to be a good mother. so, instead i sat in worry, fear and doubt wondering if i was damaging bear, because he never had a crib or a bumbo chair. 

[ bear writing; i dictate the letters. ]

today, i see that those decision we made were right for us and our family and i do not doubt those choices any more. in fact, i feel quite confident in our choices as attachment parents.

now, i worry about lion and doubt i am as wholesome of a mother as i was for bear, back in the day. with two kids i feel stretched, which is not a bad feeling, just the reality of my life. i worry i am not expressing my love enough to each little boy of mine and worry that someone is going to feel less-loved. i am sure this is common of all mother’s who have more than one child, but it is a terrible feeling.

doubt is not a pleasant feeling in itself. although, it can bring one to growth and self-awareness, it is difficult to manage through the fear and stress doubt brings with it.


******
this has not been a very happy entry, so i am leaving you with these two questions bear has already asked me numerous times today…
1. “when will the easter bunny come and give me chocolates?” (we have not talked about the easter bunny or chocolates…hmm…..)
2. “when will all of my teeth fall out? i want it to happen now.”


kids really do say the darndest things!
what silly things have you heard lately?



xo, mama lola
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