When Daniel and I were kids (by that I mean married without children), the plumbing at our house blew up.
Okay, it didn’t blow up. But it stopped working. And going 24 hours WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO FLUSH A TOILET is bad for newlywed morale.
Long story short, solving the problem using an external cleanout would be a few hundreds bucks. Doable. Installing the external cleanout on our older home would be about a thousand. Not doable.
Another night without functional toilets was not going to happen, so I went to my boss and asked for to take some vacation time to go home and help my husband do the installation.
Boss: “I would never let my wife dig a sewage line.“
Me: “I would kill my husband if he paid someone else a thousand bucks to dig a simple hole.“
Back then, I thought there were two kinds of women. There were beautiful, petite women like this man’s wife. Women that needed to be taken care of. You might even call them “fragile” women. And then there were women like me – exactly like men, only with different “equipment.”
I was an idiot. First of all, how that mother of four managed to maintain her sweet disposition, stay fit, make time for her husband and manage one toddler, two grade schoolers and one pre-teen I’ll never know. She made it look so effortless I really thought it was. That takes strength.
On the other hand, I had not yet faced my real limitations as a person. Being a career bad@$$ is not so hard when you push all week and then crash in your bed for 15 hours on the weekend. Being a parent that never gets enough sleep, works longer hours and is constantly faced with new challenges is DUH, much harder!
To be honest, it really surprised me that motherhood is more difficult than having a career. What has surprised me more, though, is that while I do often feel strong and beautiful, sometimes I feel the urge to surrender.
Until about six months ago I don’t know if I’ve ever really acted on that urge. Late one night, following a traumatic day that had Daniel and I up arguing into the wee hours, I began having scary contractions. I was only a couple of months pregnant and they were so strong I couldn’t walk.
After we called our midwife and got instructions, my husband picked me up and carried my to a warm epsom salt bath. I was still angry, but I surrendered to him. Not walking and complete relaxation was the best chance our baby had to survive. The contractions came and went for well over an hour, leaving me scared and exhausted. Walking at all brought them right back.
For the next 24 hours Daniel carried me everywhere. To the restroom. To the bath. To the bed. I wonder how many of you will understand when I say that although I was scared for my baby’s life, I was deeply affected by my husband’s tenderness, attentiveness and concern. Although he had tried before, I had never let myself receive it because it conflicted with my perception of the type of person I am.
That day set something in motion. My weakness had made me vulnerable enough to accept his help, and he touched my heart.
I have learned about a bazillion things from watching my daughter interact with her daddy. When she says, “Daddy, I need some holding,” I see the expression on his face. That request is one of his favorites. A delight. A privilege.
From time to time, we should all have the privilege of doing this for another person. And we should give others the privilege of doing it for us.
Being carried doesn’t mean we’re not strong, or brave, or capable.
It means we’re loved.
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Growing basil in Texas is a beautiful experience. While most of our gardening efforts have been destroyed by birds and pests, the basil continues to produce . . . and then produce some more. Our only problem with basil around here is what to do with it all!Read More »
I can’t knit little hats. Or sew my own ring sling. I wish I could, but . . .
YOU KNOW WHAT??? I can makes lists of great stuff other people make!
With your help, of course. Would you please tell me what YOU found essential in the early days of mothering? Even though this is my second baby I am still mystified by some of this stuff. Case in point: I didn’t have a good rocking chair with Katie, so I held her and nursed/paced the floor while she fell asleep. Until she was sixteen months old. This time around I’ve decided to save myself the chiropractic bills and just buy a rocking chair. But which one? I need your help! Here’s what I have so far. Let me know what you’d add/change/omit!
UPDATE: I no longer recommend lambskin rugs. Find out why here.
I don’t think Katie has ever napped anywhere but at home and in the car. It’s not too difficult to arrange my schedule around one child’s nap. But two? With different schedules???
For the first year I’d basically be stuck at home from about 10am-4pm everyday. No thank you.
My solution? Get Babypotamus to associate sleep with something comforting and portable.
A lambskin woolie is like a lovie only better. By nursing/sleeping on it with Babypotamus it will have my scent.
Lambskins were originally used to reduce discomfort for long-term hospital patients. I think its cushioning prevented bedsores.
Plus, “Wool is nature’s insulation keeping baby warm and cozy in cold weather. In hot weather wool absorbs moisture which is then released into the air, leaving baby drier and more comfortable.” – Bebeco
Mommy’s scent + Snuggly Factor + Climate Control= Babypotamus Takes Naps Away From House (I hope)
Just FYI, the Bowron I linked to earlier is probably the favorite brand in the U.S.. I’ve done a little research, though, and the Kaiser Mimosa Lambskin looks like a good one, too. It is processed without any chemicals at all. Has anyone tried either of these? I’d love your feedback!
Pass the prefolds, please! If there’s anything I’ve learned in my cloth diapering days it’s that what worked for Grandma will work for me (with a few modifications, of course). Fancy microfleece /multi-layer/ all-in-one varieties need not apply.
Natural fabrics beat synthetic ones when it comes to breathability and freshness (synthetic fabrics hold stink . . . blech!)
Back when our parents were slapping prefolds on our parents bottoms everything was cotton. Now there’s hemp. Cha-ching! Katie has some hemp liners for her nighttime panties . . . super absorbent and non-stinky! Love them ; – )
I’ll leave the diaper pins to nostalgia, though. Snappi’s are wonderful.
I’m also looking forward to giving wool covers a try. The lanolin from the wool makes them naturally water resistant. Plus, they’re breathable, naturally antimicrobial, and cute!
If Babypotamus doesn’t do well with wool I’ll go back to Thirsties. They’re synthetic and not extremely eco-friendly, but they really work!
I am “The Princess and the Pea” of rocking chairs. My first chair, a Craigslist regret, was generously picked up and delivered to my house by Gigi. When she tried it she loved it! When I sat down in it all I noticed was the rough bumping motion it made mid-glide while going “CLICK!”
Every time I tried to settle Katie to sleep in that blasted thing it went like this: “HUMP . . . CLICK . . . . You’re never going to get this baby to sleep . . . BUMP . . . CLICK . . . I’ll help you count the seconds as they stretch into eternity . . . HUMP CLICK . . . I can make this noise forever lady and this baby can stay awake just as long.”
So, with that said, I want a GOOD one this time. Unfortunately, the big comfy gliders are expensive, and I’m afraid to invest too much in a rocking chair that Babypotamus may not like. Suggestions for finding one that is affordable? Any “must have” features? I know ya’ll are going to help me figure this out!
Then, while watching another mom discreetly cover her nursling with the tail of a ring sling I had a revelation:
I’ve got to get one of those!
Oh, to be able to nurse discreetly while chasing my toddler around in public. Sounds a lot more fun than suffering through the hungry cries of a precious baby that has to be put on hold too often.
With all the brands and variations available, though, I’m not sure what to look for. Should I get one with a padded shoulder? Who has the best prices? Better yet, who is finished with theirs and wants to sell it to me???
One essential didn’t make the list because I already have it. How anyone swaddles a baby without a Miracle Blanket mystifies me. I am a swaddling moron. Oh well, as long as it gets done and baby is happy I’m okay with that.
Unfortunately, the one I have is pink. If Babypotamus turns out to be a boy I’ll have to get another one or be forced to write another post about why that won’t actually affect his sexuality, either. Just kidding, even I think dressing little boys in pink is weird. SEE?? I do have limits!
Another item we have is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. We didn’t use it much with Katie, but I think we will more this time since we want to keep Katie in bed with us while setting aside a safe place for baby.
A couple of things that did not make the list are a double stroller and baby swing. Do I need these? If so, what should I buy?
That’s my list so far. What would you add/change/omit???Read More »
Dear Lonesome Lizard,
We’re sorry about your floor. Really, really, we are. Here is our very nice review.
Located in Old Town Keller, The Lonesome Lizard is a rustic little establishment that was named after its patron of sorts:
The restaurant was named “Lonesome Lizard” during a front patio brainstorm session. We have a burnt stump transplanted from Evant, Tx. Shortly after the stump arrived we noticed we had company. After some research we found out our new friend was a female “Texas Spiny Lizard”. She loves to sun bathe on the stump and was always alone i.e “Lonesome Lizard”, since then she has posed for many photo shoots for locals and passersby. So come by and see her on a sunny day and get a picture with her!
Chef Nate, the owner, stopped by our table to talk ingredients. Like most restaurants trying to use local, organic, and pastured ingredients, their menu is a work in progress. During the spring and summer months Lonesome Lizard buys as much produce as possible from Homestead Farms. In addition, Chef Nate has plans to incorporate items from Latte Da Dairy soon and is already using a local supplier for their salad dressings. Really local, in fact. Just two doors down, Olivada Gourmet sells olive oil from Texas growers (and some organic stuff from California), tapenades, pesto and more. While the chicken on the menu is your ordinary mainstream variety, the beef is sometimes grass-fed (depending on what’s available) and the buffalo is always grass-fed.
We started with the Good Ole Mushrooms — stuffed with buffalo and sausage, then topped with candied jalapenos and herb butter — which Daniel really enjoyed. For our main course Daniel opted for the not-so-local fettucini alfredo (his kryptonite, to be sure) and I ordered two salads featuring local ingredients. Both were delicious. The Local Salad, which was a bed of lettuce from Homestead Farms topped with a crabcake, was spicy and delicious. Nate’s Pecan Spinach Salad, featuring Texas grown spinach and house sourdough croutons, was sweet and savory.
Although we were enjoying ourselves immensely and considering another course, Katie cut short our date by announcing to Daddypotamus, “I’m teeteeing!!” It took Daniel a split second to comprehend what she was saying. All I heard was, “Nononononono!” I knew what that meant.
After grabbing napkins from the restroom and doing our best, we made our way to the door as quickly as possible ; – )
So… sorry again, Lonesome Lizard. Your crabcake IS wonderful.Read More »
So, my friend Erika sent me this video. It’s twenty-one minutes long, which in mommy land is time for me to get a shower (including shaving my legs), brush my teeth, do my kegels AND transverse abdominal exercises for my diastasis. Since I rarely do all of these things in the same day (yes I skip the shower A LOT), it seemed like a really good idea to pass on the video.
But I didn’t. Because Erika is not the type to send me a montage tribute to puppies, no matter how cute they are. She is a woman of substance. The last time we had dinner she had just returned from living in a war-torn section of the Middle East. Her more recent adventures? Bangkok and a strip club (no, it’s not how it sounds).
So I watched the video. If you have the time, you should to.
Isn’t that just amazing? Stuff is designed to wear out, break or become obsolete so that we, the consumers, will never run out of shopping errands.
To be perfectly honest, I could do with a few less shopping errands. I would also be more than happy to live without the guilt of what my $5 radio is costing some six-year old factory worker in South America. Like, their childhood.
In the hopes that someday soon (this year would be nice) we’ll have a new home to decorate I’ve been looking into ways to repurpose trash into treasure. I’ve found some great ideas, like this cupboard door Monica at Crafty Nest found at a salvage yard and turned into a serving tray.
I’ve also run across some small but really practical ideas, like:
For some kitchen ideas that will inspire you, check out the photos at Re-Nest.
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Did you know that ya’ll ask some really good questions? Questions that force me to examine myself. Questions that make me want to write A LOT and then make me feel too intimidated to try. Because they are GOOD questions. And I don’t always have answers. But I always have opinions! Here is one I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks:
I would love your thoughts (and maybe a guy’s point of view from Daniel?) regarding the breastfeeding concerns that parents often have about their baby boys breastfeeding longer than 9 months to a year. Some of my friends have stated this concern and fear:
- They are worried that it will cause them to be overly in tune to sexual things and inclined to “stumble” in the area of sexually explicit material, immorality, etc.
- They are also concerned that boy toddlers watching their mother nurse their younger brother or sister can set him up for future failure. Should the mother cover herself so her boy toddler won’t be “exposed” to breasts at such a young age?
In a nutshell, Myth #3 is this: Breastfeeding BOYS Past Nine Months Will Increase Their Sexual Awareness
At thirty-one months Katie still refers to my breasts as “mommy’s milk.” Or sometimes “cream and sugar” when she’s being cute. She seems completely unaware of sexuality at this point, and I am more than happy to keep it that way.
Of course she is still really young, but the kids I see at the local pool are a different story. At far too young an age (but not much older than Katie) they seem aware of the power of their bodies to attract. It’s disturbing.
Every once in awhile, though, I spot a young girl or boy that still plays and acts like a child. They may be eight or ten, or even on the cusp of puberty, but their behavior is completely unassuming. Unlike the kids that are apparently trying to make themselves clones of whatever young superstar is hottest right now, these rare individuals still wear an open, curious expression.
It is then that I wonder to myself: How do I get my kids to turn out like that?
It doesn’t seem accidental to me. In most cases, the kids who still seem to have their innocence are dressed more modestly than their counterparts. I wonder if their parents set these guidelines, and what others they have in place to protect the innocence of childhood.
A lot of people seem to put extended breastfeeding in the category of experiences that can catapult a child into early sexuality. I disagree. In fact, I think not allowing young boys to experience the nurturing aspect of breasts sets them up to view them as strictly sexual objects later on. What I’m saying is, if the first time they are exposed to breasts it is a completely sexualized experience, that may catapult them into the very behaviors their parents were trying to protect them from.
The thing about porn is how insidiously it portrays people as one dimensional beings. The women are always ready and willing. They’re never too tired. They never criticize men for tracking mud into the house. They never have babies and need to be “out of commission” for six weeks. They are not REAL people. And you know what? They may offer a cheap thrill, but they can never comfort a man or truly give him the honor his heart so desperately needs. They can’t softly whisper reassurance in a man’s ear when he has lost all confidence in himself. They can’t even properly need a man . . . and men need to be needed just as much as we do.
Almost every boy’s first encounter with a “real woman” is his mother, but it won’t be the last. Daniel was about 9 years old when a neighborhood kid showed him a porn magazine for the first time. It’s sad to say, but every one of our sons is going to encounter this at some point. It doesn’t even have to be a sleazy magazine. In our culture it’s impossible to completely escape the onslaught of racy billboards and commercials. And then there are all the gorgeous women walking around. ‘Nuff said.
Whatever it is, there will come a time when a new definition of womanhood vies for supremacy. If the old definition is too flimsy it will be washed away.
In my opinion, if we can’t win our sons hearts, we won’t win the battle for their purity. Despite “safety measures” like curfews, we have all seen young men move from mild interest to porn and then to premarital sex. If they are going to stay clear of that sad, dehumanizing trap they need to want something better than a one-dimensional thrill. They need to want a real woman: her warmth, her laughter, and even her quirks.
They learn to want those things through their relationship with us, their mothers. Although I don’t think extended breastfeeding is absolutely necessary, I do think it is a valuable way of communicating a rich, complex definition of womanhood. It is an experience that directly contradicts the definition the porn industry would like young men to believe.
If our baby is a boy, I hope the early years of nursing and nurturing will create an impression of womanhood that is not easily dislodged. If we have another baby after that I will probably be more discreet nursing in front of my son than I will be in front of Katie this time around. It just seems like common sense to me that at some point I will not want my son to see me naked, whereas I will never care if Katie does. I don’t mind if my son sees me breastfeeding (even my breast), but I am the TOTAL OPPOSITE of discreet at this point in my life and that will probably have to change.
I want my son to witness mothers breastfeeding their babies. I want him to know that a woman’s body, while certainly attractive, beautiful, and at times sexual, is also functional, powerful, and life giving. I want him to know and understand what breastfeeding is all about and be comfortable with it so that if he has his own children one day he can be loving and supportive of their mother, instead of embarrassed of her and jealous of his own children’s needs being met. I am hoping that by seeing breastfeeding openly as the norm, he will find his wife attractive as a mother as well as a sexual being.
I (Daniel) see a psychological angle possibly at play here. You could say that by early weaning, you deprive a boy of intended comfort. The boy innately knows that the breast was there to bring him comfort, but because he was weaned so early, he has no recollection why (or how). As a young boy, being introduced to sexual imagery or marketing of any kind causes the boy to draw incomplete conclusions.
Suddenly, the breasts have magical properties – which seems to fit this innate understanding of its created purpose to comfort. The ignorant boy may take all of his desire for comfort and project it upon the breasts from a sexual perspective because he knows no better. He is also always at war with this internal desire to receive motherly comfort from his wife/mate and the resentment of being shunned early on pre-accessible memory. He doesn’t want to be controlled, but he wants to be nurtured. He did not have the luxury of choosing to let go of the breast as a child, and he now has to control it and seek pleasure from it in an incomplete way as a young (or old) man.
My two cents.
Are you concerned about how your children are/will be affected by all the sexual imagery in our culture? If so, what do you think is the best way to minimize it’s impact?
Of all the real food blogs, Nourished Kitchen is my favorite right now. I love Jenny’s old world recipes with all their bold flavors, like Preserved Lemon & Mint Aioli. And then there are her zesty, I-Can’t-Believe-You-Can-Make-This-At-Home recipes like her Homemade Horseradish.
Thanks to Jenny my cravings are on a bold and zesty kick. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite homemade pastas.
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Confession: I had planned to share one of my favorite pasta recipes with you today, but I had so much fun playing and relaxing over the weekend I never picked up the ingredients for it. So today is MEAL PLAN MONDAY! But first . . .
I know a lot of people think we are crazy for inviting my mom to live with us. There are challenges to be sure (especially in our little house!), but the benefits FAR outweigh them.
Our beloved Gigi has made it her mission in life to make the next 8-10 weeks before Babypotamus arrives as relaxing as possible. She tucks Katie into bed while Daniel and I hit the town for the first time since she was born. Granted, we are not exactly painting the town red, but Daniel has managed to say a few memorable things like “You know, babe, from the back you don’t even look pregnant! You’re so skinny.” Even though I am loving my pregnant body a lot more than I was awhile back, it’s still sweet.
In the past two weeks we have gone to the movie theater TWICE, which is probably the sum total of all the movies we went to in Katie’s first two years of life. PLUS Gigi is letting me sleep an extra hour several mornings a week. Woohoo!
We’ve also been relishing our last season alone with Katie. Here she is, totally overwhelmed with the whole Chucky Cheese experience. It’s changed a lot, but they still have skee ball and that’s all I cared about ; – )
After about two weeks of solid rain (very peculiar for Texas in July) the sun is finally coming out again, which means Katie and I have some lost pool time to make up for. That’s why this weeks recipes are easy and light on prep time.
Monday – Not tellin’. I’m posting the recipe tomorrow ; – )
Tuesday – Nourished Kitchen’s Cottage Pie with Mashed Yams
Wednesday – Nourishing Gourmet’s Roasted Chicken with Gravy
Thursday – BBQ Style Pot Roast
Friday – Chicken & Rice Soup (make with stock from Wednesday’s meal)
Saturday – Sandwich Night (homemade sourdough bread with leftover pot roast)
Sunday – Nourished Kitchen’s Spaghetti with Saffron, Clams & Lemon
* I know that many of these meals are not summer foods, but we have a lot of veggies from our co-op and random cuts of meat that we need to use. I have discovered some great summer dishes lately that I will be sharing soon ; – )
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