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Archive for June, 2012

25 weeks today

Everyday Stuff

25 weeks pregnant! It means that there are 15 weeks, give or take, left in this part of the adventure. It means that the Rutabaga probably does weigh as much as an actual rutabaga – about a pound and a half – and is kicking and wiggling pretty frequently during the day. Most everything (organs, body parts) is fully formed – it’s now just about filling out and fattening up. Or so they say.

While most of my clothing now doesn’t fit, I have acquired a few things here and there to wear – mostly tank tops and sundresses, but a few real shirts and a skirt. I have to say, I didn’t believe I would be a leggings convert like most other pregnant women, but they ARE a handy thing to pull out of your closet when you need long pants, especially when the weather here has been alternating between temperatures in the 50s and temperatures in the 70s.

My mood swings started nudging back in. I think part of the reason was that I hadn’t done much yoga (at all) this past month. It didn’t seem to make that much of a difference with my moods before pregnancy, but now I definitely need to be doing it once a week to keep my head straight. The other thing that helps is – CLEANING. Yep. Our bedroom and bathroom and hall closet are all organized, dusted, scrubbed, swept. We’re talking baseboards and nooks and crannies and all of those often neglected spots. The kitchen is almost done – just the fridge remains to be tackled. Is it early nesting? Belated spring cleaning? ┬áMontessori research? (more on that later)

I don’t know. But it helps. And I’m sure that the need to clean will strike again more than once, but I would like to get everything pretty darn clean now so that I’m not starting from scratch with a gigantic belly and creaky joints in a few months (it’s already more difficult to get up from kneeling with 20 extra pounds on my frame, I’ve noticed).

The farming still helps, too. I’ve switched to Tuesdays, and the summer help has started working, so there are a number of other people to talk to and work with now. It’s wild how much is growing where nothing was there back in March when I started. This was the first week I got to take home produce – greens! greens! greens! plus some onions, chives, leeks, and herbs. In response, we had a few people over for soup & salad & homemade bread that night, which was lovely.

Other than that, we’re still holding out on a fantastic lack of aches and pains and swelling. I do get uncomfortable sitting in certain hard chairs for hours (ballbark seating, the chairs in the black box theatre at mark’s school), but no general all-day back or hip aches that many pregnant women complain about. There’s no indigestion as long as I don’t eat too much at one time, and there’s no nausea as long as I eat every three hours or so. No crazy cravings – changed tastes and preferences, but that’s about it.

We went to a Pawtucket Red Sox game (mark’s birthday gift) Friday. 4.5 hours, 13 innings (yes, it’s a challenge to wake up at 4:40 and be awake at a baseball game at 11:30 that night, especially when pregnant). The game was good – until the visiting pitchers decided to slow everything down, walking too many people, spending too much time throwing the ball to first, generally moving slowly. Anyway, the point is that the bass in all of the music and cheering and such had the baby moving around A LOT. So that explains it – the baby may be a baseball fan with as yet undetermined loyalties – go cubs! – but he or she does like the noise of the stadium.

The Abstract

The first non-traditional way of parenting to which I was exposed was Attachment Parenting. The one that encourages cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, and baby-wearing, to name a few things. And all of these, after doing some research, have resonated with me in some way, especially given how intertwined they are. At first, Attachment Parenting is about how scary the world is when a baby is first born, and how important it is to form a bond with your child, to nurture their emotional health, to make them feel safe as you (the parent) introduce them to their world. And on a selfish note, it’s about snuggling with my baby, keeping it close.

Breastfeeding makes sense – it provides nutrients and immune system benefits ideally suited to your child at whatever stage of life. And it means no traipsing downstairs and heating bottles and all at three in the morning. I plan to breastfeed for a while. I don’t know how long a while is.
Cosleeping makes sense, especially when you’re breastfeeding. There’s really no evidence of endangering your baby by sleeping with them. And especially at first, I love the idea of not having to get out of bed in order to soothe my newborn. We’ll all get more sleep. Everyone wins.
Babywearing makes sense. I love the idea of having my baby close to me when I’m sweeping, walking around the neighborhood, going grocery shopping. It’s far less cumbersome than lugging around a stroller to most places, and it means that I can see the baby while the baby can see the world, which is not always an option with strollers.
Babywearing is not forever, though. I’ve seen too many kids in love with their cheap little strollers – the ones that they can push around – because of the ease with which they can get in and out of it or navigate it on their own. Which is more of a Montessori thing…

There’s also the Montessory Method. I know most people know it as a method of schooling, but it’s something that you can begin at the beginning. Montessori is all about developing independence, focus, physical & mental skills. It’s about creating an environment based around simplicity so that a child can thoroughly explore one thing at a time and master skills as they like. The more I learn about it, the more I see in Mark the bits of his personality that come from attending a Montessori school when he was little – his need for order, his need to get his head straight, his ways of focusing on and completing tasks.

I don’t know if it can be boiled down to main practices like AP can – I don’t claim to be an expert in either! But here’s what I like so far:
Babies have no crib. They sleep on a low, firm mattress on the floor. That way, as soon as they develop enough to move around, they are free to crawl and then toddle around their very very baby-proof room. It means that if they aren’t ready for bed at bed time, they can quietly be in their room. It means if they wake up before you, they can play with a book or toy in their room instead of immediately crying from a crib. Again – more sleep for everyone!
Some AP people cosleep for a long time. Years. As much as I love the idea of cosleeping for as long as I’m nursing 2-3 times a night, I will definitely want my bed back within the year.
In Montessori, the nursery – and the house – is not just baby proofed, but made welcoming for baby. Art is hung at baby level. The bottom shelves of things are left for just one or two age-appropriate things – a wooden toy, a piece of fruit, a stone, etc. Parents are encouraged to present their baby very few THINGS at one time – it helps prevent boring or overwhelming your baby. As the child gets older, the child plates and utensils and snacks are put in a place in the kitchen where kids can access them all on their own. Children are given child-sized brooms and pans for sweeping, basins for washing their hands, etc.
I envy Mark his organizational and focusing skills, and I would love not only to instill those in our child but to improve them in myself, so I would like (in an ideal world) to make the whole house more like this – not just at baby level. If we can clear out the clutter, have a basket/bowl/place for everything that’s out, create spaces intentionally designed for certain activities, and encourage cleaning as a habit from a young age, I think that not only will the baby learn all of this, but it’ll help keep the house cleaner – and the general stress level lower – in the years to come.

As part of this exploration, Montessori is also more about letting your child have time alone (in safe places). Whether it’s tummytime as a baby or practicing crawling/walking without constant feedback from a parent or just time alone as a child, it’s important (in Montessori) that your child learn how to feel safe and happy alone – without mama and dad there all of the time. When you hear a little cry, you don’t run to see what’s the matter, but wait a moment to see if they’ll self-soothe or if it’s a real emergency. You encourage them to do things to develop dexterity – ‘peel your own orange,’ ‘tie your own shoes,’ etc.

Also, instead of constant “no”s, you give them options. “Don’t just sit there – eat!” becomes “Do you want to eat your banana first or your oatmeal?” That sort of thing. And even just “Don’t touch that” is accompanied by physically moving the child away from whatever they shouldn’t exploring.

And then, since I’m putting it all on the table, there’s Elimination Communication. EC. EC is about watching your baby for cues to see when they’re about to ‘eliminate,’ and then doing what you can to get the diaper off and get them to a potty before it happens. Obviously, it’s only going to work during the day for quite some time – it’s not about being crazy and eschewing diapers altogether. It’s about not letting your baby get used to peeing/pooping in a diaper. It sounds crazy, and it is definitely extra work in the first 9-12 months of life, but it means that you don’t have to potty train right around the age when your kid wants to challenge everything. It’s means your baby knows from the start what the potty is for. Not to mention fewer diaper changes which also means less laundry. Again, selfish mommy for the win!

Will I do all of these things perfectly?

Not a chance. But I like learning about them. And I will try to incorporate as much of them into our lives as I can. And I will also learn from my kid what’s working and what’s not.
I know not everyone can or wants to do them. I know some of you will think me a little nuts. If I wasn’t going to be staying at home with the kid, if my husband wasn’t on board with it, if my primary babysitter/baby’s nearby grandmother wasn’t open to it, it wouldn’t work. But I have that support system. So we’ll try.

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