Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

My Pregnancy: Week 15

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

My Pregnancy: Week 15I wrote on the topic of comments people make when one is pregnant. I try to see the comments as opportunities to understand that person better. For example, people talking about how much they hope I have a girl may be indicative of how much they enjoyed having a daughter of their own or wished they had.  Sometime I can see that, hear their interest in my life and hopes that they have for me.

But it’s mostly really starting to annoy me. Someone close told me they were “praying for a girl.” So aside the fact that the baby already either has ovaries and eggs or not by now, I’m most frustrated that they never even thought to ask me what I want. And it’s really hard to say anything but “thank you” without coming off as a jerk or having to explain myself thoroughly. I tried with one person, who used their experience as wisdom. It was sort of like the, “once you have kids you’ll understand” adage. It was more of a “you don’t know what you’ll be missing if you have all boys.”

I don’t think I’m angry about people’s opinions being other than my own. I am very content in my knowing that our family life has meaning no matter what my child’s reproductive anatomy. A penis or vagina is not indicative of whether our family is “complete.” I’m angry that people aren’t seeing me, aren’t trying to connect with me. And now I’m left in a struggle of how to relate and connect to them as I harbor more and more feelings of annoyance, isolation, even resentment.

It sounds a little dramatic, I know. Maybe I could just let these comments on my pregnancy roll off one by one, but they have become a large puddle on the floor that I slosh into the next conversation with. If there is something else I’m battling internally, I’d like to figure it out.

Maybe I really do want a girl and I’m afraid I won’t have one. This seems doubtful. I’m very happy to have a girl, but I also get very excited about having all boys. Just me and my guys! I’m girly and am not afraid of having a girl like I have heard some friends express.

As I’ve studied gender and am a feminist, part of the anger may be the underlying sexist tones that some comments take. They are these slight comments that encourage silent sexism. They aren’t clear-cut like, “boys are more important that girls,” but there is something annoying about the way a “sweet little girl” sounds like more of a trinket than an equal to my boys. It’s not in the best interest of my relationship with someone to assume the thing that angers me, but again, that puddle sloshes at my feet.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers finding comfort in breakfast foods and the excitement of one little baby on the way. She’s less tired than the last three months but more tired than 5 years ago.

Adjusting to a School Routine

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Adjusting to school routineSchooool’s (no longer) oouut for the summer! It’s that time of year. Perhaps you’re elated or just not ready. Either way, it’s time to prepare for that old-time routine. For some families who work in education their babes are returning to childcare. For others with school-aged children, the switch back to a school schedule can really affect your littlest ones.

Changes in routine come in a number of ways. If you have to wake your child to take children to the bus stop or drive them to school, that affects their sleep routine. Nap times may also be affected and evening routines. It’s also an adjustment for a young child if brothers, sisters, or parents suddenly go from around all the time to missing for an 8 to 12 hour stretch. My husband is a teacher, and our little boys have a few weeks of adjustment to our “new normal” of the school routine because for several months they get used to dad being home all day, every day.

Routines offer security. You likely know changing your child’s daily routine can cause stress and behavioral challenges. As the routine changes, your child may need to renegotiate boundaries he or she previously had in place. For example, if your toddler was used to wearing pajamas until the late morning during the summer and suddenly must change upon waking, this can cause confusion and potentially result in a power struggle. To help make it through, consider the following:

  • Change your routine slowly. Start a few weeks before school if possible.
  • Do a little bit at a time. If, for example, your toddler will return to childcare, try spending a couple of hours away from him or her regularly in the couple of weeks prior. This is, assuming you have a trusted caregiver you can rely upon.
  • Don’t change what you don’t need to. Just adapt to necessary changes, don’t add in extras. If you say, “no more junk food once summer ends,” perhaps a slow transition here is helpful, too. If sleep, time with siblings, and other parts of the routine are changing, keeping other things consistent can help keep a sense of routine in the midst of adjustment.
  • Talk about the new schedule. If your young one is old enough to remember May, talk about how soon your family will go back to that style of living. If too young, talk about the changes that will happen, like siblings being gone for the day.
  • Try not to make the mornings rushed. Rushing results in heightened expectations (I need x, y, and z done now…) and an increased likelihood of meltdowns. Prepare what you can the night before.
  • Spend quality time in the evenings or weekends to help reinforce your presence that was so much more clearly tangible all day long during the summer. As the first weeks can be taxing on you as a parent also getting used to the new routine, this can also be rejuvenating for you.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Baby Proofing with Older Kids Around

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Baby Proofing with Older Kids AroundWhen you have a mobile baby, it’s work figuring out how to baby proof your home. Those tiny outlet covers, baby gates, and other products suddenly fill up your living room. But what about when your baby isn’t the only child in your home?  For me, this has become a reality. My son Levi started crawling at 8 months and my 2-year-old daughter, Johanna, has many tiny toys. Here are some tips for babyproofing your home with other kids around.

What You Need

With all babyproofing, there are some items you may want to invest in.

  • Baby gates: These vary in price and keep baby in a certain room or area. We have a basic gate I purchased at Walmart, but you can get nicer ones, too. Be particularly careful if you have stairs in your room. Baby gates are also made for stairs to keep baby safe. You can even put a baby gate around your fireplace to keep baby from any harm.
  • Outlet covers
  • Cabinet locks
  • Bumpers to put on sharp corners

Here’s an awesome checklist with ideas on what to cover.

Think Ahead

With any number of children, you have to plan ahead. Be sure to think about things like medications, sharp utensils, cleaning products, etc., and keep them out of reach. When we moved into our current home, we had to move our knives and scissors where little hands couldn’t explore and find them. Remember, eventually baby will be walking and able to reach up higher. Think about your other children and what they can get into. Be sure to have dangerous items out of everyone’s reach. Lock up items that could be dangers to children, as well. Handguns are one danger that many parents have in their homes. Be sure that your home is a safe environment for your children.

Educate Your Kids

Take the time to explain to older children how important it is to help keep baby safe. For me, this means explaining to my daughter why the baby can’t play with tiny bracelets, earrings, etc. We have learned to eat our snacks at the table, not on the couch or floor. Choking is a serious hazard for babies. A tiny fruit snack or sticker stuck to the floor could be harmful. Let your older children be accountable to help you. My daughter will have a toy and ask me if baby can play with it. She knows to get my approval before handing the baby a small toy that will go straight into his mouth. Let your older siblings help baby proof. Teach them what is safe and what isn’t. Allow them to be an extra set of eyes on the baby. Johanna will tell me when Levi is getting close to the fireplace in our home. She also knows to tell me if he is need of something, most of the time.

With any kids, remember supervision is key.  You can baby proof all you want, but you still need to supervise. As helpful as my daughter is, if I leave her alone long enough with the baby, something will happen. He is just starting to cruise, and I have caught her knocking him over. Just be present in your kid’s day-to-day interactions. Teach them what is safe and when they mess up, show them what’s right. As your baby grows, there will be new things to get into. Babyproofing-childproofing-the work of a mom is never done, but it is so rewarding.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and babyproofs on a daily basis.

Mothering Your Second Baby

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Mothering Your Second BabyBy now, I’m sure we are all familiar with the Luvs commercials touting the expertise of second-time moms. I know for my first baby I was so nervous to “do it right” and make sure I was covered in my minimal knowledge of caring for this little person. Reading the books, searching the sites, hunting down the best, most educational, natural, perfect toy to entice my little guy’s budding brain, I learned so much. And then, baby #2 came along.

If you’re thinking of a second baby, or maybe you’re already expecting, there are many things that are completely different with #2. You, as a mother, are different. Many mamas wonder if they can love another baby like they do their first–the answer is no, you won’t. You will love them differently and completely separately for their own uniqueness and individuality. Love doesn’t get cut in half, it is not finite, rather it is multiplied by the tenfold instead of just doubling.

Your parenting is different as you have gained confidence as a mom. You’ve gained patience and a bit of understanding toward your baby, and this comes in handy as you travel the newborn days. You know and understand how short these days truly are, what a blur they become and how they fly by in a haze.

Birth can be a very different experience the second time around. Along with being better prepared for labor and delivery, often just knowing what to expect eases the stress. If your first birth ended in an unplanned c-section, just having the chance to plan and prepare for a second one is reassuring. Also, having had one newborn you have the chance to prepare for help, meals, and child care.

Nursing can also be easier with baby #2. Did you know your milk comes in faster and more abundantly with the second baby? Your body has worked hard to produce extra glandular tissue with each pregnancy and menstrual cycle between babies and is a well-oiled machine when #2 comes around. You understand that pain is bad and know to seek help immediately. If you’re bottle feeding, then being able to know how to prepare the bottles, how much and how often, and what you need to pack when you go out is very helpful.

As far as the ease of juggling two babies, well, as a second-time mama you learn the ropes pretty quick. The older sibling is usually fascinated by the baby, which allows for some very tender and sweet moments between the family. You also know what to expect as far as the difficult parts of early parenting: you understand a bit better that things pass and change and to parent with the whole person in mind.

One benefit of being a second-time mama is that you get a chance to figure out who you wish to be as a parent. You know what your preferences are and yet you do have the wiggle room to try something new this time. You can easily give something a shot that you maybe were tempted with from afar the first time around. Anything is game with the second child.

If something didn’t work out when #1 was a newborn that you wished to do differently–whether sleep training, nursing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, babywearing, birth–any of these things can be done the same or differently. It really depends on you and how your baby’s temperament is.

The biggest difference with baby #2 is that you are just much more relaxed as a mother. You have a chance to really enjoy the baby and breathe!

My second son allowed me a chance to try a more natural approach to parenting, which I found more reassuring. I felt more in control having gone through it once before, especially as the frustrating moments of sleep regression, teething and the long sleepless nights. Knowing that it would get better, and that it would change before I knew it helped ease my frustrations. I jokingly refer to my firstborn as my  “test baby” with whom I learned the ropes and learned how to be the mom I could be. My second son definitely benefits from this experience.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom of three boys. She lives, loves, cooks, gardens and knits in Portland, Oregon.


Nursing with Siblings

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Nursing with SiblingsKnowing how to handle siblings while nursing a newborn is something that crosses most new second and beyond Mother’s minds. It can be daunting, juggling older children and a newborn nursing sessions, but with a little patience it can be a beautiful family dynamic that draws everyone closer together.

Children have a natural curiosity about breastfeeding. As siblings see the baby feeding, they may wonder why s/he does this, what it tastes like, what it feels like and whether they did this as babies. This is a perfect chance to keep answers simple and matter of fact, allowing older siblings to watch the baby feed and share stories about them as babies, how they used to nurse and their babyhood. Older children can help out by bringing your nursing pillow, a drink or snack and holding the baby before a nursing session.

Often, younger children ask for a sample or to try nursing. This is completely up to the mother. Personally, I have given my older boys a few drops on my fingers to satisfy their curiosity. And this was one singular instance that they never asked for again. Also remembering that older children get their nutrition from other sources and the newborn depends on that milk for his nourishment can be a reason for not sharing the milk.

Keeping the children busy while nursing a newborn can also be a challenge, and keeping a few “nursing only” activities handy can be helpful. A small basket of quiet toys, busy books, or .games that only come out when baby nurses can be very helpful. Some mothers have used the tv as a distraction – only when baby nurses do the older children get to watch a show.

While nursing a baby and juggling siblings can be a challenge, it can also be a wonderful time for family bonding and sharing love. Welcoming a new baby is such a special time for everyone and it is wonderful to share the feeding experience with older children.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three boys. She lives in Portland, OR.