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Wednesday by Leah: EC Part III

I’ve talked about our journey with Elimination Communication (EC for short) here and here. Since Jonah is now 15 months old and rapidly gaining more autonomy each and every day, it’s time for another update! If you’re not familiar with EC, please read the earlier posts first cuz I don’t feel like recapping here. Haha.

Anyhow, about a month ago Jonah started grabbing his diaper right before – or after, if he’s really engrossed in play – he needed to potty. Sometimes he will pull his pants down, sometimes he’ll fetch another diaper and hand it to me, other times he will walk to his potty, but usually he just grabs his diaper and looks at me, and I say, “Do you need to go potty?” and then take him to his little potty chair in the bathroom. We also go to the potty after naps and in the morning, and whenever we get back from being out and about.


Between 12 and 18 months is considered the sensitive period for toilet learning, in the Montessori tradition. I don’t strictly adhere to any one parenting/teaching philosophy, but Jonah clearly is showing signs of readiness! So I honor that. And I do think practicing EC, even part-time, has been really helpful in making using the toilet a familiar, regular part of Jonah’s day. I don’t view toileting as something he has to master in a day, or a month… it’s just an evolving process and as he gains more independence and ability to do things for himself, he will begin using the toilet more regularly on his own. He’s already taking some initiative with using his potty and he is able to control his bowels and wait to pee on the potty when needed. He LOVES washing his hands, too – mostly because he loves water, and he gets a kick out of climbing his stepstool to the sink to wash his hands.

We aren’t offering any candy or other bribes to reward him for using the toilet – there’s also no pressure for him to go, and he still wears diapers, not training pants yet. I also try to limit my praise when he does go now. I used to get really excited, but now it’s more of a normal thing. “Oh look, you went potty! Help Mommy flush it down the big toilet! Ok, now let’s wash our hands.” I still do the cueing noise when he sits down, but he doesn’t really need that anymore. I’ll probably stop doing that soon – it’s really more of a habit for me, not something I think about doing. He sits on the potty and I go, “Pssss, pssss!” – but by now he’s been using the potty so long he’s often already going before I get the sound out. He feels the need to go, and he knows the potty is the place to do it. Well, most of the time. Like with all things parenting/kid-related, some days/weeks are smoother than others. But again, it’s a journey – not a destination. Not yet. He doesn’t have to go in the potty all the time at 15 months of age.


I think he will be ready for training pants in a month or two, once he gets better at pulling his pants on and off. I need to get a little stool for him to sit on, and stock up on more elastic-waist pants! I expect a number of accidents as move forward with toileting, so I want to have plenty of changes of clothes on hand. Jeans and other pants with snaps/zippers are just too difficult at this point, so as cute as they are on him, we need a more practical wardrobe as he gets older and more ready to leave diapers behind!

Oh, and flushable wipes have been awesome! His poop is solid now (usually!) and sometimes sticky. And pretty darn stinky. So I much prefer being able to dump the whole contents of the potty in the toilet and flush it down, rather than having cloth wipes to wipe off or regular baby wipes to throw in the trash. Wipe, dump in potty, flush! Much easier for me. I like being eco-friendly, but when it comes to stinky poo, I’m ok with the flushable wipes. More than ok.


Would love to hear your toilet learning tips and experiences, too! Please share!

Wednesday by Leah: Level Up!

I didn’t realize how much I’d changed since becoming a mom until I went out to dinner with my sister and baby niece the other night (sans Jonah and Mark). I was able to teach my sister the quick-change method for discretely changing diapers on the fly. Grab wipe, diaper, and disposal bag (or have big pocket available). Open clean diaper, place under baby. Open dirty diaper, wipe, remove dirty diaper with wipe inside, close and stuff in bag or pocket. Bonus points for doing this one-handed. Affix clean diaper around baby. Done! No changing pad needed! Easiest with babies wearing dresses or legwarmers, then you don’t have to bother with snaps or pulling pants on and off.


Sharing this “secret” with my lil sis made me realize I’m not such a n00b at this mom thing anymore. I’m actually somewhat seasoned! Or, to quote Mark and his nerd-speak, I’ve leveled up.

I instantly move everything on the table out of reach. No silverware, glasses, ketchup bottles in grabbing distance. I do this even when Jonah isn’t there. Woops. Habit.


My wardrobe consists of clothes that a) don’t show stains as obviously and b) have stretchy or v-neck tops that provide easy boob access. They also need to cover my armpits and legs since I’m usually rather hairy or stinky. Or both. And my Movado watch – a lovely gift from my parents – has been replaced by a rubber band so that I can pull my rarely-washed hair back when Jonah is in an extra-grabby mood. Or when I need to look a little more presentable and hide the almond butter-encrusted strands in a messy bun.

Oh, and I always have to remember to stick nursing pads in my bra because my boobs will leak when I see/hear/smell a cute baby. You know that Feed the World song? I think it was written about my boobs.


Somehow, all of this has become second nature. It’s not anything I think about anymore, I’m on autopilot. My diaper bag is packed to handle any emergency. (I used to forget some key essentials… like, uh, diapers.) I’m dressed for the day’s adventures. The almond butter in my hair and milk stains on my shirt are just part of my SuperMama outfit. It might not be magazine cover worthy, but I like the new me. Even if I’m a little stained and smelly.


And to this kid, I’m the best. The sun to the stars on his sparkly tiara. Does it get much better than that? I think not.

Wednesday by Leah: Sick Day(s)

BabyRoX has been incredibly healthy since birth. He ran his first-ever fever at 12 months. It was roseola, which didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. High fever for a couple days, then a non-itchy red rash broke out. He didn’t act like he felt bad. Then a week later he got a stomach bug. Two pukey days, a low-grade fever, more napping and less eating, and he was good to go. He didn’t seem to feel too awful then, either. We didn’t need to go to the doctor, although I did call the nurse hotline just to reassure my worried mind.

But this past weekend, my sweet boy felt absolutely miserable. In pain from an ear infection and teething. High fever, runny nose, coughing. He couldn’t get comfortable. He wanted to sleep but couldn’t. He just wanted me to hold him. So much for night weaning- he wouldn’t eat any food, so I nursed him as often as he wanted. Anything to make him feel a little bit better.


Luckily, our pediatrician has Saturday hours, so off to the doctor we went. Thankful it wasn’t the flu or anything truly serious, I left with instructions to give him Motrin as needed and… amoxicillin. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I lean toward the holistic/organic/crunchy side. I’m NOT anti-allopathic medicine, but I’m also not a huge fan of medical interventions unless they are truly needed, because the risk of unpleasant side effects or complications from the intervention is higher than I’d like. I know antibiotics are over-prescribed. I know they strip the body of good bacteria, not just bad. I know they are ineffective if the infection is viral. I know that there are gentle, holistic remedies that can be very effective at treating both bactetial and viral infections. I know all of this.


I also know that I took a sh*t-ton of antibiotics growing up. Big, pink, gooey spoonfuls of amoxicillin. I liked the stuff! I was on hormonal birth control pills for years. I ate Dunkin Donuts every Saturday for 6 years straight. Ok, maybe not quite… But a lot went into my body that isn’t organic. And I’m fine. So why am I so guilt-ridden over giving my toddler one round of antibiotics? His body has been far less “contaminated” than mine was growing up. And, as my awesome and hilarious friend mentioned in this post, he’s going to eat all kinds of nasty stuff anyways! He’s already helped himself to generous portions of cat food, lint, and dirt. (And the chips that my parents like to feed him! Don’t think I don’t know about that!) And he didn’t have a truly sick day until nearly 15 months of age.

So thank you to all my awesome mom friends for assuaging the guilt and giving me a healthy dose of perspective. You know who you are. Y’all rock.

I’m doing ok. You are doing ok. BabyRoX is doing ok. We’re all ok!

And for the record, amoxicillin is no longer pink NOR as tasty as it used to be. The times, how they’ve changed!


Wednesday by Leah: The Hard Parts

Most of the time, I really love being a mom. More than I expected to, actually. But of course there are hard parts. There are some really difficult days. And this whole journey has been surprising. I thought I’d start working when Jonah was 3 months. Then 6 months. Then a year. Well, here we are at 14 months and – while I do work SOME, on both our business and some contract social worky stuff – it’s FAR less than I thought I would. Because I want to be hanging out with Jonah.

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I went to a great college. I spent time abroad. I got a Master’s degree and a job after grad school that most people would envy. My husband and I have a successful photography business. It’s not like I don’t have options. It’s not like I don’t have student loans.

I’d just really rather play with my son. MOST of the time. But then there are times I want to hang out with friends. Or write. Or I just really want to clean ALL THE THINGS at once instead of in bits and pieces over the month. Or I want to go out to dinner with JUST my husband. Or I just want a break from being a mom.

And that’s when things get hard, because that’s when the Guilt Monster comes to visit. I feel guilty because I don’t bring in much money, and – while I’m insanely lucky to have access to free childcare, it’s not all the time, so a lot of the time we do have to pay a sitter to watch Jonah. And how is it fair for me to be SPENDING money I haven’t earned just so I can take a break? From something I’ve chosen and wanted to do? I wouldn’t have this issue if I was a working mom. It seems totally fair to me for working moms to pay for childcare AND pay for a sitter to have downtime and date nights. I mean, gosh! They are WORKING! And then they need a break from all the WORKING! Plus, they have their own income, so of course they should spend it as they see fit. It even seems totally fair for OTHER stay-at-home moms to hire sitters. Because of course they need date nights and down time and they probably have way cleaner houses than I do, too. So why am I the only mom NOT deserving a break? Or some me time?


But actually, I worked through a lot of that. Yup. We have a lovely friend who comes to watch Jonah twice a week, for around 3-4 hours at a time. I also have a mom’s support group I go to every other Wednesday, AND I have an awesome meditation/spiritual development class I’ve been going to on Tuesday nights. And Mark regularly takes Jonah and tells me to go do my own thing – blog, take a bubble bath, have a long phone call with a friend, etc.

Yay, right? Problem solved! Except… it’s *still* not enough. I still feel unbalanced. I still feel like I’m not getting enough time to do the cooking and cleaning and the reading and writing and the meditating and socializing and and and and….

Apparently, I need more “ME” time than 12 hours a week. And when I look at it like that, it doesn’t seem SO wrong or bad. I literally only have 12 – or sometimes fewer- hours each week solely to myself. That breaks down to 1.7 hours per day. Obviously, it’s a slightly different ratio given our current childcare arrangements. And some moms get WAY less than that, I know. But for me, it’s just not the right balance and even if it sounds super selfish, I want and need more time than that. So we have to figure out a way to make that happen. Paying for MORE childcare, scheduling regular date nights, Mark rearranging his work schedule (and basically, working fewer hours) to spend more time with Jonah. It’s gonna happen. And I’m going to work on NOT feeling guilty about it.

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Which, for me, is one of the hardest things about being a mom. It’s SO easy to feel guilty. Especially because I *chose* to do this full-time, so what right do I have to complain? I love my child. I love that I get to spend so much time with him. But I love me, too. And I need to spend some more time with myself. And my adult friends. More than I already do. That way, when our lovely friend/sitter comes to watch Jonah, I’ll actually go take time for myself instead of talking her ear off for an hour because YAY FRIEND! I will use that time productively, and then I will socialize when I’m not asking her to come over and watch my kiddo.

14 months into motherhood, and I’m STILL struggling to find a balance. But it’s a process. And I’ll get there. I’m on my way.

Wednesday by Leah: Time Flies

Dear Jonah,

You are 1 year, 2 months, and 13 days earth-side today. I’m not good at keeping up with specific dates or milestones, but in the long run, it’s all arbitrary numbers anyhow, right? I do want to acknowledge how different our lives are now, compared to a year ago. You used to eat and sleep and eat and sleep and I could hold you all day long. Now you’ll wriggle out my arms and take off after the cats. Then you come toddling back asking me to pick you up, to show you the high-up things out of your reach. “Do you see this, mama? Do you SEE?”  (This is how I interpret your enthusiastic grunts and gesturing.)


You continue to be so aware, so observant. Still and quiet and probing when greeted with new people and places. And then once 10 minutes have passed, the smiles and giggles come bubbling up. The curiosity propels you forward, out into the world, to see and touch and taste. You bring me handfuls of dirt, pieces of lint, wooden blocks. “Do you see this, mama? Do you SEE?”


I see, my sweet boy. I see YOU and how fast you are growing up. You look different today than you did two days ago. I see how capable you are – you feed yourself,  you point to your diaper when you need to go to the bathroom, you clap when you hear the word “yay!”, you brush your hair with anything that has a handle – toothbrushes, spatulas, you name it. I see how much you understand, and I see how much you feel – swinging from sheer excitement to bitter disappointment and back again in the scope of 5 minutes.


You are so precious. You are so enchanting. You are so loved.

My walking, climbing, tumbling, hugging, splashing, and – yes, still biting – child. Please stop biting soon, ok? Ok.


Your (very lucky) mama


Wednesday by Leah: Night Weaning While Co-Sleeping

For the past several months, Jonah has been nursing at night for comfort rather than to eat. While I’m always willing to comfort my child (duh!), I’m definitely ready to comfort with cuddles instead of nursing all night. He’s started nursing way more frequently than he did when he was younger – he really just wants to use me as a pacifier all night, and I’m sorta over it. I’m also dropping weight like crazy, and it’s directly a result of breastfeeding. I’m gonna disappear if my son keeps nursing so much! So we have begun the weaning process around here.


We also co-sleep, which makes night weaning extra tricky… the snack bar-pacifier combo is right there, Jonah doesn’t even have to get out of bed, and who wouldn’t take advantage of that? So Mark and I discussed how to approach this. We could transition Jonah to his own room to expedite the process. He already naps there. But we didn’t like that option. We really love co-sleeping, most of the time, and we are just not ready to stop…plus Jonah’s room is alllll the way upstairs and that’s too far away for our liking. So the other, more palatable option was for Mark to comfort Jonah when he woke up at night, and for me to sleep in the other room for a few nights so Jonah got used to falling back asleep without nursing and without being too tempted. We actually briefly tried the whole night weaning with me in the bedroom, and that just made Jonah ANGRY. He knew what he wanted was right there and he couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t let him have at it. The boobs, they are too hard to resist!


Night weaning with me out of the room was definitely the best option. And it’s actually been much easier than I thought it would. Sunday marked 4 nights of weaning, and I was back in bed with my boys. Now *I* can comfort Jonah at night with cuddles and he doesn’t expect to nurse. I put Jonah to bed last night around 7:30 and he woke up 3 hours later and I was able to get him back to sleep without any fuss OR any nursing. He started to wake up again at 3 am but he rolled over and went back to sleep, snuggled against daddy, and didn’t try to claw my shirt off me or anything of the sort. This is huge progress, y’all!


He still nurses around 4 times a day, and I’m not ready to cut those out yet, but I’ll gradually drop a session at a time over the year. There are aspects of breastfeeding I love, like always having a free, nutritious snack on hand, and there are aspects I don’t love, like leaking – still! – and milk stains and Jonah pulling my shirt down whenever he wants to nurse. I’m so thankful we have been able to breastfeed but I’m definitely ready for Jonah to start weaning. I knew nighttime would be the toughest, and I’m glad it’s going smoothly so far. The first 2 nights were the roughest, with Jonah waking up about every hour and needing rocking and singing to fall back asleep, but 2 sleepless nights are definitely worth it to me and Mark in order to have many many nights of peaceful sleep. This process has actually strengthened the bond between Mark and Jonah, too. Jonah loves cuddling up to Daddy at night now, not just Mommy. And Mommy gets lovely, uninterrupted sleep. It’s fantastic.

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And can I just say how much I love watching my boys sleep all snuggled up together? It’s the bestest.

Wednesday by Leah: Tantrum Time

Jonah is almost 14 months old, and even though he’s not all-out walking on his own yet, I think it’s safe to say we have entered Toddlerhood. He does toddle. AND he can throw some impressive tantrums, which is one thing most people associate with the toddler stage. Don’t get me wrong, my sweet boy is remarkably chill and full of kindness and giggles and love… 90% of the time. But he has learned that a.) he is his own person, b.) he has preferences and wants, and c.) he cannot always DO everything he wants to do, either because of physical limitations or because we won’t allow it. And when he can’t get his way, he is not shy about letting us know how he feels. He falls to the ground, face down, stretched-out, classic tantrum-pose, kicking and screaming. Well, wailing. He’s not much a screamer, thankfully, but he definitely can cry.


So I’ve been thinking a lot about tantrums. Obviously, I don’t like to see my child upset. I also understand that we are past the baby stage where  crying means he has an unmet NEED. Now he cries when he has an unmet WANT. He WANTS to pull the cat’s tail. He WANTS to climb up the bookshelf. And he will throw a tantrum if I don’t let him. And you know what? That’s fine! It’s more than fine – it’s absolutely developmentally appropriate. He is having a Very Big Feeling and he does not yet have the tools to process those big feelings in a mature way.


Mark commented the other day that Jonah acts like it is the end of the world – for about 30 seconds. That’s how Jonah feels. From our adult point of view, it seems ridiculous to get so upset about not being able to play with a knife or attack the cat. But for a not-even-2-year-old, there’s this thing they want to do, and they can’t do it, and it’s the only thing they want in that moment, and it feels hugely upsetting when they don’t get their way. (Luckily, we are still in the stage where the tantrum does not last long at all.) We let him express his feelings. And then we get back to playing. I’m not a fan of distracting him – “Here, look at this toy!” I wait until he is done kicking and crying and then when HE is ready, we cuddle or look at a book or find a toy.

This wasn’t easy for me. When Jonah first started having these tantrums, I hated it. I hated seeing him so upset and my urge was to STOP IT. STOP THE BAD FEELINGS. Mommy will make it all better! But distracting him doesn’t meet his NEEDS. He needs to get out those feelings. He will learn healthy emotional regulation in time. And crying is a built-in mechanism for reducing stress. It’s healthy for him to wail a bit, especially since he doesn’t really have other ways of communicating or even understanding those feelings right now. I don’t want to distract him from that, I want him to feel what he’s feeling. And I, as the parent, will hold the space so that he feels safe to express those less-than-pleasant emotions, and I will be there to comfort him when he needs it and in time he will learn other ways to deal with Very Big Feelings. I will also continue setting consistent boundaries, even though it causes tantrums right now. In time, he will also learn the “house rules” so to speak. He will learn that we must be gentle with the cats. He will learn that he cannot bite people. And he will learn that just because he throws a tantrum, it doesn’t mean he gets his way. He will learn all of this in a loving, respectful way. That’s my commitment to him. Even when I’m frustrated, or in pain (yes, actual pain – biting HURTS), or tired of re-enforcing the same boundary over and over and over, or I just really don’t want to deal with another tantrum… I have to keep my cool and treat my son with respect. Is it easy? Nope! Is it fun? Not usually. But it’s how I believe in parenting him and it’s my job to set those boundaries and to create a safe space for his emotions.


Another thing I don’t do is laugh. Sometimes it’s quite comical how textbook and how dramatic his tantrums are… and over some really trivial things. But he is having a genuine emotion, and were I to laugh at him, what message would that send? Haha, your sadness/anger/frustration is SO FUNNY. It’s especially hard not to laugh when he wails for a second, then stops and looks back to see if I am watching him. If he makes eye contact with me, he goes right back to crying. And yes, it’s very funny. But I don’t want him to think I’m laughing at him, even when the emotion he’s feeling seems less than genuine. Maybe his heart isn’t broken, but he IS upset. And even if it seems silly to me, it’s a real feeling for him. I want him to trust me with his feelings. I want him to feel respected. Each day sets the stage for the next, and when he is 15 or 21 and his heart really DOES get broken, I want him to know he can share what’s going on with me. I want him to have healthy outlets for his feelings. And if I laugh at him when he’s upset, that’s not setting a very solid foundation for us.


That’s how I handle tantrums, but I also try to avoid them. I know I can’t always avoid them, but I can greatly reduce their frequency in a few easy ways: food, sleep, plenty of playtime, and a YES environment. Food means regular snacks and mealtimes. I get super cranky when I’m hungry, too, so I can’t expect Jonah to skip lunch or snack and still feel 100%. He’s also way more likely to throw a tantrum when he’s tired, so I try to time my outings around his nap time, or NOT drag him to the post office on the way home when I know he’s getting sleepy. Playtime is essential – ACTIVE playtime, not just sitting on the floor building with blocks. Jonah has lots of energy and when he doesn’t get a chance to climb and tumble, he’s more likely to have a hard time getting the SLEEP he needs, and he can get more aggressive when he doesn’t get a chance to get that energy out in acceptable ways. And the YES environment is about having spaces in our home where he can freely explore/play/DO stuff without me constantly having to set boundaries, say no, redirect, or take things away. Our kitchen is pretty darn childproof, as is our living room and bathroom and, of course, his own room. We don’t keep breakable things within his reach. We have baby gates for the stairs, we’ve secured the bookshelf to the wall, we don’t have anything on the lower shelves that isn’t ok for Jonah to play with, and we don’t keep things in the lower kitchen cabinets that he can’t touch. So Jonah has nearly-free reign of most of the house, and that makes life easier for ALL of us.

For my mama friends out there who have yet to reach the tantrum stage, I hope this will be helpful! For other parents already braving the tantrums, or well beyond them, I’d love any additional tips!  Also, here are a couple websites I’ve found handy (I’ve linked to specific blog posts, but I really love many of the posts on these sites!):

Aha Parenting

Janet Lansbury – Elevating Childcare

Regarding Baby



Wednesday by Leah: One Year

This weekend, BabyRoX is turning one. Wow. Did it go by fast? Yes and no. Those hazy newborn days seem SO far away, especially when I see my brand-new niece and how tiny and helpless she seems. And it’s crazy to think about a time when Jonah – since he’s not so much a baby anymore, I guess I’ll start using his real name – wasn’t a part of our lives. But at the same time, I’m shocked at how quickly we got here. The bouncing, grinning, trying-to-talk boy who blows raspberries on my cheeks and tummy, who loves eating broccoli and olives and lentil soup, who pulls on kitty tails and scales stairs at lightening speed… not so very long ago he could barely hold up his head. He slept A LOT. He nursed A LOT. He was my Zen baby. He taught me how to slow down. And now he’s teaching me how to speed up again.

This past year has been filled with more joy and love than I could have anticipated. It’s been a time to trust my intuition, to gain confidence as a mother, to get to know this precious being who joined our family. To learn from him. To learn how to teach him. To be fully present and savor the time that I knew would go by too fast.

And as we prepare to celebrate his first year of life, the sadness at the end of the baby era is fading – a little bit of that will always be there, because I do so love the baby stage – but I am eagerly looking ahead to this next year. To all the firsts – walking, talking, going to Disney World, cooking and making art and taking nature walks. More hugs and kisses. More singing and dancing. More laughter and yes, more tears. To getting to know Jonah even better as more and more of his personality comes out. I can’t wait to hear his thoughts, his take on the world.

I watch my sister with her sweet little girl, and I am so excited for her to go through this journey, too. For however difficult those first days and weeks might be, the joy and love is so much more – so worth the sleepless nights, the marathon nursing sessions, the stress and worry that come with being responsible for a tiny baby you love with all your might 24/7. It’s a HUGE transformation, becoming a mom. I can’t fully express how huge. I am more of myself because of Jonah. I am more aware, more compassionate, more present, and more self-ish, because I want him to have the best version of me. I have to take care of myself to be in the best space, physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually to be the mom I want to be for Jonah. And I have to be gentle with myself, and oh-so-forgiving, because I’m not the best version of myself 24/7. And that’s ok, too.

So many adventures ahead! This past year has been the very start of an amazing journey. Happy One Year, Jonah. You fill our lives with light and love. Smiles and hugs and kisses and raspberries! And let there be cake!



Wednesday by Leah: Swarmed

On Saturday night, Mark and I were supposed to go to a super awesome Halloween party. But first, he had an engagement shoot outdoors in the beautiful fall weather. I was looking forward to a fun night out. My parents were looking forward to a fun night with their grandson. And then my phone rang. It was Mark, but he sounded funny. Really funny.

Why? He had been swarmed by a hive (nest? gang?) of angry yellow jackets. He had been stung. A lot. And while he had been stung in the past and never had an allergic reaction, it really sounded like his throat was swelling up and I got scared. He was 37 miles across town with our car. We only have one car. He asked me to call a friend who lived close to where he was to take him to the hospital. I urged him to get in the ambulance that was called instead. He protested. I used my stern voice. I called my friend. Mark called back and said he would go with the ambulance. I called my friend back and told her nevermind. I called my mom and asked her to pick me up and drive me to the hospital. Meanwhile, Mark collapsed, came to, couldn’t see for 20 minutes, and threw up a whole bunch. I’m glad I missed that part.

The EMTs were amazing and basically saved his life. I’m so glad they were stubborn and didn’t drive off like Mark suggested. Because by the time my friend could have gotten to him, my husband would likely have been dead. Or close to it.

When I got to the hospital, I rushed into the ER and found Mark hooked up to oxygen and fluids, shivering on a bed. Cue the Grey’s Anatomy theme song. It felt so surreal… just an hour earlier I was about to put on a costume and go to a party, and all of a sudden I’m in the Emergency Room holding my husband’s hand and kissing his puffy eyelids and feeling exceptionally grateful that he was able to open his eyes and squeeze my hand back.

The nurses pumped him full of fluids and antihistamines and steroids and something to make the shaking stop. He was covered in red welts. But he was alive! And reasonably well. He slept a bunch that night and woke up early the next morning to go shoot  a wedding. Yup, he’s crazy like that. We’re both just insanely thankful that he genuinely felt ok enough to shoot a wedding. That he was alive and breathing and not dead in a parking lot by a mountain.

Paying bills, running a business, parenting, prepping for a move – all the stressors that have been on my mind are suddenly so much less stressful. I’m not glad that Mark almost died, but it IS nice to have my priorities more in order! Also, EMTs rock.

And Happy Halloween!

Wednesday by Leah: Everyday Adventures

One of my favorite things about having a kidlet is getting to turn mundane errands and outings into grand adventures. Yes, it takes longer to get stuff done, but it’s also a lot more fun, and by slowing down and stopping to smell the roses, BabyRoX gets a better chance to learn about our wacky and wonderful world.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store. I had about 15 items on my list. Normally, it would take me 10 minutes to get those items and check out. But we were having a sensory and linguistic adventure! So it took around 45 minutes. We felt the drops of moisture on the celery stalks. We felt the smoothness of the butternut squash and the roughness of the pumpkin stem. We shivered in the dairy aisle and warmed up by the hot bar. We tasted the pears on the sample tray. I talked about each item, the colors and names and textures. BabyRoX chattered back, pointing at things and exploring each item I handed him.

I’m not immune to the parental guilt/pressure to provide my child with the perfect balance of stimulation, education, free play, and chill time. Does he have the “right” toys to encourage creativity and development? Does he have enough social interaction with peers and other adults? Are Mark and I playing the “right” games with him?

But then I step back and watch how fascinated BabyRoX is with clapping his hands, catching bubbles, touching a pumpkin. I don’t need to get him any fancy toys or sign him up for special classes. He is 11 months
old and everything around him is new and exciting. I just need to slow down and give him the opportunity to take it all in. To climb up and down the stairs 5 times. To play with his food.

I’m a pretty high energy, fast-paced person and I have a really calm, mellow child who likes to study things and people intently. Almost daily, I have to remind myself to slow down, to follow his lead, to sit for a moment and take in the world, to listen and observe.

He’s a great little teacher, and I love our everyday adventures. Today we are going to play with leaves and rocks. And hopefully not swallow any. Well, at least not any rocks. I think leaves will digest a bit better.

Wednesday by Leah: 11 Months

Today BabyRoX is 11 months old. Eleven! Wow. That happened…fast. Soon he won’t be BabyRoX. He’ll be ToddleRoX. (But we’ll still call him BabyRoX.)

He’s trying to walk. I’m not ready for that milestone just yet. I’m not ready to watch my baby stand up and run away from me. But I’m also not going to stop him. I’m trying to think about all the fun, awesome things we’ll be able to do in the year ahead. We will go for nature walks and ride trains and sort things and stack things and cook food and eat food and make art and roll down hills. He’ll be able to do more and more and more big-people things. He’ll start talking. Whole sentences, not just Mama and Hi and Bye. It’s going to be awesome! I know it!

But yes, I’m a little sad and sniffly, looking at his newborn pics and kissing his little nose and watching him look at me with such excitement and adoration, because even though he is only 11 months old today, it went by so fast that I feel like he will be 15 years old in no time at all. And I’m just not ready to have a teenager! They usually don’t look at their mothers with excitement and adoration, unless that mother is handing out car keys or money or delicious food. You know how some people don’t really dig the baby stage? Well. I am not one of those people. I have ALWAYS loved babies. I will sit and hold babies for hours and not get bored. So of course I’m a little sad to be exiting the baby stage with my own darling baby.

The past 11 months have truly been the best of my life. There was an interesting post on A Practical Wedding yesterday, concerning mixed feelings around motherhood. It’s a topic I’ve seen elsewhere on the Interwebs, too. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that people are different, and there is no ONE universal experience of anything, let alone something as complex and layered and life-changing as motherhood. But I had read all this stuff about how it’s hard work having kids, and how juggling the mother identity with all the other aspects of myself could be really difficult and maybe not so happy. I was fully prepared to welcome any and all emotions that becoming a mom, giving birth, and having a tiny person to take care, would bring. Actually, I was expecting to struggle a good bit. But for me, this has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I lucked out. My birth was amazing and just how I envisioned. I had a healthy, happy baby that still rarely fusses. I was surrounded by support. Breastfeeding was no problem. I didn’t have post-partum depression or anxiety. All of these circumstances combined to let me absorb the massive amounts of oxytocin flooding my system, to sit with my precious little boy and just fall head over heels in love.

Yes, I think having an empowering, peaceful, unmedicated homebirth played a role in my transition to motherhood. Yes, I think encapsulating my placenta helped with my postpartum recovery and hormone shift. Obviously, having a healthy and laid-back baby made the whole taking care of a newborn stage WAY easier. And I do think some of this was just… luck. Good fortune. In any case, the past 11 months have been filled with more joy and love than I could have imagined – and my life was already filled with generous amounts of both. BabyRoX is an inquisitive, active, happy little guy. He loves to sing and drum on things. He loves to study people – intently. He takes about 10 minutes to warm up to a new place, and then he’s off exploring. He is an amazing climber and will scale near-vertical inclines with impressive speed. He does NOT like to wear socks. Because he loves to suck on his toes. New places and new people delight him. Laughter delights him even more. When he eats foods he likes, he throws his hands up in the air and dances. He prefers savory to sweet to and warm to cold.

Sometimes he bites.

Hey, no one’s perfect.

But to me and Mark, he’s the best. He’s our favorite person other than each other to hang out with. And just wait til you see his Halloween costume! OMG. I can’t even.

Wednesday by Leah: Cuteness

Some weeks I have a lot to say.

Other weeks, I just want to post cute pictures of my baby.

It’s one of those weeks.