Friday, July 29, 2011

Being Present

Miss Belle has recently become obsessed with reading. If I sit down on the couch at any point in the day, I can be assured that she will be at my feet holding a book up in the air for me to read. My "quick" facebook and e-mail checks have been seriously interrupted.

One day, as I was holding my daughter on my lap and trying to read "Go Dog, Go!" for the BILLIONTH time while simultaneously checking my e-mail, it hit me: "What am I doing!?!?!" Do I think this 15 month old girl is dumb? Do I really think she doesn't see me looking at the computer screen instead of at the book (because I have it memorized, ya know)? Miss Belle may not speak, but at such a young age she already understands non-verbal communication very well. And what I was saying was, "this e-mail and computer is more important and interesting to me than reading to you."

This new reading obsession got me thinking about all the other times in the day I scream of being disinterested in my children without saying a word. I started to notice all the times my Peanut would be telling me his very theatrical stories or ask me questions, and I would be doing something else instead of looking him in the eye with interest. Or all the times he tells me, "Hum ear mama, I need show you someping" (come here, mama I need to show you something) and I make him wait, just one more google search, just one more dish, just one more load of laundry, just one more fill in the blank. How many times do my children call out my name and get a half serious "yes, sweetie?" while my eyes and attention are turned a different way? How many times have I shouted across the room for them to do something or stop that instead of getting up and showing them how? I tell them often how special they are and how much I love them, but often my actions don't coincide with my words.

I am happy for Miss Belle's new reading obsession. It has forced me to looked at how present I really am to my children. I know the days where she climbs up on my lap to read will be over in the blink of an eye.  I need to cherish these moments when my children are small and I am their world. After all, if mommy and daddy don't treat them like they are God's greatest gifts to them, how will my children ever believe that they are valued, special and important in this world? I am focusing on putting the computer aside, the dish down and the project away and being present to my children. There is no task in my life more important than that. How do you make time and efforts to be present to your children throughout the day?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why It Matters

I had a friend from high school share her birth story with me tonight. It was nothing less than traumatic. Although she probably doesn't know this yet, it is the typical c-section birth story. Mom's not progressing fast enough, epidural not working, labor taking too long, mom freaking out so baby stresses and you need a c-section.

A lot of people would look at a birth story like this (and there are many like this) and say, "Oh well? Mom and baby are healthy, and my gosh! At least they got the baby out before something bad happened. It doesn't matter how the baby got here as long as it is healthy". While I'm all for healthy babies, IT DOES MATTER HOW THE BABY GOT HERE! For the rest of her life this mom will look back on the day her son was born as the most traumatic, overwhelming, lonely and helpless experience of her life. All because someone wasn't there to tell her it's ok and that she was strong enough and capable of  birthing her own son. All because doctors want mom in bed on her back because it is convenient for them, but not the best position for the baby or mother. Or maybe they just don't know the right positions, which I'm not sure is any better.

A woman will remember the day her child was born forever. It's a memory that needs to be protected not thrown away like she is just another patient. The family unit, specifically during labor, needs to be protected, respected and cherished. A couple (more specifically the mother) will either come away from birth feeling empowered, taken care of and at peace or feeling out of control and forgotten.  There are a lot of women walking around today feeling like the day they gave birth was the day they lost all control of their body and handed it over to a sharp knife on an operating table. And the majority is because of lazy practices and a misunderstanding of the birthing process.

It was reaffirmed to me tonight why I am becoming a doula. Women deserve a better birth story than my friend's. A baby's birth day should be the best day of the mother's lives, in every way. Hopefully, through education, doulas and competent midwives, we can begin to heal the broken labor practices in this country. And through this, heal the women who have fallen victim to them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bye Bye Stains

Mom's of small people know that no matter how hard we try, some great clothes are going to end up with some very stubborn stains. A very very good friend of mine allows her children to "self-feed" a great deal more than most parents, and therefore knows all about stains. She has shared her secret with me, and I feel obligated to share it with you. This simple recipe has gotten out all my stubborn stains on clothes I thought were ruined:

1. Boil a large pot of water (large enough to fit your stained clothes in. People with a lot of stained clothes and a top loader washer can just fill their washer with very hot water)
2. Add one scoop of Oxiclean (add slowly, or it will overflow. I know this from experience).
3. Add a tablespoon of dish detergent (I use Dawn)
4. Add clothes making sure they are soaked in solution
5. Cover and let sit overnight
6. In the morning, wash on a normal cycle and TADA! Clean, stain free clothes!