OMG, get that child a jacket!

“What’s wrong with you?! A 2 year old in 43 degree weather without a jacket?
And no snow pants? What’s your problem?”

No…excuse me…but what’s YOUR problem?!

I know you, I saw you looking at us at the park. Your eyes got to the size of dinner plates and your jaw dropped. I mean it literally dropped. You could’ve parked a mid size toy truck in your mouth.

We shrug it off though. We’re used to it by now. The judgmental looks and sometimes the comments.

My favorite one being:

“Why isn’t he wearing a beanie?!”
Or
“You shouldn’t let him walk down the stairs by himself he’s gonna fall and get hurt”

Well.

Dear concerned citizen,
It is true that my son was at the park today wearing a flannel shirt and jeans and a “baseball style cap” with ear flaps.

However, please know that he ISN’T cold and he isn’t going to die any time soon.

Here is why:
Despite your worst fears I am a good mom, I just don’t force my kid to do stuff he doesn’t want to. So if he doesn’t want to wear a jacket he doesn’t have to. BUT, I’m also not stupid. Therefore he already has a long sleeved 100% wool sweater on underneath, and 100% wool long johns. His “baseball hat” is double wind proof fleece fabric. So even though what you see is a two year old in a fleece shirt, jeans and a hat, trust me, he is SNUG AS A BUG IN A RUG!

So take your snarky comments and your condescending looks and put your energy on something worthwhile. (Like actually engaging in play while at the park instead of texting on your cellphone.)

Regards

The mom and dad playing on the jungle gym with their perfectly warm 2 year old.

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Thank you

It seems like we’re all pretty good at thanking people. Thanking the. For gifts or that car ride home when you locked your keys in the car. For the obvious things.but how are we at thanking others for the little things? The “I saved you just enough milk for your morning tea” or the “I figured since you got delayed at work you’d probably come home starving so I got us pizza”. You’ve got those too. Wow. You’re doing good. (I forget sometimes. I’m sorry)

But even more important is sometimes just thanking people for who they are, for what impact they’ve had on your life just by being in it. My husband is, of course, one of those people, but also my son. He helped me grow and become the mother I am today. If I tell him today, thank you for being you, he’ll understand my words in one way, when he’s 15 in another way, and when he has his first child in another way.

I was blessed becoming his mother. I have never had post partum depression. Even in the darkest nights with aching boobs, tiny tummy ache and baby cries I somehow always found being his mother a blessing, something to be thankful for. My wish is that I may never grow content, never get so “comfortable” (in lack of better terms) that I start taking information granted. I hope I will always remember and feel grateful for having him in my life and I hope I will always remember to thank him.

Thank you
for teaching me your wants
For teaching me your needs.
Thank you for pushing me
with more intense cries
when I get it wrong.
Thank you for rewarding me
with more intense hugs
When I get it right.
Thank you for being amazing
Just by being you.
Thank you for trusting me
to take care of you
to care for you
Thank you for making me
the mom I am today
Thank you for being you

Restless night

You whimper a little in your sleep,
I watch you from the kitchen,
you’re asleep but not at peace tonight
I lay down beside you,
put my arms around you
and pull you close.
Your breathing slows down again
your body relaxes
my job here is done.
I kiss you goodnight again
and tip toe out of your room
I’m here for you
24/7
ready to do it all over again

Back off, parents!

You see them everyday, you know them and sometimes you might be one of them
– The parent forcing gloves/jacket etc onto a screaming kid
– The parent battling with their kid to sit down and eat dinner
– The parent exclaiming “be careful!!” everytime the kid walks down the stairs by themselves or climbs on the jungle gym at the park.
– The “let me so that for you it’s too heavy for you” parent.

Here’s my 10 second advice:

Back off!

Junior turned 2 not too long ago. If you saw him this morning this is what you would’ve seen. Him, carefully walking down the stairs. Fully clothes except for hat and mittens. Asking for a hat and mittens as we get outside. An hour later he goes to my bag (we’re still outside) and grabs a small black cooling bag, walks to the kitchen area, pulls out a chair, climbs up and waits for me to come.

You may think that my son is a very well mannered boy because I taught him good manners. You’d be wrong.
He’s a very well mannered boy because he taught himself good manners. (Wait, what?)

Remind me later and I will tell you what a servant leader is. That’s the basis of my parenting; or expressed differently

Help me to to teach myself

It has always been my priority to respect my child and the person he is. To assist him in his development without doing things for him.

Junior didn’t use to be a fan of wearing clothes. Still isn’t at times. Instead of forcing him to wear clothes I told him he could go without and then told him that I would bring a sweater (or whatever) in my bag (or pocket) just incase he needed it later. Instead of asserting my authority, my dominance I chose to let him decide, I trusted him to let me know when he gets cold. (He always has).

I will bring food to an outing but what he eats and IF he eats is his choice. The what being I might bring options such as fruit or meat (not candy) but wether he eat one, both or neither is up to him.

Ever since he could walk I have said “you want to walk up/down the stairs then you should.” If you want my help here’s a hand (offer, don’t force it) or you have the railing over there (offer, don’t force). Sometimes he would take it, sometimes not. Sometimes he would fall but I would always be right behind him cheering him on to get back up again. I seldom tell him to be careful in advance but rather thank him afterwards for being careful so that he can feel pride in his own accomplishment.

You wanna carry my bag up the stairs? Why not. (Instead of stating it’s too heavy let him try and then offer to help (but accept any answer)

Back off and just trust him and the person that he is. Trust that he can make decisions by himself, make judgment calls and learn by trial and error wether it was a good or bad decision or call.

This ticks people off! To NO END!
I find it hilarious!

-You can’t let him decide wether he wants to wear clothes or not, he’s only 2. (I can’t? Pretty sure I just did)

-He can’t carry that, it’s way too heavy! (Well, let him figure that out and then offer to help (and don’t forget to say thank you)

He asks for mittens because he’s cold. He goes to my bag and gets his cooler because he’s hungry. He walks up and down the stairs and carries thing I didn’t even know he could lift. Why? Because he wants to. Because he taught himself how to. With my help. My role as a mom is to help him be the best that he can be. How can I do that if I don’t give him the chance (when appropriate) to lead?

I keep you near me

I keep you near me
as only a mother can hold a child
You are forever a part of me
You are safe in the wrap
Hidden from the world
You have everything you need there
Warmth
Comfort
Food
My heartbeat becomes your heartbeat
You are my child
I will love you forever

Is your baby unhappy?

I often hear people complain about their babies, especially infants that they just never seem happy, that they’re always dissatisfied. It usually goes a little something like this:

My baby just doesn’t seem to get full when I feed her. I can feed her and after five minutes she wants to feed again. She’s always so dissatisfied.

Or

My baby wants to be held all the time. He’s just never satisfied unless he’s in my arms. I can never put him down even for five minutes.

Let’s stop here and talk about something that I’ve mentioned before.
You can either choose to roll with it or fight it.

Think about it logically. If you love doing something and have to stop. Will you then complain because you were miserable or will you complain because you had to stop doing something you love doing?

Now let’s go back to the dissatisfied baby.

Could it be that your baby is not in fact dissatisfied with what’s going on but rather dissatisfied he/she had to stop doing whatever she was doing.

Is the seemingly always hungry child complaining because she’s dissatisfied with the breast (not getting enough milk) or is she dissatisfied that she had to stop doing something she enjoyed doing and now she’s going back for more, not because she wasn’t satisfied but because she loves the feeding, the closeness to mommy etc.

Same goes for the baby who refuses to be put down. Maybe he loves being carried, is SATISFIED, and wants it to continue.

Junior was a most content infant. Everyone would always comment on how content he was. Wait a minute? A “high needs baby” content?! Are you sure?
Yes. I’m positive. And I think a lot of it had to do with our approach. I’m not saying we found the magic “baby whisper” tactics that work on every child every time. I’m just saying what worked for us.

Junior was happiest when he had a “self serve buffet” instead of a schedules feeding time. He ate when he wanted, for however long he wanted. Same with naps. He took naps or slept when he was tired which very quickly developed into a pattern that suited him instead of us trying to force him on to a sleep schedule or sleep train him. (Seriously?! Train a baby to sleep?!) Junior loved being carried and being close. There was almost never a time he wasn’t either worn in a wrap or resting on the cheat if either me or my husband. Instead of trying to fight it, we just rolled with it, we let HIM guide us.

Crazy you say? Not so crazy. It’s the basis of my parenting. Let the child lead and help the child to help himself. Instead of enforcing strict rules we followed his lead, trusted in him to figure out when he was tired and not and it worked. Sleep has been one of the least fought about issues in our house. Constantly carrying him in the wrap also meant he was always where we were and he had to figure out how to relax in different environments. Instead of putting him head first (literally and figuratively) into a new situation he was wrapped up , facing me, in a secure and comfortable environment and could “mind his own business” when he wanted to or peek and take a look at the world from a safe distance. When things got too much, people got too much he could just turn his head, rest it on my chest and fall back asleep all wrapped up.

He was happy
And we were happy.
We were happy
Because he was happy.

There are different kinds of bear hugs

We all know bear hugs. The full body hugs that are seemingly endless.

The first one is that kind you get after you’ve been gone forever from your toddler (read 45 minutes)

Then there’s the ones you get just cuz your toddler is so overly happy and excited and just can’t contain himself.

Then there’s the third kind. The kind you get in the middle of the night when you’ve tucked your toddler back into bed. A bear hug. Not letting go.

I had one of those nights a couple of days ago. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but decided to go with the flow rather than trying to argue or assert my dominance as a parent. Instead I told him I would high him as long as he needed to. We both slept well that night in a tight bear hug. The next morning we woke up, cuddled for a bit and then he proceeded to play with his toys, business as usual. I try to not over analyze but trust that if he is so persistent in demanding closeness at night, I will give it to him when asked. Who knows, maybe when he’s four he can tell me why. Does it matter though?