The photos speak for themselves. Haley caught a northern pike, a rare but invasive species introduced into the lake of mostly perch and bass. We will eat it and turn it into fish stock 🙂
My days are so full and blur one into the other. Children climb on me. A LOT. I nurse one child, I nurse the other child. I push one in a swing, I sway the other to sleep. I pry one’s hands off the other, I grab one before they fall and hit their head. I feed one a bite, I feed the other a bite; sometimes I get to eat too, usually while one or both are whining or crying. I lay very still and quiet while they smile and coo at each other and wrestle around the bed, jumping in only if I need to prevent injury. I watch as they greet each other every morning, after every nap and absence with utter joy. And I think maybe I am doing something right even in my exhaustion. When I get up with the baby or toddler for the fifth time before midnight ( which I do, every. Single. Night.) I remember how their faces look when they see me and each other in the morning and I think it’s still worth it
I think they have a pact not to sleep at the same time :p a minute after this was taken Noah awoke. He has been sleeping a maximum of twenty minutes at a time during the day… Leaving me with a whining,screaming exhausted baby the rest of the day. It’s hard to believe because he is do well distracted by visitors but my baby is unwell and miserable. The aloe Vera, slippery elm, and probiotic mix just aren’t doing it for him. I have a few other things to try before I resort to drugs… Which may not even work anyway.
I feel so totally lost and exhausted, praying every day for a way to make it through, that my baby will just sleep.
I must tend to him now the screaming continues.
Not that I know how to help, but I will try.
Not so long ago I had rules in my mind about how to be a mother. I refined them as I went, but mostly I was afraid to break a rule and somehow jeopardize something crucial. So lately with two intense, lovable, spirited babes, I’ve been learning what *is* crucial? Isn’t that a gift? A lot of people teeter on the edge of that for their whole lives, not wanting to face some of the fears within themselves. Life has pushed me up against the truth so hard I am bruised and breathless…but I recover and I’m here. What is crucial for a quality life? Food. Real food. Alive food. Unprocessed food. This will still mean different things to different people, but I can say that the developed world is overrun with non-food of which we still consume too much (frozen pizza emergency meals 3 times a week anyone?). Shelter. Clothing/warmth. Love. Hopefully that encompasses a healthy environment (the earth and the emotional environment)
Here’s the thing, like many overly educated women, I read a lot. I read studies and threads on mothering.com and various Waldorf, allergen free family, healthy lifestyle type email groups. I am inundated with a lot of information which groups tend to distort according to their own life experiences and biases and turn into the gospel. The rules. You know exactly what I mean. Every group has their own and will eagerly shun and criticize people who either fall outside the norm their rules can deal with, or who ask too many questions. Sometimes it gets very confusing for a young mother, low on sleep, desperately trying to find the best for her child. Sifting and fighting her way through the miasma of words and statistics and anecdotal evidence. Some people just like the sound of certain philosophies and latch onto them eagerly, only to find life eventually pushes them up against a limitation. That is life, afterall. Nothing is black and white. There is VALID information that contradicts other VALID information. It IS mind boggling. The sooner we accept that, the easier our lives and relationships will be. I honestly think people do the best they can with what they have. So I am learning to stop judging, to throw out the rules. My life has just proven rules are meant for breaking.
Both Noah and Sapphire have led me to this truth. It has been very hard, as I was a born poet and idealist. Ideals are important, they keep us striving, but we have to accept we will not ever get *there*. We are always *here* and that’s that. Sometimes drugs are best for a mother or baby, and only that mama can decide that and you CANNOT know what is right for her. Sometimes vegetarianism is healing, sometimes local food, sometimes high quality animal fats. I have experienced all of these and more.
So I decided to give my baby solids at five months. Not just any solids, but very animal based high quality fats…egg yolks, bone broth, small amounts of organic butter and yogurt, steamed carrots with butter, mashed sardines. He is devouring everything. He is still nursing as much. His reflux has calmed considerably, except when I try to make him vegetarian for a day. What I am reading about his particular needs with GERD is matching up with what he seems to want. For some babies this may not be best (but please if you are suffering health problems check out the Weston A. Price foundation website and read nutrition and physical degeneration and look at the amazing photos. See if it resonates). This is just one of so so many decisions I have made that have put me outside the acceptable boundaries of a clique of people. So be it. Health is crucial as far as Im concerned, and I have seen results with sapphire with this type of diet for her GERD and cavities. Many people with similar health issues as my family have thrived on these recommendations. At some future point what we need may change. I have broken every rule by now, I am committed to following my instincts and my children.
Let’s stand together in our differences. That makes life rich.
I have no available time; but I make time. Time at the beach, time together, time for play and exploration. And it is so hard sometimes, and so worthwhile. I have to keep reminding myself that the people my children will become is starting NOW – especially now. As many of you know, sometimes with little ones you feel like collapsing in a heap.
I find myself thinking of others who have gone before me –people with double or triple the amount of children, children with major medical problems (although GERD can certainly affect your life!), concentration camp survivors…
Sometimes the best you can do is to choose to pay attention instead of escaping…but sometimes you need to carve out that small escape to decompress and process all that is filling your life. Sometimes life needs a little pruning, less chaos, more simplicity. How do you do that? I’m going to find out or die trying.
Most of all I am praying for patience as I try to gracefully get through this time pulling in as much good food, hugs and kisses, and smiles as I can. This thing called motherhood (fatherhood)? It’s hard. Like Pull your hair out while two babies scream in dissonance in the car for twenty minutes hard. Like you feel yourself twitching when the baby wakes up for the 15th time…or cannot be put down, or on your back or anywhere that would facilitate you using your hands to make lunch. Its just hard. But if you accept it, get help, eat well and breathe deeply, just maybe you’ll make it through.
I have to hold myself back from whinging too much, a blog is cathartic in some ways but I’d rather uplift others. So look at the pictures and smile. Capture some beauty in your life amidst chaos and strife.
I haven’t blogged in a long long time. Life with two children is more full and challenging than I ever imagined…especially with both kids on the edge of new stages. Sapphire is potty training and learning to dress and undress as well as helping with dinner preparation. Noah is starting to taste foods and play games like kicking balls to his sister and creeping backwards and in circles. I can’t believe how fast it goes the second time around but I am also relieved.., these next stages are what I’m looking forward to most- some independence on their part so I can start cooking again (something besides frozen pizza) and maybe having some time to myself….haha
They are growing up so fast! From climbing the “big kid” ladder solo, to saying “I luff brudder” and drawing new kinds of squiggles; I’m flabbergasted everyday. Not to mention she can count to twelve and sing songs like ‘rockabye baby’ in their totality. Noah is also learning to laugh, roll over, and blow bubbles… His teeth are on their way with his constant chewing. It’s amazing how much faster it all goes the second time around.
We’ve moved into a sweet cottage on an organic vineyard (where Haley also works) and we’re making it home for the next few months. Slowly but surely, I’m taking baby steps toward handling a two year old and a three month old with a touch if grace and a sense of humor. Other than that there is no real crafting going on; just focusing on my Waldorf foundations course and the beginnings of launching a new quarterly ‘zine called Renegade Mom. More on that soon, and happy sunshine (finally!)