Monday, September 29, 2008

The art of disciple

As I believe I stated in a previous post, the honeymoon period of having Cai at home is completely over. And Ian's good behavior has gone with it. Now Ian is not a bad kid. In fact, he is still just as charming to the causal observer as ever. I know this is a sign of good mothering, but gosh the acting up at home is going to kill me and my husband if something doesn't change. The really odd thing is, I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to consistent disciple. I've never felt I really had to use it before now. Sure there were the occasional melt downs, the occasional time outs and even the minor blow ups on my part. But all in all, I felt that our house was pretty tame before (or at least in comparison to now). In many ways, Ian's acting out is only his way of getting attention. And unfortunately it's working. The more my husband and me get frustrated the more Ian continues to do what he is doing. All of this has thrown me into research mode. And I think I've found a winner. This week, while at the library, I found a book entitled "Love and Logic Magic" (I can't remember the authors and the book not here with me to look. I know, I'm lazy). Anyway, while many of the 'techniques' and ideas are not exactly new to me, there are so many great stories about how parents used these idea that I feel I too can put them to practice in an effective manner. There are four basic principles, I'll only post about the first two.

Principle Number 1: Boost self- concept. Principle Number 2: Share the Control. These are acheived by giving the child control over their life and showing them that they are capable of making good decision and able to do things themselves. Giving control is done by giving them lots of choices in ways that do not hurt anyone. The idea is that if you give them lots of choices through-out the day then when the big choice come along they will let you make the decision for them. So today I thought I would try it. I've been giving Ian the chance to choose things from what he wears, to what he eats, to how we went about going down for a nap. And so far I'm already seeing an improvement. At lunch Ian wanted a chip. So I gave him the choice of 1 or 2 bits of his banana before having a chip. He enthusiastically said 2 and went on to eat three bits before asking for the chip again. Had I told him to eat even just 1 bits before he got a chip he would have fought me. When I gave him the choice there was no fight! :) We'll see how things are tonight at bed time ;). I think if we can put this into practice this on a regular basis things will start looking up. I'll post more on the other three principles and techniques as I read more and we start putting them into practice.

Update on Cai. He's doing fine. Still very fussy, but I think mostly he knows what he wants and Mom and Dad haven't figured out how to read all his cries on the first try. Thus he gets frustrated and cries louder. All in all, we are doing okay.

Monday, September 22, 2008

He smiled!!!

That's right. Tonight Cai smiled at me. I mean really smiled at ME!! The I'm awake and happy to see you smile. The first deliberate smile is so amazing. Cai is so beautiful when he smiles. Plus it makes his non- smiling face look somehow more pleasant. Not that he wasn't a beautiful baby before. But somehow now that he has smiled his face just seems different. I don't know that I can explain it accurately. It's doesn't matter what the difference is really. The main joy is that it made the whole day and last week seem ok. Trying to calm all his crying and fussing is worth it to see that smile.

I came to the conclusion today that Cai is just a higher need baby than Ian was. And when I look at it though calm eyes, I see that this is actually an advantage. Ian got all my attention as an infant because he was my first priority. He was the only one. Cai doesn't get all my attention because I have to juggle meeting his needs with meeting Ian's needs. Cai's persistence to be held, rocked, and nursed means he gets my attention in as close to full form as I can give. His instances to not be left alone for long periods of time in a bouncer, swing or crib means he gets carried in a sling or held in my arms most of the day. Sometimes this makes me feel guilty that I'm not paying fuller attention to Ian. I'm still figuring out how to hold Cai and play with Ian simultaneously. But I'm getting better. My sling has become my greatest tool. Cai gets to be close to mama and I have two hands to play or read a book. So while the fussiness has not really decreased and there are moments when my only thoughts are making though the next min, hour and or day, we are surviving this trying time, learning to enjoy the present while looking forward for what lies ahead. In truth, Cai's persistence on getting his need/wants met is not necessarily a bad trait to have later in life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reality strikes and strikes hard

When I was preparing for bring home Cai, I seriously thought the hardest adjustments would take place the first 4 to 6 weeks. Well 6 weeks have pasts and boy was I wrong. My expectation was that in the first weeks we would be up all night with a screaming baby and a toddler who was awake because of the baby. That Ian would be have some struggles with adjusting to limited attention from me. And finally that if I could survive the first month, it would all be easier after that. Cause surely after a month we would find some sense of normality. WRONG!

Reality One: The first weeks where a breeze. (or at least realitively speaking)
When we brought Cai home things when pretty smoothly. Ian seemed to love being "Big Brother" He showed off his toys. He wanted to hold "baby Cai." And with the exception of a few jealous moments here and there, Ian was great. In addtion to Ian's wonderful adjustment, Cai was a fairly easy baby to begin with. While the first night home was horrific. I ended up rocking him till 4 in the morning. It turned out that it was just because my milk was coming in and the change in texture and taste throw him off. The next night (as well as every night for the next couple of weeks) where so smooth. Cai only woke to nurse every 2 to 3 hours. Not bad for a newborn.

Reality Two: Six weeks have past. Things are not easier.
Unfortunely for me my easy baby has quickly turned into a high-needs baby. In the last several weeks Cai has become hard to console. Fussy time has moved from the predictable evening period to almost anytime he is awake. Quite wakeful periods have been reduced significantly. I've come to realize he is almost colicly. Although I hate to actually put that label on him. On top of all this I am not experencing my first case of thrush. Oh boy! Luckly, I have discovered it early enough and our nursing trio is being treated. My hope is that if I can get ride of the thrush that will help with the crying. Although I pretty sure gas is the other source of our problem.

The real delema this puts me in is trying to continue outings. I can't survive without getting out of the house at least 3 times a week. And I don't mean going out and playing in the backyard. I mean leaving the area of our house. Putting myself around people. Luckly two of these outings are already planned. Tuesdays we have music group, which is a group of stay-at-home parents from my church that get together weekly to sing and play. I love this group. I get to talk with other adults whom I enjoy and Ian gets peer interaction. I love it. On top of that I never have to feel guilty if Cai is fussing. In fact I have help. Our other weeking outing is to the library. Toddler storytime is Friday mornings. Ian loves this. His friend Zoe, who is only a few months older and from church, also goes. They get so excited to see each other, even though they usually have just seen each other at music group. Anyway, we love library time. Plus after we get books both for him and me (Today I got books on calming colic babies. We'll see if it helps) we go get a snack downtown. Usually it's a muffin or cinnamin roll to share and coffee for me. I so look forward to this outing too. The problem is that if Cai gets extra fussy, the type where I can't console him very well, I feel guilty. Like somehow I'm distrubing other people. It's mostly at the libary where I have the understanding that you are suppost to be quite. Even in the children's area that tends to be noiseir due to toddlers and other children running around, I feel guilty for having this crying/screaming baby. But like I said I'm not going to stop going. Just have to figure out how to know when to let my guilt go and when to just call my loses and take Cai home.

Yep reality is so much different that expectations. But in the end we can survive even this. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of those days

So today was one of those bad days. The kind of day where I truly wanted to throw something out my window or smash something to bits. Where every time I thought I could take a break, one or both children demanded my attention. It's days like this that I wonder how on earth did the human race last this long? The very fact our parents didn't destroy us and themselves is a miracle.

Here is my real pet peeve though. People asking if Cai is a "good" baby. Well he is not a bad baby. But he is not an easy baby either, especially of late. For the past two weeks fussy time as expanded from evenings to all day. Morning, noon and night it feels like is potential for Cai to have a screaming fit. Part of the problem is he doesn't burp easily. So he gets gas in his tummy and it hurts, thus causing the crying. But sometimes I get him to burp and he still cries. The constant crying won't be so bad if I only had him to take care of. But Ian needs my attendtion too. It's hardest when I'm alone. I feel like I just can't let Cai cry. I want to hold him, so at least if I can't console him, I can assure him I'm there. This posses the biggest problem at nap time. Ian wants to nurse at nap time. So today I nursed Cai, burped him and when I thought he was calm laid him down in bed while Ian and I laid on Ian's mattress. Of course not 30 secs later Cai is crying. So I begin my count to ten signally to Ian our nursing is coming to an end for now. He gets frustrated that I'm counting because he is not done. So then I had both screaming at me. I not comfortable nursing them together. And I'm not ready to wean Ian completely. But my "mother bear" instict is to take care of Cai first. I mean Ian can eat apples and other foods. He understand that when I say I'll be back or there in a moment that I will be. He understands (for the most part) that I will take care of him. Cai is still so depedent on me. I just feel torn.

Luckly for me today was also my La Leche League meeting. That group of women has come to be a wondeful assest and support group. Just walking into the room made me feel calmer. It is so reassuring to know that other moms have gone through similiar situations and surrvived and that other moms are currently going through similiar situations. It's also nice to be reminded of why I continue to breastfeed. And that I have not only support in doing so but encouragement to nurse as long as the relationship feels needed. In a society that thinks I'm crazy for tandem nursing, it's nice to have this nonjudgemental support and encouragement.

Well this rant has made me feel better. I'm off to bed. It is way too late.
Good nite.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Being present

There is nothing that makes me feel both relieved and guilty all at the same time more than one of my mother's sermons. Luckily, I only visit her church a few times a year. :) Today she spoke about what it means to be present in mind, body, spirit. She started out admitting that she did not always pay full attention to her children. I guess when we were really young we would pull her face towards us with both hands and states "Mom listen to me." As we got older we just stopped talking when we felt we we're being heard. Here is where I felt relieved. Relieved that my own mother, who I admire so much, did the exact same thing I catch myself doing to my son.
And here is where I felt guilty. Guilty that I often do not give my children the attention they deserve. Of late being fully present in Ian's live has become more difficult. Like most two year olds, Ian is full of energy and life. He is constantly moving from one activity to the next, only still when he is sleeping (although that could be argued). And he want me to be apart of every exciting, new activity. The problem lies in that my attention is pulling in many directions. Cai needs so much of my time and energy. And I find myself wanting to be fully present in caring for Cai the way I was with Ian. I remember feeling that the most relaxing thing in those early months of Ian's life was sitting down in the rocker and nursing him. I was able to be fully present in that moment. Enjoying the smell, touch and sounds of this little miricle in my arms. In my desire to enjoy these precious moments with one child, I feel I'm losing precious moments with the other. How do I find a balance? How do I ensure that each child feels fullying cared for and loved? I guess I just keep working at it. For now I guess I just have to consider myself lucky that Ian is pantient enough to share my attention, while being demanding enough to bring it back to him. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

EarthMama meets blogging

With so many friends recording there wonderful adventures in blogs, I have decided I too can tell the world (or at least my friends who read it) about my adventures. True, compared to going to Japan, or even Germany, my life is tame. But hey living with a two year old creates adventures around every corner. Add a one month old to the mix and I have lots of exciting tales to tell. Take for instances this current moment. 2 year old Ian is running around in circles singing the ABC's, while the baby is finally quite on his daddy's lap. Just moments ago he was screaming at the top of his lungs, and I had already feed him and put on a clean diaper. Life is a constant roller coaster. I'll have plenty to tell.

Ok so one of the main reason I thought I would start a blog is because I hope it will allow me to share these early years of my children to those who can not be as close as they/ I want. I was watching Ian loving put his bear to sleep on the floor thinking how I should record this event somehow. Of late I often see Ian mimicking my actions with his stuffed animals and dolls. How wonderful it feels too watch him climb into my rocker with one of his bears (or other animal) and nurse them while rocking. He smiles and quitely pats them on the back. It makes my heart swell. Somehow it makes the hard days just alittle easier. Maybe I am teaching Ian something, even when I can't spend as much time with him as I would like.

Well more later. Peace.
EarthMama Kristin