Friday 22 August 2008

Summer is...

burying feet in cool sand during a hot day at the beach...

berry stained hands...

helping Daddy change a flat tire...

and splashing in puddles with a new friend.

Ah, to be young again.

Thursday 7 August 2008

Mister Independent

This is what happens when a 15 month old becomes aware of clothes and choices:

Adorable, right?

He started off the day in blue jeans, a t-shirt, socks, and shoes. Then he found the bag of new clothes I'd bought for him the day before (a pair of pajamas and a zippered sweatshirt) and decided the race car pajama pants were to his liking. He walked over to his dad, arm outstretched.

"Eh! Eh! Eh!! EH! EH! EHHHH!!"

Ah. The "eh" stage. The "I want something very specific but don't have the vocabulary to tell you what it is" stage. The "hey, why did Mommy just lock herself in the bathroom without me??" stage.

Because the eh's are driving me a tiny bit crazy, Little One. That's why.

Anyway. Kind daddy put the very cool race car pajama pants on the little guy. And then, of course, the shoes had to go right back on, because not wearing our new big boy shoes at all times is simply not acceptable. A little while later, I was caught hanging up his new sweatshirt in his closet - a quick round of eh's later, the sweatshirt was on him instead of the hanger, thus completing the above ever-so-coordinated outfit.

Honestly. The outfits he's come up with this week. Today it was the still-loved race car pajama pants with a pair of swim shorts over top. Now there's a look that's sure to become popular.

His awareness and memory have shot through the roof this past week or so. Now he wants things, specific things, things that are in another room or up high on a shelf or put away somewhere. Unfortunately his vocabularly has yet to catch up with this increased awareness - thus the aforementioned rounds of "eh ehh EHHH!" going on around here lately, coupled with much pointing and dramatic facial expressions.

And so we've redoubled our work on signs - which has, admittingly, been sorely inconsistent in the past. We have the sign for milk down pat, and we've worked half-heartedly on "food", "drink", "more", and "done", but now he really needs them (as does my sanity). Yesterday we learned the sign for book, as probably half the eh's around here are in reference to wanting a book read. I *love* that he loves books, but oh. my. goodness. The constant books, all day long.

Mr Brown can moo...can you?

His current favourite book is Baby Cakes, a really cute interactive book where you kiss your baby's nose and nibble his toes and laugh and sing and so on. This is the first book that he's "memorized" - he knows what comes next and starts doing it before you even turn the page to read it. It's so neat.

Bouncy bounce Baby Cakes on my lap...YAY for little Baby Cakes, clap clap clap!

Hmm...he's currently laying on the floor snuggling with a pair of my soft pajama pants.

Never a dull moment, eh?

Friday 1 August 2008

Why I still breastfeed

So, it's arrived - August 2008. The month that, in all of my great human "wisdom", I planned to get pregnant with our second child, thereby making our children two years apart.

Instead? I've yet to see even a hint of the return of my post-partum period.

15 months and not so much as a hint.

And here I was secretly ready to get pregnant again pretty much as soon as I gave birth.


It hit me hard in April, when my son turned a year old. Suddenly I was Ready. Yes, that's ready with a capital 'R'. But, sadly, no period.

A month later, my son started sleeping through the night (of his own volition). And still no period.

Now, having reached the month we "planned" to get pregnant in - and still no period - I'm having an even harder time with it. Yes, I am fighting the selfish desire to wean my son so that my fertility will return.

No, of course I won't wean him - but I can't pretend I don't find the idea horribly tempting right now.

And so - partially for the sake of my dear readers, but even moreso for my own sake - Why I Choose to Breastfeed my Toddler:

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least the first two years of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first one year of life, and states that "there is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that children weaned before two years of age are at an increased risk of illness.

Nursing a toddler has numerous benefits.

For toddlers, these benefits include (but are not limited to)
complete nutrition,
fewer allergies,
stronger immune systems,
increased cognitive achievement,
reduced risk of excema,
reduced risk of diarrhea,
reduced risk of respiratory infections,
reduced risk of ear infections,
reduced risk of childhood diabetes,
reduced risk of heart disease,
reduced risk of pneumonia,
reduced risk of Vit A deficiency,
reduced risk of future autoimmune disorders,
and numerous psychological benefits.

For nursing mothers, these benefits include (but are not limited to)
a delayed return of fertility,
reduced risk of breast cancer,
reduced risk of ovarian cancer,
reduced risk of uterine cancer,
reduced risk of endometrial cancer,
reduced risk of bone disease and arthritis,
and easier post-partum weight loss.

And those are just the benefits related to extended nursing (nursing beyond a year), nevermind the many benefits of nursing in general.

Another reason extended breastfeeding is important to me is because our son remains entirely unvaxed at this point. The extra immunity he receives from me is integral.

Also, it is reassuring to me to know that on those days when he doesn't eat much, he is still getting an optimal balance of vitamins and nutrients that he wouldn't be getting from regular milk.

Finally, we nurse because he still wants to nurse. The comfort and bonding aspect is of huge importance to us. Nursing helps my little one fall peacefully asleep each night. Nursing makes owies better. Nursing allows an overwhelmed toddler to seek a few minutes of solace at his mother's breast. And on grumpy days, when my son and I find ourselves feeding off each other, nursing allows us to take a breather and quietly snuggle and reconnect, walking away a few minutes later in much better spirits.

How could I even think of giving that up?

And so I find myself, once again, acknowledging before God the folly in even thinking my life is mine to plan. I've seen it said recently - write your plans in pencil, then hand God the eraser. So, God, here's my eraser.

I know, truly, that natural spacing of children through extended breastfeeding is the ideal. I've long thought so. I just had no idea that it would work quite this well.

But hey - Jesus was breastfed, right? And during a time when weaning didn't occur until three years of age or later. According to that standard, we're not even halfway there!

Here's to another 20 months or so of cozy nursing snuggles.

Psalm 22:9
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast.

1 Thessalonians 2:7
But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.