I Refuse to Put My Phone Down

phonedown

Maybe that’s a bit extreme.  Maybe instead of “I refuse to put my phone down” it should say “I’m not going to stop capturing memories as often as I can.”

Because, I’m forgetting.  I hate to admit it, but there it is.

I’m forgetting.

I’m forgetting the way Cabin Girl looked as a baby.  Cabin Boy and Mr. Monkey, too.  I see their sweet baby faces every time I look at The Kraken, but when I try to remember their faces specifically… it’s slipping.

The toothy grins.  The little teeth.  The funny looks.

The phases of their precious babyhoods flew by so fast.  Their toddlerhoods and childhoods, everything sweeping by us in what feels like eternity but passes in a blink.  The days drag by but the weeks, months, and years are speeding past, too quickly to keep hold of.

And so I take my pictures.  I step out of one moment for 10 seconds so that I can capture it, savor it, and have it forever when I will no longer remember clearly.  I refuse to put my phone down, to be bullied by phrases like “You’re missing out on the here and now!”

I am enjoying the moment, stepping back from it, then jumping right back in.  No regrets that night, kicking myself for not capturing the way The Kraken gazed at her big brothers while they sang sweet songs to her.  They aren’t just moments for me, they’re moments for my kids, too.  Some day, my kids will hear me tell stories about the things they did together, the little, everyday things, and I’ll have to struggle to remember what they looked like.  Or, heavens forbid, I won’t remember some of the best, simple things they did.

So I refuse to put my phone down.

Because that day of not remembering is coming sooner than I’d hoped.

Watching Her Walk Away

intentional

We butt heads all. the. time.  Cabin Girl and I.  She is her mother’s daughter, with her Aunt’s Leo tenacity, and her daddy’s smarts and penchant for whining.  It is a struggle, daily, to get her to eat the breakfast she requested.  An hour to eat a piece of toast and a bowl of yogurt?  I just don’t understand.  Moving through her morning routine so slowly that I’ve had to start waking her up earlier and earlier just to get her out the door on time.

I help where I can… but between taking care of The Kraken and making sure the boys are fed and not destroying anything, I rarely have the chance.  This oldest girl of mine, who I had hoped wouldn’t be forced to grow up quicker than necessary.

I see her off to school, every morning.  Walk her to the end of the driveway and watch her trudge the 2 blocks to the corner where she’ll turn towards her school, crossing guards, school buses and friends.

Something about the past few days has me seeing with super clarity right now.  The importance of focusing on these children, these moments that seem too hectic, so chaotic, yet inherently mundane.

Maybe it’s because Captain, The Kraken and I are leaving this afternoon, for the weekend.  Maybe it’s because I know I haven’t been 100% present lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m finally past the uphill struggle of getting this PPD behind me.  But something inside told me to watch her.  Really watch her walk away this morning.  In her purple skull leggings, under her fuzzy boots and a striped kerchief skirt.  Her Mike Wazowski backpack fitting her just right, no longer over-sized, hitting the back of her knees as she half-heartedly bounced her way through the wind.  Leaves scattering everywhere, swirling around her feet before fluttering on their whirlwind course.

I’m glad I held her hand, hugged her tight, kissed her twice, and hugged her again before sending her on her way.  I’m glad I waited to see her turn around for one last wave before she rounded the corner.

I know I haven’t been the best, or the nicest, mom lately.  I have a lot to work on still.  Again.  It will be a war, kicking my frustrations and impatience to the curb.  There will be days when I lose battles, and have to retreat from skirmishes.  But it will be a war worth fighting for.

Because this girl, these children, deserve an intentional and consistent love, not a sporadic, implied one.

10 Stages of Infant Breastfeeding

nursing

Every baby needs to eat, and whether you breast or bottle feed your little lactose lapper, there is no denying that there are stages of infant mealtime.  Here I list the 10 stages I’ve experienced through breastfeeding 4 babies.

1) YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME AND I’M STARVING TO DEATH AND SERIOUSLY ABOUT TO DIE SO FEEDMENOW!

They notify you of this stage by crying or screaming long and loud, with very little warning, and they cry so hard that they fail to notice the nipple brushing against their lips for at least 10 full seconds.

2) OMG, FINALLY!

When they abruptly notice the key to their satisfaction is millimeters away from their lips, they latch on with piranha like ferocity and swallowing as hard as they possibly can until let down. This is usually prefaced by a shaking of the head to maneuver as much nip as possible into their mouth and a suffocating mashing of their face into your boob.

3) Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.

Content, rhythmic gulping, accompanied by the cutest little grunts you will ever hear.

4) Uhm… hey… starting to get uncomfortable here…

They will signal that they need to burp by suddenly spitting up all over you or crying.  Either way, all that frantic latching and gulping from #2?  Gave them a good ol’ belly full of air.

5) I think I could fit some more in there.

That burping freed up some space.  Thankfully this time they usually aren’t attacking the nipple like a Hun invasion reenactment (I may have been watching Mulan while writing this piece.)

6) What’s going on over there?

This is the point that they start noticing there are other things going on.  But woe unto you who attempts to sit the baby up so you can interact with them without your nipple halfway in their mouth!  Sadly, they’re too young yet to learn that it’s not okay to play with their food.

7) Ugh, maybe I shouldn’t have gone back for seconds.

Maybe it’s just my babies that don’t have a ‘full’ sensor in their bellies.  Regardless, there is always 1 feeding during the day at which they eat far too much and subsequently give a bunch of it back.

8) Do you think I could have a cookie?

Feeling much better after unleashing the contents of their gluttony, baby will smack its lips looking for just a little something to top off.

9) Contentment

Here’s where the line between nursing for food and nursing for comfort gets blurry.  I let them nurse either way.

Last but not least, #10:

milkcoma
Here is your opportunity for uninhibited smooching of those frictionless cheeks and inhaling of sweet milky baby breath. Or am I the only one with that obsession?

Repeat every 2-4 hours.

Their voices are beaten out of them; We need to speak up

ttuac

I am heartbroken and PISSED and this is likely to be slightly incoherent and rambley.

A third child has been found dead thanks to the book “To Train Up a Child.”

I am not coming to you from a place of perfection.  It is a struggle every. single. day for me to parent from a place of love rather than frustration.  We have our battles of will, and more often than I care to admit I resort to threatening my kids with a spanking.  99% of the time we can avoid it, but there are times…  Times when I feel like everything else has failed me and this child just needs a good swat on the butt to make them understand.  To make them toe the line.  I hate myself for that feeling.

No amount of physical pain can make someone’s brain understand anything except pain and fear.

Beating a child until he/she submits to your will is not parenting.

A child in his shell is not a child, but a voiceless creature.  Being brought up to be walked upon, or fear the consequences.

“…police photographed a 15-inch length of tubing lying on the parents’ bed next to a children’s book about a frog and a toad, which authorities say 7-year-old Lydia had been reading from when she mispronounced a word, which led to the beatings that continued over two days.”

Children are not meant to be broken.

Sean’s 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean’s backside, too, doctors found.  Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated.

Nor are they meant to be beaten.

Children are not animals, and even animals are protected by law from abuse.

Swatting a 6 month old infant is unacceptable.  There is NOTHING for them to learn from you at that point aside from fear.

Training a baby not to leave a blanket lest they want to be whipped is disgusting.  It is not showing them where they are safe and loved, it is enforcing a fear of exploration and independence, which is the whole nature of childhood.

Restraining a child so you can beat him/her until he/she is broken is making that child learn to fear those that are supposed to love and care for them.

If you feel like the only way you can raise a child is with the threat and fear of being beaten with plastic piping behind you, then you need help.

Not only are you teaching that child to fear physical abuse should they say no, but you are showing them that it is acceptable to use violent force against those who say no to them.

How many children are there intentionally being starved, showered in hoses despite having clean, warm water, knowing that should they push the boundaries (as it is important for children to do as they develop) they will be beaten and physically restrained until they adhere?  How many first time parents are coming across this book, not knowing that there are other, better ways to raise their children with a respect for their parents and the rules?

Even one is too many.

Please join me in getting this book removed from Amazon.  Share the stories of Sean, Lydia, and now Hana.  Grab Muse Mama’s button for your blog.

Please.  Help be a voice for the children who are having theirs beaten out of them.

Muse Mama

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