Oh, You Haven’t Written a Blog Post About Mommy Shaming?

 

When my daughter was 18 months old & began to show interest in using the potty, I knew that she was ahead of the curve and I was thrilled at the idea of ditching diapers early! But potty training a child was one thing I’d never done before.  So, like any good first-time mom, I went online and researched until 2am.

I learned about The 3-Day method, I learned that I need to let her lead the process, I learned that I should be prepared for her to pee and poo all over the floors and carpets.  I learned that babies in Ukraine are potty trained at 12 months (no pressure, America, with our 3 and 4-year-olds still in training pants!).  I was in full-on panic mode about which “method” to go with, and how I could emotionally scar my daughter if I didn’t pick the “right” one.  The very next day, I texted my friend who had the highest ratio of potty-trained kids in my world.

As our text exchange began, I was filled with hope as she explained that she used an “all-or-nothing” approach, and how with one it happened quickly and the other took longer, etc.  Okay, cool! A new method ! Let’s start fresh — I’ll go with that.  (I was really wrapped up in the “methods”)

So I asked, “What did you do for car rides?”

She answered, “The 3-Day Method is all or nothing.  You leave the diaper off no matter what. Probably best to stay home.”

I replied, “You used that method. Ah, gotcha!”

She replied, “Judgmental much? LOL!”

But it hit me immediately that she wasn’t joking.  Though the only one I intended was clarification, when I said “gotcha”, she was triggered.  It was offensive because her experience as a mom, I later learned, is that perception of parenting styles is attached to a great deal of harsh judgement and criticism.  Through personal experience, along with articles and blogs about “right” “wrong”, parents are on edge when it comes to sharing the decisions that they make.

She likened my “ah gotcha” text to the judgmental tone used by parents perched on high, looking down on each other’s parenting decisions.  Which potty training methods we choose, whether or not we vaccinate, the way we discipline, how we feed our kids, which “method” of child-rearing, education, the quality of cotton, style of dress, whether or not to post photos of our kids online, preschool or no preschool, work or stay at home —- you name it!  As this unfolded, and I realized the reality, I felt like my head was going to explode.

At first I felt really annoyed that my meaning got all twisted up and was misinterpreted. Expressing that didn’t work out for me.  My friend was very upset!  What followed was 24 hours of discomfort, uncertainty, anxiety, my being introduced to the terms “Mommy Shaming” and “mommy blogs“, a conversation with a member of the clergy, for God’s sake! (I was desperate, people) and a lesson in the difference between intent & impact.  I INTENDED to get advice about successfully potty training my baby.  The IMPACT was far different from my intention, and that absolutely Continue reading “Oh, You Haven’t Written a Blog Post About Mommy Shaming?”

What Dazzles Me – DinDin Smart Bus Platter

I’ve decided to post some of my favorite things related to kids and parenting, beginning with this gem from InnoBaby.  At this time, nobody has given me products or paid me to talk about or photograph their products.

• Such a fabulous platter, designed with perfectly portioned sections that baby simply loves to eat from.  Using finger foods or food that calls for utensils works.  Versatility is key in a day in the life of a baby-person.

• It elevates mealtime.  This is a kiddie bento box.  Totally trendy!

• I love making meal and snack time fun!  This takes makes it so easy.  It makes introducing new foods an exciting adventure, rather than a chore.  Baby is excited to see what makes up her plate.

• We can have interesting discussions about food groups, types of fruits, veggies, colors, etc.

• Now I can take fresh, healthy ingredients on the go rather than to depend on pre-made food like crackers and pouches.

• I got the one with the lid so that we can take it to the park. I discovered this when a nanny brought one with her little charge.  It was chock full of blueberries, cheese, strawberries & grapes – all sorts of good, fresh foods.

• The bus design is something that my girl loves too!

• Its slim design slides into our diaper bag perfectly.

At $19.99 for the version with the lid ($17.99/$4.99 for the 2 separate pieces), I think this high-quality contraption is a great addition to my parent tools!

http://innobaby.com/eat/din-din-smart-bus-platters/

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Raising a Baby Activist

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In August 2017, after a bunch of pretty severe tummy troubles, just a few days after Ella’s first birthday, my dear uncle was diagnosed with cancer at the esophageal/stomach junction. Less than 3 months later, Donald J. Drumpf was elected. 2 weeks later, my uncle died. I haven’t been myself since. Both events absolutely shattered me. It felt like 2 deaths, to be honest. One of my first pen pal, who taught me about Picasso & finding your roots, and the other of fundamental human rights in what is supposed to be The Free World.

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When the women’s march came to fruition across the world in January, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it. I knitted Ella a pussy hat, and Lynne & I stayed up late creating the signs that we would carry. We knew only that we have a responsibility to fight even harder for what is right and good, and what will leave our child the legacy of a world that she is able to live and love in a safe & happy way. And did you SEE those crowds??? HUuuuuuge! Big League! They made Trumpy’s Inauguration Day look like, well, what they were: pathetic.

The reality of this election, and its results, has shown that a big ugly scag of bigotry has been ripped off.. and there is puss and it smells really bad.  All of the racists, misogynist, homophobes and people who love to use the word “fag” as part of their vernacular were invited to hate openly, and the secret is out: we aren’t as safe as we thought we were.  As a lesbian, transracial, adoptive family, we cannot leave the state of California.  When we travel, we have to be careful.. whatever that means.

I’m told that grief comes in waves, like the ocean.. it ebbs & flows. I feel as calm as sunset some days, and on others, I feel as if I’m drowning in it. My dear uncle is dead, leaving behind 2 small children – one with autism – and Donald Drumpf is holding the title of “leader of the free world”, as his very presence destroys the principles which made us great to begin with, standing tall as he destroys anything that will lift up our children. Continue reading “Raising a Baby Activist”

Bonding With Adoption

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short time, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

My wife and I got the call that our baby was here when Ella was 5-days-old.  She’d been taken to the NICU because her birth mother thought that she was about 30 weeks pregnant when she delivered.  We were allowed to pick her up the next day.  As we walked in to the room to meet the tiny person in the hospital bassinet, the nurse asked, “Who wants to hold her first?”  Lynne immediately said, “Lola.  Give her to Lola.”  My child.. the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

The moment that I was alone with Ella for the first time, I cradled her in my hands and told her this:

On the day you were born, all the gods got together and threw a BIG party!  They decided that you, Mommy, Momma & Lucy should be a family.  And so we are going to take you home today.  You are our dream, come true.

At that, my newborn baby girl smiled in her sleep.  She already  knew and loved my voice, and I already knew and loved her smile.  Our bond was instant, and it is strong.

My friend recently told me that the bonding hormones that are produced from childbirth & breastfeeding were absent for us, so our bond must be less than that of a birth parent.  Oh contrare, mon frere!  We’ve got it goin’ on over here with the bonding.  The odds were in our favor, though, because studies show that when you’re the first to bond, the bond is most likely to be successful.

Contrary to popular belief, the fact that I didn’t birth or breastfeed her is, in fact, irrelevant in our case.  Her moms are the first people she looks for when she’s happy, sad, scared, hungry, wants a hug or a kiss, or just wants to have fun with someone.  We are her first best friends, and we relish in the delight of it all.  I cannot imagine feeling any closer to my child than I already do.  She is a part of me, like it or not.

Since bonding is a term that describes a caregiver’s attachment level to a child, it’s really the adoptive parent that needs to bond with a new baby—not the other way around. ~Jae Curtis 

We did skin-to-skin bonding, we took care of each other and ourselves so that we were able to relish in the moments without too much crazy newborn fatigue, we had lots of face time and snuggle time, and we love the crap out of our daughter.  That’s the most important part.  Love.

Lately, Ella says, “Mommy! I hug yoooo! I holdu!” and I know that the gods really did have that huge party, and they really did line up the stars, and we really are a Family.6A2A51E8-864D-42D9-83E1-F5DA667209AA                      My tiny girl.. 2-months-old_MG_2764                     She is one of the most joy-filled people I have ever know.

Mommy & Ella June 2017                                                  See?!? Pure joy, and she is mine.