Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Making tough choices....

That's what parenting is all about, right? Making the tough choices.

Today the "tough choice" was vaccines. Luke had his two month appointment today, which signals that start of the parade of injections that the CDC recommends. I am all for protecting my child from terrible illness - but 4 vaccines for 7 illnesses just seems like an awful lot for a tiny baby!

With Max, I was interested in an alternative vaccination schedule, but never got one together before his appointment. So, despite the nagging concerns I had, I went ahead with the recommendations of our pediatrician. I trust her, and she really believes in them. And for him, everything has gone just fine - no reactions, and he's up-to-date (except for varicella). But I still wasn't happy that what amounted to laziness on my part led me to parent in a way that I didn't really believe in.

Flash forward to today - I wasn't going to let that happen again. I still believe in vaccinating - I just wanted to spread them out a little. I used Dr. Sears' alternate schedule with just a few changes, and took that in to our appointment. Dan agreed to it, as long as our pediatrician felt is was good. Fortunately, she thought it looked like a strong alternative, and didn't have any concerns with the choices I was making. In fact, she recommended moving one more of the shots later in the schedule. She copied it, put it in our file, and one shot and one oral vaccine later, we left the office.

Anyone who knows me knows what a rule follower I am. Going outside the recommendations is hard for me. But in this case, I believe that it is right. And that's how I hope to parent - being willing to make the tough choices to do what is right for us.

It feels good, you know?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ahh, the mommy guilt....

Yup. Got a good kick in the mommy guilt gland this morning. And I can tell it was a good one, because I'm still formulating replies in my head, several hours later. None of which would have been particularly appropriate for the play area at the mall.

We're watching the kids play after Stroller Strides this morning when the conversation turns to "previous lives" aka work before children (almost all are full-time SAHMs). I mention that I will be bummed when my maternity leave is over. The mom next to me replies that she just COULDN'T work now that she has a child - she just loves him too much. In my head this translates directly to "and since you do work, you must not love your children as much."

I hear comments like this all the time - and usually they just roll off my back. But I know that this one is hitting a little too close to home for me today. I am dreading going back to work this time because we don't have childcare lined up yet - and that terrifies me. With Max at Lauren's house, I have always felt like he was getting as much love as anyone (outside of his father and I) could give him. But we don't know who will be with the boys for the 2.5 months I am back at work this spring. And I sometimes start to wonder if going back to work is the right thing to do.

Max and Luke are the most important parts of my world, but they are not my whole world. I am also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. Parts that are also valuable to me, and that make me who I am. Professionally it would be irresponsible to not go back to work this year, and I do miss seeing my students. And assuming that we find childcare that is safe and enjoyable for them, I see little reason why I shouldn't return.

So comments like the one from this mom today really have me thrown for a loop. I LOVE my boys. I don't work to get away from them. I work for a number of reasons - because I love working with other people's children, I believe it is important to maintain my marketability should something ever happen to Dan, and I work to provide the boys with opportunities they wouldn't have without my income.

But are those reasons good enough?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to sleep. Even just the idea of sleep makes me happy. Whether it is a cozy down comforter in our bedroom or a seat in a car cruising down the highway, if I can close my eyes and drift in and out of awareness, life is good.

It was this love of sleep that made me nervous about having a second child. Let's face it - since having Max, good sleep is something of the past. He was well over a year before he would sleep more than a couple hours in a row. At two, he often was still waking up 2-3 times a night. But his difficulty sleeping taught us one thing - if we wanted to maximize our nights, we needed to co-sleep. Like his mama, he sleeps better when there is someone else there.

So, with Luke, we jumped right into co-sleeping. While it was a pain with the bili-blanket, since that has been gone, nights have been wonderful. So much so that I feel guilty when people give me the "pity-the-new-mom" query about how he sleeps. I actually chuckle and say, "It's great!" and mean it! When Luke wakes up, he grunts, roots around for food, nurses for a few minutes, and goes back to sleep. Most nights I can't even tell you how many times this happens, because it is that NON-disruptive to my own sleep.

Sleep is also one of the ways that I can tell how much I've grown as a mother in the last couple of years. When we finally went to full-time co-sleeping with Max, I would admit it rather guiltily, hanging my head because it wasn't what you were "supposed" to do. But now - who cares? If people are curious enough to ask how we sleep, I'll tell them proudly that Luke is with us, and Max is getting much better at sleeping through the night in his "rocket ship". It's what works for us, and that's all that matters. And no, co-sleeping does not ensure that you will never get the wiggly toddler into their own bed.

But the real, deep truth of it is that it is my favorite thing about being a mom. Time when I just focus on the tiny little body curled into my side when he is all mine again. Closeness that lasts for hours. A time in both of our lives that passes way too quickly.

Sleep is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Been a bad blogger....

Yup. That pretty much sums it up. Going to try and do better....

Things here have been going well - life as a stay-at-home-family suits us well. Two kids and two parents hanging out without a schedule is a pretty nice life. And we still have almost another month of this.

I think I expected it all to be harder. And it will once Dan goes back to work, I'm sure. But truthfully, with as well as Luke sleeps it has been pretty easy. We get up, and either lounge around, or work together so I can get out the door to Stroller Strides. We have lunch, nap, and play until dinner time. Dinner is followed by the evening routine of "Max and Ruby" (which has recently replaced the Wiggles), bath, story and bed. If Luke goes to sleep early, the evening is ours to watch TV or a movie or play on the internet. And that is our life, seven days a week. We often struggle to remember what day it is, and most the time it doesn't even matter.

Life without a schedule is my version of bliss.

But blogging - I'm going to try and be better about jotting down the funny things that Max is saying, and noting the daily changes that Luke is making. Because when I don't write these things down, I forget them - and life right now is too good to forget.