Saturday, December 3, 2011

Resistance

 He doesn't walk.  Those kids in the distance?  They walk.  One even took his sweet time doing it, but eventually, he became upright.  This one?  He doesn't play by the rules.  Sure, walking is easier.  Yes, it's more efficient.  It's definitely socially acceptable, but who cares about these things anyway?  Certainly not Beckett.

We're sneaking up on 15 months with this little rugrat.  He has succeeded in turning our world upside-down, inside-out and we wouldn't trade it for anything.  But lord knows this kid is contrary.  And daring.  Walking seems out of the question, but climbing, exploring and generally getting into trouble is his middle name.  We thought it was James, but it's not.  It's just not. 

We are getting to experience what having a young toddler (or stubborn crawler over the age of one) is all about.  Ben never trifled where he wasn't supposed to.  He was a quiet observer.  We didn't have to babyproof our house, really.  He knew of a little thing called boundaries and respected them at all times.  Beckett, not so much.  We are not the boss of him.  My new world consists of catching him as he's about to fall down mine shafts and grabbing power tools out of his hands just as he's ready to find the on switch.  He is very curious.  Also, I was kidding about the power tools.  

Coincidentally, we are also not the boss of this guy:
The terrible threes have nothing on the terrible twos.  I read something very accurate about three recently.  Three is two with intent.  Amen.  My sweet, special little blond man has turned into the king of NO.  He doesn't want to do anything we suggest.  Even if he agrees to it, the word that comes out of his mouth is NO.  He alternates this with "bye-bye" to add a touch of adorable to his insubordination.  

Us: "Ben, let's go to bed."

Ben: "NO BED!  Bye-bye, bed!"

Us: ...

Any suggestions?  Yelling at him is ineffective.  Asking him to comply over and over is pointless.  Bribing him does work sometimes, but I don't think this chapter is in any of the parenting books.  We do use brute force.  Going back to the bed example, if he doesn't feel like going, we put him in it ourselves.  Over and over again until he gets tired and falls asleep.  If he doesn't want to take a bath, it'll take two of us, but we make sure he gets clean one way or another.  After a battle, we remind him that we are bigger and smarter and we will always win, and to just throw the white flag now to save us a lot of energy in the future.  Surprising, I know, but he just won't listen.  I'm reading a book right now called 1-2-3-Magic and it will supposedly help with my parent-of-the-year techniques.  Wish me luck!

 But just as they are challenging, they are equally as adorable.  They are two peas in a pod.  Yin and Yang.  Peanut butter and jelly.  My guys look out for each other.  When I put them in time out in the dog cage, they cuddle.  Just kidding.  But they do hang out in the dog cage.  Voluntarily.  This is them shutting the door to keep Mommy (and the dog) out.

 You have to love these two.  Even when they are yelling NO and engaging in risky behavior.  It all comes with the boy territory.  And their age.  This too shall pass, right?  Right?!



Thursday, November 3, 2011

finding pecky

Weight loss.  A sore subject that's been a battle since motherhood.  I used to be a skinny kid.  I was also a skinny teenager. The girl you secretly hated because I ate ice cream for breakfast and still rocked a bikini.  I even maintained it through college, somehow, despite my predominantly fast food diet.  I owe this to scheduling my classes on opposite sides of campus almost every day.

Several years, many cheeseburgers and two kids later and I was not rocking that bikini.  I lost all of my pregnancy weight with both kids, but what was left over was a stretched out empty belly and redistributed fat, in all the wrong places.  I never bothered to lose weight while breastfeeding.  I knew I would just get frustrated.  A lot of people claim that breastfeeding helps them lose weight.  This may be true for me too, if I wasn't so hungry the whole time.  So when Beckett finally weaned himself, I ran out of excuses.

I am finally starting to recognize myself again.  I haven't hit my target weight yet, but am getting closer and closer every week.  The transformation-in-progress hadn't hit me until I saw pictures of me taken earlier this week.  I am 18 pounds down from my pre-pregnancy weight today.  And 50 pounds lighter than I was the day Beckett was born.  I'm happy to see my own face when I look in the mirror now, and not the bloated, overtired and sad version of myself.  Check this out:

 October 2010 (size 14):


October 2011 (size 6):

Friday, October 14, 2011

It is Fall

So I broke another blog-promise.  I think I'm back though, for real.  It's warmer inside and even the kids agree that playing toys indoors beats the cool fall wind in their face and having to wear long sleeves.  They HATE long sleeves.  Both of them.  They both pull on the bottom of the sleeve until their arm is free and get frustrated with the fact that their shirt is only half on, so the whole thing comes off.  I've discovered them shirtless after their "nap" several times this month.  And yeah, "nap" time is quickly becoming a memory... two boys in the same room when they should be resting?  Fail.  I'm listening to them right now.  Constant chatter and the occasional BOOM as a random toy hits the floor or wall.  If crying doesn't follow, I know it wasn't someone's head.
My favorite season is here.  And I haven't taken many pictures.  No good ones anyway.  Our annual trip to the apple orchard has been suspended because the last time we went, we came home with a puppy instead of a bushel of fruit.  Jacob was not pleased.  I keep telling him it is not my fault because I'm genetically predisposed to pick up any stray looking animal I come across.  It's a compulsion - saving one animal at a time.  He's ready to call the show Hoarders.  I am a solid contender. 

The newest Turner:

 Her name is Apple because she was discovered among the apples.  Creative, huh?  These pics were taken a week or two after she found us.  She is much bigger than this now.

Project Manager:

The boys are fantastic.  They had a ridiculously busy summer, traveling to the coast and back twice, up and down the mountain who knows how many times, and a couple trips to Atlanta and back.  Ben had an intense therapy regimen for a couple months, doing speech twice a week and occupational therapy once a week.  He made tremendous progress so we are rewarding him with a little break.  He is speaking in sentences now, and using words to communicate EVERYTHING he wants, needs and notices.  He is also Mr. Independent.  Ben initiates games, wants to get in his car seat by himself, and chooses what he will wear the next day.  He also believes he can be left alone on grocery store aisles, prefers NOT to hold hands when crossing a street and has determined that candy is a suitable breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Yay.  The toddler attitude is officially here.  His newest obsession is automatic doors.  He is amazed at the intuition of these clever doors, knowing the exact moment someone wants to enter a store, and also knowing to close behind them.  I basically have to drag him away from this fabulous invention EVERYWHERE we go.  And then run back and retrieve him when he gravitates back toward them.  I officially hate all Targets, Wal-Marts and every grocery store ever.  My former favorites, because the other thing these places have in common is shopping carts.  The perfect way to tote around two wiggly children.  Unless one of them is the boss of you and can do. it. himself.  Ben is almost three.  He will tell you this, but he will hold up two fingers.  Or four, depending.  He started school in September and doesn't turn around to say goodbye when I drop him off.  He's got a group of friends he sits with at a table in the back and wants to "go to school, have fun" every morning when he wakes up.  I am happy that he is happy.

First day of school:

 Making healthy choices with Jack at Publix:


Doing what he does best: following Jack


I promise he has more than one shirt:



Beckett is officially 12 months old.  Or one year old if you want to be a jerk about it, reminding me that over 365 days have passed since he joined the family.  It's gone by astronomically fast.  I'm pretty sure I was just carrying that little bowling ball around, on my cankles, and pulling up my elastic waist-banded pants every few steps.  Beckett is our comedian.  His favorite activity is smiling and laughing.  Anything that makes him do either or both is good with him.  He likes to make everyone around him smile, likes to flirt, mimic, crawl like an Olympian, and eat like Kobayashi.  He is not Irish, but his eyes smile.  He has disproportionately small, chunky Hobbit feet and wears clothes Ben wore last fall.  At the last weigh-in, he was a solid 24 pounds.  He is very close to walking and can take a few steps unassisted.  His favorite show is called Super Why.  If he hears the theme song play, he will emerge from whatever corner he crawled to and sit like a potted plant for exactly 30 minutes.  That's our biggest-little.  The other 50% of B squared.

The Comedian:

Baby's first spaghetti, an Italian milestone:


One year old and already partying hard:


 Making another mess:


I'm happy it's fall.  I like eating apples and smelling cinnamon.  I love pumpkins.  And corn mazes.  And my favorite part is that I am NOT pregnant for once.  Summer is over, the birthday season is upon us, and soon we'll be doing the holiday thing.  Stores already have Christmas trees set up and ready to go.  But... you'll hear from us before then.  For real this time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

terrible blogger

Remember me? 

Hey y'all.  Nope, haven't forgotten about the blog.  I'm just that lazy.  Really, after the first month of missing regular posts, I got overwhelmed with the idea of catching up.  But a sweet little birdie in Tallahassee reminded me to check back in.  So here I am!

Our absence from The Internets is due to much activity over the last few months.  Warmer weather means Team Turner is rarely inside.  Or home for that matter.  I could recap everything we've done for you but that could get majorly boring.  And remember the post about avoiding mega-blogs?  As my mom says, I'll just give you the "Reader's Digest" version.  In pictures.

Someone got his first "I'm not a baby anymore" haircut:

Got lost at the Carolina Cup and threw a tantrum:                                    

 Dressed for success:

Helped Mommy in the yard:

Went to church as a family:

Hung out with our sister from another mister, Avery:

Went to Atlanta to play with Jack:

Watched this and many others bloom:

 Grew and ate these:

Fed him:

And him:

Watched a 4th of July parade with a cousin:

Went rootin':

Turned 7:

 

 8:
 and 9 months old:

And lots more.  We just got back from a week-long trip to the mountain compound where lots more pictures were taken and family fun was had.  In fact, we've been home so shortly that my camera still hasn't come in from the car.  Lots of Mimi, Poo-Poo and auntie love was had, four wheelers were driven, and lbs were gained from neverending plates of food.  A typical Turner get-together.  And with just enough time to catch our breath, do some laundry, and pay some bills, we are heading down the mountain for our annual beach trip.  It's like a week in the mountains but with less dogs and more sand.

There has been no shortage of milestones in this house since we checked in last.  Another hero has joined Ben's team to help him with occupational therapy.  We started a few weeks ago and in that short time, he's done all kinds of new activities we never thought we'd see him do.  Ben is now master of the stairs, the playground slide, and the ball pit.  Never thought I'd be so happy to have my kid swim around in dirty plastic balls, germs, possibly urine and who knows what else.  He took his first trip to the mountain amusement park, Tweetsie Railroad, and was brave enough to scream through a few rides.  I like to think of it as immersion therapy.  His OT might think it was a Mommy Dearest move.  Either way, he clapped for himself when he was done being tortured.  His speech is continuing to improve, and Jacob and I are kicking ourselves for not videotaping his sessions from the beginning.  It's amazing to think that this is the same Ben as the kid who only said five words this time last year.  Five prompted words.  The same kid who doesn't stop talking and singing now.  He's also turning into somewhat of a musical savant.  He has near perfect pitch, can keep time, and seems to understand basic music theory.  We recently rescued a beautiful antique player piano from a neighborhood estate sale and have enjoyed watching Ben stand there, hammering out notes while singing the song in his head.  He definitely isn't hitting the correct notes, but he's almost in key and keeps pretty good time.  Piano lessons are in his very near future. 

Beckett is almost ten months old.  Beckett eats solid foods.  Beckett sometimes sleeps through the night.  He has come a long way.  His little personality continues to develop and he continues to prove that he is just like his Mommy.  He is intense and laid back, funny and serious, cuddly and squirmy and so on.  A living paradox.  With big brown eyes and a smile like you've never seen before.  He laughs like Beavis of Beavis & Butthead fame and grins at everything.  He loves his big brother like no one else and seems okay with the fact that he takes all of his toys away.  Ben calls him Dougie.  He can't or won't say Beckett, so he calls him Becky.  But in Ben speech, it sounds like Dougie.  When you ask Ben what his own name is, he tells you it's "Hents."  Not sure how Ben became Hents but it has been suggested that the name of this blog should be changed to "Hents and Dougie."  I bet that domain name is available.

So if you looked at the pictures and scrolled to the bottom, here's the summary:
1.  I'm a crappy blogger.
2.  We've done some fun things this summer
3.  My kids are growing up and I'm proud of every detail

I'll try to do better, y'all.  No more polite excuses.  Fewer three-month time lapses.  Deal?  Deal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

don't tell me what to do

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

Seriously, don't.

It drives me crazy when other parents make recommendations about how I should raise my children.  And it seems to be a compulsion that lots of parents cannot resist. 

"Oh, he sleeps in YOUR BED?!  You should lock him in his own room and let him cry himself to sleep.  It's for his own good.  Swear." 

"You're STILL breastfeeding?!  You might want to stop that before it gets creepy."

I didn't realize that so many other parents are experts on my children.  I still haven't come up with a snarky response for unsolicited advice, but I'm working on it.  It drives me Bananas.  Yes, with a capital B.  So because of this, I don't return the favor.

I think there is a fine line between advocacy and being annoying.  I believe in my parenting practices but you don't have to.  If you think Ferber is a genius, I'm so happy for you.  Whatever makes your household work.  I'd rather lead by example.  Attachment parenting tends to attract a lot of attention and questions, so even if I was a "know it all Mama," I probably wouldn't have to go out of my way too much.  When people ask me about my babywearing and tell me how much they hate their Baby Bjorn, I'll tell them the benefits of whatever babywearing contraption I'm using.  If someone comments on how ridiculously adorable my baby's diapers are, rest assured I will rave about cloth.  I breastfeed in public and I wish more people would.  I never see it, but I know there are more fellow breastfeeders out there.  Maybe a side effect of nursing in public will encourage more mamas and future mamas to do the same.  Actions speak louder than words anyway. 

Compassionate advocacy isn't suggesting to others what to do.  I don't believe my parenting practices are best, but I do believe it's what works for us.  If you are curious and ask, I'll talk about it as long as you'll let me.  But you can be sure I'll never tell you what to do.


***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • The quiet advocate — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Excellent resources - thank you for giving me a new article from Natural Child Project, I love that site!!
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hiatus

Sorry, y'all,  I've been a bad blogger.  It's hard to bring myself to sit at the computer and tell stories when it's 75 degrees outside and beautiful.  Team Turner has been spending our days in the sunshine, hanging with friends and family, and just enjoying spring in general. 

In fact, we're about to head back outside.  Ben: Vice President of Yard Operations and Beckett: Project Manager have been helping me prepare the yard for summer.  It's still too risky to plant flowers in the mountains because Mother Nature never fails to deliver us a late freeze, but being the proud owners of a couple oak trees that were around during Lincoln's presidency, we have plenty of straightening up to do.  Oh, and did I mention dogs and lawns don't mix?  We've got some dirt pits in the yard to contend with.

So back outside we go.  In the meantime, we're creating lots of fun stories to share for a rainy day.  With pictures to boot!  Hope everyone else is enjoying spring as much as we are.  In the meantime, the Natural Parenting Carnival posts tomorrow - mine and 60-something other blogs on the topic should keep you busy till then.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Friendly Reminders

Dear Ben,

Waiting for me to come get you in the morning is a very nice gesture.  I am thankful that you do this.  Just remember, while waiting in your room, if you happen to find a container of Vaseline, all of its contents do not go in your hair.  Even if you think it's wildly entertaining.  Stop yourself.



Dear Bex,

1 am to 3:30 am is NOT a full night's sleep.  Not even if you wake up happy.


Love, Mama

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Half Birthday

To my Biggest Little One,

It's been six whole months since you joined us.  Thank you, by the way, for deciding on the 17th to come out.  You were getting pretty big and it was hot.  In some ways, I'm in denial that my baby boy is already half a year old.  In other ways, I feel like you've been here forever.  You've definitely changed my perspective on raising an infant in your baby career so far.  I had the misunderstanding that I was genetically predisposed to give birth to angel children that slept on command and stayed in quiet-alert mode during their waking hours.  You don't do either and have all but ensured you will likely never be a middle child.


Sleep is getting more appealing to you.  You're only waking up two times a night, on average, and don't fight too hard when it's nap time.  This after months of sleepless nights, pacing the floor and bouncing gently for hours on end.  And by hours, I don't mean 30 minutes that felt like hours.  I mean from 1:30 to 6 am, every.single.night.  Your dad and I were even taking shifts until very recently.  I'd get the first half of the night, and he'd soothe you until the sun came up and longer.  You're welcome.  Luckily, you have the best smile in the world and when you flash it, I forget how tired I am and smile back.  You're all gums and cheeks and even your eyes smile when you're happy.  It's delicious.


 Your favorite toy is whatever I'm holding.  It's important to you that I'm within your reach at all times which I secretly love, even if I act put-out by it sometimes.  I think it's important for you to bond with your other family members so I share you with them often, but I can feel your stare, even when I'm not looking right at you.  I am your security blanket and am totally cool with this.  And prepared to be your roommate in college because the attachment is mutual.  I love my little Becky.  Oh, and by the way, I apologize for such an unfortunate nickname.  We didn't think this one through when we named you.

At six months, Ben is your hero.  You watch him like a hawk all day and lose your mind with excitement if he decides to play with you.  You smile, giggle, and kick your legs with glee.  Ben adores this and imitates you, which turns into its own little game.  He loves taking care of you.  He helps me give you medicine in the morning and burps you after a meal.  He insists on helping you take a bath and rubs lotion into your skin afterward.  If you're playing quietly by yourself and he notices you, he approaches you and says "Hi baby!" and always kisses you, complete with a "muah!" sound.  This makes you squeal with delight and makes me happier than you'll ever know.  You two already share such a special bond, just like I envisioned when he would pet you in my belly and you'd kick back.


You are rolling over, starting to sit on your own, and trying so, so hard to crawl.  I said you'd do it by the end of your 5th month, but I'm quite sure it'll happen by the end of the 6th.  And that could be my bad because I've slacked off on tummy time recently.  You are grabbing anything in your reach and love to type on my keyboard.  In fact, you have an uncanny ability to pull up my html editor and change my toolbar settings.  Already a computer nerd, you fit in quite well here.

The last six months have been exciting, educational, challenging and a total love fest, all at once.  Every day gets less hard and more fun and makes me look forward to what's next.  I love you to the moon and back, Pookie.  Happy six months!

Love, Mama

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March


We're all making this face today.  Sickness has made its way to Turner Place and we're all feeling the effects.  It started with Ben, of course.  He has a new fascination with hani-tizer (hand sanitizer) but apparently this wasn't enough to keep disease away.  And what fun would winter be without at least one episode of fever, sore throat and runny, runny noses?  So after a few days of Ben sniffling and sneaking sips out of Mama's sippy cup (read: Coke or sweet tea with a straw), Mama fell ill.  After a night of hallucinating, soaking my pillow in sweat, and losing the ability to swallow without wincing, I found myself at Urgent Care, getting lots of antibiotics, steroids and orders to sleep it off.  "Get some rest", the doctor says.  I answer with "I will", laughing on the inside.  Sure I will.  My kids will definitely allow that.

But thankfully, Jacob stayed home, under protest, so I could burn off the fever and let the drugs take over.  I woke up to Ben screaming his head off, taking his train table apart like Godzilla-Ben, Beckett sniffling and crying, and Jacob, pacing the floor, holding Beckett and making the same face I make when he gets home an hour late on a hard day. 

Oh, did I mention Daylight Savings Time screwed us up royally?  Whoever came up with the genius idea to manipulate the clock a couple times a year obviously didn't have kids.  Our first experience with this was our first night as parents.  Ben was born at 11 am and that night, we gained an hour.  I remember us thinking "Oh great, an extra hour we get to be awake".  On Saturday night, we lost an hour so the next day flew by, naps were all screwed up and complicated with sickness.  We're still trying to get back on track. 

Tonight I have a coffee table full of empty chinese food containers and prescription medication, a 2 year old sleeping in the middle of his floor, wearing the clothes he wore today and clutching a pair of shoes, and an infant who went to bed entirely too late and has been squirming around ever since.  Oh, and a messy kitchen, pile of laundry and a Tupperware container full of dirty diapers.  A shining moment in motherhood.  Looking forward to feeling better and having two snot-free children.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ode to a Denim Jacket


When my sister was Ben's age, her uniform consisted of a dinosaur t-shirt and red shorts.  And it wasn't a girly shirt.  The dinosaur wasn't a famous cartoon character that had a name.  It wasn't smiling.  It was a screen print of a t-rex, with his little arms curled, mouth open, and standing under a very tiny sun.  I'm not sure how she came to own this terrible shirt, but she wore it every day for months and pitched a fit if it was unavailable.  The red shorts didn't match her "diney shirt", but they always went with it.  Strangers would smile at her and ask my mom how old her son was.

Ben's uniform is the denim jacket and jeans, his Canadian Tuxedo.  While shopping for winter clothing last fall, Ben spotted the jacket on a hanger in Target, pulled it off the rack, into the cart, and smiled.  This was the first time he'd ever expressed a preference for clothing, so I went with it.  I made sure he understood the fashion choice he was about to make and tried to talk him into something else, but without success.  He cradled the jacket throughout the whole store and proudly placed it on the checkout counter, taking personal responsibility for it.  And every day since then, cold weather or not, he's worn this stupid jacket.

I'll admit, it's pretty cute with a pair of khakis and a button-down shirt.  But when I try to explain to him that jeans AND the jacket is just too much denim, he brushes me off and insists it complete his ensemble.  Sometimes, I hide it so he forgets about it while he's getting dressed.  Up until now, I've had to put it on him.  But this week, Mimi taught him how to put it on all by himself.  So now he even wears it with pajamas.  I gave birth to a Canadian.

Since the denim jacket purchase, I've bought two other jackets.  Grammie bought one too.  He screams if you suggest he try any of them on, so the denim jacket it is.  I have a lot of anxiety about this summer and the jacket.  Just like the time my sister engaged in a battle of the wills over wearing her diney shirt to a wedding, I envision fighting Ben over wearing his jacket to the park on a 90 degree day.  But for now, I'll let it slide.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

B Squared Bathtime

When it's been raining for two days and you have two small, antsy kids looking to be entertained, bathtime will buy you at least 20 minutes of entertainment.  After that, you have to get creative.

Benny is a rockstar:

And a big brother:

And Beckett is happiest when wet and surrounded by bubbles:

Notice the hand positioning there.  Beckett found his "special purpose" and this makes him very happy.  You've got to love little boys.  We just said goodbye to Mimi and the Aunties after a four day spring break at Turner Place.  The guys had lots of fun, lots of pictures were taken, and I slept and slept and slept while enjoying 24/7 babysitting services.  And I might even be caught up.  Icing on the cake?  Beckett SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!  And go figure, no voodoo was involved.  So there we are - at nearly six months, Beckett finally realized he might be tired after all.  Praise Jesus.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natural Parenting Benny & Bex Style

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***
I am a natural parent.  I dig attachment theory.  I realize it's not a popular choice.  The term, in and of itself is so arrogant.  Natural Parenting?  Isn't all parenting "natural"?  Yeah, pretty much.  It's not better than any other style of parenting, it's just what works for us.  I don't dish out a lot of criticism when it comes to parenting styles.  Becoming a parent has helped me understand that everyone does their own thing, for one reason or another, but mostly because it works and that's okay.  I don't accept all Natural Parenting practices, however.  I fully vaccinate my children.  I let them watch more than the recommended amount of TV.  I don't subscribe to homeschooling.  And Ben knows exactly where we are when I pull through a McDonald's drive-thru.  But most of the practices make sense to us, so I define myself as such.

(1) I breastfeed.  Not for any noble reason, I'm not trying to make a statement.  The bond is amazing, and knowing that I put every fold on Beckett's chunky baby legs is definitely a bonus.  But it just seems easier.  This kid is still awake and ready to party every 2 to 3 hours, every night.  Getting out of my cozy bed to fix bottle after bottle just seems like unnecessary work. 

(2) Schedules don't work for us.  This has become increasingly apparent as my baby continues to resist sleeping through the night.  I've read all the books about creating predictability in an infant's schedule to get a "quiet-alert" baby who never cries and always smiles.  Beckett thinks this is garbage.  I do too.  After trying them (and failing miserably), I've decided we are too lazy for schedules.  We do better when I trust my mama intuition.  Being close to my kids all day long, I can tell when they are getting tired before they can.  And anyway, neither of them can tell time, so why bother with the clock?

(3) My kids are a fashion accessory.  Yeah, from time to time, I even wear my 28 month old.  Babywearing gives my kids the illusion that I am constantly hugging them, but gives me the flexibility to do things like laundry and errand running.  I gain an extra set of hands and they gain the security of being close to Mama.  And when we go places where strollers are inconvenient, Jacob can wear one, I can wear the other, and everyone is happy.  Easy-peasy.

(4) My baby has a fluffy bum.  I sort of cheat on this one, because my toddler wears disposable diapers.  I get a free pass however, because he has diagnosed sensory issues and hates the idea of cloth making his butt look fat in jeans.  Believe me, we've tried.  But I choose cloth for Beckett because it is easier for Team Turner.  No late night runs to the grocery store to pay double for a pack of diapers when you realize you just put the last one on your baby's bottom.  No diaper rashes.  And the biggest bonus - no leaks!  Well, assuming the diaper was put on correctly and not left on for hours.  I get the most criticism for this choice.  Everyone's first question: "What do you do with the poop?!"  You rinse it off, people, it's not a big deal.  The environmental-friendliness is another added perk.  Some will argue that the extra water consumption offsets this bonus.  Tell that to my February water bill - it's the cheapest it's been in over a year.

(5) We let our kids learn through experience.  I like to call it laissez-faire parenting.  I try not to intervene when they are exploring something new, or doing something that will probably result in a spill, a bump or a bruise.  This could also be a direct result of my laziness, but I'd like to think it's helping them understand cause and effect.  And of course, we do this one within reason.  We don't have bleach-drinking experiments to see what would happen.  But sometimes Ben needs to take a tumble off the coffee table to learn why we don't get up there routinely.

(6)  On a related note, we parent with positivity.  I hate the word "no".  Coincidentally, Ben hates it too, so we reserve it for dangerous, or really, really annoying behaviors.  This comes from the B.F. Skinner in me.  In college, I trained rats to do all kinds of unbelievable things with positive reinforcement.  Punishment didn't produce very strong desired behavior patterns and in fact, made my rats sort of aggressive.  Because I, like Skinner, believe that kids and fancy rats aren't all that different, I reject the idea of time out and taking dessert away.  Ben gets ridiculous amounts of praise for being awesome, and gets completely ignored for bad behavior.  It works for us, and it keeps my blood pressure at a manageable level.

(7) I haven't slept alone in over five months.  We have a crib.  In fact, we have two.  And Beckett will sleep in either one if I make him.  But since his first night home, he's been my official cuddle buddy.  When Ben was small, he also shared the bed.  Some of my favorite memories of his infancy were our late afternoon naps after I picked him up from Grammie's.  He insisted on lying behind me, facing my back, and played with my hair gently until we both fell asleep.  And go figure, the kid sleeps independently and through the night, ever since he moved into his own room.  I get the best of both worlds - bonding with my babies and eventually sending them off to their own space for uninterrupted sleep.  Added bonus: not getting out of bed to fetch Beckett for a nursing session.

(8) I didn't do this with Ben, but I intend on practicing "baby led weaning" with Beckett.  It's a different concept of helping kids explore solid food by eating whole foods in their natural form, not pureed.  Is there a lazy theme developing?  This one is quite controversial but makes perfect sense to me.  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't have Cuisinarts or Gerber to rely on.  And somehow we persisted as a species.  After trying rice and oatmeal and failing miserably, we decided to ditch cereal altogether and introduce fruits and veggies when Beckett is ready. 

(9) Ben eats dirty Cheerios off the floor.  He has access to clean ones too, but I don't freak out if he eats one he found under the couch, plays in a muddy puddle, or puts another kid's toy in his mouth.  When Beckett's binkie "hits the deck", I inspect it for hair and dirt, wipe it off on my jeans, and pop it back in his mouth.  I know, totally disgusting, but I'm building antibodies.  I've been a disgusting parent since the beginning, but the only time my kids were ever sick was when day care was involved.  Eating a dusty Cheerio every now and then hasn't harmed Ben in the least, and he seems to be healthier because I allow exposure to things that aren't always sanitized.

(10) My kids have a stay at home mom.  I am always available to them, which makes all of this possible.  I spend all day, every day with them and know their moves before they make them.  I don't let them dictate how things are done, but I use their strengths, preferences and abilities to build a successful day.  If someone needs me at 3 am, I pull it together to be there and be nurturing in the process.  And I believe they are better because of it.

I didn't get the option of a natural childbirth.  So maybe my choice to be a "natural parent" is a way to make up for that.  Or maybe it is pure laziness.  I don't push the NP agenda.  But it's what we do and it's what works for us, and that's okay.

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Milestones


Yeah, that contained five ounces before Beckett got to it.  Turns out, the key to getting a stubborn boobie-addict to take a bottle is NOT maple syrup, it's kicking the boobs out of the house.  I pumped, went out for two hours, and came home to a sleeping baby and an almost empty bottle.  Thanks to Jenny for the bottle suggestion.  And for telling me I needed to leave the house - it worked!  Phase one is complete: the kid takes the bottle.  Phase two involves Dad fixing a middle-of-the-night bottle for Beckett and feeding him  Another challenge begins.

Another set of milestones occurred at Turner Place this week too.  This one, however, gave me actual heart palpitations.  After 28 months of rear facing in his car seat, we turned Ben around.  His seat cover needed a spin in the washing machine, and as I was inspecting it to figure out how it comes off, I realized he actually exceeded the rear-facing weight limit by more than a few pounds.  Whoops.  Turning him around made me feel uneasy at first, but it's turned out to be kinda cool to look back and see his little face smiling and watching the world out his window.  And Jacob, who has been fighting me on this extended rear facing thing is much happier to be able to move his seat back if he wants to.

Not sure about this forward facing business:


But wait, there's more!  The same day that Ben flipped forward, Beckett got his very own big boy car seat.  Beckett "The Mammoth" Turner was reaching the weight and height limit on the infant seat at a young five months.  He got the identical seat that Ben has, and actually enjoys riding in the car now.  His screaming fits while riding in the car may have actually been related to being uncomfortable in his baby seat after all - go figure. 

Totally into the big boy seat:


My babies are growing up.  The palpitations were a direct result of realizing that this Mama thing is going by way too fast for my comfort.  Pretty soon, B Squared will be racing to the car yelling "shotgun!" or better yet, be asking for the keys.  Ugh!