What I know for sure…

Poppydip 

In less than two weeks, Poppy will be nine months old.  Nearly enough time has passed to make another baby, and the more I look at this little person, I realize just how different she is from the tiny lump we brought home; that she is in fact a "new baby".  Though pregnancy and labour were not at all what I had hoped for or envisioned, my heart aches a little to have those tiny sleepy days back.  And yet, I wouldn't trade these precious days of giggles and movement for anything. 

The upcoming milestone has brought me to a place of contemplation; contemplation of what has happened, what is to come, and what I would have done differently.  And so, I thought I would compile as many of my thoughts and lessons, as well as some of Poppy's milestones, into one blog post as possible.  We all have different values, priorities, and beliefs and the words below are what I know to be true for our own experiences only. 

Poppy and Her Milestones:

  • On March 19th, Poppy gave her first real smile to Daddy.
  • On June 25th, she gave mama her first giggle and rolled over on her own
  • On July 10th, we found out she could sit up with out any help.
  • On July 13th, she gobbled her first bit of organic rice cereal.
  • On August 1st she stood up in her playpen.
  • On September 27th, she made "mama" her first word and later in the evening made "Dada" her second word.
  • On September 28th, she balanced on all fours, and has since mastered the art of crawling.
  • She flirts with the notion of walking and carefully steadies herself on a chair or our hands, lets go and then vibrates with joy when she finds herself standing alone.
  • She realized the joy of having daddy "chase" her as she crawls away squealing, giggling, and looking back often to make sure he is still following her.
  • Just this Tuesday we awoke to find she had cut her first tooth without even an ounce of crankiness, fever, or drooling.
  • People often comment to us in long lineups and waiting rooms how pleasant she is and ask if she is always this delightful to which we always beam and reply with a smiling yes.  And those eyes!  Not a stranger will glance at her without commenting on those brilliant blue inquisitive eyes.

Being a mother is my highest calling in this lifetime.

At the risk of sounding trite, I love everything about being a mama.  I love breastfeeding, attachment parenting, co-sleeping/bed sharing.  As someone who struggled most of her life to find a career that fit, I am happy to know that mama-hood is the job for me.  Though I have my moments of sheer frustration and exhaustion, I recover quickly and feel incomplete when I am away from my little family for any amount of time.  I have not once wished that I could escape or turn back time.  The transition has been a sweet one and teaches me everyday what I will and won't stand for {both as a mother and as a woman}.

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I have discovered a deep love and reward for breastfeeding. 

I knew the endless benefits of breastfeeding, but the very thought of it made me squeamish.  I had no idea it could feel this natural and make me feel so connected and necessary even though I am a huge believer in following our body's lead and nature always knowing best.  Despite my irrational and unexplained nervousness about it, I knew without a doubt that I would commit myself to it for the minimum of a year because it would be healthiest, for my baby and myself.  This isn't to say it was always pretty or romantic what with engorged breasts, blocked ducts, bleeding, and toe curling pain, but it has been worth it and I am entirely committed to it. 

A dear friend said to me just the other week that there comes a time when you grow up and stop putting yourself first and that time is when you become a parent.  This isn't to say you are no longer of importance, but that when a child is involved you set aside immaturities and decide to communicate, and you do things that are uncomfortable because they are for the greater good.  It is what you sign up for.

We have learned that so many items labeled as baby "must haves" are highly overrated.

We tried our best to not buy into the commercial lists printed on registries and magazines, but through taking advice from well-meaning friends and acquaintances and a little bit of guesswork we ended up with a lot of items we could do without.  

The Overrated:

Cribs {night time nursing is so much easier when co-sleeping}
Strollers {though handy at times it is more often not so}
Baby Swings
Endless amounts of receiving blankets
Baby Tubs
Changing Pads
Plastic Toys {why bother when pots, pans, wooden spoons, remotes and phones are much more attractive and entertaining anyway}
Shoes
Baby Trainers and their books
Bathing suits {the birthday suit always fits}

The Essentials:

A good quality sling or carrier.  {Best.  Investment.  Ever.}
Sleepers
Cold weather clothing {hats, coats, socks, mitts, etc}
A bassinet {I found a beautiful sea grass bassinet for $10 at our local Value Village}
A camera
Dr. Sears'  collection of books
A highchair
Baby gates and/or a playpen
Bibs
Baby washcloths


Advice I would give if ever asked:

Put down the parenting and training books.  Follow your baby’s lead.  Honour the wise little spirits within them.  Babies are not burdened by social filters and know exactly what they want and need.  Pick them up when they reach for you.  Comfort them when they cry.  Help them sleep when they don't know how to stop moving long enough to do it themselves.  Teach them that they can trust you so that they can explore the wide world wholeheartedly with you safely at their back.  Love and listening does not spoil a child.

 

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What I hope to give Poppy and our future children:

It is very important for me to stay home with Poppy (and any other babes we may have).  We really want to homeschool/unschool {I would love any links or reccomendations on these topics if you care to share…especially Canadian resources!}.  Mostly, I want her to listen to her gut and instincts.  So many things in my life could have been different if I had listened to my heart and done what I wanted rather than doing what others thought to be suitable.  I want to foster that trust of self as much as I can so that she/they may realize her own dreams and potential.  I think everything else falls into place if you have a strong sense of self.

 

e.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted November 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm by Desiree Fawn | Permalink

    Happy almost 9 months little one!!
    (Oh, and here’s my response to what you wrote over on my blog, in case you don’t see it there: Oh the natural parenting group is going quite well! We’ve had a few meetups and they’ve been fun :) Sadly G has been ill and I haven’t attended the last too, but I think that’s the case with several of the mama’s and babes — other than that we have a few meetups planned this month & I’m hoping to be able to attend!
    (As for my paper lanters — I got them on sale at Michaels — haven’t put them up yet, but I will soon! I think I need some fishing line!)

  2. Posted November 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm by Desiree Fawn | Permalink

    Oh also: we get asked if G is “always this happy and quiet?” all the time — and yes! She mostly is :) I love being able to say that.
    As for your list of overrated and essential — I totally agree :)

  3. Posted November 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm by Kristine | Permalink

    So lovely, so thoughtful, so true for me, too. Thanks for your words.

  4. Posted November 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm by joy | Permalink

    Hi Erin,
    this is such a sweet post. so touching to hear how wonderul parenthood is–and how much you and your husband embrace and cherish the job!

  5. Posted November 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm by Lindsey Alyce | Permalink

    Erin, this is so great for me to read right now. Thank you! I can’t wait to see little Reed grow. I wonder what he will be like in 9 months. Thanks for sharing all this.

  6. Posted November 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm by Krystal | Permalink

    This was so beautifully written. What a wonderful gift you are giving both to your child, and to yourself-in loving and honoring her as a little person…right from the start.

  7. Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:35 am by Jen | Permalink

    Beautiful. My two favorite lines in this post:
    Being a mother is my highest calling in this lifetime.
    Love + listening does not spoil a child.
    Thank you for putting it out there. I couldn’t agree more.
    I am so happy to watch my two growing-too-fast babes hit their milestones and grow into who they were made to be.

  8. Posted November 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm by hillary | Permalink

    Ooooo. 9 months. Such a delicate balance of in-womb out-of-womb aliveness.
    Of course you’ll do what is right for your family, but my best advice is don’t rush. When I had my first almost all my friends had another one very quickly and we waited until he was a full two years before conceiving again. I thought we waited forever and now the 3 year difference doesn’t seem much at all.
    It was so lovely preparing for the birth with a child who was potty learned, could talk about it and participate in the preparations.
    Did you know Sandra Dodd has n new book on unschooling out? It is essentially her website in book form which I’ve found easier to digest.
    There is also a yahoo group called Always Unschooled that is for families who have been unschooling from the beginning.
    good luck!

  9. Posted November 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm by Chelsea | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been contemplating motherhood for quite a while now and love to hear encouraging words like these. Your daughter is beautiful!

  10. Posted November 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm by stacey | Permalink

    This is you. This is what you want to be when you grow up!

  11. Posted November 6, 2009 at 7:05 pm by Poppies and Milk | Permalink

    “This isn’t to say you are no longer of importance, but that when a child is involved you set aside immaturities and decide to communicate, and you do things that are uncomfortable because they are for the greater good. It is what you sign up for.” I pray that I can remember this throughout my parenting days… Thanks for this lovely post…

  12. Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm by heather | Permalink

    you are so awesome. i relate in so many ways. i’m feeling such a sweet connection to you these days, since i’ve ‘met’ you more intimately.
    i have pushed my edges, and grown into myself in ways i never couldn’t before, because now, i want to serve my children in the best ways possible. i have SO much learning to do, and they are surely my biggest inspirations to do so.

  13. Posted November 8, 2009 at 11:41 am by Ana | Permalink

    You are incredible. I really hope you know that. You inspire me to be more ‘me’.

  14. Posted November 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm by Annette | Permalink

    I love this post so much, Erin. I crave these types of posts from you. I crave this kind of energy and graciousness towards parenthood because sadly, most of the messages I get from where I live is that it’s drudgery, your life is ruined, kids are annoying etc. etc. It’s preposterous honestly, that people who feel that way should procreate, but they do here, en masse. I don’t get it. I am just so grateful for the sanctuary you provide, and the place where it says that parenthood isn’t always pure bliss and perfection, but that it’s art, for better or for worse, and your highest calling. Thank you again and again.

  15. Posted November 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm by Old Recipe for a New World | Permalink

    Someone once told me that it takes nine months before birth to grow a baby and nine months after birth to grow a mother. I’ve loved sharing in your journey towards realizing yourself as a mother and artist.

  16. Posted November 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm by deb | Permalink

    You are such a wonderful (& wise) mother. I love every little bit of this post. That photo of you and Poppy is so dang sweet!
    Thanks again for sharing. :)

  17. Posted November 11, 2009 at 10:19 am by chickadeeworkshop.wordpress.com | Permalink

    Beautifully written post. While it’s been nearly 30 years since I had a baby, I share much of your feelings. I didn’t do “attachment parenting”..never heard of it back then…but my ideals were the same. I only managed to stay home with mine till the youngest was in school full time, and then I really HAD to go to work. I fully support all of you young moms who are homeschooling/unschooling.
    And Poppy is absolutely beautiful!

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