Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I was all set to write a sad post about this being the one-year anniversary of when I had to go on bed rest--and my whole world came to a screeching halt, never to be the same.  But then Jack woke up and wanted to be nursed back to sleep.  It was then that I realized I needed to write something else.  This is it.

When you...

...arch your back, hold out your trusting hands, and roll towards me to nurse in your sleep

...shriek with delight as daddy gives you an Inuit kiss

...look over your shoulder as you crawl down the hallway, making sure your brother is there with you

...reach out to touch the Christmas tree lights with one wondering finger

...smile with your whole face to see daddy walking up the stairs

...taste each roll of the toilet paper treasure you discovered under the sink, just to see if they're the same

...tip slowly to the side as you hold your socks over your head in triumph

...discover you like to dance to marching band music

...giggle at your brother as you play because he is just the funniest person you ever did see

...roll around like puppies together on the floor, laughing

...tell me the most wonderful stories about dada, baba, mmmm, and eeeey

...peek your eyes open to make sure I'm still here as you nurse to sleep

...sing your sleepy song

...sing your eating song

...pat your brother's head as you nurse together

...hold hands and dance

...wake me up in the mornings by crawling over and patting my face

                                                                                           ... I know that I am blessed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Intense Gratitude

After thinking about all the things for which I am thankful this year-- and nearly bursting at the seams from the joy of it all-- I have decided that there is one that stands out.

I am thankful beyond words, with a soul-smiling gratitude, that my boys have grown into the happy, healthy babies they are today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November's Carnival of Breastfeeding: How Women in my Family Feed Babies

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!  November's theme is Your Family History.  

My mom’s side of the family is Irish.  As in Gramma- and- Grampa- came- over- on- a- boat Irish.  Tradition is important to us, everything from holidays to vacations.  Children are valued in our family; they are cherished by the men and women equally.  I can trace the child-rearing wisdom of my family’s women in a direct line, from my great-grandmother to my grandmother, to my mother, to me.  “Burp baby high up on your shoulder to help the gas bubble out.”  “If baby is straining to move his bowels, let him push his legs against your hands.”  “When baby is very agitated, tuck him up under dad’s chin so he can hear and feel the deep calming voice.” 

But there is a significant hiccup in the infant feeding practices of the women of my family.  My grandmother formula fed all six of her children.  I’ve wondered:  why on earth would she do that?  Great-Gramma breastfed her children because that was the only way to feed infants in rural Ireland in the early 1900s.  Why didn’t Gramma do the same?  Because she raised her children in the United States, starting in the mid-fifties.  Formula was promoted as the norm.  Doctors pushed it.  New mothers were given charts and schedules and samples.  Women were led to believe that there was no need for breast milk.  Science has a much better alternative, here in this shiny tin.  Have a few free weeks’ worth to get you started, just until your milk dries up and you become dependent on our product. 

            (And now the side note:  I have absolutely nothing against mothers who use formula.  I understand that it is sometimes necessary, and even life saving.  I am not here to judge other mothers.  I am, however, enraged at the underhanded practices of the formula companies, practices that perpetuate myths about infant feeding and take away fully informed choice.)

It’s slightly amazing to me that not much has changed from then until now.  However, there was one event in my personal history that very much matters.  Somewhere along the line, my own mother decided to breastfeed her children.  She didn’t make a big deal about it, there were no agonizing discussions long into the night, or lists of pros and cons.  There were no arguments with Gramma, either.  Gramma didn’t necessarily know how to support Mom when there were questions, but she respected her daughter’s choices, different though they were.  Luckily, Mom knew where to find the answers she needed, and joined Le Leche League. 

I remember those meetings.  I remember going to the leader’s house and eating carrot sticks and applesauce-bran muffins.  I remember drinking unfiltered apple juice.  I remember seeing women nurse their babies, just like Mom nursed me and my sister.  Honestly, those muffins fazed me more than the breastfeeding.  Some things were normal and natural.  Bran muffins were not. 
By the time my brother was born, ten years after me, I was a staunch lactivist.  I began boycotting Nestle at the ripe old age of 13.  I had no idea what “counter-culture” meant, nor did I care.  My normal was what I saw and lived every day.  And I saw mothers nursing babies. 
Now, I am a mother myself.  I nurse my twin boys.  Before they were born, I had nice mental images, soft-focus and gentle smiles, of breastfeeding.  But all softness and calm were blasted out of my post-partum self by two premature, colicky babies.  It was an arduous journey, those early months, but ultimately breast feeding saved me.  It was the one mothering behavior that I could do, and do well.  So I did.  I nursed my boys because that’s how women in my family feed their babies, one or two at a time. 
My sister plans on breastfeeding her future children.  I hope my sister-in-law does, too.  In fact, I hope all my cousins do, too.  I have made it a point to normalize breastfeeding in my extended family by just doing it, in front of anybody and everybody.  I want them to see babies being nursed.  I want it to become commonplace, yet special.  I hope that in my generation, nursing becomes another tradition that everyone loves and cherishes, just like the babies themselves.   

For more of the Carnival of Breastfeeding, please visit:

Christine @ Christine's Contemplations: Carnival of Breastfeeding- My Family History of Nursing 
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Family History of Breastfeeding
Jona @ Breastfeeding Twins: Beer & Bottles (and other motherly advice)
Alicia @ Lactation Narration: Only the Hippies Were Breastfeeding
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: An Unbroken Chain

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today and Every Day

November 17 is Prematurity Awareness Day
Today was a day to remember and celebrate premature babies.  November is The March of Dimes' Prematurity Awareness Month.  I am a lucky mama of twins who, though born 6 weeks early, had a relatively short NICU stay, and are hitting milestones somewhere between their actual and adjusted age.  

Despite the luck, I had a rough go of it during the early weeks.  Leaving my boys in the hospital while I was discharged was one of the most harrowing things I've ever had to do.  I grieved the loss of my babies on a cellular level, while on a rational level I knew right where they were.  But they were away from me, and that felt wrong.  Prematurity is hard on the babies born early, and the mamas made early, despite good luck and the grace of God.  

Some mamas aren't lucky.  Some mamas lose their premature babies.  With them we grieve, with them we celebrate the lives that slipped away too soon.  

Hug a preemie today.  Or better yet, give one a nice pat on the leg and keep your germs to yourself!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Open Letter to My Family

Dear Family,

Hello!  I'm so glad I got to see you this Sunday.  Dinner was fabulous, so filling and warm.  The conversation was as lively and loud as usual.  There is one small issue I'd like to address, though.

I understand that you want to hold my babies.  I understand that you see them so rarely, and they are getting so big, and they are so stinkin' cute.  I get that, I truly do.

However, I need you to understand that there are a few adults with whom my babies have developed secure, firm attachments.  Namely Mama, Daddy, Auntie K, Uncle C, Nana, and Papaw.  So if one of those adults is holding onto a baby (especially after a crying jag, or during a particularly fussy time), it is for the sake of the baby, not to keep him away from you.  Sometimes beside a familiar face and within known arms is the safest place to survey the world, especially when it's crowded and new.

So please don't be upset with me when I won't let you hold a baby after he's just woken from a nap, or when he's needing some Mama-time after I've been away for awhile.  He needs me, or Daddy, or Auntie K for now.  There will be time for you to hold him later, when he's ready.

Thank you for understanding.  It's so much easier explaining this to you than a nine-month-old.

Mama Mo  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My two cents' worth

Here in my teeny, tiny corner of the internet, I feel compelled to put forth my opinion on the Great Amazon Debacle of November 2010.

Amazon if offering an e-book called "The Pe.doph.ile's Gu.ide to Love and Pleas.ure."  Many mommy bloggers, tech bloggers, twitter-ers raised the issue and covered the web with links.  There was much gnashing of teeth and rending of Kindles.  But the sad fact is that that piece of filth has jumped in sales by over 100, 000%.

Amazon's statement says that they are upholding the first amendment and allowing customers to choose what titles they purchase.  In the help section of Amazon's page on selling items, it outlines the items that are disallowed.  Child pornography is one such item.  However, it's not porn unless there are photos.  So a how-to guide for sexually abusing children is ok, right?

Wrong.  This whole thing is just wrong.  Amazon also claims the right to take down digital titles that promote illegal activity.  Um... pedophilia is illegal.

I believe in freedom of speech.  I don't dispute this pervert's right to say or write these things.  I just happen to believe that Amazon has a moral imperative to chose to NOT sell it.  They can do that, ya know.  But until they do, I will be speaking with my dollars.

I am boycotting Amazon this holiday season until they remove this book.  Will you join me?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"What do you do all day?"

As a stay-at-home mom, I've been asked that question a few times.  Mostly, it's been with genuine curiosity.  Here's my answer, as told to my Grampa last weekend.

"We wake up, and I change the boys' diapers.  Then I dress them.  Next, I nurse them.  And I feed them.  On a good day I get dressed and fed too.  Then we play for awhile.  I spend the rest of the day trying to get them to sleep."

That's the simple version, but that's it in a nutshell.  It's a rare and special day that I get them both napping at the same time.

Often one will nap while the other plays and snuggles with me, then they switch off.  I actually really enjoy those days, especially the one-on-one time, unless I'm exhausted and yearning for sleep myself.  Some days the babies fight sleep with the strength and intensity of samurai warriors.  On those days we pile into the car and drive around until they drift off, then we go to Nana's house where I attempt to carry them inside oh so slowly, oh so carefully.  Usually they wake up, so we play at Nana's.

I am alone with two nine-month-olds for much of every day, but the amazing, wonderful, comforting fact of life is that I'm not really alone in this.  Hubby comes home every day after work, ready to scoop up his boys and give me time to shower, or sleep, or read.  And Nana comes home, delighted to see all three of us at her house, and sings and plays with the babies while I read the newspaper or grab a real lunch.  And I can always call my sister, my brother-in-law, my brother, or my dad if I need them.

So what do I do all day?  I raise my babies, surrounded and supported by my family.  Best. Job. Ever.