23 weeks: daycare, or not

I can’t believe we’re already looking ahead to August, when my maternity leave is over and we have to figure out who will care for Arthur when we’re gone. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, we have it mostly decided. I’ve mentioned before how blessed we are to have such a strong support system in our parents and other family members; in fact, my own Grammy stepped up and has volunteered to watch the kid on Mondays and Fridays, plus the Wednesdays that Brian has to work. With Brian being home 2/3 Wednesdays, that just leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On that note, we set up our first daycare visit for Wednesday afternoon. It was a wonderful visit: the facility is bright and clean and the teachers were engaging and friendly. All of the infants seemed happy and well-adjusted (except the hungry ones, but that’s to be expected), and the older children we passed on the tour were equally happy and well-behaved. We like their philosophy of child development, the steps they take to ensure the safety and security of all of the children, and the detailed daily reporting they have to chronicle each child’s progress.

It would be a dream…except A) they don’t provide part-time care; and B) full-time care is way out of our budget.

So we’re playing around with Plan B, in which we sacrifice a slightly smaller portion of our income in favor of letting Mommy stay home two days a week with Arthur. Nothing has been decided (of course I need to work things out with my office), but when we consider all of our options and the effects on both our budget and our peace of mind it seems that this may be the greatest blessing in disguise yet. We’ll have several more discussions with one another and with the other pertinent parties before we make a final decision, but it’s nice to even be able to consider this as an option.

Onward and forward – next week, the glucose challenge!

 

What kind of parents will we be?

Yesterday morning at about 4:30, I felt it.

My hand was resting on the side of my belly, and I was trying to go back to sleep when three faint beats bumped my palm. Kid A’s kicking, it seems, is making its way to the outside.

Add that to our first (and probably last) daycare visit on Wednesday, and it got me thinking pretty seriously about the many things that are about to happen.

Who ever thought that we would be parents? We’re pretty capable adults, sure, but I don’t know how close to the top of the list we would be for someone to just turn around and hand us a kid (do they do that?) – yet here we are, 17 weeks away from meeting our son and doing our best to not royally screw him up. And perhaps we have friends and family who are scoffing at this statement, convinced instead that we will be fantastic parents and the somehow things will just come together. I don’t mean to sound like a negative Nancy; I too believe that things really will be (mostly) wonderful. It’s just…awe-inspiring to think about the implications of creating and shaping another life.

I’ve been reading pretty much whatever I can get my mouse to click on, blogs and articles from parents about best practices in terms of safety, health, etc. I’ve also read posts about the far more important question of who we will raise our son to be. There are so many variables today, questions of gender and identity and how to best raise your children to be centered and self-confident in their identity, and it can be overwhelming to dive into it all.

The thing is, I know who we are. I know what values we bring into our home and that above all else we already have so much love for this little boy that he will never be without. I can’t wait for him to discover – and show us – who he is. We’ll take the rest from there.

“Naturally, you ask where on earth this person came from. Who let them in? Do they have a driver’s license? Should you offer them tea, or put them on the next flight to Pluto?”

 

This post is hilarious, and everything I look forward to (and am scared to death of) experiencing with Arthur. He’ll be smarter than we are, and probably bossier, and I don’t know if any of us is ready for that yet. We better get started…

Satis Writes

It’s a funny business, living with a child. It’s a little bit like living with a mooching flatmate who is quite a bit smarter than you. (And shorter, which sort of makes up for it.)

You see, when you’re talking about children in the hypothetical (as in, “we might want kids some day”, or “aren’t your sister’s kids wonderful?”), they seem a little bit like kittens: small, furry and adorable. They’re supposed to giggle and coo and drink from a bottle and smile with a little toothless smile. Or say things like, “Daddy says mommy gets grumpy when she sits on rags, but I don’t see why she doesn’t just get up.” They’re supposed to hold your hand crossing the street, and be suddenly polite when your parents are over.

Uh…right.

What tends to happen is they cry and vomit on you, shit on your shoes and flush your car…

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Confronting Assumptions

In the last week I’ve had two different talks – one with each of Arthur’s grandmas – in which I’ve confronted and overturned their assumptions about how we would parent, based on how each mother parented us.

Honestly, I’m glad we’ve started the discussion because our mothers (and my Grammy) are already gearing up to play an active role in Arthur’s upbringing, and while I’m so glad to benefit from their perspectives there are also decisions we’ve made that we need to share with them. I believe that consistency is extremely important, and communicating about these things ahead of time will hopefully avoid more difficult conversations down the road.

(I’m also so happy that I’m having these talks with our moms, and not some random stranger moms. Mom-on-mom judgment is not pleasant, and I’d prefer to avoid it. On that note, a disclaimer: the following are my researched and considered opinions. They have my husband’s support, and that’s all I care about. I don’t plan on telling anyone else how to be a good parent, so if you feel the urge to do the same then please stifle it. We’re all in this together.)

Breastfeeding…

My mom and I had the breastfeeding talk last Saturday while she was helping me pack up the apartment. She was unable to produce milk for my brother and me so we were bottle-fed, but she’s been firmly in my corner about the benefits of BF and vocal in her hopes that we will have a better time of it. I had to stop her, though, when she assumed that we would wean Arthur by the 18-month (or so) mark, or “as soon as his teeth start coming in”.

I believe that breast is best. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, with continued breastfeeding as part of a healthy diet for as long as two years or more (whatever is mutually beneficial to mother and child). A policy revision posted in February 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics is nearly identical, except for the recommendation that breastfeeding continue for one year or more. Children continue deriving immunological benefits and nutrition from their mother’s milk as long as they have it, and I’m all for giving my child the best shot he has at a long and healthy life. (The teething part of her argument is also incorrect; from what I’ve read of proper latching technique, he can’t bite me if he’s on the right way.)

We are going to do whatever works out best for us. I just don’t believe in setting an inorganic time limit for something so important to his growth and development.

Cry It Out (or not)…

Last week we were at the house having lunch with my in-laws and discussing what type of baby monitor we should put on the registry. One comment led to another; I don’t remember the whole conversation thread except for when my mother-in-law said (paraphrasing), “It’s not like you’re going to go pick him up every time he cries.”

Yes I am.

Nothing upsets me more than the concept of “crying it out”, or allowing a child to “self-soothe”. I’ve read articles about this too, but I’ll be the first to admit that my feelings on the issue are more visceral than logical. I don’t believe that it’s possible to spoil a child by giving them too much love, and I don’t believe that an infant or toddler has the capacity to soothe himself when his cries go unanswered. I’m almost 27 years old and I don’t quite have a handle on self-soothing — and I have words to use!

A baby’s cry is his most forceful form of communication until he learns speech. It’s the signal that something in his world isn’t right, whether he’s hungry or his diaper needs changed or, yes, that he needs attention. Even as adults we sometimes just need reassurance that we are loved and cherished and not alone, so why is it unreasonable that a small baby or toddler may feel the same? A child who is “self-soothing” has really just stopped trying, and has taken the first step to learning distrust of the people who should love him most.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that legitimately bad behavior should be rewarded. When a child is old enough to understand language and to know the meaning of “no”, to act with deliberation and to choose to ignore instruction or warning, the behavior should be addressed and corrected appropriately. That is a discussion for another day.

However, when my baby cries you can be sure that I will be in there to soothe and reassure him.

Now don’t worry – I had these conversations with the moms before putting them up here. As I said above, I’m happy that we have such a strong support network and that our little village can work together to raise a happy, healthy little boy.