Thursday, April 28, 2011

"You feel this way because you're a parent."

"You're right. You are absolutely right. Cars are not safe for children. Ok, neither are bookcases or squirrels, strong winds, people who sneeze. They're all going to get your baby. But honey you don't feel this was because you were in an accident. You feel this way because you are a parent." -Dr. Miranda Bailey, Grey's Anatomy

Tonight on Grey's, Callie freaked out when it was time for her and baby Sofia to go home.  She said it wasn't safe for her out there.  That the last time she was in a car (in utero) they were both almost killed. (Maybe someone should tell Callie about how rear facing is 5 times safer!)  To which Dr. Bailey replied with the quote listed above.

What parent doesn't feel that way?  In a world of natural disasters, predators, household dangers, and other various scary things, how couldn't you?
As a mom, I have experienced many worries.

I've worried about if Ayes is eating enough.
I've worried about if I might accidentally drop Ayla (when she was an infant...although it is more likely I'll drop her now at her whopping 30 lbs!)
I've worried about Ayla breathing right while she's sleeping (I think she'll be 15, and I'll still be checking her breathing).
I've worried about how Boo would do with Ayla, and then about how Oscar would do when we brought him home.
I've worried about Ayla falling off the couch.
I've worried about Ayla pinching her fingers in her high chair (and am very sorry that I accidentally pinched her pudgy belly just days ago).
I've worried about a random hair getting tangled around her toe, causing near loss of the toe.
I've worried about my inability to breastfeed her successfully.
I've worried about not holding her enough (but never worried about holding her too much!)
I've worried about how she will adjust to daycare.
I've worried about her growing up too fast.

To sum it up, I've pretty much worried about every bookshelf, squirrel, and gust of wind since the day she was born almost 2 years ago.  

But I've very happy to report that she hasn't been attacked by any squirrels lately.

She has had bumps and bruises.
She's suffered through teething.
She's gotten mad many times for not getting what she wants (candy?) when she wants it (right now!)
She has peed through countless diapers.
She has tasted dog poop (how have I never written a blog about that story...mini blog story to follow soon!)
She has found a hidden sippy cup and taken a drink, to which she replied "Old."  (Note to organic milk mamas: it doesn't take more than a few hours for organic milk to get nasty.  Gold star of freshness-lack of preservatives and other junk in it!)

She is happy, healthy, funny, spirited, intelligent, and a million other amazing adjective words.
I still worry about her growing up too fast.

Note to mommies everywhere:  Stop worrying so much!  You're doing a good job!  You love your baby, protect your baby, and you know how to the do the job you've been tasked with.  Go kiss those sweet cheeks and breathe in that fresh baby smell while it lasts!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You scream, I scream. Eventually, we laugh.

There are days like today when I feel like a bad mom.  I feel impatient.  I feel at wit's end.  Sometimes I feel like I've exhausted every option I can think of to change a situation whether it be Ayla running from me when we get home rather than come inside or how to get her to be still for 30 seconds to change her diaper.

We had to run to Target for diapers this evening, which was an ordeal, let me tell ya.  First, Ayes leaked through a pair of stupid pull-up training pants (which she hadn't even been wearing for more than an hour!) and refused to hold still long enough to let me change her.  Kicking, rolling, standing and jumping, letting her whole body go limp.  Stern mommy voice.  Held her kicking feet.  She screamed, I screamed back.  She didn't like that, so she pinched my lips shut.  I tried not to laugh.  Finally made it through the whole getting changed bit.


And then came time to go to the car.  She love to make a mad dash across our yard in any direction except towards the car.  To her, it is a game.  I don't mind the whole "chase me" game EXCEPT when we're headed to the car.  We live on a corner, so we are surrounded by street.  Street=cars=danger.  I counted.  I waited patiently for her to come back to me while she was in a safe proximity.  I talked in mean mommy voice.  Honestly, I wanted to swoop her up and swat her heinie.  Spanking/hitting/swatting are on my no-no list-I don't agree with it, but boy I wanted to in that frustrated mama moment.

So all that frustration sinks in, and I feel like a bad mom.  I feel guilty because I don't feel like I enjoy being a parent.  I do enjoy it (most of the time).  Don't expect me to blow sunshine up your arse because I'm not into the whole game of pretending that mommyhood is pure bliss.  It isn't and anyone that says it is is a) lying or b) medicated.  (I can say this because I've been medicated...but even then I still wouldn't tell you its all sunshine and puppies).  Sometimes I just want her to sleep in. Sometimes I just want a break.  Sometimes I cop out and let her do something less than educational, such as our recent adventures in repeated showings of Toy Story 3.  (Hey, she still loves books!)

Ayla's favorite part.  When "Freak Out" begins she grins ear-to-ear.  Then when the scene ends she yells, "'gain, again, again!"  Rinse, repeat.

In just an instant, it all turns around.  She does something sweet, such as snuggle up to me while we're sitting on the couch.  

Just yesterday, we were headed home.  Most days we have conversations as I'm driving.  I totally forget what we were talking about, but she replied, "Okie dokie," to something I said.  So I said, "Okie dokie."

The 5-minute conversation that followed went something like this:
Me: "Okie dokie."
Her: (laughs, then pauses) "Okie dokie."
Me: "Okie dokie"
Her: (laughs, then pauses) "Okie dokie."
Me: "Okie dokie."
Her: (laughs, then pauses) "Okie dokie."
Me: "Okie dokie"
Her: (laughs, then pauses) "Okie dokie."


We were both laughing our butts off!  Then she made a grunting (poop!) noise, so I asked her, "Are you pooping?" 

She said, "I do! (pause) Potty."  I said, "Poop."  We then had another lengthy conversation.
Me: "Poop?"
Her: "Potty."
Me: "Poop?"
Her: "Potty." 
Me: "Poop?"
Her: "Potty." 

Those simple silly conversations made my day.

Tonight, when she was stalling the inevitable of bedtime, she went through the usual routine.  Run around the room, acting silly.  Bring me books.  Listen to them.  Tell me "rock" so I'll rock with her in the rocking chair.  She'll also tell me "water," the oldest stalling trick in the book.

As we were rocking, she looked at me and said, "Timmy. Lisa.  Grandma.  Toys!"  Just last week she went to (Danielle's) Grandma's house to pick up Timmy.  Of course she loved it there and had a total blast.  She kept repeating her memory to me tonight. "Timmy.  Lisa.  Grandma.  Toys!"  Then, clear as day (not a trace of baby talk in her voice), "Grandma's house."  My baby used her first possessive noun!  Aww, what a proud day in a Mama's life!

Now, I can lay my head on my pillow feeling less frustrated and less like the bad, impatient mama I feel like on so many occasions.  Now I can tuck these sweet and sour memories in my heart so when she's sassing me as a teenager, I can go on a mental vacation to the sweet moments when mama was the best person ever in the whole wide universe.  Either that or I'll think back on those sour moments and decide that 5:30 am on a Saturday morning is a fine time for my young lady Ayla to get her behind out of bed and busy doing chores, such as scrubbing the grout.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teen Mom(s)

Surely by now, many of you have heard of 17-year-old Gaby Rodriguez's social experiment.  Long story short, the teen pretended to be pregnant.  Unbeknown to her classmates, teachers, and family (except her mom, boyfriend, and school principal) she was gauging the reaction and support (or lack of) she'd receive during what would is probably one of the most challenging times of any woman's (teenager or not) life.  She stood before her school and shared some of the rumors she'd heard about herself before she took off the baby belly and shared her presentation called "Stereotypes, rumors, and statistics."

Wow.  

People said the nastiest things about her.  She was left feeling "alone and ashamed."  Even with a high GPA, many felt as though she wouldn't finish school or go on to college.

Way to go society.

Here's the deal.  Some local high schools have daycare for teen moms.  People like to piss and moan about it, saying that it encourages teen pregnancy.

What?!

What about this, instead?  It encourages young mothers to get an education that will open doors for them to professional careers and college.  In the long run, those educated mamas will be able to support themselves and their child.  Did they make a mistake?  Perhaps.  I don't feel like that's my job to make that call.  But I think that we do a disservice to these young ladies by shunning them and judging their choice.  They get to be ridiculed for being a teenage mom, but guess what?  They didn't have an abortion, which I'm sure as hell would make people a lot more upset.  Except those moms do it in secret and live with the pain and sometimes shame for years to come.  They just don't get the public ridicule with their secret decision.

How many adults do you know who "whoops" got pregnant?

I'm one of them.  I spent plenty of time "playing with fire" so to speak.  Months after getting on birth control, I got pregnant.  Go figure.  And I have to say, sadly, that I feel like I even faced some of the same types of judgment that teen moms go through.  Only I was a 25-year-old college educated woman with a career.  Shame on me.  Of course the shame people project on to me for being an unmarried mother is just as bad.  I often call Brandon my husband to avoid having to tell the boring story of how I didn't want to be 6 months pregnant in a wedding dress.  I didn't want my wedding to be like that (no offense to anyone who did it that way, if that's what they wanted).  Would it have been better for Brandon and I to have gotten married out of societal pressure and end up divorced a year later?  I think we deserve to be commended, dammit.  We may have done things out of order, according to some, but we have built our relationship, learned how to argue, and raised a smart, happy well-adjusted little girl together.  And now we're planning our wedding.

My whole point is this.  If every person that spent their precious time, energy, resources, and breath complaining helping young mothers instead, perhaps things would be different.

Maybe if we actually sucked it up and had good sex education (read: NOT abstinence only...we can see that's NOT working) programs in our schools, we'd be empowering young men and women to avoid pregnancy until they have planned for it and help them avoid other consequences (STDs) of sex with multiple partners, unprotected sex, or sex before they're really ready.

I think the greatest gift we can give others is the empowerment to do well for themselves (after all isn't that what teaching is all about?).  If we pretend pregnant teens don't exist, then we are guaranteeing ourselves that many more people to potentially need to support with our tax dollars.

Day care for teen moms now?  Or welfare later?  You decide.  Make your judgments wisely.  After all, you've made mistakes before right?  Who's to say that your mistakes were any greater or lesser than another's?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shortcomings, to-do's, and mom thoughts

My laundry pile never seems to get smaller.  

The dishes pile up about as quickly as the laundry does.  

My gas tank seems to be on the empty side more often than the full side.  

I wish it was easy to keep my fridge full of fresh (local or organic if possible) produce and meat (which I can never find local and the organic is a joke from what I've been able to gather).  

My master bathroom is in need of a good sweepin' and moppin', but that's not happening tonight. 

Ayla's toys get strewn across the living room/dining room/house before I can pick them up.  

I don't believe in making my bed--never have.  Since it is getting slept in just a handful of hours later, anyway.  

My wardrobe should be overhauled, but I can't bring myself to get rid of anything because it is so sparse from lack of clothes that fit.  

I am constantly thinking of ways to educate my daughter and make sure she is well-fed, well-rounded, healthy, and happy.  

We have piss ants.  Man, they piss me off! They especially angered me when they attacked my box of Honey Bunches O' Oats. 

Ayla peed through her pull-up while in her car seat.  She peed through it because she refused to get her diaper changed before I took her 30 lb. self to go walk the bridge.  Anyway, I had to pull the cover off her car seat, which is good because it needed washed in a bad way anyhow.  The straps don't come out of the car seat (which is good because people would probably improperly reassemble the straps), which means I had to hand wash them to get the pee out, then Febreze them to give them a nice fresh scent.

My cute new rug from Ikea is all bunched up in a wad because my dogs and toddler do strange things to it (don't know how, really).

Even though Ayla is almost 2 and sleeps great (except this recent waking-up-crying-teething thing), I still check on her before I go to bed.  And if I spend time watching TV or blogging or reading while in bed, I have to go back and check on her again before I "officially" go to bed.

I also have a career, which keeps me away from all of these things for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (at least).

Before my October wedding, I hope to lose 15-25 pounds, hopefully more on the 25 side.  So I'm tracking calories and carbs and interval running between getting my period and my frequent migraines.

Ever ask a mama what's on her mind and get the eyes glazed over expression on her face?  This is why!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tiger Mama vs. Sloth Mama

So apparently, Amy Chua wrote a memoir all about her role as a Tiger Mom.  At first, I was confused, with all the popular discussion of "cougars."  Those two things, in fact, are not at all remotely related.  




versus


Cougar?



Back to Amy, good ol' Amy.  Her parenting philosophy is, according to her, Chinese mothering.  This basically means that your child has to be the best at everything.  They must be 2 years ahead in math.  They must play an instrument, but only the piano or violin.  They must practice at least 3 hours a day.  It means there is no room for failure, and there certainly is no allowance for showing pride in your child's accomplishments.  No sleepovers, no TV, no choice in extracurriculars.  And no complaining.  And yet, according to her (and said children), her children are happy, well-adjusted, and grew up feeling loved.
Enter Sloth Mama...


Which then brings us to "sloth moms," which I suppose are meant to be the antithesis of a "tiger mom."   A mom who "where kids learn to fend for themselves at an early age by scavenging for Pop Tarts and get lavished with praise for simple (yet completely practical) things like putting their shoes on the right feet and flushing the toilet."

Who has it right?  Do we book our children's lives with activities that we deem "worthy" and only accept winning?  


Or do we reward behaviors for things that should be done for the sake of being done?


I'm not going to slam either mother for her beliefs, yet I can't agree with either.


I want my daughter to be involved in activities, but I want them to interest her.  I'm a big fan of making kids "stick it out" when something doesn't turn out the way they hoped.  For instance, if Ayla ever wanted to join a soccer team, that would be a-okay.  If she wanted to quit mid-season, that wouldn't be (unless it was an extreme circumstance).  


I want my daughter to be successful and take ownership of her learning.  But I also want her to know that if she put 100% effort into something and came out of it with a "C" or an "honorable mention" (or nothing!), that would be okay.


I think that activities build character and teach important life lessons.  I think that learning to love the journey and make it through to the other side of a challenge should be its own reward.   I often talk about how my goal in school was to make the grade, which was usually a pretty simple task.  (In all seriousness, missing 50% of my high school career presented its own challenges, but academics weren't a struggle for me).  The situations I grew and learned the most from were when my best wasn't what I found to be acceptable.  #1.  I struggled in college math courses.  I had to start at the lowest level of prep and work my way up.  I had to study for hours, literally, on end in order to succeed in math.  But I actually learned how to work for something; I learned how to understand the math I was doing (but please don't ask me if I remember now!)
#2. I took Communications 1 in college with a professor, Mark McBride (number 4 on this list).  He knew I was a good writer, but he pushed me to refine it more and more.  My first draft, which was always "good" and acceptable to past teachers was not good enough for him.  He saw my potential.


Here's my point...my hope is that I will find a balance.  I want to push Ayla, but I don't want to push her over the edge.  I want to give her freedom, but I want to give her boundaries.  Success is important and so is having a happy childhood.  There are so many gifts in the day-to-day that are important, so it is important to have downtime.  But there are so many things that are worth working for, striving towards.  I want to give Ayla roots, but I also want to give her wings. 


And I don't want to piss her off too much because I'm counting on her to keep me out of the nursing home when I'm old.

Readers, please share with me in a comment below:
What kind of mom are you?  What's your parenting philosophy?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Talk to Me!

You know you've seen her.  That mom.  You know, the one who is talking to her baby, having a full-on conversation about what she's buying while grocery shopping and talking about the big white truck while walking through the parking lot.

Who does that?  I mean, they can't talk back anyway!
I'll tell you who does that-a good parent does that.  

For some parents, talking to their infants is instinctual, while for others it is painful and unnatural.  I, for one, felt extremely uncomfortable talking to the belly.  It just seemed unusual to me...like I didn't know what to say.  But the brilliant thing about talking to an infant is that you don't have to talk about anything in particular, you can talk about anything and everything.

I won't get into a full-on research paper here with MLA citations and sources, but I know what I'm talking about.  After all, I am an early childhood major.  Brain development, learning through play (REAL learning), and developmental milestones in a child as he/she develops cognitively...those things are my forte.  Maybe my love and passion in parenthood connects to my love and passion for the things I understand oh-so-well.
Speaking to a baby as she grows is so critical to her language development.  We take for granted all the little things we know in our day-to-day language, such as opposites (big/little, hot/cold), colors (is that red or is that orange?), and even the nuances of language such as the intonation we use.  By talking to a baby, you are actually preparing her for the rhythms and patterns in conversation. 

It might go something like this, a conversation I overheard yesterday at Publix:
"You see that truck?"
Pause.
"Yes, that's a big truck like Uncle Billy's.  That truck is white, but Uncle Billy's is red."

I wanted to walk up to her and say, "Way to go Mama!  Keep up the good work!"
As your baby grows older, she might even begin to coo in response to the conversation you're having.

"What should we have for dinner?  Should we have grilled chicken and steamed greens?"
"Oooohh gagaaaaaaaaa..."
"I agree, a grilled cheese sounds much better, but I think we should stick to the diet if Mommy is ever going to wear non-maternity clothes again."
"Baaaaaaaaaaamamamama."
"Thank you baby, I know you think Mama is pretty just the way she is."
(Go ahead, laugh.  It was funny).

For me, one of the great highlights of babyhood and language development was using sign language to help A learn to express herself before she became more verbal.  She knew (and used regularly) the following signs: milk, please, more, eat, water, juice, all done/finished.
Then came the string of words ranging from Mama to Boo to "hep me" to "more" to my personal favorite, "no" and so on.  

So the conversation turned into this:
"Who do you love?"
"Mama, Papa, Danielle, Boo, Okkie (Oskie), Nana, Gpa (said just like it looks.  G. Pa.)"
"What do you want, milk or juice?"
"Juice."
"What do you want, juice or milk?"
"Milk." (This is fun game to play..."What do you want?  _____ or _____?"  She'll always pick the last thing you said).

You talk, and they listen.  They babble, and you listen.  But one day, they start talking with you.  And before you know it, they're talking back. (Yeah...)

Tonight, I met up with two girlfriends at a coffee shop, and when we went to leave and give hugs to say goodbye, I put A down.  She was holding her blankie and her owl from Ti Ti.  When we got to the car, I noticed that the owl was missing.  

She said, "Find, find," so we got out of the car and retraced her steps.   When we discovered owl hidden under a table outside, she grabbed it, grinned ear-to-ear, and proclaimed, "I found it!"

The beauty of talking to your baby...how amazing to be able to give them an entire language, a vocabulary, a way to use their voice to express themselves.  Just by talking to them.  And never, ever, ever stopping (except to listen).

PS: I know some of you have also seen that dad, the one who does exactly what I mentioned mom doing above.  For sure, I have witnessed that dad because Ayes has one that talks her ear off.  I don't like it-I love it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Birth: I want a say...

Giving birth in a hospital isn't the experience many women, including myself, hoped it would be.  Many envision a different experience, based on the Mama's lovely tour prior to giving birth in said hospital.  Many of us walk away...disappointed.  Disenchanted.  Powerless.

In November, my sister-in-law Jessica gave birth at home (HBAC-home birth after Cesarean)  to my beautiful new little niece E.  Jess had a less than great experience with the premature birth of her second child, my sweet nephew, W when he was born via c-section.  And of course I have to mention wonderful little N, my very first niece (no nephews before W too) who was born shortly after we moved to this beautiful sunny part of the country.  Back to Jess.  She worked closely with a midwife who monitored her nutrition and exercise closely so she wouldn't have baby #3 prematurely like she did with #2.  Jess didn't gain more than 25 lbs (if I'm not mistaken), and she was in her sister's wedding just days after E was born.  She looks better than she ever has (but that's not the point).  The point is this:  she had the birth experience she desired.  In fact, E was only born a couple weeks before she was due (which happens all the time with the number of scheduled births in this country).


I saw a funny bumper sticker on zazzle recently.  It read, "Top 5 ways to avoid a c-section. Stay. Away. From. The. Hospital."


At this point, I haven't fully delved into the world of birth, but when I feel brave enough I want to finish watching 1. The Business of Being Born and 2. Pregnant in America.  (Both stream on Netflix for interested parties).  


Here's what I can tell you: I felt so out of control of my own birth experience, and I wish and dream for a different kind of birth (that I'll probably never have, sadly).


My pregnancy is considered high risk.  My RSD is a neuro-muscular chronic pain disease, which can be exacerbated by childbirth.  Chronic pain.  The amount of suffering involved in most RSD patients lives is beyond words.  In my own life, I could say the same.  It has taken so much from me, and it could've taken so much more.  My birth experience will probably be one of the moments in life I don't get to decide much about because of it.  


The wonderful thing about pregnancy is that many RSD patients experience less pain during those months of pregnancy than normal (however we still experience more pain than the 'typical' pregnant woman).  But childbirth is tricky.  C-section?  No way.  If I were to have a c-section, it would probably cause me a severe relapse in my RSD.  Am I in remission?  No.  But I'm probably as close as I'll ever get.  I can't imagine how my family would suffer if I were to ever have a C because I would probably never be able to function the way I do now.  I know what it is like to be bed-ridden and suicidal-never again.  But having a natural, unmedicated birth is also not in the cards for me.  Having the experience of a typical birth and all the pain it can involve (even with other pain management techniques as a possibility) could also cause my RSD to go berserk.   From what I know and have learned over the years is that having the most pain-free birth possible is what is in the best interest of my health.


Sadly, this means an epidural.  I've had countless hundreds and thousands of nerve injections in my face, neck, and spine.  I've had epidurals in my neck, mid-spine, and even ones in the pregnancy typical epidural area, so I am not afraid-I knew exactly what to expect before I got mine on "birth day."  With an epidural comes pitocin, a cath, and many other "fun" interventions.


It isn't what I want, but I want to be able to be a mom to Ayla and any children I might be blessed with someday.


I don't like to think about how I don't get to plan how I want my birth to go.  I know things don't always go according to plan, but imagine going to a restaurant and having only one thing to pick from the menu.  Doesn't feel like much of a "choice" does it?


My perfect birth scenario would involve a home birth...a midwife working with a skilled ob-gyn, and of course the loving support of my friends and family present just as they were last time.  A home birth with an epidural.  A chance to not be rushed and pushed and pressured through what should be such an awesome, joyous day.


Nothing will take away the joy I have from the day Ayla was born, but the hours prior to her birth and what I experienced is not my favorite tale to tell.


With all the advances in medicine we have and the desire and demand many women have for a birth experience outside of the "norm" that we are pushed to have (only be in labor so-and-so many hours, push for only so many minutes, etc) in the big business of hospital birth in America, you would think there would be another option for mothers with high risk pregnancies. 


I just wish there was a way for me to have my say.  Someone let me know if you find out the magical answer.  I'll make you brownies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Parents say they don't extended rear-face because...

# 7. The recommendation is to turn them around right at 1 year or 20 lbs.

Wrong:  First of all, the old recommendation was to rear face until 1 year AND 20 lbs.  It was not meant as a deadline, but rather as a MINIMUM guideline.  Secondly, the recommendation has *officially* changed to age 2, although it has been suggested and recommended for much longer than that, as many ERFing (extended rear-facing) moms know!

#6. One mother states that she lives in Florida and it gets "intensely hot" in cars.  

Yes, yes it does. 

*Sidenote: The risk and fear of new parents leaving their babies in the car, especially in those early sleepless days or the days when routine changes is great.  So great, in fact, Brandon and I have a check-in system where when either one of us drops off or picks up Ayes, we call or text one another.  Every. Single. Time.  We still do, even though Ayla is nearly 2.
 
However, if my car is 100° when my child is rear-facing, it will STILL be 100° when my child is forward facing.  Besides, this probably can/will be solved in a couple ways.  #1. Air conditioning will start to circulate while driving (or some who may choose to "cool down" their car ahead of time kind of like those up North have to "warm up" their cars).  #2. When the windows get rolled down (since we all don't have A/C), the air will circulate.  I promise your child will be okay, even if he/she gets sweaty.  I can say this because B's car hasn't had working air conditioning since before I met him.  Does Ayla ever get sweaty?  Yes.  Good thing since sweating is the body's way of cooling itself off.

#5. "My child cries/screams/whines." 

Yes, some children may cry when you put them in their car seat.  Most children don't really care for being buckled in.  Ayla doesn't like it, and I can tell you that I don't care.  Don't get me wrong, I love her, but I love her enough to do what is the safest choice possible.  Rear-facing seats are 5 times safer in a crash.  In fact, rear-facing car seats are so safe, they have become known as "orphan seats."  As sad as that is, it brings to light that children who sit rear-facing (properly, of course) tend to be the sole survivors of such bad accidents.  I would hate to leave my child behind if we were in such an accident, but I would be smiling down from Heaven to see that she got the chance at the rest of her life.

#4. "My child is tall.  My child's legs are too long.  His/her legs are all scrunched up.  What if he/she breaks his/her legs?" 

Most children do not spend their days and nights with their legs sticking out direct in front of them or bent at that perfect 90 degree angle that parents think they're blessing their children with when forward facing.  Many children sit criss-cross applesauce or with their legs tucked under them or some other strange way because toddlers are flexible.  Seriously, pay attention to your todder and how he/she sits and moves.

Secondly, my daughter is very tall.  She is, in fact, taller than all her similarly-aged friends (that I know of).  She has always been in the 90-95th percentile for her height.  She fits beautifully in her Graco MyRide 65.  Also, if you search the web for "extended rear-facing photos" you will find a slew, including those found here

There hasn't been a single reported incident of a child breaking his/her legs or hips in an accident when rear-facing.  Broken legs?  Fixable.  Broken neck?  Lifelong or fatal damage, in most cases.  Rear-facing absorbs the impact on a child's entire body in an accident.

Seriously, people, their legs are fine.

#3. "I can't see him/her."

Shouldn't you be watching the road?  Even though they aren't recommended (because they could be caused to eject and hit someone in a crash), get yourself one of those little mirrors if you're worried that much.  I'll bet that even if it flew off and smacked your baby in the head, it would still be entirely less damaging than internal decapitation, which can occur in forward facing accidents.

#2. "What if we're rear-ended?"

Only 4% of severe accidents were reported as being rear or rear offset crashes versus frontal and frontal offset accounting for 72%.  But if that doesn't work for you, check out this mom's story of her serious rear impact accident and how her rear-facing daughter walked away with scrapes, the most minimal injuries of all in the car that day.

#1. "I can't afford a fancy rear-facing seat."  
Many convertible car seats today accommodate rear-facing until 35-40 lbs!  If you can't afford a $150-$300 seat, that is understandable.  However, with all the gadgets and gizmos we can afford (IPhone, internet, cable, dining out, daily coffee runs, etc.), can we afford NOT to protect our children?  If there was only ONE baby item that you could invest in, this would be the one.  Besides, you don't have to spend oodles of dough to protect your child.  This Cosco Scenera runs about $50 at Target and can even be found on sale for around $40.  It rear faces to 40 lbs just like its more expensive counterparts.  There are, of course, differences between this seat and the more expensive ones (I know because I own a Scenera too!), but at the end of the day if you're rear-facing your child, they are SAFER.  Much, much safer!

Why don't we rear-face?  Why do so many parents view it as a milestone proving how "advanced and brilliant" their child is?  

We baby-proof, putting socket covers in all our outlets.  400 people (not just children) a year die from electrocution in the home.  Car accidents kill approximately 260,000 children each year and injure 10 million.  20% of those children are toddlers.

I love my daughter enough to be the "uncool mom," spend the money, potentially upset her, cause her to bend her little legs (isn't that what knees are for?), be sweaty, and not see her pretty little face if it protects her 5 times better in an accident.  With that brings the promise of many more days and years of seeing her lovely smile.
Taking a drink after a fun trip to the park
She isn't a baby anymore! (But she'll always be MY baby!)
Look at those looooooooong legs.  Doesn't she look SO uncomfortable? (insert sarcastic snicker here)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Becoming a mama, one month at a time.

October 2008
 November 2008
December 2008
 25th birthday
 Date unknown (but don't I look cute?)
 January 2009
 February 2009
 March 2009 (with my sweet Boo girl)
 March 20, 2009.  Photo by the talented Paul Carman
 Buddha belly
 We thought we loved her then.
 April 2009
 Later in April (yes, that's my belly button, but no, it didn't pop all the way out actually)
 Date unknown (but isn't Molly cute?)
 May 2009
 A week or two later...
 Henna belly done at 7 months by the amazing Jessica Martin.
 Baby BBQ. April 2009.
 Walking the beach, trying to get labor going just days before Ayla's birth.
 A peaceful moment in between being told to do squats-ha!
 Ayla's birthday!
 Resting before the "big show." (Note baby all the way on my right side)
 She was born just two hours later.
Bye-bye belly, hello baby!