Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Snuggly Babies & Good Friends

Snuggling with Kai on the couch, who told me he wanted to cuddle with me "forever and ever" while I exchanged smiles with Willa over his shoulder. I love my babies so very much!

Watching Kai and his friend Niamh (pronounced "Neeve") hold hands while jumping on our bed. And then jumping off our bed, onto a pile of blankets and pillows they put on the floor. So precious. And so neat how these kids keep on growing up together!

Giggling on the couch with Kai, which made Willa giggle, which caused Kai and I to giggle even more.

Willa just absolutely digging her feet and her hands. She stares, mesmerized, at them saying, "ba! ba! ba!" over and over again.

A community of the most amazing women in the world. Wonderful mothers who take care of one another and one another's families in such beautiful and unexpected and truly life-saving ways. Just amazing. I'm really, really blessed. Like crazy blessed. I never knew that an email list would become my extended family. It is truly amazing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Blessings

My new tradition for starting my week off in gratitude. In no particular order:

1. Rockin' knitting lessons from Laura H.
2. A really affirming coaching phone call with Carrie, author of my favorite blog, The Parenting Passageway.
3. Friends who support my personal growth as a parent and as a human being.
4. My first real encounter with the joy of thrift stores.
5. All the knitting and embroidery supplies I have and am getting from my grandma via my mom. Nice to feel like I have her back again.
6. Really nice neighbors.
7. A snuggly 4 month old Willa.
8. The beautiful bedtimes and wakeups Kai and I have been experiencing lately.
9. The pleasure of washing dishes.
10. Quiet moments.
I was planning to write ten, but on a night of cold hardwood floors, I couldn't leave out
11. My LL Bean slippers.


Friday, November 19, 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual, inspired by SouleMama "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Path to Smoother Days

Pick the part of the day that feels most broken and consider how you can make it magical.

When Willa was born and we were short a staff member at the studio, Bob was working even more than the crazy schedule he normally keeps. And I was doing wakeup to bedtime solo for most of the week. With a 2.5 year old and a newborn. Yikes. It still sounds terrifying to me!

And it was for a time. There were nights when all three of us cried. Which broke my heart just a bit, because I have worked hard since Kai was born to make sleep a peaceful, loving, nurturing event. He was a child who actually got excited about bedtime most nights before Willa joined us. We never did CIO and were totally comfortable nursing or cuddling him to sleep all along. So three people crying their way through bedtime was, well, excruciating for me. And sad for Kai.

But it just did not work for me to tandem nurse Kai and Willa to sleep. I tried it and I felt like all of my life force and energy were being pulled from me. It was too much for me to give.

So I spent a lot of time and thought on the subject of a peaceful, loving bedtime. I needed to be able to be up and carrying Willa in a carrier while nursing her. That was our best bet for a bedtime that met her need for being held and for nursing, while also meeting Kai's need for a bedtime free of a screaming infant.

I pulled out a lovely book of bedtime meditations for children that I have used for kids' yoga classes in the past.

I simplified and shortened our routine and made it very, very consistent night after night.

Kai and I both still miss snuggling up at bedtime until he falls asleep, but I am thrilled to say that he once again looks forward to bedtime, as do I. Most nights that I am solo, both he and Willa fall asleep in 3-20 minutes. On the now rare occasions, like tonight, when Willa is just too fussy to allow me to share meditations wtih him, he tends to fall asleep in the two minutes it takes me to walk her around the house and calm her down.

More often, though, after we finish stories or cuddling, nursing for two minutes in the living room, pajamas and teeth, we head to the bedroom and he has some water, then snuggles down under a blanket, says "bippity boppity boo!" while I turn out the lights. I then light a candle and share the "Bedtime Bless" as he calls it:
Bless my pillow, bless my bed
Bless me, too, from toes to head
Bless the earth, the sun, the air
And bless the children everywhere.
I read about Kai's special star, his own special garden, the animals that come to drink at a watering hold in his garden, the old tree that lives there. And he drifts to sleep, repeating back to me things like the fact that tonight his star is purple or the giraffe whose back he rides upon is blue.

I keep coming back to the idea that I want this time in my children's lives to be full of magic and wonder....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting back to blogging....

Now that Willa is with us, I am struck daily by the different demands of parenting babies versus parenting toddlers. The first is all physical - exhausting to be sure, but almost mindless once you have experienced it. The latter....well, mentally demanding 24/7.

A friend wrote this week for brainstorming advice about Gentle Discipline. It got me to thinking - it's really time to start posting again. I'm on a journey that often challenges me. A journey toward parenting in a way that teaches with love and kindness and respect and authority. A journey into myself, really, because if I let it, parenting has this way of magnifying whatever limitations I have and demanding that I address them.

For today, a brief synopsis. The business we started a little over a year ago continues to go well. Our startup debt terrifies us sometimes, but we are not going deeper, we have successfully supported ourselves with just the business income from day one, and things look hopeful for a business loan to consolidate our debt and provide us some working capital and space to breathe a little.

Our plans to homeschool continue to deepen and solidify. For early childhood education, some aspects of Waldorf strongly appeal. An emphasis on rhythm in our home, seasons, the natural world.

Yep. I continue to nurse Kai, two to three times per day. Tandem nursing is an interesting experience. Glad to still be offering Kai this touchstone, also glad for the limits I have set to make it work for all of us.

I'm wildly imperfect in my parenting and striving to accept and embrace that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kai and Lauren, when Kai is Two

Kai is now two years old.

He loves to paint and draw and do glue and sand painting. He makes "lara bar cookies" with dates and cashews in the food processor and his own pizzas in small pizza pans. He loves to do projects - like dying silk playscarves or making our own playdough. And to wear said playscarves around his neck like a cape while he runs around yelling "watch out, chicken coming!" or plays the game that he "invented" - red light/green light.

He is obsessed with the way things are put together and how they work. He was more interested in disassembling a friend's easel than drawing on it with chalk. He did all of the hex screwing for his toddler table and chairs from Ikea and for his sling bookshelf.

After weeks or months of thinking of crazy ideas and telling me "that would be silly" or "that would be funny" he moved on to saying "that would be oh my goodness!" and more recently "that would be very Happy Birthday!"

True to the job description of a two year old he is very skilled at testing limits. Mostly I find this entertaining. Sometimes I am tired and my own limits feel tested.

His little sister continues to grow happily and well in my belly, which sometimes feels as though it is getting bigger by the hour. When I was pregnant with Kai, I just wanted him to hurry up and join us in this world already. With Willa...well, some part of me would be okay if she wanted to just hang around in my belly until she was twenty and ready to be on her own.

We opened a personal training studio in September, and have been reliant solely on Bob's income since then. The business is thriving. And we have lots of debt financing that makes even owning a thriving new business a total roller coaster ride. Relying entirely on income from sales is not for the faint of heart. We are generally happy but will be less anxious when the studio reaches full capacity (we are at 85/120 right now), and then when we pay down our start up debt and build up our savings again.

Lately I have been feeling restless. A friend calls it SAHM syndrome. I am not struggling with any issues of identity loss - I'm feeling more myself as a stay at home mom than I ever did in former professions. I do, however, feel this sense that I should be producing something. My tasks and daily life are so process oriented and what I do make (food, projects to do with Kai, plans for future homeschooling) are mostly consumable. Many are witnessed by a two year old only and no other adults. Triumphs are in interactions and self-mastery. I recognize that I am also in the process of growing another child right now. But I'm feeling itchy for something that brings immediate satisfaction. Something tangible I can see and say hey, that's me, I did that. Like a book or a blog or an I don't what. But I don't want the associated pressure of it. I don't need any manufactured anxiety about what I'm supposed to be doing or producing on a daily basis, as I already have plenty to do in the course of a day!

Anyway. That's a quick snapshot of Kai and of me at this moment in time. We are generally happy, we miss Bob a lot and look forward to the day in our future when we realize it's time to hire a manager at the studio so he can back off working so many hours. That day is not today, but it will come.