Be Kind, Fall

I had one of the best summers I have had in years. I never had a moment where I wished the tiny humans were back in school. I never sat bored. I never felt the annoyance of heat and humidity. I basically didn’t lose my shit with the burdens that

Tiny Humans at The Lake
Tiny Humans at The Lake

summertime brings parents, working parents, students, or humans. It was a summertime that made some semblance of sense, or kind of, maybe. I am working on adulting 2.0.

Granted I did this summer with a tremendous amount of help, stable housing, financial stability, and wait for it… I did not have an infant, and I did not write a thesis, or read a 172 zoning ordinances, I did not take a summer class, and I did not commute an hour, or buy a house, or nurse a baby, and I did not organize weeks and weeks of childcare, or spend even a minute of it looking for company, because my friends were in abundance.

I cherished my friendships more than ever this summer. It was the first time in many years that I felt like I had the time to spend with friends. I ate so many salads. I drank so many coffees (and diet cokes), and beers. We cooked so many meals. We talked and texted for hours. I had so many late night phone dates. A morning turned into afternoons, and dinnertime was on lake time. We texted about nothing and everything until the early morning hours. I ignored naptimes and bedtimes in the spirit of friendship and summertime.

I exercised my academic mind with part-time work six minutes from my house at the College. I watched the tiny humans grow into water babies. (The tiniest one now walks straight into the water with double “floaties” and thinks she can go as deep as she wants.) I watched as their bravery wowed me.

Granny and her tiny humans doing summer.
Granny and her tiny humans doing summer.

I watched as their friendships grew. She asked between tears, “when will I see my Lake friends again? You Mamas only get together when we are at school.” “I do not know my sweetness, I do not know. Soon. Columbus Day. Let’s have a Halloween party!” It stopped her tears for a moment, at least before the inevitable

More Tiny Humans doing summer.
More Tiny Humans doing summer.

night-before-the-first-day-of-school meltdown.

Well Fall, professionally you have already been embraced (#slideone), but lets face some facts. You are knocking me down hard tonight. I am trying to adult (the thirties version), I now have all of the things to do, I will forget to check in on my friends this fall, and I will miss so many tiny human moments. Be kind, Fall. We are returning from a pretty epic season, and we will miss our friends.

Keep Them Close

My tiniest human has a new phrase of words. She says, “up in birds.” We call our Chloe Tula “birds” because there are birds on it. She loves being up. It is her happy place. (Unless she wants to run in the street in front of traffic. Then I am the meanest mama on the face planet for putting her up in Birds.) I did not realize when I first started wearing her that it would become her safe haven. She likes ups even with mama friends who look after her, and with childcare providers . She likes to feel snug against the adult who will protect her. Her knowledge for finding security provides her and I tremendous comfort.

I worry about the day when she won’t want ups. I already catch glimpses when she says, “down” or “play.” I know my days of wrapping her against me and keeping her from harm are limited, and I need to cherish these days. I know someday “walk” will be her default response, and “ups” will be forgotten.

One of my dear friends, Ginger Snaps Pictures, captured this picture and it embodies what it means to carry my youngest baby. She is snuggled into my back. She is smiling at the wishes of a dandelion.

Dandelion Wishes, by Ginger Snaps
Dandelion Wishes, by Ginger Snaps

She is safe, and warm, and happy. She is with her Momma. Babies belong to their mommas, and this baby is happy to belong to me.

As the longest days turn to into the shortest years I hope she will remember our connection. I hope she will look fondly on these pictures and carry her own babies. I wish for her that the security, confidence, and contentment of always knowing her mama will be there is passed down to my future generations. I wish for her that her own heart sighs with love when she glances at this picture.

I wear her everywhere

I have been wrestling with this post all week. The elitism, privilege, and expense of baby wearing ultimately make it a very exclusionary hobby. My liberal heart struggles with owning first world problems. However, baby wearing is more than a hobby, and it is enormous part of my world, and in the spirit of International Baby Wearing Week I wanted to share what it means me to me.

I have a newish, but 6-year-old hobby. I babywear. Six years ago I wore babies, but it was not a hobby, and it was not fancy. It was awesome, but it was ordinary. Today, it is anything but ordinary; it is a huge part of our daily routine. Several times a day I superman toss my tiniest human onto my back, or snug her against my chest, or wrap her tight on my hip so we can chat. I wrap her against my body with several yards of gorgeous supportive material, at least half a dozen times a day.

Oonagh six days old in a Moby warp
Tiniest six day new human, in a Moby warp.

I started wrapping when she was 6 days old, because children with older siblings have to go places everyday at a really early age. She had to go kindergarten, and the grocery store, and the family still expected meals to be made everyday! So I started wrapping her to get all of the things done.

During her fourth trimester, my tiny human likely spent at least five hours a day wrapped in a Milky Way patterned wrap. She could nurse at will, she could nap whenever she wanted, she stayed toasty warm during the New England winter, and she developed an unbreakable attachment to me, her mama.

I quickly realized that I could go anywhere with her wrapped on me. I attended all the traditional family and kid outings motherhood requires, but I also did way more. I planned the holidays, made Christmas gifts, and hosted gatherings. I went to libraries and browsed books, I sat in coffee shops, I ate dinner with two hands, and I attended lectures and taught a class. I went to the movies, on walks, to a funeral and a wedding. I went to parties. I attended several meetings, and the national zoo. I planned school functions. I served food to needy families. I house hunted, bought a house, and moved! I worked from home to provide for my family. I did all of these things with my tiniest human wrapped tightly against me.

Tiny human wrapped in a Milk Way...
Tiny human wrapped in a Milk Way.

It is a hobby that has birthed a village of the kindest mamas I have ever met. We meet regularly to geek out about baby wearing, but the connection is more than that, because in our busy world, in our busy lives baby wearing has carved out a niche for us to make time to sit, and listen, and share – to mother together.

Keeping her close...
Keeping her close…

My wraps are merely the tools I use to baby wear, just like your shoes are the tools you use to take you places. The act is way more than the tool. Baby wearing defines my relationship with my tiniest human. Inside each wrap, deep within each pass of fabric stretched over our bodies is our love for each other. Baby wearing is how we interact with the world. She is closest to me, and I bring her everywhere.

We Quit TV, and We all Survived

I am going to preface this post with saying that I have zero idea what the right amount of TV, or “screen time” is for young children. But, for my family, for us, I know we were crossing a threshold of too much TV time, that is, before we quit.

We developed some bad habits over the summer. Our summer was long, 13 weeks long. Our summer was full of some HUGE family transitions that included a new home, and a newly working mom. At the beginning of summer, I was all “yes lets do everything today!” By the end of summer, I was a newly working exhausted mom, and the summer camps had ended, and our friends were slowly returning to school, and the TV was so easy to turn on. I mean, they knew how to work the Apple remote, and I could control what they watched from my computer!! Easy, “free”, and TV requires very little effort on the grownup human part.

The tiny humans began developing a dependency on TV as entertainment, not as a way to relax or unwind. After the first week of school, I could sense the desperation, “can I watch a show, now?” “Can I watch a show after dinner?” Or the worst, “when can I watch a show, can I watch a movie before bed?” I was referring TV, like candy at Halloween. Really, that is crap.

So, after a day of particularly poor choices, I took it away, and much to everyone’s surprise, I took TV away indefinitely. We went five days without TV, and do you know what, it was fine. I was not more stressed out, I did not feel more burdened; TV was simply no longer an option for entertainment. The term “go play” became a requirement.

After our five days, we decided (with the tiny humans) that TV on school days just didn’t work. There was always too much rushing around to make time for TV, and honestly not enough down time. It is true that TV was ruining our down time.

We are beginning week two of no TV on school days. Today was a little rough, after a weekend of some TV time, there was a bit of longing for our familiar routine. However, it was a gorgeous New England Fall evening, and a bike ride was had instead of TV.

I have no idea how long we will be able to limit TV time to this extent. But for now, no TV on school days is working. It is working for us. And regardless of how long it lasts, a reset on our priorities is refreshing.

I Missed the Moment

I missed the day when I stopped missing you.

I looked at your ankles as you were picking out your perfect back-to-school outfit. They are covered in scratched and picked bug bites; after a shower, the bottoms of your toes are still black with dirt from the inside of your summer-loved Keen sandals. Your feet have grown long and lean, and I missed when they became the feet of a school girl; I missed that day, that moment.

For your outfit, we had originally settled on your elephant dress, but you changed your mind at some point during the day, and decided the monkey-bars (the play ground challenge you now scale with ease) would be problematic in your elephant dress. You declared a skirt with shorts was your only option, and your outfit could have absolutely no pink, obviously.You went to Kindergarten in head to toe pink. I missed the “no pink” memo, I missed that day, I missed the no-pink moment.

2014-06-06 09.34.59
First day of Kindergarten, and the last day of Kindergarten.

Wearing no pink, you will start first grade tomorrow. And I realized as I was staring at your feet, that I am only excited for you. Only EXCITED. Tomorrow, sweet girl, I will not miss you. You will leave with Daddy, and head to first grade in your purple skirt, and orange shirt. I will miss the moment, but I will not miss you. I will pick you up, after your first day of first grade, and I will be ready to hear all about your new classroom, but I will not be sad that you had this day without me, because I will not miss you.

Simply put, I missed the moment when I stopped missing you. I missed the moment, when I knew you were out there in the world literally being awesome, so I did not need  to worry, I did not need to miss you. I missed the day I stopped missing you.

You my sweet girl, will not miss me either. You will take your confident, lean and leggy self to first grade. Daddy will drop you at the door this year, he will not walk you in, and you will embrace your Montessori training, and you will go, by yourself, and you will not miss us, and that is okay. I can only hope, that as your legs grow longer, and you detest new colors, that you let us know, that you will remember to tell us about the moments we miss.