Grinding My Corn Sculpture

IMG_3729It has been almost four years since I wrote my post about “grinding my corn.” In that time, I’ve added another baby, another degree, a book, and a business to my life (as well as lots of other projects!). I’ve also made necessary subtractions and deletions, some painful, some a relief. And, guess what, I still want to grind my corn! My husband works from home with me now and he, too, grinds his corn while parenting and personing. This is what I wrote in my original post:

This is what I’m talking about. There needs to be a third, realistic option (and not just for women. For men too. For families!). I have often expressed the desire to find a balance between mothering and “personing.” I’m seeking a seamless integration of work and family life for both Mark and myself. An integration that makes true co-parenting possible, while still meeting the potent biological need of a baby for her mother and a mother’s biological compulsion to be present with her baby. Why is the work world designed to ignore the existence of families?

via I just want to grind my corn! | Talk Birth.

It felt like it was definitely time for a new grinding my corn sculpture! It took quite some time between my original sculpt and making the new figurines a reality, but she’s here!

IMG_3526I love her and she sits by my computer while I write, on my desk while I teach, and on my bedside table at night. She reminds me of my own capacity—to grow, to adapt, to change, to balance, to hold, to care, to live.

Adding another baby to our family has really pushed us to our coping edge in many ways, sometimes it feels like we’ve tipped past the edge–piled dishes, piled laundry, piled recycling, undone requests, unresponded to messages, other kids wanting books read and projects done. We’re pretty maxed. Our house feels at maximum capacity. Our lives feel at maximum capacity. And, yet, I still reach for the and. Somehow, even when here at the edge, or over it, we do make room…

At one point when my first son was a baby, I was trying to explain my “trapped” or bound feelings to my mother and she said something like, “well what would you rather be doing instead?” And, that was exactly it. I DIDN’T want to be doing something instead, I wanted to be doing something AND. I wanted to grind my corn with my baby. Before he was born I had work that I loved very much and that, to me, felt deeply important to the world. Motherhood required a radically re-defining of my sense of my self, my purpose on earth, and my reason for being. While I had been told I could bring my baby with me while continuing to teach volunteer trainings, I quickly found that it was incompatible for me—I felt like I was doing neither job well while bringing my baby with me and I had to “vote” for my baby and quit my work. While I felt like this was the right choice for my family, it felt like a tremendous personal sacrifice and I felt very restricted and “denied” in having to make it. With my first baby, I had to give up just about everything of my “old life” and it was a difficult and painful transition. When my second baby was born, it was much easier because I was already in “kid mode.” I’d already re-defined my identity to include motherhood and while I still chafed sometimes at the bonds of being bonded, they were now familiar to me…

via I just want to grind my corn! | Talk Birth.

My new sculpture incorporates a small “offering” bowl (as her lap) that to me is symbolic of the fact that though her hands are full, she is still open to possibilities and offerings and can “hold” more, when needed.

IMG_3702Having another baby has really made me pare away a lot in my life, including very basic self-care things like regular showers! I’ve done it before, so I know it isn’t permanent, but it is still hard to feel like I’m trimming away so much that matters to me, while also having so much I want to offer, and constantly having to prioritize and choose. I’ve been looking at it as a sort of “sabbatical.” While I might not be able to do as much face to face projects as I envision and dream of, I can lay the groundwork, I can write, I can prepare and outline and imagine, while also sitting in my bed holding my sleeping baby. Maybe I won’t get outside every day and maybe I have to choose between the shower or yoga, since doing both in one day seems like too much to ask sometimes, but I can use this baby time to incubate new visions and grow while appearing stationary.

Here is a gallery of how I’ve been grinding my corn with my baby this month (click for captions)…

Tanner was my baby-helper at last night’s Red Tent Circle at WomanSpace. It is hard to balance baby-care with circle facilitation (because baby helpers do things like bang the rattle on the floor instead of “passing the rattle”), but I’m still really glad I decided to offer these circles this year. It has been a rich experience so far.

IMG_4269I envision a life of seamless integration, where there need not even be a notion of ‘life/work’ balance, because it is all just life and living. A life in which children are welcome in workplaces and in which work can be accomplished while in childspaces. A life in which I can grind my corn with my children nearby and not feel I need apologize for doing so or explain myself to anyone…

via Corn grinding mama goddess birth art sculpture by BrigidsGrove.

During the Inner Mentor visualization we did last night at our circle, we traveled in time to meet ourselves twenty years from now. The first thing she/I told me is that my baby is now twenty. It felt like a shock to consider that, since right now is so real

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(Side note: this is my 1000th [published] blog post at Talk Birth! It is true that regular blogging eventually produces a significant body of work!)

 

Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Awareness Month

11148668_1614543705424512_3613965156253725168_nIt is Cesarean Awareness Month! We finished several new mama goddess designs this month and have a CAM-themed April newsletter ready to go out (subscriber freebie in this newsletter is a new birth education handout: “Can I really expect to have a great birth?” Sign up for the newsletter at Brigid’s Grove!)

Some Cesarean Awareness Month themed posts for this week. First, a meditation for before a cesarean:

You say you honor choices. 11108844_1614067252138824_1518757261202060615_n
Can you really honor mine?
I will always honor the process which
brought forth flesh of my flesh.
I honor your births too.
Can you ever honor my experience, or will I
forever be a part of your statistics on
the way things shouldn’t be?

via Birthrites: Meditation Before a Cesarean | Talk Birth.

And, some past thoughts on helping a woman give birth…what is the balance between birth interference and birth neglect?

There can be a specific element of “smugness” within the natural birth community that has been gnawing at me for quite some time. A self-satisfied assumption that if you make all the “right choices” everything will go the “right way” and women who have disappointing or traumatic births must have somehow contributed to those outcomes. For example, I’m just now reading a book about natural mothering in which the author states regarding birth: “Just remember that you will never be given more than you can handle.” Oh, really? Perhaps this is an excellent reminder for some women, and indeed, at its very core it is the truth—basically coming out alive from any situation technically means you “handled it,” I suppose. But, the implicit or felt meaning of a statement like this is: have the right attitude and be confident and everything will work out dandily. Subtext: if you don’t get what you want/don’t feel like you “handled it” the way you could or “should” have, it is your own damn fault. How does a phrase like that feel to a woman who has made all the “right choices” and tried valiantly to “handle” what was being thrown at her by a challenging birth and still ended up crushed and scarred? Yes, she’s still here. She “handled it.” But, remarks like that seem hopelessly naive and even insulting to a woman whose spirit, or heart, has been broken. By birth. Not by some evil, medical patriarchy holding her down, but by her own body and her own lived experience of trying to give birth vaginally to her child.

via Helping a Woman Give Birth? | Talk Birth.

An educational video and some cesarean infographics from Lamaze: Lamaze for Parents : Blogs : How to Avoid a Cesarean: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

And a VBAC Primer from Peggy O’Mara: VBAC Primer | Peggy O’Mara

Some thoughts on the flawed assumption of maternal-fetal conflict and how that impacts the climate of birth today:

I think it is fitting to remember that mother and baby dyads are NOT independent of each other. With a mamatoto—or, motherbaby—mother and baby are a single psychobiological organism whose needs are in harmony (what’s good for one is good for the other).

As Willa concluded in her CfM News article, “…we must reject the language that portrays a mother as hostile to her baby, just because she disagrees with her doctor.”

via Maternal-Fetal Conflict? | Talk Birth.

And some past thoughts on Birth Strength:

“Women are strong, strong, terribly strong. We don’t know how strong until we are pushing out our babies. We are too often treated like babies having babies when we should be in training, like acolytes, novices to high priestesshood, like serious applicants for the space program.” –Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay’s Dance

via Birth Strength | Talk Birth.

(I would revise this slightly to say “until we have birthed our babies,” since strength is found in many different birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and mothering experiences, not only in pushing out our babies. I still love the quote though!)

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Sheila Kitzinger

‘Sheila taught me, from an early age, that the personal was political – not just by what she said but by what she did. As I was growing up I learnt from her campaigns for freedom and choice in childbirth that passionate and committed individuals can create social change. She never hesitated to speak truth to power. –Prof. Celia Kitzinger, Sheila’s oldest daughter

via Sheila Kitzinger 1929-2015 | Pinter & Martin Publishers.

Yesterday morning, I learned that childbirth education trailblazer, maternity activist, and phenomenally influential author, Sheila Kitzinger has died. By the end of the evening, her name was coming up as “trending” on Facebook, which is the first time I’ve ever noticed anything flagged for me as trending that wasn’t mainstream celebrity-related, holiday, sporting-event, OR horrible tragedy, disaster, or scandal related. So, Sheila continues to break new ground in maternity care activism!

My own work with birth and my philosophy of birth education and activism has been deeply shaped by this marvelous woman. She is one of my all-time favorite childbirth authors and may be the most quoted person on my blog! In fact, as I was scrolling through old posts to find some to share in memorial, I had to quit looking after the fourth page of search results because there were simply too many. Here are some of the ones I did find:

I agree with anthropologist Sheila Kitzinger who said that, “In any society, the way a woman gives birth and the kind of care given to her and the baby points as sharply as an arrowhead to the key values of the culture.” Our current birth culture does not value women and children. Though my focus is usually on the women, it also doesn’t much value men or fathers either. I also agree with Kitzinger’s assessment that, “Woman-to-woman help through the rites of passage that are important in every birth has significance not only for the individuals directly involved, but for the whole community. The task in which the women are engaged is political. It forms the warp and weft of society.”

via A Blessing…and more… | Talk Birth.

Same quotes used in two other posts:

These concepts—and the lack of a similar one in American culture—reminds me of a quote from Sheila Kitzinger that I use when talking about postpartum: “In any society, the way a woman gives birth and the kind of care given to her and the baby points as sharply as an arrowhead to the key values of the culture.”

via Some reminders for postpartum mamas & those who love them | Talk Birth.

And, Rites of Passage… Celebrating Real Women’s Wisdom | Talk Birth.

Touching on the political aspects of birth culture:

“In acknowledging woman-to-woman help it is important to recognize that power, within the family and elsewhere, can be used vindictively, and that it is not only powerful men who abuse women; women with power may also abuse other women.” –Sheila Kitzinger

via Birth Quotes of the Week | Talk Birth.

Personally influential to my own labors:

During my first labor, I experienced what Sheila Kitzinger calls the “rest and be thankful stage” after reaching full dilation and before I pushed out my baby. The “rest and be thankful stage” is the lull in labor that some women experience after full dilation and before feeling the physiological urge to push. While commonly described in Kitzinger’s writings and in some other sources, mention of this stage is absent from many birth resources and many women have not heard of it.

via The Rest and Be Thankful Stage | Talk Birth.

And, my own personal postpartum care: Ceremonial Bath and Sealing Ceremony | Talk Birth.

Her books shaped birth HERstory:

Women’s (Birth) History Month | Talk Birth.

And, my own birth education philosophy (as well as my core value in working with women):

Labour is a highly personal experience, and every woman has a right to her own experience and to be honest about the emotions she feels. Joy tends to be catching, and when a teacher has enjoyed her own births this is valuable because she infuses her own sense of wonder and keen pleasure into her relations with those she teachers. But she must go on from there, learn how difficult labour can be for some women, and develop an understanding of all the stresses that may be involved.

via Sheila Kitzinger on a Woman’s Right to Her Own Experience | Talk Birth.

And, she celebrated birth:

I hope all of the women I know who are giving birth in the upcoming season discover that, as Sheila Kitzinger said, “Birth isn’t something we suffer, but something we actively do and exult in.” (from promo for One World Birth)

via Invisible Nets | Talk Birth.

Thanks for everything, Sheila! You’re amazing!

“Childbirth takes place at the intersection of time; in all cultures it links past, present and future. In traditional cultures birth unites the world of ‘now’ with the world of the ancestors, and is part of the great tree of life extending in time and eternity.” –Sheila Kitzinger

via Tuesday Tidbits: Tree Mother | Talk Birth.

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Small Business Saturday: New Projects!

IMG_3797April is Cesarean Awareness Month and we’ve been working very hard on some new sculpture designs to offer in honor and recognition of the cesarean birth experience. (We’re also working ahead on some cool new father sculptures to unveil for Father’s Day!) They should be ready in the shop by early next week.

April 2015 156The April edition of the Brigid’s Grove newsletter will have a new discount code, articles, links, and a free birth education handout.

We’ve gotten stocked up with some sparkly new treasures in preparation for our new mother blessing and ceremony kits, which will be launching soon!

IMG_3782And, speaking of kits, here is a sneak peek of a big project we’ve been working on…

The_Red_Tent_Resourc_Cover_for_KindleWe’ve finally made some new, taller mama goddesses! These are close to four inches and make perfect birth altar centerpieces.

IMG_3766They look very similar to our smaller figures, so it can be hard to distinguish which is which in the etsy shop. The larger sculptures are those priced at $22. Here’s a comparison pic for size:

IMG_3751I like the compact size of my original figures—they fit nicely in your hand as well as still looking nice (I think) on a birth altar space. They’re also portable enough to travel—I usually take one with me in my purse to my classes and set her on the desk while I’m teaching. However, we have had quite a few requests for larger figures, so we’re doing our best! Even the larger figures aren’t exactly large though and after some failed attempts at going even larger, I’ve realized I’m okay with making them the size I like to make them, rather than trying to please everyone and losing some of my own connection with what I create.

In late March we were excited to attend the WomanSpace grand opening in Rolla. It is an amazing place and I’m so excited about it and proud of my friend Summer for making the vision a reality! The community is so lucky to have this resource available. At the grand opening we had a little booth with some of our items as well as a table for participants to make some free jewelry. Our location was a little out of the way of the main action, so we didn’t make as much free jewelry with people as we anticipated (mainly kids!), but it was a fun time and I enjoyed seeing and talking to many different people (and also feasting on some really good appetizers from Icebox Cookery).

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Kidbits and Cousin Power!

April 2015 097We just got home from a nice trip to Kansas for a Cousin Power top-off visit to see my brother, SIL, and nephew. This was the first time I’ve gone with all my kids (and Mark and my mom too!) and it was definitely a crowded car! We are also a high-impact collection of guests! We had a great time visiting, going out to a favorite Italian buffet, having an Easter egg hunt, watching movies, going for walks, and just hanging out. Mark and I both really needed some down time from our biz work and it was so nice not to have a to-do list for several days. They planned tasty and fun meals for us and it was really wonderful to hang out together with our babies (though my other kids made the hanging-out-with-babies a little more challenging and chaotic than I had envisioned!)

While there, Tanner used his Cousin Power boost to start sitting up for real! (just turned five months old!) And, Ronan (my nephew) used it to cut his first tooth!

April 2015 125

Sitting up like a big boy while sporting his Eat At Mom’s onesie.

He also discovered the fun of playing with a big pot.

April 2015 130

I haven’t made a Kidbits post in a long time, so in this post, I’m lumping in some miscellaneous Facebook status updates from the past couple of months. :)

The kids dyed eggs with Mark this year for Easter. Alaina said she loves them so much she is saving them for her birthday, upon which she will have an egg hunt (b-day is in Jan…)

IMG_3795Conversations with Alaina:

Alaina: “why is Tanner wearing tights today?”

Mark: “they’re not tights, they’re pants with feet attached.”

Alaina: “weird! I guess we should put a fake mustache on him too.”

~

Alaina randomly while walking through house: “Why didn’t you name me Scorpion Lady?”

~

Alaina while sitting at table and asked for help: “I can’t help you until I finish cutting out more paper dynamite.”

~

Alaina to Mark on computer: “Look up poop!”

[Mark says no]

“Toy poop?”

[no]

“Toy Justin Bieber poop?”

~

Me to Alaina: “we’ll play dolls tomorrow, I promise.”

Alaina: “there’s a catch. I don’t eat raisins. I only eat sunflower seeds.”

Okaaaaay. (We don’t have or usually eat either.)

~

Alaina: “I want to play hide and seek with the baby. He can be hiding somewhere on your body.”

Snapshot glimpse of life

Alaina wants to bring some of her own money to the bowling alley today. She brought it out in a carved wooden box and said that was what she was bringing. We said she needed to choose some money and carry it in a wallet or a purse and not a large wooden treasure box. She came back with a huge pink flowered Easter basket and said she would carry it in that. We said that didn’t make sense and to get a purse or a wallet (she has a large variety of these). She came back with a doll car seat and said she was going to use that. We said no and she came back out with a bug catcher with her money in it. Come ON!

Conversations with Zander:

Zander: what do you think Tanner will be like when he’s Alaina’s age?

Me: probably amazing!

Zander: Mom, none of our kids are amazing when they’re Alaina’s age.

~

Zander: “Hey, mom. This apple only has a little bit of my blood on it. You can eat the rest.”

(*loose tooth. But, geez, kid!)

April Fool’s Day

I dreamed we gave the kids turkey bacon for breakfast and told them it was placenta for an April Fool’s joke. But, in real life we have a tradition of making a “trick” breakfast for the kids on April Fool’s day. Marshmallow and peach half “eggs,” pound cake toast, and turkey bacon this year…

April 2015 063

Reality TV?

Mark and I have a joke about being in a reality tv show called The Joke Life of Mark and Molly. We say it when everything is crumbling around us–oven is smoking, oatmeal is spilling, we open the freezer and bread falls out on our heads, our legs get peed on, whatever. A couple of months ago we got an etsy convo from someone asking about casting us in a TV show. For real. She originally found me on my blog and then tracked us to etsy and said she was reading everything she could find about us. We cracked ourselves up imagining what a boring TV show it would be and what they could possibly be thinking?! I imagined writing back, make sure you get a slo-mo closeup as the bread hits my head! And, we laughed over how they’d have to weed through endless hours of pointless poop joke footage to get to the hilarious stuff. Also, intriguing close-ups of my fingers typing yet another blog post…and, inspiring 5:30, “what should we have for dinner?” conversations. Maybe an exciting episode of, “Molly cries because she feels like has too much to do,” or, “Mark cuts firewood at dusk in the freezing rain” or, “both parents yell about fun, enriching project while children long to play Minecraft and wish for the beeswax animal crafting to stop.”

Ooh! “Can they triumph over the laundry mountain!” And, “Watch as they race ahead of the falling tower of recycling attempting to crush them…”

Lann’s input: “Oh! We’d all have to talk fancy [begins vaguely British accent] and all stand in front of a red couch! Or something.” And then, “some people call me Lann. Others just call me The Frog Ninja.”

(I never emailed her back.)

Random word anecdote

My family uses a variety of made-up words based on old family stories. One is “banacheked” (used to mean a combo of abandoned and rejected, based on my grandma’s accidentally replacement of the word “abandoned” with the TV show Banacek). As in, “the baby is over there banacheked on the floor.” A few weeks ago, I accidentally said, “oh, my poor babychecked banny!” So, now there is a new made up version of a made up word. Up leveling.

Speaking of my baby, he gets very stressed by traveling and being out of the house. We’ve had a hard couple of days lately. This is how he really likes to be, the opposite of banacheked:
April 2015 090

Love his little tucked-up self!

Tuesday Tidbits: Birth Conditioning

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Thinking about the raw, emotional complexity and physical intensity of birth, I am reminded of a past post exploring the question of whether an epidural can really be considered an “informed choice” when it is considered in the context of enforced stillness during labor?

…In this case and in so many others around the nation every day, the physiologically normal and fully appropriate need for freedom of movement during labor ran smack into the hospital’s expectation of stillness. And, medication was a consequence of that stillness, not an inability to cope with normal labor–it was an inability to cope with enforced passivity that was directly counter to the natural urges of her birthing body. Where is the ‘opting’ here? When birthing women are literally backed into corners, no wonder epidural analgesia becomes the nationally popular ‘choice’…

Thoughts on epidurals, risk, and decision making | Talk Birth.

Considering movement during labor also brings us to the idea of sound during labor. What about the implied or explicit expectation of quiet during labor?

We decided that there is a major stigma around “quiet” birth. Why is “quiet” birth synonymous with a “good” birth? Why are we praised on our ability to stay “calm” in our birthing time??? This is crazy! Now let me quickly add: A quiet birth CAN be a beautiful birth, it can be the most beautiful kind, but so can the others.We talked to a mother who explained that in her birthing time she was very “calm and quiet” she also said she was suffering so deeply but everyone kept praising her abilities so she kept on going. How many women bite their tongue, how many women feel trauma and how many women were told they were “crazy, wild and loud”? And why are any of those words bad? We are having a baby, we are doing the most instinctual and primal work we will ever do as humans.

via Blog — TerraVie.

I addressed the interesting notion of a “quiet, calm” birth as synonymous with “coping well” in this past post:

“I believe with all my heart that women’s birth noises are often the seat of their power. It’s like a primal birth song, meeting the pain with sound, singing their babies forth. I’ve had my eardrums roared out on occasions, but I love it. Every time. Never let anyone tell you not to make noise in labor. Roar your babies out, Mamas. Roar.” –Louisa Wales

via What Does Coping Well Mean? | Talk Birth.

Our expectations in birth are shaped by the cultural conditioning, contexts, and environments around them whether we are conscious of them or not. In this past compilation of articles about the role of doulas, Michel Odent makes an interesting point:

…We must add that this cultural conditioning is now shared by the world of women and the world of men as well. While traditionally childbirth was ‘women’s business,’ men are now almost always present at births, a phase of history when most women cannot give birth to the baby and to the placenta without medical assistance. A whole generation of men is learning that a woman is not able to give birth. We have reached an extreme in terms of conditioning. The current dominant paradigm has its keywords: helping, guiding, controlling, managing…coaching, supporting…the focus is always on the role of persons other than two obligatory actors (i.e. mothers and baby). Inside this paradigm, we can include medical circles and natural childbirth movements as well…

–Michel Odent (exploring the role of doulas)

Tuesday Tidbits: The Role of Doulas… | Talk Birth.

And, here are some neat resources I’ve encountered this week…

I signed up to participate in this free telesummit on womb wisdom/nourishing the feminine: Womb Wisdom: Nourishing the Roots of the Feminine with Barbara Hanneloré — Womb Wisdom. (Thanks to Mothering Arts for the link!)

I’ve linked to these beautiful coloring books in past posts. I’m just entranced by them!

blissful birth 2

 

via Blissful Belly Coloring Journal: NOW until April 1st, Buy Both the Blissful Belly and Blissful Birth Coloring Books and Get 25% OFF. Coupon Code is 2blissful. Get it here

And, after participating in a free Spring Equinox event online that was hosted by the Sacred Sister Society (to which I won a year-long membership!), I’ve been enjoying different daily yoga practices using videos from Joy Fisheria from Everyday Chakras. The practice for your core strength is one of my favorites. :)

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New taller, mama goddess sculptures for birth altars!

Fivemonthababy!

IMG_3776Somebody is five months old already! How can this be?! I have a thing in which I’m startled by the realization periodically that this little person is somebody’s future grandpa…Silly, I know, but it is something that catches my heart and arrests my action to consider. (All grandpas were once some mother’s snuggly delightful baby treasure. WAHHHHHHH!) My friend linked to a classic poem by Mary Oliver on Facebook this morning: how will you use your one wild and precious life. The Somebody’s Grandpa thought serves as a similar touchstone for me, while also doubling as potential future band name.

This thought process is partially why I hold Tanner 22 hours a day. The other reason is because he doesn’t want to be put down. He also weighs 18 pounds now, which explains why I’m often heard to whine about my arms being tired and that I feel worn down and “old” lately. Parenting an infant feels considerably more physically wearing for me at 35 than it was at 24! He is also the most held baby in our entire family because when I do put him down, it is into someone else’s arms. There are four other willing family members usually around to hold him, plus grandparents and sometimes an aunt or uncle waiting too. I feel annoyed with myself that we wasted money on a little swing and bouncy seat (gift, so it actually wasted someone else’s money!) this time. I already know that we just aren’t a swing and bouncy seat kind of family, but I didn’t realize just how very not so we would end up this time around. With past babies, for whom Mark wasn’t home during the day, the bouncy seat was how I managed to shower and sometimes get some other two-handed tasks done.

So far, Tanner hasn’t seem particularly fond of baby-wearing either, leading me to wonder if I’d just gotten out of the habit (the aforementioned putting-him-down-in-someone-else’s arms thing) or if he isn’t the kind of baby that is into babywearing. My aunt bought us a wonderful new Boba that is so cute and fresh, but unless sleeping already, Tanner most often wiggles to get out of it. It also feels a little stiff to me overall, though it worked better on my back than Ergos ever have. However, on a hunch the other day when I was lamenting not being able to put him down for a good nap so I could make some new sculpture prototypes, I got out my older Ergo from Alaina. Putting it on felt like putting on a nice, broken-in shoe or comfy sweater. And, lo and behold, Tanner likes it too and has spent hours in it over the course of the last two weeks. I feel like I’m rediscovering babywearing! (And, also feeling bad about wasting someone else’s dollars on a new purchase!)

IMG_3772T-bot is our worst sleeper really. He either naps being held on my chest in the rocking chair, in the Ergo, or lying pressed by my leg in the bed while I work on my laptop (post currently being composed in a combo of the two–he is sleeping on my chest with my laptop held on the knees of my stretched-out legs, his head jostling a little with the movement of my fully extended arms trying to type. Why am I trying to type and hold a baby at the same time anyway?! Somebody Grandpa, remember?!) Luckily, I really love holding him while he sleeps, I know it doesn’t last long, and I have plenty of work I can do digitally while he types. This works because I can shut myself up in the bedroom (like a veritable nap retreat!) while Mark has an eye on the other kids and brings me lunch in bed.

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Participating in online Spring Equinox event, while in our favorite spot.

Tanner is also my first baby to have picked up some kind of virus as this young of a baby. Last week he had a fever and diarrhea. The fever only lasted one day, but the diarrhea for a whole string of unpleasant days with a plaintive, unhappy, whiny baby and stressed parents (particularly since I went back to class on Tuesday night). He has seemed somewhat fretful continuing into this weekend, but we finally realized that he wasn’t getting enough sleep (back to the bedroom nap retreat plan rather than the standing-Ergo-sculpting plan) and also that he seems to be going through a growth spurt and needs to nurse more often than I was realizing. He doesn’t dive in towards the breast yes or show other nursing cues really, so if I already nursed him recently, I thought he was just cranky and didn’t realize he was actually hungry! You’d think I hadn’t already been a breastfeeding mother for 11 years! As I’ve mentioned before, despite the many other willing baby-holders, he seems to need me more than any other baby and has even developed a wearing habit of screaming for me and stretching his arms out and rolling to the side reaching for me, when Mark is trying to change him before bed and I’m trying to brush my teeth. He does love going outside though and will happily ride away with Mark to check on the greenhouse and the chickens.

IMG_3661All this working while baby-holding prompted a new version of my “grind my corn” sculpture:

IMG_3732Despite all of the holding, he is also interestingly capable of moving himself along the ground. He is after everything and is the first to seem like he’s going to crawl any second. I’ve had a bunch of chubby late crawlers, so that’s what I expected again this time, but I think we’re going to follow a new pattern. He is also thisclose to sitting up unaided. He attempts to reach items constantly with a sort of tortured, deprived grabbing style, rather than an interested, exploratory style (more common to first babies, I think. This one is certain he is constantly missing out and that siblings are getting all the good stuff all the time, while he is forgotten and overlooked with no good stuff in his hands!). Due to frenzied grab-attacks and ability to launch self along floor and out of arms, he has now gnawed two pizza crusts (homemade, organic), one cauliflower floret, one bite of banana (gagged), and two pieces of paper (fished from roof of mouth). No fanfare or induction into the “first solid food” milestone. Just grabbed and chomped.

He is getting quite a bit more hair and remains a blondy blonderson!

IMG_3626Happy Fivemonthababy! I can hardly believe you are somebody’s grandpa!