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By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, October 2, 2006
First, I just have to say that having more children is a highly personal and private decision. What is right for one family may not be for another and there are a million reasons people plan their families the way that they do. Often, I run into criticism when I say that I want more children but the fact is it is my decision to make. And thank God because if I lived in China I wouldn't have the freedom to make the most basic decision about the size of my family and I'm grateful to even have the choice.
I was raised as an only child and I'll admit it has its benefits. But, by no means did I get everything that I wanted. I was spoiled with attention not things. But, it can be lonely.
My husband on the other hand is the baby of nine. There are advantages and disadvantages to the large family too. He always has someone to talk to for just about anything but at the same time there is always a lot going on because there are just so many people.
I definitely want Soren to have at least one sibling. Just so he has someone no matter what happens. I see the bond between my husband with his sister/brothers and I know that relationship is special.
When I think of actually following through I admit that I cringe. Having not slept in 8 months the thought of another newborn ordeal seems hellish. That's because it will be. But I remind myself often that this phase of my life, with babies, is momentary in the long run. I'd consider my family and myself lucky if we were blessed with another child soon.
By Robin Dearing
Friday, September 29, 2006
Note: This is a post by Lynn.
The things that seem to slip to the bottom of the to-do list are the things you really don’t want to do anyway, like exercise. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know – it relieves stress, lowers your blood pressure, helps keep your weight down and just generally makes you a better use of space on the planet.
I recognize that all that is true, so I do my best to try to find some time to fit it in. Lately what’s been working is a brisk 0:dark-thirty bike ride with Dan. Since school started we’ve carved out a bit of a routine that mostly works.
I awake at 5:45 a.m. and stumble to the coffee pot, look outside to retrieve the paper from wherever it’s landed and try to at least scan the headlines to see what’s there that will get me riled up for the day. I squeeze into my diaper-shorts (my term for those stupid-looking padded bike pants), fill my water bottle, make Alex some breakfast to-go and throw all that in the car. Knock on Alex’s door at 6:10 and then leave the house at 6:25 to drop him at the bus stop downtown at 6:30 a.m. Let me just say here that I am extremely proud of my son for getting out the door on time every day. He is so not a morning person, but hasn’t complained a single time about facing the world while it’s still dark out.
At 6:40 I arrive at the parking lot by Blockbuster to meet Dan for the trip around the river trail. When we first started this in August, it was light out and hot and buggy. Now it’s dark, and cold and the bugs have all died. (I kind of miss them for breakfast.)
I start the ride by shouting, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!? This is to scare away the mountain lions that I know are lurking around the next bend. Dan laughs at me, which is good, because the lions will be attracted to him first.
When you•ve been doing this for a couple months, you start to get to know other people who are on the trail at the same time of day. Well, you don’t really get to know them, but you look for them and give them names and personalities, and you worry about them if you don’t see them.
So far, we’ve “met? Man With Two Dogs. He•s an elderly man with two small hairy dogs that look exactly alike. He only says good morning if you say it first and he’s not too smiley. Definitely not a morning person.
Then there’s Man With Oxygen Tank. He is friendly guy who pushes his oxygen tank in a little stroller in front of him. Always says good morning in a cheerful voice.
Then there’s Chinese Bad Dressing Lady. She wears things like a long flowered skirt with a striped top of different colors, and a big hat. I don’t know if she’s really Chinese or other Asian descent but it doesn’t really matter. She is always sweet and smiling.
Lastly there’s Serious Biker Dude. He’s got a thing for Lance Armstrong and yellow jerseys. But he always shouts out “On your left!? in a friendly way before he blows past you.
I wonder what our fellow trail users call us. I•m guessing Big Man on Bike With Skinny Tires and Lady With Too-Tight Diaper Shorts.
Pretty soon it will be too dark in the morning to ride. I’ll miss it, and I wish my fellow trail users all the best!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, September 28, 2006
I just stumbed across a press release for a LiveWell walk sponsored by the Grand Valley Active Moms. This walk will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. The butterfly house and gardens are free that day. It sounds like a great opportunity for moms and children to make new friends.
RSVP for the walk here
I'd love to hear more about this group if anyone is able to attend and report back to us! I unfortunately have plans at that time.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
It's Richie's birthday today!!
She's (mumble, mumble) years old!
Join me in wishing her many happy returns.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
In addition to working full-time and being a full-time mom, I teach a night class at Mesa State College.
I've been teaching this class for 5 years now and I really enjoy it. But sometimes, it just seems like one more thing on my plate.
Last night I dragged my sick and tired self up to the school, glad that I was giving an exam and only had to lecture for a short time.
As I was preparing to give the test, I noticed something out of place on top of the projector that sits next to the computer at the front of the class room.
There on top of the projector sat two tiny origami birds.
These little birds might be something that you would expect to find on someone's desk or on a shelf at home, but not perched on top of a projector in a class room.
It's possible that they were simply left behind from another lecture on art, but I'd like to think that whomever put them there did so just as a random act of kindness.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, September 25, 2006
A couple weeks into the school year, Margaret brought home a note from school. It was written on that little-kid paper with the giant lines that include a dotted one down the middle that kids use to practice writing.
The first line was in the unmistakable first-grade handwriting and it said something like, "I was playing with Jada."
The next few lines were written in pen, by an adult ... more specifically, her teacher.
Those few sentences said basically that Margaret was horsing around instead of paying attention and could we please talk to her about behaving herself.
We did — thoroughly. And I suggested that she make sure she not bring anymore notes home from school like that one.
Just to be clear (in case, she stopped bringing home any notes from school), I said that I only wanted good notes.
Well, bless her little first-grade heart because last week she brought home this note:
"I am having a grate day!" it reads.
She really knows how to make her mom have a "grate" day.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, September 22, 2006
At one of the many baby showers I’ve attended recently, I was asked by the new mom “What things can’t you live without??
My first answer was the Boppy
. Whoever marketed this little miracle pillow was a genius. It seriously is the perfect pillow. It raised my baby up to breast level when he was newborn, saved my tired arms after he grew larger, and was the perfect back support when he was learning to sit up. Every new mother should have one.
Other things all new moms should have are:
1. The baby scrub brush•&cradle cap doesn’t stand a chance with a little olive oil and a good scrubbing.
2. Pajama bags…sticking newborn feet into onesies is unnecessary and impossible. All newborn clothes should be shaped like sleeping bags in my opinion.
3. The all over body wash…one bottle gets it all done. And, I’d suggest spending the extra dollar on a good bottle of lotion. I like Aveeno
. Newborn skin can be really sensitive and dry.
4. My diaper service is indispensable. They are dependable, friendly and economical. Plus, my money goes where my mouth is when speaking of the environment and supporting local small business. I’ve eliminated the need for extra cream because there is never any diaper rash. I pay $15 bucks a week. Check them out at ABC Diaper Service
5. Baby Cubes
. These little plastic trays have made preserving my own baby food a snap. Another really great must-have.
6. I love my Baby Einstein exersaucer
. Not only is it a learning toy, but a really convenient place to put the baby if I have to pull the trash from the curb or move a car from the driveway.
7. The swing.
8. The child first-aid kit including the thermometer, (I keep buying thermometers and have noticed that more expensive isn’t necessary any better. I like the underarm one.) nail clippers, and the nasal aspirator.
9. Infant Tylenol.
10. My Medela breast pump
. Any new mom serious about committing to breastfeeding needs to spend the money on a really great pump. Mine is a champ and without it I think I would have quit.
There are literally thousands of baby products out there. Some I really thought I needed prior to delivery and now I find they weren’t necessary. Like changing tables and baby shoes.
I’d love to hear about other products out there. Drop us a comment about your favorite baby products.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Warning: this entry contains anatomically correct language.
“I get it Mom, I get it! Geez, do you have to go on and on about everything? Just say what you mean and just say it once. You don’t have to explain for half an hour. I’m not stupid.?
Venus and Mars. Male and Female. Mother and son.
We were driving back from tennis practice and talking about the •morning after pill?. I don•t remember what brought the topic up - I think it was some billboard about child sex abuse, which then led to the topic of unplanned pregnancy and abortion, which led to the morning after pill.
Alex, somewhat to my surprise, knew what the pill was for because he looked it up in English class last year at a teacher’s request. Not that I have any issue with him knowing about it, I was just surprised it became part of an 8th grade language arts class discussion. This led to my “lecture? about how he didn•t need to worry about the morning after pill or any of the thousand different sexually transmitted diseases out there because he was smart enough not to engage in behaviors that would give him (or his mother) cause to worry.
I then also took the time to “lecture? him about how even though that pill was available it was still interfering with the creation of life which is a God-given gift. And as Catholics we believe (along with others) that only God has the right to determine when and if a child is created. And so on, and so on and apparently so on, until finally Alex yelped!
•Mom, you don’t have to beat the point to death! I know, I’m just saying that the sperm is prevented from reaching the egg. It’s like that stupid movie we had to watch in 5th grade. Ohmigod, it went on forever. All they had to say was the penis goes into the vagina and sperm comes out to fertilize the egg. It should have taken 5 minutes!? (Okey, dokey. Good to know. It was actually kind of a dorky movie, with the girl in the white dress floating through the field in some poor adolescent boy•s nocturnal dream.)
“Just bottom-line it! You and dad do the same thing. You make the point and then keep making it. Just say it once! You guys tell me the same thing over and over until I fall asleep with my eyes open.?
Hmmmm, say it once? You must be joking. I•m a female, and a mother. We’re supposed to discuss things ad nauseam. That’s what we do. Especially concerning things that have to do with our child’s well-being, whether it’s academic, physical, spiritual or sexual.
But OK. I can be brief. I can make the point once and then stop.
I’ll just have to do that 50 times in a row.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Sadly, we’re nearing the end of the first chapter. Last week, I wrote of my baby and this week I have to write of my nearly little boy.
Soren made a huge leap in his development. He sprouted his first bony white shard of glass along his gum line. It was the first sign of big leaps ahead.
The next day, he advanced from a reclining triangle pose to a complete sitting position. After learning this new skill, he delighted his parents prior to bed by showing them repeatedly how easy it was to lie down, roll around, and then sit up. We clapped enthusiastically as if we had just witnessed a feat of shear magnificence and strength by the Strong Man at the circus. Soren beamed with delight fluttering his arms in the air like a baby bird ready to take flight.
In the morning, he learned to reach high with his arms, find a good finger hold, and push with his baby quads into a standing position. He discovered the world of the LeapStart Learning Table
giving the toy the good pounding it deserved for having been hidden from his line of sight for so long.
His crawling skills advanced from “I think I can? to •Wow, Mom we have a kitchen!? He discovered each room of the house from a Tom Thumb level. He also found every scrap of fallen food, trodden mud, or spare string. At any given moment, some unbaby friendly item was either heading or already in his mouth. He practiced climbing onto couch cushions, stacks of books, and the hallway table.
He watched Kenny slink under the bed lifting the bed skirt to see where he had gone. This led to his understanding of object permanence. A door is closed, but it doesn•t mean that Daddy isn’t behind it. He’ll wait patiently on the other side while babbling “da da ma ba razz spit.?
And so, the chasing of the toddler has begun. Mostly, I just watch for road hazards as he explores our home. I locked away the Drain•O, took some plants to the office, and bought a baby gate.
When not sharing a room, I keep a vigilant ear. Every so often, a residual thud echoes as his precious head repeatedly hits the floor. Yesterday, he tried to muscle his way onto his cousin’s lap for a bite of her cookie. To her delight, she yanked her leg out from underneath him leaving him with his first fat lip.
I try hard not to coddle him with every bump but watching him tumble is really hard. I could live without the fat lips, but I remind myself that he is a boy after all. The next milestone will be a black eye. Then we’ll be on to the broken arm….I cringe in horror of the thought.
Watching him leap from skill to skill is often hard but I couldn’t be prouder of his new independence. I’m seriously considering a helmet
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Last week I wrote about having sick kids (by the way, one is much better but one still has that horrible elementary-school crud oozing out all over the place).
What goes perfectly with sick kids? Sick parents.
Bill and I seem to have gotten something, probably from one or both of the kids.
Bill's been coughing so he's probably got the dreaded elementary-school crud. I'm feverish and ready to close my eyes and take a nap right now as I type this.
I hate being sick. I've neither stoic nor adult about the matter. I'm indignant and crabby. I have no patience for not feeling well.
It annoys me with its constant nagging headache and lethargy. Always reminding me that I don't feel well. The only thing that makes me feel better about the whole ordeal is sleep. And, of course, sleep is something of which I never get enough.
I'm dreaming of leaving the office this evening and crawling into my glorious flannel sheets (yes, people, fall has officially arrived) and sleeping the evening away.
But that will remain a fantasy. My kid has to be picked up, I have to eat some sort of dinner before I dash off to teach my evening class. But then, I can don my 'jams and rest my aching bones, but it won't be without the guilt of neglected mom duties.
There needs to be some kind of "sick mom" service that comes and does all my mom chores when I'm sick. Margaret needs supervision when she pracitics her piano and there's the laundry (Bill will do the laundry but it's such a nuanced activity best left to the truly anal-retentive like myself) and the general tidying and straightening of the house. I think I can, however, continue with my role as household crab.
But for now, I'll stay slumped at my desk, feeling sorry for my sick self.