Sunday, September 28, 2008

A bed of his own

We moved the bed today. Our two-and-a-half-year-old son is sleeping in his own room. There still has yet to be purchased the twin bed that will better fit in his tiny 8x10' (with no closet) bedroom, but at least the futon has moved. One change at a time, right? That's what I feel like I've read from Elizabeth Pantley in her No-Cry Sleep Solution books, and it's what our Waldorf school teacher told us (though Rudolph Steiner might say my son has outlived his need to nurse, and I don't buy it. See Anthroposophical Medicine, Breastfeeding and Weaning)

The futon mattress is still on the floor, so we haven't yet gained the feeling of containment a real bed might offer. He was around and playing when we moved things around - changing table out, prep smaller dresser to go in, etc. We did this after the nap was a no-go and then had a birthday party to attend, so he was super tired and happy to fall asleep tonight after only a few minutes on boob #2.

LJ and I haven't exactly hammered out the details about what will happen when the boy wakes in the morning and wants to nurse. I think we will let him come into our bed as he's used to doing around 5 or 6 to nurse and fall back asleep. Or I could go in there to keep him thinking he stays in his room. I usually can't fall back asleep until he's done anyway. Not sure I how nurse-slept so seamlessly for so long in the early days.

My hope is that at least we can get the boy to stay in one room for afternoon quiet time even if he won't really nap. And I think he'll enjoy having his own space in general.

We're goint on four and a half hours now, knock on wood. A typical night would see him sleep for about another six with possibly another hour or so after that. That means I should go to bed!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Product placement

"Thomas train!"


I thought my kid was having delusions, but there, in back of the shopping cart at Babies R Us, were two pieces of cardboard from someone else's Thomas toy. My son insisted on taking them with us when we left.

We don't have trains. For his first birthday, my sister and her kids gave E one blue Thomas, which I hid for months until I remembered to ask her when she got it relative to the recall. Her son's trains are the highlight of my son's visits to my mom's house, where I get the distinct impression that my mom feels sorry for my son not having a train set at home.

Even if we did have the room for a train table, which we don't, I doubt I'd want to go there. For one thing, branded stuff like that is not at all in line with ideas about play and child's brains that you hear about in Waldorf education, which I'm thinking is a path I want to pursue, at least to some degree. That doesn't mean my son doesn't recognize the Geico gecko from commercials that come on during weekend sporting events. Thankfully off the Yoga Kids kick I wrote about a while back, he enjoys see a little TV here and there with his dad. They've watched on PBS animal show together and a bunch of sports. So far, that seems manageable.
But as we round the corner into getting closer to three than to two, I'm still leery of starting down some road with infinite possibilities for products. I didn't mind E looking at the Plan toys catalog (until we lost it), but once he gets that concept of being able to ask for things that he sees representations of, well, I'd just rather avoid too much of those representations. It does seem to me to narrow the possibilities for play, but then again, there's something about connecting and familiarity that must develop some part of the brain, right? I guess I'd rather he get that from seeing the same faces of people and doing the same activities with some rhythm, but I have a ways to go to provide the latter.

I have no problem with him playing trains at other people's homes, and I think it's kind of cool that there's this special activity he associates with my parents and brother at my folks' home. It's a treat, something to look forward to.

I don't love that he sleeps on Thomas sheets when he's there or that he loved the battery-powered train he played with while visiting my sister so much that it got caught in his curls next to his ear. But he's a toddler who's supposed to be into stuff, and it's fun to see the joy of recognition, the flash of excitement.
I just don't want stuff to rule his world. As evidenced by a recent analysis of my MasterCard bill, I've got that covered for the whole family.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Social eating doesn't have to suck

It's amazing to me how great it feels to cook with people who eat the way you do.

I went to another one of Monica Corrado's cooking classes last night. I've taken a series with her on the using basics of Nourishing Traditions for feeding toddlers (and the whole family) as well as a series on flower essences and essential oils for healing. Last night's class was on gluten-free baking. The breads and muffins were delicious, and I learned a lot. It's so nice to feel reassured that all the effort I put into getting farm food and to sticking to this diet really do make a difference.

Classes are educational, but the community feeling is the most important thing you can't get from a book.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off with our heads

"Where's Mommy's head? Oh, I found it."

My son enjoys playing with the magnet a friend made for us 10 years ago after we appeared as Homer and Marge Simpson at her Halloween Party. But a few months ago, he put the craft-store magnet to the test and found that it was not difficult to rip his parents' heads off.

As if we needed any help with that.

E's dad and I do not exactly exemplify the kind of mindful, intentional life we value. LJ is great about getting good gas mileage, so I know he's paying very close attention to the way he drives - spending time in neutral (we have an automatic), not accelerating when he's going to have to stop. I admire this and try to follow his example, but it's easy to get out of the habit, just like it's easy to forget to sit up straight with my abs supporting my back. I can get on a roll but then get lost in NPR or Music Together and realize I'm racing to a red light with slumped shoulders.

Lately we are just about at each other's throats over the house and our finances. After seven years in our home, we're trying to purge as though we were moving. This is necessary and cathartic but also time-consuming, and challenging to do with a 2.5-year-old. We have also found ourselves at odds over money. We do not go on lavish vacations or buy expensive jewelry or technology, but we do spend a lot on good quality food and alternative health care. And kid clothes, and some toys, and classes, and childcare. And sippy cups.

So somehow we've started spending a lot more than we did 2.5 years ago -- even 1.5 years ago when the kid was only eating from his mama (who was so tired she needed lots of acpuncture and other support to keep her thyroid and depression in check). And by "somehow" I mean we both have analyzed our spending individually but haven't worked on a budget and protocol that makes sense for both of us for right now and for our future. In this economy, our failure to watch our lead foots is, as my husband says, "stupid." I'm offended to be insulted, but he's right.

I don't know how long it's going to take, but we have to get this stuff out of our basement or happily into storage spaces. I've been Freecycling and Craigslisting like crazy. The soft vinyl bags LJ barked at me for buying months ago are indeed yucky, not only for the off-gassing they did but also because the soft flexibility I bought them for (to ostensibly fit better in a small space) is frustrating. They don't stack or smoosh - they are just kind of messy. It's just like our lack of clear-cut boundaries and guidelines for ourselves.

My last post was almost a month ago, "Gardening at Night," in which I wrote about what a difference it made to spend 15 minutes as a family weeding in our front yard. Once all the grass was gone, the liriope started to flower. It was like the plant could finally breathe, finally had the nutrients it needed. We'll have to get back in there and weed again soon, I know. It doesn't end.
I'm hoping we can work toward moving our physical and financial lives into the land of purple flowers.