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Let's Talk Babies!

I truly cannot fathom that Anna is 4. It boggles my mind to think that in the spring I’ll be registering her for kindergarten and next fall she’ll be off to big girl school with Maya. The thought of it just makes me teary eyed. In my mind she was only a baby like yesterday. I blinked and she is suddenly this full of life, opinionated, silly preschooler.

Height: 38.3 ins (20th percentile)

Weight: 31lbs (17th percentile)

When Anna entered this world on a hot July day in 2011 she was a tiny peanut weighing in at just over 6lbs, and she has stayed true to her tiny peanut status her whole life. As you can see from her stats above she is still pretty tiny. The doctor she’s on track to be about 5′ 2″ if she stays on this growth track. She’ll be our petit little girl always :)

I always find it hard to find just the right words to describe Anna. She is fun and silly and opinionated and yet she is sweet, shy and cuddly too. I always say she fits a giant sized personality into that tiny body of hers. There is never a dull moment with her around. She loves to make us laugh and entertain us. She also can spend hours quietly playing with her dolls or building with lego or working on her preschool skills in her much loved “learning books”. She doesn’t take a regular nap anymore but will fairly regularly take her blankie and find a quiet spot and just fall asleep. My favorite thing is to watch her playing with her dollhouse or with her “American Durl Doll”. Her imagination is amazing and it is so fun to watch the little scenarios she comes up with play out.

Being 4 she is of course very passionately opinionated, and isn’t afraid to make her needs and wants heard (at crazy loud volumes sometimes). I remember 4 being a big year for Maya, a lot of maturing and growing took place. It will be interesting to see what 4 brings for Anna.

I miss this space. I miss having time to write about the goings on in our fun, crazy, busy life. It has been over a month since I have carved out time in my busy schedule to write. Time is flying by at warp speed with days filled to the brim with so much to do. Between school schedules for Maya and Anna, extra-curricular activities, play time with friends, chasing a super energetic and daredevil of a toddler, cooking, cleaning, running errands I barely have time to breath let alone sit at the computer and write.

There are so many stories that go untold. So many moments captured only in my mind because they happen in a flash and I don’t have time to reach for the camera or write about it. When I look back at the archives of this here blog at all the stories told about Maya, the fewer,but still many stories told about Anna, I feel bad. Nora’s stories are not being told. They are being captured and fill my memory but the days just don’t have enough minutes in them to write it all down.

My goal, moving forward, is to be more diligent about making time to write. To be more purposeful about this space and schedule time, at least once a week, to write. It might just be a few sentences and a lot of pictures. It might be rambling. But, I’ve always loved having this space to write. I’ve always loved that I can come here and document the big and small moments of our lives. Maybe no one reads it, maybe it doesn’t matter to anyone but me, but it does matter a great deal to me. I love looking back at the stories I’ve told, the moments I’ve captured in this space. I want to keep doing it. I want to find the time in this crazy, busy, chaotic life to keep writing, to keep capturing the moments of our life, big and small.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get dinner going, clean up a wall or two that Nora decided to draw on and fold a load of laundry. Phew, so much to do, so little time.

Being the parent of three children, two of whom are stroller riding age, you would think I would have been the owner of a double stroller a long time ago. I’ve somehow managed to avoid it for quite sometime. Babywearing was my saving grace. I could wear one and push one, keeping myself happily in the single stroller owner category. It was a happy place. Everyone was content with. I love babywearing and only having to deal with a single stroller. Anna was happy to ride along in comfort and Nora was rocking the whole being worn thing.

But then one day Nora decided that being worn perhaps meant she was missing out on some freedom. And, being the good toddler that she was, she was not going to allow that any longer. One day she decided that when we went for walks, especially the walk to school to pick up Maya kind of walk, she was not willing to be worn, she HAD to ride in the stroller. For a few weeks I still managed to avoid the double stroller conversation and convinced myself that they could easily ride together in my single BOB, they loved it, right?! I found lollipops were a great way to convince them to work with me ;)

This sharing the single BOB thing worked for a couple of weeks. They even agreed to squish side by side in it most of the time. But they quickly got irritated with being jammed into a seat made for one and started to fight, yell, and generally make walks miserable. Ok, girls point made. I was being forced to suck it up and take the plunge into the world of stroller beasts, also commonly referred to as double strollers.

I did a bunch of research, although I already knew where my research would lead me. I had tried out a tandem, sit and stand style stroller last summer a couple of times but it was difficult to push and had zero maneuverability. After a few days of reading up on my various options I did indeed end up deciding on the stroller I figured I would, the BOB Duallie. The girls love it!! I must admit I do too. I don’t love that I take up the whole sidewalk now, but it maneuvers very well, is super easy to push and no one is yelling and fighting anymore!!

I mean, look at those smiling faces!! I can deal with pushing the beast if it makes them that happy :)

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In the wee hours of the morning when I hear her ¬†cries I bolt out of bed in a half awake, half still very much asleep stupor and stumble down the hall into her room. I am so, so tired and wish I was still sleeping soundly in my warm,comfortable bed instead of dealing with a crying toddler who refuses to sleep through the night. I pick her up and she presses her head firmly into that perfect spot on my shoulder made just for a baby’s heads and sighs as if there is no where else she would rather be. She asks to nurse but since we are working on weaning from night time feedings and it is before the arbitrary time of 3am that I came up with I quietly whisper no and shush her as she cries a little. I rock her gently and she quickly gives in to the fact that she isn’t going to get to nurse, and settles into my shoulder. Her hand wraps around my arm and her breath becomes steady as she returns to the land of sleep.

In these quiet moments I can’t help but think about the fact that she is my last baby. That one day she’ll figure out this whole sleeping through the night thing and moments like these will just be a memory. One night I’ll stumble into her room in the middle of the night to answer her cries and requests for the boob and it will be the last night it happens. I won’t know at the time but it will be the end of an era. Sure there will be times she calls out for me in the middle night but not like this, not to be rocked or nursed. I know I’ll miss these moments when they are gone. I won’t miss feeling completely exhausted but I will miss the feeling of a baby’s body getting heavy against my chest as she gives into sleep. I will miss the sweet smell of shampoo and sweat as I lay my cheek against the top of her head and breathe in her scent. I will miss the hypnotic sound of rhythmic breathing and soft snores. I will miss the feeling of being completely needed and trusted.

In the middle of the night when others are sleeping, when I should be sleeping but instead am on mom duty, rocking my sweet toddler back to sleep, I think of these things and feel lucky to still be needed at 3am. I feel nostalgic for all the moments just like this one that I have briefly spent with all of my girls. These moments can feel endless when you are living them, but when you look back they are so fleeting. Truth be told, I hope there are at least a few more of these quiet moments with my last baby girl in the wee hours of the morning because I’m not quite ready to be done with this phase yet.

Extended breastfeeding seems like such a strange term to me. It is the term used to describe breastfeeding beyond 12 months. The fact that there is a term to describe nursing your child beyond 12 months of age is strange to me. Who decided that 12 months should be the cut off and that there needed to be a special term for those that breastfed beyond that magic time marker. In so many cultures “extended breastfeeding” is the norm. It is natural, common and very likely not given a second thought, let alone a special term. In our culture that is not the case. Extended breastfeeding is not the norm and there is definitely a lack of support for those who choose to nurse their children beyond 1 year of age. In fact, not only is there a lack of support but there is also a sense that choosing to nurse your child beyond a certain age is a weird. I will say that I feel like we have made great strides in normalizing both breastfeeding itself and extended breastfeeding. But, we have a long way to go.

I am breastfeeding for the third time beyond that magic 12 month marker and have received my fair share of sideways glances and awkward, silent moments when people find out. The most common question I get is “Are you going to wean her soon?” like it is somehow the business of anyone but myself.

My goal when I began breastfeeding, with Maya anyway, was to breastfeed for “at least a year”. I didn’t give much thought to how long I would do it or how I would go about weaning. With Anna and Nora I had a similar goal. I wanted to get to at least a year and beyond that I would just play it by ear. I didn’t have a set end date in mind, although I figured I would go at least as long as I did with Maya. It seemed like the right approach. If breastfeeding beyond a year worked for my girls and for me then that is what we would do.

Maya and Anna were both breastfed until 20 months of age. It was a weaning schedule that worked well for both myself and my girls. They were both pretty much ready to be done and I was ready to be done. I had to push a little as we dropped certain nursing sessions but for the most part they dropped sessions on their own. With Nora things are going to be a little different, I can tell. She is extremely attached to breastfeeding. There are times when I am ready to be done but most of the time I’m perfectly okay with the status quo. She is definitely not ready to be done. She still asks frequently to nurse. Sometimes too frequently. She is still very dependent on it for comfort if she is sad or hurt, and I’m okay with that. I don’t foresee a time in the near future when she will take kindly to being nudged into the weaning process. I fully anticipate she will be older than her sisters when our nursing relationship comes to an end. So, we will keep going until she is ready to stop, or until I definitely don’t feel like I can do it anymore. Hopefully she gets to her end point first so I don’t feel like I am forcing it on her.