Monday, June 17, 2013


I believe I have mentioned before the long road we've been on with BBZ and swimming.  He began his relationship with the pool completely terrified.

It was not all his fault, however.  I am sure that my worry about his certain death by drowning was communicated to him through my mannerisms, even though I tried to keep a cool head.  I am a worrier, after all.

So when he was 3 years old, he began participating in swimming class once/week at preschool.  His teacher was a swim instructor and really encouraged us to enroll him in 1:1 swimming classes so she could work closely with him.

It was really expensive, but worth every penny.  She knew him well since she was one of his main teachers, so she knew exactly how to gently push him without him withdrawing.  She said that he is such a charmer, he would charm the pants off of anyone working with him and get out of having to do anything he didn't want to do.  Man, she had him figured out!

He sure has come a long way though.  As part of our Father's Day weekend, we went to the pool this past Saturday and he had a blast.  He swims every day now in the pool at his school during summer camp, so he knows what areas he can go into and where he can touch.  He was so confident.  I am a proud mama.

Now, let's talk about LBZ.  This boy.  He radiates confidence in the water.  I think he is probably also reflecting what I give off, and since I am a much more confident mama (I know he will not only survive swimming, but he WILL feel comfortable in the water before age three) he rises to my level of expectation.

He saw this slide, and wouldn't stop until he reached the top.  He saw those stairs, and begged to climb them "up and down, up and down, mommy".
I didn't think I was allowed to go with him, so I sent his brother.  BBZ got bored with that and ran off to play with a friend.  I ended up going up the stairs to the top with him, but he slid down on his own.  Over and over and over, he circled around the other side of this play area, back up the stairs, and slid again.
At times, he slid down like he owned it.  Other times, he sat at the top and just looked around.  It appeared at first that he was scared, but I don't think he was.  I think he was just watching the world.  Perhaps contemplating it from atop this high place.  I like to think that he was just enjoying the quiet peacefulness of the place, much like we do on top of a mountain.  It was kind of surreal.
These boys just continue to amaze me.  I love watching them grow, and contrast them against each other not in some sort of competitive way, but instead to celebrate their differences and better learn who they are.  
Each of them are their own unique person, developing right before my eyes.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Is he STILL taking a bottle?

I was thinking the other day about when I should take away LBZ's night time bottle.  Yes, he is 21 months old.  Today, actually.

No one actually asked me this question, but the whole thing got me thinking about when I wrote this post about BBZ still nursing...and I started to recognize the similarities.

No one really knows he still drinks a bottle at night.  He won't even really take one if he isn't at home.  And even when N puts him to bed when I'm not there he isn't really that into it.  It is definitely our thing.  And selfishly, I really like it.

He is independent in 1000 ways.  His independence is so incredibly different than his brother's.  BBZ is independent too, but snuggling at night, not letting go of nursing, wanting us to help with dressing and shoes, etc, those are things that have been and are a part of BBZ's life.

LBZ on the other hand, wants to do everything himself.  He wants to be put to bed awake and have some time to himself before he falls asleep.  He shows us numerous times throughout the day that he is capable of doing so much for himself.  So this little bit of his baby self hanging on is alright with me.

Plus, it still feels like our own special thing we do, like nursing was with BBZ.  I didn't get that as long with LBZ, so I am soaking it up.

I did decide last night to start reading to him before bed, with the hopes that when he transitions into his toddler bed he will be bottle free.  He won't need to be rocked then, and we will be able to snuggle in bed and read books together as we do with BBZ, if that's what LBZ wants.

I am slowly talking myself into just going for it.  He would probably be fine drinking his warm milk from a sippy cup, but what's the difference then?  It might as well be a bottle until we're done having anything at bedtime in my opinion.

I am slowly, but surely, getting close to being ready to let go of this.  Clearly, this is a lot about me.  I'm not afraid to admit that.  This night time bottle is what allowed me to be ok with ending nursing.  This bottle is how I continued to bond with my littlest boy when I didn't think there would be a way for me to do so.  This bottle is more than just a bottle.

But like all good things, it will come to an end.  He will move into his toddler bed and a new routine will begin.  I'm looking forward to it, while also cherishing this baby-ness of his that will very soon be a distant past.

So yes, he is still taking a bottle.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mommy's Squishy Belly

For as long as I can remember, I have been self conscious of my tummy area.  I remember once in high school wearing a shortish shirt and running back inside to grab a jacket to cover myself up because I felt too bare.  Considering I was 16, about 90 pounds, and hadn't had children yet, I'd kill for that belly back.

When I was pregnant it was awesome.  Having a belly pooch is swooned over during pregnancy.  Even when I was nursing after I had the boys I felt pretty great.  I was about 5-7 pounds less than usual, which isn't a lot, but I carry every ounce in my belly, so it really did show back up after I stopped pumping for LBZ.
I'm working on a new outlook, and there have been a few contributing factors to my new outlook on this body that I have.

Looking back at my high school self got me thinking...I sure wish I had felt better in that top when my belly actually was thin.  Fast forward to now, I want to love the body I have right now, because even with some serious exercising, it's likely that this belly ain't goin' nowhere, so I'd better just get used to it.  And as I age, my body will keep changing, and perhaps not always the way I want it to.

I found a website recently that talks about the physical changes our bodies go through and how we as women should embrace this.  In addition to having a pretty dynamic pooch, I also have really stretched out skin.  Not stretch marks, but just stretched out skin from 41 weeks with BBZ and 41 weeks and 3 days with LBZ.  Check out the Facebook page if you have a moment.  It also contributed to a new sense of physical self I am developing.

The other thing that has me embracing my tummy is BBZ's love for it.  He tells me on almost a daily basis how much he loves my "squishy belly".

Now at first this bothered me.  It made me cringe and want to suck it in or deny to myself that it even existed.  But not anymore.

The boy loves it.  When we snuggle at night he will purposefully lay on my belly and talk about how comfortable it is and how happy he is that my belly isn't flat and hard.  Oh, the irony.

I read this post yesterday, which mentions a quote by Kate Winslet:

"As a child, I never heard one woman say to me: ‘I love my body.’ Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. Not one woman has ever said: ‘I am so proud of my body.’ So, I make sure I say it to Mia, because a positive physical outlook has to start from a very early age.”
Now I realize that I don't have girls, but my boys are watching me and they care about how I feel about myself.  I want to be confident in who I am.  And I want to show them if they don't like something, then they should make it a priority to change it, not just sit around and complain about it.

And if they are doing all they feel they can to change it, it is time to accept it, and move along. 

I also saw these photos of Alanis Morissette wearing a bikini over her not-so-perfect post-baby body.  The message is clear.  I need to love my body right now.

I am changing my perspective on me and my squishy belly.  I'm embracing it.  I am exercising, but the truth is, I may never live up to my own expectations of myself, so I might as well enjoy who I am and what I look like right this moment.

Honestly, even with its imperfections, I do love my body. I love the size I wear. I love the way my husband loves the way I look. I love that I can be comfortable in my own skin. 

That's a lot more fun and freeing anyway :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

The apple doesn't fall far.

My nephew is a young man who has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of Autism.  My mom has worked with the government in her state to change laws to expand services to people with Autism.  The link below is to an article that talks about the work she, my nephew, and others in the state have been doing to get these services part of the law.
I definitely feel like I was taught to be an advocate by my parents.  They always taught me to stand up for myself and for what I believe in.  So when I found out recently that the city government wanted to do some construction in my city, I became involved.
The project would be completed through a federally funded grant and would cost the city nothing.  It would bring 2.5 miles of roadway and sidewalks to width and length requirements as outlined in the best practices of the ADA.  Some residents who live on the street where the project would take place felt that the city was imposing in their property.  Many residents don't want to project at all, but some others want the project but don't want to follow the specific requirements as outlined in the American's with Disabilities Act.
This is where I come in.  As a resident of this community, I felt like I had to share my feelings about this and any other future project that will occur in my city.  I attended the city council meeting and said the following information during my 3 minutes of the public hearing:
I’m here to talk with the council about universal design, accessibility and the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990.  And while I don’t have a disability or need mobility modifications, I have dedicated over 15 years of my life to working toward a better world for people with disabilities.
UD is designed to even the playing field so to speak.  If the world is accessible for all people, disabilities will cease to exist.
I envision a world without disabilities.  Not because we find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury, but because we start to build a world that is designed for all people.  We can only do that by following the manual that the ADA provides to us as a standard practice as we consider any new construction in our neighborhoods and in our city.
These standards benefit all people.  I live behind the community center and walk 1-2 times a day in the neighborhood.  My family and I are not able to walk next to each other because the sidewalks are not wide enough.  We either walk single file on the sidewalks or move into the street so we can walk and talk together as a family.  Luckily we live on a block where walking in the street is a somewhat safe option.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to know that if something happens to me, that I will continue to be able to access all areas of my neighborhood, even if my mobility needs change.  There is a woman named Marca Bristo, who runs a very successful disability resource agency in Chicago, who described to me her experience when she returned home from rehab after she sustained a SCI as a result of a diving accident.
She wanted to have some friends over as a welcome home party.  She headed out to the store to purchase groceries for the party and rolled to the end of her street.  There was no curb cut, and she was unable to get down from the curb.  She turned around, and rolled her chair to the opposite intersection, which also did not have a curb cut.  She followed her whole block around and there was no way for her to independently cross the street because of a lack of accessibility.  In the matter of one accident, her world shrunk to the one block radius where her house was.
I challenge each of you to look at your street and curbs when you get home, and ask yourself how you might be able to access the places you do, should your mobility needs change.
Because the fact is, every single one of us in this room, as well as our children and our parents, is one car accident, one diagnosis, or one wrong place at the wrong time moment away from our world shrinking to that which is accessible under these ADA best practice standards.
Thank you for your time.
The 3 minutes flew by, and I actually had to skip some of what I wanted to say, which included some statistics about people with disabilities in our area, but I think my message was effectively sent.  I also thought of more to add as I listened to the other residents speak.  One of the biggest arguments is the preservation of the trees that line the street that is to be redone.  There are many trees on the street, and most of them will be preserved with the plan, but some will have to be removed.
This was a hard one for me, because I am also a self-proclaimed tree-hugging hippie, so to advocate for the removal of trees goes against some of my own personal beliefs.  But as I heard these folks speak I came to a very important conclusion.
What good is preserving a tree of not all people in the world are able to enjoy it's beauty?  Or it's smell.  Or the sounds of its leaves blowing in the breeze.  A beautiful place is only beautiful if it is not isolated.  Especially if it is in a place that is open to and for the public.
The specifications laid out in the ADA and in laws following it are there for a reason.  Many people poured their hearts into writing them.  Spend days and nights measuring, testing, capturing, and ultimately ensuring that those specifications are what is needed and what is best for all people, regardless of ability or mode of mobility.  They cannot and should not be dismissed.
So I had my 3 minutes, and felt an unbelievable sense of pride in having the opportunity to address my city's council.  And I am more prepared for the next issue that might arise.  I plan to attend more of the meetings to stay up on the current happening in my city.
Because I can't complain about the problem if I am not willing to be part of the solution.  Or something wise like that.