Archive for August, 2013

August Update

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

As much as I would love to give a weekly update like I have in the past, that is just not realistic for me at the moment.  A preschooler, infant, husband, household duties and part time job are keeping me too busy to do so!  Instead what I would like to do is give a monthly update on what has been happening in our family.  Here is the August update.

We have had a pretty uneventful August as we continue to find a groove for our family of four.  The schools in Swaziland have a 3 week holiday break that began in the middle of August so it has been pretty quiet around the mission.  There is a small group of children that live on the mission that are just a couple of years older than Mikayla.  She has enjoyed spending the school break playing with them most of the day.  They come up with all sorts of creative games to play and it makes her super tired!  She has pretty much given up her afternoon nap (even though she still needs it most days), but with all the extra play time with friends she has been crashing pretty hard in the afternoon! 

I was going to begin Mikayla’s preschool time the first of September, but have decided to wait until the children all return to school so she can continue playing with them during the day.  Plus, I am still trying to figure out how I want to structure that time!!

We spent most of our time last week at the hostel for camp.  I had a smaller role this time, but enjoyed interacting with staff and children throughout the week.  Both Mikayla and Max did great!!

Ben is back to work full time, but has had a pretty flexible schedule.  He has been able to take longer periods off throughout the day.  At times like this it is nice his office is so close to home because he can pop over and help out when I need him!!

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Mikayla enjoyed some time in the rain during a recent storm.

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Mikayla was dying to go camping, so Ben and her had a camp fire and "camped" on the porch.  It got pretty cold so they ended up camping in the living room before the night was over.

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Katie brought a hammock with her so we have all been enjoying relaxing in the cool afternoon breezes that this time of year brings.

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Mikayla at camp.  She loves to go to the kitchen to get a sandwich whenever we are at the hostel.

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Zodwa, hostel staff, making pap for lunch.

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Kids enjoying sports time at camp.

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Max enjoying time with the kids at camp.

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Max at One Month

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Last Sunday Max turned one month old.  It is crazy how fast this past month has flown by.  Ben and I were actually just talking last night about how much he has grown and changed in the last month and just how quickly it has gone by.  With Mikayla that first month seemed like an eternity, but with Max it has gone too fast.  Maybe it is because we also have a very active four year old to look after!

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Grow with me owl at 2 weeks.

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Grow with me owl at 1 month

Max is quite different from his sister.  While she was always pretty laid back he is a little more high maintenance (although he is starting to come out of this phase).  He definitely cries more than his sister ever did and he is a lot bigger than she ever was!  He is a chunky monkey and eats like a pig!!

Max loves to be held, and during the day actually sleeps better in someone’s arms or in a baby carrier than he does in his crib.  At one month he is starting to get in somewhat of a sleeping routine.  He usually takes a mid-morning nap, an afternoon nap and an early evening nap before calling it a day around 9 or 10.  He sleeps pretty good at night and most nights gets up to nurse 3-4 times and goes right back to sleep.  On rare occasions he likes to have a party around 3 or 4am!  He will often have a crying spell right around dinner time, which has made for some interesting meal times!

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We started Max in cloth diapers after his umbilical cord fell off (around two weeks).  We only have 11 at the moment so we alternate between cloth and disposable, but mostly cloth during the day.  I am also breastfeeding Max and it is going much smoother than with Mikayla.  I had a low supply with her and seem to have an abundance with him!

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Max’s first cloth diaper!

At around two weeks, Max rolled over for the first time (belly to back).  He has been doing it pretty consistently since then, but absolutely hates time on his tummy.  As soon as you put him on his tummy he starts screaming.  We keep trying, but so far he just seems to hate it.  Which is ironic because he loves to fall asleep on your chest where he is essentially on his tummy!  He also has really good neck control (both of our kids have had this).  He can hold his head steady for several seconds and is even able to lift it up when on his tummy.  That is when he isn’t screaming.

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He is starting to enjoy playing on his back.  He will occasionally "talk" with us making small cooing sounds.  And he is starting to smile some, smiles that are not your typical gas smiles. He also has more periods of wakefulness than he did two weeks ago.

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We took Max up to the hostel for the first time last week when the kids were there.  They were absolutely in love and almost knocked us over when we got to the gates.  They all wanted to see him and said what a beautiful baby he was.  I don’t think he will be short on people who love him.  He handled the interaction like a champ, slept right through it!  😉 There are also some cultural differences between raising an American infant and a Swazi infant.  The biggest is the way we bundle up children.  For us Max is sufficient in a long sleeve outfit with pants, a lightweight blanket and maybe a hat depending on temperature.  In Swaziland they bundle their babies up until they are sweating – thick wool blankets and at least three layers of clothing in 80 degree weather!  We often get scolded because Max is not bundled up appropriately!  Just one of the many differences we are finding.

Mikayla is in love with her brother and has been a great helper this past month.  She is on "diaper duty", helping to take care of dirty diapers and pick out his outfits each day!  She loves to snuggle with him and hold him on the couch.  She even seems oblivious to his screaming.  Yesterday he was crying really loud and Ben was talking to him to calm him down.  Mikayla told Ben to that he was being too loud.  When he asked her if Max was being loud too she said no!

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Max was born with three distinct birth marks.  One on his forehead that looks like a triangle, one on the crown of his head and one on the back of his neck.  All three are still very visible, although the forehead triangle is starting to fade some.  Ben likes to refer to this one as the arrow to show "white people’ where to feed the baby!!  His eyes have bounced between being brown and blue, but within the last week they are consistently blue so we are thinking we will have two blue eyed children.

We are starting to get into a pretty good groove and it feels completely normal to be a family of four!  We head to the doctor next week for a six week check up and some shots.  Anxious to see how much my (not so) little boy weighs!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

Dichotomy of Breastfeeding

Friday, August 9th, 2013

This past week was National Breastfeeding Awareness Week in the US.  So many people have been making posts and references to this that it got me to thinking about the dichotomy of my two experiences in breastfeeding.

When Mikayla was born, over four years ago, we were living in the states and I was working full time.  This meant that I got a couple months off of work to stay home with her, establish our routine and then head back to work.  At work I spent everyday in my kindergarten bathroom pumping milk for my daughter while my students were at recess.  Not ideal, but I wanted what was best for my daughter.  We had lots of struggles and ups and downs (you can read about them here if interested), but we survived and nursed for a good 15 months or so before weaning. 

Fast forward to today.  I have a one month old son, live in Africa and stay at home with my kids.  This means I can nurse around the clock (and we do, he is a hungry boy) and I don’t have to pump!  So far we have not had any major struggles, but he does want to nurse all the time (like every two hours on average). 

Nursing in Africa is quite different from nursing in the US.  In Swaziland, nursing is the norm and it happens anywhere and everywhere – on busses, in meetings, on the side of the road, in stores, in restaurants, walking in the bush.  You name it and it happens there.  In the US, while a lot of women nurse their children, it is still considered taboo to nurse in some public places (although it isn’t against the law).  With Mikayla I began by being shy about nursing, afraid to nurse in public without a nursing wrap, and often nursing in my car rather than in a public place. (Towards the end I gave up the nursing wrap and would nurse her wherever we were).  I remember one time I had gone on a hike with some friends and she got hungry so I sat down to nurse her.  I had forgotten my wrap so I just nursed in the open.  The looks I got from other people made me feel ashamed for feeding my child. 

In Swaziland that would never happen.  People here don’t even seem to take notice of women when they are nursing.  It is just a regular part of everyday life.  This time around I am willing to nurse Max anywhere he gets hungry.  For example, the other day I had run into a drug store with him and he was screaming and crying, obviously hungry.  The line was really long, but I really needed to purchase the items in my basket.  What was a mom to do?  I nursed him while standing in line, without a cover and the whole time felt completely natural and unashamed about it.  Had this situation taken place in the US I would have probably forgone my basket items and headed to the car to nurse him because I didn’t want to have to defend my right to feed him in a public place. (I read an interesting and humorous defense for breastfeeding in public here).  Is either situation ideal or right?  I am not sure, but what I do know is that nursing here is a much more laid back part of everyday life and I love it!

In a lot of situations Swaziland is stuck in the past, but when it comes to nursing they are on the cutting edge.  They have it figured out and aren’t ashamed to feed their children in the most natural way possible – breastfeeding.  In one of our first few months in Swaziland Ben had a conversation with a staff member about breasts.  Ben said something along the lines that in the US women wanted larger breasts and the larger the better.  The staff member seemed a little confused and wondered if larger breasts meant more milk was being produced.  He did not see anything sexual about breasts, instead they were a tool used to feed his family.  To most Americans this is a foreign concept because breasts have become so sexualized. 

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Even Mikayla is getting in on the breastfeeding action by feeding her baby while I feed Max.

For the past week I have just been thinking about how different the two worlds are when it comes to breastfeeding and wanted to share my thoughts.  I find it very interesting.  I am going to end this post with a little poem I stumbled across this week.  It is written tongue in cheek in Dr. Seuss fashion and I just think it is cute. 

Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms
Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?
I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.Floppy
boobs will never stop me.
Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!
Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!
Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.I would
nurse her in the rain.
As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.Mommy’s
milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.
Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!
I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!
We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.There’s
no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.Those
sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.Human milk
just can’t be beat.
I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet her needs, I’ll always try.It’s not
about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.
I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse her, Mom I am.

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