Quote Me: The Secret to Happiness

Jane's Double Twisted 3D stars2_rev

If there is such a thing as a secret to happiness, I think a critical part of it must be realizing that the only thing you have the power and ability to change is yourself, your lifestyle–and that is, in the long run, the only really effective way of effecting real change on the world.

“Jane,” as she changes strides yet again
(plagiarizing myself from something I wrote  in a completely irrelevant context)

Photo (Jane’s Double Twisted 3D stars2_rev) by mimickr

Forgive the sappy interlude. It had to come out. Now back to regular programming:

Ender: Mama! I just love your breasts! They are like big, soft meatballs!

(Weep). To other weanies and weaners: it was all worth it, of course. All worth it. But. (Weep.)

Most beautiful thing in my in-box over this weekend comes from Deni Lyn Miller at The Diary of a Reluctant Mother who wrote of her son:

My hope for him is that he loves water as much as I love water.
My prayer for him is that no matter what he decides to love, it brings him much joy and peace.

The most important thing parents need to know from my in-box this weekend comes from Roll Over and Play Dad (what’s your name or handle, btw, dude? ROAPD don’t roll off the typing fingers) via his Twitter feed (@AndPlayDad):

If you are offering parenting advice I assume that you only have 1 kid. If you had 2 or more, you would know that all kids are different.


Happy Monday. I’m off to change the world. What are you doing?

Quote Me: The correlation between infant feeding behaviours and maternal mental capacity

Mother and Child

Breastfeeding. The most beautiful thing the world. Absolutely (once you and babe figure it out… but I digress). But it the things it does to your grey matter… To wit:

“Why can I not complete a coherent sentence?”

Jane, writing when Cinder was two months old

“I was working towards a salient, cohesive point here, but it’s just been sucked out through my nipples.”

Jane, writing when Flora was five months old

“I had a superbly well-articulated argument for what the real cause of this was and had to take a break to nurse tha’ baby and I think he sucked the idea out of my head.”

Jane, writing when Ender was six months old

Bernardino Luini - Nursing Madonna - WGA13767

And finally, she sums it all up:

“My brain is leaking out through my nipples.”

Jane, writing when Ender was nine months old

N.B. Ender is now officially a weanie. I need to start searching for new excuses…

Photos: Mother and Child by naturemandala; Bernardino Luini – Nursing Madonna.

More like this–I don’t write an awful lot about breastfeeding anymore, and I cringe a bit when I read what I used to write about breastfeeding, but Why Isn’t It Natural is still a pretty powerful post…

For funny nurslings-and-boobiesuckers stories, check out From the mouths of nurslings, The most important word and Nipple malaria.

For evidence-based information about “what’s normal” while breastfeeding and weaning and support, get thee to KellyMom or The Leaky Boob.

Road trip survival tips when travelling with infants–not

We leave for Manitoba tomorrow, a 1600-or-so kilometre drive (1000 miles) that we’re planning to do over two leisurely days of at least eight hours in the car each day. The kids are aged 10, 7.5 and 2.8 now. The elder two are awesome road trippers. The littlest one… well, there’s a reason we didn’t go anywhere last year. We think we’re prepared (we’ve got snacks, games, electronics, strategies galore AND ear plugs)… but we’re also a little worried.

On the plus side, no matter what happens, it can’t be worse than our first car trip after Flora was born. In this vignette, she’s five months old. Cinder’s three. Their parents are in… hell.

June 27, 2005—Calgary to Edmonton. 300 km. 

6:45 a.m.—Both children in the car, unfortunately awake but, fortunately, notscreaming. So far, so good. We’re leaving only 15 minutes later than planned.We will still beat the rush hour out of town. We hope.

6:53 a.m.—Speeding at 120 km/h in the far left lane on Deerfoot Trail whenCinder starts rocking back and forth and saying, “Oh, oh, oh, oh.” “Do you have to pee?” Sean cries out, panicked about spending the next 300 km in a pee-smelling car. “No,” says Cinder. “Oh, oh, oh. Yes. Oh, yes! Oh, oh,oh! I have to pee! I have to pee right now!” “Hold it, sweetie, hold it!” Sean hollers. “Mama’s going to pull right over. No, what are you doing, not onDeerfoot! Wait until 32nd…” Mama pulls off a wicked lane change, screeches around the corner on the 32nd Avenue exit, and comes to a bumpy stop at ared light. “Oh, oh, oh!” cries Cinder. “Hold it, hold it, hold it!” screams Sean.

“We’re almost there,” say I as I take a sharp right into a parking lot. Sean leaps out of the car before I stop and runs around to get Cinder out. He scoops him out of the car seat and pulls off his pajama pants just as a fountain of pee starts flowing. And back into the car. A quick wave to the building security guard, who watches, mildly amused, or possibly disgusted, as he chews on the end of a cigarette.

6:54 a.m.—Aborted attempt to get coffee and TimBits (“for the peeing, Mama, I need a treat for the peeing!”) at the 32nd Avenue Tim Horton’s. There are two dozen cars lined up at the drive-through, and, with the three-year-old freshly peed and the five-month-old not-yet-screaming, we are not wasting any time waiting in line. We pull back onto Deerfoot.

6:55 a.m.—Three-year-old starts agitating for his TimBit. The commotion starts the five-month-old meowing.

7:00 a.m.—The meowing escalates into shrieking.

7:05 a.m.—The shrieking starts shattering eardrums. “Cinder,” Mama pleads into the back seat. “Can you give Flora a toy to settle her?”

7:06 a.m.—Exalted silence.

“Thank you, Cinder,” I say. “What did you give Flora?”

“My toe to suck, Mama,” Cinder says happily.


“Don’t worry, Mommy. I remembered. I took off my shoe.”

7:20 a.m.—We pull into the Tim Horton’s at Airdrie, Cinder’s toe no longer inFlora’s mouth (“Flora’s trying to bite my toe, Mommy! I’m taking it back!”) .Sean goes in to get coffee and TimBits. I free Flora from the restrains of thecarseat; she latches onto the nipple while I’m still struggling with the buckles.“Can I go in with Daddy?” Cinder asks. I counter with the “you have no shoes”argument. “But, Mommy,” he says, “I took my shoes off so Flora could suck my toes. We can just put them back on.”

7:25 a.m.—Flora interrupts her boobie-sucking to explode. I commence changing her, in the car, on my lap. “Stinky!” cries Cinder, not being of the camp that maintains breastfed baby poops don’t smell. “Gross!” cry I, as Irealize that the diaper contains only about a quarter of the total poop amount.

7:35 a.m.—Sean returns with the coffee and TimBits. He stares at the dirty diaper and pile of mustard-coloured wipes on his seat. He thinks about saying something, then sighs instead and gathers them up. “Give me the sleeper,” he says, extrapolating from the number of wipes—and the fact that Flora is now wearing new clothes—that we had a blow out. “I’ll go rinse it off,” I say. “I have to wash my hands anyway.” “I wasn’t going to wash it,” he says, appalled. “I was just going to throw it out with the diaper.” “But it’s a brand new sleeper!”I protest.

7:37 a.m. —Having succeeded in transferring some of the poop on the sleeper to my hands, elbows, and clothes, I toss the sleeper into the Tim Horton’s garbage.

7:45 a.m.—We leave Airdrie. “It took us an hour to get to Airdrie?” Sean laments. “The TimBits are all gone,” Cinder announces. Flora falls asleep. “Don’t worry,” I say. “They’ll both sleep the rest of the way.”

7:50 a.m.—I stand knee-deep in water in a ditch beside Highway 2, a barefoot Cinder, pants around his ankles, squirming in my arms. “Okay, baby, pee,” I say. He squirms some more. “Mommy, take off my pants. Quick! Quick! I’m going to poop.” And a row of transport trucks zooms by……

11:45 a.m.—We meander through the extremely slow traffic on GatewayBoulevard past the Edmonton city limits sign. “Remember when this used to be a less-than-three hour drive?” I say wistfully. Cinder, who fell asleep a mere four minutes earlier, snores gently. Flora lets out a loud belch.

A more common losing cup.

I’m on the road and then in the wilds for the next 10-12 days, and generally unplugged. I’ve got a few posts auto-scheduled for your enjoyment, but I won’t be able to respond to comments until I get back.

Did you catch Happy Canada Day, made complicated yesterday? It’s worth reading.

The Most Important Word

Cinder: Ender, I’m going to teach you how to spell your first word. It’s the most important word for a baby to know. Ready? The first letter is B. You might think I’m spelling bum or barf, but no. I’ll teach you those later. B-O-O. No, I know what you’re thinking, it’s not Booger. Ok, where were we? B-O-O… and B. B-O-O-B. See? Isn’t that the most important word for a baby to know? I’ll teach you Booger tomorrow.

Nipple Malaria

Cinder: I just tested, and Ender the baby has an advanced case of nipple malaria. Flora–go get Mom! This is a disease that’s very common to babies and there is only one known cure!

P.S. Remember what I said about not remembering November? Ditto for December. Thank goodness Sean took lots of pictures and videos. I can look at them and say, hey, that’s what we did. Cool.

Blame It On The Pigs

We celebrated Ender’s arrival by coming down with H1N1 (we think). Do you remember that? The pandemic that wasn’t? Austen wasn’t quite himself by the time Dziadzia came to stay with him and Flora and Sean and I left for the hospital; by the time Sean went to see the children that night, they were both wheezing, coughing and sniffling. In the night, Austen struggled for breath in Babi’s arms. By the time Ender was ready to come home, both Austen and Flora were too sick to come home. They spent two days sick at Babi and Dziadzia’s—until they infected Babi and Dziadzia and made them too sick to take care of the kids. By then, Sean was was wheezing too, so we brought the kids home—under orders to frequently wash their hands and not breathe on Ender. (We somehow managed to infect Adam and Aga too.) (Babi & Dziadzia = the grandparents; parents of Jane. Now you know.)

It sounds awful: it was actually wonderful. They were wiped and tired. So for about two weeks, we all mostly sat in the big bed, watching movies, reading books, nursing Ender, and napping together. It was a wonderful bonding experience, and a nice, gentle introduction into being a family of five. Neighbours and friends brought us dinners—as did Babi when she recovered. I’ve always hated the rush of people wanting to come see the new baby, wanting to hold the new baby, and my dream post-partum month would see me in bed with the baby, skin-on-skin, sleeping and feeding, and not doing much more than that. And that’s what we got—we put the house under quarantine, declined visitors, and enjoyed a real babymoon. All thanks to the swine flu. Thanks, pigs!

Our Doberman Anya added some unexpected drama to those first weeks, by, for the first time in her 11 year life, running away. The front door was left open… and she—nose put out of joint by the new baby? Or for some other, secret dog reason—wandered outside, down the alley, and onto the hill. She meandered up and down. By the time we realized she was gone and scrambled forces to look for her—the entire family and half the co-op combed the hill and the neighbourhood shouting for Anya—some kind people had taken her home for the night. We got her back the next day, none the worse for her adventure—perhaps even slightly better off, for her rescuers had given her wet dog food and a rawhide chew bone.

Austen to Ender: “Are you ready for the morning nippling process? You should have seen the yummy breakfast mama had—the milk will be extra delicious!