My journey to shoot for the moon.

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

My Newest Niece

I am so happy to share this with everyone!  Mike and Courtney Harper (Mike and Chris have been friends their entire lives – and Mike’s Mom and Chris’ Mom have been friends forever – before either one of them got married) had another little girl!

Josephine Carol Harper was born July 13.  She weighed 8 lbs 5 oz and was 20 inches long.  She joins big sisters Sammy and Bree.

Chris, David, Michael and I got to visit with the Harpers at the hospital on July 14.  Josie slept through our whole visit, but we look forward to seeing her with her eyes open in the near future.

Congratulations to Mike and Courtney!  Welcome to Josie, we are so glad that you are part of our family!

My Dad – Follow Up

I wrote about my dad for Father’s Day. It was my tribute to him and my apology because I didn’t get cards in the mail, yet again. (more…)

My Dad

Today is Father’s Day.  The first since I started blogging.  I haven’t written much about my parents.  But today I’m going to write about my dad because, like the last few years, the Father’s Day cards didn’t get in the mail on time. (more…)

Cleaning out the Storage Area

When we moved from Illinois to Colorado, it was from a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom tri-level house to a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment.   Before we moved, I purged and cleaned out and got rid of tons of stuff.  Downsizing is possible, but I’m not sure that it is possible to downsize enough to keep all the things that we needed/wanted to keep.  So we have a storage area.  Actually, it is garage at the apartment complex, but don’t tell them that because we aren’t supposed to store stuff in the garage.  It is supposed to be for a car. (more…)

The Family Bed, Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting – Part 1

Before David was born, I was told, by the friend of family, never, ever let the baby in your bed.  Chris and I tried to follow this advice.  But it was very difficult.  At first, David slept in a bassinet next to our bed.  I was nursing him and when he would wake up, I would get him from the bassinet and take him into his room and nurse and rock and then bring him back to the bassinet.  Many times I would put him down and he would wake up.  And he never seemed to sleep for more than an hour or two without needing to nurse.  Obviously, Chris couldn’t nurse him, so it was up to me.

When David was almost 2 months old, I started a new job.  I worked in the evenings as an Administrative Assistant for a psychiatric  practice and most of what I did was transcribe reports.  I would bring David to Chris’ work and then leave to go to work.  Chris would take David home.  By the time I got home from work, I was exhausted.  I was pumping and Chris was trying to give David bottles of breast milk.  David was not happy and would nurse and nurse and nurse once I got home.

Since I was getting home at 10 pm or so, David was nursing most of the night.  At first, that meant that I was dozing in the rocking chair.  But eventually, I was so exhausted, I began nursing him in bed.  Both of us would fall asleep.  When he woke (maybe 2 hours later, if I was lucky) he would nurse again, but as he was in bed next to me, I didn’t have to get up.  I didn’t really have to wake up.  After a while, both of us became experts at nursing and sleeping at the same time.

After about 6 months, Chris took a new job for a lot more money and I was able to stop working.  David still wasn’t sleeping for longer than 2-3 hours at a time, but since he was in bed with me (and Chris) and I wasn’t working, it wasn’t such a big deal.  We also tried putting him in his crib and letting him cry it out.  It was horrid.  He cried, and cried forever.  Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and got him.  Both of us were in tears.  It was at this point that I realized that David NEEDED me.  He wouldn’t always need me in that way, but why shouldn’t I give him what he needed?

So, David slept in our bed.  It wasn’t always great, but I slept better most nights.  He didn’t sleep through the night until, well, he was almost 2.

When David was 17 months old, I got pregnant with Michael.  I tried to continue nursing David, but I just couldn’t.  It was just too uncomfortable.  So, we began weaning David.  I write “we” because Chris had to be actively involved because when David saw me he wanted to nurse.  David still slept in our bed and held my hand to go to sleep rather than nursing.  It worked.

David was 26 months old when Michael was born.  His spot in our bed was between Chris and I.  Alex slept at our feet and Michael slept on my other side.  Michael never slept in the crib.  He was in the bassinet only when I needed to put him down someplace safe.  Michael was a very high-need baby.  He suffered from birth trauma and I’m not sure if that is what caused it, or not.  Michael needed to be touching me at all times.  He would not be put down.  He would not be held by anyone else.  If he wasn’t touching me, he screamed.  This made it very difficult to manage anything.

When David was a toddler, I bought a sling.  David did great in it and it took a lot of the pressure off of my back when I was trying to carry him.  Thank goodness I had gotten used to using it with David because Michael lived in the sling.  He could nurse in the sling and he would sleep in the sling.  If I took him out of the sling and tried to put him down, he screamed.  It was horrible.  Showering meant that I would hop in soap up, wash my hair and hop out.  I think I got to the point that I could get in and out in 3 minutes.  Michael would either be on a blanket in the bathroom or in his baby chair.  And it didn’t matter if I sang to him the entire time or as he got a bit older, could see me while I showered, he screamed.

Once in a while, Michael would allow David to play with him and calm him.  That was great.  But since most of the time I had to hold Michael, I wasn’t able to do a lot of things.  Finally, I bought a backpack carrier and would wear Michael on my back while I tried to cook or clean.  It worked.

As Michael got a bit older, we moved him to the center of the bed.  So, Chris and I were on the outside and the boys were on the inside with Alex at the foot.  It is a very good thing that we had a king sized bed.  I don’t know how we would have managed otherwise.  Michael would nurse throughout the night, but I wouldn’t wake up fully, so it didn’t matter.  I think that Chris had the hardest time adjusting to the arrangement.

When David was around 3 we bought bunk beds for the boys.  We started having David sleep in his own bed.  For the most part, he did quite well.  Sometimes I would wake up and he would be in our bed, but generally he was happy with his own bed.

When Michael started crawling, he started leaving me for short periods of time.  He would “check-in” and either nurse or rub my arm 5-6 times in an hour.  It was better, but it still wasn’t ideal.  And he wouldn’t sleep unless he was touching me.

When David was 9 months old, I got involved with La Leche League.  This is where I met my friend, Emily, who was a Leader.  I’ve written about Emily and her boys and she was often my barometer.  She told me, with great confidence, that if you baby the baby and toddler, you wouldn’t need to baby the teenager.  I didn’t know if she was right, but I figured that the worst case would be that I would still have to baby my teenager.  It made it much easier to meet the boys’ needs, when I had support of an experienced mom.  Emily was only one of the amazing Moms that I met at La Leche League.

It was through La Leche League, that I learned about the Family Bed and Attachment Parenting.  My confidence as a mother increased and while Michael was extremely difficult, I felt supported.

More to come with Part 2.

Peanut Butter and Family

My parents were raised in the city.   New York City.  My maternal grandmother lived in New York City until she retired.  My Great-Aunt Shirley lived in New York City until she retired and my Great-Aunt Rosalie grew up in the city and at some point (after she married) moved to the suburbs where she raised her kids.   My grandmother walked, rode the subway or got a taxi.  She never drove.  My Aunt Shirley didn’t drive either (although I’m not sure if she ever drove).  My Aunt Rosie did drive.   Whenever my grandmother or  Aunt Shirley needed a ride (and the subway or taxi wasn’t good enough), my Aunt Rosie came.  Sometimes her husband, my Great-Uncle Gene drove, but mostly I think it was Aunt Rosie.

Whenever we flew from Chicago to New York for a visit, Aunt Rosie would be “volunteered” to drive.  I don’t know, but I think that Aunt Rosie only really got “volunteered” to drive when we were in town.  I don’t know that she drove my grandmother and my Aunt Shirley much when we weren’t there because both my grandmother and my Aunt Shirley worked and would be busy doing their own things during the week.

Why am I writing about this?  I have this memory that is replaying in my mind.  I’m not sure why, but it seemed that it was a story that needed to be told.

When my brother, Jeff and I were kids we flew to New York by ourselves.  I think I was 9 or 10 and Jeff was 6 or 7.  I remember the Flight Attendants checking all the paperwork and making sure that my grandmother was who she said she was before she released us.  Of course, Aunt Rosie and Aunt Shirley were there to pick us up from the airport too.  And Aunt Rosie drove us to my grandmother’s apartment.  That is most of what I remember from the trip.  I don’t remember flying home.  I don’t remember what we did.  I don’t remember anything else, except for the peanut butter incident.

Since my grandmother didn’t drive and she was feeding Jeff and I while we were visiting, she had Aunt Rosie come to drive all of us to the store.  Aunt Shirley came too.  Jeff and I got to pick out our favorite cereals and snacks (as my grandmother didn’t have any of that at her place) and peanut butter.  As kids, Jeff and I, ate a lot of peanut butter.  It was our favorite.

I don’t know what started it, but as we were standing in front of the peanut butter, my grandmother and my aunts started yelling at each other.  Yelling wasn’t something that surprised Jeff and I – we were growing up in a Jewish household and everyone yelled.  You yelled when you wanted to be heard, you yelled to get your point across, you yelled all the time.  In fact, it seemed to me that if everyone wasn’t yelling at the top of their voices, something was wrong.  But that was something that you did at home.

My grandmother and aunts were yelling at each other in the grocery store.  They were yelling about peanut butter.  Yes, at the loudest volume imaginable, they were arguing about peanut butter.  I don’t know why.  It seems silly to me now some 30 years later.  But they were.  They couldn’t decide what peanut butter was the best choice for Jeff and me.  It was 1980.  How many choices could there have been?  Skippy, Peter Pan and Jif?  Creamy or Chunky?  Maybe there were more, but I don’t think so.  It wasn’t like it is today with organic, low-fat, creamy, chunky, super chunky, reduced fat, natural, honey nut, old-fashioned, natural with honey, cinnamon raisin swirl, salt free, without added sugar, maple and who knows what other kinds.  As research for this blog, I looked up peanut butter on Amazon.com and there were 4 pages of results.https://i0.wp.com/www.doobybrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/jif-peanut-butter.jpg

So what were they fighting about?  They maybe had 6 choices.  And I don’t like chunky peanut butter, so that would have eliminated 3 of them.  But instead of asking us what we wanted, they were yelling about peanut butter.  Imagine  ladies standing in the grocery store yelling about peanut butter.  Now imagine that my grandmother was a tiny lady (she was maybe 5′ tall and weighed maybe 100 lbs) who was impeccably and conservatively dressed.  She had her nails done at least once a week.  She would have been wearing tailored clothing and heels.  She would have had her hair just so and her make-up on and lipstick.  My Aunt Shirley would have had her hair and nails done (don’t forget the lipstick).  But she was much taller than my grandmother (she seemed very, very tall in her heels) and she was more flamboyant.  Then there was Aunt Rosie who also had her hair, nails and make-up done (with lipstick), but she was much grandmotherly.  The three of them were standing in their heels, waving their arms and yelling at each other.  As I recall the scene, it seems very funny to me.https://i2.wp.com/dealseekingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Skippy-Peanut-Butter-Coupons.jpg

But, it wasn’t funny then.  Jeff’s lower lip started quivering.  He was about to cry.  Here we were in New York City (we were confirmed suburban kids), in this scary grocery store without our parents and our grandmother and aunts were yelling at each other.  They were getting louder and more animated.  Jeff had had enough.  And, since I was the big sister and was supposed to take care of my little brother, I had to act.

I remember walking over to my grandmother and aunts and grabbing a jar of Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter.  I looked at all three of them and said, “This is what Mom buys.”  I put it in the shopping cart and walked back to Jeff.  And the yelling stopped.  And my grandmother and aunts were not waving their arms.  One of them took the shopping cart and started to push and the other two went along to finish the shopping.  Life was good.  And we had peanut butter.https://i1.wp.com/files.sharenator.com/peanut_butter_salmonella1_Peanut_butter-s368x512-52235-580.jpg

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