I’m almost eight months into my journey as a mother of two…
I thought that having one kid changed me, but I think having the second brought me back to more of who I ‘used to be’. One thing about motherhood that nobody could’ve prepared me for was the judgement I would face from what felt like EVERYONE.
With my first child, I had every intention of breastfeeding. And then it just plain and simply did not work for us. Save your lectures about the lactation consultants and all that jazz and just take me at my word. The truth is, I was relieved when I ‘gave up’ on our trying and I said goodbye to my pump and our constant non-successful struggles to latch.
Baby number two was a champ and latched pretty well right away. But, then it became clear that something was just off with him and his little tummy. Turns out, he had a milk protein allergy. So I stopped all dairy and yet a few weeks later, he still wasn’t all that happy. I was worse. I cried a lot and I never slept. I was on supplements to increase my supply, I was on a strict high calorie diet. But nothing felt like it was paying off or helping. He screamed all night, he screamed all day.
My husband and I were losing our minds. I would beg him to come home from work so I could just breath and not feel like I was going to explode from exhaustion. Around six weeks, we decided that I, more so we, had reached our limit. Our son had his first bottle of soy formula two days shy of six weeks and it was instant calm. No more screaming all night and day. He had been hungrier than my supply could provide for and my constant state of panic and exhaustion weren’t helping.
I think the main reason I tried for so long wasn’t because of my fear of formula being bad for him, it was my fear of the judgement I would face from other mothers. I knew formula wasn’t bad for him. My other son had been fed formula and he’s never had more than a cold or slightly upset stomach a day in his life. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that breast milk is best IN MOST CASES. I also believe that every mother, every person, has a right to decide what is right for their own family. As a society we should support both sides. I’m not here to sway anyone in either direction. I’m here to say that as a mother, I never want to make another mother feel like she is inadequate when she is doing what she feels is best for her child.
Before I had children, I never knew how much competition there was between moms. And no, it’s not all moms. But it is enough to make you question your beliefs from time to time.
When I was a mom to just one little guy, I think I cared a great deal about what others thought of my parenting. I would beam and be delighted when someone commented on how smart he was or how well-behaved. I would blush beat red when he threw a fit in public or if someone took note of something they thought he was ‘behind’ on. The truth is, I really wish I would’ve ignored all that. It was a complete and total waste of time to care what anyone else thought of me or my child. I should have spent that time playing more with him, using every spare second to build his confidence and our relationship.
With the birth of my second child, I think I was out to prove just how great of a mom I was. Those first five weeks of what I call hell proved to me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone except my children, my husband and myself. Only when I let go of caring what everyone else thought and did what I thought was needed and best did I begin to enjoy my second child.
I thought baby number two and I would never bond during those five weeks. We bonded within a week of that first bottle. It wasn’t the bottle itself and the end to our breastfeeding journey that brought peace to us. It was seeing my brand new little boy truly happy. Watching him start to pack on the pounds. Watching him smile at me for the first time. Watching my other son come alive again as he had his ‘mommy’ back. I wasn’t the sleep deprived shell of myself anymore. I felt alive. I felt love, warmth, and like I was doing what was right for them.
Nearly eight months into this crazy journey, I have my full self back and a whole lot more love than I ever imagined. Both of my sons giggle often. They also both throw big tantrums and there are still times when I’d prefer to lock myself in a room and hide. But there is a difference…
I no longer give a crap about what anyone else thinks of my parenting. I no longer waste time trying to impress anyone with what my kids do or don’t do. I don’t care if your kid is doing things my kid doesn’t and I don’t care if mine is doing things your’s doesn’t. The truth is, I love my children no matter what they do or when they do it. I don’t think any less of them when they make a mess or when they need a little extra help.
If you don’t like that my two-year old is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, well then I recommend you plug your ears. We all march to our own drum and if he needs to express that he is angry about having to ride in the cart, well then so be it. This is one mom who refuses to take part in the so-called ‘mommy wars’. We’re not perfect, and I don’t want my children growing up under the impression that makes them any less of a person.
My family loves fall. We love the scents, the sights, all the fun activities – we love it all. Every year we stock our candy dish full of Brach’s Autumn Mix (my oldest son picks out the regular candy corn, hubby the pumpkins, and me the indian corn) and I make all sorts of pumpkin and apple filled delights. We stocked our candy dish yesterday and this morning I started the season off right with my favorite pumpkin muffin recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup pumpkin (you can use canned or even pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners in muffin tins or spray muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
Whisk flour and baking powder together, set aside.
Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl (use the bowl you used for your flour mixture to save on washing extra dishes). Set aside.
Divide batter into twelve muffin cups (approx. 3/4 full) and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the muffins. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Approx. 25-30 minutes.
Cool in pan 5-10 minutes then transfer to rack or plate to cool. Delicious served warm or room temperature!
makes 12 servings, serving size is one muffin
- Calories 197
- Fat 6.75g
- Saturated Fat 0.67g
- Polyunsaturated Fat 1.67g
- Monounsaturated Fat 3.33g
- Cholesterol 30.83mg
- Sodium 207.5mg
- Potassium 31.67mg
- Carbohydrates 33.5g
- Fiber 1.34g
- Sugar 22.17g
- Protein 2.83g
- Vitamin A 51%
- Vitamin C 0.3%
- Calcium 0.67%
- Folate 5%
- Iron 4.3%
- Niacin 4%
- Riboflavin 3%
- Thiamin 5%
Being only a couple of months away from the birth of our second son, I feel so bittersweet. I am thrilled to be adding another precious child to our family, but also a bit heartbroken that this intimate time with my first son is drawing to a close. I know we will still be close and have moments that are all our own, but I also know it will be difficult for us both not to be completely attached to one another. We haven’t spent more than a few hours apart since his birth and I’m nowhere near ready to leave him overnight as I go to the hospital to give birth. I know he will be well cared for and that I will be incredibly busy, but the mom in me just wants to be near him.
Below is the note I will put away for him.
My Dearest Brenan,
You’re too young to understand all the change that is about to happen in our world. For the past year and a half, we’ve spent our days mostly alone, just you and I. We giggle, sometimes we cry, we play, we read, sing, dance, and enjoy this special time when I am solely your mommy and you my precious son. Until you have a child all your own, you may not fully understand just how much these small moments have mattered to me.
I am sure I will read pieces of this note to you again and again over the next several months. When you look up at me with tears because your brand new baby brother rests in my arms and for a moment I can’t hold you both. Mommy’s eyes will stream with tears too because I never want you to feel like I can’t hold you or be there for you – even for a moment. You have been my primary thought since I found out you were soon to have a sibling. I’ve spent many nights worrying about leaving you overnight for the very first time. I even tried to talk your dad into bringing the pack and play to our hospital room at my most irrational and heartbroken. Since your birth, my only job has been to care for you and love you. It’s not easy to have to take even a small break.
You will always always ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. You were the gift your dad and I received after years of wanting a child. We spent a long time very sad because we never thought we’d get to experience something so precious as you.
I remember seeing your dad cry when you first came into this world, and your dad never cries. I remember how unreal and wonderful it felt to finally have you in my arms. I’m not sure I’ve really stopped staring at you in awe and wonder since then, and I probably never will.
No matter how many siblings you grow to have, I will never love you any less than I do today. I will always strive to give you my attention and teach you all the wonders this world has to offer. You are such a smart, brave little boy full of love and life. I know you will be an amazing big brother just as you have been an amazing son.
You will show Nevan all the things precious to you and teach him your favorite songs. You’ll pat his hand when he’s sad and laugh with him as you play. And you will, as always, make me a very proud and happy mom. You, your brother and your dad are my whole world. I can’t imagine anything greater than watching you grow and blossom as we enter the next stage in our lives.
My son is almost seventeen months old…and yet we’ve already entered the ‘terrible’ twos. Some days this is a challenge, but if I take a step back and try to see the world through his eyes our days go by more smoothly.
It isn’t always easy to remember that at one time we didn’t possess the words or ability to simply say, “Mom, I’m really tired” or “I would rather have water than juice with lunch today.” These little things that my tiny bundle of energy can’t say frustrate him. We’re normally good at communicating without words, so good that I sometimes I fear I’m holding him back in the language department. So I’ve been spending my days explaining what everything in our world is. “Light, remote, nose, book, milk” I say these words over and over, sometimes driving my own self crazy. My son loves it though. Last night he said light for the first time and he’s become an expert at saying kitty as he chases our manx down the hall.
On days where I’m especially frustrated with his tantrums and exploring, I take a moment and look back through my extensive photo collection of him. I remember the days when our doctors weren’t even sure we could have a child and somehow that small piece of knowledge calms my frustration. I do have a child. In fact, I have a second kicking away in my belly now. So a torn up piece of paper I needed to keep or a mountain of DVDs from the cabinet don’t really seem all that major. Spilled food can be wiped away, a hug can make my son’s whole day brighter.
It’s easy to forget that little moments are the ones we’ll remember years from now. Maybe in the heat of the moment when you’re scrubbing crayon off the floor for the tenth time you don’t find it funny. Give it a week or two and you’ll laugh. Or the day that you spent half an hour folding a mountain of laundry to find it all strewn about the floor when you turned your back for five minutes. Your little one was probably only ‘learning’ to fold himself. He was helping and that means you’ve taught him to care for others. Enjoy the little moments. They have a big impact on how your child sees the world.
Making your own cloth wipes is a fairly simple sewing project that can save you some money. Cloth wipes are a great addition to any cloth diaper stash, but they also work great for babies with sensitive bottoms. You can use them as a washcloth, for quick clean ups after meals, and even to wipe runny noses. They are much gentler on the skin than their paper, disposable counterparts.
Virtually any absorbent cotton/cotton blend material will work. You can use brand new materials or recycle those you find around your house or local thrift store. Here are some of our favorites.
You can make your wipes out of one layer or two. We prefer two. You can also use your cute cotton print fabrics when using two. Just pick an absorbent layer for one side, and a cute print for the other. Our personal stash also includes some fleece and minky wipes. Fleece and minky are water-resistant so it can make wetting these wipes more challenging. However, these two materials are soft and they tend to grip poop very well making for easy cleanups.
Items that can be found around your home or thrift store that work well:
-Towels and washcloths
After you’ve picked out your materials, you’ll need to cut them into the appropriate size rectangle or square. The best thing about making them yourself is that you can choose a size that works for you – we have multiple sizes that we use in our own house. I’ve found that a 6″X7″ wipe tends to work best for us, but feel free to experiment to find what works for you.
Once you have your pieces cut(use scissors or a rotary cutter, whatever you have on hand), pair your two pieces together with right sides facing out and pin them. You have several options on what type of stitch you can do based on what your machine offers.
If you have a basic machine set your sewing machine on your regular zigzag stitch. You want the zigzag to be a ‘tight’ one with the zigs and zags close together (short length), but fairly wide so that you have a good ‘grip’ on the fabric. You might want to test your stitch size on a scrap piece of fabric to find the width that you like best.
With a basic zigzag, I like to go around the wipe a couple of times. When placing your wipe under your presser foot, adjust the fabric slightly so that the right hand stitch will drop slightly over the edge (this helps prevent fraying). The technical term here is an overcast stitch. Stitch all the way around making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.
I upgraded my machine in early 2013 and my new machine has several mock serge stitches to choose from. The mock serge (on my machine the picture looks like a straight stitch with a zigzag beside it or a straight stitch with slashes beside it) is now my go to for cloth wipes. I still set the width fairly wide, with the length lower so the stitches are close together. Typically once around and I’m done.
You can also serge your edges if you own a serger. If you are using a serger, obviously you may only need to do one stitch. I don’t own a serger so we use the zigzag stitch or mock serge and it’s worked just fine for us.
If you prefer a cleaner edge or just don’t like the raw edge look, cut your fabric 1/4″ larger than you want your finished wipe to be on all sides. Place your two pieces of fabric with right sides facing in and pin them. Then stitch all the way around, leaving yourself a 1″ space to turn your fabric. Trim your corners (being careful not to clip your seam) and turn your fabric right side out being sure to press all your corners out. Then top stitch your wipe to close the turn around spot and give yourself a nice clean edge.
Caring for your Wipes
I have three different tubs of wipes in my house. The big tub in the top picture is an old ice cream box. This is where the majority of our wipes are stored. They’re folded so that they pop up and I cut a hole in the top of the lid to pull them from. An old disposable wipes box with a pop up lid sits on top of the toilet in the bathroom where my son potty trains. For my diaper bag, I have one of the disposable wipe boxes that the wet wipes for adults come in. I fold all of our wipes so they pop up and are easy to use when I need them.
We throw our wipes in with our dirty cloth diapers. We always preshrink our material to prevent any further shrinking in the wash. We put our wipes in the dryer, but hanging them on the line now and then can help get rid of stains.
The first few times you wash your wipes you will get some slight fraying along the edges if you have used the raw edge method. This is completely normal and you can cut away any loose strings with a pair of scissors. Some materials (like flannel and fleece) also pill. You can get rid of any excessive pilling with a lint shaver.
There are a TON of different cloth wipe solutions on the web. Just do a google search and you’ll find plenty. At our house, we like to keep it simple. I put plain tap water with just a small squirt of baby bath wash in a peri-bottle and gently shake to mix.
For travel, I bought one of the tiny travel spray bottles with a lid and I mix up some water and baby wash in this before I leave the house. I can spritz the wipe or baby’s bottom when we’re out for quick clean ups.
You can wet each wipe as you need it by squirting some of the water on top of your wipes or baby’s bottom. You can also pour your solution directly over your wipes. If you do this, make sure you use the wet wipes in 1-2 days or your wipes could smell musky or even mold. Choose whatever method works best for your house – that’s the beauty in creating your own wipes!