Sunday, September 27, 2009

The search for a midwife

When I was pregnant with Jonah, I was terrified of giving birth. It made me feel like a terrible mother, but just the thought of what had to happen to get this little being out into the world made me panic to the point of being nauseated and dizzy. Because of this, I read countless books on various techniques of birthing, birthing philosophies, and the physiology of what would be happening to my body as this little guy was pushed out. Through all of my research, I began to realize that it wasn't *birth* that terrified me; it was going to the hospital.

The needles, the lack of control, the feeling that the staff is working *on* you and not *with* you. These things are what terrified me and made me sick to my stomach. I also did not have a good relationship with my OBGYN at all. She was cold and crude and frankly I did not trust her.

While looking for motivation, or inspiration, or just some sort of reference point, I looked up birthing videos on youtube. I was expecting to see videos similar to what we were shown in high school health class. Woman on a table screaming, legs spread apart, and a doctor pulling a crying infant from her and whisking it away to be monitored, weighed and measured. What I saw instead were women having beautiful births. They were taking part in their own birthing process, catching the baby in a moment of joy as they kneeled down with a contraction. Women laying in tubs with their partner, giving a soft groan and then a baby emerging from the water in the father's arms. Beautiful moments caught on video that I felt privilidged to be seeing.

"That's what I want for my baby." I told my husband. I emailed him link after link of homebirth videos and resources. I really wanted to do this. My family felt differently. I already had a doctor who knows my situation, who knows the history of this pregnancy.Why switch now? It's too late to switch. The insurance won't pay for it. Where will you find a midwife? What if something goes wrong? Shouldn't you have your first birth with a doctor so you know what to expect?

All of these things were told to me by my family. Sadly, I decided to have Jonah in the hospital. I still regret my choice, as does Daryl. The way that we were treated in the hospital is not the way that anyone should be treated during or after giving birth. We have decided that, unless there is medical reason to go to a hospital, then giving birth in the hospital is NOT for us. And so, we have started the journey towards having a completely natural out-of hospital birth.

In Cleveland, it was very difficult to find a midwife to attend a homebirth. Ohio is not a friendly place for homebirth midwifes. This is not because of any dangers, but because they threaten to take business from the healthcare system. The only stand-alone birth center we had was shut down years ago. The only option for out-of-hospital births was a home birth. Now that we live in Toledo, we have access to our choice of birthing centers across the border in Michigan. Finding a midwife who would attend our birth was as easy as asking women for reccomendations. I recieved so many that I am actually in the process of interviewing them to find a birth attendent that jives with us the most.

On Thursday, I went to interview the first midwife on our list. I was really hoping that I would know right away if she was the right midwife for us. The birth center is only a half hour away from our house, and it offers a lot of resources such as classes and community support. We took a tour of the center first. It was beautiful. The room where women give birth is a simple bedroom, with a comfortable bed and the cozy feel of home. There is a kitchen area complete with a full fridge that women are encouraged to eat from as they labor. It was a beautiful place, and I can envision myself birthing this child there.

The midwife however, didn't strike that "she's the one!" chord with me. I wasn't sure what to ask, and so instead of helping me fill in the blanks by explaining how this works exactly, there were a lot of minutes of awkward silence. She wasn't too keen on the fact that Daryl couldn't make it to the meeting. She scolded me for saying that I want an ultrasound to find the gender of the baby (which was a lighthearted joke on my part) and she made a comment about my no longer breastfeeding Jonah when she saw him taking a sippy cup of milk (and if you've been reading this blog for long, you know how sensitive I am on that subject. It wasn't my choice!)

She does however support so many views that we hold as a family. For example, she has a birthing circle every monday at the center. This is a group of expecting mothers that come together and chat about natural parenting, their previous birthing experiences, what they expect this birth to be like etc. Then they have a guest speaker and a discussion on a specific natural parenting topic. This week they are discussing cloth diapering. I think that this is a wonderful resource to get support from other women in our community that are doing the same thing that we are.

And so, even though I have two other midwives to interview, I may make the first couple of appointments with this first midwife. If I still don't resonate well with her after one or two appointments, then I will most likely switch to another midwife. She is the closest to us (the other midwives are nearly an hour and half away!) and also seems to be the best equipped.

Monkey Bites

Jonah eats these for either snack or breakfast! They're simple to make, and always a hit with my finicky eater!

Monkey Bites:
1 piece whole wheat toast
Apple or Pear Butter
1/4 banana

Spread the apple butter on the toast in a pretty thick layer. Cut up the banana into bite sized pieces. Cut the toast into bite sized pieces and place a banana bite onto each piece. If you think it's easier, you could put banana slices on the whole piece of toast and cut the bite sized pieces with the banana already on.

If you have a toddler older than two, you can use peanutbutter or any kind of nut butter in lieu of the apple butter. Because it is an allergy concern for children under the age of two as well as a choking risk, I don't allow Jonah to have nut butters. So I made this recipe with fruit spreads.

I hope your little one enjoys these as much as Jonah does!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Announcement

A little less than two years ago, I got into trouble for keeping a secret from my family,and the order in which I told family members said secret. First of all, I did it in part to protect my own emotions, as well as the privacy of my relationship. I did not keep this secret out of malice or ill-will to any of my family members. Trust me, I wanted to shout it out to everyone I knew. But I couldn't, and I am sorry to my family whom I hurt.

The secret that I'm talking about is the early stages of my pregnancy with Jonah. I've since learned that the internet seems to be the most fair way to reach everyone at the same time. I've also learned that it does no good to keep things secret that are already floating around on the internet. A few close family members already know, and so before this cascades into another "you should have told us sooner" charade, I want to tell everyone, all of my readers, family members, and dearest cyber friends: Daryl and I will be having our second child this May. We are being cautiously excited at the moment, because my history of early miscarriage always looms in the back of my mind when I see two pink lines on a stick.Unlike Jonah, this was a planned pregnancy. We want our children to be very close in age. We've been trying to concieve long enough that we had given up for this cycle, and I was planning on talking to my doctor about seeing a specialist within the next three cycles. They always say that it happens right when you throw the towel in!

Here I would like to add a disclaimer, because I know several friends and family members read this blog that may not be comfortable reading the details of our journey to get pregnant. Keep in mind that this is a blog mainly for mothers and natural parenting techniques. Since that includes natural methods of conception and contraception, I decided to share these details as another aspect of our natural lifestyle. So if you are not interested in my meunstral cycle, read no furthur!

Most doctors will ask the woman when her last period was, and assume that conception happened fourteen days after that (cycle day 14- the date deamed "typical" to ovulate, by doctors.) However, because I used fertility charting as a tool to know what my body was doing on any given day of my cycle, I know for a fact that I did not ovulate on the 14th day of my cycle. I ovulated on the 23rd day. I often ovulate later in my cycle, something that I wish I had known before I had labor induced with Jonah. If you go by my last period, as a tradditional doctor most likely would, then I'd be two weeks earlier in my pregnancy than what they say I should be. So when I reach what by their calculation is 41 weeks, I would only in reality be 39 weeks. This is important because, as we found out with Jonah, as the 40 week mark looms closer, the doctor seems more eager to induce labor.

You might ask how I know so certainly that I ovulated so late. Since Jonah was born, I became very interested in knowing what was going on inside of my body. Since being a teenager, my cycle has always been whacky. I knew already in my early stages of puberty that my body was doing something different from what seemed to be "normal." My body ticked to it's own clock, so to speak. Throughout my adult life, I had several issues related to fertility. I had begun to see doctors about it, and I was first diagnosed with something called endometriosis. But the doctors weren't really satisfied with that, and recommended that I get further testing for PCOS. I never did, and in fact I stopped seeing these doctors almost immediately after because of some very dramatic situations in my life.

So you see, my fertility and anything related to it has always been a mystery to me. A confusing laberynth. I wanted to sort it all out after Jonah was born, so I started charting. What did I chart? Different fertility signs, that when you put them altogether, you can tell exactly where in your cycle you are at for that day.

The most prominant fertility sign that I chart is my basal body temperature. I used a simple basal thermometer that we got from Target, and took my temperature every morning before getting out of bed. This would tell me in hindsight when I ovulated, because before ovulating my temperature would be around 96.4, but after ovulating it would be 97.8ish or even above 98. This wouldn't help predict anything, but it does help you to understand what has been happening in your body.

The most important thing that I charted is cervical mucous. The consistency of it can tell you what your body is ABOUT to do, because it changes in preparation of ovulation. It is cervical mucous that makes a woman's body liveable for sperm, so without the correct consistency, the sperm will die before they even reach the egg. By the time I ovulated this cyle, I had given up with my temperature. But because of changes in my cervical mucous, I knew the day that I was going to ovulate. I took my temperature over the next week, and the steady rise confirmed. Two weeks later I knew to take a test, because two weeks is how long it takes between my ovulating and when my period should start. (this is called the luteal phase for anyone taking notes.)

The third and in my opinion, the most optional, fertility sign that I would chart is the cervical position.

If your interested in learning more about how to understand your cycle by fertility charting, I highly reccomend the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility." You could also ask questions and discuss fertility charting at the JustMommies fertility charting board.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Farmers Markets: The Benefits of Eating Locally

If you had been in downtown Perrysburg on Thursday at 5:30 PM, you may have seen this: A woman pushing a stroller, with her baby secured to her hip by a bright blue sling, balancing eight pints of raspberries, blackberries, and concord grapes in the seat where a baby would normally go, holding the basket on the bottom of the stroller with her foot to keep it from collapsing under the weight of the produce filling it, and heading off with a butternut squash perched precariously on the tray where one might otherwise find a sippy cup or toys, all while calmly sipping a fresh lemonade. What was she doing, you might ask? Buying cheese, of course!

Our local farmers market has become a favorite stop for Jonah and me every week. Every thursday afternoon, our senses are bombarded with wonderful smells, tastes, and colors. Jonah absolutely loves looking at all of the fruits and vegetables. I let him smell and touch any that I have bought. Old ladies working at the stands are always quick with samples for him, knowing that if they can get him to eat it, I will probably buy it. Jonah's two favorite stands are the flower stand, and the kettlecorn stand. When I am choosing flowers, Jonah will ever so gently touch the blossoms, and lean in to make exagerated sniffs that only a young toddler would make. When we stop for kettlecorn, Jonah watches the people crowding in for samples, kids eating popcorn from clear plastic bags two fisted, and fathers waiting in line with the impatience of a child. The kettlecorn stand is a favorite among everyone in Perrysburg. You can smell it before you can hear it, then when the popping begins to fill your ears you know you're getting close. During strawberry season, the smell mingled with the scent of the fresh berries being sold next to it. I can't think of any other tradition quite like kettle corn from the market.

I've been wanting to write about our farmers market for some time now. It has been a staple in our lives since it opened for the season, in late spring. Not only has it become a great sensory experience for Jonah, but I've also really incorporated local eating into our natural lifestyle. I've really come to appreciate the value of supporting local farmers, as well as the healthfulness of eating foods grown regionally.

I used to think that eating locally would be inhinbitive. I love to cook a variety of things, and I thought that buying foods farmed locally meant buying the same thing over and over. This is far from the truth. My quest to feed my family a majority of locally produced foods has opened up doors. Rather than going to the grocery store with my same old list every week, I go to the market and see what is in season this week. My family has been eating fruits and vegetables right after they are plant ripened and picked. This means we get what is in season, and every week that is something new. Last week, we had fresh plums, this week it's fresh peaches and concord grapes. Next week I'm sure that it will be apples. We even get locally aged cheese from the market. Cheese the way it's supposed to be- the way it would be if you went to an old european village where the only way to get cheese is to age your own milk. I can't find that at my giant eagle.

I've also learned about foods I've never cooked before. If I see something unique, I ask the person who farmed it "What is this?" and "What is your favorite way to cook it?"

As far as being healthier, it really makes sense. The food doesn't have to be preserved in any way. It doesn't have to be picked before it is ripened and at its height of nutritional value. It doesn't have to be waxed or colored or reinforced to withstand a journey across the country. It's food at its simplest. Picked ripe, and ready for your plate.

It really bothers me that while we (my family) live in a very agricultural state, most of the produce that we've been eating has come from other parts of the world. Why do we need to get tomatoes from Chile or California when there are so many farmers here in Ohio that have wonderful tomatoes. Sure, bananas and pineapples we need to import, but why canteloupe and corn and peaches? Not only is it bad for our local economy, but also for our environment. Why do we waste the resources shipping this produce to places that can and do grow their own.

And for those who still think that buying locally is limiting to your dietary choices, I have made several dinners including from-scratch lasagna, that have been 100% locally farmed. Everything from the flour and eggs that I used to make the noodles to the cheese and beef that I used to stuff it.

If you have a local farmers market, now is the time to go and check it out. Take your children, they'll love looking at all of the produce and if you include them in the process of picking it out they will be more likely to eat it when you cook it for them. There are so many things in season now, it would be a challenge to come back empty handed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Sign for "More"

I shared a long time ago that Daryl and I have been using sign language with Jonah from birth. There are so many amazing findings about children using sign language, and the insight that it is giving psychologists into how children learn language is astounding.

Jonah had been picking up signs (that means that he was learning, using, and understanding the signs) for quite a while. I posted a link when he was first beginning to say "all done" using sign language. These first signs were crude imitations of mine and Daryl's signing. The understanding was there, but I think that Jonah needed to refine his fine motor skills before he could produce the signs fluidly. Then suddenly, he stopped signing. Just stopped. I was so upset. I went over in my head, were we doing it wrong or was he confused.... Then suddenly he started again just this past month. His signs are much more deliberate, and more like the signs that Daryl and I have been signing. His newest sign is "more." I've really been working on it with him this month. It has helped to avert several mealtime tantrums.

When we were at a playdate this weekend, we all stopped to have lunch at a little cafe. While we were waiting for his food, we gave Jonah some yogurt melts. When his food came, I put the yogurt melts to the side of the table and gave him his grilled cheese. He ate about half of the grilled cheese sandwich and started signing "more." He had grilled cheese in front of him. "You want more????" I asked him, a little confused. "More what? You have more in front of you!" He signed "more" again, and finally reached towards the yogurt melts. He wanted more yogurt! I was so happy that I had taught him this sign at that point. With all of his public tantrums, that seem to occur in restaraunts, it is really helpful that he is starting to communicate by sign language again.

Here is a video of Jonah signing "more." To sign "more" you pinch your fingers all together, like you're making shadow puppets with a closed mouth, then you bring the finger tips of each hand together, like you're making your shadow puppets kiss. Jonah touches his knuckles together. Children often create different versions of signs. It's kind of like saying "tummy" or "ma-ma" It is just easier for them that way.
Jonah Signs "More"
Now that my first week of working part-time is finished, and we're heading into the second week, I thought I ought to do a "week in review" update.

First of all, I never described what this new job is. I am working for a new science museum in Toledo that will be opening in a month. I am one of the "scientists" that will be helping guests with exhibits, answering their questions, setting up fun things for them to do around the museum (like making slime or some other hands-on activity) and manning the larger exhibits that require guests to wear harnesses or take other safety precautions. Another HUGE aspect of this job description is performing in the museum's shows. There are five shows a day, ranging in topics from combustion to the scientific method. Part of the training process that I'm going through now is just learning the five shows, getting my script down, and getting comfortable with the more elaborate experiments. On my first day, I basically set hydrogen filled balloons on fire, all morning. On my second day, I "played" with liquid nitrogen. Yes, it turns out, I love this job.

Five hours a day, for three days a week doesn't seem like a lot. It felt like an eternity though when I'd start to think about Jonah. What is he doing, did he eat his veggies for lunch, what toys did he pick out of his toybox? I miss knowing all of these details in his day. It was hard. Especially when I got home, and he was sleeping. I had to really restrain myself from going into his room to wake him and smother him with kisses. I thought it would be easy, going back to work, but after nearly fourteen months of not working, it was one of the hardest things I've done. I'm told it gets easier, and already it seems like it has. On Friday I made it all day without calling home to see how he's doing.

One of the hardest things is getting ready for the next day. I'm so used to making Jonah's breakfast and lunch right when it's time for him to eat. I never plan anything out, and haven't had to think ahead to what his menu should be for that day. Now, before going to bed on the nights that I have to work, I have to prepare both his breakfast and lunch, as well as a snack just in case I don't get home before he wants it. My sister gave us some really neat plates for his birthday. They fit on top of eachother so that you can prepare a meal on one plate, and use the second plate as a lid. Those have come in handy. Also, all of the items that I have made previously and then froze have been really helpful too. I know that Jonah's grandma wouldn't mind if I let her make whatever she felt like for his meals, but I feel a bit guilty leaving her with all of that work, and also a litle jealous too.

I also have been typing up a little letter, with the menu for the day on it as well as some suggestions of activities that Jonah likes, instructions for preparing the foods, and little notes about his evening, if he slept well that night etc. Again, I know it isn't necessary, but I really feel like I am more a part of his day this way. His grandma appreciates the suggested activities, and will write on the bottom of the page how they went, if he liked his food, or any thing new that he's been doing.

His grandma has an interest in the EC, but she has a fear of having a miss. I don't mind too much that he's not using EC for just a few hours every week. His EC is still going strong when I am home, so it doesn't seem to be effecting him much in that regards.

If we can continue to have this job fit so easily into our lifestyle, I think it will be a good thing for everyone.

Rashes and Cloth Diapers

I mentioned before that Jonah acquired a rash from the disposable diapers that we used while on our Utah vacation. When we must use disposable diapers, we typically use an unbleached, unscented brand. Being that I have never used disposable diapers with Jonah for more than a day at a time, I severely underestimated the number that we needed. With three days left in the vacation, we were on our last diaper, making a mad dash to the store around the corner from our hotel room. They did not have any unbleached diapers, and the only "natural" diapers they had were in size one. My sister uses Luvs on her children, and loves them. They have sensitive skin, and have not had any issues with this brand of diaper.

Every child reacts differently to different skin irritants, that's the thing to remember here. Jonah did not fair as well as my niece and nephew with the Luvs. After three days of wearing them, his little tush was raw by the time we got home despite ointments and frequent changing.

I thought it would go away when we started using cloth diapers and EC again. At first, it began to dwindle, and it was nearly cleared up. Then one morning I took his diaper off to find his bottom raw again, this time with welts. It looked bad, but it didn't seem like anything to go rushing off to the doctor for. After all, I didn't want to be one of "those" moms.... the kind who makes an appointment for any little sniffle or bruise. This was just a diaper rash, pretty similar to other bad rashes I'd seen in my childcare days. I bought some Triple Paste, and almost overnight the rash died down again.

A week later, Jonah woke up from nap crying. That is unusual for him, but it does happen sometimes. I got him out of his bed, put him on his potty, and he began to wail and writhe in pain. I called for my mother-in-law thinking maybe it is a UTI. We put him on the changing table where the light is better, and were shocked to see weeping blisters all over his poor little bottom as well as his penis and scrotum. No wonder it hurt him to go on the potty!

We got him to the doctor who took one quick look and right away said it was a bacterial infection. She said that a lot of children who wear disposable diapers when it's hot out (we were in Utah- the weather was above 100 F some days!) will get an infection that starts out looking like a regular diaper rash. Jonah was prescribed some oral antibiotics as well as an antibiotic diaper ointment.

So that's the rash part of the post. Now about the cloth diapers, and the reason I am blogging about this in the first place. Ointments are very very bad for cloth diapers. There is a short list of "cloth friendly" ointments including Rainforest Babies, Punkin Booty Bits, California Baby, and Burts Bees. It's also possible to make your own using olive oil and beeswax. The reason most commercial brands of ointment don't mix well with cloth diapers is because of their petroleum and zinc bases. These get on the cloth and leave a residue that hooks onto the cloth. It can cause repelling (meaning the liquid slides off of the fabric instead of being absorbed) leaking, or staining.

I've found that while the natural ointments are great for prevention, when I need to bust a persistent rash, I break out the big guns. My weapons of choice are usually PinXav or Triple Paste. PinXav is difficult to find, and sometimes has to be ordered through the pharmacy but I find it to be more effective. Triple Paste is found just about anywhere and works in about the same time it would take for you to locate or order PinXav.

Then there's the petroleum based antibiotic ointment to kill the bacteria. So what did I do to protect my diapers? It's actually quite easy. I had a pair of flannel pajama pants that had ripped. I was planning on recycling them into wash cloths. They became diaper liners instead. I cut rectangles about six inches long and three inches wide, and surged the edges to prevent them from fraying (if I can do this, anyone can. I'm a living disaster when it comes to sewing!)

When I changed Jonah's diaper, I folded the dipe and laid the flannel liner on top of it. I then put it on Jonah and fastened, just like any other diaper. They do make rice paper liners which work well, but I'm told that for heavy duty diaper creams like PinXav, they are too thin and the diapers still get stained.

I also had to strip the diapers to make sure that the bacteria was not breeding within the cloth. For one day, Jonah went back into his unbleached disposable diapers, and I loaded the diapers into the washing machine. I added a bit of bleach (I would only use bleach on diapers in this case of needing to get rid of bacteria) and washed the diapers as usual. Then I ran them through a series of hot rinses. Stripping diapers is difficult for me because I have a front loading washing maching, that only has cold rinses. Usually to strip diapers, you peak into the wash to see if there are any bubbles in the water. If there are, you know that you need to continue to rinse them out. I cannot check. You are also supposed to use really hot water to rinse, but I can only run hot-cold cycles or at best warm-warm. When Daryl and I get our own place, I will definitely be looking for a washer that is more condusive to washing and stripping cloth diapers.

So several weeks after battling this rash, it is finally disappearing. I think that it's helped that we have been using EC a lot over the long weekend, and stripping the diapers with bleach also made a big difference. Tonight before I put Jonah to bed, his bottom was completely clear.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Change-it's the latest trend

This blog, for the most part, has been about the relationship that Jonah and I share, and about parenting or natural parenting in general. But I'd like to veer from that for a moment to focus on myself, the Mommy. I've been searching inward, and have made three major changes in my life. In this post, I'd like to talk about the change that will have the biggest impact on my family, and that has been the most pressing on my mind. It has happened so quickly that I haven't really had the chance to sit down and think much about its happening.

The last two weeks of my life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Three weeks ago, Daryl and I discussed whether or not I should go back to work part time. Our house in Cleveland isn't selling as quickly as we thought that it would, and we've had to come down on our listed price for it. We're losing a lot of money right now.

Times are definitely changing. I remember when it was easy to move into a new house. You put your house on the market, a few months later it's sold and you have the money for a down payment on a new house. At least that was my perception of it, as naive as it may be. People all around me seemed to be doing things in just this manner, and people even made a profit from buying and re-selling houses regularly. Now we are finding that there is a lot more to it than that, at least in today's housing market. It is very apparant that we will probably be losing more money than we can afford. I started noticing all of the ads for childcare and preschools in the local papers. "Fall is coming up." I told my husband "Enrollment season. If I'm going to apply for a job, now's the time to do it." Daycares tend to hire people in the fall, when their enrollment surges. People come back from summer vacations, their student babysitters had to go back to school, etc. Usually, centers are willing to hire more help if the enrollment is high enough, and sometimes they legally have to in order to meet the state ratio requirements.

My mother-in-law overheard me telling Daryl this, and she pointed out that the local science center is re-opening, and they are hiring people. I got on the computer and found out that they were hiring individuals to do science demonstrations and to help people with the exhibits. This sounded like a dream job to me. I'm an obvious science geek, and I have experience in performing science-as-entertainment. While in college, I worked for a company that performed educational science shows for schools all over Ohio.

I typed my resume, filled out the online application, took a deep breath and hit the "submit" button. I did it. I applied for my first job in nearly fourteen months. The next day, I got a phone call. I'd been accepted in for an interview! I was amazed at how quickly I got a response. The interview was just in a few days! I was told to prepare a five minute science demo to perform before the interview.

The day of my interview, I was so nervous. I wore my black dress suit, that I wore in high school when my debate team went to the state championships. I even wore heels and earings. When I left the house, I felt pretty snazzy, but when I got there I started to second guess my wardrobe choices. It seemed like everyone else there was young, just out of college or still in college. For the first time in my life, I truly felt old. Old and nervous. I clung to my cooler filled with dry ice as if it were my only friend in the world whom I just found out was dying. I waited my turn, thinking "do I really need to work? Do I really want to? Can I fit it into our lifestyle?"

They called my name and I collected my things and headed into the tiny room. Much smaller than I had expected. I had prepared a demonstration showing how to use dry ice to make bubbles. I had even built an apparatus specifically for this purpose. I walked through my presentation, putting in as much "wow" factor as I could. I threw everything at it, and in fact was still shaking from the adreneline half hour after the presentation was over.

I took my seat and looked at the two gentlemen I had been presenting to. They looked pleased, but it was hard to tell. They sat silent for a few moments, and then one of them finally said "That was probably the coolest I've seen all day today. Would you like to work for us?"

And before I knew it, I was heading into my part time job training, that started only three days ago. It is a big change, and we're all still adjusting. Although I get home at 2:00 in the afternoon, Jonah is napping at that time, and he's sleeping when I leave in the morning as well. My heart aches that for three days out of the week I don't see him until four or five o'clock. But, I also really love having the opportunity to instill the wonder of learning into so many young minds. I've mentioned before on this blog that teaching is a passion of mine. Jonah is a year old now, and is showing his independence. He doesn't need or even want me to be right there with him. He is in loving hands, with his grandmother during the few hours of the day that I am gone. She, of course, is estatic about being able to spend so much time with him. I suppose that I have been a "hoverer" and this has inadvertantly pushed other loved ones further away from him. I am looking at this as an opportunity for both Jonah and myself to spread our wings a little

I will most likely be posting more about switching to a part-time working mommy. It is pressing heavily on my mind these days.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rewind to the Birthday

It's been two weeks since Jonah's birthday, and I have yet to blog about it. This is, in part, because I haven't really blogged much at all in the last two weeks. But, I feel a little obligated to talk about his birthday, since I mentioned it's upcoming in several previous posts.

On August 15th, 2009, my son officially left babyhood and entered toddlerhood. Of course we still call him "the baby" and some will argue that he *is* still just a baby in many ways. But, everything from his reasoning to his behaviors to his growing sense of mobility, are far out of the realm of being infantile.

The birthday party was incredible fun. It was mostly my family and Daryl's family, and a few friends. The party was zoo themed, in honor of Jonah's favorite way to get out of the house. Jonah had a zookeeper hat, and the other children had hats with an animal face on it. We transformed the room at a park into our own little zoo, using inflatable animals and streamers. The cake was made by our family friend, and looked like a tiger and chimp zoo exhibit.
The original design for this cake had twix candy bars rather than pretzals, but as some of our guests were allergic to the ingredients in Twix, we changed to pretzals. I have to admit that when we got home, the first thing that I did was pick all of the candy decorations off of this cake and devour them. The whole thing was so tasty! One side was yellow flavored, and the other side was "vegan" chocolate. Everything except the animal figures was edible! Even the tree was made out of fruit roll-up and a pretzal! I am glad that our friend made the cake, because I am nowhere as clever, and even when I am, somehow the whole thing ends up falling apart.

We held the party at shoepfle gardens, which is near my grandmother's house. This was a compromise, because it was halfway between my family and us. The park itself is very beautiful, and the children's portion even has a carousel for the children to ride. It really was the ideal place for a birthday party!

We played two games for the grownups. The first game was very simple. I had put out rubber ducks that were made as safari animals (they have everything at Oriental Trading!) and put stickers on the bottoms of two of them. When the children got there, of course they started playing with the ducks and moving them around.After the cake was eaten, the grown ups had to find the two ducks with stickers. It was harder than it sounds- the kids really had fun with those ducks! I had also set out Jonahs bragbook and encouraged the guests to look through it. Then,near the end of the party, I asked them eight questions about things in the book. I know it sounds really cheesey and dull, but everyone had a fun time with it, and they really got to know some things about Jonah's first year. It also gave me an excuse to show the scrapbook off, after all of the hard work I spent on it!

The party was more than a celebration of Jonah's birthday. It was a celebration of our first year together as a family. Through the past year, our little family has gone through many joys as well as many trials, and in the end we came out stronger for it. So, here's to life, and everything in it that's good. Happy birthday, my sweet boy!