Love Thursday: My Mom Stood Up 2 Cancer

This is my Mom. The photo on the left was taken during the summer of 2006. BigBrother wasn’t yet a year. She loved wearing him in my first Mei Tai. She loved the bonding time spent with her oldest grandson. She loved being a Yia Yia despite not being Greek. Life was easier then.

The photo on the right was taken during the summer of 2008. Mom could finally wear LittleBrother in the (or, yet another) Mei Tai. Prior to this point, she couldn’t lift him very well. Because she had surgery. For breast cancer. In between these two photos, taken just about two years apart, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And our lives changed.

My Mom beat that cancer. She is currently cancer free. But we’ve all been changed. I cannot explain how it changed something as simple as watching my children bond with their Yia Yia. Unless your own mother (or parent) has fought cancer (or another life-threatening illness), maybe you don’t know how precious each little moment is that your parents spend with your child. Let me tell you: those moments are priceless. Make time for those moments. Even if your schedule is busy. Even if you’ve got to travel. Let them bond. Because we just don’t know the future.

I love watching my Mom wear the boys. And play with the boys. And snuggle the boys. And even tell the boys “no” when they’re being bad. I love the fact that she is still here to help them grow. I love the fact that my Mom stood up 2 cancer and won. In the process, we all learned how important the love we have for one another really is… and how that love can grow despite the challenges life throws.

I love my Mom. And I love that others are Standing Up 2 Cancer right now. Are you?

(Also? Tune into the blog today at 1:00pm (EDT) for a special babywearing review accompanied with a deal for you!)

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Heads Up on Mei Tais

My friend Holly of is stocking her Hyenacart store tonight at 8:00pm with her first set of Mei Tais since she went on hiatus to have her beautiful second daughter. Yes. These are the Mei Tais that you see in all of my pictures. The ones I rave about and suggest to everyone. That’s right. She’s back. And if I wasn’t going out for birthday dinner at the exact time of the stocking, I’d really, really be tempted to buy this one. I mean, LOOK at that stitching! Wow. If you score one, please leave a comment and send me pictures. (That said, one of MY Mei Tais is currently in Ethiopia, picking up two sisters! I can’t WAIT to share THOSE pics!) Or. You know? It IS my birthday. Just sayin’.

Our First Installment of “Sorry You Found This Place!”

I used to write these monthly on our prior family blog. It’s taken awhile to build up some search strings that lead people to Stop, Drop and Blog. We finally have quite a few and I thought I’d write about some of them today!

1. Strangely, the thing that leads most people to our site is a google for our blog’s name in some form or fashion. I find that amusing since the URL of our blog isn’t hard to remember. It’s simply I’m easy like that.

Not Quite My Size Yet2. Postpartum weight loss is the next most popular search, in various terms. Some variations are “lost 25 pounds two weeks postpartum,” “plateau postpartum,” and “weight comes off slowly at first.” Let me tell you googling, overtired, emotional, hormonal postpartum mommies: every pregnancy is different and, as such, every postpartum healing period is different. That said, I know if you’re googling for something like that, you’re looking for some support. And so, here’s some support: it will come off. It may come off immediately, like it did after my first. It may take a full year, like it did after my second. You may lose all of the weight in three months but still not be the same shape as you were before, like after my third full-term pregnancy. And that’s where I am now. Having lost the weight but not the size. I’m learning to be okay with that and dress in creative ways to hide some of that shape-shifting that happened with this last pregnancy. (I have a post coming about that later this week!) But don’t get down on yourselves, mamas. Just trust me.

3. We then have a whole bunch of varied queries about tongue ties, the procedure for surgery (frenotomy), how it screws both breastfeeding and speech and so on. So, here’s a quick recap: tongue ties make breastfeeding suck. It totally screws the latch and if you don’t get it taken care of early, you run the risk of things more painful than shredded nipples. Due to the fact that the baby can’t properly drain the milk because of the tongue tie, you’re at a greater risk for plugged ducts (we only had two) and mastitis (we lucked out here, knock on wood). Also, if you wait too long to consider the procedure, the lingual frenulum can get too thick and your child may need anesthesia. Ask sooner than later. Sadly, when many mothers inquire with their normal pediatrician, they are told that it won’t help breastfeeding. And are told to just wait it out. That’s a blatant lie, mama. The relief was immediate. That said, many mamas and babies do have to relearn latching after a frenotomy so a week of patience is necessary. Lastly, if your doctor doesn’t want to do a thing about it, politely ask for a referral to a pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat doctor in a larger city. Just say you’re covering all of your bases.

A Muttaqin Fitted is Pictured4. Then we’ve got all kinds of search strings about cloth diapers, mainly Fuzzi Bunz, laundry detergent choices and Goodmama diapers. I do have a full on post about Goodmamas coming in the near future but I’ll give you a brief update about our current State of Cloth Diapering in the FireHouse. We’re still loving the cloth. Totally loving. We mainly use Fuzzi Bunz for their ease of use (read: FireDad has no problems) and their sizing. (Each size lasts the baby quite awhile.) We are still using the same washing routine as I previously mentioned: baking soda, Purex Free & Clear, a squirt or two of original Dawn and a cap full of Calgon for our hard water. (For more info on the actual routine, read this post.) We still have had no repelling issues, no staining and very few leaks. Leaks have come from too long in a diaper (church service, for example) and so for overnights and longer times in a diaper (a car ride back to The Farm or church), we’re double stuffing our pockets. (I’ve got more information coming in the soon-to-be post about our preferences on inserts.) As for what else we’re using? We’ve branched into one-size fitteds with covers. (Yes, the previously mentioned and now much-loved Goodmamas as well as a few others.) Stay tuned for that!

5. A bunch of searches for potty training help. Trust me. I’m no help. But pick up the No Cry Potty Training Solution (Pantley). We’re just starting to implement a few things but we’re still a long ways away from any “success.” Best of luck to you!

6. A bunch more searches for breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss and the infamous bridesmaid gown. To be honest? I haven’t been fitted yet. However, I did recently find a strapless nursing bra at La Leche League’s online store. I don’t know how to modify a bridesmaid dress for breastfeeding and haven’t yet figured out how to handle any of this. Here’s hoping we can get through the ceremony and just deal with the rest as it comes.

7. “Poop filled diapers.” Well, diapers are meant for poop. Yes. Not sure why that is search worthy.

8. “My wife cut off her long hair today.” Good for her, buddy. It’s her hair. And if she’s got any kids, it’s probably hard to find time to do any hair, let alone longer hair. I hope she loves it. I love mine. Kind of. (I did recently find a way to help with the half-mullet phase. Barrettes. Yes, the kind you wore in elementary school. More later.)

9. “What to write in a card for a friend’s mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer.” That’s a long and heart-breaking search string. I got a few cards when Mom was diagnosed. I cherished them all. No, the disease was not mine. I didn’t undergo radiation. I didn’t have the multiple surgeries. But I was scared out of my mind. It was my mommy. And so the cards I got meant the world to me. They were mostly sent from other daughters whose mothers had been diagnosed with various forms of cancer and who just “got” the emotions I was experiencing. So, for those wondering what to say, my advice? Just be supportive. Most likely, your friend is going through some strange emotions and trying to determine how all of this makes her feel. Some may be angry. (I was at one point.) Scared. (Yep, that, too.) And maybe reliving every bad thing she ever said or did to her mother. (Mmmhmm!) Simply saying, “I’m thinking of and praying for you as well as your entire family goes through this ordeal,” means a whole lot. Trust me!

Wearing Parker in January10. “Babywearing when to stop.” Not sure why you’d want to stop! Ever! That said, always check with your sling manufacturers. Some are only okay to a certain weight. If you have a work-at-home-mom made ring sling, check and see if she uses Sling Rings. They are tested for up to 250 pounds. Not that I could carry that much weight myself but that’s reassuring. One shoulder carries (ring slings, pouches) can start to feel uncomfortable as your little one gains weight. Consider a carrier that evenly distributes weight like a Mei Tai or a soft-structured carrier like an Ergo. And always check your carriers for safety. Look for loose stitching in important places and any rips or tears. Otherwise, wear that kid until they simply refuse to be worn anymore. You’ll miss it when it’s all said and done.

And so, my friends, that concludes our first installment of “Sorry You Found This Place” on Stop, Drop and Blog. I’ve let you know about some upcoming posts this week and next. I should also let you know that I’ve got a bunch of reviews lined up for Modern Mamma Marvels that start tomorrow morning and also run through next week. You know, because life isn’t busy enough for me or something.

Happy Googling!

Please Read and Consider Contributing

I was perusing the FSOT forums on TheBabywearer just now. I came across this post (you must join to read) where a mother is trying to raise money to go to Korea… for her son’s first mother’s wedding. *BLINK BLINK* She’s selling a Peekaru Vest and a MamaJacket via raffle. Tickets are $5.00 each. Consider buying a ticket even if you don’t want the coat or the vest… and if you win, give it to me! Why consider that? Because, how many internationally adopting parents travel back for their child’s first mother’s wedding? My guess is that the number is minimal considering how few have contact, especially when their children are still very young. Celebrate with this family. But really, if you win and you don’t really want it, give it to meeeeee. (Again, to read the post, you must join TBW. It’s free.)

Learning to Parent Two

All Three of UsThe boys teach me things everyday. And I like to think I’m learning well. Slowly, but well.

I will admit that I was in a bit of shock after LittleBrother came home. People had said that it would be hard but I figured that I could handle it. And it’s not that I couldn’t handle it. It’s just that whole transition period, where everything is thrown together all at once, was kind of, well, excruciating. I was learning to breastfeed. BigBrother was learning that well-timed tantrums could make me cry. We were exhausted. And those fluctuating hormones sure didn’t help. Did I mention that all of this happened during the holidays?

After some time passed, including a weekend in which my parents kidnapped BigBrother, things started to calm down. Breastfeeding started to come a bit more naturally and, thus, easier. BigBrother learned about the Naughty Chair. Sleep started to come in longer chunks of time. And, you know, the hormonal fluctuation started to even out. Oh, and thank goodness, the holidays got themselves over and done with allowing us to breathe once again.

I’ve started to find a groove. Not a routine, mind you, because that doesn’t happen up in here. But a groove. I’m able to figure out when LittleBrother is going to sleep long enough for me to shower. I’ve managed to take both boys out of the house without panicking (too much) or failing completely and aborting whatever mission we were set to accomplish. My hair, mind you, doesn’t always look great when I arrive at my destination but I’m just proud that I can make it anywhere, crazy hair or not.

I’m also learning that time spent with BigBrother is quite important right now. He hasn’t shown any jealousy towards LittleBrother. In fact, he enjoys giving him kisses, talking to him when he is in the bouncy seat and gets quite worried when LittleBrother isn’t in the room with us at any given time. But BigBrother needs some one-on-one time. He’s gotten quite a bit from FireDad while I’ve been busy breastfeeding LittleBrother, but I wanted to make sure he was getting some much-needed Mama-time, too.

And so we had some alone time on Saturday morning. Really, I had to run some errands. And I figured I would make the most of it. LittleBrother stayed with FireDad and BigBrother and I hit the town. In a low key fashion, of course. The whole time he was promised “something special” if he was “nice, held Mommy’s hand and didn’t throw fits.” We repeated this in the car, over and over and over, and, much to my delight, he was nice, held my hand and didn’t throw any fits. And so, the kid got his hair cut. Yes, BigBrother likes getting his hair cut. Whatever floats his boat.

Today’s “something special?” We took advantage of the seventy degree weather and went to the park. (The picture above.) All three of us. (FireDad is working.) I was panicked, really, that I wouldn’t be able to manage both of them at the playground. But, thanks to the wonders of babywearing, I was able to be mobile, help BigBrother out when necessary, push him on the swings and just enjoy the weather with a baby strapped to my chest. I felt pleased with myself. I had taken them both out. BigBrother got some special time with Mommy (and used up a lot of energy which resulted in a no-fuss naptime) and LittleBrother was involved, too. Tomorrow I think we’ll bake cookies.

I’m getting the hang of it. Even if my hair is awful.