Monday, February 14, 2011

keeping chaos at bay

I just called Eric because I really needed to calm down. I had just engaged in a half hour power struggle with Gemma trying to get her to clean up her mess - which she had promised to clean up when I let her play with the toy in the first place. I was getting very very very very angry. Am much calmer now. I cleaned the beads up myself and am confiscating them - which was the consequence that I warned Gemma about a kajillion times over. (I already just this weekend took some puzzles and hid them away because Gemma kept getting them out and then not doing them and leaving the puzzle pieces spread out all over the family room floor.)

So we have a plan to keep chaos at bay. It seems so much of our collective day is spent cleaning up messes the girls make with them very half heartedly helping out because they know full well that it will get done whether they help or not and because they don't care if it's a big mess or not. They just don't see it as a mess and the consequences we've come up with have not been effective motivators. I asked Eric what he did with the boys and he said that they had far fewer toys and far less space to make a mess in. Well, we can't change the size of our house right at the moment, but we can reduce the number of toys that they can make a mess with. So that is the plan. We'll keep out the toys that they regularly play with and put away or get rid of the ones they don't.

With seven people, a cat and a dog, somehow the chaos needs to be managed. And engaging in power struggles with little ones by trying to manipulate or bribe them into the desired behavior is just way too exhausting, especially for these sleep deprived parents. We'll see how it pans out. I'm hoping for happy kids who are especially happy that their parents aren't getting angry as often.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

six weeks, parenthetical statements, and the breast crawl

James is six weeks old already. As always, I can't believe he's been here on the outside for that long (how fast time flies!) and I also feel like each day is five days (how slow time is! when will he sleep through the night so that i can be sane?!?!) In a lot of ways he is an easy baby. He is perfectly content to let his brothers or Dad hold him (something Oona would not tolerate). He doesn't fuss much when his big sisters are crowding over him, fighting for the best view of his face (is he awake, is he asleep?) What he does is grunt and squirm and wriggle and want to nurse relatively frequently (not as bad as Oona I have to keep reminding myself...) most of the night which makes sleep difficult and patience the following day challenging. My house is chaotic and dirty. The girls walls are covered in marker and crayon - a small price to pay for time to myself (or myself with James). With the first kid, time to yourself meant without the baby. With the second and third kids, time to yourself just means without the older ones.

We've had some challenges with nursing and his latch being quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I finally contacted Alicia, a lactations consultant. And she had me do the breast crawl to reset his latch. It worked! And now I think every new mom should do the breast crawl with their newborn. It might just make many nursing challenges disappear. James is much more comfortable and relaxed nursing with me semi-reclined than he is in the traditional cradle hold.

Check out this video: Breast crawl video on youtube.

Speaking of which, Mr. James wants to nurse again...