Friday, July 29, 2011

breast malfunction

I've always imagined myself nursing my now three-year-old daughter for at least two or three years to come. -- Sort of like moms in Mongolia, where "there’s an oft-quoted saying that the best wrestlers are breastfed for at least six years – a serious endorsement in a country where wrestling is the national sport."

Breastfeeding in Mongolia (Mothering Magazine).
But after one week of sleeping in her own bed at night, Lilly told me one evening that the right boob didn't work anymore. A week later, she told me the left one didn't work either.

She's seemed a little sad, but frankly, I think it's' been harder for me to let go. I've asked her a few times when lying down for nap or at night, if she'd like to see if maybe the milk's come back, to which she just shakes her head.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"proper swimwear:" why sexualize and discriminate against little girls?

Why can't this be "proper swimwear"?
Mail Online
I've been pretty worked up this week since we were told at the city pool last Sunday that Lilly, who just turned three, had to put a top on. The pool manager has since clarified that "proper swimwear" requires a top for girls from when they are at least of school age, which I'm still not happy about. I asked her to bring it up with her supervisor and City Council, and am working on a letter to our local newspaper.

I am also working on a longer article about this for the Sexy Mama column at Good Vibrations Magazine; stay tune for that. In the meantime, I'd like to hear what you think about this. -- What message is this giving young girls? Does it seem reasonable to you to require girls as young as five to cover up? Or might you consider this sexualizing girls as young as five or six. A gender discriminating issue, in fact, allowing boys--and men--to swim, play, and roam naked from the waist up while the female sex, be they five or fifty, are asked to cover up their breasts, -- be they there or not.

Also, feel free to contribute to the discussion about this on Facebook, here or here.

Update Sat. July 23: My article on this at Good Vibrations Magazine: "Proper Swimwear" for a Toddler Girl Includes a Top?! 

Update Wed. July 27: After today's publication of my letter about this incident to our local newspaper, the pool manager's supervisor, which would be the head of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board, finally called. She told me the board had discussed the "pool attire" incident at last week's meeting and concluded that for girls, "proper swimwear" implies tops for girls age five and up. I am not done pursuing this matter. Please; I'd like to hear from more of you what you think about this.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

sleep baby, sleep

My husband's not a jerk or an old-fashioned dude. When his response to my announcement that I am ready--and think Lilly is ready-- to sleep in her own bed at night is "so does this mean I will be tired too now?" it does not mean that he is not a devoted co-parent. Far from it. If you know Leighton, you know this is just his bemused way of thinking each step through. If you step back a little, you might even find it amusing (unless you're the spouse; in particular one who's been on edge).

In fact, it was I who asked Leighton to leave the family bed when I was about to nighttime wean Lilly. Sure, the bed had felt way too hot and crowded for quite a while up until then. But I was so wanting her to self-wean. She was nineteen months, and I figured her constant requests for the boob would soon dwindle. Except it didn't. And then when I started driving through red stop signs, I knew it was time.

But Leighton has a kind, sensitive heart, and I knew I couldn't worry about him lying there aching for Lilly while I was having my own hard time with the weaning issue; so I asked him to sleep in her bed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

take care of yourself: on body, soul, and sleep

I've felt frazzled lately and this week I set out to do something about that; to take care of myself. I know getting my body moving helps lift my spirit. So instead of our usual mid morning to-do stuff, I would go for a good, long walk with Lilly in the stroller, rain or shine. At three, she's not crazy about this, but with the wonder of what we've been finding in nature, it's been a really good thing for us.

On the first day, we came upon a duck on main street downtown, trying to get all her little ducklings up on the sidewalk. -- It took several attempts for the little ones and much encouragement from mama duck. It was an amazing experience to watch; would she leave the littlest one behind after all the other ones had made it up after numerous failed attempts? But no, down she went again, helping her babe up with her beak. Talk about attachment parenting. Then down the sidewalk with ducklings in tow, she headed for the river.

Another day, we spotted a deer right in front of us on the trail in the prairie arboretum we're so fortunate to have nearby. Then on our way home, Lilly got a skinny dip in the fountain downtown with a friend while I got to talk with mine.

Friday, July 8, 2011

lazy moms I don't like

Sure, I look forward to the day when I can lounge by the pool while Lilly swims, jumps, and plays in the water on her own or with her friends. But I don't like the lazy mom lounging with her magazine and bag of chips while her kids--equipped with hefty safety vests--are in the water by themselves. Why? Because it breaks my heart to see how her younger boy (about four years old) keeps begging for her attention while the older sister (six?)--having figured out that it will do her no good to ask for it--bugs me instead for mine.

And why me? Seriously. -- While I love my daughter and her friends that I know, I am by no means a kid person. On the contrary. When my friends became moms years before I turned into one, I could never get the big fuss about it. In fact, their mush brains bothered me, and I was upset by the feeling of having lost my friends.

I know my body language is not particularly friendly towards this kid. I can't stand how her only reply to my responses to her constant "look at me!" or "what's her name?" is "what???"  I've even told her I do not want to talk to her (yes, I did).

Friday, July 1, 2011

should we deny little girls their princess pink?

Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World, recently wrote about how she squelched herself from squealing to the five-year-old daughter of some friends; "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!" Explains Bloom:

"Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments."

Bloom continues with a description of how she instead chooses to talk to kids in a matter-of-fact way; in this case about books, seeing that Maya was carrying one around.

Bloom's article gives food for thought. -- We've done our best to protect Lilly from the gender stereotyping so common in our culture that begins with the little pink and blue baby onesies. Instead I got many in green and yellow for her at my baby shower, and then a lot of baby blue hand-me-down clothes from friends with sons after she was born.

As a result, strangers have for the longest assumed Lilly's a boy, even after her curly locks started to grow.

We were a little surprised this bugged us so much (we sort of like to identify ourselves with a growing movement of ending the obsession with gender and undoing gender stereotypes), but in the end we caved in and got her some pink clothes -- and she loved it. She loves the feel of dancing in a dress, and she loves to be told that she's so cute and pretty.
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