1) This is what I look like after a 14 hour toddler day during H's bath. I'm not sad, I'm not particularly overjoyed, I'm just...tired. cc will catch me in this mode and say "What's wrong?" and I can only answer... "Nothing. I'm just tired." To the bone, yo.
2) I've really embraced Middle Way/mix-and-match parenting as I approach the 2 year mark. Meaning? I used to be super... pure when it came to things like breastfeeding and cloth diapers. As in, all or nothing. If I used a disposable, I felt actual guilt and felt the need to justify it. And formula? No. The 10 months she let me nurse her, she never tasted it. Once again, I felt like I'd be cheating at...something.
So even tho at 5 months in, my soul was crying out for a break (nips all busted up, hadn't slept more than an hour in months), I wouldn't let myself even entertain the thought of bottles and powder. Even tho the thought of it sounded so utterly restful. Of course it's complicated, because ultimately I'm glad I stuck with it and did grow to love it -- but there was no reason I couldn't have taken a break here and there with some Similac. (Which, by the by, Harper adored once she pushed my boobs out of the picture for good. Like, she thought it was candy.)
But then a bunch of shit happened in our lives. And I realized all these little details -- diapers and milk and pacifiers -- don't really matter all that much in the big scheme. All these tiny people will grow up to be big people who eat grilled cheese and drink beer and won't be walking around "Oh hey! My mom was an Attachment Parent and never let me cry it out and I don't know who Elmo is. Wanna go out sometime?" Oof.
No one that matters will care how you handle the details, as long as your baby is healthy and happy and well cared for. And many, many different routes can accomplish that. Obvious maybe, but I just didn't see it that way a year ago. I beat myself up when I had to give up cloth for long stretches. I had so much other stuff to do suddenly, but felt like a failure because I was having to use disposables. When I let Harper start watching a little TV here and there, I could barely swallow for all the guilt. If non-organic food slipped past her lips, I felt a pang of worry about the future of her intestinal tract. It was exhausting.
So then I got some no joke perspective. And I started to loosen up a little, sometimes a lot. I adopted more of a 85/15 policy with my food stuff and my TV stuff and, really, all the stuff. Life is nutty and hard and weird enough without random rules thrown at me by, uh, me. Of course everyone's version of 85/15 is different, which is why the world is fun.
Right now, I use a pretty even mix of cloth and disposables. Right now, I feed Harps organic stuff at home, but don't give it a second thought when we're eating out or at a friend's house or on a long car ride. Right now, I let her watch TV:
Because I know there is always hours and hours and hours of this:
And, hey, I still think it's cool to hold onto pure for the things you really care about. Even if it's a little crazy to the outside world. Like, I don't put my own TV shows on during the day. And she only watches Netflix stuff, so no commercials for her eyes. Or I keep her seat facing backward. Also, I'm a little bit nutty about parabens. But I just can't sweat all all all the crazy stuff anymore; I'm happier this way.
3) I was chatting with a mom at the library today, and ohmygod she totally cracked the code on something for me. She's got three kids and in her words: "Once I had my second, I realized I never have to sit in a godd*mn circle ever again." Meaning, she suddenly had no time for all the millions of classes we haul our first borns around to and she just as suddenly realized she was relieved.
Both Harps and I need our ka-tivities (music class, Friends school, pool, library, etc.) because she's hungry for it and I've gotta meet some moms. But it's not my ideal scenario. I'm quite looking forward to the future: playdates with friends in homes or at parks and then Harps getting some independent time at preschool. Because I'm much too salty for the saccharin teachers and corny songs and the whole schtick. I've been doing it for 2 years and I'm just d-u-n done.
I'm always looking around for an eye to catch and then roll together with, but no one bites! Everyone seems to be so sincere and earnest (or alternately, and this is also a no-go for me, completely checked out and bored -- come on, we all gotta sing the songs even if they suck) that I just end up feeling weird and alone.
It's like I'm already a mom of more-than-one-kid without doing the work. Le sigh.
4) Harps and I are doing a ton (this is a relative term) of housework together lately. I've let her "help" for a while now, but she can do some real tasks now and I'm finding it's a great way to keep her busy and get some stuff done at the same time. When she's whining or bored, and I can't handle all the steps of another art project, I pause and think of what actually needs to get done. Then we go do it.
Major kitchen clean-ups, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, and -- this is my favorite -- she's an amazing kale shredder. It's been making the long winter hours while away a little bit faster, gets my house cleaner, and tires her out for the sleeping hours. Wee! Child labor!
5) Can you believe my baby's almost 2?!