As far as my mental list of things I want my three year old to learn about, the cigarettes topic was about as far down as you could go. I mean, neither my husband or myself smokes, and Axel is very rarely around anyone doing so. However, this whole natural learning thing is for real. I cannot always be in control of these things, and I’m getting more used to the idea, although I constantly have to tell the control freak inside of me to relax. Moments like these make it easy.
It all started a few weeks ago when Axel saw some cigarette butts at the park (gross- use a trash people!). He asked what they were, and I answered, but didn’t go into any further detail. A week or so passed, and out of the blue he asked me, “mommy, what are cigarette butts?” It was instantly obvious that he was extremely ripe and ready to absorb the information, so I jumped right on the opportunity. I explained to him what cigarettes were, as well as what the filter (butt) was. I asked him if he would like to see how they were made, and he thoughtfully responded with a “yes.” I jumped on youtube, and found a cigarette factory video that showed how they were made, including a clip of all the nasty chemicals that were poured into the tobacco.
Throughout the short video, I was also in constant dialogue with Axel, and he asked several good questions, such as what “smoking” meant, and also, why people would smoke if it was bad for them. He was so innocently curious, and I followed his lead, answering his questions as best I could. We then looked at a picture of healthy versus unhealthy smoker’s lungs, which really interested him. He kept saying that we want our lungs to be pretty and pink/red, not yucky and black.
As his mother, I saw that he was ready, so I discussed with him how sometimes a person’s lungs may become so sick that they could have to have surgery, and having never heard the term, I told him what that meant. That was when he said the most precious little thing that melted my heart (despite the not so lovely topic). He said, “sometimes the doctor will have to cut the people open so they can get the cigarettes out, right mommy?” What a son I have. Of course, I told him how it really worked, but it really does amaze me sometimes how his little brain works.
The neat thing about all this was how it had such a snowball effect. It began with cigarette butts, then cigarettes, then chemicals in them, then how people smoke them, then how lungs become unhealthy, then how surgery might have to happen, then where his lungs were, and on and on. We ended up buying a little miniature skeleton with gooey organs that can be removed that he is thoroughly enjoying. Why? Because he CARES about the topic- AT THIS MOMENT. Not 3 months ago, not 3 months from now, maybe not even tomorrow.
One of the biggest lessons learned, not only for Axel, but for myself, is that human beings are imperfect. Yes, some people smoke, and it’s a gross and unhealthy habit (and my son has already done a few double takes when he’s spotted someone smoking in public), but we don’t eat and live perfectly either. It’s not about judging other people around us for doing things that we believe are bad for us, but about making good decisions for ourselves and our families.
I’m hoping that we can all learn to have respect for the people around us, and lead by example, not with a holier than thou attitude. Our children must see us model this type of behavior. We want our little ones to be confident in their good decision making, but also to get up and try again when they make mistakes. We want them to be honest about what is right, but also to love those who make lots of mistakes, because lets face it, if we don’t forgive others, it sure makes it difficult to forgive ourselves.
I am thankful that I have friends and family that love me despite my flaws. I am working to be better in this area, but I am and always will be a work in progress. I am a truly blessed woman, and I’m so glad I get to share these wonderful moments with such an awesome person- my sweet Axel.
Are you a nursing mother? Do you need to increase your milk supply? I’m going to give you five quick tips to getting that baby nourishment flowing!
1 – Nurse that baby all day and all night! Forget the clock, and nurse your little one whenever they want to. The more they demand, the more you will naturally supply.
2 – Try eating oatmeal. There is no definitive explanation as to why this works, but for me personally, it did the job. (The healthiest option is organic steel cut oats, pre-soaked)
3 – De-stress! Stress is detrimental to our bodies in many ways, one of which is breast milk production. Do something to relax, and grow your happiness! The liquid gold might just start growing, too!
4 – Drink enough water! I cannot stress this enough. The liquid coming out of our breasts is fluid, thus we need to make sure we are getting enough. If we are dehydrated, our breastfed babies will likely be dehydrated. Stay hydrated with water or herbal tea. Make sure it’s caffeine free!
5 – Get your sleep. Lack of sleep causes our body not to function properly, and makes us super stressed out. A fatigued mommy is bad for everyone, so nap when your baby naps if you can… and sleep at night. If your baby is still waking many times a night, consider co-sleeping. It’s so much easier to turn sideways to nurse your hungry baby than it is to go get them from a crib to feed. If you do decide to co-sleep (either for bonding purposes, or because of pure laziness :), make sure you do it safely. We never had our son in the middle of my husband and I. He always slept on my side of the bed because I have that heightened “mommy” sense, and wake a lot more easily than my husband.
Bottom line is, you can do it! Do not be discouraged, and keep at it. With some extra work and dedication, you have a good chance of being a successful nursing mom. But for those of you who have worked your BUTTS off, and still haven’t achieved the results that you and your baby need, don’t beat yourself up about it! You are a rockstar, and you have many great alternative options. Check out the milk banks, and talk to your mommy friends who have extra milk. You can also look up some great homemade formula recipes. Just do your best, and know that your baby adores you, whether you produce enough milk or not. :)
Happy baby feeding!
I have been contemplating how to set up our preschool homeschool schedule for about 3 years now (HA!), and all I seem to have definitively decided on is that I want it to be primarily interest led. That is, led by Axel’s interests. There are, however, things that I believe are important for him to learn whether he shows an interest in them or not. Reading, writing, and basic math are crucial… But have you ever tried to force a three year old to learn any of these things? If you have, I suspect that it was unsuccessful, like my many attempts. Our preschoolers are not computers that we can simply input data into, but they are surprisingly intelligent creatures. I’m convinced they can learn just about anything.
The key to success when it comes to preschool homeschooling is to find a way to teach the child the skills they need in a way that excites them- or at least peaks their interest. Children tell you when they have a desire to learn something. When my son was only 20 months old, he would point to letters and ask, “wuzzzat, mommy?” I would tell him the sound of the letter, and sometimes it’s name, and wouldn’t think much of it. Once he started speaking a lot more, though, I noticed that he remembered those letters. Before his second birthday he could tell you the sound and name of all the lower case letters of the alphabet. He knew about half of the capitals as well. It was astonishing. I was sure he would be a voracious reader by age 3, but he isn’t. Why? Because he didn’t care about letters anymore. He grasped what he wanted, and then moved on. It is now, a full year later, that his interest has come back again, but only ever so slightly. He comprehends that letter sounds join together to make words, and it’s magical watching him make these little connections. (Or, should I say, HUGE connections.)
Kids learn things out of necessity. If they didn’t want and need to get from here to there, they would never be motivated to get up and walk. The same goes for reading. When Axel gets to where he really wants to read, he will. For now I won’t push the issue. All I will do is read with him as much as possible, and let his love of books grow. I can’t wait for the first night he is the one reading the bedtime story.
- What things has your toddler or preschooler learned that surprised you? Please share your story!
Blog, blog, oh how I’ve missed thee.
Years seem to come and go so quickly. And abruptly. This happens “all of the sudden,” instead of it just being a gradual progression of passing. I think, “oh, I have time to do this or that,” and then BAM, it’s a year later. How does this happen?
I am changing my ways. I will accomplish the things that are important to me. I will not let my life slip away, ignoring my demands.
This blog is important to me. Not because I think blogging is cool, but because I love my family, and I want to have a history of our lives on paper. Or computer screen- either or. I want to look back and remember. I want to laugh about our past, and be hopeful about our future. Our legacy does that for us. I have had moments of utter joy when I think of how far I’ve come. Then, there are the moments when I feel really disappointed in myself. If I have some of my memories recorded externally, I can look back and constantly try to improve the person I am.
I am the type of person that is easily overwhelmed. I’m not one of the carefree, happy all the time, stress-less human beings. It takes work for me. I need goals. I need to SEE my goals physically. Otherwise, I begin to feel lost, and it happens fast. That is what the past year has been like a lot of the time. Lots of stagnation, or rather, a lack of growth. I do not want this for myself or my family. I want to be better than I am right now.
That is now my focus. To be the best me I can be. (Yes, I said that in a childish sarcastic voice, but I meant it!) I hope you will join me on my journey, and maybe even give me a few pointers here and there. I can always use the help.
To kick this off, I would like to announce what I will be doing over the next several months. These are my personal goals, and may seem silly to some, but they are important to me.
1.) Be HAPPY!
2.) Speak positively!
3.) Respect others, even when they aren’t as weird as me. :)
4.) Truly try to understand where others are coming from.
5.) Spend time truly playing with my son. Engage! Other things can wait.
6.) Develop and implement a loose “curriculum” with Axel. He is a sponge.
7.) Go to bed, and wake up early!
8.) Spend 15-30 minutes every morning with my husband before he goes to work. Our marriage is important.
9.) Kick some serious butt in Jiu Jitsu. Three to five times a week once my toe heals.
10.) Treat my body with respect. Eating junk doesn’t get me where I want to be. I want to be strong and energetic, and without addiction. (Don’t say sugar isn’t addictive!!!)
I do not hope to accomplish these things. I will. There’s no time to mess around. Life is waiting!
In roughly 15 hours, my precious son will be 2 years old. I cannot believe it. This has been an amazing, life altering (of course), unreal experience, and I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this precious little life.
Two years ago I couldn’t have even IMAGINED where I would be right now, much less how I would feel. I have changed so radically. It’s the same sort of thing as aging. You don’t feel different on your birthday, even thought you are ‘a year older’, but if you look back a couple of years, you really are different.
I am always changing and growing, but motherhood has really transformed me into a ‘better’ person. A new element of myself was released when Axel was born. The mommy part. I feel blessed beyond words.
Happy birthday my sweet darling mini-man. You are more perfect than I could have ever imagined.
Yes. My husband has mango ALL over his face. We decided that we could make really funny videos if I would go back and interject funny phrases making fun of him throughout all the shows. Hey! It was his idea!
It’s amazing how intentions can change so quickly. I truly intended to write on this blog every day. Then, it became 3 times per week. And now, my goal has been not to ‘give up’ on it. Ugh. Blogging is so therapeutic. I need it. Especially, since Axel is getting into the crazy toddler stage. I need moments to just be alone and process what is going on with me and ‘us’ as a family.
Isn’t he getting big? And, unbelievably, he literally gets cuter every single day.
On a positive note, I have learned a lot these past few months. :)