My little sweeties

My little sweeties

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Weaning Rosemary

The other day Rosemary said to me, “Mommy, I don’t want any Mommy Milk today. I would rather work on my sticker book.”  I told her that was fine and remarked that it is so nice that she is a big girl now and can make those decisions.  Today she simply forgot all about it.  Last night I had to work and she went to bed without milk.  She is asking for milk less and less. Sometimes she makes a conscious decision to skip it, sometimes she just forgets.  I rarely offer and I rarely refuse if she asks.  At this point whether or not to nurse is primarily up to her.

  I didn't start out planning to nurse a 4 year old.  I didn't have any real goals in mind when I started nursing Rosemary.  I just knew my whole birth plan had gone to hell and something was going to go right, DAMMIT!  And it did.  We had a rocky start. She lost a bit of weight at first, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, I got thrush and mastitis and thrush again.  But, we got into a groove and by the time 6 months rolled around it wasn't something I HAD to do anymore. It wasn't an obstacle to overcome. It was some down time in the day I looked forward to.  It was time to reconnect, to take a breath.  It has been that way ever since.  I never really came across a reason NOT to nurse.  So, we just kept going.

This whole weaning process has been long and drawn out. It started when Rosemary was five and a half months old. I was eating an apple bran muffin and she took a piece of it and shoved it in her mouth and ate it. She continued to nurse largely on demand until she was two years old and I got pregnant with Ellis.  It was at that point I decided to actively start weaning her from the breast.  I cut her down from on demand nursing to nursing four times a day and those four times were just for a few minutes.  Nursing while pregnant was painful, caused some agitation and was just generally a nuisance for me.  But, for her, it was a time to connect with her excessively tired Mommy.  I worked hard to find a balance that was tolerable for both of us. I dabbled with the idea of weaning completely, but quitting cold turkey was not appealing to me at all. So I let her nurse. I set a few limits like singing one song on each side. Some days I would pick the song and some days Rosemary would pick. Once she picked the 12 Days of Christmas.  Glad that was a good day for me!! 

Once Ellis came along my reservations about continuing to nurse melted away.  If everyone was tired we all went to bed and nursed. If everyone was grouchy we sat on the couch and nursed.  When Ellis was tiny Rosemary would gently stroke his ear while they shared milk.  As he got older they would hold hands and sometimes wrestle for position.  I can’t think of a better way to have eased the transition from a family of three to a family of four. My husband and I worked out little ways to get one on one time with each child.  Bed time was the smoothest transition. My husband would bathe and dress Rosemary while I nursed Ellis and then he would bathe and dress Ellis while I nursed Rosemary and tucked her into bed.  No one missed out on any bonding time!

Now Ellis has begun his weaning process.  He didn't start as early as Rosemary.  He was seven months old before he had any interest in solid foods.  In a lot of ways his weaning has been more conventional than Rosemary’s.  There won’t be any more tiny babies to share milk with.  We are a lot busier so he doesn’t get to nurse on demand the same way she did.  But, it is still a long and drawn out process that involves give and take from both of us.  I offer to nurse him a lot and he refuses because he wants to chase his sister around!  He often bites me to let me know he is done when I am not paying enough attention to his sweet little face. It has been fun to see how different he is.  The weaning will be on his terms.

I am in the minority when it comes to the way I have chosen to feed and wean my children.  I have chosen to allow my children to have a say in the weaning process along with setting some of my own limits. I have found wonderful support through the La Leche League, online Breastfeeding groups and especially from my more conventional friends.  I have gotten some negative feedback from some friends and family and from total strangers online.  Occasionally my confidence is rattled…but then I look at my daughter and my son.  This isn’t about nursing as long as possible.  It isn’t about making a statement.  It is about taking care of MY children in a way that works for us.  When Rosemary ate that first bran muffin she took one of her first steps toward independence and she has been taking steps ever since.  The steps are getting bigger as she gets bigger.  Sometimes I offer a nudge along the way.  Sometimes I lag behind and just watch her go.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rosemary is currently 15 Months Old

Tot School

This week's them was animals.  We talked about animal sounds and read lots of books about animals. Rosemary still loves to meow more than anything else.  

Our puzzle of the week. I love Melissa and Doug!

Our library this week. Some are library books, but most we own.  I think my favorite is Who's in the Loo?

Fisher Price Circus! No shortage of animals to play with!

 Rosemary loves My Own Leaptop.  It has animals and their sounds from A-Z.  Some are silly! They are all fun!

 We did several posting activities this week.  I found a shoe box that already had a nice whole drilled into it and got some pom poms at the dollar store. Big hit!

And I changed out the water bottle for a cheese shaker for a more challenging posting activity. Ro can't get enough of this one! Too bad the cats keep stealing the coffee stirrers!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rosemary is currently 14 Months Old

Tot School

Well, I slacked off last week on posting our Tot School Post. We did Tot School, I just didn't document anything. Mommy fail! Back on track this week! This week's theme was Things That Go. Got the idea from a title of one of Ro's books.  Rosemary's Daddy is a car fanatic so he had a lot of fun with the theme this week as well!

The major toy of the week was Leap Frog Speedy.  He helps with following directions, counting, shapes and ABCs. It is a little advanced, but Rosemary loves it! 

The puzzle of the week  is an other Melissa and Doug puzzle. This one actually makes sounds when you put the puzzle together!

And I introduced Rosemary to her first posting activity.  I gave her a water bottle and some coffee stirrers and she had a BLAST! It was the first thing she asked for every morning this week!

It was also a big hit with our cats! Rosemary knows how to share.

 Next week is a more general Animals theme with her toys.  She has no shortage of toys and books to go with that theme!  We will also change up the posting activity.  I had no idea the number of hours of fun you could get out of a water bottle and some coffee stirrers!  The joy of being a toddler!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tot School: On the Farm!

Tot School
Rosemary is currently 13.5 Months Old

After the Christmas avalanche of toys and books I had to take an inventory of Rosemary's toys and clear some things out. She has a ton of toys and books and we ended up at the end of each day with a carpet of books and toys strewn everywhere. I realized that I had enough toys that I could break them into THEMES! So, I did. I packed everything in some totes and put them in the basement and only left out a few toys and books that went with the theme of the week. Our first theme was On the Farm since it is Farm Show Week in Central PA!

These are the books Rosemary had available to read. Some of them are library books. She loves the Fisher Price and Peekaboo books. Lift the flap are some of her favorites!

These are cards from one of the Tot Packs available here:
 I allowed Rosemary to play with the whole set which she found fascinating. She has no idea what to do with them yet, so I chose just a few when working with her. We talked about the sounds the animals make. She is familiar already with cat and dog. Pig and cow were new to her. She got cow down by the end of the week but still won't do the pig!

Playing with the Tug and Pull tractor!

Showing off her wooden duck!

Our puzzle this week!  Rosemary loves the Melissa and Doug puzzles with the big knobs on them! She still struggles with getting the pieces back in correctly, but that doesn't stop her from enjoying them. When in doubt, just bang them around!

And finally our field trip to the farm show! Here we see Ro with some piglets in the background.

And getting up close and personal with a sheep! Hello!

It was a great week in our home!  Next week we are focusing on Things That Go! And I also introduced a Tot Tray which so far has been a big hit!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tot School: Gross Motor Skills

Rosemary is currently 13.5 months old.
Tot School

We are back after taking a week off from blogging!  Rosemary had no interest this week in sitting and doing anything, so I went with it and focused on letting her practice her gross motor skills. She enjoys backing up to sit on the step between the kitchen and the play room, or on my leg! She has also mastered going up and down the stairs. She has mastered that so well that she will have a tantrum if she wants to go up and down the stairs and I am busy doing something else!
Sitting on the ledge while Daddy reads a book!

 Going UP the stairs!

Leg up! Ready to go back down!

I didn't get any pictures of Ro going down. She has chosen to slide down on her belly feet first and she just went too fast for the camera-and for my comfort. I didn't have my hands more than six inches away from her at any point!

We also played a fair amount of tag and hide and seek!  Rosemary loved chasing me around the dining room table. And when that got boring, I'd go and hide behind a chair and she'd come and find me. That game kept us busy for 30 minutes some days! 

We have also worked hard on body parts and she can now point to her head, tummy, foot, nose, mouth and ear. She also claps when I ask where her hands are!  She is picking so many things up so fast!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tot School: Christmas Preparations!

Rosemary is currently 13 months old.

Tot School

Tot School got a little off course this week since we were so busy. However, we did lots of preparations for Christmas!

Rosemary did her first craft project. I was too busy hovering to take pictures of her actually putting it together, but here is the finished product:
I did attempt to do some guidance, but she was so excited just to stick the items down that I let it go.  After she placed each piece she said, "There!"  She had a lot of fun. The craft kit came from a visit with Santa and was purchased by them from the Oriental Trading Company.  Everything had an adhesive backing except for the paper legs which I put on myself with hot glue once Rosemary was finished sticking everything to Santa's tummy.  She did put the buckles on the shoes herself.

We also made Christmas cookies.  It was a tradition when I was growing up for my Mom to make sugar cookies which we would decorate. We'd paint them with evaporated milk with some food coloring. I was pretty sure Rosemary wasn't quite ready to paint cookies, so I opted for snickerdoodles with colored sugar. She enjoyed throwing the balls in the sugar and then of course licking her fingers!

We did practice a few body parts as I had planned. Rosemary knows where her feet are and where her head is.  I will try to get a picture, but she doesn't like to perform for the camera!  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tot School: Big and Little, Up and Down

Rosemary is currently 12 months and 3 weeks old.

Tot School

This week we focused on opposites while we played. Though there were plenty of other fun learning experiences through the week!!

We spent lots of time in the bath tub since Rosemary had a cold and enjoyed her bubble bath with Johnson's Medicated Baby Bath. During bath time we played with the Big Yellow Duck and the Little Yellow Duck and also with the Big Green Frog and the Little Green Frog.  Rosemary played and I just repeated big and little.  She has also learned how to fill the bath toys with water and squirt the water back out! Loads of fun with that one!  Sorry there are no pics of bath time!

Another game I do not have pictures of is Hide and Seek. Rosemary has just started walking this week and she loves to use her new skills to find Mommy. I hide behind a chair or the dining room table and she walks around to find me. Great workout for both of us and she gets a huge kick out of it. 

We also finished killing off her birthday balloon.  When she was holding the balloon it was Down and when she let go it went Up!  She enjoyed that game for half an hour. 

Rosemary has also really learned to love coloring!  Here she is demonstrating Brown.  Coincidence of course, but I went with it!  Here Brown Kitty, have a Brown crayon! LOL!

I love coloring!!

Finally we talked about Yucky!  Here is Rosemary demonstrating a yucky crayon. Into the mouth it goes and she says, "yccchh"

Right now Tot School is pretty laid back. I just make use of the teachable moments that come up throughout the day.  We have a great time!  Next week it is body parts. We are going to talk about feet, hands, tummy and head!