A Letter to Penny: The End of Breastfeeding

-written April 6, 2018

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Dear Penny,

Weaning you has been bittersweet. I truly wanted to take you past two like I did your sister. And though I’ve only nursed you three times total in the last two weeks, the past couple days you’ve asked persistently after your nap, growing increasingly desperate with each ask. Alternative milk is not pacifying you either like it has other times you’ve asked. It breaks my heart because a small part of me wants to give in, the part that loves you so and wants to give you that comfort and nourishment, but the much more dominating pregnant part of me is so fiercely averse to nursing that I stand my ground firmly and just hold you tight whispering sweet things in your ear intead. I not only want a break from breastfeeding for the first time in almost four years, but the sensation of nursing while pregnant is so uncomfortable it makes me cringe inwardly and sometimes outwardly. I wish I would will myself to be that much more selfless to give you what you request as long as you want, but I’m too tired and tapped out. I’m so sorry. I pray we get through this last weaning hurdle smoothly and quickly. I’ve been working you down in feedings for months, but cutting you off completely has proven to be a hill you’re willing to cry on perpetually. Please Penny, for both of us, let my loves and hugs and snuggles and alternate options be enough from now on. I hate hurting you by saying no to your request every day.

I love you so much,

Kaia

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A Letter to Penny: This Behavior has to Stop

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Dear Penny,

Seriously, you have got to stop all the whining and stubbornness.  I sadly have to say that I am rarely enjoying my time spent with you lately.  It’s all hitting, biting, pulling hair, whining, screaming, and otherwise refusing to do as you’re asked all day.  It’s exhausting, frustrating, and defeating.  I keep waiting for the rainbow at the end of this storm you’re unleashing but it’s been months now and you’re only getting worse by the day.  So what do I do?  I do my best to discipline you with time outs and talking to you about your behavior (as much as I can with a 1.5 year old) and pray that the end of this phase is near.

In these troublesome days I latch so firmly onto the golden memories of your babyhood.  How much I loved resting you on my chest every evening as a newborn and feeling you peacefully pass into sleep.  I was always so amazed at your ability to fall asleep on your own too.  I remember thinking doctors were trying to trick me into revealing I was a mom that let her baby cry herself to sleep when they asked “do you lay your baby down asleep or awake?”  And then I had you and realized some babies really do fall asleep completely on their own!  And then there was just your sunny and peaceful disposition.  You’ve understood me since the moment I caught you and I’ve so wholly understood you.  Perhaps that’s even more why this terror of a stage you’re in is so troubling for me, because I can’t, for the life of me, tap into your brain and engrain these important rules in there in a way that you don’t desire to push mine or Maisy’s buttons anymore and instead desire to be kind and obedient.

Penny, I love you so very much, but please stop this behavior.

With a troubled heart,

Mommy

A Letter to Maisy: The Best Big Sister Ever!

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Dear Maisy,

Ever since I got pregnant with Penny I knew you were going to make a great big sister.  Turns out, you’re the best big sister I’ve ever seen!  Only makes sense coming from a girl so caring and helpful as you.

When you first met Penny all you wanted was to be with us all day and to hold her.  You’ve never thought ill of your little sister and have only ever completely loved her with all the unconditional love a child has to offer (which is more than an adult I often think).

You have so much patience and kindness for your little sister, even when she so doesn’t deserve it.  She’s been on a biting and hitting and hair pulling streak for something like six months now and half the time now you don’t even flinch, you just keep doing what you’re doing.  And even when she does hurt you enough to make you come crying you’re never mad at her, you’re just sad that she was mean to you.  I’m so sorry she treats you this way and I promise it won’t be forever!  I am working on this abusive behavior of hers, it just takes time.

Whenever Penny is upset you’re always the first to try and cheer her up, hug her, or otherwise distract her from whatever is frustrating her.  Today, on our walk, you made up a word game to play with Penny to keep you both occupied.  You’d say a word and then Penny would try and mimic you.  When we got to the big hill you love to run down Penny got so upset, as usual, that she wasn’t allowed to get out of the stroller and run down the hill too, but you didn’t skip a beat, you said “Penny, it’s ok, let’s keep playing our game!”  And you did.

You never hesitate to share with your sister.  For long and longish car rides I always pack snacks to ensure happy bellies and provide a busy activity for the drive.  Often times I give you one granola bar or banana and ask you to share with Penny in order to minimize mess and snack waste.  You never hesitate.  In fact, you often give her some before I even ask you to share.  Sharing is such a hard thing for people, big and small alike, except for you and your dad.  I’m so thankful you inherited this trait from him, it’s truly beautiful.

Penny is fairly independently minded.  She loves to play by herself and generally marches to the beat of her own drum.  That never stops you from winning her over whenever you want to play.  You are so gifted at engaging other kids and have no problem doing what they want to do if it means you get to play with them.  That is so beautiful and giving of you!  And, in knowing that about you, I’m often looking for ways to give you things you hope for whether it’s painting nails time with me, helping me in the kitchen, running down your favorite hill during our daily walk, and giving you a say in our days as much as a I can.  Truthfully, I actually really like giving you deciding power too because it takes some of the decisions off of me!  We’re a perfect team.

Speaking of doing what other kids want to do, one of Penny’s favorite things in our backyard is the baby swing.  She’s always asking to swing and you never hesitate to help her into the swing and push her.

As a big sister myself, I can wholeheartedly say how proud all of this makes me of you because I’ve never seen a big sister so giving and sweet as you.  You care about your sister so much!  You two are so good for each other and I can’t wait to see how your relationship grows.

I love you my sweet girl.  I’m so proud of who you are!  You truly have a heart of gold.

With all my heart,

Mommy

Whoes of Motherhood

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-written August 9, 2017 in the middle of the night so the featured picture is from about a year ago as well 🙂

Motherhood is not glamorous.  These early years are just downright hard in very primal ways.  Like tonight for example.  I’m awake at 11:11pm not by choice.  In fact I’m almost never awake this late by choice any more.  My chosen bed time is around 9:30pm.  No, tonight, Penny is struggling.  My best guess is that she needs to poop (seeing as she’s as regular as it gets and hasn’t passed her daily poop yet today).  I’ve nursed her, checked her diaper, nursed her again, rocked her, put her in the swing, rubbed tummy oils on her belly and sleep oils on her chest and back of the neck.  I’ve rocked her again, I’ve checked her diaper again, I’ve shoved gripe water down her throat (apparently taking medicine is not her thing right now… confusing since typically she downs the stuff like it’s candy), put her in the swing.  And now I’m here, with her crawling all over me trying to at least be productive until whatever is going on with her passes.

And the truth is, that is nothing compared to the every night with Maisy.  She was up every night until she was over two years old.  Sometimes it was to nurse but most of the time it was just to hang out, sometimes for hours, in the middle of the night.

Honestly, I hate this part of the job – the night time wakings and needs.  It makes me very grumpy and tired.  I know there are moms out there who embrace this time better, relishing in extra snuggles and kisses, but this mama just wants to stay in bed!  Who’s with me?

I could put more of a positive spin or ending to this story because the truth is the positive is always right there too.  Motherhood is more inherently beautiful and wonderful than it is challenging and exhausting but sometimes it’s nice to just commiserate in the rough and tough and not always feel like us moms have to say something like “but man, I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world” or “but it’s so worth it” at the end of every hard story.

A Letter to Maisy and Penny: Oh to be Loved by You

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Dear Maisy and Penny,

The greatest gift I’ve ever been given on this earth is your love.  I never anticipated the unconditional and overwhelming love you have for me.  I cherish your love so much.  I love that if nothing else is going right in my world, that I can still count on you two to love me so completely and passionately.  Your hearts are so pure.  It’s an amazing feeling knowing I hold your hearts in my hand.

You love me in completely different ways.  And yet, I feel so completely and powerfully loved by you both.

Penny, there is nothing that fills my heart more than when I pick you up from the nursery at church and you rush at me with that goofy grin on your face and arms stretched wide.  There’s nothing like the hug you give me the moment I scoop you up.

Maisy, you could say “I love you” the way you do a million times in a day and it would be a love punch to the gut every time.  I’m always honored when you need me to hold you after you hurt yourself.  And your hugs girl, they are the most enveloping love experience of all.  My most cherished moments any more, in part due to my back injury and in part due to your baby sister, are those that I get to pick you up and hold you.  You melt my heart with the way you melt into me, like you’re becoming a part of me again, and smile so tenderly in this.

It’s incredible that I know your sole goal in life at this small age is to love and be loved by me.  It’s a beautiful reality beyond our bond too because it’s so revealing of how the Lord feels about me and how He craves that attention from me in return.

I love you both with my whole heart and more,

Mommy