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The Slippery Slope of Expectations

http://wonderfullymadebelliesandbabies.blogspot.com/2008/04/slippery-slope-of-expectations.html
Posted by Nicole D
I planned and prepared for a marathon. I practiced daily, ate correctly, and trained my body and mind for 9 whole months.

At the start of the marathon, I ran well, I ran fast, and I paced myself wonderfully. My body was a fluid machine that worked perfectly. Then, out of nowhere, the leg cramp came.

It came hard and fast.

I tried, oh how I tried, to run through it. Soon, though, my calf had seized and I was done. So, I sat in the dust and hailed my cab.

I took a cab to the finish line.

I took a CAB to the finish line.

I should have hailed that cab a long time ago. It was so much easier. Anyone who tries to run a marathon is crazy. Why go through all of that if you don't have to?

Next time I enter a marathon I will go into it with no expectations except to cross the finish line. It doesn't matter to me how I get there, just that I do. I don't care if it is on foot, on bed, in a taxi or upside down. Preparation for the event is obviously a waste of time, as is diet and training.


Does that make any sense at all? And yet, many women who 'fail' during birth end up with this mentality. Others try to make it 'better' by rubbing their shoulders and giving them platitudes. Now, I am NOT advocating making someone feel bad for their birth experience. But I ascertain this:

Disappointment is healthy.

There is NOTHING wrong with feeling disappointment at falling short of a goal. Without a goal, without a vision, without expectations, we have nothing.

Motivation comes from expectation.

Rather than stoke their indifference with empty platitudes and unhealthy acceptance of their dismissal of their disappointment, perhaps we should validate their feelings, offer encouragement through helping them redefine their priorities and expectations, and give them a safe place to grieve and feel disappointment in a healthy environment where they know that it is ok and normal?


On the flip side...

I planned and prepared for a marathon. I practiced daily, ate correctly, and trained my body and mind for 9 whole months.

At the start of the marathon, I ran well, I ran fast, and I paced myself wonderfully. My body was a fluid machine that worked perfectly. Then, out of nowhere, the leg cramp came.

It came hard and fast.

I tried, oh how I tried, to run through it. Soon, though, my calf had seized and I was done. I sat down in defeat and hailed a cab.

I took a cab to the finish line.

I took a CAB to the finish line.

I felt like an utter failure! My body betrayed me, I was too weak, my trainer didn't help me enough...


This is equally as unhealthy. Women who negate from their birth plans (not talking about your pieces of paper) and feel this type of birth guilt are suffering from birth trauma. Their sense of worth came from the way that they birthed, whereas their sense of worth should come from the power that they exerted while they were in labor and made the OBVIOUSLY hard choices to take a different path than what they had planned.

Acknowledging disappointment and offering understanding while also enabling a woman to see that she was still in control of her birth through the choices that she made, regardless if they were in line with her original plans or not. There is great strength in being able to make adjustments when issues or situations arise.

A recent birth story had me responding to a horribly harsh ridicule from another person. My response read:

a true warrior is one who, when adversary presents itself, or the journey takes you into uncharted territory, you can gracefully, powerfully, and wholly confidently make the necessary adjustments, PERSONAL decisions, and tough choices necessary to traverse the plains.

A FOOL does not recognize the need to deviate from plan when her instinct or her body is telling her to.

In my book, ****** is a lovely birth WARRIOR who went to the depths of labor land, released her inhibitions and came up out of that foreign land as a warrior - with a respect for her body, a confident awareness of her birth experience, and strength in her choices - even though they took her a different path than she ever thought.

Oi, the slippery slope of expectations. We need to find a balance, a thin line to walk with these women as they find their own path while advocating for their choices and best interest.



I (Rebekah) loved this essay.  I think she's hit on a very important point, here. 

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My Very First Dgtl


There are more to come, the day's only half done! (But it's taking me FOREVER to figure this out...

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Sabbath Study

It has been a recent fascination of mine to study the scriptures more in-depth.  Reading them is a wonderful thing, and definitely the place we should all start.  Eventually, though, deeper study is fulfilling to and I've been reading through many works, recently, in an attempt to better understand my faith. 

I found a term that actually properly describes my faith.  I'm a Nazarene Jew.  That's a very old term, describing the first followers of Yeshua (who were entirely Torah observant).  I have always flinched a little say that I'm a "christian" because it really doesn't even come close to describing my faith.  The only thing you get out of that description is that I believe in Jesus as the Mashiach.  I also hesitate when referring to myself as "Messianic" because that is equally misleading: it can mean something different to anyone you talk to!  I've heard everything from "Jewish Christian" (which is very much an oxymoron, though why that is true may not be obvious to some) to "baby-stealing missionary".  Most people understand that a Messianic Jew is someone who at least likes Judaism and is also a Christian.  Unfortunately, each Messianic you meet is going to have a different "flavor" and some of those flavors have very little in common.  I am comfortable with "Nazarene Jew", though, because it leaves nothing out.  Does this mean I've got it all figured out? HA, no.  I'm still learning.  There are aspects to my faith that I've been looking into more deeply, finding answers to concepts I've never been able to make sense out of.  And no, "some things are a mystery" isn't entirely good enough.  I firmly believe that even if we don't fully understand how or why something works, the precepts should at least make *sense*, even if the best we can do is "well, I have the general idea, I just don't quite grasp it".  As such, there are some understandings that I've come into recently that have really clarified my understanding...and it's so exciting! 

Before I side-track myself, this is what I want to think on today:

Dh and I were having a discussion on the application of Torah for non-Jews.  We have lovingly debated certain aspects of this for years.  I have believed and will always believe that the Torah is for all people.  This is specifically stated all throughout the scriptures, over and over again, and unlike some denominations, I believe the the scriptures are all one, inseparable unit, one part building upon the other.  Torah being the foundation and so on and so forth.  My dh generally agrees but we were quibbling over which parts of Torah apply to everyone. 

It is a very, very common idea in the Messianic community that certain parts of Torah are not applicable to Gentiles.  This is even MORE prevalent in the church, in many cases going so far as anti-semitism.  It is the foundation for the confusing idea that the law is "dead" and has no relevance for Christians today.  My dh, being initially brought up with this understanding, struggles sometimes with the concepts that I really have always understood.  So today, I was examining them yet again, because I want to be sure that I'm sure that I'm sure I understand it *correctly*.  Our initial discussion was over whether or not he should be wearing Tzit-tzits.  Actually, the "to tzit-tzit or not tzit-tzit" was just an example that came up in conversation but he had the standard answer to this: "Well, the scripture specifically says "Say to the sons of Israel"...

This stumped me for a moment and we went and looked it up and actually, the wording as he was quoting it was incorrect but that's tangental.  At some point during our discussion it hit me: Just exactly what part of Torah was NOT given specifically to Israel at Mt. Sinai?   And if, in fact, the entire Torah was given to ONLY Israel, forever...what is Christianity?  What was the "good news'" that Mashiach taught, what is He going to do when he returns, what is the millenial kingdom and WHY do the scriptures promise us that "The Torah will go Forth out of Zion!?!" if it's ONLY for the Hebrews?  If Torah is dead, what is the relevance of the Mashiach's death in the first place?  How do we determine what sin is without the Torah? 

These questions were bothering me. 

I found a study here: http://yashanet.com/library/under5.htm
This study puts the answers that I was trying to explain to my dh in much better, clearly referrenced ways than I ever could hope to in the heat of a moment, lol.  I'm only going to talk about one thing, here, for my own referrence and then I will paste the section and anyone that is interested is welcome to read it.  I want it here for quick referrence.

The authors of this particular article chose a different example of "law keeping" than I did; they chose the Sabbath. 

"Not Subject to the Law of God?"

Part 5. The Confusing Christian view of the Believer's Relationship to Torah

Christianity teaches that Paul is saying that now that we can have "faith in Jesus" we're no longer under "the Law," therefore it's done away with. This is a very confusing theology as Christianity itself recognizes that some parts of "the Law" remain.

Consider these four examples:

Example #1

We are to keep the 10 Commandments. However keeping the Sabbath (as God established it from Friday evening to Saturday evening) is also in the 10 Commandments yet isn't kept. Christianity claims that this was "changed" by God.

As Christian author James Montgomery Boice states:

"First, the Sabbath was a uniquely Jewish institution and was neither given to nor fully observed by any other race or nation either ancient or modern. This is not true of the other commandments; they are generally paralleled in other ancient law codes. Sabbatarians generally appeal to Genesis 2:2-3 (referred to in the fourth commandment) as showing the contrary ... Strictly speaking however, those verses do not say that God instituted the Sabbath at the time of creation; indeed there are other verses which seem to teach that he did it later. Two such verses are Nehemiah 9:13-14 ... Those verses link the giving of the law concerning the Sabbath to Mt. Sinai and imply that the Sabbath was now known or observed before that time. Another important passage is in Exodus ... (Ex. 31:12-17). Those verses portray the Sabbath as a covenant sign between God and Israel; that is important, for it is repeated twice. It is hard to see, therefore, how observance of the Sabbath can legitimately be said to be applied to other nations. On the contrary, it was observed of the Sabbath that was to distinguish Israel from the nations, much as circumcision set them apart. But what about Sunday? Sunday is another day established by God, but for the church rather than for Israel and with quite different characteristics. The Sabbath was a time of rest and inactivity. In fact, failure to rest had strict penalties attached to it. By contrast, the Christian Sunday is a day of joy, activity and expectation ... The fact that Sunday was established and the Sabbath abolished is seen in the worship of the early church." (21)

Unfortunately, Boice's "proof" is replete with inaccuracies and falsehoods: 

(Becky interjects: all bold in this section are mine)

  1. Regarding the Sabbath "only being given to the Jewish people" -- What institutions or commandments did God give to any other nation BUT Israel? None. Every commandment he gave was given to Israel to set them apart as His people to be a light to the world for God (Isaiah 49:5-6, Luke 2:32). The fact that other nations may have incorporated parts of what are in the Torah into their own law codes, (and ignored others), is not any kind of "proof" that the Sabbath is only for the Jews. (God did not instruct these nations to put things into their law codes.) God set one people apart for Himself to bring His revelation (Torah) to the world. He also said that His Law was the same for the Jew and the Gentile living within this "set apart" people (Leviticus 24:22). In fact, in Exodus 12:48-49, He speaks of one Law for Jew and Gentile -- and this is before Mount Sinai. In Isaiah 56, He speaks of the Torah being for Gentiles.
  2. God Himself directly links the Sabbath of the ten Commandments to His work at the time of creation. He clearly says that it was blessed for that reason (Exodus 20:11).
  3. Nehemiah's reference in no way "implies" any such thing. The Hebrews were following the Sabbath before Mount Sinai, as seen in Exodus 16:25-26 and is written about in Jewish literature.
  4. Regarding the author's questioning how this, "can legitimately be said to be applied to other nations" -- once again, the point is missed that the Torah is God's revelation to the world, not some set of exclusively Jewish laws. God makes it clear that Gentiles would one day come into the faith that He established with Israel. The Gentiles were never to have some new faith apart from Israel (Isaiah 54:1-3). Paul reiterates this in Ephesians 2:10-12 where he says Gentile believers are now no longer strangers to the covenant and ordinances of Israel -- and this includes the Sabbath.
  5. Scripture and the facts of history prove that the idea that God "changed" Sabbath to Sunday is not true. Attempts made to show that this is "in the Bible," involve out-of-context mistranslation of a few Scripture verses. (22)
  6. The Sabbath was and is far more than just a "rest day." The statement that "failing to rest" brought strict penalties is inaccurate. Sabbath was/is a day of study, prayer and devotion focused on the coming "Sabbath" we would enter into one day with the Messiah. (23) There is much written in Jewish literature that also links the sabbath to a coming wedding, such as one verse in the Talmud that says, "Let us come and go out to welcome the Sabbath bride." (24)
  7. The fact that Sabbath was abolished for Sunday is not a sign that "God commanded it." Rather it is a sign that the original Torah-based community and its faith had been pushed aside and that Gentile anti-Semites had taken over and perverted the Word of the God of Israel. This subject is dealt with further on in this document.
(/Becky's emphasis)

 

The authors go on to give many, many more examples.  People get so hung up on the 613 commandments that they completely miss the rest of Torah.  Yeshuah himself sent his deciples out from him to "preach the gospel".   The cannot have been his death and resurrection at that time because it hadn't happened yet.  What is the reconcilliation?  Why does Paul appear to contradict himself constantly?  Is he really? Or is the usual understanding of the scriptures as it has been past down over the last 1400 years simply wrong? 

You all know what I think :P.  I think the entire scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, was all given to us by one, unchanging God.  A God that keeps his promises, does not change and repeatedly tells us, over and over again, what the "good news" is.  I do not see how we can read the scriptures and see how HaShem describes *himself* and ever think that he intended for their to be two religions, or God forbid, that we would ever suggest that he would reject his people completely, something he swore he would *never* do. 

If the current understanding of the Torah that the Christian church at large has IS true than God is a liar, James shouldn't be included in the scripture and Paul cannot have been a man of God because he constantly contradicts himself, proving himself a false prophet by the same scripture that we claim has no relevance. 

When one sees it in this light, perhaps we can begin to understand why the rest of the Hebrews today tend to look at Christianity and want nothing to do with it.  I'm not advocating their view, necessarily, either.  But I DO see why there is such terrible devision.  How can a Jew look at these blatant discrepancies and not be confused?

Anyway, that my religo-rant for the day.  :) 

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Doula and UC

Being a doula can be emotionally stressful sometimes.  *sigh*  I have this client that really REALLY wants a VBAC.  She's also struggling with self-confidence when it comes to stating what she wants and how to get it.  She actually asked me if she could come to my house while in labor during the day, so that her dh wouldn't know and rush her to the hospital.  *headdesk* No no no no no no!!!!

So, we had a talk.  I explained to her that as a doula and as her friend, I see it as my job to support her in HER decisions, not make them for her and not support her in deceiving her husband.   I told her that I really, really believed this birth could be everything she wants it to be but that doing it that way would be wrong!  She agreed and has been doing some preparation. 

I also did something I never thought I'd do...I actually encouraged her to get a midwife instead of UC.  I have so many reasons for this with regards to this particular woman but I  realizing it with her got me thinking about UC and my views on it and how I view midwifery and the "professional" relationships that go along with both. 

For starters, anyone who's ever birthed a baby knows that it is usually very hard work (and I say usually because I've known a few moms that have woken up pushing and TADA! had a baby in ten minutes!).  It's hard not just on the physical level (which is not to be discounted!) but for me, and for many, many women I know, it's hard work on an emotional and spiritual level.  I can only imagine how much more difficult this can be for a woman whose suffered birth trauma, rape, or other emotional or physical abuses in her past.  Birth brings out your very soul and because of the nature of the work, it often brings up a bunch of hidden negative things, too. 

I have met many women in the UC communities that insist that really, no real preparation is  needed for birthing, birthing is natural, anyone can do it.  I do see their point, in the end, the baby is coming out, like it or not.  We've all heard the uc stories that hit the media: Mother gives birth in car on way to hospital!, Taxi driver delivers baby!  How about the woman that gave birth in her attik during Katrina?  So we see that there is some truth to "anybody can do it" and that there is't too much preparation needed.  However, I think to just slap that across the board is very naive and in some cases, downright foolish. 

I'm sorry, birth is work.  It's good, hard, grueling work and in our society today, many women are  just plain and simply not at all prepared for it.  Birth isn't a sacred rite in our society, it isn't something we pass knowledge and wisdom down to our daughters about (unless you count horror stories and "You nearly killed me coming out!").  Many women never learn the first thing about birth until they are pregnant and even then, countless women don't bother to learn anything because "The doctor will take care of it".  As a result, so many women go into labor and birthing with no concept, really, of what to expect.  They've done no mental preparation, they do not  understand what is happening inside of their bodies and as a matter of course, birth becomes something that happens TO them, rather than something they are doing. 

This is a great, great shame.  It is also a reality of the times we are living in.  Therefore, I do not think that UC is wise or safe for every woman. 

Let me take a moment to define safety, in the context of this article.  Anytime I write about UC or homebirth, I do so with the assumption that the person in question isn't "high risk" (and no, being a VBAC doesn't make you high-risk in any rational person's book).  So obviously I am not referring to someone who is so wrapped up in her ideals, she'd attempt a homebirth or uc with known, serious complications.  I'm talking about healthy mothers, here, expecting healthy newborns.  So lets make that perfectly clear.  Secondly, safety in this context is NOT life or death that I'm talking about.  There is *always* a risk of death, with any birth, we all know that.  Research indicates, however, that HOME and UNHINDERED is the absolute SAFEST way to birth.  So I'm not suggesting in any way that VBACers are not safe to birth at home or uc. 



Anyway, I've rambled long enough.  My point, through all this jawing, is to state that I have finally pinned down in my head what kind of client I would be unwilling to encourage to UC.  I feel like doing so with this one would be feeding her to the wolves.  I feel she is just as likely to end up with yet another unnecessary C as she would be if she tried to VBAC in a hospital that "doesn't allow" them. 

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Stuff

So, Morgan is sick with...something?  I think it's probably safe to call it a cold.  Her snot (copious, copious amounts of it) is not green or brown or anything...it's just everywhere.  She HATES it and yesterday she must've had a sinus headache because she went to sleep at five-thirty and slept until about nine-thirty and then woke up for a while and was back in bed around eleven-thirty.  She woke up this morning around five-forty-five and snuggled in bed with us (Abigail had woken at five-thirty and nursed straight through until quarter-after six!).  So we were all out of bed by quarter after, which isn't too bad.  I think my preferred five-am wakeup just isn't going to work.  I mean, there are days when I get to bed early enough and then it's nice but I think as long as I get the kids up by six, six thirty, we'll be good.  Dh is never up before six thirty, no matter what he says or what I try.  Like this morning, he told me that he wanted to get up at six.  So I jokingly asked him "So...does that mean I start waking you at five-thirty or do you mean  you want to get up at six-thirty?"  He told me to get him up at five-thirty so he'd get up at six!  Well, Abigail obliged by waking at five-thirty and I mumbled something like, "Can I please not be the one to jump up and get her this time?  Please?!" So he got up and went in there and (adorable man that he is) he actually changed her nappy and buttoned her back into her sleeper (all wonky, but that just added to the charm of it) and brought her in.  So he was UP for fifteen minutes or so ANYWAY.  Did he get up at six, ladies and gentlemen?  NO HE DID NOT.  He finally crawled out of bed at six-thirty or so.  GOOBER.  It's not a big deal but I got the same "please leave me alone and let me do what I want" nonsense this morning and I told him I wasn't waking him up anymore, he doesn't actually GET up and it annoys the hell out of me to be asked to do something and then berated for doing it.  No thanks. 

Anyway, Morgan does seem to be feeling better today and I hope so.  She slept better last night than she did the  night before (thank GOD, I was so exhausted yesterday from being up most of the night with her).  Providing things go according to plan, I believe my girls and my mom and I will be shopping today.  I am supposed to be providing a bottle of Tequila for Avinah's 21st birthday this weekend.  Oy VEY.  I officially feel old, my baby sister is turning 21.  Damn.  Mom said something about stopping at Wal-mart as well, so I better be prepared to poke around in there, too.  Need to ask dh if there is anything he'd like me to pick up.  I'll also check my list to make sure there aren't things on it that I could just pick up there. 

I have to tell you, my girls were tickling me pink this morning.  When we moved up here, Hezzie put together a "travel bag" for Morgan that included about 8 hand-puppets (cutest things ever) and some odds and ends.  One of the things that was in the bag was this microphone you can play music on, sing into (with the music) and record yourself in and playback.  It's actually really loud and highly obnoxious, but both of my girls just LOVE it.  It's one of their favorite toys.  Well, Morgan was messing around with it this morning, while I was getting Abigail dressed.  When I was finished, I made my escape to the bathroom to wash and get ready for the day and I heard this hilarious sound coming from the hall.  I look in there and Morgan is holding the microphone out for Abby, while Abby "sings" into it...at the top of her little voice.  Then Morgan is playing it back to her and Abigail is clapping to it.  Too bad I didn't have the camera on me for that one! 

On a completely unrelated note:  What kind of country is this?  America, where are you?  Not one but TWO of my friends this week have been dealing with CPS.  Now, you all know how I feel about that backwards, twisted, corrupted, evil organization.  I love the way our country works now.  "Do what we tell you OR WE ARE TAKING YOUR CHILDREN."  And yes, that is EXACTLY what they say.  "We have to make sure you are taking him to the doctor regularly...doesn't matter if she/he's sick".  "What kind of insurrance do you have?"   "We need to be sure that's YOUR BABY."  "Why isn't your child in school?"  "Why doesn't your son weight the same as the Enfamil poster child??!!!" 

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This is a good one:


"Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family." -Ron Paul in his intro to the Family Education Freedom Act

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Musing

Michelle’s words tell another story.

‘Several hours later however, I had forgotten my romantic images and was kneeling in the tub, howling and screaming from the depths of my soul, convinced that the pain was too much to bear. Not that I got any sympathy…. Instead I was showered with reassurance, love and incredible strength from the energy and wise words of those who were present to witness and support I was surrounded by such powerful women … They showed me strengths I never realized I possessed.’


I took that from the article I'm going to paste under the cut.  I've read this article many times and come across "Michelle"'s excerpt in other works, as well.  I get tears in my eyes and an uncontrollable urge to laugh (at the same time) every. single. time I read that.  It is a key moment in the story of one woman's right of passage into motherhood.  She has shared one of her most precious memories and spared none of the difficult realities, keeping the raw intensity of the moment intact.   This is a defining moment in a woman's life, a birth in and of itself.  I like to think of it as the moment of truth when I'm laboring.  You reach the threshold of what you think is your endurance and learn to grow beyond it.  It's really amazing and experiencing that for the first time is ground-breaking...it pushed the boundaries of our little worlds far beyond anything we could imagine.  It's scary; it's exhilarating.  This is the moment that for many women...never happens.  The moment where what they need the most (and often are unaware of it) is confirmation, encouragement, support.  Instead they are offered drugs, technology and the subconscious confirmation that they are failures.  So many women never get to the exhilarating part.  When they need to be told, "Yes you CAN do this" instead they get sympathy and drugs.  When they need encouragement, they get "just give up, let us handle it".  Many caregivers offer this betrayal honestly believing they are doing the woman a favor.  Thinking they ARE being encouraging, they undermine a woman's confidence in herself and underline her feelings of inadequacy at the very moment when she needs to be told that she is an amazing, all-conquering life giver, not that she is a week, incapable bystander to what's happening to her.   Birth isn't something that happens TO you, entirely, it's something you DO.  It's work.  Women need compassion, not sympathy, when laboring.  They need encouragement, not escape routes. 

Anyway, I loved this article and I encourage you to read it and give some thought to it.  I really think more women (and yes, men, too) need to realize that birth is a right of passage into another level of womanhood.  It needs to be *respected* and honored.  People need to understand that for a woman, perceiving herself as having failed at birth means that somewhere inside of her, she sees herself as having failed *as a woman*.  Motherhood/womanhood become the same thing when you are a mother.  For many, failing birth sets up the fears of inadequacy in being a mother and underscores any concerns that existed regarding that before the babe was born.   Transition from woman to mother is already very difficult (and wonderful) but it becomes even more so when burdened with feelings of failure, guilt, rage or betrayal. 

EC update!

* Age of your EC-child

 8 1/2 mo old (9mo on the 19th)


* We started at...

Birth, but taking it slow.


* Generally speaking we are doing...

I'm pleased with our progress so far.  We are definitely taking it easier than I did with Morgan and for some reason that is translating into more success.  I think because I've done it before and don't feel so much like I've got something to prove, lol.


* How do you know your baby has to go? Baby's signals? Timing?

This one is sort of interesting for me to reflect on as it's so different with Abigail than it was with Morgan.  For starters, Abby actually does signal (for the longest time I thought I was just a dunce and never catching Morgan's cues, but now I know she just really didn't cue) and on the few occasions that she doesn't, I will offer by timing or just the stray thought that she may need to go.  It still amazes me how rarely she *doesn't* have to go when I offer based on the random thought.   Recently she actually has started holding her poos until she gets a pottytunity and if, for some reason, I do not get her to a potty and she does go in her diaper, she immediately demands I remove the diaper.  Her demanding used to be entirely in the form of angry squawling (and as that was a common state of being for her it often took me a bit to realize what the deal was) but as of a few days ago she's started letting me know much more "nicely".  Yesterday, I had totally not been paying attention and she pooped in her diaper and began to fuss about it.  Her fussing brought me in from the other room (she had been in her bouncer) and i thought she was hungry so sat down to nurse her.  She nursed for about three seconds and then pulled off, stuck her leg right up in the air, while looking me in the eyes, and grabbed the crotch of her diaper and began to tug on it, while babbling at me expectantly.  So I peeked and sure enough, she needed a change!  That was the third time that week an exchange like that had happened and the night before that, when putting her to bed, we had a similar one.  This time, though, she had *not* gone to the bathroom yet.  I was lying down with her (as per our routine) in the bed with her sister and dh and she just would not settle down.  She kept grunting and popping off the boob.  Now, the thing you have to remember is that Abigail is NOT a comfort nurser.  Her longest sessions are when she's nursing down and generally she gets right down to business and nurses until she's nearly asleep, pops off and crashes out.  But she just wouldn't stay latched, wouldn't lie still and kept grabbing at her diaper.  I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes so for some reason (probably the noises she was making) I thought she needed to burp so I kept burping her (and thoroughly frustrating her, I might add) until *duh* lightbulb, I took her to the big potty.  I took her perfectly dry diaper off and sat her on the potty and didn't even start signaling her before she started to pee, with an obvious look of relief on her face.  I put the diaper back on her, rocked her a bit, brought her back to bed and she was asleep in five minutes. 



* Which positions/receptacles do you use?

At this point we use the sink and the bblp almost exclusively.  At bathtime she likes to sit on the big potty but depending on the timing, she may or may not actually go.  I would say that 90% of our catches are in the bblp.



* Do you use diapers or training pants? On what occasions, what kind
of diapers?

I loose ec points for this one, lol.  We do it ALL.  She spends most of her day in cloth backup or nakey-butt, depending on what I'm doing, she's in sposies at night and whenever we go out somewhere (this is largely because I only have like, 25 fitteds and the prefolds I have are *too small* to snappie and the covers I  have don't work with just a folded up prefold). 



* How are you doing away from home?

For whatever reason (probably that I don't actually go anywhere with  her most of the time but the grocery store) I have never offered her out in public yet.  I am not sure if I was with Morgan at this age or not but I think I began to around this time.  I will likely start with Abby soon, too, but I haven 't had much opportunity. 



* What are you doing at night?

I only offer her at night if she obviously needs to go but generally speaking, she rarely wakes up beyond snuffling for boob and even that largely doesn't happen until 4-6am and that's for like, 2-5min before she goes right back to sleep.   That is probably when she's peeing, obviously, but I'm not usually conscious enough to think to offer her.  I'm a very lazy nightime ec-er, which totally bit me in the butt with Morgan and hopefully I can work on that a bit after the move.


* Who takes baby to the potty?

Primarily, me.  With Morgan, it was everybody, but Max rarely takes any initiative with anything these days (which is fine) and Dh just doesn't think to most of the time (unless she's naked and then he's generally quite diligent, hehe) except in the mornings, when it's just what we do before she gets dressed.


* Accidents -

What accidents? :P  We only have misses at this age and they aren't her fault, they are mine.  As I mentioned above, we are taking a much more relaxed approach here and I'll admit that there are days when I only offer a few times.  This has become less common more recently as she really prefers to use a potty and has surprised me with one dry diaper for hours as a result (she KNOWS what she wants and she KNOWS that you know she knows, if you kwim).  I know perfectly well that if we are having a day of lots of misses it's because I'm not paying attention enough.  I'm really going to get more hardcore about this in the next couple of weeks, but I want to focus on moving first and I don't want to set us up for a lot of frustration if she regresses a bit due to the move.  So I"m taking it slow, offering her the potty when she obviously wants it or when I think of it but not stressing over it.  It's working quite well. I didn't realize how well until a friend of mine that comes over at least once a week commented to me that she has NEVER seen me change a poopey diaper.  I do change poopey diapers, but it's not common enough for other people to catch me at it, lol.  Probably one of my favorite points of ec, lol.


* Other new insights:

Each baby really is so different.  Morgan truly never really signaled well and even when I did finally figure out something to be a "cue" it would change and disappear so quickly I was never sure I had it figured out.  I remember once, when she was nakey-butt and "crab crawling" watching her poop *while she was moving across the floor*.  As it happens, I was watching her very closely trying to figure out what signal I was missing (I was convinced I just wasn't paying enough attention) but  I SWEAR she didn't even so much as break baby-stride.  Abigail does NOT do this.  It takes her several minutes of concentration to poop and she gives lots of warning so on those few occasions that I miss...it's def. me not paying attention.  Morgan also would do her business on the potty in less than three minutes, most of the time.  Abigail prefers to hang out.  This was a bit of a hangup in the beginning because I would take her off, thinking she didn't have to go, and she'd pee in her diaper two minutes later.  This was true with poop, too, I don't think I caught poops often with her until she was like, 5mo old or something.  It wasn't until she could sit up on  her own and just camp on the potty that I started to consistently catch them.  She'd give me all sorts of clues it was coming and I'd sit her on it and just hand her something to play with and once I started doing that, she was doing MOST of them in the potty. 

They have both shared the trait that they absolutely HATE being poopy.  There is not leaving them to sit in it...ever.  It just never happens, Abby does not tolerate it any better than Morgan did (and that is a good thing).  Abby will tolerate being wet a bit better than Morgan did, but only by like, 2.5 seconds.  :)

* What do you like most about ecing at the moment?

Honestly, the biggest thing I have always loved about EC is the awareness of my child's ability to communicate with me.  I would never suggest that I have  a *better* relationship with my children than other mothers (that's just preposterous) but I would say that for *us* EC has really helped solidify it.  It feels silly to say that pottying habits solidify a relationship here, but the reality of it is that you must be paying attention and acknowledge your baby's ability to communicate in order for it to work.  It really facilitates opening that dialog up at an earlier age than other people would think is possible.  I know mothers who don't ec that have done this, so I'm not saying it *only* happens for EC mothers, but I can say that it's much, much more common with ECers and that it's vital to this aspect of toilet "training".  I think the big thing is the mental shift in perspective.  Babies are people with opinions, thoughts and feelings and are not learning to HAVE these desires, they are learning to express them.  EC is another way that we can work *with* our child to help them learn independence and I guess that looking at it that way changes it from being a chore (like changing a diaper) to being an ongoing learning experience for both of us.  I like having a conversation with my baby all day.  I pick up on  the more subtle indications of her personality and i find that I understand her much better than anyone else. 

The other thing I have learned to love about EC is the confidence in myself as a mother it inspires in me.  I'm not like, tooting my own horn here, but I think that every mother, whether a "new" mother to a first baby or a new mother to a subsequent child, deals with feelings of uncertainty or insecurity.   It does a lot for my morale when I think "hmmm, I think she needs to pee" and offer and YUP there it is!  It's a daily confirmation that I've made that connection, that my instincts work, that my inner intuition is doing it's job and allows me, at least, to have more confidence in other areas where my intuition is speaking up (like, thinking the baby's ear hurts or just being certain she needs to burp, that kind of thing).  Again, EC is not the only way to do this but it has certainly been a constant confidence booster for me!

And finally, who doesn't love the decrease in laundry and most especially, the knowledge that I don't *have* to clean poop out of all the nooks and crannies if I don't want to?  That is certainly an A++ perk!



* Do you ever wish you'd have never heard about it?

Absolutely not.  This is especially true when it comes to dealing with the night-time "oopsies" that my 3yr old still has.  I would have no idea how to approach that had we conventionally potty learned.  The knowledge that i have about how the whole potty process, if you will, works has really helped us help Morgan with that issue and also helped us keep a sane perspective about it (I mean, come on, lets be frank, waking up in a puddle is never pleasant, particularly when the piddler is very upset about it).  I cannot see myself EVER not doing it this way, even if my current methods are more relaxed than my ideal.  I don't think I could not offer the potty...it's too much a habbit and too much ingrained into the way I do things.  I can't help it, even with kids that aren't mine, they make a noise or squirm a certain way and I think "Hmm, does he/she need to potty?"

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2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

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