Late night musings of an eternal mamma

I give her little face a kiss and she tucks her head into the crook of my neck. I smell like a mama, she smells strongly of bubbles and strawberries, a result of her affinity to sneaking the soap bar when she's fully clean and my hastiness to pull the tub stopper as the water gets chilly.

I knelt by the tub tonight, watching her soap her own toes and firmly refusing to brush her teeth. I swept a washcloth behind her ears, under her curvy chin, and wondered: how long she will need me yet? As I scooped water into the palm of my hand to rinse the day away, I glimpsed a bigger girl with memories and stories to spill out, with an eagerness and lightness of her father's and a the voice of a dreamer like me. Her hair swirled down around the top of her neck in a way I had never seen it do before, tracing rivulets down her spine and joining the bath again. My heart whispered: will I always know her this well?

The night is long at times, spent shuffling (those ever growing) little feet back under the blankets and getting up for water, worrying over my two dearest loves as they sleep, as if they were both my children, and I suppose in a very primal way they are. Both are sound in my nest all night, tucked around one another and oblivious to this mama's dually committed heart thrumming away, wanting to hold them both at once.

I fear her growing because I'm terrified I haven't got it down. I want longer to get it right before she will know that I am misguided, before she sees my faults. Eventually I'm sure she will recognize me as a pawn. I don't know the rules. I don't know the steps, I can't dance this fast and in these shoes.

As I scooped her from the tub and she pressed her face into the crook of my neck, we went in search of pajamas for the night. Pulling from the basket nearest me, I found my fingers wrapped around a tiny set of pajamas too small for any girl of mine. These were hers nearly two winters ago, just as we were seated deep in worry about our future, cold and jobless with no hope or vision for that to change, when there were too many hours each day spent sitting in classrooms waiting to graduate so I could hold my daughter whenever I pleased; hoping that my classmates didn't see my breasts leaking, at times wondering that they did not smell my fear that this route they celebrated with joy I counted as hell and yearned for it to end.

Darker hours in the shivering winter spent fighting with Pappa because my heart was never in school again, I could spare it all just to be a mamma. These were the pajamas she wore the morning we drove to the polls to vote for idealistic "Change," and the morning my sweet friend Jessy came to visit after her weekly Chemo battering. She smiled and yet looked faint, she sang to my wee babe about teething gums while I worried about my girl, who had immediately fixed herself on this splendid friend to investigate her thoroughly- I hope that my own girl will be as open-minded, loving and generous each step of the way as this beautiful young woman I am blessed to know.

This instinct to protect is not exclusive to the faces we see and love each day. It is not limited to the hands we hold or gently scold, and the tiny feet that pitter-patter and sometimes "THRUMP!" around, making tangible progress and marking the traits that will be theirs for life right before our eyes. It is for the children we don't get to hold, the ones we were ourselves, the ones we see on the television while their mother's wail. These children, these little sparks that flash for only a moment, that always have to face the cold with empty tummies, they are why my heart is breaking for my own. I stood in front of my mother when I was seven and told her I wanted to save all of the orphans, and asked her why we didn't try to help. Her reasoning was complicated and altogether simple at the same moment, yet her theory fell deaf to my ears and I am sure that day I stopped believing in universal love.

This is the joy called motherhood, I share it with many strong and willing women now, and before me. Surely more will come after me as well. Some bear a multitude of souls into the world and some never kiss a single tear frosted cheek, but all have willing, loving, open hearts. We swap tips and laughs and fears. We all dream big, and none of us wants our children to resist our open arms. This is the joy called motherhood. It is the voice of universal love.

Do something kind for another person today. Do it for your heart, and mine, which needs reminding that humanity is always embraced by mothers.


On the hottest days of summer..

I like to find the nearest water.

We tickle our toes in the grasses

Or fill the air with tinkling songs

Fill our tummies with sweet fresh foods

We seek out color

and we always wonder..."summer, won't you stay a little longer?"



Cosleeping is a beautiful thing. It provides comfort and sustenance to babes (through snuggles and breastfeeding), it regulates body temperature and allows everyone to get plenty of rest (without having to "teach" a baby to fall asleep or a toddler to sleep alone-things they will do when they're developmentally ready).
Here's what it looks like to an almost 2year old:

Or this:

Sometimes this:

Very very rarely, it looks like this:

And sometimes it looks like this:

Or (gasp!) even this:

Cosleeping and bedsharing isn't for everyone. But in our house, the family bed is where it's AT.

-mamma pie


My audacious nursling

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.

***It was in my third trimester that I fell in love with my daughter. Her tiny self nestled inside my womb, she would roil and tumble, acrobatics in the safest place we can ever be. I began feeling connected to her, the realization that she would soon be my girl as I sat in an English class in sweltering summer heat at a rectangular table with my sweet (and radiantly beautiful) friend Jessy, who was sometimes there and sometimes not. I began finally talking to her, singing to her and dreaming of her. I would imagine her at two, at three, at ten. I imagined her smiles and her kisses, her little knees and her sweet curls, fluttering eyelids and precious baby kisses. I read about breastfeeding and mama blogs about natural birth in beat up dog eared copies of Mothering while munching on fiber bars as the other students in my classes read the newest Cosmo articles and IM’d their girlfriends and sipped on latte’s. She would twist and turn and at times I had to leave the class simply because the tumbling was so funny to me that I couldn’t keep from laughing in the middle of our section on grizzly Vietnam poetry.

In my 37th week I made a switch from the University’s Women’s hospital to a midwifery practice five minute’s walk from our then apartment. They loaned me books and encouraged me to attend La Leche League meetings held in their tiny spare room. Meanwhile, my partner stared at me in awe and signed us up for cases of free formula samples and bought huge bottles of ready-made Enfamil for “just in case," and loaded our cabinets with plastic bottles, nipples, and sterilizing microwave bags to clean them all with.

When she was born he held her first. She gnawed on his shoulders searching for sustenance while I received stitches for tearing and cried that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I was terrified of latching her on that first time and did it while no one else was in the room to hide what I anticipated to be inevitable failure. The midwives had mentioned that they would be there in a few minutes to help us nurse, and so I asked my partner to find me some food. When he left, I curled her against my chest and let her feed as she would. In the coming days, breastfeeding was hard.

We found out later that we had thrush and together we fought that nasty yeast and spun me through phases of depression. The second night of her life, my partner fed her a bottle of formula because when I started feeding her, blood gushed from her umbilical cord. It was old blood from it beginning to dry up, but he convinced me somehow that I must have hurt her while breastfeeding, that I was squishing her stomach, and gave her a bottle. After we realized she was fine, I contacted a La Leche League member who was in our area and she gave me the emotional support via emails that I needed to continue feeding on demand. I began to nurse at the University when she was two weeks old, for my last semester in college. I would feed her in the hallways between classes while young ladies streamed around me and young men gawked, and surely I was awkward still but in my mind those moments were full of elegance. I nursed in the car while he drummed his fingers impatiently at my anxiety about feeding her, because she had a bottle of expressed milk at home and if that wasn’t enough, he could always just give her formula.

I took her with me to a job fair one evening at the University and sat feeding her in a corner when I was approached by the organizer of the event. She told me “this was inappropriate and I needed to leave.” It happened again when I tried to feed her at the gym before heading to a class: “you’re not allowed to do that here.” Both of those times I simply left. It is hard to nurse a squirming baby who wants to know why a stranger is leaning over their mama and making angry faces, so I would leave, hungry babe in arms and try to find a place that wouldn’t disturb anyone, embarrassed. But then one day I finally realized how ridiculous that was. Restrooms are nothing if not filthy and loud, stairwells are terribly uncomfortable and sitting here in this comfortable chair where I was before I started nursing is actually pretty great!

I was literally shocked to learn that I had breastfeeding rights. In most states (my own included) it is legal to breastfeed when and wherever you are as long as you the mother have the legal right to occupy that space. And so I began feeding her wherever I needed to. I nursed her in Target and at the restaurant, at Starbucks and on benches at the park and eventually I found the blessed ERGObaby Carrier that allowed me to breastfeed while walking, while shopping at Old Navy, while traveling abroad on trains and planes and many, many times, sitting in the parked car in the middle of a trip somewhere. It made me feel more justified somehow, to not have to sit down to feed her, to be able to nurse AND pick out tomatoes or breastfeed and walk the dog. She will be two in August and we have nursed across many states and several countries, with obvious results: I have a healthy, thriving, happy, easily comforted, blissful toddler.

I support the rights of breastfeeding mamas because I know how hard it can be to be alone in a room of people who are horrified and offended at your audacity to feed a baby. I have come a long way since I started breastfeeding, but the best sights I’ve seen were not those moments I spent huddled on lidless toilets in uncomfortable and dirty restrooms trying to feed my girl before someone disturbed us with the roar of a toilet in the next stall over-but were the peaceful perfect moments I was able to relax and enjoy her beautiful face as she filled up with breast milk and fell asleep to mama smiling sweetly at her, knowing I had given her everything I possibly could.

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It


Free to be cute

Happy independence day. Around here that means being free to be adorable in vintage polkadotty pajamas and enjoy two days (the only two in the past 4weeks she's seen him!) with (a very sleepy) papa.


ERGObaby Carrier Review (and a chance to win!)

The first time I put on an ERGObaby Carrier, I was surprised at how weighty it felt on my shoulders. My girl was only about six months old and she fit snugly in it, her chin rested on the soft shoulder straps. We borrowed that ERGObaby Carrier for our trip to Europe when she was nine months old, and it was the single best thing we took along. I used it first in the airports when my hands were full of bags and our passports even zipped neatly into the front pocket.

Throughout the trip it continued to serve us more purpose than anything else we took for our daughter. On the blustery streets of London and to the churning Underground, I wore her, up stairwells seven stories deep and through street festivals in Dublin, on to the Tour de Eifel; we wore and wore and wore her. But the best part was that I quickly learned how to breastfeed her in it, saving me countless hours of awkwardly perching in minuscule European restrooms or trying to lull a tired babe to sleep with no bed to lay her on. I happily Nurse in Public whenever she asks to, and the ERGObaby Carrier has become synonymous with breastfeeding for her and I. I simply drop the length of the straps down, lift up my shirt (I like wearing tank tops underneath my blouses for breastfeeding) and she leans to one side and rests her head on my elbow to bliss out on mama milk. One of my absolute favorite breastfeeding moments with her was in a small French garden outside of Paris where I laid the ERGObaby Carrier on the ground as a small blanket and snuggled down beside her to rest and nurse her to sleep. An elderly French lady who didn’t speak a word of English came and sat right next to me, patting her leg and crooning as my girl nursed away.

(our little one has a ride in the ERGObaby Carrier in the Wicklow mountains of Ireland)

Ease of Use: The ERGObaby Carrier isn’t just for adventures though, and it’s truly the one and only carrier you will ever need for your baby. It goes from newborn weight (with an insert) through 40pounds, but they’ve been tested to hold much more than that. I personally can’t imagine my girl being too big for it as she’s almost two and I still wear her. I’m currently a single mama while my partner is away for six weeks this summer and it has liberated me to do things I didn’t know I would struggle doing. Grocery shopping, for example, is difficult when there’s a wee one trying to snack on everything in the cart, and hard enough if there are two adults along. But if I go right during nap time, and put her on my back in the ERGObaby Carrier, she will snooze the trip away. I put her in it again to unload the car and free up both of my hands to grocery bags. And, if she wants a nurse while we’re out, I simply snuggle her into the ERGObaby carrier and pull my blouse aside. She doesn’t need much more encouragement than that to “murse.”

Comfort: At work (I‘m a part-time Nanny), I put her in it when she needs a break or a cuddle) and I’ve had the pleasure of wearing other sweet babes in it too, though my girl does get a bit jealous at seeing other wee ones in “My ERGO!” It is brilliantly comfortable and actually reminds me of a well-fitted backpack. Even my partner enjoys wearing her for snuggles or out at the farmer’s market (to free up his hands for watermelons and fresh strawberries!) as it’s so comfortable and easily adjusted. Another great point is that you can easily wear your child in different positions. My favorite is the front carry, but my partner prefers the back carry. You can also wear it on your hip or wear two at a time (front carry and back carry) if you have more than one little one.

Value: The ERGObaby Carrier is on the pricier side of all carriers I have ever owned, ranging from $120-$148. With that being said, it is truly worth the price, and is also going to last through as many babies as you may be blessed with. I truly love my ERGObaby carrier. It is blissfully soft, sturdy and has allowed me to nurture my babe any and everywhere I go. She asks for it “the ERGO!” by name when she wants a snuggle or a “mursie” and I have loved every minute of having it. It's also probably our most used baby item besides our stash of cloth diapers.

You can visit the ERGObaby website at http://www.ergobabycarriers.com/
ERGObaby has graciously offered one of our Carnival of Nursing in Public participants an ERGObaby carrier (valued between $120 and $148). *Preferred color cannot be guaranteed and is dependent upon stock available.
To enter to win an ERGObaby Carrier, submit an original post to the Carnival of Nursing in Public by June 30th.
Rules for entry – There are 3 ways to be entered in the drawing. You will get one entry for each submission up to 2 drawing entries in each category (you can submit more than 2 items but you will only be entered into the drawing 2 times per category for a maximum total of 6 entries per person). Here’s how to enter:
1. Submit an original post – This should be a well-written, unpublished piece submitted by June 30th using the original post submission webform.
2. Submit a NIP photo – Please submit your picture via email to CodeNameMama {at} gmail {dot} com and BabyDustDiaries {at} gmail {dot} com. You must own rights to share your pictures.
3. Submit a Tweet – Submit your Tweet that shares a NIP tip or bit of encouragement in 140 characters or less using the Tweet submission webform. Be sure to include the #CarNIP hashtag and your Twitter ID in that 140 character count.
Also: please comment to let me know which ERGObaby Carrier you will chose if you win!


Waste not....

I wouldn't really call us frugal. We make lots of careful choices with our money but we also spend a lot on things we value. But we're not wasteful.
Last night at dinner I piled a plate full of lettuce and baby tomatoes, carrot slivers and broccoli for Little Berry and myself. She enjoys dipping her veggies in cream cheese and so I reached for the container to give her a separate dish of it for dipping.
I turned around to find her shaking the rest of the bag of lettuce into the garbage. She looked so proud of herself, like she was helping me. I think in her mind she was being genuinely useful. But it got me wondering:

How do we teach children about not being wasteful?

-Give them age-appropriate tasks they can complete. When we're leaving rooms or the apartment I will pull a chair up to the light switch and ask Little Berry to turn the lights off for me. She enjoys it and it gets her practicing the habit of noticing such things. Make it fun or a game and they will remember it.
In the case of food, I will start involving her more. Perhaps from now on she can be in charge of putting the lettuce into a Tupperware container or picking just as much as we need to eat at a time from our container garden of lettuce.
- Volunteer with them doing something like picking up trash in the park or cleaning out their toy box to take items to a local thrift store. This way they get to see their efforts pay off and see an alternative to simply throwing things away.
-Use less myself and model appropriate behavior. I am guilty of some times pouring a glass of water down the sink if I am finished. We can use that water on our plants or start leaving a bowl of water outside our apartment building for smaller creatures in this summer heat. The fact is- everything we do means something to our children.
-Be wary of what I am modeling as "trash" to my daughter. Recycling is something kids can get involved in and teaching about waste isn't just for the environment. It's ideal for the health of your family as well because your choices will lead to a healthier childhood for your little ones and a better parenthood for you.
-Talk about it, read about it, make up your own stories about it. This one is a given and probably easiest of them all. But just talking about it means nothing if you don't also model the behavior.
-Relax. Sometimes kids are wasteful. They don't comprehend that splashing in the sink is wasteful- to them it's pure bliss to have chilly streams of water everywhere. Sometimes you need to let go of the rules and just enjoy the moment.

What are your tips? How would you approach wastefulness with your child/ren?


Something exciting

I know most of my readers are like-minded mamas who practice AP or cloth diapering and most likely are interested in supporting breastfeeding even beyond infancy. There is an exciting Carnival of Nursing in Public approaching soon. It's being hosted by Code Name Mama and Baby Dust Diaries. The deadline for submitting your posts, pictures, poems, artwork etc is approaching soon and I would personally encourage each of you to submit a piece. The object of this carnival is to push towards the normalization of breastfeeding, something I think we all support.
And there are prizes. I hear that ERGO baby is donating an Ergo carrier to one participant!

One other thing- you should share this carnival news on your blog and grab the sweet button too so more people participate and voice their support. Nursing Mamas need all the support they can get!



What makes you afraid? Fills your chest up tight with dread? Is it death? Spiders? Mold? Is it being alone, the dark, deep water?

I'm afraid of driving. I suppose specifically I'm afraid of *getting lost* while driving. Yesterday I wanted a frappuchino, but instead of getting in my car and driving down the street, I walked with little berry. In the heat, for two and a half miles! Just for a cold coffee drink, then two and a half miles back. Imagine what I'd do for groceries!
I've been trying to untangle my fear. I'm not afraid when I know exactly how to get where I want to go. But I'm afraid somehow I will miss a turn and not know exactly where I am
anymore. Before little berry, I was adventurous. I would drive to see pappa starbucks in the big city, I would take wrong turns just to see where I wound up. I've always been terrible with directions but this is ridiculous. It feels suffocating. Confining! There's this big huge fun city at my feet and I am going to
learn my way around.
So tell me. What are you afraid of? And what are you going to do to start overcoming it?

- mamma pie


Summer is....

The pool.
Is there really anything better than dipping your feet or plunging yourself into the pool in the summer? I think not. Little Berry thinks not too. Where's your favorite place to go swimming?

Just make sure you put on sunscreen. Pappa Starbucks never wears sunscreen and so I finally showed him research stating that African Americans can also get skin cancer. Little Berry is always needing a re-coating because she sweats it off so much. What's your favorite sunscreen?

Fresh Foods.
Tomatoes. Zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers! Cherries, watermelon, pineapple, mangoes, raw garlic, basil! I love summer foods and we go through them so so quickly. What's your favorite summer food?

The smell of summer.
Grass growing, freshly cut grass, the smell of water. The neighbor's grill, even sunscreen has a distinct smell that I can't really get enough of in the summertime.
What are your favorite summertime smells?


What I keep

I've been doing a lot of deep cleaning lately. In preparation for an eventual move and the knowledge that a lot of what we have in our home we don't need, I am scaling back, freecycling, goodwilling and selling things that are worth my energy to even TRY selling. We have so much baby stuff, we were extraordinarily blessed when I was pregnant. Everything we needed we got, mostly as gifts but a few items, like my $300 breastpump, we bought ourselves. In the process, I'm noticing the sweetest things we own. A box of love letters

collecting dust on our cheap Ikea bookshelf, a vintage wind up radio

Little berry's beautiful book

collection, a vintage ride on horse

and Pappa starbuck's old Teddy bear bank. These things, sweetened by my sentiments and the knowledge that they can't be bought at anyoldmart, are the things I keep. The rest I am happy to pass on to anyone who needs them because in their place I'll get more room to love on my girl, a place to put fresh flowers, a chance to see my girl's pretty handmade dresses, and a better view of the two smiling faces I love the most.

- mamma pie


What's on your plate this summer, mate?

(baked artichokes instead of chips with fresh salsa)

I was talking about grocery shopping with some friends recently. Around here, we spend around $125 a week on groceries. Yes we coupon.
At least $60 of this is going to produce each week. Then dairy (cheese! Milk! Yogurt! Kefir! Local fresh eggs!) and bread and tofu/ice cream/other random groceries such as couscous or maple syrup!
It got me thinking about how much fresh food we eat (comparatively speaking) and I thought I'd ask as well as share in hopes of picking up some new ideas (because I'd honestly rather spend less but not get less quality and fresh food, and I think if I learned more fresh food recipes then my prepackaged (I.e. Veggie burgers) meals would be even more reduced. Here is what we buy most weeks in the summer (and all from the farmer's market) that is fresh::
Eggplants 2-3 large
Yellow squash 7ish
Artichokes 4-6
Onions (green/red) lots
Tomatoes 4-6
Aparagus 1 large bunch
Mangoes 6
Strawberries 1pint-1quart
Blueberries 1pint-as much as a gallon
Peaches 5-6
Apples 1-3
Corn 9cobs
Bananas 1large bunch
Pineapple occasionally
Lettuce red/purple lettuce and spinach both
Bell peppers red/green 5-6
Watermelon 1-2
Lemons 9ish
Garlic of course
Avacadoes 2-3
And I think thats it. So tell me- what would you make with those veggies and maybe just one or two other ingredients? I want to make the most out of our summer meals and we really love food, so please share!

- mamma pie


Working Mama

The reason I've been away so much lately? I have a job. I'm nannying part-full time for a family who share many of my own views about parenting (not "child rearing," because I don't think children need to be "reared.")
They're very nice, their daughter is a joy. I don't love working, I won't lie to you about that.
It's hard. My girl gets a bit jealous, she is a copycat of the finest sort, picking up the few things I'd rather she didn't notice. Their girl can be a bit bossy to Little berry, and naptime is a killer.
In many ways it feels like having another kid. It makes me not want anymore to be precise. The rivalry, attention seeking behaviors, and the balancing act of handling two is more than I want.
I know many women with more than one child and while I don't think they regret it, I do see that they seem to be able to balance things much better than myself.
And I think I would regret having two or more. I need more than two hands for my one kid as it is.
- mamma pie


Let's call her baby starbucks

How to make the best cup of coffee, a story in pictures by little berry.
First turn on dada's coffee mach-masha-mashene.

Are you paying attention? It's this belly button right here. Don't touch those other belly buttons.

Hey! Look at me. I'm trying to show you something!

Now get some more coffee. Dada says you can't ever use too much.

Pour some in the cup.

Check and make sure you got it in there, alright?

Now stir it around so it looks pretty. Mamma says it smells like poop.

Hmmmm. What am I forgetting....?

Oh, some magnets would be yummy. Let's add those. Mamma says that's a no-no, but I think it's a yes-yes!

Now taste it to make sure it's yummy. Sometimes the magnets don't dissolve very well.

Yep! It's good. We sure did make it yummy! Those magnets give it a real earthy flavor.

*no coffee was harmed in the making of this post. Thanks for dropping by!


Etsy features: Le Petit Owlet

This is my first Etsy feature shop and I know you are going to love it.
This shop has so much creativity and love going into each item. I'm a huge fan of cloth diapers but I think that the commercial diapers that are so popular (which I use) lose a lot of character. This shop, Le Petit Owlet, satisfies me on every level. Her diapers are CUTE. I mean, hello, ADORABLE, babylust inducing, lovely.
Each of her diapers are handmade with lots of love and care, and in case you don't know much about cloth diapers, these are excellent quality. She offers choices in materials like wool, which is all natural and eco friendly. easy to care for, great for baby's bum. You can even custom chose your fabrics if you don't see anything that suits your fancy, but you will. She has the sweetest prints!
How much better could it be?
Well, as it turns out, it does get better. This shop has so much character and charm, from her really beautiful vintage dresses to her lovely little boy's face and her handmade pads for breastfeeding mammas.

Please go check it out, and visit her blog as well. You're going to love her.


Take my word for it

This morning, as Pappa Starbucks was walking out the door, he unplugged my iphone and handed it to me. I was standing in our kitchen and I turned it over in my palm and gave him a smooch goodbye. As he walked past me in the kitchen, his arm brushed my iphone out of my hand and it landed face down on our linoleum floor.
Little berry saw it on the floor and lit up. She loves the Peekaboo barn App and thought she was going to get a turn.
I quickly swooped down to pick it up. I've dropped it getting in the car before in the parking lot and thought "yikes! glad that wasn't on cement!" But I never put a cover on it because I love the sleek lightweight feel of it in m palm, the ease of carrying it in my pocket without a case.
The screen is glass, so all those cracks are slivers of glass waiting to cut your face, making flicking the screen nearly impossible. Go put a case on your iphone. Even pricey hardcover ones are cheaper than replacing it. A new screen is $79 and a new Iphone is about $100. A new iphone PLUS a new case is about $120. Even if you're terrible at math you can see that a new cover is your best option, just go do it. You can thank me later.


She's the sneeziest

Little berry has allergies. She's a red eyed, stuffy nosed, dark under eye circle-mouth-breathing mess. It's been this way on and off for most of the past three months. At first I though she had a ridiculous and persistent sinus infection, but now I'm more than certain. She's not sick but allergic. I'm frustrated by the lack of choices to help her. She still will not breathe through her nose while she nurses, something that has persisted over the past two months. TWO MONTHS of "latch on, suckle, unlatch, gasp for air, relatch..."
I've tried everything in the world. I've had help now from over fifty different people, I even requested a lovely lady to do Reiki to help her relax. But she's doing it out of self preservation. She just can't hardly breathe. I am disinclined to use a prescription for it not only because we've tried that with no relief (although I do recognize that we may have to try a new RX if I can't relieve her symptoms any other way). I don't want to medicate her if I don't know what's going on in her body. I am interested to know: what do you do to relieve a very young child's allergies naturally?


One more word about that

It's that time of year that everyone is bragging about their garden. We live in a very small apartment in a big city in North Carolina.
There are CSA's and farmers markets and produce stands and food fairs and earth day celebrations to prove that city living doesn't have to be "detached."
There are as many different ways to green as there are people to garden. My way is unobtrusive an dual purpose. Actually, make that multi purpose.

I keep my plants on the edge of our little concrete square: the edge of our "personal outdoor space" which also houses a very small kiddie pool and my clothesline. This way, I can open our sliding door and little berry can go in and out. She can't get into the grass because it's blocked by my 'garden.' this isn't me being mean but realistic. If I'm cleaning inside and she wants to be outside she can. She knows exactly what her boundaries are when she's outside without me (and I'm always keeping an eye out, just not holding her hand) and she doesn't step in dog poo or go wandering.
She gets to enjoy watching our garden grow (she keeps plucking mint leaves and not ripe strawberries and bringing them to me to share) an the things that come with it: ants, caterpillars, butterflies, even bees. We have a few lizzards out there as well that she just loves watching.
We've seen quite a few honey bees which makes me so happy.

usually, she gets to water the plants. She could do that all day long. It's fun to her and helps her develop those motor skills and the plants get a little water in the process.

I started grabbing plants early this season and starting seeds but around here, plants are a low as .25 cents each, and when your garden is as small as mine, this is plenty affordable. I do compost a little: fruit pieces and bread crusts get tucked in the middle of my buckets.

I'm under no illusion that these pots are big enough for long term gardening. I just haven't found a good alternative yet- hopefully that will be either a real garden to transplant them into or I will find several large wooden containers on craigslist again as I have in the past.

Currently my garden looks pretty silly. But I'm loving it. If it yields just one edible tomato, I'll
Be happy.
- mamma pie


Revisiting those baby days

I was just browsing some of my old videos and found this one of Little berry on her first Christmas morning. She was 4months old (and we were not using cloth diapers yet) and so stinkin' CUTE.
(this makes me want another baby soooo badly!)


The "Little Tyke" Moving Co.

In a few weeks, Pappa Starbucks and I will be moving again. We'll be packing up most of our possessions and putting them in storage for several months while I spend the summer with Little berry and some wonderful family, and he spends the summer working his butt off for Teach For America.
We've done this before. We've moved some four times since we've been together- first from college into an apartment together, then into a bigger apartment where we lived when Little berry was born, and then we stored all of our things for last summer and went to Europe. Then we moved into this apartment and have been here for not quite a year. Moving is hard, especially when you have a little one underfoot. I'm not sure it will ever be easy, but I've found that there are a few things that can make it not as rough.

(little berry shows her displeasure with our new digs on moving day)

1) Plan ahead- with lists of things that need to be sold/given away, things that need special care or to be returned to friends who've loaned them to you.
2) Try to use up all of the food you can several weeks prior to your move. We make a point to only buy fresh produce for about two weeks before we're moving, so we can use up all the other food.
3) If you can afford it, hire a cleaning crew to come behind you. This can save your deposit and a lot of frustration and energy. Tell them you will tip well if they earn you your deposit back and it will be worth it for both you and them.
4) Check Craigslist and local stores for free boxes. We were out a few weeks ago and saw a local chain restaurant unpacking new chairs and throwing the boxes away- all perfectly sized and identical. No one wants to pack into 40 different sized boxes.
5) Keep boxes handy for items you want to freecycle or take to the thrift store. No one wants to have to dig through already packed boxes for that thing that was going to be given away, nor are you going to want to keep everything.
6) Stock up on tape and markers ahead of time. You're never going to have enough!
7) Leave some boxes empty for the kid to play with while you pack. Maybe throw in a roll of tape. That's what they are going to want most and you don't want to have to keep pulling them out of yours!
8) Enlist friends to help for a few hours or to bring over food and drinks on the day of the move, because you're going to have tossed all that food and moving makes you hungry!

What are your tips for moving with a little one (or more)? I'd love to hear what you do to make moving with kids easier.


Blog Hugs, or "Blugs!"

Mama Christina from Diary of a Mom gave me a bloggy award! I am so flattered as it's my first!
The rules are:
One: Tell us about a memorable hug you’ve had. It can be a person, pet, whatever…
Two: “Hug” at least one other blogger or as many as you like.

Part One:

Wow, this is very hard for me. As many people know, I'm not a hugger. I'm not touchy-feely or lovey-dovey, and I have to remind myself to give physical affection, even to Pappa Starbucks. He, however, is very very much a hugger and is always asking for them and so is Little Berry. I think this will be a good exercise for me to write about hugging though since I've been trying to work giving them more....eagerly?
On my 20th birthday, Pappa Starbucks and I were meeting for breakfast. We were in college, we knew each other fairly well but were not involved. He was gushy-mushy-lovey-dovey-always-grinning around me and I knew he liked me a lot. One of the reasons I was at that point hesitating to date him was actually because of how exuberantly affectionate he was.
I got up that morning, showered and dressed in my favorite button down plaid shirt that my best friend always picked on me for wearing (good naturedly of course) and fixed a bowl of very crunchy granola to take to breakfast even though we were meeting in front of chic-fil-a (he's vegetarian and I didn't eat meat in front of him for a very long time) so I wouldn't be chowing down on a chicken biscuit while he ate his frosted flakes or oatmeal.
It was a chilly and frosty-aired morning, and I walked from my dorm to the cafeteria to meet this silly guy- trying to make sure my hair wasn't all frizzy from the sweater I was wearing, and generally wanting to look good but not have anyone know I was TRYING. It was, after all, my BIRTHDAY.
He met me inside the cafeteria with a cheerful grin and leaned in to hug me- "Happy Birthday!" he said. He smelled like Tide and toothpaste and I realized I had flutters- genuine nervous butterfly flutters in my stomach at that moment, and I knew we'd be together for a long long time.
And we've been together ever since!
Part Two:
I hug Ittybits and Pieces, The Milk Maid, Erin, Milk Donor Mama, and last but never least, my Friend Monica!