Everybody should have a Bunna

What’s a Bunna?  A Bunna is a grandmother, specifically MY Bunna to whom I gave that special name when I was a toddler.  Apparently I couldn’t say “grandma”, so Bunna just stuck–and now poor Faith is known to everyone as Bunna.

When I was a kid, we’d go visit my Bunna and Papa very often and spend the weekend.  Saturday morning was always “donut day”, and Papa would bring back the donuts well before we crawled out of bed.  Sometimes we were even allowed to eat two!  We’d play board games, dance to records, celebrate birthday parties and holidays, and make big breakfasts on Sundays with eggs and bacon.  Bunna and Papa’s house was always a fun adventure.  In the summer we went fishing in the “Debbie Doo” boat, and in the fall we’d traipse around picking pussy willows to make Christmas ornaments.  As we got older it became the place we were allowed to watch MTV and eat pizza in the living room…and I’m pretty sure Bunna took me out driving well before I turned 16.

Charlotte has been having a lot of fun with Bunna lately.  She came to visit for some Christmas shopping this week and had dinner with us, and Charlotte was delighted to have a new playmate.  Bunnas love to laugh, play dress up, sneak you bites of their dessert, and will always get right down on the floor for whatever fun is going on.  Everybody should have a Bunna!

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Throwback Thursday

Doing a little throwback today, looking back through some of my favorite pictures of Charlotte as a newborn.  I promise, I’m trying to take photos of Baxter too so that he won’t be conspicuously absent from our (digital) photo albums.  Keep reminding me 🙂

Hands are yummy, April 2013

Subway + stroller = not always the best combination.  But we did it!

Charlotte goes on her first plane and first subway rides in New York City, at only three months old!  Subway + stroller = not always the best combination. But we did it!  April 2013.

It may be April, but the bear suit is still a necessity!

How can you not fall in love with this little babyface?  My little sweetheart at 12 weeks old.  April 2013.

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nap time, February 2013

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Wearing mom’s dress from when she was a newborn, 31 years ago! February 2013.

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Buzz buzz, Baby ‘Bee! March 2013.

Day time baby

Day time baby, three weeks old.

Night time baby

Night-time baby, 3 weeks old

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Reading with Dad, 3 weeks old. Starting early!

Stylin’ babe! March 2013.

Sunday morning snuggle time

Baby snuggles on a lazy morning.

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Synchronized napping….everybody wins!

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Baby yogi headed off to her first yoga class. March 2013.

Dear Baby ‘Bee (I wish you could see yourself)

Dear Charlotte, my dear little Charlotte,

I wish you could see yourself now and understand what a truly wonderful big sister you are.  People warned us about you being jealous, demanding attention, regressing with certain skills or having no patience.  And now, when people ask me “How is Charlotte doing with Baxter?” my immediate and earnest response is, “She has surpassed every hope and expectation I could have had!”

You are kind, you are gentle, and you are so attentive to his needs and wants.  When Baxter cries, you immediately hop to problem-solving mode.  “Milk” you tell me, or “belly hurt”.  Or you rush around the house trying to find a burp rag or a pacifier.  Before Baxter was born, I hoped I could train you to someday help me.  I never dreamed you would start from day one.

When we have evening dance parties, you ask that Baxter joins the fun.  When we sit down to eat our dinner, you want to share yours with him.  When we laugh at something, you look to make sure Baxter is laughing too.  And you give him a kiss each morning when you wake up (by touching your forehead to his and exclaiming “mah!”)

I truly did not know that a 20 month old could be so compassionate and inclusive.  You have an empathy that is so in tune with those around you, and of that I am in awe.  It’s not something Dad and I have had time to teach you…so I have to believe it is your nature.  I want to say that I am proud, but that would imply that I had a hand in it.  Your inner beauty shines so brightly that sometimes it makes me cry.

I know it won’t always be this way.  And I know that by the time you are old enough to appreciate this, you will have no memory of it.  But I will never forget your cheerful “Ba Ba, play!” or your furrowed brow trying to discern why he is crying.  I wish I could bottle it up and save it forever.

Love always,

Your proud mom

The Mayor of Portland

The Mayor of Portland

Everywhere we go, Charlotte waves to everyone and everything she sees: at the grocery store, Starbucks, day care, driving in traffic…waving at kids, adults, dogs, trees, and pumpkins. It garners a lot of smiles and even more return waves. Who doesn’t love to be the object of a baby’s attention? She’s my little Mayor of the City of Portland, glad-handing everyone everywhere we go!

Fine dining

For those of you that haven’t dined with the Follansbee Family lately, I thought I might give you an update on what Charlotte is eating these days.  I wrote a few months ago about how we are foregoing the pureed baby mush step, and are doing the method called Baby Led Weaning (BLW)–basically, baby feeds themselves from the beginning, and they eat anything that we eat–just in a more manageable form.

People ask me all the time “What is Charlotte eating now?”  Well, I’m glad you asked!

Dinnertime is so much fun at our house.  Charlotte sits on our kitchen island in her bumbo seat while we cook, and then all three of us eat the same meal at the same time.  When we go to restaurants, we sometimes feed her off our plate–and have even ordered some side dishes for her.  BLW couldn’t be easier, and I think we are growing a little human who absolutely LOVES food.

Charlotte will try anything, and among her favorites are baked apples, roasted chicken, and fish.  Yes, fish!  Salmon, haddock, tilapia!  You name it, she is a little hoover at our dinner table.  Last night we had grilled cheese and tomato soup, and all three of us licked our plates (er, high chair tray) clean.   By feeding herself, Charlotte can experiment with the temperatures and textures of her food, and decide what tastes she wants to mix together.  Oatmeal and peas?  mmmm!  Kale and frozen strawberries?  mmm!  Turkey meatballs and dried prunes?  MMMM!  haha.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

Feeling boobie

I’m in a facebook group for breastfeeding moms called The Boobie Group.  It’s Portland-area moms that have met through Mercy Hospital, Maine Med, BirthRoots, or cyberspace.  All of us have babies around the 6-7 month age, and all of us started out breastfeeding.  We share stories, we ask questions, we seek advice, and we ask for commiseration.  I read The Boobie Group facebook page almost daily.

But here is my problem:

To find The Boobie Group (it’s a secret group), I have to type “BOOBIE”  in the search bar at the top of facebook.  And more than once, I have mistakenly typed “BOOBIE” not into the search bar, but into my own status update.  You know, the one that asks you “What’s on your mind?”  <BOOBIE>  I have caught myself nearly every time (I think?  I hope?!).  But there will inevitably come a sleep-deprived day where my facebook will simply proclaim “BOOBIE” for all the word to see.

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If you see this someday, feel free to raise your eyebrows or write a little joke on my wall.  But it actually might not be far from the truth.  I really am feeling pretty boobie these days.  (think boobie as an adjective, not a noun).

It’s the end of summer, and I finally, officially have to go back to work.  I was home with Charlotte for twelve amazing weeks, returned to school for a short bit, then had another glorious ten weeks off with her.  [I am spoiled.  Yes, I know.]  And as I look back on what we’ve done for the past ten weeks, I realize how much fun we had, and how I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But what do I have to show for it?

Not much.

Not much meaning that we didn’t hike a lot of mountains, run a lot of miles, read a lot of books, or travel to a lot of places.  I didn’t leave the country, the same book from January is still on my nightstand, and I don’t have a tan.  I used to measure my summers by things accomplished and fun had with friends.  What have I accomplished this summer?

I’ve changed an average of 9 diapers a day for ten weeks.

I’ve breastfed Charlotte an average of 8 times a day for ten weeks.

I’ve pumped three times a day–every damn day–for ten weeks.

The funny thing about feeding and diapering a baby is that once you do it…you have to do it again.  And again.  And again.  There’s really no checking it off the list.  I read another blog recently about the ‘treading water’ nature of mothering.  Each day is busy and blurry.  You may have done a lot, but you’re not anywhere different the next morning.   aka, feeling boobie.

So tonight, on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, I’m sitting at my computer at 7pm in my pajamas.  My hair is frizzy, my skin is pale, and I don’t even have a glass of wine within reach.  I’m feeling pretty darn boobie.  The milk that I’ve worked so hard to feed Charlotte with this summer?  Gone through her system and out into hundreds of diapers…all of which have been picked up on the last ten Wednesdays by the garbage truck.   My summer cannot be measured, because there is nothing tangible left over.  We lived, eat, slept, and dreamed breastfeeding this summer (fred included–you cannot and will not successfully breastfeed without a supportive and willing partner).

I think, quite literally, all I have to show for it are the few pictures that remind me how much Charlotte has grown and learned in ten weeks:

 

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining.  But let’s be honest, I am.  I’m just feeling pretty boobie about the fact that in a few days, I have to resume my day-care-drop-offs and pumping-at-work-madness.  4pm on a weekday will soon be my new happy hour 🙂

Adventures in sleep training

[Note: I took a workshop at school this week on teaching writing, and the best part was that we actually got to put ourselves in our students’ shoes and write!  Here is the result, with a little bit of help from my peer writing partner!]

It was dark in the room, and so I woke with a fuzzy head.  I had to struggle from under the blankets to be able to see the clock.  1:00am, exactly.  “How funny”, I thought, “that I woke at 1:00am on the dot.  Reaching my arms from under the warm cozy cocoon, I felt above my head for the baby monitor and pressed the VIDEO ON button.  Just as I suspected.  Awake and fussing.

1:00am turned to 1:10am and the fussing dissolved into crying.  1:10 turned to 1:20 and the crying wasn’t stopping.  Uh oh, I thought.  I’m in trouble.

Twenty minutes is a long time.  Should I go down there?  Should I not?  1:24, 1:25…

1:30am, I’ll call Fred.  Hopefully he hears his phone.  He’ll tell me what to do (why am I incapable of being decisive at all hours of the night?  Daytime is a different story.  We have routines and plans, and expectations.  I am the boss.  Nighttime, all bets are off).

“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Fred Follansbee…”

Once, twice, six times, nine times, no answer.  Damn him.  Probably had a couple beers down there in Florida, and maybe even went to bed at 8pm.  Because he could.

I pull the book off my nightstand.  I didn’t bargain for doing this sleep training thing by myself.  Surely reading will take my mind off the screaming baby and hopefully calm my nerves too.  But the sentences blur together, and I read and re-read the same paragraph.  1:46, 1:47.  Should I go down there?

I pull my phone off the nightstand.  Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.  I try to get lost in the beautiful pictures of things I could make (if I had the time), clothes I could buy (if I had the money).  But still, the crying and the choking sobs pull me back.  I press the VIDEO ON button every 90 seconds, checking for…what?  I don’t know.  She’s still there, kicking violently.  She’s still there, flailing as if she were falling.  Watching her is worse than just hearing her.

1:58am, it’s been nearly an hour and it seems as though she’s wearing herself out.  The cries are thinning, and no longer sound like her vocal chords are ripping to shreds.  She even takes a few breaths here and there, leaving me with a nanosecond of quiet.  I close my eyes.  I can, maybe, go back to sleep if she does.  An hour isn’t really that bad, and thank god I don’t have to work tomorr…

1:59 crap!  I jinxed it!  Her cries swell again, and with their every rise I feel new beads of sweat slide down my forehead.  I sit up.  I lay down.  I looked for my Ferber book to tell me what to do.  Should I go down there?

“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Fred Follansbee…”

I can’t.  I shouldn’t.  The last 59 minutes will have been for nothing.  She will only have learned that if she cries long enough, Mommy will come.

It’s another sweaty, guilty nineteen minutes before I resolve that in the morning, we are DONE with cry-it-out sleep training.  As long as she can actually go back to sleep tonight.  Pillow over my head, baby monitor on Fred’s side of the bed.  Somewhere around the 90 minute mark, she stopped.  2:32am.  Will she hold a grudge?