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Mothering › Baby Articles

Abba rewrite for Mothering: Nursing Queen

Y’all, I am so excited. Our Mothering holiday staff dinner is next Tuesday evening and I am going to rewrite the lyrics to Abba’s Dancing Queen to be a Mothering-themed song! Melissa Chianta (who in addition to being a supremely thorough managing editor, has a killer set of pipes) has agreed to lead the tune , and I basically just want to drop all of my various duties and write it up. Right now I’m pretty sure that the chorus will feature lines ending in “Mothering/breastfeeding/nursing queen…” plus some kind of play on the ending sound of “vaccine,” and... read more

The Name Game-post 2

One of my favorite girls’ names is Ramona. According to our name books (we own several), it means “wise protector” and is derived from archaic French. I love how it sounds. And we love the spunky, willful, imaginative Ramona who Beverly Cleary writes about. Plus, there’s a novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, a little known 19th-century American writer, called Ramona. Ramona Statue, Grant Park, Portland, Oregon I also like Ramona because it’s a name few people have but everyone has heard of and knows how to pronounce. “We hate it!”... read more

The Name Game-post 1

Our 16-year-old babysitter, who lives across the street, hates her name, which rhymes with her mother’s. “It’s so common,” she complained. She and I were in the bathroom helping the kids brush their teeth. “I wish I had a meaningful name. I wish my mother had thought more about it. She just named me after herself. I don’t want to do that to my kids.” I’m sure my children will be upset about some (many?) of our parenting choices when they are older. But they won’t chastise us for not thinking hard enough about their names. James and I both love... read more

A Ten-Year-Old and Her New Baby Sister

At first Hesperus, who is 10, did not want a baby sister Five months ago my daughters, 10-year-old Hesperus and 8-year-old Athena, came stampeding into the living room. “We’re having a crisis, Mommy,” they shouted. “Come quickly!” I followed them into my bedroom where they were folding laundry. “Look!” Hesperus held up some maternity jeans. “The machine broke your pants! They’re all poofy and stretched out.” Though the girls knew I might be pregnant, they had never seen maternity clothes. I told them we were expecting a baby. Athena... read more

The Baby is Three Months Old Today

Baby Leone is three months old today. Three months already but it feels like she was just born. She likes to gurgle, look at her hands, and she has almost found her toes. She’s social and she smiles a lot but beware the friendly soul who wants to hold her: she almost immediately starts to cry with people she doesn’t know. I think she can tell by the way that they smell that they’re not me, or her dad, or her siblings. One of the only times she didn’t cry right away was when the PBS producer, Kate McMahon, held her. Kate is a lactating... read more

Weird But Normal in Postpartum Women

  Newborns are weird, postpartum women are too My friend Michele finally came to pick up her dishes yesterday. She brought us a meal when Leone was just a few weeks old and her pots have been on our porch ever since. Michele’s daughter is a freshman at Harvard. “Enjoy this time,” Michele said. “It goes by so fast … She’s not a newborn anymore, you know.” If Leone, who is almost two months old, is no longer a newborn, does that mean I’m no longer a postpartum woman? Sometimes I find myself hobbling around, like I did the day... read more

It's Not The Baby's Fault That I Can't Sleep

  This baby is a good sleeper but I'm not It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m wide awake. A post on sleep was not in the line-up for this week’s blogging but here I am in a pitch black 50 degree house and all the other topics I had planned to write about (weird but normal in postpartum women, how Cheri Huber stuck a gun in her stomach and pulled the trigger before she found Zen Buddhism, more on the philosophy behind going diaper free) feel irrelevant right now. I remember my father having insomnia. From my room I would hear him go downstairs... read more

Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Half-Assed

Yesterday novelist and retired high school English teacher Peter Ferry was in Ashland. I hosted a book chat with him at my house for about fifteen people and then he taught a fiction writing workshop on campus at SOU. Baby Leone cooed and gurgled through the first event and slept soundly through the second. I wore her all day in a front pack. She was very patient, even though I spilled falafel on her head while she was sleeping. But, as I suspected, I was not nearly as in tune with her elimination needs. I did catch a poop in the chamber pot during the book... read more

Why I Breastfeed in Public

  Originally published at MotherWiseLife.org   On our MotherWise Facebook page, we often post breastfeeding photos as part of our effort to normalize nursing, and the reaction is always the same: lots of support and celebration, lots of oohs and ahhs, but also a plethora of insulting, attacking, disgusting comments.  No matter how many times this happens, I am always stunned by the ugly reactions people have to a mother feeding her child.  Our society has received some strong social conditioning, and apparently the message is that one of the worst, most... read more

"Maybe She Just Looks Puny Compared to MY Baby"

Yesterday Baby Leone, Etani, and I walked two miles to pick up Athena from school. The stepmother of one of Athena’s classmates was there, so I got to see her son, who was born three days after Leone, for the first time. The babies smiled at each other. “How much does she weigh?” The mom asked me. “I don’t know,” I began. “We don’t–” “She’s so tiny,” she interrupted. “Tiny?” “Well, maybe she just looks puny compared to MY baby,” she said. “He weighs fifteen pounds!” Of all the adjectives I would use to describe Leone,... read more

Mothering › Baby Articles