Wednesday Morning Cappuccino 

Here before me sits a perfect cappuccino…  Made with espresso from my Nespresso coffee machine, hot whipped cream frothed with my milk frother, and poured into my beautiful Le Creuset cappuccino cups.

My blogging absence can only be explained by the simple fact that I have been engaging in my life more wholeheartedly.  I’ve come to realize that my time at home is limited and quickly coming to an end.  I’ve been taking the time to notice and appreciate the small things – like this delicious cappuccino that has become a regular part of my morning, or the beautiful, emphatic smiles I receive from baby El when she sees me for the first time in the morning, or even just reading a book or working on my puzzle.

My last blog post was about how my life felt like it was falling apart; how I felt that I lacked clarity and understanding about what I was doing and direction I was taking in life.  Circumstances haven’t changed, but I feel that my efforts to slow down, live in the moment, and experience life wholeheartedly have made me step back and accept life for what it is.  My career is demanding and unyielding at the moment; but I can do it.  My kids are a handful and they pose some difficult challenges; but they love me unconditionally and loving them back is the best gift I can give them.

If anything, I have realized the need to temper my expectations.  I need to slow down and accept my life and the situations I am presented with as they are.  So far this has been working.  Hopefully it will continue to work well as live moves forward

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Tempered Expectations

Every year I dread the arrival of my birthday. It is such an anti-climactic day and for years it always felt like something was missing. 

Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, my birthday was a big and special day – and now there is nothing special about it. 

Maybe it’s because my husband is not the kind of guy who celebrates anything, my special occasions included. 

Maybe it’s because I have this idea that everyone around me has more exciting birthday experiences than I do.

Maybe I’m just getting old. 

Whatever it is, I always feel like it could be more. 

Today was different, though. I had no expectations. In fact, I expected that it would be nothing special and nothing more than any other day. And because of this tempered expectation, I was not disappointed when there were no big hugs and kisses and home-made cards from my kids. I was happy to spend the morning getting some exercise and getting to know a new friend. We had a nice family dinner at my favourite restaurant,  and I was pleasantly surprised when my husband gave me a birthday card with some thoughtful words written on it.  The only birthday gift I got today was a free birthday drink from Starbucks. 

It wasn’t exciting and it wasn’t spectacular, but I wasn’t disappointed – and that’s better than most birthdays. 

I AM The Milk

“Why are you so worried about your milk? He asked, after I broke into tears.

It was 7am and I couldn’t help but let the pooling tears run down my cheeks.  I had been awake most of the night feeding El, who just never seemed to be satisfied.  The day before had seemed a pointless day to wear a shirt and bra, because my breasts were out all day, on demand to her.  She was finally asleep, my breasts were empty and deflated, like they had been all night, yet the mere thought of feeding her left me leaking more than just tears.

Maybe I have been obsessed lately.  I know El has a small tongue tie, and I know what that could mean for our breastfeeding relationship.  I have mentioned it to everyone from the postpartum nurse in the hospital, to the pediatrician who looked after her there, to the home care nurses drawing her bilirubin, to my own family doctor.  Everyone just keeps telling me not to worry about it because she’s feeding and growing well.  But her latch is shallow.  I know it could be a lot better, and I fear that while she gets enough milk now, she might not get enough in the future.  I love breastfeeding my babies, and she is the last one.  I want to breastfeed her for a long time.

So, why shouldn’t I obsess?  This beautiful baby was part of me – she came from my own body and flesh.  Now that she is born, she is still part of me; everything that provides for her, nourishes her, and keeps her happy and alive is from me.  She knows my voice and she knows it means comfort, fulfillment, closeness, and love.  I am the only person in her world who can give her all of that by simply holding her in my arms and offering her my body.

It is not just milk.  That milk is me.  I AM the milk.
My beautiful baby drinks me in and for those minutes – those hours – we are one again.
I am not ready for that to end, so I can’t help but worry about my milk.

More Than A Princess

 From the moment I found out I was having a baby girl, I have not stopped hearing the word “Princess.”

“Oh, she’s going to be such a little princess!”

“You must be so excited about finally having a princess!”

“With two big brothers, she’s going to be treated like such a princess!”

The variations of this statement are endless. What I fail to understand, however, is why having “little girl parts” automatically means that a baby is precious in a spoiled, pink and purple, frilly, and somewhat entitled way.  Maybe I have a different understanding of the meaning of “princess” as it pertains to little girls. However, I don’t think that is necessarily the case. 

I was a little girl once. I was expected to be “prim and proper.” I was expected to wear frilly dresses to special occasions.  I always had to look pretty. 

I watched a lot of princess movies. Especially those Disney classics… Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty… And these movies all propagated the idea that little girls grow up to be pretty and submissive women who wait for their handsome, rich prince to come and save them from themselves and provide a life that they would never have had otherwise. 

“Princess” comes with it’s fair share of connotations and stereotypes… For sure. 

I realize that in today’s society, girls are more empowered, even than they were when I was a kid. Women are making up their fair share of the workplace, including in professional, often male dominated, areas. It is a great change to see. Regardless, there is still some kind of stigma that surrounds  girls and women.  Somehow “empowered” in relation to women has been translated into being beautiful and proud of your body (just take one look at the nude selfies of famous, beautiful women that come up on Instagram when you search #empowered). Or even something as simple as the idea that a baby girl is expected tone raised and treated like a princess. 

After all, I’ve given birth to and raised two little boys and I never encountered even a fraction of the comments (or articles of clothing) suggesting that my cute, precious, and adorable little boy would be a “prince.” (I can’t even think of one)

I’m not against pink and purple (just as much as I’m not against blue and green, or any other colour for that matter). Fluffy tu-tus and frilly dresses are certainly very cute and belong in any little girl’s wardrobe – if they want them! I am not an advocate for complete gender neutrality when it comes to raising children. Boys and girls are different in some ways and it is perfectly acceptable to embrace these differences. It is also perfectly acceptable to breakdown stigma and stereotypes – and for that reason I let my boys play with  My Little Pony happy meal toys if they want them, and I paint their finger and toe nails when they ask me to.

I am certainly very excited to be having a little girl after having two boys. I am looking forward to the differences I will encounter in raising a different gendered child. I am also looking forward to seeing how my boys will react to, and interact with, their baby sister. I am looking forward to venturing into the other half of the children’s clothing stores, brushing and braiding hair, and bonding with a child in a different way than I have with my boys. All of this doesn’t mean, though, that this baby inherently deserves to be spoiled, or doted on, or fawned over in a different way than my boys were just because she’s a baby girl. 

I want the best of everything in the world for all of my kids. I want them to accomplish their dreams, whatever they may be. I want them to have the same opportunitiesas all other children. Most importantly, I don’t want any of my kids, especially my daughter, to be treated differently or have different expectations in their lives because of their gender.