It begins with... laundry and mommy milk

When I get a free moment, maybe when the girls are napping or when J. is securing Bailey Baby in C.'s swing and C. is content to nurse while I sit at the computer, I check in on some of my favorite blogs by creative mommas. I also have incorporated visiting these delightful sites into my pumping ritual at work. In both cases, I find needed grounding and connections to others striving to think and create and be in their lives as mothers.

One blog I've been enjoying lately is apples for poppy anne. Although so many aspects of her blog have caught my attention and inspired me, I've been particularly drawn to Erin Ellenberger's weekly color exercise, "it begins with a colour". I very much like the idea of looking for and capturing a color each week.

So, I decided to take up her challenge. However, I've added my own little twist. In keeping with my efforts to weave my home and work lives together in new and interesting ways, I've decided to try to find the week's color both in my domestic and professional spaces.

This past week's assignment was white and green, and here are my first offerings:

A few discoveries I found along the way:

As I looked for these colors at work, I found myself feeling more grounded and more connected to my creative, more domestically-oriented self. I also started seeing the office I've been occupying for several years with new interest. Together, these experiences helped my therapy a bit this week. My mind had a new resting place, one that wasn't distracting from the issues at hand, but a calm, cool place to take a break during my hours of witnessing others' pain and hearing their experiences of trauma. I observed the white and green around me for a moment here and there and then was able to return to the presence I need to honor my clients' work.

I also found that looking for a common theme in the images that I captured was an interesting part of the process. I realized that diapers and pumped breastmilk together represent a sort of backbone of my days and the underlying obligations that support major decisions I've made in my mothering. Cloth diapering and nursing my girls exclusively matter to me tremendously, but time and discipline are needed to keep the system working.

I really liked that this color exercise gave me a way to honor and enhance my daily routines, and I'm looking forward to what this coming week's color(s?) will bring.


The Sling's the Thing

As we walked home from the village Memorial Day parade the other day, J. on M's back in the Ergo and C. in the sling on my front, kangaroo style, a woman came up to us and asked about the sling. "Do you trust it?" she said. I kept it short, telling her, yes, I do absolutely trust it to hold my kid. But my response to that question could have been much, much longer.

Frankly, I'm in love with our sling. I bought it a month or so after J's birth, after figuring out what I wanted in a carrier. It was one of the only new baby items I really knew I wanted and why. The Maya Wrap Sling was my choice. I chose it because it is beautiful and multicolored, because the fabric was fairly traded, and because it is adjustable and good for lots of holds. I also really wanted something that kept my baby close and snuggled.

It took me some time to become dexterous with it, but once I did, boy! did that baby spend time in the sling! First, in the cradle hold, nursing when she wanted, dozing when she wanted, as we spent time around the house or out at gatherings at friends' houses.

Then, as she got a bit bigger, we discovered that she was, in fact, a joey! The kangaroo hold was a fixture for quite some time. Then, sadly, she got too big, and we had to upgrade to the Ergo (which I also love, but it is more fixed in its applications and not so simple and beautiful).

One of the things I looked so forward to with the birth of C. was the return of the sling to my daily life. And, indeed, we use it constantly. However, delightfully, C. is her own person. She will have nothing to do with being cradled, preferring to be upright. In the last month or so, the world has beckoned, calling, "C.! Find your joey-self!" And now, nothing but the kangaroo will do!

I'm savoring this time of holding C. close and feeling her drop off into sleep while I'm baking or helping J. "cook" or "go to work." I love this middle time of her drinking in the world but also snuggling close to me. It is so lovely to delight in daily attachment. All that I have read in pyschology textbooks and social work journals about healthy attachment and the need to nurture this bond becomes so real when I'm baby-carrying.

So, the more complete answer to that woman's question the other day goes something like this: Yes, I do trust it because I trust myself. Although I sometimes question my decisions about sleep, about limit-setting, about this about that, I really don't question my decision to carry my girls as much as possible. I know that this is the right thing for us. It allows them to balance connection and exploration, and it allows me to balance getting things done and providing attentive nurturing.

I will miss these days of babywearing when they are done. My back will be relieved, and it'll be exciting to see my girls take on the world on their own two feet, but the sweetness of the sling embrace will be a delicious memory I hope to keep for a long time.


This week, J's exploration of and curiosity about the world have blossomed in a new way. She's fallen head over heels in love with nesting dolls, and she's started to ask that quintessential question of childhood exploration, "Why?"

Since she discovered the Russian dolls that had been gathering dust on my dresser for years, literally hours of her days have been occupied by taking them apart, putting them together, lining them up, feeding them pretend juice, giving them baths, and carrying them upstairs and downstairs. She wakes up asking, "Where are my dollies?" She seems to delight in the way that they can just be one or many and that she is the one who can make the change from plural to singular and back again.

At just about the same time, seemingly out of nowhere, came "Why?" From zero to sixty in no time flat, she pulls out this question constantly now. We're not even sure she knew the word last week! Like all else in conversation with J. these days, repetition is rampant. So, one gets asked "Why..." about everything in triplicate, at least. For the most part, anything will do when it comes to the answer. When it applies, "I don't know" seems to work, at least for the moment. It's clear that she's listening, though, as she works the information gained by her questioning into her rolling commentary throughout the day.

I love what these new reaches in her cognitive development suggest. I love that she's figuring out her ability to change her world and inquire about it. I love the juxtaposition of these new skills--in both cases she's finding out about digging deeper.

Watching her this week has created a bridge between my world of mothering and my work as a therapist (one of many I hope to write about here). As I've observed my lovely girl, I've been reflecting about these tasks of therapy: exploring various selves and looking for reasons and, ultimately, meaning. I'm looking forward to my coming week of work with clients to see what sitting with these themes might bring.