Monday, December 31, 2007

Daddy Dolls

My cousin, Steve, is leaving for Iraq soon. His wife, Christy, ordered a "Daddy Doll" for their daughter and "Daddy Dog Tags" for their son. Using pictures, the doll is a lifelike, hugable subtitute for Daddy while he is gone. The company was started by two military wives targeting military families, and although that is still their focus, the dolls, pillows, dog tags and other products can be great for any child missing any person for any reason. It has already helped my cousin's little girl sleep through the night while her dad was away at training.

Ian is too young to need a product like this, but if Curt ever has to back when Ian is older, I would definitely look into it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Breastfeeding through Illness

Curt, Ian and I are recovering from a 36-hour bug that flattened us. It started Monday when Ian was very clingy and refusing to eat. Of course we had family pictures and Ian was not cooperative. As soon as we got home, Ian threw up. Curt started to feel ill a few hours later and then I woke up inthe middle of the night with it. Yesterday, we were destroyed. We couldn't even stand up, All Ian wanted to do was nurse. This was a little annoying, but we could just lay down and nurse which kept him occupied. He felt a lot better than we did yesterday. Today, we are all better, though still eating limited amounts and Ian is still clingy. Just in time to go to Jamaica tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ian Loves Mary J.

Mary J. Blige that is. My soon-to-be 15 month old son does not care about Elmo or Dora or Thomas the Train, but he has a definite thing for Mary J. Blige. It started this summer in Cairo as I was preparing for the packout. I was trying to work and Ian was following me around and fussing until Mary J. Blige came on Oprah. He stopped dead in his tracks and started watching the tv (which he never did before) and dancing. They play the same shows on the various AFN channels so hours later as my sister was flipping through, the same Oprah show was on and again, he stopped and danced.

Now, Mary J. has a new i Pod commercial and he is doing it again. Today, he was fussing for milk and as I was preparing to nurse, the commerical came on. He jumped off and danced his way towards the tv.

So, Santa is pre-ordering the new Mary J. Blige cd for Ian.

Monday, November 12, 2007

14 Months Old!

Dancing on tables, moving chairs so he can continue to dance on tables, saying, "Uh, oh!" as he drops food on the floor, playing the cymbols with cymbols, playing the cymbols with any two objects he picks up, putting things away (and taking them out and putting them away), building immunity by sippy cap swapping madness. He has been busy.

He handed a remote to a little girl in playgroup, that is like an engagement ring from him! Another little girl grabbed him by his shirt and almost lifted him off his feet. Her mom and I think they should get married. My boy needs a strong woman. He finally learned to back down the stairs by watching other kids do it at McDonald's Playland.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

At the Zoo

We went to the Zoo on Friday with Kara and Ian. It was a gorgeous day, but since it was a school day in November, the Zoo was empty.

Ian and Ian with the Goats:

Ian and Ian looking at the Gorilla:


My friends Shelly and Iliano sent Ian a Middle Eastern outfit. We paired it with the stuffed camels Curt collected from the Hayatt in Jordan and instant Halloween costume. Ian was Sallah Ali, owner of racing camels. We met Sallah Ali while visiting Shelly and Iliano in Qatar. Though we skipped Trick-or-Treating, Ian had several opportunities to wear it including the October Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting, the Erie Hip Mamas Halloween Party and Halloween Playgroup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Side Benefits of Kindermusik

My friend, Anne, told me to enroll in Music Together. As I have loved each and every one of her suggestions in the past, I searched for a program in the area. Unfortunately, the closest one is in Jamestown, NY, though the Montessori in the Woods is considering starting a program for older toddlers. While searching for Music Together, I found 4 local Kindermusik teachers including one on my side of town. We tried it out and loved it. It is very well-structured and paced. Sure, the singing on the cds sounds like those flimsy records I used to get in vacation bible school as a child with either unearned vibrato and/or breathiness due to singing higher than one's ability, but when you sing over it, it isn't that bad.

However, the best thing about the class is that the kids take out and put away all materials throughout the class and Ian will now put things away at home! It is great because he is into everything. Being able to tell him to put something away makes life easier, especially when trying to get out of the house. Of course, he is only 13 months old, so he still makes a much bigger mess than he cleans up, but this gives me hope.

Language Explosion!

I think we may finally have a break through on the baby sign language front. He has been doing "more" and "eat" and today he did "apple" in addition to "milk". He uses "milk" and "up" all the time and has for months, but was refusing to do other signs.

Also, he is watching my mouth when I speak and moving his mouth. He says,"Uh!" when he signs for "up". "Ba!" when we go to take a bath. "Ha!" or "Haai" when he talks on the phone (or a phone like object). "Do!" when referring to a door. "Dah" or "Dog" near the dog and best of all, "Mema" and "Mama" to refer to me. The explanation point is because he really pushes the sounds out in a staccato fashion.

We've been so busy with playgroups and things that we haven't been working with the Signing Time dvds. need to start that up again so I can learn more signs.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 is Up and Running!

I've been in Erie since July and have been woorking hard to find baby resources/activites. I started a playgroup with a few other moms from a childbirth education reunion party and breastfeeding support group and it has grown from there. As I, or another member, finds things, I send e-mails out to the list. I mentioned awhile ago that it would be great if there was a site that had the Erie baby resources listed in one, easy-to-find place. Colleen and her husband Mike created Erie Hip Mamas. It is a free site, but requires registration. It has a calendar feature and a resource reviews feature that will allow us to get together and build the resource list. It just launched, so there is very little content, but by Christmas, I hope we will have fleshed it out. There is a good framework and it has so many more features than I imagined when we talked about it months ago. Great job Mike and Colleen!

Ian "Wiggles" Through His First Concert

Ian and I went to his first big concert tonight, The Wiggles. I had heard of them before the concert but never watched their show oor listened to their music. A friend of mine wanted to take her son so we went along. Ian watched and ate crackers through the first half, but the second half he was a squirmy worm. We had to go down to the floor and walk around. The Wiggles put on a good show complete with confetti cannons at the end. They also read the signs that the kids brought and mentioned "Erie, PA" a lot which really personalized it. I'm glad we went, but I don;t feel the need to do this again anytime soon, maybe when he is three and knows the Wiggles.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

International Cesarean Awareness Network

Last Wednesday, we went to the first International Cesarean Awareness Meeting (ICAN). It is the first chapter in Pennsylvania. Erie is rarely first, so this was neat. My friends were speaking about their experience so I went to support them. They were told the baby was over 9 lbs and "too big to wait until 40 weeks", so they underwent an induction. As the doctor was inducing she said,"The baby is still very high up", but she kept going. My friend ended up with a cesarean. Both my friend and her husband felt very badly about the cesarean because they had wanted a natural childbirth and feel that if they had let labor start naturally, they would have had a natural birth, or at least they would feel like they did all they could to achieve one. Oh, and by the way, the baby was 7lbs, 11 oz. Even if the baby had been big, they would feel better. Though, even a small woman can birth a large baby. Yet, doctors continue to perpetuate the myth that small women can't have large babies. Not to say that there is never a situation, but it is a lot more rare than we are lead to believe.

I was lucky with my cesarean because I knew he would be delivered by cesarean becausse he was breech. I did everything I could to turn him, inclluding Webster Technique, but he would not budge. I had to coordinate my husband coming in from overseas and had a history of placental hematoma earlier in the pregnancy, so I just decided to schedule a cesarean. I was able to go through my feelings about it before I had the cesarean, including failure, guilt, etc. I made them wait to take him until the early range of his due date (early gestational age set the due date about a week after the initial doctors calculation iso he was at least 39 weeks, maybe 40 weeks), though one doctor in the practice wanted to take him earlier. I spent the day before doing yoga, meeting with friends and going to dinner with my husband. The next day, we checked into the hospital. We were the first surgery of the day and though the anesthesia made me sweat and nauseated, it wasn't bad. I had a great recovery and hospital stay. Ian was born with his eyes open and was very alert. I had such a good experience, I'm wondering if I should just schedule a repeat cesarean or try for a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). I am a breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping mother who is thinking about a scheduled repeat c-section. I wouldn't have expected this of myself. I feel a little guilty about it, but this is the state of the culture and I am a product of it.

The next ICAN meeting is about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). I plan to attend to hear the success stories and get more information. I think a lot of it depends on where I am in the world when I have my next child. If I am somewhere that I know I have midwives or doctors who are committed to VBAC, I will be more likely to do it. Many doctors will let you try, but then if they are committed, they will rush you and you will end up with a cesarean anyway. I don't want a long failed labor and then a cesarean. I'd rather have a scheduled cesarean. I think I am also afraid of failure. I don;t want to try because I don't want to fail. Even though I didn't really fail, the last time because he was breech with no major movements for months, it still seems easier to do a scheduled cesarean. I'l report back next month to see if my feelings are changed.

Friday, October 5, 2007

13 Months Old!

Ian is 13 months old today! He has spent the past month climbing on everything in site, going to Kindermusik, Swim & Gym at the Y and lots of playdates. My dad calls him Dr. Destructo and that is certainly an appropriate name for him at this stage. He is into everything and interested in everything.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monkey Man

Ian's latest thing is climbing anything and everything: up the couch and onto the end table, up the coffee table, up the couch and onto the dog's kennel, his toy train, the mantle in the den, etc. He moves boxes over to the table so he can stand on them to reach things that have been put on the table to be out of his reach. He runs from from trouble area to another. Time to get more gates!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ian is One Year Old: Oh, What He Can Do!

The little man was busy this year:

1. He traveled to 4 countries: Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the US and 8 States plus the District of Columbia. (I only count it if we stopped and got out of the airport).
2. He got mobile on the go: rolled over for the first time in Qatar; crawled in Cairo; perfected furniture walking in Virginia; took his first hands-free steps in Sharm el Shiekh for a French woman; learned to run in Pennsylvania.
3. He developed his communication skills: he can sign "milk"; he "woofs" to indicate a dog; he says,"dog", "duck", "daddy", "hi" and "yeah"; he makes eyes at the ladies like a seasoned ladies man.
4. He can high five, hug and point.
5. He can jump in the pool and go under water.
6. He now stacks things instead of just banging or destroying things I've stacked, though the latter still holds more appeal for him.
7. His latest feat involves turning a door knob to open a door.
8. He developed his palate: he eats everything except the highly allergenic stuff little ones aren't supposed to eat like peanut butter, shellfish, etc. He loves strong cheeses, spicy foods and garlic.
9. He engaged in politics: met the President of Egypt twice; rallied on Capitol Hill for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007; and participated in grassroots lactivism just by doing what he does naturally, nursing.
10. He's quite a snappy dresser if I do say so myself.

What else can I say, but he is one cool dude.

The pictures were taken by Brooke Bass during his 1 Year photo session.

Ian is 1 Year Old and We are Celebrating 1 Year of Breastfeeding

On September 6, 2007, my son celebrated turning one year old and I celebrated one year of breastfeeding. There were times when I didn't think I was going to make it, when I thought everyone must be lying when they said it was easier, but I made it. It took a few months, but once everything clicked, it was great! We plan to keep going as long as it is mutually agreeable. Nursing is so easy now, that I can hardly remember the tough times.

The pictures were taken by Brooke Bass during Ian's 1 Year Photo Session. Brooke took my maternity portraits and Ian's newborn photos as well.

Mothering Magazine just published 8 Reasons to Nurse Your Toddler in Kyla Steinkraus' article,"Extend Breastfeeding's Benefits" in the September/October 2007 issue (all quoted from this article):

1. Breastfed toddlers get complete nutrition. Research shows that fat and energy content increases after the first year.
2. Breastfed toddlers are physically healthier. According to research, the immunological benefits of breastfeeding actually increases during the second and third years of nursing.
3. Breastfed toddlers are emotionally healthier. According to Dr. Jack Newman,"The breastfed toddler is more independent in the long run because his independence comes from a deep-seated security that comes from breastfeeding."
4. Breastfed toddlers are smarter. Numerous studies show that breastfeeding promotes a higher IQ, including increased reading comprehension, math skills, and scholastic ability, even into adolescence. The fine motor and language skills of breastfed toddlers develop more quickly. According to Ginger Carney, a clinicial nutrition manager and lactation consultant at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee,"The unique coordination of the tongue, lips, and jaw during breastfeeding exercises the muscles used for speech."
5. Breastfeeding promotes your emotional well-being. The continued release of prolactin, the milk-making hormone, helps relieve stress and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
6. Breastfeeding reduces your risk of disease. The duration of breastfeeding is linked to lowered risks of ovarian, uterine and breast cancer.....diabetes.....and rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Breastfeeding acts as natural birth control. While not 100% effective, continued nursing can supress ovulation. (I still don't have my period back, of course, my back up method of birth control IS 100% effective as my husband is thousands of miles away!)
8. Breastfeeding makes parenting easier: teething, tantrums, skinned knees, etc.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aum, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

I spent this past Saturday participating in the Global Mala Event to promote peace. Karen Ducato of my yoga studio, the Barefoot Buddha organized the Erie event. Eighteen instructors from the Erie area participated. We did 108 Sun Salutations. I was one of the official counters. We had great weather, a view of the Bay and a musical accompaniment. Money raised will be donated to the local food bank.

Ian went to the mountain camp with his grandparents and great-grandparents. I'm almost never away from him, so it was strange, but he did well with four adults chasing after him all day. I had to break out the breast pump for the first time in months. I enjoyed the Global Mala event, but it was a bit scary to be away from Ian so long.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

1st Birthday Report

Ian's first birthday party was a family birthday lunch. We served pulled pork and ox roast sandwiches, pesto green beans, Italian potato salad (meant for Heather's mom's picnic that was cancelled at the last minute), corn and black bean relish (made by Heather), mixed baby greens salad, a cheese and olive tray artfully arranged with grapes and eucalyptus leaves by my sister, fruit salad, watermelon lemonade and watermelon margharitas.

I made a 2-layer star-shaped cake: bottom layer was chocolate and top layer was vanilla. The frosting was a vanilla pudding, cool whip and powerdered sugar mixture that my mom has made for years. Heather wrote Ian's name on the cake. Curt's mom brought watermelon sorbet and cantaloupe ice cream from Milan, Ohio's annual Labor Day Weekend Melon Festival.

Ian ate his lunch, especially the pesto green beans and assorted cheeses.

But, he crashed before the cake and could not be revived.

Not even by Curt singing into his ear over the phone as the rest of us sang,"Happy Birthday" to him.

A few days later, we hosted playgroup and I served a repeat of the menu substituting chicken salad for ox roast and and leaving out the watermelon beverages. Again, Ian enjoyed his lunch, but crashed before he could eat his cake.

Later that night, we gave him a cupcake. He played with it and dipped his green beans in the frosting. He's just not a cake guy.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ian is One Year Old: I Don't Remember Life Without Him

My first morning home from the hospital, my mother brought me a cup of tea in a mug that said,"World's Greatest Mom", a title I clearly hadn't earned only 5 days into motherhood, but I appreciated the sentiment. Maybe it was the anesthesia or the lack of labor, but it took me a few days to get my head around the concept that this little thing was the same person keeping me company for the previous 9 months. All of sudden it hit me, that of course he was mine. How could I have had any other child? He was perfect. In that instant, I could not comprehend that there had been a time when Ian did not exist. I remember the things I did before Ian, but now in my memories, he has some sort of presence in the background, in my heart.

I love that kid. My kid. My son, Ian.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ian Says His First Word!

I thought he has said,"dog" and "duck" in the past month in reference to a dog and and duck, but he wouldn't repeat it, so I couldn't be sure. He "woofs" whenever he sees a dog and has since June, but that is speaking Dog, not English. I do think it counts for something, though, because he uses it whenever he sees any dog (including pictures of dogs on the food bags at the store) or he is looking for Roxxy.

But, today he said,"Daddy" while on the phone with Daddy.

I said,"Do you want to talk to Daddy?"

He said,"Daddy" and took the phone.

When Curt spoke to him, he said,"Daddy" again.

I asked him to say it again and he did, three times, only one of which was Dada, the rest were Da-dee.

Very cool for Curt to catch this.

Now we'll see if he does it next time we talk to Curt on the phone.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book Review: Mama Knows Breast by Andi Silverman

I love to give and receive advice, especially on all things related to breastfeeding: resources, challenges, products, everything! Mama Knows Breast by Andi Silverman is a compact, concise collection of advice that you might receive from a trusted, experienced breastfeeding friend. There are many great breastfeeding resources out there like La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman's The Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Answers, but they are large and thick books with a lot of detail. In your last months of pregnancy when you are busy buying things and preparing for labor, it is difficult to read a reference book straight through when you don't yet know what applies to you.

Andi's book (you'll feel like you can call her by her first name after reading it) is a small, handheld crib notes of breastfeeding guide that you can read in one sitting. The book touches on breastfeeding topics from proper positioning to the impact on your sex life, offering quick suggestions and listing resources for further assistance if you need it. Mama Knows Breast is divided into 8 chapters and is indexed, making it easy to find what you are looking for, but I suggest reading this book from cover-to-cover. Andi intersperses anecdotes from her own experiences throughout the book. She also shares stories from mamas throughout the country in break out sections titled, From the Mouths of Moms. These sections keep the book interesting and demonstrate the wide variety of options and issues you may face in your own breastfeeding adventures.

Like a good friend, Mama Knows Breast has a friendly, informative, non-judgmental tone. Andi emphasizes the importance of getting help if you are having problems, the value of support from your partner and other breastfeeding moms, and the use of common sense when making decisions about issues like public breastfeeding. While the book is more conservative than I am about public breastfeeding, it provides suggestions and encouragement for the shy, and reassures moms that it is both legal and often necessary to breastfeed in public. The section, Responding to Critics, has pre-planned responses to breastfeeding questions/criticisms. Parenting brings a lot of obnoxious questions that can hit the wrong note and leave you feeling vulnerable and judged. Pre-planned responses, especially, calm, confident quips, can preserve your dignity and prevent you from feeling defensive or badgered.

Andi ends the book on an empowering note:

In some ways, that's the beauty of this whole Mama thing. You get to make it up as you go along. No matter
what anyone else says--and they'll be sure to say a lot--you're the one who decides how to feed your baby.
You're the Mama, and Mama Knows Breast.

You can purchase Mama Knows Breast at You can get more breastfeeding tips and news on Andi's website Mama Knows Breast

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First Word Watch

Ian might have said his first word last Saturday. He looked at my friend Kristy's dog and said "dog". He did it at Melanie's house the next day with her greyhounds and seems to have done it a few times with my sister's dog, Teddy. I'm not ready to call it, yet, though. I know he understands the word, "dog", and he seemed to be referring to dogs when he used it, but didn't repeat it when asked so I can't be sure. He also seemed to have said "duck" a few times since we've been in Georgia when holding his rubber duckie. He does know the word "duck" because he will go pick it up out of a pile of toys when asked, but I can't be sure. Therefore, we are in First Word Watch, waiting for confirmation.

People Watching with Roxxy

Looking out the screen door is a favorite passtime for Ian and Roxxy.

11 Months Old!

This post is a bit late because we've been traveling. Here is Ian at the Canfield Dog Show in Ohio.

Playing in the water at the dog show:

Roxxy's Nephew, Matt, in the Ring

Ian after an Unsuccessful Manoeuver:

Ian took his first steps on June 28th and about two weeks later, he was running. After running, he started climbing people and furniture whenever he gets the chance. He has been climbing steps since he was 7 months old, but there is definitely an invigorated interest in climbing now. In July, Ian went to the Erie Zoo for the first time and made new friends at playgroup. He is starting to interact with other babies more instead of their mamas, though he still prefers mamas.
He ate lots of wonderful things and improved his drinking skills, but he still doesn't drink from a cup very well, yet. He refuses to use a sippy cup, only a glass will do. Blueberries and cherries were two of his favorites. Spicy mexican food, meatballs and anything with garlic were quite popular as well.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flashback to North Carolina

Today, I met my friend Rudy for lunch. I haven't seen Rudy since I was in the 10th grade. We went to EE Smith High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He graduated from Smith and still has family in Fayetteville so he has kept track of a lot more people than I have. A lot of things came back to me while we were talking. Unfortunately, he lost touch with some of my favorite people. I was hoping to find them through him, but, no luck.

He did tell me that 1% of his graduating class was on death row by the 10-year reunion. It was 3 people out of 300 in the class. The school was really well-run and safe, but about half the students came from the nearby army base (like me) and the other half came from the poorest section of Fayetteville so I guess statistically we were bound to have people in jail. Still, 3 people on death row is shocking.

Ian's Culinary Adventures Continue

Georgia has a lot of barbeque places, but not their own style of barbeque so there is a lot of diversity in the offerings. While we've been here, we've had barbeque twice. The first time, my sister's boyfriend made pulled pork with a sweet, yet, mildly spicy red sauce. Today, we had pulled pork again at a restaurant with the red sauce, North Carolina red vinegar sauce and South Carolina vinegar-mustard sauce. Ian who enthusiatically ate goat cheese pizza, refused the mac 'n cheese until I dipped it in the mustard-vinegar sauce. Bonus for this place: it had unsweet tea! I can drink sweet tea if I cut it 50-50 with water, but it was nice to drink unsweetend tea.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Road Trip!

Ian and I are on a road trip that started last Saturday. We went to Germantown, Maryland to see my friends, Kristy and Jeff. Ian ate Korean-style potatoes and loved them. We think he might have said his first word, "dog". He has said it a few more times since when it seems to be in reference to a dog, but it is hard to tell.

Sunday, we headed to Richmond, Virginia for my friend Melanie's birthday. It was The Watermelon Festival downtown, but we didn't make it over there because of the heat. Ian had spinach and goat cheese pizza. He is quite the foodie (except for the fact that he tries to eat dog food).

Monday, I called the YMCA to get him into baby swim lessons and the hit the road to Athens, Georgia. Ian slept for the forst 7 hours, but that last hour was rough. I think I am going to stay in West Virginia somewhere on the way back. So far in Athens, we've been helping my sister move into her new place and apply to medical school. In the move, she didn't realize that her secondary application for Medical College of Georgia was due today. With work and other appointments, she couldn't get it done in time to express mail it yesterday, so we got up this morning and drove to Augusta to turn it in. It is about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there.

This weeekend we are going to Alpharetta (outside of Atlanta) to see my friend, Rudy, who I haven't seen since the 10th grade. We will probably head back to Erie on Monday. We have 1st Birthday invitations to get out!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mums & Tots: Erie Edition

I was lucky enough to make it into town for a Childbirth Reunion Party. I took childbirth class in the home of doula, Carol Peterson. There were multiple classes in attendance and I met some new people. We decided to start a mothers group and had our first meeting at the Zoo last week with 5 mothers participating. Most of the kids were too young to care much about the animals. In fact, Ian fell asleep, but not too much longer and I think they'll really enojy it.

Today, we met at Presque Isle. We took a walk and then let the kids play in the lake. The water was calm and refreshing. Ian really enjoyed himself. Tomorrow, we are going to the park as part of a meetup. So far, 4 out of the 5 people signed up are from our group.

It is definitely different than the group in Cairo. Not only are we all Americans, but since we all went to Carol's childbirth class or Breastfeeding Support Group, we have similar parenting styles: breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and several of us are cloth diapering, also. This group is also smaller, so more manageable. The Cairo group was a good place to meet people, though, and since the location never changed, you never fell out of the loop. Not to mention that we met our good friends Caiden and Nicole!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nursing in Public: Never Apologize, Sometimes Explain

I went to Breastfeeding Support Group last week and the subject of nursing in public came up. Several women talked about getting dirty looks or stares. I don't think I've ever had a problem, but maybe it is because I don't notice. I just go about my day feeding my baby when he needs to be fed. I've nursed in public everywhere from the Four Seasons to the grocery store. Once Ian and I got the hang of it, we went everywhere and nursed with ease.
I understand why women get angry when someone seems to be giving a dirty look or staring. The urge to rip into them with a nasty comment or flash of breast can be hard to resist, but I think we further our cause more by not retaliating. Here are my reasons:
1. People are not used to seeing nursing in public. They may be staring because they are surprised or shocked. They may not know what to make of it. You are doing your part by desensitizing them. If you let them stare, it gets filed in their mind as a neutral or maybe even positive experience. If you yell at them or flash them, it gets filed as a negative experience.
2. You don't know what is going on in a person's mind. They may be scowling and not thinking about you at all. If you just go about your day and your nursing and ignore them, you and your baby will be more relaxed and you won't see disapproval everywhere. In other words, assume the best.
3. Yelling and negativity disturb your baby. Just concentrate on the baby and ignore those around you.
4. If you are approachable, someone may stop and ask you questions. That is a learning opportunity, even if it seems like a criticism such as,"How long are you supposed to/going to nurse that child?" Don't get snippy or defensive, just state the AAP recommends at least 1 year, but 2 is better and the worldwide weaning age is 3. You can even go into the benefits or breast milk if they continue to talk to you.

In my opinion, if someone actually makes a nasty or negative comment to you, you should respond pleasantly with information about the health benefits (AAP and WHO endorsements) and the law. Keep it pleasant, informative and factual. My reasons for maintaining decorum:
1. Escalating the situation is not only bad/dangerous for you and your baby, but you might be asked to leave the premises for disturbing the peace if you engage in one- upsmanship of negativity.
2. Sometimes pleasant, informative factual statements will stop people in their tracks because they are looking for a fight and expect a certain response, when you don't give it to them, they don't know what to do. I'm not saying it will change their minds, but it might embarrass them if they realize how rude they are being. Even if they don;t realize that, in many cases they will just walk away.
3. It keeps your baby comfortable while nursing. Your baby's comfort is the point, is it not?
4. The law is on your side, so you need to be calm and confident.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Signing Update

Ian is finally using his "milk" sign to ask for milk instead of giving the sign after he gets the milk. The Signing Time DVDs are great. They are helping me learn the signs so I can teach him more signs.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Will Walk for French Ladies, Graham Crackers and Great-Grandma

Ian was in a (hands-free) walking frenzy after dinner tonight. It started with a step for a graham cracker and then 5 steps in a row to reach Great-Grandma and then he started running and falling. He has been walking holding onto furniture for a few months and can practically run if he is holding onto someone's hand. He just doesn't believe he can do it without holding on. Tonight, he was really experimenting. It won't be long!

Looking for Daddy

10 Months Old!

June was a busy month: eating everything from mashi (Egyptian-style stuffed vegetables) and fuul (Egyptian style beans similar to Mexican refried beans) to pickled ginger and vegetarian sushi; learning to go underwater; lots of travel and of course, first steps.

First Steps in Sharm el Sheikh

When you are an international jetsetting baby like Ian, you are bound to have milestones in fabulous places. He did his first, deliberate rollover in Doha (Qatar) and on June 28th, he took his first unassisted steps in Sharm el Sheikh.

I was sipping a Turkish coffee and Kate had a cappuccino while we were waiting for the Egyptian Folkoric show to start. Ian busied himself by making eyes at a voluptuous, blonde, French woman. She motioned for him to come to her and he put his hands out then turned back all the while smiling and making this crazy noise (sucking in air). After a few times he forgot that he wasn't holding on and took three steps! We started clapping and cheering and he promptly fell on his butt. We didn't get the steps on video but we did take his picture with her.

Masalema, Bye, Bye to Cairo*

Cairo Mama has left Egypt. Towards the end of our 3 month stay in Virginia, we learned Curt would be going to Iraq for 6 months. He left for Iraq and Ian and I headed back to Cairo to pack out. We will be staying in Pennsylvania until he gets back.

My sister came to help. She wrangled Ian while I sorted: ship, store, mail, suitcases, give away, throw away. It was a crazy week, but I was ready for the movers. We were sipping on lattes while the upstairs neighbors who were also packing out the same day were trying to sort and organize.

We also did a lot of shopping to pick up some things like Mashrebeyya tables, Bedoin jewelry, a large marmalite vase, more glass ornaments, more alabaster, etc. I hope they survive shipping!

Between packing preparations and shopping, I did manage to get Katie to the Pyramids of Giza, the Citadel, Cairo Tower, Mokkatem Church, a falooka ride on Nile, and invitations into two Egyptian homes. Afterwards, we recovered at the Sofitel on the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh.

We are supposed to go back to Cairo in January, but we may not be going back. I was not quite ready to leave. There is still so much in Egypt and in the region that we wanted to see. I guess Ian will have to focus on traveling in America. Poor guy won't be staying at 5-star hotels in this country!

*The Egyptians often say "Masalema Bye Bye" when talking to Americans.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Sleepy Baby:

Happy Baby:

This photo session is over!

Driving in Egypt

There is always lots of traffic. The rules are simple: if you are even a fraction of an inch ahead of another car, you have the right of way. In the far right lane and need to turn left? Mafeesh Mouskela (no problem)! Did you miss your turn on a one-way street? Mafeesh mouskela! Need to park but there's no space? Mafeesh mouskela? Traffic lights? Merely suggestions, not need to mind them. Just don't use your headlights at night. It is wasteful and really annoys people. I didn't drive in Egypt because I didn't have a car, but those who did said it was like navigating a crowded sidewalk, that you do it by feel. Many people find it fun after awhile.

It only takes the ride fromthe airport to find the humor in this sign. Egyptians use the horn constantly. They honk as they go past pedestrians to tell pedestrians they are not going to stop. They honk going through intersections to tell other cars they are not going to stop. They honk when pulling a maneuver like turning left from the far right lane. They honk when someone else pulls a maneuver like turning left from the far right lane. And about every 30 seconds for good measure.

West Virginia Land

Ian and I went to our land in West Virginia for the first time. It is 20 acres of woods and limestone. Roxxy loves it. There is a septic tank on it but that is all, not even a driveway.

9 Months Old!

Playing in the Grass:

Eating Tofu:

Ian has had a busy month. He went to Capitol Hill for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007. He tried many new foods like squash, teething biscuits, tofu, avocado, corn, and marinara. He seemed stoned upon tasting marinara. Four teeth came through. He can stand without holding on for a few seconds and lower himself down.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Clapping, Cookies and Cowboy Hats

Ian has learned how to clap when asked. here he is clapping, eating a teething biscuit "cookie" and wearing a cowboy hat.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Heather's Maadi Shopping Experience

This shop has tchochkes and shisha (flavored tobacco for the hooka). Erie has several places to buy shisha, but it is 1/5 the cost here in Cairo:

This man has a nice alabaster shop. He has a good variety and decent quality. He does not bargain, but he does not harass you either, so I like to shop here:

Tree Shop Produce:


Construction or Demo?

Balady (Local, Wild) Dog on Car: