“Different Mommies Have Different Rules…”

…is a phrase I’ve been uttering a lot around here.

I first started using it about a year ago, and though I’m not sure exactly when it started, I definitely know why it started. This has been my go-to phrase in many different situations and it’s pretty much my version of “Because I said so!”.

Only it sounds way nicer, right??

But the best part is, it works!! At least for us. And here’s why…We talk with Lil’ CB a lot about differences and how we honor them and celebrate them and also respect them. We talk openly about race and culture and also about differences that we might see or notice in other families or friends. We try to name talents and skills and qualities that different friends and family members have and how those things make each person unique. We emphasize that fair doesn’t mean equal or that everybody gets the same; it means that everyone gets what they need. And different people need different things because we all have different needs for different reasons.

So, when we’re out and about and Lil’ CB asks to do something that he sees other kids doing and I feel that he might not be able to handle it (for whatever reason) and I tell him no, if it’s met with a “Why?”, I simply answer, “Different mommies have different rules.” And usually, it’s enough for him to let it go.

It works in so many different situations: if other kids are having sweets and I feel like Lil’ CB can’t handle the extra sugar right then, it works. If other kids (especially older ones) are playing something that isn’t really appropriate for Lil’ CB, it works. If other kids are staying somewhere later and we have to leave, it works. If other kids are playing on iPads or their parent’s phones and I feel like Lil’ CB has had too much screen time, it works. If other kids are doing something that Lil’ CB can’t handle (because he has a tendency to take things a bit too far), it works. In fact, it’s rarely, if ever, not worked!

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Finding our Mary Poppins

Before I had the baby, I scoffed at the idea of having a nanny. I worked from home so I thought it was the perfect scenario to raise a baby. But after I had the baby, I was desperately seeking all the help I could get! I realized that there was no way I could actually do work and raise an infant at the same time. I needed two hands to type all of my emails, and thumbing through websites on my iPhone was just not working. I hung my head and admitted that I judged others for having nannies when they either did not work or worked from home. Oh, how things have changed! Now I am going around telling pregnant ladies to hurry up and get a nanny! (Jokingly, but half seriously.) I also had no idea that nannies were so dang expensive, especially in Los Angeles!

Finding a nanny during Baby Pencil’s 3rd week of life was not fun. I was so sleep deprived, suffering from postpartum depression, and scrambling to make one of the most important decisions ever! This person was going to handle my super young baby, and they were going to roam around in my home. Even though I preferred to go by referrals of people I knew, I turned to Care.com and found some temporary help while I figured out what to do.

What I really wanted was a night nanny. Nights were so rough, particularly at around 2:00-6:00am. I was still pumping every 2-3 hours, but for some reason I crashed really hard during the nights. Finding a nanny in general was super difficult, but finding a good night nanny seemed to be impossible! The only ones I knew were charging an arm and a leg and they could not meet my time slots.

At first, all I wanted was extra help. Someone to take care of the baby so I could SLEEP! But as time progressed, I started to freak out about many different things. My fears were:

  • the nanny would run away and sell my baby to the black market
  • the nanny would be a terrible nanny and mistreat my son
  • the nanny would make an innocent mistake, such as dropping him and cause serious injuries
  • the nanny herself would be injured and sue us (ugh, America!)
  • the nanny would make a mistake that affects the whole house, such as setting a fire or leaving the door unlocked

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Toys that have lasted and new toys that are loved

Among our toys, some get played with for a moment and discarded, some never get a second look, and some are taken out and played with on a daily basis. I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the toys Drake had when he was Juliet’s age that still interest him (as well as Juliet), and Juliet’s newer toys that Drake also seems to enjoy playing with.

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Essential Oils in Pregnancy, Labor and Breastfeeding

As most of you probably know, I’ve never been pregnant or been in labor. But, from what I hear, neither one is altogether a very comfortable experience. So, when I heard about all the wonderful essential oils you can use during pregnancy to help ease various types of discomfort, I thought it would be nice of me to share them with this great community. And since I can’t exactly test their effectiveness for these things on my own, if you try any of these, please let me know how they work for you!

A great selection of oils for pregnancy and post-partum

E S S E N T I AL  O I L S  F O R  P R E G N A N C Y

Morning Sickness/Nausea: I hear morning sickness can be quite a killer, and there are quite a few essential oils that could help with this. If you use the doTerra brand, you could take this internally, but otherwise keep it topical, either on your tummy, bottoms of your feet, or earlobes. The ones that I would start with would be ginger and peppermint. But, you could also use DigestZen (a blend from doTerra), Wild Orange or Lemon.

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Pick a Day, Any Day

This is a behind the scenes look at what a day as a SAHM with two rambunctious cubs looks like on any given day at the Grizzly Bear household. There’s laughter, there’s tears, and there’s a whole lot of mayhem. Ready to begin?

6:30 – 7:00 : My cubs wake up early. Before they started rooming together, one of them would normally wake up earlier than the other. Usually it was Patrick and I could get the coffee maker going while he quietly ate his breakfast before Olivia would be insistently calling for her breakfast. Now it doesn’t matter which one of them wakes first. First peep out of them and it’s all over; everyone is up for the day.

7:00 : Breakfast time!

7:30 : I turn on PBS for the kiddos so that I can eat/drink my cup of coffee in peace/get dressed. Most of the time the cubs might stop and glance at it for a few seconds, but they’re either too busy eating their breakfast or are already engaged in another activity to care too terribly much.

8:00 – 8:30 : Time to head outside. This, I think, is my favorite part of the day. I know they love going outside as much as I do. Patrick automatically goes on the hunt for shoes once he’s dressed and even knows that he should bring Olivia and me our sandals. Once Olivia is dressed, she starts waving bye-bye and standing by the door. Me? I’m just glad I can grab a second cup of coffee as I herd them outside!

We try to spend at least an hour to an hour and a half outdoors every morning. Here in Tennessee, it’s hot, which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so blasted humid all. the. time. That means that by 10:oo or 11:00 it’s pretty much unbearable to be outside without a considerable breeze blowing. Thankfully our backyard is in the shade of the house and we have a shade tree, so early morning is just about the perfect time to go outside.

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They say that breads are high in salt, so I thought I could make a better go of it making things myself. A biscuit recipe I made the other day called for a teaspoon of salt, which I realized was 2,325 mg of sodium in the 15 biscuits it yielded – that’s 155mg of sodium per little 1.5 inch biscuit, and babies under one are supposed to have no more than 200mg a day!

Cooking and sharing food with a baby under one has led me to rely heavily on spices as salt-free seasonings. Usually I turn to Indian cooking for this, but there are many more spices and combinations to be found beyond our borders – there’s so much more out there than just meat and potatoes in a broader sense. And “spices” don’t necessarily mean “spicy.” One such spice blend is za’atar. I first came to it in Hong Kong when I was pregnant. We had been eating out 2-3 times a day at fantastic restaurants for three weeks, but at the end of it I was craving something healthy in that crunchy sense. Then we found this super hippy restaurant that served simple flatbreads and, intrigued, I picked one that had za’atar…. then I couldn’t wait to get back home and make flaxseed tortilla shells filled with avocados, tomatoes, hummus and za’atar.

For babies I would add za’atar to homemade bean spreads, tahini, yogurt, eggs, avocados, roasted squashes, and soups. My baby won’t eat veggies plain, but add some flavor with some spices and she’s all over it. You can fry za’atar in oil to deepen the flavor, and then add some more at the end to keep its herbal notes intact. You can even use it for dusting popcorn. Here are some great online recipes to try it out. I’ve bookmarked Ottolenghi’s butternut squash recipe, these olive oil crackers, and I made an adaptation of this sardinian flatbread below. I love these pita shells from Costco because they make great personal sized pizzas or permutations thereof.

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The Darkest Days: Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

I knew well before I gave birth to Little Oats that I would need to be on the lookout for PPD. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life, and I remained on a mild dose of antidepressants throughout my pregnancy. Screening tests at the midwife gave me a high likelihood of PPD, and by the time I had gone through the emotional ups and downs of a long labour, I would have written myself a prescription if I could.

By three days postpartum, the crying was nonstop. Not Little Oats’ crying…mine. Everything set me off, and I found that as soon as it started to get dark outside, I got an overwhelming sense of foreboding. Any new mama is going to struggle with exhaustion and emotions, but this was just the beginning of something much darker.

Late one night, as I was walking Little Oats in circles trying to calm her down, an image flashed through my brain. ‘What if I dropped her?‘ I gripped her extra tight, now carefully watching each of my steps to make sure I didn’t stumble or fall.

Later in the week, as I was coming down the stairs, I got a vivid picture in my head of slipping down the stairs. It wouldn’t go away, and I was nauseous, panicked and absolutely terrified that something might happen to Little Oats.

This continued to happen at various points during the day. I won’t share some of the more disturbing scenarios I imagined; they still haunt me to this day. I was never afraid that I would hurt Little Oats, but there was a deep-seated fear that something out of my control would happen. I couldn’t leave the house, because I was worried about driving with her. I couldn’t make myself lunch while holding her, for fear of spilling something on her or dropping her. Every time I panicked about something, I scolded myself. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t be a normal human being? Was this the ‘postpartum psychosis’ that is whispered about behind closed doors and in the most gruesome of newspaper articles?

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