Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A while ago, back when Aleko was still refusing to eat any food, we were sitting down for dinner with friends and this happened...

Yep. I totally squirted lime directly into his eye. He was not a happy camper. I don't think it helped him on his solid food journey.

But the world had his back.

I clean off the high chair with vinegar. We just keep it in a spray bottle and douse it occasionally. Well on THIS occasion, I was spraying down the chair, but I had moved it directly over the vent. When the AC switched on, I got my comeuppance...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The big ONE

Our little boy turned one year old!

Zoe requested a cake shaped like a wolf for her little brother, but I'm not that talented, so she got to pick out a plastic wolf from Michael's (thank you Michael's for having a plastic wolf).

Why a wolf? Let's just say it has to do with Halloween and we're all very excited. Zoe helped me make the cake by putting in all the ingredients and even operating the mixer. She even decorated the present she gave him!

Aleko was a happy boy as usual.

Mostly because he got to eat this box...

And this cake...(gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting)

Happy Birthday little boy. We love you! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


The topics that Zoe doesn't quite have a grasp on are pretty entertaining...hence the "Things My Toddler Does Not Understand" series. But lately, she just seems so wise. Noticing everything. Quietly observing. Reminding me to close a gate because Aleko is on the floor. Taking food off his high chair that I didn't cut small enough. Remembering the tiny details of every task including what color all the mini-golf balls were. She helps me stay present. Reminds me how much information we learn and take for granted. Her observations are priceless and abundant.

Friday, August 1, 2014

But, Think of the Children!

Guys. It finally happened. After 3 years, 1 month and 28 days of breastfeeding I had a negative encounter.

Here's what happened.

It was the most gorgeous day DC in July has ever seen and we decided to go to the National Zoo. We walked past a woman breastfeeding a baby a few months younger than Aleko on a bench outside the Reptile House. 

I looked at her for a long time. She probably thought I was creepy. I always worry that nursing moms will think I'm judging them negatively, when really I'm just scoping out their spot. 

We walked past her and a zoo employee with pink hair as we entered the building. There was a camp full of screaming, rambunctious boys inside, and Aleko immediately got fussy. So I decided to join the lady outside to have a baby nursing party. 

I sat on the bench next to her and said, "I need to do that too."

I started breastfeeding Aleko and the zoo employee very nicely said, "Can I actually ask you to do that somewhere else with all the kids walking right here?"

I looked at her and with my calmest voice replied, "No. Actually you cannot ask me to move somewhere else."

Things went downhill from there. She immediately got flustered. Her jaw clenched and her eyes rolled. 

"I just asked you nicely if you could move."

"I know. You did. But, I have the right to feed my baby anywhere he needs to be fed."

"Not BREASTfeed."

"Yes, absolutely breastfeed."

She said something else about it being a problem because of all the children walking by to which I responded, "It's good for them to see and learn that it is completely normal to nurse a baby."

She huffed and crossed her legs to turn away from me. The grandmother sitting next to the other woman nursing gave me a thumbs up and mouthed, GOOD JOB. A woman passing by quipped, "She's fine!"

After a brief silence I felt compelled to say more...

"I'm not mad. You know, maybe you should talk to the zoo in order to find out their policy."

In true teenager fashion she crossed her arms, "Maybe YOU should."

"Well, I don't need to talk to anyone because I know what the law says."

(I actually didn't know what the law says, but I was pretty sure it was on my side. It was the first thing I checked when I walked in the door at home. Check out this link for state laws. You can breastfeed in any public or private location in DC. In my home state of VA, I just can't get arrested for indecent exposure).

Aleko had long lost interest by this point and started chewing on the bench instead. 

When Yannos and Zoe exited the Reptile House, I stood up and said, "Have a good day!" to the pink-haired zoo employee who was furiously texting. 

When we got home, I called the zoo. A woman named Sandra apologized immediately and said that would not happen again. She would be speaking to that employee and all the other employees. 

Women in a Facebook group I'm a part off were calling for a nurse-in. A letter to the newspaper! A REVOLT! 

But, I just felt so sad for this young woman. She really thought she was doing the right thing. Protecting the children from the extremely modest and almost completely covered woman on the bench who was breastfeeding a baby in a zoo filled with humping mice, masturbating gorillas, and nursing cubs. 

Gosh, I wish she'd use a cover

Picture by: By Stan Osolinski

If I'm the most confusing thing a parent has to explain at the zoo then we have a real problem. 

That society has somehow taught her breastfeeding a baby on a shady bench is more offensive than the woman who walked by with her boobs hanging out of a nearly see through white tube-top. 

I do know that she is braver than I ever was at that age. I also know that if she had asked me to stop nursing Zoe three years ago, I probably would have cried and obliged. 

But now, as brave as she was to stand up for what she thought was the right thing to do, I was braver. My confidence nursing in public has been slowly acquired. First through the necessity of getting a screaming, starving infant to stop crying in the middle of the mall even though I had forgotten my nursing cover at home. Then through watching other women easily nurse cover-less without anyone batting an eye. 

Confidence from situations that originally made me uncomfortable. From attending La Leche League meetings where the leader nursed her 3 year old. From the waiters at an Afgan restaurant walking up to the table while I was nursing to take my order and talk to the baby like nothing out of the ordinary was going on at all. From my mother in law asking about how my breasts were feeling when I had thrush or mastitis. From my father in law kissing my babies on the head while I am nursing them. 

All things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. But normalcy only evolves from everyone around you going on with their lives while you are doing something that feels scary. 

So, to the pink-haired zoo employee sitting outside of the Reptile House...

I truly hope I gave you a positive memory to store. Sure. I know I pissed you off. But maybe if you have children and you want to nurse them, you'll have this encounter somewhere in the back of your head, encouraging you to feed your baby wherever you need. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mother's Intuition

When you become a mother, you have a lot of people telling you to trust your instincts. It's good advice, but it's not always easy. Is that 101 fever a passing virus or an ear infection? Can my 9 month old cry for a few minutes in order to fall asleep at night? Is my toddler ready to potty train? Sleep in a real bed? Eat popcorn? Insert any activity. 

We make a hundred decisions a day that affect another human's life and I know I don't normally need to consult my gut. 

Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

I hear moms say, "I wish I had trusted my intuition." But I hear other moms say they don't have it. No gut reaction to what is right or wrong. For me, it's a mix. Sometimes I feel very strongly about what I should be doing or trying and sometimes I have absolutely no clue. 

During my second pregnancy, I felt uneasy from the moment I had my first ultrasound. First it was the twin issue. Then it was my terrible pelvic pain. Then my pre-term labor. I always felt like I shouldn't be delivering at home, but there was no reason on paper to be concerned. So I chalked it up to crazy hormones and really tried hard to ignore all the anxiety. 

This was quite the change from my first pregnancy in which I just exuded confidence in the whole endeavor. I asked multiple times if I was still OK to be at home. Everything was always all clear on the medical front. 

After sitting there with my healthy baby boy that was born at home in .4 seconds, I remember thinking to myself: I guess I was crazy. All that uneasiness was unnecessary because everything was cool and fairly easy. 

Then my midwife walked in, examined the placenta, and blurted out, "Oh my god you guys. You are incredibly lucky."

Umm what? Not really something you want to hear after you deliver your own baby at home 4 weeks early. What was the deal? 

Basically the umbilical cord inserts oddly into the placenta and it can cause some issues. They can usually see it on the anatomy scan (67% specificity for science nerds). They usually recommend a planned C-section before you can go into labor on your own, because if your water breaks in a certain place, the baby bleeds out. 

According to an article, "Pregnancies complicated with VCI are at greater risk for adverse perinatal outcome (fetal growth restriction, preterm labor, placental abruption, vasa previa, abnormal intrapartum fetal heart rate patterns, low Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes, and neonatal death).


The kicker for me was finding out that it is WAY more common in twin pregnancies. So the 20 times I asked EVERYONE if there were any risks associated with the fact that Aleko was originally a twin pregnancy and I was looked at like I was a crazy person. Thanks for that. 

VCI only occurs in 1% of singleton births but up to 15% of twin births. 

So...I wasn't crazy after all. Something was off and I knew it. The problem was, no one else knew it. 

I say it was the scariest thing that never happened. It's weird to hear that it could have been a disaster. For anyone thinking this is proof that no one should deliver a baby at home, even in the hospital VCI can end in death; it's just too fast. This could have (should have?) been picked up on the anatomy scan. If it had been, I would have been transferred out of midwife care. 

At least the midwives got a new toy. They boxed up my placenta in order to freeze it and show it off to everyone. So glad we could offer a teaching moment. 

So guys, as Jewel says...Follow your heart. Your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction. Thanks, Jewel. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


...Carrot Sticks!

After explaining that I cut the big carrots into strips and we call those carrot sticks, she was still very sad.

Some digging revealed that she thought we were going to eat with CHOPsticks. The confusion had come from two places.

1 - We had checked out a book from the library about the creation of chopsticks

2 - I made the mistake of giving her watermelon "popsicles" which were just slices of watermelon with chopsticks in them.

So, I grabbed some chopsticks...

Crisis averted!

Thursday, June 19, 2014



So Zoe and I were drawing with chalk and I asked her if she wanted to lie down so I could trace her body.

"YES! Let's go. Do it in pink."

So she positioned herself on the driveway and I traced her.

"Do you want to give yourself eyes and hair?"


"What's that?"

"My nose."

"Hair, hair, hair, hair."

"And eyes!"

"Is that your mouth?"

"Ummm. No. That's my other eye."

"Now, it's your turn Mommy!"

So I got down on the driveway and she worked hard to trace me. When I got up, this is what I found!

Apparently my body shape is Minnesota.