9 months in…

I don’t think I really took any photos when I was 9 months pregnant. But 9 months ago Stormy was born. It’s true that time goes by quickly but I have never wanted it to slow down. His progress is fascinating and every new thing he learns fills me with excitement.

Everything is fresh and new to him and I’m excited to experience it all with him.

People need to stop saying: Just wait until… or You’ll miss it when…

No. I’m not waiting for something. I’m right here right now. And I won’t miss anything when he’s older. He’ll be somewhere new and exciting and so will I. I’m not going to spend his childhood either waiting for him to be something he might never be or wishing he was younger.

For the record. Not all kids are picky eaters. Not all kids are “terrible” when they’re two (and btw what kind of language is that to use towards a child? They are being children. They are not terrible). Not all kids behave like your child. Just let parents be and experience things for themselves.

Perhaps everything would be different if other parents didn’t tell new parents how to behave and how to expect their kids to be difficult. Kids respond to their surroundings. If you expect something particular from them you act accordingly and they will respond to your behavior.

If new parents ask for help, by all means answer with your experience. But remember it’s your experience. It’s not fact. And otherwise. Just be quiet. We’ll work it out for ourselves.

Dressing up – feat. Hearts and Found

“Oh you look so nice. Are you going to a party?”

No I’m going to the park with my kid. Why do we dress up for strangers or people we rarely see instead of the people we love?
Not all the time obviously. One of the main reasons you find a partner so you can look gross in your living room and still get laid, amIrite? But we would do well in remembering that the people we see every day also appreciate an effort.


So I will happily dress up in my favorite new dress to go the park alone with Storm and dad (although he didn’t go this time – he stayed home to play Kingdom Hearts – and that’s love too – giving your partner a break to do what they want) – or just because. Because wanting to look nice for someone shows you care.

That being said it is still my kind of looking nice. If Storm grows up to think pantsuits are the bomb he’s in for a hard time having a mother who wears novelty prints and flowers in her hair.

The dress was a gift from Marjorie who owns the Vietnam-based Etsy shop Hearts and Found and it is the best dress I own (this and the other one which I will post about soon but I’ve already shown it on Instagram here).

I have worn both dresses a few times now and they are so comfortable and well made. I adore that they have deep pockets and that they are made to my exact measurements – and that you can mix dress pattern and print.

This is a Lana dress in Wild little flowers in a very light yellow which seems to be sold out but there are lots of other floral prints to chose from.

Cardigan was a gift from Ye-Mak.

 

Language matters

Already before I knew the sex of my baby I knew I would avoid the words ‘son’ or ‘daughter’, ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ as much as possible. I don’t want my child’s sense of self and personality to rest on a stereotype and how the world expects a boy and a girl to behave and what they are supposed to like. And I didn’t want to encourage him or her to view him- or herself as a gender first and a human and child second.

Becky Albertalli once wrote a twitter thread (I can’t find the original so the link is just to her Twitter profile) about her kid, a little shy boy, and a visit at the doctor. I don’t remember it word for word but basically the doctor thought he could get the kid to talk by saying that he was a little girl. The boy didn’t care because it wasn’t an insult to him and he felt no need to correct the doctor. He could be a girl. Whatever.

That struck a cord in me. That’s the kind of child I want to raise. A child who is secure in being a human, who will play with girls and boys, and who knows that boys and girls can be cool and awesome to play with, that both can be clever, fun and that both have feelings. That boys can cry and girls can be tough. That both can cry AND be tough at the same time. I will not be holding boys-only birthday parties (because seriously wtf? If your house isn’t big enough you bundle those kids up in warm clothes if it’s cold and have the party at a park) and I will not support or tolerate separate girls and boys activities in his daycare. I will not use gendered words negatively or say harmful sentences that teaches him that he is better than a girl or that he can do whatever he wants because that’s just how he is: Don’t be such a girl, you throw like girl, man up, boys will be boys… I will not talk about every girl-friend he gets like they are going to get married or date. They can just be friends. And who says he’ll even like girls?

And it also got me thinking. What other language do adults use that put children in predefined boxes? You can’t change the world all at once but you can change your own habits, especially when you’re also working with children.

What do you as a parent or just grown up think about saying or not saying?

And if you yourself is gay, transgender or bi, pan or asexual, what do you wish adults, both parents, teachers, librarians, everybody stopped saying to children or did say to children?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. You can also write me a private message on Instagram if you prefer to be anonymous.

And as a warning anyone being rude or calling LGBTPA+ people unnatural or worse will be blocked and removed. I do not tolerate bullying. And if you find this stupid, okay. I don’t need to know. 

Literary mothers to look up to

Lily Cavanaugh – The Talisman: She drinks too much, she smokes and she leaves Jack too much to himself but she also believes in him and in magic when he needs her to let him go to save her. He’s not saving her for her sake but because Jack is 11 and not ready to loose his mother and she knows that. She’s fine with dying but she doesn’t want to leave her son.

Molly Weasley – Harry Potter: I feel like this is self evident but I’ll explain anyway. Molly is an amazing mom to her own children but it’s her love for Harry that really got me. She wasn’t obligated to love him, she didn’t have any particular relationship with his parents. She just sees a child who needs a mother and takes him under her wings. Just think about this:

Mrs Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother. The full weight of everything he had seen that night seemed to fall in upon him as Mrs Weasley held him to her.

Harry Potter and the goblet of fire.

Harry has never had a hug from a loving adult before. That sound? Just my heart breaking.

Lovis – Ronja the robbers daughter: Lovis is motherhood goals. She is so chill and rational that she’s impossible not to love. There is no doubt she loves her daughter but she also knows children need to figure things out on their own. The world can never be safe but you can teach your children to be strong and fierce.

Moominmamma – Moomin trolls: Moominmamma is pretty cool. She never gets angry and doesn’t miss a beat no matter what happens. She always carries woollen socks and bark in her handbag and for some reason I love that. She even thinks smooking is good for the stomach – how much more chill can you get?

Quotes about mothers I like:

“Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.”
― Marguerite Duras

“I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.” Maya Angelou

“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.” E.M. Forster

“I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother.”
― Martha Gellhorn

“There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.”
― Stephen King

“But mothers lie. It’s in the job description.”
― John Green

“My mother is not evil, Faith reminded herself. She is just a perfectly sensible snake, protecting her eggs and making her way in the world as best she can.”
― Frances Hardinge

“If you knew how great is a mother’s love, you would have no fear.”
― J.M. Barrie

Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments.

What not to expect when you’re expecting

I didn’t expect to miss him when he’s sleeping.

I didn’t expect to want to be with him all the time.

I didn’t expect to think he is cute even when he’s mad.

I didn’t expect my heart to break every time he’s crying.

I didn’t expect my heart could be mended from hearing him laugh.

I didn’t expect to cry when I think about how I can’t keep him safe forever but must let him go into the world and make his own experiences.

I didn’t expect the world could seem even more dangerous than it does already.

And a happy New Year!

Happy New Years and thank you for reading along this past year. I had quite the year with baby and all and I hope yours was brilliant as well.

We are staying in and eating pizza and fried stuff tonight and watching old episodes of The Great British Bake off in case you were wondering if we are super boring. I did put some champagne in the fridge though. In case we want to be fancy with our pizza.

I wish you all the best in 2018 ❤

Presence or presents?

Were you present for the holidays? Did you upload to social media or snapchat your friends?

Well, if you were I’m here to tell you that’s totally fine. In fact any way you celebrated the holidays is fine. As long you did what made you happy and comfortable.

I find the whole “on this particular day we are together and cannot live like we usually do” ridiculous. That is also my problem with Valentines day. I don’t care about the cheesiness, but one day where you show you love someone? Stupid. Show it every day! Be with your family every day like it’s Christmas. Don’t wait for a special occasion.

PinaforeLindyBop, shirt – old New Look, coat and boots – old Modcloth.

Goals

My goal is to raise a boy who if someone calls him a girl he won’t bat an eye because that’s not an insult.

My goal is to raise a human that if someone calls him racist or sexist, he will evaluate his actions or words, apologize and try to do better instead of getting defensive.

My goal is to raise a person who thinks it more important to be kind than to be right.

You failed – Press start to continue

Yesterday I failed as a parent for the first time. It’s not like I have always known what I was doing but I always felt it was a learning process with room for error. Babies are made for new parents after all. So when something hasn’t gone to plan or has been hard I learned from it.

But last night Stormy has unhappy. And after the usual trial and error I tried feeding him but I knew I was out. So we heated up some formula just in case and the kid downed it all and cried for seconds.

And suddenly I realized he’d been fuzzy in the afternoons for a while. And sometimes cried after eating. And it struck me. I am not producing enough. He wasn’t crying to show he was done, he was crying to tell me I was done.

I don’t feel like a failure because I’m not producing enough and I’ll tell you why: If I say I am a failure for not being able to breastfeed fully I am saying that moms who can’t breastfeed are a failure and besides being a rude, shitty thing to say it’s also not true. My (or your) ability to parent is not in the breasts. To parent is to care, love, raise and feed.

No. I felt like a failure because I didn’t notice something was wrong sooner. That my happy smiling baby turned into a crying and unhappy version of himself almost every afternoon and I thought he was just being a baby and babies are fuzzy. I feel like I should point out that he hasn’t been losing weight, he has made dirty diapers as usual, the only telltale sign was his unhappiness. But it should have enough.

I’m not looking for reassurance or for you to tell me I didn’t fail. I did but it’s okay. I will still breastfeed him as much as possible but we will also supplement. Because fed is best. I have no pride in my ability to feed with my body but I have pride in taking good care of my child.

I cried feeding him that bottle because for the first time I had let him down. But I know I will fail again. And hopefully I will also realize it and fix it. Because parenting is also that. Correcting your mistakes as you make them.

Making mistakes does not make you a bad parent. But thinking you can do no wrong might.

A fresh start

I decided to step up my game. Better photos. Be better at posting. So you may find my blog a little empty for now.

Truth is that most days I barely get out of my dressing gown. It’s comfortable and easy. But I feel better when I look like myself. Having a baby doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize yourself as well. I see a lot of people saying that Instagram doesn’t “show real life”. That pisses me off. I am not putting on makeup or getting dressed to trick you all into thinking baby life is super easy. I put makeup on for me. I dress up for me. So that I feel good about myself.

And I have nothing but respect for the moms who make it look easy. You are my heroes. I don’t need to see the mess and the messed up hair. I know that! I live that! I know everyone with a child has days like that. No, I want to see that there is still real life besides all the baby stuff. I want to see mothers take time for themselves and put themselves first once in a while. Good for you!


Dress – LindyBop, Shirt and coat – old from Modcloth.

Childhood memories

I remember it was autumn and chilly. I had been playing outside all day and my mother made me a warm bath in the evening and told me that warm baths give you a big appetite although it probably was playing outside all day that was the actual cause. She had made soup and although I’m not actually that fond of soup it was the best meal I had ever had. It was just the two of us in the old farm house that for once seemed warm enough although it was always too cold in the winter.

I don’t know if this actually happened or if I made it up from several different memories but it makes me happy so I guess it doesn’t matter. I want to give Stormy a memory like that. In fact I want to give him more than one. I want to make traditions with him and his dad that are just ours – to always make soup if we spend an entire day in the snow. To always eat pancakes for breakfast on birthdays. Or for dinner if he’s feeling sad. Things he’ll remember fondly as he grows older and that’ll make him feel safe and happy when he needs it.

These soup cups belonged to my late Grandma. I don’t remember ever using them in her house although she often made soup (especially borstj as she was Ukranian) but they were in her cupboard for as long as I could remember and when she died they were all I brought home from her house in England. I have six and each one has a different recipe.

I always loved them because they reminded me of that particular memory.

Old dress – Bernie Dexter, old cardigan – Mak Sweater (Modcloth), old coat – OASAP, shoes – found on Amazon.