Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fern Fiona Hanlon

Well, obviously, that was the day... It's been a little over two months since my last post... I've been a very, very busy new mama. It has been an incredible two months. It has flown by, even though at some times it feels so hard - like in the beginning, at night! And for the first few weeks when I was trying so hard to build my milk supply.

Overall, every single day is amazing. I have a new friend and companion. Someone Andrew and I share and are equally in love with and interested in. She for sure has a lot of her dad's personality, but is definitely not lacking in mine. But she's uniquely her. At two months, she is who she is - nothing short of an amazing miracle. Love doesn't even begin to describe what we feel for her. Every single day I'm amazed at her. She is not a passive critter, just waiting to be fed, to fall asleep, poop, and wake back up to eat again, like some people see babies as.

Long before she was born I heard about Elimination Communication - tuning into your baby and learning her signs and cues for when she needs to pee or poop. I thought it was whacked. Recently though, my dear friend Lizard suggested I read a book about it. Wow. It makes so much sense. There is no way, after reading this book, I'd choose to do things any other way.

Yesterday was our first day practicing EC. Shortly after her nap, I hung Fern over a (very cute) pyrex mixing bowl, with my hands under her thighs and her back resting against my belly. She peed!! Nursed her awhile, took her to her "potty" and she peed again! Some time later, she was in the sling - fed, burped, snuggled - and she started to squirm and squawk. I popped her out hung her over the bowl and after a few seconds she pooped! It is literally as simple as that. Between timing, right when she wakes up, after nursing, etc. and signals, squirming, voicing, etc. She's had a few misses since then, misses on my part for not reading her signs. It is just exactly like when she has to burp, she has tell-tale signs for letting me know. Now I'm looking for these new signs!

I'm thrilled with this concept for many reasons, but the simplest, daily reason is that I don't want my baby to be sitting in her piddle. Even if I miss her cues, I still will know shortly after that she's gone and can change her long before it makes her uncomfortable. Another reason is the simplicity of the idea. This is how baby humans were made to learn to defecate - actually, not learn because it is innate. They are born knowing. In diapering, children lose their ability to recognize the need to go and the understanding to wait to go until they are on the potty.

Now looking back, I never remember seeing a diaper in many of the places I traveled, including the ones where I was in close contact with children. I'm fondly remembering Napoleon, in Burma. CUTE as a bug... maybe 12 months old, running around without a diaper. Many babies in the clinic in Burma too, no diaps. This is the way women around the world raise their children. Some may say we are lucky to have diapers here, they are very convenient for a baby to go in, but how convenient is it to sit in your waste? I'm actually feeling like women in rural India and China, and the Arctic Circle in Canada, are the lucky ones - that raising children like this is just what they do. It is just the way it works.

So little Fern will continue to wear diapers until mama can really read and learn her signs and cues. It may be a month, it maybe 5 months, but the whole point is that we (me and her daddy-o) are tuned into our child, listening to her voice. Communicating.