Adulting. Ugh. I love that this is now a thing. There are various definitions of “adulting” ranging from having a job or paying bills to making life changing decisions and caring for little humans. I feel that in my 20 years of being in the “legal age” bracket, I can honestly say that I've never really felt the harrows of adulting until this past year... making major changes that effect more than my singular, seemingly insignificant self. I'm not saying that having children is what truly makes you an adult, I'm just saying that for me, life was life and I never really did much to change things. Stuff happened and I rolled with it. That was me. That was it. But these days, there is decision making left and right and up and down! Sugar or sweetener, dayhome or daycare or why am I even working, cereal or toast, shower or dry shampoo (again), 21-day Fix or all of the chocolate, roman blinds or curtains, quit my job or apply for a new one, vasectomy or birth control, go to bed at a reasonable hour or Netflix it up when the kids go to bed? The struggle is real. Some choices, ya know, not so difficult. But some are really ones that I never in my wildest dreams thought would be things I would be thinking about. But I do. Daily. Adulting. Ugh.
And now that I'm this "adult", I have to actually deal with change. What's best for me? What's best for them? I have to help my children deal with change. Transitions. Bite me. After moving in September, the dust is finally starting to settle. There is a semblance of order to our lives. There are nights of almost complete sleep. Almost. Yeah, I'm exaggerating. They aren't very close to almost yet... but the rest of it is there. Routine and consistency and not-McDonald's every second night. This is my definition of success. Everyone tells me that the sleep will come and holy hell am I ever betting on that. With all of this responsibility for change and dealing with the fallout, I am very glad that I am an adult... so I can buy and drink all the wine.
There are moments when the thoughts creep in. “I remember when...” and “Wouldn't it be great if...” and “I really miss...” We had our favourite restaurants that we went to whenever, we bought all the things we wanted, we went to see every movie and every band that came to town and I never ever cared if a show was on a weekday. I went to the gym! I actually cooked without a crockpot! I wore make up and owned more than one real bra! But I didn't have impromptu dance parties before dinner. I didn't get to watch anyone learn to read or write or see them make friends. I didn't get snotty face prints on my pants because someone loved me so much that they needed to hug me so hard one more time before I went to work. These are the things that make adulting much less daunting. If this is where I get to adult, I can deal with that. As far as choices go, I choose here. I choose now.
Chrissy Boone is a Labour Doula with Full Circle Birth Collective and has supported children and families for many years in the human services field. To learn more about Chrissy, click here.
Connection Through Touch; The Benefits to Ourselves and Our Children
Sonya Duffee CLD, CLDT, CCCE, CPD
Touch is an integral part of being human. Every inch of our skin is connected to nerves that relay the sense of touch to our brain for interpretation. Human touch produces a soothing and calming affect. It allows us to feel loved and cared for. Is it possible that there is more to it than we know? Is it usually instinctual to reach out to our children and hold them and nurture them from the start of their life?
Researchers have been discovering the benefits of immediate skin to skin contact for infants at birth, and the impact it has on their emotional engagement and development. Mothers who immediately engage skin to skin touch with their infants at the time of birth have increased maternal behaviour, and develop more confidence in themselves. Caring for their newborn is enhanced and they tend to breastfeed for longer periods of time.
We are biologically programmed to hold our little ones close, which is just one reason why we love our children. There is convincing evidence that the hormone oxytocin is released in great amounts in mothers during birth, as well as through breastfeeding, and is involved in the formation of maternal behaviour.
Over the years, medical researchers have discovered the basic biological facts regarding the benefits and necessity of human contact and connection. Being touched brings a sense of safety and comfort in our environment, and it is through touch that healthy brain development occurs. 
There were three areas that became dominant in the research between parent and child, which concluded the need for connection at the start of life. The three areas were as follows:
Brain Development - Studies suggests that touch helps in brain development and produces a calming effect, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which can be damaging to human brain tissue, effecting learning and memory. Loving affection and touch have been confirmed to develop healthy emotions and neurobiological development. 
Bonding – Connecting with our infant, holding and caressing them with gentle touch, brings a deeper connection to parents. The hormone dopamine, is heightened, producing a feel-good high which also helps your baby to emotionally attach to you. This positive interaction boosts self-confidence and security, and as the child grows, helps nurture his or her ability to relate to others.
Growth and Survival – The first contact an infant has with its mother brings a surge of hormones that can help regulate body temperature and blood sugar levels, as well as lower stress hormones that can inhibit sleep patterns and growth. A lack of touch can lower levels of growth hormone in a child, resulting in an immune system that may be weakened and create other health problems.
Science has identified positive effects of touch for babies and families to also include pain relief, physiological stability in heart rate and temperature of the newborn, infant weight gain and growth, and deeper parent-infant interactions. 
Infants in the NICU or who are born prematurely, greatly benefit from ‘kangaroo care’, (skin to skin with mothers) and receiving gentle touch. Dr. Neil Bergman, a senior medical superintendent states, "Physiology and research provide overwhelming evidence that kangaroo mother care is not only safe, but superior to the use of technology such as incubators. Depriving babies of skin-to-skin contact makes alternative stress pathways in the brain, which can lead to ADD, colic, and sleep disorders, among other things."
It is important for parents to consider their infant’s response to touch. Be conscious of signs of overstimulation, and of the delicate balance of our children’s needs. Signs of overstimulation in infants include crying, fussiness, hyperactivity and being withdrawn. In older infants, this may include clinging or hitting. Babies will often show a spaced out stare, turn away from their parents, or just not engage. The baby’s movements may become noticeably jerky, especially when on the verge of crying.
Touch can be through various means, such as cuddling, massage, gentle caressing of the hair, cheeks and face. Follow your infant’s cues to find out if your child becomes overstimulated and sensitive to touch. Use gentle light touches and gradual adjustments to physical affection. As children develop a sense of self, personal space and boundaries, their desire for affection may change. The positive effects and benefits are numerous! Follow your instinct and bring your child close to you for those warm cuddles, because before you know it, they will be off and running.
Kelsey Voelker is a labor doula and lactation educator with Full Circle Birth Collective. Learn more about Kelsey here.
My first poop & pee excreting wiggly worm was born in 2012. I knew about cloth diapers but it seemed overwhelming and too much work to figure out what to buy especially while averaging 2 consecutive hours of sleep a night. I wasn’t interested in diapers before baby was born since there were other expensive must haves to shop for- like car seats (another one of the many overwhelming adventures).There were so many types, sizes, brands, costs, etc. that I didn’t want to cheap out and buy ones that I would end up hating. So, we used disposable nappies. I felt silly throwing away multiple nappy nuggets everyday so after a few months I decided to check out some cloth diapers online when little Miss was 4 months old.
I spent under $100 and bought some “Prefold” inserts, a fastener, and two waterproof covers. I loved being able to cloth diaper! I’m pretty sure my brother thought I turned hippy, my husband wouldn’t use them, and my mom thought they smelled funny. So I had no immediate support for my cloth diapering adventure. I didn’t care. I kept using them. Afterall, I am “resourceful”…. or Swiss, as some put it. I sewed my own wet bag, reusable laundry bag, fleece inserts and cloth wipes.
I didn’t mind doing the laundry myself despite the stink. It was a bit of extra work but when you’re on maternity leave for a year and have only one child, there’s plenty of time in a week to do a few extra loads of laundry, right? Well, I ended up deciding my kid peed too much (or maybe she just liked drinking from the mammary’s ALL OF THE TIME) and the cloth diapers constantly leaked. So not only was I doing nappy nugget laundry, I was also washing more clothes than you can imagine.
I had a friend who became a nappy entrepreneur. She bought a whole set of the “fancy” cloth diapers before baby was even born! I admired her diving into diapers like this. Partly because of her, I decided to spend the money and upgrade to the “fancy” ones. I searched high and low for the best deal and finally bought a set of All-In-One diapers when little Miss was a year old! Why did it take me this long!? I was so excited about my purchase! I felt like a little girl enthralled with her new toy ponies- but instead it was diapers. But they were so much more than just diapers! They were cool coloured diapers- like jelly bean colours and ones that even had monsters on them and “ooglie booglie” written all over the bum. I would for sure have the best diapered baby on the block!
Over the next while, I got the rest of the family on the cloth diapering wagon. My husband began to use them (let me clarify- not for himself, but for the baby), my brother probably still thinks I’m hippy but secretly wishes he didn’t have to throw out nappy nuggets from his kids everyday (Because after all he’s Swiss too!), and my mom helped me figure out how to get the “stink” out! I also learned a few tricks- like sun bleaching. It actually works and I was totally blown away when the stains on the white bamboo tri-folds magically faded on a hot sunny day.
So now my little Miss has graduated from her nappies and even her potty. The youngest little Miss has obliterated her nappies many times over and we are now onto the next adventure for her in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned for the next chapter: all about “pee pee on the potty” and “poo poo on the potty” dances!
Cloth diapering has been great for us. I do recommend it but understand that it is not for everyone!
No one really tells you what life is like as a parent. And they can't. Really. It's different for all of us. All we can say to each other is "ugh" and "totally" and " oh, I know..." And we really mean all of those things! Sometimes we mean them negatively and sometimes we mean them in the most amazingly unbelievably positive and exciting way possible. Parenting brings out the best in us: the best times, the best feelings, the best impression of our own parents' voices that we swore we would never use... it's an endless adventure that will continue for the rest of our lives.
My own adventure this week was full of ups and downs and round and rounds. Here are some highlights:
~ I was told "I love you" by a four year old who was in the middle of pooping.
~ I cooked up some caramelized onions and grated some maple cheddar to up the classiness factor of hot dog night.
~ I removed approximately 157 pairs of underwear from the legs of inside out pants. (Ok, this is an exaggeration, but it was a lot... every. single. pair.)
~ I said "Dude, your penis doesn't go in your bowl..."
~ I also said "Hot wheels stay on the tracks... let's keep them out of your diaper."
~ I was told "I don't like you and I am never washing my hair ever again!"
~ The movie Home made me cry. Again.
~ I sat on the couch and drank a glass of wine and talked with my husband about our plans for the basement bathroom, his interview next week, and how amazing our kids are.
Some days I think "Oh my god, what the hell?" or "Why is no one sleeping in this house at 3am anymore?!?!" And that's perfect. It's all about balance, friends. If I didn't have those days, I might not appreciate those other amazingly unbelievable days where my kids tell me knock knock jokes while we are driving and they kiss me for no reason and they tell me they love me 180% when the KD is ready and we play cars for hours and no one puts their penis in a bowl or a hot wheels car in their diaper.
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