Baby Dotes; Baby Boats

Lake can’t get enough of hopping and jumping and talking there’s days! Talking about his experiences. Talking about our weekend trips to Bainbridge Island (“boat!”) and the Woodland Park Zoo (dotes!). He is so enthusiastic and engaged.

[August 9, 2018 in Ravenna Park]

For example, as we left the zoo last time in response to my “say bye bye to the animals”, he started in on his rendition of our visit. He remembered all the animals that we saw during our three hour visit. “Bye-bye: Affe (Colobus monkeys, red ruffled and ringtail Lemur, two cows, ‘Dotes’ (goats), baby ‘dote’ (Pygmy goat), ‘ba’ (sheep), ‘Lola’ (Yola the toddler gorilla), Duck, hippos…”

As the week has progressed the “Dotes” and “Lola” have most strongly withstood the test of time to come out on top seemingly as his favorites.

Along this theme, his current favorite book is “Where the Wild Things Are” written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. He calls it “cow” and points out the wild things as “cow” and “Lola,” qualified as “Affe.” “Daddy, Mummy” also get thrown in there where Max is pictured riding on the shoulders of one of the wild things. “Max” is interchangeable for “Lake.”

He now likes to put in book and song requests. Baby Boats is his favorite lullaby, compliments of his time with Nana. It is a sweet song my mama raised me on, too. So it’s “cow” (read Where the Wild Things Are), “Affe” (looking at the pictures) “Dotes!” (Thinking about the Zoo) “Baby Dotes!” (more zoo… wait,! Rhymes with:) “Baby. Boats.” And the we sing:

Baby boats and silver moon

Sailing in the sky,

Sailing o’re a sea of dreams

As the clouds go by.

Sail, Baby, sail,

Out across the sea,

Only don’t forget to sail

Back again to me, back again to me.

Baby’s fishing for a dream,

Fishing near and far.

His line’s a silver moonbeam,

His bait’s a silver star.

Sail, Baby, sail,

Out across the sea,

Only don’t forget to sail

Back again to me, back again to me.

All day and reactivated at bedtime, he truly is a joy! A perfect day, every day, I’m glad I spent it with you.

This was originally written July 22, 2018 and has been pending my account upgrade. tbv

Cow Bell

This morning Lake and I couldn’t stop laughing. It all started with him asking for juice. Oh, did Nana give you juice? I started laughing. Well, I don’t think we have any juice sweetheart. Here we only have tea. I laughed some more. Lake started laughing. Nana, juice! Then we started laughing big peals of laughter. When the laughing died down. Lake would get his impish grin and say Juice! And start laughing. That would get me laughing again. It was contagious! Laugh Yoga!

So I made him some Tazo Passion tea with ice and stevia. And we had another good laugh about how Nana spoiled him with juice! He dinged the glass with his fingernail and said Bell! I didn’t quite catch it… was it Boy? Was it Blue? Bell! He said several times. Then he started miming something near his neck. Bell. Bell. *Cow* bell. Cow bell? Oh! Of courses, Bell! It set me off again in gales of laughter. He merrily joined in the fun. And more laughing yoga ensued!

A perfect day… for laughter and tea! I’m so glad I spent it with you, Lake!

Making Waves

Lake tested the waters today! After two weeks at Newman Lake, regarding the waves cautiously, today he is ready to start making his own waves. Tomorrow is unbelievably already time to say goodbye to Camp NanaBaba. A huge thank you to Nana, Baba and Luisa for making it happen, and, hopefully just a “see you later!”

Camp NanaBaba

Official news reports from Camp NanaBaba reveal that… “life is [indeed] good.”

We received our first letter home from Lake today with reassurances that after ten days at Camp NanaBaba he has not forgotten us (Mama on the left, Daddy on the right).

The smiling artist himself (we love you too, Lake and have not forgotten either!):

Num Nums

Breastfeeding has been a special experience for Lake and me. It’s all the two of us have known in relation to each other. It’s been the one constant amidst all the other changes in the past two years. It’s been an act of loving kindness, of devotion, and of straightforward simplicity. We developed a rhythm of sorts, a biological schedule of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nightcap day in and day out, rain or shine through work and weekends. Never a bottle, always from the breast, only a few occasions hand-pumped for yoga retreats. Later, out of convenience, skipping meals or constantly snacking as the circumstances allowed. At times it was a rather organic process such as being on holiday, just the two of us. My friend Julia referred to it as “open bar.” Or maybe it’s Lake’s version of slowing the pace, of Slow Food! Truly, breastfeeding Lake is one of the highlights of my life. I wanted the opportunity to breastfeed my baby for a long time and to have this dream manifest has been a true joy. The feeling has been mutual, too… Lake relishes his Num Nums! as he calls it.

Now, is it time to say goodbye? That is the big question weighing on my chest right these past days. We have met the 12 month minimum recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and we met the two year minimum recommendation from the World Health Organization guidelines for breastfeeding. Clearly he no longer needs to breastfeed. Though he certainly still seeks it out. When he hasn’t seen me for a few hours, or when injured or jet lagged he is apt to inquire about and request breastfeeding. It’s comforting for sure. It’s also nutritious and healthy and yummy for him! Lake will say num nums, or even now more recently num nums? politely inquiring, asking permission. If I say “möchtest Du [would you like] num nums?” He will exuberantly reply Ja!!! Last week he did for the first time call num nums “Essen” The German word for food or meal.As in, “Sitz Essen. Essen Num Nums!” That did take me aback a bit. It reminded me of my grandmother’s story of how long she breastfed. She said when her son looked at her and asked her directly for the milk, that made her feel like a cow, and reached her limit right here! Milkies is for babies, not children! So for nostalgia, here’s Lake’s first Num Nums:

Now, with Lake at his Grandparents on holiday, this is a natural opportunity to cease and desist with the beloved milkies. It would be so easy but it’s still so hard. The decision becomes so final. There’s no turning back once we stop our num nums connection. And it’s so special! On Saturday we had dinner with my in-laws on Bainbridge and my mother-in-law shared her grandmother’s wisdom. She and her sister had not been breastfed, so when she was pregnant and perhaps strategizing how to feed her newborn, her grandmother leaned in and said: “breastfeed-you’ll love it!” And so she did.

This is our second time now, since Lake turned two years old, where we’ve been separated for multiple days. The first time was the yoga teacher training retreat last month. I had planned to have that be our good-bye num nums. But I pumped instead. I couldn’t let go. It’s so final. Then the first thing he did when I got home from the four day retreat (where he got on swimmingly without me of course), was to leap into my arms and wriggle himself downwards and sideways in order to breastfeed.

There were points when it was a bit much for me, (as in when he was jet lagged and drinking all night for three nights in a row!), but not to the point where it’s worth turning him down or trying to introduce a pacifier. I always sought to enjoy this incredibly special bond knowing that it’s such a unique time together. Now, either way the cookie crumbles, we’re getting close to the end, to the bittersweet Goodbye Num Nums. Michael commends me for my valiant effort, though it may not even end up being within my power at all. Today when I sat down to pump my daily few ounces, only a few drops squeaked out of leftie. I knew it was inevitable that Num Nums would eventually come to their natural conclusion. This current separation might very well be it, so I had Michael take one last photo before Lake left. Will it end up being a photo commemorating “The Last Supper?”

Up Up and Away

Lake is off on an adventure of independence. He and Luisa flew over to Spokane today, as a party of two. They traveled to Eastern Washington to spend a nice holiday with Nana and Baba on the shores of his namesake “The Lake.”

As it turns out, Lake loves the airplane! He had his own seat and he was thrilled!

For the past week he’s been talking about this. Airplane, Nana Baba, LjoLjo, cows! Well, not sure if Newman Lake will be able to deliver on the Swiss quality and quantity of cows, but he sure expressed a solid grasp of the situation. He was ready for that airplane. And it was a happy experience for them

Bye Bye Lake! Mama loves you! (And so do Nana and Baba!) Have a super time. Up up and away!

Seven Guidelines for Prenatal Yoga

Happy relaxed fit mama tends to produce happy relaxed fit baby. During my pregnancy with Lake I practiced yoga right up until the week he was born at 41 weeks! (Pregnancy photos shown here are at week 40!) For better or worse, I didn’t make any formal adjustments to my practice, only intuitive modifications. The last trimester I gravitated towards a slower practice and I don’t recall doing any headstands! I explored a variety of teachers’ styles and experiences from home to studio, regular to prenatal. However, nowhere did I hear so clearly elucidated suggested guidelines for prenatal yoga as during my Yoga Teacher Training. Some easy modifications are intuitive while others as not, yet still fairly straightforward.

My doctor and midwife gave me the green light to engage in my yoga regular practice during pregnancy, as long as I didn’t make myself dizzy, light headed or nauseous. They explained the uterus is a very strong muscle and protects the baby really well. You won’t unknowingly hurt the baby doing yoga, it’s more that the added pressures on your body may create limitations for you (which you’ll feel). The extra demands on the circulatory system (hemodilution and supplying two bodies with oxygenated blood) may leave you short of breath sooner than you’re accustomed to. I really appreciated that explanation because it takes the fear and mystery out of exercising while pregnant. Science and medicine support exercising during pregnancy for a healthier pregnancy, baby (the baby absolutely benefits from your workout too!) and healthier happier you! Shown here at 2.5 months postpartum:

Please speak with your medical team before engaging in yoga or prenatal yoga for the first time. It’s quite possible though, that they won’t be able to provide you with specific instructions for yoga, so that’s what this list is for. I’d like to empower women, people and especially moms and moms-to be to practice yoga at the top of their license, so to speak!

These are the promised prenatal yoga modification suggestions for your perusal:

  1. With any feet together (or in a line) poses, widen your stance to hip distance or greater. This creates a comfortable space for your pregnant uterus and enhanced stability for you in the standing poses. For example, forward fold becomes wide legged forward fold, Warrior I and II alignment is feet on tracks 12″ apart etc.
  2. Ease up on deep twists by creating an “open twist” rather than a “closed twist” for a more comfortable positioning. To do this, twist with same arm/hand over knee, instead of twisting with opposite hand/knee. This is the same asana, simply turned in the other direction, creating a gentler twist with more space in the front.
  3. Pay attention lying on your back regarding compression of your inferior vena cava (blood vessel) by your pregnant uterus. This can make you light headed and diminish blood supply to yours and your baby’s body. Most conservative yoga is not to lie on your back at all. Rule of thumb: If you’re able to sleep on your back, it’s going to be okay to be in back lying postures.
  4. Legs up the wall is probably your best inversion. Lowest impact and invigorating while still being incredibly restorative and nurturing.
  5. Focus on Lengthening and Strengthening abdominal muscles, as as opposed to contraction and/or stretching abs. For abdominal strengthening, choose extensions over flexions. That translates to core stabilizing strengtheners like repetitively extending opposing arm and leg from the hands and knees position rather than sit ups/crunches.
  6. Since the abdominal muscles are already getting a nice stretch from the inside out, deep backbends are not needed and only encourages over-stretching.
  7. Relaxin is the hormone your uterus produces to soften the cervix and prepare the pelvis for the ligamentous expansion necessary for vaginal birth. It’s non-selective however and makes all your ligaments and joints more flexible. Bear this in mind so as to not overstretch and sustain injuries.

Have questions? Please ask! Take good care of yourself and relax… have fun!

Yogi mama yogi baby

It’s hard to find a moment alone on the mat these days. My son seems to be always under foot. But not in the typical way. Now Lake says yoga! and rushes over to sit, stretch, and downward dog on the mat with me. Of course I’m tickled pink and so proud of him. Yoga has given me so much joy, patience and wisdom. It’s special to share this gift with him. While I may not be a better yogi for being a mother, I’m definitely a better mother for my yoga.