30 Days of Thanks: Day Sixteen

I am thankful for my upbringing. My parents did the best that they knew how and never neglected me. Their decisions, their struggles and their love helped shape who I am now. I was taught values, to appreciate what I had, to take care of the things I had, to be kind and to be humble. If I wanted something, I worked for it.

I hope that I can pass these values onto Mila.

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Music and Religion

It’s amazing how one song can strike a memory; one long, lost and forgotten memory. So instantly you’re placed in a specific time, in a certain mindset with so many  fond and vivid memories. This song did just that to me the other day.

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When I was somewhere around 11-years-old, I was on some kind of excursion with two other youth group members, (yes, I belonged to a church youth group). The guy was driving, (I’m so horrible with names, I can’t even recall these important people some 20 plus years later), and the girl was in the passenger seat. I, of course then, was in the back seat. I remember the car being old and sporty, the day being dark (probably evening, so this may have been a camp-in type thing we were having – like a “rock-a-thon”) and crisp – the weather was still nice. I have no idea where we were going, (probably running an errand) or why I was with them. I just remember this song coming on the radio. I asked, “who is this?”. The guy replied, “Mr. Big”. I found it such an odd name for a singer that this entire moment stuck in my head.

The band never went on to be very “big” (for me anyway), yet I loved the song from the moment I heard it – and I still do today. But, I digress.

When this memory came gushing back to me the other day, my train of thought led me into religion, (ah hem, the song is associated with my then-church’s youth group). When I was 10 and 11, I belonged to a church and it was a great church. I loved the congregation like my own family – and it was just that, a family. I belonged to choir and youth group, attended Sunday school and made my way through confirmation becoming a member of the church, was baptized, and on and on. Our youth group was very active in the community, (singing carols in nursing homes, visiting and befriending members that couldn’t make it to church, visiting with those less fortunate, raising money for different charities, and on and on) and was enlightening to my young mind. I was in a world of friendship, love, charity and serenity. I loved those years and still cherish them. Unfortunately, the pastor left the church and my world crumbled.

You may ask, what does this have to do with Mila? Well, I’ll tell you… All this came back with one crucial, overwhelming, important question: what will I do with Mila? How will I introduce her to religion? Will  I even introduce her to religion? Which religion? What do I believe in? Should I attend church? Is this something I teach her or show her by my own actions? Ok, yes, that was more than one question.

I don’t have the answers and as much as I’d like to push it to the back-burner (considering Mila’s only 14 and a half months), I know Mila will be questioning me before I know it.

Ah, the beauty of parenting…

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* “To Be with You” (a number one single in 15 countries in 1991)

The Music of Sleep. Or, The Sleep of Music.

“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”*

August 16, 2011.
1 month, 2 days.

While in the womb, it’s been said that music has a wonderful, calming effect on a baby. Studies have made connections between brain development and music, dubbing this as the “Mozart Effect”. There are critics for everything you go searching for, so I’ll just tell you my results. (Dan thinks it’s hogwash that if you play Mozart, your baby will be smart, however, he kept urging Mozart for my baby playlist.)

I made a playlist of different music, (all mellow sounds), and played it to Mila by placing headphone speakers to my belly, every night as I lay reaching for sleep. Most of the time, this playlist put me to sleep. I mixed happy songs and sad songs, since I figured it didn’t much matter since she didn’t know the words. It’s the vibrations that become the baby’s lullaby.

Fisher-Price World Baby
Peaceful Celtic Lullabies

Once Mila arrived, I played this playlist on repeat throughout the night and it seemed to send her into a calm and restful sleep.  When the CD no longer worked, (I’m noticing a trend here with Mila boring of things), I switched it with this — a CD I was given by a friend. –>

I instantly fell in love with this CD. And so did Mila.

To keep things interesting – and Mila to sleep – I would switch between this CD and my original playlist. At some point Dan put the country music station on and we added a third to the mix. It never fails – when Mila is fussy and wont sleep, I change the style of music and it really does help her drift off to sleep.

We have a few other CDs in this collection but they don’t seem to do the trick the way this one does. I highly recommend this to mothers of newborns – or even to those playing music to their unborn child. And definitely, for your sake, keep a radio/CD player in the nursery. The music helps drown out other noise in the house and it gets baby used to sleeping through noise.

August 20, 2011.
1 month, 6 days.

Another item I found very useful at getting Mila to sleep is the glow seahorse or some variation of that. I used this when Mila was really little and actually just started using it again. There are nights that Mila just refuses to close her eyes. The light from this distracts her, gives her something to focus on and between the glow and the song, she falls asleep in no time.

*Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, (1865).

Don’t ask me what any of that had to do with this – I just liked the quote.

Advice for Dads of Daughters

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

{by Michael Mitchell}

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

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http://www.fromdatestodiapers.com/50-rules-for-dads-of-daughters

Lesson #66: My Lil’ Fatty

August 26, 2011: Who needs weights when you’ve got a baby? It’s actually getting easier to lift my little fatty.

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Footnote, October 6: I use “fatty” as a term of endearment. In recent weeks I’ve told Dan to stop using the word “fat” because Mila will have a complex before she’s even 3-months-old. Then I caught myself using the same word and have been working on curbing my tongue. Fat has such a negative connotation that I don’t want Mila to grow up being called or calling other kids “fat”. I went through this myself, (being teased at school) and that was heartbreaking enough.