Committed

I have decided to begin a mysore yoga practice. The first morning I showed up at Harlem’s new Land Yoga I told Lara that I am committed… but… I have to see how it works with my family after the first session. Lara politely told me that if I intend to take class, I need to be committed to 3x a week for minimum of a month.
I have been deliberating whether to babycare swap or pre-school or pre-un-school this fall. I got cold feet when the JCC required us to commit to a class series in advance without a trial session.
Tis the season to take on new endeavors. Sometimes there is a problem with our culture’s insistence that down time is a waste of time. We schedule ourselves and our children into a busy tizzy.
But there is beauty in making a commitment of our time, money, and efforts. I often notice myself weighing all the pros and cons of a particular situation only to find later that as much as I deliberated, the one variable I hadn’t considered becomes most prominent. Or if I deliberate too long, the opportunity passed, or I lost steam.
When we look for a backdoor, we often find one. But maybe we don’t need a way OUT as much as we need a way IN. When we spend our time avoiding getting stuck, we’re not spending time in the current opportunity that presented itself.
I was really pleased that Lara pressed me.
I encourage you to commit yourself to something today. Nurture that part of yourself that still has instincts and intuition and trust that you were meant to encounter the ramifications if there are some. It’s not being reckless – even if you make a “mistake,” it was a mistake that was made in the name of allowing yourself to practice using your intuition, so that there are less mistakes in the future.
I guess I’m saying… seize the day family.
Posted without 108 revisions,
Julia 🙂

food, glorious food

Which foods, when, and how is always a hot topic in the parent circles, so I’ll share what we did with Bina and why.

There’s strong evidence for the benefits of delaying solids until at least 6 months. Yet there may be strong interest on the part of your little one to eat your hummus sandwich; or you’re nervous that it’s post-6 months and the baby shows more interest in eating dirt than applesauce – what’s a parent to do?

To delay solids, we started giving Bina a bamboo spoon or her own bowl at the table when we were eating… then we gave her non-digestable foods – ie whole uncooked carrot, kale, celery (also good for teething). Next we gave barely digestible foods like red pepper slices, cucumber sticks; at 7 months (sitting, had 2 teeth) we gave lightly steamed broccoli (big stalk with handle), artichokes (surprisingly successful – the leaves offer a lot of food!), sweet potato (not pureed), and avocado (a quarter of it, in its skin, so she had something to hold onto). Babies have a hard time reaching the food inside their fist so anything that they can hold but sticks up above the fist is ideal. This is known as “baby led introduction to solids” or “baby led weaning” which has been fabulous for us – no purees, no spoon feeding, letting babies explore with supervision.
and a fun blog about this:
http://babyledweaning.blogware.com/

I’m trying to get comfortable with giving Bina table foods now, at 9 months, so I let her stick her hand in most things i eat lately, and she at least gets the experience of joining in with me. But I have to admit salt and anything processed still leaves me cold – her palate is still so new; she can appreciate flavors of foods without additional seasonings… why devirginize her taste buds so quickly?? High fructose corn syrup and candy will be knocking down our door before I know it. Her diet is still almost exclusively breastmilk, veggies and fruits.

So why not fish or bread? In the first full year of life, the baby’s primary nutrition is breastmilk or formula – any other eating plays an educational, explorative roll more than a nutritive one. So I figure I’m going to wait on processed foods or other animal products for a bit. And why not rice cereal, commonly touted as the first food because it is iron-fortified? This may make more sense for formula-fed babies than breastfed babies. So if your baby is showing no interest in food, take it as a gift from the heavens and wait to get yourself covered in muck until they loose the tongue thrust reflex and can sit upright.

What about allergies and food order? Or if you just can’t shake the need to put your baby in a high chair and give them purees? Wholesomebabyfood.com
is a great website with suggestions for first foods, recipes, and allergen advice.

This is such a bigger issue than what your yoga teacher tells you to feed your baby (or yourself). Food is love. Food is politics. Food is culture, it is body image, it is joy, it is health, it is art. Babies may want food early, but some don’t. Some just like sticking everything in their mouths. Some do want food early, but it’s for the social interest to do what we are doing. So draw from your own traditions, interests, and your baby’s unique cues.

What’s your favorite unique first food for babies? Post below:

40

Bina turned 9 months old last weekend – she is working on standing “no hands.” And I turn 40 weeks postpartum this weekend – I’ve been working on my handstands. I’ve had as much time as it took to grow a baby inside to recover and grow from the process. It feels like a time to think about me individually – finally getting back into my “own” projects and practices – (starting this blog… shedding the last of the baby weight?) – while the last nine months have been focused on me as a mother.

It feels auspicious to be arriving at this milestone right at the time of my own birthday, giving more food for thought on the juxtaposition of me as individual and me as someone inextricably linked to another. Our birthdays are the start of our sun period, a time where our energy and creative capacity is heightened, so I want to use this momentum and make ritual of this time.

It makes me think of how many people come to the practice of yoga for the physical benefits, and only along the way find other benefits. The mind and body are inextricabIy connected, just as my place in the world is now inextricably connected to my role as mother.

The “becoming” of who we are and the work we still have to do is a process. It struck me how practicing yoga can bring us closer with our babies. It is so valuable for them to see that even as adults, we’re not perfect – it’s about process more than the end result. Having a practice of our own also helps us relate to how hard our babies are working when they try, again and again, to roll, crawl, or walk on their own two feet.

If you need a jump start on your practice, yogis implement a 40 day sadhana – you must do the new practice every day for 40 days and if you miss one day you must start again. It’s a simple thing that anyone can do when we need a change. It takes about 40 days to cultivate a new habit (or 40 weeks to grow a baby… or 40 years to wander in the wilderness…) and a flood of water to mark the new phase: http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_forty.htm

Just as mind and body are inextricable in yoga, maybe your baby is inextricable from your practice. So do a little yoga with your baby around. Run to your baby from downward dog, and see if you can sneak in some sun salutes. Jump to seated in front of them and take a forward fold when you nestle their belly. Let them creep up on your chest while you have your legs up the wall. Let their persistence inspire your practice. And let them know you’re still practicing too.