Proud momma bear

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Nothing makes a momma bear prouder than compliments about her children.  This past weekend as my eldest son got married, I was honored and humbled by the number of people that commented on how handsome, polite, respectful,  charming and well-rounded all three of my sons are.

I have always believed that a mother’s most important job is raising her children, so it was very rewarding to hear that others recognize that I (we, as I must give credit to my husband too) have done a decent job.

This momma bear could not be prouder!

 

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pictures from Pixabay

 

 

 

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Breast or bottle feeding

Is it better or easier to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby?  Over the years I don’t think it has ever been disputed that breastfeeding is far healthier, but bottles are certainly very convenient, especially for fathers wanting (or needing) to feed their babies.

The health advantages of breast milk include:

  • contains antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria
  • contains all the essential minerals and vitamins needed in the first 6 months
  • lowers the risk of asthma and allergies in children
  • lowers the chance of diarrhea and ear infections
  • breastfeeding helps moms get back to pre-pregnancy weight faster

When my mother was feeding me and my siblings, (in the late 50’s and early 60’s) breastfeeding was not as popular as it is today.  Why that was I am not sure.  Moms were still predominantly “stay at home” and breastfeeding was (and still is) certainly the more economical way to go.  Maybe because of the larger families and the time commitment involved in breastfeeding.  It would be hard to concentrate on breastfeeding with a few other munchkins running around.  I have heard too that breastfeeding was considered to be an uncultured or low-class practice, an opinion that started in the early 20th century and extended almost to the 21st century.

When I was feeding my own babies (in the 90’s) breastfeeding was the thing to do.  I found it very convenient and relaxing, with no complications.  No sterilizing bottles and no filling bottles in the middle of the night.  I do know several women that had difficulties though, with low milk production or trouble with babies latching on properly.  I always said that was the advantage I had in having large babies; (my first was 10 pounds!) they had no trouble latching on and draining me every feeding.

Today, there appears to be mixed feelings about breastfeeding.  It has been making a comeback due to the increased interest in pursuing healthy, more natural lifestyles.   However, although no one can really dispute the health advantages, some modern women still feel tied down and men feel left out when choosing to breastfeed their babies.

The smart choice (in my opinion) is to do both.  Reap the health benefits for mom and baby, but make it more convenient.  Modern technology has produced very efficient (although the electric ones are costly) breast pumps and bottles with colic reducing nipples shaped like breast nipples so baby does not get confused with different sucking procedures going back and forth.

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I have seen my daughter-in-law pump two 5 ounce bottles in ten minutes, something that would have taken me hours to do by hand years ago.  Below are a few of the newest products out there for breastfeeding moms on the go; they are all greatly admired by this grandma…

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On being a Grandma

I have always claimed that my greatest accomplishments in life are my three sons.  Now that I am a Grandma too, I am discovering that this experience is right up there with being a mom, although I cannot claim it as an accomplishment.

I so envy the current generation having children with their parents willing and able to help with their grandchildren.  And, I admire the grandparents willing to spend the quality time with their grandchildren.  I am also very grateful that my two eldest sons have settled close to home, so any grandchildren they produce will be close by.  In my generation, we went to visit our grandparents once in a while, but always as a family (mine had 8 members) and usually for special occasions where the house was full of cousins and other relatives.

Spending the last few days with my grandson I am reminded of how miraculous a new baby is.  From the moment they are conceived to the time they are full grown, their progress is an amazing accomplishment, one we as humans should be incredibly proud of and grateful for.

It is such a joy to spend quality time with a grandchild, even a tiny one that spends most of the day eating, sleeping, spitting up and pooping with bouts of unexplained wailing.  Even my gardens have taken a back seat this week as I babysit (that’s what the parents call it, I call it bonding with) my grandson.

Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship

This article is about my sister Shelly, the eldest of six siblings in our family and my first teacher. Mom and Dad would be very proud of you!

University of Lethbridge professor Dr. Shelly Wismath can count herself among the best university teachers in Canada. She is one of 10 university teachers to receive the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an award that recognizes exceptional teachers in post-secondary education.

Dr. Jan Newberry, Wismath’s nominator and U of L anthropology professor, describes her as a “teaching ninja” who possesses a subtle and diplomatic style.

“Shelly has served as mentor and inspiration to me and to many other colleagues and students,” Newberry wrote in her letter of nomination. “She represents the best of what teaching can be as a career, a vocation and a model for life and learning.”

Wismath spent many years as a mathematics professor and researcher in abstract algebra. In 2009, she moved to the Liberal Education program and began focusing her research on the scholarship of teaching and learning. She played a key leadership role in building and sustaining the U of L Teaching Centre and became the inaugural Board of Governors Teaching Chair in 2007. Wismath is currently spearheading the revitalization of Liberal Education. In addition, Wismath initiated and secured funding for the long-standing Women Scholars Speaker Series.

“My reaction was stunned silence on the phone. I couldn’t believe it,” says Wismath. “It’s a huge honour to be in that group. I love teaching; it’s always been a part of what I do. It’s amazing to have that kind of recognition.”

Wismath’s philosophy of teaching arises from her experience in both mathematics and liberal education. She combines the logical reasoning and search for pattern that characterizes mathematics and the critical thinking and problem solving that mark liberal education into a philosophy that hones in on how people think, learn and reason.

“My goal is to share with my students the interactive process of asking questions and formulating and testing out answers, and engaging in vibrant discussion to learn more about ourselves and the world around us,” she says.

Wismath works hard to build relationships with her students so they feel comfortable in the learning environment and the approach works. One student wrote “I recall the many thought-provoking articles she assigned with the hopes that we, as students, would question the content of. She did not want us to merely read and accept blindly what the authors had argued, but to come to our own conclusions and situate the information within our own understandings of the world.”

“The great thing about teaching is that we learn as much from our students as they learn from us and that’s been really true for me in the last few years with a problem-solving course I designed,” she says. “That course has been the capstone of my teaching career. I’ve learned that you don’t teach people problem solving. You facilitate their learning. It was a steep learning curve for me but the students were just tremendous. They taught me a lot and were very generous with their reflections, their attention and their thoughtfulness about their learning.”

Wismath also credits the U of L for providing her with the flexibility to continue her education and to pursue topics she’s passionate about.

“The U of L has been a great place to nurture teaching as well as research,” she says. “I’ve been very lucky to have had the flexibility that I’ve had to spend time on teaching instead of research at certain points in my career or to combine them or to take on projects.”

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship brings several opportunities. In addition to becoming a life member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Council of 3M Teaching Fellows, Wismath will be invited to attend the annual conference in Halifax and a teaching and learning retreat. This is the second time a U of L professor has been awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Patricia Chuchryk, a sociology professor, received the award in 1999.

 

Source: Dr. Shelly Wismath receives prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship | UNews

Worst nightmare

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My worst nightmare may be coming true.  Years ago, back in the late 80s and early 90s, I suffered through three stillbirths and three miscarriages.  Because they were never able to determine what caused my ordeal with my pregnancies, I have always worried that my three sons might encounter similar problems.

One of the suspicions way back then was cardiovascular abnormalities, but it was never confirmed or ruled out. Today I learned that my son’s baby has an irregular heartbeat (atrial flutter) detected during a routine ultrasound.  Hopefully, modern technology can help solve and deal with the problem today.  if nothing else, I am hoping and praying that because mom is 37 weeks along in the pregnancy they can induce labor and deliver a healthy baby boy.

Now I know the heartache my mother felt, waiting for the phone to ring with news…

Diaper shower

Have you ever heard of a diaper shower?   Since Dads are much more involved in their childrens’ lives these days, a diaper shower is a modern, male version of a baby shower, to help the men celebrate their “dad to be” status.  What an awesome idea!

My eldest son organized such a diaper shower recently for his brother to celebrate our excitement to be expecting a new addition to our family.  Did I mention I am going to be a grandmother for the first time?

The event was a pool (billiards) tournament with a box of diapers as the price of admission.  My job was to collect and deliver the mountain of diapers to their new home…

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