Thursday, May 31, 2012

That's My Girl!

So if you stopped in yesterday, you saw a picture of my beautiful daughter Rosie all gussied up for the 8th grade graduation dinner dance (she's on the left, in pink)













Fred didn't get home till after she left for the dance, so he was really looking forward to when she returned home, so he could see how pretty she looked.

I had showed him the pictures on the computer, and we were shaking our heads in disbelief at how grown up she had become, how elegant she looked.

The time finally arrived. From the dogs barking, we knew she had gotten dropped off from her ride.

We heard her shoes clip-clopping as she ran along the deck to the kitchen door.

The door opened and she swirled in in a heartbeat, her cheeks flushed and her dress billowing all around her.

She was a vision of feminine grace.

Fred: Rosie, you look beautiful! How was the dance?
Me: Yes, come sit down and tell us all about it!
Rosie: Can't now. I gotta go change so I can hunt rats with Garrett and James in the barn! Here, hold my fish....

And she was gone. And I was left, quite literally, holding the bag (of the beta fish she won at the dance).



Fred (to me): The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?



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Thanks for stopping by!
~Anne


Hey, guess what? Someone nominated my blog for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Moms of Teens Blog contest! You can vote for me every day till June something (20th?) by clicking on the Circle of Moms badge in my sidebar on the right, then scrolling down till you find my blog, then click on the thumbs-up button. Easy peasy. And while you're there? Give a vote to my friend Samantha from My Barefoot Farm. Thanks to whomever nominated me, and thanks to everyone for your votes!


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

My daughter Rosie before her 8th grade graduation dinner-dance....


















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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adoption Tuesday - Attachment.10 (Final)

Resources

I've decided to end this little series on attachment here, with a nice even 10.

That's not to say that I'll not be continuing to post on the topic, but it will be an occassional bit, not part of a weekly series.

In fact, today's post is not even any advice/tips/insights, but just a share of a few resources that might come in handy if you have a RADish in your life.

Before I get to that list, I'd like to take a minute for the disclaimer I never got around to, which is chiefly that
I AM NOT AN EXPERT!

Not by any means.

I am simply someone who has btdt for the past three (+) years. I have shared my experiences, my observations, my thoughts. Any successes or failures on my part with what I've been dealing with are merely anecdotal, so take them for what they're worth.

I urge ANYONE dealing with attachment issues, or who is parenting a child of trauma, to do three things:

....
1) Seek the help of an expert in the field of attachment issues.

2) Read, read, read. There are plenty of books and articles on the subject.

3) Get yourself a support system. Family, church, listservs, blogs, forums, face-to-face support groups. Whatever works for you, and it might mean several or all of the above, find it. You can't go this road alone




Now then. Resources:

Wikipedia: Never a bad idea to start here to understand the basics and find a list of their resources.
Mayo Clinic: Ditto.
Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio: This is the site of my guru of attachment, Gregory Keck. Loads of great info here.
Attachment.org: Good list of resources, some helpful Q&A, tips on finding a therapist, and some good, basic info on attachment issues.

RADKid.org List of Books: This is a nice site that lists books on the topic of attachment, with representations from Gray, Keck, Thomas, and more.



And if you ever want to read back over any of my previous posts on the topic, here they all are in one spot:

Previous posts on Attachment:
Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.4 Control
Attachment.5 Cycles
Attachment.6 Consequences
Attachment.7 Tip: Add it on
Attachment.8 Attachment Activities
Attachment.9 Special Treatment


You can also find more posts on the topic of RAD and PTSD in the label cloud in my sidebar on the right.

Thanks to all who have followed along here. Good luck and God bless as you parent your hurt child. You're in my prayers....

~Anne



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Monday, May 28, 2012

Mirth Monday Becomes (for today) Memorial Monday














Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Memorial Day!
~Anne


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Social - Finnegan

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (14)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbett and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin, and Finnegan ; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Finnegan.






















Handsome?
C'mon...

Those blue eyes, that tri-color coat, that beautifully-shaped face.

Yeah, he's pretty to look at, but he's a brat. Temperament-wise, he's night and day from his brother Pippin. Pippin is docile and sweet, trustworthy and friendly, but Finn is pretty high-strung. Where Pipp is like a good ol' mongrel that wants to follow you around, Finn is more like an over-bred Poodle on crack. They're full brothers, though, which makes Finn 1/2 Gypsy Cobb (aka Vanner)1/2 Percheron and 1/4 Welsh. Should be a nice combination. It is in Pippin. It's not in Finnegan.

In fact, though he's already two years old, we haven't started any saddle training with him at all, and likely won't till next year. He hasn't even passed his basic ground training yet.

Though I haven't broken him in yet, he's broken me in, in a number of ways.
He was the first (and very likely the last) foal to be born under my care, and that was very rewarding. Nerve-wracking, but rewarding.

I also had to take him through the whole weaning process, as well as get him gelded.
So that was fun. Made for good dinner conversation, anyway.

He might be beyond my abilities, horse-training-wise. Aunt Mary, can you move in for a time and get him all broke for me?

Either he's gonna get broke, or I am.

Most days I feel pretty broke anyways....






Thanks for stopping in!
~Anne



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Saturday, May 26, 2012

LOL Lunch Date

Every now and again, Fred has a day off, and the stars and our schedules align such that we can have a lunch date.
When this happens, we generally go to the same spot we go to every time: an upscale pizza place. I say upscale because it has art on its walls. The art is all themed on boldly-colored cows, but it is art, nonetheless.

A mere two days before our last lunch outing, however, I had read in the community paper that a nearby restaurant had changed owners, and it now boasted a more modern menu and user-friendly hours. I pressed my case for a change in pace….

Me: I know they used to be only open for brunch after church, but now they’re serving 3 meals a day!

Fred: Weekdays, too?

Me: Yes, weekdays, too. Let’s check it out, because it could be someplace great that we could take the kids once in a while for dinner. Family friendly, local, good food, should be perfect!

Fred: Sigh (meaning yes).

We arrived.

Me: See? Isn’t it adorable?!

Fred: Yes. ‘Adorable’ is just the word I was searching for.

As we were wlaking in, we spotted a white bus in the parking lot. Ruh-roh. It had “day trip” written all over it.

We walked into the diner just in time to see the tail end of a group of seniors shuffling their way with their walkers and quad canes to the last of the tables.

Waitress: I’m sorry, we don’t have any more tables. You could sit at the counter, or…..
The booth.

Me: Oooh, I love booths. We’ll take that.

She looked at me in a “you don’t come here often” kinda way, and then led us to our table.
The seat of the booth was at least 3 feet off the ground. Fred and I pulled the table away from the bench, stepped up on the foot bar/stepstool, hoisted ourselves up onto our seat, and pulled the table back in, our feet swinging freely beneath us like we were a couple of Kindergarteners. There was no seating on the opposite side of the table, so we sat shoulder-to-shoulder, like passengers on a train.

Aloft on our perch, we glanced around and beamed at our Kingdom of the Elderly spread before us, seated at their little tables.

Fred: Does a scepter come with our meal, because how am I to be expected to rule my Kingdom without one?

The driver of the senior bus, a little man who bore a striking resemblance to Dobby the House Elf, was stowing away all the walking paraphenalia in the coat cubby to my left, when one of the fold-up walkers swung out unexpectedly and hit the lever on the fire alarm box.

We laughed at the shrill beeping and flashing lights that ensued. What an amusing little anecdote we would have to share with the children later. We soon sobered, however, when it seemed no amount of fussing with the alarm box, or phone calls to the powers that be, or surly looks from the owner, could shut the thing down. Every few minutes, the pattern of the beeps would change and we would think it was about to stop. Nope. Change pattern, increase in volume, increase the frequency of the flashing lights, but not stop.

Waitress: Can I take your order?

Me: Yes, I’d like the Angus burger, well-done, with some mayo on the side, and the sweet potato fries instead of the regular.

Waitress: I’m sorry?

Me: The Angus burger? Well-done? With…

Waitress: I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Me: THE BURGER! THE BURGER!

Waitress: And you, sir?

Fred made his dietary needs known with a series of gestures and hand signals and grunts that would have made Nell proud.

At the next round of volume/frequency increases, I finally had to cover my ears when the decibel level reached eardrum-bursting stage. I noticed all the little old people were sticking their fingers in their ears, too. Fred wasn’t. Glad he doesn’t have hearing loss or anything. Ahem.


The rest of our conversation took place by screaming in each other's ears like we were a couple of 20-something clubbers.

Fred: Why do I feel like at any minute, Charlton Heston is going to burst through that door, screaming, "Soylent Green is people!"(spoiler alert)




Me: Hand me that spoon, I think I'm about to have a seizure.

Fred: I've got a strange feeling that these folks are bussed in, and fed a decent meal...


Me: ...And they never leave!

Fred: Do you think if I pull this wall-sconce forward, our booth would swivel around on its axis and we would suddenly be on the other side of this wall?

Me: Yes! Maybe we're the new foremen of the Soylent Green operation. This booth is our foreman's platform so we can survey the floor.






Fred: Perhaps some dentures fell into the gears of the conveyor belt and it's up to us to resolve the problem...

Me: ...and save humanity!


Just then, the beeps and flashing lights abruptly stopped. Just as suddenly, we had nothing more to say to each other.

We ate in golden silence for a few minutes, and then I said,

Me: See? Aren't you glad we tried someplace new?







Thanks for stopping in!
~Anne

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Farm Friday - Table Talk

You know what they say: sitting down to dinner together as a family is vital. It encourages conversation, interest in each other's lives, family commitment.

And we're pretty good about doing that in our family, busy as we are at times.

However, I don't always think the kids would agree that our conversations are a positive thing.

For instance, about this time last year, we had our colt gelded.

And the topic came up at dinner....





Fred: So what did you do today?

Me: Got my hair cut this morning. And Finnegan got cut too. He was transformed from stud to gelding today.

Fred: Oh that's right, today was the day ...

Rosie: Yeah. Dad. You have GOT to do something about Mom!

James: Yeah, Dad, she took pictures of his testicles!

Me: I took pictures of the whole process, what's so wrong about that?

Rosie: But you didn't have to put them on your BLOG!

Julie: That is so gross.

Me: A girl's gotta have something to blog about.

Fred: Did you really blog about his castration?

Me: Yes. In the interest of science I blogged about his castration. Is there a problem?

Patrick: Mom. Mom. Comeon.

Bella: You took pictures of his wha...?

Daniel: His testicles, Bella, his testicles! You know, the man's parts that make a baby!

Bella: Mans can have babies?

James: That is just so wrong Mom. You didn't even ask us.

Me: Was I supposed to ask you if I could have Finn gelded or ask if I could photograph the process or ask permission to blog about it?

James: Yes. Everything you should ask. Is not right.

Daniel: What did you do with them?

Me: With what?

Daniel: The testicles. What did you do with the testicles?

Fred: What do you think you're eating? You didn't think that was chicken in that chicken-noodle casserole, did you?

Kids: Oh that is so gross.
I am going to throw up.
I can't believe I live in this family.
What is wrong with everyone?
Mans can have babies?
Is not right.

Fred: Waste not, want not.











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I'm linking up today's post with the barn hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House. Come check it out!














Image courtesy: clkr.com



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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Standard Slippage

When the kids were little, I was several steps ahead of the game when it came to the celebration of their birthdays.

If my preschooler was into dinosaurs? I crafted a cake complete with volcano, trees, and dinosaurs of both the herbiferous and carniverous varieties.

If the child in question was into knights? There was sure to be a castle cake, with candles on the towers, and a functioning portcullis.

As the kids got older, the cakes became simpler affairs, but they still kept to minimal standards. Namely, on time, favorite kind, and correct number of candles.

That is, until the barrage of permission slips, piercing requests, and texting plans got the better of me and I began to fall behind the eight ball.

Case in point:

Julie had a birthday recently.

When the kids were in school,I got the cake made. It was even the requested kind
chocolate on chocolate. Is she my girl or what?

It was on time.

But I kind of forgot about the candles. Never even checked to see if we had any.

I made the cake when the kids were in school, then ran out to pick up Daniel. By the time I got back, Rosie had prettied up the cake with some sprinkles, and added the candles. This is what it looked like:










Rosie found 12 birthday candles in the pantry, plus a number '2' candle. So she arranged the 12 candles, then broke a toothpick in half to make a plus sign, and then added the '2'.

I said to her, "What is all this?"

"Isn't it obvious? 12 + 2 = 14."


And that's how birthday cakes are done once you enter the realm of teenagers.
Or the realm of Moms-too-busy-to-make-sure-we-have-birthday-candles.

I guess they are one and the same realm.






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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Who makes my heart hurt every time I look at her?















Bella.




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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adoption Tuesday - Attachment.9

Special Treatment

The topic of today's post is more related to general parenting than it is to RAD/attachment, however, I have found I use this concept more now that I have a RADish in the fold.

It's about special treatment.

I know the trend today is equal treatment for all kids. If Suzie has a birthday, you'd better be sure little Johnny has something to open as well, so he doesn't feel left out. If McKenzie ran in the race on field day, she'd better get a medal for "participation", even if she finished middle of the pack.

Well, call me slow, but I've never caught on to this particular trend. I don't think we're doing this generation of kids any favors by letting them think "everyone's a winner". We're not. Some excel at running, some at art, some at cheer and others at math. And that's OK. On the flip side, some kids need a little extra help at things their peers find easy-peezy. That's alright, too. And what do we do with kids that need some extra help, and could easily get quite discouraged? We find ways to help motivate them.

I've always tried to teach my kids that fairness has a way of making the rounds. Your brother got some special reward/treat today? Great, let's be happy for him. That may be you next week. Or next month. Who knows?

Sometimes, one of the kids may need a little extra help to get through a tough section in their science class. Maybe I might reward them in some small way if they completed all their homework, and they studied, and they did passably well on the test. When the kids were little and one of them had to take a nasty course of antibiotics, I was no stranger to sticker charts to help motivate them, with a little prize at the end to reward them for getting through it.

Likewise, kids with RAD need extra help learning to be a part of a family.
And I'd better not hear, "He gets a reward just for being nice? NO FAIR!" Because you know what? That doesn't come easy to him, and he needs a little help to learn how to do it. Just like the others, at different times, needed help learning to read, or keeping their room clean, or establishing the habit of using their agenda book in school, or using the potty, or anything else that might have been difficult or challenging at one time or another.

The list of things that a child with attachment issues or a history of trauma might have trouble with could include:

sharing
honesty
eye contact
appropriate physical boundaries
respectful language
putting forth effort in school
understanding the sense of a "family"
contributing to chores
resolving disputes in a controlled manner


I have no problem using incentives to help a child of mine learn these concepts. To me it is no different than any of the other examples I listed above. The hard part can be educating others (siblings, teachers, other family members, parents of friends) that there is no difference.

It should be this simple:

Area of struggle for the child ---> help from parent in a way that will be meaningful for the child

I should be able to fill in any area of struggle, not just the ones people are used to seeing most commonly. Practice the trumpet? Clean your room? Say something nice to your sibling?
Help your children (and others, as needed) learn that it doesn't matter what area your child is struggling with. What matters is that you've identified it, and you are helping him or her in the best way you know how.


















Previous posts on Attachment:

Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.4 Control
Attachment.5 Cycles
Attachment.6 Consequences
Attachment.7 Add It On
Attachment.8 - Attachment Activities



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Monday, May 21, 2012

Mirth Monday - Carol Burnett Bloopers (Outtakes)







Oh, btw, I'm linking up my post Weaning Time on Homestead Revival's barn hop today. Come check it out!




















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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Social - Pippin

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (14)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbett and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Pippin.
















Isn't he the cutest thing ever?

Ok, I know he's not really cute, in the definitive sense.

He's got a Roman nose. His blaze is all crooked and broken and splotchy. He's high in the hindquarters. Where he used to be a glistening black with white socks and blaze, he's now turning grey. And not in a dignified, elegant, salt and pepper way, but in a what's-going-on-with-his-coat way. He looks awful. I'm sure he's headin' for all grey, like his Mama, but for now he is...not very attractive.

But he's still cute. Cute b/c of his personality
his equinality????
He's sweet and funny and much more like most dogs I've known than most horses I've known.

He's a "pocket pony", meaning he'll follow you around the pasture if you're out making fence repairs or what-not.


He came as a package deal when we bought Genevieve back about 2 1/2 years ago. He was about 6 mths old at the time, and just as friendly back then as he is now. Gen is his Mama, and a strikingly handsome Gypsy Cob (aka Gypsy Vanner) is his Papa, so that makes Pip 1/2 Gypsy, 1/4 Percheron and 1/4 Welsh. He's pony-sized, standing, I'm guessing, at about 14 hh, or maybe 13.5 (just eye-ballin').


He's Daniel's pony, and in theory, he's been training him.

In actuality, we haven't gotten out there to work with him a whole heck of a lot, as one thing or another always seems more pressing than pony-training time. Still, he's doing well, and I think he's only a couple lessons away from being able to be ridden whenever the kids feel like jumpin' aboard. As you would probably expect from what I've already said about him, he's been incredibly easy to train. Wonderful ground manners, and took to a saddle and rider like a fly takes to poo.

Just like his Mama, this one's a keeper.






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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Guest Post - Jennifer Grant

Remember a couple days ago when I wrote a book review on MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family? Well, here for you now is a guest post by none other than the author of that book, Jennifer Grant. Take it away, Jennifer!



A Guest Post by Jennifer Grant
author of MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family
March 26, 2012


The Funny, Broken, Love of Parenting

I click open a Facebook message. A friend has sent me a word search and tells me to let my eyes fall onto the image and take note of the first three words that I see. These are the words that best describe me, she promises.
I shrug, take a sip of coffee, and glance at it. “Funny,” “broken,” and “love” are my words.
When I close the message, I’m tempted for a moment to try again. What other words are hidden in that tangle of letters? Maybe on my second try, my eyes will land on a combination such as “smart,” “attractive,” and “successful.” (That would be nice.)
I don’t give it another try, though. The words I read the first time are just right considering how I’ve been spending my days for the past several months, thinking and writing about the family in which I am the wife and the mother and about my family of origin, where my story began.
Funny, broken, love - sounds like family.
MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family is about my own missteps and small victories as a mother. Over the years, after beginning my parenting journey – as so many of us do – staggering under the weight of the expectations I had for myself, I’ve loosened up. I’ve come to learn that none of us is perfect. We all fail, misunderstand our kids sometimes, and mess up in countless ways. In MOMumental, I share stories of some of my “epic fails” as a mom.

The dire messages that flash on the computer or television screen that warn what a mother absolutely must or must not do no longer hold me tightly in their grasp. I now look at myself – and at other mothers – with less judgment, knowing that we all work it out, there is no manual for motherhood, and that the most important thing in raising kids is to be authentically connected with them.
(And a person can do that whether she serves microwaved macaroni and cheese to her kids for lunch every day or gives them homemade bread and a sampling of organic greens from her vegetable garden. Whether or not she homeschools them, uses “the family bed,” or exposes them to Mozart by the time they are six days old.)

I hope in sharing my own personal – and often quite cringe-worthy – story in MOMumental, other parents will show themselves, and other parents, more grace as we raise our children.

To me, those three words – funny, broken, and love – are great ones to reflect on when I think about the gift of family. To be able to enjoy our kids, repair our relationships with them when needed, and most of to love our children like crazy covers a multitude of parental crimes and misdemeanors.

Wishing you all the best in your own messy family-making adventures!












Image courtesy: redbudwritersguild.com

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Look at Me, I'm Guest Posting!

Today I'm guest posting over on Monique Liddle's blog "Bends in the Road."
She is featuring my essay "The Broken Child," which is a piece I wrote after one particularly upsetting RAD/PTSD 'episode.'

Here's a teaser....

With the help of my other sons, we righted the table.
Rolling fruit was gathered and washed.
Jagged ceramic lay in pieces on the floor.
The dish, a gift, looked broken beyond repair.
I gathered the fragments together and began placing them in a sack to be discarded.

The dish wasn't the only broken thing here.
My son, full of teen angst and layers of past traumas, had flipped this table over in a moment of rage.
Not a rage over the losses in his life or the hurts he's endured, but over the latest insurmountable injustice. He didn't get the seat he wanted when it came time to watch a movie, and this insignificant precipitator had escalated and swollen till its enormity could not be controlled.

Sweeping up the broken bits too small to be gathered by hand, I wondered,
Could I fix my child?

Such arrogance to pose that question...



To read the rest, head on over to Bends in the Road.

Thanks!









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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Farm Friday - Weaning Time

About this time last year, I had to go through the process of getting my colt Finnegan weaned from his Mama.

Although many horsey-folk prefer to do this by shipping one or the other off to board somewhere for a month, I don't like doing things that way. Having nursed babies myself, I thought the whole thing just sounded too stressful for all parties involved (yes, myself included).

So what I did was just keep Genevieve separated in a pen where she and her baby could still see and hear each other, but he wouldn't have access to the 24/7 milk bar.

And it worked out quite well. Have a look....




So the weaning process is still ongoing. And Mama and son are both doing well. Some crying and pacing, to be sure, but they're dealing.

But doing things this way does mean more work.

I have to pitch hay out to Genevieve since she no longer has access to the barn.

I (meaning my kids) have to haul buckets of water out to refill her water tub, because the hose won't reach that far.

And I have to milk her every now and then.

**cricket cricket **

I said I have to milk her every now and then.

See, her udder is still producing milk, it just has nowhere to go. So after a day of no 800lb baby slurpin' down his breakfast, lunch and dinner, the milk just builds up till her bag is tight and uncomfortable.

So I milk her just a bit to take the pressure off. Just enough to make her more comfortable. Plus this will fool her body into thinking that's all the milk she needs to make, so it will start to produce less on the next go round.

But Daniel was helping me feed her a couple mornings ago when he saw me reach up under her belly and start yanking on her teats.

Uhhh, Mom....?

Yes dear?

What are you doing?

I'm milking Genevieve.

Why?(See above)

He just watched with a mixture of horror and fascination for a minute, then shook his head and walked back to the house.

I think I need to add this to the chore list!!! I can just see their faces now when they discover that their weekly chores might include emptying the dishwasher, mowing the lawn, and milking the horse.

Oh, this is brilliant. I gotta go. I need to find my dry erase markers and start making some changes on the chore board.





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I'm linking today's post up with the Farmgirl Friday blog hop over at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House. Be sure to hop on over to check it out!

















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