28 Weeks of Lydia

Lydia had her six-month doctor’s visit this week. Nothing too eventful there. We’re doing the normal vaccine schedule, and it’s been working really well to have her in the wrap for her shots. That way she’s right up next to me and she can nurse right afterwards.

Here are some stats:

The scale said 7.56 kg, which is 16.7 lbs.

She was measured at 27.5 in (though I never trust these measurements to be all that accurate).

That puts her just above the 50th percentile for weight, and closer to the 90th for height. We didn’t measure head size.

And I think Lydia is actually one of the smallest babies of the eight in our birth class! (And they’re pretty much all exclusively breastfed (plus solids in the case of the older ones) too.)

Overall mood this week has been good. We had one or two days where she was on the fussier end, but I think it had to do with interrupted naps. She seems happy these days.

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Conscious Judging, Mourning, and Self-Forgiveness

One day, maybe I’ll write a post about how “judgement” (like “belief”), is one of those words that is overloaded to the point where using it at all is likely to interfere with precise communication.

But today, I’ll just use the word “judgement” as best I can.

While I was working with someone the other day, it came to our attention thats he had a bunch of unresolved, quasi-specific judgements about herself.

When I say quasi-specific, I mean that they were somewhere between “I’m not good enough” and “I would have had a more fun evening if I’d remembered to download Game of Thrones a few hours earlier.”

Judgements like these can be quite suffering-inducing because (as usual) it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of resisting them.

One solution is to take a step back and not only noticed the judgements but make space for them, hear them out, decide whether they’re true and how you’d like to change your behavior in the future. Once you’ve done that, you can mourn the past, forgive yourself, and move on.

I’ll give an example below, using a judgment that still somewhat lands for me, that “I’m lazy.”

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27 Weeks of Lydia

Six months plus one week!

I’m tired right now, but tiredness has not characterized my week overall. We were both pretty happy this week.

We’ve been doing solids for another whole week, so that still feels pretty new.

We also went to the zoo today, which was maybe the first kid activity I planned for Lydia. As expected, she didn’t appear to care much about the zoo activities, but it was fun for me, and she did actually enjoy the goat at the petting zoo when I held her down at its level.

I’m so glad I’ve been taking the time to write these summaries every week, because she really is so different! I know I forget a lot as it is, but I would forget much more if I didn’t keep these records.

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IFS and Learning to Visualize

Last week, I did some first-time IFS with someone whose experience reminded me a lot of mine when I first got started. I used to be one of those people who said I had trouble visualizing. I don’t think I quite said that I couldn’t visualize, but it seemed hard to do so. When other people described stable, vivid imagery I couldn’t relate. I found forward digit span much easier than backward, because I could use auditory memory for the former and not easily for the latter. I used to experience something like writing things on a mental blackboard and having them fade very quickly.

Now, I would say that I can visualize just fine. My husband has much more vivid imagery than mine, still. Often, I get to the end of books and still don’t have clear pictures of the characters in my head. My dreams are sometimes vivid and sometimes not. But my visualizations are clearer, more stable, and much easier to access.

I attribute some of the change in my ability to doing a lot of IFS.

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26 Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is six months old today! I find this quite exciting. We got her three new toys to play with, and she was definitely into their novelty. The caterpillar and car seem like good toys for her. The car is pretty much the only good rolling toy she has now, and it’s good for chasing around. She can’t use the stacking rings for their intended purpose at all, which is fine, but there are also a bunch of pieces that roll around a lot. I’m putting it away for now because I know otherwise I’ll be constantly getting the bits from under the couches.

The fussiness last week that I attributed to Wonder Week 26 seems to have passed. It was around the first half of this week, but it’s been a few days since I’ve noticed it, which feels like forever ago in baby world. Still no sign of teeth.

We also started solid food today! She’s been sitting up and putting everything in her mouth quite well for ages, and the last few weeks she’s also seemed particularly focused on food. I was tempted to start earlier, but I figured it would be a good idea to wait until her gut had matured. I don’t know that there’s much importance to it, but, for what it’s worth, I’ve maintained Lydia’s virgin gut until this point.

I’ll talk more about the solids thing below. As you’ll see, I’ve added a new section about it.

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Feeling Overwhelmed While Working?

After our recent productivity webinar, I did some one-on-one IFS work, and I (again) ran into what I think is actually a pretty common not-so-uselful belief:

“Until I’m finished, I can’t feel okay.”

I used to think this way too, that I had to feel overwhelmed and guilty until I got all my important things done. I distinctly remember the IFS I did on myself to address this issue. If you notice yourself running into the problem where you feel bad and overwhelmed even when you’re actually in the middle of doing work, I’d recommend reading on and seeing if anything I say clicks with you.

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25 Weeks of Lydia

Another week! This week wasn’t as hard for me emotionally as last week, nor was Lydia as happy. But continues to get stronger and learn more things. It’s hard to believe that, as of next week, we’ll have been doing this whole parenting thing for half a year!

Lydia was born a week late, so the crankiness that’s come on recently is just about on time for Wonder Week 26. Not sure how much I really trust that book, since the wonder weeks are so frequent, and they can last up to a month. But I suppose it’s nice to be able to put a label on what’s going on with her.

I also wonder about teething pains, as usual, despite nothing being close to the point of being able to feel any bumps. At one point, she went to town on her frozen washcloths, which is maybe some evidence.

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“Did I Cause That?” Usually Comes from a Young Place

Last week, I had a very useful conversation with my own IFS therapist. She helped me sort through a whole mess of confusing thoughts I had been having and get back to a grounded place. In the course of this process, one of the thoughts that came up for me was along the lines of “Did I cause this?”

She shared one of her heuristics with me, which is that thoughts about whether we’ve caused something, or whether something is “our fault” usually come from very young parts of our psyche. 

Obviously, this isn’t to say that there aren’t true questions to be asked and answered about what role we played in a particular outcome. We can ask where our intentionality was pointed. We can look at the various contributing factors and wonder whether what happened was overdetermined or not. 

We can certainly look at our actions and determine whether they were in line with our values and what we would and wouldn’t do again.

But it’s also important to know that the visceral “is this my fault” feeling is most likely something leftover from being much younger.

24 Weeks of Lydia

This week was a hard one for me, for reasons that had nothing to do with Lydia. So it worked out well that it was a happy week for her! I’m definitely telling people she’s five and a half months old now, and she’s learning more and more all the time. I still take her pretty much everywhere with me, and in some ways I think I’ve been in a sweet spot of her being pretty happy to sit around and play on her own, and also not moving very far from where I put her down.

I’m always excited for her to get older and be able to do more stuff, but that’s what I appreciate about where I am now.

These days, it’s working really well for me to accept what she’s doing and not try to influence it much. (The biggest exception is that I can’t help myself with the crawling thing… I do keep putting toys further and further out of her reach because I get excited.) I also take her around with me everywhere, and in a lot of ways by life isn’t that different from my pre-Lydia days. 

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Things IFS Teaches

A while back, I made a list of things that I think people tend to learn from engaging with the IFS process, so I thought I would post it here. (There are obviously tons of other ways to learn these things, and many people will already know a bunch of them.) These are in no particular order.

  • Curiosity and compassion are very useful for doing introspection.
  • Emotional/behavior/thought patterns can often be modified by interacting with specific memories.
  • The mind isn’t unitary. It’s very normal to have conflicting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
  • Leaning into painful sensations is often a really good idea.
  • We (humans) mostly see what we’re expecting to see.
  • It’s possible to end long-running arguments with yourself.
  • It’s possible to look back at memories that were once very painful and be at peace with them.
  • Intense “negative” emotions aren’t always subjectively unpleasant.
  • Often emotions will go away once you’ve heard what they’re trying to tell you.
People have also reported greater awareness of the physical experience of feeling emotions and recalling memories, and more vivid visualizations.
IFS can give people heuristics for recognizing confabulation.
Leading others through the IFS process also seems to promote enhanced social awareness, and increased curiosity about others, at least in certain contexts.