Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Although I'm at home wearing a sweatshirt, it does have sequins on it!!

Stay safe tonight and have a Happy New Year!!



posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby-Approved Recipe: Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup


Source

I made this recipe for Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup the other night. It's one of my favorites because it's flavorful, comforting, and super easy (the ingredients are pretty much always in my pantry). Since Michael is a big fan of hummus, I thought he might like it. To make it toddler-friendly, I excluded the cayenne and added frozen chopped spinach instead of big fresh spinach leaves which tend to get a little stringy in the throat. I also had some leftover butternut squash so I tossed that in. At first, Michael just picked out the chickpeas and squished them. I decided to mash up his bowl a little more so he couldn't single out peas.

The Verdict: a huge hit! He kept gobbling and gobbling! When he really likes a food, he makes it a point to bathe himself in it. He's had it 2 nights in a row and still loves it. I gave him some pasta on the side and he put it in his bowl and started stirring. Just like mommy does when she cooks. Such a cutie. It feels so good to find a recipe that he really likes because so many things end up on the floor. Also, he's not a big fan of meat, so protein-rich meals are a must!

FYI, his other fave foods include grilled cheese, cheese of any form or flavor, pasta, alfredo sauce, broccoli, oatmeal, yogurt, and any, and I mean any fruit. My little primate.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sleeping Through the Night

Mostly. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving Michael started sleeping through the night. Not all the way through but atleast 4-5 hour stretches, sometimes more.

How? Following a schedule based on the recommended times in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as well as Michael's sleep cues and nightweaning. Once Michael's sleep schedule was well-established with naps around 9am and 1pm, bedtime around 5:30pm, wakeup around 7am, I started to log his middle of the night wake-ups. These were getting really bothersome and keeping him from consolidating his sleep. He started waking like clockwork around 11pm, 2am, and 4am. Ugh. He would sit up and tug at my shirt, try to climb over me to get to the boppy. His behavior was clearly habitual and not out of hunger.

After reading some unhelpful stories, including waking the baby up to nurse before he wakes up (why, after working so hard to get him to sleep, would I want to wake him up???), I decided to just say no. But not to every request. If he awoke while I was still awake, basically before 10 or 11pm, I would nurse. I would also nurse at his 4am waking since it was more difficult for him to go back to sleep around this time. So that meant saying no to any other wakings, mainly the 2am-ish. We co-sleep so I was not abandoning him in his crib at this time. When he awoke and wanted to nurse, I would say no and tell him to lay down and go night-night. I made sure he had his blankie and his snuggle-bear. The first few nights he cried, alot. I only picked him up if he really, really couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't want to let him cry, but he was in the bed next to me so he could snuggle up to me if he needed. It only took about a week for him to figure it out. The 11pm nursing soon disappeared on its own. Every once in a while after, he would wake around 9 or 10pm wanting to nurse and I would go ahead. That quickly disappeared too. Even over Thanksgiving, while we were visiting in-laws, he slept through the night. He still wakes around 4am to nurse and I let him, but he is able to fall asleep much quicker at that time, so I'm deciding when to wean that nursing as well. Maybe once he starts whole milk and I can make sure he is getting enough during the day.

Of course there have been setbacks. The day we were flying back from Thanksgiving, Michael came down with a fever. He was drowsy but woke frequently. Poor thing! It was his first fever! I nursed whenever he wanted to. He ended up having roseola which itself is not bad, but the fever that kickstarts it can be rough. Needless to say, night-wakings were back. Then Michael caught a cold! Battles again. But this week, his sleep is getting back on track, even with some other changes. I've always soothed Michael to sleep, in the rocking chair or standing up and swinging. Lately, he hasn't been responding well and started reaching for the bed as if he wanted to lie down, so I let him. I'll write a separate post, but basically we've started an uber-gradual process of learning to self-soothe. The other change, which I've been most resistant to, is the transition to one nap. Ugh. Again, I'm not forcing it. I'm just following Michael's cues. With his improved night sleep, he wakes up full of energy and he doesn't seem sleepy anymore around 9am or even 10 or 11 for that matter! Hopefully, there's not too many changes happening at once, but all I can do is follow his cues and make adjustments if something doesn't feel right.

I just want to let mothers of high needs babies know that your baby can nap on a schedule, be fairly easily nightweaned, and sleep through the night! And hopefully soon I'll be able to add self-soothe!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michael's First Birthday

Yesterday was Michael's first birthday! We kept it simple, no guests, a few Elmo decorations which Michael loved pointing out and squealing at, and some homemade confetti cupcakes, two of which were happily smashed and smeared by chubby little hands.

Words can't really express my emotions on this occasion. Becoming a mother to this precious baby has given me feelings that I've never had before. From the first time we made eye contact, I was smitten. I remember him staring at me so quiet and calm, those chubby cheeks and little fists. Everyday since, he has amazed me and made me laugh. I adore absolutely everything about him. I've watched him learn so many things in his first year. Smiling, laughing, rolling, crawling, eating, almost talking, dancing, clapping, and he's even started walking! But I've learned some things too. Mostly I've learned patience. Patience to observe and trust in my baby's abilities so that I can provide a nurturing environment for him to grow. I can't wait to see what the second year has in store for us!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today and everyday really, I am most thankful for my sweet, freaking adorable, smart, healthy baby.

Enjoy your holiday and be safe if you dare to shop!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gymboree Sale!!

Gymboree is having a great sale this weekend! An extra 30% off everything, sale items included! And if you're a rewards member, you get an extra 5% off!

I don't go in too often, but I usually find a couple things. Their prices are a little high, but I can always find great sale prices. I went in tonight to see if I could stock up on cute wintry items for Michael. The dinosaur collection that I LOVE was on sale! Pickings were a little slim, but I managed to get several long sleeve shirts and bodysuits, some for as little as $3!! Crazy prices!! Get over there!

Here are some of the goodies I picked up:




Dino Fair Isle Hoodie


Woolly Mammoth Tee



Dino Embroidered Jeans

Don't ask me why I'm obsessed with this collection... Have fun shopping! Sale ends Sunday!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, November 1, 2012

First Birthday Ideas

We are quickly approaching Michael's first birthday. EEK!! I have no idea what we're doing! I've been reading all these posts on Baby Center about first birthday ideas, and it just makes me feel bad to not have every detail planned yet! Am I bad or are other mothers crazy?? I think my biggest hurdle is that both sides of the family are quite far away in other states and will more than likely not be here. Soooo...a small celebration at home?? Where Michael can get as messy as he wants?? And we can put him in the tub after? Sounds like a plan.

Then there's theme. (Crickets) I've seen all kinds of elaborate themes, none of which interest me very much. My starting point is the cake. The smash cake to be exact. Do I make a bunch of cupcakes and let Michael have one? Do I make a separate cake for him, like a giant cupcake, a number one, or a puppy? I like the idea of something simple, like cupcakes, but cutely decorated with animal faces, something that will make him squeal with delight. I think I'm getting somewhere...
By the way, since when is the "smashing of the cake" a separate event which takes place before the party in a photographer's studio, aka "smash photos"??? Makes for cute pictures I'm sure, but isn't the primary entertainment of the party seeing t
he baby eat cake for the first time?? I wonder when this new tradition started.

With my niece, we had a simple family gathering at a park. She had a smash cake (a pink 3d kitty that I made from pound cake and twinkies) and a care bear sheet cake that my sister and her boyfriend made for everybody else. It was sweet and simple and very memorable for all those closest to her. The nice thing about being at a park was that cleanup was minimal! Too bad Michael's birthday is in December!

Anyways, I will keep pondering and looking for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite pinspirations so far.





I mean, come on! (Source)



The giant cupcake is adorable, isn't it?






Love the idea of block cupcakes.

I would love to hear about others' suggestions, experiences, etc! I haven't even thought of decor! (Btw, I'm playing with different blogging apps because I primarily post from my phone, so if there aren't any pics in this post, you'll know why.)
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Like most people, we actually celebrated over the weekend with some kid-friendly activities. Saturday we went to Carytown for some trick or treating and showed up at the same time as the zombie parade.

This was supposed to be a kid-friendly event. Michael handled it well. He was just excited by all the people, zombie or not, kids, and of course, PUPPIES! He did eye the zombies suspiciously, but he was ok as long as they kept their distance. He did get scared by the girl handing out candy in the first shop. She was dressed like a Dia de los Muertos skeleton, which looked really cool, but was too scary for Michael. He screamed his head off! So much for that photo op!

Of course Michael was a pumpkin. But not just any pumpkin...a skele-pumpkin! As you can see from the pic, he had a lot of fun squishing candy bars. He was even lucky enough to pop open one of those wrappers so he could taste a little chocolate. Sneaky.

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photos of Mommy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html
I'm sure you've probably read this article by now, about encouraging moms to make sure they are in pictures with their children, with or without makeup or hair done or pretty clothes. If you haven't, I suggest you do. Quite the tearjerker.
I've actually made comments to DH about how few pictures I have with Michael. In the first few weeks of his life, I was mostly in pj's. I wasn't avoiding photos--I did hate how I looked but I still wanted photos with my baby. My biggest problem is that I'm the one taking the pictures! DH kinda sucks at taking pictures,  so the few he does take of me are not good. I've tried to be more mindful, especially if we go do something, I try to get DH to take pictures of me and Michael. It's not fair that he has all these great pictures with him and I don't! And he never tells me if my gut is hanging out or hair is sticking up or giant nursing bra is showing, so yeah, I have those pictures. And I just looked at photos from today--he cut my head out of 2/3 and my face is blurred in the third. I mean, it feels intentional. No one is that crappy at taking photos, right? Moment gone forever.
Since reading this article,  I'm atleast using my smartphone to take my own pics of me and Michael--he gets such a kick out of seeing us on the screen together. If I ever find where my tripod was packed, I plan to set it up and take some better pics of us--playing, at mealtime, bathtime, whatever. I spend so much time with Michael and we have so much fun that I want to make sure he gets that when he looks back on his baby photos.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Getting Dressed and FLYing

I've started a new program to get my house out of CHAOS (can't have anybody over syndrome). I came across a post on Baby Center about the FLY Lady and decided to check it out. It's exactly what I need: an easy, step-by-step way to get my house in shape. We moved into this new house in July and have yet to get fully unpacked or fully furnished, much less clean and decorated, or even fully baby-proofed, which just stresses me out everyday. But I've been so overwhelmed by it all and didn't know where to start. FLY Lady tells you, by taking baby steps to get started, establishing small routines, and decluttering in small chunks everyday. Sunday I'm on day 4. I've shined my sink and I get dressed everyday. Friday I got dressed in a cute pleated polka dot skirt that I thought was navy and realized was black no matter what Target calls it. We also went to campus with DH so I kinda had to get dressed. I've already started to think differently, about how I can make certain areas of the house more organized and efficient. Isn't it funny that just someone telling you explicitly what to do can help so much? I already feel less stressed knowing that I can and will get this house in shape and turn it into a fun and cozy home for baby.

Can you see some of the CHAOS around me in the pic? I'm wearing my red Trinket Flats from Anthropologie and a white tee from Target. No jewelry because Michael will eat it or yank it off.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sleeping Update: Scheduling

Since reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child a few weeks ago, I started implementing a more regimented sleep schedule for Michael. I previously avoided a strict sleep schedule because I thought we would become slaves to the schedule and therefore become that couple that can't do anything because baby has to nap (as if we do so much socializing now???). After reading this book, I now know that a schedule actually works for you and your baby as long as you follow your baby's sleep cues and realize that his/her sleep patterns (as in timing) are biologically wired. In my first post on sleep, I mentioned that Michael had fallen into a nap pattern on his own, napping around 9am and 1pm, where he would fall asleep while nursing, and I would let him sleep on the boppy on me (where was I going?). Turns out those times are exactly when he's supposed to be napping, when baby naturally feels sleepy and are all part of the overall development of baby's circadian rhythms.

The last couple of months though Michael had started to catch on that nursing makes him sleepy, so he would cut feedings short before he fell asleep. It was time to implement a nap routine so he would know that his 8:30am and 12:00pm-ish feedings were followed by naps. The first couple of weeks were filled with resistance--screaming, crying, wriggling, just ugliness. Same at bedtime which was between 6 and 7. The Ergo carrier has become my nap buddy because I can't keep my big baby still when he writhes around! It usually helps to calm him down, frees my hands to stroke his head or back, and most importantly keeps him secure while I swing or squat (yes squat, or sometimes more of a side lunge) or rock him to sleep. Lately the rocking chair seems to be sufficient. His sleepy song is Apples and Bananas--for some reason it soothes him (and it's fun to sing!).

So, the big question, has his sleep improved? It's been about 5 weeks. Nap and bedtimes are much more peaceful. Bedtime is now between 5 and 6pm, wake up for the day between 6 and 7. Naps are still around 9am and 1pm, lasting 30min to one hour. Michael doesn't resist or cry as much (or at all some days) and I no longer feel like I'm forcing him to sleep. Our pre-sleep routine is very sweet and snuggly now--sometimes he'll just stare up at me while I sing and just fall asleep. Although, since he's a high needs baby, he manages to find a distraction while rocking, even if it's my face. As long as he's not getting too worked up, I let him fidget with whatever's caught his attention, and he usually stops after a few minutes and puts his head down. His naps were running 1-2 hours, but they've been getting shorter with morning being the shortest, around 30 min. He's still waking up at night, but there does seem to be an overall progression to fewer wake-ups, this week especially with about 3 wake ups, so I'm very hopeful that the schedule is working and he is catching up on his sleep debt. I'm also only nursing at night if he seems really upset and absolutely can't fall asleep. Just as the book says, he usually has a wake up between 4am and 6am where he has a hard time going back to sleep. Even nursing doesn't work unless I catch him before he fully wakes up. Otherwise I usually have to use the rocking chair, where he squirms and squirms until working his way down to my lap with his head in my tummy--not very comfy for me to hold but it works! I can't believe I never heard of this book before! I think this would be a great read for mommas of high needs babies wsho just don't want to sleep! Now if only there's a book on transitioning a 10 month old high needs baby with separation anxiety from the family bed to the crib...Maybe I'll have to write that one. ;-)

Quick Post: J Crew Bubble Necklace Lookalike for $16

This is just a quick post to let you know about a deal from Living Social to get a J Crew Bubble Necklace Lookalike for only $16! The website is Ily Couture and they have many colors! Check it out!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby Food

I recently discovered something that has dramatically improved the feeding of solids to Michael--pouches. Well, I was aware of them earlier this year when I saw my SIL feed her 1yo a pouch with a screw on spoon. How nifty for travel! I decided to get a couple of Plum Organics pouches with the Boon spoon tops for our beach trip a few weeks ago. They were twice the price of the Earth's Best jars I had been buying, but decided it was worth the splurge and convenience for the trip. (I did find a couple of Earth's Best pouches too.)

When we got back, I decided to look into Plum Organics a little more. After all, the pouches were a hit with Michael and came in really great flavor combos. To backtrack a little, I had fully intended to make baby food but had only managed to cook and freeze a few veggies that I would mix with applesauce or cereal. Michael seemed bored and kept trying to grab the spoon, so mealtimes seemed very unpleasant for him. And my attempt at meat/veggie combo purees was apparently the worst thing he had put in his mouth! Anyways, while on Plum's facebook page, I noticed pictures of babies feeding themselves right out of the pouch! What! So I checked a pouch, and sure enough, there were no sharp edges and the spout was pretty much a short straw. Next day, I had to try it. At first Michael just squeezed the squishy pouch and licked his fingers, so I put the spout in his mouth and off he went! He figured it out in no time and loved it! He now gets so excited when he sees those pouches! (I had to let him eat one in Target the other day because he started screaming at the sight of them! Don't worry, I did pay for it. But yes, I've become one of those moms who paid for something after it had been eaten. Oh well, better that than the mom with a screaming baby!) He no longer resists the highchair either! Bonus: I can more easily make lunch for myself and eat it too! We actually share mealtimes now.

So what's to discuss, right? High needs baby gets to feed himself, I get to eat, no more fighting at mealtime. Sounds great. Well, those pouches can really add up at the register. I've looked into other brands, but they just don't have the flavor varieties that Plum has. Earth's Best does have fruit and grain combos and yogurt smoothies that are less expensive and fulfill nutritional needs (I do buy these), but they don't have the veggies like broccoli, zucchini, and spinach. Also, foods containing meat only come in jars, at least for stage 2. In order to appease Michael's desire to feed himself while giving him a dinner jar, I started him on the cereal puffs, literally just last week. He's been pincer grasping everything in sight, so I figured it was time. He's doing great with them! Even though the spinach-apple tastes like ass (even he makes faces), he still eats them! He'll even grab a piece and bite it with his incisors. So cute! For now dinners are ok and hopefully will remain that way when we transition to stage 3. I suppose stage 3 might be easier for me to make since I can just give him soft chunks of meats and veggies instead of trying to find the magic ratios to puree.

So back to price/brand issues. I recently discovered that Target's house brand also had pouches for, get this, 89¢! And puffs for $1.99! The catch? Not organic and simpler flavors like apple/carrot. Gerber also has organic pouches, but they're about the same price as EB. What's my dilemma? Go exclusively with Plum and EB or fill in with non-organic Target brand to save some money? Also, how dependent do I want my child to become on these pouches?

I recently found an article talking about the "pouch phenomenon." It seems that people are giving their kids pouches beyond the "training" stages of eating to feed them when a sit-down meal is not possible, as in beyond the age of 3, even beyond 5. I know, right? I don't know how I feel about that. The whole point of the feeding stages is to get your baby on to regular food, so you can make a meal and your toddler can partake in the same meal, even if you have to chop things up a bit. For snacks, I want to be able to provide fruits, cheese, crackers, whatever I would want for a snack myself. I've already given Michael chunks of bananas and avocadoes, and I let him gnaw on the fruits I eat. I don't want him to become too attached to these pouches. For now, they allow him to feed himself which makes him feel much better about mealtimes--he's visibly more confident which is what we're trying to teach right?

I just don't want the pouches to become primarily about convenience, like so many other things in our lives, always on the go and which I am currently not! Plus I love food and want my baby to share that love and not be a picky eater! There are too many picky eaters! Right now, he will eat just about anything I put in front of him (except when I tried to puree meat with veggies--disaster!). Adults are bad enough walking around slurping on their Jamba Juices and frappuccinos all the time. Do we really want to start the slurpy liquid diet in our children? I don't. We already go to local farm markets and pick our own peaches, apples, and soon pumpkins! I hope Michael is paying attentio--I think he is. I just hope my introduction of these pouches doesn't lead to a later need to wean off of them. So stressful to think of the potential long-term impacts of these types of decisions!

Any thoughts on food training, weaning, pouches? I would love to hear what others think!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with nor was I compensated by any of the brands/stores named in this article.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Look Ma No Hands!!

Michael turned 9 months yesterday, and as if to commemorate this special week, he decided to surprise me by standing on his own on Monday! We have 2 windows in his playroom whose sills are the perfect height for him to pull himself up and stand. We like to watch the birds or especially big trucks! I looked from sending a text to DH and Michael was standing at the window waving his hands in the air! It was as if he knew exactly the excitement of what he was doing! He's been holding my hand and taking steps from the window to me, but he's never not tried to grab my hand before. Now he keeps letting go and practices balancing. He's growing up too fast! Time to buy some shoes!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Beach Post!

For Labor Day weekend, we visited the in-laws and headed to the beach! Michael had loads of fun. He instantly took off crawling toward the water. He would occasionally sit up on one knee and raise his arms to the sky. It looked so funny--we wondered if he was signaling to the seagulls, "here i come"! I think he was trying to stand up unassisted. He's been walking up a storm since we got back (with my assistance) and he's been doing his arm raising thing too. He's also noticing birds more too since he came pretty up close and personal with the seagulls! He slept really well during the trip, and was never fussy during the day. He was so easy-going and loved hanging out with everybody. He can be such a charmer! The beach definitely did him good, and I'm so glad we created this wonderful memory.

Here's a pic of one of the many horrifying sand snacks he had, licking a rock in this case. I couldn't stop every single mouthful so I took a picture.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fighting

I feel like I'm always fighting with my baby. Today was especially bad. I needed to go to the post office, so I waited until after his morning nap which I always do before going on errands. He hates the carseat, but I can usually coax him to sit with his monkey buddies. Ok. That worked. Small fight. But then he cried all the way there, screamed and fought upon getting back into the carseat, and cried all the way home.

Diaper changes have recently become a struggle. He won't lie down anymore, so I've learned to change him standing up. Except for poopy diapers. He squirms too much on the changing table trying to roll over and stand up. So I put him on the floor. He was not happy with this new arrangement, but he stayed still long enough.

Feeding is just a disaster. He fights the high chair (are you getting that he doesn't like being strapped in?). He fights being spoon-fed, even though I gave him his own spoon and bowl to go crazy with.

He fights naptimes and bedtime. Sometimes he falls asleep nursing which is great. Other times I have to sing and rock him to sleep, so he kicks and fights even though his eyes are half closed. Tonight was pretty bad--of course the longer he fights, the more tired he gets, and the fussier he gets. I hand him off to daddy, but he just cries for me. I have another post on sleep coming up since I've finished reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

When I steer him away from a hazard or remove something he shouldn't be chewing on, he throws his body backward and straightens his legs and sometimes adds a scream. He's so strong (and not little) that I'm afraid he might slip out of my arms!

I'm the one whose home all day, so I'm the one who gets to be the bad guy all the time, and I hate it! Of course we have good times, but on days like today, I can't help but wonder if he just sees me as a mean mommy. I always tell him I love him and explain why I'm saying "no," but is it enough? Does it make a difference to a 9 month old? Will the fighting ever stop? Is this normal? Is it because he's a high needs baby? Maybe the fussiness is because he hasn't quite caught up on his "sleep debt" yet?

Sorry I just realized this is similar to a previous post, but he was just so fussy today! And he started adding this high pitch screech to his cries! I had to write about it. Thanks for reading.

On a more positive note, we visited the in-laws this past weekend and Michael had a blast at the beach! I learned that he needs and wants much more stimulation than he's getting hanging out at home with mommy (if only he didn't hate the carseat so much!). He also slept better than he has in a long time! Once I get the pics processed, I will have a beach post!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Currently Reading

I am currently reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Michael's sleep pattern has been worse the last few days, causing me to be an zombiesque mess. Today was awful. What I've learned so far from the book is that his naps are right on target, one about 9am and the second around 1pm, each usually an hour and a half to 2 hours long. The problem is the nighttime.

I decided to put him to bed earlier last night, around 6:30 since that's what is emphasized in the early chapters of the book. He fell asleep but woke up shortly after ready to play and took a while to go back to sleep again. So that was a fail. Then he woke up too many times and was up for the day at 5:30am! Then he wouldn't fall asleep for a morning nap, so daddy took him out while I showered and that just made it worst because guess what? He fell asleep on the car ride home, so for about 15 minutes. Needless to say, he was a fussy pants all morning. I laid down with him in the bed with his Gentle Giraffe (which we use every night) on full blast. At this point, I decided to just put him down to let him know he had to sleep. He cried for about 5 minutes. I cried too because I was just as tired and frustrated. He finally stopped crying and flopped around for a bit until he finally fell asleep on the giraffe. He had one quick wake up, but I was able to get him back to sleep easily. He slept for about 90 minutes. I certainly didn't want him to have an evening nap so I kept him up and he showed signs of tiredness by 6. He kept resisting sleep with everything I did. Finally I laid down with him again and let him cry for a few minutes before nursing. He FINALLY fell asleep after 2 hours of trying everything. He's asleep next to me now. I have a lot more reading to do, but in the meantime, I plan to make sure he at the very least gets his naps consistently and a regular bedtime.

Has anybody read this book? Any feedback on it? So far it makes sense to me. I just hope it works.

EDIT: He just woke up at 8:45. All hell.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August is National Breastfeeding Month

Yes, I know, it's already the middle of the month and I'm just now finding out. The advertising for this campaign doesn't seem too great.

I only found out about it from this post by Catherine over at Cakewalk (a lovely blog to read btw!).

Here's the link to the US Breastfeeding Committee with all the information, as well as links to their facebook and twitter pages.

They have 20 "calls to action." Today's is to support paid maternity leave. I'm sure we've all heard the stats about how poorly the U.S. compares to other countries when it comes to maternity leave. I've personally known women to use up their disability leave or even vacation time just to get more time with maybe some kind of pay. Isn't that awful?? Considering we're the country that's always shouting about family values?? And if you just started a new job, well you're pretty much screwed.

Let's make some changes already! Visit the website and spread the word about National Breastfeeding Month!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Baby Kissies

Last month I taught Michael to give me kissies. He just puts his mouth on my cheek, no smacking--sometimes open wide and wet and sloppy, but usually just partiallt open. I would ask him to give me a kissy and he would! Recently, he has just leaned over and given me kissies, completely unsolicited, like 3 at a time! It's so freaking sweet and absolutely melts my heart. After I gush and say "awww, thank you," then he slaps my face as if to say "cut it out mom." I know someday he'll actually tell me to cut it out, but right now I'm going to steal as many baby kissies as I can!
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Defiance at 8 months

Defiance is becoming more apparent and frequent in my little 8 month old. He's always hated the carseat, but now he arches his back and straightens out his legs when we try to put him in, so he's basically just standing there. Sometimes he screams bloody murder, and sometimes that happens in the parking lot of Kroger or Target, right after the cashier or another customer inside commented on what a good baby I have. "Well gees, maybe you would like to put him in the carseat for me?" He has toys in the car, and I recently found these carseat buddies to cover the straps. I say "don't you want to sit with your monkey buddies?", at which point he slowly unlocks his knees and slides into the seat. So they help! Other times he just cries, but stops as soon as I get one buckle in place. He really hates being "buckled in" to anything. But he loves being in new places, he just can't stand the ride.

He's also scoot-crawling, so he heads for everything that is not a primary colored plastic cute thing, aka the dvr, outlets, doors, daddy's pile of video games or damn game controllers. Some days I feel like all I do is say "no," and I don't want to feel like such a bad guy! I know I have to be because it literally is for his safety. I'm setting up a baby-safe playroom for him with lots of padding and pillows. We spend most of our day in there. He still heads for the door and outlets. Lately, when I pick him up to relocate him, he will reach his hands up and squeeze and pull whatever he can get in his hands, meaning my face, neck, and/or hair. It really hurts. Twice now he has done that then leaned forward to try to bite my hands that are around his waist. Really?? Biting already?? He has both maxillary and mandibular central incisors, so he could cause some damage. I have been using the word "no" so that he will start to learn it. I have a sneaking suspicion he already knows it. Sometimes when I get tired of saying that mean little word, I instead try to redirect him away from whatever forbidden zone he's headed to and toward a hopefully more enticing activity. It works sometimes.

The other time he likes to defy me is during feedings of solids. He tries to grab the spoon and when he gets a hold of it, he will actually grab with both hands, scrunch up his little face, and pull until his face turns red. And he's kinda strong. If his food is almost gone, I just let him have the spoon to make a giant mess with because I get tired of struggling with him. He did manage to scoop up a little applesauce and get some to his mouth yesterday, all while his left hand was digging around in the bowl. He wants to feed himself, but he's not ready yet. I discovered that pouring a little water on the tray helps distract him, but only for so long.

Oh my highly dependent yet defiant little boy! It's so funny to watch him try to assert himself and stand up to me and then other times be so clingy. How am I supposed to handle all this? I feel like this is a crucial period in his development, learning to assert himself and break from mommy a bit, and I don't want to screw it up! I want to find a good balance. It's only human nature to want to do something after you're told not to. Right now, most of the times I say no are to keep Michael from getting hurt, but he doesn't know that. I try to explain it, but I'm sure it's too early for him to understand that. Maybe if I keep saying that I'm only protecting him, he'll get it sooner rather than later.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Sleeping

Ahh sleep. That which teases me but never sticks around for long. Baby's sleep habits have been rough. In the hospital, we figured out that somebody didn't like being put on his back, which is kinda funny in hindsight since the nurses put him in a shirt that said "this side up" on his tummy. We had this plan when we got home to have him sleep in the pack n play next to our bed to make night feedings easier and just because I believe that's where baby should be in those early days, if not weeks (not in the pack n play but near the parents). I remember my parents doing that with my 2 youngest siblings (co-sleeping then room-sharing) so I guess that's the style of parenting I'm used to. Also, we just didn't have the space growing up for the baby to have his/her own room. Well, then I go and have a big baby who really messes me up, so rolling (literally) out of bed and walking down the hall multiple times per night was just not physically possible for me. Of course everybody warns against co-sleeping because of the risk of SIDS, so we really wanted to try the pack n play first before co-sleeping. No go-he was not having any of that. He would only sleep on us! He also hated the swaddle. Eventually I was able to put him in the bed next to me, no covers even though it was winter and on a towel to create a smoother, flatter surface than the sheets. He would mostly sleep on his side facing me. I was able to nurse fairly easily this way, which was great because sitting upright on a tempurpedic mattress that conforms to every contour of your injured bottom was not fun. I was also able to soothe him back to sleep by stroking his head. Sometimes we would both fall asleep while nursing. The first night though, I did not sleep at all. I watched him all night. I could sleep the next day. How could anyone not want to experience such sweet moments with their new baby?? Nursing, soothing, snuggling, watching him sleep, listening to him breathe--I loved it!

We continued co-sleeping for a few days or a couple weeks, I honestly don't remember, until I did some reading online and found that babies who don't want to sleep on their backs might have reflux and that sleeping on an incline might help. I looked into the options and decided that a sleep wedge sounded dangerous. I settled on the Fisher Price rock n play-it was angled but snug so baby couldn't roll. We started putting him in that during the day because we had to put him down somewhere! Then we set it up next to my side of the bed. We would wait until he fell asleep and gently put him in. If he awoke, we would pick him up, soothe him back to sleep, and put him down again. Eventually, I could just rock the sleeper to soothe him back to sleep--many times I would wake up as soon as he started to stir so I could rock him before he even woke up. Other times I would have to lean right over him and sing Twinkle, Twinkle. The rocker worked! We even had a few 6 and 8 hour stretches of sleep!

Until at about 4 months, he got too big for it. He was able to squirm more and tried to push out with his legs. Time to try the crib. We started with the same method we had used for the rocker--put him down after he fell asleep, pick up and soothe upon wake up. He would not stay asleep for very long. I think the longest was almost 2 hours. Too many wake-ups, none of us were getting sleep. We decided to try CIO and Ferber, even though those methods made me cringe and just didn't seem right to me. My baby can cry--for 2 hours at the same or greater level of intensity. Also, he started to hate bedtine, including his bedtime nursing. He would prantically panic, looking frantically around the room and whining and trying to avoid nursing because he knew he would fall asleep. This negative sleep association began to spill over into daytime nursings as well. Nursing makes him sleepy, so he started to dislike it because he thought it was going to lead to me leaving him in the crib. At this point, he had been mostly napping on me on the boppy after feedings. Well, we finally realized that the "conventional" methods were not going to work, so baby came to bed with us to try to erase those bad memories and negative associations. It took a while. One day I googled "how to get baby to sleep in the crib" and Dr. Sears' website came up at the top. I read through and came across the section on High Needs Babies. He pretty much described my baby. I read his book on Attachment Parenting, which I realized I was already doing, and am currently reading The Fussy Baby Book. (I will do a separate post on high needs babies.) I've also read The No Cry Sleep Solution, but feel like I've already done some of what's in there. Basically what I realized was that the conventional methods were not going to work on my baby because he was and is different than "normal" babies. During this time, we were getting ready to move into a new house, so we decided baby would just stay in bed with us until we got settled in the new house.

So where are we now? We're in the new house, but not fully unpacked and settled yet. It seems the move may have messed with baby a bit. For a couple of weeks, he was waking up frequently (every 1-2 hours). Blagh. He's gotten better the last few days. Last night was a breakthrough! We've been putting him to bed anywhere between 7 and 8, depending on how tired he looks. Last night he didn't seem tired at 6:30, but he whined for the boob then conked out. I took him up to bed and he didn't wake up until 10:30! His next wake-ups were at 2:30, 4:30, and finally 7. 3 times! That was so great! I am still nursing at night even though doc said to stop. For a while we were able to soothe him back to sleep without nursing, but for some reason DH stopped getting up to "help" me (I put help in quotes because since when did night parenting become my responsibility for him to just occasionally help with?) and baby wouldn't respond to anything besides nursing. So basically, I've been extremely sleep-deprived the last few weeks. Hopefully last night was just a preview of things to come. We'll start the pack n play soon too because baby is a squirmy little flopper! Although, I will miss waking up to his toothy grin right next to me. :(

I would like to note that I have never forced a schedule on baby--I've pretty much just followed his cues. Early on he didn't really have a schedule because, well, newborns just sleep a lot. Bedtime was about 9 or 9:30 early on, basically when we went to bed, so bedtimes consisted of a lot if pacing and swinging and rocking because he didn't necessarily want to sleep when we did. As the number of naps decreased, his bedtime shifted to earlier times between 7 and 8. Last night he was ready to nurse and sleep at 6:30. We'll see how tonight goes! Wish me luck!

Any sleep advice for me? Especially non-conventional advice that doesn't involve ignoring my baby?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Birth Story

My son's birth day started early in the morning. My doctor decided to induce labor since I was not dilating on my own, we were running a few days past the due date, and it was obvious that I was having a big baby. 6am Monday morning, December 12. We took a couple of "before" photos to make sure we remembered my hugeness (and all my stretch marks) and then drove to the hospital. My doctor had 3 other inductions scheduled that morning as well. (The doula who taught my birthing class informed us that Richmond doctors have a high rate of inductions for some reason--control freaks??). The nurses were incredibly friendly and excellent at dispelling my worries about having an induction. I did too much reading over the weekend and started to worry, but I kept reminding myself of my doctor's confidence. She made it sound like it was fairly routine and so did the nurses.

So the pitocin started at 7am. I had had no significant contractions leading up to this day, but the monitors actually detected some minor ones before the pitocin even started. A couple of hours went by with not much action. I felt contractions but was able to breathe through them. Btw, since both my and DH's families are in other states, we were all by ourselves! No doula, no mothers, just us, which actually turned out kinda nice, to have this experience all to ourselves. My doc came in and decided to break my water to help move things along. By this time, we had a shift change from night nurses to day nurses and I'm pretty sure that every single nurse on staff that day made it a point to look at my belly and assure me that I was having a big baby. Thanks for scaring the crap out of me!

Soon after my water broke, the contractions increased in both frequency and intensity. I barely had a minute to relax between them! I'm not sure how long I endured them, but by 10:30 or 11am, I decided I had experienced enough contractions and wanted to relax. Epidural to the rescue! The thought of getting stabbed in the spine terrified me, but I could not handle those contractions at that frequency-plus they weren't helping me to dilate anyways, so why continue to suffer? Luckily the anesthesiologist was already on the floor administering another epidural when I asked for him. Yay for no long wait!

While having these frequent, intense contractions, I had to bend over while seated on the bed. One of the 2 nurses tending to me let me lean on her and invited me to squeeze if I needed to in order to stay still. It was a little weird to get so friendly, but I did what I had to do. Let me also remind you of my hugeness-I did gain the maximum (recommended?) 35 lbs and it was pretty much all in my belly-I also carried very low, so 1) sitting upright at all was highly uncomfortable, and 2) bending over while sitting was pretty painful. Add to this my contractions, and well, it was pretty awful! Fortunately, it did not take too long (great doctor found my spine quickly!), and sweet numbing (as well as cold) relief was on its way down to my pelvis and legs.

I don't remember much about the next few hours besides alot of flipping from side to side to redistribute the medicine and at some point being told that the 3 other women had their babies. Again, thanks nurses! Finally, by 6:30pm, I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing.

I had just hit "the happy button" before the doc came in and checked me(btw, isn't it cool that they give you the button to dose yourself?), so I wasn't feeling much, but I told them I had a little sensation because they said if I was completely numb, the anesthesiologist would have to come back and basically undo my epidural. Uh, no thanks! So DH was given the task of holding up my left leg while a nurse held up the right. Not much happened for a while because I couldn't really feel enough to push well. Then we had a shift change back to the night nurses that I had met at 6am! Basically, that means I had a cheering section because remember, I was the only mommy left! Oh yes, DH also had a 2nd job-- to give me a puke bucket if needed and to give me fresh cold compresses between rounds of pushing. He did a great job-he even raised the bed when I did puke to keep me from choking on my own vomit. Thanks honey! The nurses commented that every time I heaved, the baby moved further down-they were actually scared he was going to flop out! Don't ask me why I puked- it was a combination of the pushing, the pain, the heat, just everything. I spent 2.5 hours pushing. Didn't they say 30 minutes to an hour in birthing class?? I did get to feel baby's fuzzy head a couple of times which was so weird! I did not use a mirror-feeling was plenty experience for me. I just remember toward the end that they kept telling me to push, with no breaks between their 1-10 counts which was a little rough. Eventually, I was able to feel the baby stretch out along my left side and he had a foot in my ribs which made curling upwards to push that much more difficult. I had regained quite a bit of feeling in my pelvis and abdomen, so I was no longer pain-free! I remember my doctor yelling at me to get mad and push harder! Finally, everybody was yelling "push! Push! Push!" Then I felt this massive fiery sensation through my pelvis and a flop on my belly. I barely had a chance to open my eyes and glimpse a foot on top of me before they whisked him away to get a cry response. Well, he definitely let them know that he did not want to be away from his momma! In all the confusion, I still had to remind DH to go take some pictures! They cleaned and weighed while DH snapped the first pictures of our new baby. A nurse yelled out that I had a 10 pound baby (9lb, 7.3oz to be exact). Somebody else commented on how broad his chest was. Another nurse chimed that the newborn diapers weren't going to fit. Okay already! I got it! I just had a big, loud baby! Now give him to me! I desperately wanted to hold him right away, but I had to lay there and watch (at least they never took him out of the room). I swear that baby looked at me from his incubator and he stopped crying. He turned his head backward toward me, and we just stared at each other. He was across the room, so I don't know how he knew it was me, but somehow he did. I lay there feeling like a character out of a Twilight Zone episode with a bright light overhead and a doctor and nurse between my legs, discussing my "injuries" as if I couldn't hear them! The whole thing at that point was very surreal. I was a little out of it because I was so exhausted, but I heard every word, all while locking eyes with my baby and telling him that it was okay. FI-NA-LLY, they brought him to me and let me nurse. My baby Michael had the chubbiest cheeks! And he just stared quietly at me and I at him with the biggest smile ever and tears rolling down my cheeks.

Introduction

Hi, I'm Terrie. I'm an anthropologist and, as of 7 and a half months ago, a new mommy. Honestly, I never thought I would have babies. I married late (34-gasp!) and figured I would be happy as a cool aunt. But it happened, at the ripe age of 36, and this little guy has changed my life, to say the least. I never thought it was possible to love someone so much and to have such overwhelming feelings of not only love but also of protectiveness and complete and utter devotion.

I found pregnancy and am finding motherhood to be fascinating. With a background in science, I am of course interested in the scientific aspect of everything. With my more recent education as an anthropologist, I feel like I have a better appreciation and understanding of my child's developmental milestones. Basically, I have a different perspective, different than I would have had several years ago and probably different from most people. I notice the tiniest details and find myself thinking back on something I learned in Primate Behavior or Human Evolution. So I want to document my observations, my thoughts, and just every fascinating thing about my baby. Some of my writings may be anthropological in nature but most will probably just be straight-up proud momma. Since I'm almost 8 months late in starting this endeavor, some posts will obviously not be chronological. I will post a birth story at some point because I find myself remembering some new detail every time I think of that day, and I certainly don't want to forget any of them. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading about my thoughts and experiences and feel compelled to contribute your own.