Stay safe tonight and have a Happy New Year!!
posted from Bloggeroid
posted from Bloggeroid
posted from Bloggeroid
posted from Bloggeroid
posted from Bloggeroid
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.