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Friday, April 29, 2011

Yuck

I'm not in a hurry for Evan to grow up any time soon. I just told DH this morning that I wouldn't mind him being a "late bloomer" in terms of starting to crawl, walk, or talk. Although these milestones are exciting, I'm trying to enjoy him in the moment.

That being said, I cannot wait until this whole spitting-up thing is over.

Most babies grow out of it by the time they're six months and can sit up (assisted or not). Apparently, that's not the case with Evan. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse in the last month or so. It seems that sitting up puts pressure on his tummy, causing him to spit up even more.

I have to say, I'm pretty tired of getting puked on a few times a day. I love the guy, but it's not exactly an endearing quality.

We have talked to Evan's pediatrician about it, and she says some babies just take longer to grow out of it than others, especially if they've always been a spitter (like Evan). She said as long as he's not in pain (he's not) and he's gaining weight properly (he is), it's nothing to worry about.

So, time Gods, is it possible to fast-forward to the non-spitting-up stage but not the crawling/walking/talking stages? Please, for the sake of my pants, carpets, and furniture?



PS: on a completely unrelated note, some of you may have noticed my blog rolls to the right have disappeared. I was using those as a way to keep up with the blogs I read, but because I changed to Google Reader a few months ago, those lists have not been updated in ages. So, instead, I have a new Blog Roll page for anyone who is interested.

PPS: next week will consist of a five-post series about my experience with a wardrobe consultant. The week after that I will be away, so I'll do a 5-part photo series. Things will then get back to normal, and hopefully I can blog about my new job soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Travels

Next week, Evan and I will be flying for the first time. Unfortunately, DH won't be joining us, which makes me infinitely more nervous! It would be so much easier going 2-on-1.

I've mentioned that Evan is a lot less fussy than a couple months ago, which makes me a bit more confident about flying with him. However, there are two problems that do make me worry: 1) he seems to have a fussy period between 5-7pm, and 2) during this period only Daddy seems to be able to calm him down.

These things aren't necessarily a big problem at home, but they could end up becoming a problem on the plane. Because, of course, one of my flights is from...yup...5-7pm. Good times.

I'm one of those people who are very aware of my actions on other people. I often can be heard saying "sorry" even if it's the other person who bumped into me. So, the idea of being "one of those parents" on the plane with the screaming child absolutely gives me nightmares. I'm not joking. Last night I practically had an anxiety attack just thinking about it. I know I shouldn't care, but I do, and that's not going to change.

I have some plans on how to keep him calm - extra bottles, toys, books, a soother, etc.. I'm going to try and keep him on his routine as much as possible. I'll feed him or get him to suck on a soother during take-off and landing. I'm bringing some Tylenol, just in case.

Any other tips for that or traveling with baby in general? Is it better to have a window (for more privacy) or an aisle (ease of movement) seat? Anything I should bring that I wouldn't think of (I'm bringing a days-worth of diapers/milk/wipes, a change of clothes for him and me)?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Reading Group: Book Review

I picked up The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble after reading Things I Want My Daughter to Know by the same author for our book club. The book is about five women who take part in a reading group (duh) and follows their lives over the course of a year. The women don't all know each other in the beginning, but after the trials and tribulations of the year, they become fast and close friends. Of course, the books they read just so happen to mirror the lives of some or all of them.

This book is good in theory, but I found it kind of boring. Not only do you follow the stories of each of the five women, but also their husbands, their kids, their mothers, their sisters, etc.. I found it very difficult to keep everyone straight in the first half of the book. The writing seemed to get a bit better in the second half, and the storyline focused more on the women themselves and their relationships to one another.

One large problem (and I found this with Things I Want My Daughters to Know as well) was that, even though sections were entitled "Nicole" or "Polly", the story may or may not be told from their point of view. Noble also used time-stamps for some section titles, making the reader anticipate some sort of event...which never happened. This all added to the confusion.

I'm giving this book a 2/5.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

It's Evan's first Easter, so we're having a turkey dinner on Sunday. I don't know if that's traditional or not, but we love turkey dinner, so it will be our family tradition :) No chocolates, egg hunt, or anything this year, but we did go to Evan's future daycare for their Easter fundraiser and we had a good time. He even had his photo taken with the Easter Bunny, and he didn't even cry!


Have a great Easter if you celebrate and/or a great long weekend if you're taking one!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Knitting Update

One of my goals for 2011 was to knit an afghan.

It's not going so well.

Back in January, I picked the Penrose pattern because it's beautiful and mathematical. It's supposed to be easy to knit up because it's all in garter stitch. It's true. The pieces are easy to knit up.

The afghan is split into 8 sections, and each section consists of 8 squares and 12 parallelograms. The squares are knit first, then the parallelograms are knit by picking up stitches off the squares. The large sections are then made up by stitching all those pieces together. The pieces are small enough and done in such a way that the knitting is fun and easy.

Here's the problem. I hate weaving in ends. HATE it. And with 20 frickin' pieces (yes, DH, that's a quarter for the swear jar), that's a lot of frickin' (another quarter) ends. My first full section has been stitched together for weeks and I just can't bring myself to finish it.

Fig. 1: Damn (another quarter) ends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

It's been one year since we moved into our house. Here is what greeted us (photo taken April 22nd, 2010):


Here's the same view one year later (photo taken on April 18th, 2011):


Will this winter EVER end?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Six Months

Evan had quite a busy month!

- On March 21st, he rolled from his tummy to his back, and now does it all the time.

- He had his first taste of banana on March 21st. We've been trying various finger/table foods with him since - cucumber, tomato, pear, apple, cheese, bread-sticks, avocado, even quesadillas! He really enjoys feeding himself, and it's so cute to watch.


- He started taking things out of our hands (before we had to put toys in his lap). In fact, he's just grabby McGrabberson in general, grabbing everything within his reach and, of course, putting them in his mouth. This includes our faces, glasses, clothes, chip bags, towels....well, everything really.

- He loves watching and trying to grab (sometimes successfully!) the cats. He makes this cute squealing noise and smiles when he sees them!

- He has found his feet and puts them in his mouth too.


- He giggles more and more. I love to hear that laugh!

- He rolled back to tummy on March 28th, but hasn't really done it since. Though he's constantly on his side or half on his tummy (his top half is facing the floor, but his legs are still on his side). Changing his diaper is becoming quite the wrestling match.

- He likes to scoot around in a circle. We often find him on the opposite end of the crib and facing the opposite direction in the morning.

- He's working on sitting up, and can do it with very little support.

- He seems to be going through a phase where some strangers scare him. A LOT. He'll make huge pouty faces and cry. It's not with everyone though, so it's a bit hard to predict!

- He has moved into his own room. Sigh...he's growing up.

Mother's Reflection
It's hard to believe Evan has changed from sleepy orange-coloured blob, to ultra-fussy-pants, to a generally easy tempered little boy in just a short six months! I read my posts from the early days when I was feeling so overwhelmed and I just want to go back and tell that woman that it won't last forever (yes, some of you told me that, but I didn't believe you). His bad/fussy days are very rare now, and he is usually just a joy to be around.

This is by far my favorite stage so far. He's so interactive, is constantly doing new things, and you can just see the gears grinding when he's trying to figure something out or is somewhere he's never been before. Even more cool is we can see the love for us in his eyes. Yes, he's made eye contact with us for months now, and smiled at us and stuff, but seeing the love is just amazing!

Happy 1/2 year birthday, little man!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ladies - Get Fitted!!

I was unsure whether to post about this. But, it was such a life-altering, epiphany-inducing experience, that I just have to share it. Pictures and all.

We've all heard the stats on Oprah, in women's magazines, or from our friends: Over 70% of women are not wearing the right bra (www.thebreastsite.com). And we've all sat there smugly thinking, "How can so many women not know their bra size?!".

Well, take a look in the mirror, sweetheart - because, unless you've been professionally fitted in the last 12 months, I can pretty much guarantee you're part of that statistic.

I had my first appointment with the wardrobe consultant this past week*, and she said she would not go clothes shopping with me until I've had a proper bra fitting. She gave me the name of her favorite lingerie store in town (Linea Intima), and told me to get it done ASAP.

I had a feeling I wasn't wearing the right bra, as my ladies have gone through a tremendous transformation over the past year due to pregnancy and pumping. So, I called and made an appointment. It took about two minutes for the woman to measure me, but I was right. Instead of the 36/38 C/D bras I was wearing, it turns out I'm a 34E. For those of you who know bra sizing, that is quite the difference.

I tried on the first bra and I was absolutely astounded at how different I looked. Now, I know some of you are sitting there thinking "Really? I mean, yeah, you might feel better with better support, but did it actually look any different?".

Yes. And here's the proof (yes, I'm actually posting pictures on the internet for the purpose to have people look at the ladies. Crazy? Maybe. But it just shows you how important I think this is!):





If you can't see the difference, I'll eat my hat.

It look a zillion times better: the ladies are lifted to the proper height (they should sit about half way between your shoulder and elbow), and my waist looks more defined and smaller because you can see the top of my ribcage. It also feels a zillion times better. I am constantly getting headaches and have problems with my neck and shoulders, and I know those issues get better when I'm wearing a properly fitted bra.

So, ladies, I beg of you, if there is one thing you indulge in over the next month or two, it's a really great, properly fitted bra! I don't care if you're young or old, big or small. DO it! And don't go to a chain store at the mall. Go to a higher-end lingerie store with people that know what they're doing. Yes, you'll pay a lot more for a good bra (the one I bought was about $150 after taxes), but it will so be worth it. Trust me.

*I have three more appointments with my wardrobe consultant. I intend to do a week-long exposé on my experience in early May, so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Six Months of the Horns

Evan is six-months old on Tuesday. That means I've been pumping for just about six months. I never, ever, EVER thought I would make it this far. After the terrible experience with trying to breastfeed and failing miserably, I resigned myself to pumping seemingly all day long so Evan could get the benefits of breast milk.

The early weeks were brutal. I was pumping 7-8 times a day. I remember feeling like I was constantly on the pump. It was hard when the in-laws visited, as I had to shut myself in the bedroom while I pumped.

As I dropped pumps, things got a bit easier. By the time DH went back to work I was down to 4-5 pumps a day and was still able to keep up with Evan's demands. But, then all of a sudden I had some problems that caused me pain, I had to deal with a couple very painful clogs, and pumping during the day when I was alone with Evan was getting harder and harder because he was awake more and wanting my attention.

At about 4.5 months, after dropping to 3 pumps a day, my supply was not able to keep up with Evan's demand. So, we had to start supplementing with formula.

Now, I am pumping twice a day and he gets 50/50 milk and formula. Sure, it's not ideal, and I did not reach my goal of exclusively pumping for six months. But, it's what works for us. I'm not sure how long I will keep it up, but I am proud for what I've been able to do for my son so far!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Rants

I have a bunch of stuff rolling around in my head, but none of them warrant their own post.

1. I'm totally okay with people asking questions about our choices in parenting, and I'm happy to answer them. I'm not okay with people telling us our way is wrong, or somehow implying that we are not keeping Evan's health, safety, and best interests in mind. We are good parents, and are doing what we believe is right and best for Evan and our family.

2. Air Canada has decided to change our short, direct flight to a very long travel time with a very long layover, getting in at midnight. Thanks for that. I'll be canceling that leg and flying with someone else.

3. We had a tour of the daycare near the university. It wasn't very spectacular, and it made us even happier with our current choice. However I want to rant about it anyway. They apparently give preference not based on when you get on the waiting list, but on your livelihood. They give priority to professors, then to students, then to staff. So, apparently I would have been a higher priority three years ago when I was a student than now. I've never heard of any other daycare giving preference to people with certain jobs. Could you imagine if a place gave preference to doctors and lawyers first, then teachers, then chefs? I mean, come on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby-Led Weaning: Book Review

My sixth book of the year was Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett - a non-fiction book explaining the BLW process, which I wrote about last week.

The information in the book was extremely helpful. It gave clear explanations of the advantages of BLW, how to go about it, what are the difficulties that could arise, and even how to answer questions that are bound to come up from friends and family members (which has already happened with us). It was written in such a way that was easy to read but didn't come across as patronizing or judgmental, as some parenting books do (for example, they would talk about breast-feeding and formula feeding equally).

That being said, I think the book probably could have been condensed into about 20 pages. It was incredibly repetitive. I found myself skimming paragraphs and even whole sections. Because of this I have to give this book a 3.5/5 overall, but 5/5 for usefulness!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self-Imposed Routine

I am constantly amazed by how Evan puts himself on a routine.

A few months ago, he wasn't going to bed for the night until 10 or 11pm. We were wondering how we were going to get him to fall asleep earlier, and then one day, seemingly out of no where, he just started falling asleep earlier and earlier. Now he falls asleep sometime between 7-8pm for the night. We didn't have to do a thing!

At that point, he was sleeping 12 hours at night, but he was still easting 7 times a day. It seemed like he was eating all the time, so one day I just decided to up the amount of his early morning meals and see if he would compensate. I was wondering if he would still continue to eat 7 times a day, but within a couple of days he had switched to eating 6 times a day.

Around the same time he was being really really fussy during the day. He would get so overtired that he would cry and cry and it would take a long time to get him to settle down and fall asleep. After actively observing him for a day or two, I realized he would get tired about two hours after he woke up from his previous nap. So, instead of letting him get overtired, I would just have quiet cuddle time with him when he would be ready for a nap, and he would fall asleep so easily.

So, for the past few weeks, like clockwork, he would want to eat every 2.5 hours and want to sleep two hours after his previous nap. It was amazing and sure made my life easier knowing when to expect what!

He seems to be going through a schedule change now though. It looks like he's starting to phase out a nap, though it's unclear which one since he is changing it up each day. This time I'm just going to trust that he knows his own needs and will adapt with whatever he decides. It's amazing how smart these little humans are :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

No Solicitors

I love owning a home. It's fun to have a space you can make your own, and DH loves doing home improvement tasks both big and small. We're both excited for spring to come so we can work on and hang out in the yard.

One thing that I absolutely hate about it, though, is the number of solicitors we get. This was never an issue when we were in an apartment, as random people (usually) couldn't get in to go door to door. Kids weren't even allowed to trick or treat on Halloween!

Well, now we are constantly getting people ringing our doorbell: raising money for school trips or charities, wanting to give us quotes for exterior painting (our house is brick), and politicians wanting our vote. It drives me nuts.

What's annoying is when some of these people come by. We've had people show up at 9:30pm on a Sunday night, or during dinner time. Even more annoying are the people who continue to ring the doorbell over and over again because they know we're home. Yeah, because that will make me want to give you money.

I also hate being put on the spot, especially about giving to charities. We give a good amount to charities every year: I make a monthly donation to the World Wildlife Fund, and we make larger donations to charities close to our hearts (such at the NICU Evan was in) throughout the year. I do not need a guilt trip about "not caring about our planet" because we don't want to give money to Green Peace when they bang at our door (seriously, this one girl wouldn't leave poor DH alone!). It's even worse than getting asked to donate $1 to cure an awful disease when paying for your groceries.

It's not like I can just hang-up on them like I can do with phone solicitors. Unfortunately, I'm too nice to slam the door in their faces. I am considering buying a "No Solicitors" sign, but I'm wondering if it would actually deter people.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Food Epiphany

As you may remember, we started trying solids with Evan last week. We tried organic brown rice "cereal", which he absolutely hated. Then we tried mashed up bananas for three days, which went over a bit better, but still not great. Then, on Monday, we started trying apple sauce. Again, not really that successful.

So far, this has not been a good experience for us or Evan. Yes, I know it's only been a week, but after giving him a chunk of banana, a piece of cucumber, and a raspberry to "play" with over the last week, I had a food epiphany. He doesn't get excited when we're eating because he's hungry, necessarily. He gets excited because he wants to experience what we're experiencing. So, he doesn't understand what we're trying to do with the whole spoon-feeding-him-mush thing when we're not eating too. It's not the same!

This prompted me to buy the book Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), which has been recommended to me by a few people (most recently Karen in the comments of my previous post about solids). BLW basically just means starting with finger foods right away and not bothering with baby cereals or purees. After reading the first couple of chapters, the whole BLW process just makes sense to me, and I just know it will also make sense for Evan.

First - "eating" in the early days/weeks is all about them exploring food, not necessarily ingesting it. They want to copy their parents and other adults (just like how they learn everything else). They also learn a lot from putting things in their mouths.

Second - Back in our parent's day, babies were starting "solids" at 3-4 months. But, because they do not have the motor skills to bring things to their mouth or to chew, parents had to spoon-feed their babies with mushed up food. Then, at about 6 months, they were told to start using "finger foods". Well, now the World Health Organization guidelines say to not start solids until about 6 months. So, logic would indicate that would mean we could go right to finger foods (which is what BLW is all about), but we have it so ingrained in our heads that we "have" to start with purees, many of us continue to do so without really knowing why (at least that was the case for me!).

Third - (and this point will definitely differ depending on the baby) Evan enjoys things so much more when he can explore them for himself. When he can bring a chunk of food to his mouth while we're eating he's so much happier than when we try to spoon-feed him when it's not our meal time. Yes, it's true that he's not able to bite anything off or swallow much right now, but he doesn't ingest any food when we spoon-feed him either. Right now it's all about the exploration and learning process, not the actual eating (yet). The chewing will come in a few weeks (and, yes, they can do that without teeth). Bonus: having Evan eat what we eat will really make us think about what we're putting into our bodies!

Some worries might come to your mind with this method - such as choking hazards, baby not getting enough food, etc.. I don't really want to get into those, since this post is long enough, but I suggest reading the book or visiting the BLW blog if you're interested. Adrienne, over at Irwin Beans, also wrote a post about BLW recently that has some really great information, including the many benefits.

There are a couple things that I'm still not sure of, though. The book does say you can ignore the rule of only offering one food at a time to see if there are any allergies. But, even though there is no history of food allergies in our families, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with giving him more than one type of food at a time. It also says to try to offer food as many times per day as possible. But, since it is such a time-consuming process, I can't imagine trying to do it 5 times a day (that's how often I eat). I might start with lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner time.

For anyone that has done BLW, any advice or suggestions either about my concerns above or otherwise? What worked for you? What didn't?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming to Terms

It's now less than two months before I start my new job (no news to post about that yet, unfortunately, as it's still not "official" - though I'm getting all the meeting notes, am going to an event this week, and my name is going on conference abstracts). I'm not sure I'm ready to go back, but I guess most mothers feel the same way.

For the past week, I've been dreading it so much that I considered not taking the job and staying at home with Evan. But, thinking about it more, that's just not what I want to do. Sure, I really wish I was able to take full advantage of the 1-year maternity leave here in Canada, but am I willing to give up this opportunity because I have to start work a couple months earlier than I would like? The answer is no.

The great thing is they are being incredibly flexible with my needs because I'm doing them a favor by starting work earlier than I have too. I'll be working strictly from home in June and July, and potentially August. After that, I will probably work something out where I can be working from home some of the time.

Evan doesn't start daycare until August, and even then I'm considering starting him on a part-time basis so it's an easier transition. Him being at home while I'm working very well might pose a problem, so I am considering hiring a mother's helper or something to help out with him (any tips or suggestions on this?).

I am worried that I'll be having to work extended hours, in the evenings and weekends, and have to travel all the time. I know that I need to hammer out these details with my future boss so he knows what I'm willing to do and I know what his expectations are.

I am worried about going back to work, and wondering if it's the best thing for Evan and our family. But, as with any big change, I think it's worth it to see how it goes. If worse comes to worse, I can always leave the job. I just need to come to terms with my feelings about all of this, and that it's okay to not be 100% excited about it. After all, my priorities in life have changed over the past few months, so it makes sense that my expectations for a job would too.