Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Space

I have been toying with the idea of changing things up here in my little slice of the internet. Many years ago I was a very dedicated blogger - updating pretty much every day. I had a lot of regular, very supportive, readers and it was lot of fun for me to be able to stretch my creative juices in a new and exciting way.

But blogging has changed a lot since I started my "online journal" almost 12 years ago. I often wonder how people have the time to blog with such focus, detail and passion.

So, I may play around in the next few weeks with the look, the subject focus and see if I can't get a little more inspired again.

Watch this space ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The adventures of nursing a toddler

The theme for October's Love Makes a Family blog carnival is "Secrets." Specifically, "not the painful bad kind' but rather, "your deep dark parenting secret, the one you don’t really mention in public." And yes, I realize I'm a month late but hey, at least I wrote something, right?!


To be honest, I really couldn't think of one. I'm pretty open and honest about the way I parent. I'm not perfect but I do work very hard at upholding my core values and parenting philosophies at all times...at home and in public.

So, I thought a little harder and a little longer about what to write. And I realized that I haven't given an update on how nursing is going for Baby and I. And I know you've all been waiting with bated breath!

My secret isn't that I still nurse my almost 23 month old. I'm completely open about that and I'm very pleased (and grateful) that Baby has been able to reap the benefits of "milkies" for so long. The secret is that recently I'm really not enjoying it very much at times. Sometimes it's downright painful. I often find myself feeling resentful when Baby nurses and then I feel guilty. Most of the time I gently stop her and try and distract her or calm her to sleep. To clarify, she only nurses 2-3 times a day now and has been night weaned for about 5 months (have I mentioned she sleeps through the night quite regularly now?!). I think my supply has dipped a lot and with my cycles back in full force the "milkies" are just really sensitive and sore at certain times in my cycle. Sometimes "sensitive" and "sore" really mean "holycrapthathurtsandIcan'tstanditforlongerthan2minutes."

I have no plans to wean her at this point. I'm guessing she'll wean herself before long as she already goes 24 hours sometimes without nursing. I don't go out of my way to offer except when she has hurt herself or is really tired. And she rarely asks anymore. When we started out on our nursing journey my goal was one year at least. After we hit one year I didn't really think about a new goal. We just kept going.

I don't know how much longer I'll be ok with nursing. For now, I'm still fine with it and encourage it (I still love the bonding time and the milkie smiles, giggles and cuddles - even with all the painful times).

But I have to admit that I'm hoping she'll wean herself in the new year.

There, I said it out loud.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Travel Lessons Learned

Phew. We're back home! Just over 48 hours later than we had originally planned but we made it. A quick snow storm on the east coast took us somewhat by surprise (we were expecting it to happen after we had left) and left us stranded at LaGuardia airport in NYC for 11 hours and then back into the city for another 2 nights before we got booked on another flight. It was crazy but surprisingly, it wasn't the most challenging nor the most exciting part of our journey.

At work today I was working on preparing for facilitating a project close out meeting and was looking at the different headings we use:
  • What went well?
  • What didn't work?
  • What what would you do differently next time?
Keeping in line with fastidious project management practices, I'll recap my travel "Lessons Learned" for you all.
Baby's first stoop in NYC

What went well?
  1. Lots of things! The flights down were calm and relaxing and uneventful. We left on time and arrived on time. We made sure we had eaten before we got on the plane and timed the second flight to take off about an hour after Baby's normal nap time - so she slept on the plane.
  2.  We made sure we had a fridge in every room we stayed at. We were able to request one and it was helpful to have lots of snacks available for Baby.
  3. Stay where there is a pool! A swim at the end of a hectic day exploring was a nice "away from home" routine.
  4. Having a rental car with Baby's car seat installed was a nice luxury after catching buses for 5 days.
  5. We brought our own car seat and gate checked it with our umbrella stroller. No extra charge and it minimizes the possibility of it being damaged as checked luggage. 
  6. Going with the flow in terms of nap time and the effect of the time change. We followed Baby's cues and even though it was a rough few days she was napping fairly well after that. She started napping in the stroller most days while we were out and about. We didn't force naps and didn't cancel our plans if she didn't nap. We just went on with our day.

What didn't work?
  1. Baby became OBSESSED with the iPad. She asked for it every day. It was crazy. She had only played with it a couple of times before we left but by the end of our trip she could turn it on, navigate to the apps she liked and was doing puzzles, matching identical items and feeding her horse...all on her own. I guess I could argue that this was actually a "what went well" thing because it did keep her occupied when we really needed a distraction but neither S nor I liked the experience. She hasn't seen the iPad or asked for it since we've gotten home. I deleted all but 3 apps.
  2. Baby didn't eat much while we were away. We resorted to giving her cheese strings a few times a day and french fries a lot just to make sure she was eating something.
  3. I wouldn't take a toddler back to a big city like NYC. While we had some great fun there it really wasn't the experience we wanted. I guess I picture NYC as a city where you explore for hours, you go to museums and galleries and shopping. You dine out and drink wine. We weren't really able to do any of that with Baby so it left us frustrated and mildly annoyed. We bickered a lot.
  4. Night time flights aren't a good idea - Baby cried a LOT on the way home because she was over tired, couldn't nap because we were traveling to the airport or waiting for our flight during nap time.
  5. We weren't prepared for the rain or cold weather. Luckily this was only a problem for 2 days but still....next time I'd like to be more prepared.
Relaxing @ The Belvedere in NYC


What what would you do differently next time?
  1. I would plan flights for a bit earlier in the day just in case we were delayed.
  2. I would pack for rain and cold when traveling in the Fall or Winter. Baby got really wet and cold one day and it was entirely my fault for not packing her rain pants, boots and warmer clothes. She had a rain jacket but it was mostly useless when the rest of her was soaked.
  3. I would book where we are staying every night before we left. In the past, when we are on road trips we just wing it and stay wherever we want at the last minute. This was a big mistake with Baby as we were often driving around in the dark looking for somewhere to stay in places we'd never been to before.
  4. And finally, I wouldn't choose to go to a big city at all with Baby again any time soon. We were tossing around the idea of going to Western Europe in the next couple of years but I think we'll wait. For at least 3 or 4 years....maybe longer if we add another child into the mix.
I'd say our first big vacation with Baby was a success even with the "what didn't work" stuff. And now that we are pros at it....we're all ready for Vegas in March (oops, another work conference).

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    First Flight

    In 3 sleeps we're leaving for a 2 week trip. It will be our first "big" trip as a family of 3. We're flying to Philadelphia for a conference I'm attending for work. We'll stay in Philly for 5 nights, then 4 nights on the road....somewhere....and we'll round out our trip with 3 nights in NYC before flying home from there.

    Although I know this trip will be quite different from other trips S and I have taken in the past 6 years, I'm still really looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to the conference of course but also to exploring new places with Baby. I love to travel and wish I could afford to do it more often. I can't complain though as we have been very fortunate to have lots of great trips over the years.

    Here are some of our travel planning items/ideas....feel free to let me know if you have more tips or tricks!
    • Pack enough clothes for Baby to last 2 weeks. I don't know that we'll have access to laundry so I don't want to be short. I guess we could always do some hand washing and hanging to dry if need be.
    • We've decided to do sposies for this trip. As I said above, we likely won't have access to laundry and won't have the time to find a laundry mat and sit there for a couple of hours every 2 days. I don't feel great about this decision but it's what we're doing so we'll see how it goes.
    • We don't have cable TV and Baby doesn't really have any screen time at all (no laptop, iphone or dvds). I won't say she's never watched anything because we were given a few DVDs as gifts (Baby Bach and a couple of Elmo DVDs) and Baby has watched them and really enjoyed them. It's just more of a "once every 2 or 3 months" she watches one of them or a playlist on youtube with music/Elmo songs. Anyway, all that preamble is because I recently bought an ipad and have put some tv and a Peanuts movie on it for Baby to watch on the flights. After being asked what apps I had for her too (and shamefully hiding the fact that I had none...nor did I know of any) I have downloaded 3 toddler apps as well. I'm hoping between being mesmerized by the ipad, napping and playing with the super cool sticker book that S got for her that Baby will be fairly content on the flights. We didn't purchase an extra seat...she'll be on my lap most of the time I would imagine. Maybe we're crazy, maybe not...time will tell.
    • We are bringing our own car seat. Even though taxis are not required to have infants or toddlers in car seats I'm just not comfortable with having her in a car without being in one. It just seems wrong to me and I don't understand the law at all. I'm also planning on insisting on gate checking the car seat along with a small umbrella stroller that we are bringing with us. Hopefully that will minimize the risk of the car seat being damaged. The car seat transport is the most stressful part of my planning so far.
    • We're hoping to try and avoid over stimulation. Baby is pretty laid back and not prone to this but I know when S and I travel we tend to really pack things in. We've both agreed that we can't do this with Baby because rushing things and being overwhelmed makes all 3 of us cranky.
    • Finally, I have NO idea how to deal with the 3 hour time difference. Will it even be an issue? Suggestions?
    I likely won't be updating while we're away but stay tuned for photos and updates in early November!

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Disappointment

    I'm writing this post as part of the Love Makes a Family Blog Carnival. The theme this month is "disappointment." I hesitated in writing on this topic because I don't want to fall into a rut of being Miss Complainy Pants on my blog. But then I changed my mind and decided, hey, why not. I've had some big disappointments in my life so I've definitely got fodder for this!

    I've written in the past of dealing with birth loss. I experienced two miscarriages and one "chemical pregnancy" before getting pregnant with Baby. I'm not entirely sure that there is a difference between a miscarriage and a chemical pregnancy but I've chosen to call a pregnancy that doesn't get much further than an early positive pregnancy and a slightly late period a chemical pregnancy.

    I was very fortunate to get pregnant very easily when we first started trying to conceive. I got pregnant the first 3 times. Yep, apparently I am exceptionally fertile for my "advanced maternal age." This was most definitely not a disappointment. I was OVER THE MOON that I got pregnant so quickly. Miscarriage? I had never met anyone who had had one before. I thought they were rare and a result of something bad you did or some bad thing that happened to you while you were pregnant, like a fall or something. To say I was disappointed when I had 3 losses in a row is an understatement. I was disappointed, sad, angry, confused, lonely and in total despair....sometimes all at once.

    My disappointment was mostly in myself. I blamed myself for not being good enough, for not being healthy enough to bring a baby into the world. I fell into a pattern of being so afraid to do anything that I became paralyzed physically and emotionally. I held my breath a lot and felt sick to my stomach often. I was also disappointed that my early experiences of pregnancy were so negative. When we first started, I had a naive view of pregnancy as being blissful and calm. I thought that once you were pregnant you got a baby in 9(ish) months. Instead, when I got pregnant 3 tries later, I was scared and paranoid through much of the first trimester (I did relax later in pregnancy and I loved being pregnant). I wish I could say that I'm glad I went through that or that it made me stronger. But it didn't. It took away a part of me that I'll never get back and I still carry the burden of those losses with me every day. I still relive the third miscarriage often.

    Fast forward to this year and S and I have decided to try for a second child. We desperately don't want to have an only child. Heck, I wanted 4 kids when we first started on this journey! We've decided 2 would be a good compromise. So, away we went to start trying. Imagine my surprise when I got pregnant our second try! Really?? Seriously?! Yep, fertile myrtle is back.

    Then try imagining my surprise yet again when I have a 4th miscarriage. And imagine this, I get pregnant again one try later, and have yet another "chemical pregnancy."

    That brings me to a grand total of 5 losses.

    Disappointed?

    HELL, YES.

    All that being said though....as I've said often (to myself and others), I do take comfort in knowing I get pregnant easily. I'm still not going to say that I'll ever get over the disappointment, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But I'll take it, I guess. It *is* part of me and I do sort of like myself on the whole. And I have so many amazing things in my life that I do feel somewhat balanced between "good" and "bad." I just wish my road was a bit straighter, perhaps a bit easier and maybe not so heart wrenching. Maybe even just for a little while.

    Read the next post in the carnival: http://loveinventsus.blogspot.com/2011/10/disappointment.html

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Stella Joy

    I learned of Stella through the grapevine of online connections I have. One of those connections met this family in their queer prenatal class in Ontario. I couldn't not link to the blog Stella's moms have set up. Please send your love and support to this family. They need it.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Going Home

    I wrote about some of our summer adventures awhile back. On one of these trips we went to Tofino on Vancouver Island. I not only love Tofino but I love the island in general. I was born in Victoria, moved to Vancouver when I was in grade 2 and continued to spend time every summer back in Victoria with my Grandparents, my uncle and my cousins.
    Photo from the U.S. National Archives (1974)

    I always feel like I'm home as I drive off the ferry in Swartz Bay. I love the energy on the island and how I feel grounded and connected when I'm there. I feel like I'm home even though my Grandparents have been gone for years and I somehow lost my connection with the cousins that I was so close to growing up. I still drive by the apartment building that my Grandparents lived in after they retired. I drive by the house I lived in on Shakespeare street and I head up the street to see Oaklands Elementary School where I attended kindergarten and grade 1 (and where the principal at the time was named Mr. Oakley). I remember learning to ride a bike on that street and falling off my bike and having to get stitches on the back of my head (I still have the scar). My brother and I used to line the street with dozens of acorns from the huge oak tree in the neighbour's yard and then "hide" as the cars would drive over them and make all sorts of cracking noise. We must have waited for hours because it wasn't a busy street. And the time my mom found a baby bird in our back yard that had fallen out of the nest and we wanted to help put it back but the mama bird kept diving at her in the yard.

    Of course, all of these memories came after my first memory. The day my mom and brother told me my dad was dead and not coming home. My brother didn't want to tell me apparently. He wanted to protect me from being sad. Unfortunately, I have no memories of my dad but I remember the day I was told he was dead like it was yesterday. And I remember the day of his funeral too. My youngest cousin and I stayed home with a sitter while everyone else went. I remember playing quietly and feeling different. I don't remember feeling sad. In fact, the first time I cried and felt sad was weeks later when I suddenly realized he wasn't there and I asked my mom over and over again for him to come back. I remember my mom, brother and I all crying that night at the dinner table and hugging and I felt so close to them both because I realized it was just the three of us now.

    When I drive the highways on the island now I can't help but think of my dad, my mom who passed away herself in 2002 and my brother who I haven't seen for 15 years. The island isn't where my family home is anymore. But because I don't have a family home I feel like I can claim part of the island as mine anyway.

    Maybe I'll end up living on the island again and Baby will make that connection too. Or maybe Vancouver already holds that connection of home for her. Either way, I'll make sure she gets plenty of opportunities to see where her Mama is from. And I'll always go home.

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    (Just a Little) Patience

    I had a challenging meeting at work today. There have been a series of these meetings for a project I'm helping out on and every one of them has been challenging. In some ways I look forward to the challenging part. Sometimes I actually like the high energy debates, the emotional intensity and the passion. I'll take that over "oh, it doesn't matter to me" or "whatever" any day.

    However, even with my somewhat twisted fascination of confrontation I am usually exhausted by the end of the meeting and often I feel defeated and disappointed in myself. Mostly it's because I lose my temper or I was very impatient with others. I'm a quick thinker, I like to take quick (but informed) action and I like decisions to be made sooner than later. I sometimes forget that other people may not do things quite the same way.

    So, after the meeting today I started thinking about how my patience and sometimes quick temper have been tested since becoming a parent. I'll start off by admitting that I have lost my patience in a bad way twice with Baby. By bad, I mean I raised my voice (ok, I yelled...loudly) at Baby. Once when she was about 7 months old and once when she was about 16 months old. I'm not proud of either incident and I actually felt physically ill after each time. I was yelled at A LOT as a child and it is very scary to be yelled at by someone who is supposed to protect and take care of you. Anyway, those were the two worst times. I wish they hadn't happened but they did. I apologized after but somehow that still doesn't seem like enough. I'm still undecided on whether an apology actually undoes anything or makes anything better.

    Anyway, even though I say that losing my cool has only happened twice....what I really mean is that those were the only times I lost it outwardly in a rather dramatic fashion. I've actually lost my patience countless times and felt downright anger towards Baby. Mostly when Baby was sleeping so poorly. Being woken up in the middle of the night for the tenth time for several weeks in a row does not bring out the best in a person. Not in me at least. Even now, I sometimes get impatient with Baby when she's daudling and I'm in a rush or she wants me to sit in THIS EXACT place RIGHT NOW for the 100th time. I sigh or the tone of my voice changes. I work at not making it too apparent to Baby by muttering under my breath a lot. She doesn't seem to notice so I think I'm fairly good at hiding it.

    I work hard at doing better than hiding it though. I try to be present in every situation, every interaction that I have with Baby. This helps by keeping me from thinking too far ahead about where I need to be next or what I need to be doing next thus reducing my impatience. Instead, I slow down and enjoy what I'm doing now with no expectation of the future. What is that saying...."life is what happens when you're busing making other plans"....or something like that.

    I remind myself that looking at every single flower on the way to the grocery store is actually an amazing thing to do. The world is an amazing and beautiful place and I feel I'm often too busy to stop and smell the roses so to speak. Baby reminds me of this every day. She is genuinely amazed at everything she sees, feels, hears, smells, tastes, touches. She has truly been an amazing teacher for this important lesson I'm trying to remember. I'm so grateful to her for that.

    One other important thing that also pops into my mind when I'm feeling particularly annoyed, angry or impatient is that I don't to treat Baby the way I was treated by my step father. I will not let another human being go through the disrespect and fear that I went through. For me, the simple thought of what I don't want to be quite often helps me be what I really want to be. A patient, respectful, gentle parent.

    Now if I can just remember all that the next time I'm sitting in another annoying meeting at work I'll be golden.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Summer Holidays

    S has had most of this summer off work. While not having extra money isn't the most fun, it's been great for fitting in lots of summer fun. The weather hasn't been great but we've been fortunate enough to get out and about as much as possible when it has been nice.

    We visited Alice Lake a couple of times for day trips. I'd never been there before and was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find a small lake with no boats allowed, 2 floating docks and a roped off swimming area. There is a great beach area, lots of soft grass and picnic tables/BBQ areas at the back. It's really quite lovely, a great size, and not too crowded.

    I also finally convinced S to go to Golden Ears Park for a day (she thought it would be full of red necks...which it is but that shouldn't stop anyone!). It definitely has a different vibe in terms of the amount of people and all the boats around but it's quite stunning that we can drive less than 2 hours away and feel like we're in the wilderness. Gorgeous scenery, including the drive through the park to get to the lake.

    We would have loved to camp at either of these lakes but they fill up so quickly that we're not likely to get a spot. Maybe next year.

    We also sped up to Kelowna for a few days to visit S's brother and sister in law. It was suitably HOT and sunny and we had a very relaxing time filled with water, family and good food.

    Our most recent trip was to the west coast of Vancouver Island to camp in Tofino. It is truly one of my most favourite spots in the world (that I've seen so far). It was our first camping trip with Baby. Other than the nights being a tad chilly in the tent for S and I (Baby was warm and toasty between us) and learning that a double air mattress is clearly not large enough for all three of us, we had a great time. Baby LOVED being outside so much and seemed even more content and happy than usual. Definitely a successful trip.

    We hope to squeeze in another camping trip before summer is over but we're not sure where to go. Baby and I just got our new passports in the mail this week so maybe we'll head south for a couple of nights.

    I feel so incredibly fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

    Go play outside!

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Summer 2011

    Here it is nearing the end of July and we still haven't seen more than a couple hot summer days. I can't say I'm completely disappointed but I am surprised that by this point we haven't at least started getting warmer. At least warm enough to hear one or two people complain about how hot it is. The real summer is supposed to kick in next week. We'll see.

    First hot day of Summer 2011 @ the lake
    I've been back at work for a few weeks now. Getting back into the swing of things has been surprisingly easy and seamless for me in terms of my actual tasks at work. I'm surprised that I was able to jump right back into some complex projects and actually use parts of my brain that I haven't used for some time. While I'm enjoying it (I have always loved what I do), I'm still not where I want to be. But if I do have to work at least I'm doing something I love. S has been home with Baby and seems to be enjoying her time off. They get up to all sorts of fun activities and projects and it's fun for me to hear about them at the end of my day. Baby is struggling somewhat with napping without me there but it's slowing coming together and she had an hour and a half yesterday with no problems.

    Summer is really flying by and I have a couple of crafty projects in the hopper that I'd like to have done before the end of the year. I figured if I blogged about them then someone could remind me what I committed to when I forget all about it.

    1. A fabric, stuffed alphabet. I'm going to use up all my fabric scraps to create the alphabet for baby. I'm super excited about this project and have given myself a deadline of Dec. 1 for completing the whole alphabet.
    2. A treasure bean bag. I'd like to make a couple of these before we go on vacation in October. They basically consist of a small fabric bag filled with beans (or whatever you choose to use) and small treasures. There is a clear window on one side of the bag and by shaking, moving, squishing the bag you have to try and find the treasures. I'm really looking forward to creating these. I'm not sure what I'll use to stuff them. I'd like to use a natural material but I also would like something that is ok to get wet. Suggestions are welcome if you have any.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    (Real) Sleep

    I have debated whether to write what I'm about to write. I'm afraid it will cause everything to unravel again. But I know you are all anxiously waiting to hear how Baby's sleep has been lately and how my lack of sleep has affected my return to work recently.

    Photo by: Mike Cohen
    But, I'm throwing caution to the wind so here I go.

    You'll remember that months ago Baby and I went on a very strict elimination diet. We had some good results quite quickly. Sleep was off/on in terms of the 30-90 minute wake ups. However, we never did get back to anything longer than a 3 hour stretch though...and even those became few and far between.

    Then one day, I decided to give up caffeine again. Every night since then, Baby has slept well. And by well I mean she was only waking every 4ish hours EVERY night for 2 weeks. What the...? Really? Caffeine? REALLY? Are you kidding me (I thought to myself)?

    This 'good' sleep continued for another couple of weeks or so and I decided now was a good time to try and night wean since Baby was sleeping so well. For us, night weaning was going to mean cutting out one nursing session so we would both hopefully get a 6-8 hour stretch of sleeping. I have to preface this by saying that Baby hasn't been nursing for more than maybe 1-2 minutes when waking up in the middle of the night for many months. So, anyway, Baby is 18 1/2 months old now and her language comprehension is quite good. I was able to tell her that the "milkies" were going to sleep at night and that we could nurse when it was light outside. The first two nights she tossed and turned a little bit when I told her milkies were sleeping when she woke up. No real crying but there was a little bit of fussing vocally. By the third night she was still waking up but not fussing at all to nurse. It's been 3 weeks now and Baby does not nurse between about 10:30pm and 5 or 6am. She usually only wakes once and just cuddles up. Between 8ish and 10ish she nurses a couple of times and she likes to nurse in the morning. She's still sleeping in until 8am and her behaviour hasn't changed during the day. I feel confident that she was really ready for this. I know I was. I did feel guilty when I first started thinking about night weaning but I was so desperate for sleep that I knew I'd have to try something before I went back to work. I don't think night weaning is the answer for everyone. Nor is it the answer for any time. Luckily for us though, I was ready, Baby was ready and our timing was perfect.

    It is amazing to be sleeping again. Really sleeping. Sleeping and dreaming. Sleeping and feeling refreshed in the morning.

    Sleep makes things feel better.

    Disclaimer: I have NO idea if caffeine was actually the culprit or maybe Baby was just ready developmentally to have more sleep. Who knows. I'm taking what I can get and enjoying it.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    The write time

    I never commit time for writing on this blog. Pretty much every post is a short stream of consciousness 'blurb' that I type out as it pops into my head (with the exception of a few 'review' or 'how to' posts I've written).

    Really, you exclaim? You don't take any time to think about what you write?

    Photo by Karl Woll
    Oh, come on. You know it and I know it. I'm not sharing any meaningful thoughts or ideas here. I would like to but I just don't seem to have any time to write. To really write. I used to love to write. I still do. I have my degree in English literature for gosh sakes. But no, I don't take the time. I think that's more accurate....that I don't take the time. I could probably make the time if it was more important to me. Or more pressing, I should say. It's definitely important to me. I'm just so drained by the end of the day that I just don't feel like thinking very hard. I feel like being quiet and withdrawn. I like sinking into myself and turning everything off and just being.

    That lasts about 15 minutes. Then my mind starts spinning at a speed of at least 100km/second and I'm solving all my current problems, researching everything I feel I need to know more about and planning for the next day. And, believe it or not, I'm truly not an "A type" personality. I'm a busy person and I'm very self motivated and passionate about everything I'm into but I'm not what most would call an "A type."

    So then I'm off again and the things I'm thinking about and planning for and solving just seem more pressing and more 'worthy' of my time. And I think that's where I'm making a mistake that I'll regret if I don't remedy it soon. I need to take time for myself. To do things that feed my personal passion and self worth. Things that make me feel good. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade my life or days for anything in the world. I'm doing exactly what I want to do and my life is on a path that makes me very happy and excited. But I feel rushed and a bit 'ripped off' some days. There just isn't enough time in the day for everything. And I can't imagine things will go any slower when I'm back to work.

    I've decided I need to take some time each day for me. Other than the 5 rushed minutes I have in the shower every morning...which is the only 'me time' I currently take right now. I'm not sure where I'm going to fit it in or how much time I'll take but even if it's 5 minutes I'm going to squeeze it in somewhere.

    Wish me luck.

    By the way, the above post was written with no pauses and no edits. But I'll go back now and check for spelling and unacceptable grammatical errors. I am an English major after all.

    Update: There were 6 mistakes that I found worthy of editing. Not bad.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Back to work

    My 18 months of maternity leave is winding down now. I am scheduled to go back to work on July 4th. I am planning on doing half days for the first week and then I've worked it out so I get every Friday off until the middle of September (I always get every second Friday off).

    People tell me I'll be glad to be back. That I'll enjoy the 'adult conversation' and 'using my brain in different ways'. That it will be so fun to see Baby all excited to see me at the end of the day. That it's good for Baby's independence to be away from us. That Baby needs the social interaction. The list goes on.

    I love my job, I love what I do, I get 6 weeks vacation and tons of other benefits and I have a pretty amazing employer. However, I'm sorry to admit that I'm just not looking forward to going back to work right now. My head is not in that space and my heart certainly isn't there.

    I'm surprised at how strongly I feel about this. I really do feel like either me or S should be home with Baby until she starts school. Going back to work is going to be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Unfortunately, our cost of living currently demands me to work full time and S to work her regular 6-7 months a year. I know we have it 'easier' than some....we have the luxury of S staying home for half the year. We also had the amazing luxury of me being on maternity leave for 18 months! Mamas across the border are often not nearly as fortunate as we are up here in Canada. However, childcare is very hard to find for the under 3 set. It's especially hard to find on a casual, sometimes we need full time, sometimes we don't basis. And a lot of the childcare options aren't really what we want for Baby anyway. I'm not against childcare in theory. It just doesn't feel right for us. It doesn't feel like we'd be giving Baby the best. And we want to always give our best. That's a tall order for sure but we're trying our hardest to live up to it. And this is a big one.

    There are a couple of options we have looked at in achieving our goal of having one of us stay home. We could sell our place and move out to the suburbs where our mortgage would likely be significantly smaller and I could cover it myself. Or we could sell our place, move into S's family house that she inherited, pay out her brother, add a suite in the basement and hopefully I could carry the mortgage there as well. Unfortunately the suburbs isn't our first choice right now. And moving anywhere is at least a year to two away no matter what we decide to do. So, here we are. Making what feels like our first compromise in how we want to parent.

    The silver lining to all this is that our wonderful, amazing, friend is going to help us out and watch Baby over the summer. This is why I'm able to not completely lose it during this transition. I'm a million times grateful and actually have no anxiety over the situation. Hopefully S will work all summer and can then take the rest of the year off and we won't have to deal with this again for awhile.

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Cute Stuff to Remember

    Trying on Mama's vest
    Baby is developing so quickly these days I want to indulge a bit here and record all the amazing, cute, funny things she's been doing lately....
    • SO many new words! I wasn't expecting her language to take off this early but she learns a new word every few days it seems. A lot of them are still 'half words' but still very recognizable. And she looks SO happy when we understand her.
    • I've had a cold that has turned into an annoying hang around cough. Baby asks for a tissue and holds it up to her mouth and 'coughs.' Sad that she is modeling this particular behavior of mine but so cute too.
    • Mama's little helper! She loves helping out. She sets the table! Everything ends up on one side barely on the edge but still a great accomplishment! She also loves finding the smallest possible crumb and showing it to us and walking with us over to the garbage can to put it in. She also wipes up the floor, the carpet, her toys if she finds a little cloth. Neither of us are neat freaks at all so not sure where this is coming from!
    • Dancing machine! She LOVES to dance and gets SO excited when music comes on....asking for 'more' when her favourites end. She picks up a crazy small sticker of a teddy bear and dances to the song 'dancing with teddy'...and only for that song. So clever, this girl.
    • Every bug is currently a 'bee' and she finds the smallest ant or fly when we are out for a walk and is so excited to yell out 'bee!'
    • Stacks blocks super high...very impressive, steady hand.
    • Asks to go for a nap by clearly saying 'nap' and doing the sign for it...also very cute.
    • Very particular about her footware and coats....must were certain shoes inside and out. We basically let her choose now.
    • Loves to make us laugh. Does funny walks, makes funny sounds and laughs along with us. She also likes to 'hide' things and does the sign for 'all gone' and then pull the thing out when we exclaim 'hmmm I wonder where it is??'
    • Puts diapers on her dolls and stuffies...not very well but the good intention is there!

    What an amazing human being she is.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Sick Days & Easter Fun

    I have a cold. One of those colds that feels like it is never going to end. I've had a smashing headache for 4 days, a cough that seems to get worse every night and I can't sleep because of the cough so I'm not getting any [much needed] rest. I think I've been sick 3 times already this year. I don't usually get a cold or flu more than once a year. My immune system seems to be a bit shoddy at the moment. C'mon, body. Work with me here.

    Wool eggs & chicks
    Other than being sick though, I'm happy to report (a little late) that we had a lovely Easter this year. On the Saturday we went to Stanley Park and went on the Easter train. The train is super cute and it's a lovely little ride but it was hilarious to see all the little stuffed bunnies sitting with the headstones or beside a scary black cats. Clearly the Ghost Train ride is a much bigger attraction. But the weather was beautiful and it was very festive and we all had a great time.

    On Sunday morning we woke up at the usual time and brought Baby out on the upstairs balcony in her pjs, jacket and shoes. Poor thing was half asleep. S had hidden some little stuffed bunnies she had gotten from a previous show she worked on and we had also bought some felted wool eggs and chicks from a local mom. Baby played along with us and found everything. She loved the little eggs and chicks. Unfortunately, our cat did too so we had to keep putting them away when Baby wasn't playing with them. They are now safely tucked away for next year.

    Sans egg that Baby crushed
    Later in the morning we painted some hard boiled eggs. Baby didn't really get the concept in terms of doing it herself but she liked to watch and was very encouraging as S and I used crayons, nylons and food colouring to create our masterpieces.

    After nap time, we packed up the fixings for an amazing Easter dinner and went over to enjoy dinner with some friends (and watch the hockey game!). Dinner was a big success, Baby had lots of fun, and even though the Canucks lost, it was a great day and night.

    I'm happy to report that we had a chocolate free Easter celebration (well, Baby did anyway). I had mixed feelings about even celebrating Easter as we are not a Christian family. However, we decided to mark the day as a tribute to Spring and time spent with good food and good people.


    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Comfort and Love

    A former co-worker, and friend, of mine passed away yesterday. I wish so much for his wife and children and the rest of his family and close friends to have comfort and love during the unfathomably difficult times ahead.

    www.penmachine.com

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Update on sleep, food and everything related

    Baby @ less than 24 hrs old - photo courtesy of Auntie A!
    It's been quite a while since I discussed sleep on my blog so I thought it was time I gave an update to those of you who have been staying awake at night wondering if Baby and I are getting any sleep.

    As you may remember, Baby and I went on a strict elimination diet for 28 days. We saw some immediate and sometimes significant results. At the end of the month I decided to slowly add back in some of the things we had cut out. I started with dairy. Unfortunately, within a couple of days, it seemed to affect first Baby's sleep and then, more significantly, the "small dry spots" on her arms and legs started to turn into a more obvious form of eczema. A mild case but getting to the point where Baby was bothered by it and started scratching. We backed off of dairy but unfortunately sleep didn't improve again. So, we went back to a time when Baby was waking every hour or so.

    I cried.
    I complained.
    I worried.
    I cried again.

    I decided to take Baby back to our family doctor and ask her opinion again. She had another look at Baby's skin and also listened to my experience with the elimination diet. She agreed that it sounded like food allergies and suggested we see a pediatrician that specializes in nutrition. That's where we're at right now. We have an appointment in a week and a half. I have no idea what to expect from this so-called nutritional expert who is also a pediatrician but I'm going to try and keep an open mind and hear what he has to say. I do have to say though that if he tells me to stop nursing Baby or to start feeding her meat I'm going to lose it. I'm just warning him in advance. Ok, I'm glad I got that out. S thinks I'm jumping to conclusions and being unfairly judgmental on this one. She might be right. Oh, and in case you're wondering why we don't just get her tested for allergies, we were told (and I've researched myself) that standard medical testing for allergies on kids under 2 or 3 are often false negatives or false positives.

    I am hoping, hoping, hoping she grows out of this.

    On the bright side (because I do truly believe that there is always a bright side...and I always find it!), Baby slept for 4 interrupted hours last night. It was heavenly.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Good Times. No, really!

    I often feel like I complain or worry or vent too much on my blog. Yeah, I know it's my blog and I can do what ever I want in my little space on the internet. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share some good, amazing and fun things that are going on in my life right now.
    • Baby is a ton of fun these days. She's a total ham, loves making us laugh, is happy to go along with most things, loves helping out with "chores," is saying so many new words (or half words)...it's all very exciting and I totally get how people say they love the 1-2 year old stage.
    • I'm not only surviving my elimination diet while nursing Baby but I'm starting to enjoy it. (At times.) I'm continuing to lose weight and except for those days when I feel like I'm starving because I can't seem to get enough protein, I feel really good.
    • The weather has definitely turned towards Spring. It's warm and oh-so-beautiful here. I really, really love living in Vancouver. It's an amazing city.
    • I received the official, legal documents for my surname change this week and I'm so thrilled I finally did it. My last name was changed by my mom when I was 12 and I have now changed it back to my birth surname and I feel like I've re-claimed a part of myself.
    Ok, that's enough good time charlie for now.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Worry, worry, worry

    It would appear that I've become a worrier. I don't worry by nature. As a rule, I'm actually a fairly carefree lighthearted person. But wow, becoming a parent has dug in deep and brought up some really intense worry (and some occasional obsessing too).

    Mama & Baby @ 4.5mos
    I seem to worry about so many small things...like how Baby still needs prune juice and probiotics everyday to keep her regular, how she has small eczema patches on her arms and legs, how her front teeth have some decay on them (despite our lack of sugar and good dental hygiene), how she appears to have some dietary allergies and how she still can't sleep without me being right beside her (to be fair, this comes and goes and seems related to teething).

    There are bigger things I worry about too. Things that seem overwhelming to me because there is nothing I can easily do to "fix" them.

    I really worry about childcare. The thought of a big impersonal daycare center just sends me into fits of extreme sadness. They seem really lonely. Even with all the kids there. I can't imagine a child..a baby!...getting enough one on one attention in such a place. And for me, that is very important. And I'm so afraid of someone hurting or abusing Baby that the idea of a home daycare or a nanny scares me to no end as well. I am grateful that we won't have to make a decision until Baby is 2 but I still think about it all.the.time.

    I worry about Baby being an only child. I want her to feel connected to family and friends and I want her to have a sibling to "be there" for her as she grows and for her to "be there" for that child as well. I think siblings are an important relationship...one that I want for Baby. I don't worry about this one quite so much because, at this point anyway, I feel like I have some control over this and hopefully can give her a sibling without too much trouble.

    I worry about her having her heart broken, about other kids making fun of her for whatever reason, about her being lonely or sad or disappointed. I worry about the state of the world and all the terrible, terrible things going on and I sometimes ask myself, how could I possibly be selfish enough to bring another human being into this world to deal with these problems?!

    I worry about dying young and leaving her. Like my own mom.

    Perhaps all this worry is just par for the course in being a new parent. I don't expect the worry to go away, I assume it will change and I will just worry about different things at different times.

    I guess, like many things about becoming a parent, I just wasn't expecting to worry so much. I guess there was just no way I could comprehend these awesome feelings of love and my ferocious instincts to protect her until I experienced them. Maybe I should look at my worry as some sort of protection that drives me to care for Baby. I'm sure I'll have many more days and sleepless nights of worry so maybe as long as I don't let it take over my day to day life it can be just another parenting tool in my rapidly growing toolbox.

    Oh, and I worry that I worry too much.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Really Easy Sweater Pants

    The last time I cleaned out my clothes closet I put aside a few sweaters that I didn't fit into anymore. They were in great shape however and I hoped that one day I could turn them into little pants for Baby. I thought it would be complicated and I often start projects and realize how friggin complex they are and then curse my way through to the end (I ALWAYS finish a project....eventually). So, I had put off attempting to make them for a long time.

    I had bookmarked a tutorial from BouncingButtons after googling "making pants out of old sweaters." I mostly followed her instructions but I ended up having to sew an extra waistband on the top (as she suggests in her instructions) because the rise was too short to fit comfortably over DD's puffy cloth covered bum.  I had cut the arms off the sweater (at the seams where they join the neck/shoulder) weeks before. I measured the size using a pair of pajama pants that fit Baby fairly well and were roomy (to fit over afore mentioned puffy cloth covered bum).

    One day, S and Baby were going out for a couple of hours so I dragged my sewing machine out and got down to it. They were quite possibly the easiest sewing project I've ever worked on and they turned out great. The extra waist band I had to add was a pain and was the most time consuming part. Next time I will make sure to measure generously for the rise. I will also use the same or at least similar coloured thread. I was lazy and just used white because I couldn't find the rest of my thread stash.

    They fit Baby really well and she seems comfortable in them. I have 2 more sweaters to work with and am eager to get them done before the weather gets too warm to wear them. Super fun project, very easy to do and great, practical results!

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Restricted

    I finally decided to start restricting my own and Baby's diet. I've often thought, and have expressed it to S and others, that her poor sleep and stressful wake ups (more the latter) are a result of a gastro issue. It just seems like it for a variety of reasons. And, I don't know, I just feel like that is part of it. So, after reading a few anecdotes online about people whose babies started sleeping better as soon as they cut out some common allergens and after thinking that sleep couldn't possibly get worse for me or Baby, I decided to cut out all gluten, dairy and soy.

    A bit of background...I have a self diagnosed gluten intolerance. I don't say I have celiac disease because I don't know for sure. I may have it and probably even do have it but I haven't gone for testing. I know what makes me feel good and what doesn't so I just go with my gut (pun intended). I've been mostly gluten free for about 4 years. I was very strict while trying to get pregnant and during the first trimester. However, when I was pregnant, I CRAVED sandwiches so badly. Sandwiches on big, fluffy, wheat filled bread. So I had one or two. And much to my surprise, I didn't have the same effects! I did a bit of research and found out that symptoms of gluten intolerance do sometimes subside during pregnancy (I doubt the harmful effects go away though). So, I ate gluten a lot at the end of my pregnancy and into the post partum period. I could tell the honeymoon with gluten was over around December of last year. The symptoms started coming back and I knew I had to give it up again. (As an aside, the symptoms came back right before my menstrual cycles returned...interesting!) I've been dragging my heels on giving it up because I truly love bread. I enjoy gluten free bread a lot too but I LOVE wheat bread.

    Anyway, back to my current story. Here is the run down on what's happened sleep-wise since cutting out gluten, dairy and soy for Baby and I:
    1. Night 1: Baby slept in 2 hour stretches. The waking up screaming and kicking only happened during the morning wake ups.
    2. Night 2: Baby had two - 4 hour stretches. No waking up screaming at all.
    3. Night 3: Baby only woke up twice between 10pm and 5:30am. Then woke up every hour until 8:30ish am. No screaming.
    4. Night 4: Baby slept in 2 hour stretches. No screaming
    5. Night 5: Baby had one 3 hour stretch and the rest 2 hour stretches. No screaming.
    Tonight is night 6. Nothing else has changed in our sleeping habits that I can tell.
    • I have still been going to bed with her around the same time. 
    • Her napping is about the same (maybe a bit shorter some days). 
    • Her second canine tooth has still not broken through so I don't think it's teething related (still not convinced of that 100% though). 
    • She doesn't seem to have hit any huge, noticeable developmental milestones. 
    • I haven't nightweaned her and her nursing habits haven't changed at all.
    I am still not convinced that it is food allergy related and not just a coincidence. If it is, however, I feel absolutely awful that I didn't go with my gut early on and test out the allergy thing.

    My plan is to continue on with the restrictions for 21 days. I will then introduce dairy back slowly and see what happens. Then soy. Then gluten for Baby only (I still won't be able to eat it). I'm hoping she doesn't have allergies but at the same time I will be thrilled if I caught them.

    I'll keep you updated.

    Oh, and I lost 4lbs in 5 days since being on my new "diet." A bonus for me.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Baby Led Weaning

    Baby still loves avocado but we're currently in a on/off stage of eating it seems. People often comment at how convenient it is that Baby feeds herself and that we don't have to try and convince her to open her mouth while we quickly deposit some food from a spoon on her tongue. We do actually feed her with a spoon once in awhile. Until recently, we spoon fed her yogurt. And for a little while I was spoon feeding her stewed prunes every morning (to keep things moving along...).
    photo (and spoon) courtesy of Auntie A
    For the most part however we've tried to follow a baby led weaning (blw) approach to eating. It's oddly named because I don't feel it actually means they are weaning themselves from breast milk (or formula). That seems to be the name that has stuck though so I'll go with it.


    There are several well documented signs to being ready to start solids at all (whether you are doing blw or purees or cereal, etc.). These are some of the ones I've heard (there may be others but these seem to be the most common).

    1. Your baby can sit up in a high chair on their own. (Personally, I don't think this means sit up completely unassisted because I know lots of babies that can sit perfectly well in a high chair but can't actually get into sitting position on their own yet. But that's just my opinion.) This is an important one because of choking risks. Your baby should at least be able to sit up straight and steady and hold their head up.
    2. Tongue thrust is gone. This one seems obvious to me. If you put something in your baby's mouth and it automatically comes out seemingly unwillingly, I would guess they aren't physically ready for solids. I see a lot of moms pushing food back into their babies mouth over and over again and it just seems odd (and a bit frustrating) to me.
    3. They have at least one tooth. This one doesn't make much sense to me to be honest. Some baby's don't get their first tooth until past 12 months and are able and ready to eat before then. However, I think it's a good guideline because for the most part it does seem that teeth come in around the time all the other "conditions" for starting solids are met.
    4.  Baby is at least 6 months old. There has been some recent controversy around this but I'm too lazy to look up a link to the article that came out.
    5. Baby is developing their "pincer" grasp. The idea here is that if a baby is ready to try and pick up food, they are likely ready to eat.
    6. Interested in food. This is an interesting one. Most people I know with babies always exclaim "they are so interested in our food" and "they stole the food off our plate." I don't doubt these claims. Baby was the same way. However, I realized that if I had had a plate full of rocks and was sitting at the table with them that Baby would have been just as interested. However, I do think this is a good guide - don't force it if your baby isn't interested.


    I think one important idea from all these recommendations and the idea behind baby led weaning is to not push your child to eat before they are developmentally ready.  To show respect for your child's readiness and uniqueness. This may happen at 6 months or at 9 months. It really does seem to vary a lot. We chose blw because it's what we were most interested in and what made the most sense to us. I know others that did a combo of blw and purees. And others that only did purees. We've all had different challenges. I've seen all these babies get to the same place in their eating habits and nutrition eventually.

    I guess rushing with solids is another way to push our children to grow up. I tend to lean the other way. I don't want Baby to grow up! Well, not too quickly anyway. I may even be guilty of going too slow on some things but eventually I get there. I figure if I'm going too slow, Baby will let me know. I'm committed to following her lead on most things and so far we're doing ok.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

    I'm really enjoying my time at home with Baby these days. She is so busy and interested in everything. Her communication skills have advanced so much and I'm amazed at what she understands and what she can "tell" me now. She only actually says 3 words consistently (Mama, Mommy and baby) but she is so eager to tell me things and show me things and sometimes explain in great detail what she wants or what she's doing.

    We started sign language with Baby at about 1 month. I've since learned that it isn't actually necessary to start that early and that starting around 4 or 5 months is probably fine. At about 8 or 9 months she started signing "milkies" (our word for nursing) but it wasn't always consistent. I was thrilled however and immediately showed her the "more" sign a couple of times. She literally picked that one up immediately. However, "more" became her sign for everything and she stopped doing "milkies" for a couple of weeks. Then she started doing "milkies" very consistently and dropped the "more" sign altogether. She still signs "milkies" when she wants to nurse and she seems to understand the word too. We also introduced "change" for changing her diapers and it's actually made diaper changes more pleasant lately. She is so busy and hates laying down to get changed but if we explain to her what we're going to do and sign it, she doesn't always put up quite so much of a fuss. She signs "eat" sometimes but not as consistent. That could be because she doesn't eat a whole lot these days. We don't push her and have been doing baby led weaning since the beginning. The next sign we're going to try is "drink" and "thank you."

    It makes a big difference that she is able to sign to us what she wants rather than screaming or crying and us scrambling about to find out what the heck she wants. It must be so frustrating to not be able to express yourself to someone when you have something important to say! She is already showing signs of being very chatty and I can't wait to hear her little voice chattering away at us.

    If you are in the Vancouver, BC area and want some formal help with sign language, Aimee from Adar Birth Services teaches workshops as far as I know. Aimee is amazing and ended up being one of two doulas that attended Baby's birth. We had never met her - she was the back up doula when our doula was late getting to us. So yeah, she's also a doula if you need doula services!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Happy Valentine's Day from Baby

    Baby and I decided to surprise Mommy with a special Valentine's Day message when she got home from work. It only took me about 15 photos to capture the message on camera. Baby is far too busy these days to wait for me to get the perfect shot.


    What do you mean "show you my shirt?"

    Oh, you mean this shirt?

    Oops, I can't right now, my hand is stuck!

    La la la la la la

    Ta da! Here it is! I Love Mommy!

    My Affair With Cloth Diapers

    I don’t think I’ve ever gotten around to sharing our experience with cloth diapers. I’m surprised with myself that it’s taken me this long because oh.my.gosh. I love cloth diapers! I’m definitely not a clothes or fashion hound or even gadgets but wow, I love the design, look and performance of a good cloth diaper. Is there a name for someone who geeks out on diapers? A DEEK maybe?

    I've decided to choose Valentine's Day to share my love of cloth diapers. Yes, that's how deep my love runs.

    Our cloth diapering planning started early. While waiting for Baby to arrive and on the advice of our doula, Michelle, we bought one package of newborn diapers and we received a pack as a gift as well. Michelle suggested we “save” our cloth diapers and use sposies for the first few days until we were through the meconium days. We were also nervous about how to use our new fancy diapers so we followed Michelle’s advice and ended up using paper for the first week or so. Also, doing laundry the first few days just seemed like something from a whole other world during the intensity of newborn-ism.

    We started using cloth diapers around 3 weeks I would say. We used them exclusively for quite awhile - including night time but more recently I'd say we use them only 85-90% of the time. That percentage includes using paper at night to avoid night time changes. I haven't been able to find a night time cloth solution that can keep Baby dry for 12 hours. She is a heavy wetter at night. What follows below is a breakdown of the types of diapers we use and why I like or dislike them.

    Prefolds:
    When I was pregnant we bought 30 2nd hand inserts/prefolds from a local mom. She had purchased them in Japan. I’d never seen the design before but they looked interesting, they came with some covers and she assured us they were top quality. They sort of looked like the roll of towels that you used to see in public washrooms a lot. Remember the one you used to pull down on until you got to a clean bit? They were like a big loop, soft cotton and we folded them so they were about 12 layers thick. I also made some more traditional prefolds out of bought diaper flannel and some out of an old flannel sheet set I had. Both the Japanese and home made prefolds were amazing and we used them for the first 7 or 8 months.

    Since then, we’ve bought some Bummis organic prefolds in the larger size. I like them a lot but they are quite bulky. However, we do still use them the most.

    Oh, by the way, we tried using a snappi but found them unnecessary. We've always just folded the prefold and and wrapped the cover around it.


    Inserts:
    We also received some hemp/cotton Jamtots inserts and some bamboo/cotton snap inserts. The hemp was way too bulky when Baby was small but they work great now folded in half in a cover. And the snap bamboo inserts work well in pocket diapers because they are quite absorbent and trim. We had a couple of microfiber inserts that came with some pocket diapers we bought but they stunk up really quickly and now live under the kitchen sink and are used for cleaning the floor.


    Covers:
    For the first 6 or 7 months we used Bummis covers and gPants. I had also made a couple of fleece covers but they were too big for Baby as a newborn and then we forgot about them and they were too small. Oops. The Bummis covers were great, only leaked on occasion and fit very well. We had some with snaps, some with Velcro, some with leg gussets and some without. I prefer Velcro with leg gussets. The Gpants also worked well when Baby was smaller – we used them with the Japanese prefolds but they seem very bulky with the Bummis prefolds so we don’t use them that much anymore.

    My new favorite cover is the Flip (same company that makes BumGenius). We only have two but I’d love to buy more as they have never leaked, they are super trim and the insert that comes with each cover  is a nice, soft, good sized organic cotton. They are “one size” covers and snap around and up so they can be used for quite some time.


    Pockets:
    We received 4 Baby Kanga pocket diapers when Baby was first born. They are one size and have the snap up and snap around design. I have mixed feelings about them. They fit well, they are super cute and come in great colours but they leak often. I thought it was a my washing technique and that maybe they were repelling the moisture or something but I’m not convinced that’s what it is. We then tried BumGenius pockets as I had read that they were the Cadillac of diapers. They come with a microfiber insert (mentioned earlier). I HATED the insert almost immediately. It felt weird and started to smell within a few weeks. I do like the way the diaper fits and they are super cute but again, I find it leaks sometimes and I just don’t like taking that risk. Needless to say we didn’t buy anymore. I know people who swear by the BumGenius pockets and that is all they use but they just weren’t for us. I want to like them but I'm not convinced yet. Overall, we are not terribly impressed with pockets in general, regardless of brand. They don't seem to be any more convenient than prefolds and covers.

    There are lots of other brands and designs and configurations. I obsessively surf online and look at cute, amazing diapers but in reality we have a pretty simple system that we're all happy with.

    Any questions? Leave a comment! Also, I'm always on the lookout for a trim prefold/cover combo so please share if you have one I didn't mention.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Social Butterfly

    I think Baby may be an extrovert. In her 13 months of life she has never "played strange" with anyone. Ever. I keep expecting her to go through her separation anxiety phase or to become clingy or something. But nope, she loves people and the busyness of life in general. She boldly walks up to a group of 3 or 4 year olds at the local kid cafe to get involved with whatever they're doing or community center play gym or even a coffee shop full of adults. Her openness and confidence is awe inspiring.

    I'd like to think that our early constant baby wearing, our bed sharing and the fact that I've never been away from her for longer than a couple of hours a handful of times has something to do with it. That's the theory. That AP'd babies will grow up more secure and confident. It makes sense to me and it's one of the reasons why I choose to parent the way I do. I believe if she's secure and confident at home then that will carry on outside of the home and eventually when we're not around. As I said, it seems to be working. Of course, part of it may quite likely be just her personality and her age but I still think we're giving her a good start on things. I get to take some credit, right?

    It's intense, parenting the way we do. It's hard sometimes and tiring and I sometimes wonder if I'm a complete failure and if what we're doing is wrong or, more often, "too hard." So, it's good to see some results and to feel proud and validated.

    Although I want her to be confident and brave and independent, at the same time, I want to hold on to her and keep her safe and have her all to myself. She's already growing up so fast and physically can move away from me so easily now! But she always comes back and settles in close and for now I'm going to soak that all up before this confidence thing really gets out of control ;)

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Jinx

    Well, that period of longer sleep was short lived. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted! We have 2 more canines coming in and then we are done with teeth except for the last molars. Wish us luck.

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Sleep Part ?

    I've lost track of how many times I've written about sleep in this space. I've officially become one of them I guess. By that, I mean that I talk about sleep and my baby a lot. I try not to talk about it too much on a day to day basis but if someone asks me about it I don't lie. Since Baby was about 7 months old (I think that's when it started...maybe 6 or 8 months?) she started waking up every 15 - 30 minutes. A good night was having an hour of uninterrupted sleep.

    Then, a couple of months ago I had 2 nights with 4 hour stretches each night. It was heavenly.

    And then things really started getting crazy again with the 15 minute thing. I sometimes had nights with about 4 hours of sleep in total. I was REALLY tired. Somehow I managed to get through the day without feeling it too much though. I really think that there must be some protection in a breastfeeding mother's hormones that allows someone to survive on such little sleep for so long. Some nights I would wake up in the middle of the night and start babbling about how tired I was and I would be so frustrated and disoriented and really quite crazy feeling. S would get frustrated with me on those nights. It wasn't a pleasant experience. I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what was "wrong" with Baby. There HAD to be something "wrong." No "normal" baby woke up so much unless there was something terrible going on. I went through a list of things...

    Food allergies? Not that I could positively identify.
    Night terrors? Nope, she was awake and aware when she woke up.
    Gas? Yes, but didn't seem to be enough to wake her up so often.
    Teething? Probably some of that caused it for sure.
    Developmental milestone? Definitely causing some disruption during big changes.

    I googled. I searched. I read (Dr. Sears, No Cry Sleep Solution, heck, I even got Sleepless in America out of the library!). I obsessed. I felt like a failure and that my baby was suffering and I couldn't figure out what was causing it.

    Then one day I went back to where I was when it first started happening. Acceptance. I accepted that this was the way it was going to be. I had no idea if that meant for one night or one year. I stopped getting so frustrated so easily and I stopped searching for an answer. I continued on and just went with it. It was hard.

    Then, Baby started walking! And got her first 4 molars in. And I was more relaxed. And I'm happy to report that she is now sleeping 2-3 hour stretches (nearly) every night for the past week. Napping has changed too. Naps are usually only once a day and last 1-2 hours on average. Sometimes a late afternoon cat nap happens as well if the earlier nap was only an hour. I feel good about these changes. Really good. I feel like Baby is settling into sleep patterns based on her own internal, natural schedule. I feel better rested and I look forward to sleeping.

    Are things perfect? No, but I don't even know what perfect looks like to tell you the truth. People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them my sleep schedule. However, I know if our whole family is healthy and happy and well rested it's looking pretty perfect to me.

    Maybe I'll even be able to have some time alone in the early evenings or during nap time in the future.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    We'll see.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Playsilks 101

    I'm finally getting around to talking about my experience with making playsilks for Baby. I'd read about playsilks and saw some toddlers playing with some at a local (now closed) kid's cafe but it wasn't until I saw Baby playing on a regular basis with a simple scarf at home that I decided to look into them. Quite often toys "prescribe" the way you have to play with them or are limited in the way you use them or play with them. Playsilks are essentially a natural material, open ended toy that encourages creativity and imagination in kids. You can buy them for about 15 bucks a silk. This seemed not only expensive to me but a waste to spend money on something that should be relatively easy to make. Off I went researching online and found a great thread on the mothering.com forums that was dedicated to making playsilks. There are 2 common methods for dying them. The first is using unsweetened kool-aid and the other is using Wilton's icing colours. It just so happened that the show S was working on at the time had a scene in a shop with hundreds of packages of kool-aid. Good timing. She brought them all home after they finished shooting and I had a rainbow of colours to choose from. They turned out really beautiful and because I got the kool-aid for free, cost me about 5 or 6 bucks each to make. Here are the steps I followed. Note that I did one scarf at a time.
    1. I purchased my silks from Maiwa on Granville Island. I opted for the 29" x 29" habotai silk scarves. I bought a dozen of them.
    2. I also picked up a large bottle of plain white vinegar.
    3. I soaked each silk in a separate bowl in about a 1/2 cup of white vinegar and hot, hot tap water (enough to cover the scarf completely) for 30 minutes.



    4. When the 30 minutes was almost up, I put 2 cups of hot, hot tap water into a large pot on the stove, added a cup of white vinegar and 4 packages of kool-aid. I started it on medium heat and heated it up gradually to a slow boil. 
    5. After the 30 minutes was up, I gently poured in the silk that had been soaking, liquid and all.


    6. I used chopsticks to move the scarf around and around until all the colour from the water was soaked into the silk. It took about 5 - 10 minutes. Some colours the water became completely clear while others there was still a bit of colour left in the water.


    7. I poured the contents of the pot into a bowl in the sink (I used the bowl I had soaked in) and started rinsing with hot, hot tap water. I gradually cooled down the water so I could work my hands under it and rinse out the scarf more thoroughly.


    8. Rinse, rinse, rinse.
    9. Rinse, rinse, rinse. I have to say that in rinsing my silks, the water never did run completely clear. But it came close for most colours. I was assured by doing more research online that other people did not have issues with kool-aid dying their carpet and furniture (or child!). I guess if I soaked it in water and left it sitting on something it would eventually leech some dye.
    10. I hung each silk to dry on a wooden clothes hanger in the kitchen, taking care not to let each one touch each other. They dried very quickly.


    11. Colour tips: Blue, purple and yellow worked very well. Reds and oranges look nice but aren't as vivid as I thought they'd be. Green fades the most but again, still looks great.

    And the best part is that Baby loves them. I think they will be around our home for a long time.


     

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    2011 Determinations

    Things haven't slowed down much over here since the new year started. Things are off to a fun, promising, new start. I have a few determinations this year so I thought I'd share them here. You know, so you who know me (and you who don't) can hold me to to them!

    So, in no particular order....my 2011 Determinations.
    • Be a conscious & present parent
      By this I mean, I want to be emotionally present every moment I'm with Baby and make conscious, thoughtful decisions in my parenting at every opportunity. For both "big" stuff and "small" stuff. I feel I do this already for the most part (at least I try to) and I want to continue and improve.
    • Make healthy choices
      In all areas of my life - my own physical and emotional health, my family's health, my lifestyle choices, my work, anywhere I can make a healthier choice for me, my community and the earth in general.
    • Get fit
      Wow, this is a hard one. I've never really had to work at this for the most part. But I feel really unfit physically. I'm slower, bigger, sorer, and heavier. I have specific goals in mind here so I hope I can fulfill them. I'm hoping I can be more active this year and that will help heaps.
    They sound pretty simple to me. Anyone else making determinations (or resolutions or goals or whatever you call them)?