Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spotlight on Homeschooling Series: Ginger

I have decided to start a new little series on my blog, spotlighting homeschooling families. Many of you probably know that I have a degree in education and have taught in Arizona. Many of you also may know that my plan as of right now is to homeschooling Cecilia. I wanted to shed some light on why parents make the choice to homeschool, what some of the benefits are, as well as what the perceived risks are. I asked the same set of questions to each participant, and you'll get to see a great variety of answers.

The biggest question that everyone asks when they hear about homeschooling is, "But what about socialization?" To parrot a phrase you hear fairly often, I say in response, "This isn't your mother's homeschooling!" Many of the families you will "meet" in my series have kids who take classes outside of the home as well as their homeschooling curriculum, have field trips with other children, and have many opportunities that people not in the midst of homeschooling might not know about. I will end the series with my own feelings on homeschooling and what my plan is.

That said, I'd like to introduce our first Spotlight, Ginger. She is the mother of 4 children and I believe you'll find her reasons for going the homeschooling route very interesting!

1. How old is/are your kid(s)?
10, 7, 5 and 8 months.

2. How long have you been homeschooling?
Five years.

3. What made you choose to homeschool?
My oldest had a rough time in K. due to teacher issues and just not being ready. We explored some options and decided to try homeschooling for just a year. The more we read and experienced the more it just felt right for our family. In addition, my husband and I both believe that schools utilize certain ideologies (discipline, racial issues, political motivations, etc) and as we have issues with the ideologies of the state (we are very far left) we felt that we did not want our children shaped by such things as capitalism.

4. Is there a particular style you use (e.g. Montessori, spiritual, etc) and why?
I like to think of our family as elective homeschoolers with unschooling leanings. What lesson plans we use my husband and I design.

5. Do you believe you will homeschool for your child(ren)'s entire academic life, or do you plan on using public, private or charter schools at some point?
I envision us homeschooling until college. At some point, I'd like to see them take classes at a community college as I am math limited. There are a few schools I'd consider (Sudbury types) but a lot would depend on our financial resources and the school.

6. How do you respond to claims that homeschooling children leads to socialization issues and doesn't prepare children for the 'real world'?
My husband and I have both taught in inner city public schools, and we always laugh at this question. The socialization children receive in most public schools is not desirable. In fact, as schools become more concerned about "academic achievement" there is not all that much time for socialization negative or positive.

The simple answer is that my children receive lots of socialization in the context of the "real world." They live in the real world as opposed to being shipped off for seven hours a day to a building that contains mostly children and few adults. In addition, we participate in classes, park days, hikes, music and art classes, etc. We see people all the time. My children are also very close to each other. We also have school friends whom we hang out with after school. They have many friends.

As for the real world, I always find this a tough question. First, I am not a big fan of the "real world" in which we live. I do not want my children prepared to be competitive little capitalists or good office workers. While I understand there is a lot of room between these two extremes, schools really do seem built to encourage these polarities and our world functions like this into too many instances. Second, how is school the real world? Where else in our lives do we spent hours every day ONLY with people our own age? Sitting at desks? Third, my children participate in life. This is the real world for them. They shop with me. Mail things out. They help prepare meals and keep our house somewhat orderly. They help take care of each other (we discovered that my fiver year old daughter is actually better at applying conditioner to her 7 year old sister's hair than I am!). This is a lot closer to what their "real world" lives will be like compared to sitting a school room.

7. What is your biggest worry about homeschooling?
I sometimes worry about diversity. I am concerned that my children are usually around middle class white kids. And of course I worry about gaps in their knowledge. These are not worries that keep me up at night though as I think there are answers and solutions to both of them.

8. Briefly describe your state's guidelines for homeschooling families (if you feel comfortable saying it, feel free to indicate what state you're in).
North Carolina: You have to register as a "private school," complete with name, send in a copy of either hs diploma or BA certificate. Once approved you have to give some kind of standardized test each year and keep attendance (160 days of school per year). You keep these on file at your home along with vaccination records.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Teething

For the last few days, Cecilia has been super cranky. OK, well, super cranky for Cecilia. She's such a good-natured baby that her version of super cranky is pretty tame, but it's still obvious to me that she's been out of sorts, and in pain.

With her first 4 teeth, all on the bottom, she had basically no symptoms except excess drool and more poop. But I think her newest tooth, which is the top front left one, is bugging her. I have heard from other mothers that the top teeth did bother their babies more than the bottom, and I will admit that when I get dental work, the top teeth always hurt more than the bottom ones do. Thankfully, the tooth seems to be through the surface, although it hasn't descended at all yet. But I can really feel the ridge of it not as opposed to just seeing swelling. Interestingly, there is little sign of the right front one coming in with its neighbor.

So I guess all my baby wants for Christmas is her two front teeth. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's been a while...

I admit it, I've been horrible, truly horrible, at maintaining this blog. I guess I fall into a mindset of, nobody cares enough about the mundane details of my daily life for me to blog more often. But some of the best moms I know, my internet support group, assure me that I should just do it anyway, so I am going to try my best to blog more often.

Last week I turned 32 (boo), and we went for sushi for lunch on my birthday. Cecilia is apparently as much of a seafood lover as her mama (I had tried salmon with her a couple of days earlier and she went to town on it). She ate a ton of surimi (imitation crab) and some avocado as well. I think she enjoyed her lunch as much as I did!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We do a big hectic dinner with 3 other families in my sister's backyard, so there are generally over 30 people there and 10+ kids. Cecilia had a great time, and actually ate quite a bit more than usual. She is a very casual solids eater (which is just fine by me), but she ate probably half of a baked sweet potato in chunks. Also, for the first time, my insistent self-feeder actually let me spoon feed her my mom's delicious spiced butternut squash soup. She was hooked!

We were talking about how much Cecilia looks like my niece Lily did as a baby, and here's an illustration. Clearly related, these girls! It's funny, because we always said that Lily looked like me as a baby, and it's clear that Cecilia looks like my sister and I!



Today, we're going to go get some yarn for a blanket I am making for a friend. Micha, the photographer behind Westlight Photography took some gorgeous photos of Cecilia, Chris and I, and I am going to make her a chevron/wave pattern blanket as thanks!

I believe the sweet one is awake from her nap, so I'm signing off now!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuck in the "I don't know what to blog about" mode at this point, so here's some short, Twitter or FB status-esque posts.

  • Cecilia is cutting her first tooth. It's just barely visible on her gumline, but I can sure feel it when she noms on my finger!
  • Her sleeping has gotten better but still isn't back to the old normal. The new norm now is to go 3-4 hours and then need a supplemented nurse, not just a bare nurse in bed. Her need for extra milk beyond what I can produce has definitely increased. Sigh.
  • My skin is ridiculous. I don't have any clue why it's breaking out so badly, and so sensitive again (like twice as sensitive as normal). I hear that your hormones change again when the baby's around 6 months old, so maybe that's the cause.
  • Speaking of ages, Cecilia is 7 months old in a week. Hoooooooooooow???
  • We start Little Movers and Shakers next week, as well. I'm looking forward to that! I used to take my charge there when I nannied years ago!
  • I really need a haircut. Another sigh.
I think that's good for now. More another time!

Monday, October 11, 2010

First food (or, baby led weaning and why it rocks)

When I was still pregnant with Cecilia, I was doing all sorts of research on things that wouldn't affect her for some time, because I was (still am) completely immersed in all things baby. Amongst those topics I did my homework on was first foods.

Traditionally, you're told to start feeding your baby rice cereal somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age. But as I did my reading, I came across something called "baby led weaning (BLW)." The name is somewhat misleading, as "weaning" implies stopping breastfeeding. In reality, BLW is about starting solids by skipping purees (either homemade or jarred food) altogether and going straight to finger foods.

BLW allows babies to explore taste, texture, color and smell; encourages independence and confidence; helps to develop babies' hand-eye coordination and chewing skills; and makes picky eating and mealtime battles less likely.

Before starting solids, it's best for babies to have hit certain milestones. The biggest ones are sitting independently, loss of the infant tongue thrust, the ability to pick up smallish objects and bring them to the mouth and an interest in eating. Most babies get to this point between 6-8 months of age-- not the 4-6 months traditionally recommended. Waiting until the baby has accomplished the above milestones helps ensure that she's really ready for solids. Her digestive tract is more mature and there is less chance that she'll have gut issues from starting food.

There are other benefits to delaying solids. The most interesting that has recently come to light is that delaying solids might actually lessen the chance of obesity. Quite interesting!

Anyway, avocado is considered one of the best first baby foods, because it's high in healthy fats that baby needs, they're high in vitamins and minerals, they're easy to digest, and the mild flavor is pretty palatable for most babies.

So, we waited until Cecilia was over 6 months old, sitting independently, not infant tongue-thrusting, and able to pick up things easily. Some photos of the results-- she didn't eat a ton, but she definitely enjoyed what she did eat!













Resources:
http://baby-led.rhgdsrv.co.uk/pdf/blwleaflet.pdf
http://www.becomingmamas.com/baby-led-weaning-an-alternative-approach-to-starting-solids/
http://www.babyledweaning.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=73
http://www.babycenter.com/204_waiting-on-baby-food-may-trim-obesity-risk_10326554.bc
http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Led-Weaning-Essential-Introducing-Foods-/dp/161519021X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286801653&sr=8-1

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Six Month Old

Six months ago, you came into my life after 38 weeks of waiting and 31 years of yearning.

Six months ago, my life changed so dramatically, and it will never be the same again.

Six months ago, a piece of my heart settled in place where it belonged, as a part of me.

Six months ago, I discovered what "unconditional love" really meant.

Six months ago, you showed me that I could feel feelings that I never knew were possible.

I love you with every breath of my being. I will always be there for you, and I will never stop loving you unconditionally. You are my dream come true, my sweet little Cecilia.

Happy half birthday sweetheart!

All of my love,
Mama

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fun With Sleep

In the past I would say 4 days, Cecilia's sleep has changed. Previously, she slept around 8-9 hours a night and napped anywhere from 6-8 hours a day, often taking one 3-4 hour nap and a couple of smaller ones.

Since the beginning of the week, she has gone down to sleeping 6-7 hours a night, by virtue of staying up until 10-ish rather than going down at 8 or 8:30. She still gets up around 5, sometimes earlier, like 4, though. And her daytime naps are all over the place. Today she did a couple of 3 hour naps again (the first one was with me, from 6:15-9:15 am, the second was her afternoon nap, but in between was one half hour nap) but all the rest have been 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, or one to two sleep cycles.

I'm trying to figure out the cause of it. I don't think she wants to go down to two naps instead of three yet, because she still can't be awake for more than two hours at a time without losing it. So that brings me to either teething or a growth spurt (or both). For frame of reference, she is 5.5 months/22.5 weeks, but for weekly stuff she is generally considered to be 2 weeks behind since she was born 2 weeks early. So that would adjust her down to 20.5 weeks, which puts her in the timeframe of the 19 week leap on The Wonder Weeks. By the way, The Wonder Weeks book is amazing for helping you figure out times when babies are making mental leaps that are affecting their behaviour, since you can't really see those leaps like you can physical ones).

So those of you who have been there, done that, any advice or anecdotes?

Because I can't resist adding an adorable picture, here's Miss Sassy herself:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oat Flour and Almond Meal Muffins

I bought both oat flour and almond meal to make lactation cookies last weekend, and was scouring for good recipes to use them. I happily stumbled on this muffin recipe that uses both, and I am very pleased with the outcome!

INGREDIENTS

* 1 1/2 cups almond meal (or finely crushed almonds plus 1 tsp flour)
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup oat flour (found at health food stores)
* 1/4 cup Splenda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
(you can use more spices if you're like me and like them a little on the strong side!)

* 1 small egg
* 1/4 cup agave nectar
* 1 1/4 cups skim milk
* 1/8 cup canola oil


PREPARATION

1. Heat oven to 350°. Combine first set of ingredients (the drys) in a bowl.

2. Whisk the second set of ingredients (the wets) in a bowl. Incorporate into flour mixture and mix by hand for a few minutes. It's not supposed to be super smooth, don't worry! Little lumps are fine. Line a muffin tin with paper cups; fill each halfway with batter. Alternatively, use baking spray (I have Pam for baking and it is wonderful) Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lactation Cookies

Today I decided to make some lactation (which I type as "lactaction" every. single. time.) cookies to try to increase again how much milk I make. I have gotten better since starting to take all the galactagogues I take (like 30 pills 3 times a day, no joke), so this is just another way to add more milk makin' power. I adapted the basic recipe to take into account my diabetes and the fact that I try to avoid AP flour as much as possible, and to cut back on the butter. This makes a huuuuuuuuuuge batch of cookies; I am going to bake half and freeze half because it's just a metric shitton of cookies. In baking today, I realized I really need new heavy duty cookie sheets....

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup of Splenda
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (I got it at Sunflower for the Tucsonans reading this)
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup almond meal
2 cups oat flour
4 heaping tablespoons brewer's yeast (Sunflower again)
4 teaspoons maca powder*
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups of oats (I used steel cut; would probably be better with rolled)
1 bag sugar-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Spices- I used a lot of cinnamon and ginger, since I love spicy cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add flaxseed meal to water, let sit at least 3-5 minutes
2. Cream butter and Splenda 'til fluffy
3. Add applesauce and agave, let mix
4. Add flaxseed/water, eggs and vanilla, mix for a while
5. Sift together flours, brewer's yeast, maca, and baking soda
6. Add slowly to butter mixture
7. Add oats, one cup at a time.
8. Stir in chocolate chips, pecans, spices. You can add dried fruit, other nuts, whatever you want at this stage.
9. Spoon onto baking sheet. I used Pam baking spray first, but it doesn't call for any greasing. I just really like Pam baking spray. :)
10. Bake for 12 minutes or until brown around the edges.

So overall they are crunchy thanks to the steel cut oats but actually quite tasty. Next time I might add fenugreek so I can take less pills. I only baked two trays' full this time due to Cece nap constraints, but I have at least another half dozen trays' worth in the freezer ready for me to bake when I want to.

* maca doesn't contribute to making more milk but it's really good for general mental health, and with my anxiety issues, I find it's really helpful.


Tons of dough!


Unbaked cookies. I didn't know how much they'd spread (which turned out to be not at all) so I gave them a wide berth.


Cookies!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

4 Month Checkup, Just a Bit Late...

Cecilia had her 4 month checkup today, about a month late. The reason why is because our doctor's office does not give immunizations in any sooner than 6 weeks apart, and she had gotten the remainder of her 2 month shots around 6 weeks ago. So now she's up to date, although she certainly isn't happy about that.

As far as measurements go, she's in the same place as she was last time-- 10th for height and weight, 50th for head. She's 12 lbs 13 oz, 24" long and her head is 42 cm in circumference, which is about 16.5".

We filled out a milestone sheet, and when the doctor looked it over, she said that Cecilia has hit all of the 6 month milestones! So that makes us happy-- she may be tiny, but she's ahead of the curve!

Have I mentioned that I love our pediatrician? She is a fairly young woman who only works a few days a week because she wants to be home with her kids. She is pro extended breast feeding, is cool with us doing our delayed and selective vaccinations, is cool with us delaying solids, and so on. She's basically the best pediatrician an AP parent could ask for. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays - 9/8/10

OK, so it's not wordless this week. But the idea is (from here out) that every Wednesday I'll upload a new picture and just that. I will generally caption them but not type an actual blog post. Here's this weeks' WW:


Love is...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 Months Old

Cecilia turned 5 months yesterday. I just can't believe it's been nearly half a year since she was born. I still remember my birth experience very, very vividly, and of course can't help but sometimes dwell on what didn't go well. I try to talk myself out of that, reminding myself that I got the best possible outcome-- healthy mama, happy, healthy baby.

Some of Cecilia's more recent developments: she can sit unsupported bent forward very well, and for a few seconds up straight before toppling. She also sits unsupported on her potty when I potty her. She's finally giggling consistently-- but only for her cousins!! Still, I guess that's better than not at all!! She's also finally outgrown 0-3 clothing and is in 3-6. We go to the doctor on Thursday for her 4 month (a little late...) so we'll see where she's measuring these days. She is a very chill and happy baby, and is really only fussy when she's tired and hungry (and the two really go hand in hand for her). Her eyes are basically the same green as mine now, but it's hard to tell in the photos since we don't have direct light on her.

Here are a few photos from her 5 month photoshoot:









Saturday, August 28, 2010

Losing it (a little bit)

Yesterday was a rough, rough day.

Generally, when Cecilia doesn't want to sleep and wakes up really quickly after going down, I can get get her back down with some snuggles and back pats and shushes. If she doesn't go back down, she's still in a good mood and within an hour is ready to try again. Yesterday, not so much.

She napped for a grand total of 20 minutes three different times. Each time, she cried and cried, and nothing I did could get her to go back to sleep. So, she'd be awake, and a little while later would try napping again with the same result. Finally she gave up herself and just cried. And cried. And cried. I couldn't find anything to do that would help. I snuggled her, I danced with her, I made sure she didn't have burps or gas, I tried to nurse her again and again, I tried to play with her with toys...nothing worked. Finally, I just held her in front of me and sobbed, "I don't know what you want!" We cried together. Around 3:30 she finally wanted to nurse back to sleep, and I just held her there on my lap while she napped, too afraid to move her. She sleep nursed for two hours that way.

This is the first time I've ever really lost my cool as a mom. I know that it was bound to happen sometime, and I am thankful that I didn't do anything more than cry with my daughter. But I felt like utter crap. How could I not figure out what my baby needed? How could I not be what she needed; she's always needed me before! It seemed like yesterday I was part of the problem rather than part of the solution. I felt huge amounts of guilt at being frustrated. I know she wasn't trying to frustrate me on purpose or even testing her boundaries. That's why I got so angry at myself for losing my cool.

Ugh. Here's to hoping today is a better day. So far, she's doing the nap thing again; she went down at 6 am and is awake again now at 6:45.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Days 28-29

I've been so bad about blogging lately, I'm sorry! Truth is, I am in a bit of a funk. Some days I feel like there is so much I have to get done every second of the day that I can't think straight. When I do get a spare moment to myself I don't want to do anything but sit and veg. I guess this is probably pretty normal for first time moms trying to get used to it all, eh?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Days 26-27 - Bad Mama

I didn't blog yesterday I'M SORRY! :) It was one of those days where there was so much to do at every nap that I didn't get a spare moment to sit at the computer. Not that have much to say anyway. I don't have much to talk about now that hasn't already been discussed!

I'm delivering 3 headbands today and got an order for a new type of accessory-- a big flower on a ponytail holder. That should be fun and will let me expand my repertoire a bit!

My mom is excited about the idea of making felt balls, so at some point we'll go to Grandma's Spinning Wheel and take a look at the selection. I'm excited! I am also interested in trying the washer and dryer method. Most of my Googling seems to indicate that you start the ball by hand, then tie it into a stocking, and put it through the washer. Dryer is optional, apparently, if you want an even tighter, smaller ball.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 25 - Ch-ch-ch-changes

Cecilia is definitely changing her awake and sleep times. She was very consistent until recently, going exactly two hours between awake times, napping 2-3 hours, sleeping through the night for 8 hours with one or two sleepy nursings. A lot of that is now right out the window.

She still can't go more than two hours without a nap unless we're out somewhere exciting (but we usually pay the price for that later with crankiness). But now she's got a weird nap pattern. She will typically sleep for one huge nap, like 4 hours, and then one or two short naps. I wonder, at 4.5 month is she trying to get herself to 2 naps instead of 3? I would be fine with that if she was able to stay awake for more than two hours at a time, but as is, there's no way she can do just two naps unless they're both 4 hours long.

As for the night sleeping, that's totally erratic too. Last night she slept from 9-ish to 5, with one sleepy nursie at 1-ish. That's the first time she has done that in weeks. All the other nights she'd get up between 1 and 3 ready to be wide awake and playing. My only consolation is that she's a happy kid and not miserable during those middle of the night 2 hours awake sessions!

So...I guess the easy infant sleep time is officially over. :(

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 24 - Felt Balls

Today we had a special crafting playdate where we made felt balls. It was really cool! You use felting wool, hot soapy water and a lot of squeezing and rolling. Such a cool idea, and very fun to gather with mamas to make the balls.

Of course now I've been bitten by the felt ball bug and I want to go buy felting wool and make a bunch more. You can do all sorts of fun stuff if you learn how to use a felting needle and decorate the ball. Theresa told me about some local resources for getting my hands on the materials, so who knows, I might have to take a trip to Grandma's Spinning Wheel soon! While I'm there, I bet they have some yarns I'd be interested in....oh to have unlimited funds for all the fun stuff I want to do!

Day 23 - This blog brought to you by the number 2

As in, 2 am. As in, the time Cecilia woke up all happy and excited to start her day. I'm so bleary eyed I can hardly focus, but at least she's in a good mood.

I guess there's no use denying it anymore, we seem to be in a sleep "regression." I feel very thankful that she does still sleep a decent block of 4-6 hours before getting up. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't get at least some solid sleep like that.

In tomorrow's (which is really today's) blog, I'm going to talk about this article by Moxie about "regressions." But right now my brain is so not ready to focus on intellectual pursuits.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 22 - Cecilia's Quirks

At nearly 4.5 months old, Cecilia already has some adorable quirks to her personality, and they make her even more irresistibly adorable to me!

When she gets excited, her legs pump like crazy. We refer to her right leg as her piston, because she especially likes to pump that one.

If she has her hand in her mouth, it's basically a sure thing that the other one is cupping her ear. This is true with either hand; she hasn't shown any hand preference for either activity.

She loves cooking shows, just like her mama.

Her sweet little mouth curves up so adorably at the corners when she smiles. It also curls down so adorably when she's sad. She's like a little adorable cartoon.

Squeaky toys are cause for great concern.

When she's playing on the floor, she prefers to be on her side rather than her back or tummy. I often wonder if that is because she sleeps on her side at night.

She sighs in her sleep, rather than snoring (my sister does this too).

Her left ear is still pointy, though her right one is less so.

Kisses are literally the best thing ever. This is good, since I kiss her nonstop.

There are more, I know, so I will add them as I think of them. I adore you more than anything, my Cecilia!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 21 - Almost Forgot

...to blog today. It's been a fun day for me. We bought a baby monitor the other day so I can do stuff in the office while Cecilia is napping in the swing and listen for her (the office is off limits to the cats, so the door stays closed). I want to be able to reorganize in there, but one of the other motivations for the monitor is purely selfish: I miss playing computer games! I wanted to play Civ again (Civilization IV in this case), and I can't do it on this laptop in the living room. So today I started reinstalling it; hopefully I will get to play soon!

Last night was incredibly rough sleep wise. I was exhausted by 8, so I was thrilled when Cece went down easily. Well, that lasted all of 30 minutes. She was then up until after 10, finally going to sleep and letting me do the same! But then she slept very fitfully, waking up pretty much every hour. Finally we got up around 3, stayed awake until 5, and went back to bed until 6:30 when she was ready to start her day (I wasn't, that's for sure). She's napping well today to make up for it, but if I do the same I will be up all night, so no naps for me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 20 - Television

When I was still pregnant, I was adamant that Cecilia wouldn't watch much TV. I just wanted to be positive she was engaged in activities away from the TV.

Well, what I didn't count on was a baby who is utterly fascinated by the "magic box." She doesn't have a huge preference on what is on, but she seems to enjoy cooking shows (which is good, since I do too). I think it's because the host is pretty much always on the screen and engaged with the camera-- she loves staring at and interacting with real-life people too. I still don't want her watching much TV and I keep it to a minimum, but she really likes to sit on my lap and watch whatever's on!

Isn't it funny how things we thought we were sure of change when the baby is actually here?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 19 - Bloggin'

Keeping up with blogging hasn't been as hard as I thought it was going to be. I still feel like what I write is mostly useless information and that nobody really wants to read it, but I made a deal with myself, so I will keep blogging for at least the next 11 days. We'll see after that!

Today Cecilia actually let me wear her inward facing for the first time since she was a tiny infant-- for a few minutes. She had been very fussy (tired fussy) in the car, and when I got her out of the carseat, she just relaxed against my chest, so I strapped the Pikkolo on with her facing in. It was fine for a while but by halfway through the Safeway run she was pretty whiny, and by the checkout line completely crying. Poor tired girl. She's sleeping right now, having migrated from her carseat to the swing, with milkies in between.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 18 - Baby Fair

There was a free to the public baby fair at the local convention center today. We headed down there in time to be there soon after it opened.

It was ridiculously crowded. Just tons and tons of people there and very slow passage through the "aisles" of booths and tables set up. My claustrophobia started kicking in, and then Cecilia started to become overwhelmed. Poor girl.

It was good to enter all sorts of giveaways and get freebies, but I felt so badly for my poor baby. She's usually so receptive to new people and being out in public, but it was loud and crowded in there, and I'm thinking the combination of both was more than she could handle. Maybe we'll win a giveaway to make up for it. :)

But damned if she isn't the cutest thing ever. One of the booths gave away bucket hats:



edit to add: We actually won, of all things, a diaper cake. ELL OH ELL. But hey, it's cool, I imagine we can find someone who can use the diapers, or if they happen to be size 1, maybe we'll use them at night or something.

Also meant to add that a lot of people, especially the photographers running their booths, were excited about Cecilia's headband and asked me if I would make some for them! So hopefully I'll get some emails for more business. Sweet!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 17 - This is where I want to be

I had a nice conversation with an old college friend yesterday. Well, nice until it got awkward.

We were talking about what we were doing with our lives these days, and of course I got all exited telling her about leaving my job to stay home with Cecilia. There was a long, long pause, and then finally, she said, "Aren't you bored to tears staying home with a baby?"

That got me thinking. Is this how most people without kids feel, or is it just part of her personality? I am thinking it's probably the latter, but I would love to hear all of your experiences with similar trains of thought.

The bottom line answer for me, of course, is "NO." No, I am not at all bored being a stay-at-home-mom. It's not like we sit around in the house all day doing absolutely nothing. That would have both of us stir-crazy in no time. Cecilia's a social baby; she really likes being around other kids and adults. We go to playgroups, we go shopping (or browsing when we don't need to shop), we go to the library. When the weather is nice we go to the park. We do tons of stuff outside the house.

I believe that this is truly where I was meant to be. All the years prior to having Cecilia where I worked countless jobs, some better than others, in all of that time, I never felt passionate about what I was doing. And trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I "grew up" was a fruitless endeavor, because being a mom was the only thing I could ever think of that really resonated with me.

I am thankful every single day that we are making this work. It's certainly not easy and we're totally broke, but I feel like the benefits for all three of us greatly outweigh the loss of income.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 16 - Giggles and Homecoming

Yesterday marked a very sweet milestone that I was really waiting for: Cecilia giggled for the first time. I was bouncing her on my legs singing a nonsense song and there it was! I was able to recreate it and turn my phone's video recorder on. I didn't actually get her face, but I got the giggle!

Cecilia giggles

Tonight is wonderful for us as well, as Chris comes home from his business trip to San Diego. It seems like he had a fabulous time, and really learned a lot, as well as networked. But his family missed him; Cece and I both didn't sleep all that well the past couple of nights. It will be good to have Papa in the family bed once again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 15 - BFP

Today is a very, very, very special anniversary. One year ago today, we got our BFP, as it is called on the various mama message boards. BFP=Big Fat Positive. As in,



Yep, we learned exactly one year ago on this day that we were pregnant with our dream come true. It's an interesting story.

I have never had regular cycles. There were times that I would go an entire year without bleeding. Most often, I bled around 3-4 times a year. I went off birth control in January of '09, with the assumption that it would take a while for the BC to get out of my system completely and for me to even begin to be fertile again, if at all.

In late June, I had begun using ovulation strips to test for an LH surge, which generally you get a day or so before you ovulate. To my surprise, just two weeks later in early July, I detected a surge. I wasn't sure it was accurate given my history, but we went for it anyway.

Three weeks after that, which would have been about a week after a missed period had I been regular, I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative. I was pretty disappointed, but reminded myself that it's very rare to get pregnant on the first try.

Two weeks later, Chris was coming home from work (I worked from home at that point) and decided to stop at Jack in the Box for some dinner. He texted me asking me if I wanted anything, but for one reason or another, I missed that text. When he got home and I saw he had Jack in the Box, I was infuriated that he hadn't gotten me anything. He protested that he had texted me, but I shot back, "You've known me for three years now! When have I not wanted the cheddar potato wedges??" Man, was I angry! Chris went and hid in the office (I don't blame him).

A little while later, I was calming down in the living room when I realized that my breasts really, really hurt. I was never one to have PMS symptoms, or any symptoms really, when I did get a period, so this was new territory for me. But some little light bulb must have gone off in my head, and I put irrational anger and boob pain together and came up with a shocking conclusion.

I went into the bathroom and took the top pregnancy test you see in the picture. It's a little cheapy one that came with my ovulation strips. Sure enough, it came back positive very quickly.

I ran into the office, and Chris was on the phone with his mom. I waved the test in front of his face, and he got really quiet, then said something along the lines of "Mom, I'll call you back later." He looked at me and asked me if that meant what he thought it meant. I told him it did, and we got in the car and ran to Walgreen's to get the bottom test in the picture. It came back instantly positive as well. We had an entire bevy of emotions running through us, but the strongest one was pure joy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 14 Amended - Birth Story Part II

OK, so I left off with Cecilia having been born after a very harrowing and in many ways disappointing labor. Here's how postpartum went.

We staying in the L&D room for a couple of hours. I was all sewn up and Cecilia was clean and wrapped up and latching on, even if she wasn't getting anything yet. Clearly I underestimated how exhausting childbirth is, because I don't even remember thinking about sleep, and the next thing I knew, an hour had passed with me conked out and Chris cuddling Cecilia.

I had asked the nurses if we could transition into recovery with Cecilia, which means skipping the "mandatory" hour in the nursery and having the usual procedures done there in the room. Since we were declining so many of the usual procedures, it didn't seem like it would be a big deal. I didn't want to be separated from Cecilia for an instant longer than necessary. We got our wish and Cecilia was wheeled to our room in her little bassinet, with me riding alongside in my wheelchair.

The first thing I did was demand food, after having been without for 24 hours by that point. I devoured the sandwich they brought me in approximated 1.3 seconds, and demanded more food. We had brought a bunch of snacks with us so I just kept munching.

Those first few hours in our room are a blur to me. I don't really remember much except staring at Cecilia like I had never seen anything so phenomenal in my life-- and I hadn't. I kept saying to Chris over and over again, "How is it possible that we made this tiny, perfect little thing?" We had a lot of visitors coming in and out and by 8 I was ready for more sleep.

Cecilia wasn't supposed to sleep in bed with me, but I refused to let her go. Luckily, I slept lightly enough that when the nurse would open our door to check my stats or Cecilia's, I could pretend I'd been awake the whole time. There's no way that baby was going to be out of my arms!

Lucky Chris got to change all of her early diapers because I was forced to stay in bed for 24 hours after the mag was given to me. There was one awesome meconium incident where she had pooped, Chris started to change her and, like a baby animal, she was stimulated to poop more by her butt being wiped. So three or four times she pooped before she finally stopped and could be diapered again.

The one hardship of postpartum came that first night. Around 1 am, the nurse took Cecilia's temperature and said that it was too low. They had to take her to the nursery for 1 hour under the warming lights. That hour was the hardest thing for me. I cried, and I got the laptop out to update Facebook, the forums, etc, because I needed something to do to distract me from the very physical ache of missing my girl. When she got back, the nurses told me she was wonderful, slept the whole time even with other babies crying. I nursed her again and we both went to sleep.

There were a couple more little things that happened while there, but most aren't noteworthy. I had my IV line and catheter removed early the next morning (less than 24 hours after the mag, but I was clearly feeling fine and chomping at the bit to get up), and then early the following day, Thursday, we were okayed to go home. Finally, our life with our perfect little girl was beginning!

Day 14 Might Be Late

I'm just exhausted. I generally blog while Cecilia is napping, but I think I need to nap myself...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 13 - Birth Story, Part I

WARNING: Long post ahead! I had a few people ask me to tell my birth story, and I figured I'd go ahead and do so. I am still working through all of my feelings from how my birth went, so this story is sort of a work in progress.

Monday, April 5 was my first day of maternity leave. I was 37w6d. In the early afternoon, I started feeling contractions that felt different from the Braxton-Hicks ones I had been having. They were super irregular, though, so I didn't really think much of them. I told Cecilia, "You need to wait, baby, Dr Dean is out of town until Wednesday!" Like so many other things with my girlie, she had her own ideas on the subject!

When Chris got home from work around 5:30, we went for a walk. During that walk, the contractions definitely got stronger, sometimes strong enough that I had to stop for a second, or strong enough that I could keep walking but didn't want to talk while they were happening. Still, though, they were very irregular in length. I thought to myself, "There's no way you're in labor, you're a first time mom and you're two weeks before your due date." So I kept on carrying on like normal when we got home.

By 11 pm the contractions were much more regular, around 4 minutes apart, and lasting from 30-90 seconds. We finally decided that we should go to the hospital and see if I was truly in labor.

Let me back up for a minute here. Early on, when I first learned that I was pregnant at around 5 weeks post conception or 7 weeks pregnant, I had my first great disappointment: I risked out of the birth center because of my diabetes. So I knew all along that I was going to have a hospital birth. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I had an OB who was very natural-friendly and supportive of my efforts to have a natural childbirth, and who agreed with my "crunchy" birth plan.

Of course, the best laid plans...

OK, so we went to the hospital (TMC) and I was checked into a little triage room. By the time we got our crap together at home and got there, it was around 1 am. The nurse hooked me up to the monitor and very quickly determined that I was indeed having REAL contractions and was in active labor. OH THE EXCITEMENT! We hadn't told anyone yet, because we didn't want to get everyone out of bed for a false alarm. But here we were, with the real thing happening!

I went to the labor/delivery room with Chris and got settled on the bed there. We called my sister and my parents and Chris' parents, and let them all know what was happening. The pain from the contractions was getting intense, but was still very manageable with my breathing exercises from Bradley class. We were so excited, so happy, so thrilled to be there and finally be meeting our little girl. In the midst of all of our happiness, the first unhappy moment came to us.

The nurse came in to take my blood pressure, and I saw the look on her face and knew we had a problem. My blood pressure was very high, to the point that they were worried about pre-eclampsia or me having a stroke right then and there. The OB from my OB's practice who was on call came in and talked to me frankly. She said that I needed to get an epidural even though I wasn't planning on one, because a spike in blood pressure is often the body's reaction to pain, and getting an epidural would lower my blood pressure. Chris and I talked about it for a minute and agreed to get the epidural, even though I felt like I was managing my pain. Still, we were scared with blood pressure so high, so we agreed.

I got the epidural, and it went really well. It wasn't so strong that I couldn't feel my legs or anything; mostly it felt very much like pins-and-needles when your foot falls asleep. The pain from the contractions was totally gone. Unfortunately, this didn't bring my blood pressure down quite enough.

I was given a couple of blood pressure medications, one of which was magnesium sulfate. Mag sulfate is a heavy duty medication. When a woman has that, she has to stay in bed for 24 hours after the mag is delivered, because it makes you very weak. It also makes you nauseous.

Speaking of nausea: By this point it's around 3 or 4 am, my sister and parents are there with us, and I am starving. I hadn't had anything to eat since dinner the night before. But I was a big C-section risk because of the blood pressure and so I wasn't allowed to eat. OH MAN was it hard. I was getting so lightheaded and nauseous, although it was hard to tell if that was from the lack of food, the mag, or both.

Anyway, time goes by fairly quickly. My in-laws came as well. I could still feel all the contractions even though I couldn't feel the pain. By 10 am I was 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced. My bag of waters was still intact, and so Cecilia was still a bit high up, like -2 station. By this point the OB on call was a different one than the first one, but still from the same practice as my OB. She came in and asked me if I was ready to have my water broken, so that I could finish dilating and get things moving. Her big concern was still avoiding the emergency C-section that might result if my blood pressure went up again. We agreed, and once she broke my water, I dilated the remaining 3 cm in about an hour and a half.

Around 12 or 12:30 I was ready to push. I asked for a mirror, and it was brought over for me. I had my mom supporting my neck, and my husband and sister each supporting a leg. I pushed and pushed and pushed. Over the course of two hours, I pushed and got Cecilia almost completely crowned. It was crazy; I was so tired and hungry and lightheaded that I slept between pushes. I remember hearing the nurse say, "Hey, if she can get some rest, leave her alone, guys. She needs it."

Then, all of a sudden, something happened that I had never even considered. My contractions started disappearing, with Cecilia still in the birth canal. They just...dissipated, there is no other word for it. By this point most of my epidural had worn off and I could feel them slowing down and going away altogether. What I learned later on angered me a lot: mag sulfate is often given to women going into premature labor. It is used to stop contractions as well as lower blood pressure. I told the OB that my contractions were gone, and she confirmed it on the monitor. She came to my head and told me that I had two options: She could cut an episiotomy and use the vacuum hand pump to bring Cecilia's head out of the birth canal and finish delivering her that way, or I could have a C-section. I went with door number one, of course.

With one snip and a very quick application of the vacuum, since Cecilia was already mostly crowned, my sweet girl was born at 3:18 pm exactly two weeks before her due date. Because she had been in the canal for a couple of hours, the NICU doctor wanted to check her out and make sure everything was okay, so her cord was cut very quickly (I was pretty sad over this). While she was being checked out and weighed and measured, my episiotomy was sewn up. It was very quick on both accounts; within minutes, I had Cecilia in my arms. Chris and I both cried and cried, and I think just about everyone else in the room did too!

The most amazing part was how phenomenally alert Cecilia was. I was afraid I was going to have a lethargic, drugged baby from all of the medication I was given, but it didn't turn out that way at all. She looked up curiously at Chris and I crying, and made eye contact with both of us almost immediately. She seemed to be drinking in everything around her, just looking from person to person and at all of the stuff she saw. This, by the way, has never changed-- Cecilia's favorite pastime outside of the house is to watch everything.

Tiny miss' birth stats: 6 lbs 3 oz, 18.25" long. A petite little one!

I will continue my story of our postpartum time later. I think this is enough of a story for now, don't you??


Chris and I both crying over the joy of our sweet girl being with us finally.


First bath (all natural soap free wash, naturally!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 12 - Another Weekend Draws to a Close...

Weekends used to mean a lot to me, as a M-F employee. I always looked forward to them, as I'm sure did everyone else! Now, they mean a lot to me in a totally different way. Weekends are when Chris is home and we get to do things as a family. Whether it's just staying home and cleaning or going somewhere, it's the three of us doing it instead of the two of us (Cece and I), and I love it!

Chris gets to spend a lot more time with Cecilia on the weekends than he does during the week, which is wonderful. It's great for them to spend that time together, and it's great for me. I know I've said before that I have no urge to be without Cecilia, and it's true. Papa and Cece time at home is the perfect break for me. I know she's still here and I can be there in half a second if she needs me, but I also get a chance to do something small like relax on the couch or paint my toenails or mess around with makeup or whatever while they hang out.

Chris assembled a beautiful toy chest he got at IKEA. I love it, I just have no idea where to put it! Cece's room has a crib that we never use, a changing table/dresser/cabinet combo, and a couch. The closet takes up the last wall. Ideally the toy box should be on a wall because it doubles as a bench. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to move the crib to another room since we don't use it now but maybe might down the line, like into our bedroom. But that room is just as cramped with furniture.


The toy chest with bonus Rowan shot (also known as Mocha-kitty)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 11 - IKEA, Sleep (or lack thereof) and Photos

Today my husband and my mother-in-law are on their way to Phoenix to get a relative from the airport. Along the way they are going to stop at IKEA for lunch and some shopping. I'm pretty jealous! I love IKEA and I wish that there was one closer to Tucson. Maybe they will build one down here after seeing how big of a success the one in Phoenix is, even in a recession. I gave him a little shopping list of things to look for (mostly for Cecilia)! :)

Cecilia had a rough night last night. This happens mainly when we switch milk donors, and in the past few days she's had a couple of different milks. She was up every half hour to hour with gas pains. For the most part we were able to stay in bed, but it meant a pretty sleepless night for her and I. Chris probably didn't get the best sleep either. Poor sweet girl, I hate so much seeing her in pain. We've tried gripe water (store bought and homemade) and gas drops with little success. Thankfully this isn't an all the time thing.

We did the usual Cecilia monthiversary photoshoot yesterday. The new photos are up at aimeeandchris.com

My favorite one of the two of us:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Check Out This Blog

http://mothering.com/all-things-mothering/

All Things Mothering has recipes, stories, advice and more, all from an AP parent viewpoint.

Day 10 - Four Months Old

At 3:18 pm exactly 4 months ago today, my dream come true came into this world.

It was not the entrance I had hoped for or expected, but immediately she overwhelmed my senses, and she continues to do so now. I didn't realize this depth of emotion was possible. You hear how different the feelings you have for your child are from feelings you have about anyone else, but nothing had prepared me for just how deep, and how instantaneous, those feelings were for me. Within minutes of being born, Cecilia was latched onto my breast and gazing up at me. That was the most primal, most earth mother, most joyous moment of my life. Chris and I were both crying, and she was looking at us curiously, as though she wondered what those tears were. ***warning, boob shot ahead***



That first day, neither of us could stop staring at her. She was so alert, so curious from the moment she came out. She hardly cried (which is true to this day as well); she just wanted to take in everything around her (also true to this day). I remember Chris and I realizing several hours after she was born that we hadn't done the typical new parent thing of counting fingers and toes; we were just so overwhelmed with being with her.

Four months ago today, my little one was enjoying her first bath (with all natural chemical free soap):



Now she is a big girl (relatively speaking) who loves to jump in her jolly jumper (the doorway hanging kind) SO much. She rolls from front to back and back to front. She is still phenomenally curious about everything, and when we're out, she isn't as talkative as she is at home, because she's just taking it all in. She's so happy and smiley and goofy, my girl.



I love you more than life itself, Cecilia. Always and forever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 9 - Elimination Communication

By popular request (OK, only one person asked for it. BUT THAT'S POPULAR REQUEST DAMMIT).

In a nutshell, elimination communication (henceforth known as "EC") is the practice of using your baby's cues to determine when she is eliminating, and then taking action based on those cues. Action for most people is to hold the baby over the toilet or sink, or to put them on a baby potty. Picking up on cues is easy for some kids and not at all easy for others. It's totally dependent on the baby. When you catch the baby in the act, you make a sound for them to associate with it. Most of the ones I know who EC do a "Ssssss" sound for peeing, and a raspberry sound for pooping. Then, as time goes on, you make the sound while holding them over the appropriate receptacle, and they eliminate. As far as undergarments go, there seem to be two categories. Many don't use diapers at all; they use cotton training pants or underwear, sometimes with a wool cover just in case of an accident. Others still use diapers, but use one diaper the whole day unless there's an accident.

I had thought about doing EC with Cecilia, but after researching it and talking with a few local parents who EC, I decided it was too much work for us. But, as I have discovered with many things, Cecilia had a different idea.

First, I noticed that Cecilia was only pooping when she was sitting up. She never poops overnight; I think in the hospital with meconium was the last time she did that. She also very, very rarely poops when nursing. Mostly it happens in a sitting position on my lap. She has been like this from the start, and has also been a once or twice a day pooper from the start.

So I picked up a little potty on Amazon. The first time I tried to put Cece on it, I thought she'd poop on it, and I'd have one less poopy diaper to wash. Instead, she peed in the potty. "Well, that's cool," I thought, and went about wiping and diapering her. The same thing happened the next three times I tried. No poop, but yes pee.

About a month ago, she began waking up from naps with a dry diaper. That surprised me. I didn't think that babies could naturally (as in, without EC training) hold their pee until they were way older. But Cecilia was doing it, every nap, without fail.

So I can only surmise that she actually prefers to pee on the potty and holds it during her naps. Even overnight she has a barely wet, if at all, diaper. If I put her on the potty right after she wakes up, she always pees. If I wait, she generally goes in her diaper, but she still will pee some if I put her on the potty. So I guess she has sort of EC'ed herself!


Addendum: On her 4th monthday, Cece pooped in her potty for the first time! Big girl! Man, is it easy to clean off the tush of a baby who hasn't been sitting in her poop!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 8 - Busy Day!

Wednesdays are often our busiest days, because we have playgroup in the afternoon and a lot of times something in the morning too.

Today my friend J and her little girl K came up for a while. It was so nice to see them! K is adorable and sweet and SO well behaved! There aren't that many toys out yet here since Cecilia's still young enough not to care too much, but K loved the baby toys that were out! Cecilia loves kids so much, so she was thrilled to grin and coo at K at every turn, and she gave great big smiles to J as well! It was so nice to have time with J too; we don't get to see each other as often as we should!

One of the topics that came up throughout our discussion on parenting was leaving the baby with someone else. I asked J how old K was the first time she left her with her husband or with someone else, and she was very frank in saying that she didn't want to do it at all, and waited until K was able to go longer than a couple of hours without nursing, and ate some solids, probably around 9 months. That was just to leave K with her husband; it was even longer for leaving her with someone else. The relief I felt must have been really apparent on my face!

I know that a lot of moms go back to work and don't have a choice but to leave their babies. I also know that a lot of moms want a break and take one when they can. I am not knocking either case!! But for me personally, I do not want a break from Cecilia, I do not want to spend time away from her, I do not want to go out on my own. For one thing, she still nurses every couple of hours, so at most I would have an hour out by myself if I did want to go somewhere. She doesn't like bottles and I don't like pushing them on her. But it's more than that. It's simply that I do not want to spend time apart! She is my little tiny baby, and my biggest responsibility right now. It's hard for me to put it into words. I just feel like this is part of my mama bond with her, this very strong desire to have her near me at all times. I feel like the chances of me wanting to go anywhere without Cecilia for at least the first year of her life are very, very slim. It would probably only happen if I didn't have a choice.

In other Cecilia news, she's getting really good at balancing in a bent over sitting position. She can sit like that for over a minute, although it makes her burp (pretty cute). I am amazed every single day at how much she's growing and how quickly she learns new skills. She grabs toys herself now, and brings them to her mouth. She pees on the potty all the time (I'll do an EC post sometime soon). Just waiting for that giggle, that elusive laugh...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 7 - I Have No Idea What to Blog About

Yeah, it's one of those days. My thoughts are all muddled and jumbled, so I have no idea what to type about.

Last night Cecilia woke up around 3 with bad gas pains. Poor love was in a lot of pain, it seemed. By 4 she was in way less pain, but was also ready to PLAY! So we were up until about 5:30, at which point she was finally out again and we were able to go back to bed (we cosleep). We slept until 8:30, when I woke up with a start, realizing that we had somewhere to be at 9.

We didn't really get to Stay n' Play at the Miller-Golf Links Library until closer to 9:30, and Cecilia was definitely not her usual hyper self. She did well, though. When SnP ended at 10:30, we got back in the car, and in the 5 minutes it took to get from the library to home, she was sacked out.

Just as I finished typing this, she startled awake, held up one hand, and then slooooooowly lowered the hand as her eyes drifted shut again. Oh Cecilia, you're breaking my heart...with your cuteness.


Yes, she always holds onto her toy when she falls asleep in the carseat. It's super adorable.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 6 - Last Day of Work

Last Day of Work (LDW) is an independent game studio based in San Francisco, California, which creates and develops casual games for the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

But that's not what this post is about.

Today was my official last day of my job. I worked at Intuit for 5 years, and while it was hard to make this decision for more than one reason, I can't help but feel like a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders. Every time I thought about going back to work, I got nauseous. The very idea of leaving Cece for half an hour makes me feel sick; how would I deal with leaving her for a whole work day, five days a week?

A lot of people said, "Oh, you'll get over it." A lot of people also said, "You'll get bored not working," and "You'll miss having disposable income." Of the three statements, the last one is the only one I believe. I don't get bored with Cecilia at all. We do a lot of stuff! We go to mommy group, we go to the library, we go grocery shopping, we go wander around the mall, we go see friends...what is there to get bored of? We cook and clean, we do laundry (I do all of these things with a running narrative for Cecilia), we play with toys and each other. In reality, this is exactly what I have wanted forever, and I have never been happier. We may be poor as dirt, but Cecilia gets a parent to be with her all the time.

Still, I will miss you, Intuit, or more accurately, I will miss you, co-workers of mine!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 4-5 : Ooops

I totally skipped a day. Here I thought I was going to be able to do this 30 day thing with no problem, and look at me, skipping Saturday. :blush:

Cecilia's currently sleeping on me, which is generally how things go around here, and is making the cutest little sighing snores. Love this baby!! Even when she fights sleep, like the last two nights... ;-)

This weekend we took care of stuff around the house, which was very awesome. On Saturday afternoon, we went and visited a mama from one of my DDCs (due date clubs) and spent time with her kiddos. It was really cool to be around a baby the same age as Cecilia and see what they had in common and what they did differently, developmentally. R, the other baby, is totally chill when he's lying on his back, just observing the world. Cece, on the other hand, is as hyper as she is the rest of the time. R stands really well with just his mom supporting his torso. Cecilia is reaching for and grabbing toys-- thankfully, she didn't grab any of R's from him! But that was definitely a blast, and we will have to do it more often!

I've also started a little side project this weekend. I am making baby hair accessories. I have made a few headbands for Cecilia and feel like with a little more practice, I will feel comfortable making them for other people, and possibly for selling! Wouldn't that be something else! I crochet the headbands and then separately crochet a little five petaled flower and attach it to the headband. Down the line I want to start attaching the flowers to clippies instead so they can be switched out with ease.

Well, since Cecilia is sleeping, I should be too! Off for now! More blogging tomorrow, I promise. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sometimes a picture says it all



Day 3 - The Trials and Tribulations of Breast Feeding

I think most of you probably know my story, but maybe not all of you, especially my new readers.

When I was 21, I had breast reduction surgery. I had terrible back problems from my breasts, including scoliosis from the weight of my breasts pulling my shoulders forward and constant pain throughout the back. The muscles in my shoulders and on the sides of my rib cage are still phenomenally tight, 10 years later. They never relax, and after getting massages, they relax for a few minutes but then are right back to how they were before.

I was, of course, warned about potential issues breast feeding in the future, but I was a 21 year old college kid, not in a serious relationship, and having kids seemed very far off. I thought that I would be able to deal with not being able to breast feed if that was what happened, if it meant that I could reduce the physical and emotional pain my breasts caused me. So I had the surgery, and it was wonderful to fit into normal sized clothing, to have less pain, and to feel more confident.

Fast forward 9 years, and it was summer of 2009. We learned in early August that we were going to have a baby. I was ecstatic- finally, my dream was going to come true! But not far into pregnancy, I began thinking about breast feeding. It was apparent to me pretty early on that I was leaning towards a more natural, more AP lifestyle and parenting style. Not breast feeding would be devastating. I began to get pretty depressed over this. I cried sometimes, wishing that I hadn't been selfish and had the surgery. It is one of the first times in my life that I had real regrets. I knew logically that I was a healthier person for having had the surgery, but the idea that I did something knowingly to potentially jeopardize my ability to breast feed Cecilia was tearing me apart.

The solution I came to, with the help of the amazing ladies on www.bfar.org (breast feeding after reduction) was to count on having to supplement, and purchasing a supplemental nursing system (SNS). It's essentially a small bottle that has capillary tubing coming off of it. You line the tubing up with the nipple (early on I used tape to hold the tube, now I am pretty adept at just lining it up) and latch the baby one, and she gets supplement while nursing. There are a few benefits to using an SNS.

1. Baby still nurses for nourishment. Whether the mom makes almost no milk, or like me makes a decent amount (50-75% of Cecilia's needs), the baby can always use the breast to get milk, even if it's coming from an artificial source.

2. Mom's milk supply is still stimulated at every feeding. Breast milk supply is dependent on how much the baby nurses, and for women with low supplies, it's vital that the baby nurse as much as possible. Using an SNS means that the baby nurses for every meal and keeps the body producing milk

3. No worry about nipple confusion. It doesn't happen to every baby, but when it does happen and the baby prefers the faster flow of a bottle to the slower flow and more work of breast feeding, it's devastating to the mom. This also seems to affect low supply mamas more often, since full or high supply mamas tend to have a pretty rapid flow too!

4. Easy to use and keep clean. No mucking about with sterilizing nipples, losing bottle rings, trying to find a bottle that the baby will take (not as easy as it seems like it would be for a lot of babies).

There are probably more, but those are what I can think of right now.

The next question for supplementing is figuring out what you want to supplement with. Many moms choose formula because it's readily available and easy to find. I chose donated breast milk. If I have my way, Cecilia will never have formula. Before she was born, I had amassed around 500 oz of supplemental milk, and that lasted us more than 2 months. Sometimes getting milk is a hassle, but I have not been tempted to give up yet, so I might be able to reach my goal of 100% breast milk for the girl!

My next blog post will be about what happened this week with trying to get another shipment of milk. It's not a happy story!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baby Led Weaning

My friend Rhiannon linked a wonderful article on her Facebook about BLW. This is the route we plan to go with Cecilia, and we plan to wait until at least 6 months to start, if not later.

Baby Led Weaning: An Alternative Approach to Starting Solids

Day 2 - Parenting Styles

One of the first things you realize when you're pregnant with your first baby (and for all I know, this continues with subsequent pregnancies) is that everyone wants to give you advice. Most of the time it's well-meaning, some of the time it's "You're planning to do WHAT??" kind of advice.

For the most part, I got pretty good at smiling and saying something like, "thank you, I'll think about that." But sometimes it really frustrated me, especially because I'm such a big research nerd. Sure, I trust my gut a lot, and I feel like my mama instinct is very strong and true, but I also tend to do a ton of research before making decisions. So when people would look at me aghast when I would talk about things we were planning on doing-- like cloth diapering-- I had a very hard time not being super defensive.

I get really tired of hearing people talk negatively about the parenting choices we've made. For the record, we are attachment parenting parents. The definition of attachment parenting according to Wikipedia is:

"Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well being."

In a nutshell, it's about using your baby's cues to determine what she needs, use sensitivity and empathy to build a strong emotional bond with your baby, and especially not to ignore her needs that don't fall into the eat, poop, sleep category. More specifically, I'm referring to ignoring a baby's need for attention, comfort and touch. I believe that not immediately attending to your baby when she starts to cry leads to an insecure child. And I believe that comfort and physical touch are needs as vital to a baby as food.

It makes me so sad when I see a baby being ignored when she is upset because the parent has decided (arbitrarily in my mind) that she's not wet and doesn't need to eat, so she doesn't need the parent's attention. I saw this just the other day at Target-- there was a couple there with a baby a month or so older than Cecilia, and she was bawling in her stroller. With both parents there, my assumption was that one of them would pick her up and comfort her and the other would push the stroller. Nope, they just ignored her. Sometimes one would distractedly say, "It's ok, baby." But that's it. No other comfort. I wanted to say something, but of course, I didn't.

I just wish that everyone else had enough respect for our parenting style to keep their mouths shut too.

I didn't mean for this to get all negative, so please accept an adorable picture of Cecilia to make up for it! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I guess it's time to update the blog...

I probably should apologize for not blogging for so long! I've been told by a few people that they want updates on Cecilia and on our life, and I have been remiss in fulfilling that wish.

The truth is, I have always been bad about blogging, because I always feel like I have nothing to say. Or that what I do say is inane and really doesn't need to be read by all. So, to break myself of that, I am going to set a new goal to write for 5 minutes a day (or more if I want to) every day for the next 30 days. I figure if I don't have enough for a full blog post, I can combine a couple of days' worth of rambling into one post. Or just post a short entry. Or something. Whatever. (See what I mean?)

So, I figure I can take this opportunity to blog about our family in general. Cecilia arrived on April 6 after about 20 hours of labor. My birth story is long and full of unhappiness and I will save that for a future blog. Suffice it to say birth didn't go as we had hoped, but we did get the best prize ever: our sweet, healthy, smart, happy baby girl. We brought Cecilia home after 2 days in the hospital (so wanted that to be 1), and thus started the newest, and best, adventure of my life.

Being a mom is...wow. I don't even really know how to put this in words. Those of you who know me well know that this has been a long time coming. I have desperately wanted to be a mama forever. When we found out I was pregnant last July it was literally the best moment of my life. The reality of having my girl makes that feeling pale in comparison. This is the hardest and most exhausting work I have ever done, but also the most rewarding and fulfilling. I have never felt more complete than I do now.

For those of you tuning in from work, you already know this news, but for the rest: I have decided to leave my job at Intuit and be a stay at home mama. It wasn't an easy choice to make. We're essentially losing half of our income in this decision. And more than that, I'm losing a great network of co-workers who I will miss a ton! But if I am being fully honest here, this has been my dream ever since I met Chris and knew that we were going to be together permanently. And when I got pregnant a year ago, I dreamed constantly of staying home with my baby.

When Cecilia came, I realized very quickly that there was just no way I could go back to work. I just can't not be here with her. I can't risk not seeing her first steps, or hearing her first word. Or missing the milestones I've already seen, like her rolling over for the first time, or her first smile. I would be devastated if I missed anything. I firmly believe that if it's doable for either parent to stay home during a child's early years, they should take that option. It's such a vital time of development!

So, on to the girl herself. Cecilia is such a joyful baby! She is happy and sweet and bright and a constant pleasure to be around. She's small-- at nearly 4 months she is just under 12 lbs. She was 6 lbs 3 oz at birth, though, so she is pretty close to doubling her birth weight, which doctors want to see by 6 months. She has a pretty big noggin, though, enough that we had to retire her NB sized clothes before her body outgrew them, because they didn't fit over her head anymore!

Cecilia loves to play with toys, especially now that she can grab them herself. Unsurprisingly, everything goes straight into her mouth when she grabs it! She rolls over easily from front to back, and can mostly go from back to front, but her arm gets in her way before she makes it 100%. She smiles and coos all the time, but no real giggles yet. Can't wait to hear those! I'm so looking forward to hearing her laugh!

The cats adapted surprisingly well to having the baby home. Three of them just ignore her, even when she cries. The fourth loves to be near her (see below)!

I think that's a good start for now. Will write more tomorrow!

-Aimee

Monday, March 29, 2010

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