Showing posts with label babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label babies. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Lovin': Three of My Favorite Blog Posts EVER

Gratuitous BabyM photo,
 by Kristi Lloyd  Photography
In 8 years of blogging and Internet-time-wasting, I've read a lot of blog posts. Inspirational ones, funny ones, useful ones, not-so-useful ones. In the weird way that ideas converge, I was thinking about doing a post on my favorites, and a Facebook friend randomly mentioned one of them today, in a completely unrelated discussion. So I had to write this post - it was destiny, right?

I can't pinpoint exactly *why* these posts stuck with me over all these years. Two of these bloggers have consistently excellent posts, and the third is someone I don't read regularly, but his (?) post is just so ridiculously awesome that I have it bookmarked for when I want to laugh.

My friend S posted this link on Facebook a couple of years ago. I was home on maternity leave with BabyT so I had a lot of time to click links and read them. I now own and USE nearly every single item on her list - they are *that* useful. She hooked me with her lovely writing and all the stories that went with the gadgets. 

I think of it every time I use my fabulous green plastic spoon (and I'm thinking of buying another!).  I panicked in early 2010 when I was looking for the post, because I couldn't remember where I had seen it, and my fabulous friend S found it for me again. :)

I knew once T was born that I would be happy to become a stay-at-home mama. Right as I was returning to work from maternity leave, I read this post (wistfully).  This post encapsulates the brilliance of Moxie's blog -  the comments are a goldmine of information from parents all over the world.  I read her regularly, but this particular post stuck with me, for its anecdata of what everyone would need to make their jobs more compatible with family life. A few commenters discussed why they still worked.  

A close second was the one describing the Newborn Witching Hour. I bookmarked it to try solutions for both of my babies. It didn't fix the problem, but made me feel a lot better about The Crazy that descended on our house for those few weeks each time. 

This is the post that came up in discussion on Facebook today. I cannot articulate how much I love this. Anyone who has an always-hungry dog will understand. It makes me laugh out loud every single time I read it, so I keep it bookmarked. If you're not a dog person, you won't get it. Here are some cute baby photos instead.

Enjoy, and drop me links if you have a super favorite somewhere in Internet land.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

She blinded me with science

BabyM loves Science
Shortly after each of my babies was born, I got a postcard in the mail from the University of Washington asking if we wanted to add them to a roster of experimental subjects for research studies.

This sounds weird and ominous, right?  But actually, it's pretty cool.  UW has some amazing research programs on humans - the kind of biology and neuroscience stuff I know nothing about. I was a molecular bio/biochem person in my previous life.

T only got called once when she was about 15 months old, for a study to determine when babies understand cause and effect. The study is mentioned here, but I can't find an actual reference for it. 

We went down to "the U" on a sunny day, and she got to play with some toys and watch some things light up.  The researcher would arrange a group of toys in a particular orientation and then see if she'd imitate him.  T was more interested in naming the objects - ladder, octopus, helicopter.  He was impressed by her verbal skills, and she wanted to play more when we were done.  She got a small toy elephant for her "work" and our parking was free.

Last week I got an email asking for babies to participate in a non-invasive hearing study.  BabyM and I went to our first of three sessions today, and it was the first time in YEARS I wandered around the University District.  I went to school at UW nearly 15 years ago, so I'm familiar with the area, but it's changed so much since then.  I don't remember it being quite so seedy-looking, to be honest, but maybe I'm just viewing it with my suburban mama filter now.

This study required BabyM to wear a tiny earpiece and listen to some (quiet) white noise, over which they'd play people speaking.  They were watching to see if she'd react when the sounds changed.  

Since she was sitting on my lap, they needed me to be "neutral" so I got to listen to music so I couldn't hear or influence her reaction - Mama is nothing but a piece of furniture in this experiment!.  I listened to half of U2's The Joshua Tree, and remembered what an AMAZING album it is. It was the first album I bought on CD, back in 1990.  Yeah, I'm old.

BabyM is happy and smiley when she's not tired or hungry so this morning went well and she charmed the (all-female!) staff at the lab.  We'll go back twice more next week and earn our $15 and free parking again (probably just enough to pay gas and the bridge toll!).

I like the idea of contributing to Science, and of course, the studies I agree to are totally safe for my girls.  I'm obviously not doing it for the money.  I do think it's good for babies to go out and meet new people and see different things. BabyM was fascinated by all the colorful photos on the walls at the lab, as the same building has a Speech and Hearing Clinic for kids.

I did decline the request for a 2-year study that required us to come in 6-8 times for a sleeping MRI, right around bedtime, for 1-2 hours each. I don't think MRIs are harmful, but wrangling a tired baby and trying to get her to fall asleep in an unfamiliar environment seemed like a recipe for stress.

But the easy studies during the day?  Sign us up!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I belong with you, you belong with me

So remember when I wrote wistfully about how cosleeping never worked with BabyT? Yeah, let's file that under "be careful what you wish for".

BabyM will not sleep in her crib. She will begrudgingly stay there quietly for 10 minutes since we bought her this flashy light up musical "soother" (which does not soothe!), but sleep she WILL NOT.

She's been sleeping in our bed for a few months now, aka most of her life since she's only 5 months old. I got over my paranoia about blankets and suffocation and baby being squished by one of us, in favor of more sleep. 

And it's true, we do get more sleep. I do not feel sleep-deprived, but the quality of the sleep I'm getting isn't great, so I need a LOT. And I'm a high-sleep-needs person to start with, so now it's even worse.  It seems as though BabyM is enjoying her proximity to The Milk, so she wakes a few times to nurse. On the rare occasion we've gotten her to sleep somewhere else (like the crib - once!) or when I go sleep elsewhere, she only wakes once.

So yeah, we'd love to get her to sleep in her crib at the end of our bed - just a few feet away, which to BabyM might as well be across the country.  I can't say I blame her - our memory foam mattress and fluffy duvet are very nice to sleep with.

She's training us well - anytime we invest some time and effort into getting her to sleep elsewhere, she falls asleep easily but then wakes every 20 minutes or so, requiring us to soothe her back to sleep. When we give up on this plan, and just take her back to our bed, she sleeps the next 7 or so hours straight. That's one smart baby.

Sleeping with her is very much like sleeping with Spike, our beagle (who, thankfully, is not allowed in our bed). We start out in our own space, but in the middle of the night, I find a little warm body snuggled up next to me, slowly pushing me over to the very edge of the bed. 

It's frustrating because I keep waking so often - I think I must be responding to some kind of change in her breathing, because I wake up right before she does most of the time. And as nice and cuddly as she is, I do like sleeping by myself, with no one *touching* me. 

But as they say, "the days are long but the years are short" and soon enough she won't want to sleep in our bed.  It makes sense that evolutionarily, babies probably like to stay with their mamas most of the time. And I know every time we try to "make" a baby do something, it never works, and just frustrates us as well as them.

So I'm admitting defeat. I don't want to make it harder on myself by doing some elaborate "sleep training" routine. We'll try something different when she's not sleeping well, or if we aren't getting enough sleep. But for now, I'm embracing my inner crunchy mama.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Six things they don't tell you about babies

Despite my extensive reading and research, there are still things I didn't know about babies until we had one (and now two) living in our house.  Mysterious creatures, babies.

1. They don't arrive knowing how to eat
I read a lot of articles about breastfeeding, and had honest friends who shared their struggles, but I didn't pick up on one important detail.  It's not just about the mama learning the "womanly art of breastfeeding". The babies don't know how to do it either. They need to figure out how to latch, how to suck, and how to eat and breathe at the same time.  The same is true about drinking from a bottle, which is a different set of skills.  All those Sesame Street videos of people feeding baby animals with bottles made me believe that it was something babies just knew how to *do*. Not so much.

2. A baby is not a function box
When I was learning middle school math, our book had a photo of a "function box" to get us to understand inputs and outputs of algebraic functions.

Function box, courtesy of
One Mathematical Cat

I imagined a new baby would be like this function box and it was my job to figure out the right input to get the desired output.  Baby crying?  Maybe it's a messy diaper.  Deliver clean diaper, then baby should stop crying right?  HAHAHA. Not really.

Sure, sometimes it worked, as I figured out the baby's patterns for hunger and sleep.  But many times, she cried for no reason at all.  Friends of mine have graphed and journaled sleep patterns for weeks, and found no useful correlations.  The function box doesn't cover that.

3. Each one is a special snowflake
This is a twist on the previous lesson. We've had two newborns, and even with our tiny n=2 sample size, I can tell that babies are born with different preferences and personalities.  Again this was something I had simply not considered prior to becoming a parent. I just figured babies were mostly alike until they got older.

BabyT loved the pacifier and drank happily from a bottle.  BabyM says no to both.  BabyM really prefers to be held or at least talked to when she's awake, while BabyT was happy to sit in her bouncy seat and amuse herself for long stretches of time.

Keep that in mind when helpful friends and relatives tell you what to do that "always worked for their babies". Yours may hate it, and it's not because you're doing something wrong.

4. Physical development takes a top down approach
Our awesome pediatrician mentioned this in passing, and I think it's so cool. I never thought about it that way until she brought it up.  First they learn to use their mouths to eat, then get control of their head/neck, then their arms and hands, then they can roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, and finally walk and run.

Obviously not every baby will do it exactly this way (see special snowflake, above) but it's a rough guideline and a neat, logical pattern.  So much is illogical in the world of babies that I latch onto what I can.

5. Photoshop is your friend
Everyone thinks babies are born all cute and cuddly. Not so much. They have weird skin issues like baby acne, cradle cap, and birthmarks that disappear in varying amounts of time. They spent 9+ months squished inside someone's belly.  They are also skinny and take several weeks to plump up.

see how this was taken from really far away?
and artfully blurred?

Photoshop and Instagram filters will save you in these uncertain times.  Around 3-6 months, babies usually deliver the goods and get really cute as promised.

6. Oh god, the laundry
So people do talk about how babies exponentially increase the amount of laundry they do.  Especially those folks who launder their own cloth diapers.  And I do find myself always behind on laundry these days, but it's not the baby's clothes that are piling up - it's mine.

Sure, we have the occasional diaper blowout or spit up incident that requires a full baby outfit change and maybe also the changing station covers. In general, though, babies who don't move don't get dirty so ours tend to wear outfits for more than one day.

The biggest increase in laundry is MY clothes.  I've still got a limited wardrobe because I didn't lose all the baby weight in 3 weeks as advertised.  Breastfeeding means I need to wear easy-access clothing, and I don't have many nursing tops.  Not to mention all the reusable nursing pads that need to be washed and every last thing the baby spits up on.  Most of my shirts meet their demise that way - I put on a clean one, and 15 minutes later, the baby spits up on it. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Maybe there's someone out there who benefits from this list, and remembers it at 3am when they're feeling like a failure because the (fed and diapered) baby just won't stop crying and go to sleep already.  Or maybe that person will cut herself some slack when she has to decide whether to wear the sweatshirt with the milk spot or the spit up on the shoulder, because nothing else is clean.

It definitely gets better.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Project Life: November 2012, Thanksgiving Edition

I'm so close to completing Project Life for 2012 and I'm so excited!  Even more so that it's still FUN to put the pages together each time.

For this layout, I used the Noel Mignon November 2012 kit. I bought a single one to see what a different kit was like.  (I already subscribe to Studio Calico.) This one was a bit too "themed" for my liking - very fall and Thanksgiving-ish, but perfect for this spread in Project Life. I also used a few of the cards from the We R Memory Keepers line at Target - the 4x6 list of T's favorite things, and the little cards with the banners and Meridian's schedule matched nicely with the NM kit.  I've finally figured out that I prefer to use all cream-based papers or all white-based, instead of mixing the two.

Apologies in advance for the photos being a bit wonky.  I got done with this spread very late so had to take them under incandescent light. I'm also learning how to use Adobe Lightroom, and am still getting used to the editing tools.

Nov 12-25, 2012: Thanksgiving, Crossroads Mall, Portage Bay Cafe

Closeup of "baby schedule" card ;)


Nov 12-25: Babies, friends, and food.


Not much craftiness this week - a sequin, a brad and a sticker.

I printed fewer photos than usual this time, because I had put a lot of this month's photos in my 30 Days of Thankful album and didn't want to use duplicates.  So I had to come up with some "filler" cards, and I just wasn't feeling as crafty this week.

I had a few cards in my stash that I added a bit of journaling and kit stickers to, and then I thought it might be nice to capture a little bit about what the girls are like right now.  With BabyM, it's all about the eating and sleeping, so I wrote up her "schedule" (such as it is). I'm sure it'll be amusing when she's a teenager.

For T, I wrote about her current favorite things - book, movie, parent (always Daddy!).  I wrote these up from my own observation, so I'm sure she'd disagree with my choices. She's 3 and tends to disagree with most things. Sigh.

I'm also totally stoked that all the pages for the year will fit into one 2.5" binder.  Other people have had to split their year into 2 albums, which just doesn't seem ok to me. I know, I'm weird.

Only 3 more layouts to go for the year!  Woot!

Linked up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

5 Things I Love About New Babies

I'm so totally a baby person.  Love them.  But the first 4-5 weeks with BabyT were rough as we sorted out breastfeeding, soothing her to sleep and general life with a newborn. Before BabyM was born, I was wishing I could just "fast forward" through those early weeks.

Tomorrow BabyM will be 5 weeks old, and I'm so glad I didn't find the magic fast-forward button.  It's been delightful to watch her grow from a tiny wrinkly skinny baby to putting on that delightful baby chub on her cheeks, thighs and hands.  She's still got more to go, but is getting nice and squeezable.

In honor of her 5-week birthday, here are five things I love about tiny new babies:

1.  Watching her grow so quickly. It's almost like I can *see* her getting bigger if I keep staring. 

2.  The cute little faces she makes when she's sleeping. TJ calls this her "system startup routine" - her expression goes from sad/crying to half-smiles, to radiant joyful smiles.  All meant for her imaginary friends, I guess.

3.  Dressing her in adorable tiny outfits. She has no opinions about what she wears, so I get to choose.  And everything looks cute on a baby.

4.  Snuggles.  She WANTS us to hold her, and squeeze her, and cuddle on her.  She's not too busy playing or embarrassed by us.

5.  Port-a-baby.  For a couple more months (maybe), we can take her out when we want to.  We're not chained to a nap schedule just yet.  She can sleep on the go.  Though I've noticed she doesn't sleep nearly as well as her big sister did when we're out and about, so our days may be numbered.


she's watching you, and she DOES NOT LIKE what's going on.

You can tell from this that we've been blessed with another relatively easy baby.  (Knock on wood, salt over the shoulder, etc.)  Things are a lot easier this time than last time, even with a 3 year old in the mix.  (She's an awesome Big Sister, by the way.)  Fingers crossed that it'll continue!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

7 Things To Make Breastfeeding Suck Less

Pun intended, hehe. I was going to title this something earnestly helpful like "7 Nursing Essentials", but that was too boring.  Can I also say that I am so much more comfortable with the euphemism of "nursing", like somehow it's bad for me to talk about breasts?  Sigh.  I'm working on it, though.

Anyway, as you may recall, I did not like breastfeeding at first. In fact, at this point with BabyT, 4 weeks in, it still hurt like a mofo, and I was spending upwards of 4 hours a day feeding her because she was sloooow. Luckily with BabyM, she's pretty efficient and has a picture-perfect latch, so it never hurt. A-mazing.

Why is there a pumpkin on my head??

However, like all newborns, she eats several times a day, so there are some things that make the experience even better.  

1. All-Purpose Nipple Ointment.  My doctor calls this stuff "magic ointment" and good lord she was NOT kidding.  This made breastfeeding bearable the first time, and I'm convinced it's also kept us thrush and infection-free as well.  For the second baby, I was smart enough to get the prescription filled *before* the baby came and took this stuff to the hospital.

2. Washable nursing pads.  Most people just buy the box of disposable Lansinoh nursing pads to avoid embarassing leaks on clothing.  And don't get me wrong, they're pretty great and I have a small stash of those on hand for long outings.  But I felt really bad about generating *so much* trash - tossing a few pairs of these every day for months made me feel very eco-guilty.  I found these wonderfully made washable nursing pads by wooldins on Etsy and bought a set with each baby.  They're WAY better than the 100% cotton ones sold in stores - those get clammy and gross.  These stay comfortable, and wash well.  Love.

3. Electric breast pump x2.  We started BabyM on a bottle this week, so I had my first grown up dinner away from the baby. So nice.  Of course, this requires me to pump, but I have to anyway, since I need to start the freezer stash for my return to work in March.  I'm lucky to have inherited a nice Medela pump from a close friend (8 years old but still going strong, surprisingly!).  What I found out last time was that lugging the pump and parts back and forth and setting it up at home and at work *each day* was a royal pain.  So I got another one for work and left it there.  I only brought the parts and bottles home to wash and had plenty of extras.  Well worth the extra cost.

4. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. I know, real women can nurse standing up, walking around, etc. and don't need any stinkin' nursing pillow.  But I'm just not woman enough.  I'm still pretty awkward without it, though I can get it done if required.  But with the pillow, it's so.damn.easy.  Baby is at the right height, I can sit up straight without a crazy backache, and it leaves me with a free hand to snack, surf the web, shop online etc.  Ridiculous name, but great product.

5. Ugly Glider.  I scored a screamin' deal (twice!) on Craigslist for a Dutailier glider-rocker.  These things are so ridiculously ugly, but so damn comfortable for breastfeeding.  Ours has a charming (puke) pastel animal theme.  But the angle of the chair is perfect, it's a rocker, and has comfy padding.  I can get over the sheer ugliness of it for the year or so we'll need it.

6. Medela Nursing Stool.  When I first saw this, I thought it was another way to separate new parents from their money.  I mean, Ugly Glider comes with its own ottoman so why would I need a separate tiny hard footstool?  Except that the ottoman is not the right height for nursing, and I am short and had a ridiculous backache for the first few weeks of nursing BabyT. The lactaction specialist recommended this stool, and desperate for relief, I shelled out the money for it.  Worth.every.penny.  Seriously.  It fixed all my posture problems.  Love.

7. Smartphone.  Yeah, I know.  You don't *need* this for nursing.  But OMG, having Internet access on a tiny device I can hold in one hand?  Priceless for those long feedings.  I've shopped online, kept up with Facebook, read the news, and cleaned out my email, all while growing a baby. How awesome is that? I could even watch movies and TV if I wanted to. Definitely an essential.

So there it is - the things that make breastfeeding easy-peasy for me.  Hope it helps.  What do the experienced mamas out there think?  Any essentials I missed?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The loose affiliation with the real

I had a surreal moment this week.  I went back to my doctor's office for a quick check of my C-section incision, and they took me back to the same room I had all my pregnancy checkups with both babies, and I had the stunning  realization that I was NOT PREGNANT.

I know, I've spent most of my life being not pregnant, but in that doctor's office context, it was very weird.  It seemed so abrupt - every week they checked the baby's heartbeat and measured my enormous belly, and this time they didn't, because that same baby was sleeping in her car seat on the floor next to me.  So strange.

I enjoyed this second pregnancy a lot more, probably because I knew what to expect.  The first trimester was definitely worse (hello hormones!) but the rest of it, not so bad.  I didn't stress about my weight gain, because I knew there would be so much fluid retention that I wouldn't know how much actual weight I gained.  On the bright side, I have lost 30 pounds in 3 weeks, and I'm still retaining some water.  So yay for that.

In the last few months of pregnancy, I was round and glowing like the sun.  Seriously, despite being huge, I felt great and happy. Strangers would smile at my giant pregnant waddling self or ask questions about when I was due. Other pregnant mamas would smile too, like we were all part of some happy secret club.

Now it's different.  I'm tired, wearing sweats or loose maternity clothes, and obviously have some baby weight to lose.  I'm probably grimacing from lugging that ridiculous infant seat around, or glancing around nervously trying not to expose myself while nursing in public  Not exactly attracting positive energy, right?

It's such a weird transition.  I can see why women grieve not being pregnant anymore (especially with sleep deprivation and hormones addling one's brain as well!)

But we have a BABY.  And she is (so far, knock on wood!) as cooperative as her sister was.  Which makes it pretty darn awesome.  I'm not dragging myself through the day and I am actually getting a little time to myself.  I get to cuddle on a baby who's plumping up (love that!) and getting over all the weird newborn skin stuff.  Sometimes we go to Target.  Because where else do mamas and babies go during the day?

The new normal is working out pretty well so far.  I suspect it will only get better.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Project Life: October 2012, New Baby Edition

Obviously the big news around here for the first 2 weeks of October was the birth of BabyM.  In general I'm not a fan of the "pink for girls, blue for boys" school of thought, but lately I've been digging pale pink.  When I had to choose nail polish for my last pedicure, I chose pink with silver sparkles, in honor of BabyM's impending arrival.

So when I got down to work on Project Life for the past 2 weeks, I felt a strong pink vibe for my cuddly baby girl photos.  I thought the Studio Calico Heyday 6X6 Paper Pad would work well with its pastel color scheme.  I've also been hoarding some Dear Lizzy Neapolitan paper, and one of the floral patterns I didn't care for had a lovely pale pink on the other side with a cool number pattern on the part that usually gets thrown away.

At first I was reluctant to use the WRMK page protector with the giant skinny strip down one side, but I realized it would work for some short journaling/photo captions and then I could use all of the other slots on that page for photos.  The page has a convenient combination of landscape and portrait orientations and thankfully, either works for the Instagram square photos.

Click the photos to see a larger version.

Oct 1-14, 2012: Welcome BabyM!


Oct 1-14, 2012:  Painting pumpkins, playing at the park and meeting BabyM

This came together pretty quickly once I finally sorted through the photos the nurses took at the hospital, plus the ones from my new DSLR at home, *plus* all the baby Instagrams I've been taking.  I am actually planning to make a mini-album for BabyM's first week (or maybe first month) so I am "saving" a lot of the photos for that.  Not to mention a few need to go in her baby book as well.

While I love using 6x6 paper for Project Life because the smaller patterns work better, I'm always left with a 2x6 inch scrap after cutting what I need for the slots.  So I decided to get crafty and layer my scraps together for one of the 4x6 slots above (the one with my mom and BabyM).  This also helped tie together the patterns I used on the facing page, without requiring me to add yet another pattern to the mix.  I think that helps my pages look a bit more cohesive, which is something I struggle with because I just love all my STUFF and try to cram it all in.

I love that the chevron washi tape I got in one of my Studio Calico monthly kits matches perfectly with this paper. I also realized I could use it for an actual purpose - to keep the photos from sliding out of the slots.  I hate the side-loading slots on some of the page protectors.  As we flip through our album, the stuff never stays in those pockets.  So I'll be going back through the album, washi tape in hand, to tape those slots up so things don't fall out.  Good times.

I was worried that BabyM's arrival would result in me dropping Project Life for the rest of the year.  So far, so good. I love doing it, and it's a quicker form of craft therapy than some long involved project.  So I have high hopes about finishing the rest of the year - only 5 more layouts left for the year!

Linked up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm learning to live

It's been a little over 2 weeks as a family of four and so far it's gone much better than I expected.  Most of this is due to the fact that TJ is home so we're pretty much always dividing and conquering.


Things that are going well:

No meltdowns yet, from anyone.  I'm pretty surprised, to be honest.  I suppose it's too early to get too excited about that, though.

Everyone is fed, clothed, clean and mostly happy.  That's a big deal, right?  BabyM sleeps in pretty good stretches usually - 2.5 hours up to 8 hours once (!).  It's all over the place - sometimes during the day, sometimes at night, but I'll take it.

I'm off the pain meds.  I can drive!  Things (mostly) don't hurt.  I can leave the house on my own! (In theory anyway.  In practice I need to take The Baby since I'm the only one who can feed her.)

I'm pretty well-rested.  I am one of those people who can nap anytime, almost anywhere.  TJ holds down the fort with T since I've got all the night duty with The Baby.  (I know, he is so awesome.)

I'm (mostly) accepting that I don't *have* to do anything right now except take care of my family.  It's hard for my Type-A self, but I keep reminding myself I have about 20 weeks left at home.  That's a long time.

Nursing.  So easy this time.  And efficient.  Loving the snuggly quiet time with BabyM, and also sometimes T keeps us company and "reads" us a book.

Things I'd like to be better:

T is waking multiple times at night and requires soothing.  Not surprising considering the circumstances but very rough on TJ who is NOT a napper.  I can't help much yet since I'm already up a couple of times with The Baby, but I'm hoping it'll iron out soon.  Sort of wondering if cosleeping will fix it - the one night she came to our bed, she slept through *everything*.

I had forgotten how ridiculously hard it is to leave the house with a baby.  T has gotten pretty self sufficient - she can put on her own shoes/jacket, use the bathroom and mostly dress herself.  We're starting over.  It took us 90 minutes to get out the door this morning to go to the Children's Museum.  Thankfully we didn't need to be there by a certain time.

BabyM hates the carseat.  I don't know why.  On the bright side, she almost always falls asleep after a few minutes of driving.  But this is the only time she really cries, and it's awful.

I still don't want to make a lot of plans with people.  First, it's hard to get out of the house and be somewhere at a certain time, not to mention, I may not want to be awake at that time.

Then I have to figure out the nursing-in-public thing, made more complicated by the fact that I can't find my nursing cover up.  The blanket over the shoulder trick is NOT working for me.  Also, it's so much easier with the enormous nursing pillow.  Sigh.

I miss my big girl.  I miss having uninterrupted time with her.  I'm often still asleep when she leaves for preschool in the morning.  She is here and awake for such limited hours that I feel like I'm missing out.  Sniffle.  Nearly every book-reading session or art project is interrupted because The Baby needs to eat and right now I'm the only one who can feed her. 

Which leads me to Introducing the Bottle.  We need to do this, but I'm afraid.  One of the nurses at the hospital gave her a paci (I know, too early!) and she took to it right away, but it screwed up her latch for the *entire next day*.  I was really upset about this, thinking we had broken our perfectly-nursing baby.  Fortunately, the following day she was fine and we haven't tried a paci since.


But it would be nice if TJ could feed her occasionally, *and* she's going to need to take a bottle when I go back to work in March.   Which means I need to start pumping anyway, so that we can stockpile milk.  Blergh.

=============================================

Not bad for the first few weeks, though.  Fingers crossed that the relative peacefulness and Baby Good Sleep will last!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Our days are fragmented by the schedules of our two little people.  T has to be at preschool exactly at 8:40 and picked up at 12:40.  M eats approximately every 3-5 hours round the clock, which also includes one or more diaper changes and some extra cuddling when she just doesn't want to be put down.  

We have doctor's appointments for M, T, and me, as well as errands like prescription pickup and grocery shopping.  I can't drive until I stop taking pain meds.  I can't stop taking pain meds until it stops hurting.  So we do everything, "all four together", which is kind of nice, but also means neither adult can "tag out".

Not unexpected, and thankfully being on maternity leave frees me up to think about nothing else than what's going on here at home.  Our second time with a newborn has been easier, mainly because my expectations of "getting things done" are low.  And this one sleeps and eats better than I expected (sleep gods, don't strike me down).


gratuitous baby picture.  blanket knit by my mom!

While I was thinking about not much else besides our day-to-day routine, two awesome things happened.

Today I got email from a BlogHer editor telling me they are featuring one of my older posts about contentment on their front page.  Woot!  I still love me some external validation.

 But even bigger and MORE exciting than that was an email I got last night as I was trying to convince myself to spend a little time in the craft room before falling into bed. 

Create magazine, part of the gorgeous Northridge Publishing family, wants to publish a project I submitted!!  I sent in the photos months ago, but since I hadn't heard from them, I figured they didn't want it.  I was a little sad, but honestly, not surprised since this was the first mini scrapbook album I've made on my own. 

But they want to publish it in March!  I need to send it in this month, with some additional info.  This is one of the items on my Mondo Beyondo list.  I honestly was going to give up on this one, partly because of the lack of time I have right now to focus on crafting, but also because of some customer service issues I've been having with Northridge regarding my subscription.

But when I got the email requesting my project, I just couldn't say no.  It's on my dream list!  The album itself is very special to me - it's a list of all the qualities I want to have as a mama, kind of a scrapbook version of a "vision board".  So you can be sure I'll be taking a ton of photos of it just in case it doesn't come back to me.

So to quote John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Update:  One more awesome thing I forgot to mention - BabyM weighs 7lbs today, which is 3 oz more than her birthweight.  Which also means we don't need to wake her to eat.  Woohoo!

Now your turn.  Tell me about an unexpected good thing in your life!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Blessed and lucky


So here we are on the Other Side.  I've been meaning to post something since Monday, but have been too tired to sit down and write anything more complex than a Facebook status.

Meridian Rayna made her way into the world on Monday morning, weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and measuring 18.5 inches. Surprisingly, everything was right on schedule.  We showed up at the hospital at 7am, they took us back almost immediately and got me prepped for surgery.  I had less time to freak out this time than last time. But, I still dislike hospitals, and hate having an IV.  Especially when they have to poke me more than once to get a good spot.

The anesthesiologist, Dr. L, was *amazing*.  She got the job done right on the first try and chatted with me the entire time to distract me from what was happening.  We talked about The Checklist Manifesto which I read earlier this year.  I was thrilled to note that as part of the procedure, my doctor ran through a checklist/intros before they got started.  So cool to read about it, then see it in action.

Both TJ and I are very squeamish, so we had them put up a screen, and asked the docs not to tell us what they were doing and that we were perfectly happy to assume that babies come out perfectly clean and wrapped in blankets :)

Just like last time, I cried when I heard BabyM's "voice".  She has a ton of dark brown hair and deep blue eyes, both of which are probably temporary.  The time holding her in the recovery room passed quickly, as did nursing her for the first time.

The nurses who took care of us were FANTASTIC, again.  We were lucky to have them looking out for us and responding to my requests for help getting M in and out of her "crib",  swaddling her tightly, getting me up and walking, and working with me to find a painkiller/schedule that worked.

With that, a short list of things I am grateful for:

1.  Feeding - Baby M is one of those mythical babies "born knowing what to do".  She latched on right away. She's quick. It doesn't hurt and is actually kind of a nice peaceful cuddly time. (Did I really say that?!)  This was definitely *not* the case with T in the early months.

2.  Husband - I count my lucky stars to have TJ (sappy alert).  M would not sleep in the hospital's Baby Tupperware (aka "crib") so he slept with her in his arms every night and for some naps.  We are currently practicing "divide and conquer" to shepherd T through her schedule and keep BabyM fed, clean and happy.  I can't imagine if it had to be all Mama, all the time. 

3.  Sleep - Of course we could be getting more sleep, uninterrupted, but after the last month of pregnancy, what I'm getting now is amazing.  Plus, BabyM sleeps in 2-4 hour stretches, which is more than I expected.  So far, so good.

4.  My mom - She stayed with T at our house while we were in the hospital.  T somehow convinced her to co-sleep, so I'm sure my mom didn't get much rest.  She also left us a huge pot of chili which we are still eating (when we remember to eat).  T is at her house today to play. Hooray.

5.  Narcotics - It's really too bad I don't enjoy them more.  My doctor is very thorough and sent me home with a bunch of different ones to try, since both of the options I used in the hospital made me dizzy and nauseous.  But honestly, all I need right now is the high dose ibuprofen, alternating with Tylenol + codeine.  When I remember to take them on schedule, nothing hurts.  Hooray for modern medicine.

Life is good around here, if a bit hazy from lack of sleep.  I think there might be nothing better than cuddling a sweet, sleepy baby, with nothing else on the agenda.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Circling the wagons

So there's that "nesting" instinct that's supposed to kick in just as a woman gets ready to have a baby.  It's hard for me to tell if that has happened/is happening because I'm pretty project-oriented to begin with, and doing stuff like organizing my pantry is fun for me, pregnant or not.

But I will tell you what I've noticed in the past couple of weeks - I have a HUGE desire to hole up in my house and not go anywhere, not make plans, and not see anyone.  Even social media seems taxing and too busy and interactive.  Someone else mentioned this happening to them while pregnant, so I'm not alone.  I'm already an introvert to begin with, so I suspect something hormonal is enhancing those tendencies even more.

Sadly, September was a bad month to feel this way.  It's been jam-packed with appointments and errands to get ready for Baby X', BabyT's birthday, adjustment to her new preschool (though the schedule seems to definitely agree with her more), the start of her new dance class, wrapping up work before leave, and lots of family in town.  Worst is that I'm exhausted because I can't sleep well at all (thanks pregnancy-induced snoring and being planet-sized!).

But it's coming to a close now, and I have 6 days left.  I'm not working this week.  My last prenatal appointment is tomorrow, and I have to attend "Curriculum Night" at T's preschool so I can meet the other parents.  (Ok, "have to" is a strong word, but it's something I'd like to do.) 

TJ drew the line in the sand about not doing any more things from The List.  We're ready with all the important stuff.  No more stressing about hanging up coat hooks and pictures or other low-priority tasks.  I like it and it's just the "permission" I needed to let those last few things go.

Besides taking T to preschool, our calendar is blissfully empty the rest of the week.  I'm going to do a little crafting, play with my new DSLR camera, and spend a lot of time at home with my girl in our last few days of being a mama-baby duo.  (Just writing that makes me a little teary.) 

I need this quiet time to get myself together for what's going to be a difficult month up ahead.  I'm certain that the pregnancy and nursing hormones have erased the bad memories from 2009, because I remember it being "not that bad" while TJ remembers the first few weeks as "awful" as we figured out how to get by on broken sleep, nursing ickiness, and troubleshooting baby cries. 

This time we get to do it again, 3 years older, and with a little girl who needs us just as much as her new baby sister will.  We are lucky to have people around offering help, but most of my worries are about the things that other people just can't do - helping BabyT feel secure about her place in our family while also bonding and learning about new Baby X'.  I'm not too concerned about what we're going to eat or getting T to the places she needs to be - with two adults at home, that should be a little easier.

So if you email or call or text us and we don't reply, it's because we're in the bunker waiting for the Armageddon.  No wait, that's not right.  But we are focusing inward this week (and of course the next few weeks).   Please leave a message after the beep and we'll get back to you when we are ready.

BEEP.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hello, what?

As I was falling asleep last night, a thought popped into my head.  I'm really looking forward to nursing another baby.

What the heck??  When did that happen?  Before I got pregnant with T, I was thinking "you want me to do what?! And that's her only food source?  Who thought that was a good idea?"  I thought I'd have to sequester myself in a dark room somewhere and never leave the house. 

One of the first questions I asked our prospective pediatrician was her thoughts on breastfeeding because I wanted to gauge whether she was going to harangue me or guilt me if I wanted to quit.  (She did not, and she has been awesome in every way.  She said she asks new moms to try to give it a month, and that was a good answer in my book.)

It took us a long time to get the hang of it.  I didn't like it at first.   I set small goals for myself - make it through the first day, three days, a week.  Then 2 weeks, a month, and before I knew it, we got to that magical time when it was actually *easier* to nurse her than sort out a bottle.  And she got so efficient, we'd be done in less than 10 minutes and I lost my leisurely Facebook/NYT reading time.  Heh.  I was all set to quit at a year, but T got sick for the first time right around then, we had two trips planned, and we were still navigating her dairy allergy, so she nursed until just short of 14 months.  I never imagined making it for that long.  When we quit, we were both ready - not a single tear was shed and she never asked about it (ok, that made ME a little sad inside, I'll admit!).

I even got brave enough to nurse in public, sort of.  I could do it in the car, or at other gatherings with mamas and babies.  I never managed to get comfortable nursing in a random public place like a restaurant but I suspect Baby X' will be nursed wherever we happen to be, since we'll be out and about more.

So maybe I'm remembering those blissful, easy days of nursing in bed for 10 minutes and going about our business.  When it's 4 hours a day, it probably won't be so awesome.  But oddly, I'm still looking forward to it.

But there is nothing in this world that will make me look forward to pumping again.  Blech.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Over the hills and far away

I can't believe I'm already halfway through this pregnancy (fingers crossed that Baby X' stays in as long as (s)he is supposed to).  It seemed to go much slower last time, but then again, I didn't have a toddler to wrangle nor did we go on a Big Vacation.

I got my first pregnancy massage yesterday and it was so nice.  Being OLD I feel a lot more sore and rickety than last time.  Which reminds me, I really need to make time for exercise, something I haven't been able to do since even before T was born.  I dislike the idea of it, so it always falls down the priority list.  Not exactly setting a good example, am I?  Sigh.

Next week we find out the sex, if Baby X' cooperates.  Hooray! 

But also, I'm a little stressed, because that means I can go into Full Project Manager mode.  Sorting clothes, picking names, moving the craft room, decorating and setting up the baby's room, which if history repeats itself (s)he won't actually use for another 18 months or so.  But I want to get all that stuff done BEFORE this baby shows up and we realize how much easier it was with just one 2.5 year old.

It's also time for me to sort through my maternity and nursing clothes as some things are getting uncomfortably tight.

It's a happy coincidence that I got pregnant almost EXACTLY at the same time as last time so everything is in the right season, and that also means the baby clothes we have are in the right season too, though if X' is a boy, we've got some shopping to do.  (Add that to the Project Plan!)

But life is good.  T is enjoying her preschool, though has resorted to NOT napping there for the past week or so, which means she is a hot mess by the time she gets home at 4pm.  My solution of putting her to bed before 6pm seems to be working, mostly, except she's also going through some kind of crazy growth spurt where she's waking up in the middle of the night wanting to eat. 

And having TJ at home?  Totally, amazingly, awesome.  We spend lots of time together as a family.  Stuff around the house is getting done.  We have lunch dates together sometimes on my work days. Most importantly, he is happy and content.

So yeah, livin' the dream.








Wednesday, May 02, 2012

For three strange days

We've only been back from Ireland for about 2 weeks which is surprising because in some ways it feels like AGES.

I was still horribly sick when I got back and visited my primary care doctor as soon as I could. She gave me the party line about how she couldn't really prescribe anything since I was pregnant, but gave me a tip that I could take Claritin or Mucinex safely. Fine, that helped a little.

The next day I had an appointment with my awesome OB for a usual checkup on BabyX', who finally allowed us to hear his/her heartbeat on the Doppler. She scoffed at the *3* doctors I saw who wouldn't prescribe anything and finally gave me sweet relief with a prescription for Zantac which cured the nausea and puking after the FIRST DOSE, and an inhaler which FINALLY got rid of the cough I've had for 4 freakin' weeks. I love my doctor.


this one goes out to the ones I love
So once I got the puking out of the way, I could resume real life, which meant getting back to work after nearly four weeks off. That's already tough, and it was even more of a party when I found out my job is going away and I need to look for a new one.

So as I am prone to doing, my inner project manager go to work and went into frantic job-search mode. I'm a pro at searching for internal jobs, having switched roles 5 times in the almost-10 years I've been there. The unsettling thing about this is that it wasn't my choice. I like my current team, and of course LOVE my part time schedule.

But after a week or so of freaking out and talking to people across the company about potential jobs, I'm not as unemployable as I thought. Let me tell you, it's awkward to bring up the fact that 1) I am pregnant and will start my maternity leave in October, and 2)I work part time and would love to keep it that way. I figured no team would want that.

Keeping the part-time schedule is going to be a challenge. Most of the interesting jobs I found are not ok with it. I had a few managers tell me outright "this team does not have good work-life balance." Yikes.

I *could* theoretically go back to working full time, because TJ is home now. But I also want to enjoy the time with him. Today we went to the Children's Museum in the morning, and it was a beautiful thing - easy parking, no crowds.

Our team got merged into a larger team, so I went to talk to some folks there. My last meeting was with the director of the team we got merged into, and I was a little nervous about that. And then she presented me with what sounds like a really awesome job. Project management. Bringing order to chaos. Helping other teams go through a process to release their code.

And not only that, she's totally cool with the part time schedule. I wouldn't have to go through the usual gauntlet of 5-7 interviews for this role. They need someone right away. I have the option to go full time later.

I know, I should be all "where do I sign up?", right? But I'm apprehensive. Every time I look for a new job, I worry about whether I'll make the right choice. Will this be a good or bad manager/management chain for me? Will this job disappear without warning in 8 months? Are there environmental factors that will make performance review a miserable thing? Is this work going to make me happy? Could I find a different position where I would earn a bit more? If I take this one, am I moving too fast? Should I consider more options just for the sake of time? (We did buy the first house we saw because we LOVED it...)

Does the "perfect" job even exist?

Sigh. I am grateful to have these questions, and not "how will I put food on the table?" Any words of wisdom here?

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