Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Snuggle Time

This is our favorite time with Little Man because it is so relaxing and makes you feel so special.

Our pug, Panda, snuggling with the Little Man pre-birth

Our other pug, Dory, snuggling after a nursing session

Ollie, Little Man's cat, snuggling

A nursing snuggle

Snuggling with Daddy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little Man's 1st Haircut

Well the first haircut was a little anticlimactic for Mama.  We went to a discount chain hair salon on Sunday.  I felt spending $15 on a baby's haircut at the mall was a little over-priced.  We went in, asked for a haircut and was ushered to a seat. She put a smock on me and one on him.  Once in the seat she asked how I wanted it cut.  I don't think I had ever put much thought into men's haircut option, I don't put much thought into my own hair either.  I told her to keep the top longer and to trim up the back and over the ears.  She asked if I wanted her to use the clippers and in my head I went "huh?" out loud I said, "sure" and she buzzed his hair.
She then asked me how old he was, I caught that question by sure luck.  Why do hairdressers, dentists and mechanics always ask questions over loud noises?  I told her 10 months and she continued buzzing and clipping.  I asked my sister in law to take some pictures so I could show my mom, who was disappointed I didn't wait for her and my hubby.

Photo credit: E. Riley

If you look closely you can see my bird's nest in the upper left corner
Photo credit: E. Riley

Look how serious
Photo credit: E. Riley
 In less then 3 minutes, she was brushing him off and asking me what I thought.  Looked okay to me.  I started grabbing some of the fallen locks to save for his time capsule, it was at that point she realized it was his first haircut, and started helping me.  They gave me an envelope for the hair and charged me $12.50 (saved $2.50) and off we went in under 10 minutes.
The cut looks good but I think that $2.50 I saved would have been worth it because they would have made a bigger deal at the mall and I would have gotten a certificate and a nicely preserved lock of hair.  Oh, and Little Man did awesome, no tears and minimal squirming.
Finished results, front

Finished results, back

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Easy Personalized Ornaments

Two years ago I got the idea while browsing Michael's Arts and Crafts to make my own ornaments.  I have found that typically in December they put their Christmas crafts and decorations on sale for 50% off as well.  I use the clear glass balls and fill them with items or super glue objects to the outside.  I recycle ribbon from gifts to hang the balls on my tree as well.  They make great Christmas gifts and I even gave one to my friend who got married this year in December.
Photo credit product images
I wish I had photographed hers because it really was special, I took two of the mushroom doves and glued them together.  Then I tied white sewing thread to their wings and tied it to the metal top of the ornament and carefully put them inside the ball with white glitter inside.  Then I just took a silver Sharpie and wrote their names and their wedding date on it.  After the wedding I asked her to decide what was the precise moment that her and her husband knew they were married and I will write that around the ball as well.
I have given a few away to my sister-in-laws and my husband's mother and my mother as well.  It is nice to go to their homes and see my ornaments displayed on their trees.  I have also kept five of the ones I made to go on my tree the first year I did this.

The holly in this came from a centerpiece I received the previous year.

A feather boa I no longer wished to wear

Another feather boa from a Halloween costume

Snowflake party decorations supplied this snow inspired ornament

Gold-leaf and a ribbon from a gift.
This one always makes me think of the Sound of Music
So this year I received a Hallmark Ornament for Little Man's first Christmas, it is a kit by Crayola to use his hand print to personalize the ornament.  I don't want to waste the paint so I am going to make my own handprint ornament on the glass ball with him as well.  I hope I can get at least two, one for each grandmother.
Photo credit

Note: The stock images used here are in case I don't get to finish what I started today.  Motherhood- the art of pre-planning and re-planning.

Being Spoiled

So I'm bored. I just got Little Man back to sleep and I decided to play on my iPhone a bit. I have basically given up on the app that saved me from boredom and loneliness after Little Man was born but sometimes I browse just to see what is going on. I got annoyed with it because the women I knew stopped using it and the new ones loved drama and I just was to busy chasing an exploring baby, working full-time and trying to keep house and marriage intact. So basically I outgrew it.
That doesn't mean though that during moments of boredom I don't take a peek and see if there is anything that interests me or that I might be able to drop some hard earned wisdom or point of view to the many repetitive questions new mothers often have. Most of the time though I think better of answering, to avoid drama, and shut the app down.
This morning though I found a topic I wanted to talk about here. Babies being considered spoiled or not. The question was about "Cry it Out" or CIO as it is referred to. I hate CIO. I think it is a terrible thing to do to any child. I know there are other less stress inducing ways to teach your child to sleep if that is your goal and you can find an excellent resource here which has a great explanation of the reason why not to CIO as well.
The way the question was stated was "I know babies under 6 months can't be spoiled but..." That is the part of the statement that caught my attention about this post. Someone put a time limit on the ability of a child to remain innocent and sweet. I was not aware that there was a magic cut off date that babies turned 6 months and if you did any of the things you did before with your child you were going to spoil them. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktopI did a little research and found that this is apparently backed by some scientific research which I found on Wikipedia in an article about "Spoiled Children".  Way down at the bottom in the box about Parenting was there mention of Attachment Parenting and Dr. Sears.  
I followed the link on Attachment theory and it is lengthy but I really think the box on 'Child and caregiver behavior patterns before 18 months' really underlines my point.  By responding to your child's needs in an appropriate and consistent manner you are creating a secure attachment model for your child.  As a teacher I've come across some individuals that I might put the label of "spoiled" on but they displayed characteristics of being ungrateful when they are given time, knowledge or material things.  I don't know how they got to be that way but I don't feel that if when they were babies their parents had let them stand alone in a crib screaming their heads off would have helped the matter.  My experience has been that children who don't get their parents time and attention are more likely to be considered spoiled when they are older.
Little Man is turning 10 months on Christmas and I have put a lot of thought into whether or not I am "spoiling" him by carrying him, letting him nurse-down, bed-sharing and dare I say it, picking him up when he cries.  These were not the things my mother told me was the right thing to do with a baby, but this isn't my mother's family or decision to make either.  To be honest my mother picks him up when he cries as well and when she visits she brings him to me in my bed, in the middle of the night as well.  So for now I'll be a little less rested and have less time for my own interests but I'm raising my son, so for me there is nothing more interesting or important that can't wait until he's comfortable and secure enough to be on his own.  If that means that like my father, who has a room full of models waiting and collecting since his honeymoon, that I don't pick up a paintbrush or camera until I retire and Little Man moves out so be it.
How could anyone say that someone with that face could be spoiled?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Holiday Family Traditions

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let's Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


There are two things I remember about holidays with my family above all the food, presents or whatever else we were celebrating.  The first was the family games after all the hoopla settled down. It didn't matter what holiday we were celebrating, you could be certain my mom was going to pull out one of two games or both depending on how early we started or how late everyone wanted to stay. I would like to share those two games with you as well as how I have adjusted that to fit my family.We never knew how many people were going to be joining us for the holiday dinner.  You see, our family has always fluctuated in its size both growing and shrinking.  We also never subscribed to the saying "You can't choose your family" and adopted family members as the years went on. That very fluid family structure led to a very loose and open guest list for holidays.

The first game which you might already be familiar with is UNO, a card game that does not have a limit on the amount of players that can play at one time.  That part was a key reason that UNO became part of our family games.  The thing is, though, it was fun and simple.  You matched numbers or color suits and as a child it really helped to establish recall and strategy skills.  You also got a good lesson on adding and subtracting snuck in there when it came to awarding points.  I think our favorite part was how poor Auntie Ann (an adopted relative) could not remember the rules and would always lose the challenge.
The second game which you may or may not be familiar with is Tri-Ominos which is a game similar to dominos.  This game also helped with matching and adding and was pretty complicated with how bonus points are awarded but once you learned the rules was really fun to play.  We played on a lazy-susan that my father had done a wood-burning on which allowed all players to get an equal view of the board.  I can remember getting so excited when I saw the quilted handbag coming out that contained the pieces and hearing the tiles click together as each player shook the bag in order to get the best tile selection to start the game.
Now as to our holiday tradition of adopting family members.  If my family knew that you didn't have anywhere to go on the holidays they welcomed you with open arms.  For many years it was my Mom and Dad hosting the holidays and our family would come over and bring their friends with them to share our food and traditions.  Auntie Ann was a woman my Nana worked with who was an immigrant from Ireland with no relations here in America.  My Uncle brought someone along every year from where he worked as well until his friend became a permanent fixture at our family table and in our home.
After my Nana returned to England and both my Grandfather and Grandmother passed away, we became the adopted "family" to our neighbors who welcomed our family into their homes on holidays so we could make new traditions and of course UNO and Tri-Ominos came with us in our travels.  When my parents retired to the south they and their neighbors took turns hosting each other during the holidays so that no one was left alone far from family homes.  I was lucky enough to be adopted into my college friend's family who has now become part of my real family after I married her brother.  Now for our first Christmas with Little Man, we are hosting it at our home and bringing together our two families and of course some extra adopted members.  I'll be dragging out that quilted bag full of tiles, and I called my Mom to be sure to pack the deck of UNO cards.  Don't worry, the lazy-susan is there as well, so I can pass on what I remember most from our holidays with my son and my newly expanded family.
Bag of Tri-Ominos ready to go on the lazy-susan my Dad decorated.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon December 14 with all the carnival links.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thankful for Peace of Mind

So I ran through my back-up supply of pumped milk months ago and had been existing day to day and supplementing with formula as needed. Well I am thankful to be able to say I put 30oz in the freezer this morning and had enough in the fridge for today as well.
I had stockpiled my extra milk from the 6th on because I was going to a wedding this week and needed bottles for my sister-in-law while she watched him. Amazingly enough I didn't need to add any pumping sessions to make this milk. I just always had more milk then I needed for that day. This hasn't happened in awhile. Probably since a little after I returned to work.
So what is the difference between what I did before I returned to work, what I was doing when I returned to work and now? The time I spent with Little Man. Before returning to work I spent my entire day holding/nursing/watching him. I mostly sat at "mission control" with him eating, sleeping, playing on a boppy on my lap. I had all I needed for him plus enough to pump and store for my impending return to work. When I returned to work though the story changed I saw him awake for only 4 hours, he slept 8-9 hours in his crib so he didn't see me before I left for work and rarely woke in the middle of the night to nurse. My supply dwindled and I dipped into the stockpile until it too was gone. Leaving formula and what little milk I could pump.
For the past two months he was getting up 2-3 times a night and nursing. Great for him bad for Mama who needed sleep to teach during the day. So I finally got over my fears and started a modified cosleeping arrangement. He starts the night in the crib he gets up I bring him in with me, nurse and sleep until hubby comes home then he brings him back to crib. When he wakes again I bring him in and he stays until my alarm then he goes back to crib and I start my day. We've been doing this routine for a month and now I see a difference in my supply and the dark circles around my eyes (plus). So now I'm in the market for a cosleeper. My frugal and crafty side says I might be able to make my own. I am going to look at the bedroll one and see if I can get some supplies and sew it myself. My more practical (read overextended) side says just buy the thing. We'll see which one wins. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where's my sleep?

So it turns out that cold is a sinus infection. Last night I spent propped up in my bed with Little Man asleep on my chest (thank you Lauren@HoboMama) I didn't sleep well but at least Little Man did. Tonight he'll probably be in bed with me too, since it worked to help him sleep.
My poor husband tried to help us last night but Little Man just wanted Mama and made Daddy sad even though he finally said Dada instead of calling Daddy, Baba just the night before.
Hopefully tonight goes better even though it's nearly 9:30 and I haven't started bedtime but am allowing him to sleep on me in the living room. So wish us luck. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colds suck

Colds, stuffy noses, coughing, congestion etc. suck. It's 6:30 am and I've just now gotten Little Man back to bed. He's been in my bed since 3 am because every time I shifted myself to put him back in his crib he'd cry and we would start all over again.
Every year around this time both myself and my husband have stuffy noses. We go through tissues as if we had stock in the company. But we are adults and are able to blow our noses repeatedly and move on with our day. Little Man though is another story. Any attempt on our part to clear his nasal passage ways is a stimulus and probably pretty weird to a little baby.
The bulb sucker works great but you know what it is probably like to have post nasal drip sucked up past the back of your throat? Probably tickles and feels pretty gross.
The battery operated sucker doesn't have as much suck power to it and that's probably for the best being that it winds up sucking the skin around his nose more then in his nose. It just takes to long and makes a weird noise so I don't blame him for shaking his head "no" while I'm doing my best to extract more snot.
I have a humidifier going in his room unfortunately he has the warmest (read driest) room in the house. Even when I walk in there I feel it. I'm torn between closing the door so the humidity can build up or opening the door to balance that room with the rest of the house.
Typically I apply Vick's Baby Rub before bedtime. Which really helps him. He didn't get that tonight because Daddy did bedtime and forgot it. I'm a strong believer in external aromatics helping to alleviate stuffiness. I sleep with a lavender filled stuffed lamb every night to fall asleep and on really bad nights I have a eucalyptus and mint frog. I can't wait until he can have one of these in his crib.
So finally around 5:30 I broke down and gave him a bit of children's , used saline spray, the suckers (both kinds) and nursed him to sleep. Hopefully he will get a few good hours and then he can sit in the bathroom while we take our showers. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spoke too soon

So I'm tired and happy. Little Man woke twice last night and wanted to snuggle and nurse with Mama. So for now at least I think I'll sleep peacefully if yet interrupted. Off to work after I pump again. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A little sad

So for the past two nights Little Man only nursed from one side and only got up once last night. I thought I would think this is great after three straight weeks of struggles to go to bed and then two to three wakings during the night but now I'm not sure.
Granted my supply has dipped so this extra opportunity to pump at night and somewhat fuller breasts in the morning has helped these two mornings but...I'm sad that I'm missing out on the nursing time. I didn't realize how important it was to me.
I never set a goal as to when I would end breastfeeding I just felt I would nurse as long as he wanted to unless there came a situation that I wasn't able to continue. But lately weening and extended breastfeeding have been on my mind. (Check out Breastfeeding Moms Unite) How does it all work. No one I know has done extended breastfeeding except one cousin in England but we aren't all that close and she was a stay at home mom.
I also now worry that one day he will self-ween and I won't be ready. I know he still values it because he bumped his head today and immediately reached for "milk-milk" and settled right down.
Still not sure which is better though: his needing it more and my lost sleep or his needing it less and my worried heart. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting back my sanity

So now that I've had my first full week of no field hockey after work I'm seeing improvements. My supply had dipped so low that I had run out of freezer back up milk and had to resort to supplementing with formula for three bottles a day. (I wasn't to heartbroken about this but it wasn't my first choice of nutrition for Little Man).
This morning I was able to leave the five bottles he needs plus an extra 5oz. Another plus of coming home earlier as I had mentioned in my last post of getting more nursing time has brought about another return to normalcy. He actually slept from 9:30-9am. He hadn't done that in quite some time and had been getting up three to four times a night to nurse. Even though I love nursing him it was getting a little desperate with the lack of sleep and my long days. So now that we have the extra two hours together I can relax a little more and worry about one less bottle a day. So really big extra points for having more time with him. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So nice (sigh of relief)

I'm finished with my season of field hockey and it is so nice to pick up Little Man 2 hours earlier then I have been. I get more nursing time and that means less bottles to worry about and more cuddle time.
It also great because it was getting pretty scary for me. I was having a lot of difficulty keeping up and I was having anxiety attacks in the middle of the night when he'd get up to eat. So now I can breathe a little easier and pump better and most importantly spend time with my Little Man. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby-brain strikes again

I'm in so much pain right now. I left my cones at home for my pump and I only have the ones my "precious" pugs chewed. I only can use one at a time b/c I have to use both hands to cover the holes and I don't have time to do a full expression of both sides. TGIF I need a break.
I also am losing my second pump session because I'm taking my team to sectionals today. Wish us luck and pray I don't leak everywhere. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A "__________" Life

My Little Man turned 8 months on Monday and has 7 teeth and we are still going strong. I've been having to get up twice a night with him and he is taking 40 minutes to go to bed but it's all quality time as far as my heart is concerned. My body and brain though wish he'd sleep better and longer.
That lack of sleep has cost me a bit of time and extra money. I forgot a load of diapers in the wash and they were stinky so I was going to wash them again. Well without thinking I dumped clorox2 into the load and ran it. Errr, brighteners and whiteners in my diaper load. Thankfully my cloth diapering mama partner came to the rescue and assured me it happens to the best of us and what and where to get to clean the diapers.
Little Man has been having major milestones and a lot of fun. He is on the verge of walking. Cruising, I guess has become monotonous and he is letting go more often which, as a result has been having quite a few bumps and bruises. He now says "Mama" and refers to his Daddy as "Baba" which, my poor husband isn't taking to very well. We try so hard to get him to use the "D" sound so it doesn't sound like my son thinks of his father only as a vehicle for expressed milk.
I have noticed a pattern in my supply. I start the week really well and am able to produce a fair amount of milk. As the week progresses though my supply dips and then I need the weekend to catch up and breastfeed and pump to get extra just to last through the week. Though I believe the pattern will be changing shortly as my field hockey season draws to a close and I can get Little Man from daycare earlier.
I also have made a step in a new direction that I was going to save until the Summer and that is to give private art lessons. I had an interested party contact me while I was in the process of thinking about and researching how to begin. Well someone was looking out for me and now I am taking on my first student. I figure this is a good way to test the waters and see how I like this. I plan to use the same time slot that I was using for field hockey practice once or twice a week so Little Man is at daycare and I don't have to worry about where he is going to be.
So about the title of this post. I wasn't sure how to put into just one word how my life is going at this moment. Work is still stressful, home is stressful, lonely at times, rewarding every moment and I don't think I would give up or change anything about my choices. So I leave it to you to fill in the blank.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I just wanted to let you know, it's okay

I'm right smack in the middle of a war at work at the moment. I'm being given tasks that are not in my job description and the resulting stress is affecting my supply significantly. To top that off Little Man is going through a growth spurt so he is downing bottles like it's going out of style while I'm at work. So in the interest of feeding and satisfying my little one I've had to supplement while I'm away.
As a parent who exclusively breastfed for 7 months this can be a hard pill to swallow. So many other ebfer's really let you know that formula is not a good substitute. And then formula mom's cry foul that they are being scolded etc etc. Well if you can't feed your little one the way you or nature intended you've got to go somewhere else.
When we had all our issues in his first few weeks and the pedi said to give him formula, I cried. At that point I was to emotional to think rationally about formula as being anything more then less then breastmilk. I feared it so much my Mom went and purchased a fairly expensive breast-pump and bottles so I could pump my milk to ensure he was getting the proper amount of food.
Now at 8 months later I've been able to stabilize myself emotionally and had a bit of an epiphany, things happen. I can't control everything and I can only hope for the best but I need to accept that there will be bumps in the road.
So as a mother I've got to prepare myself for the worst to protect my Little Man. So what it became more trouble then it was worth to fight with daycare about cloth and it isn't the end of the world that some days he may have to have one bottle of formula with the milk I pump for him. Things turn out for a reason and it doesn't make me a bad parent because he spends 4 hours in disposables and has less perfect food 10% of the time during the week. He has 100% of my love all the time to make up for it and my promise to him to try harder next time. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spilled milk and my morning with Murphy

For the past two mornings I have pumped on my way to work. Yesterday it was out of necessity and today because yesterday went well I thought I'd try it again. Well today was not yesterday.
I have been having difficulty getting up in the morning and Little Man has been asking for a night feeding so I don't have the volume I would like when I get up. I actually emptied the freezer yesterday, which saddened me and made me a bit nervous.
So every little bit helps. But like I mentioned this morning did not go as planned. I think Murphy loves the art teacher and nursing mother, which makes me one big target for him. I pumped only about 2.5oz and made it to the parking lot no issues. No one saw and I made it on time despite having left 10 minutes behind schedule due to misplaced glasses.
I get out and think I'll just run in then take the horns off the bottles and cap them. So I placed them wedged in my diaper bag/purse and got out to get my other 3 must have bags. Open my back door and a bag falls out. Not thinking I bend over to get everything and splash milk all over my bag, its contents and myself.
When I get inside I see I lost an ounce and now all of my stuff is wet. But it's really ok when I think of it because I have 1.5oz more then I normally would and the stuff can be cleaned. What really showed me I'm over prepared for Murphy as a mom was that I use a lined diaper bag for a purse which was clean with 2 swipes of a paper towel. So now I'm ready for my next round with Murphy's Law. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Healing Anaya: Fed-Ex Shipping Sponsorship

Healing Anaya: Fed-Ex Shipping Sponsorship: "We have received a frozen breastmilk donation from a mother in Nanaimo. We are very blessed that the transport of the milk all worked out ..."

Please read this post and leave a comment to encourage Fed-Ex to sponsor the shipping costs of breastmilk donations for this mother and her child. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Perspective from the greatest Mother and former First Lady

"If you bungle raising your kids, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much." Jaclyn Kennedy Onassis

I came across this quote on a friend's facebook page this morning during one of my pump sessions at work. I was sitting here fuming about a coworker that shifts her work responsibility onto others through the guise of delegating or trying to give everyone ownership in the department policies but in reality she just wants someone else to do her work. In the past this has typically fallen on me because I am a people pleaser (read doormat). But I'm tired.
Most of my efforts are going into raising my son, then there is a rotating tie between hubby, responsibilities of a classroom teacher and coaching and then everything else falls as it comes up. I spend most times putting out the little fires just enough that I can get through my day and nothing more because I want to channel my energy where it really matters, my son.
So this quote really came swooping in at a time I needed it most. First so I didn't feel so guilty for feeling the way I did and secondly to have the guts to for once tell her where she can stick her thinly veiled attempts at getting everyone else to do her work and then not giving credit to those that do it. I've got milk to make and a baby to entertain! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The best laid plans of diapers and daycares...

I know I sound whiny and I should just find a new daycare but I think the point is more about me then them. They are doing a good job with my son. I know because of how happy he is when I pick him up. He is engaged with other kids and his caregivers which is what I wanted from a daycare. He only goes for 3 hours, 4 at the most each day. But it is the little things that get me. Like being unable to understand that his diapers had a built in cover and were compliant without needing the extra cover. Or requiring that we keep ziplock bags as well as the sealed container for the diapers, clearly a lack of concern for landfill waste.
Today when I gave in and sent 7G disposables and they wrote on each diaper with a permanent marker, his initials which because they are wood pulp and paper bled onto his onesies and now he has the mirror image of his initials on his shirt bottom. Why wasn't it satisfactory to have the name on the package? Why the need to take it a step further and write on the actual diaper? Does a large majority of the 8 kids in his room have the same diapers? How much time did it take them to write the initials on 34 diapers? What did that effort take them away from?
For me it is the things they choose to micro-manage and the broader ideas they completely miss by being so focused on that one thing. So here is to hoping that Little Man uses this experience as a teaching tool of what isn't necessary to put your efforts in and how seeing the whole picture is a better approach.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This may be the day that broke this mama's back

Daycare has been driving me bananas. They complain about EVERYTHING. They complain every day to my husband when he drops off Little Man. The harp on the diapers everyday. But when I pick him up there isn't a peep about any issues unless I ask about it and then it's like 'oh yeah, we did have a problem with...(fill in the blank)'
It's frustrating because I chose this daycare precisely because of the level of communication they claimed to have and the fact that they said they would do cloth diapers, no problem. They showed me these wonderful communication sheets and told me that I could expect to see one every day and it would tell me what they did in class that day, how many and at what time he had a bottle, diaper change, nap etc. The first day I dropped him off back in September it said they read Rainbow Fish and sang Alligator Purse, after that it seemed they never read or sang anything because that part of the sheet remained empty. They were doing fine with the cloth diapers until he got an ear infection and had to go on antibiotics and got diarrhea. He apparently leaked out of the diaper and onto a chair. They got extremely upset and talked to Hubby (not me) about it every time he dropped him off. Then they called the house one morning and said that Hubby needed to put plastic pants on Little Man and bring a covered container to put the soiled diapers in. Now mind you we have been at daycare for a month and I had asked prior to coming to daycare what I needed to do in order to be compliant with State regulations for daycare and cloth diapering. I had done my research prior to asking these questions and I had come up with a plan just in case they tried to tell me that the state wouldn't allow it. So I had already read what the State requires and it states there must be a cover over the cloth diaper. Well, correct me if I'm wrong but the Bumgenius 3.0s have a built in cover which, should preclude the requirement to have a second cover.
Well in order to avoid conflict Hubby puts a Blueberry cover over the Bumgenius and sends Little Man to daycare that way for 2 days. So for those of you not keeping track he already has diarrhea from the antibiotics and now we are double wrapping him in PUL fabric. So yup he gets diaper rash. I try to call the head teacher and explain some of these facts to him as well as state once and for all that they need to change the diapers more often then they would a disposable which would prevent accidents in the first place but he isn't there.
So now I'm battling the worst diaper rash he's ever had. I call his pediatrician and it turns out to be a yeast diaper rash which I need to treat with antifungal cream and switch my diaper cream to one not approved for use with cloth diapers and use non latex disposables and purchase $40 infant probiotics. Luckily the diaper rash goes away after just two days using the cream combos.
So now back to daycare we go and they question my Hubby and ask where is the second cover. Hubby tells them exactly what I had said about that would not work because of the rash it caused. They tell him State regs state he needs a cover and Hubby caves and tells them that we could send disposables without latex. Even thought I'm right there with him that they are annoying about this and that it would just be easier to give them disposables and not have to hear their complaints, I could smack him. We wanted to save money. We went with this place because they said they would do the cloth for us. Now we have to shell out money to purchase disposables. GRR!
Another thing that drives me nuts is that they said that they had very strict rules about people picking up the babies. They stressed that everyone would have to show ID and be on his pick-up list. So I fill out the pickup list and explain that I coach and would have a babysitter pick him up on the days I had late games. I put her on the list and figure all is well. SO I send the sitter to get him. First time no one checks her ID (WTF), second they wouldn't let her leave because they weren't sure if she was allowed to pick him up (check the list, duh!) The next time my sitter gets sick so my sister in law is going to pick him up. She is not on the list but she waltzes in and picks him up and takes him home. No one looked at her ID. So my feeling is some crazy could walk in there and as long as he smiles at them, they are going to let him walk out.
But anyhow pumping has been going good. I still have to get up in the middle of the night just to get comfortable. But I do this for him and that is always my motivating factor.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Where Have I Been...?

If I only had time to really answer that question. Being a mom, wife, career woman and blogger just isn't as easy as it looks. Right now bedtime is not going as smoothly as it should. Which will probably cause me to lose my train of thought as I pause to get up to answer his calls. Right now what he wants is for me to rub his back while he stares at me to make sure I don't leave. Cute but not so great for my work obligations or pumping schedule.
I've been reflecting and I don't like being the night time parent. My husband works 3-Midnight and is with Little Man during the day while I'm at work. I pick Little Man up from daycare at 6 and start bedtime around 8 and he's usually out before 9. So really if I'm lucky I only get 5 hours of quality awake time with him a night. My thought now is I'm eating my words as it is 10 of 11 and he now just went to sleep and my arm is pretty much dead weight from the back rubbing.
So what strange and interesting highlights can I fill you in on? Well Little Man has a grand total of four teeth that came at the expense of some much needed sleep. He has had his first ear infection which led to amoxicillin, diarrhea and then a disappointed and prolonged complaint from daycare. That complaint about him leaking through his diapers was three days long. They asked us to put him in plastic pants, to which I said no because of latex. My hubby's solution was to "double wrap" him and put another diaper cover over the bumgeniuses. As you can guess that led to diaper rash and my putting my foot down and refusing to allow the ridiculous second cover any longer. This also meant that at night I broke down and used some disposables in order to really cover him in diaper cream. Another great thing the diarrhea led to was the most expensive probiotic I have ever purchased. My sitter got sick on a day she was supposed to watch Little Man because I had a game and wouldn't be home in time. Frantic search for alternate care and my sister-in-law swooped in to save the day. Oh yeah and because I've not had enough down time at work, I have forgotten to drink my mother's milk tea there or take my fenugreek or even drink an adequate amount of water.
But really I realize that when I try to do my best with an area of my life other areas get neglected and being the type of mother that I am it usually means everything other then my son is on the back burner. My pumping schedule at work has left me little time to get my grading and paperwork done during my free periods, the fact that I only see my husband and son on weekends has pushed my desire to complete that work then even further back. I scoff at the idea of housework. As long as there aren't things living or growing where they shouldn't be I really could care less that is unless it's my pump station and parts. As you probably can guess my writing took a back burner to sleep. All I can really say is at the moment I still have my sanity even thought it may not seem like it. I'm not throwing in the nursing towel yet, however I did have to actually set myself a goal for the first time.
Currently my goal is to make it to a year, before this I didn't have a goal because I never even thought stopping before he was ready was an option I wanted. I still don't like it but I don't know if I can make it the next month let alone nurse for an extended period of time. Which by the way I would love to nurse him into toddlerhood.
So in answer finally to the question at hand, I've been everywhere and stretchinapologizeg myself thin but wishing I was home with Little Man and hubby. I apologize for the incoherent and

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby University: Little Man, My Teacher

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I'm a high school art teacher, I have been for 6 years.  I work in the public school system so the style of teaching and learning is mandated by the school district I work in.  They do allow for differentiation and creativity so that is fine by me, I can find a way to accommodate my students' learning styles while teaching the required material.  However, this was not my dream teaching scenario.  I fell in love with the Montessori approach when I was in college learning to be a teacher.  I had wanted to see this type of learning in practice because I had attended traditional public schools all my life and it was fascinating to me that you could allow a child to explore their environment at their own pace and through their own interests and that would choose to learn.  This is a novel idea to most teachers of required courses taught to teenagers.
So when I had my son I took an extended maternity leave of six months which, I have just returned to work from, I decided I would allow my child to direct what we did during the six months I had uninterrupted with him.  And so when he arrived I listened patiently to all the advice from the nurses, doctors and my relatives and then threw all that right out the door and waited for Little Man to tell me what to do.  It didn't take him long either.  Though in the beginning the only one learning was me.  I had to learn quickly what all those different cries meant.  The learning curve was a short one.  I think most of you would agree with me that it doesn't take a mother long to figure out what her new little companion desires.  Mine wanted food, diaper changes and sleep.
Soon he developed his own routine which mostly consisted of sleep, diaper change, breastfeeding, burping repeat, which I might add I because very accustomed to myself.  All the while I kept hearing about, sleep training, "eat, play, sleep", the ferber method, The Happiest Baby on the Block, I could go on but since I didn't care to check any of these things out I'll brush over them and move on.  All the while I'm not doing much of anything except catering to the whims of a tiny little person who is quite content in his own view of the world.  I felt bad for the moms that talked to me about this or that method and couldn't get their little one to sleep or eat "properly"  Are you thinking, what I'm thinking?  I felt guilty that my two month old slept through the night and only because he wanted to, I did absolutely nothing.  They would ask and I would tell them we don't have a routine, Little Man does what he wants, when he wants.
But the teacher in me was still asking, "Where's the learning?" The mother in me answered, "Patience, it's coming."  It did, holding up his head for short periods of time since he was born until he could do it for the entire time he was awake by one and half months.  Despite the fact that he HATED "tummy-time" and had a flat spot on his head to show for it he rolled from front to back at three months and then back to front a week later.  Army crawling came at four months, when he saw something he wanted he went for it.  He used his face as a fifth appendage but he made it to where he was going.  He passed objects from hand to hand around the same time as well.  He did all of this without any real coaching or teaching from me, just because he wanted to at that time.
So you may ask, "What is it that you have taught your baby?"  I actually found out what I taught him the first day I returned to work and he had to go to daycare.  When I arrived to pick up my baby, I thought I would hear from his teachers that he cried and was not comfortable at daycare.  That he might still be crying when I got there and I would scoop him up into my arms and rush to nurse him so that he would feel better.  What did I find?  My son playing with a truck on the floor with another baby, completely uninterested in being interrupted in that moment.  I was surprised and a little miffed but mostly I was relieved and proud, I taught him independence and self-confidence.  So, just how did I do this when I never set a routine nor followed a single baby guru book nor force my child to do the appropriate developmental exercise to achieve those milestones?  I breastfed him.  He felt secure in our bond that it is okay for us to be apart for an extended (11 hours) period of time during the day.  As I reflect back on the past six months with my boy I realize that there was so much learning going on despite my lack of teaching and that I was learning too.  It was nice not to be scheduled and given mandate teaching instructions for your day and how this skill was to be taught.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ugh I Hate This Right Now!

I only had two days of work last week and then a four day weekend which, I was neglectful of pumping and I am regretting that right now. I am having issues with the pump right now. My slacker boob is not getting perfect suction which has resulted in minimal, we're talking just barely covering the bottom of the bottle, milk. The other side isn't doing so hot either. I had a less then perfect showing this morning and last night as well. I left the house with five full bottles and one just squeaking by. I told hubby to dip into the backup. I feel like I could sit here all day and make nothing. When I get home I'll have some fenugreek with dinner and see if that helps any. Though last time I got a clogged duct and cried for two hours trying to work it out. Ugh I hate real life. Still not ready to give up. Maybe my next two pumps will be better. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day at Work

So the first day went pretty well.  I awoke at 5 am, pumped, heard my boy around 5:45 so I was able to sneak in a nursing before I had to get ready.  Jumped in the shower, heard Little Man again at 6:15 but decided that I needed to concentrate on getting what I needed to get done so poor hubby had to get up.  Finished everything I needed to get done and left the house at 7:10.  Discovered that the new bus schedule is going to force me to leave at 7 am to make the "20 minute trip" and arrive by 7:45.  Oh well I guess there goes the hair straightening.
I was welcomed back by my colleagues and former students throughout the day.  I was able to get two pumping sessions in during my prep periods, I skipped the pump session for my lunch because I was starving and I had some computer work to do.  I was also able to thankfully squeeze another session in before I had to run to practice after school.  I discussed work my office mates the possibility of me using our office to pump instead of going to the nurse's supply closet because I needed/wanted to multi-task.  It was agreed, so I'll be covering the windows to the office door so I can sit at a computer.  Bonus is I get service in our office which, I did not in the closet because of lack of windows.
So how did I feel about this?  I'm not going to lie it is a huge adjustment.  I really wish I could have stayed home with him forever.  I missed him every second of the day.  I texted hubby as often as possible to check on Little Man and then poor hubby texted me to get reassurances that he was okay at daycare.  When I picked him up from daycare he wasn't immediately hungry so I had to wait for relief.
The first nursing session home was just that relief.  I couldn't settle down to enjoy it the way I would normally because even though I pumped I felt like I was busting at the seams.  Plus I was still starving myself.  It wasn't until our third nursing session, our bedtime session, that I was able to enjoy the moment.  I felt so much more present  similar to how I felt when I first met him in the hospital when I couldn't take my eyes off him.  I soaked in every movement, smell, sound and feeling that he made during this session.  It was so relaxed that if I could have stayed in the rocker all night I would have.  But the time came that he indicated he was finished and wanted to go in his crib and I had to leave.
I came here to put into words the gift that was that nursing session after my first 11 hours away from my son, but as I look back it just pales in comparison.  It was times like that I wish I had a night vision lens on my iphone so I could record that and watch it while pumping in the sterile, brightly lit, lonely closet I pump in.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Yogi Tea's Profound Though for the Day

I drink Yogi tea Nursing Mother Support pretty regularly.  It tastes good and I feel it helps with my supply. I have been drinking Yogi tea since I was pregnant and my OB told me I could no longer enjoy my regular tea or my favorite herbals because of the risks to my growing baby.  The tea has a little thought on the paper tab that are like little nuggets of good thoughts for your day or moment that you are enjoying the tea.
So what was my thought provoking tidbit for the day? "Happiness comes from overcoming the most impossible challenges."  What a perfect quote for a breastfeeding support tea.  Nursing is by no means an easy feat for most mothers and babies.
I myself have gone to the end of the world and back just to participate in this natural and loving gift for my son.  We had weight gain issues for the first two months of his life.  I struggled to stay awake and calm for the first week when he screamed non-stop during feedings.  I pumped exclusively and was a slave to that machine for two months of his life.  I started back at square one when at two months my supply dipped and I figured I'd better give this one last shot of natural nursing before I give up on the whole thing.  I did this all with painful bleeding nipples because I did not know that I didn't have a correct latch and on top of that really bad thrush.  But we as a team prevailed through and have developed a nursing relationship that I cherish every day when I get the privilege of watching him watch me while he eats the best stuff I can offer him.
So here I am again about to enter another trial by fire challenge for us with nursing as I reenter the workforce on Tuesday.  All week I've been at my wit's end because my little one has been waking during the night to feed and then again in the morning as Mama is trying to get out the door for preseason practice.  This has made pumping difficult to say the least.  I have a supply built up of at least 40 ounces so I have that to fall back on and If I can get 2-3 pumping sessions from the time he goes to bed to when I'm walking out the door and then the 3 possibly 4 pumps at work I should be fine.  Again I have to put things that are out of my control out of my head, if it's meant to be then it will be.
The other the thing that has me concerned is my hubby and his ability to handle his new responsibilities.  I got very upset last night over something as trivial as turning off the fan in Little Man's room when it was bedtime.  I was fuming because I had to stop nursing to get up turn the switch back on which blasted us with light and then pull the chain to turn off the light and keep the fan on.  I'm thinking, "doesn't he care about our baby?" "Haven't I explained up and down about the risk of SIDS and what we can do to prevent it?" "For two weeks now he has gotten up with the baby, didn't he see the fan is on and the humidifier?" "My husband sleeps with a fan, why wouldn't he have the baby sleep with a fan?"  Well of course my husband knows this stuff he just forgot.  Do I really need to freak out, probably not.  But it is just one more of those things I need to learn how to deal with so I can go to work and feel if not  confident, at the least at ease that they will be fine without me.  Which they will.  I'll make sure of it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh, the lengths I will go to for a smile.

So I've been MIA for a bit because I felt sleep was more important for me then getting on the computer.  My mom feels neglected because she loves to video chat with Little Man.  So after getting to bed myself last night at 9 pm which by they way I haven't done since before high school I feel rested enough to blog about my progress so far.  As far as production I've been doing pretty well.  I am able to get up around 3 am and get a pump in.  Then I get up at 6 for the start of my day and have time for another pump which gives my hubby the two bottles he needs while I'm at practice plus a little extra for those just in case moments.  If he doesn't use it I can put it in the freezer for my "peace-of-mind" stash which, is what I have been calling it these days.
Little Man has been oh, how should I put this?  A little wild to put it gently.  He has decided that Daddy does not or should not be feeding him baby food and will spit the food at him and push back in the high chair and growl, for lack of a better word until he turns red in the face and Daddy gives up.  He does not do this to me except if Daddy is in the same room.  I think it's my husband's apprehension in the food department that my dear sweet little boy is picking up on.
However I think the next interesting behavior I have myself to blame.  He has spent the better part of the past two days wanting no part of any activity we try to involve him in.  We put him on his play-mat to practice crawling he flattens out and screams until we get him.  Our arms need a break so we attempt to put him in the jumper, "nothing doing Mama and Daddy get me outta here," cries the Little Man.  I try the swing the little legs start kicking and the arms push the tray away.
Nursing has turned into a three ring circus.  My 6 month old is no longer happy to just rest and relax in my arms while nursing.  No, this little acrobat wants to kneel and stand while nursing.  It wasn't actually all that difficult but I did have to get creative with how I was going to defy gravity and save myself a sore nipple in the process.  I wish my hubby had been there to see it.  My mom got to see him try to do it again this evening while we finally video chatted.  It's more she chats with Little Man and I'm there to make sure the screen doesn't go dark and he doesn't fall off my lap trying to get to her through the screen.  My poor dad has to check if he can come in because he doesn't mind if I'm nursing and he's here in person but he doesn't feel comfortable staring at me nursing over the computer.
So how am I coping with this change in attitude from my usually calm, content baby?  I am making up ridiculous songs and dances in an effort to entertain and stall the meltdown until I can figure out what my next move is before he explodes.  The latest was the "Bad Daddy" song which was started in my effort to find a cold teething ring because his top front teeth and giving him a real hard time as they work their way into his mouth.  Everything is shoved into the mouth and then he screams even louder.  So this silly song about how Daddy forgot to put a teething ring in the fridge for us was a hit for the 30 seconds it took me to grab a facecloth and an ice cube to try to help with those teeth.  My husband not as big a fan of the song though and has threatened to make a companion song called "Bad Mommy"  But hey whatever works right?
Almost forgot I do have one go to savior of the day in this new I'm not happy with anything stage, Ollie. Ollie is our little orange kitten who is Little Man's favorite friend.  He loves to pet Ollie or grab Ollie's fur, ears, tail etc. and try to put him in his mouth.  Tonight was so cute, Ollie brought Little Man a mouse and they played together.  What I was even more impressed with was that the cat didn't one use his claws while they played and I got to eat my dinner.  I have it on video because I know hubby won't believe it unless he sees it sorry I can't share it on here for some reason it won't let me load it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Because I'm Staring at the Screen

I want to pump but, I don't want to pump.  Do you know what I mean?  I won't be away from Little Man tomorrow because I'm taking him with me to my short practice and then we have the whole day together so I don't need to pump but, I should.  I know if I don't pump I will regret it later so I will even though I totally don't feel like it and I just want to crawl into bed or stay here and stare at the screen until hubby comes home.  But I will be kicking myself when I'm back at work struggling with the pump or freaking over my supply.  I have been dragging my freestyle pump back and forth to practice this week just in case I decided to pump on my way home (haven't yet, to weird to set up in the parking lot of a high school).  Today I thought I would have to stay late with the other coach to go through our equipment closet so I packed the bag but forgot the pump. (smack) The sound of my hand hitting my forehead for my egregious mistake and wondering how many times I might do this in the future when I really need it.  How embarrassing will that be standing in front of a classroom full of teenagers with leaky spots on my shirt!?  Oh well, I'll leave the weird going back to school nightmares for my actual dreams and get to pumping so I can sleep physically comfortable if not mentally comfortable.

Week in Review

I know I've been neglectful and missed a posting day or two but I've had my hands full. Getting up at the crack of dawn and actually having to stay awake isn't so easy anymore. Not that anything is easy after you have a baby but at least when you are home all day you can catch a little bit of sleep when your little one is napping. So pumping was much more successful for today. I had two full bottles and 3 oz extra, hubby had to use the 3 oz but at least they were there for him. Stupid gas tank needed filling so I didn't make it on time for the beginning of his third feeding so he ate that small bottle and then finished up with the real stuff.
I can't really say this is getting easier but it isn't getting harder either (knock on wood) I still miss him as soon as I get in the car, probably doesn't help that he is sleeping when I leave so I don't get an extra cuddle to tide me over until I come home. I am still checking my cell every other minute to see if they need me or if hubby has sent a picture which, he did today! But we are managing and it hasn't been a complete and total meltdown on my part or his. So far my supply is intact but I haven't been gone very long during the day either. But only positive thoughts, I CAN DO THIS!
I know there must be other breastfeeding/working moms out there. I mean it must work for some women. I just wonder how long they are successful and if they do stop is it because they wanted to, their little one was ready or they had to because something got in the way? If something did get in the way was it supply issues, time constraints, not enough support in the workplace or something else I haven't thought of yet? I've always been the type of person who can't say no and will spread myself really thin. Am I going to have the wisdom to know when enough is enough and speak up for myself and our needs? I say our because I really don't ever think about myself as an individual now. I think of Little Man and myself as a unit, more so then when I got married because it was important to each of us to have separate interests. But, at the moment I can't think of ever having a separate interest from Little Man. I'm not unhealthy about it, I don't overly obsess about my child, I can be without him for a little while. I just feel protective and that we are connected right now as I provide him nurishment and that is the most important job/activity I can think of to give him the best start in life. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop
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