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
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