Thursday, December 22, 2011

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Are you getting ready for the holidays?  Are you excitedly preparing or running around like a mom trying to find a bathroom while holding a baby who has had an explosive poop?  I thought I was the first scenario, but yesterday I turned into the second.  Not that Tornado Xav had an explosive poop, but that would have been easier to deal with.

The short version of the story is that I waited fifteen minutes in line with a mountain of groceries (so many groceries for just one party!) trying to keep Little Man calm.  When I was finally at the checkout, and the cashier was scanning my last couple of items, I realized that my wallet was still in the car.  So I had to scramble to get my wallet as I wheeled little man in the cart to the car (why had I taken my sling off in Chapters?).  I hastily opened the door and leaned in to get my wallet and heard a smack.  Yes I had hit another vehicle with my door.  And the driver was inside giving me unbelievable stink eye!  And I knew that inside there were about six people with full carts waiting for me to come back in and pay!  I apologized profusely to the lady in her van (apologies made stink eye worse!) and then ran back to the store yelling over my shoulder that I would be right out if she needed anything.  Got back to my groceries.  Paid and slinked back to my car awaiting the worst (the lady had left, but I had been anticipating a nasty note or payback dent in my door).  Yikes!

Phew.  Did I say that was the short version?...

That, of course was just the lead up to that night when we had put Xavier to bed and gone to the basement to watch some much needed Netflix.  I thought I heard Little Man cry at the start of an episode of "Bones" so Pete paused it and we listened.  With the heat blasting through the vents it was hard to hear anything and I said "maybe I should go check."  After the day I had had, however, I was totally wiped out and decided that I was hearing things.  Instead I just sat back down and we kept watching our show.  It wasn't until at least twenty minutes later that I finally did hear Little Man crying over the volume of the TV.  I quickly went upstairs and his cries totally broke my heart.  I have never heard him cry so intensely.  It seemed like he was terrified and thought that we were gone forever.  I fed him and spent a lot of time holding him and getting him calm and happy again, but I felt awful.

I have to say that that night for me, made me feel worse than the time he cut himself on the drain after a bath and the time he started choking in the kitchen and we had to do the choking back smacks to get the food out.  Each of those times I felt like I should have protected him, and failed.  It is so difficult to shake those kinds of feelings as a parent.  And what I find worse is that when I talk to other parents some of them act as though they are flawlessly raising their children, and have never had anything bad happen.

I don't believe that Pete and I are the only one's out the re making mistakes, and an article I read today by Marc and Angel Hack Life called "30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself" really put things into perspective for me.  At the end of my entry are the thirty things listed in the article, but here are a few things that dusted the cobwebs off my mommy brain:

Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. 
I know for sure that, in terms of mommyhood, I keep focusing on those mistakes I just mentioned where Xavier is hurt or scared, and I feel responsible.  I beat myself up with a lot of "I should have..."  Pete, especially, had a hard time after Xavier choked.  

We have always made an effort to make sure that there is absolutely nothing on our floor (especially because our driveway is comprised of little rocks that easily find their way onto the soles of shoes).  Pete and I were cooking dinner and Xav was playing at our feet.  We were right in the midst of a conversation when we heard the worst sound coming from Xav as he struggled to swallow what was in his mouth.  Pete dropped down and did the first aid for choking and Xav just kept struggling and then threw up a few times.  Whatever was in his mouth was swallowed by him and didn't come back up, but what did come up was breast milk and blood.  We were so panicky about the blood that we called 9-1-1 and then took him to the emergency room.  We waited 8 hours before they scanned his tummy and didn't see anything that would cause concern.

That event was horrible.  Pete and I both beat ourselves up for various reasons.  He always remembers the feeling of panic and gets so upset with himself for not being in control during an emergency.  I think about how Xav got something in his mouth right in front of us and we still don't know what it was.  I also beat myself up about the fact that there was anything on the floor in the first place.  Neither one of us can forget the sounds that Xav made and the panic on his face as he was choking.

So where does the article come in for this?  While I will never forget what happened that night, I know that I have to stop thinking that those few moments make me an unfit parent.  I love Xav, and we make him happy 99.9% of the time.  That 0.1%, as heartbreaking as it is, should not define me as a parent.  It seems easier to remember the negative situations than the positive ones, but I am going to make an effort to put my past mistakes behind me.  I have learned from each situation, and now it is time to let them go.

Stop trying to compete against everyone else. 
A I said before, it seems as though some parents around me try to act as though they have never made mistakes with their children.  I remember telling the choking story to a family member and her response was very judgemental.  Pete also got that response when he was speaking to a family friend.  The thing is, I know that those around me are not flawless.  Yet I allow myself to enter into private competitions with others in regards to parenting.  What a wasteful use of time.  It is hard to remember that the few individuals who make snarky remarks are generally judgemental in all areas.  They are the energy suckers that you know you should avoid, but have to interact with once in a while.  If they really were as perfect as they try to put on, they would not be such crab shacks (yes, that is my official term for crabby people).  Who cares anyway what they think of me.  In the end it does not really matter.  Parenting is not a competition.  

Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.
This one is especially important to me for this blog.  I know that when I am around someone who complains nonstop it totally zaps my energy.  I don't want this blog, or my life, to be one retelling of crappy circumstances after another.   As with anything negative, it is way easier to focus on what went wrong today instead of what went really well.  I find that even though I have always been a very happy and relaxed person, the stresses of raising a child and the lack of good rest has really changed that.  If remaining positive requires effort, the surely it is easier to use that energy on Xav instead of myself.  So that is the very thing that I inter to change.  Life goes a hell of a lot easier when you are  taking responsibility for your own happiness.  I can't raise a healthy boy with  an exhausted stressed demeanour.  That is for sure.

Stop worrying so much.
Like I said before, I have always been pretty laid back and content.  So this worrying thing is pretty new to me. And there is definitely so much to worry about as a parent.  Can I raise Xavier "right"?  Is he eating the right food and enough of it to grow properly?  Is my tutoring business going to work well enough for me to still be at home with Little Man?  Etc.

This may sound a little touchy feel, but when I was pregnant I used to take the time every night to write down things I was grateful for and hopes for my little one.  I have not done anything like that since he was born.  I think I want to get back to that sort of positive thinking.  I know some parents write letters to their minis that they intend to give them in the future.  I would love to do something like that.  Not only would it be meaningful, but I know it would help me to stop worrying so much and focus on the positive.  After all, who wants to read a letter that starts out with "Dear son, you were such a douche today."  Ha ha.

[Zen exhalation]  Aaaaaah.  I know I feel better now.  That was very after school special, don't you think?  Don't you feel more enlightened?  I am clearly a budding Budda.  ;)

The List (Check out the article, it's really interesting)
Stop spending time with the wrong people.
Stop running from your problems. 
Stop lying to yourself.
Stop putting your own needs on the back burner.
Stop trying to be someone you’re not.
Stop trying to hold onto the past.
Stop being scared to make a mistake.
Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. 
Stop trying to buy happiness.
Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness.
Stop being idle.
Stop thinking you’re not ready. 
Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons.
Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work.
Stop trying to compete against everyone else. 
Stop being jealous of others. 
Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.
Stop holding grudges. 
Stop letting others bring you down to their level.
Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others.
Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break.
Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments.
Stop trying to make things perfect.
Stop following the path of least resistance. 
Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. 
Stop blaming others for your troubles. –
Stop trying to be everything to everyone. 
Stop worrying so much.
Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
Stop being ungrateful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Day

Little Man is at grandma/grandpa's right now and Pete and I are scrambling to do as many items on our endless to-do list as possible before we pick him up this afternoon.  While I have a lot of things to do to get my tutoring studio up and running, my main focus this morning is on cleaning.  I am glad that we live in a small house, I can't imagine how people keep up on their cleaning in 1500+ square foot houses.  Yikes!  I have several homemade cleaning recipes that I have tried out now.  Two of my favourite cleaners are found on the Macheesmo blog.

The first is a great antibacterial spray made of lavender and water.  I am not a fan of spritzing everything in a crazy attempt to create a completely anti-bacterial house, but I recognize that there are times that I need to provide Xav with clean surfaces to play on.  I spray the obvious things like garbages, the recycling box and toilet regularly and other surfaces once a week or so.  So far I am very pleased with the results of the spray, and it makes our house smell slightly like lavender without being overpowering.

The second cleaner I have tried is the Bath, Sink and Tile cleaner.  It is basically made up of water, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar and tea tree oil.  I washed our whole bathroom top to bottom with this cleaner and the results have been really great.  Because of the baking soda, the cleaner is grainy.  To get all of the cleaner off without leaving a residue, I filled a mop bucket about 1/4 full with warm water and then dipped in a hand towel that I then used to clean a small patch.  I rinsed the towel often as keeping it as clean as possible helped to grab more of the cleaner at a time.  I found I had to replace the water in my mop bucket once in order to get my whole shower rinsed clean.

If you are used to spraying cleaner and then gingerly wiping it away, then you will definitely be disappointed when using a natural cleaner.  You need to put more elbow grease into it.  I made friends with my toilet today as I scrubbed every nook and cranny with my hand towel, but I didn't mind it.  It reminded me of when I used to do housekeeping.  I would have to spray every last surface with toxic chemicals (no gloves or mask) and then use a ton of water to wash everything away.  The last part of cleaning a bathroom was to get down on my hands and knees and wipe the floor down by hand.  So that's part of what I did today, except this time I wasn't thinking about the carcinogens and other scary chemicals I was absorbing into my skin.

It feels good to have a clean house (though I still wish magical elves would do it for me instead).  I am trying to think of what to move on to next, which is why this blog entry has manifested.  It is buying me a little bit of break time before I do the next menial task on my list.  If you are looking into cleaning something today too, why not try a homemade natural cleaner.  The recipes of the two I mentioned earlier are listed below (thank you Macheesmo!).  Be sure to check out Macheesmo's blog for some more great solutions to try.  Happy cleaning!

Lavender Anti-Bacterial Spray
- 1 Cup water
- 20 drops lavender essential oil

Bath, Sink, Tile Cleaner (Watch out for some bubbling.)
- 2/3 Cup baking soda
- 1/2 Cup castile soap
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 Cup water
- A few drops of Tea Tree oil
      NOTE: Ideally, mix this one in a SQUIRT bottle, not a SPRAY bottle.
                   It’s pretty thick and almost a paste.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"That's So Weird"

After spending all day cooped up with Little Man because our car was at the dealer's getting new snow tires and some much needed love, I threw my wrap sling and winter coat on and brought Xav to the grocery store. After parking, I took Little Man out of his car seat and started placing him in the sling. From behind me I heard "That is SO weird!" Just to be sure I heard her the first time, the woman repeated her statement to her friend as they passed my car. Instead of getting mad and returning their rudeness, I just gave Xav a kiss and held my head high as I passed them inside the store.

Is it just me or have any of you baby-wearing mamas had similar public disapproval?

What is weird about wearing your child close to you?  Why is it more acceptable to push your baby in a stroller or carry them in a car seat?  Do the majority of people feel this way about slings or do the few snarky comments make it easy to blow the whole thing out of proportion?

What was really sad about the whole incident was that these women were likely in the 19-24 age range.   I would imagine that one of both of them will be mothers in the future.  Will they still think that baby-wearing is so weird then?  What a disservice it is to their future minis to have that view point.  I know, I know, to each their own.  I just know how many benefits I have found with wearing Little Man.

For one, instead of having to carry Xav in his car seat to a shopping cart and then trying to navigate the enormous cart when I usually can't see in front of me, I can just pop him into a sling and then walk around the store with nothing more than my reusable shopping bag on my shoulder.  I live near a small supermarket that keeps their carts inside with no storage area outside, so if I do the car seat/shopping cart combination I first have to carry Little Man inside the store and lift him high enough to snap his car seat onto the cart.  Then when I am done shopping, I have to wheel the cart to the car, put Xavier in the car, unload the groceries, lock the door and run the cart back.  I absolutely hate leaving my son in the car for even a second; it makes me feel like a neglectful parent.

Another benefit is that I find that it gives me way more opportunities to interact with Little Man.  His head is close enough that I can give him kisses as I shop, and I am also able to see what he is looking at and chat with him about it.  When I have had him in a stroller, I never know what he is up to.  For all I know he is bored or uncomfortable.  In the sling I can sense if he needs any adjustments to make him happy.  More times than not, I have felt him poop, and was able to change him right away.  When he is in a stroller or his car seat, it is usually a lot longer before I realize what has happened.  I like that I can be more in tune with him when he is in a sling.

I could go on, but I am sensing that the rant is getting a little long.  So, I will end on an amusing note.  I was just on the blog The Baby Carrier, and there was a post with a video about slings.  Check it out below.

Cheers to all you baby-wearing moms out there!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Xavier's Big Arrival

I have three amazing friends who are very close (and very, very close in one case) to being due. I wanted to share Xavier's birth story because it was really great, and for whatever reason people love to tell you birth horror stories when you are pregnant. I can't believe it is not socially taboo to scare the shit out of mommies-to-be. I say we protest by sharing the positive...and kicking the people who tell us their negative stories (just kidding).

I will start out by saying that I never thought I would want to be a mom. After almost thirty years of being exposed to the "birth is horrible" culture in movies, TV shows, etc., I was terrified at the thought of having a baby. Needless to say when Pete was all but doing cartwheels around the room at the positive pregnancy test result, I felt nothing but fear. I was a week away from flying to northern Quebec to teach in a remote village without my husband when we found out I was pregnant, so my last week at home was spent scurrying around to find a midwife.

Although my entire life up to that point was spent dreading pregnancy and delivery, a funny thing happened at my first midwife appointment: I was empowered.

I told my midwife about my apprehension and she listened intently before encouraging me with positive stories about birth. She had a lot of great suggestions for me, and I left our appointment feeling so much lighter. In fact, once I came home from Quebec in December and had more regular midwife appointments, I always left feeling that I had everything under control. It was great.

I read two great books during my pregnancy, most of it in the last few weeks leading up to the birth. Everything I read just reiterated the fact that my body was made to have Xavier, and that Xavier and my body would work together when the time came. I rested as much as possible (oh how I miss naps!), and focused on saying a list of positive birth affirmations to myself before sleep, all of which helped me keep my cool on the big day.

Mind you even though the big day was officially April 2nd, I am pretty sure that little man tricked me on April 1st. At one point on April 1st, I was convinced my water broke. There was a pretty decent amount of water that suddenly came out. So I called my midwife to let her know and she came over to check things out. She told me that it didn't appear like anything was happening and that my water was definitely still intact. It is possible for you to leak water from the top of your placenta, apparently, so I chalked it up to that even though it was obviously Xavier playing an April Fool's prank on us.

So the the night of the 1st ended and at 1am I awoke to a contraction. It was just one contraction, and it was not very strong, but it was intense enough to get me out of bed to head out to the bathroom. I went back to bed only to be awoken again about an hour or so later for another contraction. This cycle repeated until the morning, so I didn't have the greatest sleep. If you are wondering what a contraction feels like, my mommy brain has made my memory fuzzy. However I remember it being an all over tight feeling. It did hurt, but I found that by breathing slowly and deeply while pressing out my belly as far as I could (as if I was trying to be as fat as possible), it was completely bearable.

Because Little Man was a week over due, that day we were scheduled to go to the hospital to have a non-stress test to make sure everything was okay. We went to breakfast with my aunt, who was going to be attending the birth, and I had a few more contractions that were intense enough for me to go hide out in the family bathroom doing some deep breathing. After that we went to the appointment at the hospital for the test. Pete and I were left alone in a room while I was hooked up to a machine that monitored little man for 15 minutes. It slowly printed out a paper report that looked like similar to the one that measures earthquakes, so at the end I asked the nurse if it registered any of the contractions I had had during the test. She crabbily told me that it was probably just Braxton-Hicks and then sent me on my way.

By the time we got home around 1pm, the contractions were about ten minutes apart instead of being one or two intermittently. My aunt started timing them and they went from ten minutes apart and a two out of ten to an hour's worth of contractions, one minute long, four minutes apart and six out of ten in intensity. Before I knew it we were calling my midwife to come assess me. The funny thing about that was that we had to call an answering service four times before we finally heard back from a midwife.

The first time Pete called and said I was having contractions. We didn't hear back so he called back twenty minutes later (as we were instructed to do), and when Pete explained that nobody had responded to us and that I was still having contractions, the dispatcher crabbily told him that he failed to mention that I was in active labour. Twenty minutes later we still hadn't heard from anyone so this time Pete was so frustrated he asked his mom to call, and she relayed to them the timing and intensity of my contractions and stated that I was in active labour. After another twenty minutes Pete's mom called again and busted out the mom voice: the midwife called us back in less than five minutes.

When the midwife came I was dilated to 8cm, but my water was still intact. She broke my water and then I finally got to hop into the pool that Pete, his mom and my aunt had been filling up for the last two hours; it was heavenly. I instantly relaxed and spent a little while talking to my cervix (yes, seriously). My midwife told me that it had to get to 10cm before I could start pushing, so I repeated over and over "my cervix is opening." It might sound silly, but once I started that it didn't take me very long to get to 10cm.

The most uncomfortable thing up to that point was when I was starting to get the urge to bear down, but was still waiting to dilate to 10cm. It was kind of like trying not to pee your pants when you are frantically trying to find a bathroom. When my midwife said I was ready to start pushing, I wanted to high five her. As for the pushing part, I began on my knees in the tub holding Pete's hands while he sat in from of me. From there I moved to laying on one side to push, then the other. Then my midwife had me bend my top knee and open my hips as wide as I could while I pushed on my side. I also layer on my back for a little bit (even though it makes you fight gravity, it was comforting when I started to get tired.)

I didn't have any clocks that I could see, so I really wasn't two aware of timing. I pushed for two hours, which sounds like an eternity, but it isn't. I know now that it would have gone faster if I had had more rest the night before and if I had really pushed my hardest from the get-go. At first when I started a contraction my midwife would say "get mad" to help me push hard, but I couldn't think of anything to get mad at. Pete tried to help me by reminding me of all the things he does to drive me crazy.

"Remember how you will go to use a towel after a shower and it is dry on the front side but wet on the other because it is all balled up at the back between the towel bar and the wall?"

Part of it was that I wasn't picturing anything in particular, but part of it was that it was that I didn't want to give it my all and use up all my energy. Mind you, it would have meant less time overall if I had. After a while I got better at focusing my pushes. I spent a lot of time talking Xavier along, telling him he was safe and that my body was doing everything perfectly. I also had a four hour long play list on my iPod with chilled out music to listen to that I sang along to in between contractions. When it came time to push again, my midwife would sometimes put her finger on a certain spot in my vagina and tell me to push in that spot, which was very helpful too. All in all, these things worked well together to get things moving along.

(On a side note, as Xavier got further along down the birth canal I was able to feel the top of his head inside me; what an amazing feeling!)

What was frustrating for me was that it seemed like I would push really hard and be telling myself that Xavier's head must be close to being out and then the pushing would be over and the midwife would cheerfully say "we saw the top of his head!" It felt like it was taking s while for his head to come out, and I was starting to get pretty tired. It was not unbearably painful, it just felt as though I was running in a marathon and I kept thinking I would get around the bend and see the finish line, but it wasn't there. It was more about energy than pain.

When I had been in the pool for about an hour and a half the midwives suggested I try getting out and sitting on the toilet, because Xavier's head was almost out but just caught on something (something is my word since I can't remember). They said that by sitting on the toilet it would change the angle that I was pushing at. I did a few contractions on the toilet facing the wall, which allowed me to open my hips as wide as possible. Then I did one or two contractions on the toilet facing the usual way while hugging a standing Pete as tightly as possible. At that point I felt as though I didn't have the energy to keep going, and told my midwife so. She suggested I try a birthing stool so that gravity could help me along.

As soon as I sat on the birthing stool, things started to move very quickly. I got a sudden burst of energy and knew it was time. As for the pain, I will say that it is a very localized sensation. My adrenaline carried me through, and I remember it being completely bearable. I was not screaming for drugs or anything dramatic; I was focused on using every last bit of energy to get Xavier out. So in the end my midwife was facing me while I sat on a birthing stool (a U-shaped stool) squeezing Pete's knees (very hard) as he sat on a rocking chair behind me. The only time I remember losing my cool was during a contraction on the birthing stool when I was ready to be done with pushing and yelled "Xavier get the fuck out of me!" (not quite mother of the year material). Finally Little Man's head came out and the midwife asked me if I wanted to reach down and guide him out. Even though I had been trying to be as hands on and hippyish as possible up to that point, I was exhausted so I looked at her incredulously and said "NO!" Ha ha.

Pete says that I was on the birthing stool for about ten to twenty minutes, but in my mind it was a minute or two and then Xavier came zooming out. I reached down and held Xavier in my arms, and everyone began chatting amongst themselves excitedly. The midwife clamped two spots on the cord and asked Pete to cut in between. He did, but I was completely out of it and said (very loudly) "did you cut on the right side of the clamp?" Apparently everyone (my aunt, mother-in-law and four midwives) stopped talking at turned to look at us. Poor Pete...

After that I got to feed little man and then hop in a hot bath (both of which made me blissfully happy). I had two tiny tears that were so small that the midwives did not have to put in a suture. I think that the way in which Xavier seemed to go back and forth as I pushed then rested helped my body get ready for him to come out, which I am thankful for. So to recap, first contraction to birth time was 20 hours. Actual active labour to Xavier's birth was about 5 hours and of that 2 hours was pushing. All of this was drug-free, with almost no interventions (other than having my water broken).

As someone with an extremely low tolerance for pain, it was completely bearable. You can do it ladies. Let your midwives worry about the medical stuff, you just focus on keeping your mind and body strong.

And maybe think of a long list of things you are mad at to focus your pushing energy on. Hopefully I am not on that list. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I love sleep

On the same day that I was writing about Tornado Xav and my not-so-relaxing yoga classes, I spoke with my good friend Lisa. Lisa's son is three months older than Xav, so I usually get a heads up on all things baby from her. We share a very similar parenting philosophy and generally chat to share the good, bad and quirky moments of motherhood.

After telling her the yoga class stories, and how time to complete every day house work or preparing my tutoring business is almost an impossibility, we turned to the topic of food. Lisa introduced her little man to baby-led weaning (where you let babies try finger food and self-feeding right away vs. spoon-feeding only) when he was six months and I was nearing the seventh month mark with only a handful of finger food attempts.

"I know that it says that you can do anything in stick form for finger foods, except for the possible choking hazards list, Lisa, but WHAT am I supposed to feed him?" I asked (more like pleaded!).

"Well...Anything, really," she responded.

"But WHAT is anything?" I whined.

This was the part of the conversation where I explained that even though the book said you can offer a variety of foods to your little one (think steamed carrot, avocado slices or bread dipped in hummus), I didn't know what to try. Totally illogical, I know. It was as if my brain ceased to function unless I had specific lists to follow. I love cooking, and feeding Little Man was something I was originally so excited about. But instead of the fun of introducing Xav to new food tastes and textures, I was dreading the idea of feeding him anything other than breast milk; even with a fridge full of CSA organic veggies waiting to be used. And then Lisa made a simple statement.

"It sounds like you are sleep deprived."

I sat back and thought about it. Lisa was right. I didn't seem to be myself anymore. I was:
-always forgetting everything
-always exhausted
-always snapping on Pete and Xavier (as in flying off the handle for no reason)
-eating junk food like crazy (don't get me started on chocolate cake)

For a few weeks in September, Xav had begun to sleep full twelve hour nights. Pete and I felt recharged after all of the sleep we had missed out on prior to that. Then Little Man's two bottom teeth pushed through and we were back to square one. By the time I spoke with Lisa I was on week four of waking to Xav's cries, feeding him, crawling back into bed, waiting impatiently to relax enough to drift back to sleep, then repeating the cycle many times again. Obviously Pete and I were not getting enough sleep to feel well, but Xavier was also lacking the good quality sleep he needs to grow. Something had to give.

So Pete and I talked about it and decided to go back to square one on our wind down routine. Night one was rough, night two was a little better, and night three and four were a little better still. As of tonight, Little Man has not yet done a whole night without waking up crying, but it looks like we may be back on track within the next week or so. I am no longer needing to feed him in the middle of the night, which makes a big difference, and we are all getting better quality of sleep.

The point of this entry is that you need to take care of yourself as a parent. If you are not feeling like yourself, then you need to seek out the support of others. When I think about it now, I can't believe how long I went on in zombie mode. What a difference a couple nights of improved sleep and a new outlook can make. I hope all you mommies and mommies-to-be are resting when you can. It's a big job saving the world. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh Yeah, I Started a Blog...

I am not a procrastinator, I am just the mother of a 7 month old tornado named Xavier. Yes, that is the excuse I am sticking to. Otherwise I'm sure there would have been daily updates complete with witty anecdotes and staggeringly amazing writing [sound of crickets]...Ahem...Maybe not. Nonetheless, I am here now.

Topic: Hurricane Xavier
I am starting to realize that I am going to be the mother you see chasing after a screaming ball of energy...
In church...
At a funeral...

Little Man and I just finished our third class of Mommy and Baby Yoga this past Wednesday. At the first class Xav crawled onto the blanket of the baby next to him, mesmerized by his colourful baby blanket. The second week Little Man branched out a little further and crawled over to several of the other babies and started to eat their toys. This past week, Xav not only crawled over to various other babies blankets to play with their toys, but also managed to get his mouth on another baby's bottle before I could stop him. This was before he tried to stick his finger in the outlet and then was so focused on getting one child's toy that he climbed on him.

It doesn't matter how much the ladies in the class claim that it is okay that Little Man is ripping around our peaceful yoga class causing a ruckus, I am always so embarrassed. In my mind Xav must be pushing his limits with other people's patience. How long would you let a strange baby each your child's toys and crawl all over you before you started judging the mom? I find it a hard mix of trying to relax into yoga because I need it and attempting to twist my body in weird ways during poses to see what Little Man is up to.

If there were other babies crawling around it would not be such a big deal to me, but in my mind there are all these peaceful blobs chilling out with their mom's and then my guy on his rampage. I had wanted to sign up for the class again because it is nice talking to other mom's in a small group setting, but I wonder if there is any point when it leaves me so stressed out in the end. Where are all the other high energy babies? Are their mom's just too afraid to take them out in public?

Maybe I just need to invest in a bouncy castle that I can keep inflated in the back yard, to be used prior to yoga class. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let's bypass the introductions and get to the good stuff...

I tried to join Pinterest so that I could make a board of (my opinion of) baby must-haves for my amazingly fantastic pregnant friends, but apparently Pinterest is so cool that there is a waiting list. I will resist the urge to rant on websites and their virtual velvet ropes, and get to the point. For the lovely pregnant ladies of my life, here is a quickly thrown together blogging post on baby essentials, because a simple email just won't do. Happy shopping!

I am a huge fan of reusable diapers. They are so different from when we were in diapers. You can put all your faith on one system or mix and match from all brands. There brand Pete and I have for Xavier is the Applecheeks Diapering System, size 1 and 2. We struggled a little at first to get the right fit so that little man wouldn't wake up wet and eventually settled on cloth diapers during the day and one disposable at night. You don't technically have to soak the diapers because breast milk is water soluble, but once your little on is on solids her/his poop will change and you may want to do a pre-soak (I use a borax mix or Pink Solution).

Basically you need about 12 envelope covers each of size one and two, 12 bamboo inserts (not to be confused with the bamboo booster), and some kind of liner for when the real poop arrives. You will also need a couple of wet bags; a large one for the nursery and a small one for in your diaper bag. If you are looking to go swimming with your little one, you will need a swim cover. Applecheeks makes one, but I have the one from Bummis which is all my little man needs to wear in the water (plus they are super cute).

The only thing I wouldn't get form Applecheeks is the Bamboo Booster which is essentially useless. You are supposed to be able to lay it on top of the diaper cover so that if your little one poops or pees the booster absorbs the mess and you simply change out the booster instead of using a whole new diaper. In reality it is too small and oddly bulky. Bummis makes a reusable fleece liner that I would use instead. It is thinner and wider and less likely to bulk up as your little one moves. I haven't used one yet, but my friend uses them with her Bummis system and loves them. I've hear great things about Bummis. If you are still confused, there is a website that reviews and discusses cloth diapering systems.

I love the wrap I have by Mamankangourou. It is one size fits all and evenly distributes the weight across my body. People freaked me out into thinking that I shouldn't use a carrier with Xavier until he was four months old or he would suffocate. Yet so many others, I found out later, tried wraps and slings with no issues. Grrrr. I wish I had listened to my instinct on that one. The wrap I have been using with little man is the Amerigo, but I just saw the Asiatik on the site and it looks interesting. A friend of mine used only this on outings in the city and her little on slept in it when she needed to (that might get rid of your stroller on streetcars problem).

Breast Pumps
The brand you see everywhere is Medela. They can be uber expensive (read: $400+ for the double electric one). I went on the cheap side and got the Harmony Breast Pump. It is a manual pump that you can use to pump occasionally. If I am leaving Xav with someone for a little bit or when I had any pain from breastfeeding, I would pump with this. I also used it so that Pete could feed little man once a day as a bonding thing. I really like it. It does get tiring, because it is manual but I have been told that you can order the parts to upgrade it to an electric model later (say for back to work use). If that is true it will save you some serious dough.

Breastfeeding Pillows
I ended up feeding Xavier lying down 99% of the time because I was at home and it is way more enjoyable. However, I did like using a breastfeeding pillow until he was big enough to lay in my lap and reach my breast. The brand I have is the Jolly Jumper Boomerang Nursing Cushion. I think you can get by with just your imagination and pillows or blankets stacked together. The pillow can be used to prop your little one in when she/he is learning to sit up, and you can lay her/him across it to practice tummy time.

A few of my favourite things:
This is great for building up the muscles to sit up. There was a recall at some point because people were leaving their babies unattended and they can tip over with enough force/weight on them. With a little common sense, this is a great item. You can also get a tray to use for putting toys or food on.

Floor Mat/Large Blanket
Xavier has a spot in his room with toys on a blanket so he can play and practice crawling without being on the carpet (I shudder at the thought of what's lurking inside!). He has a similar area in the living room. The living room one allows us to play actively and the area in his room is for quieter play as part of his wind down routine before naps and bed when he needs it. I like the blankets because I can throw them in the wash.

That is not her real name, but it should be, For whatever reason babies love her, and she is all natural which is great. This is another great teether (we have both).

This company does great toys to expand their senses, but it can be pricey. Xavier has a few and loves them.

Organic crap
I figure the more the better. A lot of toys are made with PVC which is so bad for little ones it is not even funny. We opted for an organic mattress and bedding because babies spend so much time sleeping and regular bedding and mattresses are doused with flame retardant chemicals. Yikes!

Swaddles are necessary to keep little ones from hitting themselves in the face (they have no control over their arms/legs at first, and don't even know that it is them hitting themselves at first), but later on a sleep sack is a great idea. A sleep sack will let your little one have her/his hands free once she/he is in the stage where she/he can roll onto her/his tummy (wow, that was a lot of /s). I recommend one that zips from bottom to top and not the other way around (which is good for changes/checking her/his diaper).

Here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed:
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (Sounds a little pompous, eh? Well she is, but I liked this book because it helped me get little man set up on a routine for eating, playing and sleep)

Baby-Led Weaning (Suggest you should skip the mush and go straight to real food. It is not a new concept, and is a really interesting read. I will be trying it with little man in a few weeks)

I hope that information helps. Feel free to leave a comment or question.

UPDATE: I did finally get on to Pinterest and make a board of stuff for Little Man.