Sunday, June 16, 2013

Real Life

This is a recent picture of our dining room table.  I took a picture of it because it accurately shows what our house usually looks like-- disorganized, things out of place, evidence of Baby having done some experiments (in this case, she was on top of the table dumping out salt from the salt shaker).  Every once in a while I still look at the old blogs I used to look at, even though I've previously sworn them off-- blogs by people with babies where everything in their house is totally immaculate (ie bed made, beautiful table and centerpiece, living room worthy of being shown in a magazine).  So, this is what living with a baby actually looks like!  There are crayon markings on our walls, baby toys everywhere, pieces of food half-eaten.  Recently the upstairs phone was awol for about two weeks; Husband found it this morning.

We joined a new mommy/child group this past week-- sort of socializing time for babies-- they get to play and have snack together-- and the moms get to support one another. It's great!  I got a bunch of book recommendations from one of the moms in it and ordered them this morning: "Parenting From the Inside Out", "Raising Your Spirited Child", "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk", "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be".  I also want to read "Siblings Without Rivalry" if and when it's appropriate for us (that is, when Baby has a sibling).  Also signing up for the newsletter from Aha! Parenting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Becoming a Mother

Quiet morning here.  Baby and I went to a new mom/baby group-- sort of a support group for moms and playtime for the children.  We know about it from a mom I know in La Leche League.  It was really nice to go and talk (well, mostly listen) about the challenges of being a mom.  It's kind of a cliche but it's true that it's hard but fun and rewarding to be a mom.  Some days are harder than others, but never ever would I give it up for anything.  Baby is just too cute.  I think reading a lot of parenting magazines and-- depending on the playgroup-- being in playgroups or especially reading blogs about moms and babies, the hard side of parenting gets glossed over.  I think I'm quite patient and most of the time when there's yogurt everywhere or Baby pulls down the stack of towels I just folded, or does some other exercise that strengthens and fulfills her curiosity but means more work and organizing for me, I do find it quite funny and end up laughing.  But sometimes I don't and I feel exasperated.  Usually it helps me to see things from her point of view rather than mine-- yes, maybe if I want our floor to be clean, I need to clean up the cereal (or better yet, just let Pug eat them), but Baby is enjoying doing whatever she's doing with them.  Babies experiment.  At the Portland Children's Museum, I remember reading there that babies do experiments all the time naturally.  They make hypotheses and check to see what happens.  This is so true in life.  So usually when she's making a mess, as long as it isn't hurting her or making things too tough for me, I let her experiment and make her conclusions.  Maybe she's a budding scientist.

Only a few people know, but before I got pregnant with Baby, I had a very early miscarriage/ possibly chemical pregnancy.  It happened very very early on (which is why I always suspected chemical pregnancy). Husband and I were in Maui on vacation, and I remember getting a very faint positive.  I took the test at sunrise.  I was so happy.  I bought a little wood necklace that I wanted to give to that baby someday.  A day or two later, everything changed.  I felt okay, if a little shocked, while we were in Hawaii, but as soon as we got home, I started feeling really depressed.  It was December.  I spent most of that month at home.  One day I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and from my car, saw a mom and baby in the parking lot.  I cried and went home.  Those were hard days.  I wondered if I would ever have a baby.  

I read somewhere that fertility is often very high following a miscarriage and that if there's no health reason not to (there wasn't for me), to try again for a baby soon after.  So we did and I think it was the cycle after the miscarriage that I became pregnant with Baby.  It was the very end of January.  Getting pregnant with Baby is what made me feel all better.  I have never felt bad about the miscarriage since then.  All the gloom and depression disappeared.  

I also went to acupuncture for fertility treatments, and to boost up my energy/immune system.  

And when I got pregnant with Baby, I started to bond with her right away.  This was a very conscious decision on my part.  Unfortunately, I think it's become this sort of normal phenomenon for moms not to bond with their babies during the first 12 weeks-- I'm sure out of fear of losing the baby and then having to deal with the loss.  But my feeling is that it will only help if mom and baby bond from the very beginning.  I wish western medical doctors encouraged this.  I do think it's healthy and very beneficial to the mom and growing baby to experience the love and bonding from the get-go.  In the sad event that a loss does occur, mothers can have some comfort in the bond they shared with their babies, even if for a short time.  Denying the excitement of pregnancy and bonding could, in the case of a loss, contribute to a mother's sadness, grief and guilt.  Many many women have miscarriages.  I wish, in hindsight, I had told more people about it.  I think it would have helped me.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10th

We had Gymboree class this morning, followed by a little trip to the outdoor shopping center next to it.  I attempted to stop in Anthropologie to check out some cherry-printed pants my mom saw, but Baby was not happy in there so we left.  Went to the Gymboree store after that... usually I feel ho-hum about their clothes and feel their prints look too cartoonish, but I did find a few things that were pretty cute today.  Next stop was a burger for lunch and I found a shaded kid-sized picnic table where Baby sat and ate.  She loves tomatoes (one came on the burger).  We went to a few more stores and I popped into Mrs. Fields and bought a few tiny cookies for us for the ride home.  Baby fell asleep in the car and it did melt my heart when I got her out of the seat at home and she had chocolate around her mouth and apple juice from her juice box on her shirt. I love lifting her (fairly heavy) little body, all soft and warm and limp, out of the car, up the stairs, plopping her in bed, and then relaxing in the rocking chair.

This is maybe a fairly boring topic and only of use to nursing moms out there, but since we still nurse (Baby is really a toddler now) and I've tried lots of nursing tanks and nursing clothes, I've been wanting to write a little review of my favorites and not-so-favorites:

Target's Gilligan & O'Malley nursing tanks win hands down for me in terms of comfort, price, and ease of use (some nursing tanks have the worst little clasps that take an acrobat to undo).  Color selection is a bit boring but practical (can't go wrong with white or black).

Glamourmom Nursing Bra Long Tank  I really like these tanks but they're a bit pricey ($49).  They fit really well, have nice clasps, wash well and come in good colors.  Immediately after I'd had Baby and still had extra weight on me, I found them quite tight and had to cut little v's in the elastic around my rib cage.  Now that I'm back to my normal size, they fit fine.

Bravado's Essential Nursing Tank At 49 bucks a pop, with a strange fit and the fact that it isn't entirely cotton (or at least doesn't feel that way), it's my least favorite.

I got two new nursing tanks from Destination Maternity today (Pea in the Pod brand) and I'll update after I've tried those.  One's cotton and one's some new-fangled material.

I don't wear a ton of nursing clothes anymore but I did for about the first year after having Baby.  I feel pretty frumpy in them now so they're mostly relegated to being clothes I wear around the house, but there was a time when I enjoyed wearing them in public.  I've tried lots of nursing clothes, and my favorite is from Japanese Weekend.  It can be a little pricey but it's made in the USA (last I checked).  The best style is the cross front .  I have one or two D&A (from Japanese Weekend) nursing dresses and they shrank-- mostly they're nursing tunics now.  Gap has good but basic nursing tops.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday musings

We're having a nice, quiet Sunday.  I like having at least a few days each week with nothing scheduled.  This morning, after breakfast and after I folded the 3 or 4 loads of laundry that have been hanging out on top of the dresser all week, and after I put away the 20 or so books that Baby had taken off the book shelf, we set off on a stroller ride.  First we went to Starbucks for a chai latte and bagel with cream cheese, then to the park by our house.  Baby went in the swing, then played on the playground (it's geared to older kids but there are a few things she can safely do), and then when it was really starting to heat up, I pushed the button to turn the fountain area on! She loves water play.  I put on her swim diaper, swim bloomers and a uv 50 hoodie (and quickly smeared some baby sunscreen on) and let her go at it.  I love sitting in the sun and watching her giggle as she runs around and plays in the water.

Now we're home and she's napping and I was looking online at some blogs and found  this blog post about kids and sports.  Good food for thought.  Obviously baby is not ready for sports yet, but this article sort of confirms some of my hesitations and concerns about organized sports for kids of all ages.  Mainly, the whole culture of adults yelling and screaming at kids and making winning seem so important really rubs me the wrong way.  Of course, I didn't care for sports much myself as a kid (and as an adult).  So we'll see what Baby is interested in, but even if she does like soccer and softball, why not just play with her friends?  Why must everything be so serious for kids? Why the need to schedule so much? Truth be told, I already sometimes feel like I have too much scheduled for her, or close to too much.  Once a week we go to tumbling, once a week we have music, and soon we'll be starting a once a week mommy/baby group.

Unrelated to the above things, I've been reading a really nice book.  I bought it on a whim at a store.  The title, "Things Good Mothers Know" doesn't feel like the right title to me.  Sort of smug or something.  And I haven't really read anything in it that is only for mothers.  I think a better title, just off the top of my head, would be "Nice Things To Read Before Going to Sleep."  Which is how I read it.  I have a few minor quibbles with the book, like that the author gives good advice ("simplify your life") but many of her examples show she doesn't take it herself (like the paragraphs she spends talking about finding some place to store her husband's illustrious leather-bound law journals).  That aside, it's a great little book and makes me feel better about life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8th

Warm weather is here! We've been getting out a lot, going to the zoo (pictured above on the zoo train), going to parks, going to the farmers' market, spending time in our yard with the sprinkler on.  In fact we just got back from the farmers' market.  Favorite, favorite, favorite thing there: hot maple donuts from Lowhill Village Bakery.  Long lines, but I would wait forever for one.  Baby fell asleep on the way home.

Links I wanted to include:

This article on one of my favorite sites,, entitled "7 Principles for Peaceful Parenting".

This commencement speech by Nipun Mehta.  Just love it.

"Helping, Fixing, Serving" nice article on

All I can think of for now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This and That

We went to the Portland Homestead Supply Store this morning.  Got a couple Weck jars, a little knit chicken for a baby we know who's turning one year old this weekend, a plastic bag dryer (I'm behind the times and tired of throwing away plastic bags, so I've been trying to wash and keep them), a book on wreath making (I might have time in five years to do this!), and I forget what else.  [Edit: I remember now-- an allspice trivet (will smell good when a warm pan is put on it) and a jar of meadowfoam honey.]  Hard to leave there empty handed.  Our main purpose for going there is to visit the chickens and goats.  Baby loves it.  We went to see them two or three times and when we were back in the store to check out, Baby kept signing for more.  I told her they were taking a nap.

I'd like to have an outdoor clothesline (yes, for the month or two out of the year that I can use it).  Not sure where it'll go.  I found this tutorial on Mother Earth News.  Too much building and wood work for me but maybe Husband would be willing to rig something up.

We've been going down to the river.  That's Pug, above, smelling the smells down there.  The day before Mother's Day, I took the kayak out, rowed upstream for a bit, and when I got back to the path we use, there was a bald eagle standing right on the bank!  Bummer I didn't have my camera with me-- I'd even almost taken it too!  I watched it for about a minute before it flew away.  Sometimes I see the sea lions out there too, but not this time.

Our dear little guinea pig, Guinevere, passed away yesterday.  She was the sweetest pig and she came from Pleasantville, NY.  She was getting old and I guess it was just her time.  Husband will bury her in the backyard near Molly (our other pig from NY).  I think we'll be guinea pigless for a while now.  Having a baby and pug alone is quite a bit of work.  When D is older and wants something (rat? bunny? guinea pig?  I'm saying no to snakes) we'll get a critter then.  She understood something happened to Guinevere, since at one point during the day G was there and later, she wasn't.  Unsure and undecided on how to talk to D about it, I said Guinevere was sick and died and went to guinea pig heaven, and that she was with other guinea pigs now.  When D seemed to want to know more, I liked the part about G being with other piggies and so I kept telling her that.  From what little I know about talking to kids about death, it seems honesty is best.  I know you don't tell them someone or something has "gone to sleep" because it can make them afraid to fall asleep and cause sleeping problems.

In other news, I'm still "napping" by D some days.  Today I am, and the last two days I did as well.  I'll play it by ear depending on how she's doing and how I'm doing.  If I really need time to myself, I'll put her in the toddler bed.  But some days I just still really want to be by her, and as long as I can sneak away at some point during her nap and my back isn't killing me, I'll keep doing it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another quiet night

D is asleep in bed, and husband and I are downstairs watching tv, enjoying the cool quiet night.  The neighbor's frogs are noisy and I love listening to them.  I had to close the sliding door in our bedroom (that leads to the balcony) so the frogs don't wake D up.

I've mostly stopped reading the old blogs I used to look at (not counting friends' blogs).  SouleMama for example, and many others.  All the blogs primarily about moms who have all these hours in the day to make popsicles at home, sew their children's clothing and knit their socks, tend chickens, make their own graham crackers, have meticulously beautiful homes with not a thing ever out of place.  I guess it makes me annoyed!  My life is not like that, it can't be, and I'm okay with that.  I guess when I see these other blogs, my gut feeling is they can't be real.  How can you have children and have time for all that?  How does a picture of your living room not have socks, balls, dog toys, half-eaten pretzels and squeezie pouches, and baby toys everywhere?  When I have free time, depending on how tired I am, I might take the kayak out on the river, or like tonight I might sit on the couch next to Pug and watch TV.  Other times, I clean or organize or shower.  Sometimes I read.  I have dreams of writing again, and I do a little sometimes.  When the babysitter comes, husband and I go on a walk or have a picnic or go out to dinner.  In the recent past when my back was hurting, I'd go to the chiropractor, and back in February and March, to the acupuncturist.  Husband and I have taken to calling my former craft room the attic.  For a while it pained me to think of my unused fabric sitting in there.  Now I'm okay with it.

Anyway, one blog I've been looking at on and off over the last year is the Road is Home.  It's probably one of the loveliest little blogs I've ever seen.  Stunning photographs.  Beautiful writing.  It's about a very young family and their baby.  I just love it.

Meanwhile in our neck of the woods, I am finally starting to have D try to take naps in her toddler bed.  She is 18 months old and she has always napped next to me in bed.  She still nurses to sleep-- we will be nursing for as long as she wants, I think-- so I didn't know how this transition would go.  I felt and still feel a bit unsure about the transition.  Sometimes I think, she's only so little for a tiny speck of time.  But since she sleeps with us at night too, it's okay if she sleeps in the toddler bed for the nap.  Day One went better than I imagined.  I explained to her that she's a toddler now and this is her toddler bed.  I told her I would be by her side while she slept (mostly true-- when she fell asleep, I moved to the rocking chair across the room).  When she cried, I held her and we hugged.  I did not want to leave her to "cry it out".  It pains me too much and it distresses her, and I want to be there for her.  So I held her while she cried.  We read a book about guinea pigs, then I nursed her in the toddler bed (me sitting by the side-- it worked).  She fell asleep and stayed asleep for 30 minutes.  Today she slept for 35 minutes.  Success!  We sleep very well together at night, most nights.  Last night she got 11 hours of sleep, and typically she gets around 11 these days.  I enjoy having her close to me at night.  We have a king bed, so there is plenty of room for the three of us.  Sometimes she scoots close to me to nurse, and other times for long stretches of the night, she sleeps a foot or so away from me.  We all like the arrangement.

I like this book, "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for alternate ideas to the "cry it out" method.  I also have the "no cry nap solution".  But any of this can be done without a book and just with your gut!  That's how I came up with our nap transition.  I knew in my heart I didn't want it to be too hard on her, and I didn't want her to experience this drastic change on her own.  It feels right to me to do it the way I'm doing it, just as it feels right to me to still nurse her and still co-sleep.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quiet night at home

Husband's working late tonight so it's just me and Baby at home.  I enjoy our time together so much.  Tonight while I was making a simple skillet hash, Baby and I shared some cheese and crackers (well, Carr's wheat biscuits) and listened to my current favorite cd, "Tumble Bee" by Laura Veirs.  There are some really wonderful tunes on that cd like "Soldier's Joy", "Little Lap Dog Lullaby", and my favorite, "King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O".  Baby and I danced in the kitchen to the songs while our dinner cooked on the stove.

Now dinner's over and Baby's going through the spices in the lazy susan.  The lock on the lazy susan broke so for the last few days, she has loved going through the spices and flour and vanilla extract bottles.  Nothing has been broken yet!  I need to think of some solution though so we don't end up with a (worse case scenario) sick baby or a (more likely scenario) extremely messy kitchen.  She just brought me the sherry vinegar.  Oy.  And quick update, she just put the sherry vinegar back, so that's good!

Other newsworthy items: she really loves bringing me her dolls and little cat and guinea pig dolls and having me pretend to nurse them!  It's so cute and melts my heart.  She grins so big-- she knows it's a little joke.  She's also starting to say "Ga ga" for the sound birds make ("Caw caw!").  I finally ordered a jogging stroller the other day and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival.  I really need and want to get outside and get some exercise.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cross Fit Baby

Here I am again.  Guess I have blogging on the brain.

Sometimes the husband and I joke that baby is training for the cross fit games.  She is BUSY.  Always moving, exploring, climbing, lifting, running.  I just bought some gentle diapers without too much harsh stuff, called Bamboo Nature from Denmark, I think.  The packages are pretty big and she loves to lift them, drag them, climb on them.  She doesn't stop unless she's sleeping.  She was like this as an infant too-- so aware, so observing, never letting me put her in a crib, never letting me rock her (in the rocking chair).  Funny that I bought a crib and rocking chair thinking we'd use them.... (though we do use the rocking chair, just not while holding baby).  She needs to move.  We walk a lot-- I hold her and walk, I hold her and practice my clogging (within reason), I hold her and bounce.  I weigh less now than I did pre-pregnancy.  Probably what I weighed in high school, ot at least my freshman year of college.  It's because my baby needs to constantly be moving.

When she was an infant, I read in "the baby book" by Dr. Sears a list of traits that a "high needs" baby has.  See it here:  So many of them fit Baby to a T.  Spunky, yep. Alert, yep. Demanding. Busy, strong-willed, energetic, expressive, exhausting.  Yes to them all.  Not all fit though-- she rarely cries, though it's also true I don't "let" her, and she isn't unconsolable.  I can console her real quick with nursing or a visit to see our guinea pig (who lives in the laundry room these days).

On our last date night, I headed off first for acupuncture, then husband and I met at a restaurant.  A little while after finishing our artichoke dip but just before my French dip sandwich arrived, the babysitter called to say Baby had a fever.  I got my order boxed up and headed straight home.  Poor baby was really warm and very sleepy.  We crawled in bed and she nursed and fell asleep immediately.  She slept okay but woke up the next morning at 4 am moaning and very hot.  I was awake enough; I finished reading "Prep" (my second time reading it. I love rereading books) the night before and went to bed early.  We whiled away the early morning hours nursing as well as me holding baby in the folds of my fleece robe and walking, later getting back in bed and trying to go back to sleep (unsuccessful), having tea (me, not baby), eating a bagel with cream cheese, and finally (around 6 or 6:30) snuggling on the couch to watch tv.  Snuggling on the couch is almost unheard of with baby.  Acceptable ways of spending time on the couch for baby  include climbing, reaching for the Christmas light cord that dangles up and slightly to the right of the couch, climbing on any person or pug sitting on the couch, playing under the pillows of said couch. etc.  Also mostly unheard of is baby watching tv.  She watches sports sometimes if her daddy is, but not really cartoons.  I try not to turn the tv on.  But with a sick baby, I'm open to anything and the tv definitely helps.  We watched parts of three shows.  I rated one an A+, one a B and one an F.  The shows were "Noddy", "Noodle Doodle" (I think?  Noodle something.  One sentence was unfortunately very memorable: "Way to use your noodle, Noodle McDoodle!) and Barney.  Guess which show got the F.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Second Thought

Well, I may not change anything about our nursing and sleeping just yet.  After I started really thinking about making a change, I felt like it was too soon and I didn't want to.  My husband and I have been able to spend more time together thanks to our babysitters, and my back hasn't been hurting.  I'm sleeping on a very soft feather pillow which allows my head to be mostly flat on the bed rather than propped up, but I can fluff up the feathers enough to give my neck some support.

I still plan on asking advice at the next La Leche League meeting I go to.  So far, I've read some good things about Dr. Jay Gordon's approach to gentle night-time weaning.  Maybe sometime in the next few months I may decide to do that.  Or not.  I would rather night wean and continue to co-sleep than stop co-sleeping altogether.  It's just one of my favorite things about having a baby.  She's sleeping beside me now, just wearing a diaper (she got apple juice and zucchini bread all over her outfit at lunch).  She looks so peaceful.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about co-sleeping recently and thought I'd write a post about it.  We've been co-sleeping with baby since she was a few days old.  She's never slept in the crib except for a 20 minute nap once.  I love co-sleeping.  After I had her, I'd look at her and couldn't imagine not sleeping by her.  We had a bassinet (borrowed from friends) and she felt so far away from me.  Those first days, I'd put her in it, then wish she was next to me.

Co-sleeping allowed me to sleep.  When I meet people and they ask about sleep-deprivation or if I'm looking forward to getting sleep again someday, I tell them I already get about 8 or 9 hours a night.  I get less, sometimes much less, if she's teething or sick.  But there is nothing like sleeping by a baby.  Their soft little breaths, the little legs curled over mine, the snarfles and moans and squeaks she makes in her sleep.  The tiny hands reaching for some part of me, any part, to hold onto.

It's pretty easy for me to flash  forward to the day when she's 15, or 30, and she'll no longer be sleeping beside me.  Right now is a tiny speck, a flash, a flicker, a swift movement of the hands on the great clock of Time.  It will pass and be gone before I know it.

So as I type, she is curled up beside me and nursing.  She has a cold so her snarfles are louder than usual.  I've been thinking about the possibility of her sleeping in her toddler bed soon, at least when she goes to sleep, and to whisk her into bed after her first night waking.  Co-sleeping is not entirely easy.  It takes a toll-- for me, on the amount of time spent with my husband.  I'm starting to miss him and it feels like something needs to give.  And Baby is not such a tiny, tiny babe anymore.  Those days are gone.  She might do okay, even like, sleeping on her own for a few hours.

And now she's up.  Sitting beside me, rubbing her eyes, stretching, leaning back against the bolster pillow.  It does make me happy to make her happy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


We went to the Portland Old Time Music Gathering yesterday and took baby.  It was downtown at the Scottish Rite Center.  Oh how I loved it!  We heard such wonderful music.  We went to Leela Grace's concert, but baby was too active to want to stay still so we wandered around and listened in on folks practicing in the stairwells!  Holy cow, amazing music was being made.  Very inspiring.  I'm getting my fiddle back out today!

In other news, I've spent a lot of time pondering things lately, mostly motherhood, my relationship with my mom, and what kind of mom I want to be.

This is my favorite quote these days:  "There's no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one."  I remind myself of that quote a lot because I have struggled with trying, and failing, to be a perfect mother.  Truth be told, I'm worried about not being a good enough mother.  Other people would probably think I'm at the far end of the spectrum in terms of time/emotion/energy spent on baby.  I take very little time for myself.  I a m by her side for nearly all her naps (so she can nurse).  We co-sleep.  I'm big into babywearing.

But I still haven't watched a movie since I had her!  I've neglected my writing, crafts, basically most of my interests.

I have a lot of guilt though if I think about doing those things... But as my very wise husband said, it is impossible to be there 100 percent for baby, and do everything I want for myself.  I need to decide how much to give to her and how much to leave for myself.  I do need to give myself a little more time.

So, inspired as I was by the music yesterday, I decided to sign up for a clogging class.  It's something I've wanted to do for a long time!  And I'm getting that fiddle out and we'll see if I can remember any songs.  Hopefully I'll be playing Cripple Creek again in no time!

Oh, and I came across this list for moms.