March 12, 2009

Abbul and eckum!

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , at 9:33 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

Rachael said her very first word at eight months old – “duck”, plain as day, and she’s barely paused to draw a breath between chattering since. She was speaking in full sentences by eighteen months, which (combined with being a tall girl and having long hair) always made people think she was much older than she truly was.

Her sister isn’t going to have that problem. At fifteen months, she’s still practically bald on top. She’s normal-ish in size, and doesn’t say much. Until the past week, she’s been pretty limited to hi, bye bye, up, eat, no, uh-oh, bebe (baby), mama, dada and giggy (which is Mill-ese for “sissy”.) Suddenly, she seems to have decided that she’d rather talk, though, and now she’s attempting to repeat words left and right. She’s finally mastered duck, and is working on cup – her favorite thing in this world, although it still comes out “hup”. She can say abbul (apple), deuce (juice), kiki (cookie), ‘mon (come on) and pants whenever she sees a dog. My favorite, though, is “eckum”, said very quickly. This is “welcome”, and she says it every time she’s told “thank you”, which is constantly since she’s forever handing us something.

“Thank you, Milly!”
“Eckum.”

I love eckum.

Okay, wanna see a couple of new scrap pages? The big one in the center of this page is my all-time favorite of Rachael. She was six days old in these. 🙂

And this is Milly, snapped just a couple of weeks ago.

Both of these were made using the Sweet Dreams by Aisne’s Creations…whose creative team I’m thrilled to have recently joined. 🙂  Here’s the kit preview – just click on it to visit her store!

I’m behind on my scrapping (not to mention writing out updates on my children – oops), so I’ll be back soon with more…

February 18, 2009

Be still my heart.

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , at 9:57 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

In addition to being a princess and a boogie, respectively, my children seem to be polar opposites. Rachael is always smiling; Amelia is always crying. Rachael has never met a stranger; Amelia doesn’t like people. Rachael is my little ray of sunshine; Amelia is my little black raincloud.

Grocery trips are always especially fun since Amelia arrived. They weren’t always so bad. From the time she could sit in the cart, Rachael would smile and wave and talk to everyone who passed by, and tons of people would stop to talk to her in return. Little Miss Sociable, that was her, and still is. She’ll talk to anyone, and she’ll talk until your ear falls off if you let her. Then Milly came along…first there was the learning curve of shopping with a preschooler and an infant, and that was no easy feat. I toughed it out until Milly was of cart-sitting age and breathed a (premature) sigh of relief – I had made it, shopping was going to be smooth sailing from now on! But it was not to be so.

Now let me preface this by saying that I believe that my children are gorgeous, as does every mother. But shopping around here seriously gives me a swelled head as every other person or so that we walk by stops to smile at my children and tell me what beautiful girls I have – this is very, very sweet of them and I appreciate it immensely, although Rachael is going to have a head the size of a beach ball before long if they keep it up. She *thoroughly* enjoys the attention. Milly, however…hooboy. I’ve been tempted on numerous occasions to make the child a shirt that says “please do not make direct eye contact” because she does not appreciate being spoken to by…much of anyone. She’s usually okay in the cart until someone stops to speak to her – and when they do, the lip pokes out, the face turns red, and the screaming commences – until that person apologizes and runs away. Guess who this embarrasses most? (Hint: it’s not my child.)

Soooo, we went to the grocery store this afternoon. It started off rotten, when I had to wake Milly up to haul her into the store, in the cold and the rain. She started screaming the second we walked through the doors, and I was just sure this was going to be a looooong visit. Thankfully, she calmed down in short order and we started shopping. Today was apparently Snooty Old Lady Day at Kroger, but even snooty old ladies pause to smile at cute little girls. After a while, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right…Milly wasn’t screaming. Not only was she not screaming, but she was making motorboat sounds with her lips as we scooted around the aisles and giggling at herself in between. I had to stop and collect my wits…what was wrong with my child?!

We were nearly finished shopping when one of the SOLs paused to speak to Rachael and was immediately dragged into an in-depth conversation about Rachael’s missing tooth. The longer they talked, the more sure I was that meltdown was imminent…but it didn’t come.

On to the checkout – another Milly bone of contention. One of her greatest joys in life is snatching things off of the conveyor (if she can smush it, so much the better) and of course, she is always most displeased at being stopped from this particular pursuit. She didn’t try it today. She sat patiently until the cashier handed over two stickers, and then happily played with hers for several minutes while everything was bagged and paid for. She offered the sticker to Rachael, then to the lady bagging our groceries. She smiled at her, and babbled at her. And when we were ready to leave and the cashier told her goodbye, my child smiled, waved and said “bye-bye!”

Be still my beating heart. I don’t know who this smiley little person is, but  I sure hope she hangs around for a while. Fourteen months of miserable baby is enough for anyone.

January 14, 2009

You’ll eat off the floor and LIKE it.

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , at 10:17 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

June Cleaver’s kitchen certainly had the proverbial floor that was clean enough to eat off of. Mine is nowhere close. I mean, I sweep it daily, Swiffer it every day (or every other) and give it a more thorough mopping…when the mood strikes. The five second rule applies in my home with no fatalities to date.

And it’s a darned good thing too, because it looks like we’re going to be sitting on the floor to eat pretty soon, whether we like it or not. Maybe I can redo the kitchen in a Japanese theme. There’s some awfully cute sushi stuff on etsy. Hmm.

No, I don’t detest our kitchen table – per se. It’s not old and hideous – we’ve only had it for two years, and I rather like it, in spite of the decorative groove that runs along each side and looked really cool in the furniture store. (I’ve since discovered that it catches every stinking crumb that falls on the table, and has to be scrubbed out regularly with a toothbrush.) The problem is, since I updated last, we have a new little walker in our house. She’s about two-foot-five and has a penchant for barreling slam into the sharp corners of the table at least twice a day.

It’s funny how most humans seem to have some embedded protect-the-head gene, but my little Boogie does not. In fact, we’re already down one table because of her – as soon as she started pulling up on the furniture, the living room coffee table had to go. She would knock her little noggin into the bottom of it every. single. time. The coffee table being expendable (one less thing to pile junk mail on), we moved it out to the shop for the foreseeable future. Hey, we even have more room to Wii Fit in there now.

But we’d have a much harder time adapting to life without our kitchen table. We eat three meals a day on the thing, most days. It’s where we sit to chat, to play games, to do art projects. It’s the center of our school day, being that it’s the only place Princess can spread out her papers and books and crayons without fear of her little sister snatching something and toddling away with it, happily crumpling or gnawing on it as she goes. Yeah, we would definitely miss it.

I don’t really see an alternative, though. I mean, we can’t keep letting the kid smack her head into the corner every time she walks by. I guess I could quit averting my eyes from her even for a second, all day long, in order to track her every move. I could stand sentry at the entrance to the kitchen all day, ready to pounce the second that the table enters her line of sight. Maybe I could find her a little padded baby helmet. But none of those things sound terribly feasible either. After all, dishes do need to be washed and potty breaks taken every once in a while, and neither of those chores are particularly easy with a chunky thirteen-month-old clinging to your hip.

I’m trying to look at the bright side: eating on the floor would make it a picnic every day. No one cooks for a picnic. And I hate cooking! This could be a winner after all.

December 9, 2008

One year ago today…

Posted in Baby Talk, Happy (Insert Holiday Here) tagged , , , at 4:57 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

It was Friday, December 7, 2007 – ten days past my due date of November 27, and I was rapidly approaching miserable. I was supposed to go visit my midwives that morning, and had every intention of begging them to do something to help coax my stubborn little girl into the world. All week, I had been upset and weepy, on top of hormonal/evil and the mommy guilt that comes along with that. And my back hurt. And it hurt to sit, stand and lie down. In short, I was over being pregnant and ready to meet my little cupcake.

My plans to beg for help were nixed by the weather, though – while it wasn’t doing anything at home, there were reports of sleet, freezing rain and snow between my home and Tomi’s, my senior midwife. My mom had called to tell me about all of the accidents being reported on the radio, so I decided it would be best not to risk it, and called Alicia (my main midwife) at home. She agreed that we should postpone the visit, and said that she and Tomi would come to me on Monday morning if baby hadn’t arrived already. The thought of enduring another weekend with no baby was nearly too much to bear, so I explained how I’d been feeling and asked if she had any suggestions. Although she wasn’t worried – or even eager to discuss alternatives before the 42 week mark, which would be the following Tuesday – she told me to research and decide for myself about a castor oil induction, although she would not specifically tell me to or not to try it.

I was online in a matter of minutes for a refresher course, and it didn’t take me long to call dear sweet hubby at work and tell him he’d be picking up some castor oil on his way home.

I mixed a concoction consisting of two ounces each castor oil and orange juice after dinner, and somehow choked it down just before 7 p.m. – all the while remembering how I had tried the same thing with Princess, only to spend a miserable evening in the restroom with no baby to show for it in the end. I had vowed that I would never do the castor oil thing again. But I did…and then I waited. I fully expected for it to do what castor oil is intended to do, but never did find myself running for the bathroom. Instead, the contractions I had already been having off and on for weeks started to become more frequent; this was apparent by 10:30, when I started to pay attention to how far apart they were. By 11:30, they were five minutes apart – and a trip to the bathroom scared me when there was bright red blood on the toilet paper. I called Alicia and confessed to my castor oil experiment. She told me that the blood only meant cervical changes, and that the contractions would probably begin to space a little further apart before becoming any closer, and asked me to call her back around 1 a.m. with an update. In the meantime, she said, she would load up her car and get a bit of sleep.

After talking with her, I told DH to start straightening up the living room and making sure everything was ready. After panicking for a few minutes, he did – and then laid down on the couch to sleep until I had something new to report. I decided to take a quick shower – both to be nice and clean in case this was the real deal, and to let the water help relax me during the contractions. That didn’t exactly work. The water felt nice, but once in the shower, my contractions started coming closer together – every two or three minutes until I got out. By 1:00, they were so strong that I had to stop everything to get through them, and they were still no more than five minutes apart (and usually closer.) Alicia said she would pick up Sam, my doula, and head our way. It’s about a two hour drive from her house to mine, so I figured she’d be here around 3 and decided to get some rest.

Lying down was horrific. There was not a comfortable position to be had. I finally settled on the glider rocker in our bedroom, rocking and breathing through the contractions and dozing in between. I had to get up to find a blanket (I was freezing) and then to run for the bathroom during a sudden wave of nausea. I sat and sat and sat and the contractions stayed consistent at about three minutes apart – alternating between difficult but bearable, and truly painful. I kept checking my watch to be sure they weren’t becoming any closer…and finally started wondering what had happened to my midwives. 3:00 came, then 3:30, then 3:45… The contractions were becoming so painful that I finally gave up on letting DH sleep until they arrived – I waddled out into the hallway and told him that I needed my birthing pool, and he should start inflating it about ten minutes ago. And that I wanted some grapes, which he promptly fetched.

Not being familiar with the area – and having only been to our house a couple of times – Alicia had gotten a little lost on the way. She and Sam finally arrived around 4 a.m. and came upstairs to check on me. Seeing that I was doing okay, they headed back downstairs to start bringing their things in from the car. DH had inflated the pool and put it in the living room, but rather quickly ran into a problem – our water heater wasn’t up to the task of filling a huge pool with warm water. He filled as much as he could, then stopped to wait for the water to heat back up. Meanwhile, Alicia and Sam set to work in the kitchen, boiling water in every pot and pan they could find to help fill up the pool. I felt vaguely sorry for them, having to come here in the middle of the night to boil water and haul it from kitchen to pool – I hate inconveniencing people – but I wasn’t able to concentrate on that for long.

Around 5:30, they came to check on me again – it was hard to talk to them since I had to stop and breathe through nearly constant contractions. Alicia attempted to listen to the baby’s heartbeat without making me move from the rocker, but couldn’t find a good spot in that position, so I moved to the bed. Her heart was pounding away just perfectly, slowing ever so slightly during a contraction. Since I was already on the bed, she asked if I wanted her to check for dilation before I got into the pool to let the water help with the pain. For months, I had been worrying about this first internal exam – Alicia had become more friend than care provider, and I was so sure it would be awkward and strange. Thankfully, labor dulled that a bit, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. She checked quickly and told me that I was dilated to six centimeters.

It was 6 a.m. when I went downstairs and got into the pool. I expected to feel a huge difference, having read over and over about water being “the midwife’s epidural” and how much easier the contractions would be once in the pool. Not so much for me – they felt about the same, but at least I had the novelty of being in a pool in my living room to distract me! Finding a comfortable position was difficult – sitting down on the inflated bottom of the pool felt nice, but didn’t seem to be conducive to having a baby. Ultimately, I ended up on my hands and knees – alternating between rocking (hoping to help open up the pelvic area) and clinging to the side of the pool, talking with Alicia (who was sitting in the floor by the pool) between contractions.

I had only been in the water a short time when the nausea returned. I told Alicia and Sam that I was going to be sick, and Sam got right up to search for a trash can. None in the living room, so she headed to the kitchen. She was still there when I couldn’t hold it back any longer – and despite that, I can still see clearly what happened next. Sam grabbed a plastic bowl off of the counter and, as if in slow motion, sprinted across the kitchen and into the living room, bowl held in front of her at arm’s length, reaching the pool just in time that I didn’t make a huge mess on the carpet. (While this was remarkable in the moment, it’s downright hilarious in retrospect. Maybe you had to be there, but the sight of Sam running with the bowl is one that I’ll always remember when thinking of Boogie’s birth.) The midwives were even encouraging about my being sick – “get it all out”, they told me, “that’s a good sign, means things are moving!” I loved having my own personal cheering section that thought everything I did was wonderful!

Once that was over, DH came to kneel in the floor by the pool so I could hold onto him. It didn’t seem like I’d been in the pool any time at all before I started feeling like I needed to push through the contractions. I tried to ignore the feeling, thinking that if Alicia had just checked me, and I was only at six centimeters, that there was no way it was time to push yet. There couldn’t possibly be room for a baby to come out yet, and I’d surely kill myself trying. But after a couple of contractions, I told Alicia what I was feeling and she told me that if I felt the urge, to go ahead and push through them. Her ‘permission’ (so to speak) was all that I needed – with the very next one, I started bearing down.

And, I think, with the one after that, I started yelling. I hate to admit it, as I had been envisioning a calm, quiet, peaceful birth in the water…but that’s not exactly how it happened. As her head started descending – rapidly, it seemed – I got louder and louder. I remember thinking “oh no, I’m going to wake Princess up and scare her half to death”, but I couldn’t stop. This was also the point where I remember wondering just why having my baby naturally seemed like a good idea, quickly reminding myself why it was a good idea, and mentally telling myself that this was not going to last much longer and was for a very good cause. All of these thoughts must have run through my mind in a hurry, because they occurred in the time between two contractions, and that wasn’t very far at all by this point.

Knowing that it wouldn’t be long before my little girl arrived, Alicia encouraged me to get into a squatting position in the water so that I could catch my baby. I moved, and was so surprised when I reached down and felt the spongy, squishy top of her little head. I was trying not to cry when I told DH, “I can feel her head, it’s right there!” Squatting through the contractions just didn’t work for me, though – my balance isn’t great on a good day, and I quickly found myself back on my hands and knees in the water.

About this time was when Princess’s bedroom door opened and she came out into the hallway. I think I was the first to realize that she was awake, and told DH. He headed upstairs with the phone in hand, to shepherd her back into her room and call his dad to come and pick her up until everything was over. Sam asked if I would rather have DH nearby, and offered to go up and help Princess get dressed; I wasn’t sure how she would react to that, having only met Sam once, but I knew that I wanted DH – so up Sam went. In just a moment, she was back – and she wasn’t alone. I later learned that Princess told her she wanted to come downstairs and see her mommy. Sam told her that the baby was coming and that I might be making some funny noises, but Princess said that was okay, and down they came.

Meanwhile, DH had returned to the side of the pool and I was still pushing. It seems like only five or six contractions had passed from the time that Alicia told me it was okay to push if I felt the urge – and I could certainly tell where my baby’s head was by the fiery sensation.

Princess reached the side of the pool at 7:04 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, and just a few seconds later, I felt the same thing I had felt when she was born – that wonderful relief of the baby’s head coming free, and the rest of her body following it out. I looked down into the water to see my baby float quickly forward into my reach; I sat back and picked her up out of the water and onto my chest. My sweet little Boogie was finally here, and her big sister got to witness her birth.

She started breathing immediately, and her skin turned quickly from a gray-ish color into a healthy pink. I sat in the water with her for a while, holding her close, still wet but wrapped in a receiving blanket, rubbing her back. Sam remarked later that babies born in the water usually take a little while to start breathing regularly, and that she had never seen one start breathing as quickly and effortlessly as mine. She fussed a little, but didn’t really cry. She was alert and content from the beginning.

They helped me out of the water after a few minutes, and into my favorite chair (lined with waterproof pads, of course.) My new little girl latched on and nursed like a pro at just thirteen minutes old. A bit later, Alicia clamped her cord and DH cut it. He took his new daughter while the midwives helped me upstairs and into the bathroom, where the placenta was delivered. I took a quick shower, got dressed, and headed for bed.

The senior midwife, Tomasina, had arrived while I was in the shower. Alicia had been waiting to call her when it was close to time for me to give birth; no one had anticipated that it would happen so quickly once I got into the pool! Tomi held my baby while I got situated, and then they weighed and measured her – my sweet baby girl was 9 pounds and 6 ounces, and 19” long. Her APGAR scores were 8, 10 and 10. In short, she was simply perfect. wub.gif

December 1, 2008

I would be NAK, but I type faster with two hands.

Posted in Baby Talk, Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , at 4:32 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

Something recently happened on my favorite mommy forum that really burned my bottom. A good friend posted a link to the horrifying revelations about melamine in infant formula that is now surfacing in the U.S. Missed that story? Here’s a recap: babies in China have been dying because of melamine in formula. Our FDA slammed those formula manufacturers, mandating that there is no safe level of melamine for human consumption. Weeks later – surprise! There’s melamine in U.S. formula too. “Trace amounts”, but that’s still melamine. (There are “trace amounts” of mercury left in vaccines too, and look at all the damage that it’s still capable of.) The FDA quickly changed their tune, stating now that this amount of melamine is safe. And then – wonder of wonders – it’s revealed that the FDA is simply covering their giant lying arses, as they’ve known about the melamine for some time now, but preferred to go to the formula manufacturers with the news rather than alerting the poor, unsuspecting formula-feeding public that they’re happily shoving poison down their babies’ throats.

So, this was the news story that was posted. Just a link – not the full detail as I’ve shared it here, although I did (somewhat more nicely) share more of the details myself. Needless to say, this horribly offended at least one formula-feeding mommy, who promply reported the post and had it closed. God forbid actual facts be shared that stomp on her decision to use formula. Other mommies certainly don’t deserve to know. She (whoever she is) should never, ever be reminded that there is anything wrong with her decision to use formula.

I’ll admit, I am a lactivist in the truest sense of the word. I breastfed my first daughter until past her second birthday. She was supplemented with formula when she was less than a month old, when I had to have surgery, and I will never forget the pain of lying in that hospital bed watching my mom and husband shoving that bottle of nasty pseudo-milk into my poor, defenseless baby’s face. That hurt so much more than the pain from the gallstones. Thank goodness she was only too happy to be done with the bottle and have her mommy back when all was said and done. Boogie has never, ever tasted formula and, one week shy of her first birthday, I dare say now that she never will. I breastfeed because it’s what’s best for my children – best for all children – and yes, it offends me that people choose not to breastfeed for selfish reasons. Some women can’t, just can’t, and I respect that (and feel sorry for them, and in some cases, wonder if they did everything that they could…) It’s the ones who just plain don’t want to breastfeed, don’t want the commitment, don’t want to be tied to their baby, want freedom from their baby, are worried about sagging boobs, etc. – that I have a very hard time finding ample respect for. Motherhood is nothing but one big commitment, and a commitment to always do the absolute best that you can for your baby at that.

Is breastmilk really better? You bet your bippy it is. Want to know why?

  • It is nature’s perfect food for a baby (this is why it forms in your breasts during pregnancy and comes in just after your baby is born. It ain’t coincidence, people.) It contains *exactly* what your baby needs in terms of fat, sugar, water and protein, and changes to meet baby’s nutritional needs as your baby grows. Can formula do that? I think not.
  • Breastmilk is much easier for a baby to digest than formula. A baby’s digestive system isn’t fully formed – thus the sometimes alarming amount of spit-up. Just compare the consistencies of formula to breastmilk – formula is thick, almost like gravy, whereas breastmilk is thin and watery. Even adults reach for thinner liquids if they have an upset stomach – it just settles more easily. The same is true for babies.
  • Breastfeed babies are less likely to be overweight later in life – although they do tend to be chunkier as babies. And chunky babies are just darned cute.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier – they receive so many awesome antibodies from mama’s milk, and as a result are less likely to have colds, ear infections and respiratory illnesses. Some studies suggest that infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life, and higher rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, overweight and obesity, high cholesterol and asthma. Also, infants who are not breastfed have a 21% higher postneonatal infant mortality rate in the U.S. 21%, people. You could reduce your baby’s chance of death by 21%, just by feeding them the food that God intended.
  • No bottles and nipples to sterilize. Not only are they just a general pain in the arse, but do a quick Google search about BPA in bottles. Yet another chemical that you could spare your baby from, were you so inclined. Breastmilk is always available, sterilized and at the perfect temperature – I dare you to explain to me how bottles are more convenient!
  • It’s not just about nutrition – breastfeeding equals bonding, and bonding with your baby is a very, very good thing.
  • Why throw your money away on sub-par nutrition for the most important little person in your life? Breastmilk is not only far superior, but it’s free.
  • Last but not least – breastfed babies are prettier. Nope, I’m not just biased – Google that too. Studies have found that breastfeeding promotes the development of a well-shaped jaw and (later on) straight teeth. Sucking on a bottle as opposed to a breast are, after all, very different techniques. Don’t hate my baby because breastfeeding helped her become even more beautiful.

There are plenty of benefits to be had for the breastfeeding mother, as well – less blood loss after childbirth, faster weight loss, delayed return of ovulation and menstruation, increased protection against osteoporosis and ovarian and breast cancers, and that awesome hormone prolactin, which has the potential to just bliss you out while nursing.

If knowing all of the benefits of breastfeeding doesn’t inspire you to at least give it a try, then nothing will. Even if you try and decide to stop later on, any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial to your baby – even the colustrum produced before your milk comes in is full of antibodies and helps prevent jaundice.

However, if you just don’t care…well, I can’t make you. If second-best (which isn’t nearly good enough) is okay for the precious little gift you’ve been given, okay. But don’t think that the formula you’re feeding your baby is good for them – it provides essential nutrients, sure, but it also provides things you probably wouldn’t otherwise choose to put into your baby’s body. And even though some formulas claim to be “the most like breastmilk”, there isn’t a formula made that will boost your baby’s immune system the way that breastmilk does.

Second-best is not, and never will be, good enough for my children. So formula-feed if you must, but know that you are going to read things about formula that will make you uncomfortable. Know that you can cry “I’m offended!” all you want, but that it still won’t change the facts. Know that you can have one post closed, but you will not stop me from talking about how wonderful breastfeeding is. And know that if you have another child someday, the choice is yours to do so much better next time…

November 27, 2008

I guess she was looking ahead.

Posted in Baby Talk, Happy (Insert Holiday Here) tagged , , , , at 6:35 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I suppose now that maybe, just maybe (although it certainly didn’t seem that way at the time), it’s a good thing that Boogie decided not to grace us with her presence on her due date. On November 27, 2007 – exactly one year ago today – I was pleading with my giant baby belly to please, please contract already. I didn’t really expect it to listen – after all, Princess was five days late, and she was (unfortunately) evicted. But I was in a great deal more pain the second time around, and was very anxious to have it over with.

Of course, I didn’t look ahead on the calendar to this year, to note that Boogie’s first birthday would have been on Thanksgiving Day, had she not been so stubborn comfy. And while it wouldn’t be a bad thing, per se, to have a birthday on Thanksgiving, I would much rather her have her very own special day.

I never expected her to hang in there for eleven days past her due date, and suspect that I’ll always hold a bit of a grudge over that one. In fact, I’ll probably remind her of it at least once a week for the duration of her first pregnancy someday.

Anyway.

Another Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be thankful for. A husband who is quite often maddening, but is truly a good man, a wonderful husband and father. Two beautiful, sweet, perfect little girls. A comfortable home, heat, plenty of food to eat, clothes, vehicles, creature comforts. An amazing family and terrific friends. A God who loves us and provides for us. Well, those are obviously a little out of order – but the point is, I could go on all day counting my blessings, and still never cover them all.

November 24, 2008

“Go ahead and do it wrong, it’s okay.”

Posted in Baby Talk, Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , , , , , at 4:41 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

GOOD NEWS: Boogie has officially unwrapped her first birthday and Christmas gifts, which was actually one really huge gift from her Gramma (love my mom, she’s just the awesomest.) She knew that we had saved to buy Princess a great carseat when she was close to outgrowing the seat with the 40 pound weight limit. There was no way in the world I was moving my then-not-quite-four-year-old into a booster, so we splurged on the Britax Marathon, which harnesses your kiddo in until they reach 65 pounds. (At nearly five, Princess is about 42 pounds. I’m guessing this thing will last a while.) Britax has a wonderful reputation for being one of the safest seats on the market, and beyond that, they have some cute covers – hers is pink and yellow and flowery. And according to her, it’s way more comfy than the Evenflo Triumph seat that became her sister’s.

Well, having Boogie in the Triumph was fine for a while. There was, of course, the nagging mommy guilt about having her in a seemingly inferior seat to her sister’s because, after all, I do love her just as much and absolutely want them to be as safe as possible. I’ve considered bubble-wrapping them, except that so much packing surely wouldn’t fit in the carseat, and there’s the chance of asphyxiation and whatnot. So naturally, my thought processes turned to obtaining a Britax seat for Boogie as well – and I fell in love with the brown and pink flowered seat that is exclusive to Target. Only problem? The price tag – $279. Ouch. You obviously can’t put a price on your child’s safety, but it wasn’t so easy to convince my husband, Mr. I Never Rode In A Carseat and Look At Me, I’m Perfectly Fine. (I know, it’s a long name, but it seems to be a family tradition – his father is Mr. Hey Did You Know That Your Baby’s Carseat Is Turned Backward?)

I thought…Christmas. Maybe I can justify it for Christmas. Of course, it would be the only thing that Santa brought her, and her sister would surely wonder why a) she only got one thing and b) it was something as terribly no-fun as a carseat. But then – dum-da-da- DUM! – Gramma to the rescue! Mom offered to buy it for her, so long as it could be a combination birthday (which is in early December) and Christmas gift. Would I mind? Heck NO, I wouldn’t mind! So she bought it, and last weekend she let her unwrap it early. Mr. INRIACALAMIPF was immediately sent outside to install it in my van, and Boogie rode home in more comfort than she’s ever known from a carseat. And it’s darned cute too.

BAD NEWS: Holy wowza, that seat is HUGE! The Evenflo Triumph is notoriously short, and so I wasn’t totally prepared for how much more room the Marathon would take up in the back seat of my van – now, the front passenger seat is sitting completely upright and the back of the carseat still mashes into it. (Which begs the question, HOW do people fit these things rear-facing in the back of a normal car, if it’s this tight in my van?!) I tend to sit pretty straight anyway, but this is still rather uncomfortable. And the seat looks as if it’s tilted just ever so slightly to the right, which doesn’t really fly with me. There’s no question that it’s tight – I make him (you know the one) get into the seat while tightening it. But still, I would feel better having it looked at by a professional – someone who can tell me if it’s inclined correctly, if I need to reconfigure the middle row to make it fit better, what have you.

The problem is – there ARE no professionals around here. Which I suppose is a hazard of living in a middle-of-nowhere tiny little podunk town. But you would think that someone would be trained in evaluating a carseat. The state police department – who used to have someone on staff (I know this because I had them check Princess’s seat a couple of years ago) – no longer has anyone. The lady who I talked to his morning told me that they “just tell parents to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.” Gee, really? I had never thought of that. I resisted the urge to inform her (although I probably should have, perhaps for the greater good) that studies have shown that four out of five carseats are installed incorrectly. Four out of five. Think of your own children, and add in a few friends’ kids to make five, if you don’t currently have five in carseats (and God bless you if you do.) Now think – only one of those children is as safe in their carseat as they should be. Is it yours? What if you have more than one child? What if you have two? Are your children the only two out of ten riding in a properly secured seat? Anal as I am about proper installation, I’m not willing to bet my girls’ lives that they’re two out of ten.

I’ve tried to call the local fire department to see if perhaps they had someone – no answer. Same with the local rescue squad. Searched online for a carseat inspection station – the nearest one is an hour’s drive away.  *sigh*

If I can’t find anyone today, I’ll try the city police, fire and rescue tomorrow. Surely to goodness someone will know something about proper carseat installation. Even if it’s just to look at mine and say “wow, you guys did a really great job installing this one, it’s as secure as Fort Knox”, I want to hear it from a pro. And by gosh, I’m going to find that pro if it’s the last thing I do.

September 25, 2008

Procrastinate, and do it NOW.

Posted in Baby Talk, Crazy Homeschoolers tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I have the worst problem with updating my blog. Ideas come to me constantly – I’ll be in the car, or the shower, or folding laundry, or nursing the baby, and think “oh, I need to blog about (insert topic here) before I forget all about it!” And then I forget all about it. I sit down in front of the computer and get engrossed in something else (usually either JustMommies, or some massive time-waster on Facebook) and don’t even think about blogging. And then, when I actually DO think of blogging while in close proximity to a computer…well, I’m just so stinking far behind that I don’t even know where to begin. As is the case today.

Since my last post, my baby girl turned nine months old. That was two weeks ago, so I guess she’s actually nine and a half months old. Three quarters of a year. Where the heck has the last nine months gone? I want them back. Whoever stole them from me – bring. them. back. I know that’s not likely to happen, so I’m doing my best to move ahead, and am actually planning for her first birthday already. I have a box of cupcake-themed decorations in the closet already, and the ridiculously expensive cake pan from Williams-Sonoma that will make a big 3D cupcake-shaped cake. I HAD to have it, and I’m justifying it by pledging to make this cake for her every year, until she’s old enough to be utterly mortified by it – and then probably for a few more years after that.

She started properly crawling this past Sunday. She’s been mobile for a while now, but she finally got the hang of the whole hands-and-knees thing that is what most people consider crawling. And of course, she figures this out while in the church nursery – with someone else. The ONE Sunday morning that my dear sweet darling husband volunteers to sit with her in the nursery so I can stay in our Sunday School class – well, of course that would be when she decides to show off, wouldn’t it? Thank goodness for nifty phones with video capability – I did at least get to see it later. And now I’m seeing it non-stop, from the time she rolls out of bed in the morning until the time she passes out at night. It didn’t take her long to put two and two together – crawling equals freedom, to get into anything, anywhere.

Well, you have an older daughter – weren’t you prepared for this?, you ask (or I assume you do, at least.) No, no I was not prepared for this. You see, the Princess had a full-blown case of Jabba the Hut Syndrome when she was this age. She was just such a massive chunk that she was quite content to mostly stay in one place and play with what she could reach. She would scoot around a little (it was easier for her; we had hardwood floors then) and was probably capable of more than she bothered with. But she never did really crawl, she didn’t cruise until just before her first birthday, and didn’t bother with those first steps until fifteen months. I had just resigned myself to hauling her piggyback-style off to college when she let go of the couch and took off one morning, and hasn’t slowed down since. So no, I really wasn’t expecting Boogie to be so fast at nine months, although I should have figured that a) a second baby would be faster because she wants to keep up with her sister, and b) I’m older and more tired now, so Murphy’s freaking Law says that she would be a fast learner as well.

And the Princess? Well, DH was concerned that she’d be smarter than him before long, and I think that day is nearly here. Heck, she’s going to pass me soon, and I don’t know what I’m going to do then. Maybe I’ll just turn lesson planning over to her and let her teach me what she wants to learn. Yes, she is truly a tiny smartypants – and thank goodness for it, as I likely wouldn’t have the patience to homeschool her if she weren’t. Not that anyone else would necessarily be interested, but I don’t want to forget – so here’s a quick rundown of our typical school day…

– We start with our Bible lesson over breakfast. This includes a devotion, saying the Lord’s Prayer (which she does nearly flawlessly now), and our memory verses. She knows four verses now – we do one each week. We use the A Beka Bible curriculum, which I both love and hate. I like having everything spelled out for me – teach this, then this, then this – to be sure that I don’t leave anything out. But at the same time, this kid has known the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, et al since she was a tiny, tiny girl and they’re a little boring for her now. I’m having to pull out more details to keep her interested.

– After the Bible lesson, we read an entry from the book 365 Manners Kids Should Know. Not neccessarily that day’s entry – I do skip around a bit to cover the ones that are applicable now. After all, the chances of her needing to know proper ettiquette at a bar mitzvah are currently pretty slim.

– Next up is geography. I printed out a map of the U.S. and she colors in one state each day, reviewing the ones she’s done before. As of this morning, she can identify New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama (she’s finally stopped calling it “Obama”), Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

– After breakfast comes math. She can add by ones now, and is learning basic addiction facts (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc.) Today we’ll start skip counting by twos, which should be interesting.

– After lunch, we do our daily phonics/reading lesson. Not sure what I’m going to do after next week, as she only has three lessons left in her phonics curriculum! I checked out several level and one and two readers from the library yesterday to serve as her reading practice until I figure out which curriculum to go with next. If I can keep the books hidden, I can make her read them to me…if not, she tends to remember the story and tries to cheat. I hope the books I picked aren’t too easy – last week she sat down with a Mercer Mayer book and read it cover to cover with no help. I’m so proud of her (she got my bookworm gene!) but I little flabbergasted too. Am I supposed to buy first grade readers for my four-year-old?!

– The rest of the day varies. We do Social Studies on Tuesdays since that’s gymnastics day and we don’t have much time. The A Beka K5 Social Studies book is basically a giant coloring book, so we’re rolling through that. Some days we do science – using the God’s World reader combined with experiments from The Backyard Scientist or things I find online (or just feeding and watching the sea monkeys). Other days we do history, using Story of the World. Just got the activity book that goes along with it yesterday, and boy are there plenty of things to tie in there. The next chapter – ancient Egypt – ought to be interesting.

I know, that sounds like an awful lot for such a little one, but it really doesn’t take all that long. We might spend two hours on an average day “doing school” – whereas if I sent her to preschool, she’d be gone for at least three.

*****

On to other, more random things now…such as HOW in the world I’ve found time to write an entry this long on a Thursday morning? Well, that’s one upside to Boogie’s crawling – she’s much happier playing in the floor for longer periods now. I can get online for a little bit while she explores. I just have to keep prying her little fingers off of the laptop’s AC cord.

I just took her out on the front porch for a few minutes – it’s so windy this morning, and she seemed to enjoy that. I love watching her when she’s watching something interesting – her blue eyes get so big, and her little lips part while she’s staring. It’s an awesome opportunity to nuzzle into those chubby cheeks and smell her sweet baby smell. I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.

And, as if on cue, she crawls over to me, climbs my leg and screams. Of course.

Sleep is still an issue here – or rather, the lack of it, during the day. She just doesn’t nap. It’s not that she doesn’t need them – she’s falling down tired by 5:00, but I can’t let her nap that late. We would all be happier people if she’d nap during the day…but I’ve kind of gotten used to being grouchy, and at the very least know that I’ll survive this. Surely to goodness this will get easier before long.

Our annual visit to the pumpkin patch is just a few weeks away now – hard to believe! I’m so, so thankful that fall is here and it’s getting cooler. I hate summer – hate it, with a pink and purple polka dotted passion. I just want to refrigerate the whole house in the summertime and never, ever leave it. Fall, now – I love being outside during the fall. Boogie, unfortunately, does not. Well, she does like the outdoors – as long as she’s being held. She doesn’t care for the swing and screams if grass touches her, so there’s not a lot to do for her just yet. Anyway. Hopefully she’ll tolerate the grass for 15 seconds at the pumpkin patch, long enough for me to get the picture that I absolutely must have. She’s going to be a white tiger for Halloween, and has the most adorable costume ever – the one that I loved but talked myself out of when Princess was a baby. Princess, on the other hand, refuses to be a princess this year, because those costumes are easy to find. No, she insists on being EVE, from the movie Wall-E. EVE, who Disney/Pixar neglected to make a costume of this year. EVE, who is a shiny white robot with no legs – she hovers. EVE of the impossibly shaped body. Thank goodness I never learned to sew, so the task of negotiating this particular costume falls into my mom’s capable hands… We’ll see what happens with that.

There’s more – there’s always more – but I think that’s plenty for now. I’m caught up enough, I think, that maybe I won’t dread writing more tomorrow…

August 5, 2008

Since I’m a slacker…

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , , , at 5:55 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I started this blog because I had become so horrible at updating my old one. Apparently, old habits are hard to break. So before I forget entirely what’s happening right now, a quick rundown of what Boogie is up to at not-quite-eight-months-old.

  • Considering crawling. Thinking very hard about it, but not quite decided yet. She’s very good at getting onto her hands and knee, while sticking her other knee out to one side like a chubby little kickstand and getting utterly stuck for several seconds, before finally plopping down onto her belly and assuming the scooting position. She’s very good at scooting backward, and around in circles, and sometimes sideways. She’s definitely mobile, just not in any traditional or easily describable way.
  • Clapping is fun. Even more fun is clapping your hands, for you. And then gnawing on them.
  • She gnaws on them because she has two pearly whites now, on the bottom. They’re the cutest teeth in the world, incidentally.
  • She subscribes to the “eat to live, don’t live to eat” theory. Real food comes along but once a day, at dinnertime, and usually consists of either peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, apples, pears or oatmeal. Sweet potatoes and apples are by far the favorites. She is still breastfed on demand, and demands loudly and often. Broken up Cheerios are a recent discovery, although the verdict is still out.
  • The three things that relieve teething pain every time: her sippy cup, full of ice water (apparently makes the spout cold, as she chews on it); “icy cold teethers” that her sister loves to fetch for her from the fridge; and an ice cube in that funky mesh feeder thing that her sister would never touch as an infant.
  • She knows the sign for “milk” and ain’t afraid to use it.
  • Loves to talk. Started out with “dadadada” non-stop, but has since ditched him in favor of “mamamama”. However, the vast majority of her babbling sounds exactly like “BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”, and I have no clue how she makes the “l” sound.
  • She instigates games of peek-a-boo by hiding her face in your arm/leg/shoulder/whatever is available, and leaving it there until you say “wheeeeere’s Boogie?” Then she pops her head up and grins. It’s only the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, and she’s an absolute genius for figuring it out all by herself.
  • We are still happy co-sleepers. It’s been nearly a month now since she stopped nursing to sleep, and I am still amazed every. single. time. she goes to bed without a boob in her mouth. I nursed her sister to sleep every night, every naptime, until she was eighteen months old. For Boogie to be able to go to sleep without my assistance feels like a little miracle. She goes to bed around 8 now, sleeps until I come to bed (usually at a ridiculous time), nurses and goes back to sleep until 8-ish, or whenever her sister sees fit to wake us up.
  • My only complaint is that separation anxiety hit hard and early. Woe be unto me if I attempt to sit the child down and move more then three inches away. On rare occasions, she’ll play happily in the floor while I wash a dish or check my email, but usually my moving away from her is rewarded by banshee-like screams of displeasure, which are quieted only by picking her up again. Needless to say, it is difficult to accomplish much of anything while lugging around a twenty pound cling-on.

Having two children is much more difficult than I imagined that it would be – and that’s a complete understatement. There are days when none of us get dressed, simply because she won’t allow me to put her down for long enough without her screaming – and while sometimes it’s just necessary, I don’t like to let her cry unless there’s just no way around it. There are days when I don’t get to do anything one-on-one with Princess, and I feel horrible about that. There are days when I don’t do anything to the house, and I feel horrible about that. In fact, it seems as though I always feel horrible about something. Mommy guilt is an unforgiving master.

However, there is one thing that helps alleviate some of that guilt. I was utterly convinced, before Boogie was born, that I could never, never love another child the way I loved my first. And as much as I wanted another girl, I almost thought that a boy would be easier to love, since that love would be, somehow, different. But, I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I love her more than I thought possible, and without sacrificing one iota of my love and devotion to my first daughter. Weird how that works for us mommies. And very, very cool.

July 24, 2008

Rock-a-bye, Baby

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , at 3:57 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

There are so few perfect moments in this life – and rarely do we have the time to stop and fully appreciate one when we’re in the middle of it.

There’s the marriage proposal – it’s magical, except for your heart pounding in your ears and the screaming refrain in your head of “ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!!”

There’s your wedding day, which (as any married woman knows) is planned to death but ends up being a complete blur in the end.

There’s the birth of your child, during which hormones do funny things to your mind even if drugs do not.

But there’s one completely perfect moment that happens to me every single day, and I am eternally grateful that I have realized it now, before it’s too late. It’s that few minutes every night when I rock my baby to sleep.

After she’s in her pajamas, I turn out the bedroom lights (leaving on the bathroom light, so I can see) and sit down in the rocking chair to nurse her…during which we talk about her day (nothing too in-depth, just a recap) and I sing her bedtime songs – Rock-A-Bye and Baby Mine. Thankfully, she hasn’t yet learned that her mommy couldn’t carry a tune if it had handles. Then, once she’s had her fill, she sits up and I scoot her up onto my shoulder.

We rock, I pat, she snuggles in. She rubs her smooth, soft cheek against mine, and I rest my chin on her little shoulder. I revel in the sweet baby smell of her skin, her hair, her clothes. I remember when it was her sister that I rocked in that same chair – four and a half years ago, that feels like just yesterday. And I know that soon – too soon – my baby will be just as big, just as smart and just as independent. And that I’ll have no one left to rock to sleep.

So I enjoy it immensely, while I can. Whatever else needs to be done before bed can wait – the dishes aren’t going anywhere, the Tivo is recording any “can’t miss” TV, and truth be told, there’s nothing that I’d rather see than cuddle my baby anyway. Nothing that I want to do that I won’t have plenty of time for later, when she doesn’t need me as much. Nothing that could possibly rival this precious, fleeting moment with my sweet baby girl.

I have been blessed with the privilege of cuddling this child every night, and I intend to take full advantage of it – for as long as she’ll allow it.

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