Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Adventures in Breastfeeding

Week 5 and we are doing AMAZINGLY!
I can't tell you how much I am loving breast feeding! No bottles to clean or formula to mix or water to warm up.
Nothing to pack when we go out except for my really pretty nursing cover by Baby Au Lait.

He is getting more efficient at it too which means we are down to about 10 minutes on each side at a feeding. He still cluster feeds a little bit - but it's mostly in the evenings because he has slept most of the day and spread out his feedings in the morning, so he is playing catch up - which is just fine by me because for the past few days he's only woken up one or 2 times at night.

The most he's awake at night is when he gets up and eats and then stays awake until the next feeding about an hour or so later. Last night, he only woke up at 12:30 and then went right back after one feeding and didn't get up again until 6:30.

(and they say breast fed babies always sleep less - that's a load of crap to get you to use formula)

My new favorite thing to do is to nurse in bed in the mornings. I never got to experience this with Katie and Ben is so good at it now that he latches on his own. It's so nice to just lie there in your sleepy state and not have to really do much but doze here and there while he eats.

The only downside to nursing in bed, is when he spits up and it soaks through the towel you have thoughtfully placed underneath him and still gets on you. For some reason I feel your more vulnerable in the laying down position and it's grosser and harder to clean haha.

I will figure out a method to deal with that soon enough with towels and burp cloths, etc... because the extra few minutes laying in bed and relaxing really does make my morning that much nicer!

So... breastfeeding can be done successfully and babies can sleep at night, and mommy's can sleep at night too! And let me tell you - he's starting to smile - and the smiles he gives me while nursing are some of the greatest I've seen!!

Our only complaint at the moment with breastfeeding is that he is refusing the bottle - we have tried 3 different bottles/nipples on 3 different occasions and he has forcefully rejected all 3.

We will try again this weekend at my moms house as I have a birthday party I really want to go to in the city in May and I want to be able to leave him and go to that!

My next adventure will be cloth diapering as I am going to make the attempt to add some cloth diapers to our repertoire once he stops using like, 15 diapers a day. I figure around 3 - 6 months I will start introducing them and I hope to go about 50/50.

It's the least I can do for the environment - I read somewhere that the average baby goes through between 5 - 8,000 diapers in their lifetime before they are potty trained.. and that's if you potty train them around 3.

3 years - at 365 days = 1,095 days
1095 days * an AVERAGE of 6 diapers a day (could be more or less)
brings you to a WHOPPING 6,570 diapers...

Let's assume you are spending .25 per diaper...
that's $1,642 dollars. (that's if you buy in bulk)

where do they all go?
So, since I will have my very own washing machine full time starting June 1 - I figure I will start trying to do my part and add some in. I am sure we will enjoy the savings and I will personally feel good about doing a little something for the environment and my baby! Since I'm a full time stay at home mom, I figure every little thing I can do like this helps just a little.

So... I will be sure to post mishaps, reviews and tips in case anyone else is interested.

I'm just sad I didn't do it with Katie because you can use your stash for more than one kid and I would have already had the supplies which would have saved us even MORE money!

I am not pushing cloth diapering as I understand it seems very daunting and most people just don't have the time or energy - that's partly why I want to experience it so that I can help debunk the myths and see if it really is as difficult as people make it out to be.

From what I can tell from my initial research - it sounds like it can be pretty much just as easy as using disposables - just with more laundry to run through the wash every week. There are lots of options and different types of disposables... it's not the white cloth diapers with safety pins image that most of us have in our heads.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When time out doesn't work

When Timeout doesn't work

All our children are angels and well behaved all the time - FICTION

Time out works all the time - Fiction

Mommy's never yell at their kids or lose their temper - FICTION (at least in this house)

Mommy's need help from other mommy's to figure out how to stay sane and manage their kids - FACT

So ladies, I ask you - what do you do when time out doesn't work for your kid.

Katie had a particularly bad day yesterday - pushing every button she could and getting every punishment I could think of. She even had a NEMO moment - you know the scene where Marlin tells him not to touch the boat - so he swims up and smacks the boat and looks back at Marlin - yeah that happened to me yesterday.

I took away her favorite toys (which we thought would work - but apparently even her most favorite sleeping friends not being with her for a night does not deter he bad behavior)

I put her in time out

I put her in modified time out when she ran out of regular time out (I put her in her crib and take all her toys, blankets, pillows out and close her door)

I took away her Thomas trains and cars and trucks

To no avail - she stayed wicked.

On our second visit to modified time out - I left in her blanket and pillow as I figured how much fun can those be - and she looked at me and held them up to me and said, "mommy, you forgot these" (i almost died from laughing and crying at the same time)

So - how do you handle these rare but wickedly frustrating toddler moments?

I called my husband and vented on the phone - as that usually helps to calm me down or at least give me a new perspective - but unfortunately her bad behavior continued after that phone call and I resorted to the silent treatment - which did not work so well either.

There is nothing worse than saying to your child, "Do I have to take away Ba Ba? (Thinking this will be the magic sentence that turns her back into an angel) and having her say,
"YES" and hand you Ba Ba.

I know I'm not alone. I can't have a drink after bedtime as I'm nursing the baby and he is REFUSING a bottle so I can't pump and dump - I can't go to the gym because he eats irrationally still - so I spent all of last night holding tons of pent up stress and aggression in my neck and shoulders.

I hate when I yell at her - but I lose my cool. The sad thing, is it doesn't phase her. She thinks it's funny. Apparently my "serious" voice is not serious enough.

She even sometimes talks to me in my serious voice
EX. after time out for throwing food...
ME - "Katie, what are you going to do when you go back in the kitchen"
Katie - PICK UP MY FOOD with furrowed brow, stern look and deep almost yelling voice which I can only assume is her best impression of my serious face/voice.

It's even more frustrating as she is pretty much the only person I talk to during the day - so it's very hard when you are angry with the only person you have to talk to....

It's so hard because she's so advanced in so many other areas that we forget she's only 2 - and that's our fault - I try to tell myself that all the time - she's only 2, she's only 2 - but when your 2 year old can give directions to her friends house and remember grocery lists and argue reasonably why she doesn't want to do something - you tend to forget.....

SO, moms... let's have at it - what do you do and how do you cope?
How do you regroup and calm down?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My biggest failure as a parent

Katie is ridiculously smart. I know everyone says their kids are smart and I believe that, but Katie is like, scary smart. It still surprises us every once in awhile.

She is 27 months old, potty trained (doesn't need anything at night even) and fully talking. I don't mean your typical 2 year old saying 300 words, I mean full on conversations - we rarely have a situation where we don't understand her.
She knows her alphabet, and numbers and colors and shapes and has awesome dexterity and cognitive skills and is starting to pretend play in ways I never expected for this age.

Some of that is luck and some of that is because I stayed home with her and we worked on all of these things very early on because she showed interest in them and loved books from the get go.

I take pride in all of this and try to remind myself that even though most of it is luck... some of it is us and our influence and time spent with her.

However, I have failed miserably as a parent in that Katie is a picky eater. And since she is fully talking, that makes it even more difficult because she tries to rationalize why she won't eat certain things.

Where I was super enthusiastic with teaching her things, I was just as lazy about dealing with forcing her to eat things. So for our own sanity and selfish reasons, we would just make her something that we knew she would eat so that we could have a partially quiet dinner. This went on for longer than we had planned for - and now we find ourselves with a 2 year old who doesn't eat what we eat and who we have to make a separate dinner for every night.

We had started making her eat with us a few weeks before we had Ben - and were making some progress - but that was short lived once he came home.

Now that we have the baby too, the thought of tantrums at the dinner table over food is just too daunting. It doesn't help that for the first 3 weeks he was home, we didn't really cook any dinners so by default she got chicken nuggets, peanut butter, fish sticks, etc... So, we where we had been making progress in the few weeks before Ben got here, we have totally reverted back to picky eater.

FAIL. Miserable Fail.

So, now we have to start over and commit to cooking more often and force her to eat normal food.

I'm not looking forward to it, but I know that we have to do it. I see lots of tears, screaming and time outs in our future.

How do you make sure your kids aren't picky? Do you let them go to sleep hungry? Do they wake up in the middle of the night wanting to eat?

I'm already feeling very negative about the whole thing, however I'm sick of having to make sure I have dinner for her.

At least I have learned from this and know how to AVOID this with Ben.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Dollar savings Update

SO, I just checked our super secret piggy bank where we have been stashing all our dollar bills and we already have 42 bucks! Which is amazing considering we haven't been making much effort and we haven't felt any effect on our spending.

I love this savings plan - anyone else having any success???

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here's How I Fell into working Weekends and Why it Saved my Sanity

Here is another GREAT guest post from Katie Kessler-Santos

Here's How I Fell into working Weekends and Why it Saved my Sanity.

I have always wanted to be a mom. I started babysitting as young as anyone would let me, most of the time with my older brother, and had a booming business by the time I was in high school. After I left for college, most of my clients had grown up enough to watch themselves so I started a series of retail jobs that were flexible enough so that I could go to school and work weekends or breaks and summers. After college, I continued at the retail jobs, picked up an extra one and continued studying and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Even taking a full time retail job allowed me to go to school, have insurance and even continue to intern or interview for other positions. I started full time at the "chocolate store" (as my kids call it) in the fall of 2003. By May 2004, just as insurance kicked in (thank God!), I found out I was pregnant.

There was no doubt in my mind that I would stay home with the baby. I wanted 100% to be the care taker and given that what I made at the chocolate store would just about cover day care, it was almost pointless to go back to work. Jack was born in January 2005 (after my water broke while working at the store!) and went back for a couple of shifts during Easter when he was about 3 months old. I was so irritated that I was there and actually had my very first complaint lodged to the manager about me and I didn't go back until a year later when my husband lost his job.

At that point, I had been home, by myself for what seemed like forever. We were sharing a car and I didn't see or talk to other adults for days at a time. When he came home and told me that he lost his job, I immediately got in the car and went back to the chocolate store and asked for whatever hours they had. I was the main bread winner for 3 weeks and my husband stayed home with our son. I was surprised how I was able to jump back into it - and it wasn't because I knew I had to do well so we could continue to pay bills. I enjoyed the social aspect of it. I have always loved the people who I worked with and most of the clientele, but I found that getting out and interacting with new people was really getting me out of a funk that I had apparently been in from being in the social isolation that can be the first year of motherhood.

Pete got a new job just in time for Thanksgiving and I worked my first holiday season since I had Jack and I loved it again. I loved talking to the moms who would come in, talking to the kids (sneaking them chocolate), making new friends with the new staff that had come in (some of whom were actually moms!). After the holidays, they asked me to stay on and as my husband's job had become a Monday through Friday, I offered to work the weekends. I was enjoying getting out of the house and having people use my real name, not just "Mama, mama, mama, mama". Now my husband is able to get a peek into what I do 5 days a week and spend some real quality time with them.

I don't work every weekend and some weeks I don't only work one of the two days. The schedule is flexible enough so that I can request time off and it has always been given (unless its Valentine's day!). This has been a God-send for me as I do tend to go a little stir-crazy and I would highly recommend it to any mom whether you need it financially or not.The extra money provides a small cushion at the end of the month so that we can have a little extra here and there, but what it does for my sanity is worth more than that!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Now what?

Holy Crap, we have a 2 year old and a newborn.
Now what?

We had been preparing Katie for the arrival of her brother for what feels like forever. And I mean forever - if you think about it, a good majority of her life we have been talking about the baby - and that was the majority of her life that she was communicative and understood what we were saying. Most people told us we were crazy and that she wasn't going to understand because she was too young.
Those people obviously have not had a full on conversation with our 26 month old who knows her alphabet, numbers, right and left and makes up her own songs to tunes she already knows.

I was afraid of all the horror stories that I have heard from different parents regarding bringing home baby number 2. From toddler outbursts, to anger issues, even siblings that try to hurt the baby and of course the older sibling that ignores mommy for the first few days/weeks after baby comes home.

We didn't want her to think he was staying in my belly forever, so I made sure to explain that he would have a birthday and we would go to the hospital to meet him and then he would come home with us. When we set up his part of our room, I let her help me put up the decorations for him and set up his diaper station and changing table.

We explained to her that when he came home he would be little and not able to do much and sleep a lot. We also told her that he would cry and that we would have to tell him that it was ok.

She understood all of it. Even before she turned 2 - she would tell people that she had a brother and point to my belly. We would ask where he was going to sleep and she would show us.

So, we thought we were pretty well prepared for D day.
We were right!

Katie has been a ROCK STAR. She was at my parents house for a few days when we went into labor and she LOVES going there - especially alone. So, we didn't have to worry about leaving her with someone or waiting for someone to get here - so that made things much better. Before she left to go to my parents house, we explained that we might see her next at the hospital for "Brother Baby's" birthday.

He tool all day to come, so no one came to visit us on Thursday as it was after her bedtime and I didn't want to disrupt her schedule - plus, there was no sense seeing as how he was born at 9:15.

I had heard somewhere that it helps if you have the nurse bring the baby into your room after your toddler is there so she wasn't walking in on us hanging out alone with the new baby. So, I made sure that Dave went down to get her from my parents, and brought her up alone so that she could meet him with just us. (the grandparents came up a few minutes later) I also made sure to get up and get dressed and look as normal as possible as I was afraid it might spook her.
We then had the nurse bring him in.

She was unbelievably cool about the ENTIRE THING. She wasn't scared of the hospital or the nurses or the situation at all. She talked to both of us and was more concerned with getting her snack than she was with anything else. When they brought him in, she went over to look at him and then kept eating her snack. Later on, he gave her a "present" which she still tells people Brother Baby gave him to me at the hopsital (that's how she says it)....

I was afraid of going home. But life has been amazing. Our parents were able to help the first few days with paying special attention to Katie and we have been able to split our time between the two of them as best as possible. since I'm nursing, it's a little lopsided, but she's handling it very well and I try to do things like, read to her or set up a special activity that I can help her with with one hand while I'm feeding him so that she doesn't feel totally ignored.

I also make sure to explain to her that all the stuff we are doing with/for Ben, we did for her. So I will show her pictures of her playing tummy time or sitting in the swing. It seems to be helping her to understand that we paid special attention to her when she needed it too. I also make sure to point out how boring Ben is - hahaha and how he can't run, jump or play like she can.

I can't have asked for a better response from her. She talks to him, and helps us when we ask - but she isn't overly into him where I have to worry that she might smother him a bit. She doesn't really get jealous when we have to help him - although she has one point in every day where she seems to be fed up a bit and starts acting out a bit - but we are VERY lucky as the worst she will do is throw some of her food on the floor or do the opposite of what we are saying.

She really is an amazingly behaved kid. The terrible two's have not yet shown up on our doorstep. She has shown NO signs of reverting with her potty training and she is sleeping just fine. Napping is getting more difficult but ever since the time change, she's had that issue. Even when she doesn't want to nap - she will lay quietly in her crib and play with her friends for up to 2 hours - and that's fine by me.

Ben is doing GREAT!! He doesn't eat nearly as much as Katie did - so nursing is working out WAY better. He is gaining weight like a monster and already holds his head up. I am looking at it as I have 1 more week before nursing is spaced out enough that we can safely go do things during the day without feeding getting in the way.

Lucky doesn't even begin to describe how I feel right now.

One more little story, then I'll stop talking about how great life is. (sorry - but I'm on a bit of a high as I really was worried)

We took Katie to the mall to go on the carousel and play in the play space kind of as a thank you for being such a good big sister day on Dave's last day home. I had to nurse Ben - so we had to stop in the middle of our outing for about 40 minutes. (they have an AWESOME family lounge where I could relax and feed him in private) Katie had gotten 3 tokens for the carousel and done 2 rides with Dave while I got a head start on feeding. She then said she wanted to ride with me - they had to walk all the way down to the lounge, wait about 20 minutes while Ben finished and then we went to lunch before getting her last carousel ride in and she didn't complain or pitch a fit once. Her patience has amazed us in having to put Ben first sometimes and I'm hoping it lasts!!!

Granted, that night due to a bad nights sleep and no nap because of our outing, she has a mini breakdown for attention - but one really bad hour out of the majority of the week from a 2 year old who has just had her life turned upside down??? I'll take it!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why don't my pants fit??

Christine is back with a guest post on a topic that is very near and dear to all of our hearts:)

Topic of the Day: Why don’t my pants fit

I personally like to blame it on the dryer or my husband, never on my child or the carton of ice cream I hate in 3 days all by myself. By all means those who know me or have taken a look at my facebook page after my last guest post know that I am not over weight…actually some hate me for being skinny and that’s fine but all I can say is I see myself naked and why did I move to the south where we can start wearing a bathing suit in March (yes it was 85 here last weekend and the beaches were used)? But in all seriousness it doesn’t matter how fat, skinny or in between you are, if you are anything like me you wish you were a few pounds lighter, that the baby pudge along your midsection flattened when the baby came out several years ago and most importantly that it can all happen while you ran around doing your daily activities or while doing nothing.

When I was pregnant with JC I joined the gym and walked 2-3 miles daily until I was 8 ½ months pregnant and looked over and saw that the 80+ old woman beside me was walking faster on the tred-mill than I was. So I took 15 days off and enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy. After I got the you’re good to go from my doctor to start working out again I was like “YES” it’s Mommy and Baby Yoga time…that last about a week- it wasn’t me, JC just wasn’t that into it. Then we started walking every morning when he got up to be fed- this was the best exercise. He was up, I was up, so was the sun…might as well take advantage of it.

Then I went back to work. I love that leggings and flowy dresses are in by the way cause I rock them at work regularly. However my exercise time got limited. I could either get up earlier in the morning but we all know how important sleep is to new moms or just to moms in general (hey I love a good nap on the weekend) and by the time I got home from work, spent time with my baby that I hadn’t seen all day and then got ready for the following day the last thing on my mind was exercise…more like a glass of wine and my bed.

So here I am almost 3 years later. My seamstresses has taken in and let out so many of my pants that I might as well just hirer her fulltime. I may not have a lot of weight to lose but I still don’t look forward to my muffin top (recently added to the dictionary just for people like me hanging over my bathing suit or anything else I wear.

So for those of you who have managed to take off the pounds and firm the abs I am all for your secret. For those of you who are in the same place I am feel free to join me in wearing cover ups this summer. So just added to my credit card has been an order for P90X- I am joining the crazy fad of this program and praying that in 90 days I look like those dang Victoria Secret models sporting the bathing suit I wish I could wear. Does my husband love me just the way I am…sure. Does God love me just the way I am…of course he created me just the way I am. Does JC love me just the way I am…no doubt about it (at least for the next few years until he learns what a muffin top is too). So at least while I struggle with my flabby baby belly I know that those important in my life love me just the way I am.

So stay at home mommies what do you do through your day for exercise. Working moms where do you squeeze it in and what are you doing?

Best part is that once I get back to where I want to be I will most likely be working on baby number 2 and having to start all over again but it’s ok cause I know how that pudge got there- from that little man that hugs me often and says “I wuv you Mommy!”

Annie here - with Katie - I didn't have to do anything to lose all the weight. It was magical. It just came off. I know... lucky lucky and very unusual...
But, with Ben I already can tell it's going to take a little work and I'm ready! I can't wait to get back into the gym to do Zumba and Spin Classes. I just hope that works and actually makes me lose the weight... I also noticed that my diet isn't helping things seeing as how I'm still eating junky foods and not nearly enough healthy stuff.
So, starting with today's grocery shopping trip - I will start eating better and once the doctor clears me, I will try to find time to head back to the gym....

What did/do you all do??