Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mmm... dry toast

Right now I'm watching the hubster nap on the couch with Arwen the cat, while I watch a PVR'd Oprah show, listen for Anna on the monitor and type this blog post.

I'm one, fine multi-tasking Mama, yo.

So. If it's not one thing, it's something else that I seem to worry about. Anna will be 8 months next week (oh-em-gee, you guys!) and I've just noticed that I haven't really done my best with practicing the whole finger food, self-feeding thing with her.

(She much prefers Mama to spoon feed her, thank you very much.)

Not that I'm really worrying about this... just over-thinking it, as I'm known to do. Over thinking and "new Mom" go together so great, no?

So, I've noticed that Anna can't get much from her hand to her mouth in the way of little, itty-bitty morsels. Yet, since she's all gums, everything has to be all tiny for her mini, little mouth. Poor thing seems interested in getting food into her mouth (she tries to grab the little pieces) but she either can't pick them up, or gets them "stuck" in the palm of her hand, forgets that they're there and sort of gives up.

(I still think she's extremely advanced for her age.)

And normally, I would continue spoon-feeding my gorgeous little girl for as long as she asked me to. She could be all: "Mother? Would you be a dear and feed me my roast beef while I study for my University exams?" And I'd be all: "Of course I will, Anna! Can I peel these grapes for you while I'm at it? No trouble at all!"

However, I know that at some point the little buttertart has to learn to do things on her own. And I probably should have been all over this already.

Therefore, I've been doing a little bit of reading on this baby-led weaning phenomenon. It's kind of frightening what some people give their kids to eat off the hop (as soon as they can start eating solids), but it seems to work.

I started today by giving Anna a strip of dry toast. And while I watched with extreme fear and trepidation, her gums seemed to magically mush the food into little chunks which she then swallowed with no issue.

Then she happily bounced up and down in her chair and smiled at me. Which? I'm pretty sure was Anna's way of telling me that it's okay to let her assert her independence. Even at 8 months old.

Oh, this motherhood thing is going to make an old, nervous lady of me, folks.

But Anna will guide me right on through it.

I just know it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anna's visit

Today, I shall not write about Anna's sleep habits.

Instead, I will try and find something more exciting for you to read about.

(Pause. Blink. Blink.)

Oh wait. My life isn't very exciting.

Would you like to know about the breakfast I just ate? Or the laundry I have to do? Or the cleaning and cooking I have yet to get done? How about a list of my errands I must run? All very gripping stuff, I tell ya.

Sometimes I wonder why people read blogs. What is it about my life that makes you actually want to read it? Am I boring you to death with the daily accounts of Anna's lack of sleeping?

Then I do something like I did today. And I realize that people should really hear about it.

Today, Anna and I went to an Early Years Drop-In Centre for a program called "Family Time Intergenerational". Anna and I hung out and played with other little kids, and seniors, at a seniors' home.

I'm not going to lie... sometimes I'm quite uncomfortable around really old people. Not having grandparents around in my life, I've never really been close to someone who's grown old. I've never seen someone I know lose their "with it" factor. I don't quite know how to act, and I feel sort of awkward, around people who don't seem to be able to hear or see very well. Who don't really know where they are. Who can't communicate anymore.

But when I dropped into another Early Years Centre (strictly for babies and toddlers), the woman there told me about this centre where they mix up the company and bring the little kids to sing songs, do crafts, play games and so on with the old folks.

I was intrigued.

And when the woman there told me that it means the world for these old people just to watch little babies and kids play and laugh and sing, I was sold. I wanted to be a part of that.

So today, Anna and I joined a group of about 8 seniors and 4 other little kids. Out of the 8 seniors, only 3 seemed to be able to really talk. Another senior didn't even seem to be able to lift her head all that well. Most just sort of stared around the room a bit blankly.

But when Anna and I got up and walked around the circle, past each senior, stopping to wave and dance and sing a little bit... I realized that the woman who told me about this program really knew what she was talking about.

I saw one man's blank stare change... instantly. He looked right at me. His face lit up. It literally lit up. And he watched Anna watch him. He was happy that my baby was just looking at him.

I saw an old lady look at Anna and smile. And then I saw her look right into my eyes, as if she was telling me how lovely my baby was. And when I smiled back at her, I knew we were communicating without words.

I listened to one old woman tell me that Anna was just the sweetest. And I watched another woman's face shine when Anna reached out and grabbed her finger.

It's the little, very simple moments like today that make me realize maybe I do have a story worth telling. The fact that Anna can bring happiness to these old folks just by being her, just by looking into the eyes of another human being... well, that's pretty special.

And that's something that I think everyone would like to read about.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The shoes

I have this memory.

I must have been about 10 or 11 years old at the time.

I remember very clearly how I felt and what I thought then. And now, as a 31-year old - as a parent - I see the whole thing in a completely different light.

I was in grade school. That time in your life when peer acceptance seems to be more important than anything else. And I had a prized possession...

My penny loafer shoes.

They were THE coolest thing to me. They went with every outfit I had and looked good with any style. I loved wearing them so much that I had worn a hole through the sole of one of the shoes. But it didn't bother me at all. They didn't hurt to wear. They still looked cool. So what was the harm of a little hole?

My Mom found out and informed me that I needed a new pair of shoes. What I didn't realize at the time was that my parents were going through a rough patch, financially. A new pair of fancy penny loafers were not really a possibility.

Who hasn't dealt with tight times when it comes to money? With a bad recession going on and self-employment, of course the last thing my parents would want to throw money at was shoes that I thought "looked cool". (However, I knew nothing of these rough times until much, much later in my life. Just one of the many signs that my Mom and Dad knew how to raise their children well).

So my Mom took me to Woolco to buy a pair of shoes. An affordable pair of shoes that served their purpose. That supported my feet and laced up and fit me well.

In other words, shoes that embarrassed the crap out of me as a 10-year old. They weren't penny loafers... so when I walked into class the next day with my new shoes, I tried to hide my feet with every awkward step.

I was horrified at the time. I had these shoes that just couldn't live up to my penny loafers. And my parents made me wear them.

But now. Now, as an adult, I see things so differently. Mom and Dad were dealing with some rough times. Money can be one of the main things that divides a marriage. That pulls apart a family. And they were just doing what they could.

I realize now that they had a lot of stress and not a lot of money. But they were doing what only really good parents can do. They were providing for me. They were making sure I was taken care of. They were giving me what I needed.

And in turn, they were giving me the self confidence and assurance I needed as a child to know that I would always be taken care of, that I would always be loved, that I wouldn't need to fend for myself so long as they were there. So I could grow into a confident, independent, happy woman who knew that if all else in my life failed me, I had parents who loved me unconditionally and who would always, always take care of me.

What more can someone ask for? Really.

And yet, it took me about 20 years to realize that that's what they were doing for me. 20 long years to discover that they weren't meanies who made me wear embarrassing shoes to school. They were parents who provided for their children no matter what - even when life was pretty hard for them. And they never, ever let their kids carry any of the burden at all.

On the surface, they were buying me a pair of shoes.

But what my parents were really doing for me was giving me an incredible life. And making me a better parent, too.

All with a simple pair of Woolco shoes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anna learns to protect her pears

This morning I stole a portion of Anna's pureed pears for my breakfast. (I added it to my oatmeal). Does the fact that I'm taking food from my babe make me Mother of the Year?? Does it??

I figure I'm teaching Anna important life skills by stealing her breakfast. She's got to learn to fight for her food. Survival of the fittest and all that, you know?

Anywho. Last night, as Anna woke at 1am crying and close to inconsolable, I wondered what the heck I was doing wrong. I wondered who these women are out there that can get their babies to sleep through the night. And how on earth do they know how much to feed their babies so they don't wake up hungry in the middle of the night at 7 and a half months old?

(Mind you, maybe if her Mommy weren't eating her food portions, Anna wouldn't wake hungry. Again... I hear the Mother of the Year folks knocking at my door.)

Back to the sleep thing. I've realized I have to learn never to put the good nights in writing, because it seems that as soon as I do... they stop happening. Not that last night was a really "bad" night. But Anna did wake up about 3 times and needed us to help her get back to sleep each time.

Ah well. One day all of this will seem a foggy, distant memory. I'll look back on it and laugh at myself and wonder how I could ever have had so much freakin' self-doubt.

In the meantime, I have to keep reminding myself that Anna will be okay. She won't need me to come in and cuddle her back to sleep when she's 17-years old. She'll learn to do things on her own eventually. (Just now she's starting to get the hang of how to begin crawling. She's a genius child.)

Anyway. Whenever I'm steeped in self-doubt and worry and whenever I've convinced myself that I'm not doing all the right things for Anna's development... I remember one important thing. I remember that I'm able to do the most important thing of all for her without even trying. I'm able to give her the best gift a parent can give their child.

Unconditional and overwhelming love.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Need to Know File

Things you need to know about Anna at 7 months, 1 week:
  • She usually naps for almost 2 hours every afternoon now.
  • Last night was the second night that she slept through the night. (And the first night that I got to sleep for an 8 hour stretch. AN 8 HOUR STRETCH, PEOPLE!!)
  • She loves to hug. And has started snuggling more.
  • She is a happy, happy baby.
  • She had peas and carrots mixed with applesauce and plain yogurt for dinner. Sounds kinda gross, but I think it was kind of yum.
  • She can sit up the entire time she's in the bath without falling over, she knows how to put her soother back in when it falls out at night and she loves to kick her legs like crazy when she's lying down.
Things you may or may not be interested in knowing about me right now:
  • I have a thyroid problem. Hypothyroid. Blah. I'm hoping that the medicine at least helps with my post-baby weight struggle.
  • I'm back into running for real now. Ran a 5k race yesterday... went jogging with Mom and Anna today... joining another 10k Running Room clinic in October. Woo!
  • I'm sadly addicted to Jersey Shore. Very sad. I know. (I'm hanging my head in shame right now). (I'm also watching an episode right now).
  • Due to Anna's "Fussy Schedule", Andrew and I currently tend to eat dinner at 5:00 on the dot. The Blue Hair Special. Awesome.
  • I seem to have sciatic pain at night now and I get acid reflux if I drink coffee in the evening. I'm like a 75-year old woman. Even more awesome.
And now I have to cut this short because Anna's been in bed for the night for about 45 minutes and has just woken up upset. Gotta go see if Mama can help fix whatever it is that's bothering the poor little pookie.

(Faithful readers: you may have noticed that I call both Andrew and Anna my pookie. It's also my name for Arwen the cat. I'm very creative, I know.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Have you ever...

Fellow Mamas. I've been wondering about my sanity lately. So I've got a question or two for y'all.

Tell me. Have you ever...
  • Discovered puke on your clothes LONG after you've gone out?
  • Thought to yourself "Meh" after discovering said puke?
  • Wiped a piece of food off of your kid's face and then licked it, sucked it or consumed it in some other manner off of your finger?
  • Done the old saliva-clean to rub dirt off your kid's face?
  • Found yourself "just finishing up" your kid's breakfast? Or lunch? Or breakfast, lunch and dinner?
  • Filled your glass of wine almost to the top because nobody's around to judge you?
  • Realized you're drinking alone?
  • Not cared that you're drinking alone?
  • Started regularly singing to yourself - and singing Every. Single. Thing. that you could normally just say in sentence form quite easily?
  • Made up a song about sweet potato? (Or whatever you're feeding your child that day). (My song goes: "Sweet potato, sweet potato, sweet potato, sweet potato. I am making you sweet potato!")
  • Started examining your baby's poop closely, noting the size and consistency, looking for evidence of what he or she ate the night before?
  • Stopped referring to your husband by his name? (And found that he answers to Daddy even when the kid isn't around?)
  • Introduced yourself to a group of Moms at a coffee shop and then realized that they're NOT the Moms Group you were supposed to meet up with? (I did this one today).
  • Designated one of your bras the "going into public" bra?
If you've nodded along with any of these... I like you. We can be friends.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long weekend reflection

Another long weekend, come and gone. (Not that it makes much of a difference to me, really. The days are all mushing into one long MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday lately). :)

I've always been a fan of the labour day long weekend. Time for a fresh start. New things. New experiences.

Andrew starts his new job today. I'm heading back to hot yoga. Anna's learning to sleep again. It's all good.

This morning, as I walked around my house while Anna napped, making my coffee and tidying up here and there, I began to compose today's blog in my head. I thought about how good things are for me right now. I thought about how lucky I am. And how it's time for me to focus on that.

No more "woe is me" negative self-talk. Instead, I'm going to focus on the fact that I'm lucky enough to be able to sit here and enjoy a cup of coffee in the comfort of my cozy little home while my gorgeous daughter naps.

I'm going to enjoy the breeze coming in my window. And the rays of sun warming my kitchen floor.

I'm going to be grateful that I can go to yoga and go for a run and my body will feel relaxed and energized afterwards.

I'm going to be glad that I have a husband who loves me more than anything. And that I have a healthy, happy family.

I'm going to realize how lucky I am that I have such good friends, who constantly reach out to me when I need a little support. Who make me laugh, make me think, make me realize who I am and who I want to be.

I'm just going to let my perfectly wonderful life be what it is.

And I'm going to take it all in.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My 7 month old...

... is learning how to sleep again. (Thank you, Anna. Thank you ever so much).

... loves solid foods. Peaches and apples combined was a big fave this week.

... needs a few minutes to get used to someone other than Mommy or Daddy before you can hold her.

... prefers to sleep on her tummy now - and only fusses or cries for a minute or so when she's first put down for a nap.

... likes to mimic Mommy. When I laugh, she laughs.

... loves to grab at absolutely everything in her sight. She especially loves bottles.

... has mini-hissy fits if you take something away from her when she wants it. (For example, last night at bath time, she was sucking on the wash cloth I was trying to use to clean her with. When her bath was done and I took the cloth away to pick her up out of the bath - the girl screamed bloody murder.)

... only needs a little distraction to make her happy again.

... smiles the biggest smiles in the world when she gets up in the morning. And when she sees Daddy. Or Mommy. Or Grandma, Grandpa, Nanny and Grandpa.

... sits up like a total champ. She's so steady. Sitting is totally old news to her now.

... isn't crawling yet, but can move her body in a complete circle when she's on her tummy.

... gives Mommy HUGE kisses. Big, wet kisses on the side of my face.

... reaches out to me now when she wants to be held or picked up. (Melts my heart. I love it so much).

... isn't as interested in breastmilk as she used to be. She really only wants to nurse maybe 3 times a day now. (Which concerns me a little. Is that normal? Does she need more?)

... is perhaps the most gifted, cutest, prettiest, most amazing little girl in the entire universe.

Mommy loves you, my little 7-month old gorgeous baby.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Never say never

A few things...

Thank you to everyone for your comments and emails and calls. Fellow Moms are amazing support and I can't thank all of you enough. (And thank you to my non-Mommy friends, too!)

I learned (the hard way) that sometimes I need to ask for help. Sometimes I really need to take a nap. Sometimes I need to get out to a yoga class. Sometimes I just need a mini-break to go for a run to clear my head. Because when I'm exhausted? Everything seems way worse than it is. Things really aren't that bad.

Anna is 7 months now (in a few days) and since I feel like I've tried absolutely everything in the past 2 and a half months to get her to sleep with no luck... I'm trying something I said I would NEVER do. (Doesn't the whole "I never..." thing go hand-in-hand with Motherhood?)

So. Here it is. I'm going to let Anna cry.*** (***There's a BIG, FAT "but" attached to that.)

I'm going to let her cry a little... BUT...
  • I'm going to try staying in the room with her and speaking softly to her and shhh-ing her so she knows I'm still there.
  • I'm going to still give her her soother if it falls out of her mouth because she can't quite figure out how to grab it and put it back in yet.
  • I'm going to go to her immediately when she cries in the middle of the night... I just won't pick her up. I'll keep shh-ing her and replacing her soother until she falls back asleep.
There it is. My method.


Back when I was pregnant and even when Anna was teeny tiny, I used to hear the Moms who said they let their babies cry and I silently thought to myself, "I would never do that. That's just teaching your baby that you won't be there for them."

Then Anna started having these crying fits and I realized that all the attachment parenting techniques in the world weren't helping Anna relax and sleep better.

So... whether you agree with the technique or not, I feel in my Mama gut that this is okay for Anna. She used to be a good sleeper. She's happy as can be during the day when she's awake. She wakes up happy in her crib, and smiles at me with the biggest, brightest gummy grin every morning when I go to get her up. I have a feeling I won't be ruining her by trying this out.

******Edited to add: I started this blog before I had fully tried the whole cry method. Now, I've tried it for 2 nights and 1 day of naps. Here's my progress so far:

Night 1:
  • Did Anna's bedtime routine with her (dinner, bath, jammies, book, then cuddle for a bit).
  • Put her in her crib awake. She cried pretty much non-stop for 30-40 minutes when she realized I wasn't going to pick her up. But I stood there and just kept saying to her "It's just bed time honey", "Mommy's here" and "Time for sleep Anna... that's all".
  • After 30-40 minutes she fell asleep.
  • During the night she woke up 3 times. Once was just for her soother (and then she went right back to sleep) and twice she cried non-stop for 20 minutes while I repeated the whole process of talking to her.
  • Then she slept soundly until 8am and woke up happy.
Night 2:
  • Did the nighttime routine and put her down awake again.
  • This time she cried off and on for 15 minutes and then fell asleep.
  • She woke up a half an hour later crying. I tried shh-ing her, then just popped her soother back in her mouth and she immediately fell back asleep.
  • During the night, she woke up 4 times (instead of just 3 like the previous night), but she just needed her soother 3 of the 4 times, and only cried off-and-on for about 20 minutes the other time.
  • She slept until 6:45 (her usual wake-up time) talking to herself and making happy noises.
During naps, she goes to sleep within 5 minutes and sometimes stays asleep for an hour or more. (Although, she still takes just a half hour nap sometimes, too).

So I think it's going pretty well. Anna's already crying less at bedtime, which is my main goal. And she's happy... that's the most important thing.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long process to get her to actually stay asleep all night - but at least it's getting better.

So there you have it. I said I'd never do it and I'm doing it. Next thing you know, I'll be putting Anna on a leash before taking her out places.

(Oh man, I hope not.)