Thursday, November 12, 2009

More on the diapers

So, I have been using the GroBaby system for five months. Love it. Never thought I would like cloth diapers, since I hate laundry. And then I found out that GroBaby had launched a new product: biodegradable disposable "soakers", the inserts that snap into the outer shells. Well, since they are disposable, they don't have snaps, they have some adhesive where the snaps would be. GroBaby sent me a box of the disposable BioSoakers to try.

For FCC purposes, they sent me the box for free, and requested that I give them a try and let people know, via this blog, how I liked them.

I LOVE them.

They are just perfect for when I know that I will be out and about and don't want to deal with the cloth inserts (which isn't a huge deal since I carry little bags to put the wet soakers in to bring them home). In spite of the fact that the BioSoakers contain less than 10% of those super absorbent pellets that regular disposable contain, they were surprisingly absorbent. Yesterday afternoon my husband forgot to change the baby before a nap, and so the kid was in a GroBaby shell with a BioSoaker from 1:00 until about 5:30. No leaks! And I don't know what is on the outside of the BioSoaker, GroBaby says it isn't made of plastic, but it is nearly waterproof!

The one downside is that there sometimes is a bit of adhesive left on the shell from when you pull off the BioSoaker. I have noticed that if you let the whole diaper sit for a second, and cool off from the baby's body temp, the adhesive is easier to remove.

That isn't too much of a downside. The BioSoakers retail for $20 for a box of 50, and they are compatible with the GroBaby system, so they will work for all size babies. No more paying $20 for three diapers when your kid has gotten really big.

So, BIG thumbs up to GroBaby, for really great cloth diapers (and really great customer service!) and for giving cloth diaperers an alternative for when cloth isn't such a great option.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cloth Diapering, most of the time.

Well folks, here I am again. Boy, it has been a while, hasn't it? I have had several posts on issues of vital and timely interest in the works. But by the time that I get to them, they are neither timely nor relevant. Bah.

Babies. They take up a lot of time. Especially when they are sick and/or have been growth spurting.

Anyhow, one of the aspects of having Thomas as a baby that I have really enjoyed is cloth diapering. In several of my other posts, I have mentioned that I was going to use the Gro Baby system. I got a couple of the diapers and inserts, and then decided to just take the plunge and buy the whole system. Even though I hate doing laundry, and cloth diapers definitely increase the frequency of laundry, I like using them.

There are several reasons that we started cloth diapering Thomas, even though we didn't for Jonathan. The primary one was cost. When I ordered the Gro Baby system, both kids were in diapers, though Jonathan basically potty trained about a week later. But I had ordered disposables for both and spent nearly $120 at one time. So, I realized that the cloth would definitely be cheaper.

The second reason was that Thomas had a bit of a rash that was unresponsive to treatment. And it occurred to me that maybe he was having a reaction to the disposables. One more reason to try cloth.

And the third reason was that I wanted to say that I had tried it. You know, just to see if I could.

So, we have been cloth diapering since the middle/end of July and have been very happy.

I chose Gro Baby because they are a "one size" diaper, with snaps to increase or decrease the rise of the diaper as your baby grows, or to accommodate a booster pad. I also liked the "all in two" aspect of the Gro Baby system. And all in two system has an outer part, in this case the Gro Baby shell, and an inner part, the soaker pad. The Gro Baby system is unique in that the entire outer portion is mesh/PUL so that it is waterproof ( isn't plastic, so that it is a bit permeable) and dries VERY quickly. The entire soaker snaps out and can be tossed in the laundry. You don't have to wash the shell every time. I go through about eight soakers and three shells a day. You just rotate the shells and they dry out between changes. I thought this would be smelly, but it really isn't.

There ARE more leaks at night, or, more accurately, in the early morning hours, depending on how much he has nursed. The leaks are mitigated somewhat if I close the diaper differently. Still experimenting with this.

They diapers wash beautifully. I have had no problems with smells at all. There are a few stains, but those do come out better if you can put the wet diapers in the sun. The rash that he seemed to have is mostly cleared up, and he seems to react well to the cloth.

And they are pretty darn cute.

However, when we went away on vacation at the beginning of September, we just took disposables. Too much to deal with when away for a week. And disposable work well. But Thomas' rash came back. Phooey. Took a week for it to clear up when we got back to the cloth at home.

But now, NOW, Gro Baby has come up with new "disposable" inserts, called Bio Soakers. They are similar to the cloth soakers, though they have sticky tabs instead of snaps to insert the Bio Soakers into the shells. I would LOVE to try these.

Conveniently, Gro Baby is having a blog contest and will give away, FOR FREE, a set of the Bio Soakers to try for free. This is my attempt to win one of those packages. Hey Gro Baby, if you are listening, please send me a package to try!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Potty training

Y'all can read this if you want to, but it is more for the family record than anything else.

So, we decided to try to potty train Jonathan earlier in the summer. Just for reference, he will be three at the end of August. He had shown very little interest in the little potty we had in the bathroom. Veeeeery occasionally he would pee in there, if someone put him on it at the right time. But he NEVER suggested it. Oddly though, he was dry in the morning, most of the time. Of course, by the time breakfast rolled around and then getting dressed, he had dumped the stored night pee into his diaper.

So I decided that there would be boot camp. And by that I mean that we had a week with NOTHING on the calendar for any of us. (Except hubs, he did have to go to work.) So, we bought some cotton training pants, some M&Ms, and I geared myself up for the week. We started on Sunday, the last week in June, so that dad could participate. Basically every 45 minutes we went in and he sat on the potty. I even broke out the DVD player, especially for the times that I wanted him to sit there for a while for pooping purposes.

Jonathan is a very compliant child, and only balked once or twice the whole week about going in and sitting on the potty. But he only peed about 20% of the time. And those were accidentally b/c of the amount of time he spent on the potty. He wet his pants at LEAST once a day, and seemed to have no idea that he was peeing. It was frustrating. It was a short week because of the July 4th holiday. By Friday, I was DONE. I ordered another two cases of diapers from Amazon (he wears a size SEVEN). We said, "Never mind, we'll try again sometime, GOOD JOB, son!"

We actually weren't upset. Marcus didn't have high hopes, anyway. I really was fine with it, though I DID have high hopes. So, we went to my folks for the weekend. Jonathan did spend some time naked in the kiddie pool in the yard (they live waaaaay in the country.) He did his share of open-air peeing, but was in diapers the whole time.

We came back early on Sunday morning of that weekend, to avoid the traffic. Got some stuff done around the house. Marcus grilled meat in the afternoon for the week. Jonathan loves hanging out with his dad when he is on the deck. Suddenly Jonathan came in the house and said, "Oh, I have to pee, can you help me?"

That was it. From that time since, in one solid MONTH, he has had only ONE accident. And that was my fault. We have used exactly six diapers of the two cases that arrived the morning after he asked for help peeing. We still do put a diaper on at night and for naps, because I am not willing to deal. But we use the same one practically, because he is DRY. We don't even use the cotton trainers anymore, just little boy underwear. Miraculous.

Pooping has been more of a struggle, and I think it is taking him longer to get comfortable doing that. But we have navigated even the public toilets ok with peeing.


I have no idea what "worked" for us. Don't have any answers. It just is what it is.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Quick Takes for the end of July

I keep thinking I am going to write a real post, but it hasn't happened. So, I am very glad, once again, that Jennifer at Conversion Diary started the "Seven Quick Takes" idea for Fridays.

1) This week was one for contractors. I called the tree guy (dead branch overhanging the house, about 40 feet up); the plumber (had to find a new one, hated the old one, to fix our upstairs tub which was totally clogged); the HVAC guy to come check our units (gotta keep them in tip-top condition given the usual need for a/c around here.); 4) the general contractor because two years later WE STILL GET WATER IN OUR BASEMENT WHEN IT RAINS!

Of course, the problem is that you call them, leave a message and check it off your mental list. If they don't call back, you forget about it. Which is why the tub was clogged for six months. (We do have another tub, so my children aren't filthy dirty.)

2) So, the plumber came this morning. Fixed the tub. The house was built more than 50 years ago, so the pipes are really grody. They won't be permanently fixed until we rip out that bathroom and re-do it. Hmmmm. Don't think I can take THAT on right now.

3) Potty training has been accomplished (more or less) for our nearly three year old. Still have him in diapers/pullups when we go places, because, well, just because. He is VERY proud of peeing in the potty, and we have to do a little dance every time he does. It goes something like this: "Woo hoo, you pee-eed in the po-tty (etc.) boogawooga wooooh!" The baby thinks it is funny if I am holding him when I am required to "dance".

4) Grammas and Grampas are great for giving breaks to tired mommies and daddies (when they can do it) but somehow the feeling of a break doesn't last for more than six hours. Why is that? Normally a weekend gets you through the next week. Ah well, this is just a season, isn't it?

5) Today was the first of a series of pre-school birthday parties. All the little almost-3s have their birthdays between the end of July and the beginning of September. There is a whole host of them. We are giving books. I have been assured by the parents that books are ok. The current favorite is this lesser-known McCloskey book. "Wentil, by Wobert McCwoskey."

6) Woo Hoo!!! Just got my GroBaby diapers in the mail. So excited. Must go do load of laundry......

7) Suddenly my almost three year old understands the concept of "mommy is going in the other room to nurse the baby and you need to be quiet". He came in the baby's room and whispered to me that he had to "go pee" and left. Then I heard the bathroom door and the bedroom door open and he came back in and whispered, "can you help me?" Poor tyke couldn't get the diaper open. So, I unhooked it for him, handed it to him. He said, "Thanks mommy" and took his diaper and little naked self and softly shut the bedroom door. The bathroom door was slammed shut, but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

I have had ideas for posts this week, but they haven't materialized much past a few sentences in draft. So, I am very glad, once again, that Jennifer at Conversion Diary started the "Seven Quick Takes" idea for Fridays.

1) This week we hit a couple milestones.

My older son, who will be three in a little more than a month, started asking to go to the potty. He has had a dry diaper since Sunday! And, of course, last Friday I ordered TWO cases of 92 diapers each for him from Amazon. Because he wears a SEVEN (He is a skinny tall kid and he needs the length). So, I have $90 of disposable diapers sitting in my front hall that are still unopened. We will see if I just jinxed everything by typing this.

The second milestone is that the six month old baby slept for SEVEN hours straight last night. After I awoke, in pain from engorgement, and pumped off a few ounces, I went in and checked on him. Remarkably, he was still breathing and deeply sleeping. Since I walked over to the crib, he stirred around and kindof woke up. So, I finished nursing him and he went down again for another hour before he needed to be brought to our bed.

2) I still worry about supply issues. I am still taking some supplements, probably not as regularly as I should. Nevertheless, as we all know, demand really does regulate supply. And the nighttime demand is really important. So, if this regular sleeping continues, I am going to have to decide how important it is to me to keep my supply up by pumping at night. Of course, I have just been EXHAUSTED by the nighttime parenting, so the supply issue is weighted against a happier, more energetic mama if I can continue to get five or six consecutive hours of sleep.

3) The baby has started solids. Sortof. I started feeding him a soft-boiled egg yolk about four weeks ago, but after two or three times, he would projectile vomit a few hours after the egg. So. No more egg. He likes yogurt, slurps that down. Though I am not sure that yogurt counts as a solid. I have tried one or two fruity baby foods. He will eat them, up to a point, but looks cranky the whole time. And FORGET cereal. He looks like I am torturing him.

On the other hand, I have been supplementing him with formula. Only about 4 oz every other day or so, so it isn't really adding to his weight, I guess. I am making it. This is a very good recipe and has none of the bad junk that manufactured formula has in it. If he is the slightest bit hungry, he sucks it back. And it hasn't really changed the content of his poo yet. Which leads me to:

3) The unchanged baby poo, and the potential for being done with diapers for Number One Son has caused me to think of cloth diapering, again, for Thomas, who just turned six months old. I talked it over with my husband, who is game to try. So I am ordering some GroBaby diapers. And "paper" liners. Cause I am a wimp. And this company had really cute Baby Legs severely on sale, so I got a couple of those. We will see if how they do.....

4) I need some more Birkenstocks. Mine sandals have finally bit the dust. I bought them in 1989, though, so I figure that is just allright. Bummed though, because the style that I like was discontinued, oh, a dozen years ago. Phooey. But since I wear Birks 90% of the time now that I am a SAHM and don't wear suits, even in winter (I have a pair of cloggy Birks that I wear with wool socks unless there is more than two inches of snow), I think that I need a new pair. Any suggestions of style?

5) We are thinking of home educating our children. For a wide variety of reasons, including probably all of the standard ones. So. Hmmm. I am reading and researching EVERYTHING. So far I have found an animated series of Bible stories that I like. Heh.

6) I need to lose weight. I also have no will power or idea of portion control. And my idea of eating veggies usually includes butter and bacon. And I hate to exercise. And I have been sitting on my butt for months now nursing the baby (see point above re: supply). So, I have bit the bullet and joined Jenny Craig for a bit, to get myself under control. AND we are eating veggies from our CSA. Veggies without butter and bacon, thankyouverymuch. Have lost eight pounds so far. Lots more to go, but hey, it is a start, eh?

7) Speaking of our CSA, we have received a bunch of stone fruit this week. And therefore I borrowed my mom's food mill to make baby apricot puree. YEAH!

Huh. Reading this post, what with the cloth-diapering, cosleeping, kid-led potty learning, breastfeeding, home-made formula and baby food-making, Birkenstock wearing, potential home-schooler, it makes me seem like a crunchy lib, not the traditional conservative I am. Boy, I LOVE bursting stereotypes!

EDITED to add: I totally forgot to add all of my babywearing nonsense to the list above. I am developing QUITE the little stash of carriers: two ring slings, one pocket sling, two Mobys, two woven wraps, one Ergo, and one BabyHawk meitai.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Things.... one told you when you were about to become a parent.

1) "Sleeping in" means 7 a.m.

2) Never going to the bathroom with the door shut. (I get tripped up with that one when I am at other peoples' houses....)

3) When feeding the children becomes a priority, your own food needs do not. (Lunch the other day for me was the crusts from the kids' grilled cheese sandwiches. Seriously.)

4) If the baby doesn't want me to sit down, I don't sit down. Sigh.

5) A good nights' sleep is a TOTAL of six hours. Double sigh.

6) The amount of laundry in the household that contains a new baby is DOUBLE the amount of laundry before the ten-pound child hit the scene....EVEN if you only change his clothes every other day.

7) You can love your child more than you can possibly imagine and yet want to pinch his little head off.

8) Little boys (and maybe little girls, too, but little boys is all I know) have HARD bodies: toes, fingers, knees, elbows, shoulders, heads, etc. And they will use every single one of those hard bits to pummel you on a regular basis.

9) Kids never walk anywhere. They trot.

10) Just when you think you cannot possibly get madder at them than you are, you do, but in the next second they do something so precious that your heart just melts and you nearly dissolve into a puddle of tears (or is that just me?)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

This is about the only way I blog anymore. Which is why Jennifer came up with this idea, I think.

1) I own seven baby carriers. One Ergo (see side panel), two Moby's (one is a MobyD and I think it is going to go to my neighbor who is having a January baby), one ring sling, one pouch, two woven wraps (one is a lovely violet Didy and one is a red/orange Gypsy Mama gauze sling). I think I am going to trade in my Gypsy Mama and try to get a mei tai.

2) I love Twitter. I love touching base with bloggy friends I have made. I know Twitter gets a bad rap, but I think it is as much of a "water cooler" for the internet than anything else. Plus, I can hook into people who follow the news more closely than I, thus freeing me up from actually having to glean my own information.

3) I am mistreating my windows a la the Nester. Which makes me happier than I should admit. Maybe pictures are in the future.

4) The baby has some weird splotches on his lower amdomen. And he is really fussy, so we are off to the doctor this afternoon.

5) I bought a camera for my birthday. Because I am determined to take more pictures. Also, we had cake!

6) Am contemplating doing a post on choices. Working v. staying at home. Career v. family, etc. I left a reasonably fulfilling law career to become a SAHM, so I have made some choices.

7) Went to the Homeschooling Convention here in Virginia last week. Wow. Tons of stuff to take in. Since our OLDEST is only 2 1/2, we are just thinking about everything right now. But I did buy one of these DVDs. Looked very well done and interesting. We shall see.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I am not selling out. Really.

So, last week I went to the yearly convention of the Home Educators Association of Virginia. Jonathan stayed with my parents and Thomas came with me. It was a fascinating time, and will (might) be the subject of a different post.

The subject of THIS post is the banner add to the left, and why it is there. While I was at the HEAV convention, I got many comments on my Ergo. And I demonstrated how to use it three separate times. If I had some, I could have sold them out of my van.

So, serendipitously, I received an email from Ergo over the weekend asking if I wanted to be part of their referral team. If you want an Ergo baby carrier and click through the link on my page, I get a little referral fee for each Ergo sold. I don't get a whole lot of traffic here, but I am so SOLD on Ergo baby carriers, that I am willing to put a banner on my blog. So. There you have it. Maybe I will make a little money, but definitely I will be doing my part to share the Ergo love.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I am woman, hear me roar....or something.

Veronica has a stunningly funny post up. It isn't comically funny, it is funny because she takes on a feminist who takes herself too seriously, and yet somehow doesn't think that mothers who talk about motherly things should be taken seriously. Unless those mothers talk about Proust. And I commented on that post, but then realized that I had a lot to rant about on the subject. So, some of it is there, and some of it is here.

And then I realized that even more humorous was the fact that I have been composing a post in my head over the past week that is TOTALLY about my children, mostly how I wear them. Maybe I will do a 7 Quick Takes just about that. Because I have nothing else to talk about. So I must be uninteresting. And a traitor to feminism.

Beck had an interesting comment to Veronica's post. In part, she mockingly referenced the article, and said, "Being interesting means being ... full of academic interests and Man Style Achievements." And that, I think, is true for the author, much as she would protest. She rudely describes a dinner party in which she is "stuck" with the moms and at the other end of the table the men are engaged in a scintillating conversation: "This could in fact be a 19th-century novel where the men have retired to a different room to drink brandy and talk about news and politics." I think she has revealed herself. She wants to be with the men. Because THEY are having the interesting conversation. About things that THEY are involved in. Though today a "male" conversation seems to frequently center on sporting events rather than news and politics, but whatever.

The assumption that the "news and politics" is more important or objectively interesting and therefore those -- mothers -- who do not participate in those conversations are not, objectively, interesting, is irritating. Frankly, we all gravitate toward those whom we have something in common. If a woman is single, has no significant other, and is in a high powered career, she will have more in common with those in her same situation.

I worked on a presidential campaign for a while, years ago. In the middle of the seven day workweek and 12 hours days, I found a couple hours to go to dinner with some non-campaign friends. It was the strangest experience. They were talking about movies, and music, and boyfriends. I felt like I was underwater, hearing their voices in a muffled, distant way. I could not have POSSIBLY cared less about what they were saying. But I didn't assume that they were ignorant nobodies. I knew that I was a bit tunnel-visioned at the moment, and that it was better for me to just hang out with others who were as focused as I was. That time was going to pass, and I would shift into a different phase of life.

The same thing, I think, was true of those Victorian drawing room discussions. Women were as uninterested in the brandy and cigars as the news and politics. I don't know that they felt "banished" to the embroidery circle. They had important things in their lives to talk about with other women. And frankly, "feminists" who criticize mothers for talking about their children should perhaps be better served criticizing fathers who do not.

I talk about potty training, and breastfeeding, and babywearing, and discipline, and sleeplessness, etc, with my "mommy friends" because I want to tap into their knowledge base, and to feel not alone, and to be able to vent a bit. I don't tend to go where children aren't welcome because they ARE a part of me. They ARE my life right now. To pretend otherwise is a fantasy. My cousin got married and the invitation said, "adult only reception". And it was out of town. And my child (we only had one at the time) was still nursing. So we didn't go. No problem. It is a stage of life. And ONLY my childless, single friends even ASKED the question, "well, couldn't you just find a babysitter?"

So we don't go to dinner much. And we don't go to the movies much. Or to weddings. And it is a bit sad, but we have two precious ones who take up too much of our energy to really be upset by that.

But I was really happy to get a wedding invite from one of my husband's friends which said, explicitly, "children of all ages are welcome at the ceremony and reception." NICE!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Things to remember

Isn't this the cutest little picture of Thomas? Look at his little head, pillowed on his little arm:

I was volunteering last Saturday morning to get breakfast and lunch ready for a meeting we had and I couldn't work with him in a front carrier like I usually have him in. So, my friend Sherri lent me one of her woven wraps and we put him in a Tibetan High Carry on my back. NOT to be done without a spotter. It did take the two of us to get him in it. But he loved being there. Talked and jabbered, and drooled and finally fell asleep.

This is a better idea of what it looked like:

And that afternoon, his two bottom teeth broke through. And the next morning one of his top front teeth came in. Three teeth. At four months and one week. Wow. And, just for posterity, 13 lbs, 5 0z. 27" at his four month checkup. And he likes to stand (with help). And laughs belly laughs at his big brother.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

Thanks again to Jennifer from Conversion Diary for hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1) For those of you concerned about the fate of the stroller, it arrived somewhat directly the following morning. With just a few scrapes and bruises.

2) Spring has come!!! And we have had a couple really nice days here, amidst all of the heavy rain. But thankfully the 90 degree days that we had about three weeks ago haven't come back yet.

3) Ok, tips for traveling with an infant and a toddler: Have little "presents" wrapped for the older child to open during stressful times. Lots of snacks that take a long time to eat, like those little tiny "toddler dried fruit." And a water sippy for the child to drink from when taking off or landing. We brought a portable DVD player. It was useful, for a brief time, but don't rely on it. You can't use it during takeoff or landing, and if the captain has asked people to put away electronic devices, and then you sit on the runway for a while, the DVD player wouldn't help. Don't bring too many books, just a select few. Take more than one form of kid transportation. I have never been so glad to have thrown the ergo in the luggage at the last minute. Nurse the baby, if you can, during takeoff and landing. Helps with the ears.

4) It has been raining here for weeks. Which is good considering we had sod put down a week before we left for vacation and said sod is supposed to be kept "soaking wet" for four weeks after it is put down. On the other hand, all the rain brought down all the seed pods and our gutters are clogged. Which means that the water overflows over the side and not down the pipes unto the french drain which is supposed to help funnel the water away from the house and make the yard less soggy. Which is why we had to have the sod put down. A great big circle of problems.

5) Baby Thomas is teething. Enough said.

6) I love looking at cloth diapers. I don't use them. And I hate doing laundry. So I really SHOULDN'T ever start using them. But still. I am drawn to them. Like a fly to honey.

7) Need to cook with beans more. Need recipes that disguise the fact that they are, in fact, beans. Because my toddler will not eat them. Anyone have any good, mushed-bean, recipes?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Moms can do anything

So, what do you do when you have two small tired children who have been traveling all day and the airline loses your stroller?

This is what you do:

For those of you keeping track, the 13 pound four month old is in the Moby on my front. The 32 pound two and a half year old is in the Ergo on my back. It wasn't fabulous because the Ergo chest strap wasn't fastened. I couldn't be bothered to redo the Moby, so just slapped the Ergo on (sortof...I did have help getting the big kid up there) over top of the Moby. It all wasn't planned, because, well, we were supposed to have the stroller for the big boy. ANYWAY.

We had a good time away, but the going and the coming sortof negates the goodness of the trip. Sigh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes

1) I am so excited to finally be doing this. Jennifer from Conversion Diary had a great idea....blurbettes from the week that don't deserve their own blog post. This is point 1 because I have been wanting to do it, but Friday comes and I haven't gotten around to it. So, I am starting this on Monday night. I figure with the way my weeks have gone, this MIGHT mean that I get it up before Friday.

2) Hey! I participated in another bloggy carnival this week! Motherwear has a "Breastfeeding Carnival" every month or so, and this one was on "How To....". And so I contributed a post on the "supplement" extravaganza that I do. I really love the topic, and I think I had something to contribute. However, the stinkin' thing took me all day, what with the adding of the links of others, and the reading of those blogs, and the commenting on them, and the reading of my comments. Clearly I am not cut out to be a regular blogger.

3) I am thinking of homeschooling. But my older son is just 2.5 and my little guy is three months. Just in the "thinking" stage, we are. So, a friend who is also thinking about it, and I, and another friend (boy, THAT's a doozy of a sentence....) are getting together to do a co-op homeschool thingy for our preschool set. We are going to get together on Mondays for just a couple hours in the morning, and rotate the "teaching" among the moms. Start was this week. I "taught" first. OY! So much planning. And the littles didn't do the crafts right. ARGH. Actually, I think they had fun, since no one wanted to go home. And I had fun in the planning of it, if not the execution. I used the theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a spin-off and wove some Easter theology in. Sortof. I dunno folks....don't know if I am cut out to be a teacher. So, "blog writer" and "teacher" can be checked off my list of "things I know I am cut out for."

4) I am a big fan of Twitter. I don't comment/update much because when I am on the computer I am usually using only one hand because I am nursing (See No. 2 above). But I love the updates. I feel like I know my bloggy friends better when I see daily bits and pieces. I also like Facebook for the same reason, though Facebook updates tend to be people that I know in person, though there is some overlap. Thank GOODNESS that I can do one update using a Twitter application called "Tweetdeck" and select it to update Facebook as well. Saves time.

5) Regarding No 4. above, I happily tweeted the other day that Thomas, age 3 1/2 months, had slept for 4 1/2 hours in one stretch the previous night. Well, in typical Murphy's Law fashion, the following day and night I could NOT. GET. HIM. TO. SLEEP. And, when he did go, he was all, "who needs to stay asleep for longer than twenty minutes, Mom?" and "Hey, life is so very interesting at 10:30, and 1:00, and 2:30, and 4:00 and 5:30!" Not fussy. Just UP. So, what am I doing now while he naps? Writing a blog post, of course, because Jonathan is at pre-school and I actually have TWO hands free and it is bright and sunny outside, and I had a mocha latte this morning. Anyway...advice: Don't tweet that which you don't want jinxed.

6) Sharp baby fingernails hurt. And are impossible to cut. But he is cute, so that counts for something, right?

7) We can't protect our children all the time. But when something happens RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE is is heartbreaking. The boys (my 2.5 yo and his little friend who is within three weeks of my son's age) were playing. And the other mom and I were just saying how nice it was that they were getting along so well. And they ran into my son's room. She was dealing with her older boy who had just awakened and was a bit out of sorts, and I was just preparing to nurse the baby. Suddenly I heard screams! I was more mobile than she was so I put the baby in his bouncy seat and went to see the source. The boys had been jumping on the bed. A no-no in our house, but ok in theirs b/c their bed is on the floor with no frame. However, ours has a frame, and a footboard, which, when the little boy fell and hit his mouth on it, bashed his mouth bloody. Poor little tyke. Gushing blood. My son was sitting there on the other end of the bed looking very confused.

The boy is probably ok, but the mother's nerves and my shirts will never be the same. If it is dangerous to have your kids in your house, right under your nose, in as protected a place as can be, and something like that happens, it is no wonder that we parents have a hard time even letting these little precious ones even out into our yards, much less the real world.

I lie awake at night worrying, sometimes. And then I remember: my children are God's children. He formed them in my womb. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, by Him. And I need to trust Him with them.

Harder said than done, eh?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to Increase Breastmilk Supply Using Supplements

This is a re-worked post of mine from February 24, 2009. I am participating in Motherwear's April "Breastfeeding Carnival". This month's topic is "How to...." Welcome new readers!

Short background: I had a low supply issue with my first son who is now 2 1/2. Breastfeeding got off to a rocky start, and in spite of much effort, I needed to supplement him with formula, between 30 and 50%. Therefore, I was prepared with this latest pregnancy (Son No. 2 is three months old) that I might have to supplement the baby. I started out by stocking some frozen breastmilk from a wonderful friend of mine whose son was born about three months before I was due. And, several women in my LLL group suggested that I might not have so many difficulties since your body makes more milk making tissue with each pregnancy. Nevertheless, when the lactation nurse visited me in the hospital, she recommended some supplements for ME. My doula, who is also a lactation consultant recommended some others. Therefore, without further ado, here is my daily regimen:

Calcium citrate with magnesium - Two caplets per day - This is the form of calcium that is most easily absorbed by the body and the magnesium helps the absorption as well.

Alfalfa - Two capsules three times a day - A galactogogue among other things.

Milk Thistle - Two capsules three times a day - Ditto.

Goat's Rue - Two capsules three times a day - This was new to me, but is also a galactogogue and is marketed as such. The previous two are marketed for other purposes. You can find Goat's Rue from Mother Love directly, though an internet search will show you other "shops" that have it slightly cheaper. It comes in capsules and a tincture. Allegedly the tincture is more effective, and definitely cheaper, but when you are taking as many potions as I am, it is easier if they are all of the same variety.

Soy Lecithin - One capsule two or three times a day. This is an emulsifier, but also keeps the breastmilk from getting "sticky". I found it useful last time in helping prevent plugged ducts. I am taking it prophylacticaly now.

Fish Oil - One capsule two or three times a day. This should contain EPA and DHA. Good for you, good for the baby.

Probiotic - One capsule three times a day. Just to help keep yeast at bay. I use a shelf-stable probiotic so that I can add it to the pill container. Again, the refridgerated kind is better, but this way I take it.

I am also continuing to take my prenatal vitamins.

Now, some of these have special instructions. The Goat's Rue is supposed to be taken with very little water. The probiotic is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. the milk thistle and the alfalfa have no special instructions. The prenatal should be taken with food so as to minimize any reactions to the iron. WHATEVER. I have to take them all at the same time or there is no hope that I will remember to take them all. So, the "with food" and "without food" get taken at the same time. And when I have to take nine or eleven capsules, you know darn well that they are getting taken with more than a little water. But I figure something is better than nothing.

And the galactogogues seem to be working. It appears that I have more than enough milk for the baby. In fact, I have even managed to pump a bit! I don't pump for supply purposes like I did with my first baby, just enough to keep about four or five ounces in the freezer as I try to give the baby one bottle a week, just for practice. I actually have to take the hospital grade breast pump back in two days, so I will limp along with my own double electric that sounds like an wheezy chicken.

I also eat a lot of oatmeal, and nurse on demand. Hopefully I will be able to exclusively breastfeed this baby for a few more months before having to add anything else to his diet. But, as I have said before, breastfeeding is not for wimps!

(Update April of 2011: This post is the most searched for on my blog. Hopefully this is helpful to those of you looking to increase your supply. I am still nursing my youngest who is 27 mos old. Even if you have low supply, you should be able to stop the supplements after the baby isn't using breastfeeding as his primary source of nutrition, and if you continue to nurse on demand, you should be able to continue nursing for as long as you and your little one want to nurse.)

And now, here are the other posts in the Breastfeeding Carnival (To be updated as more are added):

Breastfeeding Moms Unite: How to become a breastfeeding support professional

The Marketing Mama: How to pump successfully at work

Amber at How to get breastfeeding off to a good start

Baby Carriers Down Under: How to breastfeed hands free

Milk Act: How to care for a sick nursling

Baby Ready: How to get baby to take a bottle

The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: How to help your baby kick the nipple shield habit

Mama Saga: How to breastfeed or just look like you know what you are doing

Breastfeeding Mums Blog: How to wean a breastfeeding toddler

Mama knows Breast: How to get a spouse to help

Blacktating: How to treat a cold while breastfeeding

It's all about the Hat: How to be comfortable around a breastfeeding mom

Zen Mommy: Using YouTube to stop nosy questions!

Natural Birth and Baby Care: How to improve supply with nutrition

MoBoLeez: How to increase your supply with seaweed

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: How to teach your baby nursing manners

Happy Bambino: How to deal with unsupportive family members

Tiny Grass: Tandem Nursing: How to do it without driving yourself and your nurslings crazy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things doing around here

Well. My three-month old baby rolled over, from his back to his front. There goes the ability to set him down on the couch for a minute. I haven't gone back and looked at Jonathan's baby book, but I think he did it at four months.

In other news, Jonathan went to bed last night without (much) dinner as he refused to eat what I gave him. Needless to say, he had a big breakfast this morning.

Also, we had some photos taken of Thomas at three weeks and three months. Email me if you would like the link.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter - And there will be no more weeping.

Across the blogosphere, there is weeping and sorrow for the loss of several babies. And over the past few months, we have heard of several others. And I grieve for these parents. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish or losing a child, at one day, three days, three months, or three years.

My faith in Christ and His death and resurrection from the dead informs my reaction to these sad stories. Although I do weep with and for these parents, I know that these children are being cradled in the arms of their Father, a Father who loved them before their parents even knew they existed.*

That is the promise we have in the Resurrection of Christ: That we have been given the gift of new life. Life after death. Life after pain and suffering. A life where our broken bodies will be made whole and perfect. A life that we can live in direct communion with our Creator. (See 1 Corinthians 15).

That does not make the loss of these children, or the loss of anyone we love, less painful. Even Jesus wept when He heard of the death of His friend, Lazarus. After all, we are the ones left behind to mourn. But for me, the pain of these losses is mitigated by the knowledge of the new life into which these children have been born and which is available to all. (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22; John 3:16).

The Psalms are full of laments to God, as well as praises. Our God is a God who can handle our cries and fears and pain and loss. And He gives us back peace and blessing, in spite of the pain. "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning."**

My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have recently endured the loss of these precious little ones. May God send His peace that is beyond all understanding to them in their time of grief. And may they know that their children are dancing in Heaven at the throne of God.

*Psalm 139:7-15 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

**Psalm 30 "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.... [W]eeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.... To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy.... Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help." You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Today I tweeted this:

Disappointment is not about "what happened", it is about one's expectations about what happened. Still painful and annoying though.

Some people on Facebook thought that I was referring to some sort of potty training setback (because we have embarked upon that lovely challenge at the instigation of the two year old). The situation I was referring to actually had nothing to do directly with the kids.

I realized that the oblique nature of my Tweet made the statement relevant to so many areas of life and that those who read it could immediately apply it to their own personal situations.

That silly tweet doesn't say anything deep or new. In fact, a former boss of mine once said to me: "All the problems in the world are the result of unmet expectations."

I guess the real question is how we deal with the disappointment of our unmet expectations. Do we stomp around and pout like a child? (Sometimes.) Do we wail at the unfairness of it all? (More often.) Do we burst into tears as if our best friend has died? (Depends on how much sleep has been had. Or not.) Do we decide that we are never going to expect anything good again and always assume the glass is half empty? (Been there, done that.)

It probably depends on the nature of both the expectation and the depth of the disappointment. Also depends on what you think you deserve.

Parenting is full of expectations. Of ourselves, of our children, of our spouses. Of our parents, if they are still around. We are probably more forgiving of ourselves than others -- at least I am -- yet I disappoint myself on a daily basis.

Sometimes I wonder how often I disappoint God. I mean, He gave His only Son to die for me, and I can't muster the energy to thank Him as frequently as I should.

But that is where grace comes in. Getting something beautiful that I definitely don't deserve on my own merit. By any human calculation, I fail and disappoint on a regular basis. And God extends grace to me in the form of Jesus.

Although this morning I was very disappointed because my plans were thwarted and I was tired, today is still Holy Thursday, and tomorrow is Good Friday. Good Friday is called "good" because it is Christ's death which paid the price for all of our failures. And in three days we will celebrate His Resurrection, which sets our expectation for eternal life with Him. And that expectation is one that will be fulfilled, because it was promised by the Creator Himself.

Easter reminds me that the disappointments of this life are fleeting, but the promises of the next are forever. And at the end of this life I want to be able to say what Paul said to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV). And so, during the disappointments, I look to the Father. And this life becomes less disappointing.

*Apologies to Veronica for sortof stealing the title of her last post at 5 Minutes for Parenting.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I just cannot seem to write anything these days, though I do have a list that I keep in my iPod of possible posts. So y'all will just have to content with pictures of the boys:

This was taken just a few days ago, so Thomas is just about 12 weeks old. His big brother Jonathan is on the "3" side of 2 1/2, but his birthday isn't until the end of August. I love the nonchalant look on Jonathan's face. Needlesstosay, we don't let them sit like this without close supervision.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Well hello there...

Clearly I am not a true blogger. I have managed to let more than two weeks go by without posting. Ah well. Not a true blogger, not a true writer. Yup. Got me.

Anyway, life here with a newborn and toddler continues apace. We have had a snuffly, cough-y little two year old. The typical pre-school snots, I think. But that means the we have been up with him at least once a night, in addition to the three times for the baby.

Breastfeeding has been going well! Thomas eats somewhat constantly, which is normal, I think, since I don't store a great amount. He is a big fan of cluster feeding in the late afternoon/early evening, which means that if I don't really get most of dinner done early in the day, we eat cereal for dinner. The only time I am at the computer is when I am nursing the baby, and as I have said before, I can't blog with one hand.

So, two weeks.

But a funny thing happened this evening, my husband and the baby both went to bed early. So here I am. And I am not tired, oddly. I think I average about five or six hours of sleep a night. Since I seem to want eight and a half, I am working with a substantial deficit most of the time. As all moms do though, I manage. I have learned to function on less sleep.

The unfortunate part is that I can't really rely on caffeine because I don't need to keep my baby awake as well. So, I drift toward sugar. With predictable results.


Thankfully, the weather is starting to clear up so that we can get outside and get some exercise. Hopefully that will help with the energy thing.

There are plenty of topics floating around in my head, in addition to the usual "mommy" suspects, and hopefully they will get some air here soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Parenting choices...can we judge?

As I mentioned in my post of earlier this week, there was a kerfluffle over a woman nursing another woman's child. I didn't read the blog post that originally questioned the decision of the two women to "cross-nurse" but I understand that she raised issues of the wellness of the mother (potential disease, taking medication or other substances, cleanliness) and the well-being of the child, physically and psychologically. All reasonable questions that one might ask.

The kerfluffle occurred when the woman in question felt "shamed" and "judged" by the blog post. And then the comments flew back and forth. They are almost impossible NOT to read. Very dramatic. Very soap-opera-ish.

The whole thing got me thinking, and not about the potential misuse of both the word shame and the word judge. Apparently it is verboten to "judge" another person's parenting choices. And by "judge", these people seem to mean "stating an opinion that makes a value judgment about another's parenting choices." It seems that you can make a statement that "I wouldn't do it, but it is their choice" but it is not ok to state that a particular choice is right or wrong. We are not supposed to make value judgments about other mothers. It perpetuates the "mommy wars." Or something.

The silly thing is, we make such value judgments all the time. We pass a mother on the street and her toddler has what appears to be soda in his bottle. And we judge: doesn't she know how bad that is for the baby? We see children at the playground who appear out of control. And we judge: can't those mothers discipline their children? We see a mother with a whole passel of kids at the grocery store. And we judge: that is a LOT of kids! We may never say any of these things out loud. But should we or shouldn't we?

The government makes all sorts of rules to protect children: car seat laws, seat belt laws, regulating baby and children's products, regulating child care facilities, pediatricians who frontload a vaccination schedule to ensure that they catch all the "at risk" children before their parents stop coming to see the doctor, "recommendations" for various parenting choices on childbirth, sleeping, nutrition, etc.

And each of us has opinions about various parenting choices. And we picked our choices because we reviewed all the options and picked the "best" one, right? Even if we tell others, and maybe ourselves, that each choice is perfectly valid, obviously we have picked one.

Now there are issues for which I just made a choice and I had no particular opinion about the choices. Baby food is one for me. Some people get all hepped up about organic versus regular food. Whatever. Not a big deal for me. If I have a coupon for Earth's Best, I will get it. If Gerber has a better deal, I get that one. So, when I see a mom buying (or making!) something I didn't, I actually don't think anything of it.

But there are issues about which I have stronger opinions, to varying degrees. We co-sleep, sortof. And I think that is best for my family. A crib and nursery might be better for others. We might choose to homeschool our children, if that is what is best for them. And I think homeschooling is definitely better than a lot of other educational choices, but not all of them, so I don't really think less of other options (especially since it is only theoretical on my part at this point.) I have chosen to breastfeed my baby, which is a great effort for me, and I don't just feel that breastfeeding is best for my children, I think it is best for children in general. And when I learn that a woman is formula feeding by choice, I do think her choice is not as good as mine. (I absolutely know that there are situations in which a woman cannot breastfeed and thank goodness that formula exists for those situations. You can ask me my story about breastfeeding my first child sometime.) When I see a person driving a car and there is an unrestrained child in the back seat, I absolutely think they have made the wrong choice.

So we all make judgments about parenting choices of others. Most of the time we don't say anything, or at best, gently question the choice. At other times we might say something, when we think that the child might be suffering in some way because of a parent's choice, or if we think that the parent might not be aware of the "wrongness" of the choice they have made.

And then there are the parenting choices that result in the intervention of Child Protective Services. And I don't even have to detail what those might be.

All of this is to say that the mantra of "it's her choice, you don't have a right to say (or think) anything of it, or think less of her for making it" is false. It is easy to say that, but it isn't true. We all judge. Much of the time our judgment shouldn't be voiced, because we are not more "right" than another. Sometimes we should say something, or at least ask questions. And sometimes a person should feel "shame" for making a particular choice.

Where are the lines? When do we cross them? Should we cross them? Do I have a right to tell another mother how to parent? Do I have a right to tell her she is wrong? And not only wrong, but not a good mother for making the decision she did?

The answer surely cannot be, "mind your own business."


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The things we have to worry about and some pick this?

So, there has been a little firestorm over one woman nursing another's baby. No, not Salma Hayek. Just a mother, not a celebrity (well, not a huge of the reasons it was a mini firestorm is that there was a bit of celebrity about it.

Anyway. I can't imagine the controversy. Not really. There are so many other parenting issues and challenges to worry and think about. Besides, as I have said, I have fed my baby breastmilk from another mother, albeit from a bottle. Can't quite figure it.

What do y'all think?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Why I am not here

For those of you who wonder how I can update Facebook and Twitter, but not the blog (and why I can't seem to answer emails with more than a one-liner), the answer is that every time I am sitting, I am also nursing. And our current set-up puts the computer at right angles with my couch. So, I am limited either to one-handed typing on my laptop, or one FINGER typing on my iPod. Those are conducive to quick, short status updates, but not well suited to typing with both hands. And I refuse to blog with one hand.

Not to worry, I have several posts in the works. This world of ours does provide lots of "blog fodder" doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Breastfeeding supplements

So, someone recently asked me what kind of supplements I am taking to increase my milk supply, since I mentioned it in this post.

And I thought this would be good place to document what I am taking, for my own records as well as y'all's edification.

Here goes:

Calcium citrate with magnesium - Two caplets per day - This is the form of calcium that is most easily absorbed by the body and the magnesium helps.

Alfalfa - Two capsules three times a day - A galactogogue among other things.

Milk Thistle - Two capsules three times a day - Ditto.

Goat's Rue - Two capsules three times a day - This was new to me, but is also a galactogogue and is marketed as such. The previous two are marketed as other things.

Soy Lecithin - One capsule two or three times a day. This is an emulsifier, but also keeps the breastmilk from getting "sticky". I found it useful last time in helping prevent plugged ducts. I am taking it prophylacticaly now.

Probiotic - One capsule three times a day. Just to help keep yeast at bay. I use a shelf-stable probiotic so that I can add it to the pill container.

I am also continuing to take my prenatal vitamins.

Now, some of these have special instructions. The Goat's Rue is supposed to be taken with very little water. The probiotic is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. the milk thistle and the alfalfa have no special instructions. The prenatal should be taken with food so as to minimize any reactions to the iron. WHATEVER. I have to take them all at the same time or there is no hope that I will remember to take them all. So, the "with food" and "without food" get taken at the same time. And when I have to take nine or eleven capsules, you know darn well that they are getting taken with more than a little water. But I figure something is better than nothing.

And the galactogogues seem to be working. It appears that I have more than enough milk for the baby. In fact, I have even managed to pump a bit, which is good since I want to get at least a couple bottles worth saved in the freezer. I have a colonoscopy next week and will be unavailable to my voracious baby for about three hours. I am so happy that he will have a bottle of breastmilk instead of formula. YEAH!

Ok, speaking of the voracious baby, my brief window with two hands to type appears to be over.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photo updates 1

Since this blog started out as a way for me to record my thoughts and memories of the kids, it occurred to me that I needed to have more pictures.

So, I am going back through and uploading some relevant pictures. I just added one that I just got ahold of from our photographer. It shows me in the threws of irritation at the length of my pregnancy. So, it got put in the post that makes the most sense. Pretty funny.

Will update with more photos as it hits me.

And I have a rant coming up about vaccines, one in particular. And another about why making a big deal about your faith means that you need to make your faith a big deal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A post that isn't about my kids...

So, this is a facebook thing, but since I don't "get" facebook, I am going to do it here. And besides, I can do this one-handed, which is all I have right now. H/T to Sherri for this.

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and put an 'X' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X+
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible – X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman *
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier x
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot *
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X++
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens X
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh *
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X+
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens X
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X+
34 Emma - Jane Austen X+
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X+
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X (was this not included in 33, though?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden *
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X+
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving X (ugh)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X+
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X (also ugh)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert X (eh)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X+
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov X
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X+
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X+
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X+
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce X (only b/c I love Ireland...)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X (but I don't remember it. odd.)
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X+ (all of them!!)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X+
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X+
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X+

Total: 58

You can do this if you like. No pressure.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Adventures in babywearing

**Updated on 4/10/09 to link this to Stephanie's babywearing carnival!

Apologies (or royalties, not sure which) to Stephanie for the title of this post!

So, what does one do with a five week old other than nurse all the time? Well, anything one wants or needs to, as long as you can have more than one hand free.

With my first child, I was content to nurse him for 45 minutes at a stretch and then let him sleep in my arms. I didn't get a whole lot done, but I wasn't worried. I bought a sling and a Moby wrap and settled on the latter for occasional use. I tried the sling, but the baby didn't like it, and I couldn't get it to work to my satisfaction. And in any case, for the most part, the baby bucket and a stroller sufficed nicely.

However, now that I have two kids, the luxury of cuddling the baby undisturbed is nonexistent. And I never have two hands free until the evening when at least one child is asleep. And this empahsizes that which I have suspected for a while. Casual baby-wearers become rabid baby-wearers with the birth of the second kid. It is a matter of survival.

Take this weekend. I took both boys to church by myself as my poor husband was quite sniffly and sick. And the baby was asleep so I took the bucket in with me from the car. Phew. Bucket and baby, toddler and diaper back-pack, purse. Oh yes, and I did have the foresight to pack the sling. Phew. We barely made it into the church and to the nursery, what with the toddler losing his shoes and all when he fell on the sidewalk. Anyway. Somewhere in the middle of the worship, Thomas awoke and needed to nurse, so I slipped out to do that. And then put him in the sling in the hopes that he would go back to sleep. And so he did. And it was quite freeing to go get Jonathan from the nursery in time for communion and even be able to carry him on my hip with the baby in the sling on my front. We did quite well for the rest of the service and the reception that followed. The trouble only started when I needed to strap the baby into the bucket to leave. And trying to chase down Jonathan while carting the horridly UN-ergonomic bucket was decidedly NOT freeing.

So, my husbands choice du jour is the Moby. Mine is the sling. For now. The ergo will be back in use as he grows since that is less fiddly than the wrap. I am really tempted by some of the beautiful woven wraps out there, and those who are better at the baby wearing thing than I am (hi Sherri!) sing the praises of the versatility of a woven wrap.

That might be something I explore in the next few months. But, all I have to say is, my back is happy that the sling and the Moby work. Phew. And, I have sortof figured out how to nurse in the sling, which might make that easier, too. I haven't figured out my bad configuration of a laptop, which means that, whenever I am holding the baby in any way, I am required to type one-handed. So, the babywearing doesn't help with that. But still.

Babywearing? Life-saving.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Breastfeeding is not for wimps.

So, what have I been doing with myself since my last post two and a half weeks ago?

See the title to this post.

Seriously, if I wanted to blog, I would have had to have given up sleep or typed it with one hand while nursing. Seriously. I have a child who wants to nurse all the time, and only sleeps in snatches. I have been actively trying to write something since Wednesday of this week and have not had more than five minutes. Thomas is a good sleeper at night though, at the moment, so I am not really complaining.

Ok, onto the subject of the post, since that is my life right now:

Breastfeeding is a rewarding activity. You can feed your child, bond with him, and lessen your risk for all sorts of diseases, all at the same time. And it is a miracle, that a mother's body provides everything that a baby needs, from the moment of conception, through at least the first six months of life (and longer for some babies who aren't really interested in solids for much of the first year.)

For some women, breastfeeding comes easily. Their milk comes in quickly and without much discomfort; the baby latches correctly and without much pain; neither mother or child is susceptible to yeast or is intolerant of certain foods; the mother has no pressure to return to work and so is spared the need to pump on command. But even in these "best of circumstances", breastfeeding is demanding. There are very few babies, who are exclusively breastfed, who are on any sort of schedule in the first few months. That means that the mother and baby are together all the time. And the second the baby can be diverted away from the breast, the mother needs to do everything that she can, so that when the baby wants more food, she can attend to his needs.

I think that the mothers described above who are the most satisfied with that situation are those that have accepted that their child will be just as attached to them in the nine months following the birth as the prior nine months. These mothers find work-arounds for the inconveniences and embrace their choice.

But these moms are the ones for which things are going well.

For many other mothers, breastfeeding is challenging. Perhaps they have low milk supply (which was/is a difficulty I know a little something about). Perhaps they have over supply (which presents equal and opposite difficulties). Perhaps the baby has a poor latch, or the child is allergic or intolerant of many of the mother's favorite foods. Of perhaps the baby doesn't nurse well for any number of reasons. Perhaps the mother is extremely uncomfortable nursing in public and has a baby who wants to eat often and therefore she feels house-bound. Perhaps there is an illness or a sudden hospitalization. There are any number of reasons for a challenging breastfeeding situation.

Most of these can be remedied in one way or the other, and depending on the mother's (and father's - let's not forget the dads because most women need that support to continue to breastfeed) persistence and desire to breastfeed, those remedies can result in a good breastfeeding relationship with the child.

Breastfeeding is very important. I can't believe that it is even a question these days, whether an infant should receive his nourishment directly from his mother. I can't believe than anyone bought the lie that science trumped nature and that a factory could create a substance better able to nourish a child than the mother. But for a couple generations, women bought that. At the same time, our culture shifted a bit in several different ways. And the result was that it became normal to see breasts in a skimpy bikini at the pool and abnormal to see a woman feeding her child from her breasts. That 'controversy' is enough for a whole other post. The reason that I mention it is that it is part of the problem. We have lost the "institutional memory" of women. The WWII generation of women may have worked in factories, but they didn't breastfeed. So when their daughters were born, they were unable to pass along the knowledge of how to do it. And when their granddaughters were born, there was even less knowledge.

Yet now there is much more science to "prove" that breastfeeding one's child is nearly the best possible thing that one can do to prepare one's child for life. And therefore now women are told to breastfeed, although the wisdom now has to be gleaned in bits, from books, and the internet, and friends, and support groups, and a new line of professionals called lactation consultants.

At any rate, there are plenty of women, myself included, who go to great lengths to breastfeed. And not a little expense. A hospital grade double electric breast pump (which you need if you are trying to build up a flagging supply) is about $75.00 a month; supplements (galactagogues, vitamins, other "helpers") are several dollars a day (I am taking at least eight different pills each morning, noon and night). But the lengths are more than money. A baby can drink a bottle of formula (or expressed milk) in minutes. Most breastfeeding sessions take at least a half hour. Ten or twelve times a day. Several of which take place in the middle of the night. We can all do the math.

Don't get me wrong. Breastfeeding is great. And I am doing my part to give my child the best start to his life. But it is work. And don't let anyone tell you that we are doing the easy thing, or not working. Breastfeeding moms are not lazy, even though they may be sitting down on the job. Parenthood, is, as they say, the toughest job you'll ever love. (I could throw in a couple more cliches, but I will quit while I am ahead.)

Anyway, that is what I have been doing. And I have been reading my favorite blogs, and Twittering (which one can do with one hand), and trying to update my Facebook status with something that doesn't have to do with my baby (which is hard). If you are wondering where I am, give me a call or an email, I will be sitting here, with maybe one hand free.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Day ALONE at home

Well, ok, I had about six hours alone at home.

My husband had to go into work for a meeting that ended up not happening. And my inlaws headed back to Iowa after being here for two weeks. The help that they were with the cooking and cleaning was fabulous, but they will be really missed by our 2 year old. He got to spent quality and QUANTITY time with his grandparents. My mother-in-law especially has a heart for little kids, and she spent time working with him on his Bible stories, and painting, and time outside (weather permitting). He now has another gagillion songs under his belt, and a brand new hobby of painting with watercolors. My FIL brought out a bunch of trains for the train table. And, he found, somewhere, a cache of little "Caterpiller" earth moving equipment models, which have gone over like gangbusters.

Anyway, as you can see, it was one big fun time for Jonathan. And today, when Gramma and Grampa went in a plane, and Daddy had to go to "werk", it was just boring ole' mommy, who spent hours nursing the baby. As I tweeted at some point, it was really strange. Within an hour of folks leaving this morning, both boys had a dirty diaper. The baby had THREE. And the baby suddenly developed a diaper rash. And started hollering, apropos of nothing. And Jonathan wanted to hold the baby so he would "stop crying" and I was suddenly wrestling an octopus as I tried to keep Jonathan from taking the baby out of my arms. (2 year olds are STRONG.) It took a good while to settle everyone down. Thank goodness for videos. And then suddenly Thomas was asleep, and Jonathan was done with his lunch and was rubbing his eyes. It only took one rendition of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (his favorite song) for him to go to sleep as well.

And so I got a nap in! Hooray! And, seriously? Praise the Lord.

I don't pretend to think that every day will be a "double nap" day, but a girl can hope. And then, miracle of miracles, my husband was able to come home early.

Phew. And now he is home for a couple of weeks, so it can just be the four of us for a bit, trying to figure out how to be a family of four, instead of a family of three.

On a non-baby related note, my friend Sherri is doing a "read-along" of Rilla of Ingleside. I just have to get the book, and I am going to enjoy that. It is going to be a good long while before I can do a book group in the traditional sense, so this should be fun.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


So. We have a new president. I have a new baby. The latter is more important, and all-encompassing. Feeding the baby takes up, strangely, and inordinate amount of time. And since I nursed Jonathan until he was nearly two years old, you would think that I would be prepared for this. Ah well. Good thing my inlaws are here helping with food and keeping Jonathan occupied.

Anyway, I have nothing to report except that I added two photos to the "birth story" post. One is the C-section birth itself (which is not really gross, I actually find it kindof interesting.) And the second is Thomas being weighed. Just to let you know how he looked just after birth.

Oh, one of the aspects of the birth that our doula told us when she came to visit this week was that by the time of the surgery, Thomas had slipped around to an "occiput anterior" position, which means that he was lying with his back against my back (not unusual after someone has had an epidural) and therefore was "sunny-side" up. Which might explain some of the back labor I was experiencing. Anyhoo....

We have his two-week appointment tomorrow, and will know more about his weight gain, etc. then. And then, for your reading pleasure, I will have a dissertation-worthy post about breastfeeding. And maybe a rant re: same. We shall see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pics of the boys.

So, it occurred to me that perhaps I should post a couple pics here, since I put them on Facebook.

So, the first one is Thomas in the bouncy seat with Jonathan. And shortly thereafter, milliseconds actually, we realized that the bouncy seat is too bouncy to have the baby in while the toddler runs around.

The second one is one of a precious few of Thomas with his eyes open.

The third is what I spend my days doing. Ahem.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First full day at home!

Well, home is different from the hospital. The beds are more comfortable, for one. On the other hand, the food, while marginally better than hospital food, doesn't magically arrive at your bedside.

But we are well and happy.

Jonathan likes Thomas, calls him either "the baby Thomas" or "my baby". He likes to "hold" him on the sofa and sing to him.

A friend of mine took Jonathan this morning to her house to play with her son while we went to the doc for a well baby appointment. Thomas has started to regain some weight, which is good and no one right now is worried about the jaundice. For those of you who know my history, you know this is a huge thing. Of course, his days and nights are mixed up. He sleeps all day from about 10 until 5 and then mostly wants to be awake all night for the same time frame, oh yes, and nurse all night. Bleck. 'Twould be fine if I could be on his schedule, but not with a toddler and not in the real world. Thomas nurses all the time. I won't bore you with the gory details. Suffice it to say, "Ouch."

We got Chinese food tonight. And I made a calculated misjudgment and suggested that my husband take Jonathan to the basement and put together a toy for him. So, of course they were downstairs when the doorbell rang. I was up here nursing the baby. I had to struggle first to unhook myself from the strongest latch in the world, and second to get out of my squishy sofa. I am so distracted that I just signed for the food, baby in my arms. When the guy said, "do you want to leave a tip?" I didn't really hear him and I said, "no, I don't need to." Then I saw his face and tried to recapture what he had said. Egads.... ack. Needless to say, he got a bigger tip than his services warranted.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How Thomas Maher came into this world.

Once, about ten months ago....oh, never mind that bit.

For the men in the room, or people that don't want every single detail, I recounted the basic information in this post. Look no farther. If you go below the asterisks, it is at your own risk.


If you want the background to this pregnancy, you can go look here.

Ok. So, as many of you know, my official due date was January 1, 2009. I rebelled against that and asserted in many ways that I was going to have the baby by the end of the year, and I picked December 28. I actually did have reasons to think that 12/28 was a better date, and you can ask me those reasons if you like.

In any event. Christmas came and went. December 28 came and went. January 1 came and went. Now we were beginning to get cranky. Marcus and I are planners. And as said before, Jonathan's birth was planned. So this waiting thing was hard. My Friday OB appointment on January 2 was disappointing.

Saturday, January 3, I woke up and started having contractions! Yeah!! They were fairly short, 20-30 seconds, but relatively frequent, for four or five hours. Then they stopped. Then they started. So my sister came over for dinner and the spend the night, to stay with Jonathan in case we had to make a run to the hospital in the middle of the night. We all went to bed and the contractions stopped.

Not many on Sunday.

Sometime on Sunday evening I felt the baby move and shift out of a head down position. So, I decided to take a wander to the doctor's office in the morning to see. By the time the morning came around, I had started having the contractions again, and still felt that the baby's position was off. Not wanting any surprises, I called the doc very early and he told me to head to Labor and Delivery. We rousted the troops to come watch Jonathan, again. Our plan had been just to take him with us to the doctor, but then we envisioned Labor and Delivery with a toddler, and opted for the other plan.

So, that is how I wound up in the hospital for six hours on Monday, January 5. They sent me home because I was only 1 cm dilated and the contractions had slowed. However, because things seemed to be happening in earnest, we decided to have my mom come and take Jonathan to their house (two hours away) for a few days. And so she did. Of course, essentially the second she drove away, the contractions stopped. And nothing happened.

All week. I tweeted and left Facebook status updates informing people that NOTHNG was happening.

Thursday evening I went to bed and thought labor might start. There was nothing I could point to, I just felt off. I warned the doula and Marcus.

Friday, 1:30 a.m. I started leaking, and small contractions started. At 2:30, my water broke and there was no mistake. Labor had actually started. Aimee arrived at about 3:30 or so, and I was having fairly regular, not horrid, contractions that were about 10 minutes apart. Enough that I couldn't talk or walk through them. By 5:30 I was in the aqua doula (labor tub) and the contractions were coming closer together and lasting for at least a minute.

The only position that was slightly comfortable was if I was on my hands and knees, resting my cheek/chin on the edge of the tub. And
By about 8:00 a.m. they were about 4-5 minutes apart. And right about that time, I "gave back" all the tiny bites of food that Marcus and Aimee had made me eat. Good thing I had a two quart sauce pan as a catch basin.

But about that time, 8:30 or 9:00, the contractions started to space out. So, I got out of the nice warm tub, and walked around a bit. Some inside, some outside. In my nice fuzzy long nightgown. Things weren't speeding up, and the contractions were about 10 minutes apart again, though undoubtedly they were labor contractions.

Aimee suggested that we try to sleep. Sounds weird, but Marcus got a heating pad, like a Bucky. I lay on my left side on the bed and he lay right behind me and pressed the hot pad against my back. That way, when I had a contraction, he could apply counterpressure to my lower back like he had in the tub.

We actually were able to sleep. Which was a blessing, although irritating because it meant that my contractions were still spaced out. Making my life difficult, but not being productive in terms of labor progressing.

After about an hour of sleeping/contractions, at about 12:30 p.m. we tried walking. If you were driving around Vienna on Friday morning and thought it odd to see a pregnant woman out for a walk in a red robe, that was me. Oh, and brown mammoth crocs. With black socks. Stylish. The walking helped a bit, but not as much as she had hoped.

And so we decided to go to the hospital. The thought was that perhaps a little bit of pitocin might bring the contractions faster. Also, she wanted me to wait for an epidural, based on how she had seen me dealing with the contractions I was having.

We arrived at the hospital at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Got myself settled in with a saline I.V. The FOURTH poke in a week, but at least this one took the first time. We waited to see my doctor, who is the chief of obstetrics at the hospital rather than electing to see one of the residents. There are all sorts of reasons why, but the result was that he did not come to see me and check my "progression" until 6:00 p.m. So I had had a chance to get back into a good rhythm with the contractions. He did not think I was as dilated as we had thought, but in any event, I was in active labor and wanted to wait to see what progress would be made.

Let me jump ahead for a second and say that, because I never dilated beyond 4 cm, that I never was in active labor. However, the descriptions of the various stages of labor (early, first stage, active first stage, transition, second stage (pushing), etc.) indicate that I managed to make it through the transition stage. I don't know what the answer to that is, except to say that I have decided that obstetrics and midwifery is as much an art as they are a science. My doula certainly thought I had made it through transition and was actually suggesting that I "bear down a little" with the contractions. And she also gave me some "pushing" pointers because she thought that the pushing phase would be quite short. So, there was something weird about my labor.

Back to the progression, or lack thereof. Between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. I was severely uncomfortable, to put it mildly. The contractions were just miserable (and all y'all who have been through it are saying, "yes, yes, they were for me, too.") According to our doula, herself a former Bradley teacher, and my husband, I was "doing all the right things" to manage the pain: breathing, relaxation, etc. However, I did not feel like anything was being managed. And I was a sniviling, snotty mess. I could not stop shaking, toward the end, and I was done. If I could have just taken a breather, perhaps I could have done it, but that really isn't an option. So, approximately 18 hours after serious contractions had started, and about three hours into 'active labor' (or whatever....after that weird transition thing...) I asked for, and got, an epidural, at about 9:00 p.m. or so, Friday night.

Shortly after that, my doctor came and checked again and said that I had made not progress. Still 4 cm dilated, though I was fully effaced, and the baby was still high up in my pelvis and had not moved. He suggested that we all, including him, take nap. Four hours later, my contractions had slowed a bit, and when he checked me at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, he said there had been no change. He was reluctant to give me any pitocin, because he suspected that there was a reason that the baby was not descending and allowing me to dilate. So, I had another C-section. Thomas James Maher was born at exactly 3:30 a.m. 10 pounds even. 22 inches long. Full head of straight dark brown hair.

When asked if he could see any reason why the baby didn't descend, he said that the head just wasn't quite properly positioned, and that the baby was just spinning around trying to figure out what to do, but just wasn't doing it. So. Nothing any of us could have done. Would laboring longer have given him more time to figure it out? Perhaps. And there was a era in which there would have been no other option and I would just have had to struggle through. And the end result might have been other than a happy, healthy baby boy and a happy, healthy (and tired and sore) mother.

My purpose in attempting a VBAC was not to make some grand point. There are points to be made: I do believe that the C-section rate is unnecessarily high; that women often take what is perceived the 'easy' way out, etc. I also believe that the culture and mindset around birthing needs to shift to a non-medical model of care. And I could get really passionate about the issue and do some "activist" work. But that wasn't the point here, I just wanted the best for me and my baby. I believed that was a vaginal birth. And, I think, it was.

Since I did go into labor, I know that Thomas was ready to be born (as he should have been at 41 weeks and 1 day late). I know that he and I both benefited from the labor hormones. My body was able to shift from pregnancy to post-partum in the fashion that was intended. There are so many amazing things that happen in the mom and the baby during labor and immediately after delivery, and they happen best in a particular order. Physcially, I am more tired and sore after this birth than my first, scheduled C-section. That would be from the two extra nights of no sleep and the work of labor. However, emotionally, I feel much better. I feel like the labor worked out a lot of the stress hormones or something.

So now, we are off and running. Thomas is nursing well, my milk has started to come in, a bit earlier than previously. Breastfeeding will still be a challenge, but it is one that I am expecting. A bigger challenge will be balancing the needs of Jonathan as an almost 2 1/2 year old and the newborn needs of Thomas.

What have I learned in this whole process? The big lesson is that I cannot control most of the important things in life. This really was one of the few situations that drives home that point. For those of you who have watched me wait and pace and wait some more, you have witnessed some of the frustration. Didn't God (and this baby) understand that there were tax advantages to being born before January 1? Didn't they understand health insurance premiums and the difference one day would make? Didn't they understand that I was so very very tired of being pregnant? It was helpful that people kept reiterating to me that 'babies come when they are ready.' More importantly, however, was me learning to trust God in new ways and learning a little about what it means to wait.

p.s. I know, I know. Y'all want pictures. Fine. Just give me a day or two.