Thursday, February 26, 2009

exercise and sleep

I heard a set of pieces on NPR yesterday about new studies that are showing that activity and exercise, even in small amounts, help increase chemicals in the brain that aid in attention and concentration. Apparently there's schools and even companies that are building in 5 to 10 minutes "activity breaks" into their days, and it's leading to more focused students (even more interesting, the greatest improvement was in those students who were previously having the hardest time concentrating) and more productive workers. This made me think two things, 1) another example of how Montessori was spot-on in incorporating movement into education and realizing how important it is, and 2) schools really are shooting themselves in the foot when they get rid of recess and gym classes.

The past 2 days D has slept extremely well-- in bed by 7pm, sleeping through till 5am, then going back to sleep for another 2 hours or so. This is after just over a week of waking up twice a night before a 5/5:30am final wakeup. His naps have also been longer today and yesterday, too, stretching out to an hour or even 1.5hrs (normally 30-45mins), and he's waking up happy and babbling rather than crying. It's so odd to me how he goes through these sleep cycles, going for a while on 10 hours of sleep a night and short naps, then suddenly switching to 12+ hours at night with long naps, and then back again. I haven't noticed any pattern or rhyme or reason for it (growth spurts? mental milestones? pure randomness?), so am just accepting it and being quite thankful for the extra sleep and rest, knowing it won't last long. Donovan has many of the characteristics of what's considered an "easy temperament"-- deals well with change, is happy and easy going most of the time, adjusts well to new time zones when we traveled, is social and deals well with new people, etc. But he's never been that big on predictability or consistent schedules, definitely not one to live by a clock. I think he takes after his dad in that respect.

because he looks good in brown

I took this picture the other day, after D and I had been playing in the kitchen and then he saw the camera and started coming over to try to grab it. He was climbing up onto me and I was holding the camera up just over my shoulder and fired some shots just for fun. This was one of them, and I almost deleted it (I'm trying not to keep every one of the many many many pictures I take of him constantly) but there was something about it that I liked, so instead I headed over to the Develop module in Lightroom and started playing. For the first time I experimented with using the split toning option, and then when I was getting frustrated at how his eye seemed to disappear into the picture anytime I darkened the shadows, I decided to play around with the local adjustments brush and increase the brightness of just his iris. And now I kinda really really like this picture. =)

This is, of course, the worst kind of lesson for a perpetual pack-rat to learn, when the hoarding of things that you usually know you will never need actually pays off encouraging you to hoard even more, but at least digital files take up little room and we do have a whole terabyte drive to fill up. I wonder how long it'll last, especially if I ever try out shooting in RAW at some point... ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Joined the Mirena Cult

Before having D I'd always been on birth control pills. They're what everyone uses, right? They're like the default. While pregnant I started thinking about what other options there are, for when I'd need birth control again. Alarmed by my inability to remember, well, anything, I didn't want to depend on a pill that has to be taken at the to be fully effective. Other popular options like the patch or Nuvaring also didn't appeal to me that much-- I found it enough of a pain to have to get my pills refilled before having a baby (and I only had to go in once every 3 months thanks to our insurance provider, apparently this is very very rare) and needing to go run that extra errand with a young child just seemed like a hassle. I didn't really give the Depo shot much consideration, as I've known people who've had bad experiences with it, and you still have to go back every 3 months for a new shot anyway. None of the non-hormonal methods appealed to me at all, especially as they (sponge, cervical cap) become pretty ridiculously ineffective for a woman who's already had a child. We used condoms for this first year since I didn't want to be on hormones while breastfeeding (concerned about how they affect milk supply, along with the extra hormones getting into the milk itself. Since D's only nursing twice a day now I feel more ok about going back on a hormonal contraceptive), but I personally don't see condoms as a viable long-term solution for a married couple.

Then I started hearing about the IUD, which I'd previously written off, as so many of us have, due to negative hearsay. But then I saw this video, and started looking into it more. I found out that most of the negativity associated with IUDs are the result of one "bad egg", so to speak (the Dalkon Shield), that's been off the market for three decades. That they are incredibly effective, even more so that tubal ligation (according to the pamplet I got today, 0.1% failure rate vs 0.5%). That they are very common in many other countries, from Mexico to France to China. When I asked my ob-gyn about them at my annual check-up, she said that while only 10% of the general public use IUDs, closer to 80% of women in the medical field use them. And best of all, it's something that goes in and you don't even have to THINK about it (other than check that the strings are there every once in a while) until you decide you want to have a kid, or 5 years pass, whichever comes first. Oh, and that our insurance (Kaiser Permanente) covers the entire cost (can be about $500 or more otherwise), and even if I go in tomorrow to get it taken out again all I'll ever have to pay is my $15 co-pay for the visits themselves.

Yup, a grand total of $30 for 5+ year's worth of safe, effective, can't-possibly-forget-to-use-it-or-use-it-wrong, zero-effort birth control.

There are two types of IUDs on the market in the US, the copper (hormone-free) ParaGard which lasts for 10 years, and Mirena which uses a very low-dose of progestin and lasts for 5 years. There are some risks associated with their use, but they're pretty rare and about on par with those of other forms of birth control (I've been very lucky never to experience many side effects from the pill before, so don't expect the low dose of hormones from Mirena to mess with me much, either). I did recently find out that a friend of mine's brother was conceived in spite of an IUD, but hey that .1% has to come from somewhere, right? ; ) While Zach and I are deeply committed to giving D a sibling one day, we are in NO RUSH WHATSOEVER for that to happen anytime soon. So I decided to go with Mirena, had it put in this morning, and I'm pretty happy with this choice, at least so far. (BTW I decided against Paragard because I've never had an adverse effect to hormones and because of the 50/50 chance of stronger cramping and heavier flow during periods associated wth the copper IUD, whereas most Mirena users have lighter periods over time and many stop getting their periods altogether.)

The procedure to put it in wasn't too bad, a little uncomfortable but when you've gone through childbirth it kinda puts other pains like this into perspective (as an aside the exam room had a bunch of different diagrams and posters on the wall, one of them showing how big the cervix dilates, from 1 to 10cm, during labor. I couldn't keep my eyes off that 10cm circle thinking "Seriously? My body did THAT??"). I had some cramping, like bad period cramps, as she was inserting the IUD and they continued for about 20 minutes or so afterwards, and I felt the slightest bit lightheaded, but now I'm totally fine and it almost seems hard to believe that I have a little piece of hormone-coated plastic in my uterus.

I wanted to write about this to help bring this into the mainstream a bit. I'm not saying IUDs are the be-all and end-all of birth control, but they seem like a pretty great option to at least consider, and it does seem odd that while trying to reduce teen pregnancies we continue to use birth control pills and condoms (the two least-reliable, most subject to user error methods we've got) as our primary methods of contraception. I mean, no wonder half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned, right? And who knows, I might end up having a horrible experience with this over time. Or I might love it and never go back. Either way, this is something I had never even thought about as an option before maybe a year ago, and now I'm using it and pretty happy about it, and I'm hoping to maybe bring this option to a few other women out there who might consider it for themselves. If anyone has questions about the IUD, about the insertion, side effects, etc, email me and I'll answer as best I can according to my own personal experience.

UPDATE 11/26/09: Just wanted to write an update, after 9+ months of use, to say that I am still very much happy with my IUD and have had no problems at all yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two Book Recommendations

Browsing a nearby second-hand bookstore a week ago, I found a book I've kept seeing on store shelves and been intrigued by. I must admit that I am very much guilty of judging books by their covers, and this one has a very cute and inviting cover. I justified the $8.50 to buy it, and have been devoting a few minutes to it most evenings before going to bed. Luckily, the cover seems to have been true to the book-- I am really liking it. It's a simple, easy read, yet still filled with all sorts of great insights and advice. I was most impressed by the chapter on husbands. I've read a few other books on motherhood, and usually the husbands chapter is reserved for stories of mothers bitching about how their good-for-nothing husbands barely lift a finger, and that's about it. I expected this book to be the same, and instead it surprised me by suggesting that perhaps, just maybe, all these issues and pressures we've been fighting with as mothers? Maybe dads are feeling the same, and also struggling, except they're even less likely to admit it or ask for help. And so maybe it's not a bad idea to try to communicate, to talk through our expectations to make sure we're on the same page (so we aren't beating ourselves up thinking our husbands expect a clean house and a four-course meal every night when really they just want us to pay attention to them, and they aren't doing the same thinking we need them to spend all their time at work and make more money when really we just wish they'd come home and give us a much-needed hug). And perhaps we could also try to each put ourselves in the other's shoes and say those magic words, "thank you for all you do", every once in a while. Sounds like pretty good advice to me. The basic take-home message of the book as far as I can tell: beware of the expectations you set upon yourself and others (are they realistic or attainable?), and make decisions based on what works for you and your family not what everyone else does or expects of you.

Then last week I picked up Eat, Pray, Love from the library. I've heard many things about this book, some good some not so good. I'm about 50 pages in so far, and I'm kind of completely fascinated by the book, and the author. I love her voice, her style of writing, her style of storytelling, her complete and total honesty. Reading this book is like reading the private blog of a good friend, and I instantly like her. I also absolutely love that it's broken in to such short sections (1-3 pages each), making it easy for me to just read a bit here or there and not feel like I'm constantly stopping right in the middle of a thought.

Monday, February 23, 2009

That little voice...

Yesterday I went in to get D after he'd woken from a nap, and as I picked him up out of his crib something outside the window caught his eye. We sat there looking out for a while, and I spotted a squirrel on the tree outside, and as I wracked my brain for the word for "squirrel" in Spanish, a set of now-familiar questions started streaming through my head: Am I giving D enough Spanish vocab when I talk to him? which leads to, Am I giving him enough English vocab? Should I be going around the house and naming everything for him, like I read about? Am I reading him enough books? Is he getting enough repetition to 'get' the words? Do I sing to him enough? Should I try to learn more nursery rhymes or finger plays or games?

This little voice can be never-ending when it really gets going... Why isn't he waving hello and good-bye yet? Am I doing what I need to to teach him that? Why hasn't he said any words yet? Am I not talking to him enough? Has he already said a word and I just haven't recognized it? Is it bad that I'm not focusing more on teaching him signs? Or that he isn't using the couple of signs I have tried to show him? Am I not using them consistently enough?

It's NUTS. Consciously, I know I'm doing fine and that D is a smart kid who'll learn all these things in time, and there's no need to worry or obsess. I don't believe in educational videos, or baby flash cards, or other "early learning aids", knowing that kids do best when they get to just play and explore their environment at their own pace. Yet that little voice still pipes in from time to time, if I don't watch it.

I was thinking about this the other day, and I think part of this is that there's a sort of shift at about a year. In the first year, most of the milestones that babies achieve-- holding up their head, sitting up, crawling, etc-- are universal. As long as baby's getting adequate nutrition and practice time, they'll get it. But when you get to a year, the nature of the milestones changes, and they're much more dependent on environment and exposure-- a baby won't learn to say words unless he hears them often, or to wave bye-bye unless he sees it done. And so, there's more cause for parental freak-out.

Zach's started noticing part of this, too. We went to Borders in the afternoon and Zach was playing with D in the kids section, and he said it was one of the first times that other parents were starting to ask about D's milestones ("Is he walking yet? Has he said any words?"), and in a way that almost seemed competitive or tryig to compare their kid to ours.

It's hard not to feel bad about not doing everything when every parenting magazine and book tells you how important it is to talk to your baby often, looking them in the eyes, and suggests games like letting them feel different types of fruit for texture, etc. The list of enriching activities I'd love to do with D every day is endless. The number we actually do on a day-to-day basis? Embarassingly short.

But then, then he does something that reminds me of how smart kids really are. Like when D picked up his baby hairbrush, which I have used on him a handful of times since birth, and he started brushing his hair with it. Remember, Zach and I both have short hair, too, he uses a comb sometimes (though I doubt D's seen this very often) and my primary hair-styling tool is my fingers. So he must've remembered the few times I "brushed" his hair, and tried it on his own. And it seems the more I just sit back and watch as he plays, the more amazed I am at the things he notices and does. Like trying to balance a ball inside a plastic easter egg shell (in imitation of a toy he has, I finally realized), or how he immitates the intonation of my voice when I say "uh oh!", or learning how to give high-fives.

It is pretty incredible how well they pick up everything from their environment, and just absorb it. Clearly, our little D-man is doing quite well evenwithout all the extra activities. So when I hear that little voice starting up, I will promptly tell it to "Shut it" and go back to playing with my kid.

Besides, who needs to wave bye-bye when he can give high-fives instead? ; )

Saturday, February 21, 2009

lil' blue eyes

Sophia came over to play for a bit today while Cyrus and Zach went off to pick up the loveseat we got from my friend Pat. She was trying to get rid of furniture, we've been trying to figure out a more comfortable arrangement for watching tv or movies, and voila we now have a nice little loveseat in the office. We don't have a working tv yet (well, we have a tv but no cable and no dvd player) so the laptop will do for now. Especially since we have Netflix again, and so can stream movies online. Anyway, things went well enough, at least until Sophia got tired but couldn't seem to get herself to go to sleep. Luckily D went down for a nap fairly easily right at about this time, so it wasn't a bit deal. I told Sophia I didn't take her fussing personally. At least I got to take a few cute pictures of her first. ; )

We met up with some friends that we haven't seen in a while for lunch, where D was a big hit. Afterwards we stopped by Carolyn and John's since we were in the area. Zach grew up with many friends who had the habit of just dropping by unannounced and likes to do the same, which makes me cringe at first (what if they're not home? what if they're busy? what if it's just a bad time?) but I also love the idea of having that comfortable of a friendship that it's ok to just stop by whenever. And it turned out great, they were home and we got to play with their dog, and even made a quick trip to a nearby park for D to play a bit. So maybe Zach's got the right idea after all.

Zach convinced me to watch Ratatouille tonight, partially to test out our new set-up. He's seen it before and remembered really liking it (now admits that a lot of that might've just been b/c it's set in Paris). I thought it was cute enough, though I can't seem to watch kid movies anymore without the critical eye of a parent. And so rather than sit back and enjoy the movie, I keep thinking, "Why do they have to have so many characters that are so darn mean?" and "What's up with all these chase sequences involving cars and knives and guns that serve no purpose other than filling time and causing tension in the audience (do kids really need to get all worked up about a movie that's supposed to be for fun)?" and "How are you supposed to explain things like an illegitimate child, or people getting drunk, or being hungover, to a little kid?" And then there's the lesson that if you're going to steal from someone who trusts you, just make sure they really need you, too, so all that really happens in they get mad at you for a little while and then forgive you when you come back. And in the end you'll own a restaurant together and still live out your life's dream. Ok, sorry, being harsh. Again, I do think it's a cute movie, I just don't agree with it being targeted as a kid's movie. Then again when I turn this same critical eye at most Disney films and other kid's movies I feel the same way (do we really need to introduce 3 years olds to the concept of evil people that wish nothing but harm on others?). For the record, I do remember liking most of Pixar's other movies, though part of me wonders if I watched those with these same standards in mind.

And now I will close with more cute pictures of the kiddoes.

PS- almost forgot the BIG BUMMER from today. I pulled out my trusty Canon Powershot "point-and-shoot" camera to take a video of Zach giving D a bath tonight, b/c the giggles coming from the bathroom were just too adorable to miss... and then discovered that the screen on it is busted. =( BOO! Very sad, seeing as I keep that camera in my bag constantly and take many many videos with it. The nice thing is these cameras seem to be relatively cheap nowadays, and we can hopefully find a replacement for less than $200. We shall see....

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Stuff on Etsy

In a fit of productivity this afternoon, not only did I manage to print out some new cards but also photograph them and list them for sale on my etsy shop. Miracle! ; )

I'm still working on trying to make some Thank You and Happy Birthday cards, but am having trouble finding photos that I like, that fit the theme, and that also have good space for adding text. It's been tougher than I had previously anticipated. Perhaps I should go buy a cake or cupcakes or Krispy Kreme so I have sweets to take pictures of and make those into birthday cards (is that a viable excuse?).

In other news, Zach came home a couple hours early today, allowing me to duck out and read magazines at Borders for a bit. It was fabulous. Then tonight we put the kiddo to bed and had a friend over to "keep watch" as we went out to join some friends for a birthday dinner. This is actually the 3rd weekend in a row that we've had plans to get together with friends at a gathering, and it's been really nice seeing everyone regularly. The added bonus? I got to wear this sweater dress that I bought earlier this week on sale at Urban Outfitters. I paired it with a new scarf, textured tights, and my grey suede flat boots from Argentina. I almost took a picture of my outfit, I was so proud. When you spend most days feeling frumpy and wearing just t-shirts and jeans, it's really really nice to get to have more fun dressing every once in a while. ; )

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paring Down

One of the things I'm realizing is that how I feel on any particular day, is often tied to how I look. And most mornings I hardly even make the effort to wash my face well b/c I wake up when D does. Since D's kinda sorta settled into a routine of waking up between 6-7am, this past week I've started setting an alarm for 5:45 so I can have enough time to take a quick shower and maybe get dressed before he wakes. It worked pretty well the first couple days... of course he then woke up at 5:30 yesterday, and 4:30 this morning, and didn't go back to sleep either day (my theory is he's jealous of my alarm clock being the one to wake me up in the morning, and feels he's being cheated of his duty). I'm hoping he'll sleep in a bit longer tonight/tomorrow morning, we'll see.

I'm also trying to go through the things I (try to) do throughout the day, and figuring out what things I do that actually make me happy vs what... doesn't. I've sorted through some of the blogs on my google reader, for example, keeping the ones that I really enjoy reading (friends, blogs that make me laugh with every entry...) and sorting out the ones that tend to pile up and when I do read them I do so in a rush. I'm also quitting the 365 project for this year. I love the photos I've taken for it so far, and I definitely want to keep up the spirit of trying to take pictures often and taking the time to be creative in that manner and improve my skills, but I also don't want photography to feel like a chore or an obligation. It kinda sucks to let go of certain things and admit that I just don't have the time or energy to handle them, but then I remember that spending my days raising a person and trying to instill in him values, confidence, etc, is kind of a big deal and probably should take up most of my time and abilities. And whatever I have left over, should be given to things that make me happy. Like blogging. =)

In a sort-of aside, this morning I was listening to NPR in the car and they told the story of a little boy who nurses had noticed hadn't been coming in for check-ups. They finally got a hold of his parents and, by force of law, got them to bring him in. He was 18 months old, and weighed as much as a 6 month old and couldn't even sit up on his own. He was put in foster care for a year due to the gross neglect by his parents. A story like that would have certainly made me sad, and very very angry over a year ago. But now as a mother, I was surprised at the force of my reaction. Tears sprang to my eyes, and my heart hurt. It was my first experience like this since D was born. It truly is amazing how many ways becoming a parent changes you, how differently you see the world and how any other child's pain, you feel as if it were your own.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Why don't friends with kids have time?"

Feeling much better now, thanks to sunshine, a happy kiddo, a loving hubby, and a coffee-and-shopping outing with a friend. Yay. =)

I do find it fitting that I came across this today (click to enlarge), and can't resist sharing it with y'all. Fellow moms should get a kick out of it.

"I love being a mom, I just hate doing it"

I always thought it was Zach who got so affected by the weather. I remember one particular instance in Switzerland where it had been raining for days and he was all doom and gloom, then the minute the sun came out his whole mood did a total 180. It was incredible. Moving to California, both times, has partially been out of luck, but also out of a conscious decision to go someplace where the weather doesn't suck.

But the past few days have got me wondering if it's started wearing off on me, too. Each day of rain and cold left me feeling more grumpy (just ask Zach). Maybe part of it is fluctuating hormones, too, readjusting now that D's gone from nursing 5+ times a day to only twice. I'm feeling better today (as I look outside and see blue sky and SUN) but part of me still feels out of sorts.

I'm frustrated by so many little things around me. The constant messy state of our house. The endless to-do lists that never seem to get checked off. The way I spend so much of my day feeling like my mind is in a fog and can't think clearly. How I feel like I never have anything interesting to say in conversation b/c my life is made up of Donovan and being a mom, and there's only a select few people on this earth that could stand to listen to me talk all day about my kid. How I have so many things I want to do, little things, big things, things for me, for our family, for the house, and no time to do them. I'm frustrated at the qaulity of pictures I'm taking. Always feeling like a mess, with unkept hair and uncute clothes. I think Donovan plays with my makeup more often than I do these days. How hard it is to balance time spent as a family, with my husband, and replenishing myself, in the tiny pockets of time that are nights and weekends.

I keep going over this language thing in my head, and feeling like I;m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I stopped reading the Baby Bilingual book, as the author feels VERY strongly that the BARE MINIMUM you can do is have one parent speak exclusively in the second language, all the time, no exceptions (other than when you're with other people who don't speak it). And sometimes I do feel like I could totally do that. But it would also mean having to spend time every day looking up words, idioms, nursery rhymes, reading for my own linguistic upkeep, and all that means having to sacrifice even more of my "me" time for the sake of my child when it feels like I've already turned my entire life upside down for him. I'm also shocked at how sad it makes me to think of not ever speaking English with Donovan. Languages really do have a deep pull and connection with you. At the same time, it would be such a waste to not do my best to give him the gift of language at this time when it will be so easy for him to pick up, knowing how friggin hard it is to learn another language later on. This debate has been driving me batty, going back and forth, and I guess the solution is to say SUCK IT to that author and just keep doing our half-Spanish/half-English routine and hope for the best. I know I still do/will need to spend time on the side looking up Spanish words and songs, etc, but this also gives me a bit of wiggle room.

(If only one of my Spanish-speaking relatives would move out here so they could speak to Donovan in Spanish always and take some of the pressure off me. C'mon. I know you guys want to....)

I was at the library recently looking for books for me, and not knowing what else to browse through I headed to the parenting section and started looking at the books of motherhood and children. And I couldn't think of a single non-parenthood-related title to look up in the library's database. It struck me, how even my free time is devoted to Being a Mom.

And so I'm realizing that I think something needs to change. I need to re-examine how I spend my days and my free time, ways to be more efficient, things to cut out that are unecessary (like time spent on the computer doing things that don't matter). I have a bad habit of sitting down at the computer after getting D down for a nap, feeling exhausted, and so just mindlessly jumping from website to website, not really getting anything accomplished and not even relaxing. I think that needs to stop. I hate feeling this pressure to make every single minute count, but then again this is my life now and it's not gonna change anytime soon, and I need to figure out ways to either be productive or enjoy myself better during my breaks or else I might just lose it. I also need to get better at finding things to do for myself, even if it's just finding a novel to read for fun for a few minutes every night before bed. And I need to get better at scheduling time for myself, when Zach can take care of D. Zach's been great about trying to encourage me to get time for myself, but too often the weekend comes and goes and between everything else we want/need to get done time for me slips away.

It's a bit of a shock, when the lofty expectations that you had for yourself come crashing down when faced with reality. You expect yourself to be this great mom who does all these wonderful things for your child-- cooking homemade food for them, constantly talking to them and naming things to improve their vocabulary, developing a wide array of songs and nursery rhymes and games to use all day long. And instead you find yourself trying to catch up on emails or read a friend's blog in the 5 minutes before your kid realizes you're not right there next to them anymore, getting frustrated at them for waking up AGAIN or being fussy when you can't tell why. I know I'm a good mom. I know D will grow up to be a great kid, in spite of me not doing all these things for him. But it still takes some work to shake off those expectations, and there are still days when you just wish you could call in sick for once. All I can do, is the best that I reasonably can. I think that's my new mantra.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Did I really recently say motherhood was starting to almost feel easy? B/c I think D heard me, and decided to put me back in my place.

The past week or so he has just been so whiny. I don't know what's going on-- delayed reaction to weaning? (did fine the first couple days of the new "schedule") Teething? The weather? Coming down with a cold? I don't know. But he keeps whining and crying at random times, and I have no idea why, and not only is it frustrating not knowing why your kid's upset it's also exhausting. Today was especially bad. He just went to bed, which is nice, but now I have a headache, right in my right eye socket.

I think I'm done for today. I could go on, but it would just be one long pity party and I don't think anyone's gonna benefit from that right now. So instead I'll try to get to bed early tonight, and hopewe can all get some decent sleep tonight.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spending that rainy-day fund

Zach had today off from work, so we got to have a nice long weekend together. Unfortunately the weather's kinda sucked through all of it (I know we need the rain, but does it really have to be this cold and dreary? [and this is when anyone reading this who's dealing with snow gives me the evil eye]). Zach was determined to have us get out of the house today so we went to the mall and to Borders, which worked out pretty well-- I got to have a nice vanilla latte and catch up on some gossip mags while Zach followed D around the store as he tried to pull books off the shelf (yes, we may have already become those parents).

I also got to go bra shopping at Victoria's Secret. Didn't really come home with much, other than a similar feeling to when I started trying on regular jeans again after 9 months of super-stretchy (aka comfortable) maternity pants. After a year plus of all wireless bras (b/c I read once that underwires make you more likely to get mastitis which I was TERRIFIED of getting), underwired bras might be a bit hard to get used to. Or maybe I'll just stick to wireless. I realize this discussion might fall into the realm of "too much information" but I figure I already crossed that line long ago, you know with all the poop talk.

In other news, Zach and I got some christmas money for, well, christmas, and have been heming and haing on what to do with it. We'd talked of buying a tv, and some other stuff, but those things also didn't really make that much sense when I really thought about it. So we talked some more and decided to use the money to buy a cheapo bike for Zach to keep at work (for when he's running tests and thus has to stay in the vicinity for when the test ends, but has spare time while it's running) and... (drum roll please) a new flash! I rented a speedlite 430ex over the holidays and it was really nice to have, but haven't been able to justify spending the money on buying one for ourselves. Then I looked through Benjamin's photos from D's birthday party, and I was reminded of what.a.difference a good flash (and good bouncing) can make. So, long story short (too late?) tonight I ordered the 430ex from And am super excited for it to come in 3-5 business days. =)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Operation: Bilingual Baby, Take 2

A few months ago I wrote about my plan to speak to D in Spanish for a couple hours every morning. I think that lasted about, um, a week. Too often I'd wake up too dazed to even think, let alone in a different language, and so other than occasionally reading one of his Spanish kids books to him, the Spanish got put aside.

Then I picked up a book from the library called Bringing Up Baby Bilingual, and upon reading the first few pages I already felt my resolve for a bilingual household coming back. The book is written by a woman who is American, but learned French while in college and then living in Paris for a year or 2. Years later she had twin babies, and when they were 10 months old she one day decided to switch over and speak exclusively to them in French. By the time she wrote the book the kids were 6 years old and completely fluent in both French and English.

Her point is that you don't have to be a native speaker to enrich your kids with multiple languages, that anyone can do this. While I don't completely agree with her (she makes it sound like anyone who's even taken an Intro to Spanish class can raise their kids full-immersion in a new language armed with a dictionary and conjugation guide, but then again she also made a comment about hoe breastfeeding is such an easy thing to do b/c it requires no effort on the mom's side... um WRONG). BUT! I am inspired by her efforts, and agree with her that it only makes sense that if you have proficiency in a language you should share that with your children during that time when it will be so easy and natural for them to pick it up themselves.

I still hesitate to go all-out with Spanish, for a couple reasons. One, while my Spanish is pretty good there's still a level of discomfort and unfamiliarity that has grown out of a language lying dormant for so long, and I don't want that distance when speaking and interacting with my own son. Also, I've spent a lot of time carefully choosing (English) books, stories, poems, etc for D, and I hate to not get to share those with him myself.

At the same time, I know that having a structure to it is important, and that the best/easiest way to do so is to have one parent speak exclusively in that language. So what I'm starting to do is to bring back "Spanish mornings," starting when he wakes up and through his first nap time, and maybe even through lunch. When my dad was here a week or 2 ago we spoke Spanish a lot and already I've noticed a difference in the ease with which the language flows. I've also pulled out the small English/Spanish dictionary we have and using it to look up words I can't remember. I'd like to also find a verb conjugation book, too, for when I can't quite remember a tricky tense of those irregular verbs. My hope is that as I speak more, both D and I will get better with Spanish and as I get more comfortable it'll be easier to let it take over more and more of our days. It will also help to have family using Spanish with him, too, and we live in a great area for reinforcing Spanish-- for example, at Gymboree there's 3 other moms who come to the same classes who speak Spanish with their kids. So, I've got good tools and opportunities available to us.

Interestingly, while reading the book and noting the French words thrown in here and there in examples of the author talking with her kids, it struck me how much I do miss French, and how I would love to pass that language on to D as well. We have several French kids books that my mom and dad have given D, so I might just sit down with him a few times a week and read those in hopes of helping me retain some of my French, and exposing him to some, too, in hopes of his little brain having some sort of a framework to build onto if he chooses to learn French when he's older.

I would love for D to be fluent in Spanish. I don't know how realistic that is. I know that even with a half-day of Spanish every day, it is very likely he'll just speak English with me, and that if we don't keep it up into adulthood and beyond he will forget. But, I figure any exposure I give him now can't hurt and will most likely help. At the very least, I hope to give him keys to multilingualism, anything to make it easier later on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Phase 1 of Weaning: Complete

It looks like I've managed to successfully wean D down to just 2 breastfeedings a day now, and it only took a couple weeks! Since we've been worried about his weight and all, we've kept nursing pretty often all day long. I was actually kinda shocked when I recently was reading about how many breastfeeding mothers are down to 3 feedings a day by a year, b/c we were still doing about 5-6 over 24 hrs. But, I started cutting them down, and then we were down to waking, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and then at bedtime. The other day I decided to combine the 2 daytime feeds into one mid-day one right after lunch, but then the day got away from me and before I knew it it was 3pm and figured, what the heck let's keep going with this. And so now we've gone 2 full days with only nursing when he wakes and then at bedtime. It's been a pretty easy process, I realize I'm lucky in that regard-- D hasn't seemed to mind at all (he was fussy for a bit, till I realized he was just HUNGRY so I've been offering snacks and food even more often, and he tends to scarf them down) and I'm not even very uncomfortable-- felt a little "full" by the end of the day, but that's it. When I started breastfeeding I had this concrete goal of nursing through the first year. Now that I've decided to keep at it (even if just twice a day) it's almost weird not having any sort of an end point in sight. Part of me looks forward to being totally done, and part of me thinks it's just going to be so WEIRD to not breastfeed him at all anymore, since it's been such a huge part of our lives together this past year. So we'll see how long Phase 2 of breastfeeding continues. As much as I've looked forward to reaching this point, I don't feel ready to totally stop yet, and am not sure when I will.

I must say, though, I'm so looking forward to going bra shopping now that I won't be restricted to ugly nursing bras anymore. ; ) (BTW browsing the VS website I saw they're selling nursing bras again, I highly recommend this one as it's the only lined, non-full-coverage nursing bra I've come across-- meaning you can actually wear shirts with a semi-low neckline!).

It's funny, after all the worrying about his food intake, I'm now thinking this kid's getting his recommended food allowances and then some. It turns out food portions for toddlers are tiny-- a serving of fruit or veggies is a tablespoon! So when I feed him a 3oz serving of sweet potatoes for lunch that's almost his entire daily recommended intake of fruits and veggies combined. Sweet. My one lingering concern was getting enough milk into him as I cut down on breastmilk. He likes cow's milk, but doesn't drink that much of it, but then again he's still nursing twice a day and he LOVES yogurt, eats at least one 4oz container a day, so I think we're pretty much set there, too.

At his 12 month check-up D was up slightly on his growth curve (first time in months), and this was after being sick for over a week and hardly eating a thing during that time. So it seems he's been eating quite well (when not sick) and packing on the pounds (ounces) lately. He's even got a belly again. I cannot tell you how nice it is to see him eating so well, to know that he's getting good nutrition, to know that I don't have to worry. Of course as soon as I write all this he could decide to go on a hunger strike, and I've often heard how toddlers are notorious for eating almost nothing, so we'll see what happens, but for now it's very very nice. =)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

gDiapers: A Review

I've talked about them here before, but now that we've been using gDiapers consistently for a few months I figured I'd write up a more formal review for those who might be interested.

gDiapers are a cloth-disposable hybrid. There's 3 parts to them-- a cloth outer "little g" pant, a snap-in nylon liner, and then a flushable/compostable/disposable insert. It sounds complicated, really it's not. The neat thing about them is that even if you throw the dirty inserts in the trash, they'll still biodegrade much, much faster than a disposable diaper will (estimated at about 150 days, vs 500 years). There's lots of other info about what they're made of, why they're biodegradable, etc but I'll let you check out the website for that.
The cloth outer pant and liner, separate (note the little orange snaps)
Stack of the flushable inserts, and the whole thing assembled and ready to wear.

D wears gDiapers primarily during the day, Pampers at night. We started this routine right after moving back to the US, and in our temporary housing I was able to flush the inserts down the toilet. Here in our current house we only have 1 toilet and it doesn't seem to handle the inserts well so I don't flush anymore (for the record of the 4-5 homes in which I've tried flushing the inserts-- our house in Switzerland, temp housing, current house, mom's and mom-in-law's homes in Texas--, this is the only one that seemed to have any problem at all, I think we just have weak toilets). We did start a compost pile a few months ago, so we've been able to compost the wet diapers which feels pretty great. It REALLY cuts down on the trash we produce.

Here's a list of the pros and cons I've found with gDiapers:

The Pros:
  • Look way cuter than disposables diapers.
  • Better for the environment.
  • If you're able to flush, then poopy diapers go down the toilet immediately-- meaning NO STINKY DIAPER PAILS. That's one huge bonus right there.
  • Less prone to blowouts. You know how when a baby's wearing disposables and they're sitting down you can kinda see right down to their butt crack? That's always unnerved me somewhat. I mean, if I can see straight down, what's to stop poop from coming right up that loose space? I actually WATCHED that happen once with D, poop spilled right over the back waistband and onto the carpet. The waistband of the gDiapers seem a lot more secure. The ultimate test-- when D was having diarrhea, we had to change his clothes a LOT more often when he was in disposables than in gDiapers.
  • Did I mention that they're cuter?
  • Since they velcro on the back, once your kid starts wriggling, it almost gets easier to get the diaper on as they're trying to crawl away from you.
The Cons:
  • Newborn poop is messy. Until your kid starts solid food, and thus the poop firms up, the liner WILL get poop on it every time baby poops (they even warn you about this in the FAQs). It's not a big deal, but does require some extra steps-- having to be careful getting the diaper off so you don't get poop on the outer pant, snapping off the liner, washing it by hand (or rinsing before tossing in the wash). I do think this gets outweighed by being able to flush the poop right down the toilet, though... And once baby's poop firms up (basically whenever you start solids) this issue goes away. Now D hardly ever gets the liner dirty, so diaper changes simply involve replacing the insert.
  • They are more expensive. I have yet to buy any individual pants for full price ($16.99, although when linking this I just noticed that solid color pants are on sale, 20% through tomorrow--Feb 13), have instead bought the Starter Kit (2 pants, 4 snap-in liners, 10 inserts, swish stick for flushing, all for $27) three times. has both the starter kits and insert refills, I buy them in bulk and get free next-day shipping (love that website). EDIT: I just did a price comparison using and the gDiaper refills cost about the same per-diaper as Pampers diapers.
  • Not as absorbent as disposables. I've had almost no poop leaks, but occasionally the insert has gotten just plain oversaturated and so his clothes get wet. This usually happens if I've left the diaper on too long-- I try to make sure to change them at least every 2 hours. This is why we use Pampers at night, and sometimes if we're going out somewhere and know it'll be difficult to find a place to change D as often as needed, I'll put him in disposables since they hold more and stay dryer.
Since I'm still using them, you can see that for me at least the pros outweigh the cons. I currently have 6 pants (and 12 liners). The website recommends having between 4 and 8 on hand. Most days I just alternate 2 pants, unless one gets dirty (which happens hardly ever). I also keep one or 2 extras in a diaper bag for when we go out. So technically you don't need many, but it's nice having the extras in case you do ha[[en to have a messy day. I'm just not up to using cloth diapers (already have enough trouble keeping up with the laundry), so I really like having this option that not only seems like a superior diaper, but is also better for the environment.

I'm happy to answer any questions not addressed in this post, just leave a comment or email me. Also, there's a Yahoo group of parents who use gDiapers (a good place to look for used pants, if you don't want to buy them new).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My future little techno-geek

Spent a lot of today making a photo book of Donovan's 365 pictures through I've got the photos all in place, just gotta go through and tweak the captions but don't think I'll be getting to that tonight. I might try to make this a yearly birthday thing, making a small photo book as D's birthday gift, tho probably not as long or involved as this one (already I'm taking fewer photos of D since I don't "have to" take them every day).

D and I have been back to Gymboree this week, after missing it for 2-3 weeks thanks to the stomach bug and then plain ole business with the birthday and Daddy's visit and all. I swear when we arrived on Monday morning D's eyes lit up and he seemed so excited to be there.

It's astounding how much more interactive he is now. I remember months ago watching Monika's little girl Audrey, who's about 6 months older than D, watching how she truly seemed to understand what people said to her and would follow commands, etc, and looking at D, 7 or 8 months old at the time, and not quite believing that he'd be at that stage himself in a short time. Yet now he's playing little games with me, like feeding me some of his finger foods (and sometimes taking them away just as I'm about to bite), or taking sips from his sippy cup and then shoving it in my face for me to take a sip, too. We were playing with his basketball hoop and whereas before he'd get a ball through the hoop on occasion, yesterday he was really doing it. One of the gifts he got for his birthday was this cool tower with balls you push through the holes and then they go down a maze, and although he can't push the balls through himself yet he's already figured out how to just put them in through the open sides. Oh, and he's so obsessed with Zach's cell phone that now he even recognizes the RINGTONE and will get all excited if he hears it, even before seeing the actual phone. And forget actually trying to talk on the phone while he's in the room. I'm having a hard time taking videos of him these days as anytime he sees the camera he immediately wants to grab and play with it. He's such a boy, completely obsessed with electronics.

He's getting much better at spotting things he wants and proceeding to point and grunt to indicate that he wants them. The grunts quickly evolve into whines, and then he just starts crying, and can I tell you how much I'm not looking forward to the tantrums that I know are about to come? He's getting tall enough to be able to just spot things on tabletops, meaning they're not really safe anymore, or he'll look down and notice the cell phone/pens/apples on the table as I'm walking past the table while holding him in my arms. We may need to resort to closed boxes to store some of the stuff we don't want him seeing/getting it. Oh, and the area at the edges of tables which he can grasp at is growing each day it seems, so we have to be more careful about that, too. I have a notebook and notepad that I keep next to the laptop on the dining table, and he's pulled them down to the floor a few times already.

I grabbed a couple new books at the library the other day, I've started reading Bringing up Baby Bilingual (which is apparently out of print) which is motivating me to get back at it with speaking Spanish to D (have been seriously slacking the past several weeks), I've also got Bringing Up Boys but haven't started it yet. I didn't used to think a book about what makes boys different would be important, but being around D is making me think there's more to gender differences than just social pressure, so it's a topic I'm curious to look into.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

National Bankruptcy Day?

Today's the day that the new CPSIA regulations go into effect. I unfortunately haven't been keeping up as much with CPSIA news lately. There was hope about a possible 1-year postponement on the enforcing of CPSIA (click here to see the press release), but it seems that, effectively, little has changed or improved. The new lead and pthalate requirements are in effect as before, although the CPSC has said it will not enforce testing requirements till Feb 10, 2010 (but again you still have to comply with the new lead and pthalate requirements and be responsible for anything you sell that's got more than 600ppm lead in it). And although the CPSC won't enforce untill 2010, that doesn't mean other enforcement agencies won't decide to step in and enforce the law and requirement to have testing certificates (sound confusing? That's b/c it is).

So now we're left to mourn businesses that have already disappeared, wait to see if/how the government enforces this law, and what it will mean for the future. I stopped by one local public library a week or 2 ago and asked them hat their plan was for dealing with the CPSIA's effect on libraries, they seemed to believe they had nothing to worry about. You know, I kinda feel like back in the 1999-2000 switch, when people were waiting to see if all our computer systems would crash and life as we know it totally change. I'm really wondering what all this will develop into, and hoping logic and reason prevail.

I'm periodically checking in at the Fashion Incubator blog and National Bankruptcy Day, as well as the twitter discussions, to try to keep up with ongoing news about all this.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Gotta go, but here's some photo (links)

I have a bad habit of spending most of my post-Donovan's-bedtime free-time on the computer, which means that a) I'm hogging it away from Zach, and b) I don't get anything else done in that evening time. So, I'm trying to change that and be more efficient with my time management. We'll see how that goes.

Long story short, I'm trying t owrite a quick post before dinner's ready so then I'll done on here for the night. Not much time for anything meaningful or insightful (or controversial), but I will give you links to photos from D's birthday party on saturday, both the ones off our camera and that Benjamin took. Enjoy. =)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

six word sunday: Funny... till you think about it.

Dono's 1st Birthday-65
When Jenny first mentioned seeing a sign like this one at a playground in San Francisco, I thought it was so funny-- mainly b/c of the irony of how usually it's the other way around (children must be accompanied by an adult). Of course then you stop and think about why the sign is there, and, well, not very funny at all...

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Party

We held D's birthday party today. I'd purposefully kept everything pretty low-key so as to be low-stress, but of course I still found myself stressing out in the hours before the party as I worried about getting things ready, if we had enough food and drinks, how the cake would turn out, etc. The stressing was all for naught, though, as everything went great. We had 6 kids in total, ranging from about 6 months to 2.5 years, and they all seemed to have a blast. It was also great to see our friends again, though the downside of seeing everyone in a big gathering like this is it's hard to really talk to anyone for a significant period. But, it's these sorts of events that then motivate me to make a better effort to make plans with people. We'll see how that goes... ; )

There was a moment in the middle of the party when I looked around and was struck with gratitude at all of these people in our lives, at everyone (present today, and far away) who have shared in this adventure with us and who are here to support us as a family, who share with genuine joy in this milestone as our firstborn turns a year old. It's heartwarming.

I hardly picked up the camera today, but others certainly picked up the slack-- Cyrus got tons of great shots of D eating his cake, and I asked Benjamin to be a sort of semi-official photographer for the party (knowing I'd probably be too busy to take many photos myself, and would want to enjoy moments like the cake eating without having to view them through a viewfinder) and I can't wait to see the photos he took. So, many many photos are still to come... but I couldn't resist sharing just a few tonight:
Cake Smash-1
Cake Smash-4
Cake Smash-3

Friday, February 06, 2009

On Circumcision

I was reading through old posts recently and realized that I don't think I ever talked on here about our decision not to circumcise Donovan. Which surprises me, as it certainly was a topic that weighed heavily on my mind for a while as we talked about this and looked at the pros/cons. So I'm taking time now to write a bit about it, and I'm gonna try to be careful because I know this issue can be pretty controversial and I don't want to start any fights. I just want to open up the discussion a bit-- there's so many things in parenting that I think we take for granted, decisions that we make without exploring other options or really thinking about them (eg., using a crib as baby's bed, giving birth in a hospital, using disposable diapers, etc). With all the other decisions that need to be made when welcoming a new baby, it's understandable that we are glad to just do certain things as everyone else does without questioning, and just be done with it, and for most of this stuff that's basically ok. But I do feel that the decision to circumcise or not should be one that's arrived to through careful consideration and after much thought, rather than just b/c it's "what everyone does."

My first instinct when considering circumcision, was that I'd need a really good reason to do it. I'm not going to have any surgery performed on my kid, foreskin removal included, without good reason. So I started researching. The fact that the AAP doesn't see enough medical reasons to endorsing circumcision said a lot to me.

I also was surprised to note, via various message board discussions, that a pretty large number of couples tend to make this decison mainly because they "want baby to look like his daddy" or "what his future girlfriends might think" as apparently women have an inherent dislike of an uncut penis. I must say, I don't understand this. I don't even agree with cutting a dog's ears or tail to make it look "cuter", so cutting off a very sensitive part of my son's body for a similar reason (aesthetics alone) makes no sense to me. As for the dad thing, I don't know many men who compare their penises to their dad's very often. I can see how a child who sees his dad naked might be confused at seeing him look "different", but I also think there's quite a bit more differences between a grown man's and a young child's penis than the presence of foreskin (maybe dads should all wax their pubic hair till their kids hit puberty, to "look more like their sons").

Here's an analogy that helps show how odd and slightly disturbing I think the above line of reasoning is-- would you give your daughter a boob or nose job so they can "look more like mom?" No? Why are we doing the same to our boys, then?

Then there's the cleanliness aspect. I am a little nervous about eventually needing to teach D how to properly clean himself, but at the same time I don't see it as any different from all the other personal-care basics we'll need to teach him like washing his hands, brushing his teeth, flossing, etc (or needing to teach a girl proper hygiene like always wiping front-to-back). I also expect boys to have a big enough interest in their penis and want to make sure it stays in good shape. ; )

Another reason I heard a lot was the fear of their kids being ridiculed in the locker room due to looking different from all their circumcised peers. About 80% of grown men in the US are circumcised, so this was probably a legitimate concern for them, but rates have been dropping a lot in recent decades and the US average is currently closer to 60% 33% (as of 2009, down from 56% in 2006) So this probably won't be much of an issue for our kids.

There are some medical reasons for circumcising. An un-circumcised male has a slightly higher chance of getting a UTI in the first year of life (1% vs 0.1%). Donovan came down with a UTI at 2 months old, and maybe it was because he's uncircumcised. It wasn't a fun experience, but it didn't affect how I feel about circumcision or our decision to opt out. Also, the UTI risk is balanced by the estimated 1-3% risk of complication from the procedure itself. When we weighed these risks against each other, I felt they didn't tip the scale enough to convince me to circumcise.

Now, of course there's always stories of men who have to undergo painful procedures later in life b/c of some complication that would have been avoided had they been circumcised as a baby. There's probably just as many stories on the flip side. Keep in mind that about 60-70% of the world population does not routinely circumcise. I would assume if complications from not circumcising were that major/prevalent/painful/costly, we'd hear about it more or see more of a movement towards world-wide circumcision.

One last reason for circumcising, and probably the most legitimate one I can think of, is that un-circumcised males may have a higher risk of contracting AIDS or other STDs-- some studies suggest a circumcised man might have a 60% lower chance of getting HIV from heterosexual sex (these studies are very controversial, though, and there's doubt as to their validity). The WHO now recommends circumcision as a tool in HIV prevention, particularly in countries where HIV is still spreading rapidly. I don't have much to counter on this one, other than that I have always been committed to doing everything I can to educate my kids on safe sex and to always use condoms, which is a much more reliable way to prevent STD transmission anyway (I would hate for anyone to rely on circumcision alone as their "protection," and if you're wearing a condom then being cut or not won't matter).

I'm not trying to tell people not to circumcise their boys (ok, I kind of am... a little). But more than anything, I want parents to think about the reasons why they're doing it. To remember that circumcision is a surgical procedure. That it has risks and benefits associated with it, and to weigh those against each other and base your decision on that evidence rather than what your parents did, or what your friends are doing, etc.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Birthday Recap

To celebrate D's birthday we drove back up to Sf, picked Jenny up from work, and headed over to the Warming Hut for a lovely lunch, enjoying the lovely weather and gorgeous views. The Hut also sells all sorts of books and goodies, so since we hadn't bought D anything as a birthday gift (I know, we're terrible parents) I bought him a copy of Good Night, San Francisco to commemorate the day. After lunch we walked down by the water a bit, then dropped Jen off back at work before heading to Golden Gate park to give D some playtime at this super awesome playground we stumbled upon on a while back. I think overall the kiddo had a pretty good birthday. =)
Dono's 1st Birthday-6
Dono's 1st Birthday-17
(We didn't plan well enough to actually have cake for D, but the Hut had these little pastries that we to die for, so we sang him Happy Birthday over those instead)
Dono's 1st Birthday-28
Dono's 1st Birthday-29
Dono's 1st Birthday-63
Dono's 1st Birthday-31
Dono's 1st Birthday-43
Dono's 1st Birthday-68
Dono's 1st Birthday-77
Dono's 1st Birthday-81
He was pretty tuckered out by the end of the day and slept the entire drive back home. We then had a fairly mellow end of the day, and when I put him down to bed I got a little lump in my throat thinking of how this was the end of his First Birthday, and the end of his First Year, how much he's grown already (and how much Zach and I have changed and grown because of it). There's that old nostalgia rearing its head, and at the same time so much excitement about what's to come, which I guess is a feeling to get used to as I doubt that mix will wane anytime soon. It's astounding how much has changed in this past year, how different motherhood feels now than it did 12, 9, 6, 3 months ago. I keep marvelling these days at how lucky I am, because he is just such a joy, so happy, so easy-going, and I'm kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop because motherhood actually almost feels easy.

It is so cool to see how much he enjoys being around me, and also how excited he is to see Zach every day when he comes home from work. He's babbling constantly these days, experimenting with all these different sounds (from long "mamamamamamamas" to "nah"), and I'm trying to listen in for when one of those sounds might have meaning attached to it. Zach's been trying to teach D how to give a "high 5" and yesterday in the bathtub, he actually put his open hand up to meet mine. I still feel exhausted a lot of the time and wish I had more free time, but OH MY GOD this kid is so much fun to be around most of the time and it just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Shots & Weaning

I haven't gotten around yet to uploading the photos from yesterday's trip up to SF for D's birthday, so I might wait and blog about all that tomorrow. Today, we took D in for his 12 month check-up. Zach had work stuff to do, but my dad came along. D's been gaining weight like a champ, up now to over 20lbs (after hovering at 18-19lbs for months) and is eating up a storm these days, I guess to make up for being sick for a week (and a half). He apparently looks healthy all around, good kiddo. He got 3 shots today, and I was worried about how the day would go, but he's handled his past shots really well and today was more of the same (watch, I say that and tomorrow he'll probably be a monster). I felt so so bad for him as they were sticking him with needles today, but after re-reading the Vaccines chapter in Toddler 411 last night, getting these done is just a no-brainer for us.... especially with all the news stories recently of outbreaks of diseases like measles and meningitis.

Daddy flies out tomorrow. He's been having a great time here with D, and I kinda have the feeling that of all the grandparents he might be the one to spoil D the most. Last weekend we were all out at dinner at that Argentinian restaurant and we ordered flan as a dessert, and when I gave D a bite he LOVED it and kept trying to shove the spoon back in his mouth to get another taste. I gave him 4 small bites and then figured that was enough, don't want to give him too much sugar. Well, D did not agree with this. He wanted more flan (it is in his blood, after all). And of course, Daddy's sitting there saying, "But you should give him more! It's good for him!" lol I can see the future now... ; )

It's kinda funny getting used to the idea of having a "toddler" instead of a "baby." Not that D's seemed very "baby-ish" at all for a while. It's nice knowing a lot of the dietary constraints are gone now that he's one (he seems to be loving cow's milk, btw). It's also really weird to start the process of weaning him. It seems most kids by 1 year are down to 3-4 feedings (BF or bottle) already, but b/c of worries about his weight and health we've held steady at about 5-7 feedings in 24hrs (about every 3 hrs during the day). Now I'm cutting that down to 4-5, and it feels so weird to be going even 4 hours between nursings, like I'm having to shake off the guilt of "depriving" him. And at the same time, it's pretty freeing. My biggest worry with weaning has been how to make sure he's still getting enough nutrition without the breastmilk, but the advice I keep finding is that kids will eat what they need, and to just make sure to offer healthy food all day long, and they'll take care of the rest. So that's what I'm trying to do. D doesn't seem terribly attached to nursing, so I don't think this process will be that difficult on him-- I honestly think I could just cut him off cold-trukey and he'd be ok. Also, I hardly ever seem to get engorged at all anymore even when I'm late on a feeding or missed one (which is part of what's made me question my supply to begin with) so I'm also benefitting on that front. The goal is to cut down to 2 nursings a day (morning and bedtime) as long as I still want to/my supply keeps up, since the health/immunity benefits are still pretty significant into the 2nd year of life. We'll see how that goes. I'm pretty much playing all this by ear (by boob? sorry, couldn't resist).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Donovan is the birthday boy, they say!
Donovan is the birthday boy today!

Cannot friggin believe it. This is one of those times where it feels like time's just flown by, but at the same time when I think back to one year ago today it feels like forever ago. It's been one crazy year, filled with what might just be the lowest lows and highest highs of my life. It's true, btw, the pain of labor and birth have faded immensely by now-- I can tell b/c I no longer shiver when I think of it. But I also know without a doubt that however bad it felt at the time, it's so totally, completely worth it. B/c this little guy is the Coolest Person On Earth.

I put together a slide show of pictures of little D growing up over the past year. It runs a little fast, b/c I set it to fit to the song but still included too many pictures. I am not exaggerating when I say I've taken thousands of pictures of him, and whittling them down to even 150 was TOUGH. So just watch it a few times if you need to. ; ) I showed it to Zach the night I'd finished, and he teared up halfway through. I take that as a sign I did good on it.

Music: Me and You by Ray Herndon
BTW go to the youtube page and watch it in "high quality". it looks a lot better.

(A word on the music: I remember when this song first came out must've been back in the early 90's sometime, I think sung by Kenny Chestney [before he decided to be the next Jimmy Buffet]. Then a few years ago Zach took me to go see Lyle Lovett play for my birthday. One of the members of his band, Ray Herndon, happened to also be the opening act as he had a solo album out. And he played this song. Turns out he's the original writer. We bought his CD as Zach and I both really liked all his stuff, and this one song quickly became a favorite again. And anytime I heard it while pregnant I'd start tearing up thinking about the little baby we would soon be holding. I know it's intended to be a song about romantic love, but I think it also is fitting for the love between a parent and child and was the first to come to mind when I thought of this little project.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Photos: SF Zoo

San Francisco Zoo-3
San Francisco Zoo-21 (cropped)
San Francisco Zoo-29
San Francisco Zoo-33
San Francisco Zoo-58
San Francisco Zoo-79
San Francisco Zoo-89
San Francisco Zoo-93
San Francisco Zoo-107
San Francisco Zoo-109
San Francisco Zoo-112

These were all taken with the 70-300mm lens and man was that thing fun to play with. It was slightly annoying at times that you can't focus on anything closer than 5ft, and it would limit how often I'd use this lens of I owned it, but it was awesome to have at the zoo and I am really impressed with how sharp so many of the photos are (and the ones that aren't are more from user error than anything to do with the lens). See the rest of the day's photos here.

We bought a family pass to the zoo, so I'm sure we'll be taking a few more trips up there over the next year and get more practice at photographing the animals.


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