Archive for the ‘Nicole’ Category

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Me Time – It’s All The Rage

July 29, 2009

I don’t get any Me Time. Why is that?

I am not overly controlling when it comes to Penny. I’ve accepted that Court puts her diapers on differently than I do. I know when he changes her clothes, chances are they won’t be a matching outfit. I know his version of “getting up with Penny on the weekend” entails Penny falling back asleep in her bouncer chair while Daddy plays Wii. And I know that when he feeds her, not one drop hits her bib, and the dishes are empty when they’re done. I’m ok with all of that, because I know to stress out about any of it will just drain me more than I already am drained. I do admit though, I let him swaddle her to go to sleep, and I let him do it his way. But after 3 or 4 attempts where she just won’t go to sleep, I’ll go and swaddle her my way. It works – most of the time.

I don’t have too much of an issue leaving Penny with babysitters either (babysitters being Nana and Grampa or her other Grandpa or Grandma). I don’t feel the need to leave them with 600 instructions, although I might leave a few. I’ll point out if she has a diaper rash, or let them know where the food is. I don’t try to tell them how to feed her. I don’t panic when we come home while she’s eating and – heaven forbid – doesn’t have a bib on. They’ve all done this before. Court and I both survived, so that has to stand for something.

So if Court can handle being alone with Penny, why don’t I get any Me Time. And if we can handle leaving Penny with grandparents, why don’t we get any Us Time?

I know why I don’t get any Me Time. But I don’t understand why. Why is it that I feel like I need to be SuperMom? I have this obsession with proving to everyone (who everyone is, I’m not sure) that I can do it. I can hack being a parent. I can take Penny and do groceries without any help. I can do all the running around that needs to get done. I can do the housework… oh who am I kidding? I don’t do housework. I do some laundry – when it gets hard to climb Mount Laundrynus to get into the bedroom, or when the lack of clean underthings becomes an issue. But why do I need to prove this to everyone? No one has ever said anything to me to the contrary. I’ve never felt awash by someone’s doubt that I can be a good mom.

Because I need to be SuperMom – I need to carry Penny in my mei tai, and have 16 grocery bags on my arm, and the dog on the leash, and that 20-foot high ball of laundry from the commercial is chasing me down – I don’t get Me Time.

I want to go swimming, just for something to do. Actually it’s one of very few things that I can envision myself doing sans baby or husband. I honestly don’t know what else I would do without them. Maybe I’d consider taking some classes at the University and start on a degree in HR. It’s hard to justify that though when the classes are in the $400 range EACH and you need like 30 of them for the degree. We’re building a house right now, people! $400 is 1/3 of a mortgage payment! The only other thing I could see myself doing alone is shopping. Ah, Retail Therapy. Nothing can beat spending money, especially on wants, not needs. Although if it’s needs we need, then by all means therapy away! But then again, we’re building a house here, people! Hmm, not so much retail therapy then.

Going for a walk by myself is not a Me Time option. I feel bad because the dog could be walking with me. If I take the dog, Court feels guilty for not taking her for a walk, and then he has to come too. And if the dog and Court come with me, well… Penny has to come too. Strange how that works.

I know I need Me Time. And after 6 months of not having any Me Time, I sort of need it desperately. I just don’t know how to get it or what to do with it when I do have it.

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Body After Baby – Week #2

July 20, 2009

Week #1 Review

Oh crap. I suck in the motivation department. Last week, I made goals of:

  • Eating breakfast every day
  • Walking the dog every day
  • Doing a 10-minute FitDadSays.com workout
  • Doing a Wii cardio workout 3 times

And I can happily say that I got tons of footrubs last week! Meaning… not so much of what was on my goal list. I ate breakfast most days, usually a bowl of Cheerios. I missed a couple of days though. I think the problem I have with breakfast right now is that I don’t get up until about 10am, and by the time I feed Penny and pour coffee into me, and decide I’m actually hungry – it’s lunch time.

We – as in Court, Penny, Hershey and myself – went for a walk around the block the other night. But that was it in the walking department. In my defense, 30 degrees Celsius is NOT conducive to walking outside until the sun goes down. And by then I’m so tired I can’t be bothered to move. I also blame this partly on Court. Of course, none of it has to do with me! (Yes, I’m not stupid. I know it’s all me. Stop making excuses.) But Court has plantar fasciitis (sp?). He was supposed to see the PT on Thursday, but they were sick, and he’s rescheduled in for tomorrow. His feet have been absolutely killing him. It’s really hard to get all of us up for a walk, when I know walking hurts him. But last night he soaked his feet in a big tub of hot water, and said it helped a bit. And he goes to the PT tomorrow. So hopefully we’ll get our family walks in here pretty quick.

I tried the FitDadSays.com workout. Once. And I couldn’t do 8 burpees. But I did the rest! And wasn’t gasping for breath like Court does (give him a break, he’s asthmatic). It seemed simple enough to do. But I think I need to do it when Court’s not around. He’s ok doing it (and did do it almost every night), but I feel like an idiot flopping around trying to do things like burpees. Don’t know what a burpee is? Click here. If a 10-minute workout sounds good, hope over to FitDadSays.com’s YouTube Videos for his many 10-minute workouts.

And did I do my cardio workouts on the Wii? Well, yes. Once. It’s Gold Gym’s Cardio Workout for anyone who was wondering. Mostly you shape box. While rocking back and forth from one foot to the other. It’s actually the rocking that keeps your heart rate up, and boy is it hard to do! Especially with the speed they have it at.

So for Week #1’s review, no I didn’t meet my goals. I didn’t even come close. BUT…it is definitely better than I was doing before we started.

Week #2 Goals

I’m going to continue with last week’s goals, mostly. But I’m going to work on getting up earlier so I can make eating breakfast at breakfast-time my goal. So this week, I want to get up by 9:00 every day (weekends don’t count), and eat breakfast within a half hour of getting up. I still want to walk the dog every day, but I’m going to try to do it in the morning. I’m still going to try to do my 10-minute workout every day, but I’m going to check some of FitDadSays.com’s other videos because he has some aimed at abs. And this baby-tummy needs work. And… I’m still going to do the cardio 3 times.

I am off to a good start for this week. I bought breakfast (a bagel from Tim Hortons… it’s still breakfast!), but didn’t get a chance to eat it until about 12:30. And I took Penny and Hershey for an almost hour long walk at the off leash park. Hershey got to run off leash for the first time, which let me focus on walking and making it count. And I learned that 10-11am during the week is a great time to go to the off leash park! I’m going to finish posting this, and do my 10-minute thing, and I think I’ll even turn the cardio workout on until Penny wakes up (which should be anytime now).

For the record, I didn’t lose any weight, and I didn’t gain any weight. But this afternoon, I feel good!

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Help with starting solids

July 14, 2009

Penny has been (almost) exclusively breastfed for the last 6 months. I started dabbling with solids (ie. purées) about a month ago. And we’re still dabbling.

Breastfeeding is the easiest way to feed her! I don’t want to give that up – not the breastfeeding part, the easy part. Now I have to mix pablum, and heat puréed foods. It was so much simpler just to lay down with her on the bed and let her glug away for 20 minutes or so. Plus, it was time for us together. I can’t even read while she nurses – she knows and does nasty things like biting me.

I love breastfeeding her and I’m not going to give that up yet. But mostly, I just don’t know how to feed her solids. It’s one of those things that I don’t just instinctively know, and I haven’t been able to find much information on.

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Yes, at 6 months you should start solids. You should start pablum (rice cereal). You move on to puréed foods like single vegetables (sweet potatoes come to mind). You should progress to lumpy foods next, and small cut up food after that (once they master the pincer). And all of this assumes you’re not going to foray into baby-led solids.

But I don’t know how to integrate solids into our routine. I would really love to find a guide that says for the first week, do this, then add this for the next week. I know everything is going to be guidelines, and you don’t have to follow what doesn’t work for you. But SOME direction would be nice.

Currently, I’m trying to make it part of our routine to feed Penny a breakfast of 1 tbsp of pablum mixed with about a third of a jar of sweet potato purée, plus a few spoonfuls of apples and raspberries for dessert. But on days when she slept through most of the night, she wakes up STARVING. I grab her and latch her on for a quick, easy breakfast. Then we all got sick and I went back to just breastfeeding for ease and hydration. I’m trying to get back to our breakfast routine, but every day is different. One day she gets breakfast and no other solids. One day she doesn’t get breakfast but eats solids 2 other times.

So, ignoring the fact that I am interested in baby-led solids and incorporate that to some degree, does anyone have any information to help me establish a solid food routine for a 6 month old?

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes

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Never Good Enough

July 14, 2009

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those days called Mon-day? Or how about Mon-day the 13th? AKA a bad day… (for the record, I don’t believe 13 is an unlucky number, and I don’t think black cats are bad luck – I had 2… at the same time…)

I’m having one of those days. Nothing happened that was particularly bad, or should make me grumpy, but there it is – I am. The phone woke me up, but it was 10:30 so I can’t complain. The optician’s office – where I was going to take Penny to get her glasses adjusted this morning anyway, so I didn’t answer it. Ended up not taking her, but that’s life.

About 10.2 seconds after I got back into bed, the phone rang again. My dad, with information about step-by-step instructions for feeding Penny solid foods. I’ll get into that in another post, since it’s something I want more information on.

The cable/TV/phone provider was scheduled to come between 12 and 5 because my internet connection keeps going up and down. When they checked from their end, they said yup, my modem is shot. Tech came last Friday, replaced some amplifier part and left. It didn’t fix the problem, so we rescheduled for this afternoon. This tech came and basically said he couldn’t do anything because of the thunderstorm we had. They’re going to run a brand new line from the pole out in the alley, separate from our neighbours because we’re in a duplex, but a different department needs to call and schedule that with me.

A couple of times in the last few days I’ve seen people reacting rather quickly and to be honest, a little rudely. Happened again this afternoon. It hasn’t affected me directly, but just watching the exchanges between other people riles me up sometimes. I want to remind people about the immediacy and permanency of everything you say on social networking sites. The old adage comes to mind “Think before you speak.”

But more than all of this, I repeatedly find myself wondering if I’m good enough. Am I a good enough mom and parent, a good enough wife? I recently applied for a job and asked for a certain amount for compensation. And I’ve spent the last 2 days wondering if I’m good enough to make that amount of money. I’m constantly wondering “Am I good enough”, and in my mind, I’m not. Last week I said “You know when you were a JR in HS and think the SRs are so smart and cool? That’s how I feel about some of the moms on here.” I read what these moms have to say, and I feel like I can’t even begin to approach the league they are in. They use language that is well beyond the average grade 6 level. So even when I am interested in something they have to say, I read it and I feel like I understand maybe every 3rd word. I feel like I am playing pretend at being a parent when you put me beside one of them. They just know everything, and I can’t hope to have the knowledge even after 50 years of being a mother.

There’s more too. I realize my family thinks they know everything, and I of course, know nothing. So they give me “advice” and I’m expected to follow it. Like being told months ago that my siblings were only breastfed till they were 9 months because babies shouldn’t be breastfed any longer than that. Well, Penny’s 6 months old. So I’m pretty sure in another 2 or 3 months I’ll start getting pressured to wean. And I don’t want to. I want to be strong enough to stand up to what they say to me, but for some damn reason I feel like I’m not good enough for them if I don’t do what they say. I don’t know why what they think means so much to me, and why I’m always seeking approval from them. But it’s approval I never get, and has left me in tears on many, many occasions. Things like being told I shouldn’t work from home because Penny needs to be socialized so she doesn’t end up anti-social like her parents. Then I go to a play date, and get asked well why would I do that? I’ll be honest. I would really like to spend time with my family, but when we do I feel like I never live up to any of their expectations, and that they have to go out of their way to accommodate us visiting. So rather than willingly spending time with them, I force us to visit so that they can have time with Penny. I put up with the criticism and snide remarks, then go home either fuming or crying.

What else? Right, I’m not a good enough blogger. One of the magazines I read is looking for mommy bloggers to blog for them. I’d love to do that! But seriously? What do I have to say that’s interesting to anyone else? I’m a new mom, but I’m doing the same thing every other mom is right now. I don’t have any particular bits of wisdom to impart (refer to the pretend-mom paragraph above). I’m not a reviewer (I thought MakesMomHappy.com was the greatest blog ever, and then I found out there’s about 672 other review/giveaway blogs out there). But I SO wish that I had something to say that people wanted to listen to. Something that brought people to my blog regularly, and could start discussions, and could make people think.

Oh, and one last thing? Why do I feel like being a breastfeeding mom has to go hand-in-hand with co-sleeping and babywearing and attachment parenting and cloth diapering and eco-consciousness? Can’t you do one without being expected to do all the others?

So yeah, that’s how my day is going. How about yours?

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Go Team Magenta!

July 13, 2009

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Samantha @ MamaNotes is hosting a Body After Baby Challenge, with a new sub-challenge of 8 weeks to be fit by Labor Day.

So many moms and even 2 dads have joined! Samantha had to split us into teams so that we can cheer on our little group. On Team Magenta is me, my husband Court, Srr, Heather, and Danielle. We’ll be cheering each other on for the next 8 weeks through various goals.

What I intend to accomplish over the next 8 weeks is just a split-off off my long term goals.

8-week Goals
Lose 15 pounds of baby weight (to get back to prepregnancy weight). To accomplish this, I will:

  • Do a 10-minute workout from Fit Dad Says every day (the one we’re working on right now is 30-second mountain climber, 15 reverse lunges per leg, 12 pushups [I do crunches], 15 overhead squats, 30-second plank, and 8 burpees). Fit Dad Says has videos of how to do everything. Right now I can only get through the list once. Actually, I can’t even finish the burpees right now. But that will get better the more I do them, and then I should be able to do 2 sets in 10 minutes, maybe a bit more.
  • Use my cardio workout on the Wii 3 times this week
  • Take the dog for a walk every day, even if it is just around the block
  • Eat breakfast every day (I’d better get on this one. It’s 12:30 and I haven’t eaten yet)

Srr, Heather and Danielle, I’ll be visiting you shortly to say hi and leave some words of encouragement! Go Team Magenta!

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My birth experience

June 28, 2009

We didn’t plan to get pregnant. But Penny wasn’t an accident either. I stopped taking birth control 6 months before we got married. I’ve heard it takes 3 months to get birth control out of your system, and we figured even if I got pregnant right away, 3 months pregnant at the wedding was acceptable to us. I didn’t get pregnant until 7 months after our wedding.

For the first time in a few years, I’d actually motivated myself enough to go to work out with my best friend. We were talking about if I could be pregnant. I was having pain in my lower stomach that felt like the day before I’d get my period. I always had bad cramps, and the day before I’d start getting a dull ache. That’s what it felt like all the time. And my breasts were very tender. I had 2 pregnancy tests that I had taken about a week and a half before, which showed up with VERY faint pink lines. I chalked it up to the fact that they’d been sitting just inside an open window all winter. The day after exercising with my friend I went and bought a pregnancy test. And it was positive! Court was cleaning the litter box when I tapped him on the shoulder and held up the test. He kind of shrugged and said, “Yeah? And what does that mean?” I laughed and told him I was pregnant! I was due December 24th (of all days in the year…)

I was late (according to the doctors). But I was going to a Low Risk Obstetrics Unit, and one of the doctors explained that if I refused to be induced 10 days past my due date, I would be considered high risk and wouldn’t be able to give birth there anymore. Court has had 2 day surgeries at their hospital and we really liked all of the staff and how friendly they were. We told them we’d be back to have our babies there. I tried…

We drove to the hospital in High River (an hour away) for 8am Saturday morning, January 3rd, to be induced with Cervadil (to ripen the cervix and hopefully get me dilating). Before we left, they said I was having contractions about 11 minutes apart, but I couldn’t even feel them yet. We went home, putzed around a bit, then I had a nap. When I woke up I was having contractions, but wasn’t too sure they were contractions. I didn’t want to get Court worked up for no reason, but they seemed pretty close together, so I asked him to time them. 2 minutes apart and lasting a minute each! I called the hospital to ask if I should come in. Of course they said yes. It just seemed strange to me that there was no build-up, so I didn’t really believe I was in labour. Once we got to the hospital they checked me out and unfortunately I still wasn’t dilating very much. They also had 3 women in their delivery rooms already, with only 3 rooms in the hospital.

They kept me overnight, using morphine and laughing gas to get through. Because of the cervadil, at one point I was having 4 or 5 contractions one on top of the other, with no break in between. I remember trying to push my head through the bathroom wall because it hurt so bad. I remember vomiting once because of the pain. But they’re distant memories now. The morphine might have slightly helped, but not so that I’d remember it now. The laughing gas was interesting! I would use it all the way through a contraction, and the next, and the next, until I’d just about pass out. I had to start using it for the contraction, then switch to oxygen in between. Trying to get comfortable and get some sleep was not fun. I am not a back sleeper, but every time I tried to lay on my side the contractions would get stronger. I should have clued into this at the time, but hindsight is 20/20! The next morning my contractions were down to 20 minutes apart, a little bit more dilation (but still only 3 cm), and I wasn’t hurting during the contractions. At one point the nurse asked me if my water had broke. I said no, but she said my bed was wet. So I’m one of those lucky ones whose water broke and didn’t even know it!

After the anaesthetic guy, obstetric surgeon and on-call doctor had a talk, they decided that for a number of reasons, they didn’t feel safe delivering Penny there. Mostly because of how much water I was retaining would make it hard to put any drugs into my spine. They shipped me off to the Rockyview (allowing us to get ourselves there, not by ambulance).

Rockyview was also very busy and we had to wait for a delivery room. But I did get some measure of priority because I’d already been in labour overnight and my water had broken the night before. We got into a delivery suite about 8pm, got on the epidural and oxytocin and started from there. Sometime between midnight and 7am (I’m not too sure when…it was pretty boring) they got me started on pushing during contractions. It feels like it was only maybe 10 contractions, but they told me it had been two and a half hours. The doctor was concerned because I wasn’t progressing at all and started talking about vacuum extraction. I had let my epidural wear off a bit so that I could feel the contractions and push, and all of a sudden the doctor said yep, we’re doing the extraction. I didn’t have time to get the drugs back up so it hurt like hell. Penny made her very delayed appearance at 7:26am on January 5th. For those keeping track, that’s 47.5 hours since I was induced with the cervadil (but about 24 hours of labour, and maybe 3 or 4 of active labour).

They got Penny out and took her to clean up and I guess I just lay on the bed for about an hour and a half while they stitched me up, pulled my placenta out for me and dealt with a major hemmorage. I knew something was wrong but they didn’t say anything, so I didn’t even want to ask. Court just stayed with me and held my hand and talked me through it. I had to make him go take pics of Penny.

My birth experience didn’t turn out the way I’d wanted it. I didn’t want an epidural, but I wasn’t against pain relief. I know that if you get an epidural, you’re more likely to need other forms of medical intervention, and I just didn’t want to go down that road. I wanted to deliver in High River, and ended up in Calgary instead. I wouldn’t have opted for a vacuum extraction (who would?), but it is better than a cesarean. Since Penny was born, Alberta has started covering the cost of midwives ($3000-$3500). Midwives have hospital privileges, so you can have home birth, in a birth centre or at a hospital with a midwife. This is the route I’d like to go for the next time. I’ll also look at having a doula, but they aren’t covered so I’ll start saving now.

I want to move around, I want it to be more natural than it was. But more than that, I’d like to be in the comfort of my own home for the recovery. It was more of a stress for me to be sharing a room with a screamer who wasn’t getting enough to eat, and having a migraine that the hospital couldn’t give me any drugs for. I want to prepare myself better for the next pregnancy and birth, including yoga to limber up, and hopefully having less of a pre-pregnancy weight than I did this time. It’s a process I’m going to start now, in hopes of having an experience I want next time.

This post naturally leads into

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A Lighter Side of the Recession: Having a Baby in 2009

June 25, 2009

Welcome Babies of 2009 Carnival Readers! Once you’ve read my story, wander on down to some of the other links at the bottom of my post!

It doesn’t matter what news media you read or listen to – everyone, everywhere is telling you we’re in a recession.

re·ces·sion An extended decline in general business activity, typically two consecutive quarters of falling real gross national product.

People everywhere are losing their jobs, which is especially hard if you’ve just had a baby. My heart goes out to all the parents who have lost jobs recently, but especially those from our prenatal class. Some of them just keep pushing on and make ends meet. Others see it as a great time to get in on the reality tv show trend, like one couple who is a top 5 finalist for the My Rona Home show (CityTV this fall), where they build their own house in a head-to-head competition against another couple. The winners get to keep the house they built, plus all the furniture and accessories in it. The “losers” get to keep the furniture and accessories, and have the option to purchase they house they built. All in all, that’s not a bad deal, I’d say. From what I understand, the participants will be able to get friends to help them, as long as they are not tradespeople. The couple we know are well… not housebuilders by trade, so hopefully getting to watch them build their house is going to be amusing to say the least. Our fingers are crossed for them that they are one of the two couples who get to compete. They deserve the house!

For those who, thankfully, didn’t lose their jobs, times are tough. I’ve heard of normally-annual raises not happening, as well as salary increases being rescinded after the fact. When you’ve just started maternity leave and are bring in 55% of the bacon you used to be, the BLT is looking more like an LT. Then you find out that your amazingly hard-working husband is getting a raise, YAY! It lifts a bit of a load off your shoulders, you can afford the name brand diapers again. Wait… nope. Come February, hubby’s company decides that times are tough for them too and they’re going to take away the aforementioned raise. Oh well, we didn’t have it long enough to enjoy anyway. But speaking of name brands… Whether you have a baby or not (but more often when you have a baby), you do constant battles with name-brand versus generic when stretching your meager dollars out.

When to buy the name-brand:

  • Kraft cheese slices
  • French’s yellow mustard
  • Heinz ketchup
  • soft drinks
  • baby food (the generic contains almost 10x the sodium in the two I compared)
  • electronics (you have a new baby – you really think you can afford new electronics? ha!)
  • some people say Oreos – personally I like to store brand cookies, but Chips Ahoy, definitely name-brand!
  • Kraft peanut butter
  • Kraft Dinner (the generic is edible, but it ain’t no KD)

When to buy the generic brand:

  • Q-tips (or whatever the non-branded product is)
  • Superstore or Costco diapers (apparently work well, I haven’t personally tried them yet)
  • Fruity-O’s (generic Fruit Loops)
  • over-the-counter medications (they contain the same amounts of the same ingredients at half the price)
  • organics (according to AOL Money & Finance certified organic is certified organic regardless of the brand, so you will pay more than non-organic, but still less than branded organic)
  • pasta
  • Ichiban noodles (can’t think of the generic product name)

Obviously there will be other products in each category, depending on your preference and experience with them. Just keep in mind with food, check the labels. Quite often, generic brands have high sodium content which is a concern if you’re overweight like me and my husband. Then again, like Chad Skelton says in his recent article “Are Cheerios too high in salt to be healthy baby snack?“, some brand name products are high in salt too. Apparently Cheerios have as much salt as 30 potato chips!

Looking at the generic versus brand-name debate, I think I am going to embark on a weekly test of which is better. I will keep it focused on items bought at the grocery store (which is Safeway in my case – go AIRMILES!). Check back on Monday for my first review – peanut butter!

Money Talks … but all mine ever says is Goodbye!

When you have a baby, you quickly learn that you need to cut costs. But where do you cut, and where do you splurge? In a nod to my health, the environment and my wallet, I walked to the grocery store the other day. Packed up Penny in the mei tai, put the leash on the dog, and walked the 11 blocks. I only bought 2 small bags of items meant for dinner that night (thanks alot, Melodie! I was attempting her Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad and didn’t have any of the ingredients). While in the store, it started POURING outside. I mean, the heavens let loose and if I’d bought some shampoo, I could have gone out and had a shower in it! The kid was bored and fell asleep – dead weight on my chest, the dog was terrified of the storm, and I was stuck 11 blocks from home. I couldn’t cab it, a la dog. If I started walking, we’d all be soaked. I seriously thought about calling my husband to leave work early, take the bus and come help me get us all home. Then I realized that would just make 4 of us soaked. In the end, another wonderful mother going in offered us a ride home, which we declined. So she lent us a blanket to cover sweet, sleeping, sack-of-potatoes kid. 20 minutes or so later, the storm passed on, we gave back the blanket, and slowly trudged home. Lesson learned: little bit of gas saved, maybe 0.2 ounces of weight lost, and 1 less footstep in our carbon footprint, but next time I’m driving to the store!

My one last attempt at saving money because of having a baby, is a library card. Invest in it! Stop supporting the big-box stores and buying $35 hardcovers that you read once, languish on your bookshelf (or stacked on your floor or dresser or even your couch), then get donated or recycled. Go spend the $13 or whatever it was on a library card. But, and this it a HUGE but, while you are still standing at the library counter, having checked out 6 books on parenting, 4 baby lullaby CDs, a recipe book for the husband, and one fiction novel that mostly likely won’t get read – take out your phone and program your return date in the calendar! If you let those 8 books and 4 CDs sit on your kitchen counter with the intent to return them the next time you head that way, you’ll find yourself with $21.85 worth of overdue fees when you finally make it there.

The biggest money saver at any time, no matter when you have your baby, is to breastfeed. It’s FREE! You can invest in some nursing clothes, but you don’t NEED them. You can invest in a breastpump or rent one (from OneTinySuitcase.ca), but you don’t NEED it. You don’t need bottles. You don’t need to worry about sterilization. You don’t need to carry everything with you when you go out. There’s just you. You and 2 built-in bags of pre-sterilized, customized-for-your-baby milky goodness!

There really are ways to save money when you have a new baby during a recession. The most useful one though, is to not be me.


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Drifting

June 18, 2009

The last few weeks have been… odd for me. I feel down and a bit depressed.

I’m not getting any work done around the house (not like I did much before, but now I’m not even doing the laundry and that was MY Thursday thing).

I want the elliptical moved out the garage because it was $60 and it doesn’t have an even stride on it. I love ellipticals. I thought great, I can get on there when Penny’s playing, and lose some of my baby weight (still 20 lbs to go). NOT! I want to clean out Penny’s room – she doesn’t use the swing, and now that she’s a rolling machine she doesn’t need the bouncer. There’s excess crap in there that needs to be either moved downstairs or gotten rid of to make it a little girl’s room.

I want the crap cleaned off the kitchen table. I mean, it’s not like we use it, but it has seriously become a catch-all for everything that doesn’t have its own place. Toaster, wine glasses, 3 dish towels, vase of flowers my wonderful husband brought me because he thought I was down, tupperware containers, a bowl set that I want to get rid of, a basket full of bottles and pump parts. Not to mention the box underneath the table with food for the food bank and a bag of old washcloths that I’m getting rid of.

The bathroom needs to be cleaned. Our room needs to be vacuumed. The runner is still sitting on the front step from when I swept. The front garden bed has grass growing into our bedroom window (not literally but it’s about 3 feet tall), the dog can’t find a place to do her thing in the backyard because THAT grass is so tall. I had been making an effort to go through our stuff downstairs and get rid of garbage and junk and repack (neatly) the stuff that we still need to keep. Then I go downstairs yesterday and it looks like someone dropped a bomb in the basement. The lawnmower and weed-whacker are down there (because our landlord has yet to get the previous tenant’s shit out of the garage). My computer is in pieces down there. There’s boxes of crap, there’s rubbermaid buckets of crap. Oh crap, there’s my all-season tires which should be on my car. It’s June and 30 degrees and I have winter tires on still. Then again, it took me until December 10th to get the winter’s put on.

I just look at everything that needs to be done around here and I feel like shutting down. I can’t do it all myself, and I’m not even expected to. Court’s a big help. He’s been doing laundry the last couple of weeks (even though our definitions of “doing laundry” differ). Court cleans the kitchen… it’s his domain, and if I even dare wash one sink of dishes or put clean ones away, he goes into a tailspin thinking he’s not good enough for me and doesn’t do enough around the house for me. He remembered to take the diapers out before the garbagemen came this morning – for which I’m thankful. He does extra work for people on the weekends to make some extra money (which I am oh so good at spending). He’s a great husband! He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like a queen. If he’s getting up, do I need anything. If he’s sitting down with me, do I need anything. Can he get me a drink, do I want my feet rubbed, do I want to change the channel? He’s supportive of everything I do, and everything I could want to do. He’s supportive of me. He loves me and is very vocal (sometimes a little too vocal) about it. And he likes to show me he loves me too. He’s perfect for me, we’re perfect for each other.

So when he asked me last night why it feels like everything he does is wrong, and things don’t feel right between us, I adamantly said no, nothing’s wrong. But something IS wrong. I’m reminded of the movie Juno. “I feel like something has come between us,” she says, with a very pregnant belly in between them as they try to hug. Something has come between us, and her name is Penny. We both love her very much. We both devote our time and energy to her. It hasn’t left much for us, individually or as a couple.

I know we’re not the first parents to be affected by having a baby. By the way, have you noticed that I really hate when people tritely say “You’re not the first woman/parent/mom/couple/person to be go through __________”? I don’t care how many people have gone through it before me. They are not me. They don’t have my life experiences to know how to respond to any given situation the way I need to respond to it.

Anyway, back to drifting apart. I can go to all the parenting websites and read about making sure we have a date night just for us. The articles I read though just seem so impersonal and fact based, and don’t take into account what’s actually happening in different people’s lives. For example, I am exclusively breastfeeding. I have been unable to pump any significant amounts of milk (hence my email to Stacey at OneTinySuitcase.ca to come get the pump I rented). Penny refuses to eat formula (SMART GIRL!), and refuses to drink from a bottle. She doesn’t eat enough solids yet to base a meal solely on that. And she still eats every 2 hours during the day (day being when I get up to when I go to sleep). So tell me, how are we supposed to go out for dinner without her? How are we supposed to go to a movie without her? Penny goes everywhere with me. At this point, I am her supplier of all things food related, and I don’t see that changing overnight.

Maybe that’s what’s bothering me. We’ve been experimenting with solids – some pureed, some solid food like cantaloupe and cucumber. The solids don’t make a full meal for her yet. But maybe I’m depressed by the realization that soon they will be, and I’m mourning the nursing sessions that solid food will replace. I also have no idea how to transition to solids. Sometimes she’ll eat something, then nurse after. Sometimes she’ll eat a full meal of solids, but then that will leave me engorged. Or this is what happens in my mind – we haven’t actually tried yet.

Has anyone gone through this stage (and by that I mean lots of moms have gone through it, but are you willing to talk to me about it) of drifting apart from their significant other? And feeling useless and like you could be doing better as a mom but just don’t know how? What did you do that helped?

I go to playdates (which is bizarre for me because I’m normally an anti-social person). I had post-partum depression (I think I did, the docs did nothing and it did go away, so maybe baby blues). I’ve asked for help and been blown off so I think it’s pointless. I have no faith in our health region – they’ve failed me 3 times now since Penny was born. I had retained products of conception (fancy term for piece of placenta still inside me), that took 5 months to get out. I was depressed and they kept sending me to the emergency room for it, and nothing got done. And my milk supply had decreased and the public health nurses that I saw said “We’ll save you the trip to the breastfeeding clinic. Just feed her whenever’s she’s hungry.” Gee thanks. I never thought of doing that. She had only gained a pound in a month and a half prior to that. I went to the breastfeeding clinic (against the public health nurses’ advice), started domperidone, and Penny has since gained 2 pounds in 3 weeks. So to me, the Calgary Health Region (now Alberta Health Region I believe) equals FAIL in my mind. Why are they making it so hard to ask for help, only to be blown off when you do?

I am now rambling. I think I need to get up and do something. So I will put on a load of laundry before my little princess wakes up hungry. And then I think us girls, Hershey included, will go for a mei tai walk. I need the snuggles.

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Nursing in a room full of people you know

June 14, 2009

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month we are writing about Nursing in Public. Please read more of the posts, found at the bottom of this post. More links will be added until Monday

When I decided to breastfeed, I didn’t realize it would be so hard. I didn’t realize it would hurt. I didn’t realize that nursing my daughter in public would require an advanced degree in acrobatics to keep from showing a little skin. I didn’t realize that our civilization is shall we say… less than civilized?

Long before Adam ever thought about groping Eve, breasts were created to pass sustenance on to our offspring, thereby keeping them alive and perpetuating our species.

With this in mind, I have been trying from the day of my daughter’s birth to comfortably nurse her in public. To me, public means anywhere other than the privacy of my own home. And even that sanctuary is breeched at times by people I don’t feel right nursing in front of.

I have progressed, admirably in my mind, but I still have a long way to go. I can nurse Penny in a purely public place (say that 3 times fast), where I know no one, and could care less what they think. Recently, I’ve been able to add nursing her without a cover. Any cover I do use is mostly to cover my bare tummy (or I wear my maternity pants with the armpit-high elastics to cover it). Some women stay home for fear of nursing in public. I don’t give in to the justifiable fear but instead, I try to time it so that I feed her and then leave the house. But if I get stuck out, it’s fine. I admit, I’ve sat on the back seat of the car to feed her, but to save my back and arms, it works in a pinch.

Filling Penny's belly before the start of the MS Walk

Filling Penny's belly before the start of the MS Walk

What is still a problem for me, and apparently my friends and family, is nursing Penny in front of them. Oddly enough, I feel completely comfortable with my in-laws. I’m also fine in front of the females in my family, and obviously with my very supportive husband. But the rest of the males? Ha! They are so unbelievably (ok, very believably) uncomfortable with me nursing Penny in front of them. The few times I’ve tried with men in the room, they quickly make excuses to be elsewhere as soon as it becomes evident that I am going to breastfeed. Or pointedly look anywhere that’s not in my direction – including peripheral vision. I’ve even had them stand in another room and carry on a conversation with people in the same room as me. I hate having to leave the room to nurse Penny. I feel like we’re being shut out and excluded from the festivities, just because my little girl has an empty belly. Thankfully, no one’s even suggested bottle-feeding, but still…

The newest problem I am facing, and one that some of you pros can maybe help with, is an easily distractable baby. Penny has taken to feeding for 10 seconds or so, then looking around for 30 seconds. It has resulted in some nursing sessions being cut short because I don’t particularly like flashing my nipple around that much. I know the first step is to feed her in a darkened area with no distractions. But when we’re out in public, that’s not an option. What do you suggest doing to help limit the wandering eyeball syndrome?

Other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:

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Co-sleeping works

June 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Learning to co-sleep. I had accidentally fallen asleep while feeding Penny, in a bed that is NOT baby friendly. I felt absolutely horrible because when I woke up, Penny was trying to get the blankets off of her. I could have killed her. I don’t say this for shock-factor. It could have happened. And it does happen. My grandma knew a woman who’s baby died that way. I personally haven’t heard of it, and pray that I never will.

When I got up that morning, I went straight over to PhDinParenting.com to read up on Co-Sleeping Safety. We don’t co-sleep, but if I am going to fall asleep with Penny in bed, our bed needs to be a safe place for that to happen. We haven’t followed all of the principles outlined, but what I have started doing is completely pushing the blankets down while I feed her. I have always fed her in between Court and I – never on the outside edge of the bed. Court doesn’t roll over unless I push him around. Apparently I just snuggle up to Penny. It was mostly the big heavy blanket I was worried about.

Needless to say, I have fallen asleep twice since then with Penny in bed. And when it’s come time for her next feeding (no more than 2 or 3 hours right now), and I find her still in bed with me from last time, I am so grateful to have read about co-sleeping safely. I have made our bed safer (at least when it matters), and I don’t wake up in a cold sweat realizing Penny is still with me. Thanks Annie at PhDinParenting.com!

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