Monday, September 24, 2012

I want to Remember.



I remembered what a gift from God you are.  I remembered that so many women in the world would give anything to have a healthy baby to get up with in the middle of the night.  I remembered that it is a privilege to care for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

gentle discipline

More wisdom from "Beyond the Sling".

A common misconception about gentle discipline is that it encourages and allows children to do whatever they want' that they will rules the house and become spoiled and dictatorial tyrants who hold us hostage with their every whim. This is not what gentle discipline is all about. Gentle discipline is not permissive parenting, which implies that parent and child are peers. Rather, gentle discipline is an umbrella term that describes a cooperative method of relating with and communicating your needs to your child while respecting his needs at the same time.

Gentle discipline can be used to achieve whatever structure you seek to establish in your home. Most families who practice gentle discipline still require children to be polite, considerate, and responsible...  ... The difference is the way parents and children relate, the way language is used, and the way relationships are built up so that when children grow into adults themselves, they connect with their parents in loving and healthy ways, based on the foundations of gentle discipline that were established when they were young.


I have saved this one for last, because I find that it is the hardest of all the parenting tools to discuss. With all due respect to all styles of parenting, violence against a child baffles me. The only relationship in society in which you are allowed to hit or spank another person is the one with your child; you can't spank your husband or your wife. You can't spank your teachers or your friends, and you most certainly can't even adopt a pet in most states if you say that you plan to use spanking as a disciplinary measure. What is it about hitting children that has come to have such a sacred and almost revered quality in our society?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

fluffy stuff

Ok, so when I start talking about my diapers (as I am bound to do...) I know I often start confusing people. And I get it! There's a lot of options and details and diapers have changed a LOT from the old folding and pins and plastic covers that people think about. So, I decided to finally sit down and do a bit of an instructional on us and our diapers.

Enjoy :)

These are the four kinds of diapers I currently have in the house. The top two were graciously donated by companies for use as samples with my doula clients. The bottom two are the brand that I personally use. Top Left: Bummis Cover and Prefold. Top Right: Motherease Wizard Duo diaper with snap in insert. Bottom Left: AMP One Size Duo with bamboo insert. Bottom Right: AMP Large AI2 with bamboo insert.

Here you can see all of the diapers open, the way they would look when you put them onto the baby's bum. With the Bummis, you can see the prefold- With mine, I just trifold it (ie- fold it in threes), and lay it inside the diaper. If you fold it 'properly' and snappi it (that's what replaced pins), then it holds more poop in, but I couldn't be bothered. If she pooped, I changed the cover. In general though- you re-use the cover for several diaper changes, and the inside of the cover is wipeable- so you just wipe it out, put a different prefold in, and you're good to go!

Motherease- this one has a weird insert inside that I don't know what the material is. It snaps into the outside shell though, so that you could change it each time, but it seemed nice that it wouldn't move around. And no folding. 

The AMP one size duo- At the bottom of this diaper, you can see that there's a pocket opening. You choose the kind of insert you want, and push it into that opening. OR you can lay it on top of the cover like the AI2 (See next description). In this picture, I have stuffed it inside the pocket. Sitting against the baby's skin is a very soft microfleece layer. This layer also wicks moisture away from baby's skin, so they don't feel wet. 

The last diaper- the Large AI2, you can see how the insert just lays on top of the cover. It has the same microfleece layer as the Duo beside it, but no pocket option, so the insert must be laid on top. I like having the microfleece, rather than a wipe-clean cover, because I find it helps to "catch" any messes that might otherwise make their way to the edge of the diaper. When used as an AI2, these diapers are like using a cover with separate insert-- in other words, I get to reuse the cover several times- just change the insert out for a clean one, and keep going. This helps to cut down on laundry, and you get more wear out of your cover. In theory you could save money too, since you would need less covers (around 10, as opposed to the 24-30 diapers most people recommend having). Of course, I say in theory, because most people end up like me-- addicted to cloth diapers, and buying more than they need to anyways!

This picture shows what each other the top covers looks like under the insert, and also shows the easy folding of the bamboo insert (which is the same way you would trifold a prefold.)

A picture of the trifolded bamboo insert inside the pocket diaper. 

This is a better comparison between AMPs One Size and their sized diapers. At these snap settings, these diapers will fit the same size range, about 15lbs-35lbs. 

Here you can see that the one size diaper also has a rise that snaps down, so that it fits much smaller sizes. There are two settings, and this one is the smaller. Because it snaps down, diaper on the left fits from 7-35lbs. We've tested it from 9lbs, and had a perfect fit! 

And of course in my diaper entry, I have to show a cute tush! Tenley is modeling an AMP One Size Duo in "Wee Trunks" :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vogue Baby :)

Well of COURSE I have to share. Tenley is officially a model ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ramble On!

So it may have taken me several months, but I finally figured out that I've not been allowing comments on this blog the whole time. Oops! So, I believe I have this changed now, and you should be able to leave your thoughts on each entry (once I finish going through and fix them all!) Ramble, share, join me!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

our days and nights.

I started reading Mayim Bialik's book "Beyond the Sling" last night. I'm only a few pages in (such is life with a babe!) but I'm liking it so far. I wanted to take a moment to save a few of my favorite passages so far.

So what is Attachment Parenting really about? ...

... It should be noted that no one does all eight perfectly, nor do you have to subscribe to all of them to benefit from these principles. These are simply guidelines that can serve as a jumping off place for your decision making. There are families who differ in many aspects of these principles, and there are no "attachment police" who revoke your membership if they catch your child asleep in his own bed. In addition, attachment parenting is not, contrary to popular belief, a parenting style just for people who are wealthy or who are at-home parents, nor is it for people with an abnormal or superhuman amount of patience. It is for people from all walks of life who seek to parent gently and who believe that an independent adult is one who was allowed to form a healthy dependence and attachment to her caregiver in the formative years. 

I do not claim to have the formula for raising the perfect child. My kids are flawed and they make plenty of mistakes, as do I. My kids are not always polite, patient, clean, wise and quiet; nor am I, for that matter. If there were a formula for raising the quietest/happiest/gentlest/easiest/best/sweetest/most generous and polite child, it would have been figured out thousand of years ago, and we would all be following it and getting the same results. Every parent is different, every baby is different, and children are more the products of family and societal dynamics than of one particular style of parenting.

What I can offer you are stories about what our days and nights are like, why we choose to do it this way, and what we see as the benefits for us, our kids, and our community and beyond. 

I love that quote, and I think I'm going to use it as a bit of a jumping off point to get this blog going again. I don't have answers, but I do have stories. And sometimes it's just fun to tell them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Counting Sheep

Ok, so sleep has been an ongoing thing for us since birth. We got into a good pattern for a few months where Ten was waking every 2-3 hours, and then from about 7 months on (the details are fuzzy…) she’s been waking up on average, every hour. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes as much as 2 hours, but usually an hour to an hour and 15. She would not accept daddy helping to put her back to sleep, it had to be me, and I –HAD- to nurse her to sleep, or she would freak out. We’ve tried co-sleeping, and don’t mind it on an occasional basis, but it doesn’t work for us full time for many reasons. The last little while I’ve been admitting to myself that our current situation was not working, and we needed a change.

We started with the ‘normal’ sleep inducing tactics- noise machines, temperature, making it darker, keeping her in our bed, keeping her beside it, keeping her in a crib, sleep earlier, later, etc etc etc all with not really any difference.  I’ve been reading No Cry Sleep Solution, and I believe in the tactics in the book—however at 2am, I have a horrible habit of being too tired to keep going, and so I resort to whatever works- so, usually nursing her back to sleep. I believe she is/was developing a very strong association between nursing and falling asleep. When she woke up, she would cry and protest, because she was angry! Hey! I’m tired and I want to sleep, and the only way I know how to sleep is to nurse, get over her and nurse me! Makes sense, right? But not as easy to change, at least not gently. 

NCSS (No Cry Sleep Solution) talks about getting baby to pull off the breast. Nurse until the baby is very relaxed and on her way to sleep, then insert your finger into her mouth, unlatch her, and then put your finger gently under her chin and hold it closed. If she protests, then let her nurse again, and try again in 30 seconds or so. Continue doing so until you are able to unlatch without protest. If it takes 10 tries, that’s fine, since your aim is no crying.  After you get her unlatched, your next step is to help her fall asleep without the nursing. To start, you’ll wait until she’s almost asleep, then place her in her bed, and continue to rub her back, or pat her, sing to her, whatever calming device you have. If she cries, pick her up, settle her, and try again. Keep going until it works. Eventually, you’ll be able to place her into her bed when she’s just sleepy, and not almost asleep, and she’ll go to sleep on her own.

One of the reasons I love the NCSS is that the author repeats over and over two things- one- that it’s ok for things to take time, because that’s how you make changes without crying. And two- that if at any point the plan becomes distressing for you or baby, then to stop, and try again another night. No pressure, no “you have to let her cry for x minutes, do not go to her before hand”. No absolutes.

So, we tried this routine, and within a week and a half or so, I noticed that Tenley will allow me to unlatch her no with virtually no fussing. The problem is that she hasn’t quite transitioned into being able to fall asleep after that yet. So we kept going. And going. And going. And I was exhausted. And getting angry at my baby because I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to attend to her properly during the day. I knew that we needed something else to happen. After one particularly bad day, I admitted to myself that I needed something a bit… stronger, for lack of a better word. I needed to enjoy my baby again.

Sleep training, crying it out, all of that… isn’t in my books. It’s nothing I’ve ever considered. But I knew I needed a change, and so I started looking. It’s hard to find a balance when you’re an attachment parenting who has also realized that you need more sleep. I won’t, can’t, let my baby cry along in a crib for hours (or even 10 minutes!) while she claws for me, simply in the name of ‘making her’ learn how to fall asleep. I do however, need a gentle method that will help me, help her learn how to fall asleep on her own. That seems to be the difference in the books I read and enjoyed, and the ones I wanted to burn. Mainstream parenting books will tell you it’s acceptable, required even, for you to force your child into sleeping by themselves. It just didn’t seem right to me. I want to be there on this journey with her, not deposit her in a crib to fend for herself.

I decided that what I would try is a modified version of NCSS. I needed something that would work faster, before I lost my mind. I knew that there would be fussing, some crying even. But we don’t endeavour to leave her alone crying ever, though we are human, and she has cried alone, for a few minutes at a time, while we gather ourselves and then return to the room. So, here’s what we do now;

First, we start with a good bedtime routine. I’ve noticed that Tenley goes down to sleep easier on nights we manage to get a whole lengthy routine in. Bath, change, into jammies, and books with dad. Then I go in and turn her music on, and nurse her. The music is more for me than her, as I stay calmer when I have music on. We also try to make sure she’s had as much dinner as she will take (She’s 9 months now). After nursing, I get up and dance around the room with her for a few minutes, maybe five or so. Then I place her into her crib, and if she stays lying down, I rub her back, or play with her hair. If she stands or sits up right away, or at any time when I’ve been rubbing her back, then I let her, and I go sit in her rocker, and read my book. I spend time leisurely reading and unwinding at the end of the day, and she alternates between standing, sitting, playing with her puppy in her crib, as well as babbling and singing, and yes, sometimes even yelling at us. At good points, she’ll lay quietly petting her puppy, or rolling over and over trying to get comfortable, and others she’ll be standing at the end of her crib yelling. I let her do it. She’s learning. She’s exploring, and she’s ok.

If she starts crying, and it lasts more than 20 seconds or so, I go, hug her again, and we resume dancing. I remind her it’s time for ni-nights, and once she’s calmed, I place her into her crib again, and resume patting, or head back to my chair, and keep reading. I try not to place pressure on her, and I do this as many times as she needs. Eventually, she settles, lays down, and slowly closes her eyes. Sometimes she does this with me rubbing her back, or with a hand gently placed on her back, sometimes she does it by herself while I’m sitting and reading. In general lately, this stage takes 45 minutes, or sometimes even more. It’s a long time. Much longer than it used to take to put her to sleep by nursing. But again, that’s ok. She’s learning, and I’m giving her space to do so.

She’s still waking more in the night than I would like. I’m still exhausted most days, but we’re making progress. About 50% of the time now, I can go to her in the night and cuddle her, and not have to nurse her. This cuts the time I am awake by half. One out of every 5 times or so, dad can even go in and get her back to sleep. And during the falling asleep stage, dad is now almost as good as mom—so I can have some alone time during the 45 minutes she’s falling asleep, which is very restorative! These changes show me that things are improving.

On average, she is still waking up every 60-90 minutes. But she’s having more longer stretches lately than before, she’s going back to sleep easier than before, and for dad as well, and she’s able to put herself to sleep in ways other than nursing. She’s also teething really badly right now, which I think is attributing to some of the remaining wakeups. I have a feeling once she makes it through this bad stage of teething, we’ll notice a lot more changes. I know that in time it will take her less time to put herself to sleep, but I’m ok waiting. She’s learning gently, without fear and abandonment, and that’s worth it. Last night she fell asleep on her own in her crib after only a few minutes. She slept for a while, and then woke up upset- was very obviously teething. She stayed awake for a bit with us, and then we all went and laid down together in bed, and I nursed her again. After she stopped actively nursing, I unlatched her, moved my arm, and went back to reading my book. She looked around a bit, and then rolled over and went to sleep. She slept for four and a half hours. That right there, worth all of this.

So no, I know my methods are not for everyone. I know that they may not be ‘strictly AP’, and I know that there are still some who will say that I’m wrong for doing so, since I am still ‘sleep training’. To be honest, I care a lot less now. I’m confident that I’m finally doing what works for our baby, and our family, and to me, that’s the most important to me. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What not to pack

I recently came across this post, detailing what to pack in your hospital bag, but even better- what she would pack if she could go back now and get a second chance. As an OCD mama, I've read lots of hospital packing lists, but this was one of the only that had me smiling and nodding, so I have to share. Futher excerpts from her post, with my comments in blue.

When we got to the hospital and I finally went to my bag in actual need, I felt like I picked up the wrong bag on the way out the door. 

"All this shit is useless!" 

Live and learn. 


+ Don't bring nursing bras. Especially ones with underwires because they are uncomfortable and poke you in the boob and the baby in the face while you're trying to get to know each other. If you're like me and don't want every visitor seeing your nipples through your gown, bring a nursing tank instead. 

Oh yes! I didn't pack any official nursing bras, though I did bring one sleep bra I could nurse in. Next time, I would skip em all and stick with a nursing tank. Simplicity is -key- in those early hours and days. A nursing tank would keep me covered for visitors and various wandering staff, but also have easy access for nursing. Once you get good, you can nurse in a turtleneck. Don't make it that difficult when you're learning. 

+ Don't bring tons of nursing pads. You wish your boobs would leak, but they generally don't until you get home. 

+ Don't bring a black trash bag and skanky towel if you're going to be induced because you won't be leaking on your husband's leather seats after all. 

Ahh, but on the ride home, you may be a loser like me, and be worried that you'll leak through your clothing and onto the seats. Steal a chux pad from the hospital, they are wonderful. 

+ Don't bring the Belly Bandit if you're like me and ordered your pre-pregnancy size because you couldn't justify buying the size up for the four days it would fit. You won't be getting into it until you get home either. 

Also, don't bring your favorite sweats as a going home outfit. True you may feel good in them, but if you're too worried about bleeding on them and end up wearing your PJ pants home, it's a moot point. Bring something dark. 

+ Don't bring music or books or movies or journals--you will not be thinking about any of that. 

So true. One ipod and you're covered. I had visions of this peaceful time post-birth where I would watch my sleeping infant cradled in the crook of one arm while simultaneously journaling, reading and doing a crossword with the other. Suffice to say, I played games on the ipod for 10 minutes. That was all the free time I had. 

+ Don't bring baby fingernail clippers or files. Their fingernails haven't grown off their skin yet and you will just make the baby mad trying to file their fingers down. 

+ Don't bring girl shit if you're having a boy. Duh. 

+ Don't bring going home outfits that don't have legs for the car seat. The nurses will judge you (again) with their judgy eyes.

+ Don't bring your own underwear. You will be a fountain that spurts red for days and days (and weeks and weeks) so use those ridiculous mesh panties they provide. Use the hell out of them. 

This one I disagree with. Mesh panties made me feel like a patient. I did not want to be a patient. I highly recommend Depends though. Say what you will, being (somewhat) confident in your non-leakage is worth it. AND you don't ruin your own panties. 


+ Do bring your breastfeeding pillow. It will be your only comfort during that 3AM feed where the baby won't stay awake and you think you're going to drop him because you should be sleeping but you're not and all you can say is, "At least I don't have a crick in my neck from holding this child up myself." 

Yes! I thought this was silly. Plus, I didn't even have a nursing pillow. A few weeks post-birth, we were given a Jolly Jumper pillow. I used it a few times, but overall, found it more annoying. Then, Boppy donated me a pillow for use with my Doula clients. Game. Changer. Even though Tenley was 7 months or so when I used it with her, I could tell immediately that it would have been a huge help when she was tiny. So I'm advocating for the nursing pillow- specifically a Boppy. I didn't put Tenley down in the hospital, like at all. Instead, we piled 18 pillows around me. The Boppy would have saved my back and neck. 

+ Do bring your own pillow from home. The ones at the hospital are pancake thin--let your husband sleep on those. 

+ Do bring a tube of lanolin and apply it to your entire boob (I kid, just the nipple) after EVERY feeding for at least three weeks. You'll avoid cracked and bleeding nipples that way (I did). 

Yuuuuuuuuup! Bleeding nipples = Not fun. 

+ Do bring a robe in case you decide to stay in your hospital gown. That way your ass isn't flapping in the wind every time you go to pee. 

+ Do bring a warm outfit for the baby to wear during the first night, even if the hospital website LIES and says they provide one. The nurses will be all, you didn't bring an outfit what a bad mother you are he'll freeze to death. Onesie, pants, socks, hat, do it. 

I packed my hospital bag all in the name of simplicity. I figured outfits were redundant, since they supply gowns. Except that we tried to put a gown on her once, and it was a joke. The arms are 8 feet long and 1/2 inch wide. My 8lb8oz baby wouldn't fit in it. And they were scratchy. Bring at least one outfit other than your 'going home' outfit. 

+ Do bring baby mittens to keep them from scratching themselves (and your boobs) with their sharp claws. Mike had to run out on Day 2 to get us some because the nurses were judging us again whenever they saw Everett's poor face.

Meh. We brought mittens but Tenley hated them and they never stayed on. 

+ Do bring plastic flipflops for the shower. Our bathroom was straight up nasty.

+ Do bring snacks. I ate on a bag of trail mix and nutrigrain bars the whole day. I would have been sicker if I hadn't eaten than if I'd barfed it all up (I didn't). 

Yes. And pack the snacks you think you need, and then double them. And then a few days later, go back and double them again. Better yet, enlist someone beforehand who is on call to bring you a good meal after the birth, regardless of the time. We were sooo hungry post-birth, but felt awkward getting someone to bring us food. If we'd arranged it beforehand, we wouldn't have been as worried. 

+ Do bring your baby memory book or journal and ask the nurses (nicely?) if they'll stamp your baby's footprint in it while they're doing the birth certificate.

We didn't do this, and it still makes me sad :( Though they didn't do prints for a birth certificate either, I wish we'd done them sometime in the first few weeks. 

{and remember, all this was just my experience. if it makes you feel better to bring something, bring it!}

Alright. So, this was a small portion of my list. Also included... 

Comfortable clothes for afterwards, but also to labor in. And then wear them! I packed clothes, but then ended up wearing the hospital gown sort of by accident. Not only does it make you feel like a patient, which sucks, but I hate the way it looks in all the pictures :(

Bring several pairs of socks. I wanted to walk around during labor, and bare feet + hospital floors are ick!

Lip Balm. You will kill for this post pushing!

Hairbrush, hair ties, and a headband. Even better if you have an awesome doula like I did, who will fix your hair for you when it starts to fall out during pushing. 

Luxurious soap, shampoo and conditioner for post birth. Oh. My. Goodness. I can't describe how restorative that first shower felt! My husband cuddled with baby while I got to sit in the hot shower and pamper myself with the most wonderful smelling Aveda products. They even took the hospital smell out of my skin. 

Bring a laundry bag. It is so nice to be able to throw all your dirty things into one place and then directly into the washer when you get home. Having to sort through yucky hospital smelling clothing when you're 2 days postpartum would not be fun. 

If you're going to do a bath at the hospital (we opted not to), bring your own baby-friendly products and lotion. The Johnson's shampoo the hospital uses is heavily scented and harsh on their skin. Coconut or olive oil make nice massage oils for baby's skin. 

A magic bag/rice sock can be... well... magic both during the labor for aching backs, and post-birth, for extra comfort or a sore tailbone. 

If you're like me, and not fond of hospitals, essential oils do wonders for freshening up the air. Lavender is also good for calming, Clary Sage for clearing the mind, and Peppermint for helping you pee post birth!

Bring a bathing suit for the shower/tub if you have access. A top you'll be comfortable in, with tie side bottoms, because you probably won't feel like lifting your leg to step out of them!

Hospital water cups hold approximately 4oz. Bring your own water bottle or cup!

Obviously there's other basics I didn't list- don't forget your carseat, your toothbrush or the list of phone numbers you need to call after the baby is born. 

And speaking of, that baby is calling. Gotta go!


Our favorite diaper company {locally designed and made AMP Diapers} sent out a call for models a few days ago for a photoshoot they're planning on Friday. We sent Tenley's photo in, because come on, diapers + cute babies = win!

Just got an email back. Our little superstar will be hamming it up for the camera on Friday. This mama is proud. :)

Of course they want her ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Potty Time

I promise I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging so long! It's been a busy month here at Chez Brown!

I left off my last entry with a teaser about elimination communication, so before I go further, I'll explore that a little bit. First off, yes, it sounds crazy. I am fully aware of this, and will admit I never expected to go down this route when we were planning out Tenley's infancy! That said, EC, as it is known, has a way of hooking you in!

EC is not potty training in the traditional sense. It's not based on rewards or punishments, rather it follows an infant's natural cues. Babies are born with the ability to hold their bladder for short periods of time. From an evolutionary perspective, babies know not to pee on their caregivers! It makes sense. The confusing part for them comes when we put them in diapers and don't give them an opportunity to do their business elsewhere. They give in, and start ignoring their body's natural signals, going in the diaper instead of holding their bladder until given an opportunity to potty. In history, this would be a bush, but we get a tad more refined around here!

With EC, parents and caregivers watch a baby's natural cues, and offer a chance to potty when appropriate. Since starting this with Tenley, it really shows you how much little ones try to communicate with you! I can't count the number of times I've been nursing her, or trying to play, while she fusses and squirms all over the place, only to have a lightbulb moment, take her to the potty, and have her smile and go pee.

It's nice to know that we can listen to her communication with us, especially with something that makes all of our lives easier! We are doing a very part time version of EC, so Tenley still wears diapers full time. We take her potty when she wakes up in the morning, after naps, and other times throughout the day when she's showing cues. She is also learning to associate the sign for toilet with using the potty, and off and on experiments with showing that to us!  The best part of EC'ing, hands down-- 95% of the time we "catch" (an EC term for the baby successfully using the potty) her first potty of the morning- saving me from a gross dirty diaper! Sitting her on the potty for a few minutes is definitely worth not having to change a dirty diaper 5 minutes after waking up!

And of course, she's so proud of herself!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Squeeee! It's real.  While I've been working on the business side of my doula work lately in preparation to relaunch, I had been avoiding 'going public' with it. Today I officially created and shared my new Facebook page. Thrilling!

Feel free to Like and share as desired! The more exposure, the better!

Friday, May 25, 2012

This is why I use cloth.

That'll teach me to put a sposie on. 

I've been wondering the past little while if Tenley is so uneasy at night because we have to bulk up her cloth so much to avoid leaks that she can't lay comfortably (ie her legs are pretty spread, and it makes it harder to roll around smoothly too). So, I put a sposie on her tonight. 

She went down at 8ish, like normal, and usually the diaper will hold until about 6am, and then she leaks through sometime between 6-8am, though recently thankfully this has been less (I think because we started EC'ing, and she's holding it because she knows she'll get pottied as soon as she wakes up). Anyways, so bedtime tonight at 8, and then I did a quick feed at about 10, and then at midnight I did another good solid feed, unlatched her, and just as I was about to stand up and put her back down, I feel her tense, push, and then I feel pee running down my legs, and hear it hitting the floor! She peed right through her (already completely soaked) diaper, so badly that there was literally a puddle on the floor, on top of having a soaked sleeper, and my legs and underwear being soaked from it. 

Good news is, I woke Rob up, and we managed to completely change her diaper and sleeper (twice actually, because the first one I chose was too small- urg), and get her floor cleaned up, all with her sleeping through it. And now she's back in bed sleeping soundly.

Copied and pasted from elsewhere because it was too good not to share!... I promise an update soon (ish) with what the heck I mean by "EC"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

nom nom

I apologize for the lack of updates. Sleep has been scarce around here lately, and mama is spending her free time dozing in between rounds of ABC’s and let’s see how many cups we can stack.

I’m amazed at how little sleep a baby can get by on. They’re making so many developmental leaps at this age, I can’t understand how she’s not sleeping 22 hours a day! But alas, teething has hit the house full force, and I think we’re averaging about 8 hours a night right now (or should I say, she is, I’m getting more like 6). On days that I’m very, very lucky she’ll have about 2.5 hours worth of naps, but most days it’s 2-3 20 minute naps and she’s up and raring to go again! Much sooner than I’m ready anyways!

But, it’s worth it. She’s learning so many new things right now, that I think her brain is just too busy to go to sleep! She wakes up crying in the middle of the night, and I go in and find her rocking back and forth on her hands and knees, willing herself to go forward. Sometimes she does, but it’s usually the propulsion of her head into the bars of her crib. Ouch!

Aside from getting up to hands and knees, and working on her two bottom teeth, Tenley has also starting experimenting with food. We’re focusing on Baby-Led Solids with her, which is a fancy way of saying we’re skipping purees and going straight to ‘real’ food. We watch for signs of readiness, and she’s slowly starting to gnaw on foods that she can’t swallow (big fan of carrots, apples and rhubarb), and also some smaller pieces on her tray that she can pick up and eat (pancake, egg yolks and potato). She’s still at the stage where sucking on the big pieces, and attempting to get the small ones into her mouth are occupying her, and she’s not so impressed when one does manage to slip past her lips and tries to go down her throat. But- it’s all a learning experience. And allowing her to feed herself and put only the pieces that she’s able to get to her mouth, into her mouth, decreases the chances of choking, as she’s the one in control. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

home sweet home

Ta Daaa!  Miss Tenley is 5 months, 1 week old, but we're finally making progress on her room! While we got things like the crib set up and then closet organized prior to her making her arrival, we were still waiting on all the fun things that make it a room fit for the princess she has declared herself.

It's not what I would consider done, but I'm happy with the results so far!

We chose this color grey (actually called Surreal Blue) for the room when we moved in, having used it in a previous space and knowing we loved it. It started out as our office, and we knew it would be a good base color to one day build a nursery off of. It was nice not to have to repaint!  The flooring in there was also changed during our initial renovations, so no big changes there.

Welcome to Chez Tenley!

The room was sort of built around the crib choice. I wanted something modern and very simple, that wasn't full of chemicals that baby would one day enjoy chewing on. I was lucky to be saved some legwork, as the folks behind chose this line when looking for their daughter's crib, and pronounced it green and baby friendly (It's made from sustainable wood, all non-toxic parts, is solidly built and has no moving pieces). We ended up going with the BabyMod Modena crib, from Walmart in the States, which came up at $200. 

I'm very happy with it. It went together very easily, seems pretty sturdy, and the clean lines make our teeny tiny room look bigger. With the mattress at the current height, there's also tons of room underneath, which we're using for extra toy storage. 

We were lucky enough to have Rob's mom make the crib sheet (and sheets for the pack and play) for us. We were able to choose our own material, for about $15, and she whipped it up for us. The crib skirt was a joint effort by Rob and I. It cost a whopping $4, and I didn't have to pick up a single needle or thread. It covers just the one side, but that was enough for us!

I -love- the pattern of these sheets, but it is so hard to capture properly!

With such a tiny room, we really wanted to make the most of the space we had. Last year we installed a Rubbermaid Closet organizer, which thankfully freed up the space a dresser would have required. This left us just enough space for a rocker and a custom made book/toy shelf in the other half of the room. (The tall white shelf in the background is simply a figment of your imagination until it finds its permanent home in the garbage). 

The glider and ottoman were great finds, and though they still need to be recovered, we've already made great use of them! The glider was picked up for $75 two blocks away from our house, and then Ottoman (which will be sanded and painted white, and then reupholstered along with the chair) was $10.50, won from Auction Wars Winnipeg. Not bad, considering the set I originally planned on purchasing was $400!

The bookshelf was loving made by Rob, based on a design from I believe the materials ended up costing about $60. It fits perfectly into the room, and I'm so glad to have a solid wood piece, rather than something flimsy. She'll have this for years to come, and I'm already excited to use a pinterest idea, and turn it into a dollhouse one day!

And of course, we added personal touches on top. The bank came from Fairmont well wishers, and the elephant toy came with Tenley's first flowers- matches the room perfectly. The frame was an old one that fit the room too perfectly to move! 

Our $10 artwork is also a big hit with Tenley, who loves to stare up at them when she's supposed to be nursing or going to bed. A couple dollar store canvases, spray paint, and you got it- pinterest again- and we had the perfect touch of pink to add to the grey walls. 

And of course, there's the fun touches like this $4 pillow we randomly found a few days ago. It looks like it was made for the room!

As I said, there's still changes planned, namely reupholstering the glider and ottoman, removing the tall white shelf, and making and hanging the tissue paper balls that will one day live above the glider. But for now, Tenley doesn't seem to mind!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

When you're having fun

Five Months ago today, at this moment, I was lying in a hospital bed, with my newborn baby snuggled up against me, in complete awe at this little lady, and the fact that this was my new life. That she was ours, and life was forever changed.

And now, I'm still in awe of her every day. And of us. Our resiliency. Our adaptability. Our capacity to love more than one could ever think possible. Our ability to survive on such little sleep... Ok ok, I had to get that in there.

And now, she's five months old... she's babbling, and playing, taking (backwards) steps in her walker, sitting up, and getting ready to start solids. And, after a rough start to this whole 'sleep' thing that life apparently requires, she's is currently fast asleep in her crib, and has been for over two hours, without mama having to go back into the room even once. And that's -after- putting herself to sleep, quietly and calmly. It is entirely impossible to describe how proud I am of her, so I'll just leave you with today.

Five whole months. Tenley Harper, I love you!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I'm reminded this morning that life stays in balance. We had a hard day yesterday, baby girl wouldn't (couldn't) nap, was fussy, irritable and all around unpleasant.

Then she slept last night for over six. hours. straight.

That never happens. Like she's 5 months old, and that's only maybe the third time. How ironic that it happens when she's sick. I think the lack of naps yesterday meant her body was just too tired to wake up to eat.

And this morning, she's a smiling, (albeit bleary eyed and still sick), little angel. We decided it was a pj's day (which also never happens- she has so much clothing that I make a point to get her 'dressed' every single day), so we went and had a nice long hot shower to clear out her nose, and then we both got dressed into our jammies again and have been cuddling on the couch. Sometimes the joy in life is the simple things.

That, and I prepared dinner for tonight last night, so I only have to put it in the oven, and we're good to go. Knowing I'll have a full belly later on makes mama a happy girl.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

sick bay one.

Today. was. rough.

Tenley has her first official real cold, and it's wearing us all down. Daddy is sick, Tenley is sick, and mommy just wants to sit in a corner and rock back and forth! Really, she's handling it well. From her perspective, I can't imagine how scary it must be to be so stuffed up and congested, with your body parts leaking, and not understand what's going on. It's hard enough to be sick as an adult when you have the ability to complain and try to fix yourself.

I digress. First sick day. Very trying on our nerves. Baby girl wants nothing to do with... anything. I keep remembering that the best thing for her is just to let her nurse nurse nurse. And so we tried. Nope. I figured I'd curl up on the couch with all my essentials in reach, and let her nurse and nap all day. Best laid plans. She refused to gift us with a nap longer than 20 minutes or so today. Which makes sense... you know, the whole not being able to breathe thing probably doesn't help one to feel secure and relaxed. But, it doesn't make it any easier when you're the parent who is tired and whose head just wants a little bit of peace and quiet.

But, we made it. Rob and I spent the day handing off back and forth, singing songs, doing crazy dances, reading books, nursing, chasing Hurley around the house (this one is good for several laughs), whatever it took to make her smile for a few seconds at a time.

It was trying, and yet, now that she's asleep, I have nothing but oodles of patience and love for her again. It's funny how we're designed to so quickly forget. Wish me luck and calmness to meet tomorrow with the same head space I have now. Because she deserves it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Summertime in the City

Every year I forget how much I love summer until I get to spend my first really warm day outside. It may have only been 20 degrees, but today felt like that day.

I've spent the last three days in a row taking an afternoon walk with Tenley in the stroller, and it's definitely good for both of us. We both benefit from the fresh air and the change in scenery. Tenley gets to explore her neighborhood, and I get a tiny bit of exercise. I'm up to just over 2 miles a day, but I'd like to double that by the end of summer. Easy peasy. Especially in this weather, when you want so badly to be outside.

It's so nice to take the walk, and then come back to the house, spread a blanket on the grass and be able to watch Tenley explore grass and leaves, and the sun(!) for the first time. She loves the feeling of the grass on her hands, and will pat it tentatively for 5-10 minutes before tiring.

We even had our first outside nursing today! What an accomplishment. It only gets harder as she gets older, and more wiggly, but lying outside in the gorgeous sunshine, nursing your smiley baby is a pretty good feeling. Multi-tasking-- feeding the little one, AND getting a sun tan!

Cross your fingers the weather holds out for us. I'm hoping to keep up with 5 days a week all summer long. I suspect we'll have to change to morning walks later on when the days heat up even more, but we'll supplement with some pool time in the afternoon. I can't wait!