Monday, August 30, 2010

First Shots

At 10-months-old Zoë finally got her first shots. She did absolutely amazing. The experience was way different then when I got my other girls vaccinated per the CDC's recommended schedule. She cried for about 2 seconds and then was fine. She babbled to herself in the car (she usually screams in the car- she hates riding!) and didn't really seem "off" except for some teething pain. This was on Friday so we made it through the weekend without a fever or any other side effects from the shots.

Zoë was 18 lbs 5 ounces and I forget how long. They usually write that stuff down for me but our regular nurse went home sick so the step-in didn't do it. And of course I didn't even think about it until I got home and wanted to relay everything to Daniel.

Anyway, I think vaccinations are incredibly important. Without them diseases are making a comeback and coming at full force (over half a dozen children just died in California from Pertussis, AKA Whooping Cough). But I also believe in delaying vaccinations. I don't know that it is wise to give a newborn a Hepatitis B vaccine, for example. That's a vaccine that would be more appropriate when your child started school.

My sister-in-law made a great point about vaccinations in general. There are people dying in third world countries and they will walk for miles and stand in the hot sun for hours when someone comes to deliver a vaccine to their people but in America we don't see death and disease like they do so it's so much easier for us to take vaccines for granted or to say my children are better off without them. 

I'm not big on telling people what to do. Seriously! Anyone who knows me knows that I try to keep my nose out of other peoples' business. So I'm not saying any of this to spark some great debate or make anyone feel guilty for choices they have or haven't made. Just follow your heart! I followed mine and so far we are doing awesome.

Oh and I have some FUNNY THINGS KID SAY moments around here lately.

The other day Elaina told Daniel- "Daddy, the embryo is inside the seed" to which he raised his brows. He laughingly told me later that he was thinking to himself, "How does my five-year-old know the word 'embryo'?!" Apparently they are learning about seeds in school and the little baby plant inside the seed is called an embryo. But we had no idea so her funny little sayings were such a mystery to us!

Abigail told me that she was going to turn back into a baby and go into my tummy and tickle me and that I was going to laugh! I love the age of 3!!! So imaginative and silly!

Abigail is quite the little comedian, too. But she's also got a wild streak in her. She reminds me so much of me and I don't know whether to be proud or scared, ha ha! Anyway all day she talks to her imaginary friends. One friend is "Hannah" and one is "Prince" and the other is "Mr. Nick" (Elaina's PK teacher from last year who will most likely be Abby's teacher next year). She just chatters with them all day long. Not in a weird way, though. She just imagines she's at school or that she's a princess waiting for her prince. It just makes me giggle to listen to her, when she has no idea I'm listening. I'll have to catch something on video soon!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Say hello to my little friend!

It is official people! And I don't think I could ever be more excited, which is absolutely INSANE... but AF is finally here. I haven't had a period since January 13, 2009. So far, so good. I was expecting doubled-over cramps and lots of painkillers but so far I had no inkling AF might be upon me except for EXTREME bloating. Ugh! I lost 5 lbs over the last couple weeks and yet my stomach looks pregnant. It's so gross and annoying. I can't suck it in to save my life. People keep asking if I'm pregnant. I'm like, "No! I'm just super bloated" as though they care to know that. Well... like YOU would care to know any of this, ha ha!

I almost forgot where I kept my box of feminine products it has been so long. We don't have a typical bathroom; just a claw tub, toilet and porcelain sink (no drawers) and then I remembered I keep them stored UNDER the tub in a plastic container, right in reach but out of sight of curious little hands. I fondly remember finding one of my mom's pads (unused) when I was a toddler and putting it in my underwear and waddling around. This was before the ultra-thins, too, so it was quite thick and large. THANK YOU WHOEVER MADE ULTRA-THINS! 

So I'm off to snuggle with my husband on the couch and maybe work on some jewelry and........... chug tons of water to hopefully get rid of some of this bloat.

As far as WHY I'm excited... Daniel and I have talked about baby #4 and it is on! Having my period will hopefully kick start these dear ovaries of mine. Please pray for me! I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2008 and was anovulatory (not ovulating). We're not done having babies, maybe 1 or 2 more, and we want to have them now so they're all close in age and we're not in our 50's and still raising babies because we waited or whatever. So pray that my ovaries and hormones and body cooperate, that PCOS can be done with once and for all. G'night friends!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Co-sleeping Hypocrite?!

So if you caught on in my last post my sweet Zoë has been weaned to her own bed! During our little staycation I had this strong feeling that it was time. She is a really, really mobile baby and I was afraid she'd roll off the bed or climb over me and fall face first onto our hardwood floor. I just kept envisioning that happening in my mind and knew I had to prevent that from happening.

I'm a huge advocate for doing what feels best for you and your family and I also highly promote co-sleeping if one feels it is the right way to go. So needless to say, even though I felt it was time, I had that nasty Mommy Guilt that can creep up on us mommies. I'm no hypocrite! I still strongly encourage families to try co-sleeping if they feel it is something that would benefit them. But there also comes a time for co-sleeping to end and this was the time for us. You never know when that time will come, it just comes when the time comes. Ha ha!

I had been trying to get Zoë in her bed for naps without luck so I thought we'd try to switch things up and try bedtime. And of course it worked like a charm. She still won't take naps in there or at least won't nap in there for longer than 20 minutes but she does go to bed at night!

The first night I stayed upstairs with her and hummed and rubbed her back. She went to sleep in her crib and only woke up twice in the night but muttered herself back to sleep without me having to go in there. Now she goes to bed like a pro. I lay her down fully awake and she rolls over and closes her eyes.

My personal tips for weaning baby from your bed:

-It is said that co-sleeping is most beneficial for your baby's respiratory system up to at least 6 months of age. Your baby hits a critical developmental milestone, however, shortly afterward called "separation anxiety". So the ideal time to wean is 9-months plus. Note that every child is different and as their mother (or father) only you can make the judgment on that perfect and right time for your family!

-When safety becomes an issue it is time to re-evaluate your sleeping arrangements. Co-sleeping is safe when done correctly but once your child becomes mobile new considerations need to be taken in to account. Most co-sleeping couples get rid of the bed frame and sleep on a mattress on the floor to prevent falls. This is not something we wanted to do. Choose what is right for you!

-Give it time. Try nap-times first. Let baby get used to the crib and their room. Have playtime in there and put them in their crib with some toys while you shower or do the dishes and see how they do. You might be surprised to find them happily engaged and content in their own space! Or you may find they are terrified and horrified of their new surroundings. Take your time and test the waters.

-I'm not a big fan of crying it out whatsoever. A little whining and fussing is different. Full-out crying and terror is not okay in my personal opinion. If you need to rock your child to sleep and then put them in bed do it! You won't create a dependent monster. I started off putting Zoë down after rocking and nursing her to sleep and now she goes to bed drowsy or awake.

-Lose the Mommy Guilt! That's right! Don't let those nasty feelings creep up on you. You may feel a little sad as this chapter in your life closes and new ones open up which is definitely alright. I was definitely sad and missed having my baby in bed, still do! But ultimately I know she is safer now and we are all getting better sleep.


The biggest argument against co-sleeping is that your child will become so dependent on you and still be in your bed five years later. If you can wean them before or shortly after their first birthday that shouldn't be an issue. Both of my highly dependent and clingy girls (Elaina and Zoë), both of whom I thought would never get out of my bed, were both out before their first birthdays. And once they were in their own beds they did fabulously for bedtime, sleeping through the night and sleeping soundly.

Happy 10-months to my Zoë girl! She's been sick all this week with a nasty cold but I've got SO MANY posts swimming in my head. Now that she's in her bed I have more time for blogging (I'd been holding her all night, every night, so it hurt my back to sit here with her). Can't wait to catch up with everyone again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Elementary My Dear Watson!

Elaina has been in Kindergarten for 4 days now and I know some of you mommies out there are sending your child to school for the first time and may be wondering what to expect... especially when your little one arrives back home and has the worst meltdown you've ever seen.

Now I don't know if every child is like that but every experienced mom I've spoken with has had the same thing happen with their elementary-aged children, especially the youngest of the bunch which would be preschool through 1st grade. But the older ones can most definitely hit rock bottom the moment they get through the door as well.

Their day is filled with activity and is typically fast-paced depending on what type of school they are immersed in. Their senses are tickled all day long, they're around other kids with differing personalities, they are encouraged to run and play and be active, they're being taught to be social and how to behave with one another, their minds are being challenged... it is a BIG day to be in Kindergarten!

So what does your little one do when they get in the door? They may melt to the floor in a fit of tears for no good reason, they may get snappy and irritable with you, they may push their siblings away and pick fights, they may even just fall onto the couch and start snoring! This is when you have to be really careful how you respond. The best thing to do is to get into your child's tiny shoes and see their day from their perspective. Or perhaps compare it to your own work day. I don't know about you but when dinnertime hits I've reached my limit for the day! I'm tired, cranky and just want to be left alone. Similarly your child needs some space to unwind.

So here are my 3 tips for getting Elaina home in a happy mood! And I hope they help you with your little one, whether they're going to school this year or in the future.

1). Have a snack ready! Even though Elaina gets snacks at school she is incredibly more active at school than at home which means her little body needs more energy food. Cut up some fruit, put PB on some celery, grab a glass of milk and have it ready for them. A high protein snack is a great idea! And remember your child probably isn't getting nearly as much fluids as they need so give them lots of water (refrain from juice, soda and other beverages!). This will get your child's blood sugars level for [hopefully] less meltdowns. I also ask Elaina to take her shoes and socks off the moment she gets home and to wash her hands with soap in order to get her snack as part of the routine.

2). Give them space! Try to refrain from bombarding them with a million questions about their day. They need time to process the day in their little minds and may be overwhelmed by all the new lights, faces, names, smells, foods, etc. I wait until we've started eating dinner to ask about everyones' day. However if they are willing and ready to talk all on their own, before dinner, be an active listener, drop what you're doing and give them your full attention.
  • Some days I just have Elaina go to her room, by herself, in the quiet. Oftentimes she falls asleep until dinner and other times she just reads quietly or relaxes. Her sister pestering her the moment she walks in the door is really hard for Elaina which is why her bedroom can be a safe zone to relax while everyone else stays downstairs.
  • I've got dinner to make and a baby to chase around the house, everyone is getting cranky, so I might put on a short 20-30 minute video or show (educational is best) so they can just unwind and let me get their food done. I'm not a big promoter of letting kids watch a lot of TV. I don't think a child should come home and watch TV until bedtime for a couple of hours. But every now and then letting them just veg out with an educational show isn't going to hurt anyone.
  • Reading time! Reading is a great way to relax and de-stress. And as a Kindergartner Elaina has 10-minutes of reading as her homework everyday. Oftentimes I just have the girls go in the playroom and lay on beanbags with some books. Or we'll all cuddle together to read the books Elaina brings from school.
  • Bath time. Bathing is so relaxing and it is fun! Sometimes we do this after our snack (let's face it; your child may come home stinky from sweating and playing and just needs one anyway!).
  • Tying into the bath time, which we sometimes do before dinner, is putting on pajamas. There is just something about being in your PJs that is relaxing.
3). Strict bedtime. I really let a lot of things slide this summer in regards to bedtime. But now our bedtime is strictly 7pm. As my children get older we'll push it back but right now your elementary-aged child needs an incredible amount of sleep. Plan their bedtime accordingly depending on when they need to get up for school. Even the child who wakes at the break of dawn may be hard to waken once they begin school because they are so fatigued.

All in all have a nice routine set in place when your child gets home.
Ours is: healthy energy snack, books (homework), playtime/downtime, dinner, playtime, bath, pajamas, bedtime.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mmmmmm!

I love back-to-school! I love the smell of the school supplies, I love picking out the supplies and the new backpack, I love school. Elaina's uniform tops arrived in the mail today and she's all set for the big day on Monday. I asked her tonight what she will learn about in Kindergarten and she informed me she already knows how to read and write so she's not sure. Oh that girl makes me giggle!

Abigail told me that she's ready for school now, too. When we went to buy Elaina's school supplies Abby threw a fit for about 20 minutes in the store because she couldn't get a backpack, too. I felt so badly. So I think we're going to go back to Target and pick up some of their wonderful school materials in the dollar section (workbooks, for example) and do a little bit of homeschooling to prepare her for school next year.

Did I mention we finally named the black kitten? And did I tell you that he is in fact a he and not a she? Well his name is Solomon and he's a little terror and piglet. I swear he is a dog trapped in a cat's body. He is always cracking me up.

I saw at Hobby Lobby the other day that they've already got Christmas and Halloween decorations out! I am so excited about getting some new fall decor, hopefully. We'll see what the budget allows! But they've got a ton of really neat stuff.

Most of all I'm excited for the change of seasons because it is HOT HOT HOT and I'm ready for some cooler weather, football season, late nights in the cool of the night, the autumn sky, leaves changing colors... mmmmm! I love this time of year!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Loving!

I've been gone! We took a little Staycation here at home since we can't ever afford to go anywhere. And it was really fun. We saw Despicable Me in the theater, we went to Crown Center to hang out at the Clifford Exhibit and Kaleidoscope. Today we went to the Toy and Miniature Museum and I saw my dream house as a little dollhouse! Seriously. I told Daniel he needed to build me an almost exact replica of this house; it was SO cool! 

 We love Clifford, the big red dog!

I don't think the hotdog is big enough...

Goth Baby?! This is what happens when you turn your back for ONE second! She sucks on a blue marker.This is an unedited picture so you can see her real hair color, too! It is red but I see a lot of new blonde growing in.

I also gave the girls haircuts (well the older ones anyway; Zoë is still working on growing her hair)! Abigail wanted bangs like her big sister. I giggle so much when she says she wants to do what Elaina does! She ended up looking like a little porcelain doll.




Elaina is starting school on Monday! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. My kids have been fighting and fighting and fighting. I'm so ready for a reprieve from the fighting and for her to get involved in school again. It's been so hot we haven't gone outside a whole lot. Now that school is starting it is supposed to cool down some, go figure!

And the biggest news I have is that Zoë has been going to bed in her own room, in her own crib. We're finally putting her room and crib to good use! Seriously she was really starting to freak me out in my bed. She's a mover and I was so afraid she'd crawl over me in the middle of the night and fall onto our hardwood floors. She was also still nursing in the middle of the night, all night long. Just waking me up every 5-20 minutes. So two nights ago I told her it was time for her to go to her bed, for her own safety. I just had to make up my mind to do it and just do it.

So she screamed at me for a while but I stayed there with her and just sang and hummed softly. She was angry more than anything. When she started doing the tired "fussing" (different from crying; it is a soothing technique for babies) I left the room. And then she was out. And she stayed in her crib that first night for the entire night. I heard her wake and soothe herself back to sleep twice but never once did she cry for me.

Needless to say when I woke up I was so engorged it hurt and my breasts were seriously DOUBLE in size. I didn't think that was possible but it happened! And I woke up before her. I waited... and waited for her to wake up. Finally decided to go clean the attic and by 9AM I finally decided to wake her myself so I could relieve my breasts before they imploded. 

Last night was night #2 for her in her own crib and she went down quicker and didn't make a single peep the entire night. I also had to wake her up again this morning though this time it was 7:35 and I was almost crying from the engorgement. So I guess you could say I woke her up selfishly, ha ha! It will get better as my body gets used to not nursing nonstop in the middle of the night.

Right now she is sound asleep in her bed. I can't tell you how excited yet how sad I am at the same time! I'm excited because we're all getting better sleep, I have my sex life back, my body will most likely start to regulate (hello Aunt Flow?! Remember me?), I'll be able to blog more here and do things I enjoy after the kids go to bed, she's safer and she's sleeping great BUT... I miss my baby! It is all for the best at this point and we're doing fine.

Her first morning after sleeping in her crib. I was [im]patiently waiting for her to wake to nurse and shot some photos of her and she STILL slept through the camera flashes. Good job, Zoë!