Monday, January 31, 2011
Last week I attended a health fair put on by Jerry's work (and I won a door prize from it! woo hoo!). Anyway, the health fair had a masseuse booth, so while Jerry entertained that Lo, I stretched out on the table for a free 5 min. back massage. Jerry said for the first minute or so that I was laying down, Lo Lo got a concerned look on his face. Then, as our sweet baby noticed me continuing to lay there motionless, he erupted into sobs. The biggest, roundest rolling tears poured out of his terrified eyes. Needless to say, I ended my massage early, reassuring him that I was okay. I think he just couldn't figure out what the masseuse was doing to me, and I guess it is sort of an awkward pose for someone to lay face down like that--normally people would only lay face down if they were dead or something, and it seemed like Lo instinctively knew that fact. It really melted my heart to see him so frightened. Cute and sad all at the same time.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Since we ended up last-minute not doing a birthday party with that Lo's friends a few months ago, I had a couple dozen chinese takeout boxes sitting around unused. Kristen, one of the girls who co-hosted this shower, is the type of person who adds instant cuteness to anything she touches. Sort of like a Midas touch, only a crafty version. So she had the idea to pop some flower power cupcakes into all those chinese takeout boxes, add ribbon and tag, and voila, the perfect take-home thanks for guests at the baby shower. Seriously, I felt really impressed by how adorable the whole shower turned out. Welcome to mommyhood, Chelsea!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Until a newspaper photographer asked us to get out of the car to pose for a photo. We reluctantly complied.
Then the newspaper man mentioned the chili eating contest across the street. We trudged our way through the snow to get to it, and sure enough, THERE was the carnival! All free events (yay!) included caricature artists, winter crafts, chili sampling (I ate enough to amount to two regular sized bowls--very full), and useful freeby handouts like car window scrapers. We spent about two hours there and enjoyed ourselves. Jerry especially settled into the chili sampling, because he truly has the heart of a chef and likes trying to guess ingredients in new foods. One of the chilis had chocolate in it (I voted for this one), another had venison (we voted for this one also, because it was made by a girl scout troop and we wanted to see them win), and one had Black Mamba, which was an ingredient Jerry guessed right away and the restauranters who made the chili confirmed he was correct. There were both professional (restaurant) and amateur categories. Who knows, maybe next year we'll enter our own batch of chili!
Thanks Painesville for the worthwhile family event. We'll be back in a couple months for their Easter Egg Hunt.
I've wanted to try cloth diapering ever since before that Lo was born. Finally, for Christmas a month ago Santa gave me a small starter set from this cute home-based business. Since it is headed by my awesome college friend Morgan, she gave me a good deal on the diapers and soakers, as well as customized my order (made sure the measurements would fit that Lo's chunky legs & tummy).
Monkey Do Cloth Diapers
Still haven't used them enough to determine my full opinion, but here are some pros and cons.
Hooray: adorable, quickly repay themselves when used for just a matter of weeks (I've been getting so sick of buying disposables especially since Lo got to the bigger sizes that give less diapers in a pack), give Lo more immediate notification he has gone potty (should help with the imminent potty training days), adjustible for smaller babies with the comfortable cord lock system (I'll definitely be re-using these with future Tam babies).
Bummer: takes a bit more work to get them strapped on that Lo because of the lack of elastic (it is crucial for him to be centered on the diaper or it won't fit comfortably), and as he is in the wiggliest phase right now, I've sometimes given up using a cloth diaper at one time or another just because it was quicker to snap a disposable on his squirmy bum! Also, poopy toddler diapers are pretty much the worst thing ever. The first time I had to deal with him pooping in the cloth, I wished so much I could just throw away the soaker pad. But I swished it in the toilet, then threw it in the washer, and it came out perfectly clean so no harm done. Still, horrible, nasty, worst thing ever to me as I'm the type of person who tosses whole outfits in the trash if Lo has a blowout.
No secret to anybody who knows me: I have a passion for advocating "beautiful" births. Even though I personally found natural birth to be the ideal for me, I have gradually come to accept that for some people, their most beautiful "ideal" birth would be highly medicalized. I'm okay with the fact that I'm more eccentric than mainstream America. But I do wish more women would explore the evidence (or lack of evidence, i.e. tradition) behind what their doctors are doing to them.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Approx. 7:00-8:00 AM~Lo wakes up. Often he nurses upon waking, but sometimes not, especially if Jerry is still at home in which case Lo Lo gets excited to jump out of bed to go play with Daddy. Lo Lo is such a morning person, always his most cheerful and alert when he just wakes up for the day.
When Jerry is gone, that Lo and me read together. The order of reading starts with scriptures (Book of Mormon children's reader--about a page's worth, and the actual Book of Mormon or Bible--about one verse). To get Lo ready for scripture reading, I sing the Primary Children's song "Book of Mormon Stories" and he has gotten quick at recognizing it; he sometimes even brings me the reader when I start to sing. After scriptures we read at least one Chinese book and a few other books from the shelf--whichever ones Lo picks out. Then we eat. That Lo is able to spoon-feed himself with some accuracy. This photo shows how his shirt stayed mostly clean, and he had eaten a whole half jar of blueberry applesauce all by himself by bringing the spoon to his mouth! Some mornings he eats relatively alot--a few bites of eggs, cheese, a piece of bread, yogurt, cold cereal from my bowl, etc. are all common breakfast foods for him right now. But some mornings he doesn't seem hungry at all and I wonder about it since I'm not sure how much milk he gets at night during nursing sessions. But I really avoid forcing him on any food issue.
Another thing I encourage Lo to do while I finish dinner is to go watch out the window at all the cars driving by. He imitates their engine noises, and often "talks" to me about what he sees out the window.
6:00 PM ~ Jerry gets home from work. Actually, lately he's been getting home later than this. =( But we normally wait to eat dinner once he arrives. After eating dinner, Jerry and Lo play a bit if there is time. If we are short on time, we go straight to Lo's bath. Jerry is primarily the baby bather, and it is their prime bonding time of the day. Often I leave them to themselves, letting talk Chinese together in the bathroom, while I clean up from dinner.
7-8:00 PM ~ Lo asleep. Some days if he is fussy, I put him down as early as 6PM, which he has especially been needing over the past few weeks as he transitioned from 2 naps/day to 1 nap/day. Occasionally, if we try to go to a quick run for groceries or something after dinner, we can push Lo's bedtime to a bit after 8. But I really hate more than anything to mess with his sleep times, so I am pretty much a Nazi about putting him to bed at the same time frame each day. I nurse him to sleep. If I'm gone to a Relief Society activity or book club, Jerry puts Lo to bed by soothing activities. It is a lot of work, or so I hear. So perhaps the nursing has become a crutch. I stopped caring about it after reading one of my sleep books.
Anyway, there's the Lo Routine. We still have moments during the day where I shrug and say "Now what do we do?" But having the simple commitment to work on Gross Motor Skills & Fine Motor Skills at varying times of the day has seemed to really help me stay motivated and Lo seems happier than he's ever been. He notices that I am more excited about how we spend our time. And I am loving my days for the most part. Motherhood is a blessing, giving me more joy than I ever thought I could have. And that Lo is the most special, wonderful little boy! A lot of times when he is sleeping, Jerry and I say to each other, "we miss him!" But we like our time alone from him as well. ;)
Wow, this got really long. Thanks to anybody who stuck with me.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I ate--a lot--while in labor with that Lo. I think without food, my body would have never had the strength to press on through the two+ days active labor spanned. Yes, I vomited during transition. But I wasn't worried about it at the time, since I had read that experts don't really know why women sometimes vomit in labor and it happens with equal frequency for women who eat in labor and those who do not eat in labor. Vomiting at transition is suspected by some to be a way of preparing the diaphragm for the pushing phase. I recalled that factoid at the time I threw up and actually felt thrilled to be throwing up. I did not throw up due to pain, btw, because I certainly would not describe transition as painful. It was intense rushing, swirling, shuddering feelings all over in my blood stream, kind of like every cell had a mind of its own all of a sudden. A good loopy feeling, now that I think about it. Closest thing this happy Mormon girl will ever feel to being high? =) But I digress.
Back to the food issue. My friend Chelsea is being induced in a matter of hours. Not sure if she'll read this blog entry before then. But at any rate, I'm not writing for her, just mentioning her since her situation is relevant to my insomnia thoughts. She seems like the kind of person who would just let the doctors and nurses do their thing anyway, regardless of anything I put on this blog.
I learned yesterday afternoon that Chelsea is looking forward to having that dreaded intrapartum diet of nothing but ice chips. I truly believe it might take a decade or two to see change, but eventually that policy will be viewed as laughably archaic by the whole world. For a few years now already, the official stance in the United States has been to let laboring women at least have clear liquids like chicken broth, fruit juice, etc. And in other countries the position is more and more to allow laboring women to have simple foods like yogurt, bread, and so forth. Most interesting to me was this article I just came across that discusses the psychological effects of women eating while in labor.
Remembering my own experience, I totally agree that food boosted my mood a lot during a basically wonderful birth that nonetheless had some difficult moments. For example, one of my fondest memories of Lo's birth is being dilated to 8 cm. while lounging in a hot tub, licking ice cream, and surrounded by beaming nurses, my doula, and husband who I think were all also eating ice cream. And somewhere in the background was a scowling midwife, but we won't dwell on her for now. lol. I recall this as such a regal moment--and the vanilla ice cream was an important part of why I felt so celebratory. Then, later in the birth I used food to bring comfort. I ordered beef stew from the hospital cafeteria, and though it tasted nasty and bland per hospital food standards, just the thought of getting to eat it conjured a psychological warmth that combated the emotional struggle I'd been having with my midwife. Lastly, during the pushing phase, when I felt a bit sad at how the midwife had rather rudely taken the reins and had me pushing in the lithotomy position, I used my food choices to once again restore some emotional health. I told Jerry "I want cranberry juice now," and then, a few minutes later asked him to switch to water, and kept alternating between the two beverages thereby retaining some element of my own autonomy.
To sum it up, I am a big fan of evidence-based health care. Hospitals and doctors evidently have some delay in implementing the most updated policies. And that is unfortunate. Because laboring women and their babies benefit from having more options.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
And while we are talking about cute babies, take a look at that Lo's farmer attire. He always dons his Carhartt coveralls when we go to the farmpark, and this time I also bundled him with a woolen ear flaps hat, fleecy scarf and reversible jacket. There is something just so nurturing about taking half an hour to dress a squirming child before he runs outside. Oh, and note his sneakers that never fail to get soaked in water as this boy likes to splash through puddles.
Here in the cheesemaking room is our whole group that went to Farmpark yesterday. Kristen & Claire, Lindsay & Tyson, Chelsea & Baby-to-be-born any day now, and me & that Lo.
We are so glad to have a group of other mommy & baby friends that live close by.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I just read somewhere online (sorry for losing the link...Google it if you care to verify) that the average foot width for women in the USA is size B. Which just goes to show why I can hardly find a single pair of shoes within a thousand miles that fits me comfortably. BUT what I also just read online is this: the average foot width for women in Europe and many parts of Asia is size D. Not too far off from E...or even triple E. I can wear a D. Apparently I was born to be European. Or Asian.
I think Lo has my feet. They are sturdy little feet.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Anyway, she gave me another lightbulb in my head today: there is this greatest online store that has low prices and FREE SHIPPING on tons of everyday items. Somehow I never heard of it before?? Since I need to get me some baby proofing supplies, winning this giveaway would be great. And even if you don't win the giveaway, I'd recommend perusing her blog for other fun reading.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Goals to assist that theme:
1. Establish/teach a routine for that Lo & me. More to come on as I figure it out! I've started reading a couple more parenting books for ideas. And if anybody else who has parented toddlers has ideas for how to spend the hours in the day, please feel free to share.
2. Index 200 names each...month? I actually have not done enough indexing to even know what would be a valid amount for me. But I want to start doing it regularly. Something to add meaning to my days.
3. Read the New Testament. This one is sort of a given goal, since we are studying the New Testament this year in Sunday School. I will follow the schedule for the class.
4. Study the Book of Mormon daily. I still need to make this one happen earlier in the day so it is higher quality study.
5. Record a daily entry in my spiritual journal. Often this would come from my scripture study, but I also want to focus more on remembering/recording the Lord's hand in my life.
6. Journal weekly. The blog is a good outlet to record common joys, or reach out for a type of social connection (comments are always comforting). But my journal is best for more personal musings and reflections and I've found it has slipped over the past year.
7. Attend temple quarterly. This was our goal last year, and it seems good to repeat because we felt it stretched us but was achievable. Jerry made the goal, but I came short because of forgetting my temple recommend when we went to the Hong Kong temple...! Anyway, really hope to make it happen in 2011.
8. No refined sugar at home. I've done the 100% no refined sugar rule before, and it was highly beneficial for my emotional/physical health. But sugar is just so fun. I love getting an occasional milkshake for date night, or tasting a cookie at a church function, etc. But if it is in the house, I find myself reaching for sugary treats as a quick energy fix too often. Which then backfires on me when I experience my frequent "after sugar crash." So we just aren't going to buy any refined sugars (if people bring us a goodie plate or something, I wouldn't boycott it). It has worked well so far. I ate no sugar since January 1st and noticed an almost immediate improvement in my mood and median energy levels. Today at a baby shower, since it was out of our home, I ate half a cinnamon roll and two (smallish) blueberry muffins. My first "sugar" in over a week. I think this system will work as it won't make me feel deprived as I did at times during the 100% rule and it is easier to control my intake with other people around. Accountability, you know.
Well, that's it for goals for now. I am commencing reading of Rubin's Happiness Project for book club meeting later this month, and it will probably influence my resolutions. I'll update as it comes.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Yesterday that Lo was eating some yogurt. This is the wonderful "Yo Baby" type of yogurt, made with whole milk and other goodness, including cute photos of babies on the label. Lo Lo pointed to a picture of a boy and his dog on the label of his yogurt container. I smiled and nodded, "that is a cute doggy in the picture." Then that Lo began snuggling his yogurt container the way he cuddles with a stuffed animal, stroking and patting it over his shoulder. And yes, some yogurt spilled in the process, but we don't mind a bit.
He is a very snuggly, huggy child, which mostly brings joy to all around him. But we have noticed when he is tired, those hugs slowly morph into wrestling smackdown moves and the snuggles turn into head-butting. Something to keep an eye on...I have so far just handled it by a) trying to keep him well rested and b) if I know he is tired and in social settings, stay within arm's reach to pull him away if he starts to get rough with a playmate. I am not sure how to handle it actually, because on the one hand, I'd like to just excuse his behavior by saying, "Oh, poor little guy--I've let you get too tired." I believe it is important to empathize with him, especially if he isn't feeling good. But that attitude might sometimes lead me to discount his ability to control his emotions and behavior--an important life skill to learn. Which he will hopefully be able to do increasingly well as he ages. Anyway, I've ordered a few parenting books and am open to hear advice from the more experienced crowd if anybody's got it.